The jockey in green had pitched forward as his horse landed.
He scrambled for a moment, and somehow wriggled back into his seat—short of his whip.
The Grand Stand became a maelstrom.
Men were fighting, women fainting. The Americans were screaming to Chukkers to press; the English yelling to the nipper to ride—for the Almighty’s sake.
The brown horse and his jockey came past the Open Ditch and down the straight in a hurricane that might not have been, so little did either heed it.
The little jockey was far away, riding as in a death-swoon, his face silvery beneath his cap. His reins were in both hands, and he was stirring with them faintly as one who would ride a finish and cannot.
“That’s a little bit o’ better,” said Old Mat cheerfully, preparing to move. “My little Fo’-Pound’ll see us ’ome.”
And indeed the young horse, with the judgment of a veteran who knows to a yard when he may shut up, had eased away into a canter, and broke into a trot as he passed the post.
The Last Card
Chukkers was beaten out of sight. The Oriental in him blurted to the top. He lost his head and his temper and began to butcher his mount.
As he drove the mare down the run home, foaming and bloody, he was flaying her.
The Americans had all lost money, some of them fortunes: that didn’t matter so much. Their idol had been beaten fair and square: that mattered a great deal. But she was still their idol, and Chukkers had butchered her before their eyes.
And he was Chukkers!—the greaser!
They rose up in wrath like a vast, avenging cloud, and went raving over the barrier on to the course in tumultuous black flood. The ruck of beaten horses, bobbing home one by one, crashed into them. The mob, without regard for its shattered atoms, moved on like one. A roaring sea of humanity swung on its blind way. Above the dark waters jockeys in silken jackets and on sweating thoroughbreds drifted to and fro like helpless butterflies. While in contrast to these many-coloured creatures of faerie, the great-coated and helmeted police in blue, on horses, hairy and solid as themselves, butted their way through the clamorous deeps, as they made for the rock round which the angry waves were breaking.
They had their work cut out, and used their bludgeons with a will.
Round the man upon the beaten favourite the mob swirled and screamed like a hyena-pack at the kill.
Chukkers was a brute; but to do him justice he was not a coward.
The high-cheeked Mongolian, yellow with anger and chagrin, was using his whip without mercy.
The hub-bub was as of a battle the most horrible, for there were women in it, screaming for blood.
“Lynch him!” came the roar.
“Pull him off!”