* * * * *
“The Big Bow Mystery Solved
“Sir,—I wonder if any one besides myself has been struck by the incredible bad taste of Mr. Grodman’s letter in your last issue. That he, a former servant of the Department, should publicly insult and run it down can only be charitably explained by the supposition that his judgment is failing him in his old age. In view of this letter, are the relatives of the deceased justified in entrusting him with any private documents? It is, no doubt, very good of him to undertake to avenge one whom he seems snobbishly anxious to claim as a friend; but, all things considered, should not his letter have been headed ’The Big Bow Mystery Shelved’? I enclose my card, and am, sir,
“Your obedient servant,
George Grodman read this letter with annoyance, and crumpling up the paper, murmured scornfully, “Edward Wimp!”
“Yes, but what will become of the Beautiful?” said Denzil Cantercot.
“Hang the Beautiful!” said Peter Crowl, as if he were on the committee of the Academy. “Give me the True.”
Denzil did nothing of the sort. He didn’t happen to have it about him.
Denzil Cantercot stood smoking a cigarette in his landlord’s shop, and imparting an air of distinction and an agreeable aroma to the close leathery atmosphere. Crowl cobbled away, talking to his tenant without raising his eyes. He was a small, big-headed, sallow, sad-eyed man, with a greasy apron. Denzil was wearing a heavy overcoat with a fur collar. He was never seen without it in public during the winter. In private he removed it and sat in his shirt sleeves. Crowl was a thinker, or thought he was—which seems to involve original thinking anyway. His hair was thinning rapidly at the top, as if his brain was struggling to get as near as possible to the realities of things. He prided himself on having no fads. Few men are without some foible or hobby; Crowl felt almost lonely at times in his superiority. He was a Vegetarian, a Secularist, a Blue Ribbonite, a Republican, and an Anti-tobacconist. Meat was a fad. Drink was a fad. Religion was a fad. Monarchy was a fad. Tobacco was a fad. “A plain man like me,” Crowl used to say, “can live without fads.” “A plain man” was Crowl’s catchword. When of a Sunday morning he stood on Mile-end Waste, which was opposite his shop—and held forth to the crowd on the evils of kings, priests, and mutton chops, the