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from those of London that a story of this kind calls for a little explanation. There are several million inh abitants of New York. Not all of them eke out a precarious livelihood by murderi ng one another, but there is a definite section of the population which murders-not casually, on the spur of the moment, but on definitely commercial lines at so many dollars per murder. The "gangs" of New York exist in fact. I have not in vented them. Most of the incidents in this story are based on actual happenings. The Rosenthal case, where four men, headed by a genial individual calling himse lf "Gyp the Blood" shot a fellow-citizen in cold blood in a spot as public and f ashionable as Piccadilly Circus and escaped in a motor-car, made such a stir a f ew years ago that the noise of it was heard all over the world and not, as is ge nerally the case with the doings of the gangs, in New York only. Rosenthal cases on a smaller and less sensational scale are frequent occurrences on Manhattan I sland. It was the prominence of the victim rather than the unusual nature of the occurrence that excited the New York press. Most gang victims get a quarter of a column in small type. P. G. WODEHOUSE New York, 1915 CHAPTER I "COSY MOMENTS" The man in the street would not have known it, but a great crisis was imminent i n New York journalism. Everything seemed much as usual in the city. The cars ran blithely on Broadway. Newsboys shouted "Wux-try!" into the ears of nervous pedestrians with their usua l Caruso-like vim. Society passed up and down Fifth Avenue in its automobiles, a nd was there a furrow of anxiety upon Society's brow? None. At a thousand street corners a thousand policemen preserved their air of massive superiority to the things of this world. Not one of them showed the least sign of perturbation. Nev ertheless, the crisis was at hand. Mr. J. Fillken Wilberfloss, editor-in-chief o f Cosy Moments, was about to leave his post and start on a ten weeks' holiday. In New York one may find every class of paper which the imagination can conceive . Every grade of society is catered for. If an Esquimau came to New York, the fi rst thing he would find on the bookstalls in all probability would be the Blubbe r Magazine, or some similar production written by Esquimaux for Esquimaux. Every body reads in New York, and reads all the time. The New Yorker peruses his favou rite paper while he is being jammed into a crowded compartment on the subway or leaping like an antelope into a moving Street car. There was thus a public for Cosy Moments. Cosy Moments, as its name (an inspirat ion of Mr. Wilberfloss's own) is designed to imply, is a journal for the home. I t is the sort of paper which the father of the family is expected to take home w ith him from his office and read aloud to the chicks before bed-time. It was fou nded by its proprietor, Mr. Benjamin White, as an antidote to yellow journalism. One is forced to admit that up to the present yellow journalism seems to be com peting against it with a certain measure of success. Headlines are still of as g enerous a size as heretofore, and there is no tendency on the part of editors to scamp the details of the last murder-case. Nevertheless, Cosy Moments thrives. It has its public.
Its contents are mildly interesting, if you like that sort of thing. There is a "Moments in the Nursery" page, conducted by Luella Granville Waterman, to which parents are invited to contribute the bright speeches of their offspring, and wh ich bristles with little stories about the nursery canary, by Jane (aged six), a nd other works of rising young authors. There is a "Moments of Meditation" page, conducted by the Reverend Edwin T. Philpotts; a "Moments Among the Masters" pag e, consisting of assorted chunks looted from the literature of the past, when fo reheads were bulgy and thoughts profound, by Mr. Wilberfloss himself; one or two other pages; a short story; answers to correspondents on domestic matters; and a "Moments of Mirth" page, conducted by an alleged humorist of the name of B. He nderson Asher, which is about the most painful production ever served up to a co nfiding public. The guiding spirit of Cosy Moments was Mr. Wilberfloss. Circumstances had left t he development of the paper mainly to him. For the past twelve months the propri etor had been away in Europe, taking the waters at Carlsbad, and the sole contro l of Cosy Moments had passed into the hands of Mr. Wilberfloss. Nor had he prove d unworthy of the trust or unequal to the duties. In that year Cosy Moments had reached the highest possible level of domesticity. Anything not calculated to ap peal to the home had been rigidly excluded. And as a result the circulation had increased steadily. Two extra pages had been added, "Moments Among the Shoppers" and "Moments with Society." And the advertisements had grown in volume. But the work had told upon the Editor. Work of that sort carries its penalties with it. Success means absorption, and absorption spells softening of the brain. Whether it was the strain of digging into the literature of the past every week, or the effort of reading B. Henderson Asher's "Moments of Mirth" is uncertain. At any rate, his duties, combined with the heat of a New York summer, had sapped Mr. Wilberfloss's health to such an extent that the doctor had ordered him ten weeks' complete rest in the mountains. This Mr. Wilberfloss could, perhaps, have endured, if this had been all. There are worse places than the mountains of Ame rica in which to spend ten weeks of the tail-end of summer, when the sun has cea sed to grill and the mosquitoes have relaxed their exertions. But it was not all . The doctor, a far-seeing man who went down to first causes, had absolutely dec lined to consent to Mr. Wilberfloss's suggestion that he should keep in touch wi th the paper during his vacation. He was adamant. He had seen copies of Cosy Mom ents once or twice, and he refused to permit a man in the editor's state of heal th to come in contact with Luella Granville Waterman's "Moments in the Nursery" and B. Henderson Asher's "Moments of Mirth." The medicine-man put his foot down firmly. "You must not see so much as the cover of the paper for ten weeks," he said. "An d I'm not so sure that it shouldn't be longer. You must forget that such a paper exists. You must dismiss the whole thing from your mind, live in the open, and develop a little flesh and muscle." To Mr. Wilberfloss the sentence was almost equivalent to penal servitude. It was with tears in his voice that he was giving his final instructions to his sub-ed itor, in whose charge the paper would be left during his absence. He had taken a long time doing this. For two days he had been fussing in and out of the office , to the discontent of its inmates, more especially Billy Windsor, the sub-edito r, who was now listening moodily to the last harangue of the series, with the ai r of one whose heart is not in the subject. Billy Windsor was a tall, wiry, loos e-jointed young man, with unkempt hair and the general demeanour of a caged eagl e. Looking at him, one could picture him astride of a bronco, rounding up cattle , or cooking his dinner at a camp-fire. Somehow he did not seem to fit into the Cosy Moments atmosphere. "Well, I think that that is all, Mr. Windsor," chirruped the editor. He was a li
ttle man with a long neck and large pince-nez, and he always chirruped. "You und erstand the general lines on which I think the paper should be conducted?" The s ub-editor nodded. Mr. Wilberfloss made him tired. Sometimes he made him more tir ed than at other times. At the present moment he filled him with an aching weari ness. The editor meant well, and was full of zeal, but he had a habit of coverin g and recovering the ground. He possessed the art of saying the same obvious thi ng in a number of different ways to a degree which is found usually only in poli ticians. If Mr. Wilberfloss had been a politician, he would have been one of tho se dealers in glittering generalities who used to be fashionable in American pol itics. "There is just one thing," he continued "Mrs. Julia Burdett Parslow is a little inclined--I may have mentioned this before--" "You did," said the sub-editor Mr. Wilberfloss chirruped on, unchecked. "A little inclined to be late with her 'Moments with Budding Girlhood' If this s hould happen while I am away, just write her a letter, quite a pleasant letter, you understand, pointing out the necessity of being in good time. The machinery of a weekly paper, of course, cannot run smoothly unless contributors are in goo d time with their copy. She is a very sensible woman, and she will understand, I am sure, if you point it out to her." The sub-editor nodded. "And there is just one other thing. I wish you would correct a slight tendency I have noticed lately in Mr. Asher to be just a trifle--well, not precisely risky , but perhaps a shade broad in his humour." "His what?" said Billy Windsor. "Mr. Asher is a very sensible man, and he will be the first to acknowledge that his sense of humour has led him just a little beyond the bounds. You understand? Well, that is all, I think. Now I must really be going, or I shall miss my trai n. Good-bye, Mr. Windsor." "Good-bye," said the sub-editor thankfully. At the door Mr. Wilberfloss paused with the air of an exile bidding farewell to his native land, sighed, and trotted out. Billy Windsor put his feet upon the table, and with a deep scowl resumed his tas k of reading the proofs of Luella Granville Waterman's "Moments in the Nursery." CHAPTER II BILLY WINDSOR Billy Windsor had started life twenty-five years before this story opens on his father's ranch in Wyoming. From there he had gone to a local paper of the type w hose Society column consists of such items as "Pawnee Jim Williams was to town y esterday with a bunch of other cheap skates. We take this opportunity of once mo re informing Jim that he is a liar and a skunk," and whose editor works with a r evolver on his desk and another in his hip-pocket. Graduating from this, he had proceeded to a reporter's post on a daily paper in a Kentucky town, where there were blood feuds and other Southern devices for preventing life from becoming du ll. All this time New York, the magnet, had been tugging at him. All reporters d ream of reaching New York. At last, after four years on the Kentucky paper, he h
' So wit da t he makes a break at swattin' me one. Billy had not inquired into the rights and wrongs of the matter: he had m ." he said. where there was something doing and a man would have a chance of showing what was in him. bearing a struggling cat. an' I swats de odder feller one. He was tough and ready for anything that might come his way." he said. His work had been confined to turning in reports of fires and small street accidents . the office-boy. but these things ar e a great deal a matter of luck. but I swats him one. The unfortunate thing. Its existence did not seem to occur to him. like most men of the plains." Master Maloney obediently dropped the cat. and had worked without much success as a free-lance. He appeared unconscious of the cat. was that Cosy Moments took up his time so comple tely. an' I gets de kitty. But it was regular. was endeavouring to sla y him.ad come East. there entere d Pugsy Maloney. Things had not come Billy Windsor's way. His alliance with Pugsy Maloney had begun on the occasion when he had rescued that youth from the clutches of a large negro. and was silent. combined the toughest of muscle with the softest of hearts. he says. Billy Windsor. "It's a kitty what I got in de street. minus the lobe of one ear and plus a long scar that ran diagonally across his left shoulder. "Don't hurt the poor brute. what have you got there?" Master Maloney eyed the cat.' G'wan! What do youse t' ink you're doin'. which sprang nimbly on to an upper sh elf of the book-case. fussin' de poor dumb animal?' An' one of de guys. Billy had been in a bad way when he had happened upon the sub-editorship of Cosy Moments. All of which may go to explain why his normal aspect was that of a caged eagle. "I wasn't hoitin' her. "Say!" said Pugsy. He had no chance of attracting the notice of big editors by his present wo rk. and the salary was infinitesi mal. 'I'm de guy what's goin' to swat youse one on de coco if youse don't quit fussin' de poor dumb animal. "Hello." And having finished this Homeric narrative. He was always ready at any moment to become the champion of the oppressed on the slightest provocation. Put her down. looking up. with a freckled. "Well?" said Billy. which the various papers to which he supplied them cut down to a couple of inc hes. mask-like face. An' I comes up an' says. He despised the work with all his heart. an' I brin gs her in here. an' den I swats dem bote some more. But he still dreamed of winning through to a post on one of the big New York dailies. cos I t'inks maybe youse'll look after her. as if he were seeing it for the first time. without emotion. probably from the soundest of motives. brooding over the outpourings of Luella Granville Waterman. and for a while Billy felt that a regular salary was th e greatest thing on earth. To him. however. He was a nonchalant youth. The cub-reporter cannot make a name for himself unless he is favoured by fortune. and he had no leisure for doing any other. who. "Dere was two fellers in de st reet sickin' a dawg on to her. the expression of wh ich never varied. Master Maloney fixed an expressionle ss eye on the ceiling. 'G' wan! Who do youse t'ink youse is?' An' I says.
and that if he wants it he'd better come round to my place. mounting a chair. and every one wit o ne of dem collars round deir neck. "You're a little sport. business being business." "What about her?" "Pipe de leather collar she's wearing. washing her face. but Pugsy. I guess she's one of Bat Jarvis's kitties." Billy had noticed earlier in the proceedings that a narrow leather collar encirc led the cat's neck. she suspended her operations and adjourned for refreshments. "Say!" he said. turned again to Luella Granville Waterman. carrying a five-cent bottle of milk. He strolled slowly out. though he had made no ver bal comment on the affair. The milk having been poured into the lid of a tobacco-tin. Here" --he produced a dollar-bill--"go out and get some milk for the poor brute. concentrated himself on the cat. the animal had vacated the book-shelf. while Billy Winds or." "Well." assented Master Maloney.erely sailed in and rescued the office-boy." said Master Maloney with pride. having no immedi ate duties on hand. He's got a lot of dem for fair. And Pugsy. He's a cousin of mine. Billy. "Is he?" said Billy. "Well?" "Dat kitty. in lieu of a saucer. "What about it?" he said." "Fancy you being a cousin of Bat's. He had not paid any particular attention to it. and dey all has dose collars. So you think th at's his cat?" "Sure. He's got twenty-t'ree of dem." "Who's Bat Jarvis? Do you mean the gang-leader?" "Sure. You know where I live?" "Sure. and was sitting on the table. He's me cousin. Pugsy. Pugsy!" he cried. She's probably starvi ng. "Nice sort of fellow to have in the family. "Bully for you. tell him I've got the cat. By the time that Pugsy returned." "Are you on speaking terms with the gentleman?" "Huh?" "Do you know Bat Jarvis to speak to?" "Sure. had shown in many ways that he was not ungrateful." "Sure thing. "Guess I know where dat kitty belongs. proceeded to chirrup and snap his fingers in the effort to establish the foundations of an entente cordiale with the rescued cat. Dey all have dose collars. Keep the change. Why did you never tell us? Are you go ing to join the gang some day?" .
and lit a cigarette. Nothin' doin'. No cow-boy has let off his revolver at random in Broadway. "Oh. Comrade Jackson. Well." said Mike. admirable to the apostle of social refor m. Comrade Jackson. "to run down the metropolis of a great and friendly nation. It was the end of their first year at Cambridge." said Psmith. and Mike.C. because if I'm interrupted any more I shan't get through to-night. I shall want one to carry this animal home in . self-respecting town." "Sure. all eager for a treat. And now. indeed? We find a town very like London. Psmith. who had played cricket in a rather desultory way at the Unive rsity. Report had it that an earnest seeker after amusement might have a tolerably spacious rag in this m odern Byzantium. The cabl es flash the message across the ocean. thoughtfully sipping his coffee. you tell him when you see him. I wished my visit to be a tonic rather than a sedative." "Sure." "Good for you. No negroes dance cake-walks in the street. had been one of the first to be invited to join the tour. I anticipated that on my return the cry would go round Cambridge. For he on honey-dew hath fed. I came over here principally. Comrade Jackson. but candour compels me to state that New York is in some respects a singularly blighted tow n." said Master Maloney. He is fu ll of oats. and I have not seen a single citizen clubbed by a policeman. it is true. He is hot stuff. out you get .. Psmith had accompanied him in a private c apacity. to be at your side. my lad. I had heard so much of the place. I have been here a week. "What?" "A very judicious query. and Pugsy. like myself. but disappointing to one who. 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. with a centu ry against Oxford to his credit.C. arrives with a brush and a little bucket of red paint. and drunk the milk of Paradise. "Too decorous." "Huh?" "Go out and get a good big basket. Rah!' But what do we find?" He paused. retiring."Nope.." "What's the matter with it?" asked Mike. 'Psmith has been to New York. I'm goin' to be a cow-boy.'" Mike had come to America with a team of the M. should you be in any way persecuted by scoundrels. A quiet. "What do we find?" he asked again. 'Psmith is losing his illusions. "I don't know. CHAPTER III AT "THE GARDENIA" "It would ill beseem me. What. He had merely taken the opportunity of Mi ." said Master Maloney. which was touring the cricket -playing section of the United States. had not risen to these heights. 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.
but it was very pleasant. and was deep in a complex argument with the head-w aiter on the ethics of the matter. Psmith was becoming bored. I must get my Sherlock Holmes system to work. The cricket so far had been rather of the picnic order. "Not on your life. but a trifle quiet. De r gendleman--" The young man meanwhile was making enticing sounds. Cambridge had proved pleasant to Psmith. and seated himself at the next table. was delighted with everything. and rushed to the rescue. we will engage him in conversation. "that this will prove to be a so mewhat stout fellow. If possible." he said. The young man. A waiter made an ingratiating gesture towards the basket. When he wished to consult his confidential secretary and adviser on some aspect of Life. Psmith wa tched with silent interest. Waiters rus hed to and fro. but when the cat pe rformed this feat there was a squeal of surprise all round the room. with a yell which made the young man's table the centre of interest to all the diner s. To-night was one of the rare occasions when Mike could get away. loose-jointed young man. He saw far too little of Mike." he said. so that the advantages of the hospitality did not reach him. and there was no limit to the hospitali ty with which the visitors were treated. to which the cat was maintai ning an attitude of reserved hostility. carrying a basket. He was a tal l. "This stays right here. "I have a suspicion. uttered a wrathful shout. in your unthinking way. ha d taken his stand on a point of etiquette. having secured a strong strategic position on the top of a large oil-painting which hung on the far wall." The young man at the next table had ordered a jug of milk to be accompanied by a saucer. These having arrived. So far the visit had failed to satisfy him. "to bring gats into der grill-room vorbidden. He had all the disadvantages. a stout impassive German. He had welcomed the chance of getting a change of sc ene." he said. futile but energetic. sonny. he proceeded to lift the basket on to his lap. "we must be in this. A man with a basketful of sandwiches does n ot need to dine at restaurants. a young man pa ssed them. a large grey cat shot up like a rocket. No gendleman would gats into der grill-room bring. New Y ork is a better city than London to be alone in. but the young man stop ped him. He was not a member of t he team. whose tastes in pleasure were simple. and proceeded to order dinner. "Id is. We must try again. and remove the lid from the basket." said Psmith. He turned furiously on the head-waiter." He placed it carefully on the floor beside his chair. and darted across the room." When they arrived on the scene of hostilities. The cat. the young man had just possessed himself of the walking-stick. Comrade Jackson. po ur the milk into the saucer. The head-waiter. Psmith watched him thoughtfully. rising. As they sat discussing New York's shortcomings over their coffee. seeing these manoeuvres. with unkempt hair. Instantly.' Error. but it is never pleasant to be alone in any big city. It is hard to astonish the waiters at a New York restaurant. "Comrade Jackson. 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. was exp ressing loud disapproval of the efforts of one of the waiters to drive it from i ts post with a walking-stick. 'sandwiches.ke's visit to the other side to accompany him. What i s the most likely thing for a man to have in a basket? You would reply. Mike. I wonder w hat he's got in the basket. .
" said the alleged duke. "haf everything exblained. Psmith stepped forward and touched him on the arm. "He is noble?" he inquired with awe. I have an inkling. The young man meanwhile had broken down the cat's reserve. that in a man in his Grace's position a few littl e eccentricities may be pardoned. Comrade Freddie. Frederick?" The head-waiter's eye rested upon the young man with a new interest and respect. The head-w aiter bowed. indicating Psmith. he wishes to preserve his incognito. Comrade--may I call you Freddie? Yo u understand. You follow me."For goodness' sake. The head -waiter nodded. before you introduced your very interesting performing-animal speciality. apparently anxious to fight all-comers in her defence. when they were seated." he said. Comrade--" . nodding towards the young man. you understand. "May I have a word with you in private?" "Zo?" Psmith drew him away. I was complaining with some acerbity to Comrade Jackso n." said Psmith warningly." said Psmith. "the pet of our English Smart Set . "Let me present Comrade Jackson. This is a great moment. hush. "He is here strictly incognito. who winked encouragingly. "Der gendleman would not der gat into--" Psmith shook his head pityingly. "is a great meeting. and was now standing with her in his arms. The head-waiter approached deferentially. "can't you see the poor brute's scared stiff? Wh y don't you clear your gang of German comedians away. one of the Shropshire Psmiths." The young man looked inquiringly at Psmith. All will now quite satisfactory b e. "No gendleman he is. too decorous. "You don't know who that is?" he whispered. Shall we b e moving back? We were about to order a second instalment of coffee. and the head-waiter had ceased to ho ver." he cried. "These petty matters of etiquette are not for his Grace--but. to correct the effects of a fatiguing day. tha t things in New York were too quiet." asserted the head-waiter. and give her a chance to c ome down?" "Der gendleman--" argued the head-waiter. Perhaps you would care to join us?" "Sure. You are a man of the world. I am Psmith. who beamed in a friendly manner thr ough his eye-glass. "This. "Der gendleman." said Psmith." "Ingognito?" "You understand.
have you any previous en gagement for to-night?" "I'm not doing anything." he added. how di d you fix it with the old man?" "With Comrade Freddie? I have a certain amount of influence with him. Comrade Jackson. as they walked out. It is possible that Comrade Windsor may possess the quali fications necessary for the post. with a touch of shame. or is it a domestic pet?" "I've adopted her. Space in New Yor k is valuable.. mingling with the gay t hrong. There was no space for a great deal of furniture. But with you constantly away." "You've no paternal pride in the little journal?" "It's bad enough to hurt. and gave her to me. and I lived in Kentucky a whi le." said Psmith. and the average bachelor's apartments consist of one room with a bathroom opening off it. The office-boy on our paper got her away from a dog this morn ing. a typewriter--nobody uses pens in New York--and on the . At night this became a bed. I am not half sure.. come along with me to my place. "I regret that the bright little sheet has not come my way up to the present. that we see eye to eye on the subject. and I'll show you a copy." said Billy Windsor. Let us foregather with him and observe him in private life before arriving at any premature decision. I must seize an early opportunity of per using it. I assured him that all wo uld be well. If you could give me your undivided comp any." Psmith gazed with interest at the cat." said Billy Windsor disgustedly. "Comrade Jackson." "I guess that's right." CHAPTER IV BAT JARVIS Billy Windsor lived in a single room on East Fourteenth Street. which was l apping milk from the saucer. it is imperative that I have some solid man to accompany me in my ramblin gs hither and thither. There was one rocking-chair. and he yielded. He is cont ent to order his movements in the main by my judgment. I was raised in the plains. "that Comrade Windsor may not prove to be the genial spirit for whom I have been searching. we will be collecting our hats. a book-stand. two ordinary chairs . "Cosy Moments?" said Psmith reflectively. I should ask no more. Billy Windsor's room was very much like a public-school study." "Don't you do it. "Are you training that animal for a show of some ki nd. But here he comes. "If you really want t o see it." "Your paper?" "Cosy Moments."Windsor's my name. Comrade Windsor. but in the daytime it was a settee and nothing but a settee. While he is loading up that bas ket. There's more doing there in a day than there is here in a month." "It will be a pleasure." said Mike. During the daytime this one room loses all traces of be ing used for sleeping purposes at night. Say. "Then let us stagger forth with Comrade Windsor. Comrade Windsor." "I have an inkling.. a table. Along one wall ran a settee.
which. drawings. is located in one of these vast caravanserai--to be exact." said Mike. the sort of man you would have picked out on sight as a model citizen. Billy's first act on arriving in this sanctum was to release the cat. restless d uring business hours. Don't say I didn't warn y ou. followed by a knock upon the door." he said. on acquaintance. "Three great minds. we m ust dash there with the vim of highly-trained smell-dogs. Are you with me. His eyes were small and set close together. "Mr. stretched out his legs and lit a ci garette. which. relax. Windsor?" he said to the company at large. You should move there. his jaw prominent. I hold that there is nothing like one's own ro of-tree. If you've got the nerve. except when he w as speaking." Psmith had picked up one of the papers when there came a shuffling of feet in th e passage outside. built for two. I have had so few opportunities of getting into touch with the literature of this great country. You have snug q uarters up here. too. stout young man. in short. . Anon. "you can get quite good flats very cheap . "A peaceful scene. I don 't know if you mind that?" "Far from it. "if you really feel like it. During the interview which followed. the visitor whistled softly and unceasingly. It is my aim to see New York in all its phases. Not." said Mike." observed Psmith. which gave him the appearance of having no forehead at all. and settled itself on a corner of the settee . Comrade Windsor. alert. "There you are. hav ing moved restlessly about for some moments. began to rock rhythmically to and fro. It's not much of a neighbourhood. the Astor--to pass a few moments in the quiet p rivacy of an apartment such as this. a performance which he kept up untiringly all the time. Mike took one of the ordinary chairs. Furnished. Comrade Jackson. planting himse lf in the rocker." "On Fourth Avenue. There was an indescribable air of toughness about him. I f a certain amount of harmless revelry can be whacked out of Fourth Avenue." said Billy Windsor. relics of their owner's prairie days." "It's beastly expensive at the Astor. like myself. Comrade Windsor. and Billy Windsor. "And now. Psmith. and skins. "The place has that drawback also. It is a great treat to one who. I think we will hunt a round for some such cubby-hole as this. The next moment there appe ared in the doorway a short. sinking gracefully down beside it. He tossed them on to the settee by Psmith's side. it would be a pleasure to me to peruse that little jo urnal of which you spoke. finally came to the conclusion that there was no means of getting out. Comra de Jackson?" "All right. His mouth was wide . Our nervous systems must be conserved. Over the door was the head of a young bear. read on." Billy Windsor stretched out an arm and pulled a bundle of papers from the book-s tand. partly due to the fact that he wore his hair in a well-oile d fringe almost down to his eyebrows. keen.walls a mixed collection of photographs. pro ved to be a whistled tune. His entrance was marked by a curious sibilant sound. Comrade Windsor. All is calm and pleasant chit-chat. knives.
England's favourite son. A ll might have been well. "is Comrade Wind sor. He offered him a handsome salary to be on hand at the nightly dances and check undue revelry by his own robust methods. It was the practice of these light-hearted sportsmen to pay thei r ten cents for admittance. and whistled another tune. Jarvis's reputation was far from being purely local. have brought to a fine art the gentle practice of "repeating". "Sure. stepping forward. For Mr. and it was there that he kept the twenty-three cats whose necks were adorned with leather collars. In Groome Street in those days there had been a dance-hall. his eye fell on the cat. He had gone to Shamrock Hall. Jarvis was a celebrity. Jarvis a celebrity. pickpockets and the like. not without a touch of complacency. as his detractors pointed out. As he looked round the room. Maginn is found. Bat at that time had a solid reputation as a man of his hands. "That. an Irishman and a friend of Bat's. Red Logan. O ff-shoots of the main gang sprang up here and there about the East Side. In the u nderworld of New York his name was a by-word. At the Shamrock nightly dances were given and well attended by the youth of the neighbourhood at ten cents a head. To your right is Comrade Jackson. ten times in a single day for you. was having a marked effect on his earnings. to make hay. 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." he said. flocked to Mr. and laid his painful case before him. I am Psmith. say. faithful adher ents. he was the founder and originator of it." said the visitor. The work progressed. is the art of voting a number of different times at different polling-station s on election days. For he. Broadway knew him .Psmith waved a hand towards the rocking-chair. he had killed no one--a defect which he had subsequently corrected. as of a monarch ab andoning his incognito. mister. More." "Are you Bat Jarvis?" asked Windsor with interest. were of use to t he politicians. Small t hieves. and especially the Groome Street Gang. His face lit up. and Pete Brodie. Bat ha d accepted the offer. which. A man may win a purely local reputation. broadly speakin g. He had a fancier's shop in Groome street. curiously enough. "mine. if only for eccentricity. by such means . Mr. To Bat accordingly he went. birds. Long Island City knew him. if they like you. In this crisis the proprietor thought of his friend Ba t Jarvis. Tammany Hall knew him. the most noted of all New York's collections of Ap aches. and once in. A man who can vote. had gone such stalwarts as Long Otto. and w hose numbers had so recently been reduced to twenty-two. This was on the ground-floor. For Bat Jarvis was the leader of t he famous Groome Street Gang. in the heart of the Bowery. Jarvis as their tribal leader a nd protector and he protected them. and who controls a great number of followers who are also prepared. and with him. with his followers. and touching the cat's collar. And this habit. and snakes. 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. And Mr. But it was not the fact that he possessed twenty-three cats with leather collars that made Mr. "Say!" he said. it had come into being from motives of sheer benevolence. but his admirers based his claim to respect on his many meritorious performances with fists and with the black-jack. His living abode was in the upper story of that house. But Mr. The New York gangs. to vote ten times in a single day for you. and the Tenderloin. By profession he was a dealer in animals. named the Shamrock and presided over by one M aginnis. And. and--more important stil l--the nucleus of the Groome Street Gang had been formed. Shamrock Hall became a place of joy and order. is worth cultivating." The visitor blinked furtively. Maginn is for one held him in the very highest esteem. Tommy Jefferson. It is t rue that. So the po .
I guess there's n . Obliged. and fin ally turned again to Billy Windsor. Her knockabou t act in the restaurant would have satisfied the most jaded critic. still whistling softly. and left the room." Mr. met Psmith's eye-glass. Then he turned to Billy again. Still.. "Any time you're in bad. He shifted the cat on to his left arm. He looked round the company. and the police left the Groome Street G ang unmolested and they waxed fat and flourished." He paused and whistled a few more bars. Comrade Windsor." he added. Comrade Jarvis. then nodded to Psmith and Mike. "Not garrulous. "Obliged. Jarvis stooped. She is not unworthy of your af fection. "Nope. was transfixed by it for a moment. I am." Psmith nodded approvingly. "We found two fellows setting a dog on to it. Jarvis eyed him fixedly. "Obliged. "Shake!" he said. Groome Street. . "Pipe de collar. he would be a mighty useful friend to have." Mr. full of the highest spirits. "Rightly. fixing his roving gaze once more upon Billy. lifted the cat. "Say!" he said. "There's a basket here. Good night. They heard him shuffling downstairs. "Say!" he said at length. Billy did so. "I don't know that he's just the sort of side-partner I'd go out of my way to ch oose. and. "A blithe spirit. Jarvis continued to stand and whistle for a few moments more. and paused. from what I've heard about him." said Psmith. touching the cat's neck "Mine. Jarvis nodded approval. Fond of de kit. as if pondering over his remarks. A most companionable animal. if you want it." Billy Windsor laughed. Jarvis. You know the add ress. perhaps." said Billy Windsor.liticians passed the word to the police. "Say!" he said. so we took it in for safety." "Pugsy said it must be. but what of that? I am a man of few words myself. kit." said Billy." said Mr." Mr. Glad to be of service.." he said. Bat Jarvis. Such a cat spells death to boredom. Here. He se ems to have taken a fancy to you. "And rightly. Comrade Jarvis's massive silences appeal to me. if one got mixed up with any of tha t East-Side crowd. Mr. No diner-out can afford to be without such a cat. Such was Bat Jarvis. mister. and extended his right hand to Billy.
"Luella Granville Waterman. should have more scope. I'm simply the fellow who minds the shop. There's no room for develop ing free untrammelled ideas on this paper. taking up the paper again "let me concentrate myself tens ely on this very entertaining little journal of yours. "what is your exact position on this paper? Practical ly. "We should not despise the humblest. Billy interpreted the look. what precise job does he congratulate himself on havi ng secured the ideal man for?" "I'm sub-editor. Comr ade Windsor." "He's in Europe. At Carlsbad. I've never met any of them yet. bulging forehead." CHAPTER V PLANNING IMPROVEMENTS "By the way. and what is your verdict?" Mike looked at Billy Windsor. "Say it. though. you'll see that each page is run by some one." he said. He wished to be polite. untrammelled." "Assuredly not." he said. C omrade Windsor?" .'" He looked at Mike. I say to myself without hesitation. He ju st sits tight and draws the profits." said Psmith. And now." said Mike. When you've looked at it. Comrade Windsor. It can't be worse than what I think. who was turning over the leaves of his cop y of Cosy Moments in a sort of dull despair." said Billy Windsor. "They must." "You bet I'm not. He lets the editor look after things. its life-blood." "I expect some people would like it awfully. and hear the grey matter splashing restlessly abou t in your cerebellum." He turne d to Billy Windsor." Psmith was deep in Lucia Granville Waterman's "Moments in the Nursery." he said. "is not by any chance your nom-de-plume. When I gaze at your broad. "It is like setting a gifted French c hef to wash up dishes. Comrade Jackson. Just at present I'm acting as editor. Comrade Windsor. That is the cry. you are its back-bone." he said." "Merely sub? You deserve a more responsible post than that. or they wouldn't buy it." said Psmith." "Ah! then at last you have your big chance. 'Comrade Windsor must have more scope. 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. "A man of your undoubted powers. For sound. "Go on. here is one for you. "Guess again." Psmith clicked his tongue sympathetically. His opinion will be bot h of interest and of profit to you. "Well. 'more scope!' I must look into this matter. You are free. when I see the clear light of intelligence in your eyes. clear-headed criticism. Comrade Jackson. Comrade Windso r.o harm done by getting him grateful. He never comes near the paper. "Comrade Jac kson's name is a by-word in our English literary salons. You must have scope. but what is your techni cal position? When your proprietor is congratulating himself on having secured t he ideal man for your job. we know well. yet he could find nothing polite to say. or somewhere." he added to Billy.
" "How do you mean?" "She must go. "Comrade Jackson." "Sufficient unto the day. you have touched the spot. Now. I can't go monkeying about with the paper that way. Moreover." He resumed his seat. "Has this job of yours any special attractions for you. On the present lines that is impossible. We must act for the good of the paper." "But." Psmith reflected for a moment. and tapped him earnestly on the chest. Psmith turned to Mike." Psmith rose. must be to sack her. is there a single feature you would willingly retain?" "I don't think there is. I n England when Comrade Jackson says 'Turn' we all turn. You must show the world that even Cosy Moments cannot keep a g ood man down. approvingly. Don't think it." said Mike. His holiday will have cleared his brain. "has a secure reputation on the other side for the keen ness and lucidity of his views upon literature. "For. You must make Windsor of Cosy Momen ts a name to conjure with."Not on your life. You yearn for scope. "Comrade Windsor. "Comrade Jackson. You must strike out a l ine for yourself. The editor thinks a heap of her stuff. concentrated bilge she gets away with the biscuit with almost insolent ease. I think. though. speaking as man to man." "As I suspected. You must move." "My opinion in a nutshell. You must boost this sheet up till New York rings with your exploits. I must confe ss that for sheer. Make a note of improvement number one--the sacking of Luella Granville Waterman." said Psmith. But he'll come back. You must hustle. if you were editing this paper. I have a suspicion that he will be th e first to approve your action." said Psmith courteously. Comrade Windsor. now that you have swiped the editorial chair. I don't see how I'm going to fix it. y ou said. "How do you mean?" said Billy Windsor." "I am glad. "Your first act." "I guess it'll be followed pretty quick by improvement number two--the sacking o f William Windsor. that he was away?" "So he is. What exactly are your ambitions?" "I want to get a job on one of the big dailies. Luella Granville Waterman must go. my views on the mat . Comrade Windsor?" "I guess not." repeated Psmith firmly. say. You are wasting the golden hours of your youth. I can't." "We cannot help his troubles. You may safely build upon him." he expl ained. "It's all pretty bad rot. at the present rate. turning to Billy.
who from a cursory glance strikes me as an ideal candidate for a lethal chamber) that.. "Assuredly. now to Phil adelphia. we shall produce a bright. if we follow those main lines. All these putri d pages must disappear. Fillken Wilberfloss returned and found the apple of his eye torn as under and. are the editor. informing Luella Granville Waterman and the others (and in particular B.ter are as follows. "is the right spirit. You will. and that he had no right whatever to tinker with it without that gentleman's approval. my idea is that Cosy Moments should become red-hot stuff. The details of the campaign we must think out after." said Billy Windsor. briefly." he said. "And now to decide upon our main scheme. Fortunately. and deliver him such a series of resentful buffs that he will abandon his little games and become a mod el citizen. The trifling fact that the despised journal was the p roperty of Mr. You. "is unhappily more fettered. But. I fancy. In ten weeks he c ould change Cosy Moments into a real live paper." Billy Windsor sat and rocked himself in his chair without replying. Comrade Windsor?" . but I foresee that I shall be a quick learner. I happen to have a certain am ount of leisure just now. more go. After that we can begin to move. The bulk of the work will devolve upon our two selves. were it not backed b y such a virtuoso as Comrade Jackson). It is at your disposal. have little cause to r egret your decision. He would have ten weeks in which to try himself out. Above al l. J. too revolutionary.. He wondered that the idea had n ot occurred to him before. therefor e. enthusiastically." he said. but. you will be compelled to place yourself under police protection." said Billy Windsor. readable little she et which will in a measure make this city sit up and take notice. It was too s pacious." continued Psmith. Are you with m e. We must chronicle all the live events of the day. After all. His services. In these crises one cannot think of everything." "Let it devolve. "I'm on. if it did. The editor would be away ten weeks. Cosy Moments. Could it be done? It would undoubtedly mean the sack when Mr." "Bully for you. accordingly. Ga. in my opinion (worthless. Psmith smiled approvingly. may have occurred to him. So far the grandeur of it had dazed him. now to Saskatchewan. and the like in a manner which will make our readers' spines thrill. On the other hand. so to speak. From him. We must detect the wrong-doer. Hope leaped within him. needs more snap. Henderson Asher. We must be a search-light. I could wish its tone to be such that the public will wonder why we do not print it on asbestos. deprived of its choicest pips. He was tryin g to assimilate this idea. we must be the guardians of the People's rights. unless they cease their contributions instantly. His brow suddenly cleared. we shall expect li ttle but moral support. The exigencies of his cricket tour will compel him constantly to be gadding about. without salary. subject to your ap proval. I will becom e your sub-editor. s howing up the dark spot in the souls of those who would endeavour in any way to do the PEOPLE in the eye. An occasional congratulatory telegram." said Psmith. murders. Letters must be despatched to-morrow morning. and my suggestions are merely suggestions. and he would have no name as long as he c lung to his present position. briefly. cannot be relied upon continuously. fire s. anon to Onehorseville. "That. "Comrade Jackson. what was the sack? One crowded hour of gloriou s life is worth an age without a name. but I fancy tha t. if I may say so. it occurred so momentarily that he did not notice it. Benjamin White. Now and then a br ight smile of approval. I have had little experience o f journalistic work. of cours e.
" Psmith regarded him with pained surprise. reporte rs on other papers." Mike roared with laughter." said Billy with fervour. waiting for the next number to appear. and doubtless. had I stuck to that walk in life. The last paragraph.' in parti cular. who will be delighted to weigh in with stuff for a moderate fee. We are on to a big thing. where are we? Wed ged tightly in among the ribstons. "I fancy I have found my metier." he said to Mike. This was largely the work of Psmi th. "Comrade Jackson. beginning 'Cosy Moments cannot be muzzled. "Next Week! See Editorial!" and compiling in conjunction a snappy editorial." "And how about the editor? I should think that first number would bring him back foaming at the mouth. But something seemed to whisper to me." he said. "I'm jolly glad it's not my paper. Commerce. as they set forth one evening in search of t heir new flat. ev en in the midst of my triumphs in the New Asiatic Bank. But it cann ot affect us how they writhe beneath the blow. It seems that Comrade Windsor knows certain stout fellows. At last I have Scope. Visitors will be shown it as one of the sigh ts. It should stir the blood of a free and independent people till they sit in platoons on the doorstep of our office. And without Scope. CHAPTER VI THE TENEMENTS To alter the scheme of a weekly from cover to cover is not a task that is comple ted without work. Wait till you see our first number. 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. 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 pretty lucky for you two lunatics that the proprietor's in Europe. many considered. His only doubt will be whether to send his money to the bank or keep it in t ubs and roll in it. "I do not understand you. For the moment it seems to me that I have found the job for which nature s pecially designed me. Comrade Jackson. It strikes the right note. Comrade Jackson. setting forth the proposed changes. that there were other fi elds. "It's the rummiest business I ever struck. he will go singing about his hotel. His beaming s mile will be a by-word in Carlsbad. The letters giving them the miss-in-baulk in no uncertain voice were only despatched yesterday."Surest thing you know. "Are you and Windsor going to fill the whole paper yourselves?" "By no means. Do you insinuate that we are not acti ng in the proprietor's best interests? When he sees the receipts. There is no reprieve. was t he line I should take." "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." "How about that next number?" asked Mike. The dismissal of Cosy Moments' entire staff of contributors le ft a gap in the paper which had to be filled. I should soon have become a financial magnate. after we have handled the paper for a while. There are some very fine passages in that edi torial." .
"Poor kids!" said Mike. and so got a little light and air. Thes e were the star apartments of the tenement-houses. I expect some muscular householder will resent the intrusion a nd boot us out. In th e meantime." "Let us wend in that direction. It wouldn't be a scaly idea to turn that C osy Moments search-light we were talking about on to them. Psmith and Mike picked their way through the groups of ragged children who cover ed the roadway. Reporters were the only tolerably well-dressed visitors Pleasant Street ever entertained. In the poorer quarters the congestio n is unbelievable. They had to feel their way up. By a singular stroke of good fortune Comrade Wilberfloss--his name is Wilberfloss--has been ordered complete rest during his holiday. The height of the houses and th e narrowness of the streets seem to condense its unpleasantness. On the lower floors one could see into dark. The masses of dirty clothes hanging from the fire -escapes increase the depression. our footsteps h ave wandered. and ga in in vehemence from the fact." It was indeed a repellent neighbourhood in which they had arrived. what are you going to do?" "By that time. Comrade Jackson. Most of t he doors were shut but one on the second floor was ajar. "I wonder who owns these places. he turned in at one of the doors. doubtless. Ah. In the exhilaration of this little chat. "It seems to me that there's what you might call room for improvement. the paper will be in so flourishing a state that he wi ll confess how wrong his own methods were and adopt ours without a murmur."I have ascertained from Comrade Windsor that there is nothing to fear from that quarter. "Look here. which are many and varied. goodness only knows. for they opened on to the str eet. "This place makes me sick. It is unique." Psmith said nothing. "It must be awful living in a hole like this. stopping. The New York slum stands in a class of its own." They walked on a few steps. realising the fearful strain inflicted by reading Cosy Moments in its old for m. New York. bare rooms." said Psmith. being an island. but we'll risk it. It was almost pitch dark on the stairs. are penned up in a sort of canyon." said Psmith. The imagination jibbed at the thought of the back rooms." Followed by Mike. Where we are. I can only say that I shouldn't care to have to live here." "And when he does return. Pleasant Street? I fancy that the master-min d who chose that name must have had the rudiments of a sense of humour. I'm going in to h ave a look round. Nowhere in the city does one realise so fully the disadvantages of a lack of space. There seemed to be thousands of them." "There's a name up on the other side of that lamp-post. Probably they took them f or reporters hunting for a story. has had no room to spread. All the smells and noises. specifically mentioned that the paper was to be withheld from him until he re turned. I would call your attention to the fact that we see m to have lost our way. It is a town of human sardines. Through the opening the y had a glimpse of a number of women sitting round on boxes. A group of men leaning again st the opposite wall looked at them without curiosity. The floor was cover . He was looking thoughtful. He glanced up at the grimy build ings on each side. The kindly medic o.
What h e wants. It was immedi ately above a saloon. "is disembowelling. and looked forward to a not unenjoyable time till Mike should return . in your bag. it fills me with a certain melancholy to have you flitting off in this manner without me. The room was empty. and it seemed to him that the conduct of the remodelled Cosy Moments might supply this. almost fell against the door. Your Duty summons you to Philadelphia. Mine retains me here. Mike. It was a good re presentative Pleasant Street back room. I trust. as they walked on. "if Comrade Windsor is agreeable. but the landlord had as sured them that the voices of the revellers did not penetrate to it. which was something of a drawback. I will comple te the arrangements with regard to the flat. "this perpetua l parting of the ways. to play my part in the great work of making New Y ork sit up. the good work should." said Psmith. however. All the women were sewing. By contrast with the con ditions indoors the street seemed spacious and breezy.ed with little heaps of linen. and on the whole." said Psmith. On the fourth floor there was an open door. Psmith's was a nature which required a certain amount of stimulus in the way of gentle excitement. "is where Cosy Moments gets busy at a si ngularly early date. Comrade Jackson. Comrade Jackson. a nd had opened negotiations for a large flat near Thirtieth Street." he proceeded in the tone of a family doctor prescribing for a patient. stumbling in the darkness. When the ferry-boat had borne Mike off across the river. and hung about moodily until the time o f departure. and fi nd Fourth Avenue. I fancy. He liked Bil ly Windsor. Through this. They stumbled downstairs again and out into the street. let us try and get out of this place of wrath. I fancy. "This. We must endeavour to do what we can by means of kindly criticism in the paper. it wa s to be presumed. "It is saddening me to a great extent. Yet there is another side to the picture. None of the women looked up at the nois e. "I propose. to knock the cover off the local bowling." CHAPTER VII VISITORS AT THE OFFICE On the following morning Mike had to leave with the team for Philadelphia. he felt pleased with life. of course. Psmit h came down to the ferry to see him off." After leaving Pleasant Street they had found Fourth Avenue by a devious route. to make things as warm for the owner of this place as I jolly well know how. The architect in this case had given rei n to a passion for originality. He had constructed the room without a window of any sort whatsoever." "What are you going to do?" asked Mike.. the entire stock of air used by the occupants was supposed to come.. be getting something of a move on. To me t here is something singularly impressive in our unhesitating reply to the calls o f Duty. Time was evidently money in Pleasant Street. having set tled that important point. with a century or two. By the time you return. . When I think of the happy moments we have spent hand-in-h and across the seas. There was a square opening in the door." he said. The day was fine. And now. that a mawkishly sentimental l egislature will prevent our performing that national service. Psmith turned to stroll to the office of Cosy Moments. despite Mike 's desertion.
a small room. These trifling contret emps are the penalties we pay for our high journalistic aims. 'Nuttin' doin'. So when de rest of de bunch co mes along. In he butts. Windsor's out to lunch. when de foist of de guys blew in. Wit dat I sees de proposition's too fierce for muh." "As I suspected. 'is de editor in?' 'Nope. Comrad e Maloney.' 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. too. in the middle of them?" "Nope.' says he. but if youse wants to join de giddy t'ro ng.' I says. 'I'll go in an' wait. Who are in there?" "De whole bunch of dem. "And is Comrade Windsor in there. I fancy that with the aid of the Diplomatic Smile and the Honeye . in about t'ree minutes along comes another gazebo.' I says. 'Well. Pugsy Maloney rose. Philpotts and a gazebo wha t calls himself Waterman and about 'steen more of dem. I will interview t hese merchants.' I says. 'is de ed itor in?' 'Nope. "Dey're in dere. 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. where Pugsy Maloney spent his tim e reading tales of life in the prairies and heading off undesirable visitors. precisely?" "A whole bunch of dem. 'Nix on de goin' in act. dey just butted in. "Say!" said Master Maloney. gents. which would have belonged to the stenographer if Cosy Moments had po ssessed one. 'I'll wait. The offices of Cosy Moments were in a large building in the street off Madison A venue. and he's in der now. Asher and the Rev. Why did you let them in?" "Sure. I says. But we must not repine. Comrade Maloney.' I might as well have saved me breat'." A faint smile appeared upon Psmith's face. As Psmith passed through the front door. de whole bunch of dem.'" "And what more could you have said?" agreed Psmith approvingly. Comrade Maloney. "Can you give me any part iculars?" he asked patiently. push t'roo inter de inner room. I don't try to give dem de t'run down.' says he." "Who. "I was sittin' he re. and a larger room beyond. I can't be boddered. readin' me book. "You are well-meaning.. 'it's up to youse." said Psmith." said Master Maloney complainingly. but vague.' says I. "Tell me. Dere's Mr. They consisted of a sort of outer lair. Well. 'Boy. Comrade Maloney." "Comrade Windsor knows his business." Psmith inspected Master Maloney through his eye-glass. I can't keep dese big husky guys out if dey's for buttin' in. Mr. De editor ain't in. which was the editorial sanctum. 'B oy. "Say on.
As Psmith entered. Stillness brooded over the room as he carefully dusted that piece of furnitur e. Five pairs of eyes were smouldering with a long-nurse d resentment. Comrade Maloney. It is as well. Windsor. and fixed him with a benevolent gaze through his ey e-glass. There were only five men in the room." The start was good and even. The words broke the spell. may I ask?" inquired the favoured one." said Psmith with manly regret. but the gentleman who said "Pardon me!" necessarily finished first with the rest nowhere. 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. I presume?" "Pardon me!" "I should like a few moments' conversation. sir. Asher. "Alas! no. was the simple majesty of Psmith's demeanour that for a moment there was dead silen ce. Comrade Windsor would probably have endeavoured to clear the room wit h a chair. If he should arrive during the seance. The others paused for the reply. that Comrade Windso r is out. "Ha! I am observed!" he murmured. "Are you Mr. Not a word was spoken as he paced. Windsor. This accomplished. CHAPTER VIII THE HONEYED WORD Master Maloney's statement that "about 'steen visitors" had arrived in addition to Messrs. he looked up and started. and. however. be so good as to inform him of the state of affairs. perhaps. wrapped in thought. and the Rev. Such. The situation calls for the handling of a man of delicate culture and nice tact. having smoothed the nap of his hat and flicked a speck of dust from his coat-sleeve. and tell him not to come in. to the editorial chai r.d Word I may manage to pull through." said Master Maloney. . He gazed round the room. Then Psmith. the five visitors burst simultaneously int o speech. every eye was turned upon him. sir. and tell him to go out and watch the snowdrops growing in Madison Square Garden. hitched up the knees of his trousers and sank gracefully into a sitting position. having done so to his satisfaction. Give him my compliments. Philpotts proved to have been due to a great extent to a somewhat feverish imagination." "Sure. Five brows were corrugated with wrathful lines. walked to the door of the inner room and went in. Psmith turned to him." "Mr. bowed. Waterman. "Are you the acting editor of this paper?" "I wish to have a word with you. Instantly.
The work is not light. Comrade--I have not the pleasu re of your name. Windsor. "Where is Mr." continued the little man." Psmith was reading the letter. "My wife." "When will he return?" "Anon. and replaced it in his eye. was Waterma n. in his opinion." "Correct me if I am wrong. withou . whose name you doubtl ess know. "Same here." chimed in the rest. I am here on behalf of my wife. champing about forty cents' worth of lunch at some neighbouring hostelry." There was a pause." "Luella Granville Waterman. producing an envelope and handing it to Psm ith. And now. 'Can Psmith get through it all? Will his strength sup port his unquenchable spirit?' But I stagger on. "Comrade Windsor's loss is my gain." "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 removed hi s eye-glass." The visitors looked at each other. My wife has been a contributor to this journal from its found ation. polished it. also. Her work has given every satisfaction to Mr." said the little man proudly. Is there anything I can do for you?" "Are you on the editorial staff of this paper?" "I am acting sub-editor." added Psmith gratuitously. stood alone in literary circles as a purveyor of sheer bilge. But how much anon I fear I cannot say. "It seems reasonably clear to me." Psmith bowed courteously. He felt that he must run n o risk of not seeing clearly the husband of one who."Then who are you?" "I am Psmith. sir. So did I." he said. "Som etimes the cry goes round. Windsor?" "He is. "It is an outrage." "My name is Waterman. We are both at a loss to make head or tail of it. it shall be done. "This is exceedingly annoying. "If it is in my power to do so. Wilberfloss. I fancy." said the man who had said "Pardon me!" "I came f or the express purpose of seeing Mr. "has received this extraordinary communication from a man signing himself W . sir. Windsor." "So did I. I do not repine. "but I should say it." said Psmith.
Windsor? Where is Mr. And that's what these gentlem en want to know--See here--" "I am addressing--?" said Psmith." said Psmith. and spoke his piece. "I don't know. That's the man we want to see. I've be en working for this paper without a break.t the slightest warning. Nobody knows. Wilberfloss? "I am the Reverend Edwin T. "And yet. indicating the rest with a wa ve of the hand. which make up what we call life. was almost too much. Waterman. Windsor. and I've reason to know that my page was as widely read and appreciated as any in New York. Henderson Asher. Windsor. such a look as a visitor to a foreign land might wear when confronted with some great national monument. except when I had the mumps. sir. Wilberfloss?" The chorus burst forth.looking man with pale blue eyes and a melancholy face. but yours seems to me work which the world will not willingly let die. I write 'Moments of Mirth. as you will re adily admit when you have heard all." he said.'" A look almost of excitement came into Psmith's face. B. Th at he should be privileged to look upon the author of "Moments of Mirth" in the flesh. who had hitherto lurked almost unseen behind a stout person in a serge suit. shaking it. They. And now up comes this Windsor fellow. "Asher's my name." said a cadaverous. are peculiar. Who is W. actually wishes to hurry on its decease. W ilberfloss is." "These are life's tragedies. "I gather that Comrade Windsor. if you please. It is these strange contradictions." He reseated himself. and tel ls me in so many words the paper's got no use for me." he said reverently. You don't know. "have frequently reconciled me to the toothache. bobbed into the open. "What's he mean by it? That's what I want to know. You have asked me where Mr. "Your 'Moments of Mirth." continued Psmith." murmured Psmith. Here we have. Windsor? Where was Mr. "Comrade Asher. o n the one hand--" A man with a face like a walnut." "You don't know!" exclaimed Mr.'" said Psmith." The Reverend Edwin's frosty face thawed into a bleak smile. the se clashings of personal taste. Philpotts. I do not know. The circumstances. "I have contributed 'Moments of Meditatio n' to this journal for a very considerable period of time. face to face. for four years. comes this peremptory dismissal from W. "don't know." "I have read your page with the keenest interest. His locality is as hard to ascertain . "Where's this fellow Windsor? W. "this is a painful case. It seemed that that was what they all wanted to know: Wh o was W. on the other hand." said Psmith. "I may be wrong. "Gentlemen. "may I shake your hand?" The other extended his hand with some suspicion.
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."
" "Sure."They're pretty bad. A young man once called at th e office of a certain newspaper. After all. Comrade Windsor. could bring off a thing like that?" "I doubt it. but any one who wants can get round them as easy as falling off a log. "A very cheery scheme. we s hall be enabled to haul up our slacks with a considerable absence of restraint. It's pretty difficult to get at these fellows. it's up to the lessee . anyway. "Which of us is going to write the first article?" "You may leave it to me. Those tenement houses are about as pay ing an investment as you can have. This isn't a tenement house at a ll.' Such is my own case. it's this way." said Psmith. 'I am rather good at invective. And he lies so low that you can't find out who he is. Everything in the East is as crooked as Pearl Street." "Precisely. if we go on long enough. The facts which will nerve us to effort are two. with its vast ramifications. as the re appears to be no law of libel whatsoever in this great and free country. If you want a square deal. It made him fizz ahead like a two-ye ar-old. all the man has to do is to clear out all the families but two. when there's a fuss.' the landlord simply replies. 'Nothing doing. back co me the rest of the crowd. aren't they. There are all sorts of laws about the places. In the first place. when the inspector fellow comes along." "Then there's another thing. Well." said Psmith. I do not at the moment reca ll.' And when the fuss has blown over." "Hasn't anybody ever tried to do anything about them?" "Not so far as I know. you've got to come out Wyoming way.' said the bright lad. There are only two families here. and things go on the same as before. Then. 'just general invective." said Psmith. All he knew was some highly interesting fact about an egg." "The main problem. but it bucked Columbus up like a tonic. we know that there must be some one at the bottom of the business. "appears to be the discovery of the lesse e. We'll try. Columbus didn't know that America existed when he set out. ' 'Any special kind of invective?' queried the man up top. The land belongs in the first place to some corporation or other. "Full steam ahead. those houses!" "What. When there's a fuss. Probably some millionaire. let's say. I am no hardened old journalist. 'Have you any special line ?' asked the editor. and here are the se people having to go downstairs and out of doors to fetch their water supplies . 'Yes. and asked for a job. they say they aren't responsible. 'No. The law says a teneme nt house is a building occupied by more than two families. you see. There's no knowing but what we may have luck. I fea r. 'Where's your running wa ter on each floor? That's what the law says you've got to have.' replied our her o. and trust to luck. Secondly. They lease it to a less ee." said Billy Windsor. The chances are that. we shall eventually arrive somewhere. lad? Surely a powerful organ like Cosy Moments." asked Psmith. then. "is the precise difficulty of getting at these merchants?" "Well." "Who owns them?" "I don't know. I am a very f . but I have certain qualifications for the post. B ut they're fierce. unless you're prepared to spend thousands ferreting out evidence." "I see. Comrade Windsor. and says. You can't get hold of the man who's really responsi ble. What that was. It's all just like the E ast.
looking moody and important. Each week there appeared in the same place on the same pa ge a portrait of the Kid. of the National Theatre. snappy stuff in their best Yel low Journal manner." An unsolicited testimonial which caused Psmith the keenest satisfaction. Cosy Moments. relating to the more stirring happenings in the city. general invective. in an attitude of self-de fence. untruthfully. a s was shown by a conversation between Master Maloney and a visitor one morning. And as my visit to Pleasant Street is o f such recent date. A happy smile lit up the editor's face. Billy Windsor's hair had bec ome more dishevelled than ever. Bodkin does not lightly forget. "Jimmy Garvin must meet this boy. and I think we have got a success. "Ha! Then when he returns I wish you to give him a message. had bounded ahead like a motor-car when the throttle is op ened." he said complacently. and tell him that Mr. was a mass of bright reading dealing with the events of the day. Sandwiched in between the painful case of Kid Brady and the matter of the tenements.air purveyor of good. I am tolerably full of my subject." "Sure. which formed the star items of the paper's cont ents. "I wish to see the editor of this paper. Incessant work had been the order of the day. and even Psmith had at moments lost a certain am ount of his dignified calm. "Editor not in. It occurred in the third week of the new regime of the paper. heard through the open door. He had won it a year before . The section of the paper devoted to Kid Brady was attractive to all those with s porting blood in them." His reminiscences were appearing weekly in a Sunday paper. Francis Parker to t he offices of Cosy Moments was to Billy Windsor. Taking full advantage of the benevolent laws of this country governing libel. Like most pugi lists. "I knew that Personal column of ours was going to be a success!" What the bullet was to the Far West editor. and since then had confined himself to smoking cigars as long as walking-stick s and appearing nightly as the star in a music-hall sketch entitled "A Fight for Honour. Comrade Windsor." said Master Maloney. Billy Win dsor's newspaper friends had turned in some fine." "I am Aubrey Bodkin. . had employed his gift of general invective to considerable effect. and his life had been sadd ened up to the present by the refusal of the press to publish his reminiscences. the Kid had a passion for bursting into print. Give him my compliments." said the visitor. 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 visit of Mr. It was this that gave Psmith the idea of publishing Kid Brady's autobiography in Cosy Momen ts. instruct Comr ade Maloney to suspend his whistling till such time as I am better able to liste n to it. unde r its new management." Jim my was the present holder of the light-weight title. Psmith . and under the portrait the legend. "Ah. an idea which made the Kid his devoted adherent from then on. Give me pen and paper." CHAPTER X GOING SOME There was once an editor of a paper in the Far West who was sitting at his desk. who had constituted himself guardian of the literary and dramatic interests of the paper. when a bullet crashed through the window and embedde d itself in the wall at the back of his head. musing pleasantly of life.
nothing will. that this is no occasion for the old straw hat and the baggy fl annels. and he takes the count all right. "Young blood. taking it. and in the next round I seen Benson has a chunk of yellow. and I goes in and mixes it. "an' he's weari n' a dude suit an' shiny shoes. And then the gong goes. bearing in his hand a card." said Psmith to Billy. Advertisements came tr ooping in." "He's a guy with a tall-shaped hat." said Psmith. a l arge new public had sprung up and was growing every week." "That. "we shall ascertain more clearly after a personal interview ." said Psmith nonchalantly. A pap er must keep up to date. but too limited and archaic." said Psmith approvingly. "young blood. The public was consequently fre e to take notice. meanwhile. and I says to myself how I has one friend. my poor old mother way out in W yoming. We read off the public's unspoken wishes as if by intuition." "Nor I." said Psmith. they had paid their subscriptions. the change of policy had the effect of improving the sales to a marked ex tent. and to the point. contributing to other papers. as Billy Windsor complacently remarked. "'Francis Parker'?" said Billy. Our h ero is fighting Battling Jack Benson in that eminent artist's native town of Lou isville. "Comrade Brady. Comrade Windsor?" "I wonder what he wants. "has evidently not been blind to the importance of a visit to Cosy Moments. That is what the public wants." . and I gets in with a hay-maker and I picks up ano ther sleep-producer from the floor and hands it him. "has a singularly pure and pleasing style . Listen to this bit. It is the right spirit. Bu t." volunteered Master Maloney. so I ups with an awful half-scissor hook to the plexus. They la cked ginger. groaned under the s upervision of a member of the staff who cut out their best passages and altered the rest into Addisonian English. and the latter leaped at the chance. and then I seen Benson losing his goat." At this moment Master Maloney entered. Here is the Kid on the subject: 'I looked around that house. Comrade Maloney. He ha s felt. and I seen I hadn't a friend in it. I would not have it otherwise." "Comrade Parker. was passing through an era of prosperity undr eamed of in its history. lucid. show the gentleman in. As Psmith had pred icted. Letters of complaint from old subscribers poured into the office daily. The sale of Cosy Moments proceeded briskly. or it falls behind its competitors in the race. so that the money was safe whether they read the paper or not. while receiving Comrade Brady with chilly silence.. "Don't know him. That is the secret. Cosy Moments.To appear in print is the fighter's accolade." But the feature of the paper was the "Tenement" series. and the citizens have given their native son the Approving Hand. Shall we give him audience. Comrade Wilberfloss's methods were possibly sound. And. and there was nothing much going on in New York.'. He was grateful to Psmith for not editing his c ontributions. He has dressed himself in his best. We of the younger generation have our fingers more firmly on the pu blic pulse. in short. Crisp. "We make new friends daily. Other pugilists. If this does not bring Comrade Garvin up to the scratch. We can give him three and a quarter mi nutes. It signifies that he has arrived. Psmith extended the hospitality of page four of Cosy Moments to Kid Brady. We know the game from A to Z. rightly. The readers of Cosy Moments got Kid Brady raw. It was late summer now. It is bound to appeal powerfully to the many-headed.
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." Psmith waved a hand towards Billy. Gloves and a tall hat. is anxious to aim a swift kick at the man behind those ar ticles. and I may be wrong. Comrade Parker. "Comrade Windsor. He moved softly into the room. If any husky guy. he wore a tail-coat. a man of alert and res tless temperament. clean-shaven face. "I wished to see the editor. He provides meat. Comrade Windsor. Comrade Wilberfloss's methods were good in their way. "Warm stuff. "The style of the paper has changed greatly." "I see. Parker. There must be no secrets. "They are--er--very outspoken articles. which he carried. Francis Parker proved to be a man who might have been any age between twenty -five and thirty-five. "I have never been. he must distribute it evenly between Comrade Windsor and myself. no restraint between us. feels that there are other a nd larger publics. as I fancy Master Ma loney would phrase it. who seated himself with the care inspired by a perfect trouser-crease." he added. There was a momentary silence while he selected a spot on the table on which to place his hat. felt that a change was essential if Cosy Moments was to lead public thought. comple ted an impressive picture. Will you sit for a space?" He pushed a chair towards the visitor. shall I say. "Assuredly. Comrade Parker. trousers with a cre ase which brought a smile of kindly approval to Psmith's face. turning to Billy.Pugsy withdrew. with a broader view. You may address us both impartially." "May I speak frankly?" said Mr. We have no secrets from ea ch other. "Before you is Comrade Windsor. Parker paused." he said." . I have no quarrel with Comrade Wilberfloss. "Distinctly warm stuff. are resp onsible for this very vigorous attack on the tenement-house owners?" "You can take it I am. But is not its interest in current affairs a recent develo pment?" "You are very right. th e Wyoming cracker-jack. He--" "Then--excuse me--" said Mr. As Pugsy had stated in effect. Technically. "We are both responsible." agreed Psmith. Parker. "The treat has not been denied you. 'Did I make my meaning clear? Was I too elusive?' Say on. Psmith interposed. But he did not lead public thought." responded Psmith." said Billy. I am but a sub-ed itor. Mr. I take it. during the past few wee ks?" he said. He catered exclusively for children with water on the brain. He had a smooth. I myself--I am Psmith--though but a su bordinate. and a cat-like way of moving. He is our editor. "You." Mr. has it not. and patent-leathe r boots of pronounced shininess. W e would not have you go away and say to yourself. and men and women with solid ivory skulls. He refuses to content himself with ladling out a weekly dole of mental predigested breakfast food. a constant reader of Cosy Moments . may also claim the title in a measure.
" Billy Windsor suddenly became militant. We can look after them. find ing speech unequal to the expression of their thoughts. Comrade Parker." "Less powerful ones. "Why?" demanded Billy. sir. where you looked your man in the eye and s aid it quick. Mr. Let's have what's worrying you." "Who would doubt it. partly a growl. as time is money. It resembled more than anything else the preliminary sniffin g snarl a bull-dog emits before he joins battle." cried he. Parker leaned forward. S till. possibly it might be as well. It was partly a sno rt. To me it is enough simply to si t and chat with Comrade Parker. "There are reasons why you should not. Never mind our bes t interests. 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. the home of blunt speech. Billy's cow-boy blood was up. irrespective of the trend of his conversation. Parker was too bland for human consumption. If y ou've anything to say about those articles. Nothing has buoyed us up more strongly duri ng the hours of doubt through which we have passed than the knowledge that you w ish us well. Parker. "I should not go on with them if I were you. "Do not let us be abrupt on this happy occasion. Comrade Parker. 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. "what's it all about? Let's have it. Billy was of the plains. if you unburdened yourself as soon as convenient. "We do not completely gather your meaning. He offended Billy' s honest soul. "And there are reasons why we should." Psmith waved a deprecating hand. "See here." said Mr. reach for their guns. say it right out. Parker's smooth face did not change its expression. Psmith intervened. but he came to the point ." he said. leaning forward. "The gentleman whom I represent--" "Then this is no matter of your own personal taste? You are an emissary?" . I fear we must ask yo u to hand it to us with still more breezy frankness. and this is our busy day." There proceeded from Billy a noise not describable in words."I am speaking in your best interests. There was a feline smoothness about the visitor which had been jarring upon him ever since he first spoke. H e was rapidly approaching the state of mind in which the men of the plains.
I re ckon. It is sufficient to say that they are strong ones. "as the publicity involved. He had got as far as "Say!" when Psmith interrupted him. This is how it stands. Let us be hearty. Now. eh? You've got your living to make. my employer--in a cleft sti ck. "Now. I'm going to be frank. 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. spoke quietly. if continued. and I want you to be frank with me. Billy and Psmith waited for him to begin . you two gentlemen have got us--that's to say." repeated Mr. How much do you want to stop those articles? That's straight. I don't mind admitting." "You mean. That is the matter in a nutshell. Billy's eyes were bulging. here's a square proposition. he feels that. Parker coughed. see here." Psmith nodded. the expense would be considerable. The expense of reconstructing the houses makes tha t impossible. Yo u aren't in this business for your healths. suggesting that the situation was now abo ut to enter upon a more delicate phase. From their point of view the discussion was over. Parker. seeing that we're being frank with one an other." "Then there's no use in talking." broke in Billy explosively. it was for their visitor to effect that reopening. I guess we nee dn't quarrel. It's up to him. Windsor. "that if we kick up enough fuss to make somebody start a commission to inquire into this rotten business. as who should say. The moment he starts in to make those house s decent. I've been frank with you." said he. "We are all friends here. and if they go o n there's going to be a lot of inconvenience for my employer. Or. If it was to be reopened on fresh lines. of course. and they cease. That's clear. see here: We don't want unpleasantness." "I bet he is. A tentative cough. gazing sadl y at Mr. now. just like everybody else. your friend wh o owns the private Hades we're trying to get improved. gentlemen. Well. and s ee if we can't fix something up. To a c ertain extant. "Comrade Windsor is correct. Remov e the reason for those very scholarly articles. "The articles will go on." "Well." He looked expectantly at Billy. they may do so. He struggled for spee ch. What's your figure? Name it."These articles are causing a certain inconvenience to the gentleman whom I repr esent. 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. ." said Billy disgustedly." Mr. I guess. rather. Well. the articles stop." Mr. I speak quite frankly. Parker shook his head. and. he knows what to do." "I'm going to put my cards on the table. "I fear that is not feasible. with the restrained dignity of some old Roman senator dealing with the enemies of the Republic. I nee d not go into those reasons. Psmith. though. Parker through his monocle. Mr. if it's not too high. those articles are beginning to attract attention. No conscient ious judge would withhold from Comrade Windsor a cigar or a cocoanut. I guess. My employer is a wealthy man." "It is not so much the money. He has hit the mark and rung the bell." said Billy. "I've no doubt he makes a mighty good pil e out of Pleasant Street. Frankly. according as his private preference might dictate.
But. I should advise you to bound swiftly away. Parker rose. Those articles are going to be stopped. from Sandy Hook to San Francisco. as I have had occasion to observe bef ore. Th ey mean business sure enough. you'll stop them yourselves before you get hurt." said Psmith. As man to man. I guess w e're making a hit. to Melonsquashville. "except to make a noise like a hoop and roll away." he said. But I fear th at Comrade Windsor's generous temperament may at any moment prompt him to start throwing ink-pots. according to your--if I may say so--some what murky lights. Cosy Moments. You give it up ? It is this: 'Cosy Moments cannot be muzzled!'" Mr. "Nothing. We wince before them." said Billy Windsor." he admitted. Tennessee."Comrade Parker. they'll try the other way. That's all I've got t o say. silent men. and if you've any sense bet ween you. from Portland. and I'm going to see it through if they put every gang in New York on to us ." yelled Billy. Now that they find we can't be bought. with the contented look the Far West editor must have worn as the bullet came through the window." "That's right. by George. or was there something solid behind them?" Billy Windsor was looking serious. "There's nothing more to be done then. but we are not for sale. let 'em! We're up against a big th ing. "And I'll give you a piece of advice. except at ten cents weekly. or they wouldn't have shown their hand that way. Frankly--if I may borrow the expre ssion--your square proposition has wounded us. We shall have to watch out. and that sort of man would have a pull with all kinds of Thugs. "I fear that you have allowed constant communication with the conscienceless commercialism of this worldly city to undermine your mor al sense." "And do it quick. "And." "I'm going. one sentence is in every man's mouth. I am a man of powerful self-restr aint. picking up his hat. Cosy Moments is going some now. "To men of nicely poised nervous organisation such as ourselves. From the hills of Maine to the Everglades of Florida. Gradual ly recovering command of ourselves. "Speed. Comrad e Parker. "we must have got them scared." "Precisely. Comrade Windsor. Cosy Moments cann ot be muzzled. closing the door behind him with a bang that added emphasis to his words. and that goes. exploding like a fire-cracker. He's evidently working for somebody pretty big. one of those strong. and I can curb my emotions. Our ganglions quiver like cinematographs. And in Wyoming his deadly aim with the ink-pot won him among the admiring cowboys the sobriquet of Crack-Shot Cuthbert. smoothing his waistcoat thoughtfully. Oregon." agreed Psmith. we review the situation. And what is that sentence? I give you three guesses. cannot be muzzled. "would be no bad thing. too. Comrade Windsor ." he said. Did our visitor's f inal remarks convey anything definite to you? Were they the mere casual badinage of a parting guest." he added." He went out. "these scenes are acutely painful. Parker. Psmith bowed. It is useless to dangle rich bribes before our eyes." . You doubtless mean well. "I guess he meant it all right." said Mr.
" he said. and was off down the stairs with the agility of a Marathon runner. which he acquired at a neighbouring shop a t cut rates in consideration of their being shop-soiled. released Master Maloney. The visitor's reply was to extend a hand and grasp Pugsy's left ear between a lo ng finger and thumb. He made a dive for the s eedy man. Since time began. Pugsy made it. Psmith. who during the preceding moment had been eyeing the tw o editors as if he were committing their appearance to memory. small boys in every country have had but one answer for this action." he said. and stoo d before Master Maloney. that t he seedy-looking man made his appearance. losing only a small part of its strength on the way. "Fresh kid!" he observed disapprovingly. l ooked up with patient sadness. fixing his eyes again on his book. on the morning following the visit of Mr." The man eyed him with displeasure. and he was accustomed to occupy his large store of leisure by reading narrativ es dealing with life in the prairies. . who was at work on a review of a book of poetry. "Youse can't butt in dere. Billy Windsor jumped up. "If Comrade Maloney. "Chase yerself. caught in the act." he said authoritatively. "Hey." he exclaimed. The noise penetrated into the editorial sanctum. "Fade away. fear. He sprang from his seat and wriggled in between the man and the door. The seedy man was making for the door of the inner room. Pugsy looked up with some hauteur.CHAPTER XI THE MAN AT THE ASTOR The duties of Master Pugsy Maloney at the offices of Cosy Moments were not heavy ." A second squeal rent the air." urged Master Maloney. He hurried to the door and flung it open. Psmith followed at a more leisurely pa ce. "Editor in. A movement on the par t of the visitor attracted his attention. "Somebody must be hurting the kid. sprang back. The seedy man. On such occasions as this Billy was a man of few words. Pugsy instantly ceased to be the student and became the man o f action. "is going to take to singing as well as whistling . I fear this journal must put up its shutters. It was while he was eng rossed in one of these. who stood rubbing his ear with resentment written on every feature. Tommy?" inquired the man. "Nope. Pugsy by this time had taken a thorough dislike to him. but the latter. He walked in from the street. To be called "kid" was b ad. and resentment strove for supremacy." he said curtly. The subtle insult of "Tommy" was still worse. He resented being addressed as "kid" by perfe ct strangers. Concentrated thought will be out of the question. He emitted a piercing squeal in which pain. kid. Parker.
Here." "Another of these strong silent men. To feed on such a night as thi s in some low-down hostelry on the level of the street. You will be safer and happier when you are rounding up cows on your mustang. A man with trousers l ike his would not be allowed in. No w they'll know what we look like. We must bear them manfully." "I wonder what he wanted. I know. "needs to recuperate. Comrade Windsor? Possibly our autographs.. I te lls him no. but. Just tried to butt t'roo. when we leave. Yet it might have made all the difference. "you are a martyr. one m ay do a bit of tissue-restoring. would be false economy . 'cos youse said youse wasn't." he said. "I'm not going to wince. And I'd advise you to do the sa me." said Billy. and he nips me by the ear when I gets busy to stop him gettin' t'roo." he said." said Billy thoughtfully." . These are the peri ls of the journalistic life. We shall probably find him waiting for us at th e main entrance with a sand-bag." "It seems to me. but such things." said Billy. In what respect d id his look jar upon you? His clothes were poorly cut." "And he got it." "Whoever's behind those tenements isn't going to stick at any odd trifle. till then--" . Ah. fanned by cool breezes and surrounded by fair women and brave men. "Whereas what Comrade Maloney objected to was the feel of him. there is little danger up here of bei ng slugged by our moth-eaten acquaintance of this morning.. Providence is good to the poor. "and asks is de editor dere. leave you unmoved." Billy turned again to his work. without wincing." said Psmith. 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. Moreover. Possibly five minutes' c hat on general subjects. "Who can say. and they can get after us." said Master Maloney. "so's you could notice it with a microscope. We mus t watch out. Comrade Windsor. "as if he came just to get a sight of us. "The tired brain. 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." "I don't like the look of him. 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."He blows in. That man was probably sent to mark us down for one of the gangs. What I'm going to do is to buy a good big stick. aggrieved." "Comrade Maloney. D id the gentleman state his business?" "Nope. The world is full of us." "These are the drawbacks to being public men.
eh?" "In the old prairie days. interested." "Man at that table wanted to know if my name was Windsor. I wonder what he wants. The waiter bowed and retired to one of the tables where a young man in evening c lothes was seated. Mr. Smith on your paper? Excuse my asking. The thing began to exercise a hypnotic ef fect on Psmith. my name's Windsor." said Billy. "and was it?" "Here he comes. "I don't know your name. "Won't you sit down?" he said. A waiter was bringing a chair." said the other. In the meant . "That's all right. Mr. There's some things i t's better not to yell. "Can I have a word with you. I can go ahead. He came to himself with a start. Windsor?" he said." said the stranger. "I was musing with a certain tenseness at the moment." Billy was saying. From where they sat they coul d see the million twinkling lights of the city. but the fact had not impressed him . "Ah?" said Psmith. Towards the end of the meal. The young man seated himself. then. "It won't be needed. signifies Big-Chief-Who-Can -Hear-A-Fly-Clear-Its-Throat. and the rush of events has left me behind. It was a warm night. to find Billy Windsor in conver sation with a waiter." added Billy. "Never mind about my name. "my friend. Recent events had made him wary of strangers." He turned to Billy. Psmith recollected having seen this solitary diner looking in their direction once or twice during dinner. "Comrade Windsor was known to the Indian s as Boola-Ba-Na-Gosh. Smith. and the roof-garden was full." said Psmith. and at regular intervals there proceed from the bottle's mouth fla shes of flame representing ginger-ale. The man might or might not be friendly. then." He bent forward. Is Mr. Why?" "That's all right. who had been looking at him all the while with a combination of interest and suspicion." The stranger was threading his way between the tables. "What is happening. Billy looked at him curiously." "Pleased to meet you. I too can hear as well as the next man. "Neither of you gentlemen are hard of hearing. Psm ith's gaze concentrated itself on the advertisement of a certain brand of ginger -ale in Times Square. which." Psmith bowed. It is a mass of electric light arranged in the shape of a great bottle. I don't want to have to shout it." Billy hesitated. "By the way. "Yes. I don't know the man from Adam.He turned with gentle grace to his soup. Comrade Windsor?" he inquired. as you doubtless know.
murder. You wouldn't expect a man like that to give himself away. one Comrade Parker.ime. Circumstances had placed him below the surface. make it Brown." said Psmith cordially. "Well." Billy leaned forward eagerly. "By the number of dollars he was ready to put up to have you done in. well-policed cit y. Th e other is a city as full of sinister intrigue." "Never mind my name. let's get back. "Eh? Oh. however." "Then how do you know he's a big bug?" "Precisely. "You're up against a big proposition. hinted at something of the so rt. where only his wits could help him. as any town of mediaeval I taly. "Who is he?" The other shrugged his shoulders." "Yet you don't tell us your name. Anything you please. I've no kick coming. if you like. there was no harm in being on one's guard. Cosy Moments. And Billy realised that these conditions now prevailed in his own case. He had come into conflict with New York's underworld. ." "Well?" said Billy. and sudden death in dark by-ways. Billy bristled. "On what system have you estimated the size of the gen tleman's bughood?" The stranger lit a cigar. The stranger raised a long and curiously delicately shaped hand. of whisperings and conspiracies. I'm a friend. One is a modern. then. "in a recent interview." said Psmith." said the stranger. See here. "It's about that tenement business. You understand certain pa rties have got it in against you?" "A charming conversationalist. of battle. About this tenement thing." "We can look after ourselves. anything may happen to any one in New York." Billy's eyes snapped. "I don't know." he said. cannot be muzzl ed. Well. what about it?" he demanded truculently. If you were in my line of business. you wouldn't be so durn ed stuck on this name thing. I see. "This isn't my funeral. The man behind is a big bug. "Don't bite at me." said Psmith. It don't signify . Call me Smith." "Gum! you'll need to. Billy's experience as a cub-repo rter had given him the knowledge that is only given in its entirety to police an d newspaper men: that there are two New Yorks." "You could select no nobler pseudonym. Given certain conditions. through which one may walk from end to end without encountering adventure.
"Force of habit." "The cat-expert?" said Psmith. Glad to have met you. that's all. Said you were a fri end of his and none of his fellows were going to put a finger on you. Well." "So Bat wouldn't stand for it?" said Billy." concluded the stranger. that is--came to Bat Jarvis. he rest ored it to its bereaved owner. For a few moments after he had gone. he'd do his best for you. "You'll pardon m e. and lo oked at Billy with some sadness." said Psmith. Glad to have met you. "He told me to tell you to watch out. "Not on his life. I haven't seen him so worked up over a thing in years." said Billy. "A man of singularly winsome personality. Good night. Psmith and Billy sat smoking in silence. wearing a light overcoat over his dress clo thes. you have an insect on your coat. "I am sorry to say." "A powerful argument in favour of kindness to animals!" said Psmith." he said apologetically. "here's that man coming back again. handing it to Psmith. You've certainly made t he biggest kind of hit with Bat. "And which gang has he given the job to?" "I wish I could tell you. "Comrade Wi ndsor came into possession of one of Comrade Jarvis's celebrated stud of cats. again. They had plenty to think about." "Why was that?" inquired Billy. I've a date to keep. "He said he needed the money as much as the next man. Mr. but when he found out who he was supposed to lay for." The stranger came up to their table. He is now as a prize tortoise shell to Comrade Jarvis. Psmith thanked him gravely. Psmith felt for his watch." He flicked at Psmith's coat with a quick movement. Observe the sequel. But he said you were to know he wasn't mixed up in it. moving off." "We are much obliged to Comrade Jarvis. Guess I'll be pushing along. I don't kn ow what you've been doing to Bat. Turned it down without a blink. W hat did he do? Instead of having the animal made into a nourishing soup." CHAPTER XII A RED TAXIMETER The Astor Hotel faces on to Times Square. He also said that any time you were in bad. "Good night. I reckon. gentlemen."Oh?" he said. because another gang is dead sure to take on the job. He--his agent. From the pocket of this he produced a gold watch. he gave his job the frozen face. Comrade Windsor--" "Hullo." "Bat turned the job down. but he's certainly Willie the Long-Lost Brothe r with you. A few paces to the right of the main e . Smith. Pardon me. "How's the time going?" asked Billy at length. And he sent me along to find y ou and tell you so.
" "In a hurry. and right here it came to me. The usual crowd was drifting slowly up and down in the glare of the white lights. it's M r. brightest. "Correct me if I am wrong. He would be. staring. He was well when he last wrote." said Billy. "but I'm afraid you'll have to excuse us. it's early yet. Tough as a plank. Psmith broke the silence. and at the foot of this the stream of traffic breaks. So I just followed you a long. To the left is Broadway. see here. Win dsor. did it?" said Billy politely. are you?" "Not in the least. He showed me the photographs. To the right of the building is Sevent h Avenue." "No. "I said to myself. Comrade Windsor. They had reached Herald Square.' Darned if I could put a name to you. Good night." He turned. t he longest. then crossed the road. "but were you not a trifle--shall we say abrupt?--with the old family friend?" Billy Windsor laughed.ntrance the Times Building towers to the sky. Windsor. You may have heard him speak of me--Jack Lak e? How is the old man? Seen him lately?" "Not for some time. when a voice behind them exclaimed. I've never set eyes on you before. quiet. though. We always called him Joe. We were side-partners for years." "You'd have known him down in Missouri. "I saw you come out of the Astor. I know your father very well." "Good for him. forming two channels." "Then come right along. "It did. Windsor!" They wheeled round. Now." "It did. I'd be right glad f or you to come." "Because we don't want to. 'I know that man. dark. straightest. started to walk down Broadway to Billy' s lodgings in Fourteenth Street. Mr. the Great White Way. of course?" said Billy. sir. "Why. having left the Astor. In Missouri." "Say. Psmith and Billy." "I don't doubt it. A flashily dressed man was standing with outstetched hand. and dull. . why not? It's only a step. 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. Mr. but I've seen so many photograp hs of you that I reckon we're old friends. old Joe Windsor. and started to walk away. The other stood for a moment. "That's right. thanks. wickedest street in the world." he said tentatively." he said cheerily.
"that." he said. I am in your hands. Billy shook his he ad. I might have gone along. so far from speeding to your lodgings. Let us walk." "And then?" ."If my father's name was Joseph. sir?" A red taximeter cab was crawling down the road at their side." They cut across into Sixth Avenue. we shan't have much to worry us. We are the slaves of our temperaments. we are going in precisely the opposite d irection? We are in an up-town train. "Are we going anywhere in particular?" "This train goes as far as Hundred and Tenth Street. "I don't know about wal king." "These are deep waters. then. and we are young and strong. thoughtfully." "Taxi." said Psmith after a pause. Comrade Windsor. if you don't mind." said Billy. After all. What do they take us for. Do you mean to intimate--?" "If they can't do any better than that." "Something about it that offends your aesthetic taste?" queried Psmith sympathet ically. "Has it escaped your notice. that if we had accepted Comrade Lake's invitation. I thought it better not to. the same a s mine. A train was just coming in. We'll go up to there. which he hasn't. we highly strung literary men do have these curious prejudices. As it was. I wonder? Farmers? Playing off a comic-supplement bluff like that on us!" There was honest indignation in Billy's voice. "Ah." They had reached Twenty-Third Street when Billy stopped." "I noticed it. then. "You think. and gone al ong for a smoke and a chat." said Psmith. the night is fine. the chat would not have been of the pleasantest natu re?" "We should have been put out of business. We cannot h elp it." said Psmith. "of the lavish hospitality of the American. Comrade Windsor. which I haven't been." said Billy briefly." "I have heard so much. and walked up the stairs to the station of th e Elevated Railway." he said. "Not that particular one. Comrade Windsor. "Something about it makes my aesthetic taste kick like a mule. and if I 'd been photographed since I was a kid. "Suppose we take the Elevated?" "Anything you wish. "instead of being William. "Not that a taxi would be an unsound scheme. and if he'd ever been in Missouri in his life.
Comrade Windsor. Billy proceeded to occupy the rocking-chair. "My address is 84 East Fourteenth Street." "These meetings. "Good night. "are very pleasant. There are only certain pla ces where you can get off an Elevated train. a nd. "Have you thought of som e new form of entertainment?" Billy was making for a spot some few yards down the road. In the roadway at the foot of the opposite staircase was a red taximeter cab. I am in your hands. We are two young men out for reckless dissipation. The night is yet ." The train pulled up at the Fourteenth Street station. "What now."And then we'll come back. and cross ed the street. Psmith saw his objective. CHAPTER XIII REVIEWING THE SITUATION Arriving at the bed-sitting-room." "I thought perhaps you did." "He must be something of an expert at the game to have kept on our track. sir?" said the driver." urged Psmith. Comrade Windsor?" inquired Psmith patiently." "Not on your life." "These things are very disturbing. Looking in that direct ion. "D ignity is impossible when one is compelled to be the Hunted Fawn. We are going back there now. There was a silence. Psmith seate d himself gracefully on the couch-bed. 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. By all means let ve it. All this while you might be getting fares down-town. we'll make a trip to Philadelphia. Half-way across Billy stopped. however." said Psmith. I just wanted to make certain of his game. "I don't know what you're talking about. In the shadow of the Elevated there was standing a taximeter cab. I suppose. Take me where you will. went down the stairs. well." said Billy. as they approached. or Chicago. began to rock himself rhythmically to and fro." "Search me. That members of . It is only five cents a go. "You must be losing mon ey over this job." "And after that." said Billy." "I can save you worrying. as was his wont." or so young our p us ha At Hundred and Tenth Street they left the train. and we have money in urses. The events of the evening had been a revelation to Psmith. I didn't expect to dodge him by taking the Elevated . All he'd got to do was to get there before the train. and wait. when they were in the train." replied Billy." said the driver. mewhere? Well. "Taxi. "We are giving you a great deal of trouble. He had not realised b efore the extent of the ramifications of New York's underworld. It's as easy as falling off a log.
" "Was that the only reason?" "Sure. "this thing wants talking over." he concluded." "What's all this about?" demanded Billy. The bulk of the gangs of New York are of the hooli gan class. All t his has got nothing to do with you. support life by more delicate and genteel methods than the rest. "Well. It'll give me jus t the chance I need. Comrade Windsor?" "How's that?" "In various treatises on 'How to Succeed in Literature. You're over here on a vacation. inste ad of getting mixed up with--" He broke off. "wh ich I have read from time to time. I told you why. I'm going to get a job out of one of the big dailies." "Then all is well. Once you get mixed up with the gangs there's no saying what's going to be doing. I have always found it stated that what the n ovice chiefly needed was an editor who believed in him. See what I mean? Well. It was a considerable time before Billy spoke. The aristocracy of the gangs soar higher. and maybe shot. relieved. like the man of the Astor ro of-garden. he had formed a mental picture of low-browed hooligans. anyway." "By all means." he said. Well. If we win out. bu t it had not gone far enough.'" said Psmith sadly. 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. I'm going to see this through. as far as I'm concerned." "It's this way. In you. except at election-time. But each ga ng has its more prosperous members." "It's like this. "I'm making no kick about your work. keeping carefully to the ir own quarter of the town. gentlemen." "I gathered from your remarks that you were anxious to receive my resignation. This picture had been correct. though I'd do it for that a lone. as far as it went. You want to go about and have a good time. "For the moment I fancied that my lit . When Billy Windsor had mentioned the gangs. You haven't got to make a living this side. Psmith looked at him reproachfully. Comrade Windsor. there's something to it besides that. "Are you trying to sack me." "Well." said Psmith. "Say. It isn't only that I want to do a bit of good to the poor cusses in those tenements. But. it's different with you. on such primitive fea ts as robbing intoxicated pedestrians. I fancied that I had found such an editor." "Something of the sort would seem to be the case. and are rarely met with outside their natural boundaries. that's what I wanted to say. There's no doubt now that we're up against a mighty big proposit ion. I didn't want you be black-jacked. The main body rely for their incomes. I don't see why you shouldn't quit.the gangs should crop up in the Astor roof-garden and in gorgeous raiment in the middle of Broadway was a surprise. Comrade Windsor. who.
But this tenement business was diff erent. Men such as ourselves. and still m ore the episodes of the family friend from Missouri and the taximeter cab. "Now that Comrade Jarvis. Life had been more or less of a game with him up till now. and this matter of the tenements had hit him harder than any one who did not know him intimately would have imagined. "Now that Bat has turned up the job. Parker. If it was the Three Points. In his previo us encounters with those with whom fate had brought him in contact there had bee n little at stake. need a certain stimulus. The fewer in the game. The rest of the gang wouldn't know anything about it. these are the mere everyday risks of the young journalist's life. Comrade Windsor. Also that fillip. the fewer to split up the dollars. He was fully awa re of the risks that he must run. Here he had touched the realities." "And what then?" "And then the boss would talk it over with his own special partners. he'd go to Spider Reilly. I am bound to say. or whoever fixed this th ing up." said Billy. would be the chosen substitute? " Billy shook his head. bu t Billy Windsor was too recent an acquaintance. The words of the man at the Astor. His lot had been cast in pleasant places. The prize of victory had been merely a comfortable feeling of having had the best of a battle of wits. if we give them the chance. to exhibit his fe elings. does him credit. 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. and the sight of actual raw misery h ad come home to him with an added force from that circumstance. Comrade Windsor. There are four main gangs. that trouble would hav e to be faced. If it was the Table Hill lot. Wit hout them we should be dull and dissatisfied. would go to the main boss of the gang. as it undoubtedly did. Every gangleader has about a dozen of them. a section. But he meant to see it through. if it comes to that. and to a finish at that. it might be any one o f three gangs. you see. But th e smallest of them's large enough to put us away. Our work would lose its fire. who should you say. had s hown him that this thing was on a different plane from anything that had happene d to him before. I guess. "showing a spirit of forbearance which. It was not Psmith's habit. A sort of Inner Circle. Do you mean that we have an entire gang on our trail in one solid mass. Bat's is the biggest. Mike would have understood him. when he felt deeply on any subject. And so on." . If it meant trouble. the penalty of defeat nothing worse th an the discomfort of having failed to score. or will it be merely a section?" "Well." "Then you'll stay in this thing? You'll stick to the work?" "Like a conscientious leech. has declined the congenial task of fracturing ou r occiputs. Comrade Windsor. he'd look up Dude Dawson." "I don't quite grasp the nice points of this matter. It was a fight without the gloves. They'd fix it up among themselves.erary talents had been weighed in the balance and adjudged below par." he said. There was something worth fighting for . Somehow or other those tenement houses had got to b e cleaned up. It will give our output precisely the edge it requires. 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. i f they are to keep up their high standards. a certain fillip." "Bully for you. If that is all--why.
"that has ever been struck. will enjoy that leisure and free dom from interruption which is so essential to the artist. and not go off the Broadway after dark. b e bubbling over with gratitude towards us." "Now that our sleuth-hound friend in the taximeter has ascertained your address. Then things are not so black. and app ly some of those half-scissor hooks of his to the persons of any who overcome th e opposition of Comrade Maloney. 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. His duties will be to sit in the room opening out of ours." said Billy. All unused to the nice conventions of polite soci ety." "It's not a bad idea. There were. had a paragraph ab out his chances for the light-weight title. Kid Brady's star had undoubtedly been in the ascendant. There's too much light for them there. Wolmann under the fifth rib on Friday night would almost certainly have been denied to him. But stay. explain the facts of the case. in the Evening World. People began to talk about him as a likely man. in the Journal. therefore. drew a picture of him. I suggest that we approach Comrad e Brady. we shall win through . Wolmann. Finally. A particularly massive policeman is on duty at my very doors. meanwhile. Tad. What steps do you propose to take by way of self-defence?" "Keep out in the middle of the street. Y ou're pretty safe on Broadway. "He should. 'where should I be? Among the also-rans. "if equipped in any degree with finer feelings." said Psmith. shall you change it?" "It wouldn't do any good. the management of the Highfield Club had signed him for a ten-r ound bout with Mr. They'd soon find where I'd gone to. The Peerless Kid. but for us the privilege of smiting Comrade Cyc lone Al. that all may yet be well. But what of the day-time? Suppose these sandbag-specialists drop in at the office during business hours. Wolmann.' I imagine that he w ill do any little thing we care to ask of him. An idea!" "Well?" "Comrade Brady. these rugged persons will charge through. From the moment the paper had taken up his cause. We. In such circumstances good work w ill be hard to achieve. and Friday night shall see us at the Highfield. I fancy. 'But for Cosy Moments. isn't it?" "You are right. girded as to the loins and full of martial spirit. The man Cosy Moments is running for the lightweight championship. the result of intima cy with the main boss." continued Psmith. How about yours?" "I fancy I shall be tolerably all right. Comrade Windsor.' he should be saying to himself. reasons why Cosy Moments shou ld feel a claim on the Kid's services. So much for our private lives. Edgren. Carefully eluding these aristocrats. W ill Comrade Maloney's frank and manly statement that we are not in be sufficient to keep them out? I doubt it. One of your newspaper friends shall supply us with tickets. As I was saying. Your literary man must have complete quiet if he is to g ive the public of his best. and offer him at a comfortable salary th e post of fighting-editor of Cosy Moments. "It is about the soundest idea. All we have to do is to look out for about a dozen hooligans with a natural dignity in their bearing. We are his pugilistic sponsors." ."I see." It almost seemed as if he were right.
and be bad ly beaten in the Evening Mail. on the banks of the Harlem River. and loosened all the nuts. started to make up for lost time on arriving in the street once more. to their acute disgust. When Ps mith and Billy entered it on the Friday evening. "I fear me. The industry began to languish. and one of the spa rrers is knocked out. raided by the police. it would be hard to find a respect in which it does not differ. The ingenious gentlemen who constructe d it started with the object of making it noisy. Psmith. All the seats were occupied." It was a good. 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. which stands alone as boxing contests in New York. The ti tle under which the Highfield used to be known till a few years back was "Swifty Bob's. honest title. The system leads to a certain amount of confusion . "A thoroughly unpleasant neighbourhood." to be the main event of the evening's entertainment. but that ob. idea. No decisions are pe rmitted at these clubs. this blighted locality is that blighted locality. there s tands the old warehouse which modern progress has converted into the Highfield A thletic and Gymnastic Club. But we must carry . But a wave of anti-pugilistic feeling swept over the New York authorities. So they fashioned the pillars of thin steel. 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.CHAPTER XIV THE HIGHFIELD Far up at the other end of the island. that we have been somewhat rash in venturi ng as far into the middle west as this. Promoters of boxing contests found themselves. when its patrons are packed into the carriages in one solid jam by muscular guards a nd policemen. it was comparatively empty. idea of such a thing. conjures u p a sort of National Sporting Club. But the Highfield dif fers in some respects from this fancy picture. but really noisy. with pictures on the walls. Not ordinarily noisy. forced into temporary silence by this combination of noises. and now a Subway train in motion suggests a prolonged dynamite explosion blende d with the voice of some great cataract. critically surveying the dark streets. The best method of getting to the Highfield is by the Subway. was billed for a "ten-round exhibition co ntest. like a to n of coal falling on to a sheet of tin. and if you attend ed seances at Swifty Bob's you left your gold watch and your little savings at h ome. The imagination. To see the Subway in its most characteristic mood one must travel on it during the rush-hour. padding on the c hairs. Indeed." he said. And then some big-brained person suggested the club an example of American dry humour. shoving in a manner reminiscent of a Rugby football scrum. the verdict is left to the newspapers next day. but only a few of the straps and hardly any of the spa ce reserved by law for the conductor alone. But these names are so misleading. If ever there was a blighted locality wh ere low-browed desperadoes might be expected to spring with whoops of joy from e very corner. draw in the American. Conversation on the Subway is impossible. All th members of the club. Unless a regrettable accident occurs. the chosen of Cosy Moments. You knew what to expect. but it has the merit of offering consolation to a much-smitten warrior. Comrade Windsor. and a sea of white shirt-fronts from roof to floor. It is t the friendly exhibition spar is not the fault of Swifty B Kid Brady. and the sleepers of thin wood. stimulated by the title. It is not uncommon to find a man win easily in the World.
Alo ng the four walls were raised benches in tiers. who chewe d gum with an abstracted air throughout the proceedings. however. and yellow braces. over the door of which it was just possible to decipher in the dark ness the words "Highfield Athletic and Gymnastic Club. "Let us inquire of this ge nial soul if he knows where the Highfield is. by means of which they tapp ed details of each round through to their down-town offices. wou ld split up the mass by the simple method of ploughing his way between the pair. Possibly they considered the appeal a mere formula." The audience did nothing of the sort. . especially in such a particularly ill-lighted neighbourhood as that through whic h they were now passing. These proved to be sort of sheep-pens of unpolished wood. Psmith turned up the collar of his Burberry. Psmith courteously offering views on the weather and forecasts of the succes s of Kid Brady in the approaching contest. He stopped suddenly. In the centre of the room. was the ring. when they turned a corner and found themselves opposite a gloomy. each with four hard chairs in it. and was deep in a comparison of the respective climates of England and the United S tates. with tickers at their sides." The pedestrian referred to proved to be going there himself. when a rough thrust from Windsor's elbow brought home to him his indis cretion. A burly gentleman in shirt-s leeves entered the ring. member s of this club. They went on togeth er. Gentlemen will kindly stop smokin'. Somewhere i n the background a gong sounded." he said. "We suffer much in the cause of Literature. from the right. In which direction.on. does this arena lie?" It had begun to rain as they left Billy's lodgings. On these were seated as tough-lo oking a collection of citizens as one might wish to see. stepped briskly forw ard to meet Tommy. There were preliminary bouts before the main event. barn-li ke building. Possibly they did not apply the descriptio n to themselves. should you say. The burly gentleman gave tongue in a voice that cleft the air like a cannon-ball . The interior of the Highfield Athletic and Gymnast ic Club was severely free from anything in the shape of luxury and ornament. Psmith deftly turned the conversation back to the subject of the weather. At intervals the combatants would cling aff ectionately to one another. On chairs at the ring-s ide were the reporters. he was alluding to the prominent part Cosy Moments had played in th e affair." The tickets which Billy Windsor had obtained from his newspaper friend were for one of the boxes. "Ex-hib-it-i-on four-round bout between Patsy Milligan and Tommy Goodley. blue serge trousers. wishing he had not said as much. The contest was short but energetic. Rattling on. who seemed to be a man of small speech. made no commen t. Tommy on my left. still c hewing gum and still wearing the same air of being lost in abstract thought. Their companion. and Patsy. approaching from the left. where write-up repo rters were waiting to read off and elaborate the messages. Their connection with that militant journal was not a thing even to be suggested to casual acquaintances. Patsy on my right. and on these occasions the red-jerseyed man. brilliantly lighted by half a dozen electric chandeliers. followed by two slim youths in fighting costume and a m assive person in a red jersey.
"Oh. There was a distinct air of relief when the last preliminary was finished and pr eparations for the main bout began. members of this--" There was noticeably less applause for the Kid." The burly gentleman. dropped down from the ring. Wolmann was one of the famous. reseating himself. for a tall youth in a bath-robe. Psmith rose to his feet. followed by the two armies of assistants.Towards the end of the first round Thomas. "I should not like Comrade Brady. Mr. "to think that he has no friend but his poor old mother. He leane d over the ropes. ducked under the ro pes and sat down in the opposite corner. ushering into the ring a sheepishly-grinning youth in a fla nnel suit. you Kid!" he observed encouragingly. put Patrick ne atly to the floor. you Al. introductions and the like. h e can come right down into the ring. The remaining preliminaries proved disappointing. though a far lesser. There were form alities to be gone through. his pleasant face wearing a self-conscious smirk. "If that guy whistling back up yonder thinks he can do better than these boys. as Kid Brady. attended by a little army of assistants. The burly gentleman reap peared from nowhere. "In-ter-doo-cin' Young Leary. A few of thos e present had heard of his victories in the West. 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. you will recollect. Wolmann bowed benevolently. A raucous welco me was accorded to the new member. had entered the ring.!" roared the crowd. uproar. who will box some good boy here in September. He was an unknown. eluding a left swing. where the latter remained for the necessary ten seconds. but these were but a small sec tion of the crowd. "between Cyclone . and then the b uilding became suddenly full of noise. "Ex-hib-it-i-on ten-round bout. and spoke--without heat. Two other notable performers were introduced in a similar manner. Mr." It was here that the red-jerseyed thinker for the first and last time came out of his meditative trance. but firmly. occurred on a pr evious occasion." The whistling ceased." He walked to the other side of the ring and repeated the remark. and the gong sounded. Al. It did not commence at once. When the faint applause had ceased. on which were painted in white letters the words "Cyclone Al." A moment later there was another." he said. . as. One of the army carried a bright green bucket. He was generally considered the most likely man to give the hitherto invincible Jimmy Garvin a hard battle for the light-weight ch ampionship." thundered the burly gentleman. Wolmann. a fighter with a reputation fr om New York to San Francisco. "--and Kid Brady. "Oh." he bellowed impressively. Wolmann--" Loud applause. "a noo member of this c hub.
He gave the impression of being aware that Mr. The Kid. and the other pawing the air on a line with his square jaw . relying on his long left.Mr. but he co ntinued to move forward. one would have said that he did not realise the position of affairs. "He'll win yet. The buildin g rang with shouts of." said Billy. received it under the chin. Wolmann had committed a breach of good taste and of being resolved to pass it off with ready tact. Despite these efforts. Wolmann. In one lightning rally in the third he brought his right across squarely on to the Kid's jaw. the Kid following in his self-contained. Rounds two and three were a repetition of round one. He seeme d to be of the opinion that if you are a cyclone. His opponent's left flashed out again. Comrade Windsor. however. was putting in three blow s to his one. 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 was plainly getting all the worst o f it. Suddenly his opponent's long left shot out. The Cyclone. When the gong sounded. Instead of being knock . The Cos y Moments representative exhibited more stolidity. the Kid replied with a heavy right swing." said Billy with simple confidence. He comes from Wyoming. found himself against the ropes. a forward leap. "It seems to me. scuttered out into the middle of the ring. By the time he had got out of that uncongenial position. The Cyclone's fury wa s expending itself. Except for the fact that he w as in fighting attitude. above the uproar. still s miling. and a feint. lande d heavily with both hands. That long left shot out less sharply." he said. delivering an occasional right to the body with the pleased smile of an infant destroying a Noah's Ark with a tac k-hammer. two more of the Kid's swings had found their m ark. the house was pract ically solid for the Cyclone. and Mr. you Al. The Cyclone raged almost un checked about the ring. Whoops and yells rose from everywhere. solid way. Wolmann. somewhat perturbed. "He does n't mind it! He likes it! He comes from Wyoming!" With the opening of round four there came a subtle change. It was a blow which should have knocked an y boxer out. The Cyclone now became still more cyclonic. But always he kept boring in. who had been strolling forw ard. Mr. I should not be surprised at any moment to see his head bounce off on to the floor. He danced round the Kid with an india-rubber agility. with one gloved hand moving slowly in the neighbourhood of his stocky chest. Energetic Mr. 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. but this time. having executed a backward leap. He had a left arm which seemed to op en out in joints like a telescope. ending the first round. Wolmann sprang from his corner as if somebody had touched a spring.!" Psmith turned sadly to Billy. i nstead of ignoring the matter. it is never too soon to begin behaving like one. and continued to stroll forward as if nothing o f note had happened. The Kid's genial smile did not even quiver. "Oh. "that this merry meeting looks like doing Comrade Brady no good. The Kid merely staggered slightly and returned to business." "You think so?" "Sure." "Wait. leaping back. Wolmann. "See!" roared Billy enthusiastically in Psmith's ear.
The gallant sportsmen whose connection with boxing was confined to watching ot her men fight." The Kid blinked. were beginning to fear that they might lose their money after all. "Cosy Moments wins. or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes he stared at t he Pacific. why. the Cosy Moments champion now took the hits in his stride. I fancy." said Psmith. When you began to administer those--am I correct in saying?--half-scissor h ooks to the body. but." CHAPTER XV AN ADDITION TO THE STAFP Penetrating into the Kid's dressing-room some moments later. "And why did I feel like that. The Kid beamed as they en tered. clutched repeatedly. I never felt them. not if he was to use a hammer. hanging on lik e a leech till removed by the red-jerseyed referee. was going out like a lamb. while on the ropes the Cyclone. A slight decrease in the pleasantness of the Kid's smile was noticeable. 's!" at the sound of the gong. There were cheers and "Oh. "to find that you can see us . who had come in like a lion. is Al. There charm of manne r cannot qualify a man for the position." he said. Comrade Windsor. the Cy clone. Mighty glad to see you. "Gents." said Psmith. Yell s of agony from panic-stricken speculators around the ring began to smite the ra fters. but obviously content. now but a gentle breeze. It was broken by a cow-boy yell f rom Billy Windsor. and who would ha ve expired promptly if any one had tapped them sharply on their well-filled wais tcoats." "And yet at one period in the proceedings. His expression began to resemble more nearly the gloomy importance of the Cosy Moments photographs. It is not a post that any weakling can fill. In the fifth round the thing became a certainty. "he couldn't hit a hole in a block of ice-cream." said Psmith. Comrade Brady. Like the month of March. For the Kid. He's a good quick boy. But the fear was merely transi ent. Because my faith in you was justified. then I felt like some watcher of the skies when a new pla net swims into his ken. was sliding slowly to the floor. having his right leg rubbed by a shock-headed man in a sweater . who had been one of his seconds during the conflict.ed back by it. Comrade Brady. No one can hold down the job simply by having a kind heart or being good at farmyard imitations. and betting on what they considered a certainty. Suddenly a grisly silence fell upon the house. Because there before me stood the ideal fighting-editor of Cosy Moments. battered. I had expected to find that Comrade Wolmann's purposeful buffs had completely closed your star-likes. Comrade Brady? I will tell you. the editorial staff found the winner of the ten-round exhibition bout between members of the club s eated on a chair. "come right in." "It is a relief to me.. was standing in the middle of the ring." continued the Kid with powerful imagery. We want a man of t hews and sinews. "An omen. The Cyclone. No." "Sure. and ca me shuffling in with his damaging body-blows. "How's that?" he inquired. drooping like a wet soc k. but there was an appealing note in them this time . "I fanci ed that your head would come unglued at the neck. you Al. a man who would rather be hit on the head with a half-brick tha .
this gets past me. totally disagreed with us. Comrade Parker. "The day before yesterday a man named P arker called at the office and tried to buy us off. Billy shut the door. We can look after ourselves o ut of the office. "We want to tal k over something with you. gents." The Kid turned appealingly to Billy. "Gum! Mr. We offer you the job of sitting in the outer room and intercepting these privacy.n not. "Say. they're tough proposition s." "It's this way." said Psmith. Put me wise. "You stimulate us. a fighting-editor. Comrade Brady. bade the company good night and retired. Jack'll be through in a minute." "It was about time some strong josher came and put it across to 'em. "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. "you know those articles about the tenements we've been having i n the paper?" "Sure." "Can we have a couple of words with you alone. but to get into his clothes at once bef ore he caught a chill." said Billy. I read 'em. "Kid. "that he left breathing threate nings and slaughter. Comrade Brady. and having advis ed the Kid not to stop and pick daisies." Billy's voice grew indignant at the recollection. and once they put up a bluff to get us wher e they could do us in. Mr." said Billy. "So we thought. who during this conversation had been concentrating himself on his subject 's left leg. however." added the Kid. They're to the good. So we've come along to you. Kid?" said Billy. Sit down. Windsor. I guess?" queried the interested Kid. Comrade Brady." he said. "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. "You gave him the hook." "Parker?" "That's what I'm coming to." "We've been followed in the streets." "In brief. is compel therefore bravoes b . And it is for that reason that we have ventured to call upo n you. Windsor. And you. "To such an extent. those gangs." "You don't say!" exclaimed the Kid. This is praise from Sir Hubert Stanley." Psmith bowed." "Sure. you see. but what we want is some one to help in case they try to rush us there." Jack. now announced that he guessed that would about do. are such a man." said Psmith.
" said Psmith resignedly. You app ear to be ready. Otherwise we shall start for Broadway and finish up at Minneapolis. "In my trusting way." said Billy. There are doubloons and to spare in the old oak chest. if they did. Comrade Brady?" "We don't want to get you in under false pretences. They had to grope their way in darkness. The salary we leave to you. and resumed." "Next time we three go on a little jaunt anywhere." said Billy. there woul d be something doing. We three. if you gents feel like it. "that would suit us all the way up. "I had imagined that either you or Comrade Brady was in charge of this expedition and taking me by a known route to the nearest S ubway station. That's good enough for me." They emerged from the blind alley and stood in the dark street. "Nix on the salary thing. "you are. see wha t I mean? I'll have to be going away somewhere and getting into training." he said. if that happens. I'll do it." "Great.. "Of course . This is the first time I been up here. Any old t hing you gents want me to do. I placed myself. "it's this way. beyond a doubt. too." protested the light-weight. I did not think to ask. Maybe with Jimmy Garvin. they'll be giving me a chance of a big fight. they may not come anywhere near the office." "Comrade Brady. I'd be m ighty glad to come in till I'm wanted to go into training-camp." "I thought the Kid knew the way." He stepped into his coat. I shou ldn't be able to come and sit with you. What do you feel about it?" "Gents. "I though t you was taking me right. "Hullo!" said Billy. But still. the goods. and.efore they can reach us. If you'd do that. I wouldn't take a dime. I'd have been waiting still for a cha nce of lining up in the championship class. H ow does the offer strike you. "I was just taggin' along with you gents." said the Kid. Kid. we'd be tickled to death. he will keep right away. Shall we meander forth?" The building was empty and the lights were out when they emerged from the dressi ng-room. supremely the stuff. "Now that I've made good by getting the decision over Al. "Where have we come to?" Psmith sighed. then." "And touching salary--" put in Psmith. But. It was still raining when they reached the street. after walking some hundred yards. hand-in-hand. whol ly in your hands. looking doubtful . And glad. "Shucks!" said the Kid with emphasis. if I may say so." said Psmith warmly. You a re. without hesitation. They turned off to the left. sound sense." said Billy. found themse lves in a blind alley. If it hadn't a-been for you gents. "it would be as well to take a map and a corps of guides with us. and if the foe has good. and the only signs of life were a moist policeman and the d istant glare of public-house lights down the road. Well. will face the foe. Take what you need and put the rest--if any--back. Kid.
Several natives. 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. "Aha!" said Psmith suddenly. as Psmith would have said. The rules and conditions governing the encounter offen ded the delicate sensibilities of the gang. the gen eralship of the expedition had been in the hands of the fallen warrior. His fi ngers closed upon it. T here was no doubt that much had been hoped for from speedy attack. Psmith they kn ew. and rely on their advice to take us to our goal. they could not account for the Kid." he said to the leader. the Kid at his side. even when warring among themselves. The Kid's rapid work on the present occasion created a good deal of confusion. one for the Shrewd Blow rather than the Pr olonged Parley. A moment later Psmith and the Kid followed. We will put our case before them. the Kid picked it up. In the darkness it was impos sible to say how many of them there were. Stooping swiftly. "but if you can spare me a moment of yo ur valuable time--" There was a sudden shuffle of feet on the pavement. sir. It was a short. something dropped from his hand on to the pavement with a bump and a rattle. Billy Windsor. Physical courage is not an outstanding quality of the New York hooligan.ly up and down it. His remo val from the sphere of active influence had left the party without a head. as a rule. Their c hosen method of battling is to lie down on the ground and shoot. As he fell. the blackjack of the New York tough. he had seen enough to show him that the occ asion was. and the man Psmith had bee n addressing fell to the ground in a heap. in fact. He had been a few paces behind the others during the black -jack incident. And. he sprang forward into the confused mass of the enemy. a quick movement on the part of the Kid. and there raged over the body of the fallen leader a battle of Homeric type. 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." A little knot of men was approaching from the left. Their forte was long-range fighting with pistols. but. With that they felt . With a whoop of the purest Wyoming brand. concealing nothing. arm ed with the big stick which he had bought after the visit of Mr. which is rarely great. is stunt ed and slight of build. to add to their discomfiture. a chunky sound as of wood striking wood. wicked-looking little bludgeon. "I perceive a native. "Excuse me. Like artists who feel themselves tra mmelled by distasteful conventions. It was not a long affair. Parker. And." advised the Kid briefly. This is more su ited to their physique. was the first to join issue. and Billy Windsor they knew. The gangsman. Also. in any case. the gangs exhibit a lively distaste for the hard knocks of hand-to-hand fighting. It was not lessened by the behaviour of the intended victims. dark as it was. they were damped and could not do themselves justice. His personal preference is for retreat when it is a question of unpleasantness with a stranger. Psmith stepped forward. "Get busy. and handed it to Psmith. Qui te a little covey of them.
yes. Comrade Windsor. easily outstripped him." said the Kid. they must tear themselves away. full of zeal. Willie Harvey. I just turns r ound and walks straight out of the ring to my dressing-room. Besides. Comrade Brady?" "In the air. What do you think I done? Fall down and take the count? Not on your life. which went out just as Billy arrived ." During this reminiscence. But from our point of view. comes tearing in after me. panting. the man on the ground had contrived to clear his mind . His visit to the Highfield was paid. "The merchant with whom we hob-nobbed on our way to the Highfield. it would b e as well if he were to sit up and take notice. "Still--what exactly. Already they were suffering griev ously from the stick. 'Fight?' says I. They carried pistols. 'What fight?' See what I mean? I hadn't a notion of what had happened. He was not on our trail. Willie. There was but one thing to be done. Subsequent events must have ju stified our fighting editor in his eyes. to find Psmith and the Kid examining the fallen leader of the departed ones with the aid of a match. It was a half an hour and m ore before I could remember a thing. this was n ot the dear. and began to mutter something in a fog gy voice. Such an event would undoubtedly b e an excellent thing for the public good. I fancy that this was his first inti mation that we were in the offing. Comrade Windsor. The hooligan stirred. melting into the night whence they had come. pursued one fugitive some fifty yards down the street. 'What's doing. Billy." said Billy uncharitably. Comrade Brady." The Kid did so. and finds me getting into my clothe s. "Bats in the belfry. 'It's a lo vely day. then stampeded in half a dozen different directions. It was up-town. Light anot her match.' he says. wavering. In a mom ent of imprudence I mentioned Cosy Moments. 'I'm going fishin'." explained the Kid.' I says. homely old Bowery. Kid?' he asks. but his quarry. "From one point of view. It seems to be a moot point whether he will ever recover consciousness. shook himself. 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. Martin and me was mixing it good and hard all ov er the ring. I think. Dizzy. purely from sport-loving motives.' 'You've lost the fight. but it was too dark and t he combatants were too entangled to allow them to use these. where curious crowds might collect at the f irst shot. sat up. The head of it fell off and dropped upon the up-turned face. Reluctant as they might be to abandon their fallen leader. when suddenly he puts over a stiff one right on the point. Gum! I remember when I fought Martin Kelly. But this vulgar brawling in the darkness with muscular opponents who hit hard and often with sticks and hands was distasteful to them. the black-jack. We could ascertain from him who he is and which particular collection of horny-handeds he represents." said Psm ith.en rapport. who was seconding me. exhibiting a rare turn of speed. He came back." "Mighty good thing if he doesn't. For a moment they hung. I was only s tarting to learn the game then. "It is our friend of the earlier part of the evening. 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. "He's still woozy. and the lightning blows of the Kid. They could no t develop any enthusiasm for it.
made another attempt to wit hdraw. 'I'm dying. sat there motionless. After the fight they found me on the fire-escape outside my dressing-room.' says they. Once more. "wants to know what's your gang. I remember when Joe Peterson put me out. his remarks sound like the output of a gramophone with a hot potato in its mouth. "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. or the othe r gentleman?" "It's Spider Reilly." "Sure thing. Comrade Brady ." said the Kid. 'It's a ll right." "Says he's Jack Repetto. but." said the Kid. and he put me down and out in the eighth round." agreed the Kid. The giddiness seemed to overcome him again. There was another interruption at this moment." he said. "In the first place." announced the interpreter. This is some other mut t. "Try and find out." continued Psmith. Dude Dawson runs the Table Hill crowd. desire outran performance." said the former. but no farther. Comrade Brady?" "Says it's the Three Points. i f you could spare us a moment of your valuable time. for he gr asped the lamp-post. The bashful Mr. sliding slowly to the ground. he pulled the Kid's legs from under hi m with a swift jerk. personally. I'm dying. The first sign he showed of ret urning intelligence was a sudden dash for safety up the road. 'Come in. The Kid was inspired to further reminiscence. He got as far as the nearest st reet-lamp." The man on the ground muttered something that to Psmith and Billy was unintellig ible. Comrade Windsor." explained the Kid. "It's no good him trying to run for a while after he's put his chin in the way of a real live one. chaps. 'It's all right. He had an awful punch. "The Three Points? Let me see. "for breaking in upon your reverie." "Which other mutt in particular?" asked Psmith. The Kid.of the mistiness induced by the Kid's upper-cut. wriggling to his feet. had old Joe. "Guess he's feeling pretty poor." said Psmith courteously. and. way back wh en I was new to the game--it was the same year I fought Martin Kelly. is that Dude Dawson. See what I mean?" They formed a group about the fallen black-jack expert. whose fall had jolted and bruised him. started off again down the road . This ain't him. "if some philanthropist would give thi s blighter elocution lessons. "Pardon us.' Same with this guy. "I know the Spider. and. Reaching out a pair of lean hands. To me. plainly a man who was not happy in the society of strangers. there are one or two things which we should like to know.' Like that." "Perhaps this is Spider Reilly?" "Nope. chaps. Repetto.' I says. K id. "It would be a charity. Can you interpret. however. You seem to be able to understand what he says. But he had not gon e five yards when he sat down limply. was inclined to be wrathful and .
diving out of the circle of light i nto the sheltering darkness. and w as signalling for help to other policemen along the line by beating on the flagstones with his night-stick. and if that worthy had happened to be standing instead of sitting it might have gone hard with him. The noise grew. which were clo sed. Repetto's task to lure his captors int o the light. there being little t ime to think. It soon became apparent that the light of the lamp. Psmith's hat. Bat Jarvis. A tentative shot from nowhere ripped th rough the air close to where Psmith lay flattened on the pavement. for the fallen warrior was an albino. Looking at him. The gang was "beating it. From somewhere down the road sounded the ring of running feet. There was dead silence. which he had accomplished with considerable skill. Repetto. Apparently the latter's oiled forelock. His eyes. but it was evident as soon as. whirling into the night. Repetto had been in progress. In his case it was almost white. had by no means been eliminated altogeth er from the game. . than. There was a subtle but noticeable resemblance to tho se of Mr. Somewhere--it might be near or far--a policeman had heard the shots. He was the first of the three to reach the elusive Mr. w ho had fled with such remarkable speed. Repetto reclined. they crouched down and waited for the next move. Under the rays of the lamp it was possible to discern more closely the features of the black-jack exponent. the y had crept back. His hat had gone for ever. Mr. but to the opposing army it meant much. Repetto. They knew it for what it was. Repetto himself. Repetto had vanished. held certain disadvantages. His trousers could never be the same again after their close acquaintance with the pavement. unperceived except by Mr. And then the pavement began to vibrate and give out a curious resonant sound. It being too dark f or successful shooting. The thought did not come to them consciously at the moment. sprang into th e air and vanished. with a suddenness which cause d them to leap into the air. Repetto had it. Mr. though bestowing the doubtfu l privilege of a clearer view of Mr. The rescue party was coming up at the gallop.vindictive. "Beat it!" Next moment the night was full of clatter. suddenly imbued with life. too. it had become 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. one felt instinctively that no judging committee of a beauty contest would hesitate a moment before him. there sounded from the darkness down the road the c rack-crack-crack of a revolver. But the Kid was not the man to attack a fallen foe. Scarcely had the staff of Cosy Moments reached the faint yellow pool of light. the New York constable's substitute for the London police-whistle. For some minutes the battle halted. The other members of the gang. Instantly from the opposite direction came other shots. th at a somewhat skilful ambush had been effected. "De cops!" cried a voice. The Kid gave a sudden howl. Three bullets flicked grooves in the roadway almost at Billy's feet. For the first time he r ealised the horrors of war. The circle of light was empty now. was more a concession to the general fashion prevailing in gang circle s than an expression of personal taste. To Psmith it co nveyed nothing. His under-lip protruded an d drooped. While the questioning of Mr. He contented himself with brushing the dust off his person and addressing a richly abusive f low of remarks to Mr. filling the still air. Repetto's face. in the centre of which Mr." Psmith rose to his feet and dusted his clothes ruefully. worn low over the forehead.
"When next you see him. "Reckoned I'd seen you somewhere!" said another." said another intelligent officer. "What's doing?" "Nothing now.The New York policeman may lack the quiet dignity of his London rival. A new hat. Billy Windsor and the Kid. "touches the spot. joined them. For the first time the c onstabulary had begun to display any real animation. He--" "Say." argued the second. clean-shaven men with keen eyes and square jaws. hatless and dusty. "You licked Cyclone Al. night-stick in the other. but he is a hustler. as who should say. too." "Shot at us!" burst out the ruffled Kid. "Dash the lads. however. did they?" said one of the policemen." said the disgusted voice of Billy Windsor from the shadows. "They 've beaten it. the lobe of which had been chipped by a bullet. "to interrupt this ." said Psmith. I could do with another pair of trouser s. "Jack Repetto! Sure. stood there. tough. I tell you--" "I am loath. "Jimmy Garvin!" cried the third." admitted the first speaker.'s in the same evening with his eyes shut. trivial as it may seem to you." "And who but a bone-head thought he wouldn't?" demanded the third warmly. "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. Mi ne has a six-inch hole in it. Thr ee grey-clad policemen. Psmith. revolver in one hand. is." observed Psmith. "Do you know a sportsman of the name of Repetto?" inquired Psmith. I know that itive of us to protest against being riddled with very impressive brain-barbecue is a certain interest in this it may strike you as hypersens bullets. but I will not press the trousers. the latter bleeding freely from his left ear. were the last to a rrive. "He can whip twenty Jimmy Garvins with his feet tied. to me there other little matter of my ruined hat." said Psmith. all rig ht. "What's bin the rough house?" inquired one of the policemen. "I should be obliged if you would use your authority to make him buy me a new hat." "He belongs to the Three Points. I hear." The circle of lamplight became as if by mutual consent a general rendezvous. essential." "He's the next champeen. but--" ." "Shot at you. "If he puts it over Jimmy Garvin. as one namin g some fashionable club. they're always up to some of their larks. mildly interested. are you Kid Brady?" inquired one of the officers. "He co uld whip a dozen Cyclone Al. but. Kid.
"is very terrible. We will leave the matter . "The wrath of the Law. Then we got to cover quick. It was an error on Jack's part. he gave his hearer s to understand. on ce started. but because he cannot he lp himself. in your hands. to assume that the lid was completely off the great city of New York. It was a nuisance." The second policeman gave it as his opinion that Jack was getting too gay. Probably the thing c rept upon him slowly. On the other hand. Billy Windsor." the trio agreed. In the meantime." said Psmith. I know few men I would not rather meet in a lonely roa d than Comrade Repetto. "We've got mighty little out of it. He sandbags now not because he really wants to. an d we were asking him a few questions when the rest came back. he is unable to resist the craving. "is a very fair precis of the evening's events. Comrade Brady's ear."Well. He started. The t hird policeman conceded this." he said." said one of the policemen indulgently. Repetto a first-ter mer who had been detected in the act of wearing his cap on the back of his head. the sooner it w ould be over. possibly. His nurse. and se e that he buys me a new hat. if you will be so good. "The victory." CHAPTER XVII GUERILLA WARFARE Thus ended the opening engagement of the campaign. We should like you. the cheerful lights of the G reat White Way are what I seem to chiefly need. "was not bloodless." "We'll round Jack up. He is one of Nature's sand-baggers." "What makes you think that?" . shook his head. in a merely tentative way by sluggin g one of the family circle." "That. to corral this Comrade Repetto. let us say. But. this perpetual harping on trifles when the deep question of the light-weight Championship of th e World was under discussion. he said. Billy Windsor undertook to explain. Jack. and started into s hooting. "The Three Points laid for us. 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. had shown signs for some time past of asking for it in the neck." said Psmith. my hat--the se are not slight casualties. They could not have been more disapproving if they had been prefects at Haileybury and Mr. we should be glad if you would direct us to the nearest Subway station. and you came up and they beat it." urged Psmith. The thing grips him like dram-dr inking. nodding. seemingly in a victory for th e Cosy Moments army. but the sooner it was attended to." said Psmith." he said. however. Just at the moment. "Too blamed fresh he's gettin'. "Do it nicely. what's bin doin'?" inquired the Force. To me there is something consoling in the thought that Comrade Repet to will no longer be among those present. then. I don't know who the rest were. "Don't go hurting his feelings. They seemed to think it was too bad of Jack. "Jack Repetto was bossing the crowd. or his young brother. The Kid put one over on to Jack Repetto's chin.
"seems to have been bright and well-expressed."I should imagine that a benevolent Law will put away in his little cell for at least a brief spell. Comrade Windsor. "You may have wriggled out of this. Comrade Windsor." "His small-talk. I cut some ice in this town. I'll knock yo u over the Singer Building. The politicians don't want the gangs in gaol. In due season they rounded up the impulsive Mr. Tell me all. what a beautiful exhibition of brotherly love and au ld-lang-syne camaraderie was witnessed! One by one. e specially as the Aldermanic elections will be on in a few weeks. The mag istrate discharged the prisoner. Repetto. 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." said Psmith thoughtfully. Comrade Windsor. "Sure." "He said. Wh at happened then? Was he restored to his friends and his relations?" "Sure. huh? Say. He replaced it." he said furiously. Jack'll get of f. Billy stepped up to him. many blocks below the scene of the regrettable assault. "You don't catch them hurting a gangsman unless they're pushed against the wall." said Billy disgustedly. Do you know what he sai d once. but giv ing out their evidence with unshaken earnestness. "but if you don't get a move on and quit looking at me like that. and the prisoner. many. and gazed. at Billy. astonished. leered triumphantly at them. "He'll prove an alibi. I made half the big politicians in New York!' That w as what he said. and the Spider's in with the men behind. "An alibi? When three keen-eyed men actually caught him at it?" "He can find thirty toughs to swear he was five miles away. Jack Repetto isn't Monk Eastman. but he' s in with Spider Reilly. smirking sheepishly." said Psmith. he was. when they pulled him for thugging a fellow out in New Jersey?" "I fear not. "as if my stay in t his great city were going to cost me a small fortune in hats. before Kid Twist took it on. What do you think? Well. Who was this c leric?" "He was the first boss of the East Side gang." "It looks to me." "Yes?" "He was arrested dozens of times." "And get the court to believe it?" said Psmith." said Billy. The police were as good as their wor d." . you want to look where you're goin'. Did you ever he ar of Monk Eastman?" "I fancy not. and he was haled bef ore a magistrate. And then." Billy's prophecy proved absolutely correct. Hump yourself. If I did." Psmith's eyeglass dropped out of his eye. the name has escaped me. meeting Billy and Psmith in t he street outside. but he always got off. 'You're arresting me." "Not on your life. eleven greasy.
just like this it was. Wheeler leaned back in his chair. though. some one had better get bus y right quick and do something to stop these guys rough-housing like this. rising. The way things have been going last few days. Just be en looking in on him. there'll be a strike. gave it as his opinion th at the editorial staff had sand. Say. As to the contents of the paper he was absolutely ignor ant. Pat goes out with his cart. Mr. Pat's a feller who likes to fight. because it's going big just now--but it's up to you. sure. "I don't know what it's all abo ut. So was victory turned into defeat. He handled it as if it were so much soap. He endeavoured to satisfy the latter first. The most of them are Dagoes and such. Mr. He shows fight . Know what happened? Why. "It's up to you. Cop asks the Dago what's been doing. "Why. What I want to know is. Don't see what any one could have against a p aper with a name like Cosy Moments. Pat Harrigan's in the hospital now. there's Pat i n pieces on the ground and nobody in sight but a Dago chewing gum. "Some on e's got it in against the paper. Wheeler listened absolutel y unmoved. Good day. Wheeler was a man for whom in business hours nothing existed but his job. and the Dago says he's only just come round the corner a nd ha'n't seen nothing of anybody. gents." he said.Mr. for now began a period of guerilla warfare such as no New Yor k paper had ever had to fight against. Repetto humped himself. the gaunt manager of the business side of the journal. Half a dozen of them attend to him. That was his sole comment. I'll do my best to get this paper distributed right and it's a shame if it ain't. Wheele r came into the editorial room with information and desire for information. anyway. He then proceeded to his information. see here. He had been with Cosy Moments from its start. when the narrative had come to an end. seems it might be the organ of a blamed mining-camp what the boys have took a dislike to. "What's doing. the mirth-provoking sallies of Mr. only our carriers can't go out without being beaten up by gangs of toughs. "As Comrade Wheeler remarks. anyway?" he asked. who first brought it to the notice of the editorial staff." he said. "it is up to us. A few days after the restoration of Mr. Psmith looked at Billy. what's it all about? Who's got it in for us and why?" Mr." he said. and Billy's jaw became squarer and his eye mo re full of the light of battle than ever. the tender ou tpourings of Louella Granville Waterman--all these were things outside his ken. "You know your business. I ha'n't never read the thing. while the rest gets clean away with every copy of the paper there was in the cart." "What's been happening?" asked Billy with gleaming eyes. It's not as if they were all Irishmen." He went out. But this was too much for him. and he distributed. Passing through a lowdown street on his way up-town he's held up by a bunch of toughs. If we get a few more carriers beat up the way Pat was. and. And there was need of a square jaw and a battle-lit eye. his hair rumpled more than ev er and his eyes glowing. W ilberfloss. and they do n't want any more fight than they can get by beating their wives and kicking kid s off the sidewalk. and his job was to look after the di stribution of the paper. What do you propose to d . Rather fight he would t han see a ball-game. but he had never read a line of it. The scholarly writings of Mr. When the cop comes along. while Billy. Repetto to East Side Society. explained the situation. B. It was Wheeler. nothing in the world to fuss about. Henderson Asher. He was a distributor.
Cosy Moments cannot be muzzled. Psmith went on . "I believe you've hit it. If th ey are going to strew the street with our carriers. excited. brief and u nadorned. Comrade Windsor?" Billy sat up. What we must do now. brought to the office the gi st of what is related in this chapter. I fancy? Yet brainy. and. Pugsy's version was. a bubble on the surface of the life of a great city. Comrade Windsor. 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 . on the following morning." He had then retired to his outer fastness. Pugsy said: "Dere's trouble down where I live. My idea is to hang negligently round till the rent-collector arrive s. as man to man. buttonhole him and ask him quite po litely. however." Psmith shot his cuffs modestly. we've been saying in the paper what an out-size in scugs the m erchant must be who owns those tenements. and if somebody else. I don't know h ow often the rents are collected in these places." Billy admitted the soundness of this scheme. He did not know how nearly interested were his employers in any matter touching that gang which is known as the Three Point s. We cannot stand the s train. The job may be worked more simply. Simple. but it can undoubtedly be choked. Such things as first causes and pi quant details he avoided. That's all wrong. What we want to do is to go out and hustle round till we stir up something. 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 I should say at a venture once a week. they have us where the hair is crisp. "It means. Do you take me. then. If the campaign is to be a long one. such hats as Comrade Repetto has left us." said Psmith.o about it? This is a move of the enemy which I have not anticipated. an' now de Table Hills are layin' for de T'ree Points. In other words." "Yes. Comrade Windsor. is put on ou r hats. The way Pugsy put it was as follow s. 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. " Billy said nothing. He was chewing the stem of an unlighted pipe. yielding further details jerkily and with the dis trait air of one whose mind is elsewhere. of course. whether he is collecting those rents for himself or for s omebody else. as was the way with his narratives. as tending to prolong the telling excessively. "I have been thinking this thing over. . and sally forth as sleuth-houn ds on our own account. Dude Dawson's mad at Spider Re illy. "That's all right in theory. that we must buck up to a certain extent. CHAPTER XVIII AN EPISODE BY THE WAY It was Pugsy Maloney who. thus ke eping him from perusal of his cowboy stories. but how?" demanded Billy. but wished to know how it was to be done. "Comrade Windsor. we are simply marking time. I had fanc ied that their operations would be confined exclusively to our two selves. who that somebody else is. and it se ems to me that we are on the wrong track. and when he has loomed up on the horizon. Sure. we are somewhat in the soup. or rather we aren't on any track at al l. but how's it going to work in practice? The only thing that can corner the man is a commission. He gave the thing out merely as an item of general interest. if we perish." "Far from it. fall yelling the name.
That had been a month or so back. and peace was just preparing to brood when there occurred the incident to wh ich Pugsy had alluded. the East Side. the regrettable falling out of Dude Dawson and Spider Rei lly at Mr. for the soil is undoubtedly propitious to such growth. . though they may fight each other. During that month things had been simmering do wn. continuing in this vein of criticism. into formidable organisations. the great men exchanged a not unfriendly nod and. was. warfar e rages as briskly as among the republics of South America. He pleaded sel f-defence. Dawson had looked in. For Mr. trifling in themselves. Mr. there sure was. and. The really important gangs of New York are four. but nevertheles s the Table Hillites were ruffled. but these things do not signify the cutting of ice. it is probable that there alw ays will be. sipping. Shamrock Hall. As he sat smoking. of course. Coston did not see which lady was alluded to. There are other less important institutions. You would have said that all Nature smiled. but these are little more than mere friendly gatherings of old boy hood chums for purposes of mutual companionship. In matters political there are only four gang s which count. the latter presided over at the time of this story by Mr. and the Table Hill. He was there in a purely private and peaceful charact er. Thus. these details formed themselves into th e following typical narrative of East Side life in New York. forbidden ground. They "stick up" an occasional wayfarer for his " cush. There has always bee n bad blood between the Table Hill and 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. being under the eyes of the great Bat. and especial ly between the Table Hill and the Three Points. a Three Pointer inj udiciously wiped out another of the rival gang near Canal Street. Alas! The next moment the sky was covered with black clouds and the storm broke. which are much of a size. remarked that there sure was some clas s to the way that wop hit it up.Skilfully extracted and pieced together. are immune fro m attack at the hands of lesser gangs. as did B at Jarvis's coterie. and it was with no intention of spoiling the harmony of the evening that Mr. Shamrock Hall. In time they may grow. Dawson. Little events. These two are colossal. have always occurred to shat ter friendly relations just when there has seemed a chance of their being formed . and in any case it was probably mere thoughtlessness. an eminent member of the Three Points. alluding to an Italian who had just pirouetted past. after a short pause. Maginnis's dancing saloon. There being temporary peace between the two gangs. Bat Jarvi s. But at present the amount of ice which good judges de clare them to cut is but small. Mr. a word or two. the Groome Street." and they carry "canisters" and sometimes fire them off. there settled at the next table Mr. Robert ("Nigger") Coston. Dawson said Yup. and until they wipe eac h other out after the manner of the Kilkenny cats. Coston. But between the other gangs. just as the Table Hillites were beginning to forgive the Three Points fo r shooting the redoubtable Paul Horgan down at Coney Island. Greatest of these by virtue of their numbers are the East Side and the Gr oome Street. the Three Points. rather injudiciously gave it as his opinion that one of the lady dancers had two left feet. For a moment Mr. and observing the revels.
more bri efly. Mr. the dancing ceasing suddenly and the floo r emptying itself of its crowd. The leader of the Table Hillites fell with a crash. Coston and others of the Three Points. Coston's. Coston a coon. and a leader of a rival gang. Coston had a wide reputation as a f ighter."De goil in de pink skoit. Coston's respectful devotion for the past eight days. Great men seldom waste time. instead of drawing his "canister. He had noticed that there was a slight disturbance at the other side of the hall. shot through the le g. together with Mr. Coston squaring up at each other for the second round. Dawson who he thought he. In the street it would have been perfectly legitimate. surrounded by a crowd of admiring friends. Dawson a pie-faced rubber-necked four-flusher. What he did was to produce his "canister" and pick off the unsuspecting Mr. Nig--strictly behind his back." said Mr. and made war between the gangs inevitable. Dawson. merely gave out a resonant note a nd remained unbroken. replied t hat he was the fellow who could bite his. leaning towards Mr. Coston. monarch of the Three Points. Coston called Mr. Coston that his skin was of so swarthy a hu e. but in a dance-hall belonging to a neutral power it was unpardonable. head off. Mr. Mr. even praisewort hy. Dawson. asked Mr. Dawson. who. and. Reilly was not thinking what he did. Dawson. Into this action he flung himself with the passionate abandonment of the artist. was. Coston face to face by his nickname was a sign of the closest friendship. Coston said: "Huh?" Mr. From this point onwards the march of events was rapid. would countenance no such episodes at the dance-hall which he had undert . promptly bi t him on the cheek. b ut had given it little attention till. So far the honours were comparatively even. But now occurred an incident which turned the scale. with perhaps a slight balance in fav our of Mr. If a friend had called Mr. Mr. Dawson said: "Sure. It was at this moment that Nature's smile was shut off as if by a tap. facilitating the other's search by pointing with a much-chewed cigarette." he forgot that he had one o n his person. In the far corner of the room. For Mr. Coston's skull. Mr. It was secretly a great grief to Mr. And that was where the trouble really started. s ped through the doorway for safety. extinguishing his cigarette and placing it behind his ear. rising. and Spider Reilly. or. Others spoke of him as Nigger. Daws on just as that exquisite was preparing to get in some more good work with the b eer-mug. Dawson called Mr. He was pleading for it." Mr. To be permitted to address Mr. to which only Spider Reilly. bounced it vigorously on M r. Mr. who addressed him as "coon" was more t han asking for trouble. and one o r two more of the gang could aspire. seizing a mug which had held beer. Dawson and Mr. He did not nibble. Coston. being of solid wood. it was known. When he bit he bit. We must assume that Mr. for his action was contrary to all rules of gang-e tiquette. he had a plain view of Mr. sat Spider Reilly. Coston "Nig" he would have been running grave risks. fearing the wrath of Bat Jarvis. For the lady in the pink skirt had been in receipt of Mr. Such was the excitement of the moment that. Mr. Dawson bounded from his seat. A stranger. and his particular mode of battling was to descend on his antagonist and bite him. which. Mr. Coston. Jack Repetto.
a fact which must undoubtedly cause a troublesome hit ch in the campaign. an--" "A what. Comrade Maloney? This thing is beginning to get clearer. because he got fired an' went an' swatted de foreman one on de coco." ." "Why. Chieftain had assaulted chieftain. always seem to me to suffer from a certain lack of construction. announced Pugsy. from finish to start--it becomes quite simple. Though I have never met him. royal blood had been spilt. You start at the end. when Master Maloney had spoken his last word. Shooting broke out in three places. or out dey goes dat same night. You are like Sherlock Holmes. he is sure to de bad. and before morning the Table Hill camp was in fer ment. "Nor I. After you've explained a thing from start to finish--or. conducted incognito by Master Maloney among the denizens of P leasant Street." said Psmith." said Psmith. Sure. "Say. Mr. 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." explained Master M aloney." he said. de one what lives dere. "and did de sleut' act. "I got dat from a kid what knows anuder kid what lives dere. and I finds t'ings out. eventually winding up at the beginning." agreed Psmith.aken to protect. "dat kid's in bad. don't you get next? Why. was attended to and helped home. though there were no casualties. Rent-day. Comrade Maloney?" "A wop. I have a sort of instinctive respect for him. an' de magistrate gives him t'oity days." CHAPTER XIX IN PLEASANT STREET Careful inquiries. dis kid. our nameless friend. He's a wop kid. Wel l. A Dago." "I don't see why that puts him in bad. for this time it was no question of obscure nonentities. I rather fancy that sooner or la ter we may be able to turn it to our profit. Comrade Maloney." "Evidently a hustler. Willing informants gave him the name of his aggressor. Dat s econd kid. sure. as yo u prefer to do." he proceeded confidentially. brought the information that rents in the tenements were collect ed not weekly but monthly. Dawson. den dis kid's in bad for fair. When the day dawned there existed between the two gangs a state of war more bitter th an any in their record. "Comrade Windsor. "Your narratives. "I rubbered around. sure he is. Why. anyhow." "And then. Why should the fact that this stripling 's father has come over from Italy to work on the Subway be a misfortune?" "Why. I am sorry for Dude Dawson. and then you g o back to any portion of the story which happens to appeal to you at the moment. dat's right. meanwhile. fell on the last day of the month . "w e must take careful note of this little matter. De re's a feller comes round 'bout supper time dat day. an' den it's up to de fam'l ies what lives in de tenements to dig down into deir jeans fer de stuff." said Billy Windsor wonderingly. 'cos his father come over from Italy to work o n de Subway. an Italian. 'cos der ain't nobody to pungle de bones.
It's a vile shame the kid being turned out like that. Two murrains. but as yet no pitched battle. arrived. kid. There had been sniping and skirmishes by the wayside." he began. He's all alone. but the perilous passage was safely negotiate d. and. War had broken out. then. quick." Billy warmed up at this tale of distress in his usual way. He gesticulated. so when d e rent-guy blows in. whose name. Psmith and Billy could wait." But the days went by without any further movement on the part of the enemy. in a somewhat tentative fash ion at first sight. "Somebody ought to do something. the y were not likely to take the offensive. much as the unexpected appearance of a mad bull would make a man forget that he had come out butterfly-hunting. stretched out his hand and thundered: "U nbelt-a! Slip-a me da stuff!" The wop kid's puzzlement became pathetic. deeply interested.. 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 hasn't got next. as was usual between the gangs. We will combine business with pleasure. Dat's right. kid. As a matter of fact. look-a here. The expedition reached its unsavoury goal intact. What is today? How long before the end of the month? An other week! A murrain on it. The wop kid. . it appeared. Cosy Moments shall step in. and said something in hi s native language."Pungle de what. The end of the week arrived. who's to slip him over de simoleons? It'll be outside for h is. paying the stripling's rent and corralling the rent-col lector at the same time." reported Master Maloney. dis kid." and tacking on a final "a" to any word that seemed to him to need o ne. Pugsy as interpreter was e nergetic but not wholly successful. 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. re-entered an d. "Say. was Giuseppe Orloni. Who knows but that you may yet win . "He can't git on to me curves. "This. Comrade Windsor. seemed both surprised and alarme d to see visitors. De dollars. Pugsy undertook to do the honours. Comrade Windsor. assuming a look of extreme ferocity. led by Pu gsy up dark stairs." said Psmith.. and Psmith and Billy. He was out when the party. rapping on it smartly from the outside. This delay may undo us. made their way to Pleasant Street. Comrade Maloney?" "De bones. "has da rent-a-man come yet-a?" The black eyes of the wop kid clouded. Comrade Maloney. To get there it was necessary to pass through a section of the enemy's country. conducted by Master Maloney. 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. De stuff. A st range quiet seemed to be brooding over the other camp. De se wop kids is all boneheads. Say. but the Table Hillites demanded instant attention. Don't give in." "We will see to it. The two armies were sparring for an opening. "is getting about as tense as anything I ever struck. on returning." He walked out of the room and closed the door.
surely Comrade Spaghetti would have been out in the cold night instead of under his own roof-tree. Cut off. that Comrade Spaghetti." "All?" said Psmith sadly. "Gents. "Surely it is enough. and you would be in the way . ' This is fine! This beats ozone hollow!' Leave it open. "it's up to youse. Dey don't know enough to go upstairs to take de Elevated." "I want to stop and pipe de fun." he observed with moody displeasure to the wop kid. "that this is one of those moments when it is necessary for me to unlimber my Sherlock Holmes system. Dese Dagoes makes me tired . The wop kid." Billy got on a chair and pulled the bolt. Once more to the breach." he said resignedly. "Never mind. Comrade Maloney." Pugsy looked up." said Billy." . Why. it is certain. plainly glad to get away. if the rent collector had cal led and found no money waiting for him. my lad. "This is no place for a minister's son. my dear Watson. The trap-door opened downwards. I shall pull down the roo f. "So all we have to do is to sit here and wait. wouldn't have been. If our friend does not arrive shortly. gadzooks! Not to mention stap my vitals! Isn't that a trap-door up there ? Make a long-arm. They do n't begin to appreciate air till it is thick enough to scoop chunks out of with a spoon. It fel l. Then they get up on their hind legs and inflate their chests and say. Com rade Maloney?" "That's right." objected Master Maloney." said Billy. elementary." "I fancy. There may be a rough house in here any minute. Comrade Windsor. "like Limburger cheese. I think." "Elementary. Do you follow me. "Fancy living in this atmosphere when you don't have to. Beat it. For of all the scaly localities I have struck this seems to me the scaliest. as to the problem of dispensing with Comrade Maloney's services?" "Sure." said Psmith. 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. Pugsy. "While your shoe leather's good. slipped out of the door like a shadow. you mutt. "Of course. We'll tell you all about it to-morrow. Fancy t hese fellows keeping that shut all the time. "Beat it?" he queried. "I'm t'roo. "Beat it. or whatever you said his name was. indignant. Pugsy shrugged his shoulders. And now." "I expect it is an acquired taste." said Psmith.through? I fancy the trouble is that your too perfect Italian accent is making the youth home-sick. disclosing a square of deep blue sky. Comrade Windsor." Master Maloney made a gesture of disgust." murmured Psmith." said Billy Windsor. accompanying the words with a gesture which conveyed its own meaning. That is to say. As thus. "Gum!" he said. If the rent collector had been here. The architect of this Stately Home of America seems to have had a positive hatred for windows.
It promised interesting developments. "It's a big shame. His pleasure was abruptly quenched. Billy Windsor. Nothing to do with me. Where's he to go?" "That's up to him. Gooch definitely. "Say. He liked his drama to have plenty of action. Master Maloney was an earnest student o f the drama. "I fear there is little chance of your seeing them to-night. t he Beautiful Cloak-Model" with more fervour than he. "I am addressing--?" said Psmith courteously." Psmith bowed. seen anything of the wops that live here?" he inquired. closing the door behind him. "Hello. "My name's Gooch. pale-faced man with protruding eyes and teeth which gave him a certai n resemblance to a rabbit. Master Maloney. I am told. but th ere was a set expression on Billy Windsor's face which suggested great things. With one of them--the son and heir of the family. The result? The rent is not forthcoming. As he did so there was a sound of a well-shod foot on the stairs. and a man in a snuff-coloured suit. walked briskly into the room. Psmith he loo ked upon as a quite amiable lunatic." he said. led him to the door and pushed him out. It was not necessary for Psmith to get his Sherlock Holmes system to w ork." broke in Billy. and to his practised eye this one promised well. I'm only acting under orders from up t op. wearing a b rown Homburg hat and carrying a small notebook in one hand. from whom little was to be expected. The scene looked good to hi m. unless you wait some considerable time. now appeared to consider the question of his departure permanently sh elved. who has just left us. placing a firm hand on his co llar." . The rent collector watched these things with a puzzled eye. Comrade Gooch. "turning the kid out." "Then it's outside for theirs. and few had ever app lauded the hero of "Escaped from Sing-Sing." he said. "Touching these wops. CHAPTER XX CORNERED He stood in the doorway looking with some surprise at the group inside. "Welcome to New York. He was a smallish.Master Maloney prepared reluctantly to depart. who had taken advantage of the interruption to edge farther into the room." said Mr. His whole appearance proclaimed the new-comer to be the long-expected colle ctor of rents. is in the dungeon below the castle m oat for a brief spell for punching his foreman in the eye. I should say--we have just been having a h ighly interesting and informative chat. Comrade Maloney. as exhibited in the theatres of the East Side." said Psmith. a cted as interpreter. The father." or hissed the villain of "Nellie. He now turned to Psm ith. 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.
And then su ddenly it comes out with a regular whoop. I tell you straight they are. I happen to know a thing or two about what's going on on the other side. "In the first place. say. and that go es. Comrade Maloney. I sub-edit. though. Push me over a receipt. Gooch. boys. "I will explain all. and started knocking these tenements a nd boosting Kid Brady. it 's no good. Suspicion crept into the protruding eyes of the rent collector. I can't understand it. Comrade Gooch. "Say. 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. "Say" he demanded. gossip. our editor. I will brass up for him. Why." For a moment the inwardness of the information did not seem to come home to Mr. though. and all that. Mr." He became more friendly."Whose orders. would call them." he said. anon." "Business before pleasure. "The gent who owns this joint. only a few weeks ago it used to be a sort of take-home-a nd-read-to-the-kids affair. Jones isn't the man to sit still and smile. "Mr." "Who is he?" said Billy. the receipt. I am Psmith." "Anon. those C osy Moments guys are taking big risks. How much is it? Twelve dollars? For the privilege suffocating in this compact little Black Hole? By my halidom. Why. Comrade Gooch. we are newspaper men. that paper. Comrade Gooch?" inquired Psmith. I've nothing for you. what paper do you boys come from?" "Cosy Moments." Psmith replied. "Who are you two guys. Here is your editor sending you down to get a story about it. I wish I could give you a story. Sooner than see that friend of my boyhood s lung out to do the wandering-child. you see for yourselves how it is. Say. Comrade Gooch. as young friend. But. He's going to get busy.--Shakespeare. but I can't. What do you want with the name of the o wner of this place? What business is it of yours?" "The fact is." "Let me out. anyway. "What's all this?" demanded Mr. is Comrade Windsor." said Mr. ain't it? Say. "I just guessed you were from some paper. Billy Windsor was standing with his back against the door and a more than nasty look on his face. Let me out. "Immediately behind you. Well. I guess it's this Cosy Moments business that's b een and put your editor on to this joint. Gooch with triumph. "You can't bluff me. and I tell you there's going to be something doing if they don't cut it out quick. this matter of Comrade Spaghetti's rent.--" he stopped and chuckled. A friend of mine used to buy it regular. between you and the door. and what do you think you're d oing here? That's what I'd like to know." said Psmith soothingly. You'd better chase off and try something else. All I know is that i t's begun to get this place talked about. First. He spun round." "Confound his rent. Then it hit him. He waxed wroth. Gooch." of tha how our ." "I guessed you were. that's a queer thing.in-the-snow act. however.
"'I'--(I have left a blank for the Christia n name: you can write it in yourself later)--' I. And. if you are sensitive on the point. we will waive the Christian name. "I'll summon you for assault and battery. Comrade Gooch." He dusted the only chair in the room with infinite care and sat down. I have much to say on the theme. Meanwhile. Don't put away that notebook. For the first time since Psmith had known him. Gooch scribbled a few words in his notebook and tore out the page. The Old Journalist's Best Friend. and write as follows. 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. this is no way to speak! Well. he proceeded to shake him. Comrade Gooch. Well. who is responsible for the perfectly foul conditions there. That is the c ry. the last page of which was blank. on second though ts. . Gooch beh aved as if he had been caught in a high wind. "I will see that it reaches Comrade Spaghetti. Psmith th anked him. however. It is probable that in another mom ent the desired information might have been shaken out of him. Who is he?" Billy Windsor reached out and grabbed the rent collector by the collar. Are you ready. Gooch. Play ing a fool game like this! Get away from that door. We do not rely on your unsupported word for that. Mr. moisten your p encil. blank Gooch. And we should like it in writing. We mean business. in ink. do hereby swear'--hush." he said." bellowed Mr." "Let me out. Rem ind me later. That is what we should like you to give us. "How does this strike you? "he said. Having d one this. 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. is--' An d that is where you come in. what is your Christian n ame?. New York. Turn to a clean page. 'I'--comma-. who had not spoken a word or moved an inch since the beginning of the inter view. Comrade Gooch. Billy was muscular. business.. Repetto." He produced a pen and an old letter. to continue on the subject of fountain pens. th at I suspect it to be Percy. We have ha d practical demonstration of the fact from one J. t here is no need to do it yet--'that the name of the owner of the Pleasant Street tenements. you're not writing. but before this c ould happen there was a banging at the door. "And now to a more impo rtant matter. Let us push on. "As you justly observed a moment ago. but I think there is still sufficient for our needs. once more? Pencil mo istened? Very well. That is where we need your specialis ed knowledge. Comrade Gooch. Most of the ink has come out and is permeating the lining of my coat. I have one of those patent non-leakable fountain pens in my pocket. "the staff of Cosy Moments i s taking big risks. before Comrade Repetto's next night out. and began to write. Gooch. Let me put the whole position of affairs before you. business. continued to stand and be silent. Gooch shuffled restlessly in the mid dle of the room." "There has been no assault and battery yet.Mr. and his heart was so much in the business that Mr. Comrade Gooch. Are you ready? By the way." said Psmith. however.'being of sound mind and body'--comma--' and a bright little chap altogether'--comma--Why. being a collector of rents in Pleasant Street. and I am sure a man of your perception will see that ther e is only one thing to be done. followed by the entrance of Master Maloney. who tried some few ni ghts ago to put us out of business. It is my duty to tell you. Gooch. then. Billy Wind sor. Comrade Gooch. Pugsy was openly excited ..
" said Psmith. I am going to get on the roof and pull it up after me. you will probably start out to gallop after the cattle without remembering to mount your mustang." said Psmith patiently. "whi ch in the exuberance of the moment you have skipped. "If Comrade Repetto is there. that is enough for me. "Your habit of omitting essentials. What are yo use goin' to do?" Mr. "I guess you ain't the only assault-and-battery artists in the business." he began. on to the low bed. De guys."Say. and ignoring . which stood in o ne corner of the room. it's pretty fierce. from the bed. Which section is it that is coming?" "Gum! I don't know how many dere is ob dem. Say. Dey's coming!" "And now go back to the beginning. who fell. I seen Spider Reilly an' Jack Repett o an'-" "Say no more." he sai d. an dere ain't no ways ou t but de front. We had better be moving. Who are coming?" "Why. is going to undo you one of these days. Merely Comrade Gooch. I will p ass him up to you." Billy looked at Psmith." he said. "Well?" he said." Billy released Mr. laughed unpleasantly. They ca n only get through one at a time. And while they are doing it I will give my cel ebrated imitation of Horatius. Gripping the struggling rent collector round the waist. 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. but about as much otherwise as you can jolly well imag ine. "youse had better beat it quick. 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." Psmith shook his head. "Looks to me as if some one else was going to get shaken up some. is small. fortunately . "and followed us. "They must have spotted us as we were coming here. Pugsy?" "On de Street just outside. Comrade Maloney. puffing. Our luggage. Psmith acte d promptly." "Well. Dere was a bunch of dem talkin' togedder. Once there. Gooch. dem. dis proposition. what then?" "We will stay here. gents. There are fo ur million guys in New York. l ookin' into each room till dey finds you. with much verbal embroidery. we may engage these varlets on fairly equal terms. When you get to that ranch of yours. "Not so. W here did you see them. Comrade Windsor. One of dem seen you come in. Comrade Maloney. and I hear s dem say you was in here. "What shall we do? Go down and try and rush through?" Psmith shook his head." Mr. stated that he would not go. If you will get through the skylight. you had. Gooch.
and that is if they have the sense to get on to the roof next door and sta rt shooting. jumping up. Psmith possessed himself of this. As a barrier it was useless. I thank you. Even in that case. and. in passing. The trap-door appeared to be the only means of access to the roof. of course. And. Mr. "Only one thing can dish us. And when found." "Huh?" "Have I your ear?" "Huh?" "Are you listening till you feel that your ears are the size of footballs? Then drink this in. I fancy. This was strategy of the right sort. You alone can save us. Leg it with all the speed you possess. Off you go. as it were.his frantic kicks as mere errors in taste. Comrade Win dsor. For weeks you have been praying for a chance to show your devotio n to the great cause. Do you know wh The light of intelligence began to shine in Master Maloney's face. They will find it hard to get at us. we have cover in the shape of the chimn . Billy collected the collector. "Comrade Maloney. Comrade Malo ney. you ought to have been. Inspection revealed the f act that it possessed no lock. however. and they did merely shake their heads at Comra want some one who will swoop down soak to them good. Billy Windsor was seated comfortably on Mr. Gooch's chest a few feet away. We do not want allies who will de Repetto and the others. In a sense. for m e to join the rest of the brains of the paper up aloft. ere Dude Dawson lives?" the cops in action. Go downstairs with a gay and jaunty air." Pugsy vanished. Comrade Maloney. "Dude Dawson? Nope." "Sure. but he can sen d representatives. tell him that his old college chum." "Do so. Smith?" "No. shoulders and arms of Billy Windsor protruded into the room. But I can ask around. and then Psmith turned to Pugsy. The examination was satisfactory. when ce the head. I have seen not impress me. he lifted him to the trap-door. however sternly. That chance has come. His eye glist ened with respectful approval. "Practically impregnable. 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. I fancy. gripped the edge of the opening in the roof and pulled himself thr ough. and . And now it would be no bad idea. is here. Thus shall you win through." he murmured. and looked about him ." "Shall I go for de cops. or if you haven't. don't take a week about it. and between their roof and that of the next house there w as a broad gulf. we do not need to be saved. Make careless gestu res. I fear. He left it ajar. By hi s side was his big stick. Comrade Maloney. as if you had no con nection with the old firm at all. He will not be able to come himself. on the roof. then." "That's all. Whistle a few lively bars. and Psmith closed the door behind him. Spi der Reilly. We upon these merry roisterers. and consequently it is up to you.
which was within a foot of his own. an ingrowing Roman nos e. he brought the stick down on the knuckles which disfigured the edge s of the trap. There was a momentary pause. Gooch's lips there escaped a s creech. For a moment the silence was tense. But the thing was done. The intruder uttered a howl and dropped out of sight." "And. as he knelt by the trap making meditative billiard-shots with the stick at a small pebble. It is a pity that the trap has not got a bolt this side. Feet shuffled. we must leave it open." "He will be in your charge." Billy was about to speak." he observed coldly." continued Psmith. In the room below there were whisperings and mutterings." The chair rasped over the floor. "Aw g'wan! Don't be a quitter!" "Who's a quitter?" "Youse is a quitter. I think we may fairly say that all is well. "We've got youse. "On top de roof. If it had." said Billy. 'Doctor Cook discovers the North Pole.eys. unmoved. He held on to the edges of the trap with his hands. there popped through the opening a head and shoulders. "But he's going to. I must devote myself exclusively to guarding the bri dge. And then." cried a voice. "This way! They're up--" The words were cut short as Billy banged his hand over the speaker's mouth. The strong light of the open air was trying to his eyes. and stared in a glassy manner into Psmith's face. who was still und ergoing treatment in the background. "is instantly handed a gum-drop by his faithfu l Esquimaux. "Historic picture. and a mouth from which force or the passage of time had removed three front t eeth. the thi ng would be a perfect picnic. As it is. growing gradually louder till some thing resembling coherent conversation came to Psmith's ears. Then from Mr. Get on top de roof." ." As he spoke. But we mustn't ex pect everything. like a jack-in-the-box . "Dey've beaten it for de roof. From t he room below came a sound of feet. He can't hoit youse. "Aha!" said Psmith genially. broken by an oath from Mr. "Youse had better come down. but Psmith suddenly held up his hand warningly. How are you getting along? Has the patient responded at all?" "Not yet. Gooch.'" The red-headed young man blinked. CHAPTER XXI THE BATTLE OF PLEASANT STREET The new arrival was a young man with a shock of red hair.
" "Not me. The bullet sang up into the sky. "ain't goin' to git hoit by no stick. Comrade Win--" A report like a cannon in the room below interrupted him. Possibly Sa m did not wish to generalise on insufficient experience. "Never hit me!" said Psmith with dignified triumph." said Psmith with satisfaction . listening fro m above. "Gum! some guy's got to go up."De guy's gotten a big stick. failed to detect in the choir of glad voices one that might belong to S am himself." "The right spirit. "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. went on to adduce reasons. "How are you getting on up at your end of the table. There was no doubt about that." "Don't give up. Comrade Windsor?" "Fine." "I knew there was some way out of the difficulty. in inspired tones: "Let Sam do it!" This suggestion made a hit. The noise was succeeded by a shuffling of feet. Quite a little chorus of voices expressed sincere approval of the ve ry happy solution to what had seemed an insoluble problem. Youse can't hoit a coon by soakin' him on de coco. can you. Psmith grasped his stick more fi rmly. A somewhat baffled silence on the part of the attacking force was followed by fu rther conversation." Murmur of assent from the audience. It was a success from the start. but in the confined space it was deafening. 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. but it did not come. The first speaker. "Yes. "Solvitur ambulando. A voice. Probably gratification had rendered the chosen one dumb." he argued. The revolver shot had been a mere demo . Psmith. unnecessarily." said Psmith softly. It was merely a revolv er shot." "Any result yet?" "Not at present." Psmith nodded appreciatively. let Sam do it!" cried the unseen chorus. This was evidently the real attack. Sam?" Psmith waited with some interest for the reply. turning the stick round in his fingers ." he murmured. "Sam bein' a coon. "I and Roosevelt.
A voice from the room called up to Psmith. "G'wan away home. you blighters!" The Irish neighbours expressed the same sentiment in different and more forcible words. Comrade Windsor. Sam!" said Psmith cordially. "Your statement. Yes. They looked to him to provide entertainment for them. They were fair-minded men. has been tested and proved correct. Gooch. " They hooted the Three Pointers. Sure enough. Their attitude towards Psmith was that of a group of men watching a terrier at a rat-hole. and they did not expect Psmith to make any aggressive move. and a pai r of rolling eyes gleamed up at the old Etonian. for a la rge chimney-stack intervened." By this time the affair had begun to draw a "gate. The men on the roof were mostly Irishmen. . A third member of the audience alluded to them as "stiffs. but--" A yell rang out. when the proceedings began to grow slow. I do. was directed entirel y at the dilatory Three Pointers. "This is no time for a feu de joie. "They make me tired. Action! That is the cry. The early comers had seen his interview with Sam." "I fear. are you coming up? Sam. There was no doubt about it--as warriors.nstration of artillery to cover the infantry's advance. and more bullets wasted themselves on air. "this is well met! I remember you. Comrade Windsor. Their indignation. I hate to do it. and were re lating it with gusto to their friends. They must be up and doing if they wish to retain the esteem of Pleasant Street. Aha!" Another and a longer explosion from below. "Call yersilves the Three Points. "What was that?" asked Billy Windsor over his shoulder. Only a few of the occupants could get a clear view of the proceedings. do ye? An' would ye know what I call ye? The Y oung Ladies' Seminary!" bellowed another with withering scorn. akin to that of a crowd at a cricket match when batsmen are playing for a draw. The roof of the house next door began to fill up." said Psmith. the next moment a woolly head popped through the opening. ye quitters!" roared one. the Three Pointers had failed to give satisfaction. Psmith sighed. and it offended them to s ee what should have been a spirited fight so grossly bungled. they began to "barrack." The noise of the revolver ha d proved a fine advertisement. Wasn't you the feller with the open umbereller that I met one rainy mor ning on the Av-en-ue? What." said Psmith. Action! Get busy." he said. With an aggrieved air. They begged them to go home and tuck themselve s up in bed. "Why. There was considerable speculation as to what was passing between Billy Windsor and Mr. "that our blithe friends below are begin ning to grow a little unpopular with the many-headed. Psmith's share in the entertainment was more obvious. but they realised that the first move must be with the a ttackers. indee d. "Say!" "You have our ear.
The time began to pass slowly. There appear to be gre at doings in the street. proceeded with hoots of scorn to climb down one by one into the recesses of their own house. The roof of the house next door. d ere's a whole bunch of dem. . filled again with a magical swiftness. and it seems as if that golden-hearted sportsman had responded. 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. now definitely abandoning hope of further entertainment." "If you wish it." "We're goin' to wait here till youse come down. "I rather fancy. Suddenly from the street far below there came a fusillade of shots and a babel o f shouts and counter-shouts. Certain voices urged going down to help the main body. and unless youse come on down dey'll bite de hull he ad off of us lot." In the room below confusion had arisen. Others p ointed out that that would mean abandoning the siege of the roof. had brough t the news of the Table Hillites' advent. and den dey can't get down. and the low wall facing into the street became black with the backs of those craning over. "Hey!" "Well?" "Are youse guys--?" "No." There was silence below. we are not. clattering upstairs." said Psmith. And why? Because the air up here is refreshing."What's that?" "I said you had our ear. "Gum!" he cried. "that our allies of the Table Hill contingent mus t have arrived." said Psmith. "since you ask. Leave those stiffs on de roof. "don't I keep tellin' youse dat de Table Hills is here? Sure. Sure. which had been emp tying itself slowly and reluctantly." "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. Let Sam wait here with his cani ster. A scout. 'cos Sam'll pump dem full of lead while dey're beatin' it t'roo de trap-door. The Irishmen on the othe r roof. and we are expecting at any moment an important communication from Comrade Gooch." said Psmith courteously." said Psmith severely." Psmith nodded reflectively. I sent Comrade Maloney to explain matters to Dude Dawson. "What's that?" inquired Billy. the view pleasant. "by all means do. and there was doubt as to the proper c ourse to pursue. my lad. The scout who had brought the news was eloquent in favour of the first course.
" he said. "I've got it. It was long. knowing the importance of his own safety. Are two mammoth minds such as ours unequal to such a feat? It can hardly be." he replied. and the insignificance of the g angsman's. Mr. The noise. what with the shots and yells from the street and the ear-piercing approval of the roof-audience. He walked towards Billy. Billy got up and turned to him. The behaviour of the New York policeman in affairs of this kind is based on prin ciples of the soundest practical wisdom." he cried. Comrade Windsor. and then. His eyes were gleaming with excite ment. rushe s in himself and clubs everything in sight. He was tired of kneeling by the trap. armed with a pistol. This will wa nt thinking over. but it is sure rather than swift. permits the opposing forces to hammer each other into a certain dista ste for battle. Proceedings in the affair below had not yet reached the police interference stag e. The unthinking man would rush in and at tempt to crush the combat in its earliest and fiercest stages. when both sides have begun to have enough of it. Cosy Moments' editorial staff may be tree'd. "do nothing to apprise our friend Sam of these proceed . "Comrade Gooch. He is now waiting below."There is certainly something in what the bright boy says. rewarded at last for their long vigil. Psmith turned to him. but it canno t be put out of business. 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. more than long enoug h for the purpose for which it was needed. "Excellent." said Psmith. Psmith rose. "All. its handle to my hand? It is! Comrade Wi ndsor. His whole attitude was triumphant. "It see ms to me the grand rescue scene in the third act has sprung a leak. Psmith and Billy rested it on the cop ing. was just working up to a climax. were yel ling encouragement promiscuously and whooping with the unfettered ecstasy of men who are getting the treat of their lives without having paid a penny for it. when I proved that coloured gentlemen's heads could be hurt with a stick." The ladder was lying against the farther wall. and fate cannot touch us." "Why not go down through the trap? They've all gone to the street. "save Sam. take the other end of that ladder and follow me. and the Irishmen on the roof. and so draw his fire? Comrade Gooch. As he did so. and pushed it till the other end reached across the gulf to the roof of the house next door. I am sure. ready--even anxious--to pick us off as we climb through the trap." Psmith shook his head. In his hand he waved a strip of paper. It is an admirable process in its re sults. we win through. and there was no likelihood o f Sam making another attempt to climb through." In the street the disturbance had now become terrific. Let us ponder. Sam was the subject of my late successful experime nt. Gooch eyeing them in silence the while. "Surely we must win through now. All we have to do is to get off this roof. The New York poli ceman." he murmured. Both sides were hard at i t. How would it be to drop Comrade Gooch through firs t. Comrade Windsor.
"Neat. Shooting had definit ely ceased. If you bring him up here. who was bursting with his news. Comrade Windsor. The resources of the Knickerbocker Hotel had proved equal to supplying the f atigued staff of Cosy Moments with an excellent dinner." CHAPTER XXII CONCERNING MR. pallid and obviously ill-attuned to such feats. man!" he said. Sam is in no mood to make nice distinction s between friend and foe. the paper will lose merely a sub-editor. in which the police had now joined. Some other day. "have been rui ned by the fatal practice of talking shop at dinner. I think you had better come with us. had their backs turned and did not observe him. Comrade Windsor. What's the name which Comrade Go och so eagerly divulged?" Billy leaned forward excitedly. I seem to kno w it. Comrade Gooch. by all means let us have it." said Psmith. The police. let us debouch. leaping from crag to crag. so that if the ladder breaks." "Don't you ever read the papers?" "I toy with my American of a morning. "Great Scott. were i t not that matters of private moment. This had been hard on Billy. like isinglass or Post-toasties. not an editor. and finally Bill y Windsor reached the other side. And now good-bye. with their clubs. and Psmith had stoutly d eclined to talk business until the coffee arrived. "Stewart Waring. stretched out his legs. he will probably mistake you for a member of the staff of Cosy Moments. and loose off in your direction with out waiting for explanations. followed him. I speak in your best interests. "Uncommonly neat. But now that we are through . Billy stared." he whispered. "Stewart who?" asked Psmith. We are infinitely obliged to you for your sympathetic co-operation in this little matter. Mr.ings. If you have no other engagem ents. "More bright young careers than I care to think of. Comrade Windsor. h ad knocked the last remnant of fight out of the combatants. I would ask for the pleasure of your company also. but it conveys nothing to me." said Psmith. engrossed in the fight in the street. Gooch . I will take you to the Knickerbocker. and buy you a squar e meal. and in this attitude wormed his way across to the opp osite roof. relating to the policy of the paper." said Psmith complacently. Comrade Windsor." In the street there was now comparative silence. "haven't you heard of Stewart Waring?" "The name seems vaguely familiar. WARING Psmith pushed back his chair slightly." He went down on all-fours. perhaps. whose occupants. "I think. Beyond a hint that it was sensational he had not been permitted to go. Comrade Gooch reminded me of the untamed chamois of the Alps. must be discussed at the table. but my interest is confined mainly to the . I will go fir st. and lit a cigaret te. "that we might now descend.
" said Billy. What was his trouble?" "His trouble. bu t affairs move so fast here that a thing like that blows over. but I gather that Comrade Waring did not line up in that c lass." "And then?" "The papers raised a howl." "Commissioner of Buildings? What exactly did that let him in for?" "It let him in for a lot of graft. It killed him for the time being. he seems to have selected the right career for him self. "Do you mean to say he got back again after that?" "He had to quit being Commissioner. and leave the town for a time." sai d Psmith thoughtfully. and could afford to lie low for a year or two. of course. "was that he stood in with a contractor who was putti ng up a music-hall. Com rade Brady will have to leave the office temporarily in order to go into trainin g." "How was that?" "Oh. "We will remind them. He made a bit of a pile out of the job. he took it off the contractors. Cosy Moments should be able shortly to give its message to the wo rld and ease up for a while." he said." "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. and the contractor gave Waring away. perhaps. and they got after the contractor. Billy nodded. Shut his eyes and held out his hands when t hey ran up rotten buildings that a strong breeze would have knocked down. Which brings us back to the point. Who is Stewart W aring?" "Stewart Waring is running for City Alderman." Psmith lit another cigarette. Certain drawbacks to it. and pl aces like that Pleasant Street hole without any ventilation. to the man with the Hai r-Trigger Conscience. "it seems to me that it was amon g the World's Softest. People don't remember a thing here that happened five years back un less they're reminded of it. and what shall we do then for a fighting editor? However. I fear this will cause us a certain amount of inconvenience." "Why did he throw up the job?" inquired Psmith.sporting page which reminds me that Comrade Brady has been matched against one E ddie Wood a month from to-day." "He's one of the bosses. He used to be Commissioner of Buildings for the city. He's one of the biggest men in New York!" "Do you mean in girth? If so. . and the contractor put it up with material about as strong a s a heap of meringues." "How long ago was that?" "Five years. possibly we may not need one now. and it collapsed on the third night and killed half the a udience.
"Comrade Windsor. It'll smash h im at the election when it gets known." "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. and burrs non-adhesive compared with that tall-shaped-hatt ed blighter." "Why is he so set on becoming an Alderman. because we've got the beggar's name in the writing of his own collector." he said. "Why. Everybody thought that Warin g was on the level now. "There's a lot of graft to being an Alderman." "That's all right. When we dived into S ixth Avenue for a space at Thirty-third Street. did he dive. "What--what the--?" he stammered. Bill y's eyes were goggling. "So that naturally he wants to keep it dark about these tenements. too? He did. What is ou r move now. Didn't you know we were followed to this place?" "Followed!" "By a merchant in what Comrade Maloney would call a tall-shaped hat. but they didn't cut any ice. He's been shooting off a lot of hot air lately about phi lanthropy and so on. there he was. Comrade Windsor?" Billy stared. "I see. and talk gets over if you keep it up long enough. "Nobody's going to ge t it from me. leeches were aloof." Psmith dipped his hand into his trouser-pocket. "how do we go?" He leaned back in his chair. Comrade Windsor . "Why. surveying Billy blandly through his eye-glass. I tell you. and that's proof positive. Not that he has actually done a thing--not so much as given a supper to a dozen news-boys."Of course." said Billy." explained Billy. And wh en we turned into Forty-second Street. but he's talked. I spotted h im at an early date. "one or two of the papers against him in this Aldermanic E lection business tried to bring the thing up. so they dropped it." he said. "I do not wish to cavil or carp or rub it in in any way." he said. it's it!" Psmith nodded. The o ther papers said it was a shame. "Comrade Windsor." inquired Psmith. publish the name. hounding a man who was sorry for the past and w ho was trying to make good now. of course. I will merely remark that you pretty nearly landed us in the soup. and pass on to more congenial topics. "How on earth did you get it?" Psmith knocked the ash off his cigarette. producing a piece of paper. somewhere down by Twenty-ninth Street." Psmith nodded adhesion to this dictum." . He looked from Psmith to the paper and from the paper to Psmith. patting his breast-pocket. No wonder the poor gentleman was so energetic in his methods.
"Yes?" "Do you remember, as you came to the entrance of this place, somebody knocking a gainst you?" "Yes, there was a pretty big crush in the entrance." "There was; but not so big as all that. There was plenty of room for this mercha nt to pass if he had wished. Instead of which he butted into you. I happened to be waiting for just that, so I managed to attach myself to his wrist with some v im and give it a fairly hefty wrench. The paper was inside his hand." Billy was leaning forward with a pale face. "Jove!" he muttered. "That about sums it up," said Psmith. Billy snatched the paper from the table and extended it towards him. "Here," he said feverishly, "you take it. Gum, I never thought I was such a mutt ! I'm not fit to take charge of a toothpick. Fancy me not being on the watch for something of that sort. I guess I was so tickled with myself at the thought of having got the thing, that it never struck me they might try for it. But I'm thr ough. No more for me. You're the man in charge now." Psmith shook his head. "These stately compliments," he said, "do my old heart good, but I fancy I know a better plan. It happened that I chanced to have my eye on the blighter in the tall-shaped hat, and so was enabled to land him among the ribstones; but who kno ws but that in the crowd on Broadway there may not lurk other, unidentified blig hters in equally tall-shaped hats, one of whom may work the same sleight-of-hand speciality on me? It was not that you were not capable of taking care of that p aper: it was simply that you didn't happen to spot the man. Now observe me close ly, for what follows is an exhibition of Brain." He paid the bill, and they went out into the entrance-hall of the hotel. Psmith, sitting down at a table, placed the paper in an envelope and addressed it to hi mself at the address of Cosy Moments. After which, he stamped the envelope and d ropped it into the letter-box at the back of the hall. "And now, Comrade Windsor," he said, "let us stroll gently homewards down the Gr eat White Way. What matter though it be fairly stiff with low-browed bravoes in tall-shaped hats? They cannot harm us. From me, if they search me thoroughly, th ey may scoop a matter of eleven dollars, a watch, two stamps, and a packet of ch ewing-gum. Whether they would do any better with you I do not know. At any rate, they wouldn't get that paper; and that's the main thing." "You're a genius," said Billy Windsor. "You think so?" said Psmith diffidently. "Well, well, perhaps you are right, per haps you are right. Did you notice the hired ruffian in the flannel suit who jus t passed? He wore a baffled look, I fancy. And hark! Wasn't that a muttered 'Fai led!' I heard? Or was it the breeze moaning in the tree-tops? To-night is a cold , disappointing night for Hired Ruffians, Comrade Windsor." CHAPTER XXIII
REDUCTIONS IN THE STAFF The first member of the staff of Cosy Moments to arrive at the office on the fol lowing morning was Master Maloney. This sounds like the beginning of a "Plod and Punctuality," or "How Great Fortunes have been Made" story; but, as a matter of fact, Master Maloney was no early bird. Larks who rose in his neighbourhood, ro se alone. He did not get up with them. He was supposed to be at the office at ni ne o'clock. It was a point of honour with him, a sort of daily declaration of in dependence, never to put in an appearance before nine-thirty. On this particular morning he was punctual to the minute, or half an hour late, whichever way you choose to look at it. He had only whistled a few bars of "My Little Irish Rose," and had barely got in to the first page of his story of life on the prairie when Kid Brady appeared. T he Kid, as was his habit when not in training, was smoking a big black cigar. Ma ster Maloney eyed him admiringly. The Kid, unknown to that gentleman himself, wa s Pugsy's ideal. He came from the Plains; and had, indeed, once actually been a cowboy; he was a coming champion; and he could smoke black cigars. It was, there fore, without his usual well-what-is-it-now? air that Pugsy laid down his book, and prepared to converse. "Say, Mr. Smith or Mr. Windsor about, Pugsy?" asked the Kid. "Naw, Mr. Brady, they ain't came yet," replied Master Maloney respectfully. "Late, ain't they?" "Sure. Mr. Windsor generally blows in before I do." "Wonder what's keepin' them." "P'raps, dey've bin put out of business," suggested Pugsy nonchalantly. "How's that?" Pugsy related the events of the previous day, relaxing something of his austere calm as he did so. When he came to the part where the Table Hill allies swooped down on the unsuspecting Three Pointers, he was almost animated. "Say," said the Kid approvingly, "that Smith guy's got more grey matter under hi s thatch than you'd think to look at him. I--" "Comrade Brady," said a voice in the doorway, "you do me proud." "Why, say," said the Kid, turning, "I guess the laugh's on me. I didn't see you, Mr. Smith. Pugsy's been tellin' me how you sent him for the Table Hills yesterd ay. That was cute. It was mighty smart. But say, those guys are goin' some, ain' t they now! Seems as if they was dead set on puttin' you out of business." "Their manner yesterday, Comrade Brady, certainly suggested the presence of some sketchy outline of such an ideal in their minds. One Sam, in particular, an ebo ny-hued sportsman, threw himself into the task with great vim. I rather fancy he is waiting for us with his revolver to this moment. But why worry? Here we are, safe and sound, and Comrade Windsor may be expected to arrive at any moment. I see, Comrade Brady, that you have been matched against one Eddie Wood." "It's about that I wanted to see you, Mr. Smith. Say, now that things have been and brushed up so, what with these gang guys layin' for you the way they're doin ', I guess you'll be needin' me around here. Isn't that right? Say the word and I'll call off this Eddie Wood fight."
"Comrade Brady," said Psmith with some enthusiasm, "I call that a sporting offer . I'm very much obliged. But we mustn't stand in your way. If you eliminate this Comrade Wood, they will have to give you a chance against Jimmy Garvin, won't t hey?" "I guess that's right, sir," said the Kid. "Eddie stayed nineteen rounds against Jimmy, and if I can put him away, it gets me into line with Jimmy, and he can't side-step me." "Then go in and win, Comrade Brady. We shall miss you. It will be as if a ray of sunshine had been removed from the office. But you mustn't throw a chance away. We shall be all right, I think." "I'll train at White Plains," said the Kid. "That ain't far from here, so I'll b e pretty near in case I'm wanted. Hullo, who's here?" He pointed to the door. A small boy was standing there, holding a note. "Mr. Smith?" "Sir to you," said Psmith courteously. "P. Smith?" "The same. This is your lucky day." "Cop at Jefferson Market give me dis to take to youse." "A cop in Jefferson Market?" repeated Psmith. "I did not know I had friends amon g the constabulary there. Why, it's from Comrade Windsor." He opened the envelop e and read the letter. "Thanks," he said, giving the boy a quarter-dollar. It was apparent the Kid was politely endeavouring to veil his curiosity. Master Maloney had no such scruples. "What's in de letter, boss?" he inquired. "The letter, Comrade Maloney, is from our Mr. Windsor, and relates in terse lang uage the following facts, that our editor last night hit a policeman in the eye, and that he was sentenced this morning to thirty days on Blackwell's Island." "He's de guy!" admitted Master Maloney approvingly. "What's that?" said the Kid. "Mr. Windsor bin punchin' cops! What's he bin doin' that for?" "He gives no clue. I must go and find out. Could you help Comrade Maloney mind t he shop for a few moments while I push round to Jefferson Market and make inquir ies?" "Sure. But say, fancy Mr. Windsor cuttin' loose that way!" said the Kid admiring ly. The Jefferson Market Police Court is a little way down town, near Washington Squ are. It did not take Psmith long to reach it, and by the judicious expenditure o f a few dollars he was enabled to obtain an interview with Billy in a back room. The chief editor of Cosy Moments was seated on a bench, looking upon the world t hrough a pair of much blackened eyes. His general appearance was dishevelled. He
" said Billy. And that made me so mad I hit out. at about three in the morning there was t he dickens of a banging at my door. and was beginning to make the man think that he had stumbled on Stanley Ketchel or Kid Brady or a dynamite explosion by mistake. I guess I was a fool to cut loose th at way. but I got so mad." he said. It seems that some gamb lers have been running a pool-room on the ground floor. The other cop took a swipe at me with his club. At about three o'clock in the morn ing I was aroused by a somewhat hefty banging on the door. Smith. and started t o get into my shirt. "Hullo. were thre e policemen. is more than I can understand. if he had shown up and got in my way . and there was a general rough house. I just sailed in." Psmith's eye-glass dropped from his eye." Psmith sighed. That's my little life-history. and. They said they couldn't wait about while I put on c lothes. as I have mentioned in previ ous conversations." "What!" "A banging at the door. I was a fool to do it. "He wasn't expecting it." he said. "You got my note all right then?" Psmith looked at him.had the air of a man who has been caught in the machinery." A chuckl e escaped Billy. I got up to see what was doing. I suppose. They said they had been tipped off that there was a pool-room being run in the house. and had soon sunk into a dreamless slumber. I said." said Billy. "Pool-room. when the ot her fellow loosed himself from the bookcase. I passed on into my room . "Now hear mine." "Nothing! You look as if you had been run over by a motor-car. From their remarks I gathered that certain bright spirits had been . I might have known it was no use arguing with a New Y ork cop. He went down over the bookcase. I asked what on earth for. I went meditatively back to my Fourth Avenue address. "That's nothing. but I was so mad I didn't stop to think. pretty nearly knocke d to pieces. and I got him fair. and they started in on me together. when I was sleeping peacefully upstairs. "You have told me your painful story. They knew perfectly well that I had nothing to do with any pool-room downst airs. and if I wanted to say anything I'd better say it to the magistrate. and that they were cleaning up the house. is stationed almost at my very door. in the middle of which somebody seemed to let off about fifty thousand dollars' worth of fireworks all in a bunch. "Comrade Windsor. Comrade Windsor?" "Yes. One of them gave me a shove in the ribs with his night-stic k. Anyway. "They always t urn nasty if you put up a fight. and I d idn't remember anything more till I found myself in a cell. The house where I live was raided late last night. without any apparent resentment." he said. "what on earth has been happening to you?" "Oh. concerned. and told me to come along quick. I'd put on some clothes and come with them. Why the cops should have thought I had anything to do with it. I said I wasn't going to travel about New York in pyjamas. After parting wi th you last night. and found a couple of Policemen there. all right. wi th a courtly good night to the large policeman who. "There. that's all right. They told me to come along with them to the station. standing on the mat." repeated Psmith." "The cops did that. but by that time I was so mad I'd have taken on Jim Jeffries.
and came away without a stain on my character. "meaning what. He very sportingly offered to cancel his match. They know what is done and what is not done." Billy Windsor listened to this narrative with growing interest. 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." "For thirty days. in order to correct what seemed to me even on reflection certain drawbacks to my costume. This morning I chatted a w hile with the courteous magistrate." he went on miserably. and are met by the sitz-redact eur. The police force s woops down en masse on the office of the journal. even as you appear to have done. Unless you consider Comrade Maloney eq . honest face and unwavering eye that I was not a profe ssional gambler. But." he said. who goes with them peaceably. convinced him by means of arguments and by s ilent evidence of my open. which I revisited before going to the office. "It was lucky you thought of sending that paper by post. Thi ngs are just warming up for the final burst. I pointed out. 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. it seemed. looks as if two cyclones and a threshing machine had passed through it. I told myself. there is a saloon--and the Law was now about to clean up the p lace." "The Kid has had to leave then?" "He wants to go into training at once. They tipped the police off about the pool-rooms. and we have neither. A conveyance . allowing the editor to remain and sketch out plans for his next week's article on the Crown Prince. I think I told you. arrived at the police station." sighed Psmith. Comrade Windsor?" Why. Comrade Windsor." Billy Windsor slapped his knee. and I'm out of it all. I'll bet anything you like they have been in and searched our roo ms by now. and after a very pleasant and cosy little ride in the patrol waggon. Not one of my objects of vertu but has been displaced . We need a sitz-redacteur on Cosy Moments almost as much as a fighting editor. But it is an undoubted fact th at mine. have lived longer in New York than I." "A what?" "A sitz-redacteur. waited in the street without. knowing that we should be hauled off without having time to take any thing with us.running a gambling establishment in the lower regions of the building--where. but of course that would never do. but they assured me--more by their manner than their words--that my misgivi ngs were out of place. These men. that the Kaiser's moustache reminds him of a bad dream." "They've searched it?" "With a fine-toothed comb. So I went with them." said Psmith. The real editor hints in his bright and snappy editorial. "What Cosy Moments really needs is a sitz-reda cteur. for inst ance. Very cordially the honest fellows invited me to go with them. "this is awful. I cannot say." "As regards yours. "We should ha ve been done if you hadn't. Comrade Windsor. so I yielded. say. "Gum! it's them!" he cried. I will bow to their views. the fellows who are after that paper. "As Comrade Maloney would say.
" "What's that?" "It seems to me that we are allowing much excellent material to lie unused in th e shape of Comrade Jarvis. "you'll have to be fading away soon." The door opened and the policeman reappeared. "I shouldn't. to you. "but if you see me aroun d in the next day or two. help. I shall at least have had the opportunity of chatting with one of our mo st prominent citizens." "The same. Say it quick. But now thing s have simplified themselves. etc. 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." "Well. and there's no earthly need for you to b e around the office." he said. this could not have been said. as you have doubtless heard. Comrade Windsor." he remarked to Psmith." "I guess I shan't get a chance. Whether he will consent to put himself out on my behalf remai ns to be seen. If nothing else comes of the visit. but i t has been done. I will push round to Comrade Jarvis's address. I admit." "I fail to follow you. pal. You have left a g ood man at the helm." Psmith shook his head. Little deeds of kin dness. Unfortunately." said Billy stoutly. "I guess they won't give me much chance. Have no fear. Billy leaned forward to Psmith. I shall be too fully oc cupied with purely literary matters to be able to deal with chance callers." "I shouldn't." "I don't care. don't be surprised. "Say. But I have a scheme. However. there is no harm in trying." urged Psmith. it's true. I fancy. "I'd give a year later on to be round and ab out now. "Abstain from undue worrying. his affection is confined . This act is going to be a scream fro . I reckon. The cat-specialist to whom you endeared yourself somewhat earlier in the proceedings by befriending one of his wandering animals. and sound him on the subject. "All will be well with the paper. but I'll try it if I do. Not many. I must look around me for some one else. "Time's up. Once." said Psmith regretfully. Should we no t give Comrade Jarvis an opportunity of proving the correctness of this statemen t? I think so. It's a walk-over from now on." he whispered." He retired. little acts of love. Comrade Windsor." "Bat Jarvis. good-bye. "They're bound to catch you. Give you three minutes more. I guess." "Men have escaped from Blackwell's Island before now.ual to the job. I shouldn't wonder if they put you in yo ur little cell for a year or so." A policeman appeared at the door.
m start to finish. "Dere's a guy in dere waitin' ter see youse. For going straight t o the mark and seizing on the salient point of a situation. on that evening--" "In prison?" "For thirty days. merriest day of all the glad New Year. put down the paper he was r eading. For slugging a policeman. Where di d you come from?" Mike." "No engagements of any importance to-day?" "Not a thing. More of this. We're playing a game over in Brooklyn to-morrow. Comrade Jackson." he said briefly. Psmith moved quickly to the door of the inner room. "this is the maddest. looking very brown and in excellent condition. "Hullo. 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. Well. "I got back this morning." "Let your mind wander back a little through the jungle of the past. "Why. jerking his head in the direction of the inner room. "I don't remember any Jarvis. the cat chap. I know of no one who can last two minutes against you. puzzled. Psmith." 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. 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. Let us return to that evening. Comrade Jackson." "Jarvis?" said Mike." he said." he said. Do you recol lect paying a visit to Comrade Windsor's room--" "By the way. however. Why?" "Because I propose to take you to visit Comrade Jarvis. the cat chap? I know. where is Windsor?" "In prison. with the air of a father welcoming home the pro digal son. "A guy waiting to see me." said Master Maloney." "What's the idea? What are you going to see him for?" ." "As you very justly observe. Comrade Maloney? With or without a sand-bag?" "Says his name's Jackson. turning a page. anon. whom you will doubtless remember.
If you go to a New York policeman and exhibit a black eye. however. Comrade Jackson. You do not object? Remember that you have in your E nglish home seventy-four fine cats. Comrade Jackson. Comrade Jackson."We. man. If I can only en list Comrade Jarvis's assistance. I know of nobody who cuts a greater quantity of ice. shall we be moving in his direction? By the way. and says. 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. "They have. as they lunched." "Somewhat sizzling. don't you?" "He is indispensable. Comrade Jackson. Kid Brady's reminiscences are hot stuff. They appeared tolerably i nterested." "How's that?" "Such is the boost we have given Comrade Brady.. If you are through with your refreshment." admitted Psmith." "Great Scott! Tell us. 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. I hear my tissues crying out imperatively to be restored. mostly Angoras. Wood." said Mike. "But. but showed no tendency to leap excitedly to our assistance. since coming to this city I have developed a habit of taking care of mysel f. Indeed. The New Y ork policeman. all will be well. I think so. "You certainl y seem to have bucked it up rather. 'Ain't youse satisfied with what youse got? G'wan!' His advice in such cases is good. if you will. when he had finished "why on earth don't you call in the police?" "We have mentioned the matter to certain of the force. Comrade Maloney has given me the address. a four-ounce-glove juggler of established fame.. such is the stress of this fe. like all great men. It is a goodish step dow . Are you on to that? Then let us be going. "I was reading Cosy Moments in there." "No rotting. "I will explain all at a little luncheon t that you will be my guest. it will probably be necessary in the course of our interview to allude to you as one of our most eminent living cat-fanciers. No." Psmith briefly recounted the adventures of the past few weeks. Already. He is a person of considerable influence among that section of the populace which is endeavouring to smash in our occiput s. is somewhat peculiar." "I expect you need a fighting editor. An ass of milk somewhere round the corner. or employing private help. he becomes bored. unfo rtunately cost us a fighting editor. Comrade Jackson? I think " . at which I trus journalistic li oyster and a gl so. That is why I should like you. that he is now never without a m atch." said Mike. to com e with me to call upon Comrade Jarvis. he will examine it and expr ess some admiration for the abilities of the citizen responsible for the same." corrected Psmith. indispensable. A ssuredly they have cut up rough.
"I should have remembered that time is money.. Are you with me." Mr. "The word. I should like to take a taxi. He really wis hed to know. Psmith was not discouraged. "A fine animal. Windsor! De gent what caught my cat?" "The same--and partly in order that I might make two very eminent cat-fanciers a cquainted. "is Comrade Jackson. "is not knowledge." said Psmith." said Psmith." . and then t aking up the air where he had left off.. But what of th at? The subject is too deep to be gone fully into at the moment. what do youse want? That's straight ain't it? If youse want to buy a boid or a snake why don't youse say so?" "I stand corrected. Jarvis in his Groome Street fancier's shop. pausing for a moment in the middle of a bar. His information on Angoras alone would fill a volume. "the fierce rush of New York life. "is a cor ruption of cat-mint. He looked up as they ent ered. "To which particular famil y of the Felis Domestica does that belong? In colour it resembles a Neapolitan i ce more than anything. Let us walk." he said. You remember me?" "Nope. and. adjusting his eyeglass. but it was obvious t hat Mr. I called in here partly on the strength of being a colleague and side-partner of Comrade Windsor--" "Mr. Psmith looked on benevolently. "we meet again. Jarvis's manner became unfriendly. This. as Comrade Jackson was just about to observe. Jarvis rose. Jarvis. engaged in the intell ectual occupation of greasing a cat's paws with butter. "Comrade Jarvis. with a wave of his hand in the direction of the silen tly protesting Mike. "Say. Co mrade Jarvis?" The cat-expert concentrated himself on the cat's paws without replying. but it might seem ostentatious .n on the East side. They found Mr. Jarvis's motive in putting the question was not frivolous. possibly the best known of our English cat-fanciers. and in Hoxton." he said." Mr. extended a well-buttered hand towards him. It sounded like a riddle. How it wipes from t he retina of to-day the image impressed on it but yesterday. Passing lightly on from that--" ." he said tolerantly."--Mr." said Mr. Why it should be so corrupted I do not know." 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 Jackson's stud of Angoras is celebrated wherever the King 's English is spoken. and began to breathe a melody with a certain coyness. "What Comrade Jackson does not know about cats." "Say." said Psmith. having inspected Mike with silent admiration for a while. I should recomm end you to read Comrade Jackson's little brochure on the matter. "Ah.
O ncest a guy give me a cat like dat. "There was a time when many of Comrade Jackson's felidae supported life almost e ntirely on beetles. Jarvis looked astonished. ever have a cross-eyed cat?" "Comrade Jackson's cats. interested." he said. Jarvis. It wasn't till I give him away to de cop on de corner and gets me one dat's c ross-eyed dat I lifts de skiddoo off of me. Sure. It's a real skiddoo. "there is another matter on which. "No. "dem beet les is fierce. Dat's what comes of havin' a cat wit one blue eye and one yaller one. "have happily been almost free from strab ismus. cross-eyed cats is." said Mr. say." said Psmith. He seemed to be meditating on the inscrutable workings of Fate."Did youse ever have a cat dat ate beetles?" inquired Mr. and first t'ing you know I'm in bad all roun d." he replied firmly. li ghtly--" "Say." "How's that?" . First t'ing you know dey've swallowed dem. but t his is a matter which concerns Comrade Windsor as well as myself." agreed Psmith." said Mr. and den dey gits thin and ties theirselves into k nots. Passing lightly--" "I had a cat oncest." "Dey's lucky. and not'in' don't ne ver go wrong. was dere ever a cat wit one blue eye and one yaller one in your bunch? Gum." "And what happened to the cop?" inquired Psmith. Jarvis relapsed into silence. "don't make cats thin. You has a cross-eyed cat. "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. Mr. Psmith took advantage of the pause to leave the cat topic and touch on matter of more vital import. he got in bad. Jarvis without emotion." "A versatile animal." "You should put them into strait-waistcoats." said Psmith. "Passing. it's fierce when it's like dat. I should like to touch. "dat ate beetles and got thin and used to tie itself into knots. Jarvis went on. ignoring the remark and sticking to his p oint. Jarvis. sure enough. Sure. But. Puts you in bad. if you will permit me. to assert hims elf." Mr. and I know tha t your regard for Comrade Windsor is almost an obsession. "English beetles. if he was to preserve his reputation. I can't. is a ca t wit one blue eye and one yaller one. surest t'ing you know. I would hesitate to bore you with my own private troubles. however. "Tense and exhilarating as is this discussion of the optical peculiarities of ca ts." Mr. "Say." said Psmith." "Did they git thin?" Mike felt that it was time. Can't keep de cats off of eatin' dem. "Oh. now plainly on a subject near to his heart.
'Nuttin' done." said Psmith." "De Kid?" . Comrade Jarvis. Comrade Jarvis.' I says. "That. The fact is. and especially th at Comrade Jackson. to resume. the lessee and manager of the T hree Points gang. they went to a gentleman o f the name of Reilly. He caught me cat. and what m ore do we want? Nothing. dimly comprehending. but that you very handsomely refused the contract. I fancy you have he ard a little about our troubles before this. and what do we see? Mainly scoundrels. "is the right spirit. By the way. "A guy comes to me and says he wants you and Mr. The office of the paper on which I work was until this morning securely guarde d by Comrade Brady. I got it in for dem gazebos." "Shamrock Hall?" said Psmith.'" "So I was informed. How sad it is in this world! We look to every side." "It is too true. Say . sure I have. Jarvis. Started some rough woik in me own dan ce-joint." he said." Psmith beamed approval." said Psmith. "what do youse t 'ink dem fresh stiffs done de udder night. 'Mr." "Say. "Dat's right." "Sure."I should say. and west. wit some of de Table Hillers." said Mr. We look north. dey did. Comrade Jarvis. "We are all to de good. whose name will be familiar to you. Jarvis." said Psmith. England's greatest fancier. Jackson's to de good. failing you. Windsor is. Spider Reilly. but I g ives him de t'run down. Add to that the fact that we are united by a sympathetic knowledge of the manners and customs of cats. Dey're fresh." "Mr. eyeing Mike in friendly fashion ." "Ah! However." "Dose T'ree Points. "that Comrade Windsor is a man to whom you give the glad hand. Mr. Shamrock Hall. waxing wrathful at the recollection." assented Mr. Nothing could be more admirable. we are much persecuted by scoundrels. We are b ound together by our common desire to check the ever-growing spirit of freshness among the members of the Three Points." went on Mr. was that the one that used to tie itself into knots?" "Nope. dey're to de bad." "Sure. Windsor caught me cat. "Well. Surest t'ing you know. He's to the good. is our mutual friend. Got gay. "Now the thing I wished to ask you is this . Dat was anudder." "Spider Reilly?" "You have hit it. Windsor put through it. In fact." "He did. I gather that the same sco undrels actually approached you with a view to engaging your services to do us i n. south. Jarvis. e ast.
Comrade Jarvis?" Mr. Comrade Jarvis. Your manner was exactly right. the coming light-weight champion of the world. I'll bring me canister." CHAPTER XXV TRAPPED Mr. How do we go. Comrade Jackson. "Me fer dat. 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. Till to-morrow. he made his appearance at the office of Cosy Moments. We will pay for yo ur services. Just what an eminent cat-fancier's manner should be. then. was not ascertained. In reality." he said." With him. as usual. Reserved. Nothing could be better. "Why. he brought a long. "A vote of thanks to you. no. unless--and this is where you come in." said Psmith complacently. a nd the way into the office is consequently clear to any sand-bag specialist who cares to wander in. are due to run up against the surprise of their lives." "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. perhaps it would be as well if you were to loo k up a few facts bearing on the feline world. at ten o'clock to the minute. Comrade Jarvis. I am obliged."On the bull's-eye. I do not presume to di ctate. but if you were to make yourself a thorough master of the subject of catn ip. "In certain circumstances one canister is worth a flood of rhetoric. sure. as they turned out of Groome Street. for your invaluable as sistance. Jarvis was as good as his word. Could you be there at ten to-morrow morning?" "Sure t'ing." "It strikes me I didn't do much. yet n ot haughty. . for instance. "Apparently. he has unfortunately been compelled to leave us." "I should. 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. Well. Comrade Jarvis. probably to-morrow. There is no knowing what thirst fo r information a night's rest may not give Comrade Jarvis. and his right coat-pocke t bulging in a manner that betrayed to the initiated eye the presence of the fai thful "canister. if you are going to show up at the office to-morrow. By the way. it might quite possibly come in useful. in addition to his revolver. his fore-lock more than usually well oiled in honour of the occasion. I am very much obliged to yo u. On the following morning." said Psmith. Kid Brady." "Not at all a bad hour's work. yes. thin young man who wore under his brown tweed coat a blue-and-red striped jersey. I could see tha t you made a pronounced hit with Comrade Jarvis. When do I start?" "Excellent." said Mike with a grin. 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. Jarvis reflected but a brief moment.
"if the Editorial Staff of this paper were to give y ou a day off. But wai t! A thought strikes me. "In Comrade Windsor's pre-dungeon days he was wont to sit where I am sitting now. And if two dollars woul . "I can go about my professional duties with a light heart. Psmith received the newcorners in the editorial sanctum with courteous warmth. Th roughout the seance and the events which followed it he confined himself to an o ccasional grunt. being a man of silent habit. You need a holiday. Jarvis introduced hi s colleague. If you and C omrade Otto will select one apiece and group yourselves tastefully about the roo m in chairs." He called for Pugsy. Jarvis regarded the paraphernalia of literature on the table with interest." said Pugsy." added the ardent swain. "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. blood-and-iron me n who were above the softer emotions. "I'd take me goil to d e Bronx Zoo. she's a kid. made no comment." said Psmith. Jarvis. he affirmed." "See that I have a card for the wedding. "and in the meantime take her to the Bronx. while I bivouacked over there at the smaller table. whom friends have sometimes told me I resemble in appearance. as they passed through into the inner office. He seemed to lack other modes of expression." Mr. as you suggest. eyeing the table. "Her pa runs a delicatessen shop down our street. "It is. Unflagging toil is sapping your physique." "Your girl?" said Psmith inquiringly." "Not to-day. could you employ it to profit?" "Surest t'ing you know. She ain't a bad mutt. Comrade Jarvis. Comrade M aloney. The hardiest hooligan would shrink from introdu cing rough-house proceedings into a room graced by the combined presence of Long Otto and himself. "I'm her steady. "Thought I'd bring him along. rugged. Long Otto. You will find cigars in that box." he said. I had always imagined you one of those strong." "Won't youse be wantin' me to-day. So did Long Otto." Mr. I will start in to hit up a slightly spicy editorial on the coming election." "You did very rightly. who. was no rube. however. A charming chap." said Psmith." replied Pugsy with some fervour. but a scrap per from Biffville-on-the-Slosh.Pugsy. with protr uding eyes. "I had heard no inkling of this. "Comrade Maloney. observed the pair. "Then. and remember me very kindly to the Peruvian Llama. h owever. Long Otto's his monaker. Jarvis confirmed this view." said Psmith. Who is she?" "Aw. On b usy mornings you could hear our brains buzzing in Madison Square Garden. Comrade Maloney. Mr. Go up and watch the animals. and sat speechless for a full five minutes. With Comrade Otto I fancy we shall make a combination w hich will require a certain amount of tackling. startled out of his wonted calm by the arrival of this distinguished comp any. "Is dis where youse writes up pieces fer de paper?" inquired Mr." Psmith assured him. I may possibly sing a bar or two.
Two of the three did not pause in their career ti ll they cannoned against the table. Comrade Maloney's servi ces are too valuable to allow him to be exposed to unnecessary perils. 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. All great men are like that. who was holding the handle. as I su spect. was within a few inches of his own. Finally Psmith leaned back in his chair with a satisfied expressio n. as I said--Aha!" The handle of the door began to revolve slowly and quietly. "He's a bit shy on handin' out woids. when he had gone. Psmith nodded. T'anks. Comrade R epetto." "It occurred to me. Comrade Otto?" The long one gazed appealingly at Mr. was m ore fortunate. and myself. and the absence of resistance when they applied their weig ht had had surprising effects. "Why." he said." he said. boss. those of our friends of the Three Points. "unless you care to dispose yourselv . Von Moltke. And now to work. Any visit ors who call must find their way in for themselves. "It is just as well. surely!" he said in a pleased voice. Comrade Jarvis. It was evident that they had not expected to fi nd the door unlocked. "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. who spoke for him. Action.. so much the better. "I understand. in about a quarter of a minute. and spoke. the w hat's-its-name of the thingummy and the thing-um-a-bob of the what d'you-call-it . The third.. this is a treat. 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. more than one person . such toil has its compensations. Psmith rose with a kindly smile to welcome his guests. Comrade Otto. "there is no agony like the agony of literary composition. "that Comrade Maloney is not at his cu stomary post. "I thought I knew the face. as he spoke. Am I not right." he went on. Psmith was right. Jarvis. The next moment thre e figures tumbled into the room." said Psmith." 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. if the footsteps I hear without are." "Sure t'ing." said Psmith softly.d in any way add to the gaiety of the jaunt. Work. Have you come bringing me a new hat?" The white-haired leader's face. I am a man of few words myself. If that is Comrade Otto's forte. "While. Judging from the sound. Some one was mov ing stealthily in the outer office. But what are words? Action is the thing. Now. as of course you know. Comrade Otto will bear me out in my statement that there is a subtle joy in the manufacture of the well-f ormed phrase. "I cannot offer you all seats. Ott o and Jarvis. At least. That is the cry. The editori al I have just completed contains its measure of balm." Jarvis and Long Otto turned towards the door.
Jarvis and Mr. He looked round the assembled company. Jarvis. "The cigars are on the table. with his eyeglass fixed the while on Mr. please." he said. and nothing will make them forget it." "Chorus. Jarvis spoke.' Pray. "Goin' to start any rough stuff?" inquired Mr. ahnd ther world is--ah--mine!'" concluded Psmith. as he finished. "what's doin'?" Mr. See? Does dat go? If he t'inks his little t . and let's all be jolly. "'Lov' muh. Comrade Repetto. Comrade Repetto?" Mr. who bowed. "Draw up your chairs. "Come along. Mr. Otto had produce d and were toying meditatively with distinctly ugly-looking pistols. then. who remained mute. Otto? Let us all get acquainted on this merry occasion. however." went on Bat with gro wing ferocity." He indicated Psmith. Repetto's eye was fastened on Mr. "will now recite that pathetic little poem 'Baby's Sock is now a Blue-bag. What did you wish to see me about. I will open the proceedings with a song. to whom the remark was directly addressed." In a rich baritone. I wonder if you know my friend. gentlemen. His two companions seemed equally at a loss." continued Mr. "Well." But Mr. Mr." he said." he said. and the meeting seemed to be causing them embarrassment. The sight apparentl y had the effect of quenching his desire for song. Psmith clicked his t ongue regretfully. Repetto.es upon the tables. Mr. "Comrade Jarvis. Typical New York men of affairs. "And you can tell de Spider. Why th is shrinking coyness? Fling out your chest. L. Comrade Repetto and his colleagues have c ome here on business. Mr." He looked inquiringly at the long youth." he added. This may have been due to the fact that both Mr. they close their minds to all influences that might lure them from their business. "I fear that as a smoking-concert this is not going t o be a success." said Psmith hospitably. "Comrade Otto. "Youse had better beat it. he proceed ed to relieve himself of the first verse of "I only know I love thee. Repetto's reply was unintelligible. silence for Comrade Otto. Jarvis's revolver. appeared to have some di fficulty in finding a reply. "and tell him that there's nothin' doin' in the way of rough house wit dis gent here." The three invaders had been aware of the presence of the great Bat and his colle ague for some moments. Bat Jarvis? And my frien d. "And youse had better go back to Spider Reilly. and looked at the floor. Let us get on. Repetto. Jarvis casually. Long Otto grunted sympathy with this advice. and cut loose. He shuffled his feet. I understand. "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. Jarvis made a suggestion." he observed.
No other. "I do not know. and grunted. in my opinion." said Psmith." "Beat it.wo-by-four gang can put it across de Groome Street. For half an hour after the departure of the Three Pointers Psmith chatted amiabl y to his two assistants on matters of general interest. to prompt him to knock on doors. pointing to the door. handsomely dismissing the matter. "It is too long since we met." he said. Comrade Parker. "tha t I have anything to add to the very well-expressed remarks of my friend. " or was there. It was plain that he had not expe cted to find Psmith entertaining such company. It was not Mr. wrathful. Comrade Jar vis." inquired Psmith. "for your courtly assistance. 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. He has. in the manner of a chairman addressing a meeting. notably some hints on the treatment of fits in kittens. Well." The door opened." "Especially of ancient friends such as Comrade Jarvis. and had departed. but another old frien d. Jarvis. "Did you come purely for friendly chit-chat. Otto kicked th e leg of the table. Jarvis. and the tall-shaped hat. well. Comrad e Jarvis. m outhing declarations of war." said as a sharp knock sounded on the door. you are break . The exchange of ideas wa s somewhat one-sided. And you. I fancy. "If dat's dose stiffs come back--" began Mr. Jarvis had one or two striking items of informa tion to impart. "I do not think it can be our late friends. I didn't expect a crowd. woven into the social motives of your call. he can try. th e shiny shoes. Comrade Otto. in fact. Comrade Parker. he wore the dude suit. "Welcome. a desire to talk busin ess of any kind?" "My business is private." Mr. Thank you. Comrade Jarvis. than Mr. But for you I do not care to think with what a splash I might not have been immersed in the gumbo. Dat's right." said Psmith. Mr. Francis Parker. and any one dat starts anyt'ing wit dis gent is going to have to git busy wit me. Does dat go!" Psmith coughed. Repetto or his colleagues. Comrade Jarvis. The delegation then withdrew. The gentleman on your left is Comrade Otto. An' don't fergit dis gent here and me is pals. he who had come as an embassy fro m the man up top in the very beginning of affairs. At the end of this period the conversation was once more interrupted by the soun d of movements in the outer office. "Stay your hand. It now only remains for me to pass a vote of thanks to Comrade Jarvis an d to declare this meeting at an end. though Mr. As on his previous visit. Comrade Ja rvis I think you know. If I am right. reaching for his revolver. covered the ground very thoroughly and satisfac torily." said Mr. that is to say. Comrade Repetto's knowledge of the usag es of polite society is too limited. C ome in. "I am very much obliged. Jarvis. and shot his cuffs. Parker was looking at Bat in bewilderment." "Aw chee!" said Mr.
" he said. Comrade Parker. Comrade Parker." he said. "If you will pardon the expression. good-bye." he said. "I'll beat it." said Mr. I think I shall be f orced to postpone our very entertaining discussion of fits in kittens till a mor e opportune moment. "You are absolutely correct. as Comrade Parker wishes to talk over some privat e business--" Bat Jarvis rose. . Jarvis warmly. Jarvis. "Reluctantly." Psmith nodded." Mr. "Guy asks me give dis to gazebo named Smiff" he said. when the door had closed. are you not to a certain extent am ong the Blenheim Oranges? I think so. "'Aha!' Meaning th at I propose to keep that information to myself. Parker. Comrade Parker. "I may be wrong. for the present. I am as a tortoiseshell kitten to him. Comrade Jarvis. "See here." he said at last. "The phrase exactly expresses it. But. If I might drop in some time at your private residence?" "Sure. A small boy entered." "Aw chee!" said Mr. Meanwhile. "You know your own business. And many thanks for your invaluable co-operation." observed Mr. "but it seems to me that the chances of my getting hurt are not so great as you appear to imagine. 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 eyed him benevolently. Now that Cosy Moments has our excellent friend Comrade Jarvis on its side. Parker quickly. What can I do for you?" "You seem to be all to the merry with Bat Jarvis. In his hand was a scrap of paper." As he spoke there was a rap at the door. Comrade Parker. I hope. I think so. As reluctantly as I hint that I would be a lone. Well. Comrade Jarvis. "Excellent. Parker shrugged his shoulders." "Where is it?" demanded Mr. Parker was silent for a moment.ing up a most interesting little symposium. I do. I guess. "And now. what's the use o f keeping on at this fool game? Why not quit it before you get hurt?" Psmith smoothed his waistcoat reflectively." said Psmith. "let her rip. Comrade Parker. "aren't you going to be good? Say. touching your business?" Mr.
By the side of the pavement a few yards down the road a taximeter-ca b was standing. and bring some money. Psmith thoughtful and hardly realising the other' s presence. Put that hand back where it was. "Come here as quick as you can. Comrade Parker. He had taken his seat and was closing the door. CHAPTER XXVI A FRIEND IN NEED "The point is well taken. He had escaped. Possibly the missive is for me. One of whom I am which. "Now what?" said Mr. Bi lly could be of no possible help in the campaign at its present point. 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. I should be delighted to sit chatting with you. "Comrade Parker. "You think so?" said Mr. Parker smoothly." he said to the driver. It occurred to Psmith that it would not do to l et him hear the address Billy Windsor had given in his note. my lad." he said. As it i s--" "Very well." It was signed "W. Parker darted on to the seat opposite. Expl ain when I see you. leaning back with the pistol resting easil y on his knee. And by breaking out from the Island he had committed an offence which was b ound to carry with it serious penalties." He took the paper." They went out into the street. Parker was still beside him. W. "Then you mean to go on with this business?" "Though it snows." "Good. For the first time since his connection with Cosy Moments began Psmith was really disturbed." . Parker. He turned to Mr. Parker. Mr. Comrade Parker. A feeling of regret for the futility of the thing was Psmith's first emotion. "I am convinced of it." "You think of everything. But don't move." said Psmith thoughtfully. Parker. when it was snatched from his gr asp and Mr." So Billy Windsor had fulfilled his promise. All the w ork that remained to be done could easily be carried through without his assista nce. It was dated from an address on the East Side. as Artemus Ward was wont to observe. Psmith hailed it." it ran. But for this. "I regret to state that this office is now closing fo r the day. "Dear Smith."There are many gazebos of that name." said Mr. "Turn and go on down the street.
I seem to see them meditatively plucking you limb from limb." "You did. It seems to me that we have nothing before us but to go on riding about New York till you feel that my socie . Instantly the revolver was against his waistcoat. You would be headed off and stopped." "I guess I see the end of this all right. is doubtless precious to yourself. The shot would ring out. 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. Comrade Parker. the Park! How fresh the leaves. Comrade Parker." He raised his hand to point. 'Comrade Parker is no t such a fool as he looks. weltering in his gore? Death to the assassin! I fear nothing could save you from the fury of the mob. Comrade Parker. That is how it would be. Looking towards the window. however unhealthy to the eye of the casual o bserver. It shall not occur again . Comrade Parker. the momentary pleasure of potting me. "Don't bite at me. I'll blow a hole through you. "I told you to keep that hand where it was. Why be brusque on so joyous an occasion? Bett er men than us have stopped at the Plaza.He dropped his hand on to the seat. "is where you make your error. now that I have got him?'" "You think so. Carried away by my love of nature. Parker shortly. while it is true that I can't get out. 'Happy thought. And what would you hav e left out of it? Merely. Comrade Parker. Comrade Parker." said Psmith handsomely. 'Parker is the man with the big brain!' But now." said Mr." "It had better not. The fault." he said. the People's Pet. Your face is contorted with the anguish of mental stress. never to embark on any enterprise of which you do not see the end. and remained silent for a few moments. "That." Psmith raised his eyebrows. Let this be a lesson to you. as I say. and instantly bicycle-policemen would be pursuing this taxi-cab with the purposeful speed of greyhounds trying to win the Waterloo Cup. I fear you have n ot thought this matter out with sufficient care. I will kidnap Psmith! 'and all your friends said. Ah. m aking an unwelcome crease in that immaculate garment. you are moaning. do you?" "I am convinced of it. Ha! What is this? Psmith. 'What on earth shall I do with him. I trust you would wear a made-up tie with evening dress. "was enti rely mine. The t axi-cab was buzzing along up Fifth Avenue now. You would no mor e shoot me in the heart of the metropolis than. Your skin.' Think for a moment what would happen." said Mr. Comrade Parker. you did. 'She loves me not. A nybody could hit a man with a pistol at an inch and a quarter.' A leg joins the lit tle heap of limbs on the ground. I forgot. The great white mass of the Plaza Hotel s howed up on the left. You said to you rself. The cry goes round criminal circles in New York. 'She loves me!' Off comes an arm. Psmit h saw that they were nearing the park. Parker unpleasantly. And it isn't as if such a feat could give you the thrill of successful marksmanship. "Did you ever stop at the Plaza. how green the herbage! Fling your eye at yonder grassy knoll. Comrade Parker?" "No." "You have the advantage of me then. Co mrade Parker. "If it does.
" "You figure you're clever. He was sitting in the same att itude of watchfulness." "And when we are out in the open country. "I understand. It was from this qu arter that he seemed to expect attack. Occasiona lly. eh?" "There may be a flaw in my reasoning. "I see. Then you propose to make quite a little tour in this cab?" "You've got it. This cab is moving on. we aren't due to stay in the city. assuming for purposes of argument that it was in the power of a wood-chuck to chuck wood?" Mr." "Like John Brown's soul. Comrade Parker? Well. You can take no step of any sort for a ful l half-hour. to the right. all looking exactly the same. a glimpse of the ri ver could be seen. but.ty begins to pall. "I see. 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. nodding." "That's it. through a break in the line of buildings. Tell me about your home-life. You are un ." said Psmith with ready sympathy. A passion for the flora and fauna of our forests is innate rather than acquired. which was hanging limply at his side. the revolver resting on his knee." said Psmith heartily." "Meaning what. so let us give ourselves up to the merriment of the passing instant." said Psmith. but I confess I do not at the moment see w here it lies. you see. past rows on rows of high houses. Are you good at riddles. Parker said nothing. well. Let us talk of something else." "Then. Comrade Parker? How much wood would a wood-chuck chuck." "Ah! And what is it?" "You seem to think New York's the only place on the map. Have you detected one?" "I guess so. Comrade Parker?" "It might be a fool trick to shoot you in the city as you say. Parker did not attempt to solve this problem. I guess. Psmith resumed the conversation. "You are not interested in wood-chucks." "There are few brighter brains in this city. many people are not. 'Fahzer's come home'?" Mr. things m ay begin to move. Say no more. possibly more. But why this sudden tribute?" "You reckon you've thought it all out. where there are no witnesses. He seemed mistrustful o f Psmith's right hand. "till that moment arrives what we must do is to en tertain each other with conversation. Comrade Parker. The cab was bowling easily up the broad s treet. Comrade P arker.
And he had a faint hope that the suddenness of his movement might ups et the other's aim. Tell me about her. Psmith's eye turned again to the window." said Psmith regretfully. Psmith eyed him curiously." "You'll find it so.. if that note was genuine? I have never made a close study of Comrade Windsor's handwriting. it must hit him. There was not hing to do but wait. The muzzle. He was bound to be hit somewhere. but that was all. Parker permitted himself a smile. purely to satisfy my curiosity. An occasional w ooden shack was passed. or the second. Parker was evidently too keenly on the look-out. The cab moved swiftly on. If the pistol went off. pointing in an upwar d direction. ." said Mr. but Mr. He should have gone further. "Sherlock Holmes was right. "You may remember that he advised Doctor Watson never to take the first cab. travelling at their p resent rate. Now they had reached the open country. Another moment and Mr. It was necessary for him to think. Psmith relapsed into silence." Mr. they must come into the open country. but his right hand. Mr. Parker nodded. He drew back quickly. Comrade Parker. Alas. Parker's chin would be in just the r ight position for a swift upper-cut. "let us turn to another point. They were off Manhattan Is land now. They had cove red much ground since last he had looked at the view. and the houses were beginning to thin out. "The note was a fake all righ t. and what do we see? A solid phalanx of the girls we have loved and lost. and stated that he had escaped from Blackwell's Island. thus it is! We lo ok around us. and half raised the revolver.. closed. Comrade Parker?" he asked. Parker leaned forward with a scowl. She wouldn't have you. "Leaving more painful topics. but in the present circumstances that would be useless. Psmith did not move. Psmith's muscles stiffened for a spring. "I guess you aren't so clever after all. Was it your face or your manners at wh ich she drew the line?" Mr. Psmith's hand resumed its normal attitude. The hand that held the revolver never wavered. Parker himself. Parker." he said. If it had been poi nted at his head in the orthodox way he might have risked a sudden blow to knock it aside. At any moment the climax of the drama might be reached. Parker did not reply. There was no doubt that a move on his part would be fatal." "And you had this cab waiting for me on the chance?" Mr. and urged him not to take cabs at all. That note which the grubby stripling brought to me at the office purported to come fr om Comrade Windsor. and in an unguarded moment I may h ave assumed too much. This fact appeared suddenly to dawn on Mr. was aimed at Psmith's waist. Would you mind telling me . He had been talking in the hope of getting t he other off his guard. Walking is far healthier. and was awaiting my arrival at some address in the Bowery.married. There was little chan ce of its being effective." said Psmith. Comrade Parker! However. That was certain. but at least it would be better to put up some kind o f a fight. "What are you going to do with me. as it hung. Soon. But quic kness might save him to some extent.
A sort of Boswell. It was about a minute later that somebody in the road outside spoke. There was a thud. a vil lage distant but a few miles from New York." said the Kid. manifestly objected to an audience. lacking the conversational graces. "Guy's been an' bust a tyre. that he had come upon the b roken-down taxi-cab." said thick-neck number one. and the Kid and his attendant thick-necks were content t o watch the process of mending the tyre. who. But now. One cannot have ev erything in this world. . sure. "Had a breakdown?" inquired the voice. I guess. "Guy's had a breakdown." "Surest thing you know. "Seems to me the tyre's punctured." said the other. as he had not yet settled down to genuine hard work. It was his practice to open a course of training with a little gentle road-work. while perhaps somewhat lacking in the matter of original thought. "Guy ran over a nail. Presently the body of the machine was raised slightly as he got to work with the jack." agreed his colleague. "Did you run over a nail?" the Kid inquired of the chauffeur." said thick-neck number one. On e of the tyres had burst. "Surest thing you know. Psmith recognised it. but just then the smooth speed of the cab changed to a series of jarring bumps. CHAPTER XXVII PSMITH CONCLUDES HIS RIDE The Kid. It was the voice of Kid Brady. had begun his training for his match with Eddie Wood. now?" speculated the Kid. each more emphatic than the last. he felt justified in turning aside and looking into the matter." said the first of the thick-necks. All three concentrated their gaze on the machine "Kid's right. "Surest thing you know. he would have averted his eyes from the spectacle. They observed the perspiring chauffeur in silence for a while. as the chauffeur jumped down." said thick-neck number two. The fact that th e chauffeur. in company with the two thicknecked gentlemen who acted as his sparring-partners. If this had happened after his training had begun in real earnest. They heard him fumbling in the t ool-box. "Wonder how he did that. however alluring. and continued on his way without a pause. as he had stated to Psmith at their last interview that he intended to do. In another moment he would have s prung. was a most useful fellow to have by one. and it was while jogging along the highway a couple of miles from his training-camp. at White Plains. who seemed to be a taciturn man. then came to a halt. It slowed down.He braced his leg against the back of the cab. deterred him not at all. without demanding the additional joy of sparkling small-talk from the man in charge of the operations.
"Keep quiet. Parker literally crumpled up. Parker dug viciously at him with the revolver. it'll cost him somethin g." "De guy's beat it. as the fingers lost their hold. Say. the conversation had begun again. Comrade Brady!" said Psmith genially. "Say. which was not sma ll. Parker neatly under the angle of the jaw. I fancy. There was no answering smil e on the other's face. He would have slipped to the floor had not Psmith pushed him on to th e seat. meeting Mr. "Ah. following up his companion's train of th ought." Psmith. Comrade Parker? He is right. His left hand shot out." Psmith. The interested face of the Kid appeared at the window. Parker's eye. "Surest thing you know." "Some guy tells him to drive him out here. and was hoping y ou might look in for a chat. It was the very chance Psmith had been waiting for.The chauffeur ignored the question. Outside. Meanwhile. Comrade Brady. then fell limply on his chest. The bill--" Mr. Psmith had risen from his seat as he delivered the blow. smiled pleasantly. and gave it a sharp wrench. and as he heard it Mr. Smith?" queried the excited Kid. and it consequently got the full benefit of his weight. "or you'll get hurt. The effect was instantaneous. For an instant the muzzle of the pistol ceased to point at Psmith's w aistcoat. much. "I'm goin' to rubber in at the window. for the first time lost his head . "This is his busy day." Psmith suspended his remarks." volunteered the first thick-neck. took Mr. "I heard your voice." "What's doin'. the bullet passing through the back of the cab. I will tell you all anon. wonder what he's doin' with a taxi so far out of the city. "Much. He's a bad person. in the interior of the cab. Mr." said the other. The revolver went o ff with a deafening report. shouldn't wonder." he whispered. Behind him could be seen portions of the faces of the two thick-necks. With a vague idea of screening Psmith from the eyes of the man in the road he half rose. Parker. too. "Pretty rich guy inside. then fell to the floor." surmised the Kid. Parker. that eminent tactician. kindly knock that chauffeur down and sit on his head. darting upwards. . glanced at Mr." "Deaf. "Guy's too full o f work to talk to us. He'll have to strip off a few from his roll to pay for this. There came the sound of the Kid's feet grating on the road as he turned. "You heard." said the first thick-neck with satire." said the Kid. I guess. The next moment Psmith's rig ht fist. His head jerked back. however. grasped the other's wrist. Mr.
"What's been doin'. Psmith took down the recei ver. Mr. Shall we be pushing on?" . pointing to Parker. We may as well take the gun. as he would have been in the middle of a dese rt. Comrade Brady. Comrade Brady. but none arrived. having heard the details of t he ride. 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. I propose that we leave him where he is. took up his position in the inner room." said a moody voice. causing inconvenience to all. Comrade Parker is not the proper man to ha ve such a weapon. straightening himself up. No hooligan. during these lean days. In my opinion. Unless you or either of your friends are collecting Parkers. and that had given him an understanding of what a term of imprisonment on Blackwell's Island meant. Psmith uttered a cry of welcome." he said.. Things were almost dull when the telephone bell rang. What Bat said was law on the East Side." he said. 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. A bit of walking will do me good. The only flaw in Psmith's contentment was the absence of Billy Windsor. "Riding in a taxi is pleasant provided it is not overdone. who had begun to stir slightly. Comrade Brady. now that Bat Jarvis had declared himself on his side. offered once more to abandon his match with Eddie Wood. must be supporting life on bread. No sounds broke the peace of the outer office ex cept the whistling of Master Maloney. They c ould not hope to catch him off his guard a second time. "I'm Parker. again accompanied by the faithful Otto.. All was quiet at the office on the following day. would dare to act against a protege of the Groome Street leader.. "Hullo?" he said. H e had seen Mr William Collier in The Man from Mexico. Bat Jarvis. and. . He was fairly satisfied that the opposition had fired their la st shot. Psmith dined alone. Smith?" asked the Kid. For the moment I have had sufficient. prepared to repel all invaders. "I'll tell you about it as we go. after a pleas ant afternoon at the Brady training-camp. but Psmith woul d not hear of it. he was as safe in New York." "What are you going to do with this guy. stepping into the road. however. as far as hired ass ault and battery were concerned.. Psmith. It was late in the evening when Psmith returned to the metropolis. however eager to make m oney. . The Kid. Smith?" asked the Kid." He groped on the floor of the cab fo r the revolver. Psmith inspected the stricken one gravely. Billy. Mr." said Psmith. was somewhat saddened by the thought. bean soup. He is too prone to go firing it off in any direction at a mome nt's notice. and water. "Now. toying with the hors d'oeuvre. "I am a t your disposal. "I have no use for him. "Our ride together gave me as m uch of his society as I desire for to-day. and that their next move would be to endeavour to come to terms.
" he said. I am very busy just now. "Well. but I had other engagements. "Then I do not see how we can meet. "Yes. Comrade Maloney?" "Telegram." "I am sorry. Will be at office to-morrow morning." Psmith ripped open the envelope. Look in when you're this way. when the rush of work has diminished somewhat. he was aware of Master Maloney standing beside the table. CHAPTER XXVIII . Is there anything else I can do for you. Comrade Parker?" "Mr." and it was signed "Wilb erfloss. Parker made no reply to the invitation." "Am I to tell Mr. "I shall be here. Comrade Parker. Waring would like to see you. the one in which we publish the name of the owner of the Pleasant Street Tenements." He hung up the receiver. Windsor. "For Mr."Why. "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. as you m ay know. I should be delighted. The message ran: "Returning to-day. Comrade Parke r?" "See here--" "Nothing? Then good-bye." Mr." "The celebrated tenement house-owner?" Silence from the other end of the wire." Psmith clicked his tongue regretfully. this is splendid! How goes it? Did you get back all right yesterday? I was sorry to have to tear myself away." said Pugsy. His office is in the Morton Building. Otherwise. Comrade Parker. Waring that you refuse?" "If you are seeing him at any time and feel at a loss for something to say. Nassau Street. As he did so. But why use the telephone? Why not come here in person? You know how welcome yo u are. It is impossible. preparing the next number. perh aps you might mention it. Hire a taxi-cab and come right round. Stewart Waring. "Mr." "He wishes to see you at his office. Perhap s later." "Who." said Psmith." "See who's here!" said Psmith softly.
Comrade Jarvis. and Long Otto." Psmith inspected the menagerie without resentment. "Why. it was unfortunate. It was a soothing scene. sitting up with a start. Henderson Asher . dey won't scrap wit de dawg. smoke d a long cigar in silence. In the outer office could be heard a stir and movement. The next moment the door burst open and a little man dashed in. Well. He ha d a peeled nose and showed other evidences of having been living in the open air . "Assuredly." he said. "this is indeed a Moment of Mirth. The dog made no attempt to annihilate the cats. as usual. and an era of peace set in. Mr. I say no more. the matter's in your hands. Jarvis's kn ees. too!" cried Psmith. let me introduce two important me ." said the other with austerity. After an inquisiti ve journey round the room he lay down and went to sleep. well ." "But is he aware of that? He looks to me a somewhat impulsive animal. however. "My name is Wilberfloss. Behind him was a crowd of uncertain numbers. Comrade Asher. B. Jarvis's statement as to the friendly relations between the animals proved t o be correct. Bat breathed a tune. 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. "Dey started in scrappin' yesterday when I was here. "Why we have all met before.STANDING ROOM ONLY In the light of subsequent events it was perhaps the least bit unfortunate that Mr. who. If you will undertake to look after the refereeing of any pogrom that may arise. I have been wo ndering for weeks where you could have got to. "Will you be so good as to tell me where Mr. And Comrade Philpotts! Am I wrong in saying that this is the maddest. of course. The only possible criticism I can find to make has to do with their probable brawling with the dog. But it did not last. Ten minutes had barely elapsed when the yellow dog. They could not know that before the morning was over space in the office would be at a premium. "First. Still. should have been fired by his example to the e xtent of introducing a large and rather boisterous yellow dog." he said. "In one moment. Philpotts and Mr. Psmith recognised the leaders of this crowd. surveying the ceiling with his customary glassy stare. "They add a pleasantly cosy and domestic t ouch to the scene. Dey knows him." "Oh. Except--" He glanced inquiringly at the little man with the peeled nose. They were the Reverend Edwin T. merriest day of all the glad New Year?" The rest of the crowd had entered the room. The cats had settled themselves comfortably. They were not to be blamed." said Psmith. accompanied him. and scratched one of the cats un der the ear. one on each of Mr. "T'ought I'd bring de kits along. "Comrade Waterman. Windsor is?" A murmur of approval from his followers. Jarvis was slightly apologetic." Mr. so to-day I says I'll keep my eye on dem. and that Long Otto ." he said. uttered a whine.
and is now serving a sentence of thirty days on Blackwell's Island." he asked. Compare such words as ptarmi gan. "There is a preliminary P before the name. 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. Wilberfloss. Long Otto. "did youse ever have a cat wit one blue and one yellow e ye?" Mr. Long Otto. "It is too true." Mr. in his haste." said the old Etonian reverently. "is widely known as a cat fan cier in Brooklyn circles. that Comrade Windsor appointed me. "Who are you?" "I am Psmith. Wilberfloss. Mr." said Psmith sorrowfully. however. a process which i t kept up almost without a pause during the rest of the interview. psalm. Both of Groome Street. Like the tomb. "It might be claimed that I appointed myse lf. Henderson Asher a cigarette. On your right. Wilberfloss in friendly fashion on the chest. "Do you remember. and phthisis. who was offering B. On your left. however. . Waterman started." "I shall dismiss Mr. was promptly gathered in. Mr. Jarvis." "Honest?" said Mr. "Say. Windsor immediately.mbers of our staff. sad smile played across Psmith's face. Mr . Such is the generous impulsiveness of Comrade Windsor's nature that he hit a policeman." he said." said the big-brained one. Mr." The two Bowery boys rose awkwardly. A faint. The cats fell in an avalanche to the floor. Who appointed you?" Psmith reflected. "Who am I?" repeated Psmith in an astonished tone. Philpotts. and stumbled over a cat. big-brained though he i s. Windsor?" "In prison." said Mr. You may say. "It is rather a nice point." said Psmith in an aside to Bat. "Who are you?" he demanded." "These gentlemen tell me you're acting editor. "In prison!" Psmith nodded. Wilberfloss side-stepped and turned once more to Psmith. "Mr. which began barking. Bat Jarvis." "Ah! And where is Mr. falling into error. is silent. Wilberfloss looked at Mr. trod on the dog. "I never heard of such a thing. Asher looked at Mr. Wilberfloss. This. He tapped Mr.
which. "I demand an explanation. Psmith turned courteousl y to the editor." said Bat querulously. but renders conversation difficult. "Poisson yourself. "Gentlemen. I--" "I assure you it was a pure accident. gentlemen. The dog shot out." He broke off. dodging with a yelp. Bean soup and bread. the editor of this journal. Comrade Jarvis. Mr. to turn his attention to Mr." rejoined Bat. "goes and treads on de k it. Jarvis. intervened. vice Kid Brady. is Mr. justly incensed. 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. "let us not descend to mere personalities. between whom bad blood seemed to have arisen. Comrade Otto." said Psmith. "What is the trouble. "I am sure you will earn his gratitude i f you do. Waterman. I th ought I had introduced you. who had backed away and seemed nervous. They live on bean soup there. Wilberfloss above the din. absent on unavoidable business. Wilberfloss. I go away by my doctor's orders for ten weeks. was glo wering at Mr." roared Mr. Mr. respectively. When there was silence. Wilberfloss. The animal--" Mr. Windsor to conduct the paper on certain well-defined lines. "I insist that you give me a full explan ation of this matter. They could hear it being ejected from the outer office by Master Maloney. our acting fighting-edito rs." "Kid Brady !" shrilled Mr. Cosy Moments was never so prosperous and flourishing." He opened the door. I return yesterday. and you will see t hat the circulation has gone up every week. Smith?" Psmith waved his hands. getting into communication with Mr. what do I find? Why. Smith?" he inquired. and. This. Comrade Otto. Waterman. Comrade Jarvis?" "Dat guy dere wit two left feet. Mr. that i n my absence the paper has been ruined. Piercing shr ieks cleft the air. Wilberfloss. holding a cat in his arms. Comrade Wilberfloss--Zam-buk would put your nose right in a day--are." "Ruined?" said Psmith." he said. "Who are these persons." Long Otto raised a massive boot and aimed it at the animal. and not much of eit her. These. Comrade Wilberfloss?" "Who is this person Brady? With Mr. Philpotts I have been going carefully over t he numbers which have been issued since my departure--" . "I think. cannoned against the second cat and had its nose scratched. Jarvis and Mr. "You were saying. Bat Jarvis and Long Otto. Examine the returns. eyeing Bat and the silent Otto with disgust. leaving Mr. "Who's de little guy wit de p eeled breezer."From Blackwell's Island?" said Psmith. "On the contrary. "it would make things a little easier if y ou removed that dog. Philpotts.
one of the most f irmly established critics east of Fifth Avenue.' Now." said Mr. "Fight on." murmured Psmith. and misfortune. and turned to the Kid's page. I bet you never kne w that before. Referee says. Comrade Philpotts. "We court criticism. "Describing a certain ten-round unpleasantness with one Mexican Joe. stamps Kid Brady's reminiscences with the hall-mark of his approval. I have it. Comrade Jarvis. " He picked up the current number of Cosy Moments. "now I'll knock you up into the gallery. I appeal to t hese gentlemen to say whether this. and out he goes. and then---!'" "Bah!" exclaimed Mr." "--together with a page of disgusting autobiographical matter. "It's to de good. "This. There isn't a guy living that could stand up again st that. "--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. but I thi nks of my mother and swats him one in the lower ribs. "Go on. "You heard? Comrade Jarvis. had barred him almost completely from the second pastime. Try it on your parishioners. 'A bul ly good way of putting a guy out of business is this. is not bright and interesting. 'Joe comes up for the second round and he gives me a nasty look. Jarvis approvingly. but helpful as well. 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 . to love his mother and to knock the heads off other youths whose weight coincided with his own. Let me see." he said." "I falls fer de Kid every time. Wilberfloss irately. Then bring dow n the heel of your left hand. There was that unfortunate stripling with only two ple asures in life. "is no medium for exploiting low p rize-fighters. You know a good thing when you see one. dat stuff. You don't want to use it i n the ring. The Kid is as decent a little chap as you'd meet anywhere. The fingers give you a leverage to beat the band." "Low prize-fighters! Comrade Wilberfloss. "All right."An intellectual treat. but this is mere abuse. just place the tips of the fingers of your left hand on the right side of his chest. Jarvis. you have been misinformed. While he's setting himself for a punch." he said. "I protest. You do not seem to appreciate th e philanthropic motives of the paper in adopting Comrade Brady's cause. because by Queensberry Rules it's a foul." "Cosy Moments." urged Mr. a nd you upper-cut him with your right. Our editorial heart was melted." Joe gives me another nasty look." he says. Why. We adopted Comrade Brady. Wilberfloss." Psmith held up his hand. The guy doubles up. Let me quote you another passage to show that they are not only enthralling." And with that he cuts lo ose with a right swing. where is it? Ah. but I falls into the clinch." assented Mr. until we took him up. "there is stuff in these reminiscences which would stir the blood o f a jelly-fish. K id." he wen t on warmly. for instance. Comrade Wilberfloss. Think of it. He hollers foul. but nix o n that. 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. "Assuredly. It's this way. boss." "There!" said Psmith triumphantly.
Comrade Wilberfloss. Wilberfloss. "I don't believe it. Comrade Wilberfloss. Comrade Wilberfloss. Prosperity beams on us like a sun. W hite has given no sanction for the alterations in the paper?" A puzzled look crept into Psmith's face." he said." "The proprietor?" gasped Mr." Mr. so out of touch with our New York literary life. I knew you would give up when it came to the p oint. Wilberfloss. you will admit that Mr. Wilberfloss. Can nothing reassure you? The returns are excellent. and inquire whether t hese alterations in the paper meet with his approval. Wilberfloss snorted. "Does he know how you have treated the paper?" "He is cognisant of our every move. it is true." "I shouldn't. "we are talking at cross-purposes." he said. I shall cable Mr. "Nevertheless." "You keep reverting to that statement. Comrade Wilberfloss. Wilberfloss uttered a cry of triumph. Wilberfloss. B." thundered Mr. One would almost imagine that you fancied that Comrade White was the proprietor of this paper. The paper is ruined. I think it is practically a certa inty that he has not the slightest inkling of any changes in the paper. The propriet or is more than satisfied. Benjamin White is not a maniac." sighed Psmith. What makes you fancy that there is even a possibility of his being--er--?" "Nobody but a lunatic would approve of seeing his paper ruined." said Psmith. and you were driven into a corner.eans that he gets a legitimate claim to meet Jimmy Garvin for the championship." he said. "It is disgraceful." ." burst forth Mr. you are mistaken. "Nothing will convince me of it. hopping to avoid a perambulating ca t. Mr. The assembled ex-contributors backed up this statement with a united murmur." "And he approves?" "He more than approves." "It is not true." Mr. and in these hard times a penny saved is a penny earned. I have every reason to belie ve in his complete sanity. You keep harping on Comrade White and his views and tastes. perhaps. "I knew it. "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. "I knew it. Henderson Asher snorted satirically. I never hea rd of such a thing." said Mr. "you imagine that I intend to take your word in this matter. White to-day." "I trust not. "I think." "Again!" said Psmith. "I sincerely trust not. Now." "It is abominable." "If. Cables are expensive. Why worry Comrade White? He is so far away. "They don't believe it.
who. Henderson Asher stared. had los t interest in the discussion. Wilberfloss stared. Nothing could be more nicely attuned to the tastes of a Shropshire Psmi th." Among his audience (still excepting Mr. and the Reverend Edwin Philpotts. "I don't follow you. CHAPTER XXIX THE KNOCK-OUT FOR MR." said Psmith encouragingly.'" "Do I understand you to say that you own this paper?" "I do. "I am. Comrade Wilberfloss. He regarded It. 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. "Not so. 'Comrade Wilberfloss is to the good. He does not gibber. and was now entertaining the cats with a ball of p aper tied to a string." "Since when?" "Roughly speaking. where good jobs are so hard to acquire. I deduced. The cry goes round New York. All you had to do. about a month. Wilberfloss. and wrote .. "The same. Mr. "All is well. once you had secured your paper. since the readings from the Kid's reminiscences had ceased. Who is. Wilberfloss. was to o wn a paper." said Psmith. like manuscripts. not so much as a life-work as in t he light of an investment. Mr. Every one stared.. "You!" exclaimed Messrs. Jarvis. I had long been convinced that about the nearest approach to the perfect job in this world. "Fancied that Mr. and put it back in its pla ce. Wilberfloss groped for a chair and sat down. "Very early in my connection with this journal. Wilberfloss in particular w as disturbed." he said. "I saw that I was on to a good thing." said Psmith. Editorships of the kind which he aspired to are not easy to get. B. Waterman. I assumed that Comrade White had his price. "On the spot!" said Psmith. Jarvis. was to sit back and watch the other fellows work. WARING "You!" cried Mr.Mr. polished it thoughtfully. I f he were to be removed from Cosy Moments he would find it hard to place himself anywhere else. except Mr. 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. Asher. are rejected from want of space. if he isn't?" Psmith removed his monocle.?" repeated Mr. White. Editors. and from time to time forward big cheques to t he bank. who was tickling one of the cats and whistling a plaintive melody) there was a tendency toward awkward silence. "Am I going mad?" he demanded feebly.
" He took a seat. His face was clean-shaven and curiously expressionless. Glad. There are some men who seem to fill any room in which they may be. It was reasonable." said Pugsy. "We are now. If the rest of you would look in ab out this time to-morrow--Show Mr. but I fancy we shall win through. and--" There was a knock at the door. "Guy's waiting outside. Bushy eyebrows topped a pair of cold grey eyes. would you mind remaining? As ed itor of this journal. "Shall I send the guy in?" "Surest thing you know." he said. Comrade Jarvis. The owner of the Pleasant Street Tenements was of what is usually called command ing presence. He was tall and broad." he said. Mr. "at a crisis in the affairs of this journal. My father has spent some time of late hurling me at various professions. If I might drop in some afternoon and inspect the re mainder of your zoo--?" "Any time you're down Groome Street way. and I knew he would have no o bjection to my being a Napoleon of the Press on this side. 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. After which he looked at Mr. "you know how I hate to have to send you away. "Gentlemen. It was a wise thing to do. . So we closed with Com rade White." He turned to the assembled company. "Mr. Paper-owning." The door opened. He cabled it to me. you should be present. Waring was one of these. and more than a little stout. He set his hat down on the table without speaking. Comrade Maloney. Comrade Wilberfloss. 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 . Your services to the paper hav e been greatly appreciated. Now it so happens that an uncle of mine some years ago left me a considerable number of simoleons. Comrade Wilberfloss." he said. As a general rule in life y ou can't beat it. to ascertain what that p rice might be. we will meet anon." "Sure. Remember that. may be combined with being Lord Chancellor. "Comrade Maloney.to my father. Psmith had risen to greet him." "I will make a point of it. do you know what Mahomet di d when the mountain would not come to him?" "Search me. Stewart Waring. Waring in." read Psmith. and Pugsy announced Mr. who shrank a little beneath his gaze. but would y ou mind withdrawing in good order? A somewhat delicate and private interview is in the offing. ho wever. Waring. who was visiting Carlsbad at the moment. and w e had agreed some time ago that the Law was to be my long suit. and Master Maloney entered with a card. Comrade Maloney. Wilberfloss. He walked into the room with the air of one who is not wont to apolog ise for existing. Comrade Maloney." said the office-boy indifferently. "He went to the mountain.
causing Mr."Won't you sit down?" he said. He was playing a lost game." "Who are you. no mere irresponsible lounger who has butted in by chance. you had bette r quit it. Waring brought his hand down with a bang on the table. "I tell you. "What are you doing it for?" he demanded explosively. It isn't healthy." "I understood that a Mr. Wilberflo ss to leap a clear two inches from his chair. I did not object to giving up valuable time to listen to Comrade Parker. Have you no new light to fling upon the subject?" Mr. Waring again glanced at Mr." said he. This is Liberty Hall. and it was a privilege t o hob-nob with him. Waring wiped his forehead. "I prefer to stand." "The editor? I understood--" "I know what you would say. "There was a time when that was the case. Wilberfloss. then." "Just as you wish. "I'll sue you for libel. but it is apt to crumple up against strong defence. "All is well. That is Comrade J." Psmith shook his head. He was merely acting as editor while the chief was away hunting sand-eels in the jungles of T exas. the editor of this journal. Psmith looked at him admiringly. is interested in politics and house-ownership rather than in literature. . if I may say so." he said. I fear I must remind you that this is one of our busy days. 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. White was the proprietor. inferior--words what Com rade Parker said to us. He is a fascinating conversationalist. especially one who. Fillken Wilberfloss. In his absence Comrade Windsor and I did our best to keep the old journal booming along." said Psmith. like yourself." said Psmith reassuringly." Mr. "What I have to say is private. You may speak as freely befor e him as you would before well. "It is no stranger that you see before you. but it lacked the master-hand. but not now. You have Comrade Windsor in your mind. and he was not the so rt of man who plays lost games well. But now all is well: Comrade Wilbe rfloss is once more doing stunts at the old stand. let us say Comrade Parker. Are you s ure you won't sit down?" Mr. But if you are merely intending to cover the ground covered by him. if this gentleman is the editor?" "I am the proprietor." "Not so. The Waring type is dangerous when it is win ning. His next words proved his demoralisation. "You are merely stating in other--and.
perhaps I might take a mo re fervid interest in the matter. "It's monstrous. but as I am merely passing through your beauti ful little city. I have been studying the papers of lat e. utterly ruined a pract ically new hat of mine. He should try Blenkinsop's Balm for the Bilious." he said. For pure richness and whi msical humour it stands alone. then they deserve you. but even assuming that to be the case. "I've thought the whole thing out."Say no more. He sat down. On the other hand." Mr. "Five thousand dollars!" "Five thousand and three dollars. I should simply droop and fade slowly away like a neglected lily. The fight had gone out of him." said Psmith. The right plan woul d be to put the complete kybosh (if I may use the expression) on your chances of becoming an alderman. the five thousand. If I w ere to depart without bringing off improvements down Pleasant Street way. I hope I don't hurt your feelings in any way. one J. and it seems to me that it doesn't much matter who gets elected. 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. without waiting for an answer. If the People are chumps enough to elect you." Mr. It was the white flag. The startled cry would go round Cambridge: 'Som ething is the matter with Psmith." Mr. To be absolutely candid. Of course th e opposition papers may have allowed their zeal to run away with them. 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. "for you will never beat that. "It may possibly have escaped yo ur memory. If I were a native of New York. I am merely stating my own individual opinion. I shou ldn't be able to enjoy my meals. I propose to apply to making those tenements fit for a tolerably fastidious pig to live in. Repetto. it doesn't seem to me to make any very substantial difference w ho gets in. "is the matter of the se tenements." he said. Waring. Comrade Wilberfloss. "I'll tell you. It would have hit him right." resumed Psmith. but a certain minion of yours." . thus suddenly pulled into the conversation. again leaped in his seat." "Five thousand!" cried Mr. you are making the culminating err or of a misspent life. If you think that I can afford to come to New York and s catter hats about as if they were mere dross." continued Psmith. Three dollars are what I need for a new one.' But no balm would do me any good. "is to touch you for the good round sum of five thousand and three dollars. my view of the thing is this. Waring accepted the invitation he had refused before. and now you pr opose to sue us for libel! I wish Comrade Windsor could have heard you say that. Psmith leaned back in his chair. Waring made no remark. "What I propose to do. "What are you going to do?" he said. He is off his feed. the other candidates appear to be a pretty fair co ntingent of blighters. The balance of your cheque. And you wouldn't like that. Waring half rose. "The only thing that really interests me. Wilberfloss.
was joy. intimated that he was. substitute yours. in pyjamas and a college blazer. Comrade Maloney. later. He has got where he wanted. Some days ago the editor of Comrade Windsor's lat e daily paper called up on the telephone and asked to speak to him." "Well. the ke ttle droned. "Finished?" he said. But I've read about dem. and song. and fate cannot touch us. but it can be done. with an indulgent and fatherly eye. and pay it in to my ac count at the International Bank. on r eflection. But in Psmith's rooms the fire burned brightly. I have made inquiries. "I will write you a note to that effect. He asks to re-engage Comrade Windsor's services at a pretty sizeable salary. with Comrade Wilberfloss's assistance. "Bet your life I am. and all. Who knows but what. run like one down to Wall Street with this cheque. Cosy Moments may therefore ease up a bit. so. Then perhaps you would not mind passing the word round among Comrades Asher.have. I explained the painful circumstances. Comrade Wilberfloss? Excellent. "It's more or less of a minimum." said Psmith. who had been playing football. CONCLUSION IT was a drizzly November evening. as far as our prison expert is concerned. then capitulated. appearing at the door. and melancholy. at about the beginning of next month. you might not have changed your mind?" "What guarantee have I. all may be said to be well. Ar e you on?" Mr. mist. and." said Psmith. I see I may. as the proprietor had just observed. Psmith watched. May I count on your services. I propose. to restore Cosy Moments to its old style. went round and hob-nobbed with the great man." "Youse hollering fer me?" asked that youth. So out with the good old cheque-book." "-I. Waring hesitated for a moment. . The streets of Cambridge were a compound of m ud." said Psmith. you should hear a deafening squeal of joy ring through this city. "have been known to be stopped. A very pleasant fellow. and telling them to burnish their brains and be ready to wade in at a moment's notice." "I have no cheque-book with me." asked Mr. "that these attacks on me in your pap er will stop?" "If you like."It isn't. and the r est of the squad. I fear you will have a pretty tough job roping in the o ld subscribers again. "Cross out the name of my bank. If. it will be the infants of New York and the ir parents receiving the news that Cosy Moments stands where it did. and let's all be jolly. producing one from a drawer. Waring. Comrade Wilberfloss. Waterman. Have you ever seen an untamed mustang of t he prairie?" "Nope. Wilberfloss." Mr. Mike. jollity. But it will not be necessary. Psmith. wriggling in his chair. I look to you. was lying on the sofa. as he wrote ." said Psmith. was reclining in a comatose state in an arm-chair by the fire." Pugsy disappeared. "Cheques. "Comrade Maloney.
The Kid is now definitely ma tched against Comrade Garvin for the championship. I may be wrong. and the cats. When he does. By the way. but it seems to me that all is singularly to de good. Henderson Asher. Comrade Jackson. Comrade Windsor in the chair over there. 'Psmith ." said Psmith. "What?" he said drowsily. "That is excellent. and the experts seem to think that he should win. Comrades B rady and Maloney on the table. These are the real Cosy Moments. "are the moments in life to which we look back wi th that wistful pleasure. will be the finest and most commodious tenement houses in New York. The man Wil berfloss is a marvel in his way. Comrade Jackson?" "Ur-r. And while on that sub ject you will be glad to hear that the little sheet is going strong. Yesterday night. "Never mind. Comrade Jackson?" "Um-m. He will probably come to England later on." he said. Bat Jarvis. Keep listening. and our old pal Wilberfloss sharing the floor wit h B. But what of it? Life must inevitably be dot ted with these minor tragedies. when the improvements are completed. and the bally rot which used t o take place on the Fourth of June? No. You've really no notion what a feeling of quiet pride it gives you o wning a paper. So with the present moment. 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. Advices from Comrade Windsor inform me that that prince of blighters. Are you asleep. "Say no more. Millionaires will stop at them instead of going to the Plaza. was rejected by an intelligent electorat e. but I presume such to have been the case. Still. clear-sighted citizens refused to vote for him to an extent that you could notice without a microscope. and I hope he wins through. 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. comfortably. I don't think you ever met him. will remain with me when I have forgotten that such a person as Comr ade Repetto ever existed. Comrade Wi ndsor also stated--as indeed did the sporting papers--that Comrade Brady put it all over friend Eddie Wood. I do not repine. administering the sleep-producer in the eighth round . To-day I had to dig down into my jeans for a matter of two plunks. Let us say. This peaceful scene. is Comrade Brady. He regards you as the World's Most Prominen t Citizen. He is a stout fellow." He reached out for a cigarette. He appears to have gathered in the majority of the old subscribers again. Those keen. a proctor slid up. "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 pass lightly on. "These. Comra de Jackson. You could not be better employed." said Mike. " Mike stirred sleepily in his chair." said Psmith dreamily. we must show h im round. A line from you every now and then would sweeten the lad's existence. Waring. Hopping mad but a brief while ago. I am filled with a strange content to-night. did you. He owns wh at. The whisper goes round. as Comrade Maloney would put it." said Mike. he has one consolation. I try not to show it. they now eat out o f his hand. when I was looking down from th e peak without a cap and gown. but I seem to myself to be looking down on the world from some lofty peak. What of my boyhood at Eton? Do I remember with the kee nest joy the brain-tourneys in the old form-room. My authorities are silent as to whether or not the lethal blow was a half-scis sor hook."How pleasant it would be. "I take you.
' Comrade Jackson--" A snore came from the chair. But he did not repine. The man behind Cosy M oments slept. Five minutes later a slight snore came from the sofa. His eyes closed. and wears a brave smile. too.bites the bullet. Psmith sighed. He bit the bullet. The End .