“Be hanged to ye!” said the red-bearded man. “Can’t I say a teasing word without gittin’ called to order fer it? I know ye, my boy, as well as ye know yerself. Ye’re a queer one. Ye’re one of the few that must know all sides of the world— and can’t content themselves with bein’ respectable! Ye haven’t sunk to `low life’ because ye’re low yourself, but ye’ll never git a damned one o’ the respectable to believe it. There’s a few others like ye in the wide world, and I’ve seen one or two of ’em. I’ve been all over, steeple-chasin’, sailorman, soldier, pedler, and in the po-lice; I’ve pulled the Grand National in Paris, and I’ve been handcuffed in Hong-Kong; I’ve seen all the few kinds of women there is on earth and the many kinds of men. Yer own kind is the one I’ve seen the fewest of, but I knew ye belonged to it the first time I laid eyes on ye!” He paused, then continued with conviction: “Ye’ll come to no good, either, fer yerself, yet no one can say ye haven’t the talents. Ye’ve helped many of the boys out of a bad hole with a word of advice around the courts and the jail. Who knows but ye’d be a great lawyer if ye kept on?”
Young people usually like to discuss themselves under any conditions—hence the rewards of palmistry,— but Joe’s comment on this harangue was not so responsive as might have been expected. “I’ve got seven dollars,” he said, “and I’ll leave the clothes I’ve got on. Can you fix me up with something different?”
“Aha!” cried the red-bearded man. “Then ye are in trouble! I thought it ’d come to ye some day! Have ye been dinnymitin’ Martin Pike?”
“See what you can do,” said Joe. “I want to wait here until daybreak.”
“Lie down, then,” interrupted the other. “And fergit the hullabaloo in the throne-room beyond.”
“I can easily do that”—Joe stretched himself upon the bed,—“I’ve got so many other things to remember.”
“I’ll have the things fer ye, and I’ll let ye know I have no use fer seven dollars,” returned the red-bearded man, crossly. “What are ye sniffin’ fer?”
“I’m thinking of the poor fellow that got the mate to this,” said Joe, touching the bandage. “I can’t help crying when I think they may have used vinegar on his head, too.”
“Git to sleep if ye can!” exclaimed the Samaritan, as a hideous burst of noise came from the dance-room, where some one seemed to be breaking a chair upon an acquaintance. “I’ll go out and regulate the boys a bit.” He turned down the lamp, fumbled in his hip-pocket, and went to the door.
“Don’t forget,” Joe called after him.
“Go to sleep,” said the red-bearded man, his hand on the door-knob. “That is, go to thinkin’, fer ye won’t sleep; ye’re not the kind. But think easy; I’ll have the things fer ye. It’s a matter of pride with me that I always knew ye’d come to trouble.”