« ElőzőTovább »
New York City. Mr. Pinta Building, York. hemes and cupids toward i
of the small room as though expecting
to see his property awaiting redempOn a morning in late July Mr. Pink- tion. ham found himself once more in his Mr. Pinkham possessed a hit-oroffice, which was the fourth door down miss temperament. Having started the a private corridor on the seventeenth ivory grapes and cupids toward New floor of the Engineering Building, York, he had given no further thought New York City. Mr. Pinkham's office to method, place, or time of arrival — was as large and homey as a stateroom and here was the reckoning. 'Holy on a Boston night-boat. There was no Timotheus,' he thought, 'where is the name on the door, but the legend that umbrella? Something must be done at decorated the entrance from the public once.' hall was 'Connors, Cowdrey, and 'I’m delighted to see you, Major,' Calkins' — which goes to show that said the Assistant-Secretary, most corblood is much thicker than water, and dially wringing his visitor's rather that Mrs. Connors's influence pene- tepid hand. “Just back from Canada, trated to the seventeenth floor of the I take it?' Engineering Building, New York City. “Yes, arrived here yesterday.'
Mr. Pinkham attended to accumu- 'Well, the fact is, I'm just back mylated mail, and before sinking back self. I went over to Canada also. from vacation into clerical work, was Met some friends just after I saw you, gazing contemplatively at the distant and went up to Montreal and back by Goddess of Liberty, faintly visible over the Adirondack route.' chimney pots far down the harbor, 'Where's the umbrella ?' asked the when the door was opened.
Major apprehensively. It is a definition of appearance to “You see, like yourself, I was n't resay that a man has a heavy head of turning directly, so I asked Mr. Walter hair. In this instance the person was a Randall to bring it back, and I have n't tall elderly man with a thick face of had a chance yet to see him.' whiskers.
The Major stroked the hairy undu‘Mr. Pinkham, I believe?' he said. lations on his waistcoat, and looked
Mr. Pinkham looked doubtfully at decidedly annoyed. the stranger, vaguely wondering where “Randall,' he remarked. “I know in the dim past those whiskers had him. A flighty, sporty creature. The fluttered upon his vision.
last man in our Association to whose ‘Yes sir.
care I should have entrusted that val‘Assistant Secretary of the American uable piece of property. That umAssociation for the Advancement of brella, Mr. Pinkham, belonged to my Invention?'
great uncle. It is more than fifty years 'Yes sir.'
"I am Di not early this
to your c
Don't worry, Randall to
may recall that early this month at He was terrorized, though outwardly Bretton Woods I entrusted to your calm. care a valuable family umbrella, which ‘Don't worry,' he said assuringly; you agreed to bring back to New York 'I'll see Mr. Randall to-morrow. for me, as I was not returning directly Where can I reach you?' to the city. I have called to obtain it.' 'I shall call next Monday.' WhereMajor Whitehouse ceased, significantly, upon Major Whitehouse abruptly deand looked at each of the four corners parted.
The Assistant Secretaryatoncewrote of the umbrella. He now says he thinks to South Orange, N. J.:
you took it off his hands. The Major
is back. He wants his umbrella. I am DEAR MR. RANDALL,
a good deal embarrassed. Please send Major Whitehouse has called upon it to me at once if you have it, or tell me for his umbrella. You will recall
me, if you can, who has it. I'm in a that I was to have brought it back dreadful hurry about this. with me from Bretton Woods and
E. W. PINKHAM, you kindly agreed to Joe Kittredge's
Assistant Secretary. request to relieve me of the charge. Please write or telephone me at once On Saturday a letter postmarked where I can see you.
Pittsburgh lay on Mr. Pinkham's desk I'm awfully sorry to bother you, but
when he reached the office. He opened I am much embarrassed. Major White
it in haste. house is likely to be trying.
You, of course, recall the particular DEAR SIR, – umbrella I mean - big old black silk
Answering yours of recent date. I affair, ivory handle, bunch of grapes, have no knowledge of the matter to two cupids. Please answer promptly. which you refer. I left Bretton Woods E. W. PINKHAM,
Saturday afternoon immediately after Assistant Secretary. the closing meeting.
Why not try Hotchkiss? He was The second day brought this reply:
constantly with Randall — Marcus P. DEAR MR. PINKHAM, —
Hotchkiss, Tontine Building, New I have n't the Whitehouse umbrella.
Haven, Connecticut. After you left, several of us in the grill
Yours truly, at Bretton Woods had a good deal of
T. P. COBB. sport over that heirloom and tossed
‘Holy Smoke!' groaned Mr. Pinkup to see who would be the goat. For the life of me I can't recall who lost.
ham. “There are 1634 members in the I was out first round, so I did n't
Association, not including eleven in worry. Try Cobb — I think he was England, four in France, and three in one of the bunch — Thomas Porter Italy. Three hundred and eighteen of Cobb, something Broadway, Pitts them attended the Bretton Woods burgh. He's in the address list. I'm meeting. Have I got to circularize all sorry you are bothered.
of them? And if I must can I live Yours sincerely,
through the assaults of Major WhiteW. K. RANDALL.
house?' Mr. Pinkham's concern grew apace Mr. Pinkham paused and looked out as he read this careless response. The of the window. 'Major Whitehouse,' Major's opinion seemed verified. What he repeated slowly to himself, 'is about would the Major say? Again he the only person who does n't laugh. wrote:
He does n't even smile.' It was not a
comforting thought. DEAR MR. COBB, —
Again Mr. Pinkham wrote:-
Did you bring back from our Asbrella — large, black silk, ivory handle sociation meeting at Bretton Woods carved to represent a bunch of grapes a large, old-fashioned silk umbrella and two cupids. At the last moment with a carved ivory handle, bunch of I decided to take a motor trip and Mr. grapes and two cupids? Walter Randall agreed to take charge
I promised Major Whitehouse of
Jersey City to bring the umbrella back for him, but did not return direct. Mr. Walter Randall offered to help me out. The Major values his umbrella very highly, and now he wants it. Mr. Randall said he had the umbrella when with a crowd of our members and persuaded one of them to take charge of it for him. He thought it was Mr. Cobb of Pittsburgh. Mr. Cobb writes it was n't he, but thinks it was you.
Please help me out. Have you got the umbrella? Wire if you have. If you have n't it, do you know who has it? I am much troubled.
The Assistant-Secretary of the A.A.A.I. may have deserved to spend a troubled week-end. Whether he deserved to do so or not, that was the kind of a week-end he spent.
Monday forenoon the door of Mr. Pinkham's office opened and Major D. Pringle Whitehouse — again unan
'I don't want it.'
Don't want it.' 'I'll give you an umbrella annuity, one every year.'
'I don't want it!' shouted the Major. 'I am amply able to buy umbrellas by the gross. I want the one I entrusted to you. I value that umbrella very highly. It came to me by inheritance from a great uncle. I have carried it for thirty years. I must have it, even if you are obliged to call personally on every member of the Association who attended the meeting. I will give you one week to show progress.'
The door closed upon the departing Whitehouse, and Mr. Pinkham sank back exhausted. A few days later the Hotchkiss reply arrived:—
Sorry to say I cannot send you Whitehouse's umbrella with ivory grapes and cupids. I was with Randall before he left Bretton Woods and I think he turned that relic over to Penfield, not A. M. but 0. Penfield, of Baltimore. Don't write Penfield. Get a requisition from the Governor and go there yourself. That is the only chance with O. P.
It's a special Providence for Whitehouse that I am not the custodian of his octogenarian 'brell. I am looking for an umbrella big enough to protect more than my hat.
MARCUS P. HOTCHKISS. With sinking heart Mr. Pinkham resumed correspondence. DEAR MR. PENFIELD, —
A large, old-fashioned, black silk umbrella, with ivory handle carved to represent a bunch of grapes and two cupids was left in my charge, as Assistant-Secretary of the A.A.A.I., at the Bretton Woods meeting by Major D. P. Whitehouse. I depended on Mr. W. K. Randall to bring it to New York. He forgets who really did bring it suggested Cobb of Pittsburgh. Mr.
reserved. Mr. Pinkham was cordial with a suggestion of embarrassment.
'Did you see Randall?' asked the
“No, I wrote him and am expecting to get some word in a day or so.
The Major's face darkened. 'Mr. Pinkham, I feel you have sadly neglected one of the duties of your position.
'I was not elected to carry umbrellas,' replied the desperate Pinkham.
'You were elected by the Association to be of use to the members, sir.
Anger got the best of the Pinkham discretion, never particularly prominent.
'I am tired and sick of this umbrella business,' he snapped.
'So am I.'
Cobb denies responsibility and thought left. It's awful. I can't sleep, I can't it was Hotchkiss. He says he has n't work. Monday old Whitehouse is due it, but is confident you are the custo
in this office again. What 'll I do?' dian. I am in great distress. Major
Obviously Mr. Pinkham was in Whitehouse is making me considerable
earnest, a most unusual phenomenon. trouble. Please telegraph at my expense all you know about this affair.
His employer seemed concerned. I shall be grateful for your help.
'Cut it all out, Eddie,' he said Yours truly,
kindly. “You can't work in this shape. E. W. PINKHAM,
Beat it, be elsewhere when the enemy Assistant-Secretary. arrives. There's the Twohig matter
in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Go Again Mr. Pinkham looked off at up there for a few days, see Twohig, the Goddess of Liberty. It all seemed and get out circulars to the A.A.A.I.' so hopeless. The joy had mostly gone It was a hot late-July day. The sultry out of life. In three days more the haze obscured the wide outlook over towering form from Jersey City would the harbor. It did not take long to again appear in his office, coldly strok- approve of the chief's suggestion. ing that avenging beard. Mr. Pinkham was really all in. He had had a chance
III to win the favor and confidence of the A.A.A.I. and here he was circularizing In Boston, where Mr. Pinkham the members that he was untrust- spent the following night, it continued worthy!
to be impossible to escape from the The Assistant-Secretary was sitting depressing influence of the umbrella with his head in his hands, the picture mystery. At breakfast Mr. Pinkham of rather volatile despair, when Mr. heard himself being paged. He reConnors breezed in.
sponded apprehensively, only to reWhat's the matter, Eddie?'
ceive this telegram: 'I've lost Whitehouse's umbrella.
NEVER HAD UMBRELLA TRY GRA‘Glad of it. Anybody who makes
HAM WILLIAMSTOWN D. Pringle lose anything — yea, verily,
0. PENFIELD even one hair of his whiskers — is a star. Credit and fame are yours.' 'Charley Ross, Dorothy Arnold, the
Mr. Pinkham smiled feebly. 'It was Whitehouse cupids,' groaned Mr. Pinka professional trust,' he said. “Be- ham. 'One thing is certain,' he mused, cause I was an officer of our Associa- 'for a while I am out of reach of the tion, the Major trusted his valuable still small voice of D. Pringle Whiteumbrella — heirloom, big black silk house. I'll wait until to-morrow to affair with handle carved like grapes write Graham, Williamstown.' Whereand cupids — to me to bring home upon, having squeezed a final half cup from Bretton Woods. I shirked it and of coffee from the reluctant pot, he went on a motor trip. Randall was to paid his bill and took a taxi to the bring it back. He flipped up with a North Station, where he picked up a bunch to see who'd get stuck, and can't ticket and a chair for Portsmouth on recall now who was the goat. Heguess- the Portland-Bangor Express. ed Cobb. Cobb guesses Hotchkiss. Once on the train, increasing distance Hotchkiss guesses Penfield. Lord only from the office and a natural tendency knows who Penfield will guess. There to scatter made it easy for Mr. Pinkare three hundred and twelve shots ham to forget his troubles. He settled down to a magazine, but not without It's a big black silk umbrella unless I noticing, after the manner of his kind, am batty. It's got an ivory handle. I that the passenger opposite him was a actually believe that 's a cupid. There very attractive girl. She could n't have can't be two such curios on earth. I've outstripped twenty-one or two. She written to New Jersey, Pennsylvania, had brown hair and a wonderful com- Connecticut, and Maryland, and now plexion, wore a very smart blue suit suppose that blamed umbrella is there, and a close hat of straw decorated with across the aisle, actually headed for a very assertive blue bow. Mr. Pink- Maine or Canada and getting away ham also furtively observed gray silk from me forever. Something must be stockings and gray suède shoes, which done right off. It really must,' he added considerably to the highly favor- added desperately. able impression. This opposite neighbor The attention of the young woman was far and away the most agreeable was vaguely attracted by the queer outlook from Mr. Pinkham's seat attitude of the opposite passenger. From the car window the purlieus of She looked furtively across at him from Salem which soon succeeded those of her book. The passing thought that Lynn offered little competition to the actuated her glance was something like pleasant prospect across the aisle. The this: 'Queer-acting fellow opposite. Assistant-Secretary sighed a little. It Rather good looking. Well dressed. would be wonderful, but was so impos- Looks like a New Yorker. He acts sible. He resigned himself to mere fussed. Somehow he's awfully funny. reading, but first swept the car with a I wish —' detached, impersonal glance. The op- Mr. Pinkham fidgeted more than posite neighbor's suitcase reposed in ever and shut up his magazine. 'Somethe unoccupied chair ahead; her gray thing has got to be done,' he repeated. sport coat was flung carelessly in the 'If that is Whitehouse's great uncle's rack above, partly covering a rather umbrella before my eyes, can I get off long black umbrella with a white - this train and write a letter to Graham
Mr. Pinkham's glance stopped sud- asking where it is? I'm a fool already. denly at the rack. He almost stopped What shall I be then?' The logic of breathing. It was a long black silk this query was appalling. umbrella. That much was clear of the Mr. Pinkham had his failings, but he coat. The handle was mostly concealed. possessed that aplomb with the other It was ivory white. There was some sex which characterizes the present thing on it that looked like a small younger generation as compared with curly human head.
the generation which ripened before 'Holy Moses!' ejaculated the horri- the Spanish War. He arose and bowed fied Mr. Pinkham, ‘am I so far gone as gracefully as 'the rolling rail' perthat common objects of daily life look mitted. to me like big umbrellas and ivory ‘Pardon me,' said Mr. Pinkham
most politely. 'I notice you have a
cupiarvously he agdied the rack is at a
Vain. Again he studied the rack. This suppose you could let me look at it?' time boldly. Any man can look at a The girl looked astonished. 'My Pullman baggage rack without giving umbrella?' she repeated vaguely. offense.
'Yes. I'd awfully like to look at the 'Good Lord!' exclaimed Mr. Pink- handle.' ham to himself. “What am I to do?' An expression of intense amuse