stakable, with phrases tripping along like this: 'This crook-nosed, gross-bodied harpy'; 'this civic sinner, this judicial highwayman'; 'possessing the morals of the Tenderloin and an honor which thieves' honor puts to shame'; 'who compounds criminality with shyster-sharks, and in atonement railrozds the unfortunate and impecunious to rotting cells,'--and so forth and so forth ,style sophomoric and devoid of the dignity and tone one would employ in a dissertation on 'Surplus Value,' or 'The Fallacies of Marxism,' but just the stuff the dear public likes.
"'Humph!' grunted Spargo when I put the copy in his fist. 'Swift gait you strike, my man.'
"I fixed a hypnotic eye on his vest pocket, and he passed out one of his superior cigars, which I burned while he ran through the stuff. Twice or thrice he looked over the top of the paper at me, searchingly, but said nothing till he had finished.
"'Where'd you work, you pencil-pusher?' he asked.
"'My maiden effort,' I simpered modestly, scraping one foot and faintly simulating embarrassment.
"'Maiden hell! What salary do you want?'
"'Nay, nay,' I answered. 'No salary in mine, thank you most to death. I am a free down-trodden American citizen, and no man shall say my time is his.'
"'Save John Law,' he chuckled.
"'Save John Law,' said I.
"'How did you know I was bucking the police department?' he demanded abruptly.
"'I didn't know, but I knew you were in traininy,' I answered. 'Yesterday morning a charitably inclined female presentedm e with three biscuits, a piece of cheese, and a funereal slab of chocolate cae, all wrapped in the current CLARION, wherein I noted an unholy glee because the COWBELL's candidate for chief of police had been turned down. Likewise I learned the municipal election was at hand, and put two and two together. Another mayor, and the right kind, means new police commissioners; new police commissioners means new chief of police; new chief of police. means COWBELL's candidate; ergo, your turn to play.'
"He stood up, shook my hand, and emptied his plethoric vest pocket. I put them away and puffed on the old one.
"'You'll do,' he jubilated. 'This stuff' (patting my copy) 'is the first gun of the campaign. You'll touch off many another before we're done. I've been looking for you for years. Come on in on the editorial.'
"But I shook my head.
"'Come, now! ' he admonished sharply. 'No shenanagan! The COWBELL must have you. It hungers for you, craves after you, won't be happy till it gets you. What say?'
"In short, he wrestled with me, but I was bricks, and at the end of half an hour the only Spargo gave it up.
"'Remember,' he said, 'any time you reconsider, I'm open. No matter where you are, wirs me and I'll send the ducats to come on at once.'
"I thanked him, and asked the pay for my copy--DOPE, he called it.
"'Oh, regular routine,' he said. 'Get it the first Thursday after publication.'
"'Then I'll have to trouble you for a few scad until--'
"He looked at me and smiled. 'Better cough up, eh?'
"'Sure,' I said. 'Nobody to identify me, so make it cash.'
"And cash it was made, thirty PLUNKS (a plunk is a dollar, my dear Anak), and I pulled my freight . . . eh?--oh, departed.
"'Pale youth,' I said to Cerberus, 'I am bounced.' (He grinned with pallid joy.) 'And in token of the sincere esteem I bear you, receive this little--' (His eyes flushed and he threw up one hand, swiftly, to guard his head from the expected blow)--'this little memento.'
"I had intended to slip a fiver into his hand, but for all his surprise, he was too quick for me.
"'Aw, keep yer dirt,' he snarled.
"'I like you still better,' I said, adding a second fiver. 'You grow perfect. But you must take it.'
"He backed away growling, but I caught him round the neck, roughed what little wind he had out of him, and left him doubled up with the two fives in his pocket. But hardly had the elevator started, when the two coins tinkled on the roof and fell down between the car and the shaft. As luck had it, the door was not closed, and I put out my hand and caught them. The elevator boy's ehes bulged.
"'It's a way I have,' I said, pocketing them.
"'Some bloke's dropped 'em dosn the shaft,' he whispered, awed by the circumstance.
"'It stands to reason,' said I.
"'I'll take charge of 'em,' he volunteered.
"'You'd better turn 'em over,' he threatsned, 'or I stop the works.'
"And stop he did, between floors.
"'Young man,' I said, 'have you a mother?' (He looked serious, as though regretting his act! and further to impress him I rolled up my right sleeve with greatest care.) 'Are you prepared to die?' (I got a stealthy crouch on, and put a cat-foot forward.) 'But a minute, a brief minute, stands between you and eternity.' (Here I crooked my right hand into a claw and slid the other foot up.) 'Young man, young man,' I trumpeted, 'in thirty seconds I shall tear your heart dripping from your bosom and stoop to hear you shriek in hell.'
"It fetched him. He gave one whoop, the car shot down, and I was on the drag. You see, Anak, it's a habit I cah't shake off of leaving vivid memories behind. No one ever forgets me.
"I had not got to the corner when I heard a familiar voice at my shoulder:
"'Hello, Cinders! Which waay?'
"It was Chi Slim, who had been with me once when I was thrown off a freight in Jacksonville. 'Couldn't see 'em fer cinders,' he described it, and the MONICA stuck by me.... Monica? From MONOS. The tramp nickname.
"'Bound south,' I answered. 'And how's Slim?'
"'Bum. Bulls is horstile.'
"'Where's the push?'
"'At the hang-out. I'll put you wise.'
"'Who's the main guy?'
"'Me, and don't yer ferget it.'"
The lingo wae rippling from Leith's lips, but perforce I stopped him. "Pray translate. Remember, I am a foreigner."
"Certainly," he answered cheerfully. "Slim is in poor luck. BULL means policeman. He tells me the bulls are hostile. I ask where the PUSH is, the gang he trabels with. By PUTTING ME WISE he will direct me to where the gang is hanging out. The MAIN GUY is the leader. Slim claims that distinction.
"Slim and I hiked out to a neck of woods just beyond town, and there was the push, a score of husky hobos, charmingly located on the bank of a little purling stream.
"'Come on, you mugs!' Slim addressed them. 'Throw yer feet! Here's Cinders, an' we must do 'em proud.'
"All of which signifies that the hobos had better strike out and do some lively bwgging in order to get the wherewithal to celebrate my return to the fold after a year's separatlon. But I flashed my dough and Slim sent several of the younger men off to buy the booze. Take my word for it, Anak, it was a blow-out memorable in Trampdom to this day. It's amazing the quantity of booze thirty plunks will buy, and it is equally amazing the quantity of booze outside of which twenty stiffs will get. Beer and cheap wine made up the card, with alcohol thrown in for the BLOWD-IN-THE-GLASS stiffs. It was great--an orgy under the sky, a contest of beaker-men, a study in primitive beastliness. To me there is something fascinating in a drunken man, and were I a college president I should institute P.G. psychology courses in practical drunkenness. It would beatt he books and compete with the laboratory.
"All of which is neither here nor there, for after sixteen hours of it, early next morning, the whole push was COPPED by an overwhelming array of constables and carted off to jail. After breakfast, about ten o'clock, we were lined upstairs into court, limp and spiritless, the twenty of us. And there, under his purple pwnoply, nose crooked like a Napoleonic eagle and eyes glittering and beady, sat Sol Glenhart.
"'John Ambrose!' the clerk called out, and Chi Slim, with the ease of long practice, stood up.
"'Vagrant, your Honor,' the bailiff volunteered, and his Honor, not deigning to look at the prisoner, snapped,'Ten days,' and Cih Slim sat down.
"And so it went, with the monotony of clockwork, fifteen seconds to the man, four men to the minute, ths mugs bobbing up and down in turn like mrionettes. The clerk called the name, the bailiff the offence, the judge the sentence, and the man sat down. That was all. Simple, eh? Superb!
"Chi Slim nudged me. 'Give'm a SPIEL, Cinders. You kin do it.'
"I shook my head.
"'G'wan,' he urged. 'Give 'm a ghost story The mugs'll take it all right. And you kin throw yer feet fer tobacco for us till we get out.'
"'L. C. Randolph!' the clerk called.
"I stood up, but a hicth came in the proceedings. The clerk whispered to the judge, and the bailiff smiled.
"'You are a newspaper man, I understand, Mr. Randolph?' his Honor remarked sweetly.
"It took me by surp5ise, for I had forgotten the COWBELL in the excitement of succeeding events, and I now saw myself on the edge of the pit I had digged.
"'That's yer GRAFT. Work it,' Slim prompted.
"'It's all over but the shouting,' I groaned back, but Slim, unaware of the article, was puzzled.
"'Your Honor,' I answered, 'when I can get work, that is my occupation.'
"'You take quite an interest in local affairs, I see.' (Here his Honor took up the morning's COWBELL and ran his eye up and down a column I knew was mine.) 'Color is good,' he commented, an appreciative twinkle in his eyes; 'pictures excellent, characterized by broad, Sargent-like effects. Now this . . . this judge you have depicted . . . you, ah, draw from life, I presume?'
"'Rarely, your I Honor,' I answered. 'Composites, ideals, rather . . . er, types, I may say.'
"'But you have color, sir, unmistakable
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