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for me. and s-*ept the trick upon those he had already
taken, the cards becoming inextricably mixed. At the same moment he threw the king of spades, and I hurled my last card down, as he shouted : "The odd, by Heaven! The odd! And the rub ber! "' In his exultation he fell back on the pillows and kicked the card playing board, and all. far out on the noor. with a shriek of laughter. The nurse rushed to the bed to replace the coverings. [ made a step toward Pounderby; but was too much enraged to trust myself as to what I should say. Biting my lips. I rushed into the next room, caught up my hat and stick, and strode angrily from the house. As I reached the lower hall door. I thought I heard Poun derby. or the nurse. I was not sure which, calling after me. They could go hang! It was too late for him to try to explain his play now. The miserable cheat! AS I floundered •**• along the street toward my apart ments I allowed my self to become con sumed with anger and resentment against Pounderby. It was not losing the rubber that I minded : it was the thought that he would resort to such dishonest means to win. In all our long acquaintance I had neveT known him to cheat at cards; yet here I had indispu table proof that he had deliberately made a misplay. Why. if I wished to give him the benefit of every shad ow of a doubt, his final action in mixing up the cards and thus hiding the evidence of his play was absolute proof! It was a ter rible feeling, the real ization that Poun derby. the tried and trusted, of all men, had turned out to be a cheat. I don't know whether you ever had the sensation of losing a friend. It is not pleasant. The moment you find him gone out of your heart, there's a void there •which aches and throbs. Hating a man is rather a pleasant feeh'ng. There is -■■■■■ in hating hard; but the sensation that your friend, by some action of his. has proved that you have been a fool to trust him, hurts a lot. Yes, it hurts fearfully! Somehow, I could not give Pounderby a loophole. He was too good a player to have made the misplay accidentally. Even in his sick condition he had been handiing the cards well. Xo. in a childish, feverish eagerness to win, he had deliberately revoked ! What was worse, — for now my suspicions were piling up and running away with me, — perhaps his sudden coughing fit had been only a subterfuge to distract my attention from his play. X'/.v that I looked back, it seemed to me that he had recovered from the first spasm remarkably quickly. and that the second one had come at a most opportune moment; that is, opportune for him. I REACHED my apartment house in this state of mind, and was about to turn in. when I recollected that in mv haste to depart from Pounderby 's I had forgotten the split of ale and the sandwich that Rob bins always had ready for me. There was a little place round the corner where Pounderby and I often used to drop in. I would go there. The back room was partitioned off along the walls into little booths holding Flemish oak tables, with benches along their sides and at the ends toward the inner wall. The place was dimly lighted and was un occupied; for it was nearly midnight and any ha bitues were in the front cafe". I went into one of the booths, farthest removed from the door, and touched the button. The waiter came, and I gave him my < j<i<A evening. Mr. Rawling," said he. " Haven t seen you and Mr. Pounderby lately. Is he still sick ? " : 1 ftGive him my regards, please," said he, spreading a napkin on the' table. I promised, though I didn't know whether I should ever see Pounderby again. At that moment I cer tainly had no desire to do so. With the arrival of mv order and the painful reali zation that by all rights I should now be partaking of the same thing at Pounderby's bedside, only for what had happened, came even more bitter thoughts, which changed to a wild desire to rush back to Pounderby's and beg him for an explanation of that play. Oh, if he only could explain it! If he could only convince me that somehow or other his usually acute card sense had slipped a cog, and that he had forgotten to play the thirteenth trump when I called SUNDAY MAGAZINE FOR JANUARY 2, 1910 f or h ' ' It there some way that he could explain it? I found myself holding a brief for him and trying by mental might and main to convince myself that I was wr . that he was rij /"ORDINARILY gifted with a remarkably exact memory in cards. I found myself, strange to say, unable to remember the full details of the hand in question. In order to make no mistake. I began to jot it down on the tablecloth with a lead pencil. I Lt one side of the table: so that the hands, as I -■-d them on the cloth, brought my dummy on ite side, Pounderby's dummy on the < >uter if the booth, and Pounderby himself at the ex treme inner end of the table; so that if a player had Qg in that place his back would have to the wall. The lights in the room, as I have said. were dim, and I had to strain my eyes somewhat to ■ After several attempts, I gave up trying to recall the entire : la] of the hand, and settled down to fix in? the arrangement of the last lour cards. Finally I arranged this, as follows. My Dv M m v H— 7 D— Nora C —7. 3 s— :j Pochdekbt's Dummy Pol-xderbt li .", I 2 I» -None < -4 S- King Myself H — Ace, »i D— None C — K.in^ S — < jm-i-n With mv pencil I began marking off the cards in the order in which I remembered them to have been played. First on my hand 1 crossed off the ace of hearts, on Pounderby's dummy the five of spade on mine the heart seven, and on Pounderby's hand the trump deuce. "My trick." said I. half aloud, "ami my lead I began the play of the second trick, crossing the heart six from my hand, the diamond trey from Pounderby's dummy, md the three of clubs from my dummy. I knew what I must play from Pounderby a hand But mv pencil trembled as I laid its point on the line marked for clubs and started to draw > bar through the figure nine. It was a queer feeling, an uncanny sensation, which I cannot begin to explain It was not exactly as ughPounderl was there, expostulating against my making the revoke, and yet I seemed to feel his presence, somehow. 1 found myself waiting, as though 1 might expect to hear the dear old fellow say reprovingly : " Why. no, not that. Play the trump! " But there was no word, no sound I shook myself up, grasped the pencil firmly, and had made the mark halfway "Thats Your Trick." Said Pounderby. "Now Lead!" through the figure, when a hand was laid on mine and a voice said " Not that one A shiver ran through me. I was turned to stone. I could not move a muscle. Looking up iit about me was out of my power. I dared not even look at the hand, the clutch of which on mine grew stronger and, I thought, less cold. How long tins condition lasted I have no idea.: but I was aroused from it by a pres sure of the fingers of the hand Its ringers parted my fingers, and the pencil changed from my grasp to that of the hand. Then the voice said again, very softly, in a sort of whisper: "That is the card called for!" My eyes snapped in the direction I knew was meant There was a mark drawn clear through the figure four in the heart line The thirteenth trump had been played at the right time! ■^TOW I looked up, and what I saw startled me be ■*■ y< »nd expression. Seated at the end of the table, ir. Pounderby's place, was Pounderby himself! Ve>. Pounderby, white, pale. wan. hollow eyed, his over coat buttoned tight at his throat, his peaked cap, which he often wore in the evening when we came in here, drawn down over his forehead. V v may imag ine how I gazed at him, the wild incredulity of my stare, the utter disbelief that I could be sitting there looking at the man I had left lying in bed only a few minutes bei ire! I could not speak. lam sure of that: but he did. He said, with a smile: " You are surprised at seeing me here, aren't you?" "Surpi I gasped. "Surprised! Good Heaven, Pounderby! What does it mean"' Robbins — " "What about Robbins?" "How did you — does he — " "Oh, yes," said Pounderby quietly, "Robbins knows I've gone." And — and lie let you go?" Pounderby shrugged his shoulders. "< r said he. "Why shouldn't her" "But, good Lord, man! ' I said. "What was he tin the night air! Why, he's ■ .'. I'm — I'm going to — " I tarted to rise. Pounderby raised his hand expostulatingly. "Where are you going'" he asked. ne 1 . :.-." I said. "Don'l •• said half pleadingly, half in way of that i Lon't telei • ■ ust yet In a minute or so 1 shall be quite willing 1 i ame here to find you, though, and 1 must not go away without — ut straightening things out " • >h. that's all right." I said, divining his meaning dow that I had him with me, quite as ready to drop the whole distressing matter of the card game as 1 cci anxious to follow ft to The bitter end "No, said Pounderby, "it isn't all right. That's why I came hes "You came alone"'" I asked. "You looked in at my !■ Brst ?" "Xo; I came directly here from — I came here first I knew you were here But that has nothing to do with it. Let us talk about that other matter The cards "Pounderby, old fellow." said I. "I don't want to talk about it I want to forget it. and to apologize to you for my childish anger over — over such a foolish mistake " He smiled wanly. "It wasn't a mistake," he said. "I made the revoke on purpose "Oh, well," sani I, "you weren't yourself. You are a sick man, and you mustn't st iv here. Ii: ing to call a cab." T^T IT yet," he said "I was myself when I played -•■^ as I did. Oh, yes, I was' I was never so near being myself as at that moment Rawling, 1 have always wanted to cheat. I never played a game oi bridge with you without wishing that I dared cheat when it looked necessary No. I r.ever let the temp tation get the better of me. It wouldn't have been — well, gentlemanly. Besides, I knew that it you found it out you would never have anything further t.> do with me, and I couldn't have borne that. Raw ling ! I liked you too well." I saw tears in his eyes, and his V i tit c was full of them. "Oh, come, come'" I cried. " Enough of this' You are crazy, Pounderby, crazy ' You are sick you must get back to bed! Piease let me take > <>v home right away!" Again that wan smile, an almost amused smile, as he said, " There is no hurry, no danger. I am as well here as anywhere. Now let me go on. I always wanted to cheat, as I have told you. but I always withstood the desire To-night, though, it was ver\ strong, very strong, Rawling. I saw that 1 must lose if I played honestly and somehow I couldn't land it You see, I had a sort of feeling that it was our - our last game, and — " < >ur last game! What did he mean' Pounderb\ ignored mj interruption and continued "And 1 couldn't lose it 1 I had to win it, Rawling, I had to win it'" "Oh, Pounderby, I beg of you. stop!" I cried "Don't tell me such things I don't believe them, and it they are so, n any part of them is so. 1 don't want to hear it Plea • • « old fellow, come home!" I leaned over to him to take lus hand in nut he drew back and went on "Not vet. I tell you! In a little while you may do whatever you please Let me finish, first Well, 1 did win. didn't I ' "You did ' I said, looking straight at him and wondering how I could get him to , ome with me, tor Comtii ■ is A i.