“How much do you want for that damned shop?”
“I don’t want money.-I want a job.-If you are going to take my life-work away from me, you ought to give me something else to do.”
“You suggested it yourself the other day. I want to manage your new hotel.”
“Don’t be a fool! What do you know about managing an hotel?”
“Nothing. It will be your pleasing task to teach me the business while the shanty is being run up.”
There was a pause, while Mr. Brewster chewed three inches off a pen-holder.
“Very well,” he said at last.
“Topping!” said Archie. “I knew you’d, see it. I’ll study your methods, what! Adding some of my own, of course. You know, I’ve thought of one improvement on the Cosmopolis already.”
“Improvement on the Cosmopolis!” cried Mr. Brewster, gashed in his finest feelings.
“Yes. There’s one point where the old Cosmop slips up badly, and I’m going to see that it’s corrected at my little shack. Customers will be entreated to leave their boots outside their doors at night, and they’ll find them cleaned in the morning. Well, pip, pip! I must be popping. Time is money, you know, with us business men.”
BROTHER BILL’S ROMANCE
“Her eyes,” said Bill Brewster, “are like—like—what’s the word I want?”
He looked across at Lucille and Archie. Lucille was leaning forward with an eager and interested face; Archie was leaning back with his finger-tips together and his eyes closed. This was not the first time since their meeting in Beale’s Auction Rooms that his brother-in-law had touched on the subject of the girl he had become engaged to marry during his trip to England. Indeed, Brother Bill had touched on very little else: and Archie, though of a sympathetic nature and fond of his young relative, was beginning to feel that he had heard all he wished to hear about Mabel Winchester. Lucille, on the other hand, was absorbed. Her brother’s recital had thrilled her.
“Like—” said Bill. “Like—”
“Stars?” suggested Lucille.
“Stars,” said Bill gratefully. “Exactly the word. Twin stars shining in a clear sky on a summer night. Her teeth are like—what shall I say?”
“Pearls. And her hair is a lovely brown, like leaves in autumn. In fact,” concluded Bill, slipping down from the heights with something of a jerk, “she’s a corker. Isn’t she, Archie?”
Archie opened his eyes.
“Quite right, old top!” he said. “It was the only thing to do.”
“What the devil are you talking about?” demanded Bill coldly. He had been suspicious all along of Archie’s statement that he could listen better with his eyes shut.
“Eh? Oh, sorry! Thinking of something else.”