“Ye-e-es,” says I. “And I guess I did.”
“Trust him for that!” snorts Aunty. “Young man, at our last interview I thought I made it quite clear that I should not expect you to return?”
“That’s right,” says I, edgin’ around her towards the door. “And you wa’n’t, was you?”
Some glance she shot over; but it didn’t prove fatal. And as I rides down I couldn’t help swappin’ a wink with the elevator boy.
“Feelin’ frisky, eh?” says he. “So was them other young guys. One of ’em tipped me a half.”
“That kind would,” says I. “They’re comin’ back. I’m escapin’.”
But, say, who do you guess wins out for Wednesday night? Ah, rattle ’em again! Eulalia fixed it up. Said it was Vee’s decision, and she was bound to stick by the rules of the game, even if they did have to throw a bluff to Aunty. Uh-huh! I’ve got three orchestra seats right in my pocket, and a table engaged for supper afterwards. Oh, I don’t know. Eulalia ain’t so batty, after all.
PULLING A SLEUTH STUNT
Trust Piddie for workin’ up wild suspicions. Say, he can’t find a stray sheet of scribblin’ paper on the floor without pouncin’ sleuthy on it and tryin’ to puzzle out the hidden meanin’.
So when I get the buzzer call to Old Hickory’s private office and finds him and the main stem waitin’ in solemn conclave there, I guesses right off that Piddie’s dug up a new one that he hopes to nail me with. Just now he’s holdin’ a little bunch of wilted field flowers in one hand, and as I range up by the desk he shoots over the accusin’ glance.
“Boy,” says he, “do you know anything about these?”
“Why, sure,” says I. “They’re pickled pigs’ feet, ain’t they?”
“No impudence, now!” says he. “Where did they come from?”
“Off’m Grant’s Tomb, if I must guess,” says I. “Anyway, I wouldn’t think they was picked in the Subway.”
And at this Old Hickory sniffs impatient. “That is quite enough comic diversion, young man!” he puts in. “Do you or don’t you know anything about how those things happened to get on my desk?”
“Me?” says I. “Why, I never saw ’em before! What’s the dope?”
“Huh!” he grunts. “I didn’t think this was any of your nonsense: too tame. And I suppose you might as well know what’s afoot. Tell him, Mr. Piddie.”
Did you ever see a pinhead but what just dotes on springin’ a sensation? Piddie fairly gloats over unloadin’ it. “This,” says he, holdin’ up the wilted bunch, “is the unaccountable. For the fourth time flowers of this description have been mysteriously left on Mr. Ellins’ desk. It is not done after hours, or during the night; but in broad day, sometimes when Mr. Ellins is sitting just where he is now, and by a hand unseen. Watch has been kept, yet no one has been detected; and, as you know, only a few persons have free access here. Still the thing continues. At regular periods these absurd bouquets appear on this desk, seemingly from nowhere at all. Hence this inquiry.”