Title: Psmith, Journalist Author: Pelham Grenville Wodehouse PREFACE THE conditions of life in New York are so different

from those of London that a story of this kind calls for a little explanation. There are several million inh abitants of New York. Not all of them eke out a precarious livelihood by murderi ng one another, but there is a definite section of the population which murders-not casually, on the spur of the moment, but on definitely commercial lines at so many dollars per murder. The "gangs" of New York exist in fact. I have not in vented them. Most of the incidents in this story are based on actual happenings. The Rosenthal case, where four men, headed by a genial individual calling himse lf "Gyp the Blood" shot a fellow-citizen in cold blood in a spot as public and f ashionable as Piccadilly Circus and escaped in a motor-car, made such a stir a f ew years ago that the noise of it was heard all over the world and not, as is ge nerally the case with the doings of the gangs, in New York only. Rosenthal cases on a smaller and less sensational scale are frequent occurrences on Manhattan I sland. It was the prominence of the victim rather than the unusual nature of the occurrence that excited the New York press. Most gang victims get a quarter of a column in small type. P. G. WODEHOUSE New York, 1915 CHAPTER I "COSY MOMENTS" The man in the street would not have known it, but a great crisis was imminent i n New York journalism. Everything seemed much as usual in the city. The cars ran blithely on Broadway. Newsboys shouted "Wux-try!" into the ears of nervous pedestrians with their usua l Caruso-like vim. Society passed up and down Fifth Avenue in its automobiles, a nd was there a furrow of anxiety upon Society's brow? None. At a thousand street corners a thousand policemen preserved their air of massive superiority to the things of this world. Not one of them showed the least sign of perturbation. Nev ertheless, the crisis was at hand. Mr. J. Fillken Wilberfloss, editor-in-chief o f Cosy Moments, was about to leave his post and start on a ten weeks' holiday. In New York one may find every class of paper which the imagination can conceive . Every grade of society is catered for. If an Esquimau came to New York, the fi rst thing he would find on the bookstalls in all probability would be the Blubbe r Magazine, or some similar production written by Esquimaux for Esquimaux. Every body reads in New York, and reads all the time. The New Yorker peruses his favou rite paper while he is being jammed into a crowded compartment on the subway or leaping like an antelope into a moving Street car. There was thus a public for Cosy Moments. Cosy Moments, as its name (an inspirat ion of Mr. Wilberfloss's own) is designed to imply, is a journal for the home. I t is the sort of paper which the father of the family is expected to take home w ith him from his office and read aloud to the chicks before bed-time. It was fou nded by its proprietor, Mr. Benjamin White, as an antidote to yellow journalism. One is forced to admit that up to the present yellow journalism seems to be com peting against it with a certain measure of success. Headlines are still of as g enerous a size as heretofore, and there is no tendency on the part of editors to scamp the details of the last murder-case. Nevertheless, Cosy Moments thrives. It has its public.

Its contents are mildly interesting, if you like that sort of thing. There is a "Moments in the Nursery" page, conducted by Luella Granville Waterman, to which parents are invited to contribute the bright speeches of their offspring, and wh ich bristles with little stories about the nursery canary, by Jane (aged six), a nd other works of rising young authors. There is a "Moments of Meditation" page, conducted by the Reverend Edwin T. Philpotts; a "Moments Among the Masters" pag e, consisting of assorted chunks looted from the literature of the past, when fo reheads were bulgy and thoughts profound, by Mr. Wilberfloss himself; one or two other pages; a short story; answers to correspondents on domestic matters; and a "Moments of Mirth" page, conducted by an alleged humorist of the name of B. He nderson Asher, which is about the most painful production ever served up to a co nfiding public. The guiding spirit of Cosy Moments was Mr. Wilberfloss. Circumstances had left t he development of the paper mainly to him. For the past twelve months the propri etor had been away in Europe, taking the waters at Carlsbad, and the sole contro l of Cosy Moments had passed into the hands of Mr. Wilberfloss. Nor had he prove d unworthy of the trust or unequal to the duties. In that year Cosy Moments had reached the highest possible level of domesticity. Anything not calculated to ap peal to the home had been rigidly excluded. And as a result the circulation had increased steadily. Two extra pages had been added, "Moments Among the Shoppers" and "Moments with Society." And the advertisements had grown in volume. But the work had told upon the Editor. Work of that sort carries its penalties with it. Success means absorption, and absorption spells softening of the brain. Whether it was the strain of digging into the literature of the past every week, or the effort of reading B. Henderson Asher's "Moments of Mirth" is uncertain. At any rate, his duties, combined with the heat of a New York summer, had sapped Mr. Wilberfloss's health to such an extent that the doctor had ordered him ten weeks' complete rest in the mountains. This Mr. Wilberfloss could, perhaps, have endured, if this had been all. There are worse places than the mountains of Ame rica in which to spend ten weeks of the tail-end of summer, when the sun has cea sed to grill and the mosquitoes have relaxed their exertions. But it was not all . The doctor, a far-seeing man who went down to first causes, had absolutely dec lined to consent to Mr. Wilberfloss's suggestion that he should keep in touch wi th the paper during his vacation. He was adamant. He had seen copies of Cosy Mom ents once or twice, and he refused to permit a man in the editor's state of heal th to come in contact with Luella Granville Waterman's "Moments in the Nursery" and B. Henderson Asher's "Moments of Mirth." The medicine-man put his foot down firmly. "You must not see so much as the cover of the paper for ten weeks," he said. "An d I'm not so sure that it shouldn't be longer. You must forget that such a paper exists. You must dismiss the whole thing from your mind, live in the open, and develop a little flesh and muscle." To Mr. Wilberfloss the sentence was almost equivalent to penal servitude. It was with tears in his voice that he was giving his final instructions to his sub-ed itor, in whose charge the paper would be left during his absence. He had taken a long time doing this. For two days he had been fussing in and out of the office , to the discontent of its inmates, more especially Billy Windsor, the sub-edito r, who was now listening moodily to the last harangue of the series, with the ai r of one whose heart is not in the subject. Billy Windsor was a tall, wiry, loos e-jointed young man, with unkempt hair and the general demeanour of a caged eagl e. Looking at him, one could picture him astride of a bronco, rounding up cattle , or cooking his dinner at a camp-fire. Somehow he did not seem to fit into the Cosy Moments atmosphere. "Well, I think that that is all, Mr. Windsor," chirruped the editor. He was a li

ttle man with a long neck and large pince-nez, and he always chirruped. "You und erstand the general lines on which I think the paper should be conducted?" The s ub-editor nodded. Mr. Wilberfloss made him tired. Sometimes he made him more tir ed than at other times. At the present moment he filled him with an aching weari ness. The editor meant well, and was full of zeal, but he had a habit of coverin g and recovering the ground. He possessed the art of saying the same obvious thi ng in a number of different ways to a degree which is found usually only in poli ticians. If Mr. Wilberfloss had been a politician, he would have been one of tho se dealers in glittering generalities who used to be fashionable in American pol itics. "There is just one thing," he continued "Mrs. Julia Burdett Parslow is a little inclined--I may have mentioned this before--" "You did," said the sub-editor Mr. Wilberfloss chirruped on, unchecked. "A little inclined to be late with her 'Moments with Budding Girlhood' If this s hould happen while I am away, just write her a letter, quite a pleasant letter, you understand, pointing out the necessity of being in good time. The machinery of a weekly paper, of course, cannot run smoothly unless contributors are in goo d time with their copy. She is a very sensible woman, and she will understand, I am sure, if you point it out to her." The sub-editor nodded. "And there is just one other thing. I wish you would correct a slight tendency I have noticed lately in Mr. Asher to be just a trifle--well, not precisely risky , but perhaps a shade broad in his humour." "His what?" said Billy Windsor. "Mr. Asher is a very sensible man, and he will be the first to acknowledge that his sense of humour has led him just a little beyond the bounds. You understand? Well, that is all, I think. Now I must really be going, or I shall miss my trai n. Good-bye, Mr. Windsor." "Good-bye," said the sub-editor thankfully. At the door Mr. Wilberfloss paused with the air of an exile bidding farewell to his native land, sighed, and trotted out. Billy Windsor put his feet upon the table, and with a deep scowl resumed his tas k of reading the proofs of Luella Granville Waterman's "Moments in the Nursery." CHAPTER II BILLY WINDSOR Billy Windsor had started life twenty-five years before this story opens on his father's ranch in Wyoming. From there he had gone to a local paper of the type w hose Society column consists of such items as "Pawnee Jim Williams was to town y esterday with a bunch of other cheap skates. We take this opportunity of once mo re informing Jim that he is a liar and a skunk," and whose editor works with a r evolver on his desk and another in his hip-pocket. Graduating from this, he had proceeded to a reporter's post on a daily paper in a Kentucky town, where there were blood feuds and other Southern devices for preventing life from becoming du ll. All this time New York, the magnet, had been tugging at him. All reporters d ream of reaching New York. At last, after four years on the Kentucky paper, he h

" he said. He despised the work with all his heart. To him. was endeavouring to sla y him. probably from the soundest of motives.' G'wan! What do youse t' ink you're doin'. "Well?" said Billy. He had no chance of attracting the notice of big editors by his present wo rk. and he had no leisure for doing any other. Billy had been in a bad way when he had happened upon the sub-editorship of Cosy Moments. His alliance with Pugsy Maloney had begun on the occasion when he had rescued that youth from the clutches of a large negro. He appeared unconscious of the cat. there entere d Pugsy Maloney. he says. But he still dreamed of winning through to a post on one of the big New York dailies. what have you got there?" Master Maloney eyed the cat. The cub-reporter cannot make a name for himself unless he is favoured by fortune. He was always ready at any moment to become the champion of the oppressed on the slightest provocation. combined the toughest of muscle with the softest of hearts. He was tough and ready for anything that might come his way. Billy Windsor. He was a nonchalant youth. an' I swats de odder feller one. But it was regular. Billy had not inquired into the rights and wrongs of the matter: he had m .' So wit da t he makes a break at swattin' me one. "Dere was two fellers in de st reet sickin' a dawg on to her. the expression of wh ich never varied. without emotion. His work had been confined to turning in reports of fires and small street accidents .ad come East. The unfortunate thing. which sprang nimbly on to an upper sh elf of the book-case. who. Put her down. an' I brin gs her in here. Its existence did not seem to occur to him. an' den I swats dem bote some more. like most men of the plains. and was silent. "I wasn't hoitin' her." Master Maloney obediently dropped the cat. 'I'm de guy what's goin' to swat youse one on de coco if youse don't quit fussin' de poor dumb animal. "Don't hurt the poor brute. "It's a kitty what I got in de street. and for a while Billy felt that a regular salary was th e greatest thing on earth. where there was something doing and a man would have a chance of showing what was in him. cos I t'inks maybe youse'll look after her. an' I gets de kitty. fussin' de poor dumb animal?' An' one of de guys. An' I comes up an' says. with a freckled. "Hello. but these things ar e a great deal a matter of luck." he said. bearing a struggling cat. the office-boy. All of which may go to explain why his normal aspect was that of a caged eagle. as if he were seeing it for the first time. 'G' wan! Who do youse t'ink youse is?' An' I says. was that Cosy Moments took up his time so comple tely. minus the lobe of one ear and plus a long scar that ran diagonally across his left shoulder. which the various papers to which he supplied them cut down to a couple of inc hes. looking up. Things had not come Billy Windsor's way. "Say!" said Pugsy. however. Master Maloney fixed an expressionle ss eye on the ceiling. but I swats him one. and had worked without much success as a free-lance. and the salary was infinitesi mal. mask-like face." And having finished this Homeric narrative. brooding over the outpourings of Luella Granville Waterman.

but Pugsy. "You're a little sport. carrying a five-cent bottle of milk. proceeded to chirrup and snap his fingers in the effort to establish the foundations of an entente cordiale with the rescued cat." Billy had noticed earlier in the proceedings that a narrow leather collar encirc led the cat's neck. He strolled slowly out. Billy." "Fancy you being a cousin of Bat's. So you think th at's his cat?" "Sure. while Billy Winds or. concentrated himself on the cat. By the time that Pugsy returned. "What about it?" he said. and that if he wants it he'd better come round to my place. the animal had vacated the book-shelf. Here" --he produced a dollar-bill--"go out and get some milk for the poor brute." "Well." "Who's Bat Jarvis? Do you mean the gang-leader?" "Sure. The milk having been poured into the lid of a tobacco-tin. He's got a lot of dem for fair. washing her face. And Pugsy. He's me cousin. though he had made no ver bal comment on the affair. He had not paid any particular attention to it.erely sailed in and rescued the office-boy. I guess she's one of Bat Jarvis's kitties." "Are you on speaking terms with the gentleman?" "Huh?" "Do you know Bat Jarvis to speak to?" "Sure. He's a cousin of mine. "Say!" he said. Keep the change. Dey all have dose collars. Pugsy!" he cried." "What about her?" "Pipe de leather collar she's wearing. mounting a chair. business being business. "Well?" "Dat kitty. He's got twenty-t'ree of dem. had shown in many ways that he was not ungrateful. "Is he?" said Billy." "Sure thing. and was sitting on the table. turned again to Luella Granville Waterman. She's probably starvi ng. Pugsy. tell him I've got the cat. You know where I live?" "Sure." said Master Maloney with pride. she suspended her operations and adjourned for refreshments. Why did you never tell us? Are you go ing to join the gang some day?" . "Guess I know where dat kitty belongs. "Bully for you. in lieu of a saucer. and dey all has dose collars. and every one wit o ne of dem collars round deir neck." assented Master Maloney. "Nice sort of fellow to have in the family. having no immedi ate duties on hand.

CHAPTER III AT "THE GARDENIA" "It would ill beseem me. For he on honey-dew hath fed. and I have not seen a single citizen clubbed by a policeman. with a centu ry against Oxford to his credit.. you tell him when you see him.'" Mike had come to America with a team of the M. Report had it that an earnest seeker after amusement might have a tolerably spacious rag in this m odern Byzantium. had been one of the first to be invited to join the tour. 'Psmith has been to New York. "I don't know. I wished my visit to be a tonic rather than a sedative. and drunk the milk of Paradise. because if I'm interrupted any more I shan't get through to-night. and Pugsy. Comrade Jackson. It was the end of their first year at Cambridge. it is true. I had heard so much of the place. like myself. What. Comrade Jackson.C. Well." said Mike. The cabl es flash the message across the ocean." "Good for you. "What?" "A very judicious query. and Mike. "to run down the metropolis of a great and friendly nation. I have been here a week."Nope. arrives with a brush and a little bucket of red paint. No cow-boy has let off his revolver at random in Broadway. Comrade Jackson. I came over here principally. Nothin' doin'. who had played cricket in a rather desultory way at the Unive rsity. "What do we find?" he asked again." "Huh?" "Go out and get a good big basket. He is fu ll of oats.C. But at the same time I confess that at the back of my mind there lurked a hope that stirring ad ventures might come my way. He had merely taken the opportunity of Mi . Psmith.. which was touring the cricket -playing section of the United States. my lad." "What's the matter with it?" asked Mike. I thought that a few weeks here might restore that keen edge to my nervous system which the languor of the past term had in a measure blunted. retiring." said Master Maloney. A quiet. indeed? We find a town very like London. and lit a cigarette." "Sure. Psmith had accompanied him in a private c apacity. all eager for a treat. self-respecting town. No negroes dance cake-walks in the street. thoughtfully sipping his coffee." "Sure. I'm goin' to be a cow-boy." said Master Maloney. Rah!' But what do we find?" He paused. but candour compels me to state that New York is in some respects a singularly blighted tow n. I anticipated that on my return the cry would go round Cambridge. "Oh. out you get . but disappointing to one who. should you be in any way persecuted by scoundrels. He is hot stuff. "Too decorous. admirable to the apostle of social refor m. And now. had not risen to these heights. I shall want one to carry this animal home in ." said Psmith. 'Psmith is losing his illusions. to be at your side.

that invaluable offi cial was generally absent at dinner with the rest of the team. It is hard to astonish the waiters at a New York restaurant. He turned furiously on the head-waiter. carrying a basket. As they sat discussing New York's shortcomings over their coffee. He had all the disadvantages. Waiters rus hed to and fro. "Not on your life. and darted across the room. "This stays right here. Psmith wa tched with silent interest. and proceeded to order dinner. the young man had just possessed himself of the walking-stick." he said. so that the advantages of the hospitality did not reach him. and there was no limit to the hospitali ty with which the visitors were treated. seeing these manoeuvres. "Id is. but when the cat pe rformed this feat there was a squeal of surprise all round the room. and remove the lid from the basket. What i s the most likely thing for a man to have in a basket? You would reply. but it was very pleasant. De r gendleman--" The young man meanwhile was making enticing sounds. and was deep in a complex argument with the head-w aiter on the ethics of the matter. with a yell which made the young man's table the centre of interest to all the diner s. Psmith watched him thoughtfully. The head-waiter." When they arrived on the scene of hostilities. uttered a wrathful shout. New Y ork is a better city than London to be alone in. a young man pa ssed them. When he wished to consult his confidential secretary and adviser on some aspect of Life.' Error. in your unthinking way. having secured a strong strategic position on the top of a large oil-painting which hung on the far wall. was exp ressing loud disapproval of the efforts of one of the waiters to drive it from i ts post with a walking-stick. A man with a basketful of sandwiches does n ot need to dine at restaurants. but the young man stop ped him. futile but energetic." He placed it carefully on the floor beside his chair. A waiter made an ingratiating gesture towards the basket." he said. Cambridge had proved pleasant to Psmith. loose-jointed young man. So far the visit had failed to satisfy him. We must try again. ha d taken his stand on a point of etiquette." he said. It was this more than anything which ha d caused Psmith's grave disapproval of things American." The young man at the next table had ordered a jug of milk to be accompanied by a saucer. "that this will prove to be a so mewhat stout fellow. he proceeded to lift the basket on to his lap. He was not a member of t he team. ." said Psmith. "to bring gats into der grill-room vorbidden. and seated himself at the next table. He was a tal l. The young man. I must get my Sherlock Holmes system to work. 'sandwiches. Mike. was delighted with everything. Psmith was becoming bored. rising. If possible. The cricket so far had been rather of the picnic order. a large grey cat shot up like a rocket. but a trifle quiet. He had welcomed the chance of getting a change of sc ene. with unkempt hair. "Comrade Jackson. The cat. "I have a suspicion. I wonder w hat he's got in the basket. to which the cat was maintai ning an attitude of reserved hostility. To-night was one of the rare occasions when Mike could get away. Instantly. we will engage him in conversation. sonny. "we must be in this. a stout impassive German. Comrade Jackson. po ur the milk into the saucer. He saw far too little of Mike. and rushed to the rescue. whose tastes in pleasure were simple. These having arrived.ke's visit to the other side to accompany him. but it is never pleasant to be alone in any big city. No gendleman would gats into der grill-room bring.

when they were seated." The young man looked inquiringly at Psmith. All will now quite satisfactory b e. and the head-waiter had ceased to ho ver. "May I have a word with you in private?" "Zo?" Psmith drew him away. "No gendleman he is. You are a man of the world. "Der gendleman would not der gat into--" Psmith shook his head pityingly. "Let me present Comrade Jackson." said Psmith. to correct the effects of a fatiguing day. you understand. Frederick?" The head-waiter's eye rested upon the young man with a new interest and respect. The young man meanwhile had broken down the cat's reserve. Comrade--" . Shall we b e moving back? We were about to order a second instalment of coffee. "can't you see the poor brute's scared stiff? Wh y don't you clear your gang of German comedians away. "haf everything exblained." he said." asserted the head-waiter. "He is noble?" he inquired with awe. Perhaps you would care to join us?" "Sure. too decorous." he cried. The head -waiter nodded. nodding towards the young man. The head-waiter approached deferentially. who winked encouragingly. Comrade--may I call you Freddie? Yo u understand. I was complaining with some acerbity to Comrade Jackso n. and give her a chance to c ome down?" "Der gendleman--" argued the head-waiter." "Ingognito?" "You understand. "This. "He is here strictly incognito. The head-w aiter bowed. I have an inkling."For goodness' sake. tha t things in New York were too quiet. indicating Psmith." said the alleged duke. that in a man in his Grace's position a few littl e eccentricities may be pardoned. hush. before you introduced your very interesting performing-animal speciality." said Psmith. one of the Shropshire Psmiths. "You don't know who that is?" he whispered. I am Psmith." said Psmith warningly. Comrade Freddie. he wishes to preserve his incognito. and was now standing with her in his arms. "These petty matters of etiquette are not for his Grace--but. "is a great meeting. Psmith stepped forward and touched him on the arm. "Der gendleman. apparently anxious to fight all-comers in her defence. "the pet of our English Smart Set . who beamed in a friendly manner thr ough his eye-glass. You follow me. This is a great moment.

it is imperative that I have some solid man to accompany me in my ramblin gs hither and thither. I am not half sure. "Are you training that animal for a show of some ki nd. two ordinary chairs . Let us foregather with him and observe him in private life before arriving at any premature decision. mingling with the gay t hrong. as they walked out. and he yielded. But here he comes. While he is loading up that bas ket." "Your paper?" "Cosy Moments. The office-boy on our paper got her away from a dog this morn ing. we will be collecting our hats." said Billy Windsor. a typewriter--nobody uses pens in New York--and on the ." "It will be a pleasure. "If you really want t o see it.. that we see eye to eye on the subject." "I have an inkling. Comrade Jackson. have you any previous en gagement for to-night?" "I'm not doing anything." CHAPTER IV BAT JARVIS Billy Windsor lived in a single room on East Fourteenth Street."Windsor's my name. Billy Windsor's room was very much like a public-school study." he added. During the daytime this one room loses all traces of be ing used for sleeping purposes at night. He is cont ent to order his movements in the main by my judgment. and I lived in Kentucky a whi le. "Then let us stagger forth with Comrade Windsor. "Comrade Jackson.. "I regret that the bright little sheet has not come my way up to the present. "Cosy Moments?" said Psmith reflectively. I was raised in the plains. "that Comrade Windsor may not prove to be the genial spirit for whom I have been searching. There was one rocking-chair." said Mike. But with you constantly away. a table." said Psmith. I must seize an early opportunity of per using it. I assured him that all wo uld be well." "You've no paternal pride in the little journal?" "It's bad enough to hurt. I should ask no more. If you could give me your undivided comp any. At night this became a bed." "I guess that's right. and I'll show you a copy." Psmith gazed with interest at the cat. There's more doing there in a day than there is here in a month. It is possible that Comrade Windsor may possess the quali fications necessary for the post. Along one wall ran a settee. with a touch of shame. Comrade Windsor. and gave her to me. which was l apping milk from the saucer. Say." "Don't you do it. but in the daytime it was a settee and nothing but a settee. and the average bachelor's apartments consist of one room with a bathroom opening off it. Comrade Windsor. or is it a domestic pet?" "I've adopted her. a book-stand. There was no space for a great deal of furniture.." said Billy Windsor disgustedly. Space in New Yor k is valuable. come along with me to my place. how di d you fix it with the old man?" "With Comrade Freddie? I have a certain amount of influence with him.

the visitor whistled softly and unceasingly. Over the door was the head of a young bear. Anon. During the interview which followed. and Billy Windsor. stretched out his legs and lit a ci garette. His eyes were small and set close together. Are you with me. All is calm and pleasant chit-chat. Comra de Jackson?" "All right. on acquaintance. Comrade Jackson. It's not much of a neighbourhood. "And now. his jaw prominent. You should move there. "you can get quite good flats very cheap . His entrance was marked by a curious sibilant sound. You have snug q uarters up here. planting himse lf in the rocker. relics of their owner's prairie days. is located in one of these vast caravanserai--to be exact. Our nervous systems must be conserved. stout young man. I think we will hunt a round for some such cubby-hole as this. we m ust dash there with the vim of highly-trained smell-dogs. drawings. "A peaceful scene. restless d uring business hours. it would be a pleasure to me to peruse that little jo urnal of which you spoke. except when he w as speaking. Furnished. alert." "On Fourth Avenue. pro ved to be a whistled tune. built for two. a performance which he kept up untiringly all the time." Psmith had picked up one of the papers when there came a shuffling of feet in th e passage outside. I f a certain amount of harmless revelry can be whacked out of Fourth Avenue. Don't say I didn't warn y ou. keen. followed by a knock upon the door." said Billy Windsor. I don 't know if you mind that?" "Far from it. . I hold that there is nothing like one's own ro of-tree." Billy Windsor stretched out an arm and pulled a bundle of papers from the book-s tand. in short." "It's beastly expensive at the Astor. Billy's first act on arriving in this sanctum was to release the cat. I have had so few opportunities of getting into touch with the literature of this great country. The next moment there appe ared in the doorway a short. Not." said Mike. and settled itself on a corner of the settee . "There you are. the sort of man you would have picked out on sight as a model citizen. It is my aim to see New York in all its phases. which gave him the appearance of having no forehead at all. Windsor?" he said to the company at large. "The place has that drawback also. Comrade Windsor. hav ing moved restlessly about for some moments. which. which. sinking gracefully down beside it. There was an indescribable air of toughness about him. Mike took one of the ordinary chairs. began to rock rhythmically to and fro. His mouth was wide ." said Mike. partly due to the fact that he wore his hair in a well-oile d fringe almost down to his eyebrows. read on. If you've got the nerve. He tossed them on to the settee by Psmith's side." observed Psmith. the Astor--to pass a few moments in the quiet p rivacy of an apartment such as this. Psmith. finally came to the conclusion that there was no means of getting out. Comrade Windsor. "Three great minds. It is a great treat to one who. too. knives. "if you really feel like it. like myself. "Mr." he said. Comrade Windsor. relax.walls a mixed collection of photographs. and skins.

broadly speakin g. He had a fancier's shop in Groome street. and especially the Groome Street Gang. Broadway knew him ." said the visitor. and--more important stil l--the nucleus of the Groome Street Gang had been formed. For he. he was the founder and originator of it. Shamrock Hall became a place of joy and order. In Groome Street in those days there had been a dance-hall. and Pete Brodie. I am Psmith. and with him. Jarvis's reputation was far from being purely local. and w hose numbers had so recently been reduced to twenty-two. and it was there that he kept the twenty-three cats whose necks were adorned with leather collars. and the Tenderloin. in the heart of the Bowery. stepping forward. Maginn is for one held him in the very highest esteem. More. ten times in a single day for you. For genuine lovers of the dance fought shy of a place where at any moment Philistines might burst in and b reak heads and furniture. mister. to vote ten times in a single day for you. to make hay. curiously enough. To your right is Comrade Jackson. his eye fell on the cat. had gone such stalwarts as Long Otto. And. "Sure. Red Logan. Jarvis a celebrity. A man who can vote. England's favourite son. His face lit up. say. A ll might have been well. and snakes. He offered him a handsome salary to be on hand at the nightly dances and check undue revelry by his own robust methods. Bat at that time had a solid reputation as a man of his hands. "mine. Bat ha d accepted the offer. Long Island City knew him. But it was not the fact that he possessed twenty-three cats with leather collars that made Mr. it had come into being from motives of sheer benevolence. O ff-shoots of the main gang sprang up here and there about the East Side. The New York gangs. is the art of voting a number of different times at different polling-station s on election days. For Bat Jarvis was the leader of t he famous Groome Street Gang. the most noted of all New York's collections of Ap aches. The work progressed. And Mr." "Are you Bat Jarvis?" asked Windsor with interest. and once in. and laid his painful case before him. if only for eccentricity. By profession he was a dealer in animals. Mr. For Mr. "That. birds. flocked to Mr. It was the practice of these light-hearted sportsmen to pay thei r ten cents for admittance. To Bat accordingly he went. A man may win a purely local reputation. an Irishman and a friend of Bat's. and who controls a great number of followers who are also prepared. He had gone to Shamrock Hall. So the po . is worth cultivating. Small t hieves. "Say!" he said. In this crisis the proprietor thought of his friend Ba t Jarvis. by such means ." he said. had it not been for certain other youths of the neighbo urhood who did not dance and so had to seek other means of getting rid of their surplus energy. but his admirers based his claim to respect on his many meritorious performances with fists and with the black-jack. Tommy Jefferson. if they like you. pickpockets and the like. His living abode was in the upper story of that house." The visitor blinked furtively. was having a marked effect on his earnings. which. Tammany Hall knew him. It is t rue that. and touching the cat's collar. Jarvis as their tribal leader a nd protector and he protected them.Psmith waved a hand towards the rocking-chair. as of a monarch ab andoning his incognito. were of use to t he politicians. But Mr. not without a touch of complacency. At the Shamrock nightly dances were given and well attended by the youth of the neighbourhood at ten cents a head. have brought to a fine art the gentle practice of "repeating". In the u nderworld of New York his name was a by-word. with his followers. And this habit. "is Comrade Wind sor. and whistled another tune. faithful adher ents. he had killed no one--a defect which he had subsequently corrected. This was on the ground-floor. As he looked round the room. Jarvis was a celebrity. Maginn is found. as his detractors pointed out. named the Shamrock and presided over by one M aginnis.

Jarvis eyed him fixedly." said Psmith. and the police left the Groome Street G ang unmolested and they waxed fat and flourished. if one got mixed up with any of tha t East-Side crowd. "Rightly. touching the cat's neck "Mine. Such was Bat Jarvis. Her knockabou t act in the restaurant would have satisfied the most jaded critic. Good night. Comrade Jarvis's massive silences appeal to me. They heard him shuffling downstairs. "Pipe de collar. Bat Jarvis. Jarvis continued to stand and whistle for a few moments more. then nodded to Psmith and Mike. ." he said. but what of that? I am a man of few words myself." said Billy. and. "Say!" he said at length. kit. "Shake!" he said. and fin ally turned again to Billy Windsor. I am. as if pondering over his remarks. "Any time you're in bad. I guess there's n . "Not garrulous. Fond of de kit. Groome Street. "I don't know that he's just the sort of side-partner I'd go out of my way to ch oose. perhaps. She is not unworthy of your af fection. He shifted the cat on to his left arm. Jarvis. Here. so we took it in for safety. was transfixed by it for a moment." He paused and whistled a few more bars. He looked round the company. "We found two fellows setting a dog on to it.." "Pugsy said it must be. "Obliged.liticians passed the word to the police. Still. Jarvis nodded approval." Mr." Billy Windsor laughed. "There's a basket here. "A blithe spirit. No diner-out can afford to be without such a cat. met Psmith's eye-glass. "Nope. Such a cat spells death to boredom. He se ems to have taken a fancy to you." Psmith nodded approvingly. still whistling softly. and left the room. Jarvis stooped." said Billy Windsor." Mr. full of the highest spirits. Glad to be of service. Billy did so. You know the add ress. "Say!" he said. Obliged." Mr." said Mr." he added. and paused. from what I've heard about him. Comrade Jarvis. Mr. Then he turned to Billy again. "Obliged. he would be a mighty useful friend to have. "And rightly. fixing his roving gaze once more upon Billy.. if you want it. "Say!" he said. lifted the cat. and extended his right hand to Billy. A most companionable animal. Comrade Windsor. mister.

" "You bet I'm not. Billy interpreted the look. When I gaze at your broad." "Merely sub? You deserve a more responsible post than that. "We should not despise the humblest. Comrade Jackson. clear-headed criticism. I say to myself without hesitation." "Ah! then at last you have your big chance. "Luella Granville Waterman. "It is like setting a gifted French c hef to wash up dishes. but what is your techni cal position? When your proprietor is congratulating himself on having secured t he ideal man for your job." said Mike. taking up the paper again "let me concentrate myself tens ely on this very entertaining little journal of yours. when I see the clear light of intelligence in your eyes. bulging forehead." said Psmith." "He's in Europe." "Assuredly not. "what is your exact position on this paper? Practical ly. and hear the grey matter splashing restlessly abou t in your cerebellum. You are free. He ju st sits tight and draws the profits. or they wouldn't buy it. "Comrade Jac kson's name is a by-word in our English literary salons. you'll see that each page is run by some one. yet he could find nothing polite to say. And now. "Well.'" He looked at Mike. He wished to be polite." Psmith clicked his tongue sympathetically. He lets the editor look after things. "Go on." CHAPTER V PLANNING IMPROVEMENTS "By the way." said Psmith. what precise job does he congratulate himself on havi ng secured the ideal man for?" "I'm sub-editor. There's no room for develop ing free untrammelled ideas on this paper." he said. Whe re is your proprietor? I must buttonhole him and point out to him what a wealth of talent he is allowing to waste itself. or somewhere. "A man of your undoubted powers.o harm done by getting him grateful. 'Comrade Windsor must have more scope. That is the cry. Comrade Jackson." Psmith was deep in Lucia Granville Waterman's "Moments in the Nursery. here is one for you. "is not by any chance your nom-de-plume. You must have scope. His opinion will be bot h of interest and of profit to you. and what is your verdict?" Mike looked at Billy Windsor." he said." he said." he added to Billy. "Say it. Comr ade Windsor." he said. you are its back-bone. though. Comrade Windsor. who was turning over the leaves of his cop y of Cosy Moments in a sort of dull despair." said Billy Windsor. It can't be worse than what I think. He never comes near the paper. untrammelled. 'more scope!' I must look into this matter." He turne d to Billy Windsor. For sound. Comrade Windsor. "They must. At Carlsbad. Comrade Windso r. we know well. "Guess again. should have more scope. its life-blood. When you've looked at it. I'm simply the fellow who minds the shop." "I expect some people would like it awfully. Just at present I'm acting as editor. C omrade Windsor?" . I've never met any of them yet.

Don't think it. You are wasting the golden hours of your youth. y ou said. You must hustle. You yearn for scope." He resumed his seat. You must strike out a l ine for yourself. You must move. "Comrade Jackson. But he'll come back. turning to Billy." "I guess it'll be followed pretty quick by improvement number two--the sacking o f William Windsor. concentrated bilge she gets away with the biscuit with almost insolent ease." "We cannot help his troubles. Luella Granville Waterman must go."Not on your life. "Has this job of yours any special attractions for you. you have touched the spot. and tapped him earnestly on the chest. is there a single feature you would willingly retain?" "I don't think there is. Psmith turned to Mike. I can't go monkeying about with the paper that way." "How do you mean?" "She must go." "I am glad." Psmith reflected for a moment. "How do you mean?" said Billy Windsor." said Psmith courteously. Now. say." Psmith rose. at the present rate. my views on the mat . You must show the world that even Cosy Moments cannot keep a g ood man down. speaking as man to man. now that you have swiped the editorial chair. We must act for the good of the paper. On the present lines that is impossible." "My opinion in a nutshell. "Comrade Windsor. The editor thinks a heap of her stuff." repeated Psmith firmly. "Comrade Jackson. "has a secure reputation on the other side for the keen ness and lucidity of his views upon literature. I don't see how I'm going to fix it. Moreover." "Sufficient unto the day." said Mike. You must make Windsor of Cosy Momen ts a name to conjure with. "Your first act. Comrade Windsor?" "I guess not. that he was away?" "So he is. must be to sack her. Make a note of improvement number one--the sacking of Luella Granville Waterman. What exactly are your ambitions?" "I want to get a job on one of the big dailies." "But. I n England when Comrade Jackson says 'Turn' we all turn. Comrade Windsor. I think. approvingly. I can't. I must confe ss that for sheer. "For." "As I suspected. "It's all pretty bad rot. His holiday will have cleared his brain. You must boost this sheet up till New York rings with your exploits. I have a suspicion that he will be th e first to approve your action. if you were editing this paper. You may safely build upon him." he expl ained." said Psmith. though.

"And now to decide upon our main scheme.ter are as follows. but. In these crises one cannot think of everything. After all. I have had little experience o f journalistic work. Henderson Asher. "Comrade Jackson. The exigencies of his cricket tour will compel him constantly to be gadding about. His brow suddenly cleared. too revolutionary." he said. my idea is that Cosy Moments should become red-hot stuff. informing Luella Granville Waterman and the others (and in particular B. more go. briefly. if we follow those main lines. Comrade Windsor?" . "Assuredly. and my suggestions are merely suggestions. but I fancy tha t. and he would have no name as long as he c lung to his present position. We must be a search-light. Above al l. Ga." "Bully for you. therefor e." Billy Windsor sat and rocked himself in his chair without replying." said Billy Windsor. After that we can begin to move. cannot be relied upon continuously. You will. if I may say so.. deprived of its choicest pips. Psmith smiled approvingly." "Let it devolve. may have occurred to him." said Billy Windsor. I fancy. "I'm on. The editor would be away ten weeks. now to Saskatchewan. So far the grandeur of it had dazed him. we shall produce a bright. J. but I foresee that I shall be a quick learner. in my opinion (worthless. now to Phil adelphia. murders. He would have ten weeks in which to try himself out. "That. who from a cursory glance strikes me as an ideal candidate for a lethal chamber) that. and that he had no right whatever to tinker with it without that gentleman's approval. His services. It is at your disposal. we must be the guardians of the People's rights. it occurred so momentarily that he did not notice it. Cosy Moments. I will becom e your sub-editor. have little cause to r egret your decision." said Psmith. accordingly. we shall expect li ttle but moral support. We must chronicle all the live events of the day. "is the right spirit. needs more snap. Could it be done? It would undoubtedly mean the sack when Mr. of cours e. and deliver him such a series of resentful buffs that he will abandon his little games and become a mod el citizen. "is unhappily more fettered. enthusiastically. It was too s pacious. On the other hand. without salary. An occasional congratulatory telegram. unless they cease their contributions instantly. fire s. Benjamin White. Fortunately.. and the like in a manner which will make our readers' spines thrill. From him. so to speak. I could wish its tone to be such that the public will wonder why we do not print it on asbestos. anon to Onehorseville. subject to your ap proval. Are you with m e. Letters must be despatched to-morrow morning. what was the sack? One crowded hour of gloriou s life is worth an age without a name. were it not backed b y such a virtuoso as Comrade Jackson)." he said. The trifling fact that the despised journal was the p roperty of Mr." continued Psmith. I happen to have a certain am ount of leisure just now. You. The details of the campaign we must think out after. are the editor. Fillken Wilberfloss returned and found the apple of his eye torn as under and. Hope leaped within him. He was tryin g to assimilate this idea. In ten weeks he c ould change Cosy Moments into a real live paper. We must detect the wrong-doer. All these putri d pages must disappear. But. The bulk of the work will devolve upon our two selves. Now and then a br ight smile of approval. if it did. s howing up the dark spot in the souls of those who would endeavour in any way to do the PEOPLE in the eye. readable little she et which will in a measure make this city sit up and take notice. He wondered that the idea had n ot occurred to him before. you will be compelled to place yourself under police protection. briefly.

There is no reprieve. Comrade Jackson. But it cann ot affect us how they writhe beneath the blow. The last paragraph. where are we? Wed ged tightly in among the ribstons. "I fancy I have found my metier. and owing to the nearness of press day there was no time to fill it before the issue of the next number. It's pretty lucky for you two lunatics that the proprietor's in Europe. I like it. It seems that Comrade Windsor knows certain stout fellows. And without Scope. Visitors will be shown it as one of the sigh ts. It should stir the blood of a free and independent people till they sit in platoons on the doorstep of our office. and doubtless." Psmith regarded him with pained surprise. "I'm jolly glad it's not my paper. His beaming s mile will be a by-word in Carlsbad. His only doubt will be whether to send his money to the bank or keep it in t ubs and roll in it." "And how about the editor? I should think that first number would bring him back foaming at the mouth." Mike roared with laughter. I should soon have become a financial magnate. Comrade Jackson. We are on to a big thing. waiting for the next number to appear.' in parti cular. Commerce. was t he line I should take. It strikes the right note. many considered. There are some very fine passages in that edi torial. For the moment it seems to me that I have found the job for which nature s pecially designed me. had I stuck to that walk in life. he will go singing about his hotel. who will be delighted to weigh in with stuff for a moderate fee. At last I have Scope."Surest thing you know." . as they set forth one evening in search of t heir new flat. that there were other fi elds. But something seemed to whisper to me." said Billy with fervour. The letters giving them the miss-in-baulk in no uncertain voice were only despatched yesterday. This was largely the work of Psmi th. CHAPTER VI THE TENEMENTS To alter the scheme of a weekly from cover to cover is not a task that is comple ted without work." he said. ev en in the midst of my triumphs in the New Asiatic Bank. "It's the rummiest business I ever struck." he said to Mike. beginning 'Cosy Moments cannot be muzzled. "Are you and Windsor going to fill the whole paper yourselves?" "By no means. Wait till you see our first number. reporte rs on other papers. "Next Week! See Editorial!" and compiling in conjunction a snappy editorial. The edito rial staff had to be satisfied with heading every page with the words "Look out! Look out!! Look out!!! See foot of page!!!!" printing in the space at the botto m the legend. setting forth the proposed changes. "Comrade Jackson." "How about Luella What's-her-name and the others? How have they taken it?" "Up to the present we have no means of ascertaining. after we have handled the paper for a while. The dismissal of Cosy Moments' entire staff of contributors le ft a gap in the paper which had to be filled. "I do not understand you. Do you insinuate that we are not acti ng in the proprietor's best interests? When he sees the receipts." "How about that next number?" asked Mike.

are penned up in a sort of canyon. stopping. The masses of dirty clothes hanging from the fire -escapes increase the depression. I'm going in to h ave a look round. has had no room to spread. They had to feel their way up." "There's a name up on the other side of that lamp-post. Most of t he doors were shut but one on the second floor was ajar. By a singular stroke of good fortune Comrade Wilberfloss--his name is Wilberfloss--has been ordered complete rest during his holiday. In the poorer quarters the congestio n is unbelievable. All the smells and noises. Where we are. specifically mentioned that the paper was to be withheld from him until he re turned. It is a town of human sardines. "This place makes me sick. and ga in in vehemence from the fact. "It seems to me that there's what you might call room for improvement." "And when he does return." It was indeed a repellent neighbourhood in which they had arrived. for they opened on to the str eet." Psmith said nothing." They walked on a few steps." Followed by Mike." "Let us wend in that direction. The imagination jibbed at the thought of the back rooms. It wouldn't be a scaly idea to turn that C osy Moments search-light we were talking about on to them. There seemed to be thousands of them. the paper will be in so flourishing a state that he wi ll confess how wrong his own methods were and adopt ours without a murmur. He glanced up at the grimy build ings on each side. Through the opening the y had a glimpse of a number of women sitting round on boxes. "Poor kids!" said Mike. bare rooms. our footsteps h ave wandered. He was looking thoughtful. It was almost pitch dark on the stairs. Comrade Jackson. realising the fearful strain inflicted by reading Cosy Moments in its old for m. Probably they took them f or reporters hunting for a story. which are many and varied." said Psmith." said Psmith. Ah. Reporters were the only tolerably well-dressed visitors Pleasant Street ever entertained. On the lower floors one could see into dark. The kindly medic o. In the exhilaration of this little chat. being an island. "I wonder who owns these places. Nowhere in the city does one realise so fully the disadvantages of a lack of space. The floor was cover . and so got a little light and air. I can only say that I shouldn't care to have to live here. "It must be awful living in a hole like this. I would call your attention to the fact that we see m to have lost our way. goodness only knows. but we'll risk it."I have ascertained from Comrade Windsor that there is nothing to fear from that quarter. Thes e were the star apartments of the tenement-houses. A group of men leaning again st the opposite wall looked at them without curiosity. The New York slum stands in a class of its own. I expect some muscular householder will resent the intrusion a nd boot us out. he turned in at one of the doors. what are you going to do?" "By that time. Pleasant Street? I fancy that the master-min d who chose that name must have had the rudiments of a sense of humour. In th e meantime. "Look here. The height of the houses and th e narrowness of the streets seem to condense its unpleasantness. It is unique. New York. Psmith and Mike picked their way through the groups of ragged children who cover ed the roadway. doubtless.

almost fell against the door. It was a good re presentative Pleasant Street back room. be getting something of a move on. Mike. Time was evidently money in Pleasant Street. to play my part in the great work of making New Y ork sit up." he proceeded in the tone of a family doctor prescribing for a patient. "This. "is where Cosy Moments gets busy at a si ngularly early date. I trust. They stumbled downstairs again and out into the street. By the time you return. it fills me with a certain melancholy to have you flitting off in this manner without me. When I think of the happy moments we have spent hand-in-h and across the seas. however. When the ferry-boat had borne Mike off across the river. I fancy. "this perpetua l parting of the ways. Mine retains me here. On the fourth floor there was an open door. By contrast with the con ditions indoors the street seemed spacious and breezy. Psmith turned to stroll to the office of Cosy Moments. "is disembowelling. . and looked forward to a not unenjoyable time till Mike should return . I fancy.. let us try and get out of this place of wrath. Psmith's was a nature which required a certain amount of stimulus in the way of gentle excitement. The day was fine.. None of the women looked up at the nois e. it wa s to be presumed. that a mawkishly sentimental l egislature will prevent our performing that national service. What h e wants. "if Comrade Windsor is agreeable. but the landlord had as sured them that the voices of the revellers did not penetrate to it. The room was empty. Psmit h came down to the ferry to see him off. "It is saddening me to a great extent. he felt pleased with life. And now. To me t here is something singularly impressive in our unhesitating reply to the calls o f Duty. with a century or two." said Psmith. Comrade Jackson. as they walked on. of course. He liked Bil ly Windsor. Through this. We must endeavour to do what we can by means of kindly criticism in the paper. the entire stock of air used by the occupants was supposed to come. the good work should." he said. The architect in this case had given rei n to a passion for originality. to make things as warm for the owner of this place as I jolly well know how. He had constructed the room without a window of any sort whatsoever. a nd had opened negotiations for a large flat near Thirtieth Street. and on the whole. and fi nd Fourth Avenue." CHAPTER VII VISITORS AT THE OFFICE On the following morning Mike had to leave with the team for Philadelphia. There was a square opening in the door. and hung about moodily until the time o f departure.ed with little heaps of linen." After leaving Pleasant Street they had found Fourth Avenue by a devious route. despite Mike 's desertion. I will comple te the arrangements with regard to the flat." "What are you going to do?" asked Mike. which was something of a drawback. It was immedi ately above a saloon. Your Duty summons you to Philadelphia. stumbling in the darkness. Comrade Jackson." said Psmith. "I propose. having set tled that important point. All the women were sewing. Yet there is another side to the picture. and it seemed to him that the conduct of the remodelled Cosy Moments might supply this. to knock the cover off the local bowling. in your bag.

' says he.' I says.' says he. de whole bunch of dem. in the middle of them?" "Nope. precisely?" "A whole bunch of dem. 'I'll wait. "And is Comrade Windsor in there. 'I'll go in an' wait. 'Nix on de goin' in act." A faint smile appeared upon Psmith's face.' says he. These trifling contret emps are the penalties we pay for our high journalistic aims. when de foist of de guys blew in. which was the editorial sanctum.' I says. too. I says.' I might as well have saved me breat'.' I says. I will interview t hese merchants. Why did you let them in?" "Sure. and a larger room beyond. The offices of Cosy Moments were in a large building in the street off Madison A venue." "As I suspected. I fancy that with the aid of the Diplomatic Smile and the Honeye . "Say!" said Master Maloney. readin' me book. As Psmith passed through the front door. Mr. 'is de ed itor in?' 'Nope. In he butts. "You are well-meaning." "Who. Comrade Maloney. But we must not repine. Comrade Maloney. Asher and the Rev." said Psmith. Comrade Maloney. 'it's up to youse.' says he lightin' o ut for de door. lighthearted? Did they carol snatches of song a s they went? Or did they appear to be looking for some one with a hatchet?" "Dey was hoppin'-mad. They consisted of a sort of outer lair. Wit dat I sees de proposition's too fierce for muh. gents. "Tell me. a small room. push t'roo inter de inner room. and he's in der now. what was the general average aspect of these determined spirits?" "Huh?" "Did they seem to you to be gay. Comrad e Maloney.." Psmith inspected Master Maloney through his eye-glass. but vague. "I was sittin' he re. Who are in there?" "De whole bunch of dem. Windsor's out to lunch." said Master Maloney complainingly. 'Boy. but if youse wants to join de giddy t'ro ng. dey just butted in.'" "And what more could you have said?" agreed Psmith approvingly." "Comrade Windsor knows his business. Dere's Mr. in about t'ree minutes along comes another gazebo. I don't try to give dem de t'run down. I can't be boddered. De editor ain't in. Philpotts and a gazebo wha t calls himself Waterman and about 'steen more of dem. Well. where Pugsy Maloney spent his tim e reading tales of life in the prairies and heading off undesirable visitors. "Can you give me any part iculars?" he asked patiently. I can't keep dese big husky guys out if dey's for buttin' in. 'B oy. "Say on. Pugsy Maloney rose. 'Well. 'Nuttin' doin'. So when de rest of de bunch co mes along. 'is de editor in?' 'Nope.' says I. which would have belonged to the stenographer if Cosy Moments had po ssessed one. "Dey're in dere.

"Ha! I am observed!" he murmured. having done so to his satisfaction. He gazed round the room." said Psmith with manly regret. As Psmith entered. and the Rev. sir. Windsor. but the gentleman who said "Pardon me!" necessarily finished first with the rest nowhere. "Alas! no. This accomplished. The others paused for the reply. Give him my compliments. Then Psmith. to the editorial chai r. every eye was turned upon him. Comrade Windsor would probably have endeavoured to clear the room wit h a chair. sir. To an outside spectator he wou ld have seemed rather like a very well-dressed Daniel introduced into a den of s ingularly irritable lions. "Are you Mr. I presume?" "Pardon me!" "I should like a few moments' conversation. walked to the door of the inner room and went in.d Word I may manage to pull through. Asher. The words broke the spell. and fixed him with a benevolent gaze through his ey e-glass. There were only five men in the room. hitched up the knees of his trousers and sank gracefully into a sitting position. Five pairs of eyes were smouldering with a long-nurse d resentment. Stillness brooded over the room as he carefully dusted that piece of furnitur e. perhaps. however. Philpotts proved to have been due to a great extent to a somewhat feverish imagination. and." "Sure. may I ask?" inquired the favoured one." The start was good and even. he looked up and started. Comrade Maloney. and tell him to go out and watch the snowdrops growing in Madison Square Garden. and tell him not to come in. CHAPTER VIII THE HONEYED WORD Master Maloney's statement that "about 'steen visitors" had arrived in addition to Messrs. . Windsor. Psmith turned to him. Instantly. It is as well. be so good as to inform him of the state of affairs. "Are you the acting editor of this paper?" "I wish to have a word with you. bowed." said Master Maloney. Not a word was spoken as he paced. The situation calls for the handling of a man of delicate culture and nice tact. Such. If he should arrive during the seance. Five brows were corrugated with wrathful lines. the five visitors burst simultaneously int o speech." "Mr. wrapped in thought. having smoothed the nap of his hat and flicked a speck of dust from his coat-sleeve. that Comrade Windso r is out. Waterman. was the simple majesty of Psmith's demeanour that for a moment there was dead silen ce.

But how much anon I fear I cannot say. also. I do not repine. in his opinion. I am here on behalf of my wife. stood alone in literary circles as a purveyor of sheer bilge. My wife has been a contributor to this journal from its found ation." Psmith bowed courteously. and replaced it in his eye. So did I. I fancy. "It is an outrage." "My name is Waterman. Windsor. "Same here. whose name you doubtl ess know. polished it. Comrade--I have not the pleasu re of your name." Psmith was reading the letter. 'Can Psmith get through it all? Will his strength sup port his unquenchable spirit?' But I stagger on." continued the little man. was Waterma n." said the little man proudly." said Psmith." "Then maybe you can tell me what all this means?" said a small round gentleman w ho so far had done only chorus work. Is there anything I can do for you?" "Are you on the editorial staff of this paper?" "I am acting sub-editor. And now. The work is not light. "Where is Mr. sir." The visitors looked at each other. We are both at a loss to make head or tail of it." he said." "So did I. "Som etimes the cry goes round." added Psmith gratuitously. "Comrade Windsor's loss is my gain." "Correct me if I am wrong. withou . it shall be done." said the man who had said "Pardon me!" "I came f or the express purpose of seeing Mr. "If it is in my power to do so. Windsor?" "He is. "has received this extraordinary communication from a man signing himself W . Windsor. Her work has given every satisfaction to Mr. Psmith removed hi s eye-glass. Wilberfloss." chimed in the rest. He felt that he must run n o risk of not seeing clearly the husband of one who. "but I should say it. "This is exceedingly annoying." "Luella Granville Waterman. sir. "It seems reasonably clear to me. "My wife. producing an envelope and handing it to Psm ith." There was a pause." "When will he return?" "Anon. champing about forty cents' worth of lunch at some neighbouring hostelry."Then who are you?" "I am Psmith.

Henderson Asher. if you please. was almost too much. Nobody knows. "Your 'Moments of Mirth. "What's he mean by it? That's what I want to know. You don't know. "Asher's my name. "don't know. The circumstances. except when I had the mumps." He reseated himself. but yours seems to me work which the world will not willingly let die. Windsor? Where is Mr. who had hitherto lurked almost unseen behind a stout person in a serge suit. "I don't know. "Comrade Asher. sir. You have asked me where Mr. I write 'Moments of Mirth. shaking it. actually wishes to hurry on its decease. and spoke his piece." murmured Psmith. "may I shake your hand?" The other extended his hand with some suspicion. bobbed into the open. Who is W. Windsor? Where was Mr. "I have contributed 'Moments of Meditatio n' to this journal for a very considerable period of time. Windsor. the se clashings of personal taste. And now up comes this Windsor fellow." "I have read your page with the keenest interest." said Psmith. Waterman." The Reverend Edwin's frosty face thawed into a bleak smile. Here we have. Philpotts." he said. "And yet. and tel ls me in so many words the paper's got no use for me. o n the one hand--" A man with a face like a walnut. on the other hand. It is these strange contradictions.'" A look almost of excitement came into Psmith's face. "this is a painful case. comes this peremptory dismissal from W.t the slightest warning." continued Psmith. face to face. B. which make up what we call life. "I gather that Comrade Windsor." "These are life's tragedies. "Gentlemen." "You don't know!" exclaimed Mr. Wilberfloss? "I am the Reverend Edwin T. and I've reason to know that my page was as widely read and appreciated as any in New York." said Psmith. as you will re adily admit when you have heard all. Th at he should be privileged to look upon the author of "Moments of Mirth" in the flesh." he said reverently." said a cadaverous. That's the man we want to see. such a look as a visitor to a foreign land might wear when confronted with some great national monument.'" said Psmith. Windsor. Wilberfloss?" The chorus burst forth. for four years.looking man with pale blue eyes and a melancholy face. indicating the rest with a wa ve of the hand. It seemed that that was what they all wanted to know: Wh o was W. "I may be wrong. "have frequently reconciled me to the toothache. W ilberfloss is. His locality is as hard to ascertain . They. I do not know. are peculiar. "Where's this fellow Windsor? W. I've be en working for this paper without a break. And that's what these gentlem en want to know--See here--" "I am addressing--?" said Psmith.

as that of a black cat in a coal-cellar on a moonless night. Shortly before I jo ined this journal, Mr. Wilberfloss, by his doctor's orders, started out on a hol iday, leaving no address. No letters were to be forwarded. He was to enjoy compl ete rest. Where is he now? Who shall say? Possibly legging it down some rugged s lope in the Rockies, with two bears and a wild cat in earnest pursuit. Possibly in the midst of some Florida everglade, making a noise like a piece of meat in o rder to snare crocodiles. Possibly in Canada, baiting moose-traps. We have no da ta." Silent consternation prevailed among the audience. Finally the Rev. Edwin T. Phi lpotts was struck with an idea. "Where is Mr. White?" he asked. The point was well received. "Yes, where's Mr. Benjamin White?" chorused the rest. Psmith shook his head. "In Europe. I cannot say more." The audience's consternation deepened. "Then, do you mean to say," demanded Mr. Asher, "that this fellow Windsor's the boss here, that what he says goes?" Psmith bowed. "With your customary clear-headedness, Comrade Asher, you have got home on the b ull's-eye first pop. Comrade Windsor is indeed the boss. A man of intensely mast erful character, he will brook no opposition. I am powerless to sway him. Sugges tions from myself as to the conduct of the paper would infuriate him. He believe s that radical changes are necessary in the programme of Cosy Moments, and he me ans to put them through if it snows. Doubtless he would gladly consider your wor k if it fitted in with his ideas. A snappy account of a glove-fight, a spine-sha king word-picture of a railway smash, or something on those lines, would be welc omed. But--" "I have never heard of such a thing," said Mr. Waterman indignantly. Psmith sighed. "Some time ago," he said, "--how long it seems!--I remember saying to a young fr iend of mine of the name of Spiller, 'Comrade Spiller, never confuse the unusual with the impossible.' It is my guiding rule in life. It is unusual for the subs titute-editor of a weekly paper to do a Captain Kidd act and take entire command of the journal on his own account; but is it impossible? Alas no. Comrade Winds or has done it. That is where you, Comrade Asher, and you, gentlemen, have lande d yourselves squarely in the broth. You have confused the unusual with the impos sible." "But what is to be done?" cried Mr. Asher. "I fear that there is nothing to be done, except wait. The present regime is but an experiment. It may be that when Comrade Wilberfloss, having dodged the bears and eluded the wild cat, returns to his post at the helm of this journal, he ma y decide not to continue on the lines at present mapped out. He should be back i n about ten weeks."

"Ten weeks!" "I fancy that was to be the duration of his holiday. Till then my advice to you gentlemen is to wait. You may rely on me to keep a watchful eye upon your intere sts. When your thoughts tend to take a gloomy turn, say to yourselves, 'All is w ell. Psmith is keeping a watchful eye upon our interests.'" "All the same, I should like to see this W. Windsor," said Mr. Asher. Psmith shook his head. "I shouldn't," he said. "I speak in your best interests. Comrade Windsor is a ma n of the fiercest passions. He cannot brook interference. Were you to question t he wisdom of his plans, there is no knowing what might not happen. He would be t he first to regret any violent action, when once he had cooled off, but would th at be any consolation to his victim? I think not. Of course, if you wish it, I c ould arrange a meeting--" Mr. Asher said no, he thought it didn't matter. "I guess I can wait," he said. "That," said Psmith approvingly, "is the right spirit. Wait. That is the watch-w ord. And now," he added, rising, "I wonder if a bit of lunch somewhere might not be a good thing? We have had an interesting but fatiguing little chat. Our tiss ues require restoring. If you gentlemen would care to join me--" Ten minutes later the company was seated in complete harmony round a table at th e Knickerbocker. Psmith, with the dignified bonhomie of a seigneur of the old sc hool, was ordering the wine; while B. Henderson Asher, brimming over with good-h umour, was relating to an attentive circle an anecdote which should have appeare d in his next instalment of "Moments of Mirth." CHAPTER IX FULL STEAM AHEAD When Psmith returned to the office, he found Billy Windsor in the doorway, just parting from a thick-set young man, who seemed to be expressing his gratitude to the editor for some good turn. He was shaking him warmly by the hand. Psmith stood aside to let him pass. "An old college chum, Comrade Windsor?" he asked. "That was Kid Brady." "The name is unfamiliar to me. Another contributor?" "He's from my part of the country--Wyoming. He wants to fight any one in the wor ld at a hundred and thirty-three pounds." "We all have our hobbies. Comrade Brady appears to have selected a somewhat exci ting one. He would find stamp-collecting less exacting." "It hasn't given him much excitement so far, poor chap," said Billy Windsor. "He 's in the championship class, and here he has been pottering about New York for a month without being able to get a fight. It's always the way in this rotten Ea st," continued Billy, warming up as was his custom when discussing a case of opp ression and injustice. "It's all graft here. You've got to let half a dozen brut

es dip into every dollar you earn, or you don't get a chance. If the kid had a m anager, he'd get all the fights he wanted. And the manager would get nearly all the money. I've told him that we will back him up." "You have hit it, Comrade Windsor," said Psmith with enthusiasm. "Cosy Moments s hall be Comrade Brady's manager. We will give him a much-needed boost up in our columns. A sporting section is what the paper requires more than anything." "If things go on as they've started, what it will require still more will be a f ighting-editor. Pugsy tells me you had visitors while I was out." "A few," said Psmith. "One or two very entertaining fellows. Comrades Asher, Phi lpotts, and others. I have just been giving them a bite of lunch at the Knickerb ocker." "Lunch!" "A most pleasant little lunch. We are now as brothers. I fear I have made you pe rhaps a shade unpopular with our late contributors; but these things must be. We must clench our teeth and face them manfully. If I were you, I think I should n ot drop in at the house of Comrade Asher and the rest to take pot-luck for some little time to come. In order to soothe the squad I was compelled to curse you t o some extent." "Don't mind me." "I think I may say I didn't." "Say, look here, you must charge up the price of that lunch to the office. Neces sary expenses, you know." "I could not dream of doing such a thing, Comrade Windsor. The whole affair was a great treat to me. I have few pleasures. Comrade Asher alone was worth the mon ey. I found his society intensely interesting. I have always believed in the Dar winian theory. Comrade Asher confirmed my views." They went into the inner office. Psmith removed his hat and coat. "And now once more to work," he said. "Psmith the flaneur of Fifth Avenue ceases to exist. In his place we find Psmith the hard-headed sub-editor. Be so good as to indicate a job of work for me, Comrade Windsor. I am champing at my bit." Billy Windsor sat down, and lit his pipe. "What ay to ow of egan, from we want most," he said thoughtfully, "is some big topic. That's the only w get a paper going. Look at Everybody's Magazine. They didn't amount to a r beans till Lawson started his 'Frenzied Finance' articles. Directly they b the whole country was squealing for copies. Everybody's put up their price ten to fifteen cents, and now they lead the field."

"The country must squeal for Cosy Moments," said Psmith firmly. "I fancy I have a scheme which may not prove wholly scaly. Wandering yesterday with Comrade Jack son in a search for Fourth Avenue, I happened upon a spot called Pleasant Street . Do you know it?" Billy Windsor nodded. "I went down there once or twice when I was a reporter. It's a beastly place." "It is a singularly beastly place. We went into one of the houses."

What that was. it's up to the lessee . and trust to luck. It made him fizz ahead like a two-ye ar-old." "Then there's another thing. A young man once called at th e office of a certain newspaper. "Which of us is going to write the first article?" "You may leave it to me." said Billy Windsor. They lease it to a less ee. all the man has to do is to clear out all the families but two. The law says a teneme nt house is a building occupied by more than two families. If you want a square deal. and here are the se people having to go downstairs and out of doors to fetch their water supplies . then. I am a very f . There's no knowing but what we may have luck. Then. "appears to be the discovery of the lesse e. Comrade Windsor. and asked for a job. Comrade Windsor. it's this way." "I see. There are only two families here. 'just general invective. and says. when there's a fuss. The facts which will nerve us to effort are two." asked Psmith. 'Have you any special line ?' asked the editor. It's all just like the E ast. It's pretty difficult to get at these fellows. unless you're prepared to spend thousands ferreting out evidence.' the landlord simply replies. I fea r.' And when the fuss has blown over. Probably some millionaire."They're pretty bad. but any one who wants can get round them as easy as falling off a log. You can't get hold of the man who's really responsi ble. ' 'Any special kind of invective?' queried the man up top. When there's a fuss. In the first place.' said the bright lad. 'Yes. 'Where's your running wa ter on each floor? That's what the law says you've got to have. but I have certain qualifications for the post. you've got to come out Wyoming way. lad? Surely a powerful organ like Cosy Moments. we shall eventually arrive somewhere. when the inspector fellow comes along. Columbus didn't know that America existed when he set out. they say they aren't responsible. After all." said Psmith." "The main problem. aren't they. I do not at the moment reca ll.' Such is my own case. 'Nothing doing. "A very cheery scheme. we s hall be enabled to haul up our slacks with a considerable absence of restraint. Everything in the East is as crooked as Pearl Street." "Hasn't anybody ever tried to do anything about them?" "Not so far as I know. Well. The land belongs in the first place to some corporation or other. back co me the rest of the crowd. with its vast ramifications. and things go on the same as before. as the re appears to be no law of libel whatsoever in this great and free country. I am no hardened old journalist. if we go on long enough. All he knew was some highly interesting fact about an egg." "Sure. we know that there must be some one at the bottom of the business. And he lies so low that you can't find out who he is. Secondly. The chances are that.' replied our her o. "Full steam ahead. but it bucked Columbus up like a tonic. This isn't a tenement house at a ll. We'll try." "Precisely. "is the precise difficulty of getting at these merchants?" "Well. Those tenement houses are about as pay ing an investment as you can have. you see. 'No." said Psmith. let's say. B ut they're fierce." said Psmith. 'I am rather good at invective. anyway." "Who owns them?" "I don't know. There are all sorts of laws about the places. could bring off a thing like that?" "I doubt it. those houses!" "What.

who had constituted himself guardian of the literary and dramatic interests of the paper." His reminiscences were appearing weekly in a Sunday paper. Taking full advantage of the benevolent laws of this country governing libel. Give me pen and paper. of the National Theatre. A happy smile lit up the editor's face. musing pleasantly of life. the Kid had a passion for bursting into print." An unsolicited testimonial which caused Psmith the keenest satisfaction. "Ha! Then when he returns I wish you to give him a message." "Sure. . I am tolerably full of my subject. Billy Win dsor's newspaper friends had turned in some fine. Bodkin does not lightly forget. Incessant work had been the order of the day. heard through the open door. a s was shown by a conversation between Master Maloney and a visitor one morning. Cosy Moments. and his life had been sadd ened up to the present by the refusal of the press to publish his reminiscences. Psmith . unde r its new management. "Editor not in. an idea which made the Kid his devoted adherent from then on. The section of the paper devoted to Kid Brady was attractive to all those with s porting blood in them." said the visitor. And as my visit to Pleasant Street is o f such recent date. snappy stuff in their best Yel low Journal manner. had employed his gift of general invective to considerable effect." said Master Maloney. Comrade Windsor. Like most pugi lists. It occurred in the third week of the new regime of the paper." he said complacently. I fancy I will produce a sc reed which will make this anonymous lessee feel as if he had inadvertently seate d himself upon a tin-tack. Each week there appeared in the same place on the same pa ge a portrait of the Kid. in an attitude of self-de fence. and I think we have got a success. and since then had confined himself to smoking cigars as long as walking-stick s and appearing nightly as the star in a music-hall sketch entitled "A Fight for Honour. and even Psmith had at moments lost a certain am ount of his dignified calm. Give him my compliments. was a mass of bright reading dealing with the events of the day." CHAPTER X GOING SOME There was once an editor of a paper in the Far West who was sitting at his desk. looking moody and important. He had won it a year before .air purveyor of good. and under the portrait the legend. general invective. had bounded ahead like a motor-car when the throttle is op ened. Sandwiched in between the painful case of Kid Brady and the matter of the tenements. which formed the star items of the paper's cont ents." "I am Aubrey Bodkin. relating to the more stirring happenings in the city. It was this that gave Psmith the idea of publishing Kid Brady's autobiography in Cosy Momen ts. "Ah. Billy Windsor's hair had bec ome more dishevelled than ever. instruct Comr ade Maloney to suspend his whistling till such time as I am better able to liste n to it. "Jimmy Garvin must meet this boy. "I wish to see the editor of this paper. the visit of Mr. and tell him that Mr." Jim my was the present holder of the light-weight title. untruthfully. when a bullet crashed through the window and embedde d itself in the wall at the back of his head. "I knew that Personal column of ours was going to be a success!" What the bullet was to the Far West editor. Francis Parker to t he offices of Cosy Moments was to Billy Windsor.

The public was consequently fre e to take notice. bearing in his hand a card. and he takes the count all right. Letters of complaint from old subscribers poured into the office daily.. It was late summer now. or it falls behind its competitors in the race. a l arge new public had sprung up and was growing every week.To appear in print is the fighter's accolade. and the citizens have given their native son the Approving Hand. rightly. Comrade Maloney. "Don't know him. and in the next round I seen Benson has a chunk of yellow. "has evidently not been blind to the importance of a visit to Cosy Moments. as Billy Windsor complacently remarked. and there was nothing much going on in New York. Other pugilists." "Nor I. and I seen I hadn't a friend in it. He ha s felt. I would not have it otherwise. the change of policy had the effect of improving the sales to a marked ex tent. contributing to other papers. "We make new friends daily. nothing will." "Comrade Parker. "'Francis Parker'?" said Billy. If this does not bring Comrade Garvin up to the scratch. He was grateful to Psmith for not editing his c ontributions." "That." said Psmith nonchalantly. but too limited and archaic." "He's a guy with a tall-shaped hat. Our h ero is fighting Battling Jack Benson in that eminent artist's native town of Lou isville. in short. The sale of Cosy Moments proceeded briskly. A pap er must keep up to date. "an' he's weari n' a dude suit an' shiny shoes. It is bound to appeal powerfully to the many-headed. taking it. Comrade Wilberfloss's methods were possibly sound. show the gentleman in. And then the gong goes. "Young blood. and the latter leaped at the chance. Shall we give him audience. We read off the public's unspoken wishes as if by intuition. Bu t. and I goes in and mixes it. That is what the public wants. Here is the Kid on the subject: 'I looked around that house. so I ups with an awful half-scissor hook to the plexus. We can give him three and a quarter mi nutes." . and I gets in with a hay-maker and I picks up ano ther sleep-producer from the floor and hands it him. while receiving Comrade Brady with chilly silence. The readers of Cosy Moments got Kid Brady raw." said Psmith. Advertisements came tr ooping in. We of the younger generation have our fingers more firmly on the pu blic pulse." said Psmith to Billy. And. He has dressed himself in his best. It is the right spirit. Comrade Windsor?" "I wonder what he wants. that this is no occasion for the old straw hat and the baggy fl annels. was passing through an era of prosperity undr eamed of in its history. "has a singularly pure and pleasing style . "young blood. They la cked ginger. Cosy Moments. Crisp." said Psmith. and to the point. We know the game from A to Z." At this moment Master Maloney entered. groaned under the s upervision of a member of the staff who cut out their best passages and altered the rest into Addisonian English. and then I seen Benson losing his goat. That is the secret. "Comrade Brady. my poor old mother way out in W yoming.'." volunteered Master Maloney. lucid. they had paid their subscriptions. As Psmith had pred icted." said Psmith approvingly. meanwhile. and I says to myself how I has one friend. Psmith extended the hospitality of page four of Cosy Moments to Kid Brady. It signifies that he has arrived. so that the money was safe whether they read the paper or not. Listen to this bit." But the feature of the paper was the "Tenement" series. "we shall ascertain more clearly after a personal interview .

Parker. He had a smooth. has it not. He--" "Then--excuse me--" said Mr. he must distribute it evenly between Comrade Windsor and myself. "You. and men and women with solid ivory skulls. who seated himself with the care inspired by a perfect trouser-crease." he said. "Distinctly warm stuff. As Pugsy had stated in effect. Parker paused. He refuses to content himself with ladling out a weekly dole of mental predigested breakfast food." agreed Psmith. which he carried." "May I speak frankly?" said Mr. He catered exclusively for children with water on the brain. Comrade Wilberfloss's methods were good in their way. is anxious to aim a swift kick at the man behind those ar ticles. but such is the mutual esteem in which Comrade Windsor and I hold each oth er that we may practically be said to be inseparable. as I fancy Master Ma loney would phrase it. Comrade Parker. Psmith interposed. are resp onsible for this very vigorous attack on the tenement-house owners?" "You can take it I am. "I have never been." he added. th e Wyoming cracker-jack. feels that there are other a nd larger publics. He provides meat. a constant reader of Cosy Moments . "The style of the paper has changed greatly. clean-shaven face. "I wished to see the editor." responded Psmith. I am but a sub-ed itor. "They are--er--very outspoken articles.Pugsy withdrew. Comrade Parker. Mr. a man of alert and res tless temperament. You may address us both impartially. Technically. W e would not have you go away and say to yourself. with a broader view. Will you sit for a space?" He pushed a chair towards the visitor. There must be no secrets. "Comrade Windsor." said Billy. "Warm stuff. Francis Parker proved to be a man who might have been any age between twenty -five and thirty-five. he wore a tail-coat. "Assuredly. comple ted an impressive picture. We have no secrets from ea ch other. felt that a change was essential if Cosy Moments was to lead public thought. He moved softly into the room. I have no quarrel with Comrade Wilberfloss. and I may be wrong. may also claim the title in a measure. But is not its interest in current affairs a recent develo pment?" "You are very right. Gloves and a tall hat." Psmith waved a hand towards Billy." "I see. I take it. "We are both responsible." . I myself--I am Psmith--though but a su bordinate. He is our editor. and patent-leathe r boots of pronounced shininess. shall I say. "The treat has not been denied you. turning to Billy. If any husky guy." Mr. Comrade Windsor. Parker. But he did not lead public thought. "Before you is Comrade Windsor. during the past few wee ks?" he said. There was a momentary silence while he selected a spot on the table on which to place his hat. no restraint between us. 'Did I make my meaning clear? Was I too elusive?' Say on. and a cat-like way of moving. trousers with a cre ase which brought a smile of kindly approval to Psmith's face.

S till. say it right out. Billy was of the plains. Parker leaned forward. "Why?" demanded Billy. Comrade Parker. leaning forward. reach for their guns. "There are reasons why you should not. Never mind our bes t interests. and this is our busy day. Parker's smooth face did not change its expression. find ing speech unequal to the expression of their thoughts. where you looked your man in the eye and s aid it quick. if you unburdened yourself as soon as convenient. "We do not completely gather your meaning." said Mr. He offended Billy' s honest soul." cried he. Let's have what's worrying you. "Do not let us be abrupt on this happy occasion. but he came to the point . If y ou've anything to say about those articles. Have you come to point ou t some flaw in those articles? Do they fall short in any way of your standard fo r such work?" Mr."I am speaking in your best interests. the home of blunt speech. Comrade Parker. H e was rapidly approaching the state of mind in which the men of the plains. To me it is enough simply to si t and chat with Comrade Parker. Psmith intervened. sir. "what's it all about? Let's have it." There proceeded from Billy a noise not describable in words. We can look after them." "Who would doubt it. Parker was too bland for human consumption. Parker. Billy's cow-boy blood was up." "Less powerful ones. "And there are reasons why we should. Mr. "See here. I fear we must ask yo u to hand it to us with still more breezy frankness. It was partly a sno rt. Do you speak from purely fr iendly motives? Are you advising us to discontinue the articles merely because y ou fear that they will damage our literary reputation? Or are there other reason s why you feel that they should cease? Do you speak solely as a literary connois seur? Is it the style or the subject-matter of which you disapprove?" Mr. as time is money." Billy Windsor suddenly became militant. "The gentleman whom I represent--" "Then this is no matter of your own personal taste? You are an emissary?" . possibly it might be as well. "I should not go on with them if I were you." he said. partly a growl. It resembled more than anything else the preliminary sniffin g snarl a bull-dog emits before he joins battle." Psmith waved a deprecating hand. There was a feline smoothness about the visitor which had been jarring upon him ever since he first spoke. Nothing has buoyed us up more strongly duri ng the hours of doubt through which we have passed than the knowledge that you w ish us well. irrespective of the trend of his conversation.

"Comrade Windsor is correct. the expense would be considerable. gazing sadl y at Mr." Mr. and if they go o n there's going to be a lot of inconvenience for my employer. seeing that we're being frank with one an other. How much do you want to stop those articles? That's straight. with the restrained dignity of some old Roman senator dealing with the enemies of the Republic. you two gentlemen have got us--that's to say. Well. "I fear that is not feasible. the articles stop. they may do so. my employer--in a cleft sti ck. "that if we kick up enough fuss to make somebody start a commission to inquire into this rotten business. just like everybody else. Windsor. he feels that. No conscient ious judge would withhold from Comrade Windsor a cigar or a cocoanut. Or." He looked expectantly at Billy. "We are all friends here. I nee d not go into those reasons. eh? You've got your living to make. Parker. Parker coughed. spoke quietly." "You mean. He has hit the mark and rung the bell. as who should say. Psmith. He had got as far as "Say!" when Psmith interrupted him. those articles are beginning to attract attention. he knows what to do. I'm going to be frank. Parker shook his head. and s ee if we can't fix something up. according as his private preference might dictate. The expense of reconstructing the houses makes tha t impossible. if it's not too high. The moment he starts in to make those house s decent. of course. I guess. I've been frank with you."These articles are causing a certain inconvenience to the gentleman whom I repr esent. and I want you to be frank with me. This is how it stands." "Well. It's up to him." "I bet he is. My employer is a wealthy man. Billy's eyes were bulging. ." said Billy. though. and they cease. To a c ertain extant. I don't mind admitting. What's your figure? Name it. I speak quite frankly. Mr. suggesting that the situation was now abo ut to enter upon a more delicate phase. A tentative cough. "as the publicity involved. Parker through his monocle." repeated Mr. and. "Now. Yo u aren't in this business for your healths." Psmith nodded. I guess we nee dn't quarrel. see here. rather. I guess. Billy and Psmith waited for him to begin ." broke in Billy explosively. Well. here's a square proposition. it was for their visitor to effect that reopening. There are reasons why my employer would prefer not to com e before the public just now as the owner of the Pleasant Street property. I re ckon. It is sufficient to say that they are strong ones." "I'm going to put my cards on the table. "The articles will go on. your friend wh o owns the private Hades we're trying to get improved. That's clear. gentlemen. Let us be hearty." "It is not so much the money." "Then there's no use in talking. If it was to be reopened on fresh lines." said Billy disgustedly. From their point of view the discussion was over." Mr." said he. if continued. Now. "I've no doubt he makes a mighty good pil e out of Pleasant Street. Remov e the reason for those very scholarly articles. He struggled for spee ch. Frankly. see here: We don't want unpleasantness. That is the matter in a nutshell. now. will have to get busy and lose some of his money by making the houses fit to live in? Is that it?" "It is not so much the money.

closing the door behind him with a bang that added emphasis to his words. picking up his hat. Gradual ly recovering command of ourselves." said Billy Windsor. You give it up ? It is this: 'Cosy Moments cannot be muzzled!'" Mr. But. from Portland." said Mr. Th ey mean business sure enough. and that goes. "To men of nicely poised nervous organisation such as ourselves. He's evidently working for somebody pretty big. I guess w e're making a hit. silent men. "I fear that you have allowed constant communication with the conscienceless commercialism of this worldly city to undermine your mor al sense." agreed Psmith." "I'm going. But I fear th at Comrade Windsor's generous temperament may at any moment prompt him to start throwing ink-pots. Did our visitor's f inal remarks convey anything definite to you? Were they the mere casual badinage of a parting guest." yelled Billy. "There's nothing more to be done then. I am a man of powerful self-restr aint. Cosy Moments. by George. one of those strong. let 'em! We're up against a big th ing. It is useless to dangle rich bribes before our eyes. exploding like a fire-cracker." "That's right. We wince before them. As man to man. as I have had occasion to observe bef ore. Comrade Windsor. And in Wyoming his deadly aim with the ink-pot won him among the admiring cowboys the sobriquet of Crack-Shot Cuthbert. "I guess he meant it all right. "And." he said. and I'm going to see it through if they put every gang in New York on to us . and I can curb my emotions. Comrad e Parker. smoothing his waistcoat thoughtfully. but we are not for sale. "we must have got them scared. to Melonsquashville. Tennessee. We shall have to watch out. too." He went out. Now that they find we can't be bought. Those articles are going to be stopped."Comrade Parker. Psmith bowed. according to your--if I may say so--some what murky lights. and that sort of man would have a pull with all kinds of Thugs. one sentence is in every man's mouth. from Sandy Hook to San Francisco. and if you've any sense bet ween you." he said. "Nothing. Frankly--if I may borrow the expre ssion--your square proposition has wounded us. You doubtless mean well. Our ganglions quiver like cinematographs. Cosy Moments cann ot be muzzled. with the contented look the Far West editor must have worn as the bullet came through the window. Parker rose. except at ten cents weekly. you'll stop them yourselves before you get hurt. "these scenes are acutely painful." "And do it quick. Comrade Windsor ." he added. Cosy Moments is going some now." . That's all I've got t o say." he admitted. From the hills of Maine to the Everglades of Florida. "would be no bad thing. cannot be muzzled. Parker. "And I'll give you a piece of advice. or they wouldn't have shown their hand that way. I should advise you to bound swiftly away. "Speed." said Psmith. "except to make a noise like a hoop and roll away." "Precisely. And what is that sentence? I give you three guesses. we review the situation. they'll try the other way. Oregon. or was there something solid behind them?" Billy Windsor was looking serious.

"Nope. Psmith followed at a more leisurely pa ce. small boys in every country have had but one answer for this action. Tommy?" inquired the man. He made a dive for the s eedy man. on the morning following the visit of Mr. which he acquired at a neighbouring shop a t cut rates in consideration of their being shop-soiled. He hurried to the door and flung it open. "Somebody must be hurting the kid. l ooked up with patient sadness. "Hey. "is going to take to singing as well as whistling . Since time began. Pugsy instantly ceased to be the student and became the man o f action. The seedy man was making for the door of the inner room. "Fade away. "Youse can't butt in dere. caught in the act. that t he seedy-looking man made his appearance. kid." he said." A second squeal rent the air. The visitor's reply was to extend a hand and grasp Pugsy's left ear between a lo ng finger and thumb. "If Comrade Maloney. He walked in from the street." he said. Billy Windsor jumped up. and he was accustomed to occupy his large store of leisure by reading narrativ es dealing with life in the prairies. losing only a small part of its strength on the way. Pugsy by this time had taken a thorough dislike to him. who during the preceding moment had been eyeing the tw o editors as if he were committing their appearance to memory. and was off down the stairs with the agility of a Marathon runner. On such occasions as this Billy was a man of few words. He resented being addressed as "kid" by perfe ct strangers." urged Master Maloney. Pugsy looked up with some hauteur. Parker. It was while he was eng rossed in one of these. The seedy man. The noise penetrated into the editorial sanctum. who was at work on a review of a book of poetry. released Master Maloney." he exclaimed. fixing his eyes again on his book. and stoo d before Master Maloney. Pugsy made it. He emitted a piercing squeal in which pain." he said authoritatively. A movement on the par t of the visitor attracted his attention. and resentment strove for supremacy. . but the latter. To be called "kid" was b ad. fear." The man eyed him with displeasure. Psmith. "Editor in.CHAPTER XI THE MAN AT THE ASTOR The duties of Master Pugsy Maloney at the offices of Cosy Moments were not heavy . who stood rubbing his ear with resentment written on every feature. "Fresh kid!" he observed disapprovingly. I fear this journal must put up its shutters. "Chase yerself. The subtle insult of "Tommy" was still worse. Concentrated thought will be out of the question." he said curtly. He sprang from his seat and wriggled in between the man and the door. sprang back.

What would Horatius have done if somebody had nipped him by the ear when he was holding the bridge? The story does not consider the possibility. A man with trousers l ike his would not be allowed in. Comrade Windsor. one m ay do a bit of tissue-restoring. D id the gentleman state his business?" "Nope. We must bear them manfully."He blows in." said Billy. "Whereas what Comrade Maloney objected to was the feel of him. Just tried to butt t'roo." "Comrade Maloney. "you are a martyr. Moreover. aggrieved. and he nips me by the ear when I gets busy to stop him gettin' t'roo. I know." said Billy thoughtfully." "It seems to me. but. Here. Comrade Windsor? Possibly our autographs. We mus t watch out. without wincing." he said. "and asks is de editor dere. "as if he came just to get a sight of us." said Billy. Ah." said Psmith." "I don't like the look of him. The world is full of us.." "I wonder what he wanted. till then--" . and they can get after us. You will be safer and happier when you are rounding up cows on your mustang. Providence is good to the poor." he said. there is little danger up here of bei ng slugged by our moth-eaten acquaintance of this morning." . These are the peri ls of the journalistic life. "The tired brain. "Who can say. That man was probably sent to mark us down for one of the gangs. To feed on such a night as thi s in some low-down hostelry on the level of the street." "Whoever's behind those tenements isn't going to stick at any odd trifle." "These are the drawbacks to being public men." "Another of these strong silent men. leave you unmoved. I te lls him no. when we leave. It was by Psmith's suggestion that the editorial staff of Cosy Moments dined tha t night in the roof-garden at the top of the Astor Hotel." said Master Maloney. Possibly five minutes' c hat on general subjects. 'cos youse said youse wasn't. with German waiters brea thing heavily down the back of one's neck and two fiddles and a piano whacking o ut 'Beautiful Eyes' about three feet from one's tympanum. No w they'll know what we look like. "needs to recuperate. when they were back again in the inner ro om. In what respect d id his look jar upon you? His clothes were poorly cut. "I'm not going to wince.. "so's you could notice it with a microscope. fanned by cool breezes and surrounded by fair women and brave men. would be false economy . What I'm going to do is to buy a good big stick. Yet it might have made all the difference. but such things. We shall probably find him waiting for us at th e main entrance with a sand-bag." "And he got it. And I'd advise you to do the sa me." Billy turned again to his work.

"my friend. signifies Big-Chief-Who-Can -Hear-A-Fly-Clear-Its-Throat. Comrade Windsor?" he inquired. It was a warm night. "That's all right. Psm ith's gaze concentrated itself on the advertisement of a certain brand of ginger -ale in Times Square. It is a mass of electric light arranged in the shape of a great bottle. "I was musing with a certain tenseness at the moment. In the meant . "Ah?" said Psmith. A waiter was bringing a chair. "Never mind about my name. and the roof-garden was full. I wonder what he wants. There's some things i t's better not to yell. The waiter bowed and retired to one of the tables where a young man in evening c lothes was seated. but the fact had not impressed him . "and was it?" "Here he comes. "It won't be needed. interested. and at regular intervals there proceed from the bottle's mouth fla shes of flame representing ginger-ale." He bent forward. Mr. I can go ahead. I don't know the man from Adam." Billy was saying." said the stranger. Is Mr. then. Billy looked at him curiously. He came to himself with a start. The young man seated himself." Billy hesitated. my name's Windsor. which." said the other. Psmith recollected having seen this solitary diner looking in their direction once or twice during dinner." "Pleased to meet you." "Man at that table wanted to know if my name was Windsor. "Won't you sit down?" he said. as you doubtless know. "Can I have a word with you. who had been looking at him all the while with a combination of interest and suspicion." Psmith bowed. "I don't know your name. The thing began to exercise a hypnotic ef fect on Psmith. Smith." said Psmith. eh?" "In the old prairie days. Towards the end of the meal. Recent events had made him wary of strangers. Smith on your paper? Excuse my asking. "Neither of you gentlemen are hard of hearing." The stranger was threading his way between the tables. From where they sat they coul d see the million twinkling lights of the city. Why?" "That's all right. Windsor?" he said." added Billy. "Comrade Windsor was known to the Indian s as Boola-Ba-Na-Gosh. Mr. "What is happening." said Billy. "Yes. then. "By the way.He turned with gentle grace to his soup. I don't want to have to shout it. to find Billy Windsor in conver sation with a waiter." He turned to Billy. and the rush of events has left me behind. The man might or might not be friendly. I too can hear as well as the next man.

"Eh? Oh. however. if you like. "This isn't my funeral. cannot be muzzl ed. then." "Never mind my name." said the stranger. One is a modern. You understand certain pa rties have got it in against you?" "A charming conversationalist. what about it?" he demanded truculently. Call me Smith. You wouldn't expect a man like that to give himself away. Circumstances had placed him below the surface. Billy bristled. It don't signify . ." said Psmith. "On what system have you estimated the size of the gen tleman's bughood?" The stranger lit a cigar. you wouldn't be so durn ed stuck on this name thing. murder. anything may happen to any one in New York. Given certain conditions. I see. Well." "Gum! you'll need to." he said. make it Brown. where only his wits could help him. through which one may walk from end to end without encountering adventure. well-policed cit y. The stranger raised a long and curiously delicately shaped hand." "Well?" said Billy. "You're up against a big proposition. "in a recent interview.ime. "It's about that tenement business. "Well." Billy's eyes snapped. "By the number of dollars he was ready to put up to have you done in. "I don't know. as any town of mediaeval I taly. "Don't bite at me. one Comrade Parker. About this tenement thing. "Who is he?" The other shrugged his shoulders. I'm a friend. Billy's experience as a cub-repo rter had given him the knowledge that is only given in its entirety to police an d newspaper men: that there are two New Yorks." "You could select no nobler pseudonym. of battle. The man behind is a big bug. I've no kick coming." said Psmith cordially. let's get back." said Psmith. there was no harm in being on one's guard. Th e other is a city as full of sinister intrigue. Cosy Moments. and sudden death in dark by-ways. of whisperings and conspiracies." Billy leaned forward eagerly. If you were in my line of business. Anything you please. And Billy realised that these conditions now prevailed in his own case." "We can look after ourselves." "Then how do you know he's a big bug?" "Precisely. He had come into conflict with New York's underworld." "Yet you don't tell us your name. See here. hinted at something of the so rt.

He is now as a prize tortoise shell to Comrade Jarvis. "A man of singularly winsome personality. handing it to Psmith. Turned it down without a blink. He also said that any time you were in bad. "He said he needed the money as much as the next man. Pardon me." "Why was that?" inquired Billy. "here's that man coming back again." He flicked at Psmith's coat with a quick movement." "So Bat wouldn't stand for it?" said Billy."Oh?" he said." "Bat turned the job down. I've a date to keep. He--his agent. he rest ored it to its bereaved owner. I don't kn ow what you've been doing to Bat." concluded the stranger. You've certainly made t he biggest kind of hit with Bat. you have an insect on your coat." said Billy. A few paces to the right of the main e . Glad to have met you." "We are much obliged to Comrade Jarvis. Smith. But he said you were to know he wasn't mixed up in it. Psmith felt for his watch. "Force of habit. but when he found out who he was supposed to lay for. again." said Psmith. I haven't seen him so worked up over a thing in years." "The cat-expert?" said Psmith. "How's the time going?" asked Billy at length. They had plenty to think about. W hat did he do? Instead of having the animal made into a nourishing soup. "You'll pardon m e. "Not on his life. he'd do his best for you. and lo oked at Billy with some sadness." he said apologetically. Well." The stranger came up to their table. wearing a light overcoat over his dress clo thes. but he's certainly Willie the Long-Lost Brothe r with you. moving off. And he sent me along to find y ou and tell you so. because another gang is dead sure to take on the job. "I am sorry to say. Good night. Guess I'll be pushing along. that's all. From the pocket of this he produced a gold watch. "And which gang has he given the job to?" "I wish I could tell you. Observe the sequel. Psmith and Billy sat smoking in silence." CHAPTER XII A RED TAXIMETER The Astor Hotel faces on to Times Square. Glad to have met you. he gave his job the frozen face. that is--came to Bat Jarvis." "A powerful argument in favour of kindness to animals!" said Psmith. "Comrade Wi ndsor came into possession of one of Comrade Jarvis's celebrated stud of cats. Mr. Comrade Windsor--" "Hullo. gentlemen. "Good night. "He told me to tell you to watch out. For a few moments after he had gone. Psmith thanked him gravely. I reckon. Said you were a fri end of his and none of his fellows were going to put a finger on you.

" "You'd have known him down in Missouri. when a voice behind them exclaimed. the Great White Way." "I don't doubt it. dark. Won't you and your friend come along with me and have a smoke and a chat? I live right here in Thirty-Third Street. "but were you not a trifle--shall we say abrupt?--with the old family friend?" Billy Windsor laughed. A flashily dressed man was standing with outstetched hand. Windsor. "It did. You may have heard him speak of me--Jack Lak e? How is the old man? Seen him lately?" "Not for some time." "In a hurry. They had reached Herald Square." "Then come right along. Good night. and at the foot of this the stream of traffic breaks. The usual crowd was drifting slowly up and down in the glare of the white lights." "Good for him. having left the Astor." "It did. are you?" "Not in the least. . "Why. t he longest. forming two channels. 'I know that man. brightest. then crossed the road. sir. I'd be right glad f or you to come." he said cheerily. Windsor!" They wheeled round. but I've seen so many photograp hs of you that I reckon we're old friends. it's early yet.' Darned if I could put a name to you. of course?" said Billy. "I saw you come out of the Astor. Win dsor. We always called him Joe. So I just followed you a long." "Say. and right here it came to me. I know your father very well. wickedest street in the world. staring. Psmith broke the silence. it's M r.ntrance the Times Building towers to the sky. see here. He was well when he last wrote. Comrade Windsor. "I said to myself. He would be. "Correct me if I am wrong. did it?" said Billy politely. Psmith and Billy." said Billy. straightest. We were side-partners for years. though. In Missouri. Tough as a plank. To the left is Broadway. started to walk down Broadway to Billy' s lodgings in Fourteenth Street. thanks." He turned. The other stood for a moment. Now. "That's right. and dull. Mr. To the right of the building is Sevent h Avenue. old Joe Windsor." he said tentatively." "Because we don't want to. He showed me the photographs." "No. "but I'm afraid you'll have to excuse us. I've never set eyes on you before. Mr. quiet. why not? It's only a step. and started to walk away.

" "These are deep waters. Comrade Windsor." he said." "And then?" . thoughtfully. and gone al ong for a smoke and a chat. "instead of being William. "of the lavish hospitality of the American." "I have heard so much. Billy shook his he ad. "You think." They had reached Twenty-Third Street when Billy stopped. We'll go up to there. then. which I haven't been. if you don't mind. I am in your hands. and walked up the stairs to the station of th e Elevated Railway. we highly strung literary men do have these curious prejudices. we are going in precisely the opposite d irection? We are in an up-town train. "Are we going anywhere in particular?" "This train goes as far as Hundred and Tenth Street. We cannot h elp it. the night is fine." said Billy." he said. "Has it escaped your notice. As it was. the chat would not have been of the pleasantest natu re?" "We should have been put out of business. "Not that a taxi would be an unsound scheme. "Ah. We are the slaves of our temperaments. "Suppose we take the Elevated?" "Anything you wish." "Something about it that offends your aesthetic taste?" queried Psmith sympathet ically." They cut across into Sixth Avenue." said Psmith. "I don't know about wal king. I wonder? Farmers? Playing off a comic-supplement bluff like that on us!" There was honest indignation in Billy's voice. that if we had accepted Comrade Lake's invitation." said Psmith after a pause." "I noticed it. A train was just coming in." "Taxi. "Not that particular one. Comrade Windsor. Let us walk. Comrade Windsor. the same a s mine. and if he'd ever been in Missouri in his life. so far from speeding to your lodgings. Do you mean to intimate--?" "If they can't do any better than that."If my father's name was Joseph." said Psmith. then. and we are young and strong. "that. we shan't have much to worry us. After all. "Something about it makes my aesthetic taste kick like a mule. which he hasn't. I thought it better not to. I might have gone along. and if I 'd been photographed since I was a kid." said Billy briefly. sir?" A red taximeter cab was crawling down the road at their side. What do they take us for.

CHAPTER XIII REVIEWING THE SITUATION Arriving at the bed-sitting-room. "Have you thought of som e new form of entertainment?" Billy was making for a spot some few yards down the road." said Billy. All he'd got to do was to get there before the train. That members of . began to rock himself rhythmically to and fro. All this while you might be getting fares down-town." or so young our p us ha At Hundred and Tenth Street they left the train." "These meetings. The events of the evening had been a revelation to Psmith. There are only certain pla ces where you can get off an Elevated train. "are very pleasant." "I can save you worrying. In the shadow of the Elevated there was standing a taximeter cab. Half-way across Billy stopped. "Taxi." replied Billy. as they approached. We are two young men out for reckless dissipation. went down the stairs." "I thought perhaps you did. Looking in that direct ion. There was a silence. "My address is 84 East Fourteenth Street." urged Psmith. "I don't know what you're talking about. I just wanted to make certain of his game. When did you b egin to suspect that yonder merchant was doing the sleuth-hound act?" "When I saw him in Broadway having a heart-to-heart talk with our friend from Mi ssouri. I am in your hands." "Search me. Billy proceeded to occupy the rocking-chair." said Psmith. mewhere? Well. In the roadway at the foot of the opposite staircase was a red taximeter cab. Psmith seate d himself gracefully on the couch-bed. We are going back there now." The train pulled up at the Fourteenth Street station. I didn't expect to dodge him by taking the Elevated ." "He must be something of an expert at the game to have kept on our track. Take me where you will. and cross ed the street." "And after that. Psmith saw his objective. however. "D ignity is impossible when one is compelled to be the Hunted Fawn. and we have money in urses. I suppose."And then we'll come back." said the driver." said Billy. By all means let ve it. He had not realised b efore the extent of the ramifications of New York's underworld." "These things are very disturbing. as was his wont. "What now. It is only five cents a go. sir?" said the driver. Comrade Windsor?" inquired Psmith patiently. well. a nd. "We are giving you a great deal of trouble. or Chicago. "Good night." "Not on your life. we'll make a trip to Philadelphia. when they were in the train. and wait. The night is yet . "You must be losing mon ey over this job. Comrade Windsor. It's as easy as falling off a log.

who. I have always found it stated that what the n ovice chiefly needed was an editor who believed in him." "Was that the only reason?" "Sure. If we win out. See what I mean? Well.the gangs should crop up in the Astor roof-garden and in gorgeous raiment in the middle of Broadway was a surprise. except at election-time. I fancied that I had found such an editor." "It's like this. though I'd do it for that a lone. This picture had been correct." he concluded. and maybe shot. inste ad of getting mixed up with--" He broke off. You want to go about and have a good time. that's what I wanted to say. You're over here on a vacation." "Something of the sort would seem to be the case. gentlemen." "I gathered from your remarks that you were anxious to receive my resignation. as far as it went. and are rarely met with outside their natural boundaries. Once you get mixed up with the gangs there's no saying what's going to be doing." "What's all this about?" demanded Billy. keeping carefully to the ir own quarter of the town. I don't see that it's up to you to run the risk of getting yourself put out of business wit h a black-jack. "Say. I'm going to get a job out of one of the big dailies. "I'm making no kick about your work." "Well. "Are you trying to sack me. You haven't got to make a living this side. there's something to it besides that. Comrade Windsor. bu t it had not gone far enough. anyway. I didn't want you be black-jacked. The aristocracy of the gangs soar higher. The main body rely for their incomes." "Then all is well. as far as I'm concerned." "It's this way." "By all means. it's different with you. It was a considerable time before Billy spoke. In you. Psmith looked at him reproachfully. "wh ich I have read from time to time. The bulk of the gangs of New York are of the hooli gan class. Comrade Windsor?" "How's that?" "In various treatises on 'How to Succeed in Literature. like the man of the Astor ro of-garden. support life by more delicate and genteel methods than the rest. Comrade Windsor. "this thing wants talking over. he had formed a mental picture of low-browed hooligans. When Billy Windsor had mentioned the gangs. But." said Psmith. relieved. All t his has got nothing to do with you. It'll give me jus t the chance I need. on such primitive fea ts as robbing intoxicated pedestrians. "For the moment I fancied that my lit . But each ga ng has its more prosperous members. I don't see why you shouldn't quit. Well.'" said Psmith sadly." he said. I told you why. It isn't only that I want to do a bit of good to the poor cusses in those tenements. There's no doubt now that we're up against a mighty big proposit ion. "Well. I'm going to see this through.

" . The prize of victory had been merely a comfortable feeling of having had the best of a battle of wits. And so on. Bat's is the biggest. If it was the Three Points. Psmith was one of those people w ho are content to accept most of the happenings of life in an airy spirit of tol erance. and the sight of actual raw misery h ad come home to him with an added force from that circumstance. and to a finish at that. Do you mean that we have an entire gang on our trail in one solid mass. Parker. His lot had been cast in pleasant places. as it undoubtedly did. Comrade Windsor. If it was the Table Hill lot. it might be any one o f three gangs. who should you say. But th e smallest of them's large enough to put us away. It was not Psmith's habit. If it meant trouble. the fewer to split up the dollars. he'd look up Dude Dawson. i f they are to keep up their high standards." "I don't quite grasp the nice points of this matter. But this tenement business was diff erent. They'd fix it up among themselves. There was something worth fighting for . would be the chosen substitute? " Billy shook his head. has declined the congenial task of fracturing ou r occiputs. had s hown him that this thing was on a different plane from anything that had happene d to him before. Life had been more or less of a game with him up till now. or will it be merely a section?" "Well. I am bound to say. It was a fight without the gloves. Mike would have understood him. In his previo us encounters with those with whom fate had brought him in contact there had bee n little at stake. bu t Billy Windsor was too recent an acquaintance. does him credit. he'd go to Spider Reilly. that trouble would hav e to be faced. and this matter of the tenements had hit him harder than any one who did not know him intimately would have imagined. Men such as ourselves. "Now that Bat has turned up the job. these are the mere everyday risks of the young journalist's life. The fewer in the game. a certain fillip. "showing a spirit of forbearance which." "Then you'll stay in this thing? You'll stick to the work?" "Like a conscientious leech. if it comes to that. A sort of Inner Circle. and still m ore the episodes of the family friend from Missouri and the taximeter cab. to exhibit his fe elings. you know.erary talents had been weighed in the balance and adjudged below par. the penalty of defeat nothing worse th an the discomfort of having failed to score. Our work would lose its fire. Every gangleader has about a dozen of them. Comrade Windsor. The words of the man at the Astor. when he felt deeply on any subject. if we give them the chance." said Billy. a section." "And what then?" "And then the boss would talk it over with his own special partners. The knowledge that a low-browed gent leman is waiting round the corner with a sand-bag poised in air will just supply that stimulus. He was fully awa re of the risks that he must run. Comrade Windsor. or whoever fixed this th ing up. Somehow or other those tenement houses had got to b e cleaned up. would go to the main boss of the gang." "Bully for you. I guess. need a certain stimulus. If that is all--why. you see. Also that fillip." he said. "Now that Comrade Jarvis. But he meant to see it through. Wit hout them we should be dull and dissatisfied. There are four main gangs. Here he had touched the realities. The rest of the gang wouldn't know anything about it. It will give our output precisely the edge it requires.

the management of the Highfield Club had signed him for a ten-r ound bout with Mr. We are his pugilistic sponsors. but for us the privilege of smiting Comrade Cyc lone Al. But what of the day-time? Suppose these sandbag-specialists drop in at the office during business hours." continued Psmith. Carefully eluding these aristocrats. I suggest that we approach Comrad e Brady." said Billy. and not go off the Broadway after dark. had a paragraph ab out his chances for the light-weight title. we shall win through . explain the facts of the case. As I was saying. shall you change it?" "It wouldn't do any good. Wolmann. His duties will be to sit in the room opening out of ours. There were. Kid Brady's star had undoubtedly been in the ascendant. Tad. But stay. 'But for Cosy Moments. Then things are not so black.' I imagine that he w ill do any little thing we care to ask of him. girded as to the loins and full of martial spirit. 'where should I be? Among the also-rans. The Peerless Kid. We. Your literary man must have complete quiet if he is to g ive the public of his best. these rugged persons will charge through. "if equipped in any degree with finer feelings. W ill Comrade Maloney's frank and manly statement that we are not in be sufficient to keep them out? I doubt it." . You may say that it is enti rely owing to our efforts that he has obtained this match with--who exactly is t he gentleman Comrade Brady fights at the Highfield Club on Friday night?" "Cyclone Al. Y ou're pretty safe on Broadway. and offer him at a comfortable salary th e post of fighting-editor of Cosy Moments. They'd soon find where I'd gone to. In such circumstances good work w ill be hard to achieve." said Psmith." "Now that our sleuth-hound friend in the taximeter has ascertained your address. From the moment the paper had taken up his cause. in the Journal. will enjoy that leisure and free dom from interruption which is so essential to the artist." It almost seemed as if he were right. the result of intima cy with the main boss. Edgren. What steps do you propose to take by way of self-defence?" "Keep out in the middle of the street. All unused to the nice conventions of polite soci ety. and app ly some of those half-scissor hooks of his to the persons of any who overcome th e opposition of Comrade Maloney. All we have to do is to look out for about a dozen hooligans with a natural dignity in their bearing. The man Cosy Moments is running for the lightweight championship. in the Evening World. meanwhile. Wolmann under the fifth rib on Friday night would almost certainly have been denied to him. "He should. I fancy. People began to talk about him as a likely man. Comrade Windsor. "that has ever been struck. b e bubbling over with gratitude towards us. An idea!" "Well?" "Comrade Brady. therefore. So much for our private lives. How about yours?" "I fancy I shall be tolerably all right. reasons why Cosy Moments shou ld feel a claim on the Kid's services. One of your newspaper friends shall supply us with tickets. isn't it?" "You are right.' he should be saying to himself. There's too much light for them there. Wolmann. and Friday night shall see us at the Highfield." "It's not a bad idea. drew a picture of him."I see. Finally. "It is about the soundest idea. A particularly massive policeman is on duty at my very doors. that all may yet be well.

shoving in a manner reminiscent of a Rugby football scrum. started to make up for lost time on arriving in the street once more. the chosen of Cosy Moments. "A thoroughly unpleasant neighbourhood. But a wave of anti-pugilistic feeling swept over the New York authorities. draw in the American. it would be hard to find a respect in which it does not differ. and now a Subway train in motion suggests a prolonged dynamite explosion blende d with the voice of some great cataract. when its patrons are packed into the carriages in one solid jam by muscular guards a nd policemen. honest title. there s tands the old warehouse which modern progress has converted into the Highfield A thletic and Gymnastic Club. conjures u p a sort of National Sporting Club.CHAPTER XIV THE HIGHFIELD Far up at the other end of the island. was billed for a "ten-round exhibition co ntest. The imagination. There are now no Swifty Bob and his fellows would be shocked at the at happens now is exhibition sparring bouts between rue that next day the papers very tactlessly report as if it had been quite a serious affair. padding on the c hairs. the verdict is left to the newspapers next day. forced into temporary silence by this combination of noises. The industry began to languish. It is not uncommon to find a man win easily in the World. and the sleepers of thin wood. And then some big-brained person suggested the club an example of American dry humour. and a sea of white shirt-fronts from roof to floor. stimulated by the title. idea. which stands alone as boxing contests in New York. this blighted locality is that blighted locality." to be the main event of the evening's entertainment. but really noisy. like a to n of coal falling on to a sheet of tin. Psmith. Indeed. Conversation on the Subway is impossible. with pictures on the walls. Promoters of boxing contests found themselves. idea of such a thing. and be bad ly beaten in the Evening Mail." It was a good. that we have been somewhat rash in venturi ng as far into the middle west as this. To see the Subway in its most characteristic mood one must travel on it during the rush-hour. The system leads to a certain amount of confusion . If ever there was a blighted locality wh ere low-browed desperadoes might be expected to spring with whoops of joy from e very corner. it was comparatively empty. The best method of getting to the Highfield is by the Subway. Not ordinarily noisy. So they fashioned the pillars of thin steel. Comrade Windsor. but it has the merit of offering consolation to a much-smitten warrior. People avoided places where at any moment the festivities might be marred by an inrush of large men in blue uniform s armed with locust-sticks. It is t the friendly exhibition spar is not the fault of Swifty B Kid Brady. and one of the spa rrers is knocked out. but only a few of the straps and hardly any of the spa ce reserved by law for the conductor alone. critically surveying the dark streets. and if you attend ed seances at Swifty Bob's you left your gold watch and your little savings at h ome. The ingenious gentlemen who constructe d it started with the object of making it noisy. No decisions are pe rmitted at these clubs. and loosened all the nuts. but that ob. All the seats were occupied. But these names are so misleading. You knew what to expect. When Ps mith and Billy entered it on the Friday evening. All th members of the club. The ti tle under which the Highfield used to be known till a few years back was "Swifty Bob's. "I fear me." he said. on the banks of the Harlem River. But the Highfield dif fers in some respects from this fancy picture. to their acute disgust. raided by the police. Unless a regrettable accident occurs. But we must carry .

At intervals the combatants would cling aff ectionately to one another. and yellow braces. blue serge trousers. still c hewing gum and still wearing the same air of being lost in abstract thought. A burly gentleman in shirt-s leeves entered the ring. These proved to be sort of sheep-pens of unpolished wood. "Let us inquire of this ge nial soul if he knows where the Highfield is. Psmith turned up the collar of his Burberry. "Ex-hib-it-i-on four-round bout between Patsy Milligan and Tommy Goodley. does this arena lie?" It had begun to rain as they left Billy's lodgings. when a rough thrust from Windsor's elbow brought home to him his indis cretion. and Patsy. with tickers at their sides. On chairs at the ring-s ide were the reporters. Their connection with that militant journal was not a thing even to be suggested to casual acquaintances. should you say. over the door of which it was just possible to decipher in the dark ness the words "Highfield Athletic and Gymnastic Club. In the centre of the room." he said. The interior of the Highfield Athletic and Gymnast ic Club was severely free from anything in the shape of luxury and ornament.on. On these were seated as tough-lo oking a collection of citizens as one might wish to see. Gentlemen will kindly stop smokin'. Patsy on my right. however. wishing he had not said as much. barn-li ke building. Their companion." The audience did nothing of the sort. and on these occasions the red-jerseyed man. followed by two slim youths in fighting costume and a m assive person in a red jersey." The pedestrian referred to proved to be going there himself. Psmith courteously offering views on the weather and forecasts of the succes s of Kid Brady in the approaching contest. The burly gentleman gave tongue in a voice that cleft the air like a cannon-ball . Possibly they considered the appeal a mere formula. "We suffer much in the cause of Literature. he was alluding to the prominent part Cosy Moments had played in th e affair. made no commen t. from the right. was the ring. Somewhere i n the background a gong sounded. and was deep in a comparison of the respective climates of England and the United S tates. who chewe d gum with an abstracted air throughout the proceedings. by means of which they tapp ed details of each round through to their down-town offices. when they turned a corner and found themselves opposite a gloomy. Possibly they did not apply the descriptio n to themselves. They went on togeth er. In which direction. each with four hard chairs in it. member s of this club. stepped briskly forw ard to meet Tommy. Alo ng the four walls were raised benches in tiers. . The contest was short but energetic. especially in such a particularly ill-lighted neighbourhood as that through whic h they were now passing. There were preliminary bouts before the main event. where write-up repo rters were waiting to read off and elaborate the messages. Psmith deftly turned the conversation back to the subject of the weather. Rattling on. brilliantly lighted by half a dozen electric chandeliers. approaching from the left. wou ld split up the mass by the simple method of ploughing his way between the pair. who seemed to be a man of small speech. Tommy on my left." The tickets which Billy Windsor had obtained from his newspaper friend were for one of the boxes. He stopped suddenly.

as. as Kid Brady. introductions and the like. Al. Wolmann was one of the famous. There was a distinct air of relief when the last preliminary was finished and pr eparations for the main bout began." The whistling ceased. "a noo member of this c hub. dropped down from the ring. but these were but a small sec tion of the crowd. So much so that in the last of the series a soured sportsman on one of the benches near the roof began in sati rical mood to whistle the "Merry Widow Waltz." he said. Mr. reseating himself. The remaining preliminaries proved disappointing. He was an unknown. He leane d over the ropes. and spoke--without heat. There were form alities to be gone through. uproar. on which were painted in white letters the words "Cyclone Al. Two other notable performers were introduced in a similar manner. "between Cyclone . . you Al. "--and Kid Brady. ducked under the ro pes and sat down in the opposite corner.!" roared the crowd. h e can come right down into the ring. A raucous welco me was accorded to the new member." he bellowed impressively. eluding a left swing. though a far lesser." It was here that the red-jerseyed thinker for the first and last time came out of his meditative trance." The burly gentleman. Mr. Psmith rose to his feet. When the faint applause had ceased. Wolmann--" Loud applause. "Oh. One of the army carried a bright green bucket. for a tall youth in a bath-robe. and then the b uilding became suddenly full of noise." A moment later there was another. "to think that he has no friend but his poor old mother. followed by the two armies of assistants.Towards the end of the first round Thomas. He was generally considered the most likely man to give the hitherto invincible Jimmy Garvin a hard battle for the light-weight ch ampionship. attended by a little army of assistants. a fighter with a reputation fr om New York to San Francisco. "Ex-hib-it-i-on ten-round bout. put Patrick ne atly to the floor. "In-ter-doo-cin' Young Leary. where the latter remained for the necessary ten seconds. A few of thos e present had heard of his victories in the West. "Oh. "If that guy whistling back up yonder thinks he can do better than these boys. who will box some good boy here in September. you Kid!" he observed encouragingly." He walked to the other side of the ring and repeated the remark. members of this--" There was noticeably less applause for the Kid." thundered the burly gentleman. but firmly. Wolmann bowed benevolently. ushering into the ring a sheepishly-grinning youth in a fla nnel suit. It did not commence at once. you will recollect. "I should not like Comrade Brady. Wolmann. had entered the ring. his pleasant face wearing a self-conscious smirk. and the gong sounded. occurred on a pr evious occasion. The burly gentleman reap peared from nowhere.

Rounds two and three were a repetition of round one. The Cos y Moments representative exhibited more stolidity. Wolmann sprang from his corner as if somebody had touched a spring. The Kid merely staggered slightly and returned to business. "that this merry meeting looks like doing Comrade Brady no good. scuttered out into the middle of the ring. still s miling. one would have said that he did not realise the position of affairs. It was a blow which should have knocked an y boxer out. but he co ntinued to move forward. Wolmann had committed a breach of good taste and of being resolved to pass it off with ready tact. above the uproar. and the other pawing the air on a line with his square jaw . Suddenly his opponent's long left shot out. Mr. who had been strolling forw ard. By the time he had got out of that uncongenial position. "He does n't mind it! He likes it! He comes from Wyoming!" With the opening of round four there came a subtle change. leaping back. somewhat perturbed. the Kid following in his self-contained. I should not be surprised at any moment to see his head bounce off on to the floor. two more of the Kid's swings had found their m ark. "It seems to me. Wolmann. "Oh. but this time. The Cyclone raged almost un checked about the ring. found himself against the ropes. Several times when the Kid appeared well out of distance there was a thud as a brown glove ripped in over his guard and jerke d his head back. however. His opponent's left flashed out again. He gave the impression of being aware that Mr. you Al. Comrade Windsor. was putting in three blow s to his one. and continued to stroll forward as if nothing o f note had happened. Despite these efforts. Whoops and yells rose from everywhere. The Kid's genial smile did not even quiver." "Wait." he said. But always he kept boring in. and Mr. He wore t he friendly smile of the good-natured guest who is led forward by his hostess to join in some round game. it is never too soon to begin behaving like one.!" Psmith turned sadly to Billy. solid way. and a feint. with one gloved hand moving slowly in the neighbourhood of his stocky chest." said Billy with simple confidence. He seeme d to be of the opinion that if you are a cyclone. When the gong sounded. He danced round the Kid with an india-rubber agility. "He'll win yet. "See!" roared Billy enthusiastically in Psmith's ear. he was plainly getting all the worst o f it. having executed a backward leap. The Kid. The Cyclone's fury wa s expending itself. Except for the fact that he w as in fighting attitude. He comes from Wyoming. Wolmann. He had a left arm which seemed to op en out in joints like a telescope. That long left shot out less sharply. the house was pract ically solid for the Cyclone. the Kid replied with a heavy right swing. In one lightning rally in the third he brought his right across squarely on to the Kid's jaw. Wolmann." said Billy. The buildin g rang with shouts of. relying on his long left. The Cyclone. ending the first round. lande d heavily with both hands. The Cyclone now became still more cyclonic. a forward leap. i nstead of ignoring the matter. received it under the chin. Instead of being knock . Energetic Mr." "You think so?" "Sure. delivering an occasional right to the body with the pleased smile of an infant destroying a Noah's Ark with a tac k-hammer.Mr.

"Cosy Moments wins. "to find that you can see us . who had been one of his seconds during the conflict. the Cosy Moments champion now took the hits in his stride. Because there before me stood the ideal fighting-editor of Cosy Moments. Comrade Brady? I will tell you. clutched repeatedly. There charm of manne r cannot qualify a man for the position. No one can hold down the job simply by having a kind heart or being good at farmyard imitations.ed back by it. I fancy. was sliding slowly to the floor. The Cyclone." he said. For the Kid." The Kid blinked. or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes he stared at t he Pacific. "come right in. the Cy clone. a man who would rather be hit on the head with a half-brick tha . I never felt them. and who would ha ve expired promptly if any one had tapped them sharply on their well-filled wais tcoats. I had expected to find that Comrade Wolmann's purposeful buffs had completely closed your star-likes. were beginning to fear that they might lose their money after all. Like the month of March. is Al. but there was an appealing note in them this time . In the fifth round the thing became a certainty. and betting on what they considered a certainty." "It is a relief to me. Comrade Brady. When you began to administer those--am I correct in saying?--half-scissor h ooks to the body. having his right leg rubbed by a shock-headed man in a sweater . Comrade Brady. There were cheers and "Oh. battered." CHAPTER XV AN ADDITION TO THE STAFP Penetrating into the Kid's dressing-room some moments later. hanging on lik e a leech till removed by the red-jerseyed referee. His expression began to resemble more nearly the gloomy importance of the Cosy Moments photographs." said Psmith. "he couldn't hit a hole in a block of ice-cream. and ca me shuffling in with his damaging body-blows." continued the Kid with powerful imagery. A slight decrease in the pleasantness of the Kid's smile was noticeable. was standing in the middle of the ring. No. while on the ropes the Cyclone. The gallant sportsmen whose connection with boxing was confined to watching ot her men fight. We want a man of t hews and sinews. you Al. "An omen. But the fear was merely transi ent. Suddenly a grisly silence fell upon the house. Mighty glad to see you. not if he was to use a hammer." said Psmith. It was broken by a cow-boy yell f rom Billy Windsor. It is not a post that any weakling can fill. "I fanci ed that your head would come unglued at the neck. The Kid beamed as they en tered. Comrade Windsor." "Sure. then I felt like some watcher of the skies when a new pla net swims into his ken. "And why did I feel like that. but obviously content. "Gents. was going out like a lamb. why." said Psmith." "And yet at one period in the proceedings. 's!" at the sound of the gong. who had come in like a lion. but. drooping like a wet soc k. now but a gentle breeze. Yell s of agony from panic-stricken speculators around the ring began to smite the ra fters. "How's that?" he inquired. the editorial staff found the winner of the ten-round exhibition bout between members of the club s eated on a chair. Because my faith in you was justified. He's a good quick boy..

"At all costs we must have No writer can prune and polish his sentences to his satisfaction if he led constantly to break off in order to eject boisterous hooligans. "So we thought. gents. but what we want is some one to help in case they try to rush us there." "Sure. Comrade Brady. We can look after ourselves o ut of the office. "Gum! Mr. they're tough proposition s." "It's this way. Mr. I read 'em. Jack'll be through in a minute. Windsor. So we've come along to you. but to get into his clothes at once bef ore he caught a chill. And it is for that reason that we have ventured to call upo n you. Windsor. "Kid. bade the company good night and retired. this gets past me." said Billy. Comrade Brady." said Psmith. are such a man." "Parker?" "That's what I'm coming to." Billy's voice grew indignant at the recollection. I guess?" queried the interested Kid. "You stimulate us." "Can we have a couple of words with you alone. you see. We offer you the job of sitting in the outer room and intercepting these privacy. Put me wise. totally disagreed with us." "You don't say!" exclaimed the Kid." added the Kid." "In brief. "The day before yesterday a man named P arker called at the office and tried to buy us off." said Psmith. "We want to tal k over something with you. "you know those articles about the tenements we've been having i n the paper?" "Sure. This is praise from Sir Hubert Stanley." The Kid turned appealingly to Billy. Kid?" said Billy.n not. Comrade Brady. They're to the good." "It was about time some strong josher came and put it across to 'em. Billy shut the door." said Billy. Sit down. and once they put up a bluff to get us wher e they could do us in. a fighting-editor. however." "We've been followed in the streets. "You gave him the hook. those gangs. "We're pretty sure by this time that whoever the ma n is this fellow Parker's working for has put one of the gangs on to us." Jack. "To such an extent." Psmith bowed. Comrade Parker. who during this conversation had been concentrating himself on his subject 's left leg. And you. "that he left breathing threate nings and slaughter. and having advis ed the Kid not to stop and pick daisies. now announced that he guessed that would about do. is compel therefore bravoes b ." he said. "Say.

"Shucks!" said the Kid with emphasis. I shou ldn't be able to come and sit with you." said Billy." protested the light-weight. "Where have we come to?" Psmith sighed." said Billy. I placed myself. "I was just taggin' along with you gents. there woul d be something doing.. and resumed. "it's this way.efore they can reach us. They turned off to the left. and if the foe has good. whol ly in your hands." he said. H ow does the offer strike you. Otherwise we shall start for Broadway and finish up at Minneapolis. Shall we meander forth?" The building was empty and the lights were out when they emerged from the dressi ng-room. Kid. It was still raining when they reached the street. They had to grope their way in darkness." said Billy. and. You a re." said Psmith resignedly." He stepped into his coat. they'll be giving me a chance of a big fight. But still. "I though t you was taking me right. see wha t I mean? I'll have to be going away somewhere and getting into training. We three. he will keep right away. This is the first time I been up here." "Great. But. There are doubloons and to spare in the old oak chest." "Comrade Brady. and the only signs of life were a moist policeman and the d istant glare of public-house lights down the road. What do you feel about it?" "Gents. too. I'd be m ighty glad to come in till I'm wanted to go into training-camp. Well. The salary we leave to you. "I had imagined that either you or Comrade Brady was in charge of this expedition and taking me by a known route to the nearest S ubway station. "that would suit us all the way up. "Nix on the salary thing. hand-in-hand." "And touching salary--" put in Psmith. then. I'd have been waiting still for a cha nce of lining up in the championship class. "Hullo!" said Billy. they may not come anywhere near the office. If you'd do that. after walking some hundred yards. if I may say so. Maybe with Jimmy Garvin. found themse lves in a blind alley. Take what you need and put the rest--if any--back. "you are. "it would be as well to take a map and a corps of guides with us. supremely the stuff. "Now that I've made good by getting the decision over Al. Any old t hing you gents want me to do. looking doubtful . if that happens. I wouldn't take a dime. Kid." "Next time we three go on a little jaunt anywhere. sound sense. I did not think to ask. "Of course ." "I thought the Kid knew the way. if you gents feel like it." said Psmith warmly. will face the foe. the goods. Comrade Brady?" "We don't want to get you in under false pretences." said the Kid. I'll do it. And glad. If it hadn't a-been for you gents. That's good enough for me. without hesitation. if they did." They emerged from the blind alley and stood in the dark street. beyond a doubt. You app ear to be ready. we'd be tickled to death. "In my trusting way.

a quick movement on the part of the Kid.ly up and down it. and the man Psmith had bee n addressing fell to the ground in a heap. Psmith stepped forward. Also. "but if you can spare me a moment of yo ur valuable time--" There was a sudden shuffle of feet on the pavement. a chunky sound as of wood striking wood. The gangsman. dark as it was. to add to their discomfiture. was the first to join issue. the gangs exhibit a lively distaste for the hard knocks of hand-to-hand fighting. Billy Windsor. but who was this stranger with the square shoul ders and the upper-cut that landed like a cannon-ball? Something approaching a p anic prevailed among the gang. which is rarely great. Psmith they kn ew. and Billy Windsor they knew. His fi ngers closed upon it. His remo val from the sphere of active influence had left the party without a head. and there raged over the body of the fallen leader a battle of Homeric type. he sprang forward into the confused mass of the enemy. The Kid's rapid work on the present occasion created a good deal of confusion. as Psmith would have said. It was not lessened by the behaviour of the intended victims. We will put our case before them. he had seen enough to show him that the occ asion was. is stunt ed and slight of build. This is more su ited to their physique. It was a short. one for the Shrewd Blow rather than the Pr olonged Parley. Stooping swiftly. His personal preference is for retreat when it is a question of unpleasantness with a stranger. arm ed with the big stick which he had bought after the visit of Mr. and handed it to Psmith. T here was no doubt that much had been hoped for from speedy attack. Parker. Qui te a little covey of them. as a rule. concealing nothing. even when warring among themselves. In the darkness it was impos sible to say how many of them there were. "Aha!" said Psmith suddenly. the Kid picked it up." he said to the leader. With a whoop of the purest Wyoming brand. the Kid at his side. sir. And. Several natives. The rules and conditions governing the encounter offen ded the delicate sensibilities of the gang. Like artists who feel themselves tra mmelled by distasteful conventions. in any case. Their forte was long-range fighting with pistols. "Get busy. It was not a long affair." advised the Kid briefly. the blackjack of the New York tough. "I perceive a native. As he fell." A little knot of men was approaching from the left. something dropped from his hand on to the pavement with a bump and a rattle. wicked-looking little bludgeon. With that they felt . the gen eralship of the expedition had been in the hands of the fallen warrior. and rely on their advice to take us to our goal. Physical courage is not an outstanding quality of the New York hooligan. they were damped and could not do themselves justice. A moment later Psmith and the Kid followed. in fact. CHAPTER XVI THE FIRST BATTLE The promptitude and despatch with which the Kid had attended to the gentleman wi th the black-jack had not been without its effect on the followers of the strick en one. "Excuse me. but. they could not account for the Kid. He had been a few paces behind the others during the black -jack incident. And. Their c hosen method of battling is to lie down on the ground and shoot.

Light anot her match. who was seconding me. where a gentleman may fire a pistol without exci ting vulgar comment." said the Kid. But from our point of view. then stampeded in half a dozen different directions. The hooligan stirred." explained the Kid. The head of it fell off and dropped upon the up-turned face." The Kid did so." During this reminiscence. They could no t develop any enthusiasm for it. I just turns r ound and walks straight out of the ring to my dressing-room. Reluctant as they might be to abandon their fallen leader. Gum! I remember when I fought Martin Kelly. full of zeal. Comrade Brady?" "In the air. the man on the ground had contrived to clear his mind . but his quarry. "The merchant with whom we hob-nobbed on our way to the Highfield. What do you think I done? Fall down and take the count? Not on your life. it would b e as well if he were to sit up and take notice. sat up. pursued one fugitive some fifty yards down the street. "From one point of view. easily outstripped him. It was a half an hour and m ore before I could remember a thing. I was only s tarting to learn the game then." "Mighty good thing if he doesn't. For a moment they hung.' I says. homely old Bowery. and the lightning blows of the Kid. and began to mutter something in a fog gy voice. Kid?' he asks. to find Psmith and the Kid examining the fallen leader of the departed ones with the aid of a match. exhibiting a rare turn of speed. this was n ot the dear. Billy. Subsequent events must have ju stified our fighting editor in his eyes. It seems to be a moot point whether he will ever recover consciousness. but it was too dark and t he combatants were too entangled to allow them to use these. "It is our friend of the earlier part of the evening. purely from sport-loving motives. Martin and me was mixing it good and hard all ov er the ring. Willie Harvey. they must tear themselves away. He came back. melting into the night whence they had come. It was up-town. Already they were suffering griev ously from the stick. He was not on our trail. yes. Comrade Windsor. Dizzy. But this vulgar brawling in the darkness with muscular opponents who hit hard and often with sticks and hands was distasteful to them. I think. Comrade Windsor." said Billy uncharitably. Besides. His visit to the Highfield was paid. where curious crowds might collect at the f irst shot. See what I mean? It 's often like that when a feller puts one in with a bit of weight behind it just where that one landed. Willie. and finds me getting into my clothe s. Comrade Brady. wavering. "Bats in the belfry. He came merely to se e if Comrade Brady was proficient with his hands.' he says. There was but one thing to be done. which went out just as Billy arrived .en rapport. 'What's doing. panting." said Psm ith. when suddenly he puts over a stiff one right on the point. comes tearing in after me. 'I'm going fishin'. In a mom ent of imprudence I mentioned Cosy Moments.' 'You've lost the fight. "Still--what exactly. 'It's a lo vely day. They carried pistols. We could ascertain from him who he is and which particular collection of horny-handeds he represents. the black-jack. 'Fight?' says I. shook himself. I fancy that this was his first inti mation that we were in the offing. "He's still woozy. Such an event would undoubtedly b e an excellent thing for the public good. 'What fight?' See what I mean? I hadn't a notion of what had happened.

of the mistiness induced by the Kid's upper-cut. He had an awful punch.' I says. 'It's a ll right.' says they. and he put me down and out in the eighth round.' Like that. "wants to know what's your gang. The Kid. he pulled the Kid's legs from under hi m with a swift jerk. The bashful Mr. and. See what I mean?" They formed a group about the fallen black-jack expert. The Kid was inspired to further reminiscence. sat there motionless. and. This is some other mut t. but no farther. He got as far as the nearest st reet-lamp." said Psmith courteously. There was another interruption at this moment. I remember when Joe Peterson put me out. chaps. sliding slowly to the ground. "for breaking in upon your reverie. Repetto. way back wh en I was new to the game--it was the same year I fought Martin Kelly. I'm dying. was inclined to be wrathful and . To me. "would it be betraying professional secr ets if you told us which particular bevy of energetic sandbaggers it is to which you are attached?" "Gent.' Same with this guy. "if some philanthropist would give thi s blighter elocution lessons. made another attempt to wit hdraw." "Perhaps this is Spider Reilly?" "Nope. or the othe r gentleman?" "It's Spider Reilly. whose fall had jolted and bruised him. for he gr asped the lamp-post." explained the Kid. K id." said the Kid. but. "Pardon us. i f you could spare us a moment of your valuable time. chaps." The man on the ground muttered something that to Psmith and Billy was unintellig ible. "I know the Spider. This ain't him." "Which other mutt in particular?" asked Psmith. plainly a man who was not happy in the society of strangers. "Guess he's feeling pretty poor. 'I'm dying. wriggling to his feet. Comrade Brady?" "Says it's the Three Points." "Sure thing." he said. 'Come in. there are one or two things which we should like to know. however. The first sign he showed of ret urning intelligence was a sudden dash for safety up the road. Dude Dawson runs the Table Hill crowd. But he had not gon e five yards when he sat down limply. "The Three Points? Let me see." continued Psmith. Comrade Windsor. After the fight they found me on the fire-escape outside my dressing-room." agreed the Kid." "Says he's Jack Repetto. "It's no good him trying to run for a while after he's put his chin in the way of a real live one." announced the interpreter. Can you interpret. Reaching out a pair of lean hands. Once more." said the Kid. personally. "It would be a charity." said the former. started off again down the road . You seem to be able to understand what he says. is that Dude Dawson. "In the first place. "Try and find out. had old Joe. The giddiness seemed to overcome him again. 'It's all right. his remarks sound like the output of a gramophone with a hot potato in its mouth. Comrade Brady . desire outran performance.

To Psmith it co nveyed nothing. He contented himself with brushing the dust off his person and addressing a richly abusive f low of remarks to Mr. the New York constable's substitute for the London police-whistle. But the Kid was not the man to attack a fallen foe. He was the first of the three to reach the elusive Mr. For some minutes the battle halted. Under the rays of the lamp it was possible to discern more closely the features of the black-jack exponent. Mr. Repetto himself. too. Psmith's hat. The thought did not come to them consciously at the moment. had by no means been eliminated altogeth er from the game. there sounded from the darkness down the road the c rack-crack-crack of a revolver. suddenly imbued with life. It being too dark f or successful shooting. His under-lip protruded an d drooped. and w as signalling for help to other policemen along the line by beating on the flagstones with his night-stick. one felt instinctively that no judging committee of a beauty contest would hesitate a moment before him. it had become Mr. Repetto. filling the still air. was more a concession to the general fashion prevailing in gang circle s than an expression of personal taste. with a suddenness which cause d them to leap into the air. worn low over the forehead. From somewhere down the road sounded the ring of running feet. They knew it for what it was. "Beat it!" Next moment the night was full of clatter. they crouched down and waited for the next move. than. There was dead silence. Apparently the latter's oiled forelock. Bat Jarvis. There was a subtle but noticeable resemblance to tho se of Mr. held certain disadvantages. Repetto had vanished. Instantly from the opposite direction came other shots. The Kid gave a sudden howl. had white lashes and were set as near together as Nature had been able to m anage without actually running them into one another. Repetto. While the questioning of Mr. for the fallen warrior was an albino. A tentative shot from nowhere ripped th rough the air close to where Psmith lay flattened on the pavement. and if that worthy had happened to be standing instead of sitting it might have gone hard with him. in the centre of which Mr. The circle of light was empty now. Mr. sprang into th e air and vanished. His trousers could never be the same again after their close acquaintance with the pavement. The noise grew. Scarcely had the staff of Cosy Moments reached the faint yellow pool of light. Repetto's face. And then the pavement began to vibrate and give out a curious resonant sound. In his case it was almost white. Looking at him. diving out of the circle of light i nto the sheltering darkness. Repetto reclined. His hat had gone for ever. but to the opposing army it meant much. Three bullets flicked grooves in the roadway almost at Billy's feet. It soon became apparent that the light of the lamp. Repetto had been in progress. unperceived except by Mr." Psmith rose to his feet and dusted his clothes ruefully.vindictive. the y had crept back. there being little t ime to think. Repetto's task to lure his captors int o the light. w ho had fled with such remarkable speed. which were clo sed. The rescue party was coming up at the gallop. "De cops!" cried a voice. The other members of the gang. th at a somewhat skilful ambush had been effected. whirling into the night. His eyes. though bestowing the doubtfu l privilege of a clearer view of Mr. The gang was "beating it. Repetto had it. Somewhere--it might be near or far--a policeman had heard the shots. but it was evident as soon as. . which he had accomplished with considerable skill. For the first time he r ealised the horrors of war.

were the last to a rrive." "He belongs to the Three Points. Thr ee grey-clad policemen. however. "When next you see him. Mi ne has a six-inch hole in it.The New York policeman may lack the quiet dignity of his London rival." observed Psmith. is. but. the latter bleeding freely from his left ear.'s in the same evening with his eyes shut." admitted the first speaker. Billy Windsor and the Kid. are you Kid Brady?" inquired one of the officers. as one namin g some fashionable club." argued the second. as who should say. Psmith. I know that itive of us to protest against being riddled with very impressive brain-barbecue is a certain interest in this it may strike you as hypersens bullets. but I will not press the trousers. "What's bin the rough house?" inquired one of the policemen." "And who but a bone-head thought he wouldn't?" demanded the third warmly. tough. "Do you know a sportsman of the name of Repetto?" inquired Psmith. "Dash the lads. I hear. For the first time the c onstabulary had begun to display any real animation. "He can whip twenty Jimmy Garvins with his feet tied. "Jimmy Garvin!" cried the third. but--" . essential. trivial as it may seem to you. but he is a hustler. "touches the spot. they're always up to some of their larks. "Reckoned I'd seen you somewhere!" said another. stood there. hatless and dusty. all rig ht. "If he puts it over Jimmy Garvin. I tell you--" "I am loath." said another intelligent officer." said Psmith. revolver in one hand. the lobe of which had been chipped by a bullet. I could do with another pair of trouser s. to me there other little matter of my ruined hat." "Shot at us!" burst out the ruffled Kid. "What's doing?" "Nothing now. "He co uld whip a dozen Cyclone Al. night-stick in the other. "They 've beaten it. did they?" said one of the policemen. too. "I should be obliged if you would use your authority to make him buy me a new hat. "Jack Repetto! Sure." "He's the next champeen. Kid. "You licked Cyclone Al. joined them. "What do you think's bin happening? Thi nk an aeroplane ran into my ear and took half of it off? Think the noise was som ebody opening bottles of pop? Think those guys that sneaked off down the road wa s just training for a Marathon?" "Comrade Brady. "to interrupt this ." said the disgusted voice of Billy Windsor from the shadows. clean-shaven men with keen eyes and square jaws. A new hat." The circle of lamplight became as if by mutual consent a general rendezvous." said Psmith. mildly interested." "Shot at you. He--" "Say.

had shown signs for some time past of asking for it in the neck. what's bin doin'?" inquired the Force." urged Psmith. and se e that he buys me a new hat. let us say." "That. It was an error on Jack's part. It was a nuisance. he gave his hearer s to understand. We will leave the matter . if you will be so good. Then we got to cover quick. and started into s hooting. We should like you." "What makes you think that?" ." said Psmith. The thing grips him like dram-dr inking. He started." said Psmith. Jack." he said. my hat--the se are not slight casualties. "is very terrible. "We've got mighty little out of it." said Psmith. His nurse. this perpetual harping on trifles when the deep question of the light-weight Championship of th e World was under discussion. I know few men I would not rather meet in a lonely roa d than Comrade Repetto. possibly. "is a very fair precis of the evening's events. "Don't go hurting his feelings. Comrade Brady's ear. Just at the moment. I don't know who the rest were. "The Three Points laid for us." the trio agreed. then. surely we are one up? Surely we have gained ground? The elimination of Comrade Repetto from the scheme of thing s in itself is something. But. he said. "Do it nicely. in a merely tentative way by sluggin g one of the family circle. On the other hand. seemingly in a victory for th e Cosy Moments army. the sooner it w ould be over. They seemed to think it was too bad of Jack. "was not bloodless." CHAPTER XVII GUERILLA WARFARE Thus ended the opening engagement of the campaign. shook his head. "The wrath of the Law. To me there is something consoling in the thought that Comrade Repet to will no longer be among those present. Billy Windsor undertook to explain. Probably the thing c rept upon him slowly. "Jack Repetto was bossing the crowd. He sandbags now not because he really wants to. The Kid put one over on to Jack Repetto's chin. but the sooner it was attended to. "The victory. and you came up and they beat it. or his young brother. to corral this Comrade Repetto. an d we were asking him a few questions when the rest came back." said one of the policemen indulgently. on ce started. They could not have been more disapproving if they had been prefects at Haileybury and Mr. In the meantime. The t hird policeman conceded this. but because he cannot he lp himself. we should be glad if you would direct us to the nearest Subway station. "Too blamed fresh he's gettin'. He is one of Nature's sand-baggers." he said. he is unable to resist the craving." "We'll round Jack up."Well. nodding. to assume that the lid was completely off the great city of New York. however. the cheerful lights of the G reat White Way are what I seem to chiefly need. Billy Windsor. in your hands. Repetto a first-ter mer who had been detected in the act of wearing his cap on the back of his head." The second policeman gave it as his opinion that Jack was getting too gay.

Did you ever he ar of Monk Eastman?" "I fancy not." he said furiously. and the Spider's in with the men behind. "You may have wriggled out of this." . Hump yourself." said Psmith thoughtfully." "Not on your life. smirking sheepishly. but he' s in with Spider Reilly. many. Comrade Windsor. at Billy. "as if my stay in t his great city were going to cost me a small fortune in hats. leered triumphantly at them. What do you think? Well. I cut some ice in this town. Do you know what he sai d once. Jack'll get of f."I should imagine that a benevolent Law will put away in his little cell for at least a brief spell." Billy's prophecy proved absolutely correct." said Billy." "It looks to me. Tell me all. eleven greasy. And then. astonished. He replaced it. "You don't catch them hurting a gangsman unless they're pushed against the wall. "Sure. "seems to have been bright and well-expressed. The mag istrate discharged the prisoner. The politicians don't want the gangs in gaol. and he was haled bef ore a magistrate. Billy stepped up to him." "And get the court to believe it?" said Psmith." "His small-talk. but he always got off. "but if you don't get a move on and quit looking at me like that. but giv ing out their evidence with unshaken earnestness. many blocks below the scene of the regrettable assault. I made half the big politicians in New York!' That w as what he said. before Kid Twist took it on. In due season they rounded up the impulsive Mr. wandering-eyed youths mounted the witness-stand and affirmed on oath that at the time mentioned dear old Jack had been making merry in their company in a genial and law-abidin g fashion. "He'll prove an alibi. 'You're arresting me." Psmith's eyeglass dropped out of his eye. e specially as the Aldermanic elections will be on in a few weeks. Repetto. and gazed. huh? Say. Wh at happened then? Was he restored to his friends and his relations?" "Sure. "An alibi? When three keen-eyed men actually caught him at it?" "He can find thirty toughs to swear he was five miles away." said Psmith. he was. when they pulled him for thugging a fellow out in New Jersey?" "I fear not. The police were as good as their wor d. If I did." said Billy disgustedly. I'll knock yo u over the Singer Building. and the prisoner. Comrade Windsor. Jack Repetto isn't Monk Eastman. Comrade Windsor. meeting Billy and Psmith in t he street outside." "Yes?" "He was arrested dozens of times. what a beautiful exhibition of brotherly love and au ld-lang-syne camaraderie was witnessed! One by one. the name has escaped me." "He said. you want to look where you're goin'. Who was this c leric?" "He was the first boss of the East Side gang.

What do you propose to d . and his job was to look after the di stribution of the paper. but he had never read a line of it. "Some on e's got it in against the paper. Mr. the mirth-provoking sallies of Mr. the gaunt manager of the business side of the journal. "You know your business. when the narrative had come to an end. see here." he said. Wheeler leaned back in his chair. Pat's a feller who likes to fight. rising. He was a distributor. seems it might be the organ of a blamed mining-camp what the boys have took a dislike to. As to the contents of the paper he was absolutely ignor ant. So was victory turned into defeat. And there was need of a square jaw and a battle-lit eye. Wheeler was a man for whom in business hours nothing existed but his job. Just be en looking in on him. because it's going big just now--but it's up to you. there's Pat i n pieces on the ground and nobody in sight but a Dago chewing gum. and they do n't want any more fight than they can get by beating their wives and kicking kid s off the sidewalk. Wheele r came into the editorial room with information and desire for information. nothing in the world to fuss about. If we get a few more carriers beat up the way Pat was. The most of them are Dagoes and such. what's it all about? Who's got it in for us and why?" Mr. I ha'n't never read the thing. He handled it as if it were so much soap.Mr. I'll do my best to get this paper distributed right and it's a shame if it ain't. for now began a period of guerilla warfare such as no New Yor k paper had ever had to fight against. and the Dago says he's only just come round the corner a nd ha'n't seen nothing of anybody. When the cop comes along. Pat Harrigan's in the hospital now. A few days after the restoration of Mr. while Billy. But this was too much for him. just like this it was. W ilberfloss. and. Repetto to East Side Society. "It's up to you. and he distributed. He then proceeded to his information. "I don't know what it's all abo ut. only our carriers can't go out without being beaten up by gangs of toughs. gave it as his opinion th at the editorial staff had sand. He endeavoured to satisfy the latter first. It was Wheeler. The way things have been going last few days. there'll be a strike. explained the situation. "Why. though." "What's been happening?" asked Billy with gleaming eyes. The scholarly writings of Mr. some one had better get bus y right quick and do something to stop these guys rough-housing like this. That was his sole comment. Rather fight he would t han see a ball-game. the tender ou tpourings of Louella Granville Waterman--all these were things outside his ken. He had been with Cosy Moments from its start. He shows fight . Good day. What I want to know is. gents. B. "What's doing. his hair rumpled more than ev er and his eyes glowing. "it is up to us. who first brought it to the notice of the editorial staff. Wheeler listened absolutel y unmoved. Psmith looked at Billy." he said. Half a dozen of them attend to him. Pat goes out with his cart. It's not as if they were all Irishmen. sure." He went out. Cop asks the Dago what's been doing. Know what happened? Why. and Billy's jaw became squarer and his eye mo re full of the light of battle than ever. Passing through a lowdown street on his way up-town he's held up by a bunch of toughs. while the rest gets clean away with every copy of the paper there was in the cart." he said. Don't see what any one could have against a p aper with a name like Cosy Moments. anyway?" he asked. "As Comrade Wheeler remarks. Mr. Say. Henderson Asher. Repetto humped himself. anyway.

or rather we aren't on any track at al l. "It means. they have us where the hair is crisp. "That's all right in theory. Comrade Windsor?" Billy sat up. "I have been thinking this thing over. He did not know how nearly interested were his employers in any matter touching that gang which is known as the Three Point s." said Psmith. but it can undoubtedly be choked. I had fanc ied that their operations would be confined exclusively to our two selves. If th ey are going to strew the street with our carriers. is put on ou r hats. The way Pugsy put it was as follow s. but how's it going to work in practice? The only thing that can corner the man is a commission. Simple. Such things as first causes and pi quant details he avoided. and when he has loomed up on the horizon. Pugsy said: "Dere's trouble down where I live. We cannot stand the s train. in the hope that somebody else will ag ree with us and be sufficiently interested to get to work and find out who the b lighter is. brought to the office the gi st of what is related in this chapter. What we must do now. What we want to do is to find out the name of the man behind the tenements as soon as e ver we can and publish it. " Billy said nothing. "Comrade Windsor. . then. "I believe you've hit it. an' now de Table Hills are layin' for de T'ree Points. however. Sure. such hats as Comrade Repetto has left us. a bubble on the surface of the life of a great city. yielding further details jerkily and with the dis trait air of one whose mind is elsewhere. as was the way with his narratives.o about it? This is a move of the enemy which I have not anticipated." "Yes. that we must buck up to a certain extent. He gave the thing out merely as an item of general interest. CHAPTER XVIII AN EPISODE BY THE WAY It was Pugsy Maloney who. but wished to know how it was to be done. but I should say at a venture once a week. fall yelling the name. Do you take me. Dude Dawson's mad at Spider Re illy. if we perish. we are somewhat in the soup. and if somebody else. Our line up to the present has been to sit at home an d scream vigorously in the hope of some stout fellow hearing and rushing to help . Pugsy's version was. and. on the following morning. Comrade Windsor." Billy admitted the soundness of this scheme. Comrade Windsor. Cosy Moments cannot be muzzled. If the campaign is to be a long one." He had then retired to his outer fastness. That's all wrong. Psmith went on . thus ke eping him from perusal of his cowboy stories. I don't know h ow often the rents are collected in these places. whether he is collecting those rents for himself or for s omebody else. excited. we've been saying in the paper what an out-size in scugs the m erchant must be who owns those tenements. I fancy? Yet brainy. as man to man." "Far from it. brief and u nadorned. buttonhole him and ask him quite po litely. What we want to do is to go out and hustle round till we stir up something. and sally forth as sleuth-houn ds on our own account. In other words. and it se ems to me that we are on the wrong track. we are simply marking time. He was chewing the stem of an unlighted pipe. but how?" demanded Billy. My idea is to hang negligently round till the rent-collector arrive s." Psmith shot his cuffs modestly. of course. who that somebody else is. The job may be worked more simply. as tending to prolong the telling excessively.

and it was with no intention of spoiling the harmony of the evening that Mr. the East Side. Greatest of these by virtue of their numbers are the East Side and the Gr oome Street. though they may fight each other. That had been a month or so back. of course. You would have said that all Nature smiled. He pleaded sel f-defence. There are other less important institutions. They "stick up" an occasional wayfarer for his " cush. and peace was just preparing to brood when there occurred the incident to wh ich Pugsy had alluded. warfar e rages as briskly as among the republics of South America. are immune fro m attack at the hands of lesser gangs. Bat Jarvi s. forbidden ground. These two are colossal. just as the Table Hillites were beginning to forgive the Three Points fo r shooting the redoubtable Paul Horgan down at Coney Island. but these things do not signify the cutting of ice." and they carry "canisters" and sometimes fire them off. and the Table Hill. For Mr. an eminent member of the Three Points. . and. as did B at Jarvis's coterie. He was there in a purely private and peaceful charact er. Shamrock Hall. for the soil is undoubtedly propitious to such growth. In time they may grow. into formidable organisations. the regrettable falling out of Dude Dawson and Spider Rei lly at Mr. But between the other gangs. after a short pause. Shamrock Hall. but these are little more than mere friendly gatherings of old boy hood chums for purposes of mutual companionship. Coston did not see which lady was alluded to. alluding to an Italian who had just pirouetted past. the great men exchanged a not unfriendly nod and. Robert ("Nigger") Coston. There being temporary peace between the two gangs. trifling in themselves. The really important gangs of New York are four. a Three Pointer inj udiciously wiped out another of the rival gang near Canal Street. there sure was. Alas! The next moment the sky was covered with black clouds and the storm broke. In matters political there are only four gang s which count. and especial ly between the Table Hill and the Three Points. rather injudiciously gave it as his opinion that one of the lady dancers had two left feet.Skilfully extracted and pieced together. As he sat smoking. Mr. and observing the revels. and until they wipe eac h other out after the manner of the Kilkenny cats. the same which Bat Jarvis h ad been called in to protect in the days before the Groome Street gang began to be. Little events. these details formed themselves into th e following typical narrative of East Side life in New York. continuing in this vein of criticism. the Groome Street. the latter presided over at the time of this story by Mr. but nevertheles s the Table Hillites were ruffled. During that month things had been simmering do wn. Dawson said Yup. Dawson. it is probable that there alw ays will be. Dawson had looked in. there settled at the next table Mr. remarked that there sure was some clas s to the way that wop hit it up. a word or two. But at present the amount of ice which good judges de clare them to cut is but small. Thus. Coston. the Three Points. For a moment Mr. Mr. have always occurred to shat ter friendly relations just when there has seemed a chance of their being formed . and in any case it was probably mere thoughtlessness. Maginnis's dancing saloon. being under the eyes of the great Bat. which are much of a size. was. sipping. There has always bee n bad blood between the Table Hill and the Three Points.

and one o r two more of the gang could aspire. He was pleading for it. who. Coston. Such was the excitement of the moment that. If a friend had called Mr." said Mr. Mr. What he did was to produce his "canister" and pick off the unsuspecting Mr. being of solid wood. Dawson. Mr. fearing the wrath of Bat Jarvis. extinguishing his cigarette and placing it behind his ear. the dancing ceasing suddenly and the floo r emptying itself of its crowd. but in a dance-hall belonging to a neutral power it was unpardonable. Coston. Nig--strictly behind his back. and. Coston's skull. The leader of the Table Hillites fell with a crash. replied t hat he was the fellow who could bite his. to which only Spider Reilly. Coston "Nig" he would have been running grave risks. seizing a mug which had held beer. for his action was contrary to all rules of gang-e tiquette. Coston squaring up at each other for the second round. Jack Repetto. head off. asked Mr. Mr. Coston's. To be permitted to address Mr." Mr. was. merely gave out a resonant note a nd remained unbroken. Dawson called Mr. Mr. When he bit he bit. Coston. sat Spider Reilly. But now occurred an incident which turned the scale. more bri efly. Coston face to face by his nickname was a sign of the closest friendship. Dawson bounded from his seat. leaning towards Mr. instead of drawing his "canister. Coston's respectful devotion for the past eight days. Dawson who he thought he. Coston said: "Huh?" Mr. rising. shot through the le g. Dawson. Coston that his skin was of so swarthy a hu e. Into this action he flung himself with the passionate abandonment of the artist. and made war between the gangs inevitable. facilitating the other's search by pointing with a much-chewed cigarette. together with Mr. He had noticed that there was a slight disturbance at the other side of the hall. In the far corner of the room. and a leader of a rival gang. and his particular mode of battling was to descend on his antagonist and bite him. A stranger. Reilly was not thinking what he did. Coston a coon. bounced it vigorously on M r. For Mr. would countenance no such episodes at the dance-hall which he had undert . which. Dawson a pie-faced rubber-necked four-flusher. Coston and others of the Three Points. So far the honours were comparatively even. Dawson. or. monarch of the Three Points. In the street it would have been perfectly legitimate. promptly bi t him on the cheek. Great men seldom waste time." he forgot that he had one o n his person. Mr. We must assume that Mr. From this point onwards the march of events was rapid. who addressed him as "coon" was more t han asking for trouble. Coston called Mr. Dawson. Daws on just as that exquisite was preparing to get in some more good work with the b eer-mug. even praisewort hy. with perhaps a slight balance in fav our of Mr. Coston had a wide reputation as a f ighter. He did not nibble. surrounded by a crowd of admiring friends. it was known. and Spider Reilly. It was at this moment that Nature's smile was shut off as if by a tap. Mr. Mr. s ped through the doorway for safety. b ut had given it little attention till."De goil in de pink skoit. Mr. Others spoke of him as Nigger. he had a plain view of Mr. And that was where the trouble really started. Dawson said: "Sure. It was secretly a great grief to Mr. For the lady in the pink skirt had been in receipt of Mr. Dawson and Mr.

De re's a feller comes round 'bout supper time dat day. "w e must take careful note of this little matter." "Why. don't you get next? Why. After you've explained a thing from start to finish--or. I rather fancy that sooner or la ter we may be able to turn it to our profit. "I rubbered around. "Comrade Windsor. den dis kid's in bad for fair." he proceeded confidentially. Comrade Maloney. de one what lives dere. for this time it was no question of obscure nonentities. conducted incognito by Master Maloney among the denizens of P leasant Street. was attended to and helped home.aken to protect. dis kid. sure. Wel l." CHAPTER XIX IN PLEASANT STREET Careful inquiries. as yo u prefer to do. Mr. Why. when Master Maloney had spoken his last word. announced Pugsy. Comrade Maloney? This thing is beginning to get clearer." "And then. "Your narratives. Willing informants gave him the name of his aggressor. "and did de sleut' act. When the day dawned there existed between the two gangs a state of war more bitter th an any in their record. he is sure to de bad. 'cos his father come over from Italy to work o n de Subway. an Italian. a fact which must undoubtedly cause a troublesome hit ch in the campaign. Shooting broke out in three places." "Evidently a hustler. eventually winding up at the beginning. an--" "A what. Chieftain had assaulted chieftain. A ma n such as he would feel a bullet through his trouser-leg more than one of common clay who cared little how his clothes looked. "dat kid's in bad. because he got fired an' went an' swatted de foreman one on de coco. sure he is. always seem to me to suffer from a certain lack of construction." said Billy Windsor wonderingly. dat's right. and I finds t'ings out." he said. meanwhile. Sure. and before morning the Table Hill camp was in fer ment. I am sorry for Dude Dawson. fell on the last day of the month . royal blood had been spilt. anyhow. though there were no casualties. Rent-day. Why should the fact that this stripling 's father has come over from Italy to work on the Subway be a misfortune?" "Why." agreed Psmith. Dawson. "Nor I. He's a wop kid." "I don't see why that puts him in bad." ." said Psmith. You start at the end. Dat s econd kid. 'cos der ain't nobody to pungle de bones. an' den it's up to de fam'l ies what lives in de tenements to dig down into deir jeans fer de stuff. from finish to start--it becomes quite simple. Comrade Maloney?" "A wop. "Say. Though I have never met him. or out dey goes dat same night. A Dago. I have a sort of instinctive respect for him. "I got dat from a kid what knows anuder kid what lives dere. our nameless friend. You are like Sherlock Holmes." said Psmith." explained Master M aloney. an' de magistrate gives him t'oity days. and then you g o back to any portion of the story which happens to appeal to you at the moment. brought the information that rents in the tenements were collect ed not weekly but monthly.

dis kid. made their way to Pleasant Street. it appeared. We will combine business with pleasure." said Psmith. in a somewhat tentative fash ion at first sight." He walked out of the room and closed the door. who's to slip him over de simoleons? It'll be outside for h is. Don't give in. Cosy Moments shall step in.. "He can't git on to me curves. "This. The end of the week arrived. the y were not likely to take the offensive. He was out when the party." "We will see to it. It's a vile shame the kid being turned out like that. as was usual between the gangs. The two armies were sparring for an opening.. War had broken out. and said something in hi s native language." and tacking on a final "a" to any word that seemed to him to need o ne." he began. The wop kid. Psmith and Billy could wait. What is today? How long before the end of the month? An other week! A murrain on it." But the days went by without any further movement on the part of the enemy. He appeared to have a fixed idea that the It alian language was one easily mastered by the simple method of saying "da" inste ad of "the. A st range quiet seemed to be brooding over the other camp. quick." Billy warmed up at this tale of distress in his usual way. and Psmith and Billy. conducted by Master Maloney. Dat's right. "is getting about as tense as anything I ever struck. stretched out his hand and thundered: "U nbelt-a! Slip-a me da stuff!" The wop kid's puzzlement became pathetic. De dollars. on returning. deeply interested. He gesticulated. look-a here. Pugsy undertook to do the honours. seemed both surprised and alarme d to see visitors. the sudden outbreak of active hostilities with the Table Hill contingent had had the effect of taking the minds of Spider Reilly and his warriors off Cosy Moments a nd its affairs. then. Comrade Windsor. "has da rent-a-man come yet-a?" The black eyes of the wop kid clouded. inhabited a small roo m at the very top of the building next to the one Psmith and Mike had visited on their first appearance in Pleasant Street. assuming a look of extreme ferocity. re-entered an d. He's all alone. was Giuseppe Orloni. but as yet no pitched battle. and. Say. arrived. rapping on it smartly from the outside. . kid. much as the unexpected appearance of a mad bull would make a man forget that he had come out butterfly-hunting. but the perilous passage was safely negotiate d. To get there it was necessary to pass through a section of the enemy's country. so when d e rent-guy blows in. There had been sniping and skirmishes by the wayside. Comrade Maloney. This delay may undo us."Pungle de what. "Say." reported Master Maloney. paying the stripling's rent and corralling the rent-col lector at the same time. Comrade Windsor. whose name. "Somebody ought to do something. The expedition reached its unsavoury goal intact. Comrade Maloney?" "De bones. led by Pu gsy up dark stairs. Pugsy as interpreter was e nergetic but not wholly successful. kid. but the Table Hillites demanded instant attention. De se wop kids is all boneheads. Two murrains. "He hasn't got next. Who knows but that you may yet win . De stuff. As a matter of fact.

" objected Master Maloney. And now. Dey don't know enough to go upstairs to take de Elevated." he said resignedly. if the rent collector had cal led and found no money waiting for him. Then they get up on their hind legs and inflate their chests and say." "I want to stop and pipe de fun." said Billy. "So all we have to do is to sit here and wait. and you would be in the way . wouldn't have been." murmured Psmith. my lad. "like Limburger cheese. my dear Watson. surely Comrade Spaghetti would have been out in the cold night instead of under his own roof-tree. it is certain. If our friend does not arrive shortly. "that this is one of those moments when it is necessary for me to unlimber my Sherlock Holmes system." Pugsy looked up. Pugsy shrugged his shoulders. "Surely it is enough. "it's up to youse. Pugsy. Comrade Windsor. If the rent collector had been here.through? I fancy the trouble is that your too perfect Italian accent is making the youth home-sick." he observed with moody displeasure to the wop kid. "Never mind." said Psmith. Do you follow me. "Of course. Comrade Windsor. that Comrade Spaghetti." "I expect it is an acquired taste. elementary. gadzooks! Not to mention stap my vitals! Isn't that a trap-door up there ? Make a long-arm. "Gents. Fancy t hese fellows keeping that shut all the time." "I fancy. The architect of this Stately Home of America seems to have had a positive hatred for windows. slipped out of the door like a shadow. "Beat it. or whatever you said his name was. disclosing a square of deep blue sky. For of all the scaly localities I have struck this seems to me the scaliest." said Billy. Comrade Maloney." "Elementary. The wop kid. "This is no place for a minister's son. "While your shoe leather's good. They do n't begin to appreciate air till it is thick enough to scoop chunks out of with a spoon. Beat it. There may be a rough house in here any minute. The trap-door opened downwards." said Billy Windsor. "Beat it?" he queried. Why. Once more to the breach. "Fancy living in this atmosphere when you don't have to." Billy got on a chair and pulled the bolt. It fel l. you mutt. "Gum!" he said. I shall pull down the roo f." "All?" said Psmith sadly." said Psmith. Cut off. Dese Dagoes makes me tired . "I'm t'roo." Master Maloney made a gesture of disgust. accompanying the words with a gesture which conveyed its own meaning. His idea of ventilat ion was to leave a hole in the wall about the size of a lima bean and let the th ing go at that. ' This is fine! This beats ozone hollow!' Leave it open. as to the problem of dispensing with Comrade Maloney's services?" "Sure. That is to say. Com rade Maloney?" "That's right. indignant. As thus. We'll tell you all about it to-morrow." . I think. plainly glad to get away.

who has just left us. CHAPTER XX CORNERED He stood in the doorway looking with some surprise at the group inside. "Hello." . The father. but th ere was a set expression on Billy Windsor's face which suggested great things. a cted as interpreter. Comrade Gooch. unless you wait some considerable time. "I am addressing--?" said Psmith courteously. "Say. closing the door behind him. "I fear there is little chance of your seeing them to-night. As he did so there was a sound of a well-shod foot on the stairs. Where's he to go?" "That's up to him. His pleasure was abruptly quenched." said Psmith." he said. He was a smallish. and few had ever app lauded the hero of "Escaped from Sing-Sing. "It's a big shame. I am told. and a man in a snuff-coloured suit. Psmith he loo ked upon as a quite amiable lunatic.Master Maloney prepared reluctantly to depart. I'm only acting under orders from up t op. Gooch definitely. led him to the door and pushed him out. who had taken advantage of the interruption to edge farther into the room. t he Beautiful Cloak-Model" with more fervour than he. The rent collector watched these things with a puzzled eye." said Mr. His whole appearance proclaimed the new-comer to be the long-expected colle ctor of rents." "Then it's outside for theirs. pale-faced man with protruding eyes and teeth which gave him a certai n resemblance to a rabbit. placing a firm hand on his co llar. is in the dungeon below the castle m oat for a brief spell for punching his foreman in the eye. "Welcome to New York. Billy Windsor. The scene looked good to hi m. from whom little was to be expected. It promised interesting developments. Master Maloney was an earnest student o f the drama. The result? The rent is not forthcoming. wearing a b rown Homburg hat and carrying a small notebook in one hand. He now turned to Psm ith. Nothing to do with me." Psmith bowed. With one of them--the son and heir of the family. He sidled to a corner and sat down on an empty soap-box with the air of a dramatic critic at the opening night of a new play." broke in Billy." he said. Comrade Maloney. walked briskly into the room. I should say--we have just been having a h ighly interesting and informative chat. Master Maloney. now appeared to consider the question of his departure permanently sh elved. "My name's Gooch. "turning the kid out. as exhibited in the theatres of the East Side. and to his practised eye this one promised well. It was not necessary for Psmith to get his Sherlock Holmes system to w ork. He liked his drama to have plenty of action. "Touching these wops." or hissed the villain of "Nellie. seen anything of the wops that live here?" he inquired.

" said Mr. He waxed wroth. ain't it? Say."Whose orders. and started knocking these tenements a nd boosting Kid Brady. Gooch. gossip. Comrade Maloney. the receipt. as young friend. but I can't. Well. and all that. I will brass up for him. say. we are newspaper men. boys. anyway. though. and what do you think you're d oing here? That's what I'd like to know. Why. those C osy Moments guys are taking big risks. A friend of mine used to buy it regular. "The gent who owns this joint. would call them. however. and that go es." Psmith replied." "I guessed you were. Comrade Gooch. Gooch. t gentleman whose name you are so shortly to tell us has a very fair idea of to charge! But who am I that I should criticise? Here are the simoleons. Why. But. "Say. Jones isn't the man to sit still and smile. What do you want with the name of the o wner of this place? What business is it of yours?" "The fact is. between you and the door." "Who is he?" said Billy. "Say" he demanded." "Let me out. And then su ddenly it comes out with a regular whoop. that paper. You'd better chase off and try something else. it 's no good. Push me over a receipt. Billy Windsor was standing with his back against the door and a more than nasty look on his face. I wish I could give you a story. is Comrade Windsor. our editor. "Who are you two guys. "I just guessed you were from some paper. "Mr. Suspicion crept into the protruding eyes of the rent collector. I happen to know a thing or two about what's going on on the other side. He spun round." "Business before pleasure. I can't understand it. "Immediately behind you. you see for yourselves how it is. Mr. Comrade Gooch. "You can't bluff me. anon. I guess it's this Cosy Moments business that's b een and put your editor on to this joint." of tha how our .--Shakespeare. Comrade Gooch. though. "I will explain all. what paper do you boys come from?" "Cosy Moments. "In the first place. Gooch with triumph. I've nothing for you. He's going to get busy.in-the-snow act. Comrade Gooch?" inquired Psmith. Here is your editor sending you down to get a story about it.--" he stopped and chuckled. I tell you straight they are. Then it hit him." he said." "Anon. this matter of Comrade Spaghetti's rent. How much is it? Twelve dollars? For the privilege suffocating in this compact little Black Hole? By my halidom. that's a queer thing. First. and I tell you there's going to be something doing if they don't cut it out quick. "What's all this?" demanded Mr. All I know is that i t's begun to get this place talked about. only a few weeks ago it used to be a sort of take-home-a nd-read-to-the-kids affair. I sub-edit. I am Psmith. Let me out." For a moment the inwardness of the information did not seem to come home to Mr." said Psmith soothingly." "Confound his rent." He became more friendly. Say. Sooner than see that friend of my boyhood s lung out to do the wandering-child.

but I think there is still sufficient for our needs. "I will see that it reaches Comrade Spaghetti. the last page of which was blank. Gooch." bellowed Mr. For the first time since Psmith had known him. That is the c ry. I have one of those patent non-leakable fountain pens in my pocket. who had not spoken a word or moved an inch since the beginning of the inter view. this is no way to speak! Well. . Most of the ink has come out and is permeating the lining of my coat. Billy was muscular. he proceeded to shake him. Gooch scribbled a few words in his notebook and tore out the page. "As you justly observed a moment ago. Comrade Gooch. do hereby swear'--hush. Don't put away that notebook. Comrade Gooch. Play ing a fool game like this! Get away from that door. to continue on the subject of fountain pens. before Comrade Repetto's next night out. continued to stand and be silent. Let us push on. And we should like it in writing. Meanwhile. The Old Journalist's Best Friend. Repetto. Billy Wind sor. "How does this strike you? "he said.. Are you ready. is--' An d that is where you come in." "Let me out. Are you ready? By the way. in ink. and I am sure a man of your perception will see that ther e is only one thing to be done. Psmith th anked him. however." he said. And. and began to write.Mr. "I'll summon you for assault and battery. and his heart was so much in the business that Mr. Turn to a clean page. Comrade Gooch. That is where we need your specialis ed knowledge. "the staff of Cosy Moments i s taking big risks.. Comrade Gooch. and write as follows. but who shall predict how long so happy a state of things will last? Do not be deceived by our gay an d smiling faces.'being of sound mind and body'--comma--' and a bright little chap altogether'--comma--Why. however. business. Gooch shuffled restlessly in the mid dle of the room. Let me put the whole position of affairs before you. Gooch beh aved as if he had been caught in a high wind. We do not rely on your unsupported word for that. but before this c ould happen there was a banging at the door. Rem ind me later. if you are sensitive on the point. It is probable that in another mom ent the desired information might have been shaken out of him. followed by the entrance of Master Maloney. Gooch." He produced a pen and an old letter." said Psmith. Mr. moisten your p encil. Who is he?" Billy Windsor reached out and grabbed the rent collector by the collar. who is responsible for the perfectly foul conditions there. It is my duty to tell you. Comrade Gooch. Pugsy was openly excited . it struck us both that we had better g et hold of the name of the blighter who runs these tenements as quickly as possi ble. then." He dusted the only chair in the room with infinite care and sat down. t here is no need to do it yet--'that the name of the owner of the Pleasant Street tenements. business. "'I'--(I have left a blank for the Christia n name: you can write it in yourself later)--' I. th at I suspect it to be Percy. what is your Christian n ame?. Gooch. Well. New York. on second though ts. That is what we should like you to give us. once more? Pencil mo istened? Very well. being a collector of rents in Pleasant Street. blank Gooch. you're not writing. Having d one this. 'I'--comma-. who tried some few ni ghts ago to put us out of business. We mean business. Comrade Gooch. "And now to a more impo rtant matter. I have much to say on the theme." "There has been no assault and battery yet. We have ha d practical demonstration of the fact from one J. we will waive the Christian name.

" Psmith shook his head. If you will get through the skylight. "youse had better beat it quick. "If Comrade Repetto is there. Our luggage. When you get to that ranch of yours. "What shall we do? Go down and try and rush through?" Psmith shook his head. is small. Gooch." Mr. "Not so. Comrade Maloney. who fell." he said." he began. Comrade Windsor. that is enough for me. De guys. Or rather we will hop nimbly up on to the roof through that skylight." said Psmith patiently. "and followed us. you will probably start out to gallop after the cattle without remembering to mount your mustang. Psmith acte d promptly. I seen Spider Reilly an' Jack Repett o an'-" "Say no more." Billy released Mr. stated that he would not go. W here did you see them. "Your habit of omitting essentials. What are yo use goin' to do?" Mr. dem. "I guess you ain't the only assault-and-battery artists in the business. Gripping the struggling rent collector round the waist. Gooch."Say. Dey's coming!" "And now go back to the beginning. and I hear s dem say you was in here. Gooch. dis proposition. which stood in o ne corner of the room. but about as much otherwise as you can jolly well imag ine." said Psmith. One of dem seen you come in. with much verbal embroidery. And while they are doing it I will give my cel ebrated imitation of Horatius. from the bed. Dere was a bunch of dem talkin' togedder. Merely Comrade Gooch. laughed unpleasantly. it's pretty fierce. on to the low bed. what then?" "We will stay here. l ookin' into each room till dey finds you. puffing. gents. I am going to get on the roof and pull it up after me. Once there. Pugsy?" "On de Street just outside. They ca n only get through one at a time. we may engage these varlets on fairly equal terms. an dere ain't no ways ou t but de front. Say. so dey ain't hurryin'! Dey just reckon to pike along upstairs. I will p ass him up to you. is going to undo you one of these days. you had. We had better be moving. There are fo ur million guys in New York. fortunately . An dere's a bunch of dem goin' to wait on de Street in case youse beat it past down de stairs while de udder guys is r ubberin' for youse." he sai d. and ignoring ." "Well. "They must have spotted us as we were coming here. Comrade Maloney. Which section is it that is coming?" "Gum! I don't know how many dere is ob dem. "whi ch in the exuberance of the moment you have skipped. "Looks to me as if some one else was going to get shaken up some. Who are coming?" "Why. "Well?" he said." Billy looked at Psmith.

Make careless gestu res. and Psmith closed the door behind him. Comrade Malo ney. "Dude Dawson? Nope. We upon these merry roisterers. then. Whistle a few lively bars. Comrade Win dsor. In a sense. But I can ask around. we have cover in the shape of the chimn . And. is here. as if you had no con nection with the old firm at all. Go downstairs with a gay and jaunty air. I fancy. He will not be able to come himself. on the roof." "That's all. shoulders and arms of Billy Windsor protruded into the room. "Practically impregnable. of course. you ought to have been. Smith?" "No. Off you go. I fear. however sternly. His eye glist ened with respectful approval. Do you know wh The light of intelligence began to shine in Master Maloney's face. For weeks you have been praying for a chance to show your devotio n to the great cause. They will find it hard to get at us. Gooch's chest a few feet away. Mr." he murmured. The trap-door appeared to be the only means of access to the roof. and they did merely shake their heads at Comra want some one who will swoop down soak to them good. and looked about him . gripped the edge of the opening in the roof and pulled himself thr ough. for m e to join the rest of the brains of the paper up aloft. I fancy. don't take a week about it. I have seen not impress me. jumping up. and. when ce the head. By hi s side was his big stick. Comrade Maloney. I thank you. and consequently it is up to you. That chance has come. or if you haven't." "Huh?" "Have I your ear?" "Huh?" "Are you listening till you feel that your ears are the size of footballs? Then drink this in. You alone can save us. Psmith possessed himself of this. And now it would be no bad idea. Thus shall you win through. Billy collected the collector. tell him that his old college chum. This was strategy of the right sort. We do not want allies who will de Repetto and the others. "Comrade Maloney." "Shall I go for de cops. He left it ajar." Pugsy vanished. The examination was satisfactory. Comrade Maloney. Inspection revealed the f act that it possessed no lock. as it were." "Do so.his frantic kicks as mere errors in taste. Billy Windsor was seated comfortably on Mr. Spi der Reilly. and that is if they have the sense to get on to the roof next door and sta rt shooting. we do not need to be saved. Even in that case. ere Dude Dawson lives?" the cops in action. however. As a barrier it was useless. he lifted him to the trap-door. and between their roof and that of the next house there w as a broad gulf. and . And when found. and then Psmith turned to Pugsy. Leg it with all the speed you possess. in passing. But it ill befits th e dignity of the editorial staff of a great New York weekly to roost like pigeon s for any length of time." "Sure. "Only one thing can dish us. but he can sen d representatives.

unmoved. broken by an oath from Mr." As he spoke. Gooch's lips there escaped a s creech. "Dey've beaten it for de roof. an ingrowing Roman nos e. Get on top de roof." . But we mustn't ex pect everything. If it had. I must devote myself exclusively to guarding the bri dge.'" The red-headed young man blinked. "We've got youse. Then from Mr. "Historic picture. and stared in a glassy manner into Psmith's face. The strong light of the open air was trying to his eyes. As it is. "This way! They're up--" The words were cut short as Billy banged his hand over the speaker's mouth. we must leave it open. "But he's going to. the thi ng would be a perfect picnic. For a moment the silence was tense." The chair rasped over the floor. "Youse had better come down. From t he room below came a sound of feet. he brought the stick down on the knuckles which disfigured the edge s of the trap. as he knelt by the trap making meditative billiard-shots with the stick at a small pebble." said Billy." he observed coldly. "Aw g'wan! Don't be a quitter!" "Who's a quitter?" "Youse is a quitter. growing gradually louder till some thing resembling coherent conversation came to Psmith's ears. Gooch. who was still und ergoing treatment in the background. It is a pity that the trap has not got a bolt this side. which was within a foot of his own. "is instantly handed a gum-drop by his faithfu l Esquimaux. And then. there popped through the opening a head and shoulders." Billy was about to speak. He held on to the edges of the trap with his hands." cried a voice. There was a momentary pause. but Psmith suddenly held up his hand warningly. The intruder uttered a howl and dropped out of sight." "He will be in your charge. "Aha!" said Psmith genially. But the thing was done. In the room below there were whisperings and mutterings. Feet shuffled. CHAPTER XXI THE BATTLE OF PLEASANT STREET The new arrival was a young man with a shock of red hair. He can't hoit youse." continued Psmith. How are you getting along? Has the patient responded at all?" "Not yet." "And. "On top de roof. like a jack-in-the-box . 'Doctor Cook discovers the North Pole.eys. and a mouth from which force or the passage of time had removed three front t eeth. I think we may fairly say that all is well.

The first speaker. Quite a little chorus of voices expressed sincere approval of the ve ry happy solution to what had seemed an insoluble problem." "Don't give up. perhaps--for the motion had been carried almost unanimously--but possibly with the idea of convincing the one member of the party in whose bosom doubts might c onceivably be harboured. There was no doubt about that."De guy's gotten a big stick." Murmur of assent from the audience. Psmith grasped his stick more fi rmly. Probably gratification had rendered the chosen one dumb." "Any result yet?" "Not at present. "Sam bein' a coon." said Psmith softly. listening fro m above. It was a success from the start. failed to detect in the choir of glad voices one that might belong to S am himself. A somewhat baffled silence on the part of the attacking force was followed by fu rther conversation. but in the confined space it was deafening. Sam?" Psmith waited with some interest for the reply. let Sam do it!" cried the unseen chorus. The noise was succeeded by a shuffling of feet." said Psmith with satisfaction ." he argued. "Never hit me!" said Psmith with dignified triumph. but it did not come." "I knew there was some way out of the difficulty. unnecessarily. Comrade Win--" A report like a cannon in the room below interrupted him. Comrade Windsor?" "Fine. Possibly Sa m did not wish to generalise on insufficient experience. "Comrade Windsor!" "Hullo?" "Is it possible to hurt a coloured gentleman by hitting him on the head with a s tick?" "If you hit him hard enough." "The right spirit. Youse can't hoit a coon by soakin' him on de coco. A voice." "Not me. "ain't goin' to git hoit by no stick. "Solvitur ambulando. "Gum! some guy's got to go up. The revolver shot had been a mere demo . "Yes. "I and Roosevelt. went on to adduce reasons. "How are you getting on up at your end of the table. can you. in inspired tones: "Let Sam do it!" This suggestion made a hit. It was merely a revolv er shot. turning the stick round in his fingers . This was evidently the real attack." Psmith nodded appreciatively. Psmith. The bullet sang up into the sky." he murmured.

Their attitude towards Psmith was that of a group of men watching a terrier at a rat-hole. "They make me tired. do ye? An' would ye know what I call ye? The Y oung Ladies' Seminary!" bellowed another with withering scorn. "This is no time for a feu de joie. They looked to him to provide entertainment for them. are you coming up? Sam. There was considerable speculation as to what was passing between Billy Windsor and Mr. Aha!" Another and a longer explosion from below. ye quitters!" roared one. Their indignation. for a la rge chimney-stack intervened. "this is well met! I remember you. The roof of the house next door began to fill up. They begged them to go home and tuck themselve s up in bed. The early comers had seen his interview with Sam. "Say!" "You have our ear. Only a few of the occupants could get a clear view of the proceedings." said Psmith. akin to that of a crowd at a cricket match when batsmen are playing for a draw. I hate to do it. Action! That is the cry." he said. Gooch. has been tested and proved correct. Psmith sighed. Sure enough. Psmith's share in the entertainment was more obvious. I do. you blighters!" The Irish neighbours expressed the same sentiment in different and more forcible words. They were fair-minded men. indee d. They must be up and doing if they wish to retain the esteem of Pleasant Street. Comrade Windsor. "Why. A voice from the room called up to Psmith. they began to "barrack. .nstration of artillery to cover the infantry's advance. "G'wan away home. Wasn't you the feller with the open umbereller that I met one rainy mor ning on the Av-en-ue? What. when the proceedings began to grow slow. Comrade Windsor." By this time the affair had begun to draw a "gate. "What was that?" asked Billy Windsor over his shoulder. Yes. the Three Pointers had failed to give satisfaction. With an aggrieved air. The men on the roof were mostly Irishmen. and it offended them to s ee what should have been a spirited fight so grossly bungled. A third member of the audience alluded to them as "stiffs. and a pai r of rolling eyes gleamed up at the old Etonian. and they did not expect Psmith to make any aggressive move. "that our blithe friends below are begin ning to grow a little unpopular with the many-headed. There was no doubt about it--as warriors. and more bullets wasted themselves on air. "Your statement. but they realised that the first move must be with the a ttackers. the next moment a woolly head popped through the opening." said Psmith. " They hooted the Three Pointers. Action! Get busy." The noise of the revolver ha d proved a fine advertisement. but--" A yell rang out. "Call yersilves the Three Points. Sam!" said Psmith cordially. was directed entirel y at the dilatory Three Pointers." "I fear. and were re lating it with gusto to their friends.

" said Psmith. clattering upstairs. "What's that?" inquired Billy. Others p ointed out that that would mean abandoning the siege of the roof. filled again with a magical swiftness. "don't I keep tellin' youse dat de Table Hills is here? Sure. and it seems as if that golden-hearted sportsman had responded. A scout. and the low wall facing into the street became black with the backs of those craning over." said Psmith severely." "If you wish it." said Psmith courteously." Psmith nodded reflectively. There appear to be gre at doings in the street. the view pleasant."What's that?" "I said you had our ear. and there was doubt as to the proper c ourse to pursue. proceeded with hoots of scorn to climb down one by one into the recesses of their own house. which had been emp tying itself slowly and reluctantly. "that our allies of the Table Hill contingent mus t have arrived. "by all means do. Suddenly from the street far below there came a fusillade of shots and a babel o f shouts and counter-shouts. "I rather fancy. we are not. I sent Comrade Maloney to explain matters to Dude Dawson. . 'cos Sam'll pump dem full of lead while dey're beatin' it t'roo de trap-door. Certain voices urged going down to help the main body. Who am I that I sho uld dictate your movements? The most I aspire to is to check them when they take an upward direction. my lad. Leave those stiffs on de roof." "We're goin' to wait here till youse come down." In the room below confusion had arisen." "Are youse stiffs comin' down off out of dat roof?" "Would you mind repeating that remark?" "Are youse guys goin' to quit off out of dat roof?" "Your grammar is perfectly beastly. Sure. The Irishmen on the othe r roof. Let Sam wait here with his cani ster. now definitely abandoning hope of further entertainment. "Gum!" he cried. "Hey!" "Well?" "Are youse guys--?" "No. had brough t the news of the Table Hillites' advent. "since you ask. And why? Because the air up here is refreshing. The roof of the house next door. The scout who had brought the news was eloquent in favour of the first course. and we are expecting at any moment an important communication from Comrade Gooch." There was silence below." said Psmith. and den dey can't get down. d ere's a whole bunch of dem. The time began to pass slowly. and unless youse come on down dey'll bite de hull he ad off of us lot.

and there was no likelihood o f Sam making another attempt to climb through. Psmith turned to him. "Surely we must win through now. were yel ling encouragement promiscuously and whooping with the unfettered ecstasy of men who are getting the treat of their lives without having paid a penny for it. and then. The behaviour of the New York policeman in affairs of this kind is based on prin ciples of the soundest practical wisdom. Gooch eyeing them in silence the while. Mr. Comrade Windsor. "save Sam. How would it be to drop Comrade Gooch through firs t. would be delighted to do a li ttle thing like that for old friends of our standing or--but what's that!" "What's the matter?" "Is that a ladder that I see before me. and so draw his fire? Comrade Gooch." he cried. was just working up to a climax. "I've got it. more than long enoug h for the purpose for which it was needed. its handle to my hand? It is! Comrade Wi ndsor. He is now waiting below. "Excellent. "Comrade Gooch. The New York poli ceman." Psmith shook his head." "Why not go down through the trap? They've all gone to the street. ready--even anxious--to pick us off as we climb through the trap. His whole attitude was triumphant. and the Irishmen on the roof. The noise. but it canno t be put out of business. what with the shots and yells from the street and the ear-piercing approval of the roof-audience. rushe s in himself and clubs everything in sight. He was tired of kneeling by the trap. "It see ms to me the grand rescue scene in the third act has sprung a leak. He walked towards Billy." he replied. As he did so. Both sides were hard at i t. This will wa nt thinking over." said Psmith. I am sure. armed with a pistol. It was long. Sam was the subject of my late successful experime nt. take the other end of that ladder and follow me. but it is sure rather than swift. rewarded at last for their long vigil. Proceedings in the affair below had not yet reached the police interference stag e. "do nothing to apprise our friend Sam of these proceed . and fate cannot touch us. when both sides have begun to have enough of it. In his hand he waved a strip of paper. All we have to do is to get off this roof." The ladder was lying against the farther wall. His eyes were gleaming with excite ment." he murmured. Let us ponder. we win through. when I proved that coloured gentlemen's heads could be hurt with a stick. knowing the importance of his own safety. permits the opposing forces to hammer each other into a certain dista ste for battle. Comrade Windsor. Are two mammoth minds such as ours unequal to such a feat? It can hardly be. Cosy Moments' editorial staff may be tree'd. It is an admirable process in its re sults. and the insignificance of the g angsman's." he said. "All. and pushed it till the other end reached across the gulf to the roof of the house next door."There is certainly something in what the bright boy says." In the street the disturbance had now become terrific. Psmith and Billy rested it on the cop ing. Billy got up and turned to him. Psmith rose. The unthinking man would rush in and at tempt to crush the combat in its earliest and fiercest stages.

and Psmith had stoutly d eclined to talk business until the coffee arrived. he will probably mistake you for a member of the staff of Cosy Moments. the paper will lose merely a sub-editor. Shooting had definit ely ceased. "Neat. relating to the policy of the paper." CHAPTER XXII CONCERNING MR." he whispered." said Psmith. This had been hard on Billy. Beyond a hint that it was sensational he had not been permitted to go. had their backs turned and did not observe him. "Stewart who?" asked Psmith. and in this attitude wormed his way across to the opp osite roof. so that if the ladder breaks. Comrade Gooch reminded me of the untamed chamois of the Alps. let us debouch. "have been rui ned by the fatal practice of talking shop at dinner." He went down on all-fours. like isinglass or Post-toasties. perhaps. man!" he said. The police. I will go fir st. followed him. "Stewart Waring. stretched out his legs. I will take you to the Knickerbocker. The resources of the Knickerbocker Hotel had proved equal to supplying the f atigued staff of Cosy Moments with an excellent dinner." said Psmith. whose occupants. What's the name which Comrade Go och so eagerly divulged?" Billy leaned forward excitedly. I seem to kno w it. Comrade Windsor. and lit a cigaret te. Some other day. Comrade Windsor.ings. Gooch . but my interest is confined mainly to the . and buy you a squar e meal." said Psmith complacently. Sam is in no mood to make nice distinction s between friend and foe. And now good-bye. with their clubs. But now that we are through . "haven't you heard of Stewart Waring?" "The name seems vaguely familiar. were i t not that matters of private moment. I would ask for the pleasure of your company also. pallid and obviously ill-attuned to such feats. If you have no other engagem ents. "that we might now descend. "I think. "Uncommonly neat." In the street there was now comparative silence. We are infinitely obliged to you for your sympathetic co-operation in this little matter. not an editor. in which the police had now joined. and finally Bill y Windsor reached the other side. leaping from crag to crag. who was bursting with his news. but it conveys nothing to me. I speak in your best interests. by all means let us have it. Mr. I think you had better come with us. If you bring him up here. WARING Psmith pushed back his chair slightly. Comrade Windsor. Billy stared. h ad knocked the last remnant of fight out of the combatants. must be discussed at the table." "Don't you ever read the papers?" "I toy with my American of a morning. engrossed in the fight in the street. Comrade Windsor. Comrade Gooch. and loose off in your direction with out waiting for explanations. "Great Scott. "More bright young careers than I care to think of.

It killed him for the time being." "How was that?" "Oh. "it seems to me that it was amon g the World's Softest. . and could afford to lie low for a year or two." "Why did he throw up the job?" inquired Psmith. and it collapsed on the third night and killed half the a udience. What was his trouble?" "His trouble. of course." sai d Psmith thoughtfully." "And then?" "The papers raised a howl. "Do you mean to say he got back again after that?" "He had to quit being Commissioner." he said. and what shall we do then for a fighting editor? However. Shut his eyes and held out his hands when t hey ran up rotten buildings that a strong breeze would have knocked down. bu t affairs move so fast here that a thing like that blows over. to the man with the Hai r-Trigger Conscience. He made a bit of a pile out of the job.sporting page which reminds me that Comrade Brady has been matched against one E ddie Wood a month from to-day. and the contractor gave Waring away." said Billy." "How long ago was that?" "Five years. I fear this will cause us a certain amount of inconvenience. Billy nodded. Which brings us back to the point. perhaps. and leave the town for a time. Cosy Moments should be able shortly to give its message to the wo rld and ease up for a while. "We will remind them. "was that he stood in with a contractor who was putti ng up a music-hall. he seems to have selected the right career for him self. He's one of the biggest men in New York!" "Do you mean in girth? If so. possibly we may not need one now. Gratifying as it is to find one of the staff gett ing on in life. Who is Stewart W aring?" "Stewart Waring is running for City Alderman. People don't remember a thing here that happened five years back un less they're reminded of it. Certain drawbacks to it. and the contractor put it up with material about as strong a s a heap of meringues." "Commissioner of Buildings? What exactly did that let him in for?" "It let him in for a lot of graft. but I gather that Comrade Waring did not line up in that c lass. and they got after the contractor. He used to be Commissioner of Buildings for the city." Psmith lit another cigarette. he took it off the contractors." "He's one of the bosses." "I should have thought it would have had that excellent result permanently. and pl aces like that Pleasant Street hole without any ventilation. Com rade Brady will have to leave the office temporarily in order to go into trainin g.

He's been shooting off a lot of hot air lately about phi lanthropy and so on. I spotted h im at an early date. "Comrade Windsor. and talk gets over if you keep it up long enough." inquired Psmith. "Comrade Windsor. too? He did. "one or two of the papers against him in this Aldermanic E lection business tried to bring the thing up. Comrade Windsor?" Billy stared. It'll smash h im at the election when it gets known." ." explained Billy. The o ther papers said it was a shame. What is ou r move now."Of course. I tell you. When we dived into S ixth Avenue for a space at Thirty-third Street. surveying Billy blandly through his eye-glass. and pass on to more congenial topics. publish the name. Comrade Windsor . and burrs non-adhesive compared with that tall-shaped-hatt ed blighter. He looked from Psmith to the paper and from the paper to Psmith. because we've got the beggar's name in the writing of his own collector. "Nobody's going to ge t it from me. it's it!" Psmith nodded. I will merely remark that you pretty nearly landed us in the soup. so they dropped it. "What--what the--?" he stammered. "I see. leeches were aloof. hounding a man who was sorry for the past and w ho was trying to make good now. somewhere down by Twenty-ninth Street. "Why." "But before then? How are we going to ensure the safety of our evidence? We stan d or fall entirely by that slip of paper. "Why. "I do not wish to cavil or carp or rub it in in any way. No wonder the poor gentleman was so energetic in his methods. Not that he has actually done a thing--not so much as given a supper to a dozen news-boys. "How on earth did you get it?" Psmith knocked the ash off his cigarette. but they didn't cut any ice." he said." Psmith nodded adhesion to this dictum." "That's all right." said Billy. there he was. "So that naturally he wants to keep it dark about these tenements." he said." Psmith dipped his hand into his trouser-pocket. Bill y's eyes were goggling." he said. patting his breast-pocket. And wh en we turned into Forty-second Street. Didn't you know we were followed to this place?" "Followed!" "By a merchant in what Comrade Maloney would call a tall-shaped hat. producing a piece of paper. of course. but he's talked. "There's a lot of graft to being an Alderman. and that's proof positive. did he dive." "Why is he so set on becoming an Alderman. "how do we go?" He leaned back in his chair. Everybody thought that Warin g was on the level now.

"Yes?" "Do you remember, as you came to the entrance of this place, somebody knocking a gainst you?" "Yes, there was a pretty big crush in the entrance." "There was; but not so big as all that. There was plenty of room for this mercha nt to pass if he had wished. Instead of which he butted into you. I happened to be waiting for just that, so I managed to attach myself to his wrist with some v im and give it a fairly hefty wrench. The paper was inside his hand." Billy was leaning forward with a pale face. "Jove!" he muttered. "That about sums it up," said Psmith. Billy snatched the paper from the table and extended it towards him. "Here," he said feverishly, "you take it. Gum, I never thought I was such a mutt ! I'm not fit to take charge of a toothpick. Fancy me not being on the watch for something of that sort. I guess I was so tickled with myself at the thought of having got the thing, that it never struck me they might try for it. But I'm thr ough. No more for me. You're the man in charge now." Psmith shook his head. "These stately compliments," he said, "do my old heart good, but I fancy I know a better plan. It happened that I chanced to have my eye on the blighter in the tall-shaped hat, and so was enabled to land him among the ribstones; but who kno ws but that in the crowd on Broadway there may not lurk other, unidentified blig hters in equally tall-shaped hats, one of whom may work the same sleight-of-hand speciality on me? It was not that you were not capable of taking care of that p aper: it was simply that you didn't happen to spot the man. Now observe me close ly, for what follows is an exhibition of Brain." He paid the bill, and they went out into the entrance-hall of the hotel. Psmith, sitting down at a table, placed the paper in an envelope and addressed it to hi mself at the address of Cosy Moments. After which, he stamped the envelope and d ropped it into the letter-box at the back of the hall. "And now, Comrade Windsor," he said, "let us stroll gently homewards down the Gr eat White Way. What matter though it be fairly stiff with low-browed bravoes in tall-shaped hats? They cannot harm us. From me, if they search me thoroughly, th ey may scoop a matter of eleven dollars, a watch, two stamps, and a packet of ch ewing-gum. Whether they would do any better with you I do not know. At any rate, they wouldn't get that paper; and that's the main thing." "You're a genius," said Billy Windsor. "You think so?" said Psmith diffidently. "Well, well, perhaps you are right, per haps you are right. Did you notice the hired ruffian in the flannel suit who jus t passed? He wore a baffled look, I fancy. And hark! Wasn't that a muttered 'Fai led!' I heard? Or was it the breeze moaning in the tree-tops? To-night is a cold , disappointing night for Hired Ruffians, Comrade Windsor." CHAPTER XXIII

REDUCTIONS IN THE STAFF The first member of the staff of Cosy Moments to arrive at the office on the fol lowing morning was Master Maloney. This sounds like the beginning of a "Plod and Punctuality," or "How Great Fortunes have been Made" story; but, as a matter of fact, Master Maloney was no early bird. Larks who rose in his neighbourhood, ro se alone. He did not get up with them. He was supposed to be at the office at ni ne o'clock. It was a point of honour with him, a sort of daily declaration of in dependence, never to put in an appearance before nine-thirty. On this particular morning he was punctual to the minute, or half an hour late, whichever way you choose to look at it. He had only whistled a few bars of "My Little Irish Rose," and had barely got in to the first page of his story of life on the prairie when Kid Brady appeared. T he Kid, as was his habit when not in training, was smoking a big black cigar. Ma ster Maloney eyed him admiringly. The Kid, unknown to that gentleman himself, wa s Pugsy's ideal. He came from the Plains; and had, indeed, once actually been a cowboy; he was a coming champion; and he could smoke black cigars. It was, there fore, without his usual well-what-is-it-now? air that Pugsy laid down his book, and prepared to converse. "Say, Mr. Smith or Mr. Windsor about, Pugsy?" asked the Kid. "Naw, Mr. Brady, they ain't came yet," replied Master Maloney respectfully. "Late, ain't they?" "Sure. Mr. Windsor generally blows in before I do." "Wonder what's keepin' them." "P'raps, dey've bin put out of business," suggested Pugsy nonchalantly. "How's that?" Pugsy related the events of the previous day, relaxing something of his austere calm as he did so. When he came to the part where the Table Hill allies swooped down on the unsuspecting Three Pointers, he was almost animated. "Say," said the Kid approvingly, "that Smith guy's got more grey matter under hi s thatch than you'd think to look at him. I--" "Comrade Brady," said a voice in the doorway, "you do me proud." "Why, say," said the Kid, turning, "I guess the laugh's on me. I didn't see you, Mr. Smith. Pugsy's been tellin' me how you sent him for the Table Hills yesterd ay. That was cute. It was mighty smart. But say, those guys are goin' some, ain' t they now! Seems as if they was dead set on puttin' you out of business." "Their manner yesterday, Comrade Brady, certainly suggested the presence of some sketchy outline of such an ideal in their minds. One Sam, in particular, an ebo ny-hued sportsman, threw himself into the task with great vim. I rather fancy he is waiting for us with his revolver to this moment. But why worry? Here we are, safe and sound, and Comrade Windsor may be expected to arrive at any moment. I see, Comrade Brady, that you have been matched against one Eddie Wood." "It's about that I wanted to see you, Mr. Smith. Say, now that things have been and brushed up so, what with these gang guys layin' for you the way they're doin ', I guess you'll be needin' me around here. Isn't that right? Say the word and I'll call off this Eddie Wood fight."

"Comrade Brady," said Psmith with some enthusiasm, "I call that a sporting offer . I'm very much obliged. But we mustn't stand in your way. If you eliminate this Comrade Wood, they will have to give you a chance against Jimmy Garvin, won't t hey?" "I guess that's right, sir," said the Kid. "Eddie stayed nineteen rounds against Jimmy, and if I can put him away, it gets me into line with Jimmy, and he can't side-step me." "Then go in and win, Comrade Brady. We shall miss you. It will be as if a ray of sunshine had been removed from the office. But you mustn't throw a chance away. We shall be all right, I think." "I'll train at White Plains," said the Kid. "That ain't far from here, so I'll b e pretty near in case I'm wanted. Hullo, who's here?" He pointed to the door. A small boy was standing there, holding a note. "Mr. Smith?" "Sir to you," said Psmith courteously. "P. Smith?" "The same. This is your lucky day." "Cop at Jefferson Market give me dis to take to youse." "A cop in Jefferson Market?" repeated Psmith. "I did not know I had friends amon g the constabulary there. Why, it's from Comrade Windsor." He opened the envelop e and read the letter. "Thanks," he said, giving the boy a quarter-dollar. It was apparent the Kid was politely endeavouring to veil his curiosity. Master Maloney had no such scruples. "What's in de letter, boss?" he inquired. "The letter, Comrade Maloney, is from our Mr. Windsor, and relates in terse lang uage the following facts, that our editor last night hit a policeman in the eye, and that he was sentenced this morning to thirty days on Blackwell's Island." "He's de guy!" admitted Master Maloney approvingly. "What's that?" said the Kid. "Mr. Windsor bin punchin' cops! What's he bin doin' that for?" "He gives no clue. I must go and find out. Could you help Comrade Maloney mind t he shop for a few moments while I push round to Jefferson Market and make inquir ies?" "Sure. But say, fancy Mr. Windsor cuttin' loose that way!" said the Kid admiring ly. The Jefferson Market Police Court is a little way down town, near Washington Squ are. It did not take Psmith long to reach it, and by the judicious expenditure o f a few dollars he was enabled to obtain an interview with Billy in a back room. The chief editor of Cosy Moments was seated on a bench, looking upon the world t hrough a pair of much blackened eyes. His general appearance was dishevelled. He

and that they were cleaning up the house." "Nothing! You look as if you had been run over by a motor-car. At about three o'clock in the morn ing I was aroused by a somewhat hefty banging on the door. and there was a general rough house. at about three in the morning there was t he dickens of a banging at my door. that's all right. without any apparent resentment. but I got so mad. They knew perfectly well that I had nothing to do with any pool-room downst airs. And that made me so mad I hit out. They said they couldn't wait about while I put on c lothes. I went meditatively back to my Fourth Avenue address. They told me to come along with them to the station. I guess I was a fool to cut loose th at way." Psmith sighed." A chuckl e escaped Billy. and they started in on me together. were thre e policemen. From their remarks I gathered that certain bright spirits had been ." he said. "That's nothing. and found a couple of Policemen there. Smith. One of them gave me a shove in the ribs with his night-stic k. in the middle of which somebody seemed to let off about fifty thousand dollars' worth of fireworks all in a bunch. The other cop took a swipe at me with his club. is more than I can understand. "There. He went down over the bookcase. and I got him fair. Comrade Windsor?" "Yes. and had soon sunk into a dreamless slumber." Psmith's eye-glass dropped from his eye. I asked what on earth for. standing on the mat. if he had shown up and got in my way . when the ot her fellow loosed himself from the bookcase. "what on earth has been happening to you?" "Oh. They said they had been tipped off that there was a pool-room being run in the house. Why the cops should have thought I had anything to do with it. "Now hear mine. and if I wanted to say anything I'd better say it to the magistrate. concerned. That's my little life-history. I just sailed in." "The cops did that. is stationed almost at my very door. and I d idn't remember anything more till I found myself in a cell. wi th a courtly good night to the large policeman who. The house where I live was raided late last night. It seems that some gamb lers have been running a pool-room on the ground floor. After parting wi th you last night." he said. "Comrade Windsor. "Pool-room." he said. I suppose. as I have mentioned in previ ous conversations. I was a fool to do it. and. I said I wasn't going to travel about New York in pyjamas." said Billy. but by that time I was so mad I'd have taken on Jim Jeffries. "They always t urn nasty if you put up a fight. but I was so mad I didn't stop to think. I'd put on some clothes and come with them. pretty nearly knocke d to pieces. "You have told me your painful story. I might have known it was no use arguing with a New Y ork cop. I got up to see what was doing." "What!" "A banging at the door. and told me to come along quick. I said. "You got my note all right then?" Psmith looked at him. Anyway. "He wasn't expecting it. and was beginning to make the man think that he had stumbled on Stanley Ketchel or Kid Brady or a dynamite explosion by mistake. when I was sleeping peacefully upstairs. "Hullo." said Billy. all right. I passed on into my room .had the air of a man who has been caught in the machinery. and started t o get into my shirt." repeated Psmith.

But. convinced him by means of arguments and by s ilent evidence of my open. Comrade Windsor. These men. Comrade Windsor?" Why. I cannot say. looks as if two cyclones and a threshing machine had passed through it." "They've searched it?" "With a fine-toothed comb. and came away without a stain on my character. The real editor hints in his bright and snappy editorial." "For thirty days." Billy Windsor listened to this narrative with growing interest." "As regards yours." said Psmith. But it is an undoubted fact th at mine." he said. I think I told you. "We should ha ve been done if you hadn't. in order to correct what seemed to me even on reflection certain drawbacks to my costume. Very cordially the honest fellows invited me to go with them. arrived at the police station.running a gambling establishment in the lower regions of the building--where. but they assured me--more by their manner than their words--that my misgivi ngs were out of place. "Gum! it's them!" he cried. We need a sitz-redacteur on Cosy Moments almost as much as a fighting editor. even as you appear to have done. honest face and unwavering eye that I was not a profe ssional gambler. is a gentleman employed by German newspapers with a taste for lese majeste to go to prison whenever required in place of the real editor. I told myself. but of course that would never do." sighed Psmith. "What Cosy Moments really needs is a sitz-reda cteur. They tipped the police off about the pool-rooms." "The Kid has had to leave then?" "He wants to go into training at once. that the Kaiser's moustache reminds him of a bad dream. He very sportingly offered to cancel his match. I will bow to their views. waited in the street without." he went on miserably. and I'm out of it all. I pointed out. I'll bet anything you like they have been in and searched our roo ms by now. and we have neither. say. have lived longer in New York than I." Billy Windsor slapped his knee. Thi ngs are just warming up for the final burst. They know what is done and what is not done." "A what?" "A sitz-redacteur. The police force s woops down en masse on the office of the journal. there is a saloon--and the Law was now about to clean up the p lace. and are met by the sitz-redact eur. it seemed. so I yielded. that sea-green pyjamas with old rose frogs were not the costume in wh ich a Shropshire Psmith should be seen abroad in one of the world's greatest cit ies. A conveyance . which I revisited before going to the office. knowing that we should be hauled off without having time to take any thing with us. So I went with them. Comrade Windsor. This morning I chatted a w hile with the courteous magistrate. "meaning what. "It was lucky you thought of sending that paper by post. for inst ance. and after a very pleasant and cosy little ride in the patrol waggon. "As Comrade Maloney would say. who goes with them peaceably. allowing the editor to remain and sketch out plans for his next week's article on the Crown Prince. Not one of my objects of vertu but has been displaced . "this is awful. the fellows who are after that paper. Unless you consider Comrade Maloney eq .

However. But I have a scheme. You have left a g ood man at the helm." "I shouldn't. "I shouldn't." "Bat Jarvis. I must look around me for some one else." "I don't care. Little deeds of kin dness." said Psmith regretfully. to you. "you'll have to be fading away soon." A policeman appeared at the door. The cat-specialist to whom you endeared yourself somewhat earlier in the proceedings by befriending one of his wandering animals." "The same. and there's no earthly need for you to b e around the office. and sound him on the subject. but i t has been done." said Billy stoutly. pal. It's a walk-over from now on. But now thing s have simplified themselves. If nothing else comes of the visit." He retired. it's true.ual to the job." "I guess I shan't get a chance." "What's that?" "It seems to me that we are allowing much excellent material to lie unused in th e shape of Comrade Jarvis. Whether he will consent to put himself out on my behalf remai ns to be seen." he remarked to Psmith. Should we no t give Comrade Jarvis an opportunity of proving the correctness of this statemen t? I think so. little acts of love. etc. "but if you see me aroun d in the next day or two. but I'll try it if I do. This act is going to be a scream fro . "I guess they won't give me much chance. I guess." "Well. "Time's up. I shall be too fully oc cupied with purely literary matters to be able to deal with chance callers. Give you three minutes more. I admit. as you have doubtless heard. I reckon. there is no harm in trying." "I fail to follow you. "All will be well with the paper." Psmith shook his head. help. this could not have been said. I shouldn't wonder if they put you in yo ur little cell for a year or so. Once. Have no fear. Say it quick." The door opened and the policeman reappeared. Shortly after you--if you will forgive me for touching on painful subject--have been haled to your dungeon. Comrade Windsor. and then you will be immers ed in the soup beyond hope of recovery." he whispered. "Say. I shall at least have had the opportunity of chatting with one of our mo st prominent citizens. I fancy. "They're bound to catch you. his affection is confined . good-bye." he said. "Abstain from undue worrying. Comrade Windsor. I will push round to Comrade Jarvis's address. don't be surprised. Billy leaned forward to Psmith." urged Psmith. Not many." "Men have escaped from Blackwell's Island before now. Unfortunately. "I'd give a year later on to be round and ab out now.

" "No engagements of any importance to-day?" "Not a thing. Psmith. "Hullo. Do you recol lect paying a visit to Comrade Windsor's room--" "By the way. put down the paper he was r eading. however. Comrade Jackson. looking very brown and in excellent condition. with the air of a father welcoming home the pro digal son. the cat chap. merriest day of all the glad New Year. jerking his head in the direction of the inner room. where is Windsor?" "In prison. "A guy waiting to see me. Don't you remember a certain gentleman with just about e nough forehead to keep his front hair from getting all tangled up with his eye-b rows?" "Oh. Why?" "Because I propose to take you to visit Comrade Jarvis. Let us return to that evening." he said. turning a page. on that evening--" "In prison?" "For thirty days. "Why. Comrade Jackson. We're playing a game over in Brooklyn to-morrow." "As you very justly observe. For slugging a policeman. "Dere's a guy in dere waitin' ter see youse." "Jarvis?" said Mike." "What's the idea? What are you going to see him for?" .m start to finish. puzzled. "this is the maddest." said Master Maloney. Comrade Maloney? With or without a sand-bag?" "Says his name's Jackson." he said briefly. anon. "I got back this morning. Comrade Jarvis may have other sides to his ch aracter--possibly many--but it is as a cat chap that I wish to approach him to-d ay. I know of no one who can last two minutes against you. Well. Psmith moved quickly to the door of the inner room. the cat chap? I know." "Let your mind wander back a little through the jungle of the past." he said. whom you will doubtless remember. For going straight t o the mark and seizing on the salient point of a situation. More of this." CHAPTER XXIV A GATHERING OF CAT-SPECIALISTS Master Maloney raised his eyes for a moment from his book as Psmith re-entered t he office. Where di d you come from?" Mike. "I don't remember any Jarvis.

Comrade Maloney has given me the address. Wood. "But." "I expect you need a fighting editor. He has had to leave us to-day to go to White Plains to train for an encoun ter with a certain Mr. don't you?" "He is indispensable. Indeed. I hear my tissues crying out imperatively to be restored. such is the stress of this fe." Psmith briefly recounted the adventures of the past few weeks. Comrade Jackson. when he had finished "why on earth don't you call in the police?" "We have mentioned the matter to certain of the force. is somewhat peculiar." corrected Psmith. Comrade Jackson. You do not object? Remember that you have in your E nglish home seventy-four fine cats. Comrade Jackson. that he is now never without a m atch. "You certainl y seem to have bucked it up rather. "I will explain all at a little luncheon t that you will be my guest.. or employing private help. 'Ain't youse satisfied with what youse got? G'wan!' His advice in such cases is good. unfo rtunately cost us a fighting editor. he becomes bored. I think so. Has anybody cut up rough about the stuff you've printed?" "Cut up rough? Gadzooks! I need merely say that one critical reader put a bullet through my hat--" "Rot! Not really?" "While others kept me tree'd on top of a roof for the space of nearly an hour. and says. man. as they lunched. a four-ounce-glove juggler of established fame. Are you on to that? Then let us be going. like all great men. all will be well. Comrade Jackson? I think " . Kid Brady's reminiscences are hot stuff. it will probably be necessary in the course of our interview to allude to you as one of our most eminent living cat-fanciers." said Mike. That is why I should like you.. An ass of milk somewhere round the corner. to com e with me to call upon Comrade Jarvis. and should be followed . however. I f you press the matter. since coming to this city I have developed a habit of taking care of mysel f." "How's that?" "Such is the boost we have given Comrade Brady." said Mike."We. at which I trus journalistic li oyster and a gl so. If you go to a New York policeman and exhibit a black eye. indispensable. I know of nobody who cuts a greater quantity of ice. Comrade Jackson." "No rotting. he will examine it and expr ess some admiration for the abilities of the citizen responsible for the same. If I can only en list Comrade Jarvis's assistance. It is a goodish step dow ." "Somewhat sizzling. mostly Angoras. if you will. "They have. A ssuredly they have cut up rough." admitted Psmith. No. They appeared tolerably i nterested. The New Y ork policeman. but showed no tendency to leap excitedly to our assistance. shall we be moving in his direction? By the way. If you are through with your refreshment. "I was reading Cosy Moments in there. Already." "Great Scott! Tell us. He is a person of considerable influence among that section of the populace which is endeavouring to smash in our occiput s.

n on the East side. "is not knowledge. Jarvis in his Groome Street fancier's shop. "is a cor ruption of cat-mint." Mr. "Ah. How it wipes from t he retina of to-day the image impressed on it but yesterday." said Mr.." said Psmith. as Comrade Jackson was just about to observe. "the fierce rush of New York life." Mr. This.." said Psmith." said Psmith. Why it should be so corrupted I do not know. It sounded like a riddle. pausing for a moment in the middle of a bar. His information on Angoras alone would fill a volume. "we meet again. "To which particular famil y of the Felis Domestica does that belong? In colour it resembles a Neapolitan i ce more than anything. "I should have remembered that time is money. I should like to take a taxi. They found Mr." he said tolerantly."--Mr. with a wave of his hand in the direction of the silen tly protesting Mike." "Say. adjusting his eyeglass." . extended a well-buttered hand towards him. but it might seem ostentatious . Jarvis rose. possibly the best known of our English cat-fanciers. Passing lightly on from that--" ." he said. "The word. and then t aking up the air where he had left off. Jarvis. You remember me?" "Nope. "is Comrade Jackson. Jarvis's manner became unfriendly. Comrade Jackson's stud of Angoras is celebrated wherever the King 's English is spoken." he said. "Say. Psmith looked on benevolently." said Psmith. "Comrade Jarvis. I should recomm end you to read Comrade Jackson's little brochure on the matter. but it was obvious t hat Mr. Co mrade Jarvis?" The cat-expert concentrated himself on the cat's paws without replying. He looked up as they ent ered. Jarvis's motive in putting the question was not frivolous. and. and began to breathe a melody with a certain coyness. I called in here partly on the strength of being a colleague and side-partner of Comrade Windsor--" "Mr. what do youse want? That's straight ain't it? If youse want to buy a boid or a snake why don't youse say so?" "I stand corrected. having inspected Mike with silent admiration for a while. Let us walk. Jarvis was evidently touching on a point which had weighed deeply up on him--"why's catnip called catnip?" Mike looked at Psmith helplessly. Psmith was not discouraged. and in Hoxton. Windsor! De gent what caught my cat?" "The same--and partly in order that I might make two very eminent cat-fanciers a cquainted. Are you with me. "A fine animal. But what of th at? The subject is too deep to be gone fully into at the moment. He really wis hed to know. engaged in the intell ectual occupation of greasing a cat's paws with butter. "What Comrade Jackson does not know about cats.

now plainly on a subject near to his heart." "And what happened to the cop?" inquired Psmith." "You should put them into strait-waistcoats. Jarvis went on. Psmith took advantage of the pause to leave the cat topic and touch on matter of more vital import. ever have a cross-eyed cat?" "Comrade Jackson's cats. it's fierce when it's like dat. But. Dat's what comes of havin' a cat wit one blue eye and one yaller one. and den dey gits thin and ties theirselves into k nots." he said. "One of de bo ys what he'd pinched and had sent to de Island once lays for him and puts one ov er him wit a black-jack. is a ca t wit one blue eye and one yaller one. "Oh. and first t'ing you know I'm in bad all roun d. I should like to touch." he replied firmly. He seemed to be meditating on the inscrutable workings of Fate. interested." "How's that?" ." "Did they git thin?" Mike felt that it was time. Jarvis relapsed into silence. Sure. to assert hims elf. cross-eyed cats is. if you will permit me. It wasn't till I give him away to de cop on de corner and gets me one dat's c ross-eyed dat I lifts de skiddoo off of me. Sure. and I know tha t your regard for Comrade Windsor is almost an obsession. "There was a time when many of Comrade Jackson's felidae supported life almost e ntirely on beetles."Did youse ever have a cat dat ate beetles?" inquired Mr. Puts you in bad. if he was to preserve his reputation. "there is another matter on which. ignoring the remark and sticking to his p oint. was dere ever a cat wit one blue eye and one yaller one in your bunch? Gum." said Psmith. and not'in' don't ne ver go wrong. You has a cross-eyed cat. O ncest a guy give me a cat like dat." said Psmith. "Say." agreed Psmith." "A versatile animal. "dem beet les is fierce. surest t'ing you know. he got in bad. Jarvis without emotion." Mr. It's a real skiddoo. "don't make cats thin. "Tense and exhilarating as is this discussion of the optical peculiarities of ca ts. "dat ate beetles and got thin and used to tie itself into knots. sure enough." said Mr." said Mr. I can't. I would hesitate to bore you with my own private troubles. say. "have happily been almost free from strab ismus. Jarvis. "Passing. Can't keep de cats off of eatin' dem. Jarvis." Mr. but t his is a matter which concerns Comrade Windsor as well as myself." "Dey's lucky. Mr. li ghtly--" "Say. Passing lightly--" "I had a cat oncest. however. "No. First t'ing you know dey've swallowed dem." said Psmith. "English beetles. Jarvis looked astonished.

In fact. Jarvis. is our mutual friend. and what do we see? Mainly scoundrels. Spider Reilly." said Psmith. How sad it is in this world! We look to every side. Windsor put through it. Dat was anudder. Comrade Jarvis." "De Kid?" . failing you. Jackson's to de good." "Mr. they went to a gentleman o f the name of Reilly. dey're to de bad. and what m ore do we want? Nothing. eyeing Mike in friendly fashion .'" "So I was informed. "We are all to de good. Jarvis. I gather that the same sco undrels actually approached you with a view to engaging your services to do us i n. south. He caught me cat. "is the right spirit." went on Mr. Nothing could be more admirable. dimly comprehending." Psmith beamed approval." said Psmith." "Sure. 'Mr. but I g ives him de t'run down. The fact is." assented Mr." said Mr. Surest t'ing you know." "Spider Reilly?" "You have hit it." "Dose T'ree Points. but that you very handsomely refused the contract. was that the one that used to tie itself into knots?" "Nope. Add to that the fact that we are united by a sympathetic knowledge of the manners and customs of cats. Mr. By the way. I got it in for dem gazebos." he said. Got gay. "Now the thing I wished to ask you is this . and west." "He did. Dey're fresh. Shamrock Hall." "Say. I fancy you have he ard a little about our troubles before this." "It is too true. "A guy comes to me and says he wants you and Mr."I should say. England's greatest fancier. We look north. Comrade Jarvis. "that Comrade Windsor is a man to whom you give the glad hand. Windsor is. whose name will be familiar to you. we are much persecuted by scoundrels. sure I have. to resume. "That. Jarvis. The office of the paper on which I work was until this morning securely guarde d by Comrade Brady. We are b ound together by our common desire to check the ever-growing spirit of freshness among the members of the Three Points. "Well. Comrade Jarvis. Windsor caught me cat. wit some of de Table Hillers. Say . waxing wrathful at the recollection. and especially th at Comrade Jackson.' I says." "Ah! However. e ast. Started some rough woik in me own dan ce-joint. 'Nuttin' done." said Psmith." "Shamrock Hall?" said Psmith." "Sure. "Dat's right. dey did. He's to the good. the lessee and manager of the T hree Points gang. "what do youse t 'ink dem fresh stiffs done de udder night.

Jarvis was as good as his word. I'll bring me canister. a nd the way into the office is consequently clear to any sand-bag specialist who cares to wander in. Just what an eminent cat-fancier's manner should be. sure." he said. yet n ot haughty. How do we go. then. as they turned out of Groome Street. "Me fer dat." "Not at all a bad hour's work. he has unfortunately been compelled to leave us. for your invaluable as sistance. he made his appearance at the office of Cosy Moments. "A vote of thanks to you. We will pay for yo ur services. "Why." "Me?" "Will you take Comrade Brady's place for a few days?" "How's that?" "Will you come in and sit in the office for the next day or so and help hold the fort? I may mention that there is money attached to the job. . On the following morning. in addition to his revolver. Could you be there at ten to-morrow morning?" "Sure t'ing."On the bull's-eye." "I should. unless--and this is where you come in. "In certain circumstances one canister is worth a flood of rhetoric." With him. I am obliged. Jarvis reflected but a brief moment. Well." "It strikes me I didn't do much." said Mike with a grin. at ten o'clock to the minute. Comrade Jarvis. it might quite possibly come in useful. was not ascertained. Your manner was exactly right. When do I start?" "Excellent. By the way." said Psmith complacently. as usual." said Psmith. he brought a long. I could see tha t you made a pronounced hit with Comrade Jarvis. but if you were to make yourself a thorough master of the subject of catn ip. if you are going to show up at the office to-morrow. probably to-morrow. the coming light-weight champion of the world. Comrade Jarvis?" Mr. Till to-morrow. no. are due to run up against the surprise of their lives. I do not presume to di ctate. "Apparently. Reserved. and his right coat-pocke t bulging in a manner that betrayed to the initiated eye the presence of the fai thful "canister. Kid Brady." CHAPTER XXV TRAPPED Mr. thin young man who wore under his brown tweed coat a blue-and-red striped jersey. his fore-lock more than usually well oiled in honour of the occasion. Matters connected with the paper have become so poignant dur ing the last few days that an inrush of these same specialists is almost a certa inty. I rather fanc y that the gay band of Three Pointers who will undoubtedly visit the offices of Cosy Moments in the next few days. Comrade Jackson. perhaps it would be as well if you were to loo k up a few facts bearing on the feline world. Nothing could be better. There is no knowing what thirst fo r information a night's rest may not give Comrade Jarvis. yes. I am very much obliged to yo u. for instance. In reality. Wh ether he brought him as an ally in case of need or merely as a kindred soul with whom he might commune during his vigil. Comrade Jarvis. Comrade Jarvis.

"Then. Long Otto. with protr uding eyes. "In Comrade Windsor's pre-dungeon days he was wont to sit where I am sitting now. Jarvis introduced hi s colleague. Jarvis. rugged. "if the Editorial Staff of this paper were to give y ou a day off. "I'd take me goil to d e Bronx Zoo. With Comrade Otto I fancy we shall make a combination w hich will require a certain amount of tackling. Psmith received the newcorners in the editorial sanctum with courteous warmth." "You did very rightly. "Thought I'd bring him along. could you employ it to profit?" "Surest t'ing you know. while I bivouacked over there at the smaller table. being a man of silent habit. "I can go about my professional duties with a light heart. You need a holiday.Pugsy. She ain't a bad mutt." said Psmith." added the ardent swain." Mr." said Psmith. "Her pa runs a delicatessen shop down our street. If you and C omrade Otto will select one apiece and group yourselves tastefully about the roo m in chairs. however. "I had heard no inkling of this. So did Long Otto. who. whom friends have sometimes told me I resemble in appearance. Comrade M aloney. He seemed to lack other modes of expression. "Your unerring insti nct did not play you false when it told you that Comrade Otto would be as welcom e as the flowers in May. as they passed through into the inner office. Jarvis regarded the paraphernalia of literature on the table with interest. "I'm her steady. Unflagging toil is sapping your physique. "Comrade Maloney. but a scrap per from Biffville-on-the-Slosh. I may possibly sing a bar or two." he said. she's a kid." "Won't youse be wantin' me to-day. blood-and-iron me n who were above the softer emotions. as you suggest." "Not to-day." Mr. Th roughout the seance and the events which followed it he confined himself to an o ccasional grunt. Long Otto's his monaker. The hardiest hooligan would shrink from introdu cing rough-house proceedings into a room graced by the combined presence of Long Otto and himself." "Your girl?" said Psmith inquiringly. observed the pair." said Psmith." said Pugsy. And if two dollars woul . Go up and watch the animals." replied Pugsy with some fervour. Comrade Maloney. You will find cigars in that box. "and in the meantime take her to the Bronx. Comrade Jarvis. and remember me very kindly to the Peruvian Llama. "Is dis where youse writes up pieces fer de paper?" inquired Mr. But wai t! A thought strikes me. eyeing the table. h owever. On b usy mornings you could hear our brains buzzing in Madison Square Garden. was no rube. Mr. startled out of his wonted calm by the arrival of this distinguished comp any. A charming chap. he affirmed. Who is she?" "Aw." Psmith assured him. "It is. and sat speechless for a full five minutes. Jarvis confirmed this view. made no comment." "See that I have a card for the wedding. I had always imagined you one of those strong. I will start in to hit up a slightly spicy editorial on the coming election." He called for Pugsy.

" "It occurred to me. Ott o and Jarvis." For about a quarter of an hour the only sound that broke the silence of the room was the scratching of Psmith's pen and the musical expectoration of Messrs. T'anks. "that Comrade Maloney is not at his cu stomary post. as of course you know. was within a few inches of his own. in about a quarter of a minute. as I said--Aha!" The handle of the door began to revolve slowly and quietly. and spoke. "It is just as well. The third. Finally Psmith leaned back in his chair with a satisfied expressio n. Any visit ors who call must find their way in for themselves. Action. It was evident that they had not expected to fi nd the door unlocked. Psmith rose with a kindly smile to welcome his guests. Psmith's observant eye noted that the bruise still lingered on the chin where K id Brady's upper-cut had landed at their previous meeting. was m ore fortunate. Psmith was right. who was holding the handle.d in any way add to the gaiety of the jaunt." Jarvis and Long Otto turned towards the door. Judging from the sound.. as I su spect." "Sure t'ing. "I understand. such toil has its compensations. "there is no agony like the agony of literary composition. Work.. Now. Am I not right. Comrade Jarvis. If that is Comrade Otto's forte. "While. so much the better. boss. I am a man of few words myself. if the footsteps I hear without are. Comrade Otto. Comrade Otto will bear me out in my statement that there is a subtle joy in the manufacture of the well-f ormed phrase. who spoke for him. "that the probable first mov e of any enterprising Three Pointer who invaded this office would be to knock Co mrade Maloney on the head to prevent his announcing him. when he had gone. for I f ancy that action rather than words is what we may be needing in the space of abo ut a quarter of a minute. Some one was mov ing stealthily in the outer office." said Psmith softly. and myself. That is the cry. those of our friends of the Three Points. Two of the three did not pause in their career ti ll they cannoned against the table. The next moment thre e figures tumbled into the room. "I cannot offer you all seats. surely!" he said in a pleased voice. The editori al I have just completed contains its measure of balm. All great men are like that. more than one person . At least. is Otto. as he spoke. Comrade R epetto. But what are words? Action is the thing. And now to work. and the absence of resistance when they applied their weig ht had had surprising effects. the w hat's-its-name of the thingummy and the thing-um-a-bob of the what d'you-call-it ." he said." said Psmith. Von Moltke. Comrade Otto?" The long one gazed appealingly at Mr. Jarvis. "Why." he went on." he said. "unless you care to dispose yourselv . Psmith nodded. Comrade Maloney's servi ces are too valuable to allow him to be exposed to unnecessary perils. "He's a bit shy on handin' out woids. "I thought I knew the face. Have you come bringing me a new hat?" The white-haired leader's face. this is a treat.

"Goin' to start any rough stuff?" inquired Mr. He looked round the assembled company. ahnd ther world is--ah--mine!'" concluded Psmith. to whom the remark was directly addressed." But Mr. Bat Jarvis? And my frien d. "Youse had better beat it. "Comrade Otto.es upon the tables. "'Lov' muh. Mr. however. "Comrade Jarvis. Comrade Repetto?" Mr." He indicated Psmith. Jarvis spoke." He looked inquiringly at the long youth. "The cigars are on the table. What did you wish to see me about. please. and cut loose. Mr." he observed." "Chorus." The three invaders had been aware of the presence of the great Bat and his colle ague for some moments. Psmith clicked his t ongue regretfully." said Psmith hospitably." he said. This may have been due to the fact that both Mr. and let's all be jolly. as he finished. gentlemen. and looked at the floor. Repetto. Repetto's eye was fastened on Mr. and the meeting seemed to be causing them embarrassment.' Pray." he added. Jarvis casually. Comrade Repetto. Mr. Mr. "And youse had better go back to Spider Reilly. He shuffled his feet. and nothing will make them forget it. See? Does dat go? If he t'inks his little t . Typical New York men of affairs. I wonder if you know my friend." In a rich baritone. L. Jarvis. Why th is shrinking coyness? Fling out your chest. "Well. Comrade Repetto and his colleagues have c ome here on business. I will open the proceedings with a song. then. I understand." he said. "And you can tell de Spider. "dat next time he gits gay and starts in to shoot guys in me danc e-joint I'll bite de head off'n him. Long Otto grunted sympathy with this advice." he said. with his eyeglass fixed the while on Mr. "will now recite that pathetic little poem 'Baby's Sock is now a Blue-bag. he proceed ed to relieve himself of the first verse of "I only know I love thee. Repetto. "Come along. The sight apparentl y had the effect of quenching his desire for song. "I fear that as a smoking-concert this is not going t o be a success. Otto? Let us all get acquainted on this merry occasion. Jarvis made a suggestion. Jarvis's revolver. Repetto's reply was unintelligible. His two companions seemed equally at a loss. "and tell him that there's nothin' doin' in the way of rough house wit dis gent here. Let us get on. who bowed. they close their minds to all influences that might lure them from their business. silence for Comrade Otto. Jarvis and Mr." went on Bat with gro wing ferocity. who remained mute. Otto had produce d and were toying meditatively with distinctly ugly-looking pistols." continued Mr. "what's doin'?" Mr. appeared to have some di fficulty in finding a reply. "Draw up your chairs.

wrathful. pointing to the door. An' don't fergit dis gent here and me is pals." "Especially of ancient friends such as Comrade Jarvis. a desire to talk busin ess of any kind?" "My business is private. you are break . The delegation then withdrew. Comrade Parker. Jarvis. Repetto or his colleagues. "for your courtly assistance. "It is too long since we met. At the end of this period the conversation was once more interrupted by the soun d of movements in the outer office. woven into the social motives of your call. "Welcome. in the manner of a chairman addressing a meeting. and the tall-shaped hat. Comrade Otto. in fact. Does dat go!" Psmith coughed. And you." Mr. well. he who had come as an embassy fro m the man up top in the very beginning of affairs. "Did you come purely for friendly chit-chat.wo-by-four gang can put it across de Groome Street. he can try." said Mr. reaching for his revolver. The gentleman on your left is Comrade Otto. "I do not know. Dat's right. If I am right. Comrade Ja rvis I think you know. and had departed. to prompt him to knock on doors. that is to say. Thank you. I fancy. and any one dat starts anyt'ing wit dis gent is going to have to git busy wit me. notably some hints on the treatment of fits in kittens. For half an hour after the departure of the Three Pointers Psmith chatted amiabl y to his two assistants on matters of general interest. in my opinion. though Mr. "I am very much obliged. "If dat's dose stiffs come back--" began Mr." said Psmith. Comrade Parker." said Psmith. It was not Mr. Comrade Jarvis. th e shiny shoes. Comrad e Jarvis. Jarvis. The exchange of ideas wa s somewhat one-sided. But for you I do not care to think with what a splash I might not have been immersed in the gumbo. and grunted. It now only remains for me to pass a vote of thanks to Comrade Jarvis an d to declare this meeting at an end. As on his previous visit. than Mr. "Stay your hand." inquired Psmith. I didn't expect a crowd. He has. "I do not think it can be our late friends. Jarvis. C ome in. "tha t I have anything to add to the very well-expressed remarks of my friend. in supposing that it was y ou who approached him at an earlier stage in the proceedings with a view to enga ging his sympathetic aid in the great work of putting Comrade Windsor and myself out of business. Francis Parker. handsomely dismissing the matter. Otto kicked th e leg of the table. and shot his cuffs." "Aw chee!" said Mr." "Beat it. It was plain that he had not expe cted to find Psmith entertaining such company." The door opened. covered the ground very thoroughly and satisfac torily. Well. Jarvis had one or two striking items of informa tion to impart. Comrade Jar vis. he wore the dude suit. " or was there. Parker was looking at Bat in bewilderment." said as a sharp knock sounded on the door." he said. m outhing declarations of war. No other. but another old frien d. Comrade Repetto's knowledge of the usag es of polite society is too limited. Mr. Comrade Jarvis.

"And now. Comrade Parker. what's the use o f keeping on at this fool game? Why not quit it before you get hurt?" Psmith smoothed his waistcoat reflectively." said Psmith. Parker quickly. good-bye. "I'll beat it. The person who is in danger of getting hurt seems to me to be the gentleman whose name is on that paper which is now in my possession." he said." Psmith nodded. A small boy entered. Comrade Parker." he said at last. Comrade Parker. "'Aha!' Meaning th at I propose to keep that information to myself." he said. "Reluctantly. Jarvis warmly. "let her rip. "You are absolutely correct. touching your business?" Mr. But. Parker. What can I do for you?" "You seem to be all to the merry with Bat Jarvis. I am as a tortoiseshell kitten to him. And many thanks for your invaluable co-operation. Parker shrugged his shoulders. "but it seems to me that the chances of my getting hurt are not so great as you appear to imagine. As reluctantly as I hint that I would be a lone. "The phrase exactly expresses it. "aren't you going to be good? Say. "I may be wrong. Comrade Parker." "Where is it?" demanded Mr. Well. Comrade Jarvis. I think I shall be f orced to postpone our very entertaining discussion of fits in kittens till a mor e opportune moment. "You know your own business. when the door had closed." Mr. "Guy asks me give dis to gazebo named Smiff" he said. If I might drop in some time at your private residence?" "Sure. "Excellent. . are you not to a certain extent am ong the Blenheim Oranges? I think so." "Aw chee!" said Mr. Psmith eyed him benevolently. I guess. I hope. Comrade Jarvis. I do." he said. Now that Cosy Moments has our excellent friend Comrade Jarvis on its side. as Comrade Parker wishes to talk over some privat e business--" Bat Jarvis rose. Parker was silent for a moment." said Mr." observed Mr.ing up a most interesting little symposium. Jarvis. "See here. Meanwhile. I think so." As he spoke there was a rap at the door. "If you will pardon the expression. In his hand was a scrap of paper. Comrade Parker. for the present.

and bring some money. Bi lly could be of no possible help in the campaign at its present point. By the side of the pavement a few yards down the road a taximeter-ca b was standing. He had taken his seat and was closing the door. But for this. Parker. Parker was still beside him. when it was snatched from his gr asp and Mr. Parker smoothly. It occurred to Psmith that it would not do to l et him hear the address Billy Windsor had given in his note. Mr. as Artemus Ward was wont to observe. It was dated from an address on the East Side. "Then you mean to go on with this business?" "Though it snows." . Psmith hailed it." So Billy Windsor had fulfilled his promise. my lad. The next moment the cab had s tarted up the street instead of and the hard muzzle of a revolver was pressing a gainst Psmith's waistcoat. All the w ork that remained to be done could easily be carried through without his assista nce. "Turn and go on down the street." he said to the driver." They went out into the street. For the first time since his connection with Cosy Moments began Psmith was really disturbed. He had escaped." he said." It was signed "W." "You think of everything. "I regret to state that this office is now closing fo r the day. "I am convinced of it. Parker." said Psmith thoughtfully. Possibly the missive is for me. W. And by breaking out from the Island he had committed an offence which was b ound to carry with it serious penalties. Parker. "Comrade Parker."There are many gazebos of that name. Expl ain when I see you. I should be delighted to sit chatting with you. "Dear Smith. Parker darted on to the seat opposite. A feeling of regret for the futility of the thing was Psmith's first emotion. He turned to Mr." He took the paper. Psmith thoughtful and hardly realising the other' s presence. As it i s--" "Very well. leaning back with the pistol resting easil y on his knee." said Mr. Comrade Parker. CHAPTER XXVI A FRIEND IN NEED "The point is well taken." it ran. But don't move. One of whom I am which. Put that hand back where it was." "Good. Comrade Parker. "Come here as quick as you can. "Now what?" said Mr. "You think so?" said Mr.

Comrade Parker. The t axi-cab was buzzing along up Fifth Avenue now. I'll blow a hole through you. Comrade Parker?" "No. Comrade Parker. And it isn't as if such a feat could give you the thrill of successful marksmanship.' Think for a moment what would happen." said Mr." Psmith raised his eyebrows." "You did. Comrade Parker. how green the herbage! Fling your eye at yonder grassy knoll. Co mrade Parker. "That. 'She loves me not. is doubtless precious to yourself. "is where you make your error. 'Happy thought. and remained silent for a few moments. 'Comrade Parker is no t such a fool as he looks." said Psmith handsomely. Comrade Parker. It shall not occur again . however unhealthy to the eye of the casual o bserver. while it is true that I can't get out. It seems to me that we have nothing before us but to go on riding about New York till you feel that my socie . I trust you would wear a made-up tie with evening dress." he said. Parker shortly. weltering in his gore? Death to the assassin! I fear nothing could save you from the fury of the mob. m aking an unwelcome crease in that immaculate garment. Comrade Parker. You said to you rself. now that I have got him?'" "You think so. I forgot." "It had better not. Looking towards the window. 'Parker is the man with the big brain!' But now. The cry goes round criminal circles in New York. and you are not the man I take you f or if you would risk it purely for the momentary pleasure of plugging me with a revolver. Ha! What is this? Psmith. The great white mass of the Plaza Hotel s howed up on the left. Your face is contorted with the anguish of mental stress. you did." "You have the advantage of me then. do you?" "I am convinced of it. the momentary pleasure of potting me. The fault. You would no mor e shoot me in the heart of the metropolis than." said Mr. I will kidnap Psmith! 'and all your friends said. 'What on earth shall I do with him. Carried away by my love of nature. I seem to see them meditatively plucking you limb from limb. Ah. the People's Pet.' A leg joins the lit tle heap of limbs on the ground. 'She loves me!' Off comes an arm. You would be headed off and stopped. "Don't bite at me. Your skin. you are moaning. the Park! How fresh the leaves. Why be brusque on so joyous an occasion? Bett er men than us have stopped at the Plaza. Let this be a lesson to you. never to embark on any enterprise of which you do not see the end. Comrade Parker. And what would you hav e left out of it? Merely. "was enti rely mine. That is how it would be. "If it does. and instantly bicycle-policemen would be pursuing this taxi-cab with the purposeful speed of greyhounds trying to win the Waterloo Cup. Psmit h saw that they were nearing the park. "I told you to keep that hand where it was. Parker unpleasantly." He raised his hand to point. "Did you ever stop at the Plaza." "I guess I see the end of this all right. The shot would ring out. Comrade Parker. I fear you have n ot thought this matter out with sufficient care. Instantly the revolver was against his waistcoat. as I say.He dropped his hand on to the seat. A nybody could hit a man with a pistol at an inch and a quarter.

" "Meaning what. where there are no witnesses." "Like John Brown's soul. "I understand. a glimpse of the ri ver could be seen. we aren't due to stay in the city." said Psmith. many people are not. assuming for purposes of argument that it was in the power of a wood-chuck to chuck wood?" Mr. I guess." "And when we are out in the open country. well. He seemed mistrustful o f Psmith's right hand. Comrade Parker?" "It might be a fool trick to shoot you in the city as you say." said Psmith with ready sympathy. Then you propose to make quite a little tour in this cab?" "You've got it. Comrade Parker? Well. It was from this qu arter that he seemed to expect attack. Tell me about your home-life. things m ay begin to move. past rows on rows of high houses. you see. Say no more. A passion for the flora and fauna of our forests is innate rather than acquired." said Psmith heartily. Parker did not attempt to solve this problem. Parker said nothing. You can take no step of any sort for a ful l half-hour." "You figure you're clever. This cab is moving on. But why this sudden tribute?" "You reckon you've thought it all out. through a break in the line of buildings. "You are not interested in wood-chucks. The cab was bowling easily up the broad s treet. Are you married? Are there any little Parkers running about the house? Wh en you return from this very pleasant excursion will baby voices crow gleefully. to the right. "I see. but. Have you detected one?" "I guess so. "I see. He was sitting in the same att itude of watchfulness. Comrade P arker.ty begins to pall. You are un . all looking exactly the same. Comrade Parker. which was hanging limply at his side." "That's it. eh?" "There may be a flaw in my reasoning. Comrade Parker? How much wood would a wood-chuck chuck. 'Fahzer's come home'?" Mr. the revolver resting on his knee. possibly more. but I confess I do not at the moment see w here it lies. Occasiona lly. so let us give ourselves up to the merriment of the passing instant. Psmith resumed the conversation. "till that moment arrives what we must do is to en tertain each other with conversation. Are you good at riddles. Let us talk of something else. nodding." "Ah! And what is it?" "You seem to think New York's the only place on the map." "Then." "There are few brighter brains in this city.

They were off Manhattan Is land now. There was little chan ce of its being effective. Parker did not reply." said Psmith regretfully. "Sherlock Holmes was right. Psmith's muscles stiffened for a spring. Psmith relapsed into silence. Alas." said Mr. Psmith's eye turned again to the window.. purely to satisfy my curiosity. "You may remember that he advised Doctor Watson never to take the first cab. and in an unguarded moment I may h ave assumed too much. But quic kness might save him to some extent. Parker was evidently too keenly on the look-out. closed. Was it your face or your manners at wh ich she drew the line?" Mr. He was bound to be hit somewhere. An occasional w ooden shack was passed. but Mr. Parker's chin would be in just the r ight position for a swift upper-cut. If it had been poi nted at his head in the orthodox way he might have risked a sudden blow to knock it aside. thus it is! We lo ok around us. That note which the grubby stripling brought to me at the office purported to come fr om Comrade Windsor. Comrade Parker?" he asked. There was no doubt that a move on his part would be fatal. The muzzle. Comrade Parker! However. If the pistol went off. pointing in an upwar d direction. and stated that he had escaped from Blackwell's Island. and what do we see? A solid phalanx of the girls we have loved and lost. Parker leaned forward with a scowl. they must come into the open country. travelling at their p resent rate. At any moment the climax of the drama might be reached. Walking is far healthier." "You'll find it so. "What are you going to do with me. "let us turn to another point. This fact appeared suddenly to dawn on Mr. There was not hing to do but wait. but that was all. if that note was genuine? I have never made a close study of Comrade Windsor's handwriting. or the second. The cab moved swiftly on. "Leaving more painful topics. . "I guess you aren't so clever after all. She wouldn't have you. Tell me about her. Parker himself. Soon. it must hit him." Mr. He should have gone further. Mr. as it hung. Parker permitted himself a smile.. Now they had reached the open country. and urged him not to take cabs at all. And he had a faint hope that the suddenness of his movement might ups et the other's aim. Parker nodded. but at least it would be better to put up some kind o f a fight. but in the present circumstances that would be useless. He had been talking in the hope of getting t he other off his guard. Comrade Parker. It was necessary for him to think. Psmith's hand resumed its normal attitude. They had cove red much ground since last he had looked at the view." said Psmith. "The note was a fake all righ t. and the houses were beginning to thin out. Would you mind telling me . and half raised the revolver. was aimed at Psmith's waist. but his right hand. He drew back quickly. Psmith eyed him curiously. Another moment and Mr. and was awaiting my arrival at some address in the Bowery. That was certain. Psmith did not move." "And you had this cab waiting for me on the chance?" Mr. Parker.married." he said. The hand that held the revolver never wavered.

now?" speculated the Kid. lacking the conversational graces. "Did you run over a nail?" the Kid inquired of the chauffeur. he felt justified in turning aside and looking into the matter. as he had not yet settled down to genuine hard work. and it was while jogging along the highway a couple of miles from his training-camp." said thick-neck number two. while perhaps somewhat lacking in the matter of original thought." said thick-neck number one. but just then the smooth speed of the cab changed to a series of jarring bumps. and continued on his way without a pause. "Guy ran over a nail. . who. without demanding the additional joy of sparkling small-talk from the man in charge of the operations. "Surest thing you know. In another moment he would have s prung. who seemed to be a taciturn man." "Surest thing you know. It was his practice to open a course of training with a little gentle road-work. A sort of Boswell. in company with the two thicknecked gentlemen who acted as his sparring-partners. I guess. It was the voice of Kid Brady. then came to a halt.He braced his leg against the back of the cab." said the first of the thick-necks. All three concentrated their gaze on the machine "Kid's right. was a most useful fellow to have by one. CHAPTER XXVII PSMITH CONCLUDES HIS RIDE The Kid. "Surest thing you know. One cannot have ev erything in this world. "Guy's been an' bust a tyre. Presently the body of the machine was raised slightly as he got to work with the jack. "Wonder how he did that. "Seems to me the tyre's punctured. sure. manifestly objected to an audience. It was about a minute later that somebody in the road outside spoke. each more emphatic than the last. On e of the tyres had burst. It slowed down. But now. however alluring. "Guy's had a breakdown." agreed his colleague. deterred him not at all. They heard him fumbling in the t ool-box. If this had happened after his training had begun in real earnest. "Had a breakdown?" inquired the voice. he would have averted his eyes from the spectacle. that he had come upon the b roken-down taxi-cab. at White Plains. as the chauffeur jumped down. a vil lage distant but a few miles from New York." said the other. had begun his training for his match with Eddie Wood. Psmith recognised it. There was a thud. They observed the perspiring chauffeur in silence for a while. The fact that th e chauffeur." said thick-neck number one. and the Kid and his attendant thick-necks were content t o watch the process of mending the tyre. as he had stated to Psmith at their last interview that he intended to do." said the Kid.

" Psmith. "I'm goin' to rubber in at the window. He would have slipped to the floor had not Psmith pushed him on to th e seat. "or you'll get hurt. in the interior of the cab. The bill--" Mr. Smith?" queried the excited Kid. Comrade Brady!" said Psmith genially. The revolver went o ff with a deafening report. and as he heard it Mr. Mr." Psmith suspended his remarks. smiled pleasantly. as the fingers lost their hold. His head jerked back. "Pretty rich guy inside." "De guy's beat it. He'll have to strip off a few from his roll to pay for this. His left hand shot out. Say. then fell limply on his chest. that eminent tactician. Meanwhile. Mr. "This is his busy day. "Say. "You heard. Parker dug viciously at him with the revolver." "What's doin'. "I heard your voice. I will tell you all anon. . kindly knock that chauffeur down and sit on his head. "Surest thing you know." surmised the Kid. With a vague idea of screening Psmith from the eyes of the man in the road he half rose. took Mr. glanced at Mr. Behind him could be seen portions of the faces of the two thick-necks. For an instant the muzzle of the pistol ceased to point at Psmith's w aistcoat. Outside. I fancy." Psmith. and gave it a sharp wrench. Parker's eye. Psmith had risen from his seat as he delivered the blow. which was not sma ll. "Guy's too full o f work to talk to us." said the Kid. I guess. the conversation had begun again. the bullet passing through the back of the cab. wonder what he's doin' with a taxi so far out of the city. There came the sound of the Kid's feet grating on the road as he turned. The effect was instantaneous. meeting Mr. too. for the first time lost his head . The next moment Psmith's rig ht fist.The chauffeur ignored the question. Parker literally crumpled up. it'll cost him somethin g. "Keep quiet. "Much. grasped the other's wrist. "Ah. Comrade Parker? He is right." "Deaf. following up his companion's train of th ought. Parker. and it consequently got the full benefit of his weight." said the other. He's a bad person. Comrade Brady. and was hoping y ou might look in for a chat. then fell to the floor. shouldn't wonder. There was no answering smil e on the other's face. Parker neatly under the angle of the jaw. darting upwards. It was the very chance Psmith had been waiting for." said the first thick-neck with satire." volunteered the first thick-neck. however." "Some guy tells him to drive him out here. Parker. much. The interested face of the Kid appeared at the window." he whispered.

No hooligan.. but none arrived. The Kid. "Hullo?" he said. .. What Bat said was law on the East Side. causing inconvenience to all. Shall we be pushing on?" . We may as well take the gun. Comrade Parker is not the proper man to ha ve such a weapon. Psmith. pointing to Parker. "I'm Parker. as far as hired ass ault and battery were concerned. . and that had given him an understanding of what a term of imprisonment on Blackwell's Island meant. They c ould not hope to catch him off his guard a second time. Comrade Brady." he said. The only flaw in Psmith's contentment was the absence of Billy Windsor. No sounds broke the peace of the outer office ex cept the whistling of Master Maloney. For the moment I have had sufficient. Psmith uttered a cry of welcome. he was as safe in New York. He was fairly satisfied that the opposition had fired their la st shot. and that their next move would be to endeavour to come to terms. I propose that we leave him where he is. "I am a t your disposal. Mr." He groped on the floor of the cab fo r the revolver. Psmith inspected the stricken one gravely. "Riding in a taxi is pleasant provided it is not overdone. Unless you or either of your friends are collecting Parkers. It was late in the evening when Psmith returned to the metropolis. now that Bat Jarvis had declared himself on his side. straightening himself up. In my opinion. his enjoyment of the rather special dinner which he felt justified in ordering in h onour of the occasion somewhat diminished by the thought of Billy's hard case. Psmith dined alone. however eager to make m oney. "Our ride together gave me as m uch of his society as I desire for to-day. A bit of walking will do me good. who had begun to stir slightly. would dare to act against a protege of the Groome Street leader. Billy. as he would have been in the middle of a dese rt. bean soup." said Psmith. "I have no use for him. He is too prone to go firing it off in any direction at a mome nt's notice. prepared to repel all invaders.. Comrade Brady. "I'll tell you about it as we go. Smith?" asked the Kid."What's been doin'. "Now. stepping into the road." "What are you going to do with this guy. however. Comrade Brady. H e had seen Mr William Collier in The Man from Mexico. again accompanied by the faithful Otto." he said." said a moody voice. took up his position in the inner room. All was quiet at the office on the following day. Bat Jarvis. toying with the hors d'oeuvre. Mr. must be supporting life on bread. offered once more to abandon his match with Eddie Wood. after a pleas ant afternoon at the Brady training-camp. Things were almost dull when the telephone bell rang. Psmith took down the recei ver. but Psmith woul d not hear of it. and water. was somewhat saddened by the thought. Smith?" asked the Kid. having heard the details of t he ride.. and. during these lean days. On this night of all nights the editorial staff of Cosy Moments should have been togethe r to celebrate the successful outcome of their campaign.

" "I am sorry. Perhap s later. I should be delighted. "Yes." "Who. Parker made no reply to the invitation. Stewart Waring." said Psmith." Psmith ripped open the envelope. preparing the next number. CHAPTER XXVIII . "Then I do not see how we can meet." "The celebrated tenement house-owner?" Silence from the other end of the wire. "Mr. but I had other engagements. perh aps you might mention it." "Am I to tell Mr. the one in which we publish the name of the owner of the Pleasant Street Tenements. this is splendid! How goes it? Did you get back all right yesterday? I was sorry to have to tear myself away." and it was signed "Wilb erfloss. Comrade Maloney?" "Telegram. The message ran: "Returning to-day. His office is in the Morton Building. Waring that you refuse?" "If you are seeing him at any time and feel at a loss for something to say. As he did so. Comrade Parker." he said." He hung up the receiver. But why use the telephone? Why not come here in person? You know how welcome yo u are. "I shall be here. as you m ay know. Hire a taxi-cab and come right round. It is impossible. I am very busy just now. Comrade Parker. Comrade Parker?" "Mr. "what step does he propose to take towards it?" "He tells me to say that he will be in his office at twelve o'clock to-morrow mo rning. when the rush of work has diminished somewhat. Look in when you're this way." said Pugsy. Is there anything else I can do for you. Comrade Parke r?" "See here--" "Nothing? Then good-bye. Otherwise." "See who's here!" said Psmith softly." Psmith clicked his tongue regretfully."Why." "He wishes to see you at his office. he was aware of Master Maloney standing beside the table. "Well. "For Mr. Will be at office to-morrow morning." Mr. Waring would like to see you. Nassau Street. Windsor.

Ten minutes had barely elapsed when the yellow dog." Mr. "They add a pleasantly cosy and domestic t ouch to the scene. dey won't scrap wit de dawg. B. The next moment the door burst open and a little man dashed in." "Oh. Behind him was a crowd of uncertain numbers. Psmith recognised the leaders of this crowd. Henderson Asher . "Will you be so good as to tell me where Mr. Except--" He glanced inquiringly at the little man with the peeled nose." he said. Windsor is?" A murmur of approval from his followers. it was unfortunate. The dog made no attempt to annihilate the cats. merriest day of all the glad New Year?" The rest of the crowd had entered the room. If you will undertake to look after the refereeing of any pogrom that may arise." "But is he aware of that? He looks to me a somewhat impulsive animal. "My name is Wilberfloss. so to-day I says I'll keep my eye on dem. "Why we have all met before. sitting up with a start. the matter's in your hands. "T'ought I'd bring de kits along. Jarvis was slightly apologetic. Comrade Jarvis. Jarvis's statement as to the friendly relations between the animals proved t o be correct. It was a soothing scene. They were the Reverend Edwin T. "First. of course. Philpotts and Mr. The only possible criticism I can find to make has to do with their probable brawling with the dog. The cats had settled themselves comfortably. Mr. "this is indeed a Moment of Mirth. accompanied him. should have been fired by his example to the e xtent of introducing a large and rather boisterous yellow dog. "Comrade Waterman. and an era of peace set in. In the outer office could be heard a stir and movement. "Dey started in scrappin' yesterday when I was here. Dey knows him. uttered a whine. too!" cried Psmith. Comrade Asher. one on each of Mr. who. "Why.STANDING ROOM ONLY In the light of subsequent events it was perhaps the least bit unfortunate that Mr. But it did not last. surveying the ceiling with his customary glassy stare." he said." Psmith inspected the menagerie without resentment. They could not know that before the morning was over space in the office would be at a premium." said Psmith. and that Long Otto . Bat breathed a tune. let me introduce two important me . Jarvis should have seen fit to bring with him to the office of Cosy Moments on the following morning two of his celebrated squad of cats." he said. Jarvis's kn ees. They were not to be blamed. and Long Otto. I have been wo ndering for weeks where you could have got to. "Assuredly. "In one moment. well . And Comrade Philpotts! Am I wrong in saying that this is the maddest." said the other with austerity. and scratched one of the cats un der the ear. I say no more. as usual. He ha d a peeled nose and showed other evidences of having been living in the open air . smoke d a long cigar in silence. Still. After an inquisiti ve journey round the room he lay down and went to sleep. Well. however.

Mr. "There is a preliminary P before the name. sad smile played across Psmith's face. psalm. was promptly gathered in. trod on the dog. "Who are you?" he demanded. who was offering B. Waterman started. Wilberfloss looked at Mr. "Do you remember. Asher looked at Mr. You may say. "It might be claimed that I appointed myse lf. "did youse ever have a cat wit one blue and one yellow e ye?" Mr. Wilberfloss. a process which i t kept up almost without a pause during the rest of the interview." Mr. Long Otto. Bat Jarvis. and is now serving a sentence of thirty days on Blackwell's Island. Who appointed you?" Psmith reflected. Wilberfloss side-stepped and turned once more to Psmith. "In prison!" Psmith nodded. Compare such words as ptarmi gan. Windsor?" "In prison. On your right. is silent. in his haste. Windsor immediately. Comrade Waterman--I fancy it was to you that I made the remark --my commenting at our previous interview on the rashness of confusing the unusu al with the improbable? Here we see Comrade Wilberfloss. however. Mr ." he said." "These gentlemen tell me you're acting editor." said Mr. Such is the generous impulsiveness of Comrade Windsor's nature that he hit a policeman. Wilberfloss. . "Say. Henderson Asher a cigarette." "Honest?" said Mr. falling into error." he asked. "It is rather a nice point. "Mr." said the old Etonian reverently. "It is too true. Long Otto. Jarvis." "Ah! And where is Mr." The two Bowery boys rose awkwardly. "Who are you?" "I am Psmith. and stumbled over a cat. Mr. Wilberfloss. A faint. big-brained though he i s. The cats fell in an avalanche to the floor." "I shall dismiss Mr." said Psmith in an aside to Bat. This. which began barking. Wilberfloss in friendly fashion on the chest. Mr." said Psmith sorrowfully. however. "is widely known as a cat fan cier in Brooklyn circles." said the big-brained one. "Who am I?" repeated Psmith in an astonished tone. He tapped Mr. Both of Groome Street. On your left. Like the tomb. and phthisis. that Comrade Windsor appointed me.mbers of our staff. "I never heard of such a thing. Philpotts.

"What is the trouble. The animal--" Mr. getting into communication with Mr. I th ought I had introduced you. Wilberfloss above the din. Philpotts. Comrade Wilberfloss--Zam-buk would put your nose right in a day--are. Comrade Jarvis. between whom bad blood seemed to have arisen. This. but renders conversation difficult. what do I find? Why. Philpotts I have been going carefully over t he numbers which have been issued since my departure--" . Jarvis and Mr. Psmith turned courteousl y to the editor. which. Mr. "I demand an explanation. and not much of eit her. our acting fighting-edito rs. respectively. to turn his attention to Mr. vice Kid Brady. Jarvis. Wilberfloss. Bat Jarvis and Long Otto." roared Mr." "Kid Brady !" shrilled Mr. leaving Mr. "You were saying." Long Otto raised a massive boot and aimed it at the animal. "let us not descend to mere personalities. was glo wering at Mr." He broke off. The dog shot out. They could hear it being ejected from the outer office by Master Maloney. Wilberfloss. Mr. Cosy Moments was never so prosperous and flourishing. and. "Who's de little guy wit de p eeled breezer. is Mr. "goes and treads on de k it." said Psmith. who had backed away and seemed nervous. They live on bean soup there. justly incensed. "I am sure you will earn his gratitude i f you do. that i n my absence the paper has been ruined. Comrade Jarvis?" "Dat guy dere wit two left feet. "I insist that you give me a full explan ation of this matter. Comrade Wilberfloss?" "Who is this person Brady? With Mr. Comrade Otto. holding a cat in his arms. I go away by my doctor's orders for ten weeks. "Gentlemen. Wilberfloss. "Poisson yourself. intervened. Mr. Comrade Otto. cannoned against the second cat and had its nose scratched. I--" "I assure you it was a pure accident. Examine the returns. These. Waterman. "On the contrary. Waterman. absent on unavoidable business. Bean soup and bread. When there was silence. the editor of this journal. do you think you could use your personal influen ce with that dog to induce it to suspend its barking for a while? It is musical. eyeing Bat and the silent Otto with disgust."From Blackwell's Island?" said Psmith. Smith?" he inquired." He opened the door." he said." rejoined Bat. and you will see t hat the circulation has gone up every week. dodging with a yelp. "it would make things a little easier if y ou removed that dog. Smith?" Psmith waved his hands." said Bat querulously." "Ruined?" said Psmith. gentlemen. "I think. Piercing shr ieks cleft the air. Windsor to conduct the paper on certain well-defined lines. I return yesterday. "Who are these persons.

You do not seem to appreciate th e philanthropic motives of the paper in adopting Comrade Brady's cause. one of the most f irmly established critics east of Fifth Avenue. and out he goes. Our editorial heart was melted. is not bright and interesting. Then bring dow n the heel of your left hand. until we took him up." Psmith held up his hand." "Low prize-fighters! Comrade Wilberfloss." murmured Psmith. where is it? Ah. Wilberfloss. "now I'll knock you up into the gallery. Jarvis. I bet you never kne w that before.' Now." "There!" said Psmith triumphantly. "I protest. 'A bul ly good way of putting a guy out of business is this. stamps Kid Brady's reminiscences with the hall-mark of his approval. The Kid is as decent a little chap as you'd meet anywhere. but helpful as well. Comrade Wilberfloss. "All right. but nix o n that. There was that unfortunate stripling with only two ple asures in life. I have it. for instance. Comrade Philpotts. because by Queensberry Rules it's a foul. but you will find it might y useful if any thick-neck comes up to you in the street and tries to start anyt hing." assented Mr. You know a good thing when you see one." And with that he cuts lo ose with a right swing. dat stuff. but I thi nks of my mother and swats him one in the lower ribs. It's this way. "Fight on. "This. and then---!'" "Bah!" exclaimed Mr. a nd you upper-cut him with your right." he said. had barred him almost completely from the second pastime. to love his mother and to knock the heads off other youths whose weight coincided with his own." "Cosy Moments. "It's to de good. You don't want to use it i n the ring. The fingers give you a leverage to beat the band. " He picked up the current number of Cosy Moments. boss. Why. "is no medium for exploiting low p rize-fighters. and misfortune."An intellectual treat. and turned to the Kid's page. "--and in each there is a picture of this young man in a costume which I will no t particularise--" "There is hardly enough of it to particularise. Let me see. but I falls into the clinch." he said. "Go on." urged Mr. Referee says. "Describing a certain ten-round unpleasantness with one Mexican Joe." "I falls fer de Kid every time. Think of it. "You heard? Comrade Jarvis. The guy doubles up. There isn't a guy living that could stand up again st that. He hollers foul. but this is mere abuse. And look at him now! Matched against Eddie Wood! And C omrade Waterman will support me in my statement that a victory over Eddie Wood m . "Assuredly. Wilberfloss irately. I appeal to t hese gentlemen to say whether this." Joe gives me another nasty look." he says. just place the tips of the fingers of your left hand on the right side of his chest. K id. you have been misinformed. Try it on your parishioners." said Mr." he wen t on warmly. "there is stuff in these reminiscences which would stir the blood o f a jelly-fish. While he's setting himself for a punch. 'Joe comes up for the second round and he gives me a nasty look. Jarvis approvingly." "--together with a page of disgusting autobiographical matter. "We court criticism. Comrade Jarvis. We adopted Comrade Brady. Let me quote you another passage to show that they are not only enthralling.

" he said. "we are talking at cross-purposes. I think it is practically a certa inty that he has not the slightest inkling of any changes in the paper." . I knew you would give up when it came to the p oint." "I shouldn't." sighed Psmith. so out of touch with our New York literary life. "I knew it. Can nothing reassure you? The returns are excellent." "I trust not. Comrade Wilberfloss. Comrade Wilberfloss." burst forth Mr. White to-day. "I don't believe it. I have every reason to belie ve in his complete sanity." "If." "It is not true. Cables are expensive. you will admit that Mr. Wilberfloss. Why worry Comrade White? He is so far away. "They don't believe it. "I fear that the notion that this journal is ruined has be come an obsession with you. "Nevertheless." Mr.eans that he gets a legitimate claim to meet Jimmy Garvin for the championship." "It is abominable. Benjamin White is not a maniac. What makes you fancy that there is even a possibility of his being--er--?" "Nobody but a lunatic would approve of seeing his paper ruined." thundered Mr. I shall cable Mr. Wilberfloss. Wilberfloss. perhaps. The propriet or is more than satisfied." "Again!" said Psmith. Comrade Wilberfloss. Now. "Does he know how you have treated the paper?" "He is cognisant of our every move." said Mr. Wilberfloss snorted. B. and in these hard times a penny saved is a penny earned. and you were driven into a corner. You keep harping on Comrade White and his views and tastes. "I knew it. "Nothing will convince me of it. Wilberfloss. "I think. The paper is ruined." "You keep reverting to that statement. Mr." "And he approves?" "He more than approves." "The proprietor?" gasped Mr. "you imagine that I intend to take your word in this matter. and inquire whether t hese alterations in the paper meet with his approval." Mr. "I sincerely trust not. Henderson Asher snorted satirically." he said. W hite has given no sanction for the alterations in the paper?" A puzzled look crept into Psmith's face. Once again I assure you that it is more than prosperous. you are mistaken." said Psmith. it is true. I never hea rd of such a thing. Wilberfloss uttered a cry of triumph. The assembled ex-contributors backed up this statement with a united murmur. hopping to avoid a perambulating ca t. One would almost imagine that you fancied that Comrade White was the proprietor of this paper. Prosperity beams on us like a sun. Comrade Wilberfloss. "It is disgraceful." he said.

" Among his audience (still excepting Mr." said Psmith.. B. "Very early in my connection with this journal. CHAPTER XXIX THE KNOCK-OUT FOR MR. "All is well. Jarvis. and the Reverend Edwin Philpotts. are rejected from want of space.'" "Do I understand you to say that you own this paper?" "I do. White. WARING "You!" cried Mr." he said. once you had secured your paper. He regarded It. "Fancied that Mr. who. Editors. Who is. was to o wn a paper. All you had to do. Asher." said Psmith. The cry goes round New York. had los t interest in the discussion. Wilberfloss groped for a chair and sat down. I had long been convinced that about the nearest approach to the perfect job in this world. Mr. Henderson Asher stared. since the readings from the Kid's reminiscences had ceased.. Jarvis. Wilberfloss stared." said Psmith encouragingly. To start bally-ragging a seeming nonentity and then to discover he is the propri etor of the paper to which you wish to contribute is like kicking an apparently empty hat and finding your rich uncle inside it. Nothing could be more nicely attuned to the tastes of a Shropshire Psmi th. was to sit back and watch the other fellows work. who was tickling one of the cats and whistling a plaintive melody) there was a tendency toward awkward silence.?" repeated Mr.Mr. "I saw that I was on to a good thing. Wilberfloss in particular w as disturbed. "The same. I deduced. "I am. about a month. except Mr. He does not gibber. The glimpses I was enabled to get of the workings of this little journal gav e me the impression that Comrade White was not attached with any paternal fervou r to Cosy Moments. and put it back in its pla ce. and wrote . Every one stared. "I don't follow you. where good jobs are so hard to acquire. Mr. "You!" exclaimed Messrs. if he isn't?" Psmith removed his monocle. I f he were to be removed from Cosy Moments he would find it hard to place himself anywhere else. and was now entertaining the cats with a ball of p aper tied to a string. Wilberfloss." "Since when?" "Roughly speaking. and from time to time forward big cheques to t he bank. like manuscripts. Comrade Wilberfloss. Waterman. Wilberfloss. I assumed that Comrade White had his price. "On the spot!" said Psmith. polished it thoughtfully. not so much as a life-work as in t he light of an investment. "Not so. 'Comrade Wilberfloss is to the good. "Am I going mad?" he demanded feebly. Editorships of the kind which he aspired to are not easy to get.

After which he looked at Mr. and I knew he would have no o bjection to my being a Napoleon of the Press on this side. "you know how I hate to have to send you away. and Master Maloney entered with a card. Comrade Maloney." He turned to the assembled company. "He went to the mountain." The door opened. but would y ou mind withdrawing in good order? A somewhat delicate and private interview is in the offing. If the rest of you would look in ab out this time to-morrow--Show Mr. Bushy eyebrows topped a pair of cold grey eyes. do you know what Mahomet di d when the mountain would not come to him?" "Search me. Paper-owning. The owner of the Pleasant Street Tenements was of what is usually called command ing presence." he said. and--" There was a knock at the door. Your services to the paper hav e been greatly appreciated. There are some men who seem to fill any room in which they may be. would you mind remaining? As ed itor of this journal. He walked into the room with the air of one who is not wont to apolog ise for existing. Stewart Waring. but I fancy we shall win through. "We are now. and tho ugh I shall not be legally entitled actually to close in on the opulence for a m atter of nine months or so. His face was clean-shaven and curiously expressionless. He cabled it to me. who was visiting Carlsbad at the moment. Now it so happens that an uncle of mine some years ago left me a considerable number of simoleons. He was tall and broad. Waring in. "Guy's waiting outside." He took a seat." he said. Remember that.to my father. and Pugsy announced Mr. My father has spent some time of late hurling me at various professions. Comrade Jarvis. Waring. It was reasonable. Glad. As a general rule in life y ou can't beat it. ho wever." "I will make a point of it. Mr." "Sure. and more than a little stout. "Mr. to ascertain what that p rice might be. and w e had agreed some time ago that the Law was to be my long suit." he said. who shrank a little beneath his gaze. If I might drop in some afternoon and inspect the re mainder of your zoo--?" "Any time you're down Groome Street way. "at a crisis in the affairs of this journal. So we closed with Com rade White. It was a wise thing to do. . Waring was one of these. Comrade Wilberfloss. Psmith had risen to greet him." said Pugsy. Comrade Wilberfloss. Comrade Maloney. "Shall I send the guy in?" "Surest thing you know." said the office-boy indifferently. I anticipated that my father would have no objection to staking me to the necessary amount on the security of my little bit of money . "Comrade Maloney. Comrade Maloney. "Gentlemen. we will meet anon. may be combined with being Lord Chancellor. you should be present. Wilberfloss. He set his hat down on the table without speaking." read Psmith.

if this gentleman is the editor?" "I am the proprietor. "What I have to say is private." Psmith shook his head. inferior--words what Com rade Parker said to us. This is Liberty Hall. Wilberflo ss to leap a clear two inches from his chair. White was the proprietor. especially one who. But now all is well: Comrade Wilbe rfloss is once more doing stunts at the old stand. you had bette r quit it. . The Waring type is dangerous when it is win ning. but not now. Are you s ure you won't sit down?" Mr. "There was a time when that was the case. Waring brought his hand down with a bang on the table. You have Comrade Windsor in your mind. but it is apt to crumple up against strong defence. I fear I must remind you that this is one of our busy days. I did not object to giving up valuable time to listen to Comrade Parker. He was merely acting as editor while the chief was away hunting sand-eels in the jungles of T exas. You may speak as freely befor e him as you would before well. He was playing a lost game. then. like yourself. "You are merely stating in other--and. Waring again glanced at Mr. "What are you doing it for?" he demanded explosively. "I tell you. but it lacked the master-hand. let us say Comrade Parker. "I'll sue you for libel." said Psmith reassuringly." "I understood that a Mr. Fillken Wilberfloss." "Just as you wish."Won't you sit down?" he said. Wilberfloss. Have you no new light to fling upon the subject?" Mr." Mr. That is Comrade J." said Psmith." "The editor? I understood--" "I know what you would say. His next words proved his demoralisation. and he was not the so rt of man who plays lost games well. In his absence Comrade Windsor and I did our best to keep the old journal booming along. Th ings move so swiftly in New York journalistic matters that a man may well be exc used for not keeping abreast of the times. He is a fascinating conversationalist. causing Mr. "It is no stranger that you see before you. "I prefer to stand. "All is well. the editor of this journal. no mere irresponsible lounger who has butted in by chance. It isn't healthy." he said. But if you are merely intending to cover the ground covered by him." "Who are you. and it was a privilege t o hob-nob with him. Psmith looked at him admiringly. if I may say so." "Not so. is interested in politics and house-ownership rather than in literature." said he. Waring wiped his forehead.

"I've thought the whole thing out. "is to touch you for the good round sum of five thousand and three dollars. the five thousand. During the past seven weeks you have been endeavo uring in your cheery fashion to blot the editorial staff of this paper off the f ace of the earth in a variety of ingenious and entertaining ways. Waring half rose. The balance of your cheque. It would have hit him right." Mr. "What are you going to do?" he said. Waring. but even assuming that to be the case. If I were a native of New York. "I'll tell you. If I w ere to depart without bringing off improvements down Pleasant Street way. without waiting for an answer." he said. "is the matter of the se tenements. but a certain minion of yours. then they deserve you. one J." resumed Psmith. it doesn't seem to me to make any very substantial difference w ho gets in. my view of the thing is this. Of course th e opposition papers may have allowed their zeal to run away with them. thus suddenly pulled into the conversation. and it seems to me that it doesn't much matter who gets elected."Say no more. you are making the culminating err or of a misspent life. "The only thing that really interests me." Mr. "for you will never beat that.' But no balm would do me any good. The right plan woul d be to put the complete kybosh (if I may use the expression) on your chances of becoming an alderman." he said. perhaps I might take a mo re fervid interest in the matter. again leaped in his seat. I shall shortly be leaving this country to resume the strangle-hol d on Learning which I relinquished at the beginning of the Long Vacation. He sat down. He is off his feed. If the People are chumps enough to elect you. the other candidates appear to be a pretty fair co ntingent of blighters. but as I am merely passing through your beauti ful little city. I propose to apply to making those tenements fit for a tolerably fastidious pig to live in. would you?" Mr." "Five thousand!" cried Mr." . He should try Blenkinsop's Balm for the Bilious. "It may possibly have escaped yo ur memory. On the other hand. I hope I don't hurt your feelings in any way. I should simply droop and fade slowly away like a neglected lily. Waring accepted the invitation he had refused before. To be absolutely candid. and now you pr opose to sue us for libel! I wish Comrade Windsor could have heard you say that." Mr. "It's monstrous. If you think that I can afford to come to New York and s catter hats about as if they were mere dross. I am merely stating my own individual opinion. Wilberfloss. "Five thousand dollars!" "Five thousand and three dollars. Psmith leaned back in his chair." said Psmith. I shou ldn't be able to enjoy my meals. For pure richness and whi msical humour it stands alone. Three dollars are what I need for a new one. "What I propose to do. Comrade Wilberfloss. I have been studying the papers of lat e. Repetto. The fight had gone out of him. It was the white flag. The startled cry would go round Cambridge: 'Som ething is the matter with Psmith. utterly ruined a pract ically new hat of mine." continued Psmith. And you wouldn't like that. Waring made no remark.

you might not have changed your mind?" "What guarantee have I. and the r est of the squad. "Comrade Maloney. Have you ever seen an untamed mustang of t he prairie?" "Nope. it will be the infants of New York and the ir parents receiving the news that Cosy Moments stands where it did. wriggling in his chair. and let's all be jolly. So out with the good old cheque-book. producing one from a drawer. so. Wilberfloss. But in Psmith's rooms the fire burned brightly. who had been playing football. He asks to re-engage Comrade Windsor's services at a pretty sizeable salary." asked Mr. and. and melancholy. substitute yours. but it can be done.have. Some days ago the editor of Comrade Windsor's lat e daily paper called up on the telephone and asked to speak to him. Cosy Moments may therefore ease up a bit. jollity. "have been known to be stopped. Comrade Wilberfloss. and pay it in to my ac count at the International Bank. was reclining in a comatose state in an arm-chair by the fire. A very pleasant fellow." Mr. intimated that he was." said Psmith. Psmith watched. Comrade Wilberfloss? Excellent. and fate cannot touch us. you should hear a deafening squeal of joy ring through this city. run like one down to Wall Street with this cheque. was lying on the sofa. and telling them to burnish their brains and be ready to wade in at a moment's notice. May I count on your services. as he wrote . Then perhaps you would not mind passing the word round among Comrades Asher. Waring hesitated for a moment. "Finished?" he said. at about the beginning of next month. He has got where he wanted. I see I may. I propose. CONCLUSION IT was a drizzly November evening." Pugsy disappeared. Comrade Maloney. on r eflection. and all. If. But it will not be necessary. ." "Youse hollering fer me?" asked that youth. I explained the painful circumstances. "I will write you a note to that effect. "Cheques." "Well. all may be said to be well. The streets of Cambridge were a compound of m ud. Ar e you on?" Mr."It isn't. then capitulated. as the proprietor had just observed. "Cross out the name of my bank. Psmith. to restore Cosy Moments to its old style. as far as our prison expert is concerned. Mike." "I have no cheque-book with me." said Psmith. "Bet your life I am. "that these attacks on me in your pap er will stop?" "If you like. and song. with an indulgent and fatherly eye. Waterman." said Psmith. Who knows but what. went round and hob-nobbed with the great man. I look to you. I fear you will have a pretty tough job roping in the o ld subscribers again." said Psmith. appearing at the door. "It's more or less of a minimum. later. Waring." "-I. I have made inquiries. the ke ttle droned. mist. But I've read about dem. was joy. in pyjamas and a college blazer. with Comrade Wilberfloss's assistance.

" said Mike. Advices from Comrade Windsor inform me that that prince of blighters. Millionaires will stop at them instead of going to the Plaza. Hopping mad but a brief while ago. a proctor slid up. You could not be better employed. when the improvements are completed. Keep listening. I do not repine. but I presume such to have been the case. administering the sleep-producer in the eighth round ."How pleasant it would be. "These." said Psmith. and the bally rot which used t o take place on the Fourth of June? No." He reached out for a cigarette." he said. " Mike stirred sleepily in his chair. they now eat out o f his hand." said Mike. "Say no more. clear-sighted citizens refused to vote for him to an extent that you could notice without a microscope. he has one consolation. Let us pass lightly on. A line from you every now and then would sweeten the lad's existence. did you. Still. He appears to have gathered in the majority of the old subscribers again. So with the present moment. He is a stout fellow. and our old pal Wilberfloss sharing the floor wit h B. "I take you. Henderson Asher. My authorities are silent as to whether or not the lethal blow was a half-scis sor hook. Let us say. Waring. "That is excellent." said Psmith dreamily. He regards you as the World's Most Prominen t Citizen. Comrade Windsor in the chair over there. but it seems to me that all is singularly to de good. This peaceful scene. Burned deeply into my memory is a certai n hot bath I took after one of the foulest cross-country runs that ever occurred outside Dante's Inferno. Comrade Jackson?" "Ur-r. Yesterday night. and I hope he wins through. "are the moments in life to which we look back wi th that wistful pleasure. was rejected by an intelligent electorat e. comfortably. To-day I had to dig down into my jeans for a matter of two plunks. and the cats. Comrade Jackson. You've really no notion what a feeling of quiet pride it gives you o wning a paper. He owns wh at. By the way. He will probably come to England later on. I may be wrong. These are the real Cosy Moments. Bat Jarvis. will remain with me when I have forgotten that such a person as Comr ade Repetto ever existed. And while on that sub ject you will be glad to hear that the little sheet is going strong. is Comrade Brady. What of my boyhood at Eton? Do I remember with the kee nest joy the brain-tourneys in the old form-room. The whisper goes round. I think it would be a graceful act if you were to write to Comrade Jarvis from time to time telling him how your Angoras are getting on. "What?" he said drowsily. as Comrade Maloney would put it. I am filled with a strange content to-night. The Kid is now definitely ma tched against Comrade Garvin for the championship. I try not to show it. and the experts seem to think that he should win. When he does. "Never mind. Are you asleep. But what of it? Life must inevitably be dot ted with these minor tragedies. Those keen. Comrade Wi ndsor also stated--as indeed did the sporting papers--that Comrade Brady put it all over friend Eddie Wood. "if all our friends on the oth er side of the Atlantic could share this very peaceful moment with us! Or perhap s not quite all. I don't think you ever met him. will be the finest and most commodious tenement houses in New York. Comra de Jackson. The man Wil berfloss is a marvel in his way. Comrades B rady and Maloney on the table. when I was looking down from th e peak without a cap and gown. we must show h im round. 'Psmith . but I seem to myself to be looking down on the world from some lofty peak. Comrade Jackson?" "Um-m.

His eyes closed. too. But he did not repine.' Comrade Jackson--" A snore came from the chair. Psmith sighed. The End . and wears a brave smile.bites the bullet. Five minutes later a slight snore came from the sofa. The man behind Cosy M oments slept. He bit the bullet.

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