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|The Faith of Men||Jack London|
The Faith of Men
|Page 6 of 10||
But the long winter and tedious wait, following upon the two previous long winters, were telling upon him. The superintendence of the men and the pursuit of the pay streak could not break the irk of the daily round, and the end of January found him making occasional trips to Dawson, where he could forget his identity for a space at the gambling tables. Because he could afford to lose, he won, and "Pentfield's luck" became a stock phrase among the faro players.
His luck ran with him till the second week in February. How much farther it might have run is conjectural; for, after one big game, he never played again.
It was in the Opera House that it occurred, and for an hour it had seemed that he could not place his money on a card without making the card a winner. In the lull at the end of a deal, while the game-keeper was shuffling the deck, Nick Inwood the owner of the game, remarked, apropos of nothing:-
"I say, Pentfield, I see that partner of yours has been cutting up monkey-shines on the outside."
"Trust Corry to have a good time," Pentfield had answered; "especially when he has earned it."
"Every man to his taste," Nick Inwood laughed; "but I should scarcely call getting married a good time."
"Corry married!" Pentfield cried, incredulous and yet surprised out of himself for the moment.
'Sure," Inwood said. "I saw it in the 'Frisco paper that came in over the ice this morning."
"Well, and who's the girl?" Pentfield demanded, somewhat with the air of patient fortitude with which one takes the bait of a catch and is aware at the time of the large laugh bound to follow at his expense.
Nick Inwood pulled the newspaper from his pocket and began looking it over, saying:-
"I haven't a remarkable memory for names, but it seems to me it's something like Mabel--Mabel--oh yes, here it--'Mabel Holmes, daughter of Judge Holmes,'--whoever he is."
Lawrence Pentfield never turned a hair, though he wondered how any man in the North could know her name. He glanced coolly from face to face to note any vagrant signs of the game that was being played upon him, but beyond a healthy curiosity the faces betrayed nothing. Then he turned to the gambler and said in cold, even tones:-
"Inwood, I've got an even five hundred here that says the print of what you have just said is not in that paper."
The gambler looked at him in quizzical surprise. "Go 'way, child. I don't want your money."
"I thought so," Pentfield sneered, returning to the game and laying a couple of bets.
Nick Inwood's face flushed, and, as though doubting his senses, he ran careful eyes over the print of a quarter of a column. Then be turned on Lawrence Pentfield.
"Look here, Pentfield," he said, in a quiet, nervous manner; "I can't allow that, you know."
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