It was not so, however, with Dot Blake. The turf, to him, was not an expensive pleasure, but a very serious business, and one which, to give him his due, he well understood. He himself, regulated the work, both of his horses and his men, and saw that both did what was allotted to them. He took very good care that he was never charged a guinea, where a guinea was not necessary; and that he got a guinea’s worth for every guinea he laid out. In fact, he trained his own horses, and was thus able to assure himself that his interests were never made subservient to those of others who kept horses in the same stables. Dot was in his glory, and in his element on the Curragh, and he was never quite happy anywhere else.
This, however, was not the case with his companion. For a couple of days the excitement attending Brien Boru was sufficient to fill Lord Ballindine’s mind; but after that, he could not help recurring to other things. He was much in want of money, and had been civilly told by his agent’s managing clerk, before he left town, that there was some difficulty in the way of his immediately getting the sum required. This annoyed him, for he could not carry on the game without money. And then, again, he was unhappy to be so near Fanny Wyndham, from day to day, without seeing her. He was truly and earnestly attached to her, and miserable at the threat which had been all but made by her guardian, that the match should be broken off.
It was true that he had made up his mind not to go to Grey Abbey, as long as he remained at Handicap Lodge, and, having made the resolution, he thought he was wise in keeping it; but still, he continually felt that she must be aware that he was in the neighbourhood, and could not but be hurt at his apparent indifference. And then he knew that her guardian would make use of his present employment—his sojourn at such a den of sporting characters as his friend Blake’s habitation—and his continued absence from Grey Abbey though known to be in its vicinity, as additional arguments for inducing his ward to declare the engagement at an end.
These troubles annoyed him, and though he daily stood by and saw Brien Boru go through his manoeuvres, he was discontented and fidgety.
He had been at Handicap Lodge about a fortnight, and was beginning to feel anything but happy. His horse was to go over in another week, money was not plentiful with him, and tradesmen were becoming obdurate and persevering. His host, Blake, was not a soothing or a comfortable friend, under these circumstances: he gave him a good deal of practical advice, but he could not sympathise with him. Blake was a sharp, hard, sensible man, who reduced everything to pounds shillings and pence. Lord Ballindine was a man of feeling, and for the time, at least, a man of pleasure; and, though they were, or thought themselves friends, they did not pull well together; in fact, they bored each other terribly.