Davis' Short Stories Vol. 2
The Man Who Could Not Lose
The Carters had married in haste and refused to repent at leisure. So blindly were they in
love, that they considered their marriage their greatest asset. The rest of the world, as
represented by mutual friends, considered it the only thing that could be urged against
either of them. While single, each had been popular. As a bachelor, young "Champ"
Carter had filled his modest place acceptably. Hostesses sought him for dinners and
week-end parties, men of his own years, for golf and tennis, and young girls liked him
because when he talked to one of them he never talked of himself, or let his eyes wander
toward any other girl. He had been
brought up by a rich father in an expensive way, and the rich father had then died leaving
Champneys alone in the world, with no money, and with even a few of his father's debts.
These debts of honor the son, ever since leaving Yale, had been paying off. It had kept
him very poor, for Carter had elected to live by his pen, and, though he wrote very
carefully and slowly, the editors of the magazines had been equally careful and slow in
accepting what he wrote.
With an income so uncertain that the only thing that could be said of it with certainty was
that it was too small to support even himself, Carter should not have thought of
matrimony. Nor, must it be said to his credit, did he think of it until the girl came along
that he wanted to marry.
The trouble with Dolly Ingram was her mother. Her mother was a really terrible person.
She was quite impossible. She was a social leader, and of such importance that visiting
princes and society reporters, even among themselves, did not laugh at her. Her visiting
list was so small that she did not keep a social secretary, but, it was said, wrote her
invitations herself. Stylites on his pillar was less exclusive. Nor did he take his exalted
but lonely position with less sense of humor. When Ingram died and left her many
millions to dispose of absolutely as she pleased, even to the allowance she should give
their daughter, he left her with but one ambition unfulfilled. That was to marry her Dolly
to an English duke. Hungarian princes, French marquises, Italian counts, German barons,
Mrs. Ingram could not see. Her son-in-law must be a duke. She had her eyes on two, one
somewhat shopworn, and the other a bankrupt; and in training, she had one just coming
of age. Already she saw her self a sort of a dowager duchess by marriage, discussing with
real dowager duchesses the way to bring up teething earls and viscounts. For three years
in Europe Mrs.Ingram had been drilling her daughter for the part she intended her to play.
But, on returning to her native land, Dolly, who possessed all the feelings, thrills, and
heart-throbs of which her mother was ignorant, ungratefully fell deeply in love with
Champneys Carter, and he with her. It was always a question of controversy between
them as to which had first fallen in love with the other. As a matter of history, honors
He first saw her during a thunder storm, in the paddock at the races, wearing a rain-coat
with the collar turned up and a Panama hat with the brim turned down. She was talking,