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PROLOGUE OF THE STORY.
John Barrington, a stock broker of regular habits, dies. His widow finds ini'ludcrl in her meager heritage a rac ing stable secretly operated by her husband during lift? under the name "John IJulty." "Widow" Barrington, after conferring with Mat Donovan, the trainer, decides to secretly con tinue ownership of the stable under the old natue and live near the track. Her sister. Myrtle, and her tiance, Ralph 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 I him as a model young man. Donovan arrives in quest of Mrs. Harrington. Who Owns ths Duffy Stable? F— ("RTl-IKR discussion of the ownership of the John Duffy BBS stable or Ralph's adventures fwwt&l in (|],j betting ring was in terrupted by the return of the girls from the house, accompanied by Bertie Ainsworth. Bertie was talking as he crossed I he lawn. Bertie talked a groat deal, l.'nderneath his seeming denseness was a vein of shrewdness. He was always in good humor. "Fine morning! 1 say, when one bridges until 4 in the morning one doesn't feel like getting up before"— At, this point he lirst spied Donovan. "Keg pardon," lie chattered. "Didn't know there were tradespeople here." Donovan bristled up like a puppy at the sight of a wandering cat. "Behave! Behave! 1 ain't no trades people. Don't pull nothiu' like that on me. because when I go up against the foreign element I'm a cold proposi tion." Myrtle sought to pour oil on the troubled waters by telling Bertie, "This man came to see my sister." Bertie looked Donovan over very carefully. What conclusion he reach ed was not expressed, as all he replied was: "Ah! Really!" "Yes, really," mocked Donovan, who had caught to a nicety the accent of the budding sprout of English nobility. "Really!"' gasped Hertie. who was unaccustomed to being answered back. Grinning at Bertie in the most ag gravating fashion, Donovan turned to Myrtle, saying: "As the lady ain't on the premises and since a certain party cut in, I has no desire to linger. That's a lead pipe cinch. See!" "Load pipe—really!" repeated Bertie. "Yes, really. And it goes as it lays." "Fancy!" answered Bertie. "Yes. really." Tapping Donovan on the shoulder with his light stick. Bertie interjected: "I said fancy. 1 think 1 rather caught you that time, old chap." "By golly! You're a cut up," laugh ed Donovan before turning to Myrtle to say. "Will you tell Mrs. Barrington when she comes back to the stable"— "Stable?" Interrupted Myrtle. "I mean when she gets back home hand her the information that Mr. Donovan called and will call later." "Certainly," replied the girl. "Much obliged. Good morning, la dies." Bowing elaborately to Bertie, he continued: "Tradespeople, huh? Say. Lord Blitheringham. I don't mind telling you you're a regular stampede with me." "Really!" was Bertie's only com ment. Donovan passed through the gate and down the road without looking back. His shoulders shook with sup pressed merriment at the thought of his meeting with Bertie and his own repartee. "What an extraordinary person!" exclaimed bcrtie. "Who is he. Ralph?" asked Myrtle. "His name is Donovan. That's about all I know of him." "He seemed to know you." Myrtle replied. "Lots of people around here know me. This has been my summer home ever siuce I was born, remember." For a moment the four young people 'were alone—that is. they could pair off without the presence of a third party to make'a crowd. To begin the small talk Bertie made the comment: "What a ripping party we had last .night! Don't you think so?" "I liked that automobile chap San derson immensely." "He is a nice man." chimed ID Myr tle. "Speaking of nice men. what's the matter with John Garrison?" "Nothing that 1 can see."" agreed Janet. "He was liorn aud educated in tbe east, but mining lured him west soon after he got out of college. He struggled along for several years in all sorts of camps, then struck it rich aud came back to enjoy his money in a civilized community." Copyright by George H. Broadhurst. Their te-a-tetes were interrupted by the entrance of John Garrison, who greeted I hem with a cordial "Good morning." Myrtle arose from her seat at the table and shook his hand heartily. "How do yon do. .Mr. Garrison?" was her frank. greeting. "I'm well, thank you," he replied, pleased with the girl's evident pleasure in meeting him. Nodding to the oth ers. he continued: "It's rather early for a party call. I admit, but 1 thought I would walk over from the house and —and— Is Mrs. Harrington about?" Janet smiled without making any comment, but Myrtle explained. "She went, for a ride with Mr. Sanderson this morning in his automobile." "With Mr. Sanderson, eh?" Garrison mused. "They went to look at—our—new home," explained Myrtle, who took up the chat with Garrison. Bertie, liis breast swelling with im portance, arose and. tapping his leg with ills stick, announced. "I've got my eye on a horse 1 want to buy.' "Are you going in for racing?" "No, indeed. Don't care for horses at all. but I'm commissioned by my brother to buy a horse for him to win the Derby with." "Rather a modest order, isn't it?" asked Garrison. "Hope I'll be able to fill it. What do you think of that horse Wildfire in the John Duffy stable?" The question sobered Garrison, and lie answered earnestly, "I think so much of her that I intend to buy her if I can." "Oh, come, 1 say. Wildfire is the horse I'm after," explained Bertie, cha grined. "Then we're both after tier. I'm not going to make another offer for her, though, until I see what she does in the Ocean stakes tomorrow." "That was my idea too. I say, you must have been reading my mind. Do you think Wildfire will win?" "There's a mystery about that Duffy stable," said Ralph. "Mystery?"' Garrison looked up with surprise. "Yes. As I understand it. Duffy has been about the track for only two years or so. and the John Duffy stable was in existence a year before he came on the scene." Garrison and Dully had met before. They had fought one another in the west, when both were struggling to "I think I rather caught you that time, old chap." wring fortunes from Mother ICarth. Duffy had vowed vengeance when de feated. This was tlie tirst time they had come in eonliict in years. The raucous sound of an automobile horn broke the peaceful silence of the morning. Janet exclaimed: "There come Mrs. Barrington and Mr. Sanderson." At this announcement the rest of the group joined Janet at tbe gate to greet Mrs. Barrington. who. rising in the tonneau. cried. "Good morning, every body!" Mrs. Barrington was an attractive woman just entering the thirties. Heaven had not only favored her with good looks, but blessed her as well with an abundance of sound common sense. She had faced the loss of her fortune with equanimity. Without a whimper she had faced the world aud made ends meet for herself and her little sister without telling any one of her trials. To give her little sister all that a girl could desire she at times had been compelled to practice the strictest self denial. Tbe ownership of the stable she had kept secret, only her trainer Donovan, sharing it with her. Myrtle's future father-in-law was at that very moment lighting for the passage of the anti-betting bill in the Albany legislature. His son had been reared in the strictest fashion. If rlie elderly reformer learned that the sister of his sou's fiancee was the owner of a racing stable he would never consent to the marriage of his sou. The stable was now on a paying basis and the widow could indulge in the love of such finery as is dear to the heart of every woman. Clasping Myrtle in her arms, she kissed her fondly, saying: "The house is simply lovely, my dear." Sanderson and Garrison both seized a chair for her and placed them side by side. Kaeh hoped the widow would favor him with a smile and the ac ceptance of tile particular piece of lawn furniture lie had selected. Mrs. Barrington laughed softly at the apparent rivalry of the two men and to show 110 discrimination took an other seat. Fred Sanderson was a great lover of automobiles. The sport for him was almost a mania. Being a man of great wealth, he could ride his hobby to its limit. Leaning over Mrs. Barrington's shoulder, lie said, looking at Garrison, who stood 011 the opposite side of the chair: "The ride back—well, 1 guess it was bad! Talk about your horses!" "I'm for horses every time," chal lenged Garrison. Turning to Mrs. Barrington, Ralph asked, "Which do you prefer?" "From where I sit it looks like a dead heat," was her answer. Undaunted, Garrison returned with the question: "But, Mrs. Barrington, a country road in the cool of a summer after noon and two really good horses—could anything be better than that?" Lively chatter held the group, when Ilorteuse announced to Mrs. Barring ton: "A man am come who says he de sires to converse about the draperies for der house at Allendale." "lie wants to see me. I'm to choose my own colors. You'll excuse me, won't you?" begged Myrtle, entering the house. Ralph joined her at the door. "Me too. I'm interested in this." "So am I," cried Janet. Mrs. Barrington nodded to the young people and said, "Don't decide finally till I've seen them, will you, dear?" "Take my advice. Have tlie body a deep red with maroon wheels and have the bonnet harmonize with tile ton neau," laughed Sanderson. GJ A Proposal. II, I say, Mrs. Barrington," said Bertie, "your jiister for got to tell you a most pe culiar man came to see you a short time ago and said he would be back." "You don't mean Mat—Mat Dono van?" Bertie smiled at the recollection of his encounter with the trainer. "That's it, Donovan." Sanderson had been trying to per suade Garrison to go for a spin in his automobile in the hope of converting tiie horseman to motoring. Garrison suddenly declared: "I'll tell you what I'll do. Take Ainsworth out for a spill, aud if you bring him back safely I'll go." "You're on.." Mrs. Barrington listened to the agree ment with amusement. She had fath omed Garrison's motive, and she en joyed the ease with which Sanderson fell into the trap. Bertie had nothing to say. Sanderson took him by the arm and led him toward the gate. Mrs. Barrington and Garrison looked at each other and laughed. "I wished to be rid of him." said the latter. "1 haven't known you very long, Mrs. Barrington, but"— "1 should say you haven't. We met for the tirst time two weeks ago yes terday." Garrison sighed with satisfaction. "It is worth something to have a pret ty woman recall the day on which she first met you. You reniemlier tile very cluyV "Certainly I do." "Why He was fishing for a com pliment.. "Because you upset a demitasse over my prettiest white gown." Garrison held up his hand with an apologetic gesture. "Oh. please!' he murmured. In a teasing qiood, Mrs. Barrington replied: "Do you think any woman would forget that so quickly? It was such a pretty dress too. Crape de chine, with coffee down the front!" Garrison was more apologetic than ever. "Dou't please don't! I've uever forgiven myself for it. and I never shall." Mrs. Barruiglon took a step toward he house. "Shall we join the others?" she asked. Garrison detained her with a gesture. "Not yet. please." Then lie pause.il. The widow looked at him for an explanation. For a mo ment he stood irresolute. Straighten ing up. he threw back liis shoulders and blurted out: "1 love you!" The declaration was so sudden and surprising that Mrs. Harrington lost her breath. "Mr. Garrison!" she gasped. Garrison had gone too far to retreat, lie intended to carry out his proposal, win or lose, at this very moment. With emphasis lie asserted: "I do. You know it. Why. I've been waiting to meet you all my life." Mrs. Barrington was pleased and Mattered, but his impetuosity was so unexpected that she had not yet recov ered her wits. "1'lease!" was all she could say. Taking a tinner mental grip upon himself. Garrison, holding up his hand to warn her not to interrupt him, con tinued: "I've got to go through with it now. I mean what I said. I've been wailing all my life to :neet you. I knew, as every man knows, that somewhere in the world was the woman—the one woman-for me. And when 1 met you I knew that I had found her. What "Just a second, please. Let me catch my breath." does a mail work and toil and slave for but for a woman? And money— what is it good for but to spend 011 the woman—the one woman? Why, I'd rather be the poorest miner in Alaska and know I hail a chance of winning you than lie as rich as Rockefeller and know I'd lost you." Garrison paused for breath. Mrs. Barrington had been so overcome that she had sunk into a chair while he was talking. "Mr. Garrison. I"— she began, but was interrupted again by Garrison. "Just a second, please. Let me catch 11 breath. This is the biggest minute that ever has or ever will come into my life. I 1 bought nothing would ever equal the time when I stood with the fuse in my hand waiting to touch oft the blast which was to show me whether I was a pauper or a million aire. but that"— For the first time he smiled. "Well, that was pikimj com pared to this." A faint flush had crept into Mrs. Barrington's cheeks. She could not look at him. fearing that she might be tray her own feelings. "Yes. I know." she murmured softly. Then, losing her poise, she rattled on: "That is—I felt it was so. but 1—1 didn't think you Would speak so soon. And—I am not quite prepared." Garrison tried to take her hand, but she avoided it. Kagerly he spoke: "But yoi. don't refuse me? I have—a chance?" Vaguely at first, but ending the sen tence with decision. Mrs. Barrington replied, "Yes yes I I think you have a chance." By this time he was successful in grasiting her hand. "Dear." he began, but she arose quickly and withdrew her hand from his. "Yon grasp your chances very quick ly. don't you?" "Why not? What woman ever really loved a coward?" Then, pausing for a moment, he returned to his first ques tion. "When will you lot me know?" "As soon as I am sure." Kagerly he exclaimed: "Make it as soon as you can. please. Waiting is like"— He never finished his description of what he considered similar to waiting, as Sanderson and Bertie at that mo ment swept up to the gate in the auto. Willi the height of good spirits. San derson. standing at. the wheel, cried: "Here we are! He's had the time of his life, haven't you?" Bertie fell rather than stepped out of the tonneau. I11 his ride lie had even forgotten Hint, he had lost his monocle. As he hastened toward Mrs. Barring ton he polished his stick with his hand kerchief. "I've had the fright of my life!" he cried. "That was a very short five min utes." exclaimed Garrison. "it is quite long enough for me. thank you." Bertie answered as he turned to Garrison and added. "Now you go." With a purring whir the machine with Sanderson and Garrison disap peared down the road in a cloud of •2- k,- dust. Mrs. Barrington looked fondly alter it. Then her eye fell on Dono van. walking toward her. Donovan was a product of the Amer ican track, splendidly loyal to his em ployer and devoted to her interests. 11 the death of Barrington lie had taken full control of the stable for his widow. By his good judgment and economy he accomplished the un usual-made the stable a paying prop osition. lie judged men by horses. Ilis success was due as much to his love for his charges as his knowledge. His one great pride and hope was the wid ow's three-year-old Wildfire, entered for the Ocean slakes the next day. Kducafed in the college of experience, his language at times almost needed translation for a listener not versed in slang or the jargon of the stable. Mrs. Barrington feared for the be trayal of her secret. Nettled but anx ious. she dismissed Bertie. Then to the trainer: "Why have you come here, anyway? Haven't I warned you against it time and time again?" "Yes, but this time I was"— he lie gan. Walking to and fro in her nervous ness she interrupted Donovan with the question: "Do you realize what would happeu if it became known that. I am the own er of the John Duffy stable?" Donovan replied with emphasis: "It'll never come out through me, and me and you are the only ones that know. Why, you've even kept it from your own sister." "Do you think that Dr. Woodhurst would agree to the match if he knew I owned a racing stable? He'd break it off in a minute." "I guess that's right. Say, that fussy old guy just begins to steam up and boil over every time anybody mentions tlie race track. I suppose he thinks his son feels the same way about it." "What do you mean? Do you know anything against his son?" "Know anything against him!" he be gan. Then it dawned upon him that lie might be betraying a friend. If he told what he knew Ralph might be thrown into deep water. He would see the boy himself and warn him. So he added mildly, "Sure I don't." "Have you ever seen him at the track?" she asked. "MmnVm! Yes, once or twice—but there's no harm in that." This was a revelation for the widow. It was not in the least soothing to the nerves. Furtively she dabbed her nose with her handkerchief. Who could ex pect a woman to be her realt composed self just after a proposal of marriage from a man whom she had known only two weeks and whose little sister was to be married iu the morning to a model young man who was a patron of the track surreptitiously? "lie must stop it. His father wouldn't like it. And he is engaged to my sister. Can you see what an addi tional reason for secrecy that is—her happiness at stake? Oh, why did my husband leave the horses to me?" "Say, last time I saw you I tipped you oft to the real John Duffy, didn't 1?" In a worried voice she answered: "You told me there is such a man as John Duffy." The widow shuddered, "lie is doing everything in his power to make life miserable for me." "For you—that fourilushing book maker:" "Yes—John Duffy. He has rented a cottage over 011 Jackson avenue, and now he makes it a point to go by here several times a day. Every time he sees me he leers at me in the most in sulting manner. Oh. I despise him, 1 loathe him! Donovan, he's a brute!" She stamped her foot. "She's Got to Win!" ONOVAN raised a fist that suggested the head of a sledge hammer and in a voice trembling with anger said, ".lust you say the word, and with this I'll place a new bunch of villages all over his map." Mrs. Barrington pleaded: "No, Don ovan, 110. 1'lease don't quarrel with him. I must sutler his insults. It's a part of my inheritance with the horses." "Gee. I'd like to pass that guy one punch that would land him in Dope vine proper. But don't you worry. I got liis number. A lot of people think lie owns the horses. He swells up and halfway believes it himself. Aud I never denies it. Let iiiui stall for us. He can't do us any harm. Aud, say, if he tries to get fresh with you I'll just coax him out in one of those lone some lots over yonder aud hand him one busy wallop." Mrs. Barrington laid her hands af fectionately 011 liis shoulders. "You've stood by me honestly and faithfully, Donovan, and I appreciate it. But 1 can't stand the strain. If Wildfire pushes her nose first under the wire tomorrow"— "Yes?" interrupted Donovan. Mrs. Harrington dropped her hands with a great, sigh. "I shall sell out." "Sell out! Sell the stable?" cried Donovan. "Kxactl.v." "Don't do it, ma'am. Wildflre is the finest horse that"— "1 must do it. I shall do it. I will do it!" The trainer slapped his hands with an air of finality. "They're sold!" he cried. "It is the very thing I've been work ing and waiting for all the time. I didn't keep the stable because 1 want ed to keep it. Instead of my husband leaving me well off. as every one Im agined. I found all his money had been lost and that in place of a comfortable fortune to support my sister and my self I was left a string /f race horses. A string of race horses left to me—to me. who hardly knew tbe difference between the starting post and the judges' stain!!" She laughed weakly. "It was so funny that after 1 got ever being mad I laughed till 1 cried. I laugh even now when 1 think of it. A string of horses left to me!" The .determination had aroused her spirits. She ended her remarks with a hearty laugh. Again she was a com posed. light hearted woman of busi ness. Donovan admired her grit. "But you never weakened," were his en couraging words. Willi a defiant' toss of the head she replied: "Weaken! Not much! I wasn't go ing to be the human joke for all my friends. Since the horses were all I had, I made up my mind I'd handle them as best. I could." "And 110 one could have done it bet ter." complimented Donovan. "Thanks to you, Donovan," she an swered, giving him her hand. "No, ma'am, thanks to you. You've been the brains of tbe Duffy stable," shaking her hand heartily. "Anyway, we've put them on a pay ing basis, and today we have the best three-year-old in the country—Wildflret Isn't slic a darling, Donovan?" she ask ed sympathetically. "Indeed, she Is, ma'am." With deep sincerity she continued, "I know I shall hate to part with her." "Don't do it," begged the trainer. Looking about her in fear of being overheard, she declared: "I must. I have always loved horses. Now I love the game as well. Bat It isn't the work for a woman. Wildflre will fetch a big price after she has won the Ocean stakes tomorrow." "If anything happened—and she did not win," suggested Donovan. "She's got to win." Then the fntl purport of his remark came to her. With less confidence she contlnaed: "She's got to win! There's nothing In the race that can touch her at ths weights, and every dollar I can raise is on her. She's got to win!" "Jackdaw has beat her once this season." "Wildflre was bumped at the turn." She snapped her finger as if It were a trifle. "She might be bumped again." Don ovan spoke very seriously. His manner alarmed her. "Donovan, you don't think there's a chance of Wildflre losing, do youT* she gasped. "There's always a chance. That's what makes horse racing." The answer was not consoling. "If she should lose," she murmured. Here was a situation she had not fully considered in her enthusiasm. Dono van interrupted her reflections. "Jackdaw's 11 good horse, there's no getting away from that, and Wild flre is conceding hiin twelve pounds." She carefully considered his words before she answered with an air ol confidence, "She can do it." "Sure she can! But I wish Marty Green was riding her. But the ty- "I am not intruding, I hop*"— ha be gan. phoid's got him, and he can't That'i what I had come to see you about What have you done?" "I've got Chappy Raster," Mrs. Bar rington informed him. "Chappy llaster! He's riding al Long Beach, ain't he?" "Yes, but there is no big stake there till Saturday," Mrs. Barrington ex plained. "His employer is a great friend of mine, so I talked with him over the long distance last night, and he agreed to let Chappy ride Wildflre as a personal favor to me. He's to re port to you today." "Chappy's a peach jock, but,he ain't got no quick head on him. He falls for an argument too sudden," said Donovan. The discussion has become so tense aud interesting that they had failed to hear the approach of a visitor. Donovan looked over her shoulder at a scrupulously dressed little man who drew near. His amazement was not to be concealed. The caller adjusted his nose glasses to get a better view of the odd person with whom he found the pretty Mrs. Barrington in earnest conversation. "I am not intruding, I hope"— he began. Mrs. Barrington turned with a start of surprise. She recognized her neigh lxr. Dr. Woodhurst, author of the anti-betting bill, race track reformer and village statesman. fTo be continued.]