Nat Gould

His life and books

Running it off

First published in 1892, this was the third of Nat Gould's novels to be published in book form. The original title was "Running it off; or Hard Hit: An Enthralling Story of Racing, Love and Intrigue". The publisher was George Routledge and Sons Ltd of London.

It was reissued in 1919 by John Long Ltd, who had shortened the title to "Running it off".

Robert Briscoe of Yeronga, a Sydney legislator, accidentally meets Rolf Standish, a starving exile from Manchester where his father was financially ruined. Given work at Yeronga, Rolf falls in love with Tilly, Briscoe's daughter. Leaving reluctantly, Rolf is rescued from danger by Nat Smiley, a silver miner. Tilly is desired by the scoundrel Richard Ruston, to whom Briscoe becomes indebted. As partners, Rolf and Nat prosper, both at silver mining and horse racing, and together they settle old scores with Ruston and rescue Yeronga. Rolf and Tilly are reunited, and enjoy fame and fortune.

A gripping tale of love, intrigue and revenge. Rich in coincidence and melodrama, the story maintains a rattling pace. The "hard hit" protagonists and the minor characters are well drawn, as are vivid scenes at the races, in a Sydney slum, and on the night mail train. (TA)