“Why, Blake, I’d sooner deal with all the Jews of Israel—”
“Stop, Frank: one word of abuse, and I’ll wash my hands of the matter altogether.”
“Wash away then, I’ll keep the horses, though I have to sell my hunters and the plate at Kelly’s Court into the bargain.”
“I was going to add—only your energy’s far too great to allow of a slow steady man like me finishing his sentence—I was going to say that, if you’re pressed for money as you say, and if it will be any accommodation, I will let you have two hundred and fifty pounds at five per cent. on the security of the horses; that is, that you will be charged with that amount, and the interest, in the final closing of the account at the end of the year, before the horses are restored to you.”
Had an uninterested observer been standing by he might have seen with half an eye that Blake’s coolness was put on, and that his indifference to the bargain was assumed. This offer of the loan was a second bid, when he found the first was likely to be rejected: it was made, too, at the time that he was positively declaring that he would make none but the first offer. Poor Frank!—he was utterly unable to cope with his friend at the weapons with which they were playing, and he was consequently most egregiously plundered. But it was in an affair of horse-flesh, and the sporting world, when it learned the terms on which the horses were transferred from Lord Ballindine’s name to that of Mr Blake, had not a word of censure to utter against the latter. He was pronounced to be very wide awake, and decidedly at the top of his profession; and Lord Ballindine was spoken of, for a week, with considerable pity and contempt.
When Blake mentioned the loan Frank got up, and stood with his back to the fire; then bit his lips, and walked twice up and down the room, with his hands in his pockets, and then he paused, looked out of the window, and attempted to whistle: then he threw himself into an armchair, poked out both his legs as far as he could, ran his fingers through his hair, and set to work hard to make up his mind. But it was no good; in about five minutes he found he could not do it; so he took out his purse, and, extracting half-a-crown, threw it up to the ceiling, saying,
“Well, Dot—head or harp? If you’re right, you have them.”
“Harp,” cried Dot.
They both examined the coin. “They’re yours,” said Frank, with much solemnity; “and now you’ve got the best horse—yes, I believe the very best horse alive, for nothing.”
“Only half of him, Frank.”
“Well,” said Frank; “it’s done now, I suppose.”
“Oh, of course it is,” said Dot: “I’ll draw out the agreement, and give you a cheque for the money to-night.”
And so he did; and Frank wrote a letter to Igoe, authorizing him to hand over the horses to Mr Blake’s groom, stating that he had sold them—for so ran his agreement with Dot—and desiring that his bill for training, &c., might be forthwith forwarded to Kelly’s Court. Poor Frank! he was ashamed to go to take a last look at his dear favourites, and tell his own trainer that he had sold his own horses.