It wasn’t my day, so I squeezed into the thirst parlor and bathed my injured feelings with sarsaparilla.
Just before the last race I ran across Bunch. He was over $300 to the good and he wanted to treat me to a lot of kind words he felt like saying about himself.
Oh! but maybe he wasn’t the City Boy with the Head in the Suburbs!
When I reached home that night I felt like a sock that needs darning.
Clara J. had invited Uncle Peter to take dinner with us and he began to give me the nervous look-over as soon as I answered roll call.
Uncle Peter is a very stout, old gentleman. When he squeezes into our little flat the walls act like they are bow-legged.
Uncle Peter always goes through the folding doors sideways and every time he sits down the man in the flat below kicks because we move the piano so often.
Tacks was also present.
Tacks is my youthful brother-in-law with a mind like a walking delegate because he’s always looking for trouble and when he finds it he passes it up to somebody who doesn’t need it.
“Evening, John!” gurgled Uncle Peter; “late, aren’t you?”
“Cars blocked, delayed me,” I sighed.
“New York will be a nice place when they get it finished, won’t it?” chirped Tacks.
Just then Aunt Martha squeezed in from a shopping excursion and I went out in the hall while she counted up and dragged out the day’s spoils for Clara J. to look at.
Aunt Martha is Uncle Peter’s wife only she weighs more and breathes oftener.
When the two of them visit our bird cage at the same time the janitor has to go out and stand in front of the building with a view to catching it if it falls.
That night I waded into all the sporting papers and burned dream pipes till the smoke made me dizzy.
The next day I hit the track with three sure-fires and a couple of perhapses.
There was nothing to it. All I had to do was to keep my nerve and not get side-tracked and I’d have enough coin to make Andrew Carnegie’s check book look like a punched meal ticket.
I played them—and when the Angelus was ringing Moses O’Brien and three other Bookbinders were out buying meal tickets with my money.
Things went along this way for about a week and I was all to the bad.
One evening Clara J. said to me, “John, I looked through your check book to-day and I’ve had a cold on my chest ever since. At first I thought I had opened the refrigerator by mistake.”
At last the blow had fallen!
I had promised her faithfully before we were married that I’d never play the ponies again and I fell and broke my word.
The accident was painful, and I’d be a sad scamp to put her wise at this late day, especially after being fried to a finish.
I simply didn’t dare confess that my money had gone into a fund to furnish a home for Incurable Bookmakers—what to do? What to do?