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The Finish Of Patsy Barnes
by [?]

The crowd in the stand screamed; but Patsy smiled as he lay low over his horse’s neck. He saw that Essex had made her best spurt. His only fear was for Mosquito, who hugged and hugged his flank. They were nearing the three-quarter post, and he was tightening his grip on the black. Essex fell back; his spurt was over. The whip fell unheeded on his sides. The spurs dug him in vain.

Black Boy’s breath touches the leader’s ear. They are neck and neck–nose to nose. The black stallion passes him.

Another cheer from the stand, and again Patsy smiles as they turn into the stretch. Mosquito has gained a head. The colored boy flashes one glance at the horse and rider who are so surely gaining upon him, and his lips close in a grim line. They are half-way down the stretch, and Mosquito’s head is at the stallion’s neck.

For a single moment Patsy thinks of the sick woman at home and what that race will mean to her, and then his knees close against the horse’s sides with a firmer dig. The spurs shoot deeper into the steaming flanks. Black Boy shall win; he must win. The horse that has taken away his father shall give him back his mother. The stallion leaps away like a flash, and goes under the wire–a length ahead.

Then the band thundered, and Patsy was off his horse, very warm and very happy, following his mount to the stable. There, a little later, Brackett found him. He rushed to him, and flung his arms around him.

“You little devil,” he cried, “you rode like you were kin to that hoss! We’ve won! We’ve won!” And he began sticking banknotes at the boy. At first Patsy’s eyes bulged, and then he seized the money and got into his clothes.

“Goin’ out to spend it?” asked Brackett.

“I’m goin’ for a doctah fu’ my mother,” said Patsy, “she’s sick.”

“Don’t let me lose sight of you.”

“Oh, I’ll see you again. So long,” said the boy.

An hour later he walked into his mother’s room with a very big doctor, the greatest the druggist could direct him to. The doctor left his medicines and his orders, but, when Patsy told his story, it was Eliza’s pride that started her on the road to recovery. Patsy did not tell his horse’s name.