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THE STRAY GUEST
By Augustus Goodrich Sherwin
(Copyright, 1917, W. G. Chapman.)
"Mister, I'm hungry.""
Martin Brill had jus't come out of
the retail salesroom of a great bak
ing establishment He had a large
but light package under his arm; two
pounds of crackers. He had a "small
parcel in his coat pocket; ten cents'
worth of common, plebian sausage.
A man with his coat collar turned
up and looking like the average per
son out of work had hailed him.
Neither had Martin an overcoat
"Why, I'm hungry, too," he replied
in his usual bright, happy way. "I
don't live but a square from here.
Maybe you're in want of a shelter,
too, eh, my friend?"
"I am just that,"- answered the
"Come along, then, if you're not
too dainty. I've just spent my last
dime, but I've got enough coal for
the little stove to last until Saturday
night. My room rent is paid. You
look sober and respectable. Come
along, you're welcome." ,
"You're a good man," said the
stranger with unction, and they
walked on together.
"You see," rattled on Martin, as
cheerily as if they were bound for
some banquet, "I have to buy close.
Twenty cents well, I went to a
butcher shop. I didn't order a pound
of sausage, but ten cents' worth, and
the butcher cut me off a fair foot of
the rolL I bought broken crackers,
just as fresh as those baked with
them, only a corner off here and
there, broken and disfigured, but
crisp as all can be. I can brew a'cup
Of coffee. Here we are does it suit
"But how about yourself tomor
row?" suggested the stranger.
"Oh, I'll manage to pick up a day's
feed. There's snow to shovel, coal
to carry in, wood to split I'll man
age. Tell you, friend, I've seen dark
times the last month, but never say
die! Come in."
Martin led his invited guest up a
dark stairway and lit a lamp. The
room was sparsely but cleanly fur
nished. There was a double bed with
coarse but warm blankets, a table,
chairs, a small stove, and in this a
fire was soon going." ' ,
"Light housekeeping!" observed
Martin, with a ringing laugh. "Now
then, set to."
Martin ate like the hearty, healthy
man he was. The other barely nib-
Here's a Mystery or Is It Mischief?
bled at a few fragments of the food.
Martin observed this, but attributed
it to a distaste for the coarse fare
and said nothing. Then they sat
"You're pretty poor, aren't you?
observed Martin's guest, who called
"No, I'm the richest man in the