Potash & Perlmutter - Their Copartnership Ventures and Adventures
by Montague Glass
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"Look a-here, Mawruss," Abe said, "I thought you was going to see about that girl for my Rosie."

"Why, so I was, Abe," Morris replied; "I'll attend to it right away."

He went to the telephone and rang up his wife, and five minutes later returned to the front of the store.

"Ain't that the funniest thing, Abe," he said. "My Minnie speaks to the girl, and the girl says she got a cousin what's just going to quit her job, Abe. She'll be the very girl for your Rosie."

"I don't know, Mawruss," Abe replied. "My Rosie is a particular woman. She don't want no girl what's got fired for being dirty or something like that, Mawruss. We first want to get a report on her and find out what she gets fired for."

"You're right, Abe," Morris said. "I'll find out from Lina to-night."

Once more they fell to their task of assorting and packing the major part of Garfunkel's order, and by six o'clock over fifteen hundred dollars' worth of goods was ready for delivery.

"We'll ship them to-morrow," Abe said, as they commenced to lock up for the night, "and don't forget about that girl, Mawruss."

On his way downtown the next morning Abe met Leon Sammet, senior member of the firm of Sammet Brothers. Between Abe and Leon existed the nominal truce of competition, which in the cloak and suit trade implies that while they cheerfully exchanged credit information from their office files they maintained a constant guerilla warfare for the capture of each other's customers.

Now, M. Garfunkel had been a particularly strong customer of Sammet Brothers, and since Abe assumed that M. Garfunkel had dropped Sammet Brothers in favor of Potash & Perlmutter his manner toward Leon was bland and apologetic.

"Well, Leon," he said, "how's business?"

Leon's face wrinkled into a smile.

"It could be better, of course, Abe," he said, "but we done a tremendous spring trade, anyhow, even though we ain't got no more that sucker Louis Grossman working for us. We shipped a couple of three-thousand-dollar orders last week. One of 'em to Strauss, Kahn & Baum, of Fresno."

These were old customers of Potash & Perlmutter, and Abe winced.

"They was old customers of ours, Leon," he said, "but they done such a cheap class of trade we couldn't cut our line enough to please 'em."

"Is that so?" Leon rejoined. "Maybe M. Garfunkel was an old customer of yours, too, Abe."

"M. Garfunkel?" Abe cried. "Was M. Garfunkel the other?"

"He certainly was," Leon boasted. "We shipped him three thousand dollars. One of our best customers, Abe. Always pays to the day."

For the remainder of the subway journey Abe was quite unresponsive to Leon's jibes, a condition which Leon attributed to chagrin, and as they parted at Canal Street Leon could not forbear a final gloat.

"I suppose, Abe, M. Garfunkel does too cheap a class of trade to suit you, also. Ain't it?" he said.

Abe made no reply, and as he walked south toward White Street Max Lapidus, of Lapidus & Elenbogen, another and a smaller competitor, bumped into him.

"Hallo, Abe," Max said. "What's that Leon Sammet was saying just now about M. Garfunkel?"

"Oh, M. Garfunkel is a good customer of his," Abe replied cautiously; "so he claims."

"Don't you believe it," said Max. "M. Garfunkel told me himself he used to do some business with Sammet Brothers, but he don't do it no more. We done a big business with M. Garfunkel ourselves."

"So?" Abe commented.

"We sold him a couple of thousand dollars at ninety days last week," Lapidus went on. "He's elegant pay, Abe. We sold him a good-size order every couple of months this season, and he pays prompt to the day. Once he discounted his bill."

"Is that so?" Abe said, as they reached the front of Potash & Perlmutter's store. "Glad to hear M. Garfunkel is so busy. Good-morning, Max."

Morris Perlmutter met him at the door.

"Hallo, Abe," he cried. "What's the matter? You look pale. Is Rosie worse?"

Abe shook his head.

"Mawruss," he said, "did you ship them goods to M. Garfunkel yet?"

"They'll be out in ten minutes," Morris replied.

"Hold 'em for a while till I telephone over to Klinger & Klein," Abe said.

"What you looking for, Abe?" Morris asked. "More information? You know as well as I do, Abe, that Klinger & Klein is so conservative they wouldn't sell Andrew Carnegie unless they got a certified check in advance."

"That's all right, Mawruss," Abe rejoined. "Maybe they wouldn't sell Andrew Carnegie, but if I ain't mistaken they did sell M. Garfunkel. Everybody sold him, even Lapidus & Elenbogen. So I guess I'll telephone 'em."

"Well, wait a bit, Abe," Morris cried. "My Minnie's girl Lina is here with her cousin. I brought 'em down this morning so you could talk to her yourself."

"All right," Abe replied. "Tell 'em to come into the show-room."

A moment later Lina and her cousin Anna entered the show-room. Both were arrayed in Potash & Perlmutter's style forty-twenty-two, but while Lina wore a green hat approximating the hue of early spring foliage, Anna's head-covering was yellow with just a few crimson-lake roses—about eight large ones—on the side.

"Close the window, Mawruss," said Abe. "There's so much noise coming from outside I can't hear myself think."

"The window is closed, Abe," Morris replied. "It's your imagination."

"Well, then, which one is which, Mawruss?" Abe asked.

"The roses is Anna," Morris said. "Anna, you want to work by Mr. Potash's lady?"

"Sure she does," Abe broke in. "Only I want to ask you a few questions before I hire you. Who did you work by before, Anna?"

Anna hung her head and simpered.

"Mister M. Garfunkel," she murmured.

"Is that so?" Morris exclaimed. "Why, he's a good customer of ours."

"Don't butt in, Mawruss," Abe said. "And what did you leave him for, Anna?"

"Me don't leave them," Anna replied. "Mrs. Garfunkel is fine lady. Mister Garfunkel, too. They leave me. They goin' away next month, out to the country."

"Moving out to the country, hey?" said Abe. He was outwardly calm, but his eyes glittered. "What country?"

Anna turned to her cousin Lina and spoke a few words of Lithuanian.

"She say she don't remember," Lina explained, "but she say is something sounds like 'canned goods'."

"Canned goods?" Morris murmured.

Abe bit the ends of his mustache for a moment, and then he leaped to his feet.

"Canada!" he yelled, and Lina nodded vigorously.

He darted out of the show-room and ran to the telephone. In ten minutes he returned, his face bathed in perspiration.

"Anna," he croaked, "you come to work by me. Yes? How much you get by that—that M. Garfunkel?"

"Twenty dollars a month," Anna replied.

"All right, we'll pay you twenty-two," he said. "You're cheap at the price. So I expect you this evening."

He turned to his partner after the girls had gone.

"Mawruss," he said, "put them goods for M. Garfunkel back in stock. I rung up Klinger & Klein and they sold him four thousand. I also rung up the Perfection Cloak and Suit Company—also four thousand; Margolius & Fried—two thousand; Levy, Martin & Co.—three thousand, and so on. The way I figure it, he must of bought a hundred thousand dollars' worth of goods, all in the last few days, and all at ninety days net. He couldn't get a quarter of the goods in that First Avenue building of his, Mawruss, so where is the rest? Auction houses, Mawruss, north, south, east and west, and I bet yer he got the advance checks for each consignment deposited in Montreal right now. I bet yer he didn't even unpack the cases before he reshipped. Tell Miss Cohen to come in and bring her book."

When Miss Cohen took her seat Abe rose and cleared his throat for an epistle worthy of the occasion.

"The Paris. M. Garfunkel, Proprietor," he said. "Gents: Owing to circumstances which has arose——No. Wait a bit."

He cleared his throat more vigorously.

"The Paris. M. Garfunkel, Proprietor," he said. "Gents: Owing to the fact that the U-nited States bankruptcy laws don't go nowheres except in the U-nited States, we are obliged to cancel the order what you give us. Thanking you for past favors and hoping to do a strictly-cash business with you in the future, we are truly yours, Potash & Perlmutter."

Miss Cohen shut her book and arose.

"Wait a bit, Miss Cohen. I ain't through yet," Abe said. He tilted backward and forward on his toes for a moment.

"P. S.," he concluded. "We hope you'll like it in Canada."


"Things goes pretty smooth for us lately, Mawruss," Abe Potash remarked, shortly after M. Garfunkel's failure. "I guess we are due for a schlag somewheres, ain't it?"

"Always you got to kick," Morris cried. "If you would only listen to what I got to say oncet in a while, Abe, things would always go smooth."

Abe emitted a raucous laugh.

"Sure, I know," he said, "like this here tenement house proposition you was talking to me about, Mawruss. You ain't content we should have our troubles in the cloak and suit business, Mawruss, you got to go outside yet and find 'em. You got to go into the real estate business too."

"Real-estaters ain't got no such trouble like we got it, Abe," Morris retorted. "There ain't no seasons in real estate, Abe. A tenement house this year is like a tenement house last year, Abe, also the year before. They ain't wearing stripes in tenement houses one year, Abe, and solid colors the next. All you do when you got a tenement house, Abe, is to go round and collect the rents, and when you got a customer for it you don't have to draw no report on him. Spot cash, he pays it, Abe, or else you get a mortgage as security."

"You talk like Scheuer Blumenkrohn, Mawruss, when he comes round here last year and wants to swap it two lots in Ozone Grove, Long Island, for a couple of hundred misses' reefers," Abe replied. "When I speculate, Mawruss, I take a hand at auction pinochle."

"This ain't no speculation, Abe," said Morris. "This is an investment. I seen the house, Abe, six stories and basement stores, and you couldn't get another tenant into it with a shoehorn. It brings in a fine income, Abe."

"Well, if that's the case, Mawruss," Abe rejoined, "why does Harris Rabin want to sell it? Houses ain't like cloaks and suits, Mawruss, you admit it yourself. We sell goods because we don't get no income by keepin' 'em. If we have our store full with cloaks, Mawruss, and they brought in a good income while they was in here, Mawruss, I wouldn't want to sell 'em, Mawruss; I'd want to keep 'em."

"Sure," Morris replied. "But if the income was only four hundred and fifty dollars a month, and next month you got a daughter what was getting married to Alec Goldwasser, drummer for Klinger & Klein, and you got to give Alec a couple of thousand dollars with her, but you don't have no ready cash, then, Abe, you'd sell them cloaks, and so that's why Harris Rabin wants to sell the house."

"I want to tell you something, Mawruss," Abe replied. "Harris Rabin could sell a phonograft to a deef-and-dummy. He could sell moving pictures to a home for the blind, Mawruss. He could also sell anything he wanted to anybody, Mawruss, for you know as well as I do, Mawruss, Harris Rabin is a first-class, A-number-one salesman. And so, if he wants to sell his house so cheap there's lots of real-estaters what know a bargain in houses when they see it. We don't, Mawruss. We ain't real-estaters. We're in the cloak and suit business, and why should Harris Rabin be looking for us to buy his house?"

"He ain't looking for us, Abe," Morris went on. "That's just the point. I was by Harris Rabin's house last night, and I seen no less than three real-estaters there. They all want that house, Abe, and if they want it, why shouldn't we? Ike Magnus makes Harris an offer of forty-eight thousand five hundred while I was sitting there already, but Harris wants forty-nine for it. I bet yer, Abe, we could get it for forty-eight seven-fifty—three thousand cash above the mortgages."

"I suppose, Mawruss, you got three thousand lying loose around your pants' pocket. What?"

"Three thousand to a firm like us is nothing, Abe. I bet yer I could go in and see Feder of the Kosciusko Bank and get it for the asking. We ain't so poor, Abe, but what we can buy a bargain when we see it."

Abe shrugged his shoulders.

"Well, Mawruss, if I got to hear about Harris Rabin's house for the rest of my life, all right. I'm agreeable, Mawruss; only, don't ask me to go to no lawyers' offices nor nothing, Mawruss. There's enough to do in the store, Mawruss, without both of us loafing around lawyers' offices."

A more grudging acquiescence than this would have satisfied Morris, and, without pausing for a cigar, he put on his hat and made straight for Harris Rabin's place of business. The Equinox Clothing Company of which Harris Rabin was president, board of directors and sole stockholder, occupied the third loft of a building on Walker Street. There was no elevator, and as Morris walked upstairs he encountered Ike Magnus at the first landing.

"Hallo, Mawruss!" Ike cried. "Are you buying clothing now? I thought you was in the cloak and suit business."

"Whatever business I'm in, Ike," Morris replied, "I'm in my own business, Ike; and what is somebody else's business ain't my business, Ike. That's the way I feel about it."

He plodded slowly up the next flight, and there stood Samuel Michaelson, another real-estate operator.

"Ah, Mr. Perlmutter!" Samuel exclaimed. "You get around to see the clothing trade once in a while, too. Ain't it?"

"I get around to see all sorts of trade, Mr. Michaelson," Morris rejoined. "I got to get around and hustle to make a living, Mr. Michaelson, because, Mr. Michaelson, I can't make no living by loafing around street corners and buildings, Mr. Michaelson."

"Don't mention it," said Mr. Michaelson as Morris started up the last flight. When he entered the Equinox Clothing Company's office the clang of the bell drowned out the last words of Marks Henochstein's sentence. Mr. Henochstein, another member of the real-estate fraternity, was in intimate conference with Harris Rabin.

"I think we got him going," he was saying. "My wife seen Mrs. Perlmutter at a Kaffeeklatsch yesterday, and she told her I made you an offer of forty-eight four-fifty for the house. Last night when he came around to your place I told him the house ain't no bargain for any one what ain't a real-estater, y'understand, and he gets quite mad about it. Also, I watched him when Ike Magnus tells you he would give forty-eight five for it, and he turned pale. If he——"

At this juncture the doorbell rang and Morris entered.

"No, siree, sir," Harris Rabin bawled. "Forty-nine thousand is my figure, and that ain't forty-eight nine ninety-nine neither."

Here he recognized Morris Perlmutter with an elaborate start and extended his hand in greeting.

"Hallo, Mawruss," he said. "Them real-estaters pester the life out of a feller. 'Tain't no use your hanging around here, Henochstein," he called in sterner tones. "When I make up my mind I make up my mind, and that's all there is to it."

Henochstein turned in crestfallen silence and passed slowly out of the room.

"Them sharks ain't satisfied that you're giving away a house, Mawruss," Harris went on. "They want it you should let 'em have coupons and trading stamps with it."

"How much did he offer you?" Morris asked.

"Forty-eight five-fifty," Harris Rabin replied. "That feller's got a nerve like a horse."

"Oh, I don't know," Morris murmured. "Forty-eight five-fifty is a good price for the house, Harris."

"Is it?" Harris cried. "Well, maybe you think so, but you ain't such a griterion."

Morris was visibly offended at so harsh a rejoinder.

"I know I ain't, Harris," he said. "If I was I wouldn't be here, Harris. I come here like a friend, not like one of them—them—fellers what you talk about. If it wasn't that my Minnie is such a friend to your daughter Miriam I shouldn't bother myself; but, knowing Alec Goldwasser as I do, and being a friend of yours always up to now, Harris, I come to you and say I will give you forty-eight six hundred for the house, and that is my last word."

Harris Rabin laughed aloud.

"Jokes you are making it, Mawruss," he said. "A joke is a joke, but when a feller got all the trouble what I got it, as you know, Mawruss, he got a hard time seeing a joke, Mawruss."

"That ain't no joke, Harris," Morris replied. "That's an offer, and I can sit right down now and make a memorandum if you want it, and pay you fifty dollars as a binder."

"I'll tell you what I'll do, Mawruss," Harris said. "You raised Henochstein fifty dollars, so I'll come down fifty dollars, and that'll be forty-eight thousand nine hundred and fifty."

He grew suddenly excited and grabbed Morris by the arm.

"Don't let's waste no time about it," he cried. "What's the use of memorandums? We go right away by Henry D. Feldman and fix up the contract."

"Hold on." Morris said with a stare that blended frigidity and surprise in just the right proportions. "I ain't said nothing about forty-eight nine-fifty. What I said was forty-eight six."

"You don't mean that, Mawruss," Harris replied. "You mean forty-eight nine."

Morris saw that the psychological moment had arrived.

"Look-y here, now, Harris," he said. "Forty-eight six from forty-eight nine is three hundred. Ain't it?"

Harris nodded.

"Then," Morris announced, "we'll split the difference and make it forty-eight seven-fifty."

For one thoughtful moment Harris remained silent, and then he clapped his hand into that of Morris.

"Done!" he cried.

Twenty days elapsed, during which Potash & Perlmutter took title to Harris Rabin's house and paid the balance of the purchase price, moieties of which found their way into the pockets of Magnus, Michaelson and Henochstein. At length, the first of the month arrived and Abe and Morris left the store early so that they might collect the rents of their real property.

"I seen the house, Abe, and you seen the house," Morris said as they turned the corner of the crowded East Side street on which their property fronted, "but you can't tell nothing from looking at a property, Abe. When you get the rents, Abe, that's when you find it out that you got a fine property, Abe."

He led the way up the front stoop of the tenement and knocked at the first door on the left-hand side. There was no response.

"They must be out. Ain't it?" Abe suggested.

Morris faced about and knocked on the opposite door, with a similar lack of response.

"I guess they go out to work and lock up their rooms," Morris explained. "We should have came here after seven o'clock."

They walked to the end of the hall and knocked on the door of one of the two rear apartments.

"Come!" said a female voice.

Morris opened the door and they entered.

"We've come for the rent," he said. "Him and me is the new landlords."

The tenant excused herself while she retired to one of the inner rooms and explored her person for the money. Then she handed Morris ten greasy one-dollar bills.

"What's this?" Morris cried. "I thought the rear rooms were fourteen dollars a month. I saw the receipts made out last month."

The tenant grinned fiendishly.

"Sure you did," she replied. "We've been getting all kinds of receipts. Oncet we got a receipt for eighteen dollars, when dere was some vacancies in de house, but one of de syndicate says he'd get some more of dem 'professional' tenants, because it didn't look so good to a feller what comes snooping around for to buy the house, to see such high rents."

"Syndicate?" Abe murmured. "Professional tenants?"

"Sure," the tenant replied. "Dere was four to de syndicate. Magnus was one. Sumpin about a hen was de other, and den dere was dis here Rabin and a guy called Michaelson."

"And what is this about professional tenants?" Morris croaked.

"Oh, dere was twenty-four families in de house, includin' de housekeeper," the tenant replied. "Eighteen of 'em was professionals, and when de syndicate sold youse de house de professionals moved up to a house on Fourt' Street what de syndicate owns."

Abe pulled his hat over his eyes and thrust his hands into his trousers' pockets.

"S'enough, lady," he said; "I heard enough already."

He turned to Morris.

"Yes, Mawruss," he said bitterly. "You're right. There ain't no seasons in real estate nor in suckers neither, Mawruss. You can catch 'em every day in the year, Mawruss. I'm going home, but if you need an express wagon to carry away them rents, Mawruss, there's a livery stable around the corner."

It was at least a week before Abe could bring himself to address his partner, save in the gruffest monosyllables; but an unusual rush of spring customers brought about a reconciliation, and Abe and Morris forgot their real-estate venture in the reception of out-of-town trade. In the conduct of their business Morris devoted himself to manufacturing and shipping the goods, while Abe attended to the selling end. Twice a year Abe made a long trip to the West or South, with shorter trips down East between times, and he never tired of reminding his partner how overworked he, Abe, was.

"I got my hands full, Mawruss," he said, after he had greeted half a dozen Western customers; "I got enough to do here, Mawruss, without running around the country. We ought to do what other houses does, Mawruss. We ought to get a good salesman. We got three thousand dollars to throw away on real estate, Mawruss; why don't we make an investment like Sammet Brothers made it? Why don't we invest in a crackerjack, A-number-one salesman?"

"I ain't stopping you, Abe," Morris replied. "Why don't we? Klinger & Klein has a good boy, Alec Goldwasser. He done a big trade for 'em, Abe, and they don't pay him much, neither."

"Alec Goldwasser!" Abe cried. "I'm surprised to hear you, Mawruss, you should talk that way. We paid Alec Goldwasser enough already, Mawruss. We paid him that two thousand dollars what he got with Miriam Rabin."

Morris looked guilty.

"Ain't I told you yet, Abe?" he said. "I thought I told you."

"You ain't told me nothing," said Abe.

"Why, Alec Goldwasser and Miriam Rabin ain't engaged no longer. The way my Minnie tells me, Rabin says he don't want his daughter should marry a man without a business of his own, so the match is off."

"Well, Mawruss," Abe commented, "you can't make me feel bad by telling me that. But anyhow, I don't see no medals on Alec Goldwasser as a salesman, neither. He ain't such a salesman what we want it, Mawruss."

"All right," Morris replied. "It's you what goes on the road, not me, and you meet all the drummers. Suggest somebody yourself."

Abe pondered for a moment.

"There's Louis Mintz," he said finally. "He works by Sammet Brothers. He's a high-priced man, Mawruss, but he's worth it."

"Sure he's worth it," Morris rejoined, "and he knows it, too. I bet yer he's making five thousand a year by Sammet Brothers."

"I know it," said Abe, "but his contract expires in a month from now, and it ain't no cinch to work for Sammet Brothers, neither, Mawruss. I bet yer Louis' got throat trouble, talking into a customer them garments what Leon Sammet makes up, and Louis' pretty well liked in the trade, too, Mawruss."

"Well, why don't you see him, Abe?"

"I'll tell you the truth, Mawruss," Abe replied. "I did see him. I offered him all what Sammet Brothers gives him, and I told him we make a better line for the price, but it ain't no use. Louis says a salesman's got to work hard anyhow, so he may as well work a little harder, and he says, too, it spoils a man's trade when he makes changes."

Here a customer entered the store and Abe was busy for more than half an hour. At the end of that time the customer departed and Morris returned to the show-room.

"Abe," he said, "I got an idea."

Abe looked up.

"More real estate?" he asked.

"Not more real estate, Abe," Morris corrected, "but the same real estate. When we're stuck we're stuck, Abe, ain't it?"

Abe nodded.

"So I got an idea," Morris went on, "that we go to Louis and tell him we give him the same money what Sammet Brothers give him, only we give him a bonus."

"A bonus!" Abe cried. "How much of a bonus?"

"A big bonus, Abe," Morris replied. "We'll give him the house."

Abe remained silent.

"It'll look big, anyhow," Morris continued.

"Look big!" Abe exclaimed. "It is big. It's three thousand dollars."

"Well, you can't reckon stickers by what they cost," Morris explained. "It's what they'll sell for."

"You're right, Mawruss," Abe commented bitterly. "And that house wouldn't sell for Confederate money. I'll see Louis Mintz to-night."

Abe saw Louis that very evening, and they met by appointment at the store ten days later. In the meantime Louis had inspected the house, and when he entered Potash & Perlmutter's show-room his face wore none too cheerful an expression.

"Well, Louis," Abe cried, "you come to tell us it's all right. Ain't it?"

Louis shook his head.

"Abe," he said, "the old saying is you should never look at a horse's teeth what somebody gives you, but that house is pretty near vacant."

"What of it?" Abe asked. "It's a fine house, ain't it?"

"Sure, it's a fine house," Louis agreed. "But what good is a fine house if you can't rent it? You can't eat it, can you?"

"No," Morris replied, "but you can sell it."

"Well," Louis admitted, "selling houses ain't in my line? Maybe if I knew enough about it I could sell it."

"But there's real-estaters what knows all about selling a house," Morris began.

"You bet there is," Abe interrupted savagely.

"And you could get a real-estater to sell it for you," Morris concluded with malevolent glance at his partner.

Louis consulted a list of the tenants which he had made.

"I'll think it over," he said, "and let you know to-morrow."

The next day he greeted Abe and Morris more cordially.

"I thought it over, Abe," he said, "and I guess it'll be all right."

"Fine!" Abe cried. "Let's go down and see Henry D. Feldman right away."

Just as a congenital dislocation of the hipbone suggests the name of Doctor Lorenz, so the slightest dislocation of the cloak and suit business immediately calls for Henry D. Feldman. No cloak and suit bankruptcy would be complete without his name as attorney, either for the petitioning creditors or the bankrupt, and no action for breach of contract of employment on the part of a designer or a salesman could successfully go to the jury unless Henry D. Feldman wept crocodile tears over the summing up of the plaintiff's case.

In the art of drawing agreements relative to the cloak and suit trade in all its phases of buying, selling, employing or renting, he was a virtuoso, and his income was that of six Supreme Court judges rolled into one. For the rest, he was of impressive, clean-shaven appearance, and he was of the opinion that a liberal sprinkling of Latin phrases rendered his conversation more pleasing to his clients.

Louis and Abe were ushered into his office only after half an hour's waiting at the end of a line of six clients, and they wasted no time in stating their business.

"Mr. Feldman," Abe murmured, "this is Mr. Louis Mintz what comes to work by us as a salesman."

"Mr. Mintz," Mr. Feldman said, "you are to be congratulated. Potash & Perlmutter have a reputation in the trade nulli secundum, and it is generally admitted that the goods they produce are summa cum laude."

"We make fall and winter goods, too," Abe explained. "All kinds of garments, Mr. Feldman. I don't want to give Louis no wrong impression. He's got to handle lightweights as well as heavyweights, too."

Mr. Feldman stared blankly at Abe and then continued: "No doubt you have quite settled on the terms."

"We've talked it all over," said Louis, "and this is what it is."

He then specified the salary and commission to be paid, and engaged Mr. Feldman to draw the deed for the tenement house.

"And how long is this contract to last?" Feldman asked.

"For five years," Abe replied.

"Five years nothing," said Louis. "I wouldn't work for no one on a five years' contract. One year is what I want it."

"One year!" Abe cried. "Why, Louis, that ain't no way to talk. In one year you'd just about get well enough acquainted with our trade—of course, I'm only talking, y'understand—to cop it out for some other house what would pay you a couple of hundred more. No, Louis, I think it ought to be for five years."

"Of course, if you think I'm the kind what takes a job to cop out the firm's trade, Abe," Louis commenced, "why——"

"I'm only saying for the sake of argument," Abe hastened to explain. "I'll tell you what I'll do, Louis: I'll make it two years, and at the end of that time if you want to quit you can do it; only, you should agree not to work as salesman for no other house for the space of one year afterward or you can go on working for us for one year afterward. How's that?"

"I think that's eminently fair," Mr. Feldman broke in hurriedly. "You can't refuse those terms, Mr. Mintz. Mr. Potash will sign for his partner, I apprehend, and then Mr. Perlmutter will be bound under the principle of qui fecit per alium fecit per se."

No one could stand up against such a flood of Latin, and Louis nodded.

"All right," he said. "Let her go that way."

Mr. Feldman immediately rang for a stenographer.

"Come back to-morrow at four o'clock," he said. "I shall send a clerk with the deed to be signed by Mrs. Potash and Mrs. Perlmutter to-night."

The next afternoon, at half an hour after the appointed time, the contract was executed and the deed delivered to Louis Mintz, and on the first of the following month Louis entered upon his new employment.

Louis' first season with his new employers was fraught with good results for Potash & Perlmutter, who reaped large profits from Louis' salesmanship; but for Louis it had been somewhat disappointing.

"I never see nothing like it," he complained to Abe. "That tenement house is like a summer hotel—people coming and going all the time; and every time a tenant moves yet I got to pay for painting and repapering the rooms. You certainly stuck me good on that house."

"Stuck you!" Abe cried. "We didn't stuck you, Louis. We just give you the house as a bonus. If it don't rent well, Louis, you ought to sell it."

"Don't I know I ought to sell it?" Louis cried; "but who's going to buy it? Real-estater after real-estater comes to look at it, and it all amounts to nix. They wouldn't take the house for the mortgages."

For nearly a year and a half Louis and Abe repeated this conversation every time Louis came back from the road, and on the days when Louis paid interest on mortgages and premiums on fire insurance he grew positively tearful.

"Why don't you pay me what I am short from paying carrying charges on that property?" Louis asked one day. "And I'll give you the house back."

Abe laughed.

"You should make that proposition to the feller what sold us the house," Abe said jocularly.

"Any one what sold that house once, Abe," Louis rejoined, "don't want it back again."

At length, when Louis was absent on a business trip some three months before the expiration of his contract, Abe approached Morris in the show-room and mooted the subject of taking back the house.

"That house is a sticker, Mawruss," he said, "and we certainly shouldn't let Louis suffer by it. The boy done well by us, and we don't want to lose him."

"Well, Abe," Morris replied, "the way I look at it, we should wait till his time is pretty near up. Maybe he will renew the contract without our taking back the house, Abe; but if the worst comes to the worst, Abe, we give him what he spent on the house and take it back, providing he renews the contract for a couple of years. Ain't it?"

Abe nodded doubtfully.

"Maybe you're right, Mawruss," he said; "but the boy done good for us, Mawruss. We made it a big profit by him this year already, and I don't want him to think that we ain't doing the right thing by him."

"Since when was you so soft-hearted, Abe?" Morris asked satirically; and when Louis came back from the road, a week later, no mention was made of the house until Louis himself broached the topic.

"Look'y here, Abe," Louis said, "what are you going to do for me about that house? Counting the rent I collected and the money I laid out for carrying charges, I'm in the hole eight hundred and fifty dollars already."

"Do for you, Louis!" Morris replied. "Why, what can we do for you? Why don't you fix it up like this, Louis? Why don't you make one last campaign among the real-estaters, and then if you don't succeed maybe we can do something."

"That's right, Louis," Abe said. "Just try it and see what comes of it."

Then Abe handed Louis a cigar and dismissed the subject, which never again arose until Louis was on his final trip.

"Ain't it funny, Mawruss," Abe said, the morning of Louis' expected return—"ain't it funny he ain't mentioned that house to us since we spoke to him the last time he was home?"

"I know it," Morris replied, "but you needn't worry, Abe. It says in the contract that Louis can't take a job as salesman with any other house till one year is up, and the boy can't afford to stay loafing around for a whole year."

Abe nodded, and as he turned to look up the contract in the safe the store door opened and Louis himself entered.

"Hallo, Louis," Abe cried. "Glad to see you, Louis. Another good trip?"

Louis nodded, and they all passed into the show-room.

"Well, you're going to make many more of them for us before you're through, Louis," Abe said.

Louis grunted, and Abe and Morris exchanged disquieting glances.

"You know, Louis," Morris said in the dulcet accents of the sucking dove, "your contract is up next week, and Abe and me was talking about it the other day, Louis, and about the house, too, and we says we should do something about that house, Louis, and so we'll make another contract for about, say, three years, and we'll fix it up about the house when we all sign the contract, Louis. We meant to take back the house all the time, Louis. We was only kidding you along, Louis," he continued.

"So you was only kidding me along when you told me to see them real-estaters, hey?" Louis demanded.

"Sure," Abe and Morris replied.

"Then you was the ones what got kidded," Louis said, "for the last time I was in town I took your advice. Do you know a feller called Michaelson? And two other fellers by the name of Henochstein and Magnus?"

Abe nodded.

"Well, them three fellers took that house off of my hands and paid me six hundred dollars to boot, over and above the seven hundred and fifty I sunk in it."

Abe and Morris puffed vigorously at their cigars.

"And what's more," Louis went on, "they introduced me to Harris Rabin, of the Equinox Clothing Company. I guess you know him, too, don't you?"

Morris admitted sullenly that he did.

"He's got a daughter, Miss Miriam Rabin," Louis concluded. "Her and me is going to announce our engagement in next Sunday's Herald."

He paused and watched Morris and Abe, to see the news sink in.

"And as soon as we're married," he said, "back to the road for mine, but not with Potash & Perlmutter."

"I guess you're mistaken, Louis," Abe cried. "I guess you got a contract with us what will stop you going on the road for another year yet."

"Back up, Abe," Louis said. "That there contract says I can't work as a salesman for any other house for a year. But Rabin and me is going as partners together in the cloak and suit business, and if there's anything in that contract about me not selling cloaks as my own boss I'll eat it."

Abe went to the safe for the contract. At last he found it, and after reading it over he handed it to Morris.

"You eat it, Mawruss," he said. "Louis is right."


"After all, Mawruss," Abe declared as he glanced over the columns of the Daily Cloak and Suit Record, "after all a feller feels more satisfied when he could see the customers himself and find out just exactly how they do business, y'understand. Maybe the way we lost Louis Mintz wasn't such a bad thing anyhow, Mawruss. I bet yer if Louis would of been selling goods for us, Mawruss, we would of been in that Cohen & Schondorf business too. Me, I am different, Mawruss. So soon as I went in that store, Mawruss, I could see that them fellers was in bad. I'm very funny that way, Mawruss."

"You shouldn't throw no bouquets at yourself because you got a little luck, Abe," Morris commented.

"Some people calls it luck, Mawruss, but I call it judgment, y'understand."

"Sure, I know," Morris continued, "but how about Hymie Kotzen, Abe? Always you said it that feller got lots of judgment, Abe."

"A feller could got so much judgment as Andrew Carnegie," Abe retorted, "and oncet in a while he could play in hard luck too. Yes, Mawruss, Hymie Kotzen is certainly playing in hard luck."

"Is he?" Morris Perlmutter replied. "Well, he don't look it when I seen him in the Harlem Winter Garden last night, Abe. Him and Mrs. Kotzen was eating a family porterhouse between 'em with tchampanyer wine yet."

"Well, Mawruss," Abe said, "he needs it tchampanyer wine, Mawruss. Last month I seen it he gets stung two thousand by Cohen & Schondorf, and to-day he's chief mourner by the Ready Pay Store, Barnet Fischman proprietor. Barney stuck him for fifteen hundred, Mawruss, so I guess he needs it tchampanyer wine to cheer him up."

"Well, maybe he needs it diamonds to cheer him up, also, Abe," Morris added. "That feller got diamonds on him, Abe, like 'lectric lights on the front of a moving-picture show."

"Diamonds never harmed nobody's credit, Mawruss," Abe rejoined. "You can get your money out of diamonds most any time, Mawruss. I see by the papers diamonds increase in price thirty per cent. in six months already. Yes, Mawruss, diamonds goes up every day."

"And so does the feller what wears 'em, Abe," Morris went on. "In fact, the way that Hymie Kotzen does business I shouldn't be surprised if he goes up any day, too. Andrew Carnegie couldn't stand it the failures what that feller gets into, Abe."

"That's just hard luck, Mawruss," Abe replied; "and if he wears it diamonds, Mawruss, he paid for 'em himself, Mawruss, and he's got a right to wear 'em. So far what I hear it, Mawruss, he never stuck nobody for a cent."

"Oh, Hymie ain't no crook, Abe," Morris admitted, "but I ain't got no use for a feller wearing diamonds. Diamonds looks good on women, Abe, and maybe also on a hotel-clerk or a feller what runs a restaurant, Abe, but a business man ain't got no right wearing diamonds."

"Of course, Mawruss, people's got their likes and dislikes," Abe said; "but all the same I seen it many a decent, respectable feller with a good business, Abe, what wants a little accommodation at his bank. But he gets turned down just because he goes around looking like a slob; while a feller what can't pay his own laundry bill, Mawruss, has no trouble getting a thousand dollars because the second vice-president is buffaloed already by a stovepipe hat, a Prince Albert coat and a four-carat stone with a flaw in it."

"Well, a four-carat stone wouldn't affect me none, Abe," Morris said, "and believe me, Abe, Hymie Kotzen's diamonds don't worry me none, neither. All I'm troubling about now is that I got an appetite like a horse, so I guess I'll go to lunch."

Abe jumped to his feet. "Give me a chance oncet in a while, Mawruss," he protested. "Every day comes half-past twelve you got to go to your lunch. Ain't I got no stomach, neither, Mawruss?"

"Oh, go ahead if you want to," Morris grumbled, "only don't stay all day, Abe. Remember there's other people wants to eat, too, Abe."

"I guess the shoe pinches on the other foot now, Mawruss," Abe retorted as he put on his hat. "When I get through eating I'll be back."

He walked across the street to Wasserbauer's Cafe and Restaurant and seated himself at his favorite table.

"Well, Mr. Potash," Louis, the waiter, cried, dusting off the tablecloth with a red-and-white towel, "some nice Metzelsuppe to-day, huh?"

"No, Louis," Abe replied as he took a dill pickle from a dishful on the table, "I guess I won't have no soup to-day. Give me some gedaempftes Kalbfleisch mit Kartoffelkloesse."

"Right away quick, Mr. Potash," said Louis, starting to hurry away.

"Ain't I nobody here, Louis?" cried a bass voice at the table behind Abe. "Do I sit here all day?"

"Ex-cuse me, Mr. Kotzen," Louis exclaimed. "Some nice roast chicken to-day, Mr. Kotzen?"

"I'll tell you what I want it, Louis, not you me," Mr. Kotzen grunted. "If I want to eat it roast chicken I'll say so. If I don't I won't."

"Sure, sure," Louis cried, rubbing his hands in a perfect frenzy of apology.

"Gimme a Schweizerkaese sandwich and a cup of coffee," Mr. Kotzen concluded, "and if you don't think you can bring it back here in half an hour, Louis, let me know, that's all, and I'll ask Wasserbauer if he can help you out."

Abe had started on his second dill pickle, and he held it in his hand as he turned around in his chair. "Hallo, Hymie," he said; "ain't you feeling good to-day?"

"Oh, hallo, Abe," Kotzen cried, glancing over; "why don't you come over and sit at my table?"

"I guess I will," Abe replied. He rose to his feet with his napkin tucked into his collar and, carrying the dish of dill pickles with him, he moved over to Kotzen's table.

"What's the matter, Hymie?" Abe asked. "You ain't sick, are you?"

"That depends what you call it sick, Abe," Hymie replied. "I don't got to see no doctor exactly, Abe, if that's what you mean. But that Sam Feder by the Kosciusko Bank, I was over to see him just now, and I bet you he makes me sick."

"I thought you always got along pretty good with Sam, Hymie," Abe mumbled through a mouthful of dill pickle.

"So I do," said Hymie; "but he heard it something about this here Ready Pay Store and how I'm in it for fifteen hundred, and also this Cohen & Schondorf sticks me also, and he's getting anxious. So, either he wants me I should give him over a couple of accounts, or either I should take up some of my paper. Well, you know Feder, Abe. He don't want nothing but A Number One concerns, and then he got the bank's lawyer what is his son-in-law, De Witt C. Feinholz, that he should draw up the papers; and so it goes. I got it bills receivable due the first of the month, five thousand dollars from such people like Heller, Blumenkrohn & Co., of Cincinnati, and The Emporium, Duluth, all gilt-edge accounts, Abe, and why should I lose it twenty per cent. on them, ain't it?"

"Sure," Abe murmured.

"Well, that's what I told Feder," Hymie went on. "If I got to take up a couple of thousand dollars I'll do it. But running a big plant like I got it, Abe, naturally it makes me a little short."

"Naturally," Abe agreed. He scented what was coming.

"But anyhow, I says to Feder, I got it lots of friends in the trade, and I ain't exactly broke yet, neither, Abe."

He lifted his Swiss-cheese sandwich in his left hand, holding out the third finger the better to display a five-carat stone, while Abe devoted himself to his veal.

"Of course, Abe," Hymie continued, "on the first of the month—that's only two weeks already—things will be running easy for me."

He looked at Abe for encouragement, but Abe's facial expression was completely hidden by veal stew, fragments of which were clinging to his eyebrows.

"But, naturally, I'm at present a little short," Hymie croaked, "and so I thought maybe you could help me out with, say a thousand dollars till the first of the month, say."

Abe laid down his knife and fork and massaged his face with his napkin.

"For my part, Hymie," he said, "you should have it in a minute. I know it you are good as gold, and if you say that you will pay on the first of the month a U-nited States bond ain't no better."

He paused impressively and laid a hand on Hymie's knee.

"Only, Hymie," he concluded, "I got it a partner. Ain't it? And you know Mawruss Perlmutter, Hymie. He's a pretty hard customer, Hymie, and if I was to draw you the firm's check for a thousand, Hymie, that feller would have a receiver by the court to-morrow morning already. He's a holy terror, Hymie, believe me."

Hymie sipped gloomily at his coffee.

"But Mawruss Perlmutter was always a pretty good friend of mine, Abe," he said. "Why shouldn't he be willing to give it me if you are agreeable? Ain't it? And, anyhow, Abe, it can't do no harm to ask him."

"Well, Hymie, he's over at the store now," Abe replied. "Go ahead and ask him."

"I know it what he'd say if I ask him, Abe. He'd tell me I should see you; but you say I should see him, and then I'm up in the air. Ain't it?"

Abe treated himself to a final rubdown with the napkin and scrambled to his feet.

"All right, Hymie," he said. "If you want me I should ask him I'll ask him."

"Remember, Abe," Hymie said as Abe turned away, "only till the first, so sure what I'm sitting here. I'll ring you up in a quarter of an hour."

When Abe entered the firm's show-room five minutes later he found Morris consuming the last of some crullers and coffee brought in from a near-by bakery by Jake, the shipping clerk.

"Well, Abe, maybe you think that's a joke you should keep me here a couple of hours already," Morris said.

"Many a time I got to say that to you already, Mawruss," Abe rejoined. "But, anyhow, I didn't eat it so much, Mawruss. It was Hymie Kotzen what keeps me."

"Hymie Kotzen!" Morris cried. "What for should he keep you, Abe? Blows you to some tchampanyer wine, maybe?"

"Tchampanyer he ain't drinking it to-day, Mawruss, I bet yer," Abe replied. "He wants to lend it from us a thousand dollars."

Morris laughed raucously.

"What a chance!" he said.

"Till the first of the month, Mawruss," Abe continued, "and I thought maybe we would let him have it."

Morris ceased laughing and glared at Abe.

"Tchampanyer you must have been drinking it, Abe," he commented.

"Why shouldn't we let him have it, Mawruss?" Abe demanded. "Hymie's a good feller, Mawruss, and a smart business man, too."

"Is he?" Morris yelled. "Well, he ain't smart enough to keep out of failures like Barney Fischman's and Cohen & Schondorf's, Abe, but he's too smart to lend it us a thousand dollars, supposing we was short for a couple of days. No, Abe, I heard it enough about Hymie Kotzen already. I wouldn't positively not lend him nothing, Abe, and that's flat."

To end the discussion effectually he went to the cutting-room upstairs and remained there when Hymie rang up.

"It ain't no use, Hymie," Abe said. "Mawruss wouldn't think of it. We're short ourselves. You've no idee what trouble we got it with some of our collections."

"But, Abe," Hymie protested, "I got to have the money. I promised Feder I would give it him this afternoon."

Abe remained silent.

"I tell you what I'll do, Abe," Hymie insisted; "I'll come around and see you."

"It won't be no use, Hymie," Abe said, but Central was his only auditor, for Hymie had hung up the receiver. Indeed, Abe had hardly returned to the show-room before Hymie entered the store door.

"Where's Mawruss?" he asked.

"Up in the cutting-room," Abe replied.

"Good!" Hymie cried. "Now look'y here, Abe, I got a proposition to make it to you."

He tugged at the diamond ring on the third finger of his left hand and laid it on a sample-table. Then from his shirt-bosom he unscrewed a miniature locomotive headlight, which he deposited beside the ring.

"See them stones, Abe?" he continued. "They costed it me one thousand three hundred dollars during the panic already, and to-day I wouldn't take two thousand for 'em. Now, Abe, you sit right down and write me out a check for a thousand dollars, and so help me I should never stir out of this here office, Abe, if I ain't on the spot with a thousand dollars in hand two weeks from to-day, Abe, you can keep them stones, settings and all."

Abe's eyes fairly bulged out of his head as he looked at the blazing diamonds.

"But, Hymie," he exclaimed, "I don't want your diamonds. If I had it the money myself, Hymie, believe me, you are welcome to it like you was my own brother."

"I know all about that, Abe," Hymie replied, "but you ain't Mawruss, and if you got such a regard for me what you claim you have, Abe, go upstairs and ask Mawruss Perlmutter will he do it me the favor and let me have that thousand dollars with the stones as security."

Without further parley Abe turned and left the show-room.

"Mawruss," he called from the foot of the stairs, "come down here once. I want to show you something."

In the meantime Hymie pulled down the shades and turned on the electric lights. Then he took a swatch of black velveteen from his pocket and arranged it over the sample-table with the two gems in its folds.

"Hymie Kotzen is inside the show-room," Abe explained when Morris appeared in answer to his summons.

"Well, what have I got to do with Hymie Kotzen?" Morris demanded.

"Come inside and speak to him, Mawruss," Abe rejoined. "He won't eat you."

"Maybe you think I'm scared to turn him down, Abe?" Morris concluded as he led the way to the show-room. "Well, I'll show you different."

"Hallo, Mawruss," Hymie cried. "What's the good word?"

Morris grunted an inarticulate greeting.

"What you got all the shades down for, Abe?" he asked.

"Don't touch 'em," Hymie said. "Just you have a look at this sample-table first."

Hymie seized Morris by the arm and turned him around until he faced the velveteen.

"Ain't them peaches, Mawruss?" he asked.

Morris stared at the diamonds, almost hypnotized by their brilliancy.

"Them stones belong to you, Mawruss," Hymie went on, "if I don't pay you inside of two weeks the thousand dollars what you're going to lend me."

"We ain't going to lend you no thousand dollars, Hymie," Morris said at last, "because we ain't got it to lend. We need it in our own business, Hymie, and, besides, you got the wrong idee. We ain't no pawnbrokers, Hymie; we are in the cloak and suit business."

"Hymie knows it all about that, Mawruss," Abe broke in, "and he shows he ain't no crook, neither. If he's willing to trust you with them diamonds, Mawruss, we should be willing to trust him with a thousand dollars. Ain't it?"

"He could trust me with the diamonds, Abe, because I ain't got no use for diamonds," Morris replied. "If anyone gives me diamonds that I should take care of it into the safe they go. I ain't a person what sticks diamonds all over myself, Abe, and I don't buy no tchampanyer wine one day and come around trying to lend it from people a thousand dollars the next day, Abe."

"It was my wife's birthday," Hymie explained; "and if I got to spend it my last cent, Mawruss, I always buy tchampanyer on my wife's birthday."

"All right, Hymie," Morris retorted; "if you think it so much of your wife, lend it from her a thousand dollars."

"Make an end, make an end," Abe cried; "I hear it enough already. Put them diamonds in the safe and we give Hymie a check for a thousand dollars."

Morris shrugged his shoulders.

"All right, Abe," he said. "Do what you please, but remember what I tell it you now. I don't know nothing about diamonds and I don't care nothing about diamonds, and if it should be that we got to keep it the diamonds I don't want nothing to do with them. All I want it is my share of the thousand dollars."

He turned on his heel and banged the show-room door behind him, while Abe pulled up the shades and Hymie turned off the lights.

"That's a fine crank for you, Abe," Hymie exclaimed.

Abe said nothing, but sat down and wrote out a check for a thousand dollars.

"I hope them diamonds is worth it," he murmured, handing the check to Hymie.

"If they ain't," Hymie replied as he made for the door, "I'll eat 'em, Abe, and I ain't got too good a di-gestion, neither."

At intervals of fifteen minutes during the remainder of the afternoon Morris visited the safe and inspected the diamonds until Abe was moved to criticise his partner's behavior.

"Them diamonds ain't going to run away, Mawruss."

"Maybe they will, Abe," Morris replied, "if we leave the safe open and people comes in and out all the time."

"So far, nobody ain't took nothing out of that safe, Mawruss," Abe retorted; "but if you want to lock the safe I'm agreeable."

"What for should we lock the safe?" Morris asked. "We are all the time getting things out of it what we need. Ain't it? A better idee I got it, Abe, is that you should put on the ring and I will wear the pin, or you wear the pin and I will put on the ring."

"No, siree, Mawruss," Abe replied. "If I put it on a big pin like that and I got to take it off again in a week's time might I would catch a cold on my chest, maybe. Besides, I ain't built for diamonds, Mawruss. So, you wear 'em both, Mawruss."

Morris forced a hollow laugh.

"Me wear 'em, Abe!" he exclaimed. "No, siree, Abe, I'm not the kind what wears diamonds. I leave that to sports like Hymie Kotzen."

Nevertheless, he placed the ring on the third finger of his left hand, with the stone turned in, and carefully wrapping up the pin in tissue-paper he placed it in his waistcoat pocket. The next day was Wednesday, and he screwed the pin into his shirt-front underneath a four-in-hand scarf. On Thursday he wore the ring with the stone exposed, and on Friday he discarded the four-in-hand scarf for a bow tie and shamelessly flaunted both ring and pin.

"Mawruss," Abe commented on Saturday, "must you stick out your little finger when you smoke it a cigar?"

"Habits what I was born with, Abe," Morris replied. "I can't help it none."

"Maybe you was born with a diamond ring on your little finger. What?" Abe jeered.

Morris glared at his partner.

"If you think that I enjoy it wearing that ring, Abe," he declared, "you are much mistaken. You got us to take these here diamonds, Abe, and if they got stole on us, Abe, we are not only out the thousand dollars, but we would also got to pay it so much more as Hymie Kotzen would sue us for in the courts. I got to wear this here ring, Abe, and that's all there is to it."

He walked away to the rear of the store with the air of a martyr, while Abe gazed after him in silent admiration.

Two weeks sped quickly by, during which Morris safeguarded the diamonds with the utmost zest and enjoyment, and at length the settling day arrived. Morris was superintending the unpacking of piece goods in the cutting-room when Abe darted upstairs.

"Mawruss," he hissed, "Hymie Kotzen is downstairs."

By a feat of legerdemain that a conjurer might have envied, Morris transferred the pin and ring to his waistcoat pocket and followed Abe to the show-room.

"Well, Hymie," Morris cried, "we thought you would be prompt on the day. Ain't it?"

Hymie smiled a sickly smirk in which there was as little mirth as there was friendliness.

"You got another think coming," Hymie replied.

"What d'ye mean?" Morris exclaimed.

"I'm up against it, boys," Hymie explained. "I expected to get it a check for two thousand from Heller, Blumenkrohn this morning."

"And didn't it come?" Abe asked.

"Sure it come," Hymie replied, "but it was only sixteen hundred and twenty dollars. They claim it three hundred and eighty dollars for shortage in delivery, so I returned 'em the check."

"You returned 'em the check, Hymie?" Morris cried. "And we got to wait for our thousand dollars because you made it a shortage in delivery."

"I didn't make no shortage in delivery," Hymie declared.

"Well, Hymie," Abe broke in, "you say it yourself Heller, Blumenkrohn is gilt-edge, A Number One people. They ain't going to claim no shortage if there wasn't none, Hymie."

"I guess you don't know Louis Blumenkrohn, Abe," Hymie retorted. "He claims it shortage before he unpacks the goods already."

"Well, what has that got to do with us, Hymie?" Morris burst out.

"You see how it is, boys," Hymie explained; "so I got to ask it you a couple of weeks' extension."

"A couple of weeks' extension is nix, Hymie," Abe said, and Morris nodded his head in approval.

"Either you give it us the thousand, Hymie," was Morris' ultimatum, "or either we keep the diamonds, and that's all there is to it."

"Now, Mawruss," Hymie protested, "you ain't going to shut down on me like that! Make it two weeks more and I'll give you a hundred dollars bonus and interest at six per cent."

Abe shook his head. "No, Hymie," he said firmly, "we ain't no loan sharks. If you got to get that thousand dollars to-day you will manage it somehow. So that's the way it stands. We keep open here till six o'clock, Hymie, and the diamonds will be waiting for you as soon so you bring us the thousand dollars. That's all."

There was a note of finality in Abe's tones that made Hymie put on his hat and leave without another word.

"Yes, Abe," Morris commented as the door closed behind Hymie, "so liberal you must be with my money. Ain't I told you from the very start that feller is a lowlife? Tchampanyer he must drink it on his wife's birthday, Abe, and also he got to wear it diamonds, Abe, when he ain't got enough money to pay his laundry bill yet."

"I ain't worrying, Mawruss," Abe replied. "He ain't going to let us keep them diamonds for a thousand dollars, Mawruss. They're worth a whole lot more as that, Mawruss."

"I don't know how much they're worth, Abe," Morris grunted, putting on his hat, "but one thing I do know; I'm going across the street to get a shave; and then I'm going right down to Sig Pollak on Maiden Lane, Abe, and I'll find out just how much they are worth."

A moment later he descended the basement steps into the barber-shop under Wasserbauer's Cafe and Restaurant.

"Hallo, Mawruss," a voice cried from the proprietor's chair. "Ain't it a hot weather?"

It was Sam Feder, vice-president of the Kosciusko Bank, who spoke. He was midway in the divided enjoyment of a shampoo and a large black cigar, while an electric fan oscillated over his head.

"I bet yer it's hot, Mr. Feder," Morris agreed, taking off his coat.

"Why don't you take your vest off, too, Mawruss?" Sam Feder suggested.

"That's a good idee," Morris replied, peeling off his waistcoat. He hung it next to his coat and relapsed with a sigh into the nearest vacant chair.

"Just once around, Phil," he said to the barber, and closed his eyes for a short nap.

When he woke up ten minutes later Phil was spraying him with witch-hazel while the proprietor stood idly in front of the mirror and curled his flowing black mustache.

"Don't take it so particular, Phil," Morris enjoined. "I ain't got it all day to sit here in this chair."

"All right, Mr. Perlmutter, all right," Phil cried, and in less than three minutes, powdered, oiled and combed, Morris climbed out of the chair. His coat was in waiting, held by a diminutive Italian brushboy, but Morris waved his hand impatiently.

"My vest," he demanded. "I don't put my coat on under my vest."

The brushboy turned to the vacant row of hooks.

"No gotta da vest," he said.

"What!" Morris gasped.

"You didn't have no vest on, did you, Mr. Perlmutter?" the proprietor asked.

"Sure I had a vest," Morris cried. "Where is it?"

On the wall hung a sign which advised customers to check their clothing with the cashier or no responsibility would be assumed by the management, and it was to this notice that the proprietor pointed before answering.

"I guess somebody must have pinched it," he replied nonchalantly.

It was not until two hours after the disappearance of his waistcoat that Morris returned to the store. In the meantime he had been to police headquarters and had inserted an advertisement in three daily newspapers. Moreover he had consulted a lawyer, the eminent Henry D. Feldman, and had received no consolation either on the score of the barber's liability to Potash & Perlmutter or of his own liability to Kotzen.

"Well, Mawruss," Abe said, "how much are them diamonds worth?"

Then he looked up and for the first time saw his partner's haggard face.

"Holy smokes!" he cried. "They're winder-glass."

Morris shook his head. "I wish they was," he croaked.

"You wish they was!" Abe repeated in accents of amazement. "What d'ye mean?"

"Somebody pinched 'em on me," Morris replied.

"What!" Abe shouted.

"S-sh," Morris hissed as the door opened. It was Hymie Kotzen who entered.

"Well, boys," he cried, "every cloud is silver-plated. Ain't it? No sooner did I get back to my store than I get a letter from Henry D. Feldman that Cohen & Schondorf want to settle for forty cents cash. On the head of that, mind you, in comes Rudolph Heller from Cincinnati, and when I tell him about the check what they sent it me he fixes it up on the spot."

He beamed at Abe and Morris.

"So, bring out them diamonds, boys," he concluded, "and we'll settle up C. O. D."

He pulled a roll of bills from his pocket and toyed with them, but neither Abe nor Morris stirred.

"What's the hurry, Hymie?" Abe asked feebly.

"What's the hurry, Abe!" Hymie repeated. "Well, ain't that a fine question for you to ask it of me! Don't sit there like a dummy, Abe. Get the diamonds and we'll fix it up."

"But wouldn't to-morrow do as well?" Morris asked.

Hymie sat back and eyed Morris suspiciously.

"What are you trying to do, Mawruss?" he asked. "Make jokes with me?"

"I ain't making no jokes, Hymie," Morris replied. "The fact is, Hymie, we got it the diamonds, now—in our—now—safety-deposit box, and it ain't convenient to get at it now."

"Oh, it ain't, ain't it?" Hymie cried. "Well, it's got to be convenient; so, Abe, you get a move on you and go down to them safety-deposit vaults and fetch them."

"Let Mawruss fetch 'em," Abe replied wearily. "The safety deposit is his idee, Hymie, not mine."

Hymie turned to Morris. "Go ahead, Mawruss," he said, "you fetch 'em."

"I was only stringing you, Hymie," Morris croaked. "We ain't got 'em in no safety-deposit vault at all."

"That settles it," Hymie cried, jumping to his feet and jamming his hat down with both hands.

"Where you going, Hymie?" Abe called after him.

"For a policeman," Hymie said. "I want them diamonds and I'm going to have 'em, too."

Morris ran to the store door and grabbed Hymie by the coattails.

"Wait a minute," he yelled. "Hymie, I'm surprised at you that you should act that way."

Hymie stopped short.

"I ain't acting, Mawruss," he said. "It's you what's acting. All I want it is you should give me my ring and pin, and I am satisfied to pay you the thousand dollars."

They returned to the show-room and once more sat down.

"I'll tell you the truth, Hymie," Morris said at last. "I loaned them diamonds to somebody, and that's the way it is."

"You loaned 'em to somebody!" Hymie cried, jumping once more to his feet. "My diamonds you loaned it, Mawruss? Well, all I got to say is either you get them diamonds back right away, or either I will call a policeman and make you arrested."

"Make me arrested, then, Hymie," Morris replied resignedly, "because the feller what I loaned them diamonds to won't return 'em for two weeks anyhow."

Hymie sat down again.

"For two weeks, hey?" he said. He passed his handkerchief over his face and looked at Abe.

"That's a fine, nervy partner what you got it, Abe, I must say," he commented.

"Well, Hymie," Abe replied, "so long as you can't get them diamonds back for two weeks keep the thousand dollars for two weeks and we won't charge you no interest nor nothing."

"No, siree," Hymie said; "either I pay you the thousand now, Abe, or I don't pay it you for three months, and no interest nor nothing."

Abe looked at Morris, who nodded his head slowly.

"What do we care, Abe," he said, "two weeks or three months is no difference now, ain't it?"

"I'm agreeable, then, Hymie," Abe declared.

"All right," Hymie said eagerly; "put it down in writing and sign it, and I am satisfied you should keep the diamonds three months."

Abe sat down at his desk and scratched away for five minutes.

"Here it is, Hymie," he said at last. "Hyman Kotzen and Potash & Perlmutter agrees it that one thousand dollars what he lent it off of them should not be returned for three months from date, no interest nor nothing. And also, that Potash & Perlmutter should not give up the diamonds, neither. POTASH & PERLMUTTER."

"That's all right," Hymie said. He folded the paper into his pocketbook and turned to Morris.

"Also it is understood, Mawruss, you shouldn't lend them diamonds to nobody else," he concluded, and a minute later the store door closed behind him.

After he had gone there was an ominous silence which Abe was the first to break.

"Well, Mawruss," he said, "ain't that a fine mess you got us into it? Must you wore it them diamonds, Mawruss? Why couldn't you leave 'em in the safe?"

Morris made no answer.

"Or if you had to lose 'em, Mawruss," Abe went on, "why didn't you done it the day we loaned Hymie the money? Then we could of stopped our check by the bank. Now we can do nothing."

"I didn't lose the diamonds, Abe," Morris protested. "I left 'em in my vest in the barber-shop and somebody took it the vest."

"Well, ain't you got no suspicions, Mawruss?" Abe asked. "Think, Mawruss, who was it took the vest?"

Morris raised his head and was about to reply when the store door opened and Sam Feder, vice-president of the Kosciusko Bank, entered bearing a brown paper parcel under his arm.

A personal visit from so well-known a financier covered Abe with embarrassment, and he jumped to his feet and rushed out of the show-room with both arms outstretched.

"Mr. Feder," he exclaimed, "ain't this indeed a pleasure? Come inside, Mr. Feder. Come inside into our show-room."

He brought out a seat for the vice-president and dusted it carefully.

"I ain't come to see you, Abe," Mr. Feder said; "I come to see that partner of yours."

He untied the string that bound the brown paper parcel and pulled out its contents.

"Why!" Morris gasped. "That's my vest."

"Sure it is," Mr. Feder replied, "and it just fits me, Mawruss. In fact, it fits me so good that when I went to the barber-shop in a two-piece suit this morning, Mawruss, I come away with a three-piece suit and a souvenir besides."

"A souvenir!" Abe cried. "What for a souvenir?"

Mr. Feder put his hand in his trousers pocket and tumbled the missing ring and pin on to a baize-covered sample table.

"That was the souvenir, Abe," he said. "In fact, two souvenirs."

Morris and Abe stared at the diamonds, too stunned for utterance.

"You're a fine feller, Mawruss," Mr. Feder continued, "to be carrying around valuable stones like them in your vest pocket. Why, I showed them stones to a feller what was in my office an hour ago and he says they must be worth pretty near five hundred dollars."

He paused and looked at Morris.

"And he was a pretty good judge of diamonds, too," he continued.

"Who was the feller, Mr. Feder?" Abe asked.

"I guess you know, Abe," Mr. Feder replied. "His name is Hymie Kotzen."


"Max Fried, of the A La Mode Store, was in here a few minutes since, Mawruss," said Abe Potash, to his partner, Morris Perlmutter, after the latter had returned from lunch one busy August day, "and bought a couple of hundred of them long Trouvilles. He also wanted something to ask it of us as a favor, Mawruss."

"Sixty days is long enough, Abe," said Morris, on the principle of "once bitten, twice shy." "For a man what runs a little store like the A La Mode on Main Street, Buffalo, Abe, Max don't buy too few goods, neither. Ain't it?"

"Don't jump always for conclusions, Mawruss," Abe broke in. "This ain't no credit matter what he asks it of us. His wife got a sister what they wanted to make from her a teacher, Mawruss, but she ain't got the head. So, Max thinks we could maybe use her for a model. Her name is Miss Kreitmann and she's a perfect thirty-six, Max says, only a little fat."

"And then, when she tries on a garment for a customer," Morris rejoined, "the customer goes around telling everybody that we cut our stuff too skimpy. Ain't it? No, Abe, we got along so far good with the models what we got, and I guess we can keep it up. Besides, if Max is so anxious to get her a job, why don't he take her on himself, Abe?"

"Because she lives here in New York with her mother," Abe explained; "and what chance has a girl got in Buffalo, anyway? That's what Max says, and he also told it me that she got a very fine personality, and if we think it over maybe he gives us an introduction to Philip Hahn, of the Flower City Credit Outfitting Company. That's a million-dollar concern, Mawruss. I bet yer they're rated J to K, first credit, and Philip Hahn's wife is Miss Kreitmann's mother's sister. Leon Sammet will go crazy if he hears that we sell them people."

"That's all right, Abe," said Morris. "We ain't doing business to spite our competitors; we're doing it to please our customers so that they'll buy goods from us and maybe they'll go crazy, too, when they see her face, Abe."

"Max Fried says she is a good-looker. Nothing extraordinary, y'understand, but good, snappy stuff and up to date."

"You talk like she was a garment, Abe," said Morris.

"Well, you wouldn't buy no garment, Mawruss, just because some one told you it was good. Would you? So, Max says he would bring her around this afternoon, and if we liked her Hahn would stop in and see us later in the day. He says Hahn picks out never less than a couple of hundred of one style, and also Hahn is a liberal buyer, Mawruss."

"Of course, Abe," Morris commenced, "if we're doing this to oblige Philip Hahn——"

"We're doing it to oblige Philip Hahn and Max Fried both, Mawruss," Abe broke in. "Max says he ain't got a minute's peace since Miss Kreitmann is old enough to get married."

"So!" Morris cried. "A matrimonial agency we're running, Abe. Is that the idea?"

"The idea is that she should have the opportunity of meeting by us a business man, Mawruss, what can give her a good home and a good living, too. Max says he is pretty near broke, buying transportation from Buffalo to New York, Mawruss, so as he can bust up love matches between Miss Kreitmann and some good-looking retail salesman, Mawruss, what can dance the waltz A Number One and couldn't pay rent for light housekeeping on Chrystie Street."

"Well, Abe," Morris agreed, with a sigh of resignation, "if we got to hire her as a condition that Philip Hahn gives us a couple of good orders a season, Abe, I'm agreeable."

"Naturally," Abe replied, and carefully selecting a slightly-damaged cigar from the M to P first and second credit customers' box, he fell to assorting the sample line against Philip Hahn's coming that afternoon.

His task was hardly begun, however, when the store door opened to admit Max Fried and his sister-in-law. Abe immediately ceased his sample-assorting and walked forward to greet them.

"Hello, Max," he said.

Max stopped short, and by the simple process of thrusting out his waist-line assumed a dignity befitting the ceremony of introduction.

"Mr. Potash," he said severely, "this is Miss Gussie Kreitmann, my wife's sister, what I talked to you about."

Abe grinned shyly.

"All right," he said, and shook hands with Miss Kreitmann, who returned his grin with a dazzling smile.

"Mr. Fried tells me you like to come to work by us as a model. Ain't it?" Abe continued in the accents of the sucking dove. "So, I guess you'd better go over to Miss Cohen, the bookkeeper, and she'll show you where to put your hat and coat."

"Oh, I ain't in no hurry," Miss Kreitmann replied. "To-morrow morning will do."

"Sure, sure," Abe murmured. He was somewhat shocked by Miss Kreitmann's appearance, for while Max Fried's reservation, "only a little fat," had given him some warning, he was hardly prepared to employ so pronounced an Amazon as Miss Kreitmann. True, her features, though large, were quite regular, and she had fine black eyes and the luxurious hair that goes with them; but as Abe gazed at the convex lines of her generous figure he could not help wondering what his partner would say when he saw her.

As a matter of fact, at that precise moment Morris was taking in the entire situation from behind a convenient rack of raincoats, and was mentally designing a new line of samples to be called The P & P System. He figured that he would launch it with a good, live ad in the Daily Cloak and Suit Record, to be headed: Let 'Em All Come. We Can Fit Everybody. Large Sizes a Specialty.

"Do you think you will like it here?" Abe hazarded.

"Oh, sure," Max replied for his sister-in-law. "This ain't the first time she works in a cloak and suit house. She helps me out in the store whenever she comes to Buffalo. In fact, she knows part of your line already, Abe, and the rest she learns pretty quick."

"You won't find me slow, Mr. Potash," Miss Kreitmann broke in. "Maybe I ain't such a good model except for large sizes, but I learned to sell cloaks by my brother-in-law and by my uncle, Philip Hahn, before I could talk already. What I want to do now is to meet the trade that comes into the store."

"That's what you're going to do," Abe said. "I will introduce you to everybody."

The thought that this would be, perhaps, the only way to get rid of her lent fervor to his words, and Max shook him warmly by the hand.

"I'm much obliged," he said. "Me and Philip Hahn will be in sure in a couple of hours, and Gussie comes to work to-morrow morning."

Once more Abe proffered his hand to his new model, and a moment later the door slammed behind them.

"So, that's the party, is it?" said Morris, emerging from his hiding-place. "What's she looking for a job by us for, Abe? She could make it twice as much by a circus sideshow or a dime museum."

"Philip Hahn will be here in a couple of hours, Mawruss," Abe replied, avoiding the thrust. "I guess he's going to buy a big bill of goods, Mawruss."

"I hope so, Abe, because it needs quite a few big bills to offset the damage a model like this here Miss Kreitmann can do. In fact, Abe," he concluded, "I'd be just as well satisfied if Miss Kreitmann could give us the orders, and we could get Philip Hahn to come to work by us as a model. I ain't never seen him, Abe, but I think he's got a better shape for the line."

A singular devotion to duty marked every action of Emanuel Gubin, shipping clerk in the wholesale cloak and suit establishment of Potash & Perlmutter. That is to say, it had marked every action until the commencement of Miss Kreitmann's incumbency. In the very hour that Emanuel first observed the luster of her fine black eyes his heart gave one bound and never more regained its normal gait.

As for Miss Kreitmann, she saw only a shipping clerk, collarless, coatless and with all the grime of his calling upon him. Two weeks elapsed, however, and one evening, on Lenox Avenue, she encountered Emanuel, freed from the chrysalis of his employment, a natty, lavender-trousered butterfly of fashion. Thereafter she called him Mannie, and during business hours she flashed upon him those same black eyes with results disastrous to the shipping end of Potash & Perlmutter's business.

Packages intended for the afternoon delivery of a local express company arrived in Florida two weeks later, while the irate buyer of a Jersey City store, who impatiently awaited an emergency shipment of ten heavy winter garments, received instead half a hundred gossamer wraps designed for the sub-tropical weather of Palm Beach.

"I don't know what's come over that fellow, Mawruss," Abe said at last. "Formerly he was a crackerjack—never made no mistakes nor nothing; and now I dassen't trust him at all, Mawruss. Everything we ship I got to look after it myself, Mawruss. We might as well have no shipping clerk at all."

"You're right, Abe," Morris replied. "He gets carelesser every day. And why, Abe? Because of that Miss Kreitmann. She breaks us all up, Abe. I bet yer if that feller Gubin has took her to the theayter once, Abe, he took her fifty times already. He spends every cent he makes on her, and the first thing you know, Abe, we'll be missing a couple of pieces of silk from the cutting-room. Ain't it?"

"He ain't no thief, Mawruss," said Abe, "and, besides, you can't blame a young feller if he gets stuck on a nice girl like Miss Kreitmann, Mawruss. She's a smart girl, Mawruss. Mendel Immerglick, of Immerglick & Frank, was in here yesterday, Mawruss, and she showed him the line, Mawruss, and believe me, Mawruss, Immerglick says to me I couldn't have done it better myself."

"Huh!" Morris snorted. "A young feller like Immerglick, what buys it of us a couple of hundred dollars at a time, she falls all over herself to please him, Abe. And why? Because Immerglick's got a fine mustache and is a swell dresser and he ain't married. But you take it a good customer like Adolph Rothstein, Abe, and what does she do? At first she was all smiles to him, because Adolph is a good-looking feller. But then she hears him telling me a hard-luck story about his wife's operation and how his eldest boy Sammie is now seven already and ain't never been sick in his life, and last month he gets the whooping cough and all six of Adolph's boys gets it one after the other. Then, Abe, she treats Adolph like a dawg, Abe, and the first thing you know he looks at his watch and says he got an appointment and he'll be back. But he don't come back at all, Abe, and this noontime I seen Leon Sammet and Adolph in Wasserbauer's Restaurant. They was eating the regular dinner with chicken, Abe, and I seen Leon pay for it."

Abe received his partner's harangue in silence. His eyes gazed vacantly at the store door, which had just opened to admit the letter-carrier.

"Suppose we do lose a couple of hundred dollars trade," he said at length; "one customer like Philip Hahn will make it up ten times, Mawruss."

"Well, you'll lose him, too, Abe, if you don't look out," said Morris, who had concluded the reading of a typewritten letter with a scrawled postscript. "Just see what he writes us."

He handed over the missive, which read as follows:


Gents: We are requested by Mrs. Kreitmann of your city to ask about a young fellow what works for you by the name of Emanuel Gubin. Has he any future, and what is his prospects? By doing so you will greatly oblige Truly yours, THE FLOWER CITY CREDIT OUTFITTING CO.

Dic. PH/K

P. S. I don't like such monkey business. I thought you knew it. I don't want no salesman. What is the matter with you anyway?


Abe folded up the letter, and his mouth became a straight line of determination under his stubby mustache.

"I guess I fix that young feller," he cried, seizing a pen. He wrote:


Gents: Your favor of the 14th inst. received and contents noted and in reply would say the young fellow what you inquire about ain't got no future with us and the prospects is he gets fired on Saturday. We trust this is satisfactory. Truly yours, POTASH & PERLMUTTER.

On Saturday afternoon Morris Perlmutter was putting on his hat and coat preparatory to going home. He had just fired Mannie Gubin with a relish and satisfaction second only to what would have been his sensations if the operation had been directed toward Miss Kreitmann. As he was about to leave the show-room Abe entered.

"Oh, Mawruss," Abe cried, "you ought to see Miss Kreitmann. She's all broke up about Mannie Gubin, and she's crying something terrible."

"Is she?" Morris said, peering over his partner's shoulder at the grief-stricken model, who was giving vent to her emotions in the far corner of the salesroom. "Well, Abe, you tell her to come away from them light goods and cry over the blue satinets. They don't spot so bad."

Miss Gussie Kreitmann evidently knew how to conceal a secret sorrow, for outwardly she remained unchanged. She continued to scowl at those of her employers' customers who were men of family, and beamed upon the unmarried trade with all the partiality she had displayed during Mannie Gubin's tenure of employment. Indeed, her amiability toward the bachelors was if anything intensified, especially in the case of Mendel Immerglick.

Many times he had settled lunch checks in two figures, for Miss Kreitmann's appetite was in proportion to her size. Moreover, a prominent Broadway florist was threatening Mendel with suit for flowers supplied Miss Kreitmann at his request. Nor were there lacking other signs, such as the brilliancy of Mendel's cravats and the careful manicuring of his nails, to indicate that he was paying court to Miss Kreitmann.

"I think, Abe," Morris said finally, "we're due for an inquiry from the Flower City Company about Immerglick & Frank."

"I hope not, Mawruss," Abe replied. "I never liked them people, Mawruss. In fact, last week Mendel Immerglick struck me for new terms—ninety instead of sixty days—and he wanted to give me a couple of thousand dollar order. I turned him down cold, Mawruss. People what throw such a bluff like Mendel Immerglick don't give me no confidence, Mawruss. I'm willing to sell him up to five hundred at sixty days, but that's all."

"Oh, I don't know, Abe," Morris protested. "A couple of bright boys like Mendel Immerglick and Louis Frank can work up a nice business after a while."

"Can they?" Abe rejoined. "Well, more likely they work up a nice line of credit, Mawruss, and then, little by little, they make it a big failure, Mawruss. A feller what curls his mustache like Mendel Immerglick ain't no stranger to auction houses, Mawruss. I bet yer he's got it all figured out right now where he can get advance checks on consignments."

"I think you do the feller an injury, Abe," said Morris. "I think he means well, and besides, Abe, business people is getting so conservative that there ain't no more money in failures."

"I guess there's enough for Mendel Immerglick," Abe said, and dismissed the subject.

Two weeks later the anticipated letter arrived in the following form:


Gents: Mrs. Kreitmann of your city requests us to ask you about one of your customers by the name of Mr. Mendel Immerglick, of Immerglick & Frank. We drew a report on him by both commercial agencies and are fairly well satisfied, but would be obliged if you should make inquiries amongst the trade for us and greatly oblige Yours truly, THE FLOWER CITY CREDIT OUTFITTING CO.

Dic. PH/K

P. S. I hear it this fellow is a good bright young fellow. I will be in N. Y. next month and expect to lay in my spring goods. PHILIP HAHN.

"Well, Mawruss," Abe said, as he finished reading the letter, "I'm sorry to get this letter. I don't know what I could tell it him about this fellow Immerglick. Now, if it was a responsible concern like Henry Feigenbaum, of the H. F. Cloak Company, it would be different."

"Henry Feigenbaum!" Morris exclaimed. "Why, he's only got one eye."

"I know it, Mawruss," Abe replied, "but he's got six stores, and they're all making out good. But, anyhow, Mawruss, I ain't going to do nothing in a hurry. I'll make good inquiries before I answer him."

"What's the use of making inquiries?" Morris protested. "Tell him it's all right. I got enough of this Miss Kreitmann already, Abe. She's killed enough trade for us."

"What!" Abe cried. "Tell him it's all right, when for all I know Mendel Immerglick is headed straight for the bankruptcy courts, Mawruss. You must be crazy, Mawruss. Ain't Hahn said he's coming down next month to buy his spring goods? What you want to do, Mawruss? Throw three to five thousand dollars in the street, Mawruss?"

"You talk foolishness, Abe," Morris rejoined. "Once a man gets married, his wife's family has got to stand for him. Suppose he does bust up; would that be our fault, Abe? Then Philip Hahn sets him up in business again, and the first thing you know, Abe, we got two customers instead of one. And I bet yer we could get Philip Hahn to guarantee the account yet."

"Them theories what you got, Mawruss, sounds good, but maybe he busts up before they get married, and then, Mawruss, we lose Philip Hahn's business and Max Fried's business, and we are also out a sterling silver engagement present for Miss Kreitmann. Ain't it?"

He put on his hat and coat and lit a cigar.

"I guess, Mawruss, I'll go right now," he concluded, "and see what I can find out about him."

In three hours he returned and entered the show-room.

"Well, Abe," Morris cried, "what did you find out? Is it all right?"

Abe carefully selected a fresh cigar and shook his head solemnly.

"Nix, Mawruss," he said. "Mendel Immerglick is nix for a nice girl like Miss Kreitmann."

He took paper out of his waistcoat pocket for the purpose of refreshing his memory.

"First, I seen Moe Klein, of Klinger & Klein," he went on. "Moe says he seen Mendel Immerglick, in the back of Wasserbauer's Cafe, playing auction pinochle with a couple of loafer salesmen at three o'clock in the afternoon, and while Moe was standing there already them two low-lives set Immerglick back three times on four hundred hands at a dollar a hundred, double double."

"And what was Moe doing there?" Morris asked.

"I wasn't making no investigation of Moe, Mawruss," Abe replied. "Believe me, I got enough to do to find out about Immerglick. Also, Moe tells me that Immerglick comes into their place and wants to buy off them three thousand dollars at ninety days."

"And did they sell him?" Morris asked.

"Did they sell him?" Abe cried. "If you was to meet a burglar coming into the store at midnight with a jimmy and a dark lantern, Mawruss, I suppose you'd volunteer to give him the combination of the safe. What? No, Mawruss, they didn't sell him. Such customers is for suckers like Sammet Brothers, Mawruss. Leon Sammet says they sold him three thousand at four months. Also, Elenbogen sold him a big bill, same terms, Mawruss. But big houses like Wechsel, Baum & Miller and Frederick Stettermann won't sell him at any terms, Mawruss."

"If everybody was so conservative like Wechsel, Baum & Miller," said Morris, "the retailers might as well go out of business."

"Wait a bit, Mawruss," Abe replied. "That ain't all. Louis Frank's wife is a sister to the Traders' and Merchants' Outlet, of Louisville—you know that thief, Marks Leshinsky; and Louis Frank's uncle, Mawruss, is Elkan Frank & Company, them big swindlers, them auctioneers, out in Chicago."

Abe sat down and dipped his pen in the inkwell with such force that the spotless surface of Morris' shirt, which he had donned that morning, assumed a polkadot pattern. It was, therefore, some minutes before Abe could devote himself to his task in silence. Finally, he evolved the following:


Gents: Your favor of the 16th inst. received and contents noted, and in reply would say our Mr. Potash seen the trade extensively and we are sorry to say it in the strictest confidence that we ain't got no confidence in the party you name. You should on no consideration do anything in the matter as all accounts are very bad. We will tell your Mr. Hahn the particulars when he is next in our city. Yours truly, POTASH & PERLMUTTER.

"It ain't no more than he deserves, Mawruss," Abe commented after Morris had read the letter.

"No," Morris admitted, "but after the way Miss Kreitmann got that feller Gubin in the hole and the way she treated Adolph Rothstein, Abe, it ain't no more than she deserves, neither."

For several days afterward Miss Kreitmann went about her work with nothing but scowls for Potash & Perlmutter's customers, married and unmarried alike.

"The thing goes too far, Abe," Morris protested. "She kills our entire trade. Hahn or no Hahn, Abe, I say we should fire her."

Abe shook his head. "It ain't necessary, Mawruss," he replied.

"What d'ye mean?"

"The girl gets desperate, Mawruss. She fires herself. She told me this morning she don't see no future here, so she's going to leave at the end of the week. She says she will maybe take up trained nursing. She hears it that there are lots of openings for a young woman that way."

Morris sat down and fairly beamed with satisfaction.

"That's the best piece of news I hear it in a long time, Abe," he said. "Now we can do maybe some business."

"Maybe we can," Abe admitted. "But not with Philip Hahn."

"Why not?" Morris cried. "We done our best by him. Ain't we? Through him we lost it a good customer, and we got to let go a good shipping clerk."

"Not a good shipping clerk, Mawruss," Abe corrected.

"Well, he was a good one till Miss Kreitmann comes."

Abe made no reply. He took refuge in the columns of the Daily Cloak and Suit Record and perused the business troubles items.

"Was it our fault that Immerglick is N. G., Abe?" Morris went on. "Is it——"

"Ho-ly smokes!" Abe broke in. "What d'ye think of that?"

"What do I think of what?" Morris asked.

"Immerglick & Frank," Abe read aloud. "A petition in bankruptcy was this day filed against Immerglick & Frank, doing business as the 'Vienna Store.' This firm has been a heavy purchaser throughout the trade during the past two months, but when the receiver took possession there remained only a small stock of goods. The receiver has retained counsel and will examine Louis Frank under Section 21 A of the Bankruptcy Act. It is understood that Mendel Immerglick, the senior partner, sailed for Hamburg last week on the Kaiserin Luisa Victoria and intends to remain in Germany for an indefinite time."

Abe laid down the paper with a sigh of relief.

"If that don't make us solid with Philip Hahn, Mawruss," he said, "nothing will."

Miss Kreitmann left at the end of the week, and Abe and Morris wasted no time in vain regrets over her departure, but proceeded at once to assort and make up a new line of samples for Philip Hahn's inspection. For three days they jumped every time a customer entered the store, and Abe wore a genial smile of such fixity that his face fairly ached.

At length, on the Thursday following Miss Kreitmann's resignation, while Abe was flicking an imaginary grain of dust from the spotless array of samples, the store door burst open and a short, stout person entered. Abe looked up and, emitting an exclamation, rushed forward with both arms extended in hearty greeting.

"Mister Hahn," he cried, "how do you do?"

The newcomer drew himself up haughtily, and his small mustache seemed to shed sparks of indignation.

Abe stopped short in hurt astonishment.

"Is th-there a-anything the matter?" he faltered.

"Is there anything the matter!" Mr. Hahn roared. "Is there anything the matter! That's a fine question for you to ask."

"W-w-why?" Abe stuttered. "Ain't everything all right?"

Mr. Hahn, with an effort that bulged every vein in his bald forehead, subsided into comparative calm.

"Mr. Potash," he said, "I bought from you six bills of goods in the last few months. Ain't it?"

Abe nodded.

"And I never claimed no shortages and never made no kicks nor nothing, but always paid up prompt on the day like a gentleman. Ain't it?"

Abe nodded again.

"And this is what I get for it," Mr. Hahn went on bitterly. "My own niece on my wife's side, I put her in your care. I ask you to take it an interest in her. You promise me you will do your best. You tell me and Max Fried you will look after her"—he hesitated, almost overcome by emotion—"like a father. You said that when I bought the second bill. And what happens? The only chance she gets to make a decent match, you write me the feller ain't no good. Naturally, I think you got some sense, and so I busts the affair up."

"Well," Abe said, "I did write you he wasn't no good, and he wasn't no good, neither. Ain't he just made it a failure?"

Mr. Hahn grew once more infuriated.

"A failure!" he yelled. "I should say he did make a failure. What a failure he made! Fool! Donkey! The man got away with a hundred thousand dollars and is living like a prince in the old country. And poor Gussie, she loved him, too! She cries night and day."

He stopped to wipe a sympathetic tear.

"She cries pretty easy," Abe said. "She cried when we fired Mannie Gubin, too."

Hahn bristled again.

"You insult me. What?" he cried. "You try to get funny with me. Hey? All right. I fix you. So far what I can help it, never no more do you sell me or Max or anybody what is friends of ours a button. Not a button! Y'understand?"

He wheeled about and the next moment the store door banged with cannon-like percussion. Morris came from behind a rack of raincoats and tiptoed toward Abe.

"Well, Abe," he said, "you put your foot in it that time."

Abe mopped the perspiration from his brow and bit the end off a cigar.

"We done business before we had Philip Hahn for a customer, Mawruss," he said, "and I guess we'll do it again. Ain't it?"

* * * * *

Six months later Abe was scanning the columns of the Daily Cloak and Suit Record while Morris examined the morning mail.

"Yes, Mawruss," he said at length. "Some people get only what they deserve. I always said it, some day Philip Hahn will be sorry he treated us the way he did. I bet yer he's sorry now."

"So far what I hear, Abe," Morris replied, "he ain't told us nor nobody else that he's sorry. In fact, I seen him coming out of Sammet Brothers' yesterday, and he looked at me like he would treat us worser already, if he could. What makes you think he's sorry, Abe?"

"Well," Abe went on, "if he ain't sorry he ought to be."

He handed the Daily Cloak and Suit Record to Morris and indicated the New Business column with his thumb.

"Rochester, N. Y.," it read. "Philip Hahn, doing business here as the Flower City Credit Outfitting Company, announces that he has taken into partnership Emanuel Gubin, who recently married Mr. Hahn's niece. The business will be conducted under the old firm style."

Morris handed back the paper with a smile.

"I seen Leon Sammet on the subway this morning and he told me all about it," he commented. "He says Gubin eloped with her."

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