“But Aronwitz is the fellow I’m traveling’ around with most just now,” goes on Mortimer enthusiastic. “Say, he’s a wonder! Been over here from Hungary only six years, worked his way through Columbia, copping an A. M. and an A. B., and sending back money to his old mother right along. He’s a Socialist, or something, and writes for one of those East Side papers. Then evenings he teaches manual training in a slum settlement house. He took me over with him the other night and got me to help him with his boys. My, but they’re a bright lot of youngsters—right off the street too! I’ve promised to take a class myself.”
“In what,” says I, “table etiquette?”
“I’m going to start by explaining to them how a gasolene engine works,” says Mortimer. “They’re crazy to learn anything like that. It will be great sport.”
“Mortimer,” says I, “a little more of that, and I’ll believe you’re the guy that put the seed in succeed. Anyone wouldn’t guess you was doin’ penance.”
“I feel that I’m really living at last,” says he in earnest.
So in that next report to Mother, after I’d thanked her for the last check and filled in the usual health chart and so on, I proceeds to throw in a few extras about how Son was makin’ the great discovery that most folks was more or less human, after all. Oh, I spread myself on that part of it, givin’ full details!
“And if that don’t charm an extra five out of the old girl,” thinks I, “I miss my guess.”
Does it? Well, say, that happy thought stays with me for about ten days. At times I figured the bonus might be as high as a fifty. And then one mornin’ here comes a ruddy-faced old party that I spots as Colonel Upton. He calls for Mortimer, and the two of ’em has a ten-minute chat in the corridor. Afterwards Morty interviews Miller, and when he comes out next he has his hat and overcoat with him.
“So long, Torchy,” says he. “I’m leaving.”
“Not for good!” says I. “What’s wrong?”
“Mother,” says he. “In some way she’s found out about the sort of people I’ve been going around with, and she’s kicked up a great row, got Father on the cable, and—well, it’s all off. I’m to travel abroad for a year or so to get it out of my system.”
“Gee!” says I as he goes out to join the Colonel. “Talk about boobing a swell proposition! But that was too good to last, anyway. And, believe me, if I’m ever asked again to be friendly on a salary, I bet I don’t overdo the thing.”
BREEZING BY WITH PEGGY
He’s a great old scout, Mr. Ellins. But he always knows where he wants to get off, all right. He don’t whisper his ideas on the subject, either.
“Boy,” says he the other mornin’ as I answers the buzzer, “I am expecting two young persons to call this forenoon, two young wards of mine. Huh! Wards! As though I wasn’t busy enough with my own affairs without—— But never mind. Chandler is the name.”