“You can search me!” answered Spike, shaking his head, “but it’s a sure thing she ain’t got no use for Bud.”
“And yet—you go around with him, Spike.”
“But don’t I tell ye he’s been good t’ me! He’s goin’ t’ match me with some top-liners; he says if I can stick it I’ll be a champion sure.”
“Yes,” nodded Mr. Ravenslee, “but when?”
“Oh, Bud’s got it all doped out. But say—”
“And in the meantime your sister will go on feeding you and clothing you and—”
“Cheese it, Geoff,” cried the boy, flushing. “You make a guy feel like a two-spot in the discard! I told you I’d try to get a steady job, an’ so I will—but I ain’t goin’ to quit the fightin’ game for nobody! ‘N’ say—I’m sleepy. How about it? You can have my bed, or the couch here, or you can get in Hermy’s—”
“Thanks, the couch will do, Spike.”
“Then I guess it’s me for the feathers!” said Spike, rising and stretching, “so long, Geoff!”
And in a while, having finished his pipe and knocked out the ashes, Mr. Ravenslee stretched his long limbs upon the chintz-covered sofa, and, mirabile dictu, immediately fell asleep.
HOW MRS. TRAPES ACQUIRED A NEW LODGER, DESPITE HER ELBOWS
He awoke suddenly and sat up to find the room full of sunshine and Spike standing beside him, a bright-faced, merry-eyed Spike, very spruce and neat as to person.
“Say, Geoff,” said he, “I’ve seen Mrs. Trapes, an’ she wants you to go over so she can pipe you off. ‘N’ say, you’re sure up against a catty proposition in her; if you don’t hit it off on the spot as soon as she gets her lamps onto you, it’ll be nix for you, Geoff, an’ nothin’ doin’!”
“Lucid!” said Ravenslee, yawning, “and sounds promising!”
“Why, y’ see, Geoff, she’s got a grouch on because I was out last night, so, if she gives you the gimlet eye at first, just josh her along a bit. Now slick yourself up an’ come on.” Obediently Mr. Ravenslee arose and having tightened his neckerchief and smoothed his curly hair, crossed the landing and followed Spike into the opposite flat, a place of startling cleanliness as to floors and walls, and everything therein; uncomfortably trim of aspect and direfully ornate as to rugs and carpet and sofa cushions.
Mrs. Trapes herself was elderly; she was also a woman of points, being bony and sharp featured, particularly as to elbows, which were generally bare. Indeed, they might be said to be her most salient and obtrusive features; but her shrewd, sharp eyes held an elusive kindliness at times, and when she smiled, which was very rarely, her elbows and her general sharpness were quite forgotten.