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Lady Luck   By: (1884-)

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LADY LUCK

BOOKS BY HUGH WILEY

JADE, and Other Stories LADY LUCK THE WILDCAT

LADY LUCK

By HUGH WILEY

NEW YORK ALFRED · A · KNOPF 1921

COPYRIGHT, 1921, BY ALFRED A. KNOPF, INC.

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

TO

MY FATHER

"When you 's travellin' heavy on de misery road An' yo' back is breakin' wid de misery load, Jes' figger dat yo' trouble 's boun' to end, Cause Lady Luck is waitin' fo' you, 'roun de bend."

THE WILDCAT

LADY LUCK

CHAPTER I

Ah wuz a fiel' han' fo' Ah sailed de sea, Wisht Ah wuz a fiel' han' now. Dis konk'rin' hero business don' make no hit wid me Wisht Ah wuz a fiel' han' now.

"Gimme back a nickel! How come coffee ten cents? Gimme back 'at nickel befo' bofe ob us is on de same side ob de lunch counter."

"You an' a policeman, you means. Ca'm yo'se'f. If dis wah keeps up, coffee g'wine cost fifteen cents nex' week."

"How come wah? Wah finished a yeah back. Me an' Cap'n Jack wuz de fust men in de wah. Wah's done. Ah knows. Gimme back 'at nickel."

"Mebbe de wah is done, but de Democrats ain't. Git out ob heah wid dat goat, fo' you ruins mah trade."

The Wildcat picked up Captain Jack's bed roll from the floor beside the lunch counter in the Memphis station. He accumulated Lily from where the travelworn mascot goat was tethered to an adjoining stool. Together they walked from the lunch room in which he had sought refreshment after an arduous ride from San Francisco to Memphis.

"Come on heah, Lily. Ol' Cap'n Jack an' de lady done went home in a takes a grab. Boy takes a grab at yo' money, an' if deys any lef', you gives it to a policeman fo' arrestin' him. Us rides a 'spress wagon."

On the street fronting the station the Wildcat chartered a rickety express wagon hauled by a languid black mule. "Whuf!" the driver grunted. "Sho' is de ponderestest bed roll Ah eveh lifted."

"'At bed roll's full of iron helmets f'm dead Germans, fo' Cap'n Jack to 'membeh de wah by. De officehs craves to 'membeh de wah. Us 'listed boys craves to fo'git it."

The driver of the express wagon looked sideways at the Wildcat. "When did de goat die?"

"How come?"

"Sit him on de side ob me whah de win' ain't blowin'. Wuz he de Dove ob Peace de wah'd go on fo'eveh. Whut's dem culled ribbons doin' on dat goat?"

"De blue ribbon is mah mascot's quality. De red an' white ones is patriotism."

"Thought mebbe dey wuz fus' an' secon' prizes fo' smellin'."

The Wildcat handed the driver of the express wagon a cigar.

"Smoke dis offsetteh," he said. Drifting along on a haze of conflicting aromas, the outfit arrived finally at the residence of Captain Jack. "Heah's de fifty cents," the Wildcat said to the express driver.

"Cost me dat to git de goat smell renovated off me. Wuth six bits."

"On yo' way. I'll six bits you! Quit whiffin' wid dat nose, befo' I busts yo' loose f'm it. On yo' way! C'm on, Lily."

The Wildcat spent the rest of the afternoon shuffling furniture around inside of Captain Jack's house. At four o'clock Captain Jack's wife arrived, convoying a perspiring three hundred pound trophy which she had been fortunate enough to capture.

"Yo' is de cook, is yo'?" the Wildcat said to the newly enthroned ruler of the kitchen.

The ebony Amazon looked at him. "Who is you?"

"I's champion ration battler ob de world. Wait till I gits back." The Wildcat returned presently with an armful of wood. "You claims you's a cook well, woman, I lights de fiah. Den you sees kin yo'."

"Kin I what?"

"Fust yo' barbecues 'at ham hangin' theh. When Ah gits th'oo, half of it will be lef'. Whilst de ham's sizzlin' you th'ows enough cawn bread togetheh to fill de big pan. When Ah gits th'oo dey'll be half of it lef'. When de ham juice begins to git sunburned you makes some ham gravy. Ah spec' ham gravy's de fondest thing Ah is of. I says 'Howdy, ham gravy!' an' afteh me an' de vittles gits acquainted, mah appetite won't need grub no mo'n a fish needs shoes... Continue reading book >>




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