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source:Supplements and supplements networkedit:yeartime:2023-11-30 00:23:42

In the grand stand sat three people wearing a blue and gold ribbon-- the Desha colors. Occasionally they were reinforced by a big man, who circulated between them and the paddock. The latter was Jimmie Drake. The others were "Cottonton," as the turfman called them. They were Major and Mrs. Calvert and Sue Desha.

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Colonel Desha was not there. He was eating his heart out back home. The nerve he had been living on had suddenly snapped at the eleventh hour. He was denied watching the race he had paid so much in every way to enter. The doctors had forbidden his leaving. His heart could not stand the excitement; his constitution could not meet the long journey North. And so alone, propped up in bed, he waited; waited, counting off each minute; more excited, wrought up, than if he had been at the track.

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It had been arranged that in the event of The Rogue winning, the good news should be telegraphed to the colonel the moment the gelding flashed past the judges' stand. He had insisted on that and on his daughter being present. Some member of the family must be there to back The Rogue in his game fight. And so Sue, in company with the major and his wife, had gone.

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She had taken little interest in the race. She knew what it meant, no one knew better than she, but somehow she had no room left for care to occupy. She was apathetic, listless; a striking contrast to the major and his wife, who could hardly repress their feelings. They knew what she would find at the Aqueduct track--find the world. She did not.

All she knew was that Drake, whom she liked for his rough, patent manhood, had very kindly offered the services of his jockey; a jockey whom he had faith in. Who that jockey was, she did not know, nor overmuch care. A greater sorrow had obliterated her racing passion; had even ridden roughshod over the fear of financial ruin. Her mind was numb.

For days succeeding Drake's statement to her that Garrison was not married she waited for some word from him. Drake had explained how Garrison had thought he was married. He had explained all that. She could never forget the joy that had swamped her on hearing it; even as she could never forget the succeeding days of waiting misery; waiting, waiting, waiting for some word. He had been proven honest, proven Major Calvert's nephew, proven free. What more could he ask? Then why had he not come, written?

She could not believe he no longer cared. She could not believe that; rather, she would not. She gaged his heart by her own. Hers was the woman's portion--inaction. She must still wait, wait, wait. Still she must eat her heart out. Hers was the woman's portion. And if he did not come, if he did not write--even in imagination she could never complete the alternative. She must live in hope; live in hope, in faith, in trust, or not at all.

Colonel Desha's enforced absence overcame the one difficulty Major Calvert and Jimmie Drake had acknowledged might prematurely explode their hidden identity mine. The colonel, exercising his owner's prerogative, would have fussed about The Rogue until the last minute. Of course he would have interviewed Garrison, giving him riding instructions, etc. Now Drake assumed the right by proxy, and Sue, after one eager-whispered word to The Rogue, had assumed her position in the grand stand.

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