FICTION

For the Love of Lulu

Cast: Lulu, a Car; Lep, a Dog; and the entire McKeever family in one of their mad week-ends

ELMIN SPROULE July 15 1938
FICTION

For the Love of Lulu

Cast: Lulu, a Car; Lep, a Dog; and the entire McKeever family in one of their mad week-ends

ELMIN SPROULE July 15 1938

For the Love of Lulu

FICTION

Cast: Lulu, a Car; Lep, a Dog; and the entire McKeever family in one of their mad week-ends

ELMIN SPROULE

THE MELLOW drowsiness of late Sunday afternoon flooded the home of the McKeevers. Dinner and its aftermath of dish washing disposed of, Mrs. McKeever had betaken herself to her room for a "little he-down" which had developed, as usual, into a fair-sized sleep. Mr. Mckeever was indulging in his Week-end pas time of tinkering with hi~ beloved an(l antiquated automo bile, Lulu, in the garage at the back. Pauline wa~ nut driving with Martin. Emrny-May and her wL'ek-endl guest, Mary Robinson, were in Emmv-Mav\ bedroom. With an open fashion magazine before them, ti s'y were reconstructing One of I';mrny-May's frocks along what they cheerfully believed to be more modish lines. \Vil frid, the knee bands of his britches loosened for comfort and his feet freed from the restraint of shoes, reclined on his back on the livingroom sofa, his hands clutching the covers of a thriller magazine.

Spread on the Hoor beside Wilfrid and deep in the sleep that comes after a hearty meal of scraps and bones, lay

Lep, Wilfrid’s canine possession, friend and, when they could manage it against family interference, bedfellow. Large and greyish white was he, and so spotted that he had been christened Leopard, which was subsequently shortened to Lep, and lengthened again by other members of the family and certain of Wilfrid’s larger enemies, to Leprosy. Wilfrid had brought him horne as a tiny apjiealing puppy, and Lep had stayed tiny and appealing through Wilfrid’s earnest campaign for his jx*rmanent establishment in the McKeever household. Once the success of this campaign was assured, however, Lep discarded subterfuge and let it lxknown that he intended to be a big, big dog. 1 le grew and grew and grew, until he reached a massiveness that was completely satisfying. Now lie slept, his huge head on his huge flat paws, emitting occasional huge snores.

Wilfrid was enmeshed in a thriller to end all thrillers— made all the more enjoyable by the fact that he had lately been off his regular magazine fare. For the past few weeks his attention and that of the rest of the town had been

claimed by a firsthand, before-theeyes adventure of movieland excitement. It had developed from the discovery of a cigar box containing narcotics, buried in a Chinese-operated truck garden not—

for goodness sake five blocks from Wilfrid’s home. This cache had been identified as part of a much larger shipment known to have been smuggled in. The two Chinamen who operated the garden had been arrested, but no amount of exhortation would draw from them the whereabouts of the rest of the hoard.

A reward of $200 had been posted for its discovery, or evidence leading to its discovery. Whereupon a certain Mr.

Wolfraim, of Wolfraim & Co., Limited, manufacturers of. among other things, such kettles, racks, funnels and strainers as are necessary in the proper “putting-up” of fruit and berries, had laid a second $200 alongside the first. The newspapers had rewarded Mr. Wolfraim with a deluge of sweet publicity in a thick syrup, various women’s clubs had promptly elevated him to the status of simply-a-dear. and providence had stepped in and ordained that the strawberry crop be a bumper one. Spurred by the success of their fellow townsman, other leading citizens had made contributions, until the reward reached the neat round sum of Sl.OOO -and the hunt was on.

Not a square foot of soil in the truck garden was left unturned, and the frame shanty that had housed the two Chinese had been picked to pieces, board by board. Citizens fabricated and followed up wild clues, one of which even led to the nocturnal disinterment of a departed Chinese. Other citizens spent pleasurable hours at one another’s homes, reconstructing the smuggling from the time the dope had been dropjied overboard from a liner and picked up by smugglers who had managed to elude the Customs cruiser. But no trace of the main cache had been found, and gradually public interest waned, to the infinite relief of the harassed narcotic squad. Citizens went back to their daily affairs, and Wilfrid McKeever returned to thrills via the printed page.

NOT unnaturally, it w;as a buried-treasure story that nowheld Wilfrid in its grip. So intense was the excitement it engendered that one of Wilfrid’s feet had. of its own accord, lifted itself from the sofa and come to rest on the windowsill. As the tension of the story tightened, it slid slowly along the sill; as the suspense slackened, Wilfrid’s knee raised itself upward, the foot making a methodical

return. Occasional spasmodic jerks marked the crises ol the tale.

Wilfrid had need of diversion. Hidden in the back of his top bureau drawer was a matter of considerable anguish his May report card. Down one side of this brownish piece of pasteboard ran a list of the subjects with which Wilfrid was allegedly making himself familiar, and from these subjects extended fine dotted lines supporting, without any apparent difficulty, the respective scores that Wilfrid had managed to ting up during the month of May. The line from English Literature had a particularly buoyant appearance, for the mark of 28 weighed lightly indeed upon it. Down below the meagre total score ran another and still more ghastly dotted line, the one that must, before the card was returned to the school, bear the signature of the elder McKeever. The deadline for this return had been Wednesday, and on Friday Miss Cripps had severely informed Wilfrid that if he forgot it again she would telephone his father. Under no circumstances, Wilfrid well knew,should he allow matters to come to that pass.

He had resolved, however, to delay the agony of disclosure until the very last minute on Sunday evening, relying on the week-end in the family bosom to put his father in a kindly mood. A vain hope it had proved, for Mrs. McKeever had taken it. upon herself, come Saturday afternoon, to cause a heaving in the bosom that, although it nowr showed signs of having somewhat abated, had left Mr. McKeever in a mood quite the reverse oí kindly. And all, Wilfrid had reflected bitterly and constantly until he lost himself on a treasure island in the South Seas, over that darned ol’ car!

To say that Pop McKeever loved Lulu is a comparatively cold statement. He had for it the affection that a parent lavishes on a child crippled from birth: a devoted child with eyes wáde from suffering; a child that tries, despite its handicap, ever to be obedient and good. Other men played golf, went duck-shooting, dined and wined themselves: but Pop McKeever, to quote Pauline, played Car-Car. Every week-end he disappeared into the garage and there took apart jxirtions of Lulu, cleaned them, greased them and lovingly put them back in place. His love for Lulu, a crate of obvious make but uncertain vintage, was not shared by the rest of the family. For two years Pauline had flatly refused to ride in it. Emmy-May and Wilfrid openly sneered at it. Mrs. McKeever harped coldly, brutally and continually on the subject of a new car. Pop withstood their onslaughts. He loved Lulu, and that was that.

On the Saturday afternoon in question, he had. by way of a change, run Lulu into the back yard. There he had inconsiderately used theentire tank of hot water in carefully hosing her down. Then he smeared her, from snout to buttocks, with finishing wax, preparatory to shining her up a bit. An interruption occurred in the form of a telephone call from his office, advising him that, a certain Mr. Preston, whom he had been trying to contact for some time, could be seen at once in a downtown hotel. Pop was in a quandary. There sat Lulu, greasy with wax. Downtown sat Mr. Preston, greasy with the money which Pop needed for a deal. Business won. and Pop hastily washed up, grabbed a taxi and departed for town. Whereupon Mrs. McKeever and another telephone call entered the picture.

The second call was from Emmy-May, who reported that, if the powers that be permitted, she would bring Mary Robinson home with her for the week-end. Permission granted. Mis. McKeever hurried to Emmy-May’s bedroom. which usually was to be found in a state of chaos. This time proved an exception and, after peeking into Unclothes closet, the bureau drawers and under the bed, she decided that only the rug needed attention. She quickly rolled it up, carried it downstairs and out into the yard. There she hung it over the low clothesline, about ten feet from Lulu. She then proceeded to give it a thorough beating, with gratifying results. She laid it on the ground and swept it, rolled it up and took it in. Mrs. McKeever loved her home almost as much as Pop loved Lulu.

When Pop returned, the sun still smiled on the June world. Not so Pop! Mr. Preston had not only refused to have anything to do with the deal, but had pointed out good and substantial reasons why no one else, including Pop, should have anything to do with it. Pop was grateful to him. in a grudging sort of way, but he was in no mood to be trifled with. He returned to the shining of Lulu for solace.

One of the most disgusting things about the whole affair, to take Mrs. McKeever’s opinion, was the yell Pop gave when he saw Lulu, and the language he used, right out there in the yard where all the neighbors could hear him. To take Pop’s opinion, no amount of yelling and no language ever invented could do justice to the situation. Over the side of Lulu toward the clothesline was an encrustation of dust and fluff and hardened wax which nothing, absolutely nothing, declared Pop, would ever remove. Raging,

he backed the car out of the yard and shot it into the garage, bolted and locked the dixirs, and invaded the house for hat tie.

It was a stormy siege that lasted far into the night, arose with Pop, breakfasted with him, and stayed with him during Sunday morning. Mrs. McKeever clung to one defense.

“Well,” she said frequently, “if we had a new car, you wouldn’t have to wax it. Then it wouldn’t have happened.” In the last and worst scene, right after dinner, she added : “Why don’t you get a new car? Everyone thinks we can’t afford one.”

“Well.” Pop had repliai, “we can’t.” “We don’t have to let people know we can’t, do we?”

"You mean.” said Pop, groping for a reason, “because we. can’t afford a new car we should get one so people won’t know we can’t afford one. 1 suppose because we can’t afford a house out on the Drive we should get one so jxxiple won’t know we can’t afford one, and because we can’t afford to join a golf club we should ”

“That’s not the same thing at all!” broke in Mrs. McKeever, no doubt with logic somewhere.

“I give up!” shouted Pop. “1 give up! This family is ... ” I le exploded out the back door, to see what alcohol would do for Lulu.

Peace had descended, and now Mrs. McKeever rested, Emmy-May and Mary Robinson sewed, Wilfrid read, and Lep snoozed. The dining-room clock seemed to have softened its ticking. In the kitchen a fly buzzed briefly and then, ashamed of the noise it was making, settled itself on the table, folded its wings and slept. An airplane droned high overhead and faded into the distance.

VW'ILFRID’S hero, David Fenton, had locatal the W treasure in the water-filled hull of a wrecked schooner in a cove on the island. Down in the murky depths, David and his men could see the great brass-bound chest, beside it a black, wavering shadow. Wilfrid's foot travelled farther and farther along the windowsill. Stripped to the waist. David ixfised for a dive and then flashed downward, toward the chest. Nearer he swam, now he could almost grasp it. Suddenly the great black shadow detached itself from the side and lunged toward him an octopus! Wilfrid's f;x»t shot straight out, encountering a jxitted fuchsia, which promptly leaped from the windowsill, struck the edge of a brass tray on the talxiret, and landed tray, taboret and itself on the floor with a resounding smash.

“Gosh darn!” remarked Wilfrid.

“Grrrawp!” added startled Lep, lumbering to his feet and surveying the wreckage. Then, as his intimate association with several other such incidents during the past week occurred to him, he tucked his tail between his legs and departal at. a gallop, almost knocking down Mrs. McKeever in his passage through the livirg-room door.

“Wilfrid!” cried Mrs. McKeever, in the tone of one who has lx-en rudely awakened, arisen from bed, and flown down a flight of stairs in nothing flat. “Did that dog do that?”

Wilfrid debated the advisability of allowing the departed Lep to take the blame, but decided against it. Due to the aforementioned incidents, Ix-p was in disfavor anyway; in fact, his permanent banishment had been seriously threatened. Besides. Wilfrid always caught it for anything Lep did. just as if he’d done it himself. I le decided to be honest.

"No,” he said, ”1 did it.”

“What on earth did you do it for?”

“Good gosh. Mom, 1 didn’t do it for anything. I just did it. It. was a n’accident.”

“An accident!” breathed Mrs. McKeever. "It’s always an accident ! Now you clean up every bit of that, young man. Pick up those flowers they aren’t broken-and sweep up every bit of soil. Then get the mop and polish the floor. Then you march right down to the basement and get another pot. and take it outside and fili it and plant the fuchsia in it. Maybe it will live. Hurry, now. Get it done before Pauline comes home.”

“Aw, Mom, what’s she want the darn ol’ flowers for? The whole yard's full of them.”

“You do as I say, Wilfrid. Martin gave those to Pauline. Hurry up. now.”

“Yah. Martin!” said Wilfrid, with tired scorn. “Martin gave them to her. Can’t do this because Martin's coming. Can’t do that while Martin’s here. Keep Joe and Shorty out of the living room, Martin’s in there. Yah, Martin!” "Wil/riV//”

“Oh, all right. I’m doing it.”

“Well, get it done then,” said Mrs. McKeever. “And don’t forget to put a layer of gravel and little stones in the bottom of the pot. And for heaven's sake, don't make any more noise. If one more thing happens this week-end, I’m just going to go away and leave you all to . . ” She fader! off up the stairway.

Moodily Wilfrid set alx>ut cleaning up the scattered earth

Continued on page 32

Continued from a~e 15

-S/arts on page 14 -

and chips of plant pot. A sporty-looking black beetle crawled out of the mess and led him a diverting chase until it escaped under the tacked-down carpet. Wilfrid pounded the carpet in one or two places and then desisted, struck by the happy thought that the beetle, if allowed to live, might crawl out some time in the vicinity of Pauline or his mother and provide a lively scene. He returned to the saving of David Fenton from the octopus until, startled by an outburst from his mother’s bedroom, he resigned himself to the ruination of his Sunday afternoon and finished cleaning up. After all, with the rumpus over the report card in prospect, he might just as well start being miserable right away. Just as long as he had to live with his family, he might as well be miserable all the time, which was the way they wanted him to be.

Picking up tlie fuchsia, he dragged himself down to the basement to kx>k over the plant-pot situation. There were any number of empty pots, covering a wide range of sizes, all neatly stacked in recesses made by the foundation timbers in one corner of the basement. This corner was, however, also sacred to the wood pile, over which Wilfrid would have to climb to get at the pots. On the fkxir and right to hand, was a large w;xxien tub affair that had held the inadequate rtxrts of a departed hydrangea. Wilfrid, after carefully weighing the work of filling it against the labor of crawling over the wood pile to get a smaller pot, decided it would do, and hauled it and the now somewhat dilapidated fuchsia out into the back yard.

rT'HF. MCKEEVER back yard was exactly the type of back yard one would expect to lind in a family whose head spent every week-end tinkering with a decrepit automobile. A trellis fence separated it from the front yard, which Airs. McKeever, Emmy-May and (grudgingly) Wilfrid kept in lawn and flowers, but in the back yard, since the McKeevers’ tenancy began, the forest primeval had steadily regained its sway. Between the garage and the house ran a strip of hard-baked ground. From the edges of this to the boundaries of the large lot lay a practically impenetrable jungle of spreading apple trees, close tangles of fruitless raspberry canes, and rank hardy weeds. To Mrs. McKeever this jungle was a heartache second only to Lulu; to Wilfrid it was a paradise to which lie esca¡xvd frequently from family notice.

Wilfrid toted the tub to the middle of the bare strip and generously tilled it a quarter full of little and not-so-little stones. 1 le then started a seemingly hopeless hunt in the jungle for a spot of soft earth clear of vegetation. In the garage. Mr. McKeever, having found that alcohol had a remarkable effect on the scummy Lulu, was morosely whistling an aged jazz melody. The whistling fell on Wilfrid’s ears as a reminder of the report card, and he sighed mourn fully. Surprisingly, between the densest raspberry tangle and the back fence he found a spot of ground from which only young grass and weeds were sprouting. He lugged the tub and fuchsia to it, and eased himself down with his back to the fence to accumulate sufficient strength to return to the basement for a spade.

The warm June sunlight filtered through the apple trees. Insects buzzed lazily about. A large flying ant lit on the edge of the tub and strolled sedately around it. There was a rustling in the jungle and Lep. looking sheepish, poked his way into view.

Wilfrid eyed him scornfully. “Yah !” he said. “Darn ol’ coward. Took it on the lam. you did.”

Lep hung his head abjectly and then, to conceal his embarrassment, bit the flying ant in two. This restored his self-confidence considerably, and he gave Wilfrid a nuts-

to-you glance. A slight itchiness manifested itself on the ridge of his back near his tail. He seated himself, looped his gangly frame double, telescoped his nose back onto his face and set his fangs to the subjugation of a purely imaginary flea, his free hind f;x>t energetically scratching earth and air. This gave Wilfrid an idea. “Cmere,” he said, not unkindly.

Surprised at the gentleness of his toneLep edged gratefully alongside himWilfrid scraped a small hole in the ground, seized Lep behind the ears and shoved his nose into it. "Rats!” he said, encouragingly. "Dig, Lep. Rats!”

Lep gave one gusty, doubtful snuff. He essayed two indifferent flap-scratches with his huge front feet and then backed away. “Rats, nothing,” his look said. “No rats there. Never have been and never will be. Don’t be stupid.” He returned to his flea.

“Bah!” remarked Wilfrid. “Gonna trade you for a poodle, a mangy, bug-faced poodle. Better pal than you’ll ever be.” He dug several handfuls of earth and dropped them into the tub. “In just a minute you could fill it for me; but no, oh no, you’d ruther scratch fleas. Gonna trade you for a white poodle, with curly hair and a blue ...”

“Hello,” said Shorty Gillis, sticking a carrot-colored head over the back fence. “What yuh doin’? Plantin’ a daisy patch?”

“Naw,” said Wilfrid, leaving his digging and leaning on the fence. “Climbing Mount Everest. What you doin’?”

“Nothin’. Just came over to tell you we got a new car.”

“What yuh say?”

“We got a new car and it’s a—”

“Can’t hear yuh,” said Wilfrid. “Talk louder, can’t yuh?”

“Say. what’s the matter? You crazy?” "Naw,” said Wilfrid. “Won’t hurt yuh to talk so I can hear yuh, will it? What d’yuh say?”

“I SAID,” bellowed Shorty in tones that carried for blocks, “WE GOT A NEW CAR. DAD BROUGHT IT HOME SATURDAY AT NOON.”

“GOSH!” said Wilfrid, with matching volume. “I BET YOUR FAMILY’S HAPPY.”

“YEAH.”

“YOUR FATHER. ” continued Wilfrid, “IS A GOOD. KIND MAN. HE THINKS OF HIS FAMILY. I BET HE’S GOT YOUR MOTHER OUT DRIVING RIGHT NOW, ALL PROUD AND HAPPY AND THINKING WHAT A GOOD GUY HE IS.”

“NAW.” veiled Shorty, “MY SISTER’S GOT IT OUT TODAY. MAW HAD IT ALL YESTERDAY AFTERNOON. DAD’S GOING TO HAVE IT WEEK DAYS EXCEPT TUESDAYS AND FRIDAYS WHEN MAW PLAYS BRIDGE.”

A hacking cough sounded from the direction of the garage. “Shut up.’’ growled Wilfrid, “d’yuh havta yell like that?”

“Well, fer gosh sakes,” said Shorty, “didn't yuh just ask me to yell? You’re crazy, like your ol’ dog. What’s he think he’s got?”

TEP HAD tired of ilea chasing. Casting about for something to do, he had decided that if his indolent owner had enough faith in the rat story to dig up several handfuls of soil, it might, in truth, bear looking into. After several prolonged snuffs, he had set himself to dig, with the result that a steady shower of earth was now flying out behind him. The farther he dug the more interested he became, the louder he snuffled, and the more energetically he flailed with his front feet.

“Leave him be.” said Wilfrid, laying the tub on its side in range of the shower.

“He’s digging up dirt for me. aren't you, Leppy boy? Attaboy. Rats!”

Lep took time out to throw him a look over his shoulder. “Still on that rat stuff, eh?” the look said. “There’s more than rats in this. I’m telling you.” He flung himself back to his digging.

“Wonder what he thinks he’s got,” said Shorty, climbing over the fence. “Sure thinks he’s got something.”

Lep was now digging in a frenzy. The boys squatted on either side of the operation. Suddenly, Lep’s claws scratched on something hard. He broke into sharp, excited yelps, and both boys plunged into the digging with him. Together, they unearthed first a corner and then the whole of a large black metal box, bound with heavy cord.

“Treasure!” screamed Wilfrid. “It’s buried treasure. Bet it’s full of rubies and diamon’s!”

He tore off the cord. The cover stuck tightly and firmly, but finally their four hands and Lep’s nose pried it loose. At first glance the interior was disappointing. It was tightly packed with small cardboard boxes, into which fitted still smaller dark glass tubes, on the caps of which were Chinese characters. They ojyened one of the tubes. It contained a whitish powder.

“Gosh!” roared Shorty. “Close it up quick ! My Aunt Jenny says if you get one sniff of that stuff it’s got you for life.” Wilfrid was already halfway to the garage. “Pop!” he yelled, “Pop! We found it. We found the dope.”

Pop emerged from the houseward door of the garage. Wilfrid, Lep and Shorty flung themselves upon him. howling and barking in chorus. Pop disentangled himself. “Stop this row,” he roared. “It’s Sunday. What did you find?”

“The dope,” yelled Wilfrid. “The Chinese dope. Lep dug it up. So Lep’ll get the reward, won’t he. Pop, won’t he?”

Lep announced his approval of this by dashing madly up and down the bare strip, barking so that, Pop later remarked, several shingles fell off the garage roof.

In a very short time the police arrived and, as the word got around, the neighbors. Reporters for the town’s two newspapers hurried to the scene. Lep was photographed with Wilfrid, with Wilfrid and Shorty, by himself, sitting, standing, wearing a policeman’s hat, digging in the hole and, unintentionally, scratching himself. Reporters cornered Mrs. McKeever, Mr. McKeever and Emmy-May. begging for interesting news items about Wilfrid and Lep. Pauline and Martin came back from their drive, getting a rude shock at the sight of the crowd, which by this time suggested a murder of major interest. Several of the contributors to the reward turned up and were photographed with thoroughly convincing smiles on their faces, Mr. Wolfraim missing this joy and its attendant publicity by having stupidly gone away for the week-end. The excitement was too much for Lep. He finally had to be shut up in the basement, where he caused so much havoc before he wore himself out that, Pop said, it would take all the reward money to cover it.

WHEN IT died down, the McKeevers had a late and sketchy supper. “My lands!” exclaimed Mrs. McKeever for the hundred and fifth time, as she and Pauline washed up afterward. “Just think of the rascals hiding it in our yard. Goodness, I do hope people won’t think we had anything to do with it.”

“Good a place as any,” observed Pauline dryly.

“Yes,” contributed Emmy-May. “that’s what Mr. McLaughlin said. You should have heard him and the other men kidding Pop about the yard. Mr. McLaughlin said to look out some country didn’t use our yard to hide battleships in. Was Pop’s face red—whooeee !”

“Hmmmm!” said Mrs. McKeever, looking out of the pantry window and picturing the back yard, with the raspberries confined to an orderly row around the fence and a velvety carpet of lawn stretch-

ing beneath the neatly pruned apple trees. “Hmmmm. Battleships, eh? Just the argument I've been needing.”

Lep nosed the screen door open and entered the kitchen.

“Hello, Leppy dear,” said Mrs. McKeever. Lep threw her a kindly but slightly supercilious glance. He ambled leisurely over to Emmy-May, and bestowed a brief and patronizing lick upon her bare knee. Then he showed his utter superiority by seating himself with his back to them all, staring fixedly at nothing under the kitchen table. Pauline stroked his droopy ears.

“Dear, sweet, darling puppy,” she cooed, “do you know how you’re going to spend your money?”

Lep signified, with a dignified twitch of his left shoulder, that he was not yet ready to discuss the matter. Pauline was not to be put off lightly.

“Well. I’ll tell you,” she said. “First you’re going to get yourself and Wilfrid some little things you both need. Then you’re going to lend the balance, at bank interest, to Pop, to get a new car, and the interest will go onto Wilfrid’s allowance every month.”

“Pauline!” said her mother, laughing through an earnest attempt to look severe. “Of all the scheming—”

“Scheming nothing!” interrupted Pauline. “It’s a dandy plan. I'm sure Wilfrid will think so. Where is Wilfrid?”

“He’s gone to bed,” replied Mrs. McKeever, “and don’t you disturb him. He’s still so excited he took a bath without realizing what he was doing.”

Contrary to his mother’s belief, Wilfrid was not in bed. In his pyjamas and dressing gown, he was standing quietly beside the living-room door, and in his dressinggown pocket was his report card. Within the living room were his father and Mr. Wolfraim, undoubtedly the town’s leading citizen. Mr. Wolfraim had returned from his week-end trip, been told he was out the reward money and. being simplv-a-dear. promptly rushed over to offer his congratulations. Ile and Mr. McKeever were deep in a conversation dealing principally with Wilfrid.

“Yes, indeed.” Mr. Wolfraim was saying. “We’ll have a town meeting and present him and the dog with the reward. You have every right to be proud of him. Seems like an all-round little chap, every ounce a boy. Smart in his studies, too, I expect?”

“Well,” lied Mr. McKeever, “above the average. Yes, sir, well above the average. Of course, not right up at the top all the time; wouldn’t want him there. Don’t like these superbrilliant kids, you know; something sort of missing about them when they’re up at the top all the time. But Wilfrid, now, he’s smart. Why, when he was just a little fellow—”

There followed a lengthy and, even to Wilfrid’s partial ears, exaggerated account of one of the nobler acts of his babyh(x>d. At the end of it Mr. Wolfraim rose to go. “I tell you what, McKeever,” said he, holding out his hand, “when that little fellow gets old enough. I want you to send him round to me. I can use bright young lads in my plant. Yes, siree! That’s just what I want you to do.”

Wilfrid chose this as his entrance cue. “Excuse me, father." he said gravely, “I just wanted to say g;x>d night.”

“Good night" Ixung one of those trifling courtesies that Wilfrid invariably failed to extend unless forcibly reminded, "father” being an address that to the elder McKeever’s recollection had never fallen from his lips before, and “excuse me” being also a newcomer, Mr. McKeever had reason to be somewhat startled. He rallied bravely, however.

“Come in, come in. son.” he said jovially. “I want Mr. Wolfraim to meet vou.”

“Ah!” said Mr. Wolfraim, clasping Wilfrid’s outstretched paw.

“How do you do, sir,” said Wilfrid politely. “I am very glad you came to see us.” He beamed with wide admiring eyes

1 at Mr. Wolfraim, and turned again to his \ stricken parent. “Father,” he said, “will you just sign this before 1 go to bed?”

Mr. McKeever took the card, then turned hurriedly away with it. He walked ! over to a table, glanced at the card, then drew out his fountain pen and signed it, closed it, and handed it back to Wilfrid.

“Good night, Mr. Wolfraim,” said Wilfrid.

“Good night, my boy,” said Mr. Wolfraim.

“Good night, father.” said Wilfrid. “Good night, son,” said Mr. McKeever, “I'll er see you in the morning er— yes, indeed, in the morning.”