Genesis turned and looked round about the horizon, mystified. William Sylvanus Baxter and the clothes-boiler had disappeared from sight.
“If he owns that dog,” asserted the still furious owner of Flopit, “I will have him arrested. Where is he? Where is that laundryman?”
“Why, he,” Genesis began slowly, “He ain’ no laundrym—” He came to an uncertain pause. If she chose to assume, with quick feminine intuition, that the dog was William’s and that William was a laundryman, it was not Genesis’s place to enlighten her. “’Tic’larly,” he reflected, “since she talk so free about gittin’ people ’rested!” He became aware that William had squirmed through the hedge and now lay prostrate on the other side of it, but this, likewise, was something within neither his duty nor his inclination to reveal.
“Thishere laundryman,” said Genesis, resuming—“thishere laundryman what own the dog, I reckon he mus’ hopped on ’at street-car what went by.”
“Well, he ought to be arrested!” she said, and, pressing her cheek to Flopit’s, she changed her tone. “Izzum’s ickle heart a-beatin’ so floppity! Um’s own mumsy make ums all right, um’s p’eshus Flopit!”
Then with the consoling Miss Parcher’s arm about her, and Mr. Watson even more dazzled with love than when he had first met her, some three hours past, she made her way between the tubs, and passed on down the street. Not till the three (and Flopit) were out of sight did William come forth from the hedge.
“Hi yah!” exclaimed Genesis. “’At lady go’n a ’rest ev’y man what own a dog, ’f she had her way!”
But William spoke no word.
In silence, then, they resumed their burdens and their journey. Clematis was waiting for them at the corner ahead.
MR. BAXTER’S EVENING CLOTHES
That evening, at about half-past seven o’clock, dinner being over and Mr. and Mrs. Baxter (parents of William) seated in the library, Mrs. Baxter said:
“I think it’s about time for you to go and dress for your Emerson Club meeting, papa, if you intend to go.”
“Do I have to dress?” Mr. Baxter asked, plaintively.
“I think nearly all the men do, don’t they?” she insisted.
“But I’m getting old enough not to have to, don’t you think, mamma?” he urged, appealingly. “When a man’s my age—”
“Nonsense!” she said. “Your figure is exactly like William’s. It’s the figure that really shows age first, and yours hasn’t begun to.” And she added, briskly, “Go along like a good boy and get it ever!”
Mr. Baxter rose submissively and went upstairs to do as he was bid. But, after fifteen or twenty minutes, during which his footsteps had been audible in various parts of the house, he called down over the banisters:
“I can’t find ’em.”
“Can’t find what?”