SEVEN DAYS

A good salesman, like a good soldier, makes himself master of circumstance, and never knows when he is defeated. Samuel Guppy was a simple soul, and the cards were stacked against him. Did he lie down? He did not. If you want to see a real salesman in action read this story.

NORMAN REILLY RAINE July 1 1925

SEVEN DAYS

A good salesman, like a good soldier, makes himself master of circumstance, and never knows when he is defeated. Samuel Guppy was a simple soul, and the cards were stacked against him. Did he lie down? He did not. If you want to see a real salesman in action read this story.

NORMAN REILLY RAINE July 1 1925

SEVEN DAYS

NORMAN REILLY RAINE

A good salesman, like a good soldier, makes himself master of circumstance, and never knows when he is defeated. Samuel Guppy was a simple soul, and the cards were stacked against him. Did he lie down? He did not. If you want to see a real salesman in action read this story.

MR. SAMUEL GUPPY removed the paper napkin from the second button of his brown vest, drained his cup of its contents, sighed with repletion and uncoiled his feet from the lunch-counter stool.

"What's the damages, Tony?” he asked. "Bowl a' soup, two roas 'beef sangwiches 'n a cup a’ coffee four bits, Mr. Guppy.” Mr. Guppy gave vent to a short yelp.

"í’ijur bus'. Hey. Tony! Tony'.”

Tony's smite was deprecating.

"Excoos, please, Mr. Guppy—coffee wit’ cream ten cents.”

Recollection of his extravagance overtook the indignant Mr. Guppy.

"Gosh. 1 guess you're right, Tony. Good living comes high, these hard times.” He arose to go. "How's your Swallow Six running now?"

"Da Swallow seex? Great! She's everything you said. Mr. Guppy. She’s a fine car You tell me right about her!”

"Yes she's not a bad old can; just the best on the market, that's alt,” Mr. Guppy conceded generously. "I'm selling lots of 'em right now. When’s your cousin Luigi coming around for his?”

"Not for two-t'ree week. He don’ get out 'tit then. I send hirn to you, Mr. Guppy. You treat’m right, eh?”

"Sure thing. Tony. Any friend of yours. Terms or cash—it's all the same to me.”

He adjusted his hat to a becoming angle, bestowed a benign nod upon the admiring Tony and sauntered forth into the bright October day.

l_I IS route to the august showrooms of * ■* the Silver City Motor Sales Company,

Limited, in whose selling firmament he played a stellar role, was by devious paths and with many interruptions. Swinging off Minter street he drove through a district of mean, clap-boarded houses, drab, squalling children and dingy pawn shops. Stopping before a second-hand clothing store Mr. Guppy edged his bulk between shoddy’ garments swinging in the wind, and entered.

A venerable Jew. none too tidy as to whisker and attire, peered short-sightedly at him with anticipatory hand-rubbing, then, as recognition grew, his old eyes twinkled with pleasure.

"Oi. Mr. Guppy, if it ain’t you I’m a liar! Talking mit devils dey alvays shows up!" He shook hands. “Only yesterday, my gollys, I was by Mr. Slotkin, and he shows me the new auto what he got it, from you. Oi what a sweller is Slotkin. now!" He clucked, admiringly.

"Yes. Slotkin can step out now, alright, Mr. Rosenblum; I gave him a good buy’,” Mr. Guppy responded contentedly. "But I didn't come in to talk automobiles. I come in to ask how little Rosie was.”

If a wrinkled old apple could be said to beam, Mr. Rosenblum's countenance performed that function. His voice rose with delight.

"Oh. Rosie, she's making out fine, although she ain’t getting the outside exercises like what she should; aber she ain't so strong, yet. It-3 real good of you to esk, Mr. Guppy. Rosie'. Rosie! Here's Mr. Guppy esking

how aintcha, Rosie!"

An answering treble came from within the room at the back of the shop, and Mr. Guppy made suitable response. He turned again to the old man.

"Now that your friend Slotkin’s got a car,” he suggested guilelessly, “maybe, if you ask him, he’ll take Rosie out for some rides, if he isn’t too busy. That’s the way she’ll get well, again. Slotkinil be glad to, I should think, you being such friends, eh?’’

Mr. Rosenblum was not enthusiastic. The note of resentment in his reply was not lost on the other.

"Well, if I should hint, he would take Rosie by the park every day. I guess—aber maybe I ain’t going to say nothing to him about it. My gollys, I hope I don’t hev to esk no big-header like Slotkin to come and get some fresh airs for my Rosie! I ain’t such a poor, I guess, Mr. Guppy, thet I gotta beg a charity off a Slotkin. Maybe, one of them times, I get a automobile a’ my own, then we show thet faker he ain't the on’y bushel on the beaches!”

The new magnificence of Slotkin was having its effect upon his Lifetime friend and neighbor. Mr. Guppy applied balm.

"Never mind, Mr. Rosenblum. I’ll drop around tomorrow afternoon and take Rosie for a drive, then you

won’t have to owe favors to anybody. Don’t mention it— it’s a pleasure!”

Mr. Rosenblum expressed his gratitude in tangible form, to which Mr. Guppy manfully replied—“ . . . thanks . . . don’t mind if I do.”

Glasses and a bottle were produced from beneath piledup garments in an obscure corner, and the cheer distributed. Mr. Guppy, however, was a gentleman who took nothing for granted. He felt tentatively in his pocket for a coin. Mr. Rosenblum was suitably outraged.

“How should I esk a friend to hev it a drink, and then to take it off him, his money, Mr. Guppy! . . . and such a feller like you are, too, what takes my Rosie by the automobile out, and for business cares nothing! For shame, Mr. Guppy!”

Apologies followed, enjoyed equally on both sides, and Mr. Guppy thus diplomatically having sowed the seed of a future order took his leave.

LJ IS next call was on the busy and prosperous owner of *■ -1 a grocery, on the most strategic corner of the downtown rooming-house district. Here again he was made welcome. Some years before, he had seen the possibilities of the location, and an opportunity came to lease the building. Mr. Guppy, habitually impecunious, nevertheless was able to raise among his friends sufficient to finance and start an energetic but penniless grocer. Now, three years after, Mr. Guppy was having the satisfaction of selling his protege a Swallow Six—the ultimate aim of his interest—in addition to having earned the gratitude of the satisfied investors. On ground fertilized by that gratitude Mr. Guppy already had reaped his harvest.

In the next hour three other establishments were adorned by his presence; a blind pig, for the operator of which Mr. Guppy had once managed to have a fine revoked; a tire-vulcanizing shop to which Mr. Guppy had been for some months directing business and whose

ANNOUNCEMENT

Silver City Motor Sales Company Selling Contest

$300.00

proprietor was now turning in his old car for a new model Swallow Six; and the Palace Hotel.

At the latter, the show place of the city, the doorman grinned. “Brisk day, Mr. Guppy,” he said. “Hello, Oscar,” that gentleman returned. Crossing the lobby he encountered the Assistant Manager, who greeted him with a cordial “How are you, Mr. Guppy,” to which he replied: “How’s tricks, Ed?” At the kitchen, his destination, the form was reversed. “G’day, Sam,” said his prospect, an under chef, and

“How are you, Mister Hogan?” was the Guppy response.

The purport of all this, is, of course, that Samuel Guppy got on with people. That is why he did not sell cars; he let folk buy them of him—which is different, the difference being the bland and gregarious temperament of Mr. Guppy.

IJ AVING thus pursued his easy way

J through what might be termed the meat of the social sandwich Samuel Guppy drove to his show-rooms. He paused at the switchboard for a moment of conversation with its bobbed-haired, bright-eyed mistress—for a gallant and susceptible heart dwelt within the Guppy bosom,—and having exchanged tender pleasantries, which evoked a titter and a murmured “Oh, say! . . . ain’t you the cock-eyed limit, Mr. Guppy!” walked jauntily toward his desk.

En route, he glanced at the bulletin board and a notice, newly posted, caught his eye. He drew near and read:

During the week of the Annual Fall Motor Car Exhibition and Convention which opens in this city on Monday, Oct. 20 and closes on Saturday, Oct. 25 a Selling Contest will be conducted by this Company.

A prize of $300.00 will be awarded the member of the sales staff who makes the highest aggregate of sales in this period.

The contest opens at 12 o’clock midnight of Sunday, Oct. 19, and closes at 12 o’clock noon on Monday, Oct. 27. No order will be eligible for count unless turned in within the time limit set, on proper contract forms and accompanied by cash or the usual deposit. Further details upon application.

C. C. Eldridge,

Sales Manager.

Mr. Guppy pushed back his hat from his brow. Three hundred dollars! Gosh! Could he use them? Speculate upon the natatorial prowess of a duck! Why, with that sum he could add that wing to his shack up on the shore of Orr Lake, where, for two lotus-eating weeks of every year he diverted himself with fishing and soul-satisfying slumber; or it would buy him liquid cheer for the long, hard winter months to come; or provide hours of joy at stud or draw or even modest banker with the gang in the big paint shop over McCann’s Garage. Three hundred wicked little care-nots! Mr. Guppy’s full lips closed, his eyes, his cigar and his spirits were exalted, and his hat brim reposed once more upon the bridge of his nose.

“Let’s see—” he ruminated, “there’s Conroy and Beeton both ripe for a buy—then old Rosenblum—tosh! I mustn’t forget that ride for Rosie to-morrow, poor kid —and Passafiume who runs the fruit store over on Center avenue; I can work him any old time, now, I guess, and—”

“Mr. Guppy! . . . telephone, Mr. Guppy!” someone called.

Before he reached the instrument that three hundred was as good as in his pocket.

THE self-confidence of Mr. Guppy was not mutual to certain of his co-workers on the sales staff of the Silver City Motor Sales Company, Limited. To them, he was more than just plain Samuel Guppy; he was a pestilence—a blight—a colossal stumbling-block in the path of Progress—their progress—toward the top of the weekly sales record. That proud eminence, Mr. Guppy, through no visible effort, seemed able to occupy at

will. True, there were occasions when an enviable lassitude—a peccadillo he shared with many other great men —overcame him, and he retired from the field to commune with Idleness. These occasions were rare, however, and his ensuing industry appalling, so that he fairly consistently was a thorn, albeit a rather large, blunt thorn, in the tender flesh of those exquisites among his contemporaries who considered Mr. Guppy’s selling methods and dubious circle of acquaintance as, well, rather—oh, you know! Not that their resentment ever could dent the pachydermors hide of that unwitting gentleman. Samuel Guppy was friends with all the world, and wished it well, and his simple soul paid it the undeserved compliment of believing that it regarded him likewise.

Fortunately for Mr. Guppy’s faith in his kind he could not hear the words of one, Hubert Betts, unto another, James Glicke, in Betts’ comfortable apartment that night.

“Not,” lied Betts, bitterly, “not that I care for the three hundred, but it’s just the notion of that big weevil pulling the plums the way he does. He’s so lucky the firm might as well give him the check for the prize now, and save worry!” Viciously—but not too viciously—he fingered his neat blue collar with its deep blue tie.

Mr. Glicke was morose; his heavy, rather unhealthy face was sullen.

“That isn’t the only kick,” he complained. “He’s pulling down the class of the car, too.” The type of prospect that you and I go after are fighting shy of the Swallow Six when they see it sold to Simonsky the junk man, and Briggs the butcher and the rest of Guppy’s flat-foot pals. But what can we do? I’d like to bump him off—the big sausage!” he ended savagely.

“Listen—can’t we work out a scheme to get rid of him before next Monday? You know—frame him up and get him out of town before the contest opens and keep him out long enough to queer his chances?”

“Sure! How’ll we work it—just wish him away?” “Don’t be funny. You’ve got enough handicaps now. Try and think, if it doesn’t sprain anything.”

Followed profound reflection and the lighting of cigarettes. Then Glicke sat up so suddenly that he spilled ash over his immaculate trousers.

“Do you know anything about him—his home folks,

I mean?” he asked, when he had recovered his temper.

“His people are in Sharon.

That’s about four hundred miles west, I believe. His mother lives there with a widowed sister. I heard him tell Eldridge once. Why?”

“I was thinking—couldn’t we fake a wire—mother ill; come at once—something like that?”

“Too crude!” Betts vetoed promptly, “—besides, he might get on to who did it. They say he goes roryheaded when he’s mad.

That’s the way with these big dumb birds.”

“What about a girl, then?

Do you suppose anything feminine and sane ever looked at him?”

“Sure. Women are careless like that, sometimes. Mmm ... let me see . . . seems I heard him handing Miss Dowling the switchboard girl a line one day— oh, it’s over a year ago, now —about some female cloverkicker back in the sticks.

It’s kind of slipped my memory, but we could find out.”

“We’ll have to work fast, then. This is Thursday night. You find out tomorrow about the girl, if there is one, and we’ll spring something on him that’ll make his eyeballs grow.

Wait a minute. I want to use your phone.”

Mr. Glicke spent some minutes in conversation with the Union Station. He returned to his chair, jubilant. “Fine!” he announced. “Sharon is a little burg, buried to the ears in the bush. It’s on a branch, miles from the main line and all they allow those hay-sniffers is two

trains a week each way, on Tuesdays and Saturdays. If we get rid of him to-morrow night he can’t get back in time. That’ll sink his chances, eh? What do you think? . . . throw over the matches.” Betts complied. “Good! That’ll sew him up tighter’n a Scotsman! . . . well . . . happy days!” NEXT morning Mr. Betts lounged gracefully over the switchboard and directed a killing glance at the receptive Miss Dowling. As this was an operation in which Mr. Betts had had considerable experience it was not long before the pair were in animated persiflage, which the skilled Mr. Betts had no difficulty in directing to the subject which engrossed him, to wit, the sentimental attachments of Samuel Guppy. “Cert’nly—” the lady informed him, with an appreciative appraisal of her interlocutor’s natty attire and patent-leather hair, “he ain’t any Rudy, you might say, but he’s got a swell way with us girls without getting too familiar, if you know what I mean, and—what’s that? . . . oh, you go on, Mr. Betts! I think you’re just terrible! . . . besides, I guess I know when to be a lady, if—beg parding? ... a girl back home? . . who— Mr. Guppy? Sure! . . . why wouldn’t he have? He ain’t poison! . . . Ye-ah! . . . c’n you picture it?

Adeline’s her name, he told me once, a long time back. WThen they gett’n marr—? Excuse me . . Silver City Motor Sales Company . . . yes, sir . . . Mr. Eldridge? Just a minute—” Calls flashed frantically on the board. Mr. Betts, hav-

ing attained his main objective, moved quietly away. At four o clock that afternoon, when Mr. Guppy had returned from his excursion with the Rosenblums Messrs. Betts and Glicke approached the Guppy desk and engaged that gratified individual in unaccustomed conversation. If there was a suggestion of eagerness, a hint of expectancy in their bearing, Samuel Guppy, basking in the sun of a belated good-fellowship failed to discern it. That these two, who so consistently had ignored him, or treated him with amused contempt, should at last approach him with friendly advances of their own accord filled the companionable Mr. Guppy with delight. With the rest of the big sales staff he had always been on terms of frank liking and mutual regard—and now the last of the lambs were entering the fold. He was mildly elated. While they were talking a boy approached with a telegram. “For Mr. Guppy,” he announced. Mr. Guppy’s blue eyes opened wide. “For me—a telegram?” he said, “Gosh!” He was not used to having telegrams. His new chums exchanged looks as he ripped open the envelope, then watched his face as he read. Upon that face there appeared a pucker or two about the eyes; next, a dawning astonishment; and finally a stare of utter bewilderment mingled with dismay. Samuel Guppy

gasped. Mr. Glicke laid an affectionate arm across his shoulders. “Not bad news, old man, I hope—” he murmured. Mr. Bett’s features were registering deep concern, also. “It—it’s—but I don’t understand!” stammered Mr. Guppy. “There must be some mistake. I—” He looked appealingly at them, and seeing only anxious glances thrust the message into Glicke’s hand. “Here! Read it! It’s from a—a girl at home. Says she’s being married Tuesday, and begs me to come. She . . look! . . . she signs it ‘yours no longer, Adeline’.” Mr. Guppy’s broad face worked. His companions expressed their grief. “Too bad, old boy, throwing you over like this,” said Mr. Betts feelingly, “but buck up! Show the noble spirit! You know—coals of fire—go back—face it like a Guppy—all that kind of thing!” “It’s not that,” explained Mr. Guppy, a flake of tobacco dancing agitatedly upon his lip, “but the poor girl must have gone mad! You see, she’s already married. She was married to my cousin a year ago last June!” AN EMERGENCY meeting of the Guppy Elimination Committee went into session that evening in Mr. Betts’ rooms. It was marked by acrimonious debate and several regrettable displays of high feeling. “Luck! . . . just plain, bull-headed luck, that’s all it is!” snapped Mr. Glicke. “That pot-head’d blunder through hell in a paper suit!” But, as Mr. Betts with some acerbity pointed out, cursing abstracts got nowhere. Plan after futile plan was discussed and cast aside until the conclave resolved itself into a competition in personal abuse. Then Mr. Betts broke the miffed silence of several minutes with the germ of a brilliant idea. “By George,” he ex-

ploded. “we'll kidnap him, and hold him in that old ice-cutter’s shanty near Catfish Lake. You know—it’s out the Wampsville Turnpike. Mr. Glicke stared offensively as his friend elaborated details, but presently, the very daring of the thing became Continued on page 51+

Continued from page 15

a recommendation to a mind benumbed by recrimination and fruitless scheming, and interest, developing in time to the G licke equivalent of enthusiasm, was born.

"You ought to lie a general—or on the stone pile; I don’t know which,” he complimented. "It gives us a show, though. Go on.”

"We’ll have to have outside help, of course,” the other explained. “We’ll stall that it’s a practical joke, see, and some of the lads from the Club will give us a hand.”

“You talk like a forty-reel thriller, but we’ll have to risk it. When does it come off?”

“To-morrow. Come on! Let’s get over to the Club and enlist the gang.”

TO SAMUEL GUPPY engaged in the congenial task of appending the G uppy signature to a filled-out order form -the following noon, came interruption, in tlie shape of a rather bulky young man, dressed in a good but ill-fitting suit. He was, he announced in somewhat surly tones, John Applejohn, farmer, in good health and standing, of Wampsville. He had been directed to Mr. Guppy by a person of vague identity, for a demonstration of the famous Swallow Six. Mr. Guppy extracted from his vest a cigar of awesome dimensions and conferred it upon his visitor. This done, he finished his job and turned the order in. It is a pleasant commentary upon the impeccability of Mr. Guppy that he did not—as he might easily have done—withhold any of the week’s business for entry in the contest. He intended to begin it with a clean slate. Thus buttressed in virtue, Mr. Guppy returned to his new prospect.

“Well, sir, it’s a fine day, isn’t it?” he inquired sociably. “I’ll take you for a drive around, and you can see for yourself what the old boat can do. I don’t have to claim she’s a world-beater, Mr. Applejohn. She struts her talent without coaxing.” He piloted the bucolic Mr. Applejohn through the door and into the front seat of his car. “Now if there’s any place in particular you’d like to go—” he suggested.

“Oh, just drive around a piece. We’ll go out to the farm a little later and pick up the missus.”

They left the city and swung out upon the Federal Highway, a straight, macadamized ribbon that stretched through pleasant wood and rolling farm land, matured and stained with a thousand hues of russet and crimson and gold under the mellow autumn sun. As he drove, Mr. Guppy carried on a monologue which set forth, in enticing words, the desirable features of their chariot. He dwelt caressingly upon mileage per gal.; his tongue lingered about such tid-bits as transmission and ignition and wheel-base; he waxed gently eloquent on cylinders and lubrication, and the manifold and delicate beauties of valves; he murmured of speed, andstepped on it until their ears were numb with cold on the stretches, and crept past frankly sceptic speed-cops at a demure twenty m.p.h. Mr. Guppy was in heaven—but his client, apparently, was not even peeking in at the gate.

As rolling mist obscures the fairness of a sunny day, so, in the end, Mr. Appiejohn’s indifference to the virtues of the Swallow Six blanketed the exuberance of Samuel Guppy. It was evident, thought he, that the passenger was a man of deeds; one of those deep, strong, silent natures which had to be shown, rather than told. Mr. Guppy, slightly chastened, changed his tactics. He, too, became mute, a ragged stump of cigar between his lips, and transmuted words to action, making the Swallow shout for herself. Still no visible effect upon the taciturn Mr. Applejohn. At length the latter gentleman looked at his watch.

“Better get the old woman, now,” he suggested. “The farm’s near Catfish Lake a little to the left of the top of the Wampsville Hill. I’d kind of like to see how this kettle can take that hill, too.” Mr. Guppy beamed anew. If, beyond a hundred other enviable qualities there was one in which the Swallow Six excelled it was the way in which she could mount an incline! Here, at last, was a real chance to show this two-legged bivalve what was what. Once again, the interrupted flow of Mr. Guppy’s words resumed its course. He expounded; he enlarged; not, mind

you, altogether for selling purposes but because he really loved the car and was enthusiastic over her grade-gobbling achievements. The customer who bought of him a Swallow Six purchased, not only an automobile, but also a generous single portion of the spiritual entity of Mr. Guppy.

WITH the wheel swung hard over they executed a beautiful nineteenfoot turn and a moment later were drowsing back toward Wampsville. After ten or fifteen minutes there arose before them the steep, mile-long gradient of the Wampsville Hill. The Swallow hummed easily along the approach, vibrant power in every cushioned throb, and took the rise like her feathered namesake. Samuel Guppy leaned back, one easy hand upon the wheel, all unknowing that Mr. Applejohn was dividing calculating glances between his chauffeur and a certain group of pines, the tips of which were just visible over the lip of the hill. Three hundred yards flashed by and Mr. Guppy thought safe to permit one last, short eulogy.

“You’ve got to hand it to her for a classy all-round perform—”

Like many another, perhaps more historic utterance that sentence was destined never to be completed, for Wampsville Hill became his Waterloo, and Wellington lurked in the shape of a transverse ridge and depression, invisible from below, product of the recent rains. There was a sudden violent bump, a jar, a crack and the shriek of frantically applied brakes. Mr. Applejohn removed his exasperated features from the windshield, and, streaming gore and language, stepped into the road and implored Olympus to inform him why he ever had suffered himself to be swayed into the keeping of such an unparalleled jackass as Samuel Guppy.

The lacerated feelings of that sensitive individual engrossed their owner’s attention to the exclusion of minor physical hurts. W'hen he had recovered his breath he climbed painfully from his throne and inspected the damage, paying no attention, beyond a sub-conscious mild thrill of appreciation, to the picturesque adjectives of the suddenly loquacious Mr. Applejohn. That inspection but deepened Mr. Guppy’s dejection. He became dumb with embarrassment and dismay. A prospect in the car, the deciding factor only a mile away, a moment of braggadocio—and a broken axle!

“Some bundle of scrap-iron you’re selling, aren’t you?” ironically enquired Mr. Applejohn, between bursts. “About as much good as a cocktail-shaker at a temperance camp! Can’t climb a molehill without breaking apart! Well!—” as Mr. Guppy made no response, “don’t take root, there! Goggling at the damn thing won’t fix it! What’re you going to do?” “Cosh, it isn’t the car that’s bothering me,” returned Mr. Guppy ruefully, “it’s your wife waiting for us to show up and take her for a ride. Say! she’ll be good and mad, won’t she? YY omen-folk hate to be left. I suppose I wouldn’t have time to come out again to-day with another bus.” He sighed resignation. “Got to get on a p’none, anyway.”

Mr. Applejohn, his choler forcibly repressed, cast an anxious glance at the hilltop.

“Come up to the farm and phone from there. Y'ou can talk to the wife too," he suggested.

Mr. Guppy hesitated, then shook his head. “No, thanks,” he decided, “When I meet Mrs. Applejohn I’ll show up with a Swallow Six, not an excuse! There’s a phone in that store down at the crossroads. I’ll use it, and get a service car out.” Mr. Applejohn measured the other's bulk with appraising eye. He had carried the scheme through for the boys pretty successfully up to the time of t lie accident, and he didn't propose to let them down now. He descended to cajolery, but Mr. Guppy, despite his pleased surprise at the other's sudden friendliness, was adamant. “—besides, I don't like to leave the car here in the middle of the road, and you said your farm’s a half mile from tlie top of the hill. I’m mighty obliged to you, Mr. Applejohn but I guess I'll make tracks for that store.” kir. Guppy bent over to recover his hat from the road. When he straightened it was to meet the irate fists of his companion, whereupon «ensued a scene, short but spectacu-

lar, and not quu____with the pre-

cepts of the well-known Marquis of Q. At its conclusion, Mr. Guppy, who, when occasion demanded, could poke a mean duke, surveyed the recumbent Mr. Applejohn, more in sorrow than in rage.

“Gosh,” he soliloquized, “this poor lad must have been struck on the Swallow after all.” He helped his dazed prospect to his feet. “There you are, Mr. Applejohn, sir. Sorry I had to lick you, but you asked for it, you know. You’d better go home and have the wife put some meat on that eye. It isn’t looking too well.”

MR. GUPPY stood in the road and watched as his late adversary stumped wearily up the Wampsville hill. At the top, to Mr. Guppy’s puzzlement, he was joined by three other figures, and a gesturous and evidently heated discourse took place, the subject of which unmistakably was himself. After a minute or two the entire party headed down the slope. Mr. Guppy’s further attention was diverted by the owner of a large touring car who, coming up from behind and observing the Swallow’s plight, volunteered his assistance. When he looked again it was to see the disappearance of the entire party over the crest of the hill. He saw them no more.

An hour later Mr. Guppy was jogging disconsolately back to town on the front seat of a dilapidated service car. The Guppy brow was dark; the Guppy eye was stern; the Guppy heart was heavy; in short, Samuel Guppy was dog-gone fed up. It had been a trying afternoon, what with that big egg and his silent criticism, and the accident—and then the fight on top of that. Still—and at the thought the generous nature of Mr. Guppy showed signs of convalescence—there must have been some feature of the Swallow Six that had taken the client’s fancy, else why was he so darned anxious to introduce the salesman to the Applejohn fireside? Well, best forget it! There was a hard week before him, what with the sales contest and the Convention and all. When his bus was fixed he’d roll over to Pete’s place and sit into a little game with the boys. He could do with a little snort, too. The thought was so stimulating that Mr. Guppy, his spirits fully restored, pressed upon the reluctant truck driver a very large, crushed and noisome cigar.

MONDAY—a day of sunlight, bands, parades, banners, festoons, speeches dinners and enthusiasm—and hotel lobbies were crowded with visiting delegates to the Annual Fall Motor Car Exhibition and Convention. All day long and until far into the night a vast throng poured into the big Exhibition Hall to view the newest creations. In all that galaxy of power and beauty however, none was more prominent, more admired, than the new Swallow Super-Six. Her sleek lines, the aristocratic finish of her parts, the just-right note of her royal blue upholstery and the well-bred hum of her peerless engine earned many an appreciative and envious gasp from onlookers within the trade and out. The sales-force was out for scalps. The stimulus of competition was in the blood and even the more lowly of the Swallow salesmen developed the germ of emulation at sight of the herculean efforts of their betters. Messrs. Betts and Glicke, still smarting from their defeat on Wampsville Hill felt over them the ominous shadow of the redoubtable Guppy, but the game was not yet up.

“Better,” said Mr. Betts venomously, “better to split the prize than see that big sock grab it. Tell you what, Glicke; we’ll combine forces. One of us’ll hand over to the other, half of the orders he gets. That’ll make sure of the prize going to one of us, and freeze him out, too,” to which Glicke speedily agreed.

“By the way,” asked the latter, “where is Guppy? He hasn’t been here all day.” “Oh, hob-nobbing with some of his frowsty pals, I suppose. He’ll show up tonight with egg on his vest and orders in his pocket, you watch!” Mr. Betts replied.

This prophecy, however, did not materialize. During the afternoon a message was delivered to Eldridge, the sales manager, which caused that efficient gentleman nearly to bounce out of his chair. Frantically he grasped a telephone and spent a busy ten minutes. Then he sank back and mopped a dejected brow, after which he entered the office of the General Manager.

“Are you sure,” queried the latter, when the situation had been {explained, “that we can’t get him out on bail?”

“Absolutely! I’d shove hell off its trunnions if I could, rather than lose that man at a time like this—but the Judge won’t listen. He said there’s been too much of it lately, and he had to make an example.”

This conversation, relayed by the G. M.’s secretary, was the source of a rumor, solidifying to certainty as the day wore on, which wound its subtle way through the fabric of the Sales Organization and which, when it reached the auricular appendages of Betts and Glicke caused them to weep ecstatically upon each others’ cravats. Samuel Guppy was in jail.

“For seven days—seven beautiful, twenty-four hour days! The whole blessed Convention week!” gurgled Betts. “After side-stepping us he flops right in a hole. Goes out to a party at Pete Brenner’s on Saturday night, gets lit up and bumps a cop on the way home! ‘Driving a car while under the influence!’ That was the charge, and the beak sent him down without the option of a fine. Tried in city court this morning. Seven days at the jail farm! Wow!”

A sudden thought struck Mr. Glicke. “Say”—he insinuated, “if that’s the case our little frame-up’s off, eh? Every man for himself, Bert!” and, “Sure thing!” Mr. Betts agreed.

Automobile week was a wonderful success.

THE staff of the Silver City Motor Sales Company, Limited, was gathered, in breathless expectancy, about the person of Mr. Eldridge. The day was Monday, October 27, and the Sales Contest had but fifteen minutes to run. The Sales Manager was speaking.

“I want to thank you all for your splendid effort,” he said. “The results have been away beyond my expectations, and the winner of the prize has well earnèd it. I have only one regret—that, through an unlooked-for circumstance we were deprived of the help of one of our most popular and valuable members. He was absent, and, we must presume, by reason of lack of word from him, not a contestant. Now, gentlemen, you are all present. Are there any more orders to come in?” There were no more. “Very well, then. I will announce the result of the competition.”

He took papers from the desk before him and, selecting one, scanned it for a minute, then went on:

“Through the remarkable showing of eight cars sold the prize of $300.00 has been won,” he held a check aloft, “by Mr.--”

“Sam Guppy!” someone breathed.

Mr. Eldridge dropped his arm and looked sharply at the speaker, then beyond, as the well-known form of Mr. Guppy heaved into view and pushed through the crowd toward him. The Chief’s jaw slacked.

“Morning, Mr. Eldridge—’lo folks!” greeted Mr. Guppy cheerfully. “Hope I’m not too late for the party, eh? Gosh! I near wore out two pair of heels to get here in time, this morning.”

Mr. Eldridge consulted his watch. “There’s five minutes yet. You don’t mean to tell me you’ve got some orders, Sam?” he demanded incredulously as Mr. Guppy tugged at his pocket.

“A few,” Mr. Guppy admitted modestly, and, amid dead silence, handed over a sheaf of forms. Then from a pocket book he withdrew several bills and a check or two. “Deposits,” he explained.

The Sales Manager counted them over and his face broadened to a grin. The crowd stirred expectantly.

“I take pleasure in announcing Mr. Samuel Guppy as the winner, with a total of ten cars sold,” said Mr. Eldridge, with shaking voice.

In the pandemonium that ensued Mr. Guppy was surrounded and bombarded with questions. Messrs. Glicke and Betts, crimson with mortification and disappointed rage were in the forefront.

“Go on, you fat turtle,” one of them snapped, “you faked those orders! How the hell could you sell ten Swallows, and you in the coop?”

Mr. Guppy beamed. “Why, it was easy, boys! Nothing to it!” said he. “Lots of time and no competition, so I sold every bootlegger on the jail farm a new car.”