The Toys of Peace and Other Stories
A Bread And Butter Miss
"Starling Chatter and Oakhill have both dropped back in the betting," said Bertie van
Tahn, throwing the morning paper across the breakfast table.
"That leaves Nursery Tea practically favourite," said Odo Finsberry.
"Nursery Tea and Pipeclay are at the top of the betting at present," said Bertie, "but that
French horse, Le Five O'Clock, seems to be fancied as much as anything. Then there is
Whitebait, and the Polish horse with a name like some one trying to stifle a sneeze in
church; they both seem to have a lot of support."
"It's the most open Derby there's been for years," said Odo.
"It's simply no good trying to pick the winner on form," said Bertie; "one must just trust
to luck and inspiration."
"The question is whether to trust to one's own inspiration, or somebody else's. Sporting
Swank gives Count Palatine to win, and Le Five O'Clock for a place."
"Count Palatine--that adds another to our list of perplexities. Good morning, Sir
Lulworth; have you a fancy for the Derby by any chance?"
"I don't usually take much interest in turf matters," said Sir Lulworth, who had just made
his appearance, "but I always like to have a bet on the Guineas and the Derby. This year,
I confess, it's rather difficult to pick out anything that seems markedly better than
anything else. What do you think of Snow Bunting?"
"Snow Bunting?" said Odo, with a groan, "there's another of them. Surely, Snow Bunting
has no earthly chance?"
"My housekeeper's nephew, who is a shoeing-smith in the mounted section of the Church
Lads' Brigade, and an authority on horseflesh, expects him to be among the first three."
"The nephews of housekeepers are invariably optimists," said Bertie; "it's a kind of
natural reaction against the professional pessimism of their aunts."
"We don't seem to get much further in our search for the probable winner," said Mrs. de
Claux; "the more I listen to you experts the more hopelessly befogged I get."
"It's all very well to blame us," said Bertie to his hostess; "you haven't produced anything
in the way of an inspiration."