Jack Rock stood in his shop in High Street. He was not very often to be seen there nowadays; he bred and bought, but he no longer killed, and rarely sold, in person. These latter and lesser functions he left to his deputy, Simpson, for he had gradually developed a bye-trade which took up much of his time, and was no less profitable than his ostensible business. He bought horses, "made" them into hunters, and sold them again. He was a rare judge and a fine rider, and his heart was in this line of work.
However to-day he was in his shop because the Christmas beef was on show. Here were splendid carcasses decked with blue rosettes, red rosettes, or cards of "Honourable Mention;" poor bodies sadly unconscious (as one may suppose all bodies are) of their posthumous glories. Jack Rock, a spruce spare little man with a thin red face and a get-up of the most "horsy" order, stood before them, expatiating to Simpson on their beauties. Simpson, who was as fat as his master was thin, and even redder in the face, chimed in; they were for all the world like a couple of critics hymning the praise of poets who have paid the debt of nature, but are decorated with the insignia of fame.
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About the Author
Anthony Hope (1863 —1933), was an English novelist and playwright. He was a prolific writer, especially of adventure novels but he is remembered best for The Prisoner of Zenda and its sequel Rupert of Hentzau. These books are set in the fictional country of Ruritania and spawned the genre known as Ruritanian romance. Zenda has inspired many adaptations, most notably the 1937 Hollywood movie of the same name.