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In A Pioneer Restaurant

From: Colonel Starbottle's Client And Other Stories


There was probably no earthly reason why the "Poco Mas o Menos" Club
of San Francisco should have ever existed, or why its five harmless,
indistinctive members should not have met and dined together as ordinary
individuals. Still less was there any justification for the gratuitous
opinion which obtained, that it was bold, bad, and brilliant. Looking
back upon it over a quarter of a century and half a globe, I confess I
cannot recall a single witticism, audacity, or humorous characteristic
that belonged to it. Yet there was no doubt that we were thought to be
extremely critical and satirical, and I am inclined to think we
honestly believed it. To take our seats on Wednesdays and Saturdays at
a specially reserved table at the restaurant we patronized, to be
conscious of being observed by the other guests, and of our waiter
confidentially imparting our fame to strangers behind the shaken-out
folds of a napkin, and of knowing that the faintest indication of
merriment from our table thrilled the other guests with anticipatory
smiles, was, I am firmly convinced, all that we ever did to justify our
reputations. Nor, strictly speaking, were we remarkable as individuals;
an assistant editor, a lawyer, a young army quartermaster, a bank clerk
and a mining secretary--we could not separately challenge any special
social or literary distinction. Yet I am satisfied that the very name
of our Club--a common Spanish colloquialism, literally meaning "a little
more or less," and adopted in Californian slang to express an unknown
quantity--was supposed to be replete with deep and convulsing humor.

My impression is that our extravagant reputation, and, indeed, our
continued existence as a Club, was due solely to the proprietor of the
restaurant and two of his waiters, and that we were actually "run"
by them. When the suggestion of our meeting regularly there was first
broached to the proprietor--a German of slow but deep emotions--he
received it with a "So" of such impressive satisfaction that it might
have been the beginning of our vainglory. From that moment he became at
once our patron and our devoted slave. To linger near our table once or
twice during dinner with an air of respectful vacuity,--as of one who
knew himself too well to be guilty of the presumption of attempting
to understand our brilliancy,--to wear a certain parental pride and
unconsciousness in our fame, and yet to never go further in seeming to
comprehend it than to obligingly translate the name of the Club as "a
leedle more and nod quide so much"--was to him sufficient happiness.
That he ever experienced any business profit from the custom of the
Club, or its advertisement, may be greatly doubted; on the contrary,
that a few plain customers, nettled at our self-satisfaction, might
have resented his favoritism seemed more probable. Equally vague,
disinterested, and loyal was the attachment of the two waiters,--one
an Italian, faintly reminiscent of better days and possibly superior
extraction; the other a rough but kindly Western man, who might have
taken this menial position from temporary stress of circumstances, yet
who continued in it from sheer dominance of habit and some feebleness of
will. They both vied with each other to please us. It may have been they
considered their attendance upon a reputed intellectual company less
degrading than ministering to the purely animal and silent wants of
the average customers. It may have been that they were attracted by
our general youthfulness. Indeed, I am inclined to think that they
themselves were much more distinctive and interesting than any members
of the Club, and it is to introduce THEM that I venture to recall so
much of its history.

A few months after our advent at the restaurant, one evening, Joe
Tallant, the mining secretary, one of our liveliest members, was
observed to be awkward and distrait during dinner, forgetting even to
offer the usual gratuity to the Italian waiter who handed him his hat,
although he stared at him with an imbecile smile. As we chanced to leave
the restaurant together, I was rallying him upon his abstraction, when
to my surprise he said gravely: "Look here, one of two things has got to
happen: either we must change our restaurant or I'm going to resign."


"Well, to make matters clear, I'm obliged to tell you something that
in our business we usually keep a secret. About three weeks ago I had
a notice to transfer twenty feet of Gold Hill to a fellow named
'Tournelli.' Well, Tournelli happened to call for it himself, and who
the devil do you suppose Tournelli was? Why our Italian waiter. I was
regularly startled, and so was he. But business is business; so I passed
him over the stock and said nothing--nor did he--neither there nor here.
Day before yesterday he had thirty feet more transferred to him, and
sold out."

"Well?" I said impatiently.

"Well," repeated Tallant indignantly. "Gold Hill's worth six hundred
dollars a foot. That's eighteen thousand dollars cash. And a man who's
good enough for that much money is too good to wait upon me. Fancy a man
who could pay my whole year's salary with five feet of stock slinging
hash to ME. Fancy YOU tipping him with a quarter!"

"But if HE don't mind it--and prefers to continue a waiter--why should
YOU care? And WE'RE not supposed to know."

"That's just it," groaned Tallant. "That's just where the sell comes in.
Think how he must chuckle over us! No, sir! There's nothing aristocratic
about me; but, by thunder, if I can't eat my dinner, and feel I am as
good as the man who waits on me, I'll resign from the Club."

After endeavoring to point out to him the folly of such a proceeding, I
finally suggested that we should take the other members of our Club into
our confidence, and abide by their decision; to which he agreed. But, to
his chagrin, the others, far from participating in his delicacy, seemed
to enjoy Tournelli's unexpected wealth with a vicarious satisfaction
and increase of dignity as if we were personally responsible for
it. Although it had been unanimously agreed that we should make no
allusions, jocose or serious, to him, nor betray any knowledge of it
before him, I am afraid our attitude at the next dinner was singularly
artificial. A nervous expectancy when he approached us, and a certain
restraint during his presence, a disposition to check any discussion
of shares or "strikes" in mining lest he should think it personal, an
avoidance of unnecessary or trifling "orders," and a singular patience
in awaiting their execution when given; a vague hovering between
sympathetic respect and the other extreme of indifferent bluntness in
our requests, tended, I think, to make that meal far from exhilarating.
Indeed, the unusual depression affected the unfortunate cause of it,
who added to our confusion by increased solicitude of service and--as if
fearful of some fault, or having incurred our disfavor--by a deprecatory
and exaggerated humility that in our sensitive state seemed like the
keenest irony. At last, evidently interpreting our constraint before him
into a desire to be alone, he retired to the door of a distant pantry,
whence he surveyed us with dark and sorrowful Southern eyes. Tallant,
who in this general embarrassment had been imperfectly served, and had
eaten nothing, here felt his grievance reach its climax, and in a sudden
outbreak of recklessness he roared out, "Hi, waiter--you, Tournelli. He
may," he added, turning darkly to us, "buy up enough stock to control
the board and dismiss ME; but, by thunder, if it costs me my place, I'm
going to have some more chicken!"

It was probably this sensitiveness that kept us from questioning him,
even indirectly, and perhaps led us into the wildest surmises. He was
acting secretly for a brotherhood or society of waiters; he was a silent
partner of his German employer; he was a disguised Italian stockbroker,
gaining "points" from the unguarded conversation of "operating"
customers; he was a political refugee with capital; he was a fugitive
Sicilian bandit, investing his ill-gotten gains in California; he was
a dissipated young nobleman, following some amorous intrigue across the
ocean, and acting as his own Figaro or Leporello. I think a majority of
us favored the latter hypothesis, possibly because we were young, and
his appearance gave it color. His thin black mustaches and dark eyes,
we felt, were Tuscan and aristocratic; at least, they were like the
baritone who played those parts, and HE ought to know. Yet nothing could
be more exemplary and fastidious than his conduct towards the few lady
frequenters of the "Poodle Dog" restaurant, who, I regret to say, were
not puritanically reserved or conventual in manner.

But an unexpected circumstance presently changed and divided our
interest. It was alleged by Clay, the assistant editor, that entering
the restaurant one evening he saw the back and tails of a coat that
seemed familiar to him half-filling a doorway leading to the restaurant
kitchen. It was unmistakably the figure of one of our Club members,--the
young lawyer,--Jack Manners. But what was he doing there? While the
Editor was still gazing after him, he suddenly disappeared, as if some
one had warned him that he was observed. As he did not reappear, when
Tournelli entered from the kitchen a few moments later, the Editor
called him and asked for his fellow-member. To his surprise the Italian
answered, with every appearance of truthfulness, that he had not seen
Mr. Manners at all! The Editor was staggered; but as he chanced, some
hours later, to meet Manners, he playfully rallied him on his mysterious
conference with the Italian. Manners replied briefly that he had had no
interview whatever with Tournelli, and changed the subject quickly. The
mystery--as we persisted in believing it--was heightened when another
member deposed that he had seen "Tom," the Western waiter, coming from
Manners's office. As Manners had volunteered no information of this, we
felt that we could not without indelicacy ask him if Tom was a client,
or a messenger from Tournelli. The only result was that our Club dinner
was even more constrained than before. Not only was "Tom" now invested
with a dark importance, but it was evident that the harmony of the Club
was destroyed by these singular secret relations of two of its members
with their employes.

It chanced that one morning, arriving from a delayed journey, I dropped
into the restaurant. It was that slack hour between the lingering
breakfast and coming luncheon when the tables are partly stripped and
unknown doors, opened for ventilation, reveal the distant kitchen, and a
mingled flavor of cold coffee-grounds and lukewarm soups hangs heavy
on the air. To this cheerlessness was added a gusty rain without, that
filmed the panes of the windows and doors, and veiled from the passer-by
the usual tempting display of snowy cloths and china.

As I seemed to be the only customer at that hour, I selected a table by
the window for distraction. Tom had taken my order; the other waiters,
including Tournelli, were absent, with the exception of a solitary
German, who, in the interlude of perfunctory trifling with the casters,
gazed at me with that abstracted irresponsibility which one waiter
assumes towards another's customer. Even the proprietor had deserted his
desk at the counter. It seemed to be a favorable opportunity to get some
information from Tom.

But he anticipated me. When he had dealt a certain number of dishes
around me, as if they were cards and he was telling my fortune, he
leaned over the table and said, with interrogating confidence:--

"I reckon you call that Mr. Manners of yours a good lawyer?"

We were very loyal to each other in the Club, and I replied with
youthful enthusiasm that he was considered one of the most promising at
the bar. And, remembering Tournelli, I added confidently that whoever
engaged him to look after their property interests had secured a

"But is he good in criminal cases--before a police court, for instance?"
continued Tom.

I believed--I don't know on what grounds--that Manners was good in
insurance and admiralty law, and that he looked upon criminal practice
as low; but I answered briskly--though a trifle startled--that as a
criminal lawyer he was perfect.

"He could advise a man, who had a row hanging on, how to steer clear of
being up for murder--eh?"

I trusted, with a desperate attempt at jocosity, that neither he nor
Tournelli had been doing anything to require Manners's services in that

"It would be too late, THEN," said Tom, coolly, "and ANYBODY could tell
a man what he ought to have done, or how to make the best of what he
had done; but the smart thing in a lawyer would be to give a chap points
BEFOREHAND, and sorter tell him how far he could go, and yet keep
inside the law. How he might goad a fellow to draw on him, and then plug

I looked up quickly. There was nothing in his ordinary, good-humored,
but not very strong face to suggest that he himself was the subject of
this hypothetical case. If he were speaking for Tournelli, the Italian
certainly was not to be congratulated on his ambassador's prudence; and,
above all, Manners was to be warned of the interpretation which might be
put upon his counsels, and disseminated thus publicly. As I was thinking
what to say, he moved away, but suddenly returned again.

"What made you think Tournelli had been up to anything?" he asked

"Nothing," I answered; "I only thought you and he, being friends"--

"You mean we're both waiters in the same restaurant. Well, I don't know
him any better than I know that chap over there," pointing to the other
waiter. "He's a Greaser or an Italian, and, I reckon, goes with his

Why had we not thought of this before? Nothing would be more natural
than that the rich and imperious Tournelli should be exclusive, and have
no confidences with his enforced associates. And it was evident that Tom
had noticed it and was jealous.

"I suppose he's rather a swell, isn't he?" I suggested tentatively.

A faint smile passed over Tom's face. It was partly cynical and partly
suggestive of that amused toleration of our youthful credulity which
seemed to be a part of that discomposing patronage that everybody
extended to the Club. As he said nothing, I continued encouragingly:--

"Because a man's a waiter, it doesn't follow that he's always been one,
or always will be."

"No," said Tom, abstractedly; "but it's about as good as anything else
to lie low and wait on." But here two customers entered, and he
turned to them, leaving me in doubt whether to accept this as a verbal
pleasantry or an admission. Only one thing seemed plain: I had certainly
gained no information, and only added a darker mystery to his conference
with Manners, which I determined I should ask Manners to explain.

I finished my meal in solitude. The rain was still beating drearily
against the windows with an occasional accession of impulse that seemed
like human impatience. Vague figures under dripping umbrellas, that
hid their faces as if in premeditated disguise, hurried from the main
thoroughfare. A woman in a hooded waterproof like a domino, a Mexican
in a black serape, might have been stage conspirators hastening to a
rendezvous. The cavernous chill and odor which I had before noted as
coming from some sarcophagus of larder or oven, where "funeral baked
meats" might have been kept in stock, began to oppress me. The hollow
and fictitious domesticity of this common board had never before seemed
so hopelessly displayed. And Tom, the waiter, his napkin twisted in
his hand and his face turned with a sudden dark abstraction towards the
window, appeared to be really "lying low," and waiting for something
outside his avocation.


The fact that Tom did not happen to be on duty at the next Club dinner
gave me an opportunity to repeat his mysterious remark to Manners, and
to jokingly warn that rising young lawyer against the indiscretion of
vague counsel. Manners, however, only shrugged his shoulders. "I don't
know what he meant," he said carelessly; "but since he chooses to talk
of his own affairs publicly, I don't mind saying that they are neither
very weighty nor very dangerous. It's only the old story: the usual
matrimonial infidelities that are mixed up with the Californian
emigration. He leaves the regular wife behind,--fairly or unfairly, I
can't say. She gets tired waiting, after the usual style, and elopes
with somebody else. The Western Penelope isn't built for waiting. But
she seems to have converted some of his property into cash when she
skipped from St. Louis, and that's where his chief concern comes in.
That's what he wanted to see me for; that's why he inveigled me into
that infernal pantry of his one day to show me a plan of his property,
as if that was any good."

He paused disgustedly. We all felt, I think, that Tom was some kind of
an impostor, claiming the sympathies of the Club on false pretenses.
Nevertheless, the Quartermaster said, "Then you didn't do anything for
him--give him any advice, eh?"

"No; for the property's as much hers as his, and he hasn't got a
divorce; and, as it's doubtful whether he didn't desert her first, he
can't get one. He was surprised," he added, with a grim smile, "when I
told him that he was obliged to support her, and was even liable for
her debts. But people who are always talking of invoking the law know
nothing about it." We were surprised too, although Manners was always
convincing us, in some cheerful but discomposing way, that we were all
daily and hourly, in our simplest acts, making ourself responsible
for all sorts of liabilities and actions, and even generally preparing
ourselves for arrest and imprisonment. The Quartermaster continued

"Then you didn't give him any points about shooting?"

"No; he doesn't even know the man she went off with. It was eighteen
months ago, and I don't believe he'd even know her again if he met
her. But, if he isn't much of a client, we shall miss him to-night as
a waiter, for the place is getting full, and there are not enough to

The restaurant was, indeed, unusually crowded that evening; the more so
that, the private rooms above being early occupied, some dinner parties
and exclusive couples had been obliged to content themselves with the
public dining saloon. A small table nearest us, usually left vacant to
insure a certain seclusion to the Club, was arranged, with a deprecatory
apology from the proprietor, for one of those couples, a man and
woman. The man was a well-known speculator,--cool, yet reckless and
pleasure-loving; the woman, good-looking, picturesquely attractive,
self-conscious, and self-possessed. Our propinquity was evidently
neither novel nor discomposing. As she settled her skirts in her place,
her bright, dark eyes swept our table with a frank, almost childish,
familiarity. The younger members of the Club quite unconsciously pulled
up their collars and settled their neckties; the elders as unconsciously
raised their voices slightly, and somewhat arranged their sentences.
Alas! the simplicity and unaffectedness of the Club were again invaded.

Suddenly there was a crash, the breaking of glass, and an exclamation.
Tournelli, no doubt disorganized by the unusual hurry, on his way to our
table had dropped his tray, impartially distributed a plate of
asparagus over an adjoining table, and, flushed and nervous, yet with
an affectation of studied calmness, was pouring the sauce into the young
Quartermaster's plate, in spite of his languid protests. At any other
time we would have laughed, but there was something in the exaggerated
agitation of the Italian that checked our mirth. Why should he be so
upset by a trifling accident? He could afford to pay for the breakage;
he would laugh at dismissal. Was it the sensitiveness of a refined
nature, or--he was young and good-looking--was he disconcerted by the
fact that our handsome neighbor had witnessed his awkwardness? But she
was not laughing, and, as far as I could see, was intently regarding the
bill of fare.

"Waiter!" called her companion, hailing Tournelli. "Here!" The Italian,
with a face now distinctly white, leaned over the table, adjusting the
glasses, but did not reply.

"Waiter!" repeated the stranger, sharply. Tournelli's face twitched,
then became set as a mask; but he did not move. The stranger leaned
forward and pulled his apron from behind. Tournelli started with
flashing eyes, and turned swiftly round. But the Quartermaster's hand
had closed on his wrist.

"That's my knife, Tournelli."

The knife dropped from the Italian's fingers.

"Better see WHAT he wants. It may not be THAT," said the young officer,
coolly but kindly.

Tournelli turned impatiently towards the stranger. We alone had
witnessed this incident, and were watching him breathlessly. Yet what
bade fair a moment ago to be a tragedy, seemed now to halt grotesquely.
For Tournelli, throwing open his linen jacket with a melodramatic
gesture, tapped his breast, and with flashing eyes and suppressed
accents said, "Sare; you wantah me? Look--I am herre!"

The speculator leaned back in his chair in good-humored astonishment.
The lady's black eyes, without looking at Tournelli, glanced backward
round the room, and slipped along our table, with half-defiant
unconcern; and then she uttered a short hysterical laugh.

"Ah! ze lady--madame--ze signora--eh--she wantah me?" continued
Tournelli, leaning on the table with compressed fingers, and glaring at
her. "Perhaps SHE wantah Tournelli--eh?"

"Well, you might bring some with the soup," blandly replied her escort,
who seemed to enjoy the Italian's excitement as a national eccentricity;
"but hurry up and set the table, will you?"

Then followed, on the authority of the Editor, who understood Italian, a
singular scene. Secure, apparently, in his belief that his language was
generally uncomprehended, Tournelli brought a decanter, and, setting
it on the table, said, "Traitress!" in an intense whisper. This
was followed by the cruets, which he put down with the exclamation,
"Perjured fiend!" Two glasses, placed on either side of her, carried the
word "Apostate!" to her ear; and three knives and forks, rattling
more than was necessary, and laid crosswise before her plate, were
accompanied with "Tremble, wanton!" Then, as he pulled the tablecloth
straight, and ostentatiously concealed a wine-stain with a clean napkin,
scarcely whiter than his lips, he articulated under his breath: "Let
him beware! he goes not hence alive! I will slice his craven
heart--thus--and thou shalt see it." He turned quickly to a side table
and brought back a spoon. "And THIS is why I have not found you;"
another spoon, "For THIS you have disappeared;" a purely perfunctory
polishing of her fork, "For HIM, bah!" an equally unnecessary wiping
of her glass, "Blood of God!"--more wiping--"It will end! Yes"--general
wiping and a final flourish over the whole table with a napkin--"I go,
but at the door I shall await you both."

She had not spoken yet, nor even lifted her eyes. When she did
so, however, she raised them level with his, showed all her white
teeth--they were small and cruel-looking--and said smilingly in his own


Tournelli halted, rigid.

"You're talking his lingo, eh?" said her escort good-humoredly.


"Well--tell him to bustle around and be a little livelier with the
dinner, won't you? This is only skirmishing."

"You hear," she continued to Tournelli in a perfectly even voice; "or
shall it be a policeman, and a charge of stealing?"

"Stealing!" gasped Tournelli. "YOU say stealing!"

"Yes--ten thousand dollars. You are well disguised here, my little
fellow; it is a good business--yours. Keep it while you can."

I think he would have sprung upon her there and then, but that the
Quartermaster, who was nearest him, and had been intently watching his
face, made a scarcely perceptible movement as if ready to anticipate
him. He caught the officer's eye; caught, I think, in ours the
revelation that he had been understood, drew back with a sidelong,
sinuous movement, and disappeared in the passage to the kitchen.

I believe we all breathed more freely, although the situation was still
full enough of impending possibilities to prevent peaceful enjoyment
of our dinner. As the Editor finished his hurried translation, it was
suggested that we ought to warn the unsuspecting escort of Tournelli's
threats. But it was pointed out that this would be betraying the woman,
and that Jo Hays (her companion) was fully able to take care of himself.
"Besides," said the Editor, aggrievedly, "you fellows only think of
YOURSELVES, and you don't understand the first principles of journalism.
Do you suppose I'm going to do anything to spoil a half-column of leaded
brevier copy--from an eye-witness, too? No; it's a square enough fight
as it stands. We must look out for the woman, and not let Tournelli get
an unfair drop on Hays. That is, if the whole thing isn't a bluff."

But the Italian did not return. Whether he had incontinently fled, or
was nursing his wrath in the kitchen, or already fulfilling his threat
of waiting on the pavement outside the restaurant, we could not guess.
Another waiter appeared with the dinners they had ordered. A momentary
thrill of excitement passed over us at the possibility that Tournelli
had poisoned their soup; but it presently lapsed, as we saw the couple
partaking of it comfortably, and chatting with apparent unconcern. Was
the scene we had just witnessed only a piece of Southern exaggeration?
Was the woman a creature devoid of nerves or feeling of any kind; or was
she simply a consummate actress? Yet she was clearly not acting, for
in the intervals of conversation, and even while talking, her dark eyes
wandered carelessly around the room, with the easy self-confidence of
a pretty woman. We were beginning to talk of something else, when the
Editor said suddenly, in a suppressed voice:

"Hullo! What's the matter now?"

The woman had risen, and was hurriedly throwing her cloak over her
shoulders. But it was HER face that was now ashen and agitated, and we
could see that her hands were trembling. Her escort was assisting her,
but was evidently as astonished as ourselves. "Perhaps," he suggested
hopefully, "if you wait a minute it will pass off."

"No, no," she gasped, still hurriedly wrestling with her cloak. "Don't
you see I'm suffocating here--I want air. You can follow!" She began
to move off, her face turned fixedly in the direction of the door. We
instinctively looked there--perhaps for Tournelli. There was no one.
Nevertheless, the Editor and Quartermaster had half-risen from their

"Helloo!" said Manners suddenly. "There's Tom just come in. Call him!"

Tom, evidently recalled from his brief furlough by the proprietor on
account of the press of custom, had just made his appearance from the

"Tom, where's Tournelli?" asked the Lawyer hurriedly, but following the
retreating woman with his eyes.

"Skipped, they say. Somebody insulted him," said Tom curtly.

"You didn't see him hanging round outside, eh? Swearing vengeance?"
asked the Editor.

"No," said Tom scornfully.

The woman had reached the door, and darted out of it as her escort
paused a moment at the counter to throw down a coin. Yet in that moment
she had hurried before him through the passage into the street. I
turned breathlessly to the window. For an instant her face, white as a
phantom's, appeared pressed rigidly against the heavy plate-glass, her
eyes staring with a horrible fascination back into the room--I even
imagined at us. Perhaps, as it was evident that Tournelli was not with
her, she fancied he was still here; perhaps she had mistaken Tom for
him! However, her escort quickly rejoined her; their shadows passed the
window together--they were gone.

Then a pistol-shot broke the quiet of the street.

The Editor and Quartermaster rose and ran to the door. Manners rose
also, but lingered long enough to whisper to me, "Don't lose sight of
Tom," and followed them. But to my momentary surprise no one else
moved. I had forgotten, in the previous excitement, that in those days
a pistol-shot was not unusual enough to attract attention. A few raised
their heads at the sound of running feet on the pavement, and the
flitting of black shadows past the windows. Tom had not stirred, but,
napkin in hand, and eyes fixed on vacancy, was standing, as I had seen
him once before, in an attitude of listless expectation.

In a few minutes Manners returned. I thought he glanced oddly at Tom,
who was still lingering in attendance, and I even fancied he talked to
us ostentatiously for his benefit. "Yes, it was a row of Tournelli's. He
was waiting at the corner; had rushed at Hays with a knife, but had been
met with a derringer-shot through his hat. The lady, who, it seems, was
only a chance steamer acquaintance of Hays', thought the attack must
have been meant for HER, as she had recognized in the Italian a man who
had stolen from her divorced husband in the States, two years ago, and
was a fugitive from justice. At least that was the explanation given by
Hays, for the woman had fainted and been driven off to her hotel by
the Quartermaster, and Tournelli had escaped. But the Editor was on his
track. You didn't notice that lady, Tom, did you?"

Tom came out of an abstracted study, and said: "No, she had her back to
me all the time."

Manners regarded him steadily for a moment without speaking, but in a
way that I could not help thinking was much more embarrassing to the
bystanders than to him. When we rose to leave, as he placed his usual
gratuity into Tom's hand, he said carelessly, "You might drop into my
office to-morrow if you have anything to tell ME."

"I haven't," said Tom quietly.

"Then I may have something to tell YOU."

Tom nodded, and turned away to his duties. The Mining Secretary and
myself could scarcely wait to reach the street before we turned eagerly
on Manners.


"Well; the woman you saw was Tom's runaway wife, and Tournelli the man
she ran away with."

"And Tom knew it?"

"Can't say."

"And you mean to say that all this while Tom never suspected HIM, and
even did not recognize HER just now?"

Manners lifted his hat and passed his fingers through his hair
meditatively. "Ask me something easier, gentlemen."

Next: A Treasure Of The Galleon

Previous: The New Assistant At Pine Clearing School

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