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THE PEE: OMAHA. SUNDAY. APRIL 2. 1922.
Completely Done in Oils By Octavus Roy Cohen LYUl'l JOJINftO.V oow4 peeiiU!ly fata i'lrmlnghain, end, m ib rutt af tuntd Inquiry, nmIljr wade mats appllea Hon (or 4niMun tmo the heme of via Callle J'lukera In the capacity of paying gu. ma Callle t the applicant ikaptlretiy, lymua. fllUn ekerdiy and uncertainly, nothing to row fniUuwtio o.r, He re minded fia Callle of aa aoild.nl which bed lone since li4 ita day, an4 nilht pebbly hae another. to aha atiffaned tr attenuated flgura an4 sniffed query. How coma you t U liahT" Lymua voice we pitifully thin. 'Taller tor ma this wee a good boe'dln place, Mi riukrf." "jailer jou?" Th-huh Whet hl nam wee?" Lymua bent hia Iim4 Id d'p thought. Than ha looked up brlilitly. -I got It. lie 'lowed h!e tame wae Tr'lorUn itlappay." The light of batila flared In ia Callla'a aye. Tbmao, always wee trying to maka Jokee en ma." Lymua ducked hastily, "lUckon I'd oughtar be golnV Watt a minute." "ru'w." Sia Callla scrutinized tU cringing figure. I.ymua wiggled nervoualy under Inspection. Neither we nuking a pronounced hit with tha othar. Ae fur ta Callle. aha ws thinking: aha n14 boarder somehow her acid tongua made her ektabll.hmont not overly popular, and bar waa a man who promised perma nency if nothing more. True, ba wa not ti man aha would hava levied, lie waa .mall and aklnoy and very, very Murk. In hia right hand ha clutched a near 1-atlier handbag mid In tha Uft an ap pallingly creaky tin box. mill, he didn't ap pear to he tho iMirt of person to aeeumo a. board Mil and then elude tha financial obliga tion, ma Ciillle ddved deeper Into tha matter. "What yo nam In?" "LL Lymua Johnson." "Where you la from?"' "Wh where la I from?" You echoed me. "Dunno. Beckon you might my I la from Knoxvllle, or rensacoia, or eumthln' like n to that." "You travels?" "I ha. Home. But I alma to etay in Bum mln'ham from now on hencefor'd." "Ilmml What you doea fo' a llvln'?" Tha etranger at tho gutee glanced affection ately at tha tin box. "I paint!" he announced modeitly. "You whhhei?" "I paints!" 81a Cattle waa enveloped by a audden warm glow of Interest. "You palnta?" "Yas'm." "You you mean you la a artist?" "Uh-huhl I aoht o alma to be." Tho front door gaped invitingly. "C'mon, commanded 61a CaHle. a-qulver with excitement. "C'mon In an' altlec' yo room." Twenty minutes later Sia Callla reverently closed tho door of the beat room In her homo and walked weakly to the parlor, where aha sank Into an easy chair to reflect intensively upon tbo deceptive qualities of personal ap pearance. She sighed with relief In contempla tion of tha fact that she had obtained as a boarder the first negro artist In Birmingham's aoclal hlatory. Truly, Bis Callte had all un wittingly annexed a plume for her aoclety cap. As for the nowly-arrlved celebrity, he res cued a veteran pipe from the depths of a frayed pocket, tamped down tho tobacco, and held a match to it A few deep puffs served to sooth his shaken nerves. He stretched out on the bed and gave him self over to some careful thought. And grad- ully there seeped through his brain tne vague Idea that somewhere, somehow, there had arisen a misunderstanding. Finally he sat up straight on the bed and put his findings Into words." "Dawg-gawn!" exclaimed Lymus Johnson, "that woman is done gone and gotten herself the idee that I is a regular artist!" And at the thought even Lymus Johnson smiled. An artist! Ho opened his tin caso and inspected the layout within: There, spread before his eyes, was tho complete paraphernalia of the sign painting craft. But events, were transpiring which were destined to affect Mr. Johnson's immediate fu ture and professional status. Sis Callle was on the job. It was but the work of a moment to put on her best made-over hat and hit a due course for the pretentious residence of Mr. Llsha Tor ring, where dwelt Mrs. Edner Torrlng. There reigned in the heart of Sis Callie Flukera a deep and abiding dislike for Mrs. Torrlng. In fact, there were few feminine members of Birmingham's duskiest -society " crowd who had.anything of the elegac to quote regarding the newest addition to their Inner circle. The principal fault to be found with Edner Torrlng was that she waa pretty. Even her enemies were unable to deny her that compli ment. She was a rich chocolate In complexion, with a figure lavish in curves which were placed where curves are most desirable. More, she was a traveled woman, having at various times in -her career resided in cities as far apart as Bangor, Me., and San Antonio, Tex. She claimed acquaintanceship with every colored notable in the country, and from the day of her Birming ham advent as bride to the wealthy and influ ential Llsha Torrlng she swept her way to so cial supremacy with the haughty besom of a duenna.. She found Edner sunning herself on the veranda of the Torrlng home. Sis Callie snort ed at alcht of her enemy. Some day she honed to And Edner looking shoddy and shabby and disheveled and human. But thus far that am bition had been far from realization. Edner appeared always ready for a party, a society tea, a trip to the movies. Today was no ex ception. She greeted her skinny, garrulous, acld tongued visitor with soft, mild words of wel come and bade her be seated in the most com fortable chair of a very comfortable porch suite. Sia Callie banged antagonistically into a sitting posture and laid down a barrage. - "Reckon you thinks you knows mos' ev'y thlng. doesnt you, Mia' Torring?" "Not hahdly, Sis Callie." "Well then, you thinks you knows mos' ov'ythlng?" "N'r neither I ain't clalmln' that." "An" you knows a heap of prominent cullud folks?" "Some seVal." "Well" and Sis Callie leaned forward venomously "Is you ever hear tell of a cullud artist?" Edner's figure grew a bit rigid and bar eyes opened with Interest. "A which?" she Inquired. . "A cullud artist a feller which paints 'pitchers fo a llvin'." Edner shrugged. 'They ain't no such of a thing." "Ain't there?" beamed Sis Callle trium phantly. - "I ain't never hearn tell of one." "Huh! Mis Torring, they's a heap of things you don' know nothln' 'bout an art Is one of 'em. An" as fo reemahkln that they ain't no cullud artist 'thout meanln' to be pussonal. Mis' Torring. you makes me think that lgn'runce bouten art is the on'y thing you ain't got nothln' else but." Edner sneered. "Tou says words, Sis Cal lle, but they don make sense." "How come not?" "Fum what you says you ac'a like you aaafiW. TUn,wttkiUmbimr tmmchm, hi cia awnbarwfay BW ftgwra of Vmm. Ma afafatoer etf EaW ana? eapcc'a me to b'lieve you knows sumthin' ,'bout cullud artists." ."I does. Mis' Torring. Fu'thermo', I claims that the bea' cullud artist which is is one of my mos bestest frlen'a.' "Huh! You says. "What his name is?" "Lymus Johnson." "How I knows you know him?" "Well," triumphed Sis Callie, "I ain't never hearn tell of no gen'leman artist visitin' at the home of no lady ifn she di'n't know him pret-, ty good!" Thereupon Sis Callie left in a sudden glow of glory. Straight to Lustisha Atcherson she went to give tho details of her interview with Edner. Lustisha was all a-qulver. . "A sho'-nuff, hones-t'-Gawd artist, Sis Cal lle?" "Tha's it, Mis' Atcherson. A regalar palntin , fool." "What he looks like?" "We-e-11," apologized the thin spinster, "he ain't so much on the eye, but he's terrible brainy in the hald. An' fust time I took sight of him, I knowed he was sumthin' diffrunt." Lustisha rose and made for her boudoir. "Where you gwine?" Inquired Sis Callie. "To git my hat," responded Lustisha. "Whaffo'?" "Ise gwlne to yo' home with you to invite this heah Mistuh Artist Johnson to deliver a address to the Uplift Sassiety at nex' Chues day's meetln'." En route to Miss Flukera' home the mili tant pair met Miss Prissilla Wattles. And as the critical eye of Lustisha catalogued the phy sical charms of Prissilla an idea came a-born- lng, and she fired a question at Sis Callle. "This heah Lymus Johnson Is he a ma'led man?" "No'm. That is, he 'lows he ain't, an' he suttlnly ain't got no wifes with him." "Mmm! Mawnin' Prissilla." "Mawnln", Mis' Atcherson. Mawnln's Sis Callie. How you Is this mawnin'?" "Tol'able, thank the Lawd. How things is with you. Prissilla." Prissilla giggled. "Things ain't so wuss they coul'n't be wusser." "Ain't aimin' to bo ina'ied, Is you?" "Lawsy, Mis Atcherson, they ain't no men cravln' to ma'y me." Lustisha Atcherson gave eye once again to the slim, well gowned figure; the simple, yet effective, style; the rather sweet brown face which peeped forth from beneath the floppy white hat. Then Lustisha broke a world's rec ord she paid a compliment: "Reckon I know's a'ready that men is fools. Edner Torrlng ma'led to the richest cullud man in Bummlnham not countln' Semore Mashby, an' he don' count no how an' you not even close to mebbe glttin' you a man. C'mon along with us, Prissilla." "Where tc?" " Lustisha explained: explained with a wealth of graphic and intriguing detail. Prissilla thrilled to the prospect. "A artist? A regalar artist which paints . pitchers?" "Tou said it, honey. Does you come?" Prissilla was smiling broadly. "They ain't nothln' could'n't keep me away now." The ladies were seated in the parlor when Lymus, in response to the summons of Sis Cal lie, descended. He extended a limp and fishy paw to each of them and wondered vaguely what it was all about. He found himself en sconced on a battered lounge next to Miss Pris sill Wattles. Then something happened to Lymus: some thing hitherto foreign to his romanceless ex istence. Through the haze of doubt surround ing him he sensed Prissilla. He became con scious of he proximity without seeing her, glad that she was there without knowing that she was. Finally he turned his eyes upon her. Ha found her soothing to to behold. To Lymus' newly Infatuated gaze she seemed somewhat ethereal; a falryish being who hap pened to be temporarily endowed with earth ly form. And then he discovered that she was bestowing upon him a limpid glance 'In which there waa an undeniable intermingling of sin- -cere admiration and acute personal Interest, Mora, she waa talking. "They tells me you is a regular artist, Mis tuh Johnson." " "Folks calls it such," he answered modestly. "What kin' of pitchers does you paint?" Lymus waved his hand vaguely. "Mos" any kin' which is handy." "Lan'scapes?" Lymus was in an agreeing mood. "Uh huh!" "An portraits?" "An whlches?" "Portraits. Pitchers of folks? Busts an seen." "Hmm! Beckon I does." But Lymus was doubtful. Prissilla clasped her hands rapturously. "You is the wonderfullest man, Brother Johnson." "Hot dam! Miss Prissilla you sho' done said It." Lustisha Atcherson horned In. Would Mr. Johnson honor the Uplift society by delivering a lecture on art at the meeting Tuesday aft ernoon? Mr. Johnson hesitated and Prissilla seconded the invitation. Mr. Johnson agreed to speak on the subject of art the following Tuesday. Lymus suggested that he would like to see more of Prissilla. Apparently Prissilla had no objections to being seen more of. That night he escorted her to the Champion theater and after five rapturous reels they quaffed ice cream sodas at the Gold Crown Ice Cream parlor. At her homo the moonlight enshrouded the steps bewltchlngly, and they sat side by side. Some how their fingers touched and hers did not draw away. With his heart beating like a pile driver he allowed his fingers to encircle hers and still there was no resistance. Lymus heaved a tremendous sigh Indicative of super lative beatitude. Came an answering soughing from the fair lady. ' ,The week which followed was a debauch of happiness for Lymus. Darktown's Four Hundred; headed by Mrs. Lustisha Atcherson and inspired largely by an opportunity for triumph over Mrs. Edner Torring took the unreluctant Lymus to its bosom and cuddled him there. Lymus was happy. For the first time In an obscure and retiring life ho was tasting the glories of public spotlight, and the expe rience was even more delicious than novel. He absorbed adulation as a sponge absorbs wateir only more so. There was apparently no limit to his receptivity. And, standing forth as the greatest individual factor conducive to perfect enjoyment of the occasion, was - Miss Prissilla Wattles. - His courtship of the young lady had been brief, and much to Lymus' surprise and de light ardent! Gone was his abashed reserve, and in its place there had developed a domi nant m&sculintsm. . He fairly swept the de lighted Prissilla from her feet by the fervor of his wooing. She could not have resisted htm had sho so desired and in her case there was not the slightest Inclination to stay his protestations of undying affection. Tet tho broad argent band that lined his cloud was sicklied o'er with the pale cast of murklness. The question of personal finance could not be forever evaded. Meanwhile a great gob of gloom had de scended to perch soggily upon the Bhapely &houlders of Mrs. Edner Torring, a fact which added nothing tci the domestic happiness of her husband. She had never met Lymus, and now she found it impossible to meet him by reason of the fact that he was close under the wing of Lustisha Atcherson. But Lymus was the lage, the toast of tho hour society was re volving about his blooming personality and so Edner and her husband went into executive aession. "Ifn you was to get somebody to come heah " he started. But Edner shook her head. "That wouldn't do a-tall. What I Is got to do Is to git this heah artist feller hangin' 'roun' me and doin' what I says he should do." Edner placed hand upon forehead. "Lemme think, Llsha, Lemme ba while I thinks." Ha let her ba while aha tboiitht. 2 be task ' was obviously a difficult one, and the helpless and adoring husband watched eagerly for symp toms. Finally they came first a crinkling at tho corners of tbo eyes, then a broadening of the Hps as tho mouth expanded Into a smile then a hearty laugh. , Edner seated herself on her husband's knee. Her face was beaming triumphantly. "This heah Lymus Johnson is a artist, ain't ne?" "He says." ' T "But he ain't done no artln' sence he got ten to Bummln'ham, has he?" "Not none as I knows of." "Well why ain't he?" "Hmm!' Llsha did some tall thinking. "Guess they wa'n't nobody aroun' town which wanted to git arted." "Tha's it, Llsha. Tou said words that time which had sense. Well that's my Idee." "What is it?" "Gittln arted. Ise gwlne pay this feller to paint my pitcher." And so It was on tho following afternoon when Edner had carefully ascertained that Sis Callie had departed for the shopping dis trict that Lymus had a caller. Ho entertained her In the parlor of the Flukera home. He was dazzled by her sar torial elegance and considerably ill at ease. Preliminaries dispensed with, Edner got down to brass tacks. , "You ain't done no artin' sence you be'n in Bummln'ham, has you, Brother Johnson?" "No-o-o." "You Is almln' to, ain't you?" "Soht of." "Well" Edner heaved a deep breath "how much cash money is you gwine cha'ge to paint my pitcher?" For one second the universe ceased to move. Then Lymus blinked rapidly and seized upon the words which had chiefly intrigued his In terest. "Cash money?" he echoed. "You said It, Brother Johnson. I know yo price is high, but I is ready to pay whichever you cha'ges." "I ain't cha'gin thataway," returned Lymus honestly. "I ain't never had no palntin' Jobs in Bummln'ham befo' and I craves you to set a price yo'se'f. Pleasin' customers is my motter." ; Edner did some quick thinking. , "One hund'ed dollars," she suggested timidly. "Fifty dollars now an' fifty when tho pitcher Is fin ished?" - Lymus extended an eager hand. "Gimme them fifty dollars. Mis' Torring. I assepts." From her purse Edner , produced a long legal paper. This she unfolded unctuously, then designated a dotted line. "Sign there, Mistuh Johnson." Lymus shied. "Whaffo' I should sign a writin'?" ; "This heah is a contrac' which was drawed up by Lawyer Evans Chew, which there ain't no better cullud lawyer In Bummln'ham, n'r neither the world. It says I Is payin' you a hund'ed dollars to paint my pitcher, which you has to finish befo' any other pitcher in Bum mln'ham an which I owes you another fifty dollars fo' as soon as it's done, not countln' which I is a'ready paid you." "B-b-but, Mis' Torrlng they ain't no writ in' nessory." "Then," said Edner positively, "ifn you caln't sign my contrac', I reckon I caln't have myself arted." ' Lymua signed! Edner departed triumphantly. At the cor rer she met Sis Callle Flukers and Prissilla Wattles. Edner flared into battle. "I is be'n to your house, Sis Callie." "You is be'n which?" "To yo' house." "Whaffo" you be'n callin on me?" "I wa'n't callin' on you. I is be'n maktn' a vlsltment with Brother Lymus Johnson." "Huh!" snapped Sis Callie. "He wouldn't go to see you, ao you went an' called on him?" But Edner waa auspiciously unperturbed by the verbal dart. 'Tha's it I is be'n seein' him on a purely pussonal business matter." "What aoht?" It was Edner's moment of supreme triumph. "He is gwine paint my pitcher!" sbo exulted. Five minutes later a suspiciously tearful Prissilla Wattles confronted Lymus in tho par lor of the Flukera home. "Is it true you is gwine make an artment of Edner Torrlng?" "Uh-huh." "How come that to be?" "She come an' ast me would I. An' she paid cash money in adwance." Prissilla dabbed at her green tinted eyes. "An' with all the 'wlmmln in Bummln'ham to pick fum, you went an' puck tho good lookin'est." "But, honey " Prissilla straightened. "They's on'y one way you o'n make things right with me, Lym'us." "What that is, sweetness? I'd do anythin' fo' you." "Paint my pitcher fust befo' you does hers." "Sho'ly " Then Lymus choked short his acquiescence and shook his head sadly. "Caln't." "How come not?" "I done signed a writin' that her'n would be my fust pitcher? in Bummln'ham." Prissilla stamped and flung herself from Then they floa4 miserably and arm of agony anyped hit skinny frame, lie ahoun hia head. That ain't gains do a tail. F'm waa. Tide heah Venua ain't got i" rMue on. Tho eelesmen argued, pleaded, rajoled. Ma finally cut tho price In half. Lmua stood off and Inspected lbs nude lady carefully. "lud that lady poae Jea' like that pHehor aaya aha done?" bo inaulrad In awe. Certalnly,,, ratorted tho other. "ArtUrtV mod. la always poae In tha nuda." "Wliclln' tripa! An' filks thlnkln' ! It a arlUt!" "Hot dam: ho fried. "I'M got lt. "WhatT mt4 the ahopkepr. "Tho plan which I craves." Itfmus rro durad two dollara and a half. "Ulmmo that artment, Cap'n. Wo tradee." Throe-quarters of an hour lit.r, Lymua un folded tht portrait of tha immodett Venua In tho sanctuary of hia room, lie gated pride futly upon tho eharma of her figure not be eauae of tho charms, but because ho had con ceived a brilliant scheme whereby aha waa to become Kdnar Torrlng Edner fully and mod ily clothed. Lymua waa by profasalon a sign palntar, and an exceedingly good one. He waa deft with a bruah, and drawing garment adver ttaementa waa ono of tho beat thing ho did. Bo It waa that the Idea had come to him of mounting Venua cn an easel, allowing Kdner to alt for her portrait, and then gracefully paint a full complement of clothea upon her now nude fguie. Lymua waa exceedingly plea.ed with him self. Tho scheme waa magnificently simple and requlrd only a modicum of preparation. FJdnr Torrlng win on time to tla minute. Lymua Improvised a data, upon which ha placed her a an occupant of his solo eaxy chuiBhe aettled heretf comfortably and Lymua wniio hia trunk, from which he extracted tho roiled canvas. Lymua had never aoen artiste at work, but then neither had Edner. And ao he got away with tho preliminaries very well. Everything st, bo turned to his paint kit and mixed a large daub of rich brown. He addressed Edner: "Sot atlddy now, , I commcncca." Lymua' plan of campaign waa complete and logical Venue wore no clothea There fore, he envisioned Edner in tho same frank condition. Obviously, whatever charma her f guro might have, the complexion would vary from that of the famous goddess. Good! It behooved Lymus. therefore, to reconstruct the groundwork of his subject. He dipped hia brush in the brown mixture. He squinted at Edner and smiled. Then, with alow but aure touches, he commenced sunburn lng tho figure of Venus! Somehow It never occurred to him to change the complexion of arms, face, and neck and then paint the clothes over tho white figure. Had he thought of It, he would have discarded the idea aa smacking too greatly of mlnstrelry a brown lady with a white body! Absurd! He knew that beneath her lingerie Edner Tor rlng was of a rich chocolate hue . . . and Ly mus was no nature faker. His painting of Ed ner would be brown to the skin. And so his plan was to make the figure life like In complexion, and then garb It fittingly. The painting of the clothes worried him not at all. For two hours Lymus worked, then , laid down his brushes and meticulously draped the canvas to cheesecloth, cheesecloth folded to sev eral thicknesses. Edner rose stiffly, but grate fully. An engagement was made for the earn hour tho following day, and Edner departed triumphantly. Alone, Lymus removed the cheesecloth and prldefully Inspected his handiwork. Edner, as she stood now, was chocolate to the waist and the entire being. Then he regretfully covered the picture and went forth into the streets of Birmingham. Near the Penny Prudential Bank building Lymus encountered Prissilla Wattles. He palpi tated with love, but Lymus was a humble man who feared a second rebuff from the darling of his heart Therefore, in preference to that, he lifted his hat stiffly and would have passed on, but the now contrite Prissilla halted him. Briefly " she apologized for her hostile attitude of the previous day. Lymus was grateful. "That big feller Noah Lee," he asked. "1 is hearn tell that you an' him was mos' engaged to make ma'lagge once." Prissilla sniffed. "I an' him! Huh! Mebbe so he was engage' to me, but I never wa'n't en gaged to him." "That's all right, then. But I soht of Jcged that he is lovin' you a heap, Prissilla." "Reckon he is. But lovin' ain't gittln'." "Bless tho Lawd!" " 'Ceptin' fo' one man," she vouchsafed, coyly. "Name which?" She hung her head. "That's be tellin', Ly- the room. That nlorht. meanderlncr mourn fully down Eighteenth street, after three curt mus. , An' the feller which I loves ain't never refusals on the part of Prissilla in answer to ast to be tol1 his supplication to call upon her, he met her lace to lace. But she was not alone. Towering beside her was the massive figure of Noah Lee. Lymus had heard of Noah heard much and frequently since he had commenced ap propriating a majority ot Pnssilia's spare They adjourned to the Gold Crown Ice Cream parlor. But what Lymus did not know was that while they were quaffing the creamy, foamy con coctions the massive figure of Noah Lee bulked balefully in the doorway for about two minutes and immediately therafter Noah departed mut tering dire threats having to do directlv with time to himself. Gossip was that Noah and the mutilation of Lymus' skinny little body. Prissilla for years had been on tho verge of Edner was on time to the minute for the sit an engagement and that the failure of the ting of the following day. Lymus flung himself God of love was duo entirely to Prissllla's cap- headlong into the task of browning up the nether tious instability. Noah, so they told Lymus, portion of Venus' body. When the sitUne waa was wildly, madly, fatuously in love with the ended the goddess had disappeared from the girl And now in her moment of pique she canvas and in her place there had blossomed had returned to his ponderous protection. forth the rounded, dimpled figure of the eta:', Atone in mo roum, 1110 wuna iijjcueu iu esque .aner XOrring. Lymus as a place dread and desolate. Even the fifty dollars were as ashes to the 'flame of his desire. He had sold himself to art for a mess of porridge and he was discovering that the porridge promised to prove Indigestible. It was past midnight before he slunk off into a fitful, dreamful slumber. After a pale and languid breakfast, a temporary fit of elation was squashed by the receipt of a note from Edner Torrlng announcing that she would appear at his studio at 4 o'clock that afternoon for her Initial sitting. He sallied from the house, forehead fur rowed a headachy thought. He turned lag ging footsteps townward and eventually found himself rambling disconsolately through the shopping district of Nineteenth street. And That night Lymus called upon Prissilla Wat tles. Long before his assignment to paint Ed ner's portrait they had considered that they were going to become engaged. But this w'as their first evening together as a couple actually pledged to one another. They sat on a battered lounge in a dark corner of the. parlor and found that the outlook upon the future was a rosy thing indeed. But in the midst of their rapture a sinister figure Intruded. There came a rap at the door. Lymus and Prissilla sidled apart, and Prissilla extended a lukewarm invitation to "Come' in." Noah Lee came in. Ho glared malevolently at the pair on the lounge. Lymus squirmed uncomfortably, for re flected in the narrowed eyes of his rival he dls- suddenly he came to an abrupt halt before the cerned much bloody murder and one extremely suaaen death. "Well?" growled Noah accusingly. Lymus cleared his throat, but the words re fused to come, rrlssilla answered: "Well, which?" "What this heah mean?" "What does which where mean ?" "You an' this half baked imitation of a art's'?" "Which it means, Noah Lee, ain't none of yo' business, an' fu'thermo1 it don' concern you none whatever. So I craves that you depahts an' leave us alone." Noah . transfixed Lymus with a scowl. "I depahts," he said with dignity, "but I an' vou i gwlne meet ag'in, Mistuh Johnson. We meets dusty windows of a dilapidated little shop, There was not much to attract about the institution as such. It was filled with dirty, battered books, weird chromos, second-hand cameras, disintegrating magazines. But in one corner was a muchly torn sign, rudely in scribed: OIL COPIES OF FAMOUS PAINTINGS. FIVE DOLLARS EACH. He stepped inside, ajid the ancient proprie tor sidled forward cra&wlse. "Boss man, I craves to look at some of them palntln's." "I have only one left. It is the work of a Btudent artist a copy of a famous painting which Is hung at the Metropolitan Museum. A fine picture. Can't be told from the original ag'in, an' when we does they ain't but one of ua gwine leave away rum where me meeta at!" Lymus departed early, and enroute to Callle Flukers rooming house he turned the corners wide and trod on the balls of his feet, all set fi- a sprint. He heaved a sigh of infinite relief as - . he attained the Banctuary of the Flukers estab lishment. For one night at least. He snapped on the electric llaht in htm .. crayon portrait representing a geniai pain- ana giancea aoout. Then he stood in his tracks, arch surrounded by tho enormous family ho Something was wrong! Something waa had patriarched and disclosed to view tho radically wrong horribly wrong! And suddenly coveted art treasure. Lymus comprehended. He clutched wild ax The eyes of Lymua Johnson popped open. (xnra to race XioeJ for five dollars." "Tain't a paintln' of a lady, is it now. Boss man?" "Of course. It represents Venus " "I ain't keerin 'bout which It represents. Cap'n. Ifn Venus Is a lady, tha's all what I asks." "This painting " He removed a large