Whenever an Intellectual Queen pushed the Button, Elmer was right there with a Pitcher of Ice Water.
His Researches had proved to him that one of the Keenest Enjoyments of City Life is to remain away from the glaring Lobster Palace, especially when one can get one's Mallard Duck free of charge in a Flat renting for $6000 a Year.
Elmer became identified with the Cleaning Brigade of the Reform Element simply by riding on the Current of Events.
Adapting himself unconsciously to his antisepticized Environment, he acquired the Art of putting over the saccharine Extemporaneous Address, and he could smile, with his Teeth exposed, for an Hour at a time.
In fact, he was a great Success.
At first he took in the Symphony Orchestra because he was dragged thither. After about two years the Virus had permeated his System, and he was a regular Brahmsite. If he didn't get a full dose of Peer Gynt every few days, he was as nervous as a Cat.
The tall and straight-grained Heiress who finally landed him was only too glad to slip him the Bank-Book and tell him to go and sit in with the other Directors.
And now, having become a shiny Pillar in the Presbyterian Temple and one of the most respected Umbrella-Carriers on the Avenue, he felt a longing to beat it back to the home Burg and exhibit his Virtues to the members of the I-Knew-Him-When Club.
He wanted to patronize the Friends of his Youth and note the Expressions of Discomfiture on the so-called Faces of Aunt Lib and Uncle Jethro, both of whom had told around that he was a Gnat (Net) and never would amount to a Hill of Beans.
Elmer expected to find the same spotted Dog asleep in front of the Commercial Hotel and the same Stick Candy exhibited in the Show Windows.
But, while he had been witnessing the downfall of Evil in the busy Metropolis, the Home Town had been putting on a little Side-Show of its own.
Along at the gateway of the 20th Century, every undersized Hamlet shown in the Atlas became seized with a Desire to throw on City Lugs.
The same Father who had marked the Talmage Book for Elmer became Chairman of the House Committee in a Club which undertook to serve anything usually found on either side of a Cash Register.
Being in the heart of the Residence District, this select Organization could not obtain a regular License.
However, having the moral support of the Best People, it maintained a Blind Pig.
The combination of Blind Pig, two playful Kitties up-stairs, and a lot of gay Dogs spread out on the upholstered Chairs, certainly proved to be some Menagerie.
It was a matter of Pride with the Members that the Colored Boy could shake up anything known to the Regular Trade at the Knickerbocker or the Plaza.
One of their main Delights, also, was to welcome the Stranger, who thought he was sojourning among the Rubes, and lead him into the Roodle Department, the purpose being to get him out on a Limb and then saw off the Limb.
Poker was written in a Small Town. The Hay-Mow Graduate with a limited Income, who counts up every Night and sets aside so much for Wheat Cakes, can hold them closer to his Bosom and play them tighter than any Shark that ever floated down the Mississippi.
The newcomer who tried to be Liberal usually went home in his Stocking Feet.
Day by Day the Progressive Element in the Community widened its Horizon, and the Country Club became a Necessity.
The 9-hole Course was laid out by a Scotch Professional, and every Locker contained something besides Clubs.
When the Church Bells were ding-donging at 10 A.M. on Sunday, the former Teacher of the Bible Class and the backsliding Basso of the Choir would be zig-zagging around the Links, the Stake being a Ball a Hole.
Elmer's Father became a Demon with the Irons and had his Name engraved on a Consolation Cup.
Simultaneous with the Golf Epidemic, a good many Families that could not afford Kitchen Cabinets began to glide around in red Touring-Cars.
Any one smelling the Blue Smoke along Main Street and then looking both ways before dashing across to the Drug Store was compelled to admit that the Jays had awakened from their Long Sleep.
Refined Vawdyville was on tap daily, and the Children of those who were only moderately well-to-do knew all the latest improper Songs.
While the men were changing from Jumpers to Tuxedos, the Sisters had not remained stationary.
The Lap Supper was formally abolished soon after Puff Sleeves went out.
Girls who had been brought up on Parchesi and Muggins would sit around the Bridge Table all afternoon, trying to cop out some Lace for the new Party Dress.
An imported Professor taught the Buds how to Tango and Trot.
Within a week after a new one had horrified Newport, the Younger Set would have it down pat and be mopping up the floor with one another.
Of course they were denounced by the local Ministers, but the Guilty Parties never heard the Denunciations, as they were out Motoring at the time.
Whenever there was a Big Session, all Bridles were removed and the Speed Limit abolished.
Riding home in the Livery Hacks about 4 A.M., the Merry-Makers would be all in, but much gratified to know that Vienna and Paree had nothing on them as regards Rough House.
All the Elite would get together and open a Keg of Spikes at the slightest Provocation.
It was remarkable how much Dull Care they could banish in one Evening, especially if they got an Early Start.
The Town Pump did a punk Business, but the Side-Boards blossomed with Fusel Oil and Fizzerine.
Intense Excitement prevailed when word came that Elmer was En Route. Little Knots of People could be seen standing on the Corners, framing a Schedule of Entertainment which involved nearly everything except Sleep.
They said to themselves: "It is up to us to show this proud Pill from the City that we can be a bit Goey when the Going is right. If he thinks he can pull any new Wrinkles on the Provincials, he is entitled to another Think. We must get into our Evening Glads early this Afternoon and clear the Decks for a Hard Night."
While they were making these grim Preparations, Elmer was doubled up in Section 8, reading a sterilized Magazine from Boston. Subconsciously he counted the peaceful Days that would ensue.
He figured on going back to the dear old Room under the Eaves, with a patch-work Quilt on the Four-Poster and a Steel Engraving of U. S. Grant on the Wall.
Having devoted many Days to the Annual Report of the Purity Brigade, he was due to turn in at 9 o'clock each evening, while recuperating in the Country.
The sanctified Product of the new and regenerative Influences at work in every City was plunked down in the Hot-bed of Gaiety at about 4 P.M.
The Comrades of his Boyhood were massed on the Platform. As he alighted, they sang, "Hail! Hail! the gang's All Here!" and so on and so on.
They had acquired a Running Start. It was their belief that Elmer would be gratified to know that all the Elect had become slightly spiffed in his Honor.
They sent his Stuff up to the House, crowded Two-Weeks' Cards into his Pockets, and bore him away in a Town Car to the Club, where Relays were waiting to extend Hospitality to the returned Exile until he was Plastered.
They seemed to think he had devoted the years of his Absence to building up a Thirst.
Their Dismay was genuine when he timidly informed the Irrigation Committee that he desired Vichy.
They told him he was a Celluloid Sport and that his refusal to Libate was little short of an Affront.
Escaping from the Comanches, he hurried to the Old Homestead to sit by the Grate Fire and tease the Cat.
He found Pa and Ma dolled up like a couple of aristocratic Equines, much Awning over the Front Stoop, and strange Waiters hot-footing through the Hallways.
In order to make it seem as much like the City as possible, they had ribbed up a swell combination Gorge and Deluge, to be followed by an Indoor Circus, a Carnival of Terpsichorean Eccentricities, and a correct Reproduction of Monte Carlo at the height of the Season.
Therefore, when their Only Child suggested that he would fain hie to the Husks at a Reasonable Hour, they told him that Slumber was made for Slaves and to take his Feet out of his Lap and move around.
Having led a sheltered Life among the devotees of Jane Addams and Jacob Riis, he was dazed and horrified to find himself suddenly subjected to the demoralizing Influences of the Small Town.
They scoffed at him when he said that his regular twilight Repast was a saucer of granose Flakes, a mere sliver of White Meat, and some diluted Milk.
His home was near the White Light District, and they just knew that he was accustomed to bathe in the Bubbles.
He sat back benumbed for many hours watching the wicked Rustics perform.
He had read about such things in the reports of the Commission, but this was the first time that he had ever really been Slumming.
When he weakened on the Bumper Proposition and disavowed any familiarity with the Texas Tommy spasm or the fine points of Auction, the sophisticated ones exchanged significant Glances.
They tumbled to the Fact that Elmer was not such a much, even if he did reside at Headquarters. It was evident that he had not been travelling with the Real Razmataz Rompers.
He was panned to a Whisper next day. The Verdict was in. Elmer was branded as a Dead One.
He is now in the crowded City, trying to arrange to have his rowdy Parents come on and take the Cure.
MORAL: Those having the most Time to devote to a Line of Endeavor usually become the most Proficient.
THE NEW FABLE OF WHAT TRANSPIRES AFTER THE WIND-UP
Once upon a time Ferdinand breathed right into Adele's translucent Listener those three Words which hold all Records as monosyllabic Trouble-Makers.
They have a harmless look on the Printed Page, but when pulled at the Psychological turn of the Road, they become the Funeral Knell of Bachelor Freedom and a Prelude to cutting the String on whatever has been put by.
The Serpent, operating in the guise of a Lover in a Serge Suit, had lured, cajoled, wheedled, and finessed until the poor trembling Child, only twenty-four years of Age, was alone with him in what the Landscaper had worked off on her Papa as a Formal Garden.
They stood clinched there in the dull Sunset Glow, with a Pergola for a Background. It was all very Belasco and in strict compliance with the League Rules laid down by W. Somerset Maugham.
According to the $2 Drama and every bright red Volume selling for $1.18 at a Department Store, this was—
The Curtain began to descend very slowly, with Ferdinand and Adele holding the Picture.
It seems, however, that they had not come to the real, sure-enough Finis. The Terminus was some distance down the Line.
The Curtain refused to fall.
"What is the idea?" asked Adele, somewhat perturbed. "We have hit the logical Climax of our Romance. As I understand it, we are now supposed to ascend in a Cloud and float through Ethereal Bliss for an indefinite Period.
"Right-o!" said Fiance. "According to all the approved Dope, we are booked to live happily ever after."
Just then Her Best Friend came rapidly down the Gravel Walk with Anxiety stenciled on her Features.
The accepted Swain seemed to hear a low rumbling Wagnerian Effect from out the Clear Sky. In Music-Drama it is known as the Hammer Theme.
It is included in the Curriculum at every Fem Sem.
Ferdinand had a Hunch that somebody was getting ready to drop Cyanide of Potassium into his Cup of Joy.
"Oh, Adele!" said the Friend, just like that. "Oh, Adele, may I speak to you for a Mo-munt?"
Ferdinand made his Exit, much peeved, and the Friend expressed a Hope that she had arrived in time to throw the Switch and avert the Wrecking of a Life.
Far be it from her to Snitch, but it was her Duty to put Adele wise to what every one was whispering Under Cover.
She had no absolute Proof that he had carried on with a Front Row Floss in New Haven, but it was Common Talk that one of his Uncles had been a Regular at a Retreat where the Doctor shoots a Precious Metal into the Arm.
It would be terrible to marry someone and then find out that he Drank, the same as all the other Married Men.
Leaving Adele in a Deep Swoon, the true Friend hurried to the nearest Public 'Phone to spread the dismal Tidings.
In the meantime the elated Lover had loped all the way to the University Club to spring it on the Navajos and receive their Felicitations.
His Rapture had rendered him fairly incoherent, and he was gurgling like an after-dinner Percolator; but he finally made it evident that he had been Hooked.
A deep Silence ensued, most of those present looking out the Window at the passing Traffic.
Finally a Shell-Back, who had been leading a Life of Single Torment ever since Sumter was fired upon, asked in a sepulchral Tone and without looking up from his Hand, "Has the Date been set?"
Ferdinand tried to tell them that he was going to the Altar and not to the Electric Chair, but he couldn't get a single Slap on the Back.
The only one evincing Interest was a He-Hen named Herbert, who took him into the Cloak-Room to plant a few Canadian Thistles in the Garden of Love.
Herb said he had always liked the Girl, even if she had given a couple of his Best Pals the Whillykathrow.
His Advice was to up and marry her before she had time to pull one of her temperamental Stunts and hand out the Rinkaboo.
Possibly if she could be weaned away from her eccentric Relations and governed with a Firm Hand she would turn out O.K.
Still, it was a tall Gamble. Under the Circumstances, he didn't see that there was anything for Ferdinand to do except mop up a few Drinks and hope for the Best.
When Ferdy looked at himself in the Mirror at Midnight, he didn't know whether he was Engaged or merely operating under a Suspended Sentence.
Next morning he had to bare his Soul to the Head of the Firm. This revered Fluff should have been known as Mr. Yes-But.
He was strong for the Married State, but it was highly advisable to have the Girl analyzed by a Chemist and passed upon by a Board of Experts before a Bid was submitted.
The Sunflower Paths of Dalliance were leading mostly to Reno, Nevada, and the Article commonly known as Love was merely a disinclination to continue eating Breakfast alone.
He said a Good Woman was a Jewel, but if one of them got a fair Run and Jump at a Check-Book she could put the National City Bank on the Hummer.
Probably it was all right to go ahead, and take the High Hurdle, but the Percentage was against the Candidate, and the Cost of Living was never so altitudinous.
Ferdinand retired from the Royal Presence feeling that he had been duly authorized to walk a Tight Rope over Niagara Falls.
As soon as the Bride-Elect had taken enough Headache Powders to prepare her for the Ordeal, she sent for the Suspect to come up to the House and outline his Defense.
They put in a humid Evening. When the falling Tears had made the Drawing-Room too soppy for further use, they moved into the Hallway and he continued to think up Alibis.
At 11 P.M. he had explained Everything, repudiated many lifelong Friendships, deodorized his College Career, flouted the Demon Rum, and resigned from all Clubs.
The Birds were singing up and down the Main Stairway and Grandfather's Clock played nothing but Mendelssohn.
She lay damply pillowed on his Bosom. He was intensely relieved and yet vaguely conscious of the Fact that she had beat him to it. There had been a General Settlement, and he had figured merely as Supreme Goat.
In his anxiety to get the Kinks out of his own Record he had failed to hold her up for anything except a Pardon.
Before terminating the Peace Conference, it was suggested that inasmuch as every one else in the World had been notified, probably it would be just as well to let her Male Parent in on the Secret. Not that Father is regarded as a Principal in the up-to-date Household. Still, he is useful as a Super.
The old Gentleman was so soft that he nearly tipped his Hand. He gave Ferdinand a regular Cigar and then stalled for about 30 Seconds before indicating a Willingness to sign any form of Contract.
He pulled the Old One to the effect that the House would not seem the same after Addie had gone away, meaning that Breakfast would be served in the Morning and the Night Shift abolished.
When Ferdinand got back to his Room and counted up, he had to admit that Father was the only Outsider who seemed to be plugging for the Alliance.
But all petty Suspicions and unworthy Doubts flickered and disappeared when Nightfall came and Queenie was once more cuddled within the strong right Fin, naming over some of the Men that he mustn't speak to any more.
The course of True Love ran smooth for a couple of Days, and then came a letter from his People, expressing the hope that he had picked out a devout Unitarian. Otherwise the Progeny would start off under a terrible Handicap.
He knew that Adele favored the Suffrage Thing and that she had read a Book on how to recover from a Dance by lying down and giving a Recitation, but he never had suspected her of any real Religious Scruples.
Before he could tell her how the Little Ones had been predestined, she notified him that her kinsmen had been peering into the Future and that all the problematical Offspring had been put on the Waiting List at the First Baptist Church.
Here was a grand Opening for Ferdinand. He resolved to make a Stand and issue a ringing Ultimatum. He might as well tip it off to her and the whole Tribe that he was to be Caesar in his own Shack.
So he went up to her House ready to die in the last Ditch rather than yield to the advocates of Immersion. After viewing the Problem in all its Aspects, he and Honey compromised by deciding that the Bairns were to be orthodox Baptists.
Having sponged every Blot from the Escutcheon and laid out the Labels for all Generations yet unborn, the incipient Benedick thought there would be nothing more to it except Holding Hands and watching the Calendar.
Just then a Dress-Maker swooped down and stole away the Light of his Life.
Every time he went up to scratch on the Door and beg for a Kiss, a Strange Lady with Pins in her Mouth would come out and shoo him away, explaining that the Pearl of Womanhood was laid out in the Operating Room, being measured for something additional.
Occasionally he saw her, at one of the many Dinners decreed by Custom. They had to sit Miles apart, with Mountains of unseemly Victuals stacked between them, while some moss-grown Offshoot of the Family Tree rose and conquered his Asthma long enough to propose a Toast to the Bride.
What they really craved was a Dim Corner and a box of Candied Cherries.
The only Speeches they wished to hear could have been constructed out of the 40 words of standard Baby Talk, comprising what is known as the Mush Vocabulary.
Yet they had to muster the same old property Smile every time that Charley Bromide or old Mr. Platitude lifted a shell of sparkling Vinegar and fervently exclaimed, "Thuh Bride!"
Even after the Menu had been wrecked and the satiated Revelers had laboriously pried themselves away from the decorated Board, there was no escape.
The Women Folks led Adele away to some remote Apartment to sound a Few Warnings, while the Men sat around in the Blue Smoke and joshed Ferdinand to a fare-ye-well.
Each morning he found in his Mail a few Sealed Orders from Headquarters and about as many Stage Directions as would be required for putting on the Annual Show at the Hippodrome.
When he was not begging some one to come and Ush for him, he was either checking over the Glove List with a terrified Best Man or getting measured for a full layout of dark Livery that made him look like a refined Floor-Walker.
It seemed that Adele had a Step-Mother who had been crouched for Years waiting for a chance to bust into the Papers. Nothing would do her but a regular Madison Square Phantasmagoria, with two Rings and an elevated Platform.
She wanted Ribbons down the Aisle and little Girls sprinkling Posies, a Concert Orchestra buried under the Palms, and a few extra Ministers of the Gospel just to dress the Pulpit.
Every superfluous Accessory devised by the Nerve Specialist and approved by the Court of Bankruptcy was woven into the Nuptial Circus when Ferdinand and Adele were made one and Unhookable.
The Rehearsals somewhat resembled the Moving Pictures of the Durbar at Delhi.
As a final Preparation for the Stupendous Pageant, the Groom sat up all night in the Dipsomania Club, watching the Head-Liners of the Blue Book demolish Glassware.
According to the dictates of Fashion, one who is about to assume the solemn Responsibilities of Matrimony should abstain from Slumber for a week, devoting the time thus saved to a full consideration of Food and Drink.
The Ambulance bore his Remains to the Church. A few faithful Hang-Overs lifted him through the Portals, with his Toes dragging somewhat in the Rear.
They propped him against a Pilaster and told him his Name and begged him not to weaken, no matter what the Preacher might put up to him.
Soon after he saw a Haggard Creature all fluffed about with White advancing unsteadily toward him. With the Make-Up, she did not look a Day over 47.
He did not hear any of the Service, but those who were more fortunate told him afterward that it was a very Pretty Wedding, and that the Presents they got were Simply Great.
MORAL: Too many Trained Nurses discommode Cupid.
THE DREAM THAT CAME OUT WITH MUCH TO BOOT
Once there was a provincial Tradesman who gave his Yokemate a Christmas Present. It was a kind of Dingus formerly exhibited on the What-Not in almost every polite Home.
By peering through at the twin Photographs and working it like a Slide Trombone, one could get ravishing glimpses of Trafalgar Square, Lake Como, and the Birthplace of Bobby Burns.
Nearly every evening the Tradesman would back up to the Student Lamp and put in a delirious half-hour with the Views.
While gazing up the Rue de Rivoli or across the rice paddies at the snowy cap of Fuji, his Blood would become het by the old boyhood Desire to sail across the Blue to Foreign Parts.
Those who saw him mowing the Lawn little suspected that he was being inwardly eaten by the Wanderlust.
The Tradesman, Edwin by name, and his Managing Director, Selena, formed the magic-lantern Habit away back in the days of Stoddard. They never missed a chance to take in Burton Holmes. Sitting in the darkness, they would hold hands and simply eat those Colored Slides.
Selena belonged to a Club that was trying to get a side-hold on the Art and Architecture of the Old World. She had a smouldering Ambition to ride a Camel in the Orient and then come home and put it all over a certain proud Hen who had spent six weeks in Europe.
One visit to Niagara Falls and a glorious week of Saengerfest at Cincinnati had simply whetted her desire to take Edwin by the hand and beat it all the way around the Globe, via Singapore. To prepare herself for the Grand Tour, she took 12 lessons in French and read up on the Taj Mahal.
She had to wait patiently until Edwin was threatened with a Nervous Break-Down. At last the Happy Day arrived when the Specialist told him he must make his choice between a long Sea Voyage and a slow ride to the Family Lot.
Selena used Hydraulic Pressure in packing her Wardrobe Trunks. She took all her circus Duds and a slew of Hats so that she could make the proper Front, while being entertained Abroad.
Edwin had secured a Passport which identified him as a male white Person, entitled to all the Courtesies and Privileges usually extended to an American Citizen holding a Passport.
They were on the verge of the Jumps when they boarded the Train, but they hoped to Relax and get a lot of Sleep on the Ocean Greyhound.
A few days later they were curled up in a Cabin de Luxe about the size of a Telephone Booth, waiting for the Ocean Greyhound to recover from an attack of Hydrophobia.
When they tottered down the Gang-Plank, after six days on the playful North Atlantic, their only Comfort was derived from the knowledge that, as soon as they had rested up, they could write home and quote the Second Officer as saying it was the roughest Passage he had ever Known.
After spending a few days in London, trying to get warm, they moved on to Paris, which they remembered long afterward on account of Napoleon's Tomb and the price of Strawberries.
Selena pulled her tall-grass French on a Hackman, but there was nothing doing. He had taken it from a different Teacher.
So they employed a Guide who knew all the Shops. If Selena happened to admire a Trinket or some outre Confection with Lace slathered on it, a perfumed Apache in a Frock Coat would take Edwin into a side room, give him the sleeve across the Wind-Pipe, and bite a piece out of his Letter of Credit.
Edwin did a little quick work with the Pencil and said they could either hurry on or else hie back to the Home Town and begin Life all over again.
Three weeks after saying good-bye to Griddle Cakes they were in Naples, which they had seen pictured on so many Calendars.
Looking back across the Centuries they recalled the Clerks standing in the Doorways and the friends of the Progressive Euchre Club. It was sweet to remember that the world was not made up entirely of cadging Head Waiters.
Once in a while they would venture from the Hotel to run footraces with the yelping Lazzaroni or try to look at Vesuve without paying seven or eight members of the Camorra for the Privilege.
After being chased back into the Hotel, they would sit down and address Post-Cards by the Hour, telling how much they were enjoying the stay in Napoli, home of Song and Laughter.
Their only chance of catching even on the Imperial Suite at $9 a Day was to make the Folks back at the Whistling Post think they were playing Guitars and dancing the Tarantella, whatever that is.
Next we see them in Egypt, still addressing Post-Cards, and offering anything within Reason for a good Cup of Coffee.
Somehow, sitting in the dusky Tombs didn't seem to help their Nostalgia.
Not that they would own up to being Home-Sick. No, indeed! They kept writing back that they enjoyed every Minute spent among the Cemeteries and Ruins, or sailing up the Nile, and Edwin was holding up wonderfully, for an Invalid.
Only, when either of them spoke of the Children, or Corned-Beef Hash, or the Canary, a long Silence would ensue, and then the Nervous Wreck would cheer her by computing that they would be in God's Country within four months, if they escaped Shipwreck, Sunstroke, and Bubonic Plague.
While parboiling themselves down the Red Sea it began to soak in on them that, east of Suez, the Yank has about as much standing as the Ten Commandments.
They could have endured sleeping in a Trough and bathing with a damp Towel and eating Food kept over from the year before, if their Fellow Voyagers had made a slight fuss over them or evinced some interest in the wonders of North America.
The Congressman at home had assured them, on numerous occasions, that Columbia was the Jim of the Ocean and the most upholstered portion of the entire Foot-Stool.
Consequently, it was somewhat disconcerting to meet British Subjects who never had heard of Quincy, Illinois, and who moved their Deck Chairs every time they were given a chance to hear about it.
Back in the Middle West, Edwin and Selena had been Mountains arising from the Plain. At all points beyond Greenwich, they were simply two unconsidered fragments of Foreign Substance.
The Passport did not seem to get them anything. While being walked upon by the haughty Tea-Drinkers they could not claim the protection of the American Flag, because they didn't see the Starry Banner after leaving New York, except in front of a Fake Auction Sale, arranged especially for Tourists.
By the time they found themselves in that vast bake-oven known as India they were benumbed and submissive and had settled into a Routine.
They would arrive in a New Town, fly to the Hotel, unpack, go out and buy their colored Post-Cards, come back to the Dump (usually called the Grand Hotel Victoria), address Cards to all the Names on the list, then pack up, pay the Overcharges, and ride to the Railway Station, accompanied by a small regiment of Bashi-Bazouks who were looking for Theirs.
The sight of a Temple threw Edwin into a Relapse, but he would have given $8,000 for one look at the galvanized Cornice of the Court House.
Selena was still buying Souvenirs, but doing it mechanically, as if in a Trance.
They had been stung with so many Oriental Phoneys and stuck up so often that they had gone Yellow and lost their Nerve.
When they saw an outstretched Palm, they came across without a Whimper.
Cousin Ella, back among the Corn Fields, pictured them as riding a caparisoned Elephant up to the marble Palace of the Gaekwar of Baroda, where Edwin would flash his Passport and then the distinguished Guests would be salaamed to the Peacock Throne.
Nothing like it. They were led up to highly odorous Bazaars conducted by lineal Descendants of the 40 Thieves.
Often, while riding in the dusty Cattle Cars and looking out at the parched Plains, they would think of the shaded Front Porch, only 5 minutes from Barclay's Drug Store, where they sold the Ice Cream Soda. Moaning feebly, they would return to the italicized Guide Book.
The Chow consisted largely of Curry and Rice, the medicinal flavor of which was further accentuated by Butter brought in Tins all the way from Sweden.
Although the Heat was intense, they found occasional Relief in sitting next the Britons and getting a few Zephyrs direct from the Ice-Box.
Each day they would purchase a Newspaper about the size of a Bed-Spread and search eagerly for American News. Once in a while they would learn that Congress had met or another Colored Person had been burned at the Stake. It cheered them immensely to know that the Land of the Free was still squirming.
At Rangoon they met a weary Countryman headed in the opposite direction. He was a hard-faced Customer who was fighting the Climate with Gin and Bitters, but they fell upon him and wanted to Kiss him when they learned that he had once met Selena's Uncle at Colorado Springs.
They told him how to save time in getting across India, and he gave them a list of Places in China and Japan that might be dodged to advantage.
Year after year in the months of March and April they continued on their tedious Way through the burning Tropics.
Sometimes they came to a discouraged belief that the World was one bluey expanse, disturbed by Flying Fish.
Then they would spend weary Ages along the avenues of white Lime-Kilns, looking at Countless millions of hungry Brunettes in fluttering Nighties.
Their principal Occupation, when not setting down Expressions of Delight on the Post-Cards, was to study Time-Tables and cable ahead for Reservations.
The Invalid's one desire was to get home and take a regular Bath before being laid out.
Hong Kong pleased them exceedingly because they learned, by consulting Mr. Mercator's Projection, that they were on the Home Stretch and, with Luck in their favor, might live to see another Piece of Huckleberry Pie.
Japan they liked the best of all. At Yokohama they received a bundle of Dailies only six weeks old, giving full Particulars of a Wedding and telling who was about to run for Mayor.
As soon as they were on the Pacific and headed for a refined Vaudeville Show, they began to recover the brave Spirit of Travel and blow about what they had seen.
The Towns and Temples and Tombs and Treasures of Art were all jumbled together, but, by daily reference to Baedeker and Murray, they were enabled to find out where they had been and what they had seen with their own Eyes and how it impressed them at the time.
Before touching at Honolulu they were real enthusiastic about India. They advised the awe-stricken Listener who had not been all the Way around to be sure and take in Penang and Johore and, if necessary, they would give him Letters of Introduction.
They said it had been a Wonderful Experience. Yes, indeed. And broadening. Very. Then Edwin would wander to the front end of the Ship and want to climb out on the Bowsprit so as to be in Frisco ahead of anybody else.
He convalesced rapidly as they approached the Golden Gate, for he knew that in a few days he would unpack for good and gallop down to the office and not have to worry about Travelling.
The only Dark Cloud on the Shore hung above the Custom House. They looked at all the Junk wished upon them by the simple Children of the Far East and didn't know whether to declare it for what it cost or what it was really worth.
Being conscientious Members of the Church, they modified their Perjury and smuggled only the usual amount of Carvings and hand-embroidered Stuff.
Two hours after landing, Edwin saw a Porter-House Steak and burst into tears.
They sped eastward by the first Train, still busy with the little Red Books, for they knew they would have to answer a lot of Questions.
"Shall we own up and tell them the Awful Truth?" asked Selena.
"Not on your Esoteric Buddhism," replied Edwin. "We never will be rewarded for our Sufferings unless we convince the Neighbors that we had a run for our Money. It was a troubled Nightmare, in Spots, but when I lecture in the Church Parlor I am going to burn Joss Sticks and pull every variety of Bunk made famous by Sir Edwin Arnold and Lafcadio Hearn."
On the following Tuesday, Selena appeared at the Club with her Mandarin Coat and the long Hindoo Ear-Rings. She had them frozen in their Chairs.
MORAL: Be it ever so Hard to Take, there is no Place like away from Home.
THE NEW FABLE OF THE TOILSOME ASCENT AND THE SHINING TABLE-LAND
Once upon a time, out in the Rubber Boot Reservation, the Stork came staggering up to a Frame Dwelling with a hefty Infant. The arrival was under the Zodiacal Sign of Taurus, the Bull. Every Omen was propitious.
When the Gallery was admitted, on the third day, the gaping Spectators observed that the Youngun had an open Countenance, somewhat like a Channel Cat, a full head of Hair bushing at the nape of the neck, and a hypnotic Eye; so they knew he was destined for the Service of the Public.
Even while he was in the custody of the Old Women of the Township, he began reaching for everything he saw and testing his Voice. He claimed his Rations frequently and with insistence.
While he was demonstrating an elastic Capacity, the head Prophetess called attention to his aggressive Style and predicted a political Career.
It was a cinch Horoscope, for the Begetters were a successful Auctioneer and a Poetess of local repute.
The Child was christened Sylvester, in anticipation of his Future Greatness.
Several years later, when he rebelled against going to the Barber Shop and began to speak Pieces on the slightest provocation, the Parents rejoiced over these budding symptons of Statesmanship and bought him a Drum.
At school he was a Dummy in Mathematics and a Lummux when it came to Spelling Down, but every Friday afternoon he was out in the lead, wearing Bells.
Before he acquired a Vocabulary or accumulated Data, he got by on his Nerve. In later years he never forgot that Facts are non-essential if the Vocal Cords are in tune.
When the Pupils tackled the old standby, "Resolved, that Education is better than Riches," he could tremolo on the Affirmative one week and then reverberate for the Negative one week later, never doubting his own Sincerity at any stage of the Game.
The grinding classmates who had secured the mark of A in Geometry and Rhetoric were not in the running on Commencement Day.
Our Hero got his Diploma on a Fluke, but when he appeared on the Rostrum between an Oleander and the Members of the Board, with Goose-Goose on the Aureole, the new Store Suit garnished with a leaf of Geranium and a yellow Rose-Bud, and the Gates Ajar Collar lashed fast with his future Trade-Mark: viz., a White Bow Tie—he had all the Book Worms crushed under his Heel.
He pulled out the stop marked "Vox Humana" and begged his Hearers to lift the sword of Justice and with it smite the Deluge of Organized Wealth which was crouched and ready to spring upon the Common People.
In pleading the cause of Labor, he spoke as an Expert, for once he had strung a Clothes-Line for his Mother.
He got the biggest Hand of any one at the Exercises. After denouncing the predaceous Interests he relapsed into an attitude of Meditation, with the Chin on the starched Front, very much like a Steel Engraving of Daniel Webster.
The enthralled Townsmen, seeing him thus, with the Right Hand buried in the Sack Suit and the raven Mop projecting in the rear, allowed that there was nothing to it. He was a Genius and billed through for the Legislature.
Some Boys have to go to College to get a Shellac Finish, but Sylvester already had the Dark Clothes and the Corrugated Brow and a voice like a Tuba, so, to complete his Equipment, he merely had to sit tilted back in a Law Office for a few months and then borrow Money to get a Hat such as John A. Logan used to wear.
All who saw him move from Group to Group along the Hitch Rack on Saturday afternoon, shaking hands with the Rustics and applying the Ointment, remarked that Ves was a young man of Rare Promise and could not be held back from the Pay-Roll for any considerable length of Time.
He was one of the original 787 Boy Orators of the Timothy Hay Section of the Imperial Middle West.
At every hotel Banquet, whether by the Alumni of the Shorthand College or under the auspices of the Piano Movers' Pleasure Club, he was right up at the Head Table with his Hair rumpled, ready to exchange a Monologue for a few warm Oysters and a cut of withered Chicken.
On Memorial Day it was Sylvester who choked up while laying his Benediction on the Cumrads of the G. A. R.
On Labor Day he unbuttoned his Vest all the way down, held a trembling Fist clear above the leonine Mat, and demanded a living Wage for every Toiler.
Consequently he acquired repute as a staunch Friend of the Agriculturist, the Steam Fitter, the Old Soldier, the Department Store Employee, and others accustomed to voting in Shoals. In order to mature himself and be seasoned for onerous Responsibilities, he waited until he was 22 years of age before attempting to gain a frontage at the Trough.
It was highly important that he should serve the Suvrin People in some Capacity involving Compensation. It was fairly important to him and it was vitally important to a certain Woman of gambling Disposition, who operated a Boarding-House.
Sylvester was the type of Lawyer intensely admired but seldom employed, save by Criminals entirely bereft of Means.
In addition to his Board, the young Barrister actually required a pouch of Fine Cut and a clean White Tie every week, so he was impelled by stern Necessity to endeavor to hook up with a Salary.
Because Sylvester had administered personal Massage to every Voter within five Miles of his office, he thought he could leap into the Arena and claim an immediate Laurel Wreath by the mere charm and vigor of his Personality.
He ignored the Whispering Ikes who met in the dim Back Room, with Cotton plugged in the Key Hole.
The Convention met, and when it came time to nominate a Candidate for State's Attorney, all of Sylvester's tried and true Friends among the Masses were at home working in the Garden or spread out in the Hammock.
The Traction Engine pulled the Juggernaut over the Popular Idol.
They lit on him spraddled out. They gave him the Doo-Doo.
When the Battle had ended, he was a mile from the cheerful Bivouac, lying stark in the Moonlight.
He was supposed to be eliminated. The only further recognition accorded him would be at the Autopsy.
Next day he was back in his usual Haunts, with an immaculate Bow Tie and a prop Smile, shaking hands with all who had so recently harpooned him. As a Come-Back he was certainly the resilient Kid.
Those who had marveled at his sole-leather Organ of Speech, now had to admire his sheet metal Sensibilities, nor could they deny that he possessed all the attributes of a sound and durable Candidate.
He had learned his Primer lesson in Politics. As soon as he saw that he could not throw the Combination, he joined it.
He came into the Corral and lay down in the Dust and allowed them to brand him as a Regular.
Sylvester became the White Slave of the Central Committee, knowing that eventually true Patriotism would have to be recognized and recompensed.
When he came to bat the second time he had the Permanent Chairman and the Tellers and all the Rough-Necks plugging for him, consequently it was a Pipe.
But it was a case of Reverse English on Election Day, for the venal Opposition rode into power on a Tidal Wave.
After the Tide had receded, Sylvester was found asleep among the Clams and Sea-Weed, apparently so far gone that a Pulmotor would be no help.
Three days later, however, he was on hand, with chaste Neckwear and a jaunty Front, to make a Presentation Speech to the Chief of the Fire Department.
Talk about your Rubber Cores! The harder they trun him down the higher he bounced back.
Those who had been marked by Fate to be his Constits began to see that Sylvester was something inevitable and not to be denied.
What though his Detractors called him a Four-Flush and a False Alarm, alleging that a true analysis of his Mentality would be just about as profitable as dissecting a Bass Drum?
The more they knocked, the more oleo-margarine became his beaming Countenance, for he knew that Calumny avails naught against a White Tie in the Hot-Bed of cut-and-dried Orthodoxy.
He played the social String from the W.C.T.U. to the Elks and was a blood-brother of the Tin Horn and the acidulated Elder with the scant Skilligans.
In order to keep the High-Binders and the Epworth Leaguers both on his Staff at one and the same time, he had to be some Equilibrist, so he never hoisted a Slug except in his own Office, where he kept it behind the Supreme Court Reports.
When he went out the third time for the same Job, the Voters saw it was no use trying to block him off, so he landed.
In the full crimson of Triumph, with new Patent Leather Shoes and as much as $40 in his Kick at one time, he never forgot for a moment that he was a servant of the Pe-hee-pul and might want to run for something else in the near future.
He tempered Justice with Mercy and quashed many an Indictment if the Defendant looked like a grateful Geezer who might be useful in his own Precinct.
No one dared to attack him because of the fact that he had delivered a Lecture to the eager young souls at the Y.M.C.A., in which he had exhibited a Road Map and proved that adherence to the Cardinal Virtues leads unerringly to Success.
At the age of thirty-two he broke into the Legislature and began to wear a White Vest, of the kind affected by the more exclusive Bar Tenders. Also a variety of Shroud known as the Prince Albert.
He was fearless in discussing any proposed Measure that did not worry the Farmer Vote in his own District.
As for Wall Street and the Plunderbund, when he got after them, he was a raving Bosco. A regular Woof-Woofer and bite their heads off.
About the time he came up for re-election, a lot of Character-Assassins tried to shell-road him and hand him the Gaff and crowd him into the 9-hole.
They said he had been flirting with the Corporations and sitting in on Jack-Pots and smearing himself at the Pie Counter.
Did they secure his Goat by such crude Methods?
Not while the 5-octave Voice and the enveloping Prince Albert and the snow-white Necktie were in working Trim.
He went over the whole District in an Auto (one of the fruits of his Frugality), and everywhere that Sylvester went the American Eagle was sure to go, riding on the Wind-Shield, and a Starry Banner draped over the Hood.
He waved aside all Charges made against him. To give them serious Heed would be an Insult to the high Intelligence of the Hired Hands gathered within Sound of his Voice. He believed in discussing the Paramount Issues.
So he would discuss them in such a way that the Railway Trains passing by were no interruption whatsoever.
In course of time his Hair outgrew the Legislature. He was on whispering terms with a clean majority of all the Partisans in three connecting Counties, so he bought one Gross of the White String Kind and a pair of Gum Sneakers and began to run amuck as a Candidate for Congress.
Even his trusty Henchmen were frightened to know that he had become obsessed of such a vaulting Ambition.
They did not have him sized, that was all. The farther from home he traveled, the more resounding was the Hit he registered.
The Days of Spring were lengthening and the Campaign was not far distant when Sylvester, after looking at the Signs in the Sky and putting his Ear to the Ground, discovered that he was thoroughly impregnated with the new Progressive Doctrines.
The change came overnight, but he was in the Band Wagon ahead of the Driver.
As nearly as he could formulate his private Platform, he was still true to his Party but likewise very keen for any Reform Measure that 55 per cent. of the Voters might favor, either at the present time or previous to any future Election.
After the heated Radicals in every School District had listened to Sylvester and learned that all his Views coincided to a T with their own revised Schedule, they lined up and landslided.
One November morning Our Hero, no longer a penniless Law Student, but owing, at a conservative Estimate, between $6000 and $8000, sat tranquilly in front of the T-Bone Steak, the Eggs, the Batter Cakes, the Cinnamon Rolls, and the Reservoir of Coffee, comprising the Breakfast of one who always remained near to the Rank and File.
His Hair was roached in a new way, for the Bulletins at Midnight had told him that he was a Congressman.
Those who had known him in the old Free-Lunch Days, when a Tie lasted him for a Week, now felt honored to receive his stately Salutation as he moved slowly from the Post Office up to the Drug Store, to buy his Bronchial Lozenges.
Many of the Lower Classes, as well as the more Prominent People belonging to the Silver Cornet Band, were gathered at the Station when he started for Washington to fight in the impending Battle between the Corn-Shuckers and the Allies of Standard Oil.
Men and Women standing right there in the Crowd could remember when he had borrowed his first Dollar.
And now he was going to stand beneath the dome of the Capitol to weave a new Fabric of Government and see that it didn't crock or unravel.
Sylvester and his glossy Trunk arrived at the Mecca, where they were pleasantly received by the Agent of the Transfer Company in full Uniform, and a Senegambian with a Red Cap, who hunted up the Taxi.
After waiting many weary Years, Sylvester once more had a School Desk of his own. It was in the far corner of a crowded Pit surrounded by elevated Seats.
The Hon. Sylvester found himself entirely surrounded by victims of involuntary Dumbness.
By referring to a printed List he ascertained that he was a member of the Committee on Manual Training for the Alaska Indians.
In his Boarding House he became acquainted with Department Clerks who were well advanced in the technology of Base Ball.
After a few weeks, he was on chatting Terms with a Young Lady in charge of a Cigar and News Counter.
As soon as the Paper was delivered every morning he could find out what had happened in Congress the day before.
If confused by the Cares of State, he sought diversion by taking a Visitor from Home to see the Washington Monument.
After three months, he met a National Committeeman with a Pull who promised to secure him an introduction to the Speaker so that he could maneuver around and get something into the Record before his time was up.
In the meantime, he is heard to advantage on every Roll Call, and the Traducers back in the District have not been able to lay a finger on anything Crooked.
MORAL: There is always Room and Board at the Top.
THE NEW FABLE OF THE AERIAL PERFORMER, THE BUZZING BLONDINE AND THE DAUGHTER OF MR. JACKSON
Once upon a time a Lad with Cinnamon Hair and wide blue Eyes lived in a half-portion Town.
He had received more than 2000 Tickets for answering "Here" at the M. E. Sunday School.
His kinfolk hoped that some day he would be President of the Town Board.
Shortly after he learned to roll a safe game of Pool, his Governor demised.
Robert, such being the full front name of the sole Heir, found that he could not spread his Pinions in the narrow Streets of the lichen-covered Hamlet.
So he blew. He went to find an Avenue that would accommodate seven Zeppelin Air-Ships moving abreast at one time.
He closed out the Dry Goods Emporium with the Shirt-Waists and the shameless Hosiery in the Windows.
An Apartment Building, with Packages delivered at the rear, soon began to flaunt itself on the site of the old Manse.
With all the currency corraled by the late Store-Keeper padded into his Norfolk Jacket, the gallus Offspring hurried to the Metrop to pick the Primroses.
In a short time he was out at the Track every day, barking at the Goats as they hove into the Stretch.
The pencil-borrowing Touts and the Wine Pushers began to call him Bob, which proved that he was a Man about Town.
When the final Kiflukus was put on the Ponies, he assembled the residue of his Bundle and began to work steady as a Guesser in a Broker's Office.
His job was to show at 10 G.M. with a big Reina Victoria at one extreme corner of his Face and pretend to know what was coming off when the Boy put the funny marks on the Blackboard.
Ever and anon he would buy 1000 Shares of something, as if Negotiating for a Bread-Ticket.
As a rule, the tall-grass Plunger with a wad of new Kale has about the same percentage in his favor as that enjoyed by a Shoat out at the well-known Establishment of Armour & Co.
The Cleaners go forth to meet him, bearing as Gifts a Dream-Book and a new kind of Cocktail with a Kick like a Coast-Defense Gun.
A few weeks later they are casting lots for his Union Suit.
Bob came from Simpville, but he had acquired a couple of Wrinkles associating with the Wing Shots in the Paddock.
He could shift to either Foot and he kept his Maxillary covered.
Sometimes he picked up the wrong Walnut. It would begin to look like a quick change from Caviar to Crackers.
More than once his Heels were beating a tattoo on the grassy brink of a Precipice.
Then he would smell around until he discovered Something Doing. A couple of lucky shots and he would be on Velvet again and whanging away like a Demon.
At last, with a Bull Market and a system of Pyramids, he began to sweep it in with his Fore-Arm.
Head Waiters paid him the most groveling Attentions and bright eyes grew brighter yet when he suggested pulling a little Supper, with a $400 Souvenir at each Plate.
He was admitted to full membership in the Tango Tribe of the Tenderloin Night-Riders.
This select Coterie was organized for the purpose of closing all Cabarets by 6 A.M.
An early hour was named because many of them were not made up for the cold Daylight.
About the time he began to discover Vintages he discovered Elphye also.
She was an Actress who was too busy to perform on the Stage.
Elphye had a good Social Position back at her Home but, for some reason, she never sent for it.
Her Parents had arranged for her to be a Brunette, but when Bob met her, between the Guinea Hen and the Cafe Parfait, she was a Lemon Meringue.
Elphye wore Clothes that made a noise like a Piccolo.
She was there with the jeweled Heels and the hand-painted Ankles.
In trying to make her Gowns anywhere from six to nine months ahead of Paris, she sprung several Effects that caused the Chandeliers to tremble and the Ice to melt in the Buckets.
She had abolished her Shape entirely and abandoned the Perpendicular, preferring a Droop which indicated that possibly she had been fashioned over a Barrel.
She tried to model herself on the lines of a string Bean, slightly warped by the Sun.
The Ascending Star of the Financial World was stunned by the Apparition.
No one had tipped it off to him that the Queen of Sheba was to be reincarnated.
He found Elphye ever and ever so accomplished.
She knew all the Songs that now blister the Varnish off the Pianos in so many well-ordered Homes.
She was enough of a Contortionist to get away with several Dances named for the innocent Poultry.
Being a close student of the Bill-Boards she was in touch with Current Happenings.
Her Eye-Work was perfect, but she found it hard pumping to Blush at the right time.
When she tackled Polite Conversation she put a few Tooth-Marks in it. Still she made a very creditable Stab for a Girl brought up in Michigan and never east of Sheepshead Bay.
She looked very creamy to Bob, if the Music was loud enough.
He liked to tow something that would cause the Oyster Forks to pause in midair and the Catty Ones to reach for their Hardware.
When Elphye did a little Barnum and Bailey down the main Chute of a Terrapin Bazaar, rest assured that every Eye in the Resort was aimed at her gleaming Vertebrae.
Bob showed her his monthly Statements and she confessed to being very fond of him. So it was planned that they would Marry some afternoon, if she could get away from the Masseuse early enough.
The Troth was pledged in a few high-priced Trinkets which she had decided upon before he spoke to her.
Just when it seemed a mortal Pipe that the Bull Tactics would enable him to cop a Million, so that he could live at a Hotel and finance the Little Queen, the Unseen Superintendent in the Tower began to throw the Switches of Destiny.
If Bob had not speeded so far into the Country in the Smell-Wagon, there would have been no Flat Tire.
If there had been no Flat Tire, he would have been back in time for the usual round-up of the Irrigation Committee and never would have been a Great Financier.
Marooned among the Hay-Fields, he stopped at a Farm House and took a long chance on some Well-Water, dipped in a Gourd from the Moss-Covered Bucket.
Scotch Whiskey is never contaminated by Surface Drains, but each sparkling Drop of the Fluid that Bob quaffed, there beneath the Willows, contained more than 2,000,000 of the Germs made notorious by Dr. Woods Hutchinson.
A few days later a swarm of Bees settled in each ear. Every Sky-Scraper gave an imitation of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
He knew he was out of Kelter, but he had to watch the Board, for he had put every Bean in the World on an acrobatic Industrial known as Tin Bucket Preferred.
Already the Paper Profits were enormous. Bob figured confidently on another Whoop of 50 points and a double string of Pearls for Elphye.
But when the poor Loon had a Temperature of 5 above Par and had to cling to the Brass Rail to keep from taking the Count, he lost his Nerve entirely.
He couldn't see anything on the Horizon except Tariff Revision, Hard Times, Weeping Women, Starving Kiddies, Closed Factories, Soup Kitchens, and Bread Lines.
While in this dotty State and quite irresponsible, he directed the Manager to close out the whole Smear and sell short.
Furthermore, he was so daffy and curdled in the Filbert that he sold three times as much as he had.
Then he did a couple of Spins and a Flop, and the White Ambulance bore him away to the big Hospital.
If Mr. Hornung Jackson of Round Grove, Maryland, had not entered upon his Second Childhood at the age of 55, his Family would have remained on Easy Street.
Mr. Jackson thought he could sit in his Front Room and read the burglarious Meditations of the High-Binders in Wall Street.
Consequently, when the Tin Box was searched, the Day after the Masons had marched out to the Cemetery, it contained a little of everything except Assets.
Annie was the name of the Daughter.
On the Clean-up she received enough to put her through the School.
When Bob arrived at the Hospital, in a State of Conflagration, Annie was waiting in the starched Uniform to tackle her first real Case.
For days and nights he rambled through the ghostly labyrinths of Delirium, Annie holding him by the Hand and lifting the cool Draughts to his parched Lips.
He mumbled and raved about the decisions of the Umpire in the game between the Academy and the Knitting Works.
He gave Annie his entire performance of Ralph Rackstraw in "Pinafore" for the benefit of the Library Fund, including Cues.
He scolded his Aunt Mary for doing her own Housework and told the Colored Men how to lay the Cement Walk down through the Grape Arbor.
He promised his Father not to play Poker any more and vowed to his Mother that she was a better Chef than the one up at Del's.
But his sub-conscious Self was so considerate of Elphye that he never brought in her Name at all, at all.
Sometimes he would get back to the Ticker, but he was ready to leave it any time to go fishing in the Crick with the Lads from the other side of the Tracks.
Through the final Crisis he played tag with the Grim Reaper and just escaped being It.
The Sun was slanting into the little white Room when he crawled feebly back to Earth and tried to get his Bearings.
Annie was looking right at him, relieved and smiling and happy. She had won her first game in the Big League.
He noticed that she was not slashed up the side or down the back, had no metallic Insteps, carried her own Hair, and was in no way concealed behind the usual pallid Veneering.
He remembered dimly that she had been with him on the Underground.
Then he recalled a previous Existence in which the Dripped Absinthe was a Breakfast and the Cigarette a Luncheon and Elphye was trotting in her Glads and he had a Swell Bet down on Tin Bucket Preferred. The whole Lay-Out seemed unreal and remote and entirely disconnected with Friend Nurse.
He inquired the Day of the Week, and when he learned it was Next Month he started to get right up and put on his Things.
Annie quietly spread him back on the Pillow and laid down the Law regarding Rest and Quiet.
Then he begged her to ring up McCusick & Co. and get the latest Bucket Preferred.
He said he had plastered his last Samoleon and, not being there to watch the Board and concentrate his wonderful Trading Instinct on every jiggle of the Dial, there was no telling what the Bone-Heads had done to him.
You see, he had no recollection whatever of going Short, for he had been in a Walking Delirium at the time and crazy as a Cubist.
Annie said it was wrong to Gamble and he was not to read the Papers or fuss with Visitors until Doc gave the word.
Suddenly he remembered that he was engaged to Elphye and he wondered if she had forgotten.
So many things can happen in a Great City within two weeks.
He told Nurse about Elphye. Annie did not seem madly interested, but she wrote a Note to the Sazerack Apartment Building and notified the Seraphine that her prospective Producer was still extant and would be willing to renew acquaintance if she could spare an hour or two from her Dancing.
Elphye came out two days later made up as a Princess in the Christmas Pantomime and diffusing pleasant Odors in all directions.
She sat down alongside of Annie and immediately she was shown up and went back to the Minors.
Her Second-Reader Conversation, complicated with the phoney Boston sound of "A" as in "Squash," did not improve her General Average.
Bob suddenly realized that in getting rid of the Bronxes and the Nicotine and various other Toxins, he also had lost his appetite for Elphye.
But he was Game and willing to go through on his own Proposition.
He sent Nurse for a glass of Water and then begged his Fiancee to smuggle in a Newspaper so he could find out the name of his getting-off Station.
Next day she brought the Market Page in her wonderful jewel-crusted Bag.
Bob took one Look and crawled under the Covers.
The Market had gone Blooey.
Bucket Preferred was down in the Subway, bleeding from a dozen Wounds.
The Whole List was on the Blinkety Fritz.
"Courage, Dearie," said Bob, taking Elphye by the Rings. "Your little Playmate is erased from the map."
Elphye upset two Rolling Chairs and one Interne getting from the Convalescent Department to the open Air.
Annie found the poor Bankrupt much improved as to Pulse and Temperature.
He told her the whole Story of how his Lady Fair had canned him because he was no longer a Live One.
She held his hand and pushed back his Locks and told him that any Girl with a Heart would stick closer than ever to her Selection when he was under the Rollers.
Just then a Messenger from McCusick came in and showed Bob that by going Short and standing pat he was $1,800,000 to the Desirable.
After that, Bob was known up and down the Street as The Wizard.
Annabelle, remembering how they had got to her Father, made him cut out the Margins and put the whole Chunk into listed Securities and Real Estate.
He wanted to stick around and parlee up to a Billion, but she raised a most emphatic Nixey.
He was so used to taking orders from her as a Trained Nurse that he cut out speculating and played Safe.
The whole game was punk for months after, so every one said he had been a Wise Mug for backing away.
The Missus allows him a light one (mostly Vermouth) before Dinner each evening and has taught him a private Signal which means that she is ready to duck and go Home.
At present they are in Paris, where she is working to get the same hilarious Tout Ensemble formerly exhibited by Elphye, the Ex-Empress of the White Light Reservation.
The latter went to see a Lawyer when she learned that she had been tricked out of her Happiness.
Unfortunately for her, she had nothing on Robert, thanks to his native shrewdness and Mr. Bell, who invented the Telephone.
She is now playing Utility Parts in a Stock Company in Pennsylvania. The Jewels pelted at her by Bob are much admired by the Gallery.
MORAL: The City holds no Peril for those who cherish Lucky Ideals.
THE NEW FABLE OF SUSAN AND THE DAUGHTER AND THE GRANDDAUGHTER, AND THEN SOMETHING REALLY GRAND
Once there was a full-blown Wild Peach, registered in the Family Bible as Susan Mahaly.
Her Pap divided his time between collecting at a Toll-Gate and defending the Military Reputation of Andy Jackson.
The family dwelt in what was then regarded by Cambridge, Mass., as the Twilight Zone of Semi-Culture, viz., Swigget County, Pennsylvania.
Susan wore Linsey-Woolsey from Monday to Saturday. She never had tampered with her Venus de Milo Topography and she did not even suspect that Women had Nerves.
When she was seventeen she had a Fore-Arm like a Member of the Turnverein.
She knew how to Card and Weave and Dye. Also she could make Loose Soap in a kettle out in the Open Air.
Susan never fell down on her Salt-Rising Bread. Her Apple Butter was always A1.
It was commonly agreed that she would make some Man a good Housekeeper, for she was never sickly and could stay on her Feet sixteen hours at a Stretch.
Already she was beginning to look down the Pike for a regular Fellow.
In the year 1840, the Lass of seventeen who failed to get her Hooks on some roaming specimen of the Opposite Gender was in danger of being whispered about as an Old Maid. Celibacy was listed with Arson and Manslaughter.
Rufus was destined to be an Early Victorian Rummy, but he could lift a Saw-Log, and he would stand without being hitched, so Susan nailed him the third time he came snooping around the Toll-Gate.
Rufus did not have a Window to hoist or a Fence to lean on. But there is no Poverty in any Pocket of the Universe until Wealth arrives and begins to get Luggy.
Susan thought she was playing in rare Luck to snare a Six-Footer who owned a good Squirrel Rifle and could out-wrastle all Comers.
The Hills of Pennsylvania were becoming congested, with Neighbors not more than two or three miles apart, so Rufus and his Bride decided to hit a New Trail into the Dark Timber and grow up with the Boundless West.
Relatives of the Young Couple staked them to a team of Pelters, a Muley Cow, a Bird Dog of dubious Ancestry, an Axe and a Skillet, and started them over the Divide toward the perilous Frontier, away out yender in Illinoy.
It was a Hard Life. As they trundled slowly over the rotten Roads, toward the Land of Promise, they had to subsist largely on Venison, Prairie Chicken, Quail, Black Bass, Berries, and Wild Honey. They carried their own Coffee.
Arrived at the Jumping-Off Place, they settled down among the Mink and Musk-Rats. Rufus hewed out and jammed together a little two by twice Cabin with the Flue running up the outside. It looked ornery enough to be the Birthplace of almost any successful American.
The Malaria Mosquito was waiting for the Pioneers. In those good old Chills-and-Fever days, no one ever blamed it on the Female of the Species. Those who had the Shakes allowed that they were being jarred by the Hand of Providence.
When the family ran low on Quinine, all he had to do was hook up and drive fifty miles to the nearest Town, where he would trade the Furs for Necessities such as Apple-Jack and Navy Twist, and possibly a few Luxuries such as Tea and Salt.
On one of these memorable Trips to the Store, a Mood which combined Sentiment with reckless Prodigality seized upon him.
He thought of the brave Woman who was back there in the lonesome Shack, shooing the Prairie Wolves away from the Cradle, and he resolved to reward her.
With only three Gills of Stone Fence under his Wammus, he spread his Wild-Cat Currency on the Counter and purchased a $6 Clock, with jig-saw ornaments, a shiny coat of Varnish, and a Bouquet of Pink Roses on the door.
Susan burst into Tears when she saw it on the Wall, alongside of the Turkey Wing, and vowed that she had married the Best Man in the World.
Twenty years later, Jennie, the first begotten Chick at the Log House in the Clearing, had matured and married, and was living at the County-Seat with Hiram, Money-Changer and Merchant.
Railroad Trains, Side-Bar Buggies, Coal-Oil Lamps, and the Civil War had come along with a Rush and disarranged primitive Conditions. The Frontier had retreated away over into Kansas.
In the very Township where, of late, the Beaver had toiled without Hindrance and the Red Fox dug his hole unscared, people were now eating Cove Oysters, and going to see "East Lynne."
Hiram was in rugged Health, having defended the flag by Proxy during the recent outcropping of Acrimony between the devotees of Cold Bread and the slaves of Hot Biscuit. The Substitute had been perforated beyond repair at the Battle of Kenesaw Mountain, proving that Hiram made no mistake in remaining behind to tend Store.
When Jennie moved in where she could hear the Trains whistle and began to sport a Cameo Brooch, she could barely remember wearing a Slip and having Stone Bruises.
Hiram was Near, but he would Loosen up a trifle for his own Fireside. The fact that Jennie was his wife gave her quite a Standing with him. He admired her for having made such a Success of her Life.
They dwelt in a two-story Frame with countless Dewdads and Thingumbobs tacked along the Eaves and Scalloped around the Bay Windows.
The Country People who came in to see the Eighth Wonder of the World used to stand in silent Awe, breathing through their Noses.
Out on the lawn, surrounded by Geraniums, was a Cast-Iron Deer which seemed to be looking at the Court House in a startled Manner. It was that kind of a Court House.
In her Front Room, the daughter of Rufus and Susan had Wonderful Wax Flowers, sprinkled with Diamond Dust; a What-Not bearing Mineral Specimens, Conch-Shells, and a Star-Fish, also some Hair-Cloth Furniture, very slippery and upholstered with Sand.
After Hiram gave her the Black Silk and paid for the Crayon Enlargements of her Parents, Jennie did not have the Face to bone him for anything more, but she longed in secret and Hiram suspected.
Jennie was a soprano. Not a regular Soprano, but a Country-Town Soprano, of the kind often used for augmenting the Grief at a Funeral. Her voice came from a point about two inches above the Right Eye.
She had assisted a Quartette to do things to "Juanita," and sometimes tossed out little Hints about wishing she could practice at Home. Jennie was a Nice Woman but she did need Practice.
Although Hiram was tighter than the Bark on a Sycamore, he liked to have other Women envy the Mother of His Children.
When he spread himself from a Shin-Plaster, he expected a Fanfare of Trumpets.
It took him a long time to unwind the String from the Wallet, but he would Dig if he thought he was boosting his own Game.
By stealthy short-weighting of the Country Trade and holding out on the Assessor, he succeeded in salting away numerous Kopecks in one corner of the Safe.
While in Chicago to buy his Winter Stock, he bargained for two days and finally bought a Cottage Melodeon, with the Stool thrown in.
Jennie would sit up and pump for Hours at a time, happy in the knowledge that she had drawn the Capital Prize in the Lottery of Hymen.
In the year 1886 there was some Church Wedding at the County-Seat.
Frances, daughter of Hiram and Jennie, had knocked the Town a Twister when she came home from the Female College wearing Bangs and toting a Tennis Racquet.
All the local Gallants, with Cocoa-Oil in their hair and Rings on their Cravats, backed into the Shubbery.
Hiram had bought her about $1800 worth of Hauteur at the select Institution of Learning. All she had to do was look at a Villager through her Nose-Specs and he would curl up like an Autumn Leaf.
A Cuss from Chicago came to see her every two weeks.
His Trousers seemed to be choking him. The Pompadour was protected by a Derby of the Fried-Egg species. It was the kind that Joe Weber helped to keep in Public Remembrance. But in 1886 it was de Rigeur, au Fait, and a la mode.
Frances would load the hateful City Chap into the high Cart and exhibit him up and down all the Residence Thoroughfares.
On nearly every Front Porch some Girl whose Father was not interested in the First National Bank would peer out through the Morning Glories at the Show-off and then writhe like an Angle-Worm.
The Wedding was the biggest thing that had struck the town since Forepaugh stopped over on his way from Peoria to Decatur.
Frances was not a popular Girl, on account of being so Uppish, so those who could not fight their way into the Church climbed up and looked through the Windows.
The Groom wore a Swallow-Tail.
Most of those present had seen Pictures of the Dress Suit. In the Fireside Companion, the Gentleman wearing one always had Curls, and the Wood-Engraving caught him in the act of striking a Lady in the Face and saying "Curse you!"
The Feeling at the County-Seat was that Frances had taken a Desperate Chance.
The caterer with Colored Help in White Gloves, the ruby Punch suspected of containing Liquor, the Japanese Lanterns attached to the Maples, the real Lace in the Veil, the glittering Array of Pickle-Jars, and a well-defined Rumor that most of the imported Ushers had been Stewed, gave the agitated Hamlet something to blat about for many and many a day.
The Bachelor of Arts grabbed off by the daughter of Jennie and the Grand-daughter of Susan was the owner of Real Estate in the congested Business District of a Town which came into Public Attention later on through the efforts of Frank Chance.
His front name was Willoughby, but Frances always called him "Dear," no matter what she happened to be thinking at the time.
Part of State Street had been wished on to Willoughby. He was afraid to sell, not knowing how to reinvest.
So he sat back and played safe. With growing Delight he watched the Unearned Increment piling up on every Corner. He began to see that he would be fairly busy all his life, jacking up Rents.
The Red-Brick Fortress to which he conducted Frances had Stone Steps in front and a secret Entrance for lowly Trades-people at the rear.
Willoughby and his wife had the high courage of Youth and the Financial Support of all the Money Spenders along State Street, so they started in on Period Decoration. Each Room in the House was supposed to stand for a Period. Some of them stood for a good deal.
A few of the Periods looked like Exclamation Points.
The young couple disregarded the Toll-Gate Period and the Log-Cabin Period, but they worked in every one of the Louies until the Gilt Furniture gave out.
The delighted Caller at the House beside the Lake would pass from an East Indian Corridor through an Early Colonial Ante-Room into a Japanese Boudoir and, after resting his Hat, would be escorted into the Italian Renaissance Drawing-Room to meet the Hostess. From this exquisite Apartment, which ate up one year's Rent of a popular Buffet near Van Buren Street, there could be obtained a ravishing glimpse of the Turkish Cozy Corner beyond, including the Battle-Axes and the Red Lamp.
Frances soon began to hob-nob with the most delicatessen Circles, including Families that dated back to the Fire of 1871.
She was not at all Dizzy, even when she looked down from the Mountain Peak at her happy Birthplace, 15,000 feet below.
Willoughby turned out to be a satisfactory Housemate. His Voltage was not high, but he always ate Peas with a Fork and never pulled at the Leash when taken to a Musicale.
In front of each Ear he carried a neat Area of Human Ivy, so that he could speak up at a Meeting of Directors. Until the year 1895, the restricted Side-Whisker was an accepted Trade-Mark of Commercial Probity.
This facial Landscaping, the Frock Coat, and a steadfast devotion to Toilet Soap made him suitable for Exhibition Purposes.
Frances became almost fond of him, after the Honeymoon evaporated and their Romance ripened into Acquaintanceship.
It was a gladsome day for both when she traced the Dope back through Swigget County, Pennsylvania, and discovered that she was an honest-to-goodness Daughter of the American Revolution.
Willoughby could not ask a representative of good old Colonial Stock to ride around in a stingy Coupe with a Coon planted out on the Weather-Seat.
He changed the Terms in several Leases and was enabled to slip her a hot Surprise on the Birthday.
When she came down the Steps for the usual bowl along the Avenue, so as to get some Fresh Smoke, she beheld a rubber-tired Victoria, drawn by two expensive Bang-Tails in jingly Harness and surmounted by important Turks in overwhelming Livery.
She was so trancified with Delight that she went right over to Willoughby and gave him a Sweet Kiss, after looking about rather carefully for the exposed portion of the Frontispiece.
Frances did a lot of Calling within the next two weeks, and to all those who remarked upon the Smartness of the Equipage, she declared that the Man she had to put up with carried a Throbbing Heart even if he was an Intellectual Midget.
In the year 1913, a slender Young Thing, all of whose Habiliments seemed melting and dripping downward, came wearily from Stateroom B as the Train pulled into Reno, Nevada.
She seemed quite alone, except for a couple of Maids.
After she had given Directions concerning the nine Wardrobe Trunks and the Live Stock, she was motored to a specially reserved Cottage at the corner of Liberty Street and Hope Avenue.
Next day she sat at the other side of a Table from a Lawyer, removing the poisoned Javelins from her fragile Person and holding them up before the shuddering Shyster.
She had a Tale of Woe calculated to pulp a Heart of Stone. In blocking out the Affidavit, her sympathetic Attorney made Pencil Notes as follows:
Her name was Ethel Louise, favorite Daughter of Willoughby and Frances, the well-known Blue-Bloods of the Western Metropolis.
She had finished off at Miss Sniffie's exclusive School, which overlooks the Hudson and the Common School Branches.
After she learned to enter a Ball-Room and while on her way to attack Europe for the third time, the Viper crossed her Pathway.
She accepted him because his name was Hubert, he looked like an Englishman, and one of his Ancestors turned the water into Chesapeake Bay.
While some of the Wedding Guests were still in the Hospital, he began to practice the most diabolical Cruelties.
He induced her to get on his Yacht and go cruising through the Mediterranean when she wanted to take an Apartment in Paris.
At Monte Carlo he scolded her for borrowing 3000 Francs from a Russian Grand Duke after she went broke at bucking the Wheel. She had met the Duke at a Luncheon the day before and his Manners were perfect.
The Lawyer said that Hubert was a Pup, beyond all Cavil.
Cairo, Egypt, yielded up another Dark Chapter of History.
It came out in the sobbing Recital that Hubert had presented her with a $900 prize-winning Pomeranian, directly related to the famous Fifi, owned by the Countess Skidoogan of Bilcarty.
Later on, he seemed to feel that the Pomeranian had come between him and Ethel. The Situation became more and more tense, and finally, one day in Egypt, within plain sight of the majestic Pyramids, he kicked Precious ever so hard and raised quite a Swelling.
The Legal Adviser said Death was too good for such a Fiend.
In Vienna, though, that was where he went so far that Separation became inevitable.
Ethel had decided to take an $80,000 Pearl Necklace she had seen in a Window. It was easily worth that much, and she felt sure she could get it in without paying Duty. She had been very successful at bringing things Home.
She could hardly believe her Ears when Hubert told her to forget it and back up and come out of the Spirit World and alight on the Planet Earth.
He had been Heartless on previous Occasions, but this was the first time he had been Mean enough to renig on a mere side-issue such as coming across with the Loose Change.
Ethel was simply de-termined to have that Necklace, but the unfeeling Whelp tried to kid her out of the Notion.
Then he started in to Pike. He suggested a $20,000 Tarara of Rubies and Diamonds as a Compromise. Ethel became wise to the fact that she had joined out with a Wad.
While she was pulling a daily Sick Headache in the hope of bringing him to Taw, the Maharajah of Umslopagus came along and bought the Necklace.
That was when Ethel had to be taken to a Rest Cure in the Austrian Tyrol, and she never had been the Same Woman since.
To all who had come pleading for Reconciliation, Ethel had simply hung out the Card, "Nothing Doing."
After a Brute has jumped up and down on the Aching Heart of a Girl of proud Lineage he can't square himself in 1,000,000 years.
So said Ethel, between the flowing Tears.
Furthermore, there had been hopeless Incompatibility. In all the time they were together, they never had been able to agree on a Turkish Cigarette.
The professional Home-Blaster said she had enough on Hubert to get her four Divorces. The Decree would be a Pipe.
Ethel said she hoped so and to please push it along, as she had quite a Waiting-List.
MORAL: Rufus had no business buying the Clock.
THE NEW FABLE OF THE SCOFFER WHO FELL HARD AND THE WOMAN SITTING BY
One day in the pink dawn of the present Century, a man with his Hair neatly set back around the Ears and the usual Blood Pressure was whizzing through a suburban Lonesomeness on a teetering Trolley. The name of the man was Mr. Pallzey. He had a desk with a Concern that did merchandizing in a large way.
Mr. Pallzey feared Socialism and carried his Wife's Picture in his Watch and wore Plasters. In other words, he was Normal, believing nearly everything that appeared in the Papers.
While the Dog-Fennel was softly brushing the Foot-Board and the Motor was purring consistently beneath, Mr. Pallzey looked over into a close-cropped Pasture and became the alert Eye-Witness of some very weird Doings.
He saw a pop-eyed Person in soiled Neglige, who made threatening movements toward something concealed in the White Clover, with a Weapon resembling the iron Dingus used in gouging the Clinkers from a Furnace.
"What is the plot of the Piece?" he inquired of a Grand Army man, sitting next.
"I think," replied the Veteran, "I think he is killing a Garter Snake."
"Oh, no," spoke up the conversational Conductor, "He is playing Golluf," giving the word the Terre Haute pronunciation.
Mr. Pallzey looked with pity on the poor Nut who was out in the Hot Sun, getting himself all lathered up with One-Man Shinny.
He said to G. A. R. that it took all kinds of People to make a World. The grizzled Warrior rose to an equal Altitude by remarking that if the dag-goned Loon had to do it for a Living, he'd think it was Work.
Mr. Pallzey had heard of the new Diversion for the Idle Rich, just as people out in the Country hear of Milk-Sickness or falling Meteors, both well authenticated but never encountered.
While rummaging through the Sporting Page, he would come across a cryptic Reference to MacFearson of Drumtochtie being 3 up and 2 to play on Hargis of Sunset Ho, whereupon he would experience a sense of annoyance and do a quick Hurdle.
He had seen in various Shop-Windows the spindly Utensils and snowy Pellets which, he had reason to believe, were affiliated in some way with the sickening Fad. He would look at them with extreme Contempt and rather resent their contaminating contiguity to the Mask, the Shin-Guard, and the upholstered Grabber.
Mr. Pallzey believed that Golf was played by the kind of White Rabbits who March in Suffrage Parades, wearing Gloves.
The dreaded Thing lay outside of his Orbit and beyond his Ken, the same as Tatting or Biology. His conception of a keen and sporty game was Pin Pool or Jacks Only with the Deuce running wild.
One Sunday he was invited out to a Food Saturnalia at a Country Place. The Dinner was postponed until late in the Day because they all dreaded it so much.
Friend Host said he had a twosome on at the Club and was trying out an imported Cleek, so he invited Mr. Pallzey to be a Spectator.
If he had said that he was going up in a Balloon to hemstitch a couple of Clouds, it would have sounded just as plausible to Mr. Pallzey of the Wholesale District.
The latter went along, just out of Politeness, but he was a good deal disappointed in his Friend. It certainly did seem trifling for a Huskie weighing one hundred and eighty to pick on something about the size of a Robin's Egg.
Mr. Pallzey played Gallery all around the Course. He would stand behind them at the Tee and smile in a most calm and superior Manner while they sand-shuffled and shifted and jiggled and joggled and went through the whole calisthenic Ritual of St. Vitus.
He was surprised to note how far the Ball would speed when properly spanked, but he thought there was no valid excuse for overrunning on the Approaches.
Mr. Pallzey found himself criticizing the Form of the Players. That should have been his Cue to climb the Fence.
All of the Mashiemaniacs start on the downward Path by making Mind-Plays and getting under Bogey.
Back on the sloping Sward between No. 18 and the Life-Saving Station, the two Contestants were holding the usual Post-Mortem.
"Let me see that Dewflicker a minute," said Mr. Pallzey, as he carelessly extracted a Mid-iron.
He sauntered up to the silly Globule and look an unpremeditated Swipe. The Stroke rang sweet and vibrant. The ball rose in parabolic Splendor above the highest branches of a venerable Elm.
Just as the Face of the Club started on the Follow Through, the Bacillus ran up and bit Mr. Pallzey on the Leg.
He saw the blinking White Spot far out on the emerald Plain. He heard the murmur of Admiration behind him. He was sorry his Wife had not been there to take it in.
"Leave me have another Ball," requested Mr. Pallzey.
The Virus was working.
He backed up so as to get a Running Start.
"This time," quoth Mr. Pallzey, "I will push it to Milwaukee."
Missing the Object of Attack by a scant six inches, he did a Genee toe-spin and fell heavily with his Face among the Dandelions.
The Host brushed him off and said: "Your Stance was wrong; your Tee was too high; you raised the Left Shoulder; you were too rapid on the Come-Back; the Grip was all in the Left Hand; you looked up; you moved your Head at the top of the Stroke; you allowed the Left Knee to turn, and you stood ahead of the Ball. Otherwise, it was a Loo-Loo."
"If I come out next Sunday could you borrow me a Kit of Tools?" asked Mr. Pallzey. He was twitching violently and looking at the Ball as if it had called him a Name. "I got that first one all right, and I think——"
So it was arranged that the poor doomed Creature was to appear on the following Sabbath and be equipped with a set of Cast-Offs and learn all about the Mystery of the Ages between 11 A.M. and 2 P.M.
Mr. Pallzey went away not knowing that he was a Marked Man.
On Monday he told the Stenographer how he stung the Ball the first time up. He said he was naturally quick at picking up any kind of a Game. He thought it would be a Lark to get the hang of the Whole Business and then get after some of those Berties in the White Pants. He figured that Golf would be soft for any one who had played Baseball when young.
Truly all the raving is not done within the Padded Cells.
He came home in the Sabbath Twilight, walking on his Ankles and babbling about a Dandy Drive for the Long Hole.
Regarding the other 378 Strokes he was discreetly silent.
He told his Wife there was more in it than one would suppose. The Easier the Swat, the greater the Carry. And he had made one Hole in seven.
Then he took a Parasol out of the Jar, and illustrated the famous Long Drive with Moving Pictures, Tableaux, Delsarte, and some newly acquired technical Drivel, which he mouthed with childish Delight.
Now we see him buying Clubs, although he refers to them as Sticks—proving that he is still a groping Neophyte.
He thinks that a shorter Shaft and more of a Lay-Back will enable him to drive a Mile. The Gooseneck Putter will save him two on every Hole. Also, will the Man please show him an Iron guaranteed to reach all the way down to the Dimple and plunk it right in the Eye.
Then all of the new Implements laid out at Home and Wife sitting back, listening to a Lecture as to what will be pulled off on the succeeding Day of Rest.
She had promised at the Altar to Love, Honor, and Listen. Still, it was trying to see the once-loved Adult cavorting on the verge of Dementia and know that she was helpless.
He sallied forth with those going to Early Mass, and returned at the Vesper Hour caked with Dust and 98 per cent. gone in the Turret.
It seems that at the sixth hole on the Last Round where you cross the Crick twice, he fell down and broke both Arms and both Legs. So he tore up the Medal Score, gave all the Clubs to the Caddy, and standing on the grassy Summit of the tall Ridge guarding the Bunker, he had lifted a grimy Paw and uttered the Vow of Renunciation.
In other words, he was Through.
The senile Wrecks and the prattling Juveniles, for whom the Game was invented, could have his Part of it for all time.
Never again would he walk on the Grass or cook his Arms or dribble Sand all over the dark and trampled Ground where countless Good Men had suffered.
So next day he bought all the Paraphernalia known to the Trade, and his name was put up at a Club.
It was one of those regular and sure-enough Clubs. High East Winds prevailed in the Locker-Room. Every member was a Chick Evans when he got back to the nineteenth hole.
Mr. Pallzey now began to regard the Ancient and Honorable Pastime as a compendium of Sacraments, Ordeals, Incantations, and Ceremonial Formalities.
He resigned himself into the Custody of a professional Laddie with large staring Knuckles and a Dialect that dimmed all the memories of Lauder.
In a short time the Form was classy, but the Score had to be taken out and buried after every Round.
Mr. Pallzey saw that this Mundane Existence was not all Pleasure. He had found his Life-Work. The Lode-Star of his declining Years would be an even one hundred for the eighteen Flags.
Wife would see him out in the Street, feeling his way along, totally unmindful of his Whereabouts. She would lead him into the Shade, snap her Fingers, call his Name, and gradually pull him out of the Trance.
He would look at her with a filmy Gaze and smile faintly, as if partly remembering and then say: "Don't forget to follow through. Keep the head down—tight with the left—no hunching—pivot on the hips. For a Cuppy Lie, take the Nib. If running up with the Jigger, drop her dead. The full St. Andrews should not be thrown into a Putt. Never up, never in. Lift the flag. Take a pickout from Casual Water but play the Roadways. To overcome Slicing or Pulling, advance the right or left Foot. Schlaffing and Socketing may be avoided by adding a hook with a top-spin or vice versa. The Man says there are twenty-six Things to be remembered in Driving from the Tee. One is Stance. I forget the other twenty-five."
Then the Partner of his Joys and Sorrows, with the accent on the Debit Side, would shoot twenty Grains of Asperin into him and plant him in the Flax.
Next morning at Breakfast he would break it to her that the Brassie had developed too much of a Whip and he had decided to try a forty-inch Shaft.
They had Seasoned Hickory for Breakfast, Bunkers for Luncheon, and the Fair Green for Dinner.
As a matter of course they had to give up their comfortable Home among the Friends who had got used to them and move out to a strawboard Bungalow so as to be near the Execution Grounds.
Mrs. Pallzey wanted to do the White Mountains, but Mr. Pallzey needed her. He wanted her to be waiting on the Veranda at Dusk, so that he could tell her all about it, from the preliminary Address to the final Foozle.
Sometimes he would come home enveloped in a foglike Silence which would last beyond early Candle Lighting, when he would express the Opinion that the Administration at Washington had proved a Failure.
Perhaps the very next Evening he would lope all the way up the Gravel and breeze into her presence, smelling like a warm gust of Air from Dundee.
He would ask her to throw an Amber Light on the Big Hero. He would call her "Kid" and say that Vardon had nothing on him. Her man was the Gink to show that Pill how to take a Joke.
Then she would know that he had won a Box of Balls from Mrs. Talbot's poor old crippled Father-in-Law.
She could read him like a Barometer. If he and Mr. Hilgus, the Real Estate Man, came home together fifteen feet apart, she would know it had been a Jolly Day on the Links.
By the second summer, Mr. Pallzey had worked up until he was allowed to use a Shower Bath once hallowed by the presence of Jerome Travers.
He was not exactly a Duffer. He was what might be called a sub-Duffer, or Varnish, which means that the Committee was ashamed to mark up the Handicap.
He still had a good many superfluous Hands and Feet and was bleeding freely on every Green.
Sometimes he would last as far as the Water-Hazard and then sink with a Bubbling Cry.
Notwithstanding which, he kept on trying to look like the Photographs of Ouimet.
If he spun into the High Spinach off at the Right it was Tough Luck. If he whanged away with a Niblick down in a bottomless Pit, caromed on a couple of Oaks, and finally angled off toward the Cup, he would go around for Days talking about Some Shot.
As his Ambition increased, his Mental Arithmetic became more and more defective and his Moral Nature was wholly atrophied.
As an Exponent of the more advanced Play he was a Fliv, but as a Matchmaker he was a Hum-Dinger.
He knew he was plain pastry for the Sharks, so he would hang around the first Tee waiting to cop out a Pudding.
One day he took on Mrs. Olmstead's Infant Son, just home from Military School.
The tender Cadet nursed him along to an even-up at the Punch-Bowl and then proceeded to smear His vital Organs all over the Bad Lands.
That evening Mr. Pallzey told her she would have to cut down on Household Expenses.
Six years after he gave up the Business Career and consecrated himself to something more Important, Mr. Pallzey had so well mastered the baffling Intricacies that he was allowed to trail in a Foursome with the President of the Club. This happened once.
It is well known that any Person who mooches around a Country Club for a sufficient Period will have some kind of a Cup wished on to him.
Fourteen years after Mr. Pallzey threw himself into it, Heart and Soul, and when the Expenses approximated $30,000, he earned his Halo.
One evening he came back to his haggard Companion, chortling infant-wise, and displayed something which looked like an Eye-Cup with Handles on it.
He said it was a Trophy. It was a Consolation Offering for Maidens with an allowance of more than eighteen.
After that their daily Life revolved around the $2 bargain in Britannia. Mrs. Pallzey had to use Metal Polish on it to keep it from turning black.
When the Visitors lined up in front of the Mantel and gazed at the tiny Shaving Mug, the Cellar Champion of the World would regale them with the story of hair-breadth 'Scapes and moving Adventures by Gravel Gulleys and rushing Streams on the Memorable Day when he (Pallzey) had put the Blocks to Old Man McLaughlin, since deceased.
Then he would ask all present to feel of his Forearm, after which he would pull the Favorite One about Golf adding ten years to his life.
Mrs. Pallzey would be sitting back, pouring Tea, but she never chimed in with any Estimate as to what had been the effect on her Table of Expectations.
MORAL: Remain under the Awning.
THE NEW FABLE OF THE LONESOME CAMP ON THE FROZEN HEIGHTS
Elam was the main Whizzer in a huddle of Queen Annes, bounded on the North by a gleaming Cemetery, on the East by a limping subdivision, on the South by a deserted Creamery, and on the West by an expanse of Stubble.
Claudine was the other two-thirds of the Specialty.
She was a snappy little Trick and it was a dull hour of the Day or Night when she couldn't frame up a new General Order for the Breadwinner.
The Marriage came off during the third summer of her twenty-seventh year.
She accepted Elam about a week before he proposed to her, thus simplifying the Ordeal.
While the Wafer on the License was still warm, she put on her spangled Suit, moved to the centre of the Ring, and cracked the Whip.
After that Elam continued to be a Hellion around the Office, but in his private Quarters he was merely Otto, the Trained Seal.
Claudine could make him Bark, play the Cymbals, or go back to the Blue Bench.
There is one Elam in every Settlement.
All the wise Paper-hangers and the fly Guitar Players had him marked up as a Noodle, but somehow, every time the winning Numbers were hung out, he would be found in Line, waiting to Cash.
He was not Bright enough to do anything except garner the Gold Certificates.
Elam had no Ear for Music, and, coming out of the Opera House, never could remember the name of the Play or which one of the Burglars was the real Hero.
His Reading was confined to the Headlines of a conservative Paper which was still printing War News.
Baseball had not come into his Life whatsoever.
A cultured Steno, who knew about George Meredith and Arnold Bennett, had to do his Spelling for him at 14 Bucks per.
The Cerebellum of Elam was probably about the dimensions of a Malaga Grape.
Sizing him by his Looks, one would have opined that Nature meant him for a Ticket-taker in a suburban Cinema Palace.
Elam was a mental Gnat and a spiritual Microbe, but the Geezer knew how to annex the Kale.
When Providence is directing the Hand-outs, she very often slips some Squarehead the canny Gift of corraling the Cush, but holds out all of the desirable Attributes supposed to distinguish Man from what you see in the Cages at the Zoo.
After the Pater had earned his Shaft in the Cemetery, Elam became the Loud Noise around a dinky Manufacturing Plant down by the Yards.
The Cracker Barrel Coterie and all the Old Ladies who had become muscle-bound from wielding the Sledge predicted that Elam would put the Organization into the Ditch, wrong side up.
The Well-wishers, the Brotherly Lovers, and the total membership of the Helping Hand Society sat back waiting for Elam to be dug out of the Debris, so they could collect Witness Fees at the Autopsy.
The Junior earned their abiding Dislike by putting one across.
He made the Fossils sit up in their padded Rocking Chairs and pay some attention to the Idiot Child.
He never could hold down any Position until tried out for a Captain of Industry and then he began to Bat 450 and Field 998.
After the dusty Workmen had manufactured the Product, and the Salesmen had unloaded it, and the Collectors had brought in the Dinero, then Elam had to sit at a Mahogany Desk with a Picture of Claudine in front of him, and figure how much of the hard-earned Mazuma would be doled out to his greedy Employees.
Sometimes he would be compelled to fork over nearly half of the Gross, whereupon his Heart would ache and he would become Morose.
In a few Years he had a lot of new Buildings, with Skylights and improved Machinery and all sorts of humane Appliances to enable the Working Force to increase the Output.
As the Bank Account expanded and the Happy Couple found themselves going up, Claudine began to scan the Horizon and act restless-like.