None of these evidences of wealth and ancestry, it must be said, ever impressed the group of scoffers gathered about the wood fire of the “Ivy” in his college days, or about the smart tables at the “Magnolia Club” in his post-graduate life. To them he was still “Mixey,” or “Muddles,” or “Muggles,” or “The Goat,” depending entirely upon the peculiar circumstances connected with the mixing up or the butting in.
To his credit be it said the descendant of earls and high-daddies never lost his temper at these onslaughts. If Bender, or Podvine, or little Billy Salters pitched into him for some act of stupidity—due entirely to his misguided efforts to serve some mutual friend— Muggles would argue, defend and protest, but the discussion would always end with a laugh and his signing the waiter’s check and ordering another one for everybody.
“Why the devil, Muggles, did you insist last night on that Boston girl’s riding home from the theatre in the omnibus, you goat?” thundered Podvine one morning at the club, “instead of letting her—”
“My dear fellow,” protested Muggles, “it was much more comfortable in the omnibus, and—”
“—And broke up her walk home with Bobby, you idiot! He had to take the owl train home, and she won’t see him for a month. Didn’t you know they were engaged?”
“Of course you didn’t, Muggles, but you could have seen it in her face if you’d looked. You always put your foot in it clean up to your pants’ pocket!”
“You’ve been at it again, have you, Muggles?” burst out Bender that same night “Listen to the Goat’s last, boys. Jerry wanted to buy that swamp meadow next his place on Long Island and had been dickering with the old fellow who owns it all winter, telling him it would be a good place to raise cranberries if it was dug out and drained, and they had almost agreed on the price—about twice what it was worth—when down goes Muggles to spend the night and Jerry blabs it all out, and just why he wanted it, and the next morning Muggles, to clinch the deal and help Jerry, slips over to the hayseed and tells him how the Sunnybrook Club are going to buy Jerry’s place, and how they wanted the swamp for a hatchery—all true—and that the hayseed oughtn’t to wait a moment, but send word by him that the deal was closed, because the club-house being near by would make all the rest of his land twice as valuable; and the old Skeezicks winked his eye and shifted his tobacco and said he’d think about it, and now you can’t buy that sink-hole for twenty times what it’s worth, and the Sunnybrook is looking for another site nearer Woodvale. Regular clown you are, Muggles. Exactly like that fellow at the circus who holds up one end of the tent and then, before the supes can reach it, drops it for the other end.”