But Dillaway looked anxious.
“Look here, Brown,” he says, “I wouldn’t do that. I’ll pay his board bill and his traveling expenses if he clears out this minute. It seems tough to set him shaving after he’s been such a big gun around here.”
I could see right off that the arrangement suited Brown first rate and was exactly what he’d been working for, but he pretended not to care much for it.
“Oh! I don’t know,” he says. “I’d rather be a sterling barber than a plated count. But anything to oblige you, Mr. Dillaway.”
So the next day there was a nobleman missing at the “Old Home House,” and all we had to remember him by was a trunk full of bricks. And Peter T. Brown and the “queen” was roosting in the Lover’s Nest; and the new Italian was busy in the barber shop. He could shave, too. He shaved me without a pull, and my face ain’t no plush sofy, neither.
And before the season was over the engagement was announced. Old Dillaway took it pretty well, considering. He liked Peter, and his having no money to speak of didn’t count, because Ebenezer had enough for all hands. The old man said he’d been hoping for a son-in-law sharp enough to run the “Consolidated Stores” after he was gone, and it looked, he said, as if he’d found him.
“But,” says Cap’n Jonadab and me together, jest as if we was “reading in concert” same as the youngsters do in school, “but,” we says, “will it work? Will anybody pay for it?”
“Work?” says Peter T., with his fingers in the arm-holes of the double-breasted danger-signal that he called a vest, and with his cigar tilted up till you’d think ’twould set his hat-brim afire. “Work?” says he. “Well, maybe ’twouldn’t work if the ordinary brand of canned lobster was running it, but with me to jerk the lever and sound the loud timbrel—why, say! it’s like stealing money from a blind cripple that’s hard of hearing.”
“Yes, I know,” says Cap’n Jonadab. “But this ain’t like starting the Old Home House. That was opening up a brand-new kind of hotel that nobody ever heard of before. This is peddling weather prophecies when there’s the Gov’ment Weather Bureau running opposition—not to mention the Old Farmer’s Almanac, and I don’t know how many more,” he says.
Brown took his patent leathers down off the rail of the piazza, give the ashes of his cigar a flip—he knocked ’em into my hat that was on the floor side of his chair, but he was too excited to mind— and he says:
“Confound it, man!” he says. “You can throw more cold water than a fire-engine. Old Farmer’s Almanac! This isn’t any ’About this time look out for snow’ business. And it ain’t any Washington cold slaw like ’Weather for New England and Rocky Mountains, Tuesday to Friday; cold to warm; well done on the edges with a rare streak in the middle, preceded or followed by rain, snow, or clearing. Wind, north to south, varying east and west.’ No siree! this is to-day’s weather for Cape Cod, served right off the griddle on a hot plate, and cooked by the chef at that. You don’t realize what a regular dime-museum wonder that feller is,” he says.