Done for the Double by Knott Gold
Author of "Flogged for a Furlong", "Won by a Winker", etc., etc.
Chapter I.—WANTED, A PONY
Algernon de Montgomery Smythers was a merchant, wealthy beyond the dreams
of avarice. Other merchants might dress more lavishly, and wear larger
watch chains; but the bank balance is the true test of mercantile
superiority, and in a trial of bank balances Algernon de Montgomery
Smythers represented Tyson at seven stone. He was unbeatable.
He lived in comfort, not to say luxury. He had champagne for breakfast
every morning, and his wife always slept with a pair of diamond earrings
worth a small fortune in her ears. It is things like these that show
Though they had been married many years, the A. de M. Smythers had but one
child—a son and heir. No Christmas Day was allowed to pass by his doting
parents without a gift to young Algy of some trifle worth about 150
pounds, less the discount for cash. He had six play-rooms, all filled
with the most expensive toys and ingenious mechanical devices. He had a
phonograph that could hail a ship out at the South Head, and a
mechanical parrot that sang "The Wearing of the Green". And still he was
Sometimes, in spite of the vigilance of his four nurses and six
under-nurses, he would escape into the street, and run about with the
little boys he met there. One day he gave one of them a sovereign for a
locust. Certainly the locust was a "double-drummer", and could deafen
the German Band when shaken up judiciously; still, it was dear at a
It is ever thus.
What we have we do not value, and what other people have we are not strong
enough to take from them.
Such is life.
Christmas was approaching, and the question of Algy's Christmas present
agitated the bosom of his parents. He already had nearly everything a
child could want; but one morning a bright inspiration struck Algy's
father. Algy should have a pony.
With Mr. Smythers to think was to act. He was not a man who believed in
allowing grass to grow under his feet. His motto was, "Up and be
doing—somebody." So he put an advertisement in the paper that same day.
"Wanted, a boy's pony. Must be guaranteed sound, strong, handsome,
intelligent. Used to trains, trams, motors, fire engines, and motor
'buses. Any failure in above respects will disqualify. Certificate of
birth required as well as references from last place. Price no object."
Chapter II.—BLINKY BILL'S SACRIFICE
Down in a poverty-stricken part of the city lived Blinky Bill, the
His yard was surrounded by loose-boxes made of any old timber, galvanized
iron, sheets of roofing-felt, and bark he could gather together.
He kept all sorts of horses, except good sorts. There were harness horses,
that wouldn't pull, and saddle horses that wouldn't go—or, if they went,
used to fall down. Nearly every animal about the place had something the
matter with it.
When the bailiff dropped in, as he did every two or three weeks, Bill and
he would go out together, and "have a punt" on some of Bill's ponies, or
on somebody else's ponies—the latter for choice. But periodical punts
and occasional sales of horses would not keep the wolf from the door.
Ponies keep on eating whether they are winning or not and Blinky Bill
had got down to the very last pitch of desperation when he saw the
advertisement mentioned at the end of last chapter.
It was like a ray of hope to him. At once there flashed upon him what he
He must make a great sacrifice; he must sell Sausage II.
Sausage II. was the greatest thirteen-two pony of the day. Time and again
he had gone out to race when, to use William's own words, it was a blue
duck for Bill's chance of keeping afloat; and every time did the gallant
race pony pull his owner through.
Bill owed more to Sausage II. than he owed to his creditors.
Brought up as a pet, the little animal was absolutely trustworthy. He
would carry a lady or a child, or pull a sulky; in fact, it was quite a
common thing for Blinky Bill to drive him in a sulky to a country
meeting and look about him for a likely "mark". If he could find a fleet
youth with a reputedly fast pony, Bill would offer to "pull the little
cuddy out of the sulky and run yer for a fiver." Sometimes he got
beaten; but as he never paid, that didn't matter. He did not believe in
fighting; but he would always sooner fight than pay.
But all these devices had left him on his uppers in the end. He had no
feed for his ponies, and no money to buy it; the corn merchant had
written his account off as bad, and had no desire to make it worse.
Under the circumstances, what was he to do? Sausage II. must be sold.
With heavy heart Bill led the pony down to be inspected. He saw Mr.
Algernon de Montgomery Smythers, and measured him with his eye. He saw
it would be no use to talk about racing to him, so he went on the other
He told him that the pony belonged to a Methodist clergyman, who used to
drive him in a "shay". There are no shays in this country; but Bill had
read the word somewhere, and thought it sounded respectable. "Yus, sir,"
he said, "'e goes lovely in a shay," and he was just starting off at
twenty words a second, when he was stopped.
Mr. A. de M. Smythers was brusque with his inferiors, and in this he made
a mistake. Instead of listening to all that Blinky Bill said, and
disbelieving it at his leisure, he stopped his talk.
"If you want to sell this pony, dry up," he said. "I don't believe a word
you say, and it only worries me to hear you lying."
Fatal mistake! You should never stop a horse-dealer's talk. And call him
anything you like, but never say you doubt his word.
Both these things Mr. Smythers did; and, though he bought the pony at a
high price, yet the insult sank deep into the heart of Blinky Bill.
As the capitalist departed leading the pony, Blinky Bill muttered to
himself, "Ha! ha! Little does he know that he is leading Sausage II.,
the greatest 13.2 pony of the century. Let him beware how he gets
alongside anything. That's all! Blinky Bill may yet be revenged!"
Chapter III.—EXIT ALGY
Christmas Day came. Algy's father gave orders to have the pony saddled,
and led round to the front door. Algy's mother, a lady of forty summers,
spent the morning superintending the dinner. Dinner was the principal
event in the day with her. Alas, poor lady! Everything she ate agreed
with her, and she got fatter and fatter and fatter.
The cold world never fully appreciates the struggles of those who are
fat—the efforts at starvation, the detested exercise, the long,
miserable walks. Well has one of our greatest poets written, "Take up
the fat man's burden." But we digress.
When Algy saw the pony he shouted with delight, and in half a minute was
riding him up and down the front drive. Then he asked for leave to go
out in the street—and that was where the trouble began.
Up and down the street the pony cantered, as quietly as possible, till
suddenly round a corner came two butcher boys racing their horses. With
a clatter of clumsy hoofs they thundered past. In half a second there
was a rattle, and a sort of comet-like rush through the air. Sausage II.
was off after them with his precious burden.
The family dog tried to keep up with him, and succeeded in keeping ahead
for about three strides. Then, like the wolves that pursued Mazeppa, he
was left yelping far behind. Through Surry Hills and Redfern swept the
flying pony, his rider lying out on his neck in Tod Sloan fashion, while
the ground seemed to race beneath him. The events of the way were just
one hopeless blur till the pony ran straight as an arrow into the yard
of Blinky Bill.
Chapter IV.—RUNNING THE RULE
As soon as Blinky Bill recognised his visitor, he was delighted.
"You here," he said, "Ha, ha, revenge is mine! I'll get a tidy reward for
taking you back, my young shaver."
Then from the unresisting child he took a gold watch and three sovereigns.
These he said he would put in a safe place for him, till he was going
home again. He expected to get at least a tenner ready money for
bringing Algy back, and hoped that he might be allowed to keep the watch
into the bargain.
With a light heart he went down town with Algy's watch and sovereigns in
his pocket. He did not return till daylight, when he awoke his wife with
"Can't give the boy up," he said. "I moskenoed his block and tackle, and
blued it in the school." In other words, he had pawned the boy's watch
and chain, and had lost the proceeds at pitch and toss.
"Nothing for it but to move," he said, "and take the kid with us."
So move they did.
The reader can imagine with what frantic anxiety the father and mother of
little Algy sought for their lost one. They put the matter into the
hands of the detective police, and waited for the Sherlock Holmeses of
the force to get in their fine work. There was nothing doing.
Years rolled on, and the mysterious disappearance of little Algy was yet
unsolved. The horse-dealer's revenge was complete.
The boy's mother consulted a clairvoyant, who murmured mystically "What
went by the ponies, will come by the ponies;" and with that they had to
Chapter V.—THE TRICKS OF THE TURF
It was race day at Pulling'em Park, and the ponies were doing their usual
Among the throng the heaviest punter is a fat lady with diamond earrings.
Does the reader recognize her? It is little Algy's mother. Her husband
is dead, leaving her the whole of his colossal fortune, and, having
developed a taste for gambling, she is now engaged in "doing it in on
the ponies". She is one of the biggest bettors in the game.
When women take to betting they are worse than men.
But it is not for betting alone that she attends the meetings. She
remembers the clairvoyant's "What went by the ponies will come by the
ponies." And always she searches in the ranks of the talent for her lost
Here enters another of our dramatis personae—Blinky Bill, prosperous once
more. He has got a string of ponies and punters together. The first are
not much use to a man without the second; but, in spite of all
temptations, Bill has always declined to number among his punters the
mother of the child he stole. But the poor lady regularly punts on his
ponies, and just as regularly is "sent up"—in other words, loses her
To-day she has backed Blinky's pair, Nostrils and Tin Can, for the double.
Nostrils has won his race, and Tin Can, if on the job, can win the
second half of the double. Is he on the job? The prices are lengthening
against him, and the poor lady recognises that once more she is "in the
Just then she meets Tin Can's jockey, Dodger Smith, face to face. A
piercing scream rends the atmosphere, as if a thousand school children
drew a thousand slate pencils down a thousand slates simultaneously. "Me
cheild! Me cheild! Me long-lost Algy!"
It did not take long to convince Algy that he would be better off as a son
to a wealthy lady than as a jockey, subject to the fiendish caprices of
"All right, mother," he said. "Put all you can raise on Tin Can. I'm going
to send Blinky up. It's time I had a cut on me own, anyway."
The horses went to the post. Tons of money were at the last moment hurled
on to Tin Can. The books, knowing he was "dead", responded gamely, and
wrote his name till their wrists gave out. Blinky Bill had a half-share
in all the bookies' winnings, so he chuckled grimly as he went to the
rails to watch the race.
They're off. And what is this that flashes to the front, while the howls
of the bookies rise like the yelping of fiends in torment? It is Dodger
Smith on Tin Can, and from the grandstand there is a shrill feminine
yell of triumph as the gallant pony sails past the post.
The bookies thought that Blinky Bill had sold them, and they discarded him
Algy and his mother were united, and backed horses together happily ever
after, and sometimes out in the back yard of their palatial mansion they
hand the empty bottles, free of charge, to a poor old broken-down
bottle-O, called Blinky Bill.