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