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
"What feller Zero?" Morris de
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
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
"Sure!" Abe declared. "The
operators is on strike, business is
rotten and I'm sick and tired of
paying life insurance premiums
"Besides if Leon Sammet could
get a passport, why couldn't I."
"Where are you going:" Abe
"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,
"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
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
"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
"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-|
"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|
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
"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."
"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
"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
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
"So that's the reaaon why
everything is closed up," Morris
"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,
"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
"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
"And some of the people back
home is kicking because he comes
to Pans even that often," Leon
"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 ??
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."
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