Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Let the Cards Decide

This is one of my favorites of Louis L'Amour's short stories. A girl is traveling west with her father. He dies, and she is left with debts. She promises to marry a boorish man if he will pay her debts. The stage on which they are traveling turns over and the travelers have to spend the night in a way station. To pass the time they start a poker game. The young man telling the story decides he will try to win the girl's freedom. There is a slender, sickly man with a chronic cough in the group who says he is a "gentleman of fortune," so the young man signals to him what he intends to do. They play the boor for a sucker and take his money. Then she cuts high card for her freedom. He angrily responds that he won't do it, and the sickly fellow indicates that he will, indeed. He starts to go for his gun, but one of the travelers warns him that that is Doc Holliday. Great story.

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