“Wait a minute. What is your name?”
“My name is Bangs, Galusha Bangs. It seems ridiculous now, as I tell it, but I certainly thought I heard you or some one call me by the name my relatives and friends used to use. Of course—”
“Wait. What was that name?”
Even now, dizzy and faint as he was, Mr. Bangs squirmed upon the sofa.
“It was—well, it was Loosh—or—ah—Looshy” he admitted, guiltily.
His hostess’ face broke into smiles. Her “comfortable” shoulders shook.
“Well, if that doesn’t beat everything!” she exclaimed. “I was callin’ my cat; his name is Lucy—Lucy Larcom; sometimes we call him ‘Luce’ for short. . . . Eh? Heavens and earth! Don’t do that!”
But Galusha had already done it. The dervish dance in his head had culminated in one grand merry-go-round blotting out consciousness altogether, and he had sunk down upon the sofa.
The woman sprang from her chair, bent over him, felt his pulse, and loosened his collar.
“Primmie,” she called. “Primmie, come here this minute, I want you!”
There was the sound of scurrying feet, heavy feet, from the adjoining room, the door opened and a large, raw-boned female, of an age which might have been almost anything within the range of the late teens or early twenties, clumped in. She had a saucer in one hand and a dishcloth in the other.
“Yes’m,” she said, “here I be.” Then, seeing the prone figure upon the sofa, she exclaimed fervently, “Oh, my Lord of Isrul! Who’s that?”
“Now don’t stand there swearin’ and askin’ questions, but do as I tell you. You go to the—”
“But—but what ails him? Is he drunk?”
“Drunk? What put such a notion as that in your head? Of course he isn’t drunk.”
“He ain’t—he ain’t dead?”
“Don’t be so silly. He’s fainted away, that’s all. He’s tired out and half sick and half starved, I guess. Here, where are you goin’?”
“I’m a-goin’ to fetch some water. They always heave water on fainted folks.”
“Well, this one’s had all the water he needs already. The poor thing is soaked through. You go to the pantry and in the blue soup tureen, the one we don’t use, you’ll find a bottle of that cherry rum Cap’n Hallet gave me three years ago. Bring it right here and bring a tumbler and spoon with it. After that you see if you can get Doctor Powers on the telephone and ask him to come right down here as quick as he can. Hurry! Primmie Cash, if you stop to ask one more question I—I don’t know what I’ll do to you. Go along!”
Miss Cash went along, noisily along. Her mistress bent over the wet, pitiful little figure upon the sofa.
And thus, working by devious ways, did Fate bring about the meeting of Galusha Cabot Bangs, of the National Institute, Washington, D. C., and Miss Martha Phipps, of East Wellmouth, which, it may be said in passing, was something of an achievement, even for Fate.