(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "Twin beds"

Google 



This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on Hbrary shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 

to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 

to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 

are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other maiginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 

publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing this resource, we liave taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 
We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain fivm automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attributionTht GoogXt "watermark" you see on each file is essential for informing people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liabili^ can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 

at |http : //books . google . com/| 



t^' 



.fi . 



\ 



'/; 



X 



TWIN BEDS 



By 

EDWARD SALISBURY FIELD 



Author of 
"ji Six-Q/linJa CautUhlp," » 



1 



NEW YORK 

W. J. WATT 8e company 

PUBLISHERS 



IV 



r,r- - 



J l iLOL.ii r o u ;w OAXXONS 



COPTBIOHT 1913 BT 

W. J. WATT & CX)MPANY 



PubUihed July 






•• • • 

• « 



> • « 
• • • . 



• • I 



.-. 



*• •••«• ••■•• 

•, ^ • • • • » 



*-• ' 



' » • • • 



• • • 



• • * * 
• • • 



• • • 



• • • ' 



OTHER NOVELS BY 

EDWARD SALISBURY FIELD 

The Rented Earl 
Tas Purple Stockikos 
The Sapphire Bracelet 
Cupid's UiroERflTUDT 
A Six-CYuiniER Courtship 



\ 









I 



TWIN BEDS 

CHAPTEE I 

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 

7 



TWIN BEDS 

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 
beds." 

8 



\ 



TWIN BEDS 

"Don't you worry about that,*' I said. 
**Ma*s never been in New York before, 
and everything will seem queer to her 
at first.'' 

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 

9 



TWIN BEDS 

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, 

10 



TWIN BEDS 

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 

11 



TWIN BEDS 

Henry how he thought she was look- 
ing. 

**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- 
ing." 

^'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 

12 




TWIN BEDS 

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. 

13 



TWIN BEDS 

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- 

14 




TWIN BEDS 

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 
she asked. 

**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- 

15 



TWIN BEDS 

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 
it 

'*What did you expect, MaT' asked 
Henry, 

**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 

16 




TWIN BEDS 

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 
settle down." 

"We can't now, Ma," I said, "but 
maybe some day — " 

"Yes," said Henry, "maybe some 
day—" 

I suppose there's lots of folks who 
think, like Henry and me, that some day 
they'll move back to the country, and 

17 



TWIN BEDS 

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 

18 



TWIN BEDS 

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 
friends. 

19 



TWIN BEDS 

But if I'd known how he was coming 
home that night, I never would have let 
him go. 



20 




CHAPTER n 

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- 
ville. 

Now and then I'd stop my reading to 

21 



TWIN BEDS 

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 

22 



TWIN BEDS 

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. 

23 



TWIN BEDS 

**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. 

**Yes,Ma." 

'*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 
paper!" 

"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." 

24 



TWIN BEDS 

"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- 
ways was." 

**Yes, Ma," I said, "but women 
ain't." 

"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. 

25 



TWIN BEDS 

** Your Pa wonldnH have dared ask for a 
night out.'* 

*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 
have it. 

^* Blanche!" said she. 

^*What,Mal" 

**Is Henry a drinking maaf " 

*^Good gracious, no!" I said, not 
thinking it necessary to mention that 
though he never drinks any other time, 

26 




TWIN BEDS 

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- 
lar. 

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 

27 



TWIN BEDS 

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 
butting in!" 

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 

28 



TWIN BEDS 

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 
minute?" 

'*Yes, Ma," 

"Then I'd like to know what you 
mean." 

* * 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 

29 



TWIN BEDS 

a dressing jacket, and began taking down 
my hair. 

''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 

30 



\ 



TWIN BEDS 

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- 

31 



TWIN BEDS 

^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 

32 



TWIN BEDS 

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 
asked. 

**I'm lonely, Blanche; I miss your 
Pa.^^ 

** There, there, ^^ I said, going over and 
putting my arms around her, ** don't you 
cry." 

**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 

33 



TWIN BEDS 

hard just sitting around waiting to be 
took.'' 

**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 

34 



TWIN BEDS 

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, 
Blanche 1" 

*^Yes, Ma." 

**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 

35 



TWIN BEDS 

Henry's going out alone nights, for I 
don't.'' 

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 

36 



TWIN BEDS 

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 

37 



TWIN BEDS 

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 
bed. 

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 

38 



TWIN BEDS 

I didn't say anything till he ran into a 
chair. 

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 
drink. 

It had happened just the way Ma said 
it would. I turned cold all over, and 
then I got mad clear through. 



39 



CHAPTER in 

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 

40 



TWIN BEDS 

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 
acted queer. 

**What was the matter with it?" I 
asked. 

** Don't know," he said. ** Keyhole 
wouldn't stand still — ^kept jumping about 
like a rabbit. Funny thing! Very 
funny!" 

* at isn't funny at all, "I said, ^^t's 
disgraceful!" 

** Quite right, m'dear," said Henry. 
** Keyholes shouldn't jump about like 
that. Disgraceful ! ' ' 

**It's you who are disgraceful," I said. 

41 



TWIN BEDS 

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 
the table. 

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 

42 



^ 



TWIN BEDS 

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- 
ing there. 

*'What we doing with two beds?" he 
asked. 

** They 're the new twin beds," I an- 
swered. 

*' Twins?" said Henry. *^We got 

43 



TWIN BEDS 

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- 
ing. 

** Where did you go to-night, Henry?" 
I asked in a voice that scared me, it 
sounded so strange. 

**Been to lodge." 

44 



TWIN BEDS 

^*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 

45 



TWIN BEDS 

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- 
day nights." 

*^ 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" 

** Good-night, " I said. 

I don't know how long I stayed awake 

46 




TWIN BEDS 

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 — 
and sleep. 

It 's funny how you wake up sometimes 
all of a sudden with the feeling that 

47 



TWIN BEDS 

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 
asked him. 

^ ^ Did I wake you ? I'm sorry. ' ' 

*' Never mind," I said. **Are you all 
right now?" 

*'As right as rain," he replied; and to 
tell the truth, his voice did sound differ- 
ent. 

48 



TWIN BEDS 

** 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. ' ' 

'^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 
with JackEose." 

In the meantime, Henry didn't seem 
to have any trouble finding his bed, which 

49 



TWIN BEDS 

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- 
ting up. 

*^ 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 
bed!" 

That worried me. "Do you see any- 

50 




TWIN BEDS 

thing else?'* I asked — ^'pink lizards, or 
green elephants, or purple snakes T* 

** What are you talking about?'* Henry 
asked. 

**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 
bed!" 

**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, 

51 



TWIN BEDS 

he sort of groaned, and kept on hunting 
for matches. 

*'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 gas. 

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. 

52 



CHAPTER IV 

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 

53 



TWIN BEDS 

around me, and try to comfort me. 
** Don't you cry, dear,'* he said. **It^s 
all right.'' 

' ' It— isn 't— all— right, ' ' I sobbed. 
'^Tou — ^you don't think I knew he was 
there?" 

**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 " 

54 




TWIN BEDS 

*^Tou poor darling!'^ said Henry, very 
softly. 

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 
door. 

What went on first was that Henry 
leaned over and shook the stranger 
within his bed, which didn't do any good 
at all. 

**You wake upl** said Henry, giving** 
him another shake. 

* ^ Lemme alone ! ' ' murmured the stran- 
ger. 

Henry gave him another shake, and 

55 



TWIN BEDS 

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 
live?" 

"123 East 124tli Street." 

"That's more like it. Did you hear 
that, Blanche? He lives at 123 East 
124th Street." 

56 




TWIN BEDS 

'^124 East 123rd Street,'' said the 
stranger. 

*^No," said Henry, ^'123 East 124th 
Street." 

*^Tha's what I said,'' declared the 
stranger. 

' ' How long have you lived at 123 East 
124th Street?" 

* * 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 
'em." 

57 



TWIN BEDS 

**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 

58 




TWIN BEDS 

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?" 
asked Henry. 

**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 
that." 

**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 
him." 

**Then perhaps we'd better let him 
stay where he is." 

59 



TWIN BEDS 

"But what will I dor' I asked. 
"You might go and tuck in with yonr 



ma/' 



"Not me/' I said. "K I was to tuck 
in with Ma, she'd think we'd quarreled, 
sure." 

"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 

60 




TWIN BEDS 

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 
all right." 

*'Yes," I said, not thinking it neces- 
sary to repeat what Mr. Deane had told 

61 



TWIN BEDS 

me about that Elk button, * * I guess lie 's 
a respectable citizen except on Saturday 
nights. '* 

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 
yet." 

**Whynot?" 

** Because we can't," I said. *'Do 
you know who I'm thinking of, Hen- 
ry?" 

**No,'^ said Henry, kind of cross, **I 

62 



TWIN BEDS 

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 

63 



TWIN BEDS 

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- 
gram." 

* * 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 
umbrella. 

64 




TWIN BEDS 

**A hatpin would be better/' said 
Henry. 

*'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 
him?" 

65 



TWIN BEDS 

*' Scare mef Of course it will scare 
me!" 

* * 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. 

66 



TWIN BEDS 

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 
doing. 

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 

67 



TWIN BEDS 

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 
me. 

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 

68 



TWIN BEDS 

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 
Ma! 



69 



CHAPTER V 

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 
asked. 

' ' I— I don 't know, ' ' I faltered. ' ' I— I 
thought it looked like rain. ' ' 

*^ What's that?" 

70 



TWIN BEDS 

**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 
faltered. 

71 



TWIN BEDS 

*'He's a poor friend of Henry ^s, then,'' 
said Ma, **or this wouldn't have hap- 
pened. ' ' 

**You — ^you don't understand," I 
sobbed. 

* * 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 

72 



TWIN BEDS 

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 
hef'* 

^'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 

73 



TWIN BEDS 

panic for fear the stranger would turn 
over in his sleep and show his face.) 
**Dogotobed,Ma/* 

**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- 
self with/' 

** 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 
him!" 

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 

74 



TWIN BEDS 

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 

75 



TWIN BEDS 

the front door. If I go and bolt it will 
you promise to leave Henry alone till I 
getbackf' 

*^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 
that." 

**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 
bolted. 

76 




TWIN BEDS 

**Now, Ma,'* I said, ''you go back to 
bed.'' 

''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 

77 



TWIN BEDS 

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 
front doorf 

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 

78 



TWIN BEDS 

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 

79 



TWIN BEDS 

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. 

80 



TWIN BEDS 

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 
said. 

*'I will in a minute, Ma. I just want 
to see if Henry's all right." 

81 



TWIN BEDS 

**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 

82 



% 



TWIN BEDS 

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 

83 



TWIN BEDS 

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 
room. 

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 
long. 

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 

84 




TWIN BEDS 

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 
Ward Beecher? 



85 



CHAPTER VI 

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- 
fect stranger.'* 

86 



TWIN BEDS 

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 

87 



TWIN BEDS 

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 

88 



TWIN BEDS 

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, 

89 



TWIN BEDS 

and, stepping out into the hall, shut the 
door and locked it. Ma was safe, any- 
way. 

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 

90 



TWIN BEDS 

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 
stove-lifter I 

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 
Henry. 

*^No, Iain't!''Isaid. 

*^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. 

91 



TWIN BEDS 

^^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 ' * 

92 



TWIN BEDS 

^'Whatnote?'' 

**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- 
thing!" 

''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 
gone." 

"Good Heavens!" said Henry. 
' ' Then she saw Mr. Deane in my bed ! ' ' 

"She did and she didn't. Of course 

93 



TWIN BEDS 

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 
room?" 

"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. 

94 



^ 



TWIN BEDS 

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 
her knuckles." 

**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 

95 



TWIN BEDS 

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 
said. 

*^ Protect me I Protect me from 
what?" 

*'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 
door." 

Ma was perfectly willing to look at the 

96 



TWIN BEDS 

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- 
half -convinced. 

**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 
room, Blanche.'* 

*'It was to save you from being shot 
at. Ma.** 

''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, 
Blanche?" 

* ' Oh, yes 1 I want you to take a good 
look at Henry, Ma. I've told him what 

97 



TWIN BEDS 

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 

98 



TWIN BEDS 

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- 
gown. 

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 
scene. 

There he stood, all dressed except for 
his coat and shoes, thank goodness! but 
with one hand on his stomach. And as 

99 



TWIN BEDS 

lie blinked at the light, he murmured, 
"Going to be sick. Going to be awful 
sick!" 



100 



CHAPTER Vn 

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- 
ful! 

101 



TWIN BEDS 

'*WIia*s that man!'^ demanded Ma, 
poiatiii^ to Mr. Deane. ^^ And why is 
Blanche laoj^liiixfff 

"'I dont know/ ^ said Henry. 

'"Goinj^ to be siek,^* mnnanred Mr. 
Deane. ''Going to be ack soon." 

'^He came out of your room," said 
Ma. 

''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 
Ma. 

^'Oh," said Henry, ^'is that what ails 
hert" 

**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. 

102 




TWIN BEDS 

**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 
than ever. 

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 

103 



TWIN BEDS 

I thought I saw a way to at least post- 
pone any more explanations till to-mor- 
row. 

''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 
help." 

"No, no!" I cried. "I won^t be left 
here alone ! ' ' 

"But Henry may need me. Who was 
that man, Blanche ? ' ' 

104 




TWIN BEDS 

^^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 
do." 

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 

105 



TWIN BEDS 

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 
whistle!'* 

**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," 

106 



TWIN BEDS 

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 

107 



TWIN BEDS 

not, just as you like, but I^m going to 
Henry/' 

**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 
knowiti" 

*^Then, why don't you go to him 
now?" 

* * 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 
he'd be." 

108 



TWIN BEDS 

'* 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' ' 
demanded Ma. 

**I'll turn him over to the police to- 
morrow morning." 

' * Do you hear that, Blanche I Henry 's 
going to turn the burglar over to the po- 
Uce." 

*^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. 

109 



TWIN BEDS 

'*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- 
plained, 

**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. 

110 



TWIN BEDS 

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 
good-night. 

^^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. 

Ill 



CHAPTEE VIII 

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 

112 




TWIN BEDS 

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. 

113 



TWIN BEDS 

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 
peered in. 

The room was pretty dark, for all the 
shades were down, but I could make out 
that some one was in my bed. 

114 



TWIN BEDS 

*'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- 

115 



TWIN BEDS 

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." 

116 



TWIN BEDS 

'*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." 

**I wonder." 

**But, Henry, if he isn't here — Get 
up and see if he 's hiding in the clothes- 
closet." 

*'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 

117 



TWIN BEDS 

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 

118 



TWIN BEDS 

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 
front door." 

*'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 ' ' 

119 



TWIN BEDS 

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. 
^^Areyouill?" 

^^Not yet," I said, ^^but I'm liable 

120 



TWIN BEDS 

to be if — Oh, Henry, supposing — '* 

^^Tesf'' 

'*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- 
room!" 

*' 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 
so." 

''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 

121 



TWIN BEDS 

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'^ 



122 



CHAPTER IX 

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 
speak. 

^^Wellf^'Isaid. 

**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 
could discover." 

"But, Henry, he must be somewhere." 

123 



TWIN BEDS 

**I'in not denying he's somewhere. 
What I do say is that he's not in our 
flat/' 

**But if he didn't go out the front 
door — " 

** You've forgotten the fire-escape," 
said Henry. 

**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 — " 

124 



TWIN BEDS 

*'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 
o'clock.' " 

**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 
flat." 

** Another burglar? "What do you 
mean?" 

** 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- 

125 



TWIN BEDS 

ing-room, and then went in to take her 
bath. And when she went back, the 
water pitcher was gone/' 

*^Goner' 

' *It had disappeared completely/' 

**But how could the water pitcher dis- 
appear?'' 

** 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 
Henry. 

**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 

126 



TWIN BEDS 

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 
didn't/' 

''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. ' ' 

"Yes." 

''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." 

127 



TWIN BEDS 

**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, 
^*Takealookatthat." 

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 
asked. 

'*0n the floor under the sideboard. 
Also, there was a wet spot on the car- 
pet." 

128 



TWIN BEDS 

**I hope you didn't show it to Ma/' I 
said. 

'*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. 

129 



TWIN BEDS 

''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 ' ' 

130 



TWIN BEDS 

* * 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 
things." 

**To amuse people who pretend they 

131 



TWIN BEDS 

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- 
glars, Blanche?" 

**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 
neck?" 

**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 

132 



TWIN BEDS 

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 

133 



TWIN BEDS 

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 
bath. 

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 
know." 

**Whatwd,s it about?" 

VI dreamed I was thirsty." 

* * Dreamed you were what ? ' ' 

134 



TWIN BEDS 

^^ 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. ' ' 

135 



TWIN BEDS 

**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 

136 



TWIN BEDS 

course she found what was left of the 
water pitcher. 

**(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 

137 



TWIN BEDS 

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 
bell. 

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 
her husband. 



138 



CHAPTER X 

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 
I— f 

**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 

139 



TWIN BEDS 

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 
your husband?" 

*'Yes,heisl" 

* ' Then you know something about Mr. 
Deane?" 

*'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- 

140 



TWIN BEDS 

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 
cried. 

**Now, now, ladies," said the police- 
man. 

* ' 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 

141 



TWIN BEDS 

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 
Deane!" 

** 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. ' ' 

142 



TWIN BEDS 

**0h,** said Henry, **you told her 
that!'' 

**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- 

143 



TWIN BEDS 

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 
squirmed. 

*'What do you mean by doubting my 
wife's word?" demanded Henry. 

**I don't doubt her word, Mr. Haw- 

144 



TWIN BEDS 



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 

145 



TWIN BEDS 

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 
wagon. 

** 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, 

146 



TWIN BEDS 

if you like — ^we will search the clothes- 
closef 

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 
clothes-closet. 

**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 
uncomfortable. 

**I say, Blanche," said Henry, **you — 
er — Is it necessary to rub it in like 
that?" 

**It's just as necessary as it is to 
search our flat for a man who isn't in it,*' 

147 



TWIN BEDS 

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- 
n't! 

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 
something else. 

**Are you ready now!" I asked, my 
throat so dry I could hardly talk. **Are 
you ready now to inspect my mother's 
room?" 

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 

148 



% 



TWIN BEDS 

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 
this?" 

'^Oh, that?" I said. '^Why, that—" 

**If is isn't Mr. Deane 's wallet!" said 
Henry, coming forward. 

149 



TWIN BEDS 

**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 
in—" 

* ' 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 
shoes!" 

* ' 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. 

150 



TWIN BEDS 

"Are those your husband *s shoes f 
asked the policeman. 

**How do I knowf answered Mrs. 
Deane. **They look like his shoes, 
bu<^'' 

**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 
What's that!" 

^^It sounds like some one was blowing 
a police whistle in the dining-room," 
said Henry. 

151 



TWIN BEDS 

"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. 



152 




CHAPTEE XI 

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 

153 



TWIN BEDS 

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- 

154 



TWIN BEDS 

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 
the other. 

^^Here! Stop that, Ma!" I yelled. 
^^What's the matter?" 

155 



TWIN BEDS 

" 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!^' 

*^That'shiswife,Ma." 

**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. 

156 



TWIN BEDS 

**Tlie burglar, you gump! What do 
you suppose I was blowing that whistle 
for?'' 

**I thought maybe you were fright- 
ened, Ma/^ 

**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 
the policeman. 

* ' 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 
him in." 

**But where did he come from!" asked 
Henry. 

**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 

157 



TWIN BEDS 

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- 

158 



TWIN BEDS 

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 
burglar. 

**Have I got to do everything!" she 
asked. **I will say the New York police 
are mighty quick in answering a call, but 

159 



TWIN BEDS 

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. 

160 



TWIN BEDS 

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 
raining?'' 

"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 

161 



TWIN BEDS 

him. Then that she-dragon attacked me 
with a carving knife, and locked me in 
there. ' ' 

**Do yon hear what he's saying, 
Henryr'Iasked. 

** Yes, dear.'' 

*^Well,'' I said, sitting up, ^*I feel 
better now/' 

** 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, 

162 



TWIN BEDS 

and the policeman, and the fat man were 
standing. 

**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. 
Deane. 

"Oh!" I said. "Then youVe not 
married to Mr. Deane, after all f In that 
case, officer — " 

"You know what I mean!" cried Mrs. 

163 



TWIN BEDS 

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, 
significantly. 

**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. 
Deane. 

** Humor her," I whispered; "it's the 
only thing to do. ' ' 

"Stop your fooling, Blanche," said 
Henry. "This is getting serious. If 

164 



TWIN BEDS 

Mr. D«aii« is in the flat, we've got to find 
him." 

"Well, go ahead and find him," I said. 
* ' Who 's preventing you ? ' ' 



165 



CHAPTER Xn 

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 ! ' ' 

166 



TWIN BEDS 

'* 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 
forr^Iasked. 

**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 

167 



TWIN BEDS 

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 
said. 

**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. 

168 



TWIN BEDS 

**Don*t want to get out,*' said Mr. 
Deane. 

* ^ 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. 
**That's funny!'* 

**Keep quiet!" said Henry. ** Don't 
you think, Blanche, that we 'd better with- 
draw, and leave Mr. and Mrs. Deane 
alone?" 

**0h, please don't!" begged Mr. 
Deane. 

'*You get out of that basket!" said 
Mrs. Deane. 

*'I won't!" said Mr. Deane, with un- 
expected firmness. * * I '11 have you know, 

169 



TWIN BEDS 

Josie, that IVe passed a most uncom- 
fortable night/' 

'^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- 
ber—" 

"I've undergone the greatest mental 
anguish," continued Mr. Deane. "Last 
night, when I thought you had twins — " 

170 



TWIN BEDS 

< * 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 
drops.'' 

**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 
faltered. 

**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 
severely. 

**I'll do anything you suggest," de- 
clared the grateful Mr. Deane. 

**It will be hard to do," I said, **but 

171 



TWIN BEDS 

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 
overcome. 

**It is nothing/' said Mr. Deane. **I 
would do far more than that for you, 
Josiedear." 

^ ^ 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. 

172 



TWIN BEDS 

**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, 
ladies." 

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 
all about. 

173 



TWIN BEDS 

**What did you let the burglar escape 
forf she demanded, meaning the fat 
man. 

**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 

174 



TWIN BEDS 

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 
Saturday nights." 

* * 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. ' ' 

175 



TWIN BEDS 

^^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.'* 



SND 



176