They rode on an ancient piedmont, among the foothills of a worn-down mountain-range. The leather of their saddles and gambadoes was, by its pattern, obviously tanned camelopard-hide. Hartford was certain that this pattern would by the end of their journey be an indelible part of his own hide. The giraffu, remarkably swift and easy-moving over the rugged, heavily grown terrain, ambled, moving both legs on the same side together. And Takeko was lovely.
LINCOLN AND DOUGLAS.
"Oh." Willie's grin became a tight one. "I'm not talking."
Instead the Machine moved at once and punched its clock.
When the horses were called for the second heat they came up looking well. Both had cooled out admirably. Johnny Hartman, a white jockey, and one of the best riders on the turf, was upon Duane, Steve not being able to resume his mount. Up to this time Boston had never been marked by whip or spur, except in his first race, when he sulked when touched with a spur. He had won all of his races running purely on his courage. Col. Wm. R. Johnson, the “Napoleon of the Turf,” who was managing him in this race, procured a cowhide, and when he mounted Cornelius gave it to him with instructions to use it if necessary from start to finish. There was no delay at the post; the drum tapped, and they were off, followed by the continuous cheers of the crowd. I doubt if a more closely contested match for four miles was ever run over any course than was waged between these two great horses in this second heat. It was literally a fight to the death. With every muscle strained, every sinew drawn to its utmost tension, they raced head for head the entire distance. Duane was on the inside and held it to the finish, although Boston made repeated efforts in every mile to take it. It was drive, drive, drive; death or victory. First the head of gold striped with white would for a moment show in front, then the head of bronze with the white spot gleaming like a star of hope would take the lead, but never more than a scant head would at any time divide them. As the head of either horse would show in front their respective friends would give a ringing cheer, but as mile after mile of the mighty contest was measured off by the long, low, powerful strides of these great racers and the desperate character of the race became more and more apparent, the excitement became too intense for shouting, and as the horses turned into the stretch on the fourth mile for the run home nose to nose, bit to bit and stride for stride a stillness as of death came over the crowd. Not a shout, not a word, not a whisper was heard. The stable boys and rubbers with bated breath and bulging eyes stared with almost agonized expression on their faces up the stretch where the desperate battle was being fought. The lemonade vender gave up all thoughts of trade, and even the wily pickpocket forgot his calling for the moment, and his hand, still clutching his ill-gotten gains, trembled with excitement as he watched the flying stallions and heard the ceaseless patter of their hoof strokes.
“Delia darlint” ses he “what wud ye be after giving me for a love letter.”
Soon our interview was over, for we heard the orchestra tuning up, and we left each other with just a word of farewell and without a sigh of regret.
Copyright © 2020