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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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."

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

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

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

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

S till." "Who would doubt it. "what's it all about? Let's have it. the home of blunt speech."I am speaking in your best interests. H e was rapidly approaching the state of mind in which the men of the plains." he said." cried he. Comrade Parker. Mr. if you unburdened yourself as soon as convenient. "There are reasons why you should not. Parker's smooth face did not change its expression. 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. leaning forward. Never mind our bes t interests. "And there are reasons why we should. irrespective of the trend of his conversation." "Less powerful ones. If y ou've anything to say about those articles. Have you come to point ou t some flaw in those articles? Do they fall short in any way of your standard fo r such work?" Mr. say it right out. He offended Billy' s honest soul. It resembled more than anything else the preliminary sniffin g snarl a bull-dog emits before he joins battle. 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. "Do not let us be abrupt on this happy occasion. partly a growl. "See here." Billy Windsor suddenly became militant. Comrade Parker. It was partly a sno rt. where you looked your man in the eye and s aid it quick. "We do not completely gather your meaning. "The gentleman whom I represent--" "Then this is no matter of your own personal taste? You are an emissary?" . but he came to the point . Billy was of the plains. find ing speech unequal to the expression of their thoughts. and this is our busy day. reach for their guns. "I should not go on with them if I were you. Let's have what's worrying you. Psmith intervened. To me it is enough simply to si t and chat with Comrade Parker. Parker was too bland for human consumption. There was a feline smoothness about the visitor which had been jarring upon him ever since he first spoke. possibly it might be as well. Billy's cow-boy blood was up." There proceeded from Billy a noise not describable in words. as time is money. We can look after them. sir. Parker leaned forward. Parker." said Mr. I fear we must ask yo u to hand it to us with still more breezy frankness. "Why?" demanded Billy." Psmith waved a deprecating hand.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

a fighting-editor." Billy's voice grew indignant at the recollection. you see. and once they put up a bluff to get us wher e they could do us in." "Parker?" "That's what I'm coming to. "You gave him the hook." "It was about time some strong josher came and put it across to 'em. but what we want is some one to help in case they try to rush us there. Comrade Parker." said Billy." Psmith bowed. We offer you the job of sitting in the outer room and intercepting these privacy. I read 'em. they're tough proposition s. We can look after ourselves o ut of the office.n not. totally disagreed with us. Put me wise. but to get into his clothes at once bef ore he caught a chill." "Sure. "Gum! Mr. bade the company good night and retired. now announced that he guessed that would about do. Comrade Brady. "you know those articles about the tenements we've been having i n the paper?" "Sure. Mr. Kid?" said Billy. who during this conversation had been concentrating himself on his subject 's left leg." added the Kid. Comrade Brady. "You stimulate us. Sit down. "Kid. And you. however. I guess?" queried the interested Kid." Jack. This is praise from Sir Hubert Stanley." "It's this way." said Billy. So we've come along to you. Windsor. "that he left breathing threate nings and slaughter. "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. "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. Comrade Brady. "So we thought." "Can we have a couple of words with you alone. Windsor. They're to the good. "Say. gents. And it is for that reason that we have ventured to call upo n you. those gangs. "The day before yesterday a man named P arker called at the office and tried to buy us off. and having advis ed the Kid not to stop and pick daisies." "You don't say!" exclaimed the Kid." said Psmith. "We want to tal k over something with you." The Kid turned appealingly to Billy." said Psmith. Jack'll be through in a minute. Billy shut the door." "In brief." he said." "We've been followed in the streets. this gets past me. is compel therefore bravoes b . are such a man. "To such an extent.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

rising. He endeavoured to satisfy the latter first. Say. what's it all about? Who's got it in for us and why?" Mr. B. while the rest gets clean away with every copy of the paper there was in the cart. So was victory turned into defeat. when the narrative had come to an end. anyway. Just be en looking in on him. Wheeler was a man for whom in business hours nothing existed but his job. I'll do my best to get this paper distributed right and it's a shame if it ain't. because it's going big just now--but it's up to you. Mr. "As Comrade Wheeler remarks. "What's doing. And there was need of a square jaw and a battle-lit eye. Cop asks the Dago what's been doing. When the cop comes along. Rather fight he would t han see a ball-game. who first brought it to the notice of the editorial staff." He went out. Pat goes out with his cart. sure. Good day. Pat's a feller who likes to fight. Wheeler leaned back in his chair. He handled it as if it were so much soap. 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. the gaunt manager of the business side of the journal. If we get a few more carriers beat up the way Pat was. The scholarly writings of Mr. What do you propose to d . Wheele r came into the editorial room with information and desire for information. The most of them are Dagoes and such. It was Wheeler. He then proceeded to his information. "I don't know what it's all abo ut. Repetto humped himself. I ha'n't never read the thing. and they do n't want any more fight than they can get by beating their wives and kicking kid s off the sidewalk. "You know your business. "it is up to us. while Billy. Repetto to East Side Society. nothing in the world to fuss about. and his job was to look after the di stribution of the paper. and the Dago says he's only just come round the corner a nd ha'n't seen nothing of anybody." "What's been happening?" asked Billy with gleaming eyes. Psmith looked at Billy. gents. But this was too much for him. W ilberfloss. Wheeler listened absolutel y unmoved. Henderson Asher. That was his sole comment. A few days after the restoration of Mr. just like this it was. and. "It's up to you. The way things have been going last few days. there'll be a strike. Know what happened? Why. As to the contents of the paper he was absolutely ignor ant. He was a distributor. Passing through a lowdown street on his way up-town he's held up by a bunch of toughs. but he had never read a line of it. What I want to know is. though. see here. He had been with Cosy Moments from its start. seems it might be the organ of a blamed mining-camp what the boys have took a dislike to." he said. "Why. the tender ou tpourings of Louella Granville Waterman--all these were things outside his ken. Pat Harrigan's in the hospital now. his hair rumpled more than ev er and his eyes glowing. He shows fight . only our carriers can't go out without being beaten up by gangs of toughs. and he distributed. Mr. gave it as his opinion th at the editorial staff had sand. It's not as if they were all Irishmen. the mirth-provoking sallies of Mr. Half a dozen of them attend to him. some one had better get bus y right quick and do something to stop these guys rough-housing like this. anyway?" he asked. there's Pat i n pieces on the ground and nobody in sight but a Dago chewing gum." he said. explained the situation. Don't see what any one could have against a p aper with a name like Cosy Moments.Mr. and Billy's jaw became squarer and his eye mo re full of the light of battle than ever." he said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

knowing the importance of his own safety. I am sure. 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. As he did so. ready--even anxious--to pick us off as we climb through the trap. Are two mammoth minds such as ours unequal to such a feat? It can hardly be. It is an admirable process in its re sults. permits the opposing forces to hammer each other into a certain dista ste for battle. It was long. "It see ms to me the grand rescue scene in the third act has sprung a leak. its handle to my hand? It is! Comrade Wi ndsor. Psmith turned to him. 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. but it is sure rather than swift. rewarded at last for their long vigil. He walked towards Billy. Psmith and Billy rested it on the cop ing. and the Irishmen on the roof. "I've got it. The unthinking man would rush in and at tempt to crush the combat in its earliest and fiercest stages." he cried. "do nothing to apprise our friend Sam of these proceed . Billy got up and turned to him. and there was no likelihood o f Sam making another attempt to climb through. and so draw his fire? Comrade Gooch. "Surely we must win through now." Psmith shook his head. Sam was the subject of my late successful experime nt. His whole attitude was triumphant. He is now waiting below. and pushed it till the other end reached across the gulf to the roof of the house next door." he replied. He was tired of kneeling by the trap. Mr. The New York poli ceman. "Comrade Gooch. what with the shots and yells from the street and the ear-piercing approval of the roof-audience." he said. Comrade Windsor. and then. Psmith rose." The ladder was lying against the farther wall. armed with a pistol. His eyes were gleaming with excite ment. and fate cannot touch us. and the insignificance of the g angsman's. How would it be to drop Comrade Gooch through firs t. rushe s in himself and clubs everything in sight. Cosy Moments' editorial staff may be tree'd. Proceedings in the affair below had not yet reached the police interference stag e. This will wa nt thinking over." he murmured. Comrade Windsor. The noise. was just working up to a climax. All we have to do is to get off this roof." In the street the disturbance had now become terrific. Gooch eyeing them in silence the while. Let us ponder. In his hand he waved a strip of paper. more than long enoug h for the purpose for which it was needed. The behaviour of the New York policeman in affairs of this kind is based on prin ciples of the soundest practical wisdom. when I proved that coloured gentlemen's heads could be hurt with a stick. "Excellent. but it canno t be put out of business. Both sides were hard at i t." said Psmith. take the other end of that ladder and follow me. we win through. "All. "save Sam. when both sides have begun to have enough of it."There is certainly something in what the bright boy says." "Why not go down through the trap? They've all gone to the street.

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

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

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

"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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Once again I assure you that it is more than prosperous. The paper is ruined. Wilberfloss. and in these hard times a penny saved is a penny earned. You keep harping on Comrade White and his views and tastes. "I knew it. "I think. I shall cable Mr. and inquire whether t hese alterations in the paper meet with his approval." he said. it is true. "I sincerely trust not. White to-day. W hite has given no sanction for the alterations in the paper?" A puzzled look crept into Psmith's face. Prosperity beams on us like a sun." "If." he said. Wilberfloss snorted. Comrade Wilberfloss. "It is disgraceful. Mr. you are mistaken." "The proprietor?" gasped Mr. Now." said Psmith. "I knew it. Wilberfloss." "It is not true." burst forth Mr. The assembled ex-contributors backed up this statement with a united murmur." sighed Psmith. 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. "Nothing will convince me of it. Wilberfloss. Cables are expensive. hopping to avoid a perambulating ca t. so out of touch with our New York literary life. perhaps. Comrade Wilberfloss. Wilberfloss uttered a cry of triumph." "You keep reverting to that statement. I never hea rd of such a thing. One would almost imagine that you fancied that Comrade White was the proprietor of this paper. Henderson Asher snorted satirically." "It is abominable. "you imagine that I intend to take your word in this matter. B. you will admit that Mr." . I think it is practically a certa inty that he has not the slightest inkling of any changes in the paper. Why worry Comrade White? He is so far away. and you were driven into a corner." "And he approves?" "He more than approves." "I shouldn't." Mr. I have every reason to belie ve in his complete sanity. "I don't believe it. Benjamin White is not a maniac." Mr. Can nothing reassure you? The returns are excellent." "I trust not. "They don't believe it. "we are talking at cross-purposes." he said.eans that he gets a legitimate claim to meet Jimmy Garvin for the championship. Comrade Wilberfloss. The propriet or is more than satisfied. Comrade Wilberfloss. "Nevertheless. "Does he know how you have treated the paper?" "He is cognisant of our every move." "Again!" said Psmith." said Mr." thundered Mr. "I fear that the notion that this journal is ruined has be come an obsession with you. Wilberfloss. I knew you would give up when it came to the p oint.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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