They had decided to have the refreshments in a small clearing a very short distance from the racecourse, and thither they bore the provisions—packed precariously in school sachets—about half an hour before the race was timed to begin.
Jumble accompanied them, leaping exuberantly and running on in front, little dreaming that he was a greyhound and about to take part in a race. Had he known it, his deportment would have been sadly altered. Jumble disliked on principle all the varied roles that his master thrust upon him. The only time he had ever bitten William was once when he was impersonating a viking in a play written by William. He found the stage directions confusing and ran amok.
Ginger had his little note-book for writing down the winner's name and a piece of string to tie to the winning post. Douglas carried his betting note-book and looked rather gloomy. The more he thought over the system of greyhound betting as expounded by William the more gloomy he became.
" S'pose they all bet right an' want pennies an' none of 'em bet wrong an' give me pennies," he said, " what happens then ? "
But the others, feeling that he was trying to make out his part in the proceedings to be unduly important, only said : " Oh, shut up."
William had the clockwork mouse in his pocket. He was frowning abstractedly, his thoughts still taken up with Jumble's—as yet—undiscovered rival.
" We may find one lost in the wood jus' where we're goin' to have the race," he said.
" Look ! " said Ginger suddenly. They were passing the back gate of a house. It was open. On it was inscribed " Beware of the Dog," and just inside it was a kennel and chained to the kennel was a very friendly-looking fox-terrier, who wagged his tail