THE TUTTLE AFFAIR
C. W. STEPHENS
Author of “Man and Wife," “Ebb and Flow," etc.
I THINK,” said Algernon reflectively, “it was Mr. Squeers, the eminent educationalist of Dotheboys Hall, who observed that human nature is 'a rum ’un’.”
There were but two of us in the smoking room of the Ellingham Country Club. I was there as Algernon’s guest, being a stranger to the locality. There had been a dance earlier in the evening—Country Club winter affair, straw ride, everything truly rural and uncomfortable, then the dance and supper. The landscape was snow-covered, a keen wind was blowing, so, after the straw-riders had departed, Algernon suggested that we stay the night at the Club, time being in no sense of essence of the contract we had with the world at large. It was also Algernon’s suggestion that we switch off the electric illuminations and sit in the firelight. It had, he said, two advantages, first the
feeling, without the disturbance of the musical part, and, second, it added to our sense of comfort to think of the poor blighters shivering in the wagons, and pretending that they liked it. On such a night, in such a place, Algernon is an ideal companion. He can be equally entertaining in speech or silence. The rest of his name is Marjoribanks, which, for some obscure reason, you have to pronounce “Marchbank.” A word of personal description may not be superfluous. Algernon is the kind of man who, if he were a woman, would be called “svelte” by the lady novelist. He wears a monocle with grace and without grimace. His smooth fair hair is parted so exactly you feel that, if, by some horrid mischance, a single hair got the wrong side of the road, he would topple over with a most frightful crash. Sartorially one might say that Algernon is the glass of fashion and the mould of form if it had not been said so often before. Algernon is a lawyer, though, surveying him casually, you wouldn’t think him capable of distinguishing a tort from a tadpole, the Statute of Frauds from a Nut Sundae. His specialty is real estate, and he has been known to draw tears from a jury in describing the iniquities of a drain-pipe. He has never married, declaring that in a world so full of charming women, it would be unfair discrimination to select just one. So it has come to pass that he is sort of utility brother or cousin, or something like that, to many delightful women.
“Just a song at twilight, When the lights are low,”
They consult him in matters of the heart, confide secrets to him, and rely on him, with touching faith, to guide their frail barks through the stormy waters of amatory experiences.
He now let his monocle fall upon his smart vest, exhaled a thin column of blue cigarette smoke, and continued his reflections.
“And—,” said he, “I think Mr. Squeers was probably quite right.” Obviously there was a story coming, so I maintained a discreetly encouraging silence. Algernon continued:
HER name was Mildred. You don’t know her, or her people, and I may not be exact in non-essential details. She was a very charming girl, never more so than in her woe. She sat on the grassy edge of a bunker, her eyes— when they were not being dabbed with a postage-stamp handkerchief—looking seaward, as if she pondered the intimations of mysterious immensity. Then she saw me, patted the turf by her side very hospitably, and gave me an appealing look.
Really she was an unusually pretty girl. Her gown was blue, the kind that Paquin and Worth make for stage dairymaids. It must have set Abner Oliphant, Mildred’s male parent, back quite a bit. And that leads me to speak of Abner. It was amusing to reflect on his being the father of such a girl. She was little, a fairy kind of girl with that “little head sunning over with curls” style to her, while Abner wore eighteen size collars, and had a waist measurement well up in the fifties. He belonged to what may be called the “rumbustious” school, self-made, and well pleased with the job. He started business as valet to a pair of horses, later blooming into the contracting business. Most people have to chase money, but no curled
matinee idol was ever so pursued as Abner by the jam Fortune. By the time he reached fifty he was reckoned i very warm man financially. However, to resume story:
“Oh, Algernon!” she exclaimed at length. “It’s f again.”
“Each one has his or her little cross,” I suggested.
“You see—!—Oh, Algy, you can’t know what an immense relief it is, in these crises of life, to have one to whom one may turn, cërtain of sympathy,” she said.
She had an extremely pattable hand, so I soothed her as any brotherly or fatherly man would have done under similar circumstances.
“Father takes inexplicable prejudices, usually against the very people I like,” she continued. “And he simply refuses to tolerate Peter.”
“Peter!” I exclaimed, for this was a new one. Mildred had a curious mania for collecting masculine names and, the entities they signified—Bobs and Harrys and Jacks— young men, crude and rather primitive as I observed them. They were usually ephemeral in her active esteem. One day you’d see them flitting about in the garden of love, as if they were having the very dickens of a time, and the next they’d be in Mildred’s specimen case—chloroformed, transfixed, wings neatly outspread, and labelled neatly. She was, in that line, a quite indefatigable girl.
“Why, yes—Peter Beverley,” she replied, lingering over the name as if to drink in its melody. “He lives at Masborough and told me that he knew you.”
'T'HEN it all came back to me. I had met this Peter A man. One Saturday afternoon I had been marooned by business in Masborough, and having an hour or so to spare, sauntered out to the Golf Club. There has always been a sort of Jew and Samaritan amity between the clubs of Masborough and Ellingham. We play annual team matches, and as the yearly battle was to be fought out in a few weeks’ time I thought there would be no harm looking round to see what was doing. There was Tuttle prancing round the links in his usual cocksure, victorious fashion, and that was no heartening sight.
Speaking from an Ellingham standpoint Tuttle was decidedly a persona non grata. To our little Israel Tuttle was about as popular as was Goliath of Gath to that of David’s time. He was a corking good golfer, though that was not the reason for our antipathy. Figuratively he came forth morning and evening to deride the feebleness of Ellingham, and for years had been a veritable scourge to us. We had subscribed for cups and salvers and other prize gauds, only to enrich the treasury of Tuttle. Long had we looked for a champion who would go forth with sling and stone and topple old Tuttle over, but we had looked in vain.
I had no mind to watch Tuttle slashing his way over the course, so I cut across, purposing to return to town. Then my eye was arrested by sight of a young man who was playing alone on a remote part of the course. I say
“arrested” purposely. As I saw him drive I perceived tbe bom, natural golfer. He had the whippy, slashing, yet correct style that has soul as well as body to it. He hit long, low, raking shots that had positive whiz and whistle to them; they sang like bullets over the green. Then the lad could use his irons, and his mashie shots were poems' in action, while his putting was like inexorable Fate. This, patently, was a young man to know. After watching for a time I continued my jaunt toward the Club House en route for town. There I met an acquaintance, and skilful pumping enabled me to get some information about the golfer who had attracted my attention. He was a youngster who had just come from some College and was holding down a minor job in some engineering works. Masborough prides itself on being a rather exclusive club. If you seek election to membership you have to produce certificates declaring that your forbears for three or four generations back have never been in jail or politics, and proving that you have been christened and vaccinated sucessfully, and so forth. Youngsters, especially strange youngsters, are not encouraged to seek admission. It further appeared that this kid, Beverley by name, while a gentlemanly sort of junior person, was to be seen about the town where he worked in overalls and grease. Anyway he bad been discouraged from joining, and had to be content with an occasional game on a visitor’s card, or as a member’s guest. My informant conveyed to me the personal view that the kid had been treated rather rottenly. All of which was interesting.
I made it my business to jog over the links again and make the acquaintance of this youth. He struck me favorably, and I pointed out to him the salubriousness of the Ellingham course, the high quality of our social fellowship, our famed hospitality. I found him cordial but unresponsive on the main point. He said he had little time for golf outside an odd game now and again on the Masborough links when he could get it. I further pointed out the classic example of the blighter who hid his talent in a. napkin, but he was pleasantly firm. While I was disappointed by his practical refusal I was attracted by hefrank charm of the lad. However, no use yearning for the unattainable, so I put the youth out of thought.
All this now passed through my mind as I patted Mildred’s hand.
“So he is the latest to be dabbed on the nose with chloroform, transfixed, and deposited in the specimen-case?”
I asked, a new hope, nevertheless, rising within my soul. If I had not been able to lure, there were no limits to the enchantment of Mildred. She regarded me with a look of frigid scorn.
“There are times, Algy dear, when you border on the almost vulgar,” she said. “And—oh, Algernon, I am in such great need of advice and consolation.”
“You may command me inimitably in either capacity,’
“They say you are awfully clever. Even father saya
so sometimes,” she cooed. "That is laurel beyond the Olympian," I acknowledged iodestly. "And father is so utterly unreasonable at times," she
“That is the besetting sin of fathers,” I told her. “But give me the facts, Mildred, then I shall be able to advise and console the more intelligently.”
“You are too lovely for words,” and she edged delightfully nearer, thrusting a small hand within my available arm. “I am going to make a truly heart to heart confidant of you. You see, Algy, I met Peter several weeks ago in Masborough. It was at a small dance, and he was as nice as possible. We might have known each other for whole years. We danced together quite a lot, for our steps matched wonderfully, then we talked, quite seriously, in the conservatory, and it was one of those darling moonlighty nights, you know. We discovered we liked the same kind of books and plays, and I found out that Peter knew heaps and heaps of the nicest poetry. He recited and quoted bits delightfully. After that we met sometimes when I went over to Masborough, and occasionally I happened to see him when he came to Ellingham. And then came the catastrophe. One day father met us, or rather caught up to us, when Peter and I were walking along the shore road. It was a windy afternoon and the sea was quite magnificent. The wind nearly blew me away and I believe it would have actually done so had Peter not —well, supported me. We happened to be in a sheltered spot, regaining our breath, and Peter happened to be protecting me. I believe his arm may have been round my waist, and then, just at this instant, who should come along from behind but father! It was awfully windy and the sea was making the most terrible racket, so we didn’t hear him in time. You may guess—knowing father— what he said to me when I got home.”
“Yes, I can guess,” I answered.
“He spoke in the stagiest way about clandestine meetings, unseemly conduct, and horrible things of that nature, oh,the most outrageous things,” she went on. “He called Peter a young, smutty-faced whippersnapper, said that the woods were full of his kind, that he hadn’t a dollar in the world, and no influence to push him along, and that so far from being able to keep a wife he’d be hard put to it to provide board and lodging for a couple of goldfish. I listened to it with calm and superior indignation.”
“Making no defence, I suppose?” I asked, knowing better.
“Of course I defended Peter,” she admitted most stoutly. “Father gets much more reasonable when you fight back—of course, in my case, quite dutifully. I told him that Peter was a most unusual young man, one who read books, knew oodles of poetry, and that one day he would be one of the master minds of Canada. I reminded him of Lord Strathcona, and other great men who started with nothing and made barrels of money.
“At first father just sniffed, and then he roared in his most obnoxious fashion.
Then I referred to the fact that when he and mother married he was earning only sixteen dollars a week. This did some good, for it put him into a pleasanter temper, but he is still quite inexorable about Peter. He said that I was in my cradle only the other day, and that when I did get married I ought to choose some solid, sensible young man like John Pordidge. He always has John at the back of his mind in discussions of this kind. Of course if John went to him and suggested marrying me father would snap his head off, and John’s awfully afraid of him, but father uses him on such occasions.
Now you see,
Algy, I love my dad most tremendously, and hate
todo anything that really vexes him. I’ve told Peter all about this, and he agrees with me in a general sort of way. When I do get married to Peter I want to do it with father’s full knowledge and approbation.”
“That is charmingly noble and daughterly of you,” I approved. “The thing desired, as I take it, is for a modus vivendi to be sought between your father and this Peter young man?”
“I don’t know what a modus what-do-you-call-it is, but I’ve no doubt it is the very thing to be desired,” she said. “In plain language I want to have my own way, and at the same time have father feel that he’s having his.”
From this I gathered that Mildred was a developed woman, with the essential knowledge of men and their foibles that proclaim her the superior creature.
“I will give the project my most earnest consideration,” I promised. “Though I can’t conceal from you my conviction that the hardest of the labors of Hercules was trivial compared with the task of inducing your father to change his mind.”
“I have every confidence in you, Algernon,” she replied in a woman’s graceful way when she has saddled responsibility on your shoulders. Novelists speak of the eternal triangle, but here was an affair with five angles, if I include myself, and, with Mildred also included, six angles! I never was much good at geometry and so forth—I know reasonably well what a triangle and a quadrangle are, but after that knowledge fails, perhaps mathematical sharks would speak of the problem as sexangular; if so, it would be more fascinatingly neat than most jumbles of the kind. If therefore, speaking Euclidically, the eternal triangle is a problem, what of an infernal sexangle? Abner Oliphant—Peter Beverley—the Tuttle man—John Pordidge—Mildred, my client—myself! Count ’em!
BUT I haven’t told you anything luminous about John.
He was the kind of young man of whom nobody could say anything but the most unadulterated good—the solid young citizen of sterling qualities. A bit slow, maybe, but, oh! thundering sure. He was the kind the parents of marriageable daughters cast covetous eyes upon, for he had oodles of .dough, being son of the junior partner in Oliphant and Pordidge. Possibly he was concealed somewhere about the place as a “Co.,” though of that I am not positive. John had always been serious, and, doubtless, always would be serious. When Ellingham fathers lectured their male offspring on their erratic ways they inevitably wound up with:
“Look at John Pordidge! Why can’t you follow his example?”
The wonder was that John had never been lured into a dark alley and pitilessly slain by irate and vengeful lads. Often the good are unpopular. Beyond all doubt John would make some worthy girl an ideal husband—good
provider, handsome allowance, never late for meals, no deviations whatever from the straight and narrow path to be walked by the model husband. He was plainly headed for an estimable, solid life, and a white marble slab on the church wall, when he had gone to join the Church triumphant, testifying his sterling qualities. He took up golf, attracted by the calm dignity of it. It was not like football, where one may be pounded to a jelly, or baseball, in which a man has to run violently, and slide to bases on his stomach and face. John tackled golf just as he would have addressed himself to a proßlem in algebra, and by dint of assiduous practice became somewhat of a mechanical adept, in fact, at this epochal time, he was, on the cards, the Ellingham top-notcher; which, of course, is no great compliment to Ellingham golf. He could generally stalk round in about 85, and again, on superlative days, it might be 82. This last was when his mind was free from carking cares and there was nothing to disturb him. The trouble with Pordidge’s golf was that it was soulless, uninspired. Moreover he hadn’t the pep of a vivacious flea. He was not exactly yellow, but just a natural wilter. A truculent, breezy, fighting chap, who wasn’t really within a stroke a hole of John in skill would mash him to pulp by breezy aggressiveness. In the pinch he would curl up; everybody knew it, and John realized it himself. If there was a real, bouncing passion in his life, it was for Mildred Oliphant. Their marriage had always been talked of as an ideal thing, and, down in his soul, John felt that he had a sort of equitable mortgage on her. He was rather scared of her, for she was, as you know by this time, quite lively in her nice way. Doubtless she flirted with John, for he was a male person.
Abner, who liked a sporting game in most things, was anxious to play safe with his girl, Mildred, and he knew that if she married John Pordidge she would dwell in unbroken peace and comfort, and that meant a whole lot considering the fact that there were so many rapscallions round a girl with money. Consequently Abner, while he would have barked and growled at John just as at any other young man who approached Mildred matrimonially, thought that it might be a good thing if the Oliphant and Pordidge families and fortunes merged. He was what might be called a “benevolent neutral.”
T T had once been my fortune to pull off a case for Abner Oliphant. It was a case he was keen on winning, his adversary being none other than Tuttle of Masborough. The two had a fearful ruction about the right of the public to walk across the corner of a certain cow pasture, belonging to Tuttle, that no man in his senses would ever want to walk across. Tuttle, in his lordly way, fenced up the path, whereupon Abner immediately broke down the fence and walked over the pasture, which was just the kind of thing Abner would dote on doing. In the legal proceedings that followed we beat Tuttle, and Abner’s heart warmed to me enthusiastically. I believe if I were justly sentenced to be hanged, Abner would storm the jail to rescue me, which indicates the kind of chap he was. Shortly after I was retained by Mildred I met Abner on the road. He was waikingouttothe links, so I joined him. Inthecourse of polite conversation I inquired about the wellbeing of my fair client.
“Oh, Mildred’s all right,” he responded, rather brusquely I thought. “The orly trouble with Mildred is that she’s too darn popular. It worries me, Alger-
“Stewardship implies responsibility, ' ’ I reminded him.
“She’s cut and about, here, there, and everywhere, the whole time,” he grumbled. “When she happens to be home, my place is just jammed with visitors, mostly boys. They fill up the rooms in winter, and lumber up the verandahs in summer, till you’d think I ran a ‘gentlemen only’ hotel. All kinds too, for she’s broad-minded—curates and law sprigs, and doctors without any practices, newspaper pups, and plain business nincompoops, with a raft of odds and ends, mostly odds. X seem an interloper in my place and I don’t like it a bit.”
“What else can you expect?” I asked.
“One day she’ll pick the winner, shoo the rest off, and you’ll do the benediction stunt.”
“Only the day before yesterday she was in her cradle, and yesterday she was in short frocks. She’s only a kid, and I hate to think about her getting married and packing up and leaving me. She’s all I’ve got, Algernon, all that counts in my real life.
“The mischief is that she takes shines to tads I’ve no manner of use for. When the time does come for her to settle down I’d feel comfortable if she picked out a solid chap like John Pordidge. Between you and me, Algernon, she’s picked up a young fellow over at Masborough, fellow called Beverley—Peter Beverley. I’m told there’s nothing against him, but he’s just a sort of mechanic—engineer they call ’em all these days. Educated, college man, respectable folks, and all that, makes about twenty a week. I know I came up from the ranks myself, and as a rule I try not to put any dog on, but a man thinks differently about his girl than he does of himself. I want Mildred to have the best kind of a deal'when it comes to the marriage game, and you know that often a girl without a penny has a better show than one with money; she’s likelier to get a straight runner."
“John’s a fine lad some ways,” I conceded. “A bit solid perhaps.”
“You want weight for the tail of a kite,” said Abner, and just then we arrived at the Club House.
HE had no sooner got inside the door than rain began to descend in tor rents, clouds blew in from the sea, it looked like a soaking afternoon. Still there are worse places, on a wet afternoon, than the Nineteenth Hole. A fair company was out, so we settled into comfortable chairs and took to pipes, et cetera, the club, et cetera, being quite unusual. On the tall sideboard was a rather imposing silver shield under a glass case, and by its side, in an open velvet box, a little, fat gold medal. The shield was a challenge affair that symbolized the eternal rivalry between the Masborough and Ellingham Clubs. Each year a team of eight of the chosen from each institution met in combat on the links. The winning club held the shield for the year, and had its name inscribed thereon. Not only so, but the medal scores of the rival players were kept in the matches, and the man with the lowest score became entitled to the little fat medal, in his own absolute right, and the heady title of Inter-Club champion. This year the fray was to take place at Ellingham, and was due to come off in one week from this wet day. The competition had been going on for five years, and five times the name of Masborough appeared on the shield; five times also the little fat gold medal had gone to Masborough, to none other than the Tuttle man. Naturally, on such an afternoon, the presence of the two gauds was a horrid blight on the club spirit. There had been no need of Masborough to send them on a week ahead of the competition, but that was just a bit of their inspired maliciousness.
“Put ’em in the refrigerator, or the coal bin!” growled one annoyed member.
“It isn’t the presence, or the annual absence, of the shield I mind so much,” said Barrett, the notary. “It’s the fact that these medals go to the Tuttle man. He’s going about Masborough grumbling because he’s got to buy a new cabinet to hold ’em. Are the teams picked yet?”
“Here they are on the Notice Board,” said Mellin, proceeding to read the pairs beginning with Pordidge versus Tuttle, and going on through the list. When he finished all you could hear were sighs and the heavy swishing of the rain on the windows. Tuttle was on every mind. It was monstrous, i; was ridiculous, it was pathetic. Pordidge versus Tuttle Well might angels weep over it.
Meantime John Pordidge was in a corner of the room, nervously toying with a cigarette. He wasn’t a bad-looking chap. He had nice little Vandyke whiskers, that
helped to conceal his emotions, and he wore his golfing smoked glasses that further masked him. Nobody felt for him much but the utmost pity. He looked so darned cowed and wormy. Then Battersby, who is a fellow who boasts he always says what’s on his mind—which does not say much for his mind—addressed John directly.
“John, why don’t you get up steam and bump Tuttle into oblivion?” he asked fatuously. It was like bidding a mouse bump an active cat out of the way.
“I’ll do my best, and no man can do more,” Pordidge replied mildly. We all knew what that best would be.
When Tuttle ramped on to the field John would just curl up. Of course we might have put up some other man against Tuttle, but there was always the fond hope that one day John would come out of his shell, and surprise everybody. In the Club handicap list he was four strokes better than the next man.
Then Oliphant, who had been quieter than usual, spoke up, but reflectively rather than censoriously.
“I believe I’d give almost anything I have to see the sleep wallop put over on Tuttle next Saturday. Nothing would be too good for the hero,” he said.
“Even to my daughter and the half of my kingdom,” chimed in Builens, who fancies he is rather pat that way. Doubtless it was said without thought of Mildred, but I could see the color stealing through John Pordidge’s whiskers.
“Something like that,” said Abner rather heedlessly, for he was a trifle absent-minded in his contemplation of the baubles on the sideboard.
WHEN we rose to leave, Pordidge came bustling across and begged us to let him give us a lift in his car.
“John,” said Abner, when we were on our way, “if you’d only buck up and land fatally on Tuttle’s dough box I’d never forget your service. You pack a tidy game, and if you’d pull it on Tuttle there’s no telling what might happen. What you want is the Will to Victory. Adopt the offensive in every sense of the word. Well, I get off
here. Much obliged for the lift, John, but do try to balk that blighter.”
Pordidge obligingly whirled me to my domicile. When we reached it he said: “Would you mind if I talked wit: you a minute, Algernon?”
I bade him enter the house, wondering what he had on his mind.
“It is dreadfully embarrassing,” he said. “I mean about this match. I feel as if the burdens of the world were on my shoulders. It’s no use you fellows looking askance at me, for I’d do anything in my power to beat Tuttle. But how am I to do it?”
It was rather pathetic, but presently, under the influence of Pordidge’s craven lamentations I got rather fed up. I reseated this talk of wanting to please Mr. Oliphant, an d grew indignant at the thought of a worm aspiring to the hand of Mildred. Possibly I became somewhat severe. I suggested' that there was a hypnotist of reputedjparts in a near-by city, and that he had put a countryman, who had hardly seen a piano before, under his mighty spell, and, while thus hypnotized, the patient had rattled off Beethoven and that kind of stuff as ifjjhe had been Paderewski.
“Get him to treat you, John,” I advised. “Let him impress it on you that you are Harry Vardon. Then upsetting Tuttle would be easy as rolling off a log.”
He smiled wanly as he made for the door. “I’d love to win,” he bleated finally. “Mr. Oliphant wants it so much, and—I think it would please Mildred.”
“She’s crazy about it,” I prevaricated mildly. “And, if a man won’t do all in his power to bring, joy to the heart of a girl like Mildred he is utterly hopeless.”
“I’ll do my best,” he promised feverishly and went off.
'T'HE next day was Sunday. In church A I had a full view of Pordidge, for he belongs to the choir. It was plain to see that he was the prey of corroding thoughts. He tugged away at his beard in a way he had when excited. That evening he came to see me, and he looked positively haggard.
“I’ve been thinking much of this match with Mr. Tuttle,” he said. “It’s a dreadful predicáment. I suggested to the secretary this afternoon that I should be diplomatically ill on Saturday, and so drop from the team, but he was furious, accused me of cowardice before the enemy, and said that if I got my rights I’d be shot to-morrow morning at sun-up. Now what is to be done, Algernon? I ask you not as a mere man, nor even as a golf enthusiast, but as an expert in advice and consolation. Hitherto I have borne an unblemished reputation, but I would like to please Mr.; Oliphant and Mildred—particularly Mildred. You remember what Mr. Oliphant said in the Club Room, in the presence of many people? He’d give a whole lot to the man who smashed Tuttle, nothing would be too good for him—even the half of his kingdom and his daughter.” “My dear man, that was figurative, Oriental, merely hyperbolic,” I said.
“Be that as it may, such were his words,” John replied stubbornly.
“Very good,” I said. “Then go forth, decapitate Tuttle, take his gory head on a salver to Abner, and demand your guerdon. Before you rhapsodize, deliver the goods. Of coures Tuttle must be disposed of in a correct sporting way. It would not be quite the thing to poison his tea, pot him from behind a fence, or hurl a bomb at him. He has to be humbled oh the green.”
“That’s so,” he admitted. “And the fact remains, my dear Algernon, that I personally have as much chance of beating Tuttle as I have of winging my way to Mars or some such place.”
“Then the whence and why of this talk about reward?” I demanded coldly.
“In love, as in war, one passes beyond the ordinary rules of conduct,” he replied. “If I cannot beat Tuttle, may not another, of greater skill, do it?”
“Undoubtedly,” I conceded. “Tuttle’s no worldbeater. There are hundreds who could lift his scalp before breakfast and not count it much of a deed.”
“Suppose, Algernon!” and he took me by the coat button. There was a mad light in his eyes. “I say suppose — suppose this person, the destroyer of Tuttle, was to seem to be John Pordidge? That he was made up to> counterfeit me, and that, after he had disposed of MrTuttle he was to vanish into thin air, and I took up and ceeded Jill. “Well, that was how I lost mine. It’s a long story, and it’s not worth talking about, but that’s how things stand, and I’ve got to find work of some sort, and it looks to me as if I should have a better chance of finding it on the stage than anywhere else.” “I’m terribly sorry.”
Continued on Page 64
The Little Warrior
Continued from page 18
“Oh, it’s all right. How much would these people, Goble & Cohn, give me if I got an engagement?”
“Only forty a week.”
“Forty dollars a week! It’s wealth! Where are they?”
“Over at the Gotham Theatre, on Forty-second Street.”
“I’ll go there at once.”
“But you’ll hate it. You don’t realize what it’s like. You wait hours and hours, and nobody sees you.”
“Why shouldn’t I walk straight in and say that I’ve come for work?”
Nelly’s big eyes grew bigger. “But you couldn’t!”
“Why, you couldn’t!”
“I don’t see why.”
Mr. Brown intervened with decision. “You’re dead right,” he said to Jill approvingly. "If you ask me, that’s the only sensible thing to do. Where’s the sense in hanging around and getting stalled? Managers are human guys, some of ’em. Probably if you were to try it, they’d appreciate a bit of gall. It would show ’em you’d got pep. You go down there and try walking straight in.
They can’t eat you. It makes me sick when I see all those poor devils hanging about outside these offices, waiting to get noticed and nobody ever paying any attention to them. You push the office boy inc the face if he tries to stop you, and go in: and make ’em take notice. And, whatever you do, don’t leave your name and address! That’s the old, moth-eaten gag they’re sure to try to pull on you. Tell ’em there’s nothing doing. Say you’re oui for a quick decision! Stand ’em ontheir heads!”
Jill got up, fired by this eloquence.
She called for her check. ,
“Good-by,” she said. “I’m going ta do exactly as you' say. Where can tfind you afterward?” she said to Nelly^ “You aren’t really going?”
Nelly scribbled on a piece of paper»* “Here’s my address. I’ll be in al£ evening.”
“I’ll come and see you. Good-by, M Brown. And thank you.” !
“You’re welcome!” said Mr. Brown»., Nelly watched Jill depart with wide eyes. “Why did you tell her to do that?’/ she said. .Í
“Why not?” said Mr. Brown. “L started something, didn’t I? Well, t guess I’ll have to be leaving too. Got to get back to rehearsal. Say, I like that friend of yours, Nelly. There’s no yellow streak about her! I wish hei luck!”
To be Continued