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Title: Object: matrimony
Author: Glass, Montague, 1877-1934
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 "Object: matrimony" ***

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Object: Matrimony


[Illustration: "DID YOU EVER SUFFER FROM STUMMICK TROUBLE?"]


          OBJECT:
        MATRIMONY

            by
        MONTAGUE
          GLASS

    GARDEN CITY NEW YORK
  DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY
          1912



    _Copyright, 1909, by_
  THE CURTIS PUBLISHING COMPANY

    _Copyright, 1912, by_
  DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY


_All rights reserved including that of translation into foreign
languages, including the Scandinavian_



Object: Matrimony

BY MONTAGUE GLASS



"Real estate!" Philip Margolius cried bitterly; "that's a business for a
business man! If a feller's in the clothing business and it comes bad
times, Mr. Feldman, he can sell it his goods at cost and live anyhow;
but if a feller's in the real-estate business, Mr. Feldman, and it comes
bad times, he can't not only sell his houses, but he couldn't give 'em
away yet, and when the second mortgage forecloses he gets deficiency
judgments against him."

"Why don't you do this?" Mr. Feldman suggested. "Why don't you go to the
second mortgagee and tell him you'll convey the houses to him in
satisfaction of the mortgage? Those houses will never bring even the
amount of the first mortgage in these times, and surely he would rather
have the houses than a deficiency judgment against you."

"That's what I told him a hundred times. Believe me, Mr. Feldman, I used
hours and hours of the best salesmanship on that feller," Margolius
answered, "and all he says is that he wouldn't have to pay no interest,
insurance and taxes on a deficiency judgment, while a house what stands
vacant you got to all the time be paying out money."

"But as soon as they put the subway through," Mr. Feldman continued,
"that property around Two Hundred and Sixty-fourth Street and Heidenfeld
Avenue will go up tremendously."

"Sure I know," Margolius agreed; "but when a feller's got four double
flat-houses and every flat yet vacant, futures don't cut no ice. Them
tenants couldn't ride on futures, Mr. Feldman; and so, with the nearest
trolley car ten blocks away, I am up against a dead proposition."

"Wouldn't he give you a year's extension?" Mr. Feldman asked.

"He wouldn't give me positively nothing," Margolius replied hopelessly.
"That feller's a regular Skylark. He wants his pound of meat every time,
Mr. Feldman. So I guess you got to think up some scheme for me that I
should beat him out. Them mortgages falls due in ten days, Mr. Feldman,
and we got to act quick."

Mr. Feldman frowned judicially. In New York, if an attorney for a realty
owner knows his business and neglects his professional ethics he can so
obstruct an action to foreclose a mortgage as to make Jarndyce vs.
Jarndyce look like a summary proceeding. But Henry D. Feldman was a
conscientious practitioner, and never did anything that might bring him
before the grievance committee of the Bar Association. Moreover, he was
a power in the Democratic organization and right in line for a Supreme
Court judgeship, and so it behooved him to be careful if not ethical.

"Why don't you go and see Goldblatt again, and then if you can't move
him I'll see what I can do for you?" Feldman suggested.

"But, Mr. Feldman," Margolius protested, "I told it you it ain't no use.
Goldblatt hates me worser as poison."

Feldman leaned back in his low chair with one arm thrown over the back,
after the fashion of Judge Blatchford's portrait in the United States
District Courtroom.

"See here, Margolius: what's the real trouble between you and
Goldblatt?" he said. "If you're going to get my advice in this matter
you will have to tell me the whole truth. _Falsus in uno, falsus in
omnibus_, you know."

"You make a big mistake, Mr. Feldman," Margolius replied. "It ain't
nothing like that, and whoever told it you is got another think coming.
The trouble was about his daughter Fannie. You could bring a horse a
pail of water, Mr. Feldman, but no one could make the horse drink it if
he don't want to, and that's the way it was with me. Friedman, the
Schatchen, took me up to see Goldblatt's daughter Fannie, and I assure
you I ain't exaggeration a bit when I tell you she's got a moustache
what wouldn't go bad with a dago barber yet."

"Why, I thought Goldblatt's daughter was a pretty good looker," Feldman
exclaimed.

"That's Birdie Goldblatt," Margolius replied, blushing. "But
Fannie--that's a different proposition, Mr. Feldman. Well, Goldblatt
gives me all kinds of inducements; but I ain't that kind, Mr. Feldman.
If I would marry I would marry for love, and it wouldn't make no
difference to me if the girl would have it, say, for example, only two
thousand dollars. I would marry her anyway."

"Very commendable," Mr. Feldman murmured.

"But Fannie Goldblatt--that is somebody a young feller wouldn't
consider, not if her hair hung with diamonds, Mr. Feldman," Margolius
continued. "Although I got to admit I did go up to Goldblatt's house a
great many times, because, supposing she does got a moustache, she could
cook _gefüllte Fische_ and _Fleischkugeln_ better as Delmonico's
already. And then Miss Birdie Goldblatt----"

He faltered and blushed again, while Feldman nodded sympathetically.

"Anyhow, what's the use talking?" Margolius concluded. "The old man gets
sore on me, and when Marks Henochstein offers him the second mortgages
on them Heidenfeld Avenue houses it was yet boom-time in the Bronix, and
it looked good to Goldblatt; so he made Henochstein give him a big
allowance, and he bought 'em. And now when he's got me where he wants
me I can kiss myself good-bye with them houses."

He rose to his feet and put on his gloves, for Philip was what is
popularly known as a swell dresser. Indeed, there was no
smarter-appearing salesman in the entire cloak and suit trade, nor was
there a salesman more ingratiating in manner and hence more successful
with lady buyers.

"If the worser comes to the worst," he said, "I will go through
bankruptcy. I ain't got nothing but them houses, anyway." He fingered
the two-and-a-half-carat solitaire in his scarf to find out if it were
still there. "And they couldn't get my salary in advance, so that's what
I'll do."

He shook hands with Mr. Feldman.

"You could send me a bill for your advice, Mr. Feldman," he said.

"That's all right," Feldman replied as he ushered his client out of the
office. "I'll add it to my fee in the bankruptcy matter."



II


About Miss Birdie Goldblatt's appearance there was something of Maxine
Elliott with just a dash of Anna Held, and she wore her clothes so well
that she could make a blended-Kamchatka near-mink scarf look like
Imperial Russian sable. Thus, when Philip Margolius encountered her on
the corner of Fifth Avenue and Twenty-first Street his heart fairly
jumped in admiration. Nevertheless, he raised his hat with all his
accustomed grace, and Miss Goldblatt bowed and smiled in return.

"How d'ye do, Miss Goldblatt," he said. "Ain't it a fine weather?"

"Sure it's fine weather," Miss Goldblatt agreed. "Is that all you
stopped me for to tell me it was fine weather?"

"No," Philip said lamely.

"Well, then, I guess I'll be moving on," Miss Goldblatt announced;
"because I got a date with Fannie up on Twenty-third Street."

"One minute," Philip cried. "It was about your sister what I wanted to
speak to you about."

"What have you got to do with my sister Fannie?" Miss Goldblatt
demanded, glaring indignantly at Margolius.

"Why," Philip replied on the spur of the moment, "I got a friend what
wants to be introduced to her, a--now--feller in the--now--cloak
business."

Miss Goldblatt regarded Philip for one suspicious moment.

"What's his name?" she asked abruptly.

A gentle perspiration broke out on Philip's forehead. He searched his
mind for the name of some matrimonially eligible man of his
acquaintance, but none suggested itself. Hence, he sparred for time.

"Never mind his name," he said jocularly. "When the time comes I'll
tell you his name. He's got it a good business, too, I bet yer."

Miss Goldblatt grew somewhat mollified.

"Why don't you bring him down to the house some night?" she suggested,
whereat Philip could not forbear an ironical laugh.

"I suppose your father would be delighted to see me, I suppose. Ain't
it?" he said.

"What's he got to do with it?" Miss Goldblatt asked. "Do you think
because he's called in them second mortgages that me and Fannie would
stand for his being fresh to you if you was to come round to the house?"

"No, I don't," Philip replied; "but just the same, anyhow, he feels sore
at me."

"He's got a right to feel sore at you," Miss Goldblatt interrupted. "You
come a dozen times to see my sister, and then----"

"That's where you are mistaken," Philip cried; "I come once, the first
time, to see your sister, and the other times I come to see _you_."

"Ain't you got a nerve?" Miss Goldblatt exclaimed.

"Why do I got a nerve?" Philip asked. "Miss Goldblatt--Birdie, what's
the matter with me, anyway? I'm young yet--I ain't only thirty-two--and
I got a good name in the cloak and suit business as a salesman. Ask
anybody. I can make it my five thousand a year easy. And supposing I am
a foreigner? There's lots of up-to-date American young fellers what
couldn't keep you in hairpins, Birdie."

He paused and looked pleadingly at Birdie, who tossed her head in reply.

"Them houses up in the Bronix," he said, "that's a misfortune what could
happen anybody. If I got to let 'em go I'll do it. But pshaw! I could
make it up what I lost in them houses with my commissions for one good
season already."

"Well, my sister Fannie----" Birdie commenced.

"Never mind your sister Fannie," Philip said. "I will look out for her.
If you and me can fix it up, Birdie, I give you my word and honour as a
gentleman I will fix it up for Fannie a respectable feller with a good
business."

He paused for an expression of opinion from Birdie, but none was
forthcoming.

"What are you doing to-night?" he asked.

"Fannie and me was----" she began.

"Not Fannie--_you_," he broke in. "Because I was going to suggest if you
ain't doing nothing might we would go to theaytre?"

"Well, sure," Birdie continued. "Fannie and me could go and we wouldn't
say nothing to the old man about it."

"Looky here," Philip pleaded, "must Fannie go?"

"Sure she must go," Birdie answered. "Otherwise, if she don't go I won't
go."

Philip pondered for a moment.

"Well----" he commenced.

"And why wouldn't it be a good scheme," Birdie went on, "if you was to
ring in this other young feller?"

"What young feller?" Philip innocently asked her.

"What young feller!" Birdie exclaimed. "Why, ain't you just told me----"

"Oh, that's right!" Philip cried. "That's a good idee. I'll see if I can
fix it."

He stopped short and looked at his watch. "I'll meet you both in front
of the Casino at eight o'clock," he declared.

It was five o'clock and he only had a trifle over three hours to
discover a man--young if possible, but, in any event, prosperous, who
would be willing to conduct to the theatre a lady of uncertain age with
a dark moustache--object: matrimony.

"You must excuse me," he said fervently as he shook Birdie's hand in
farewell. "I got a lot of work to do this afternoon."



III


On his way to the office of Schindler & Baum, his employers, he was a
prey to misgivings of the gloomiest kind.

"I got such a chance of getting a feller for that Fannie like I would
never try at all," he murmured to himself; but, as he turned the corner
of Nineteenth Street, Fortune, which occasionally favours the brave,
brought him into violent contact with a short, stout person proceeding
in the opposite direction.

"Why don't you hire it a whole sidewalk for yourself?" Philip began, and
then he recognized the stout gentleman.

"Why, hallo, Mr. Feigenbaum!" he cried.

"Hallo yourself, Margolius!" Feigenbaum grunted. "It's a wonder you
wouldn't murder me yet, the way you go like a steam engine already."

"Excuse me," Philip said. "Excuse _me_, Mr. Feigenbaum. I didn't see you
coming. I got to wear glasses, too."

Mr. Feigenbaum glared at Philip with his left eye, the glare in his
right eye being entirely beyond control, since it was fixed and constant
as the day it was made.

"What are you trying to do, Margolius?" he asked. "Kid me?"

"Kid you!" Philip repeated. "Why should I want to kid you?"

And then for the first time it occurred to him that not only was One-eye
Feigenbaum proprietor of the H. F. Cloak Company and its six stores in
the northern-tier counties of Pennsylvania, but that he was also a
bachelor. Moreover, a bachelor with one eye and the singularly
unprepossessing appearance of Henry Feigenbaum would be just the kind of
person to present to Fannie Goldblatt, for Feigenbaum, by reason of his
own infirmity, could not cavil at Fannie's black moustache, and as for
Fannie--well, Fannie would be glad to take what she could get.

"Come over to Hammersmith's and take a little something, Mr.
Feigenbaum," he said. "You and me hasn't had a talk together in a long
time."

Feigenbaum followed him across the street and a minute later sat down at
a table in Hammersmith's rear café.

"What will you take, Mr. Feigenbaum?" Philip asked as the waiter bent
over them solicitously.

"Give me a package of all-tobacco cigarettes," Feigenbaum ordered, "and
a rye-bread tongue sandwich."

Philip asked for a cup of coffee.

"Looky here, Feigenbaum," Philip commenced after they had been served,
"you and me is known each other now since way before the Spanish War
already, when I made my first trip by Sol Unterberg. Why is it I ain't
never sold you a dollar's worth of goods?"

"No, and you never will, Margolius," Feigenbaum said as he licked the
crumbs from his fingers; "and I ain't got a thing against you, because I
think you're a decent, respectable young feller."

Having thus endorsed the character of his host, Feigenbaum lit a
cigarette and grinned amiably.

"But Schindler & Baum got it a good line, Feigenbaum," Philip
protested.

"Sure I know they got it a good line," Feigenbaum agreed; "but I ain't
much on going to theaytres or eating a bunch of expensive feed. No,
Margolius, I like to deal with people what gives their line the benefit
of the theaytres and the dinners."

"What you mean?" Philip cried.

"I mean Ellis Block, from Saracuse, New York, shows me a line of capes
he bought it from you, Margolius," Feigenbaum continued, "which the
precisely same thing I got it down on Division Street at a dollar less
apiece from a feller what never was inside of so much as a moving
pictures, with or without a customer, Margolius, and so he don't got to
add the tickets to the price of the garments."

Philip washed down a tart rejoinder with a huge gulp.

"Not that I don't go to theaytre once in a while," Feigenbaum went on;
"but when I go I pay for it myself."

Philip nodded.

"Supposing I should tell you, Mr. Feigenbaum," he said, "that I didn't
want to sell you no goods."

"Well, if you didn't want to sell me no goods," Feigenbaum replied with
a twinkle in his eye, "the best thing to do would be to take me to a
show, because then I sure wouldn't buy no goods from you."

"All right," Philip replied; "come and take dinner with me and we'll go
and see the Lily of Constantinople."

"I wouldn't take dinner with you because I got to see a feller on East
Broadway at six o'clock," Feigenbaum said; "but if you are willing I
will meet you in front of the Casino at eight o'clock."

"Sure I'm willing," Philip said; "otherwise, I wouldn't of asked you."

"All right," Feigenbaum said, rising from his chair. "Eight o'clock,
look for me in front of the Casino."

At seven o'clock Philip alighted from a Forty-second Street car. He
strode into a fashionable hotel and handed ten dollars to the clerk in
the theatre-ticket office.

"Give me four orchestra seats for the Casino for to-night," he said.

Thence he proceeded to the grill-room and consumed a tenderloin steak,
hashed-brown potatoes, a mixed salad, pastry and coffee, and washed
down the whole with a pint of ebullient refreshment.

Finally, he lit a fine cigar and paid the check, after which he took a
small morocco-bound book from his waistcoat pocket. He turned to the
last page of a series headed, "Schindler & Baum, Expense Account," and
made the following entry:

"To entertainment of Henry Feigenbaum, $15.00."



IV


The acquaintance of Henry Feigenbaum with Miss Fannie Goldblatt could
hardly be called love at first sight.

"Mr. Feigenbaum," Philip said when they all met in front of the Casino,
"this is a friend of mine by the name Miss Fannie Goldblatt; also, her
sister Birdie."

The two ladies bowed, but Feigenbaum only blinked at them with
unaffected astonishment.

"All right," he stammered at last. "All right, Margolius. Let's go
inside."

During the short period before the rising of the curtain Birdie and
Philip conversed in undertones, while Fannie did her best to interest
her companion.

"Ain't it a pretty theaytre?" she said by way of prelude.

Feigenbaum glanced around him and grunted: "Huh, huh."

"You're in the same line as Mr. Margolius, ain't you?" Fannie
continued.

"Cloaks and suits, retail," Feigenbaum replied. "I got six stores in the
northern-tier counties of Pennsylvania."

"Then you don't live in New York?" Fannie hazarded.

"No, I live in Pennsylvania," said Feigenbaum. "But I used to live in
New York when I was a young feller."

"Why, you're a young feller yet," Fannie suggested coyly.

"Me, I ain't so young no longer," Feigenbaum answered. "At my age I
could have it already grandchildren old enough to bring in a couple
dollars a week selling papers."

"I believe you should bring up children sensible, too," Miss Goldblatt
agreed heartily. "If I had children I would teach 'em they should earn
and save money young."

"So?" Feigenbaum said.

"Sure," Miss Goldblatt continued. "I always say that if you make
children to be economical when they're young they're economical when
they grow up. My poor mother, _selig_, always impressed it on me I
should be economical, and so I am economical."

"Is that so?" Feigenbaum gasped. He felt that he was a drowning man and
looked around him for floating straws.

"I ain't so helpless like some other ladies that I know," Miss Goldblatt
went on. "My poor mother, _selig_, was a good housekeeper, and she
taught me everything what she knew. She used to say: 'The feller what
gets my Fannie won't never die of the indigestion.'"

Feigenbaum nodded gloomily.

"Did you ever suffer from stummick trouble, Mr. Feigenbaum?" she asked.

The composer of the Lily of Constantinople came to Feigenbaum's
assistance by scoring the opening measure of the overture for brass and
woodwind with heavy passages for the _cassa grande_ and cymbals, and
when the uproar gave way to a simple rendition of the song hit of the
show, My Bosphorus Queen, Fannie surrendered herself to the spell of its
marked rhythm and forgot to press Feigenbaum for an answer.

During the entire first act Feigenbaum fixed his eyes on the stage, and
as soon as the curtain fell for the first _entr'acte_ he uttered no word
of apology, but made a hurried exit to the smoking-room. There Philip
found him a moment later.

"Well, Feigenbaum," Philip cried, "how do you like the show?"

"The show is all right, Margolius," Feigenbaum replied, "but the next
time you are going to steer me up against something like that Miss
Fannie Goldblatt, Margolius, let me know. That's all."

"Why, what's the matter with her?" Philip asked.

"There's nothing the matter with her," Feigenbaum said, "only she
reminds me of a feller what used to work by me up in Sylvania by the
name Pincus Lurie. I had to get rid of him because trade fell off on
account the children complained he made snoots at 'em to scare 'em. He
didn't make no snoots, Margolius; that was his natural face what he got
it, the same like Miss Goldblatt."

"You don't know that girl, Feigenbaum," Philip replied. "That girl's got
a heart. Oi! what a heart that girl got--like a watermelon."

"I know, Margolius," Feigenbaum replied; "but she also got it a
moustache like a dago. Why don't she shave herself, Margolius?"

"Why don't you ask her yourself?" Philip said coldly.

"I don't know her good enough yet," Feigenbaum retorted, "and how it
looks now I ain't never going to."

But the way to Feigenbaum's heart lay through his stomach just as
accurately as it avoided his pocketbook, so that when Miss Fannie
Goldblatt suggested, after the final curtain, that they all go up to One
Hundred and Eighteenth Street and have a supper at home instead of at a
restaurant, she made a dent in Feigenbaum's affections.

"Looky here, Birdie," Philip whispered, "how about the old man?"

"Don't you worry about him," she said. "He went to Brownsville to play
auction pinocle, and I bet yer he don't get home till five o'clock."

Half an hour afterward they sat around the dining-room table, and
Fannie helped Feigenbaum to a piece of _gefüllte Fische_, a delicacy
which never appears on the menus of rural hotels in Pennsylvania. At the
first mouthful Feigenbaum looked at Fannie Goldblatt, and while, to be
sure, she did have some hair on her upper lip, it was only a slight down
which at the second mouthful became still slighter. Indeed, after the
third slice of fish Feigenbaum was ready to declare it to be a most
becoming down, very bewitching and Spanish in appearance.

Following the _gefüllte Fische_ came a species of _tripe farcie_, the
whole being washed down with coffee and topped off with delicious
cake--cake which could be adequately described only by kissing the tips
of one's fingers.

"After all, Margolius," Feigenbaum commented as he lit an all-tobacco
cigarette on their way down the front stoop of the Goldblatt
residence--"after all, she ain't such a bad-looking woman. I seen it
lots worser, Margolius."

"That's nothing what we got it this evening," Philip said as they
started off for the subway; "you should taste the _Kreploch_ what that
girl makes it."

"I'm going to," Feigenbaum said; "they asked me I should come to dinner
to-morrow night."

But Philip knew from his own experience that the glamour engendered of
Fannie's _gefüllte Fische_ would soon be dispelled, and then Henry
Feigenbaum would hie him to the northern-tier counties of Pennsylvania,
leaving Philip's love affair in worse condition than before.

"I got to cinch it," he murmured to himself as he went downtown next
morning, "before that one-eyed feller skips out on me."

As soon as he reached Schindler & Baum's office he rang up the Goldblatt
house, assuming for that purpose a high tenor voice lest Goldblatt
himself answer the 'phone; but again fortune favoured him, and it was
Birdie who responded.

"Birdie," he said, "do me the favour and come to lunch with me at the
Park Row Building."

"Why so far downtown?" Birdie asked.

"Reasons I got it," Philip replied. "Come at twelve o'clock at the Park
Row Building, sure."

Thus it happened at quarter past twelve Philip and Birdie sat at a table
in the Park Row Building in such earnest conversation that a tureenful
of soup remained unserved before them at a temperature of seventy
degrees.

"An engagement party ain't nothing to me," Philip cried. "What do I care
for such things?"

"But it's something to me, Philip," Birdie declared. "Think of the
presents, Philip."

"Presents!" Philip repeated. "What for presents would we get it?
Bargains in cut glass what would make our flat look like a
five-and-ten-cent store."

"But Popper would be crazy if I did a thing like that," Birdie
protested. "And, besides, I ain't got no clothes."

"Why, you look like a--like a--now--queen," Philip exclaimed. "And,
anyhow, what would you want new clothes for when you got this?"

He dug his hand into his trousers pocket and produced a ring containing
a solitaire diamond as big as a hazelnut.

"I took a chance on the size already," he said, "but I bet yer it will
fit like it was tailor-made."

He seized her left hand in both of his and passed the ring on to the
third finger, while Birdie's cheeks were aglow and her eyes rivalled the
brilliancy of the ring itself.

"But----" she began.

"But nothing," Philip interrupted. He rose from his seat and helped
Birdie on with her coat. "Waiter," he called, "we come right back here.
We are just going over to Jersey for a couple of hours."

He pressed a bill into the waiter's hand.

"Send that soup to the kitchen," he said, "and tell 'em to serve it hot
when we come back."

Two hours later they reappeared at the same table, and the grinning
waiter immediately went off to the kitchen. When he returned he bore a
glass bowl containing a napkin elaborately folded in the shape of a
flower, and inside the napkin was a little heap of rice.



V


There was something about Mr. Elkan Goldblatt's face that would make the
most hardy real-estater pause before entering into a business deal with
him. He had an eye like a poll-parrot with its concomitant beak, and his
closely cropped beard and moustache accentuated rather than mollified
his harsh appearance.

"Such fellers I wouldn't have no more mercy on than a dawg," he said to
his attorney, Eleazer Levy. "Oncet already I practically kicked him out
from my house, and then he's got the nerve to come back, and two weeks
ago he brings yet a feller with him and makes bluffs that the feller
wants to marry my daughter Fannie."

"He was just trying to get you to extend those second mortgages, I
suppose," Levy said.

"Sure he was, because this here feller--a homely looking feller with one
eye, mind you--says he got to go back to Pennsylvania where his stores
is, and we ain't seen nor heard a word from him since," Goldblatt
concluded. "And him eating two meals a day by us for ten days yet!"

Eleazer Levy clucked with his tongue in sympathy.

"But, anyhow, now I want we should go right straight ahead and foreclose
on Margolius," Goldblatt continued. "Don't lose no time, Levy, and get
out the papers to-day. How long would it be before we can sell the
property?"

"Six weeks," said Levy, "if I serve the summons to-morrow. I put in a
search some days ago, and the feller ain't got a judgment against him."

"So much the better," Goldblatt commented. "The property won't bring the
amount of the first mortgage and I suppose I got to buy it in. Then I
will get deficiency judgments against that feller, and I'll make him
sorry he ever tried any monkey business with me and my daughters. Why,
that feller actually turned my own children against me, Levy."

"Is that so?" Levy murmured.

"My Birdie abused me, I assure you, like I was a pickpocket when I says
I would foreclose on him," Goldblatt replied. "And even my Fannie,
although she is all broke up about that one-eyed feller, she says I
should give the young feller a show. What d'ye think of that, hey?"

"Terrible!" Levy replied. "A feller like that deserves all he gets, and
you can bet yer sweet life he won't have any let-up from me, Mr.
Goldblatt."

Levy was as good as his word, for that very afternoon he filed a notice
of pendency of action against the Heidenfeld Avenue property, and the
next morning, as Philip left his house, a clerk from Levy's office
served him with four copies of the summons and complaint in the
foreclosure suit of Goldblatt vs. Margolius, actions numbers 1, 2, 3
and 4. But Philip stuffed them into his pocket unread; he had other and
more poignant woes than foreclosure suits. Only ten days wed, and he was
denied even the sight of his wife longer than five minutes; for she was
not endangering future prospects in favour of present happiness.

"We could, anyway, get the furniture out of him," she argued when she
saw Philip that day, "and, maybe, a couple of thousand dollars."

"I don't care a pinch of snuff for his furniture," Philip cried. "I will
buy the furniture myself."

"But I can't leave Fannie just now," she declared; "she's all broke up
about that feller."

"What about me?" Philip protested. "Ain't I broke up, too?"

"So long you waited, you could wait a little longer yet," she replied;
"but poor Fannie, you got no idea how that girl takes on."

"She shouldn't worry," Philip cried. "I promised I would fix her up, and
I will fix her up."

Daily the same scene was enacted at the Goldblatt residence on One
Hundred and Eighteenth Street, and daily Birdie refused to forsake her
sister, until six weeks had elapsed.

"But, Birdie," Philip announced for the hundredth time, "so sure as you
stand there I couldn't keep this up no longer. I will either go crazy or
either I will jump in the river."

Birdie patted him on the back.

"Don't think about it," she said. "Take your mind off it. To-day your
property gets sold and Popper says he will be down at the salesroom at
twelve o'clock."

"Let 'em sell it," Philip cried; "I don't care."

He turned away after a hurried embrace, and was proceeding down Lenox
Avenue toward the subway when Marks Henochstein, the real-estate broker,
encountered him. Marks clutched him by the shoulder.

"Well, Philip," Henochstein cried, "you are in luck at last."

"In luck!" Philip exclaimed bitterly. "A dawg shouldn't have the luck
what I got it."

"Well, if you don't call it lucky," Henochstein continued, "what would
you call it lucky?"

"Excuse me, Henochstein," said Philip; "I ain't good at guessing
puzzles. What am I lucky for?"

"Why, ain't you heard it yet?"

"I ain't heard nothing," Philip replied. "Do me the favour and don't
keep me on suspension."

"Why, the city is going to widen Two Hundred and Sixty-fourth Street in
front of them houses of yours, and you will get damages. Oi! what
damages you will get!"

Philip stared blankly at his informant for one hesitating moment; then
he dashed off for the nearest subway station.

Half an hour later he sat in the office of Henry D. Feldman and gasped
out his story.

"In three quarters of an hour, Mr. Feldman," he cried, "that property
will be sold, and, if it is, the feller what buys it will get damages
for the street opening and I will get nix."

"This is a fine time to tell me about it, Margolius," Feldman said. "You
came in here six weeks ago and asked me to help you out, and I haven't
seen you since. The time to do something was six weeks ago. Why didn't
you come back to see me before the suit was started?"

"Because I was busy, Mr. Feldman," Margolius replied. "A whole lot of
things happened to me about that time. In the first place, the next day
after I saw you I got married."

"What!" Feldman exclaimed, "you got married? Well, Margolius, you
recovered pretty quickly from that affair with Birdie Goldblatt."

Margolius stared gloomily at his attorney.

"What d'ye mean I recover from it?" he echoed. "I didn't recover from
it, Mr. Feldman. That's who I married--Miss Birdie Goldblatt."

Feldman sat back in his chair.

"Well, of all the unfatherly brutes," he said, "to shut down on his own
daughter's husband!"

"Hold on there, Mr. Feldman," Philip interrupted; "he don't know he's
shutting down on his daughter's husband, because we was secretly
married, y' understand? And even to-day yet the old man don't know
nothing about it."

"What do you mean?" Feldman asked. "Why wouldn't he know his own
daughter was married?"

"Because she's living home yet," Philip replied, and "I can't persuade
her to go housekeeping, neither."

Feldman frowned for a moment and then he struck the desk with his fist.

"By jiminy!" he shouted, "you've got the old man by the whiskers!"

It was now Philip's turn to ask what Feldman meant.

"Why," the latter explained, "your wife's inchoate right of dower is
still outstanding."

"That's where you make a big mistake, Mr. Feldman," Philip corrected.
"My Birdie is a neat dresser and never so much as a pin out of place."

"You don't understand," Feldman continued. "As soon as Birdie and you
got married she took an interest in your property."

"Sure she took an interest in my property," Philip assented. "Why, if it
wouldn't be for her I wouldn't know nothing about this here sale
to-day."

"But I mean that as soon as she married you she became vested with the
right to receive the rents of a third of that property during her
lifetime as soon as you died," said Feldman.

"Well, we won't worry about that," Philip said with a deprecatory wave
of his hand, "because, in the first place, that property is pretty near
vacant and don't bring in enough rents to pay the taxes, and, in the
second place, I'm still good and healthy and I wouldn't die for a long
time yet."

"Oh, what's the use!" Feldman cried. "What I mean is that they can't
foreclose those second mortgages unless they make Birdie a party to the
suit and serve her with the summons; so, all you have to do to stop the
sale is to go down to the salesroom and, when the auctioneer starts to
ask for bids, get up and tell 'em all about it. Why, they'll have to
begin their suit all over again."

"But," Philip protested, "if I tell 'em all about it the old man will
throw Birdie out of the house."

"Hold on!" Feldman broke in. "You mustn't tell them you're married to
Birdie. Just tell them you're married, and let them find out your wife's
name for themselves. Although, to be sure, that won't take long, for the
record of marriage licenses at the city hall will show it."

"License nothing!" Philip cried. "We didn't get no license at the city
hall. We got married by a justice of the peace in Jersey City."

"Fine!" Feldman exclaimed, his professional ethics thrown to the winds.
"That'll keep 'em guessing as long as you want."

"All I want is a month, and by that time I can raise the money and fix
the whole thing up," Margolius replied.

Feldman looked at his watch.

"Chase yourself," he said; "it's a quarter of twelve, and the
foreclosure sale begins at noon."



VI


On the rostrum of an auctioneer in the Vesey Street salesroom stood
Eleazer Levy in weighty conversation with Miles M. Scully, the referee
in foreclosure. Scully's brow was furrowed into a thousand earned
wrinkles, and the little knot of real-estate brokers who regularly
attend foreclosure sales gazed reverently on the two advocates.

"And here was this guy," Levy concluded, "with nothing but a pair of
sixes all the time."

"But in a table-stakes game," Scully murmured, "you make a sight more if
you don't butt into every pot. If you think you're topped lay 'em down.
That's what I do, and it pays."

They were waiting for the auctioneer to appear, and Goldblatt hung
around the edge of the crowd and gazed anxiously at them. He had heard
that morning of the proposed street widening and wanted the sale to go
through without a hitch. At length the auctioneer arrived and the clerk
read off the notice of sale in a monotonous gabble just as Philip
elbowed his way through the crowd.

"Now, then, gentlemen," the auctioneer announced pompously, "the four
parcels will be sold separately. Each is subject to a first mortgage of
twenty thousand dollars and is otherwise free and clear except the
taxes. The amount of taxes is----"

"Hey, there!" Philip cried at this juncture. "I got something to say,
too."

The auctioneer paused and fixed Philip with what was intended to be a
withering look.

"Put that man out!" the auctioneer called to one of the attendants.

"You could put me out," Philip yelled, "if you want to, but you couldn't
put my wife out, because she ain't been served with the summons and
complaint in the first place, and she ain't here in the second place."

Goldblatt turned pale and started for the rostrum, while the auctioneer
motioned the attendant to hold off for a minute.

"Is he a married man?" the auctioneer asked Levy.

"He's a faker," Levy replied. "Go ahead with the sale."

"Am I a faker?" Philip yelled, holding up his left hand. "Well, look at
that there ring."

He pulled it off with an effort and handed it to the auctioneer.

"Look inside," he said. And, sure enough, the inner side bore the
inscription: "B. G. to P. M., 10-20-'09." Goldblatt looked at it, too;
but B. G. meant nothing to him and he handed it back to the auctioneer.

"That's only a scheme what he's trying to work it," he said. "Give him
back the ring and go ahead with the sale."

"One moment," said Miles M. Scully. "I'm the referee here, and I ain't
going to take no such chance as that. I'm going to adjoin this here sale
one week and investigate what this here guy says in the meantime."

Forthwith, the auctioneer announced a week's adjournment of the four
sales, and Philip resumed his wedding ring with a parting diabolical
grin at Goldblatt, and left the auction-room. He went to the nearest
telephone pay station and rang up the Goldblatt residence, but for over
half an hour he received only Central's assurance that as soon as there
was an answer she would call him.

"But, Central," he protested, "there's got to be somebody there. They
can't all be out."

And Philip was right. There were two people sitting in the front parlour
of the Goldblatt residence, and another and more interested person
stooped in the back parlour, with her ear to the crack of the sliding
doors which divided the two rooms. The telephone bell trilled
impatiently at brief intervals, but all three were oblivious to its
appeal; for the two persons in the front parlour were engaged in
conversation of an earnest character, and the person in the rear room
would not have missed a word of it for all the telephones in the world.

"Yes, Fannie," said one of the two persons, "I come back to you, anyhow,
and I come back for good."

He placed his arms around her ample waist.

"I assure you, Fannie," he concluded, "them dollar-a-day American-plan
hotels in the northern-tier counties is nothing but poison to a feller.
I am pretty near starved."

"Why didn't you say so at first?" Fannie replied, rising from the couch
where she had been sitting with Feigenbaum. "I got some fine _gefüllte
Fische_ in the ice-box."

Whereupon Birdie answered the 'phone.

"Hallo!" came a voice from the other end of the wire. "Where was you all
the time? I got some good news for you."

"I've got some good news for you, too," Birdie replied. "Fannie and Mr.
Feigenbaum are engaged."



VII


Elkan Goldblatt usually arrived home at seven o'clock to find his dinner
smoking on the table. His daughter Fannie always attended to the
carving, but on the night of the foreclosure sale it was Birdie who
presided at the head of the board.

"Where's Fannie?" he asked.

"She went out to dinner," Birdie explained.

Elkan nodded and lapsed into gloomy silence.

"What's the matter now?" Birdie inquired.

"That lowlife Margolius," he said, "what do you think from that loafer?
He goes to work and gets married."

Birdie gasped and turned white, all of which her father mistook for
symptoms of astonishment.

"Ain't that a loafer for you?" he continued. "All the time he hangs
around here, and then he goes to work and gets married."

"Who did he marry?" Birdie asked innocently.

"A question!" Goldblatt exclaimed. "Who can tell it who a lowlife like
him would marry?"

Birdie tossed her head.

"He ain't no lowlife just because he gets married," she retorted.
"What's more, any girl would be glad to get a good-looking, decent young
feller like Philip Margolius."

Goldblatt laid down his knife and fork.

"You are crazy in the head," he said. "Why should you stick up for a
young feller what comes around here and upsets my whole house? _You_ I
don't care about, because you could always get a husband; but
Fannie--that's different again. It ain't enough for that loafer that he
disappointed her himself, but he also got to bring around here that
one-eyed feller--another such lowlife as Margolius--and he also
disappoints Fannie. That feller Margolius is a dawg, Birdie, believe
me."

Birdie rose from her seat and threw her napkin on to the floor.

"I won't sit here and listen to such talk," she cried and ran out of the
room. For a moment Goldblatt essayed to finish his dinner, and then he,
too, rose and followed Birdie. He found her weeping on the parlour
lounge.

"Birdie!" he cried. "Birdiechen, what are you taking on so for?"

"I won't have you say such things about Ph-Ph--Feigenbaum," she sobbed.

"Why not?" he asked.

"Because Mr. Feigenbaum came here this afternoon and proposed to
Fannie," she explained to her father, "and they're downtown now getting
the ring from a friend of his what keeps a jewellery store on Grand
Street."

Goldblatt sat down heavily on the lounge and wiped his forehead. For ten
minutes he sat motionless in the shrouded gloom of that front parlour
before he could realize his daughter's good fortune.

"After all," he said finally, "when a feller's got six stores you could
easy excuse him one eye."

"You ought to be ashamed to talk that way," Birdie cried. "Mr.
Feigenbaum is a decent business man, and if it wouldn't be for
Philip--Philip Margolius--Fannie would of lived and died an old maid."

At this juncture came a ring at the bell and the sound of voices in the
hall. It was Fannie and her fiancé, who had returned from Grand Street,
and the next moment Goldblatt clasped his affianced daughter in his arms
and bestowed on her great kisses that fairly resounded down the block.
Next he grabbed Feigenbaum's hand and shook it up and down.

"The happiest day what I ever lived," he cried, slapping his new
son-in-law on the back. For almost a quarter of an hour Fannie and
Birdie mingled their tears with their father's embraces, and in the
midst of the excitement the bell rang again. When the maid opened the
street door some one inquired for Mr. Goldblatt in a barytone voice
whose familiar timbre chilled into silence the joyful uproar.

"Margolius!" Goldblatt hissed. He started for the hall with blood in his
eye, when Feigenbaum seized him by the arm.

"Mr. Goldblatt," he said, "for my sake don't make no fuss with
Margolius. He's a friend of mine, and if it wouldn't be for him Fannie
and me would never of met already."

As Philip entered the darkened front parlour there was a silence so
profound that he believed the room to be empty.

"Excuse me," he cried when he recognized the assembled company. "I
thought Mr. Goldblatt was alone."

He turned to his father-in-law.

"Mr. Goldblatt, could I speak to you for a minute by yourself?" he
asked.

Goldblatt coughed impressively.

"Margolius," he announced, "if you got anything to say to me, say it
right here. I ain't got no private business with you."

"All right," Philip replied cheerfully. "I come here to ask you how much
would you take it for them second mortgages what you hold on my Two
Hundred and Sixty-fourth Street property?"

Goldblatt waved his hand haughtily.

"You come to the wrong party, Margolius," he said. "Because I just made
up my mind to something. I made up my mind that because Mr. Feigenbaum
is engaged to my Fannie I will give her them mortgages as a marriage
portion. So you should ask Feigenbaum that question, not me."

While Philip turned pale at this announcement, Feigenbaum grew
positively crimson.

"Looky here, Goldblatt," he protested to his proposed father-in-law; "I
don't want you should unload them second mortgages on me."

"What's the matter with you, Feigenbaum?" Goldblatt retorted. "Them
second mortgages is as good as gold. Only thing is they got to be
foreclosed against Margolius' wife."

"His wife!" Feigenbaum and Fannie cried with one voice, for Birdie had
kept her secret well.

"Yes," Goldblatt replied, "his wife. That lowlife has got a wife. But
who or what she is nobody don't know."

"Hold on, Goldblatt!" cried a voice from the hall. "There's somebody
that does know."

The next moment a short, stout person entered the parlour. It was
Eleazer Levy, who had rung the bell and had been admitted to the house
unnoticed.

"Yes, Margolius," he said, "you thought you could fool an old
practitioner like me. I seen you didn't get out no license in this
county, so I hiked over to Jersey City and, sure enough, I spotted you."

He turned to Birdie.

"Mrs. Margolius," he said, "here's four copies of the supplemental
summons and amended complaint in the foreclosure suits of Goldblatt vs.
Margolius, actions numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4."

"What do you mean?" Goldblatt cried.

"I mean," Levy answered, "that your daughter Birdie married Philip
Margolius in Jersey City on the twentieth of October last."

Elkan Goldblatt collapsed in the nearest chair, while Feigenbaum ran
downstairs for the bottle of schnapps. At length Goldblatt was restored.

"So, Margolius," he croaked, "you are a thief, too. You steal my
daughter on me?"

"That ain't here nor there," Margolius said with his arm around
Birdie's waist and her head on his shoulder. "That ain't here nor there.
How much will you take it now for a satisfaction piece of them
mortgages?"

Goldblatt looked at Feigenbaum, who returned his glance unmoved.

"For a marriage portion," Feigenbaum declared, "second mortgages is
nix."

There was an embarrassing silence, and finally Goldblatt cleared his
throat.

"All right, Margolius," he said; "you married my Birdie, and I suppose I
got to stand for it, so you can take them four second mortgages and keep
'em as a marriage portion yourself."

Birdie seized her father around the neck and kissed him on the ear.

"Then we are forgiven? Ain't it?" she cried.

"Sure you are forgiven," Goldblatt said. "Only, Margolius has got to pay
Levy's costs and disbursements."

"And the referee's fees and the auctioneer's fees," Levy added.

"I am agreeable," Philip replied.

Levy turned and beamed a benediction on his client's reunited family. "I
wish you all joy," he said.

THE END.


THE COUNTRY LIFE PRESS GARDEN CITY, N. Y.


       *       *       *       *       *

  Transcriber Notes:

  Obvious punctuation errors have been repaired.





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