“Well! Well! Don’t talk to me! If this don’t beat all ever I see! . . .” “I should say it did! I was just sayin’ to Sarah B., s’ I, ‘My soul and body,’ s’ I, ‘if this ain’t—’” . . . “And what do you s’pose made him—” “And when they turned up them lights and I see him standin’ there jammin’ her down into that chair and wavin’ that big fist of his over top her head, thinks I, ‘Good-night! He’s goin’ to hammer her right down through into the cellar, don’t know’s he ain’t!’”
These were a few fragments which Cousin Gussie caught as they pushed their way to the gate. In one spot where a beam of light from the window faintly illuminated the wet, he glimpsed a flowered and fruited hat picturesquely draped over its wearer’s ear while from beneath its lopsided elegance a tearful voice was heard hysterically demanding to be taken home. “Take me home, ’Phelia. I—I—I . . . Oh, take me home! I—I—I’ve forgot my rubbers and—and I feel’s if my hair was comin’ off—down, I mean—but—oh, I don’t care, take me home!”
Galusha, apparently, heard and saw nothing of this. He blundered straight on to the gate and thence along the road to the Phipps’ cottage. It seemed to Cabot that he found it by instinct, for the fog was so thick that even the lighted windows could not be seen further than a few yards. But he did find it and, at last, the two men stood together in the little sitting room. Then Cousin Gussie once more laid a hand on his relative’s arm.
“Well, Galusha,” he said, again, “what about it?”
Galusha heaved another sigh. “Yes—ah—yes,” he answered. “Yes— ah—quite so.”
“Humph! What is quite so? I want to know about that stock of the Wellmouth Development Company.”
“Yes. . . . Yes, certainly, I know.”
“That Captain—um—What’s-his-name, the picturesque old lunatic with the whiskers—Hallett, I mean—made a statement that was, to say the least, surprising. I presume he was crazy. That was the most weird collection of insanity that I ever saw or heard. Ha, ha! Oh, dear! . . . Well, never mind. But what did old Hallett mean by saying he had sold you his four hundred shares of that stock?”
Galusha closed his eyes. He smiled sadly.
“He meant that he had—ah—sold them to me,” he answered.
“Loosh, are you crazy, too?”
“Very likely. I often think I may be. Yes, I bought the—ah— stock.”
“You bought the— you? Loosh, sit down.”
Mr. Bangs shook his head. “No, Cousin Gussie,” he said. “If you don’t mind I—I won’t sit down. I shall go to my room soon. I bought Captain Hallett’s stock. I bought Miss Phipps’, too.”
It was Cabot himself who sat down. He stared, slowly shook his head, and then uttered a fervent, “Whew!”