She saddled him and led him out into the yard.
Attached to the d’s of the light saddle was a string forage bag such as cavalry soldiers carry. Into it she stuffed her towel and all that it contained.
Monkey Brand held the pony’s head as she mounted.
“How’s the old mare?” she asked, gathering her reins.
“Four Pound?” queried the jockey. “I didn’t see her this morning as I come along, Miss. She must ha’ been layin’ behind the trees. Another week, I should say.”
“William!” called the girl, and rode through the gate into the Paddock Close.
* * * * *
Since the Polefax Meeting Silver had come and gone continually. His week-ends he spent frequently at Putnam’s, returning to London by the first train on Monday morning.
“He don’t like the Bank, and I don’t blame him,” said Old Mat. “I reck’n he’d like to be all the while in the saddle on the Downs.”
“Why does he stick to the Bank?” the girl blurted out.
It was the only question she had ever put about Mr. Silver.
“Because he’s got to, my dear,” replied the sagacious old man. “If he don’t stick to the Bank, the Bank won’t stick to him, I guess.”
In those months the girl had learned a good deal about Mr. Silver. He was different from the other men she knew. She had felt that at once on meeting him. She was shy with him and short; and it was rare for her to be shy with men. Indeed, in her heart she knew that she was almost afraid of him. And she had never known herself afraid of a man before. That made her angry with him, though it was no fault of his.
Then she had resented the unconscious part he had played in the affair of the wood. She was sure he was laughing at her. And that good, plain, smileless face of his, and the very fact that he never referred to the incident, only made her the more suspicious.
His awkward big-dog attempts at friendliness had been repulsed. She played the Maudie to his Billy Bluff, and all would have been well but that he refused to get back upon her by bounding. Instead, he apparently had come to the conclusion that she disliked him, and had withdrawn.
That made her angrier still.
Now she had not even known that he was coming down last night. And worst and most unforgivable of all, she had not been told that Make-Way-There was to be galloped that morning.
Ragamuffin, the roan, was surprised when his mistress picked him up immediately she entered the Paddock Close and pushed him into a canter.
Old Man Badger
Ragamuffin was old, but his heart was good. Directly his mistress asked him he snatched for his head and went away smooth and swift as a racing boat.
Boy pulled off to the right and made for the clump of trees half-way up the hill.