He closed the door behind him.
Silver came toward the girl slowly and took her hand.
“How are you, Boy?” he asked.
The girl laid her firm, cool little hand lightly on his and let it rest there. Her eyes were soft in his, still and steady. She felt herself surrounded by his love as by a cloud, and dwelt in it with quiet enjoyment and content.
It was a while before she answered.
“I’m all right,” she said. “You’re through, aren’t you?”
“Yes; I’m free.”
“That’s right,” she said. “The rest doesn’t matter.”
Together they went out into the sunshine of the Paddock Close.
He stood a moment, filling his chest, and looking up toward the green wall of the Downs.
“Let’s go slow,” he said.
She accommodated herself to his stroll.
“By Jove,” he said slowly. “It is a delight to get down here again. And I don’t feel anything’s changed really.”
“Nor has it really,” replied the girl.
God Almighty’s Mustang
Jim Silver turned out of the yard into the office.
As the young man entered, the old trainer sat dumped in his chair, rosy, bald, with innocent blue eyes, like a baby without a bib, waiting for its bottle. His round head was deeper between his shoulders than of old, and his pink face was strained and solicitous.
Some men said he was over eighty now.
“Well, sir,” he wheezed, “I see you take it good and game.”
“No good crying over spilt milk,” replied Silver.
The old trainer raised his hand as he settled in his seat.
“Don’t tell me,” he said. “It’s them there li’bilities. I was always agin ’em. Said so to Boy four year back. ’Cash in ‘and’s one thing,’ I says. ‘And li’bilities is another and totally different.’” He lifted a keen blue eye. “I understand from what Mr. Haggard tell me, you could ha’ dodged ’em out o’ some of it—only you was too straight.” He held up a disapproving finger. “That’s just where you done wrong, Mr. Silver. No good ever come o’ bein’ too straight, as I often says to Mar. You’re only askin’ for trouble—same as the Psalmist says. And now you got to pay for it.”
“Well, they’re all satisfied now,” laughed Silver. “And so am I.”
“I should think they was,” snorted Mat Woodburn. “I see ’em settin’ round, swellin’ and swellin’, and rubbin’ their fat paunches. Think they’ll keep a nag among the lot of ’em! Not so much as a broken-down towel-hoss.”
Silver stared out of the window.
“I shall have to sell the horses,” he said.
The old man banged the table.
“Never!” he cried. “They’ve took a slice off o’ you, and now you must take a bit off o’ them. That mayn’t be religion, but it’s right all right!”