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Indiscretions of Archie by P. G. Wodehouse

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were the ordinary kind of chorus-girl. She's only on the stage
because her mother's hard-up and she wants to educate her little

"I say," said Archie, concerned. "Take my tip, old top. In chatting
the matter over with the pater, don't dwell too much on that aspect
of the affair.--I've been watching him closely, and it's about all
he can stick, having to support ME. If you ring in a mother and a
little brother on him, he'll crack under the strain."

"Well, I've got to do something about it. Mabel will be over here in
a week."

"Great Scot! You never told us that."

"Yes. She's going to be in the new Billington show. And, naturally,
she will expect to meet my family. I've told her all about you."

"Did you explain father to her?" asked Lucille.

"Well, I just said she mustn't mind him, as his bark was worse than
his bite."

"Well," said Archie, thoughtfully, "he hasn't bitten me yet, so you
may be right. But you've got to admit that he's a bit of a barker."

Lucille considered.

"Really, Bill, I think your best plan would be to go straight to
father and tell him the whole thing.--You don't want him to hear
about it in a roundabout way."

"The trouble is that, whenever I'm with father, I can't think of
anything to say."

Archie found himself envying his father-in-law this merciful
dispensation of Providence; for, where he himself was concerned,
there had been no lack of eloquence on Bill's part. In the brief
period in which he had known him, Bill had talked all the time and
always on the one topic. As unpromising a subject as the tariff laws
was easily diverted by him into a discussion of the absent Mabel.

"When I'm with father," said Bill, "I sort of lose my nerve, and

"Dashed awkward," said Archie, politely. He sat up suddenly. "I say!
By Jove! I know what you want, old friend! Just thought of it!"

"That busy brain is never still," explained Lucille.

"Saw it in the paper this morning. An advertisement of a book, don't
you know."

"I've no time for reading."

"You've time for reading this one, laddie, for you can't afford to
miss it. It's a what-d'you-call-it book. What I mean to say is, if
you read it and take its tips to heart, it guarantees to make you a
convincing talker. The advertisement says so. The advertisement's
all about a chappie I whose name I forget, whom everybody loved
because he talked so well. And, mark you, before he got hold of this
book--The Personality That Wins was the name of it, if I remember
rightly--he was known to all the lads in the office as Silent Samuel
or something. Or it may have been Tongue-Tied Thomas. Well, one day
he happened by good luck to blow in the necessary for the good old
P. that W.'s, and now, whenever they want someone to go and talk
Rockefeller or someone into lending them a million or so, they send
for Samuel. Only now they call him Sammy the Spell-Binder and fawn
upon him pretty copiously and all that. How about it, old son? How
do we go?"

"What perfect nonsense," said Lucille.

"I don't know," said Bill, plainly impressed. "There might be
something in it."

"Absolutely!" said Archie. "I remember it said, 'Talk convincingly,
and no man will ever treat you with cold, unresponsive
indifference.' Well, cold, unresponsive indifference is just what
you don't want the pater to treat you with, isn't it, or is it, or
isn't it, what? I mean, what?"

"It sounds all right," said Bill.

"It IS all right," said Archie. "It's a scheme! I'll go farther.
It's an egg!"

"The idea I had," said Bill, "was to see if I couldn't get Mabel a
job in some straight comedy. That would take the curse off the thing
a bit. Then I wouldn't have to dwell on the chorus end of the
business, you see."

"Much more sensible," said Lucille.

"But what a-deuce of a sweat"--argued Archie. "I mean to say, having
to pop round and nose about and all that."

"Aren't you willing to take a little trouble for your stricken
brother-in-law, worm?" said Lucille severely.

"Oh, absolutely! My idea was to get this book and coach the dear old
chap. Rehearse him, don't you know. He could bone up the early
chapters a bit and then drift round and try his convincing talk on

"It might be a good idea," said Bill reflectively.

"Well, I'll tell you what _I'm_ going to do," said Lucille. "I'm
going to get Bill to introduce me to his Mabel, and, if she's as
nice as he says she is, _I'll_ go to father and talk convincingly to

"You're an ace!" said Bill.

"Absolutely!" agreed Archie cordially. "MY partner, what! All the
same, we ought to keep the book as a second string, you know. I mean
to say, you are a young and delicately nurtured girl--full of
sensibility and shrinking what's-its-name and all that--and you know
what the jolly old pater is. He might bark at you and put you out of
action in the first round. Well, then, if anything like that
happened, don't you see, we could unleash old Bill, the trained
silver-tongued expert, and let him have a shot. Personally, I'm all
for the P. that W.'s."-"Me, too," said Bill.

Lucille looked at her watch.

"Good gracious! It's nearly one o'clock!"

"No!" Archie heaved himself up from his chair. "Well, it's a shame
to break up this feast of reason and flow of soul and all that, but,
if we don't leg it with some speed, we shall be late."

"We're lunching at the Nicholson's!" explained Lucille to her
brother. "I wish you were coming too."

"Lunch!" Bill shook his head with a kind of tolerant scorn. "Lunch
means nothing to me these days. I've other things to think of
besides food." He looked as spiritual as his rugged features would
permit. "I haven't written to Her yet to-day."

"But, dash it, old scream, if she's going to be over here in a week,
what's the good of writing? The letter would cross her."

"I'm not mailing my letters to England." said Bill. "I'm keeping
them for her to read when she arrives."

"My sainted aunt!" said Archie.

Devotion like this was something beyond his outlook.



The personality that wins cost Archie two dollars in cash and a lot
of embarrassment when he asked for it at the store. To buy a
treatise of that name would automatically seem to argue that you
haven't a winning personality already, and Archie was at some pains
to explain to the girl behind the counter that he wanted it for a
friend. The girl seemed more interested in his English accent than
in his explanation, and Archie was uncomfortably aware, as he
receded, that she was practising it in an undertone for the benefit
of her colleagues and fellow-workers. However, what is a little
discomfort, if endured in friendship's name?

He was proceeding up Broadway after leaving the store when he
encountered Reggie van Tuyl, who was drifting along in
somnambulistic fashion near Thirty-Ninth Street.

"Hullo, Reggie old thing!" said Archie.

"Hullo!" said Reggie, a man of few words.

"I've just been buying a book for Bill Brewster," went on Archie.
"It appears that old Bill--What's the matter?"

He broke off his recital abruptly. A sort of spasm had passed across
his companion's features. The hand holding Archie's arm had
tightened convulsively. One would have said that Reginald had
received a shock.

"It's nothing," said Reggie. "I'm all right now. I caught sight of
that fellow's clothes rather suddenly. They shook me a bit. I'm all
right now," he said, bravely.

Archie, following his friend's gaze, understood. Reggie van Tuyl was
never at his strongest in the morning, and he had a sensitive eye
for clothes. He had been known to resign from clubs because members
exceeded the bounds in the matter of soft shirts with dinner-
jackets. And the short, thick-set man who was standing just in front
of them in attitude of restful immobility was certainly no dandy.
His best friend could not have called him dapper. Take him for all
in all and on the hoof, he might have been posing as a model for a
sketch of What the Well-Dressed Man Should Not Wear.

In costume, as in most other things, it is best to take a definite
line and stick to it. This man had obviously vacillated. His neck
was swathed in a green scarf; he wore an evening-dress coat; and his
lower limbs were draped in a pair of tweed trousers built for a
larger man. To the north he was bounded by a straw hat, to the south
by brown shoes.

Archie surveyed the man's back carefully.

"Bit thick!" he said, sympathetically. "But of course Broadway isn't
Fifth Avenue. What I mean to say is, Bohemian licence and what not.
Broadway's crammed with deuced brainy devils who don't care how they
look. Probably this bird is a master-mind of some species."

"All the same, man's no right to wear evening-dress coat with tweed

"Absolutely not! I see what you mean."

At this point the sartorial offender turned. Seen from the front, he
was even more unnerving. He appeared to possess no shirt, though
this defect was offset by the fact that the tweed trousers fitted
snugly under the arms. He was not a handsome man. At his best he
could never have been that, and in the recent past he had managed to
acquire a scar that ran from the corner of his mouth half-way across
his cheek. Even when his face was in repose he had an odd
expression; and when, as he chanced to do now, he smiled, odd became
a mild adjective, quite inadequate for purposes of description. It
was not an unpleasant face, however. Unquestionably genial, indeed.
There was something in it that had a quality of humorous appeal.

Archie started. He stared at the man, Memory stirred.

"Great Scot!" he cried. "It's the Sausage Chappie!"

Reginald van Tuyl gave a little moan. He was not used to this sort
of thing. A sensitive young man as regarded scenes, Archie's
behaviour unmanned him. For Archie, releasing his arm, had bounded
forward and was shaking the other's hand warmly.

"Well, well, well! My dear old chap! You must remember me, what? No?

The man with the scar seemed puzzled. He shuffled the brown shoes,
patted the straw hat, and eyed Archie questioningly.

"I don't seem to place you," he said.

Archie slapped the back of the evening-dress coat. He linked his arm
affectionately with that of the dress-reformer.

"We met outside St Mihiel in the war. You gave me a bit of sausage.
One of the most sporting events in history. Nobody but a real
sportsman would have parted with a bit of sausage at that moment to
a stranger. Never forgotten it, by Jove. Saved my life, absolutely.
Hadn't chewed a morse for eight hours. Well, have you got anything
on? I mean to say, you aren't booked for lunch or any rot of that
species, are you? Fine! Then I move we all toddle off and get a bite
somewhere." He squeezed the other's arm fondly. "Fancy meeting you
again like this! I've often wondered what became of you. But, by
Jove, I was forgetting. Dashed rude of me. My friend, Mr. van Tuyl."

Reggie gulped. The longer he looked at it, the harder this man's
costume was to bear. His eye passed shudderingly from the brown
shoes to the tweed trousers, to the green scarf, from the green
scarf to the straw hat.

"Sorry," he mumbled. "Just remembered. Important date. Late already.
Er--see you some time--"

He melted away, a broken man. Archie was not sorry to see him go.
Reggie was a good chap, but he would undoubtedly have been de trop
at this reunion.

"I vote we go to the Cosmopolis," he said, steering his newly-found
friend through the crowd. "The browsing and sluicing isn't bad
there, and I can sign the bill which is no small consideration

The Sausage Chappie chuckled amusedly.

"I can't go to a place like the Cosmopolis looking like this."

Archie, was a little embarrassed.

"Oh, I don't know, you know, don't you know!" he said. "Still, since
you have brought the topic up, you DID get the good old wardrobe a
bit mixed this morning what? I mean to say, you seem absent-
mindedly, as it were, to have got hold of samples from a good number
of your various suitings."

"Suitings? How do you mean, suitings? I haven't any suitings! Who do
you think I am? Vincent Astor? All I have is what I stand up in."

Archie was shocked. This tragedy touched him. He himself had never
had any money in his life, but somehow he had always seemed to
manage to have plenty of clothes. How this was he could not say. He
had always had a vague sort of idea that tailors were kindly birds
who never failed to have a pair of trousers or something up their
sleeve to present to the deserving. There was the drawback, of
course, that once they had given you things they were apt to write
you rather a lot of letters about it; but you soon managed to
recognise their handwriting, and then it was a simple task to
extract their communications from your morning mail and drop them in
the waste-paper basket. This was the first case he had encountered
of a man who was really short of clothes.

"My dear old lad," he said, briskly, "this must be remedied! Oh,
positively! This must be remedied at once! I suppose my things
wouldn't fit you? No. Well, I tell you what. We'll wangle something
from my father-in-law. Old Brewster, you know, the fellow who runs
the Cosmopolis. His'll fit you like the paper on the wall, because
he's a tubby little blighter, too. What I mean to say is, he's also
one of those sturdy, square, fine-looking chappies of about the
middle height. By the way, where are you stopping these days?"

"Nowhere just at present. I thought of taking one of those self-
contained Park benches."

"Are you broke?"

"Am I!"

Archie was concerned.

"You ought to get a job."

"I ought. But somehow I don't seem able to."

"What did you do before the war?"

"I've forgotten."



"How do you mean--forgotten? You can't mean--FORGOTTEN?"

"Yes. It's quite gone."

"But I mean to say. You can't have forgotten a thing like that."

"Can't I! I've forgotten all sorts of things. Where I was born. How
old I am. Whether I'm married or single. What my name is--"

"Well, I'm dashed!" said Archie, staggered. "But you remembered
about giving me a bit of sausage outside St. Mihiel?"

"No, I didn't. I'm taking your word for it. For all I know you may
be luring me into some den to rob me of my straw hat. I don't know
you from Adam. But I like your conversation--especially the part
about eating--and I'm taking a chance."

Archie was concerned.

"Listen, old bean. Make an effort. You must remember that sausage
episode? It was just outside St. Mihiel, about five in the evening.
Your little lot were lying next to my little lot, and we happened to
meet, and I said 'What ho!' and you said 'Halloa!' and I said 'What
ho! What ho!' and you said 'Have a bit of sausage?' and I said 'What
ho! What ho! What HO!'"

"The dialogue seems to have been darned sparkling but I don't
remember it. It must have been after that that I stopped one. I
don't seem quite to have caught up with myself since I got hit."

"Oh! That's how you got that scar?"

"No. I got that jumping through a plate-glass window in London on
Armistice night."

"What on earth did you do that for?"

"Oh, I don't know. It seemed a good idea at the time."

"But if you can remember a thing like that, why can't you remember
your name?"

"I remember everything that happened after I came out of hospital.
It's the part before that's gone."

Archie patted him on the shoulder.

"I know just what you want. You need a bit of quiet and repose, to
think things over and so forth. You mustn't go sleeping on Park
benches. Won't do at all. Not a bit like it. You must shift to the
Cosmopolis. It isn't half a bad spot, the old Cosmop. I didn't like
it much the first night I was there, because there was a dashed tap
that went drip-drip-drip all night and kept me awake, but the place
has its points."

"Is the Cosmopolis giving free board and lodging these days?"

"Rather! That'll be all right. Well, this is the spot. We'll start
by trickling up to the old boy's suite and looking over his reach-
me-downs. I know the waiter on his floor. A very sound chappie.
He'll let us in with his pass-key."

And so it came about that Mr. Daniel Brewster, returning to his
suite in the middle of lunch in order to find a paper dealing with
the subject he was discussing with his guest, the architect of his
new hotel, was aware of a murmur of voices behind the closed door of
his bedroom. Recognising the accents of his son-in-law, he breathed
an oath and charged in. He objected to Archie wandering at large
about his suite.

The sight that met his eyes when he opened the door did nothing to
soothe him. The floor was a sea of clothes. There were coats on the
chairs, trousers on the bed, shirts on the bookshelf. And in the
middle of his welter stood Archie, with a man who, to Mr. Brewster's
heated eye, looked like a tramp comedian out of a burlesque show.

"Great Godfrey!" ejaculated Mr. Brewster.

Archie looked up with a friendly smile.

"Oh, halloa-halloa!" he said, affably, "We were just glancing
through your spare scenery to see if we couldn't find something for
my pal here. This is Mr. Brewster, my father-in-law, old man."

Archie scanned his relative's twisted features. Something in his
expression seemed not altogether encouraging. He decided that the
negotiations had better be conducted in private. "One moment, old
lad," he said to his new friend. "I just want to have a little talk
with my father-in-law in the other room. Just a little friendly
business chat. You stay here."

In the other room Mr. Brewster turned on Archie like a wounded lion
of the desert.

"What the--!"

Archie secured one of his coat-buttons and began to massage it

"Ought to have explained!" said Archie, "only didn't want to
interrupt your lunch. The sportsman on the horizon is a dear old pal
of mine--"

Mr. Brewster wrenched himself free.

"What the devil do you mean, you worm, by bringing tramps into my
bedroom and messing about with my clothes?"

"That's just what I'm trying to explain, if you'll only listen. This
bird is a bird I met in France during the war. He gave me a bit of
sausage outside St. Mihiel--"

"Damn you and him and the sausage!"

"Absolutely. But listen. He can't remember who he is or where he was
born or what his name is, and he's broke; so, dash it, I must look
after him. You see, he gave me a bit of sausage."

Mr. Brewster's frenzy gave way to an ominous calm.

"I'll give him two seconds to clear out of here. If he isn't gone by
then I'll have him thrown out"

Archie was shocked.

"You don't mean that?"

"I do mean that."

"But where is he to go?"


"But you don't understand. This chappie has lost his memory because
he was wounded in the war. Keep that fact firmly fixed in the old
bean. He fought for you. Fought and bled for you. Bled profusely, by
Jove. AND he saved my life!"

"If I'd got nothing else against him, that would be enough."

"But you can't sling a chappie out into the cold hard world who bled
in gallons to make the world safe for the Hotel Cosmopolis."

Mr. Brewster looked ostentatiously at his watch.

"Two seconds!" he said.

There was a silence. Archie appeared to be thinking. "Right-o!" he
said at last. "No need to get the wind up. I know where he can go.
It's just occurred to me I'll put him up at my little shop."

The purple ebbed from Mr. Brewster's face. Such was his emotion that
he had forgotten that infernal shop. He sat down. There was more

"Oh, gosh!" said Mr. Brewster.

"I knew you would be reasonable about it," said Archie, approvingly.
"Now, honestly, as man to man, how do we go?"

"What do you want me to do?" growled Mr. Brewster.

"I thought you might put the chappie up for a while, and give him a
chance to look round and nose about a bit"

"I absolutely refuse to give any more loafers free board and

"Any MORE?"

"Well, he would be the second, wouldn't he?"

Archie looked pained.

"It's true," he said, "that when I first came here I was temporarily
resting, so to speak; but didn't I go right out and grab the
managership of your new hotel? Positively!"

"I will NOT adopt this tramp."

"Well, find him a job, then."

"What sort of a job?"

"Oh, any old sort"

"He can be a waiter if he likes."

"All right; I'll put the matter before him."

He returned to the bedroom. The Sausage Chappie was gazing fondly
into the mirror with a spotted tie draped round his neck.

"I say, old top," said Archie, apologetically, "the Emperor of the
Blighters out yonder says you can have a job here as waiter, and he
won't do another dashed thing for you. How about it?"

"Do waiters eat?"

"I suppose so. Though, by Jove, come to think of it, I've never seen
one at it."

"That's good enough for me!" said the Sausage Chappie. "When do I



The advantage of having plenty of time on one's hands is that one
has leisure to attend to the affairs of all one's circle of friends;
and Archie, assiduously as he watched over the destinies of the
Sausage Chappie, did not neglect the romantic needs of his brother-
in-law Bill. A few days later, Lucille, returning one morning to
their mutual suite, found her husband seated in an upright chair at
the table, an unusually stern expression on his amiable face. A
large cigar was in the corner of his mouth. The fingers of one hand
rested in the armhole of his waistcoat: with the other hand he
tapped menacingly on the table.

As she gazed upon him, wondering what could be the matter with him,
Lucille was suddenly aware of Bill's presence. He had emerged
sharply from the bedroom and was walking briskly across the floor.
He came to a halt in front of the table.

"Father!" said Bill.

Archie looked up sharply, frowning heavily over his cigar.

"Well, my boy," he said in a strange, rasping voice. "What is it?
Speak up, my boy, speak up! Why the devil can't you speak up? This
is my busy day!"

"What on earth are you doing?" asked Lucille.

Archie waved her away with the large gesture of a man of blood and
iron interrupted while concentrating.

"Leave us, woman! We would be alone! Retire into the jolly old
background and amuse yourself for a bit. Read a book. Do acrostics.
Charge ahead, laddie."

"Father!" said Bill, again.

"Yes, my boy, yes? What is it?"


Archie picked up the red-covered volume that lay on the table.

"Half a mo', old son. Sorry to stop you, but I knew there was
something. I've just remembered. Your walk. All wrong!"

"All wrong?"

"All wrong! Where's the chapter on the Art. of Walking? Here we are.
Listen, dear old soul. Drink this in. 'In walking, one should strive
to acquire that swinging, easy movement from the hips. The
correctly-poised walker seems to float along, as it were.' Now, old
bean, you didn't float a dam' bit. You just galloped in like a
chappie charging into a railway restaurant for a bowl of soup when
his train leaves in two minutes. Dashed important, this walking
business, you know. Get started wrong, and where are you? Try it
again. . . . Much better." He turned to Lucille. "Notice him float
along that time? Absolutely skimmed, what?"

Lucille had taken a seat,-and was waiting for enlightenment.

"Are you and Bill going into vaudeville?" she asked.

Archie, scrutinising-his-brother-in-law closely, had further
criticism to make.

"'The man of self-respect and self-confidence,'" he read, "'stands
erect in an easy, natural, graceful attitude. Heels not too far
apart, head erect, eyes to the front with a level gaze'--get your
gaze level, old thing!--'shoulders thrown back, arms hanging
naturally at the sides when not otherwise employed'--that means
that, if he tries to hit you, it's all right to guard--'chest
expanded naturally, and abdomen'--this is no place for you, Lucille.
Leg it out of earshot--'ab--what I said before--drawn in somewhat
and above all not protruded.' Now, have you got all that? Yes, you
look all right. Carry on, laddie, carry on. Let's have two-penn'orth
of the Dynamic Voice and the Tone of Authority--some of the full,
rich, round stuff we hear so much about!"

Bill fastened a gimlet eye upon his brother-in-law and drew a deep

"Father!" he said. "Father!"

"You'll have to brighten up Bill's dialogue a lot," said Lucille,
critically, "or you will never get bookings."


"I mean, it's all right as far as it goes, but it's sort of
monotonous. Besides, one of you ought to be asking questions and the
other answering. Mill ought to be saying, 'Who was that lady I saw
you coming down the street with?' so that you would be able to say,
'That wasn't a lady. That was my wife.' I KNOW! I've been to lots of
vaudeville shows."

Bill relaxed his attitude. He deflated his chest, spread his heels,
and ceased to draw in his abdomen.

"We'd better try this another time, when we're alone," he said,
frigidly. "I can't do myself justice."

"Why do you want to do yourself justice?" asked Lucille.

"Right-o!" said Archie, affably, casting off his forbidding
expression like a garment. "Rehearsal postponed. I was just putting
old Bill through it," he explained, "with a view to getting him into
mid-season form for the jolly old pater."

"Oh!" Lucille's voice was the voice of one who sees light in
darkness. "When Bill walked in like a cat on hot bricks and stood
there looking stuffed, that was just the Personality That Wins!"

"That was it."

"Well, you couldn't blame me for not recognising it, could you?"

Archie patted her head paternally.

"A little less of the caustic critic stuff," he said. "Bill will be
all right on the night. If you hadn't come in then and put him off
his stroke, he'd have shot out some amazing stuff, full of authority
and dynamic accents and what not. I tell you, light of my soul, old
Bill is all right! He's got the winning personality up a tree, ready
whenever he wants to go and get it. Speaking as his backer and
trainer, I think he'll twist your father round his little finger.
Absolutely! It wouldn't surprise me if at the end of five minutes
the good old dad started pumping through hoops and sitting up for
lumps of sugar."

"It would surprise ME."

"Ah, that's because you haven't seen old Bill in action. You crabbed
his act before he had begun to spread himself."

"It isn't that at all. The reason why I think that Bill, however
winning his, personality may be, won't persuade father to let him
marry a girl in the chorus is something that happened last night."

"Last night?"

"Well, at three o'clock this morning. It's on the front page of the
early editions of the evening papers. I brought one in for you to
see, only you were so busy. Look! There it is!"

Archie seized the paper.

"Oh, Great Scot!"

"What is it?" asked Bill, irritably. "Don't stand goggling there!
What the devil is it?"

"Listen to this, old thing!"


The logical contender for Jack Dempsey's championship honours has
been discovered; and, in an age where women are stealing men's jobs
all the time, it will not come as a surprise to our readers to learn
that she belongs to the sex that is more deadly than the male. Her
name is Miss Pauline Preston, and her wallop is vouched for under
oath--under many oaths--by Mr. Timothy O'Neill, known to his
intimates as Pie-Face, who holds down the arduous job of detective
at the Hotel Cosmopolis.

At three o'clock this morning, Mr. O'Neill was advised by the night-
clerk that the occupants of every room within earshot of number 618
had 'phoned the desk to complain of a disturbance, a noise, a vocal
uproar proceeding from the room mentioned. Thither, therefore,
marched Mr. O'Neill, his face full of cheese-sandwich, (for he had
been indulging in an early breakfast or a late supper) and his heart
of devotion to duty. He found there the Misses Pauline Preston and
"Bobbie" St. Clair, of the personnel of the chorus of the
Frivolities, entertaining a few friends of either sex. A pleasant
time was being had by all, and at the moment of Mr. O'Neill's entry
the entire strength of the company was rendering with considerable
emphasis that touching ballad, "There's a Place For Me In Heaven,
For My Baby-Boy Is There."

The able and efficient officer at once suggested that there was a
place for them in the street and the patrol-wagon was there; and,
being a man of action as well as words, proceeded to gather up an
armful of assorted guests as a preliminary to a personally-conducted
tour onto the cold night. It was at this point that Miss Preston
stepped into the limelight. Mr. O'Neill contends that she hit him
with a brick, an iron casing, and the Singer Building. Be that as it
may, her efforts were sufficiently able to induce him to retire for
reinforcements, which, arriving, arrested the supper-party
regardless of age or sex.

At the police-court this morning Miss Preston maintained that she
and her friends were merely having a quiet home-evening and that Mr.
O'Neill was no gentleman. The male guests gave their names
respectively as Woodrow Wilson, David Lloyd-George, and William J.
Bryan. These, however, are believed to be incorrect. But the moral
is, if you want excitement rather than sleep, stay at the Hotel

Bill may have quaked inwardly as he listened to this epic but
outwardly he was unmoved.

"Well," he said, "what about it?"

"What about it!" said Lucille.

"What about it!" said Archie. "Why, my dear old friend, it simply
means that all the time we've been putting in making your
personality winning has been chucked away. Absolutely a dead loss!
We might just as well have read a manual on how to knit sweaters."

"I don't see it," maintained Bill, stoutly.

Lucille turned apologetically to her husband.

"You mustn't judge me by him, Archie, darling. This sort of thing
doesn't run in the family.-We are supposed to be rather bright on
the whole. But poor Bill was dropped by his nurse when he was a
baby, and fell on his head."

"I suppose what you're driving at," said the goaded Bill, "is that
what has happened will make father pretty sore against girls who
happen to be in the chorus?"

"That's absolutely it, old thing, I'm sorry to say. The next person
who mentions the word chorus-girl in the jolly old governor's
presence is going to take his life in his hands. I tell you, as one
man to another, that I'd much rather be back in France hopping over
the top than do it myself."

"What darned nonsense! Mabel may be in the chorus, but she isn't
like those girls."

"Poor old Bill!" said Lucille. "I'm awfully sorry, but it's no use
not facing facts. You know perfectly well that the reputation of the
hotel is the thing father cares more about than anything else in the
world, and that this is going to make him furious with all the
chorus-girls in creation. It's no good trying to explain to him that
your Mabel is in the chorus but not of the chorus, so to speak."

"Deuced well put!" said Archie, approvingly. "You're absolutely
right. A chorus-girl by the river's brim, so to speak, a simple
chorus-girl is to him, as it were, and she is nothing more, if you
know what I mean."

"So now," said Lucille, "having shown you that the imbecile scheme
which you concocted with my poor well-meaning husband is no good at
all, I will bring you words of cheer. Your own original plan--of
getting your Mabel a part in a comedy--was always the best one. And
you can do it. I wouldn't have broken the bad news so abruptly if I
hadn't had some consolation to give you afterwards. I met Reggie van
Tuyl just now, wandering about as if the cares of world were on his
shoulders, and he told me that he was putting up most of the money
for a new play that's going into rehearsal right away. Reggie's an
old friend of yours. All you have to do is to go to him and ask him
to use his influence to get your Mabel a small part. There's sure to
be a maid or something with only a line or two that won't matter."

"A ripe scheme!" said Archie. "Very sound and fruity!"

The cloud did not lift from Bill's corrugated brow.

"That's all very well," he said. "But you know what a talker Reggie
is. He's an obliging sort of chump, but his tongue's fastened on at
the middle and waggles at both ends. I don't want the whole of New
York to know about my engagement, and have somebody spilling the
news to father, before I'm ready."

"That's all right," said Lucille. "Archie can speak to him. There's
no need for him to mention your name at all. He can just say there's
a girl he wants to get a part for. You would do it, wouldn't you,

"Like a bird, queen of my soul."

"Then that's splendid. You'd better give Archie that photograph of
Mabel to give to Reggie, Bill."

"Photograph?" said Bill. "Which photograph? I have twenty-four!"

Archie found Reggie van Tuyl brooding in a window of his club that
looked over Fifth Avenue. Reggie was a rather melancholy young man
who suffered from elephantiasis of the bank-roll and the other evils
that arise from that complaint. Gentle and sentimental by nature,
his sensibilities had been much wounded by contact with a sordid
world; and the thing that had first endeared Archie to him was the
fact that the latter, though chronically hard-up, had never made any
attempt to borrow money from him. Reggie would have parted with it
on demand, but it had delighted him to find that Archie seemed to
take a pleasure in his society without having any ulterior motives.
He was fond of Archie, and also of Lucille; and their happy marriage
was a constant source of gratification to him.

For Reggie was a sentimentalist. He would have liked to live in a
world of ideally united couples, himself ideally united to some
charming and affectionate girl. But, as a matter of cold fact, he
was a bachelor, and most of the couples he knew were veterans of
several divorces. In Reggie's circle, therefore, the home-life of
Archie and Lucille shone like a good deed in a naughty world. It
inspired him. In moments of depression it restored his waning faith
in human nature.

Consequently, when Archie, having greeted him and slipped into a
chair at his side, suddenly produced from his inside pocket the
photograph of an extremely pretty girl and asked him to get her a
small part in the play which he was financing, he was shocked and
disappointed. He was in a more than usually sentimental mood that
afternoon, and had, indeed, at the moment of Archie's arrival, been
dreaming wistfully of soft arms clasped snugly about his collar and
the patter of little feet and all that sort of thing.-He gazed
reproachfully at Archie.

"Archie!" his voice quivered with emotion. "Is it worth it?, is it
worth it, old man?-Think of the poor little woman at home!"

Archie was puzzled.

"Eh, old top? Which poor little woman?"

"Think of her trust in you, her faith--".

"I don't absolutely get you, old bean."

"What would Lucille say if she knew about this?"

"Oh, she does. She knows all about it."

"Good heavens!" cried Reggie.-He was shocked to the core of his
being.-One of the articles of his faith was, that the union of
Lucille and Archie was different from those loose partnerships which
were the custom in his world.-He had not been conscious of such a
poignant feeling that the foundations of the universe were cracked
and tottering and that there was no light and sweetness in life
since the morning, eighteen months back, when a negligent valet had
sent him out into Fifth Avenue with only one spat on.

"It was Lucille's idea," explained Archie. He was about to mention
his brother-in-law's connection with the matter, but checked himself
in time, remembering Bill's specific objection to having his secret
revealed to Reggie. "It's like this, old thing, I've never met this
female, but she's a pal of Lucille's"-he comforted his conscience by
the reflection that, if she wasn't now, she would be in a few days-
"and Lucille wants to do her a bit of good. She's been on the stage
in England, you know, supporting a jolly old widowed mother and
educating a little brother and all that kind and species of rot, you
understand, and now she's coming over to America, and Lucille wants
you to rally round and shove her into your show and generally keep
the home fires burning and so forth. How do we go?"

Reggie beamed with relief. He felt just as he had felt on that other
occasion at the moment when a taxi-cab had rolled up and enabled him
to hide his spatless leg from the public gaze.

"Oh, I see!" he said. "Why, delighted, old man, quite delighted!"

"Any small part would do. Isn't there a maid or something in your
bob's-worth of refined entertainment who drifts about saying, 'Yes,
madam,' and all that sort of thing? Well, then that's just the
thing. Topping! I knew I could rely on you, old bird. I'll get
Lucille to ship her round to your address when she arrives. I fancy
she's due to totter in somewhere in the next few days. Well, I must
be popping. Toodle-oo!"

"Pip-pip!" said Reggie.

It was about a week later that Lucille came into the suite at the
Hotel Cosmopolis that was her home, and found Archie lying on the
couch, smoking a refreshing pipe after the labours of the day. It
seemed to Archie that his wife was not in her usual cheerful frame
of mind. He kissed her, and, having relieved her of her parasol,
endeavoured without success to balance it on his chin. Having picked
it up from the floor and placed it on the table, he became aware
that Lucille was looking at him in a despondent sort of way. Her
grey eyes were clouded.

"Halloa, old thing," said Archie. "What's up?"

Lucille sighed wearily.

"Archie, darling, do you know any really good swear-words?"

"Well," said Archie, reflectively, "let me see. I did pick up a few
tolerably ripe and breezy expressions out in France. All through my
military career there was something about me--some subtle magnetism,
don't you know, and that sort of thing--that seemed to make colonels
and blighters of that order rather inventive. I sort of inspired
them, don't you know. I remember one brass-hat addressing me for
quite ten minutes, saying something new all the time. And even then
he seemed to think he had only touched the fringe of the subject. As
a matter of fact, he said straight out in the most frank and
confiding way that mere words couldn't do justice to me. But why?"

"Because I want to relieve my feelings."

"Anything wrong?"

"Everything's wrong. I've just been having tea with Bill and his

"Oh, ah!" said Archie, interested. "And what's the verdict?"

"Guilty!" said Lucille. "And the sentence, if I had anything to do
with it, would be transportation for life." She peeled off her
gloves irritably. "What fools men are! Not you, precious! You're the
only man in the world that isn't, it seems to me. You did marry a
nice girl, didn't you? YOU didn't go running round after females
with crimson hair, goggling at them with your eyes popping out of
your head like a bulldog waiting for a bone."

"Oh, I say! Does old Bill look like that?"


Archie rose to a point of order.

"But one moment, old lady. You speak of crimson hair. Surely old
Bill--in the extremely jolly monologues he used to deliver whenever
I didn't see him coming and he got me alone--used to allude to her
hair as brown."

"It isn't brown now. It's bright scarlet. Good gracious, I ought to
know. I've been looking at it all the afternoon. It dazzled me. If
I've got to meet her again, I mean to go to the oculist's and get a
pair of those smoked glasses you wear at Palm Beach." Lucille
brooded silently for a while over the tragedy. "I don't want to say
anything against her, of course."

"No, no, of course not."

"But of all the awful, second-rate girls I ever met, she's the
worst! She has vermilion hair and an imitation Oxford manner. She's
so horribly refined that it's dreadful to listen to her. She's a
sly, creepy, slinky, made-up, insincere vampire! She's common! She's
awful! She's a cat!"

"You're quite right not to say anything against her," said Archie,
approvingly. "It begins to look," he went on, "as if the good old
pater was about due for another shock. He has a hard life!"

"If Bill DARES to introduce that girl to Father, he's taking his
life in his hands."

"But surely that was the idea--the scheme--the wheeze, wasn't it? Or
do you think there's any chance of his weakening?"

"Weakening! You should have seen him looking at her! It was like a
small boy flattening his nose against the window of a candy-store."

"Bit thick!"

Lucille kicked the leg of the table.

"And to think," she said, "that, when I was a little girl, I used to
look up to Bill as a monument of wisdom. I used to hug his knees and
gaze into his face and wonder how anyone could be so magnificent."
She gave the unoffending table another kick. "If I could have looked
into the future," she said, with feeling, "I'd have bitten him in
the ankle!"

In the days which followed, Archie found himself a little out of
touch with Bill and his romance. Lucille referred to the matter only
when he brought the subject up, and made it plain that the topic of
her future sister-in-law was not one which she enjoyed discussing.
Mr. Brewster, senior, when Archie, by way of delicately preparing
his mind for what was about to befall, asked him if he liked red
hair, called him a fool, and told him to go away and bother someone
else when they were busy. The only person who could have kept him
thoroughly abreast of the trend of affairs was Bill himself; and
experience had made Archie wary in the matter of meeting Bill. The
position of confidant to a young man in the early stages of love is
no sinecure, and it made Archie sleepy even to think of having to
talk to his brother-in-law. He sedulously avoided his love-lorn
relative, and it was with a sinking feeling one day that, looking
over his shoulder as he sat in the Cosmopolis grill-room preparatory
to ordering lunch, he perceived Bill bearing down upon him,
obviously resolved upon joining his meal.

To his surprise, however, Bill did not instantly embark upon his
usual monologue. Indeed, he hardly spoke at all. He champed a chop,
and seemed to Archie to avoid his eye. It was not till lunch was
over and they were smoking that he unburdened himself.

"Archie!" he said.

"Hallo, old thing!" said Archie. "Still there? I thought you'd died
or something. Talk about our old pals, Tongue-tied Thomas and Silent
Sammy! You could beat 'em both on the same evening."

"It's enough to make me silent."

"What is?"

Bill had relapsed into a sort of waking dream. He sat frowning
sombrely, lost to the world. Archie, having waited what seemed to
him a sufficient length of time for an answer to his question, bent
forward and touched his brother-in-law's hand gently with the
lighted end of his cigar. Bill came to himself with a howl.

"What is?" said Archie.

"What is what?" said Bill.

"Now listen, old thing," protested Archie. "Life is short and time
is flying. Suppose we cut out the cross-talk. You hinted there was
something on your mind--something worrying the old bean--and I'm
waiting to hear what it is."

Bill fiddled a moment with his coffee-spoon.

"I'm in an awful hole," he said at last.

"What's the trouble?"

"It's about that darned girl!"

Archie blinked.


"That darned girl!"

Archie could scarcely credit his senses. He had been prepared--
indeed, he had steeled himself--to hear Bill allude to his affinity
in a number of ways. But "that darned girl" was not one of them.

"Companion of my riper years," he said, "let's get this thing
straight. When you say 'that darned girl,' do you by any possibility
allude to--?"

"Of course I do!"

"But, William, old bird--"

"Oh, I know, I know, I know!" said Bill, irritably. "You're
surprised to hear me talk like that about her?"

"A trifle, yes. Possibly a trifle. When last heard from, laddie, you
must recollect, you were speaking of the lady as your soul-mate, and
at least once--if I remember rightly--you alluded to her as your
little dusky-haired lamb."

A sharp howl escaped Bill.

"Don't!" A strong shudder convulsed his frame. "Don't remind me of

"There's been a species of slump, then, in dusky-haired lambs?"

"How," demanded Bill, savagely, "can-a girl be a dusky-haired lamb
when her hair's bright scarlet?"

"Dashed difficult!" admitted Archie.

"I suppose Lucille told you about that?"

"She did touch on it. Lightly, as it were. With a sort of gossamer
touch, so to speak."

Bill threw off the last fragments of reserve.

"Archie, I'm in the devil of a fix. I don't know why it was, but
directly I saw her--things seemed so different over in England--I
mean." He swallowed ice-water in gulps. "I suppose it was seeing her
with Lucille. Old Lu is such a thoroughbred. Seemed to kind of show
her up. Like seeing imitation pearls by the side of real pearls. And
that crimson hair! It sort of put the lid on it." Bill brooded
morosely. "It ought to be a criminal offence for women to dye their
hair. Especially red. What the devil do women do that sort of thing

"Don't blame me, old thing. It's not my fault."

Bill looked furtive and harassed.

"It makes me feel such a cad. Here am I, feeling that I would give
all I've got in the world to get out of the darned thing, and all
the time the poor girl seems to be getting fonder of me than ever."

"How do you know?" Archie surveyed his brother-in-law critically.
"Perhaps her feelings have changed too. Very possibly she may not
like the colour of YOUR hair. I don't myself. Now if you were to dye
yourself crimson--"

"Oh, shut up! Of course a man knows when a girl's fond of him."

"By no means, laddie. When you're my age--"

"I AM your age."

"So you are! I forgot that. Well, now, approaching the matter from
another angle, let us suppose, old son, that Miss What's-Her-Name--
the party of the second part--"

"Stop it!" said Bill suddenly. "Here comes Reggie!"


"Here comes Reggie van Tuyl. I don't want him to hear us talking
about the darned thing."

Archie looked over his shoulder and perceived that it was indeed so.
Reggie was threading his way among the tables.

"Well, HE looks pleased with things, anyway," said Bill, enviously.
"Glad somebody's happy."

He was right. Reggie van Tuyl's usual mode of progress through a
restaurant was a somnolent slouch. Now he was positively bounding
along. Furthermore, the usual expression on Reggie's face was a
sleepy sadness. Now he smiled brightly and with animation. He
curveted towards their table, beaming and erect, his head up, his
gaze level, and his chest expanded, for all the world as if he had
been reading the hints in "The Personality That Wins."

Archie was puzzled. Something had plainly happened to Reggie. But
what? It was idle to suppose that somebody had left him money, for
he had been left practically all the money there was a matter of ten
years before.

"Hallo, old bean," he said, as the new-comer, radiating good will
and bonhomie, arrived at the table and hung over it like a noon-day
sun. "We've finished. But rally round and we'll watch you eat.
Dashed interesting, watching old Reggie eat. Why go to the Zoo?"

Reggie shook his head.

"Sorry, old man. Can't. Just on my way to the Ritz. Stepped in
because I thought you might be here. I wanted you to be the first to
hear the news."


"I'm the happiest man alive!"

"You look it, darn you!" growled Bill, on whose mood of grey gloom
this human sunbeam was jarring heavily.

"I'm engaged to be married!"

"Congratulations, old egg!" Archie shook his hand cordially. "Dash
it, don't you know, as an old married man I like to see you young
fellows settling down."

"I don't know how to thank you enough, Archie, old man," said
Reggie, fervently.

"Thank me?"

"It was through you that I met her. Don't you remember the girl you
sent to me? You wanted me to get her a small part--"

He stopped, puzzled. Archie had uttered a sound that was half gasp
and half gurgle, but it was swallowed up in the extraordinary noise
from the other side of the table. Bill Brewster was leaning forward
with bulging eyes and soaring eyebrows.

"Are you engaged to Mabel Winchester?"

"Why, by George!" said Reggie. "Do you know her?"

Archie recovered himself.

"Slightly," he said. "Slightly. Old Bill knows her slightly, as it
were. Not very well, don't you know, but--how shall I put it?"

"Slightly," suggested Bill.

"Just the word. Slightly."

"Splendid!" said Reggie van Tuyl. "Why don't you come along to the
Ritz and meet her now?"

Bill stammered. Archie came to the rescue again.

"Bill can't come now. He's got a date."

"A date?" said Bill.

"A date," said Archie. "An appointment, don't you know. A--a--in
fact, a date."

"But--er--wish her happiness from me," said Bill, cordially.

"Thanks very much, old man," said Reggie.

"And say I'm delighted, will you?"


"You won't forget the word, will you? Delighted."


"That's right. Delighted."

Reggie looked at his watch.

"Halloa! I must rush!"

Bill and Archie watched him as he bounded out of the restaurant.

"Poor old Reggie!" said Bill, with a fleeting compunction.

"Not necessarily," said Archie. "What I mean to say is, tastes
differ, don't you know. One man's peach is another man's poison, and
vice versa."

"There's something in that."

"Absolutely! Well," said Archie, judicially, "this would appear to
be, as it were, the maddest, merriest day in all the glad New Year,
yes, no?"

Bill drew a deep breath.

"You bet your sorrowful existence it is!" he said. "I'd like to do
something to celebrate it."

"The right spirit!" said Archie. "Absolutely the right spirit! Begin
by paying for my lunch!"



Rendered restless by relief, Bill Brewster did not linger long at
the luncheon-table. Shortly after Reggie van Tuyl had retired, he
got up and announced his intention of going for a bit of a walk to
calm his excited mind. Archie dismissed him with a courteous wave of
the hand; and, beckoning to the Sausage Chappie, who in his role of
waiter was hovering near, requested him to bring the best cigar the
hotel could supply. The padded seat in which he sat was comfortable;
he had no engagements; and it seemed to him that a pleasant half-
hour could be passed in smoking dreamily and watching his fellow-men

The grill-room had filled up. The Sausage Chappie, having brought
Archie his cigar, was attending to a table close by, at which a
woman with a small boy in a sailor suit had seated themselves. The
woman was engrossed with the bill of fare, but the child's attention
seemed riveted upon the Sausage Chappie. He was drinking him in with
wide eyes. He seemed to be brooding on him.

Archie, too, was brooding on the Sausage Chappie, The latter made an
excellent waiter: he was brisk and attentive, and did the work as if
he liked it; but Archie was not satisfied. Something seemed to tell
him that the man was fitted for higher things. Archie was a grateful
soul. That sausage, coming at the end of a five-hour hike, had made
a deep impression on his plastic nature. Reason told him that only
an exceptional man could have parted with half a sausage at such a
moment; and he could not feel that a job as waiter at a New York
hotel was an adequate job for an exceptional man. Of course, the
root of the trouble lay in the fact that the fellow could not
remember what his real life-work had been before the war. It was
exasperating to reflect, as the other moved away to take his order
to the kitchen, that there, for all one knew, went the dickens of a
lawyer or doctor or architect or what not.

His meditations were broken by the voice of the child.

"Mummie," asked the child interestedly, following the Sausage
Chappie with his eyes as the latter disappeared towards the kitchen,
"why has that man got such a funny face?"

"Hush, darling."

"Yes, but why HAS he?"

"I don't know, darling."

The child's faith in the maternal omniscience seemed to have
received a shock. He had the air of a seeker after truth who has
been baffled. His eyes roamed the room discontentedly.

"He's got a funnier face than that man there," he said, pointing to

"Hush, darling!"

"But he has. Much funnier."

In a way it was a sort of compliment, but Archie felt embarrassed.
He withdrew coyly into the cushioned recess. Presently the Sausage
Chappie returned, attended to the needs of the woman and the child,
and came over to Archie. His homely face was beaming.

"Say, I had a big night last night," he said, leaning on the table.

"Yes?" said Archie. "Party or something?"

"No, I mean I suddenly began to remember things. Something seems to
have happened to the works."

Archie sat up excitedly. This was great news.

"No, really? My dear old lad, this is absolutely topping. This is

"Yessir! First thing I remembered was that I was born at
Springfield, Ohio. It was like a mist starting to life. Springfield,
Ohio. That was it. It suddenly came back to me."

"Splendid! Anything else?"

"Yessir! Just before I went to sleep I remembered my name as well."

Archie was stirred to his depths.

"Why, the thing's a walk-over!" he exclaimed. "Now you've once got
started, nothing can stop you. What is your name?"

"Why, it's--That's funny! It's gone again. I have an idea it began
with an S. What was it? Skeffington? Skillington?"


"No; I'll get it in a moment. Cunningham? Carrington? Wilberforce?

"Dennison?" suggested Archie, helpfully.--"No, no, no. It's on the
tip of my tongue. Barrington? Montgomery? Hepplethwaite? I've got
it! Smith!"

"By Jove! Really?"

"Certain of it."

"What's the first name?"

An anxious expression came into the man's eyes. He hesitated. He
lowered his voice.

"I have a horrible feeling that it's Lancelot!"

"Good God!" said Archie.

"It couldn't really be that, could it?"

Archie looked grave. He hated to give pain, but he felt he must be

"It might," he said. "People give their children all sorts of rummy
names. My second name's Tracy. And I have a pal in England who was
christened Cuthbert de la Hay Horace. Fortunately everyone calls him

The head-waiter began to drift up like a bank of fog, and the
Sausage Chappie returned to his professional duties. When he came
back, he was beaming again.

"Something else I remembered," he said, removing the cover. "I'm

"Good Lord!"

"At least I was before the war. She had blue eyes and brown hair and
a Pekingese dog."

"What was her name?"

"I don't know."

"Well, you're coming on," said Archie. "I'll admit that. You've
still got a bit of a way to go before you become like one of those
blighters who take the Memory Training Courses in the magazine
advertisements--I mean to say, you know, the lads who meet a fellow
once for five minutes, and then come across him again ten years
later and grasp him by the hand and say, 'Surely this is Mr. Watkins
of Seattle?' Still, you're doing fine. You only need patience.
Everything comes to him who waits." Archie sat up, electrified. "I
say, by Jove, that's rather good, what! Everything comes to him who
waits, and you're a waiter, what, what. I mean to say, what!"

"Mummie," said the child at the other table, still speculative, "do
you think something trod on his face?"

"Hush, darling."

"Perhaps it was bitten by something?"

"Eat your nice fish, darling," said the mother, who seemed to be one
of those dull-witted persons whom it is impossible to interest in a
discussion on first causes.

Archie felt stimulated. Not even the advent of his father-in-law,
who came in a few moments later and sat down at the other end of the
room, could depress his spirits.

The Sausage Chappie came to his table again.

"It's a funny thing," he said. "Like waking up after you've been
asleep. Everything seems to be getting clearer. The dog's name was
Marie. My wife's dog, you know. And she had a mole on her chin."

"The dog?"

"No. My wife. Little beast! She bit me in the leg once."

"Your wife?"

"No. The dog. Good Lord!" said the Sausage Chappie.

Archie looked up and followed his gaze.

A couple of tables away, next to a sideboard on which the management
exposed for view the cold meats and puddings and pies mentioned in
volume two of the bill of fare ("Buffet Froid"), a man and a girl
had just seated themselves. The man was stout and middle-aged. He
bulged in practically every place in which a man can bulge, and his
head was almost entirely free from hair. The girl was young and
pretty. Her eyes were blue. Her hair was brown. She had a rather
attractive little mole on the left side of her chin.

"Good Lord!" said the Sausage Chappie.

"Now what?" said Archie.

"Who's that? Over at the table there?"

Archie, through long attendance at the Cosmopolis Grill, knew most
of the habitues by sight.

"That's a man named Gossett. James J. Gossett. He's a motion-picture
man. You must have seen his name around."

"I don't mean him. Who's the girl?"

"I've never seen her before."

"It's my wife!" said the Sausage Chappie.

"Your wife!"


"Are you sure?"

"Of course I'm sure!"

"Well, well, well!" said Archie. "Many happy returns of the day!"

At the other table, the girl, unconscious of the drama which was
about to enter her life, was engrossed in conversation with the
stout man. And at this moment the stout man leaned forward and
patted her on the cheek.

It was a paternal pat, the pat which a genial uncle might bestow on
a favourite niece, but it did not strike the Sausage Chappie in that
light. He had been advancing on the table at a fairly rapid pace,
and now, stirred to his depths, he bounded forward with a hoarse

Archie was at some pains to explain to his father-in-law later that,
if the management left cold pies and things about all over the
place, this sort of thing was bound to happen sooner or later. He
urged that it was putting temptation in people's way, and that Mr.
Brewster had only himself to blame. Whatever the rights of the case,
the Buffet Froid undoubtedly came in remarkably handy at this crisis
in the Sausage Chappie's life. He had almost reached the sideboard
when the stout man patted the girl's cheek, and to seize a
huckleberry pie was with him the work of a moment. The next instant
the pie had whizzed past the other's head and burst like a shell
against the wall.

There are, no doubt, restaurants where this sort of thing would have
excited little comment, but the Cosmopolis was not one of them.
Everybody had something to say, but the only one among those present
who had anything sensible to say was the child in the sailor suit.

"Do it again!" said the child, cordially.

The Sausage Chappie did it again. He took up a fruit salad, poised
it for a moment, then decanted it over Mr. Gossett's bald head. The
child's happy laughter rang over the restaurant. Whatever anybody
else might think of the affair, this child liked it and was prepared
to go on record to that effect.

Epic events have a stunning quality. They paralyse the faculties.
For a moment there was a pause. The world stood still. Mr. Brewster
bubbled inarticulately. Mr. Gossett dried himself sketchily with a
napkin. The Sausage Chappie snorted.

The girl had risen to her feet and was staring wildly.

"John!" she cried.

Even at this moment of crisis the Sausage Chappie was able to look

"So it is!" he said. "And I thought it was Lancelot!"

"I thought you were dead!"

"I'm not!" said the Sausage Chappie.

Mr. Gossett, speaking thickly through the fruit-salad, was
understood to say that he regretted this. And then confusion broke
loose again. Everybody began to talk at once.

"I say!" said Archie. "I say! One moment!"

Of the first stages of this interesting episode Archie had been a
paralysed spectator. The thing had numbed him. And then--

Sudden a thought came, like a full-blown rose.
Flushing his brow.

When he reached the gesticulating group, he was calm and business-
like. He had a constructive policy to suggest.

"I say," he said. "I've got an idea!"

"Go away!" said Mr. Brewster. "This is bad enough without you
butting in."

Archie quelled him with a gesture.

"Leave us," he said. "We would be alone. I want to have a little
business-talk with Mr. Gossett." He turned to the movie-magnate, who
was gradually emerging from the fruit-salad rather after the manner
of a stout Venus rising from the sea. "Can you spare me a moment of
your valuable time?"

"I'll have him arrested!"

"Don't you do it, laddie. Listen!"

"The man's mad. Throwing pies!"

Archie attached himself to his coat-button.

"Be calm, laddie. Calm and reasonable!"

For the first time Mr. Gossett seemed to become aware that what he
had been looking on as a vague annoyance was really an individual.

"Who the devil are you?"

Archie drew himself up with dignity.

"I am this gentleman's representative," he replied, indicating the
Sausage Chappie with a motion of the hand. "His jolly old personal
representative. I act for him. And on his behalf I have a pretty
ripe proposition to lay before you. Reflect, dear old bean," he
proceeded earnestly. "Are you going to let this chance slip? The
opportunity of a lifetime which will not occur again. By Jove, you
ought to rise up and embrace this bird. You ought to clasp the
chappie to your bosom! He has thrown pies at you, hasn't he? Very
well. You are a movie-magnate. Your whole fortune is founded on
chappies who throw pies. You probably scour the world for chappies
who throw pies. Yet, when one comes right to you without any fuss or
trouble and demonstrates before your very eyes the fact that he is
without a peer as a pie-propeller, you get the wind up and talk
about having him arrested. Consider! (There's a bit of cherry just
behind your left ear.) Be sensible. Why let your personal feeling
stand in the way of doing yourself a bit of good? Give this chappie
a job and give it him quick, or we go elsewhere. Did you ever see
Fatty Arbuckle handle pastry with a surer touch? Has Charlie Chaplin
got this fellow's speed and control. Absolutely not. I tell you, old
friend, you're in danger of throwing away a good thing!"

He paused. The Sausage Chappie beamed.

"I've aways wanted to go into the movies," he said. "I was an actor
before the war. Just remembered."

Mr. Brewster attempted to speak. Archie waved him down.

"How many times have I got to tell you not to butt in?" he said,

Mr. Gossett's militant demeanour had become a trifle modified during
Archie's harangue. First and foremost a man of business, Mr. Gossett
was not insensible to the arguments which had been put forward. He
brushed a slice of orange from the back of his neck, and mused

"How do I know this fellow would screen well?" he said, at length.

"Screen well!" cried Archie. "Of course he'll screen well. Look at
his face. I ask you! The map! I call your attention to it." He
turned apologetically to the Sausage Chappie. "Awfully sorry, old
lad, for dwelling on this, but it's business, you know." He turned
to Mr. Gossett. "Did you ever see a face like that? Of course not.
Why should I, as this gentleman's personal representative, let a
face like that go to waste? There's a fortune in it. By Jove, I'll
give you two minutes to think the thing over, and, if you don't talk
business then, I'll jolly well take my man straight round to Mack
Sennett or someone. We don't have to ask for jobs. We consider

There was a silence. And then the clear voice of the child in the
sailor suit made itself heard again.


"Yes, darling?"

"Is the man with the funny face going to throw any more pies?"

"No, darling."

The child uttered a scream of disappointed fury.

"I want the funny man to throw some more pies! I want the funny man
to throw some more pies!"

A look almost of awe came into Mr. Gossett's face. He had heard the
voice of the Public. He had felt the beating of the Public's pulse.

"Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings," he said, picking a piece
of banana off his right eyebrow, "Out of the mouths of babes and
sucklings. Come round to my office!"



The lobby of the Cosmopolis Hotel was a favourite stamping-ground of
Mr. Daniel Brewster, its proprietor. He liked to wander about there,
keeping a paternal eye on things, rather in the manner of the Jolly
Innkeeper (hereinafter to be referred to as Mine Host) of the old-
fashioned novel. Customers who, hurrying in to dinner, tripped over
Mr. Brewster, were apt to mistake him for the hotel detective--for
his eye was keen and his aspect a trifle austere--but, nevertheless,
he was being as jolly an innkeeper as he knew how. His presence in
the lobby supplied a personal touch to the Cosmopolis which other
New York hotels lacked, and it undeniably made the girl at the book-
stall extraordinarily civil to her clients, which was all to the

Most of the time Mr. Brewster stood in one spot and just looked
thoughtful; but now and again he would wander to the marble slab
behind which he kept the desk-clerk and run his eye over the
register, to see who had booked rooms--like a child examining the
stocking on Christmas morning to ascertain what Santa Claus had
brought him.

As a rule, Mr. Brewster concluded this performance by shoving the
book back across the marble slab and resuming his meditations. But
one night a week or two after the Sausage Chappie's sudden
restoration to the normal, he varied this procedure by starting
rather violently, turning purple, and uttering an exclamation which
was manifestly an exclamation of chagrin. He turned abruptly and
cannoned into Archie, who, in company with Lucille, happened to be
crossing the lobby at the moment on his way to dine in their suite.

Mr. Brewster apologised gruffly; then, recognising his victim,
seemed to regret having done so.

"Oh, it's you! Why can't you look where you're going?" he demanded.
He had suffered much from his son-in-law.

"Frightfully sorry," said Archie, amiably. "Never thought you were
going to fox-trot backwards all over the fairway."

"You mustn't bully Archie," said Lucille, severely, attaching
herself to her father's back hair and giving it a punitive tug,
"because he's an angel, and I love him, and you must learn to love
him, too."

"Give you lessons at a reasonable rate," murmured Archie.

Mr. Brewster regarded his young relative with a lowering eye.

"What's the matter, father darling?" asked Lucille. "You seem upset"

"I am upset!" Mr. Brewster snorted. "Some people have got a nerve!"
He glowered forbiddingly at an inoffensive young man in a light
overcoat who had just entered, and the young man, though his
conscience was quite clear and Mr. Brewster an entire stranger to
him, stopped dead, blushed, and went out again--to dine elsewhere.
"Some people have got the nerve of an army mule!"

"Why, what's happened?"

"Those darned McCalls have registered here!"


"Bit beyond me, this," said Archie, insinuating himself into the
conversation. "Deep waters and what not! Who are the McCalls?"

"Some people father dislikes," said Lucille. "And they've chosen his
hotel to stop at. But, father dear, you mustn't mind. It's really a
compliment. They've come because they know it's the best hotel in
New York."

"Absolutely!" said Archie. "Good accommodation for man and beast!
All the comforts of home! Look on the bright side, old bean. No good
getting the wind up. Cherrio, old companion!"

"Don't call me old companion!"

"Eh, what? Oh, right-o!"

Lucille steered her husband out of the danger zone, and they entered
the lift.

"Poor father!" she said, as they went to their suite, "it's a shame.
They must have done it to annoy him. This man McCall has a place
next to some property father bought in Westchester, and he's
bringing a law-suit against father about a bit of land which he
claims belongs to him. He might have had the tact to go to another
hotel. But, after all, I don't suppose it was the poor little
fellow's fault. He does whatever his wife tells him to."

"We all do that," said Archie the married man.

Lucille eyed him fondly.

"Isn't it a shame, precious, that all husbands haven't nice wives
like me?"

"When I think of you, by Jove," said Archie, fervently, "I want to
babble, absolutely babble!"

"Oh, I was telling you about the McCalls. Mr. McCall is one of those
little, meek men, and his wife's one of those big, bullying women.
It was she who started all the trouble with father. Father and Mr.
McCall were very fond of each other till she made him begin the
suit. I feel sure she made him come to this hotel just to annoy
father. Still, they've probably taken the most expensive suite in
the place, which is something."

Archie was at the telephone. His mood was now one of quiet peace. Of
all the happenings which went to make up existence in New York, he
liked best the cosy tete-a-tete dinners with Lucille in their suite,
which, owing to their engagements--for Lucille was a popular girl,
with many friends--occurred all too seldom.

"Touching now the question of browsing and sluicing," he said.
"I'll be getting them to send along a waiter."

"Oh, good gracious!"

"What's the matter?"

"I've just remembered. I promised faithfully I would go and see Jane
Murchison to-day. And I clean forgot. I must rush."

"But light of my soul, we are about to eat. Pop around and see her
after dinner."

"I can't. She's going to a theatre to-night."

"Give her the jolly old miss-in-baulk, then, for the nonce, and
spring round to-morrow."

"She's sailing for England to-morrow morning, early. No, I must go
and see her now. What a shame! She's sure to make me stop to dinner,
I tell you what. Order something for me, and, if I'm not back in
half an hour, start."

"Jane Murchison," said Archie, "is a bally nuisance."

"Yes. But I've known her since she was eight."

"If her parents had had any proper feeling," said Archie, "they
would have drowned her long before that."

He unhooked the receiver, and asked despondently to be connected
with Room Service. He thought bitterly of the exigent Jane, whom he
recollected dimly as a tall female with teeth. He half thought of
going down to the grill-room on the chance of finding a friend
there, but the waiter was on his way to the room. He decided that he
might as well stay where he was.

The waiter arrived, booked the order, and departed. Archie had just
completed his toilet after a shower-bath when a musical clinking
without announced the advent of the meal. He opened the door. The
waiter was there with a table congested with things under covers,
from which escaped a savoury and appetising odour. In spite of his
depression, Archie's soul perked up a trifle.

Suddenly he became aware that he was not the only person present who
was deriving enjoyment from the scent of the meal. Standing beside
the waiter and gazing wistfully at the foodstuffs was a long, thin
boy of about sixteen. He was one of those boys who seem all legs and
knuckles. He had pale red hair, sandy eyelashes, and a long neck;
and his eyes, as he removed them from the-table and raised them to
Archie's, had a hungry look. He reminded Archie of a half-grown,
half-starved hound.

"That smells good!" said the long boy. He inhaled deeply. "Yes,
sir," he continued, as one whose mind is definitely made up, "that
smells good!"

Before Archie could reply, the telephone bell rang. It was Lucille,
confirming her prophecy that the pest Jane would insist on her
staying to dine.

"Jane," said Archie, into the telephone, "is a pot of poison. The
waiter is here now, setting out a rich banquet, and I shall have to
eat two of everything by myself."

He hung up the receiver, and, turning, met the pale eye of the long
boy, who had propped himself up in the doorway.

"Were you expecting somebody to dinner?" asked the boy.

"Why, yes, old friend, I was."

"I wish--"


"Oh, nothing."

The waiter left. The long boy hitched his back more firmly against
the doorpost, and returned to his original theme.

"That surely does smell good!" He basked a moment in the aroma.
"Yes, sir! I'll tell the world it does!"

Archie was not an abnormally rapid thinker, but he began at this
point to get a clearly defined impression that this lad, if invited,
would waive the formalities and consent to join his meal. Indeed,
the idea Archie got was that, if he were not invited pretty soon, he
would invite himself.

"Yes," he agreed. "It doesn't smell bad, what!"

"It smells GOOD!" said the boy. "Oh, doesn't it! Wake me up in the
night and ask me if it doesn't!"

"Poulet en casserole," said Archie.

"Golly!" said the boy, reverently.

There was a pause. The situation began to seem to Archie a trifle
difficult. He wanted to start his meal, but it began to appear that
he must either do so under the penetrating gaze of his new friend or
else eject the latter forcibly. The boy showed no signs of ever
wanting to leave the doorway.

"You've dined, I suppose, what?" said Archie.

"I never dine."


"Not really dine, I mean. I only get vegetables and nuts and


"Mother is."

"I don't absolutely catch the drift, old bean," said Archie. The boy
sniffed with half-closed eyes as a wave of perfume from the poulet
en casserole floated past him. He seemed to be anxious to intercept
as much of it as possible before it got through the door.

"Mother's a food-reformer," he vouchsafed. "She lectures on it. She
makes Pop and me live on vegetables and nuts and things."

Archie was shocked. It was like listening to a tale from the abyss.

"My dear old chap, you must suffer agonies--absolute shooting
pains!" He had no hesitation now. Common humanity pointed out his
course. "Would you care to join me in a bite now?"

"Would I!" The boy smiled a wan smile. "Would I! Just stop me on the
street and ask me!"

"Come on in, then," said Archie, rightly taking this peculiar phrase
for a formal acceptance. "And close the door. The fatted calf is
getting cold."

Archie was not a man with a wide visiting-list among people with
families, and it was so long since he had seen a growing boy in
action at the table that he had forgotten what sixteen is capable of
doing with a knife and fork, when it really squares its elbows,
takes a deep breath, and gets going. The spectacle which he
witnessed was consequently at first a little unnerving. The long
boy's idea of trifling with a meal appeared to be to swallow it
whole and reach out for more. He ate like a starving Eskimo. Archie,
in the time he had spent in the trenches making the world safe for
the working-man to strike in, had occasionally been quite peckish,
but he sat dazed before this majestic hunger. This was real eating.

There was little conversation. The growing boy evidently did not
believe in table-talk when he could use his mouth for more practical
purposes. It was not until the final roll had been devoured to its
last crumb that the guest found leisure to address his host. Then he
leaned back with a contented sigh.

"Mother," said the human python, "says you ought to chew every
mouthful thirty-three times...."

"Yes, sir! Thirty-three times!" He sighed again, "I haven't ever had
meal like that."

"All right, was it, what?"

"Was it! Was it! Call me up on the 'phone and ask me!-Yes, sir!-
Mother's tipped off these darned waiters not to serve-me anything
but vegetables and nuts and things, darn it!"

"The mater seems to have drastic ideas about the good old feed-bag,

"I'll say she has! Pop hates it as much as me, but he's scared to
kick. Mother says vegetables contain all the proteins you want.
Mother says, if you eat meat, your blood-pressure goes all blooey.
Do you think it does?"

"Mine seems pretty well in the pink."

"She's great on talking," conceded the boy. "She's out to-night
somewhere, giving a lecture on Rational Eating to some ginks. I'll
have to be slipping up to our suite before she gets back." He rose,
sluggishly. "That isn't a bit of roll under that napkin, is it?" he
asked, anxiously.

Archie raised the napkin.

"No. Nothing of that species."

"Oh, well!" said the boy, resignedly. "Then I believe I'll be going.
Thanks very much for the dinner."

"Not a bit, old top. Come again if you're ever trickling round in
this direction."

The long boy removed himself slowly, loath to leave. At the door he
cast an affectionate glance back at the table.

"Some meal!" he said, devoutly. "Considerable meal!"

Archie lit a cigarette. He felt like a Boy Scout who has done his
day's Act of Kindness.

On the following morning it chanced that Archie needed a fresh
supply of tobacco. It was his custom, when this happened, to repair
to a small shop on Sixth Avenue which he had discovered accidentally
in the course of his rambles about the great city. His relations
with Jno. Blake, the proprietor, were friendly and intimate. The
discovery that Mr. Blake was English and had, indeed, until a few
years back maintained an establishment only a dozen doors or so from
Archie's London club, had served as a bond.

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