Nat Gould

His life and books

The Old Mare's Foal

First published in 1899 by Routledge.

Reissued in 1918, 1921, 1935 and 1954.

Frederick Delamere, the owner of his ancestral home Redleaf "in one of the most picturesque counties of England" is troubled by having to mortgage the place to his newly-rich neighbour Octavius Killick, and by the defection of Isaac Giles and other young men to Killick from their traditional employment at Redleaf. Isaac's father Felix is a faithful Delamere retainer, and is worried by his son's plan to marry flighty Fanny Webb, the daughter of Killick's unscrupulous foreman Dan Webb.

Fred Delamere has an old mare with a promising young colt Birdsgrove whom Matt Trevor comes to train. Fred's sister Amy Delamere invites her London friends Harry and Maud Rosewood and their friend, the lively young widow Winnie Fairfax, to stay at Redleaf. Felix Giles saves Fred from being shot, and the families are eventually reconciled. Birdsgrove goes on to win famous races and the money he wins rescues the Delamere inheritance.

A gripping story, with excellent characters and scenes. A superb novel. (TA)