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-•/f- -/v* PROLOGUE OF THE STORY. John Barrington, a stockbroker of regular habits, (lies. His widow finds included in her meager heritage a rac ing stable secretly operated by her husband during life under the name "John Duffy." "Widow" Barrington, after conferring with Mat Donovan, the trainer, decides to secret^ con tinue ownership of the stable under the old name and live near the track. Iler sister, Myrtle, and her fiance, Iialpli Woodhurst, whose father is op posed to the race track, are Interrupt ed in their lovemaking by Janet Stir ling, who annoys Ralph by referring to him as a model young man. Donovan arrives in quest of Mrs. Barrington and Bertie Ainsworth tries unsuccess fully to humiliate him. Mrs. Barring ton returns from an auto ride with Mr. Sanderson. John Garrison, a rich miner, a friend of two weeks' standing, proposes to the widow. Wildfire's chances of winning the Ocean stakes on the morrow are being discussed when Dr. Woodhurst, (he race track reformer, joins ihem unexpectedly, and Mrs. Barrington has an uncomfortable time getting rid of him. Chappy Ras ter, the egotistic jockey who is to ride •Wildfire, calls 011 Mrs. Barrington to see "'the owner of the John Duffy sta ble." John Duffy, a bookmaker, who is believed by most people to' be the owner of the stable, has won the en mity of Garrison, who threatens to "break" him. Ralph secretly stakes a large sum on Wildfire and while at the track is met by Myrtle. Mrs. Barring ton puts in an appearance after they leave. At the Duffy Stable. ASTIIJY slipping on his coat Donovan replied: "Yes, Mrs. Barrington, and you needn't worry—everything is aces." "I know—I know. I have absolute confidence in AVildfire and you, but— well. I simply can't help being anxious. So much depends on tills race that I have—I shouldn't come here today—I know it!" "Perhaps you're right, ma'am," as sented Donovan. "But I do so want to put my arms around Wildfire's neck"—she glanced toward the stable—"and give her one big hug. I want to whisper in her ear how much this race means to me! Oh, Donovan, I hate to think of letting her go—even if we do get a big price. Just think, Donovan, if somebody bought her who wouldn't be kind to her!" He smiled at her anxiety about the mare's future and allayed her fears with the assurance: "Say, don't worry about Wildfire, Mrs. Barrington. Did you eVer see anybody that didn't have loving words for their bank account? Did you ever know anybody that threw ice at their meal tickets? It don't make no difference who gets Wildfire if you want to sell her—she'll always be treated right, because she's the goods." "She is the goods, Donovan, and no mistake. But how about Raster? Do you think he will ride a good race?" "Oh, he's all right. He's kind of fat headed, but that, don't count against him. He's 011 the level, all right." "Oh! If I could only stay and see the race!" sighed the widow. "Why don't you?" "Oh! 1 couldn't. I couldn't. I'd get so excited I'd scream. I know I would. Somebody would be sure to notice it and—no, it's impossible." "You could stop here and nobody would see you—you can watch them' coming down and going into the stretch from that window there." Donovan dangled the temptation be fore her. She half arose from the chair to go to the window, but sank back with the renunciation, "No, no! I couldn't." "Go on! Do it, Mrs. Barrington," pleaded Donovan. "You ain't takin' no chances—nobody is going to be here ex cept Bud—and you've., seen, him often enough." 4 Mrs Barrington laughed nervously. "I'm half tempted." "Why, of course you will," he heart ily replied. "Oh, but I must go home first," Mrs. Barrington explained. "Dr. Wood hurst telephoned me this morning he •wanted to see1 me on a very important matter. I'll'leave word there that I've gone out driving." "And when you come back, come in through the side entrance here," said Donovan, pointing to a side door. "You can go home that way so as to get the lay of the land. Just follow that path on the left there, and it will take you up to the main road." "Thafs splendid, Donovan," cried Mrs. Barrington. "Fine. Now just wait a minute and I'll have Wildfire taken out of the stall so you can see her." Donovan enter ed the stable, leaving ber alone 4n the quarters.' Copyright by George H. Broadhurst. "I'll do it! I'll come back!" cried Mrs. Barrington, with her hand on the knob of the door leading to the path way. Before she could open it she was startled by a voice saying, "How do you do, Mrs. Barrington?" Mrs. Barrington turned to face John Garrison, who stood in the doorway, •smiling, with his hat in his hand. She greeted him nervously. VOh! How do you do, Mr. Garrison?" "I saw you come In and I've been •waiting outside for you to come out." lie entered, closing the door. "Really?" was all Mrs. Barrington could reply. "I wouldn't take my life in my hands lor any other woman, Mrs. Barring ton," laughingly continued Garrison. "Indeed! And what deadly risk do you run by coming in here?" she asked in mock earnestness. "This is my Rival's establishment" Garrison glanced about him. "lour rival?" She did not grasp his meaning. "Yes. Duffy," he explained. "Oh!" The exclamation was almost a question. "Yes, and I am going out to beat him today. I bought Jackdaw for that special purpose. John Duffy's poor old Wildfire will be a fallen idol before sundown." "That's too bad." ."Too bad?" ho faltered. "I am sorry for Mr. Duffy. Aren't you rather inclined to be vindictive, Mr. Garrison?" she questioned, speak ing lightly. "Vindictive! No. Duffy invited this fight, and I ana going to give him ail lie wants. I arn going to try to beat every horse of his that goes to the post." "Again I wish to remark, poor Mr. Duffy!" Garrison found this line of talk very hard to sustain. Before he could change the subject Mr. Sanderson en tered rather sheepishly. "How do you do, Mrs. Barrington? How do you do, Garrison?" Both ac knowledged his greeting. "I saw you come in—I have been waiting outside for you to come out," he rattled on. "Really!" interjected Mrs. Barring ton. "And while waiting outside for you to come out I saw Garrison come in, so I concluded that where Garrison could go I could go." Mrs. Barrington glanced at the dis comfited Garrison and observed, "That, too, sounds logical." "I called at your house and they told me you had gone for a walk in the di rection of the race track," Sanderson explained. "My new French machine arrived yesterday, and it's a corker. I can't take it out officially until you honor me with your presence, you know. What do you say, Mrs. Barring ton? It's a delightful afternoon for a spin." "Nonsense! Mrs. Barrington is going to stay and see the races. Aren't you?" interrupted Garrison. "Well"— mused the widow. The two men stood side by side before her like schoolboys awaiting an answer for a holidny plea. "Well"— they both repeated. Mrs. Barrington laughed. "With the prospect of so much delight before me how am I going to decide?" "It's' the simplest thing in the world. I was here first, and I claim my rights in the premises," begged Garrison. "Yes. but, Sirs. Barrington, you must remember you promised to help me christen the new machine, and this is the day of the christening," urged San derson. Mrs. Barrington cut the Gordian knot with the explanation: "I am afraid, gentlemen. I must doom myself to a bitter disappointment in declining both invitations and plead the excuse of a previous engagement. I promised to get Dr. Woodhurst some information for his new pamphlet. So I am inter-% viewing Mr. Donovan." "Doubtless you don't care for the presence of a third and fourth party while Mr. Duffy's trainer is imparting his valuable information," suggested Garrison. "You seem to be endowed with al most superhuman perspicacity! Good day, gentlemen!" Crooked Work. T"™""-™ :IE hour for the big race was rast approaching. Donovan gjljj&raJ had hurried Chappy into his aagjsall racing togs that Mrs. Barring ton might have a final word with him. Mrs. Barrington paused thoughtfully before she spoke. Then she said: "Well, if I owned Wildfire I should say: 'Don't send her out in front. Let some one else make the pace.. It will be Jackdaw most likely, and he'll try to rui). Wildfire off her feet. But don't, let that worry you. Remember that the quicker he gets away in the first quarter the quicker he'll come back to you when he tires in the last quarter.'" j- "Yes, ma'am," interrupted Chappy. She motioned him to be silent and continued, "Ride nlong comfortably in about fifth position till just before you roach the stretch there." Mrs Bar rington pointed out of the window to the spot where Ralph had said so many races were won or, lost. Her voice trembled with enthusiasm. She was riding the race in imagination. "Then let her down. Go after them and get them!" she cried. "You can depend on Wildfire. She'll give you "Just talk to her, ooax her, plead with her." the last drop of blood in her veins and the last ounce of strength in her body, for her heart is right and she'll out game them all. Remember this: No matter what happens, AVildfire won't quit. If you think she's tiring talk to her, but don't go to the whip nor use the spur. She wouldn't know what it meant, for she's never felt either. Just talk to her, coax her, plead with her as a man talks to and coaxes and pleads with the woman he loves. Whis per to her: 'Go on, Wildfire, old giri go on. You can do it. You can do it Everybody in the stable knows you can and wants you to do it! Faster, girl! Faster! That's It. You're gain ing! You're gaining! You can win. so go on for the sake of those who love you, girl—go on, go on!' Talk to her like that and she'll go till she drops, for she's a mare and she's game." "That goes for me too. Understand?" growled Donovan. Chappy could only gasp, "Yas, sir." "That's all," snapped Donovan. "Yas, Sir. Donovan, I understand. Where's the bridle?" the boy asked. Donovan handed it to him, and the boy left the quarters to go to Wild fire's stall. The widow had followed him to the door to give him one more word of encouragement. With a cry of "It's all right, Donovan!" and a jolly laugh, she waved her handker chief in the air and almost skipped like a girl as she turned'to face—Dr. Wood hurst, who was gazing about him in bewilderment at Donovan's trappings and household gods. That worthy had sought to escape, and was now trying to hide himself behind the barriers of his road horse. Mrs. Barrington gave a timid little shriek at the sight of the doctor. Strug gling to regain her composure, she an swered his surprised "So you are here?" with "Of course I am. Where did you think I was?" "Well, well, veil! How do you do, Mrs. Barrington?" The doctor shook her hand effusively. "I Just met Mr. Garrison and Mr. Sanderson and they told me you were here waiting for me." "Of course, I'm very glad to help you," she cried in confusion. "You see, 1 want to finish that pam phlet and get it printed at the earliest moment, so I concluded I had better come to the race track myself this afternoon, and gather up all the in formation I possibly could." A bugle call roused Donovan to ac tion. To the widow he cried: "Get the old boy away. Things are goin' to be busy around here in a minute or two." Quickly grasping his Idea, she softly said, "Very well." and then, in louder tones, she addressed the doctor. "Oh, doctor." She took his arm as he an swered "Yes, Mrs. Barrington." "Through Ur. Donovan," ishe whee dled, "I have made an appointment •with Mr. Duffy, the owner of this sta ble, from whom I feel sure I can get all the Information you require. If you will be good enough to walk with me as far as the road we'll be able to talk it over." slfeik i'V ,"V They went out. The ringing of a bell drove all thoughts of the doctor from Donovan's mind. "The post call," he cried. "Bud!" "Here's I'm." Bud from upstnirs. "Keep your eye on things now. If anybody comes in here for mo tell 'ein I'll see 'em later, and don't you leave here for anything or anybody. Don't ever leave this place with nobody to look after It." "I won't. Mr. Donovan," Bud sol emnly promised. Bud started for the stairs to make the trainer's bed. Chappy entered to get his saddle and catch one more glimpse of himself in a mirror. The beat of horses' hoofs as they swept into the stretch and the cries of the crowd attracted the jockey's at tention and he walked over to the win dow, carrying the saddle on his arm. After one glance he started for the sta ble. Just then John Duffy entered and called him. "Come here! You know who I am, don't you?" he asked, speaking in a loud tone, glancing cau tiously about the room. "Yes, sir, you is Mr. Duffy," ans wered Chappy. The bookmaker laid his band on the jockey's shoulder, drawing him closer to his side. "Now, then, is Mr. Donovan about?" "No, sir, he is just gone out." "What orders have you about Wild fire?" "I'se to wait till we comes into the stretch, den I's to send her out to win." "Whose orders are those?" "Mr. Donovan's/' "Well, I'm going to change 'em," said Duffy. "Change Mr. Donovan's orders?" the boy gasped. "Yes. Now you listen to what John Duffy has to say. I can make a kill ing today if you do as I tell you. Now listen to me! Come here!" or dered Duffy, almost dragging the boy to the window. "See this window. This window Is in full view as you come into the turn of the stretch. Now what I want you to do is to ride along the outside of the bunch until you. come In view of this window—you'll see me standing there. Now, then, if you see a white handkerchief waving you cut loose and win if you don't see a white handkerchief waving you lose. That's all there is to it." "I couldn't lose den, Mr. Duffy," cried Chappy, in fear and trembling. "De judges and everybody'd be watch in' me den besides, I wouldn't know how to do it ain't never pulled no horse in my life." 1 "You don't need to know."» "Den what does yer want me to do?" asked Chappy in his perturbation. "There's lots of ways of losing a race," explained Duffy, "without pull ing a horse, and with Wildfire, it's easier than sliding down a toboggan. Listen. When you go past that win dow if there's no white handkerchief, then give her one dig with the spurs, just one, and it'll be all over." ."Use the spurs?" asked the bewil dered boy. k'' "Just once," assured Duffy.,?/* "I—I don't think that"— Duffy interrupted him with the ques tion. "Can anybody see you do it?" "No, sir," assented Chappy. vk "If there is a white handkerchief'— Chappy did not let him finish. "I wins. I understand all about dat, but where do you come In? If Wildfire don't win Jackdaw will, and den"— "That's it exactly," answered Duffy. "Either Wildfire 6r Jackdaw wins, and it's* for me to say which one. The odds when I go from here to the betting ring will decide that." "But isn't Wildfire the favorite?" "Yes. Wildfire's place is shorter than Jackdaw's now, but I hear that there's some big commissions to go in on Jack daw which will send his price down and Wildfire's up. If that's right I bet on Wildfire and Wildfire wins. If "Y««, tir, and I hop* I tee* it." not I bet on Jackcftw and Jackdaw wins. 1 place my money where I can get the best odds, and you do the rest." "But dis Mr. Garrison, who bought Jackdaw"— "Don't bother about him. He is in on It," cried Duffy. "So's the Jockey who is up on Jackdaw." The bookmaker did not care how many more persons he would implicate in the throwing of the race. Anyhow he wished to poison the mind of every person he could reach against his old enemy. Garrison. "Mr. Garrison, he know about it?" Chappy asked, to make certain. he does he's no fool. H* bought the horse so as to rhake this killing. You've got your instructions follow them, for if you don't"— A threatening note crept into Duffy's voice. "Yas, sir," said Chappy. "Then go and do as you've been told." "Der white nandkerchief." "You win, understand?" asked Duffy. Chappy paused at the door and re plied fervently. "Yas, sir, and I hope I se6s It" Duffy waited until he was out of ear shot, then, drawing his handkerchief from his pocket, he wiped the nervous perspiration from his forehead. He chuckled and said: "Easy, easy dead easy." He was still laughing when he left the trainer's quarters for the bet ting ring. The Defaulter. TIME slam of the door Informed Bud of his departure. In his haste and excitement the boy slid down a pole leading from the bedroom to the trainer's quarters. Tears were streaming down his dirt smudged face as he cried: "It's a frame up! It's a frameup!" "What's wrong, Bud? What is the matter?" asked Mrs.' Barrington, who entered the room at that moment, hav ing got rid of the doctor. "Mutter! Why, it's a couple of crooks. Dat's what's de matter. They've got it all framed up for Wildfire to lose." "For Wildfire to losel What do you mean?" asked the stunned widow. "John Duffy—that's what I mean. He come In here and he gets next to de smoke Jockey and tells him he'll be in on de play," explained Bud, talking in his own vernacular. Bud sank Into the rocker and cover ed his face with his handr. Mrs. Bar rington knelt beside him. "Listen, Bud," she said. "I'm begin ning to realize what's been going on— and you must tell me all about It quickly quickly for everything I have in the world depends on this race." "Duffy comes on de main deck here," cried the excited boy, "while I'm up aloft He don't know dat—so he frames it all up with de dlnge, and the dinge hikes. Duffy and Garrison are working together, and"— "Garrison?" "Sure—Garrison." "I don't believe it," she cried in dismay. "Well, Duffy comes in an' he sees de coon." He ran to the window, beckon ing her to follow him. When she had joined him he continued. "He sees der coon, an' he says to him: 'See dat win dow? When you'se comin' to turn into der stretch, if dere's a white handker chief waving dere you wins—If der ain't no handkerchief you loses and Jackdaw wins,' and dat's all dere is to it" "A white handkerchief and Wildfire wins!" she repeated in her distress. Mrs. Barrington understood Duffy and Garrison!—a queer combination, she thought. But "they had met years ago. Were Garrison's pretensions all fraudulent, just to win her confidence? Were all her hopes to be shattered in one blow and Garrison, he of all men, to deliver it? She thought qulnkly al ready a plan was forming in her mind. "If I only could find Donovan!" wailed Bud, "Try, Bud, try! I'll stay here till you come back," she begged, pushing him to the door. Helpless, almost hopeless, she paced to and fro, awaiting Donovan's return. From the cheers and handclapping she knew the field was parading. She started for the window, when the door burst open and Ralph rushed in. "Donovan!" he called, his voice trem bling with excitement "Ralph! What are yon doing here?" "Nothing—nothing." Ralph was al most breathless. 'And why are you so pale? Ralph, what's the matter?" she demanded. "It's—It's"— The boy could not con fess to her. "You've been betting she cried. Ralph nodded dumbly. "And have lost"- £,+s His chin sank on his breast. "Two thousand dollars," he faltered. ., "To whom?" s'% "Duffy," he whispered. 4$/^ "Duffy? I'll pay him." Ralph shook his head in agony. "It's paid already," was his reply in a weak voice. "How?" she questioned. "With the money—with the money"— Ralph began, with a sob. "With the money your father gave you this morning?" she asked. The dropping of his head confirmed her surmise. "He must never know. Some way other I'll get it for you," she assure him confidentially. Mrs. Barrlngton's determination to pay the money might be of little help to him, for he had to tell her: rrtU. "That isn't all." "Isn't all?" Her heart sank at the thought of the boy sinking deeper into the mire of the track. "No. Hoping. to win it back, I've plunged on Wildfire with the rest," he confessed. "What?" she cried In amazement at the further revelations. "Yes. And there's a change in the betting. That's what I came to see Donovan about. Do you see what this means to me? If Wildfire loses father will cast me off like the thief I am and I shall lose everything—everything— even Myrtle! What a fool I've been!" he wailed, covering his face with his hands. Gently Mrs. Barrington laid her hands on his shoulders: The fault was not all his. One of the evils of the business in which she made her liveli hood was coming to ber own door. She had never realized It fully before. Vaguely she had heard of such cases, but here it had come to her. The boy who was to marry her sister, a*™ whom she loved like a brotiler, tfejww defaulter, and her own stable had lift! him on. Deeply Duffy end OarMsity would pay for the throwing of.thei*MU "I'm not going to lecture y« softly said. "I think you've your lesson. And for your ,, Myrtle's and for mine If WJldflpe'4 win this race she shall do it" "But the horses are at the poet lal the betting"— faltered Balph. "I understand about that. —it's Duffy," she spoke la fall dence. "Duffy," exclaimed Ralph. Her mind was made ap, Iw was made. "I expect he'll be here In a few utes. When he comes, introduce to me," she commanded. "Introduce him?" asked Ball consternation. "Yes, and then leave uo," Mm.'J rington firmly insisted. "Leave you here alone with beast?" His tone was foil of tempt *1 tftrij: Proudly and confidently ihe npliedi "Exactly! Leave me here alone wlllt that beast Wildfire has got to Wfiei that race." In the grand stand the ceased playing. Stragglers were hur rying to get points of vantage fNfla which to see the race. The ''hot}!* makers had ceased taking bate ahdtb* clerks were climbing onto their steals. Duffy had wagered his last penny on Jackdaw and hurried back to 'ihe stable to be at the window from whfaSh Chappy was to receive a signal If he was to win or was to throw the not if no white handkerchief was to tie seen. Mrs. Barrington heard Duffy's thumb pressing the latch, and w^th a cry of warning darted into the sageway leading to the stalls. Duffy entered hurriedly, going at once to the window. He Was sur prised at seeing young Woodhurst in the trainer's quarters. "Hello, Woodhurst. I"— he begaiu On second thought he decided to "Hike no explanation to the boy. All he vouchsafed him was a sullen, "You at the track again?" 'ifi&s Ralph made no answer, but watched Mrs. Barrington come out of the stable and take a position beside the desk. Duffy kept his back to her. He was watching the start She greeted him very sweetly, "Mr. Duffy!" Her salutation had In It a note of inquiry. Turning swiftly the bookmaker was astonished and delighted to see. her standing near him, with her face light ed up as if in pleased recognition. "When I met you this mornlng I4Ud not know that you were the real'MT. Duffy. That makes a dlffenaesb doesn't it?" she asked in her mdet charming manner. "Why, of course it does," DnSr sented, striving to appear at eaie^ift wardly cursing himself at his laek^ei poise when in the presence of a lady. "I've long wanted to meet yon, lb. Duffy," she continued. 'J'&Sik' "Same here," was his reply. "The desire being mutual, Ralph,sop pose you introduce the gentleman?" She signaled to Balph with her egret te do as she told him. The boy, could Ml understand what she was driving at and hesitated to obey. "Ralph, please," she begged. •'1 Sullenly be went through the fifr mallty of an introduction. Mrs. Barrington bewildered the bosk maker with the smile she gave him as she murmured, "I'm glad to meet you, Mr. Duffy." ,, "Same here," he replied, at tike She shuddered at the hideous larity of the man and his in looks and languigi. "i "And you"— keepfiig herself^ trol, "well,: thice^ittAeuch a thtaC mutual attraction." She moved to him as If their talk them in closer relatlaash^ CT* MBM time glanciug out of the window, tool he wished that the time had been moie opportune for him. He wanted tp make a good Impression, but with the thoughts of the race constantly in truding he felt that he was making hopeless failure of his case. The roar of the crowd increased, rumble of "They're off!" made Barrington turn pale. A cry of disap pointment gave her new hope in the delay. Duffy had cried "They're off!** as he saw the barrier go op, hot as the roar died out, the jockeys pulling up. Duffy from the window told her "They're still at the post. That ciaay horse Campbell is delaying them." In a tone full of meaning, Ralph that-his answer must be la the affirmative, Mrs. Barrington said to him, "Don't you want to see the raoef* Still the boy hesitated. In panto mime she ordered him to leave the sta ble. Catching her meaning fully he replied, "Oh, yes I certainly do. cuse me, won't you?" Duffy, from his stand at the window* saw the door close with si At last be was alone with Mrs. rington and could talk with her as.' hal had long deslrea. His Ideals of WOBK anhood were not high. He Judged all from the few he knew. Meantime Mrs. Barrington had trying to 'catch a glimpse of what happening on the track. Waiting until Balph was well oat e£ the way, Duffy said: "There's a funny^ thing about our meeting like thhkl That boy has refused to introdnee a* not once, but twenty times, hot It finally baf to do it" "It just had to be, I im«gt—t anil I'm glad of it," cooed the widow, leaftJ lug him on to his destruction. "If it ain't it won't be my fkntt,"1 smiled the Infatuated Duffy. "Nor mine," she agreed. "Do you know, Tve always felt thaf we'd get along very? well we ever met Yop're jaet Wf I'll tell you that, Mrs. BtninitOB,'