I. The dub
III. The glove counter
IV. A likely story
V. The comic spirit
Vi. Spring twilight
VIII. Wheels of chance
IX. The plunger
X. Under fire
XI. Burglary under arms
XII. The lady of the house
XIV. Where Angels fear to tread
XV. Such stuff as plots are made of
XVII. In A balcony
XVIII. The brooch
XXI. The sortie
XXIII. Perceval unashamed
“What I want to say is—will you be my guest at the theatre tonight?”
“You are the one woman in a thousand who knows enough to look before she shoots!”
Facing her, he lifted his scarlet visor.
He was Red November.
“Smell,” P. Sybarite mused aloud....
For an instant he was silent in depression. Then
with extraordinary vehemence he continued crescendo:
He paused for both breath and words—pondered with bended head, knitting his brows forbiddingly.
“Supremely squalid, sinisterly sebaceous, sombrely sociable Smell!” he pursued violently.
Momentarily his countenance cleared; but his smile was as fugitive as the favour of princes.
Vindictively champing the end of a cedar penholder, he groped for expression: “Stygian ... sickening ... surfeiting ... slovenly ... sour....”
He shook his head impatiently and clawed the impregnated atmosphere with a tragic hand.
“Stench!” he perorated in a voice tremulous with emotion.
Even that comprehensive monosyllable was far from satisfactory.
“Oh, what’s the use?” P. Sybarite despaired.
Alliteration could no more; his mother-tongue itself seemed poverty-stricken, his native wit inadequate. With decent meekness he owned himself unfit for the task to which he had set himself.
“I’m only a dub,” he groaned—“a poor, God-forsaken, prematurely aged and indigent dub!”
For ten interminable years the aspiration to do justice to the Genius of the Place had smouldered in his humble bosom; to-day for the first time he had attempted to formulate a meet apostrophe to that God of his Forlorn Destiny; and now he chewed the bitter cud of realisation that all his eloquence had proved hopelessly poor and lame and halting.
Perched on the polished seat of a very tall stool, his slender legs fraternising with its legs in apparently inextricable intimacy; sharp elbows digging into the nicked and ink-stained bed of a counting-house desk; chin some six inches above the pages of a huge leather-covered ledger, hair rumpled and fretful, mouth doleful, eyes disconsolate—he gloomed...