All day long they kept Horace Nimms in a steel-barred cage. For twenty-one years he had perched on a tall stool in that cage, while various persons at various times poked things at him through a hole about big enough to admit an adult guinea pig. Every evening round five-thirty they let Horace out and permitted him to go over to his half of a double-barreled house in Flatbush to sleep. At eight-thirty the next morning he returned to his cage, hung his two-dollar-and-eighty-nine-cent approximately Panama hat on a peg and changed his blue-serge-suit coat for a still more shiny alpaca.
"One, two, three, bend! One, two, three, bend!" So barked the physical instructor, a bulgy man with muscles popping out all over him as if his skin had been stuffed with hard-boiled eggs. Little Peter Mullaney oned, twoed, threed and bent with such earnest and whole-hearted violence that his blue eyes seemed likely to be jostled from their sockets and the freckles to be jarred loose from his thin, wiry arms.
"He wouldn't give a cent," announced Mrs. Pottle, blotting up the nucleus of a tear on her cheek with the tip of her gloved finger. "'Not one red cent,' was the way he put it." "What did you want a red cent for, honey?" inquired Mr. Pottle, absently, from out the depths of the sporting page. "Who wouldn't give you a red cent?" "Old Felix Winterbottom," she answered.
Moistening the tip of his immaculate handkerchief, M. Alphonse Marie Louis Camille Pettipon deftly and daintily rubbed an almost imperceptible speck of dust from the mirror in Stateroom C 341 of the liner Voltaire of the Paris-New York Steamship Company, and a little sigh of happiness fluttered his double chins. He set about his task of making up the berths in the stateroom with the air of a high priest performing a sacerdotal ritual.
"Rather thirsty this morning, eh, Mr. Addicks?" inquired Cowdin, the chief purchasing agent. The "Mister" was said with a long, hissing "s" and was distinctly not meant as a title of respect. Cowdin, as he spoke, rested his two square hairy hands on Croly Addicks' desk, and this enabled him to lean forward and thrust his well-razored knob of blue-black jaw within a few inches of Croly Addicks' face.
The blue prints and specifications in the case of Tidbury Epps follow: Age: the early thirties. Status: bachelor. Habitat: Mrs. Kelty's Refined Boarding House, Brooklyn. Occupation: a lesser clerk in the wholesale selling department of Spingle & Blatter, Nifty Straw Hattings. See Advts. Appearance: that of a lesser clerk. Weight: feather. Nose: stub. Eyes: apologetic. Teeth: obvious. Figure: brief. Manner: diffident. Nature: kind. Disposition: amiable but subdued. Conspicuous vices: none. Conspicuous virtues: none. Distinguishing marks: none.
The brown eyes of Chester Arthur Jessup, Jr., were fixed on the maroon banner of the Clintonia High School which adorned his bedroom wall, but they did not see that vivid emblem of the institution in whose academic halls he was a senior. Rather, they appeared to look through it, beyond it, into some far-away land. Bright but unseeing, they proclaimed that their owner was in that state of mild hypnosis known as "turkey-dreaming." His lips were parted in a slight smile, and the shoe which he had been in the act of removing as he sat on his bed was poised in mid-air above the floor, for reverie had overcome him in the very midst of preparations for an evening call.
Out of the bathtub, rubicund and rotund, stepped Mr. Ambrose Pottle. He anointed his hair with sweet spirits of lilac and dusted his anatomy with crushed rosebud talcum. He donned a virgin union suit; a pair of socks, silk where it showed; ultra low shoes; white-flannel trousers, warm from the tailor's goose; a creamy silk shirt; an impeccable blue coat; a gala tie, perfect after five tyings; and then went forth into the spring-scented eventide to pay a call on Mrs. Blossom Gallup.
"Ambrose! Ambrose dear!" The new Mrs. Pottle put down the book she was reading--Volume Dec to Erd of the encyclopedia. "Yes, Blossom dear." Mr. Pottle's tone was fraught with the tender solicitude of the recently wed. He looked up from his book--Volume Ode to Pay of the encyclopedia. "Ambrose, we must get a dog!" "A dog, darling?"