**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!

Done for the Double
by [?]

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 true gentility.

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 not happy.

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 sovereign.

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 horse-dealer.

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 must do.

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.