“For midsheepmen on’y,” promised Tony solemnly.
“Good enough, then,” smiled Mr. Brimmer. “I’ll bring you a party as soon as possible.”
“Then you make me your frien’, sare,” protested the Greek.
As Brimmer went strolling along the street, after that, a plan began rapidly to hatch in his mind. He thought he saw how Tony could made a most valuable ally.
As luck would have it, Brimmer was not long in meeting three midshipmen of rather wild tendencies. To them he proposed a quiet little game of cards. He led his classmates back to Tony’s. Here they regaled themselves with ginger ale, then passed on into the rear room. For more than two hours the midshipmen remained here. Occasionally they called for more of the temperance drinks. As they left Brimmer passed Tony a two-dollar bill, for this midshipman disregarded the regulations in that he frequently received money from home and was always well supplied.
“Thank you, sare,” cried Tony, bowing very low, indeed.
The following Saturday Brimmer returned to the little shop with a small party of friends.
Late that afternoon Tony was richer by a few dollars.
“You one ver’ good frien’, sare,” protested the delighted Tony. “Me? I your ver’ good frien’, too. I do anything for you, sare—try me!”
“I’m getting Tony about where I want him,” thought Mr. Brimmer. “Just a little more help to him, and then I’ll spring my idea on him.”
Thanksgiving had gone by, and now the Christmas Holidays were nearing. Brimmer was playing his game slowly, and without the slightest risk to himself. Tony must take all the risk. If the Greek got into any trouble Brimmer could deny all knowledge of the matter.
One Saturday afternoon, just before Christmas Midshipman Brimmer came down Main Street, looked in and found the Greek standing alone in his shop.
“Howdy, Tony,” was the midshipman’s greeting, as he sauntered into the store.
“Hullo, my good frien’, sare.”
“Wish you a Merry Christmas, Tony.”
“I don’ know, sare, I don’ know,” replied the Greek, shaking his head.
“Why, isn’t business good now, Tony?”
“You do ver’ much, my frien’, to help make it better,” replied Tony, shaking his head, “but still I not make much money.”
“Are you hard up at Christmas, Tony?” asked Brimmer, with pretended sympathy.
“Oh, yes, sare; all time hard up.”
At that moment Brimmer’s gleaming eyes saw Dave Darrin and Dan Dalzell passing on the other side of the street.
“Quick, Tony! Get a look at my friends over there!” whispered Brimmer. “Take such a good look that you will know them again anywhere. Now, it’s the one on the inside, especially. Note him sharply, Tony.”
“I never mistake him again, sare, eff I see him,” replied the Greek gravely.
“Do you see many of these ten-dollar bills nowadays, Tony?” questioned Brimmer, carelessly displaying a banknote.