A little later trainer and jockey stood in the gate of the yard and watched Joses shuffle away across the Downs.
“He’s all right,” said Chukkers, sucking the ivory charm he always carried. “Ain’t ’alf bitter.”
“Changed,” smirked Jaggers, “and for the better. They’ve done ’emselves no good, Putnam’s haven’t, this journey.”
Joses established his headquarters as of old at Cuckmere, and he made no secret of his presence. Nor would it have been of much avail had he attempted concealment. For the Saturday before the trial gallop had brought Mat Woodburn a letter from Miller, the station-clerk at Arunvale, which was the station for Dewhurst.
The station-clerk had a feud of many years’ standing with Jaggers, and had moreover substantial reasons of his own for not wishing Mocassin to win at Aintree. Along the line of the South Downs to be against Dewhurst was to be in with Putnam’s, and the telegraph line between Arunvale and Cuckmere could tell many interesting secrets of the relations between Mat Woodburn and the station-clerk.
The letter in question informed Old Mat that Joses had come straight from Portland to Dewhurst; that Chukkers had come down from London by the eleven-twenty-seven; that Ikey had been expected but had not turned up, and that the six-forty-two had taken Joses on to Cuckmere.
After the trial gallop, and the meeting with the fat man on the hill, Old Mat showed the letter to Silver.
“He’ll want watching, Mr. Joses will,” he said.
“He didn’t look very pretty, did he?” said the young man.
“Yes,” mused the old man. “A little job o’ work for Monkey, that’ll be. He don’t like Chukkers, Monkey don’t.” He pursed his lips and lifting an eye-lid looked at the other from beneath it. His blue eye was dreamy, dewy, and twinkling remotely through a mist. “Rogues and rasqueals, Mr. Silver!” he said. “Whatebber should we do without um?”
On the Sunday after the trial on the Mare’s Back Jerry went solemnly round the assembled lads before Bible Class, his hat in his hand and in the hat a couple of coppers.
“What for?” asked Alf, the cherub.
The lads were used to what they called “levies” in the stable—sometimes for a new football or something for the club, sometimes for a pal who was in a hole.
“Mr. Silver,” answered Jerry. “He’s done us proud while he could. Now it’s our turn to do a bit for him.”
“Is it as bad as all that?” asked Alf, wide-eyed.
“It’s worse,” said Jerry, with dramatic restraint.
The cherub peeped into the hat, fingering a tanner.
He was genuinely concerned for Mr. Silver.
“If I put in a tanner, how’ll I know Mr. Silver’ll get it?” he asked ingenuously.
Stanley jeered, and Jerry shot his chin forward.