While Europe shivered, English horse-players suffered. Snow had made a mess of the nation's racetracks, and for a gloomy fortnight they all shut down. But up in dank Doncaster a lively bookie named Derek Webster (center) dashed to the pet shop and, for 17� cents, bought a mouse. Other bookies did the same. Then, without bothering to wash the horses' odds off the blackboard, they staged races with simulated steeds. Two mice, each bound around the middle with a cloth saddle and carrying a jockey made of yarn snippets, crawled across a polished tabletop. Starts, from a chalk line, were at the mouse's pleasure—no tickling was allowed—and often were delayed while it waited to catch the scent of the cheese planted at the finish three feet away. Nevertheless, the sport thrived briskly for a couple of days until the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals itself got a whiff of the cheese and quickly sandbagged the only operating mouse course in all Britain.