“Anything you want, except to wear ’em,” said Mr. Burke, feebly, with a grin.
* * * * *
One hour later Miss Casey was standing up with Mr. Patsy Moffat for the grand march of the grand ball of the Jolly Fellows’ Pleasure Club of the Fourteenth Ward, held at the Palace Garden. The band was just starting the “Boulanger March,” and Mr. Moffat was saying wittily that it was warm enough to eat ice, when Mr. Hefty Burke shouldered in between him and Miss Casey. He was dressed in his best suit of clothes, and his hair was conspicuously damp.
“Excuse me, Patsy,” said Mr. Burke, as he took Miss Casey’s arm, in his, “but this march is promised to me. I’m sorry I was late, and I’m sorry to disappoint you; but you’re like the lad that drives the hansom cab, see?—you’re not in it.”
“But indeed,” said Miss Casey, later, “you shouldn’t have kept me a-waiting. It wasn’t civil.”
“I know,” assented Hefty, gloomily, “but I came as soon as I could. I even went widout me supper so’s to get here; an’ they wuz expectin’ me to stay to supper, too.”
Hefty Burke was once clubbed by a policeman named McCluire, who excused the clubbing to his Honor by swearing that Hefty had been drunk and disorderly, which was not true. Hefty got away from the Island by swimming the East River, and swore to get even with the policeman. This story tells how he got even.
Mr. Carstairs was an artist who had made his first great success by painting figures and landscapes in Brittany. He had a studio at Fifty-eighth Street and Sixth Avenue, and was engaged on an historical subject in which there were three figures. One was a knight in full armor, and the other was a Moor, and the third was the figure of a woman. The suit of armor had been purchased by Mr. Carstairs in Paris, and was believed to have been worn by a brave nobleman, one of whose extravagant descendants had sold everything belonging to his family in order to get money with which to play baccarat. Carstairs was at the sale and paid a large price for the suit of armor which the Marquis de Neuville had worn, and set it up in a corner of his studio. It was in eight or a dozen pieces, and quite heavy, but was wonderfully carved and inlaid with silver, and there were dents on it that showed where a Saracen’s scimetar had been dulled and many a brave knight’s spear had struck. Mr. Carstairs had paid so much for it that he thought he ought to make a better use of it, if possible, than simply to keep it dusted and show it off to his friends. So he began this historical picture, and engaged Hefty Burke to pose as the knight and wear the armor. Hefty’s features were not exactly the sort of features you would imagine a Marquis de Neuville would have; but as his visor was down in the picture, it did not make much material difference; and as his figure was superb, he answered very well. Hefty drove an ice-wagon during business hours, and, as a personal favor to Mr. Carstairs, agreed to pose for him, for a consideration, two afternoons of each week, and to sleep in the studio at night, for it was filled with valuable things.