Author: George Barr McCutcheon
Release Date: March, 2004 [EBook #5349] [Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule] [This file was first posted on July 6, 2002]
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George Barr McCutcheon
THE TAKING OF TURK
It was characteristic of Mr. Philip Quentin that he first lectured his servant on the superiority of mind over matter and then took him cheerfully by the throat and threw him into a far corner of the room. As the servant was not more than half the size of the master, his opposition was merely vocal, but it was nevertheless unmistakable. His early career had increased his vocabulary and his language was more picturesque than pretty. Yet of his loyalty and faithfulness, there could be no doubt. During the seven years of his service, he had been obliged to forget that he possessed such a name as Turkington or even James. He had been Turk from the beginning, and Turk he remained—and, in spite of occasional out breaks, he had proved his devotion to the young gentleman whose goods and chattels he guarded with more assiduity than he did his own soul or—what meant more to him—his personal comfort. His employment came about in an unusual way. Mr. Quentin had an apartment in a smart building uptown. One night he was awakened by a noise in his room. In the darkness he saw a man fumbling among his things, and in an instant he had seized his revolver from the stand at his bedside and covered the intruder. Then he calmly demanded: “Now, what are you doing here?”
“I’m lookin’ for a boardin’ house,” replied the other, sullenly.
“You’re just a plain thief—that’s all.”
“Well, it won’t do me no good to say I’m a sleepwalker, will it?—er a missionary, er a dream? But, on d’ dead, sport, I’m hungry, an’ I wuz tryin’ to git enough to buy a meal an’ a bed. On d’ dead, I wuz.”
“And a suit of clothes, and an overcoat, and a house and lot, I suppose, and please don’t call me ‘sport’ again. Sit down—not oh the floor; on that chair over there. I’m going to search you. Maybe you’ve got something I need.” Mr. Quentin turned on the light and proceeded to disarm the man, piling his miserable effects on a chair. “Take off that mask. Lord! put it on again; you look much better. So, you’re hungry, are you?”