THE MALTESE CAT
"Now we are all going in for the second time," said he, "and they are trotting out fresh ponies. You think you can gallop, but you 'll find you can't; and then you 'll be sorry."
"But two goals to nothing is a halter-long lead," said Kittiwynk, prancing.
"How long does it take to get a goal?" The Maltese Cat answered. "For pity's sake, don't run away with a notion that the game is half-won just because we happen to be in luck now! They 'll ride you into the grand stand, if they can; you must not give 'em a chance. Follow the ball."
"Football, as usual?" said Polaris. "My hock 's half as big as a nose-bag."
"Don't let them have a look at the ball, if you can help it. Now leave me alone. I must get all the rest I can before the last quarter."
He hung down his head and let all his muscles go slack, Shikast, Bamboo, and Who 's Who copying his example.
"Better not watch the game," he said. "We are n't playing, and we shall only take it out of ourselves if we grow anxious. Look at the ground and pretend it 's fly-time."
They did their best, but it was hard advice to follow. The hooves were drumming and the sticks were rattling all up and down the ground, and yells of applause from the English troops told that the Archangels were pressing the Skidars hard. The native soldiers behind the ponies groaned and grunted, and said things in under-