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Samuel Hopkins Adams
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 137 pages of information about The Unspeakable Perk.

“Glad?  Is every one ag’in’ poor me?”

“Because—­well, the American Legation is a very lonely place.  Now, the presence of an American lady—­”

“Are you offering a proposal of marriage, Mr. Sherwen?” twinkled the girl.  “If so—­Dad, please leave the room.”

“Knock twenty years off my battle-scarred life and you wouldn’t be safe a minute,” he retorted.  “But, no.  This is a measure of safety.  Sir Willet thinks that your party ought to be ready to move into the American Legation on instant notice, if you can’t get away to sea to-morrow.”

“What’s the use, if the legation has no official existence?” asked Mr. Brewster.

“In a sense it has.  It would probably be respected by a mob.  And, at the worst, it adjoins the British Legation, which would be quite safe.  If it weren’t that Sir Willet’s boy has typhoid, you’d be formally invited to go there.”

“It’s very good of you,” said Miss Polly warmly.  “But surely it would be an awful nuisance to you.”

“On the contrary, you’d brace up my far-too-casual old housekeeper and get the machinery running.  She constantly takes advantage of my bachelor ignorance.  If you say you’ll come, I’ll almost pray for the outbreak.”

“Certainly we’ll come, at any time you notify us,” said Mr. Brewster.  “And we’re very grateful.  Shall you have room for Mr. Carroll, too?”

“By all means.  And I’ve notified Mr. Cluff.  You won’t mind his being there?  He’s a rough diamond, but a thoroughly decent fellow.”

“Useful, too, in case of trouble, I should judge,” said the magnate.  “Then I’ll wait for further word from you.”

“Yes.  I’ve got my men out on watch.”

“Wouldn’t it be—­er—­advisable for us to arm ourselves?”

“By no means!  There’s just one course to follow; keep the peace at any price, and give the Hochwaldians not the slightest peg on which to hang a charge that Americans have been responsible for any trouble that might arise.  May I ask you,” he added significantly, “to make this clear to Mr. Carroll?”

“Leave that to me,” said Miss Brewster, with superb confidence.

“Content, indeed!  You’ll find our locality very pleasant, Miss Brewster.  Three of the other legations are on the same block, not including the Hochwaldian, which is a quarter of a mile down the hill.  On our corner is a house where several of the English railroad men live, and across is the Club Amicitia, made up largely of the jeunesse doree, who are mostly pro-American.  So you’ll be quite surrounded by friends, not to say adherents.”

“Call on me to housekeep for you at any time,” cried Polly gayly.  “I’ll begin to roll up my sleeves as soon as I get dressed to-morrow.”

IX

THE BLACK WARNING

That weird three-part drama in the plaza which had so puzzled Miss Polly Brewster had developed in this wise:—­

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