Yet an hour a day is not pried out of a sacred schedule of work without pains and anguish, and it was with a grim face that the Doc turned back to William Klinker.
“Very well, Mr. Klinker, I will agree to make the experiment, tentatively—an hour a day for thirty days only.”
“Right for you, Doc! You’ll never be sorry—take it from me.”
Klinker was a brisk, efficient young man. The old gang that had fitted out the gymnasium had drifted away, and the thought of going once more into regular training, with a pupil all his own, was breath to his nostrils. He assumed charge of the ceded hour with skilled sureness. Rain or shine, the Doctor was to take half an hour’s hard walking in the air every day, over and above the walk to the office. Every afternoon at six—at which hour the managerial duties at Stark’s terminated—he was to report in the gym for half an hour’s vigorous work on the apparatus. This iron-clad regime was to go into effect on the morrow.
“I’ll look at you stripped,” said Klinker, eyeing his new pupil thoughtfully, “and see first what you need. Then I’ll lay out a reg’lar course for you—exercises for all parts of the body. Got any trunks?”
Queed looked surprised. “I have one small one—a steamer trunk, as it is called.”
Klinker explained what he meant, and the Doctor feared that his wardrobe contained no such article.
“Ne’mmind. I can fit you up with a pair. Left Hand Tom’s they used to be, him that died of the scarlet fever Thanksgiving. And say, Doc!”
“Here’s the first thing I’ll teach you. Never mister your sparring-partner.”
The Doc thought this out, laboriously, and presently said: “Very well, William.”
“Call me Buck, the same as all the boys.”
Klinker came toward him holding out an object made of red velveteen about the size of a pocket handkerchief.
“Put these where you can find them to-morrow. You can have ’em. Left Hand Tom’s gone where he don’t need ’em any more.”
“What are they? What does one do with them?”
“They’re your trunks. You wear ’em.”
“Where? On—what portion, I mean?”
“They’re like little pants,” said Klinker.
The two men walked home together over the frozen streets. Queed was taciturn and depressed. He was annoyed by Klinker’s presence and irritated by his conversation; he wanted nothing in the world so much as to be let alone. But honest Buck Klinker remained unresponsive to his mood. All the way to Mrs. Paynter’s he told his new pupil grisly stories of men he had known who had thought that they could work all day and all night, and never take any exercise. Buck kindly offered to show the Doc their graves.
Formal Invitation to Fifi to share Queed’s Dining-Room (provided it is very cold upstairs); and First Outrage upon the Sacred Schedule of Hours.