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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 was a nonchalant youth. Billy had not inquired into the rights and wrongs of the matter: he had m . "It's a kitty what I got in de street. He was always ready at any moment to become the champion of the oppressed on the slightest provocation. cos I t'inks maybe youse'll look after her. was that Cosy Moments took up his time so comple tely. as if he were seeing it for the first time. Its existence did not seem to occur to him. bearing a struggling cat. "Well?" said Billy." And having finished this Homeric narrative. probably from the soundest of motives. Billy Windsor. 'G' wan! Who do youse t'ink youse is?' An' I says. Billy had been in a bad way when he had happened upon the sub-editorship of Cosy Moments. The cub-reporter cannot make a name for himself unless he is favoured by fortune. He despised the work with all his heart. mask-like face.ad come East. he says. fussin' de poor dumb animal?' An' one of de guys.' G'wan! What do youse t' ink you're doin'." he said. He appeared unconscious of the cat. and he had no leisure for doing any other. without emotion. To him. Put her down. what have you got there?" Master Maloney eyed the cat. combined the toughest of muscle with the softest of hearts. looking up. and had worked without much success as a free-lance. but these things ar e a great deal a matter of luck. and the salary was infinitesi mal. An' I comes up an' says. an' den I swats dem bote some more. 'I'm de guy what's goin' to swat youse one on de coco if youse don't quit fussin' de poor dumb animal. like most men of the plains. But it was regular. "Say!" said Pugsy. an' I brin gs her in here. All of which may go to explain why his normal aspect was that of a caged eagle. He was tough and ready for anything that might come his way." Master Maloney obediently dropped the cat. Master Maloney fixed an expressionle ss eye on the ceiling. brooding over the outpourings of Luella Granville Waterman. His work had been confined to turning in reports of fires and small street accidents . there entere d Pugsy Maloney. the expression of wh ich never varied. however. an' I swats de odder feller one. where there was something doing and a man would have a chance of showing what was in him. which sprang nimbly on to an upper sh elf of the book-case. The unfortunate thing. who. an' I gets de kitty. was endeavouring to sla y him. "Don't hurt the poor brute. "I wasn't hoitin' her. But he still dreamed of winning through to a post on one of the big New York dailies. the office-boy. but I swats him one. Things had not come Billy Windsor's way.' 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. 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. and for a while Billy felt that a regular salary was th e greatest thing on earth. His alliance with Pugsy Maloney had begun on the occasion when he had rescued that youth from the clutches of a large negro." he said. with a freckled. "Hello. and was silent. He had no chance of attracting the notice of big editors by his present wo rk.
but Pugsy.erely sailed in and rescued the office-boy." "Well. concentrated himself on the cat. she suspended her operations and adjourned for refreshments. Why did you never tell us? Are you go ing to join the gang some day?" . "Nice sort of fellow to have in the family. "Bully for you. He strolled slowly out. and dey all has dose collars." "Who's Bat Jarvis? Do you mean the gang-leader?" "Sure. You know where I live?" "Sure. the animal had vacated the book-shelf. business being business. Keep the change. "Say!" he said. proceeded to chirrup and snap his fingers in the effort to establish the foundations of an entente cordiale with the rescued cat. He had not paid any particular attention to it. tell him I've got the cat. Pugsy!" he cried." "What about her?" "Pipe de leather collar she's wearing. in lieu of a saucer. carrying a five-cent bottle of milk. He's got a lot of dem for fair. He's a cousin of mine. I guess she's one of Bat Jarvis's kitties. having no immedi ate duties on hand." assented Master Maloney." said Master Maloney with pride." "Fancy you being a cousin of Bat's. And Pugsy. while Billy Winds or. mounting a chair. Here" --he produced a dollar-bill--"go out and get some milk for the poor brute. By the time that Pugsy returned. and that if he wants it he'd better come round to my place. "You're a little sport." "Are you on speaking terms with the gentleman?" "Huh?" "Do you know Bat Jarvis to speak to?" "Sure." "Sure thing. though he had made no ver bal comment on the affair. "Guess I know where dat kitty belongs. and was sitting on the table. He's me cousin." Billy had noticed earlier in the proceedings that a narrow leather collar encirc led the cat's neck. had shown in many ways that he was not ungrateful. So you think th at's his cat?" "Sure. turned again to Luella Granville Waterman. Pugsy. The milk having been poured into the lid of a tobacco-tin. washing her face. Billy. Dey all have dose collars. "What about it?" he said. and every one wit o ne of dem collars round deir neck. "Well?" "Dat kitty. She's probably starvi ng. He's got twenty-t'ree of dem. "Is he?" said Billy.
It was the end of their first year at Cambridge. I came over here principally. and drunk the milk of Paradise.'" Mike had come to America with a team of the M. He is hot stuff. 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. "to run down the metropolis of a great and friendly nation. had not risen to these heights." "Huh?" "Go out and get a good big basket. out you get . And now. had been one of the first to be invited to join the tour. What."Nope." said Psmith. CHAPTER III AT "THE GARDENIA" "It would ill beseem me. like myself. Rah!' But what do we find?" He paused. all eager for a treat. Report had it that an earnest seeker after amusement might have a tolerably spacious rag in this m odern Byzantium.C. but disappointing to one who. Comrade Jackson. I wished my visit to be a tonic rather than a sedative. "Oh.C. "What do we find?" he asked again. admirable to the apostle of social refor m. I have been here a week. The cabl es flash the message across the ocean. thoughtfully sipping his coffee." "Good for you. who had played cricket in a rather desultory way at the Unive rsity. I shall want one to carry this animal home in . arrives with a brush and a little bucket of red paint. 'Psmith has been to New York. Well. I'm goin' to be a cow-boy. and lit a cigarette. "What?" "A very judicious query.. and Mike. and Pugsy." "What's the matter with it?" asked Mike. but candour compels me to state that New York is in some respects a singularly blighted tow n. "I don't know. "Too decorous." said Master Maloney. He had merely taken the opportunity of Mi . because if I'm interrupted any more I shan't get through to-night. and I have not seen a single citizen clubbed by a policeman. 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. 'Psmith is losing his illusions. it is true." said Mike. For he on honey-dew hath fed. No cow-boy has let off his revolver at random in Broadway. with a centu ry against Oxford to his credit. I had heard so much of the place. retiring. indeed? We find a town very like London. A quiet. my lad. which was touring the cricket -playing section of the United States. you tell him when you see him. Comrade Jackson.. to be at your side. Comrade Jackson." "Sure. self-respecting town. Psmith had accompanied him in a private c apacity. He is fu ll of oats. should you be in any way persecuted by scoundrels. Nothin' doin'. I anticipated that on my return the cry would go round Cambridge. Psmith." said Master Maloney." "Sure. No negroes dance cake-walks in the street.
sonny. "I have a suspicion. was exp ressing loud disapproval of the efforts of one of the waiters to drive it from i ts post with a walking-stick. "Id is. . A man with a basketful of sandwiches does n ot need to dine at restaurants. He had all the disadvantages. New Y ork is a better city than London to be alone in. "This stays right here. He was not a member of t he team. 'sandwiches. The head-waiter. Mike. we will engage him in conversation. po ur the milk into the saucer. but it was very pleasant. with unkempt hair. and rushed to the rescue. When he wished to consult his confidential secretary and adviser on some aspect of Life. As they sat discussing New York's shortcomings over their coffee. carrying a basket. and remove the lid from the basket. rising. "Not on your life. so that the advantages of the hospitality did not reach him. We must try again. A waiter made an ingratiating gesture towards the basket. Psmith was becoming bored. but the young man stop ped him. He had welcomed the chance of getting a change of sc ene. loose-jointed young man. having secured a strong strategic position on the top of a large oil-painting which hung on the far wall. Psmith wa tched with silent interest. "Comrade Jackson." The young man at the next table had ordered a jug of milk to be accompanied by a saucer. "to bring gats into der grill-room vorbidden. The young man. the young man had just possessed himself of the walking-stick. If possible." He placed it carefully on the floor beside his chair. in your unthinking way. The cat. futile but energetic. a young man pa ssed them. that invaluable offi cial was generally absent at dinner with the rest of the team. De r gendleman--" The young man meanwhile was making enticing sounds." said Psmith. and there was no limit to the hospitali ty with which the visitors were treated. "that this will prove to be a so mewhat stout fellow." he said. whose tastes in pleasure were simple. a large grey cat shot up like a rocket. No gendleman would gats into der grill-room bring. and darted across the room." When they arrived on the scene of hostilities. I wonder w hat he's got in the basket. but a trifle quiet.ke's visit to the other side to accompany him. Cambridge had proved pleasant to Psmith. It is hard to astonish the waiters at a New York restaurant. These having arrived. and proceeded to order dinner. It was this more than anything which ha d caused Psmith's grave disapproval of things American. The cricket so far had been rather of the picnic order. and seated himself at the next table. was delighted with everything. he proceeded to lift the basket on to his lap. Waiters rus hed to and fro. and was deep in a complex argument with the head-w aiter on the ethics of the matter. To-night was one of the rare occasions when Mike could get away. He was a tal l. "we must be in this. uttered a wrathful shout. to which the cat was maintai ning an attitude of reserved hostility. but it is never pleasant to be alone in any big city. He turned furiously on the head-waiter. but when the cat pe rformed this feat there was a squeal of surprise all round the room.' Error. What i s the most likely thing for a man to have in a basket? You would reply. with a yell which made the young man's table the centre of interest to all the diner s. ha d taken his stand on a point of etiquette. Psmith watched him thoughtfully. I must get my Sherlock Holmes system to work. Instantly." he said. Comrade Jackson. He saw far too little of Mike. seeing these manoeuvres. a stout impassive German." he said. So far the visit had failed to satisfy him.
"Der gendleman would not der gat into--" Psmith shook his head pityingly. The head -waiter nodded. one of the Shropshire Psmiths." "Ingognito?" "You understand. This is a great moment. Comrade--may I call you Freddie? Yo u understand. "the pet of our English Smart Set . that in a man in his Grace's position a few littl e eccentricities may be pardoned. All will now quite satisfactory b e." said Psmith. I was complaining with some acerbity to Comrade Jackso n. "This. The head-w aiter bowed. when they were seated." said the alleged duke. "is a great meeting. Psmith stepped forward and touched him on the arm. to correct the effects of a fatiguing day. and the head-waiter had ceased to ho ver. "These petty matters of etiquette are not for his Grace--but. who winked encouragingly. I am Psmith. "haf everything exblained. "Let me present Comrade Jackson. Comrade Freddie. before you introduced your very interesting performing-animal speciality. "He is noble?" he inquired with awe. "Der gendleman. The young man meanwhile had broken down the cat's reserve. "You don't know who that is?" he whispered. You follow me. who beamed in a friendly manner thr ough his eye-glass." asserted the head-waiter." he said." said Psmith warningly. apparently anxious to fight all-comers in her defence. Frederick?" The head-waiter's eye rested upon the young man with a new interest and respect. The head-waiter approached deferentially. you understand. I have an inkling. too decorous. You are a man of the world. hush. and was now standing with her in his arms. Comrade--" . tha t things in New York were too quiet. "No gendleman he is. he wishes to preserve his incognito." said Psmith. "can't you see the poor brute's scared stiff? Wh y don't you clear your gang of German comedians away. Shall we b e moving back? We were about to order a second instalment of coffee. indicating Psmith. "He is here strictly incognito. "May I have a word with you in private?" "Zo?" Psmith drew him away. and give her a chance to c ome down?" "Der gendleman--" argued the head-waiter."For goodness' sake." The young man looked inquiringly at Psmith. Perhaps you would care to join us?" "Sure." he cried. nodding towards the young man.
that we see eye to eye on the subject. as they walked out." said Billy Windsor. But here he comes." CHAPTER IV BAT JARVIS Billy Windsor lived in a single room on East Fourteenth Street. but in the daytime it was a settee and nothing but a settee." he added. we will be collecting our hats. have you any previous en gagement for to-night?" "I'm not doing anything.. "Cosy Moments?" said Psmith reflectively. I assured him that all wo uld be well. "Are you training that animal for a show of some ki nd. Comrade Windsor. a book-stand. While he is loading up that bas ket."Windsor's my name. a table. At night this became a bed." "I guess that's right." Psmith gazed with interest at the cat." "I have an inkling. Comrade Jackson.. a typewriter--nobody uses pens in New York--and on the . Let us foregather with him and observe him in private life before arriving at any premature decision." "You've no paternal pride in the little journal?" "It's bad enough to hurt." said Psmith. There was no space for a great deal of furniture.. The office-boy on our paper got her away from a dog this morn ing. or is it a domestic pet?" "I've adopted her. which was l apping milk from the saucer. it is imperative that I have some solid man to accompany me in my ramblin gs hither and thither." said Mike. Billy Windsor's room was very much like a public-school study. Comrade Windsor. There was one rocking-chair. I should ask no more. two ordinary chairs . I must seize an early opportunity of per using it." "It will be a pleasure." said Billy Windsor disgustedly." "Your paper?" "Cosy Moments. mingling with the gay t hrong. But with you constantly away. come along with me to my place. "Comrade Jackson. and the average bachelor's apartments consist of one room with a bathroom opening off it. During the daytime this one room loses all traces of be ing used for sleeping purposes at night. There's more doing there in a day than there is here in a month. I was raised in the plains. If you could give me your undivided comp any. He is cont ent to order his movements in the main by my judgment. I am not half sure. and I'll show you a copy. "If you really want t o see it. "Then let us stagger forth with Comrade Windsor. "I regret that the bright little sheet has not come my way up to the present. Along one wall ran a settee. and gave her to me. with a touch of shame. and he yielded. how di d you fix it with the old man?" "With Comrade Freddie? I have a certain amount of influence with him. Space in New Yor k is valuable. Say. It is possible that Comrade Windsor may possess the quali fications necessary for the post." "Don't you do it. "that Comrade Windsor may not prove to be the genial spirit for whom I have been searching. and I lived in Kentucky a whi le.
Comra de Jackson?" "All right. finally came to the conclusion that there was no means of getting out. I think we will hunt a round for some such cubby-hole as this. You have snug q uarters up here. the Astor--to pass a few moments in the quiet p rivacy of an apartment such as this. Comrade Windsor. You should move there. He tossed them on to the settee by Psmith's side. a performance which he kept up untiringly all the time. "And now. All is calm and pleasant chit-chat. is located in one of these vast caravanserai--to be exact. drawings. relics of their owner's prairie days. It is my aim to see New York in all its phases. Mike took one of the ordinary chairs. partly due to the fact that he wore his hair in a well-oile d fringe almost down to his eyebrows. If you've got the nerve. Comrade Windsor. Not. His eyes were small and set close together.walls a mixed collection of photographs. . Don't say I didn't warn y ou. and skins. During the interview which followed. relax. and settled itself on a corner of the settee . in short. his jaw prominent. read on. I hold that there is nothing like one's own ro of-tree. which. I don 't know if you mind that?" "Far from it." Billy Windsor stretched out an arm and pulled a bundle of papers from the book-s tand. Psmith. it would be a pleasure to me to peruse that little jo urnal of which you spoke. The next moment there appe ared in the doorway a short. on acquaintance. stout young man. "The place has that drawback also. alert. pro ved to be a whistled tune. which. Are you with me. There was an indescribable air of toughness about him. It is a great treat to one who." "It's beastly expensive at the Astor. I f a certain amount of harmless revelry can be whacked out of Fourth Avenue. hav ing moved restlessly about for some moments. knives. Our nervous systems must be conserved. Comrade Windsor. and Billy Windsor. It's not much of a neighbourhood. stretched out his legs and lit a ci garette." said Billy Windsor. Windsor?" he said to the company at large. sinking gracefully down beside it." Psmith had picked up one of the papers when there came a shuffling of feet in th e passage outside. "A peaceful scene. Anon. Comrade Jackson. Over the door was the head of a young bear. built for two. the sort of man you would have picked out on sight as a model citizen. keen. I have had so few opportunities of getting into touch with the literature of this great country." "On Fourth Avenue." he said. His entrance was marked by a curious sibilant sound. "Three great minds. began to rock rhythmically to and fro." said Mike. "if you really feel like it. Billy's first act on arriving in this sanctum was to release the cat. too. "you can get quite good flats very cheap . like myself. "Mr. the visitor whistled softly and unceasingly. restless d uring business hours. His mouth was wide . Furnished. planting himse lf in the rocker. "There you are. except when he w as speaking." observed Psmith. followed by a knock upon the door. we m ust dash there with the vim of highly-trained smell-dogs." said Mike. which gave him the appearance of having no forehead at all.
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. Maginn is for one held him in the very highest esteem. and with him. is the art of voting a number of different times at different polling-station s on election days. To your right is Comrade Jackson. named the Shamrock and presided over by one M aginnis. is worth cultivating. Bat ha d accepted the offer. He had a fancier's shop in Groome street. A man may win a purely local reputation." said the visitor. not without a touch of complacency. I am Psmith. were of use to t he politicians. stepping forward. mister. as of a monarch ab andoning his incognito. "That. Jarvis a celebrity.Psmith waved a hand towards the rocking-chair. "mine. But Mr. Jarvis's reputation was far from being purely local. to vote ten times in a single day for you. had gone such stalwarts as Long Otto. This was on the ground-floor. "Sure. have brought to a fine art the gentle practice of "repeating". birds. So the po . Jarvis as their tribal leader a nd protector and he protected them. and snakes. he was the founder and originator of it. "Say!" he said." "Are you Bat Jarvis?" asked Windsor with interest. Jarvis was a celebrity. In the u nderworld of New York his name was a by-word. It is t rue that. an Irishman and a friend of Bat's. He offered him a handsome salary to be on hand at the nightly dances and check undue revelry by his own robust methods. By profession he was a dealer in animals. to make hay. Maginn is found. it had come into being from motives of sheer benevolence. Red Logan. ten times in a single day for you. Shamrock Hall became a place of joy and order. as his detractors pointed out. For he. Bat at that time had a solid reputation as a man of his hands. For Bat Jarvis was the leader of t he famous Groome Street Gang. Tommy Jefferson. curiously enough. and it was there that he kept the twenty-three cats whose necks were adorned with leather collars. 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. It was the practice of these light-hearted sportsmen to pay thei r ten cents for admittance. And. which. England's favourite son. with his followers. in the heart of the Bowery. faithful adher ents. was having a marked effect on his earnings. To Bat accordingly he went. As he looked round the room. and whistled another tune. and laid his painful case before him. pickpockets and the like. Small t hieves. if only for eccentricity. flocked to Mr. The work progressed. His face lit up. Mr. if they like you. and touching the cat's collar. He had gone to Shamrock Hall. At the Shamrock nightly dances were given and well attended by the youth of the neighbourhood at ten cents a head. and the Tenderloin. but his admirers based his claim to respect on his many meritorious performances with fists and with the black-jack. and once in. Long Island City knew him. And Mr. his eye fell on the cat. More. and Pete Brodie. But it was not the fact that he possessed twenty-three cats with leather collars that made Mr. In this crisis the proprietor thought of his friend Ba t Jarvis. For Mr. the most noted of all New York's collections of Ap aches. A man who can vote. broadly speakin g. And this habit." The visitor blinked furtively. and who controls a great number of followers who are also prepared. by such means . and--more important stil l--the nucleus of the Groome Street Gang had been formed. In Groome Street in those days there had been a dance-hall. say. and especially the Groome Street Gang. O ff-shoots of the main gang sprang up here and there about the East Side." he said. "is Comrade Wind sor. Tammany Hall knew him. and w hose numbers had so recently been reduced to twenty-two. His living abode was in the upper story of that house. The New York gangs. he had killed no one--a defect which he had subsequently corrected. A ll might have been well. Broadway knew him .
if you want it. I guess there's n . so we took it in for safety.. "Nope. Such a cat spells death to boredom. "Not garrulous." said Billy. but what of that? I am a man of few words myself. No diner-out can afford to be without such a cat. A most companionable animal. Obliged. and the police left the Groome Street G ang unmolested and they waxed fat and flourished. Comrade Jarvis. Such was Bat Jarvis. Mr. and. Comrade Jarvis's massive silences appeal to me.liticians passed the word to the police. "Obliged. kit. Fond of de kit." Mr." He paused and whistled a few more bars. Jarvis eyed him fixedly. "Pipe de collar. They heard him shuffling downstairs. Billy did so. Jarvis." Billy Windsor laughed. Jarvis continued to stand and whistle for a few moments more. from what I've heard about him. "We found two fellows setting a dog on to it. lifted the cat. . "Obliged. He shifted the cat on to his left arm." said Psmith. Then he turned to Billy again. and paused. I am. touching the cat's neck "Mine. if one got mixed up with any of tha t East-Side crowd. He looked round the company. still whistling softly. full of the highest spirits. "Say!" he said at length.. met Psmith's eye-glass. She is not unworthy of your af fection." he added. "I don't know that he's just the sort of side-partner I'd go out of my way to ch oose. Still." Psmith nodded approvingly. Good night. then nodded to Psmith and Mike." Mr. Bat Jarvis. Groome Street. He se ems to have taken a fancy to you. "And rightly." said Billy Windsor. "Shake!" he said. Jarvis nodded approval. fixing his roving gaze once more upon Billy. Here. and left the room." said Mr. Jarvis stooped. Her knockabou t act in the restaurant would have satisfied the most jaded critic. perhaps. You know the add ress. as if pondering over his remarks. and fin ally turned again to Billy Windsor." "Pugsy said it must be." Mr. mister. was transfixed by it for a moment. "There's a basket here." he said. Glad to be of service. "A blithe spirit. "Rightly. he would be a mighty useful friend to have. "Say!" he said. and extended his right hand to Billy. "Any time you're in bad. "Say!" he said. Comrade Windsor.
" "Ah! then at last you have your big chance. Comrade Windso r. There's no room for develop ing free untrammelled ideas on this paper. He never comes near the paper. though. Comrade Windsor. Comrade Jackson. yet he could find nothing polite to say." "You bet I'm not. Comrade Jackson. or somewhere.'" He looked at Mike." he said." said Mike. its life-blood." Psmith was deep in Lucia Granville Waterman's "Moments in the Nursery. or they wouldn't buy it. you are its back-bone." "Merely sub? You deserve a more responsible post than that. I say to myself without hesitation." he added to Billy." said Psmith. "Go on. we know well." "I expect some people would like it awfully. 'more scope!' I must look into this matter. here is one for you. bulging forehead. At Carlsbad. You must have scope. "what is your exact position on this paper? Practical ly." he said." said Billy Windsor. who was turning over the leaves of his cop y of Cosy Moments in a sort of dull despair. Comr ade Windsor. 'Comrade Windsor must have more scope." he said. you'll see that each page is run by some one. I'm simply the fellow who minds the shop." said Psmith. He ju st sits tight and draws the profits. Billy interpreted the look. "It is like setting a gifted French c hef to wash up dishes. 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. "Guess again. but what is your techni cal position? When your proprietor is congratulating himself on having secured t he ideal man for your job. "They must. "A man of your undoubted powers. I've never met any of them yet. He wished to be polite. When I gaze at your broad. You are free. That is the cry. "Say it. He lets the editor look after things." Psmith clicked his tongue sympathetically." "Assuredly not." CHAPTER V PLANNING IMPROVEMENTS "By the way. what precise job does he congratulate himself on havi ng secured the ideal man for?" "I'm sub-editor. when I see the clear light of intelligence in your eyes. "We should not despise the humblest. It can't be worse than what I think. For sound. His opinion will be bot h of interest and of profit to you.o harm done by getting him grateful. Comrade Windsor. "Well. C omrade Windsor?" . And now. taking up the paper again "let me concentrate myself tens ely on this very entertaining little journal of yours." "He's in Europe." He turne d to Billy Windsor. "Luella Granville Waterman. When you've looked at it." he said. "is not by any chance your nom-de-plume. untrammelled. should have more scope. clear-headed criticism. and hear the grey matter splashing restlessly abou t in your cerebellum. Just at present I'm acting as editor. and what is your verdict?" Mike looked at Billy Windsor. "Comrade Jac kson's name is a by-word in our English literary salons.
You yearn for scope. "Has this job of yours any special attractions for you. y ou said." "How do you mean?" "She must go. You must show the world that even Cosy Moments cannot keep a g ood man down. The editor thinks a heap of her stuff. "Comrade Windsor. "Your first act. is there a single feature you would willingly retain?" "I don't think there is." said Psmith." said Psmith courteously. You are wasting the golden hours of your youth. "Comrade Jackson. I must confe ss that for sheer." said Mike. But he'll come back. and tapped him earnestly on the chest. Now. You may safely build upon him. "For. must be to sack her. You must make Windsor of Cosy Momen ts a name to conjure with. "Comrade Jackson. Luella Granville Waterman must go. though. Moreover. Don't think it."Not on your life. speaking as man to man." "Sufficient unto the day. Comrade Windsor?" "I guess not. You must boost this sheet up till New York rings with your exploits." repeated Psmith firmly. at the present rate." "I guess it'll be followed pretty quick by improvement number two--the sacking o f William Windsor. if you were editing this paper. I n England when Comrade Jackson says 'Turn' we all turn. you have touched the spot. that he was away?" "So he is. my views on the mat . I have a suspicion that he will be th e first to approve your action. "has a secure reputation on the other side for the keen ness and lucidity of his views upon literature." he expl ained. I can't. now that you have swiped the editorial chair. I think. concentrated bilge she gets away with the biscuit with almost insolent ease. His holiday will have cleared his brain. You must strike out a l ine for yourself. I can't go monkeying about with the paper that way." Psmith reflected for a moment." "My opinion in a nutshell. We must act for the good of the paper. On the present lines that is impossible. approvingly." "We cannot help his troubles. I don't see how I'm going to fix it." He resumed his seat. You must move. Comrade Windsor. say. You must hustle. "How do you mean?" said Billy Windsor. turning to Billy. "It's all pretty bad rot. 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." Psmith rose." "I am glad. Psmith turned to Mike." "As I suspected.
Fillken Wilberfloss returned and found the apple of his eye torn as under and. His services." said Billy Windsor. Could it be done? It would undoubtedly mean the sack when Mr. The details of the campaign we must think out after. unless they cease their contributions instantly. I could wish its tone to be such that the public will wonder why we do not print it on asbestos. "That. It was too s pacious. we shall produce a bright. The editor would be away ten weeks. Are you with m e. my idea is that Cosy Moments should become red-hot stuff. readable little she et which will in a measure make this city sit up and take notice. briefly." said Billy Windsor. and that he had no right whatever to tinker with it without that gentleman's approval. accordingly.. We must be a search-light. He would have ten weeks in which to try himself out. "Assuredly. But. We must detect the wrong-doer. We must chronicle all the live events of the day." he said. It is at your disposal." "Let it devolve. but I fancy tha t. You will. His brow suddenly cleared. fire s. briefly. Cosy Moments. murders. I fancy. and he would have no name as long as he c lung to his present position. may have occurred to him. in my opinion (worthless. needs more snap. and the like in a manner which will make our readers' spines thrill. it occurred so momentarily that he did not notice it. but I foresee that I shall be a quick learner. "I'm on. Ga." Billy Windsor sat and rocked himself in his chair without replying." "Bully for you. if I may say so. were it not backed b y such a virtuoso as Comrade Jackson). Fortunately. we must be the guardians of the People's rights. "is unhappily more fettered. In these crises one cannot think of everything. "And now to decide upon our main scheme. He was tryin g to assimilate this idea. On the other hand. All these putri d pages must disappear. You. Now and then a br ight smile of approval. what was the sack? One crowded hour of gloriou s life is worth an age without a name. An occasional congratulatory telegram. The exigencies of his cricket tour will compel him constantly to be gadding about. Comrade Windsor?" . cannot be relied upon continuously. more go. The bulk of the work will devolve upon our two selves. enthusiastically. so to speak. now to Phil adelphia. Letters must be despatched to-morrow morning. After all. we shall expect li ttle but moral support. "Comrade Jackson. Above al l. but. s howing up the dark spot in the souls of those who would endeavour in any way to do the PEOPLE in the eye. if it did. After that we can begin to move. without salary.ter are as follows." said Psmith. of cours e. Psmith smiled approvingly. "is the right spirit. and my suggestions are merely suggestions. Henderson Asher. anon to Onehorseville. So far the grandeur of it had dazed him." continued Psmith. and deliver him such a series of resentful buffs that he will abandon his little games and become a mod el citizen. you will be compelled to place yourself under police protection. are the editor. subject to your ap proval.. if we follow those main lines. J. now to Saskatchewan. Benjamin White. He wondered that the idea had n ot occurred to him before. deprived of its choicest pips. have little cause to r egret your decision. therefor e. too revolutionary." he said. I happen to have a certain am ount of leisure just now. From him. informing Luella Granville Waterman and the others (and in particular B. I have had little experience o f journalistic work. Hope leaped within him. In ten weeks he c ould change Cosy Moments into a real live paper. who from a cursory glance strikes me as an ideal candidate for a lethal chamber) that. I will becom e your sub-editor. The trifling fact that the despised journal was the p roperty of Mr.
"I do not understand you. that there were other fi elds."Surest thing you know. he will go singing about his hotel. and doubtless." "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. We are on to a big thing. 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. It seems that Comrade Windsor knows certain stout fellows.' in parti cular. "It's the rummiest business I ever struck. was t he line I should take. There are some very fine passages in that edi torial. I should soon have become a financial magnate." said Billy with fervour. This was largely the work of Psmi th. His beaming s mile will be a by-word in Carlsbad. Wait till you see our first number." Mike roared with laughter. And without Scope. who will be delighted to weigh in with stuff for a moderate fee. "Next Week! See Editorial!" and compiling in conjunction a snappy editorial. It's pretty lucky for you two lunatics that the proprietor's in Europe. There is no reprieve. The last paragraph. 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. His only doubt will be whether to send his money to the bank or keep it in t ubs and roll in it. waiting for the next number to appear. It should stir the blood of a free and independent people till they sit in platoons on the doorstep of our office. 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. It strikes the right note. At last I have Scope. Comrade Jackson. "Comrade Jackson. The letters giving them the miss-in-baulk in no uncertain voice were only despatched yesterday. where are we? Wed ged tightly in among the ribstons. "I fancy I have found my metier. Comrade Jackson." he said. setting forth the proposed changes." "And how about the editor? I should think that first number would bring him back foaming at the mouth. and owing to the nearness of press day there was no time to fill it before the issue of the next number. For the moment it seems to me that I have found the job for which nature s pecially designed me." . "Are you and Windsor going to fill the whole paper yourselves?" "By no means. had I stuck to that walk in life. Do you insinuate that we are not acti ng in the proprietor's best interests? When he sees the receipts. Visitors will be shown it as one of the sigh ts. But something seemed to whisper to me. "I'm jolly glad it's not my paper. But it cann ot affect us how they writhe beneath the blow. reporte rs on other papers." "How about that next number?" asked Mike. beginning 'Cosy Moments cannot be muzzled." he said to Mike. many considered. Commerce. ev en in the midst of my triumphs in the New Asiatic Bank. I like it." Psmith regarded him with pained surprise. as they set forth one evening in search of t heir new flat.
All the smells and noises. for they opened on to the str eet. Where we are."I have ascertained from Comrade Windsor that there is nothing to fear from that quarter. being an island. The imagination jibbed at the thought of the back rooms. The floor was cover . I'm going in to h ave a look round. "It seems to me that there's what you might call room for improvement. 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. our footsteps h ave wandered. specifically mentioned that the paper was to be withheld from him until he re turned. what are you going to do?" "By that time. Psmith and Mike picked their way through the groups of ragged children who cover ed the roadway. and so got a little light and air. It wouldn't be a scaly idea to turn that C osy Moments search-light we were talking about on to them. "It must be awful living in a hole like this. Reporters were the only tolerably well-dressed visitors Pleasant Street ever entertained. Nowhere in the city does one realise so fully the disadvantages of a lack of space. but we'll risk it." Followed by Mike. "This place makes me sick. Thes e were the star apartments of the tenement-houses. They had to feel their way up. On the lower floors one could see into dark. Ah. It was almost pitch dark on the stairs. bare rooms. Probably they took them f or reporters hunting for a story. has had no room to spread. stopping. By a singular stroke of good fortune Comrade Wilberfloss--his name is Wilberfloss--has been ordered complete rest during his holiday. A group of men leaning again st the opposite wall looked at them without curiosity. He glanced up at the grimy build ings on each side. The masses of dirty clothes hanging from the fire -escapes increase the depression. I can only say that I shouldn't care to have to live here. and ga in in vehemence from the fact. Through the opening the y had a glimpse of a number of women sitting round on boxes." "And when he does return. goodness only knows." "Let us wend in that direction. realising the fearful strain inflicted by reading Cosy Moments in its old for m." said Psmith. Most of t he doors were shut but one on the second floor was ajar." Psmith said nothing. In the exhilaration of this little chat. The New York slum stands in a class of its own." said Psmith. It is a town of human sardines. In th e meantime. I expect some muscular householder will resent the intrusion a nd boot us out. doubtless. The height of the houses and th e narrowness of the streets seem to condense its unpleasantness. There seemed to be thousands of them. "Look here. It is unique. The kindly medic o. which are many and varied. He was looking thoughtful. In the poorer quarters the congestio n is unbelievable. Comrade Jackson. Pleasant Street? I fancy that the master-min d who chose that name must have had the rudiments of a sense of humour. "Poor kids!" said Mike. New York." "There's a name up on the other side of that lamp-post." They walked on a few steps. "I wonder who owns these places. I would call your attention to the fact that we see m to have lost our way." It was indeed a repellent neighbourhood in which they had arrived. are penned up in a sort of canyon. he turned in at one of the doors.
"It is saddening me to a great extent. . stumbling in the darkness. Your Duty summons you to Philadelphia. with a century or two. to play my part in the great work of making New Y ork sit up. Time was evidently money in Pleasant Street. He liked Bil ly Windsor. "This. despite Mike 's desertion. What h e wants." he said. It was a good re presentative Pleasant Street back room." CHAPTER VII VISITORS AT THE OFFICE On the following morning Mike had to leave with the team for Philadelphia. It was immedi ately above a saloon. and fi nd Fourth Avenue. it wa s to be presumed. in your bag. and hung about moodily until the time o f departure. I will comple te the arrangements with regard to the flat. Through this. Psmit h came down to the ferry to see him off. Psmith's was a nature which required a certain amount of stimulus in the way of gentle excitement." said Psmith. as they walked on. almost fell against the door. to knock the cover off the local bowling. "I propose.. let us try and get out of this place of wrath. Mike. but the landlord had as sured them that the voices of the revellers did not penetrate to it. to make things as warm for the owner of this place as I jolly well know how. All the women were sewing. the good work should. however. Yet there is another side to the picture. and on the whole. "if Comrade Windsor is agreeable." After leaving Pleasant Street they had found Fourth Avenue by a devious route. a nd had opened negotiations for a large flat near Thirtieth Street. The architect in this case had given rei n to a passion for originality.ed with little heaps of linen. Comrade Jackson. and looked forward to a not unenjoyable time till Mike should return ." said Psmith. He had constructed the room without a window of any sort whatsoever. "this perpetua l parting of the ways. of course. "is disembowelling. having set tled that important point. it fills me with a certain melancholy to have you flitting off in this manner without me. be getting something of a move on. None of the women looked up at the nois e. The day was fine. When I think of the happy moments we have spent hand-in-h and across the seas. The room was empty. Psmith turned to stroll to the office of Cosy Moments. When the ferry-boat had borne Mike off across the river. I fancy. he felt pleased with life. which was something of a drawback." "What are you going to do?" asked Mike. Comrade Jackson. On the fourth floor there was an open door. To me t here is something singularly impressive in our unhesitating reply to the calls o f Duty. I fancy. that a mawkishly sentimental l egislature will prevent our performing that national service. There was a square opening in the door. By the time you return. I trust. and it seemed to him that the conduct of the remodelled Cosy Moments might supply this. We must endeavour to do what we can by means of kindly criticism in the paper. "is where Cosy Moments gets busy at a si ngularly early date. And now. By contrast with the con ditions indoors the street seemed spacious and breezy. the entire stock of air used by the occupants was supposed to come. They stumbled downstairs again and out into the street. Mine retains me here.." he proceeded in the tone of a family doctor prescribing for a patient.
"Say on." "As I suspected." Psmith inspected Master Maloney through his eye-glass. 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. De editor ain't in. Dere's Mr.' says he lightin' o ut for de door. 'Well. what was the general average aspect of these determined spirits?" "Huh?" "Did they seem to you to be gay. I can't keep dese big husky guys out if dey's for buttin' in. 'is de ed itor in?' 'Nope. 'Nuttin' doin'. They consisted of a sort of outer lair.' says I. Why did you let them in?" "Sure. As Psmith passed through the front door. So when de rest of de bunch co mes along. In he butts. Comrade Maloney. Pugsy Maloney rose. a small room. but vague.' says he." A faint smile appeared upon Psmith's face. precisely?" "A whole bunch of dem. 'it's up to youse. I don't try to give dem de t'run down. Who are in there?" "De whole bunch of dem. "I was sittin' he re. Comrade Maloney.'" "And what more could you have said?" agreed Psmith approvingly. 'is de editor in?' 'Nope." said Psmith.' I might as well have saved me breat'. dey just butted in. "Tell me. Well. Comrad e Maloney. and a larger room beyond. in the middle of them?" "Nope. too." "Who. which would have belonged to the stenographer if Cosy Moments had po ssessed one. 'Boy.' says he. 'I'll wait. I will interview t hese merchants.' I says. Wit dat I sees de proposition's too fierce for muh. de whole bunch of dem. in about t'ree minutes along comes another gazebo. I can't be boddered. 'Nix on de goin' in act. These trifling contret emps are the penalties we pay for our high journalistic aims. push t'roo inter de inner room. I says. Asher and the Rev. Mr. Philpotts and a gazebo wha t calls himself Waterman and about 'steen more of dem. readin' me book. I fancy that with the aid of the Diplomatic Smile and the Honeye . 'I'll go in an' wait. "And is Comrade Windsor in there. but if youse wants to join de giddy t'ro ng. "You are well-meaning. "Can you give me any part iculars?" he asked patiently." said Master Maloney complainingly. "Say!" said Master Maloney. gents. But we must not repine. Windsor's out to lunch. when de foist of de guys blew in. where Pugsy Maloney spent his tim e reading tales of life in the prairies and heading off undesirable visitors. Comrade Maloney. which was the editorial sanctum. The offices of Cosy Moments were in a large building in the street off Madison A venue.' I says." "Comrade Windsor knows his business.. "Dey're in dere. and he's in der now.' says he. 'B oy.' I says.
As Psmith entered. Give him my compliments." said Master Maloney. The others paused for the reply. may I ask?" inquired the favoured one. Stillness brooded over the room as he carefully dusted that piece of furnitur e. be so good as to inform him of the state of affairs. Then Psmith. 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." said Psmith with manly regret.d Word I may manage to pull through. Windsor. "Alas! no." "Sure. but the gentleman who said "Pardon me!" necessarily finished first with the rest nowhere. Waterman. having done so to his satisfaction. Not a word was spoken as he paced. he looked up and started. was the simple majesty of Psmith's demeanour that for a moment there was dead silen ce. Such. This accomplished. bowed. however. Comrade Windsor would probably have endeavoured to clear the room wit h a chair. ." The start was good and even. Asher. I presume?" "Pardon me!" "I should like a few moments' conversation. "Ha! I am observed!" he murmured. Philpotts proved to have been due to a great extent to a somewhat feverish imagination. "Are you Mr. that Comrade Windso r is out. Instantly. the five visitors burst simultaneously int o speech. every eye was turned upon him. Psmith turned to him. There were only five men in the room. and fixed him with a benevolent gaze through his ey e-glass. The situation calls for the handling of a man of delicate culture and nice tact. walked to the door of the inner room and went in. hitched up the knees of his trousers and sank gracefully into a sitting position. and tell him to go out and watch the snowdrops growing in Madison Square Garden. Five brows were corrugated with wrathful lines. and the Rev. to the editorial chai r. sir. The words broke the spell." "Mr. sir. perhaps. "Are you the acting editor of this paper?" "I wish to have a word with you. It is as well. wrapped in thought. Five pairs of eyes were smouldering with a long-nurse d resentment. having smoothed the nap of his hat and flicked a speck of dust from his coat-sleeve. He gazed round the room. CHAPTER VIII THE HONEYED WORD Master Maloney's statement that "about 'steen visitors" had arrived in addition to Messrs. If he should arrive during the seance. Windsor. and. and tell him not to come in. Comrade Maloney.
So did I. "Som etimes the cry goes round." "So did I." There was a pause. And now. We are both at a loss to make head or tail of it. Windsor." continued the little man. stood alone in literary circles as a purveyor of sheer bilge." said the man who had said "Pardon me!" "I came f or the express purpose of seeing Mr. My wife has been a contributor to this journal from its found ation. Is there anything I can do for you?" "Are you on the editorial staff of this paper?" "I am acting sub-editor. The work is not light. "has received this extraordinary communication from a man signing himself W . polished it. Wilberfloss." "Then maybe you can tell me what all this means?" said a small round gentleman w ho so far had done only chorus work. 'Can Psmith get through it all? Will his strength sup port his unquenchable spirit?' But I stagger on. But how much anon I fear I cannot say. He felt that he must run n o risk of not seeing clearly the husband of one who." said Psmith."Then who are you?" "I am Psmith." "When will he return?" "Anon. "It is an outrage. "My wife." added Psmith gratuitously." "Correct me if I am wrong. whose name you doubtl ess know. Windsor?" "He is. also." Psmith bowed courteously. and replaced it in his eye." "Luella Granville Waterman. in his opinion." chimed in the rest. I fancy. Comrade--I have not the pleasu re of your name. sir. "This is exceedingly annoying." The visitors looked at each other. "Where is Mr. "but I should say it. Her work has given every satisfaction to Mr. champing about forty cents' worth of lunch at some neighbouring hostelry. Psmith removed hi s eye-glass. sir. producing an envelope and handing it to Psm ith. Windsor." Psmith was reading the letter. withou . it shall be done. I am here on behalf of my wife. I do not repine. was Waterma n." said the little man proudly." "My name is Waterman. "Same here. "Comrade Windsor's loss is my gain. "It seems reasonably clear to me. "If it is in my power to do so." he said.
'" said Psmith. Windsor? Where is Mr. Windsor.'" A look almost of excitement came into Psmith's face. Wilberfloss?" The chorus burst forth. as you will re adily admit when you have heard all. who had hitherto lurked almost unseen behind a stout person in a serge suit. And now up comes this Windsor fellow." murmured Psmith. "I gather that Comrade Windsor. They. and I've reason to know that my page was as widely read and appreciated as any in New York. if you please." "You don't know!" exclaimed Mr. was almost too much." "I have read your page with the keenest interest. sir. o n the one hand--" A man with a face like a walnut. Th at he should be privileged to look upon the author of "Moments of Mirth" in the flesh. and spoke his piece." said Psmith. His locality is as hard to ascertain . "have frequently reconciled me to the toothache. You don't know. "this is a painful case. "may I shake your hand?" The other extended his hand with some suspicion. such a look as a visitor to a foreign land might wear when confronted with some great national monument." continued Psmith. B. I do not know. I write 'Moments of Mirth. bobbed into the open. "Gentlemen. except when I had the mumps. Wilberfloss? "I am the Reverend Edwin T.t the slightest warning. Nobody knows. W ilberfloss is. shaking it. on the other hand. "Comrade Asher. the se clashings of personal taste. Who is W. Windsor? Where was Mr. Henderson Asher. actually wishes to hurry on its decease. "I don't know." "These are life's tragedies." The Reverend Edwin's frosty face thawed into a bleak smile. Windsor. "Where's this fellow Windsor? W.looking man with pale blue eyes and a melancholy face. "And yet." said Psmith. Waterman. Here we have. It seemed that that was what they all wanted to know: Wh o was W. "don't know. face to face." he said. but yours seems to me work which the world will not willingly let die. It is these strange contradictions. are peculiar." He reseated himself. You have asked me where Mr. which make up what we call life. "Your 'Moments of Mirth. "Asher's my name. "What's he mean by it? That's what I want to know." said a cadaverous. comes this peremptory dismissal from W. Philpotts. for four years. The circumstances. indicating the rest with a wa ve of the hand. and tel ls me in so many words the paper's got no use for me. I've be en working for this paper without a break. That's the man we want to see. "I have contributed 'Moments of Meditatio n' to this journal for a very considerable period of time. "I may be wrong. And that's what these gentlem en want to know--See here--" "I am addressing--?" said Psmith." he said reverently.
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."
'just general invective. Everything in the East is as crooked as Pearl Street. After all. The facts which will nerve us to effort are two."They're pretty bad." said Billy Windsor. It made him fizz ahead like a two-ye ar-old. 'Yes. it's up to the lessee ." said Psmith.' replied our her o. aren't they. They lease it to a less ee. Those tenement houses are about as pay ing an investment as you can have. A young man once called at th e office of a certain newspaper. "Full steam ahead. you see. I fea r. and asked for a job. "Which of us is going to write the first article?" "You may leave it to me. I am a very f .' said the bright lad. In the first place. and things go on the same as before. Comrade Windsor. This isn't a tenement house at a ll. when there's a fuss. and trust to luck. Comrade Windsor. 'Have you any special line ?' asked the editor. and here are the se people having to go downstairs and out of doors to fetch their water supplies . let's say." "Precisely. It's all just like the E ast. We'll try. anyway. we s hall be enabled to haul up our slacks with a considerable absence of restraint." said Psmith. 'Nothing doing." said Psmith. with its vast ramifications. and says." "The main problem. could bring off a thing like that?" "I doubt it. You can't get hold of the man who's really responsi ble. if we go on long enough. B ut they're fierce. 'Where's your running wa ter on each floor? That's what the law says you've got to have." asked Psmith. And he lies so low that you can't find out who he is. lad? Surely a powerful organ like Cosy Moments. then. It's pretty difficult to get at these fellows." "Hasn't anybody ever tried to do anything about them?" "Not so far as I know. 'No. Secondly." "I see. What that was. If you want a square deal. There are all sorts of laws about the places. back co me the rest of the crowd. but it bucked Columbus up like a tonic. 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. but I have certain qualifications for the post. The chances are that. The land belongs in the first place to some corporation or other. Then. There are only two families here. Well. but any one who wants can get round them as easy as falling off a log. "is the precise difficulty of getting at these merchants?" "Well. I am no hardened old journalist. I do not at the moment reca ll. as the re appears to be no law of libel whatsoever in this great and free country. 'I am rather good at invective." "Sure. When there's a fuss.' And when the fuss has blown over. they say they aren't responsible. ' 'Any special kind of invective?' queried the man up top.' the landlord simply replies. Probably some millionaire. "A very cheery scheme. when the inspector fellow comes along.' Such is my own case. "appears to be the discovery of the lesse e." "Then there's another thing. it's this way. There's no knowing but what we may have luck. Columbus didn't know that America existed when he set out. unless you're prepared to spend thousands ferreting out evidence. All he knew was some highly interesting fact about an egg. we shall eventually arrive somewhere. you've got to come out Wyoming way. those houses!" "What. we know that there must be some one at the bottom of the business." "Who owns them?" "I don't know.
"I knew that Personal column of ours was going to be a success!" What the bullet was to the Far West editor. It occurred in the third week of the new regime of the paper. had bounded ahead like a motor-car when the throttle is op ened." An unsolicited testimonial which caused Psmith the keenest satisfaction. the visit of Mr. heard through the open door. and even Psmith had at moments lost a certain am ount of his dignified calm. in an attitude of self-de fence. Give me pen and paper. was a mass of bright reading dealing with the events of the day. had employed his gift of general invective to considerable effect. when a bullet crashed through the window and embedde d itself in the wall at the back of his head. snappy stuff in their best Yel low Journal manner. a s was shown by a conversation between Master Maloney and a visitor one morning." Jim my was the present holder of the light-weight title." CHAPTER X GOING SOME There was once an editor of a paper in the Far West who was sitting at his desk. Comrade Windsor. looking moody and important. And as my visit to Pleasant Street is o f such recent date. and I think we have got a success." "Sure. instruct Comr ade Maloney to suspend his whistling till such time as I am better able to liste n to it." he said complacently. . The section of the paper devoted to Kid Brady was attractive to all those with s porting blood in them. Give him my compliments. I am tolerably full of my subject. He had won it a year before . and his life had been sadd ened up to the present by the refusal of the press to publish his reminiscences. Each week there appeared in the same place on the same pa ge a portrait of the Kid. 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.air purveyor of good. Sandwiched in between the painful case of Kid Brady and the matter of the tenements. "Ah. "I wish to see the editor of this paper. Billy Win dsor's newspaper friends had turned in some fine. 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 under the portrait the legend. an idea which made the Kid his devoted adherent from then on. Francis Parker to t he offices of Cosy Moments was to Billy Windsor. of the National Theatre. Incessant work had been the order of the day. Like most pugi lists. A happy smile lit up the editor's face. Bodkin does not lightly forget. and tell him that Mr. the Kid had a passion for bursting into print." said the visitor." said Master Maloney. which formed the star items of the paper's cont ents. Cosy Moments. It was this that gave Psmith the idea of publishing Kid Brady's autobiography in Cosy Momen ts. musing pleasantly of life. untruthfully. Taking full advantage of the benevolent laws of this country governing libel." His reminiscences were appearing weekly in a Sunday paper. Psmith . general invective. "Ha! Then when he returns I wish you to give him a message. who had constituted himself guardian of the literary and dramatic interests of the paper. Billy Windsor's hair had bec ome more dishevelled than ever. unde r its new management. "Jimmy Garvin must meet this boy." "I am Aubrey Bodkin. "Editor not in. relating to the more stirring happenings in the city.
" said Psmith to Billy. "Young blood. "young blood. taking it. so I ups with an awful half-scissor hook to the plexus. I would not have it otherwise. and I gets in with a hay-maker and I picks up ano ther sleep-producer from the floor and hands it him. The sale of Cosy Moments proceeded briskly. lucid." said Psmith. or it falls behind its competitors in the race. Cosy Moments." said Psmith nonchalantly. The readers of Cosy Moments got Kid Brady raw. Comrade Wilberfloss's methods were possibly sound. Other pugilists. It is the right spirit. bearing in his hand a card. and there was nothing much going on in New York. He was grateful to Psmith for not editing his c ontributions. It is bound to appeal powerfully to the many-headed. my poor old mother way out in W yoming. and to the point." "That.. and the citizens have given their native son the Approving Hand." "He's a guy with a tall-shaped hat. Advertisements came tr ooping in. Our h ero is fighting Battling Jack Benson in that eminent artist's native town of Lou isville. And then the gong goes. They la cked ginger. but too limited and archaic. rightly. contributing to other papers. "we shall ascertain more clearly after a personal interview ." said Psmith approvingly. a l arge new public had sprung up and was growing every week. "an' he's weari n' a dude suit an' shiny shoes. We of the younger generation have our fingers more firmly on the pu blic pulse. We can give him three and a quarter mi nutes. and then I seen Benson losing his goat. Listen to this bit." "Nor I. and in the next round I seen Benson has a chunk of yellow. Psmith extended the hospitality of page four of Cosy Moments to Kid Brady. groaned under the s upervision of a member of the staff who cut out their best passages and altered the rest into Addisonian English. they had paid their subscriptions. Comrade Windsor?" "I wonder what he wants. It was late summer now. We read off the public's unspoken wishes as if by intuition." volunteered Master Maloney. And. The public was consequently fre e to take notice. Bu t. and I seen I hadn't a friend in it. and the latter leaped at the chance. Here is the Kid on the subject: 'I looked around that house. "has a singularly pure and pleasing style . so that the money was safe whether they read the paper or not. That is what the public wants. Crisp. while receiving Comrade Brady with chilly silence. A pap er must keep up to date. He ha s felt. Comrade Maloney. "has evidently not been blind to the importance of a visit to Cosy Moments. and I goes in and mixes it. and I says to myself how I has one friend. meanwhile. show the gentleman in. "Don't know him. It signifies that he has arrived." But the feature of the paper was the "Tenement" series.'. was passing through an era of prosperity undr eamed of in its history. He has dressed himself in his best." . Letters of complaint from old subscribers poured into the office daily. Shall we give him audience. We know the game from A to Z. in short. and he takes the count all right. "Comrade Brady. that this is no occasion for the old straw hat and the baggy fl annels. As Psmith had pred icted. If this does not bring Comrade Garvin up to the scratch. "'Francis Parker'?" said Billy." "Comrade Parker. nothing will.To appear in print is the fighter's accolade. the change of policy had the effect of improving the sales to a marked ex tent." said Psmith. That is the secret." At this moment Master Maloney entered. as Billy Windsor complacently remarked. "We make new friends daily.
and a cat-like way of moving. Technically. which he carried. a man of alert and res tless temperament." agreed Psmith. feels that there are other a nd larger publics." "May I speak frankly?" said Mr. He--" "Then--excuse me--" said Mr. You may address us both impartially. shall I say. no restraint between us. I have no quarrel with Comrade Wilberfloss. are resp onsible for this very vigorous attack on the tenement-house owners?" "You can take it I am. during the past few wee ks?" he said. Psmith interposed. But is not its interest in current affairs a recent develo pment?" "You are very right." he said. he wore a tail-coat." Mr. "The style of the paper has changed greatly. "I wished to see the editor. as I fancy Master Ma loney would phrase it. "They are--er--very outspoken articles. felt that a change was essential if Cosy Moments was to lead public thought." Psmith waved a hand towards Billy." "I see. Francis Parker proved to be a man who might have been any age between twenty -five and thirty-five. He refuses to content himself with ladling out a weekly dole of mental predigested breakfast food. I myself--I am Psmith--though but a su bordinate. "Comrade Windsor. "Distinctly warm stuff. He had a smooth. He catered exclusively for children with water on the brain.Pugsy withdrew. There must be no secrets. As Pugsy had stated in effect. Parker. with a broader view. Parker." . Parker paused. he must distribute it evenly between Comrade Windsor and myself. Will you sit for a space?" He pushed a chair towards the visitor. is anxious to aim a swift kick at the man behind those ar ticles. th e Wyoming cracker-jack. "I have never been. He provides meat. He is our editor. turning to Billy. "Warm stuff. "Before you is Comrade Windsor. and men and women with solid ivory skulls. "Assuredly. We have no secrets from ea ch other. Comrade Parker." he added. Comrade Wilberfloss's methods were good in their way. I am but a sub-ed itor. "You. 'Did I make my meaning clear? Was I too elusive?' Say on. He moved softly into the room. 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. Comrade Windsor. and patent-leathe r boots of pronounced shininess. trousers with a cre ase which brought a smile of kindly approval to Psmith's face. comple ted an impressive picture. "The treat has not been denied you. "We are both responsible. has it not. If any husky guy. clean-shaven face. There was a momentary silence while he selected a spot on the table on which to place his hat. and I may be wrong. may also claim the title in a measure. Comrade Parker." responded Psmith. W e would not have you go away and say to yourself. who seated himself with the care inspired by a perfect trouser-crease. I take it. Gloves and a tall hat. Mr. a constant reader of Cosy Moments ." said Billy. But he did not lead public thought.
"Do not let us be abrupt on this happy occasion. find ing speech unequal to the expression of their thoughts. "We do not completely gather your meaning. If y ou've anything to say about those articles. Mr. "Why?" demanded Billy." said Mr. There was a feline smoothness about the visitor which had been jarring upon him ever since he first spoke. Parker's smooth face did not change its expression." Psmith waved a deprecating hand. and this is our busy day. "The gentleman whom I represent--" "Then this is no matter of your own personal taste? You are an emissary?" . if you unburdened yourself as soon as convenient. I fear we must ask yo u to hand it to us with still more breezy frankness. "And there are reasons why we should. sir. Comrade Parker. say it right out. as time is money. irrespective of the trend of his conversation. H e was rapidly approaching the state of mind in which the men of the plains. but he came to the point . Never mind our bes t interests." There proceeded from Billy a noise not describable in words. partly a growl. Parker leaned forward. 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. Billy's cow-boy blood was up. the home of blunt speech. Comrade Parker." cried he." "Who would doubt it. where you looked your man in the eye and s aid it quick. "I should not go on with them if I were you." Billy Windsor suddenly became militant." he said. We can look after them." "Less powerful ones. To me it is enough simply to si t and chat with Comrade Parker. Psmith intervened. 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. Parker. It resembled more than anything else the preliminary sniffin g snarl a bull-dog emits before he joins battle. Let's have what's worrying you. 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. leaning forward. "what's it all about? Let's have it. reach for their guns. He offended Billy' s honest soul. "See here. Parker was too bland for human consumption."I am speaking in your best interests. It was partly a sno rt. S till. Billy was of the plains. "There are reasons why you should not. possibly it might be as well.
Psmith. Windsor. I guess. Well." said Billy. "that if we kick up enough fuss to make somebody start a commission to inquire into this rotten business." "It is not so much the money. No conscient ious judge would withhold from Comrade Windsor a cigar or a cocoanut." Psmith nodded. suggesting that the situation was now abo ut to enter upon a more delicate phase. "Now. though. I speak quite frankly. From their point of view the discussion was over. I re ckon. Yo u aren't in this business for your healths. those articles are beginning to attract attention. This is how it stands." said he. if continued." Mr. What's your figure? Name it. here's a square proposition. I guess we nee dn't quarrel. I nee d not go into those reasons. If it was to be reopened on fresh lines. seeing that we're being frank with one an other. now. He had got as far as "Say!" when Psmith interrupted him. I guess. they may do so. It's up to him. see here: We don't want unpleasantness. gentlemen. That is the matter in a nutshell. and I want you to be frank with me. Frankly. just like everybody else. if it's not too high. A tentative cough. That's clear." "You mean. Or. "I fear that is not feasible." "Well." "I bet he is. gazing sadl y at Mr. Mr. The moment he starts in to make those house s decent. Well." "Then there's no use in talking. "Comrade Windsor is correct. He has hit the mark and rung the bell. Parker through his monocle." said Billy disgustedly. I don't mind admitting. 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." broke in Billy explosively. rather. he feels that. Remov e the reason for those very scholarly articles. Billy's eyes were bulging. according as his private preference might dictate. of course. "We are all friends here. the expense would be considerable. and they cease. with the restrained dignity of some old Roman senator dealing with the enemies of the Republic. "The articles will go on." Mr." "I'm going to put my cards on the table. Let us be hearty." repeated Mr." He looked expectantly at Billy. I've been frank with you. Parker shook his head. you two gentlemen have got us--that's to say. How much do you want to stop those articles? That's straight. He struggled for spee ch. see here. . I'm going to be frank. "I've no doubt he makes a mighty good pil e out of Pleasant Street. eh? You've got your living to make. my employer--in a cleft sti ck. It is sufficient to say that they are strong ones. "as the publicity involved. your friend wh o owns the private Hades we're trying to get improved. 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. the articles stop. The expense of reconstructing the houses makes tha t impossible. To a c ertain extant."These articles are causing a certain inconvenience to the gentleman whom I repr esent. as who should say. Now. Billy and Psmith waited for him to begin . Parker. My employer is a wealthy man. it was for their visitor to effect that reopening. and if they go o n there's going to be a lot of inconvenience for my employer. spoke quietly. and. Parker coughed. and s ee if we can't fix something up. he knows what to do.
Comrade Windsor. I am a man of powerful self-restr aint. smoothing his waistcoat thoughtfully. except at ten cents weekly." He went out. I guess w e're making a hit. "And. Cosy Moments is going some now. they'll try the other way. And in Wyoming his deadly aim with the ink-pot won him among the admiring cowboys the sobriquet of Crack-Shot Cuthbert. It is useless to dangle rich bribes before our eyes. and that sort of man would have a pull with all kinds of Thugs. Frankly--if I may borrow the expre ssion--your square proposition has wounded us. He's evidently working for somebody pretty big. Those articles are going to be stopped. "except to make a noise like a hoop and roll away. Parker." said Mr. and that goes." said Psmith. And what is that sentence? I give you three guesses. to Melonsquashville. Cosy Moments cann ot be muzzled. with the contented look the Far West editor must have worn as the bullet came through the window. "Speed. "Nothing. too. Comrade Windsor ." . one sentence is in every man's mouth. "we must have got them scared. and I'm going to see it through if they put every gang in New York on to us . exploding like a fire-cracker." "And do it quick. from Sandy Hook to San Francisco. From the hills of Maine to the Everglades of Florida." "Precisely. We shall have to watch out. You doubtless mean well. We wince before them. Now that they find we can't be bought." "That's right. by George. "There's nothing more to be done then. Parker rose. As man to man. you'll stop them yourselves before you get hurt. "I guess he meant it all right." "I'm going. silent men. "And I'll give you a piece of advice. Our ganglions quiver like cinematographs. let 'em! We're up against a big th ing. we review the situation. but we are not for sale. But. Gradual ly recovering command of ourselves. and I can curb my emotions." yelled Billy. But I fear th at Comrade Windsor's generous temperament may at any moment prompt him to start throwing ink-pots. or was there something solid behind them?" Billy Windsor was looking serious." he added." he admitted." he said."Comrade Parker. according to your--if I may say so--some what murky lights. Did our visitor's f inal remarks convey anything definite to you? Were they the mere casual badinage of a parting guest. You give it up ? It is this: 'Cosy Moments cannot be muzzled!'" Mr. "To men of nicely poised nervous organisation such as ourselves. "these scenes are acutely painful. "I fear that you have allowed constant communication with the conscienceless commercialism of this worldly city to undermine your mor al sense. from Portland. Oregon. picking up his hat." agreed Psmith." he said. and if you've any sense bet ween you. or they wouldn't have shown their hand that way." said Billy Windsor. one of those strong. "would be no bad thing. closing the door behind him with a bang that added emphasis to his words. Cosy Moments. That's all I've got t o say. Tennessee. Comrad e Parker. cannot be muzzled. Psmith bowed. as I have had occasion to observe bef ore. Th ey mean business sure enough. I should advise you to bound swiftly away.
" urged Master Maloney. released Master Maloney. I fear this journal must put up its shutters. Pugsy instantly ceased to be the student and became the man o f action. "Somebody must be hurting the kid. The visitor's reply was to extend a hand and grasp Pugsy's left ear between a lo ng finger and thumb. He resented being addressed as "kid" by perfe ct strangers." he said authoritatively. but the latter. fear. "Chase yerself. On such occasions as this Billy was a man of few words." he said. caught in the act. "Fresh kid!" he observed disapprovingly. He sprang from his seat and wriggled in between the man and the door. Pugsy made it. Tommy?" inquired the man. small boys in every country have had but one answer for this action. To be called "kid" was b ad. The seedy man. "Editor in. The seedy man was making for the door of the inner room. "Fade away." he said. The noise penetrated into the editorial sanctum. losing only a small part of its strength on the way. . He made a dive for the s eedy man. Parker. fixing his eyes again on his book. Since time began. The subtle insult of "Tommy" was still worse. Billy Windsor jumped up. who stood rubbing his ear with resentment written on every feature. "Youse can't butt in dere. and resentment strove for supremacy. who was at work on a review of a book of poetry. l ooked up with patient sadness. on the morning following the visit of Mr. and stoo d before Master Maloney." A second squeal rent the air. Psmith. "is going to take to singing as well as whistling . Concentrated thought will be out of the question. sprang back. Pugsy by this time had taken a thorough dislike to him. Psmith followed at a more leisurely pa ce. He walked in from the street. "Nope. He emitted a piercing squeal in which pain. "If Comrade Maloney. which he acquired at a neighbouring shop a t cut rates in consideration of their being shop-soiled. "Hey. He hurried to the door and flung it open." he exclaimed. that t he seedy-looking man made his appearance. who during the preceding moment had been eyeing the tw o editors as if he were committing their appearance to memory." he said curtly. and he was accustomed to occupy his large store of leisure by reading narrativ es dealing with life in the prairies. It was while he was eng rossed in one of these. Pugsy looked up with some hauteur. A movement on the par t of the visitor attracted his attention.CHAPTER XI THE MAN AT THE ASTOR The duties of Master Pugsy Maloney at the offices of Cosy Moments were not heavy ." The man eyed him with displeasure. kid. and was off down the stairs with the agility of a Marathon runner.
" "Another of these strong silent men.. No w they'll know what we look like. 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. These are the peri ls of the journalistic life. and they can get after us." said Billy thoughtfully. fanned by cool breezes and surrounded by fair women and brave men. We mus t watch out." "And he got it. Comrade Windsor. "needs to recuperate. 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." Billy turned again to his work. We shall probably find him waiting for us at th e main entrance with a sand-bag. one m ay do a bit of tissue-restoring." "Whoever's behind those tenements isn't going to stick at any odd trifle." he said. Ah. 'cos youse said youse wasn't. "you are a martyr. D id the gentleman state his business?" "Nope." said Billy. "Whereas what Comrade Maloney objected to was the feel of him.. "and asks is de editor dere. "The tired brain. What I'm going to do is to buy a good big stick. I te lls him no." ." "These are the drawbacks to being public men. The world is full of us. but. That man was probably sent to mark us down for one of the gangs."He blows in." said Psmith. We must bear them manfully." "It seems to me. till then--" . would be false economy ." said Billy. aggrieved." said Master Maloney. "I'm not going to wince. Yet it might have made all the difference. In what respect d id his look jar upon you? His clothes were poorly cut. Possibly five minutes' c hat on general subjects. To feed on such a night as thi s in some low-down hostelry on the level of the street. Providence is good to the poor. Comrade Windsor? Possibly our autographs. leave you unmoved. "so's you could notice it with a microscope." he said." "Comrade Maloney." "I don't like the look of him. but such things. without wincing. 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. and he nips me by the ear when I gets busy to stop him gettin' t'roo. Moreover. A man with trousers l ike his would not be allowed in." "I wonder what he wanted. Just tried to butt t'roo. I know. And I'd advise you to do the sa me. "as if he came just to get a sight of us. "Who can say. Here. when they were back again in the inner ro om. You will be safer and happier when you are rounding up cows on your mustang. there is little danger up here of bei ng slugged by our moth-eaten acquaintance of this morning.
and the rush of events has left me behind. "Yes. Windsor?" he said. Psmith recollected having seen this solitary diner looking in their direction once or twice during dinner. then." He bent forward. Comrade Windsor?" he inquired. then. It is a mass of electric light arranged in the shape of a great bottle. There's some things i t's better not to yell. Psm ith's gaze concentrated itself on the advertisement of a certain brand of ginger -ale in Times Square." said the other. Smith on your paper? Excuse my asking." Billy hesitated. I wonder what he wants." said the stranger. I too can hear as well as the next man." "Pleased to meet you. I don't know the man from Adam. The thing began to exercise a hypnotic ef fect on Psmith. and the roof-garden was full. who had been looking at him all the while with a combination of interest and suspicion. "Comrade Windsor was known to the Indian s as Boola-Ba-Na-Gosh. I don't want to have to shout it. "Never mind about my name. "Won't you sit down?" he said. The man might or might not be friendly. It was a warm night. signifies Big-Chief-Who-Can -Hear-A-Fly-Clear-Its-Throat. A waiter was bringing a chair. "Neither of you gentlemen are hard of hearing. eh?" "In the old prairie days. Is Mr. From where they sat they coul d see the million twinkling lights of the city. The young man seated himself. Smith." Psmith bowed. Recent events had made him wary of strangers. In the meant . "What is happening. Why?" "That's all right." added Billy. "That's all right. "It won't be needed." Billy was saying. interested. as you doubtless know. "Can I have a word with you.He turned with gentle grace to his soup." The stranger was threading his way between the tables. which. Towards the end of the meal. Mr." said Psmith. He came to himself with a start. "By the way. "Ah?" said Psmith." said Billy. The waiter bowed and retired to one of the tables where a young man in evening c lothes was seated. "I don't know your name. to find Billy Windsor in conver sation with a waiter. "I was musing with a certain tenseness at the moment. and at regular intervals there proceed from the bottle's mouth fla shes of flame representing ginger-ale. Billy looked at him curiously." "Man at that table wanted to know if my name was Windsor. I can go ahead. "and was it?" "Here he comes. but the fact had not impressed him . my name's Windsor. "my friend." He turned to Billy. Mr.
through which one may walk from end to end without encountering adventure. of battle. And Billy realised that these conditions now prevailed in his own case." "Well?" said Billy." Billy leaned forward eagerly. You wouldn't expect a man like that to give himself away. You understand certain pa rties have got it in against you?" "A charming conversationalist. Circumstances had placed him below the surface. "By the number of dollars he was ready to put up to have you done in. The stranger raised a long and curiously delicately shaped hand." "Never mind my name." said the stranger. "This isn't my funeral. hinted at something of the so rt." said Psmith. . murder." said Psmith cordially. I've no kick coming. there was no harm in being on one's guard. Th e other is a city as full of sinister intrigue. I'm a friend. "Who is he?" The other shrugged his shoulders." he said. "Well." "Then how do you know he's a big bug?" "Precisely. "You're up against a big proposition. make it Brown. cannot be muzzl ed. if you like. Cosy Moments. The man behind is a big bug." "Yet you don't tell us your name. He had come into conflict with New York's underworld.ime. as any town of mediaeval I taly. 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. what about it?" he demanded truculently." "You could select no nobler pseudonym. let's get back." "Gum! you'll need to. "It's about that tenement business. "On what system have you estimated the size of the gen tleman's bughood?" The stranger lit a cigar. About this tenement thing. See here. It don't signify . One is a modern." "We can look after ourselves. Billy bristled. you wouldn't be so durn ed stuck on this name thing. then. well-policed cit y. "Eh? Oh. Well." Billy's eyes snapped." said Psmith. one Comrade Parker. "in a recent interview. anything may happen to any one in New York. Call me Smith. however. "Don't bite at me. "I don't know. Given certain conditions. I see. Anything you please. of whisperings and conspiracies. and sudden death in dark by-ways. where only his wits could help him. If you were in my line of business.
" The stranger came up to their table. again."Oh?" he said. "Force of habit." "A powerful argument in favour of kindness to animals!" said Psmith. Pardon me. He--his agent. From the pocket of this he produced a gold watch." "Bat turned the job down. I don't kn ow what you've been doing to Bat. gentlemen. Comrade Windsor--" "Hullo. Said you were a fri end of his and none of his fellows were going to put a finger on you. "here's that man coming back again. I've a date to keep. that is--came to Bat Jarvis. but when he found out who he was supposed to lay for. "Comrade Wi ndsor came into possession of one of Comrade Jarvis's celebrated stud of cats. Psmith and Billy sat smoking in silence. Well. You've certainly made t he biggest kind of hit with Bat. "Good night. handing it to Psmith. I haven't seen him so worked up over a thing in years. he'd do his best for you. "How's the time going?" asked Billy at length. "He said he needed the money as much as the next man. because another gang is dead sure to take on the job. "You'll pardon m e. And he sent me along to find y ou and tell you so. he gave his job the frozen face. They had plenty to think about. Glad to have met you. "He told me to tell you to watch out. you have an insect on your coat. "A man of singularly winsome personality. A few paces to the right of the main e . Guess I'll be pushing along." "The cat-expert?" said Psmith." He flicked at Psmith's coat with a quick movement. "I am sorry to say." said Psmith. wearing a light overcoat over his dress clo thes. He is now as a prize tortoise shell to Comrade Jarvis." said Billy. moving off. For a few moments after he had gone. I reckon. but he's certainly Willie the Long-Lost Brothe r with you. Observe the sequel." concluded the stranger. W hat did he do? Instead of having the animal made into a nourishing soup. But he said you were to know he wasn't mixed up in it." "Why was that?" inquired Billy. Psmith thanked him gravely. that's all." CHAPTER XII A RED TAXIMETER The Astor Hotel faces on to Times Square. Mr." "We are much obliged to Comrade Jarvis. and lo oked at Billy with some sadness. He also said that any time you were in bad. Turned it down without a blink. Smith. Good night. "Not on his life. he rest ored it to its bereaved owner. "And which gang has he given the job to?" "I wish I could tell you. Glad to have met you." he said apologetically. Psmith felt for his watch." "So Bat wouldn't stand for it?" said Billy.
it's early yet. 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." "In a hurry. having left the Astor. Comrade Windsor. the Great White Way. "That's right. Psmith and Billy." "Say. Tough as a plank. Good night. Psmith broke the silence. did it?" said Billy politely. I know your father very well. "Why. then crossed the road. He showed me the photographs. The usual crowd was drifting slowly up and down in the glare of the white lights.' Darned if I could put a name to you. I've never set eyes on you before. To the left is Broadway. wickedest street in the world. A flashily dressed man was standing with outstetched hand. Mr. "but I'm afraid you'll have to excuse us. brightest. why not? It's only a step." "You'd have known him down in Missouri. "It did. "but were you not a trifle--shall we say abrupt?--with the old family friend?" Billy Windsor laughed. it's M r. I'd be right glad f or you to come. and started to walk away. We always called him Joe. You may have heard him speak of me--Jack Lak e? How is the old man? Seen him lately?" "Not for some time." "No. straightest." "Good for him. So I just followed you a long." "It did. old Joe Windsor. "Correct me if I am wrong. sir. To the right of the building is Sevent h Avenue. t he longest. 'I know that man.ntrance the Times Building towers to the sky. Win dsor. "I saw you come out of the Astor." said Billy." "Because we don't want to. started to walk down Broadway to Billy' s lodgings in Fourteenth Street. In Missouri. are you?" "Not in the least. and at the foot of this the stream of traffic breaks. "I said to myself. Mr. We were side-partners for years." He turned." "I don't doubt it." he said tentatively. thanks. forming two channels." "Then come right along. Now. of course?" said Billy. though. see here. but I've seen so many photograp hs of you that I reckon we're old friends. Windsor. staring. when a voice behind them exclaimed. . and dull. Windsor!" They wheeled round. dark. He would be. They had reached Herald Square. quiet. and right here it came to me." he said cheerily. He was well when he last wrote. The other stood for a moment.
As it was." said Psmith after a pause. Billy shook his he ad. and walked up the stairs to the station of th e Elevated Railway. "You think." "I have heard so much." They cut across into Sixth Avenue. that if we had accepted Comrade Lake's invitation. "of the lavish hospitality of the American. I might have gone along. What do they take us for. After all. thoughtfully. I am in your hands." he said. Let us walk. the same a s mine. 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. "instead of being William. sir?" A red taximeter cab was crawling down the road at their side. "Something about it makes my aesthetic taste kick like a mule. I thought it better not to. and gone al ong for a smoke and a chat." They had reached Twenty-Third Street when Billy stopped. and if he'd ever been in Missouri in his life. A train was just coming in." said Psmith." he said. "Are we going anywhere in particular?" "This train goes as far as Hundred and Tenth Street." "And then?" ." "I noticed it. "Not that particular one." said Psmith. Comrade Windsor. We are the slaves of our temperaments. which I haven't been. We'll go up to there."If my father's name was Joseph." "Taxi. so far from speeding to your lodgings. Comrade Windsor." "These are deep waters. We cannot h elp it. then. "Has it escaped your notice." "Something about it that offends your aesthetic taste?" queried Psmith sympathet ically. if you don't mind." said Billy briefly. which he hasn't. we highly strung literary men do have these curious prejudices. "Ah. and if I 'd been photographed since I was a kid. I wonder? Farmers? Playing off a comic-supplement bluff like that on us!" There was honest indignation in Billy's voice. then. "that. and we are young and strong. we shan't have much to worry us. Comrade Windsor. Do you mean to intimate--?" "If they can't do any better than that." said Billy. we are going in precisely the opposite d irection? We are in an up-town train. "Suppose we take the Elevated?" "Anything you wish. "I don't know about wal king. the night is fine.
"And then we'll come back. "Taxi. Comrade Windsor?" inquired Psmith patiently." said the driver. Psmith saw his objective." "I thought perhaps you did." "I can save you worrying. The events of the evening had been a revelation to Psmith. however. I didn't expect to dodge him by taking the Elevated ." "Search me. Looking in that direct ion. Psmith seate d himself gracefully on the couch-bed. and cross ed the street. All this while you might be getting fares down-town. We are going back there now. and we have money in urses. Billy proceeded to occupy the rocking-chair." or so young our p us ha At Hundred and Tenth Street they left the train. I am in your hands. Take me where you will. All he'd got to do was to get there before the train. There was a silence." "He must be something of an expert at the game to have kept on our track. as was his wont. CHAPTER XIII REVIEWING THE SITUATION Arriving at the bed-sitting-room. Half-way across Billy stopped. and wait." "And after that. "You must be losing mon ey over this job. There are only certain pla ces where you can get off an Elevated train." "Not on your life." urged Psmith. In the roadway at the foot of the opposite staircase was a red taximeter cab. or Chicago." "These meetings." said Billy." "These things are very disturbing. as they approached. mewhere? Well. 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." The train pulled up at the Fourteenth Street station. I suppose. We are two young men out for reckless dissipation." said Billy. It's as easy as falling off a log. "D ignity is impossible when one is compelled to be the Hunted Fawn. He had not realised b efore the extent of the ramifications of New York's underworld. "Good night. "What now." said Psmith. I just wanted to make certain of his game. "Have you thought of som e new form of entertainment?" Billy was making for a spot some few yards down the road." replied Billy. went down the stairs. sir?" said the driver. By all means let ve it. began to rock himself rhythmically to and fro. In the shadow of the Elevated there was standing a taximeter cab. "are very pleasant. That members of . The night is yet . It is only five cents a go. we'll make a trip to Philadelphia. "My address is 84 East Fourteenth Street. when they were in the train. "We are giving you a great deal of trouble. "I don't know what you're talking about. Comrade Windsor. well. a nd.
like the man of the Astor ro of-garden. "Are you trying to sack me. You're over here on a vacation." said Psmith. that's what I wanted to say. "For the moment I fancied that my lit ." he concluded. "Say. See what I mean? Well. "I'm making no kick about your work. I don't see why you shouldn't quit. There's no doubt now that we're up against a mighty big proposit ion. I'm going to get a job out of one of the big dailies. as far as I'm concerned. I didn't want you be black-jacked. It'll give me jus t the chance I need. Psmith looked at him reproachfully." "It's like this. Comrade Windsor. I fancied that I had found such an editor." "What's all this about?" demanded Billy." "Was that the only reason?" "Sure. The main body rely for their incomes.'" said Psmith sadly. I told you why. Once you get mixed up with the gangs there's no saying what's going to be doing. and are rarely met with outside their natural boundaries. You want to go about and have a good time.the gangs should crop up in the Astor roof-garden and in gorgeous raiment in the middle of Broadway was a surprise. inste ad of getting mixed up with--" He broke off. Comrade Windsor?" "How's that?" "In various treatises on 'How to Succeed in Literature. "wh ich I have read from time to time. When Billy Windsor had mentioned the gangs. It isn't only that I want to do a bit of good to the poor cusses in those tenements." "It's this way. The bulk of the gangs of New York are of the hooli gan class. "this thing wants talking over." he said. it's different with you. I'm going to see this through. as far as it went. Comrade Windsor. But." "Something of the sort would seem to be the case." "I gathered from your remarks that you were anxious to receive my resignation. there's something to it besides that. But each ga ng has its more prosperous members. though I'd do it for that a lone. In you. support life by more delicate and genteel methods than the rest. I have always found it stated that what the n ovice chiefly needed was an editor who believed in him. relieved. who. gentlemen. This picture had been correct. Well. he had formed a mental picture of low-browed hooligans. It was a considerable time before Billy spoke. on such primitive fea ts as robbing intoxicated pedestrians. All t his has got nothing to do with you. and maybe shot." "By all means. except at election-time. keeping carefully to the ir own quarter of the town. If we win out. You haven't got to make a living this side. 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. anyway." "Well." "Then all is well. The aristocracy of the gangs soar higher. "Well. bu t it had not gone far enough.
and to a finish at that. It was not Psmith's habit. bu t Billy Windsor was too recent an acquaintance." "Bully for you." "And what then?" "And then the boss would talk it over with his own special partners. Somehow or other those tenement houses had got to b e cleaned up. The rest of the gang wouldn't know anything about it. need a certain stimulus. If it was the Three Points. Do you mean that we have an entire gang on our trail in one solid mass. Comrade Windsor. But this tenement business was diff erent." "Then you'll stay in this thing? You'll stick to the work?" "Like a conscientious leech. that trouble would hav e to be faced. Our work would lose its fire. 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. or will it be merely a section?" "Well. and the sight of actual raw misery h ad come home to him with an added force from that circumstance. They'd fix it up among themselves. The fewer in the game. "Now that Comrade Jarvis. But he meant to see it through. it might be any one o f three gangs. If it meant trouble." said Billy. Bat's is the biggest. Also that fillip. "showing a spirit of forbearance which. His lot had been cast in pleasant places. "Now that Bat has turned up the job. The prize of victory had been merely a comfortable feeling of having had the best of a battle of wits. It was a fight without the gloves. There was something worth fighting for . i f they are to keep up their high standards. The words of the man at the Astor. the fewer to split up the dollars. Mike would have understood him. does him credit. or whoever fixed this th ing up. If that is all--why. these are the mere everyday risks of the young journalist's life. He was fully awa re of the risks that he must run. Here he had touched the realities. he'd go to Spider Reilly. I guess. There are four main gangs." "I don't quite grasp the nice points of this matter. he'd look up Dude Dawson. Every gangleader has about a dozen of them. Wit hout them we should be dull and dissatisfied. has declined the congenial task of fracturing ou r occiputs. as it undoubtedly did." he said. Comrade Windsor. Men such as ourselves. to exhibit his fe elings. I am bound to say. 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. you know. would be the chosen substitute? " Billy shook his head. Life had been more or less of a game with him up till now. And so on. if we give them the chance. It will give our output precisely the edge it requires. when he felt deeply on any subject. the penalty of defeat nothing worse th an the discomfort of having failed to score. a section. and still m ore the episodes of the family friend from Missouri and the taximeter cab. if it comes to that. you see. In his previo us encounters with those with whom fate had brought him in contact there had bee n little at stake. A sort of Inner Circle. But th e smallest of them's large enough to put us away. had s hown him that this thing was on a different plane from anything that had happene d to him before. If it was the Table Hill lot." . would go to the main boss of the gang. who should you say. and this matter of the tenements had hit him harder than any one who did not know him intimately would have imagined. a certain fillip. Comrade Windsor.erary talents had been weighed in the balance and adjudged below par. Parker.
but for us the privilege of smiting Comrade Cyc lone Al."I see. W ill Comrade Maloney's frank and manly statement that we are not in be sufficient to keep them out? I doubt it. isn't it?" "You are right. People began to talk about him as a likely man. All unused to the nice conventions of polite soci ety. There's too much light for them there. meanwhile.' he should be saying to himself. In such circumstances good work w ill be hard to achieve. A particularly massive policeman is on duty at my very doors. that all may yet be well. explain the facts of the case. b e bubbling over with gratitude towards us. Edgren. we shall win through . All we have to do is to look out for about a dozen hooligans with a natural dignity in their bearing." said Billy. How about yours?" "I fancy I shall be tolerably all right. What steps do you propose to take by way of self-defence?" "Keep out in the middle of the street. the result of intima cy with the main boss. and app ly some of those half-scissor hooks of his to the persons of any who overcome th e opposition of Comrade Maloney. reasons why Cosy Moments shou ld feel a claim on the Kid's services. "that has ever been struck. 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. Then things are not so black. had a paragraph ab out his chances for the light-weight title." "It's not a bad idea. Wolmann under the fifth rib on Friday night would almost certainly have been denied to him. We are his pugilistic sponsors. We. Tad. and not go off the Broadway after dark. They'd soon find where I'd gone to. "if equipped in any degree with finer feelings. But stay. drew a picture of him. Wolmann. Comrade Windsor. The Peerless Kid. 'where should I be? Among the also-rans. There were. in the Journal." . Carefully eluding these aristocrats." It almost seemed as if he were right. will enjoy that leisure and free dom from interruption which is so essential to the artist. these rugged persons will charge through. As I was saying." "Now that our sleuth-hound friend in the taximeter has ascertained your address." continued Psmith. So much for our private lives. therefore. Wolmann. the management of the Highfield Club had signed him for a ten-r ound bout with Mr. girded as to the loins and full of martial spirit. in the Evening World. "It is about the soundest idea. His duties will be to sit in the room opening out of ours. An idea!" "Well?" "Comrade Brady. I suggest that we approach Comrad e Brady. "He should. Finally.' I imagine that he w ill do any little thing we care to ask of him. and offer him at a comfortable salary th e post of fighting-editor of Cosy Moments. 'But for Cosy Moments. From the moment the paper had taken up his cause. Kid Brady's star had undoubtedly been in the ascendant. I fancy. But what of the day-time? Suppose these sandbag-specialists drop in at the office during business hours. and Friday night shall see us at the Highfield. Your literary man must have complete quiet if he is to g ive the public of his best. The man Cosy Moments is running for the lightweight championship." said Psmith. One of your newspaper friends shall supply us with tickets. shall you change it?" "It wouldn't do any good. Y ou're pretty safe on Broadway.
It is not uncommon to find a man win easily in the World. No decisions are pe rmitted at these clubs. and be bad ly beaten in the Evening Mail. Unless a regrettable accident occurs. stimulated by the title. You knew what to expect. Psmith. Indeed. The system leads to a certain amount of confusion . honest title. but that ob. The ingenious gentlemen who constructe d it started with the object of making it noisy. 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. draw in the American. with pictures on the walls. The best method of getting to the Highfield is by the Subway. But we must carry . when its patrons are packed into the carriages in one solid jam by muscular guards a nd policemen. "I fear me. but really noisy. but only a few of the straps and hardly any of the spa ce reserved by law for the conductor alone. there s tands the old warehouse which modern progress has converted into the Highfield A thletic and Gymnastic Club." to be the main event of the evening's entertainment. which stands alone as boxing contests in New York. idea of such a thing. 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. this blighted locality is that blighted locality. When Ps mith and Billy entered it on the Friday evening. critically surveying the dark streets. and one of the spa rrers is knocked out. But these names are so misleading. shoving in a manner reminiscent of a Rugby football scrum. to their acute disgust. The imagination. "A thoroughly unpleasant neighbourhood. Promoters of boxing contests found themselves. and now a Subway train in motion suggests a prolonged dynamite explosion blende d with the voice of some great cataract. and if you attend ed seances at Swifty Bob's you left your gold watch and your little savings at h ome. The ti tle under which the Highfield used to be known till a few years back was "Swifty Bob's. raided by the police. like a to n of coal falling on to a sheet of tin. the verdict is left to the newspapers next day. was billed for a "ten-round exhibition co ntest. and the sleepers of thin wood. Conversation on the Subway is impossible. the chosen of Cosy Moments. It is t the friendly exhibition spar is not the fault of Swifty B Kid Brady. Comrade Windsor. that we have been somewhat rash in venturi ng as far into the middle west as this. idea. started to make up for lost time on arriving in the street once more. And then some big-brained person suggested the club an example of American dry humour. To see the Subway in its most characteristic mood one must travel on it during the rush-hour. and a sea of white shirt-fronts from roof to floor. padding on the c hairs. but it has the merit of offering consolation to a much-smitten warrior. on the banks of the Harlem River. Not ordinarily noisy. it would be hard to find a respect in which it does not differ. The industry began to languish. So they fashioned the pillars of thin steel. conjures u p a sort of National Sporting Club. All th members of the club. it was comparatively empty. But the Highfield dif fers in some respects from this fancy picture. 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.CHAPTER XIV THE HIGHFIELD Far up at the other end of the island." he said. forced into temporary silence by this combination of noises." It was a good. But a wave of anti-pugilistic feeling swept over the New York authorities. and loosened all the nuts. All the seats were occupied.
The interior of the Highfield Athletic and Gymnast ic Club was severely free from anything in the shape of luxury and ornament. "Ex-hib-it-i-on four-round bout between Patsy Milligan and Tommy Goodley. Rattling on. "Let us inquire of this ge nial soul if he knows where the Highfield is." he said. 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 . On these were seated as tough-lo oking a collection of citizens as one might wish to see. still c hewing gum and still wearing the same air of being lost in abstract thought. Patsy on my right. however. Psmith deftly turned the conversation back to the subject of the weather. member s of this club. blue serge trousers. should you say. who chewe d gum with an abstracted air throughout the proceedings. and on these occasions the red-jerseyed man. Possibly they did not apply the descriptio n to themselves. In the centre of the room. and Patsy. He stopped suddenly. These proved to be sort of sheep-pens of unpolished wood. where write-up repo rters were waiting to read off and elaborate the messages. On chairs at the ring-s ide were the reporters. They went on togeth er. who seemed to be a man of small speech. does this arena lie?" It had begun to rain as they left Billy's lodgings. Their companion. when they turned a corner and found themselves opposite a gloomy. wishing he had not said as much. Alo ng the four walls were raised benches in tiers. stepped briskly forw ard to meet Tommy. especially in such a particularly ill-lighted neighbourhood as that through whic h they were now passing. and yellow braces. made no commen t. At intervals the combatants would cling aff ectionately to one another. over the door of which it was just possible to decipher in the dark ness the words "Highfield Athletic and Gymnastic Club." The pedestrian referred to proved to be going there himself." The tickets which Billy Windsor had obtained from his newspaper friend were for one of the boxes. wou ld split up the mass by the simple method of ploughing his way between the pair. and was deep in a comparison of the respective climates of England and the United S tates. . he was alluding to the prominent part Cosy Moments had played in th e affair. Tommy on my left. Psmith turned up the collar of his Burberry. "We suffer much in the cause of Literature. brilliantly lighted by half a dozen electric chandeliers. Gentlemen will kindly stop smokin'. In which direction. followed by two slim youths in fighting costume and a m assive person in a red jersey. approaching from the left. was the ring. by means of which they tapp ed details of each round through to their down-town offices. Somewhere i n the background a gong sounded. when a rough thrust from Windsor's elbow brought home to him his indis cretion.on. There were preliminary bouts before the main event. from the right. barn-li ke building. The contest was short but energetic. with tickers at their sides. Possibly they considered the appeal a mere formula." The audience did nothing of the sort. A burly gentleman in shirt-s leeves entered the ring. Their connection with that militant journal was not a thing even to be suggested to casual acquaintances. each with four hard chairs in it.
" It was here that the red-jerseyed thinker for the first and last time came out of his meditative trance. and then the b uilding became suddenly full of noise. who will box some good boy here in September. "Ex-hib-it-i-on ten-round bout. for a tall youth in a bath-robe. When the faint applause had ceased." The burly gentleman. you Kid!" he observed encouragingly. "Oh. There were form alities to be gone through. and the gong sounded. One of the army carried a bright green bucket. There was a distinct air of relief when the last preliminary was finished and pr eparations for the main bout began. put Patrick ne atly to the floor. He leane d over the ropes. 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. ushering into the ring a sheepishly-grinning youth in a fla nnel suit. Wolmann. . "I should not like Comrade Brady. occurred on a pr evious occasion. He was generally considered the most likely man to give the hitherto invincible Jimmy Garvin a hard battle for the light-weight ch ampionship. and spoke--without heat. on which were painted in white letters the words "Cyclone Al. Wolmann was one of the famous. attended by a little army of assistants. but these were but a small sec tion of the crowd. had entered the ring. though a far lesser. Wolmann bowed benevolently. h e can come right down into the ring. uproar. his pleasant face wearing a self-conscious smirk. "Oh. "between Cyclone . you will recollect. The burly gentleman reap peared from nowhere. "In-ter-doo-cin' Young Leary. Mr. "to think that he has no friend but his poor old mother. "If that guy whistling back up yonder thinks he can do better than these boys.Towards the end of the first round Thomas. A raucous welco me was accorded to the new member. a fighter with a reputation fr om New York to San Francisco. you Al." The whistling ceased. Mr." A moment later there was another. It did not commence at once. Psmith rose to his feet. ducked under the ro pes and sat down in the opposite corner. Wolmann--" Loud applause. dropped down from the ring." He walked to the other side of the ring and repeated the remark. introductions and the like. members of this--" There was noticeably less applause for the Kid. followed by the two armies of assistants. He was an unknown." he bellowed impressively. The remaining preliminaries proved disappointing. as Kid Brady." he said. as." thundered the burly gentleman.!" roared the crowd. "a noo member of this c hub. where the latter remained for the necessary ten seconds. but firmly. reseating himself. "--and Kid Brady. Al. Two other notable performers were introduced in a similar manner. eluding a left swing. A few of thos e present had heard of his victories in the West.
you Al. two more of the Kid's swings had found their m ark. That long left shot out less sharply. and continued to stroll forward as if nothing o f note had happened. delivering an occasional right to the body with the pleased smile of an infant destroying a Noah's Ark with a tac k-hammer. His opponent's left flashed out again. Instead of being knock . The Cos y Moments representative exhibited more stolidity. found himself against the ropes. having executed a backward leap. but he co ntinued to move forward. the house was pract ically solid for the Cyclone. Comrade Windsor. The Cyclone now became still more cyclonic. and the other pawing the air on a line with his square jaw . The Kid merely staggered slightly and returned to business. Mr. Whoops and yells rose from everywhere. i nstead of ignoring the matter. solid way. he was plainly getting all the worst o f it. above the uproar. still s miling. He had a left arm which seemed to op en out in joints like a telescope. "He'll win yet. and Mr. was putting in three blow s to his one. Suddenly his opponent's long left shot out." said Billy. with one gloved hand moving slowly in the neighbourhood of his stocky chest. Wolmann. Wolmann. a forward leap. Wolmann. The Cyclone's fury wa s expending itself. "It seems to me. By the time he had got out of that uncongenial position. Despite these efforts. Rounds two and three were a repetition of round one. He gave the impression of being aware that Mr. Except for the fact that he w as in fighting attitude. relying on his long left. scuttered out into the middle of the ring. "See!" roared Billy enthusiastically in Psmith's ear. The buildin g rang with shouts of. He seeme d to be of the opinion that if you are a cyclone. and a feint. Wolmann had committed a breach of good taste and of being resolved to pass it off with ready tact.!" Psmith turned sadly to Billy. "Oh. however. I should not be surprised at any moment to see his head bounce off on to the floor. the Kid replied with a heavy right swing. "He does n't mind it! He likes it! He comes from Wyoming!" With the opening of round four there came a subtle change." he said. It was a blow which should have knocked an y boxer out. but this time." "You think so?" "Sure. The Kid's genial smile did not even quiver. The Cyclone. He comes from Wyoming. the Kid following in his self-contained. But always he kept boring in. leaping back. 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. received it under the chin. it is never too soon to begin behaving like one. lande d heavily with both hands. The Cyclone raged almost un checked about the ring. one would have said that he did not realise the position of affairs." said Billy with simple confidence.Mr." "Wait. Wolmann sprang from his corner as if somebody had touched a spring. He wore t he friendly smile of the good-natured guest who is led forward by his hostess to join in some round game. somewhat perturbed. ending the first round. He danced round the Kid with an india-rubber agility. In one lightning rally in the third he brought his right across squarely on to the Kid's jaw. The Kid. who had been strolling forw ard. When the gong sounded. Energetic Mr. "that this merry meeting looks like doing Comrade Brady no good.
"Cosy Moments wins. but obviously content. For the Kid." "Sure. were beginning to fear that they might lose their money after all." The Kid blinked. 's!" at the sound of the gong. then I felt like some watcher of the skies when a new pla net swims into his ken. having his right leg rubbed by a shock-headed man in a sweater . Comrade Brady? I will tell you. It was broken by a cow-boy yell f rom Billy Windsor.. and who would ha ve expired promptly if any one had tapped them sharply on their well-filled wais tcoats. He's a good quick boy. Yell s of agony from panic-stricken speculators around the ring began to smite the ra fters. not if he was to use a hammer. or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes he stared at t he Pacific. In the fifth round the thing became a certainty. "to find that you can see us . Comrade Windsor. His expression began to resemble more nearly the gloomy importance of the Cosy Moments photographs. is Al. but there was an appealing note in them this time . "An omen." he said. There were cheers and "Oh. "How's that?" he inquired.ed back by it. But the fear was merely transi ent. Comrade Brady." "It is a relief to me. When you began to administer those--am I correct in saying?--half-scissor h ooks to the body. clutched repeatedly. the editorial staff found the winner of the ten-round exhibition bout between members of the club s eated on a chair. drooping like a wet soc k. was standing in the middle of the ring." said Psmith. The Cyclone. No. "he couldn't hit a hole in a block of ice-cream. hanging on lik e a leech till removed by the red-jerseyed referee. now but a gentle breeze. the Cosy Moments champion now took the hits in his stride." "And yet at one period in the proceedings. battered. Mighty glad to see you. a man who would rather be hit on the head with a half-brick tha ." CHAPTER XV AN ADDITION TO THE STAFP Penetrating into the Kid's dressing-room some moments later. Like the month of March. No one can hold down the job simply by having a kind heart or being good at farmyard imitations. "come right in. you Al. Because there before me stood the ideal fighting-editor of Cosy Moments. I never felt them." continued the Kid with powerful imagery. was going out like a lamb. A slight decrease in the pleasantness of the Kid's smile was noticeable. There charm of manne r cannot qualify a man for the position. "And why did I feel like that. Because my faith in you was justified. and betting on what they considered a certainty. The Kid beamed as they en tered. but. It is not a post that any weakling can fill. while on the ropes the Cyclone. I fancy. We want a man of t hews and sinews. Comrade Brady. why. "Gents. was sliding slowly to the floor. I had expected to find that Comrade Wolmann's purposeful buffs had completely closed your star-likes." said Psmith. "I fanci ed that your head would come unglued at the neck. Suddenly a grisly silence fell upon the house. who had been one of his seconds during the conflict. and ca me shuffling in with his damaging body-blows. The gallant sportsmen whose connection with boxing was confined to watching ot her men fight. the Cy clone. who had come in like a lion." said Psmith.
" "It's this way. "you know those articles about the tenements we've been having i n the paper?" "Sure. This is praise from Sir Hubert Stanley. "To such an extent. We offer you the job of sitting in the outer room and intercepting these privacy. Sit down." "We've been followed in the streets. I read 'em." said Psmith. "Gum! Mr. who during this conversation had been concentrating himself on his subject 's left leg. you see." he said." added the Kid. Mr. bade the company good night and retired. "The day before yesterday a man named P arker called at the office and tried to buy us off." said Psmith. "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. but what we want is some one to help in case they try to rush us there." Psmith bowed. "Kid. "So we thought. those gangs. Comrade Brady. is compel therefore bravoes b . And you. and having advis ed the Kid not to stop and pick daisies. are such a man. now announced that he guessed that would about do. this gets past me. "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. I guess?" queried the interested Kid. a fighting-editor. So we've come along to you. Comrade Parker. "Say. Billy shut the door." said Billy.n not." "Can we have a couple of words with you alone." said Billy. they're tough proposition s. "You stimulate us. gents. And it is for that reason that we have ventured to call upo n you. Windsor. however." "You don't say!" exclaimed the Kid. They're to the good." "It was about time some strong josher came and put it across to 'em. We can look after ourselves o ut of the office." Jack. Comrade Brady. "We want to tal k over something with you. Jack'll be through in a minute." "Parker?" "That's what I'm coming to. "You gave him the hook. "that he left breathing threate nings and slaughter. Windsor. but to get into his clothes at once bef ore he caught a chill. totally disagreed with us." "Sure." Billy's voice grew indignant at the recollection. Kid?" said Billy. and once they put up a bluff to get us wher e they could do us in. Put me wise. Comrade Brady." "In brief." The Kid turned appealingly to Billy.
" said Billy.efore they can reach us. "Where have we come to?" Psmith sighed. "that would suit us all the way up. sound sense." "Next time we three go on a little jaunt anywhere. "it would be as well to take a map and a corps of guides with us. You a re." protested the light-weight. "Of course . we'd be tickled to death." He stepped into his coat. "I though t you was taking me right. Otherwise we shall start for Broadway and finish up at Minneapolis. What do you feel about it?" "Gents. I did not think to ask. Kid. there woul d be something doing." said Billy. Well. Comrade Brady?" "We don't want to get you in under false pretences. and resumed. I shou ldn't be able to come and sit with you. "Shucks!" said the Kid with emphasis. If it hadn't a-been for you gents. "Nix on the salary thing. if I may say so. But. hand-in-hand." said Psmith warmly. You app ear to be ready. the goods. Maybe with Jimmy Garvin. Take what you need and put the rest--if any--back." They emerged from the blind alley and stood in the dark street. too. he will keep right away. That's good enough for me. I'll do it. they'll be giving me a chance of a big fight. But still. H ow does the offer strike you. They had to grope their way in darkness. I'd be m ighty glad to come in till I'm wanted to go into training-camp. I wouldn't take a dime. then. and the only signs of life were a moist policeman and the d istant glare of public-house lights down the road. They turned off to the left. This is the first time I been up here." said Billy." "And touching salary--" put in Psmith." said Psmith resignedly. after walking some hundred yards. if they did." "Comrade Brady." he said. found themse lves in a blind alley. The salary we leave to you. "you are." said the Kid. It was still raining when they reached the street. I'd have been waiting still for a cha nce of lining up in the championship class. And glad. "Now that I've made good by getting the decision over Al. Any old t hing you gents want me to do. looking doubtful . "Hullo!" said Billy. without hesitation. will face the foe." "I thought the Kid knew the way. If you'd do that. they may not come anywhere near the office. There are doubloons and to spare in the old oak chest. and. I placed myself. supremely the stuff." "Great. beyond a doubt. and if the foe has good.. "I was just taggin' along with you gents. Kid. if you gents feel like it. whol ly in your hands. "In my trusting way. We three. Shall we meander forth?" The building was empty and the lights were out when they emerged from the dressi ng-room. "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. if that happens. "it's this way. see wha t I mean? I'll have to be going away somewhere and getting into training.
arm ed with the big stick which he had bought after the visit of Mr. and there raged over the body of the fallen leader a battle of Homeric type. one for the Shrewd Blow rather than the Pr olonged Parley. Like artists who feel themselves tra mmelled by distasteful conventions. in any case. His personal preference is for retreat when it is a question of unpleasantness with a stranger. The rules and conditions governing the encounter offen ded the delicate sensibilities of the gang. "Excuse me. Psmith they kn ew. the gen eralship of the expedition had been in the hands of the fallen warrior. and handed it to Psmith. was the first to join issue. Their forte was long-range fighting with pistols. Billy Windsor. The gangsman. the Kid at his side. a quick movement on the part of the Kid. wicked-looking little bludgeon. 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. but. the gangs exhibit a lively distaste for the hard knocks of hand-to-hand fighting. Stooping swiftly. With that they felt ." advised the Kid briefly. the Kid picked it up. Physical courage is not an outstanding quality of the New York hooligan. It was a short. And. His fi ngers closed upon it. Psmith stepped forward. as Psmith would have said." he said to the leader. dark as it was. Their c hosen method of battling is to lie down on the ground and shoot. He had been a few paces behind the others during the black -jack incident. even when warring among themselves. It was not a long affair.ly up and down it." A little knot of men was approaching from the left. in fact. T here was no doubt that much had been hoped for from speedy attack. sir. something dropped from his hand on to the pavement with a bump and a rattle. Several natives. "but if you can spare me a moment of yo ur valuable time--" There was a sudden shuffle of feet on the pavement. With a whoop of the purest Wyoming brand. which is rarely great. is stunt ed and slight of build. "I perceive a native. This is more su ited to their physique. Qui te a little covey of them. His remo val from the sphere of active influence had left the party without a head. Parker. In the darkness it was impos sible to say how many of them there were. and rely on their advice to take us to our goal. he sprang forward into the confused mass of the enemy. Also. We will put our case before them. they could not account for the Kid. And. to add to their discomfiture. "Aha!" said Psmith suddenly. The Kid's rapid work on the present occasion created a good deal of confusion. and Billy Windsor they knew. A moment later Psmith and the Kid followed. concealing nothing. the blackjack of the New York tough. he had seen enough to show him that the occ asion was. As he fell. "Get busy. It was not lessened by the behaviour of the intended victims. 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. they were damped and could not do themselves justice. a chunky sound as of wood striking wood. as a rule. and the man Psmith had bee n addressing fell to the ground in a heap.
But this vulgar brawling in the darkness with muscular opponents who hit hard and often with sticks and hands was distasteful to them. but his quarry. exhibiting a rare turn of speed. the man on the ground had contrived to clear his mind . He was not on our trail. It was a half an hour and m ore before I could remember a thing. Dizzy. "The merchant with whom we hob-nobbed on our way to the Highfield. the black-jack. The head of it fell off and dropped upon the up-turned face. Such an event would undoubtedly b e an excellent thing for the public good. they must tear themselves away. Willie.en rapport. "It is our friend of the earlier part of the evening. but it was too dark and t he combatants were too entangled to allow them to use these. Comrade Brady?" "In the air. It seems to be a moot point whether he will ever recover consciousness. 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. and began to mutter something in a fog gy voice. He came merely to se e if Comrade Brady was proficient with his hands. Kid?' he asks. He came back. full of zeal." "Mighty good thing if he doesn't. There was but one thing to be done. "Still--what exactly. easily outstripped him. shook himself. then stampeded in half a dozen different directions. homely old Bowery. 'Fight?' says I.' I says. Martin and me was mixing it good and hard all ov er the ring. But from our point of view. melting into the night whence they had come. comes tearing in after me. which went out just as Billy arrived . I was only s tarting to learn the game then. In a mom ent of imprudence I mentioned Cosy Moments. to find Psmith and the Kid examining the fallen leader of the departed ones with the aid of a match. I fancy that this was his first inti mation that we were in the offing. 'I'm going fishin'. where curious crowds might collect at the f irst shot. and the lightning blows of the Kid. They carried pistols. "From one point of view." The Kid did so. What do you think I done? Fall down and take the count? Not on your life. 'What's doing. Comrade Windsor. where a gentleman may fire a pistol without exci ting vulgar comment. Reluctant as they might be to abandon their fallen leader. I think. Besides. His visit to the Highfield was paid. Subsequent events must have ju stified our fighting editor in his eyes." said the Kid. Light anot her match. sat up. purely from sport-loving motives. Comrade Windsor. They could no t develop any enthusiasm for it. yes." explained the Kid. Willie Harvey. "Bats in the belfry. pursued one fugitive some fifty yards down the street.' he says. wavering." During this reminiscence. 'What fight?' See what I mean? I hadn't a notion of what had happened." said Billy uncharitably. panting. Gum! I remember when I fought Martin Kelly. who was seconding me. The hooligan stirred. this was n ot the dear. Comrade Brady. 'It's a lo vely day. We could ascertain from him who he is and which particular collection of horny-handeds he represents." said Psm ith. For a moment they hung. Already they were suffering griev ously from the stick.' 'You've lost the fight. and finds me getting into my clothe s. it would b e as well if he were to sit up and take notice. when suddenly he puts over a stiff one right on the point. "He's still woozy. Billy. I just turns r ound and walks straight out of the ring to my dressing-room. It was up-town.
wriggling to his feet. made another attempt to wit hdraw. "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. 'I'm dying." "Which other mutt in particular?" asked Psmith. but. started off again down the road . 'Come in." said the Kid. Once more. and. or the othe r gentleman?" "It's Spider Reilly. Comrade Windsor. and." "Perhaps this is Spider Reilly?" "Nope. personally. "for breaking in upon your reverie." continued Psmith. You seem to be able to understand what he says. is that Dude Dawson." The man on the ground muttered something that to Psmith and Billy was unintellig ible. The Kid. sliding slowly to the ground. however. Comrade Brady?" "Says it's the Three Points. had old Joe. "wants to know what's your gang. He got as far as the nearest st reet-lamp.' Same with this guy. but no farther. desire outran performance. whose fall had jolted and bruised him. K id. "The Three Points? Let me see. he pulled the Kid's legs from under hi m with a swift jerk. sat there motionless. To me. But he had not gon e five yards when he sat down limply. I remember when Joe Peterson put me out. Dude Dawson runs the Table Hill crowd. 'It's a ll right. chaps. This ain't him. Can you interpret. Repetto." said the Kid. See what I mean?" They formed a group about the fallen black-jack expert." said Psmith courteously. "It would be a charity." said the former. Reaching out a pair of lean hands. "Guess he's feeling pretty poor.' I says." explained the Kid. Comrade Brady . chaps. plainly a man who was not happy in the society of strangers. I'm dying. and he put me down and out in the eighth round. there are one or two things which we should like to know. "Pardon us." agreed the Kid. "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. way back wh en I was new to the game--it was the same year I fought Martin Kelly. was inclined to be wrathful and . The Kid was inspired to further reminiscence. The giddiness seemed to overcome him again. The first sign he showed of ret urning intelligence was a sudden dash for safety up the road. his remarks sound like the output of a gramophone with a hot potato in its mouth." announced the interpreter." he said. This is some other mut t. i f you could spare us a moment of your valuable time." "Sure thing. 'It's all right. "Try and find out. "if some philanthropist would give thi s blighter elocution lessons.' says they." "Says he's Jack Repetto. for he gr asped the lamp-post. There was another interruption at this moment.of the mistiness induced by the Kid's upper-cut. He had an awful punch.' Like that. "I know the Spider. The bashful Mr. After the fight they found me on the fire-escape outside my dressing-room. "In the first place.
Under the rays of the lamp it was possible to discern more closely the features of the black-jack exponent. Repetto had it. whirling into the night. The gang was "beating it. than. The noise grew. with a suddenness which cause d them to leap into the air. in the centre of which Mr. for the fallen warrior was an albino. But the Kid was not the man to attack a fallen foe. Scarcely had the staff of Cosy Moments reached the faint yellow pool of light. The Kid gave a sudden howl. There was dead silence. but it was evident as soon as. worn low over the forehead. It being too dark f or successful shooting. They knew it for what it was. 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. too. one felt instinctively that no judging committee of a beauty contest would hesitate a moment before him. sprang into th e air and vanished. His trousers could never be the same again after their close acquaintance with the pavement. Bat Jarvis. and w as signalling for help to other policemen along the line by beating on the flagstones with his night-stick. The rescue party was coming up at the gallop. The other members of the gang. was more a concession to the general fashion prevailing in gang circle s than an expression of personal taste. Apparently the latter's oiled forelock. but to the opposing army it meant much. "Beat it!" Next moment the night was full of clatter. While the questioning of Mr. 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 had been in progress. It soon became apparent that the light of the lamp. Somewhere--it might be near or far--a policeman had heard the shots. Repetto's face. diving out of the circle of light i nto the sheltering darkness. He contented himself with brushing the dust off his person and addressing a richly abusive f low of remarks to Mr. Repetto himself. His eyes. The circle of light was empty now.vindictive. For some minutes the battle halted. He was the first of the three to reach the elusive Mr. Three bullets flicked grooves in the roadway almost at Billy's feet. and if that worthy had happened to be standing instead of sitting it might have gone hard with him. From somewhere down the road sounded the ring of running feet. And then the pavement began to vibrate and give out a curious resonant sound. Instantly from the opposite direction came other shots. there sounded from the darkness down the road the c rack-crack-crack of a revolver. There was a subtle but noticeable resemblance to tho se of Mr. A tentative shot from nowhere ripped th rough the air close to where Psmith lay flattened on the pavement. Psmith's hat. they crouched down and waited for the next move. Repetto. held certain disadvantages. Repetto. Mr. Repetto had vanished. it had become Mr. had by no means been eliminated altogeth er from the game. which were clo sed." Psmith rose to his feet and dusted his clothes ruefully. which he had accomplished with considerable skill. the y had crept back. Looking at him. suddenly imbued with life. the New York constable's substitute for the London police-whistle. The thought did not come to them consciously at the moment. th at a somewhat skilful ambush had been effected. filling the still air. "De cops!" cried a voice. His hat had gone for ever. In his case it was almost white. unperceived except by Mr. Repetto reclined. Mr. To Psmith it co nveyed nothing. though bestowing the doubtfu l privilege of a clearer view of Mr. For the first time he r ealised the horrors of war. His under-lip protruded an d drooped.
I tell you--" "I am loath. but. as one namin g some fashionable club. tough. to me there other little matter of my ruined hat.'s in the same evening with his eyes shut. night-stick in the other. I could do with another pair of trouser s." said Psmith." argued the second." "And who but a bone-head thought he wouldn't?" demanded the third warmly. A new hat. "to interrupt this . the lobe of which had been chipped by a bullet.The New York policeman may lack the quiet dignity of his London rival. hatless and dusty. mildly interested." "He's the next champeen. Mi ne has a six-inch hole in it. I hear. "Jack Repetto! Sure. are you Kid Brady?" inquired one of the officers. For the first time the c onstabulary had begun to display any real animation. "What's doing?" "Nothing now. the latter bleeding freely from his left ear. did they?" said one of the policemen. "When next you see him. but I will not press the trousers. Thr ee grey-clad policemen. He--" "Say. is." "Shot at us!" burst out the ruffled Kid." said another intelligent officer. trivial as it may seem to you." "He belongs to the Three Points. Billy Windsor and the Kid." said the disgusted voice of Billy Windsor from the shadows. "They 've beaten it. all rig ht. joined them. but--" . "He co uld whip a dozen Cyclone Al. stood there. "He can whip twenty Jimmy Garvins with his feet tied. "Dash the lads. too." The circle of lamplight became as if by mutual consent a general rendezvous. Kid." observed Psmith. "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." admitted the first speaker. "If he puts it over Jimmy Garvin." "Shot at you. however. they're always up to some of their larks. Psmith. clean-shaven men with keen eyes and square jaws. "Do you know a sportsman of the name of Repetto?" inquired Psmith. "touches the spot." said Psmith. "Reckoned I'd seen you somewhere!" said another. "You licked Cyclone Al. were the last to a rrive. but he is a hustler. "What's bin the rough house?" inquired one of the policemen. revolver in one hand. as who should say. "Jimmy Garvin!" cried the third. 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. essential. "I should be obliged if you would use your authority to make him buy me a new hat.
"is very terrible. but because he cannot he lp himself. to assume that the lid was completely off the great city of New York. He sandbags now not because he really wants to. We should like you. to corral this Comrade Repetto. "is a very fair precis of the evening's events." he said. It was an error on Jack's part." the trio agreed. Then we got to cover quick. this perpetual harping on trifles when the deep question of the light-weight Championship of th e World was under discussion." said Psmith. In the meantime. we should be glad if you would direct us to the nearest Subway station. "The Three Points laid for us." CHAPTER XVII GUERILLA WARFARE Thus ended the opening engagement of the campaign. or his young brother. "Do it nicely. The thing grips him like dram-dr inking. His nurse. then. But. seemingly in a victory for th e Cosy Moments army." urged Psmith. The Kid put one over on to Jack Repetto's chin. what's bin doin'?" inquired the Force. We will leave the matter . and started into s hooting. had shown signs for some time past of asking for it in the neck. He started. he gave his hearer s to understand." "That. It was a nuisance." "What makes you think that?" . Just at the moment. an d we were asking him a few questions when the rest came back. in a merely tentative way by sluggin g one of the family circle. "The victory. Probably the thing c rept upon him slowly." said Psmith." he said. Repetto a first-ter mer who had been detected in the act of wearing his cap on the back of his head. Comrade Brady's ear." The second policeman gave it as his opinion that Jack was getting too gay." "We'll round Jack up." said Psmith. shook his head. The t hird policeman conceded this. He is one of Nature's sand-baggers. Billy Windsor undertook to explain."Well. he is unable to resist the craving. my hat--the se are not slight casualties. the sooner it w ould be over. "The wrath of the Law. 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. he said. Billy Windsor. nodding." said one of the policemen indulgently. To me there is something consoling in the thought that Comrade Repet to will no longer be among those present. on ce started. "We've got mighty little out of it. but the sooner it was attended to. and you came up and they beat it. I know few men I would not rather meet in a lonely roa d than Comrade Repetto. let us say. the cheerful lights of the G reat White Way are what I seem to chiefly need. if you will be so good. They could not have been more disapproving if they had been prefects at Haileybury and Mr. and se e that he buys me a new hat. however. "Jack Repetto was bossing the crowd. Jack. I don't know who the rest were. possibly. in your hands. "Don't go hurting his feelings. "Too blamed fresh he's gettin'. On the other hand. They seemed to think it was too bad of Jack. "was not bloodless.
e specially as the Aldermanic elections will be on in a few weeks. The police were as good as their wor d. Wh at happened then? Was he restored to his friends and his relations?" "Sure. The mag istrate discharged the prisoner. and he was haled bef ore a magistrate." . 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. leered triumphantly at them. Billy stepped up to him. Comrade Windsor. Jack Repetto isn't Monk Eastman." said Billy. Do you know what he sai d once." "His small-talk. but he always got off. Did you ever he ar of Monk Eastman?" "I fancy not. "Sure." said Psmith thoughtfully. meeting Billy and Psmith in t he street outside. "You may have wriggled out of this. before Kid Twist took it on. "You don't catch them hurting a gangsman unless they're pushed against the wall. eleven greasy. Comrade Windsor. and the prisoner." said Billy disgustedly. but giv ing out their evidence with unshaken earnestness. when they pulled him for thugging a fellow out in New Jersey?" "I fear not. Tell me all. you want to look where you're goin'. but he' s in with Spider Reilly. The politicians don't want the gangs in gaol. I'll knock yo u over the Singer Building."I should imagine that a benevolent Law will put away in his little cell for at least a brief spell. Jack'll get of f." he said furiously. what a beautiful exhibition of brotherly love and au ld-lang-syne camaraderie was witnessed! One by one. 'You're arresting me." "Not on your life. many. and gazed. "but if you don't get a move on and quit looking at me like that. Comrade Windsor. I cut some ice in this town. He replaced it. at Billy." said Psmith. "seems to have been bright and well-expressed." Psmith's eyeglass dropped out of his eye. smirking sheepishly." "And get the court to believe it?" said Psmith." "Yes?" "He was arrested dozens of times. "An alibi? When three keen-eyed men actually caught him at it?" "He can find thirty toughs to swear he was five miles away. "as if my stay in t his great city were going to cost me a small fortune in hats." Billy's prophecy proved absolutely correct. and the Spider's in with the men behind." "He said. Who was this c leric?" "He was the first boss of the East Side gang. I made half the big politicians in New York!' That w as what he said. the name has escaped me. huh? Say. astonished. If I did." "It looks to me. What do you think? Well. In due season they rounded up the impulsive Mr. he was. Hump yourself. And then. many blocks below the scene of the regrettable assault. Repetto.
He then proceeded to his information. He handled it as if it were so much soap.Mr. B. "You know your business. Know what happened? Why. The most of them are Dagoes and such. and his job was to look after the di stribution of the paper. When the cop comes along. Say. the mirth-provoking sallies of Mr. I ha'n't never read the thing. And there was need of a square jaw and a battle-lit eye." he said. What I want to know is. Don't see what any one could have against a p aper with a name like Cosy Moments. while Billy. He endeavoured to satisfy the latter first. As to the contents of the paper he was absolutely ignor ant. It was Wheeler. Pat's a feller who likes to fight. see here. explained the situation. seems it might be the organ of a blamed mining-camp what the boys have took a dislike to. gents. Wheeler listened absolutel y unmoved. "What's doing. He had been with Cosy Moments from its start. his hair rumpled more than ev er and his eyes glowing. sure. Repetto humped himself. Wheeler leaned back in his chair. though. Psmith looked at Billy. Cop asks the Dago what's been doing. gave it as his opinion th at the editorial staff had sand. rising." he said. Passing through a lowdown street on his way up-town he's held up by a bunch of toughs. what's it all about? Who's got it in for us and why?" Mr. and Billy's jaw became squarer and his eye mo re full of the light of battle than ever. He was a distributor. "I don't know what it's all abo ut. But this was too much for him. and he distributed. Wheele r came into the editorial room with information and desire for information. A few days after the restoration of Mr. Good day. just like this it was. there's Pat i n pieces on the ground and nobody in sight but a Dago chewing gum. So was victory turned into defeat. I'll do my best to get this paper distributed right and it's a shame if it ain't. nothing in the world to fuss about. "As Comrade Wheeler remarks. Henderson Asher. Wheeler was a man for whom in business hours nothing existed but his job." "What's been happening?" asked Billy with gleaming eyes. Half a dozen of them attend to him. the gaunt manager of the business side of the journal. W ilberfloss. What do you propose to d . Just be en looking in on him. Mr. Pat goes out with his cart. "it is up to us. "It's up to you. and the Dago says he's only just come round the corner a nd ha'n't seen nothing of anybody. for now began a period of guerilla warfare such as no New Yor k paper had ever had to fight against. "Some on e's got it in against the paper. only our carriers can't go out without being beaten up by gangs of toughs. and they do n't want any more fight than they can get by beating their wives and kicking kid s off the sidewalk. because it's going big just now--but it's up to you. "Why. He shows fight ." He went out. anyway. when the narrative had come to an end." he said. That was his sole comment. who first brought it to the notice of the editorial staff. but he had never read a line of it. Pat Harrigan's in the hospital now. If we get a few more carriers beat up the way Pat was. Repetto to East Side Society. and. while the rest gets clean away with every copy of the paper there was in the cart. The way things have been going last few days. some one had better get bus y right quick and do something to stop these guys rough-housing like this. Mr. the tender ou tpourings of Louella Granville Waterman--all these were things outside his ken. It's not as if they were all Irishmen. The scholarly writings of Mr. there'll be a strike. Rather fight he would t han see a ball-game. anyway?" he asked.
If the campaign is to be a long one. He was chewing the stem of an unlighted pipe. Sure. that we must buck up to a certain extent. The job may be worked more simply. thus ke eping him from perusal of his cowboy stories." Billy admitted the soundness of this scheme. or rather we aren't on any track at al l. but I should say at a venture once a week. they have us where the hair is crisp. and it se ems to me that we are on the wrong track. Comrade Windsor. " Billy said nothing. "It means. but how?" demanded Billy. brief and u nadorned. an' now de Table Hills are layin' for de T'ree Points. we've been saying in the paper what an out-size in scugs the m erchant must be who owns those tenements. Do you take me." He had then retired to his outer fastness. if we perish. The way Pugsy put it was as follow s. What we must do now. and. whether he is collecting those rents for himself or for s omebody else." said Psmith. . and sally forth as sleuth-houn ds on our own account. and if somebody else. brought to the office the gi st of what is related in this chapter. as was the way with his narratives. If th ey are going to strew the street with our carriers. but it can undoubtedly be choked. as man to man. "Comrade Windsor." "Far from it. "I have been thinking this thing over. "That's all right in theory. 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 . but wished to know how it was to be done. Such things as first causes and pi quant details he avoided. such hats as Comrade Repetto has left us. I don't know h ow often the rents are collected in these places. 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. In other words." Psmith shot his cuffs modestly. My idea is to hang negligently round till the rent-collector arrive s. but how's it going to work in practice? The only thing that can corner the man is a commission. excited. Psmith went on . I fancy? Yet brainy. a bubble on the surface of the life of a great city. "I believe you've hit it. however. Comrade Windsor. 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. He did not know how nearly interested were his employers in any matter touching that gang which is known as the Three Point s. Comrade Windsor?" Billy sat up. Pugsy's version was. What we want to do is to go out and hustle round till we stir up something. then. on the following morning. We cannot stand the s train.o about it? This is a move of the enemy which I have not anticipated. I had fanc ied that their operations would be confined exclusively to our two selves. Pugsy said: "Dere's trouble down where I live. That's all wrong. we are simply marking time. He gave the thing out merely as an item of general interest. CHAPTER XVIII AN EPISODE BY THE WAY It was Pugsy Maloney who. we are somewhat in the soup." "Yes. of course. is put on ou r hats. Dude Dawson's mad at Spider Re illy. Cosy Moments cannot be muzzled. as tending to prolong the telling excessively. fall yelling the name. who that somebody else is. Simple. and when he has loomed up on the horizon. yielding further details jerkily and with the dis trait air of one whose mind is elsewhere. buttonhole him and ask him quite po litely.
the Groome Street. a Three Pointer inj udiciously wiped out another of the rival gang near Canal Street. there settled at the next table Mr. He pleaded sel f-defence. there sure was. remarked that there sure was some clas s to the way that wop hit it up. and. . a word or two. 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. For Mr. forbidden ground.Skilfully extracted and pieced together. You would have said that all Nature smiled. and especial ly between the Table Hill and the Three Points. and the Table Hill. these details formed themselves into th e following typical narrative of East Side life in New York. Shamrock Hall. For a moment Mr. and until they wipe eac h other out after the manner of the Kilkenny cats. Maginnis's dancing saloon. which are much of a size. as did B at Jarvis's coterie. was. but nevertheles s the Table Hillites were ruffled. Bat Jarvi s. have always occurred to shat ter friendly relations just when there has seemed a chance of their being formed . Little events. for the soil is undoubtedly propitious to such growth. There has always bee n bad blood between the Table Hill and the Three Points. the great men exchanged a not unfriendly nod and. the East Side. There being temporary peace between the two gangs. Coston. Mr. alluding to an Italian who had just pirouetted past. of course. and it was with no intention of spoiling the harmony of the evening that Mr. just as the Table Hillites were beginning to forgive the Three Points fo r shooting the redoubtable Paul Horgan down at Coney Island. warfar e rages as briskly as among the republics of South America. Mr. They "stick up" an occasional wayfarer for his " cush. sipping." and they carry "canisters" and sometimes fire them off. There are other less important institutions. rather injudiciously gave it as his opinion that one of the lady dancers had two left feet. and in any case it was probably mere thoughtlessness. He was there in a purely private and peaceful charact er. are immune fro m attack at the hands of lesser gangs. after a short pause. trifling in themselves. the same which Bat Jarvis h ad been called in to protect in the days before the Groome Street gang began to be. being under the eyes of the great Bat. the regrettable falling out of Dude Dawson and Spider Rei lly at Mr. In time they may grow. but these things do not signify the cutting of ice. Dawson had looked in. Thus. and peace was just preparing to brood when there occurred the incident to wh ich Pugsy had alluded. the latter presided over at the time of this story by Mr. But at present the amount of ice which good judges de clare them to cut is but small. it is probable that there alw ays will be. into formidable organisations. In matters political there are only four gang s which count. and observing the revels. continuing in this vein of criticism. These two are colossal. Robert ("Nigger") Coston. That had been a month or so back. Alas! The next moment the sky was covered with black clouds and the storm broke. the Three Points. As he sat smoking. an eminent member of the Three Points. During that month things had been simmering do wn. though they may fight each other. The really important gangs of New York are four. Shamrock Hall. Dawson said Yup. Greatest of these by virtue of their numbers are the East Side and the Gr oome Street. Dawson. But between the other gangs.
the dancing ceasing suddenly and the floo r emptying itself of its crowd. together with Mr. Coston "Nig" he would have been running grave risks. leaning towards Mr. or. Coston's skull. Coston a coon." Mr. and. And that was where the trouble really started. surrounded by a crowd of admiring friends. facilitating the other's search by pointing with a much-chewed cigarette. seizing a mug which had held beer. promptly bi t him on the cheek. He had noticed that there was a slight disturbance at the other side of the hall. and a leader of a rival gang. Coston."De goil in de pink skoit. To be permitted to address Mr. who addressed him as "coon" was more t han asking for trouble. Others spoke of him as Nigger. Mr. merely gave out a resonant note a nd remained unbroken. Coston that his skin was of so swarthy a hu e. but in a dance-hall belonging to a neutral power it was unpardonable. Mr. Coston face to face by his nickname was a sign of the closest friendship. Coston said: "Huh?" Mr. Dawson. and his particular mode of battling was to descend on his antagonist and bite him. Into this action he flung himself with the passionate abandonment of the artist. If a friend had called Mr. Coston had a wide reputation as a f ighter. Such was the excitement of the moment that. and Spider Reilly. He was pleading for it. b ut had given it little attention till. So far the honours were comparatively even. Coston squaring up at each other for the second round. Mr. In the far corner of the room. Coston. The leader of the Table Hillites fell with a crash. We must assume that Mr. Dawson who he thought he. with perhaps a slight balance in fav our of Mr. Dawson called Mr. would countenance no such episodes at the dance-hall which he had undert . When he bit he bit. asked Mr. Dawson and Mr. It was secretly a great grief to Mr. monarch of the Three Points. who. Mr. to which only Spider Reilly. sat Spider Reilly. he had a plain view of Mr. For the lady in the pink skirt had been in receipt of Mr. Coston. for his action was contrary to all rules of gang-e tiquette. From this point onwards the march of events was rapid. Dawson a pie-faced rubber-necked four-flusher. being of solid wood. even praisewort hy. Mr. fearing the wrath of Bat Jarvis. Coston's. For Mr. Daws on just as that exquisite was preparing to get in some more good work with the b eer-mug. Coston and others of the Three Points. bounced it vigorously on M r. Dawson bounded from his seat." said Mr. s ped through the doorway for safety. Great men seldom waste time. extinguishing his cigarette and placing it behind his ear. He did not nibble. Coston's respectful devotion for the past eight days. Jack Repetto." he forgot that he had one o n his person. and one o r two more of the gang could aspire. which. replied t hat he was the fellow who could bite his. instead of drawing his "canister. Mr. It was at this moment that Nature's smile was shut off as if by a tap. more bri efly. was. it was known. Mr. A stranger. Dawson. and made war between the gangs inevitable. Reilly was not thinking what he did. In the street it would have been perfectly legitimate. head off. Dawson. shot through the le g. What he did was to produce his "canister" and pick off the unsuspecting Mr. Mr. Coston called Mr. Dawson said: "Sure. But now occurred an incident which turned the scale. rising. Nig--strictly behind his back. Dawson.
Willing informants gave him the name of his aggressor. dis kid. Dat s econd kid. conducted incognito by Master Maloney among the denizens of P leasant Street. an' de magistrate gives him t'oity days. don't you get next? Why. Comrade Maloney?" "A wop. and before morning the Table Hill camp was in fer ment. he is sure to de bad. You start at the end. a fact which must undoubtedly cause a troublesome hit ch in the campaign. was attended to and helped home. sure he is. 'cos his father come over from Italy to work o n de Subway." explained Master M aloney. "Your narratives. I have a sort of instinctive respect for him. Comrade Maloney. 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. De re's a feller comes round 'bout supper time dat day." said Psmith." he said. Sure." "Why. "Comrade Windsor. "I got dat from a kid what knows anuder kid what lives dere. for this time it was no question of obscure nonentities. an--" "A what. den dis kid's in bad for fair. 'cos der ain't nobody to pungle de bones. "and did de sleut' act. or out dey goes dat same night. "dat kid's in bad. brought the information that rents in the tenements were collect ed not weekly but monthly. I rather fancy that sooner or la ter we may be able to turn it to our profit. our nameless friend. meanwhile. and then you g o back to any portion of the story which happens to appeal to you at the moment. I am sorry for Dude Dawson. sure. Though I have never met him. an Italian." said Billy Windsor wonderingly." said Psmith.aken to protect. an' den it's up to de fam'l ies what lives in de tenements to dig down into deir jeans fer de stuff. though there were no casualties. Mr." agreed Psmith. You are like Sherlock Holmes. de one what lives dere. After you've explained a thing from start to finish--or. "Nor I. Why. Why should the fact that this stripling 's father has come over from Italy to work on the Subway be a misfortune?" "Why. dat's right. Dawson. royal blood had been spilt. from finish to start--it becomes quite simple. "Say. eventually winding up at the beginning. fell on the last day of the month . "I rubbered around. When the day dawned there existed between the two gangs a state of war more bitter th an any in their record." "Evidently a hustler. always seem to me to suffer from a certain lack of construction. as yo u prefer to do. Comrade Maloney? This thing is beginning to get clearer." . Wel l. anyhow. "w e must take careful note of this little matter." "I don't see why that puts him in bad. Shooting broke out in three places. because he got fired an' went an' swatted de foreman one on de coco. A Dago. Rent-day." CHAPTER XIX IN PLEASANT STREET Careful inquiries. when Master Maloney had spoken his last word. He's a wop kid. announced Pugsy." he proceeded confidentially. Chieftain had assaulted chieftain. and I finds t'ings out." "And then.
He's all alone. Pugsy undertook to do the honours." said Psmith. the y were not likely to take the offensive. This delay may undo us. seemed both surprised and alarme d to see visitors. who's to slip him over de simoleons? It'll be outside for h is. much as the unexpected appearance of a mad bull would make a man forget that he had come out butterfly-hunting. dis kid. "This. was Giuseppe Orloni. Comrade Windsor. 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. it appeared. conducted by Master Maloney. De stuff. Dat's right. deeply interested. look-a here. We will combine business with pleasure. Comrade Maloney."Pungle de what. He was out when the party. but the perilous passage was safely negotiate d. led by Pu gsy up dark stairs. War had broken out. as was usual between the gangs. He gesticulated." reported Master Maloney." But the days went by without any further movement on the part of the enemy. "He hasn't got next. . but the Table Hillites demanded instant attention. To get there it was necessary to pass through a section of the enemy's country. What is today? How long before the end of the month? An other week! A murrain on it. Don't give in. kid. on returning. "Somebody ought to do something. Cosy Moments shall step in. 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. stretched out his hand and thundered: "U nbelt-a! Slip-a me da stuff!" The wop kid's puzzlement became pathetic. in a somewhat tentative fash ion at first sight. so when d e rent-guy blows in. whose name. paying the stripling's rent and corralling the rent-col lector at the same time. assuming a look of extreme ferocity. Comrade Maloney?" "De bones. Pugsy as interpreter was e nergetic but not wholly successful. and said something in hi s native language. De se wop kids is all boneheads. and. "has da rent-a-man come yet-a?" The black eyes of the wop kid clouded." He walked out of the room and closed the door. De dollars. then. Who knows but that you may yet win . Comrade Windsor. The wop kid." "We will see to it. Two murrains. 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. The two armies were sparring for an opening. quick. The end of the week arrived. "is getting about as tense as anything I ever struck." he began. The expedition reached its unsavoury goal intact." and tacking on a final "a" to any word that seemed to him to need o ne. but as yet no pitched battle. A st range quiet seemed to be brooding over the other camp. made their way to Pleasant Street. "Say. It's a vile shame the kid being turned out like that. rapping on it smartly from the outside. and Psmith and Billy.. arrived." Billy warmed up at this tale of distress in his usual way. re-entered an d. There had been sniping and skirmishes by the wayside. As a matter of fact. Psmith and Billy could wait. Say. kid. "He can't git on to me curves..
" said Billy Windsor. you mutt. It fel l. That is to say." said Billy. Pugsy." "Elementary. Dese Dagoes makes me tired . "that this is one of those moments when it is necessary for me to unlimber my Sherlock Holmes system. "Gum!" he said. Com rade Maloney?" "That's right. Pugsy shrugged his shoulders." "I fancy. There may be a rough house in here any minute. "This is no place for a minister's son. As thus. "While your shoe leather's good. and you would be in the way . "Of course. If our friend does not arrive shortly.through? I fancy the trouble is that your too perfect Italian accent is making the youth home-sick. "Fancy living in this atmosphere when you don't have to." Pugsy looked up. We'll tell you all about it to-morrow. indignant. "Beat it?" he queried." said Psmith. elementary. my lad." he said resignedly. "So all we have to do is to sit here and wait. Do you follow me. my dear Watson." murmured Psmith. Comrade Maloney." "I want to stop and pipe de fun. Why. disclosing a square of deep blue sky. 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." Master Maloney made a gesture of disgust. Fancy t hese fellows keeping that shut all the time." he observed with moody displeasure to the wop kid. Comrade Windsor." said Billy. And now. or whatever you said his name was." said Psmith. If the rent collector had been here. plainly glad to get away. "Never mind. Dey don't know enough to go upstairs to take de Elevated. gadzooks! Not to mention stap my vitals! Isn't that a trap-door up there ? Make a long-arm. The trap-door opened downwards. "Beat it. "it's up to youse. wouldn't have been. "like Limburger cheese. Beat it. "Surely it is enough. ' This is fine! This beats ozone hollow!' Leave it open. that Comrade Spaghetti. "Gents. They do n't begin to appreciate air till it is thick enough to scoop chunks out of with a spoon. Once more to the breach. The architect of this Stately Home of America seems to have had a positive hatred for windows. as to the problem of dispensing with Comrade Maloney's services?" "Sure. Cut off. Then they get up on their hind legs and inflate their chests and say." "All?" said Psmith sadly. if the rent collector had cal led and found no money waiting for him. surely Comrade Spaghetti would have been out in the cold night instead of under his own roof-tree." "I expect it is an acquired taste." Billy got on a chair and pulled the bolt. I think. accompanying the words with a gesture which conveyed its own meaning. "I'm t'roo. Comrade Windsor. For of all the scaly localities I have struck this seems to me the scaliest." . slipped out of the door like a shadow." objected Master Maloney. I shall pull down the roo f. it is certain. The wop kid.
Psmith he loo ked upon as a quite amiable lunatic. I am told. Comrade Gooch. "My name's Gooch. Where's he to go?" "That's up to him. "Touching these wops. t he Beautiful Cloak-Model" with more fervour than he. walked briskly into the room. He liked his drama to have plenty of action. It was not necessary for Psmith to get his Sherlock Holmes system to w ork. wearing a b rown Homburg hat and carrying a small notebook in one hand. is in the dungeon below the castle m oat for a brief spell for punching his foreman in the eye." said Psmith. a cted as interpreter. "Say. The father. "It's a big shame. The scene looked good to hi m." . Gooch definitely. "I fear there is little chance of your seeing them to-night." Psmith bowed. Master Maloney was an earnest student o f the drama. who has just left us. and a man in a snuff-coloured suit. and to his practised eye this one promised well. who had taken advantage of the interruption to edge farther into the room." he said.Master Maloney prepared reluctantly to depart. Billy Windsor. He now turned to Psm ith. but th ere was a set expression on Billy Windsor's face which suggested great things. The rent collector watched these things with a puzzled eye. Comrade Maloney. Master Maloney. closing the door behind him." he said. It promised interesting developments. from whom little was to be expected. "Welcome to New York. The result? The rent is not forthcoming. I should say--we have just been having a h ighly interesting and informative chat." said Mr. 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. pale-faced man with protruding eyes and teeth which gave him a certai n resemblance to a rabbit. "Hello. He was a smallish. Nothing to do with me. CHAPTER XX CORNERED He stood in the doorway looking with some surprise at the group inside." broke in Billy. His whole appearance proclaimed the new-comer to be the long-expected colle ctor of rents. placing a firm hand on his co llar. As he did so there was a sound of a well-shod foot on the stairs. His pleasure was abruptly quenched. and few had ever app lauded the hero of "Escaped from Sing-Sing. With one of them--the son and heir of the family. as exhibited in the theatres of the East Side. now appeared to consider the question of his departure permanently sh elved. I'm only acting under orders from up t op." "Then it's outside for theirs. "turning the kid out. unless you wait some considerable time." or hissed the villain of "Nellie. led him to the door and pushed him out. "I am addressing--?" said Psmith courteously. seen anything of the wops that live here?" he inquired.
and started knocking these tenements a nd boosting Kid Brady. "Who are you two guys. that's a queer thing. Comrade Maloney. ain't it? Say. between you and the door. First.--Shakespeare. the receipt. as young friend. however. our editor. and all that. I happen to know a thing or two about what's going on on the other side." "Who is he?" said Billy. Comrade Gooch. Why. "In the first place. What do you want with the name of the o wner of this place? What business is it of yours?" "The fact is. Say. You'd better chase off and try something else. though. but I can't. I've nothing for you. "What's all this?" demanded Mr. would call them. "Say. Billy Windsor was standing with his back against the door and a more than nasty look on his face." For a moment the inwardness of the information did not seem to come home to Mr. Gooch. I wish I could give you a story. what paper do you boys come from?" "Cosy Moments. this matter of Comrade Spaghetti's rent. Then it hit him. I guess it's this Cosy Moments business that's b een and put your editor on to this joint. Mr. anon." of tha how our ." said Mr. He's going to get busy. Gooch." he said. "You can't bluff me." He became more friendly. though. I can't understand it. A friend of mine used to buy it regular. How much is it? Twelve dollars? For the privilege suffocating in this compact little Black Hole? By my halidom." said Psmith soothingly. say. Comrade Gooch." "I guessed you were. and that go es. Push me over a receipt." "Business before pleasure. 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. He waxed wroth. and I tell you there's going to be something doing if they don't cut it out quick. is Comrade Windsor. Well. And then su ddenly it comes out with a regular whoop. "I will explain all. it 's no good. Suspicion crept into the protruding eyes of the rent collector. Comrade Gooch?" inquired Psmith."Whose orders. you see for yourselves how it is. we are newspaper men.in-the-snow act." "Anon. "I just guessed you were from some paper. Sooner than see that friend of my boyhood s lung out to do the wandering-child. anyway. Comrade Gooch. I tell you straight they are." Psmith replied. boys. those C osy Moments guys are taking big risks. Gooch with triumph. I sub-edit. "Immediately behind you." "Confound his rent. that paper.--" he stopped and chuckled. "The gent who owns this joint. gossip. Let me out. I will brass up for him. All I know is that i t's begun to get this place talked about. Jones isn't the man to sit still and smile. and what do you think you're d oing here? That's what I'd like to know. "Say" he demanded." "Let me out. Why. "Mr. But. He spun round. I am Psmith. only a few weeks ago it used to be a sort of take-home-a nd-read-to-the-kids affair. Here is your editor sending you down to get a story about it.
Gooch scribbled a few words in his notebook and tore out the page. Gooch. Gooch. Gooch beh aved as if he had been caught in a high wind. Turn to a clean page." He produced a pen and an old letter. Gooch shuffled restlessly in the mid dle of the room. I have one of those patent non-leakable fountain pens in my pocket. "I will see that it reaches Comrade Spaghetti. who tried some few ni ghts ago to put us out of business. what is your Christian n ame?. "'I'--(I have left a blank for the Christia n name: you can write it in yourself later)--' I. Let us push on. is--' An d that is where you come in. on second though ts. And we should like it in writing. Mr. being a collector of rents in Pleasant Street. "How does this strike you? "he said. you're not writing. this is no way to speak! Well. Psmith th anked him. before Comrade Repetto's next night out. And. however. For the first time since Psmith had known him. Comrade Gooch. but I think there is still sufficient for our needs. "the staff of Cosy Moments i s taking big risks." said Psmith." He dusted the only chair in the room with infinite care and sat down. Comrade Gooch. 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." "There has been no assault and battery yet. Are you ready? By the way. t here is no need to do it yet--'that the name of the owner of the Pleasant Street tenements. in ink. Having d one this. business. New York.'being of sound mind and body'--comma--' and a bright little chap altogether'--comma--Why. "I'll summon you for assault and battery. Comrade Gooch. do hereby swear'--hush. Meanwhile. Comrade Gooch. That is what we should like you to give us. the last page of which was blank. We do not rely on your unsupported word for that. we will waive the Christian name.Mr. . It is probable that in another mom ent the desired information might have been shaken out of him. Pugsy was openly excited . Who is he?" Billy Windsor reached out and grabbed the rent collector by the collar. Play ing a fool game like this! Get away from that door." "Let me out. That is where we need your specialis ed knowledge." he said. Comrade Gooch. Billy Wind sor." bellowed Mr. if you are sensitive on the point. Let me put the whole position of affairs before you. It is my duty to tell you. continued to stand and be silent.. and write as follows. however. The Old Journalist's Best Friend. then. Well. Rem ind me later. Don't put away that notebook. and I am sure a man of your perception will see that ther e is only one thing to be done. but before this c ould happen there was a banging at the door. blank Gooch. and his heart was so much in the business that Mr. 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. once more? Pencil mo istened? Very well. Gooch. who had not spoken a word or moved an inch since the beginning of the inter view. to continue on the subject of fountain pens. th at I suspect it to be Percy. I have much to say on the theme. who is responsible for the perfectly foul conditions there. he proceeded to shake him. moisten your p encil. "And now to a more impo rtant matter. Billy was muscular. We have ha d practical demonstration of the fact from one J. Repetto. We mean business. "As you justly observed a moment ago. Most of the ink has come out and is permeating the lining of my coat. followed by the entrance of Master Maloney.. That is the c ry. and began to write. 'I'--comma-. business. Comrade Gooch. Are you ready.
De guys. gents. There are fo ur million guys in New York. you will probably start out to gallop after the cattle without remembering to mount your mustang. Gooch. on to the low bed. "I guess you ain't the only assault-and-battery artists in the business. which stood in o ne corner of the room. Which section is it that is coming?" "Gum! I don't know how many dere is ob dem. Gooch. One of dem seen you come in. Who are coming?" "Why. an dere ain't no ways ou t but de front. And while they are doing it I will give my cel ebrated imitation of Horatius. is small. "Looks to me as if some one else was going to get shaken up some. Comrade Windsor." he said. "youse had better beat it quick. stated that he would not go. Dey's coming!" "And now go back to the beginning. Psmith acte d promptly. laughed unpleasantly." Psmith shook his head. When you get to that ranch of yours. who fell. Say. but about as much otherwise as you can jolly well imag ine. Gooch. I seen Spider Reilly an' Jack Repett o an'-" "Say no more." he began. What are yo use goin' to do?" Mr. Our luggage. W here did you see them. dem. we may engage these varlets on fairly equal terms. Merely Comrade Gooch. puffing." said Psmith patiently. what then?" "We will stay here. They ca n only get through one at a time. with much verbal embroidery. "whi ch in the exuberance of the moment you have skipped. 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." Mr. Pugsy?" "On de Street just outside." said Psmith. and I hear s dem say you was in here. "and followed us. "Well?" he said. Comrade Maloney." "Well. We had better be moving. fortunately . "Your habit of omitting essentials."Say. that is enough for me. it's pretty fierce. l ookin' into each room till dey finds you. "Not so. you had. from the bed. Dere was a bunch of dem talkin' togedder. I am going to get on the roof and pull it up after me." he sai d. Once there. Gripping the struggling rent collector round the waist. so dey ain't hurryin'! Dey just reckon to pike along upstairs. dis proposition." Billy released Mr. Comrade Maloney. "They must have spotted us as we were coming here." Billy looked at Psmith. and ignoring . "What shall we do? Go down and try and rush through?" Psmith shook his head. "If Comrade Repetto is there. If you will get through the skylight. is going to undo you one of these days. I will p ass him up to you. Or rather we will hop nimbly up on to the roof through that skylight.
tell him that his old college chum. He left it ajar. That chance has come. Spi der Reilly. he lifted him to the trap-door. Comrade Win dsor. And when found. Make careless gestu res. in passing. We do not want allies who will de Repetto and the others." Pugsy vanished. is here. They will find it hard to get at us. but he can sen d representatives. Whistle a few lively bars. You alone can save us." "Shall I go for de cops. Psmith possessed himself of this. I thank you. I fear. for m e to join the rest of the brains of the paper up aloft. and consequently it is up to you. Smith?" "No. and . and. Go downstairs with a gay and jaunty air. I have seen not impress me. Thus shall you win through. I fancy. The trap-door appeared to be the only means of access to the roof. Gooch's chest a few feet away. The examination was satisfactory. "Dude Dawson? Nope. Comrade Malo ney. "Practically impregnable. Billy Windsor was seated comfortably on Mr. Do you know wh The light of intelligence began to shine in Master Maloney's face. Comrade Maloney. This was strategy of the right sort. "Comrade Maloney. however." "Do so. "Only one thing can dish us. when ce the head. And now it would be no bad idea. we have cover in the shape of the chimn ." "Sure. I fancy. then. however sternly. or if you haven't. By hi s side was his big stick. Comrade Maloney. as if you had no con nection with the old firm at all. and between their roof and that of the next house there w as a broad gulf." "Huh?" "Have I your ear?" "Huh?" "Are you listening till you feel that your ears are the size of footballs? Then drink this in." he murmured. jumping up. We upon these merry roisterers. And." "That's all. and that is if they have the sense to get on to the roof next door and sta rt shooting. and then Psmith turned to Pugsy. Leg it with all the speed you possess. 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. of course. you ought to have been. shoulders and arms of Billy Windsor protruded into the room. don't take a week about it. Inspection revealed the f act that it possessed no lock. and Psmith closed the door behind him. He will not be able to come himself. and looked about him . gripped the edge of the opening in the roof and pulled himself thr ough. But I can ask around. Mr. Off you go.his frantic kicks as mere errors in taste. Billy collected the collector. as it were. and they did merely shake their heads at Comra want some one who will swoop down soak to them good. For weeks you have been praying for a chance to show your devotio n to the great cause. we do not need to be saved. In a sense. on the roof. As a barrier it was useless. ere Dude Dawson lives?" the cops in action. Even in that case. His eye glist ened with respectful approval.
we must leave it open. who was still und ergoing treatment in the background. 'Doctor Cook discovers the North Pole. the thi ng would be a perfect picnic. "Aha!" said Psmith genially. "This way! They're up--" The words were cut short as Billy banged his hand over the speaker's mouth. "But he's going to. I must devote myself exclusively to guarding the bri dge." he observed coldly. He held on to the edges of the trap with his hands. and stared in a glassy manner into Psmith's face. If it had. And then." cried a voice. Then from Mr." The chair rasped over the floor. but Psmith suddenly held up his hand warningly. From t he room below came a sound of feet. Feet shuffled. In the room below there were whisperings and mutterings. But the thing was done.eys. "We've got youse." As he spoke. I think we may fairly say that all is well." "And. Get on top de roof. an ingrowing Roman nos e. But we mustn't ex pect everything. as he knelt by the trap making meditative billiard-shots with the stick at a small pebble. There was a momentary pause. "Youse had better come down. He can't hoit youse. "Dey've beaten it for de roof. It is a pity that the trap has not got a bolt this side. Gooch. there popped through the opening a head and shoulders. CHAPTER XXI THE BATTLE OF PLEASANT STREET The new arrival was a young man with a shock of red hair. "Historic picture. The intruder uttered a howl and dropped out of sight. unmoved. "On top de roof. The strong light of the open air was trying to his eyes. growing gradually louder till some thing resembling coherent conversation came to Psmith's ears. Gooch's lips there escaped a s creech. like a jack-in-the-box ." continued Psmith. As it is. he brought the stick down on the knuckles which disfigured the edge s of the trap." ." "He will be in your charge. How are you getting along? Has the patient responded at all?" "Not yet. For a moment the silence was tense. broken by an oath from Mr. and a mouth from which force or the passage of time had removed three front t eeth. which was within a foot of his own. "is instantly handed a gum-drop by his faithfu l Esquimaux." said Billy." Billy was about to speak.'" The red-headed young man blinked. "Aw g'wan! Don't be a quitter!" "Who's a quitter?" "Youse is a quitter.
can you. There was no doubt about that. Probably gratification had rendered the chosen one dumb. failed to detect in the choir of glad voices one that might belong to S am himself. listening fro m above." Murmur of assent from the audience. but in the confined space it was deafening. A somewhat baffled silence on the part of the attacking force was followed by fu rther conversation. Psmith. 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. "Gum! some guy's got to go up." "The right spirit." "Not me. It was a success from the start."De guy's gotten a big stick. The bullet sang up into the sky. Sam?" Psmith waited with some interest for the reply. "Sam bein' a coon. "Yes. The revolver shot had been a mere demo . but it did not come. It was merely a revolv er shot. Comrade Win--" A report like a cannon in the room below interrupted him." said Psmith softly. Comrade Windsor?" "Fine. turning the stick round in his fingers . Youse can't hoit a coon by soakin' him on de coco. "Never hit me!" said Psmith with dignified triumph." said Psmith with satisfaction . "ain't goin' to git hoit by no stick. Quite a little chorus of voices expressed sincere approval of the ve ry happy solution to what had seemed an insoluble problem. "I and Roosevelt." Psmith nodded appreciatively. Psmith grasped his stick more fi rmly. went on to adduce reasons. The noise was succeeded by a shuffling of feet. let Sam do it!" cried the unseen chorus." "I knew there was some way out of the difficulty. "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. A voice. "Solvitur ambulando. This was evidently the real attack. unnecessarily." he murmured. The first speaker." "Don't give up. in inspired tones: "Let Sam do it!" This suggestion made a hit." "Any result yet?" "Not at present. "How are you getting on up at your end of the table. Possibly Sa m did not wish to generalise on insufficient experience." he argued.
A third member of the audience alluded to them as "stiffs." The noise of the revolver ha d proved a fine advertisement. There was no doubt about it--as warriors. With an aggrieved air. they began to "barrack. has been tested and proved correct. Psmith's share in the entertainment was more obvious. the next moment a woolly head popped through the opening. I do. A voice from the room called up to Psmith. The men on the roof were mostly Irishmen. I hate to do it. Comrade Windsor. Action! That is the cry. was directed entirel y at the dilatory Three Pointers. Aha!" Another and a longer explosion from below. "Your statement." said Psmith. Psmith sighed. "that our blithe friends below are begin ning to grow a little unpopular with the many-headed. Only a few of the occupants could get a clear view of the proceedings. and they did not expect Psmith to make any aggressive move. Their indignation. "this is well met! I remember you. "Call yersilves the Three Points. "Why. Comrade Windsor. "G'wan away home. They must be up and doing if they wish to retain the esteem of Pleasant Street. akin to that of a crowd at a cricket match when batsmen are playing for a draw. are you coming up? Sam. . There was considerable speculation as to what was passing between Billy Windsor and Mr. Gooch. when the proceedings began to grow slow. "This is no time for a feu de joie." said Psmith. but they realised that the first move must be with the a ttackers. indee d. Action! Get busy. and were re lating it with gusto to their friends. and a pai r of rolling eyes gleamed up at the old Etonian. "Say!" "You have our ear. Sam!" said Psmith cordially. do ye? An' would ye know what I call ye? The Y oung Ladies' Seminary!" bellowed another with withering scorn. The roof of the house next door began to fill up. the Three Pointers had failed to give satisfaction. "They make me tired. Sure enough." he said. you blighters!" The Irish neighbours expressed the same sentiment in different and more forcible words. and it offended them to s ee what should have been a spirited fight so grossly bungled. They looked to him to provide entertainment for them. ye quitters!" roared one." By this time the affair had begun to draw a "gate." "I fear. Wasn't you the feller with the open umbereller that I met one rainy mor ning on the Av-en-ue? What. They were fair-minded men. They begged them to go home and tuck themselve s up in bed. The early comers had seen his interview with Sam. for a la rge chimney-stack intervened. but--" A yell rang out. Their attitude towards Psmith was that of a group of men watching a terrier at a rat-hole.nstration of artillery to cover the infantry's advance. Yes. and more bullets wasted themselves on air. " They hooted the Three Pointers. "What was that?" asked Billy Windsor over his shoulder.
The time began to pass slowly. 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. Let Sam wait here with his cani ster. clattering upstairs. and there was doubt as to the proper c ourse to pursue. Leave those stiffs on de roof." "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. "Hey!" "Well?" "Are youse guys--?" "No. I sent Comrade Maloney to explain matters to Dude Dawson. "Gum!" he cried." said Psmith." In the room below confusion had arisen." There was silence below. "What's that?" inquired Billy. "don't I keep tellin' youse dat de Table Hills is here? Sure. and unless youse come on down dey'll bite de hull he ad off of us lot. had brough t the news of the Table Hillites' advent. A scout." "We're goin' to wait here till youse come down. and it seems as if that golden-hearted sportsman had responded. now definitely abandoning hope of further entertainment. Suddenly from the street far below there came a fusillade of shots and a babel o f shouts and counter-shouts. Certain voices urged going down to help the main body. "I rather fancy. "by all means do. Sure. we are not." said Psmith courteously. The Irishmen on the othe r roof. Others p ointed out that that would mean abandoning the siege of the roof. "since you ask. 'cos Sam'll pump dem full of lead while dey're beatin' it t'roo de trap-door." Psmith nodded reflectively. and den dey can't get down. 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. and we are expecting at any moment an important communication from Comrade Gooch." "If you wish it. . The scout who had brought the news was eloquent in favour of the first course. the view pleasant. And why? Because the air up here is refreshing. d ere's a whole bunch of dem. and the low wall facing into the street became black with the backs of those craning over. The roof of the house next door. There appear to be gre at doings in the street. my lad."What's that?" "I said you had our ear. filled again with a magical swiftness." said Psmith severely." said Psmith.
Billy got up and turned to him." he murmured. rewarded at last for their long vigil. and then. more than long enoug h for the purpose for which it was needed. knowing the importance of his own safety. Psmith rose." "Why not go down through the trap? They've all gone to the street. All we have to do is to get off this roof. "Excellent. but it canno t be put out of business." Psmith shook his head. rushe s in himself and clubs everything in sight. Proceedings in the affair below had not yet reached the police interference stag e. I am sure. Psmith and Billy rested it on the cop ing. His eyes were gleaming with excite ment. He was tired of kneeling by the trap. armed with a pistol. "Comrade Gooch." he replied. This will wa nt thinking over. and so draw his fire? Comrade Gooch. we win through. Comrade Windsor. and the insignificance of the g angsman's."There is certainly something in what the bright boy says. Cosy Moments' editorial staff may be tree'd. It is an admirable process in its re sults. "Surely we must win through now. Both sides were hard at i t." he cried. "I've got it. "save Sam. take the other end of that ladder and follow me. and there was no likelihood o f Sam making another attempt to climb through." The ladder was lying against the farther wall. The New York poli ceman. He is now waiting below. 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. "All. ready--even anxious--to pick us off as we climb through the trap. was just working up to a climax. what with the shots and yells from the street and the ear-piercing approval of the roof-audience. It was long. Let us ponder. Psmith turned to him." he said. "It see ms to me the grand rescue scene in the third act has sprung a leak. 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. when both sides have begun to have enough of it. permits the opposing forces to hammer each other into a certain dista ste for battle." said Psmith. Are two mammoth minds such as ours unequal to such a feat? It can hardly be. and pushed it till the other end reached across the gulf to the roof of the house next door. Mr. and fate cannot touch us. its handle to my hand? It is! Comrade Wi ndsor. but it is sure rather than swift." In the street the disturbance had now become terrific. Comrade Windsor. In his hand he waved a strip of paper. How would it be to drop Comrade Gooch through firs t. As he did so. Gooch eyeing them in silence the while. The behaviour of the New York policeman in affairs of this kind is based on prin ciples of the soundest practical wisdom. He walked towards Billy. His whole attitude was triumphant. Sam was the subject of my late successful experime nt. when I proved that coloured gentlemen's heads could be hurt with a stick. The noise. The unthinking man would rush in and at tempt to crush the combat in its earliest and fiercest stages. and the Irishmen on the roof. "do nothing to apprise our friend Sam of these proceed .
"More bright young careers than I care to think of. and loose off in your direction with out waiting for explanations. Comrade Windsor." he whispered. Mr." CHAPTER XXII CONCERNING MR. like isinglass or Post-toasties. I will take you to the Knickerbocker. relating to the policy of the paper. man!" he said. but my interest is confined mainly to the . engrossed in the fight in the street. This had been hard on Billy. Billy stared. "that we might now descend." He went down on all-fours. Sam is in no mood to make nice distinction s between friend and foe. the paper will lose merely a sub-editor. h ad knocked the last remnant of fight out of the combatants. Shooting had definit ely ceased. What's the name which Comrade Go och so eagerly divulged?" Billy leaned forward excitedly. were i t not that matters of private moment. We are infinitely obliged to you for your sympathetic co-operation in this little matter. so that if the ladder breaks. perhaps. stretched out his legs." said Psmith complacently. I would ask for the pleasure of your company also. "have been rui ned by the fatal practice of talking shop at dinner. If you bring him up here. Comrade Windsor. "Stewart who?" asked Psmith. If you have no other engagem ents. And now good-bye. and lit a cigaret te. I speak in your best interests." In the street there was now comparative silence. Comrade Gooch. he will probably mistake you for a member of the staff of Cosy Moments. Some other day. But now that we are through . Beyond a hint that it was sensational he had not been permitted to go. The police. Comrade Windsor. and Psmith had stoutly d eclined to talk business until the coffee arrived. had their backs turned and did not observe him. The resources of the Knickerbocker Hotel had proved equal to supplying the f atigued staff of Cosy Moments with an excellent dinner. Comrade Gooch reminded me of the untamed chamois of the Alps. I will go fir st. must be discussed at the table. let us debouch. "haven't you heard of Stewart Waring?" "The name seems vaguely familiar. whose occupants. not an editor. with their clubs. who was bursting with his news. "Neat. "I think. and buy you a squar e meal. in which the police had now joined." said Psmith. pallid and obviously ill-attuned to such feats. "Uncommonly neat. followed him. "Stewart Waring." said Psmith. I seem to kno w it. but it conveys nothing to me. Comrade Windsor. leaping from crag to crag. and in this attitude wormed his way across to the opp osite roof." "Don't you ever read the papers?" "I toy with my American of a morning.ings. WARING Psmith pushed back his chair slightly. "Great Scott. and finally Bill y Windsor reached the other side. I think you had better come with us. Gooch . by all means let us have it.
What was his trouble?" "His trouble. and the contractor gave Waring away. and leave the town for a time. Which brings us back to the point. of course." he said. I fear this will cause us a certain amount of inconvenience." "Why did he throw up the job?" inquired Psmith. perhaps. "We will remind them. and it collapsed on the third night and killed half the a udience. He used to be Commissioner of Buildings for the city." Psmith lit another cigarette." "He's one of the bosses. possibly we may not need one now." "How was that?" "Oh. Gratifying as it is to find one of the staff gett ing on in life. but I gather that Comrade Waring did not line up in that c lass. and the contractor put it up with material about as strong a s a heap of meringues. Com rade Brady will have to leave the office temporarily in order to go into trainin g. and what shall we do then for a fighting editor? However. and pl aces like that Pleasant Street hole without any ventilation." "Commissioner of Buildings? What exactly did that let him in for?" "It let him in for a lot of graft. Who is Stewart W aring?" "Stewart Waring is running for City Alderman." "I should have thought it would have had that excellent result permanently.sporting page which reminds me that Comrade Brady has been matched against one E ddie Wood a month from to-day. Billy nodded. "it seems to me that it was amon g the World's Softest." sai d Psmith thoughtfully." "And then?" "The papers raised a howl. People don't remember a thing here that happened five years back un less they're reminded of it. "Do you mean to say he got back again after that?" "He had to quit being Commissioner. and could afford to lie low for a year or two. "was that he stood in with a contractor who was putti ng up a music-hall. Cosy Moments should be able shortly to give its message to the wo rld and ease up for a while. It killed him for the time being. 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. and they got after the contractor." said Billy. bu t affairs move so fast here that a thing like that blows over. Certain drawbacks to it. . he took it off the contractors. He made a bit of a pile out of the job. to the man with the Hai r-Trigger Conscience. Shut his eyes and held out his hands when t hey ran up rotten buildings that a strong breeze would have knocked down." "How long ago was that?" "Five years.
"I see." he said." he said. "one or two of the papers against him in this Aldermanic E lection business tried to bring the thing up. "how do we go?" He leaned back in his chair. I spotted h im at an early date. Not that he has actually done a thing--not so much as given a supper to a dozen news-boys."Of course. somewhere down by Twenty-ninth Street. What is ou r move now. publish the name. but he's talked." he said. "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." said Billy. and talk gets over if you keep it up long enough. "What--what the--?" he stammered." inquired Psmith. but they didn't cut any ice. Comrade Windsor?" Billy stared. The o ther papers said it was a shame. "How on earth did you get it?" Psmith knocked the ash off his cigarette. "Why. "Comrade Windsor. No wonder the poor gentleman was so energetic in his methods. Didn't you know we were followed to this place?" "Followed!" "By a merchant in what Comrade Maloney would call a tall-shaped hat. so they dropped it." "That's all right. leeches were aloof. Comrade Windsor . "I do not wish to cavil or carp or rub it in in any way. and that's proof positive. He's been shooting off a lot of hot air lately about phi lanthropy and so on. Bill y's eyes were goggling." explained Billy. "Nobody's going to ge t it from me. It'll smash h im at the election when it gets known." . of course." Psmith dipped his hand into his trouser-pocket." Psmith nodded adhesion to this dictum. I tell you. patting his breast-pocket. and burrs non-adhesive compared with that tall-shaped-hatt ed blighter. there he was. and pass on to more congenial topics. "Comrade Windsor. too? He did. producing a piece of paper. "There's a lot of graft to being an Alderman. "So that naturally he wants to keep it dark about these tenements. Everybody thought that Warin g was on the level now." "Why is he so set on becoming an Alderman. And wh en we turned into Forty-second Street. did he dive. He looked from Psmith to the paper and from the paper to Psmith. hounding a man who was sorry for the past and w ho was trying to make good now. I will merely remark that you pretty nearly landed us in the soup. because we've got the beggar's name in the writing of his own collector. When we dived into S ixth Avenue for a space at Thirty-third Street. it's it!" Psmith nodded. surveying Billy blandly through his eye-glass.
"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
After parting wi th you last night. I suppose. and found a couple of Policemen there. They said they had been tipped off that there was a pool-room being run in the house. is stationed almost at my very door. The other cop took a swipe at me with his club. and." repeated Psmith." "What!" "A banging at the door. Why the cops should have thought I had anything to do with it." "The cops did that. and I d idn't remember anything more till I found myself in a cell. Anyway." he said. I just sailed in." Psmith's eye-glass dropped from his eye. "Hullo. and told me to come along quick. "They always t urn nasty if you put up a fight. Comrade Windsor?" "Yes. That's my little life-history. standing on the mat. and started t o get into my shirt. and was beginning to make the man think that he had stumbled on Stanley Ketchel or Kid Brady or a dynamite explosion by mistake. He went down over the bookcase. in the middle of which somebody seemed to let off about fifty thousand dollars' worth of fireworks all in a bunch. if he had shown up and got in my way . that's all right. I passed on into my room . "You have told me your painful story. but I was so mad I didn't stop to think. Smith. wi th a courtly good night to the large policeman who. I might have known it was no use arguing with a New Y ork cop. and there was a general rough house. "You got my note all right then?" Psmith looked at him. At about three o'clock in the morn ing I was aroused by a somewhat hefty banging on the door. They said they couldn't wait about while I put on c lothes. It seems that some gamb lers have been running a pool-room on the ground floor. "what on earth has been happening to you?" "Oh. I'd put on some clothes and come with them. I was a fool to do it. concerned. but by that time I was so mad I'd have taken on Jim Jeffries." A chuckl e escaped Billy. "Now hear mine. "Comrade Windsor. They told me to come along with them to the station. I said I wasn't going to travel about New York in pyjamas. all right. and if I wanted to say anything I'd better say it to the magistrate. as I have mentioned in previ ous conversations. I said. I guess I was a fool to cut loose th at way. They knew perfectly well that I had nothing to do with any pool-room downst airs. pretty nearly knocke d to pieces. without any apparent resentment." Psmith sighed. The house where I live was raided late last night. but I got so mad. "There." he said. were thre e policemen. "He wasn't expecting it." he said. "Pool-room. when I was sleeping peacefully upstairs. when the ot her fellow loosed himself from the bookcase." said Billy. From their remarks I gathered that certain bright spirits had been . I went meditatively back to my Fourth Avenue address. at about three in the morning there was t he dickens of a banging at my door." "Nothing! You look as if you had been run over by a motor-car. I got up to see what was doing. and they started in on me together." said Billy.had the air of a man who has been caught in the machinery. "That's nothing. is more than I can understand. One of them gave me a shove in the ribs with his night-stic k. and had soon sunk into a dreamless slumber. And that made me so mad I hit out. and that they were cleaning up the house. I asked what on earth for. and I got him fair.
" he went on miserably." he said. "this is awful. even as you appear to have done. Not one of my objects of vertu but has been displaced . Comrade Windsor. So I went with them. Unless you consider Comrade Maloney eq . allowing the editor to remain and sketch out plans for his next week's article on the Crown Prince. "What Cosy Moments really needs is a sitz-reda cteur." "A what?" "A sitz-redacteur. Very cordially the honest fellows invited me to go with them. so I yielded. "We should ha ve been done if you hadn't. Thi ngs are just warming up for the final burst. in order to correct what seemed to me even on reflection certain drawbacks to my costume. They tipped the police off about the pool-rooms. 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. waited in the street without. I pointed out. They know what is done and what is not done. We need a sitz-redacteur on Cosy Moments almost as much as a fighting editor." sighed Psmith. for inst ance. there is a saloon--and the Law was now about to clean up the p lace. These men. "Gum! it's them!" he cried. A conveyance . have lived longer in New York than I. looks as if two cyclones and a threshing machine had passed through it. but they assured me--more by their manner than their words--that my misgivi ngs were out of place." "For thirty days." "The Kid has had to leave then?" "He wants to go into training at once.running a gambling establishment in the lower regions of the building--where. it seemed. The police force s woops down en masse on the office of the journal. The real editor hints in his bright and snappy editorial. I cannot say. who goes with them peaceably. and are met by the sitz-redact eur. knowing that we should be hauled off without having time to take any thing with us. but of course that would never do. "As Comrade Maloney would say. and I'm out of it all." said Psmith. and after a very pleasant and cosy little ride in the patrol waggon. Comrade Windsor?" Why. I will bow to their views." "As regards yours. arrived at the police station." Billy Windsor slapped his knee. 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. convinced him by means of arguments and by s ilent evidence of my open. Comrade Windsor. But. But it is an undoubted fact th at mine. I'll bet anything you like they have been in and searched our roo ms by now. "meaning what. that the Kaiser's moustache reminds him of a bad dream. and came away without a stain on my character. "It was lucky you thought of sending that paper by post. He very sportingly offered to cancel his match. I told myself." Billy Windsor listened to this narrative with growing interest. and we have neither. say. This morning I chatted a w hile with the courteous magistrate. I think I told you. honest face and unwavering eye that I was not a profe ssional gambler. the fellows who are after that paper." "They've searched it?" "With a fine-toothed comb. which I revisited before going to the office.
" A policeman appeared at the door. "I shouldn't.ual to the job. "but if you see me aroun d in the next day or two." "I fail to follow you. and there's no earthly need for you to b e around the office. If nothing else comes of the visit. as you have doubtless heard. etc. Once." "The same. Comrade Windsor. I fancy." urged Psmith. Have no fear. pal. Comrade Windsor. I guess." "Well. But I have a scheme. "Say. Shortly after you--if you will forgive me for touching on painful subject--have been haled to your dungeon. and then you will be immers ed in the soup beyond hope of recovery." "What's that?" "It seems to me that we are allowing much excellent material to lie unused in th e shape of Comrade Jarvis." said Billy stoutly. Should we no t give Comrade Jarvis an opportunity of proving the correctness of this statemen t? I think so. It's a walk-over from now on. I shall at least have had the opportunity of chatting with one of our mo st prominent citizens. "I'd give a year later on to be round and ab out now. "you'll have to be fading away soon. However. Say it quick." "I shouldn't. this could not have been said. Unfortunately. I will push round to Comrade Jarvis's address. Whether he will consent to put himself out on my behalf remai ns to be seen. Not many. there is no harm in trying. but I'll try it if I do. it's true." he whispered. The cat-specialist to whom you endeared yourself somewhat earlier in the proceedings by befriending one of his wandering animals. I reckon. "Abstain from undue worrying. "I guess they won't give me much chance. but i t has been done. I must look around me for some one else. little acts of love. to you. don't be surprised. Billy leaned forward to Psmith." said Psmith regretfully. good-bye. "All will be well with the paper. Little deeds of kin dness." he remarked to Psmith." "Men have escaped from Blackwell's Island before now." The door opened and the policeman reappeared." Psmith shook his head." "Bat Jarvis." He retired." he said. his affection is confined . "They're bound to catch you. I shall be too fully oc cupied with purely literary matters to be able to deal with chance callers. I admit. But now thing s have simplified themselves. help. I shouldn't wonder if they put you in yo ur little cell for a year or so. This act is going to be a scream fro . You have left a g ood man at the helm." "I guess I shan't get a chance. "Time's up. and sound him on the subject." "I don't care. Give you three minutes more.
merriest day of all the glad New Year. anon. "I don't remember any Jarvis. Well. whom you will doubtless remember. however. I know of no one who can last two minutes against you. puzzled. For going straight t o the mark and seizing on the salient point of a situation." he said. with the air of a father welcoming home the pro digal son. looking very brown and in excellent condition. Do you recol lect paying a visit to Comrade Windsor's room--" "By the way. "Why. "this is the maddest. Comrade Jackson. Let us return to that evening. where is Windsor?" "In prison. the cat chap? I know." "What's the idea? What are you going to see him for?" . jerking his head in the direction of the inner room. For slugging a policeman." "As you very justly observe. Comrade Jackson.m start to finish. "A guy waiting to see me. "Hullo. Psmith." he said briefly. turning a page. More of this. We're playing a game over in Brooklyn to-morrow. Why?" "Because I propose to take you to visit Comrade Jarvis." "Let your mind wander back a little through the jungle of the past. on that evening--" "In prison?" "For thirty days. "I got back this morning. Comrade Maloney? With or without a sand-bag?" "Says his name's Jackson. Where di d you come from?" Mike. 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." he said." "Jarvis?" said Mike. the cat chap. 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. Psmith moved quickly to the door of the inner room. "Dere's a guy in dere waitin' ter see youse." said Master Maloney." 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." "No engagements of any importance to-day?" "Not a thing. put down the paper he was r eading.
If you are through with your refreshment. Are you on to that? Then let us be going. Indeed. at which I trus journalistic li oyster and a gl so." corrected Psmith." said Mike. I know of nobody who cuts a greater quantity of ice. "I will explain all at a little luncheon t that you will be my guest. I f you press the matter. 'Ain't youse satisfied with what youse got? G'wan!' His advice in such cases is good. Comrade Jackson? I think " .. "They have. since coming to this city I have developed a habit of taking care of mysel f. if you will. or employing private help. Comrade Jackson. he will examine it and expr ess some admiration for the abilities of the citizen responsible for the same. That is why I should like you."We. and should be followed ." said Mike. He is a person of considerable influence among that section of the populace which is endeavouring to smash in our occiput s. Kid Brady's reminiscences are hot stuff. "You certainl y seem to have bucked it up rather. It is a goodish step dow ." "Somewhat sizzling. If I can only en list Comrade Jarvis's assistance. and says. He has had to leave us to-day to go to White Plains to train for an encoun ter with a certain Mr. like all great men.. when he had finished "why on earth don't you call in the police?" "We have mentioned the matter to certain of the force." "I expect you need a fighting editor. but showed no tendency to leap excitedly to our assistance. indispensable. You do not object? Remember that you have in your E nglish home seventy-four fine cats. "But. is somewhat peculiar. as they lunched. however. man. Already. They appeared tolerably i nterested. The New Y ork policeman. Comrade Jackson. he becomes bored. such is the stress of this fe. No. Comrade Maloney has given me the address." "Great Scott! Tell us. I think so. mostly Angoras. If you go to a New York policeman and exhibit a black eye. I hear my tissues crying out imperatively to be restored. 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. don't you?" "He is indispensable. unfo rtunately cost us a fighting editor. all will be well. A ssuredly they have cut up rough. "I was reading Cosy Moments in there. Wood." admitted Psmith. it will probably be necessary in the course of our interview to allude to you as one of our most eminent living cat-fanciers." Psmith briefly recounted the adventures of the past few weeks. Comrade Jackson. shall we be moving in his direction? By the way. Comrade Jackson." "No rotting. An ass of milk somewhere round the corner. that he is now never without a m atch. to com e with me to call upon Comrade Jarvis. a four-ounce-glove juggler of established fame." "How's that?" "Such is the boost we have given Comrade Brady.
Jarvis's manner became unfriendly. "Comrade Jarvis. Let us walk. Why it should be so corrupted I do not know. and in Hoxton." . possibly the best known of our English cat-fanciers. Jarvis. pausing for a moment in the middle of a bar. Windsor! De gent what caught my cat?" "The same--and partly in order that I might make two very eminent cat-fanciers a cquainted.. "is Comrade Jackson. "The word. Jarvis's motive in putting the question was not frivolous. as Comrade Jackson was just about to observe. I called in here partly on the strength of being a colleague and side-partner of Comrade Windsor--" "Mr." said Psmith. He really wis hed to know. adjusting his eyeglass." he said tolerantly. "A fine animal. "the fierce rush of New York life. This. Jarvis in his Groome Street fancier's shop. It sounded like a riddle." he said." said Psmith. Psmith was not discouraged. "To which particular famil y of the Felis Domestica does that belong? In colour it resembles a Neapolitan i ce more than anything. How it wipes from t he retina of to-day the image impressed on it but yesterday. "I should have remembered that time is money.n on the East side. They found Mr. "we meet again." he said. Are you with me. "Say. Co mrade Jarvis?" The cat-expert concentrated himself on the cat's paws without replying. and then t aking up the air where he had left off. You remember me?" "Nope. Passing lightly on from that--" . and. Jarvis rose." said Mr.. engaged in the intell ectual occupation of greasing a cat's paws with butter. but it was obvious t hat 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. Jarvis was evidently touching on a point which had weighed deeply up on him--"why's catnip called catnip?" Mike looked at Psmith helplessly." said Psmith." Mr."--Mr. "Ah." Mr. Psmith looked on benevolently." "Say. But what of th at? The subject is too deep to be gone fully into at the moment. "What Comrade Jackson does not know about cats. I should like to take a taxi. with a wave of his hand in the direction of the silen tly protesting Mike. He looked up as they ent ered. but it might seem ostentatious . having inspected Mike with silent admiration for a while. His information on Angoras alone would fill a volume. Comrade Jackson's stud of Angoras is celebrated wherever the King 's English is spoken. extended a well-buttered hand towards him." said Psmith. "is a cor ruption of cat-mint. and began to breathe a melody with a certain coyness. "is not knowledge. I should recomm end you to read Comrade Jackson's little brochure on the matter.
and I know tha t your regard for Comrade Windsor is almost an obsession. Jarvis without emotion." "A versatile animal. Mr. Sure. Psmith took advantage of the pause to leave the cat topic and touch on matter of more vital import. Jarvis. sure enough. cross-eyed cats is. is a ca t wit one blue eye and one yaller one." said Mr. First t'ing you know dey've swallowed dem. O ncest a guy give me a cat like dat. if he was to preserve his reputation." he said. now plainly on a subject near to his heart. Can't keep de cats off of eatin' dem. You has a cross-eyed cat. he got in bad. I should like to touch. Sure." agreed Psmith. li ghtly--" "Say. "dat ate beetles and got thin and used to tie itself into knots. Puts you in bad. to assert hims elf. Jarvis went on. Jarvis looked astonished. It's a real skiddoo. Jarvis." Mr."Did youse ever have a cat dat ate beetles?" inquired Mr. and not'in' don't ne ver go wrong." "You should put them into strait-waistcoats. Passing lightly--" "I had a cat oncest. it's fierce when it's like dat. and den dey gits thin and ties theirselves into k nots." "Dey's lucky. "dem beet les is fierce. "Passing." Mr. ignoring the remark and sticking to his p oint." he replied firmly." "And what happened to the cop?" inquired Psmith. "don't make cats thin. He seemed to be meditating on the inscrutable workings of Fate. "No. "there is another matter on which. 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." said Psmith." said Mr. however." "How's that?" . "Oh." said Psmith. surest t'ing you know. and first t'ing you know I'm in bad all roun d. But. "have happily been almost free from strab ismus. "Say. ever have a cross-eyed cat?" "Comrade Jackson's cats." said Psmith. if you will permit me. Jarvis relapsed into silence. Dat's what comes of havin' a cat wit one blue eye and one yaller one. "Tense and exhilarating as is this discussion of the optical peculiarities of ca ts. "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. but t his is a matter which concerns Comrade Windsor as well as myself. "English beetles. I would hesitate to bore you with my own private troubles. I can't. "There was a time when many of Comrade Jackson's felidae supported life almost e ntirely on beetles. was dere ever a cat wit one blue eye and one yaller one in your bunch? Gum. interested." "Did they git thin?" Mike felt that it was time. say.
In fact. whose name will be familiar to you. I got it in for dem gazebos. He caught me cat. The fact is. Started some rough woik in me own dan ce-joint." "Sure. By the way." said Mr. sure I have. Dey're fresh. We are b ound together by our common desire to check the ever-growing spirit of freshness among the members of the Three Points. e ast." said Psmith. I gather that the same sco undrels actually approached you with a view to engaging your services to do us i n. and west. eyeing Mike in friendly fashion . Jarvis." "It is too true. to resume. I fancy you have he ard a little about our troubles before this. Jackson's to de good." "Ah! However. the lessee and manager of the T hree Points gang. 'Nuttin' done. dey did. England's greatest fancier. "that Comrade Windsor is a man to whom you give the glad hand. Say . Nothing could be more admirable. "Now the thing I wished to ask you is this . Comrade Jarvis. Surest t'ing you know."I should say. they went to a gentleman o f the name of Reilly. was that the one that used to tie itself into knots?" "Nope. but that you very handsomely refused the contract. but I g ives him de t'run down. We look north. "We are all to de good. Got gay." said Psmith. south. and what m ore do we want? Nothing." "De Kid?" . Windsor is. Jarvis. is our mutual friend.' I says." "Say." he said. Shamrock Hall. failing you. Windsor caught me cat. How sad it is in this world! We look to every side. "what do youse t 'ink dem fresh stiffs done de udder night." "Shamrock Hall?" said Psmith. and what do we see? Mainly scoundrels. "is the right spirit." "Mr. dimly comprehending." "He did. Add to that the fact that we are united by a sympathetic knowledge of the manners and customs of cats. waxing wrathful at the recollection. Windsor put through it. "That. wit some of de Table Hillers. He's to the good." went on Mr. Mr. 'Mr. "Well.'" "So I was informed. Comrade Jarvis." "Sure. Jarvis." "Dose T'ree Points. Dat was anudder. dey're to de bad." assented Mr." said Psmith. "Dat's right." Psmith beamed approval. and especially th at Comrade Jackson. Spider Reilly." "Spider Reilly?" "You have hit it. we are much persecuted by scoundrels. "A guy comes to me and says he wants you and Mr. The office of the paper on which I work was until this morning securely guarde d by Comrade Brady. Comrade Jarvis.
Comrade Jackson. "A vote of thanks to you. How do we go. I do not presume to di ctate. . Nothing could be better. Could you be there at ten to-morrow morning?" "Sure t'ing. no. his fore-lock more than usually well oiled in honour of the occasion. the coming light-weight champion of the world. if you are going to show up at the office to-morrow. Kid Brady. thin young man who wore under his brown tweed coat a blue-and-red striped jersey. When do I start?" "Excellent. 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 should."On the bull's-eye. Jarvis reflected but a brief moment." he said. but if you were to make yourself a thorough master of the subject of catn ip. at ten o'clock to the minute. he has unfortunately been compelled to leave us. On the following morning." said Psmith complacently. then. Till to-morrow. "In certain circumstances one canister is worth a flood of rhetoric. I'll bring me canister. Your manner was exactly right. and his right coat-pocke t bulging in a manner that betrayed to the initiated eye the presence of the fai thful "canister. "Apparently. Comrade Jarvis. a nd the way into the office is consequently clear to any sand-bag specialist who cares to wander in. I am obliged. Just what an eminent cat-fancier's manner should be. for your invaluable as sistance. sure. We will pay for yo ur services. in addition to his revolver. yet n ot haughty. There is no knowing what thirst fo r information a night's rest may not give Comrade Jarvis." said Psmith. Comrade Jarvis. "Why. as they turned out of Groome Street." CHAPTER XXV TRAPPED Mr." "Not at all a bad hour's work. was not ascertained." With him. as usual. 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. he made his appearance at the office of Cosy Moments." "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. for instance. 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. are due to run up against the surprise of their lives." "It strikes me I didn't do much. I could see tha t you made a pronounced hit with Comrade Jarvis. I am very much obliged to yo u. Comrade Jarvis?" Mr. yes. By the way. In reality." said Mike with a grin. it might quite possibly come in useful. probably to-morrow. Comrade Jarvis. he brought a long. Reserved. Jarvis was as good as his word. "Me fer dat. Well. perhaps it would be as well if you were to loo k up a few facts bearing on the feline world. unless--and this is where you come in.
Comrade M aloney." "Won't youse be wantin' me to-day. h owever." replied Pugsy with some fervour. So did Long Otto. and sat speechless for a full five minutes. "I'd take me goil to d e Bronx Zoo.Pugsy." he said. If you and C omrade Otto will select one apiece and group yourselves tastefully about the roo m in chairs." said Pugsy. "Then. but a scrap per from Biffville-on-the-Slosh. Jarvis confirmed this view. Go up and watch the animals. Th roughout the seance and the events which followed it he confined himself to an o ccasional grunt. "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. You need a holiday. "I had heard no inkling of this. eyeing the table." said Psmith." "Your girl?" said Psmith inquiringly. whom friends have sometimes told me I resemble in appearance. startled out of his wonted calm by the arrival of this distinguished comp any. But wai t! A thought strikes me. made no comment. On b usy mornings you could hear our brains buzzing in Madison Square Garden. I will start in to hit up a slightly spicy editorial on the coming election. With Comrade Otto I fancy we shall make a combination w hich will require a certain amount of tackling. I had always imagined you one of those strong. "I can go about my professional duties with a light heart. She ain't a bad mutt. And if two dollars woul . The hardiest hooligan would shrink from introdu cing rough-house proceedings into a room graced by the combined presence of Long Otto and himself. He seemed to lack other modes of expression." added the ardent swain. "and in the meantime take her to the Bronx. Long Otto. I may possibly sing a bar or two. Long Otto's his monaker." said Psmith. being a man of silent habit. could you employ it to profit?" "Surest t'ing you know. she's a kid. while I bivouacked over there at the smaller table." He called for Pugsy. Psmith received the newcorners in the editorial sanctum with courteous warmth. "Her pa runs a delicatessen shop down our street. Who is she?" "Aw." said Psmith. Jarvis. with protr uding eyes. he affirmed." Mr. "I'm her steady. Comrade Maloney. "if the Editorial Staff of this paper were to give y ou a day off. observed the pair. A charming chap. who." Mr. Unflagging toil is sapping your physique." "You did very rightly. Jarvis introduced hi s colleague. and remember me very kindly to the Peruvian Llama. Comrade Jarvis. as you suggest." Psmith assured him. Jarvis regarded the paraphernalia of literature on the table with interest. was no rube. Mr. "In Comrade Windsor's pre-dungeon days he was wont to sit where I am sitting now." "Not to-day. as they passed through into the inner office. rugged. "Is dis where youse writes up pieces fer de paper?" inquired Mr. "Thought I'd bring him along. blood-and-iron me n who were above the softer emotions. "Comrade Maloney." "See that I have a card for the wedding. You will find cigars in that box. "It is. however.
"there is no agony like the agony of literary composition. Comrade Otto. "I cannot offer you all seats." Jarvis and Long Otto turned towards the door. who was holding the handle." "Sure t'ing. Some one was mov ing stealthily in the outer office." said Psmith softly." "It occurred to me. as he spoke.d in any way add to the gaiety of the jaunt. and spoke. "I understand. as I said--Aha!" The handle of the door began to revolve slowly and quietly. Any visit ors who call must find their way in for themselves. "While. "Why. Now. Action. and the absence of resistance when they applied their weig ht had had surprising effects. when he had gone. It was evident that they had not expected to fi nd the door unlocked. Finally Psmith leaned back in his chair with a satisfied expressio n.. T'anks. so much the better. Psmith rose with a kindly smile to welcome his guests. "unless you care to dispose yourselv . Have you come bringing me a new hat?" The white-haired leader's face. The next moment thre e figures tumbled into the room. That is the cry. And now to work." he went on. is Otto. "It is just as well. Am I not right. If that is Comrade Otto's forte. was within a few inches of his own. "that Comrade Maloney is not at his cu stomary post. Comrade Otto will bear me out in my statement that there is a subtle joy in the manufacture of the well-f ormed phrase." 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. 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. Comrade Otto?" The long one gazed appealingly at Mr. But what are words? Action is the thing. this is a treat. who spoke for him. Psmith nodded." he said. The third. I am a man of few words myself. the w hat's-its-name of the thingummy and the thing-um-a-bob of the what d'you-call-it . was m ore fortunate. Von Moltke. as of course you know. those of our friends of the Three Points. in about a quarter of a minute. At least." said Psmith. All great men are like that. "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.. Work. The editori al I have just completed contains its measure of balm. more than one person . Two of the three did not pause in their career ti ll they cannoned against the table. "He's a bit shy on handin' out woids. "I thought I knew the face. Comrade R epetto. Jarvis. boss. Psmith was right. Ott o and Jarvis. 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. Comrade Maloney's servi ces are too valuable to allow him to be exposed to unnecessary perils. if the footsteps I hear without are. as I su spect. Comrade Jarvis. and myself. such toil has its compensations. surely!" he said in a pleased voice." he said. Judging from the sound.
"Well. "The cigars are on the table. Mr. "Goin' to start any rough stuff?" inquired Mr." continued Mr. I understand." he said. Jarvis made a suggestion. they close their minds to all influences that might lure them from their business. Jarvis casually. who bowed. "Draw up your chairs." he added. What did you wish to see me about. Jarvis spoke." said Psmith hospitably." "Chorus. Repetto. Mr. He looked round the assembled company." He looked inquiringly at the long youth. L. "and tell him that there's nothin' doin' in the way of rough house wit dis gent here. Why th is shrinking coyness? Fling out your chest. then. ahnd ther world is--ah--mine!'" concluded Psmith.' Pray. however. Comrade Repetto and his colleagues have c ome here on business. "'Lov' muh. gentlemen. Otto had produce d and were toying meditatively with distinctly ugly-looking pistols. Jarvis and Mr. See? Does dat go? If he t'inks his little t ." he said." He indicated Psmith. and looked at the floor. "Come along. "Youse had better beat it. Psmith clicked his t ongue regretfully. "Comrade Jarvis. "I fear that as a smoking-concert this is not going t o be a success. Let us get on. and let's all be jolly. Long Otto grunted sympathy with this advice. "what's doin'?" Mr. The sight apparentl y had the effect of quenching his desire for song." The three invaders had been aware of the presence of the great Bat and his colle ague for some moments. Jarvis's revolver. he proceed ed to relieve himself of the first verse of "I only know I love thee. Repetto. "will now recite that pathetic little poem 'Baby's Sock is now a Blue-bag. "Comrade Otto. I will open the proceedings with a song. Jarvis. with his eyeglass fixed the while on Mr. and cut loose.es upon the tables." In a rich baritone. as he finished. "And you can tell de Spider. He shuffled his feet. Comrade Repetto. silence for Comrade Otto." he said. appeared to have some di fficulty in finding a reply. Repetto's eye was fastened on Mr. This may have been due to the fact that both Mr. "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. to whom the remark was directly addressed. and nothing will make them forget it. Mr. and the meeting seemed to be causing them embarrassment." went on Bat with gro wing ferocity." But Mr. who remained mute. His two companions seemed equally at a loss." he observed. I wonder if you know my friend. Mr. please. "And youse had better go back to Spider Reilly. Otto? Let us all get acquainted on this merry occasion. Typical New York men of affairs. Repetto's reply was unintelligible. Comrade Repetto?" Mr. Bat Jarvis? And my frien d.
" "Especially of ancient friends such as Comrade Jarvis. It now only remains for me to pass a vote of thanks to Comrade Jarvis an d to declare this meeting at an end." said Psmith. 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. Otto kicked th e leg of the table. Francis Parker. If I am right. The delegation then withdrew. An' don't fergit dis gent here and me is pals.wo-by-four gang can put it across de Groome Street. Comrade Repetto's knowledge of the usag es of polite society is too limited. well. "I do not know. and the tall-shaped hat. a desire to talk busin ess of any kind?" "My business is private. Parker was looking at Bat in bewilderment. "I do not think it can be our late friends. in fact. pointing to the door. Comrade Parker." said as a sharp knock sounded on the door. woven into the social motives of your call. Jarvis. Comrade Jarvis. covered the ground very thoroughly and satisfac torily. "tha t I have anything to add to the very well-expressed remarks of my friend." "Beat it. And you. and shot his cuffs. Jarvis. The gentleman on your left is Comrade Otto. Does dat go!" Psmith coughed. in the manner of a chairman addressing a meeting. in my opinion. Mr. "Did you come purely for friendly chit-chat. and grunted. Comrade Parker. Thank you. Well. I didn't expect a crowd. Jarvis. Repetto or his colleagues. No other. "It is too long since we met. than Mr. The exchange of ideas wa s somewhat one-sided. though Mr." "Aw chee!" said Mr. Comrade Jar vis. He has. Comrad e Jarvis. that is to say. For half an hour after the departure of the Three Pointers Psmith chatted amiabl y to his two assistants on matters of general interest. reaching for his revolver. It was not Mr. and any one dat starts anyt'ing wit dis gent is going to have to git busy wit me. Comrade Ja rvis I think you know. you are break . th e shiny shoes. and had departed. C ome in. "If dat's dose stiffs come back--" began Mr. to prompt him to knock on doors. m outhing declarations of war. wrathful. "Stay your hand. It was plain that he had not expe cted to find Psmith entertaining such company. As on his previous visit. But for you I do not care to think with what a splash I might not have been immersed in the gumbo." inquired Psmith. but another old frien d. At the end of this period the conversation was once more interrupted by the soun d of movements in the outer office. he who had come as an embassy fro m the man up top in the very beginning of affairs. Jarvis had one or two striking items of informa tion to impart. Dat's right." said Psmith. he wore the dude suit. Comrade Jarvis. "for your courtly assistance." he said. notably some hints on the treatment of fits in kittens." Mr." said Mr. "I am very much obliged. Comrade Otto. handsomely dismissing the matter. I fancy. "Welcome." The door opened. " or was there. he can try.
"I'll beat it. when the door had closed. Psmith eyed him benevolently. As reluctantly as I hint that I would be a lone. Comrade Parker." said Mr. are you not to a certain extent am ong the Blenheim Oranges? I think so. "'Aha!' Meaning th at I propose to keep that information to myself." he said. Parker was silent for a moment. I think so. Comrade Parker. touching your business?" Mr. good-bye. "but it seems to me that the chances of my getting hurt are not so great as you appear to imagine. "aren't you going to be good? Say. as Comrade Parker wishes to talk over some privat e business--" Bat Jarvis rose." observed Mr." he said at last. Parker shrugged his shoulders. In his hand was a scrap of paper. Jarvis. "And now. 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. "You know your own business. Comrade Jarvis. And many thanks for your invaluable co-operation. Comrade Jarvis. Now that Cosy Moments has our excellent friend Comrade Jarvis on its side. "I may be wrong. "Reluctantly. Well. Meanwhile." Psmith nodded. I am as a tortoiseshell kitten to him. "See here. "Excellent. "If you will pardon the expression." he said. I guess. . "You are absolutely correct. A small boy entered. I hope." "Where is it?" demanded Mr." Mr." "Aw chee!" said Mr. Comrade Parker. Parker quickly. "let her rip." As he spoke there was a rap at the door. Comrade Parker. I do." said Psmith. Parker." he said. I think I shall be f orced to postpone our very entertaining discussion of fits in kittens till a mor e opportune moment. If I might drop in some time at your private residence?" "Sure. "The phrase exactly expresses it. 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. Comrade Parker. "Guy asks me give dis to gazebo named Smiff" he said. for the present. What can I do for you?" "You seem to be all to the merry with Bat Jarvis. But.ing up a most interesting little symposium. Jarvis warmly.
He had taken his seat and was closing the door. Parker. A feeling of regret for the futility of the thing was Psmith's first emotion. "Turn and go on down the street." "Good. By the side of the pavement a few yards down the road a taximeter-ca b was standing. "You think so?" said Mr. But don't move. Expl ain when I see you. Parker. leaning back with the pistol resting easil y on his knee. as Artemus Ward was wont to observe. Parker smoothly." So Billy Windsor had fulfilled his promise. 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." "You think of everything. Put that hand back where it was." it ran." he said. Possibly the missive is for me." He took the paper. "Now what?" said Mr. my lad. Parker. "Come here as quick as you can. Parker was still beside him. I should be delighted to sit chatting with you. "I regret to state that this office is now closing fo r the day. Comrade Parker. "Dear Smith. "I am convinced of it. and bring some money. W. Psmith thoughtful and hardly realising the other' s presence. He turned to Mr." . It occurred to Psmith that it would not do to l et him hear the address Billy Windsor had given in his note. Psmith hailed it." said Psmith thoughtfully." It was signed "W. when it was snatched from his gr asp and Mr." said Mr. Bi lly could be of no possible help in the campaign at its present point. It was dated from an address on the East Side. For the first time since his connection with Cosy Moments began Psmith was really disturbed. Mr. He had escaped." he said to the driver. "Comrade Parker. As it i s--" "Very well. One of whom I am which."There are many gazebos of that name. Comrade Parker. All the w ork that remained to be done could easily be carried through without his assista nce. "Then you mean to go on with this business?" "Though it snows. CHAPTER XXVI A FRIEND IN NEED "The point is well taken. Parker darted on to the seat opposite. But for this." They went out into the street. And by breaking out from the Island he had committed an offence which was b ound to carry with it serious penalties.
" "I guess I see the end of this all right. Carried away by my love of nature. I will kidnap Psmith! 'and all your friends said. 'She loves me not." "It had better not. the People's Pet. Comrade Parker. never to embark on any enterprise of which you do not see the end. Parker unpleasantly. the Park! How fresh the leaves. Comrade Parker. and remained silent for a few moments. "Did you ever stop at the Plaza. 'Comrade Parker is no t such a fool as he looks. You would be headed off and stopped. I'll blow a hole through you. The t axi-cab was buzzing along up Fifth Avenue now. I fear you have n ot thought this matter out with sufficient care. Your skin. I seem to see them meditatively plucking you limb from limb. Looking towards the window. "That. Parker shortly.He dropped his hand on to the seat." "You did. It shall not occur again . "I told you to keep that hand where it was." said Psmith handsomely. the momentary pleasure of potting me. You would no mor e shoot me in the heart of the metropolis than. I forgot." He raised his hand to point. now that I have got him?'" "You think so." said Mr. is doubtless precious to yourself. you did. "If it does. Ha! What is this? Psmith. The fault." Psmith raised his eyebrows. Why be brusque on so joyous an occasion? Bett er men than us have stopped at the Plaza. while it is true that I can't get out. That is how it would be. Let this be a lesson to you. Comrade Parker. however unhealthy to the eye of the casual o bserver. And what would you hav e left out of it? Merely. Your face is contorted with the anguish of mental stress. Comrade Parker." "You have the advantage of me then. as I say. I trust you would wear a made-up tie with evening dress. m aking an unwelcome crease in that immaculate garment. "was enti rely mine." said Mr. Co mrade Parker.' Think for a moment what would happen. Comrade Parker. The cry goes round criminal circles in New York. "Don't bite at me. It seems to me that we have nothing before us but to go on riding about New York till you feel that my socie . "is where you make your error. A nybody could hit a man with a pistol at an inch and a quarter. Comrade Parker. Comrade Parker?" "No. You said to you rself. The shot would ring out. Psmit h saw that they were nearing the park. And it isn't as if such a feat could give you the thrill of successful marksmanship. 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. how green the herbage! Fling your eye at yonder grassy knoll.' A leg joins the lit tle heap of limbs on the ground. The great white mass of the Plaza Hotel s howed up on the left. and instantly bicycle-policemen would be pursuing this taxi-cab with the purposeful speed of greyhounds trying to win the Waterloo Cup. weltering in his gore? Death to the assassin! I fear nothing could save you from the fury of the mob. Instantly the revolver was against his waistcoat. 'Happy thought. Ah. you are moaning. 'Parker is the man with the big brain!' But now. 'She loves me!' Off comes an arm. 'What on earth shall I do with him. do you?" "I am convinced of it." he said. Comrade Parker.
" "Ah! And what is it?" "You seem to think New York's the only place on the map." "Then. a glimpse of the ri ver could be seen. "I understand. Say no more. Are you good at riddles. Comrade Parker. Psmith resumed the conversation. so let us give ourselves up to the merriment of the passing instant." "Meaning what. we aren't due to stay in the city. Have you detected one?" "I guess so. through a break in the line of buildings." said Psmith heartily. "till that moment arrives what we must do is to en tertain each other with conversation. Comrade Parker?" "It might be a fool trick to shoot you in the city as you say." said Psmith. assuming for purposes of argument that it was in the power of a wood-chuck to chuck wood?" Mr. A passion for the flora and fauna of our forests is innate rather than acquired. This cab is moving on. past rows on rows of high houses.ty begins to pall. Tell me about your home-life. which was hanging limply at his side. Parker said nothing. Comrade Parker? Well. 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. you see. Occasiona lly. You can take no step of any sort for a ful l half-hour. I guess. 'Fahzer's come home'?" Mr. "I see. Then you propose to make quite a little tour in this cab?" "You've got it. Parker did not attempt to solve this problem." "You figure you're clever. You are un . Let us talk of something else. all looking exactly the same." said Psmith with ready sympathy. the revolver resting on his knee. well. Comrade Parker? How much wood would a wood-chuck chuck." "That's it. many people are not. to the right." "Like John Brown's soul. eh?" "There may be a flaw in my reasoning. "You are not interested in wood-chucks. nodding. but. things m ay begin to move. Comrade P arker. where there are no witnesses. "I see. He was sitting in the same att itude of watchfulness." "And when we are out in the open country. It was from this qu arter that he seemed to expect attack. but I confess I do not at the moment see w here it lies. possibly more." "There are few brighter brains in this city. The cab was bowling easily up the broad s treet. But why this sudden tribute?" "You reckon you've thought it all out. He seemed mistrustful o f Psmith's right hand.
and stated that he had escaped from Blackwell's Island. "What are you going to do with me. Would you mind telling me .. but his right hand. She wouldn't have you." Mr. thus it is! We lo ok around us. It was necessary for him to think. The muzzle. Parker." said Mr. Walking is far healthier. If it had been poi nted at his head in the orthodox way he might have risked a sudden blow to knock it aside. There was little chan ce of its being effective. Mr. but in the present circumstances that would be useless. Comrade Parker?" he asked. At any moment the climax of the drama might be reached. Psmith's muscles stiffened for a spring. . Psmith relapsed into silence. but at least it would be better to put up some kind o f a fight. He drew back quickly. "You may remember that he advised Doctor Watson never to take the first cab. Another moment and Mr. He should have gone further. Parker's chin would be in just the r ight position for a swift upper-cut. The hand that held the revolver never wavered. was aimed at Psmith's waist. There was no doubt that a move on his part would be fatal. Psmith's eye turned again to the window. Now they had reached the open country. "let us turn to another point. That was certain. or the second. He had been talking in the hope of getting t he other off his guard. Psmith's hand resumed its normal attitude. Comrade Parker! However." "You'll find it so. They were off Manhattan Is land now. That note which the grubby stripling brought to me at the office purported to come fr om Comrade Windsor. it must hit him. "Sherlock Holmes was right. and what do we see? A solid phalanx of the girls we have loved and lost. The cab moved swiftly on. If the pistol went off. Parker nodded. and in an unguarded moment I may h ave assumed too much. and the houses were beginning to thin out. but Mr. They had cove red much ground since last he had looked at the view. Parker was evidently too keenly on the look-out. An occasional w ooden shack was passed. and half raised the revolver. Was it your face or your manners at wh ich she drew the line?" Mr. But quic kness might save him to some extent. Soon. if that note was genuine? I have never made a close study of Comrade Windsor's handwriting." said Psmith. but that was all. "The note was a fake all righ t. Parker permitted himself a smile. and was awaiting my arrival at some address in the Bowery." he said. and urged him not to take cabs at all. Tell me about her. "Leaving more painful topics. He was bound to be hit somewhere. pointing in an upwar d direction." "And you had this cab waiting for me on the chance?" Mr. they must come into the open country. And he had a faint hope that the suddenness of his movement might ups et the other's aim. purely to satisfy my curiosity.. Parker did not reply. closed. Psmith eyed him curiously. as it hung. Comrade Parker. This fact appeared suddenly to dawn on Mr.married. Parker leaned forward with a scowl. There was not hing to do but wait. "I guess you aren't so clever after all." said Psmith regretfully. Psmith did not move. Parker himself. Alas. travelling at their p resent rate.
They heard him fumbling in the t ool-box. All three concentrated their gaze on the machine "Kid's right. "Wonder how he did that. "Did you run over a nail?" the Kid inquired of the chauffeur. "Seems to me the tyre's punctured. They observed the perspiring chauffeur in silence for a while. "Surest thing you know. sure. but just then the smooth speed of the cab changed to a series of jarring bumps." said thick-neck number two. deterred him not at all. In another moment he would have s prung. as he had stated to Psmith at their last interview that he intended to do. Presently the body of the machine was raised slightly as he got to work with the jack. however alluring. "Guy's been an' bust a tyre. now?" speculated the Kid. "Guy ran over a nail." said thick-neck number one. and continued on his way without a pause. then came to a halt. was a most useful fellow to have by one. But now. CHAPTER XXVII PSMITH CONCLUDES HIS RIDE The Kid." said the Kid. It was the voice of Kid Brady. It was about a minute later that somebody in the road outside spoke. and the Kid and his attendant thick-necks were content t o watch the process of mending the tyre." "Surest thing you know." said the first of the thick-necks. while perhaps somewhat lacking in the matter of original thought. at White Plains. "Surest thing you know. who seemed to be a taciturn man." said the other. each more emphatic than the last. he would have averted his eyes from the spectacle. I guess. One cannot have ev erything in this world. who. It slowed down. On e of the tyres had burst. "Had a breakdown?" inquired the voice. Psmith recognised it. "Guy's had a breakdown. manifestly objected to an audience. that he had come upon the b roken-down taxi-cab. as he had not yet settled down to genuine hard work. It was his practice to open a course of training with a little gentle road-work.He braced his leg against the back of the cab. without demanding the additional joy of sparkling small-talk from the man in charge of the operations. and it was while jogging along the highway a couple of miles from his training-camp. ." agreed his colleague. If this had happened after his training had begun in real earnest. There was a thud. in company with the two thicknecked gentlemen who acted as his sparring-partners. had begun his training for his match with Eddie Wood." said thick-neck number one. The fact that th e chauffeur. as the chauffeur jumped down. he felt justified in turning aside and looking into the matter. A sort of Boswell. lacking the conversational graces. a vil lage distant but a few miles from New York.
His head jerked back." "What's doin'. shouldn't wonder. and gave it a sharp wrench. His left hand shot out. I will tell you all anon. I fancy. that eminent tactician. "I'm goin' to rubber in at the window. The effect was instantaneous. Comrade Brady. Psmith had risen from his seat as he delivered the blow. for the first time lost his head . He's a bad person. Parker. and it consequently got the full benefit of his weight." Psmith." said the Kid. however. took Mr. The revolver went o ff with a deafening report. Smith?" queried the excited Kid. There was no answering smil e on the other's face. smiled pleasantly. in the interior of the cab." "Some guy tells him to drive him out here. and was hoping y ou might look in for a chat. Outside. It was the very chance Psmith had been waiting for. wonder what he's doin' with a taxi so far out of the city. much. glanced at Mr. the bullet passing through the back of the cab. darting upwards. "Say. Comrade Brady!" said Psmith genially. Parker dug viciously at him with the revolver. Parker." surmised the Kid. With a vague idea of screening Psmith from the eyes of the man in the road he half rose." Psmith." "De guy's beat it." Psmith suspended his remarks." said the other. then fell to the floor. Mr. "Surest thing you know." he whispered. Mr. The interested face of the Kid appeared at the window. "or you'll get hurt. He would have slipped to the floor had not Psmith pushed him on to th e seat." volunteered the first thick-neck." "Deaf. following up his companion's train of th ought. grasped the other's wrist. then fell limply on his chest. Parker's eye. "Pretty rich guy inside. For an instant the muzzle of the pistol ceased to point at Psmith's w aistcoat. Comrade Parker? He is right. Behind him could be seen portions of the faces of the two thick-necks. Parker neatly under the angle of the jaw. the conversation had begun again. "I heard your voice. He'll have to strip off a few from his roll to pay for this. I guess. kindly knock that chauffeur down and sit on his head. as the fingers lost their hold. Meanwhile. . "You heard. Say. it'll cost him somethin g." said the first thick-neck with satire. Parker literally crumpled up. too. "This is his busy day. which was not sma ll. "Keep quiet. The bill--" Mr. There came the sound of the Kid's feet grating on the road as he turned. and as he heard it Mr. "Ah. "Much.The chauffeur ignored the question. meeting Mr. The next moment Psmith's rig ht fist. "Guy's too full o f work to talk to us.
must be supporting life on bread. Billy. A bit of walking will do me good. I propose that we leave him where he is. during these lean days." he said." He groped on the floor of the cab fo r the revolver. Psmith uttered a cry of welcome.. however. Psmith. was somewhat saddened by the thought.. Psmith inspected the stricken one gravely. Smith?" asked the Kid. No sounds broke the peace of the outer office ex cept the whistling of Master Maloney. He was fairly satisfied that the opposition had fired their la st shot. took up his position in the inner room. It was late in the evening when Psmith returned to the metropolis. "I have no use for him. They c ould not hope to catch him off his guard a second time." "What are you going to do with this guy.." he said. but none arrived. straightening himself up. bean soup. offered once more to abandon his match with Eddie Wood. No hooligan. . H e had seen Mr William Collier in The Man from Mexico. "Riding in a taxi is pleasant provided it is not overdone. We may as well take the gun. and water. 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. toying with the hors d'oeuvre. Comrade Brady. stepping into the road. Psmith dined alone. causing inconvenience to all." said a moody voice. Mr. Comrade Brady. after a pleas ant afternoon at the Brady training-camp. Comrade Brady. now that Bat Jarvis had declared himself on his side. as he would have been in the middle of a dese rt. pointing to Parker. Psmith took down the recei ver. In my opinion. Shall we be pushing on?" . and that their next move would be to endeavour to come to terms. he was as safe in New York. as far as hired ass ault and battery were concerned. Bat Jarvis.. and. The only flaw in Psmith's contentment was the absence of Billy Windsor. Smith?" asked the Kid. He is too prone to go firing it off in any direction at a mome nt's notice. "I am a t your disposal. What Bat said was law on the East Side. prepared to repel all invaders. . Comrade Parker is not the proper man to ha ve such a weapon. but Psmith woul d not hear of it. 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. who had begun to stir slightly. "Hullo?" he said. Things were almost dull when the telephone bell rang. would dare to act against a protege of the Groome Street leader. however eager to make m oney. The Kid. Mr. "I'm Parker. All was quiet at the office on the following day. "Our ride together gave me as m uch of his society as I desire for to-day. "I'll tell you about it as we go. and that had given him an understanding of what a term of imprisonment on Blackwell's Island meant."What's been doin'." said Psmith. having heard the details of t he ride. "Now. again accompanied by the faithful Otto. For the moment I have had sufficient. Unless you or either of your friends are collecting Parkers.
" and it was signed "Wilb erfloss. CHAPTER XXVIII . "Then I do not see how we can meet. His office is in the Morton Building." said Pugsy. Look in when you're this way." "I am sorry. "I shall be here. Otherwise." Psmith clicked his tongue regretfully. Nassau Street."Why." Psmith ripped open the envelope. Parker made no reply to the invitation. preparing the next number." "See who's here!" said Psmith softly. "Mr. Comrade Maloney?" "Telegram. Comrade Parker. perh aps you might mention it. he was aware of Master Maloney standing beside the table. Waring that you refuse?" "If you are seeing him at any time and feel at a loss for something to say. "Yes. Stewart Waring. Windsor. this is splendid! How goes it? Did you get back all right yesterday? I was sorry to have to tear myself away. "Well. but I had other engagements. Is there anything else I can do for you. as you m ay know. The message ran: "Returning to-day. Will be at office to-morrow morning." said Psmith. Waring would like to see you. Hire a taxi-cab and come right round." "Who. As he did so. It is impossible. "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. But why use the telephone? Why not come here in person? You know how welcome yo u are. "For Mr." he said. I should be delighted." "The celebrated tenement house-owner?" Silence from the other end of the wire." Mr." "He wishes to see you at his office. Perhap s later. Comrade Parker?" "Mr." "Am I to tell Mr. when the rush of work has diminished somewhat." He hung up the receiver. Comrade Parker. I am very busy just now. the one in which we publish the name of the owner of the Pleasant Street Tenements. Comrade Parke r?" "See here--" "Nothing? Then good-bye.
Jarvis was slightly apologetic. "T'ought I'd bring de kits along. "Why we have all met before. Jarvis's kn ees. Henderson Asher . of course. and scratched one of the cats un der the ear. "My name is Wilberfloss. Bat breathed a tune. Ten minutes had barely elapsed when the yellow dog. however. I say no more. smoke d a long cigar in silence. as usual. "Will you be so good as to tell me where Mr. "They add a pleasantly cosy and domestic t ouch to the scene. let me introduce two important me . who. "First. He ha d a peeled nose and showed other evidences of having been living in the open air . and Long Otto. It was a soothing scene. Windsor is?" A murmur of approval from his followers." he said. If you will undertake to look after the refereeing of any pogrom that may arise. And Comrade Philpotts! Am I wrong in saying that this is the maddest. Jarvis's statement as to the friendly relations between the animals proved t o be correct. 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. too!" cried Psmith. surveying the ceiling with his customary glassy stare. I have been wo ndering for weeks where you could have got to. "this is indeed a Moment of Mirth. Well. The next moment the door burst open and a little man dashed in. Dey knows him. "Dey started in scrappin' yesterday when I was here. and an era of peace set in. and that Long Otto ." said the other with austerity. one on each of Mr. "In one moment. Comrade Asher. merriest day of all the glad New Year?" The rest of the crowd had entered the room. dey won't scrap wit de dawg. Behind him was a crowd of uncertain numbers." "Oh.STANDING ROOM ONLY In the light of subsequent events it was perhaps the least bit unfortunate that Mr." "But is he aware of that? He looks to me a somewhat impulsive animal. The only possible criticism I can find to make has to do with their probable brawling with the dog." he said. Psmith recognised the leaders of this crowd. accompanied him. it was unfortunate. But it did not last. Except--" He glanced inquiringly at the little man with the peeled nose. The cats had settled themselves comfortably. They were the Reverend Edwin T. "Why. sitting up with a start. "Comrade Waterman. Still." he said. Mr. Philpotts and Mr. They could not know that before the morning was over space in the office would be at a premium. Comrade Jarvis. After an inquisiti ve journey round the room he lay down and went to sleep." said Psmith. uttered a whine. B. "Assuredly." Psmith inspected the menagerie without resentment. The dog made no attempt to annihilate the cats. the matter's in your hands. should have been fired by his example to the e xtent of introducing a large and rather boisterous yellow dog. so to-day I says I'll keep my eye on dem. well . In the outer office could be heard a stir and movement." Mr. They were not to be blamed.
This. "Who am I?" repeated Psmith in an astonished tone. however. however." "These gentlemen tell me you're acting editor. "I never heard of such a thing. You may say. Like the tomb." said the big-brained one. Mr. Long Otto. that Comrade Windsor appointed me. Mr." he asked." said Psmith in an aside to Bat. He tapped Mr. A faint.mbers of our staff. "Who are you?" he demanded. Both of Groome Street. Bat Jarvis. and stumbled over a cat. On your right. Wilberfloss in friendly fashion on the chest. Jarvis. "It is rather a nice point." Mr. which began barking. Mr." "Honest?" said Mr. a process which i t kept up almost without a pause during the rest of the interview. On your left." "Ah! And where is Mr. "It might be claimed that I appointed myse lf. Wilberfloss looked at Mr. is silent." said Mr. falling into error." The two Bowery boys rose awkwardly. Windsor?" "In prison. big-brained though he i s. psalm." he said. "Mr. "did youse ever have a cat wit one blue and one yellow e ye?" Mr. Wilberfloss. "Say. Windsor immediately. Wilberfloss side-stepped and turned once more to Psmith. "In prison!" Psmith nodded. Long Otto. Waterman started. who was offering B. "There is a preliminary P before the name. The cats fell in an avalanche to the floor." said the old Etonian reverently. "Do you remember. sad smile played across Psmith's face. Such is the generous impulsiveness of Comrade Windsor's nature that he hit a policeman. Henderson Asher a cigarette. "It is too true. and is now serving a sentence of thirty days on Blackwell's Island. Wilberfloss. Wilberfloss. trod on the dog. Mr . Compare such words as ptarmi gan. "is widely known as a cat fan cier in Brooklyn circles. ." said Psmith sorrowfully. and phthisis. was promptly gathered in. "Who are you?" "I am Psmith." "I shall dismiss Mr. Who appointed you?" Psmith reflected. 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. Asher looked at Mr. in his haste. Philpotts.
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. is Mr. "Who's de little guy wit de p eeled breezer. They could hear it being ejected from the outer office by Master Maloney." roared Mr. "On the contrary. I--" "I assure you it was a pure accident. "I insist that you give me a full explan ation of this matter. Bean soup and bread. justly incensed. but renders conversation difficult." he said. "goes and treads on de k it. gentlemen." He opened the door." rejoined Bat. Comrade Jarvis. "You were saying. and not much of eit her. Smith?" he inquired. When there was silence. absent on unavoidable business." Long Otto raised a massive boot and aimed it at the animal. that i n my absence the paper has been ruined. Mr. getting into communication with Mr. and. I go away by my doctor's orders for ten weeks." said Psmith. Wilberfloss. Bat Jarvis and Long Otto. I th ought I had introduced you. Jarvis and Mr. These. eyeing Bat and the silent Otto with disgust. Wilberfloss. "Poisson yourself. vice Kid Brady. which. Smith?" Psmith waved his hands. The animal--" Mr. who had backed away and seemed nervous. Mr. between whom bad blood seemed to have arisen. Waterman. and you will see t hat the circulation has gone up every week." "Ruined?" said Psmith. Mr. "let us not descend to mere personalities. what do I find? Why. Examine the returns." He broke off. "I am sure you will earn his gratitude i f you do. "What is the trouble. "I demand an explanation. I return yesterday. the editor of this journal. Cosy Moments was never so prosperous and flourishing. Comrade Otto. holding a cat in his arms. Comrade Wilberfloss--Zam-buk would put your nose right in a day--are. Windsor to conduct the paper on certain well-defined lines. They live on bean soup there. cannoned against the second cat and had its nose scratched. Philpotts I have been going carefully over t he numbers which have been issued since my departure--" . Comrade Wilberfloss?" "Who is this person Brady? With Mr. was glo wering at Mr. our acting fighting-edito rs." "Kid Brady !" shrilled Mr. dodging with a yelp. respectively. Psmith turned courteousl y to the editor. leaving Mr. "Gentlemen."From Blackwell's Island?" said Psmith. Wilberfloss above the din. intervened. Wilberfloss. Philpotts." said Bat querulously. Waterman. "it would make things a little easier if y ou removed that dog. Comrade Jarvis?" "Dat guy dere wit two left feet. Piercing shr ieks cleft the air. Comrade Otto. The dog shot out. Jarvis. to turn his attention to Mr. This. "Who are these persons. "I think.
Wilberfloss. Referee says. and then---!'" "Bah!" exclaimed Mr. "Fight on. We adopted Comrade Brady." "--together with a page of disgusting autobiographical matter." he wen t on warmly. just place the tips of the fingers of your left hand on the right side of his chest." "Cosy Moments." he says. "there is stuff in these reminiscences which would stir the blood o f a jelly-fish. " He picked up the current number of Cosy Moments." said Mr. "now I'll knock you up into the gallery." murmured Psmith. a nd you upper-cut him with your right. "It's to de good. 'Joe comes up for the second round and he gives me a nasty look. 'A bul ly good way of putting a guy out of business is this. You know a good thing when you see one. 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." Joe gives me another nasty look. There isn't a guy living that could stand up again st that." Psmith held up his hand. had barred him almost completely from the second pastime. You don't want to use it i n the ring." And with that he cuts lo ose with a right swing. Try it on your parishioners. 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 ." "I falls fer de Kid every time." he said. boss. one of the most f irmly established critics east of Fifth Avenue. "We court criticism. until we took him up. "Assuredly." "Low prize-fighters! Comrade Wilberfloss. Our editorial heart was melted. "Describing a certain ten-round unpleasantness with one Mexican Joe. but this is mere abuse. because by Queensberry Rules it's a foul. but I falls into the clinch. I bet you never kne w that before. He hollers foul. Wilberfloss irately. You do not seem to appreciate th e philanthropic motives of the paper in adopting Comrade Brady's cause. to love his mother and to knock the heads off other youths whose weight coincided with his own. Think of it." assented Mr. Then bring dow n the heel of your left hand. Comrade Jarvis. "All right. but helpful as well. "I protest." "There!" said Psmith triumphantly. Let me see."An intellectual treat. dat stuff.' Now. "Go on. Comrade Philpotts. "You heard? Comrade Jarvis. Comrade Wilberfloss. and turned to the Kid's page. Jarvis approvingly. There was that unfortunate stripling with only two ple asures in life. is not bright and interesting. stamps Kid Brady's reminiscences with the hall-mark of his approval. "--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. and out he goes. The fingers give you a leverage to beat the band. Let me quote you another passage to show that they are not only enthralling. "This. for instance. Jarvis. The Kid is as decent a little chap as you'd meet anywhere. you have been misinformed. and misfortune. K id. "is no medium for exploiting low p rize-fighters. While he's setting himself for a punch. but I thi nks of my mother and swats him one in the lower ribs." he said. The guy doubles up. I appeal to t hese gentlemen to say whether this. I have it. where is it? Ah. It's this way." urged Mr. Why. but nix o n that.
hopping to avoid a perambulating ca t. and inquire whether t hese alterations in the paper meet with his approval.eans that he gets a legitimate claim to meet Jimmy Garvin for the championship. "you imagine that I intend to take your word in this matter. The assembled ex-contributors backed up this statement with a united murmur. Comrade Wilberfloss. "I don't believe it." said Psmith. Wilberfloss uttered a cry of triumph. "I fear that the notion that this journal is ruined has be come an obsession with you. it is true. Cables are expensive. "It is disgraceful. I never hea rd of such a thing. so out of touch with our New York literary life. One would almost imagine that you fancied that Comrade White was the proprietor of this paper. I have every reason to belie ve in his complete sanity. You keep harping on Comrade White and his views and tastes. "Does he know how you have treated the paper?" "He is cognisant of our every move. Wilberfloss snorted." "You keep reverting to that statement. "Nothing will convince me of it." "The proprietor?" gasped Mr. "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. Benjamin White is not a maniac. Wilberfloss." "I trust not." said Mr. Comrade Wilberfloss." "If. and in these hard times a penny saved is a penny earned. Can nothing reassure you? The returns are excellent. Wilberfloss. Now. Comrade Wilberfloss. White to-day. Wilberfloss." he said. and you were driven into a corner. "Nevertheless. B." "It is not true." "Again!" said Psmith. Henderson Asher snorted satirically. I shall cable Mr. "I sincerely trust not." thundered Mr." Mr. you will admit that Mr. 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. Comrade Wilberfloss. "I think. The propriet or is more than satisfied. Prosperity beams on us like a sun. Why worry Comrade White? He is so far away." Mr. W hite has given no sanction for the alterations in the paper?" A puzzled look crept into Psmith's face." he said. perhaps." "I shouldn't." he said." "It is abominable. Wilberfloss." "And he approves?" "He more than approves." burst forth Mr. "They don't believe it. I knew you would give up when it came to the p oint. Mr." sighed Psmith. "I knew it. Once again I assure you that it is more than prosperous. "I knew it. The paper is ruined." . you are mistaken.
Wilberfloss in particular w as disturbed. Wilberfloss. Jarvis. if he isn't?" Psmith removed his monocle." Among his audience (still excepting Mr. was to sit back and watch the other fellows work. like manuscripts. not so much as a life-work as in t he light of an investment. The cry goes round New York. "Not so. He regarded It. Editorships of the kind which he aspired to are not easy to get. who. I assumed that Comrade White had his price. I had long been convinced that about the nearest approach to the perfect job in this world. about a month. Editors. I f he were to be removed from Cosy Moments he would find it hard to place himself anywhere else. where good jobs are so hard to acquire. and the Reverend Edwin Philpotts." said Psmith. WARING "You!" cried Mr. "I am. 'Comrade Wilberfloss is to the good.. CHAPTER XXIX THE KNOCK-OUT FOR MR." "Since when?" "Roughly speaking." he said. "Fancied that Mr.." said Psmith. "Am I going mad?" he demanded feebly. I deduced. "All is well. He does not gibber. once you had secured your paper. B. 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. Wilberfloss stared. who was tickling one of the cats and whistling a plaintive melody) there was a tendency toward awkward silence.?" repeated Mr. White. Waterman. Nothing could be more nicely attuned to the tastes of a Shropshire Psmi th.'" "Do I understand you to say that you own this paper?" "I do. and put it back in its pla ce. and was now entertaining the cats with a ball of p aper tied to a string. Henderson Asher stared. "You!" exclaimed Messrs." said Psmith encouragingly. Every one stared. had los t interest in the discussion. Jarvis. since the readings from the Kid's reminiscences had ceased. Comrade Wilberfloss. Wilberfloss groped for a chair and sat down. "I don't follow you. except Mr. was to o wn a paper. All you had to do. "Very early in my connection with this journal. are rejected from want of space. "On the spot!" said Psmith.Mr. polished it thoughtfully. 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. Mr. Asher. and from time to time forward big cheques to t he bank. "The same. and wrote . Mr. Wilberfloss. Who is. "I saw that I was on to a good thing.
If the rest of you would look in ab out this time to-morrow--Show Mr. Comrade Maloney." said the office-boy indifferently. Wilberfloss. ." He turned to the assembled company. Comrade Wilberfloss. you should be present. If I might drop in some afternoon and inspect the re mainder of your zoo--?" "Any time you're down Groome Street way. His face was clean-shaven and curiously expressionless. It was a wise thing to do. He cabled it to me." The door opened. but would y ou mind withdrawing in good order? A somewhat delicate and private interview is in the offing. "We are now. we will meet anon. He set his hat down on the table without speaking. "you know how I hate to have to send you away. There are some men who seem to fill any room in which they may be. Waring in. So we closed with Com rade White. He was tall and broad." "Sure. who was visiting Carlsbad at the moment. to ascertain what that p rice might be. It was reasonable. and Pugsy announced Mr. Glad." read Psmith. Comrade Wilberfloss. may be combined with being Lord Chancellor." he said. do you know what Mahomet di d when the mountain would not come to him?" "Search me." he said. "Comrade Maloney." He took a seat. The owner of the Pleasant Street Tenements was of what is usually called command ing presence. Psmith had risen to greet him. and Master Maloney entered with a card. Waring was one of these. My father has spent some time of late hurling me at various professions. would you mind remaining? As ed itor of this journal. Comrade Jarvis. ho wever. and--" There was a knock at the door. 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. "Mr. but I fancy we shall win through. As a general rule in life y ou can't beat it. Waring. who shrank a little beneath his gaze. "Gentlemen. Bushy eyebrows topped a pair of cold grey eyes. and I knew he would have no o bjection to my being a Napoleon of the Press on this side. 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 .to my father. Comrade Maloney. Paper-owning." said Pugsy. After which he looked at Mr. Comrade Maloney. Your services to the paper hav e been greatly appreciated. Now it so happens that an uncle of mine some years ago left me a considerable number of simoleons." he said. and w e had agreed some time ago that the Law was to be my long suit. Remember that. He walked into the room with the air of one who is not wont to apolog ise for existing. "at a crisis in the affairs of this journal. "Shall I send the guy in?" "Surest thing you know. Mr. "Guy's waiting outside. Stewart Waring." "I will make a point of it. and more than a little stout. "He went to the mountain.
then. like yourself. and it was a privilege t o hob-nob with him. inferior--words what Com rade Parker said to us. I fear I must remind you that this is one of our busy days. Waring again glanced at Mr. You may speak as freely befor e him as you would before well. You have Comrade Windsor in your mind. "I prefer to stand. I did not object to giving up valuable time to listen to Comrade Parker." Mr. "There was a time when that was the case. Waring wiped his forehead." "Not so. Psmith looked at him admiringly. Fillken Wilberfloss. causing Mr."Won't you sit down?" he said." said Psmith reassuringly." "The editor? I understood--" "I know what you would say. the editor of this journal. He is a fascinating conversationalist. Have you no new light to fling upon the subject?" Mr. you had bette r quit it. Waring brought his hand down with a bang on the table. But if you are merely intending to cover the ground covered by him." "Who are you." "Just as you wish." "I understood that a Mr. but it is apt to crumple up against strong defence. "What I have to say is private. Wilberfloss. The Waring type is dangerous when it is win ning. Are you s ure you won't sit down?" Mr. but not now. But now all is well: Comrade Wilbe rfloss is once more doing stunts at the old stand. "I tell you. "I'll sue you for libel. This is Liberty Hall. He was playing a lost game. That is Comrade J. if I may say so. White was the proprietor. and he was not the so rt of man who plays lost games well. "It is no stranger that you see before you. but it lacked the master-hand. Wilberflo ss to leap a clear two inches from his chair. It isn't healthy. He was merely acting as editor while the chief was away hunting sand-eels in the jungles of T exas. if this gentleman is the editor?" "I am the proprietor. 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." said Psmith. "All is well. His next words proved his demoralisation." he said. especially one who. is interested in politics and house-ownership rather than in literature. let us say Comrade Parker." Psmith shook his head. no mere irresponsible lounger who has butted in by chance. "What are you doing it for?" he demanded explosively." said he. . "You are merely stating in other--and.
thus suddenly pulled into the conversation. utterly ruined a pract ically new hat of mine." . I should simply droop and fade slowly away like a neglected lily. and it seems to me that it doesn't much matter who gets elected. "is the matter of the se tenements. 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 should try Blenkinsop's Balm for the Bilious. For pure richness and whi msical humour it stands alone. perhaps I might take a mo re fervid interest in the matter. The fight had gone out of him." resumed Psmith. Comrade Wilberfloss. The balance of your cheque. my view of the thing is this. I am merely stating my own individual opinion. And you wouldn't like that. The right plan woul d be to put the complete kybosh (if I may use the expression) on your chances of becoming an alderman. "It may possibly have escaped yo ur memory." he said." Mr. Three dollars are what I need for a new one. If I were a native of New York. the other candidates appear to be a pretty fair co ntingent of blighters." said Psmith. If I w ere to depart without bringing off improvements down Pleasant Street way. On the other hand. "I'll tell you. the five thousand. but a certain minion of yours. again leaped in his seat. Waring accepted the invitation he had refused before. He sat down. Wilberfloss. I propose to apply to making those tenements fit for a tolerably fastidious pig to live in. "The only thing that really interests me. "for you will never beat that. I have been studying the papers of lat e. If the People are chumps enough to elect you. It would have hit him right. Of course th e opposition papers may have allowed their zeal to run away with them. Waring half rose. and now you pr opose to sue us for libel! I wish Comrade Windsor could have heard you say that." he said. If you think that I can afford to come to New York and s catter hats about as if they were mere dross. "What are you going to do?" he said. I hope I don't hurt your feelings in any way. To be absolutely candid. it doesn't seem to me to make any very substantial difference w ho gets in. Waring made no remark."Say no more. "It's monstrous. "is to touch you for the good round sum of five thousand and three dollars. would you?" Mr. He is off his feed. Waring." Mr. Psmith leaned back in his chair. "I've thought the whole thing out.' But no balm would do me any good. but even assuming that to be the case. It was the white flag." "Five thousand!" cried Mr. Repetto. 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. but as I am merely passing through your beauti ful little city. you are making the culminating err or of a misspent life. I shou ldn't be able to enjoy my meals. then they deserve you. without waiting for an answer. "What I propose to do." continued Psmith." Mr. one J. "Five thousand dollars!" "Five thousand and three dollars. The startled cry would go round Cambridge: 'Som ething is the matter with Psmith.
with Comrade Wilberfloss's assistance. and fate cannot touch us. A very pleasant fellow. "Cheques. Who knows but what. intimated that he was. Waring. you might not have changed your mind?" "What guarantee have I. it will be the infants of New York and the ir parents receiving the news that Cosy Moments stands where it did. went round and hob-nobbed with the great man. then capitulated. and telling them to burnish their brains and be ready to wade in at a moment's notice. was lying on the sofa. If. 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. as far as our prison expert is concerned. The streets of Cambridge were a compound of m ud. He asks to re-engage Comrade Windsor's services at a pretty sizeable salary. But in Psmith's rooms the fire burned brightly. Psmith watched. and song. I see I may. I fear you will have a pretty tough job roping in the o ld subscribers again. "I will write you a note to that effect. and all. But I've read about dem.have. was joy. run like one down to Wall Street with this cheque. I propose. who had been playing football. you should hear a deafening squeal of joy ring through this city." Pugsy disappeared." said Psmith. the ke ttle droned. Comrade Maloney. Ar e you on?" Mr. in pyjamas and a college blazer. as the proprietor had just observed. producing one from a drawer." "I have no cheque-book with me. all may be said to be well. "have been known to be stopped. He has got where he wanted." said Psmith. appearing at the door."It isn't. May I count on your services. as he wrote . with an indulgent and fatherly eye. Psmith. "It's more or less of a minimum. Comrade Wilberfloss." Mr. so." said Psmith. I explained the painful circumstances. and. Waring hesitated for a moment. later. but it can be done. and pay it in to my ac count at the International Bank. Have you ever seen an untamed mustang of t he prairie?" "Nope. wriggling in his chair. . I look to you. "Finished?" he said." asked Mr. and melancholy." "-I. Comrade Wilberfloss? Excellent. jollity." "Youse hollering fer me?" asked that youth. "Bet your life I am. and the r est of the squad. Waterman. I have made inquiries. to restore Cosy Moments to its old style. mist. on r eflection. "that these attacks on me in your pap er will stop?" "If you like. "Comrade Maloney. Then perhaps you would not mind passing the word round among Comrades Asher. and let's all be jolly. So out with the good old cheque-book. Wilberfloss. was reclining in a comatose state in an arm-chair by the fire. But it will not be necessary." said Psmith. Mike. at about the beginning of next month." "Well. CONCLUSION IT was a drizzly November evening. "Cross out the name of my bank. substitute yours.
" Mike stirred sleepily in his chair. 'Psmith . He regards you as the World's Most Prominen t Citizen. "Say no more. "I take you. "That is excellent." said Mike. Let us say. and the cats. The Kid is now definitely ma tched against Comrade Garvin for the championship." said Mike. Comrade Wi ndsor also stated--as indeed did the sporting papers--that Comrade Brady put it all over friend Eddie Wood. as Comrade Maloney would put it. Yesterday night. You've really no notion what a feeling of quiet pride it gives you o wning a paper. You could not be better employed." He reached out for a cigarette. But what of it? Life must inevitably be dot ted with these minor tragedies. he has one consolation. I don't think you ever met him. comfortably. A line from you every now and then would sweeten the lad's existence. a proctor slid up. Comrade Jackson?" "Um-m. The whisper goes round. Hopping mad but a brief while ago. "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. but I presume such to have been the case. My authorities are silent as to whether or not the lethal blow was a half-scis sor hook. and I hope he wins through. Still. Comra de Jackson. So with the present moment. And while on that sub ject you will be glad to hear that the little sheet is going strong. Millionaires will stop at them instead of going to the Plaza. He appears to have gathered in the majority of the old subscribers again. Comrade Jackson?" "Ur-r. This peaceful scene. I do not repine. and our old pal Wilberfloss sharing the floor wit h B. Henderson Asher. Keep listening. Let us pass lightly on. I may be wrong. when the improvements are completed. Comrades B rady and Maloney on the table. "What?" he said drowsily. "These. What of my boyhood at Eton? Do I remember with the kee nest joy the brain-tourneys in the old form-room." said Psmith. Comrade Jackson. He owns wh at. I try not to show it." he said. clear-sighted citizens refused to vote for him to an extent that you could notice without a microscope. 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. was rejected by an intelligent electorat e. The man Wil berfloss is a marvel in his way. Those keen. is Comrade Brady. These are the real Cosy Moments. Bat Jarvis. "are the moments in life to which we look back wi th that wistful pleasure. they now eat out o f his hand." said Psmith dreamily. did you. 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. but it seems to me that all is singularly to de good. will remain with me when I have forgotten that such a person as Comr ade Repetto ever existed. will be the finest and most commodious tenement houses in New York. Advices from Comrade Windsor inform me that that prince of blighters. Are you asleep. I am filled with a strange content to-night. when I was looking down from th e peak without a cap and gown. Comrade Windsor in the chair over there. we must show h im round. but I seem to myself to be looking down on the world from some lofty peak. He is a stout fellow. To-day I had to dig down into my jeans for a matter of two plunks. Waring. and the bally rot which used t o take place on the Fourth of June? No. administering the sleep-producer in the eighth round . "Never mind. He will probably come to England later on."How pleasant it would be. By the way. and the experts seem to think that he should win. When he does.
Psmith sighed. But he did not repine. Five minutes later a slight snore came from the sofa. too. and wears a brave smile. The End . He bit the bullet. His eyes closed. The man behind Cosy M oments slept.' Comrade Jackson--" A snore came from the chair.bites the bullet.
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