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POTASH AND PERLMUTTER
AT THE PEACE CONFERENCE BY MONTAGUE GLASS Illustrated by ALBERT LEVERING They Arrive and So Does the President I Com RIGHT. 1919. BY THK M?CLtRE NEWSPAPER SYNDICATE) "Nn, what's the matter now?"| Morris Perlmutter asked as he entered the office one morning after the cessation of hostilities on the Western front. "Ai Tzuris!" Abe moaned in reply and for at least a minute he continued to rock to and fro in his chair and to make in coherent noises through his j nostrils in the manner of a per-1 50a suffering either from tooth-j ache or the recent cancellation of a large order. "It serves you right." Morris said. "I told you you shouldn't cat that Liberty Roast at Was-j lerbauer's yesterday. It used to give you the indigestion when it was known as Kocnigsburger Klops, which it is like the Ger man Empire now calling itself the German republic; changing its name ain't going to alter its | poisonous disposition none. "That's right!" Abe said. "Make jokes why don't you? You ire worser as this here feller Zero.' "What feller Zero?" Morris de manded. "Zero the Emperor what fiddled when Rome was burning," Abe replied. "He's got nothing on you. You would fiddle if " Rome, Watertown and Ogdens burg were burning." I don't know what you arc talk ing about at all," Morris said, "and besides the feller's name was Nero not Zero." "That's what you say," Abe commented, "which you also said that the operators was only bluffing and that they wouldn't Strike on us in a thousand years, ind considering that you said his only yesterday, Mawruss, it's ilready wonderful how time flics." "Well," Morris said, "how could I figure that them lunatics is joing to pick out the time when ac'vc got practically no work fori hem and was going to fire them j inyway, to call a strike on us?" "You should ought to have igured that way," Abe declared, j 'Didn't the Kaiser abdicate just' >eiore them Germans got ready O kick him out?" "The king business ain't the jarment business," Morris ob served. "1 know it ain't," Abe agreed, "kings has got 'heir voirics, too, >ut when it comes to laying .wake nights trying to figure out ihcther them designers some vhere in France is going to turn >ut long full skirts or short nar ?w skirts lor the fall and winter if 1919-1920, Mawruss, 1 bet ycr he entire collection of kings, ctive or retired, doesn't got to ake two grains of trional be ween them." "If everybody worried like you !o, Abe," Morris said, "the gov rnment would got to issue slccp ng powder cards like sugar cards nd limit the consumption of leeping powders to not more han two pounds of sleeping ?owdcrs per person per month a each household." "Well, someone has got to do he worrying around here, ifawruss." Abe said, "which if it ested with you, \'.understand, ?c could make up a line of amplcs for next season that 'ouldn't be no more like Paris esigns than Gen. Pershing looks ke his pictures in the maga ines." "Say for that matter," Morris lid, "we are just as good uessers as our competitors, on ccount the way things is going owadays, nobody is going to try > make a tript to Paris to get ishion designs bccausc if he gured on crossing the ocean to ! ay model gowns for the fall and inter of 1919-1920, y'under * stand, between the time that he applied for his passport and the time the government issued it to him, y'understand, it would already be the spring and sum mer season of 1924-1925. So the best thing we could do is to snoop round among the trade and whatever we find the majority is making up for next year, we would make up the same styles also, and that's all there would be to it." "You mean to say that faker is going to Paris to buy model gowns?" Morris demanded. "I seen him on the subway this morning and the way he talked about how easy he got his pass port, you would think that every time he was in Washington with a line of them masquerade cos ?:::ns which Sam.n i <>,' I makes up, if he didn't stop in | and take anyhow a bit of lunch with the Wilsons, y'understand, | the President raises the devil with Tumulty why didn't he let him know Leon Sammct was in town." I "Then that settles it," Morris j declared, reaching for his hat. "The English language bounces off that woman like water from a duck's neck," Leon said. "We wouldn't do nothing of the kind," Abe declared. "I've been [ thinking this thing over, and I j conic to the conclusion that it's up to you to go over to Paris and see what is going on over there." "I don't got to go to Paris for that, Abe," Morris said. "I [ can read the papers the same like anybody else and just so long | as there is a chance that the war would start up again and them i I hundred mile guns is going to j resume operations, I am content to get my ideas of Paris styles at a distance of three thousand miles j if I never sold another garment | as long as I live." "But when it was working yet, j it only went off every twenty j minutes," Abe said. "I don't care it it only went I off every Fourth of July," Morris) said, "because if I went over there, it would be just my luck j that the peace negotiations falls i 1 through and the Germans invent i 'a gun leaving Frankfort every! hour on the hour and arriving j in Paris daily including Sundays j without leaving enough trace of j me to file a proof of death with.! Am I right or wrong?" "All right," Abe said, "if that's! the way you feel about it, I will i go to Paris." "You will go to Paris," Morris -exclaimed. "Sure!" Abe declared. "The operators is on strike, business is rotten and I'm sick and tired of paying life insurance premiums anyway. "Besides if Leon Sammet could get a passport, why couldn't I." "Where are you going:" Abe asked. "I am going straight down lo sec Henry D. Feldinan and tell that crook he should get fir me a passport," Morris said. "You wouldn't positively do nothing of the kind," Abe said. "Did you ever hoar the like? Wants to go to a lawyer to get a passport! The idea!" "Well, who would I co :o then ?an osteopath?" Morris asked. "Leon Sammet told rie all about it," Abe said. "You go down to a placc on Rector street j where you sign an application, and " "That's just what 1 thought," Morris interrupted," and the least what happens to fellers which signs applications without a lawyer, y'undcrstand, is that six months later a truckdriver ar rives one morning and says where should lie leave the set of Wash ington Irvinu in one hundred and fifty-six volumes or the piano with stool and scarf com plete as the case may be. So I am going to sec Feldman and if it costs me fifteen or twenty dol lars, it's anyhow a satisfaction to know that when you do things with the advice of a smart, crooked lawyer, nobody could put nothing over on you outside of your lawyer." When Morris returned an hour later, however, instead of an ap pearance of satisfaction, his face bore so melancholy an expres sion that for a few minutes Abe was afraid to question him. "Nu!" he said at last, "I sup pose you got turned down for being overweight or something?" "What do you mean, over weight?" Morris demanded. "What do you suppose I am ap plying for, a twenty-year endow ment passport or one of them ton tine passports with cash surren der value after three years? "Then what is the matter, you look so rachmonos?" Abe said. "How should I look with the kind of partner which I ve got it?" Morris asked. "Paris models he must got to got. Domestic de signs ain't good enough for him. Such high-grade idecs he's got, and I've got to suffer for it yet." "Well, don't go to Europe, what do I care," Abe said. "We must go," Morris replied. "What do you mean, we?" Abe demanded. "I mean you and me," Morris said. "Fcldman says that just so long as it is one operation he would charge the same for get ting one passport as for getting two, excepting the government fee of so what do you think I am going to pay Henry D. Feld man $JOO for getting me a pass port when for extra I can get, one for you also?" "But who is going to look i after the store?" Abe exclaimed., "Say!" Morris retorted, "you've got relations enough working around here, which every time, you've hired a fresh one, you've given me this blood-is-rcdder than-watcr stuff, and now is your chance to prove it. We wouldn't be away longer as six weeks at j the outside, so go ahead, Abe. Here is the application for the ^ passports. Sign your name on the dotted line and 'don't say no more about it. "Yes, Mawruss," Abe said three week later as they sat in the restaurant of their Paris hotel, "in a country where the coffee pretty near strangles you, even when it's got cream and sugar in it, y'understand, the cooking has got to be good, because in a $2-a-dav American-plan hotel, the management figures that no matter how rotten the food is, the guests will say: 'Well, any how the coffee was good,' and get | by with it that way." I "On the other hand, Abe,' ' Morris suggested, "maybe the ! French hotel people figure that li | they only make the coffee bad ! enough, the guests would say: j 'Well, one good thing, while the i food is terrible, it ain t a marker j on the coffee.' " "But the food tastes pretty j good to me, Mawruss," Abe said. "Wait till you've been here a ' week," Morris advised him. "Any thing would taste good to you after what you went through on that boat." "What do you mean, after what i I went through?" Abe demanded. "What I went through, don't be gin to compare with what you went through, which honestly Mawruss, there was times there on that second day out where you acted so terrible, understand I me, that rather as witness such human suffering again, if anyone would of really and truly had your interests at heart, they would of give a couple dollars to a steward that he should throw you overboard and make an end of your misery." "Is that so?" Morris retorted "Well, let me tell you something Abe. If you think I was in a bad way, don't kid yourself when you lay there in your berth for three days without strength enough to take off even your collar and necktie, y'understand, that captain said to the first offi cer, ain't it wonderful what an elegant sailor that Mr. Potash is j or anything like it, understand me, I which o? more than one occasion when I seen the way you looked, Abe, I couldn't help thinking of what chances concerns like the Equitable takes when they pass i feller as A-Number one on his heart and kidneys and ain't tried hirn out on so much as a Staten Island ferry boat to see what kind of a traveler he is." "Listen, Mawruss," Abe inter rupted, "did we come over here paying first-class fares for prac tically steerage accommodations, to discuss life insurance, or did we come over here to buy model garments and get through with it, because, believe me, it is no pleasure for nic to stick around a country where you couldn't get no sugar or butter in a hotel not if you was to show the head waiter a doctor's certificate with a $100 bill pinned on it. So let us go round to a few of these high-grade dressmakers, and see how much wc are going to get stuck for, and have it over." Accordingly they paid for the! coffee and milk without sugar,] and the dark sour rolls without butter, which now-a-days form j the usual hotel breakfast in1 France, and set out for the office of the commission agent whose place of business is the rendez vous for American garment manu facturers in search of Parisian model gowns. The broad avenues * in the vicinity of the hotel seemed j unusually crowdcd even to peo-1 pie as accustomed to the con- j gested traffic of lower Fifth avc-j nuc as Abe and Morris were, but' as they proceeded toward the i wholesale district of Paris, the > streets became less and less trav eled, until at length they walked along practically deserted thor-| oughfares. "And we thought business was rotten in America," Morris said. "Why, there ain't hardly one store open, hardly.*' Abe nodded gloomily. "It looks to me, Mawruss, that if there is any new garments bc | ing designed over here," lie said, j "they would be quiet mourning j gowns, appropriate for attending | something informal like a sale by not to make the attending credi tors say she was her own best customer, understand me?" "Well, what could you expect?" Morris said, as they toiled up the stairs to the commission agent's office. "The chances is that up to a couple of months ago in a: Paris dressmaker's shop, a cus tomer arrived only every other week, whereas a nine-inch bomb! arrived every twenty minutes, and,' furthermore, Abe, it was you that! suggested this trip, not me, so i now that we are over here, we; should ought to make the best! of it, and if this here commission \ agent can't show us no new dc- < signs, lie could anyhow show US| the sights." But even this consolation was denied them, for when they reach ed the commission agent's door, it was locked and barred as were all the other offices on that floor, and bore a placard reading: F E R M E A Cause du Jour de Fete "Nu!" Morris said, after he had read and reread the notice a num ber of times, "what arc we going to do now?" "This is the Inst hair," Abe said, "because you know how it is with these Frcncfctrs, if tlicy close for a death in the family, it is liable to be a matter oi weeks already." "Maybe it says gone to lunch will be back in half an hour," Morris suggested hopefully. "Not a chance," Abe declared. "More likely it means this elegant office with every modern improve ment except its an elevator, steam heat and electric light, to be sub let, because it would be just our luck that the commission agent is! back in New York right now with! a line of brand new model gowns asking our bookkeeper will cither of the bosses be back soon." emerged from her shelter at the | foot of the stairs and in rapid ] French explained to Abe and Morris that all* Paris was cele brating with a public holiday the arrival of President Wilson. "It's a funny thing about the French language," Morris said as she concluded. "Even if you don't | understand what the people mean, you could most always tell what I they've been eating, which if the [ French people was limited by law I to a ton of garlic a month per ' person, Abe, this lady could go to i jail for the rest of her life." I "Attendez!! said the concierge. . j "Au dessus il y a un monsieur qui | parle Anglais." She motioned for them to wait and ascended the stairs to the floor above, where they heard her knock on an office door. Evi dently the person who opened it was annoyed by the interruption, for his voice?and to Abe and Morris it was a strangely familiar voice?was raised in angry pro test. "Now listen," said the tenant, "I told you before that I've only got this place temporarily, and as long as I am in here, I don't want you to do no cleaning nor noth ing, because the air is none too good here as it is, and further more " He proceeded no further, how ever, for Abe and M orris had taken the stairs three at a jump and began to wring his hands ef fusively upon the principle of any | port in a storm. "Well, well, well, if it ain't Leon Sammet," Abe cried, and his man ner was as cordial as though in I stead of their nearest competitor | Leon were Potash & Perlmutter's i I best customer. "The English language bounces off that woman like water from a duck's neck," Leon said, "which "I am nearly frozen from open ing the windows to let out her conversation," Leon said, "and e? pecially this morning when I .hought I could get a lot of letter writing done without being inter rupted, on account of the holi day." "So that's the reaaon why everything is closed up," Morris exclaimed. "But Christmas ain'f for pretty near two weeks yet," A^e said. "W hat has Christmas g^t to do j with it?" Leon retorted. \Today is a holiday because Pre^fe'l j Wilson arrives in Paris." "And you arc working here:" I Abe cried. "Why not?" Leon asked. I "You mean to say that Presi | dent Wilson is arriving in Paris | today and you ain't going to see I him come inv" Morris exclaimrd. I "What for an American are you, ! anyway"'" "Say, for that matter, President ' Wilson has been arriving in New . York hundreds of times in the ' past four years," Leon said, "and I ain't heard that you boys was on the reception committee cx ; actly." "That's something else again." j Abe said- "In New York we got ? business enough to do without j fooling away our time rubl?cring j at parades; but President \\ ilson I only comes to Paris once in a lite j time." "And some of the people back home is kicking because he comes to Pans even that often," Leon commented. "Let 'em kick," Morris declared, "which the way some Americans runs down President W ilson only goes to show that it's an old say ing and a true one that there is no profit for a man in his own country, so go ahead and *rite vour letters if you want to. Leon. i receiver in supplementary pro ceedings, or a more or less elab orate afternoon costume, not too showy, y'understand, but the kind of model that a fashionable Paris dressmaker could wear to a ref eree in bankruptcy's office so as "We wouldn't get back in ten years, I'll tell yon that, unless we hustle," Morris declared. He led the way downstairs to the ground floor where after a few minutes they managed to attract the at tention of the concierge, who every five minutes she coines up j here and talks to me in French! high speed with the throttle wide j open like a racing car already.** "And the exhaust must be | something terrible/" Abe $aid. , "The President raises the deril with Tumulty why he didn't let him know Leon Samrnet on ?? town." but Abe and me is going down town to the Champs Elizas and and give the President a couple oi checrs like patriotic American sit sons should ought to do." "In especially," Abe added, "as it is a legal holiday and we I wouldn't want to look at no model | garments today."