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TheProjectGutenbergeBook,WinnerTakeAll,byLarryEvans ThiseBookisfortheuseofanyoneanywhereatnocostandwith almostnorestrictionswhatsoever Youmaycopyit,giveitawayor re-useitunderthetermsoftheProjectGutenbergLicenseincluded withthiseBookoronlineatwww.gutenberg.org Title:WinnerTakeAll Author:LarryEvans ReleaseDate:July14,2006[eBook#18829] Language:English Charactersetencoding:ISO-8859-1 ***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK WINNER TAKE ALL*** E-textpreparedbyAlHaines That,afterall,wasasmuchasanyonecouldask [Frontispiece:That,afterall,wasasmuchasanyonecouldask.] WINNERTAKEALL BY LARRYEVANS AUTHOROF THENI'LLCOMEBACKTOYOU, ONCETOEVERYMAN,ETC GROSSET&DUNLAP PUBLISHERS———NEWYORK Copyright,1920,by THEH K FLYCOMPANY Copyright,1920,by THEMETROPOLITANMAGAZINECOMPANY TO GEORGEC TYLER Someofthesepagesyouhavecriticised, someofthemyouhavepraised;and allofthembegleavetorecallherewith theAuthor'sesteemandaffection CONTENTS CHAPTER I ISLUCKALADY? II RIDEHIM,COWBOY! III LITTLE-TWEED-SUIT IV ALLELSEISHERESY V CHAMPION!CHAMPION! VI FELICITYCROSSESBROADWAY VII ASWILLOWSBUDINSPRING VIII MYLAD IX DUNHAMTALKSBUSINESS X CECILLEPLAYSTHEGAME XI POTSANDPANS! XII WINNERTAKEALL XIII BLUEFORABOY ILLUSTRATIONS That,afterall,wasasmuchasanyonecouldask Frontispiece Hetoreatthem,madwithrage Luckyinterference "Comeon,now 'fessup?" WINNERTAKEALL CHAPTERI ISLUCKALADY? ByeasystagesBlueJeanshadarrivedatthewatertanks Thathadnotpleasedhimmuch,thoughthewaterwhichfellinamusicaldrip fromthestacknearesttherailsintowhatimpressedoneasasensible,frugaltub, untilit,too,filledandoverflowedandbetrayeditstrivialnature,wassweeton histongueandgratefultohismare Arriving anywhere by easy stages had never appealed to him Swift and sudden, that was the better way Rather would he have whirled into Reservoir withzestandsomecommotion ButGirlo'Minewasinnoshapeforthat She drooped Eventswhichhadjostledhimroughlyinthelastfewweekshaddealt with her unkindly as well There had been many weary miles and not much grain Andyethispovertyhadnotbeenathingofeasystages Ithadseemedboth swiftandsudden,andhelikeditnonethebetterforthat Buthewouldnotenter Reservoir with ostentation He'd ride in without enthusiasm, and thus call no attentiontothepasstowhichhe'dcome Norwasheinahurrytogetthere,either Thetown,aquarterofamileacross thetrack,squatandsqualidinthedust,heldnothingforhismood Reservoirwasapoortown,anyway AndLifewasapoorthing,too He'dtriedforhoursandhourstothinkofonefairpromisewhichitstillheld forhim—justone!—triedhard!Andcouldn't! BlueJeanswastwenty-two AndLuckhadtrifledwithhimover-long One brief month earlier he had been a man of ambition, a man of promise He'devenfoundhisDream AnEasternerhadhelpedhimtothatfoolishness;an -ologist from a university who expected to find prehistoric bones and relics entombedunderthehills Cornered by that Easterner, who liked his face, and not having been handy enough as a liar to get out of it neatly, Blue Jeans had admitted under crossexaminationthathewasfamiliarwiththecountry Washedoinganythingatpresent? No-o-o Buthewaslookingaround Couldhepack? Yes Washeaccustomedtohorses? Hehopedso Couldhecook? Ye-s-s,some Notgoodfordelicatefolks Well,then,hewastheverymanfortheposition And Blue Jeans hadn't been able to think offhand of an objection; not one which he wanted to voice He couldn't admit outright that the prospect was dismayingtohisyoungpride Thathewasafraidoftheridiculewhichcertainly itwouldbringdownuponhim "I'macowpuncher,notagrave-robber,"wasthewayitrosetohismind But thatwouldn'tserve Itsoundedneitherdignifiednorconvincing Thenifthatwassettled,whatremunerationwouldheexpectpermonth? He had been of astonishing though dense persistence, that professor Blue Jeanshadpounceduponthequerywithsensationsofdeliverance "Wel-l-l,"andhenamedafigurewhichstruckhimasoutrageous But it hadn't staggered the professor; it hadn't even made him hesitate The professor's expenses in the field were already guaranteed, back home, by men whocouldaffordit "Thenit'ssettled,"hehadsaid And Blue Jeans, who forgot immediately that he had been dragged, struggling, into this bargain and began to view it as a deal of his own shrewd consummation,hadscornedhimselffortwowholehoursfornothavingmadeit twiceasoutrageousatleast Thushaditstarted Bynighthehadfiguredouthowgreatthesumhehadmentionedwouldbe, multipliedbysix Theprofessorplannedtobeoutthatlong Bymorninghehad spent some money, quite a little money, in anticipation of it But that was not causeforworry;prosperitywasshininginhiseyes Hewasgoingtobeamanof substance Andhewouldsave,fortheDreamwasbright Andthentheprofessor spoileditallbymistakingamuleforahorse The mule had not kicked him hard If that had been the case, Blue Jeans mighthavefounditinhishearttobesorryforhim Alessfrailmanwouldhave sufferedless Asitwashespenthissympathyonhimself Andwhendirectlythe professor sent for him and intimated that owing to the unavoidable postponementofthetriphewasagainoutofemployment,hehadnotlingeredto listen "Ofcourse,ifyoucaretohangabout,"theprofessorhadsuggested,"untilI cantraveloncemore—" Hehadnotevenfounditinhishearttobepolite "Hanging about is just what ails me," finished it "The devil, he finds mischiefformyidlehandstodo Youcanwaittillyou'reable,butI'mgoingto travelnow!" And he made good his word without further loss of time, first paying painfullythesumswhichhehadspentinfondanticipation,andenduringwitha grintheridiculewhichwasdouble,becausehehadmadenotripatall Last of all, before departing he went around to the stable and fed the mule somesugar Hehadfoundanewjobhardtolocate AndtheDreamhadlostdefinitionand growndimanddistant Itwaslateforlookingaround Theoutfitsallwerefull If he could have cooked—but he couldn't Not for a bunch of plain-spoken cowmen Notwithoutriskingbodilyharm He'dtoldalmostthetruthaboutthat AndthenhelandedwiththeDee&Zee At any other time the Dee & Zee could not have hired him He had heard things But he had lost at last his desire to pick and choose And he began to think,afterhehadstartedworkthere,thatfolkshadbeenmistaken Helikedthe place, and it seemed permanent He even went back to the Dream and refurbisheditabit Andthenhelearnedthatthesuperintendentdidn'tlikehim Thesuperintendent,itappeared,couldneverbringhimselftocaremuchforany manwhosescruplesweretooflourishing That'swhatBlueJeanshadheardand almost begun to disbelieve Everybody had heard it except the Dee & Zee syndicate owners themselves But that did him small good He doubted no longer,however Hequit Heresignedbyrequest But when he thought to collect the little pay due him, he experienced difficulty He made a desperate effort and crowded the issue perilously When, however,inthefaceofsuperiornumbersandtheireagernessforhimtoinsist,he realized that he would be in no condition to enjoy the money, even if he did succeed in collecting it, he did the thing of indubitable valor He gave it up gracefully A coward would have been ashamed to back down, and thus got himself thoroughly killed He laughed And moved his right hand further from hisholster Butthistimehehadwaxedstubborn;hehadrefusedtolethisDreamgrow dim And the Box-A people—three weeks later they could have used him And would have He knew it A man had been badly hurt; so badly that he would never know anything any more They could have used him, only the "Oh,"wasallhecouldmanage "Oh Andyou—?" Shethoughtsheunderstoodhisblankness "Iwasjustgoingmyself." "Where?" He was suddenly afraid that it was too late for his plan,—that it hadalwaysbeentoolate "Idon'tknow,"sheanswered "Home,maybe—whereIusedtolive Itdoesn't muchmatter—anywhere." Her eyes had not once left his face And now he saw that they were as changed as her voice He would have said, had they been other than hers, that they were bitter; no, not bitter; sardonic and mocking Temporarily like Felicity's Andshemustbeverytired,judgingfromhervoice,evenmoretired andwanthanshelooked Thephraseswhichhehadrehearseddesertedhimtreacherously "Then—then, why not come with me?" he labored over it "I've a drawingroomontheLakeShoreonthefiveo'clock IknewaboutFelicity;thatwasn't whyIcameback IcamebecauseIthoughtmaybewecouldgoout—youandI —andlookaroundtogether." He knew it was a poor thing of weak words and not what his inarticulate heartwouldhaveuttered Yethewasnotpreparedforherreceptionofit Shelaughedupintohisface,ahardlittle,crisplittlelaugh "Whynot?"shesaid "Whynot?" And when he took her in his arms and kissed her it was not as he had dreameditwouldbe Herbodywasslack,herlipsnotmerelypassivebutcold againsthisown Hisheartheavyforreasonswhichhecouldnotname,hesether quicklyfree "I'llbebackforyou,then,atthree,"hesaid "Willyoubeready?" Ascasually,itcametohim,justascalmlyhemighthavediscussedhisplan withanyman "Atthree,"sherepeated "I'llbeready." He left her, not as happy as when he had sped up the stairs; left her demoralizednow Intheinterludebeforehisreturnshesatmotionless,hermind atumultofdoubt Shetoohaddreamedwhatthatembracewouldbe;shehadwantedalwaysto benearhim,yetshehadjustshrunkfromit "WhoamItodictatesuchtermstolife?"Felicityhaddemanded "Andwhowasshe,"inallthatlongmonthCecillehadbeenaskingofherself, "whowasshe?Andwhatwasshewaitingfor?" Even a percentage of happiness, Felicity had preached, would be less unendurable than no happiness—ever—at all; and she had at last convinced herselfthatthiswasso Yetnowsheshookwithdoubt Wasthisdeadthingthe actualitywhichatanypriceshehadhopedtosave? Onceshewasveryclosetoflight;morethanonce,morechildishlythanshe knew,shewishedthatshewoulddie Butshekepttoherpromiseandwaited;shewasreadyandwentwithhimat three,thoughafterhehadputherinthetaxiandclimbedinbesideher,shefound itdifficulttobreathe Shecouldnothaveforcedwordsfromherthroathadshe wantedto,andhewasassilentasshe Forattheendofhourshehadhituponan explanationofthismoodofhers,hertrouble,anditwastroublinghimdeeply, too Twoorthreetimes,watchingherstillfaceandquiethands,ithadbeenupon thetipofhistonguetotellherthatafteralltheycouldstillabandonhisplan Hehadnotofferedtokissheragain,norevenreachedforherhand,andshe had been grateful for this, almost hysterically grateful as she recalled the little opportunitieswhichshehadoncecontrivedforjustsuchcontacts Andthetaxi was not merely stifling; it was like a trap The seat was far too narrow Even thoughshehuddledintohercornerthesixinchesofclearspacewhichseparated themwasalltoobrief So they rode south, both unhappier with every turn of the wheels, till suddenlyhesawherhandstightenintofists,andherlipsbegintomove "Ican't,"waswhathemadeofthatwhisper "Oh,askhimtostop—please— please!" Hedidnotquestionher;herfacewasenough Thecabpulleduptothecurb Sheflungopenthedoorandstartedtogetout Butshecouldnotgolikethis— notwithoutaword—notwithoutsomeexplanation—evenifshehadtobravehis rage "Ican't,"shetoldhim Thevoicewastired,butnotbeaten—no "IthoughtI could, because I loved you oh—so—much But I can't I know it now; I've knownitallalong." But he didn't seem angry; he seemed only gentle and sorry And his voice soundedsorry,andkind "IthinkIknewit,too,"hewassaying,slowly;"knewitwaswrong,allthe while ButIdidn'trealizehowwrongtillIsawitwasmakingyousad Atfirstit seemedtomethatthiswouldbethefinerway,quietandsoonover,nofussnor anycrowd Ihaveseenweddingsthatwereribaldandnotsacred,andIwanted ours to be none of that Just you and I and the minister, with Hamilton and English standing by; and then just you and I going away together, leaving no wisewinking,nomeaningwhispersbehind Andthatwasright,—butonlyhalf right;Ihavebeenselfishwithyou Itisasoberstepforagirllikeyou;shewants herfolksatsuchatime Wewillwaitnowforyourpeople." She had paused to wait for his answer—his anger—with one foot upon the running board, one foot on the curb But slowly, as his voice went gravely on and on, she turned and faced him and listened, incredulous The words were distinctenough;theydrummedatherears,buttheydidnotpenetrate,noteven after he had finished, until she stared about her and saw how far they'd come They were far south of Grand Central and Forty-second Street Then it went reelingthroughher He would have stepped out, but she pushed him back and followed him inside "Wherewerewegoing?"shegasped Butsheknew—sheknew!Shewanted tolaugh,andwantedtocry,anddidn'tknowwhichtodo "Wehavetogetalicense,youknow,"hetoldhersoberly Shedecidedthentocry,notmuch,justalittle Butshemadehimsmile "We've lost a lot of time," she sniffed brokenly "You'd better tell him to hurry." Thedriverhadbeendisappointed;hehadexpectedmoreofher Butthenyou couldn'tnevertellaboutthemdameswithrealclass Buthewasdeferential;he hadrecognizedhisfare "Whereto,Mr Blair?"heopenedthedooratthatmomenttoask "Wegotta stepon'er,ifyoustillwanttomakeit." Perryorderedhimtostepon'er Thenthemiraclecametopass Shefoundthewornseatyardstoowide,the meaninteriorcathedral AndHamiltonandJackEnglishdidnotfailthem Theywerewaiting They were"inhiscorner"astheyhadpromisedtobe Theyaccompaniedthebrideand groomtothestation AndwhileHamiltonwasshakinghandswithherhusband, JackEnglishfoundopportunityforawordwithhiswife "Didn'tItellyou?"heasked "Didn'tIsayyou'dpickedagameguy?" Shewasdewyoflip,star-eyed "Youtoldme,"shesaid Hestudiedherwithpeculiarintentness "Thisgamewillneverholdhim,"heatlastwenton "He'llwanttotakeyou far,sohisfighthasjustbegun Youbelieveinhim You'llbeproudofhim,some day." Shedroppedhereyes;shewastoohonestwithherselfnottoadmitthatshe hadwonderedaboutthat,oftenhopedandthereforefearedshemightnotbe "Imeanto,"sheanswered,hervoicenotlarge "AndI'mproudenough,right now." Butnotuntilhoursafterdidsherealizehowproud Hourslaterasshesatin their drawing-room on the Lake Shore Limited and watched her husband, just outside the open door, talking with a senator and a prominent divine, her tiny disloyaltypunishedheralittle Howhardandclearcuthisprofilewas—hisnose wasratherlarge!Andhowman-sure,andboyishlydiffident She'dbesecure,her wholelifethrough—andshehatedmenwhoboasted Shesufferedsomeforher snobbishwonder;butshewasconsciousofanew,greatjoy "Mylad!"shetrieditaloud "Mylad!" Shelaidherfingerstoherthroat Apulsethrobbedthere Howeagertheyseemedforhiscompany;howinterested!Andtherewasno patronageintheirmanner;rathertheysoughttoestablishequality;theysoughtto beapproved Thisgamewouldnotholdhim—andtheirchancewasequaltoany They were both young, very young—though she was extremely mature for twentyyears!Maybe—shedidn'tleanexactlytowardtheministry—butperhaps asenator— Hereyesgrewmistyandveiled;shewaslosttoallbutherdreams Andthenthetrainstoppedandsheheardthesenatortalking,hisvoicevery loudwithnodinofmotiontodrownit "Isnappedmyrightover"—itpuncturedherblissfulgossameroffancy—"I snappedmyrightover—andhemadenomoretroubleforanyone,inthattown." She heard her husband answer, but could not make out the words But apparentlytheprominentdivinehadbeenchampingonthebit;thesenator,she thought,musthaveinterruptedhim "—abully,thetownbully,andanextremelypowerfulman Butthatdidnot determe Iwasoutraged,yousee—righteouslyindignant SoIhookedwithmy left—Ibelieve,sir,thatthatisthecorrectterm—" Theabsurd,fatthings!Sheheardherhusbandassuringhimthatitwas Her husband! So later he returned to a very bright-eyed wife He dropped into a seat and shewashappierstillatthehappinessinhiseyes Foratimehewasquiet;then suddenlyheslantedhisheadather Hebegantotellheraboutthepotsandpans "Somebattle!"hedrawledatthefinishofit "Champion—winnertakeall!" Norhadhebeenabletokeepdownalittlenoteofpride Itwasquiteasif, still humbly, in his own plains' talk, he had assured her, "Your husband is no dub." Andsoshestartedthatsoontobecomebetteracquaintedwithhim Hewas nobraggartwithothers;tohisownwifehewouldboastalittle Husbandswere likelyto,sherealized—shelovedhimmore Andthewordshadstartedathoughtinherownhead Shehadlostthatphrase ofFelicity's,andsearchedforit,andwasgladtofinditagain "Somebattle,"sheechoedsoftly "Somebattle—winnertakeall." Thensheroseandwenttohim "Perry,lad,"shemurmured,"I'mnotsurebutwhattherearetwochampions, righthereinthisverycar!" CHAPTERXIII BLUEFORABOY "But would she have been happy?" A critic whose sex is indicated by her usageofthepronounsheinsteadoftheyonceraisedthequestion "Whynot?"Iaskedunguardedly Obviously such stupidity as my counter-question evinced was worthy of somepity "Why,shewasan—ah—superiorsortofagirl;breeding,youknow,andall that,orsoIhavegathered,whilehe—" ButIstayednolongertolisten Whatwastheuse?Therewasnotmerelya littleofsnobbishnessinher Ididnoteveninsistthat"she"mighthavebeen,or addthatitwasreallytrue ButIwentWestpromptlytosee PerryBlairhadscarcelyguessedatthepossibilitiesofthatvalley Therewere fivedozen,orfivehundredwhite-facedHerefordsunderfence;orfivethousand Iforgetwhich,forIwasnotcuriousconcerningthese ButhavingcorneredheratlastIputthequestionbluntly "Whataboutthatcareer?"Iwantedtoknow "There'sacryingneedjustnow forgoodsenators—plainstatesmanshiphandledneatly." Shecoloredalittle "Wel-l-l,"shewasgoingtoslideoutofitifshecould,"Perry'sawfullybusy rightnow,it'ssohardtogettrustworthymen And—andthen,anyhow,I'mnot sosureI'dcaretohavehimenterpolitics,astheyareatpresent—evenif—" "Don'tblameyou,"Iconcluded "Wisedecision Butwhatabouttheministry —howaboutthat?" Here,however,shewouldhaveralliedandprotestedhotlythatshehadnever beenkeenabouttheministry—notatall!—whenanoccurrencejustoutsidethe opendoorsavedhertheneed Perry Blair—Blue Jeans, with no rent in his shirt and a nonsensically expensivehat—hadbeendrivinganailintothewall Thenailhaddodgedandhe hadstruckhisthumb,andwascommentinguponitplainly,thoughwithnogreat heat,aloud Andshegrewpinkerstill "You are a hypocrite," I complained with scorn "You should blush!" And droppedthematterthere But I was less concerned with the question of their happiness And that evening,whenapuncherbroughtapasteboardboxinthemailandallinnocently theyopeneditbeforeme,Ibecameverysure For the box held a pair of those inadequate articles of apparel known, I believe, as bootees, designed and executed in knitted silk for an expected new arrival And they forgot me, forgot that this expectation was supposed to be a secret,inexclaimingoverthemysteryofwhohadfoundthemout Thenshecameuponthecard Therewasnonameoraddress;justoneline: "Winnertakeall!"itread Yes—Felicity Afteralongperiodofgravesilencewhichhadcomeuponthem: "See!"sheexclaimedsoftly "Pink!Agirl!Haven'tIbeentellingyouso,all along?" "Howdoesthatsignify?"Quicklyhetookupthechallenge Clearlyherewas amatterwhichhadseenmuchdiscussion "Pinkforagirl,andblueforaboy,"sheexplainedwithconscioussuperiority Butshecouldn'tcontinuetoteasehim Hisfacehadbecomelong "Perhapsnot,dear,"shemurmured Andthen,withalittleair: "Anyway, they'll be very useful, I'm sure They are exceedingly fine and dainty,anditisnoteasytogetthingsgoodenough,awayouthere." Butthereheputhisfootdown Shehadnotbeenverykeenaboutpolitics!Or theministry!Indeed! "Pinkforagirl?"heasked "That'sstraight?" "That'sstraight." "Then he'll not wear them, ever No son of mine shall be made a sissy of, whilehe'sstilltoohelplesstoprevent." Buttheretheystartedandgrewredatmypresencewhichtheyhadforgotten, forIhadtolaugh Happy? I didn't answer the amateur critic, but I don't mind saying so here AndsomehowIfeelthatIshouldknow I'mHamilton ***END OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK WINNER TAKE ALL*** *******Thisfileshouldbenamed18829-h.txtor18829-h.zip******* Thisandallassociatedfilesofvariousformatswillbefoundin: http://www.gutenberg.org/1/8/8/2/18829 Updated editions will replace the previous one the old editions will be renamed Creating the works from public domain print editions means that no one ownsaUnitedStatescopyrightintheseworks,sotheFoundation(andyou!)can copyanddistributeitintheUnitedStateswithoutpermissionandwithoutpaying copyrightroyalties Specialrules,setforthintheGeneralTermsofUsepartof this license, apply to copying and distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works to protect the PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm concept and trademark ProjectGutenbergisaregisteredtrademark,andmaynotbeusedifyoucharge for the eBooks, unless you receive specific permission If you not charge anything for copies of this eBook, 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DUNHAMTALKSBUSINESS X CECILLEPLAYSTHEGAME XI POTSANDPANS! XII WINNER TAKE ALL XIII BLUEFORABOY ILLUSTRATIONS That,after all, wasasmuchasanyonecouldask Frontispiece Hetoreatthem,madwithrage... pursuitofhiscallingcouldhavebroughthiminsuchcompany These three, then, sat for a time and looked eloquently at each other They were not loquacious about it, not verbally; and finally the tall fat... Asamatteroffact,therehadnotbeenawoman,after all Thathadbeena mistake Abadmistake,forithadkilledhiswife Butaluckymistakeforthem! For it had delivered into their hands
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