“I never dreamed there were so many cuss-words in the world,” gasped Mr. Yollop, blinking.
“There ain’t half enough,” announced Mr. Smilk, in a far away voice.
“Put that pistol down!” roared Mr. Yollop. “What are you going to do? Shoot yourself?”
“It would save an awful lot of trouble,” said Mr. Smilk.
“The deuce it would! My servants would be a week cleaning up after you, and you’d probably ruin this Meshed rug. Besides, confound you, the police would think that I shot you. Give me that pistol! Give it to me, I say. You can come in here and rob to your heart’s content, but I’m damned if I’ll allow you to commit suicide here. That’s a little too thick, Smilk. Why the dickens should you worry about that infernal jade? Aren’t you going to the penitentiary for fifteen or twenty years? Aren’t you-”
“You’re right,—you’re right,” broke in Cassius, drawing a deep breath. “I guess I had a kind of a brainstorm. It was the jewels that done it. Funny how a feller gets the feelin’ that he just has to give diamonds and pearls to his girl. It came over me all of a sudden. The only things I ever gave that girl was a moleskin coat, a sable collar and muff, and a gold mesh bag with seventy-eight dollars and a lace handkerchief in it. For a minute or two I was tempted to give her diamonds and rubies—oh, well, I guess I’ve had my lesson. Never again! Never again, Mr. Yollop. I’m off women from now on. Here’s the gun. If the police try to hang it on you, I’ll swear it’s mine. Listen! there’s the elevator stoppin’ at this floor. It’s them. Before we let ’em in, I’d like to tell you I’ve never had a more interestin’ evenin’ in my whole life. What’s more I never saw a man like you. You got me guessin’. You’re either the goshdarndest fool livin’ or else you’re the slickest confidence man outside of captivity. Which are you? That’s what’s eatin’ me.”
“I’m both,” said Mr. Yollop, picking up the revolver.
“That ain’t possible,” said Mr. Smilk.
“Oh, yes, it is. I’m a milliner, Cassius.”
“I know you’re a millionaire, but that don’t,—”
“I said milliner.”
“Run a mill of some kind?”
“No, I make hats for women.”
As the incredulous burglar opened his mouth to say something the buzzer on the door sounded.
“They got here just in time,” he substituted.
The case of the State vs. Cassius Smilk, charged with burglary, was finally set for trial the second week in February, just one year, one month and eleven days after his arrest in the apartment of Crittenden Yollop. There had been, it appears, a slight delay in getting ’round to his case. The dockets in all Parts of General Sessions were more or less clogged by the efforts of ex-convicts to get back into the penitentiary. Also, there were a great many murder cases that kept bobbing up every now and then for continuance on one plea or another to the disgust of the harassed judges; to say nothing of the re-trials made necessary by the jurors who listened more attentively to the lawyers who “summed up” than they did to the witnesses who were under oath to tell nothing but the truth.