He looked at me just for a
A shade of care seemed to pass
All over his handsome features.
Then he kicked at a tuft o’ grass,
In a sort of a pet, then stammered,
As he lifted his eyes from his shoes,
“I’m sorry, my lad—very sorry,
But to-morrow the mare must lose.”
He turned on his heel. I stood stroking
My “Lady’s” soft shining skin,
Then I muttered, “I’m sorry, sir, very,
But to-morrow the mare must win.”
* * * * *
I was ’tween two stools,
as they say, sir—
If I disobeyed orders, Sir Hugh
Would “sack” me as safe as a trivet,
So I thought what I’d better do.
I wasn’t so long, for I shouted,
“I’ve hit it! I’ll win this ’ere race,
And I’ll lay fifty pounds to a sov’reign
As I don’t get the ‘kick’ from my place.”
* * * * *
The day of the race: bell’s
To clear the course for the start.
I gets to an out-o’-way corner;
Then, quickly as lightning, I dart
My hand ’neath my silken jacket,
Pops a tiny phial to my lips,
Then off to mount “Painted Lady”—
Sharp into the saddle I slips.
In a minute or two we were streaming
Down the course at a nailing pace;
But I lets the mare take it easy,
For I feels as I’ve got the race
Well in hand. “No, nothing can touch ye:
You’ll win!” I cries—“Now then, my dear!”
All at once I feels fairly silly;
Then I comes over right down queer.
I dig my knees into her girths, sir;
I let the reins go—then I fall
Back faint, and dizzy, and drowsy—
“Painted Lady” sweeps on past them all.
She can’t make out what’s a happenin’,
Flies on—maddened, scared with fright—
And wins—by how far? well, don’t know, sir,
But the rest hadn’t come in sight.
I was took from the saddle, lifeless;
I’ve heard as they thought me dead;
And after I rallied—“’Twas funny!
’Twas curious—very!” they said.
* * * * *
The matter was all hushed up, sir;
Sir Hugh dussn’t show ’is hands.
I’m head “boss” now in the stables.
Josh stayed—and died—down at the ’Lands.
BY JOSH BILLINGS.
Marriage iz a fair transaction on the face ov it.
But thare iz quite too often put up jobs in it.
It iz an old institushun, older than the pyramids, and az phull ov hyrogliphicks that noboddy kan parse.
History holds its tounge who the pair waz who fust put on the silken harness, and promised tew work kind in it, thru thick and thin, up hill and down, and on the level, rain or shine, survive or perish, sink or swim, drown or flote.