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Title: Taking Chances
Author: Cullen, Clarence L.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Taking Chances" ***

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                           CLARENCE L. CULLEN

                               AUTHOR OF
                        "Tales OF THE EX-TANKS."

                        G. W. DILLINGHAM COMPANY
                                NEW YORK

                    _Copyright, 1898-1899-1900, By_

                         _Copyright, 1900, By_
                       G. W. DILLINGHAM COMPANY.






To the man who, at any period of his days, has been bitten by that
ferocious and fever-producing insect colloquially known as the "horse
bug," and likewise to the man whose nervous system has been racked by
the depredations of the "poker microbe," these tales of the turf and of
the green cloth are sympathetically dedicated. The thoroughbred running
horse is a peculiar animal. While he is often beaten, the very wisest
veterans of the turf have a favorite maxim to the effect that "The
ponies can’t be beat"—meaning the thoroughbred racers; which sounds
paradoxical enough. Poker, too, is a mystifying affair, in that all men
who play it appear, from their own statements, to lose at it
persistently and perennially. There is surely something weird and
uncanny about a game that numbers only losers among its devotees.
However, poker-players are addicted to persiflage. The genuine,
dyed-in-the-wool, blown-in-the-bottle pokerist rarely acknowledges that
he is ahead of the game—until the day after.

These stories, which were originally printed in the columns of the New
York _Sun_, belong largely to the eminent domain of strict truthfulness.
If they do not serve to show that the "horse bug" and the "poker
microbe" are good things to steer clear of, they will by no means have
failed of their purpose; for the writer had nothing didactic in view in
setting them down as he heard them.

                                                _Clarence Louis Cullen_.

_New York_, _Sept. 1, 1900._


    _And His Visual Infirmity Cost Him $15,000 and His Reputation._

"I went down to New Orleans a couple of months ago to get a young fellow
who was pretty badly wanted in my town for a two-months’ campaign of
highly successful check-kiting last summer," said a Pittsburg detective
who dropped into New York on a hunt last week. "I got him all right, and
he’s now doing his three years. I found him to be a pretty decent sort
of a young geezer, although a born crook. I don’t remember ever having
had such an entertaining traveling mate as he was on the trip up from
New Orleans. Before we started I asked him if he was going to be good or
if it would be necessary for me to put the bracelets on. He gave me an
on-the-level look and said:

"’No, I don’t think it will. But I pass it up to you. I don’t want to
throw you. All I ask is, don’t give me too much of a chance if you keep
the irons off of me. I wouldn’t be jay enough to try a window-jumping
stunt, but don’t give me a show to make either one of the car doors. If
you do I may have to give you a run for it.’

"Well, I could see that he would be all right without the cuffs, and so
I didn’t put ’em on him. He rode up with me in the sleeper all the way
from New Orleans to Pittsburg—I let him do the sleeping, though, of
course—and he had a drink when I did and played quarter ante when I did,
and none of the rest of the passengers were any the wiser. He was a
clinking good talker and he told me a lot of interesting stories of
queer propositions that he had been up against. For instance, when we
were running through the Blue Grass region of Kentucky, he turned to me
and asked me where the blue grass was. I told him that the term blue
grass was largely ornamental, and that, while the grass down there was
no doubt high-grade and the limit as fodder for thoroughbreds, I thought
it was mostly green, like the grass the world over.

"’Well, I’m blooming glad to hear you say that,’ he replied. ’It proves
that I’m not color blind on the whole gamut of colors, anyhow. If you’d
said there really was blue grass in these fields we’re running through,
I’d have given myself up as a bad job in the matter of distinguishing
colors. But as long as the grass is green like other grass—well, there’s
some hope for me.’

"’Color-blind, eh?’ I asked him.

"’Yes, I guess I am, more or less,’ he replied. ’I never knew it,
though, until last spring, and it cost me $15,000 to find it out.’

"’Expensive information,’ said I. ’How’d it happen?’

"’If you’ll undertake to forget about it by the time we get to
Pittsburg, I’ll tell you,’ he said. ’I was fooling around one of the big
towns—one of the biggest towns on this side of the Mississippi—last
spring, when I met up with a couple of wiretappers that got me
interested. They were the real kind—not fake tappers who rope fellows
into giving up coin just by showing ’em phony instruments in shady
rooms, but professionals, who really knew how to tap the wires and pull
down the money. They had been working together for some time, and when I
happened to meet them they had just pulled off a swell hog-killing up in
Toronto and had two or three thousand each in their clothes. They had
only recently struck the big town, and, as they had never operated there
before, they didn’t have to do any sleuth dodging. Neither did I,
although I was doing a bit of business in the check line occasionally,
and was about a thousand to the good when I met them. We hitched up
together, the three of us, for a drosky whirl, and then they told me
that, while they made it a rule not to let outsiders into their game,
they thought I was good enough to be admitted to a good thing that they
were about to pull off.

"’One of the largest and best patronized of the poolrooms of the town
was ’way on the outskirts of the city. The duck that runs it is worth
close on to a million, and the ticket writers have instructions never to
turn any man’s money down, no matter how big the sum or how lead-pipey
the cinch he appears to have. Lumps of $20,000 and $30,000 have
frequently been taken out of that poolroom on single tickets, and it’s
one of the few poolrooms where track odds are given.

"’My two new pals had sized up the layout, and when I met them they
already had things fixed to pull down a few comfortable wads. They had
rented a vacant frame cottage about 300 yards across a big vacant lot
from the poolroom, and, by a little night work—they were both practical
wiremen, as well as expert telegraphers—had got the wire into a room on
the second floor of the house all right. It was prairie land all around
and slimly frequented territory, and they had no trouble in rigging up
the wire paraphernalia, which they carried alongside a picket fence to
the porch of the cottage, and thence upstairs. They had the thing all
tested, and every dot and dash that reached the poolroom registered also
in the second floor of that cottage.

"’One of the fellows had formerly worked in a poolroom himself and he
had the race code down as pat as butter. They took me out to have a look
at the layout, not because they wanted a dollar out of me, for they were
on velvet, but simply because they both seemed to take a kind o’ shine
to me, and it surely looked good. I spent two or three afternoons in the
second floor front room where the layout was fixed, and the chap who was
expert with the racing code broke the report direct from the track a
dozen times and sent it in himself, after having mastered the operator’s
style at the track end of the line, and the poolroom operator was never
a bit the wiser. It was good, all right, that layout, and when they were
all ready to begin work I was in on the play.

"’We decided to make the first killing on the day the Belmont Stakes
were to be run for at Morris Park. I was against their starting it off
on such a big stake event, especially as the race looked to be such a
moral for Hamburg, but they said stake events were as good as selling
races in their business, and so we had a little rehearsal and stood by.
My end of the job was to happen in the poolroom. I was to locate there
by a dust-covered window that looked out of the poolroom across the big
vacant lot to the frame cottage where the layout was installed and wait
for the signal. The signal was to be made by means of a handkerchief
waved in the air by one of the fellows from the window. The color of the
handkerchief was to tell the name of the winner. For instance, if
Hamburg won a white handkerchief was to show at the second-story window;
if Bowling Brook captured the stakes a yellow handkerchief was to be the
signal, and so on. When I got the signal I was to put the money down on
the winner, the tapper was to hold the result from the pool operator for
five minutes to give me time to get the money down, and then I was just
to wait for the poolroom operator to announce the race. It was the
easiest thing in life, and it would have gone through with a rush, not
only on that race, but on a whole lot of other ones later on, if I
hadn’t been color blind.

"’I was on hand in the poolroom on the afternoon that we were to do
business and I put a few dollars down on the first races at Morris Park,
just for the sake of getting the ticket writers used to my face and to
avert suspicion. I had a pretty fair line on the horses in training then
and I won two or three out of the bets that I played simply on form. The
fourth race on the card was for the Belmont Stakes, and after the third
race had been confirmed and the first line of betting came in on the
stake race I lounged over to the dust-colored window and looked
uninterested. But I had the tail of my eye on the window of that frame
cottage all the time, nevertheless. I had $2,000 of my pals’ money in my
clothes and $1,000 of my own. I was a bit nervous, but I knew that I had
a pipe, and I also knew that the poolroom people had mighty little show
to get next. I had all kinds of a front on me then, and a $5,000 or even
larger bet was, as I say, not so unusual in that poolroom as to scare
’em or cause ’em to become suspicious.

"’Well, the second line of betting came in, with Hamburg the natural
favorite at 4 to 5 on in the betting, Bowling Brook 4 to 1 against and
the rest at write-your-own-ticket figures. The poolroom took in
thousands of dollars of Hamburg money, for nobody in the big crowd that
surged about the poolroom could figure any other horse in the race to
have a chance. I myself thought it was a sure thing for Hamburg, but I
wasn’t playing thinks, but cinches, and so I just stood at that window
and waited for the signal. I was, I suppose, somewhat excited internally
when I thought of the possibilities of the game, but nobody knew it. The
poolroom operator announced, ’They’re at the post at Morris Park,’ and
then I knew that ’ud be the last direct communication he’d have with
Morris Park until after the running of the Belmont Stakes. I leaned
there on that window, with one hand resting on my chin comfortably,
waiting for the flutter of the handkerchief away across the vacant lot.
The sun shone brilliantly, and the window of the frame cottage was in
plain view, and I didn’t figure it as among the possibilities that I
could make a mistake.

"’Well, when the whole crowd in the poolroom had become sort o’ mute
with expectancy and the betting at the desk was almost over, I got the
signal. It was the quickest flash in the world, a white handkerchief, as
I was perfectly positive, nervously waved three times from the
second-story window of the frame cottage. I didn’t see my pal waving the
handkerchief—only the flutter of the white handkerchief which announced
that Hamburg had won. So, without any apparent excitement, but in the
laziest kind of a way in the world, I just yawned, stretched my arms,
and remarked to a few fellows standing nearby:

"’"What’s the use of doping over the race. It’s a pipe for Hamburg. I’m
going up and put a couple of thousand on Hamburg."

"’So I walked up to the desk, passed over six $500 bills and said
"Hamburg." The ticket writer took the money without any visible emotion
and wrote me a ticket. Then I walked out among the crowd to hear the
calling off of the race, which I knew would happen within three or four

"’"They’re off for the Belmont," the operator shouted in about three
minutes, and then said I to myself, "What an exercise gallop for
Hamburg! What a dead easy way of picking up large pieces of money!"

"’I wasn’t worried even a little bit when Bowling Brook was ’way in the
lead in the stretch.

"’Hamburg’s just laying in a soft spot right there, third, and when it
comes to a drive, how cheap, he’ll make a crab like Bowling Brook look!

"’Then the operator, after the ten seconds’ delay following the
announcement of the horses’ positions in the stretch, called out:

"’"Bowling Brook wins!"

"’Say, I’m not an excitable kind of a duck, nor dead easy to keel over,
but, on the level, my head went ’round and I had to grip hold of a chair
top when I heard that announcement. I couldn’t make it out. It seemed
out of the question. I knew that my two pals hadn’t dumped me, because
hadn’t I played $2,000 of their money? At first I thought the operator
made a mistake, and I waited with a spark of hope for the confirmation
of the race. The confirmation came in. Bowling Brook had walked in, and
Hamburg had been disgracefully beaten.

"’An hour later I met my two pals downtown. They greeted me with grins,
and held out their hands for the thousands.

"’"Thing didn’t go through, did it?" I said to them. "Where was the
mistake, anyhow? What was the white handkerchief—Hamburg’s signal—waved

"’They looked at me savagely. They were positive that I had tricked
them—that I had really played Bowling Brook with the money and was
holding it out on them.

"’"White handkerchief be blowed!" said the man that had given the
signal, pulling a light yellow handkerchief from his pocket. "What color
do you call this?"

"’Well, then I saw how the mistake had been made, and that I had made
it. In the brilliant sunshine I had mistaken the light yellow
handkerchief for a white one, and it was up to me. They didn’t give me a
chance to get in a word, though, for they believed, and believe yet, I
suppose, that I had thrown them, and they both hopped me at once. I had
to put up the fight of my life, but I downed them both finally with the
aid of a chair and a spittoon, and got away. That’s how I lost
$15,000—counting the winnings we’d have made had I played Bowling Brook
that time—by being color blind.’"


    _A Novel Method of Treating Sulky Thoroughbreds That Often Works

"I see they hollered an old skate home and got him under the wire first
by three lengths out at the Newport merry-go-round the other day," said
an old-time trainer out at the Gravesend paddock. "Don’t catch the
meaning of hollering a horse home? Well, it’s scaring a sulker pretty
near out of his hide and hair and making him run by sheer force of
whoops let out altogether. This nag, Kriss Kringle, that was hollered
home at Newport a few days ago, is a sulker from the foot-hills. He was
sold as an N. G. last year for $25, and at the beginning of this season
he prances in and wins nine or ten straight races right off the reel at
the Western tracks, hopping over the best they’ve got out there. Then he
goes wrong, declines to crawl a yard, and is turned out. They yank him
into training again awhile back, put him up against the best a-running
on the other side of the Alleghanies, and he makes ’em look like
bull-pups one day and the next he can’t beat a fat man. He comes near
getting his people ruled off for in-and-out kidding, and then, a couple
of weeks ago, or maybe a bit less, he goes out and chews up the track
record, and gets within a second of the world’s record for the mile and
three-eighths, I believe it was.

"Then, Tuesday they have him in at a mile and a sixteenth, with a real
nippy field, as Western horses go. The right people, knowing full well
the old Springbok gelding’s propensities, shove their big coin in on him
anyway, and take a chance on him being unable to keep up with a steam
roller after his swell race a while before, and the whole crowd fall
into line and bet on Kringle until the books give them the cold-storage
countenance and say, ’Nix, no more.’ Then they get up into the stand and
around the finishing rail and they see the aged Kriss, who’s a rank
favorite, begin like a land crab, when he usually goes out from the jump
and spread-eagles his bunch. They begin the hard-luck moan when they see
the sour son of Springbok trailing along third in a field of five, and
they look into each other’s mugs and chew about being on a dead one.
Turning into the stretch, the old skate is a poor third, and stopping
every minute, a plain case of sulks, like he’s put up so many times
before. The two in front of him have got it right between them, when
Kris comes along into the last sixteenth, still third by a little bit,
and then the gang let out in one whoop and holler that could be heard
four miles. It’s ’Wowee! come on here, ye danged old buck-jumper!’ and
'Whoop-la! you Kringle!’ from nearly every one of the thousand leather
lungs in the stand and up against the rail, and the surly old rogue pins
his ears forward and hears the yelp. Then it’s all off. The old $25
cast-off jumps out like a scared rabbit at the sixteenth-pole. The
nearer he gets to the stand the louder the yelping hits him and the
bigger he strides; and he collars the two in front of him as if they
were munching carrots in their stalls, and romps under the string three
lengths to the good. That’s what hollering a horse home means. It’s a
game that can only be worked on sulkers. The yelling scares the sulker
into running, whereas it’s liable to make a good-dispositioned horse
stop as if sand-bagged.

"I’ve seen the holler-’em-in gag worked often at both the legitimate and
the outlaw tracks, and for big money. One of the biggest
hog-slaughterings that was ever made at the game was when an Iroquois
nag, a six-year-old gelding named McKeever, turned a rank outsider trick
at Alexander Island, Va., in 1895. The boys that knew what was going to
happen that time surely did buy it by the basketful for a long time
afterward. McKeever was worth about $2 in his latter career, and not a
whole lot more at any stage of the game, according to my way of sizing
’em. As a five and six-year-old, he couldn’t even make the doped outlaws
think they were in a race, but his people kept him plugging away on the
chance that some day or other he might pick up some of the spirit of his
sire, the royal Iroquois, and pay for his oats and rubbing, anyhow. When
he was brought to Alexander Island in the spring of ’95, and tried out
it was seen that he was just the same old truck-mule. One morning, after
he’d been beaten a number of times by several Philadelphia blocks, when
at 100 to 1 or so in the books, his owner had him out for a bit of a
canter around the ring, with a 140-pound stable boy on him. A lot of
stable boys and rail birds were scattered all around the infield,
assembled in groups at intervals of 100 feet or so, chewing grass and
watching the horses at their morning work. This old McKeever starts
around the course as if he’s doing a sleep-walking stunt. The boy gives
him the goad and the bat, but it’s no good. McKeever sticks to his
caterpillar gait, and his owner leans against the rail with a watch in
his mitt and mumbles unholy things about the skate. There’s a laugh
among the stable boys and the rail birds as McKeever goes gallumphing
around. Then a stable lad that’s got a bit of Indian in him leans over
the rail just as McKeever’s coming down, and lets out a whoop that can
be heard across the Potomac. McKeever gives a jump, and away he goes
like the wind. It looks so funny to the rail birds along the line that
they all take up the yelp, and McKeever jumps out faster at every shout.
He gets to going like a real, sure-enough race horse by the time he has
made the circuit once, and he keeps right on. The owner gets next to it
that it’s the shouting that’s keeping the old plug on the go, and he
waves his arms and passes the word along for the boys to keep it up.
McKeever does six furlongs in 1:14 with the assistance of the hollering,
and the owner takes him off the track, gives him a look-over and some
extra attention, and smiles to himself.

"Then he pushes McKeever into a six-and-half furlong race on the
following day. He stations about twenty or twenty-five rail birds, all
of ’em stable boys out of a job, in the infield, and hands them out
their yelling instructions. McKeever is up against one of the best
fields of sprinters at the track, and he goes to the post at 30 to 1 and
sticks at that. His owner puts a large number of his pals next to what’s
going to happen, and not a man of them plays the good thing at the
track. They have their coin telegraphed in bundles to the poolrooms all
over the country. McKeever gets out in front, and he hasn’t made more
than a dozen jumps before one of the kids inside the rail throws a whoop
that makes the people in the stand put their hands to their ears.
McKeever gives a swerve and a side step, and away he goes like the
Empire State express. A hundred feet further, when he’s four lengths in
the lead, and the others, including the even money shot, nowhere, a
couple more rail birds shoot out another double-jointed yell, and
McKeever jumps out again like an ice-yacht. He gets the holler at every
100 feet of his journey, the rail birds not taking any chances on his
stopping, although after the first furlong he is six lengths to the
good, and the result is that McKeever simply buck-jumps in, pulled
double, with eight lengths of open daylight between him and the even
money shot. The owner looks sad, like a man who hasn’t put a dollar
down, and says real hard things to McKeever when the horse is being led
to his stable. When he gets him inside his stall, though, the hugs and
loaf sugar that fall McKeever’s way are a heap. The old-time poolroom
people will tell you yet how they had to turn the box, a good many of
’em, the day that McKeever was hollered home at old Alexander Island.

"And, talking about Alexander Island, there were some funny ones yanked
off over there, sure enough, some of them almost as funny as a few that
happened over in New York at the legit tracks this passing season.
Without hurling out any names, I’ll just tell you of how a plunger who
has been a good deal talked about this year, on account of his big
winnings, got the dump-and-the-ditch at the hands of a
poor-but-honest-not owner at Alexander Island in the same year of 1895.
This plunger wasn’t such a calcined tamale in those days as he is now,
but he was some few, and he generally had enough up his sleeve in order
to keep him in cigarettes and peanuts; which is to say that he had a
winning way about him, and access to everything that was doing at that
outlaw track. He dealt in jockeys quite a lot, giving them their figure
with a slight scaling down, according to his own idea of what was coming
to them for being kind to him. He was wise and he was haughty, and
toward the wind-up of that Alexander Island season he fell into the
notion, apparently, that things had to be done his way or the kickers
fade out of the game.

"This poor owner that I’m talking about went on to Alexander Island with
an ordinary bunch of sprinters, all except one filly, that was real
good, but a bit high in flesh, and not ripe. It was a filly that could
as a matter of fact beat anything at the track, being right and on edge,
and she had the additional advantage of not being known all about. The
poor owner has his own boy along with him, and he’s pretty hard up. He
sticks this filly in a six-furlong event, with the idea of really going
after the purse, which he requires for expenses. He knows that the filly
isn’t right, but he dopes it that she can beat the lot pitted against
her, anyhow, and he really means her to win. He tells his boy to take
her right out in front and get as good a lead as he can, so that in case
her flesh stops her the rest’ll never be able to get near her. That’s
the arrangement right up until post time. The filly—well, suppose we
call her Juliet—is not very well known at Alexander Island, and she has
5 to 1 against her.

"Now, it happens that this plunger knows all about Juliet being, as I
say, a pretty fast proposition, but he doesn’t think she can win in her
condition, and, anyhow, he has something doing on another one in the
race; he has so much doing in the race, in fact, that all the rest of
’em, except Juliet, are dead to the one he has picked to play. The
plunger digs up the owner of Juliet and says to him:

"’My son, your baby won’t do to-day.’

"’She’ll make a stab, though,’ said the owner. ’I need the cush, being
several shy of paying my feed bills. The game has been throwing me
lately. She’s going to try.’

"’You need the purse, hey?’ said the plunger. ’That’s not much money.
Only $200, ain’t it? How’d $500 do?’

"’Spot coin?’ asks the impecunious owner.

"’Spot coin after my weanling gets the money.’

"’You’re on,’ says the poor-but-honest-not owner. 'I’m not any more
phony than my neighbors, but it’s a case of real dig with me just now.
Juliet’ll finish in the ruck. Are you cinchy about the one you’ve got
turning the trick?’

"’It’s like getting money in a letter,’ says the plunger.

"’All right,’ says the poor owner, ’you can walk around to my stall and
push me the five centuries after they’re in.’

"The poor owner saw his boy, and Juliet’s head was yanked off, with the
boy’s toes tickling her ears. She could have won in a walk, short of
work as she was, but the boy had a biceps, and he held her down so that
the plunger’s good thing went through all right.

"After the race the plunger, who had made a great big thing out of it,
hunted up the poor owner and beefed about the $500. He said that he
hadn’t been able to get as much money on his good one as he had expected
and asked the poor owner to compromise for $300. The plunger’s poor
mouth doesn’t tickle the poor owner a little bit, but he is a pretty
foxy piece of work himself, and he takes the three hundred without
letting on a particle that he thinks it a cheap gag. The plunger goes
away thinking he has the poor owner on his staff for good, and the poor
owner makes sundry and divers resolutions within himself, to the general
effect that the next time he does business with that plunger he’ll know

"Well, the poor owner doesn’t race his good filly again for a couple of
weeks, and all the time she’s getting good. He gives her her work at
about 3 o’clock every morning, in the dreamy dawn, so that nobody gets
onto it just how good she is getting. He shoots her in about two weeks
after he has been dickered down by the plunger. He knows that she’s
going to win, and with his other skates he has picked up nearly a
thousand wherewith to play the Juliet girl to win. On the day before the
race the plunger comes to him again.

"’I see you’ve got that nice little girl of yours in to-morrow,’ he
says. ’How good is she?’

"’She’s got a show for the big end of it,’ says the poor owner.

"’Um,’ says the plunger. ’Well, she’ll only be at 5 to 1, whereas I’ve
got a cinch in that that’ll be as good as 15 to 1. Do you think we can
do a little business?’

"’On a strictly pay-in-advance basis, yes,’ says the poor owner, chewing
a straw. ’Maybe I’ll be able to see my way to delivering the goods for a
thousand down. Otherwise I win.’

"The plunger made a terrific beef, and tried persuasiveness, oiliness,
bull-dozing the whole works, with the poor owner.

"’Why,’ he says, ’I can buy all the Juliets from here to Kentucky and
back for a thousand.’

"’Yes,’ says the poor owner, ’but you can’t shove a 15 to 1 shot through
every day, either. Let’s not talk about it any more. You’ve got my
terms. Thousand down, right now, and Juliet will also ran. No thousand,
Juliet walks, and I’ll get the coin anyhow by betting on her.’

"He got the thousand two hours before the race was run. The poor owner
looked Juliet over, and called his boy into a dark corner of the stable.

"’Take her out in front, son,’ he said, ’and tow-rope them. Don’t let
’em get within a block of you. I’ll send your mother a couple o’ hundred
after you fetch her home.’

"’She’d win with a dummy on her,’ says the kid.

"Then the poor-but-honest-not owner takes the thousand he already has in
his kick, and the thousand the beefing plunger has given him, and
spraddles it all over the United States on Juliet at from 5 to 7 to 1.

"Juliet wins by fourteen lengths, and the plunger, with his mouth
twitching, hunts up the owner of Juliet. All he gets is a line of chile
con carne conversation, and, finally, a puck in the eye.

"’Do others or they’ll do you’ isn’t the way they used to teach it when
I went to Sunday-school," concluded the old-time trainer, "but there are
occasions when the rule just has to be twisted that way."


    _A Bottled-up Cinch That Came Off at One of the Chicago Tracks._

"The first bet that I ever put down on a horse race," said a horse owner
and trainer at an uptown café the other night, "was on a horse that
stood at 100 to 1 in the betting. It was also the first race I ever saw
run by thoroughbreds. I was clerking in a Long Island City grocery store
for $8 a week at the time, and I didn’t know a race-horse from a ton of
coal. I got a couple of my fingers crushed between two salt fish boxes
one morning, and I had to lay off from work. I didn’t want to hang
around my room, and didn’t know what to do with myself, and so when a
no-account young fellow I knew suggested that I go over with him to
Monmouth Park and have a look at the races, I fell in with the
proposition. Besides the remains of my previous week’s pay, about $3, I
had $20 saved up out of my wages, and I kept this in one $20 note in my
inside vest pocket. After paying for round-trip tickets for my friend
and myself, and for two tickets of admission to the race grounds, I was
practically broke with the exception of a few cents, for I didn’t count
the $20 as available assets. I intended to hang on to that unbroken.
Well, I found that all my sporty friend wanted of me was to have me pay
his way on the train and into the grounds, for he promptly lost me as
soon as we got by the gate. I felt pretty sore at this treatment, not
that I wanted his help, for I hadn’t the least idea of doing any betting
with my savings, but I didn’t cotton to the notion of being played for a
good thing and then thrown that way.

"I walked around among the crowd with my hands in my pockets, wondering
a good deal over the dope talk of the ducks that knew all about the
horses and their preferred weights, distances, riders, and so on; it was
all Greek to me then. Finally I was shouldered and jostled into the
betting ring. It wasn’t long before I began to rubberneck at the prices
laid against the horses on the bookies’ blackboards. Although I didn’t
know anything about the nags then, I found out afterward, when I had
made a study of the game and got a little next to it, that this race I
made my first bet on was composed of a cheap mess of fourteen selling
platers. They were at all kinds of prices, from 4 to 5 on to 100 to 1
against. The latter price was laid about three of ’em. I didn’t exactly
understand what the 100 to 1 meant, and so I asked a fellow standing
near by to explain it. He looked me over out of the slants of his lamps,
thinking, probably, that I was stringing him. When he saw that I was a
green one he told me that the 100 to 1 meant that if a 100 to 1 shot won
that I had put a dollar on I’d be $100 ahead of the game. This looked
pretty good to me. I didn’t know anything about horse form or horse
quality then, and I thought that one of ’em had just as much chance as
another to win. So I picked out the 100 to 1 shot whose name I liked
best and elbowed my way up to a booky’s stand to put a dollar down on
it, holding my $20 bill tightly gripped in my hand. I passed the twenty
up to the bookmaker—he went broke, and has been a dead ’un for a good
many years now—and said:

"’Give me a dollar’s worth of that fourth horse from the top—that one
with the 100 to 1 chalked before his name.’

"The booky looked down at me contemptuously, without accepting the
twenty I proffered him, and said:

"’I don’t want no dollar bets.’

"Well, this made me feel pretty cheap, especially as all of the ducks
back of me, waiting to pass up their fifties and hundreds gave me the
laugh. I didn’t like to be shown up in that public way. I was just as
sore at that time about being made to look like thirty cents as I am
to-day. So I did a bit of lightning thinking. ’Twenty’s a big bunch to
me,’ I thought, ’and I’ve had to hop out of bed at half past 3 in the
morning to go to meat market a good many times to get it together; but
I’ll be hanged if I’m going to let this fellow get away with his idea of
making me look small, even if I haven’t got a show on earth.’ So I
passed the bill up to him again, saying:

"’All right, there, billionaire. Just gimme $20 worth of that fourth
horse from the top, with 100 to 1 chalked before his name.’

"I was chagrined to find that this strong play didn’t help me a little
bit. The booky only grinned as he chanted, 'Two thousand dollars to $20
on the fourth one from the top,’ and the chap that wrote me the ticket
grinned back at him, and the crowd behind me again gave me the hoarse
hoot, loud and long continued. I’ll bet I was blushing on the bottom of
my feet when I snatched the ticket and hurried away from that booky’s
stall, with the chuckles of the hot-looking members ringing in my ears.
Well, my horse walked in.

"When I went to cash my ticket for $2,020 the booky sized me up, with
all kinds of wrath in his eyes.

"’A good make-up you’ve got for a Rube,’ he said to me. ’You’re good.
That’s the most scientific commissioner act I’ve seen pulled off up to
date, and I’ve been at this game ever since Hickory Jim was a

"I didn’t know what he was talking about. The word commissioner was
particularly mysterious to me, but I wasn’t going to let him put it on
me again, and I like to have drove him crazy with the slow grin I gave
him. He chucked the bundle of $2,020 at me, and I just walked backward
with it in my hands and grinning at him. He was the maddest-looking man
I ever saw, before or since. I didn’t go back to my grocery job, nor did
I hop in and slough off my $2,000 on a game I didn’t know anything
about. I didn’t play another horse that year, but went in and made a
study of the game, going to the tracks every day to see ’em run and to
think the whole institution over. It has taken me all of the years that
have passed since to find out that the study of horse racing don’t
amount to a row of spuds, that study doesn’t beat the game. I simply had
a series of lucky plays after I figured it that I knew all there was to
be learned about horse racing, and those plays put me on the velvet I’ve
had to a greater or less extent ever since. I don’t often play them
now—I’ve got a fairly nifty string, and I run ’em and let the other
fellows do the guessing.

"What set me to thinking about this first play of mine was a letter I
received the other day from an owner, who’s racing his string down at
New Orleans, about the win of that plug Covington, Ky., the other day.
The price laid against Covington, Ky., was at first 150 to 1, and the
rail birds in the know battered it down to 60 to 1 at post time,
throwing all kinds of misery into the layers when the plater romped in,
after being practically left at the post. My friend says in his letter
that a big bookmaker declined to take a dollar bet from one of the wise
rail birds on Covington, Ky., at 150 to 1, and that the young fellow got
chesty, dug into the pocket where he kept his silver, found $2 in
quarters and halves, and handed the $3 to the bookie on Covington, Ky.,
to win. The layer took the money and it cost him $450. The bookie, my
friend writes me, has been poked in the ribs over the thing by his
fellow-layers ever since.

"I don’t often pay any attention to good things," continued the turfman,
"and it’s rarer still that I am compelled to regret my indifference to
the bottled-up cinches, but, in common with about 3,000 other people, I
overlooked a proposition at Lakeside last fall that caused me several
minutes’ hard thinking. I didn’t lose any money over it, but it’s hard
to think of the inside chance I neglected on that occasion to make an
old-fashioned hog killing. I had four or five of my three-year-olds out
at Lakeside and was pulling a purse down with ’em once in a while, and
depending on the purses to keep me even with the game and strong for hay
money. I wasn’t doing any betting; I took my confirmed indifference to
good things along with me to Chicago, and I think now, looking back at
the season, that I made a bit of a mistake in doing so, for if there’s
any place in the country outside of the outlaw tracks where good things
do have a habit of going through right often, then that place is
Chicago. I didn’t profit by any of ’em that were made to stick last
fall, however, although I saw many a sure thing soaked down from 20 to 1
to 4 to 1 at post time, and then come in romping with all the money. A
lot of men I knew out at Lakeside—fellows with small strings, none of
which ever won or got in the money—were on all kinds of velvet by giving
ear to the inside good things, but they didn’t make me jealous a little
bit. I’m in the game for keeps, and that’s more than can be said for the
good-thing players.

"Anyhow, for all that, I’m still regretting that I overlooked this
chance I’m speaking of. I was in a Dearborn street hang-out for racing
men one night, along toward the wind-up of the racing season, when a boy
came inside and told me a man out at the front door wanted to see me. I
went out and found a drunken stable hand waiting for me. He was employed
as a general stable roustabout by the owner of a California string, and
I had befriended the man in the paddock a few days before when he was
engaged in a rum fight with another stable hand. He was getting the
worst of the scrap when I stepped in and pulled his antagonist off of
him. It didn’t amount to anything, this, but the tank stable hand that
was waiting for me outside of the Dearborn street place in the rain
seemed to feel grateful to me for it.

"’Hello, Bill,’ said I to him, ’what’s up?’

"’Got fired this afternoon,’ he replied.

"’Broke?’ I asked him.

"’I didn’t hunt you up to touch you, boss,’ he said. ’I got a good thing
I want to give to you. You’ve been square to me. The good thing’s to
come off to-morrow, and nobody’s on. I’m preaching on it because I’ve
been dropped from the track just for getting a skate on, and because I
want to put you next, that’s been on the level with me.’

"’You can pass me up,’ I told the man. ’I don’t play the sure ones, you

"’But this is ripe, and it’s going to happen,’ persisted the man. ’It’s
a baby. It’s a looloo. It’s a cachuca. It’s that filly Mazie V. in the
two-year-old race to-morrow. You know who’s stable she belongs in. I
heard the chaw about it this afternoon before I got fired, and they
didn’t get on to it that I was listening. Mazie V.’s going to walk in
to-morrow. No dope, but she’s fit. She worked three-quarters in .15 flat
early yesterday morning when nobody was looking, and she’s on edge.
They’re going to burn up the books with it. I know that nobody can tout
you, and I’m not trying to tout you. But here’s a chance, and I came
down to let you know.’

"Well, of course I had to thank the man, but I couldn’t help but grin at
him at that.

"’How long have you been rubbing ’em down?’ I asked him.

"’I’ve been around the horses since I was ten years old,’ he replied.

"’And still so easy?’ I couldn’t help but say. ’Well, I won’t say
anything of what you’ve told me so as to queer the price, if there’s any
play on Mazie V., but, of course, as for myself, I pass it up; thanks
all the same to you. Need any money?’

"No, he didn’t want any money, he said. He had simply hunted me up to
put me on to one of the best things of the meeting, and he shambled off.

"When the books opened for that two-year-old race the next day, Mazie
V., a clean-limbed filly that had never shown a particle of class,
opened up the rank outsider in a big field, which included some very
fairish two-year-olds. I looked the books over, not because I was
betting, but just out of habit, and I saw that every nag in the race was
being played but Mazie V., the 150 to 1 shot.

"’If they’re going to burn the bookies out on Mazie V., I thought,
amusedly, ’it’s a wonder the stable connections don’t take some of this
good 150 to 1.’

"As I was thinking this over, the ex-stableman who had hunted me up with
the Mazie V. good thing the night before plucked me by the sleeve. He
was several times as drunk as an owl, and I didn’t care to talk with

"’Are you down?’ he asked me, lurching. ’Because ’f you ain’t, you’re
campin’ out, an’ that’s all there is to it.’

"’Go and take a sleep,’ I told him, and passed on. But he didn’t want
any sleep. Instead, he drunkenly mounted a box that he found in the
betting ring, and started to make an address to the hustling bettors.

"’Hey!’ he shouted, ’if you mugs want to git aboard for the barbecue,
play Mazie V. She’s going to be cut loose. She’s a 1 to 10 chance. She’s
going through. It’s a cinch.’

"The crowd guyed him.

"’It’s so good,’ shouted the poor devil, ’that I just put the last $8 I
got on earth on her to win—not to show, but to win. Hey! I’m not
touting. I’m trying to give you all a win-out chance. You needn’t think
because I ain’t togged out that I’m a dead one on this. Even if I have
got a load along, why’——

"Just then somebody, probably an interested party, kicked the box from
under the man and he went sprawling. That closed him up. The crowd
roared, but not a man in the gang, of course, put down a dollar on Mazie
V. If any of the pikers had even a dream of doing such a thing the
stable hand’s drunken recommendation of the filly switched them off.
Just before the horses went to the post the $5 bills of people that
weren’t pikers, but stable connections, went into the ring in such
quantities on Mazie V. that she closed at 100 to 1 in a few of the
books, and at much smaller figures in most of the others.

"Well, the way that little filly Mazie V. put it all over her field was
something ridiculous. The race was something easy for her. There was
nothing to it but Mazie V. She got away from the post almost dead last,
and then picked up her horses at leisure, revelling in the heavy going,
and, loping up in the last sixteenth, walked in with daylight between
her and the favorite. It was one of the killings of the Chicago racing
season, and the books were soaked to over $20,000 on $5 bets.

"’That certainly is hard money to lose, to say the least,’ I heard poor
Mike Dwyer mumble on the day that he took 1 to 15 on Hanover, putting
down $45,000 to win $3,000, and Hanover got himself disgracefully beaten
by Laggard. And that’s what I think about that Mazie V. good thing—hard
money not to have won."


 _But When He Did Take It Into His Head to Run One Day, the Bookmakers
                             Were Damaged._

An old-time trainer, who is trying out a bunch of yearlings and keeping
up a lot of old campaigners out at the old Ivy City track near
Washington, was chewing wisps of hay the other afternoon and thinking

"One of the things that I can’t exactly figure out," said he, "is
whether I’m a ringer-worker or on the level. That proposition has been
bothering me a heap in the middle of nights right along since the fall
of ’87. I got into the center of a game then that has kept me
apologizing to myself ever since. And, then, again, that plug wasn’t a
sure-enough proper ringer. And I didn’t put him over the plate, either.
My end of it was only to cop out a few, and all I had to do was to——

"Well, anyhow, I went down to a yearling sale in Kentucky for the man I
was training for in 1885. There were some Fonso bull-pups to be
auctioned off, and the boss wanted a Fonso or two. You remember Fonso,
don’t you? He’s the old nag, a great one in his times, who got the blue
ribbon only the other day at the age of twenty-three for being still the
finest specimen of a thoroughbred in Kentucky. The boss wanted a couple
of Fonsos and I went after them. I got him two and myself one. The one I
got was the worst-looking he-scrag that ever wore hoofs. He was out of a
good mare, but he upset all the calculations of breeding. He was the
worst seed in looks that ever I clapped my eyes on; and I’ve been
fooling with yearlings for a quarter of a century. He was an angular
swayback, leggy, low-spirited, thick-headed, and as fast as a
caterpillar. Yet I bought him. I didn’t expect ever to make anything out
of him, but I was pretty flush then, and I didn’t want to see a Fonso
pulling a dray if there was a chance in a thousand of making anything
out of him. That colt was a joke. The whole crowd gave him the hoot when
he was led into the auction ring, and I couldn’t hold down a grin myself
when I sized up the poor mutt of a camel, the worst libel on a great
sire that ever crawled into an auction ring for a bid. The whole gang
jeered me when I offered $100 for the skate. I didn’t blame ’em. But I
led the colt out, put him in a stall, and then went back to the sale. I
got two high-grade Fonsos for my boss, and they won themselves out for
him twenty times over in the next three years. But they don’t figure in
this story.

"I went at my freak Fonso right away to see if anything could be done
with him. I devoted more time to that one than I did to any of my
two-year-olds or three-year-olds in training, hoping that he might have
something up his sleeve and that it could be dug out of him with careful
handling. It was no go. I couldn’t get him to do a quarter in better
than 35 seconds. Bat or steel had no effect on him. He had a hide like a
rhinoceros, and he made the exercise boys weary. Here was a colt born a
Fonso, out of a mare that had been of stake class when in training, that
was no better than a truck-horse, and at the end of two weeks I gave him
up. A circus came along to Lexington, where I had my string, and with
the circus, in charge of the performing horses, was an old trainer
friend of mine from the St. Louis track who had been chased into the
show business by a long run of hard luck. I took him out to look over my
bunch, and when he came to the Fonso colt he laughed.

"’Where did you get that world-beater?’ he asked me.

"’Oh, that’s a Fonso colt that I picked up down the line at a sale a
while back,’ I told him.

"He didn’t exactly call me a liar, but he looked as if he wanted to.
Then I told him all about the colt. Like most trainers, he had the blood
and breeding bug pretty bad under his bonnet, and he tried to throw it
into me that I wasn’t giving the colt a fair shake. Told me a lot of
stuff that I already knew about some great racehorses that couldn’t get
out of their own way as yearlings, and tried to convince me that this
Fonso thing of mine was liable to fool me up a whole lot as a

"’Well, he doesn’t get oats at my expense until he’s ready to race,’
said I. ’If you think his chances at next year’s stakes are so devilish
big, he’s yours for a quarter of a hundred.’

"’I’ve got you,’ said my friend with the show. ’I’ll take him along,
anyhow. It’s worth that much to a man to be able to say to himself as he
smokes his pipe after his work’s done that he’s got a Fonso colt of his
own. And I’ll bet you an even $100 that I get one race out of that
swayback, anyhow, before he’s two years older.’

"I didn’t take him. I was disgusted with my hundred dollars’ worth of
Fonso, and I was glad to get the $25 that my friend in the show business
gave me for him. He took the mutt away with the show, and I forgot all
about that sentimental purchase of mine for a couple of years.

"I hadn’t any killing luck during those two years. In fact, the game
went against me pretty strong. Most of the string that I had in training
went wrong or showed themselves platers, and when the boss decided to
quit racing I was up against it completely. I had two or three platers
of my own that made their oats money and a little more, and these I
raced on the St. Louis track, pulling down a purse once in a while, and
getting second money often enough to keep me in coffee and sinkers. When
the St. Louis game closed down at the end of September, a number of us
that had small strings struck out for the bush-meetings in nearby
States. I shipped my three to a metropolis on the banks of the Missouri
River where a State fair was about to be held and where $200 purses were
offered for running races. I figured my three lobsters to be as good as
any for the bush-meetings, and I calculated on getting one or two of the
purses at this State Fair.

"I got into the town—they call it a city out there—with my horses three
days before the State Fair was to begin. On the day that I got there a
circus that had been exhibiting in the town for two days wound up its
season and started East for its winter quarters. I saw the boarded-up
wagons passing through the streets on their way to the freight depot. I
was watching the dead procession when my circus friend, the man on whom
I had worked off my no-account Fonso colt, picked me out of the crowd
and came up to me. The circus moving out was the one he had been
attached to when last I saw him and sold him the colt.

"’Hello,’ said I, ’how many stakes have you pulled down with that one up
to date?’

"He dug his hands into his pockets and grinned but made no reply.

"’Have you still got that colt?’ I asked him.

"’Yep,’ said he.

"’Going to take him along with you to the show’s winter headquarters?’ I

"’Sh-sh-sh!’ said he. ’I’m not going along with the show. I quit ’em
here. Season’s over. I’ve got some business here next week, anyhow. I’m
going to race that Fonso on the Uncle Tom circuit, beginning with the
State Fair here.’

"Of course, I couldn’t do anything else but prod him, and I did.

"’Fact,’ said he, seriously. ’Got him entered in the first race on the

"’I’ve got one in that myself,’ I told him. ’Shall we fix it up between
us?’ I added, just for fun.

"’You might do worse, at that,’ said he, sizing me up out of the tail of
his eye. ’I’m going to win in a walk.’

"Then I hooted him a good deal more, of course. He let me get through,
and he then took me off into a corner and told me some things.

"’That plug like to have broken my heart ever since I got him,’ he said.
’I’ve had him in four or five times already at the bush meetings, but he
was never one, two, three, until the last time, when he took it into his
head to run when they got into the stretch and was only beaten a nose by
a pretty fair bush plug. This was two months ago. The trouble with this
Fonso colt you sawed off on me is that he’s a sulker. He’s got the speed
in his crazy-shaped bones, but he won’t let it out. Well, between you
and me—and I put you next because I know you want a dollar or so as bad
as I do—I’m confident that with a douse out of a pail and a bit of a
punch with a needle just before post time, he can beat anything out this
way. He’s out at the Fair grounds now, and I worked him a mile in .48
this morning. He roars like a blast furnace, but his wind is all right,
nevertheless. He’s still as ugly as ever, if not uglier. I put you next,
because it might be a good thing for you to scratch your nag out of that
first race and cotton to your cast-off. There’ll be a big price on
account of his wheezing and his ragged looks.’

"’How did you enter him?’ I asked. ’As a Fonso?’

"’Not on your natural,’ said he. ’Any old thing’s eligible, and I simply
told ’em I didn’t know the mutt’s breeding, that I had him along with me
in the show, and just had an idea he might run a little.’

"Well, son, the winter was beginning to loom up, and I wasn’t ulstered
and swaddled out for it. I went out to the Fair grounds with my friend
and looked over the Fonso freak. My friend called him Star Boarder,
because he’d been eating circus oats and hay for two years without ever
doing a lick of work to pay for his fodder. The colt had, of course,
filled out and lengthened, but he was still as homely a beast ever I
clapped an eye on. We had him led out on the six-furlong track, and an
exercise boy who weighed about 145 pounds took him over the course at
top speed. The nag did it in 1.21, and the performance tickled me. The
colt had a crazy, jerky, uneven stride, and seemed to go sideways, but
he certainly got over the ground lively with that weight up. I saw the
chance, and I needed the coin.

"’Can he keep that gait up for the mile?’ I asked his owner.

"’He wants four miles,’ he replied. ’His roaring is a bluff.’

"’Count me in, then,’ said I. ’He’ll walk in that race. I’ll scratch
mine out.’

"We went along the line and looked over the other horses, especially the
twelve that were entered for that first race, and, although there were
some good-lookers in the bunch, they had been campaigned heavily for
months, and were a jaded lot. I scratched my pretty fair horse out of
that first race. Then I sold the poorest nag of my three platers to a
banker in town for a stylish saddle horse. Got $400 for him. I wanted
the money for betting purposes.

"There was a big crowd out at the Fair grounds on the day the racing
began. Four books were on, all of them run by representatives of big
gambling houses in town. My friend had the Fonso colt taken out of his
stall and slowly trotted around the track about three-quarters of an
hour before the first race, that in which the horse was entered. The
gathering crowd in the stand laughed over the horse’s awkward, climbing
gait and clumsy appearance. That’s what we wanted ’em to do. We wanted
the price, or the horse would have been kept in his stall.

"Only seven of the field originally entered for the race went to the
post. Now, I didn’t have anything to do with conditioning Star Boarder,
and I never belonged to the syringe gang, anyhow; I kept strictly away
from the paddock and the barns before the race, because I didn’t want to
see anything. But the way that Fonso colt, with all his clumsiness, held
his head up and pranced around as he was going to the post, with a
pretty fair boy that I brought along with me from St. Louis on his back,
by the way, was certainly great. Dope makes a horse about as perky as
three drinks of whisky makes a man who’s been off the booze for a long
while. The trouble is that the dope doesn’t last so long in a horse as
it does in a man, and I was pretty anxious for a prompt start, so that
the dope in this homely cast-off of mine wouldn’t die out.

"The betting on Star Boarder opened at 15, 6, and 3. There was an
even-money favorite, a horse that had pulled down a number of mile
purses at St. Louis, a 2 to 1 shot, and the others slid up to the nag my
friend and I wanted to have win; Star Boarder being the rank outsider at
15 to 1. I put my $400 down on him with the four booked all three ways,
$200 to win, $100 for the place, and $100 to show. In the morning my
friend handed me $200 of his savings from the circus business to bet. I
played his coin $100 to win and $100 a place. I had hardly got the money
down before I heard a big whoop of laughter from the stand, and I rushed
out to see what was the matter. Star Boarder was running away. There had
been a false break, and the fool plug had kept right on going. He had a
mouth like forged steel, and the boy couldn’t do anything with him. I
stood and damned Fonso and all his tribe to the last generation, and I
could see my friend in the paddock shaking his fist and grinding his

"’Oh, well,’ said I to myself, ’it’s all off, and it serves you bully
good and right for not racing your own plugs and letting these con and
dope grafts go to the devil.’

"The horse went the full length of the course before he was pulled up,
and then he was roaring and wheezing like a sea-lion. The crowd laughed,
and the books gave the post-time bettors all the 60 to 1 against Star
Boarder that they wanted—which, of course, was none.

"I went back to the paddock then, while the horses were gyrating at the
post, and found the brute’s owner. I laid him open.

"’To blazes with casting up!’ he said. ’Isn’t the last of my cush on the
skate, too?’

"I felt like ten cents’ worth of dog’s meat when I slunk back to the
stand to see ’em get off. After fifteen minutes’ delay at the post—the
starter was a farmer—and Star Boarder blowing like a sand-blast and the
foam standing all over him from that little six-furlong sprint, away
they went in a line, Star Boarder in the lead! Star Boarder at the
quarter by a length! Star Boarder at the half by a length! Star Boarder
at the three-quarters by two lengths! Star Boarder in the stretch by
three lengths! And if that dog-goned, knock-kneed, bone-spavined,
no-account maiden Fonso colt didn’t just buck-jump under the wire by six
clear lengths of open daylight, you can feed me hay and carrots until
the next spring meeting and I’ll only say thank you kindly, sir!

"I can’t, as I say, make out whether that was a case of ringing or not.
Anyhow, it was up to the State fair people to make the holler if any was
coming, wasn’t it? They didn’t. The Rube bookmakers did, but they
weren’t sustained, and they had to dive into their satchels. Star
Boarder is over in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, to-day, pulling an old
lady around in a phaeton, and still holding down the distinction of
being the homeliest son of one of the handsomest sires in the history of
the American stud."


  _He Salts a 100 to 1 Shot Away for a Good Thing and Is Steered Off._

"Washington, as I remember it, was a pretty nice old jogger of a town,"
said an old-time trainer who got in at Bennings, the race-track near
Washington, a few days ago with a well-known string of horses in
preparation for the spring meeting there. "I’d like to have a look at it
again by daylight. Got in this time after dark and came right out here
before sunrise. First time I’d hit Washington for five years—since the
fall meeting at St. Asaph in 1894. I surely would like to have another
look around Washington. But I guess I’ll have to pass it up. I’m not
hunting for bother nowadays."

The paddock in which he stood is only a few minutes’ run by train from
Washington. It seemed odd, therefore, that he did not step on a train
and run over to Washington, since, as he said, he hankered for another
sight of it. He was asked about this:

"Well," he replied, "I’m waiting for five fellows that I used to know
over in Washington to die. When they’ve all cashed in, maybe I’ll have a
chance to look around Washington again. But I understand that they’re
all alive and on edge now, and I don’t exactly feel like running into
them. I know that I’d never be able to square myself for a thing that
happened down at St. Asaph during that fall meeting in 1894, so what’s
the use of stacking up against the bunch and wasting wind?

"I had a small string of dead ones at that St. Asaph meeting. I didn’t
get oats money out of them. That year was the frost of my life, anyhow.
I started in around the New York tracks in the spring with a bundle of
three thousand or so that I had hauled down by backing ’em out on the
coast during the winter meeting, and I began to melt before the leaves
commenced to show up on the trees. There was nothing doing for me. I
couldn’t get down right. Nearly a dozen good things that pals of mine
with strings had got into the pink of it to send over the plate at long
prices wound up among the also rans and the crimp those things took in
my wad was something ridiculous. I only handled a few horses during the
summer meetings that year on the metropolitan tracks. They were all
crabs and did no good. So I had to plug along by shying a ten or twenty
into the ring when I heard of something that looked nice. I couldn’t
even make this clubbing game go through. The books got two out of three
of my slips of the green, and I got to wondering how it would feel to
drive a truck. They certainly had me down that year.

"When the fall meeting at Morris Park wound up I had $200 and a
headache. I was figuring on how I could take this down to the winter
meetings in the South and run it up to something worth while, when the
owner of the bunch of dead ones I spoke of came along and asked me to
take ’em down to St. Asaph and try to get a race or two out of them. I
knew they were lobsters, all of these horses, and I was ugly enough to
tell the owner that when I wanted a job handling cattle I’d go down to
West street and get one, with a sea voyage to Glasgow or London thrown
in. There wasn’t a horse in the lot that could beat my old aunt in
Ireland over the plate for money or marbles; but I decided to take them
down to St. Asaph anyhow, just for the sake of keeping on the inside of
the game and finding out if there was anything going on that would
enable me to run that small shoestring of mine into a tannery. So I took
them down to that Virginia clay course across the Potomac and fixed them
up the best I knew how. They wouldn’t do. St. Asaph was getting some
good horses straight from the Eastern tracks then and my platers were
never in the hunt—never one, two, six, in fact. Worse than that, the
books began taking my little $2 and $5 bets away from me right from the
getaway, and I could see a winter ahead in New York with all the
trimmings cut out. I met a dozen or so of pretty square chaps in
Washington, business men that liked to see ’em run and that used to ask
me occasionally what I thought. I landed most of them right on several
dead good things without ever getting a dollar on myself from want of
nerve, my pile was so low, and they made good, all right, when these
things went through. But I was bunking up with such a hoodoo that I
sloughed off even this rake-off, and when the thing happened that I am
going to tell you about I only had $70 left out of the cozy cush I had
started in the season with.

"Now, I’ve been at this game, on both sides of the fence, for more than
twenty years, and, if any man is, I’m dead next to the fact that the
horse game is hard and craggy. I never yet was guilty of looking upon
the running game as something easy. Yet I’m bound to admit that I often
get what you can call, if you want to, a hunch on a horse. Something
that a plug does in his running, even if he doesn’t get near the money,
takes my eye, and from thinking about it I get a hunch on him. I don’t
get a hunch like this every day, or every week or month, for that
matter, but I’ve noticed that these hunches of mine have gone through
nine times out of ten during the past twenty years or so. Well, there
was a horse called Jodan that had run in two or three six-furlong
sprints at Morris Park that fall, and I had liked his work. He was out
of the money in both of those races, but I liked the way he went at his
work. That horse Jodan looked to me like he had it in him. These two
Morris Park races had been captured, one, two, three by good ones, and I
could see when I had a chance to look Jodan over in his stall that he
was short of work. The string to which the horse belonged had a poor
trainer, and I knew that a good trainer could get some six furlong races
out of Jodan. I had a hunch on Jodan, and I fixed it in my head that if
ever the horse got into the hands of a good trainer and was brought
around right for the six-furlong distance, he’d get a piece of my money,
no matter what company he was up against.

"Well, along toward the close of the St. Asaph meeting Jodan turned up
at the track with another trainer handling him—a man who had as good a
knack of conditioning horses as ever I met up with, and an old chum of
mine. I rubbed up with him before he had been on the track fifteen
minutes, and asked him what he was going to do with Jodan.

"’I am going to try him out in the first three-quarter event I can
squeeze him into,’ he told me, ’and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him
get a piece of it. His right fore-leg is a bit bum, but if it holds
together I don’t see why the fellows I know shouldn’t get a bite off a
real good thing in Jodan. He’s got a turn of speed, and I’ve got him
dead right. The only thing that worries me is that swollen knee, and I’m
doing my best at patching that up.’

"I told him of the hunch I’d had at Morris Park on Jodan, and he told me
to stay with it, and he’d attend to his end of it to help me out.

"’There’ll be all kinds of a price on him when I send him to the pump,’
he said, ’and I’ll let you know in time just how he is.’

"Well, that hunch just grew and grew on me. The Washington chaps that I
had met and pushed along with the good things that I didn’t have the sap
to play myself heard from me on the Jodan question. I told them that I
had him up my sleeve and to stand by. They had never heard of the horse
and they almost side-stepped when I told ’em he was as good as any of
them over a three-quarter route—that he had never been got right. There
were a lot of six-furlongers down at St. Asaph then that could negotiate
the distance in .15 flat, and they couldn’t see where a horse that they
had never heard of had a look-in with that kind. I held my ground,
however, and they said that when it was to come off they’d throw a
little bit of a bet at the bird, just because I said so.

"A couple of days later Jodan’s name showed up among the entries for a
six-furlong sprint, and I had another chaw with his trainer.

"’He’s good,’ he told me. ’Stay with your hunch. He ought to do.’

"The race was to be run on a Saturday. I looked up my Washington friends
and told them confidently what Jodan was going to do with a bunch of the
best three-quarter runners in training. Four or five of them couldn’t
help but give me the hoot on the proposition, and they said they weren’t
going over to the track, anyhow—too busy closing up the week’s business,
and so on. They couldn’t see where Jodan figured with the lot he was to
meet. I went around to the rest of these Washington fellows on the
Friday evening before the race and told them again about Jodan. They,
too, were all going to be too busy with the Saturday wind-up of business
to take in the races that day, but five of them gave me $10 each to put
on Jodan for them. None of them had any confidence in the thing, though.

"The Jodan race was the first on the card. There were fourteen entries,
and not a horse was scratched. The track was deep in dust, and I knew
then Jodan liked that sort of going. It looked like a cinch. I knew that
the bookies would be dead to Jodan, but I didn’t think they’d take the
liberties they did with him. The favorite opened up at 2 to 1, and he
was played down to 6 to 5 in no time. Then there were four or five shots
in it ranging from 3 to 1 to 15 to 1, when the rank outsiders were
written in all the way up to 150 to 1. Jodan, my mutt, stowed away for a
good thing, opened up at 100 to 1 and stuck there. I went out to the
stable where Jodan was quartered to find his trainer, but I couldn’t dig
him up. He was mixed up with the bunch in the paddock or in the stand.
So I decided that it wasn’t necessary for me to see him, anyhow, before
putting my money on Jodan. I had seen him the night before, when he
whispered to me that Jodan was gorgeous, and that he was going to play
him to win, no matter if the books laid 1000 to 1 against the horse.

"So I traipsed around to the ring to put down my money and that of my
friends on Jodan. As I say, Jodan’s price all over the ring was 100 to
1, and no takers. I had the five tens the Washington chaps had given me
and the last fifty spot I had on earth in my mitt, ready to shoot around
and plant it in $10 gobs on Jodan before the price could be rubbed, thus
standing to win $5000 for myself and $5000 for the Washington fellows,
with my share out of their winnings for putting them next. I was the
very next man in line to plant my first ten with one of the books, when
I felt a hard pinch on my right arm, and I wheeled around suddenly to
swat the duck that had given it to me. It was my friend, the trainer of
Jodan. He nodded me over to the little vacant space.

"’You were just going to take some Jodan, weren’t you?’ he asked me.

"’That’s what,’ said I. ’He’ll turn the trick, won’t he?’

"’No,’ he replied shortly. ’I’ve been trying to find you for the last
hour to tell you. The mutt’s got another twist during the night somehow
or another, and now it’s about twice its right size. Stay off. He can’t
do it. He’s not limping much, but I can’t see how he’ll go a quarter
with such a leg. It’ll be a miracle if that hard-luck skate finishes at

"This was a hard fall for me, I’m telling you that. I had been building
on it for one of my cinch hunch things, and to hear that it had gone
rank took the nerve out of me. Of course, in a dismal kind of way, I was
glad my friend the trainer had put me next to the state of things in
time to keep me off the dead one for my whole fifty and the fifty of my
friends in Washington, but that wasn’t much salve for the hurt I got
when he told me that Jodan couldn’t possibly do it. With Jodan out of it
I felt certain that the 6 to 5 favorite would come in all alone, and so
I put the whole bundle down that way $120 to $100. It made me glum to
think of the difference between that and $10,000 to $100.

"Then I went up to the stand to see the lot file past on their way to
the post. My horse, the favorite, was just a-prancing and looked to me
like a 1 to 10 thing with Jodan out. But my trainer chum had put me on
right. Jodan’s knee was as big as your hat, and he had his limp along
with him. One of the stewards noticed this and made a bit of talk about
not allowing Jodan to race, but when he was told that Jodan always went
to the post with a bum knee, even after his warming up, he closed up and
Jodan went around to the pump with his field.

"They got off the first break. The people in the stand were down on the
favorite almost to a man, and the yelp they let out when he shot to the
lead from the first jump was a heap noisy. My poor old Jodan plug was
almost left at the post, but his boy got him going all right, and I was
rather surprised to see him quickly join the rear bunch. By this time,
at the half, the favorite was just buck-jumping five lengths out in
front of the first division. Then the hind ones began to move up, and I
stood by to see Jodan get shuffled out of it. But he didn’t shuffle. He
passed right by the rear gang and nearing the three-quarters he was at
the saddle-girths of the front division and going like a cup defender in
half a gale.

"’You’ll chuck that in a minute, my boy,’ I thought, with my mind on
Jodan. ’Three-legged races look all right on paper, but they don’t go

"I lost the colors when they turned into the stretch, but I saw that the
favorite was still a good two lengths in front. The track was so deep in
dust that I couldn’t make out the others until they were well into the
stretch for the lope to the wire. Then when they were all settled down
to their barrels in the flying yellow dust, I saw one of the front
divisionites behind the leader shoot out around on the outside and bend
down to it. Say, I closed my lamps down tight. That horse coming on the
outside like a black devil, with his bit almost crunched into flinders,
was Jodan. I opened up my eyes when they were about sixty yards from the
wire. In the middle of the whirlwind of dust I saw the favorite
faltering, with Jodan a neck away and going like as if his distance was
only a quarter of a mile and he a-covering it there in the stretch. Then
I pulled my glasses away from my head, sat down, shut my eyes again and
shook hands with death for a few seconds while the Indians all around me
were howling ’Jodan!’ ’Jodan!’

"’Jodan wins!’ they yelled when the horses got under the wire, and I
opened up my eyes just in time to see Jodan with open daylight between
him and the favorite. That was a three-legged miracle, all right. I was
in a daze, but I had a picture in my head of five fellows in Washington
that had treated me right waiting for the race train to get in so that I
could hand them each a thousand. I couldn’t stand for that, and I had
too many different kinds of heartbreak warping me out under my vest to
feel like trying to explain the thing to them. So I walked over to
Alexandria and caught the afternoon train for Richmond, after leaving my
bum string in the hands of another trainer. From Richmond I went on down
to New Orleans, where I had some luck—never enough luck, though, to
square the game up with me for that win of Jodan’s, which made me feel
old and tired for a long time afterward.

"If I outlive those five Washington fellows, or they take it into their
lids to go to the Klondike together, maybe I’ll have another look around
under the shadow of that big dome yonder. But I don’t want to meet them.
Explaining’s too hard work, and the circumstances of that St. Asaph
happening, which occurred as I’ve spieled it, were ’agin’ me!"


  _It Paid $2,000 to $2, and Looked Like a Winner Until the Last Jump,

There was a period of prolonged, nerve-racking excitement one afternoon
last week in a demure and retiring Harlem poolroom that doesn’t draw any
color line. A colored sport was threatening to tear the place loose from
its foundations and to fire a volley over the ruins—in a purely
figurative sense, that is to say. Literally he didn’t commit any breach
of the peace at all. But he had a combination ticket in his clothes for
a couple of hours that practically made all the rest of the people in
the place forget what they were there for. He was as black as that
overworked one-spot of spades. He was known to his envied intimates only
as Mose, and the very large checked suit of plaid that he wore had a
certain cake-walk suggestiveness, as did his huge red necktie, his
patent leathers with blue polka-dotted uppers, and his three large
yellow diamonds, two of them on his fingers and the other screwed in the
middle of his shirt bosom with crimson horizontal bars. He was a "spote"
all right.

He entered the poolroom alone, looked up at the board, and then dug a
bit of paper, obviously a telegram, out of his Oxford cloth Newmarket
overcoat. A man who was rude enough to look over his shoulders saw that
the telegram was a night message and that it bore the New Orleans date.
It contained the names of five horses, with the initials of the sender.

"He’s a po’tuh on uh Pullman," vouchsafed the sport to the privileged
character who had looked over his shoulder at the despatch. "An’ he’s uh
babe, yo’ heah me! He knows ’em lak he knows uh blackin’ brush. Ah’s uh
gwine tuh mek uh combinashun on de hull five. De ticket 'll win in uh

After sizing up the house betting on the New Orleans races for a few
minutes, he walked up to the counter where the combination tickets
exuded from the lightning calculator. Just at that moment there was
nothing doing at the combination counter. The sport produced his
telegram, cleared his throat, and began.

"Ah’s got de hull five babies," he said with a grin to the ticket
writer. "An’ ah’s uh gwine tuh tek ’em all tuh win. Doan’ want none o’
’em fo’ place or show. Dey’s all got tuh come in all alone."

"Shoot ’em out," said the ticket writer.

The sport named the five horses that he knew were going to win the New
Orleans races. They were, in the order of the races, Mint Sauce, Russell
R., Deyo, Benneville and Donna Rita.

The ticket writer executed his bit of lightning head work, with frequent
glances at the board to get the prices on the runners, and then he
looked up at the sport with a grin.

"Huntin’ for a hog killin’, ain’t you?" he asked. "Goin’ to put us out
o’ business? It figures a thousand to one. How much do you want on it?"

"Two dolluhs," replied the sport and he passed up the money. The ticket
writer pencilled the names of the horses down on the ticket, placed the
figures "$2,000 to $2" at the bottom of it, and handed the bit of
pasteboard to the sport with the remark:

"You’re a good thing. Come again."

"Yo’ all kin do yo’ hollern’ w’en de hosses run," was the sport’s
good-natured reply, and then he went to the extreme outer row of seats
in the pool room and sat down to wait for $2,000 to accrue to him on an
investment of $2.

Along toward 3 o’clock the betting came in on the first race at New
Orleans. The horse Mint Sauce that the sport had in his combination
ticket was the odds-on favorite, although he had been at a good price in
the house betting. The queer crowd of players surged up to the counters
to put their money down on things they liked, that figured all right in
the dope books; but the sport kept his seat. His speculation for the day
was over. He was simply waiting for his $2 to grow to $2,002.

Then they were off at New Orleans, as the telegrapher announced with a
bored air, electrifying the crowd into silence. It was a six-furlong
race, and there was nothing to it but Mint Sauce all the way. At the
three-quarters, when the telegrapher announced that Mint Sauce was third
and just galloping, the sport leaned back in his seat with an
it’s-all-over expression, snapped his fingers a couple of times for
luck, and said:

"It’s uh cake-walk fo’ dat baby. Ah’m on right so far."

"Mint Sauce wins by two lengths," announced the operator, and the
announcement was received with silence. Poolroom crowds don’t play
favorites as a rule.

"Mah nex’ is this heah Russell R.," said the sport, gazing at his ticket
again, "an’ Russell R. he’s dun got tuh win. Ah feels uh leetle
squeenchy uhbout he all, but Russell R. he’ll buck-jump in."

The betting came in on the race a few moments later, and Russell R. was
at a long price. Several horses in the race were at much shorter prices.
The sport didn’t look worried a little bit over this.

"Russell R. he’s dun got tuh win," he said, and that was all there was
about it.

"Off at New Orleans," announced the weary looking operator again, and
then he began to call off the way the race was being run. It looked bad
for the sport’s ticket until the telegrapher had carried the nags along
to the three-quarter post and then Russell R., who hadn’t been anywhere,
got his first call, joining the bunch as third at that stage of the

"Sadie Burnham in the stretch by a length!" announced the telegrapher.
"Lomond second by a length, Russell R. third," and then the sport began
to root for his horse. He swayed back and forth in his wicker rocking
chair, moaning, "Come, yo’ Russell hoss! Yo’ heah me uh-talkin’,
hoss—come, yo’ Russell—or yo’ doan’ git no oats—ketch him, yo’ baby, an’
yo’ pa’ll treat yo’ right"——

"Russell R. wins, by a head!" announced the telegrapher.

"Oh, yo’ wahm thing, yo’ Russell!" suppressedly exclaimed the sport, his
finger-snapping suddenly stopping and an upturned crescent grin
spreading over the whole area of his chocolate countenance.

It seemed that some of the less important sports must have been "riding"
Russell R. too, for their exultant "Uh-huhs!" rang around the room. The
colored sport dearly loves a long shot.

"De nex’ on mah piece o’ pas’e-boa’d," said the sport, ransacking
through his pockets again for his ticket, "is dain’jus. Ah doan’ lak dis
heah hoss Deyo, but Ah ain’t uh-playin’ whut Ah laks, but whut’s dun
sent tuh me. So Deyo she’s dun got tuh win, too."

It was after 4 o’clock by this time, and the poolroom was filling up
with young fellows turned loose from the down-town offices. Many of
these late arrivals had straight tips in the form of telegrams on the
third race at New Orleans and they almost overwhelmed the ticket
writers. When the betting came in on that race Deyo was at a long price,
much longer than the house betting had quoted the nag, and the sport
looked a bit anxious over this. His worried look disappeared, however,
when the second line of betting came in, showing that Deyo was being
backed down some on the New Orleans track.

"Dey’s sumthin’ uh-doin’ on that mule," he said, and the telegrapher
began to call off the race. It was something easy for Deyo, who beat the
favorite by three lengths. The sport didn’t have to snap his fingers or
sway in his chair at all. Deyo was in front all the way. Three-fifths of
the $2,000 to $2 ticket was won.

By this time the sport was the cynosure of a good many pairs of eyes.
The possibilities of the ticket he had in his pocket were whispered
about, and a number of the real things in the sport line edged over and
asked to have a look at the ticket.

"It’s a alimpey-boolera," they said, and they rubbed the back of it for
luck. Then a lot of them went up to the combination desk and got
combination tickets for the remaining two horses that appeared on the
colored sport’s ticket. By the time the betting came in on the fourth
race it was known all over the room that the sport had a $2,000 to $2
ticket with three of the horses already over the plate. The sport
enjoyed it all with becoming modesty.

"Dis heah hoss, Benneville, will now step out an’ run seben fuhlongs fo’
me," he said, referring to his ticket again. "Ah doan’ know mahse’f jes’
how good dis heah Benneville is jes’ now, but dis is his day tuh win by
uh block."

Benneville came in an odds-on favorite, and won by three open lengths.
The sport again was relieved of the necessity of rooting.

"Ah’n dun rode dat one mahse’f," he said grinning, and he found himself
in the middle of a crowd of sports of his own color.

"Look uh-heah, nigguh, doan’ yo’ all remembuh me?" a lot of them
inquired of him as they crowded around him.

"Remembuh nothin’," said he impartially. "Ah doan’ mek it mah bizness
tuh remembuh nobody."

"Hey, what does your ticket call for in the next?" was a question that
fifty men threw at him as he sat in state in his wicker rocker.

"De nex’ skate on de list," he replied, spelling out the letters on his
ticket, which was being rubbed a good deal for luck by all hands within
rubbing distance, "is de maiuh Donna Rita. Ah wouldn’t give $2 fo’ Donna
Rita mahse’f, de way she’s bin un-runnin’, but Donna Rita’s dun got tuh
walk in all by huhse’f dis time," whereupon he returned the ticket to
his pocket as if it already represented $2,002.

The sport had got down Donna Rita into his combination at a long price
in the house betting. When the first line of betting came in from New
Orleans, however, Donna Rita was seen to be the favorite for the race,
with a big field to beat.

"Donna Rita’s lak gettin’ money in uh lettuh," said the sport, and every
man in the room that heard these words of wisdom from the lips of the
man with the magical combination ticket in his pocket, played Donna Rita
to win. So here was the sport, enthroned like any monarch of Dahomey,
with the crowd surging around him. One of the white sports, waving a
roll as big as his fist, elbowed his way through the crowd surrounding
the colored sport and flatly offered him $500 for his ticket, after
looking at it and seeing that Donna Rita, much the best horse in the
next race, had her name inscribed there. It was a temptation, but the
sport was game, and stood pat.

"Dis heah ticket ain’t fo’ sale," he said. "De two thousan’s good enough
fo’ this coon."

Another man offered him $800 for his $2 ticket. The offer was declined.
There wasn’t a man in the crowd that wasn’t rooting for the sport’s
ticket to wind up all right, and to make their rooting more effective
they played Donna Rita to win the last race almost to a man. The less
important sports were keeping close to their brother in hue. They wanted
to be in at the finish—perhaps to help the sport to celebrate. At post
time there was hardly a man at the betting counters. They were all
hovering near the sport for luck.

"Off at New Orleans!" shouted the telegrapher, who knew about the
sport’s ticket by this time, and there was a note of unusual excitement
in his voice as he called off the race. "Donna Rita in the lead!"

"Oh, yo’ babe, Donna!" shouted all the "spotes" in unison, and "stay
right theah, yo’ nigguh!" shouted the one particular sport.

"Donna Rita at the quarter by five lengths!" called out the telegrapher,
and the poolroom might have been taken for an Emancipation Day festival.
"Donna Rita at the half by five lengths!"

"Ef yo’ lubs yo’ man, come uhlong!" moaned the sport in ecstasy.

"Donna Rita at the three-quarters by three lengths, Kisme second, Virgie
O. third," droaned the operator. "Donna Rita in the stretch by a head!"

The sport rocked to and fro and groaned.

"Virgie O. wins by a nose!" announced the telegrapher.

That settled the combination. The sport’s followers fell away from him
like autumn leaves from wind-tortured trees.

"They ain’t nothin’ in this horse-racin’ game, is they?" the frequenters
of the poolroom said to one another as they slouched out, and the
grating tones of the cashiers counting bills soon echoed through the
deserted room.


_He "Runs a Shoestring into a Tannery," and Then Gets the Cold Shoulder
                        from the Lady Fortune._

A party of turfmen in Washington for the Benning meeting were talking
the other evening of the remarkable streak of luck which has enabled
Billy Barrick to run a borrowed shoestring of $200 up to an amount which
is now said to approximate $100,000 in the last six weeks.

"Barrick’s double-ended luck, both at faro bank and horses," said one of
the bookmakers in the party, "is a whole lot out of the common. Luck is
a full-bred sort of an affair, and it does not often run along hybrid
lines. What I mean to say is that the man who has a huge run of luck at
one game almost invariably falls into the doldrums and goes all to
pieces when he switches to another game. The luckiest men I ever knew on
the turf, for example, were the unluckiest card players, and most of
them stubbornly spent a good many thousands of their pony winnings
before they found this out. Barrick seems to be an exception. He has got
into the current, and he could probably get away with the money at
fan-tan or Cingalese pool while he’s in his present shape. I’m a bit
afraid of him just now myself, and when I see his commissioners bearing
down on my book I’m sorely tempted to rub the whole slate until I get a
chance to rubberneck and find out what they’re after. If I were dealing
faro bank, so weird has his luck at tiger-bucking been lately, too, that
I believe I’d make it a thirty-cent limit when I saw him coming. But
he’s an exception, as I say. It’s the man who sticks to the one game
that drives the swaggerest dog-cart and wears the whitest gig-lamps in
the long run.

"I remember a chap out in St. Louis who ran a shoestring of five cents
up to pretty close to six figures in the summer of 1895. He bucked more
games in doing it, too, than Barrick has thus far, but he couldn’t go a
route, and they ate him up when the whisky got into his head in such
quantities that he saw treble without having a focus on anything. His
name was Red Donnelly, and he had charge of the bookmakers’
paraphernalia in the betting ring of the St. Louis fair grounds when the
Lady Fortune beamed upon that nickel of his and invited him to bask for
a time in her domain. He was a loose-jointed spraddle-shaped sort of a
young chap of 25 or so who had been hanging around the St. Louis tracks
from his early boyhood. He learned so much about the horses that he
could never win anything on them when he played in the ten-cent books
made by the railbirds. He handicapped them down to the sixteenth of a
pound, and the horse that he put his dime on consequently got beaten, as
a rule, by a tongue. He had been holding down the job of a dog-robber
for the bookmakers for two seasons before he struck his lead on that
nickel. He came out to the track one day, early in June, 1895, with the
solitary nickel reposing in the depths of his trousers’ pockets, salted
there to pay his fare back to the city. He got to pulling the five-cent
piece out of his clothes and looking at it longingly by the time the
first race was due. He wanted to get down on a race, but there were no
five-cent books. The bottom sum accepted by the railbird books was a
dime. Red strolled out to the barns and got to pitching nickels with a
pack of idle stable boys. The luck was with him from the jump, and when
he accumulated a dollar in nickels he exhibited symptoms of a man
suffering from chilblains. His reason for getting cold feet was that he
had a good thing in the fourth race, and by the time he had acquired the
dollar the betting had begun on the fourth race.

"Red hurtled himself into the ring with his dollar and saw that the
price offered against his good thing, the old nag Hush, was 60 to 1.
Donnelly needed a bundle of cigarettes and a few drinks pretty badly,
but he was game when it came to sticking to his good things, and he
slapped his twenty nickels down on Hush with a bookmaker he knew. He
took good-naturedly the mocking hoot which the booky gave him for
handing in twenty pieces of that kind of metal, and catapulted himself
out to the rail just as the horses went away from the post. The race was
really something silly for Hush, in the unwieldy field of nineteen
horses. Hush led all the way, and pranced under the wire first in a big
gallop, pulled double. The boy had Hush up in his lap all the way.

"Red had some difficulty in collecting his $61. The bookmaker knew him
well, knew of his taste for rum, and knew also that few of Red’s rare
dollars ever found their way to the humble shack of the man’s infirm old
Irish mother.

"’I believe I’ll just pinch this out on you, Red,’ said the booky to
him, ’and pass it along to the old lady when I go in to-night. It won’t
do you any good.’

"’Come to taw,’ replied Red. ’I want to put thirty or forty cents down
on the next race. I got another good thing in it.’

"The bookmaker reluctantly passed Donnelly the $61. Red carefully folded
the dollar bill and tucked it into his waistcoat pocket. Then he
invested the $60, in $10 clips, with six books, on Dorah Wood, in the
next race, at 15 to 1. It was a canter for Dorah Wood, and Red knocked
the bookmakers silly—they all knew him well from his working around the
place—by socking it to six of them for $150 each. A committee of safety
was immediately formed around Donnelly, but he couldn’t be held down. He
tossed a quart of wine under his waist-line, purchased a package of
cigarettes made in Turkey for forty cents, and looked over his dope-book
carefully. Then he strolled into the ring and bet $900 on Minnie Cee in
the last race. Minnie Cee was at 3 to 1, and it was something ridiculous
for her. She won on the bit, and Red was $3,660 to the good on that
nickel that he had salted away in his homespuns for the return trip to

"When Red turned up to collect, Barney Schreiber—he’s a big-hearted
Barney—had him, as it were, by the scruff of the neck. Barney announced
to all of us that he was going to collect for Donnelly, and what Barney
said went with us, for we all knew Red’s propensities. Donnelly put up a
weak growl, but he knew ’way down deep in him that Schreiber could and
would take care of the cash better than he could or would. Barney
pinched $3,500 of the wad, inserted it in a separate compartment of his
wallet, and handed Red $150.

"’I’ll just let you have a little change, Red, said he, 'and if you
think you can run that up into a tan-yard, go ahead. But I’m a-going to
handle this for you the right way. You’re not tied enough in your ways
to have such a vast sum on your person all at one and the same time.’

"Donnelly didn’t demur much. The $150 was a huge sum itself for him, and
he, of course, knew that Schreiber would do the right thing with the
main bunch. As a matter of fact, Barney deposited the $3500 the next day
to the credit of Donnelly’s old mother, and Schreiber and the old woman
were the only people who knew anything about that end of it for a long
time afterward.

"We all gibed and roasted Red about the delirium-tremens finish we
foresaw for him, and when he didn’t turn up at the track at all on the
following day, necessitating the turning of his dog-robbing work over to
another man, there was a lot of talk about the tremendous barrel-house
toot Red must have gone on down the levee way. That’s where we were
camping out. When we picked up the papers on turning out the following
morning we found a scare-head story in one of them relating in great
detail and elaborate diction how one Mr. John S. Donnelly, a gentleman
well known on the Western turf, had swatted Ed McGuckin’s faro bank,
over in East St. Louis, to the tune of $16,000, playing steadily without
meals from 7 o’clock on the evening of Monday until 11 o’clock on
Wednesday night, when Ed turned the box on him and announced that it was
all off for the present. We all shouted ’fake!’ when we saw that, but a
couple of us hopped into a cab and crossed over to McGuckin’s place to
see if there was anything in the yarn. Well, there was everything in it.
We found Ed holding his fevered brow and mumbling deep, dark things
about damned vagabonds slipping into his layout and running shoe tongues
up into leather factories. We expressed our sympathies with Ed, for
which we came perilously near being kicked, and then we went back to St.
Louis to hunt up Red. We went over the barrel-house route with a
fine-tooth comb, but no Donnelly. Then we decided to drive out to his
mother’s little old shack. Our route from the levee out there took us
through the down-town district, and we both saw Red on the street at
once. We drew up alongside the curb, and called him. He was cold sober,
and he had $16,210 in bills in his inside waistcoat pocket. We asked him
where he was going, and he nodded in the direction of the swellest
tailoring establishment in St. Louis. We went along with him, and it was
one lovely sight to observe the fabrics Red picked out wherewith to
ornament his long, lithe person. He ordered a dozen suits, and then we
went with him to the haberdasher’s. He was all for green and yellow
neckties, pink-striped shirts, and that sort, and we let him have his
way. Then he became sleepy. We threw it into him pretty hard about that
big bundle of money he had on him, and he finally consented to come
along to a bank with us and deposit $14,000 of it in his name. We tried
to hold out for having it put in his mother’s name, but he wouldn’t
stand for that. After leaving the bank Red’s eagle eye caught sight of
the shiny things in a jeweler’s window, and he decided then and there
that he couldn’t go to sleep without having the third finger of his left
hand made conspicuous by a three-karat blue-white stone, for which he
coughed $500. That left him with about $1500 in his clothes, and we
dragged him then into the cab and drove out to his mother’s little old
shanty. The old lady had her little talk with Barney Schreiber about the
$3500 by that time, and the to-do she made over her ’bye Johnnie’ was
worth the ride to see. When we told her about the other bunch that Red
had copped and that we had plunked it into the bank for him, the
quantities of corned beef and cabbage which she threw into the pot for
the dinner which she wanted us to remain to share with her and her
phenomenal son were amazing.

"Well, Donnelly astonished us all for a couple of weeks by his
extraordinary conduct. He would ride out to the track in a hack, with a
gilt-stamped cigarette in his face, attend to his job as usual around
the betting-ring—that is, he’d supervise, for he quickly accumulated a
staff of worshiping touts and hangers-on—and then he’d go up into the
grand-stand to exhibit his cake-walk clothes and look at the races. He
didn’t put a bet down on a horse for two weeks. He remained pretty sober
all the time, too. We joshed him about the frigid pedals he had suddenly
got, but he only passed along with the remark: ’I’m letting ’em run for
O’Flaherty. Nothin’ doin’.’

"We waited for the crash, but it didn’t seem to come on schedule time.
One afternoon he called me aside and showed me his bank-book. It showed
an additional deposit of $5000, making the total $19,000.

"’When did you pick up that new roll?’ I asked him.

"’Went up against the wheel at Terhune’s last night, and yanked it out
in three hours,’ he said.

"’When did you learn to play roulette?’ I asked him.

"’Last night,’ he replied.

"Along toward the end of June Donnelly turned up at the track one
afternoon with a light in his eye. He went out into the paddock and
spent three-quarters of an hour looking at a horse and by that time the
third race was due. Red came into the ring and spread $1000 around on
Madeira at 10 to 1. It was a maiden two-year-old race, but Madeira
romped in two lengths to the good. That night Red, still moderately
sober and level-headed, had $29,000 to his credit in the bank. We began
to figure with a new brand of dope on Donnelly’s game and to consider
the possibility of his becoming a real fixture. A lot of owners with bum
skates tried to work them off on Donnelly at big prices, but he only
passed them the cold-storage smirk. This gave us an additional line of
thinks with regard to what we thought was his increasing shrewdness.
Besides, you see, Red began to be right good to us. He told us all very
soberly one afternoon that he had a good thing, but that he didn’t want
to hurt his own ring, so he’d send his money to the out-of-town
poolrooms. The good thing was David, who won the last race in a walk at
15 to 1, and Red cleaned up $15,000 on that.

"Right at this point, Schreiber and some other people got at Donnelly
and tried to induce him to either invest a part of his money—he had
almost $50,000 then—in a string of useful horses, to be put into the
hands of a competent trainer—or to have the whole bundle properly
invested in some sort of annuity, tie-up scheme whereby, when Red’s
streak of luck fizzled out, he wouldn’t have to go back to buying
cigarettes by the cent’s worth. The man was too bull-headed, though, to
listen to anything like this. He did, however, buy his old mother a fine
house and install her in it, and the old lady had stiff black silk
dresses and poppy-ornamented bonnets galore in which to go to mass.

"Meanwhile Red was going up against all kinds of games around town every
night, and it honestly appeared as if he couldn’t lose. Craps, stud
poker, draw, wheel, red and black, mustang, bank—all seemed to be right
in Donnelly’s mitt. A lot of us used to turn up where he was bucking
things every night, and, following his play, we always got the good end
of it. He didn’t know much about any of the games, and the idiotic
things we had often to do in order to consistently follow his play made
us gag, but nine times out of ten them came out right. One man in our
party, a bookmaker, who determined to copper all of Red’s play at the
different games, on the theory that Donnelly’s luck had to turn some
time or another, almost went broke before he came into the fold and quit

"All of this time Donnelly had simply been nibbling at the red stuff. By
the time his great luck was a month old, however, the booze had nailed
him, and he got to throwing in the hooters early in the morning. A man
can’t drink in the morning and hang on either to luck or judgment. Red
came into the ring palpably drunk one afternoon and spread around
$20,000 on Strathmeath at even money. None of us wanted to take the
money, for if ever there was a rank in-and-outer, that horse was
Strathmeath. But Red was insistent and a bit ugly, and we accommodated
him. Strathmeath ran third, beaten out by two dogs. That night Donnelly
dropped $20,000 more at faro. Then he didn’t go to bed for five nights,
and at the end of that time he had about $6000 left. I never saw luck
drop away from a man like it did from Red Donnelly. For instance, he was
whacking at a bank one night, stupefied with hooters of half rye and
half absinthe, and he shut one eye so he wouldn’t see double and fixed
it on the nine spot. He played the nine open for $100 a clip, and lost
it twelve straight times. The frowns of the Lady Fortune got his nerve,
and he began to play favorites at the track. The favorites went down to
inglorious defeat, one after another, for days.

"Some of the right kind of people, including Schreiber, got hold of Red
when he had only the $6000 left, landed him in a fix-up ward, and
sobered him up. When he came out Donnelly was set up with an interest in
an express business. I don’t believe he ever saw the inside of the
express office more than half dozen times, except to draw what was
coming to him. He was at the track all the time the races lasted, and
when the season closed he put in his time down on the levee. He never
had a day’s luck after his big streak up to the last hour of his death,
somewhat less than a year after they came his way with a whoop and a

"When the goddess smiles upon you, you want to stroke her hair, chuck
her under the chin and be good to her, for she rarely acts amiable twice
to a man who treats her favors wantonly."


_Plunge Made by a Hackman on the Suburban Handicap Won by Kinley Mack._

"We’ll get Red Beak Jim to hike us down in his caloosh," said the main
guy of the four. The four were job holders in one of the New York city
departments, and they were talking about ways and means of reaching the
Sheepshead track for the Suburban.

"Good thing," said the three others. "Go on and ask Jimmy for a figure,
down and back, for the bunch. Hey, and don’t let him dicker you out o’
your gilt teeth. Jimmy’s a robber."

So the main guy of the four sprinted after Red Beak Jim. He found him
with the major portion of his countenance immersed in the collarette of
an open-faced malt magnum.

"Hey, Jim," said the main guy, "hitch ’em up and bring ’em around about
noon. Down to the Bay and back. There’s four of us. What d’ye say to the
note for $10 for the job?"

Red Beak Jim removed the mammoth piece of glassware from his face long
enough to remark:

"Nothin’ doin’."

"Ain’t, hey?" said the main guy. "The old caloosh’s fallen apart at
last, hey?"

Red Beak Jim sat the beer-glass down and wiped off his mouth with the
back of his coat-sleeve.

"It’ll be jugglin’ around when you’re yelling for ice at any old price a
hunnered," said he. "Nope, I’m ’ngaged f’r th’ Bay."

"Say, you’ve got your fingers crossed or your suspenders," said the main
guy. "Give you fifteen for the job."

"Goin’ t’ take three down," said Red Beak Jim. "Ten a head. Sorry I
didn’t ask ’em fifteen. Trucks is chargin’ ten a head."

"Ten a head," said the main guy, sarcastically. "What in, zinc money?
Hey, pull around, Jim, or you’ll lose a wheel. Ten a head? Get away with
that hasheesh. Give us a figure."

"You’ve got it," replied Red Beak Jim. "Ten per, round trip. I’m a good
thing at that. But I’m ’ngaged."

"So’s me little sister," said the main guy. "All right, work your edge.
What’s ten a head to us, at that? Hey, we got the baby to-day, Jim, and
you want to put some braces under that old caloosh. We’ll have two ton
o’ money coming back. Bring ’er around, then, at noon. Say, you ought to
get a pair o’ knucks and a sandbag. You’re too good on the clutch to
push a caloosh around. Have ’er there prompt at noon, now, Jim."

"Sure," said Red Beak Jim, and he was there at noon, all right, with the
hack all varnished up and dusted off, and the pair looking fit to reel
off a mile in five minutes, on the bit. The four were inside, stirring
their pieces of ice around with the spoons, when Red Beak Jim pulled up.
He jumped off the seat and stuck his head in the door.

"At the pump, gents," said he.

They yanked him in to have one before the start, and they all got him
over into the dark corner. Then the main guy addressed him.

"Jim," said the main guy, "we’re handing this to you because you’re all
right—from the heels down. On the level, though, Jim, we pass this along
to you because it’s right. It’s prepared. It’s a nightingale in the
woods, and it’ll be singing when all the rest of ’em are still trying to
find out where the wire is. Horse of the century? Nix. Not for these
little Willies. The black, let ’er sleep wonder? Not. We stay out there.
The Whitney thing with the Frenchy name? Hoot, mon. Pass this squad by.
Nope. We got it right, Jimmy. And we’re handing you the forty bucks now
so’s you can plant it right. Here’s the forty—and say, you want to
remember that you’re paid, see? Well, you get over the fence somehow—let
a kid take care o’ your two goats and the caloosh—and you put the whole
forty on Kinley Mack. See? Got that chalked? You put the forty on Kinley
Mack, and part o’ the two ton o’ gilt we’ll have on the come-back ’ll
belong to you. Kinley Mack’s going to stand ’em all on their heads and
twist ’em round. Don’t say we didn’t put you next. Uneeda win. Well, you
win. Nothing to it. Kinley Mack. Ain’t that right, you ducks?"

"That’s right, all right," said the other three, all together.

Red Beak Jim emptied the flagon thoughtfully.

"I got mine at that game," said he finally. "They made a bum o’ me
before you people was through playin’ jacks. They can run f’r Hogan.
These"—salting away the two twenties the main guy had handed him—"will
do f’r me. I don’t want t’ git rich fast, nohow. I’d booze meself
foolish. Much ’bliged, gents, but I can’t see no Kinley Macks or Billy
Bryans, f’r that matter, wit’ a spy-glass."

"All right," said the main guy, disgustedly. "But when the ring’s around
Kinley Mack, and they’re paying off the wise people on him, you want to
muffle the bleats you’ll have coming, see? Don’t say we never dished you
up a hot one. You’re a sport, Jimmy, and so’s a tadpole. You’ll never
butt in among the first six. All right. Come on, you people."

They clinked the pieces of ice against the sides of their glasses once
more, and then they climbed into the hack and were away in a row, to a
good start.

At each of the seven places at which they stopped for ice, with
trimmings, on the way down to the Bay, they announced to friends that
they met that it was only going to be a one horse race.

"Run on a fast track, hey?" said the main guy to everybody he knew at
the stops. "Say, that’s his graft. That’s his main plant. A race-horse
can run on any old kind of a track. Say, you get tied up with this horse
of the century business and you smoke stogies for a few months.
Ethelbert, the horse of the century, hey? Say, d’je ever happen to hear
of Salvator and Tenny and Hanover and Lamplighter and Henry of Navarre
and Sir Walter and Raceland and Hamburg and a few old two-dollar mutts
like that? Did, hey? Well, say, do they butt in? Say, Hamburg could’ve
run backward as fast as this horse of the century that you people have
all got the bug about. Kinley Mack! Kinley Mack! Hey, fellers?"

"Thash ri’," said the other three, and then they climbed into the hack

When they got down to the track entrance and alighted the main guy of
the four, still mindful of his duty toward struggling fellow men, made a
final appeal to Red Beak Jim.

"Jim," said he, "how about taking our steer, hey? This is the good thing
o’ the year. It’s going to be a long summer. Going to put that forty on
Kinley Mack?"

"I’m goin’ t’ take a nap after I have a smoke," replied Red Beak Jim,
filling his pipe.

The four walked away with an air of disgust, while Red Beak Jim grinned
after them.

Each of the four had a one-hundred-dollar note wherewith to back Kinley
Mack off the boards. The temptations of the first three races, however,
collared them, and when the slate went up for the Suburban they each had
a fifty-dollar note wherewith to play Kinley Mack, the good thing. When
the horses were at the post for the third race, the main guy, who
happened to be standing close to the fence that separates the
grand-stand crowd from the people in the cheap field, saw Red Beak Jim,
with his hands in his pockets and his pipe in his mouth, leaning against
the rail. He called the hackman, and Red Beak Jim approached the fence
with a grin.

"Thought you’d get on, anyhow, hey?" said the main guy.

"Naw, I jes’ crep in t’ see ’em run an’ hear th’ hard losers tell how it
was they lost," said Red Beak Jim. "Nothin’ doin’ wit’ me."

"Ain’t going to put those forty on Kinley Mack, hey?" asked the main

"Not if I’m awake," said Red Beak Jim, and the main guy walked away from
the fence with an expression of commiseration on his face.

The horses were still at the post for the third race when the main guy
was approached by a horseman he knew. The horseman was chewing a straw.
He looked very wise.

"Cashed yet on Imp?" the horseman asked the main guy.

"Hey?" asked the latter, bending his ear.

"Only a canter for that one," said the horseman, in a low tone,
temporarily removing the straw from his face. "Just a little exercise
gallop for the black filly."

"Say, is that right?" inquired the main guy. "Is she so good as all that

"Surest thing you know," said the horseman. "She’ll give ’em all a
fifty-pound beating or I don’t know a hoof from a currycomb. I’m only
spinning this along to the people I’ve got some use for. That’s the
reason I dip it up for you."

"But say," whispered the main guy of the four, "I got it straight as a
ramrod on Kinley Mack."

The horseman smiled benignly.

"On this track?" said he. "That one wouldn’t beat a fat man on this
track. He wants slop and slush. I’m only telling you, that’s all. You
splurge on Imp, and it’ll be all yours."

"I always was stuck on that darned old mare, anyhow," mused the main guy
of the four, as he walked off in search of the other three. "She sure
can rip the air when she’s ripe. Got a thunder of a notion to switch to
her at that. That fellow ought to know. He’s been handling ’em long
enough. Kinley Mack only a mudder, hey? Had kind of a hunch that way
myself, but I didn’t want to own up. Last week, before I got this Kinley
Mack thing, I was sure going to play Imp, and I’d feel like a nickel’s
worth of lard if she’d go out and spread-eagle 'em now that I’ve got
this Kinley Mack thing."

He stood still for a moment with his hands in his pockets, oblivious of
the jostling crowd, and then he slapped his thigh.

"I’ve got the hunch—it’s Imp!" he muttered. "Lemme find the fellers and
put ’em next."

He found the other three. They were putty when the main guy told them
what the horseman had said. They’d always liked Imp, anyhow.

Their four fifty-dollar notes went on Imp straight, when the slates went
up. They all stood together and rooted for the black mare when the
horses got off. When Kinley Mack romped in, an easy winner, they didn’t
say anything at all. They didn’t even look at one another. They avoided
one another’s gaze, thrust their hands deep into their pockets and
studied the jockeys as they dismounted. When the first numbness had
passed the main guy of the four led them to the bar and they drank the
longest one of the day in silence. They looked up into their glasses as
they twiddled their spoons, but they didn’t look at one another.

There was $17 still left among the four—not enough for any sort of
celebration or doings when they got back to town. So the main guy
gathered up the $17 in silence and put it all on a horse at 10 to 1 in
the fifth race, with the idea of running the shoestring into a tannery.
The 10 to 1 shot was never in the hunt at any stage of it, and they were
all out. Silently they wended their way out of the gate.

Red Beak Jim was sitting on the seat of the hack, with his legs crossed,
smoking a pipe. He looked interested when the four came along.

"Youse people must have all kinds," said he.

They climbed into the hack without a word.

"D’je play that one?" inquired Red Beak Jim, picking up the lines.

"Ask me aunt," growled the main guy.

Red Beak Jim clucked at the horses, and they moved off in good style.

The hackman pulled the horses up alongside the step in front of the
first roadhouse.

"Hey, don’t get too glad all of a sudden," growled the main guy to Red
Beak Jim. "Who told you to do that?"

Red Beak Jim disposed of the lines and stepped down without making any
reply, while the four watched him gloomily. Then he grinned, hoisted up
the right-hand front flap of his livery coat, dug into his right-hand
trousers pocket and pulled out a wad about the size of a healthy

"I’ll ask youse gents to split a couple o’ quarts on me," said Red Beak
Jim. "I got 8 to 1 f’r me forty."

They gazed at him and his wad with their jaws dropping.

"Did you play Kinley Mack?" they gurgled in unison.

"That’s the one youse people said, ain’t it?" inquired Red Beak Jim. "I
t’ought I’d take a little flyer on him, jes’ f’r luck."


_And How He Got a Horseman Without Much of a Conscience into Hot Water._

"No Man alive can afford to lose the friendship even of a yaller dog.
Not even an ornery yaller dog can you afford to have agin’ you at any
stage of the game. The dog’ll get back at you one time or another,
sooner or later, and take a mouthful or two out of you, if you haven’t
had sense enough to keep him on your staff of friends."

The man who used to make a business of putting ringers over the plates
at the outlaw race-tracks had passed from the reflective to the
confidential mood. Perhaps the rings which he made on the cherry table
with the bottom of his glass suggested circular race-tracks to him.
Perhaps the prancing of the fox-terrier pup in the back room made him
think of horses kicking up at the post. But, whatever the cause of it,
his burst of confidence was unusual, and the other men at the table
listened to him attentively.

"My yellow dog was a yellow man—that is, the one I’m thinking about just
now," he went on. "He took a hunk out of me down at Alexander Island,
Va., near Washington, about five years ago. He had me out. All he had to
do was to count ten on me and take the pot, and he knew it. He worked
the edge. I didn’t blame him a bit then, and I don’t now. But it was
hard money to lose. When I get hold of the right end of a bulge on a man
that I’ve got it in for, I don’t hesitate to work it myself—but I always
feel a bit sorry for a man that I get up into a corner, all the same.
This yellow man felt sorry for me. He showed it. He was about as
sympathetic a yellow man as ever I saw on the occasion I’m going to tell
you about. But he wouldn’t let go, for all that. He needed the money, of
course, but then he wanted to get back at me, too.

"’I’se dun got de aige on yo’ all, boss,’ he told me, 'an I’m sure
a-gwine t’ wuk it laik uh mean nigguh. But yo’ dun me dutty, Cap.’

"You see, I had employed this yellow man as a stable hand when I first
got my string of ringers together and took them out. He was all right
for the first few months of the winter campaign, but then he began to
get jagged on me with a heap of regularity. He got mixed up with that
gin that they keep on hand in Maryland for the Afro-American trade, and
it spoiled him for me. He was no use whatever after the gin took hold of
him. I warned him a lot, but it did no good. I was a little bit afraid
of the job, for he knew a good deal about my string, but I finally
decided that I’d have to take a chance and fire him. I turned up at the
track stable one morning—this wasn’t more’n a million miles from
Baltimore—and I found my yellow man Lem sulky and ugly drunk, and the
string chewing on their stalls. I gave him a boot and a hist out of the
stable and told him not to come back.

"’This yellow man’ll probably queer me,’ I thought at the time, ’but I
can’t go along playing 1000 to 1 shots like him for favorites. If he
peaches—well, there are other States besides Maryland.’

"I was rather surprised that he didn’t come back when he got sober. But,
nope, he didn’t come back at all. I got another stableman and during the
following week, the last of the meeting, I pulled off three good painted
things with as good as 15 to 1 around two of ’em, without yellow Lem
turning up to pester me at all. I thought of him a good deal. Every time
I got one of my plugs at the post I stood by to see the yellow man walk
into the judges’ stand and give me away. I’ll bet I lost ten pounds
worrying about that darkey and what he might do during that last week in
Maryland. I felt as light as a snowball when I got my string out of that
State and over at the Alexander Island track, near Washington. When I
got ’em all safe over there, says I to myself, 'This yellow ex-man o’
mine is probably back in Thompson street, with his carcass full of gin
by this time. So I’ll just cut out the worry about him.’

"Well, I started in at the preliminary work of pulling off a real swell
thing at Alexander Island. It was about as easy to enter a horse down
there as it is to go broke up here, and I put the best one of my lot in
the overnight races for a week. I entered him as a half-breed from a
Warrenton farm—a maiden six-year-old. It went through easy, the
overnight entering did, and I began to lay my horse up for a price. The
horse had done a mile in 1.40-1/2 and he had the whole bunch down at
Alexander Island outclassed by 212 pounds. The plug had belonged to the
best of the Western selling-plater division as a three- and
four-year-old and he had been in a few stakes at that. I got him as a
five-year-old and he surely was a meal-ticket for me. He wasn’t painted
a bit—you didn’t have to dye ’em at Alexander Island. If Hanover had
been an outlaw you could have stuck him into any old race down there and
they’d never have got next.

"I had a boy along with the string who’d been chased off the Western
licensed tracks for funny work, and what that boy didn’t know about
riding like as if his life depended on his winning, and forty wraps on
his mount all the time, wasn’t worth knowing. Say, he had six separate
and distinct bridle welts on both of his forearms that he got in pulling
horses. He was invaluable, that boy. When we were out to win he never
made anything but a nose finish of it even if our horse was up against
the worst set of outlaw dray-plugs in training. Oh, that boy knew his
gait all right! I did the best I could to keep him from going to Joliet
for pocketpicking in Chicago a couple o’ years ago, but it was no use.
He’s still doing his bit.

"Well, I had him sail this good nag of mine over the course in seven
races the first ten days of the meeting. The horse was a bit too likely
looking, and there was only 5 to 1 against him in the first race. He
finished fourth. The boys in the ring quoted 8 to 1 around him in No. 2
race, and he finished sixth in a field of seven. And so on. He was in
the ruck in most of the races, and he finished the last two of the seven
a rank last. By that time you could have written your own ticket if you
wanted to play him, which is what I was waiting for. My boy complained
that during the last three races he had all colors of trouble in holding
the horse in.

"’You’d better open the watermelon quick,’ said he to me after the
seventh race, ’or I’m liable to lose him and win the next time out.’

"And so I had the pie counter all spread out for his next time out. It
was a six-furlong race, which was my horse’s distance. Two of the cracks
of the outlaw brigade were in the race, and they both opened up at even
money. Then one of ’em was played down to 1 to 2 on. It was a
twelve-horse race, and my nag opened up the rank outsider with any
amount of 100 to 1 quoted around him. I didn’t want to be too chesty and
spoil my dough, and so I only took $50 worth of it, scattering it around
in $10 gobs. I reckoned that $5000 would be a good-enough pulldown on
the race, and I didn’t want to take any chances on being shut out of the
game down at Alexander Island. I put a few of the boys I knew next to
what was going to happen, told ’em not to go it too strong or they’d
queer me, and they mixed up $5 all over the ring on my 100 to 1 horse,
that should have gone to the post at 1 to 100. They broke the price down
to 30 to 1, but that didn’t make any difference to me, for I had picked
up all I wanted of the 100 to 1.

"When they went to the post I picked out a spot on the rail some
distance away from the grand stand to watch the race. I felt pretty
good. I knew it was going through. My horse had worked the six furlongs
in 1:16 flat the afternoon before, and I knew that he was easy money.
The only thing I was afraid of was that he would get away from the boy
and beat the bunch by eight blocks, thus bringing me into the judges’
stand on suspicion. I was thinking of all these things when I heard a
voice behind me.

"’Aftuhnoon, Cap,’ said the voice. ’How’s yo’ all tuh-day?’

"I looked around. The voice belonged to Lem, my fired yellow stable man.
Lem was sober, and got up as if for a cake-walk. He had business in his
eye, too.

"’Hello, there,’ says I, kind of coddingly. ’How’re you cutting it?’

"’Oh, tol’able, boss—tol’able,’ he replied.

"’Where are you working?’ I asked him.

"He smiled blandly in my teeth.

"’I’se a-wukkin’ yo’ all dis aftuhnoon, boss,’ said he. 'But I ain’t no
hog. Jes’ half o’ de rake-down’ll do me. Mus’ hev dat much, fo’ sure.
Jes’ nachully need dat much.’

"’What the devil are you talking about?’ I asked him, but I knew he had
me where he wanted me.

"’Well, yo’ see, boss, it’s jes’ dis-a-way,’ he replied. 'I’se a-gwine
tuh quit rubbin’ dem down an’ take tuh speculashunin’ m’sef. I’se
a-gwine tuh staht fo’ San Francisco tuh see whut all I kin do with de
bookies out da-a-way, an’ jes’ nachully needs de coin tuh go on out an’
begin wuk on ’em. Dis yeah’s uh good one yo’ all’s pullin’ down tuh-day,
an’ I was trailin’ yo’ w’en yo’ all put yo’ bets down. Yo’ stan’s tuh
win $5,000 on de ole hoss, an’ yo’ll win it. I’ll take ha’f o’ dat,
boss, an’ go on out tuh de coast tracks with it.’

"I think I must have been looking pretty hard at that yellow man when he
slung me this spiel. Oh, he had me all right. It was my looking at him
so hard that made him get off the rest of the speech:

"’I’se dun got de aidge on yo’ all, boss, an’ I’m sure a-gwine tuh wuk
it laik uh mean nigguh. But yo’ dun me dutty, Cap.’

"As I say, I knew he had me, but just out of curiosity I shot this one
at him:

"’S’pose, you yellow devil, that I don’t cough up a red of it? What

"He grinned and rolled his eyes over toward the judges’ stand.

"’I’d jes’ nachully be obleeged tuh do de bes’ I could fo’ de
proteckshun o’ de spoht o’ racin,’ he replied.

"The horses were still making false breaks at the post and it was too
late for me to hop into the ring and lay enough down to win $2,500 for
the yellow man and still have $5,000 to the good myself. It was a sore
game, that, but I had to stand for it.

"’All right,’ I said to the darkey, ’you’ve turned this trick and you’ll
get the $2,500. But you want to go West with it, as you say you are, or
I’ll get a night doctor or two on your trail. Chop away from here and
I’ll see you after the race.’

"’I knows yo’ will, boss,’ said the yellow man, giving me that
triumphant grin of his, and he turned and went down the rail to take in
the race. Race, did I say? Oh, it wasn’t a race. My horse got away from
the post three lengths to the bad, and he trailed after the bunch
dismally all the way around to the stretch turn, but I never had a
quake. I could see, if nobody else could, that my boy was ripsawing the
horse’s mouth, and I knew it was all right. At the stretch turn the boy
let out a couple of links and the nag joined the front bunch. The boy
drew it fine, as I had instructed him, and won by a short head, and it
was funny to see the wise guys from Washington who had scattered all
kinds of Government-earned money all over the ring turning mental
flipflaps of despair. I watched to see if there’d be any holler about
anything when the boy weighed in, but there wasn’t, and the race was
confirmed all right. I went around and did my own collecting, and
several of the poor devils of bookies had to go out of business after
the rest of the boys that I had put on to the thing came along and
cashed their tickets. I found my yellow man waiting for me on the
outside of the ring, and when I got him into the shadow I gave up the
$2,500. I saw that he got a ticket and started for San Francisco the
next day. I felt so sad when I heard a few months later that in an
attempt to learn how to smoke hop out there, to add to his jag
répertoire, he had died in a Chinese joint after hitting up thirty-six
pills. I felt so sad."

The ex-ringer operator was plunged in meditation for a while, the others
remaining sympathetically silent, and then he resumed in another strain.

"Next to the worst jolt I ever got—and the worst was the time down in
Maryland when one of my plugs with two whitewashed barrel spots and a
whitewashed forehead star got rained on at the post, practically out of
a clear sky, and the spots got washed out, and I had to get out of the
State of Maryland over fences—next to that jolt, the way one of my boys
threw it into me at a county fair meeting in West Virginia was pretty
bad. I had tongue-hammered that kid pretty hard two or three times at
that meeting for winning when his mounts weren’t due to win and I didn’t
want ’em to win, and he got sulky. I tried to coddle him up a bit, for I
had a real good one to pull off on the last day of the fair, and I
thought I had him all right on my staff again. The real good thing was a
horse of mine that I had entered in the final race, which the jays down
there called a mile race for the 1:55 running class.’ 1:55! I had a
skate with me down there that could just common canter a mile in 1:45,
and he could have done it in three seconds better if pinched at any
time. I had had the plug lose three or four races during the fair
meeting, and he wasn’t as good as Chinese money in the estimation of the
West Virginians by the time the race that he was going to win came
around. My boy was to have the mount, and our mutual confidence seemed
to be restored by the time the good thing was booked to happen. But he
had an ice-pick up his sleeve for me all the time."

"’Didn’t try with the horse, and lost, eh?’ asked one of the ex-ringer
worker’s listeners.

"’Oh, no, it wasn’t that,’ was the reply. The horse won by a tongue, and
the boy gave him a beautiful tight ride to keep him from winning further
off. But he put every grafter that he knew, and he knew ’em all at the
fair meeting next to what was going to happen, and made split terms with
all of them. That is, he put ’em on, on condition that he was to get
half of each man’s winnings on the race. Now, I had figured on picking
up $8,000 or $10,000 easy on that good thing, and I had lain awake
nights making plans to meet possible hitches. It certainly wasn’t
treating me right, the way that boy did. I thought I’d get as good as 25
to 1, anyhow, at the first betting. I intended to take a mess o’ that
and then wait for the betting to go up, for I confidently expected, and
had a right to expect, that the nag’s price, in view of what the farmers
down there thought of him, would go up to 50 or 100.

"When the betting on the race opened I was on hand with my wad. Say, I
couldn’t get within twenty feet of a one of the twelve bookies doing
business. I never saw such a scramble, even in the 50-cent field at
Sheepshead. Of course, I thought they were all getting aboard of the
favorite, and so I drew back, knowing that if they were playing the
favorite my plug would be going up in price all the time. Then I noticed
a lot of the educated money, the coin of the grafters that I knew around
the grounds, going in, and I wondered if they were Rubes enough to play
a favorite in the last race on get-away day. So I drew close to the
bookies’ stands—as close as I could get—and then I found that they were
all writing my horse’s name. Nothing but my horse. Not a horse in the
race but my horse. It was a staggerer, that was. Of course, I thought of
my miffed jockey right away, and I knew he had done it. When I finally
was able to get up to the bookies, I found that my plug’s price had been
played down from 20 to 1 to 9 to 10 on, and I was so disgusted that I
stayed off altogether, although I knew my horse was going to win. He did
win. The boy couldn’t peach because his rake-down had been too big, but
he showed me $3,500 in bills an hour after the race, got off twenty feet
and told me all about it, and then bolted. I haven’t seen him since."


_Wherein It Is Shown That, When There Is "Something Doing," a Bank-roll
                       Is Liable to Be Wrecked._

"I heard somewhere the other day," said one of a party of turfmen who
were dining together after the McGovern-Erne fight, "that Billy
Thompson, the ex-Duke of Gloucester, is trying to cook up some scheme
whereby the legal authorities of New Jersey ’ll relent and permit him to
start the old Gloucester merry-go-round again. I don’t think he’ll make
it stick, if the story is true, but if Gloucester ever is started again
I know a man who’d be very liable to burn the barns down some dark
night. I don’t think he’d let the Gloucester mud-lark and snow bird
race-track operate while he lives.

"In 1880 this man I’m talking about—he had passed up a good grocery
business to play the races a year before—had nursed together a wad of
about six thousand dollars, and this gave him a bad case of the Sandow
vest. He was so chesty over having all that money that he concluded he’d
try a whirl on the block. There was only winter racing going on when he
got that smoky notion into his hat, and that was at Gloucester. As you
fellows know, they used to run ’em there in snow up to the saddle
pommels, and the plug that could make out the best without going over
the fence, or that didn’t become crazy from snow blindness, always
yanked down the money at Gloucester—that is, if he was meant to win.

"This ex-sugar-and-tea guy was a dead verdant one at the bookmaking game
when he went on the block at Gloucester, but he kept his ears open and
his mouth shut, and he had quite a streak of luck, besides, from the
go-off, so that at the end of his first week at laying odds he found
that he’d averaged a clean-up of about $200 a day. You couldn’t see him
then without sending up your card, he was so vast and heap-much. He was
thinking of going down Dixieway to make a bid on the Belle Meade farm,
and, by the end of his third week on the block, when he had run his
$6000 into a bit more than $10,000, he was probably the haughtiest
gazabo on this side of the Rocky Mountains.

"One day—it was at the beginning of his fourth week at bookmaking—a duck
who had a string of good ones—of their kind—chasing the Gloucester
will-o’-the-wisp for the poolroom purses, invited himself to take dinner
with the ex-grocer with the streak of luck. After they had stored the
feed away at the high-riding bookmaker’s Philadelphia hotel, the man
with the string leaned back in his chair and sprung what he had in mind.
He mentioned the star sprinter of his string.

"’You know, of course,’ said he confidentially, to the ex-grocer, ’that
that nag can eat up any horse down here at three-quarters of a mile.
He’d never be beaten at that distance if we let him out every time he
went to the post to race. But, of course, if I’d let him win every time
out, there would never be any price on him. He’d be a 1 to 20 shot every
time he got a lead-pad on, and I’m not going down the line on that kind
of prices. Neither am I running my string over at Gloucester for
hygienic reasons. Perceive?’

"The new bookie perceived.

"’Well,’ this oily geezer went on, ’that horse is entered in a
six-furlong sprint to-morrow, as you know. He’ll probably be an
even-money favorite. He’ll lose.’

"’He will, hey?’ said the new man on the block, suspicious like. ’That’s
darned good of you to tell me. But you’re not telling me that for your
health, either. He’s going to lose, eh?’

"’Yep, he’ll lose,’ repeated the smooth owner. ’Now, you’re a pretty
nice young fellow, ain’t you? I like you. Understand?’

"’Um,’ said the ex-grocer. ’What’s your graft, anyhow?’

"’Well, as I say, that skate of mine is going to lose,’ said the
confidential owner once more. ’Now, you see this thousand-dollar
William, don’t you? Well, I want you to take a thousand-dollars’ worth
of my horse to win for my account, see, when you make your book on that
race. He may be as good as 2 to 1, but he’s going to lose anyhow. You
see, I just want to pick up an honest dollar or so. You take this $1,000
of the suckers’ money for me on your book, and your reward ’ll be in
knowing what’s going to happen. You can hunch up the price, see? Is it a

"Now, this looked like a pretty good thing to the groceryman. It looked
like taking candy from a child. If that owner’s horse wasn’t going to
lose, it looked like a cinch that he wasn’t going to risk any
thousand-dollar bills on the game. So the new bookie told the owner that
he was on, took his $1,000, and figured on the pounding he was going to
give the talent the next day. He chuckled to himself when the other
books only laid even money against the sprinter when the betting on the
race began the next afternoon.

"’They wouldn’t do a thing but fall over themselves to lay a long price
if they knew, like I do, that the favorite is going to kerflop,’ mused
the ex-groceryman—he wailed me the whole spiel afterward—and he laid 2
to 1 against the sprinter’s chances on his slate. The other bookies over
his way looked as if they thought he was wheely, but he only exulted
whole lots inside of him.

"’You are wise people,’ he thought, ’but this is where I get the big end
of it.’

"Within three minutes after he had started his slate he had taken in the
horse owner’s $1,000 worth of his horse at 2 to 1. The handicappers just
battled to get at his book at their figures. Said he to himself, ’I’ll
just tap myself on this watermelon,’ and by the time the horses went to
the post he had taken in $5,000 of the public money at 2 to 1 on that
horse that was going to lose, and he knew that he’d be just $5,000 to
the good.

"Of course you chaps are next. When the horses got away the skate that
the ex-grocer had laid his whole $1,000 against walked in on the bit,
fifteen lengths to the good in a buck-jump. He was under twenty wraps
all the way from the flag-fall.

"The new bookie paid out his $10,000, bought a clay pipe and an
eight-cent package of punk tobacco, and went out of business, and he’s
been out of business ever since. It took him about a week to get
contiguous to the fact that the men who collected his $10,000 were the
smooth owner’s commissioners, but when he went gunning the owner had
removed his string from Gloucester, and was taking a little winter
cruise in a felucca in the Ægean Sea. But if Gloucester ever starts up
again, and there’s a conflagration, I’ll know how it started."

"There’s another chap that I know of who’s been smoking unfragrant
tobacco in a pipe for a good many years on account of an outlaw track
deal," said one of the other turfmen at the table, "but he wasn’t a new
man at the game. He was an old-timer—so much of an old-timer that it was
up to him to know that, once having made a tool of a man or a boy in the
racing business, it is never the part of wisdom to throw him overboard
on the presumption that he’s a dead one. Turf followers, as you fellows
all know, have a habit of resurrecting themselves at inopportune moments
when it seems that they are so deeply buried that they’ll never struggle
to the top of the ground again, and when they do run a shoe-tongue into
a tan-yard they are more than liable to get hunk with former pals who
have cast them aside in the hour of adversity. Now, it is a particularly
dangerous thing for any man connected with racing to do business with a
jockey. I never heard of a bit of jockey-tampering that didn’t get out
sooner or later, to the disadvantage of the man that did the corrupting.
I guess we all know of cases in which jockeys, after being ruled off for
crooked work, have become exacting pensioners on the hands of the men
responsible for their downfall for long stretches of years. The story I
have in mind is of a jockey who, while he wasn’t set down through
following the directions of the bookmaker he did business with, was
treated with characteristic meanness by the latter when he was up
against it owing to an accident; and the way this jock got even with his
former tamperer was unique.

"You all remember the boy Kelley? He wasn’t exactly a boy at the time
this thing happened—he was a man of twenty-two or so, which probably
accounted for the fact that when he was riding at Guttenberg he had most
of the other jockeys faded; give me a rider with a man’s hand on his
shoulders every time for my horse. Now, the morale of Guttenberg wasn’t
like unto that pervading a theological institution, but Kelley the jock
wasn’t any worse than his neighbors. He was like all the rest of the
people mixed up with the weird game at the Gut. It was a poor jock at
the Gut who didn’t have a bookmaker on his staff, and Kelley wasn’t a
poor jock by fifty good pounds under the saddle. It used to be an off
day with Kelley when he didn’t put up a ride in accordance with this
bookmaker’s orders. All of the jocks at the Gut did similar things, and
they were stood for. The hectic flush of humiliation didn’t mantle the
alabaster countenances of the Gut stewards to any huge extent when the 1
to 5 shot was beaten a furlong. Kelley was enabled to throw big money
into his bookie’s satchel, because, being such a top-notch rider of
outlaws, most of his mounts went to the post favorites; so that when he
snatched a horse it meant the good of the books, and of his bookmaker in
particular, for the latter would of course lay the longest price in
their judgment against one that he knew was going to run like a mackerel
along a dusty road. Kelley profited fairly well at the hands of this
bookmaker, and on his side he was absolutely loyal in his crookedness.
He invariably delivered the goods. He had the knack of making it appear
to the people with the field glasses that he was riding like a fiend,
when in reality he had his horse pulled double, and when he was
following orders he could permit the favorite under him to be beaten out
by a tongue on the wire in a way that would raise the hair of the folks
in the stand.

"Well, one day Kelley was dumped from a horse he was riding when the
track was slippery and broke his leg. He had been improvident and
extravagant, like most of the jocks of that day, so that when the
accident put him on the flat of his back he found himself broke. What
was more natural than that he should send to the bookmaker whose orders
he had been following for a long time for assistance? He wrote to the
bookie and asked for the loan of $100. The bookmaker ignored the
request. Then the laid-up jockey sent a friend to the bookmaker. The
latter made some remark about not coughing up for the oats and keep of
dead ones—figuring, you see, that Kelley’s injuries were such that he
wouldn’t be able to get back to the riding game until the close of the
meeting. So the jockey had to stave off doctors’ and other bills as best
he could, and I guess that he set his teeth down pretty hard and did
some robust thinking while his leg was healing.

"A couple of months after this accident Kelley, somewhat pale, turned up
in the paddock at the Gut one morning and announced that he was fit to
ride again. His services were immediately in demand, and Mike Daly got
him to ride his horse Gloster in the first race on the card. Gloster was
the best horse in the race and was certain to be favorite. The bookie,
who had used Kelley before his accident and afterward turned him down,
got to Kelley by the underground process, through an agent, with the
inquiry as to whether a little business couldn’t be done on Gloster.
Kelley, with all the good nature in life, sent word that there could,
certainly; that he could get Gloster beaten by an eyelash.

"The betting opened and Gloster was the favorite all over the ring at
odds of 1 to 2 on. Then Kelley’s bookmaker began to shoot the price
up—first to 3 to 5 on, then to 4 to 5 on, then to even money, and then
right up to 6 to 5 and even 7 to 5 against. The way that bookie hauled
in the money on Gloster was a caution. It seemed that every plunger and
casual bettor in the inclosure wanted a piece of Gloster at Kelley’s
bookmaker’s odds—all the rest of the pencillers still held Gloster at 1
to 2 on—and the bookmaker took in thousands of dollars on the horse.
When they were still whacking him with Gloster bets he became somewhat
nervous and sent his agent to Kelley again for reassurance. Kelley told
the agent again that Gloster wasn’t going to win.

"’He’s taking in billions on Gloster,’ said the agent to Kelley.

"’Let him handle the whole mint on the nag,’ replied Kelley. ’Gloster
will just about get the place—maybe.’

"In the meantime the judges, who occasionally made a bluff at getting
haughty and virtuous, got next to the big odds that one
bookmaker—Kelley’s bookmaker—was offering against Gloster, and,
naturally enough, they became suspicious. Five minutes before the horses
were due to go to the post, therefore, they called Kelley into the stand
and asked him squarely if there was anything doing by which Gloster was
going to get beat.

"’If Gloster doesn’t win this race,’ replied Kelley, ’you can rule me
off for life.’

"Kelley had put every man, woman, child and dog that he knew at the
track on to the fact that he was going to win by a Philadelphia block on
Gloster, and the bookmaker who had turned him down when he was on the
flat of his back with a broken stilt in the middle of winter got the
play of all of them. Dollar bets and $1,000 bets all looked alike to the
bookmaker. He took all the money that came along without rubbing. He
thought he had a corked-up good thing.

"When the bugle sounded and the horses emerged from the paddock, the
bookmaker, with his glasses in his hand, was leaning against the rail,
and he looked up with a grin to catch Kelley’s eye as the jockey rode by
on Gloster. He caught Kelley’s eye, but there was no responsive grin.
There was, instead, a dirty sneer on Kelley’s drawn, pale mug, and, as
he caught sight of the leering bookie he drew Gloster up for just an
instant and spat viciously in the direction of the man who had treated
him with such ingratitude.

"The bookmaker saw in that instant that he was ditched. His face went
white, and he clutched the rail, and he was still digging his
fingernails into the rail when, a few minutes later, the victorious
Gloster, who had won by about half a furlong, was led into the paddock,
with Kelley walking alongside of him. When that bookie got through
paying off the Gloster bets he had taken in he was out of business, and
when the story of how it all came about leaked out, there wasn’t a man
in the game that didn’t say that the bookie got all that was coming to


_And the Evaporation of His Resolution to Have Nothing to Do With Them._

"Touts," said Busyday, oracularly, to his companion on a train bound for
the Bay on Suburban day, "are the derned nuisances of the racing game.
You want to watch out for them. If by chance you should get separated
from me in the crowd, don’t you let any of the sharp-eyed, soft-voiced
ducks talk you into playing this or that one. Just you stick to those
selections I wrote out for you on that piece of paper. They’re the
logical winners. A friend of mine, whose brother is a bookmaker,
handicapped ’em for me, and I’m going to play every one of ’em myself.
That’s the only way to win; stick to your selections, and don’t let
yourself be touted. The man who listens to touts smokes a pipe.

"Uh, huh," replied Busyday’s friend, who was from Busyday’s native town
out West. He had never seen a horse race in his life, whereas Busyday
was an old-timer and learned at the game, having seen three Handicaps
and two Suburbans ran.

"They make kind of a lukewarm effort to keep the touts off the tracks,"
went on Busyday, disparagingly; "but the touts are too smooth for ’em,
and they’re always around, looking for good things like you, old man.
All you’ve got to do is just to flout ’em from the jump, as soon as they
edge up to you, and they’ll shoo-fly instantly, rather than take chances
on being spotted by the Pinkerton people. Tell ’em to go to the devil,
that’s all."

"Uh, huh," answered Busyday’s friend and guest, once more.

It came to pass that Busyday and his visiting townsman were separated
before they had got off the train. The car was jammed, and in the
confusion of getting off they made their exits by different doors.
Busyday frantically yelled out his friend’s name as soon as he found
himself alone on the platform, but, of course, he got no reply. His
friend was engulfed in the crowd.

"I s’pose I ought to have held hold of his hand, like a fellow does when
he takes his sister’s kids out for a walk," he reflected. "This is
blasted mean luck from the go-off. The touts’ll get hold of him now,
sure as shootin’, and they’ll strip him. Good thing he’s got his ticket
back to the little old slab of a town where we used to play shinny

Busyday roamed around the grand-stand and the betting ring for ten
minutes before the slates went up for the first race, trying to catch
sight of his friend, but it was no use. His townsman wasn’t visible
anywhere. Then a sudden swirling and eddying in the betting ring told
him that the prices were up for the first race.

"I’ll have to pass the old boy up until I get this bet down," said
Busyday to himself, pulling out of his pocket the slip of paper that the
handicapper had given him the evening before. "Let’s see, what one of
’em have I got to win this? Oh, yes; Peaceful—good name, but it doesn’t
sound as if a horse with a name like that could run much. I’d rather
have a horse called Lightning Express, or Cyclone, or Helen Blazes, or
something like that, run for my money. S’pose, though, this handicapping
chap knows what he is doing, and so I’ll just put my first ten on
Peaceful to win. Hey? How’s that?"

There was a soft, persuasive buzz right in Busyday’s ear.

"D’ye notice all the suckers breakin’ their necks t’ land on that
Peaceful dead one?" were the words that formed the buzz.

Busyday jerked his head around suddenly, and he found within four inches
of his ear the countenance of a young-old man with red hair, a freckled
skin, and a pale-blue, shifty eye.

"Dead one?" echoed Busyday, the red-haired, young-old man smiling
amiably in his face.

"Libster," said he of the pale-blue, shifty eye, looking entirely
disinterested. "Out-and-out libster. Crab. Run about a dozen sprints,
and still a merry maiden. And look at the chancts th’ mutt’s had to win!
Leads th’ percession into th’ stretch every whirl, and then chucks it. A
proper dog, Cap. That’s on the dead. Worst quitter on th’ grounds."

"Um," said Busyday, stroking his chin and wondering why his handicapper
had picked Peaceful.

"I got th’ baby," buzzed the freckle-faced, young-old man, after a

"Hey?" asked Busyday.

"For a pipe," said the shifty-eyed one. "Say, I don’t git out o’ me
Waldorf bunk at 3 o’clock every mornin’ for me health."

"Is that so?" inquired Busyday, just for the sake of saying something.

"Not on yer dinner pail," said the aged youth with the shifty eye. "I
light out fer th’ tracks t’ watch ’em at their early mornin’ works. I’m
a railbird, all right, but I know where th’ dough is. I seen this baby
that I’m tellin’ you about do the five-eighths in a minute flat th’
other mornin’, an’ if he ain’t a moral fer this, here’s my lid an’ you
can eat it," whereupon the shifty-eyed one removed his 50-cent straw hat
and offered it to Busyday.

"What’s the name of this wonder?" inquired Busyday, trying to work up a
superior smile.

The aged youth bent over, placed his mouth within a quarter of an inch
of Busyday’s ear, and whispered:

"Stuart. He’ll walk."

"Oh, well, then, I’ll waste a ten-spot on Stuart," said Busyday, trying
to say it languidly, as if he didn’t take much stock in himself or
anybody else. Then he plunged into the vortex around one of the
bookmakers’ elevated chairs, got his feet trod upon, his hat jammed down
over his eyes, and his ribs treated to an all-hands elbow massage, and
finally succeeded in passing up his ten-dollar bill on Stuart to win.

"Stuart, thirty-five to ten," droned the bookmaker to the sheet-writer,
and then Busyday found himself beaten to the outskirts of the crowd.

"You on?" he heard in his ear, and, turning, he saw the freckle-faced
one smiling up at him.

"Yep—dropped ten on it," replied Busyday. "Kind o’ liked Stuart myself
when I saw him entered."

Then Busyday steered for the lawn to see the finish of the race. He was
trying to get some sense out of the list of owners’ colors on his
program, so as to be able to distinguish his horse as they raced under
the wire, when a calm man next to him, with a pair of field-glasses to
his eyes, mumbled:

"They’re off!"

There was a big shout all around.

"Lady Uncas out in front," said the calm man coolly. "She’ll curl up.
She seems to be staying, though, at that. Nope, she’s collared. Stuart’s
nailed her. He walks," and the calm man put down his glasses as the
horses galloped past the sixteenth pole.

Stuart came in all alone, and Peaceful was back in the ruck.

"I had my suspicions about that Stuart horse right along," said Busyday
to himself. He had never seen the horse’s name until the evening before.
"Don’t know why, but I kind o’ liked him. Probably because the Stuart
were a pretty swift bunch," and he chuckled to himself over his humor as
he made his way to the bookmaker’s line to cash.

"Somethin’ easy—like findin’ it, hey?" he heard buzzed into his ear as
soon as he put his foot into the betting ring, and there was the
old-faced young man, grinning complaisantly up at him.

Busyday handed to the shifty-eyed one, who stuck to him right up to the
paying-off line, buzzing learnedly all the time about the race just ran,
a $10 bill out of his $35 winning.

"Th’ next," said the red-haired wiseacre of the rail when Busyday had
fought himself away from the cashing crowd, "is what you might call a
one-hoss race. A one-hoss race, right."

"Lambent, of course?" said Busyday, looking at his piece of paper with
the selections on it. Lambent was his handicapper’s selection.

The freckle-faced screwed the whole left side of his face up into one
prodigious wink.

"Not this cage," said he. "Try the next. Lambent?" and he put one large,
white, freckled hand over his face, as if to hide his confusion, and
grinned through his fingers.

"Well, Lambent figures to win, doesn’t she?" asked Busyday weakly.

"Who, Lambent?" and the shifty-eyed smiled some more. "I’m goin’ t’
match her in a sweepstakes against me old aunt, and back me aunt off th’
boards fer a hog-killin’. There’s on’y one in this. Skinch. You can tap
on it."

"Which one?" asked Busyday in a wabbly tone.

Again the aged youth bent over until his mouth was within a quarter of
an inch of Busyday’s ear.

"Swiftmas," he replied. "Been saved up for a good thing, right. If he
don’t buck-jump in, here’s me lid," and once more he extended his
half-dollar straw hat for Busyday’s mastication.

"Well," said Busyday to himself between his teeth as he made his way
through the jostling crowd to one of the bookmakers’ stands, "I guess
I’m a weak and erring brother, all right, but danged if I don’t play
that redhead once more, anyhow," and he got $40 for his $20 on Swiftmas
to win. Swiftmas won by a head.

"They were too foxy t’ win too far off," Busyday was informed by means
of a buzz in his ear, by this time well known, as he was elbowing his
way again to the cashing line. "Boy drew it fine so’s not t’ spoil th’
price next time out."

The freckle-faced old youth got $15 out of Busyday’s $40 winning, and
then he looked Busyday over carefully and inquired:

"How about me?"

"You’ll do," replied Busyday, candidly. "Name the next."

"His Nibs, the Prince of Melbourne," whispered the freckle-faced, and
Busyday glanced at his handicapper’s selections. It was the Prince of
Melbourne there, too.

"He can’t lose," said the shifty-eyed. "Just a pleasant airing fer him.
Nothin’ to it. W’en you put yer coin down, you might as well stay right
here so’s t’ be foist in line. Put a bunch on."

"I’ve got some of their money," mused Busyday, "and I won’t pass it all
back to ’em in a lump."

He got $75 to $30 on Prince of Melbourne to win, bought three cigars for
a dollar and a pint of wine, and then suddenly wondered where his
townsman was.

"No use trying to look him up, though," he reflected, "in this jam of
Indians. Poor old chap, I s’pose he’s smashed flatter’n a pancake by
this time, without the price of a bottle of pop," and he reproached
himself a good deal for not having hung on to his guest when they left
the train. He was aroused from his reflections by the yowl, "They’re
off!" and by the time he got out to the lawn the horses were coming down
the stretch.

"His Princelets, with his mouth wide open," he heard the crowd yell, and
then his chest expanded, and he muttered to himself: "I always did have
a soft spot for that derned old plug!" For the moment he forgot that the
Prince of Melbourne happened to be a two-year-old.

"Oh, w’en I pick up a good one as I go along I like t’ put me fren’s
on," buzzed the freckle-faced in his ear, as he made for the paying-off
line. Notwithstanding the fact that the Prince of Melbourne’s name
appeared on his handicapper’s list of selections, Busyday very
cheerfully gave up one-third, or $25 of his winnings, on the
two-year-old to the red-haired youth. The latter soaked the bills away
in his white-and-brown-striped trousers, and then he remarked, in an
offhand sort of way:

"Well, this is where you pass me up, ain’d it, so?"

"Well," said Busyday, "I came down to play Banastar, and I think I’ll
have to stay with that hunch, if you’re agreeable."

"Cert’nly," said the shifty-eyed, with an expression more of sorrow than
of anger on his lined face. "Go ahead. Help yourself. Have all th’ fun
that’s comin’ t’ you."

"Why, what’s the matter?" inquired Busyday. "Ain’t Banastar the play?"

"And he looks like a duck with a purty good top-knot on him, at that,"
said the freckle-faced, dreamily, paying no attention to Busyday’s
question, and apparently addressing empty air.

"What’s the matter with Banastar?" repeated Busyday.

"I’m not queerin’ yer fun, Cap," went on the shifty-eyed. "You come down
wit’ th’ Banastar bug in yer nut, like all the rest, and I’m not
a-switchin’ you."

"Look a-here," said Busyday, "what the dickens are you giving us,
anyhow? Don’t you think Banastar’ll win the Suburban?"

"Cap," said the aged youth, spitting dryly and for the first time
looking Busyday squarely in the eye, "there’s a mare in this bunch
that’ll run things around all the Banastars from here to Hoboken an’
back. She kin fall down, an’ win. She kin take naps between poles an’
walk. She’s a piperino, if ever one was pushed up fer geezers to nibble
at. But I’m not a-switchin’ you, un’stand?"

"Mare, hey?" said Busyday, looking over his program. "You mean that

"Ain’t it?" said the freckle-faced. "Well, I guess yah. She win th’ last
time out with’ 126 up, eatin’ peanuts down th’ stretch, from a bunch
purty near as good as this. Banastar? Cap, I ain’t no hog, an’ you’ve
passed along what coin was a-comin’ to me. I’ll lay you 2 t’ 1 Banastar
won’t git one, two, t’ree."

"Dog-goned if I know what to do," mused Busyday. "Here I’ve been
shouting Banastar ever since the Handicap, and I promised my wife
faithfully that I’d play Banastar. Say," addressing the freckle-faced,
who stood by sorrowfully regarding him, "is this Imp fast enough, that’s
what I want to know? Won’t Banastar beat her on speed?"

The aged youth held up one thumb vertically and indicated with the
forefinger of his other hand.

"De Empire State Express," said he.

Then he held up his other thumb.

"Steam roller," said he. "Take yer pick."

Busyday made a sudden dive for a bookmaker’s line.

"Which I may remark, in strict confidence," he said to himself as he
tugged at his wad and counted out five twenty-dollar bills, "that there
may be softer marks between here and High Bridge than myself; but,
confound that freckle-faced tout’s red head, I’m just a-going to slide
along with him and play Imp at that, Banastar or no Banastar!" and ten
seconds later the bookmaker was taking Busyday’s five twenties and
droning out, "Six hundred to $100 on Imp to win."

Busyday was lighting the last of his three-for-fifty cigars over in a
corner of the betting ring when the well-known buzz reached his ears

"On?" inquired the buzz. "Good and hard?"

"Yep," said Busyday. "Hundred."

Imp’s win is turf history. As Busyday handed the tout two crisp $100
bills the freckle-faced remarked:

"An’ you ain’t th’ on’y collect I make on this, Cap. I got a hayseed on
th’ mare fer $300, an’ I had him on all th’ rest o’ them good things, at

"Well, so long, Red," said Busyday. "I’m getting back to town to dinner.
Next time I come down I’ll give you my trade if I see you around."

Then Busyday went up into the stand to take a final look around for his
townsman. He didn’t see him, and he started for the gate. Just as he got
outside the gate he saw his fellow townsman and guest stepping into a
hack. His fellow townsman and guest looked pretty jaunty, but Busyday
didn’t notice it.

"Hey, there, old man," he called after his friend, and the latter looked

"Oh, here you are," said Busyday’s friend, with an expensive cigar stuck
at an angle of forty-five degrees in one corner of his mouth. "Trimmed?"

"Nope," said Busyday. "I landed on a few little good things that
occurred to me after I got to looking at the program, and I win ’bout a
thousand. Poor old jay, I suppose they put you out o’ business, eh?"

"Not by a long sight!" said his friend. "I ran into a freckle-faced,
red-headed duck as soon as I got in the grounds. I lost that piece o’
paper you gave me with the whadyoucallem—selections—on it, and so I
played what this red-headed chap told me to. Copped out ’bout $2800,
altogether. Had $300 on Imp to win the big race."

Then Busyday knew to whom the freckle-faced had referred when he spoke
of a hayseed.


_Narrative of the Red-Haired, Freckle-Faced Tout Who Had a Good Thing up
                              His Sleeve._

When the first line of betting on the fifth race at Gravesend was
chalked up shortly after 4 o’clock in the Harlem street poolroom on
Wednesday afternoon last, the red-haired, freckle-faced tout gave one
swift glance at the figures, clutched his armful of "dope" books and
sped over to a corner of the room where two flashy, well-fed looking
chaps sat tilted back in chairs, smoking and unconcernedly waiting for
the running of a race at Latonia in which they had a good thing.

"Here’s the soft spot o’ your life," said the red-haired, freckle-faced
tout, pulling a chair up alongside the two unconcerned-looking chaps.
"This’ll be like pullin’ th’ milk teeth out o’ a fox terrier’s face.
This is a real dill pickle. Are you two comin’ out into th’ garden,
Maud, or are you goin’ t’ let this one get away from you."

"Back t’ your dray," said one of the unconcerned-looking chaps. "Another
stiff, hey? T’ your dray!"

The red-haired, freckle-faced tout pulled his chair closer to them.

"But this is th’ hand-made, copper-coiled mash," said he, earnestly.
"It’s on’y onct in a while that you get them people that lays th’
figures out o’ line like they are on this one. This is th’ mellow goods.
Just send a few aces along on it, that’s all. It’s 100 to 1."

"Now you stawp, Red!" said the other unconcerned-looking man. "You
stawp, you rude thing!"

"He’ll come home on th’ bit," said "Red." "Lemme show you where he’s
been landin’, an’ you can see if he’s any 100 t’ 1 toss. Lemme pass you
th’ line, an’ if you don’t take none o’ it, then I’m on a cattle boat by
way o’ Glasgow," and the red-haired, freckle-faced tout opened up one of
his dope books and started to show the pair of flashy looking chaps
where Rolling Boer had finished in his previous races.

"Go take a sail with yourself, Red," put in one of the easy-looking
chaps. "Nothin’ doin’. Rolling Boer, hey? Not with Fenian bonds, good
when Ireland’s free. Rolling Boer, you say, Red? When did they get that
one out o’ the cavalry? Rolling Boer, ’ll still be jogging down the
stretch when you’re in bed, Reddy. Say, it’s a wonder you don’t dig up a
live one ’casionally. Stop trekkin. Winter’ll be coming on soon, and
you’ll be nix the price of a doss. Rolling Boer! To the woods!"

The red-haired tout mopped his face with a frayed blue polka-dotted

"Sey, what’s half a ten spot to you people?" he said in a tone of
entreaty. "The one you’re waitin’ f’r’ll be ’bout 1 to 4 on, an’ this is
sunshine money, at 100 to 1. You people know how they stan’ them 1 to 4
things on their heads out in Latonia. Say, take me spiel on this, won’t
you, f’r a fi’muth? Look where he got off th’ last time out, an’ where
he finished! If you can’t see him t’ win, take th’ 20 to 1 third. It’ll
be a shame t’ spen’ t’ money—but take it won’t you?"

The two complaisant-looking chaps turned away from the red-haired tout
and began a conversation between themselves. The tout looked very warm,
and an expression of despair crossed his weazened features. He mopped
his face again with his blue polka-dotted handkerchief and slunk away.
He sided up to one of the board-markers and said, out of the corner of
his mouth:

"Say, get an ace down on Rolling Boer f’r me, will you? It’s a skinch."

The board-marker grinned.

"I’m all out, Red," he replied. "Pushed me last ace up on the last
whizz, an’ didn’t get a whistle f’r it."

"This super’s good f’r a deuce in any hock shop—I’ve had it in f’r
three," went on the red-haired tout, appealingly, pulling out an old
silver time-piece and trying to pass it to the board-marker. "Lemme have
a buck on it, an’ I’ll pass you back five f’r it after th’ ring’s around
Rolling Boer. How’s that?"

"I’m all t’ th’ gruel, didn’t I tell you?" replied the man with the
chalk, with some asperity. "I got a ticker o’ me own. You’re puffin’
secon’s, Red. Rolling Boer couldn’t beat me little sister skippin’

The red-haired tout walked away with an expression of deep misery on his

"They think they are wise t’ th’ ponies, hey?" he muttered. "It’s bean
bag they ought t’ be playin’!"

He dug a quarter, two dimes and a nickel out of his change pocket and
looked at the coins dismally.

"It’s me feed coin," he mumbled, "but maybe I can get some piker t’ go
along with f’r another four bits."

He walked over to a shabby-looking chap who was slouching around with
his hands in his pockets.

"Say, you got a bundle on you?" the red-haired tout inquired of the
shabby-looking man.

The shabby-looking man dug a fifty-cent piece out of his left-hand
waistcoat pocket.

"That’s all I was huntin’ f’r," said the tout, displaying his coins.
"Let’s put th’ two pieces t’gether an’ nail ’em f’r $50 each."

"On what?" inquired the shabby-looking man without any apparent interest

"On a pipe," said the red-haired tout. "Rolling Boer. He’ll make ’em
dizzy and stroll in with his head a-swingin’ an’ his tail a-swishin’. Do
you come in with me f’r the half?"

The shabby-looking man put his fifty-cent piece back in his left-hand
waistcoat pocket.

"You’ll be fallin’ out o’ bed in a minute, Red," said the shabby-looking
man. "Not for me. I need the beers—ten of ’em."

"Yes, you’re a sport right, I think nix," said the red-haired tout,
walking gloomily away. "You’re a dead game, with the copper on."

His eagle eye caught sight of a fat man with some three parts of a jag
sitting at the "dope" table, alternately puffing at a ravelled cigar and
nodding sleepily. This jagged man had on one side of his head a straw
hat that looked as if it had been rained on and then sat on. The
red-haired tout went over to him.

"Say, your lid’s on the pork all right, ain’t it?" he said amiably to
the jagged man. "Been scrappin’ with a cable-car?"

"Fade away—fade away," said the jagged man, sleepily. "Do a disappearing

"I’ll tell you what I’ll do with you," said the red-haired tout, edging
over confidentially to the jagged man. "I’ll pass you this cage o’
mine—on’y bought it three days ago, and coughed a two-spot f’r it—f’r
that one o’ yours an’ half a buck t’ boot," and the red-haired tout
removed the pretty fair-looking straw hat he was wearing and pushed it
over to the jagged man. The jagged man took his ravelled cigar from his
mouth and grinned broadly.

"Say," he said to the red-haired tout, "you gimme th’ tizzy-wizzy—hones’
yo do. Me wear a No. 2 lid? Say, do your fadin’ stunt—fade away."

The tout picked up his hat, put it on, and walked away.

"Now they’ve hammered Rolling Boer down to 80 to 1, hey?" he said,
looking up at the second line of betting. "B’jee, I’d climb a porch t’
yank out a couple t’ put on that one."

He was disconsolately biting his nails and looking around to see if
there was any way out for him before the bunch of two-year-olds at
Gravesend went to the post.

"They’re at the pump at Gravesend!" announced the board-marker.

Just as the announcement was made, a little man with a straw-colored
mustache and a red, white and blue band around his straw hat mounted the
stairs, passed the spotter sitting at the door with a nod, lit a fresh
cigarette, and walked up behind the red-haired tout.

"Thay, Red," he said, "what’th good in thith?"

The red-haired tout wheeled like a man who’s been touched on the
shoulder by a deputy sheriff.

"You haven’t got a minute!" he said, rapidly, to the little man with the
straw-colored mustache. "It’s th’ baby o’ th’ year! Gimme three aces—two
f’r you, an’ one f’r me, an’ in four minutes from date you’ll be lookin’
over th’ sides of a balloon, chucking off ballast made out o’ money."

The lisping little man with the straw-colored mustache smiled
indulgently and pulled out a roll, from which he stripped a five-dollar

"That’th the thmalletht I’ve got, Red," he said, handing over the note
to the tout. "Thay"——

He chopped off the question, however, for the tout made two bounds for
the money-taker’s window.

"Three on Rolling Boer, T. L. M.!" he shouted, giving the initials of
the little man with the straw-colored mustache. "Th’ other two on th’
same, just plain R-e-d, Red, and both bets straight."

The man behind the desk grinned.

"High-ball mazuma for the house, Red," he said, twisting his mustache.
"That one ain’t got a look-in."

The tout was back at the side of the little man with the straw-colored
mustache who believed in him just as the operator sung out: "Off at

"Thay, Red," said the tout’s little man, "which one of 'em did you put
thothe five"——

"Rolling Boer at the quarter by a head!" sang out the operator.

"On that one!" said the red-haired tout, giving his thigh a whack with
his bundle of "dope" books. "It’s a pleasant outing for that one!

"Rolling Boer in the stretch by a nose!" called out the operator.

"Thay, he’ll curl up, won’t he, Red?" said the little man at the tout’s
side, nervously. "Did you play him straight or one, two, three"——

"Rolling Boer wins by a nose!" shouted the operator.

It was a bit too much for the red-haired tout. He didn’t have any words
handy. So he slammed his "dope" books down on a chair, pitched forward,
turned a cart wheel, and then walked around the room on his hands with
his coat hanging over his head, and a grin of indescribable happiness
all over his freckled features. The little man with the straw-colored
mustache who had believed in Red followed the tout about the room.

"Thay, what do we win, Red?" he asked. "What prithe wath that horth?"

"You yank out $240, an’ mine’s $160," said the red-haired tout, getting
on his feet again.

"Thay, Red, you’re all right," said the red-haired tout’s benefactor,
pumping him by both hands.

The two flashy-looking chaps who had first been tackled by the tout on
the Rolling Boer proposition now walked up behind him with long faces.

"Say, Red, why didn’t you pitch that at us a little stronger, hey?"

"Get t’ell away from me, you pikers!" was the red-haired tout’s reply.


     _Wherein It Is Shown That the Feminine Intuition Is Liable to
                       Occasionally Slip a Cog._

"Yes, siree," said the man with the ravelled cigar and the granulated
eyelids who swung precariously from a strap in a car of a returning
Sheepshead Bay train the other evening, "it certainly is funny about
these here hunches that women have, ain’t it?"

"No," said the two seated men he was addressing.

"Certainly is queer what freaky ideas they get into their heads," went
on the man with the ravelled cigar, ignoring the lack of encouragement
extended to him. "And when it comes to picking out good things on a
race-track, picking ’em out just on hunch, ain’t they wonders, hey?"

"Nope," said the two men at whom he was directing his conversation.

"It sure beats the Painted Post Silver Cornet Band how they can stick a
pin in a program with their eyes shut and light on a 100 to 1 shot that
wins a-blinking," continued the man with the granulated eyelids, tearing
two or three superfluous wrappers off his ravelled cigar. "Their system
beats the dope and the handicapping all to shucks, don’t it?"

"Nix," replied the two men in the seat.

"Never had such chance to size up the feminine hunch as I did out at
Morris Park ’bout six or seven years ago," went on the man with the
eccentric cigar. "Told my wife one night during the fall meeting at the
park that I was going to the races the next day, that a shoe clerk I
knew had told me about a good thing that was going to happen—he’d got it
from a trainer to whom he’d sold a pair of shoes—and I was going after
some of it.

"’Theophilus Nextdoor,’ says she to me, ’how dare you deliberately tell
me that you are going to gamble your money away, when I haven’t a rag to
my back and the coal not yet put in!’

"’Can’t help it, Clarissa,’ says I, ’I’ve just naturally got to invest
$50 on this good thing. I know it ain’t right, but I’ve got to do it,

"Then she let out on me, and we both got mad. I tried to square it up
with her the next morning, and at the breakfast table I read her the
names of the horses that were going to run in the race in which I had
the good thing the shoe clerk had given me. When I came to the name of a
horse called Jodan, she dropped her coffee cup with a clatter and stared
at me.

"’Jodan,’ said she. Isn’t that short for Joseph Daniel?’

"’Yes’m, I guess so,’ I said, not knowing whether it was or not, but
anxious to stroke her the right way.

"’Is that the horse you are going to invest your money on?’ she asked
me, breathlessly.

"’No, it’s another one,’ said I.

"’Well, you might just as well stay home, then,’ said she, positively.
’You’ll lose your money. Jodan will win. I dreamt all night last night
of my Uncle Joseph Daniel McGeachy, who was lost at sea when I was a
little bit of a thing, and if Jodan is short for Joseph Daniel, as it
must be, then Jodan will win.’

"’But that’s plain superstition, and races ain’t won that way,’ I said
to her.

"’I don’t care one bit, so I don’t,’ she said to me. 'You will simply be
throwing your money away, and I need so many things, if you invest it on
any other horse than Jodan.’

"I tried to argue with her, but it was no go. She told me that her lost
Uncle Joseph Daniel McGeachy had once won a full-rigged ship race from
Shanghai to Boston, and was a pretty speedy old cuss in more ways than
one, and that any horse named after her Uncle Joseph Daniel McGeachy
couldn’t lose. I told her that, while I didn’t know anything about this
Jodan horse, I didn’t think he could beat the good thing my shoe-clerk
friend had given me, but she wouldn’t listen to me. The last thing she
said to me before I left the house was:

"’If you are determined to be a horrid, vulgar, disgraceful gambler, you
play Jodan. You’ll be sorry if you don’t.’

"Stubborn, when they get an idea into their heads, women, ain’t they?"

"No," said the two men in the seat near the strap-clutching man with the
ravelled cigar.

"Well, by jing, I got to thinking about my wife’s queer hunch on that
Jodan horse on my way out to the track, and the more I thought about it
the weaker I became on that good thing my shoe-clerk friend had given

"’Women have got something away ahead of sense or reason,’ says I to
myself on the train on the way out, 'and I sure would feel almighty
cheap and no-account if my wife happened to be right about her Uncle
Joseph Daniel McGeachy and this Jodan horse. I sure would. I’ve got a
good mind to put a little money on that Jodan horse anyhow, derned if I

"I was still undecided about it when I got out to the track. That’s the
edge the bookmakers have got, ain’t it—the people that have real good
things and then wabble when it comes to sticking to them?"

"Nope," said the two men in the seat.

"Well, sir, when the prices were marked up for that race in which I had
the good thing, blamed if Jodan wasn’t chalked up at 100 to 1. My good
thing horse was the second choice at 5 to 1. I stood there looking at
the prices, getting pulled around and butted into, and I had the
dingedest time making up my mind what I was going to do that you ever
heard of in your life.

"’If my wife’s hunch is right,’ I thought, ’and that Jodan horse wins at
100 to 1 without my playing him, I’ll never hear the last of it as
long’s I’m on top of the ground. She’ll be telling me morning, noon and
night, that she gave me a chance to win $5000, and that I didn’t have
enough gumption to take it. And if the good thing my shoe-clerk friend
gave me wins at 5 to 1, I’ll be sore on myself for throwing away a
chance to pick up $250 if I don’t play it.’

"I walked out onto the lawn so’s I could have more room to make up my
mind. Then I wheeled around suddenly and dived into the betting ring.

"’By cracky!’ says I to myself, ’I’m doing this little gamble myself,
and, feminine hunch or no hunch, I’m going to play that good thing my
shoe-clerk friend gave me, and nothing else.’

"So I went to the first bookmaker I saw and got a $250 to $50 ticket on
my good thing."

Here the man with the granulated lids sighed heavily and looked
genuinely distressed.

"Say, it’s the dickens, ain’t it," he said, after a pause, "how these
things happen?"

The two men in the seat to whom he had been addressing his conversation
exhibited a certain suppressed interest as to the outcome.

"Of course Jodan just walked in that day, at 100 to 1?" said one of them
finally, with a grin that clearly indicated his belief that he had the
result discounted.

The man with a ravelled cigar struck a match and lit the same for the
eighteenth time.

"Not on your zinc wedding did Jodan walk in!" he said, puffing away
without removing his eyes from the match. "My good thing spread-eagled
’em from the jump, and won, pulled up, by eight lengths. Jodan was last.
It sure is odd about these feminine hunches, ain’t it?"

"Blamed if it ain’t," said one of the men in the seat.

"I carried a twelve-pound lobster home to my wife that night and told
her it was a fair replica of her Uncle Joseph Daniel McGeachy horse, and
she told me that she just wouldn’t believe that Jodan hadn’t won until
she saw the paper the next morning, so there now! She caved, though,
when I uncovered the $250 and told her that she couldn’t get that
cerise-silk-lined tailor-made dress quick enough to suit me, and she
said that she might have known that no horse named after her Uncle
Joseph Daniel McGeachy, who didn’t have any more luck than to go and get
himself lost at sea, could win anything.

"Well, a month or so after that I went down to Washington on a little
matter of business, and took my wife along with me. There was horse
racing going on near Washington then, at a track called St. Asaph,
across the Potomac in Virginia.

"’Clarissa,’ said I to my wife one morning, after I’d got all through
with my business in Washington and was ready to come back to New York,
’I think we’d better stay over to-day and go to the races at St. Asaph.
A man that I met in the shooting gallery down the street gave me a good
thing last night, and I think I ought to see to it. It’s going to come
off to-day.’

"Of course she told me again that I was going to rack and ruin, and
never would make anything of myself, but I told her that I just
naturally had to go over to St. Asaph that day and play Jodan.

"’Jodan!’ she almost screamed at me. ’Theophilus Nextdoor, how can you
have the hardihood to stand there and tell me that you are going to
waste your money on that horrid beast, when both of us are absolutely in
need of new fall outfits?’

"I told her that I’d see to the fall outfits, but that I sure couldn’t
get away from that Jodan good thing.

"’Why,’ I said, don’t you remember how wild you were about this same
Jodan horse only a little more than a month ago?’

"’I just don’t care one bit if I was,’ she replied. ’I know and you know
that any horse named after my Uncle Joseph Daniel McGeachy, who didn’t
have any more luck than to go and get himself lost at sea, cannot win,
and I should think you would be ashamed of yourself to stand there and
tell me to my face,’ etc., etc.

"Well, she wouldn’t go along with me to the track over at St. Asaph
across the Potomac, and so I went alone. The man I had met in the
shooting gallery had told me so earnestly about this Jodan horse that I
couldn’t fail to be impressed by his words, and when I found that my
wife was so opposed to Jodan’s chances was more than ever determined to
play him, for I’d learned something about the nature of the feminine
hunch, don’t you see?

"It like to’ve carried me off my feet when I saw the price on the
blackboards against Jodan. Jodan was quoted at 150 to 1. The favorite
was at 3 to 5 on, and all of ’em, the whole fourteen in the race, were
at shorter prices than Jodan. I clutched the $50 that I had intended
playing on Jodan, thinking that he’d be about 10 to 1 or something like
that, and I just thought and thought and thought over the thing.

"’By jimminy!’ said I finally, after standing over in a corner alone for
a while, thinking, ’my wife may be right about Jodan, and all that, but
I came over here to play Jodan, and I’m going to play him or just bust,
win or lose!’

"Then I went over to a bookmaker, got a $1500 to $10 ticket on Jodan to
win. ’Take that hay out of your hair, pal,’ the bookmaker said to me
when I passed my money over—and went up to the stand to see the race,
thinking all the time what a serious matter it is to take a chance on
playing against the feminine hunch.

"Jodan, after being practically left at the post, came out of the clouds
in the stretch, and won the derned old race on the wire by a nose from
the favorite, and when I hired a rig and packed those $1500 over to my
wife the way she warmed up to her one and only Theophilus was sure a

"The feminine hunch," concluded the man with the ravelled cigar and the
granulated eyelids, "is all right when you copper it, but it won’t do to
play it open. Am I right?"

"No," said the two men in the seat, and then the rush to get off the
train began.


_He Was Thought to Be a No-Account Cripple, but He Proved Himself to Be
                     "All Horse" When Called Upon._

"A friend of mine who came here from Chicago for the Bennings meeting
was telling me about that Jim McCleevy mule," said an old-time owner of
thoroughbreds who is wintering a string of jumpers and breaking a bunch
of yearlings out at the Bennings track. "That makes a queer story, and
there are some strange things connected with the thoroughbred game, at
that. This McCleevy horse wasn’t worth a bag of moist peanuts at the
beginning of the present racing season. He couldn’t beat a fat man. He
had never been in the money. He was a legitimate thousand-to-one shot in
any company. He was the candidate for the shafts of a brick cart, when
by some odd chance he passed into the possession of a nice young woman
who was going to school somewhere in the State of Iowa. The girl’s uncle
was mixed up some way or another with the turf, and he bought the
McCleevy plug for a joke, paying a few dollars for him. In a spirit of
fun he wrote to his niece that he had bought Jim McCleevy in her name,
and that the horse belonged to her and would be run in her interest. The
young woman didn’t know the difference between a race-horse and a
chatelaine bag. She was an orphan, and struggling to get an education
for herself. Her ambition was to take a course at a woman’s college,
but, up to the time of this incident, which lasted throughout the spring
and summer, her hope of putting this ambition over the plate was pretty
shadowy, and it looked like it was up to her to get a job teaching a
country school in order to support herself. But she wrote to her uncle
that she accepted the gift of the no-account racer with gratitude, and
inquired if the horse could not trot right fast, for, if so, she might
be able to dispose of him to some well-to-do farmer in her neighborhood.

"Jim McCleevy was attached to the string of a good trainer, who saw at
once that the horse had been underestimated, that he had been badly
handled, and that it would be worth the effort to try to make something
of him. He spent two or three weeks monkeying with the skate and fixing
him up, and then he sent him out one morning with a lummux of a stable
boy on his back and put the watch on him. Jim McCleevy breezed a mile in
1:44, fighting for his head at the finish, and two days later he was
slapped into a selling race at a mile and a sixteenth, with light
weight, a bum apprentice lad up, and all kinds of a price, for there
were some good ones in the race, which was at the Harlem track, in
Chicago. The girl’s uncle scattered a few dollars around the ring on the
mutt, all three ways, and McCleevy came home on the bit. That was the
beginning of McCleevy. He was put into a couple of races a week at a
mile and more, at the Harlem and Hawthorne tracks, during the entire
racing season at Chicago, and he won race after race, no matter how they
piled the weight penalties up on him. When he didn’t win he broke into
the money, and as there was always a good price on him, seeing that
almost every time he raced he was pitted against horses that seemed to
outclass him, the uncle of the girl who owned him got some of the money
every time. He parleyed the money that he won for his niece on Jim
McCleevy’s first race, and he got it back and a bunch besides every
time. The fame of Jim McCleevy spread around Chicago, and a Chicago
newspaper man went down to Iowa to interview the young woman who owned
the horse. She told him, artlessly, that while she abhorred
gambling—well, she certainly did enjoy the prospect of being enabled to
complete her education. Her uncle deposited between $8000 and $9000 in
her name, the amount he had won for her in purses and bets on Jim
McCleevy, at the wind-up of the racing season, and the horse, which
developed quite a bit of real class, still belongs to her.

"Odd, isn’t it, that an underestimated race-horse should hop out and not
only give a nice girl that had never so much as has stroked his sleek
neck a chance to fulfil her ambition for an education, but win her a
start in life that’ll probably make her one of the eligible girls in the
State of Iowa? But I recall a queerer one than that—how a cast-off crab
suddenly developed into a race-horse and paid off a mortgage on a

"That happened out at Latonia four years ago. I was racing a few of my
own out there at the time, and saw the affair from the beginning to the
wind-up. I’ll have to duck giving the names, for the good man who
profited by the sudden development of the nag he accidentally became
possessed of is still the pastor of a flock that congregates in a pretty
little debt-free, brick and stone Roman Catholic church on the outskirts
of Cincinnati.

"There was an old trainer hanging around the Latonia barns at that time
who was in hard luck from a whole lot of different points of view. I’d
known him on the metropolitan tracks years before, and he had been, in
his day of prosperity, a good fellow and a horse-wise man, if ever one
chewed a straw. When his health went back on him, however, six or seven
years ago, and he couldn’t personally attend to his work—he ran an open
training stable—it was all off with him. The strings that he had been
handling were taken away from him by the owners and put in other hands,
and he went up against the day of adversity with a rattle. He had a few
horses of his own, but these proved worthless, and most of them were
finally taken away from him to pay feed bills. On top of it all he
developed locomotor ataxia, and when I got out to the Latonia barns,
four years ago, he could barely move around. How he contrived to exist I
don’t know, but I guess the boys chipped in a dollar or so every once in
a while for the old man. The only horse that he had left when I reached
Latonia with my little bunch was an old six-year-old gelding that was a
joke. Well, call him Caspar. The mention of Caspar’s name made even the
stable-boy grin. Caspar looked a good deal like Diggs, that camel horse
that’s pulling down the purses now in New Orleans. He was all out of
shape, with a pair of knees on him each as big as your hat; of all the
bunged up, soured, chalky old skates that ever I looked over, this
Caspar gelding was the limit. Yet he had been a pretty good two-year-old
and a more than fair three-year-old. He had won four races as a
two-year-old, and six as a three-year-old, but he was campaigned and
drummed a heap, and when the old man shot him as a four-year-old Caspar
could just walk, and that’s all. He was a cripple from every point of
the compass. He was chronically sour and sore, and he was as vicious and
ugly as the devil, into the bargain. He never got anywhere near the
money as a four and five-year-old, and he hadn’t been raced at all as a
six-year-old, when I first clapped an eye on his rheumatic old shape.
But the old man was a sentimentalist in his way, and he couldn’t stand
the idea of selling a horse that he had taken care of as a baby to some
truck driver to be overworked and abused. So he hung on to Caspar, fed
him, nursed him and took care of him generally, just as if the old plug
was making good for all of this attention. Caspar was a standing gag
around the Latonia stables.

"’Wait’ll I joggle Caspar under the string by four lengths in the
Kentucky Derby!’ a monkey-faced apprentice jockey would say solemnly to
the other kids, and then they’d all holler.

"Well, about a month after I struck Latonia—it was then getting on
toward midsummer—the old trainer in hard luck who owned Caspar took to
his bunk, not to get up any more. He only lasted two weeks. Two days
before he died he sent for an old Irish priest that he had known for a
number of years. The priest was the pastor of that little brick and
stone church on the outskirts of Cincinnati that I spoke about. The old
trainer had been a good Catholic all his life, and he received the last
offices of his faith. Then he said to the priest:

"’Father, there’s a crabbed, battered-up old dog of mine over at Latonia
that I’ll make you a present of. He’s worth about one dollar and eighty
cents, but he was a good racing tool when he was young, and I’ve never
felt like turning him loose to hustle for himself. He’s crippled up
some, but you might get him broken to harness, so that he could haul
your buggy around. I wish you’d take him and see that he doesn’t get the
worst of it. Caspar was pretty good to me a few times when I was up
against it.’

"When the old man turns up his toes and dies the kindly priest came over
to the barns to see if he could get any assistance in the way of putting
our old hard-luck pal under the ground. He got it, of course, and enough
for a tombstone besides. While he was at the stables the father thought
he might as well have a look at the piece of horse-flesh that had been
presented to him by the old man. So one of the trainers escorted him to
Caspar’s stall.

"’Could he ever be made any good for driving purposes?’ the priest asked
the trainer, who smiled.

"’He’d kick a piano-mover’s truck into matchwood the first clatter out
of the box,’ replied the trainer.

"’I’ll just let him stay over here for awhile until I decide what to do
with him,’ said the priest, and he went back to Cincinnati and buried
the old trainer.

"Well, a couple of mornings later a fresh stable-boy who had just got a
job in one of the barns put a bridle and saddle on old Caspar and took
him for a breeze around the course just for fun. It was just at dawn,
and a lot of us trainers were watching the early morning work of the
horses. It struck me when Caspar passed by the rail where I was standing
that the old devil looked mighty skittish, and was doing a lot of
prancing for a hammered-to-death skate, with bum knees and all sorts of
other complaints. About a minute later there was a yawp all along the

"’Get next to that old Caspar!’ a lot of the trainers shouted. I looked
over toward the back-stretch, and there was the old skate with his head
down, eating up the ground like a race-horse. We all jerked out our
watches just as he flashed by the five-furlong pole and put them on him.
It was amazing to see the old mutt make the turn and come a-tearing down
the stretch. If he didn’t do that five furlongs in 1:02, darn me. All of
our watches told the same story, and there was no mistake about it. When
he passed the judges’ stand Caspar wanted to go right ahead and work
himself out, but we all hollered at the boy to pull him up. The kid
stopped the old gelding with difficulty. Caspar wanted to run, and he
had a mouth on him as hard as nails.

"We got together and talked about Caspar. We were dumbfounded, and
didn’t know what to make of that exhibition of speed. Then a trainer who
was, and still is, noted throughout the country as the most skilful
horse-patcher that ever got into the game spoke up.

"’The old devil’s just come back to himself, that’s all there is about
it,’ he said. ’There are a lot of sprints in his old carcass yet. All he
needs is some patching. If he’ll run like this work he’s just done in
five-furlong dashes, there’s a chance for a slaughter with him. I’m
going to ask the father to let me handle him and see if he can’t be
oiled up.’

"The trainer went over to Cincinnati that same morning and saw the

"’Father,’ said he, ’I don’t want to get a man of your cloth mixed up
with the racing game, but I think I can do something with that old
racing tool, the old man bequeathed to you.’ Then he told the priest
about Caspar’s phenomenal work that morning.

"’Bless me!’ said the good man, ’I fear it would not be seemly for me

"’Oh, that end of it’ll be all right, father,’ said the trainer. ’If I
find I can do anything with the old rogue I’ll shoot him into a dash
under my own colors, and you won’t be entangled with the thing a little
bit. It won’t cost you anything to let me try him out, and if I find
that he’ll do I’ll get my end of it by putting down—er—uh—well. I won’t
lose anything anyhow.’

"Well, when he left the kindly man of the cloth he had the permission to
see what could be done with old Caspar. "’Let me know how you progress,’
the priest had asked him.

"The trainer seeing a chance to make a killing—and we all vowed
ourselves to secrecy about the matter—went to old Caspar. He was a
nag-patcher, as I say, from the foot-hills, and the way he applied
himself to the reduction of Caspar’s inflammations, and to the tonicking
up in general of the old beast, was a caution to grasshoppers. And it
came about that early morning’s work of Caspar’s that had surprised us
so was no flash in the pan at all. The old ’possum had somehow or
another recovered his speed all of a sudden, in addition to a
willingness to run, in spite of his infirmities. At the end of two weeks
Caspar, as fine a bit of patched-work as you ever saw, was ready. The
trainer went over to Cincinnati and told the father so.

"’Well,’ inquired the priest.

"’He’s going to run in a five-furlong dash day after to-morrow,’ said
the trainer. ’And he’ll walk. It is a copper-riveted cinch—er-uh—I mean,
that is, Caspar will win, you see. It’ll be write your own ticket, too.
Any price. In fact when the gang sees his name among the entries,
they’ll think it’s a joke.’

"’My son,’ said the father, with a certain twinkle lurking in the corner
of his eye, ’gaming is a demoralizing passion. Nevertheless, if this
animal, that came into my possession by such odd chance, possesses
sufficient speed to—er’——

"’Oh, that’s all right, father,’ said the trainer and he bolted for it.

"As the trainer had said to the priest, there was an all-around chuckle
the following afternoon when the entry sheets were distributed and it
was seen that Caspar was in the five-furlong dash the next day. For a
wonder, not a word had got out about the patching job that had been in
progress on the old horse, nor about his remarkable work. The stable
lads and railbirds who were on kept their heads closed and saved their
nickels for the day of Caspar’s victory.

"Well, to curl this up some, the field that we confidently expected
Caspar to beat was made up of nine rattling good sprinters—one of them
was so good that his price opened and closed at 4 to 5 on. Caspar was
the rank outsider at 150 to 1. We all got on at that figure, the bookies
giving us the laugh at first, and only a few of them wise enough to rub
when they suspected that there was something doing. The trainers’,
railbirds’, and stable-boys’ money that went in forced the old skate’s
price down to 75 to 1 at post time. A number of us took small chunks of
100 to 1 in the poolrooms in Cincinnati—wired our commissions over. The
old horse favored his left forefoot a trifle in walking around to the
starting pole, and that worried us a bit, for he’d been all right on his
pin the night before. We didn’t do any hedging, however, but stood by to
see what was going to happen. All of us, of course, had enough down on
him to finish third to pull us out in case he couldn’t get the big end
of the money.

"It was a romp for Caspar. If I’d tell you the real name of the horse
you’d remember the race well. Caspar, with a perfect incompetent of a
jockey on his back, jumped off in the lead, and was never headed,
winning, pulled double and to a walk, by three lengths. The bookies made
all colors of a howl over it, but their howls didn’t go. They had to
cough. It was the biggest killing that bunch of Latonia trainers,
including myself, had ever made, and there wasn’t a stable boy on the
grounds that didn’t have money to cremate for months afterward.

"After the race the trainer who had patched old Caspar up for the
hogslaughtering—he was close on to $15,000 to the good, and he didn’t
have me skinned any, at that—hustled over to the priest’s house.

"’Father, the plug made monkeys of ’em,’ is the way he announced
Caspar’s victory.

"’Truly?’ said the priest.

"’Monkeys,’ repeated the trainer, and then he pulled out a huge new
wallet that he had bought on the way to the priest’s residence. He
handed the wallet to the father. 'When I was here, a couple o’ days
ago,’ said the trainer, looking interestedly out of the window, ’I had
along with me a fifty-dollar bill that, feeling pretty prosperous that
morning, I intended to hand to you to be distributed among the poor of
the parish—used to be an acolyte and serve mass myself, a good many
years ago, when I was a kid. Well, I forgot to pass you the fifty, you
see, and so I invested it in—er-uh—a little matter of speculation, to
your account, so that it amounts to—er-uh—well, I understood there’s a
bit of a mortgage on your church, you know."

"The priest opened the wallet and counted out seven one thousands, one
five hundred and one fifty-dollar bill. The trainer had put the $50 down
on Caspar for the priest—without the father’s sanction or countenance,
of course—at 150 to 1.

"’Well,’ went on the trainer, anxious to talk so as to save any
questions as to the nature of his speculation, ’it certainly would have
done your heart good if you could have seen that old nag cantering down
the stretch’——

"’It did,’ said the father, with a smile. ’It is no sin, I conceive, for
even a man of my cloth to watch noble beasts battling for the supremacy,
there being, I take it, nothing cruel in such contests. I saw the race.’

"Old Caspar was wound up by that race. He went to the paddock as sore as
a boil, all of his old infirmities breaking out with renewed strength,
and he was turned out to grass and died comfortably two years ago. If he
could have known, it might have cheered his declining days to realize
that he had paid off the mortgage on a nice little brick and stone
edifice of worship on the outskirts of Cincinnati."


  _How the Incredulity of a Lot of Bookmakers Was Turned Into Gasping

A mixed party of turf followers in Washington for the Bennings meeting,
and Washington men about town, had a café talk the other night about
some things that have happened in former years on running tracks,
legitimate and outlaw, in this neighborhood.

"When the outlaw track over at Alexander Island, across the Potomac, was
running a few years back," said a New York player, "I came down here
from the wind-up meeting in New York one fall to see if there was
anything in the game in these parts. Then, as now, I was playing, and
not laying. So this Alexander Island happening that I’m going to tell
you about didn’t bother me any, bad as it knocked a lot of the books.

"I got here before the Alexander meeting began. A couple of days before
the game was to be on, while I was in the Pennsylvania avenue
refreshment headquarters of the boys who came here from New York and
other tracks to write the tickets, a seedy-looking chap, who looked as
if the elements had conspired to make him smoke a bum pipe in the game
of life for a long time previously, walked in and edged around to the
back room where the bookies were figuring on the amount of fresh money
they were about to begin taking out of the national capital. The
tough-looking man had a horsey look and a horsey smell about him, and as
soon as I saw him I knew that he followed 'em in some kind of a
hanger-on capacity. He walked over to a table where a number of the
bookmakers were seated.

"’Say,’ said he, leaning his hands on the table and addressing the party
in general, ’you people are sports, ain’t you?’

"The looks the bookies gave the shabby-looking man were intended to
convey to him the idea that they weren’t publicly posing as hot tamales,
anyhow. The man got no reply.

"’You’re going to make books across the way, ain’t you?’ the
up-against-it-looking chap asked, with an inquiring look all around.

"’Well, what if we are?’ asked one of the bookies, just for the
good-natured sake of breaking the silence.

"’Well,’ said the down-at-the-heel sport, ’I’ve got a couple o’ nags
that have been running for the past six weeks over at the Maryland
outlaw. They haven’t been one, two, six in any race over there, and I’ve
gone broke paying entrance fees for ’em. Maybe they’ll be able to do
better over across the way at Alexander. I want to chuck ’em in a couple
over there, anyhow, for luck. But I owe $30 feed bill to the Maryland
outlaw people, and I can’t get my plugs away from there until the
thirty’s paid. Now, you people are sports, and so’m I. What I want to
know is, will you people cough up the thirty for me as a loan, so’s I
can get that pair o’ mine down here?’

"The bookies listened to the man with gradually increasing smiles, and
when he finished they gave him the laugh in chorus.

"’Stop your kidding,’ said one of them. ’I can get all the outlaw
racehorses I want for $2 a head.’

"They all chipped in with a crack at the doleful-looking sport, who
appeared to be rather a guileless sort of chap for a man with a short
stable of racers.

"’They’re a good pair, all right, and one of ’em’s on edge, too,’ he
persisted. ’He worked six furlongs in 1:21 flat a couple of days ago.’

"The bookies all looked at the man as if he were demented.

"’One twenty-one flat for a six-furlong route!’ exclaimed one of them.
’Why, look here, my friend, you’re not smoking hard enough to suppose
you can win down here with a skate that does well when he works six
furlongs in that time, are you? Don’t you know that there’s a whole
bunch over there now that can go that route in 1:16 or better?’

"’Well, they’ve got a chance, anyhow,’ said the shabby man. ’Do I get
the $30 to get ’em out o’ hock?’

"The bookies all turned their faces the other way, then, and when the
man with the pair of hocked nags saw that it wasn’t any use he dug his
hands into his pockets disconsolately and shambled out.

"On the day that the meeting opened I saw the shabby man in the betting
ring. I was behind him when he handed one of the bookies a $5 bet on one
of the horses entered in the second race of the day. The bookmaker had
belonged to the party that gave the laugh to the shabby man when he
asked for the $30.

"’Playing ’em, eh’ said the bookie, smiling at the run-down-looking man.
’Couldn’t get your pair away from the Maryland outlaw, I suppose.’

"’Yes, I dug up and got ’em out,’ said the man. 'They’re here now. The
one you just gave me a ticket on at $100 to $5 belongs to me.’

"’Oh, is that so?’ asked the bookmaker. ’Well, I hope you win. But
you’ve got a couple of 3 to 5 shots to beat, you know.’

"’I got a chance,’ was all the man said, walking away.

"I took a look at his horse, the rank outsider in the race, when he went
to the post with the others. He was a six-year-old gelding, and he
looked rank and broken down. A boy that the shabby man had brought along
from the Maryland outlaw was on the horse. It was a mile race, and the
horse was twelfth in a field of twelve. I saw the gloomy-looking, shabby
man in the paddock after the race superintending the rubbing down of his
nag. He seemed to be a whole lot in the dumps.

"The same horse was entered in the fourth race on the next day’s card.
It was a field of crack outlaw performers, and his horse was again the
extreme outsider at 40 to 1. I saw the shabby man walk around putting
down $2 bets here and there on his plug, and I felt sorry for him. The
bookies simply smiled commiseratingly at him. The hard-looking man’s
horse finished ninth in a field of nine.

"’Why don’t you cut it out?’ asked one of the bookmakers of the man with
the tough appearance. ’You’re wasting your stake.’

"’I got a chance,’ was the reply.

"The man got out his other horse on the following day. He got 50 to 1 on
him for the six-furlong race, and his plug, another rank and no-account
looker, finished last. This was the horse that could work six furlongs
in 1:21. The seedy man’s confidence in his pair of skates seemed rather
pathetic to me.

"After each of his horses had been in about half a dozen races each,
always finishing last, the both of them, and the seedy man putting twos
and fives down on them right along until the bookies felt like not
taking his money, I thought he’d take a tumble and quit the game. But on
the eleventh day of the meeting his ’mile racer,’ the six-year-old
gelding, was entered again. He went to the post with a field composed of
the cracks among the outlaws. I happened to be close to the seedy man
when he went around according to his custom, putting down small bets on
his horse. He seemed to be rather better fixed than usual that day, for
he had quite a bundle of fives with him.

"’What do I get on my horse?’ he asked the first bookie he struck.

"The layer grinned, for he knew there were eight or ten good ones in the
race, three or four of them quoted around even money.

"’I’ve got 75 to 1 hung up about him, and all you want of it,’ said the
bookie. ’You can write your own ticket, in fact.’

"’Hundred to 1?’ asked the seedy man.

"’Why, sure,’ replied the bookmaker. And he took $5 of the ’owner’s’
money at 100 to 1. Just out of curiosity I followed the seedy man in his
tour of the books and I saw him put down $70 in $5 bets on his horse to
win at 100 to 1. It struck me then that there was to be something done
on the seedy man’s horse. But I wasn’t capping the bookies’ game, and
I’ve got a fad for minding my own business, anyhow, and so I kept off
the race and went into the stand to watch it. I had a hunch to play the
seedy man’s horse for a good wad, but I reflected that if I got on and
the good thing went through the bookies ’ud be suspicious about such a
well-known player as I was being in on it, and in the investigation the
seedy man might be cut out, and I didn’t want to knock him. But I surely
was a whole lot interested in the way that race was to come out.

"I took a good look at the seedy man’s horse as they filed past the
stand to the post. He looked much better and pretty nippy at that for
such a rancid outsider. The same boy that had ridden the horse in his
first race at Alexander Island and landed him nowhere was up. It was a
mile race.

"The favorite, a horse called Walcott—4 to 5 on in the betting—got off
on the right foot with a jump and started to tiptoe the field. At the
quarter he led by three lengths, with the second choice, a good outlaw
named Halcyon, beginning to set sail for him. The rest of the field of
thirteen were all strung out, the seedy man’s horse ’way in the ruck.
But I kept my glasses on that horse all the way, and I could see that at
the half he was under the devil’s own pull. The boy had half a dozen
wraps on him and I felt then, even if the favorite was still a good four
lengths in the lead, and going easily, that there was but one horse in
the race, and that horse the seedy man’s. It was a watermelon just
opening, but I suppose I was the only man at the track that happened to
have got next to the game. The judges didn’t observe, of course, that
the seedy owner’s horse was under twenty wraps, for they looked upon him
as a dead one and paid no attention to his running.

"At the far turn Walcott, the favorite, was still three or four lengths
in front, Halcyon, the No. 2 choice, having fallen back, beaten out.
They were all in a bunch behind the leader, and all going mighty well at
the head of the stretch. All the time I had my glass focused on the
horse belonging to the shabby man. Walcott seemed to be just galloping,
as I say, at the head of the stretch, when I saw the jockey suddenly sit
down on the shabby man’s horse and start to ride a-horseback. It was
pretty, I tell you, to see that old six-year-old hop out after the
galloping favorite and chase him down the stretch. The old horse,
without a bit of whipping or spurring—the boy had simply given him his
head—pumped up like an express engine, and the favorite was taken out of
his gallop and extended, under whip and spur, before they were half way
down the stretch. Passing the stand, Walcott and the seedy man’s horse
were nose and nose, the latter gaining at every jump. Walcott was beaten
a head on the wire by the rank outsider in a pretty finish.

"The stewards had the seedy man in the stand immediately and then called
the boy up. It was an astonishing reversal of form, and action seemed to
be called for. The seedy man’s story was straight, however. He had given
his horse a half pint of whisky before the race and he supposed that was
responsible for the win. Doping horses was all right at Alexander, and
so the stewards couldn’t kick about that. The stewards touched upon the
ringer question, but the seedy man was such a simple kind of duck, and
his story was so connected about past owners of his two horses and their
life-long careers on the outlaw tracks, that the stewards finally
declared the race all hunk and the bets stood.

"I saw the shabby man cash his $70 worth of 100 to 1 tickets. He didn’t
gloat any over the bookies who had grinned in his teeth before the
race—just collected his money quietly, saying: ’Well, I had a chance,
didn’t I?’ The bookies were confident that the seedy man had a mighty
valuable pair of ringers on his staff, and that one of them had just won
the mile race in the beautiful, finely-drawn nose finish, but they
couldn’t welch on their bets. With his $7000 the seedy man took his
string of two away the next day.

"I ran across him last summer at the St. Louis Fair Grounds’ racing. He
was no longer a seedy man. He was covered with gig lamps, and he had it
in every pocket. Said I to him:

"’D’ye remember that neat 100 to I thing you pulled off in Washington a
few years ago? There was some quality in that old outlaw of yours that
got the money.’

"He looked at me with a broad grin.

"’Outlaw be damned,’ said he. ’That horse was one of the cracks out of
the West, on licensed tracks. He was a bit of paint. He had done a mile
in 1:39-1/2 twice—round miles—and he was as game as a wild turkey egg.
Me and my pardner pulled down $20,000 or so, running him as a ringer all
over the country. I was going to open my six-furlonger in Washington
that time, but $7000 was enough. My six-furlonger was a crack from
Frisco. He was dyed, too. Six furlongs in 1:14 was a common canter for
him. The Willie Wises back in the East are not so many at that, are


 _It Referred to Nothing Calculated to Disturb Domesticity, but It Came
                      Near Wrecking a Happy Home._

When the senior partner of a young two-handed firm of patent attorneys
reached the firm’s office in West Broadway on Monday morning last his
eye caught sight of a telegram addressed to his junior partner on the
latter’s desk. As the junior partner was in Washington and wasn’t due
back in New York until 4 or 5 o’clock in the afternoon, the senior
partner opened the telegram. It was a night message from St. Louis, and
it read as follows:

"Hammer Jim Conway. Punch him your limit. Don’t let anything scare you
out. He’s easy. Bub."

The senior partner scratched his head over this.

"Conway—Jim Conway," he muttered to himself. "Now, who the dickens can
Jim Conway be, I’d like to know? We’ve got no client named Jim Conway,
and we’re not fighting any infringement case in which a Mr. Conway is
the defendant. Darned funny telegram, this is."

The senior partner turned the message upside down and every which way,
but the longer he looked at it from various points of view the more
puzzled he became.

"Mighty belligerent sort of an affair, too," he mused. "Now, what has
this Jim Conway done to my partner that he needs to be punched for it?
And who’s this Bub? Bub! That’s a deuce of an undignified name for a man
to put on paper. Great Scott! I wonder if my junior partner has gone in
for prize fighting at that Jersey athletic club he belongs to? Perhaps
he’s been matched to box some fellow member named Jim Conway, and this
Bub chap down at St. Louis is wiring him encouragement. Nope, that can’t
be right, either. My junior partner has been taking on fat at an
alarming rate lately, so that he can’t be training for a boxing

He took a few turns up and down the office, holding the telegram out at
arm’s length.

"I hope the boy don’t get into a serious mix-up with this Jim Conway
fellow, whoever he is," he muttered nervously. "I don’t believe the lad
has done anything that he’d be ashamed to have me know about, and yet
it’s blamed queer that he should be getting telegraphic despatches from
people by the name of Bub, urging him to employ physical force for the
subjugation of a chap with such a Boweryesque sort of name as Jim
Conway. The question is, what’s the boy done to Conway, or Conway to
him, that it should be necessary for one or both of them to resort to
fisticuffs? Now, if the boy were to get mixed up in a brawl with this
Conway there’d be the deuce to pay. It ’ud get into the papers, and it
might have a serious effect upon our tidy and growing practice. I wish
that junior partner of mine were a bit more level-headed. He’s too
clever and industrious and promising to have anything whatsoever to do
with folks who travel under such names as Conway and Bub, and I’m going
to give him a mild little personally conducted talking to when he gets
back from Washington this afternoon. Why, I wouldn’t have him get into a
street fight, or a fight anywhere else for that matter, for big
money—not only for the sake of the firm, but for his own sake. He’s
pretty handy with his maulies, and all that, but this fighting business
is not the thing for gentlemen, not by a long shot. I just wish I could
find out who this Conway duffer is, anyhow."

The young woman who manipulates the typewriter for the firm came in just

"By the way, Miss Bringlunch," the senior partner said to her, "have we
any person of the name of Jim Conway on our list of correspondents?"

"No, sir," she promptly replied. "We’ve got a Conners, Coleman, Coulter,
Conneff, Curran—lots and lots of C’s—but no Conway."

"So I thought," said the senior partner. "Er—by the way, did you ever
happen to hear Mr. Barlock refer to a person by the name of—er—Bub?"

The young woman smiled as she tied her black sateen apron in the back.

"I’ve heard him call the newsboys who come into the office with papers
Bub," she replied.

"Er—yes, yes," murmured the senior partner, "so have I. But this is a
St. Louis Bub. Well, no matter."

The senior partner dived into the mass of papers on his desk, but he
couldn’t get the bloodthirsty telegram to his junior partner out of his
mind. He was puzzling over it still radiant when his junior partner’s
young wife came along toward 11 o’clock in the morning. She wanted to
find out the exact hour her husband was due back from Washington.

"He’ll be here a little after 4, I guess," said the senior partner.
"Er—by the way, Mrs. Barlock, does Jack number among his friends or
acquaintances anybody by the name of Jim Conway?"

"Jim Conway?" repeated the junior partner’s wife, with a finger at her
lip. "Why, no, not that I know of. I never heard him say anything about
a Mr. Conway. Why?"

"Oh, nothing," said the senior partner, in a constrained sort of tone,
putting away the message from St. Louis for the fiftieth time.

The wife of the junior partner suddenly looked alarmed.

"That telegram!" she gasped, noticing the senior partner’s furtive
manner of slipping the despatch into his pocket—"is anything wrong with
Jack? Has the train been wrecked? Has the"——

And she started to her feet in great agitation.

"Calm yourself, calm yourself," said the senior partner, also rising and
smiling reassuringly. "There’s nothing the matter. Train wrecked? Why,
the idea! How did you ever get such a notion"——

"But that telegram that you handle so mysteriously," said the junior
partner’s wife, not yet over her alarm.

"What telegram—this?" said the senior partner, taking the night message
from St. Louis from his pocket. "Why, this is an ordinary—er—business
telegram addressed to Jack from St. Louis, and it’s"——

"Let me see it, please, if it’s for Jack," said the junior partner’s
wife, holding out her neatly gloved hand, and the senior partner could
do nothing else but pass it over.

"’Hammer—Jim—Conway. Punch—him—your—limit.
Don’t—let—anything—scare—you—out. He’s easy. _Bub_.’" the junior
partner’s wife read, slowly and distinctly, her eyes widening at each
sentence. "This, then, is the Mr. Conway that you spoke of. Mr. Topknot,
what is the meaning of this? What in the world is the"——

"You can search me," said the senior partner desperately. "Er—that is,
it’s all as mysterious to me as it apparently is to you. I’ve been
bothering my head about it all the morning. I wouldn’t have worried you
by showing it to you, but as long as you asked to see it, why, of

And the senior partner coughed behind his hand and looked dismal.

The junior partner’s wife paced up and down the office with the telegram
in her hand.

"Why, it looks as if Jack had an enemy named Jim Conway, and that he
intended to fight him, doesn’t it?" she exclaimed beseechingly to the
senior partner. "I’d just like to know who this horrid, nasty ruffian
who signs himself Bub is, that’s all. My Jack fighting a man with such
an awful, ’longshoremanish name as Jim Conway! Why, that name sounds
like the names of the roustabouts we read of in the papers who attack
their poor wives with cotton hooks and throw burning lamps at them. And
goodness gracious sakes alive! the very idea of Jack Barlock ever
dreaming of lowering himself by getting into difficulties with such—oh,
I don’t know what to think of it all; indeed I don’t!"

And she strode up and down the office again in great agitation.

"Now, now, now," put in the senior partner comfortingly. "We don’t know
anything about the contents of the message, and it may be that this Mr.
Conway is—er—why, the fact is, come to think of it, it may be a message
in code. Jack’s got a code of his own, you know, and maybe he"——

The wife of the junior partner was looking at him so suspiciously,
however, that he couldn’t go on. An expression just a trifle harder than
was exactly becoming gradually stole into her face, and she walked over
close to where the senior partner sat in his revolving chair.

"Ah," she said in a hard tone, "I begin to see. You are trying to cover
up something—you men always stick together in these affairs. It may be
that this Mr. Conway is married, and that Jack—great heavens! if I only
thought it! If I even dreamed that such a thing could be—after all the
sacrifices I’ve made for Jack—living away from mama all this time—and"——

Then she reduced her handkerchief to a wad about half an inch in
diameter and began to dab at the corners of her eyes.

"My dear girl," said the senior partner, "I give you my solemn word that
I know no more about that message, nor about Mr. Conway, than you do. I
never heard of Mr. Conway in my life before I opened that telegram. My
dear Mrs. Barlock, I am sure you are exaggerating the importance of this
despatch. There is no reasonable ground whatsoever upon which you can
base any—er—accusation against the boy, and, as I say, it is possible—in
fact, it’s more than probable—that this message is in Jack’s private
code, and that"——

"I—don’t—believe—any—such—boo-hoo"——And the lovely young matron began to
rock herself to and fro and to dab at her eyes unremittingly. "It’s just
as plain as day that Jack has done some wrong to this poor Mr. Conway,
and this friend of Jack’s in St. Louis, named Bub, has heard that Mr.
Conway is looking for Jack, and he has sent him this telegram to warn
him to be on his guard—and—boo-hoo—who would ever dream that my Jack
would get himself involved in such an awful"——

Her feelings overcame her again at this point, and she was unable to

"Mrs. Barlock," said her husband’s senior partner, severely, rising and
confronting her, "I am surprised at you—I am, indeed. I was certainly of
the opinion that in a matter of this sort you would at least give your
husband—a most considerate husband—the benefit of the doubt; that you
would at any rate give him an opportunity to explain himself. How do we
know what he is to Conway or Conway to him?" And the senior partner,
growing eloquent, declaimed as if he were speaking of Hecuba instead of
the mysterious Conway. "Is it not more than likely that you are doing
him a grievous wrong by even so much as imagining for a moment that this
extraordinary telegraphic communication from—er—this Bub—person has any
reference whatsoever to—er—uh—domestic or family affairs? Wait until
Jack returns, my dear Mrs. Barlock, and I’ve not the least doubt that he
will explain everything to your entire satisfaction, and"——

"Oh, yes, explanations—explanations!" exclaimed the junior partner’s
wife, giving her eyes a final dab and rising. "You’ll telegraph him on
the train to have some sort of an explanation ready, and then he’ll come
in here with a deeply aggrieved countenance—just as if he had had no
part at all in endeavoring to break up this poor Mr. Conway’s home and
tell me hypocritically that I’ve wronged him and all that. I know you
horrid men and the way you stand by each other through thick and thin,
no matter how wicked you know each other to be. I shall be back here at
4 o’clock, when Jack is due, Mr. Topknot, and notwithstanding the way he
is treating me, if there is any possible way I can prevent him from
meeting this Mr. Conway and having a disgraceful altercation with him, I
shall do it. And I promise you that I shall be able to detect very
easily whether he is telling me the truth or not when I demand him to
explain this terrible business."

Saying which, the junior partner’s wife pulled her veil down and swept
out of the office with the general air of a deceived wife in a play.

"Huh! it’d naturally be thought I’d know enough not to make such an
egregious ass of myself as to show her that telegram!" growled the
senior partner to himself. "There’ll be all kinds of a bobbery around
here this afternoon, I suppose, and if this Conway matter proves to be
something that Barlock wouldn’t want his wife to know about—and I’ve no
doubt now that it will prove just that way, the young idiot!—why, he’ll
be sulky with me, and there’ll be little or no work done on those new
cases, and—oh, it’s a devil of a mess all around, that’s what it is!"

For all of which, however, the senior partner had his work to do, and he
pitched in and was up to his ears in it until about half-past 3, when
the junior partner’s wife, with tightly pursed lips and an air of
ominous calm, arrived at the office with her mother, a handsome,
haughty, uncompromising-looking woman with a great mass of white
pompadour hair and an expression of unyielding austerity. The junior
partner’s wife and her mother replied to the senior partner’s courteous
greetings with unusual stiffness, plainly indicating their joint belief
that he was in league with the absent junior partner in his nefarious
doings, or that he was at any rate attempting to shield the young man.

"Shall I turn on the electric fan, madam?" the senior partner politely
asked the junior partner’s wife’s mother.

"I am quite cool enough, thank you," said the junior partner’s wife’s
mother, snappily.

"Shall I fetch you a glass of iced water?" he asked the junior partner’s

"You are very kind, but I am not in the least thirsty," she replied in a
tone which seemed to convey the idea as plainly as words that she feared
he might put something in the water that wouldn’t do her any good.

The senior partner turned to his work. Thus the three sat in unbroken
silence for fully fifteen minutes, when the sound of a blustery,
cheerful voice was heard in the office boy’s anteroom, and a few seconds
later a tall, broad-shouldered, frank-faced young man entered the
office. When he saw his wife he made for her with both arms extended.

"Why, hello, there, Patsy!" he said. "I didn’t know you’d be waiting for
me, or I’d have come a-running—why, what’s the matter here, anyhow?"

The junior partner’s wife had shaken herself loose and averted her face
when her husband had attempted to fold her in his arms. He stared at her
for a moment, and then he stared at his mother-in-law.

"What’s up, mom?" he asked his wife’s mother. "What have I been and gone
and done now, I’d like to know? Did I leave the water running in the
bathroom before starting for Washington, or have you lost my bull-pup
again, that you all look so queer—or what the deuce is it all about?"

Neither of the women vouchsafed him any reply, and he turned to his
senior partner.

"I say, Topknot, look here; are you in on this?" he said to his senior
partner, who was twiddling his thumbs and looking very much confused.
"Did I rob a bank in my sleep last week, or have the papers come out and
accused me of being a member of the Ice Trust, or"——

"My boy," the senior partner interrupted, judiciously rising and taking
the mysterious telegram from the inside pocket of his frock coat, "the
telegraphic message which I have in my hand, and which, I regret to say,
I opened this morning, knowing that you would not be back in New York
until late in the afternoon, has been the occasion, owing to its
somewhat mysterious contents, of the seeming"——

"Let’s see it, Topknot," said the junior partner, reaching for the

He spread it out and glanced over its two lines. By the time he got
through reading it he was in a frenzy of excitement. He jerked his watch
out and looked at it.

"I’ve just got time," he muttered to himself, hastily. "I’ll just about
be able to make it. Patsy, you stay here with your mother until I get
back. I’ll be back in twenty minutes or half an hour. Tell you all about
it when I get back," and he was out of the office door and down the
steps like a boy breaking out of a little red schoolhouse for recess.

A vacant cab happened to be passing just as he got outside, and he
hailed the driver and darted into the vehicle.

"Drive like the devil to ——’s!" he shouted to the driver, and in
something under three minutes he had rushed into the upstairs poolroom
about four blocks from his office.

The second line of betting was in on the second race at St. Louis, and
the horse Jim Conway was the rank outsider at 60 to 1. The junior
partner crowded his way up to the counter and laid down a ten-dollar

"Gimme Jim Conway," he said to the man behind the counter.

"Conway, $600 to $10," said the money taker, and he had no sooner
finished the words than the instrument began to click.

"They’re off at St. Loo!" sang out the operator. "Rushfields in the
lead, Cathedral second." Pause. "Cathedral at the quarter by two
lengths, Rushfields second." Pause. "Cathedral at the half by three
lengths, Rushfields second." Pause. "Cathedral at the three-quarters by
a length, Rushfields second." Pause. "Cathedral in the stretch by a
neck, Rushfields second by a neck." Longer pause. "Jim Conway wins,
easy, by three lengths!"

"Whoopee-wow!" The yell went up from the long-shot players in the room
who had taken a chance on Jim Conway.

The junior partner stood around with a broad grin on his face while he
waited for the race to be confirmed. Then he collected, bounded
downstairs, hailed another cab, and in exactly seventeen minutes from
the time he had left his office he was back there again. He was greeted
with the same frigidity as characterized his original welcome. He still
wore his broad grin, and he walked over to his desk, raised the lid, and
began to dig into his pockets. He produced first one fat roll of bills
and then another, and he slammed each roll down on his desk as if it
were so much shavings. His wife and his wife’s mother and his senior
partner watched his performance with open mouths, as did the office boy
who stood in the doorway. When the junior partner had made a pyramid of
bills on his desk about as big as a fair-sized derby hat, he turned to
his wife and asked her, still grinning:

"Did you read this telegram, my dear?" holding the message out in his

"I certainly did," she replied, "and you would oblige me greatly if you

"And who do you think this Jim Conway was, Patsy?" he interrupted.

"I hadn’t the least idea in life," she replied, without any sign of
relenting, "nor have I at the present moment. I intend, however, to find
out who Mr. Conway is at the earliest possible mo"——

The junior partner fell into a revolving chair, stuck his legs out in
front of him as far as they would reach, and roared so that he must have
been heard all over the building. He roared so loud and long that the
performance was infectious, and his wife and his wife’s mother and his
senior partner, notwithstanding the fact had begun to dawn upon them
that they were in a foolish position, had to smile in spite of
themselves. When the junior partner was able to splutter he managed to
gasp his explanation in short sentences. Bub was a friend of his in St.
Louis who followed the races out there, and who had promised to tip him
off on the first good thing at a long price that was to be put over the
plate at the St. Louis meeting. Bub had kept his promise, and the junior
partner was $600 to the good. That was all.

"And if you don’t go out and corner the foulard dress goods market
to-morrow, Patsy," the junior partner concluded, addressing his wife,
"on the strength of what our four-footed pal, Jim Conway, has done for
us, why"——

When they had gone, the office boy, in sweeping out the office, picked
up the telegram, that had slipped to the floor while the junior partner
was laughing.

"Now, w’y couldn’t I ha’ got a piece o’ dat!" said the office boy,
disgustedly as he read the telegram. "I bin pickin’ dat skate ev’ry day
f’r de las’ two weeks, and I knowed dis mornin’ w’en I seen de St. Loo
entries dat he’d win in buck-jump."


_A Game in New Orleans That Makes Modern "Big" Poker Games Seem Tiny by

"The shrinkage in the value of poker winnings that get talked about
nowadays," said the New Orleans turfman at the beach dinner, "is
mournful, that’s what it is. A few days ago a man told me that
So-and-so, a gilded youth from up the State somewhere, had recently
swooped down upon a gentleman’s poker club in New York, and had removed
himself from the scene of play, after a five-hour séance, with $8500 in
winnings. The man who told me this leaned back, after he had sprung the
$8500 climax, and waited for my eyes to protrude. He looked a bit miffed
and sulky when they didn’t protrude.

"’Why, durn it all,’ said he, ’I believe you affect your cold-blooded
way of taking things. To see you twiddle your thumbs a man ’ud suppose
that you had no more sense than to imagine that an $8500 winning at a
short poker sitting was the most ordinary thing in the’——

"’Easy, easy,’ I had to put in, for he was heating himself unduly. Then,
to bring him around to good nature again and to convince him that I
wasn’t attitudinizing, I was compelled to spend a half hour or so in
unwinding a bit of a reel of the days when there were poker giants in
this country. He wasn’t quite willing, at the finish, to acknowledge
that the winner at draw of $8500 was a poker pigmy, but when I happened
to mention the occasion when Phil Cuthbert of St. James’s parish
dropped, in a two-handed game at the St. Charles Hotel in New Orleans, a
little bundle of $400,000"——

"He told you, of course, that you were smoking," interrupted the New
York man.

"No, he didn’t. He asked me if it got into the New Orleans papers. I
told him that in 1868 the New Orleans papers were too busy roasting the
carpet-baggers to devote any space to such a minor matter as a $400,000
poker game at the St. Charles Hotel, where draw games approximating that
in size were generally going on at any old hour of the day or night.
There was some rhetoric, I admit, in that ’approximating’ statement, but
I wanted to set this New York man right. As a matter of fact, a $50,000
game of draw was not at all uncommon in the St. Charles’s private poker
parlors. After Phil Cuthbert had dropped that mound of $400,000 on one
hand, the New Orleans papers did announce that Mr. Philip Cuthbert, the
well-known planter of St. James’s parish, was about to start on a
gold-prospecting tour in the mountains of Honduras; but they were
generous enough not to mention, if they knew it, that, with four aces in
his hand, he had lost $400,000 to Mr. Joseph Lescolette, shipper, of
Havre, Pernambuco, and New Orleans."

"Lost $400,000 on a hand consisting of four aces, am I to understand you
said?" asked the New York man.

"The statement was to that general effect," replied the New Orleans

"Suppose you just lead up to that gradually by telling the story."

"Well, in order to do that, I’ve got to plead guilty to having been a
table arranger and sweep-out boy at the St. Charles at the time the
thing happened," said the horseman from New Orleans. "However, having
achieved greatness since, I see no reason why I shouldn’t be willing to
acknowledge that. Besides being table arranger and sweep-out boy, it was
one of the functions of my job at the St. Charles to sort o’ stand by,
as sailor-men say, when games were on in the private parlors, and run
errands for the gentlemen playing. There was plenty of high poker play
to be had at any of the first-rate New Orleans clubs at that time—too
much of it, in fact, for the club games became so open, owing to the too
generous distribution of visitors’ cards by the club members that many
of the high-playing men of the town abandoned club poker playing
altogether. When they felt the hunch to get into a game of draw they
adjourned to the St. Charles, where, in the seclusion of a private
parlor, they enjoyed freedom from the neck-craning gaze of onlookers,
and freedom also from that bane of the genuine lover of a game of draw,
the chap who stands behind one’s chair and keeps up a running commentary
of approval or disapproval.

"Phil Cuthbert was a raiser of perique tobacco up in St. James’s parish,
and he had besides several thousand acres in cotton. His father, who
died before the war was well under way, was supposed to be worth from
$2,000,000 to $3,000,000, and it all went to his only son, Phil. At the
close of the war the estate had dwindled to some $800,000, and Phil
started in to flatten it out still more. It was the talk of Louisiana
that he had taken a $250,000 crimp in the estate within two years after
he had entered upon it, and it had nearly all gone at cards. He wasn’t a
dissipated man at all, but he just naturally couldn’t help but play
poker, and he belonged to a family of losers at poker. Before this big
game that I’m going to tell you about wound him up I’d frequently seen
him win as much as $25,000 in a single night’s play at the St. Charles.
Instead, though, of making a run for it for his St. James’s plantation
when he made a winning like this, he’d be back again with a party of
more or less solvent friends the very next night, and his winnings and
an amount equal thereto that was not velvet, but hard, soil-wrung cash,
would float out of his keeping into the hands of his friends. Wherefore,
to insert a tiny bit of moralizing on the side, I want to say that your
greatest gambler is not the man who possesses the greatest amount of
skill in manipulating the cards, dice or wheel, but the man who knows to
a T when the psychological moment arrives for him to quit, winner or

"Joe Lescolette—called Joe familiarly because he was under 40, a rounder
of French nativity who loved Americans and their nicknames and
diminutives of good fellowship—was probably the richest of the New
Orleans fruit importers at that time. His father before him had had a
line of South American and West Indian sailing packets hauling fruit
into New Orleans for the American market, and Joe came into the whole
business at the old gentleman’s death. To go a little ahead of the
story, Joe went to France at the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War in
1870, entered the French Army, and was killed at Gravelotte. He wasn’t a
hectic flush gambler during the few years that he kept his name pretty
constantly in the mouths of New Orleans folks on account of his
extravagances, but he was a scientific master of the game of American
draw, all the same, and, by the same token, as nervy a little man in a
game of cards, or in any other affair of life, for the matter of that,
as ever came out of Gaul. He was the original subsidizer of the French
opera in New Orleans, by the way, and it was at a performance of ’Aida’
that Joe met Phil Cuthbert on the night Phil struck the poker snag that
wrecked his estate. The two men were friends of some years’ standing,
members of the same clubs, and they had had various business dealings
with each other besides. On the night of the ’Aida’ performance Cuthbert
had just struck town from his St. James plantation and he had the poker
light in his eye. Cuthbert met Joe Lescolette in the smoking-room of the
opera house during the final intermission and slipped his arm through
Lescolette’s and said:

"’Joe, I desire to accumulate, accrue and win a very large portion of
your currency, even unto half of your kingdom, this night. There is too
much conversation in a game of four. Suppose, then, when the dying
strains of _Rhadames_ are only echoes and this act is finished we slit
each other’s weazens, pokerishly speaking, over at the hotel.’

"Well, when they came I was the buttons in charge of the parlor they
selected for play. Much as they desired solitude, they couldn’t achieve
it. About half a dozen of their friends traipsed along with them, and
took one of the tables in the same parlor and went at a dinky game of
$20 limit.

"I piled a couple of dozen of decks of cards within easy reach of
Cuthbert and the Frenchman, and, after they had each taken two brandies
and sodas apiece, talking the while of everything else on earth besides
poker, they began to play. Both of them had their check-books beside
them on the table, and the bank was to keep itself, as the saying goes.
There was to be no limit. New Orleans men who, in those days, were poker
players of the old time sort, didn’t ever play with a limit. None of
them ever took advantage of this unwritten clause of the game to raise
an opponent a million of dollars or so, and therefore out, but they
played according to their means, and if any of them was raised a bit too
strong by a confident opponent he only had to let out a word to have the
raise reduced. I don’t suppose more absolutely on-the-level poker was
ever played in this country than the game as enjoyed by men of wealth in
New Orleans after the close of the war.

"The white chips in this game between Lescolette and Cuthbert were worth
$10, the reds $25, the blues $50, and the yellows $100. This was double
the usual value of the chips even in big games at the St. Charles, and I
could see that both men were out for it—in a perfectly friendly and
cordial way, of course, but out for it nevertheless. Lescolette was a
scientific, cool, all-around, percentage player of poker. He had made a
study of the game just as he had made a study of the fruit trade, and he
had very little of the mercurial disposition of his race. Withal, he was
a generous man in the game, and never took advantage of an opponent’s
overgrown confidence. Cuthbert was an uneven player, not a cool-headed
man at all. He had no license to play cards for big stakes under any
circumstances. In the first place, he drank too much over the game, and,
in the second place, he tried to play poker by intuition instead of by
mathematical calculation and the study of the other fellow’s forehead.
He knew poker thoroughly, of course, and he had flashes of genius at it,
but in general, as I look back to his work now, I’d call his poker
ragged, uneven, and unproductive.

"For all that, Cuthbert had Lescolette’s checks to the aggregate of
nearly $13,000 after a couple of hours’ play. The friends of the two men
at the other table knocked off to watch the play at the two-handed
table. Lescolette, while he showed no nervousness, indicated by a
somewhat deepened earnestness of manner that he didn’t relish being
$13,000 or anything like it in the hole. After he had dashed off the
check that put him that amount out, he sent me to the café for a lunch,
and the two men and their friends spent an hour or so over the salads
and wines.

"’We’ll resume, then?’ said Lescolette, and they began play again. It
was about 1 o’clock in the morning. Cuthbert had taken three pints of
wine to wash down his luncheon, and then a rather heavy swig of cognac.
When they resumed there was too much color in his cheeks for a
successful poker player. Lescolette had drunk only Apollinaris.

"Cuthbert split open a new deck when play was resumed, and riffled them
rather uncertainly.

"’Damn a new deck of machine-burnished cards,’ said he. ’Joe, you limber
them up and deal this hand.’

"Lescolette took the deck and riffled them for fully two minutes. Then
he spread them out all over the table, tossed them about every which way
for a bit, straightened them together in a bunch, riffled them again,
and passing them over to Cuthbert for the cut, dished them out.

"Cuthbert was one of those poker players who pick up their cards one by
one. It is terribly bad form, that, but Cuthbert, with his nervous
disposition, was addicted to it. He picked up his first card this time
and said, 'Ah, a good beginning.’ When he looked at his second card,
said he, ’Better yet.’ He made no comment upon his third card, but he
flushed and gave a start that was perceptible to every man in the room
save Lescolette, who was scanning his own hand. His fourth card took the
flush out of his cheeks and steadied him. He went pale when he looked at
it. He forgot to pick up his fifth card until Lescolette, looking up,
remarked: ’Phil, are you strong enough to beat me with only four cards?’
Then Cuthbert picked up his fifth card mechanically. It was a bad break,
his leaving his fifth card untouched until reminded of it. It announced,
simply, that he had pat fours. But he didn’t seem to think of this.

"Cuthbert’s $50 anteing chip was in the middle of the table. Lescolette
looked at it for a second, and seemed to be in more than one mind about
playing or making it a jack pot. He decided to play, and joggled in his
blue chip.

"’Suppose,’ said Cuthbert, still pale but steady, ’we make it $100 more
to play, Joe?’

"’Of course,’ said Lescolette, and he shoved in a yellow chip to match

"’How many?’ asked Lescolette, ready to dish out cards.

"’None,’ said Cuthbert, who looked queer and unnatural with his white
countenance and glowing eyes.

"’So strong as that on the go-in?’ said Lescolette, elevating his
eyebrows. ’You have me seined. I require a card.’ And he served himself
with it.

"I pretended to have a bit of business to attend to behind Cuthbert’s
chair, so I could glance at his hand. He had four aces. I couldn’t get
behind Lescolette’s chair, for three of the players’ friends were seated
behind him. Lescolette didn’t make any sign either of elation or
disappointment when he looked at the card he had drawn. He looked up for
a bet, for it was up to Cuthbert.

"’A thousand dollars, make it, Joe,’ said Cuthbert.

"’Oh, I’m not in so deeply that I can’t pull out of this pot,’ said
Lescolette good-naturedly. ’However, seeing it’s you, your thousand is
sighted, and it’s $5000 more.’

"This was precisely what Cuthbert wanted.

"’Now you’re racing,’ said he. ’Ten thousand more, Joseph Marie.’

"Lescolette looked up at Cuthbert suddenly.

"’I say, Cuthbert,’ said he, ’isn’t this a bit tumultuous and headlong,
as it were?’

"’I don’t see why you should consider it so, Joe,’ replied Cuthbert.
’I’m playing according to the value of my hand. However, if it seems to
strong, why’——

"’No, no, no,’ put in Lescolette, quickly. ’I can stand it, and I do not
seek to have you lower any of your raises. I simply was considering my
own almost invincible strength herein.’

"’I stood pat, and you drew a card, you know,’ said Cuthbert. ’I rarely
bluff. You are to regard me as a bit of an Atlas in this likewise. You
see the $10,000 raise?’

"’Surely’ said Lescolette, ’and elevate it another notch of $10,000.
Will one of you gentlemen’—addressing the somewhat wrought-up group of
lookers-on—’keep track of this with a bit of a pencil?’

"One of the men in the group got out a note-book and stood by to
register the bets.

"’Having emerged from the narrow domain of chance into the field of
uncertainty,’ said Cuthbert, ’I fear me I’ll have to make it still
another $10,000, Joe.’

"Lescolette, the more common-sense man of the two, rested his hands on
the table before him and reflected.

"’I don’t think I want any more of this, Cuthbert,’ he said. ’There is
now a great deal of money in the pot. It would be idle for either one of
us to say that we could easily afford to lose our respective share in
the pot as it stands. And yet, I don’t exactly feel like calling you.
I’m too well fixed. I haven’t had such a hand at poker since’——

"’That being the case,’ said Cuthbert, interrupting, 'why not be a
sportsman and play your string?’

"That remark nettled Lescolette just enough to hold him in indefinitely.
There was no more talk on his part.

"’Ten thousand more than you,’ he said, short and sharp.

"Then the friends of the two men began to mutter.

"’This is all very fine as an exhibition of gameness,’ they said,
collectively, ’but there is a stopping point, or should be.’

"When there was nearly $275,000 in the pot both Cuthbert and Lescolette
pulled out their notebooks and began to run over their bank accounts.
Both found that they had about tapped their supply of ready banked cash.
They wrote checks, payable to each other’s order, for their respective
shares of the amount in the pot, and then Cuthbert said:

"’Joe, I can’t let down in this. I could never quite forgive myself if I
did. Appraise my St. James land.’

"Lescolette protested. He had often visited Cuthbert at his beautiful
St. James place. He protested hard. Yet he wouldn’t call.

"’Appraise the St. James land, Joe,’ said Cuthbert again. Lescolette
declined to do it, and Cuthbert appealed to one of his friends to do it.

"’I should say your St. James plantations are worth close to $250,000,’
said this gentleman, unwillingly.

"’Very well,’ said Cuthbert. ’Shall I say, Joe, that those three squares
of yours on Canal street are worth the same amount?’

"Lescolette nodded gravely.

"’Rather more than they’re worth, I should say,’ he remarked.

"’Well, they’ll serve. I approximate their value,’ said Cuthbert, the
flush back in his face again and his eyes burning like coals. ’It is now
my bet, is it not? Joseph Marie, my St. James plantations, at their
appraised value of $250,000, against these, your Canal street property,
if you elect—and we’ll show down.’

"Lescolette nodded.

"’Old man,’ said Cuthbert, then, ’you don’t think I play it low down
upon you? I couldn’t throw them away, you fully understand? Joe, I’ve
got four aces!’

"’Truly?’ said Lescolette, inquiringly and quietly. 'Put them down, that
we may see.’

"Cuthbert, confident then that he was the winner, nervously placed his
hand face up on the table. Lescolette threw down, then, amid a very
intense silence, the deuce of hearts, face up. Next, he threw by the
side of the deuce the trey of hearts. Then the four of hearts. Then the
five of hearts. He halted then for a second. Cuthbert was as haggard
looking a man as I ever saw. Lescolette threw down the six of hearts.

"Cuthbert simply said, ’All right, Joe,’ walked over to the sideboard,
poured out a whopping big tumblerful of brandy, gulped it down, and,
with a murmured 'Good morning’ (it was dawn) he walked unsteadily out.
That afternoon he made his St. James plantations over to Lescolette,
notwithstanding the latter’s protests. He had about $20,000 out of the
wreck of his estate. He went to Honduras on a prospecting tour, found
gold, and died in a Tegucigalpa hut of the fever."


 _A Poker Game in Abilene, When Abilene Was Bad, in Which a Tenderfoot
                   Came Near Crossing the "Divide."_

"I had so much luck in a poker game I once sat into that I’ve never
played draw since," said a civil engineer who helped to build several of
the railroads west of the Missouri. "It happened in Abilene in the
summer of '70. We had then pushed the road about eight miles to the west
of Abilene. You know what Abilene was in '70. Dodge City was then a
camp-meeting grove compared with Abilene. The men belonging to our
construction gangs were a bad enough lot to make it worth any man’s
while to go light on them, but they were cooing doves alongside of the
batch of evil devils who had thrown the town of Abilene together in
anticipation of the building of the railroad. Before we got anywhere
near Abilene there was a pretty fair-sized and comfortably-filled
cemetery plotted out near the town. But when we got close enough to
Abilene to make it practicable for our construction men to put in their
spare time there, drinking 'sumac’ whisky and playing cards, between
knock-off on Saturday afternoon and jump-in on Monday morning, Joe
Geddes, the pine-box undertaker of Abilene, had more business than he
could handle, working night and day.

"From the time that we got ten miles this side of Abilene until the
rails were set twenty miles the other side of it, we lost construction
men so fast that the road’s employing agents in Leavenworth and Kansas
City had trouble in filling their places. Every Monday morning there was
a round-up of the dead and wounded in the whitewashed calaboose and
hospital in Abilene that reminded the ex-soldier surveyors who were with
me of their war experiences. The construction men got the worst of it,
of course. While they were game enough men, their weapons were their
fists, their knives, and sometimes their picks. But they were not up to
the science of fine gun work, whereas the Abileneites, composed chiefly
of left-over cowboys from the great Texas cattle-trail, whisky-dishers
from the slumped Colorado mining camps, and tin-horners and desperadoes
from everywhere, all knew how to pump lead like lathers spitting nails.

"Although a pretty young man at that time, I was in charge of the
surveyors’ gang. Most of the men in my gang were experienced, taciturn
chaps. The experiences they had picked up in bad towns along other
Western lines they had helped to map out had taught them the sense of
steering clear of such towns and of sticking to their tents. I don’t
suppose that a man of my gang walked through the streets of Abilene when
we brought the road there—not because they were in any sense cowardly,
but because they had learned in the course of years of frontiering that
trouble, and a whole lot of it, often overtakes men who are least in
search of it in towns like Abilene.

"These old-timers tried to talk me out of my determination to have a
look around in the town where so many of the men of the construction
gangs were being killed off—for I wanted to see what thorough
out-and-out bad men looked like. They told me that if I ever wanted to
see my folks back East any more I’d better not do any monkeying around
in Abilene. But I knew it all in those days, and so, without letting any
of the men in my gang know anything about it, I slipped over to the
chainmen’s tents one night and roped in a couple of them to handcar me
down to Abilene. When we reached the town I sent the chainmen back with
the handcar, telling them to return for me in the morning.

"Abilene rather surprised me at first. I at least expected to have my
hat shot off a few times in the course of an hour’s rambling around,
and, in fact, I was prepared to do a little impromptu dancing for the
edification of Abileneites, who enjoyed toying with strangers. Nothing
of the sort happened. Instead, the fellows hanging around the whisky
mills and the brace faro layouts good-naturedly took me in hand and
started in to give me a good time. I was a breezy young chap, you see,
and able to hold my own in any public exhibition of the swelled head I
unquestionably possessed at that time. Anyhow, things had not thoroughly
warmed up for the night when I fell in with the gang early in the
evening. It all looked so smooth and easy, and the heavy-artilleried
chaps that I ran into seemed so square and peaceable that I drank a good
deal more sagebrush whisky than I had any right to drink or than I had
ever drank before.

"Around about midnight five of us, including Jim Cathcart, a bad man who
was hanged a few years later for the murder of a Sheriff in Texas,
pulled up at Toole Kingsley’s ’Kansas or Bust’ saloon and faro bank. The
three other fellows I was with were outlawed cowboys, although I didn’t
know it then, and even if I had it wouldn’t have made any difference in
the shape I was in. Cathcart suggested a game of draw. He had probably
noticed my good-sized wad of money, and I guess he reckoned on getting
it. I didn’t have any more sense than to agree, and, the other three
chaps being willing, of course, we went up to the second floor of
Kingsley’s rum and faro honkatonk and waded in. When Cathcart suggested
the game I noticed that a tall, broad-shouldered, very muscular-looking
man, with long hair and a heavy mustache, who was standing with his back
to the bar, eyed us pretty carefully, and at the time I rather wondered
what he meant by it, though I forgot all about him five minutes later in
the intensity of the game.

"’Intense’ is not the word to describe that game of poker. I had been
plugging along at the game of draw more or less ever since I was a
growing lad, and after I had begun to shoulder an azimuth I had been an
onlooker at some mighty queer games. But I never saw cards run the way
they did that night. I was just about a fair to middling poker player;
certainly nothing extra, although I was deft of hand and knew how to
riffle cards in a way to bluff fellows not acquainted with my
comparative inferiority as a poker player into the belief that I was
some pumpkins with the pasteboards. But, second-rate player as I was,
and something over two parts loaded as I was, besides, in common with my
four fellow-players, the luck that I had from the very beginning of the
game was positively miraculous. None of the other men had a
half-skilletful of luck. It all came my way. It was embarrassing for a
while, but later on it became dangerous; for I was a total stranger to
these four men and a good deal oilier in manners and speech than they—a
thing that was likely to excite suspicion in towns like Abilene in those
days, especially in the minds of men steadily losing in a game of draw.

"Every man of the four persisted in giving me such massive hands to play
against the utterly no-account hands they dished out to themselves that
I didn’t know what to make of it. All four of them were reasonably good
poker players, but they were none of them short-carders—able to stack a
deck; and I had certainly never sat into a squarer game of draw. But my
own luck was absolutely magical. Pat hands were given to me about as
often as pairs were served out to the other fellows. Every time this
happened, and one or more of my opponents determined to find out if I
was bluffing on my pats, I laid down the hands with a little fear
growing within me; for after we had been playing for an hour or so I
noticed all four of ’em snatching glances at me out of the tails of
their eyes.

"After I had continued whacking all four of them pretty hard on their
own deals (rarely dealing myself a hand worth anything) for a couple of
hours, the luck took a peculiar switch, although it stayed with me. I
began to get nothing whatever on the deals of the other fellows, but on
my own deals I fed myself hands that actually smelt of brimstone, they
were so weird and inexplicable. One time I got four eights pat on my own
deal. I drew a card to give the impression that I was either drawing to
two pairs or bobbing to a straight or flush, and won a corking pot. I
was given some bad looks for this. Ten minutes later, when it was my
deal, I was kind enough to give myself a pat full, kings up on sevens,
and, the whole four staying, I rapped them again with all my might,
although the chill of fear was creeping over, in spite of the copious
quantities of fiery red liquor I was getting outside of along with the
others. Once the luck veered around this way, it seemed as if I never
got as much as ten high when the other fellows dealt. So the only thing
I could do was to drop my hands and stay out on their deals. They were
quick to notice this, and it didn’t improve my situation any, either.

"This extraordinary luck jumped me on my own deal only once after I had
caught and played those two self-dealt pat hands for all they were
worth. The result was that I was out of the game for quite a little
while, none of the other men serving me with hands fit to draw to.
Meanwhile the four of them played listlessly with me out of it, for I
had a good deal of the money of each, and they wanted it back. I think
all four of them had fully decided in their own minds by this time that
I was crooked and were only waiting for a chance to nail me.

"I had the buck when it came my turn to deal again, and so it was a
jackpot. I was wishing myself well out of it, and had cold feet, if ever
a man did, though I was afraid to say so with so much of my opponents’
money in my clothes. My hands probably trembled a little as I dealt that
round, and even this fact probably caused them to suspect that I was
monkeying with the deck and to watch me narrowly. The man on my left
opened the pot for the size of it, and all stayed. When I picked up my
hand and saw that I had given myself a clean, pat flush, ace on top, it
made me pretty nervous, and before I stayed I did a heap of considering.

"’The best thing you can do, young fellow,’ said I to myself, ’is to
stay out of this jack altogether, or else throw that straight of yours
face up in the center of the table, proving your squareness to these
cutthroats, and let them play the jack out among themselves. If you
don’t do one of these things, you’re going to get hurt in just about
three minutes.’

"Then I considered some more. Here I had a fine and probably winning
hand that I had come by perfectly on the level, and it would be rank
cowardice to throw it away, and mighty poor poker, besides.

"’I’ll be damned if I do any such thing just to convince these chaps
that I’m not a thief,’ was my final conclusion; and with that I made it
twice the size of the pot to draw cards. They all glowered I tell you
what, but they all stayed, every one of ’em. They not only stayed, but
they bet and raised each other like the devil, and forced me to
out-raise all of their raises every time it came around to me.

"Jim Cathcart, whose beady eyes had been blazing ever since I doubled
the value of the pot to draw cards, was as bad-looking a man as I want
to see when, finally, the man at my left called my last big raise. There
had probably been some signals in knee-rubbing under the table, for the
other two cowboys followed the lead of the first and called me in turn.
When it got around to Cathcart he slammed his bundle of greenbacks into
the pile with an oath.

"’Podner,’ said he, looking hard at me with his little red eyes, ’some
o’ your work here to-night has been so cut-an’-dried lookin’ as to
excite a whole lot of doubt about your bein’ on the level; an’ if you
happen to have anythin’ in that fist o’ your’n this time that’ll top
these here three aces o’ mine, then, by hell, you havin’ dealt this mess
yourself, there won’t be no manner o’ question but that you’re a damned
proper crook.’

"Was I scared? Well, the hand just fell out of my paw, face up on the
table, I was so scared! I was so paralyzed with fear that I simply
couldn’t move or say a word, and, what’s more, I’m not a particle
ashamed to own up to it. When the cards fell out of my hand Cathcart
reached over and spread them out with his left hand.

"’Well, by hell, you are a crook, ain’t you?’ he snapped when he saw the
value of the hand that beat his own good one, and as he spoke he whipped
out the big gun on the right side of his belt. I was blind with terror,
and when I heard the loud report of a gun I gave it all up and figured
that I was already three-quarters of the way over the Big Divide.

"When I opened my eyes a second later I saw Cathcart staring at the
door, his right arm hanging limp at his side. His gun had fallen on the
table without being discharged, and his left arm was in the air. So were
the six arms of the other three men, and they also had their eyes glued
on the door. I wheeled around to look that way myself. Standing quietly
under the lintel of the door, with his two big guns covering the five of
us, was the tall, broad-shouldered, long-haired man I had noticed eyeing
us before we started the game of poker. The man was Wild Bill, Abilene’s
celebrated Marshal. The shot I had heard when I had given the whole
thing up was from one of Wild Bill’s unerring guns. It had pinked
Cathcart in the right shoulder just in the nick of time, causing the gun
with which he had intended to shoot me to fall from his hand.

"’Slope for your camp, son,’ said Wild Bill to me quietly, still
covering the four men. Well, for all I know, he might be covering them
yet. I do know, though, that I was out of that room like a cat out of a
bag, and the way I cut for our camp, over the newly-laid ties, eight
miles away, was a warning to grasshoppers.

"It was while I was making this little journey, hitting a high place
only once in a while, that I came to the determination that for a man
who could not fight shy of bull-head luck any better than I could, the
game of draw poker was altogether too exciting and spirit-ruffling for
health and peace of mind; and I haven’t departed from that determination
down to the present moment of time."


_Some of the Crafty Dodges Resorted to by the Professional Sharpers Who
                          "Work the Liners."_

An Englishman who travels a good deal was generalizing at one of the
clubs last night on the subject of the card sharpers who devote
themselves exclusively to the ocean steamers.

"It’s a marvel to me," he said, "that the American steamship people, or
the police, or somebody, can’t drive these sharpers off the American
steamers. It’s nothing short of disgraceful. Must be something wrong
somewhere. Can’t be collusion, I don’t suppose, or"——

"Oh, come now, stow that, mate," said an American who does a bit of
traveling himself. "If they’re not worse, and more of them, on the
English transatlantic steamers, I’ll turn British subject, take the
Queen’s shilling, put on a red coat, and fight all the naked blacks from
Dahomey to"——

"Humbug! We don’t fight naked blacks. We only subdue them, that’s all.
Punitive expeditions, you know. But about these card sharpers on the
American ships. Why, it’s simply barbarous, you know, to permit them to
mingle with gentlemen as they do. And the worst of it is, the cads get
themselves up like gentlemen, so how’s a man to know"——

"Must have been hit yourself last trip over, old man," put in the

The Englishman got red and flustered, as Englishmen will when compelled
to admit that the universe is not entirely an open book to them.

"Well, yes, I did," he admitted gamely. "Not very hard, though. I think
twenty guineas would about cover it. But it wasn’t the money so much. It
was the way the thing was done—positively beastly, I say. Man was
introduced to me on sailing day on the other side by an American I know
well. Good fellow, too. Man had been introduced to him by somebody else,
and so on, so that it would take a Scotland Yard man to trace how he
came to know and rob most of us coming across. Worst of it was, I myself
presented the chap to any number of fellows I knew on the ship, and all
of ’em got bit more or less, and all of ’em looked at me reproachfully
when it came out after we landed that the chap was a sharper, just as I
looked reproachfully at the man who"——

"Sort of endless chain, wasn’t it?" put in the American.

"Well, if you want to put it that way," said the Englishman. "And worse
still, the man got my guineas at my own game. If it had been poker, now,
I wouldn’t have minded so much, for I never could master that queer
game, and I don’t believe there’s anything in it, anyhow. But nap! Chap
beat me clean at nap, that I’ve been playing ever since I was at Harrow.
Odd, too, that I beat him easily at first and had all the luck, and was
probably fifty guineas ahead of him. Then suddenly the luck changed, you

The American smiled.

"What the deuce are you grinning at? The luck changed, as I say, and, by
Jove, the fellow positively couldn’t lose. If my daughter hadn’t become
ill on the fourth day out, I dare say I might have lost quite a bit of
money, and"——

"Unquestionably you would have," put in the American. "So that in one
respect your daughter’s illness—which I trust was not serious—was really
a blessing to you. It’s queer to me that no Englishman I have ever met
in ocean voyaging is able to perceive that when he is playing at cards
with a stranger who permits him to win easily and heavily at first, it
is time for him to make his devoirs, more or less respectful, to the
stranger, and proceed to take a constitutional on the main deck,
henceforth abjuring cards with said stranger. Now, an American is able
to see into that game right away. If he is playing with a friend, and
the friend is a winner from the go-off, as we say over here, all well
and good. The American voyager who is up to snuff puts his friend’s
initial winnings down to the chances of the game. But when he gets into
a game with a stranger, and the stranger simply shoves money from the
outset over to his side of the table—well, do you know what the American
of to-day does under those circumstances? He simply awaits the moment
when the luck begins to change, and then he has an imperative
appointment with his wife in the cabin. He thus picks up quite a bit of
cigar money from a man who he instinctively knows is a sharper."

"Fancy now," said the Englishman. "If I had only known that"——

"But you didn’t know, and, as I say, I never came across the Englishman
who did. Why, the ocean voyaging card sharpers have become so well aware
of this little shrewd habit of American passengers with whom they sit
down to a game that of late years they have altogether abandoned that
old, old trick of permitting their victims to win with ease at the
outset. They only work that trick nowadays on Englishmen. Fact is, I
think there ought to be a rule on all transatlantic steamships, English
and American, absolutely prohibiting British subjects from playing cards
at all aboard ship."

"Tommyrot!" said the Englishman.

"Not so much so as you might imagine," said the American. "Of course, I
don’t mean that literally, and yet I don’t know but what, after all, it
might be a good thing. I have watched the wake of a steamer on the trip
across the Atlantic fifty-two times—that is, I have made twenty-six
round voyages—and I suppose that on these voyages I have seen as many as
a thousand men plucked at cards. I will venture to assert that 80 per
cent. of them were Englishmen. So you will perceive there is some
justification for what I said about your countrymen playing cards aboard

"I’ve seen some clever men of your country badly done by the ocean-going
card sharpers, too. At the time your Lord Lonsdale came to the United
States—Violet Cameron incident, you know—he was a pretty young man, even
if he did at that period of his life stand in urgent need of a guardian
with a heavy club. Well, amid the newspaper uproar over his landing in
this country with the Cameron, the fact did not come out that Lonsdale
was plucked of $12,000 on the trip over by Ned Turner, one of the most
notable of the older clique of steamship sharpers. But it’s a fact, all
the same. I was not only a board the steamer at the time, but I was one
of a number of men who endeavored to pound some sense into young
Lonsdale’s head while the plucking was going on. But he was a stubborn
chap and would listen to no one, and even when he was quite convinced
that Turner was a sharper, at the end of the voyage he stood for his big
loss like a little man, and became genuinely angry at some of his
English friends aboard who recommended him to stop payment on the checks
he had given Turner to cover the greater portion of the plucking.

"I think Turner had it in mind to do Lonsdale when he got aboard at
Liverpool. Turner had been working the ships for fifteen years, in spite
of the efforts of the steamship companies to keep him off their vessels,
and at this time he was a man of 40 or thereabouts. Lonsdale was pretty
liberal in the use of wine at this time, and it was at the buffet that
Turner, who was a fine-looking insinuating and accomplished man, found
young Lonsdale on sailing day. The two men struck up a friendship from
the very first day of the voyage, and it was Lonsdale himself who first
suggested, as he afterward acknowledged—for he was a manly fellow—the
poker game. Lonsdale had only recently learned the hands in poker—which
is about all any man ever learns about it, if the truth were told—and he
had the poker initiate’s enthusiasm for the game to an exaggerated
extent. Before going any further, I ought to say that Turner always
maintained afterward that in his play with Lonsdale he was perfectly on
the level.

"’The young fellow insisted on playing,’ said Turner, 'and he couldn’t
play any more than my aunt in Connecticut. I played with him, because
that’s my business. But I didn’t have to play crooked—and I don’t admit
that I ever did play crooked, understand—to get his $12,000.’

"Well, at any rate young Lonsdale and Turner started the game on the
first day out, and kept it going almost until the steamer passed Fire
Island. Of course Turner beat him right along. He made no effort to let
Lonsdale win from him at first. He simply played poker and raked in the
young man’s money and checks. A lot of us aboard knew Turner, and those
of us who had met Lonsdale in England got him aside on the second day
out and diplomatically put it to him that he was engaged in a pretty
difficult encounter—that, in brief, Turner was a professional player of
cards. For our pains we were told that we were too confoundedly
officious, that he was more than 7 years of age and knew what he was
about, and all the rest—you know the talk of a boy; and this boy was
flushed, too, you understand.

"At any rate, when the steamer was drawing near this shore Lonsdale
decided that he had had enough—not that he would not have gone on
playing for another seven days, had the voyage been protracted to that
extent, but he had to get ready to land. Several of us were in the
card-room when the last hand was played. Turner won the hand and
Lonsdale scribbled a check on his American banker for the amount the
hand represented. Then he looked up at Turner for a minute and said:

"’Some of my friends here estimate you a little unkindly, Mr. Turner.’

"’How’s that?’ inquired Turner, looking not a whit surprised.

"’Well,’ said Lonsdale, ’they maintain that your skill at cards affords
you something better than a livelihood.’

"’I never denied that,’ said Turner coolly.

"’In playing with me on this voyage you have employed skill alone?’

"’At your suggestion, I have played draw poker with you for seven days.
I understand draw poker, and I have $12,000 of your money. Do you want
it back?’

"You see, that was a magnificent bluff on Turner’s part. The young chap,
he knew, would not welch.

"’Oh, if you choose to be insulting’——said Lonsdale, flushing hotly, and
he rose from the card-table and left the room.

"Well, a couple of elderly Englishmen aboard who knew Lonsdale and his
father before him went to him then and told him that it would be
perfectly proper and right for him to stop payment on the checks he had
given to Turner, who, they told him in so many words, was nothing short
of a swindler.

"’Mind your own damned business,’ said Lonsdale. 'I’ll do nothing of the
sort,’ and that was the end of it. It must be confessed that you folks
over there have a wonderfully game fashion of sticking to a bad
proposition; but I, for one, think it is pure vanity. Turner was kept
off the ships of all the lines after that, and I don’t know what became
of him.

"How they contrived to keep Turner off the ships unless he really wished
to remain off is something that I can’t explain, for it is simply a
plain statement of fact to say that the steamship companies have always
found, and probably always will find, it impossible to prevent the card
sharpers from running on their boats. They have often tried it. They
tried it on one notable occasion, as I remember, with George McGarrahan,
in 1881. McGarrahan was the Nestor of the steamship card sharpers, and
all the steamship companies knew him. The president of one of the most
prominent transatlantic lines sent for McGarrahan—who, by the way, has
since died in New York—and told him that he would not be permitted to
travel henceforth on the vessels of the line.

"’The deuce you say!’ replied McGarrahan. ’How are you going to stop

"’Refuse to give you passage,’ answered the president.

"’You will, will you?’ said McGarrahan. ’Well, if you do that, I’ll get
enough damages out of your line to make it unnecessary for me ever to
touch a card again as long as I live.’

"His position was correct in law, as the president of this line found
out upon investigation. The steamship company, you understand, is not
the regulator of the habits of its steamers’ passengers. If the
passengers don’t know any better than to play cards with sharpers, that
is their own lookout. And a steamship company cannot decline to sell
passage to a man because it claims he is a short-card player. It
devolves upon the company to prove that the man is a card sharper, and
the steamship people know that this is practically impossible, for no
man who is done at cards by one of these men on an ocean steamship is
going to rise in his seat and make announcement of the fact to the

"Observation tells me that there are not nearly so many of these men on
the ships now as formerly. The short-card players who make a business of
traveling have found the trains much more profitable, since the officers
of the steamers got into the habit of going quietly among the voyagers
of a card-playing turn and warning them of the danger of getting into
games with such and such men. That was the system, and a pretty
effectual one, too, adopted by the steamship companies to squelch the
ocean card sharpers. The result has been that the sharper can now only
make a general campaign of all the big steamers—and the big steamers are
the only steamers they consider worth working—before the officers know
them, and then their game is dead practically. So that they find it more
profitable to take to the swell trains on the swell runs, making the
same trip rarely, and thus preventing their countenances from getting
too familiar to the railroad people."

"How the deuce do you know all this?" inquired the Englishman.

"Well," replied the American, "you may be pretty certain that I haven’t
dreamed it. Besides, I figured it that you required some consolation for
the loss of your twenty guineas. Didn’t you?"


 _That, at Least, is What the Dog’s Owner Claimed, and the Dog’s Owner
                            Ought to Know._

"For a fox terrier, that dog don’t seem to know a whole lot," said one
of the men in the back room of an uptown café.

The old fox terrier was burying his gray muzzle in the lap of his master
and wagging his stump of a tail foolishly. His master was a squat,
thin-faced man of the all-aged class; that is, he might have been
anywhere from 30 to 55 years of age. Running away from the corners of
his shrewd eyes were many tiny wrinkles. In his get-up he looked like
ready money. He lapped the dog’s clipped ears one over the other and
looked reminiscent.

"Well," said he, replying to the other man’s remark, "I can’t say that
he does look dead wise and smooth to the naked eye. He’s not one of
these here fresh sooner dogs that wants to put you next to all he knows
the first clatter out o’ the box. He’s no trick mutt, anyhow. I raised
him from a pup, and I never taught him any of the jay tricks that these
pillow-raised, dog-cracker mutts go through. What he don’t know about
standing up in a corner and hopping over a cane and speaking for grub
and waltzing on his front feet and playing ’possum, and all that kind o’
dinky work, would fill a big book. But if any of you people think you
can give him any points on the value of hands in a game of poker, then
you need a new dope cook, and that’s which."

"Poker?" said another of the party, incredulously. "Say, shoot it in
light. Your yen-hok’s overworked."

"That’s what I said—poker," replied the fox terrier’s owner, firmly.
"I’m putting you next now, because I don’t make it a business to do pals
in a poker game. He’s the best poker dog on the American continent, that
mutt. Can’t begin to figure on how many times he’s won me out, and for
how much. He’s sulked on me two or three times at critical junctures in
games of draw, and given me the wrong tips, just to get square with me
for something or other, but that was when he was young and sassy and
disposed to work his edge on me. He’s been tipping me off right now for
seven straight years, and—well, I’ve got a dollar or two scattered
around," and the owner of the poker dog slowly pulled the tinfoil off a
25-cent cigar.

"Didn’t have a bit o’ trouble teaching him the game, I suppose?" asked
one of the men at the table.

"Well," replied the fox terrier’s owner, striking a match on his
diamond-incrusted match safe, "I can’t say that teaching him the hands
was altogether a snap. At first he used to get the kings and jacks mixed
once in a while, and then he had a habit, when he was learning the game,
of getting the eights and tens twisted, too. But I broke him of those
defects after a while. It wasn’t so much trouble teaching him the value
of the hands in poker as it was to fix up a sign manual by which he
could express himself and tip me off on the hands held by the other
fellows. But patience was my long suit in teaching that dog the game of
poker, and in less than a year after I showed him the first pack of
cards he ever saw, he was able to put me onto the worth of every hand
around a table without any of the marks falling to the scheme. His
method of communicating such information to me during the progress of a
game is a bit involved and intricate, and we’ve got a lot of little code
signs that would require too much elaboration in the explaining, but
I’ll just give you a little idea of the way the thing works.

"Suppose I’m sitting in a four-handed game. The dog is nosing around the
room, not in any ostentatious kind of way and not getting himself
noticed at all by the other three in the game. A hand is dished out. The
dog noiselessly rubbernecks behind the chair of the first player on his
route. The first player, we’ll say, has got a pair of sevens, and I’ve
got my eye on the dog. The dog quietly gapes twice, to indicate that
player No. 1 has a pair, and then blinks both of his eyes seven times in
rapid succession. See? Of course I know then that No. 1 has only got a
pair of bum sevens. I pretend to scan my hand, while the dog quietly
gets behind the chair of player No. 2. We’ll say No. 2 has three queens.
The dog passes his right paw over his right eye three times. If it’s
three kings, left paw over his left eye three times. If it’s three
bullets he puts his left paw at his nose and holds it there for a
second, and, if three jacks, his right paw at his nose. Savvy? And so
on. He’s got the whole manual and code worked out to a stretch finish.
If No. 3 has got a pat flush he closes his left eye and keeps it closed
until he sees I’m noticing him. If No. 3 has got a pat full house he
shuts up his right eye in the same way.

"This, of course, is only preliminary and it only puts me next to what
the marks around the table have got in their hands before the draw. If
they’re too well fixed for me before the draw, of course I drop out of
it there and then. But if I’ve got a pretty good fist full myself and am
as good as any of ’em before the draw, why of course I draw to my hand.
Just as quick as all the fellows that stay in pick up the cards they’ve
drawn the dog does his little act all over again and tips me off on
those that have filled their hands. Makes the game dead easy, don’t it?
If I wanted to play the scheme to its limit, which would be a fool trick
and probably result in that dog getting himself stuffed and mounted by
some loser getting next to his gag, I’d have too much money. But I never
went into it too heavy. I’ve let good things take coin off me so fast
that I almost got pneumonia, and me knowing all the time just what they
had in their hands. The Chinese bluffs that some of ’em have put up,
too! Of course I’d only play off on ’em for a while, just long enough to
make them look on me as something easy, and then me and the dog’d waltz
in and chew their manes off close to the hide.

"Yes, siree, that dog’s been a sure enough meal ticket for me for a long
while. But, as I told you a while back, he sulked on me two or three
times and gave me the wrong steer when he was young and perky and hot
over something or other, and I got hurt on these occasions, for a fact.
Remember one of those times particularly. I’d been playing for several
nights in succession with three young jays of real estate men out in
Minneapolis and letting ’em take slathers of it off me just to get them
interested. All three of ’em had gobs of the green and I figured on
making ’em all move out to Seattle or somewhere by the time me and the
dog got through with them. The mutt was only a two-year-old then, but he
was playing mighty fine poker, and these three Minneapolis ducks looked
like a fine clean-up. On the afternoon of the fourth night that we got
together in the game I’d got hot over the mutt chewing one of my hats
all to pieces—fox terriers are worse than goats for chewing things
up—and I’d given him three or four good raps over the side of the head.
He didn’t like this a little bit—I could see that. He wouldn’t have much
to do with me for the remainder of the afternoon and I couldn’t con him
into becoming friendly again, either. He just looked at me out of the
tail of his eye, as much as to say, ’I’m going to throw you the first
chance I get,’ but of course I couldn’t figure that he’d carry his
sulkiness into the game of draw that night, when I intended to begin on
my three good things and crimp up their wallets.

"That night I took the mutt with me, as usual, to the house of one of
the good things, where we played. I couldn’t get the dog to be very
chummy with me, though, even after spending a large part of the
afternoon trying to soft soap him. The licking I had given him still
rankled within him, but I figured that he would forget all about it in
the excitement of the game after we got going. I was more than ever
confident that he was all right when he tipped me off right on the first
dozen rounds of hands, during which I picked out most of the winnings.

"I dealt the thirteenth mess myself and when the two beyond the ante man
declined to stay I made it a jackpot, having the buck. I caught three
aces and the pot looked nice for me, even without the mutt to joggle me
along. The man after the dealer opened it, the jay next to him stayed
and so did I, of course. The dealer stayed with a rush and it looked
like a nice, neat jack to win—for it was a $100 limit game and all of
the three good things thought they knew how to play poker. The dog
tipped me off that the man who opened the pot had three fours, the chap
next to him two pairs and the dealer a pair of kings. I drew to my hand,
of course, and when the guy that opened the pot stood pat I said to
myself, ’That’s a pretty cold bluff that duck’s making, standing pat on
his three fours.’ The mutt’s tips told me, of course, that I had ’em all
topped and I just lay back and listened to their bets, knocking heaps
off my chip piles and raising 'em right along with all the confidence in
the world.

"I commenced to admire that pot-opener with the three fours who had
stood pat for a bluff when he kept raising it the limit. Between us we
raised the other two out after it had gone around a number of times, and
then that geezer with the three fours sat back to bluff me out, as I
thought. I wasn’t a bit worried by the cool, confident look on his mug,
for I knew that that mutt of mine never made any mistakes, and I knew
that I had him beat. When there was $3,800 in the pot I got to the end
of my chips, and, as it was table stakes and we had arranged that no
more chips could be bought during the playing of a hand, I called the
pot opener, at the same time chucking down my three bullets, and was
fixing to haul in the pot.

"’Hold on there a minute,’ said the man with the three fours—as I
thought—when he saw me reaching for the pot, ’I’ve got a nice pat
straight, from one to five,’ and he showed the cards up in their order
on the table.

"’The dust is yours,’ said I, choking back a lot of cuss words, and just
then I looked behind the chair of the winner and caught the eye of that
dog. If there wasn’t a gleam of triumph in his eye, damme! He looked
square back at me for ten straight seconds, as much as to say, ’You
didn’t think I’d dish you in the game, did you?’ and then he walked over
in front of the fireplace, plunked himself down, and that was the finish
of that four-handed game. I knew that I couldn’t get any good out of the
dog for the rest of that night, and I did a sudden watch-studying act,
told the jays of a forgotten engagement, and got out. I had expected to
clean up about $10,000 out of those three jays, and durned if I didn’t
quit more’n $2,000 loser on account of that dog, for I had only begun to
win back what I had let them take away from me when the mutt turned me
down. The mutt followed me back to the hotel with a sulky eye, as if he
expected to be clubbed for his little game of crooked steering, but you
can gamble that I cut out the clubbing so far as he was concerned for
good. I had won him back inside of a week or so, and he never did me
dirt on calling the turn after that.

"Me and the dog were covering Kansas City, St. Louis, Memphis, and that
circuit about three years ago, taking it off easy ones in comfortable
hunks, when I stacked up against a pretty wise one. It was in Knoxville,
where I had got together a playing squad of three young ones that looked
ripe for plucking. I got into ’em pretty fairly after a week’s work, and
the mutt was in great form. One of the good things—the one that I got
into the hole worse than any of the others—seemed to be taking a great
interest in the mutt after he had been stacking up, a bad loser, against
our game for ten days or so, but there wasn’t a pin-head of suspicion in
his face. He just seemed to like to watch the dog’s rubber-necking
antics, and one night, when he was dropping slathers of it to me, he
studied the moves of the dog with unusual intentness.

"’You ought to teach that poodle how to play draw,’ said he to me, and I
was beginning to fear he was getting next. But he kept on looking as
moon-faced and easy as usual and losing right along, though I couldn’t
help noticing how carefully he watched the moves of the mutt.

"The next night, when we again sat down at the game, I again noticed
that the young geezer had his eye on the dog’s moves behind the chairs.
I also noticed that he generally stayed when I fell out after the draw,
and that when he did stay, with me out, he very often took big hunks out
of the other two young fellows. I couldn’t quite get next to this, the
duck looked such a Rube. Finally a big jack came around, and I, only
having eight high, kept out of it. One of the other young fellows opened
the pot, the man next to him stayed, and the moon-faced Rube, who had
been watching my dog so carefully, raised the both of ’em before the
draw. It was a good, stiff raise he gave ’em, at that. They stood it and
stayed in. They bet around for fifteen minutes, and then the slob who
had been studying the mutt was called by both of them, and beat them
both out with his queen full on sixes. I thought that was kind o’ queer,
especially in view of his earnest study of my poodle, and so I got cold
feet in order to have a chance to think the thing over. Oddly enough,
the moon-faced-looking dub got cold feet at the same time, and was out
on the street with me a little while later. We had walked a block or so,
chinning, when he gives me a dig in the slats, and says he, grinning:

"’Great dog, that, of yours.’

"I turned around and sized him up.

"’Pretty fair mutt,’ said I.

"’Only thing about him is,’ went on this soft-looking guy that you
wouldn’t think knew the difference between sand and slag, ’he wants to
change his code. It took me a week to get next to it, but I had it safe
to-night, all right. I’m only $2,000 ahead on the night’s play, which
makes me $500 more than even. You want to teach the mutt new business
before some other duck that looks as much like a dead one as I do comes
along, tumbles to the dog’s wig-wag system, and does you out of a good
bundle. By the way,’ he wound up, ’what kennel did that one come from?
Where’s the rest of the litter? I’d like to have a brother of him.’
Queer how he got onto the game, wasn’t it?"

"Yes, very," replied the man who had doubted the fox terrier’s
possession of any intelligence.


 _One of the Players Hadn’t Long to Live, Anyhow, and So He Took a Hand
                           for a Final Deal._

"I haven’t played any cards on railroad trains, even with friends, for
the past seven years," said Joe Pinckney, the Boston traveling man who
sells bridges and trestles in every land, at a New York hotel the other
night, "and it’s more than certain that, for the remainder of my string,
I shall never again sit into a train game, whether it’s old maid,
casino, whist or draw—especially draw. I used to play cards most of the
time when I was on the road just to relieve the monotony of traveling. I
don’t recall that it ever cost me much, for I generally broke even and
often a little ahead on a years’ play. I very rarely sat into a game in
which all of the other players were strangers to me, especially when the
game was draw or something else at so much a corner, and so I never got
done out of a cent.

"I know so many traveling men that a drummer friend of mine has an even
money bet with me that I won’t be able to board a single train, anywhere
in this country, for the space of a year, without my being greeted by
some traveling chap with whom I am acquainted, and he wins up to date,
though the bet was made more than eight months ago. So that, when I used
to be in the habit of playing cards on the trains I always had some
fellow or fellows on the other side of the table that I knew to be on
the level. But I had an experience on a Western train seven years ago
that sort o’ soured me on the train game; in fact, that experience
knocked a good deal of the poker enthusiasm out of me, and since then,
whenever I’ve got into a game with friends or acquaintances in a hotel
room, I’ve sized them up pretty carefully to see if they were all robust
men. Maybe you don’t understand what possible connection there can be
between physical robustness and the game of American draw just now, but
you’ll understand it when I tell you of this experience.

"In the spring of 1891 I got aboard the night train of the ’Q,’ Chicago
to Denver. The train left Chicago at 9 o’clock at that time. When I was
seven years younger than I am now I never sought a sleeper bunk until 1
or 2 in the morning, and when I found that there wasn’t a man on this
sleeper with whom I had ever a bowing acquaintance I felt a bit
lonesome. I started through the train to hunt up the news butcher to get
from him a bunch of traveling literature, and in the car ahead of me I
found Tom Danforth, the Michigan stove man, an old traveling pal of
mine. I sat down to have a talk with Tom when along came George
Dunwoody, the Chicago perfumery man, who had also paralleled me a lot of
times on trips. Inside of four minutes I had pulled both of 'em back to
my car and we had a game of cut-throat draw under way in the smoking
compartment. We started in at quarter ante and dollar limit, but when I
pulled ’way ahead of of both of them within an hour or so and they
struck for dollar ante and five-dollar limit, I was agreeable.

"We were plugging along at this game, all three of us going pretty slow,
and both of them gradually getting back the money I had won in the
smaller game, when a tall, very thin and very gaunt-looking young fellow
of about thirty entered the smoking compartment and dropped into a seat
with the air of a very tired man. I sat facing the entrance to the
compartment, and I thought when I saw the man’s emaciated condition and
the two bright spots on his cheekbones, ’Old man, you’ve pretty nearly
arrived at your finish, and if you’re making for Denver now I think
you’re a bit too late.’ My two friends didn’t see the consumptive when
he entered the room, for their backs were turned to the door, but when,
while I was dealing the cards, the new arrival put his hand to his mouth
and gave a couple of short, hacking coughs, Dunwoody turned around
suddenly and looked at him.

"’Why, hello there, Fatty,’ exclaimed Dunwoody, holding out his hand to
the emaciated man, ’where are you going? Denver? Why, I thought you were
there long ago? Didn’t I tell you last fall to go there or to Arizona
for the winter? D’ye mean to say that you’ve been in Chicago all winter
with that half a lung and that bark o’ yours? How are you now, anyhow,

"The emaciated man smiled the weary smile of the consumptive.

"’Oh, I’m all right, George,’ he said, sort o’ hanging on to Dunwoody’s
hand. ’Going out to Denver to croak this trip, I guess. Didn’t want to
go, but my people got after me and they’re chasing me out there. I
wanted them to let me stay in Chicago and make the finish there, but
they wouldn’t stand for it. My mother and one of my sisters are coming
along after me next week.’

"’Finish? What are you giving us, Fatty?’ asked Dunwoody,
good-naturedly, but not with a great amount of belief in his own words,
I imagine. ’You’ll be selling terra cotta tiles when the rest of us’ll
be wearing skull caps and cloth shoes. Cut out the finish talk. You look
pretty husky, all right.’

"’Oh, I’m husky all right,’ said the consumptive, with another weary
smile, and then he had another coughing spell. When that was over
Dunwoody introduced him to us.

"’Ed, alias Fatty, Crowhurst,’ was Dunwoody’s way of introducing him.
’Sells tiles, waterworks pipes and conduits. Called Fatty because he’s
nearly six and a half feet high, has never weighed more than
thirty-seven pounds (give or take a few), and has never since any one
knew him had more’n half a lung. Thinks he’s sick, and has laid himself
on the shelf for over a year past. No sicker than I am. Used to have the
record west of the Alleghanies for cigarette smoking. You’ve cut the
cigarettes out, haven’t you, Fat?’

"For reply the consumptive pulled out a gold cigarette case, extracted a
cigarette therefrom and lit it. It was a queer thing to see a man in his
state of health smoking a cigarette. Dunwoody’s eyes stuck out over it.

"’Well, if you ain’t a case of perambulating, lingering suicide, Fatty,
I never saw one,’ said he to his friend.

"’It’s all one,’ was the reply. ’It’s too much punishment to give ’em
up, and it wouldn’t make any difference anyhow.’

"I had meanwhile dished the hands out, and after my two friends had
drawn cards and I made a small bet they threw up their hands.

"’Draw, eh?’ said the emaciated man, addressing Dunwoody. 'How about
making it four-handed?’

"’Oh, you’d better take it out in sleeping, Fat,’ replied Dunwoody. ’You
look just a bit tired, and we’re going to make a night of it, most
likely, with whisky trimmings. You can’t do that very well without
hurting yourself, and if you came in and we got into you you’d feel like
playing until you evened up, and ’ud get no rest. Better not come in,
Fat. Better hit your bunk for a long snooze. We’ll have breakfast
together when they hitch on the dining car at Council Bluffs.’

"’I haven’t sat into a game of draw for a long while,’ said Dunwoody’s
friend, ’and I’d rather play than eat.’

"There was a bit of pathos in that remark, I thought, and I kicked
Dunwoody under the table.

"’Well, jump in then, Fatty,’ said Dunwoody, and the poor chap drew a
chair up to the table with a look of pleasure on his drawn, hollow face,
with its two brightly burning spots on the cheekbones.

"It soon became apparent that Dunwoody’s fear about our ’getting into’
the consumptive didn’t stand any show whatever of being realized. The
emaciated man was an almighty good poker player, nervy, cool, and
cautious, and yet a good bit audacious at that. I caught him
four-flushing and bluffing on it several times, but he got my money
right along in the general play, all the same, and after an hour’s play
he had the whole three of us on the run. I was about $100 to the rear,
and Dunwoody and Danforth had each contributed a bit more than that to
the consumptive’s stack of chips. The fact was, he simply outclassed the
three of us as a poker player—and, by the way, I wonder why it is that
men that have got something the matter with their lungs are invariably
such rattling good poker players? I’ve noticed this right along. I never
yet sat into a poker game with a man that had consumption in one stage
or another of it that he didn’t make me smoke a pipe for a spell. That
would be a good one to spring on some medical sharp for an explanation.

"By the time midnight came around Dunwoody’s friend with the pulmonary
trouble had won about half as much again from us, and Dunwoody began to
look at his watch nervously. The three of us were taking a little nip at
frequent intervals, just enough to brush the cobwebs away, but the
sick-looking man didn’t touch a drop. He smoked one cigarette after
another, however, inhaling the smoke into his shrunken lungs, and the
sight made all of us feel sorry, I guess, for the foolhardiness of the
man. Finally Dunwoody looked at his watch and then raised his eyes and
took a survey of the countenance of the consumptive, which was
overspread with a deep flush. The consumptive’s eyes were
extraordinarily bright, too.

"’Fatty,’ said Dunwoody, ’cash in and go to bed. 'You’ve had enough of
this. Poker and 112 cigarettes for a one-lunger bound for Colorado for
his health! Cash in and skip!’

"’No, I don’t want to quit, George,’ said the consumptive. 'I haven’t
had anything like enough yet. What’s more, I’ve got all of you fellows
too much in the hole. I only wanted to come in for the fun of it,
anyhow, and here I am with a lot of the coin of the three of you. I’ll
just play on until this pay streak deserts me and give you fellows a
chance to win out.’

"When he finished saying this the man with the wasted lungs had another
violent spell of coughing and Dunwoody looked worried. But he gave in.

"’All right, Fat,’ he said, ’do as you derned please, but I don’t want
to be boxing you up and shipping you back to the lake front.’

"Then the game proceeded. I don’t think any of us felt exactly right,
playing with a man who looked as if his days were as short-numbered as a
child’s multiplication table, but maybe the fact that he was such a
comfortable winner from us mitigated our sympathy for him just a little
bit. He kept on winning steadily for the next hour, and about half past
1 in the morning there was a good-sized jackpot. It went around half a
dozen times, all of us sweetening it for five every time the deal
passed, and finally, on the seventh deal, which was the consumptive’s,
Danforth, who sat on his left, opened the pot. I stayed, and so did
Dunwoody. When it was up to the dealer he nodded his head to indicate
that he would stay. We were all looking at him, and we noticed that he
had gone pale. It was noticeable after the deep flush that had covered
his face when he entered.

"Danforth took two cards. I drew honestly and to my hand, which had a
pair of kings in it, and I caught another one. Dunwoody asked for three
and then the dealer put the deck down beside him.

"’How many is the dealer dishing himself?’ we all happened to ask in

"’None,’ answered the sick man, who seemed to be getting paler all the

"’Pat, hey, Fatty?’ said Dunwoody. ’Must be pretty well fixed, or, say,
are you woozy enough to try a bluff on this? You don’t expect to bluff
Danforth out of his own pot?’

"The consumptive only smiled a wan smile.

"’Well, I hope you are well fixed,’ went on Dunwoody, 'for it’s your
last hand. I’m going to send you to your bunk as soon as I win this

"’The limit,’ said Danforth, the pot-opener, skating five white chips
into the center.

"’Five more,’ said I, putting the chips in.

"’I’ll call both of you,’ said Dunwoody, shoving ten chips into the

"It was up to Dunwoody’s consumptive friend. He opened his lips to speak
and little dabs of blood appeared at both corners of his mouth. His head
fell back and at the same time the cards in his hands fell face up on
the table. The hand was an ace high flush of diamonds. Dunwoody was
standing over him in an instant, and Danforth and I both jumped up.
Dunwoody wiped the blood away from the man’s mouth with his handkerchief
and then put the back of his hand on the man’s face.

"’It’s cold,’ said Dunwoody, with a queer look.

"Then he placed his ear to his friend’s heart. We waited for him to look
up with a good deal of suspense. He raised his head after about thirty

"’Crowhurst’s dead,’ was all he said.

"Dunwoody telegraphed ahead for an undertaker to meet the train at
Omaha. He gathered up the cards, too, and the chips.

"’Crowhurst won that pot,’ he whispered to us. ’His pat flush beat all
of our threes.’

"Dunwoody was banker and he cashed all of the dead man’s chips. Then he
took Crowhurst’s body back from Omaha to Chicago in a box. Dunwoody
handed the $580 the dead man had won from us to his mother, telling her
that her son had given him the money to keep for him before turning into
his sleeper bunk.

"That," concluded the man who sells bridges and trestles, "is the reason
I’ve cut card-playing on trains for the past seven years."


_When You Get into a Game of Draw in California It Is Well to Ascertain
                         the Rules in Advance._

"Before sitting into a game of poker anywhere near tidewater out on the
Pacific coast you’ll always find it a pretty good scheme to make a few
preliminary inquiries of your fellow players as to the kind of poker
you’re expected to mix up with," said a traveling man who had recently
returned to the East after a tour on the Slope. "Because I neglected to
do this myself on several occasions I got into all sorts of embarrassing
situations and all colors of poker trouble all the way from Portland,
Ore., to San Diego, Cal., and the fellows with whom I did little stunts
at draw—all good people, business men I met with through letters—put me
down as the worst jay in a game of cards that ever crossed the Rocky
Mountains. The folks out there think we’re all jays back here, anyhow,
if for no other reason than that we haven’t enough brains to migrate in
a body to the Pacific Slope, but they complacently told me that I was
the worst of the species they had ever seen, simply because I couldn’t
seem to get the hang of the queer old game they call poker out in that

"The game they dub poker out there isn’t poker at all, in my opinion.
It’s a hybrid sort of affair, full of fancy moves that must have been
chucked into the original game by early California vaqueros with such a
taste for embellishment that they had to tack gilt fringe on to their
pants and to encircle their hats with silver cable. Whatever they call
it, it’s not American draw poker by a darned sight. The kind of poker
that I was raised on—the real thing, the article of draw that we play on
this side of the Alleghanies—doesn’t take any more account of the joker,
for instance, than it does of the card case; but out in California they
think a man’s plumb blind crazy if he registers a kick over having the
joker in the deck. I’d as lief play old maid or grab for corn-silk
cigarettes as play draw poker with the joker mixed up in it; but out
there I had to take the game as it was served up, and, as between poker
with a joker and no poker at all, I, of course, accepted the lesser of
the two evils and played. But I got dumped on the game for about 2,000
miles of coast line, and that, too, by people who didn’t have to count
themselves because they were so many at the game. The trouble was that I
played the game of draw that I was brought up on and they played their
crossbred game, and the result was just about as queer as it would be to
see a baseball pitcher chucking up a Rugby football to a cricket batsman
with a fence picket in his hands.

"I’ll not forget my first run-in with this poker-joker idea. This was my
first visit to the slope, you know and, although I’d often heard vaguely
that young ’uns, playing draw for beans or tin tags, once in a while
shoved the joker into the pack for the fun of the thing. I, of course,
never dreamed that rational adult human beings in any quarter of the
earth could have the nerve to inflict such a dismal outrage upon the
noble game of draw as to slap the joker into a poker deck. But I found
out different the very first game of draw that I sat into out in San

"It was a four-handed game, and I was the only Eastern man in the bunch.
The other three fellows were business men who belong to the Native Sons’
organization, which accounts for the weird brand of poker they played.
They played what was taught ’em in their youth out there; didn’t know
any better, and thought, and no doubt still think, that their game is

"I was banker, and dished up the first hand. It was 25 cents ante and $5
limit. I gave myself two rattling good pairs, kings up on tens. All of
the other fellows stayed, and the man on my right made it a couple of
dollars more to draw cards. This let two of ’em out of it, but I thought
my two pairs were good enough for a $2 raise, and so I played with the
raiser. He drew one card, and so, of course, did I. It was his bet, and
he came at me on the double with the limit. I’d caught another king, and
had as neat-looking a full house as a man needs to have in any kind of a

"’Five more’n you,’ said I, and we shuttled the limit back and forth
until we each had about $50 in the pot. Said I to myself, ’I’ve got you
beat, my boy, for the percentage of the game is ’way against your
holding fours against my full hand, especially on the first clatter out
of the box, and, even if you’ve filled those two pairs of yours—which
you probably haven’t, for the percentage is plumb against you—you
certainly haven’t got aces on top.’ Now, that was good poker reasoning,
the kind of reasoning that has kept me necktie and peanut money ahead of
the game anyway for twenty years or so, and I gave him the raise-back
just as often as he threw it at me.

"’Finally,’ said he, ’we are getting out of our depth and beyond the
breaker line, ain’t we? I’ve got you man-handled, but you junipers from
the East never can feel the hunch when you are licked, and so I’ll skate
in my little five and call you.’

"We each had about $80 in the pot then.

"I spread out my three royal gentlemen topping the pair of tens, and was
just about to make some good-natured crack about getting a hoe to scoop
in my winnings on the first hand, when he spread out his hand and raked
in the pot with a smile. His hand consisted of a pair of aces up on a
pair of sixes and the joker.

"’What the dickens are you doing there?’ I asked him when he raked in
the pot. ’Can’t you see it’s a misdeal? I forgot to take the joker out
of the deck.’

"’Misdeal nothing,’ he said, still smiling. ’You had a good hand all
right, but aces beat kings, you know, anywhere from Tuolume to Tucson.’

"’Yes,’ said I, ’but you’ve only got aces up, and I’ve got a full hand,
kings up, and it’s a misdeal, anyhow’——

"Well, they all looked at me like they thought I ought to be in a
lunatic asylum.

"’Misdeal?’ said my friend who had swiped the pot. 'What the deuce are
you giving us, anyhow? I caught the joker on the draw, and it just
filled my hand—three aces and a pair of sixes. Don’t an ace-full beat a
king-full in that desolate Atlantic coast region you hail from?’

"’You mean you call the joker an ace?’ said I, the thing beginning to
dawn upon me.

"The three fellows gazed at me as if they were trying to find out if I
was drunk or not.

"’Why, do you mean to say,’ said the man I had played with, ’that you
don’t know that in poker the joker is any old thing you choose to make
it—that, when you get it either on the deal or on the draw, you can call
it anything you want to call it to eke out a pair, flush, full house or
anything else? Tell you what, old man, you need sleep. You’ve been
working too hard. Turn in and have a long night of it.’

"I couldn’t help but laugh.

"’Well,’ said I, ’you people may call this joker-jiggling poker, but
somehow or another it suggests tag and I-spy and little girls singing
"London Bridge is falling down" to me. Why in the devil don’t you play
poker with a pinochle deck and be done with it? Come on, and we’ll build
card houses, or what’s the matter with playing casino for chalk or

"’Why, don’t you benighted people back East use the joker?’

"’Yes,’ said I, ’we do. We always give the joker in a new deck to babies
in arms to cut their teeth on.’

"Another queer kink in the slope game of draw is that straights don’t
go. I’ve been catching occasional pat straights and drawing to ’em all
my life, and I think the straight is one of the prettiest plays in
poker. In playing straights, if the chap across the table draws one
card, you’ve got the fun of trying to figure out whether he’s drawing to
a couple of pairs or bobbing to a straight or a flush, and it’s
interesting work. If he stands pat, it’s up to you to determine by the
mind-reading process whether he’s simply bluffing or actually has a pat
straight or full hand or flush in his paws.

"Well, out on the coast they’ve heard occasional rumors of such things
as straights being played somewhere or another in the game of draw, but
you won’t meet one coast man in a hundred that knows precisely what the
straight consists of and what the chances are of a man’s getting a pat
straight or of filling a one-ended or double-ended straight. As for
playing straights, they’ve never even dreamed of such an absurdity. I
found that out in the second game of draw I got into out there.

"It was in Portland, and another four-handed game, the other three
fellows being business men also. We played along for a while without my
running into any snags sticking out of the coast game, and then I got on
the deal four cards that had in them the making of a corking good
straight, capable of being filled at either end, from nine up to queen,
so that either an eight or a king on the draw would have fixed me all
right. I decided to draw to it just for luck, although all three of the
fellows were in and had stood a rise before the draw. When I caught my
king I was glad I had decided to draw to my straight. A king-high
straight is a pretty good mess of cards in any man’s game of draw as we
know draw back in these parts.

"There was a heap of betting on that round, and, of course, with that
clipper-built straight of mine, I wasn’t going to let any of ’em put it
on me. I met every raise and stuck so persistently and confidently that
the whole three of them began to regard me as the main guy so far as
that deal was concerned and look a bit afraid of me. The last time I
raised it they kind o’ exchanged looks, and the man at my left called
me. The other two men followed suit, and there was a general laying down
of hands. The man at my left had three eights, the fellow next to him
aces up on treys, and the man at my right three sixes. I projected my
right arm to sweep in the good-sized pot after spreading out my
king-high straight.

"’Hold up, there!’ they all yelled at me at once. 'What’s all this? What
are you trying to do—hypnotize us?’ And the man who had laid down his
three eights made a reach for the pot.

"It was now my turn to think the whole three of 'em looney.

"’Is there so much smoke in here,’ said I, ’that you three people can’t
perceive that I’ve got a king-high straight?’

"’Straight?’ said the man with the three eights. 'Straight be damned!
You’ve got one king up on nothing. How old are you, anyhow—seven?
Straight? Listen to him!’ And the three of ’em gave the hoarse hoot in
chorus. I asked ’em to get around me and pinch me, because I wanted to
find out if I was dreaming or not, but they were too busy leaning back
in their chairs and roaring like so many wild asses of the woods to pay
any attention to me. That’s what I got for not inquiring beforehand into
the kind of draw I stacked up against in Portland.

"The next poker knock I got was down in Santa Barbara. I got into a game
of draw with three hotel clerks, all good fellows, but all addicted to
the nursery poker they play out there, and again I forgot to nail ’em up
against the wall and make ’em exude information about the kind of game
they purposed playing. We got along all right for an hour or so, and at
the end of the time I was comfortably well ahead of the game. It kind o’
tickled me, too, when I caught the joker on the draw three or four times
and beat ’em out on their own game— which is a silly game, and about as
brainy as bean-bag, all the same. I also kept away from my inclination
to draw to straights, and, having made this much progress, I really
didn’t think I was in for any more rude and costly surprises in the
game. That’s where I did the leap-year figuring.

"I gave myself a neat mess of clubs—four of them—with the ace for a
capstone. I have always been lucky in bobbing to flushes, and this
looked good. Two of the other fellows drew two cards each, and the other
man asked for one. I gave myself another club, and tried to look gloomy
and depressed. An ace-high flush has always been good enough for me on
this side of the continent, and I bet it for all it was worth. The three
hotel clerks evidently thought they were pretty well fixed, too, and,
although there was nothing frantic about the betting, it was nice and
smooth and even, and the pot grew in a way that suited me down to the
ground. When it got so large on five-dollar raises as we thought it
ought to be there was a general suggestion for a call and a show-down.
Two of my fellow players had threes, small ones, and the other two pairs
that we wouldn’t stay with very long back in this neck of the woods.
Well, I flashed my ace-high flush of clubs on them, and was just about
to say something about easy money when the man with the best threes
scooped in the pot.

"’Must have left your specs at home, my boy,’ said I, thinking he was
only fooling. ’Pass that pile over.’

"’For why?’ said he.

"Then I looked him over and saw that he was serious.

"’For why?’ I repeated. ’Well, the instructors at whose feet I sat to
learn what is learnable about the game of draw poker always taught me to
believe that a flush is better than threes.’

"’Yes,’ said he, ’but didn’t you draw a card?’

"’What the devil difference does that make?’ I inquired.

"’Oh,’ said he patronizingly, ’I see you’re a bit new at the game. You
see, you can’t draw to flushes. You’ve got to hold ’em pat.’

"Well, that was the worst jab I had yet received, but I had to stand for
it, on the ’do-as-the-Romans-do’ principle.

"In San Diego I got into a game with some fellows who were so warm that
they wouldn’t play anything but jack-pots. At the start-off of the
game—the first hand—none of the four of us could open it. It went around
three times, and on the fourth deal I caught a pair of queens. Two of
the other fellows stayed. I caught another queen, and played the hand
for all it was worth. When I was called I showed down my hand, and had
’em both beat.

"’Foul hand,’ said they. ’You didn’t have openers,’ and they looked at
me suspiciously.

"’The dickens you say!’ said I. ’I went in with a pair of queens and
caught another one—there they are.’

"’But you needed aces,’ said they, all at once. ’It went around four
times, and jack-pots are progressive, of course. D’ye mean to say you
didn’t know that? Sorry, old man, that we’ll have to split the pot.’

"’Are they always progressive out here?’ I asked.

"’Always,’ they answered, and that settled it. The pot was split."


_Few Gamblers Perceive "the Psychological Moment" For Quitting Play and
                            Retiring Rich._

An old man whose mind is still alert, and the movements of whose tall,
somewhat stooped body are as free and spry as those of many a man fifty
years his junior, is Cole Martin, once the most famous faro dealer in
this country. He slipped the cards out of the box for the statesmen with
a penchant for gaming who lived in Washington fifty, forty, and thirty
years ago, when it was deemed no disgrace for the strong men of the land
to try an occasional buck at the tiger, openly and above board. Martin
is now verging upon 80 years of age, and even to the present generation
of Washingtonians his white-bearded countenance is very familiar. His
age does not tell upon him, and his commerce among men is about as wide
now, he says, as it was back in the fifties. He had a great deal of
money at one time in his career, but most of it went by the board. He
had the caution to purchase an annuity for himself a good many years
ago, and upon this he lives comfortably. He has passed most of his life
in Washington, but before and after the war of the rebellion he had
adventures in many parts of the United States where gaming was at its
highest. He is a mine of curious, first-hand information about the
statesmen-gamesters who were great figures in the national life of the
country before the war, and the local newspaper have published many of
his reminiscences of this sort. He is not garrulous, but once he gets
into his stride and the company is congenial he talks well and
entertainingly. He was speaking recently of the case of the well-known
young American turf plunger who, after having beaten the English racing
game to the tune of $150,000 a few weeks ago, waded in so recklessly
that, only a short time later, he quit $90,000 to the bad.

"Another example of the chance taker who has not mastered the fine
science of quitting," was his way of summing it up. "That seems to be
the most difficult point in the gambling business—to know just the right
time to quit. Few men master it. I never did, myself. I wish I had. Any
fool can go on playing when he is away ahead of his game, but it takes a
man of unusual strength of character, perception and foresight to knock
off when, after riding a high tide, he notices that it begins to ebb.
The scientists, I believe, talk of a ’psychological moment.’ I don’t
know of any business in life in which the psychological moment plays a
greater part than it does in gambling. Most of this country’s old-time
gamesters have died, as you know, very poor, or, worse,
poverty-stricken. I never hear of the death of one of them leaving not
enough money behind to have his body put into the ground that I don’t
recall the time when he had tens or hundreds of thousands. The gambler
by profession has many a psychological moment in the course of his
career, but he rarely takes advantages of them. He goes on dabbling at a
percentage that his common-sense tells him is against him, and that he
has only temporarily beaten, and after a while he finds himself broke;
then he asks himself remorsefully why he didn’t break off when he was on
top of the wave. I have known a few professional gamblers who knew just
when to quit. Some of them are still alive, old men like myself, and
they are well fixed. Those of them who are dead left good sums of money
behind them.

"I once saw George Plantagenet, one of the best known of the New Orleans
gamblers before the war, win $60,000 in an afternoon’s play at faro.
This was in Memphis. He cashed in and left the bank. After supper he
returned with all of the money and he began to buck the king. He played
it open every time and the king lost eight straight times in two deals.
That cost Plantagenet $20,000 of his winnings. The lid had been taken
off the game for him. When the dealer pulled out the eighth straight
losing king Plantagenet cashed in. He was frank enough to admit that he
had cold feet.

"’While freely acknowledging that I am more or less of a d—d fool,’ he
said coolly, ’I strive for the reputation of knowing when I’ve got
enough, even of a good thing. I quit. This is just my time to quit. If
the box were only depleting me gradually but surely I don’t doubt that
I’d go until I was all up. But I can see legible handwriting on the wall
from as considerable a distance as my neighbors, and when I’m on top, as
I am now, well and comfortably, and eight straight kings range
themselves against me on the left hand side of the layout, that’s the
kind of a signal I’m waiting for, and I pass. I’ll bet any man on the
side, just for a flyer, $5,000 that the next king out of the box wins,
but no more faro.

"Frank Wooton, the proprietor of the layout, was standing by when
Plantagenet made this little talk.

"’You are wise in your generation, George,’ said he. 'Now, it is about a
10 to 1 shot against the king losing again. Consequently you can afford
to give me at least 2 to 1 on that proposition. I’ll bet you $2,500 to
$5,000 that the king does lose the next time out.’

"’Taken,’ said Plantagenet, covering Wooton’s money, and the crowd
gathered round to watch the dealer riffle the cards. The box was fully
half out before a king showed, and it showed on the losing side—nine
straight. Wooton pulled down the side bet.

"’Which I may remark,’ said Plantagenet with the greatest coolness,
’that this ninth consecutive lose of the king simply confirms and makes
good the hunch I had to quit when it lost the eighth time. But I will go
a bit further to prove that my inspiration to quit is a proper and
sensible one. I will bet you $1,000 that I can buck your bank now with
dummy chips representing all of my winnings and the roll I originally
started with, and that, although I shall play as carefully and as
cautiously and as earnestly as I would did the dummy chips really
represent money, I shall lose every stack within two hours.’

"Plantagenet and Wooton were old friends, and the latter knew that
Plantagenet would try to win with the dummy chips even though he would
be $1,000 loser if he did.

"’Go ahead and prove your case,’ said Wooton, and a dealer who was off
duty was called upon to deal. Plantagenet kept cases himself and played
his own particular system with all manner of care and effort. Wooton
stood by and saw that Plantagenet was playing his regular game.
Plantagenet’s luck had deserted him, and he lost two bets out of every
three. It seemed impossible for him to get down right, and he lost
steadily. He had played in his last stack in an hour and forty minutes
and Wooton hand him the $1,000.

"’That’s the way it would have been had I been playing with money,’ said
Plantagenet, and Wooton agreed with him. Plantagenet was one of the men
who knew when to quit, and when he died, with his grandchildren around
him, in the early seventies, he left more than $500,000 to be
distributed among his heirs.

"Edmund Baker of Louisville, who was not a professional gambler, but who
outdid most of the famous professional gamblers of the South in the late
fifties in the heaviness of his play when he felt in a winning humor,
was another man who knew when to quit. I saw him win $32,000 in one
night at bank in the rooms of the old Crescent City Club. Then he curled
up all of a sudden and cashed in. He wasn’t a quitter in the ungenerous
sense, but he used to say that the little angel, supposed by the sailors
to sit aloft and watch out for Jack Tar, had a habit of informing him,
when he was bucking another man’s game, just the proper time to pass it
up and quit. It was a matter of pure hunch with him. On this occasion
Joe Randolph, a heavy player from Virginia, twitted Baker a bit for not
pressing his luck—for quitting when he seemed to be winning four bets
out of five.

"’All right, Randolph,’ said Baker after he had cashed in. ’I’ll let you
make five $10 bets in my behalf on the deal now running and I’ll bet you
an even $2,000 that I (or you) lose four out of the five; this, just to
show you that my intuition about the proper time to lay off is good.’

"Randolph took that bet, which was a good one, with more than an even
chance in his favor, and he lost, for every one of the five bets lost.
Baker would quit when he was loser just as suddenly as he would when he
was away ahead of the game. I saw him lose over $3,000 in a four-handed
poker game with friends in one of the parlors of the old St. Charles
Hotel between the hours of 6 and 9 o’clock one evening. He had
practically an unlimited amount of money at his disposal, considering
the size of the game—$200 limit—but he yawned and pushed his chair back
with the simple statement that it wasn’t his night. The next night he
lost $2,000 more to the same three friends, and again he resumed his
seat. On the following night he was $4,000 loser after four hours’ play,
but he gave no sign of quitting.

"’Isn’t it pretty near time for you to stretch your arms and forsake us
again, Baker?’ asked one of his friends in the game, jokingly.

"’No,’ said Baker, ’I’m going to stay along to-night. I’ll begin to win
soon, and then you can all stand by.’

"He began to win on the very next deal and at 2 o’clock in the morning
he had not only retrieved his losses on the week’s play, but he had all
the money in the crowd. Baker was possessed of a species of intuition
that was something extraordinary. I don’t know what else to call it but
intuition. I never saw him take a daring chance that he did not win out
on it—chances that no professional gambler would dream of taking, and
diametrically opposed to all of the rules of percentage in games of
hazard. One night he walked into ’Don’ Haskell’s Madrid Club in St.
Louis—this was in the fall of ’59—and stood and watched a few deals out
of the box at the $500-limit faro table. Then he reached over and bought
five yellow—$100—chips from the dealer. He put them all on the ace and
coppered the card. The ace lost, and the dealer put five yellow chips on
the top of the original five on the ace, and waited for Baker to haul
them down. Baker absent-mindedly made no move, to take the chips until
the dealer reminded him of them.

"’Let them stand, with the ace coppered,’ said Baker.

"’But it’s $500 limit, Mr. Baker,’ said the dealer.

"’Let it stand, Jack,’ said ’Don’ Haskell, coming up behind Jack and
addressing the dealer. ’Let it stand as long as Mr. Baker wants to make
play with the ace coppered, and we’ll see if we can’t commit assault and
battery on his "intuition."’

"Baker nodded good-naturedly to Haskell and then waited for the turns on
the ace. The ace was only half a dozen cards below, and it lost. The
dealer ranged ten more yellows beside Baker’s pile.

"’Let them stand, ace coppered,’ said Baker, scanning the cases for a
few deals back carelessly.

"’Don’ Haskell nodded in the affirmative to the dealer and the other
players at the table neglected to put any bets down in their interest in
Baker’s peculiar play. There was only one more ace left in the box and
it came out a loser. The dealer stacked up twenty more yellows beside
Baker’s pile—$4000—and he and the proprietor waited for Baker to haul
them down. Baker leaned back and lit a cigar, leaving the $4000 in
yellows to stand.

"’I’ll leave them there, with the ace coppered, if you’re willing,
"Don,"’ he said quietly to Haskell.

"’The longer the better,’ said Haskell, and the dealer began to slip
them out. The first ace was way down in the center of the box, and
Haskell looked a bit chagrined when it came out a loser.

"’Eight thousand, eh?’ he said, looking over the stack of yellows on the
coppered ace. ’One more whirl at it, Baker—that’ll be about all I can
stand to-night if you take it down.’

"The ace came out on the losing side again—a thing that no professional
gambler would have bet on had he been offered 5 to 1 on the
proposition—and Baker cashed in $16,000. He would have let it run again
had Haskell been able to stand it, but the ’Don’ had enough. Baker stood
by and watched the ace come out a loser twice again and then he put $500
on it to win. It won and he took the boat for New Orleans with $16,500
of Haskell’s money. Three months later, when Frank Caxton, Ned Ripley
and Monk Terhune, a well-known New Orleans trio of tiger buckers, broke
the Madrid Club’s bank roll wide open, to the tune of $100,000, Baker
was the man who started Haskell in business again.

"When I was dealing heavy games myself I used often to have a sudden
feeling that it was time for some strong bucker on the other side of the
table to cash in and quit, but of course it was no part of my business
to make any such suggestions. I was dealing a game once in Washington,
in the winter of ’66, when the outcast son of a rich tobacco man of
Richmond came along and whacked my box for $12,000 in a single night’s
play at $200 limit. I knew the young fellow pretty well, and I knew that
since his father had run him out of Richmond he had had more than his
share of hard luck. In fact, he had often been hungry, and I had often
given him a $5 or $10 bill, being pretty flush myself just then. He had
started in on my box with a shoestring—where he got it I don’t know—and,
as I say, he got me to the tune of $12,000 before I turned the box on
him for the night. The man in whose interest I was dealing was very
wealthy and a generous man. He knew the young chap’s father. He came to
me after the young man had left with his winnings and said:

"’You’d better hunt up that boy and tell him that he’d better not play
any more. He’s had his run of luck, and he’s got enough to give himself
a start. I don’t want the money back. If he handles it right it’ll do
him more good than it would me. Just try to pound a bit of sense into
the lads’ head.’

"That was a pretty square talk to come from the throat of a man whose
bank had been raided. I hunted the young fellow up that morning and told
him about it. He was full of hifalutin’ talk about wanting to give the
proprietor of the bank a chance and all that sort of thing.

"’He can take care of himself,’ said I to the boy. ’He knows your
father, and I dare say he’s clipped your father’s bank roll for a good
deal more than $12,000 on occasions when your dad has visited Washington
and gone against the bank. Better array yourself in purple and fine
linen, keep sober, and go back to the Governor in Richmond with a high
head and a proper countenance. That’ll be better than walking into
Richmond in need of a Russian bath.’

"The fever was on the boy, though, and he couldn’t keep his promise to
me to stop. He came in that night, and in half an hour’s play he ran his
$12,000 up to $15,000. I kicked him under the table then, as a sort of
final warning. He paid no attention to me, though. Then he began to
lose, and in three hours he was flat broke. He went out with a wild
light in his eye, and the next morning he was found dead in his little
boarding-house room, with a bullet in his brain.

"It may be true, in the ordinary sense, that Providence hates a quitter,
but that doesn’t apply to gambling. The knowledge of when to get cold
feet, and the gentle art of doing the same, are valuable assets for any
man who tries to buck another man’s game."


   _And They Got Him the Whole Length of the Missouri, Until He Went
                   Against Another Game and Won Out._

"A man hunting for poker trouble could get a-plenty of it on the Big
Muddy stern-wheelers around the latter sixties and the early seventies,"
said Joe Reilly of Sioux City. "There weren’t many regular poker sharks
working the Missouri River boats in those days like there were on the
Mississippi steamers, but just the same the men that traveled on those
weather-boarded, lop-sided old sand-bar wagons on the Big Muddy all knew
how to play poker some, I’m a-telling you. Cato Bullman found this out
when he went up against a whole lot of different men’s games on the old
’Gen. W. T. Sherman’ in 1872.

"Bullman was pardners with Nate Stillwater in running a big general
store in Yankton, and both of ’em were making a mint of money at the
time I’m going to tell you about. They’d ha’ made more, I guess, if
Stillwater hadn’t drank too much whisky and Bullman hadn’t played too
much poker. Now, all in all, Stillwater handled his whisky pretty well,
and at such times as he found it was getting a half-Nelson on him he’d
leave it off for a spell and attend to business, so that his end of the
dissipation of the firm of Stillwater & Bullman wasn’t half as bad as
Cato’s. Cato loved to play poker so much that he’d knock right off in
the middle of selling a bill of goods to a gang of freighters to go off
somewheres and sit in a game. Now, this wouldn’t have been so bad, even
if it was darned poor business policy, if Cato ever won. But he never
did. He had no license ever to touch a pack of cards. In the first
place, he was a yap at cards, and any American kid that knew how to play
old maid could have hopped out of the back of a prairie schooner and
beaten Cato out of his boots at the game for money, marbles or chalk. In
the second place, Cato was a natural born hoodoo. If he was drawing to
three aces, and the other fellow was taking five cards, the other
fellow’d beat Cato out and have plenty to space. So that it was just
about up to Cato to holler murder and take to the brush whenever anybody
flashed a pack of the pasteboards on him. But he didn’t see it this way.
He went right on playing poker and getting soaked for his share of the
profits of the firm. Cato appeared to be just stone-blind to the fact
that the foxy people that didn’t do much of anything else around Yankton
except to play cards were in a fair way to fix themselves with meal
tickets for life at his expense, and as he was pretty near seven foot
high and built in proportion, none of us felt like trying to kick any
sense into his fool head.

"Anyhow, in the summer of ’72 Bullman started down the river on the old
’Gen. W. T. Sherman’ for St. Louis to buy goods. He had $10,000 in
greenbacks along with him. Before he went aboard the boat Stillwater,
who wasn’t much more’n five foot high, ranged himself alongside Cato’s
big carcass, and says he:

"’Cato, this here v’yage you’re about to embark on is a business trip
and nothin’ else. It ain’t no jamboree and it ain’t no poker picnic.
There’s some smooth people gits aboard these here mud ploughs down below
at the landings, and in their hands you’d be nothin’ but a great big
moon-eyed jayhawker, which you are. So throughout this here journey
you’d best git ’way up on top o’ the boat and sit on a pile o’ planks
just abaft the pilot-house and smoke your pipe. You’re not to play no
poker at all, you hear me? When you git stuck on a sand-bar you can fish
over the side for bullhead catfish, but you don’t play no poker. If,
when you git back here, I hear that you’ve been playing poker, I’ll
mangle you up a heap; now you hear me a-talkin’.’

"Cato reached down, picked up his partner by the scruff of the neck, and
held him out at arm’s length.

"’I ain’t a-goin’ to play no poker, old man,’ says he to Stillwater.
’Won’t touch no cards at all till I git back. Kind o’ lost my knack at
the cards lately, anyhow,’ as if he ever had any knack at ’em. ’And you
want to let the red-eye alone while I’m gone, too,’ Cato finished, and
then set his little partner down. Then Cato went aboard the boat. As I
was going along down to St. Louis myself, Stillwater calls me aside and
says to me:

"’Jest keep an eye on that big galoot on the way down, and if he gits
restless and shows an inclination to get tangled up with a poker deck,
jest bat him over the head with a capstan bar.’

"But I wasn’t making any rash promises like that. Well, Cato was all
right the first day out, and he followed his pardner’s instructions and
sat around on deck smoking his corn-cob pipe and feeling his big wallet
occasionally. He kept as far away as possible from the little deck-house
where a game was started going before the boat pushed out into the
stream, but the rattle of the chips was bound to reach his ears
occasionally. On the second day some stockmen got aboard that Cato knew,
and Cato took a few drinks with ’em. Then they invited Cato into a
little game. Cato looked at me kind o’ guilty like, and then shook
himself together like a man does that says to himself, ’It’s nobody’s
danged business but my own.’ So he sits into the game with the stockmen.
They were only going down a few landings, and when they got off they had
$2000 of Cato’s money. I never in my life before or since saw such
hoodoo luck as Cato had in that game with those stockmen. He didn’t get
a pair more’n once in a hundred hands, and if he did get a pair and
happened to better it in the draw he’d give a hoot that ’ud wake up the
owls ashore and then bet like an Ogallala Sioux with four aces and a
dirk knife. It was just simply painful to watch Cato in that game, and
no mistake. When the stockmen got off some of them actually looked so
sorry for Cato that I kind o’ thought they’d offer to give him his money
back. But they didn’t.

"’I’m kind o’ out o’ luck lately,’ says Cato to me after the stockmen
had got off with his $2000, ’and I b’lieve I’ll just draw in now and
wait for a hunch. No good buckin’ agin’ a streak o’ bad luck, is there?’

"Well, I told him that if my 10-year-old boy down in Sioux City wasn’t
able to play poker any better than he, Cato, could before he put on long
trousers and suspenders I’d send him up to a lumber camp until he became
of age. But Cato didn’t pay any attention to me, and when an awkward,
overworked-looking man, dressed like a farmer, got aboard a couple of
landings below he struck up an acquaintance with him. This farmer-like
looking man had a pretty keen pair of eyes in his head, as I noticed,
and he had besides that yokelly way of finding out about other people’s
business. So it didn’t take him long to dig it out of Cato that Cato was
going down to St. Louis to buy a stock of goods. The three of us were
sitting on the hind rail, whittling, when this farmer-like looking man
turns to Cato and asks him:

"’Ever play key-ards?’

"Cato looked at me again and hesitated.

"’Oh, wunct in a while,’ says he, finally, and in a pair of minutes they
were in the middle of a poker game. The stranger asked me to sit in, of
course, but I could see that he wasn’t over-anxious to have me in the
game, and I never played poker on steamboats, stern-wheel or side-wheel,

"Cato’s hoodoo luck followed him right along in his game with the
overworked-looking man, who seemed to me to have considerable of a job
covering up a natural sort of deftness he had in handling a pack. The
two played for three or four hours, the stranger announcing occasionally
that he was going to get off at the next landing, so’s to screen himself
from the inference that he was getting cold feet, probably. He was about
$1000 ahead of Cato’s game when the boat was nearing his landing.

"’Hev to make it a jackpot naow,’ said he, when the old stern-wheeler
began to wheeze and snort a little preparatory to stopping at the

"He dealt the jackpot hand himself and each man had $100 in the center
of the table. It was to be sweetened for $100 each time the deal passed.
But it didn’t pass. Cato opened the pot for $100 and his Reuben-looking
opponent stayed. The betting swayed back and forth until each man had
$1000 up, and then the farmer-like looking man called Cato. Cato had
three eights. The other man had three tens. The other man stuffed the
bills from the center of the table into his overalls, shook Cato quite
effusively by the hand, and went ashore.

"’Got enough?’ says I to Cato when the old sandbar-bucker was once again
under way.

"’Say,’ says he to me, ’ye can’t never jedge a man by his looks, can ye?
That man knows a hull heap more’n you’d think, don’t he?’

"’Got enough, Cato?’ I repeats, for I wanted to pin him to the question
in hand.

"’Well, I shorely am out o’ luck, and no mistake,’ was as far as he
would commit himself.

"The next day a man who looked like members of Congress out my way used
to look got aboard. He was dress in a long black broadcloth coat and
wore a big black slouch hat, and he carried himself like a man that
amounted to a good deal. He was amiable in his manners, though, and he
hadn’t been aboard more’n half an hour before he happened to fall into
talk with Cato. Cato was a little sore about the loss of his $4,000, but
this legislator-like looking man was so entertaining and sprung so a lot
of good stories over the jug of good stuff which Cato brought out of his
stateroom that Cato appeared to forget his troubles for the time.

"’Monotonous work, this steamboat traveling, isn’t it?’ says the
statesmanlike-looking man to Cato after a while. ’I’ve only four hours
traveling to do, and yet I’ve been dreading it for a week. What do you
say to a little game of dime-ante. You play, of course?’

"Cato scratched his chin.

"’Durned if b’lieve I can any more," said he ruefully, and then, like
the innocent big dogan that he was, he tells his new friend how he has
already lost $4,000 on the trip down, and that he feels like hanging on
to his remaining $6,000.

"’Oh, but only a little dime-ante game, you know,’ says the man who
looked like a member of Congress, and his eyes opened up a bit, I
noticed, at the mention of the $6,000.

"’O. K.,’ says Cato. ’Jest to pass the time,’ and down they sat. I was
asked in, but I told the statesmanlike-looking man that I had left my
specs up in Yankton and therefore couldn’t see the hands well enough to
play. Well, the dime-ante and the dollar limit that they started in at
lasted just until Cato got a whopping big hand, which happened to be
given to him by the man that looked like an M. C.

"’Say,’ says Cato then, looking a heap excited, ’s’posin’ we jest take
the limit off’n this here game, anyhow, fur a little while?’

"’Why, certainly,’ says his opponent genially, and Cato walks right in
and wins $500 clean on that hand of his. He gives me a look out o’ the
tail of his eye that says, ’Well, what do you think of me now,’ and the
game goes on.

"Well, the M. C.-looking man begins to win quite a good deal then, and
he, like the farmer-looking man, brought the game to a jackpot finish as
the boat approached his getting-off place.

"’Fur how much?’ inquired Cato, who was about $1,000 out already.

"’Oh, about $50 and $50 sweeteners,’ said the man across the table.

"’No, we won’t, either,’ says Cato. ’We’ll each put in $1,000, an’ no
sweeteners. That’s jest as good fur you as ’tis fur me.’

"’Exactly,’ says the distinguished looking man playing with him, and
Cato dealt the hands. Neither man had openers. Then the other man dealt
’em. Cato opened it on jacks up on treys, and caught another jack in the
draw. The boat snorted and wheezed preparatory to being made fast. Cato
bet a flat $1,000 on his jack full, and the M. C.-looking man, looking
kind o’ impatient to get ashore, win or lose, calls him. Cato lays down
his jack full with a grin at me—and says his friends across the table:

"’You do indeed, my friend, appear to labor under a blanket of
ill-fortune,’ and he spreads out his four nines and gathers in the pot.
Then he hurries ashore, after shaking the crestfallen Cato warmly by the

"’Got $3,000 left now, haven’t you, Cato?’ says I then, for it began to
look to me as if word had been passed down the whole length of the
Missouri River that Cato Bullman was traveling on one of its steamboats
with money. ’Better let me keep that $3,000 for you.’

"’No, I’m durned if I do,’ says Cato. ’Might as well lose it all now,
devil take it,’ and he gnawed on his fingernails, thinking about what
kind of a story he’d put up to his partner, I guess, when he got back to
Yankton broke.

"Well, Cato did lose it all, or close on to all of it. He foregathered
with a man that got aboard at Omaha, and said he was a civil engineer
for the Union Pacific Railroad. The civil engineer got $1,800 of Cato’s
greenbacks, and then got off. Twenty miles below Omaha, at a little
handing, a gappy looking hog raiser that Cato had met before climbed
over the rail, and Cato thought he saw a chance to recoup his drooping
fortunes. The hog raiser relieved Cato of $1,000, and had an important
engagement to look at some fancy hogs at the next stop. This left Cato
with $200.

"’Convinced that you’re a damphool yet, Cato?’ says I.

"’Dang’d if I don’t begin b’lieve I am,’ he owns up.

"’How about those goods you were going to buy in St. Louis?’ I asked

"’I dunno,’ he said, mournful like.

"Well, when we got to Leavenworth, Kan., the wheezy old Sherman tied up
for twenty-four hours for repairs to the machinery. Cato was pretty
gloomy. We went ashore and put up at the old Planters’ House. On the
night we struck Leavenworth I walked Cato around to sort o’ relieve his
mind. We were strolling down Shawnee street when we both saw a pretty
much lighted up place into which a lot of well-gotten up men were going.
When we came up to the place we heard the rattle of the chips and click
of the marble and the choppy talk of the keno men, and then we saw that
it was Col. Jennison’s famous Bon Ton gambling joint, running wide open
and full blast. Cato made for the door. I grabbed him by the sleeve.

"’Come out o’ that,’ says I. ’You’ve only got $200, which won’t more’n
get you back to Yankton. Haven’t you been enough of an idiot already?’

"’I got a hunch,’ says Cato, releasing himself from me and starting
again for the door.

"’Hunch!’ says I, but he was already inside.

"Well, Cato goes up to the faro table where the big men of the town seem
to be playing bank, and says I to myself, ’Joe, you’ll have to dig up to
send this crazy man back to his pardner in Yankton.’

"Cato bought $200 worth of chips, tapping himself, and began. Gentlemen,
he couldn’t lose. He scattered his chips over every card on the table,
and he couldn’t lose. He won eight bets out of ten. He let his money lie
on cards four times over, and won every time. He didn’t use a copper,
but played every card wide open. There didn’t seem to be a split in the
box for Cato. In less than twenty minutes he had won over $3,000. There
was a $500 limit on the game. Cato asked to have it removed. When the
limit was taken off, Cato made three $1,000 bets running, and won every
one of them. Then he came off his perch and got down to $200 bets again,
playing ’em like a veteran, and just simply unable to lose, gentlemen.
The rest of the men at the table quit playing just to watch Cato. Once
in a while Cato’d play the high card, just to see if his luck was
holding. The high card came out every time he did it. They switched the
dealer three times. They switched the lookout half a dozen times. They
tried different boxes. They changed tables. They did everything. But,
gentlemen, Cato Bullman was playing faro, and he couldn’t lose. I was
proud of the big duffer. In an hour he was $18,000 ahead of Col.
Jennison’s bank. They sent across the way to get Col. Jennison who was
playing a quiet little game of poker in the Star of the West saloon.
Col. Jennison came over to the Bon Ton and sat down to handle the box
for Cato himself. Cato soaked Col. Jennison every bit as hard as he had
soaked all of Col. Jennison’s dealers. Col. Jennison was game, but, when
at the end of three hours, Cato was still going right ahead winning like
a cyclone, he turned the box over with this little remark:

"’Gentlemen, the game is closed for the night.’

"When Cato cashed in he had just $35,200. I took him by the arm and
walked him down to the hotel and got him into his room. Cato went to the
basin to wash his hands. When he turned around to me again he looked
into the barrels of both my guns.

"’Cato,’ says I, ’I’m sorry, but I’ll just trouble you to hand over
every cent of that $35,200 you’ve got, right away now, darned quick, or
I’ll blow the whole top of your head off.’

"Cato didn’t demur a little bit. He plunked the money down—most of it
was in $1,000 and $500 bills—on the table.

"’I don’t suppose I’ve got enough sense to pack it around, fur a fac’,’
said he.

"When we got to St. Louis I handed Cato $10,000 to buy his goods with,
and expressed the $23,200 to his address in Yankton.

"’Well,’ said his little pardner, Stillwater, when Cato got back to
Yankton, ’s’long as you won, you big clod-hopper, I don’t s’pose I need
to mangle you up none. But if you had lost!’"


_He Was Too Handy with the Pasteboards, Wherefore He Arrived Prematurely
                    in the "Happy Hunting Grounds."_

"It happens more or less frequently," said a traveling Inspector of
Indian Agencies, "that an educated buck Indian degenerates in the long
run into a bad proposition. I’m thinking particularly of an educated
Oregon Indian, about a three-quarter blood, who got the big-head so bad
after he had been polished off mentally back this way that he never
mixed up with his people when he returned from the East. He was a
Umatilla. He was first sent to Carlisle, and when he had finished there
he was passed on to Johns Hopkins, in Baltimore, to take the law course
there. It was in view that he was to become the attorney for his tribe
upon the conclusion of his Blackstone-thumbing. He squeezed through the
law at Johns Hopkins, and then he was told of the nice fat thing that
awaited him out among his own people. He turned the proposition down
cold. He said flatly that he had no intention whatever of mixing up with
his own bunch at all any more. He likewise remarked that he knew his
gait, and that he intended to follow it.

"A couple of months after he quit Baltimore he turned up at The Dalles
in Western Oregon and settled down to the career of a short poker
player. Where he had picked up the game it would be hard to say; but he
certainly was a daisy at it. There wasn’t a kink in the game that he
didn’t have the hang of. Now, The Dalles isn’t any bad man’s camp; it is
a very beautiful health resort in the Cascade Mountains, on the south
bank of the Columbia River; there wasn’t a hard character in the place
until this educated buck established his headquarters there; and it
suited his game to a T. He made it his business to nail young tourists
who didn’t have any more sense than to sit into a poker game with a
stranger, much less an Indian, and an educated Indian at that; and he
just stripped them in sets of fours for several years. He was a
splendid-looking buck and he dressed as men dress who’ve got the money
to tog themselves out right back this way. When he was engaged in the
act of getting a new victim he knew how to throw much cordiality and
some grace into his manners; but ordinarily he was a sulky, morose, bad
Indian. ’Way down in the deeps of him he was a rank coward, for he never
tried to twist his tentacles about a man who he thought would make a
stand, much less a scrap, upon discovering that he was being done; he
always picked out palpable lily-livers who looked, to his shrewd eye, as
if they would stand for anything rather than mix it up with him.

"It did not take the square people of The Dalles long to get next to the
fact that this educated Indian, who had coolly taken up his abode among
them, was a cheat and a swindler, and that his sole occupation consisted
in fleecing pulp-headed young tourists. They talked a great deal of
giving him the razzle-dazzle and chasing him out, but somehow or other
this suggestion never came to a head. The men at The Dalles who had the
interest of the place at heart would point the swellerino buck out to
young strangers who looked as if they might be likely victims of the
Indian short-card fleecer, and tell the young goslings just where and
how the buck stood. It may sound incredible, but even after being warned
in this fashion a whole lot of the young addlepates fell into the buck’s
mesh and got themselves done to a proper turn by him. They were able to
take care of themselves, they would reply chestily to their warners,
and, just to prove it, they’d take a hack at the Indian’s game. When
they got through they’d be smoking punk tobacco in pipes while the
Indian would be blowing the smoke of perfectos in their faces, and
they’d stand for their craggy end of it without a whistle. The buck was
6 feet 3 inches high and weighed 235 pounds, and he looked like a
macerator from the high ridges. So he was never called by any of his
Dalles victims, even when they knew the details of how they’d been
plucked. One poor little devil of a rich man’s son from Omaha whimpered
one night when the Indian had removed about $800 from him by dealing
from both ends and the middle of the deck, and he said to the buck

"’I just hope you’ve played fair, that’s all.’

"The Indian reached over and struck the pollywog with all of his force
on both sides of the face with his two open palms, leaving the blood-red
welt marks of his fingers on the lamb’s fair cheeks. The whining victim
drilled for his life up the hotel stairs to his room, and the Indian
looked after him sardonically. There wasn’t a man about that didn’t know
that the Indian had scandalously cheated the lad, but not a one of them
said a word. There was a keen-eyed, big-framed, prematurely gray-haired
man, a stranger, standing at the hotel desk reading a just-arrived
letter, when the thing happened. His face flushed angrily when he saw
the burly Indian slap the undersized fool of a boy, and he turned to the
hotel clerk and remarked:

"’Is this the real thing here? Does the gang stand for that kind of work
on the part of a mud-hided raw-meater?’ There was plenty of contempt in
the way the stranger spoke.

"The clerk shrugged his shoulders. ’We can’t undertake to cut in on any
of the plays of our guests,’ he replied. 'We just board and lodge ’em,
that’s all. If they’re jays enough to mix up with grafters, it’s their
game, and we’re not asking for any rake-off, one way or the other.’

"The stranger muttered something about a chicken-livered population, and
strolled out. He took his train an hour or so later.

"At certain seasons of the year, when there wasn’t must doing in his
line at The Dalles, owing to periodical scarcities of pluckable
tourists, the Indian would hit up Baker City, Pendleton, and other
Oregon towns in search of good things, and a couple of times a year he
included Olympia and Walla Walla in his itinerary. He sung somewhat
smaller in those places than he did at The Dalles, but by keeping his
eye skinned for men liable to call the turn on him and working quietly
he generally succeeded in pulling apart at least one jelly-fish in each
of the towns he took in on these off-season tours.

"About three months after he had left the marks of his fingers on the
lamb’s face at The Dalles—this was in the fall of ’92—he turned up one
day at Walla Walla. He strolled around the hotel corridors with an eye
to business, and along toward night he met with a young fellow named
Hellen, whose father, a wealthy Chicago man, had recently foreclosed a
mortgage on a big ranch about sixty miles from Walla Walla. The son, a
rather raw young chap, had come out to look the ranch over, and the
Indian got next to him as soon as he struck the town. The buck was an
expert billiard player, and he suggested a game of pin billiards to the
young Hellen chap. He played off on the youth, and soon got him to
betting on shots. After losing about a dozen $5 bets on shots, the
Indian socked it to the young man from Chicago by betting $300 that he
could execute a certain difficult shot. It looked like board and lodging
to the young man that the Indian’s $300 would spin into his clothes, so
he put up $300. The Indian made the shot with consummate ease and took
down the pot.

"’Fluke!’ said young Hellen. ’I’ll go you another $300.’

"The buck got this bunch, too, without half trying. It would naturally
be thought that the tenderfoot would have smelt a rat by this time. But
he didn’t. He had plenty of money, and probably he considered it piquant
to lose his coin to a swagger-looking, educated Indian. Anyhow, the two
were playing poker in the card-room of Walla Walla’s stag hotel half an
hour later.

"There were plenty of men in that card-room who knew that the Indian was
a short-carder, but men out that way aren’t garrulous, and they pay a
heap of attention to the job of minding their own business. The youth
from Chicago was the merest mutt in the hands of the Indian, and he lost
from the jump. He would stand pat on a full house, and the buck, drawing
three cards, would still beat him after sky-scraping betting. A number
of onlookers at the game may have seen the little side-plays of the
Indian, but they only grinned at each other over the hopeless imbecility
of the young man from Chicago.

"Finally the Indian, perhaps losing some of his dexterity from the
drinks he was steadily absorbing, over-stepped himself. He filled two
pairs from the discard and he did it clumsily. The young man with whom
he was playing saw the move.

"’I say, there,’ said he, ’what are you doing there, you know?’ pointing
to the discard. ’Didn’t you—er—didn’t you make a mistake and take a card
out of that pile?’

"The Indian, who was about $1,600 to the good, had cold feet, anyhow,
and so he threw his hand face downward on the table and glared at the
Chicago boy. The Chicago boy quailed.

"’Er—well, maybe I made the mistake myself’—he started to say, when a
big voice cut in with:

"’No, you didn’t son. You didn’t make any mistake at all. You’re up
against the real thing in the way of a mud-skinned short-riffler, that’s

"A keen-eyed, big-framed, prematurely gray-haired man was the speaker.
As he spoke he reached down from behind the Indian’s chair and got two
huge hands around the buck’s neck. The onlookers formed a clearing. The
Chicago youth got himself on the outskirts of the bunch.

"’About three months ago,’ said the keen-eyed man, dragging the huge,
half-choked Indian to his feet, ’I saw you at The Dalles leave the
prints of your dirty fingers on the face of a little whiffet you had
just fleeced. I hankered then to confer a few personally conducted slaps
of my own make and manufacture on your coppery jowls, but for some
reason or other I passed the hanker up on that occasion. Well, the slaps
are coming to you now. It’s better late than never, and I’m going to
slap you into jerked beef just for luck.’

"The buck was finally up against the real thing, and he knew it. I’ll
bet that his face was whiter than mine is now when the big-framed man,
who had the devil of anger lurking in his eyes, suddenly loosed his
right hand from around the Indian’s neck, and, still clutching him by
the left, swept the loose arm back for the momentum and brought his
heavy palm smack against the buck’s left cheek with a noise that sounded
like the explosion of a charge of blasting powder. The slap rattled the
Indian’s teeth and made his big head joggle from side to side like the
head of an automaton. Clutching the Indian’s throat again then with his
right hand, the big-framed man repeated the slapping performance on the
Indian’s right cheek with his left hand, and left a welt there that
might have been made by a cat-o’-nine tails. The buck was too dazed, in
the first place, by the suddenness of it all, to make a move: in the
second place, he was too cowardly. The big-framed man—he was an expert
mining engineer from Nevada, and his name was Varus Pryor—slapped the
Indian’s face, first with his right and then with his left, for three
minutes, with all his might, and then, getting behind the buck,
proceeded to slap him into the street. With first one hand and then the
other clutching the collar of the Indian’s coat, he slapped him out to
the front door of the hotel. Then he gave the buck the knee in the small
of the back, and hoisted him across the pavement to the middle of the
street, where the Indian spun around and fell for a moment.

"’I don’t care what the Indian Bureau says about it,’ said the keen-eyed
man, standing in the doorway of the hotel. ’God Almighty never intended
that white men should stand for such alligators as that copper-mugged
swindler, and’——

"’Stand clear, pard, he’s going to plug you!’ shouted a man from a
second-story window of the hotel.

"The Indian, pretending to be hurt, and only half risen to his feet in
the obscurity of the middle of the street, had got his gun out, and the
yell from the second story reached Pryor just in time. As it was, the
buck planted a ball in the front door of the hotel, only two inches
above the big-framed man’s head. By that time Pryor’s gun was working,
and he drilled six holes forty-eight hundredths of an inch in diameter
plumb through the swindling Umatilla’s chest. Forty-five minutes later
he was acquitted by a coroner’s jury on the grounds of self-defense and
justifiable homicide—a two-in-one verdict.

"This," concluded the traveling Inspector of Indian Agencies, "was the
finish of just one mentally-burnished buck Indian, and I know of several


_Story of a Séance at Stud Between Two Oregon Contractors and the Close
                            Finish Thereof._

"Somehow or another, I don’t like the game of stud," said a Government
contractor from Portland, Ore. "It’s too much of a strain to play stud.
There are too many heart-breaking and headache-producing possibilities
attached to the mysterious card the other fellow has got in the hole.
I’d rather take the chance of guessing what all of his five cards are
than to engage in the perspiring business of trying to figure out the
horrible possible value of the one blind card, especially if the four
cards he has exposed are capable of being amplified into a hand of the
topper kind by the addition of that bit of pasteboard in the pit. I
can’t get away from the impression that it’s like putting all of your
money in one bet to play stud. Now, there’s a good deal to the game of
draw besides mere bluffing. In fact, bluffing is almost an obsolete
feature of the game among the experts at draw poker. The man that plays
his hand in draw will beat the bluffer every time in
year-in-and-year-out play.

"The folks out my way had the stud-poker fad pretty badly about eight or
ten years ago, but now they’ve got back to their first love and stick
pretty generally to the game of California draw—which, by the way, is a
whole lot different game from the draw you people back here play. For
example, a man sprung a thing on me last night that he called a pat
straight. I had three aces, but he said his pat straight topped me, and
as he had his gang with him, I had to look pleasant and let him rake in
the money. If a man out on the Slope were to talk pat straight to a
party of aborigines, they’d conduct him to the Alcalde’s calaboose and
have him locked up to await a commission’s decision as to his

"But to get back to the period when the stud-poker fad got hold of us
out in Oregon. I was a witness of a heart-disease finish of a game of
that kind a few years back that caused me to decide that ordinary draw
was good enough for my money right along. It was right after the big
fire that ate up the best part of The Dalles eight years ago. As soon as
the building contractors of Portland got word to the effect that The
Dalles was being licked up by the flames, they hopped aboard trains and
made for The Dalles with an eye to business. They knew that The Dalles,
which was chiefly a wooden layout before the fire, would be immediately
rebuilt in brick and stone, and that the contractors who got on the
scene of ruin first would scoop in the bulk of the business. Two of
these contractors were—well, I’ll have to side-step on their names, for
they’re two of the most prominent citizens out on the banks of the
Willamette, and both of 'em walk up the middle aisle on Sunday as if
they never heard of such a thing as stud poker. Both of them are
Irishmen, which is why neither of ’em could see that he was licked on
this occasion.

"One of them, we’ll say, was Dan Carmody, and the other was Tim Feeney.
Carmody got into The Dalles a few hours ahead of Feeney, and he made
those few hours count. He went around to the business men of The Dalles
who had been wiped out by the fire and asked them what they wanted with
him. They hadn’t burned the wires up telegraphing for Carmody to come to
them, but Carmody about convinced them that they had done just this
thing, and he began making estimates for ’em with pencil and pad. He
corralled them in the one remaining hall of the town and told them to go
ahead and just let him know what they wanted of him. Carmody’s cyclonic
nerve appealed to their fancy, and they found themselves juggling with
the figures Carmody was putting down on his pad. Three hours after
Carmody struck The Dalles from Portland he had in his inside coat pocket
rough drafts of contracts to build a new stone business block, including
a theater, and also to erect a large, ornate hotel, the cost of both
buildings to be not more than $350,000. Oh, Carmody was a hustler all

"He had an idea that his friend and business rival, Tom Feeney, would be
down on the next train from Portland, and he went to the station to
receive him. Sure enough, Feeney stepped off the next incoming train.
Carmody had his thumbs in the armholes of his waistcoat and a big cigar
stuck aggravatingly in his teeth when Feeney ran into him. Feeney’s jaw

"’When did you get in, Dan?’ he asked Carmody.

"’Three hours ago,’ replied Dan, with a grin.

"Feeney made a funny motion, as if to jump aboard a train that was just
pulling out for Portland, but he came back to his cheerful rival and
asked him:

"’Anything doing, Dan?’

"Carmody executed two very shifty jig steps in token of his happiness,
and then reassumed his dignity.

"’Well, I’ll tell you how it is, Tim,’ he said. ’These people here are
pretty badly chewed up, y’ see. Now, maybe they’ll be wanting to rebuild
a few chicken coops and outhouses—I don’t know but what they will. Now,
there’s a chance for you, Tim.’

"Feeney didn’t look very merry over this. Says he: 'Chicken coops, is
it? And who’s going to throw up the new business building and the opera
house, and the hotel, and the like?’

"Carmody was laying for that question. He drew the two rough contracts
out of his pocket.

"’ Looks as if I’m It over here, don’t it, Tim?’ he asked Feeney, as the
latter read over the two contracts with a gloomy countenance. ’Nice
work, hey? That’s what you get for monkeying around in bed all the
morning, Tim. Why don’t you be like me, now? I never go to bed,’ etc.
Carmody couldn’t refrain from working that nice edge of his, and strung
the dismal-faced Feeney for keeps. Feeney finally walked away, the
picture of dejection, to see if there were any crumbs to be picked up in
the way of rebuilding. He found, however, that all of the business men
that had not already been got by Carmody were disposed to wait awhile
for the disposition of insurance, and he didn’t get a smell of the
rebuilding. He walked around the still-smoking Dalles for the remainder
of the day, figuring on how much Carmody was going to make out of his
two big contracts. Carmody himself started in to open wine by way of
celebration, so that by the time the night boat for Portland was ready
to leave her slip he was pretty comfortable. Both he and Feeney took the
night boat and I happened to be going down to Portland on the boat
myself that night. Feeney had taken the bowl himself a bit during the
day to assuage his depression over his lack of success, and he was
pretty mellow when the boat pulled out. Carmody, with about a dozen
quarts under his belt, dug Feeney up as soon as he got aboard, and the
two walked up and down the main deck, arm in arm, Carmody keeping up his
merciless stringing of his friend. Then Carmody heard the clatter of the
chips in a $10 limit game of stud that had already started in the
card-room, and suggested a two-handed game of stud to Feeney, with some
accommodating non-player to deal the cards. Feeney was agreeable, and
Carmody, seeing that I wasn’t mixing up with the game in the card-room,
asked me if I wouldn’t dish ’em out for an hour or so of stud between
himself and Feeney. It was to be $100 limit and $10 ante. The two men
didn’t get up to the $100 limit at all until after they had played for
half an hour, and Carmody was $600 or $700 winner. Then Feeney found
himself with kings up on tens in front of him and a card that he either
liked or elected to bluff on in the hole, while Carmody had three aces
face up and a card in the hole that he appeared to think a heap of,
judging from the way he bet.

"’These kings of mine,’ said Feeney, with the transparent air of a man
making a win-out bluff, ’may not look very pretty alongside those three
bullets of yours, Carmody, but they suit me, at that. You can have a
peep at the blind for $100.’

"’I wouldn’t think of paying so little money for the privilege of gazing
at such a good card as you think you’ve got, Tim,’ said Carmody. ’Now,
having already got you beat on the show-up, I guess I can afford to
charge you another $100 for a glimpse of the other one-spot that I’ve
got in the pit.’

"This kind of talk went on for ten minutes, the two men raising each
other back at $100 a clip until there was $3800 in the pot. Feeney
talked and acted like a bluffer all the time, but nevertheless Carmody
began to suspect that, after all, Tim might have something in the hole
to beat him. So when Carmody called Feeney’s last $100 raise the latter
knew that his friend with the contracts in his pocket didn’t have any
four aces, and he just scooped in the pot before he showed up what he
had in the hole. It was the third king, completing a nice full hand,
that Feeney had in the hole, and the money was his. Carmody turned up a
deuce, that he had tried to make the bluff was another ace, and looked
properly crestfallen.

"’For a Mulligan that knows so little about business as you, Tim,’ said
Carmody, ’you’ve got a mighty crafty way about you of making it appear
that you’re bluffing. We’ll try it again, and from now on I’ll know that
when you look and talk like you’re bluffing you’ve got the hand.’

"Both men had been ringing up the steward’s boy a good deal, during the
progress of the game, and they were not, therefore, any more sober than
was necessary. On the very next hand Feeney took a big hunk out of his
rival. He had three deuces face up and Carmody had three jacks on top.
Feeney began to bet $100 with so much natty confidence that Carmody
decided that his compatriot was adopting new tactics in bluffing, and,
quite naturally, with his three nice-looking jacks plainly in sight, he
not only stood every raise but raised back the limit every time.

"’I figure it this way,’ said Carmody, abstractedly to himself, when
there was nigh onto $4000 in chips in the center of the baize. ’This
Harp from Connemara across the table can’t turn two of these tricks one
right after the other. The percentage of the game is against such a
thing as that. And he’s just perky and sassy because he thinks I’m on to
his first exhibited system of bluffing. Tim, another $100, if you want
to feast your Mulligan blue eyes on this other knave of mine in the

"’And $100,’ said Feeney, with all the confidence in life.

"Thus they went on for fully fifteen minutes, until the proportions of
the pot were really alarming, considering that neither of the men was a
millionaire or anything like it. There was $7200 in the middle of the
table when Carmody wilted. He attempted to put his wilt on philanthropic

"’With a drink or two in you, Tim,’ he said, ’you’re an incautious and
unwise citizen for a man humping along toward 60 years of age’—Feeney
wasn’t more than 48, and didn’t look that. ’And Mrs. Feeney’s been
telling my wife for the past twelve years that she’s aching to have a
look at the old sod, but that her man Tim considers himself too poor for
the journey. So I won’t be the means of casting gloom around your
household, Tim. I see your $100, and what’s the color of that cheap ten
or eight spot you’ve got in the hole?’

"Feeney turned over his fourth deuce and hauled down the money. That
sort o’ took Carmody’s nerve and he had to have several big drinks of
the hard stuff to set him right again. While he was drinking Feeney took
up the end of the stringing that Carmody had abandoned.

"’How much do you figure you’ll pull down from those two contracts,
Dan?’ he asked his rival in business.

"’About $75,000,’ answered Carmody quickly, ’which is just about $75,000
more than The Dalles fire has been worth to you, eh, Tim?’

"’What’s the use of depleting the capital that you’ve already got in
bank?’ asked Feeney, with a twinkle in his eye. ’Just play me stud for
those contracts. I’ll say they’re worth $60,000, and I’m good for that
if I’m good for a cent.’

"Carmody studied for a moment. He was already out $11,000 in this poker
game, and he wanted that money back. The idea of playing his contracts
against Feeney’s hard cash rather appealed to his imagination, which was
not less active on account of the huge quantity of stuff he had been

"’Well, I’ll tell you what I’ll do to give you a start in life, Tim,’
said Carmody finally. ’You’ve got my checks for $11,000. Supposing you
call those two contracts worth $70,000, return me those checks for
$11,000, and say that the two contracts I’ve got in my pocket are worth
$59,000 as they stand. Then I’ll give you a chance to take as big a fall
out of the contracts as you think you can.’

"That idea suited Feeney to a T, and I stood by to begin dealing again.
The two contracts were pushed into the center of the table by Carmody,
and it was an additional part of my business, besides dealing, to make
note of the changing value of the contracts as the game progressed.

"Well, the game continued to go Feeney’s way, and Carmody just looked at
his contracts as Feeney began to edge them nearer and nearer to his end
of the table. Carmody, while he figured that the contracts were so much
velvet, didn’t look happy when Feeney picked $12,000 more out of them,
leaving their value to Dan only an approximate $47,000, but he played on
in the hope of better luck. Finally a queer hand came around. Carmody
caught two queens, an eight and a seven. So did Feeney. This thing made
Carmody mad.

"’Of all the niggering out I ever saw,’ he exclaimed, 'this is the
worst. But it’s about time I had the best of it when it comes to pure
bull-head luck.’

"So he bet the limit that he had a better card in the hole than Feeney.
Feeney came back at him every clip, and when I interposed a remonstrance
over the heftiness of the game, expressing the opinion that both of them
would probably be sorry they had gone into the thing so heavily when the
gray dawn came around, they said they knew they’d be sorry, and went
right ahead.

"’This is surely the hottest case of a stand-off in a deal in stud that
I’ve seen yet,’ said Feeney, ’and I shouldn’t be surprised if we had to
split the pot when the show-down comes. But I’m as good as you, Carmody,
on the four that show, and I’m with you all night if you’re going to
keep it up that long.’

"When my tab of the shifting value of the contracts showed that
Carmody’s interest therein was only an even $30,000, Carmody looked up
at the ceiling of the card-room and reflected.

"’Here,’ he said, ’is where I get my contracts back and break even, or
where I have to go into partnership with a slow-witted Irishman on those
buildings at The Dalles. Feeney, I call you.’

"Feeney turned over a six spot. Carmody’s card in the hole was a five.
Feeney was the possessor of a half interest in Carmody’s fine contracts
at The Dalles, and that’s how it happened that these two builders, who
had always gone it singly and alone, built up The Dalles in partnership.
They got along so well together at The Dalles work that three years
later they went into a general contracting partnership and they’ve been
getting rich ever since. But it was their stud game on The Dalles boat
that induced me to conclude that old-fashioned draw was good enough for


 _With the Result That His Clothes Finally Went into a Pot, and Fortune
                           Scowled upon Him._

"When a man arrives at that pitch where he’ll bet the clothes off his
back over a jackpot, it’s about up to him to let the game of draw alone,
in my opinion," said a traveling special agent of the Treasury
Department. "I’m talking about a game of draw that happened last fall
down in the Territory, on the south bank of the Canadian River, in the
Chickasaw country, between four St. Louis men. They were on their annual
hunting trip down there. They were well-known business men of old St.
Loo, pals of a half a lifetime, and they had been after bear, deer,
feathered game, or any old thing shootable down in the Territory every
year together for more than a decade. They always played poker on these
outings, too, and the bank president always got all the money. The other
three couldn’t do anything whatever with the bank president’s brand of
poker. They’d been digging at him on these excursions for ten years,
trying every conceivable scheme to get his money, and even playing in
combination against him, but when it came time to strike camp he always
had all the money in the crowd, owned all the camp fixtures, and served
out smoking tobacco to his three chums in a lordly way only when he felt
generous. It made ’em hot, but they had to accept his alms if they
wanted to smoke.

"The three of ’em determined when the party set out from St. Louis in
their special car last autumn that the bank president wasn’t going to
come back from the hunting trip with all the money, even if they had to
leave his bones to bleach on the banks of the Canadian. They declared
together that the bank president’s sassiness for the remainder of the
year after eating them up at poker down in the Territory was something
unbearable, and they didn’t intend to stand for it any more.

"They played a little poker in their car on the trip down from St.
Louis, and this gave one of the three conspirators a chance to get hold
of the bank president’s two decks of cards. The conspirators carefully
marked these two decks of cards—marked ’em both just the same way—and
then, during the temporary absence of the bank president in another part
of the car, he elaborately explained to his two companions in infamy how
he had done it, the three going over the bank president’s two decks in
detail, so as to master the markings. Then the two decks were returned
furtively to the bank president’s grip, and the rest of the playing on
the trip down was done with ordinary packs. They never played big on
these journeys, anyhow, but reserved their stiff games for the
bad-weather days in camp.

"When they got to their point of debarkation on the line, they left
their car on a siding and struck out for their regular camp, about
seventy-five miles from the railroad. They stuck to the bagging of pelts
and antlers for a week or so; then a threatening morning came along and
the bank president suggested poker.

"’What’s the use?’ they all demurred, eying the bank president gloomily.
’You always get the whole works, and then you’re insufferable for the
rest of the year. We don’t think you’re on the level, anyhow.’

"’Oh, I’ll give you all a chance this time,’ said the bank president,
grinning. ’I won’t be hard upon you. Then, you see, the more you fellows
play with me in the game, why, the more you learn about poker, and I’m
sure the instruction you get helps you a lot in your games with the dubs
up in St. Loo. I’m noted, anyhow, for my generosity in giving others the
benefit of my wisdom.’

"’Well,’ said the spokesman and arch-conspirator of the three, ’we’ll
play a little game of table-stakes, but checks don’t go; this thing of
the three of us writing you checks that keep your large family in
opulence for a year is’——

"’All right, let it be table stakes,’ replied the bank president
amiably. ’I’m not a man to take bread out of the mouths of the
impoverished,’ and with more of such badinage the game started.

"An ordinary deck was used at first—a deck out of the satchel of the
real estate man, the infamous member of the conspiring trio who had
marked the bank president’s cards. The bank president, as usual, had all
of the luck from the jump. He seemed to rake down every pot. The three
glared at him and made all sorts of insinuating remarks about the
phenomenal luck of the bank president that had continued for a dozen
years. The bank president regarded them indulgently, and told them
they’d learn the elementary principles of the game after they’d camped
with him for another ten years or so.

"After an hour’s play the bank president beat the real estate man—the
other two had dropped out—out of a stiff jackpot with a pair of better
threes, and the real estate man simulated great rage and tore the deck
of cards into many pieces.

"’For heaven’s sake, give us another deck!’ he exclaimed, passionately,
with a furtive wink at his two companions in crime.

"The bank president reached back of him, collared his grip, and produced
one of his decks with a bland smile. They surely were scientifically
marked, for this bank president had an eye in his head, and he didn’t
get next.

"’Well, we’ll try one of my decks,’ said the bank president. 'Of course,
it’ll be a shame to plug you with a new musket—none of my decks has been
riffled yet—but maybe my unfamiliarity with the range of the fresh
gun’ll give you all a show at me.’ Oh, this bank president was arrogant
in victory, all right.

"Well, he wasn’t one, two, three, from then on, of course. It was done
mighty well, and not so as to excite the bank president’s suspicions in
the least, but he found himself topped practically every time, and his
face grew long. He was quite heavily in the hole at the end of an hour’s
play with his own deck.

"’Oh, we’ve got on to your bluffing style of play, that’s all,’ said the
real estate man complaisantly. ’You just had us scared together for the
past ten years, but you’re as clear a proposition now as a mountain
creek. I always thought you were more or less of a counterfeit and a
four-flusher, anyhow, didn’t you, fellows?’

"Of course the other two thought so, too, and the bank president’s brow
clouded as, time after time, after he had bet hard on hands that looked
to him to be worth every dollar he ventured on them, he found himself
topped, niggered out. The real estate man increased the bank president’s
worry by flashing a nine-high straight against the financier’s
eight-high straight, and then the latter did a card-tearing stunt
himself. He ripped his deck into ribbons with a running commentary of
strong talk.

"’It must be a rank deck that’ll permit of a set of amateur skates like
you fellows putting it on me,’ he said. Then he dug into his grip again
and produced the other 'phony deck, his three companions warning him
against letting his angry passions rise, and so on.

"The three conspirators let the bank president pull down a couple of
sizable pots with this deck just for the sake of enjoying his renewed
impertinence, and then they went at him good and hard. At the end of an
hour they had the bank president’s supply of ready cash—about $500—badly
wilted. He had only $100 left when it came around the real estate man’s
turn to dish out a jackpot round. The bank president was under the gun,
as they say out there of the man who’s to the left of the dealer of a
jackpot, and he cracked the pot open for the limit. The other two
stayed, and when it got up to the real estate man he raised it the
limit. This knocked his two confederates out of it—as a matter of fact
the arch-conspirator winked them out of it—but the limit was just what
the bank president wanted with his four bullets.

"The bank president took one card with a crafty,
I’ll-make-him-think-I’m-four-flushing expression of countenance. The
real estate man, with a queen-high sequence flush of hearts remarked
that the bunch he had was good enough for him. Then they got to betting,
and it was no time at all before the bank president had done the apology
act with the remains of his $500. He pulled out a check-book then and
was fumbling around for a fountain pen when the real estate man called
him down.

"’Not on your life,’ he said. ’Agreement was that checks don’t go,
you’ll remember.’

"’But this hand’——the bank president started to say.

"’Makes no difference about that hand,’ interrupted the real estate man.
’Agreement was for table stakes.’

"’But, great Cæsar, man,’ pleaded the bank president. 'I want to get
some kind of a decent run for this hand. Why, I’d bet the clothes right
off my back on it.’

"’Well,’ said the real estate man calmly, ’we didn’t make any
stipulation about clothes and personal possessions, and you can get the
clothes off your back if you want to. But no checks.’

"’Well,’ said the bank president, peeling off a big solitaire ring,
’this stone’s worth $400, and I’ll raise you that much.’

"’I see you,’ said the real estate man. ’What else have you got that I
can raise against?’

"’Well,’ replied the bank president, ’this watch is worth $300 and’——

"’Skate it in,’ interrupted the real estate man. ’Raise you $300 then,
your valuation of the ticker.’

"’Dog-gone the luck,’ said the bank president, ’I don’t want to call
you. I know I’ve got you beat. I’d be willing to bet my corduroys, shoes
and hat that I’ve got you soaked, for’——

"’Rush ’em to the center, then,’ calmly replied the real estate man.
’Supposing I appraise the corduroys, shoes and hat at $50 for the
bundle. That satisfactory?’

"’It’s got to be,’ replied the bank president mournfully.

"’All right, then, put ’em in the pot and I’ll consider that you’ve
called me,’ said the real estate man.

"The bank president stood up, peeled off his coat and waistcoat and
hunting breeches and dropped them on the blanket that served for a
table. Then he removed his pair of high hunting shoes and placed them on
top of the clothes, and tossed his fore-and-aft cap on the heap. Then he
sat down in his underclothes, picked up his four aces, and said:

"’Now, dern you, put down your little straight or full and I’ll show you
what you’re up against.’

"The wealthy depositors of the St. Louis bank of which he was the head
would have enjoyed seeing his face when the real estate man calmly laid
down his sequence flush and hauled down the pot, togs and all, without a

"’You’re a good thing, ain’t you?’ said the other two, who had been
taking the play in with a positive knowledge of how it was going to come

"The bank president looked pretty forlorn as the three sat there and
guyed him. Finally he stood up.

"’Well,’ said he to the real estate man. ’I’ll just write you a check
for the fifty you allowed on those togs of mine,’ and he started to
reach for the clothes in order to dress himself. The real estate man
held the suit, shoes and hat out of the bank president’s reach.

"’These things ain’t for sale,’ he said. ’They’ll all just about fit
me,’ trying on the hat, ’and I guess I’ll just hang on to them as a sort
of No. 2 outfit.’

"’But, great Scott, man!’ exclaimed the bank president, 'don’t you know
that I haven’t got another stitch in camp—that that rig-out’s the only
one I brought from the car?’

"’Too bad,’ said the real estate man. ’You hadn’t ought to’ve skated the
togs into the pot, then. Sorry, old man, but honest, I really couldn’t
think of parting with these things for any amount of money. I’ve only
got one suit along with me, too, and only one hat and pair of shoes, and
if they get wet what am I going to do? Got to have a change, you know. I
really feel very deeply for you in your predicament, and so do the other
boys—don’t you fellows?—but I need this outfit in my business.’

"The other two men nodded their heads in grave endorsement of this stand
and the bank president frothed at the mouth.

"’What the devil do you expect me to do, you blamed idiot?’ he shouted
at the real estate man. ’Stand around the tent and shiver, or cut across
the trail in my underclothes for the car to get another set of togs?’

"’I wish I could think of some plan to help you out, old man,’ answered
the real estate man with commiseration in his countenance, ’but I really
couldn’t think, under any consideration, of giving up these things,’ and
he made the suit, the shoes and the hat up into a neat bundle as he
spoke. Just then one of the other men, who had been prowling outside,
came running into the tent breathless.

"’Say, fellows,’ he exclaimed, ’there’s some fresh bear tracks right
over there in the clearing,’ and he grabbed his gun. So did the other
two. The bank president made as if to pick up his rifle, too, when his
eye fell on his lack of raiment. By that time the real estate man was
fifty yards from the tent, at a lope with the other two.

"’Hey, come back here, you confounded cut-throat!’ the financier yelled
after the real estate man, who had the bank president’s clothes, shoes
and hat slung in a neat bundle over his shoulder. But the three men were
out of voice range in a jiffy.

"They came back, beaming, along toward nightfall, with the pelts of two
nice young black bears. They found the bank president moping around,
wrapped up in a blanket and sulphurizing the air when they reached the
tent. Then they sat around him in a circle and expressed their sincere
sympathy with him and told him his case was only one more instance of
the awful evil of gambling. After supper and a pipe they all turned in,
leaving the bank president still sulking and uttering terrible
maledictions under his breath.

"The real estate man and the other two went out early the next
morning—the bank president’s clothes along with them—and when they got
back they found the blanketed financier on the verge of apoplexy from
sheer wrath. The real estate man then made a great show of charity by
giving up the togs, and the bank president was in a state of good-nature
by the time camp was struck. The three conspirators united in a letter
of explanation, inclosing all of their winnings, to the bank president
when they got back to St. Louis, and when the bank president got the
letter and his disgorged losings he was most tickled to death and
instantly became as perky and impudent as ever.

"’I knew you couldn’t have done it if you’d played on the square,’ said
he, the first time he met them. ’Wait till next year, that’s all.’"


_Wherein It Is Shown That It Is Easy Enough to Be Cool When Playing with
                         Another Man’s Money._

"I happen to know that a considerable number of the most famous
professional gamblers in this country made their reputation with other
men’s money," said a Rocky Mountain man of large experience. "These men
have had their names heralded far and wide as the stakers of thousands,
and even hundreds of thousands, upon the turn of a card, and innumerable
yarns have been spun as to their cool, John Oakhurst-like manner of
scooping in a table full of money upon the smashing of a bank, or of
calmly lighting their cigars and strolling out when fortune went against
them. So far as the stories themselves are concerned, some of them are
undoubtedly right; but all of them leave out the very essential fact
that the men were simply players of other men’s money—’table touts,’ we
call ’em out West. I suppose it is a reasonable proposition that it is a
whole lot easier to risk another man’s money at the table than it is to
endanger your own. Of all the men I am telling you about hardly a one
had enough luck at the tables to keep himself warm when putting up his
own coin; perhaps it was owing to the extreme caution of their play
under these conditions and the far greater strain involved in the
hazarding of their own money. They could take another man’s money—the
money of a man who probably did not know the difference between 00 and
33 in a wheel layout, but who could afford to venture almost an
unlimited amount of money on a game—and in at least eight cases out of
ten they could run the initial stake into a pile that would mean for
themselves a rake-off or percentage of thousands or tens of thousands;
but in venturing their own money I have seen few of them who were any
good in the matter of keeping their nerve under rein.

"Back in the sixties Tom Naseby was generally considered the most
dangerous man at a faro table on the Pacific Slope. Bank after bank,
from Portland to San Diego, went to the wall under his system of play—or
lack of system, I ought to say—and at the end the San Francisco banks
shut him out altogether, so that he was compelled to start a layout of
his own. Among Naseby’s smashes that were famous on the coast was that
of breaking Byron McGregor’s Kearny street institution to the tune of
$150,000; of hitting up Tillottson’s $10,000 limit game in San Francisco
for $100,000 and closing the doors, and of banging Ned Jordan’s bank in
Portland for $125,000, all within the space of three months. Yet Naseby
told me himself that on none of these plays was he venturing a _sou
marqué_ of his own money—that it had all been handed over to him, the
initial stakes for each big play, that is, by Ralston, the millionaire
San Francisco banker, who committed suicide. Out of each winning Naseby
of course got a big cut of the money, for Ralston went into the thing
for the sport of it and was a very generous man. Naseby, who belonged to
the tribe of savers for a rainy day, hung onto these rolls. Naseby
played faro with just about as much skill as a Zulu wields a war club,
and he frankly confessed that his coups were simply the result of
unlimited confidence and unlimited backing allied to bull-head luck.

"Frank Burbridge, the most famous poker player that Portland has ever
brought out, was another man who made his reputation as a gambler upon
the strength of the vast winnings he hauled out upon stakes furnished by
wealthy men. Some of these rich backers of Burbridge remained behind the
screen and only received Frank’s reports as to how he made out in the
games for which they staked him, but others came out into the open and
sat alongside Burbridge when he was playing with their money—not for the
purpose of watching him, for he was strictly on the level, but just for
the fun of watching the game. One of the big contractors for the
building of the Oregon Short Line, a man worth many millions of dollars,
was one of Burbridge’s clients who liked to watch the expert poker
player play the hands. He was constantly staking Burbridge for big games
with dangerous opponents. If Frank won, all right; he got most of the
money himself. If he lost, all right, too; the contractor simply went
into the thing for the mental distraction it afforded him.

"I was a witness of one of those big games in which Burbridge engaged
with a stake furnished by the contractor. It was played at the old
Willamette House in Portland, and it was a two-handed game. The other
player was a very wealthy Portland man who was said to have made a big
pot of money by simply making the suggestion that he intended to
parallel the Oregon Short Line. This rich man thought he knew how to
play poker until his friend, the contractor of the Short Line who was
Burbridge’s staker, put him up against the latter—partly for the
interest of watching the game, and partly, perhaps, for other reasons.
Anyhow, the Portland man had a whole heap of an opinion of what he knew
about poker, and played the game incessantly for pastime. He had never
happened to sit in a game with Burbridge, and Burbridge’s backer finally
suggested to the Portland man that he have a try at what he could do
with the man who was known to be the most expert player of poker in the

"’Oh, he’s a professional,’ said the Portland man, 'and I don’t play
cards with professionals in a contest of skill such as I see you want to
make this. I play with 'em once in a while just to study their games,
but not for big money. I wouldn’t trust them under such circumstances.’

"’Well, you trust me, I suppose, don’t you?’ said the contractor.

"’Certainly,’ was the reply.

"’All right, my friend,’ said the contractor, ’I’d just like to find out
to satisfy my own curiosity how good you can play poker. I don’t amount
to much at it myself, and I don’t think you’re any better than I am.
Very well. You sit into a game with Burbridge, and I’ll deal all the
hands myself, and sit by to see fair play—though Burbridge plays just as
fairly as I would myself under the same circumstances. Does that
proposition suit you?’

"’Yes,’ said the Portland man, ’I’d just like to give Burbridge a whirl
under those circumstances.’

"So the game was arranged. Four or five of us were invited around to the
old Willamette House to look on while the game progressed. The two men
sat down to the game about 8 o’clock at night. The Portland man—I will
call him Tunwell, which is pretty close to his right name—had
occasionally met Burbridge, who was a very smooth, urbane sort of chap
of thirty, and so they nodded good-naturedly to each other when Tunwell
came into the room. The contractor was on hand with his check-book. The
conditions were simply that the contractor was to deal each of the
hands, and then retire from the table with the remainder of the deck
until the call for cards. Then he was to dish out what cards were called
for, and get away from the table again until the hand was played. The
rest of us were to sit around, with the privilege of having peeps at the
hands. Tunwell was to have the privilege of asking the advice of any of
us as to proper plays, as Burbridge was to be permitted to refer hands
that heavily involved the contractor’s purse to the latter—not to seek
advice, but simply to inform him what he intended to do in the play. The
game was to be without limit, and the chips were worth $5, $25, and $50.

"So the game began. Tunwell soon proved himself a pretty cool man. He
didn’t put up a stingy game, but he simply had the proper sort of regard
for the worth of the cards the contractor dished out to him, and he
played them right, as we who were watching the game and had a chance of
seeing both hands soon discovered. Two or three times in the early part
of the game I, for one, thought he was a bit overcautious, but in
general his line of play was away above the average. Tunwell was a big,
gray-eyed man of the type that is jammed full of well-controlled nerve,
and he held himself on this night in additional check because he knew
that he was up against a hard proposition. The play at first didn’t
amount to much—fifty or hundred-dollar bets occasionally—and both men
seemed to be sparring for information on the style of each other’s play.
Tunwell finally decided upon a bluff. He had a nine high, and he went up
to $500 on it. Burbridge laid down. This was pretty good for Tunwell,
but he had the sense to show no exultation. Now, after making a thing
like that go through, most men would keep on bluffing until called when
on steep and craggy ground, but Tunwell didn’t. He resumed the system of
playing for what his hands were worth. This he stuck to for half an hour
or so, when he was $800 ahead of the game and then he made another bluff
on a pair of queens. Burbridge, who had three aces, laid down, and
Tunwell’s pile was amplified by $1,000.

"’That was a cold bluff, Burbridge,’ said Tunwell.

"’Oh, I don’t think so,’ said Burbridge. ’There was too much confidence
in your eye for that.’ Which shows that even a great poker player is as
likely as anybody to get mixed when it comes to studying eyes in a game.

"After a while Burbridge caught a pat full house, and Tunwell filled a
still better full hand. It was Tunwell’s bet, and he went $1,000 on it.
Burbridge laid down—wherein it was plain to be seen that he was a man
who possessed that indefinable thing, the poker player’s 'hunch.’

"Now, all these plays I’m telling you about were simply part of the
warming up. The two men were simply studying each other. They didn’t
really begin to play poker until two hours after they sat down.

"Then the contractor dealt Burbridge a promising set of threes, and gave
Tunwell a neat two pairs, with aces on top. Tunwell filled with another
ace, and Burbridge got nothing worth mentioning in the draw, so that his
three nines didn’t look very big to us against an ace full. It was
Burbridge’s bet. He was one of those men who lay their cards down on the
table and look up at the ceiling before making a bet.

"’Five thousand dollars,’ said he finally, still looking up at the
ceiling reflectively, and the contractor, who had seen Tunwell’s draw,
winced a bit.

"Tunwell looked at him pretty hard and scanned his hand. He raised him

"’And $5,000,’ said Burbridge, quietly. Now, the contractor was a pretty
game sort of man, but we could see that he felt badly over this.

"Then Tunwell laid down. Burbridge’s bluff worked. Of course, not until
after the game did we tell him what Tunwell held that time, and when we
did he said:

"’I felt from the first, before I made a bet that he had me beat—but the
bigger a man’s hand, the easier it is to bluff him out of the money.’
Queer remark, wasn’t it?

"Tunwell kept his nerve like a major after this heavy fall, and we
couldn’t see the slightest sign of faltering in his style of play. The
game went back to the $100 basis, and was comparatively uninteresting
for an hour or so. In the course of the play during this time Tunwell
caught four queens pat—a very remarkable thing—and got 50 only out of
the hands. But unlike what most poker players would do under such
circumstances, he didn’t throw down the hand face upward on the table
with an oath. He wasn’t that kind of poker player.

"Just about midnight both men simultaneously decided upon a bluff—and
it’s not often that men happen to do this in a two-handed poker game;
when they do, something always drops. Both men stood pat. There wasn’t a
pair in either hand. It was a choice experience to note the offhand way
with which Burbridge made the first bet on this pat hand of his.

"’Ten thousand dollars,’ said he, and his backer, the contractor, went
to the window, raised it, and poked his head out for air.

"’Same, more than you,’ said Tunwell, scanning his hand as if it was the
real thing.

"Burbridge raised him another $10,000 and flicked a bit of ashes off his
collar. Now Tunwell felt that his man was bluffing.

"’I call you,’ said he.

"’Ace high,’ said Burbridge.

"’Ace high here,’ said Tunwell.

"’Queen next.’

"’Queen next here.’

"’Nine next.’

"’Nine next here.’

"’Six next.’

"Tunwell tossed his four that was next on to the table face upward
without the movement of an eyebrow.

"’Six wins the $60,000,’ said he, and the contractor strolled back from
the window.

"’Better luck next time, Tunwell,’ said he, smiling, while Burbridge
drank a glass of water.

"’There isn’t going to be any next time, my boy,’ returned Tunwell. ’I’m
no hog.’"


_And How a Whirl at It Came Near Decimating the Population of a Section
                       of the Indian Territory._

"I don’t just recall the name of the cheerful worker who invented that
wise phrase, ’There’s a sucker born every minute, and they never die,’
but whoever he was he had something inside his head besides mayonnaise
dressing," said a giant from the Indian Territory, when the talk among a
party of Westerners at a roadhouse the other night switched around to
sure-thing games and cinch propositions. "I don’t suppose there ever was
yet a sure-thing game rigged up that didn’t get its quota of nibblers,
and even its occasional easy marks, who’d go up against it with their
whole rolls. I’m not speaking so much now of brace games as I am of
layouts that might just as well have the words, ’You lose,’ painted all
over 'em, they’re such obvious air-tights for the dealers. I suppose
we’ve all been up against brace faro. That’s something that a man can’t
heel himself against; the most he can do when he gets next to it that
two of ’em are slipping out of the box at one and the same time is to
'stick up’ the dealer at the business end of a .45—if he’s quick
enough—accumulate all the money in sight, and back toward the door.

"But a man who’ll lay up alongside of a brace faro layout or a brace
wheel need not necessarily be sucker enough to hand his dust over to a
smooth duck who’s dealing a game that has all the scars, moles, tattoo
marks and other perfectly visible Bertillons of a dead open and shut
sure-thing layout. Yet I’ve seen men who were wise in their own
business—horse-rustling, for instance—go broke against games that you’d
think a ten-year-old would size up correctly without the assistance of
an X-ray apparatus.

"I’m thinking of the time that Jink McAtee, afterward one of the foxiest
horse-thieves who ever used an upside-down brand in the Southwest, got
interested in squeeze-spindle in Guthrie. It was in Guthrie, in May,
1889, just after Oklahoma had been opened up, that the two Reeves
brothers, Bill and Al, and Arthur Pendleton started an all-round layout
in what was the first two-story shack that had been thrown up in the
town. The two Reeves boys are still running the biggest layout in
Guthrie, but Pendleton is dead. The Reeves-Pendleton brand of faro, as
well as their keno, wheel, stud, and other legitimate games, was
perfectly on the level, but in addition they had a few games in
operation that was plain cases to most of the patrons of the layout of
the sure-thing. The Reeves and Pendleton people didn’t club anybody into
stacking up against their sure-thing games. They just started ’em going,
hired a man named Gately to run ’em, and struck the attitude that if
among the sooners and boomers of Guthrie there was people imbecile
enough to want to hit up these sure-thing games, it wasn’t their

"The most alluring among these sure-thing games was the outfit called
the squeeze-spindle. You used to run across a squeeze-spindle quite
often down in the Southwest, but so many of the dealers of that game got
shot up and slithered that it has sort o’ passed out. It’s a lottery
game ostensibly, where the player makes what the dealer calls
’conditional’ winnings, and the dealer has to have the assistance of
’boosters’ to throw confidence into the suckers. It took a good con man
to run a squeeze-spindle game. The sucker would put up a hundred to win
five hundred; he’d cop the coin ’conditionally’—that is to say, the
arrow that flew around in the middle of the box had to point to another
number of the sucker’s selection before the money would be his to walk
away with, and in the event of the arrow pointing to the right number
the player would get twice the sum.

"Of course the arrow never went the sucker’s way twice hand-running, and
equally, of course, it was a game where the dealer got all of the money.
The reason it was called a squeeze-spindle was because the dealer had
only to squeeze a button beneath the table to stop the arrow at any old
point in its flight around the numbers that he wanted to. When a sucker
was up against the game, a ’booster’ would prance in with a big roll of
the house’s money, treble it on a couple of straight turns of the
spindle, squeezed just his way by the dealer, and then the sucker would
conclude that it was only his lack of capital that caused him to
lose—just as the pin-head who doubles on favorites at the races tries to
convince himself when’s he’s broke and smoking a punk pipe that he’d
have been able to put all the bookmakers out of business if he’d just
had the capital to keep on with his system. Once in a great while a
squeeze-spindle dealer would let one of his good things get away with a
bunch of money, if he felt reasonably sure that the sucker would come
back at it with the coin later on; and thus the ingenuous little fiction
’ud go around that So-and-So had pasted a squeeze-spindle dealer for his
whole roll, and this would make business.

"Now, here was a game that you wouldn’t think a man with the sense he
was born with would bet twenty cents worth of zinc money on. But this
man Gately, who ran the squeeze-spindle for the Reeves-Pendleton layout
on a salary and commission basis, was a pretty smooth gazzabo in his
generation, and he landed the good things with his layout right along,
and often for sizeable money. He was a quiet, red bearded chap, with a
mighty convincing, persuasive way about him, and a man who’d put up a
fight, too, in a corner. He had free rein in the running of the
squeeze-spindle and two or three other sure-thing devices that formed a
sort of side-show to the main Reeves-Pendleton layout, and the
proprietors pretended that his outfit was really independent of their
plant—that Gately was simply renting space from them and going it alone.
But all Guthrie knew differently.

"Well, up against this squeeze-spindle plant goes this here Jink McAtee
that I started to tell you about. Jink wasn’t then known as a
horse-thief. He had been a sooner—he got in long before the trumpet call
on a thoroughbred Kentucky horse that he was afterward found to have
pinched out of a barn—and he had made a pretty good thing out of the
Guthrie corner lot that he had staked off. He sold it three days after
the dash for $6000, and then he laid back on his liquor with a whole lot
of content. He was a low forehead in looks and manners. He was the
veriest duffer in his attempts to make the Reeves-Pendleton combination
put up their shutters by attacking their square games, and he lost over
$3000 of his corner-lot money at their faro tables. He blew in another
couple of thousand of the bunch at the honkatonks around town before his
little beady eyes fell on Gately’s squeeze-spindle, and he perceived a
chance to get all of his money back in jig-time. Gately pointed it out
to him just how easy it was.

"Before McAtee put a dollar down on the spindle Gately got Jink’s eyes
to popping by roping in a booster who pulled $3200 out of the
squeeze-spindle in quicker time than a cayuse could make two jumps, and
when Gately looked chagrined and sorrowful McAtee bit. Gately knew his
man pretty well, and he permitted Jink to not only win $1600
’conditionally,’ right off the reel, but he actually passed $400 of
Jink’s winnings over to him. Then he proceeded to wipe Jink out. When
McAtee was all trimmed up, Gately looked sad.

"’You didn’t have quite enough along with you, McAtee,’ he said, shaking
his head real mournfully. ’If you’d had another $200 to cover that $1600
that you’d won and left in the hole, why, you’d had me heading for the
Canadian River by this time.’

"McAtee ate this spiel of Gately’s up as if it was so much lunch on a
counter, and went away filled with the idea that there was riches in the
squeeze-spindle if it was hit right, and with enough money to back up
the plays. So he went to just eleven of his sooner friends and talked
squeeze-spindle to ’em. He put it to them just what a good thing the
squeeze-spindle was rightly hammered. He told ’em how near he’d been to
pulling out his losings, and more besides, through the medium of
Gately’s squeeze-spindle at the Reeves-Pendleton layout. They took
Jink’s word for it, and they all joined the pool that McAtee organized
to smash that spindle. They got together $2600, and on the afternoon
following Jink’s play they walked down to the Reeves-Pendleton plant in
a body. Each man had a rifle along with him. There wasn’t anything
remarkable about that. During the first year of Guthrie’s existence
every man carried a long-iron over his arm. If twelve men, all with
rifles, were to line up in front of the Reeves-Pendleton layout in
Guthrie to-day there’d be good reason for the people inside to suppose
that they were going to be ’stuck up,’ but there was no reason to
suppose anything of the kind when Jack McAtee brought along his eleven
subscribers to his squeeze-spindle-smashing pool that afternoon. Gately
wasn’t worried a little bit.

"’My friends is all got a interest in this, podner,’ explained Jink to
Gately, ’and they come along jest t’ see th’ play.’

"’Certainly,’ said Gately, and then Jink and his bunch began to get
action on the spindle. It all went their way at first. Gately didn’t
actually hand them any money out, but he let ’em make ’conditional’ wins
until they had their whole $2600 on the layout. Another correct twist of
the arrow would enable Jink to double the money; on the other hand, if
the arrow didn’t hit the right number, Jink and his bunch only stood to
lose, as Gately explained, $600 of their ’conditional’ winnings.

"Now, the situation was one calculated to rattle almost any man. Gately
didn’t intend that Jink or his twelve stalkers with the long-irons
should get away with any of that money, and it shows that he was a man
of nerve in making up his mind to that idea. He intended to get the
$2600 after a long series of plays, and then take a chance on the Jink
McAtee gang roaring and opening up on him. That’s what he intended to
do. But he was a bit rattled and stampeded over the intense way the gang
had of looking upon the plays, and that’s how he happened to make a
mistake. He gave his button too short a squeeze, and blamed if the arrow
didn’t stop at precisely the number that stood to win Jink and his gang
$2600 of the house’s money, in addition to pulling down the $2600 they
had in!

"Gately saw his mistake almost as soon as he had made it, but a booster
named Gilpin, who was watching the play, was the quicker thinker of the
two. He jumped off a stool upon which he had been standing looking over
the heads of Jink’s crowd, and yelled out:

"’Stand clear, there! Don’t shoot!’

"It was a ruse. Nobody had any idea of shooting. Jink and his gang were
simply flooded with joy over their winning. But when they heard Gilpin’s
warning, they all jumped back, and that was Gately’s chance to redeem
his bad break. He snatched up the $5200—the rule of the spindle game is
that the dealer must show the same amount of money the sucker has got in
play, and Gately had $2600 of the house’s money spread out—and back he
jumped through the door, which led out into an alley. Jink and his crowd
were stupefied. They stood stock still. Gately had gone with their money
and the house’s money, and they didn’t think of taking after him. They
figured it that the house would make good, perhaps. Anyhow, by the time
they came to, Gately had mazed it through the wilderness of shacks of
which Guthrie was already composed, and Bill Reeves had appeared on the

"I had been with Bill in the main layout in the next room, and we heard
the shout of Gilpin. That’s what took us in there. Jink made his talk,
which was a pretty hot and threatening one, and he was backed up in it
pretty forcibly by all the rest of his gang.

"’Well, Gately jumped, that’s all,’ said Reeves. ’What am I going to do
about it?’

"’Hand over $5200, quick,’ said McAtee and some others of his bunch.

"’I haven’t got anything like that much money in the place,’ said
Reeves. ’But I’ll give you a check for it on the bank down the way.’

"They demurred over the check proposition for awhile, but they finally
took Bill Reeves’s check for $5200. While they were demurring, Bill
Reeves had a chance to scribble a note to the cashier of the bank,
telling him not to cash the check when it would be presented—to make
some excuse about not having just that amount of money on hand, or
something of that sort. Now, I didn’t want to be in that place at all
just then, but there was no way of my getting out. I had come into the
room with Bill Reeves, and I knew that if I tried to mosey away I’d be
called back; that they figured me to have some sort of connection with
the layout, which I didn’t.

"Jink took the check and went over to the bank to get the money. The
cashier turned the check down on the ground that he had just shipped
most of the bank’s money to St. Louis. We knew that there was going to
be trouble and a whole lot of it when Jink got back from the bank with
that word, and I don’t think any of us expected to last much longer.
Jink came a-loping back from the bank, and when he came into the room
and tore up the check with appropriate remarks his gang all lined up
together, and we figured it that the shooting was going to begin right
then. When the whole situation looked so squally that I had my eye on
the nearest window to drop out of, Arthur Pendleton popped into the

"’What’s all this?’ he yelled, for there was a lot of clicking going on
in the room. Jink and his gang thought they saw a final chance of
getting their money. So, smoldering, they told the story to Pendleton.
Pendleton was a shrewd man, a forceful talker, and a diplomat from away

"’All the money I’ve got, or that there is in the roll just now,’ he
said, ’is $600,’ pulling the roll out of his pocket. ’You are perfectly
welcome to that. When Gately comes back, or when you get him, as I wish
you would, you can have the rest that’s coming to you out of the roll he

"Well, the $600 looked like better than no bread to Jink and his bunch,
and they took it and went out after Gately. It was getting along toward
twilight. Reeves and Pendleton figured it that Gately, in pulling down
the roll, had been acting in the interest of the house. They hadn’t the
slightest notion that Gately had eloped with the $5200. They thought
he’d plant the money, keep out of sight for a few days until the Jink
McAtee push could be compromised with, and then come back.

"McAtee’s gang beat up every shack in town thoroughly, but there was no
Gately. They whipped the prairie for miles around, but they didn’t
spring Gately. Gately had gone. The gang came back to the
Reeves-Pendleton layout, all of ’em pretty ugly. Pendleton got them
bunched, made a speech to them to the effect that if Gately wasn’t
corralled within a week he’d make good the whole amount coming to them
out of his own pocket, and soft-soaped them into accepting those terms.
They dispersed.

"When Gately didn’t come back the next day, or give any indication to
his employers where he was, they got worried.

"’I think Gately has drilled,’ Pendleton said to me that day. ’He’s an
Iowan, and there’s going to be a big conclave and tournament of firemen
in Council Bluffs next week. I’ll bet Gately has made for Council
Bluffs. I’m going after him. Come along with me.’

"I told Pendleton that I hadn’t anything to do with the game, but I
wasn’t overlooking business propositions, and when he offered me 50 per
cent. of all the money we might reclaim from Gately, I went with him. We
got onto Gately’s trail in Council Bluffs, as Pendleton had shrewdly
guessed we might, but he had been tipped off that we were after him, and
he chased over to Omaha. We were right after him, and he jumped for a
town in Southwestern Iowa called Red Oak. We were hot on his trail, and
we met up with him squarely next day in Red Oak.

"’Let’s have the money, Gately,’ said Pendleton.

"’I’ll pass you back the house bunch, $2600,’ said Gately, ’but the rest
of it I keep,’ and he looked as if he meant it, good and hard, at that.

"’How do you make that out a square deal?’ asked Pendleton.

"’Because,’ replied Gately, pretty convincingly, ’it was me that took
the chance. I made a mistake, and stood to lose the house’s $2600. If I
hadn’t taken a chance, they’d have got the coin. If I’d have won their
$2600, your shack would have been shot into a sieve, and me into the
bargain. It was a case of run. I had to do the running. I earned the
$2600, and I hang on to it.’

"It struck me that this was pretty square talk, and I told Pendleton so,
and advised him to cut out any idea of getting all the money back from
Gately through the medium of a gun-play. Gately handed out $2600, and
then he told us how he had got away. He had struck across the prairie
for Mulhall, and some of the McAtee gang, in scouring the country
a-horseback, had not only been right behind him, but they had passed
him. He heard them coming from behind, and he thought they had
recognized him in the twilight. He didn’t dare to look back, but he
stooped down as if to tie his shoe, and looked at them under his arm
while in that stooping posture. They didn’t figure that the man they
were after would be taking things so leisurely as all that, and so they
passed right by him in the gathering gloom, a-hunting Gately. Gately got
to Mulhall, and took the first train up for Omaha.

"Before we got back to Guthrie, Jink McAtee and several of his pals in
the pool to smash the Gately squeeze-spindle had been given the sudden
chase by the United States Deputy Marshals for some horse-rustling
operation of theirs that had just come to light, and when Jink McAtee
got shot full of slugs by a posse down in the Brazos bottoms, three
years later, the Reeves-Pendleton layout still stood indebted to him in
the sum of $4600 with accrued interest, the balance that Jink and his
push did not pull down in their attempt to stampede a squeeze-spindle


_Nine Splendid Novels by_ WILLIAM MacLEOD RAINE


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_The Albany Times-Union_ says of this story of the South African diamond
mines and adventures in London, on the sea and in America: "As a story
teller Mr. Marshall cannot be improved upon, and whether one is looking
for humor, philosophy, pathos, wit, excitement, adventure or love, he
will find what he seeks, aplenty, in this capital tale." 12mo, cloth.
Illustrated. 50 cents.




From the successful play of EDGAR JAMES. Embodying a wonderful message
to both husbands and wives, it tells how a determined man, of dominating
personality and iron will, leaves a faithful wife for another woman.
12mo, cloth. Illustrated from scenes in the play. Net $1.25.


_The Rocky Mountain News_: "This novelization of OLGA NETHERSOLE’S play
tells of Trinity Church and its tenements. It is a powerful, vital
novel." 12mo, cloth. Illustrated. 50 cents.


Based on CHARLES T. DAZEY’S play, this story won the friendship of the
country very quickly. _The Albany Times-Union_: "Charming enough to
become a classic." 12mo, cloth. Illustrated. 50 cents.


Of this book (founded on the play by ROBERT HOBART DAVIS), _The Portland
(Oregon) Journal_ said: "Nothing more powerful has recently been put
between the covers of a book." 12mo, cloth. Illustrated. 50 cents.


_The Logansport (Ind.) Journal_: "A tense story, founded on PORTER
EMERSON BROWNE’S play, is full of tremendous situations, and preaches a
great sermon." 12mo, cloth bound, with six illustrations from scenes in
the play. 50 cents.


Based upon CHARLES T. DAZEY’S well-known play, which has been listened
to with thrilling interest by over seven million people. "A new and
powerful novel, fascinating in its rapid action. Its touching story is
told more elaborately and even more absorbingly than it was upon the
stage."—_Nashville American._ 12mo, cloth. Illustrated. 50 cents.


Transcriber’s Notes:

Both "booky" and "bookie" used throughout text.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Taking Chances" ***

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