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|The Faith of Men||Jack London|
The Faith of Men
|Page 3 of 10||
After much deliberating Pentfield picked up all the five dice and put them in the box.
"I'd shake to the five if I were you," Hutchinson suggested.
"No, you wouldn't, not when you see this," Pentfield replied, shaking out the dice.
Again they were without a pair, running this time in unbroken sequence from two to six.
"A second stiff!" he groaned. "No use your shaking, Corry. You can't lose."
The other man gathered up the dice without a word, rattled them, rolled them out on the table with a flourish, and saw that he had likewise shaken a six-high stiff.
"Tied you, anyway, but I'll have to do better than that," he said, gathering in four of them and shaking to the six. "And here's what beats you!"
But they rolled out deuce, tray, four, and five--a stiff still and no better nor worse than Pentfield's throw.
"Couldn't happen once in a million times," said.
"Nor in a million lives," Pentfield added, catching up the dice and quickly throwing them out. Three fives appeared, and, after much delay, he was rewarded by a fourth five on the second shake. Hutchinson seemed to have lost his last hope.
But three sixes turned up on his first shake. A great doubt rose in the other's eyes, and hope returned into his. He had one more shake. Another six and he would go over the ice to salt water and the States.
He rattled the dice in the box, made as though to cast them, hesitated, and continued rattle them.
"Go on! Go on! Don't take all night about it!" Pentfield cried sharply, bending his nails on the table, so tight was the clutch with which he strove to control himself.
The dice rolled forth, an upturned six meeting their eyes. Both men sat staring at it. There was a long silence. Hutchinson shot a covert glance at his partner, who, still more covertly, caught it, and pursed up his lips in an attempt to advertise his unconcern.
Hutchinson laughed as he got up on his feet. It was a nervous, apprehensive laugh. It was a case where it was more awkward to win than lose. He walked over to his partner, who whirled upon him fiercely:-
"Now you just shut up, Corry! I know all you're going to say--that you'd rather stay in and let me go, and all that; so don't say it. You've your own people in Detroit to see, and that's enough. Besides, you can do for me the very thing I expected to do if I went out."
"And that is--?"
Pentfield read the full question in his partner's eyes, and answered:-
"Yes, that very thing. You can bring her in to me. The only difference will be a Dawson wedding instead of a San Franciscan one."
"But, man alike!" Corry Hutchinson objected "how under the sun can I bring her in? We're not exactly brother and sister, seeing that I have not even met her, and it wouldn't be just the proper thing, you know, for us to travel together. Of course, it would be all right--you and I know that; but think of the looks of it, man!"
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