Half a Rogue eBook

Harold MacGrath
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 334 pages of information about Half a Rogue.
He will tell you to this day how he was wont to dandle her on his knee.  Bill was one of those individuals of whom it is said:  “He means well.”  In other words, he was a do-nothing, a ne’er-do-well.  He had been comparatively rich once, but he had meant well with his money.  One grand splurge, and it was all over.  Herculaneum still recollects that splurge.  When in his cups, Bill was always referring to those gorgeous days.  Afterward, Bill and his family lived from hand to mouth.  Occasionally, at Christmas, some of his old friends who felt sorry for him sent him a purse.  Did Bill purchase turkey and coal and potatoes?  No, indeed.  He bought useless French toys for the children, who went hungry.  Another time, when heartless winter returned and the price of coal went up, a church social was arranged for Bill’s benefit.  It netted him nearly a hundred dollars.  But Bill didn’t pay his landlord and grocer; not he!  He came down town the following day with a shiny plug-hat and a gold-headed cane.

Bill was a first-class genealogist.  He could tell you the history of every leading family in town.  It took Bill to expose the new-rich; he did it handsomely.  The way these breakfast millionaires lorded and landaued it highly amused him.  Who were they, anyhow?  Coal-heavers, hod-carriers, stock-speculators, riffraff, who possessed an ounce of brains and a pound of luck.  Why, they didn’t even know how to spend their money when they got it.  But what could be expected of people who put iron dogs and wooden deers on their front lawns?  But the Benningtons, the Haldenes, and the Winterflelds, and the Parkers, —­they had something to brag about.  They were Bunker Hillers, they were; they had always had money and social position.  As for the Millens, and the Deckers, and the McQuades—­pah!

Bill had a wonderful memory; he never forgot those who laughed at him and those who nodded kindly.  He was shiftless and lazy, but he had a code of honor.  Bill could have blackmailed many a careless man of prominence, had he been so minded.  But a man who had once dined a governor of the state could do no wrong.  His main fault was that he had neglected to wean his former greatness; he still nursed it.  Thus, it was beneath his dignity to accept a position as a clerk in a store or shop.  The fact that his pristine glory was somewhat dimmed to the eyes of his fellow citizens in no wise disturbed Bill.  Sometimes, when he was inclined to let loose the flood-gates of memory, his friends would slip a quarter into his palm and bid him get a drink, this being the easiest method of getting rid of him.

Bill marched into the Warrington place jauntily.  He wore a tie.  Jove ran out and sniffed the frayed hems of his trousers.  But like all men of his ilk, he possessed the gift of making friends with dogs.  He patted Jove’s broad head, spoke to him, and the dog wagged what there was left of his tail.  Bill proceeded to the front door and resolutely rang the bell.  The door opened presently.

Project Gutenberg
Half a Rogue from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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