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Schwalliger’s Philanthropy
by [?]

“Well,” said Schwalliger, in answer to a trainer’s question, “I ain’t exactly broke, Misthah Johnthon, but I wath pretty badly bent. I goth awa jutht ath thoon ath I commenth to feel mythelf crackin’, but I’m hyeah to git even.”

He was only a rubber again, but he began to get even early in the week, and by Saturday he was again as like to a rainbow as any of his class. He did not, however, throw away his rubber’s clothes. He was used to the caprices of fortune, and he did not know how soon again he should need them. That he was not dressed in them, and yet saved them, made him capable of performing his one philanthropy.

Had he not been gorgeously dressed he would not have inspired the confidence of the old Negro who came up to him on Tuesday morning, disconsolate and weeping.

“Mistah,” he said deferentially through his tears, “is you a spo’t?”

Mr. Schwalliger’s chest protruded, and his very red lips opened in a smile as he answered: “Well, I do’ know’th I’m tho much of a thpo’t, but I think I knowth a thing or two.”

“You look lak a spo’tin’ gent’man, an’ ef you is I thought mebbe you’d he’p me out.”

“Wha’th the mattah? Up againtht it? You look a little ol’ to be doin’ the gay an’ frithky.” But Schwalliger’s eyes were kind.

“Well, I’ll tell you des’ how it is, suh. I come f’om down in Ma’lan’, ‘case I wanted to see de hosses run. My ol’ mastah was moughty fon’ of sich spo’t, an’ I kin’ o’ likes it myse’f, dough I don’t nevah bet, suh. I’s a chu’ch membah. But yistiddy aftahnoon dee was two gent’men what I seen playin’ wid a leetle ball an’ some cups ovah it, an’ I went up to look on, an’ lo an’ behol’, suh, it was one o’ dese money-mekin’ t’ings. W’y, I seen de man des’ stan’ dere an’ mek money by the fis’ful. Well, I ‘low I got sorter wo’ked up. De men dee axed me to bet, but I ‘low how I was a chu’ch membah an’ didn’t tek pa’t in no sich carryin’s on, an’ den dee said ‘twan’t nuffin mo’ den des’ a chu’ch raffle, an’ it was mo’ fun den anyt’ing else. I des’ say dat I could fin’ de little ball, an’ dee said I couldn’t, an’ if I fin’ it dee gin me twenty dollahs, an’ if I didn’ I des’ gin ’em ten dollahs. I shuk my haid. I wa’n’t gwine be tempted, an’ I try to pull myse’f erway. Ef I’d ‘a’ gone den ‘twould ‘a’ been all right, but I stayed an’ I stayed, an’ I looked, an’ I looked, an’ it did seem lak it was so easy. At las’, mistah, I tried it, an’ I didn’ fin’ dat ball, an’ dee got my ten dollahs, an’ dat was all I had.”

“Uh, huh,” said Schwalliger grimly, “thell game, an’ dey did you.” The old man shuffled uneasily, but continued:

“Yes, suh, dee done me, an’ de worst of it is, I’s ‘fraid to go home, even ef I could get dere, ‘case dee boun’ to axe me how I los’ dat money, an’ dee ain’t no way fu’ me to hide it, an’ ef dee fin’ out I been gamblin’ I’ll git chu’ched fu’ it, an’ I been a puffessor so long—-” The old man’s voice broke, and Schwalliger smiled the crooked smile of a man whose heart is touched.

“Whereth thith push wo’kin’?” he said briefly.

“Right ovah thaih,” said the old Negro, indicating a part of the grounds not far distant.

“All right, you go on ovah thaih an’ wait fu’ me; an’ if you thee me, remembah, you don’t thee me. I don’t know you, you don’t know me, but I’ll try to thee you out all right.”

The old man went on his way, a new light in his eyes at the hope Schwalliger had inspired. Schwalliger himself made his way back to the stables; his dirty, horsy, rubber’s outfit was there. He smiled intelligently as he looked at it. He was smiling in a different manner when, all dressed in it, he came up nearer to the grand stand. It was a very inane smile. He looked the very image of simplicity and ignorance, like a man who was anxious and ready to be duped. He strolled carelessly up to where the little game with the little ball was going on, and stood there looking foolishly on. The three young men–ostensibly there was only one–were doing a rushing business. They were playing very successfully on that trait of human nature which feels itself glorified and exalted when it has got something for nothing. The rustics, black and white, and some who had not the excuse of rusticity, were falling readily into the trap and losing their hard-earned money. Every now and then a man–one of their confederates, of course, would make a striking winning, and this served as a bait for the rest of the spectators. Schwalliger looked on with growing interest, always smiling an ignorant, simple smile. Finally, as if he could stand it no longer, he ran his hand in his pocket and pulled out a roll of money–money in its most beautiful and tempting form, the long, green notes. Then, as if a sudden spirit of prudence had taken possession of him, he put it back into his pocket, shook his head, and began working his way out of the crowd. But the operator of the shell game had caught sight of the bills, and it was like the scent of blood to the tiger. His eye was on the simple Negro at once, and he called cheerfully: