Full Online Books
Authors Authors Short Stories Short Stories Long Stories Long Stories Funny Stories Funny Stories Love Stories Love Stories Stories For Kids Stories For Kids Poems Poems Essays Essays Nonfictions Nonfictions Plays Plays Folktales Folktales Fairy Tales Fairy Tales Fables Fables Learning Kitchen Learning Kitchen
Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Free Classified Website Without Registration Free Classified Website Daniel Company
Twitter Twitter Add book
Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesWhat's-his-name - Chapter 4. Luncheon
Famous Authors (View All Authors)
What's-his-name - Chapter 4. Luncheon Post by :?ric_Hamel Category :Long Stories Author :George Barr Mccutcheon Date :May 2012 Read :859

Click below to download : What's-his-name - Chapter 4. Luncheon (Format : PDF)

What's-his-name - Chapter 4. Luncheon


For several days, he moped about the house, not even venturing upon the porch, his face a sight to behold. His spirits were lower than they had been in all his life. The unmerciful beating he had sustained at the hands of Fairfax was not the sole cause of his depression. As the consequences of that pummelling subsided, the conditions which led up to it forced themselves upon him with such horrifying immensity that he fairly staggered under them.

It slowly dawned on him that there was something very sinister in Fairfax's visit, something terrible. Nellie's protracted stay in town, her strange neglect of Phoebe, to say nothing of himself, the presence of Fairfax in her dressing-room that night, and a great many circumstances which came plainly to mind, now that he considered them worth while noticing, all went a long way toward justifying Fairfax in coming to him with the base proposition that had resulted so seriously to his countenance.

Nellie was tired of him! He did not belong to her world. That was the sum and substance of it. As he dropped out of her world, some one else quite naturally rose to fill the void. That person was Fairfax. The big man had said that she wanted a separation, she wanted to provide a safe haven for Phoebe. The inference was plain. She wanted to get rid of him in order to marry Fairfax. Fairfax had been honest enough to confess that he was acting on his own initiative in proposing the bribe, but there must have been something behind it all.

He had spoken of "charges." What charge could Nellie bring against him? He was two days in arriving at the only one--failure to provide. Yes, that was it. "Failure to provide." How he hated the words. How he despised men who did not provide for their wives. He had never thought of himself in that light before. But it was true, all true. And Nellie was slipping away from him as the result. Not only Nellie but Phoebe. She would be taken from him.

"I don't drink," he argued with himself, "and I've never treated her cruelly. Other women don't interest me. I never swear at her. I've never beaten her. I've always loved her. So it must be that I'm 'no good,' just as that scoundrel says. 'No good!' Why, she knows better than that. There never was a fellow who worked harder than I did for Mr. Davis. I drew trade to his store. Anybody in Blakeville will swear to that. Haven't I tried my best to get a job in the same shows with her? Wasn't I the best comedian they had in the dramatic club? I've never had the chance to show what I could do, and Nellie knows it. But I'll show them all! I'll make that big brute wish he'd never been born. I'll--I'll assert myself. He shan't take her away from me."

His resolutions soared to great heights, only to succumb to chilly blasts that sent them shrivelled back to the lowest depths. What could he do against a man who had all the money that Fairfax possessed? What could he offer for Nellie, now that some one else had put a stupendous price on her? He remembered reading about an oil painting that originally sold for five hundred francs and afterward brought forty thousand dollars. Somehow he likened Nellie to a picture, with the reservation that he didn't believe any painting on earth was worth forty thousand dollars. If there was such a thing, he had never seen it.

Then he began to think of poor Nellie cast helpless among the tempters. She was like a child among voracious beasts of prey. No wonder she felt hard toward him! He was to blame, terribly to blame. In the highest, most exalted state of remorse he wept, not once but often. His poor little Nellie!

In one of these strange ever-growing flights of combined self-reproach and self-exaltation he so vividly imagined himself as a rescuer, as an able-bodied defender against all the ills and evils that beset her, that the fancy took the shape of positive determination. He made up his mind to take her off the stage, back to Blakeville, and to an environment so sweet and pure that her life would be one long season of joy and happiness.

With the growth of this resolution he began to plan his own personal rehabilitation. First of all, he would let his face recover its natural shape; then he would cultivate muscle and brawn at the emporium of Professor Flaherty; moreover, he would devote considerable attention to his own personal appearance and to the habits of the "men about town." He would fight the tempters with their own weapons--the corkscrew, the lobster pick, the knife and fork, and the nut-splitter!

He did not emerge from the house for five days. By that time he was fairly presentable.

It was Annie's day out, so he took Phoebe for a little walk. As for Phoebe, she never passed a certain door upstairs without kicking at it with first one, then the other of her tiny feet, in revenge for the way it had hurt her father by remaining open so that he could bump into it on that bloody, terrifying day. She sent little darts of exquisite pain through him by constantly alluding to the real devastator as "that nice Mr. Fairy-fax." It was her pleasure to regard him as a great big fairy who had promised her in secret that she would some day be like Cinderella and have all the riches the slipper showered upon that poor little lady.

As they were returning home after a stroll through a rather remote street, they came upon Mr. Butler, who was down on his knees fixing something or other about his automobile. Harvey thought it a good opportunity to start his crusade against New York City.

"Hello," he said, halting. Butler looked up. He was mad as a wet hen to begin with.

"Hello," he snarled, resuming his work.

"I've been thinking about that little----"

"Get out of the light, will you?"

Harvey moved over, dragging Phoebe after him.

"That little scheme of ours to dine together in town some night. You remember we talked about it----"

"No, I don't," snapped Butler.

"We might lunch together early next week. I know a nice little place on Seventh Avenue where you get fine spaghetti. We----"

"I'm booked for a whole month of luncheons," said Butler, sitting back on his heels to stare at this impossible person. "Can't join you."

"Some other time, then," said Harvey, waving his hand genially. "Your wife home yet?"

Butler got upon his feet.

"Say," said he, aggressively, "do you know she's heard about that idiotic trip of mine to town that night? Fairfax told everybody, and somebody's wife told Mrs. Butler. It got me in a devil of a mess."

"You don't say so!"

"Yes, I do say so. Next time you catch me--But, what's the use?" He turned to his work with an expressive shrug of his shoulders.

"I'll have my wife explain everything to Mrs. Butler the first time she comes out," said Harvey, more bravely than he felt. He could not help wondering when Nellie would come out.

"It isn't necessary," Butler made haste to assure him.

Harvey was silent for a moment.

"Fixing your automobile?" he asked, unwilling to give it up without another effort.

"What do you suppose I'm doing?"

"It's wonderful how fast one of these little one-seated cars can go," mused Harvey. "Cheap, too; ain't they?"

Butler faced him again, malice in his glance.

"It's not in it with that big green car your wife uses," he said, distinctly.

"Big green----" began Harvey, blankly. Then he understood. He swallowed hard, straightened Phoebe's hat with infinite care and gentleness, and looking over Butler's head, managed to say, quite calmly:--"It used to be blue. We've had it painted. Come along, Phoebe, Mr. Butler's busy. We mustn't bother him. So long, Butler."

"So long," said Mr. Butler, suddenly intent upon finding something in the tool-box.

The pair moved on. Out of the corner of his eye Butler watched them turn the corner below.

"Poor little guy!" he said to the monkey wrench.

The big green car! All the way home that juggernaut green car ran through, over, and around him. He could see nothing else, think of nothing else. A big green car!

That evening he got from Bridget the address of her brother, Professor Flaherty, the physical trainer and body builder.

In the morning he examined himself in the mirror, a fever of restlessness and impatience afflicting him with the desire to be once more presentable to the world. He had been encouraged by the fact that Butler had offered no comment on the black rims around his eyes. They must be disappearing.

With his chin in his hands he sat across the room staring at his reflection in the glass, a gloomy, desolate figure.

"It wouldn't be wise to apply for a job until these eyes are all right again," he was saying to himself, bitterly. "Nobody would hire a man with a pair of black eyes and a busted lip--especially a druggist. I'll simply have to wait a few days longer. Heigh-ho! To-morrow's Sunday again. I--I wonder if Nellie will be out to see us."

But Nellie did not come out. She journeyed far and fast in a big green car, but it was in another direction.

Thursday of the next week witnessed the sallying forth of Harvey What's-His-Name, moved to energy by a long dormant and mournfully acquired ambition. The delay had been irksome.

Nellie's check for the month's expenses had arrived in the mail that morning. He folded it carefully and put it away in his pocketbook, firmly resolved not to present it at the bank. He intended to return it to her with the announcement that he had secured a position and hereafter would do the providing.

Spick and span in his best checked suit, his hat tilted airily over one ear, he stepped briskly down the street. You wouldn't have known him, I am sure, with his walking-stick in one hand, his light spring overcoat over the other arm. A freshly cleaned pair of grey gloves, smelling of gasoline, covered his hands. On the lapel of his coat loomed a splendid yellow chrysanthemum. Regular football weather, he had said.

The first drug store he came to he entered with an air of confidence. No, the proprietor said, he didn't need an assistant. He went on to the next. The same polite answer, with the additional information, in response to a suggestion by the applicant, that the soda-water season was over. Undaunted, he stopped in at the restaurant in the block below. The proprietor of the place looked so sullen and forbidding that Harvey lost his courage and instead of asking outright for a position as manager he asked for a cup of coffee and a couple of fried eggs. As the result of this extra and quite superfluous breakfast he applied for the job.

The man looked him over scornfully.

"I'm the manager and the whole works combined," he said. "I need a dish-washer, come to think of it. Four a week and board. You can go to work to-day if----"

But Harvey stalked out, swinging his cane manfully.

"Well, God knows I've tried hard enough," he said to himself, resignedly, as he headed for the railway station. It was still six minutes of train time. "I'll write to Mr. Davis out in Blakeville this evening. He told me that my place would always be open to me."

It was nearly one o'clock when he appeared at Nellie's apartment. Rachel admitted him. He hung his hat and coat on the rack, deposited his cane in the corner, and sauntered coolly into the little sitting-room, the maid looking on in no little wonder and uneasiness.

"Where's my wife?" he asked, taking up the morning paper from the centre table and preparing to make himself at home in the big armchair.

"She's out to lunch, sir."

He laid the paper down.


Rachel mentioned a prominent downtown cafe affected by the profession.

"Will you have lunch here, sir?" she inquired.

"No," said he, determinedly. "Thank you just the same. I'm lunching downtown. I--I thought perhaps she'd like to join me."

Rachel rang for the elevator and he departed, amiably doffing his hat to her as he dropped to the floor below.

At one of the popular corner tables in the big cafe a party of men and women were seated, seven or eight in all. Nellie Duluth had her back toward the other tables in the room. It was a bit of modesty that she always affected. She did not like being stared at. Besides, she could hold her audience to the very end, so to speak, for all in the place knew she was there and were willing to wait until she condescended to face them in the process of departure.

It was a very gay party, comprising a grand-opera soprano and a tenor of world-wide reputation, as well as three or four very well-known New Yorkers. Manifestly, it was Fairfax's luncheon. The crowd at this table was observed by all the neck-craners in the place. Every one was telling every one else what every one knew:--"That's Nellie Duluth over there."

As the place began to clear out and tables were being abandoned here and there, a small man in a checked suit appeared in the doorway. An attendant took his hat and coat away from him while he was gazing with kaleidoscopic instability of vision upon the gay scene before him. He had left his walking-stick in a street car, a circumstance which delayed him a long time, for, on missing it, he waited at a corner in the hope of recognising the motorman on his return trip up Madison Avenue.

The head-waiter was bowing before him and murmuring, "How many, sir?"

"How many what?" mumbled Harvey, with a start.

"In your party?" asked the man, not half so politely and with a degree of distance in his attitude. It did not look profitable.

"Oh! Only one, sir. Just a sandwich and a cup of coffee, I think."

There was a little table away over in the corner sandwiched between the doors of entrance and egress for laden waiters and 'bus boys. Toward this a hastily summoned second or third assistant conducted the newcomer. Twice during the process of traversing this illimitable space Harvey bumped against chairs occupied by merry persons who suddenly became crabbed and asked him who the devil he was stumbling over.

A blonde, flushed woman who sat opposite Nellie at the table in the corner caught sight of him as he passed. She stared hard for a moment and then allowed a queer expression to come into her eyes.

"For Heaven's sake!" she exclaimed, with considerable force.

"What's the matter? Your husband?" demanded Nellie Duluth, with a laugh.

"No," she said, staring harder. "Why, I can't be mistaken. Yes, as I live, it's Mr.--Mr. What's-His-Name, your husband, Nellie."

"Don't turn 'round, Nellie," whispered Fairfax, who sat beside her.

"I don't believe it!" cried Nellie, readily. "It isn't possible for Harvey to be here. Where is he?" she demanded in the same breath, looking over her shoulder.

Harvey was getting out of the way of a 'bus boy and a stack of chinaware and in the way of a waiter with a tray of peach Melbas when she espied him.

"For the land's sake!" she gasped, going clear back to Blakeville for the expression. "I don't dare look, Carrie. Tell me, has he got a--a fairy with him? Break it gently."

"Fairy?" sneered Fairfax, suddenly uncomfortable. "Why, he's lost in the wood. He's alone on a desert isle. What the deuce is he doing here?"

Harvey gave his order to the disdainful waiter and then settled back in his chair for the first deliberate look around the room in quest of his wife.

Their eyes met. She had turned halfway round in her chair and was looking at him with wide-open, unbelieving eyes. He felt himself suddenly tied hand and foot to the chair. Now that he had found her he could do no more than stare at her in utter bewilderment. He had come tilting at windmills.

The flush deepened in her cheek as she turned her attention to the dessert that had just been set down before her. She was very quiet, in marked contrast to her mood of the moment before.

Fairfax made a remark which set the others to laughing. She did not smile, but toyed nervously with the dessert fork. Under cover of the laughter he leaned over and whispered, an anxious, troubled note in his voice:--

"I'll call the head waiter and have him put out before he does anything crazy."

"Put out?" she repeated. "Why, what do you think he'd try to do?"

"He's got an ugly look in his eye. I tell you, he'll create a scene. That's what he's here for. You remember what happened----"

She laughed shrilly. "He won't shoot any one," she said in his ear. "Harvey create a scene! Oh, that's rich!"

"He hasn't forgotten the thrashing I gave him. He has been brooding over it, Nellie." Fairfax was livid about the eyes.

"Well, I respect him for trying to thrash you, even though he got the worst of it." She looked again in Harvey's direction. He was still staring steadily at her. "He's all alone over there and he's miserable. I can't stand it. I'm going over to sit with him."

As she arose Fairfax reached out and grasped her arm.

"Don't be a fool," he said, in dismay.

"I won't," she replied, sweetly. "Trust me. So long, people. I'm going over to have coffee with my husband."

If the occupants of the big cafe were surprised to see Nellie Duluth make her way over to the table and sit down with the queer little person in checks, not so Harvey. He arose to greet her and would have kissed her if she had not restrained him. He was gratified, overjoyed, but not surprised.

"Hello!" she said, sharply, to cover the inward disquiet that possessed her. She was looking intently into his eyes as if searching for something she dreaded.

"Hello!" was his response. He was still a trifle dazed.

She sat down opposite him. Before she could think of anything further to say the head waiter rushed up to inquire if Miss Duluth and her friend wouldn't prefer a table at one of the windows.

"No, this will do," she said, thankful for the interruption.

"We are doing very nicely," said Harvey, rather pompously, adding in a loud voice of authority:--"Tell that fellow to hustle my luncheon along, will you?" Then, turning to Nellie, he said:--"You don't look as though you'd ever been sick a day in your life, Nellie."

She laughed uncomfortably. "How are you, Harvey? And Phoebe?"

"Fine. Never better. Why don't you come out and see us occasionally?"

"May I order a cup of black coffee?" she asked, ignoring the question. She was sorely puzzled.

"Have a big one," he urged, signalling a waiter.

Her curiosity conquered. "What in Heaven's name brought you here, Harvey?"

He told her of the word Rachel had given him. Nellie made a mental note of the intention to speak plainly to Rachel.

"Who are your friends?" he asked. Just then he caught a glimpse of Fairfax's face. He turned very cold.

"Mr. Fairfax is giving a luncheon for two of the grand-opera people," she explained.

He forced his courage. "I don't want you to have anything more to do with that man," he said. "He's a scoundrel."

"Now, don't be silly," she cried. "What train are you going out on?"

"I don't know. Maybe I'll stay in. I'll go up to your flat, I guess, for a couple of days. Phoebe's all right. She's over the diphtheria now----"

"Diphtheria?" gasped Nellie, wide-eyed, overlooking his other declaration, which, by the way, was of small moment.

"Almost died, poor kiddie."

She flared up in an instant. "Why wasn't I told? What were you thinking of, you little fool?"

"If you had taken the trouble to come out to Tarrytown, you could have found out for yourself," he retorted, coolly. "Now, see here, Nellie, I've come in to see you and to have a very plain talk with you. So just hold your horses. Don't fly off the handle. I am the head of this family and I'm going to boss it from this time on."

"You----" she began, in a furious little shriek, her eyes blazing. She caught herself up in time. Two or three people nearby looked up at the sound of her raised voice. She lowered it to a shrill, intense half-whisper. "What do you mean by coming here in this way? Everybody is laughing at me. You make me ridiculous. I won't stand for it; do you hear?"

He was colder if possible than before, but he was resolute.

"We've got to have an understanding, the sooner the better," he said, quietly.

"Yes, you're right," she repeated; "the sooner the better."

"We can't talk here," he said, suddenly conscious that the eyes of many were upon them. "Go over and ask that infernal sneak to excuse you, and we'll go up to the flat."

"I'm going motoring this aft----"

"You do as I tell you!" said he, in a strange voice.

"Why, Harvey----" she stammered, catching her breath.

"When you've had your coffee," he added.

She sipped her coffee in silence, in wonder, in bitter resentment. He munched the club sandwich and sucked the coffee through his thin moustache with a vehemence that grated on her nerves terribly.

"I've had all I want," she said, suddenly putting the little cup down with a crash.

"Then go over and tell 'em you've got to go home."

She crossed the room, red-faced and angry. He watched her as she made an announcement to the party, saw them laugh uproariously, and smiled in triumph over the evidence of annoyance on the part of Fairfax. Nellie was whispering something close to the big man's ear, and he was shaking his head vigorously. Then she waved her hand to the party and started away. Fairfax arose to follow her. As he did so, Harvey came to his feet and advanced. The big man stopped short, with a look of actual alarm in his eyes, and went back to his seat, hastily motioning to the head waiter.

Five minutes later Miss Duluth emerged from the cafe, followed by the little man in the checked suit.

An attendant blew his whistle and called out down the line of waiting motors:--

"Mr. Fairfax's car up!"

"Get me a taxi," ordered Nellie, hastily.

The man betrayed his surprise. She was obliged to repeat the order.

"What does a taxi to--to our place cost?" demanded Harvey, feeling in his pocket.

"Never mind," she snapped. "I'll pay for it."

"No, you won't," he asserted. "I raised seventeen dollars yesterday on the watch mother gave me. It's my own money, Nellie, remember that."

Rachel was plainly amazed when the couple walked into the apartment. The two at once resumed the conversation they had carried on so vigorously in the taxicab on the way up from downtown. Nellie did not remove her hat, sharply commanding Rachel to leave the room.

"No," she said, "she simply has to go to the convent. She'll be safe there, no matter how things turn out for you and me, Harve, I insist on that."

"Things are going to turn out all right for us, Nellie," he protested, a plaintive note in his voice. It was easily to be seen which had been the dominating force in the ride home.

"Now, you've got to be reasonable, Harve," she said, firmly. "We can't go on as we have been going. Something's just got to happen."

"Well, doggone it, haven't I said that I'll agree to your trip to Europe? I won't put a stop to that. I see your point clearly. The managers think it wise for you to do a bit of studying abroad. I can see that. I'm not going to be mean. Three months' hard work over there will get you into grand-opera sure. But that has nothing to do with Phoebe. She can go to Blakeville with me, and then when you come back next fall I'll have a job here in New York and we'll----"

"Don't talk foolishness," she blurted out. "You've said that three or four times. First you wanted me to go back to Blakeville to live. You insisted on it. What do you think I am? Why, I wouldn't go back to Blakeville if Heaven was suddenly discovered to be located there instead of up in the sky. That's settled. No Blakeville for me. Or Phoebe either. Do you suppose I'm going to have that child grow up like--like"--she changed the word and continued--"like a yap?"

"All I ask is that you will give me a chance to show what I can do," he said, earnestly.

"You can do that just as well with Phoebe in the convent, as I've said before."

"She's as much my child as she is yours," he proclaimed, stoutly.

"Then you ought to be willing to do the sensible thing by her."

"Why, good Lord, Nell, she's only five," he groaned. "She'll die of homesickness."

"Nonsense! She'll forget both of us in a month and be happy."

"She won't forget me!" he exclaimed.

"Well, I've said my say," she announced, pacing the floor. "Suppose we agree to disagree. Well, isn't it better to have her out of the mess?"

"I won't give her up, derned if I do!"

"Say, don't you know if it comes to a question of law, the Court will give her to me?"

"I'm not trying to take her away from you."

"You're trying to ruin my career."

"Fairfax has put all this into your head, Nellie, dear. He's a low-down rascal."

"He's my friend, and a good one, too. I don't believe he offered you that money to agree to a separation."

"Darn it all, you can still see the scar on my lip. That ought to prove something. If I hadn't stumbled, I'd have knocked him silly. As it was, he kicked me in the face when I was down."

"He told me you assaulted him without cause."

"He lied."

"Well, that's neither here nor there. I'm sorry you were beaten up so badly. It wasn't right, I'll admit. He said you were plucky, Harve. I couldn't believe him at first."

His face brightened.

"You give me a chance and I'll show you how plucky I am!" he cried. "Come on now, Nellie, let's make a fresh start."

She was silent for a long time. At heart she was fair and honest. She had lost her love and respect for the little man, but, after all, was that altogether his fault? She was sorry for him.

"Well, I'll think it over," she said, at last.

"I'll write to Mr. Davis to-night!" he cried, encouraged.

"All right. I hope he'll give you a job," said she, also brightening, but for an entirely different reason.

"You'll give up this awful thing of--of separating; won't you?"

"I'll promise one thing, Harvey," said she, suddenly sincere. "I won't do anything until I come back from the road. That's fair, isn't it? And I'll tell you what else I'll do. I will let Phoebe stay with you in Tarrytown until the end of the tour--in May."

"But I'm going to Blakeville," he protested.

"No," said she, firmly, "I won't agree to that. Either you stay in Tarrytown or she goes to the convent."

"I can't get work in Tarrytown."

"You can tell Mr. Davis you will come out to Blakeville in time for the opening of the soda-water season. I'll do the work for the family till then. That's all I'll consent to. I'll ask for a legal separation if you don't agree to that."

"I--I'll think it over," he said, feebly; "I'll stay here with you for a couple of days, and----"

"You will do nothing of the sort!" she cried. "Do you suppose I'm going to spoil my chances for a separation, if I want to apply, by letting you live in the same house with me? Why, that would be wasting the two months already gone."

He did not comprehend, and he was afraid to ask for an explanation. The term "failure to provide" was the only one he could get through his head; "desertion" was out of the question. His brow was wet with the sweat of a losing conflict. He saw that he would have to accept her ultimatum and trust to luck to provide a way out of the difficulty. Time would justify him, he was confident. In the meantime, he would ease his conscience by returning the check, knowing full well that it would not be accepted. He would then take it, of course, with reservations. Every dollar was to be paid back when he obtained a satisfactory position.

He determined, however, to extract a promise from her before giving in.

"I will consent, Nellie, on the condition that you stop seeing this fellow Fairfax and riding around in his big green car. I won't stand for that."

Nellie smiled, more to herself than to him. She had Fairfax in the meshes. He was safe. The man was madly in love with her. The instant she was freed from Harvey he stood ready to become her husband--Fairfax, with all his money and all his power.

And that is precisely what she was aiming at. She could afford to smile, but somehow she was coming to feel that this little man who was now her husband had it in him, after all, to put up a fierce and desperate fight for his own. If he were pushed to the wall he would fight back like a wildcat, and well she knew that there would be disagreeable features in the fray.

"If you are going to talk like that I'll never speak to you again," she said, banishing the smile. "Don't you trust me?"

"Sure," he said, and he meant it. "That's not the point."

"See here, Harve," she said, abruptly putting her hands on his shoulders and looking squarely into his eyes, "I want you to believe me when I say that I am a--a--well, a good woman."

"I believe it," he said, solemnly. Then, as an after-thought, "and I want to say the same thing for myself."

"I've never doubted you," said she, fervently. "Now, go home and let things stand as they are. Write to Mr. Davis to-night."

"I will. I say, won't you give me a kiss?"

She hesitated, still calculating.

"Yes, if you promise not to tell anybody," she said, with mock solemnity. As she expected, he took it seriously.

"Do you suppose I go 'round telling people I've kissed my wife?"

Then she gave him a peck on the cheek and let it go as a kiss.

"When will you be out to see us?"

"Soon, I hope," she said, quickly. "Now go, Harve, I'm going to lie down and rest. Kiss Phoebe for me."

He got to the door. She was fairly pushing him.

"I feel better," he said, taking a long breath.

"So do I," said she.

He paused for a moment to frown in some perplexity.

"Say, Nell, I left my cane in a street car coming down. Do you think it would be worth while to advertise for it?"

If you like this book please share to your friends :

What's-his-name - Chapter 5. Christmas What's-his-name - Chapter 5. Christmas

What's-his-name - Chapter 5. Christmas
CHAPTER V. CHRISTMASThe weeks went slowly by and Christmas came to the little house in Tarrytown. He had become resigned but not reconciled to Nellie's continued and rather persistent absence, regarding it as the sinister proclamation of her intention to carry out the plan for separation in spite of all that he could do to avert the catastrophe. His devotion to Phoebe was more intense than ever; it had reached the stage of being pathetic. True to his word, he wrote to Mr. Davis, who in time responded, saying that he could give him a place at the soda fountain in

What's-his-name - Chapter 3. Mr. Fairfax What's-his-name - Chapter 3. Mr. Fairfax

What's-his-name - Chapter 3. Mr. Fairfax
CHAPTER III. MR. FAIRFAXHe found the nursemaid up and waiting for him. Phoebe had a "dreadful throat" and a high temperature. It had come on very suddenly, it seems, and if Annie's memory served her right it was just the way diphtheria began. The little girl had been thrashing about in the bed and whimpering for "daddy" since eight o'clock. His heart sank like lead, to a far deeper level than it had dropped with the base desertion of Butler. Filled with remorse, he ran upstairs without taking off his hat or overcoat. The feeling of resentment toward Butler was lost