“Thank you,” he said, on the granting of his request, which he more than thought would be refused. His eyes voiced where his lips were dumb. “I haven’t gone back, Jimmie, but it’s good of you to give me a chance on my say-so. I’ll bear it in mind. And—and it’s good of you, Jimmie, to—to come and sit with me. I—I appreciate it all, and I don’t see why you should do it.”
Drake laughed awkwardly.
“It’s the least I could do, kid. The favor ain’t on my side, it’s on yours. Anyway, what use is a friend if he ain’t there when you need him? It was luck I found you here. I thought you had disappeared for keeps. Remember that day you cut me on Broadway? I ought to have followed you, but I was sore—”
“But I—I didn’t mean to cut you, Jimmie. I didn’t know you. I want to tell you all about that—about everything. I’m just beginning to know now that I’m living. I’ve been buried alive. Honest!”
“I always thought there was something back of your absent treatment. What was it?” Drake hitched his chair nearer and focused all his powers of concentration. “What was it, kid? Out with it. And if I can be of any help you know you have only to put it there.” He held out a large hand.
And then slowly, haltingly, but lucidly, dispassionately, events following in sequence, Garrison told everything; concealing nothing. Nor did he try to gloss over or strive to nullify his own dishonorable actions. He told everything, and the turfman, chin in hand, eyes riveted on the narrator, listened absorbed.
“Gee!” Jimmie Drake whispered at last, “it sounds like a fairy-story. It don’t sound real.” Then he suddenly crashed a fist into his open palm. “I see, I see,” he snapped, striving to control his excitement. “Then you don’t know. You can’t know.”
“Know what?” Garrison sat bolt upright in his narrow cot, his heart pounding.
“Why—why about Crimmins, about Waterbury, about Sis—everything,” exclaimed Drake. “It was all in the Eastern papers. You were in Bellevue then. I thought you knew. Don’t you know, kid, that it was proven that Crimmins poisoned Sis? Hold on, keep quiet. Yes, it was Crimmins. Now, don’t get excited. Yes, I’ll tell you all. Give me time. Why, kid, you were as clean as the wind that dried your first shirt. Sure, sure. We all knew it—then. And we thought you did—”
“Tell me, tell me.” Garrison’s lip was quivering; his face gray with excitement.
Drake ran on forcefully, succinctly, his hand gripping Garrison’s.
“Well, we’ll take it up from that day of the Carter Handicap. Remember? When you and Waterbury had it out? Now, I had suspected that Dan Crimmins had been plunging against his stable for some time. I had got on to some bets he had put through with the aid of his dirty commissioners. That’s why I stood up for you against Waterbury. I knew he was square. I knew he didn’t throw the race, and, as for you—well, I said to myself: ‘That ain’t like the kid.’ I knew the evidence against you, but it was hard to believe, kid. And I believed you when you said you hadn’t made a cent on the race, but instead had lost all you had, I believed that. But I knew Crimmins had made a pile. I found that out. And I believed he drugged you, kid.