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´╗┐Title: The Man Who Could Not Lose
Author: Davis, Richard Harding, 1864-1916
Language: English
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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 "The Man Who Could Not Lose" ***

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THE MAN WHO COULD NOT LOSE

by Richard Harding Davis



The Carters had married in haste and refused to repent at leisure. So
blindly were they in love, that they considered their marriage their
greatest asset. The rest of the world, as represented by mutual friends,
considered it the only thing that could be urged against either of them.
While single, each had been popular. As a bachelor, young "Champ" Carter
had filled his modest place acceptably. Hostesses sought him for dinners
and week-end parties, men of his own years, for golf and tennis, and
young girls liked him because when he talked to one of them he never
talked of himself, or let his eyes wander toward any other girl. He had
been brought up by a rich father in an expensive way, and the rich
father had then died leaving Champneys alone in the world, with no
money, and with even a few of his father's debts. These debts of honor
the son, ever since leaving Yale, had been paying off. It had kept him
very poor, for Carter had elected to live by his pen, and, though he
wrote very carefully and slowly, the editors of the magazines had been
equally careful and slow in accepting what he wrote.

With an income so uncertain that the only thing that could be said of it
with certainty was that it was too small to support even himself,
Carter should not have thought of matrimony. Nor, must it be said to his
credit, did he think of it until the girl came along that he wanted to
marry.

The trouble with Dolly Ingram was her mother. Her mother was a really
terrible person. She was quite impossible. She was a social leader, and
of such importance that visiting princes and society reporters, even
among themselves, did not laugh at her. Her visiting list was so small
that she did not keep a social secretary, but, it was said, wrote her
invitations herself. Stylites on his pillar was less exclusive. Nor did
he take his exalted but lonely position with less sense of humor. When
Ingram died and left her many millions to dispose of absolutely as she
pleased, even to the allowance she should give their daughter, he left
her with but one ambition unfulfilled. That was to marry her Dolly to
an English duke. Hungarian princes, French marquises, Italian counts,
German barons, Mrs. Ingram could not see. Her son-in-law must be a
duke. She had her eyes on two, one somewhat shopworn, and the other a
bankrupt; and in training, she had one just coming of age. Already she
saw her self a sort of a dowager duchess by marriage, discussing with
real dowager duchesses the way to bring up teething earls and viscounts.
For three years in Europe Mrs. Ingram had been drilling her daughter for
the part she intended her to play. But, on returning to her native land,
Dolly, who possessed all the feelings, thrills, and heart-throbs of
which her mother was ignorant, ungratefully fell deeply in love
with Champneys Carter, and he with her. It was always a question of
controversy between them as to which had first fallen in love with the
other. As a matter of history, honors were even.

He first saw her during a thunder storm, in the paddock at the races,
wearing a rain-coat with the collar turned up and a Panama hat with the
brim turned down. She was talking, in terms of affectionate familiarity,
with Cuthbert's two-year-old, The Scout. The Scout had just lost a
race by a nose, and Dolly was holding the nose against her cheek and
comforting him. The two made a charming picture, and, as Carter stumbled
upon it and halted, the race-horse lowered his eyes and seemed to say:
"Wouldn't YOU throw a race for this?" And the girl raised her eyes and
seemed to say: "What a nice-looking, bright-looking young man! Why don't
I know who you are?"

So, Carter ran to find Cuthbert, and told him The Scout had gone lame.
When, on their return, Miss Ingram refused to loosen her hold on The
Scout's nose, Cuthbert apologetically mumbled Carter's name, and in some
awe Miss Ingram's name, and then, to his surprise, both young people
lost interest in The Scout, and wandered away together into the rain.

After an hour, when they parted at the club stand, for which Carter
could not afford a ticket, he asked wistfully: "Do you often come
racing?" and Miss Ingram said: "Do you mean, am I coming to-morrow?"

"I do!" said Carter.

"Then, why didn't you say that?" inquired Miss Ingram. "Otherwise I
mightn't have come. I have the Holland House coach for to-morrow, and,
if you'll join us, I'll save a place for you, and you can sit in our
box.

"I've lived so long abroad," she explained, "that I'm afraid of not
being simple and direct like other American girls. Do you think I'll get
on here at home?"

"If you get on with every one else as well as you've got on with me,"
said Carter morosely, "I will shoot myself."

Miss Ingram smiled thoughtfully. "At eleven, then," she said, "in front
of the Holland House."

Carter walked away with a flurried, heated suffocation around his heart
and a joyous lightness in his feet. Of the first man he met he demanded,
"Who was the beautiful girl in the rain-coat?" And when the man told
him, Carter left him without speaking. For she was quite the richest
girl in America. But the next day that fault seemed to distress her so
little that Carter, also, refused to allow it to rest on his conscience,
and they were very happy. And each saw that they were happy because they
were together.

The ridiculous mother was not present at the races, but after Carter
began to call at their house and was invited to dinner, Mrs. Ingram
received him with her habitual rudeness. As an impediment in the
success of her ambition she never considered him. As a boy friend of her
daughter's, she classed him with "her" lawyer and "her" architect and
a little higher than the "person" who arranged the flowers. Nor, in
her turn, did Dolly consider her mother; for within two months another
matter of controversy between Dolly and Carter was as to who had first
proposed to the other. Carter protested there never had been any formal
proposal, that from the first they had both taken it for granted that
married they would be. But Dolly insisted that because he had been
afraid of her money, or her mother, he had forced her to propose to him.

"You could not have loved me very much," she complained, "if you'd let a
little thing like money make you hesitate."

"It's not a little thing," suggested Carter. "They say it's several
millions, and it happens to be YOURS. If it were MINE, now!" "Money,"
said Dolly sententiously, "is given people to make them happy, not to
make them miserable."

"Wait until I sell my stories to the magazines," said Carter, "and then
I will be independent and can support you."

The plan did not strike Dolly as one likely to lead to a hasty marriage.
But he was sensitive about his stories, and she did not wish to hurt his
feelings.

"Let's get married first," she suggested, "and then I can BUY you a
magazine. We'll call it CARTER'S MAGAZINE and we will print nothing in
it but your stories. Then we can laugh at the editors!"

"Not half as loud as they will," said Carter.

With three thousand dollars in bank and three stories accepted and
seventeen still to hear from, and with Dolly daily telling him that it
was evident he did not love her, Carter decided they were ready, hand
in hand, to leap into the sea of matrimony. His interview on the subject
with Mrs. Ingram was most painful. It lasted during the time it took her
to walk out of her drawing-room to the foot of her staircase. She
spoke to herself, and the only words of which Carter was sure were
"preposterous" and "intolerable insolence." Later in the morning she
sent a note to his flat, forbidding him not only her daughter, but the
house in which her daughter lived, and even the use of the United States
mails and the New York telephone wires. She described his conduct in
words that, had they come from a man, would have afforded Carter every
excuse for violent exercise.

Immediately in the wake of the note arrived Dolly, in tears, and
carrying a dressing-case.

"I have left mother!" she announced. "And I have her car downstairs, and
a clergyman in it, unless he has run away. He doesn't want to marry us,
because he's afraid mother will stop supporting his flower mission. You
get your hat and take me where he can marry us. No mother can talk about
the man I love the way mother talked about you, and think I won't marry
him the same day!"

Carter, with her mother's handwriting still red before his eyes, and his
self-love shaken with rage flourished the letter.

"And no mother," he shouted, "can call ME a 'fortune-hunter' and a
'cradle-robber' and think I'll make good by marrying her daughter! Not
until she BEGS me to!"

Dolly swept toward him like a summer storm. Her eyes were wet and
flashing. "Until WHO begs you to?" she demanded. "WHO are you marrying;
mother or me?"

"If I marry you," cried Carter, frightened but also greatly excited,
"your mother won't give you a penny!"

"And that," taunted Dolly, perfectly aware that she was ridiculous, "is
why you won't marry me!"

For an instant, long enough to make her blush with shame and happiness,
Carter grinned at her. "Now, just for that," he said, "I won't kiss you,
and I WILL marry you!" But, as a matter of fact, he DID kiss her. Then
he gazed happily around his small sitting-room. "Make yourself at home
here," he directed, "while I pack my bag."

"I MEAN to make myself very much at home here," said Dolly joyfully,
"for the rest of my life."

From the recesses of the flat Carter called: "The rent's paid only till
September. After that we live in a hall bedroom and cook on a gas-stove.
And that's no idle jest, either."

Fearing the publicity of the City Hall license bureau, they released the
clergyman, much to the relief of that gentleman, and told the chauffeur
to drive across the State line into Connecticut.

"It's the last time we can borrow your mother's car," said Carter, "and
we'd better make it go as far as we can."

It was one of those days in May. Blue was the sky and sunshine was in
the air, and in the park little girls from the tenements, in white,
were playing they were queens. Dolly wanted to kidnap two of them for
bridesmaids. In Harlem they stopped at a jeweler's shop, and Carter got
out and bought a wedding-ring.

In the Bronx were dogwood blossoms and leaves of tender green and beds
of tulips, and along the Boston Post Road, on their right, the Sound
flashed in the sunlight; and on their left, gardens, lawns, and orchards
ran with the road, and the apple trees were masses of pink and white.

Whenever a car approached from the rear, Carter pretended it was Mrs.
Ingram coming to prevent the elopement, and Dolly clung to him. When the
car had passed, she forgot to stop clinging to him.

In Greenwich Village they procured a license, and a magistrate married
them, and they were a little frightened and greatly happy and, they both
discovered simultaneously, outrageously hungry. So they drove through
Bedford Village to South Salem, and lunched at the Horse and Hounds Inn,
on blue and white china, in the same room where Major Andre was once a
prisoner. And they felt very sorry for Major Andre, and for everybody
who had not been just married that morning. And after lunch they sat
outside in the garden and fed lumps of sugar to a charming collie and
cream to a fat gray cat.

They decided to start housekeeping in Carter's flat, and so turned back
to New York, this time following the old coach road through North Castle
to White Plains, across to Tarrytown, and along the bank of the Hudson
into Riverside Drive. Millions and millions of friendly folk, chiefly
nurse-maids and traffic policemen, waved to them, and for some reason
smiled.

"The joke of it is," declared Carter, "they don't know! The most
wonderful event of the century has just passed into history. We are
married, and nobody knows!"

But when the car drove away from in front of Carter's door, they saw on
top of it two old shoes and a sign reading: "We have just been married."
While they had been at luncheon, the chauffeur had risen to the
occasion.

"After all," said Carter soothingly, "he meant no harm. And it's the
only thing about our wedding yet that seems legal."

Three months later two very unhappy young people faced starvation in the
sitting-room of Carter's flat. Gloom was written upon the countenance of
each, and the heat and the care that comes when one desires to live, and
lacks the wherewithal to fulfill that desire, had made them pallid and
had drawn black lines under Dolly's eyes.

Mrs. Ingram had played her part exactly as her dearest friends had
said she would. She had sent to Carter's flat, seven trunks filled with
Dolly's clothes, eighteen hats, and another most unpleasant letter. In
this, on the sole condition that Dolly would at once leave her husband,
she offered to forgive and to support her.

To this Dolly composed eleven scornful answers, but finally decided that
no answer at all was the most scornful.

She and Carter then proceeded joyfully to waste his three thousand
dollars with that contempt for money with which on a honey-moon it
should always be regarded. When there was no more, Dolly called upon her
mother's lawyers and inquired if her father had left her anything in
her own right. The lawyers regretted he had not, but having loved Dolly
since she was born, offered to advance her any money she wanted. They
said they felt sure her mother would "relent."

"SHE may," said Dolly haughtily. "I WON'T! And my husband can give me
all I need. I only wanted something of my own, because I'm going to make
him a surprise present of a new motor-car. The one we are using now does
not suit us."

This was quite true, as the one they were then using ran through the
subway.

As summer approached, Carter had suddenly awakened to the fact that he
soon would be a pauper, and cut short the honey-moon. They returned to
the flat, and he set forth to look for a position. Later, while still
looking for it, he spoke of it as a "job." He first thought he would
like to be an assistant editor of a magazine. But he found editors of
magazines anxious to employ new and untried assistants, especially
in June, were very few. On the contrary, they explained they were
retrenching and cutting down expenses--they meant they had discharged
all office boys who received more than three dollars a week. They
further "retrenched," by taking a mean advantage of Carter's having
called upon them in person, by handing him three or four of his
stories--but by this he saved his postage-stamps.

Each day, when he returned to the flat, Dolly, who always expected each
editor would hastily dust off his chair and offer it to her brilliant
husband, would smile excitedly and gasp, "Well?" and Carter would throw
the rejected manuscripts on the table and say: "At least, I have not
returned empty-handed." Then they would discover a magazine that neither
they nor any one else knew existed, and they would hurriedly readdress
the manuscripts to that periodical, and run to post them at the
letter-box on the corner.

"Any one of them, if ACCEPTED," Carter would point out, "might bring us
in twenty-five dollars. A story of mine once sold for forty; so to-night
we can afford to dine at a restaurant where wine is NOT 'included.'"

Fortunately, they never lost their sense of humor. Otherwise the narrow
confines of the flat, the evil smells that rose from the baked
streets, the greasy food of Italian and Hungarian restaurants, and the
ever-haunting need of money might have crushed their youthful spirits.
But in time even they found that one, still less two, cannot
exist exclusively on love and the power to see the bright side of
things--especially when there is no bright side. They had come to the
point where they must borrow money from their friends, and that, though
there were many who would have opened their safes to them, they had
agreed was the one thing they would not do, or they must starve. The
alternative was equally distasteful.

Carter had struggled earnestly to find a job. But his inexperience and
the season of the year were against him. No newspaper wanted a dramatic
critic when the only shows in town had been running three months, and
on roof gardens; nor did they want a "cub" reporter when veterans were
being "laid off" by the dozens. Nor were his services desired as a
private secretary, a taxicab driver, an agent to sell real estate
or automobiles or stocks. As no one gave him a chance to prove his
unfitness for any of these callings, the fact that he knew nothing
of any of them did not greatly matter. At these rebuffs Dolly was
distinctly pleased. She argued they proved he was intended to pursue his
natural career as an author.

That their friends might know they were poor did not affect her, but she
did not want them to think by his taking up any outside "job" that they
were poor because as a literary genius he was a failure. She believed
in his stories. She wanted every one else to believe in them. Meanwhile,
she assisted him in so far as she could by pawning the contents of five
of the seven trunks, by learning to cook on a "Kitchenette," and to
laundry her handkerchiefs and iron them on the looking-glass.

They faced each other across the breakfast-table. It was only nine
o'clock, but the sun beat into the flat with the breath of a furnace,
and the air was foul and humid.

"I tell you," Carter was saying fiercely, "you look ill. You are ill.
You must go to the sea-shore. You must visit some of your proud, friends
at East Hampton or Newport. Then I'll know you're happy and I won't
worry, and I'll find a job. I don't mind the heat-and I'll write you
love letters"--he was talking very fast and not looking at Dolly--"like
those I used to write you, before----"

Dolly raised her hand. "Listen!" she said. "Suppose I leave you. What
will happen? I'll wake up in a cool, beautiful brass bed, won't I--with
cretonne window-curtains, and salt air blowing them about, and a maid
to bring me coffee. And instead of a bathroom like yours, next to an
elevator shaft and a fire-escape, I'll have one as big as a church,
and the whole blue ocean to swim in. And I'll sit on the rocks in the
sunshine and watch the waves and the yachts--"

"And grow well again!" cried Carter. "But you'll write to me," he added
wistfully, "every day, won't you?"

In her wrath, Dolly rose, and from across the table confronted him.

"And what will I be doing on those rocks?" she cried. "You KNOW what
I'll be doing! I'll be sobbing, and sobbing, and calling out to the
waves: 'Why did he send me away? Why doesn't he want me? Because he
doesn't love me. That's why! He doesn't LOVE me!' And you DON'T!" cried
Dolly. "You DON'T!"

It took him all of three minutes to persuade her she was mistaken.

"Very well, then," sobbed Dolly, "that's settled. And there'll be no
more talk of sending me away!

"There will NOT!" said Champneys hastily. "We will now," he announced,
"go into committee of the whole and decide how we are to face financial
failure. Our assets consist of two stories, accepted, but not paid for,
and fifteen stories not accepted." In cash, he spread upon the table
a meagre collection of soiled bills and coins. "We have twenty-seven
dollars and fourteen cents. That is every penny we possess in the
world."

Dolly regarded him fixedly and shook her head.

"Is it wicked," she asked, "to love you so?"

"Haven't you been listening to me?" demanded Carter.

Again Dolly shook her head.

"I was watching the way you talk. When your lips move fast they do such
charming things."

"Do you know," roared Carter, "that we haven't a penny in the world,
that we have nothing in this flat to eat?"

"I still have five hats," said Dolly.

"We can't eat hats," protested Champneys.

"We can sell hats!" returned Dolly. "They cost eighty dollars apiece!"

"When you need money," explained Carter, "I find it's just as hard to
sell a hat as to eat it."

"Twenty-seven dollars and fourteen cents," repeated Dolly. She exclaimed
remorsefully: "And you started with three thousand! What did I do with
it?"

"We both had the time of our lives with it!" said Carter stoutly. "And
that's all there is to that. Post-mortems," he pointed out, "are useful
only as guides to the future, and as our future will never hold a second
three thousand dollars, we needn't worry about how we spent the first
one. No! What we must consider now is how we can grow rich quick, and
the quicker and richer, the better. Pawning our clothes, or what's left
of them, is bad economics. There's no use considering how to live from
meal to meal. We must evolve something big, picturesque, that will bring
a fortune. You have imagination; I'm supposed to have imagination, we
must think of a plan to get money, much money. I do not insist on our
plan being dignified, or even outwardly respectable; so long as it keeps
you alive, it may be as desperate as--"

"I see!" cried Dolly; "like sending mother Black Hand letters!"

"Blackmail----" began that lady's son-in-law doubtfully.

"Or!" cried Dolly, "we might kidnap Mr. Carnegie when he's walking in
the park alone, and hold him for ransom. Or"--she rushed on--"we might
forge a codicil to father's will, and make it say if mother shouldn't
like the man I want to marry, all of father's fortune must go to my
husband!"

"Forgery," exclaimed Champneys, "is going further than I----"

"And another plan," interrupted Dolly, "that I have always had in mind,
is to issue a cheaper edition of your book, 'The Dead Heat.' The reason
the first edition of 'The Dead Heat' didn't sell----"

"Don't tell ME why it didn't sell," said Champneys. "I wrote it!"

"That book," declared Dolly loyally, "was never properly advertised. No
one knew about it, so no one bought it!"

"Eleven people bought it!" corrected the author.

"We will put it in a paper cover and sell it for fifty cents," cried
Dolly. "It's the best detective story I ever read, and people have got
to know it is the best. So we'll advertise it like a breakfast food."

"The idea," interrupted Champneys, "is to make money, not throw it away.
Besides, we haven't any to throw away. Dolly sighed bitterly.

"If only," she exclaimed, "we had that three thousand dollars back
again! I'd save SO carefully. It was all my fault. The races took it,
but it was I took you to the races."

"No one ever had to drag ME to the races," said Carter. "It was the way
we went that was extravagant. Automobiles by the hour standing idle, and
a box each day, and----"

"And always backing Dromedary," suggested Dolly. Carter was touched on
a sensitive spot. "That horse," he protested loudly, "is a mighty good
horse. Some day----"

"That's what you always said," remarked Dolly, "but he never seems to
have his day."

"It's strange," said Champneys consciously. "I dreamed of Dromedary
only last night. Same dream over and over again." Hastily he changed the
subject.

"For some reason I don't sleep well. I don't know why."

Dolly looked at him with all the love in her eyes of a mother over her
ailing infant.

"It's worrying over me, and the heat,"' she said. "And the garage
next door, and the skyscraper going up across the street, might have
something to do with it. And YOU," she mocked tenderly, "wanted to send
me to the sea-shore."

Carter was frowning. As though about to speak, he opened his lips, and
then laughed embarrassedly.

"Out with it," said Dolly, with an encouraging smile. "Did he win?"

Seeing she had read what was in his mind, Carter leaned forward eagerly.
The ruling passion and a touch of superstition held him in their grip.

"He 'win' each time," he whispered. "I saw it as plain as I see you.
Each time he came up with a rush just at the same place, just as
they entered the stretch, and each time he won!" He slapped his hand
disdainfully upon the dirty bills before him. "If I had a hundred
dollars!"

There was a knock at the door, and Carter opened it to the elevator boy
with the morning mail. The letters, save one, Carter dropped upon
the table. That one, with clumsy fingers, he tore open. He exclaimed
breathlessly: "It's from PLYMPTON'S MAGAZINE! Maybe--I've sold a story!"
He gave a cry almost of alarm. His voice was as solemn as though the
letter had announced a death.

"Dolly," he whispered, "it's a check--a check for a HUNDRED DOLLARS!"

Guiltily, the two young people looked at each other.

"We've GOT to!" breathed Dolly. "GOT to! If we let TWO signs like that
pass, we'd be flying in the face of Providence."

With her hands gripping the arms of her chair, she leaned forward, her
eyes staring into space, her lips moving.

"COME ON, you Dromedary!" she whispered.

They changed the check into five and ten dollar bills, and, as Carter
was far too excited to work, made an absurdly early start for the
race-track.

"We might as well get all the fresh air we can," said Dolly. "That's all
we will get!"

From their reserve fund of twenty-seven dollars which each had solemnly
agreed with the other would not be risked on race-horses, Dolly
subtracted a two-dollar bill. This she stuck conspicuously across the
face of the clock on the mantel.

"Why?" asked Carter.

"When we get back this evening," Dolly explained, "that will be the
first thing we'll see. It's going to look awfully good!"

This day there was no scarlet car to rush them with refreshing swiftness
through Brooklyn's parkways and along the Ocean Avenue. Instead, they
hung to a strap in a cross-town car, changed to the ferry, and again to
the Long Island Railroad. When Carter halted at the special car of the
Turf Club, Dolly took his arm and led him forward to the day coach.

"But," protested Carter, "when you're spending a hundred dollars with
one hand, why grudge fifty cents for a parlor-car seat? If you're going
to be a sport, be a sport." "And if you've got to be a piker," said
Dolly, "don't be ashamed to be a piker. We're not spending a hundred
dollars because we can afford it, but because you dreamt a dream. You
didn't dream you were riding in parlor-cars! If you did, it's time I
woke you."

This day there was for them no box overlooking the finish, no club-house
luncheon. With the other pikers, they sat in the free seats, with those
who sat coatless and tucked their handkerchiefs inside their collars,
and with those who mopped their perspiring countenances with rice-paper
and marked their cards with a hat-pin. Their lunch consisted of a
massive ham sandwich with a top dressing of mustard.

Dromedary did not run until the fifth race, and the long wait, before
they could learn their fate, was intolerable. They knew most of the
horses, and, to pass the time, on each of the first races Dolly made
imaginary bets. Of these mental wagers, she lost every one.

"If you turn out to be as bad a guesser when you're asleep as I am when
I'm awake," said Dolly, "we're going to lose our fortune."

"I'm weakening!" declared Carter. "A hundred dollars is beginning to
look to me like an awful lot of money. Twenty-seven dollars, and there's
only twenty of that left now, is mighty small capital, but twenty
dollars plus a hundred could keep us alive for a month!"

"Did you, or did you not, dream that Dromedary would win?" demanded
Dolly sternly.

"I certainly did, several times," said Carter. "But it may be I
was thinking of the horse. I've lost such a lot on him, my mind may
have----"

"Did you," interrupted Dolly, "say if you had a hundred dollars you'd
bet it, and did a hundred dollars walk in through the door instantly?"

Carter, reassured, breathed again. "It certainly did!" he repeated.

Even in his proud days, Carter had never been able to bet heavily, and
instead of troubling the club-house commissioners with his small wagers,
he had, in the ring, bet ready money. Moreover, he believed in the
ring he obtained more favorable odds, and, when he won, it pleased him,
instead of waiting until settling day for a check, to stand in a line
and feel the real money thrust into his hand. So, when the fourth race
started he rose and raised his hat.

"The time has come," he said.

Without looking at him, Dolly nodded. She was far too tremulous to
speak.

For several weeks Dromedary had not been placed, and Carter hoped for
odds of at least ten to one. But, when he pushed his way into the arena,
he found so little was thought of his choice that as high as twenty
to one was being offered, and with few takers. The fact shattered his
confidence. Here were two hundred book-makers, trained to their calling,
anxious at absurd odds to back their opinion that the horse he liked
could not win. In the face of such unanimous contempt, his dream became
fantastic, fatuous. He decided he would risk only half of his fortune.
Then, should the horse win, he still would be passing rich, and should
he lose, he would, at least, have all of fifty dollars.

With a book-maker he wagered that sum, and then, in unhappy indecision,
stood, in one hand clutching his ticket that called for a potential
thousand and fifty dollars, and in the other an actual fifty. It was not
a place for meditation. From every side men, more or less sane, swept
upon him, jostled him, and stamped upon him, and still, struggling for a
foothold, he swayed, hesitating. Then he became conscious that the ring
was nearly empty, that only a few shrieking individuals still ran down
the line. The horses were going to the post. He must decide quickly. In
front of him the book-maker cleaned his board, and, as a final appeal,
opposite the names of three horses chalked thirty to one. Dromedary was
among them. Such odds could not be resisted. Carter shoved his fifty at
the man, and to that sum added the twenty dollars still in his pocket.
They were the last dollars he owned in the world. And though he knew
they were his last, he was fearful lest the book-maker would refuse
them. But, mechanically, the man passed them over his shoulder.

"And twenty-one hundred to seventy," he chanted.

When Carter took his seat beside Dolly, he was quite cold. Still, Dolly
did not speak. Out of the corner of her eyes she questioned him.

"I got fifty at twenty to one," replied Carter, "and seventy at thirty!"

In alarm, Dolly turned upon him.

"SEVENTY!" she gasped.

Carter nodded. "All we have," he said. "We have sixty cents left, to
start life over again!"

As though to encourage him, Dolly placed her finger on her race-card.

"His colors," she said, "are 'green cap, green jacket, green and white
hoops.'"

Through a maze of heat, a half-mile distant, at the starting-gate,
little spots of color moved in impatient circles. The big, good-natured
crowd had grown silent, so silent that from the high, sun-warmed grass
in the infield one could hear the lazy chirp of the crickets. As though
repeating a prayer, or an incantation, Dolly's lips were moving quickly.

"Green cap," she whispered, "green jacket, green and white hoops!"

With a sharp sigh the crowd broke the silence. "They're off!" it cried,
and leaned forward expectant.

The horses came so fast. To Carter their conduct seemed outrageous.
It was incredible that in so short a time, at a pace so reckless, they
would decide a question of such moment. They came bunched together,
shifting and changing, with, through the dust, flashes of blue and
gold and scarlet. A jacket of yellow shot out of the dust and showed in
front; a jacket of crimson followed. So they were at the half; so they
were at the three-quarters.

The good-natured crowd began to sway, to grumble and murmur, then to
shout in sharp staccato.

"Can you see him?" begged Dolly.

"No," said Carter. "You don't see him until they reach the stretch."

One could hear their hoofs, could see the crimson jockey draw his whip.
At the sight, for he rode the favorite, the crowd gave a great gasp of
concern.

"Oh, you Gold Heels!" it implored.

Under the whip, Gold Heels drew even with the yellow jacket; stride by
stride, they fought it out alone.

"Gold Heels!" cried the crowd.

Behind them, in a curtain of dust, pounded the field. It charged in
a flying wedge, like a troop of cavalry. Dolly, searching for a green
jacket, saw, instead, a rainbow wave of color that, as it rose and fell,
sprang toward her in great leaps, swallowing the track.

"Gold Heels!" yelled the crowd.

The field swept into the stretch. Without moving his eyes, Carter caught
Dolly by the wrist and pointed. As though giving a signal, he shot his
free hand into the air.

"Now!" he shouted.

From the curtain of dust, as lightning strikes through a cloud, darted
a great, raw-boned, ugly chestnut. Like the Empire Express, he came
rocking, thundering, spurning the ground. At his coming, Gold Heels, to
the eyes of the crowd, seemed to falter, to slacken, to stand still.
The crowd gave a great cry of amazement, a yell of disgust. The chestnut
drew even with Gold Heels, passed him, and swept under the wire.
Clinging to his neck was a little jockey in a green cap, green jacket,
and hoops of green and white.

Dolly's hand was at her side, clutching the bench. Carter's hand still
clasped it. Neither spoke or looked at the other. For an instant, while
the crowd, no longer so good-natured, mocked and jeered at itself, the
two young people sat quite still, staring at the green field, at the
white clouds rolling from the ocean. Dolly drew a long breath.

"Let's go!" she gasped. "Let's thank him first, and then take me home!"

They found Dromedary in the paddock, and thanked him, and Carter left
Dolly with him, while he ran to collect his winnings. When he returned,
he showed her a sheaf of yellow bills, and as they ran down the covered
board walk to the gate, they skipped and danced.

Dolly turned toward the train drawn up at the entrance.

"Not with me!" shouted Carter. "We're going home in the reddest, most
expensive, fastest automobile I can hire!"

In the "hack" line of motor-cars was one that answered those
requirements, and they fell into it as though it were their own.

"To the Night and Day Bank!" commanded Carter.

With the genial democracy of the race-track, the chauffeur lifted his
head to grin appreciatively. "That listens good to me!" he said.

"I like him!" whispered Dolly. "Let's buy him and the car."

On the way home, they bought many cars; every car they saw, that they
liked, they bought. They bought, also, several houses, and a yacht that
they saw from the ferry-boat. And as soon as they had deposited the most
of their money in the bank, they went to a pawnshop in Sixth Avenue and
bought back many possessions that they had feared they never would see
again.

When they entered the flat, the thing they first beheld was Dolly's
two-dollar bill.

"What," demanded Carter, with repugnance, "is that strange piece of
paper?"

Dolly examined it carefully. "I think it is a kind of money," she said,
"used by the lower classes."

They dined on the roof at Delmonico's. Dolly wore the largest of
the five hats still unsold, and Carter selected the dishes entirely
according to which was the most expensive. Every now and again they
would look anxiously down across the street at the bank that held their
money. They were nervous lest it should take fire.

"We can be extravagant to-night," said Dolly, "because we owe it to
Dromedary to celebrate. But from to-night on we must save. We've had an
awful lesson. What happened to us last month must never happen again. We
were down to a two-dollar bill. Now we have twenty-five hundred across
the street, and you have several hundreds in your pocket. On that we can
live easily for a year. Meanwhile, you can write 'the' great American
novel without having to worry about money, or to look for a steady job.
And then your book will come out, and you will be famous, and rich,
and----"

"Passing on from that," interrupted Carter, "the thing of first
importance is to get you out of that hot, beastly flat. I propose we
start to-morrow for Cape Cod. I know a lot of fishing villages there
where we could board and lodge for twelve dollars a week, and row and
play tennis and live in our bathing suits."

Dolly assented with enthusiasm, and during the courses of the dinner
they happily discussed Cape Cod from Pocasset to Yarmouth, and from
Sandwich to Provincetown. So eager were they to escape, that Carter
telephoned the hallman at his club to secure a cabin for the next
afternoon on the Fall River boat. As they sat over their coffee in the
cool breeze, with, in the air, the scent of flowers and the swing of
music, and with, at their feet, the lights of the great city, the world
seemed very bright.

"It has been a great day," sighed Carter. "And if I hadn't had nervous
prostration I would have enjoyed it. That race-course is always cool,
and there were some fine finishes. I noticed two horses that would bear
watching, Her Highness and Glowworm. If we weren't leaving to-morrow,
I'd be inclined----" Dolly regarded him with eyes of horror.

"Champneys Carter!" she exclaimed. As she said it, it sounded like
"Great Jehoshaphat!"

Carter protested indignantly. "I only said," he explained, "if I were
following the races, I'd watch those horses. Don't worry!" he exclaimed.
"I know when to stop."

The next morning they took breakfast on the tiny terrace of a restaurant
overlooking Bryant Park, where, during the first days of their
honeymoon, they had always breakfasted. For sentimental reasons they
now revisited it. But Dolly was eager to return at once to the flat and
pack, and Carter seemed distraught. He explained that he had had a bad
night.

"I'm so sorry," sympathized Dolly, "but to-night you will have a fine
sleep going up the Sound. Any more nightmares?" she asked.

"Nightmares!" exploded Carter fiercely. "Nightmares they certainly were!
I dreamt two of the nightmares won! I saw them, all night, just as I saw
Dromedary, Her Highness and Glowworm, winning, winning, winning!"

"Those were the horses you spoke about last night," said Dolly severely.
"After so wonderful a day, of course you dreamt of racing, and those two
horses were in your mind. That's the explanation."

They returned to the flat and began, industriously, to pack. About
twelve o'clock Carter, coming suddenly into the bedroom where Dolly
was alone, found her reading the MORNING TELEGRAPH. It was open at the
racing page of "past performances."

She dropped the paper guiltily. Carter kicked a hat-box out of his way
and sat down on a trunk.

"I don't see," he began, "why we can't wait one more day. We'd be just
as near the ocean at Sheepshead Bay race-track as on a Fall River boat,
and----" He halted and frowned unhappily. "We needn't bet more than ten
dollars," he begged.

"Of course," declared Dolly, "if they SHOULD win, you'll always blame
ME!" Carter's eyes shone hopefully.

"And," continued Dolly, "I can't bear to have you blame me. So----"

"Get your hat!" shouted Carter, "or we'll miss the first race."

Carter telephoned for a cab, and as they were entering it said guiltily:
"I've got to stop at the bank."

"You have NOT!" announced Dolly. "That money is to keep us alive while
you write the great American novel. I'm glad to spend another day at the
races, and I'm willing to back your dreams as far as ten dollars, but
for no more."

"If my dreams come true," warned Carter, "you'll be awfully sorry."

"Not I," said Dolly. "I'll merely send you to bed, and you can go on
dreaming."

When Her Highness romped home, an easy winner, the look Dolly turned
upon her husband was one both of fear and dismay.

"I don't like it!" she gasped. "It's--it's uncanny. It gives me a creepy
feeling. It makes you seem sort of supernatural. And oh," she cried, "if
only I had let you bet all you had with you!"

"I did," stammered Carter, in extreme agitation. "I bet four hundred.
I got five to one, Dolly," he gasped, in awe; "we've won two thousand
dollars."

Dolly exclaimed rapturously: "We'll put it all in bank," she cried.

"We'll put it all on Glowworm!" said her husband.

"Champ!" begged Dolly. "Don't push your luck. Stop while----" Carter
shook his head.

"It's NOT luck!" he growled. "It's a gift, it's second sight, it's
prophecy. I've been a full-fledged clairvoyant all my life, and didn't
know it. Anyway, I'm a sport, and after two of my dreams breaking right,
I've got to back the third one!"

Glowworm was at ten to one, and at those odds the book-makers to whom he
first applied did not care to take so large a sum as he offered. Carter
found a book-maker named "Sol" Burbank who, at those odds, accepted his
two thousand.

When Carter returned to collect his twenty-two thousand, there was some
little delay while Burbank borrowed a portion of it. He looked at Carter
curiously and none too genially.

"Wasn't it you," he asked, "that had that thirty-to-one shot yesterday
on Dromedary?" Carter nodded somewhat guiltily. A man in the crowd
volunteered: "And he had Her Highness in the second, too, for four
hundred."

"You've made a good day," said Burbank. "Give me a chance to get my
money back to-morrow.

"I'm sorry," said Carter. "I'm leaving New York to-morrow."

The same scarlet car bore them back triumphant to the bank.

"Twenty-two thousand dollars?" gasped Carter, "in CASH! How in the
name of all that's honest can we celebrate winning twenty-two thousand
dollars? We can't eat more than one dinner; we can't drink more than two
quarts of champagne--not without serious results."

"I'll tell you what we can do!" cried Dolly excitedly. "We can sail
to-morrow on the CAMPANIA!"

"Hurrah!" shouted Carter. "We'll have a second honey-moon. We'll shoot
up London and Paris. We'll tear slices out of the map of Europe. You'll
ride in one motor-car, I'll ride in another, we'll have a maid and a
valet in a third, and we'll race each other all the way to Monte Carlo.
And, there, I'll dream of the winning numbers, and we'll break the bank.
When does the CAMPANIA sail?"

"At noon," said Dolly.

"At eight we will be on board," said Carter.

But that night in his dreams he saw King Pepper, Confederate, and Red
Wing each win a race. And in the morning neither the engines of the
CAMPANIA nor the entreaties of Dolly could keep him from the race-track.

"I want only six thousand," he protested. "You can do what you like with
the rest, but I am going to bet six thousand on the first one of those
three to start. If he loses, I give you my word I'll not bet another
cent, and we'll sail on Saturday. If he wins Out, I'll put all I make on
the two others."

"Can't you see," begged Dolly, "that your dreams are just a rehash of
what you think during the day? You have been playing in wonderful luck,
that's all. Each of those horses is likely to win his race. When he does
you will have more faith than ever in your silly dreams----"

"My silly dreams," said Carter grinning, "are carrying you to Europe,
first class, by the next steamer."

They had been talking while on their way to the bank. When Dolly saw she
could not alter his purpose, she made him place the nineteen thousand
that remained, after he had taken out the six thousand, in her name. She
then drew out the entire amount.

"You told me," said Dolly, smiling anxiously, "I could do what I liked
with it. Maybe I have dreams also. Maybe I mean to back them."

She drove away, mysteriously refusing to tell him what she intended
to do. When they met at luncheon, she was still much excited, still
bristling with a concealed secret.

"Did you back your dream?" asked Carter.

Dolly nodded happily.

"And when am I to know?"

"You will read of it," said Dolly, "to-morrow, in the morning papers.
It's all quite correct. My lawyers arranged it."

"Lawyers!" gasped her husband. "You're not arranging to lock me in a
private madhouse, are you?"

"No," laughed Dolly; "but when I told them how I intended to invest the
money they came near putting me there."

"Didn't they want to know how you suddenly got so rich?" asked Carter.

"They did. I told them it came from my husband's 'books'! It was a very
'near' false-hood."

"It was worse," said Carter. "It was a very poor pun."

As in their honey-moon days they drove proudly to the track, and when
Carter had placed Dolly in a box large enough for twenty, he pushed his
way into the crowd around the stand of "Sol" Burbank. That veteran of
the turf welcomed him gladly.

"Coming to give me my money back?" he called.

"No, to take some away," said Carter, handing him his six thousand.

Without apparently looking at it, Burbank passed it to his cashier.
"King Pepper, twelve to six thousand," he called.

When King Pepper won, and Carter moved around the ring with eighteen
thousand dollars in thousand and five hundred dollar bills in his fist,
he found himself beset by a crowd of curious, eager "pikers." They both
impeded his operations and acted as a body-guard. Confederate was an
almost prohibitive favorite at one to three, and in placing eighteen
thousand that he might win six, Carter found little difficulty. When
Confederate won, and he started with his twenty-four thousand to back
Red Wing, the crowd now engulfed him. Men and boys who when they wagered
five and ten dollars were risking their all, found in the sight of
a young man offering bets in hundreds and thousands a thrilling and
fascinating spectacle.

To learn what horse he was playing and at what odds, racing touts and
runners for other book-makers and individual speculators leaped into
the mob that surrounded him, and then, squirming their way out, ran
shrieking down the line. In ten minutes, through the bets of Carter and
those that backed his luck, the odds against Red Wing were forced
down from fifteen to one to even money. His approach was hailed by the
book-makers either with jeers or with shouts of welcome. Those who had
lost demanded a chance to regain their money. Those with whom he had not
bet, found in that fact consolation, and chaffed the losers. Some curtly
refused even the smallest part of his money.

"Not with me!" they laughed. From stand to stand the layers of odds
taunted him, or each other. "Don't touch it, it's tainted!" they
shouted. "Look out, Joe, he's the Jonah man?" Or, "Come at me again!"
they called. "And, once more!" they challenged as they reached for a
thousand-dollar bill.

And, when in time, each shook his head and grumbled: "That's all I
want," or looked the other way, the mob around Carter jeered.

"He's fought 'em to a stand-still!" they shouted jubilantly. In their
eyes a man who alone was able and willing to wipe the name of a horse
off the blackboards was a hero.

To the horror of Dolly, instead of watching the horses parade past, the
crowd gathered in front of her box and pointed and stared at her. From
the club-house her men friends and acquaintances invaded it.

"Has Carter gone mad?" they demanded. "He's dealing out thousand-dollar
bills like cigarettes. He's turned the ring into a wheat Pit!"

When he reached the box a sun-burned man in a sombrero blocked his way.

"I'm the owner of Red Wing," he explained, "bred him and trained him
myself. I know he'll be lucky if he gets the place. You're backing him
in thousands to WIN. What do you know about him?"

"Know he will win," said Carter.

The veteran commissioner of the club stand buttonholed him. "Mr.
Carter," he begged, "why don't you bet through me? I'll give you as good
odds as they will in that ring. You don't want your clothes torn off you
and your money taken from you."

"They haven't taken such a lot of it yet," said Carter.

When Red Wing won, the crowd beneath the box, the men in the box,
and the people standing around it, most of whom had followed Carter's
plunge, cheered and fell over him, to shake hands and pound him on
the back. From every side excited photographers pointed cameras, and
Lander's band played: "Every Little Bit Added to What You've Got Makes
Just a Little Bit More." As he left the box to collect his money, a big
man with a brown mustache and two smooth-shaven giants closed in around
him, as tackles interfere for the man who has the ball. The big man took
him by the arm. Carter shook himself free.

"What's the idea?" he demanded.

"I'm Pinkerton," said the big man genially. "You need a body-guard. If
you've got an empty seat in your car, I'll drive home with you. From
Cavanaugh they borrowed a book-maker's hand-bag and stuffed it with
thousand-dollar bills. When they stepped into the car the crowd still
surrounded them.

"He's taking it home in a trunk!" they yelled.

That night the "sporting extras" of the afternoon papers gave prominence
to the luck at the races of Champneys Carter. From Cavanaugh and the
book-makers, the racing reporters had gathered accounts of his winnings.
They stated that in three successive days, starting with one hundred
dollars, he had at the end of the third day not lost a single bet, and
that afternoon, on the last race alone, he had won sixty to seventy
thousand dollars. With the text, they "ran" pictures of Carter at
the track, of Dolly in her box, and of Mrs. Ingram in a tiara and
ball-dress.

Mother-in-law WILL be pleased cried Carter. In some alarm as to what
the newspapers might say on the morrow, he ordered that in the morning a
copy of each be sent to his room. That night in his dreams he saw clouds
of dust-covered jackets and horses with sweating flanks, and one of them
named Ambitious led all the rest. When he woke, he said to Dolly: "That
horse Ambitious will win to-day."

"He can do just as he likes about THAT!" replied Dolly. "I have
something on my mind much more important than horse-racing. To-day you
are to learn how I spent your money. It's to be in the morning papers."

When he came to breakfast, Dolly was on her knees. For his inspection
she had spread the newspapers on the floor, opened at an advertisement
that appeared in each. In the Centre of a half-page of white paper were
the lines:

     SOLD OUT IN ONE DAY!

     ENTIRE FIRST EDITION

     THE DEAD HEAT

     BY

     CHAMPNEYS CARTER

     SECOND EDITION ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND

"In Heaven's name!" roared Carter. "What does this mean?"

"It means," cried Dolly tremulously, "I'm backing my dream. I've always
believed in your book. Now, I'm backing it. Our lawyers sent me to an
advertising agent. His name is Spink, and he is awfully clever. I asked
him if he could advertise a book so as to make it sell. He said with my
money and his ideas he could sell last year's telephone book to people
who did not own a telephone, and who had never learned to read. He is
proud of his ideas. One of them was buying out the first edition. Your
publishers told him your book was 'waste paper,' and that he could have
every copy in stock for the cost of the plates. So he bought the whole
edition. That's how it was sold out in one day. Then we ordered a second
edition of one hundred thousand, and they're printing it now.

"The presses have been working all night to meet the demand!"

"But," cried Carter, "there isn't any demand!"

"There will be," said Dolly, "when five million people read our
advertisements."

She dragged him to the window and pointed triumphantly into the street.

"See that!" she said. "Mr. Spink sent them here for me to inspect."

Drawn up in a line that stretched from Fifth Avenue to Broadway were an
army of sandwich men. On the boards they carried were the words: "Read
'The Dead Heat.' Second Edition. One Hundred Thousand!" On the fence
in front of the building going up across the street, in letters a foot
high, Carter again read the name of his novel. In letters in size more
modest, but in colors more defiant, it glared at him from ash-cans and
barrels.

"How much does this cost?" he gasped.

"It cost every dollar you had in bank," said Dolly, "and before we are
through it will cost you twice as much more. Mr. Spink is only waiting
to hear from me before he starts spending fifty thousand dollars; that's
only half of what you won on Red Wing. I'm only waiting for you to make
me out a check before I tell Spink to start spending it."

In a dazed state Carter drew a check for fifty thousand dollars and
meekly handed it to his wife. They carried it themselves to the office
of Mr. Spink. On their way, on every side they saw evidences of his
handiwork. On walls, on scaffolding, on bill-boards were advertisements
of "The Dead Heat." Over Madison Square a huge kite as large as a
Zeppelin air-ship painted the name of the book against the sky, on
"dodgers" it floated in the air, on handbills it stared up from the
gutters.

Mr. Spink was a nervous young man with a bald head and eye-glasses.
He grasped the check as a general might welcome fifty thousand fresh
troops.

"Reinforcements!" he cried. "Now, watch me. Now I can do things that are
big, national, Napoleonic. We can't get those books bound inside of a
week, but meanwhile orders will be pouring in, people will be growing
crazy for it. Every man, woman, and child in Greater New York will want
a copy. I've sent out fifty boys dressed as jockeys on horseback to ride
neck and neck up and down every avenue. 'The Dead Heat' is printed on
the saddle-cloth. Half of them have been arrested already. It's a little
idea of my own."

"But," protested Carter, "it's not a racing story, it's a detective
story!"

"The devil it is!" gasped Spink. "But what's the difference!" he
exclaimed. "They've got to buy it anyway. They'd buy it if it was a
cook-book. And, I say," he cried delightedly, "that's great press work
you're doing for the book at the races! The papers are full of you this
morning, and every man who reads about your luck at the track will see
your name as the author of 'The Dead Heat,' and will rush to buy the
book. He'll think 'The Dead Heat' is a guide to the turf!"

When Carter reached the track he found his notoriety had preceded him.
Ambitious did no run until the fourth race, and until then, as he sat
in his box, an eager crowd surged below. He had never known such
popularity. The crowd had read the newspapers, and such head-lines as
"He Cannot Lose!" "Young Carter Wins $70,000!" "Boy Plunger Wins Again!"
"Carter Makes Big Killing!" "The Ring Hit Hard!" "The Man Who Cannot
Lose!" "Carter Beats Book-makers!" had whetted their curiosity and
filled many with absolute faith in his luck. Men he had not seen in
years grasped him by the hand and carelessly asked if he could tell of
something good. Friends old and new begged him to dine with them, to
immediately have a drink With them, at least to "try" a cigar. Men who
protested they had lost their all begged for just a hint which would
help them to come out even, and every one, without exception, assured
him he was going to buy his latest book.

"I tried to get it last night at a dozen news-stands," many of them
said, "but they told me the entire edition was exhausted."

The crowd of hungry-eyed race-goers waiting below the box, and watching
Carter's every movement, distressed Dolly.

"I hate it!" she cried. "They look at you like a lot of starved dogs
begging for a bone. Let's go home; we don't want to make any more money,
and we may lose what we have. And I want it all to advertise the book."

"If you're not careful," said Carter, "some one will buy that book and
read it, and then you and Spink will have to take shelter in a cyclone
cellar."

When he arose to make his bet on Ambitious, his friends from the club
stand and a half-dozen of Pinkerton's men closed in around him and in a
flying wedge pushed into the ring. The news-papers had done their work,
and he was instantly surrounded by a hungry, howling mob. In comparison
with the one of the previous day, it was as a foot-ball scrimmage to a
run on a bank. When he made his first wager and the crowd learned
the name of the horse, it broke with a. yell into hundreds of flying
missiles which hurled themselves at the book-makers. Under their attack,
as on the day before, Ambitious receded to even money. There was hardly
a person at the track who did not back the luck of the man who "could
not lose." And when Ambitious won easily, it was not the horse or the
jockey that was cheered, but the young man in the box.

In New York the extras had already announced that he was again lucky,
and when Dolly and Carter reached the bank they found the entire staff
on hand to receive him and his winnings. They amounted to a sum so
magnificent that Carter found for the rest of their lives the interest
would furnish Dolly and himself an income upon which they could live
modestly and well.

A distinguished-looking, white-haired official of the bank congratulated
Carter warmly. "Should you wish to invest some of this," he said, "I
should be glad to advise you. My knowledge in that direction may be
wider than your own."

Carter murmured his thanks. The white-haired gentleman lowered his
voice. "On certain other subjects," he continued, "you know many things
of which I am totally ignorant. Could you tell me," he asked carelessly,
"who will win the Suburban to-morrow?"

Carter frowned mysteriously. "I can tell you better in the morning," he
said. "It looks like Beldame, with Proper and First Mason within call."

The white-haired man showed his surprise and also that his ignorance was
not as profound as he suggested.

"I thought the Keene entry----" he ventured.

"I know," said Carter doubtfully. "If it were for a mile, I would say
Delhi, but I don't think he can last the distance. In the morning I'll
wire you."

As they settled back in their car, Carter took both of Dolly's hands
in his. "So far as money goes," he said, "we are independent of your
mother--independent of my books; and I want to make you a promise. I
want to promise you that, no matter what I dream in the future, I'll
never back another horse." Dolly gave a gasp of satisfaction.

"And what's more," added Carter hastily, "not another dollar can you
risk in backing my books. After this, they've got to stand or fall on
their legs!"

"Agreed!" cried Dolly. "Our plunging days are over."

When they reached the flat they found waiting for Carter the junior
partner of a real publishing house. He had a blank contract, and he
wanted to secure the right to publish Carter's next book.

"I have a few short stories----" suggested Carter.

Collections of short stories, protested the visitor truthfully, "do
not sell. We would prefer another novel on the same lines as 'The Dead
Heat.'"

"Have you read 'The Dead Heat'?" asked Carter.

"I have not," admitted the publisher, "but the next book by the same
author is sure to----. We will pay in advance of royalties fifteen
thousand dollars."

"Could you put that in writing?" asked Carter. When the publisher was
leaving he said:

"I see your success in literature is equaled by your success at the
races. Could you tell me what will win the Suburban?"

"I will send you a wire in the MORNING," said Carter.

They had arranged to dine with some friends and later to visit a musical
comedy. Carter had changed his clothes, and, while he was waiting for
Dolly to dress, was reclining in a huge arm-chair. The heat of the day,
the excitement, and the wear on his nerves caused his head to sink back,
his eyes to close, and his limbs to relax.

When, by her entrance, Dolly woke him, he jumped up in some confusion.

"You've been asleep," she mocked.

"Worse!" said Carter. "I've been dreaming! Shall I tell you who is going
to win the Suburban?"

"Champneys!" cried Dolly in alarm.

"My dear Dolly," protested her husband, "I promised to stop betting. I
did not promise to stop sleeping."

"Well," sighed Dolly, with relief, "as long as it stops at that. Delhi
will win," she added. "Delhi will not," said Carter. "This is how they
will finish----" He scribbled three names on a piece of paper which Dolly
read.

"But that," she said, "is what you told the gentleman at the bank."

Carter stared at her blankly and in some embarrassment.

"You see!" cried Dolly, "what you think when you're awake, you dream
when you're asleep. And you had a run of luck that never happened before
and could never happen again."

Carter received her explanation with reluctance. "I wonder," he said.

On arriving at the theatre they found their host had reserved a
stage-box, and as there were but four in their party, and as, when they
entered, the house lights were up, their arrival drew upon them the
attention both of those in the audience and of those on the stage. The
theatre was crowded to its capacity, and in every part were people who
were habitual race-goers, as well as many racing men who had come to
town for the Suburban. By these, as well as by many others who for
three days had seen innumerable pictures of him, Carter was instantly
recognized. To the audience and to the performers the man who always won
was of far greater interest than what for the three-hundredth night was
going forward on the stage. And when the leading woman, Blanche Winter,
asked the comedian which he would rather be, "The Man Who Broke the
Bank at Monte Carlo or the Man Who Can Not Lose?" she gained from the
audience an easy laugh and from the chorus an excited giggle.

When, at the end of the act, Carter went into the lobby to smoke, he was
so quickly surrounded that he sought refuge on Broadway. From there, the
crowd still following him, he was driven back into his box. Meanwhile,
the interest shown in him had not been lost upon the press agent of the
theatre, and he at once telephoned to the newspaper offices that Plunger
Carter, the book-maker breaker, was at that theatre, and if that the
newspapers wanted a chance to interview him on the probable out-come of
the classic handicap to be run on the morrow, he, the press agent, would
unselfishly assist them. In answer to these hurry calls, reporters of
the Ten o'Clock Club assembled in the foyer. How far what later followed
was due to their presence and to the efforts of the press agent only
that gentleman can tell. It was in the second act that Miss Blanche
Winter sang her topical song. In it she advised the audience when
anxious to settle any question of personal or national interest to "Put
it up to the Man in the Moon.'" This night she introduced a verse in
which she told of her desire to know which horse on the morrow would win
the Suburban, and, in the chorus, expressed her determination to "Put it
up to the Man in the Moon."

Instantly from the back of the house a voice called: "Why don't you put
it up to the Man in the Box?" Miss Winter laughed-the audience laughed;
all eyes were turned toward Carter. As though the idea pleased them,
from different parts of the house people applauded heartily. In
embarrassment, Carter shoved back his chair and pulled the curtain
of the box between him and the audience. But he was not so easily to
escape. Leaving the orchestra to continue unheeded with the prelude to
the next verse, Miss Winter walked slowly and deliberately toward him,
smiling mischievously. In burlesque entreaty, she held out her arms.
She made a most appealing and charming picture, and of that fact she was
well aware. In a voice loud enough to reach every part of the house, she
addressed herself to Carter:

"Won't you tell ME?" she begged.

Carter, blushing unhappily, shrugged his shoulders in apology.

With a wave of her hand Miss Winter designated the audience. "Then," she
coaxed, reproachfully, "won't you tell THEM?"

Again, instantly, with a promptness and unanimity that sounded
suspiciously as though it came from ushers well rehearsed, several voice
echoed her petition: "Give us all a chance!" shouted one. "Don't keep
the good things to yourself!" reproached another. "I want to get rich,
TOO!" wailed a third. In his heart, Carter prayed they would choke. But
the audience, so far from resenting the interruptions, encouraged them,
and Carter's obvious discomfort added to its amusement. It proceeded to
assail him with applause, with appeals, with commands to "speak up."

The hand-clapping became general-insistent. The audience would not
be denied. Carter turned to Dolly. In the recesses of the box she
was enjoying his predicament. His friends also were laughing at him.
Indignant at their desertion, Carter grinned vindictively. "All right,"
he muttered over his shoulder. "Since you think it's funny, I'll show
you!" He pulled his pencil from his watch-chain and, spreading his
programme on the ledge of the box, began to write.

From the audience there rose a murmur of incredulity, of surprise, of
excited interest. In the rear of the house the press agent, after one
startled look, doubled up in an ecstasy of joy. "We've landed him!" he
gasped. "We've landed him He's going to fall for it!"

Dolly frantically clasped her husband by the coat-tail.

"Champ!" she implored, "what are you doing?"

Quite calmly, quite confidently, Carter rose. Leaning forward with a nod
and a smile, he presented the programme to the beautiful Miss Winter.
That lady all but snatched at it. The spot-light was full in her eyes.
Turning her back that she might the more easily read, she stood for a
moment, her pretty figure trembling with eagerness, her pretty eyes
bent upon the programme. The house had grown suddenly still, and with
an excited gesture, the leader of the orchestra commanded the music to
silence A man, bursting with impatience, broke the tense quiet. "Read
it!" he shouted.

In a frightened voice that in the sudden hush held none of its usual
confidence, Miss Winter read slowly: "The favorite cannot last the
distance. Will lead for the mile and give way to Beldame. Proper takes
the place. First Mason will show. Beldame will win by a length."

Before she had ceased reading, a dozen men had struggled to their
feet and a hundred voice were roaring at her. "Read that again!" the
chorused. Once more Miss Winter read the message, but before she had
finished half of those in the front rows were scrambling from their
seats and racing up the aisles. Already the reporters were ahead of
them, and in the neighborhood not one telephone booth was empty. Within
five minutes, in those hotels along the White Way where sporting men
are wont to meet, betting commissioners and hand-book men were suddenly
assaulted by breathless gentlemen, some in evening dress, some without
collars, and some without hats, but all with money to bet against
the favorite. And, an hour later, men, bent under stacks of newspaper
"extras," were vomited from the subway stations into the heart of
Broadway, and in raucous tones were shrieking, "Winner of the Suburban,"
sixteen hours before that race was run. That night to every big
newspaper office from Maine to California, was flashed the news that
Plunger Carter, in a Broadway theatre, had announced that the favorite
for the Suburban would be beaten, and, in order, had named the three
horses that would first finish.

Up and down Broadway, from rathskellers to roof-gardens, in cafes
and lobster palaces, on the corners of the cross-roads, in clubs and
all-night restaurants, Carter's tip was as a red rag to a bull.

Was the boy drunk, they demanded, or had his miraculous luck turned his
head? Otherwise, why would he so publicly utter a prophecy that on the
morrow must certainly smother him with ridicule. The explanations
were varied. The men in the clubs held he was driven by a desire for
notoriety, the men in the street that he was more clever than they
guessed, and had made the move to suit his own book, to alter the odds
to his own advantage. Others frowned mysteriously. With superstitious
faith in his luck, they pointed to his record. "Has he ever lost a bet?
How do WE know what HE knows?" they demanded. "Perhaps it's fixed and he
knows it!"

The "wise" ones howled in derision. "A Suburban FIXED!" they retorted.
"You can fix ONE jockey, you can fix TWO; but you can't fix sixteen
jockeys! You can't fix Belmont, you can't fix Keene. There's nothing in
his picking Beldame, but only a crazy man would pick the horse for the
place and to show, and shut out the favorite! The boy ought to be in
Matteawan."

Still undisturbed, still confident to those to whom he had promised
them, Carter sent a wire. Nor did he forget his old enemy, "Sol"
Burbank. "If you want to get some of the money I took," he telegraphed,
"wipe out the Belmont entry and take all they offer on Delhi. He cannot
win."

And that night, when each newspaper called him up at his flat, he made
the same answer. "The three horses Will finish as I said. You can state
that I gave the information as I did as a sort of present to the people
of New York City."

In the papers the next morning "Carter's Tip" was the front-page
feature. Even those who never in the racing of horses felt any concern
could not help but take in the outcome of this one a curious interest.
The audacity of the prophecy, the very absurdity of it, presupposing, as
it did, occult power, was in itself amusing. And when the curtain rose
on the Suburban it was evident that to thousands what the Man Who Could
Not Lose had foretold was a serious and inspired utterance.

This time his friends gathered around him, not to benefit by his advice,
but to protect him. "They'll mob you!" they warned. "They'll tear the
clothes off your back. Better make your getaway now."

Dolly, with tears in her eyes, sat beside him. Every now and again she
touched his hand. Below his box, as around a newspaper office on the
night when a president is elected, the people crushed in a turbulent
mob. Some mocked and jeered, some who on his tip had risked their every
dollar, hailed him hopefully. On every side policemen, fearful of coming
trouble, hemmed him in. Carter was bored extremely, heartily sorry
he had on the night before given way to what he now saw as a perverse
impulse. But he still was confident, still undismayed.

To all eyes, except those of Dolly, he was of all those at the track the
least concerned. To her he turned and, in a low tone, spoke swiftly. "I
am so sorry," he begged. "But, indeed, indeed, I can't lose. You must
have faith in me."

"In you, yes," returned Dolly in a whisper, "but in your dreams, no!"

The horses were passing on their way to the post. Carter brought his
face close to hers.

"I'm going to break my promise," he said, "and make one more bet, this
one with you. I bet you a kiss that I'm right."

Dolly, holding back her tears, smiled mournfully. "Make it a hundred,"
she said.

Half of the forty thousand at the track had backed Delhi, the other
half, following Carter's luck and his confidence in proclaiming his
convictions, had backed Beldame. Many hundred had gone so far as to bet
that the three horses he had named would finish as he had foretold. But,
in spite of Carter's tip, Delhi still was the favorite, and when the
thousands saw the Keene polka-dots leap to the front, and by two lengths
stay there, for the quarter, the half, and for the three-quarters, the
air was shattered with jubilant, triumphant yells. And then suddenly,
with the swiftness of a moving picture, in the very moment of his
victory, Beldame crept up on the favorite, drew alongside, drew ahead
passed him, and left him beaten. It was at the mile.

The night before a man had risen in a theatre and said to two thousand
people: "The favorite will lead for the mile, and give way to Beldame."
Could they have believed him, the men who now cursed themselves might
for the rest of their lives have lived upon their winnings. Those who
had followed his prophecy faithfully, superstitiously, now shrieked in
happy, riotous self-congratulation. "At the MILE!" they yelled. "He TOLD
you, at the MILE!" They turned toward Carter and shook Panama hats at
him. "Oh, you Carter!" they shrieked lovingly.

It was more than a race the crowd was watching now, it was the working
out of a promise. And when Beldame stood off Proper's rush, and Proper
fell to second, and First Mason followed three lengths in the rear, and
in that order they flashed under the wire, the yells were not that a
race had been won, but that a prophecy had been fulfilled.

Of the thousands that cheered Carter and fell upon him and indeed did
tear his clothes off his back, one of his friends alone was sufficiently
unselfish to think of what it might, mean to Carter.

"Champ!" roared his friend, pounding him on both shoulders. "You old
wizard! I win ten thousand! How much do you win?"

Carter cast a swift glance at Dolly. He said, "I win much more than
that."

And Dolly, raising her eyes to his, nodded and smiled contentedly.





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