He signalled to the driver to stop. They had reached the southern boundary of Washington Square. Barbara held out her hand. She was greatly taken with her escort.
“And whom,” she said, “am I thanking for the whistle?”
“Don’t tell me,” said Barbara, “that you’re the man who put Hook Hammersley out in the third!”
“A right to the solar plexus,” said Kid Shannon simply, “to bring him in range and a left to the jaw. Even his friends admits that he begun to take his gloves off while he was still in the air. But I’m in the saloon business now, if it’s all the same to you, having been light-weight champion, and spoke a monologue over three circuits—nice-behaved ladies and gentlemen o’ both sexes always welcome, pay as you consume; but for you or any friends o’ yours the drinks will be on the house.”
[Illustration: Wilmot Allen took her into dinner, and looked much love at her, and talked much nonsense.]
He turned with one foot on the sidewalk, and one in the cab.
“Lady,” he said, “what I’ve poured in jest, drink in earnest. All that’s yellow isn’t butter. But if anybody was to ask you—say, a man who shall be as nameless as he is legless—what I says to you during our discursive promenaid, you answer back and say, ’Kid Shannon, whenever I speaks to him, merely says, “Ha! Hum!”—or words to that effect.’ Here I wishes you salutations, and may your life contain nothing but times when you looks and feels your best.”
Barbara shook hands with him again. “Come to 17 McBurney Place,” she said, “some morning. Ask for Miss Ferris, and see what you think of the bust she’s making of Mr. Blizzard.” She smiled mischievously. “He’s supposed to represent the devil just after falling into hell.”
Shannon nodded with complete understanding. “Then,” said he, “I bet he looks a ringer for Hook Hammersley that time he hit the resin.”
“Thank you for protecting me,” said Barbara, “and for the whistle. Will you tell the man to hurry, please? Thank you! Good-by.”
She was very late to her dinner, but much too amused with recent events to care. And nobody could have made her believe that her going to Blizzard’s place had been fraught with terrible peril. She prized the whistle that Kid Shannon had given her, and resolved that some time she would adventure again into his part of the city, and see if she could bring him running to her side.
“I am sorry I am late,” said Barbara, “but I couldn’t help it.” She vouchsafed no further explanation, and because she was so young and beautiful all those who had been kept waiting forgave her.
Wilmot Allen took her in to dinner, and looked much love at her, and talked much nonsense. He was, indeed, so gay and foolish that she imagined that he must have got himself into trouble again.