But the gambler declined the request, and Officer repeated his demand, laying a blue-barreled six-shooter across the bet with the remark, “Well, if you expect to rake in this bet you have my terms.”
Evidently the demand would not have stood the test, for the dealer bunched the deck among the passed cards, and Officer quietly raked in the money. “When I want a skin game,” said John, as he arose, “I’ll come back and see you. You saw me take this money, did you? Well, if you’ve got anything to say, now’s your time to spit it out.”
But his calling had made the gambler discreet, and he deigned no reply to the lank Texan, who, chafing under the attempt to cheat him, slowly returned his six-shooter to its holster. Although holding my own in my game, I was anxious to have it come to a close, but neither of us cared to suggest it to The Rebel; it was his money. But Officer passed outside the house shortly afterward, and soon returned with Jim Flood and Nat Straw.
As our foreman approached the table at which Priest was playing, he laid his hand on The Rebel’s shoulder and said, “Come on, Paul, we’re all ready to go to camp. Where’s Quirk?”
Priest looked up in innocent amazement,—as though he had been awakened out of a deep sleep, for, in the absorption of the game, he had taken no note of the passing hours and did not know that the lamps were burning. My bunkie obeyed as promptly as though the orders had been given by Don Lovell in person, and, delighted with the turn of affairs, I withdrew with him. Once in the street, Nat Straw threw an arm around The Rebel’s neck and said to him, “My dear sir, the secret of successful gambling is to quit when you’re winner, and before luck turns. You may think this is a low down trick, but we’re your friends, and when we heard that you were a big winner, we were determined to get you out of there if we had to rope and drag you out. How much are you winner?”
Before the question could be correctly answered, we sat down on the sidewalk and the three of us disgorged our winnings, so that Flood and Straw could count. Priest was the largest winner, Officer the smallest, while I never will know the amount of mine, as I had no idea what I started with. But the tellers’ report showed over fourteen hundred dollars among the three of us. My bunkie consented to allow Flood to keep it for him, and the latter attempted to hurrah us off to camp, but John Officer protested.