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9. CHAPTER IX. HAROLD SITS IN A GAME. (continued)
"No, I'm not," he said. "There is nothing the matter with me at all."
But his denial failed to convince her, and as, unusually early, a few minutes later he left, she realized that she had spent a most unpleasant evening.
Bince went directly to his club, where he found four other men who were evidently awaiting him.
"Want to sit in a little game to-night, Harold?" asked one of them.
"Oh, hell," replied Bince, "you fellows have been sitting here all evening waiting for me. You know I want to. My luck's got to change some time."
"Sure thing it has," agreed another of the men. "You certainly have been playing in rotten luck, but when it does change--oh, baby!"
As the five men entered one of the cardrooms several of the inevitable spectators drew away from the other games and approached their table, for it was a matter of club gossip that these five played for the largest stakes of any coterie among the habitues of the card-room.
It was two o'clock in the morning before Bince disgustedly threw his cards upon the table and rose. There was a nasty expression on his face and in his mind a thing which he did not dare voice--the final crystallization of a suspicion that he had long harbored, that his companions had been for months deliberately fleecing him. Tonight he had lost five thousand dollars, nor was there a man at the table who did not hold his I. 0. U's. for similar amounts.
"I'm through, absolutely through," he said. "I'll be damned if I ever touch another card."
His companions only smiled wearily, for they knew that to-morrow night he would be back at the table.
"How much of old man Compton's money did you get tonight?" asked one of the four after Bince had left the room.
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