D. H. LAWRENCE (1926)
                           THE ROCKING-HORSE WINNER
   There was a woman who was beautiful, who started with all the
   advantages, yet she had no luck. She married for love, and the love
   turned to dust. She had bonny children, yet she felt they had been
   thrust upon her, and she could not love them. They looked at her
   coldly, as if they were finding fault with her. And hurriedly she felt
   she must cover up some fault in herself. Yet what it was that she must
   cover up she never knew. Nevertheless, when her children were present,
   she always felt the centre of her heart go hard. This troubled her,
   and in her manner she was all the more gentle and anxious for her
   children, as if she loved them very much. Only she herself knew that
   at the centre of her heart was a hard little place that could not feel
   love, no, not for anybody. Everybody else said of her: "She is such a
   good mother. She adores her children." Only she herself, and her
   children themselves, knew it was not so. They read it in each other's
   There were a boy and two little girls. They lived in a pleasant house,
   with a garden, and they had discreet servants, and felt themselves
   superior to anyone in the neighbourhood.
   Although they lived in style, they felt always an anxiety in the
   house. There was never enough money. The mother had a small income,
   and the father had a small income, but not nearly enough for the
   social position which they had to keep up. The father went into town
   to some office. But though he had good prospects, these prospects
   never materialised. There was always the grinding sense of the
   shortage of money, though the style was always kept up.
   At last the mother said: "I will see if I can't make something." But
   she did not know where to begin. She racked her brains, and tried this
   thing and the other, but could not find anything successful. The
   failure made deep lines come into her face. Her children were growing
   up, they would have to go to school. There must be more money, there
   must be more money. The father, who was always very handsome and
   expensive in his tastes, seemed as if he never would be able to do
   anything worth doing. And the mother, who had a great belief in
   herself, did not succeed any better, and her tastes were just as
   And so the house came to be haunted by the unspoken phrase: There must
   be more money! There must be more money! The children could hear it
   all the time though nobody said it aloud. They heard it at Christmas,
   when the expensive and splendid toys filled the nursery. Behind the
   shining modern rocking-horse, behind the smart doll's house, a voice
   would start whispering: "There must be more money! There must be more
   money!" And the children would stop playing, to listen for a moment.
   They would look into each other's eyes, to see if they had all heard.
   And each one saw in the eyes of the other two that they too had heard.
   "There must be more money! There must be more money!"
   It came whispering from the springs of the still-swaying
   rocking-horse, and even the horse, bending his wooden, champing head,
   heard it. The big doll, sitting so pink and smirking in her new pram,
   could hear it quite plainly, and seemed to be smirking all the more
   self-consciously because of it. The foolish puppy, too, that took the
   place of the teddy-bear, he was looking so extraordinarily foolish for
   no other reason but that he heard the secret whisper all over the
   house: "There must be more money!"
   Yet nobody ever said it aloud. The whisper was everywhere, and
   therefore no one spoke it. Just as no one ever says: "We are
   breathing!" in spite of the fact that breath is coming and going all
   the time.
   "Mother," said the boy Paul one day, "why don't we keep a car of our
   own? Why do we always use uncle's, or else a taxi?"
   "Because we're the poor members of the family," said the mother.
   "But why are we, mother?"
   "Well - I suppose," she said slowly and bitterly, "it's because your
   father has no luck."
   The boy was silent for some time.
   "Is luck money, mother?" he asked, rather timidly.
   "No, Paul. Not quite. It's what causes you to have money."
   "Oh!" said Paul vaguely. "I thought when Uncle Oscar said filthy
   lucker, it meant money."
   "Filthy lucre does mean money," said the mother. "But it's lucre, not
   "Oh!" said the boy. "Then what is luck, mother?"
   "It's what causes you to have money. If you're lucky you have money.
   That's why it's better to be born lucky than rich. If you're rich, you
   may lose your money. But if you're lucky, you will always get more
   "Oh! Will you? And is father not lucky?"
   "Very unlucky, I should say," she said bitterly.
   The boy watched her with unsure eyes.
   "Why?" he asked.
   "I don't know. Nobody ever knows why one person is lucky and another
   "Don't they? Nobody at all? Does nobody know?"
   "Perhaps God. But He never tells."
   "He ought to, then. And are'nt you lucky either, mother?"
   "I can't be, it I married an unlucky husband."
   "But by yourself, aren't you?"
   "I used to think I was, before I married. Now I think I am very
   unlucky indeed."
   "Well - never mind! Perhaps I'm not really," she said.
   The child looked at her to see if she meant it. But he saw, by the
   lines of her mouth, that she was only trying to hide something from
   "Well, anyhow," he said stoutly, "I'm a lucky person."
   "Why?" said his mother, with a sudden laugh.
   He stared at her. He didn't even know why he had said it.
   "God told me," he asserted, brazening it out.
   "I hope He did, dear!", she said, again with a laugh, but rather
   "He did, mother!"
   "Excellent!" said the mother, using one of her husband's exclamations.
   The boy saw she did not believe him; or rather, that she paid no
   attention to his assertion. This angered him somewhere, and made him
   want to compel her attention.
   He went off by himself, vaguely, in a childish way, seeking for the
   clue to 'luck'. Absorbed, taking no heed of other people, he went
   about with a sort of stealth, seeking inwardly for luck. He wanted
   luck, he wanted it, he wanted it. When the two girls were playing
   dolls in the nursery, he would sit on his big rocking-horse, charging
   madly into space, with a frenzy that made the little girls peer at him
   uneasily. Wildly the horse careered, the waving dark hair of the boy
   tossed, his eyes had a strange glare in them. The little girls dared
   not speak to him.
   When he had ridden to the end of his mad little journey, he climbed
   down and stood in front of his rocking-horse, staring fixedly into its
   lowered face. Its red mouth was slightly open, its big eye was wide
   and glassy-bright.
   "Now!" he would silently command the snorting steed. "Now take me to
   where there is luck! Now take me!"
   And he would slash the horse on the neck with the little whip he had
   asked Uncle Oscar for. He knew the horse could take him to where there
   was luck, if only he forced it. So he would mount again and start on
   his furious ride, hoping at last to get there.
   "You'll break your horse, Paul!" said the nurse.
   "He's always riding like that! I wish he'd leave off!" said his elder
   sister Joan.
   But he only glared down on them in silence. Nurse gave him up. She
   could make nothing of him. Anyhow, he was growing beyond her.
   One day his mother and his Uncle Oscar came in when he was on one of
   his furious rides. He did not speak to them.
   "Hallo, you young jockey! Riding a winner?" said his uncle.
   "Aren't you growing too big for a rocking-horse? You're not a very
   little boy any longer, you know," said his mother.
   But Paul only gave a blue glare from his big, rather close-set eyes.
   He would speak to nobody when he was in full tilt. His mother watched
   him with an anxious expression on her face.
   At last he suddenly stopped forcing his horse into the mechanical
   gallop and slid down.
   "Well, I got there!" he announced fiercely, his blue eyes still
   flaring, and his sturdy long legs straddling apart.
   "Where did you get to?" asked his mother.
   "Where I wanted to go," he flared back at her.
   "That's right, son!" said Uncle Oscar. "Don't you stop till you get
   there. What's the horse's name?"
   "He doesn't have a name," said the boy.
   "Get's on without all right?" asked the uncle.
   "Well, he has different names. He was called Sansovino last week."
   "Sansovino, eh? Won the Ascot. How did you know this name?"
   "He always talks about horse-races with Bassett," said Joan.
   The uncle was delighted to find that his small nephew was posted with
   all the racing news. Bassett, the young gardener, who had been wounded
   in the left foot in the war and had got his present job through Oscar
   Cresswell, whose batman he had been, was a perfect blade of the
   'turf'. He lived in the racing events, and the small boy lived with
   Oscar Cresswell got it all from Bassett.
   "Master Paul comes and asks me, so I can't do more than tell him,
   sir," said Bassett, his face terribly serious, as if he were speaking
   of religious matters.
   "And does he ever put anything on a horse he fancies?"
   "Well - I don't want to give him away - he's a young sport, a fine
   sport, sir. Would you mind asking him himself? He sort of takes a
   pleasure in it, and perhaps he'd feel I was giving him away, sir, if
   you don't mind.
   Bassett was serious as a church.
   The uncle went back to his nephew and took him off for a ride in the
   "Say, Paul, old man, do you ever put anything on a horse?" the uncle
   The boy watched the handsome man closely.
   "Why, do you think I oughtn't to?" he parried.
   "Not a bit of it! I thought perhaps you might give me a tip for the
   The car sped on into the country, going down to Uncle Oscar's place in
   "Honour bright?" said the nephew.
   "Honour bright, son!" said the uncle.
   "Well, then, Daffodil."
   "Daffodil! I doubt it, sonny. What about Mirza?"
   "I only know the winner," said the boy. "That's Daffodil."
   "Daffodil, eh?"
   There was a pause. Daffodil was an obscure horse comparatively.
   "Yes, son?"
   "You won't let it go any further, will you? I promised Bassett."
   "Bassett be damned, old man! What's he got to do with it?"
   "We're partners. We've been partners from the first. Uncle, he lent me
   my first five shillings, which I lost. I promised him, honour bright,
   it was only between me and him; only you gave me that ten-shilling
   note I started winning with, so I thought you were lucky. You won't
   let it go any further, will you?"
   The boy gazed at his uncle from those big, hot, blue eyes, set rather
   close together. The uncle stirred and laughed uneasily.
   "Right you are, son! I'll keep your tip private. How much are you
   putting on him?"
   "All except twenty pounds," said the boy. "I keep that in reserve."
   The uncle thought it a good joke.
   "You keep twenty pounds in reserve, do you, you young romancer? What
   are you betting, then?"
   "I'm betting three hundred," said the boy gravely. "But it's between
   you and me, Uncle Oscar! Honour bright?"
   "It's between you and me all right, you young Nat Gould," he said,
   laughing. "But where's your three hundred?"
   "Bassett keeps it for me. We're partner's."
   "You are, are you! And what is Bassett putting on Daffodil?"
   "He won't go quite as high as I do, I expect. Perhaps he'll go a
   hundred and fifty."
   "What, pennies?" laughed the uncle.
   "Pounds," said the child, with a surprised look at his uncle. "Bassett
   keeps a bigger reserve than I do."
   Between wonder and amusement Uncle Oscar was silent. He pursued the
   matter no further, but he determined to take his nephew with him to
   the Lincoln races.
   "Now, son," he said, "I'm putting twenty on Mirza, and I'll put five
   on for you on any horse you fancy. What's your pick?"
   "Daffodil, uncle."
   "No, not the fiver on Daffodil!"
   "I should if it was my own fiver," said the child.
   "Good! Good! Right you are! A fiver for me and a fiver for you on
   The child had never been to a race-meeting before, and his eyes were
   blue fire. He pursed his mouth tight and watched. A Frenchman just in
   front had put his money on Lancelot. Wild with excitement, he flayed
   his arms up and down, yelling "Lancelot!, Lancelot!" in his French
   Daffodil came in first, Lancelot second, Mirza third. The child,
   flushed and with eyes blazing, was curiously serene. His uncle brought
   him four five-pound notes, four to one.
   "What am I to do with these?" he cried, waving them before the boys
   "I suppose we'll talk to Bassett," said the boy. "I expect I have
   fifteen hundred now; and twenty in reserve; and this twenty."
   His uncle studied him for some moments.
   "Look here, son!" he said. "You're not serious about Bassett and that
   fifteen hundred, are you?"
   "Yes, I am. But it's between you and me, uncle. Honour bright?"
   "Honour bright all right, son! But I must talk to Bassett."
   "If you'd like to be a partner, uncle, with Bassett and me, we could
   all be partners. Only, you'd have to promise, honour bright, uncle,
   not to let it go beyond us three. Bassett and I are lucky, and you
   must be lucky, because it was your ten shillings I started winning
   with ..."
   Uncle Oscar took both Bassett and Paul into Richmond Park for an
   afternoon, and there they talked.
   "It's like this, you see, sir," Bassett said. "Master Paul would get
   me talking about racing events, spinning yarns, you know, sir. And he
   was always keen on knowing if I'd made or if I'd lost. It's about a
   year since, now, that I put five shillings on Blush of Dawn for him:
   and we lost. Then the luck turned, with that ten shillings he had from
   you: that we put on Singhalese. And since that time, it's been pretty
   steady, all things considering. What do you say, Master Paul?"
   "We're all right when we're sure," said Paul. "It's when we're not
   quite sure that we go down."
   "Oh, but we're careful then," said Bassett.
   "But when are you sure?" smiled Uncle Oscar.
   "It's Master Paul, sir," said Bassett in a secret, religious voice.
   "It's as if he had it from heaven. Like Daffodil, now, for the
   Lincoln. That was as sure as eggs."
   "Did you put anything on Daffodil?" asked Oscar Cresswell.
   "Yes, sir, I made my bit."
   "And my nephew?"
   Bassett was obstinately silent, looking at Paul.
   "I made twelve hundred, didn't I, Bassett? I told uncle I was putting
   three hundred on Daffodil."
   "That's right," said Bassett, nodding.
   "But where's the money?" asked the uncle.
   "I keep it safe locked up, sir. Master Paul he can have it any minute
   he likes to ask for it."
   "What, fifteen hundred pounds?"
   "And twenty! And forty, that is, with the twenty he made on the
   "It's amazing!" said the uncle.
   "If Master Paul offers you to be partners, sir, I would, if I were
   you: if you'll excuse me," said Bassett.
   Oscar Cresswell thought about it.
   "I'll see the money," he said.
   They drove home again, and, sure enough, Bassett came round to the
   garden-house with fifteen hundred pounds in notes. The twenty pounds
   reserve was left with Joe Glee, in the Turf Commission deposit.
   "You see, it's all right, uncle, when I'm sure! Then we go strong, for
   all we're worth, don't we, Bassett?"
   "We do that, Master Paul."
   "And when are you sure?" said the uncle, laughing.
   "Oh, well, sometimes I'm absolutely sure, like about Daffodil," said
   the boy; "and sometimes I have an idea; and sometimes I haven't even
   an idea, have I, Bassett? Then we're careful, because we mostly go
   "You do, do you! And when you're sure, like about Daffodil, what makes
   you sure, sonny?"
   "Oh, well, I don't know," said the boy uneasily. "I'm sure, you know,
   uncle; that's all."
   "It's as if he had it from heaven, sir," Bassett reiterated.
   "I should say so!" said the uncle.
   But he became a partner. And when the Leger was coming on Paul was
   'sure' about Lively Spark, which was a quite inconsiderable horse. The
   boy insisted on putting a thousand on the horse, Bassett went for five
   hundred, and Oscar Cresswell two hundred. Lively Spark came in first,
   and the betting had been ten to one against him. Paul had made ten
   "You see," he said. "I was absolutely sure of him."
   Even Oscar Cresswell had cleared two thousand.
   "Look here, son," he said, "this sort of thing makes me nervous."
   "It needn't, uncle! Perhaps I shan't be sure again for a long time."
   "But what are you going to do with your money?" asked the uncle.
   "Of course," said the boy, "I started it for mother. She said she had
   no luck, because father is unlucky, so I thought if I was lucky, it
   might stop whispering."
   "What might stop whispering?"
   "Our house. I hate our house for whispering."
   "What does it whisper?"
   "Why - why" - the boy fidgeted - "why, I don't know. But it's always
   short of money, you know, uncle."
   "I know it, son, I know it."
   "You know people send mother writs, don't you, uncle?"
   "I'm afraid I do," said the uncle.
   "And then the house whispers, like people laughing at you behind your
   back. It's awful, that is! I thought if I was lucky -"
   "You might stop it," added the uncle.
   The boy watched him with big blue eyes, that had an uncanny cold fire
   in them, and he said never a word.
   "Well, then!" said the uncle. "What are we doing?"
   "I shouldn't like mother to know I was lucky," said the boy.
   "Why not, son?"
   "She'd stop me."
   "I don't think she would."
   "Oh!" - and the boy writhed in an odd way - "I don't want her to know,
   "All right, son! We'll manage it without her knowing."
   They managed it very easily. Paul, at the other's suggestion, handed
   over five thousand pounds to his uncle, who deposited it with the
   family lawyer, who was then to inform Paul's mother that a relative
   had put five thousand pounds into his hands, which sum was to be paid
   out a thousand pounds at a time, on the mother's birthday, for the
   next five years.
   "So she'll have a birthday present of a thousand pounds for five
   successive years," said Uncle Oscar. "I hope it won't make it all the
   harder for her later."
   Paul's mother had her birthday in November. The house had been
   'whispering' worse than ever lately, and, even in spite of his luck,
   Paul could not bear up against it. He was very anxious to see the
   effect of the birthday letter, telling his mother about the thousand
   When there were no visitors, Paul now took his meals with his parents,
   as he was beyond the nursery control. His mother went into town nearly
   every day. She had discovered that she had an odd knack of sketching
   furs and dress materials, so she worked secretly in the studio of a
   friend who was the chief 'artist' for the leading drapers. She drew
   the figures of ladies in furs and ladies in silk and sequins for the
   newspaper advertisements. This young woman artist earned several
   thousand pounds a year, but Paul's mother only made several hundreds,
   and she was again dissatisfied. She so wanted to be first in
   something, and she did not succeed, even in making sketches for
   drapery advertisements.
   She was down to breakfast on the morning of her birthday. Paul watched
   her face as she read her letters. He knew the lawyer's letter. As his
   mother read it, her face hardened and became more expressionless. Then
   a cold, determined look came on her mouth. She hid the letter under
   the pile of others, and said not a word about it.
   "Didn't you have anything nice in the post for your birthday, mother?"
   said Paul.
   "Quite moderately nice," she said, her voice cold and hard and absent.
   She went away to town without saying more.
   But in the afternoon Uncle Oscar appeared. He said Paul's mother had
   had a long interview with the lawyer, asking if the whole five
   thousand could not be advanced at once, as she was in debt.
   "What do you think, uncle?" said the boy.
   "I leave it to you, son."
   "Oh, let her have it, then! We can get some more with the other," said
   the boy.
   "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, laddie!" said Uncle
   "But I'm sure to know for the Grand National; or the Lincolnshire; or
   else the Derby. I'm sure to know for one of them," said Paul.
   So Uncle Oscar signed the agreement, and Paul's mother touched the
   whole five thousand. Then something very curious happened. The voices
   in the house suddenly went mad, like a chorus of frogs on a spring
   evening. There were certain new furnishings, and Paul had a tutor. He
   was really going to Eton, his father's school, in the following
   autumn. There were flowers in the winter, and a blossoming of the
   luxury Paul's mother had been used to. And yet the voices in the
   house, behind the sprays of mimosa and almond-blossom, and from under
   the piles of iridescent cushions, simply trilled and screamed in a
   sort of ecstasy: "There must be more money! Oh-h-h; there must be more
   money. Oh, now, now-w! Now-w-w - there must be more money! - more than
   ever! More than ever!"
   It frightened Paul terribly. He studied away at his Latin and Greek
   with his tutor. But his intense hours were spent with Bassett. The
   Grand National had gone by: he had not 'known', and had lost a hundred
   pounds. Summer was at hand. He was in agony for the Lincoln. But even
   for the Lincoln he didn't 'know', and he lost fifty pounds. He became
   wild-eyed and strange, as if something were going to explode in him.
   "Let it alone, son! Don't you bother about it!" urged Uncle Oscar. But
   it was as if the boy couldn't really hear what his uncle was saying.
   "I've got to know for the Derby! I've got to know for the Derby!" the
   child reiterated, his big blue eyes blazing with a sort of madness.
   His mother noticed how overwrought he was.
   "You'd better go to the seaside. Wouldn't you like to go now to the
   seaside, instead of waiting? I think you'd better," she said, looking
   down at him anxiously, her heart curiously heavy because of him.
   But the child lifted his uncanny blue eyes.
   "I couldn't possibly go before the Derby, mother!" he said. "I
   couldn't possibly!"
   "Why not?" she said, her voice becoming heavy when she was opposed.
   "Why not? You can still go from the seaside to see the Derby with your
   Uncle Oscar, if that that's what you wish. No need for you to wait
   here. Besides, I think you care too much about these races. It's a bad
   sign. My family has been a gambling family, and you won't know till
   you grow up how much damage it has done. But it has done damage. I
   shall have to send Bassett away, and ask Uncle Oscar not to talk
   racing to you, unless you promise to be reasonable about it: go away
   to the seaside and forget it. You're all nerves!"
   "I'll do what you like, mother, so long as you don't send me away till
   after the Derby," the boy said.
   "Send you away from where? Just from this house?"
   "Yes," he said, gazing at her.
   "Why, you curious child, what makes you care about this house so much,
   suddenly? I never knew you loved it."
   He gazed at her without speaking. He had a secret within a secret,
   something he had not divulged, even to Bassett or to his Uncle Oscar.
   But his mother, after standing undecided and a little bit sullen for
   some moments, said: "Very well, then! Don't go to the seaside till
   after the Derby, if you don't wish it. But promise me you won't think
   so much about horse-racing and events as you call them!"
   "Oh no," said the boy casually. "I won't think much about them,
   mother. You needn't worry. I wouldn't worry, mother, if I were you."
   "If you were me and I were you," said his mother, "I wonder what we
   should do!"
   "But you know you needn't worry, mother, don't you?" the boy repeated.
   "I should be awfully glad to know it," she said wearily.
   "Oh, well, you can, you know. I mean, you ought to know you needn't
   worry," he insisted.
   "Ought I? Then I'll see about it," she said.
   Paul's secret of secrets was his wooden horse, that which had no name.
   Since he was emancipated from a nurse and a nursery-governess, he had
   had his rocking-horse removed to his own bedroom at the top of the
   "Surely you're too big for a rocking-horse!" his mother had
   "Well, you see, mother, till I can have a real horse, I like to have
   some sort of animal about," had been his quaint answer.
   "Do you feel he keeps you company?" she laughed.
   "Oh yes! He's very good, he always keeps me company, when I'm there,"
   said Paul.
   So the horse, rather shabby, stood in an arrested prance in the boy's
   The Derby was drawing near, and the boy grew more and more tense. He
   hardly heard what was spoken to him, he was very frail, and his eyes
   were really uncanny. His mother had sudden strange seizures of
   uneasiness about him. Sometimes, for half an hour, she would feel a
   sudden anxiety about him that was almost anguish. She wanted to rush
   to him at once, and know he was safe.
   Two nights before the Derby, she was at a big party in town, when one
   of her rushes of anxiety about her boy, her first-born, gripped her
   heart till she could hardly speak. She fought with the feeling, might
   and main, for she believed in common sense. But it was too strong. She
   had to leave the dance and go downstairs to telephone to the country.
   The children's nursery-governess was terribly surprised and startled
   at being rung up in the night.
   "Are the children all right, Miss Wilmot?"
   "Oh yes, they are quite all right."
   "Master Paul? Is he all right?"
   "He went to bed as right as a trivet. Shall I run up and look at him?"
   "No," said Paul's mother reluctantly. "No! Don't trouble. It's all
   right. Don't sit up. We shall be home fairly soon." She did not want
   her son's privacy intruded upon.
   "Very good," said the governess.
   It was about one o'clock when Paul's mother and father drove up to
   their house. All was still. Paul's mother went to her room and slipped
   off her white fur cloak. She had told her maid not to wait up for her.
   She heard her husband downstairs, mixing a whisky and soda.
   And then, because of the strange anxiety at her heart, she stole
   upstairs to her son's room. Noiselessly she went along the upper
   corridor. Was there a faint noise? What was it?
   She stood, with arrested muscles, outside his door, listening. There
   was a strange, heavy, and yet not loud noise. Her heart stood still.
   It was a soundless noise, yet rushing and powerful. Something huge, in
   violent, hushed motion. What was it? What in God's name was it? She
   ought to know. She felt that she knew the noise. She knew what it was.
   Yet she could not place it. She couldn't say what it was. And on and
   on it went, like a madness.
   Softly, frozen with anxiety and fear, she turned the door-handle.
   The room was dark. Yet in the space near the window, she heard and saw
   something plunging to and fro. She gazed in fear and amazement.
   Then suddenly she switched on the light, and saw her son, in his green
   pyjamas, madly surging on the rocking-horse. The blaze of light
   suddenly lit him up, as he urged the wooden horse, and lit her up, as
   she stood, blonde, in her dress of pale green and crystal, in the
   "Paul!" she cried. "Whatever are you doing?"
   "It's Malabar!" he screamed in a powerful, strange voice. "It's
   His eyes blazed at her for one strange and senseless second, as he
   ceased urging his wooden horse. Then he fell with a crash to the
   ground, and she, all her tormented motherhood flooding upon her,
   rushed to gather him up.
   But he was unconscious, and unconscious he remained, with some
   brain-fever. He talked and tossed, and his mother sat stonily by his
   "Malabar! It's Malabar! Bassett, Bassett, I know! It's Malabar!"
   So the child cried, trying to get up and urge the rocking-horse that
   gave him his inspiration.
   "What does he mean by Malabar?" asked the heart-frozen mother.
   "I don't know," said the father stonily.
   "What does he mean by Malabar?" she asked her brother Oscar.
   "It's one of the horses running for the Derby," was the answer.
   And, in spite of himself, Oscar Cresswell spoke to Bassett, and
   himself put a thousand on Malabar: at fourteen to one.
   The third day of the illness was critical: they were waiting for a
   change. The boy, with his rather long, curly hair, was tossing
   ceaselessly on the pillow. He neither slept nor regained
   consciousness, and his eyes were like blue stones. His mother sat,
   feeling her heart had gone, turned actually into a stone.
   In the evening Oscar Cresswell did not come, but Bassett sent a
   message, saying could he come up for one moment, just one moment?
   Paul's mother was very angry at the intrusion, but on second thoughts
   she agreed. The boy was the same. Perhaps Bassett might bring him to
   The gardener, a shortish fellow with a little brown moustache and
   sharp little brown eyes, tiptoed into the room, touched his imaginary
   cap to Paul's mother, and stole to the bedside, staring with
   glittering, smallish eyes at the tossing, dying child.
   "Master Paul!" he whispered. "Master Paul! Malabar came in first all
   right, a clean win. I did as you told me. You've made over seventy
   thousand pounds, you have; you've got over eighty thousand. Malabar
   came in all right, Master Paul."
   "Malabar! Malabar! Did I say Malabar, mother? Did I say Malabar? Do
   you think I'm lucky, mother? I knew Malabar, didn't I? Over eighty
   thousand pounds! I call that lucky, don't you, mother? Over eighty
   thousand pounds! I knew, didn't I know I knew? Malabar came in all
   right. If I ride my horse till I'm sure, then I tell you, Bassett, you
   can go as high as you like. Did you go for all you were worth,
   "I went a thousand on it, Master Paul."
   "I never told you, mother, that if I can ride my horse, and get there,
   then I'm absolutely sure - oh, absolutely! Mother, did I ever tell
   you? I am lucky!"
   "No, you never did," said his mother.
   But the boy died in the night.
   And even as he lay dead, his mother heard her brother's voice saying
   to her, "My God, Hester, you're eighty-odd thousand to the good, and a
   poor devil of a son to the bad. But, poor devil, poor devil, he's best
   gone out of a life where he rides his rocking-horse to find a winner."