“Well, did you get an answer?”
“Yes.” Weeks fumbled excitedly through the papers on his desk.
“How much did he send?
“Here’s the message; read it yourself.”
Kirk read as follows:
Weeks, Consul, Colon.
Your guest an impostor. Have no son.
“Well, I’ll be damned!” he ejaculated. “This is a joke!”
Weeks was beginning to pant. “A joke, hey? I suppose it was a joke to impose on me?”
“Don’t you believe I’m Kirk Anthony?”
“No, I do not. I just discovered to-day that your name is Jefferson Locke. Stein told me.”
Anthony laughed lightly.
“Oh, laugh, if you want to. You’re a smooth article with your talk about football and automobiles and millionaire fathers, but you happened to select the wrong millionaire for a father this time, and I’m going to give you a taste of our Spiggoty jails.”
“You can’t arrest me. You offered to take me in.”
The fat man grew redder than ever; he seemed upon the point of exploding; his whole body shook and quivered as if a head of steam were steadily gathering inside him.
“You can’t get out of it that way,” he cried at the top of his little voice. “I’ve fed you for a week. I put you up at my club. That very suit of clothes you have on is mine.”
“Well, don’t burst a seam over the matter. My Governor doesn’t know the facts. I’ll cable him myself this time.”
“And live off me for another week, I suppose? Not if I know it! He says he has no son; isn’t that enough?”
“He doesn’t understand.”
“And how about those gambling debts?” chattered the mountain of flesh. “You thought you’d fool me for a week, while you won enough money from my friends to get away. Now I’ll have to pay them. Oh, I’ll fix you!”
“You go slow about having me pinched,” Kirk said, darkly, “or I’ll make you jump through a hoop. I’ll pay my debts.”
“You’re a rich man, eh? Money doesn’t mean much to you, hey?” mocked the infuriated Consul. “I suppose this is an old game of yours. Well, you stuck me all right, because you knew I couldn’t have you arrested—I’d be a laughing-stock forever. But I’ve had your card cancelled, and I’ve left word for the waiters to throw you out if you show up at the Wayfarers.”
“Will you lend me enough money to cable again?” asked Anthony, with an effort.
“More money? No!” fairly screamed the other. “You get out of my house, Mr. ‘Kirk Anthony,’ and don’t you show yourself around here again. I’ll keep the rest of your wardrobe.”
His erstwhile guest underwent an abrupt reversal of emotion. To the indignant amazement of Mr. Weeks, he burst into a genuine laugh, saying:
“All right, landlord, keep my baggage. I believe that’s the custom, but—Oh, gee! This is funny.” He was still laughing when he reached the public square, for at last he had begun to see the full humor of Adelbert Higgins’ joke.