FICTION

RIFFIN' the BLUES

HENRY ANTON STEIG December 1 1940
FICTION

RIFFIN' the BLUES

HENRY ANTON STEIG December 1 1940

RIFFIN' the BLUES

HENRY ANTON STEIG

SIGGY MILLER was at liberty again. So Mr. Harvey quickly gathered when the long, chubby trombonist entered the swanky booking office. Siggy looked tired and seedy. There was a meek expression on his freckled face, something apologetic in the way he held his derby under his arm, and, most conclusive evidence that he was in difficulties, he did not have his horn with him. The Ixxjking agent had never before seen him without it.

"Hy, Mr. Harvey," Siggy said in a sad, cavernous voice, extending across the desk a hand like a fielder's mitt.

"Hello, Siggy.” Harvey shwk the hand. “Take a seat.” Siggy let himself down remarkably like one getting into bed, considering that it was only a club chair he had at his disposal. His whole attitude suggested a charade on "Nobody Knows the Trouble I Got." Even his red curly hair, Mr. Harvey thought, was not as bright or as blithely curly as usual.

“At this moment you're sup|xsed to lxin New York with Wally Pierce, having arrived yesterday from Pittsburgh,” the agent said. "What are you doing in Chicago?” "It’s a long tune. Mr. Harvey.”

"Were you fired?”

Siggy hopefully pushed himself a bit higher in his chair. Mr. Harvey seemed willing to listen, and that was a g(xxi sign.

“Well, not exactly.”

"Did you quit?”

“Sort of.”

Mr. Harvey was exasperated.

"1 don’t know wiiat I’m going to do with you, Siggy. I pick you up out of the wtxxis, blowing your head off for chicken feed, bring you to Chicago and place you with Gus Jones in the dough, and you go and get yourself into a brawl right on the stand in the most exclusive ballroom in town. I put you with another name band and—"

“I wanted to walk out the first night, with Gus.” Siggy interrupted in an injured tone. “Soon as I saw the other slip horn had red hair I knew there’d be trouble. I told Gus. but he only laughed. Ever since I was a little kid I could never click with another redhead about anything. I don't know why. but it seems two of us are just too many in one place. Why, the only time I ever got into a real auto accident, the other guy had my shade of hair. That guy with Gus. well, it was a miracle we stayed peaceful as long as we did. The pay-off came that last night when he butted into one of my solos. It wasn't the first time, and I figured I'd blow him out of it like I did before, but he was stubborn. So after eight measures of a dog-fight I sluffed him one and he came back—”

“I get the idea,” Harvey said. "Gus threw you both out. and it served you right. But this is getting very interesting. Are you trying to tell me that just because the other trombonist happened to have red hair—”

"Yeah. Otherwise chances are I'd be with Gus yet, I get along fine with anybody but redheads.”

"But the second time—why did you quit Al Brendon?

There was no carrot-top in his outfit that I ever noticed.”

“There it was a case of the way the leader gimme the eye. It made me nervous. I used to see it in my dreams.”

The agent looked incredulous.

“Honest, Mr. Harvey, it went right through me!” Siggy insisted.

“Hmm. Of course. I should have realized that a prima donna like you couldn't get along with a maestro whose eyes happen to be a bit close set. Will you forgive me?” Harvey said. "And now we get to Wally Pierce. Did he look at you cockeyed too?”

After all that talk Siggy felt the boss just couldn’t turn him down.

“Well, it was like this,” he said, sitting up like a man at last. "I never was really at home with Wally’s outfit.”

"They’re on the schmaltzy side, you know. And even if I am throwing posies at myself, I think I play a pretty dirty horn. But there’s only so much swing in a gate. Every time I knock off a solo, like for instance that sixteen bars in ‘The Breakdown’ I waxed with Gus last season, it takes a little piece out of my heart. No riffer can go on blazing it out without something to send him—sort of stoke him up again. And with Wally there was nothing but swish all around me. He didn’t know the difference for a long time, but I did. I was gradually getting in a hole with a lot of worn-out licks, and if you was a musician you’d understand what that means to a cat who takes pride in his horn.”

There wasn't a trace of boastfulness in Siggy’s manner. He only knew that he was good, and he wanted to stay good. If he couldn't give his best he would rather not give at all. Mr. Harvey could not help admiring this aspect of the swing temperament. He still felt responsible for Siggy. Siggy would perhaps have been better off if he had remained in the disreputable honky-tonk where he had been discovered. There, working with a small group of swingsters who understood and appreciated one another, he had been happy. The big-time had brought him more woe than joy.

“I think I understand. Siggy.”

“By the time we got to Pittsburgh,” the trombonist went on, “I was playing such a sad horn even Wally knew the difference. He made a face at me after one of my solos. Listening to myself, I couldn’t blame him, but to have that model for long underwear practically say ‘phooey’ to me, well, I felt it was time to give myself the gong. So I asked him didn’t he think he ought to let me go. He said he was sorry he razzed me—he was sure I’d get back in the groove, soon, and he didn’t wanna lose me. I said I’d think it over. But I needed some advice and I went to see a certain Madame Sasseemo. She told me great misfortune was in store for me if I didn’t give up my job at once and keep far away from whoever it was I was working for—and that settled it, at least as far as I was concerned.”

HARVEY bent forward over his desk and closed his eyes. He seemed to be suffering, and it made Siggy squirm. “You know, Siggy,” the agent said with great restraint after a long silence, “any other agent would have had you thrown out on your ear before this. I guess I have a soft streak in me somewhere. I just can’t see a solid, steady man like you down and out. You don’t drink—”

“Not enough to brag about, but don’t go making an angel out of me,” said Siggy with embarrassed gruffness.

“There’s nothing wrong with you except those idiotic superstitions, and they constitute a real vice,” Harvey said. “Going to a fortuneteller ! How can you sit there and admit it so calmly?”

“I ain’t superstitious, I’m just careful,” Siggy said doggedly. “You didn’t hear the whole story. It turned out Madame Sasseemo was right! After I saw her I went back to Wally and told him I was sure I ought to quit. He went up in the air. He said if I didn’t give him two weeks notice” —here Siggy looked down into his hat—“he’d fix it so I’d never get another job out of this office. So I said all right, I’d stick. What else could I do? Well, that night I pushed a very bad horn through our last session at the dance hall. We were due to leave on an early train, and the boys figured it was no use going to bed for just a coupla hours—they’d throw a party. But I didn’t feel like any party. I needed some fresh air and I wanted to be by myself. So I left the boys—it was around three a.m.—and on the way to the hotel I got stuck up and cleaned out of my roll. I tried to stay with my horn and here’s what I got for it. I can’t even wear a hat.”

Siggy bent over and showed Mr. Harvey the back of his head. Harvey winced at the size of the lump.

“Well,” Siggy continued, “when I woke up it was beginning to get light. I went bowlegged as fast as I could back to the hotel, and I found Wally taking himself for a walk around the lobby with his watch in his hand. He’d already sent the boys to the depot and was waiting till the last minute in case I showed up. There I was, without my horn or a dime, and feeling prçtty sick. He wanted me to grab my bag and run along with him—pick up another horn in New York. But I said, ‘Nothin’ doin’ ! You want me to get killed? Look what happened already. If I go along there’s liable to be a train wreck. You got to think of the boys.

too.’ I guess I finally got him leary. He gave me a slant y look, wished me the best, and then he had to beat it. I didn’t even have time to make a touch. So I went and sold a good-luck ring that the gorillas didn’t happen to notice. It didn’t seem it was bringing me much luck, but it got me enough for a bus to Chicago. So you see? If I'd only listened to Madame Sasseemo ...”

Harvey burst into helpless laughter and threw his hands in the air.

“Listen, idiot. You paid this crystal-gazer for her services, didn’t you?”

“Sure, and it was worth it.”

“She got a good look at your roll, I bet, and you don’t see any connection between that and the stick-up. Don’t you understand? She had you tailed ! It’s an old game.”

Siggy frowned thoughtfully. Then he shook his head and said, “Naah, not Madame Sasseemo. She’s got a reputation.”

Harvey groaned. “You need a guardian. I swear you need someone to hold your hand.”

His secretary came in with a telegram. He read it and handed it to Siggy.

It said: "Siggy quit. Unable to find suitable replacement. Send trombone quick.—Wally Pierce.”

“Gee, I’m sorry, Mr. Harvey,” Siggy said. “Looks like even in New York, where it’s cluttered with cats, you can’t always find one to fit in a hurry. Too bad about Wally— but looka the breaks I been gettin’.”

“You’re a very lucky guy in some ways,” answered the agent. “I’m going to take one more chance with you. Bill Hutchinrider hasn’t been able to find a trombone he likes for a long time. Louie Fernstrom is too straight for him. He’s keeping him only until he can make a switch, and that’s where you come in.”

Siggy brightened up. “Hutchy’s outfit is just the right size for me, and the right style. Ten honest-to-jive ride men!”

“I thought so,” Harvey said dryly. He called his secretary. “See if you can get Hutchinrider at the Hotel Hudson in New York.”

At the mention of New York, Siggy’s face fell, but he said nothing.

“Hello, Bill?” Harvey said into the telephone. “I’m fine, thanks. Listen! We’re in a position to make a trombone switch with Wally Pierce. He’s in town there with you and he always liked Louie Fernstrom ’s work Wait, wait,

I’m coming to that—I’ve got Siggy Miller for you. Yes, he’s here in my office, now. Get a release from Louie, send him to Wally and I’ll ship Siggy right to you by plane. Good ! As long as everybody’s happy.”

He put down the receiver and turned to Siggy.

“You’ve got two hours to buy a horn and beat it. How much’ll you need?”

“For one like I had, a C and a half. And fare and something toliveon till I get my first pay.”

Harvey gave him the money.

“Gee, I don’t know how to thank you, Mr. Harvey.” “Remember, it’s your last chance,” the agent said at the door. “Don’t come back with any stories about fortunetellers.” Hesmiled. “Why don’t you get married, Siggy? A nice, sensible girl is just what you need. A level-headed woman to knock some of that nonsense out of you.”

“Who, me? Naah,” Siggy said with a shy grin. Going out, he inadvertently stepped on the line dividing office from corridor. Quickly he retreated into the room, closed the door, opened it again and carefully put his foot over the line. "Well, good-by, Mr. Harvey, and thanks again.” From the office building Siggy went directly to Halstead Street to confer with Madame Coralina, seeress extraordinary.

Siggy pushed a mean slip-horn, but when it came to jinxes — notably red-headed jinxes — he was just a push-over

THE AFTERN(X)N was ending when he walked forlornly out of the dirty old brick building. His fear that New York was no place for him to be at that time, because Madame Sasseemo had told him to keep away from Wally Pierce, had been confirmed by Madame Coralina. He had told her of the warning he had been given in Pittsburgh, and from what she had seen in her crystal ball site had strongly urged that he heed it. But letting Mr. Harvey down again was unthinkable. Besides, he had to eat and he had to have a horn. There was no choice for him but to go East and once more chance the wrath of fate. Just as well, though, he thought, that he had prepared himself for the worst.

He hurried to a musical instrument shop. Fondling a shiny new trombone and thinking of sitting in with Hutchinrider’s band made him feel better. He paid for the instrument and left the store, to find a restaurant. After a quick meal there was just time to reach the airport.

Late the next morning he was on the bandstand in the Crystal Garden of the Hotel Hudson in New York with the new band. Hutchy had called a rehearsal in order that Siggy might familiarize himself with the scores.

Siggy was just what the band needed: a solid trombone with plenty of oomph and get-off to hold up the brass section and balance things against the eager reeds. Hutchy thought as he thumped the piano, keeping a critical ear trained on his men. From the way they sounded, they, too. felt the new lift in Siggy’s passionate push-pipe. And Siggy himself was in the smoothest groove he had ever found. The joy of performing with a group of his peers had banished for the time being all mystical apprehensions. How these cats sent each other! Red-faced and exultant at the end of a solo, he opened his eyes and lowered his horn to bask in the warm smiles of appreciation from his new band mates. They liked him, he liked them; everything was fine.

“All right, boys, take a rest,” Hutchy said. “We can’t go on till Mabel shows up.”

The boys lit cigarettes and sat around, talking and joking.

“Here comes the canary,” Herman, the diminutive trumpeter, said, nudging Siggy. “Ain’t she got everything?”

Glowing with happiness and good will. Siggy turned to see the willowy girl gliding toward them across the empty dance floor. One look at her made him go limp in his seat. Mabel Shaw certainly had everything, including hair as red as Siggy’s own.

“Meet Siggy Miller, the new slip horn,” Hutchy said. “Siggy. this is our Mabel.”

Mabel stepped up on the bandstand. "Hello, Red,” she greeted the trombonist in her resilient contralto, smiling in friendly banter, with dimples.

Siggy would about as stxm have touched a toad as her hand, but he awkwardly stcxxl up, took it lightly and quickly let go.

“Pleased to meetcha," he automatically rumbled.

Hutchy handed Mabel a new manuscript. She flashed her ravishing dimples at Siggy once more and turned to “Bobo Blues.”

Disaster had caught up with him. Siggy thought as he sat down and put his horn to his li|)s. Disaster all the more insidious for its lovely disguise, and at a time when he had been deluded into believing that his big break had finally come. It was enough to make him tnink of cyanide and the river.

Red hair had always meant trouble, and if Mabel had been just another pretty canary fronting for a band. Siggy might have resigned as soon as he gracefully could. But she had the rare mysterious qualities of the truly hot voice: a natural emotion-rousing tone, and an effortless way of phrasing that sent Siggy into ecstasy on his trombone. A wonderful band and an even more wonderful singer—how could he possibly walk out on that combination?

He slipix*d a heated riff into the accompaniment, answering one of Mabel’s moaning phrase endings. She smiled encouragement. I íe raised his horn, jxanting it at her, and from then on it became an inspired duet, with the rest of the band supplying a background of neat, subdued rhythm at the command of Hutchy’s quick gesture from the piano.

“Can you give that to them tonight?” the leader asked, jumping up from his stool when it was over. “It'll rock ’em.”

“Ask him.” Mabel said. Hands on hips, face flushed with the excitement of having done something fine and new, she turned to Siggy. “Man ! Do you always do like that on the trombone?”

“I think I could,” said Siggy with a gulp, “for you.”

THEY did it again, and they continued doing it. Mabel and Siggy riflin' the blues became something to talk about on Broadway Night after night the fans in the Crystal Garden crowded up to the bandstand, yelling for the duo to perform. And night after night Siggy went to bed wondering how long it would be before calamity fell as prophesied.

Except during the intense minutes of a duet when he felt irresistibly drawn to her by the magic bond of harmonious Continued on page 30

Riff in* the Blues

Continued from page 13—Starts on page 12

creativity, he never so much as looked at Mabel. He shunned the others too. outside working hours. He was a jinx, and the least he could do was take every possible precaution against jinxing the whole band, even though it did give him a reputation as an odd guy which he did not relish.

Siggy was in the musicians’ room the evening Mabel came in—whistling—to powder her nose. Siggy turned white.

“Say. don’t you know any better than that?” he demanded.

“Better than what?” she asked, giving him a hurt, puzzled look.

“Everybody knows it’s a crime to whistle in a dressing room.”

Siggy looked for support to the other men, who were playing cards.

“Yeah, it’s supposed to he hard luck,” Herman, the trumpeter, said. “But it’s not like a theatre—this ain’t really a dressing room. It's more of a lounging room.”

A couple of the others were inclined to agree that perhaps whistling wasn’t too safe, hut Siggy seemed actually frightened, and they didn’t mind letting him know that they considered that ridiculous.

A bunch of reckless fools, Siggy thought as he went out.

Mabel watched his exit with a quizzical frown.

“Funny how he carries his horn around with him.” Herman observed after Siggy had gone. “Won’t leave it for a minute.” “I guess he’s superstitious,” Mabel said. “Yeah, that must be it.” But why did he so studiously avoid her. she asked herself. There seemed to he a purpose in it. and it was beginning to make her uneasy.

“He’s a trombone from tromboneland, and a nice guy. hut a screwball just the same,” Herman said. “Maybe, fellas, we could have some fun,” he added with a thoughtful grin.

Before that session ended. Siggy was smitten by the unnerving realization that Mabel was sending him in more ways than one—through the heart as well as by the swing route. He found too, to intensify his dilemma, that it had suddenly become very difficult to keep out of her way. She seemed to be challenging him. Wherever he turned, there she was. with those devastating dimples and the smile, sometimes mocking, sometimes wistful, that at moments blinded him to the danger signal she carried on her lovely head. At the end of the evening he grabbed his horn and escaped as quickly as he could from the Crystal Room. But in the lobby Mabel confronted him.

“S’long,” he said without stopping. “Wait, Red. I want to talk to you.”

He halted and said, “Yeah?”

She went out with him into Times Square. They walked slowly uptown, hardly aware of the lights or the noise and bustle around them.

“I just want to know what there is about me that makes you treat me like poison.” Mabel said.

“Aw, you wouldn’t understand.” “Maybe I would. Anyway. I’ve got to know. It’s beginning to affect my work. The way we get together and then the way you go into exile right after it—it’s bringin' me down!”

Siggy sadly nodded his head. “I was afraid of that,” he sighed. “And if you hafta know, well, you halfta know. It’s like this . ” He told her all about his taboo. “It ain't your fault and it ain’t mine, but sooner or later something’s gonna happen. Something bad.”

“You really believe that?”

“I know it.”

“Well I'll be darned. Listen, Red. I like you. We’ve been doing a good job together and I hate to see you go wrong on

account of those crazy notions of yours.”

Siggy stopped and stared miserably at her.

‘‘I like you too, kid,” he faltered. “But ...”

“Well! That’s pretty good going for a shy boy,” Mabel laughed. “I’m a bit superstitious myself. I guess everybody is. But with you it’s a disease. If you expect trouble hard enough and long enough, you’re bound to get it. All you have to do is drop those wacky ideas. Now I dare you take me home ! Just a few blocks up the avenue to the Women’s Centre House. Take a chance and see if anything happens.” Gaily she linked her arm in his. “And stop worrying about the cracks in the sidewalk,” she teased.

Having been driven two ways at once all evening, Siggy was on the verge of emotional collapse. The diabolical truth was that he had fallen in love with this redhead, this symbol of doom. Embrace Nemesis or flee? There was no decision in his fluttering heart. He took a few steps with Mabel, slowed down, took a few more steps—stopped. He was about to start again, trembling inwardly, when Mabel, suddenly annoyed, pulled away her arm.

“If you think I’m going to do a corny hesitation waltz with you up Broadway, you’re crazy! You don’t have to take me home if you don’t want to,” she exclaimed, and started to go on alone. Impulsively, Siggy took her by the shoulders, swung her around and put his face near hers. Then, terrified at what he had almost done, he turned abruptly and practically ran away.

THE NEXT evening the ribbing began.

First, Herman asked Siggy if he had change for a two-dollar bill. They were on the bandstand, about to begin to play, and Siggy was irritated almost beyond endurance by the innocently expectant expressions on the faces of the men around him. This time they wouldn’t get a chance to laugh at him, he decided. “Sure,” he said, pocketing the bill and giving Herman two singles in exchange. During the twenty minutes of that inning, Siggy’s mind was more on the bill, which seemed to be freezing, horribly, to his thigh, than it was on his score. Only his musicianly instincts pulled him through without a blunder. As soon as the saxes had blown the ending figure, he sneaked away and got rid of the bill.

When Mabel appeared for the next set of tunes, she gave him a new kind of smile. He responded with a scared, fishy glance and buried his nose in the music. It didn’t go very well.

“Do you feel all right?” the maestro asked him later, taking him aside.

Siggy toyed in anguish with the slide of his horn.

“Maybe the ol’ trambone needs a little greasing,” he laughed weakly. “I’ll go oil her up.”

In the band room he bent down to get his instrument case from under a table. There was a startling “Meowrr !” as he opened it, and a black kitten sprang out of it at him.

“Very funny, fellas,” he said mournfully when the band was back on the stand, ready to play again.

His tromboning was even sadder than before.

Siggy had gone through more than one course in ribbing during his life as a swingman; it was not so much the horseplay itself that disturbed him as the sense of impending catastrophe that it inspired; the dark powers were starting to get their licks in. The decisive blow came during the intermission just before midnight when, upon pushing open the door of the band room, he heard the crash of shattering glass. A mirror had been rigged up so that his breaking it had been unavoidable.

Six of the boys were playing cards, all apparently absorbed in the game. No one made a sound. Siggy stared at them for a moment, and then:

“Dam it, why don't you laugh?” he exploded. He advanced in fury upon the table, gripped Herman and another

innocent-looking fellow by the backs of their necks and lifted them half out of their chairs. “Go ahead—laugh!” he commanded, tapping their heads together. “Laugh, or I’ll do it harder.”

It wasn’t funny, but they obliged him with sickly guffaws. He glared around the table and dropped them back into their seats.

“Anything wrong. Siggy?” he heard Mabel say behind him. She had come in with Hutchy.

“Naah, everything’s fine,” Siggy said bitingly, walking out past her.

Mabel noticed the glass on the floor and guessed what had happened.

“The trouble with you gates is. you don’t know when to stop,” she scolded. “What are you trying to do, lose the best trombone we ever had?"

“I guess we overdid it.” Herman said ruefully.

Then Hutchy bawled them out. “No more gagging. We’re working here, you know. Now get back to the stand !”

The crowd had been kicking out more j and more enthusiastically all evening to the music of the hottest band in town. Hutchv’s hounds had them really swinging high. It was the time of night when there ¡ had been established between jierformers | and audience a joyous rapport, a certain chummy intoxicated feeling of being sent together toward a mutually satisfying climax. And that meant it was time to rest the feet and just listen.

The colorfully gowned women and their j black-and-white-attired escorts swarmed from their tables to gather together in a swaying worshipful mob in the half-moon of soft light around the front of the bandstand. There prevailed the kind of spirit that would ordinarily have encouraged Siggy Miller to make one more signifi! cant contribution to jive history with his ! mighty horn. But his morale was shatj tered, his nerves were frazzled. He j managed to fight his way through two selections without bringing shame upon himself, but in the first chorus of the tune that j was to end that set, as Mabel slipped onto the stand to get ready for another one of her rhythmic duels with him, Siggy looked at her and cracked on a double-forte passage in the high register.

It was so bad the crowd gasped. It was j so bad Siggy prayed something would strike him dead on the spot. Without his | knowing it, his horn dropj>ed out of his j hands and clattered to the floor. That was all the band needl'd to make them crack wide ojien too, and. though they continued to play, it was with about as much swing as a street band. Siggy, meanwhile, slid off the stand like one in a hypnotic state, and made for the band room as fast as the lumps of ice which had been feet could carry him. Without his horn.

Mabel tried to sing when the moment came, but she couldn’t. She couldn’t give a single note. Suddenly she, too, deserted the platform. And then Hutchy nervously got up from the piano to let the boys carry on as well as they could without him, and followed Mabel to the band room.

HEY found Siggy sitting in a corner \ with his head in his hands. Hearing them come in, he jumped to his feet and went to take his hat and coat off the wall.

“Oh, come on, Siggy,” the leader said, i stepping in front of him. “Everyone has an off-night once in a while.”

“It’s no use, Hutch. I know when I’m finished.”

"But you can’t walk out on me like j this.”

Stubbornly Siggy reached for his hat and coat.

“Let me talk to him. Hutch,” Mabel said grimly. She pushed the leader out of the room. Then she jerked the hat and coat out of Siggy’s hands and threw them aside. “Baby doesn’t like to be teased, so he quits on account of a little ribbing!” she said scathingly.

“You’re only making it harder, kid.” Siggy’s voice was like a lowr note from his *

trombone. “It worked out just like I said it would.”

Her tone changed to one of entreaty. “But we don't want you to go, Red. I. 'specially, don't want you to go.”

“You should’ve thought of that sooner,” he said bitterly. “You had your fun. Now lemme out of here.”

“Wait, Red. I didn’t have anything to do with those gags.”

She put her hand on his arm and gave him so frankly pleading a look that he had to believe her, and all at once he saw that it made no difference whether she was guilty or not. It was impossible, looking into her eyes, not to finish what he had started the night before. If this was to be his doom, Siggy thought when they had their arms around each other, let it come.

A knock on the door separated them. Hutchy stuck his head in. From behind him they heard the insistent yells of the crowd.

“They’re hollerin’ for Siggy and Mabel to riff the blues,” Hutchy said. “Do they get it?”

1 “They get it.” Mabel said, leading Siggy out by the hand.

The next afternoon, as they left the , Fifth Avenue jewellery shop, Siggy deliberately stepped on a line in the ’ pavement.

i “You know. Mabel, the way I came back with you in ‘Bobo Blues’ last night ) knocked the last bit of superstition right out of me,” he laughed. “And it was about ; time. A certain Madame Coralina in i Chicago told me not to dare go near New t York, and look”—he squeezed her arm— ; “I get the luckiest break a gate ever had.” [ “Madame Coralina?” Mabel said in a

1 queer voice, looking at him wide-eyed. ; “On Halstead Street?”

I He nodded dumbly.

“But Siggy, darling, you shouldn’t talk like that. Superstition is one thing and I clairvoyance is something else.” Mabel ; smiled, but her eyes were grave. “I saw Madame Coralina, too, before the band 1 left Chicago, and she told me I’d find ■ wonderful luck in New York, in the shape of a big, red-headed man. So there!”