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"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.
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Davis' Short Stories Vol. 2 -by- Richard Harding Davis