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Title: You Should Worry Says John Henry
Author: McHugh, Hugh
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "You Should Worry Says John Henry" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



YOU SHOULD WORRY SAYS JOHN HENRY

by

GEORGE V. HOBART

Illustrations by Edward Carey



G. W. Dillingham Company
Publishers New York

Copyright, 1914, by
G. W. Dillingham Company
All rights reserved
The author reserves all stage rights, which includes moving pictures.
Any infringement of copyright will be dealt with according to law.

_You Should Worry_
Press of J. J. Little & Ives Co. New York



CONTENTS

CHAPTER                                            PAGE

    I. You Should Worry About a Tango Lesson          5

   II. You Should Worry About an Automobile          28

  III. You Should Worry About Dieting                45

   IV. You Should Worry About Getting a Goat         64

    V. You Should Worry About Being in Love          78

   VI. You Should Worry About Snap-Shots             97

  VII. You Should Worry About the Servants          108

 VIII. You Should Worry About Auction Bridge        130

   IX. You Should Worry About Getting the Grip      142

    X. You Should Worry About a Musical Evening     158



YOU SHOULD WORRY

CHAPTER I

YOU SHOULD WORRY ABOUT A TANGO LESSON


The idea originated with Bunch Jefferson. You can always count on Bunch
having a few freak ideas in the belfry where he keeps his butterflies.
Bunch and his wife, Alice, live out in Westchester County, about half a
mile from Uncle Peter's bungalow, where friend wife and I are spending
the winter.

The fact that Uncle Peter and Aunt Martha had decided to give us a party
was the inspiration for Bunch's brilliant idea.

"Listen, John," he Macchiavellied; "not one of this push out here knows
a thing about the Tango. Most of them have a foolish idea that it's a
wicked institution invented by the devil, who sold his patent rights to
the Evil-Doers' Association. Now, I'll tell you what we'll do, John:
we'll put them wise. We'll take about two lessons from a good instructor
in town and on the night of the party we'll make the hit of our lives
teaching them all to Tango--are you James to the possibilities?"

"It listens like a good spiel," I agreed; "but will a couple of lessons
be enough for us?"

"Sure," he came back; "we're not a couple of Patsys with the pumps! We
can learn enough in two lessons to make good in this Boob community.
Why, we'll start a Tango craze out here that will put life and ginger in
the whole outfit and presently they'll be putting up statues in our
honor."

Well, to make a long story lose its cunning, we made arrangements next
day with Ikey Schwartz, Dancing Instructor, to explain the mysteries of
this modern home-wrecking proposition known as the Tango, and paid him
in advance the sum of $100.

It seemed to me that a hundred iron men in advance was a nifty little
price for two lessons, but Bunch assured me the price was reasonable on
account of the prevalence of rich scholars willing to divide their
patrimony with anybody who could teach their feet to behave in time to
the music.

We made an appointment to meet Ikey at his "studio" for our first lesson
the following afternoon. Then we hiked for home on the 4.14, well
pleased with our investment and its promise of golden returns.

That night Bunch and Alice were over to our place for dinner. After
dinner Bunch and I sat down by the log fire in the Dutch room, filled
our faces with Havana panatellas, and proceeded to enjoy life in
silence.

Into the next room came Alice and Peaches and sat down for their usual
cackle.

Bunch and I started from our reveries when we heard Alice say to
Peaches, "You don't know what a source of comfort it has been to me to
realize that Bunch doesn't know a blessed thing about the Tango or any
of those hatefully intimate new dances!"

"The same with me, Alice," friend wife chirped in. "I believe if John
were to suddenly display the ability to dance the Tango I'd be
broken-hearted. Naturally, I'd know that he must have learned it with a
wicked companion in some lawless cabaret. And if he frequented cabarets
without my knowledge--oh, Alice, what _would_ I do?"

I looked at Bunch, he looked at me, and then we both looked out the
window.

"For my part," Alice went on, "I trust Bunch so implicitly that I don't
even question his motive when he telephones me he has to take dinner in
town with a prospective real estate customer."

"And I know enough of human nature," Peaches gurgled, "to be sure that
if either one of them could Tango he would be crazy to show off at home.
I think we're very lucky, both of us, to have such steady-going
husbands, don't you, Alice?"

At this point Aunt Martha buzzed into the other room and the cackle took
on another complexion.

In the meantime Bunch and I had passed away.

"It's cold turkey," I whispered.

"I've been in the refrigerator for ten minutes and I'm chilled to the
bone," Bunch whispered back.

"Can we get our coin away from Ikey?" I asked.

"We can try," Bunch sneezed.

The next afternoon we had Ikey Schwartz for luncheon with us at the St.
Astorbilt. The idea being to dazzle him and get a few of the iron men
back.

"Leave everything to me," Bunch growled as we shaved our hats and
Indian-filed to a trough.

"A quart of Happysuds," Bunch ordered. "How about it, Ikey?"

Ikey flashed a grin and tried to swallow his palate, so it wouldn't
interfere with the wet spell suggested by Bunch.

Ikey belonged to the "dis, dose and dem" push.

Every long sentence he uttered was full of splintered grammar.

Every time Ikey opened his word-chest the King's English screamed for
help, and literature got a kick in the slats.

He was short and thin, but it was a deceptive thinness. His capacity for
storing away free liquids was awe-inspiring and a sin.

I think Ikey must have been hollow from the neck to the ankles, with
emergency bulkheads in both feet.

His nose was shaped like a quarter to six o'clock. It began in the
middle and rushed both ways as hard as it could. One end of it ducked
into his forehead and never did come out.

His interior was sponge-lined, and when the bartenders began to send
them in fast, Ikey would lower an asbestos curtain to keep the fumes
away from his brain.

Nobody ever saw Ikey at high tide.

There was surely something wrong with Ikey's switchboard, because he
could wrap his system around more Indian laughing-juice without getting
lit up than any other man in the world.

But Ikey was the compliments of the season, all right, all right.

Ikey had spent most of his life being a Bookmaker, and when the racing
game went out of fashion he sat down and tried to think what else he
could do. Nothing occurred to him until one day he discovered that he
could push his feet around in time to music, so he became a dancing
instructor and could clean up $1,000 per day if the bartenders didn't
beckon too hard.

The luncheon had been ordered and Bunch was just about to switch the
conversation around to the subject of rebates when suddenly his eyes
took on the appearance of saucers, and tapping me on the arm he gasped,
"Look!"

I looked, and beheld Peaches, Alice and Aunt Martha sailing over in our
direction.

With a whispered admonition to Bunch to keep Ikey still, I went forward
to meet friend wife, her aunt and Alice.

They were as much surprised as I was.

"It was such a delightful day that Aunt Martha couldn't resist the
temptation to do a little shopping," Peaches rattled on; "and then we
decided to come here for a bit of luncheon--hello, Bunch! I'm _so_ glad
to see you! John, hadn't we better take another table so that your
friendly conference may not be interrupted?"

I hastened to assure Peaches that it wasn't a conference at all. We had
met Mr. Schwartz quite by accident. Then I introduced Ikey to the
ladies.

He got up and did something that was supposed to be a bow, but you
couldn't tell whether he was tying his shoe or coming down a stepladder.

When Ikey tried to bend a Society double he looked like one of the
pictures that goes with a rubber exerciser, price 75 cents.

After they had ordered club sandwiches and coffee I explained to Peaches
and the others that Mr. Schwartz was a real estate dealer. Ikey began to
swell up at once.

"Bunch and I are going in a little deal with Mr. Schwartz," I explained.
"He knows the real estate business backwards. Mr. Schwartz has a fad
for collecting apartment houses. He owns the largest assortment of
People Coops in the city. All the modern improvements, too. Hot and cold
windows, running gas and noiseless janitors. Mr. Schwartz is the
inventor of the idea of having two baths in every apartment so that the
lessee will have less excuse for not being water broke."

Ikey never cracked a smile.

"In Mr. Schwartz's apartment houses," I continued, while Bunch kicked my
shins under the table, "you will find self-freezing refrigerators and
self-leaving servants. All the rooms are light rooms, when you light the
gas. Two of his houses overlook the Park and all of them overlook the
building laws. The floors are made of concrete so that if you want to
bring a horse in the parlor you can do so without kicking off the
plaster in the flat below. Every room has folding doors, and when the
water pipes burst the janitor has folding arms."

"Quit your joshing, John! you'll embarrass Mr. Schwartz," laughed Bunch
somewhat nervously, but Ikey's grin never flickered.

"Is Mr. Schwartz deaf and dumb?" Peaches whispered.

"Intermittently so," I whispered back; "sometimes for hours at a time he
cannot speak a word and can hear only the loudest tones."

Aunt Martha heard my comment on Ikey's infirmity and was about to
become intensely sympathetic and tell him how her brother's wife was
cured when Bunch interrupted loudly by asking after Uncle Peter's
health.

"Never better," answered Aunt Martha. "He has spent all the morning
arranging the program of dancing for our little party. He insists upon
having the Virginia Reel, the old-fashioned waltz, the Polka and the
Lancers. Uncle Peter has a perfect horror of these modern dances and
Peaches and Alice and I share it with him." Then she turned to Ikey:
"Don't you think these modern dances are perfectly disgusting?"

Poor Ikey looked reproachfully at the old lady a second, then with
gathering astonishment he slid silently off the chair and struck the
floor with a bump.

Aunt Martha was so rattled over this unexpected effort on Mr. Schwartz's
part that she upset her coffee and Ikey got most of it in the back of
the neck.

When peace was finally restored the old lady came to the surface with an
envelope which had been lying on the table near her plate.

"Is this your letter, John?" she asked, and then, arranging her glasses,
read with great deliberation, "Mr. I. Schwartz, Tango Teacher, care of
Kumearly and Staylates' Cabaret, New York."

Peaches and Alice went into the ice business right away quick.

Aunt Martha, in pained surprise, looked at me and then at Bunch, and
finally focused a steady beam of interrogation upon the countenance of
Mr. Schwartz.

Ikey never whimpered.

Then Bunch took the letter from the open-eyed Aunt Martha and leaped to
the rescue while I came out of the trance slowly.

"It's too bad Mr. Schwartz forgot his ear trumpet," Bunch said quickly,
and Ikey was wise to the tip in a minute.

Peaches sniffed suspiciously, and I knew she had the gloves on.

"Mr. Schwartz's affliction is terrible," she said with a chill in every
word. "How did you converse with him before our arrival?"

"Oh! he understands the lip language and can talk back on his fingers,"
I hastened to explain, looking hard at Ikey, whose masklike face gave no
token that he understood what was going on.

"I thought I understood you to say Mr. Schwartz is a real estate
dealer!" Peaches continued, while the thermometer went lower and lower.

"So he is," I replied.

"Then why does his correspondent address him as a Tango Teacher?" friend
wife said slowly, and I could hear the icebergs grinding each other all
around me.

"I think I can explain that," Bunch put in quietly. Then with the utmost
deliberation he looked Ikey in the eye and said, "Mr. Schwartz, it's
really none of my business, but would you mind telling me why you, a
real estate dealer, should have a letter in your possession which is
addressed to you as a Tango Teacher? Answer me on your fingers."

[Illustration]

Ikey delivered the goods.

In a minute he had both paws working overtime and such a knuckle
twisting no mortal man ever indulged in before.

"He says," Bunch began to interpret, "that the letter is not his. It is
intended for Isadore Schwartz, a wicked cousin of his who is a victim of
the cabaret habit. Mr. Schwartz is now complaining bitterly with his
fingers because his letters and those intended for his renegade cousin
become mixed almost every day. These mistakes are made because the
initials are identical. He also says that--he--hopes--the--presence--
of--this--particular--letter--in--his--possession--does--not--offend--
the--ladies--because--while--it--is--addressed--to--a--tango-teacher--
the--contents--are--quite--harmless--being--but--a--small--bill--from--
the--dentist."

Ikey's fingers kept on working nervously, as though he felt it his duty
to wear them out, and the perspiration rolled off poor Bunch's forehead.

"Tell him to cease firing," I said to Bunch; "he'll sprain his fingers
and lose his voice."

Ikey doubled up all his eight fingers and two thumbs in one final shout
and subsided.

"I'm afraid we'll miss the 5.18 train if we don't hurry," said Peaches,
and I could see that the storm was over, although she still glanced
suspiciously at poor Ikey.

"And, Bunch, you and John can come home with us now, can't you?" Alice
asked as they started to float for the door.

Then Ikey cut in as we started to follow the family parade, "I'm hep to
the situation. It's a cutey, take it from little Ikey. I'll have to
charge you $8 for the sudden attack of deafness; then there's $19 for
hardships sustained by my finger joints while conversing. The rest of
the 100 iron men I'm going to keep as a souvenir of two good-natured
ginks who wouldn't know what to do with a Tango if they had one."

As we pulled out of the Mayonnaise Mansion I looked back at Ikey to
thank him with a farewell nod.

He was halfway under the table, holding both hands to his sides and
making funny faces at the carpet.



CHAPTER II

YOU SHOULD WORRY ABOUT AN AUTOMOBILE


Say! did you ever have to leave the soothing influence of your own
rattling radiators in the Big City and go romping off to a rich
relation's for the week-end?

Well, don't do it, if you can help it, and if you can't help it get back
home as soon as possible.

When Uncle Gilbert Hawley sent us an invitation to run up to
Hawleysville for a day or two I looked at Peaches and she looked at
me--then we both looked out the window.

We knew what a wildly hilarious time we'd have splashing out small talk
to the collection of human bric-a-brac always to be found at Uncle
Gilbert's, but what is one going to do when the richest old gink in the
family waves a beckoning arm?

I'll tell you what one is going to do--one is going to take to one's
o'sullivans, beat it rapidly to a choo-choo, and float into Uncle
Gilbert's presence with a business of being tickled to death--that's
what one is going to do.

You know Nature has a few immutable laws, and one is that even a rich
old uncle must in the full course of time pass on and leave nephews and
nieces. Leave them what? Ah! that's it! Where's that timetable?

Hawleysville is about forty miles away on the P. D. & Q., and it is some
burg. Uncle Gilbert wrote it all himself.

Uncle Gilbert has nearly all the money there is in the world. Every time
he signs a check a national bank goes out of existence. He tried to
count it all once, but he sprained his wrists and had to stop.

On the level, when he goes into a bank all the government bonds get up
and yell, "Hello, Papa!"

When he cuts coupons it's like a sheep shearing.

He has muscles all over him like a prizefighter just from lifting
mortgages.

When Peaches and I finally reached the Hawley mansion on the hill we
found there a scene of great excitement. Old and distant relations were
bustling up and down the stone steps, talking in whispers; servants with
scared faces and popping eyes were peeping around the corner of the
house, and in the roadway in front of a sobbing automobile stood Uncle
Gilbert and Aunt Miranda, made up to look like two members of the Peary
expedition at the Pole.

After the formal greetings we were soon put hep to the facts in the
case.

"You see, John," bubbled Aunt Miranda, while a pair of green goggles
danced an accompaniment on her nose, "your Uncle Gilbert loaned the
money to a man to open a garage in Hawleysville. But automobilists
never got any blowouts or punctures going through here because there
isn't a saloon in the town, so the garage failed and the man left town
in an awful hurry, and all your Uncle Gilbert got for the money he
loaned was this car. We've been four years making up our minds to buy
one and now we have one whether we want it or not."

"Fine!" I said; "going out for a spin, Uncle Gilbert?"

"Possibly," he answered, never taking his eyes off the man-killer in
front of him, which stood there trembling with anger.

"What car is it?" I inquired politely.

"It's a Seismic," Uncle Gilbert said.

"Oh, yes, of course; made by the Earthquake Brothers in
Powderville--good car for the hills, especially coming down," I
volunteered. "Know how to run it?"

"I guess so; I was always a good hand at machinery," Uncle Gilbert
answered.

"Don't you think you should have a chauffeur?" Peaches suggested.

"Chauffeur! Why?" Uncle Gilbert snapped back; "what do I want with one
of those fellows sitting around, eating me out of house and home."

Now you know why he has so much money.

"We'll be back in a little while," Aunt Miranda explained; "just make
yourselves at home, children."

Uncle Gilbert continued to eye the car for another minute, then he
turned to me and said, "Want to try it, John?"

"Nix, Uncle Gilbert," I protested; "what would the townspeople say? You
with a new motor car, afraid to run it yourself, had to send to New York
for your nephew--nix! Where's your family pride?"

"My family pride is all right," answered Uncle Gilbert; "but there's a
lot of contraptions in that machine I don't seem to recognize."

"Oh, that's all right; you're a handy little guy with machinery," I
reminded him. "Hop in now and break forth. Don't let the public think
that you're afraid to blow a Bubble through the streets of your native
town. The rubber sweater buttoned to the chin and the Dutch awning over
the forehead for yours, and on your way!"

Finally and reluctantly Uncle Gilbert and Aunt Miranda climbed into the
kerosene wagon and I gave him his final instructions.

"Now, Uncle Gilbert," I said, "grab that wheel in front of you firmly
with both hands and put one foot on the accelerator. Now put the other
foot on the rheostat and let the left elbow gently rest on the
deodorizer. Keep the rubber tube connecting with the automatic fog
whistle closely between the teeth and let the right elbow be in touch
with the quadruplex while the apex of the left knee is pressed over the
spark coil and the right ankle works the condenser."

Uncle Gilbert grunted. "Why don't you put my left shoulder blade to
work," he muttered; "it's the only part of my anatomy that hasn't got a
job."

"John," whispered the nervous Aunt Miranda, "do you really think your
Uncle Gilbert knows enough about the car?"

"Sure," I answered, and I was very serious about it. "Now, Uncle
Gilbert, keep both eyes on the road in front of you and the rest of your
face in the wagon. Start the driving wheels, repeat slowly the name of
your favorite coroner, and leave the rest to Fate!"

And away they started in the Whiz Wagon.

Before they had rolled along for half a mile through town the machine
suddenly began to breathe fast, and then, all of a sudden, it choked up
and stopped.

"Will it explode?" whispered Aunt Miranda, pleadingly.

"No," said Uncle Gilbert, jumping out; "I think the cosmopolitan has
buckled with the trapezoid," and then, with a monkey wrench, he crawled
under the hood to see if the trouble was stubbornness or appendicitis.

Uncle Gilbert took a dislike to a brass valve and began to knock it with
the monkey wrench, whereupon the valve got mad at him and upset a pint
of ancient salad oil all over his features.

When Uncle Gilbert recovered consciousness the machine was breathing
again, so he jumped to the helm, pointed the bow at Tampico, Mex., and
began to cut the grass.

Alas! however, it seemed that the demon of unrest possessed that
Coal-oil Coupe, for it soon began to jump and skip, and suddenly, with a
snort, it took the river road and scooted away from town.

Uncle Gilbert patted it on the back and spoke soothingly, but it was no
use.

Aunt Miranda pleaded with him to keep in near the shore, because she
was getting seasick; but her tears were in vain.

"You must appear calm and indifferent in the presence of danger,"
muttered Uncle Gilbert as they rushed madly into the bosom of a flock of
cows.

[Illustration]

But luck was with them, for with a turn of the wrist Uncle Gilbert
jumped the machine across the road, and all he could feel was the sharp
swish of an old cow's tail across his cheek as they rushed on and out of
that animal's life forever.

Aunt Miranda tried to be brave and to chat pleasantly. "How is Wall
Street these days?" she asked, and just then the machine struck a stone
and she went up in the air.

"Unsettled," answered Uncle Gilbert when she got back, and then there
was an embarrassing silence.

To try to hold a polite conversation, on a motor car in full flight is
very much like trying to repeat the Declaration of Independence while
falling from a seventh-story window.

Then, all of a sudden, the machine struck a chord in G, and started for
Newfoundland at the rate of 7,000,000 miles a minute.

Aunt Miranda threw her arms around Uncle Gilbert's neck, he threw his
neck around the lever, the lever threw him over, and they both threw a
fit.

Down the road ahead of them a man and his wife were quarreling. They
were so much in earnest that they did not hear the machine sneaking
swiftly up on rubber shoes.

As the Benzine Buggy was about to fall upon the quarreling man and wife
Uncle Gilbert squeezed a couple of hoarse "Toot toots" from the horn,
whereupon the woman in the road threw up both hands and leaped for the
man. The man threw up both feet and leaped for the fence.

The last Aunt Miranda saw of them they were entering their modest home
neck and neck, and the divorce court lost a bet.

Then the machine began to climb a telegraph pole, and as it ran down the
other side Aunt Miranda wanted to know for the tenth time if it would
explode.

"How did John tell you to handle it?" she shrieked, as the Rowdy Cart
bit its way through a stone fence and began to dance a two-step over a
strange man's lawn.

"The only way to handle this infernal machine is to soak it in water,"
yelled Uncle Gilbert as they hit the main road again.

"I don't see what family pride has to do with it; there isn't a soul
looking," moaned Aunt Miranda.

"Oh if I could only be arrested for fast riding and get this thing
stopped," wailed Uncle Gilbert as they headed for the river.

"Let me out, let me out," pleaded Aunt Miranda, and the machine seemed
to hear her, for it certainly obliged the lady.

I found out afterwards that in order to make good with Aunt Miranda the
machine jumped up in the air and turned a double handspring, during the
course of which friend Uncle and his wife fell out and landed in the
most generous inclined mud puddle in that part of the state.

Then the Buzz Buggy turned around and barked at them, and with an
excited wag of its tail scooted for home and left them flat.

Late that evening Uncle Gilbert explained that there would have been no
trouble at all if he had removed a defective spark plug.

But I think if Uncle Gilbert would go to Dr. Leiser and have his
parsimony removed he'd have more fun as he breezes through life.

Peaches thinks just as I do, but she won't say it out loud--she's a fox,
that Kid.



CHAPTER III

YOU SHOULD WORRY ABOUT DIETING


I was complaining to some of my friends in the Club the other evening
because a germ General Villa had begun to attack the outposts of my
digestive tract when a nut in the party began to slip me a line of talk
about a vegetable diet.

I didn't fall for it until he proved to me that Kid Methuselah had
prolonged an otherwise uneventful life and was enabled to make funny
faces at the undertakers until he reached the age of 914 simply because
he ate nothing but dandelion salad, mashed potatoes and stewed prunes.

Then I went home and told friend wife about it. She approved eagerly
because she felt that it might solve the servant problem.

Since we started housekeeping about eight months ago we've averaged two
cooks a week. Tuesdays and Fridays are our days for changing chefs. The
old cook leaves Monday evening and the new cook arrives Tuesday morning.
Then the new cook leaves on Thursday evening and the newest cook arrives
on Friday, and so on, world without end.

Friend wife decided she could herself dip a few parsnips in boiling
water without the aid of a European kitchen mechanician.

Vegetarians! What a great idea!

Now she could get out into the sunlight once in a while, instead of
standing forever at the hall door as a perpetual reception committee to
a frowsy-headed Slavonian exile demanding $35 per and nix on the
washing.

But it was Friday and our latest cook was at that moment annoying the
gas range in the kitchen, so why not experiment and find out what merit
there is in a vegetarian menu?

The ayes have it--send for the Duchess of Dishwater.

Enter the Duchess, so proud and haughty, with a rolling pin in one hand
and a guide to the city of New York in the other. During her idle
moments she studied the guide. Even now, and only three weeks from Ellis
Island, she knew the city so well that she could go from one situation
to another with her eyes closed.

"Ollie," said friend wife, "do you know how to cook vegetables in an
appetizing manner?"

[Illustration]

"Of course," answered Ollie, her lips curling disdainfully.

Then I chipped in with, "Very well, Ollie; the members of this household
are vegetarians, for the time being. All of us vegetarians, including
the dog, so please govern yourself accordingly."

Ollie smiled in a broad Hungarian manner and whispered that
vegetarianisms was where she lived.

She confided to us that she could cook vegetables so artistically that
the palate would believe them to be _filet mignon_, with champagne
sauce.

Then she shook the rolling pin at a picture of friend wife's
grandfather, and started in to fool the Beef Trust and put all the
butchers out of business.

Dinner time came and we were all expectancy.

The first course was potato soup. Filling but not fascinating.

The second course was potato chips, which we nibbled slightly while we
looked eagerly at the butler's pantry.

The next course was French fried potatoes with some shoestring potatoes
on the side, and I began to get nervous.

This was followed by a dish of German fried potatoes, some hash-browned
potatoes and some potato _saute_, whereupon my appetite got up and left
the room.

The next course was plain boiled potatoes with the jackets on, and baked
potatoes with the jackets open at the throat, and then some roasted
potatoes with Bolero jackets.

I was beginning to see that a man must have in his veins the blood of
martyrs and of heroes to be a vegetarian and at the same time I could
feel myself fixing my fingers to choke Ollie.

The next course was a large plate of potato salad, and then I fainted.

When I got back Ollie was standing near the table with a sweet smile on
each side of her face, waiting for the applause of those present.

"Have you anything else?" I inquired hungrily.

"Oh, yes!" said Ollie. "I have some potato pudding for dessert."

When I got through swearing Ollie was under the stove, my wife was
under the table, the dog was under the bed, and I was under the
influence of liquor.

I'm cured.

After this my digestive tract will have to fight a sirloin steak every
time I get hungry.

Besides, I don't want to live as long as Methuselah. If I did I'd have
to learn to tango some time in the 875 years to come--then I'd be just
the same as everybody else in the world.

Can you get a flash of Methuselah at the age of 64 taking Tango lessons
from Baldy Sloane up at Weisenfeffer's pedal parlors? And then having to
survive for 850 years with the dance bug in his dome!

Close the door, Delia; there's a draft.

When Peaches recovered from the shock of my outburst over the potato
pudding she said the only way I could square myself was to take her to
the very latest up-to-datest hotel in New York for dinner.

That is some task if you live up town, believe me, because they open new
hotels in New York now the same as they open oysters--by the dozen.

However, after stuffing my pockets with all my earthly possessions, we
hiked forth and steered for the Builtfast--the very latest thing in
expensive beaneries.

Directly we entered its polished portals we could see from the faces of
the clerks and the clocks that a lot of money changed hands before the
Builtfast finally became an assessment center.

In the lobby the furniture was covered with men about town, who sat
around with a checkbook in each hand and made faces at the cash
register.

There are more bellboys than bedrooms in the hotel. They use them for
change. Every time you give the cashier $15 he hands you back $1.50 and
six bellboys.

We took a peep at the diamond-backed dining-room, and when I saw the
waiters refusing everything but certified checks in the way of a tip, I
said to Peaches, "This is no place for us!" But she wouldn't let go,
and we filed into the appetite killery.

A very polite lieutenant waiter, with a sergeant waiter and two corporal
waiters, greeted us and we gave the countersign, "Abandon health, all ye
who enter here."

Then the lieutenant waiter and his army corps deployed by columns of
four and escorted us to the most expensive looking trough I ever saw in
a dining-room.

"Peaches," I said to friend wife, "I'm doing this to please you, but
after I pay the check it's me to file a petition in bankruptcy."

She just grinned, picked up the point-lace napkin and began to admire
the onyx furniture.

"_Que souhaitez vous?_" said the waiter, bowing so low that I could feel
a chill running through my little bank account.

"I guess he means you," I whispered to Peaches, but she looked very
solemnly at the menu card and began to bite her lips.

"_Je suis tout a votre service,_" the waiter cross-countered before I
could recover, and he had me gasping. It never struck me that I had to
take a course in French before entering the Builtfast hunger foundry,
and there I sat making funny faces at the tablecloth, while friend wife
blushed crimson and the waiter kept on bowing like an animated
jackknife.

"Say, Mike!" I ventured after a bit, "tip us off to a quiet bunch of
eating that will fit a couple of appetites just out seeing the sights.
Nothing that will put a kink in a year's income, you know, Bo; just
suggest some little thing that looks better than it tastes, but is not
too expensive to keep down."

"_Oui, oui!_" His Marseillaise came back at me, "_un diner comfortable
doit se composer de potage, de volaille bouillie ou rotie, chaude ou
froide, de gibier, de plats rares et distingues, de poissons, de
sucreries, de patisseries et de fruits!_"

I looked at my wife, she looked at me, then we both looked out the
window and wished we had never been born.

"Say, Garsong," I said, after we came to, "my wife is a daughter of the
American Revolution and she's so patriotic she eats only in United
States, so cut out the Moulin Rouge lyrics and let's get down to cases.
How much will it set me back if I order a plain steak--just enough to
flirt with two very polite appetites?"

"Nine dollars and seventy cents," said Joan of Arc's brother Bill; "the
seventy cents is for the steak and the nine dollars will help some to
pay for the Looey the Fifteenth furniture in the bridal chamber."

"Save the money, John," whispered Peaches, "and we'll buy a pianola with
it."

"How about a sliver of roast beef with some simple vegetable," I said
to the waiter. "Is it a bull market for an order like that?"

"Three dollars and forty-two cents," answered Henri of Navarre;
"forty-two cents for the order and three dollars to help pay for the
French velvet curtains in the golden suite on the second floor."

"Keep on guessing, John; you'll wear him out," Peaches whispered.

"Possibly a little cold lamb with a suggestion of potato salad on the
side might satisfy us," I said; "make me an estimate."

"Four dollars and eighteen cents," replied Patsey Boulanger; "eighteen
cents for the lamb and salad and the four dollars for the Looey the
Fifteenth draperies in the drawing-room."

"Ask him if there's a bargain counter anywhere in the dining-room,"
whispered Peaches.

"My dear," I said to friend wife, "we have already displaced about sixty
dollars' worth of space in this dyspepsia emporium, and we must,
therefore, behave like gentlemen and order something, no matter what the
cost. What are the savings of a lifetime compared with our honor!"

The waiter bowed so low that his shoulder blades cracked like a whip.

"Bring us," I said, "a plain omelet and one dish of prunes."

I waited till Peter Girofla translated this into French and then I
added, "And on the side, please, two glasses of water and three
toothpicks. Have the prunes fricasseed, wash the water on both corners,
and bring the toothpicks rare."

The waiter rushed away and all around us we could hear money talking to
itself.

Fair women sat at the tables picking dishes out of the bill of fare
which brought the blush of sorrow to the faces of their escorts. It was
a wonderful sight, especially for those who have a nervous chill every
time the gas bill comes in.

When we ate our modest little dinner the waiter presented a check which
called for three dollars and thirty-three cents.

"The thirty-three cents is for what you ordered," Alexander J. Dumas
explained, "and the three dollars is for the French hangings in the
parlor."

"Holy Smoke!" I cried; "that fellow Looey the Fifteenth has been doing a
lot of work around here, hasn't he?" But the waiter was so busy watching
the finish of the change he handed me that he didn't crack a smile.

Then I got reckless and handed him a fifty-cent tip.

The waiter looked at the fifty cents and turned pale.

Then he looked at me and turned paler.

He tried to thank me, but he caught another flash of that plebeian fifty
and it choked him.

Then he took a long look at the half-dollar and with a low moan he
passed away.

In the excitement I grabbed Peaches and we flew for home.

The next time I go to one of those expensive shacks it will be just
after I've had a hearty dinner.

Even at that I may change my mind and go to a moving picture show.



CHAPTER IV

YOU SHOULD WORRY ABOUT GETTING A GOAT


Hep Hardy's goat belongs to the chamois branch of that famous family.

When it gets out it wants to leap from crag to crag.

Hep's chamois got loose recently and, believe me, I never saw a goat
perform to better advantage.

For a long time Hep has been in love with Clarissa Goober, the daughter
of Pop Goober, who made millions out of the Flower-pot Trust. Of late,
however, Hep's course of true love has been running for Sweeney, and my
old pal has been staring at the furniture and conversing with himself a
great deal.

[Illustration]

On our way home night before last Hep and I dropped into the Saint
Astormore for a cocktail, and at a table near us sat Pop Goober and
something else which afterwards turned out to be a Prussian
nobleman--the Count Cheese von Cheese.

When Hep got a flash of these two his goat kicked down the door of its
box-stall and began cavorting all over the Western Hemisphere.

"Pipe!" he whispered hoarsely, "pipe Pop Goober and the human germ with
him! It's a titled foreigner--honest it is! It can walk and say, 'Papa!'
And it is trained to pick out a millionaire father-in-law at fifty
paces!"

"Why, what's the matter, Hep?" I inquired after the waiter had vamped.

"Oh, I'm wise to these guys with the Gorgonzola titles all wrapped up in
pink tissue paper and only $8 in the jeans," Hep rumbled, with a glare
in the direction of the Count Cheese von Cheese.

"Pop Goober certainly does make both ends meet in the lemon industry,"
he continued. "That old gink is the original Onion collector and he
spends his waking hours falling for dead ones."

Hep paused to bite the froth off a Bronx. His goat was at the post.

"That driblet is over here to pick out an heiress and fall in love with
her because he needs the money," Hep growled as his goat got away in the
lead. "Every steamer brings them over, John, some _incognito_, some in
dress suits, and some in _hoc signo vinces_, but all of them able to
pick out a lady with a bank account as far as the naked eye can see.

"It's getting so now, John, that an open-face, stem-winding American has
to kick four Dukes, eight Earls, seven Counts and a couple of Princes
off the front steps every time he goes to call on his sweetheart--if she
has money.

"When I go down into Wall Street, John, I find rich men with the tears
streaming down their faces while they are calling up on the telephone to
see if their daughter, Gladys, is still safe at home, where they left
her before they came down to business.

"Walk through a peachy palace of the rich on Fifth Avenue, and what will
you find?

"Answer: You will find a proud mother bowed with a great grief, and
holding onto a rope which is tied to her daughter's ankle to prevent the
latter from running out on the front piazza, and throwing kisses at the
titled foreigners.

"You will find these cheap skates everywhere, John, rushing hither and
thither, and sniffing the air for the odor of burning money."

Hep's goat at the quarter and going strong.

"They're all over the place, John," he rushed on; "the street cars are
full of Earls and Baronets, traveling on transfers. There they are,
John, sitting in the best seats and reading the newspapers until an
heiress jumps aboard and hands them her address, with a memorandum of
her papa's bank account.

"Then they arise with the true nobility of motion and ask that a day be
set for the wedding.

"Why should it be thus, John? We have laws in this country to protect
the birds and the trees, the squirrels and all animals except those that
can be reached by an automobile, but why don't we have a law to protect
the heiresses?

"Why are these titled zimboes permitted to borrow carfare, and come over
here and give this fair land a fit of indigestion?

"Why are they permitted to set their proud and large feet on the soil
for which our forefathers fought and bled for their country, and for
which some of us are still fighting and bleeding the country? Why? Why
do these fat-heads come over here with a silver cigarette case and a
society directory and make every rich man in the country fasten a
burglar alarm to his checkbook?"

Hep's goat at the half by a length.

"A few days ago, John, one of these mutts with an Edam title jumped off
an ocean liner, and immediately the price of padlocks rose to the
highest point ever known on the Stock Exchange.

"All over the country rich men with romantic daughters rushed to and fro
and then rushed back again. They were up against a crisis. If you could
get near enough to the long-distance telephone, John, you could hear
one rich old American guy shrieking the battle-cry to another captain of
industry out in Indianapolis: 'To arms! The foe! The foe! He comes with
nothing but his full dress suit and a blank marriage license! To arms!
To arms!'"

Hep's goat at the three-quarters by two lengths.

"Why, John," he exploded again, "every telegraph wire in the country is
sizzling with excitement. Despatches which would make your blood curdle
with anguish and sorrow for the rich are flying all over the country.
Something like this:

                                                      "'Boston. To-day.

     "'At ten-thirty this morning Rudolph Oscar Grabbitall, the
     millionaire stone-breaker, read the startling news that a foreign
     Count had just landed in New York. His suffering was pathetic. His
     daughter, Gasolene Panatella, who will inherit $19,000,000, mostly
     in bonds, stocks and newspaper talk, was in the dental parlor five
     blocks away from home when the blow fell. Calling his household
     about him, Mr. Grabbitall rushed into the dental parlor, beat the
     dentist down with his bill, dragged Gasolene Panatella home and
     locked her up in the rear cupboard of the spare room on the second
     floor of the mansion. Her teeth suffered somewhat, but, thank
     Heaven! her money will remain in this country. The community
     breathes easier, but all the incoming trains are being watched.'

"Are you wise, John, to what the panhandling nobility of Europe are
doing to our dear United States?

"They are putting all our millionaires on the fritz, that's what they're
doing."

Hep's goat in the stretch, under wraps.

"Le'me tell you something, John; it will soon come to pass that the
heiress will have to be locked up in the safe deposit vaults with papa's
bank book. Here is an item from one of our most prominent newspapers.
Get this, John:

                                             "'Long Island City. Now.

     "'Pinchem Shortface, the millionaire who made a fortune by
     inventing a way to open clams by steam, has determined that no
     foreign Count will marry his daughter, Sudsetta. She will inherit
     about $193,000,000, about $18 of which is loose enough to spend.
     The unhappy father is building a spite fence around his mansion,
     which will be about twenty-two feet high, and all the unmarried
     millionaires without daughters, to speak of, will contribute broken
     champagne bottles to put on top of the fence. If the Count gets
     Sudsetta he is more of a sparrow than her father thinks he is.'

"It's pitiful, John, that's what it is, pitiful! All over the country
rich men are dropping their beloved daughters in the cyclone cellars and
hiding mamma's stocking with the money in it out in the hay loft.

"I am glad, John, that I am not a rich man with a daughter who is eating
her heart out for a moth-covered title and a castle on the Rhinewine.

"You can bet, John, that no daughter of mine can ever marry a tall gent
with a nose like the rear end of an observation car and a knowledge of
the English language which doesn't get beyond I O U--do you get me?"

Hep's goat wins in a walk.

"Are you all through, Hep?" I inquired feebly.

"I'm not through--but I'll take a recess," he snapped back at me.

"By the way," I said, offhand like, "is Clarissa Goober in town?"

"Yes, but she sails for Europe to-morrow on the _Imperator_," he
answered sullenly.

"Oh," I said; "who's going with her?"

"The Count Cheese von Cheese."

"Oh!"

Long pause.

"Let's have another Bronx," I suggested.

Hep took six--one for himself and five for the goat.

Can you blame him?



CHAPTER V

YOU SHOULD WORRY ABOUT BEING IN LOVE


Say! have you ever noticed that when a gink with an aluminum headpiece
is handed the "This-Way-Out" signal by his adored one, he either hikes
for a pickle parlor and begins to festoon his system with hops, or he
stands in front of a hardware store and gazes gloomily at the guns?

You haven't noticed it! Why, you astonish me.

Friend wife met me by appointment to take dinner at the Saint Astormore
the other evening and with her was her little brother, Stephen, aged
nine.

"I brought Stevie with me because I had some shopping to do and he's so
much company," Peaches explained as we sat down in the restaurant.

"Stevie is always pleasant company," I agreed, politely, but with a
watchful eye on my youthful brother-in-law all the while.

That kid was born with an abnormal bump of mischief and, by painstaking
endeavor, he has won the world's championship as an organizer of
impromptu riots.

"Oh, John!" said Peaches, when I began to make faces at the menu card,
"I didn't notice until now how pale you look. Have you had a busy day?"

"Busy!" I repeated; "well, rather. I've been giving imitations of a
bull fight. Everybody I met was the bull and I was the fight. Nominate
your eats! What'll it be, Stevie?"

"Sponge cake," said Stephen, promptly.

"What else?" asked Peaches.

"More sponge cake," the youth replied, and just then the smiling and
sympathetic waiter stooped down to pick up a fork Stephen had dropped.

In his anxiety not to miss anything, Stevie rubbered acrobatically with
the result that he upset a glass of ice water down the waiter's neck,
and three seconds later the tray-trotter had issued an Extra and was
saying things in French that would sound scandalous if translated.

It cost me a dollar to bring the dish-dragger back to earth, and Stevie
said I could break his bank open when we got home and take all the money
if I'd let him do it again.

Just then I got a flash of Dike Lawrence bearing down in our direction
under a full head of benzine.

Dike was escorting a three days' jag and whispering words of
encouragement to it.

A good fellow, Dike, but he shouldn't permit a distillery to use his
thirst as a testing station--he's too temperamental.

"H'ar'ye, Mrs. John?" he gurgled as the waiter pushed an extra chair
under him. "Howdy, John? How de do, little man! 'Scuse me for
int'rupting a perf'ly splendid family party--my mistake!--I'm all
in--that's it--I'm all in and it's your fault, John; all your fault!"

"What's wrong, Dike?" I inquired.

"Ev'thing!" he martinied; "ev'thing all wrong--lesh have drink--my
mistake--didn't think of it before. Your little son growing to be a
splendid boy, Mrs. John!"

"This is Stephen, my little brother, not my little son," Peaches
explained; "we haven't any children," she added nervously.

Dike carefully closed one eye and focussed the other on her. "Haven't
any little son--my mistake!" Then he turned the open gig-lamp on me and
began again. "S'prised at you, John; little son is the most won'erful
thing any father and mother could possess with the possible 'ception of
a li'l daughter--ain't that so, Mrs. John? Little brother is all right,
but don't compare with little son. Look at me, Mrs. John; can't ever
have little son--when I think about it I could bust right out
cryin'--Grief has made me almost hystalical, hystorical, hystollified--I
mean, I'm nervous--lesh have drink!"

"What's gone wrong, Dike?" I asked; "each minute you look more and more
like Mona Lisa without the smile--what's the trouble?"

"All your fault, John," he plunged on again. "Most bew'ful girl she was,
Mrs. John; perf'ly bew'ful, with won'erful gray hair and golden eyes,
perf'ly bew'ful girl. I told your husban' all about her--I made
confession that I was madly in love with this bew'ful girl, and your
husban' told me to go and propose to her and drag her off to a
minister--and I did propose--my mistake. After I made my speech she said
to me, this bew'ful girl said to me, 'That's all right; no doubt you do
love me, but are you eugenic?' and I said, 'No, I'm Presbyterian.'"

Dike paused to let the horror of the scene sink in and then he fell
overboard again with a moist splash.

"That bew'ful girl jus' glanced at me coldly--jus' merely indicated the
door, that bew'ful girl, and I passed out of her life f'rever. Two days
later I found out jus' what eugenic meant, and, b'lieve me, from my
heart, my sincere regret is that I was not college bred before I met
that bew'ful girl!"

Saying this he grabbed a wine-glass from the table and held it close to
his heart in order to illustrate the intensity of his feeling.

The next instant a thick, reddish liquid began to flow sluggishly over
the bosom of his immaculate white shirt and was lost in the region of
his equator, seeing which Dike gave vent to a yell that brought the
waiters on the hot foot.

"I'm stabbed; stabbed!" groaned the startled jag-carpenter, clutching
wildly at his shirt-front as the plate-passers bore him away to a haven
of rest.

"It's my clam cocktail," whispered Stephen to me; "I poured it in his
wine-glass 'cause they was too much tobascum sauce in it for me!"

"Brave boy!" I answered. "It was a kindly deed."

Then we finished our dinner in all the refined silence the Saint
Astormore so carefully furnishes.

Dike's sad story of misplaced affection and an unused dictionary puts us
wise to the fact that in these changeful days even the old-fashioned
idea of courtship has been chased to the woods.

It used to be that on a Saturday evening the Young Gent would draw down
his six dollars worth of salary and chase himself to the barber shop,
where the Bolivian lawn trimmer would put a crimp in his mustache and
plaster his forehead with three cents worth of hair and a dollar's worth
of axle-grease.

Then the Young Gent would go out and spread 40 cents around among the
tradesmen for a mess of water-lilies and a bag of peanut brittle.

The lilies of the valley were to put on the dining-table so mother would
be pleased, and with the peanut brittle he intended to fill in the weary
moments when he and his little geisha girl were not making goo-goo eyes
at each other.

But nowadays it is different.

What with eugenics and the high speed of living Dan Cupid spends most of
his time on the hot foot between the coroner's office and the divorce
court.

Nowadays when a clever young man goes to visit his sweetheart he hikes
over the streets in a benzine buggy, and when he pulls the bell-rope at
the front door he has a rapid-fire revolver in one pocket and a bottle
of carbolic acid in the other.

His intentions are honorable and he wishes to prove them so by shooting
his lady love, if she renigs when he makes a play for her hand.

I think the old style was the best, because when young people quarreled
they didn't need an ambulance and a hospital surgeon to help them make
up.

In the old days Simpson Green would draw the stove brush cheerfully
across his dog-skin shoes and rush with eager feet to see Lena Jones,
the girl he wished to make the wife of his bosom.

"Darling!" Simpson would say, "I am sure to the bad for love of you.
Pipe the downcast droop in this eye of mine and notice the way my heart
is bubbling over like a bottle of sarsaparilla on a hot day! Be mine,
Lena! be mine!"

Then Lena would giggle. Not once, but seven giggles, something like
those used in a spasm.

Then she would reply, "No, Simpson; it cannot be. Fate wills it
otherwise."

Then Simpson would bite his finger-nails, pick his hat up out of the
coal-scuttle, and say to Lena, "False one! You love Conrad, the
floorwalker in the butcher shop. Curses on Conrad, and see what you have
missed, Lena. I have tickets for a swell chowder party next Tuesday. Ah!
farewell forever!"

Then Simpson would walk out and hunt up one of those places that can't
get an all-night license and there, with one arm glued tight around the
bar rail, he would fasten his system to a jag which would last a week.

Despair would grab him and, like Dike, he'd be Simpson with the souse
thing for sure.

When he would recover strength enough to walk down town without
attracting the attention of the other side of the street, he would call
on Lena and say, "Lena, forgive me for what I done, but love is
blind--and, besides, I mixed my drinks. Lena, I was on the downward
path, and I nearly went to Heligoland."

Then Lena would say, "Oh, Simpsey, I wanted you to prove your love, but
I thought you'd prove it with beer and not red-eye--forgive me,
darling!"

Then they would kiss and make up, and the wedding bells would ring just
as soon as Simp's salary grew large enough to tease a pocketbook.

But these days the idea is altogether different.

Children are hardly out of the cradle before they are arrested for
butting into the speed limit with a smoke wagon.

Even when they go courting they have to play to the gallery.

Nowadays Gonsalvo H. Puffenlotz walks into the parlor to see Miss
Imogene Cordelia Hoffbrew.

"Wie geht's, Imogene!" says Gonsalvo.

"Simlich!" says Imogene, standing at right angles near the piano because
she thinks she is a Gibson girl.

"Imogene, dearest," Gonsalvo continues; "I called on your papa in Wall
Street yesterday to find out how much money you have, but he refused to
name the sum, therefore you have untold wealth!"

Gonsalvo pauses to let the Parisian clock on the mantle tick, tick,
tick!

He is making the bluff of his life, you see, and he has to do even that
on tick.

Besides, this furnishes the local color.

Then Gonsalvo bursts forth again, "Imogene! Oh! Imogene! will you be
mine and I will be thine without money and without the price."

Gonsalvo pauses to let this idea get noised about a little.

Then he goes on, "Be mine, Imogene! You will be minus the money while I
will have the price!"

[Illustration]

Gonsalvo trembles with the passion which is consuming his pocketbook,
and then Imogene turns languidly from a right angle triangle into more
of a straight front and hands Gonsalvo a bitter look of scorn.

Then Gonsalvo grabs his revolver and, aiming it at her marble brow,
exclaims, "Marry me this minute or I will shoot you in the topknot,
because I love you."

Then papa rushes into the room and Gonsalvo politely requests the old
gentleman to hold two or three bullets for him for a few moments.

Gonsalvo then bites deeply into a bottle of carbolic acid and, just as
the Coroner climbs into the house, the pictures of the modern lover and
loveress appear in the newspapers, and fashionable society receives a
jolt.

This is the new and up-to-date way of making love.

However, I think the old style of courting is the best, because you can
generally stop a jag before it gets to the undertaker.

What do you think?



CHAPTER VI

YOU SHOULD WORRY ABOUT SNAP SHOTS


When Aunt Martha gave friend wife that newfangled camera this Spring I
had a hunch that the dealers in photographic supplies would be joyously
shrieking the return of good times and hot-footing it to the bank with
the contents of my wallet.

Peaches just grabbed that camera and went after everybody and everything
in the neighborhood.

She took about 800 views of Uncle Peter's country home before she
discovered that the camera wasn't loaded properly, which was tough on
Peaches but good for the bungalow.

Like everything else in this world picture pinching from still life
depends entirely on the point of view.

If your point of view is all right it's an easy matter to make a
four-dollar dog-house look like the villa of a Wall Street broker at
Newport.

Ten minutes after friend wife had been given the camera she had me set
up as a statue all over Uncle Peter's lawn, and she was snapping at me
like a Spitz doggie at a peddler.

I sat for two hundred and nineteen pictures that forenoon and I posed
for every hero in history, from William the Conqueror down to Doctor
Cook, with both feet in a slushy little snowbank representing
nearly-the-North-pole.

[Illustration]

But when she tried to coax me to climb up on a limb of a tree and stay
there till she got a picture of me looking like an owl I swore softly in
three languages, fell over the back fence, and ran for my life.

When I rubbershoed it back that afternoon friend wife was busy
developing her crimes.

The proper and up-to-date caper in connection with taking snap-shots
these days is to buy a developing outfit and upset the household from
pit to dome while you are squeezing out pictures of every dearly beloved
friend that crosses your pathway.

Friend wife selected a spare room on the top floor of Uncle Peter's home
where she could await developments.

A half hour later ghostly noises began to come from that room and
mysterious whisperings fell out of the window and bumped over the lawn.

When I reached the front door I found that the gardener had left, the
waitress was leaving, and the cook was telephoning for a policeman.

"Where is Mrs. Henry?" I asked Mary, the cook.

"She is still developing," said Mary.

"What has she developed?" I inquired.

"Up to the present time she has developed your Uncle's temper and she
has developed your Aunt's appetite, and a couple of bill collectors
developed a pain in the neck when she took their pictures, and, if
things go on in this way, I think this will soon develop into a foolish
house!" said Mary, the cook.

A half hour later, while I was hiding behind the pianola in the living
room, not daring to breathe above a whisper for fear I would get my
picture taken again, friend wife rushed in exclaiming, "Oh, joy! Oh,
joy! John, I have developed two pictures!"

I wish you could have seen the expression on Peaches' face.

In order to develop the films a picturesque assortment of drugs and
chemicals have to be used.

Well, friend wife had used them.

A silent little stream of wood alcohol was trickling down over her left
ear into her Psyche knot, and on the end of her nose about six grains of
extract of potash was sending out signals of distress to some spirits of
turpentine which was burning on the top of her right eyebrow.

Something dark and lingering like iodine had given her chin the
double-cross and her apron looked like the remnants of a porous plaster.

Her right hand had red, white, green, purple, and magenta marks all over
it, and her left hand looked like the Fourth of July.

"John!" she yelled; "here it is! My goodness, I am so excited! See what
a fine picture of you I took!"

She handed me the picture, but all I could see was a woodshed with the
door wide open.

"A good picture of the woodshed," I said; "but whose woodshed is it?"

"A woodshed!" exclaimed friend wife; "why, that is your face, John. And
where you think the door is open is only your mouth!"

I looked crestfallen and then I looked at the picture again, but my
better nature asserted itself and I made no attempt to strike this
defenseless woman.

Then she handed me another picture and said, "John, isn't this
wonderful?"

I looked at the picture and muttered, "All I can see is Theodore, the
colored gardener, walking across lots with a sack of flour on his back!"

"John, you are so stupid," said friend wife. "How can you expect to see
what it is when you are holding the picture upside down?"

I turned the picture around, and then I was quite agreeably surprised.

"It's immense!" I shouted. "It's the real thing, all right! Why this is
aces! I suppose it is called, 'Moonlight on Lake Champlain'? Did this
one come with the camera or did you draw it from memory?"

"The idea of such a thing," friend wife snapped, "can't you see that
you're holding the picture the wrong way. Turn it around and you will
see what it is!"

I gave the thing another turn.

"Gee whiz!" I said, "now I have it! Oh, the limit! You wished to
surprise me with a picture of the sunset at Governor's Island. How
lovely it is! See, over here in this corner there's a bunch of soldiers
listening to what's cooking for supper, and over here is the smoke from
the gun that sets the sun--I like it!"

Then my wife grabbed the picture out of my hands and burst into speech.

"Why do you try to discourage my efforts to be artistic?" she volleyed
and thundered. "This is a picture of you holding Mrs. McIlvaine's baby
in your arms, and I think it's perfectly lovely, even if the baby is the
only intelligent thing in the picture."

When the exercises were over I inquired casually, "Where, my dear, where
are the other 21,219 pictures you snapped to-day?"

"Only these two came out good because, don't you see, I'm an amateur
yet," was her come-back.

Then she looked lovingly at the result of her day's work and began to
peel some bicarbonate of magnesia off her knuckles with the nutcracker.

"Only two out of 21,219--I think you ought to call it a long shot
instead of a snap shot," I whispered, after I had dodged behind a sofa.

She went out of the room without saying a word, and I took out my
pocketbook and looked at it wistfully.



CHAPTER VII

YOU SHOULD WORRY ABOUT THE SERVANTS


When Peaches and I get tired of the Big Town--tired of its noises and
hullabaloo; tired of being tagged by taxis as we cross a street; tired
of watching grocers and butchers hoisting higher the highest cost of
living--that's our cue to grab a choo-choo and breeze out to Uncle Peter
Grant's farm and bungalow in the wilds of Westchester, which he calls
Troolyrooral.

Just to even matters up Uncle Peter and his wife visit us from time to
time in our amateur apartment in the Big Town.

Uncle Peter is a very stout old gentleman. When he squeezes into our
little flat the walls act as if they were bow-legged.

Uncle Peter always goes through the folding doors sideways and every
time he sits down the man in the apartment below us kicks because we
move the piano so often.

Aunt Martha is Uncle Peter's wife and she weighs more and breathes
oftener.

When the two of them visit our bird-cage at the same time the janitor
has to go out and stand in front of the building with a view to catching
it if it falls.

When we reached Troolyrooral we found that "Cousin" Elsie Schulz was
also a visitor there.

"Cousin" Elsie is a sort of privileged character in the family, having
lived with Aunt Martha for over twenty years as a sort of housekeeper.

They call her "Cousin Elsie" just to make it more difficult.

Three or four years ago Elsie married Gustave Bierbauer and quit her
job.

"Cousin" Elsie believes that conversation was invented for her exclusive
use, and the way she can grab a bundle of the English language and
break it up is a caution.

Language is the same to Elsie as a syphon is to a highball--and that's a
whole lot.

Two years after their marriage old Gustave stopped living so abruptly
that the coroner had to sit on him.

The post mortem found out that Gustave had died from a rush of words to
his brainpan.

The coroner also found, upon further examination, that all of these
words had formerly belonged to Elsie, with the exception of a few which
were once the property of Gustave's favorite bartender.

After Gustave's exit Aunt Martha tried to get Elsie back on her job, but
the old Dutch had her eye on Herman Schulz, and finally married him.

So now every once in a while Elsie moseys over from Plainfield, N. J.,
where she lives with Herman, and proceeds to sew a lot of pillow slips
and things for Aunt Martha.

Yesterday morning, while Peaches and I were at breakfast, Elsie
meandered in, bearing in her hand a wedding invitation which Herman had
forwarded to her from Plainfield.

Being, as I say, a privileged character, she does pretty much as she
likes around the bungalooza.

Elsie read the invitation: "Mr. und Mrs. Rudolph Ganderkurds request der
honor of your presence at der marriage of deir daughter, Verbena, to
Galahad Schmalzenberger, at der home of der bride's parents, Plainfield,
N. J. March Sixteenth. R. S. V. P."

"Vell," said Elsie, "I know der Ganderkurds and I know deir daughter,
Verbena, und I know Galahad Schmalzenberger; he's a floorwalker in
Bauerhaupt's grocery store, but I doan'd know vot it is dot R. S. V. P.
yet!"

I gently kicked Peaches on the instep under the table, and said to
Elsie, "Well, that _is_ a new one on me. Are you sure it isn't B. & O.
or the C. R. R. of N. J.? I've heard of those two railroads in New
Jersey, but I never heard of the R. S. V. P."

For the first time in her life since she's been able to grab a sentence
between her teeth and shake the pronouns out of it Elsie was phazed.

She kept looking at the invitation and saying to herself, "R. S. V. P.!
Vot is it? I know der honor of your presence; I know der bride's
parents, but I don't know R. S. V. P."

All that day Elsie wandered through the house muttering to herself, "R.
S. V. P.! Vot is it? Is it some secret between der bride und groom? R.
S. V. P.! It ain'd my initials, because dey begin mit E, S. Vot is dot
R. S. V. P.? Vot is it? Vot is it?"

That evening we were all at dinner when Elsie rushed in with a cry of
joy. "I got it!" she said. "I haf untied der meaning of dot R. S. V. P.
It means Real Silver Vedding Presents!"

I was just about to drink a glass of water, so I changed my mind and
nearly choked to death.

Peaches tried to say something, which resulted in a gurgle in her
throat, while Uncle Peter fell off his chair and landed on the cat,
which had never done him any harm.

Elsie's interpretation of that wedding invitation is going to set Herman
Schulz back several dollars, or I'm not a foot high.

And maybe they don't have their troubles at Troolyrooral with the
servant problem.

It's one hard problem, that--and nobody seems to get the right answer.

One morning later on Peaches and I were out on the porch drinking in the
glorious air and chatting with Hep Hardy, who had come out to spend
Sunday with us, when Aunt Martha came bustling out followed by Uncle
Peter, who, in turn, was followed by Lizzie Joyce, their latest cook.

Lizzie wore a new lid, trimmed with prairie grass and field daisies,
hanging like a shade over the left lamp; she had a grouchy looking grip
in one hand and a green umbrella with black freckles in the other.

She was made up to catch the first train that sniffed into the station.

Aunt Martha whispered to us plaintively, "Lizzie has been here only two
days and this makes the seventh time she has started for town."

Busy Lizzie took the center of the stage and scowled at her audience.
"I'm takin' the next train for town, Mem!" she announced, with
considerable bitterness.

Uncle Peter made a brave effort to scowl back at her, but she flashed
her lanterns at him and he fell back two paces to the rear.

"What is it this time, Lizzie?" inquired Aunt Martha.

Lizzie put the grouchy grip down, folded her arms, and said, "Oh, I have
me grievances!"

Uncle Peter sidled up to Aunt Martha and said in a hoarse whisper, "My
dear, this shows a lack of firmness on your part. Now, leave everything
to me and let me settle this obstreperous servant once and for all!"

Uncle Peter crossed over and got in the limelight with Lizzie.

"It occurs to me," he began in polished accents, "that this is an
occasion upon which I should publicly point out to you the error of your
ways, and send you back to your humble station with a better knowledge
of your status in this household."

"S'cat!" said Lizzie, and Uncle Peter began to fish for his next line.

"I want you to understand," he went on, "that I pay you your wages!"

"Sure, if you didn't," was Lizzie's come-back, "I'd land on you good and
hard, that I would. What else are you here for, you fathead?"

"Fathead!" echoed Uncle Peter in astonishment.

"Peter, leave her to me," pleaded Aunt Martha.

But Uncle Peter rushed blindly on to destruction. "Elizabeth," he said,
sternly, "in view of your most unrefined and unladylike language it
behooves me to reprimand you severely. I will, therefore----"

[Illustration]

Then Lizzie and the green umbrella struck a Casey-at-the-bat pose and
cut in: "G'wan away from me with your dime-novel talk or I'll place the
back of me unladylike hand on your jowls!"

"Peter!" warningly exclaimed the perturbed Aunt Martha.

"Yes, Martha; you're right," the old gentleman said, turning hastily. "I
must hurry and finish my correspondence before the morning mail goes,"
and he faded away.

"It isn't an easy matter to get servants out here," Aunt Martha
whispered to us; "I must humor her. Now, Lizzie, what's wrong?"

"You told me, Mem, that I should have a room with a southern exposure,"
said the Queen of the Bungalow.

"And isn't the room as described?" inquired Aunt Martha.

"The room is all right, but I don't care for the exposure," said the
Princess of Porkchops.

"Well, what's wrong?" insisted our patient auntie.

"Sure," said the Baroness of Bread-pudding, "the room is so exposed,
Mem, that every breeze from the North Pole just nachully hikes in there
and keeps me settin' up in bed all night shiverin' like I was shakin'
dice for the drinks. When I want that kind of exercise I'll hire out as
chambermaid in a cold-storage. I'm a cook, Mem, it's true, but I'm no
relation to Doctor Cook, and I ain't eager to sleep in a room where even
a Polar bear would be growlin' for a fur coat."

"Very well, Lizzie," said Aunt Martha, soothingly; "I'll have storm
windows put on at once and extra quilts sent to the room, and a gas
stove if you wish."

"All right, Mem," said the Countess of Cornbeef, removing the lid, "I'll
stay; but keep that husband of yours with the woozy lingo out of the
kitchen, because I'm a nervous woman--I am that!" and then the Duchess
of Devilledkidneys got a strangle-hold on her green umbrella and ducked
for the grub foundry.

Aunt Martha sighed and went in the house.

"Hep," I said; "this scene with Her Highness of Clamchowder ought to be
an awful warning to you. No man should get married these days unless
he's sure his wife can juggle the frying pan and take a fall out of an
egg-beater. They've had eight cooks in eight days, and every time a new
face comes in the kitchen the coal-scuttle screams with fright.

"You can see where they've worn a new trail across the lawn on the
retreat to the depot.

"It's an awful thing, Hep! Our palates are weak from sampling different
styles of mashed potatoes.

"We had one last week who answered roll-call when you yelled Phyllis.

"Isn't that a peach of a handle for a kitchen queen with a map like the
Borough of The Bronx on a dark night?

"She came here well recommended--by herself. She said she knew how to
cook backwards.

"We believed her after the first meal, because that's how she cooked it.

"Phyllis was a very inventive girl. She could cook anything on earth or
in the waters underneath the earth, and she proved it by trying to mix
tenpenny nails with the baked beans.

"When Phyllis found there was no shredded oats in the house for
breakfast she changed the cover of the wash tub into sawdust and
sprinkled it with the whisk-broom, chopped fine.

"It wasn't a half bad breakfast food of the home-made kind, but every
time I took a drink of water the sawdust used to float up in my throat
and tickle me.

"The first and only day she was with us Phyllis squandered two dollars
worth of eggs trying to make a lemon meringue pie.

"She tried to be artistic with this, but one of the eggs was old and
nervous and it slipped.

"Uncle Peter asked Phyllis if she could cook some Hungarian goulash and
Phyllis screamed, 'No; my parents have been Swedes all their lives!'
Then she ran him across the lawn with the carving knife.

"Aunt Martha went in the kitchen to ask what was for dinner and Phyllis
got back at her, 'Im a woman, it is true, but I will show you that I can
keep a secret!'

"When the meal came on the table we were compelled to keep the secret
with her.

"It looked like Irish stew, tasted like clam chowder, and behaved like a
bad boy.

"On the second day it suddenly occurred to Phyllis that she was working,
so she handed in her resignation, handed Hank, the gardener, a jolt in
his café department, handed out a lot of unnecessary talk, and left us
flat.

"The next rebate we had in the kitchen was a colored man named James
Buchanan Pendergrast.

"James was all there is and carry four. He was one of the most careful
cooks that ever made faces at the roast beef.

"The evening he arrived we intended to have shad roe for dinner and
James informed us that that was where he lived.

"Eight o'clock came and no dinner. Then Aunt Martha went in the kitchen
to convince him that we were human beings with appetites.

"She found Careful James counting the roe to see if the fish dealer had
sent the right number.

"He was up to 2,196,493 and still had a half pound to go.

"James left that night followed by shouts of approval from all present.

"I'm telling you all this, Hep, just to prove that Fate is kind while it
delays your wedding until some genius invents an automatic cook made of
aluminum and electricity."

Hep laughed and shook his head.

"The servant problem won't delay my wedding," he chortled; "if there
wasn't a cook left in the world we wouldn't care; we're going to be
vegetarians because we're going to live in the Garden of Eden."

"Tush!" I snickered.

"Tush, yourself!" said Hep.

"Oh, tush, both of you," said Peaches; "John said that very thing to me
three weeks before we were married."

"Sure I did," I went back, "and we're still in the Garden, aren't we? Of
course, if you want to sub-let part of it and have Hep and his bride
roaming moon-struck through your strawberry beds, that's up to you!"

"Well," said friend wife, "being alone in the Garden of Eden is all
right, but after you've been there three or four years there's a mild
excitement in hearing a strange voice, even if it is that of a Serpent!"

Close the door, Delia, I feel a draft.



CHAPTER VIII

YOU SHOULD WORRY ABOUT AUCTION BRIDGE


Receiving letters which I promptly forget to answer is a hobby with me.
The disease must be hereditary--possibly from my grandfather, who was a
village postmaster. He used to get a lot of letters he never answered.
(Man the life-line, lads; we'll get him ashore yet!)

Well, here's one I am going to answer.

It's a bit of literature that reached me a day or two ago, chaperoned by
a two-cent stamp and a hunk of pale green sealing-wax.

                                                   Philadelphia, Lately.

     Dear John:--I have never met you personally, but I've heard my
     brother, Teddy, speak of you so often that you really seem to be
     one of the family.

     (Teddy talks slang something fierce.)

     Dear John, will you please pardon the liberty I take in grabbing a
     two-cent stamp and jumping so unceremoniously at one who is, after
     all, a perfect stranger?

     Dear John, if you look around you can see on every hand that the
     glad season of the year is nearly here, and if you listen
     attentively you may hear the hoarse cry of the summer resort
     beckoning us to that bourne from which no traveler returns without
     getting his pocketbook dislocated.

     Dear John, could you please tell me how to play auction bridge, so
     that when I go to the seashore I will be armed for defraying
     expenses?

     Dear John, I am sure that if I could play auction bridge loud
     enough to win four dollars every once in a while I could spend a
     large bunch of the summer at the seashore.

     Dear John, would you tell a loving but perfect stranger how to play
     the game without having to wear a mask?

     [Illustration]

     Dear John, I played a couple of games recently with a wide-faced
     young man who grew very playful and threw the parlor furniture at
     me because I trumpeted his ace. I fancy I must have did wrong. The
     fifth time I trumpeted his ace the young man arose, put on his gum
     shoes, and skeedaddled out of the house. Is it not considered a
     breach of etiquette to put on gum shoes in the presence of a lady?

     If you please, dear John, tell me how to play auction bridge.

                              Yours fondly,
                                                           GLADYS JONES.

     P. S. The furniture which he threw was not his property to dispose
     of.
                                                                  G. J.

When friend wife got a flash of this letter she made a kick to the
effect that it was some kind of a cypher, possibly the beginning of a
secret correspondence.

It was up to me to hand Gladys the frosty get-back, so this is what I
said:

     Respected Madam:--I'm a slob on that auction bridge thing, plain
     poker being the only game with cards that ever coaxes my dough from
     the stocking, but I'll do the advice gag if it chokes me:

     Auction bridge is played with cards, just like pinochle, with the
     exception of the beer.

     Not enough cards is a misdeal; too many cards is a mistake; and
     cards up the sleeve is a slap on the front piazza, if they catch
     you at it.

     When bidding don't get excited and think you're attending an
     auction of shirt-waists at a fire-sale. It distresses your partner
     terribly to hear you say, "I'll bid two dollars!" when what you
     meant was two spades. Much better it is that you smile across the
     table at him and say, "I bid you good evening!"

     You shouldn't get up and dance the Kitchen Sink dance every time
     you take a trick. It looks more genteel and picturesque to do the
     Castle Walk.

     When your opponent has not followed suit it is not wise to pick out
     a loud tone of voice and tell him about it. Reach under the table
     and kick him on the shins. If it hurts him he is a cheater; if it
     doesn't hurt him always remember that you are a lady.

     When you are dummy the new rules permit you to call a revoke. When
     you see your partner messing up a sure "going-outer" you may also
     call the police; then get out your calling cards and call your
     partner down, being, of course, particular and ladylike in your
     selection of adjectives.

     Don't forget what is trumps more than eighteen times during one
     hand. The limit used to be twenty-six times, but since the outbreak
     of the Mexican war the best auction bridge authorities have put the
     limit down to eighteen.

     It isn't wise to have a conniption fit every time you lose a trick.
     Nothing looks so bad as a conniption fit when it doesn't match the
     complexion, and generally it delays the game.

     When your partner has doubled a no-trump call and you forget to
     lead his suit the best plan is to hurry out the front door, take a
     street car to the end of the line; then double back in a taxi to
     the nearest railway station; get the first train going West and go
     the limit--then take a steamer, sail for Japan and don't come back
     for seven years. Your partner may forget about it in that time. If
     he doesn't, then you must continue to live in Japan. All
     authorities agree on this point.

     When the game is close, don't get excited and climb up on the
     table. It shows a want of refinement, especially if you are not a
     quick climber.

     While running a grand slam to cover, the best authorities,
     including Bob Carter, claim that you should breathe hoarsely
     through the front teeth, pausing from time to time to recite brief
     passages from Ralph Waldo Emerson.

     Never whistle while waiting for someone to play. Whistling is not
     in good taste. Go over and bite out a couple of tunes on the piano.

     When your opponent trumps an ace don't ever hit him carelessly
     across the forehead with the bric-a-brac. Always remember when you
     are in Society that bric-a-brac is expensive.

     If your partner bids five spades and you get the impression that he
     is balmy in the bean don't show it in your face. Such authorities
     as Fred Perry and Dick Ling claim that the proper thing to do is to
     arise gracefully from your chair and sing something plaintive, in
     minor chords. This generally brings your partner back to earth,
     because nine times out of ten he is only temporarily crazy with the
     heat.

     Don't lead the ten of clubs by mistake for the ace of trumps and
     then get mad and jump seventeen feet in the air because they refuse
     to let you pull it back.

     In order to jump seventeen feet in the air you would have to go
     through the room upstairs, and how do you know whose room it is?

     There, Gladys, if you follow these rules I think you can play the
     game of auction bridge without putting a bruise on the law
     regulating the income tax.

     P. S. When you play for money always bite the coin to see if it
     means as much as it looks.

I hope Gladys wasn't offended.

She hasn't sent me even a postal card containing thanks and a view of
Chestnut Street.



CHAPTER IX

YOU SHOULD WORRY ABOUT GETTING THE GRIP


Say! did you ever put on the goggles and go joy-riding with an attack of
grip?

It has all other forms of amusement hushed to a lullaby--take it from
Uncle Hank.

As a Bad Boy the grip has every other disease slapped to a sobbing
stand-still.

It's dollars to pretzels that the grip germ is the brainiest little bug
that was ever chased by a doctor.

I was sitting quietly at home reading Maeterlinck on Auction Bridge when
suddenly I began to sneeze like a Russian regiment answering roll call.

Friend wife was deep in the mysteries of Ibsen's latest achievement,
"The Rise and Fall of the Hobble Skirt," but she politely acknowledged
my first sneeze with the customary "Gesundheit!"

Then she trailed along bravely with her responses for ten or fifteen
minutes, but it was no use--I had more sneezes in my system than there
are "Gesundheits!" in the entire German nation, including
principalities, possessions across the sea, and the Musical Union.

"John," she ventured after a time, "you are getting a cold!"

"I'm not getting it," I sniffed; "I have it now."

What a mean, contemptible little creature a grip germ must be.
Absolutely without any of the finer instincts, it sneaks into people's
systems disguised as an ordinary cold. It isn't on the level, like
appendicitis or inflammatory rheumatism, both of which are brave and
fearless and will walk right up to you and kick you on the shins, big as
you are.

Nobody ever knows just what make-up the grip germs will put on to break
into the human system, but once they get a foothold in the epiglottis
nothing can remove them except inward applications of dynamite.

The grip germ hates the idea of race suicide.

I discovered shortly after I had sneezed myself into a condition of pale
blue profanity that a newly married couple of grip germs had taken a
notion to build a nest somewhere on the outskirts of my solar plexus,
and two hours later they had about 233 children attending the public
school in my medusa oblongata; and every time school would let out for
recess I would go up in the air and hit the ceiling with my Lima.

Before daylight came all these grip children had graduated from school
and, after tearing down the school-house, the whole bunch had married
and had large families of their own, and all hands were out paddling
their canoes on my alimentary canal.

By nine o'clock that morning there must have been eighty-five million
grip germs armed with self-loading revolvers all trying to shoot their
initials over the walls of my interior department.

It was fierce!

When Doctor Leiser arrived on the scene I was carrying enough concealed
weapons to start something in Mexico.

The good old pill-pusher threw his saws behind the sofa, put his dip-net
on the mantelpiece, and took a fall out of my pulse.

"Ah!" he said, after he had noted that my tongue looked like a
currycomb.

"The same to you, Doc," I said.

"Ah!" he said, looking hard at the wall.

"Say, Doc!" I whispered; "there's no use to cut off my leg because the
germs will hide in my elbow."

"Do you feel shooting pains in the cerebellum, near the apex of the
cosmopolitan?" inquired the doctor.

"Surest thing you know," I said.

"Have you a buzzing in the ears, and a confused sound like distant
laughter in the panatella?" he asked.

"It's a cinch, Doc," I said.

"Do you feel a roaring in the cornucopia with a tickling sensation in
the diaphragm?" he asked.

"Right again," I whispered.

"Do the joints feel sore and pinched like a pool-room?" he said.

"Right!"

"Does your tongue feel rare and high-priced, like a porterhouse steak at
a summer resort?"

"Exactly!"

"Do you feel a spasmodic fluttering in the concertina?"

"Yes!"

"Have you a sort of nervous hesitation in your hunger and does
everything you eat taste like an impossible sandwich made by a ghostly
baker from a disappearing bread and phantom?"

"Keno!"

"Does your nerve center tinkle-tinkle like a breakfast bell in a
kitchenless boarding house?"

"Right again!"

"Have you a feeling that the germs have attacked your Adam's apple and
that there won't be any core?"

"Yes!"

"When you look at the wall paper does your brain do a sort of
loop-the-loop and cause you to meld 100 aces or double pinochle?"

"Yes, and 80 kings, too!"

"Do you feel a slight palpitation of the membrane of the colorado madura
and is there a confused murmur in your brain like the sound of a
hard-working gas meter?"

"You've got me sized good and plenty, Doc!"

"Do you have insomnia, nightmare, loss of appetite, chills and fever and
concealed respiration in the Carolina perfecto?"

"That's the idea, Doc."

"When you lay on your right side do you have an impulse to turn over on
your left side, and when you turn over on your left side do you feel an
impulse to jump out of bed and throw stones at a policeman?"

"There isn't anything you can mention, Doc, that I haven't got."

"Ah!" said the doctor; "then that settles it."

"Tell me the truth," I groaned; "what is it, bubonic plague?"

"You have something worse--you have the grip," Doc Leiser whispered
gently. "You see I tried hard to mention some symptom which you didn't
have, but you had them all, and the grip is the only disease in the
world which makes a specialty of having every symptom known to medical
jurisprudence."

Then the doctor got busy with the pencil gag and left me enough
prescriptions to keep the druggist in pocket money throughout the
winter.

Then my friends and relatives began to drop in and annoy me with
suggestions.

"Pop" Barclay sat by my bedside and, after I had barked for him two or
three times, he decided I had inflammation of the lungs and was
insistent that I tie a rubber band around my chest and rub myself with
gasolene.

I told Pop I had no desire to become a human automobile so he got mad
and went home. But before he got mad he drank six bottles of beer and
before he went home he invited himself back to dinner.

Then Hep Hardy dropped in and ten minutes later he had me making signs
for an undertaker.

Hep comes to the bedside of the afflicted in the same restful manner
that a buzz-saw associates with a log of pine.

He insisted upon taking my pulse and listening to my heart beats, but
when he attempted to turn my eyelids back to see if I had a touch of the
glanders every germ in my body rose in rebellion and together we chased
Hep out of the room.

The next calamity was Teddy Pearson, who had an apartment on the floor
above us. Teddy had spent the previous night at a Tango party and ever
since daylight he had been beating home to windward. His cargo had
shifted and the seaway was rough. Still clad in the black and white
scenery with the silk bean-cover somewhat mussed he groped across the
darkened room and solemnly shook hands with me.

Then he sat in a chair by the bedside and began to sing soft lullabies
to a hold-over.

Presently he reached out his arm and made all the gestures that go with
the act of hitting a bell to summon a waiter.

Receiving no answer to his thirsty appeal he arose and said, "This is a
heluva club--rottenest service in this club--s'limit, that's what it is,
s'limit!" Then he hiccoughed his weary way out of the room and I haven't
seen him since.

An hour later Uncle Louis Miffendale had looked me over and concluded I
had galloping asthma, compressed tonsilitis, chillblainous croup, and
incipient measles. He insisted that I take three grains of quinine, two
grains of asperine, rub the back of my neck with benzine, soak my ankles
in kerosene, then a little phenacetine, and a hot whiskey toddy every
half hour before meals.

If I found it hard to take the toddy he volunteered to run in every half
hour and help me.

Then his wife, Aunt Jessica, blew in with a decoction she called catnip
tea. She brought it all the way from the Bronx in a thermos bottle, so I
had to drink it or lose a perfectly respectable old aunt.

It tasted like a linoleum cocktail--weouw!

During the rest of the day every friend and relative I have in the
world rushed in, suggested a sure cure, and then rushed out again.

Peaches tried them all on me and I felt like the inside of a medicine
chest.

[Illustration]

To make matters worse I drank some dogberry cordial and it chased the
catnip tea all over my concourse.

Then Peaches, being a student of natural history, insisted that I take
some hoarhound, I suppose to bite the dogberry, but it didn't.

Blood will tell, so the hoarhound joined forces with the dogberry and
chased the catnip up my family tree.

Suffering antiseptics! everybody with a different remedy, from snake
poison to soothing syrup--but it cured the grip.

Now all I have to do is to cure the medicine.



CHAPTER X

YOU SHOULD WORRY ABOUT A MUSICAL EVENING


Say! did you ever stray away from home of an evening and go to one of
those parlor riots?

Friend wife called it a _musicale_, but to me it looked like a session
of the Mexican congress in a boiler factory.

They pulled it off at Mrs. Luella Frothingham's, over on the Drive.

I like Luella and I like her husband, Jack Frothingham, so it's no
secret conclave of the Anvil Association when I whisper them wise that
the next time they give a musical evening my address is Forest Avenue,
corner of Foliage Street, in the woods.

The Frothinghams are nice people and old friends and they have more
money than some people have hay, but that doesn't give them a license to
spoil one of my perfectly good evenings by sprinkling a lot of canned
music and fricasseed recitations all over it.

The Frothinghams have a skeleton in their closet. Its name is Uncle Heck
and he weighs 237--not bad for a skeleton. Uncle Heck is a Joe Morgan.
His sole ambition in life is to become politely pickled and fall asleep
draped over a gold chair in the drawing room when there's high-class
company present.

For that reason the Frothinghams on state occasions put the skids under
Uncle Heck and run him off stage till after the final curtain.

On some occasions Uncle Heck breaks through the bars and dashes into the
scene of refinement with merry quip and jest to the confusion of his
relatives and the ill-concealed amusement of their guests.

This was one of those occasions.

Early in the evening Jack took Uncle Heck to his room, sat him in front
of a quart of vintage, and left the old geezer there to slosh around in
the surf until sleep claimed him for its own.

But after the wine was gone Uncle Heck put on the gloves with Morpheus,
got the decision, marched down stairs and into the drawing room, where
he immediately insisted upon being the life of the party.

Uncle Heck moved and seconded that he sing the swan song from
_Lohengrin_, but his idea of a swan was so much like a turkey gobbler
that loving friends slipped him the moccasins and elbowed him out of the
room.

Then he went out in the butler's pantry, hoping to do an Omar Khayyam
with the grape, but, not finding any, he began to recite, "Down in the
Lehigh Valley me and my people grew; I was a blacksmith, Cap'n; yes, and
a good one, too! Let me sit down a minute, a stone's got into my
shoe----"

But it wasn't a stone, and it didn't get into his shoe. It was a potato
salad and it got into his face when the Irish cook threw it at him for
interfering with her work.

"I'm discouraged," murmured Uncle Heck, and presently he was sleeping
with magnificent noises on the sofa in the library.

There were present at the battle in the drawing room Uncle Peter Grant
and Aunt Martha; Hep Hardy and his diamond shirt studs; Bunch Jefferson
and his wife, Alice; Bud Hawley and his second wife; Phil Merton and his
third wife; Dave Mason and his stationary wife; Stub Wilson and his
wife, Jennie, who is Peaches' sister, and a few others who asked to have
their names omitted.

The mad revels were inaugurated by the Pippin Brothers, who attempted to
drag some grouchy music out of guitars that didn't want to give up. The
Pippin Brothers part their hair in the middle and always do the march
from "The Babes in Toyland" on their mandolins as an encore.

If Victor Herbert ever catches them there'll be a couple of shine
chord-chokers away to the bad.

When the Pippin Brothers took a bow and backed off into a vase of
flowers we were all invited to listen to a soprano solo by Miss Imogene
Glassface.

When Imogene sings she makes faces at herself. When she needs a high
note she goes after it like a hen after a lady-bug. Imogene sang
"Sleep, Sweetly Sleep!" and then kept us awake with her voice.

Then we had Rufus Kellar Smith, the parlor prestidigitator. Rufus was a
bad boy.

He cooked an omelette in a silk hat and when he handed the hat back to
Hep Hardy two poached eggs fell out and cuddled up in Hep's hair.

Rufus apologized and said he'd do the trick over again if some one would
lend him a hat, but nothing doing. We all preferred our eggs boiled.

Then we had Claribel Montrose in select recitations. She was all the
money.

Claribel grabbed "The Wreck of the Hesperus" between her pearly teeth
and shook it to death. Then she got a half-Nelson on Poe's "Raven" and
put it out of business.

[Illustration]

Next she tried an imitation of the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet.
If Juliet talked like that dame did no wonder she took poison.

Then Claribel let down her back hair and started in to give us a mad
scene--and it was. Everybody in the room got mad.

When peace was finally restored Mrs. Frothingham informed us that the
rest of the "paid" talent had disappointed her and she'd have to depend
on the volunteers. Then she whispered to Miss Gladiola Hungerschnitz,
whereupon that young lady giggled her way over to the piano and began to
knock its teeth out.

The way Gladiola went after one of Beethoven's sonatas and slapped its
ears was pitiful.

Gladiola learned to injure a piano at a conservatory of music. She can
take a Hungarian rhapsody and turn it into a goulash in about 32 bars.

At the finish of the sonata we all applauded Gladiola just as loudly as
we could, in the hope that she would faint with surprise and stop
playing, but no such luck.

She tied a couple of chords together and swung that piano like a pair of
Indian clubs.

First she did "My Old Kentucky Home," with variations, until everybody
who had a home began to weep for fear it might get to be like her
Kentucky home.

The variations were where she made a mistake and struck the right note.

Then Gladiola moved up to the squeaky end of the piano and gave an
imitation of a Swiss music box.

It sounded to me like a Swiss cheese.

Presently Gladiola ran out of raw material and subsided, while we all
applauded her with our fingers crossed, and two very thoughtful ladies
began to talk fast to Gladiola so as to take her mind off the piano.

This excitement was followed by another catastrophe named Minnehaha
Jones, who picked up a couple of soprano songs and screeched them at us.

Minnehaha is one of those fearless singers who vocalize without a
safety-valve. She always keeps her eyes closed so she can't tell just
when her audience gets up and leaves the room.

The next treat was a duet on the flute and trombone between Clarence
Smith and Lancelot Diffenberger, with a violin obligate on the side by
Hector Tompkins.

Never before have I seen music so roughly handled.

It looked like a walk-over for Clarence, but in the fifth round he blew
a couple of green notes and Lancelot got the decision.

Then, for a consolation prize, Hector was led out in the middle of the
room, where he assassinated Mascagni's _Cavalleria Rusticana_ so
thoroughly that it will never be able to enter a fifty-cent _table
d'hôte_ restaurant again.

Almost before the audience had time to recover Peaches' sister, Jennie,
was coaxed to sing Tosti's "Good Bye!"

I'm very fond of sister Jennie, but I'm afraid if Mr. Tosti ever heard
her sing his "Good Bye" he would say, "the same to you, and here's your
hat."

Before Jennie married and moved West I remember she had a very pretty
mezzo-concertina voice, but she's been so long away helping Stub Wilson
to make Milwaukee famous that nowadays her top notes sound like a cuckoo
clock after it's been up all night.

I suppose it's wrong for me to pull this about our own flesh and blood,
but when a married woman with six fine children, one of them at Yale,
walks sideways up to a piano and begins to squeak, "Good bye, summer!
Good bye, summer!" just as if she were calling the dachshund in to
dinner, I think it's time she declined the nomination.

Then Bud Hawley, after figuring it all out that there was no chance of
his getting arrested, sat down on the piano stool and made a few sad
statements, which in their original state form the basis of a Scotch
ballad called "Loch Lomond."

Bud's system of speaking the English language is to say with his voice
as much of a word as he can remember and then finish the rest of it with
his hands.

Imagine what Bud would do to a song with an oat-meal foundation like
"Loch Lomond."

When Bud barked out the first few bars, which say, "By yon bonnie bank
and by yon bonnie brae," everybody within hearing would have cried with
joy if the piano had fallen over on him and flattened his equator.

And when he reached the plot of the piece, where it says, "You take the
high road and I'll take the low road," Uncle Peter took a drink, Phil
Merton took the same, Stub took an oath, and I took a walk.

And all the while Bud's wife sat there, with the glad and winning smile
of a swordfish on her face, listening with a heart full of pride while
her crime-laden husband chased that helpless song all over the parlor,
and finally left it unconscious under the sofa.

At this point Hep Hardy got up and volunteered to tell some funny
stories and this gave us all a good excuse to put on our overshoes and
say "Good night" to our hostess without offending anybody.

Hep Hardy and his funny stories are always used to close the show.

"John," said Peaches after we got home; "I want to give a _musicale_,
may I?"

"Certainly, old girl," I answered. "We'll give one in the nearest moving
picture theater. If we don't like the show all we have to do is to close
our eyes and thank our lucky stars there's nothing to listen to."

"Oh! aren't you hateful!" she pouted.

Maybe I am at that.



     *     *     *     *     *


A LIST of BOOKS
By
HUGH McHUGH
(GEORGE V. HOBART)


This famous author of the well-known "John Henry" books numbers his
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Back to the Woods. 16mo. Cloth. Illustrated.                  $0.75

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Cinders. 16mo. Cloth. Illustrated.                              .75

Dinkelspiel's Letters to Looey. 16mo. Cloth. Illustrated.       .75

Down the Line. 16mo. Cloth. Illustrated.                        .75

Eppy Grams by Dinkelspiel. 16mo. Cloth.                         .75

Get Next. 16mo. Cloth. Illustrated.                             .75

Go To It. 16mo. Cloth. Illustrated.                             .75

Ikey's Letters to His Father. 12mo. Cloth.                      .75

I'm From Missouri. 16mo. Cloth. Illustrated.                    .75

I Need the Money. 16mo. Cloth. Illustrated.                     .75

It's Up to You. 16mo. Cloth. Illustrated.                       .75

John Henry, and Other Stories. Popular Edition.
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On the Hog Train. Paper Covered.                                .25

Out for the Coin. 16mo. Cloth. Illustrated.                     .75

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You Can Search Me. 16mo. Cloth. Illustrated.                    .75


     *     *     *     *     *


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     *     *     *     *     *


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