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Trollope, Anthony, 1815-1882

"Phineas Finn The Irish Member"

"If we start at
five that will be early enough."
"Quite early enough," said Lady Laura.
Phineas went off to the mountains, and shot his grouse, and won his
match, and eat his luncheon. Mr. Bonteen, however, was not beaten by
much, and was in consequence somewhat ill-humoured.
"I'll tell you what I'll do," said Mr. Bonteen, "I'll back myself for
the rest of the day for a ten-pound note."
Now there had been no money staked on the match at all,--but it had
been simply a trial of skill, as to which would kill the most birds
in a given time. And the proposition for that trial had come from Mr.
Bonteen himself. "I should not think of shooting for money," said
"And why not? A bet is the only way to decide these things."
"Partly because I'm sure I shouldn't hit a bird," said Phineas, "and
partly because I haven't got any money to lose."
"I hate bets," said Mr. Kennedy to him afterwards. "I was annoyed
when Bonteen offered the wager. I felt sure, however, you would not
accept it."
"I suppose such bets are very common."
"I don't think men ought to propose them unless they are quite
sure of their company. Maybe I'm wrong, and I often feel that I am
strait-laced about such things. It is so odd to me that men cannot
amuse themselves without pitting themselves against each other.

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