“Smart!” said Joses.
“My eye!” answered Monkey Brand.
* * * * *
Jim Silver, panting after his run, joined Old Mat.
The two made toward the Grand Stand.
In front of them a middle-aged man, soberly dressed, and a tall girl were walking.
“That’s the American Ambassador,” muttered the old man as they passed. “Come with Lord Derby’s party. Great scholar, they say. That’s his daughter.”
The tall Ambassador with the stoop paused to let the other couple go by.
Then he nodded at the young man’s back.
“Mr. Silver,” he murmured in his daughter’s ear. “And the old gentleman’s her father.”
The girl was alert at once. She, too, had heard the tales.
“Is it?” she cried. “Where’s she?”
“I don’t know,” the other answered.
“I hope they win,” said the girl—“in some ways.”
Her father smiled.
“You’re no American,” he scoffed. “You’re a woman. That’s all you are.”
The Star-Spangled Jacket
As the two men took their places, the parade in front of the Grand Stand was in full swing.
There was a big field: some thirty starters in all.
The favourite, as the top weight, led them by at a walk.
She was quite at her ease, yet on fire as always, snatching at her bit in characteristic style. Chukkers rode her with long and easy rein, as though to show he trusted her. As she came by, the Grand Stand began to sing with one voice:
The maid of our mountains—
Mocassin’s her name!
The speed of the panther;
The heart of the flame;
The Belle of the Blue Ridge,
The hope of the plain,
The Queen of Kentucky,
O, lift her again—
Chanted thus by tens of thousands of voices, singing round the course and up into the heavens, and culminating in the roaring slogan—
Mocassin! Mocassin! Mocassin!
the simple song became for the moment clothed in vicarious majesty.
Jim Silver felt the thrill of it, as did his companion.
“Mar’d like that,” said Old Mat sentimentally. “She’s same as me. She likes hymns.”
The object of the enthusiasm seemed unconscious of it.
She came by at that swift pattering walk of hers—like a girl going marketing as her lovers said—amid the comments of her admirers.
“She’s all right, sure!”
“Don’t she nip along?”
“He looks grim, Chukkers do.”
“Yes; he’s for it this time.”
“They’ve injected her—American style.”
“They have, my son. Trust Jaggers. Can’t leave it to Nature. Must always go one better.”
“Ikey’s got two other horses in.”