Alfred Edward Thomas Watson.

The Badminton magazine of sports and pastimes online

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might cause trouble with the natives to enter the country. This
care is, however, not to be wondered at, when one considers that
they have charge of an enormous uneducated population of some-
thing over thirty-five millions.

The people in the towns had seen motors before the appearance
of the Gliddons ; but even in the country places, where they were
unknown, no one seemed to be frightened, most of the inhabitants
contenting themselves with staring in open-eyed wonderment as
what must have been to them almost a miracle passed by.

In Fiji the natives were delighted with the car, none of them
having had the faintest idea of what it would look like. The King


himself had never seen one except on paper. His first question to
Mr. Gliddon was, however, " Will it go sixty miles an hour? " It
seems that he appreciates speed. The people screeched themselves
wild with joy over it, and named it "The Father of all Devils, "The
Boat of the Land," and " The God of Fire." Every two or three
days they seemed to be ready with a new name — never feeling quite
satisfied with the last. They all wanted to ride in the car, and even
offered as much as a shilling to pay for this privilege. The mystery
of its motive power appealed strongly to them. They would lie
down and look underneath for a long time without moving to see if
they could find out what made it go. Whenever the car was
stopped immense crowds would gather round, and when it started

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WO. cxxvi VOL xxii.- January 190O

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would run after it until they were tired out, screaming the whole

The Fijians were frankly attracted by the man who could
manage such a strange animal, and they would stand round
Mr. Gliddon and look at him as if the}^ had never seen a white man
before. Some offered to buy his clothes — thinking, presumably, that
there must be a marvellous power in them. One man asked him
the price of a striped shirt he happened to be wearing. Mr. Gliddon,


thinking he meant the cost, turned to Mrs. Gliddon with the query,
** How much? " When she replied, ** Oh, about six shillings," the
native shook his head, and taking four shillings carefully out of his
mouth tendered them. He was distressful for a long time after he
was refused, and for about an hour stood round the car, every few
minutes offering his four shillings.

The Fijians strike the stranger as being a particularly placid
race, whereas one would assume, from the fact of their having been
cannibals but a short time ago, that they wculd still retain more
savage characteristics.

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Their cannibalism really came to them as a religion. In th^
old days they believed that the gods, having delivered an enemy into
their hands, expected them to devour as well as to kill him; and
this supposed wish they most strictly carried out — eating, in fact,
everything but the tongue. When the car was in Fiji one woman
was in jail for having killed and eaten her grandchild. She was
the only one who for a long time had broken the rule against eating
human flesh, and she said that she had resisted the impulse to eat
it time after time, -but had at last felt that she could go no longer
without tasting a little of her old food.

The Princess of the Fijians is, Mrs. Gliddon found, very beau-
tiful in face, form, and character. She understands English well,
but cannot speak it, or rather will not, as she is of a retiring nature,
and lacks the necessary confidence to embark upon the language.
She is now a firm believer in the motor car.

After escaping from the enthusiasm of the Fijians, the car and
its occupants wended their way to New Zealand. Here they were
lucky enough to be able to run over Ward's Parade — the most
southern road in the world — on the one fine day that, seemingly for
their special benefit, was sandwiched in between many wet ones.

Mrs. Gliddon can say that she has been both farther north and
farther south on an automobile than anyone else in the motoring
world. She has managed to see something of over eight thousand
different cities, villages, and settlements, and now she and her
husband are again on their way round the world by car — this time
keeping near, if not quite within, the torrid zone.

E 2

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Mk. Phineas Burkington wore a frown of extreme dissatisfaction
on his fat and somewhat foolish face. He gnawed his short sandy
moustache and poked the fire with unnecessary fierceness. It wasn't
his own fire, and the fact that he poked it showed extreme tension
of mind. For he was quoted as a pattern of politeness by many
ladies who owned marriageable daughters, and he must surely have
been aware of the adage which permits such familiarity in a house
where you have been welcomed for seven consecutive years, but
under no other circumstances.

But his companion and host, Mr. Connor O'Connor, showed
no signs of resentment. His acquaintance with his guest had not,
indeed, endured for the period prescribed — not even for as many
weeks — but his respect for the young man, and for his shekels,
was limitless. He was prepared to endure much at the hands of
the sole proprietor of Burkington's Boot Beautifier, a concern which
employed its thousands and had made its owner one of the most
prominent men in all Ireland. Mr. O'Connor, in fact, viewed the
young millionaire through very rose-tinted glasses — imaginative
lenses which swelled his financial virtues to the exclusion of any
small defects of face or form. In Moyle and the surrounding district
he posed as Mr. Burkington's social godfather. Many of his
neighbours accused him of hankering after a closer connection.

He looked at the frowning face and the fiercely-brandished
poker, and spoke smoothly.

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"Ah now, Phineas," he pleaded, "don't be after disturbing"

** I do disturb myself," retorted Mr. Burkington, defiantly. "It
is the most disturbing thing that has ever happened to me. After
all your encouragements to be refused with — with ignominy. She
said she'd as soon marry Flitty Boyle, the travelling knacker ! "

The ghost of a smile dinted old O'Connor's lips and fled unseen
— of Mr. Burkington.

" 'Tis but her wild way of speakin' — the unbridled filly that she
is," declared the father of the lady under discussion. ** For a penny
I'd lend her a slap — the colleen ; but as likely as may be she'd
return it, and 'tis no small fist she has. Take time, me bhoy, take
time ! "

** My patience has its bounds," remarked the young man,

"Of course it has," said the old man, suavely; "but you're a
terror for resolution — many's the time I've marked that in your
eye. You'd not be allowing yourself to be bested by a shlip of a
girl ? "

Mr. Burkington's features relaxed.

" If I had the rights of a husband I have no doubt I could —
er — tame her," he allowed. " At present I'm at a disadvantage."

Mr. O'Connor remembered that he himself had possessed the
rights of a father for twenty-one years and some months. At no
period did he recollect relations existing between himself and his
offspring in which he could be regarded as tamer and she as tamed.
But these reminiscences he kept to himself. He nodded pro-

" That's your own self that's talking now ! " he assented, eagerly.
" In six months you'll be riding her on the snaffle."

" I have yet to get her bitted," Mr. Burkington reminded him,
with ponderous joviality.

" And that you'll not do with one finger or two," remarked his
host. " It comes to this — you must be always at her. She has to
get accustomed to the idea of you — you must be there always — slap
in her eye. Once she understands that you're the bhoy for her —
the only one I'll let her live and marry — she'll take you at a
gulp ! ''

Mr. Burkington hardly seemed to relish this metaphor. The
old gentleman, however, failed to notice his frown and continued the

" Don't let her out of your sight, Phineas," he admonished him.
" Ride with her, run with her, sit with her! Put another meet a
week on to your beagling fixtures and show her sport. Til see that

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she attends them. SheMl come with all her heart. She adores
running, the light foot that she has.'*

In spite of the stimulating nature of this address the young
man's frown deepened.

** She's fond enough of beagling," he agreed, " but so is that
weedy lad from the barracks — Gaisford. She's always a great deal
more in his company than mine."

** Him ? "sneered the old man, contemptuously. ** The fathom
of pump water ! A sound man like y'rself could throw him up and
catch him in y'r mouth ! Oust him — shouldher him out of the way !
Show spirit, me lad ! Cut in between them ! "

" I have to attend to my hounds," said the Master of
Beagles, with the manner of one who directed the destinies of the
Pytchley or the Quorn.

" You'll have all your married life before you to demonstrate
upon them," argued his would-be father-in-law. " Leave them be
temporarily. Huggins, your whip, will cast and yoick if your
attentions to Nora keep you lagging. For this season you've but
the one hare to hunt, and that's my daughter, bad scran to her
obstinate sowl ! "

Mr. Burkington still looked doubtful. The old gentleman's
parchmenty face took on a flush of exasperation.

** See here — you ! " he cried, wrathfully, " must I in my sixty-
sixth gouty year come on me old shooting pony to show you that's
health and strength and full nourishment how to bridle a filly that's
yours for the asking? She's mine, and now I've said she's yours!
Go you and take her. And if any red-jacketed stick of an Army
captain stands between you, inlo the first ditch with him ! I've
given you the sole right to the girl's company. Keep it ! "

The Army captain's rival nodded.

** There's a good deal in what you say," he admitted. ** You'll
impress this — this arrangement upon Miss Nora? "

** I'll impress that and a birch-rod on her sleek, deceptive
skin ! " declared the irate parent, ** if she so much as squeaks under
your hand. But do you do your own part with the hardest heart
in you. Stick to her — cling to her, me lad, and if by March she
isn't Mrs. Burkington, I'll eat every hare you'll have caught, skin
and teeih ! "

Mr. Burkington's lips relaxed into smiles. As one who seals a
bargain, he suddenly shook his Mentor by the hand.

itt * * * Ht

The little beagles tailed out across country with shrill melodies
of joy which demonstrated that scent lay warm. They had found
early, in an unlikely spot, and after many misgivings on the part of

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the field that sport would dally. But luck had been with them

The pack had not frittered away its energies in useless ^^^^c^uvrin^s

for a find. A stout old jack hare had sprung up almost under

their noses in a sedgy pasture, and was scudding across the open

towards the distant moorland as straight as a dart. For the first

three fields the hounds had run in view. Now their noses were well

to the ground, but on a scent which — as old Larry Pike, the MoyJe

Hunt earthstopper, was wont to express it — " rose and shtruck thim

in the eyeball."

The field was long and straggling. Tim Huggins, the whip,
pranced gaily at the tail of the hounds, taking the ditches with
springing leaps which none but a born bog-trotter could emulate.
A little behind him came a resolute line of boys, ardent sportsmen
every one, running with breathless jealousy, each with his own pet
theory of a likely line, but each with an inquisitive glint of the eye
towards any neighbour who showed signs of improving on it. Back
of these again ran one or two striplings of slightly maturer years,
panting more than their younger rivals, but wearing down by
degrees into their second wind, and covering the ground with long
and regular strides which spoke of experience as much as ardour.
In an irregular patch followed the main body of the field.

There were several girls among the followers — bright com-
plexioned, grey-eyed daughters of Erin, each with an attendant train
of cavaliers. It was noticeable that of these Miss Nora O'Connor
held the largest court.

A detachment of subalterns and a junior captain or two from
Moyle barracks made up a majority of it, but among these dapper
youths Mr. Burkington's massive form was bulking largely. He ran
doggedly at Miss O'Connor's shoulder, towering over her like a
battleship over a sloop. The military cruisers — to complete the
metaphor — invariably found the wind taken out of their sails if they
attempted to run alongside. Now and again Miss Nora looked up
at him curiously. The Master was displaying the agility of one ot
his own hares. Several times she endeavoured to disembarrass
herself of his proximity, but turn and twist as she would he
invariably kept within armsbreadth of her. He made no remark —
he never tried to emulate the breathless repartees which the young
warriors exchanged — he reserved the powers of his lungs for the
business of running. But he was there.

Suddenly the full chorus from the hounds died to a whimper.
The runners looked up gratefully to recognise a check. The pack
went feathering across a pasture under Tim's able directions, cast-
ing for the line. Miss O'Connor mopped her brow and dropped
into a stroll.

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** Praise Heaven for thai ! " she ejaculated, piously. She looked
up at Burkington again. ** Won't you be giving them a cast?*'
she inquired.

The young man eyed his pack indifferently.

*' ril not improve on Huggins's line," he answered, and stood
watching the feathering sterns without enthusiasm. He remained
steadfastly at his captivator's side.

She turned and raised her eyebrows ever so slightly at the
young man who had been sharing the duties of escort with Bur-
kington. He stood as near her on the right as her other admirer
did on the left. She had a comically bewildered air as she gazed
at him.

He smiled back. He was a tall, bronzed, supple-looking man
of about eight or nine and twenty, and he and Miss Nora contem-
plated each other with every sign of mutual satisfaction.

**Ah, me! " she deplored suddenly, "they've hit it off— they'll
be running for Hennessy's Flat. I'll not be able to keep the line
any longer. I'll make a cut for the bridge below Shan's Paddock,
and with luck catch up to you there."

** Now — now. Miss Nora ! " objected one of the youngsters,
** with your limbs and talents you've no call to run cunning. And
'tis as likely as the next thing that she'll make another swerve and
evade you and y'r cut entirely."

One of his companions pinched his arm and frowned. A sudden
look of intelligence pervaded the youngster's features. He sidled
off with his friend. ** Sure, I forgot," he apologised under his
breath. ** 'Tis not the hare she'll be after catchin*."

By twos and threes the little crowd took up the running and
followed the disappearing pack. Gaisford stayed where he was.

** Yours is a wise decision. Miss O'Connor," he remarked,
** but there is a good deal of water out in the river meadows below
Shan's. If you'll permit me I'll be your guide in avoiding it. The
old sheep lane will be our way, won't it ? " he added, turning to
Burkington, who still stood doggedly at his elbow.

A frown was creasing the Master's fat face. He hesitated.

** Ay," he said at last, " I'll show it you."

The other two made a simultaneous protest.

**0h, we couldn't possibly take j'ow away," they began; but
their unsolicited guide interrupted grimly.

** Oh, but you could/' he affirmed, resolutely. ** Pm coming.'*

They looked at him blankly — they made several somewhat
incoherent protests. Mr. Burkington answered with no more than
monosyllables or silence, and began to lead the way towards the
sheep lane. They toiled up it at his heels, exchanging glances

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which pictured wrath, surprise, and i musement, as different points of
view in their companion's conduct suggested themselves. He, on
his part, offered no further explanation of this sudden desertion of
his pack than a still more aggressive proximity to his lady-love.

They had passed out of the lane, crossed the bridge, and
reached the Moyle high road, when Miss O'Connor complained of
weariness. No sign of hounds had rewarded their attempt to cut
in, and without the goad of excitement she explained that her
energies weakened. She looked up hopefully as the sound of
wheels drew attention to a pony-cart which was trotting down
the road.

** Is it you yourself, Flitty Boyle ! " she addressed the driver, a
dark-eyed, clean-shaved youth who touched his hat to her with
great respect. " Would it be within the powers of the good cob
there to give me a lift on the way home ? "

** 'Twud be iverlastin' honour to me poor contrapshun of a car,
miss, if you'll enthrust y'rsilf to me,'' said the man, grinning cheer-
fully. '* Sure, I'll have ivry plisure in life in takin' the whole three
of ye."

Miss O'Connor shook her head hastily.

*' No, no," she dissented. ** I'd not allow any such cruelty to
your little nag. Besides, Mr. Burkington and Captain Gaisford
will be only too glad to be rid of me. They want to find hounds

Gaisford's face showed a trace of astonishment — almost annoy-
ance. Then it suddenly cleared into intelligence. As she passed
close to him to mount upon the step of the car. Miss O'Connor had
covertly pressed a small object — her empty purse, to be explicit —
into his hand.

Mr. Burkington stood with his mouth open, the picture of
indecision. She seated herself and made an impartial farewell to
both with a very pretty smile. Flitty flourished his whip and
brought it down smartly upon the pony's back. The car went off
at a gallop, leaving the two men staring after it with envious eyes.

They turned at last to scan the country for the vanished hunt.
Suddenly Gaisford heard his own name called in distinct but dulcet

A couple of hundred yards away the car had stopped. Miss
Nora was waving energetically. "I've forgotten my purse '."she
shrilled, and Gaisford made a melodramatic gesture of self-reproach.

** How forgetful of me ! " he cried. ** She gave it me to carry
for fear she should lose it ! "

He darted down the road holding the missing piece of property
conspicuously in his hand. Mr. Burkington sullenly awaited his

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return. Gaisford held out the purse. Miss Nora took it with a
demure smile of thanks.

"Captain Gaisford/' sl.e remarked, " FHtty here thinks the
pony could manage one more conveniently."

** Without cruelty ? " grinned the Captain, and upon the word
leaped up and perched behind her. Again the whip descended upon
the little nag's flanks.

There was a shout from behind. The Master of Beagles had
broken into a hand gallop and was pursuing frantically down the
road, making a sporting attempt to win a race in which the odds
against him were something like a bank to a button. Gaisford
waved him a cheery hand; but Miss O'Connor, in view of subse-
quent explanations, forebore to look round. The distance increased.
In a little while even the semblance of pursuit was given up.
Mr. Burkington stood panting, a dark blot upon the dusty highway,
while the lovers drove on in pleasant converse with the grinning
Flitty. They were dropped five miles further down the road at the
back of the coverts which fringed the O'Connor demesne.
« « # ♦ «

" It's been worth it," remarked Miss Nora half an hour later,
**but they'll never forgive it me. Father or Phineas — the one or
the other of them — will never let me out of their sight after this."

Gaisford smiled confidently.

" It all comes round to what I've tried to persuade you of a
hundred times, my darling," he said. ** In blunt English, you've
got to elope with me — there's no other way out of it."

"Must I now?" said the girl, with dancing eyes. "It's easy
talked of, but not so easy done. I'll be under the eyes of the pair of
them every hour of the day."

"Just look the situation squarely in the face," urged her lover.
" Do you want to marry Phineas Burkington ? "

"I'd sooner take in washing for my living," said Miss O'Connor,
with great decision.

"And you've no insuperable objections to marrying me? "

" For the moment I can't recall them," allowed Nora. " But
how ? That's the question."

" It's as easy as kissing," said Gaisford, illustrating his remark
with warmth and conviction. " We'll be married in Moyle ps^nsh
church in the light of the open day. Jim Lascelles, the vicar, has
been my pal since schooldays. The barracks are in his parish, so
I'm a parishioner. A special licence and his affection for me are all
the goads he needs, and he'll keep a shut mouth about it till it's

Miss O'Connor's eyes opened very wide indeed.

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** And how am I going to get to Moyle parish church without a
* Yes ' or a * No ' or a * By your leave ' from my father ? " she asked.
** What will I say at all — * Excuse me, dad, for half an hour; I've
just remembered I've got to run into Moyle to be married to Jack

Gaisford grinned.

** Not quite that," he agreed. ** It's not by leave of your father
at all that you'll get the chance, but by the goodwill of Tim

If the girl had shown amazement before, her emotions on hear-
ing this remark can only be described as stupefaction.

" Tim Huggins — Phineas's whip ? " she cried.

** There's no other Tim Huggins," said Gaisford, ** and he, I'm
glad to say, is my very good friend. He'll arrange it — under my
supervision — so that you'll have no fuss, no trouble, no explanation
of any kind. All you have got to do is to attend next Monday's
meet of the Beagles. It's at Allonby. You'll get a straight run
away to the river — a four-mile point — and very likely without a
check. The hare will cross the river, and there's no bridge."

His lady-love stared at him as if he had gone suddenly daft.

** My dear boy," she deprecated, " are you dreaming or wander-
ing, or what ? "Who are you to 5ay how and where and whence
next Monday's run is going to take place. Have you trained your
private hare and put him in Tim Huggins's bag ? "

'* I'm prophesying," said Gaisford, with a laugh, "but I'm on a
certainty. I had the luck to pick Huggins's youngest out of that
same river when she fell in, in flood time, last March, and her father
would do more than I'm going to ask him to do, out of gratitude.
It's all quite simple. The run will end at the river bank, and the
river will pound the hunt. There's no bridge, as I impressed on
you before."

A sudden gleam of intelligence lit Miss O'Connor's features.

** And no boat ?" she inquired, meditatively.

Gaisford nodded.

*' One," he said. ** Mine."


A strange procession was passing across the fields from Allonby
towards the marshland and the river in the small hours of Monday
morning. Huggins led by a string an object which seemed to have
all the agility of a grasshopper and the elasticity of an indiarubber
ball. Flitty Boyle, walking a yard or two to the rear, stirred up the
unwilling captive whenever it substituted passive resistance for
active, admonishing it with an ash rod or the toe of his dilapidated
boot as circumstances seemed to advise. The deep dusk, which is

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deepest just before dawn, shrouded both escort and prisoner, and
a passer-by, if there had been one at that hour, would have been
puzzled to discover the details of what was toward. As a matter of
fact it was an extremely robust jack hare which the whip was
tugging by a cord wound round the unfortunate animal's neck and
withers, and which Flitty goaded from behind.

"Ah, get along wid ye — get along!'* expostulated Flitty,
thrusting at the hare as it turned a complete somersault after an
energetic effort to tie its tether into a true-lover's knot. " 'Tis

Online LibraryAlfred Edward Thomas WatsonThe Badminton magazine of sports and pastimes → online text (page 6 of 52)