“All right,” said Roscoe, drooping under the torture. “It’s all true.”
“What you goin’ to do about it?”
Roscoe’s head was sunk between his shoulders. “I can’t stand very much talk about it, father,” he said, pleadingly.
“No!” Sheridan cried. “Neither can I! What do you think it means to me?” He dropped into the chair at his big desk, groaning. “I can’t stand to talk about it any more’n you can to listen, but I’m goin’ to find out what’s the matter with you, and I’m goin’ to straighten you out!”
Roscoe shook his head helplessly.
“You can’t straighten me out.”
“See here!” said Sheridan. “Can you go back to your office and stay sober to-day, while I get my work done, or will I have to hire a couple o’ huskies to follow you around and knock the whiskey out o’ your hand if they see you tryin’ to take it?”
“You needn’t worry about that,” said Roscoe, looking up with a faint resentment. “I’m not drinking because I’ve got a thirst.”
“Well, what have you got?”
“Nothing. Nothing you can do anything about. Nothing, I tell you.”
“We’ll see about that!” said Sheridan, harshly. “Now I can’t fool with you to-day, and you get up out o’ that chair and get out o’ my office. You bring your wife to dinner to-morrow. You didn’t come last Sunday—but you come to-morrow. I’ll talk this out with you when the women-folks are workin’ the phonograph, after dinner. Can you keep sober till then? You better be sure, because I’m going to send Abercrombie down to your office every little while, and he’ll let me know.”
Roscoe paused at the door. “You told Abercrombie about it?” he asked.
“Told him!” And Sheridan laughed hideously. “Do you suppose there’s an elevator-boy in the whole dam’ building that ain’t on to you?”
Roscoe settled his hat down over his eyes and went out.
“Who looks a mustang in the
Changety, chang, chang! Bash! Crash! Bang!”
So sang Bibbs, his musical gaieties inaudible to his fellow-workmen because of the noise of the machinery. He had discovered long ago that the uproar was rhythmical, and it had been intolerable; but now, on the afternoon of the fourth day of his return, he was accompanying the swing and clash of the metals with jubilant vaquero fragments, mingling improvisations of his own among them, and mocking the zinc-eater’s crash with vocal imitations:
Fearless and bold,
Chang! Bash! Behold!
With a leap from the ground
To the saddle in a bound,
And away—and away!
Who looks a chang, chang, bash, crash, bang!
Who cares a dash how you bash and you crash?
Night’s on the way
each time I say,
Crash, chang! Bash, chang! Chang, bang, bang!