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The North Platte semi-weekly tribune. (North Platte, Neb.) 1895-1922, October 08, 1912, Image 2

Image and text provided by University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/2010270504/1912-10-08/ed-1/seq-2/

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Oeorga Perrlvnl Algernon Jonen, vice
president of tlio Metropolitan Orlcntnl Hu
company of New York, thirsting for ro
mance, Is In Cairo on a buslncii trip.
An Affable Rogue. .
Tlio carrlago containing tho gcntlo
tnan with the rovorslblo cuffs drow up
at tho sldo entrance. Instantly tho
Arab guides surged nnd eddied round
him; but their clamor broke against a
compouuro as cffcctlvo as granlto. Tho
roar was almost directly succeeded by
a low gurgle, as -of llttlo waves reced
ing. Tho proposed victim had not
spoken a word; to tho Arabs It wns
not necessary ; In some manner, subtle
and Indescribable, they recognized a
brother. Ho carried a long, cylindri
cal bundle wrapped In heavy paper
variously secured by windings of thick
twlno. Ills regard for this bundlo was
ono of tender solicitude, for ho tucked
it undor his arm, cumbcrsomo though
It was, and waved aahlo the carriage
porter, who was, howocr, permitted
to carry In tho kit-bag.
Tho malinger appeared. When comes
ho not upon tho scene? His quick,
calculating oyo waB not wholly as
sured. Tho stranger's homespun was
travol-worn and time-worn, nnd of a
cut popular to tho season gone tho
year before. No fat letter of credit
hero, was tho not unreasonable conclu
sion reached by tho manager. Still,
with that caution acquired by years
of experience, which had culminated
In whut Is known as Swiss dlplomncy,
ho brought Into being tho accustomed
salutatory smile and Inquired If tho
gontlomnn had written ahead for res
ervation, othorwlso It would not bo
posslblo to accommodato him.
"I telegraphed," crisply.
"The name, If you please?"
"Ityanno; spoiled R-y-a doublo-n e.
Have you over been In County Clare?"
"No, sir." Tho manager added a
question with tho uplift of his eye
tirowB. "Well," was tho enllghtonlng an
wcr, "you pronounce It as they do
Tho manager scanned tho llttlo Blip
of paper In his hand. "Ah, yes; we
bavo reserved a room for you, sir.
Tho French style rather confuBod mo."
This wns 'not offered in Irony, or sar
cr.rm, or satire; minlnu In a Swisu
train for tho saving graco of humor
Is about bb remunerative as tho ex
traction of gold from sea-water. Nev
ertheless, tho Swiss has tho talent of
owlftly subtracting from a confusion
of ideas ono point of illumination:
there was a quality to tho stranger's
tono that decided him favorably. It
was tho volco of a man in tho habit
of being oboyed; and In thoso days it
wan tho power of monoy nlono that
obtained obcdlonco to any man. Be
yond tliJs, tho samo nebulous cogita
tion that had subdued tho Arabs out
sldo acted Hkowlso upon him. Hero
was a brother.
"I will soe, sir." Tho manager sum
moned a porter. "Iloom 208."
Tho porter caught up tho somewhat
collapsed Ult-bng, which had In all ovl
denco received somo rough usago In
itn tlmo, and reached toward tho roll.
Mr, Ityanno Interposed. '
"I will see to that, my man," torso
Jy. j "Jos, air."
1 -'Whore is your Vguost-liBt?" de
manded Mr. Ryanne of tho manager.
"Tho head-portor's buroau, sir. I
will seo If you have any mall." Tho
managor pasBod Into his own buroau,
It was rathor dllllcult to toll whethor
thlB man wns an American or an Eng
lishman. Ills accent was western, but
Ills manner was decidedly British. At
any rate, that tono and carrlago miiBt
bo bastlonod by good KngllBh sovor
tfgns, or for onco his Judgment was
nt fault.
Tho porter dashed up-stalra. Mr,
Ityanno, his bundlo still snug under
Ills arm, sauntered over to tho hcad
porter's bureau and ran his glanco up
and down tho columns of vlsltlng
caitls. Onco ho nodded with approval,
and again hn smiled, having dUcov
orod that which sent n rlpplo ncroas
hia sleeping aenso of amusement. Ma
jor Callahan, room 20G; Fortuno died
cfye, 205; George P. A. Jonos, 210.
"Hm! tho Major smells of County
Antrim ahd tho rinst whisky In all
tho IbIo. Fortuno Chedaoyo; that Is a
pleasing name; tinkling brooks, tho
waving groen grasses in tho mead
ows, tho kino In the water, tho Hoot
ing shadows undor tho oaks; a pas
toral, a buaollc name. To claim For
tuno for mlno own; 11 happy thought."
As ho uttered those poesy oxpreB
ions aloud, In a voice low and, hot un
pleaslngt for all that It was banter
ing, tho Uead-portor stared at him with
mingling doubt and alarm; and as If
to pronounco those emotions mutely
for tho benefit of tho othor, ho per
mitted hla eyes to open their widest.
"Tut, tut; that's all right, porter. I
am cursed with tho habit of speaking
my Inmost thoughts. Some porsons
gro afflicted with Insomnia; some fall
asleep in church; I think orally. Beast
ly habit, ch?"
Tho porter then understood that ho
wob dealing not with a species of
mild lunacy, but with that kind of
light-hearted cynicism upon which
tho world (as portors know It) had set
its approving seal. In brief, ho smiled
faintly; and If ho had any pleasantry
to pass In turn, the approach of tho
manager, now clothed metaphorically
In defcrentlallsm, relegated It to
tho limbo of things thought but left
"Hero 1b a letter for you, Mr. Ry
anno. Havo you any more luggago?"
"No." Mr. Ryanno smiled. "Shall
I pnyfor my room In advance?"
"Oh, no, sir!" Ten years ago tho
mnnuger would havo blushed at hav
ing been so misunderstood. "Your
room Is 208."
"Will you hao a boy show mo tho
way ?"
"I shall myself attend to that. If
tho room Is not what you wish It
may he oxchanged."
"Tho room Is tho one I telegraphed
for. I nm suporstltlous to a degree.
On three boats I havo had line state
rooms numbered 208. Twlco tho num
bor of my hotel room has been tho
same. On tho Inst voyago thoro were
208 pasecngora, and tho capUiln had
made 208 voyages on tho Mcdltena
nean." "Quito a coincident."
"Ah, if roulette could bo played with
such a certainty."
Mr. Ryanno sighed, hitched up his
bundlo, which, being heavy, was begin
ning to wear upon his arm, and signi
fied to tho manager to load tho way,
As they vanished round tho corner
to the lift, tho hcad.-portcr studied the
guest-list. Ho had looked over It a
dozen times that day, but this was the
first instance of hid. being really In
terested In It. An his chin was fresh
ly shaven ho had no stubble to stroke
to excite his mental processes; so
ho fell back, as wo say, upon tho con
soling ends of his abundant rmiB
tachc. Curious; but all thoso porsons
woro occupying or about to occupy
adjacont rooms. Thoro was truly
nothing mysterious about It, savo that
tho stranger hrtd picked out theso very
names a3 a target for his banter. For
turo Chrdaoyc; It v,-nB rather nn un
usual name; but as she had urrlvod
only an hour or so before, ho could
not distinctly recall her features. And
then, there was that word bucolic.
Ho mentally turned It over and over
as plivrlrally ho was wont to do with
post-cards loft In his caro to mall.
Ho could mnko nothing of tho word,
except that it smacked of tho East
Indian plague.
Hero ho was navod from further
cerebral agony by a timely Interrup
tion. A man, who waB not of bucolic
porsuaslon either In dross or speech,
urban from tho tips of his bleached
fingers to tho bulb of his bibulous
noso, leaned across tho counter and
nsked If Mr. Horace Ryanno had yet
arrived. Yes, ho had Just arrived; ho
Ran His Glance Up and Down
was oven now on hlB way to his room,
Tho urban gontlomnn nodded. Then,
with a linger slim and well-trimmed,
ho trailed up nnd down tho gucBt-llst.
"Hal I seo thut you have tho Duke
of What d'-yo-call from Germany hero.
I'll glvo you my card. Send it up to
Mr, Ryanno. No hurry. I shall be In
again after dinner."
Ho bUBtlcd off toward tho' door.
Ho waB pursy, well-fed, and docently
dreBscd, the sort of a man who, when
ho moved In any direction, created tho
impression that he had an Important
ougagemont somowhoro oIbo or was
ey liAROL
llluslraliorvs by KG.Ketwek. . . .
paring minutes from time-tables. For
a man In his business It was a clover
expedient, docelvlng all but those who
knew him. Ho hesitated at 'the door,
howovor, as If ho had changed his
mind In tho twenty-odd paces It took
to reach It. Ho stared for a long
period at tho elderly gentleman who
was watching the feluccas on the
river through the window. Tho whlto
mustache nnd Imperial stood out In
crisp relief against tho ruddy sunburn
on his face. If ho was awaro of this
scrutiny on the part of the pursy gen
tleman, ho gave not the least sign.
The revolving door spun round, send
ing a puff of outdoor air Into tho
lounglng-room. Tho elderly gentleman
then smiled, nnd applied his thumb
and forefinger to the waxen point of
his lmpcrinl.
In tho Intervening tlrne Mr. Rynnno
entered his room, throw' the bundle
on tho bed, sat down beside it, and
read his letter. Shadows and lights
moved across hie face; frowns that
hardened it, bmllcs that mellowed It.
Women hold tho trick of writing let
tois. Do they hate, their thoughts
flash and burn from lino to line. Do
they love, 'tis lettered music. Do they
consplro, tho breadth of their imagi
nation is without horizon. At best,
mnn can lndlto only a polite business
letter, his love-notes were adjudged
long since a maudlin collection of
loose sentences. In this letter Mr. Ry
anno found tho three parts of life.
"She's a good general; but hang
these brimstone efforts of hers. She
talks too much of heart. For ray parvt,
I prefer to regard It as a more phys
ical function, a pump, a .motor, a pow
er that gives action to tho legs, either
In coming or In going, more especially
In going." Ho laughed. "Well, hers
Is tho Inspiration and hers is tho law.
And to think thnt she could plan all
this on tho spur of tho moment, down
to tho minutest detail! it's a sclchco."
Ho put tho letter away, slid out his
lugs and glared at tho dusty tips of
his shoes. "Tho United Romance and
Advontuio Company, Ltd., of New
York, Loudon, and Paris. She has tho
greatest gift of all, tho souse of hu
mor." Ho roso nnd opened his kit-bag
doubtfully. Ho rummaged about In
tho depthB and nt last straightened
up with a mild oath.
"Not a pair of cuffs In tho whole
outfit, not a shirt, not a collar. Oh,
well, when a man has to leave Bagdad
tho way I did, over tho back fenco,
so to Bpcak, linen doesn't count."
Ho drow down his cuffs, detached
and reversed them, ho turned his fold
ing collar wrong-sldo out, and used
tho undor sldo of tho foot-rug ns a
the Columns of Visiting Cardt.
shoo-pollsher. It was tho Ingenious
procedure of a man who was used to
being out lato nights, who made all
things answer all purposes. This rapid
and singularly' carolesa tollot com
pleted, ho centered hla concern upon
tho mora vital matter of flnancoB. Ho
was close to the nadir: four sover
eigns, a lloiln, and a collection of bat
tered coppers that would havo tickled
tho pulso of an amateur numlsmatlBt
"No vintago to-night, my boy; no
long, fat Havana, oithor. A tiottlo of
stout and a few rngs of plug-cut;
that's tho paeo we'll travel this eve
r T "
ning. The United Romance and Ad
venture Company Is not listed at pres
ent. If It was, I'd sell a few shares
on my own hook. Tho kind Lord
knows that I'vo stock enough and to
spare." Ho laughed again, but with
out the leaven of humor. "When tho
fool-klllor snatches up tho last fool,
let rogues look to themselves; and
fools nro getting scarcer every day.
"Pcrclval Algernon! O ago of po
ots! I wonder, does ho wear high col
lars and spats, or has Bho plumbed
him accurately? She Is generally
light. But a man changes somo In
seven years. I'm an authority when It
comes to thnt. Look what's happened
to me in seven years! First, Horace,
wo shall dine, then we'll smoke our
plpo In tho bllllard-room, then we'll
softly approach Perclval Algernon
and introduce him to Sinbad. This In
dependent excursion to Bagdad was
a stroke on my part; It will work Into
tho general plan ns smoothly as If It
had been grooved for the part. Sinbad.
I might Just as well have assumed
that name: Horace Sinbad, sounds
well nnd looks well." Ho mused In
silence, his hnnd gently rubbing his
chin; for ho did possess tho trick of
talking aloud, in a low monotone, a
habit acquired during periods of lone
liness, when the sound of his own
voice had succeeded In steadying his
tottering mind.
What n woman, what a wife, she
would havo been to tho right man!
Odd thing, a man can do almost any
thing but direct his affections; they
must bo drawn. She was not for him;
nay, not even on a desert isle. Doubt
less he was a fool. In time she would
havo made him a rich man. Alack!
It was alwnys the ono wo pursued
that wo loved and never the ono that
pursued us.
"I'm afraid of her; and there you
Everything Worth While Seemed to
nro. There Isn't a man living who
hns gone back of that Mona Lisa smllo
of hers. If sho was tho last woman
and I was tho last man, I don't say."
Ho hunted for a cigarette, but failed
to find one. "AlmoBt at the bottom,
boy; tho wlntor of our discontent, nnd
no sun of York to make It glorious.
Twenty-four hundred at cards, and to
loeo it llko a tyro! Wallace has taught
me all ho knows, but I'm a booby.
Twenty-four hundred, linn's money,
it's a falling of mlno, th firm's money.
But. damn It all, I can't cheat a man
at cards, I'd rather cut hla throat."
He found hla pipe, and a careful
search of tho corners of his coat-pock-ets
revealed a moagcr plpoful of to
bacco. Ho picked qut tho llttlo balls
of wool, tho ground-coffee, tho cloves,
and pushed the charge homo Into tho
crusted bowl of his briar.
"To tho devil with economy! A
pint of burgundy nnd a porfocto If
they hale us to Jail for It. I'm dead
tired. I'vo seen threo corners In hell
in tho past two months. I'm going ns
far aa four sovereigns will tako mo.
' - l I
. . . Fortune Chedsoye." His bluo
eyes becarao less hard and his mouth
loss defiant. "I repeat, tho heart
should bo nothing but a pump. Oth
erwise It gets in tho wny, becomes an
obstruction, a bottomless pit. Will
power, that's tho ticket. I can faco a
lion without an extra beat, I can face
tho various countenances of death
without an additional fluttor; and yot,
hero's a girl who, when I seo her or
think of her, Bends the pulse soaring
from seventy-seven up to eighty-four.
Bad business; besides, it's bo infer
nally unfashionable. It's hard work
for a man to keep his balanco 'twlxt
tho devil and the deep, bluo sea; -Glo-conda
on ono side and Fortuno on the
other. Gloconda throws open windows
and doors at my approach; but For
tuno locks and bars hers, nor knocks
at mine. That's tho way it always
"If a man could only' go back ten
years and take a new start. Ass!"
balling his fist at tho reflection In tho
mirror. "Snivel and whlno over tho
bed of your own making. You had
your opportunity, but you listened to
tho popping of champagne-corks, the
mutter of cards, tho lnano drivel of
chofus-ladles. You had a decent col
lego record, too. Bah! What a guile
loss fool you were! You ran on, didn't
you, till you found your neck In the
loop at the end of tho rope? And
perhaps that soft-footed, estimable
brother of yours didn't yank It taut as
a hangman's? You heard tho codicil;
into one ear and out tho other. Even
then you had your chance; patience
for two short yoars, and a million. No,
a thousand times no. You knew what
you were about, empty-headed fool!
And today, two po'nnlos for a dead
man's eyes."
Ho dropped his flat dejectedly.
Whore had tho first step begun? And
where would bo the last? In somo
drab corner, posslBly; drink, mor
phine, or starvation; ho'd never havo
the courage to finish it with a bullet.
Ho was terribly bitter. Everything
worth while seemed to havo slipped
Have Slipped Through His Fingers.
through his fingers, his pleasure-loving
"Come, como, Horace; buck up.
Still tho ruby kindles In tho vino. No
turning back now. We'll go on till we
come bang! against tho wall. There
may bo somo good bouts between horo
and there I wondor what' Gloconda
would say If sho knew why I was so
eagor for this game?"
Ho went down to dinner, and thoy
gave him a table In an obBcuro corner,
as a subtlo reminder that his stylo was
pnase. Ho didn't caro; ho was hungry
and thirsty. He could seo nearly overy
ono, ever. If only a few could see him,
This was somowhat to his Tantago. Ho
ende&vorcd to pick out Portival Alger
non; but there were too many high
collars, too many monocles. So he
contented himself with n mild philo
sophical obeorvanco of tho scone. Tho
murmur of voices, rising as tlio wall
of tho violins sank, Blnklng as tho
wall 'rose; tho tinkle of glass and
china, tho sliver and linen, tho pretty
women In their runtiini ,.,., ..
delicate perfumes, tho flash of an
arm, tho glint of a polished shoulder;
'his was the essence of life ho coveted.
Ho smiled at tho thought and tho sure
knowledge that ho was not tho only
wolf In tho fold. Ay, nnd who among
theso dainty Red Riding Hoods might
be fooled by a. vulplno grandmother?
Truth, when a fellow winnowed It all
down to a handful, there wcro only
fools and rogues. If ono was a fool,
tho roguo got you, and ho In turn de
voured himself.
Ho held his glass toward tho table
lamp, moved It slowly to and fro un
der his noso, oplcureanly; then ho
sipped tho wine. Something like! It
ran across his tonguo and down his
throat In tingling fire, nectarlous; and
ho wont half way to Olympus, to tho
feet of the gods. For weeks ho had
lled In the vilest hnuntB, in desporato
straits, his life in his open hands; and
now onco more ho had crawled from
the depths to the outer crust of tho
world. It did not matter that he was
destined to go down into tho depths
again; so long as the spark burned
he was going to crawl back each time.
Damnable luck! He could havo lived
like a prince. Twenty-four hundred,
and nil In two nights, a Bteady stream
of gold Into tho pockets of men whom
ho could havo cheated with consum
mate ease, and Jldnt. A flno wolf,
whoso predatory Instincts were still
riveted to that obsolete thing called
"Conscience? Rot! Lot us for
onco bo frank and wrlto it down as
caution, as fear of publicity, anything
but tho whlto guardian-angel of tho
Immortality of tho soul. Heap up tho
gold, Apollyon; heap It up, higher and
higher, till not a squeak of that still
small voice that onco awoko the chap
in tho Old Testament can ever again
bo heaid. Now, no more retrospection,
Horace; no more analysis; the vital
question simmers down to this: If
Perclvnl Algernon balks, how far will
four sovereigns go?"
The Holy Yhlordes.
Georgo drank his burgundy perfunc-tot-nv
Wnrj u K.r "s'rfngcr.t as tho
nntHo wine of Coislca, ho would not
have noticed It The little nerves
that ran from his tongac to his brain
had temporarily lost Iho power of com
munication. And all becauso of tho
trlrl acrops the way He couldn't keep
I1I3 eyes from wandering In her di
rection. Sho faced him diagonally.
Sho ate but little, and when the elder
ly gentleman poured out for her a
glass of sauterne, sho motioned it
aside, rested her chin upon her fold
ed handB, and ' stared not at but
through her vis a-vls.
It was a lovely head, topped with
colls of lustrous, light brown hair;
an oval face, of white and roso anij
Ivory tones; scarlet lips, a small, reg
ular nose, and a chin the soft round
ness of which hid the resoluto lift to
It. To these attributes of loveliness
was added a perfect form, tho long, ,
flowing curves of youth, not the abrupt
contours of maturity. George couldn't
recollect when ho had been so im
pressed by a face. From tho foment
she had stepped down from the car
riage, his interest had been drawn,
and had grown to such dimensions
that when ho entered tho dining-room
his glanco immediately searched for
her table. What luck in finding- her
across tho way! Ho questioned if ho
had ever seen her before. There was
something familiar; tho dollcato pro
file stirred somo sleeping memory but
did not wake it.
How to meet her, and whon ho did
meet her, how to Interest her? If sho
would only drop her handkerchief, her
purse, something to glvo him an ex
cuse, an opening. Ah, ho was certain
that this tlmo tho hydra-headed ono
should not overcomo him. To gain
her attention and to hold it, he would
havo faced a Hon, a tiger, a wlld-ele-phnnt.
To dlngnoso theso symptoms
might not bo fair to George. "Lovo
at first sight" 'reads well and sounds
well, but wo hoary-headed philoso
phers know that tho phraso Is only
poetical license.
Onco, and only once, sho looked In
his direction. It swept over him with
tho chill of a winter wind that ho
meant as much to her as a tree, a
fence, a meadow, as seen from the
window of a speeding railway train.
But this observation, transient as it
was, left with him tho Indelible lm
presBlon that her eyes woro tho sad
dest ho had ever seen. AVhy? Why
should a young and beautiful girl havo
eyea like that? It could not mean
physical weariness, clao the faco
would In somo way havo expressed It.
The elderly man nppcared to do his
best to animate her; ho was kindly
and courteous and by the gentlo way
ho laughed at Intervals was trying to
bolstor up tho situation with a Jest or
two. Tho girl never so much as Bmlled,
or shrugged her shoulders; alio waa as
responslvo to these overtures as mar
ble would havo been.
Uncle Pennyvvlse Says:
Somo of ub can laugh when tho
Joke Is on us; but nono of us bollovo
lu carrying that kind of a Joko too far

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