Tutt and Mr. Tutt
by Arthur Train
Previous Part     1  2  3  4     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

The trial of Mock Hen being conducted in a foreign language, the first judicial step was the swearing of an interpreter. The On Gees had promptly produced one, whom O'Brien told the court was a very learned man; a graduate of the Imperial University at Peking, and a Son of the Sacred Dragon. Be that as it may, he was not prepossessing in his appearance and Mr. Tutt assured Judge Bender that far from being what the district attorney pretended, the man was a well-known gambler, who made his living largely by blackmail. He might be a son of a dragon or he might not; anyway he was a son of Belial. An interpreter was the conduit through which all the evidence must pass. If the official were biased or corrupt the testimony would be distorted, colored or suppressed.

Now he—Mr. Tutt—had an interpreter, the well-known Dr. Hong Su, against whom nothing could be said, and upon whose fat head rested no imputation of partiality; a graduate of Harvard, a writer of note, a—

O'Brien sprang to his feet: "My interpreter says your interpreter is an opium smuggler, that he murdered his aunt in Hong Kong, that he isn't a doctor at all, and that he never graduated from anything except a chop-suey joint," he interjected.

"This is outrageous!" cried Mr. Tutt, palpably shocked at such language.

"Gentlemen! Gentlemen!" groaned Judge Bender. "What am I to do? I don't know anything about these men. One looks to me about the same as the other. The court has no time to inquire into their antecedents. They may both be learned scholars or they may each be what the other says he is—I don't know. But we've got to begin to try this case sometime."

It was finally agreed that in order that there might be no possible question of partiality there should be two interpreters—one for the prosecution and one for the defense. Both accordingly were sworn and the first witness, Ah Fong, was called.

"Ask him if he understands the nature of an oath," directed O'Brien.

The interpreter for the state turned to Ah Fong and said something sweetly to him in multitudinous words.

Instantly Doctor Su rose indignantly. The other interpreter was not putting the question at all, but telling the witness what to say. Moreover, the other interpreter belonged to the On Gee Tong. He stood waving his arms and gobbling like an infuriated turkey while his adversary replied in similar fashion.

"This won't do!" snapped the judge. "This trial will degenerate into nothing but a cat fight if we are not careful." Then a bright idea suggested itself to his Occidental mind. "Suppose I appoint an official umpire to say which of the other two interpreters is correct—and let them decide who he shall be?"

This proposition was received with grunts of satisfaction by the two antagonists, who conferred together with astonishing amiability and almost immediately conducted into the court room a tall, emaciated Chinaman who they alleged was entirely satisfactory to both of them. He was accordingly sworn as a third interpreter, and the trial began again.

It was observed that thereafter there was no dispute whatever regarding the accuracy of the testimony, and as each interpreter was paid for his services at the rate of ten dollars a day it was rumored that the whole affair had been arranged by agreement between the two societies, which divided the money, amounting to some eighteen hundred dollars, between them. But, as O'Brien afterward asked Peckham, "How in thunder could you tell?"

The court's troubles had, however, only begun. Ah Fong was a whimsical-looking person, who gave an impression of desiring to make himself generally agreeable. He was, of course, the star witness—if a Chinaman can ever be a star witness—and presumably had been carefully schooled as to the manner in which he should give his testimony. He and he alone had seen the whole tragedy from beginning to end. He it was, if anybody, who would tuck Mock Hen comfortably into his coffin.

The problem of the interpreters having been solved Fong settled himself comfortably in the witness chair, crossed his hands upon his stomach and looked complacently at Mock Hen.

"Well, now let's get along," adjured His Honor. "Swear the witness."

Mr. Tutt immediately rose.

"If the court please," said he, "I object to the swearing of the witness unless it is made to appear that he will regard himself as bound by the oath as administered. Now this man is a Chinaman. I should like to ask him a preliminary question or two."

"That seems fair, Mr. O'Brien," agreed the court. "Do you see any reason why Mr. Tutt shouldn't interrogate the witness?"

"Oh, let me qualify my own witness!" retorted O'Brien fretfully. "Ah Fong, will you respect the oath to testify truthfully, about to be administered to you?"

The interpreter delivered a broadside of Chinese at Ah Fong, who listened attentively and replied at equal length. Then the interpreter went at him again, and again Ah Fong affably responded. It was interminable.

The two muttered and chortled at each other until O'Brien, losing patience, jumped up and called out: "What's all this? Can't you ask him a simple question and get a simple answer? This isn't a debating society."

The interpreter held up his hand, indicating that the prosecutor should have patience.

"Ah-ya-ya-oo-aroo-yung-ung-loy-a-a-ya oo-chu-a-oy-ah-ohay-tching!" he concluded.

"A-yah-oy-a-yoo-oy-ah-chuck-uh-ung-loy-oo-ayah-a-yoo-chung-chung-szt- oo-aha-oy-ou-ungaroo—yah-yah-yah!" replied Ah Fong.

"Thank heaven, that's over!" sighed O'Brien.

The interpreter drew himself up to his full height.

"He says yes," he declared dramatically.

"It's the longest yes I ever heard!" audibly remarked the foreman, who was feeling his oats.

"Does not that satisfy you?" inquired the court of Mr. Tutt.

"I am sorry to say it does not!" replied the latter. "Mr. O'Brien has simply asked whether he will keep his oath. His reply sheds no light on whether his religious belief is such that it would obligate him to respect an oath."

"Well, ask him yourself!" snorted O'Brien.

"Ah Fong, do you believe in any god?" inquired Mr. Tutt.

"He says yes," answered the interpreter after the usual interchange.

"What god do you believe in?" persisted Mr. Tutt.

Suddenly Ah Fong made answer without the intervention of the interpreter.

"When I in this country," he replied complacently in English, "I b'lieve Gees Clist; when I in China I b'lieve Chinese god."

"Does Your Honor hold that an obliging acquiescence in local theology constitutes such a religious belief as to make this man's oath sacred?" inquired Mr. Tutt.

The judge smiled.

"I don't see why not!" he declared. "There isn't any precedent as far as I am aware. But he says he believes in the Deity. Isn't that enough?"

"Not unless he believes that the Deity will punish him if he breaks his oath," answered Mr. Tutt. "Let me try him on that?"

"Ah Fong, do you think God will punish you if you tell a lie?"

Fong looked blank. The interpreter fired a few salvos.

"He says it makes a difference the kind of oath."

"Suppose it is a promise to tell the truth?"

"He says what kind of a promise?"

"A promise on the Bible," answered Mr. Tutt patiently.

"He says what god you mean!" countered the interpreter.

"Oh, any god!" roared Mr. Tutt.

The interpreter, after a long parley, made reply.

"Ah Fong says there is no binding oath except on a chicken's head."

Judge Bender, O'Brien and Mr. Tutt gazed at one another helplessly.

"Well, there you are!" exclaimed the lawyer. "Mr. O'Brien's oath wasn't any oath at all! What kind of a chicken's head?"

"A white rooster."

"Quite so!" nodded Mr. Tutt. "Your Honor, I object to this witness being sworn by any oath or in any form except on the head of a white rooster!"

"Well, I don't happen to have a white rooster about me!" remarked O'Brien, while the jury rocked with glee. "Ask him if something else won't do. A big book for instance?"

The interpreter put the question and then shook his head. According to Ah Fong there was no virtue in books whatever, either large or small. On some occasions an oath could be properly taken on a broken plate—also white—but not in murder cases. It was chicken or nothing.

"Are you not willing to waive the formality of an oath, Mr. Tutt?" asked the judge in slight impatience.

"And wave my client into the chair?" demanded the lawyer. "No, sir!"

"I don't see what we can do except to adjourn court until you can procure the necessary poultry," announced Judge Bender. "Even then we can't slaughter them in court. We'll have to find some suitable place!"

"Why not kill one rooster and swear all the witnesses at once?" suggested Mr. Tutt in a moment of inspiration.

* * * * *

"My God, chief!" exclaimed O'Brien at four o'clock. "There ain't a white rooster to be had anywhere! Hens, yes! By the hundred! But roosters are extinct! Tomorrow will be the twenty-first day of this prosecution and not a witness sworn yet."

However, a poultryman was presently discovered who agreed simply for what advertising there was in it to furnish a crate of white roosters, a hatchet and a headsman's block, and to have them in the basement of the building promptly at ten o'clock.

Accordingly, at that hour Judge Bender convened Part IX of the General Sessions in the court room and then adjourned downstairs, where all the prospective witnesses for the prosecution were lined up in a body and told to raise their right hands.

Meantime Clerk McGuire was handed the hatchet, and approached the coop with obvious misgivings. Ah Fong had already given a dubious approval to the sex and quality of the fowls inside and naught remained but to submit the proper oath and remove the head of the unfortunate victim. A large crowd of policemen, witnesses, reporters, loafers, truckmen and others drawn by the unusual character of the proceedings had assembled and now proceeded without regard for the requirements of judicial dignity to encourage McGuire in his capacity of executioner, by profane shouts and jeers, to do his deadly deed.

But the clerk had had no experience with chickens and in bashfully groping for the selected rooster allowed several other occupants of the crate to escape. Instantly the air was filled with fluttering, squawking fowls while fifty frenzied police officers and Chinamen attempted vainly to reduce them to captivity again. In the midst of the melee McGuire caught his rooster, and fearful lest it should escape him managed somehow to decapitate it. The body, however, had been flopping around spasmodically several seconds upon the floor before he realized that the oath had not been administered, and his voice suddenly rose above the pandemonium in an excited brogue.

"Hold up your hands, you! You do solemnly swear that in the case of The People against Mock Hen you will tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you God!"

But the interpreter was at that moment engaged in clasping to his bosom a struggling rooster and was totally unable to fulfill his functions. Meantime the jury, highly edified at this illustration of the administration of justice, gazed down upon the spectacle from the stairs.

"This farce has gone far enough!" declared Judge Bender disgustedly. "We will return to the court room. Put those roosters back where they belong!"

Once more the participants ascended to Part IX and Ah Fong took his seat in the witness chair. The interpreter's blouse was covered with pin-feathers and one of his thumbs was bleeding profusely.

"Ask the witness if the oath that he has now taken will bind his conscience?" directed the court.

Again the interpreter and Ah Fong held converse.

"He says," translated that official calmly, "that the chicken oath is all right in China, but that it is no good in United States, and that anyway the proper form of words was not used."

"Good Lord!" ejaculated O'Brien. "Where am I?"

"Me tell truth, all light," suddenly announced Ah Fong in English. "Go ahead! Shoot!" And he smiled an inscrutable age-long Oriental smile.

The jury burst into laughter.

"He's stringing you!" the foreman kindly informed O'Brien, who cursed silently.

"Go on, Mister District Attorney, examine the witness," directed the judge. "I shall permit no further variations upon the established forms of procedure."

Then at last and not until then—on the morning of the twenty-first day—did Ah Fong tell his simple story and the jury for the first time learn what it was all about. But by then they had entirely ceased to care, being engrossed in watching Mr. Tutt at his daily amusement of torturing O'Brien into a state of helpless exasperation.

Ah Fong gave his testimony with a clarity of detail that left nothing to be desired, and he was corroborated in most respects by the Italian woman, who identified Mock Hen as the Chinaman with the iron bar. Their evidence was supplemented by that of Bull Neck Burke and Miss Malone, who also were positive that they had seen Mock running from the scene of the murder at exactly four-one o'clock.

Mr. Tutt hardly cross-examined Fong at all, but with Mr. Burke he pursued very different tactics, speedily rousing the wrestler to such a condition of fury that he was hardly articulate, for the old lawyer gently hinted that Mr. Burke was inventing the whole story for the purpose of assisting his friends in the On Gee Tong.

"But I tell yer I don't know no Chinks!" bellowed Burke, looking more like a bull than ever. "This here Mock Hen run right by me. My goil saw him too. I looked at me ticker to get the time!"

"Ah! Then you expected to be a witness for the On Gee Tong!"

"Naw! I tell yer I was walkin' wit' me goil!"

"What is the lady's name?"

"Miss Malone."

"What is her occupation?"

"She's a gay burlesquer."

"A gay burlesquer?"

"Sure—champagne goil and gay burlesquer."

"A champagne girl!"

"Dat's what I said."

"You mean that she is upon the stage?"

"Sure—dat's it!"

"Oh!" Mr. Tutt looked relieved.

"What had you and Miss Malone been doing that afternoon?"

"I told yer—walkin'."

Mr. Tutt coughed slightly.

"Is that all?"

"Say, watcha drivin' at?"

Mr. Tutt elevated his bushy eyebrows.

"How do you earn your living?" he demanded, changing his method of attack.

Bull Neck allowed his head to sink still farther into the vast bulk of his immense torso, strangely resembling, in this position, the fabled anthropophagi whose heads are reputed thus to "grow beneath their shoulders."

Then throwing out his jaw he announced proudly between set teeth: "I'm a perfessor of physical sculture!"

The jury sniggered. Mr. Tutt appeared politely puzzled.

"A professor of what?"

"A perfessor of physical sculture!" repeated Bull Neck with great satisfaction.

"Oh! A professor of physical sculpture!" exclaimed Mr. Tutt, light breaking over his wrinkled countenance. "And what may that be?"

Bull Neck looked round disgustedly at the jury as if to say: "What ignorance!"

"Trainin' an' developin' prominent people!" he explained.

"Um!" remarked Mr. Tutt. "Who invited you to testify in this case?"

"Mr. Mooney."

"Oh, you're a friend of Mooney's! That is all!"

Now it is apparent from these questions and answers that Mr. Burke had testified to nothing to his discredit and had conducted himself as a gentleman and a sportsman according to his best lights. Yet owing to the subtle suggestions contained in Mr. Tutt's inflections and demeanor the jury leaped unhesitatingly to the conclusion that here was a man so ignorant and debased that if he were not deliberately lying he was being made a cat's-paw by the police in the interest of the On Gee Tong.

Miss Malone fared even worse, for after a preliminary skirmish she flatly refused to give Mr. Tutt or the jury any information whatever regarding her past life, while Mooney, of course, labored from the beginning to the end of his testimony under the curse of being a policeman, one of that class whom most jurymen take pride in saying they hold in natural distrust. In a word, the white witnesses to the dastardly murder of Quong Lee created a general impression of unreliability upon the minds of the jury, who wholly failed to realize the somewhat obvious truth that the witnesses to a crime in Chinatown will naturally if not inevitably be persons who either reside in or frequent that locality.

Twenty-four days had now been consumed in the trial, and as yet no Chinese witnesses except Ah Fong had been called. Now, however, they appeared in cohorts. Though Mooney had sworn that the streets were practically empty at the time of the homicide forty-one Chinese witnesses swore positively that they had been within easy view, claiming variously to have been behind doors, peeking through shutters, at upper windows and even on the roofs. All had identified Mock Hen as the murderer, and none of them had ever heard of either the On Gee or the Hip Leong Tong! Mr. Tutt could not shake them upon cross-examination, and O'Brien began to show signs of renewed confidence. Each testified to substantially the same story and they occupied seventeen full days in the telling, so that when the prosecution rested, forty-two days had been consumed since the first talesman had been called. The trial had sunk into a dull, unbroken monotony, as Mr. Tutt said, of the "vain repetitions of the heathen." Yet the police and the district attorney had done all that could reasonably have been expected of them. They were simply confronted by the very obvious fact—a condition and not a theory—that the legal processes of Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence are of slight avail in dealing with people of another race.

Now it is possible that even had Mr. Tutt put in no defense whatever the jury might have refused to convict, for there was a curious air of unreality surrounding the whole affair. It all seemed somehow as if—assuming that it had ever taken place at all—it had occurred in some other world and in some other age. Perhaps under what might have been practically a direction of the court a verdict of conviction might have been returned—but it is doubtful. The more witnesses testified to exactly the same thing in precisely the same words the less likely it appeared to be.

But Mr. Tutt was taking no chances and, upon the forty-third day of the trial, at a nod from the bench, he opened his case. Never had he been more serious; never more persuasive. Abandoning every suggestion of frivolity, he weighed the testimony of each white witness and pointed out its obvious lack of probative value. Not one, he said, except the Italian woman, had had more than a fleeting glance of the face of the man now accused of the crime. Such an identification was useless. The Chinamen were patently lying. They had not been there at all! Would any member of the jury hang a dog, even a yellow one, on such testimony? Of course not! Much less a human being. The people had called forty witnesses to prove that Mock Hen had killed Quong Lee. It made no difference. The On Gee could have just as easily produced four hundred. Moreover, Mr. Tutt did a very daring thing. He pronounced all Chinese testimony in an American court of justice as absolutely valueless, and boasted that for every Chinaman who swore Mock Hen was guilty he would bring forward two who would swear him innocent.

The thing was, as he had carefully explained to Bonnie Doon, to prove that Mock was a good Chinaman and, if the jury did not believe that there was any such animal, to convince them that it was possible. His first task, however, was to polish off the Chinese testimony by calling the witnesses who had been secured under the guidance of Wong Get. He admitted afterward that in view of the exclusion law he had not supposed there were so many Chinamen in the United States, for they crowded the corridors and staircases of the Criminal Courts Building, arriving in companies—the Wong family, the Mocks, the Fongs, the Lungs, the Sues, and others of the sacred Hip Sing Society from near at hand and from distant parts—from Brooklyn and Flatbush, from Flushing and Far Rockaway, from Hackensack and Hoboken, from Trenton and Scranton, from Buffalo and Saratoga, from Chicago and St. Louis, and each and every one of them swore positively upon the severed neck of the whitest rooster—the broken fragments of the whitest of porcelain plates—the holiest of books—that he had been present in person at Fulton Market in New York City at precisely four-fifteen o'clock in the afternoon and assisted Mock Hen, the defendant, in selecting and purchasing a terrapin for stew.

Mr. Tutt grinned at the jury and the jury grinned affectionately back at Mr. Tutt. Indeed, after the length of time they had all been together they had almost as much respect for him as for the judge upon the bench. The whole court seemed to be a sort of Tutt Club, of which even O'Brien was a member.

"Now," said Mr. Tutt, "I will call a few witnesses to show you what kind of a man this is whom these highbinders accuse of the crime of murder!"

Mock, rolling his eyes heavenward, assumed an expression of infantile helplessness and trust.

"Don't overdo it!" growled Tutt. "Just look kind of gentle."

So Mock looked as gentle as a suckling dove while two professors from Columbia University, three of his landlords in his more reputable business enterprises, the superintendent of the Rising Sun Mission, four ex-police officers, a fireman, and an investigator for the Society for the Suppression of Sin swore upon Holy Writ and with all sincerity that Mock Hen was not only a person of the most excellent character and reputation but a Christian and a gentleman.

And then Mr. Tutt played his trump card.

"I will call Miss Frances Duryea, of Hudson House," he announced. "Miss Duryea, will you kindly take the witness chair?"

Miss Fanny modestly rose from her seat in the rear of the room and came forward. No one could for an instant doubt the honesty and impartiality of this devoted middle-aged woman, who, surrendering the comforts and luxuries of her home uptown, to which she was well entitled by reason of her age, was devoting herself to a life of service. If a woman like that, thought the jury, was ready to vouch for Mock's good character, why waste any more time on the case? But Miss Fanny was to do much more.

"Miss Duryea," began Mr. Tutt, "do you know the defendant?"

"Yes, sir; I do," she answered quietly.

"How long have you known him?"

"Six years."

"Do you know his reputation for peace and quiet?"

Miss Fanny half turned to the judge and then faced the jury.

"He is one of the sweetest characters I have ever known," she replied, "and I have known many—"

"Oh, I object!" interrupted O'Brien. "This lady can't be permitted to testify to anything like that. She must be limited by the rules of evidence!"

With one movement the jury wheeled and glared at him.

"I guess this lady can say anything she wants!" declared the foreman chivalrously.

O'Brien sank down in his seat. What was the use!

"Go on, please," gently directed Mr. Tutt.

"As I was saying, Mr. Mock Hen is a very remarkable character," responded Miss Fanny. "He is devoted to the mission and to us at the settlement. I would trust him absolutely in regard to anything."

"Thank you," said Mr. Tutt, smiling benignly. "Now, Miss Duryea, did you see Mock Hen at any time on May sixth?"

Instantly the jury showed renewed signs of life. May sixth? That was the day of the murder.

"I did," answered Miss Fanny with conviction. "He came to see me at Hudson House in the afternoon and while we were talking the clock struck four."

The jury looked at one another and nodded.

"Well, I guess that settles this case!" announced the foreman.

"Right!" echoed a talesman behind him.

"I object!" wailed O'Brien. "This is entirely improper!"

"Quite so!" ruled Judge Bender sternly. "The jurymen will not make any remarks!"

"But, Your Honor—we all agreed at recess there was nothing in this case," announced the foreman. "And now this testimony simply clinches it. Why go on with it!"

"That's so!" ejaculated another. "Let us go, judge."

Mr. Tutt's weather-beaten face was wreathed in smiles.

"Easy, gentlemen!" he cautioned.

The judge shrugged his shoulders, frowning.

"This is very irregular!" he said.

Then he beckoned to O'Brien, and the two whispered together for several minutes, while all over the court room on the part of those who had sat there so patiently for sixty-nine days there was a prolonged and ecstatic wriggling of arms and legs. Instinctively they all knew that the farce was over.

The assistant district attorney returned to his table but did not sit down.

"If the court please," he said rather wearily, "the last witness, Miss Duryea, by her testimony, which I personally am quite ready to accept as truthful, has interjected a reasonable doubt of the defendant's guilt into what otherwise would in my opinion be a case for the jury. If Mock Hen was at Hudson House, nearly two miles from Pell and Doyers Streets, at four o'clock on the afternoon of the homicide, manifestly he could not have been one of the assailants of Quong Lee at one minute past four. I am satisfied that no jury would convict—"

"Not on your life!" snorted the foreman airily.

"—and I therefore," went on O'Brien, "ask the court to direct an acquittal."

* * * * *

In the grand banquet hall of the Shanghai and Hongkong American-Chinese Restaurant, Ephraim Tutt, draped in a blue mandarin coat with a tasseled pill box rakishly upon his old gray head, sat beside Wong Get and Buddha at the head of a long table surrounded by three hundred Chinamen in their richest robes of ceremony. Lanterns of party-colored glass swaying from gilded rafters shed a strange light upon a silken cloth marvelously embroidered and laden with the choicest of Oriental dishes, and upon the pale faces of the Hip Leong Tong—the Mocks, the Wongs, the Fongs and the rest—both those who had testified and also those who had merely been ready if duty called to do so, all of whom were now gathered together to pay honor where they felt honor to be due; namely, at the shrine of Mr. Tutt.

Deft Chinese waiters slipped silently from guest to guest with bird's-nest soup, guy soo main, mon goo guy pan, shark's fin and lung har made of shreds of lobster, water chestnuts, rice and the succulent shoots of the young bamboo, while three musicians in a corner sang through their nose a syncopated dirge. "Wang-ang-ang-ang!" it rose and fell as Mr. Tutt, his neck encircled by a wreath of lilies, essayed to manipulate a pair of long black chop-sticks. "Wang-ang-ang-ang!" About him were golden limes, ginger in syrup, litchi nuts, pickled leeches.

Then he felt a touch upon his shoulder and turned to see Fong Hen, the slipper, standing beside him. It was the duty of Fong Hen to drink with each guest—more than that, to drink as much as each guest drank! He gravely offered Mr. Tutt a pony of rice brandy. It was not the fiery lava he had anticipated, but a soft, caressing nectar, fragrant as if distilled from celestial flowers of the time of Confucius. The slipper swallowed the same quantity at a gulp, bowed and passed along.

Mr. Tutt vainly tried to grasp the fact that he was in his own native city of New York. Long sleeves covered with red and purple dragons hid his arms and hands, and below the collar a smooth tight surface of silk across his breast made access to his pockets quite impossible. In one of them reposed twenty one-thousand-dollar bills—his fee for securing the acquittal of Mock Hen. Yes, he was in New York!

The monotonous wail of the instruments, the pungency of the incense, the subdued light, the humid breath of the roses carried the thoughts of Mr. Tutt far away. Before him, against the blue misty sunshine, rose the yellow temples of Peking. He could hear the faint tintinnabulation of bells. He was wandering in a garden fragrant with jasmine blossoms and adorned with ancient graven stones and carved gilt statues. The air was sweet. Mr. Tutt was very tired....

"Let him sleep!" nodded Buddha, deftly conveying to his wrinkled lips a delicate morsel of guy yemg dun. "Let him sleep! He has earned his sleep. He has saved our face!"

It was after midnight when Mr. Tutt, heavily laden with princely gifts of ivory and jade and boxes of priceless teas, emerged from the side door of the Shanghai and Hongkong American-Chinese Restaurant. The sky was brilliant with stars and the sidewalks of Doyers and Pell Streets were crowded with pedestrians. Near by a lantern-bedecked rubber-neck wagon was in process of unloading its cargo of seekers after the curious and unwholesome. On either side of him walked Wong Get and Buddha. They had hardly reached the corner when five shots echoed in quick succession above the noise of the traffic and the crowd turned with one accord and rushed in the direction from which he had just come.

Mr. Tutt, startled, stopped and looked back. Courteously also stopped Wong Get and Buddha. A throng was fast gathering in front of the Shanghai and Hongkong Restaurant.

Then Murtha appeared, shouldering his way roughly through the mob. Catching sight of Mr. Tutt, he paused long enough to whisper hoarsely in the lawyer's ear: "Well, they got Mock Hen! Five bullets in him! But if they were going to, why in hell couldn't they have done it three months ago?"

Samuel and Delilah

"And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death; that he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a razor upon mine head; ... if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak and be like any other man." —JUDGES XVI, 16, 17.

"Have you seen '76 Fed.' anywhere, Mr. Tutt?" inquired Tutt, appearing suddenly in the doorway of his partner's office.

Mr. Tutt looked up from Page 364 of the opinion he was perusing in "The United States vs. One Hundred and Thirty-two Packages of Spirituous Liquors and Wines."

"Got it here in front of me," he answered shortly. "What do you want it for?"

Tutt looked over his shoulder.

"That's a grand name for a case, isn't it? 'Packages of Wines!'" he chuckled. "I made a note once of a matter entitled 'United States vs. Forty-three Cases of Frozen Eggs'; and of another called 'United States vs. One Feather Mattress and One Hundred and Fifty Pounds of Butter'—along in 197 Federal Reports, if I remember correctly. And you recall that accident case we had—Bump against the Railroad?"

"You can't tell me anything about names," remarked Mr. Tutt. "I once tried a divorce action. Fuss against Fuss; and another, Love against Love. Do you really want this book?"

"Not if you are using it," replied Tutt. "I just wanted to show an authority to Mr. Sorg, the president of the Fat and Skinny Club. You know our application for a certificate of incorporation was denied yesterday by Justice McAlpin."

"No, I didn't know it," returned Mr. Tutt. "Why?"

"Here's his memorandum in the Law Journal," answered his partner. "Read it for yourself":

Matter of Fat and Skinny Club, Inc. This is an application for approval of a certificate of incorporation as a membership corporation. The stated purposes are to promote and encourage social intercourse and good fellowship and to advance the interests of the community. The name selected is the Fat and Skinny Club. If this be the most appropriate name descriptive of its membership it is better that it remain unincorporated. Application denied.

"Now who says the law isn't the perfection of common sense?" ruminated Mr. Tutt. "Its general principles are magnificent."

"And yet," mused Tutt, "only last week Judge McAlpin granted the petition of one Solomon Swackhamer to change his name to Phillips Brooks Vanderbilt. Is that right? Is that justice? Is it equity? I ask you!—when he turns down the Fat and Skinnies?"

"Oh, yes it is," retorted Mr. Tutt. "When you consider that Mr. Swackhamer could have assumed the appellation of P.B. Vanderbilt or any other name he chose without asking the court's permission at all."

"What!" protested Tutt incredulously.

"That's the law," returned the senior partner. "A man can call himself what he chooses and change his name as often as he likes—so long, of course, as he doesn't do it to defraud. The mere fact that a statute likewise gives him the right to apply to the courts to accomplish the same result makes no difference."

"Of course it might make him feel a little more comfortable about it to do it that way," suggested Tutt. "Do you know, as long as I've practised law in this town I've always assumed that one had to get permission to change one's name."

"You've learned something," said Mr. Tutt suavely. "I hope you will put it to good account. Here's '76 Fed.' Take it out and console the Fat and Skinny Club with it if you can."

Mr. Tutt surrendered the volume without apparent regret and Tutt retired to his own office and to the task of soothing the injured feelings of Mr. Sorg.

A simple-minded little man was Tutt, for all his professional shrewdness and ingenuity. Like many a hero of the battlefield and of the bar, once inside the palings of his own fence he became modest, gentle, even timorous. For Abigail, his wife, had no illusions about him and did not affect to have any. To her neither Tutt nor Mr. Tutt was any such great shakes. Had Tutt dared to let her know of many of the schemes which he devised for the profit or safety of his clients she would have thought less of him still; in fact, she might have parted with him forever. In a sense Mrs. Tutt was an exacting woman. Though she somewhat reluctantly consented to view the hours from nine a.m. to five p.m. in her husband's day as belonging to the law, she emphatically regarded the rest of the twenty-four hours as belonging to her.

The law may be, as Judge Holmes has called it, "a jealous mistress," but in the case of Tutt it was not nearly so jealous as his wife. So Tutt was compelled to walk the straight-and-narrow path whether he liked it or not. On the whole he liked it well enough, but there were times—usually in the spring—when without being conscious of what was the matter with him he mourned his lost youth. For Tutt was only forty-eight and he had had a grandfather who had lived strenuously to upward of twice that age. He was vigorous, sprightly, bright-eyed and as hard as nails, even if somewhat resembling in his contours the late Mr. Pickwick. Mrs. Tutt was tall, spare, capable and sardonic. She made Tutt comfortable, but she no longer appealed to his sense of romance. Still she held him. As the playwright hath said "It isn't good looks they want, but good nature; if a warm welcome won't hold them, cold cream won't."

However, Tutt got neither looks nor cold cream. His welcome, in fact, was warm only if he stayed out too late, and then the later the warmer. His relationship to his wife was prosaic, respectful. In his heart of hearts he occasionally thought of her as exceedingly unattractive. In a word Mrs. Tutt performed her wifely functions in a purely matter-of-fact way. Anything else would have seemed to her unseemly. She dressed in a manner that would have been regarded as conservative even on Beacon Hill. She had no intention of making an old fool of herself or of letting him be one either. When people had been married thirty years they could take some things for granted. Few persons therefore had ever observed Mr. Tutt in the act of caressing Mrs. Tutt; and there were those who said that he never had. Frankly, she was a trifle forbidding: superficially not the sort of person to excite a great deal of sentiment; and occasionally, as we have hinted, in the spring Tutt yearned for a little sentiment.

He did his yearning, however, entirely on the side and within those hours consecrated to the law. In his wife's society he yearned not at all. In her company he carefully kept his thoughts and his language inside the innermost circle of decorum. At home his talk was entirely "Yea, yea," and "Nay, nay," and dealt principally with politics and the feminist movement, in which Abigail was deeply interested.

And by this we do not mean to suggest that at other times or places Tutt was anything but conventionally proper. He was not. He only yearned to be, well knowing that he was deficient in courage if not in everything else.

But habit or no habit, likely or unlikely, Mrs. Tutt had no intention of taking any chances so far as Tutt was concerned. If he did not reach home precisely at six explanations were in order, and if he came in half an hour later he had to demonstrate his integrity beyond a reasonable doubt according to the established rules of evidence.

Perhaps Mrs. Tutt did wisely to hold Tutt thus in leash considering the character of many of the firm's clients. For it was quite impossible to conceal the nature of the practise of Tutt & Tutt; much of which figured flamboyantly in the newspapers. Some women would have taken it for granted under like circumstances that their husbands had acquired a touch at least of the wisdom of the serpent even if they remained quite harmless. Abigail countenanced no thought of any demoralization in her spouse. To her he was like the artist who smears himself and his smock with paint while in his studio, but appears at dinner in spotless linen without even a whiff of benzine about him to suggest his occupation. So Tutt, though hand and glove in his office with the most notorious of the elite of Longacre Square, came home to supper with the naivete and innocence of a theological student for whom an evening at a picture show is the height of dissipation.

Yet Tutt was no more of a Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde than most of us. Merely, his daily transition was a little more abrupt. And when all is said and done most of the devices invented by his fertile little brain to further the interests of his clients were no more worthy of condemnation than those put forward by far higher-priced and much more celebrated attorneys.

Not that Mrs. Tutt was blind to the dangers to which her husband by virtue of his occupation was exposed. Far from it. Indeed she made it her business to pay periodical visits to the office, ostensibly to see whether or not it was properly cleaned and the windows washed, but in reality—or at least so Tutt suspected—to find out whether the personnel was entirely suitable for a firm of their standing and particularly for a junior partner of his susceptibilities.

But she never discovered anything to give her the slightest cause for alarm. The dramatis personae of the offices of Tutt & Tutt were characteristic of the firm, none of their employees—except Miss Sondheim, the tumultous-haired lady stenographer—and Willie, the office boy, being under forty years of age.

When not engaged in running errands or fussing over his postage-stamp album, Willie spent most of his time teasing old Scraggs, the scrivener, an unsuccessful teetotaler. A faint odor of alcohol emanated from the cage in which he performed his labors and lent an atmosphere of cheerfulness to what might otherwise have seemed to Broadway clients an unsympathetic environment, though there were long annual periods during which he was as sober as a Kansas judge. The winds of March were apt, however, to take hold of him. Perhaps it was the spring in his case also.

The backbone of the establishment was Miss Minerva Wiggin. In every law office there is usually some one person who keeps the shop going. Sometimes it is a man. If so, he is probably a sublimated stenographer or law clerk who, having worked for years to get himself admitted to the bar, finds, after achieving that ambition, that he has neither the ability nor the inclination to brave the struggle for a livelihood by himself. Perchance as a youth he has had visions of himself arguing test cases before the Court of Appeals while the leaders of the bar hung upon his every word, of an office crowded with millionaire clients and servile employees, even as he is servile to the man for whom he labors for a miserly ten dollars a week.

His ambition takes him by the hand and leads him to high places, from which he gazes down into the land of his future prosperity and greatness. The law seems a mysterious, alluring, fascinating profession, combining the romance of the drama with the gratifications of the intellect. He springs to answer his master's bell; he sits up until all hours running down citations and making extracts from opinions; he rushes to court and answers the calendar and sometimes carries the lawyer's brief case and attends him throughout a trial. Three years go by—five—and he finds that he is still doing the same thing. He is now a member of the bar, he has become the managing clerk, he attends to fairly important matters, engages the office force, superintends transfer of title, occasionally argues a motion. Five years more go by and perhaps his salary is raised a trifle more. Then one day he awakes to the realization that his future is to be only that of a trusted servitor.

Perchance he is married and has a baby. The time has come for him to choose whether he will go forth and put his fortune to the test "to win or lose it all" or settle down into the position of faithful legal hired man. He is getting a bit bald, he has had one or two tussles with his bank about accidental overdrafts. The world looks pretty bleak outside and the big machine of the law goes grinding on heartless, inevitable. Who is he to challenge the future? The old job is fairly easy; they can't get on without him, they say; here is where he belongs; he knows his business—give him his thirty-five hundred a year and let him stay!

That is Binks, or Calkins, or Shivers, or any one of those worried gray-haired men who sit in the outer office behind a desk strewn with papers and make sure that no mistakes have been made. To them every doubtful question of practise is referred and they answer instantly—sometimes wrongly, but always instantly. They know the last day for serving the demurrer in Bilbank against Terwilliger and whether or not you can tax a referee's fee as a disbursement in a bill of costs; they are experts on the precise form for orders in matrimonial actions and the rule in regard to filing a summons and complaint in Oneida County; they stand between the members of the firm and disagreeable clients; they hire and discharge the office boys; they do everything from writing a brief for the Supreme Court of the United States down to making the contract with the window cleaners; they are the only lawyers who really know anything and they were once promising young men, who have found out at last that life and the Sunday-school books are very far apart; but they run the works and make the law a gentleman's profession for the rest of us. They are always there. Others come, grow older, go away, but they remain. Many of them drink. All of which would be irrelevant, incompetent and immaterial if this were not a legal story.

Scraggs had been one of these, but he had also been one of those who drank, and now he was merely a bookkeeper. Miss Wiggin reigned in his stead.

A woman and not a man kept Tutt & Tutt on the map. When this sort of thing occurs it is usually because the woman in question is the ablest and very likely also the best person in the outfit, and she assumes the control of affairs by a process of natural selection. Miss Wiggin was the conscience, if Mr. Tutt was the heart, of Tutt & Tutt. Nobody, unless it was Mr. Tutt, knew where she had come from or why she was working if at all in only a semi-respectable law office. Without her something dreadful would have happened to the general morale. Everybody recognized that fact.

Her very appearance gave the place tone—neutralized the faint odor of alcohol from the cage. For in truth she was a fine-looking woman. Had she been costumed by a Fifth Avenue dressmaker and done her coiffure differently she would have been pretty. Because she drew her gray hair straight back from her low forehead and tied it in a knob on the back of her head, wore paper cuffs and a black dress, she looked nearer fifty than forty-one, which she was. Two hundred dollars would have taken twenty years off her apparent age—a year for every ten dollars; but she would not have looked a particle less a lady.

Her duties were ambiguous. She was always the first to arrive at the office and was the only person permitted to open the firm mail outside of its members. She overlooked the books that Scraggs kept and sent out the bills. She kept the key to the cash box and had charge of the safe. She made the entries in the docket and performed most of the duties of a regular managing clerk. She had been admitted to the bar. She checked up the charge accounts and on Saturdays paid off the office force. In addition to all these things she occasionally took a hand at a brief, drew most of the pleadings, and kept track of everything that was done in the various cases.

But her chief function, one which made her invaluable was that of receiving clients who came to the office, and in the first instance ascertaining just what their troubles were; and she was so sympathetic and at the same time so sensible that many a stranger who casually drifted in and would otherwise just as casually have drifted out again remained a permanent fixture in the firm's clientele. Scraggs and William adored her in spite of her being an utter enigma to them. She was quiet but businesslike, of few words but with a latent sense of humor that not infrequently broke through the surface of her gravity, and she proceeded upon the excellent postulate that everyone with whom she came in contact was actuated by the highest sense of honor. She acted as a spiritual tonic to both Mr. Tutt and Tutt—especially to the latter, who was the more in need of it. If they were ever tempted to stray across the line of professional rectitude her simple assumption that the thing couldn't be done usually settled the matter once and for all. On delicate questions Mr. Tutt frankly consulted her. Without her, Tutt & Tutt would have been shysters; with her they were almost respectable. She received a salary of three thousand dollars a year and earned double that amount, for she served where she loved and her first thought was of Tutt & Tutt. If you can get a woman like that to run your law office do not waste any time or consideration upon a man. Her price is indeed above rubies.

Yet even Miss Wiggin could not keep the shadow of the vernal equinox off the simple heart of the junior Tutt. She had seen it coming for several weeks, had scented danger in the way Tutt's childish eye had lingered upon Miss Sondheim's tumultous black hair and in the rather rakish, familiar way he had guided the ladies who came to get divorces out to the elevator. And then there swam into his life the beautiful Mrs. Allison, and for a time Tutt became not only hysterically young again, but—well, you shall see.

Yet, curiously enough, though we are a long way from where this story opened, it all goes back to Phillips Brooks Vanderbilt and the Fat and Skinny Club and the right to call ourselves by what names we please. Moreover, as must be apparent, all that happened occurred beyond Miss Wiggin's sphere of spiritual influence. Yet, had it not, even she could not have harnessed Leviathan or loosed the bands of Orion—to say nothing of counteracting the effect of spring.

When Tutt returned with "76 Fed." after the departure of Mr. Sorg he found his partner smoking the usual stogy and gazing pensively down upon the harbor. The immediate foreground was composed of rectangular roofs of divers colors, mostly reddish, ornamented with eccentrically shaped chimney pots, pent-houses, skylights and water tanks, in addition to various curious whistle-like protuberances from which white wraiths of steam whirled and danced in the gay breeze. Beyond, in the middle distance, a great highway of sparkling jewels led across the waves to the distant faintly green hills of Staten Island. Three tiny aeroplanes wove invisible threads against the blue woof of the sky above the New Jersey shore. It was not a day to practise law at all. It was a day to lie on one's back in the grass and watch the clouds or throw one's weight against the tugging helm of a racing sloop and bite the spindrift blown across her bows—not a day for lawyers but for lovers!

"Here's '76 Fed.'," said Tutt.

"What's become of Sorg?"

"Gone. Mad. Says the whole point of the Fat and Skinny Club is in the name."

"I fancy—from looking at Mr. Sorg—that that is quite true," remarked Mr. Tutt. He paused and reaching down into a lower compartment of his desk, lifted out a tumbler and his bottle of malt extract, which he placed carefully at his elbow and leaned back again contemplatively. "Look here, Tutt," he said. "I want to ask you something. Is there anything the matter with you?"

Tutt regarded him with the air of a small boy caught peeking through a knot hole.

"Why,—no!" he protested lamely. "That is—nothing in particular. I do feel a bit restless—sort of vaguely dissatisfied."

Mr. Tutt nodded sympathetically.

"How old are you, Tutt?"


"And you feel just at present as if life were 'flat, stale and unprofitable?'"

"Why—yes; you might put it that way. The fact is every day seems just like every other day. I don't even get any pleasure out of eating. The very sight of a boiled egg beside my plate at breakfast gives me the willies. I can't eat boiled eggs any more. They sicken me!"

"Exactly!" Mr. Tutt poured out a glass of the malt extract.

"I feel the same way about a lot of things," Tutt hurried on. "Special demurrers, for instance. They bore me horribly. And supplementary proceedings get most frightfully upon my nerves."

"Exactly!" repeated Mr. Tutt.

"What do you mean by 'exactly?'" snapped Tutt.

"You're bored," explained his partner.

"Rather!" agreed Tutt. "Bored to death. Not with anything special, you understand; just everything. I feel as if I'd like to do something devilish."

"When a man feels like that he better go to a doctor," declared Mr. Tutt.

"A doctor!" exclaimed Tutt derisively. "What good would a doctor do me?"

"He might keep you from getting into trouble."

"Oh, you needn't be alarmed. I won't get into any trouble."

"It's the dangerous age," said Mr. Tutt. "I've known a lot of respectable married men to do the most surprising things round fifty."

Tutt looked interested.

"Have you now?" he inquired. "Well, I've no doubt it did some of 'em a world of good. Tell you frankly sometimes I feel as if I'd rather like to take a bit of a fling myself!"

"Your professional experience ought to be enough to warn you of the dangers of that sort of experiment," answered Mr. Tutt gravely. "It's bad enough when it occurs inadvertently, so to speak, but when a man in your condition of life deliberately goes out to invite trouble it's a sad, sad spectacle."

"Do you mean to imply that I'm not able to take care of myself?" demanded Tutt.

"I mean to imply that no man is too wise to be made a fool of by some woman."

"That every Samson has his Delilah?"

"If you want to put it that way—yes."

"And that in the end he'll get his hair cut?"

Mr. Tutt took a sip from the tumbler of malt and relit his stogy.

"What do you know about Samson and Delilah, Tutt?" he challenged.

"Oh, about as much as you do, I guess, Mr. Tutt," answered his partner modestly.

"Well, who cut Samson's hair?" demanded the senior member.

He emptied the dregs of the malt-extract bottle into his glass and holding it to the light examined it critically.

"Delilah, of course!" ejaculated Tutt.

Mr. Tutt shook his head.

"There you go off at half-cock again, Tutt!" he retorted whimsically. "You wrong her. She did no such thing."

"Why, I'll bet you a hundred dollars on it!" cried Tutt excitedly.

"Make it a simple dinner at the Claridge Grill and I'll go you."


There were four books on the desk near Mr. Tutt's right hand—the New York Code of Civil Procedure, an almanac, a Shakesperean concordance and a Bible.

"Look it up for yourself," said Mr. Tutt, waving his arm with a gesture of the utmost impartiality. "That is, if you happen to know in what part of Holy Writ said Delilah is to be found."

Tutt followed the gesture and sat down at the opposite side of the desk.

"There!" he exclaimed, after fumbling over the leaves for several minutes. "What did I tell you? Listen, Mr. Tutt! It's in the sixteenth chapter of Judges: 'And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death; That he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a razor upon mine head.' Um—um."

"Read on, Tutt!" ordered Mr. Tutt.

"Um. 'And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, Come up this once.' Um-um."

"Yes, go on!"

"'And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head.' Well, I'll be hanged!" exclaimed Tutt. "Now, I would have staked a thousand dollars on it. But look here, you don't win! Delilah did cut Samson's hair—through her agent. 'Qui facit per alium facit per se!'"

"Your point is overruled," said Mr. Tutt. "A barber cut Samson's hair. Let it be a lesson to you never to take anything on hearsay. Always look up your authorities yourself. Moreover"—and he looked severely at Tutt—"the cerebral fluid—like malt extract—tends to become cloudy with age."

"Well, anyhow, I'm no Samson," protested Tutt. "And I haven't met anyone that looked like a Delilah. I guess after the procession of adventuresses that have trailed through this office in the last twenty years I'm reasonably safe."

"No man is safe," meditated Mr. Tutt. "For the reason that no man knows the power of expansion of his heart. He thinks it's reached its limit—and then he finds to his horror or his delight that it hasn't. To put it another way, a man's capacity to love may be likened to a thermometer. At twenty-five or thirty he meets some young person, falls in love with her, thinks his amatory thermometer has reached the boiling-point and accordingly marries her. In point of fact it hasn't—it's only marking summer heat—hasn't even registered the temperature of the blood. Well, he goes merrily on life's way and some fine day another lady breezes by, and this safe and sane citizen, who supposes his capacity for affection was reached in early youth, suddenly discovers to his amazement that his mercury is on the jump and presently that his old thermometer has blown its top off."

"Very interesting, Mr. Tutt," observed Tutt after a moment's silence. "You seem to have made something of a study of these things."

"Only in a business way—only in a business way!" Mr. Tutt assured him. "Now, if you're feeling stale—and we all are apt to get that way this time of year—why don't you take a run down to Atlantic City?"

Now Tutt would have liked to go to Atlantic City could he have gone by himself, but the idea of taking Abigail along robbed the idea of its attraction. She had got more than ever on his nerves of late. But his reply, whatever it might have been, was interrupted by the announcement of Miss Wiggin, who entered at that moment, that a lady wished to see him.

"She asked for Mr. Tutt," explained Minerva.

"But I think her case is more in your line," and she nodded to Tutt.

"Good looking?" inquired Tutt roguishly.

"Very," returned Miss Wiggin. "A blonde."

"Thanks," answered Tutt, smoothing his hair; "I'm on my way."

Now this free, almost vulgar manner of speech was in reality foreign to both Tutt and Miss Wiggin and it was born of the instant, due doubtless to some peculiar juxtaposition of astral bodies in Cupid's horoscope unknown to them, but which none the less had its influence. Strange things happen on the eve of St. Agnes and on Midsummer Night—even in law offices.

Mrs. Allison was sitting by the window in Tutt's office when he came in, and for a full minute he paused upon the threshold while she pretended she did not know that he was there. The deluge of sunlight that fell upon her face betrayed no crack or wrinkle—no flaw of any kind—in the white marble of its perfection. It was indeed a lovely face, classic in the chiseling of its transparent alabaster; and when she turned, her eyes were like misty lakes of blue. Bar none, she was the most beautiful creature—and there had been many—that had ever wandered into the offices of Tutt & Tutt. He sought for a word. "Wonderful"; that was, it, she was "wonderful." His stale spirit soared in ecstasy, and left him tongue-tied. In vulgar parlance he was rattled to death, this commonplace little lawyer who for a score of years had dealt cynically with the loves and lives of the flock of female butterflies who fluttered annually in and out of the office. Throughout that period he had sat unemotionally behind his desk and listened in an aloof, cold, professional manner to the stories of their wrongs as they sobbed or hissed them forth. Wise little lawyer that he was, he had regarded them all as just what they were and nothing else—specimens of the Cecropia. And he had not even patted them upon the shoulder or squeezed their hands when he had bade them good-by—maintaining always an impersonal and dignified demeanor.

Therefore he was surprised to hear himself say in soothing, almost cooing tones:

"Well, my dear, what can I do for you?"

Shades of Abigail! "Well, my dear!" Tutt—Tutt! Tutt!

"I am in great trouble," faltered Mrs. Allison, gazing in misty helplessness out of her blue grottoes at him while her beautiful red lips trembled.

"I hope I can help you!" he breathed. "Tell me all about it! Take your time. May I relieve you of your wrap?"

She wriggled out of it gratefully and he saw for the first time the round, slender pillar of her neck. What a head she had—in its nimbus of hazy gold. What a figure! His forty-eight-year-old lawyer's heart trembled under its heavy layer of half-calf dust. He found difficulty in articulating. He stammered, staring at her most shamelessly both of which symptoms she did not notice. She was used to them in the other sex. Tutt did not know what was the matter with him. He had in fact entered upon that phase at which the wise man, be he old or young, turns and runs.

But Tutt did not run. In legal phrase he stopped, looked and listened, experiencing a curious feeling of expansion. This enchanting creature transmuted the dingy office lined with its rows of calfskin bindings into a golden grot in which he stood spellbound by the low murmur of her voice. A sense of infinite leisure emanated from her—a subtle denial of the ordinary responsibilities—very relaxing and delightful to Tutt. But what twitched his very heartstrings was the dimple that came and went with that pathetic little twisted smile of hers.

"I came to you," said Mrs. Allison, "because I knew you were both kind and clever."

Tutt smiled sweetly.

"Kind, perhaps—not clever!" he beamed.

"Why, everyone says you are one of the cleverest lawyers in New York," she protested. Then, raising her innocent China-blue eyes to his she murmured, "And I so need kindness!"

Tutt's breast swelled with an emotion which he was forced to admit was not altogether avuncular—that curious sentimental mixture that middle-aged men feel of paternal pity, Platonic tenderness and protectiveness, together with all those other euphemistic synonyms, that make them eager to assist the weak and fragile, to try to educate and elevate, and particularly to find out just how weak, fragile, uneducated and unelevated a helpless lady may be. But in spite of his half century of experience Tutt's knowledge of these things was purely vicarious. He could have told another man when to run, but he didn't know when to run himself. He could have saved another, himself he could not save—at any rate from Mrs. Allison.

He had never seen anyone like her. He pulled his chair a little nearer. She was so slender, so supple, so—what was it?—svelte! And she had an air of childish dignity that appealed to him tremendously. There was nothing, he assured himself, of the vamp about her at all.

"I only want to get my rights," she said, tremulously. "I'm nearly out of my mind. I don't know what to do or where to turn!"

"Is there"—he forced himself to utter the word with difficulty—"a—a man involved?"

She flushed and bowed her head sadly, and instantly a poignant rage possessed him.

"A man I trusted absolutely," she replied in a low voice.

"His name?"

"Winthrop Oaklander."

Tutt gasped audibly, for the name was that of one of Manhattan's most distinguished families, the founder of which had swapped glass beads and red-flannel shirts with the aborigines for what was now the most precious water frontage in the world—and moreover, Mrs. Allison informed Tutt, he was a clergyman.

"I don't wonder you're surprised!" agreed Mrs. Allison.

"Why—I—I'm—not surprised at all!" prevaricated Tutt, at the same time groping for his silk handkerchief. "You don't mean to say you've got a case against this man Oaklander!"

"I have indeed!" she retorted with firmly compressed lips. "That is, if it is what you call a case for a man to promise to marry a woman and then in the end refuse to do so."

"Of course it is!" answered Tutt. "But why on earth wouldn't he?"

"He found out I had been divorced," she explained. "Up to that time everything had been lovely. You see he thought I was a widow."


Mr. Tutt experienced another pang of resentment against mankind in general.

"I had a leading part in one of the season's successes on Broadway," she continued miserably. "But when Mr. Oaklander promised to marry me I left the stage; and now—I have nothing!"

"Poor child!" sighed Tutt.

He would have liked to take her in his arms and comfort her, but he always kept the door into the outer office open on principle.

"You know, Mr. Oaklander is the pastor of St. Lukes-Over-the-Way," said Mrs. Allison. "I thought that maybe rather than have any publicity he might do a little something for me."

"I suppose you've got something in the way of evidence, haven't you? Letters or photographs or something?" inquired Tutt, reverting absent-mindedly to his more professional manner.

"No," she answered. "We never wrote to one another. And when we went out it was usually in the evening. I don't suppose half a dozen people have ever seen us together."

"That's awkward!" meditated Tutt, "if he denies it."

"Of course he will deny it!"

"You can't tell. He may not."

"Oh, yes, he will! Why, he even refuses to admit that he ever met me!" declared Mrs. Allison indignantly.

Now, to Tutt's credit be it said that neither at this point nor at any other did any suspicion of Mrs. Allison's sincerity enter his mind. For the first time in his professional existence he accepted what a lady client told him at its face value. Indeed he felt that no one, not even a clergyman, could help loving so miraculous a woman, or that loving her one could refrain from marrying her save for some religious or other permanent obstacle He was sublimely, ecstatically happy in the mere thought that he, Tutt, might be of help to such a celestial being, and he desired no reward other than the privilege of being her willing slave and of reading her gratitude in those melting, misty eyes.

Mrs. Allison went away just before lunch time, leaving her telephone number, her handkerchief, a pungent odor of violet talc, and a disconsolate but highly excited Tutt. Never, at any rate within twenty years, had he felt so young. Life seemed tinged with every color of the spectrum. The radiant fact was that he would—he simply had to—see her again. What he might do for her professionally—all that aspect of the affair was shoved far into the background of his mind. His only thought was how to get her back into his office at the earliest possible moment.

"Shall I enter the lady's name in the address book?" inquired Miss Wiggin coldly as he went out to get a bite of lunch.

Tutt hesitated.

"Mrs. Georgie Allison is her name," he said in a detached sort of way.


Tutt felt in his waistcoat pocket.

"By George!" he muttered, "I didn't take it. But her telephone number is Lincoln Square 9187."

To chronicle the details of Tutt's second blooming would be needlessly to derogate from the dignity of the history of Tutt & Tutt. There is a silly season in the life of everyone—even of every lawyer—who can call himself a man, and out of such silliness comes the gravity of knowledge. Tutt found it necessary for his new client to come to the office almost every day, and as she usually arrived about the noon hour what was more natural than that he should invite her out to lunch? Twice he walked home with her. The telephone was busy constantly. And the only thorn in the rose of Tutt's delirious happiness was the fear lest Abigail might discover something. The thought gave him many an anxious hour, cost him several sleepless nights. At times this nervousness about his wife almost exceeded the delight of having Mrs. Allison for a friend. Yet each day he became on more and more cordial terms with her, and the lunches became longer and more intimate.

The Reverend Winthrop Oaklander gave no sign of life, however. The customary barrage of legal letters had been laid down, but without eliciting any response. The Reverend Winthrop must be a wise one, opined Tutt, and he began to have a hearty contempt as well as hatred for his quarry. The first letter had been the usual vague hint that the clergyman might and probably would find it to his advantage to call at the offices of Tutt & Tutt, and so on. The Reverend Winthrop, however did not seem to care to secure said advantage whatever it might be. The second epistle gave the name of the client and proposed a friendly discussion of her affairs. No reply. The third hinted at legal proceedings. Total silence. The fourth demanded ten thousand dollars damages and threatened immediate suit.

In answer to this last appeared the Reverend Winthrop himself. He was a fine-looking young chap with a clear eye—almost as blue as Georgie's—and a skin even pinker than hers, and he stood six feet five in his Oxfords and his fist looked to Tutt as big as a coconut.

"Are you the blackmailer who's been writing me those letters?" he demanded, springing into Tutt's office. "If you are, let me tell you something. You've got hold of the wrong monkey. I've been dealing with fellows of your variety ever since I got out of the seminary. I don't know the lady you pretend to represent, and I never heard of her. If I get any more letters from you I'll go down and lay the case before the district attorney; and if he doesn't put you in jail I'll come up here and knock your head off. Understand? Good day!"

At any other period in his existence Tutt could not have failed to be impressed with the honesty of this husky exponent of the church militant, but he was drugged as by the drowsy mandragora. The blatant defiance of this muscular preacher outraged him. This canting hypocrite, this wolf in priest's clothing must be brought to book. But how? Mrs. Allison had admitted the literal truth when she had told him that there were no letters, no photographs. There was no use commencing an action for breach of promise if there was no evidence to support it. And once the papers were filed their bolt would have been shot. Some way must be devised whereby the Reverend Winthrop Oaklander could be made to perceive that Tutt & Tutt meant business, and—equally imperative —whereby Georgie would be impressed with the fact that not for nothing had she come to them—that is, to him—for help.

The fact of the matter was that the whole thing had become rather hysterical. Tutt, though having nothing seriously to reproach himself with, was constantly haunted by a sense of being rather ridiculous and doing something behind his wife's back. He told himself that his Platonic regard for Georgie was a noble thing and did him honor, but it was an honor which he preferred to wear as an entirely private decoration. He was conscious of being laughed at by Willie and Scraggs and disapproved of by Miss Wiggin, who was very snippy to him. And in addition there was the omnipresent horror of having Abigail unearth his philandering. He now not only thought of Mrs. Allison as Georgie but addressed her thus, and there was quite a tidy little bill at the florist's for flowers that he had sent her. In one respect only did he exhibit even the most elementary caution—he wrote and signed all his letters to her himself upon the typewriter, and filed copies in the safe.

"So there we are!" he sighed as he gave to Mrs. Allison a somewhat expurgated, or rather emasculated version of the Reverend Winthrop's visit. "We have got to hand him something hot or make up our minds to surrender. In a word we have got to scare him—Georgie."

And then it was that, like the apocryphal mosquito, the Fat and Skinny Club justified its attempted existence. For the indefatigable Sorg made an unheralded reappearance in the outer office and insisted upon seeing Tutt, loudly asserting that he had reason to believe that if a new application were now made to another judge—whom he knew—it would be more favorably received. Tutt went to the doorway and stood there barring the entrance and expostulating with him.

"All right!" shouted Sorg. "All right! I hear you! But don't tell me that a man named Solomon Swackhamer can change his name to Phillips Brooks Vanderbilt and in the same breath a reputable body of citizens be denied the right to call themselves what they please!"

"He don't understand!" explained Tutt to Georgie, who had listened with wide, dreamy eyes. "He don't appreciate the difference between doing a thing as an individual and as a group."

"What thing?"

"Why, taking a name."

"I don't get you," said Georgie.

"Sorg wanted to call his crowd the Fat and Skinny Club, and the court wouldn't let him—thought it was silly."


"But he could have called himself Mr. Fat or Mr. Skinny or Mr. Anything Else without having to ask anybody—Oh, I say!"

Tutt had stiffened into sculpture.

"What is it?" demanded Georgie fascinated.

"I've got an idea," he cried. "You can call yourself anything you like. Why not call yourself Mrs. Winthrop Oaklander?"

"But what good would that do?" she asked vaguely.

"Look here!" directed Tutt. "This is the surest thing you know! Just go up to the Biltmore and register as Mrs. Winthrop Oaklander. You have a perfect legal right to do it. You could call yourself Mrs. Julius Caesar if you wanted to. Take a room and stay there until our young Christian soldier offers you a suitable inducement to move along. Even if you're violating the law somehow his first attempt to make trouble for you will bring about the very publicity he is anxious to avoid. Why, it's marvelous—and absolutely safe? They can't touch you. He'll come across inside of two hours. If he doesn't a word to the reporters will start things in the right direction."

For a moment Mrs. Allison looked puzzled. Then her beautiful face broke into an enthusiastic classic smile and she laid her little hand softly on his arm.

"What a clever boy you are—Sammy!"

A subdued snigger came from the direction of the desk usually occupied by William. Tutt flushed. It was one thing to call Mrs. Allison "Georgie" in private and another to have her "Sammy" him within hearing of the office force. And just then Miss Wiggin passed by with her nose slightly in the air.

"What a perfectly wonderful idea!" went on Mrs. Allison rapturously. "A perfectly wonderful idea!"

Then she smiled a strange, mysterious, significant smile that almost tore Tutt's heart out by the roots.

"Listen, Sammy," she whispered, with a new light in those beautiful eyes. "I want five thousand dollars."

"Five?" repeated Tutt simply. "I thought you wanted ten thousand!"

"Only five from you, Sammy!"

"Me!" he gagged.


Tutt turned blazing hot; then cold, dizzy and sea-sick. His sight was slightly blurred. Slowly he groped for the door and closed it cautiously.

"What—are—you—talking about?" he choked, though he knew perfectly well.

Georgie had thrown herself back in the leather chair by his desk and had opened her gold mesh-bag.

"About five thousand dollars," she replied with the careful enunciation of a New England school-mistress.

"What five thousand dollars?"

"The five you're going to hand me before I leave this office, Sammy darling," she retorted dazzlingly.

Tutt's head swam and he sank weakly into his swivel chair. It was incredible that he, a veteran of the criminal bar, should have been so tricked. Instantly, as when a reagent is injected into a retort of chemicals and a precipitate is formed leaving the previously cloudy liquid like crystal, Tutt's addled brain cleared. He was caught! The victim of his own asininity. He dared not look at this woman who had wound him thus round her finger, innocent as he was of any wrongdoing; he was ashamed to think of his wife.

"My Lord!" he murmured, realizing for the first time the depth of his weakness.

"Oh, it isn't as bad as that!" she laughed. "Remember you were going to charge Oaklander ten thousand. This costs you only five. Special rates for physicians and lawyers!"

"And suppose I don't choose to give it to you?" he asked.

"Listen here, you funny little man!" she answered in caressing tones that made him writhe. "You'd stand for twenty if I insisted on it. Oh, don't jump! I'm not going to. You're getting off easy—too easy. But I want to stay on good terms with you. I may need you sometime in my business. Your certified check for five thousand dollars—and I leave you."

She struck a match and started to light a tiny gold-tipped cigarette.

"Don't!" he gasped. "Not in the office."

"Do I get the five thousand?"

He ground his teeth, not yet willing to concede defeat.

"You silly old bird!" she said. "Do you know how many times you've had me down here in your office in the last three weeks? Fifteen. How many times you've taken me out to lunch? Ten. How often you've called me on the telephone? Eighty-nine How many times you've sent me flowers? Twelve. How many letters you've written me? Eleven! Oh, I realize they're typewritten, but a photograph enlargement would show they were typed in your office. Every typewriter has its own individuality, you know. Your clerks and office boy have heard me call you Sammy. Why, every time you've moved with me beside you someone has seen you. That's enough, isn't it? But now, on top of all that, you go and hand me exactly what I need on a gold plate."

He gazed at her stupidly.

"Why, if now you don't give me that check I shall simply go up to the Biltmore and register as Mrs. Samuel Tutt. I shall take a room and stay there until you offer me a proper inducement to move on." She giggled delightedly. "It's marvelous—absolutely safe," she quoted. "They can't touch me. You'll come across inside of two hours. If you don't a word to the reporters will start things in the right direction."

"Don't!" he groaned. "I must have been crazy. That was simply blackmail!"

"That's exactly what it was!" she agreed. "There aren't any letters except these typewritten ones, or photographs, or any evidence at all, but you're going to give me five thousand dollars just the same. Just so that your wife won't know what a silly old fool you've been. Where's your check book, Sam?"

Tutt pulled out the bottom drawer of his desk and slowly removed his personal check book. With his fountain pen in his hand he paused and looked at her.

"Rather than give you another cent I'd stand the gaff," he remarked defiantly.

"I know it," she answered. "I looked you up before I came here the first time. You are good for exactly five thousand dollars."

Tutt filled out the check to cash and sent Willie across the street to the bank to have it certified. The sun was just sinking over the Jersey shore beyond the Statue of Liberty and the surface of the harbor undulated like iridescent watered silk. The clouds were torn into golden-purple rents, and the air was so clear that one could look down the Narrows far out to the open sea. Standing there by the window Mrs. Allison looked as innocently beautiful as the day Tutt had first beheld her. After all, he thought, perhaps the experience had been worth the money.

Something of the same thought may have occurred to the lady, for as she took the check and carefully examined the certification she remarked with a distinct access of cordiality: "Really, Sammy, you're quite a nice little man. I rather like you."

Tutt stood after she had gone watching the sunset until the west was only a mass of leaden shadows Then, strangely relieved, he took his hat and started out of the office. Somewhat to his surprise he found Miss Wiggin still at her desk.

"By the way," she remarked casually as he passed her, "what shall I charge that check to? The one you just drew to cash for five thousand dollars?"

"Charge it to life insurance," he said shortly.

He felt almost gay as he threaded his way through the crowds along Broadway. Somehow a tremendous load had been lifted from his shoulders He would no longer be obliged to lead a sneaking, surreptitious existence. He felt like shouting with joy now that he could look the world frankly in the face. The genuine agony he had endured during the past three weeks loomed like a sickness behind him. He had been a fool—and there was no fool like an old one. Just let him get back to his old Abigail and there'd be no more wandering-boy business for him! Abigail might not have the figure or the complexion that Georgie had, but she was a darn sight more reliable. Henceforth she could have him from five p.m. to nine a.m. without reserve. As for kicking over the traces, sowing wild oats and that sort of thing, there was nothing in it for him. Give him Friend Wife.

He stopped at the florist's and, having paid a bill of thirty-six dollars for Georgie's flowers, purchased a double bunch of violets and carried them home with him. Abigail was watching for him out of the window. Something warm rushed to his heart at the sight of her. Through the lace curtains she looked quite trim.

"Hello, old girl!" he cried, as she opened the door. "Waiting for me, eh? Here's a bunch of posies for you."

And he kissed her on the cheek.

"That's more than I ever did to Georgie," he said to himself.

"Why, Samuel!" laughed Abigail with a faded blush. "What's ever got into you?"

"Dunno!" he retorted gaily. "The spring, I guess. What do you say to a little dinner at a restaurant and then going to the play?"

She bridled—being one of the generation who did such things—with pleasure.

"Seems to me you're getting rather extravagant." she objected. "Still—"

"Oh, come along!" he bullied her. "One of my clients collected five thousand dollars this afternoon."

Tutt summoned a taxi and they drove to the brightest, most glittering of Broadway hostelries. Abigail had never been in such a chic place before. It half terrified and shocked her, all those women in dresses that hardly came up to their armpits. Some of them were handsome though. That slim one at the table by the pillar, for instance. She was really quite lovely with that mass of yellow-golden hair, that startlingly white skin, and those misty China-blue eyes. And the gentleman with her, the tall man with the pink cheeks, was very handsome, too.

"Look, Samuel," she said, touching his hand. "See that good-looking couple over there."

But Samuel was looking at them already—intently. And just then the beautiful woman turned and, catching sight of the Tutts, smiled cordially if somewhat roguishly and raised her glass, as did her companion. Mechanically Tutt elevated his. The three drank to one another.

"Do you know those people, Samuel?" inquired Mrs. Tutt somewhat stiffly. "Who are they?"

"Oh, those over there?" he repeated absently. "I don't really know what the lady's name is, she's been down to our office a few times. But the man is Winthrop Oaklander—and the funny part of it is, I always thought he was a clergyman."

Later in the evening he turned to her between the acts and remarked inconsequently: "Say, Abbie, do I look as if I'd just had my hair cut?"

The Dog Andrew


"Now see here!" shouted Mr. Appleboy, coming out of the boathouse, where he was cleaning his morning's catch of perch, as his neighbor Mr. Tunnygate crashed through the hedge and cut across Appleboy's parched lawn to the beach. "See here, Tunnygate, I won't have you trespassing on my place! I've told you so at least a dozen times! Look at the hole you've made in that hedge, now! Why can't you stay in the path?"

His ordinarily good-natured countenance was suffused with anger and perspiration. His irritation with Mr. Tunnygate had reached the point of explosion. Tunnygate was a thankless friend and he was a great cross to Mr. Appleboy. Aforetime the two had been intimate in the fraternal, taciturn intimacy characteristic of fat men, an attraction perhaps akin to that exerted for one another by celestial bodies of great mass, for it is a fact that stout people do gravitate toward one another—and hang or float in placid juxtaposition, perhaps merely as a physical result of their avoirdupois. So Appleboy and Tunnygate had swum into each other's spheres of influence, either blown by the dallying winds of chance or drawn by some mysterious animal magnetism, and, being both addicted to the delights of the soporific sport sanctified by Izaak Walton, had raised unto themselves portable temples upon the shores of Long Island Sound in that part of the geographical limits of the Greater City known as Throggs Neck.

Every morn during the heat of the summer months Appleboy would rouse Tunnygate or conversely Tunnygate would rouse Appleboy, and each in his own wobbly skiff would row out to the spot which seemed most propitious to the piscatorial art. There, under two green umbrellas, like two fat rajahs in their shaking howdahs upon the backs of two white elephants, the friends would sit in solemn equanimity awaiting the evasive cunner, the vagrant perch or cod or the occasional flirtatious eel. They rarely spoke and when they did the edifice of their conversation—their Tower of Babel, so to speak—was monosyllabic. Thus:

"Huh! Ain't had a bite!"



Silence for forty minutes. Then: "Huh! Had a bite?"



That was generally the sum total of their interchange Yet it satisfied them, for their souls were in harmony. To them it was pregnant of unutterable meanings, of philosophic mysteries more subtle than those of the esoterics, of flowers and poetry, of bird-song and twilight, of all the nuances of softly whispered avowals, of the elusive harmonies of love's half-fainting ecstasy.



And then into this Eden—only not by virtue of the excision of any vertebra such as was originally necessary in the case of Adam—burst woman. There was silence no longer. The air was rent with clamor; for both Appleboy and Tunnygate, within a month of one another, took unto themselves wives. Wives after their own image!

For a while things went well enough; it takes ladies a few weeks to find out each other's weak points. But then the new Mrs. Tunnygate unexpectedly yet undeniably began to exhibit the serpent's tooth, the adder's tongue or the cloven hoof—as the reader's literary traditions may lead him to prefer. For no obvious reason at all she conceived a violent hatred of Mrs. Appleboy, a hatred that waxed all the more virulent on account of its object's innocently obstinate refusal to comprehend or recognize it. Indeed Mrs. Tunnygate found it so difficult to rouse Mrs. Appleboy into a state of belligerency sufficiently interesting that she soon transferred her energies to the more worthy task of making Appleboy's life a burden to him.

To this end she devoted herself with a truly Machiavellian ingenuity, devising all sorts of insults irritations and annoyances, and adding to the venom of her tongue the inventive cunning of a Malayan witch doctor. The Appleboys' flower-pots mysteriously fell off the piazza, their thole-pins disappeared, their milk bottles vanished, Mr. Appleboy's fish lines acquired a habit of derangement equaled only by barbed-wire entanglements, and his clams went bad! But these things might have been borne had it not been for the crowning achievement of her malevolence, the invasion of the Appleboys' cherished lawn, upon which they lavished all that anxious tenderness which otherwise they might have devoted to a child.

It was only about twenty feet by twenty, and it was bordered by a hedge of moth-eaten privet, but anyone who has ever attempted to induce a blade of grass to grow upon a sand dune will fully appreciate the deviltry of Mrs. Tunnygate's malignant mind. Already there was a horrid rent where Tunnygate had floundered through at her suggestion in order to save going round the pathetic grass plot which the Appleboys had struggled to create where Nature had obviously intended a floral vacuum. Undoubtedly it had been the sight of Mrs. Appleboy with her small watering pot patiently encouraging the recalcitrant blades that had suggested the malicious thought to Mrs. Tunnygate that maybe the Appleboys didn't own that far up the beach. They didn't—that was the mockery of it. Like many others they had built their porch on their boundary line, and, as Mrs. Tunnygate pointed out, they were claiming to own something that wasn't theirs. So Tunnygate, in daily obedience to his spouse, forced his way through the hedge to the beach, and daily the wrath of the Appleboys grew until they were driven almost to desperation.

Now when the two former friends sat fishing in their skiffs they either contemptuously ignored one another or, if they "Huh-Huhed!" at all the "Huhs!" resembled the angry growls of infuriated beasts. The worst of it was that the Appleboys couldn't properly do anything about it. Tunnygate had, as Mrs. Tunnygate sneeringly pointed out, a perfect legal right to push his way through the hedge and tramp across the lawn, and she didn't propose to allow the Appleboys to gain any rights by proscription, either. Not much!

Therefore, when Mr. Appleboy addressed to Mr. Tunnygate the remarks with which this story opens, the latter insolently replied in words, form or substance that Mr. Appleboy could go to hell. Moreover, as he went by Mr. Appleboy he took pains to kick over a clod of transplanted sea grass, nurtured by Mrs. Appleboy as the darling of her bosom, and designed to give an air of verisimilitude to an otherwise bare and unconvincing surface of sand. Mr. Appleboy almost cried with vexation.

"Oh!" he ejaculated, struggling for words to express the full content of his feeling. "Gosh, but you're—mean!"

He hit it! Curiously enough, that was exactly the word! Tunnygate was mean—and his meanness was second only to that of the fat hippopotama his wife.

Then, without knowing why, for he had no formulated ideas as to the future, and probably only intended to try to scare Tunnygate with vague threats, Appleboy added: "I warn you not to go through that hedge again! Understand—I warn you! And if you do I won't be responsible for the consequences!"

He really didn't mean a thing by the words, and Tunnygate knew it.

"Huh!" retorted the latter contemptuously. "You!"

Mr. Appleboy went inside the shack and banged the door. Mrs. Appleboy was peeling potatoes in the kitchen-living room.

"I can't stand it!" he cried weakly. "He's driving me wild!"

"Poor lamb!" soothed Mrs. Appleboy, peeling an interminable rind. "Ain't that just a sweetie? Look! It's most as long as your arm!"

She held it up dangling between her thumb and fore-finger. Then, with a groan she dropped it at his feet. "I know it's a real burden to you, deary!" she sighed.

Suddenly they both bent forward with startled eyes, hypnotized by the peel upon the floor.

Unmistakably it spelt "dog"! They looked at one another significantly.

"It is a symbol!" breathed Mrs. Appleboy in an awed whisper.

"Whatever it is, it's some grand idea!" exclaimed her husband. "Do you know anybody who's got one? I mean a—a—"

"I know just what you mean," she agreed. "I wonder we never thought of it before! But there wouldn't be any use in getting any dog!"

"Oh, no!" he concurred. "We want a real—dog!"

"One you know about!" she commented.

"The fact is," said he, rubbing his forehead, "if they know about 'em they do something to 'em. It ain't so easy to get the right kind."

"Oh, we'll get one!" she encouraged him. "Now Aunt Eliza up to Livornia used to have one. It made a lot of trouble and they ordered her—the selectmen did—to do away with it. But she only pretended she had—she didn't really—and I think she's got him yet."

"Gee!" said Mr. Appleboy tensely. "What sort was it?"

"A bull!" she replied. "With a big white face."

"That's the kind!" he agreed excitedly. "What was its name?"

"Andrew," she answered.

"That's a queer name for a dog!" he commented "Still, I don't care what his name is, so long as he's the right kind of dog! Why don't you write to Aunt Eliza to-night?"

"Of course Andrew may be dead," she hazarded. "Dogs do die."

"Oh, I guess Andrew isn't dead!" he said hopefully "That tough kind of dog lasts a long time. What will you say to Aunt Eliza?"

Mrs. Appleboy went to the dresser and took a pad and pencil from one of the shelves.

"Oh, something like this," she answered, poising the pencil over the pad in her lap:

"Dear Aunt Eliza: I hope you are quite well. It is sort of lonely living down here on the beach and there are a good many rough characters, so we are looking for a dog for companionship and protection Almost any kind of healthy dog would do and you may be sure he would have a good home. Hoping to see you soon. Your affectionate niece, Bashemath."

"I hope she'll send us Andrew," said Appleboy fervently.

"I guess she will!" nodded Bashemath.

* * * * *

"What on earth is that sign?" wrathfully demanded Mrs. Tunnygate one morning about a week later as she looked across the Appleboys' lawn from her kitchen window. "Can you read it, Herman?"

Herman stopped trying to adjust his collar and went out on the piazza.

"Something about 'dog'," he declared finally.

"Dog!" she exclaimed. "They haven't got a dog!"

"Well," he remarked, "that's what the sign says: 'Beware of the dog'! And there's something above it. Oh! 'No crossing this property. Trespassing forbidden.'"

"What impudence!" avowed Mrs. Tunnygate. "Did you ever know such people! First they try and take land that don't belong to them, and then they go and lie about having a dog. Where are they, anyway?"

"I haven't seen 'em this morning," he answered. "Maybe they've gone away and put up the sign so we won't go over. Think that'll stop us!"

"In that case they've got another think comin'!" she retorted angrily. "I've a good mind to have you go over and tear up the whole place!"

"'N pull up the hedge?" he concurred eagerly. "Good chance!"

Indeed, to Mr. Tunnygate it seemed the supreme opportunity both to distinguish himself in the eyes of his blushing bride and to gratify that perverse instinct inherited from our cave-dwelling ancestors to destroy utterly—in order, perhaps, that they may never seek to avenge themselves upon us—those whom we have wronged. Accordingly Mr. Tunnygate girded himself with his suspenders, and with a gleam of fiendish exultation in his eye stealthily descended from his porch and crossed to the hole in the hedge. No one was in sight except two barefooted searchers after clams a few hundred yards farther up the beach and a man working in a field half a mile away. The bay shimmered in the broiling August sun and from a distant grove came the rattle and wheeze of locusts. Throggs Neck blazed in silence, and utterly silent was the house of Appleboy.

With an air of bravado, but with a slightly accelerated heartbeat, Tunnygate thrust himself through the hole in the hedge and looked scornfully about the Appleboy lawn. A fierce rage worked through his veins. A lawn! What effrontery! What business had these condescending second-raters to presume to improve a perfectly good beach which was satisfactory to other folks? He'd show 'em! He took a step in the direction of the transplanted sea grass. Unexpectedly the door of the Appleboy kitchen opened.

"I warned you!" enunciated Mr. Appleboy with unnatural calmness, which with another background might have struck almost anybody as suspicious.

"Huh!" returned the startled Tunnygate, forced under the circumstances to assume a nonchalance that he did not altogether feel. "You!"

"Well," repeated Mr. Appleboy. "Don't ever say I didn't!"

"Pshaw!" ejaculated Mr. Tunnygate disdainfully.

With premeditation and deliberation, and with undeniable malice aforethought, he kicked the nearest bunch of sea grass several feet in the air. His violence carried his leg high in the air and he partially lost his equilibrium. Simultaneously a white streak shot from beneath the porch and something like a red-hot poker thrust itself savagely into an extremely tender part of his anatomy.

Previous Part     1  2  3  4     Next Part
Home - Random Browse