Never mind the rest, though. We had a perfectly good ride back, and up to date Aunty ain’t wise to it.
Of course by next mornin’ too Mr. Robert has forgot all about the afternoon before, and he seems surprised when I puts in an expense bill of twenty-five cents.
“What’s this for?” says he.
“Gumdrops for little Gladys,” says I, and as he forks over a quarter I never cracks a smile.
Wait until he hears the returns from Marjorie, though! I’ll give him some string to pay up for that kindergarten steer of his. Watch me!
LATE RETURNS ON POPOVER
“Well?” says I, keepin’ my feet up on the desk and glancin’ casual over the brass rail. “What’s your complaint, Spaghetti?”
It’s a wrong guess, to begin with; but I wa’n’t even takin’ the trouble to place him accurate. He’s some kind of a foreigner, and that’s enough. Besides, from the fidgety way he’s grippin’ his hat in both hands, and the hesitating sidlin’ style he has of makin’ his approach, I figured he must be a stray that had got the wrong number.
“If—if you please, Sir,” says he, bowin’ elaborate and humble, “Mr. Robert Ellins.”
“Gwan!” says I. “You read that on the floor directory. You don’t know Mr. Robert.”
“But—but if you please, Sir,” he goes on, “I wish to speak with him.”
“You do, eh?” says I. “Now, ain’t that cute of you? Think you can pick out any name on the board and drift in for a chat, do you? Come now, what you peddlin’—dollar safety-razors, bullpups, or what?”
He ain’t a real live wire, this heavy-faced, wide-shouldered, squatty-built party with the bumper crop of curly black hair. He blinks his big, full eyes kind of solemn, starin’ at me puzzled, and about as intelligent as a cow gazin’ over a fence. An odd lookin’ gink he was, sort of a cross between a dressed up bartender on his day off and a longshoreman havin’ his picture taken.
“Excuse,” says he, rousin’ a little, “but—but it is not to peddle. I would wish to speak with Mr. Robert Ellins.”
“Well, then, you can’t,” says I, wavin’ towards the door; “so beat it!”
This don’t make any more impression than as if I’d tried to push him over with one finger. “I would wish,” he begins again, “to speak with——”
“Say, that’s all on the record,” says I, “and the motion’s been denied.”
“But I——” he starts in once more, “I have——”
Just then Piddie comes turkeyin’ over pompous and demands to know what all the debate is about.
“Look what wants to see Mr. Robert!” says I.
“Impossible!” says Piddie, takin’ one look. “Send him away at once!”
“Hear that?” says I to Curlylocks. “Not a chance! Fade, Spaghetti, fade!”
The full force of that decision seems to penetrate his nut; for he gulps hard once or twice, the muscles on his thick throat swells up rigid, and next a big round tear leaks out of his off eye and trickles down over his cheek. Maybe it don’t look some absurd too, seein’ signs of such deep emotion on a face like that.