Peter and Pokey Visit Toronto Exhibition
NORMA PHILLIPS MUIR
PETER bad been working every night for the past three weeks, so when he telephoned that he could take the afternoon off, and asked if I’d like to go to the Exhibition with him, I was
overjoyed. “Meet me at the corner of King and Dufferin at two o’clock,” he said, “and bring a lunch with you. I’d like to eat outof-doors in the great open spaces—” “Yes, dearie, I know,” I interrupted, “where men are men and all that sort of bunk. It’s the same incentive which creates a desire for rice and beans within my breast at the end of the week, when the grain of the wood on the bottom of my budget box is discernible. It is—” “Hold on,” yelled Peter, “ this isn’t an oratorical contest. Will y a be there?” “ I will,” and from then on I sure did raise a dust. Peter was waiting on the corner for me, but as I was on an Exhibition car I didn’t
see the sense of getting off and spending another fare, so I just went to the front of the car and, when the motorman opened the door, I smiled at him. “I’m not getting off,” I said sweetly. “I just want to get my husband,” and then I hollered: “Peter, joo hoo, Peter.” He heard me all right and his face was flushed as he made a dive for the car. “Wasn’t that smart of me?” I said happily. “Too smart for any use,” he growled. “Whatja have to hail me like that for?” “I thought you might as well get on this car and save a ticket,” I faltered. “Well, next time you do as you’re told and don’t strain your brain with original thoughts,” he snapped, “yellin’ at me as though I was a rag man or a newsboy!” Peter glowered all along Dufferin Street but, as we neared the grounds and caught the sound of the steam calliope without the gates, heard the blind man’s harmonica and the whistles of the peanut and pop-corn stands, and sighted the old street cars fitted up like gypsy caravans, his peeve vanished and he squeezed my arm. “ ’Sail right, Pokey,” he grinned, “just forget it,'will you, dear?” Peter took the lunch box, produced our tickets and in another minute we were: within the grounds. As the crowds surged past, bands blared and the Exhibition spirit of camaraderie permeated his being, the scowl left my husband s brow and he grinned cheerily. “Glad you’re here, Mrs. Ronald?” he asked. “Sure am, Pop,” I said. “Oh, Peter, just look at those wonderful beds of flowers,” and 1 stopped to admire a star-shaped bed of salmon geraniums and heliotropes. “Where’ll we go first?” “I’d sorta like to see the motors,” intimated Peter. “You can see them sometime when you're alone,” I decided, Do you think I came here to listen to you and motor salesmen rave over dust-proof differentials, four-wheel brakes, non-knocking engines and carboncured pistons?” “Don’t get into a temperature over it,” urge»! peter. “I only” “Unless you were thinking of buying me a little bus - ” 1 heightened. i wa-c 1 stated Peter hastily. "Whatcha want to see?"
“Let’s go through the Manufacturers’ Building first,” I suggested meekly, hoping I might get some samples for the Bits. Tl/’E HAD only gone along three aisles when I saw * ’ a crowd outside a toilet preparations’ booth and I dragged Peter into it. “What’s all the excitement?” I said, and by the time we had forged far enough to see, Peter couldn’t escape. They were giving free samples of face powder and rouge, and without knowing what it was, Peter obediently put out a hand. The lady behind the counter regarded him gravely through her pince-nez. “Do you prefer flesh, white or brunette, sir?” she asked. “Huh,” gasped Peter as the crowd of women snickered. “On second thought I believe white would be best,” continued the lady, “but really sir, if you’ll allow me to suggest it—you don’t need rouge.” Peter tried to plunge from the crowd. I felt sorry for him, so I addressed the lady behind the counter: “Might I make a suggestion to you, madam?” I asked sweetly. “Yes, indeed, we are always glad of suggestions,” she encouraged—not connecting me with Peter. “I just thought that maybe you didn’t realize it,” I paused to smile, “but it’s almost time to put away your storm windows and get out fly screens,” and pointing to her pince-nez I took the two little tins from her still outstretched hand and melted away before she had remembered to shut her mouth. “That’s the end of the sample-collecting spree,” ordained Peter as I rejoined him. “When I was down a few days ago there was a monkey in the Government building that might have been your twin,” I said. “Come, let me show you.” “Nix,” said Peter angrily, “me and Darwin ain’t fast friends enough for that. I’d kind of like to give the horses the once over.” “All right,” I agreed. “Let’s have a drink of root beer first, I’m thirsty.” Peter who had been steering a devious course to avoid the crowd at the orange juice booth sighed with relief. “Here’s how!” I cried, lifting my foaming glass, I drew a big breath and blew off the foam. Peter had leaned low over his glass and the foam from
mine caught him square in the face. “G-g-g-ood Gosh,” he spluttered mopping up, “who’n heck taught you that trick? It looks suspicious.”
“I seem to have read it, somewhere,” I stammered. “I won’t doit again,Peter.” “You won’t get the chance,” he snapped, putting down his empty glass. “I can’t say I particularly admire the aroma,” I stated as we entered the stables. “I’d rather visit the horticultural building.” “I’m going to see the horses,” announced Peter firmly, so I went in to the stall with him. “There’s a beauty,” he cried, stretching out a hand and fondling the nose of a coalblack mare with a white star on her forehead. “I’d like to own a horse like that. Pat her, Ruth.” “Her nozzle’s all wet,” I demurred. “Nozzle!” snapped Peter derisively. “Where’d you get that?” “Peter, wouldn’t she look nice with her tail braided?”
“Ya, and a pink bow on it,” he said. “It’s a wonder you don’t suggest a marcelled mane. Look at the Shetland ponies,” “Is that where they get the Shetland Floss?” I inquired. “Sure,” gritted Peter, as a man behind him snickered, “same’s they get horse chestnuts from a chestnut horse and bay leaves from a bay. Use your head.” “You needn’t be so superior,” I said coldly. “Anyway, can we buy a Shetland pony for the Bits?” “We can’t,” he stated. “They cost more money than I’ll ever have until I’m a widower. Anyway, if we did get one you’d buy it a high chair and bib and feed it in the dining room.” Conversation languished and Peter led me outjof the stable into the dog kennels. “I did want to see the puppies, dear,” I said gratefully. “I’d love a puppy, Peter.” “You have my permission to love ’em all at a distance,” he said. “The only things you haven’t asked for to-day, to make our home happy, are a bull and a baby grand.” However, he did enthuse over the dogs. They were wonderful, but after all the trouble I’d had with Ali Abdulla I felt that I’d prefer a less highly bred dog and I decided on a collie. Peter was obdurate. “You can’t have a dog, so just forget it,” he said. “Haven’t you got enough to look after now? Most normal women’d be satisfied with twins.” He went on ahead to marvel at the Newfoundlands and I negotiated for my pup and paid over five dollars for it. “That one with the white spot over each eye, and then I can call him ‘Deuce-Spot,’ ” I said, and the man tagged him sold and I rejoined my lord and master. “Now where’s my little girl want to go?” he asked genially. “Did anybody give you a drink?” I asked, suspiciously. “Do I have to explain myself for speaking civilly?” he inquired. • “No, but it’s unusual enough to excite comment,” I assured him. “Let’s take in the Pure Food Show and you can get a cup of tea there. I couldn’t very well bring beverages in a box. Then after we do that building we might find a bench by the lake and have tea.” “I’m on,” he said. “Let’s go.”
I HAD grape juice and some cocoa before we found the tea but Peter waited for tea and beamed as he began to gulp down the steaming liquid.
“You drink it here, dear. I’ll be back in a minute, there’s something I want to see,” I said.
“Ruth,” he began, “I’d rather you—” but I didn’t wait. One of the girls had told me about a place where they were giving away beans and I wanted to get some. Pansy and I often make a lunch of beans and bacon. I knew that Peter wouldn’t let me go if I told him, so I scooted before he could follow me. Fortunately, they were giving the samples as I arrived. I stepped into line and got a tin. Then, putting the little tin down the neck of my jacquette, I went around the circle and was ready for a second round. I got tin number two from a different man and again I slipped out of line, added to my private stock and formed up again, this time passing the donor of the second tin and returning to number one who had had time to forget my face. Next round I returned to number two, and then as I began to look as though I had a serious goitre below the beltline, I rushed back to Peter.
“Hold ’em while I get more,” I cried, excitedly, as I disgorged, and, leaving Peter with his mouth wide open, I sped off and hopped back into line. I didn’t get caught until I was on my fourth round.
“Seems to me you’re a pretty steady customer,” remarked the man as he handed me a tin.
“I’m merely consistent in my patronage,” I stated with dignity. “I prefer your brand.”
“How’d you like to place an order?” he asked. “Thanks, I’m pretty well stocked up,” I grinned. “I’ll bet you are,” he muttered and, murmuring an inaudible promise to return anon, I wobbled back to Peter. I found him in earnest conversation with an austere looking man. The beans were completely out of sight.
“Oh, Peter, I got—”
“Mr. Cañipbell, my wife,” he interrupted hastily.
“I was just saying to your husband that we have such a time with women who come merely to stock up on samples,” said Mr. Campbell.
“How disgusting,” I remarked.
“It is and it is defeating the object of the Exhibition and of sample giving,” he said fervently. “I’m with the Brown Bean Company and we’ve known some women to come day after day and get away with as many as half a dozen cans of beans.”
“How could they have the nerve?”
I ejaculated, hoping he’d go away before I had to walk. I feared I’d rattle.
“I wish you’d come over to our exhibit and allow me to give you a sample of our beans,” he invited.
“Thank you, but I never collect samples,” I said firmly, kicking Peter, “and besides they’re a nuisance to carry away.”
“I don’t blame you,” he said.
“Glad to have seen you again,
Ronald. Good day, Mrs. Ronald,” and he started.
T FELT something give, and then there was a sound of revelry by day. Down upon the cement floor clattered my four tins of Brown beans. The old fool’s umbrella spoke had caught on the front oí my jacquette as he moved off, and had spread the jacquette open so that the tins fell out.
“Well, you’ve spilled the beans,”
I giggled, although my face felt more the shade of the tomato sauce.
“Heavenly Hannah!” howled Peter dancing around the little enclosure,
“wait’ll I get you home.”
Mr. Campbell took one look at the rolling stock. He didn’t say anything, but he looked a full set of Dickens, Shakespeare, Scott and Lytton, with more than a hint of Balzac. Then he turned on his heel and would have made a dignified exit if he hadn’t stepped on a tin of beans and gone half way around the little fountain as though he was on roller skates.
“Stop it,” hissed Peter as he jerked me up off the bench I had sunk on to enjoy my mirth, “sober up and come outa here.”
“Not without my beans,” I said firmly and, wrenching free of Peter, I retrieved the four cans.
“Put these with the others dear,” I said, offering them to him, but Peter declined, wordlessly, so I began to put them down my front again.
“Fer gosh sakes, gimme them,” he snarled, and he went to a candy place and bought two chocolate bars, a paper cap and balloon in order to get a bag which would hold the beans.
“Better get two, dear; remember we have twins,” I said gently, and Peter, his breath making music against his teeth, obeyed.
“We might leave them at the Press Building,” I suggested. “I’d like to see Myra Summers, anyway, and she’d look after these things until we are ready to go home.”
DETER agreed by bowing frigidly. When we reached the Press Building I left him outside. Myra was working on the special write-up of the Empire Pageant and all enthused with her subject.
“It’s really wonderful, Ruth,” she said. “Have you seen it?”
“No and I’m not likely to,” I said sadly, “my husband’s working every night and he won’t let me go alone.”
“It’s the best pageant we ever had,” she declared, “and the nicest people taking part in it. My dear, some of the fellows are regular princes. How’d you like to go back stage with me and see the crowd and watch the show from there?”
“Only one thing I’d like better and that’s to be in it,” I said. “I s’pose there isn’t a chance?”
“I’m not so sure about that,” said Myra thoughtfully. “Queen Catherine has been taken ill and she may not be be able to go on. You could wear her clothes; that’s a cinch. Come back at six, Ruth, we’ll know for sure by that time.”
“I hope she don’t recover—too soon,” I thought. “By the way, Myra, don’t say anything to Peter if you
should run across him—he’d have pink pollywogs if he even dreamed of my doing such a thing.”
Myra promised and I rejoined my husband, my heart thumping with excitement. Peter was still sulky, and the silence, with which he greeted me, lasted during the time we called for the lunch-box and endured until after we had found a bench by the lake.
“Are you mad yet, Peter, or are you saving your voice for to-night?” I asked meekly.
“I’m mad all the way through,” he said. “There is a limit and I’ve reached it. A fellow likes to know what’s going to happen to him from one minute to the next.”
“But a change is as good as a rest, dear, and as you know a certain amount of—ah, certainty in your work,” I protested. “I try to take your mind off business.” “You darn near take it off the hinges,” he said. “I’m not looking forward to the time when I can retire. I hope I car. work ’til the last. Twelve waking hours a day with you are eleven too many.”
“I don’t find you the ideal companion at all times,” I said, “but let us forget our mutual disappointment in the consumption of food. Peter, didn’t that old fool look funny skyrooting around on the tin?”
“He might have broken his neck,” said Peter, striving for a serious expression.
“What an epitaph,” I murmured, “by beans he lived, by beans he died.” Peter caught at his lower lip but not in time. “Haw, Haw,” he laughed, “that’s a good one, but, by hickory, Ruth, you’re the pie-eyed limit.” “Drown your troubles in an egg,” I giggled, handing him one, and Peter reached for a knife and, with one swift wallop, guillotined the egg.
I looked up at a quick move from Peter and saw his eyes bulging as the uncooked egg popped over its shattered shell and oozed down his coat.
“Catch it,” I hollered, “grab it, Peter.”
He made futilp attempts to stop its progress, but the egg was determined and Peter was indecisive, so that all he did was spread it about.
“D’ja run out of matches?” he inquired with dangerous calm, “anything wrong with the gas stove? My gracious godfathers, can’t you even boil an egg?”
“I guess Pansy thought I cooked them and I thought she cooked them,” I faltered.
“Well, next time you guess good or it’ll be jour last,” he railed.
“Now, Peter, pull yourself to pieces,” I urged, “you’re not badly soiled and we still have food.” “Whatcha mean, pull myself to pieces?” he snapped. “Gimme a hanky or a napkin to mop me up or I’ll pull your petticoat to pieces to get a rag. Drown my troubles in an egg. Ha! near drowned myself.” “Egg suicide, how novel,” I murmured, handing him a handkerchief. “When you cool off so that there’s no danger of spontaneous combustion, we’ll find a restaurant and eat. Solitude shared with you’s a fizzle.” “The motion’s unanimous, Mrs. Ronald,” he said, rising.
We found a balcony tea room and had salad and hot tea biscuits, ice cream and ginger ale.
“YAOU go and have a look at the A motors and I’ll peep in at the Applied Arts,” I said when we finished. “I know you want to see them and you’ll be glad to be alone for a while.”
“Where’ll we meet?”
“At the fountain in half an hour,” I said. “G’by.”
“It’s only au revoir,” he muttered, as he left me.
Now for my pup and then to see Myra, and without wasting any time I collected Deuce-Spot, procured a leash for him from the man in the kennels, and only stopping long enough to buy a hot dog and a Cherry Quencher, the pup and I made our way again to the Press Building.
“You’ve saved the circus, Kid,” greeted Myra. “Queen Katy’s still got a pain in her pinny. You be back here at a quarter past seven— no later,” she directed me, but—-fate delivered me before the appointed hour.
“Now, Deuce, we’ve still got Continued on page 42
Continued from page 27
fifteen minutes before it’s time to meet Daddy,” I informed the wriggling pup. “How ’bout a little music?”
On the way to the band stand we imbibed some Emerald Stream, and Orange Flip and a couple of doughnuts, and then finding a seat near the fringe of the tune-tickled crowd we listened in on the 1918 Overture.
“We gotta go now,” I told Deuce, and we forged a path through the crowd at the fountain so that I might seat myself gingerly on the rim to await Peter’s return. I wasn’t tired, but I knew I’d need all the strength I could muster for the fight about the pup—especially now that I was going in the Pageant. I’d have to prevail on Peter to take the little beggar home. Deuce played about my feet happily, and it wasn’t until I felt something binding my ankles that I discovered he’d been running round and round my feet and had them thoroughly entangled in the leash. I couldn’t stand up, so I raised them carefully. I’d forgotten that Deuce would have to come with them. He gave a sudden lurch; I drew back to preserve my balance, lost it, and with a yell and a mighty splash fell backward into the fountain.
“Goodby, Queènie,” I shrieked as I went in, and then as I came up I howled for help and struck out for shore, only to find I couldn’t swim because I was resting safely on bottom. All I had to do was roll over and sit up, but I’d almost rather have drowned.
The crowd about the fountain was augmented by a thousand in half a minute and, as a coincidence, the band started a religious medley introduced by “Pull for the Shore, Sailor, Pull for the Shore.”
Not only did I have to sit up and face the music, but I had to hold Deuce above water, while I unwound the leash which fettered my feet. A policeman forced his way through the crowd and in his wake was an executive of the exhibition.
“Never mind the life-saving crew,”
I said, trying to pass it off lightly. “Take the pup and give me a hand.”
The policeman took the shivering pup and held out a hand to me.
“Can’t you scatter the crowd?” I asked.
“Fraid not lady,” he said, “but we’ll have a taxi here for you in a minute.”
“I’d rather have the patrol, it’s more private,” I grinned.
I attempted to stand but my feet skidded on the wet marble and down I went again.
“Talk about your trained seals,” I gasped, as I came up. “Say, let the grip of the law be firm this time. I’m not getting the proceeds for this show.”
THE crowd cheered hysterically and this time the cop’s grip held and I climbed to the fountain’s rim and sat down.
“Now bring on your taxi,” I said, hoping that Ici make a getaway before Peter arrived. The fates were against me. Even as I spoke, folks were thrust resolutely aside and Peter, pale-faced and breathless, strode through.
“I knew it,” he breathed. “I knew that out of half a million it could only be you. Are you hurt?”
“Just my feelings,” I faltered.
“Who shoved her in?” he demanded belligerently of the crowd. “1’mgoingto sift this matter to the bottom Who pushed her in?”
“Peter,” I said. “I
But at that moment the wag who held Deuce lifted him aloft and waved him before Peter’s astounded eyes.
“’E did it, sir,” he cried.
“Who owns that dog?” thundered Peter.
“Peter,” I assayed. “It’s our little Deuce.”
He turned to the policeman and. running a hand across his harassed brow, he inquired weakly, “Have we a Deuce?” “I’m cold and I wanna get out of here,” I cried weakly. “Gimme my pup and take me home,” and I rose from out the bosom of the fountain—speaking paraguricallyand tried to pluck my clinging clothes from my boyish form— mentally calculating on how much time I’d have to dry out before I was due to
appear in the Pageant. My hat was still on my head, by virtue of its tight fit, but my hair was plastered tight to my face and water from hair and hat dripped disconsolately down my neck.
Peter’s eyes which had been rolling fatuously in his head formed two’s again as I stood up and tried to climb over the rim of the fountain.
“Gimme a boost, you nut,” I said.
“I’d like to give you a boot,” he hissed as he hauled me over the edge. “Whatcha think you are anyway? Chatauqua’s funniest female?”
“Oh, give it a rest,” I said wearily. “It was an accident.”
“No, it wasn’t,” he contradicted, “such happenings as this are merely an incident in our family.”
“Save it ’til we get home,” I urged. “Can’t someone lend me a coat? This isn’t any sea-nymph act.”
A coat was quickly sent out from the Administration Building and Peter swathed me in it.
“Are you coming home, dear?” I wh’spered.
“I’m not,” he retorted. “I’ve got an engagement and I wish it’d last for ever. G’by.” And without inquiring as to how I’d get home, or heeding my frenzied pleading for him to take DeuceSpot, he strode away.
“It’s only au revoir,” I called menacingly after him, and turned my attention to my own dilemma.
“This car will take you home, madam,” said the executive kindly as he came forward. “Where do you wish to go?”
“I can’t go home,” I said with a hasty look at my watch, and whispering in his ear:
“I’m Queen'Catherine,” I informed him.
He looked at me with commiseration and turned to the crowd.
“Is there a doctor in our midst?” he asked. “The water’s gone to her head.”
“No it hasn’t,” I giggled. “Come here and I’ll tell you another one,” and as he drew cautiously nearer I whispered again:
“I’m taking the part of Queen Catherine in the Pageant to-night,” I said. “You had better get me to the Press Building as soon as you can.”
“B-B-But—but,” he stammered.
“Yes, I know,” I said. “I’m not the Queen you know—she’s been stricken with leprosy or smallpox or itch or something and I’m all they could get to take her place.”
IF IT was Cleopatra rising from the Nile I might go on as I am,” I added, “but Queen Catherine never went swimming in a fountain.”
By this time he had collected his wits, and, ordering the taxi driver to take me to the Press Building and summon Miss Summers to my aid, he disappeared, promising that dry clothes would attend me as soon as he could rifle a couple of exhibits.
“Wish I might have intimated that I’m accustomed to glove silk ‘undies’,” I lamented.
“In trouble again, Ruth,” grinned Myra as she came rushing in.
“If I’m ever out of it it’ll be when I’m wearing a wooden kimona and have a lily in -my mit,” I assured her. “Open the parcels and let’s see what sort of duds they’ve considered fit for a Queen.” “Not so dusty, eh?” asked Myra as
she brought the lady’s layette to view, “bet you haven’t had this class of clothing since your trousseau.”
“You lose,” I said. “Gimme that towel and then stand ready with the duds. What time is it?”
“Time to hurry,” she said laconically, “you haven’t anything to be nervous about; that’s one good thing. All you have to do is walk across the open air stage, meet King Hank, bow and reti e with your court, acting dignified. It’s a good thing you wear a wig—your hair needs to be covered up.”
“Don’t get personal,” I snapped. “The way I feel now a throne and crown don’t mean much in my young life. If Hank’s a wise man he won’t try any funny work with Catherine or he’ll get a kink in his kingship.”
“It’ll be good,” said Myra, “but don’t back out now. This is going to be the best story this year. It’ll be a corking scoop. You falling in the fountain ’n everything.”
“D’youmeaninthe paper?” I faltered. “Yes, and if you tell me I can’t run it I’ll take away all the clothes and you can go home a la Eve,” she threatened.
TEN minutes later I was behind the big drop, being initiated into the mysteries of grease make-up. I didn’t have time to be nervous. When I was dressed and made up and had donned the wig and accessories, it was time to appear.
“Now don’t be nervous,” said the director-general. “All you’ve got to do is walk with graceful stateliness, across the front, with your ladies in waiting. The King will meet you in front of the centre drop which is of Windsor Castle, and after that he can tell you just what to do for you’ll be right with him all the time.”
High above us twinkled myriad lights of the various buildings, the stately glory of the slowly revolving ferris wheel, the brilliantly outlined route of the roller boiler coaster, and closer and dimmer, the animated blur of thousands of human faces in the mammoth grand stand.
From afar came the drone of innumer able voices as the endless procession swung along the roadway. Occasionally there sifted through the sound of a motor siren or the raucous cry of a vendor crying his wares: nearer and stronger came the voices of men and women in the grand stand as they joined in the community singing. The singing stopped.' There was a confusion of motion and sound and light. Then the director’s voice said: “All right, Queen Catherine, on you go—slowly, with dignity, carry your head up. Woman, remember you’re a queen.”
I went, trailing after me the gorgeous brocade of a heavy train, conscious of the eyes of the multitude upon me, and yet feeling detached and uplifted. The spirit of the Empire Pageant held me in a grip and I walked with the pride which I felt. Across the huge open space I took my stately way to the centre of the huge stage, where my King was to meet me. Windsor Castle loomed before me and I almost felt as though, in some previous incarnation, I might have belonged there. I saw King Henry awaiting me and I joined him.
He bowed low and, as he stood upright again, I made a grab for my wig and staggered.
“Peter Ronald,” I gasped.
“Holy Hannibel!” he cried, “what’n heck are you doing here?”
“Double the order,” I suggested. “So
this is your engagement to drum up business, is it?”
“Come, on,” he mumbled, “we gotta go on, we’re gumming up the procession.” “You wait till I get you home and you’ll get gummed up,” I said.
“We gotta turn and grin at the people before we go,” he said.
“I’ll grin,” I said, wheeling with him and showing my teeth. “Now explain yourself.”
“ ’Snothing,” he said as we, followed by our court, moved out of the spotlight to make way for another King and his consort. “A couple of other fellows were going in it and they asked me to come in for the fun of it—and I thought I would, and the money’d help.”
“Help pay to entertain your queen afterward,” I said. “Say, aren’t you the cute thing in tights.”
“Now Ruth,” he begged, flushing beneath his paint.
“Fleshings at that,” I continued, “and lace on his little velvet pants and a feather on his hat.”
“I tell ya,” he began.
“Where’s your mama doll and your sunshade, sweetness?” I asked. “Is your camisole pink or honey dew, or do you prefer orchid? I’ll have to put ruffles on all your shirts now.”
“Forget it,” said Peter, belligerently. “If it comes to that, what’re you doing here?”
“When my husband deserted me, then the Exhibition authorities took me up,” I said. “You left me to die of chill; they gave me a rub down and dry clothes, and then—”
“Who gave you a rub down?” howled Peter.
“Shut up there,” came a male voice, sternly. “You ain’t got no speaking part.” “Myra Summers did,” I soothed him. “and then, because Queen Catherine was ill I offered to take her part. I don’t wonder she was ill. It makes me feel bad just to look at you, too.”
“I fill the part perfectly,” stated Peter with dignity. “We—
“You fill the little pants perfectly,” I giggled. “It’s a good thing you don’t hafta lean over far. It’s put an awful strain on your faith.”
“We go off in a minute now and the Drake, ctory, Nelson tableau comes on,” said Peter personally. “By the by, that’s a splendid reproduction of Windsor.”
“Yes, I noticed Mary hadn’t got that curtain on_ the first floor front mended yet,” I said. “Where’ll we meet?”
“At the fount--” began Peter.
“Nix” I said. “I don’t get another bath ’till Saturday night. Make it the Press Building, and make it snappy.”
PETER sighed deeply and went off while I found my dressing room and got out of Queen Catherine’s duds without ceremony. He was waiting for me when I got there and, as I noticed his downcast expression, my heart softened.
“Peter, dear, do you hear what they’re singing?” I asked tenderly.
“Home Sweet Home,” he said with a silly smile.
“Go up head,” I grinned, and he took my arm and led me toward a taxi.
“I forgot Deuce,” I cried. “I gotta get Deuce.”
“Myra said one of the fellows took him back to the kennels for the night,” said Peter quietly. “We’ll get him after the show to-morrow night.”
We rode in silence for a while, and I began to feel strangely ill. “Peter, I’m going to be sick,” I announced dolefully. “Tell him to drive faster.”
Peter took one look at me and obeyed. An hour later I looked wanly up from my home pillows. •
“What do you think it was, dear?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” I said weakly, “unless it might have been the root beer or the ginger ale or the Emerald Stream or the Cherry Quencher or the Lime Flip. One of these or the hot dogs or the ice cream or the pop-corn fritters or doughnuts. It couldn’t have been anything else that I know of.”
Peter gave me a stunned look.
“Did you eat and drink all those?” he asked. I nodded.
“It’s a wonder you aren’t dead,” he said. “Is there anything I can do for you?” “Yes,” I said. “Telephone the Exhibition and tell them that the new Queen Catherine’s been taken violently ill and
to get another. I couldn’t stand it to see you in those—-tights again.”
“Come on now, forget it,” he said. “Stick with the show, Kid, and we’ll have heaps of fun.”
“All right,” I said. “If I live I’ll stick but, Peter, get me that old song album, there’s a song I want to look up.”
“What’s the name of it?” he asked suspiciously.
“I don’t know, dear, all I remember’s the last line,” I said, “but I want to
teach the tune and new words to the Bits.”
“What’s the last line?” he persisted. “In the song it’s Little Annie Rooney wears ruffles on her pants, I giggled, “but I want the children to sing it like this:
“He’s my consort, I’m his queen,
I look stately, he’s a scream.
He wears fleshings, I’m all elegance; Peter Ronald loved his ruffled velvet pants.”