“There isn’t any. You see, it’s just—well, I’ve just discovered how it works out. After all these years! She’s had everything she wanted all her life. And me, I’ve never had anything. Not a thing. She’s travelled one way, and I’ve travelled in the opposite direction, and where has it brought us? Here we are, both fighting over an old black velvet rag. Don’t you see? Both wanting the same—” She broke off, with the little twisted smile on her lips again. “Life’s a strange thing, Mr. Hahn.”
“I hope, Josie, you don’t claim any originality for that remark,” replied Sid Hahn dryly.
“But,” argued the editor, “you don’t call this a cheerful story, I hope.”
“Well, perhaps not exactly boisterous. But it teaches a lesson, and all that. And it’s sort of philosophical and everything, don’t you think?”
The editor shuffled the sheets together decisively, so that they formed a neat sheaf. “I’m afraid I didn’t make myself quite clear. It’s entertaining, and all that, but—ah—in view of our present needs, I’m sorry to say we—”
THE GAY OLD DOG
Those of you who have dwelt—or even lingered—in Chicago, Illinois (this is not a humorous story), are familiar with the region known as the Loop. For those others of you to whom Chicago is a transfer point between New York and San Francisco there is presented this brief explanation:
The Loop is a clamorous, smoke-infested district embraced by the iron arms of the elevated tracks. In a city boasting fewer millions, it would be known familiarly as downtown. From Congress to Lake Street, from Wabash almost to the river, those thunderous tracks make a complete circle, or loop. Within it lie the retail shops, the commercial hotels, the theatres, the restaurants. It is the Fifth Avenue (diluted) and the Broadway (deleted) of Chicago. And he who frequents it by night in search of amusement and cheer is known, vulgarly, as a Loop-hound.
Jo Hertz was a Loop-hound. On the occasion of those sparse first nights granted the metropolis of the Middle West he was always present, third row, aisle, left. When a new loop cafe was opened Jo’s table always commanded an unobstructed view of anything worth viewing. On entering he was wont to say, “Hello, Gus,” with careless cordiality to the head waiter, the while his eye roved expertly from table to table as he removed his gloves. He ordered things under glass, so that his table, at midnight or thereabouts, resembled a hot-bed that favours the bell system. The waiters fought for him. He was the kind of man who mixes his own salad dressing. He liked to call for a bowl, some cracked ice, lemon, garlic, paprika, salt, pepper, vinegar, and oil and make a rite of it. People at near-by tables would lay down their knives and forks to watch, fascinated. The secret of it seemed to lie in using all the oil in sight and calling for more.