“’He is a good man, but keen in business. He is my equal partner financially. I will talk to Andy,’ says I, ‘and see what can be done.’
“I goes back to our hotel and lays the case before Andy.
“‘I was expecting something like this all the time,’ says Andy. ’You can’t trust a woman to stick by you in any scheme that involves her emotions and preferences.’
“‘It’s a sad thing, Andy,’ says I, ’to think that we’ve been the cause of the breaking of a woman’s heart.’
“‘It is,’ says Andy, ’and I tell you what I’m willing to do, Jeff. You’ve always been a man of a soft and generous heart and disposition. Perhaps I’ve been too hard and worldly and suspicious. For once I’ll meet you half way. Go to Mrs. Trotter and tell her to draw the $2,000 from the bank and give it to this man she’s infatuated with and be happy.’
“I jumps up and shakes Andy’s hand for five minutes, and then I goes back to Mrs. Trotter and tells her, and she cries as hard for joy as she did for sorrow.
“Two days afterward me and Andy packed up to go.
“’Wouldn’t you like to go down and meet Mrs. Trotter once before we leave?’ I asks him. ’She’d like mightily to know you and express her encomiums and gratitude.’
“‘Why, I guess not,’ says Andy. ’I guess we’d better hurry and catch that train.’
“I was strapping our capital around me in a memory belt like we always carried it, when Andy pulls a roll of large bills out of his pocket and asks me to put ’em with the rest.
“‘What’s this?’ says I.
[Illustration: “‘What’s this?’ says I.”]
“‘It’s Mrs. Trotter’s two thousand,’ says Andy.
“‘How do you come to have it?’ I asks.
“‘She gave it to me,’ says Andy. ’I’ve been calling on her three evenings a week for more than a month.’
“‘Then are you William Wilkinson?’ says I.
“‘I was,’ says Andy.”
A MIDSUMMER MASQUERADE
“Satan,” said Jeff Peters, “is a hard boss to work for. When other people are having their vacation is when he keeps you the busiest. As old Dr. Watts or St. Paul or some other diagnostician says: ’He always finds somebody for idle hands to do.’
“I remember one summer when me and my partner, Andy Tucker, tried to take a layoff from our professional and business duties; but it seems that our work followed us wherever we went.
“Now, with a preacher it’s different. He can throw off his responsibilities and enjoy himself. On the 31st of May he wraps mosquito netting and tin foil around the pulpit, grabs his niblick, breviary and fishing pole and hikes for Lake Como or Atlantic City according to the size of the loudness with which he has been called by his congregation. And, sir, for three months he don’t have to think about business except to hunt around in Deuteronomy and Proverbs and Timothy to find texts to cover and exculpate such little midsummer penances as dropping a couple of looey door on rouge or teaching a Presbyterian widow to swim.