“The Enemy is nearly always useful if you leave him free to make mistakes.”
The next item on the program was to awaken Suliman. He did not want to wake up. He had lost all interest in secret service for the time being. Even the sight of Mrs. Davey’s New York candy did not stir enthusiasm; he declared it was stuff fit for bints,* not men. [Women]
“All right then,” Grim announced at last.
“School for you, and I’ll get another side-partner.”
That settled it. The boy, on whose lips the word dog was a foul epithet, was actually proud to share a packing-case bedroom with Julius Caesar the mess bull-dog. School, where there would be other iniquitous small boys to be led into trouble, had no particular terrors. But to lose his job and to see another boy, perhaps a Jew or a Christian, become Jimgrim’s Jack-of-all-jobs was outside the pale of inflictions that pride could tolerate.
“I am awake!” he retorted, rubbing his eyes to prove it.
“Come here, then. D’you know where to find your mother?”
“At the place where I went yesterday.”
“Take her some of Mrs. Davey’s candy. Don’t eat it on the way, mind. Get inside the place if you can. If she won’t let you in try how much you can see through the door. Ask no questions. If she asks what you’ve been doing, tell her the truth: say that you cleaned my boots and washed Julius Caesar. Then come back here and tell me all you’ve seen.”
“Sending him to spy on his own mother, Jim?” asked Mrs. Davey as Suliman left the room with candy in both fists. She paused from stitching at the cotton bags to look straight at Grim.
“His mother is old Scharnhoff’s housekeeper,” Grim answered. “Scharnhoff wouldn’t stand for the boy, and drove him out. The mother liked Scharnhoff’s flesh-pots better than the prospects of the streets, so she stayed on, swiping stuff from Scharnhoff’s larder now and then to slip to the kid through the back door. But he was starving when I found him.”
Mrs. Davey laid her sewing down.
“D’you mean to tell me that that old butter-wouldn’t-melt-in-his-mouth professor is that child’s father?”
“No. The father was a Turkish soldier—went away with the Turkish retreat. If he’s alive he’s probably with Mustapha Kemal in Anatolia. Old Scharnhoff used to keep a regular harem under the Turks. He got rid of them to save his face when our crowd took Jerusalem. He puts up with one now. But he has the thorough-going Turk’s idea of married life.”
“And to think I had him here to tea—twice—no, three times! I liked him, too! Found him interesting.”
“He is,” said Grim.
“Very!” agreed Goodenough.