“By grabs!” he exclaimed. “Twenty after four! I can’t stay, old man; I’ve got a date at 4:30.”
“Why did you come, then?” asked Ravenel, with sarcastic jocularity, “if you had an engagement at that time. I thought you business men kept better account of your minutes and seconds than that.”
Sammy hesitated in the doorway and turned pinker.
“Fact is, Ravvy,” he explained, as to a customer whose margin is exhausted, “I didn’t know I had it till I came. I’ll tell you, old man—there’s a dandy girl in that old house next door that I’m dead gone on. I put it straight—we’re engaged. The old man says ‘nit’ but that don’t go. He keeps her pretty close. I can see Edith’s window from yours here. She gives me a tip when she’s going shopping, and I meet her. It’s 4:30 to-day. Maybe I ought to have explained sooner, but I know it’s all right with you—so long.”
“How do you get your ‘tip,’ as you call it?” asked Ravenel, losing a little spontaneity from his smile.
“Roses,” said Sammy, briefly. “Four of ’em to-day. Means four o’clock at the corner of Broadway and Twenty-third.”
“But the geranium?” persisted Ravenel, clutching at the end of flying Romance’s trailing robe.
“Means half-past,” shouted Sammy from the hall. “See you to-morrow.”
THE CITY OF DREADFUL NIGHT
“During the recent warmed-over spell,” said my friend Carney, driver of express wagon No. 8,606, “a good many opportunities was had of observing human nature through peekaboo waists.
“The Park Commissioner and the Commissioner of Polis and the Forestry Commission gets together and agrees to let the people sleep in the parks until the Weather Bureau gets the thermometer down again to a living basis. So they draws up open-air resolutions and has them O.K.’d by the Secretary of Agriculture, Mr. Comstock and the Village Improvement Mosquito Exterminating Society of South Orange, N. J.
“When the proclamation was made opening up to the people by special grant the public parks that belong to ’em, there was a general exodus into Central Park by the communities existing along its borders. In ten minutes after sundown you’d have thought that there was an undress rehearsal of a potato famine in Ireland and a Kishineff massacre. They come by families, gangs, clambake societies, clans, clubs and tribes from all sides to enjoy a cool sleep on the grass. Them that didn’t have oil stoves brought along plenty of blankets, so as not to be upset with the cold and discomforts of sleeping outdoors. By building fires of the shade trees and huddling together in the bridle paths, and burrowing under the grass where the ground was soft enough, the likes of 5,000 head of people successfully battled against the night air in Central Park alone.
“Ye know I live in the elegant furnished apartment house called the Beersheba Flats, over against the elevated portion of the New York Central Railroad.