Press enter after choosing selection

Gambling For A Life

Gambling For A Life image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

All was a soone of gaity in the pretty villago of F , situated in ono of the most fertüe distriots in tho rich State of Keutuoky. The occasion of the joyous demoDetration was one of minglod pleas ure and puin. Tho United States had ca lied on her sons to bravo tho dangers of war, the oouutry was aroused, and an array under the Btarry ll:ig waa about to iuvado Mexico. In F a gallant cofiipany of cilizen soldiers had been raised, and upon the morrow were to lcavo their homes for the Boenes of war. It was the night bcforo their departurt1, and one of the wvalthy oitizens of the town huil giren a farewell entertainment in their honor, and thus ttll was a pleased confusión in preparing for the gtiy scène ut Jiidgo Bonner's largo and handeoLuo mansión. The generoiu old Judgo had spared neither paine nor expense to make their entertainment nqitf.jMt'jMftft gUtffB'flflBIW i (;d hls nunurous guests, ftided by hifi 011ly child, a daughter of aeventeon ycars of age. Lida Bonner was the acknowledged belle of F- , and sliü was beloved for her beauty and lovaly oharaetur not only by the youug gallants of the village, but also by her school compauions, for at the opening of this story Bhe was yet asohool girl. The company from F - was commanded by Captain Roy Worthington, a plantur of raeims, and as handsome as ho was popular. His first Hnutonant ws one ot his most intímate friends, and vet betwecn tho two there carne a slight cloud, for both Roy Worthington and Dart Bradford loved Lida Bonner. To i both of the young mon the beautiful girl listened, lor sla: was a sad coquette, but. fowuvd the gnllunt captain her heart had awakcnod with feelings of lovo, and yet neither knew his fate at her hands upon that dny, the ove of their departure for far-off Merioo. " Lida, aro yon totally indifferftnt to me ? Can I not hope, even if I inay hope to return to doar old F , that you will not have forgotten moí" said Roy. " Indeed, you are dear to me, Roy, and I p'omise you that you ghall not be forgotten." "Do you lovo me, Lida? Will you proiuise mo this little hand upon in y return ':" " I promise, Roy," and thus tho two pledged their love, and once more entcred the brilliantly illuminated parlors of i mansion, for they had strayed away into the ganlens. " Miss Lida, this is ray dance, I bolieve ?" And Dart Bradford stood before tho lovers. " Yes. I'll see you again, Roy." And tho young girl was whirled away in the walt. " Will you promenade onco round the garden, Lida r" " Yes, Dart, for how can I rofuse you brave soldiers anything 'f" Tho blue eyes wert! turnod with fall foree upon hor companion. For sonie momonta they walked in silence, and then Dart Bradford Btopped suddenly and said : " Lida, I asked you to como here that I might teil you I loved you ; that - " " üh, Dart, do not puin irio. Lnt me ba frank with you, for I would not faise a hope in your heart that 1 cannot fulfill. I ani engaged to another - " " The otEei is-" "Roy Wortliington, your best friend." "Be it so, Miss Bonner. Shall we return to the mansión r" And, offoringhis miu, they were soon ngain mingling mid the gay dancers. From the village in old Kentucky tho scène has ohanged to sunny Mexico. 8ated in a tent within the Mexican linea nro two young officers, ttnanned, and their gurroundings provo they are prisoners. Tbough pale and with saddened faces, easily to bo reoognized are Roy Worthington and Dart Bradford. The formar wears his left arm in sling and appears to be sufforing, although his face looks brave and determined. " Well, Dart, thus will end the ambitious and bright dreams of one of us ; whieh, it is hard to siiy." " Yes, Roy. Our poor company sacrificed in the last despera to charge and ourselvcg prisoners, you wounded, and one of us condemned to die in retaliation for that otüecr spy whom (Jen. Taylor had shot some days since. Ii is really too bad." An officer ontered dressod in gorgeous Moxican uniform. " Gentlomen," he laid, "it is the deoision that ono of you must dio. The comnmnding officor hat determined not to mako tho selection, but that you shall play ft game of chanco - that is, gumble for your lives - tho victor to bo eparod." " That wore useless. Let me bo tho victim." And Roy Worthington Bteppod forward, whilo a gleam of hopo ovorspread Dart Bradford's faoc. " You are brave and gonerous, young sir, but I pretor the gamo ot' chance to sottle it," said tho cominanding officer, entering tho tent, aocompanied by his aides. " What stty you, Dart ?" " Very whII, let this end tho farce." And Drt Bradford'a face darkonsd. Si-atod at th tble, dioe were placi'i betweon tho two young offioers, and while the Misxioans stood around cagerly watehing the result, tho throwing for lifc or death commaured. ïhroo dice wore used and three threws allowed to each ofiieer; the ono throwing tho hiLhest numbei wan to soape. Eoy Worthington was tlie irst to begin, atïd with a flrm hand h ruttlod th dico in the box and thon threw thin upon the table. " Throe, five, and six - fourtoon. ïhrow aaain, eir," aid tho Mexican commander. '■yii throw well, sir. Once moro. Two sixos and tv three- flf teen ! Twioe lifteen und l'ourtaen aro forty-four. Now it is JTOUr turn, sir." And' tho box was handed to Dart Bradford, who took it with a hand that slightly trembled and threw tho dice upob the table, " Ono, two, and - " But bofore the last number oould he counted Dart's hat feil froui his head upon tho table, and ono of them wasknooked upon tho ground. " IIow unluelfy ! You'U have to commeiico over again, eir. Xow." Afftiu takitig tho box Dart made anothar throw, but tho Moxican called out : " Two, three, i'our - uiau ! " A decided pallor spread over the young offioer's taco, as ho aaiuUiruw tho dioe upon tho tailc. " 'i'hree sixes 1 You are lucky, sir. That fJ:rOw inay save your life. Xow, ry aguin." Tl u hand ho!oinih.' dico box visibly ' ook s tho laW ■L% wílf! made; buc r.' the dice couldj Anted by 1 he Alexptin the table gH Bwith tho weight ïpon it and ugH.uT Kp regular blocks upon whoso nuinherH Hfe tiung, woru boatternd. A frown darkened tho oommandfi 'n row and geveral of the stalf conversad )f,'cthur in low tonen as the table wasbeK sot up ftgnin and the last ohancu was givc:). 'L'hp throw wd mde. " Three sixes '. Kighteon and twentyeven aru forty-fivo. You have won, fir. A close gamo of chauoe," eaid the Mosi-ii a Dart sprang to his feet unable to concoal hip groat joy at hig oscupo. " Well Dart, I have lost. Ilero, old felow, are my papera, watoh, and pocket)ook. This ring belongs now to Lida. I nade my will in hor favor beforu I left f . Good bye, old fellow, and teil hom at home that I died bravely. Qenlomen, I am ready." And witli a firm )earing, tho American turned to his caporí and was loa away to oxecution, whilo Dart Uradford wag forwardod to ths linea to bo exchangod for a Moxicau oftioer of equl rank with himeolf. Threo years went by. Poace once more reigned in tho land, and the süiuten .1 remnants of the F - iuards roturnod to thcir homes orowned with viitory. D.irt Uradford rcturned wBthem, but with tlie rank of Colonel, foiJfij had beuu promotud to that grado. Upji reaching iho American linesafter th(y?tnie of lifu ho h:ul pltued with poor Kdy Worthiügton, ho had (u wardod t!io 1 ihingB to LiiU Bouner ci-ustod to hi ! care, h1 told her wliftttd happoned, and that he had beggeoy to lctt hiin die in his stead, as no tietf of requited Ip7ïtuus"i nluiu ra happmoss. Lida dceply mouruud for him, and wroto Dart beautiful letter thanking him for the noblo part he had aoted towards his rival and frieud, fjr he bolieved all that he had said, and upou the return of the gallatit coloucl it was not many weeks before he had gained the promise of Lida to baoome hi wife. Tho joy of her bridal eve was dirumed to Lida Bonnor by tho thought of poor Koy, lying far away in a foreign land ; tor although she loved Dart with a truo aftection, fhe could not teel for him the game deup love she had given hig friend. All was in rcadiness forho cororuony ; the minister stood, book in hand, ready to join Dart Bradford and Lida Bonner togothor as man and wife, when the inaidlii uttorod a shriek justas sho euterod the parlor leaning on the arm of her father, and swooned away. All present were transiixed with amazemont, for thore, bofore them, standing beside tbc. open balcony window, stood Roy Worthinirton, emaciated and pale, a if by long suffering, and dressed in his blue uniform. He stood before (hem and gazod stornly upon his formor friend, Dart Bradford. " Why, Koy, we all thought you dead, what does this mean?" asid Dart, stepping forwaid. ' 1 mini'), h'íi, that by falsa represontations you are now standing where I should bo, the promised husbaud of Lida Bonner - " " Sir, you presume. I--" " Pardon me - not that I anticipate that I may ever again win tho nffoctions of JUi-s Bonner, bat to open her eyes to tli" character ot the man sho is going to mavï y, .1 now gay what I do," and as Eoy Worthington spoke, ho stepp;d forward and faced tho asscmbled guests, whilo Lida, having roturned to consoiousness, wna an attentive listonor. " When a pmioner in Moxico with Col. Bradford, one of us was doomed to die ; a game of chance was to decide betwoen us. I lost fairly I belioved, for I trusted my friend wfte honorable ; hu wou lifa and was exohanged the same day. The oommander of - the Mozioana sparcd my iit' ; Long yenrs I was a piisoner, and now that tlie war is over I havo retured home, and with mo is my friend General Valdo de Riv, who now will explain tho conduct of Col. Bradford when he gamblod tor our lives." Roy Worthington enaned s])naking ; as ho did so, a gorgoously uniformed ofllcer stoped trom thwbalcony and stood beside him. Tho dark skin and quick, black oye denotod hia nation, as well as his uniform, as in a broken accent he said : " This gentleman and that onc were my prisoners ; my govemment demanded one shot in retaliaticn for a Moxiean officer shot by General Taylor. I wished not to make a ohoioe, so I leftit toa gamo of chanco who should dio. Captain Wor thington acted niosthonorably ; that man disho'i' a ly and oowardly, for he cheat ;d, as myseli and stafl' will vurii'y, while lus friond nobly offered to take his place. Then I saved Captain "Worthington's life, iind confined hiin as a prisoner for the was. Now we stand hore to faoo that coward," and the lloxiean'g eyo feil upon Dart Bradford. " Go ! never como cear me again ! " and Lida Bonner pointed to the door, whilo her angry oyes turnod upon the mTi v.'ho in a fow moments more would have been her husband. " Captain Worthington, you have my warmest weieome home; Colonel Bradford loave my house," aml g Judge Bonnor spoKo ho grasped Roy's hand. "Curnu you all for this!" cxelaimed Dart Bradford, and he left the house. Nay, more, ho left tho Stato, and has novor sinco been heard from ; while tho brave man he had deceived soon aftor married Lida Bonner, tho only woman ho had ever lovod, and General de Riva was groomsman, for botvrnun tho Mexicn and tho American a warm friendship had sprung into existence. Martlno Tests Hls Ycntrlloqiial Potrera. I lmve beon, says tho writor, on intímate l'riend of this great wizard for many years, and I shall never forget tho pleasant hours thal I have passed in conVerang with bim about tho art of whioh 1 1 1 hnn become a so groat a muster, and that wonderful gift of tho vocal organe, knowu as vcutriloquism. ïïnitino was i ulwaya a graat lover of sport, and nothing could please him more tliuu u laughable joko, and, as a natural consequence, ] ho was aiway perpetrating tbem upon evory ono who happened (o attraot his attention. Ono d;iy, as ho and I wore stvolling along; ouo of tho principal i utreets of Boston, ho reinarked that wn had better walk down toward the innrket placo, and there have " fun " with the curiouu people whom wo phould meet, I i roadily aesented ; but had l known that I wae to return with a poü"d hat (ud a j bruised head, as I did in leas thau half I an hour, I should oortainly have preferred to " walk on nd find gome amasament more ]nil!." Ar we neared tho the mnrket, we espied an old woraan who had butter, eggs, and various otbor articles i'or hiiIo. In her iininudiato vioinity. and ! dircctly behind hor, was n yery la_rge balf-ëturved donkey, looking rattai : consolate and forlorn. Ho had nothiag to oat, and was prevonttd frorn braying by having a large stone tied to his tail. Ho wan a perfect picture of wiotuhodiiGHs and misory. Closa at hund was a pile of cabbage, whioh tho poor croaturo strovo in vain to ru;tch. The Ownotof tho vegetables, a brutfll looking fellow, guve hilo a smart blow with a stiuk, that niadc hita look uf with a glance so calm and uncomplaining that it mado tho fanious illusioniet quite enjoy it. Divina his hiindfl deepor into his pockets, and bonding his head forward ü little, ho put in practice his vcntriloqual powors to theii full oxtout. " Hit me agau, you brute," said tho donkey in a hollow voioo. The man turncd deadly palo, and in his confusión droppelt his Ktirk, which he at once eagerly stooped and picked up. " Who stolü tho cabbages '{ " again repeatcd the animal, this time buing heard by soveral of the bystandors. "Who is haring n lurk with meV" said the owner, lubricatiiig his hands in a way peculiar to his class, and thon turning his cudgel round and round. " Let him como on ; but don't all speak at ohco ' " " Why do you starve and lieat me ? " continued tho comical-looking and innocent animal. Tho excitement now beoame great. Jlen and women crowded around, and the twner of the beaet danet'd with rago. Most of them knew hií brutal and iordid saturo, and wero greatly amusedat his confusión. Martino, thinking i was about timo ho took his leave, gavo nio a goutlo nudge, at tho same reinaricinsr in tin undertone that if I did not want to sharo tho fate of tho donkey I had better walk along with him. Wo had not taken a dozon steps boforo ho oallod my attontion to a ltirge, fat pig which an old woinRn floatinp ovur, and appeared very -ims to sell. "Now," said he, "firHt i for it, and ee if we don't have some fun." As I was not indisposod to humor lnyself, I nodded assent, and walking up to the woman, addressud her : ' Fine pip, mother." " Fat as butter ; just ready to kill," reulitíd t.lií nldiA" The old lady, like mont of tan tradeswomen, was prepared for the customary beating down, and consequently asked an enormouB pnce. " Twice too muoh," I cried, " ain't it, piggy ? " " Yes, moro than twioe," muttered the porkor. " You see," uaid I, with a grim gmile, " tho animal is more hónest than yourself. Why should you bo i?old bo cheap 't" " Aleasley ! " oxcluimed the pig with a grunt. " May tho Lord protct us," cried tho alarmed woman, who was shaking in evcry limb and looking from and to the uthurs in perfect amazoment. Tho bystttuders roared, bnt by this time tho old lady had caught a hint as to who was tormenting her, and flying into a fearful ragi proceoded to belabor me most lustily. " On my honor," entreated I, " it is no triok of mine." " You shabby vagabond," she cried, " cali my pig moasly, - you sneukiug wizard. Wanted to spoü my inarket, did yoa ? " And snatching up a largo cudgel, sho flew at me like an enraged tigresa, and would have mado short work of me had I not boat a hasty The angry woman returnod to htr seat, but ns she did so the pig gruntod out in a remoustrative tono, "But you know I am meiisly." A terrible blow on the pig's back was the only response, and Martino, fearing to causo the beast fur ther grief, moved away with a smile on his face, leaving tho excited market people to solvo tho inystery us beat they might.


Old News
Michigan Argus