When The Earth Moved
Ben Wade stood against the rail with his eyes narrowed searching the dock for a familiar face. Passengers pushed by him eager to disembark the steamship anchored in the Port of Charleston. He was in no hurry. The ship wasn’t going anywhere and the city was firmly planted in the low country of South Carolina. He’d been living in Charleston for five years and considered it as good a place to do business as anywhere else. He was returning from spending the holidays in New Orleans. He tried to get down there at least once or twice a year. He had a daughter there, twelve years old now. The result of a brief affair with Mary LaPointe, a most beautiful octoroon. She’d been quite a surprise and four years old before he knew he had a daughter. He checked his watch and at the same time heard the church bells ringing out eleven o’clock.
He’d been spotted and he raised his hand and joined the departing passengers.
“Hello, Charles, everything all right here?”
“Yas, Mr. Wade, ever thang be jus fine. I brought de carriage for yo. You got some baggages?”
“Only this,” Ben handed him his leather satchel. He kept clothes with Mary and so did not bother with packing trunks. A man only needed a couple of suits of clothes on board a ship.
It was a bright and sunny day and the last of January, 1886. He’d spent a month in New Orleans seeing his daughter and spending time with Mary. There was also business to take care of…there was always business.
“Take us by Legare Street.”
“He ain’t dead yet, Mr. Wade.”
Ben frowned and shook his head. There was a house on Legare he wanted so bad he could taste it. He’d made an offer on it and it had been accepted by the old man’s son but the damned old man wouldn’t die. He’d foolishly agreed, thinking the fellow had a foot in the grave, to let him live there for his remaining days.
“All right then, let’s go home.” Ben settled in the carriage for the ride to the Planters Hotel. When he first arrived in Charleston he’d made the Planters his home…temporarily. Five years later he was still there. At first he wanted to get his business established and he wanted to find the right place to live. He wasn’t Charleston gentry and didn’t want to be rubbing elbows with them. He won himself a warehouse in a game of cards. The warehouse had belonged to John Legrand, local gentry.
He acted as a broker getting the best prices he could for rice and cotton and other goods that passed through the port. Some of what he handled was legal.
John Legrand woke with a start. The bells pounding in his head. He reached for the decanter and poured out a glass of room temperature water. Glancing over on the other side of the bed he was glad the woman was gone. He walked naked over to the bureau and checked his wallet. At least she’d been honest and only took what he’d left out for her. He lit a slim cigar and walked to the window and looked out on a new day that was half over.
An hour later he’d bathed and dressed and checked out of the Planters Hotel. He cut through the alleys and came in through the back of his house. He could hear Lucretia talking to someone in the front parlor. Stopping by the hall table he checked the silver salver that held the calling cards. No one had called for him and he was glad of it. With a nervous hand through his hair he stopped in the doorway.
“There you are, John.” Lucretia stood up and went to him. “You must have had an early meeting. I didn’t hear you go out.”
John looked beyond her; it was Mrs. Hofstadter, the preacher’s wife. “Mrs. Hofstadter, how’re you?”
“Fine, Mr. Legrand. Good to see you again.”
John’s eyes slid back to Lucretia and then away again. “Um, yes, I did have an early meeting.”
It pained her to look at him. He was still one of the most handsome men in Charleston but he was broken. He’d been drinking for six years. Their only child, a two year old boy, had been killed in a carriage accident. He’d been driving the carriage and blamed himself. She’d suffered a miscarriage from the accident and when she recovered she moved her bedroom down the hall and closed the door to him. It had been a devastating time for both of them. She had since regretted it but now it was too late. She took solace from the church and her newfound piety only served to drive him further away. He took his solace wherever he could find it and mostly in whiskey.
“Your cousin, Ainsley, sent word he’d like to see you sometime this afternoon.”
“He didn’t say what time?”
“No, this afternoon is what his boy said.”
He nodded his head toward Mrs. Hofstadter and went back in the house to find Hilda. He needed some food in his stomach before he had a drink. His hands were shaking.
Ainsley Legrand finished the letter he was reading and tossed it on his desk. He was and had been at odds with Senator Tillman. He’d always been a democrat but he’d become embarrassed for his party. The latest proposal to require a literacy test for black voters would virtually assure that no blacks would be elected to office. The primary purpose of the Constitutional convention called back in September was to eliminate black suffrage. Benjamin R. Tillman was a piedmont cotton producer who’d borrowed money when the cotton prices dropped in 1873. In financial distress he’d organized farmers and mechanics in the upstate into a Farmers Alliance. He burst upon the political scene in l885 condemning the state legislature for failure to provide aid for suffering agrarians. He pushed his farmers into political action against what he called the “polluted atmosphere in the state house” and “lawyers in the pay of finance”, a barb extended to aristocrats in general and to Charlestonians in particular. His rhetoric had succeeded in unseating Wade Hampton III from the senate. It also angered Ainsley Legrand. To him, Tillman was a loud-mouth rabble rouser whose sole intent was to suppress what gains the blacks had made since the war between the states.
Ainsley was a Charlestonian born and bred. His family were planters since 1703. He owned one plantation outright and two with his brother, Alston. He planted rice and cotton on his James Island Plantation. Recently he’d begun a dairy farm. Ainsley was a delegate from Charleston to the State government. He was also a lawyer, the husband of Jane and father of Rebecca -16, Robert -10, Susan-7 and Halley-5. He owned a house on the corner of Tradd and Legare Street where he tended to spend most of his time. He walked to the tall window and looked out on the street and saw his cousin, John. John owned the plantation next to his out on Johns Island. He’d been propping him up for years. He thought how very different Alston handled the tragedy in his life.
Alston Legrand was 7 years younger than Ainsley. He took on the job of managing the plantations when their father’s mind left him. He’d also taken on the job of raising his two daughters by himself. His wife died when the eldest was four. That was three years ago. He saw to his father’s care as well. His father had distinguished himself in the War Between the States and had been responsible for much of the rebuilding of Charleston after the war. Alston carried on that work along with his brother- in- law, James Drayton.
Alston left his father’s house on Legare Street and walked the few blocks to his own house overlooking the battery.
“Hey, Daddy, look at Daisy.” His youngest daughter Cilla held up her rag doll. She was sitting on the joggling board on the front porch.
“What does Daisy have to say today?”
“She likes her new dress.”
“Ah, and so do I.” He bent and kissed her blond head. Inside the house he picked up his mail and turned an envelope over.
In the library he sat down at his desk and slit the paper. It was a letter from his sister in law, Melanie Clarke. Melanie lived in Savannah and wanted to come and visit along with her cousin. He was glad for it. His wife’s family had been supportive after Bethany’s death.
Avery Pendleton left Mr. Legrand’s office and walked with a purpose toward the corner of Dock and Church Street. He’d just bought the house next to the Planter’s Hotel. It wasn’t really a house anymore it had become a tenement. He planned to do some renovations and looked forward to the income it would produce. That was the way to go, land and property. He and his sister operated a grocery store on Market Street. He also had a contract in his pocket for dairy products from Mr. Legrand’s plantation out on James Island.
Avery and Polly Pendleton’s grandparents came to Charleston after the War Between the States. They sold the land their family had worked for years and were determined to leave farming behind for good. They bought a dry goods store and were doing quite well when the terrible fires left it in ashes. Broken hearted and broke they both died within six months of each other. Avery left school to work and care for his younger sister. Now things were looking up for the pair of Pendletons. Avery was an enterprising young man of 25, quick of wit and quite handsome. His sister was twenty and a copper haired beauty. She had many suitors but none that Avery would approve of. He was hoping his sister would marry well. There was little hope she might break the code of the Charleston aristocracy but one never knew…opportunities abound. As for himself he intended to make his fortune before finding a suitable wife and he had a long way to go.
Rebecca Legrand left Mrs. Alston’s Music school and stood with her friends laughing and giggling outside on the steps. She could see the corner of her house from the music school and had walked the short distance. Now she stepped out onto the street and was drawn back by a young man as a carriage went by. She’d been playing the piece in her mind and hadn’t even heard the horses bearing down on her.
“Oh, oh, my” Her hand went to her mouth and the other to her hat.
“Are you all right, Miss?”
“I think so, yes, quite.”
She turned breathlessly and he smiled and dropped his arms “I saw the horses and…I’m Avery Pendleton.” He removed his hat and bowed a little.
“I’m Becca Legrand, thank you for saving me from a most awful calamity.” She managed to smile brilliantly.
“Legrand…I’m acquainted with Ainsley Legrand.”
“Are you…he’s my father. Won’t you come home with me I’m just there on the corner. I’m sure he’d like to thank you.”
“No…no, that won’t be necessary. Your thanks is quite enough.” Oh, but she was a lovely little thing.
Becca was sixteen going on seventeen. She’d been reading Tristan and Isolde and was full of romantic dreams.
“I’d be honored to walk you safely home.”
“Would you? I do believe I need an escort. I can’t imagine where my mind was.”
“It’s a lovely day,” he commented as he escorted her across the street.”
“Yes, indeed it is. I do hope the weather holds. Do you ever go to the races, Mr. Pendleton?”
“Races, I have been but am not a regular. I’m afraid my businesses keep me occupied.”
“What sort of businesses do you have?”
“Property, Miss Legrand, property.”
“John, take a seat.” Ainsley moved from the window and pulled out his chair.
“How’s Jane and the children?”
“They’re doing fine.” He looked across the desk at his cousin and tented his fingers.
“Lu said you wanted to see me.” It could be any number of things he thought.
“Mr. Chambers from the bank paid me a visit this morning. He said you’ve taken out a mortgage on your house here in Charleston.”
“Mr. Chambers would do well to tend to his bank.”
“Well, I assume that’s what he’s trying to do by letting me know you’ve increased your debt level. I can’t afford to pay it off for you, John.”
“I haven’t asked you to.”
“Something has to break for you soon, boy. I’ve informed Mr. Chambers not to extend you anymore credit. That damned warehouse near broke me.”
“I’m sorry, Ainsley, maybe you need to stop cleaning up after me. You didn’t have to pay that loan off.”
“No, I didn’t have to…I could have just let you go to debtor’s prison. You’re a gambler, John, and the odds are never in your favor. Looks like you’d learn after a time or two. If you ain’t got it don’t bet it. You running in the race on Saturday?”
“Yep, I got two saddle horses and a buggy.”
“You’ve got a good stable going there…don’t lose it.”
“No, I don’t plan to.”
“I hate these kinds of conversations between us. You should have sold the damn town house and moved on back to Seabrook.”
“I can’t do that…I can’t do that to Lu.” He looked down and flicked a bit of something off the heel of his boot.
Ainsley was not inclined to cater to Lu. He resented her for the way she acted after little Todd was killed. “Send her home, John. Send her back to her family. She feeds the cancer that eats away at you.”
“Anything else you wanted to see me about?”
“No, unless you want to work. I got a load of cases taking up my time.”
John smiled a little and pushed his chair back. “I can’t concentrate long enough to do anybody any good anymore.”
“Well, you ain’t gonna find concentration in a bottle. It don’t come in liquid form.”
“No…I reckon it don’t. But it smoothes out the edges. I’ll see ya, Ainsley.”
“Cousin John, “ Becca received a kiss on her cheek.
“Hey, pretty girl. Where’ve you been?”
“Piano lessons. This is Mr. Pendleton, he just saved my life. I was almost run down in the street by one of those Pinckney carriages.”
“Is that right.”
“Mr. Legrand,” Avery shook his and. “Not quite that dramatic, I’m afraid. Miss Legrand.” He tipped his hat and walked off down the street feeling pretty good about life.
“It was dramatic, Cousin John. He really did save me.”
“I’m glad he did, honey.”
“Is Daddy in?”
“Yes, he is.”
The Planters Hotel (Now Dock Street Theater) was built on the original site of a theater built in 1736. The original building was destroyed by fire and when rebuilt in 1835 it was built as a hotel and was the place to stay in Charleston prior to the War Between the States. The subsequent owners bought the house next door and enlarged the hotel. By the time Ben Wade arrives it has fallen from grace and the adjoining houses had become tenements. In was in bad repair in the 1920’s when bought and restored as a theater.
Ben sat in the lounge of the Planters Hotel smoking a thin brown cigar and reading the newspapers. He was catching up on the local news. He happened to see John Legrand go by the window and smiled to himself. He folded the paper and put it aside and reckoned it was tea time.
“Hey, John, I had the same idea.” He joined him and went into the tavern. “Give this good man a drink.”
John steadied his hand and slowly picked up the glass. Ben sipped his. “How’s it goin’, John?”
“Oh, all right.”
“Who do I need to put my money on Saturday?”
“Sure is. I bought him last year out of Virginia. Damn good horse.”
“Yeah, but can he run?”
“Fast, he’s fast. I got a lot of faith in him.”
“Good prize money if he wins.”
“Ya’ll got any room over there in your warehouse?”
“What do you need?”
“A little storage space that’s all. Won’t be for long.”
“Whatcha got fillin’ up…yours?”
“T’baccy. I’ll make it worth your while. Your cousin ever come down there and look around?”
“How about the other one?”
“Alston wouldn’t have a reason to now. Not till August.”
“Oh, well, it’d be gone long before then.”
“What are we talkin’ about here?”
“Some of the finest rum you ever drunk. Comin’ in out of Barbados.”
“I wish I hadn’t asked.” He took another drink from his glass.
Ben chuckled, “I’ll leave a bottle or two for ya to taste like.”
“Just be careful about it. We don’t won’t no attention.”
“I don’t either, believe me I don’t. Bartender…give us another.”
A floating house connected to the shore by way of a bridge. These were called Bath Houses and over the years they were built and rebuilt after hurricanes and fires destroyed them However, there only appears to be one at a time according to old maps I can find. The center would be open to the ocean for swimming and the surrounding dressing rooms and porches were available for games and otherwise enjoying the day.
“Guess what, Avery, I’m going bathing in the bath house.”
“You are not.” Avery set his hat down and removed his jacket.
“Why? Peter Ramsey asked me and Lila to go on Saturday.”
“And which one is Peter Ramsey?”
“His father has the meat market up the street.”
“Absolutely not, Polly. No decent girl would be found in the bath house and you are a decent girl. Let Ramsey find himself another sort.”
“A lot of decent folks go bathing. Families with children and a lot of young people go. You should go.”
“Never and you can forget it. If you want to go somewhere go to the races on Saturday.”
“I’d rather go bathing.” She frowned.
“The decent folk are going to the races. You can wear that new blue velvet dress.”
“You are becoming a real bore, Avery.”
“I’m trying to look out for your interests, little sister.” He picked up the account book to see what had been sold so far that day.
Alston’s house on East Battery.
The War Between the States had left part of Charleston in ruins. The rubble had all been cleaned away and rebuilding the city was Alston’s father’s project. He’d seen it grow and return and then along came natural disasters. He looked again at the architects drawing for a new theater. The city needed a venue for cultural entertainment. He studied it for a moment and signed off on it closing the big portfolio.
Alston did not have his older brother's drive nor his cousin’s weakness. He was a man who quietly got things done without expecting to be commemorated for his efforts. He did not seek public office but he had been appointed to the city planning and restoration committee which he now headed. His background was in architecture and mathematics.
He was a good father to his daughters and took them to church every Sunday and made sure they were a part of the community by attending birthday parties and activities that suited their ages. He employed two women to look after them but mostly he gave himself to them.
When his period of mourning was over for his wife, who’d died of fever, he’d not sought female companionship. He kept himself busy with his work in the city and the plantations that provided the better part of his and Ainsley’s income. He and his brother both looked after their father but the brunt of it fell to him because he simply did not think of anything else except his duty to his father. Ainsley had a large family and his delegate duties often took him to Columbia and he was required to entertain. Alston moved quietly thought the social life of the elite in Charleston. His passage was not unnoted by young women and widows looking for a husband. He gained much sympathy because he was a widower with two young girls. He was a good dancing partner and often made up an odd number at table. If he was ever to marry again a woman would have to seek him out and come to him because he did not look for another wife.
He thought again of the impending visit from his sister –in-law. Melanie was two years younger than his wife had been and she had not mentioned who the cousin might be. His wife was from Savannah and he was not acquainted with all of her family. Her mother still lived and so did her brother who’d recently moved out west.
He heard boots in the hallway and turned in his chair to see who was approaching. “James, “ It was his brother in law, husband of his sister Julie.
“Hey, Alston, I came to see if you’re planning to go to the races on Saturday.”
“Races,” Alston rubbed a hand over his face. “I hadn’t thought about it are you going?”
“I was but Julie’s not feeling well. I thought I might go with you.”
“Ah, well, I suppose I’m going. John’s racing.”
“So I heard. I hear Rainbow’s a good bet.”
“I wouldn’t know…I don’t keep up with these things,” He smiled. “But, since he’s family I’ll put a few dollars on Rainbow.”
“Anything to help John…I see you’ve been looking at the opera house.”
“Um hm, I’ve approved it. Now all we need is the financing.”
“Maybe Ainsley can lean on a few financiers tonight.”
“You’re not going?”
James grinned, “You don’t forgive do you?”
“I don’t forget…forgive is another matter.” Kransky was driving the other carriage that careened into John.
The Washington Course pictured here in 1857 was constructed in 1793. I am including it as the setting for my characters to interact. It was owned and operated by the South Carolina Jockey Club. Members were breeders and mostly planters. Wade Hampton and William Washington both had fine stables and were partners in starting the venture. The races were held on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It was known as race week and the week would be preceded by parties and balls; a boisterous week of fun in February. Inn keepers and tavern owners would rent nearby houses for the event. People would set up tables offering liquor, food, and other drinks. The ladies set in the covered stands while their gentlemen mixed with traveling salesmen, gamblers, slaves and others that were excluded from the refined areas. It was also a dueling ground in the off season. The Jockey club disbanded in 1899.
John spent the last three days at the track watching the other horses run. He had one in the Friday race that lost. That was all right, he was pinning his hopes on Rainbow. He had an excellent trainer out at Seabrook and an experienced jockey. He was saving his best thoroughbred for the big purse. The last race. Do or die…he had to win. He came over early to the track to meet his people and his horses.
Ainsley arrived in an open carriage with his whole family plus Alston’s two girls and their help. Alston and James rode out on horseback. Ben Wade also rode out on horseback. Avery and Polly caught a horse drawn bus to the track.
“I don’t know a thing about horse racing.” Polly complained as she half skipped along to keep up with her brother.
Avery didn’t know much either but he was willing to learn. One needed to know about horse racing. He planned to place modest bets and had brought along enough money for both of them to gamble a little on the horses. He was very careful about money and accounted for everything. They arrived at the grandstand to find out you had to be a member to sit under the cover. With Polly holding his arm he wandered around the track noting the tables set up and who was there.
The Legrands brought their own table and servants set up ‘race track food’. The children ran about looked after by their minders and the adults indulged in wine punch and lemonade. There were other amusements like three legged races and sack races for the two legged participants. Ainsley’s 10 year old boy entered the sack race and he stood around with some of the other fathers and associates of his with his cup of wine punch for encouragement.
James and Alston placed their bets and found a drinks table. They went over to watch Robert compete in the sack race.
Ben walked over to the rails and rested a foot on the bottom one. He had his drink in hand and looked around for John Legrand but didn’t see him. He’d been out to the race track daily too. He hadn’t seen anything of John’s Rainbow and decided to hold his judgment until the last race and see how the bets were stacking up.
“Excuse me, Sir, you look like you might know a thing or two about horse races. My sister and I would like to place a bet. I wonder if you might give us your opinion on where to put our money.” Avery looked expectant and didn’t read the man’s face who turned to him. “I’m Avery Pendleton and this is my sister, Polly.”
Ben sized him up.
“Well, Avery Pendleton, it depends on how much money you got to bet and how many bets you wanna place.” He pulled a card out of his pocket and handed to him. “There’s the horses and the owners stables.”
“I see,” Avery looked over the card.
Polly shaded her eyes and looked at the man all dressed in black. Ben noticed her too, how could he not with that flaming hair?
“I reckon you’re pretty as a new penny, Miss Pendleton.”
“Thank you, Sir.” She smiled showing her dimples.
“Oh…Legrand is racing.”
Ben looked over at Avery, “Yep, says Rainbow is the one to win today.”
“I’ll place my bet on Legrand’s horse. Polly, do you want to chose a horse?”
“You choose, Avery, you know I don’t know.”
Avery looked at Ben, “You know, I’m acquainted with Ainsley Legrand.”
“Are you now, well, it ain’t his horse that’s running. John Legrand’s got the stables.”
“Right…I’ll just go and place the bet now, Polly, are you coming?”
“Why don’t you let her stay here, no sense in taking a woman through that mob.”
“Are you sure, Polly?”
“I’ll be fine right here with Mr.-?”
“Ben Wade is the name, Miss.”
There was a mob around the betting booth. Avery walked in front of the grand stand and heard his name called.
“Mr. Pendleton, oh, Mr. Pendleton.”
“Miss Legrand, how good to see you today.”
“Mama, that’s Mr. Pendleton, the one I told you about.”
Jane Pendleton peered down over a row of heads at the young man. She smiled slightly and nodded her head.
“I’m coming down, Mr. Pendleton.”
“You’ll do no such thing…Becca…come back here.”
“I believe your mother is going to be angry with me.”
“She’s just being mother. How are you?”
“I’m very well, thank you, Miss Legrand.”
“Are you going to place a bet?”
“I am if I can get there.”
“I’ll go with you.” She took his arm and walked with him to the booth. While they were waiting she saw her father making his way through the crowd. “There’s Daddy.”
“Becca, what are you doin’ down here?” Then he noticed she had the young man’s arm and a quick flick of his eyes told Avery that was not the thing. “Mr. Pendleton, I believe.”
“Yes, Sir, I’m about to place a bet on Rainbow.”
“Mr. Pendleton is the one that saved my life.”
“So I heard. I suppose I’m in your debt, Mr. Pendleton.”
“Not at all, Sir. It was a small thing. I mean the horses probably would have veered off….she wouldn’t have…” he felt his face going red.
“A small thing…well, Becca, shall we go to the stands?”
“Good-bye, Mr. Pendleton.” She called over her shoulder.
Alston helped usher his girls onto the stands to sit by Jane and then returned to the rails with James. Two fine looking gentlemen received many covert glances from the girls heading for the stands. Neither of them noticed which made them all the more attractive.
“John’s got a carriage in the race.”
“I know…not sure why.” Alston lit a cigar. “He’s not into carriage racing as he is saddle racing.”
“I haven’t seen him at all.”
Alston hoped he wasn’t drunk already. “I’m sure he’s here somewhere. Who is that man over there with the redhead?”
“Um…that’s Ben Wade.”
“What is a Ben Wade?”
“That is a good question, Alston. He’s the one that John lost the warehouse to in a game of cards.”
“Really…that little game nearly broke Ainsley.”
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; Ainsley needs to let go of John. He’ll either right himself or he’ll go under. As long as he knows somebody is there to pick him up he’s not going to straighten himself out.”
“John needs help, James, but the kind of help he needs Ainsley can’t give. He needs Lu to turn back to him. He loves that woman.”
“Damned if I could not after what she’s done to him.”
“She’s not your problem.”
“No, you’re right there, I got enough of my own married to your sister. She’s pregnant again, you know?”
“James, you gotta stop doin’ that.”
“I told her not to go down there, Ainsley.”
“What’s going on with her and Pendleton?”
“Nothing that I know of, she pointed him out to me…why?”
“He runs a grocery store and sells my dairy products.” He turned and gave Jane a meaningful look.
“I’ll keep an eye on it.” She sighed.
John stayed back in the paddocks and only occasionally walked over to the rails.
“Mr. John, we won…we won de carriage race.”
“Dat black ‘un turnt ober an we won!”
“Well…I’ll be damned.”
John walked back and pulled the bottle he’d been nursing out of the straw and took a swig. The next race carried the baby. He couldn’t watch.
Ben left Polly and Avery and went to the betting booth. Rainbow was favored to win according to the board. He pulled out a wad of money and placed the bet.
John rubbed his face, ran his hand though his hair, kicked the fence and barely breathed. His jockey mounted and Rainbow was ready. It was a one mile heat…flat out. He heard the gun and the horses were off. He grabbed the bottle and took another drink. Everything was riding on this race. He’d mortgaged his house for the money and Ben placed the bet for him. He couldn’t bet on his own horse to win. He couldn’t have asked his cousins to place the bet because they would know. He heard the crowd cheering…were they cheering for Rainbow? Another drink from the bottle and he plugged it and stuck it back in the straw. He wasn’t drunk, he really didn’t get drunk anymore
What was happening? It had gone quiet. He stepped toward the rail just as a roar went up from the crowd. What did it mean?
“What? Who won?” He grabbed a groomer.”
He saw his own trainer coming back from the rails with a wide grin. “We done it, Mr. John, we done it!”
He fell to his knees.
Later he emerged from the paddocks and sought his family. Alston was the first that grabbed him and hugged him, James, Ainsley, everyone was smiling and congratulating him. He’d done it.
“I think we won, Polly.” Avery wasn’t sure what to do now.
“Go collect your money, boy.” Ben grinned. There was time enough to collect his and John’s.