“You’re an ace!” said Bill.
“Absolutely!” agreed Archie cordially. “My partner, what! All the same, we ought to keep the book as a second string, you know. I mean to say, you are a young and delicately nurtured girl—full of sensibility and shrinking what’s-its-name and all that—and you know what the jolly old pater is. He might bark at you and put you out of action in the first round. Well, then, if anything like that happened, don’t you see, we could unleash old Bill, the trained silver-tongued expert, and let him have a shot. Personally, I’m all for the P. that W.’s."-"Me, too,” said Bill.
Lucille looked at her watch.
“Good gracious! It’s nearly one o’clock!”
“No!” Archie heaved himself up from his chair. “Well, it’s a shame to break up this feast of reason and flow of soul and all that, but, if we don’t leg it with some speed, we shall be late.”
“We’re lunching at the Nicholson’s!” explained Lucille to her brother. “I wish you were coming too.”
“Lunch!” Bill shook his head with a kind of tolerant scorn. “Lunch means nothing to me these days. I’ve other things to think of besides food.” He looked as spiritual as his rugged features would permit. “I haven’t written to Her yet to-day.”
“But, dash it, old scream, if she’s going to be over here in a week, what’s the good of writing? The letter would cross her.”
“I’m not mailing my letters to England.” said Bill. “I’m keeping them for her to read when she arrives.”
“My sainted aunt!” said Archie.
Devotion like this was something beyond his outlook.
THE SAUSAGE CHAPPIE
The personality that wins cost Archie two dollars in cash and a lot of embarrassment when he asked for it at the store. To buy a treatise of that name would automatically seem to argue that you haven’t a winning personality already, and Archie was at some pains to explain to the girl behind the counter that he wanted it for a friend. The girl seemed more interested in his English accent than in his explanation, and Archie was uncomfortably aware, as he receded, that she was practising it in an undertone for the benefit of her colleagues and fellow-workers. However, what is a little discomfort, if endured in friendship’s name?
He was proceeding up Broadway after leaving the store when he encountered Reggie van Tuyl, who was drifting along in somnambulistic fashion near Thirty-Ninth Street.
“Hullo, Reggie old thing!” said Archie.
“Hullo!” said Reggie, a man of few words.
“I’ve just been buying a book for Bill Brewster,” went on Archie. “It appears that old Bill—What’s the matter?”
He broke off his recital abruptly. A sort of spasm had passed across his companion’s features. The hand holding Archie’s arm had tightened convulsively. One would have said that Reginald had received a shock.