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EDWARD SALISBURY FIELD
"ji Six-Q/linJa CautUhlp," »
W. J. WATT 8e company
J l iLOL.ii r o u ;w OAXXONS
COPTBIOHT 1913 BT
W. J. WATT & CX)MPANY
•• • •
> • «
• • • .
• • I
*• •••«• ••■••
•, ^ • • • • »
' » • • •
• • •
• • * *
• • •
• • •
• • • '
OTHER NOVELS BY
EDWARD SALISBURY FIELD
The Rented Earl
Tas Purple Stockikos
The Sapphire Bracelet
A Six-CYuiniER Courtship
HAD intended buying just an ordi-
nary bed, but the clerk at Howard
and Morgan's said twin beds were stylish
and everybody was using them. *'My
wife and I use them/' he said, **and we
find them a great comfort because I have
g the habit of kicking in my sleep. ' '
I told him Henry didn't kick, but he
^ was a restless sleeper and maybe twin
' beds would be a good thing. And he
S said he was sure I ought to take them,
5 and if they weren't satisfactory I could
send them back. So I said : *' All right,
if that's the case I'll take them and put
our bed in Ma 's room. For you see Ma
vas coming to visit us and we needed an
extra bed for her to sleep in. And then
I bought some more furniture, for Henry
and I had never furnished the extra
room in our flat except to put window
shades in it, and matting on the floor.
That night at dinner I told Henry
about the twin beds, and he said he'd
often seen them in store windows and
wondered who used them, but he guessed
they must be all right if the clerk at
Howard and Morgan's recommended
them. And I said the clerk seemed a
very intelligent man even if he did kick
in his sleep. Besides, we could send the
beds back if we didn 't like them.
*' There's your Ma to consider,
though," said Henry.
**What about Ma?" I asked.
**Tour Ma's old-fashioned, and she
may think it queer our having twin
"Don't you worry about that,*' I said.
**Ma*s never been in New York before,
and everything will seem queer to her
I hadn't seen Ma for a whole year —
not since I'd gone back home for Pa's
fmieral — and I was never so glad to see
anybody in my life. I could tell from the
way she clung to me on the platform of
the station she was mighty glad to see
me, too, for she ain't the demonstrative
kind, and never was. You Ve got to take
Ma's love for granted as far as her tell-
ing you about it is concerned, but if you
were in trouble, or sick, she'd work her
fingers to the bone for you, and die for
you, too, if necessary, and you knew it.
I guess there ain't any better kind of
love than that.
Well, Ma kissed Henry, too, and
Henry took her trunk-check and gave
it to an expressman, and then we walked
around to our flat which is on East 123d
Street. And then I got dinner, and we
spent the evening talking about things
back in Centerville, Ma telling us all the
news, which wasn't much except that
Charlie Sprague's second wife had come
down with typhoid fever from drinking
water from a well that had microbes in
it, and Evangeline, our Holstein cow, had
had a calf which Ma had named Zephyr
because there was a cyclone in Ohio the
day it was bom.
I donH suppose youVe ever heard of
it, but there's lots worse places than Cen-
terville. It's a little town in Indiana,
about thirty miles from Indianapolis,
and you can go all the way to Terre
Haute from there on a trolley car if you
want to, though I Ve never heard of any-
body doing it.
Ma was bom and raised in Centerville,
and I was, too. So was Henry, for that
matter. But Henry left there when he
was eighteen years old, going first to
Chicago, and later coming to New York.
It was while he was back on a visit to
his folks that we fell in love with each
other and got married. Pa was alive
then, of course, and my sister Lizzie was
still in High School. Lizzie's married
now, and living Vay out in Montana, and
Pa died a year ago last April. That's
how we finally got Ma to come on and
make us a visit. Poor Ma ! She wasn't
happy in Centerville any more, or in
New York, either, when it comes to that.
But she was a lot happier when she left
for Centerville last week than she was
when she came to us, so I guess New
York ain 't such a bad place after all.
But to go back to that first night.
After Ma had gone to bed, which was
early because she was tired, I asked
Henry how he thought she was look-
**Well/^ said Henry, ** she's certainly
a lot deafer than she was. ' '
**Tes, she don't hear anything like as
good as she used to/' I admitted. You
see Ma caught the measles late in life
and it sort of settled in her ears.
**And I may be wrong, but she seems
kind of worn and broken."
* * Don 't you believe it, " I said. * * Ma 's
just tired out with that long trip; she's
got more spirit this minute than you
and me put together. Did you notice the
way she looked at you when you smoked
that cigarette after dinner?"
**No," said Henry, *'I wasn't notic-
^'Well, Ma didn't like it, and if I was
you I wouldn't smoke any more ciga-
rettes when she's around."
**A11 right," said Henry. **If you
want the truth, I'm kind of scared of
your Ma. * *
*'So am I/' I said, and I meant it.
For there's no use talking, Ma had a
way of looking at you when she thought
you were doing wrong that made you
feel like thirty cents, even when you
knew you had a perfect right to be do-
ing what you were. Nothing would have
convinced Ma that smoking cigarettes
wasn't as much a crime in its way as
arson or highway robbery. But I guess
there's lots of women in Indiana who
feel the same as Ma; there must be or
else the Legislature wouldn't have
passed that law sending cigarette-smok-
ers to jail. Just the same, I didn't want
Ma's visit to work any hardship on
Henry, so I told him if he felt like a
cigarette after dinner he could go in our
bedroom and smoke out of the window,
and he promised he would.
It's funny abont Ma. She's only a
wisp of a woman, barely coming up to
my shoulders, me being five feet four
and rather stoutish, though Henry says
I'm just right, and I'm sure I'm satis-
fied if he is. Yet Pa was afraid of Ma,
and Pa stood six feet one in his stock-
ing feet, and was as strong as an ox.
He had plenty of spirit, too, in certain
ways, but not where Ma was concerned.
When Ma told him to do a thing, he did
it, and that was all there was to it.
Our flat is the kind that's called a push-
button flat, which means you push a but-
ton in the hall to unlock the front door
downstairs. It 's on the third floor, too,
and isn't very modem; no electric lights
— ^nothing but gas. But it 's on a comer,
so we get plenty of light and air; also,
the rent is reasonable, and we're near
the subway, which is convenient.
I showed Ma over the flat next mom-
ing, and she thought it mighty queer to
live with one family over you, and two
underneath, not to mention the janitor
and his wife and five children in the
basement. And when she found out I
didn't know any of my neighbors except
the janitor, she was surprised ; but I told
her nobody knows their neighbors in New
York. And she did think it odd about
the twin beds. *'What are they forf
**To sleep in, Ma.*'
**What did you say, Blanche?''
**I said they're to sleep in."
"But why do you have two beds?"
"It's the fashion, Ma."
"Mighty strange fashion," said Ma.
And then she asked me point-blank if
Henry and I had quarreled. And when
I told her that Henry was the best man
in the world, and never a hard word had
passed between us since we were mar-
ried, I could see she didn't half -believe
me. **But no matter, '^ I thought;
**she'll see for herself, living right here
in the same flat with us/'
That night at dinner when Henry-
asked her what she thought of New
York, she said she was disappointed in
'*What did you expect, MaT' asked
**I don't know,'' said Ma, *^but I ex-
pected it would be diJBferent."
I knew exactly what she meant, for
I'd felt the same way when I first came
to New York, So I said: ** Never
mind. Ma. Living in New York is like
having prickly heat ; you never really en-
joy it, but by-and-by you get used to it, ' '
**I wouldn't live in a place where I
couldn't know my neighbors," said Ma.
**And I don't think it's healthy to live
cooped up like chickens the way you and
Henry do, with nothing but a rubber
plant to keep you company. Now in
Centerville there's Brush, the dog, and
Evangeline and her calf, and Mazourka,
the cat, and — Did I tell you, Blanche,
that Mazourka had kittens last month?
And then there's the trees, and flowers,
and the vegetable garden, and — '*
** Malaria and mosquitoes,'' said
Henry. ''Don't forget them."
''There ain't any malaria in Center-
ville," declared Ma; "it's the healthiest
town for its size in Indiana. I wish you
and Blanche would move back there and
"We can't now, Ma," I said, "but
maybe some day — "
"Yes," said Henry, "maybe some
I suppose there's lots of folks who
think, like Henry and me, that some day
they'll move back to the country, and
enjoy life like they used to ; though the
chances are if the time ever comes when
they can go, they'll have become so used
to New York that they won't be happy
away from it. Anyway, when I do pray,
which ain't as often as it might be, I
pray that both me and Henry will keep
our simple tastes and not be led astray
by Dead Sea apples, which look like ap-
ples but ain 't, being full of sackcloth and
ashes on the inside.
But to get back to Ma. When she got
more used to the way we lived she didn't
mind it so much ; she watered the rubber
plant, helped with the cooking and mend-
ing, and every afternoon we went to a
moving-picture show. So you see, what
with the housework and the moving-pic-
ture shows. Ma had plenty to occupy her
mind; and though she didn't like New
York at first, before she'd been with us
three days she'd perked up a lot, and
become quite cheerful. Ma liked change
and excitement as well as the next one.
And there was plenty of excitement
ahead of her — ^plenty ! Only, of course,
I didn^t know it at the time.
And now we come to Ma's first Sat-
urday night with ns. Well, Saturday,
after dinner, Henry went out. He al-
ways goes out Saturday nights; it's an
arrangement we made when we were
first married: every Wednesday night
Henry takes me anywhere I want to go
— ^usually to the theater — and every Sat-
urday night he goes to a bowling alley
over on 125th Street and bowls with a
couple of men he knows. Henry is
crazy about bowling, and I think it's
good exercise for him, being shut up in
an office all week the way he is. So after
dinner he kissed me good-by, the same
as he always did, and went oJBf to meet his
But if I'd known how he was coming
home that night, I never would have let
IT was a warm night; so after we'd
washed the dishes. Ma and I went
into our bedroom, Henry's and mine,
to sit, it having three windows and be-
ing the coolest room in the flat. I could
see Ma didn't approve of Henry's going
out, but I thought I wouldnH say any-
thing about it, for if I started explain-
ing it would give Ma an opportunity to
find fault with Henry. So I read the
evening paper and a magazine while Ma
knitted away on some bedroom slippers
she was making for Henry. Ma's aw-
ful good at knitting ; she knows more dif-
ferent stitches than anybody in Center-
Now and then I'd stop my reading to
glance at Ma, and my! but she looked
grim. You can say what you please, but
there are such things as thought waves.
Ma was sending them out against Henry
enough to drown him, and I knew it just
as well as if I'd seen them. When Ma
gets it into her head that you're doing
wrong, she just naturally clouds up like
a thunder storm, and by-and-by she rains.
That night the storm held off till about
ten 'clock, when Ma started it by glanc-
ing at the clock on the bureau and asking
if it wasn't time Henry was home
I shook my head.
''Where's he gone?" asked Ma.
* ' He 's out with his friends, ' ' I said.
''What did you say, Blanche?"
"He's out with his friends," I re-
peated, raising my voice.
You see, I wasn't used to Ma being
so deaf, and half the time I'd forget and
use my natural voice. Ma didn't like
that, maintaining as she did tiiat she
wasn^t really deaf, only a little hard of
hearing, and if people would speak dis-
tinctly instead of mumbling their words,
she could hear as good as anybody. To
prove it she would tell how she could al-
ways catch everything Letitia Barlow
said, Letitia being her cousin's husband's
sister. But Letitia had one of those car-
rying voices, it being a trait of the Bar-
lows, her brother having the same.
Of course. Ma wanted to know what
Henry's friends were, and what he was
doing with them, and I told her that one
of them was a paying teller in a bank and
the other was a shipping clerk in a whole-
sale leather house, and that they were
probably talking politics, not thinking it
necessary to explain that they were
bowling, knowing mighty well Ma
wouldn't approve of bowling. But Ma
didn't apj^rove of anything that night.
**It ain't right,'' she said. ^*I never
let your Pa go out at night like that.''
'*I'll just not argue with Ma," I
thought, so I didn't say anything. But
you've got to argue with Ma when she
wants to argue.
'* Blanche !" said she.
'*When your Pa went out at night I
always went with him."
''Poor Pa!" I said.
''What did you say, Blanche?"
"I said I know you did. Ma."
"Henry hadn't ought to go out nights
and leave you alone like this."
"I ain't alone, Ma; you're here.
Don't you want to look at the evening
"No," said Ma, "I don't want to look
at the newspaper, and I will be heard.
Henry hadn't ought to go out at night
alone ; it's no way to do."
"But it's Saturday night, Ma/' I said;
"tiiat's Henry's night out/'
And then Ma began. Pa had never
had a night out, so why should Henry t
It wasn't safe for married men to go
gallivanting around alone nights ; it gave
them wrong ideas. What if Henry did
work hard all week! Hadn't Pa worked
hard, too! Hard work was good for
men ; it kept them from getting too skit-
tish. Besides, New York wasn't like
Centerville. New York was a wicked
dty, full of temptations. **And you
needn't tell me times has changed," said
Ma; **men are just the same as they al-
**Yes, Ma," I said, "but women
"What did you say!"
"I said Henry has a perfect right to
go out Saturday nights if I let him."
"Tou shouldn't let him," said Ma.
** Your Pa wonldnH have dared ask for a
*Toor Pal*' I said.
^^What's that about your Paf *'
*^ Nothing, Ma. I said Henry didn't
ask for a night out ; I gave it to him. "
*'Well, it ain't right," declared Ma.
**If Henry loved you the way he ought
to, he wouldn^t want to leave you."
Of course, I told Ma she was wrong
and that Henry loved me all the better
for leaving me once in a while. And
then I tried to steer the conversation
away from New York, and around back
again to Centerville. But Ma wouldn't
^* Blanche!" said she.
**Is Henry a drinking maaf "
*^Good gracious, no!" I said, not
thinking it necessary to mention that
though he never drinks any other time,
Henry likes his beer Saturday nights,
bowling being hot work,
**Well/' said Ma, ''he^l grow to be
one, you mark my words. And when he
does, you 11 remember what I told you.
Your Pa never touched a drop in his life,
I'm glad to say. What are you smiling
at, Blanche r'
What I was smiling at was the memory
of Pa once at the County Fair when he
had what Ma thought was a dizzy spell.
It was the time one of our hogs won a
first prize, and Pa couldn't have been
blamed for celebrating. But of course
I couldn't tell Ma this, so I said I was
just smiliug at nothing at all in particu-
Ma looked at me kind of suspicious
over her spectacles, and then went on:
* * If Henry belonged to me, I 'd make him
stay at home. What was good enough
for me and your Pa ought to be good
enough for yon. I guess 1^11 have to
speak to Henry/'
** Don't you do it, Ma," I said. **Tou
leave Henry alone.''
^^But some one had ought to speak to
him," insisted Ma.
*'Now see here, Ma," I said.
** Henry's my man, and I understand
him. For the love of Mike, don't go
Ma looked puzzled. ** What's that
about Henry's buttons?" she asked.
'* Nothing, Ma; I said you can talk to
me as much as you like, but you've got to
leave Henry alone."
**But it ain't right," said Ma.
**I can't help it," I said. **Tou've
got to leave Henry alone. I'm sure you
never took any interference from your
mother-in-law. ' '
**But I ain't your mother-in-law."
*^ You're Henry's, and if you want him
to love you, you've just naturally got to
let him alone/'
Ma didn't like that. ** Ain't I good to
Henry t" she asked. ** Ain't I knitting
these bedroom slippers for him this very
"Then I'd like to know what you
* * I mean what I say, Ma. I won 't have
you picking on Henry. He's a good
man, and he's my man, and I won't let
anybody pick on him. ' '
With that, I got up out of my chair and
said I guessed it was bedtime, and Ma
said she guessed so, too, but she'd sit
where she was for a spell while I was
undressing, as it was more sociable.
And then she put away her knitting, and
started to read the evening paper, while
I got out Henry's pyjamas and laid them
on his bed, took off my waist, slipped on
a dressing jacket, and began taking down
''Thank goodness that^s over!'* I
thought, *'Ma just had to have her say,
and now she 's had it she feels better, and
there's no harm done. I don't believe
she '11 say a word to Henry, ' '
So I took down my hair, commenced
combing out my switch, and was just be-
ginning to feel real peaceful, when Ma
looked up from her newspaper and said :
**I see those Eockabilts are getting a di-
vorce. The paper says he's a drinking
man like Henry."
That made me mad. ^'Look here,
Ma," I said, **I told you Henry wasn't a
drinking man. ' '
** Well, maybe he ain't," said Ma, ''but
he smokes cigarettes. Your Pa used to
smoke when we was first married, but
I broke him of it in two weeks. He was
mighty uncomfortable at first till he
found out that chewing cloves would cure
his hankering for tobacco. After that
he never smoked at all, just chewed
cloves. I guess I'll recommend cloves to
Henry. ' '
That made me smile, knowing as I did
how Pa used to escape to the bam and
smoke a pipe he kept hidden there. But
of course I didn't let on. **A11 right,
Ma," I said, **you can tell Henry that if
you want to."
** Here's a man," said Ma, *Hhat was
completely cured of his rheumatism in
three days by using Warner's Rheuma-
tism Remedy. I guess I'll have to try
a bottle of that. Goodness, Blanche, if
you ain't wearing a switch! Did you
ever put kerosene on your head? You-
remember Martha Winters that used to
live across the street from us in Center-
^ille ? She was perfectly baJd on top till
she used kerosene on her head, and then
her hair grew out like anything/'
Of course, I ain't bald, having plenty
of hair of my own except for the new
styles, which I told Ma.
**It only seems yesterday that I used
to curl your hair around a piece of
broomhandle,'' said Ma. "My, how
time does fly!''
"Yes,'' I said, laying down my switch
and taking up my hair-brush, "it does,
and that's a fact." Then, as Ma didn^t
say anything, I began brushing my hair
and thinking about when I was a kid, and
how Charley Sprague used to be sweet
on me, and give me candy, and hang
around after school to walk home with
me. Charley always said he'd never
marry anybody but me, and here he was
married twice with a good chance of
burying his second wife, she being sick
with typhoid fever from drinking water
out of a well with microbes in it.
I was thinking how queer things turned
out, and how little you know what 's wait-
ing for you just around the corner, when
all of a sudden I heard a kind of sob,
and, looking around, I saw Ma had her
spectacles off and was wiping her eyes.
'*Why, what's the matter, Ma!'' I
**I'm lonely, Blanche; I miss your
** There, there, ^^ I said, going over and
putting my arms around her, ** don't you
**I ain't crying," said Ma, putting on
her spectacles and blowing her nose.
"Only it came over me all of a sudden-
like. It 's a hard world, Blanche. I
ain't resigned like the minister told me
to be, and praying don't do any good.
I'm just waiting to be took. It's mortal
hard just sitting around waiting to be
**You mustn't talk like that, Ma," I
said. ** Henry and I will always love
you. ' '
**I know," said Ma, **but that's differ-
ent. Pa's gone."
**He^s waiting for you. Ma."
**Yes, I know he is. That's the trou-
ble. He 's up there waiting for me, and
I'm here and I can't go to him. Do you
think he misses me, Blanche?"
**I'm sure he does. Ma."
**It ain't according to the Bible, but I
hope he misses me."
**You want him to be happy," I said.
**Yes," said Ma, **but not without me.
I suppose it's wicked to feel like that, but
I can't help it"
**I don't care whether it's wicked or
not," I said. **I'd feel just the same
way if Henry was took, and so would
any woman that loved her husband.
What gets me, Ma, is what happens to
people like Charley Sprague who marry
again. It must be mighty embarrassing
to meet your first up there and have to
explain to her that you're waiting for
your second; or maybe meet them both
up there at the same time. I guess that
would be a sight worse. ' '
** Maybe one of them wouldn^t go to
Heaven,'' said Ma. ** Anyway, it's a
comfort to me to know your Pa's in
Heaven, and not in the other place,
**I won't say a word to Henry. I
guess all mother-in-laws are the same,
but I'll leave you paddle your own ca-
noe, even if I do think you're paddling it
wrong. ' '
'* Thank you, Ma."
**But don't you think I approve of
Henry's going out alone nights, for I
With that, Ma went off to bed, and I
turned the gas low in the hall, and then
I went to bed, too, for Henry doesn't
like me to sit np for him. But, some-
how, instead of going to sleep right away
like I generally do, I got to thinking
over what Ma had said, and wondering
if, after all, the old-fashioned way wasn't
best. Supposing Henry was to get into
temptation, going out alone Saturday
night the way he did? Women are like
that; you sow a doubt in their minds,
and if they ain't careful, the first thing
they know it 's growing like the grain of
mustard seed in the Bible.
Maybe Henry didn't bowl every Satur-
day night; maybe his friends were
wicked and were leading him astray. Of
course, I knew this wasn't true. But
there was Pa, as good a man as ever
lived; and yet he used to deceive Ma in
little things right along. That^s one rea-
son I'd been so liberal with Henry. I
began to wonder what I'd do if Henry
did drink too much some Saturday night,
and come home like that, and I guess
I'd have ended by being perfectly mis-
erable if what little common sense I pos-
sess hadn't come to the front just then.
** Blanche Hawkins," I said to myself,
^'you're a fool! Henry's the best man
in the world, and you know it. Now you
go to sleep ! ' ' And I did.
I don't believe I'd been asleep ten min-
utes when I woke all of a sudden with
the idea that the flat was on fire. No, it
was the front door-bell ringing. What
did that mean ?
Of course, after I'd collected my wits,
I knew exactly what it meant; Henry
had gone off without his keys again.
That's one thing about Henry, he's the
f orgetfulest man I ever knew. So I got
out of bed, went out into the hall and
pushed the button that opens the front
door downstairs; and when I'd heard
that door slam, I unfastened the hall door
of our flat and then went back to bed.
And pretty soon I heard the hall door
close, and then I pretended to be asleep ;
for it worries Henry when he forgets his
keys and has to wake me up to let him
in, so I always tell him it doesn't dis-
turb me at all, and that I always go
right to sleep the minute I get back in
But that night Henry didn't seem to
know what he was doing. He closed the
bedroom door all right, and then I heard
him drop his shoes. Henry always takes
off his shoes in the hall when he lets him-
self in, but I didn't see the use of his
taking them off after waking me up to
let him in. It seemed mighty queer, but
I didn't say anything till he ran into a
The room was dark, of course, but the
chairs were in their usual places, and
he'd never run into one before. So I
sat up in bed, just to let him see I was
awake, and said: "Is that you,
Henry!" And then I nearly died, for
though his answer was all right, his voice
sounded thick and strange, and I knew
perfectly well he'd had too much to
It had happened just the way Ma said
it would. I turned cold all over, and
then I got mad clear through.
WHEN I was a kid back in Center-
ville I had a school-teacher
named Miss Gibbs, and one thing she
taught me IVe never forgotten, which
was not to speak to anybody when I was
mad till I'd counted ten, and counted it
slow. For though I was easy-going as
a rule, when I did get r'iled I flared up
like the forge in Jonas Miller's black-
smith shop; and I do to this day. But
that night I was so mad I didn 't stop at
ten; I counted twenty. And then I
counted ten more.
By that time I 'd got control of myself,
and was beginning to hope I was doing
Henry an injustice. ** Maybe his voice
is funny like that because he's caught
cold/' I thought. **I'll just speak to
him again and make sure, ' ' Sol asked
him if he'd forgotten his keys.
But when he answered me I knew it
wasn't a cold but too much drink that
ailed hun; for he told me he hadn't for-
gotten his keys, that the reason he'd rung
the bell downstairs was that the keyhole
**What was the matter with it?" I
** Don't know," he said. ** Keyhole
wouldn't stand still — ^kept jumping about
like a rabbit. Funny thing! Very
* at isn't funny at all, "I said, ^^t's
** Quite right, m'dear," said Henry.
** Keyholes shouldn't jump about like
that. Disgraceful ! ' '
**It's you who are disgraceful," I said.
But I wasn't mad any more; I was just
unhappy, and wanted to cry. There was
no good crying, though ; all I could do was
to make the best of it, and hide it from
Ma. Besides, I knew Henry would feel
meaner than dog pie when he realized
how he'd behaved, and I didn't believe
he 'd ever come home like that again. I 'd
see to it that he didn't.
**You go to bed," I said. **I'd light
the light, only I don't want to lay eyes on
you. ' '
** Don't want a light," said Henry.
** Light hurts my eyes. See better in the
dark." And with that he bumped into
I could just make him out in the dim
light. No, I should say I didn't want to
see him the way I would with the gas
lighted! Just for a minute I felt as if
I never wanted to see him again as long
as I lived. I suppose there's lots of
women who have felt like that about their
husbands, but I'd never felt that way
about Henry before, and I 'm glad to say
I've never felt like that since; though
if I had I guess I'd have got over it.
That 's one thing about women ; as a rule,
they're mighty good at getting over
things — they have to be.
But to return to Henry. When he
bumped into the table he said a real
wicked word, and when I told him to stop
talking like that and go to bed, he said
he would, only what he did was to come
over to the foot of my bed, instead. And
when I pointed out his mistake, he didn 't
seem to understand, but just kept stand-
*'What we doing with two beds?" he
** They 're the new twin beds," I an-
*' Twins?" said Henry. *^We got
twins! Never told me we had twins.
Wha's their names ?'^
**Twin beds, you gmnpl^'
** Don't get mad,'* said Henry.
** 'Tain't your fault, m'dear. Every-
thing's twins to-night. Twin doors
downstairs, twin lights in the hall.
Came home in a taxicab driven by two
men. Funny I Very funny I ' '
**It isn't funny, it's dreadful! Ton
ought to be ashamed. Go to bed!"
And finally Henry did fimd his bed, and
sat down on it; but he insisted on talking,
and wouldn't go to sleep. **Want to
tell you a story," he said. **Very
funny I Eose told it to me to-night. ' '
Eose ? My heart seemed to stop beat-
** Where did you go to-night, Henry?"
I asked in a voice that scared me, it
sounded so strange.
**Been to lodge."
^*But, Henry, you don^t belong to any
lodge. ' *
* * Tha 's right, m 'dear. You know that
Elk button I wear sometimes ? "
**What are you talking about?''
**That little Elk button. I ain't an
Elk, I'm a Bull Moose. '^
''Who is Rose, Henry?"
''Friend of mine. Little Jack Rose —
used to be jockey."
"Oh!" I said.
I'd never been jealous before in my
whole life, and I never want to be again ;
for from the moment Henry said he'd
been out with Rose till I found out who
Rose was, I felt exactly like some one
had taken my soul and dropped it in
boiling hot lard like they would a dough-
nut. It was like getting back to Heaven
after spending a few days in the other
place to find out Rose was a man. And
after that I didn't care much if Henry
had taken too much to drink. * * He won H
do it again/' I thought, '*and even if he
does, there's lots worse things.'' So I
said good-night to him real gentle, and
told him he 'd better go to sleep.
But Henry wasn't through talking.
^^ Ain't in bed yet," he said. **Want to
tell you about that Elk button. Bought
it in a pawnshop. Only wear it Satur-
*^ What are you talking about?" I said.
** Nothing," said Henry. ** Forgot.
Shouldn't talk about it. Secret."
**Well, it won^t be a secret to-mor-
row," I replied. ** To-morrow you're
going to tell me everything. You'll be
sorry to-morrow, Henry."
*^Tha's right, m'dear. Always sorry
to-morrow. Always happy to-night.
** Good-night, " I said.
I don't know how long I stayed awake
after that; maybe ten minutes, maybe
half an hour. It seemed at first as if
I couldn't go to sleep at all, having so
much to think about that was new and un-
pleasant. But after a while it came over
me how foolish it was to lie awake and
brood over things. Besides, it wasn't
fair to Henry.
*'It's not for you to harbor resent-
ment against Henry," I thought.
**What you've got to do is to lead him
back to the path of righteousness, and
if you lie awake all night you'll be cross
to-morrow, and then instead of leading
him, you'll try to drive him, which will
be bad for you both." So I just put
everything out of mind, except how good
Henry had always been to me in the past,
and with that came faith in the future —
It 's funny how you wake up sometimes
all of a sudden with the feeling that
there 's a burglar in the house, or you Ve
forgotten to wind the clock, or youVe
left the water running in the bathroom,
only to find on investigating that you've
probably dreamed it. Henry told me
afterward that he hadn't made a sound,
but just the same the first thing I knew
I was awake again, and sitting up in bed,
listening. And there was some one in
the room, too, for as soon as my eyes got
used to the darkness I made out a dim
shadow over by the door.
*'Is that you, Henry?" I said.
* ' Yes, dear, ' ' he answered.
**What are you doing out of bed?" I
^ ^ Did I wake you ? I'm sorry. ' '
*' Never mind," I said. **Are you all
*'As right as rain," he replied; and to
tell the truth, his voice did sound differ-
** That's good," I said. **Now get
back to bed. The bed 's over here. ' *
**Tes, I know. Sorry I woke you up.
Go to sleep, dear/*
**I'in glad you woke me up. I see
you 're all right now. * '
^^Tes, I'm all right. Good-night. ' '
I lay back in bed quite contented.
Henry couldn't have had very much to
drink or else he wouldn't have recovered
so quick. Maybe, too, there 'd been some-
thing wrong with what he 'd had.
**That jockey probably put something
in his glass to make him like that,"
I thought. **What with gambling and
horse-racing, jockeys are apt to be like
that. To-morrow I'll make Henry
promise not to have anything more to do
In the meantime, Henry didn't seem
to have any trouble finding his bed, which
was also encouraging. He didn't say
anything about there being two beds,
either, or run into the table.
^'That^s finel" I thought ^^Henry's
himself again ! * *
Have you ever bolstered up your pride,
and said everything's all right, only to
find out the next minute what a fool
you Ve been? Well, that's exactly what
happened to me ; for just as I was con-
gratulating myself on Henry's rapid re-
covery, I heard him kind of gasp.
*' What's the matter now?" I said, sit-
*^ Matter?" cried Henry. "Matter?
Jumping Jehosephat ! Everything's the
matter I There 's some one in my bed ! ' '
' ' Oh, dear I " I said. * * And I thought
you were all right!"
"I tell you there's some one in my
That worried me. "Do you see any-
thing else?'* I asked — ^'pink lizards, or
green elephants, or purple snakes T*
** What are you talking about?'* Henry
**Then you don't see them?"
**I don't see anything," said Henry,
**but I'm going to as soon as I can find a
match. ' '
*^ Don't you begin playing with
matches now," I said, **or you'll set the
flat on fire. You go to bed and stop
trapesing around in the dark. ' '
**But I tell you there's some one in my
**I know there is," I said, thinking to
humor him. **I put the twins in your
bed, but if they disturb you I '11 take them
in with me."
*^ Twins?" said Henry. *<Twins?"
**Yes," I said. **Now do be sensible
and go to bed."
But Henry didn't go to bed. Instead,
he sort of groaned, and kept on hunting
*'Are you going back to bed by your-
self, or must I get up and put you to
bed?'' I asked.
*'I'm going, dearest,'' he answered.
And then he struck a match and lighted
The light sort of blinded me at first ;
then, things clearing up, I saw Henry
standing in the center of the room, look-
ing at me real anxious and troubled.
*'Why, Henry," I said, ^^you're all
dressed! I thought — " And then, my
eyes shifting over to Henry's bed, I let
out a yell like a wild Indian. For there
was some one in Henry's bed! A man!
**Look!" I cried, pointing to the bed.
**I'm looking," said Henry. "What
does this mean?"
**I — ^I don't know," I said. And then
I began to cry.
ONE thing's sure; men — at least
some men — are more reasonable
than any woman that ever lived. Now
I'm a reasonable woman, as women go.
But when I think how Henry acted that
night, and how I'd have acted, if I'd come
home like he did and found — Well, it
just makes me sorry women are like that,
though I suppose they wouldn't be
women if they weren't.
I wouldn't have blamed Henry if he'd
gone off his head and said things when
he found that man in his bed. No, I
wouldn't have blamed him a bit — and I
wouldn't have forgiven him.
But Henry was different ; what he did
was to come over and put his arms
around me, and try to comfort me.
** Don't you cry, dear,'* he said. **It^s
' ' It— isn 't— all— right, ' ' I sobbed.
'^Tou — ^you don't think I knew he was
**0f course not," he said.
At that I cried harder than ever.
'* Henry," I said, **you're — ^you're the
sweetest man in the world. ' '
* * Nonsense 1 ' ' said Henry. * ' But how
did he get here ? ' '
'*I— I don't know," I replied. ^'The
door-bell rang, and I — I thought it was
you, and — and I went out and pressed
the button, and opened the hall door.
And then — ^and then I went back to bed.
And then — Oh, you'll never forgive
me ! But when you came in it was dark,
and you talked queer, and I thought — I
thought you'd had too much to drink.
Oh, it 's too terrible I "
*^Tou poor darling!'^ said Henry, very
All this while the man in Henry 's bed
had been sleeping peacefully, thank
goodness ! or I don't know what I'd have
done. Anyway, I felt a lot better after
I'd twisted up my hair, and hid in the
closet. It was comforting, too, to learn
that our guest hadn't undressed except
for his coat and shoes, for naturally I
wanted to see what was going on. And
I did, peering out from behind the closet
What went on first was that Henry
leaned over and shook the stranger
within his bed, which didn't do any good
**You wake upl** said Henry, giving**
him another shake.
* ^ Lemme alone ! ' ' murmured the stran-
Henry gave him another shake, and
this time he sat up. ''Wha's matter?''
he asked. * * Is it morning ? ' '
**No,'' said Henry, *4t isn't morning.
Who are you, anyway?''
* * Name 's Deane. What are you doing
in my flat?"
"This isn't your flat; it's mine,"
Henry said sharply.
** 'Tisn't, either; s'mine."
"Where do you live?"
"124 East 123rd Street"
"No, you don't. I know everybody
who lives in this house."
"All right," said the stranger, and
with that he lay down again.
"Here, you sit up!" said Henry, giv-
ing him another shake. "Where do you
"123 East 124tli Street."
"That's more like it. Did you hear
that, Blanche? He lives at 123 East
'^124 East 123rd Street,'' said the
*^No," said Henry, ^'123 East 124th
*^Tha's what I said,'' declared the
' ' How long have you lived at 123 East
* * Moved in yesterday. Fine flat I No
gas — 'lectric lights. Fifty dollars a
month ! Wha 's matter ? ' '
*^ Nothing, only you've got in the
wrong flat. ' '
** Never mind," said the stranger.
* * Sleepy now. Good-night. ' '
**Here, none of thatl" said Henry.
**You're not going to sleep now. Have
you got a wife?"
**Yes, got a wife. Just had twins.
She told me about it to-night. Great
surprise! Ought to go home and see
**I think I know what he's talking
about, Henry,'' I whispered. **He's
talking about — '^
*'Yes," interrupted the stranger,
**tha's my name. Henry — Henry
Deane. Wife's got twins. Never knew
about it. ' ' And with that the poor man
began to cry.
**Here, you stop crying 1" said Henry.
^^ Can't," said Mr. Deane. ^^ Wife's
got twins, little boy and little girl.
Ought to go home."
'* What's all this about twins, any-
way?" asked Henry, coming over to the
clothes-closet where I was hiding.
^'It's Kke this," I said. *^When he
came in the dark, I said *Is that you,
Henry?' and he said *Yes,' and then he
came over to the foot of my bed, and I
said, * Your bed's over there.' And then
he asked me what was the matter with
the beds, and I told him they were the
new twin beds, so that's where he must
have got the idea. * *
^*I see/' said Henry. **Drat it all,
he's gone to sleep again I"
**If that's the case," I said, **I'm com-
ing out of the closet." And I did.
**But what shall we do with him?"
**I don't know," I answered. **We
can't turn him loose the way he is, and
we certainly can't take him home like
**Your Ma has the only other bed in
the flat, ' ' said Henry. * ^ Tell you what ;
we might make up a bed for him on the
lounge in the dining-room. ' '
**I don't like the idea of a perfect
stranger sleeping in the dining-room, ' ' I
said. **We don't know a thing about
**Then perhaps we'd better let him
stay where he is."
"But what will I dor' I asked.
"You might go and tuck in with yonr
"Not me/' I said. "K I was to tuck
in with Ma, she'd think we'd quarreled,
"Then I don^t see anything but to put
him to bed in the dining-room."
"No," I said, "if he sleeps in the
dining-room, Ma will be sure to get up
early and find him there, and then there
would be all sorts of explanations. I
guess I'd better sleep in the dining-room
myself. ' '
"Yes, I guess you had," agreed Henry.
"I don't like his sleeping in here with
you, though. He might get up in the
night and murder you. ' '
" Nonsense 1" said Henry. "He's
dead to the world. The thing to do is to
get him out of the flat good and early
before Ma's awake. Then you can come
in here, and there won H be any explana-
tions to make.''
**Yes,'' I said, **I believe that is the
best plan. I wonder if he really does
live at 123 East 124th Street. You might
look in his coat-pockets, and see if he's
got a card."
Henry thought that was a good idea,
so he looked through Mr. Deane's coat-
pockets and discovered a green leather
wallet containing some banknotes, and
papers, and some business cards, which
informed us that Mr. Deane represented
the Gibraltar Life Insurance Company.
And looking further, he found another
card with ^^123 East 124th Street"
scribbled on it.
**He's wearing an Elk button on his
coat, too," said Henry, **so he must be
*'Yes," I said, not thinking it neces-
sary to repeat what Mr. Deane had told
me about that Elk button, * * I guess lie 's
a respectable citizen except on Saturday
With that Henry returned the wallet
to the inside pocket of Mr. Deane's coat,
and flung the coat across a chair by the
bed, which was a natural thing for him
to do ; though if I 'd known what trouble
that simple action was going to cause,
I'd never have let him do it. But how
was I to know ?
*'Well,'' said Henry, *4t's all hours of
the night, and I guess we'd better make
up that bed in the dining-room. If we
don't, we'll never go to sleep."
**No," I said, **we can't go to sleep
** Because we can't," I said. *'Do
you know who I'm thinking of, Hen-
**No,'^ said Henry, kind of cross, **I
don't. If you're not going to bed, what
are you going to do ? ' '
**IVe been thinking about that man's
poor wife," I said, pointing to the bed
where Mr. Deane was sleeping peaceful
as a lamb. **I suppose she's sitting up,
wondering what's become of him."
** Better to let her sit up and wonder
than to see him the way he is," said
Henry. **If you think I'm going to
take him home like that, you're mis-
taken. ' '
**I don't want you to take him home,"
I said. **But I can't bear to think of
his poor wife waiting up for him, and
watching the clock, and wondering if he
hasn't been run over by a taxicab, or
murdered, or been took sick and gone
to a hospital. ' '
** Well, what are you going to do about
it f " asked Henry.
^^It's you who's going to do it," I
answered. **What you've got to do,
Henry, is to send her a telegram/'
Henry agreed that it would be a kind-
ness to send a telegram, but wanted to
know how in blazes he was going to do
it. **I can't leave you here alone with
that man," he said.
^^Oh, pshaw 1" I said. ^^That man
wouldn't harm a kitten. Besides, it
won't take you more than five or six
minutes to run over to 125th Street and
send a telegram. What puzzles me is
what to put in the message. ' '
*'But I won't leave you alone 1"
* * Yes, you will, too, ' ' I said. * * We Ve
just got to send that poor woman a tele-
* * But what would you do if he woke up
while I was gone and got gay ? ' '
*'I'd jab him with this," I said, going
out into the hall and returning with my
**A hatpin would be better/' said
*'A11 right, V\l get a hatpin, too.
Honestly, Henry, weVe just got to send
that poor woman a telegram. I know
how I'd feel if you didn't come home ; I'd
think something awful had happened to
you, and I'd cry my eyes out, and would-
n't sleep a wink. "
** Bless your heart," said Henry, '^I
believe you would. ' '
**And that's why we have to send a
telegram to Mrs. Henry Deane. Good-
ness ! Supposing his name hadn 't been
Henry, and when I said, 'Is that you,
Henry?' he'd answered, 'No, it's Bob.' "
''On the whole," said Henry, "if it
had to be — and I guess it did or it would-
n't have happened — it's lucky it turned
out the way it did. Are you sure it
won't scare you to be left alone with
*' Scare mef Of course it will scare
* * You might lock him in here, and wait
for me out in the hall. ' '
**Not muchl'* I said. *'He might set
the flat on fire if he was locked in here all
alone by himself. I can manage; don^t
you worry. Besides, I don 't believe he '11
wake for twenty-four hours unless you
stick pins in him. He's dead to the
world. ' '
*^A11 right, dear,'' said Henry, '^I'U
do as you say. Only, what shall we put
in the telegram?"
*' Let's get a pencil and paper and kind
of figure it out, ' ' I said.
After writing all sorts of messages,
we decided on this as being the safest :
Mrs. Henry Deane,
123 E. 12^th St. K. T. City,
Stoppuig all night with friends. Be home
to-morrow morning. Love. Henry.
My Henry thought it a first-rate tele-
gram, and so did I. For see the artful-
ness of it ; only a sober man would stop
to count his words, and a ten-word mes-
sage would convince his wife that her
Henry was safe and sober, even if he
wasn't truthful. She probably would
doubt his word, but that was his affair.
Neither Henry nor I could see how we
could very well do more than we were
So Henry put on his hat, lighted the
gas in the hall, and I went with him to
the door. And then I came back to the
bedroom, and with a hatpin in one hand
and my umbrella clutched tight in the
other, sat down in a rocking chair to wait.
I never was a good hand at waiting,
and the longer I waited the more fidgety
I got. I began to wonder if I 'd have the
courage to jab our guest with my um-
brella if he woke up and acted queer, and
to wish I hadn't been so rash sending
Henry off with that telegram. It was
all right to be sorry for poor Mrs. Deane
crying her eyes out, but here I was left
alone with a perfect stranger who might
wake up any minute and try to brain
Finally I couldn *t stand it any longer.
Thinks I: **IVe got to do something,
or I'll just naturally bust. I guess I'll
get out the bedclothes, and make up the
lounge in the dining-room." So I went
into the closet and took down two sheets
and a blanket from a shelf, at the same
time being mighty careful to keep my
umbrella; I had the hatpin handy, too —
stuck through my hair.
Coming out the closet with my arms
full of bedclothes and the umbrella dan-
gling from my wrist, I went over to my
bed to get one of my pillows. And then
— ^Well, I '11 never forget what happened
next as long as I live ! For just as I was
leaning over to get that pillow, who
should cpme marching into the room but
OF course, if I'd stopped to think, I
never would have acted as I did.
But I didn't expect Ma, and her coming
in like that, and Henry gone, and a
strange man in his bed knocked what
little sense I had out of my head.
The worst of it was, Ma didn't say any-
thing at first; just stood and stared at
me. And I stared back, my legs weak at
the knees, and my heart beating like a
drum. It was awful !
Finally Ma found her tongue. * * What
are you doing with that umbrella I ' ' she
' ' I— I don 't know, ' ' I faltered. ' ' I— I
thought it looked like rain. ' '
*^ What's that?"
**I was putting it away, Ma," I said.
**What are you doing trapesing around
in your nightgown this time of night T'
*'I woke up and saw a streak of light
under nay door, so I thought I'd investi-
gate; and I'm glad I did. Blanche, this
is disgraceful. ' '
*'I know it is, Ma," I said, **but I can't
help it. ' ' And then I began to cry.
*' There, there!" said Ma. ^'You're
all unstrung, ain't you? Don't you cry,
girlie! You just come and tuck into
my bed with me. Henry ought to be
ashamed of himself ! ' '
**You mustn't blame Henry," I said,
'^it isn't his fault. Besides, we've
known Mr. Deane for years, and he's
just like a brother to me."
' ' What are you talking about, Blanche ?
Who's Mr. Deane?"
** He— he's a friend of Henry's," I
*'He's a poor friend of Henry ^s, then,''
said Ma, **or this wouldn't have hap-
pened. ' '
**You — ^you don't understand," I
* * I do, too, ' ' said Ma. * * Henry 's come
home — "
* ^ Henry r' I gasped.
''Yes, Henry," said Ma. **Who do
you suppose I'm talking about?"
I looked at Ma to see if she was really
serious, and then glanced at Henry's bed.
As a matter of fact, only the top of the
stranger 's head was showing, and it was
kind of bald like Henry's. ''Thank
goodness!" I thought. "I won't have
to explain after all. ' '
For you see, it isn't so easy to explain
things to Ma, her being deaf; besides, a
strange man in your husband's bed needs
an awful lot of explaining. So, acting
on impulse, I decided to let Ma think the
stranger was Henry if she wanted to, and
I said: *'You go to bed, Ma. If we
stand here talking we '11 wake Henry, and
he 's tired out. ' *
*^0h!'' said Ma. ^^He's tired out, is
^'Yes, Henry's dead tired," I replied.
**If he wasn't, we'd have woke him up
long ago. ' '
**But I can't go to bed and leave you
like this," said Ma. '*What you doing
with those bedclothes?"
Though I hadn't realized it, all this
time I'd been hanging on to the two
sheets and blanket I'd got out to make
up the lounge in the dining-room. Not
knowing what else to say (Ain't it awful
how one lie leads to another?), I told Ma
I'd got out the extra covers because I was
having a chill. * * But I 'm feeling better
now," I said, *'a lot better." (Which
wasn't true, either, for now I was in a
panic for fear the stranger would turn
over in his sleep and show his face.)
**Do yon know what I believe f said
Ma. **I believe you're afraid of Henry,
and youVe got that umbrella, and that
hatpin stuck in your hair to protect your-
** Afraid of Henry r' I cried. '^Ma,
you're crazy! Why should I be afraid
of Henry r*
*'You can't fool me, Blanche; I know
what ails Henry. ' '
^^He's tired out.''
*' Tired out, your grandmother's cat!
Haven 't I got eyes and a nose ? Henry 's
the worse for drink, that's what ails
And now, too late, I saw what I had
done. By letting Ma think the stranger
was Henry, I 'd convicted Henry, in Ma 's
eyes, at least, of having come home the
worse for drink. It was too dreadful!
And yet it seemed almost as bad to tell
Ma I^d been lying to her, as to let her
think ill of Henry. So I said: '*Ma,
you're wrong about Henry, and to-mor-
row you '11 be sorry for having thought ill
of him.' '
^^I don't believe it," said Ma. **If
Henry ^s all right like you say he is, just
wake him up and let him prove it. ' '
**I won't, either."
**Then I will," said Ma, starting to-
wards the bed.
* * No, you won 't, " I said. * * You leave
Henry alone I ' ^ And then I had an aw-
ful thought: supposing Henry was to
come walking in, as he might any minute.
What would Ma think then T
*'Ma," I said, going over to her and
taking her by the arm, *^I forgot to bolt
the front door. If I go and bolt it will
you promise to leave Henry alone till I
*^No/^ said Ma, ^*I won't/'
**Tlien youVe got to go with me/' I
said, tucking her arm in mine.
**Are you crazy, Blanche?"
** Mighty near it."
*^ What's that?"
**I said I wasn't crazy. Ma, but I'm
afraid to go out in the hall alone, and
you've got to come with me."
** You didn't used to be like that," said
Ma. **I remember when you wasn't
scared of anything. Henry must have
terrorized you a heap to make you like
**I was always like that," I said;
** Henry had nothing to do with it.
Come along." And with that I half-
dragged Ma to the front door, which I
**Now, Ma,'* I said, ''you go back to
''Not likely," said Ma, "with you hav-
ing a chill. ' '
Of course I told Ma I was through hav-
ing chills, and that the best place for me
was in bed. Ma agreed with me there,
only she insisted on my tucking in with
her. And when I said I wouldn't, she
declared it was either that, or else she'd
tuck in with me.
' ' But you can 't. Ma, ' ' I said. ' ' I only
got a single bed. Besides, it wouldn't be
proper. ' '
"I don't care whether it's proper or
not," said Ma. "If you think I'm going
to leave a child of mine alone with a man
who's had too much drink, you're mis-
taken. ' '
You can imagine what a state I was
in with Ma acting like that, and me ex-
pecting Henry back any minute. I just
didn^t know what to do. If I did tuck in
with Ma, Henry, finding the front door
bolted when he came back, would prob-
ably think Mr. Deane had murdered me ;
if I didn't tuck in with Ma, there was no
telling what mightn't happen. On the
whole, I decided it was better to risk
scaring Henry than to take any more
chances with Ma.
Yet I hated to scare Henry. Why
couldn't I write him a note, explaining
how things were, and slip it under the
It wouldn't be very cheerful for
Henry, waiting out there, but it would be
better than thinking I'd been murdered.
Besides, if Ma went right to sleep, which
I hoped she would, I^d be able to steal out
and let him in almost as soon as he
arrived. Anyway, that 's what I decided
to do, and finally, after promising to join
her in five minutes, I got Ma to go back
to bed. Then I dashed into my room
and scribbled a note to Henry.
After I*d done that, and satisfied my-
self Mr. Deane was still asleep, I turned
out the gas, and went out into the hall
where I got down on my knees and
pushed the note I'd written under the
front door with a hairpin, there being
plenty of space, the building being old
and kind of out of plumb, so to speak.
I guess I took longer than five minutes
to do it, though, for Ma came out of her
room and discovered me just as I got the
note under the door. And seeing me on
my knees, she naturally thought I was
praying, and that I'd chosen a funny
place to do it. * 'If you want to pray for
Henry, ' ' she said — ' * and I guess he needs
it if anyone does — come into my room,
and I '11 pray with you. ' '
I laughed at that, I couldn't help it.
^'That's right," said Ma. ^'You're
laughing now, and praying did it. Shall
I turn out the gas, Blanche ? ' *
*'No,'* I said, ** leave it bum/'
But Ma thought that was wasteful ex-
travagance. So she compromised by
turning it low, after which I followed her
into her room; and before long we were
both in bed, the door into the hall closed,
the room dark, and me praying a real
prayer, which was that Ma would go to
sleep soon so that I could slip out and
let poor Henry in. For the more I
thought about his staying out there on
the landing, the less I liked it.
Supposing the people in the flat above
us were to come home and find him sitting
out there? They'd think it mighty
queer. It wasn't likely they'd be out so
late at night, but I couldn't help worry-
ing. I 'm not the worrying kind, but by
this time I'd got into a sort of nervous
state, and no wonder.
You see, I took it for granted that
Henry had already read my note, and
was out there waiting for me to let him
in. So you can imagine how I jumped,
when all of a sudden I heard a noise out
in the hall. It sounded like some one
hammering on the front door, though I
couldn ^t be sure.
' * Goodness ! * ' I thought. ' ' I hope Mr.
Deane hasn't woke up and started on the
rampage!'* For it seemed impossible
that Henry could have failed to see the
note I 'd slipped under the door, and if it
wasn't Henry, it must be Mr. Deane.
Anyway, I'd better investigate. But
when I started to slip out of bed real
quiet. Ma, who wasn't asleep yet, reached
over and grabbed me by the arm.
**You lie down and go to sleep," she
*'I will in a minute, Ma. I just want
to see if Henry's all right."
**If you keep jumping in and out of
bed like a grasshopper, we'll neither of
us get any sleep,'' said Ma, **You're to
come back, mind ! ' ^
^'Yes, Ma," I said, ^'I'll be right
back." And with that I got out of bed
and kind of felt my way over to the door.
By this time the hammering sound had
stopped. But I thought I'd better in-
vestigate just the same, so I went over
to our bedroom door and looked in.
Though I couldn't see him, I knew Mr.
Deane was asleep because he was snor-
ing ; not loud, but regular — ^like the tick-
ing of a clock.
'^That settles him," I thought. *'It
must have been some one else who made
that noise. Anyway, now that I'm up, I
can let Henry in. That is, I can if Ma
stays in bed. ' '
I felt in my bones that if I did open the
front door and let Henry in, Ma would
choose that identical moment to pop out
of her room and spoil everything. Just
the same, I was going to chance it, for I
couldn't bear to think of poor Henry
waiting outside there. So after looking
over my shoulder and straining my ears
for any sound from Ma's room, I slipped
the bolt and opened the front door. And
then I was completely flabbergasted.
Henry wasn't there! When I came to
look for it, I found the note I'd written
him wasn't there, either.
' ' That explains it, " I thought. ' ' After
reading my note, Henry waited till he
got tired, and now he 's probably killing
time by walking around the block. ' '
It seemed probable, too, that the ham-
mering I'd heard had been a boy with a
telegram who'd come up one flight too
many. For there was a bright light in
the hall below, and by looking over the
banisters I could see that the front door
of the flat underneath ours was open. So
I closed our front door — not slipping the
bolt this time — and went back to Ma's
I wanted to write Henry another note
to tell him the door wasn't bolted now,
and he could steal in and go to bed if he
wanted to ; but to do that I 'd have to light
a light in our room, which I didn't like
to do with Mr. Deane asleep in there.
Besides, I felt sure Ma was already be-
ginning to wonder why I was gone so
I was right about Ma. She was on the
point of getting out of bed to come after
me, and she scolded me good for skir-
mishing around in my bare feet, and me
just over a chill.
^'You'll be sick to-morrow, as sure as
guns, ' ^ she said. ' ' I never passed such a
night in my life, what with Henry coming
home the worse for drink, and you telling
stories about him, having chills, and
tempting Providence the worst way,
kneeling to pray like you did by a door
with a crack under it, and you with next
to nothing on and in a draught all the
time you was there. Haven't you got
any sense, Blanche f ' '
With that. Ma flopped over on her side
and tried to go to sleep. If she'd only
succeeded ! But she didn 't ; and her not
going to sleep caused me so much worry,
later, that when I looked in the glass next
morning, I almost expected to find my
hair had turned white like the Count of
Monte Cristo's did — or was it Henry
AS I lay there waiting for Ma to go
to sleep, I wondered and wondered
what I could do to clear Henry *s reputa-
tion. I couldn't bear to have Ma think-
ing ill of him, and misjudging him the
way she was; yet I couldn't see how to
convince her she was wrong. Of course
Henry had a perfect alibi, but in order to
establish it, I'd have to explain that it
was Mr. Deane and not Henry who had
had too much to drink, and that was
something I couldn't very well explain
now. It would sound fine to-morrow
morning, wouldn't it? for me to say:
**Ma, that man you saw in Henry's bed
last night wasn't Henry at all, but a per-
I could tell her this, though: that
Henry had come home with a raging
toothache, and before he went to sleep
had been holding whisky in his mouth to
ease the pain. Yes, I'd tell Ma that, and
maybe Henry would think of something
else to tell her ; for I wasn't going to have
Ma return to Centerville with the idea
that Henry came home the worse for
drink every Saturday night, and him the
best man in the world, and the kindest.
Wasn't it Henry's kindness that was
responsible for the whole business? If
he ^d turned Mr. Deane out into the street
the way most men would instead of run-
ning off to send a telegram to his poor
wife, there wouldn't have been anything
to explain. And there was Mr. Deane
asleep and happy, and Henry locked out
of his own flat, or just as good as locked
out. When all is said and done, it's no
great shakes to pick up a wounded man
by the roadside and give him a lift. I'll
bet if the Good Samaritan in the Bible
had come home and found a strange man
in his wife's twin bed, he wouldn't have
acted as generous as Henry did.
And where was Henry now? Was he
waiting outside the front door again, or
was he still walking around the block?
And would he have sense enough to try
the door with his key, or would he wait
for me to open the door like I told him I
would in the note I wrote him?
**Are you asleep, Ma?" I asked.
Ma didn't answer, and I began
wondering why she didn 't answer. Was
she asleep, or hadn 't she heard me ?
I'd spoken loud enough, so she should
have heard me, only she was lying on her
left side, and it's her left ear that she
hears best with. So I didn't know
whether she was asleep or not.
By this time I was in such a nervous
state that I was ready to scream, and
I was on the point of getting out of bed
again, whether Ma was asleep or not,
when I heard something that made my
blood run cold. It was a queer, splinter-
ing sort of noise and sounded for all the
world like some one was trying to break
down the front door.
I was out of bed like a shot, making
for the door as fast as I could in the
dark ; and though Ma proved she wasn 't
asleep by ordering me to come back to
bed, you can better believe I didn't go
back. Instead, I opened the bedroom
door and peered out into the hall.
Or — rash !
There was no doubt about it, some one
was trying to break down the front door !
Glancing over my shoulder I saw that
Ma was getting out of bed. Well, I
wasn't going to have her face any dan-
ger, so I slipped the key from the lock,
and, stepping out into the hall, shut the
door and locked it. Ma was safe, any-
Or — rash I
Maybe Mr, Deane was a criminal, and
the police, having tracked him to our
flat, were breaking down our front door
to get at him. Grabbing my umbrella
from the hat-rack where I^d hung it, I
tiptoed towards the front door.
Cr — rash ! And Ma pounding on her
door and yelling: ** Blanche, let me
out!'' and me scared within an inch of
my life I Just the same, something had
got to be done, so I called out in a shaky
voice: *' Who's there?" And then I
heard some one outside say: *' Thank
God!" and I knew it was Henry.
But if Henry was thankful, you can
better believe I wasn't; I was mad as
a hornet. What did he mean by giving
me such a fright? Marching up to the
front door, I flung it wide open. And
then I nearly died! For Henry wasn't
alone ; there was a man with him — a fat
man in pink pyjamas, who carried a
The fat man stared at me, and I stared
at him, till, remembering all of a sudden
I hadn 't anything on but my nightgown,
I dashed behind the door. To make mat-
ters worse. Ma kept pounding on her
door, and demanding to be let out.
**Are you hurt, dearest?'* asked
*^Some one seems to be in trouble,''
said the fat man.
**Yes, what's the matter with your
Ma?" asked Henry.
** Nothing I" I replied. ** Henry, you
come in here!"
* ' If you don 't need me any more, ' ' said
the fat man.
^^No, we don't need you, and never
did I ' ' I snapped from behind the door.
**I'm sure I'm much obliged to you
for your assistance, ' ' said Henry.
*^ Don't mention it,'* said the fat man.
** Good-night. " And with that he
started downstairs, and Henry came in.
*^Now," I said, closing the door and
standing with my back against it, **will
you kindly explain what you mean by
trying to break down the front door, and
scaring me to death!"
*^ Don't you suppose I was scared?"
said Henry. **When I came back from
sending that telegram and found the
front door bolted, I thought something
dreadful had happened. And then when
I knocked and you didn't answer, I could
only think of one explanation, and that
was that Mr. Deane had murdered you."
^ ' Murdered my aunt I Didn 't my note
explain 1 ' *
**Do you mean to tell me you didn^t
get the note I wrote you ? ' '
**I don't know what you're talking
about," said Henry.
*<Then somebody else got it, or — '' I
opened the front door again, and then I
saw what had become of the note. You
see the landing carpet was loose at the
door sill, and what I 'd done was to push
the note not only under the door, but
under the carpet, as well.
'* There," I said, ''that explains every-
''But, what about your Ma?"
"She's locked in. You read the note
and youTl understand. You see, Ma
came into our bedroom after you'd
"Good Heavens!" said Henry.
' ' Then she saw Mr. Deane in my bed ! ' '
"She did and she didn't. Of course
she saw him, but only the top of his
head was showing, so she thought it was
you, and I let her think so/'
* * Then it ^s all right, ' ' said Henry.
**It ain% either; it's all wrong. Ma
smelled whisky the minute she came into
our room. And what with Mr. Deane
being dead to the world, and not able to
defend his character, which he couldn't
have, anyway, and me being fool enough
to let Ma think he was you — "
''Great Scott!" said Henry. ''Then
Ma thinks I'm — "
"Exactly," I said.
"But why did you lock her in her
"Because, thinking Mr. Deane was
you, and him the worse for drink, she in-
sisted on my tucking in with her. And
then you had to go and get a fat man to
break down the front door, and see your
wife with nothing on but a nightgown.
Besides, I thought it was burglars trying
to get in, and I wasn't going to have Ma
shot at by burglars if I could help it. ' *
'^But I had to get some one to help
me,^* said Henry. **I couldn't break
down the door alone.'*
^'Who wanted you to break it down?
And now there 's Ma to explain things to.
We 've got to do something, or she '11 hol-
ler herself sick, and wear all the skin off
**Yes," agreed Henry, *^your Ma will
wake up everybody in the block if we
don't do something.'*
*^Well, then, hurry up and think!
What shall we tell her?"
*'I — I don't know," said Henry, *' un-
less we tell her the truth. ' '
''And have her find out I'd been lying
to her, and allowing a strange man to
sleep in my twin bed ? Not much I No,
we'll tell her a burglar was trying to
break into the flat, and I locked her in to
keep her from doing anything rash,
knowing how brave she is. That 's what
we'll tell her. Hang your hat on the
rack, and come along/'
Ma was the maddest white woman in
America when we opened her door. She
glared at me like a tiger ; wanted to know
what I meant by locking her in, and if I
thought that was any way for a daughter
to treat her mother.
*'I only did it to protect you. Ma,'' I
*^ Protect me I Protect me from
*'From burglars, Ma.'^
** What's she talking about, Henry!"
* * Burglars, Ma ! " I screamed. * * They
tried to break into the flat I If you don't
believe it, come and look at the front
Ma was perfectly willing to look at the
front door, so we trailed down the hall,
opened the door, and Henry pointed out
the dents the fat man had made with his
stove-lifter. But even then Ma was only-
**I don^t believe there were any bur-
glars, ' * she said, ' ' and even if there were,
you had no business to lock me in my
*'It was to save you from being shot
''Well, I'd rather be shot at than be
locked in a room the way I was. Don't
you ever let me catch you doing anything
like that again."
''I won't, Ma," I promised. I hoped
it wouldn't be necessary a second time.
"H'ml" said Henry. "Don't you
wish to tell Ma. something else,
* ' Oh, yes 1 I want you to take a good
look at Henry, Ma. I've told him what
you thought about him, and his feel-
ings are hurt/'
^*Yes, Ma,*' said Henry, **how could
you think I'd take too much to drink!''
** Because," said Ma, *^I smelled
whisky for one thing."
*'He'd had a toothache," I explained,
*'and had been holding whisky in his
mouth to ease the pain. You can see for
yourself he's as sober as a judge."
* ' I haven 't got my glasses, ' ' said Ma,
**but he seems sober. I'm sorry if I've
done you an injustice, Henry, though I
must say that holding whisky in your
mouth is likely to lead you to forming
a habit for strong drink, if you haven't
already got the habit, which I'm sure I
hope you haven't. And even if you have,
it isn't much worse than Blanche's habit
of locking people in their rooms. "
Luckily, I understood Ma well enough
to know that what she said amounted to
her admitting that she was in the wrong*
So I breathed a sigh of relief. At last
everything seemed to be running
smoothly. Though the thought of it
made me turn as pink as his pyjamas, I
even forgave Henry for letting that fat
man see me there at the door in my night-
But nothing could go right that night
For just as I was congratulating myself
that all was well, I heard a noise
(it soimded like some one overturning a
chair in our bedroom) that scared me
worse than when Henry had tried to
break into the flat. And then, before
either Henry or I could do anything, or
get Ma out of the hall, our bedroom door
opened, and Mr. Deane appeared on the
There he stood, all dressed except for
his coat and shoes, thank goodness! but
with one hand on his stomach. And as
lie blinked at the light, he murmured,
"Going to be sick. Going to be awful
OF course it wasn't funny. Besides,
Henry says I haven 't any sense of
humor, and maybe I haven't. But Mr.
Deane appearing like that and saying
what he did, sort of got me going ; I be-
gan to laugh. And once I'd started
laughing I couldn't stop, though you can
better believe I wanted to, with Henry
glaring at me the way he was. Mr.
Deane looked mighty reproachful, too;
and Ma stared first at me and then at
Mr. Deane, her eyes as big as saucers.
And me laughing like I was enjoying it
when I was really half -crazy with won-
dering how on earth we 'd ever be able to
explain things to Ma now. It was aw-
'*WIia*s that man!'^ demanded Ma,
poiatiii^ to Mr. Deane. ^^ And why is
"'I dont know/ ^ said Henry.
'"Goinj^ to be siek,^* mnnanred Mr.
Deane. ''Going to be ack soon."
'^He came out of your room," said
''Tell her/^ I managed to gasp, ''tdl
her he*s a bnrgiar/"
''Too stop laughing^ and teU her yonr-
self," said Henry.
''Blanche is having hysterics," said
^'Oh," said Henry, ^'is that what ails
**Ck)ing to be sick," mnrmnred Mr.
Deane. "(Joing to be sick now."
**No, yon're not!" said Henry, and
with that he grabbed Mr. Deane by the
arm and yanked him into our bedroom,
slamming the door behind him.
**Well, I never!'' said Ma. ''Who's
that man, Blanche, and what is Henry
doing to himf
But I only shook my head help-
lessly. I was through laughing by this
time ; I was crying now. I couldn't even
think clear any more. It came over me
suddenly that Mr. Deane was the second
man who 'd seen me in my nightgown that
night, and so I naturally cried harder
Having had a cousin named Loretta
Barnes, who used to have hysterics every
time there was a thunder storm, which is
kind of frequent in Indiana, Ma knew
about what to do. So she began sooth-
ing me, patting me on the shoulder, and
talking to me like I was a baby. * ' There,
there,'' she said. ''Don't you cry,
dearie. It's all right. I won't let any-
body hurt you."
At that my mind sort of cleared, and
I thought I saw a way to at least post-
pone any more explanations till to-mor-
''Take — ^me — ^to — ^bed/' I sobbed.
''Yes,'* said Ma, "that's the best place
for you.'' And with that she led me
into her room, lighted the gas, and
tucked me into her bed.
"Now," I thought, "if she'll only go
to bed, too, everything will be all right. ' '
But Ma evidently had no intention of
going to bed. Instead, after smoothing
my pillow and patting my cheek, she
started towards the door.
"Where are you going?" I screamed,
sitting up in bed.
"I'm going to see if Henry needs any
"No, no!" I cried. "I won^t be left
here alone ! ' '
"But Henry may need me. Who was
that man, Blanche ? ' '
^^He was a burglar. And don't you
dare leave me alone.''
* 'But if he 's a burglar, be may be mur-
dering Henry. ' '
* ' I don 't care if he is, ' ' I said.
' ' Why, Blanche Hawkins I ' '
'*I — I'm not myself, Ma," I whim-
pered. * ' If you leave me alone, I '11 die. ' '
* * What 's that you say. ' '
*'I said Henry's a match for any bur-
glar that ever lived, and I won't be left
alone. ' '
**Then," said Ma, ^'I know what I'll
Wondering what on earth she was up
to now, I watched Ma cross to the bureau,
open the top drawer, and take something
out — something small with a string tied
to it. She was making for the window,
which was open, when suddenly realiz-
ing what she was up to, I jumped out of
bed, and running over to her, snatched
what she had out of her hand It was
lucky I did, too; for what Ma had got
out of the bureau was a police whistle,
and what she meant to do was to lean out
of the window and blow it.
Of course Ma resented my snatching
the police whistle away from her, and
gave me fits. * * You ought to be ashamed
of yourself!*^ she said. ** Haven't you
got any manners? Give me back that
**Do you know what would happen if
you blew that whistle V^I shouted. * * The
police would come I ' '
* * Glory be I '' said Ma. * *Do you think
I don't know thatr'
* * But we don 't want the police I ' '
**We do, too! Haven't we got a bur-
glar in the house I"
**Yes," I admitted, **but Henry can
take care of him."
** Maybe he can, and maybe he can't,"
said Ma. **You give me that whistle.
I'm not going to take any chances. '^
* * But, Ma, if the police come, we '11 all
have to go to the police court, and tes-
tify before judges, and be asked ques-
tions. ' '
**I don't care if we do !"
* * But I care. I think you ought to con-
sider me a little. ' '
**And I think you ought to consider
Henry. What do you mean by leaving
him alone at the mercy of a burglar ? If
it was your Pa, you can better believe
I'd be with him instead of having hys-
terics, and snatching police whistles out
of my mother's hand. I can't imagine
what's got into you, Blanche. Henry
may need help this minute."
**I'm sure he doesn't. Ma."
**Well, I'm not sure," said Ma, **but
I'm going to be. I'm fond of Henry,
even if you ain 't. You can stay here or
not, just as you like, but I^m going to
**You have no right to talk like that,''
I said. * * If Henry needed me, I 'd go to
him through fire and water, and you
*^Then, why don't you go to him
* * I 'm going, ' ' I said. * * Come along. ' '
With that I marched out of the room,
Ma after me, and over to Henry's door,
where I knocked.
** Who's there!" called Henry.
**It's me," I said — **me and Ma."
**What do you want?"
* * Ma thinks you 're being murdered by
the burglar. Come out in the hall a min-
ute, and be sure and close the door after
you. ' '
^ ^ There I " I said to Ma^ as Henry ap-
peared. **He's all right, just as I said
'* Whereas the burglar?" asked Ma.
'*Tell her you've tied him to the bed
with ropes, '* I whispered.
'*IVe tied him up with ropes, Ma."
* * What are you going to do with himl' '
**I'll turn him over to the police to-
' * Do you hear that, Blanche I Henry 's
going to turn the burglar over to the po-
*^If I hadnH prevented it. Ma would
have blown a police whistle out of the
window," I whispered.
* * Good Heavens I * * said Henry.
* *I can't see why you don't have the po-
lice in now, ' ' said Ma.
** Because we'd have to go with them,"
I explained, * * and we all need sleep. Be-
sides, to-morrow will do just as well."
**I don't like the idea of Henry sleep-
ing in a room with a burglar, ' ' said Ma.
'*Haw is Mr. Deane?" I whispered.
'*Well, he did what he said he was go-
ing to do, ' ' said Henry. * * Now, Ma, you
and Blanche go to bed. ' '
**What I can^t understand,'' said Ma,
'4s how t*he burglar got into your bed-
room. And what's queerer still, is his
coming out into the hall the way he did,
for he must have known we were there. ' '
**He came out to surrender," I ex-
**But burglars don't surrender like
that. I can't make head or tail of it.
If I hadn't seen him with my own eyes,
I wouldn't have believed there was any
burglar. But I guess you 're right about
going to bed — ^it's all hours. Though
how I 'm going to sleep, knowing there 's
a burglar in the house, is beyond me.
Come on to bed, Blanche. ' '
**In a minute," I said. Then, going
up to Henry, I whispered: **Get Mr.
Deane out of the house early, and be sure
and have a story ready for Ma, telling
how he escaped. * ' And then I kissed him
^^I never passed such a night in my
whole life/* said Ma, once we were in
her room and in bed. **If I ever do go
to sleep, which ain't probable, ni have
a nightmare, sure as guns. So if you
hear me groaning, Blanche, don't be
scared — just wake me up. ' '
*^I will,'* I promised. **Go to sleep,
now. ' '
Ma did go to sleep right away, but I
didn^t. It seemed like I lay awake for
hours. And finally, when I did go to
sleep, I dreamed of being chased through
the streets in my nightgown by a fat man
in pink pyjamas. So 'twas me who had
the nightmare and not Ma. But even at
that, what I dreamed wasn't much worse
than what really happened next morning.
WHEN I woke the next morning it
was quite late, and Ma was al-
ready up. **She*s probably getting
breakfast/' I thought. *^I do hope
Henry woke early and smuggled Mr.
Deane out of the flat. * *
Still, even if Mr. Deane hadnH es-
caped yet, it would be easy to let him out
the front door while Ma was in the
kitchen; so I needn't worry about that.
But I did need some clothes, for every
stitch I owned, except the nightgown I
had on, was in Henry's room.
Of course I could have asked Ma, who
was already dressed, to go and get them
for me. But, somehow, I felt in my
bones that Henry had overslept, and that
Mr. Deane was still occupying my twin
bed. If that was so, it wouldn't do to
send Ma for my clothes. No, I 'd have a
bath first, and then go and tap on
Henry's door myself.
If there's anything more refreshing
than a cold bath after a hard night, I'd
like to know what it is. Anyway, I felt
like a different woman after I'd got
through, even if I was afraid to look in
the glass for fear I'd discover my hair
had turned white. You may laugh as
much as you please, but it was a real sur-
prise to me to find my hair was the same
as it always was. And considering what
I'd been through, I don't see how you
can blame me.
On the way down the hall to Henry's
room, I glanced in at the dining-room,
the door being open. Ma wasn't in
sight, but I could hear her moving around
in the kitchen, so I knew she was all right.
Our dining-room is quite large, but our
kitchen is no bigger than a minute. As
a matter of fact, it isn't a separate room
at all — ^just an alcove off the dining-room,
lighted by a single window that opens on
a fire-escape. But it does very nicely
for all that.
Well, Ma was in the kitchen, and
there was no use letting her know I was
up yet, so I slipped down the hall and
tapped at Henry's door. When nobody
answered, I was a little worried, and I
tapped again; then I knocked good and
hard. Nobody answered this time,
either, but I wasn't worried any more.
It was just as I'd thought; Henry and
Mr. Deane had both overslept them-
selves. Opening the door gently, I
The room was pretty dark, for all the
shades were down, but I could make out
that some one was in my bed.
*'It must be Henry," I thought ^'It
wouldnH be likely he'd let Mr. Deane
sleep in my bed/*
Advancing cautiously into the room, I
stumbled over a pair of shoes. I don't
know why, but that sort of reassured me,
for it was just like Henry to leave his
shoes out for peoplfe to fall over. By
this time, too, I was getting used to the
light, and I could see that the man in my
bed was Henry, and that — Good gra-
cious ! I didn 't know what to make of it,
but Henry's own bed was empty !
I glanced nervously over my shoulder,
half -expecting Mr. Deane to spring out
at me from behind the bureau. Or was
he hiding in the clothes-closet? Well, if
he was, I couldn 't help it. Going over to
the window, I gave the blind a jerk and
it flew up, flooding the room with sun-
shine; and then I wasn't scared any
more. For there 's something about sun-
shine that takes the edge off things, and
kind of gives you courage. Besides, I
knew now what had happened. Henry
had woke up early, put Mr. Deane out,
and then gone back to bed again. Just
the same, it was time Henry was getting
up, so I went over and shook him gently.
** What's the matter?" he asked, wak-
ing with a start.
* ^ Nothing 's the matter. ' *
**0h, it's you, is it? I thought maybe
it was — What are you doing in here ? ' '
*^I came in to wake you up. It's
nearly nine o 'dock. ' '
**Yes, I know — " He was sitting up
now, and staring at his own bed.
** What's wrong?" I asked.
< < ^h — where 's Deane? ' '
*^ Don't you remember? You put him
out, and then went back to bed. ' '
* ^ It 's funny, ' ' said Henry, ^ ^ but I don 't
remember a thing about it."
'*You were probably half -asleep at the
time/' I said.
* * But how do you know I put him out ? * '
*' Because he isn't here.''
'*But I couldn't have put him out.
Surely I would remember if I had."
**Then he let himself out," I said,
**and good riddance."
**But, Henry, if he isn't here — Get
up and see if he 's hiding in the clothes-
*'No, he isn't in the clothes-closet,"
Henry reported, after a thorough search.
*^Well, my clothes are," I said, *^and
I want them. ' '
**It's probably just as you think,
dear," said Henry. **He woke up,
found himself in a strange place, and
managed to steal out and find the front
door. And now he's wondering how in
the world he got here. Probably he'll
never know just where he spent the
night. It must make a man feel mighty
queer to find he*s spent the night— *^
Henry stopped all of a sudden, and I saw
he was staring at the floor.
** What's the matter nowT' I asked.
* * Nothing, ' ' said Henry. * * Nothing —
much — only — I say, Blanche, do you
know whose shoes those are ? ' '
I looked at the shoes Henry was point-
ing at. They were the same shoes I'd
stumbled over when I'd come into the
room. And they werenH Henrt/'s shoes!
**Good gracious I" I said. **Mr.
Deane has gone off and left his shoes I ' '
* ^ But has he gone ? ' ' said Henry.
* ' Of course he 's gone ! The room was
dark, and he couldn't find his shoes, so
he went without them. Ill bet you'd
have done the same if you'd woke up in
a strange room with a strange man sleep-
ing beside you in a twin bed. You must
remember Mr. Deane isn't used to twin
beds; he practically said so himself. I
guess he was so scared he didn't even
think of his shoes. Anything to escape,
was his motto ; I just know it was. ' '
^ * Well, perhaps, ' ' said Henry. * * Just
the same, I'm going to have a look at the
*'You11 find he's slipped the bolt; you
see if you don 't, " I called after him.
But when Henry came back, I knew
it was serious. You see, the bolt on the
front door was still in place, so Mr.
Deane couldn 't have left the flat.
* * But where can he be ? " asked Henry.
** Goodness knows!" I said. **It
would be just like him to wander out in
the kitchen and scare Ma to death. Come
to think of it, I heard some one moving
around in the kitchen, and I took it for
granted it was Ma. Do run and make
sure, Henry I ' '
As Henry dashed from the room, I
sank down on my own bed, my legs weak
and trembling. If anything had hap-
pened to Ma, I^d never forgive myself.
I was never so thankful in my life as
when Henry returned and reported that
though she hadn't seen him, he^d seen
Ma, and she was all right.
**But where can he be? He certainly
wasn't in Ma's room, unless — "
** Unless what, dear?"
**He might be in there now," I said,
** hiding in Ma's clothes-closet."
This started Henry off again. But in
a minute he came back with the news that
nobody was hiding in Ma's room, or in
her clothes-closet, either.
Then I had an awful thought, and I
kind of groaned.
** What's the matter?" asked Henry.
^^Not yet," I said, ^^but I'm liable
to be if — Oh, Henry, supposing — '*
'*0h, it's so terrible !''
^'What's too terrible!''
' * I just can 't say it. Ton know that —
that laundry basket in — ^in the bath-
*' That's so," said Henry. ''That
basket's big enough to hold a man."
' ' It isn 't I " I screamed. ' ' I just know
it isn't! And you've no right to say
''But I can't see—"
"Maybe you can't see, but I can! I'd
have you know, Henry Hawkins, that I've
just finished taking a bath in the bath-
room ! ' '
At that Henry began to laugh.
"You get out of here!" I said.
"Do you want me to look in the laun-
dry basket? Is that it!"
' ' Yes, ' ' I said. ' ' I want you to look in
the lanndry basket, and in the china-
closet off the dining-room, and every-
where else you can think of. ' '
*'A11 right,'* said Henry, and started
to go. But I wouldn 't let him.
**You just wait a minute,'' I said. **I
don't care where you find Mr. Deane; but
if you do find him, and tell me you found
him in the laundry basket, I'll divorce
you as sure as my name's Blanche Haw-
kins! Now, gol'^
WHILE Henry was looking for Mr.
Deane, I did up my hair and
dressed myself, so when he returned I
was clothed and in my right mind, so to
**If I were to tell you I found Mr.
Deane in the laundry basket in the bath-
room — ^' he began.
**I wouldnH believe you.'^
"And you'd be quite right, dear. He
wasn't in the laundry basket.''
"Where was he, then!"
"He wasn't anywhere, so far as I
"But, Henry, he must be somewhere."
**I'in not denying he's somewhere.
What I do say is that he's not in our
**But if he didn't go out the front
door — "
** You've forgotten the fire-escape,"
**Good gracious! You don't mean to
tell me he went down the fire-escape ? ' '
* * Either down it, or up it. ' '
'*But I can't see any object in going up
the fire-escape. ' '
* * Or down it, either, ' ' said Henry. * * It
ends a good twenty-five feet from the
ground. I looked out the kitchen win-
dow, but I didn't see anybody stretched
out in the court below. ' '
** Perhaps the poor man is up on the
roof this minute. ' '
**If he is, he can stay there," said
Henry. ** There's another funny thing
connected with it, too. Ma declares — "
*'0h, youVe seen Ma, then! Did you
tell her Mr. Deane has escaped? '*
**No. I told her I got up early and
took him over to the police station. And
when she asked me how early, I said * six
**It's perfectly awful the way we've
been lying to poor Ma," I said. **But
I don't see what else we could have
done. ' '
**No," Henry agreed. *'But I wish
I'd told her a different lie, for now she
declares there's another burglar in the
** Another burglar? "What do you
** Well, it seems she got up about eight
o 'clock, went out into the kitchen, lighted
the gas range, and put some water on
to boil to make herself a cup of coffee;
then she filled a pitcher with Great Bear.
Water, put it on the sideboard in the din-
ing-room, and then went in to take her
bath. And when she went back, the
water pitcher was gone/'
' *It had disappeared completely/'
**But how could the water pitcher dis-
** That's what Ma wanted to know.
She said the first thing she did was to
look in and see if we were both asleep,
and she must have looked in here, for she
mentioned my being in your bed and not
in my own."
'*We could have pretended we were
asleep," I argued. **I'll just tell Ma I
got up and took the water pitcher. ' '
**But that wouldn't be true," said
**I know it wouldn't," I said. **But
I've already told so many lies, one more
won 't make any difference. ' '
'*If you told that lie, it would make a
difference, for you'd have to produce the
water pitcher, and you can 't. ' '
**Then you think Mr. Deane stole itT'
'*No," said Henry, **I know he
''Then how on earth—?"
''I've figured it out this way. When
Mr. Deane woke up, what he'd naturally
want more than anything in the world
would be a drink of water — lots of
water. ' '
''So the first thing he did was to go
and hunt for some. And he found the
pitcher, full of water, on the sideboard in
the dining-room. ' '
"Yes, but I don't see—"
"I'm coming to that After he'd
found the pitcher, he picked it up and be-
gan drinking out of it."
"He shouldn't have done that," I said
— ^"it isn't good manners."
**No one ever lets good manners inter-
fere with a great thirst," said Henry.
'* Anyway, that's what he did. And
while he was drinking, Ma opened a door,
or something, and it scared him so he
dropped the pitcher. '*
**Tou make me tired," I said. '*To
hear you talk, anybody would think I
was Doctor Watson, and you were Sher-
lock Holmes. I don 't believe Mr. Deane
did anything of the sort. ' '
**But I can prove it," said Henry,
handing me a piece of jagged glass,
I examined the piece of glass carefully,
and to tell the truth it did look as if it
might have been part of our water
pitcher. ** Where did you find it?" I
'*0n the floor under the sideboard.
Also, there was a wet spot on the car-
**I hope you didn't show it to Ma/' I
'*No. She was in the kitchen when I
discovered it. She seemed so sure some-
one had stolen the water pitcher that I
thought I'd better investigate."
*'But what happened to the other
pieces of the pitcher ? ' '
*'Why, when Mr. Deane dropped the
pitcher, he probably dodged out into the
kitchen where he noticed the fire-escape.
Then, as nobody came, he went back,
gathered up the broken glass, and dis-
posed of it somehow or other; only he
failed to see the piece I found, it being
under the sideboard. And then he de-
parted by way of the fire-escape. Now,
am I or am I not, a Sherlock Holmes ? ' '
**I do believe you're right," I said.
* * I must say I think it was awfully clever
of you to piece things together the way
you did. ' ' I gazed at Henry admiringly.
''It's more ttan likely that Mr.
Deane's up on the roof,'* said Henry.
**It would be a mad thing to do, to drop
twenty-five feet to the court below; he'd
probably break his legs if he did. Be-
sides, the janitor or his wife would have
been bound to see him. ' '
**And he'd have to go home in his
stocking feet; and then what would his
wife sayf "
**He could buy a pair of shoes, if it
comes to that. ' '
** You've forgotten it's Sunday," I
said. ** Though, he might find a shoe
store open on Third Avenue, I doubt it.
He'd have been lots better off if he'd
stayed here. But I suppose last night
is a complete blank to him, and all he
thought of this morning was that he was
in a strange place, and must escape some-
how. How are we going to return his
shoes to him, Henry I ' '
* * I'm blessed if I know. If he doesn't
remember about last night, I believe it
would be kinder to keep his shoes than
to send them to him. For sending them
would prove we knew his name and ad-
dress, and that might worry him."
*' Anyway," I said, ** there's no use
borrowing trouble. The thing to do now
is for you to take your bath and dress
yourself, while I go out and set the ta-
ble, and help Ma."
I found Ma seated by the window in the
kitchen, looking at the comic supplement
of the Sunday paper, which had come up,
with the cream, on the dumb waiter.
**Why, good-morning. Ma," I said.
^* What's new with the Katzen jammer
Kids this morning?"
** They 're scandalous!" said Ma, **I
don't see why newspapers print such
**To amuse people who pretend they
don't like them — ^like you and me, Ma/'
^^I donH like them,'' said Ma- *'I
don 't believe in Sunday newspapers, any-
way ; back home I never allow one in my
house. Did Henry tell you about the
burglar's stealing the water pitcher?"
*^ Yes, Ma."
**Two burglars in twenty-four hours
is a good many, even for New York, it
seems to me. Do you often have bur-
**Not any oftener than we can help,"
I replied. **What are you doing with
that carving knife in your lap. Ma ? — and
that police whistle tied around your
**0h, I just thought I'd have them
handy, just in ca^e!"
**In case of what, Ma?"
**The way I figure it out," said Ma,
**a burglar may drop in any minute.
And why shouldn't they, with ladders
Tip the back of every house, and little
platforms for them to rest on? No won-
der there are so many burglars in New
York; everything's made so easy for
them. ' '
**But you've got to have fire-escapes,
Ma; it's the law. I'm going to set the
table now, and you can put the coffee on,
and fry the ham, and boil the eggs."
With that I went into the dining-room,
opened the door of the china-closet,
which is big enough to keep lots of things
in besides china^ got out the breakfast
dishes, and set the table. Then I opened
the sideboard drawer to take out the
knives, and forks, and napkins. And
then — Well, I could hardly believe my
eyes ; but as sure as I live, there, in plain
sight, on top of the napkins, lay a pile of
broken glass! So that is how Mr.
Deane had disposed of the broken water
pitcher. Closing the drawer hastily, I
ran in to tell Henry what I'd found; but
he wasn't in his room. No, of course
not ; he was in the bathroom taking his
Then it occurred to me it was silly to
let Ma go on thinking there 'd been a sec-
ond burglar. One was bad enough.
Why couldn't I tell her — f It wasn't
true, of course, but certainly it would be
better to tell her a hundred lies than to
have her expecting a burglar any minute,
with a carving knife handy, and a police
whistle hung around her neck. So I
went back into the kitchen where she was
breaking an egg for the coffee, and said :
**Ma, I've just remembered something.
I had a funny dream last night; or it
might have been this morning, for all I
**Whatwd,s it about?"
VI dreamed I was thirsty."
* * Dreamed you were what ? ' '
^^ Thirsty, Ma."
* * Oh I * ' said Ma. * * I thought you said
^thirty.' Well, I don't see anything
funny about that. ' '
** Just you wait. In my dream, I got
out of bed, and walked into the dining-
room. ' '
**You did used to walk in your sleep
when you were a little tyke, but I guess
you outgrew it long ago. ' '
**I wonder," I said. **I dreamed I
got up, went into the dining-room, took
up the water pitcher to pour myself out
a drink, and somehow the pitcher slipped
out of my hand and broke on the floor.
And then I thought (you see, I imagined
I was a little girl again) *Ma will be
awfully mad at me for breaking her best
water pitcher.' So I picked up the
pieces from the floor, and hid them
somewhere; only I can't remember
where. ' '
**I should hope not,'* said Ma. **It
was only a dream, you know. ' '
*'But was it? Maybe I did get upf
and maybe I did break the pitcher?
Come on in the dining-room, Ma, and I'll
see if I can think where I put the
pieces." So we went into the dining-
room, and I made Ma show me where
she 'd set the pitcher.
** That's just what I thought,*' I said.
*'And I dropped it here. Do look. Ma;
the carpet's wet where I dropped the
pitcher ! "
** Goodness sakes!" said Ma, stooping
and examining the carpet. ^^It is wet, as
sure as I live. ' '
*'And then," I went on, as if I was
having a vision, **and then I picked up
the pieces of the pitcher, and put them —
put them — Look in that drawer!" I
commanded suddenly, pointing to the
drawer in the sideboard. Ma did, and of
course she found what was left of the
**(xreat Land of Goshen!" she cried.
**It*s just as you dreamed it, Blanche!
There's no getting around it; you must
have walked in your sleep."
Though it was wicked of me, I guess I
was almost as proud of making Ma be-
lieve I'd broken the water pitcher in my
sleep, as Henry was of solving the mys-
tery of what had become of it in the first
place ; I couldn't wait to tell Henry what
I'd done. So I said: **Now you
needn't worry about burglars any more.
Ma. I'll go and tell Henry to hurry up,
or he'll be late to breakfast."
It says in the Bible that pride goeth be-
fore destruction, and a haughty spirit be-
fore a fall. It certainly does — some-
times. For I was no more out in the hall
than the door-bell rang.
I pushed the button in the hall, heard
the front door downstairs slam, and
then looked in Henry's room. But of
course he wasn't there; he was still in
the bathroom taking his bath. I won-
dered who on earth could be ringing our
I was soon to find out. For when I
opened the door, I was confronted by a
policeman, and a stout lady in black silk
who informed me, in a voice as cold and
hard as an icicle, that she was Mrs.
Henry Deane, and that she'd come for
TO say that I was struck all of a heap
would be putting it mildly. Mrs.
Henry Deane — and a policeman 1 A po-
liceman — ^and Mrs. Henry Deane ! How
on earth had Mrs. Deane found out
where her husband had spent the night f
And why the policeman? Did he think
we — f Did Mrs. Deane imagine that
**IVe come for my husband," Mrs.
Deane repeated in a voice that made me
hate her. * * And I advise you to produce
him at once, or V\l — "
'^Youai what?" I asked. **You talk
like your husband was a rabbit, and I
could do sleight of hand with a stovepipe
hat. I can't produce your husband for
two reasons ; in the first place, I doubt if
he is your husband, and in the second
place, he isn't here."
**I'm sorry, mum," said the policeman,
**but there was a telegram sent last night
about this lady's husband, and the record
at the telegraph office shows that it was
sent by a Mr. Henry Hawkins. Is he
* ' Then you know something about Mr.
*'I know a lot more about him than I
want to," I replied. **When my hus-
band came home last night, he found him
asleep, and the worse for drink, on the
landing out there, and being a kind-
hearted man — "
**How dare you say my husband was
the worse for drink?"
*' Being a kind-hearted man," I con-
tinued, ** instead of turning him over to
the police like he deserved, my husband
brought him in and put him to bed. And
to show what sort of a man Mr. Deane
is, he skipped out this morning without
so much as saying Hhank you,* and broke
our best water pitcher, to boot. That's
the kind he is!''
* * A likely story ! Do you know what I
believe, officer? I believe this woman
and her alleged husband enticed my
Henry here to rob him." ^
*'How dare you say such a thing!" I
**Now, now, ladies," said the police-
* ' You keep quiet ! " I said. * ' There 's
only one lady here, and that's me.
You're a pretty specimen, ain't youf
to bring a woman like this to my flat, and
stand by while she insults me. ' '
**I'm sorry, mum, but I was detailed
on this case^ and I guess I'll have to see
it through. ' '
**Well, you can't see it through any
too quick to suit me. Here's my hus-
band, now, ' ' I said, as the bathroom door
at the end of the hall opened, and Henry
appeared in his bathrobe. * ' Oh, Henry I
Come here 1 ' '
*'But I can't!" cried Henry, dodging
back into the bathroom, and only stick-
ing his head out. **I'm not dressed for
company. ' '
*' These people ain't company, they're
intruders This woman says she's Mrs,
Henry Deane. ' '
* ' Good gracious ! ' '
**I'll have you know I am Mrs. Henry
** And I've just told her how you found
Mr. Deane^ — ^who may, or may not be her
husband — out on the landing last night,
the worse for drink. ' '
**0h,** said Henry, **you told her
**Yes. And I also told her how you
brought him in, like the kind-hearted
man you are, and tucked him in my bed. ' '
**In your bed?" gasped Mrs. Deane.
**In my bed,'' I replied firmly. **If
it will comfort you any, I don 't mind tell-
ing you that my husband and I have twin
beds; also, that I slept in my mother's
bed last night. ' '
^*0h!" said Mrs. Deane.
**And now,'^ I went on, **this smart
Aleck policeman, and this woman who
says she's married to Mr. Deane, want
to search the flat. At least, that's what
I suppose they want to do."
**But Mr. Deane isn't here," said
Henry; **he's gone."
**I've told them that till I'm black in
the face, but they won't believe me."
At that, Henry came out of the bath-
room and strided towards the policeman.
* ' Look here 1 ' * he said. * * When my wife
says a thing is so, it's so."
Women are fnnny. I wouldn't have
missed seeing Henry walk up to that
policeman the way he did for anything in
the world. He looked so brave, and so
ready to fight for mel According to
him, I always told the truth, and he*d
punch any policeman's head who said I
didn't. Yet I'd just told a whopper
about his finding Mr. Deane on the land-
ing, and he knew it. What I'd said
about his tucking Mr. Deane in my bed
wasn't true, either, for Mr. Deane hadn't
been in my bed at all. No, I only said
that for the satisfaction of seeing Mrs.
Deane squirm. Well, she certainly
*'What do you mean by doubting my
wife's word?" demanded Henry.
**I don't doubt her word, Mr. Haw-
kins, ' * replied the policeman. ' ' I would-
n't be here now, only — *'
* * Only what ? ' ' snapped Henry.
**Well, yon see—*' He pointed help-
lessly at Mrs. Deane.
' ' No, it isn 't his fault, ' ' I said. ^ * He 's
been as polite as possible.''
**I'm sure if I've been mistaken — "
Mrs. Deane began. * * Not that I believe
for a minute I have, ' ' she added grimly.
**If seeing 's believing," I said, ** you'll
soon be convinced that my husband and I
didn't entice Mr. Deane, who may, or may
not be your husband, here to rob him.
Perhaps you 'd like to inspect the bed he
slept in. I think it will interest you, for
it 's a twin bed, and you don 't have twin
beds at home ; or so your husband, if ho
is your husband, told mine. This way,
please. ' '
Of course it wasn't polite of me to talk
to Mrs. Deane the way I did, but I simply
couldn't stand that woman. Though I'm
ordinarily good-natured, I've as sharp
a tongue as the next when I'm r'iled; and
I guess I was even madder than Ma had
been the night before when I'd locked
her in her bedroom. As if Henry and I
were the kind to entice people into our
flat and rob them! So I led the way,
very high and mighty, into our bedroom,
and once inside, began to explain the
order of events in about the way the
megaphone man does on a rubberneck
** Before you," I said, *'you will notice
the two twin beds already mentioned.
Mr. Deane, who may or may not have
been the husband of the — er — injured
party, slept in that one" (which wasn't
true; he'd slept in the other) *'and my
husband, Mr. Hawkins, slept here. Now,
after carefully looking under both beds,
under the table — under the bureau, too,
if you like — ^we will search the clothes-
You see, I thought I^d make Mrs.
Deane ashamed of herself; but if I did,
she didn't show it. She did look under
both beds, and she did rummage in the
**Now,'' I said, as Mrs. Deane came
out of the clothes-closet, **if you are
satisfied that the person, who may or
may not be your husband, isn't here,
we'll form in line and move on to my
mother 's bedroom. ' '
In the meantime Henry and the police-
man had been standing by a window, the
policeman looking sheepish, and Henry
**I say, Blanche," said Henry, **you —
er — Is it necessary to rub it in like
**It's just as necessary as it is to
search our flat for a man who isn't in it,*'
I replied. And then, suddenly, I saw
something that made me almost faint.
I wondered if Mrs. Deane would see it,
too. I hoped to goodness she would-
Of course you think it was Mr. Deane 's
shoes I saw. Well, it wasn *t. His shoes
were there, all right, and in plain sight,
too. But it's a wise wife — or a foolish
one — who knows her husband's shoes by
sight. No, it wasn't his shoes; it was
**Are you ready now!" I asked, my
throat so dry I could hardly talk. **Are
you ready now to inspect my mother's
I've already told you that I believe
there are such things as thought waves.
I also believed, once, that in order to
receive them you had to be in sympathy
with the sender. Certainly Mrs. Deane
and I were as out of sympathy with each
other as two people very well could be.
And yet —
I suppose when people antagonize you
the way that woman did me, they^re lots
closer to you, mentally, than some people
are that you really like. Anyway, that's
how IVe figured it out. For just as
sure as there's a blue sky above, the
moment I began wishing she wouldn't
look where I didn't want her to, Mrs.
Deane began catching my thought waves.
**Are you ready now to inspect my
mother's room?" I asked.
**No," she replied, *'I'm not. I feel
there's something — What's this?" she
demanded suddenly, stooping to pick up
a green leather wallet which lay by the
chair beside Henry's bed. ** What's
'^Oh, that?" I said. '^Why, that—"
**If is isn't Mr. Deane 's wallet!" said
Henry, coming forward.
**How did it get here?'' demanded
Mrs. Deane in a stem voice.
**It must have fallen out of his
pocket,'' said Henry.
**How do you know it's his wallet T'
asked the policeman.
** Because I took it out of his pocket
last night to verify the address he gave
me. You see, in the state he was
* ' Stop ! ' ' commanded Mrs. Deane. * * I
won 't have my husband maligned ! Is it
likely that my husband would go off
without his wallet?"
**Just as likely as that he'd go off
without his shoes," I replied.
**Who says he went without his
* ' I do, " I said. * * If you don 't believe
it, here they are." And with that, I
walked over, picked up Mr. Deane 's
shoes, and handed them to his wife.
"Are those your husband *s shoes f
asked the policeman.
**How do I knowf answered Mrs.
Deane. **They look like his shoes,
**They are his shoes/' said Henry.
**And I leave it to you, Mr. Officer, if a
man who went off without his shoes
wouldn't be likely to forget his wallet,
and maybe his pants. ' '
**How dare you say that my husband
would forget his — ''
**I didn't say he would," Henry re-
plied, **I only said he might."
** Officer I I believe these dreadful
people have murdered my husband I ' '
* * Do you hear that, Henry ? She 's call-
ing us murderers, now I Good gracious I
^^It sounds like some one was blowing
a police whistle in the dining-room,"
"They are!" I cried. "It's Ma!
Hurry!" And with that, I dashed out
of the bedroom, Henry, Mrs. Deane, and
the policeman after me.
OF course I knew exactly what had
happened; Mr. Deane had got
tired of staying up on the roof all alone
by himself. Perhaps his brain had
cleared, too, and he remembered now
that we*d treated him kindly. Anyway,
he 'd decided to come back to onr flat, and
coming back, he'd mn into Ma and
scared the life out of her; and Ma had
blown her police whistle —
All this popped into my head the min-
ute I heard the police whistle, so I prac-
tically knew there was nothing to be
scared about. Just the same, I was
mighty glad to escape from our bedroom ;
Mrs. Deane was getting too awful. And
to think that it was me that made Henry
go out and send her that telegram. It
was like lending a helping hand to a
stranger, and then having the stranger
turn around and bite yon. She would call
Henry and me murderers, would shef
When she'd seen her husband without
his shoes, and a morning-after head on
him, maybe she'd think different. Mur-
derers ! The idea !
So, you see, when I dashed out of our
bedroom, I wasn't in a panic at all,
though even Henry thought I was. But
I did want to make Ma stop blowing that
police whistle. If she kept that up,
she'd rouse the whole neighborhood, in-
cluding the fat man in pink pyjamas,
who'd seen me in my nightgown the
night before. If there was one person in
the world, besides Mrs. Deane, that I
never wanted to see again as long as I
lived, it was that fat man ; and probably
I'd have to pass him on the stairs to-
morrow. Well, if worst came to worst,
we could pack up and move to another
flat ; and we would, too.
It's funny how fast your mind works
sometimes. Here I was planning
Henry *s and my future in another flat,
and feeling pleased over what Mrs.
Deane was going to see when she fol-
lowed me into the dining-room — and I
hadn't reached the dining-room yet.
And when I did get there, if things were-
n't exactly as I expected to find them,
all I can say is that mortal man isn't in-
fallible, and mortal woman even less so ;
for when I burst into the dining-room,
there wasn't any Mr. Deane in sight.
Ma was there, though — ^well, I should say
she was I — ^waving a carving knife in one
hand, and blowing a police whistle with
^^Here! Stop that, Ma!" I yelled.
^^What's the matter?"
" Matter f cried Ma, who was as red
as a turkey cock from blowing the
whistle. *^ Matter? That's what I'd
like to know. Here IVe been blowing
this police whistle for a good ten min-
utes, and nobody came. Are yon all
deaf, or what?'*
**No,'' I said, *^we ain't deaf, but
we're liable to be if you keep on blowing
that whistle. We came as quick as we
could. ' '
**Like fun you did! Why, the police^
man got here as soon as you, and I
wouldn't wonder if he run a block.
Who's that woman with him, Blanche!^'
**I'm not," said Mrs. Deane.
**Well," said Ma, turning to the police-
man, **I'm glad you're here, though
there wasn't any need to hurry like you
did. I've got him, safe and sound."
* * Got who. Ma ? " asked Henry.
**Tlie burglar, you gump! What do
you suppose I was blowing that whistle
**I thought maybe you were fright-
**Not likely,'* said Ma. **Give me a
good, sharp carving knife, and I'm a
match for any burglar, I guess/'
**But, where is the burglar?'' asked
* ' He wants to know where the burglar
is, " I screamed.
**Why," said Ma, **I thought you
knew ; he 's in the china-closet. I locked
**But where did he come from!" asked
**He climbed up the fire-escape," said
Ma. * * I 'd just gone into my room to get
a handkerchief, and when I came back I
found him in the dining-room. Luckily,
I'd taken the carving knife with me, so
I had it handy. I sprang at him, and
told him if he nttered a sound I 'd lay him
out cold ; and then I marched him into the
china-closet, and locked him in. Now, I
guess the policeman can do the rest.
I've done enough, it seems to me, if I
do say so as shouldnH.'*
* * I should think you had I ' ' said Henry.
** You'd better unlock the door, oflBcer,
and arrest the burglar. ' '
**Just a minute,'' I said. "It isn't
really a burglar; Ma's mistaken."
* ' How do you know it isn 't a burglar f ' '
asked the policeman.
** Because," I said, "when Mr. Deane
left the flat, he didn't leave by the front
door, but by the fire-escape; and as the
fire-escape doesn't lead anywhere except
to the roof, it's probably him come back
to get his shoes. ' '
"I don't believe it," said Mrs. Deane.
"If my husband did leave by the fire-
escape, it was because he was afraid of
being murdered. ' '
*' Murdered your grandfather's hind
leg! Mr. Deane left by the fire-escape
because he didn't have any idea where he
was, and because the front door was
locked and bolted, and I had the key.*'
**You see,'* Henry explained, '*he
woke up before I did, and stole — *'
**He didn't!'' cried Mrs. Deane.
'*How dare you say my husband stole?"
** Stole out of the flat," said Henry.
**He just as good as stole, though; he
broke our best water pitcher. If you
don't believe it, 111 show you the pieces,"
I said. But before I could open the side-
board drawer. Ma demanded to know
why the policeman didn't arrest the
**Have I got to do everything!" she
asked. **I will say the New York police
are mighty quick in answering a call, but
as for doing anything after theyVe
arrived, give me the town constable at
Centerville every time.'*
**Yes,'' said Henry to the policeman,
"why don't yon do something!'^
'At that the policeman went over to the
china-closet and knocked.
**Come in,'' said a mnffled voice.
**I'm coming," said the policeman.
**But I want to warn yon that I'm an
officer of the law." And with that he
drew a revolver from under his coat.
**Now," I said to Mrs. Deane, "we'll
see whether my hnsband and I are mur-
derers or not. "
"And we'll see that it isn't my hus-
band in there," she replied.
"Stand back, all of you," said the
policeman; "I'm going to open the
door. ' ' And he did. * * Now, come out of
there I " he ordered.
The man in the china-closet obeyed.
And then — Well, then the whole world
seemed to go black. For it wasn't Mr.
Deane. It was — merciful Heavens! — ^it
was the fat man from downstairs !
When I came to, I was lying on the
couch in the dining-room, with my feet
higher than my head, and Henry sprink-
ling cold water all over my clean collar.
** What's happened?" I said. **Is it
"No," said Henry, **you fainted."
And then I remembered.
The fat man was still in the dining-
room, talking to the policeman and Mrs.
Deane. Though he had a bathrobe over
it, and slippers on his feet, he was still
wearing pink pyjamas, and was saying:
**I was just out of bed, and on my way
to the bathroom, when I discovered the
burglar. I chased him through the flat,
out a window, and up the fire-escape.
Yes, he came in here, and I came after
him. Then that she-dragon attacked me
with a carving knife, and locked me in
there. ' '
**Do yon hear what he's saying,
** Yes, dear.''
*^Well,'' I said, sitting up, ^*I feel
** Don't yon get np yet, Blanche,'*
ordered Ma, who was hovering near.
**You lie qnief
*^0h, I'm all right!'' I said, thongh I
did feel weak and trembly.
''That policeman hasn't arrested the
burglar yet," complained Ma. **I
shouldn't wonder if he was one of those
grafting policeman like you read about
in the papers. Don't you let that bur-
glar buy himself free, Henry. ' '
' ' No, Ma, I won 't, ' ' Henry promised.
At that I got up, and with Henry's
help walked over to where Mrs. Deane,
and the policeman, and the fat man were
**I heard what yon said about the
burglar in your flat, ' ' I began, turning to
the fat man, **but he isn^t really a bur-
glar. He 's a poor, unfortunate man who
drinks too much, and I hope you won't
have him arrested, '*
"But he ought to be arrested,*' de-
clared the fat man, "breaking into my
flat the way he did, and making a laugh-
ing-stock of me. ' '
"I don't ask it for myself, but for
this lady's sake," I said, pointing to Mrs.
Deane. * * The man who broke into your
flat is this poor creature 's husband. ' '
"He isn't, either I" snapped Mrs.
"Oh!" I said. "Then youVe not
married to Mr. Deane, after all f In that
case, officer — "
"You know what I mean!" cried Mrs.
Deane. ^^I mean my husband doesn't
break into people's honses, and doesn^t
take too mnch to drink. If there's a.
burglar in this flat, it isn't my husband,
you can depend on that !"
**You see," I explained to the fat man,
**the poor lady has lost her husband. '^
**I understand," he said; **a widow,
and not quite — " he tapped his forehead,
**I'm not!" screamed Mrs. Deane.
**This woman's a murderer! Her hus-
band 's a murderer ! Her mother attacks
people with carving knives !"
**Mad as a hatter!" murmured the fat
man. "She ought to be in an asylum.'*
**How dare you, sir!" demanded Mrs.
** Humor her," I whispered; "it's the
only thing to do. ' '
"Stop your fooling, Blanche," said
Henry. "This is getting serious. If
Mr. D«aii« is in the flat, we've got to find
"Well, go ahead and find him," I said.
* ' Who 's preventing you ? ' '
AFTER Henry, and the fat man, and
the policeman had left the dining-
room to search for Mr. Deane, Ma, think-
ing to be polite, walked over to Mrs.
Deane, who she still thought was the
policeman's wife, asked her if she always
accompanied her husband when he went
out to catch burglars.
**No, I don't!'' snapped Mrs. Deane.
**What did she say, Blanche?"
**She says she always goes with him
when she can, Ma."
**Now, look here I" said Mrs. Deane.
**This has gone far enough I"
**Just what I think," I replied.
**Ma, did you leave anything on the gas
range ? Something *s burning ! ' '
'* Land's sakes!'' said Ma. *'lVe
gone and forgot the ham!'* With that
she dived into the kitchen just as Henry,
and the policeman, and the fat man
came in from the hall dragging the big,
covered laundry basket between them.
**What are you bringing that in here
**It*s evidence, '* said the policeman.
**He*s inside it I*' shouted the fat man.
^^Whatt'* I gasped.
**I'm sorry, Blanche,'' said Henry,
with a twinkle in his eye, **but I'm forced
to tell you that Mr. Deane was hiding in
the laundry basket.*^
^^Is hiding,'' corrected the fat man.
*'But, why doesn't he get out?"
** Because," said the policeman, **I
told him if he did, I'd shoot the daylights
out of him."
*'It was my idea," explained the fat
man. ** We've got him so nicely crated
that it seemed a shame not to ship him
to the police station the way he is. ' '
**I suppose you've planned to label
him ^Burglar. Handle With Care/ '' I
**No/' admitted the fat man. ** Just
the same, it's a good idea."
**It's good as far as it goes,** I said,
**but it goes too far; that laundry basket
is not to leave this house. You ought to
be ashamed of yourself to think of treat-
ing the poor man that 's inside like that I *'
**0h, thank you!** came in a trembling
voice from inside the basket.
At the sound of that voice, Mrs. Deane
went as wMte as a sheet. ** Henry I**
she gasped. **HenryI**
**It*s your wife, Mr. Deane,** I said.
There was a dead silence, followed by
a groan from the basket.
**You can get out of the basket now, if
you want to,** I said.
**Don*t want to get out,*' said Mr.
* ^ Henry Deane, you stop making a fool
of yourself, and get out of that basket ! ' '
commanded Mrs. Deane.
**A11 .right, my love, if you insisf
With that the cover flew off the basket,
and the poor man stood up, looking like
a balloonist who *d lost everything in the
world but the basket of his balloon.
'*Ha, ha!'* roared the fat man.
**Keep quiet!" said Henry. ** Don't
you think, Blanche, that we 'd better with-
draw, and leave Mr. and Mrs. Deane
**0h, please don't!" begged Mr.
'*You get out of that basket!" said
*'I won't!" said Mr. Deane, with un-
expected firmness. * * I '11 have you know,
Josie, that IVe passed a most uncom-
'^Serves you right !*' said Mrs. Deane.
**You get out of that basket, and come
along home. ' '
''Land of lovel^' cried Ma, coming in
from the kitchen. *' What's that man
doing in your laundry basket, Blanche t ' *
* ' He — he 's measuring it for a lining, ' '
I said. ' ' Be quiet, Ma ! ' '
''If you think IVe been enjoying my-
self, ' ' Mr. Deane began —
"No,'' said my Henry, "he hasn't en-
joyed himself. I'll swear to that."
"What's more," said Mr. Deane, "I
won 't be ordered about. ' '
"Quite right," said the fat man.
"I'm a widower, myself; but I remem-
"I've undergone the greatest mental
anguish," continued Mr. Deane. "Last
night, when I thought you had twins — "
< * Me ? Twins ? He 's lost his mind, ' ^
said Mrs. Deane, turning in a dazed sort
of way to me.
**And no wonder,'' I replied. **He's
had a terrible experience. I'm sure
some one must have given him knock-out
**Yes," said Mr. Deane, eagerly. **I
remember, now. Knock-out drops—
they gave me knock-out drops. ' '
*'So you see," I said, **you couldn't
blame him, Mrs. Deane. ' '
**But it — ^it's all so — so strange," she
**Life is always strange, dear
madam, ' ' said the fat man.
** There's one thing I think you ought
to do for your wife's sake," I said
**I'll do anything you suggest," de-
clared the grateful Mr. Deane.
**It will be hard to do," I said, **but
I fear it's necessary. I think you ought
to resign from the Elks."
**I will,*' promised Mr. Deane. "I
pledge you my word, I will. ' ' Unfasten-
ing the Elk emblem from the lapel of his
coat) he extended it solenmly, and I took
it and handed it to his wife, who looked
mighty tickled to get it.
**0h, Henry 1'* said Mrs. Deane, quite
**It is nothing/' said Mr. Deane. **I
would do far more than that for you,
^ ^ Then get out of that basket, and take
me home. ' '
**I'm sorry, my love, but I — As a
matter of fact, I — ^I haven't any shoes."
**They are in my bedroom," said
Henry — **with your wallet. Come with
me. " And Mr. Deane climbed out of the
laundry basket, and he and Mrs. Deane
followed Henry out of the room.
**Well,** said the policeman, **I don't
see as you need me any longer/'
**No,'' I said. **Tou can go now, if
you like. Just let yourself out the front
door. Good-morning. ' *
**As for myself,'' said the fat man,
when the policeman had gone^ **I must
ask your permission to make my exit
through your kitchen window. Other-
wise, I can't get into my flat, for I came
off without my keys."
* ' Certainly, ' ' I said. * * And thank you
very much for coming to our assistance
last night. ' '
** Don't mention it," said the fat man,
with a polite bow. ** Good-morning,
All this while Ma had been looking on
kind of dazed. But after the fat man
had disappeared thrdugh the kitchen
window, she wanted to know what it was
**What did you let the burglar escape
forf she demanded, meaning the fat
**0h, pshaw, Mai'' I replied. "He
wasn't a burglar! He's a neighbor of
ours who lives in the flat directly under-
neath. You see, there was a burglar in
the flat, and he chased him up the fire-
escape. He thought the burglar came
in our window, but he probably went up
on the roof. ' '
* * But if there 's a burglar on the roof,
why didn't you tell the policeman about
his being up there f ' '
* * I was going to, Ma, only the man who
came in to measure the laundry basket
told us that the burglar on the roof had
already been captured by another police-
man. ' '
"Great grief!" said Ma. "These
New York policenien are certainly
wonders. Did you notice that man in the
laundry basket didn ^t have any shoes on
when he got ontf
*'As if I'd let a man get into my
laundry basket with his shoes on,'* I
said. *' You'd better look after the
breakfast, Ma. Here's Henry, and he's
starved to death. ' '
'* Thank Heaven, that's overl" said
Henry, dropping into a chair.
* * Blanche, why in the world did you make
such a point of having Mr. Deane resign
from the Elkst"
** Because last night he told me he
didn't really belong to 'em, and only
wore that Elk button for his wife's bene-
fit, so he'd have an excuse to go out
* * Oh ! " said Henry. * * Has it occurred
to you what a lucky man Mr. Deane is?"
**How do you mean lucky?"
**Why, his stumbling into our flat the
way he did, and his getting into my bed. ' '
^^I don't see anything so luckj about
that," I said.
**Well, I do/' said Henry.
'^Ohl^'Isaid. ^^Youmean— ?''
**Yes/' said Henry. **I mean it was
lucky for Mr. Deane — ^mighty lucky I that
you bought those twin beds.'*