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A Night in New Arabia

Short Stories


A Bird of Bagdad

A Blackjack Bargainer

A Call Loan

A Chaparral Christmas Gift

A Chaparral Prince

A Comedy in Rubber

A Cosmopolite in a Cafe

A Departmental Case

A Dinner at--------*

A Double-Dyed Deceiver

A Fog in Santone

A Harlem Tragedy

A Lickpenny Lover

A Little Local Colour

A Little Talk about Mobs

A Madison Square Arabian Night

A Matter of Mean Elevation

A Midsummer Knight's Dream

A Midsummer Masquerade

A Municipal Report

A Newspaper Story

A Night in New Arabia

A Philistine in Bohemia

A Poor Rule

A Ramble in Aphasia

A Retrieved Reformation

A Ruler of Men

A Sacrifice Hit

A Service of Love

A Snapshot at the President

A Strange Story

A Technical Error

A Tempered Wind

According to Their Lights

After Twenty Years

An Adjustment of Nature

An Afternoon Miracle

An Apology

An Unfinished Christmas Story

An Unfinished Story

Aristocracy Versus Hash

Art and the Bronco

At Arms With Morpheus

Babes in the Jungle


Between Rounds

Bexar Scrip No. 2692

Blind Man's Holiday

Brickdust Row

Buried Treasure

By Courier

Calloway's Code


Cherchez La Femme

Christmas by Injunction

Compliments of the Season

Confessions of a Humorist

Conscience in Art

Cupid a La Carte

Cupid's Exile Number Two


Dougherty's Eye-Opener

Elsie in New York

Extradited from Bohemia

Fickle Fortune or How Gladys Hustled

Friends in San Rosario

From Each According to His Ability

From the Cabby's Seat

Georgia's Ruling


He Also Serves

Hearts and Crosses

Hearts and Hands

Helping the Other Fellow

Holding Up a Train

Hostages to Momus

Hygeia at the Solito

Innocents of Broadway

Jeff Peters as a Personal Magnet

Jimmy Hayes and Muriel

Law and Order

Let Me Feel Your Pulse

Little Speck in Garnered Fruit

Lord Oakhurst's Curse

Lost on Dress Parade

Madame Bo-Peep, of the Ranches

Makes the Whole World Kin

Mammon and the Archer

Man About Town

Masters of Arts

Memoirs of a Yellow Dog

Modern Rural Sports

Money Maze

Nemesis and the Candy Man

New York by Camp Fire Light

Next to Reading Matter

No Story

October and June

On Behalf of the Management

One Dollar's Worth

One Thousand Dollars

Out of Nazareth

Past One at Rooney's


Proof of the Pudding

Psyche and the Pskyscraper

Queries and Answers

Roads of Destiny

Roses, Ruses and Romance

Rouge et Noir

Round the Circle

Rus in Urbe

Schools and Schools

Seats of the Haughty

Shearing the Wolf



Sisters of the Golden Circle


Sociology in Serge and Straw

Sound and Fury

Springtime a La Carte

Squaring the Circle

Strictly Business

Strictly Business

Suite Homes and Their Romance

Telemachus, Friend

The Admiral

The Adventures of Shamrock Jolnes

The Assessor of Success

The Atavism of John Tom Little Bear

The Badge of Policeman O'Roon

The Brief Debut of Tildy

The Buyer From Cactus City

The Caballero's Way

The Cactus

The Caliph and the Cad

The Caliph, Cupid and the Clock

The Call of the Tame

The Chair of Philanthromathematics

The Champion of the Weather

The Church with an Overshot-Wheel

The City of Dreadful Night

The Clarion Call

The Coming-Out of Maggie

The Complete Life of John Hopkins

The Cop and the Anthem

The Count and the Wedding Guest

The Country of Elusion

The Day Resurgent

The Day We Celebrate

The Defeat of the City

The Detective Detector

The Diamond of Kali

The Discounters of Money

The Dog and the Playlet

The Door of Unrest

The Dream

The Duel

The Duplicity of Hargraves

The Easter of the Soul

The Emancipation of Billy

The Enchanted Kiss

The Enchanted Profile

The Ethics of Pig

The Exact Science of Matrimony

The Ferry of Unfulfilment

The Fifth Wheel

The Flag Paramount

The Fool-Killer

The Foreign Policy of Company 99

The Fourth in Salvador

The Friendly Call

The Furnished Room

The Gift of the Magi

The Girl and the Graft

The Girl and the Habit

The Gold That Glittered

The Greater Coney

The Green Door

The Guardian of the Accolade

The Guilty Party - An East Side Tragedy

The Halberdier of the Little Rheinschloss

The Hand that Riles the World

The Handbook of Hymen

The Harbinger

The Head-Hunter

The Hiding of Black Bill

The Higher Abdication

The Higher Pragmatism

The Hypotheses of Failure

The Indian Summer of Dry Valley Johnson

The Lady Higher Up

The Last Leaf

The Last of the Troubadours

The Lonesome Road

The Lost Blend

The Lotus And The Bottle

The Love-Philtre of Ikey Schoenstein

The Making of a New Yorker

The Man Higher Up

The Marionettes

The Marquis and Miss Sally

The Marry Month of May

The Memento

The Missing Chord

The Moment of Victory

The Octopus Marooned

The Passing of Black Eagle

The Pendulum

The Phonograph and the Graft

The Pimienta Pancakes

The Plutonian Fire

The Poet and the Peasant

The Pride of the Cities

The Princess and the Puma

The Prisoner of Zembla

The Proem

The Purple Dress

The Ransom of Mack

The Ransom of Red Chief

The Rathskeller and the Rose

The Red Roses of Tonia

The Reformation of Calliope

The Remnants of the Code

The Renaissance at Charleroi

The Roads We Take

The Robe of Peace

The Romance of a Busy Broker

The Rose of Dixie

The Rubaiyat of a Scotch Highball

The Rubber Plant's Story

The Shamrock and the Palm

The Shocks of Doom

The Skylight Room

The Sleuths

The Snow Man

The Social Triangle

The Song and the Sergeant

The Sparrows in Madison Square

The Sphinx Apple

The Tale of a Tainted Tenner

The Theory and the Hound

The Thing's the Play

The Third Ingredient

The Trimmed Lamp

The Unknown Quantity

The Unprofitable Servant

The Venturers

The Vitagraphoscope

The Voice of the City

The Whirligig of Life

The World and the Door

Thimble, Thimble


To Him Who Waits

Tobin's Palm

Tommy's Burglar

Tracked to Doom

Transformation of Martin Burney

Transients in Arcadia

Two Recalls

Two Renegades

Two Thanksgiving Day Gentlemen

Ulysses and the Dogman

Vanity and Some Sables

What You Want

While the Auto Waits

Whistling Dick's Christmas Stocking

Witches' Loaves

The great city of Bagdad-on-the-Subway is caliph-ridden. Its palaces,
bazaars, khans, and byways are thronged with Al Rashids in divers
disguises, seeking diversion and victims for their unbridled generosity.
You can scarcely find a poor beggar whom they are willing to let enjoy
his spoils unsuccored, nor a wrecked unfortunate upon whom they will not
reshower the means of fresh misfortune. You will hardly find anywhere a
hungry one who has not had the opportunity to tighten his belt in gift
libraries, nor a poor pundit who has not blushed at the holiday basket
of celery-crowned turkey forced resoundingly through his door by the
eleemosynary press.

So then, fearfully through the Harun-haunted streets creep the one-eyed
calenders, the Little Hunchback and the Barber's Sixth Brother, hoping
to escape the ministrations of the roving horde of caliphoid sultans.

Entertainment for many Arabian nights might be had from the histories
of those who have escaped the largesse of the army of Commanders of the
Faithful. Until dawn you might sit on the enchanted rug and listen to
such stories as are told of the powerful genie Roc-Ef-El-Er who sent the
Forty Thieves to soak up the oil plant of Ali Baba; of the good Caliph
Kar-Neg-Ghe, who gave away palaces; of the Seven Voyages of Sailbad, the
Sinner, who frequented wooden excursion steamers among the islands; of
the Fisherman and the Bottle; of the Barmecides' Boarding house; of
Aladdin's rise to wealth by means of his Wonderful Gas-meter.

But now, there being ten sultans to one Sheherazade, she is held too
valuable to be in fear of the bowstring. In consequence the art of
narrative languishes. And, as the lesser caliphs are hunting the happy
poor and the resigned unfortunate from cover to cover in order to heap
upon them strange mercies and mysterious benefits, too often comes the
report from Arabian headquarters that the captive refused "to talk."

This reticence, then, in the actors who perform the sad comedies of
their philanthropy-scourged world, must, in a degree, account for the
shortcomings of this painfully gleaned tale, which shall be called


Old Jacob Spraggins mixed for himself some Scotch and lithia water
at his $1,200 oak sideboard. Inspiration must have resulted from its
imbibition, for immediately afterward he struck the quartered oak
soundly with his fist and shouted to the empty dining room:

"By the coke ovens of hell, it must be that ten thousand dollars! If
I can get that squared, it'll do the trick."

Thus, by the commonest artifice of the trade, having gained your
interest, the action of the story will now be suspended, leaving you
grumpily to consider a sort of dull biography beginning fifteen years

When old Jacob was young Jacob he was a breaker boy in a Pennsylvania
coal mine. I don't know what a breaker boy is; but his occupation seems
to be standing by a coal dump with a wan look and a dinner-pail to have
his picture taken for magazine articles. Anyhow, Jacob was one. But,
instead of dying of overwork at nine, and leaving his helpless parents
and brothers at the mercy of the union strikers' reserve fund, he
hitched up his galluses, put a dollar or two in a side proposition now
and then, and at forty-five was worth $20,000,000.

There now! it's over. Hardly had time to yawn, did you? I've seen
biographies that--but let us dissemble.

I want you to consider Jacob Spraggins, Esq., after he had arrived at
the seventh stage of his career. The stages meant are, first, humble
origin; second, deserved promotion; third, stockholder; fourth,
capitalist; fifth, trust magnate; sixth, rich malefactor; seventh,
caliph; eighth, _x_. The eighth stage shall be left to the higher

At fifty-five Jacob retired from active business. The income of a
czar was still rolling in on him from coal, iron, real estate, oil,
railroads, manufactories, and corporations, but none of it touched
Jacob's hands in a raw state. It was a sterilized increment, carefully
cleaned and dusted and fumigated until it arrived at its ultimate stage
of untainted, spotless checks in the white fingers of his private
secretary. Jacob built a three-million-dollar palace on a corner lot
fronting on Nabob Avenue, city of New Bagdad, and began to feel the
mantle of the late H. A. Rashid descending upon him. Eventually Jacob
slipped the mantle under his collar, tied it in a neat four-in-hand, and
became a licensed harrier of our Mesopotamian proletariat.

When a man's income becomes so large that the butcher actually sends
him the kind of steak he orders, he begins to think about his soul's
salvation. Now, the various stages or classes of rich men must not be
forgotten. The capitalist can tell you to a dollar the amount of his
wealth. The trust magnate "estimates" it. The rich malefactor hands you
a cigar and denies that he has bought the P. D. & Q. The caliph merely
smiles and talks about Hammerstein and the musical lasses. There is a
record of tremendous altercation at breakfast in a "Where-to-Dine-Well"
tavern between a magnate and his wife, the rift within the loot being
that the wife calculated their fortune at a figure $3,000,000 higher
than did her future _divorcÚ_. Oh, well, I, myself, heard a similar
quarrel between a man and his wife because he found fifty cents less in
his pockets than he thought he had. After all, we are all human--Count
Tolstoi, R. Fitzsimmons, Peter Pan, and the rest of us.

Don't lose heart because the story seems to be degenerating into a sort
of moral essay for intellectual readers.

There will be dialogue and stage business pretty soon.

When Jacob first began to compare the eyes of needles with the camels
in the Zoo he decided upon organized charity. He had his secretary send
a check for one million to the Universal Benevolent Association of the
Globe. You may have looked down through a grating in front of a decayed
warehouse for a nickel that you had dropped through. But that is neither
here nor there. The Association acknowledged receipt of his favor of
the 24th ult. with enclosure as stated. Separated by a double line, but
still mighty close to the matter under the caption of "Oddities of the
Day's News" in an evening paper, Jacob Spraggins read that one "Jasper
Spargyous" had "donated $100,000 to the U. B. A. of G." A camel may have
a stomach for each day in the week; but I dare not venture to accord him
whiskers, for fear of the Great Displeasure at Washington; but if he
have whiskers, surely not one of them will seem to have been inserted in
the eye of a needle by that effort of that rich man to enter the K. of
H. The right is reserved to reject any and all bids; signed, S. Peter,
secretary and gatekeeper.

Next, Jacob selected the best endowed college he could scare up and
presented it with a $200,000 laboratory. The college did not maintain
a scientific course, but it accepted the money and built an elaborate
lavatory instead, which was no diversion of funds so far as Jacob ever

The faculty met and invited Jacob to come over and take his A B C
degree. Before sending the invitation they smiled, cut out the C, added
the proper punctuation marks, and all was well.

While walking on the campus before being capped and gowned, Jacob saw
two professors strolling nearby. Their voices, long adapted to indoor
acoustics, undesignedly reached his ear.

"There goes the latest _chevalier d'industrie_," said one of them, "to
buy a sleeping powder from us. He gets his degree to-morrow."

"_In foro conscientiŠ_," said the other. "Let's 'eave 'arf a brick at

Jacob ignored the Latin, but the brick pleasantry was not too hard for
him. There was no mandragora in the honorary draught of learning that he
had bought. That was before the passage of the Pure Food and Drugs Act.

Jacob wearied of philanthropy on a large scale.

"If I could see folks made happier," he said to himself--"If I could see
'em myself and hear 'em express their gratitude for what I done for 'em
it would make me feel better. This donatin' funds to institutions and
societies is about as satisfactory as dropping money into a broken slot

So Jacob followed his nose, which led him through unswept streets to the
homes of the poorest.

"The very thing!" said Jacob. "I will charter two river steamboats, pack
them full of these unfortunate children and--say ten thousand dolls and
drums and a thousand freezers of ice cream, and give them a delightful
outing up the Sound. The sea breezes on that trip ought to blow the
taint off some of this money that keeps coming in faster than I can work
it off my mind."

Jacob must have leaked some of his benevolent intentions, for an immense
person with a bald face and a mouth that looked as if it ought to have a
"Drop Letters Here" sign over it hooked a finger around him and set him
in a space between a barber's pole and a stack of ash cans. Words came
out of the post-office slit--smooth, husky words with gloves on 'em, but
sounding as if they might turn to bare knuckles any moment.

"Say, Sport, do you know where you are at? Well, dis is Mike O'Grady's
district you're buttin' into--see? Mike's got de stomach-ache privilege
for every kid in dis neighborhood--see? And if dere's any picnics or red
balloons to be dealt out here, Mike's money pays for 'em--see? Don't
you butt in, or something'll be handed to you. Youse d---- settlers and
reformers with your social ologies and your millionaire detectives have
got dis district in a hell of a fix, anyhow. With your college students
and professors rough-housing de soda-water stands and dem rubber-neck
coaches fillin' de streets, de folks down here are 'fraid to go out of
de houses. Now, you leave 'em to Mike. Dey belongs to him, and he knows
how to handle 'em. Keep on your own side of de town. Are you some wiser
now, uncle, or do you want to scrap wit' Mike O'Grady for de Santa Claus
belt in dis district?"

Clearly, that spot in the moral vineyard was preempted. So Caliph
Spraggins menaced no more the people in the bazaars of the East Side.
To keep down his growing surplus he doubled his donations to organized
charity, presented the Y. M. C. A. of his native town with a $10,000
collection of butterflies, and sent a check to the famine sufferers
in China big enough to buy new emerald eyes and diamond-filled teeth
for all their gods. But none of these charitable acts seemed to bring
peace to the caliph's heart. He tried to get a personal note into his
benefactions by tipping bellboys and waiters $10 and $20 bills. He got
well snickered at and derided for that by the minions who accept with
respect gratuities commensurate to the service performed. He sought out
an ambitious and talented but poor young woman, and bought for her the
star part in a new comedy. He might have gotten rid of $50,000 more of
his cumbersome money in this philanthropy if he had not neglected to
write letters to her. But she lost the suit for lack of evidence, while
his capital still kept piling up, and his _optikos needleorum
camelibus_--or rich man's disease--was unrelieved.

In Caliph Spraggins's $3,000,000 home lived his sister Henrietta, who
used to cook for the coal miners in a twenty-five-cent eating house in
Coketown, Pa., and who now would have offered John Mitchell only two
fingers of her hand to shake. And his daughter Celia, nineteen, back
from boarding-school and from being polished off by private instructors
in the restaurant languages and those Útudes and things.

Celia is the heroine. Lest the artist's delineation of her charms
on this very page humbug your fancy, take from me her authorized
description. She was a nice-looking, awkward, loud, rather bashful,
brown-haired girl, with a sallow complexion, bright eyes, and a
perpetual smile. She had a wholesome, Spraggins-inherited love for plain
food, loose clothing, and the society of the lower classes. She had too
much health and youth to feel the burden of wealth. She had a wide mouth
that kept the peppermint-pepsin tablets rattling like hail from the
slot-machine wherever she went, and she could whistle hornpipes. Keep
this picture in mind; and let the artist do his worst.

Celia looked out of her window one day and gave her heart to the
grocer's young man. The receiver thereof was at that moment engaged
in conceding immortality to his horse and calling down upon him the
ultimate fate of the wicked; so he did not notice the transfer. A horse
should stand still when you are lifting a crate of strictly new-laid
eggs out of the wagon.

Young lady reader, you would have liked that grocer's young man
yourself. But you wouldn't have given him your heart, because you are
saving it for a riding-master, or a shoe-manufacturer with a torpid
liver, or something quiet but rich in gray tweeds at Palm Beach. Oh, I
know about it. So I am glad the grocer's young man was for Celia, and
not for you.

The grocer's young man was slim and straight and as confident and easy
in his movements as the man in the back of the magazines who wears the
new frictionless roller suspenders. He wore a gray bicycle cap on the
back of his head, and his hair was straw-colored and curly, and his
sunburned face looked like one that smiled a good deal when he was not
preaching the doctrine of everlasting punishment to delivery-wagon
horses. He slung imported A1 fancy groceries about as though they were
only the stuff he delivered at boarding-houses; and when he picked up
his whip, your mind instantly recalled Mr. Tackett and his air with the
buttonless foils.

Tradesmen delivered their goods at a side gate at the rear of the house.
The grocer's wagon came about ten in the morning. For three days Celia
watched the driver when he came, finding something new each time to
admire in the lofty and almost contemptuous way he had of tossing around
the choicest gifts of Pomona, Ceres, and the canning factories. Then she
consulted Annette.

To be explicit, Annette McCorkle, the second housemaid who deserves a
paragraph herself. Annette Fletcherized large numbers of romantic novels
which she obtained at a free public library branch (donated by one of
the biggest caliphs in the business). She was Celia's side-kicker and
chum, though Aunt Henrietta didn't know it, you may hazard a bean or

"Oh, canary-bird seed!" exclaimed Annette. "Ain't it a corkin'
situation? You a heiress, and fallin' in love with him on sight! He's a
sweet boy, too, and above his business. But he ain't susceptible like
the common run of grocer's assistants. He never pays no attention to

"He will to me," said Celia.

"Riches--" began Annette, unsheathing the not unjustifiable feminine

"Oh, you're not so beautiful," said Celia, with her wide, disarming
smile. "Neither am I; but he sha'n't know that there's any money mixed
up with my looks, such as they are. That's fair. Now, I want you to lend
me one of your caps and an apron, Annette."

"Oh, marshmallows!" cried Annette. "I see. Ain't it lovely? It's just
like 'Lurline, the Left-Handed; or, A Buttonhole Maker's Wrongs.' I'll
bet he'll turn out to be a count."

There was a long hallway (or "passageway," as they call it in the land
of the Colonels) with one side latticed, running along the rear of the
house. The grocer's young man went through this to deliver his goods.
One morning he passed a girl in there with shining eyes, sallow
complexion, and wide, smiling mouth, wearing a maid's cap and apron. But
as he was cumbered with a basket of Early Drumhead lettuce and Trophy
tomatoes and three bunches of asparagus and six bottles of the most
expensive Queen olives, he saw no more than that she was one of the

But on his way out he came up behind her, and she was whistling
"Fisher's Hornpipe" so loudly and clearly that all the piccolos in the
world should have disjointed themselves and crept into their cases for

The grocer's young man stopped and pushed back his cap until it hung on
his collar button behind.

"That's out o' sight, Kid," said he.

"My name is Celia, if you please," said the whistler, dazzling him with
a three-inch smile.

That's all right. I'm Thomas McLeod. What part of the house do you work

"I'm the--the second parlor maid."

"Do you know the 'Falling Waters'?"

"No," said Celia, "we don't know anybody. We got rich too quick--that
is, Mr. Spraggins did."

"I'll make you acquainted," said Thomas McLeod. "It's a strathspey--the
first cousin to a hornpipe."

If Celia's whistling put the piccolos out of commission, Thomas McLeod's
surely made the biggest flutes hunt their holes. He could actually
whistle _bass_.

When he stopped Celia was ready to jump into his delivery wagon and ride
with him clear to the end of the pier and on to the ferry-boat of the
Charon line.

"I'll be around to-morrow at 10:15," said Thomas, "with some spinach and
a case of carbonic."

"I'll practice that what-you-may-call-it," said Celia. "I can whistle a
fine second."

The processes of courtship are personal, and do not belong to general
literature. They should be chronicled in detail only in advertisements
of iron tonics and in the secret by-laws of the Woman's Auxiliary of
the Ancient Order of the Rat Trap. But genteel writing may contain a
description of certain stages of its progress without intruding upon
the province of the X-ray or of park policemen.

A day came when Thomas McLeod and Celia lingered at the end of the
latticed "passage."

"Sixteen a week isn't much," said Thomas, letting his cap rest on his
shoulder blades.

Celia looked through the lattice-work and whistled a dead march.
Shopping with Aunt Henrietta the day before, she had paid that much for
a dozen handkerchiefs.

"Maybe I'll get a raise next month," said Thomas. "I'll be around
to-morrow at the same time with a bag of flour and the laundry soap."

"All right," said Celia. "Annette's married cousin pays only $20 a month
for a flat in the Bronx."

Never for a moment did she count on the Spraggins money. She knew Aunt
Henrietta's invincible pride of caste and pa's mightiness as a Colossus
of cash, and she understood that if she chose Thomas she and her
grocer's young man might go whistle for a living.

Another day came, Thomas violating the dignity of Nabob Avenue with
"The Devil's Dream," whistled keenly between his teeth.

"Raised to eighteen a week yesterday," he said. "Been pricing flats
around Morningside. You want to start untying those apron strings and
unpinning that cap, old girl."

"Oh, Tommy!" said Celia, with her broadest smile. "Won't that be enough?
I got Betty to show me how to make a cottage pudding. I guess we could
call it a flat pudding if we wanted to."

"And tell no lie," said Thomas.

"And I can sweep and polish and dust--of course, a parlor maid learns
that. And we could whistle duets of evenings."

"The old man said he'd raise me to twenty at Christmas if Bryan couldn't
think of any harder name to call a Republican than a 'postponer,'" said
the grocer's young man.

"I can sew," said Celia; "and I know that you must make the gas
company's man show his badge when he comes to look at the meter; and I
know how to put up quince jam and window curtains."

"Bully! you're all right, Cele. Yes, I believe we can pull it off on

As he was jumping into the wagon the second parlor maid braved discovery
by running swiftly to the gate.

"And, oh, Tommy, I forgot," she called, softly. "I believe I could make
your neckties."

"Forget it," said Thomas decisively.

"And another thing," she continued. "Sliced cucumbers at night will
drive away cockroaches."

"And sleep, too, you bet," said Mr. McLeod. "Yes, I believe if I have a
delivery to make on the West Side this afternoon I'll look in at a
furniture store I know over there."

It was just as the wagon dashed away that old Jacob Spraggins struck
the sideboard with his fist and made the mysterious remark about
ten thousand dollars that you perhaps remember. Which justifies the
reflection that some stories, as well as life, and puppies thrown into
wells, move around in circles. Painfully but briefly we must shed light
on Jacob's words.

The foundation of his fortune was made when he was twenty. A poor
coal-digger (ever hear of a rich one?) had saved a dollar or two and
bought a small tract of land on a hillside on which he tried to raise
corn. Not a nubbin. Jacob, whose nose was a divining-rod, told him there
was a vein of coal beneath. He bought the land from the miner for $125
and sold it a month afterward for $10,000. Luckily the miner had enough
left of his sale money to drink himself into a black coat opening in the
back, as soon as he heard the news.

And so, for forty years afterward, we find Jacob illuminated with the
sudden thought that if he could make restitution of this sum of money
to the heirs or assigns of the unlucky miner, respite and Nepenthe might
be his.

And now must come swift action, for we have here some four thousand
words and not a tear shed and never a pistol, joke, safe, nor bottle

Old Jacob hired a dozen private detectives to find the heirs, if any
existed, of the old miner, Hugh McLeod.

Get the point? Of course I know as well as you do that Thomas is going
to be the heir. I might have concealed the name; but why always hold
back your mystery till the end? I say, let it come near the middle so
people can stop reading there if they want to.

After the detectives had trailed false clues about three thousand
dollars--I mean miles--they cornered Thomas at the grocery and got his
confession that Hugh McLeod had been his grandfather, and that there
were no other heirs. They arranged a meeting for him and old Jacob one
morning in one of their offices.

Jacob liked the young man very much. He liked the way he looked straight
at him when he talked, and the way he threw his bicycle cap over the top
of a rose-colored vase on the centre-table.

There was a slight flaw in Jacob's system of restitution. He did not
consider that the act, to be perfect, should include confession. So he
represented himself to be the agent of the purchaser of the land who had
sent him to refund the sale price for the ease of his conscience.

"Well, sir," said Thomas, "this sounds to me like an illustrated
post-card from South Boston with 'We're having a good time here' written
on it. I don't know the game. Is this ten thousand dollars money, or do
I have to save so many coupons to get it?"

Old Jacob counted out to him twenty five-hundred-dollar bills.

That was better, he thought, than a check. Thomas put them thoughtfully
into his pocket.

"Grandfather's best thanks," he said, "to the party who sends it."

Jacob talked on, asking him about his work, how he spent his leisure
time, and what his ambitions were. The more he saw and heard of Thomas,
the better he liked him. He had not met many young men in Bagdad so
frank and wholesome.

"I would like to have you visit my house," he said. "I might help you in
investing or laying out your money. I am a very wealthy man. I have a
daughter about grown, and I would like for you to know her. There are
not many young men I would care to have call on her."

"I'm obliged," said Thomas. "I'm not much at making calls. It's
generally the side entrance for mine. And, besides, I'm engaged to a
girl that has the Delaware peach crop killed in the blossom. She's a
parlor maid in a house where I deliver goods. She won't be working
there much longer, though. Say, don't forget to give your friend my
grandfather's best regards. You'll excuse me now; my wagon's outside
with a lot of green stuff that's got to be delivered. See you again,

At eleven Thomas delivered some bunches of parsley and lettuce at the
Spraggins mansion. Thomas was only twenty-two; so, as he came back,
he took out the handful of five-hundred-dollar bills and waved them
carelessly. Annette took a pair of eyes as big as creamed onion to the

"I told you he was a count," she said, after relating. "He never would
carry on with me."

"But you say he showed money," said the cook.

"Hundreds of thousands," said Annette. "Carried around loose in his
pockets. And he never would look at me."

"It was paid to me to-day," Thomas was explaining to Celia outside. "It
came from my grandfather's estate. Say, Cele, what's the use of waiting
now? I'm going to quit the job to-night. Why can't we get married next

"Tommy," said Celia. "I'm no parlor maid. I've been fooling you. I'm
Miss Spraggins--Celia Spraggins. The newspapers say I'll be worth forty
million dollars some day."

Thomas pulled his cap down straight on his head for the first time since
we have known him.

"I suppose then," said he, "I suppose then you'll not be marrying me
next week. But you _can_ whistle."

"No," said Celia, "I'll not be marrying you next week. My father would
never let me marry a grocer's clerk. But I'll marry you to-night, Tommy,
if you say so."

Old Jacob Spraggins came home at 9:30 P. M., in his motor car. The make
of it you will have to surmise sorrowfully; I am giving you unsubsidized
fiction; had it been a street car I could have told you its voltage
and the number of wheels it had. Jacob called for his daughter; he had
bought a ruby necklace for her, and wanted to hear her say what a kind,
thoughtful, dear old dad he was.

There was a brief search in the house for her, and then came Annette,
glowing with the pure flame of truth and loyalty well mixed with envy
and histrionics.

"Oh, sir," said she, wondering if she should kneel, "Miss Celia's just
this minute running away out of the side gate with a young man to be
married. I couldn't stop her, sir. They went in a cab."

"What young man?" roared old Jacob.

"A millionaire, if you please, sir--a rich nobleman in disguise. He
carries his money with him, and the red peppers and the onions was only
to blind us, sir. He never did seem to take to me."

Jacob rushed out in time to catch his car. The chauffeur had been
delayed by trying to light a cigarette in the wind.

"Here, Gaston, or Mike, or whatever you call yourself, scoot around the
corner quicker than blazes and see if you can see a cab. If you do, run
it down."

There was a cab in sight a block away. Gaston, or Mike, with his eyes
half shut and his mind on his cigarette, picked up the trail, neatly
crowded the cab to the curb and pocketed it.

"What t'ell you doin'?" yelled the cabman.

"Pa!" shrieked Celia.

"Grandfather's remorseful friend's agent!" said Thomas. "Wonder what's
on his conscience now."

"A thousand thunders," said Gaston, or Mike. "I have no other match."

"Young man," said old Jacob, severely, "how about that parlor maid you
were engaged to?"

A couple of years afterward old Jacob went into the office of his
private secretary.

"The Amalgamated Missionary Society solicits a contribution of $30,000
toward the conversion of the Koreans," said the secretary.

"Pass 'em up," said Jacob.

"The University of Plumville writes that its yearly endowment fund of
$50,000 that you bestowed upon it is past due."

"Tell 'em it's been cut out."

"The Scientific Society of Clam Cove, Long Island, asks for $10,000 to
buy alcohol to preserve specimens."

"Waste basket."

"The Society for Providing Healthful Recreation for Working Girls wants
$20,000 from you to lay out a golf course."

"Tell 'em to see an undertaker."

"Cut 'em all out," went on Jacob. "I've quit being a good thing. I need
every dollar I can scrape or save. I want you to write to the directors
of every company that I'm interested in and recommend a 10 per cent. cut
in salaries. And say--I noticed half a cake of soap lying in a corner of
the hall as I came in. I want you to speak to the scrubwoman about
waste. I've got no money to throw away. And say--we've got vinegar
pretty well in hand, haven't we?'

"The Globe Spice & Seasons Company," said secretary, "controls the
market at present."

"Raise vinegar two cents a gallon. Notify all our branches."

Suddenly Jacob Spraggins's plump red face relaxed into a pulpy grin. He
walked over to the secretary's desk and showed a small red mark on his
thick forefinger.

"Bit it," he said, "darned if he didn't, and he ain't had the tooth
three weeks--Jaky McLeod, my Celia's kid. He'll be worth a hundred
millions by the time he's twenty-one if I can pile it up for him."

As he was leaving, old Jacob turned at the door, and said:

"Better make that vinegar raise three cents instead of two. I'll be back
in an hour and sign the letters."

The true history of the Caliph Harun Al Rashid relates that toward the
end of his reign he wearied of philanthropy, and caused to be beheaded
all his former favorites and companions of his "Arabian Nights" rambles.
Happy are we in these days of enlightenment, when the only death warrant
the caliphs can serve on us is in the form of a tradesman's bill.

© Art Branch Inc. | English Dictionary