“Well, take a look.”
“Not me! I say, old top, you know, I simply can’t sleep in this room now. I was wondering if you could give me a doss somewhere in yours.”
“Rather! I’m in five-forty-one. Just above. Trot along up. Here’s the key. I’ll tidy up a bit here, and join you in a minute.”
Squiffy put on a dressing-gown and disappeared. Archie looked under the bed. From the trousers the head of Peter popped up with its usual expression of amiable enquiry. Archie nodded pleasantly, and sat down on the bed. The problem of his little friend’s immediate future wanted thinking over.
He lit a cigarette and remained for a while in thought. Then he rose. An admirable solution had presented itself. He picked Peter up and placed him in the pocket of his dressing-gown. Then, leaving the room, he mounted the stairs till he reached the seventh floor. Outside a room half-way down the corridor he paused.
From within, through the open transom, came the rhythmical snoring of a good man taking his rest after the labours of the day. Mr. Brewster was always a heavy sleeper.
“There’s always a way,” thought Archie, philosophically, “if a chappie only thinks of it.”
His father-in-law’s snoring took on a deeper note. Archie extracted Peter from his pocket and dropped him gently through the transom.
A LETTER FROM PARKER
As the days went by and he settled down at the Hotel Cosmopolis, Archie, looking about him and revising earlier judgments, was inclined to think that of all his immediate circle he most admired Parker, the lean, grave valet of Mr. Daniel Brewster. Here was a man who, living in the closest contact with one of the most difficult persons in New York, contrived all the while to maintain an unbowed head, and, as far as one could gather from appearances, a tolerably cheerful disposition. A great man, judge him by what standard you pleased. Anxious as he was to earn an honest living, Archie would not have changed places with Parker for the salary of a movie-star.
It was Parker who first directed Archie’s attention to the hidden merits of Pongo. Archie had drifted into his father-in-law’s suite one morning, as he sometimes did in the effort to establish more amicable relations, and had found it occupied only by the valet, who was dusting the furniture and bric-a-brac with a feather broom rather in the style of a man-servant at the rise of the curtain of an old-fashioned farce. After a courteous exchange of greetings, Archie sat down and lit a cigarette. Parker went on dusting.
“The guv’nor,” said Parker, breaking the silence, “has some nice little objay dar, sir.”
“Objay dar, sir.”
Light dawned upon Archie.
“Of course, yes. French for junk. I see what you mean now. Dare say you’re right, old friend. Don’t know much about these things myself.”