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young men who have the means had made up my mind before, and and the leisure should go through I am sure I shall never be drawn the formula known as 'seeing life into the net again. The fact is, -a process which to some is a sad Felix, it didn't suit me; the men I tragedy, and which to nearly all is met on the racecourses were such a bitter experience. Very few come cads and blackguards that I soon out of that fire unscathed. Charley became disgusted with myself for had gone through this formula- mixing with them. I tell you what fortunately for him in a superficial it is, old fellow. I think being with way. Charley's parents were good you a great deal has done me good, people enough, and had tacitly and I have learnt from you to hate agreed that their son must see things that are mean. You've been life' before he settled ; everybody's to races, of course ? sons saw life before settling, and I've been to Goodwood, and Charley must not be an exception. Ascot, and to the Derby. The So the young fellow went into the Derby is a wonderful sight. I world, and in the natural course of should like to go with you to one things became mixed up in matters, or two of the small meetings.' the mere mention of which would They went in company, and Fe. have brought a blush to his mo- lix, having a deeper purpose in his ther's cheek. But Charley was do- mind than idle amusement, saw ing the proper thing; there was no much to astonish him. As they doubt of that. However, the young were making their way through 2 fellow's inclinations were not inher- crowd of sharps and gulls, Charley ently vicious, and he escaped the pulled his sleeve, and said, pitfalls in which so many weak “There ! There's a man who had and unfortunate ones are ingulf- over a hundred pounds of my ed. He and Felix had met some money.' few times since Felix's installation Turning, Felix saw Mr. David as London correspondent to the Sheldrake, evidently very much at Penny Whistle, and they had open- home. Felix, not wishing to be ed their hearts to each other. Thus seen by Mr. Sheldrake, walked it came out that Charley told Felix away, and watched him from a disof his introduction to the racing tance. world, and of his adventures therein. 'Is he a betting-man?' asked Fe
*You see, Felix,' he said, 'I had lix. outrun my allowance, and I thought “O, yes; and as sharp as a neeI might be able to set things
dle.' straight, and pay my few small “Does he attend these meetings debts, without coming on my fa- regularly ?' ther's purse. So, led away by the 'You seem to be interested in flaming accounts in the newspapers, him, Felix.' I went into betting; was intro “Yes, I know him.' duced by a friend to a club where "And don't like him, evidently, I could bet, and for three months observed Charley, judging from his went regularly to races. It didn't friend's tone. turn out well, and after dropping "That is true; I don't like him. nearly two hundred pounds, I went But you haven't answered my questo my father, and made a clean tion. breast of it. He paid my debts, 'I have met him on nearly every and made me promise to give up racecourse I have been to; he is the infatuation, as he called it. I always to be seen in the “ring," I promised willingly enough, for I should say.'
Felix did not pursue the subject, during the whole of the day; saw but later in the day said,
the fatal infatuation which urged "Have you any documents, Char- him onwards; and saw him pass ley, connected with your betting through the various stages of hope, experiences, or have you destroyed suspense, and agony. Felix saw them?'
more, with the eyes of his mind; I have them all. By the bye, he saw ruin waiting at Alfred's they might be useful to you ; there heels. Felix had met with an old are some strange things among legend which stated how every them—well, perhaps, not strange human being was attended by two in themselves, but strange that, angels, one bad, one good, and such things should be allowed. It how they strove for mastery over would be a good subject for you the soul they attended. As the to take up.'
recollection of this legend came 'Any letters from that man ? to him, Felix looked up and saw
‘O, yes; suppose I send you the Alfred's bad angel, Mr. David Shelpacket ?'
drake, talking to Alfred, and Alfred 'I should like to see them.' eagerly listening. It saddened Felix
They were received in due course to see this, although he fully exby Felix, and they so interested pected it, and was prepared for it. him that he began from that time Alfred's good angel,' he thought, to subscribe to the sporting papers, is love. But love has no sword and to make a regular study of the to strike this false friend dead.' usually unprofitable theme. Any But Felix went home that evening person who did not know Felix's with a clue in his hand. character might reasonably have On this night, as Felix walked supposed that he had been bitten away from Lily's house, he thought by the mania, and that he was be- of these things, and was too disginning to entertain the idea that turbed to go home. He walked he might make a fortune by betting about the quiet streets, and at the with sharps. They would have had end of an hour found himself on ample grounds for so supposing, if the Thames Embankment. As he they had known that Felix actually stood there, musing, gazing into sent small sums in stamps to the the solemn river, he became conprophets and tipsters and the layers scious of a sudden tremor in the of odds who advertised in the sport- air. He looked around with a feeling papers, for the purpose of ob- ing of vague alarm upon him; but taining the information necessary he saw nothing, heard nothing. for the rapid and certain realisation Psha !' he muttered. Mr. Podof 'fabulous sums' a phrase which more's presentiment is frightening many of the advertisers used in the me with shadows. I'll stroll past traps they set, unconscious of the Lily's house, and then go home to ironical truth it contained. But bed.' what Felix was doing was a means to another end, and he lost his money cheerfully. He began to CHAPTER XXXVII. frequent racecourses also, and on
JIM PODMORE HAS A DREAM, AND one occasion, early in his experience, he saw Lily's brother, as he
WAKES UP IN TIME. expected to see him, running hither JIM PODMORE, staggering into and thither in a state of blind ex- the one room which formed his citement. With a set determina- Englishman's castle, found his wife tion, Felix watched the young man and Pollypod fast asleep in bed. Before he went out to his work in The bed being against the wall, and the morning, he had told his wife Pollypod sleeping inside, he could not to sit up for him that night. not kiss her without disturbing his I don't go to bed,' murmured Jim, and rushed out of the room like a. with a start, whereat all these figures madman. The men followed him, vanished into nothingness, 'I shall but he was too quick for them, and fall asleep.' And still he sat, and before they could lay hands on him murmured, ' Poor Dick !
You've had precious hard work of wife. The child slept peacefully, it, old woman,' he had said, “this and Jim Podmore gazed lovingly last week; so go to bed early and at the pretty picture, and leaned have a long night's rest. I'll find forward to feel the sweet breath, my way upstairs all right. The pure as an angel's whisper, that precious hard work which Jim Pod- came from her parted lips. His more referred to was one of those supper was laid for him on the tasks which poor people - espe- table, and he sat down to it, Snap cially women — take upon them- standing at his feet in patient eagerselves when occasion requires, with ness waiting for such scraps and a readiness and cheerfulness which morsels as he thought fit to give. it is beautiful to see. A neighbour's Jim did not forget his dog ; Snap child had been ill, and required con- fared well, and when supper was stant watching. The mother, worn finished the dog stretched himself out with her labour of love, had on the ground, and with half-closed fallen ill herself, and Mrs. Podmore eyes watched his master's face. flew to her aid, and attended to her Snap blinked and blinked, but al. household duties, and nursed her though occasionally his eyes were and the child through their sick- so nearly closed that only the thinness. The cheerfulness with which nest line of light could be seen, Mrs. Podmore undertook this task the dog never relaxed his watchful and performed it, as if it were a gaze. Jim sat in his chair, pipe in duty incumbent upon her, cannot mouth, and smoked and dozed, be described. The best reward she and thought of Dick Hart and his could receive was hers: the mother wife and children, and of his own and child recovered their health, wife and Pollypod, till they all beand were strong enough to attend came mixed up together in the to themselves. Late in the previous strangest way, and in the phantasnight, the doctor had released Mrs. magoria of his fancy changed places Podmore, and had told her—with and merged one into the other in smiles and good words and with a utter defiance of all probability. hand-shake which gratified the sim- Thus, as he leaned forward to ple woman mightily—that now she catch the sweet breath that came had best go home and take care of from Pollypod's lips, the child's herself; ‘for we can get about our face became blurred and indistinct, selves now,' he said, “and sha'n't and in her place Dick Hart apwant you any more. This account- peared, crouching upon the railed for Jim Podmore having to find way platform in an agony of dehis way upstairs by himself, for Mrs. spair. The platform itself appearPodmore seldom went to bed be- ed, with its throng of anxious faces, fore he returned home. He knew, with its sound of hurried feet and on this night, that his wife was cries of pain, with a light in the air asleep, and in the midst of his that belonged to neither night nor drowsiness he took off his boots day, sensitive with a tremor which in the passage, so that he should was felt, but could not be seen not disturb her.
or described, and which spoke of Entering the room in his stock- hopes for ever crushed out, and inged feet, he stepped softly to the of lives of fair promise blighted by bedside, and rested his hand light the act that lay in one fatal mo ly and tenderly on Pollypod's neck. ment's neglect or helplessness. “
again, he had jumped from the
platform on to the line, dashing It was really but the work of a aside the persons who tried to stop moment. Jim Podmore being on him. His mad idea was to run duty, suddenly felt a shock-then forward on the line until he saw a heard a crash, followed by screams train coming, and then to throw and shouts, and what seemed to himself before it and be crushed to be the muffled sound of a myriad pieces. But he was saved from the voices. He knew that an accident execution of this piteous design ; had occurred, and he ran forward, the men reached him and seized and saw carriages overturned on the him, and carried him back by main line, and huge splinters of wood force. When he was in the room lying about. Who did it?' he again, his passion being spent, he cried. • Dick Hart!' 'a voice re- ' fell upon his knees, and looked plied; and then he heard Dick's round with a scared white face, voice crying; "O, my God!' The waiting for what was to come. busy hands were at work clearing ‘Poor Dick !' murmured Jim Podthe wreck, and the few passengers more. And then the men whis-happily there were but few-were pered to each other how that Dick assisted out. Most of them had Hart had been worked off his escaped with a bruise or a scratch, legs lately; how the accident was but one man, they said, looked in nothing more than was to be exa bad state, and at his own entreaty pected ; and how Dick's wife was they allowed him to lie still on the near her confinement with her seplatform until doctors, who had cond. “Poor Dick!' murmured Jim been promptly sent for, had arriv-' Podmore again, for the thought of ed; and one little child was taken Dick Hart's one little girl at home, into a room, and lay like dead. and the other child that was soon Jim Podmore was in the room, and expected, brought Pollypod to his he saw Dick Hart brought in be- mind. tween two men. Dick, when his It was quite true; Dick Hart's eyes lighted on the piteous sight of wife was very near her confinement, the little girl lying like that, trem- and on this very night, unconscious bled as if ague had seized him, and of the dreadful event that had taken began to sob and cry. “I did it! place, she was busy getting toI did it! he gasped. “Why don't gether the little things she had some one strike me down dead!' made for her first-born, and recallAs he uttered these words, and as ing the feelings she had experihe stood there, with a face whiter enced before she became a mother than the face of the child who lay -feelings in which joy and fear before him, a woman rushed in and were so commingled as to be inseparcried in a wild tone, “Where's the able. The time was night, in the man that killed my child ?' Upon wane of summer, and many a smile this, with a cry wilder than that to came upon the woman's lips, and which the poor woman had given many a tender thought dwelt in vent, Dick Hart wrested himself her mind, as she laid out the free from the men, whose hands (in little garments and examined them their grief at what had occurred) to see where they wanted a stitch. were only lightly laid upon him, Mrs. Hart had been married five
years, and while she was employed little girl, 'when will Bunny in the manner just described, her come?' first child, four years of age, was ‘Bunny,' it must be explained, sitting in a low chair, playing with was the fanciful title by which Rosy a doll, which not only had soften- had already christened the expected ing of the brain, but softening of stranger. every portion of its anatomy-for ‘Next week, Rosy,' answered the it was a rag doll.
happy mother; ' almost sure next But the doll, treasure as it was, week. Ain't you glad ?' notwithstanding its flat face (for “Yes, I'm very, very glad.' rags do not admit of the forma- (Again a redundancy of 'verys' tion of features of particular shape which must be left to the imaginaand beauty) was not the only ob- tion.) But, mother, who'll bring ject of the child's attention. She Bunny here?" had that day been invested with a Who'll bring him, Rosy? Why, pair of new red socks, and Little the doctor, to be sure.' Vanity was now holding out her Rosy nodded her head wisely, and little leg as straight as she could, employed a full minute in the silent and calling her mother's attention enjoyment of her new red socks. for the hundredth time to her flam- Mrs. Hart was silent also, worship ing red treasures. Mrs. Hart knelt ping her little girl. If children before the child, and admired the only knew how their mothers worsocks with the most outrageously- ship them! Down went Rosy's exaggerated turns of speech, and leg again. pulled them up tight, to her child's "Where will the doctor bring infinite delight and contentment. Bunny from, mother?' Then the mother began to prattle ‘From the parsley-bed,' replied upon the subject nearest to her the mother, laughing. heart, and began to speak also, for 'Is Bunny there now, mother? the hundredth time, about the lit- 'Yes, dear.' tle brother — for Mrs. Hart had “Did I come out of a parsley-bed, settled that her second,' as Jim mother?" Podmore had expressed it, was to “Yes, my dear,' and Mrs. Hart be a boy-whom Rosy presently smothered Rosy's face and neck would have to play with.
with kisses. She was so occupied "And you'll love him very much, with her happiness that she did Rosy, won't you ?' asked the mo- not hear the door open, and did ther.
not know that any one was in the “Yes, very, very much.'
room until she heard a voice callIndeed, Rosy used a great many ing her name. The voice belonged more 'verys' than two, and quite to a neighbour, Mrs. Thomson, and ingenuously, be it stated. But Rosy Mrs. Hart rose to her feet, and had a strong desire to be enlight was beginning to tell merrily of ened upon a certain point, and she the conversation which she had just seized the present favourable oppor- had with Rosy, when something in tunity. She had heard a great deal Mrs. Thomson's face stopped her about this little brother whom she tongue. was to love and play with, but she What's the matter, Mrs. Thomwas puzzled to know where the son? What is it? Tell me, quick! little stranger was to come from. Now, bear up, Mrs. Hart,' said Now was the time to obtain the in the neighbour ; remember how formation.
near your time is, and bear up • Mother,' asked the inquisitive there's a good soul !