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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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