Potash & Perlmutter - Their Copartnership Ventures and Adventures
by Montague Glass
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"I don't know about that, Abe," said Morris. "Louis carries a mighty attractive line in his winders. Them small Fifth Avenue stores ain't got nothing on him when it comes to the line of sample garments he carries in his show winders, Abe."

"Sure I know," Abe rejoined; "but he ain't got nothing on one of them piker stores when it comes right down to the stock he carries on the inside, Mawruss. Yes, Mawruss, when I sell goods to a feller like Feinholz, Mawruss, I'm afraid for my life until I get my money."

"Well, you needn't be afraid for Feinholz, Abe," said Morris, "because, in the first place, the feller has got a fine rating; and then again, he couldn't fire them goods back on us because, for the price, there ain't a better-made line in the country."

"I hope you're right, Mawruss," Abe replied as he rang the bell for the freight elevator. "It would be a fine comeback if he should return them goods on us after we give his nephew the insurance we did."

Again he pressed the elevator bell.

"What's the matter with that elevator, Mawruss?" he said. "It takes a year to get a package on to the sidewalk."

"That's on account of somebody moves in downstairs, Abe," Morris answered. "Kaskel Schwartz, what used to be foreman for Pinkel Brothers, him and Moe Feigel goes as partners together in skirts."

"Is that so?" Abe said, jamming his thumb on the elevator bell. "I hope he don't got the cigarettel habit."

At length the elevator arrived, and Jake, the shipping clerk, carried out the brown paper parcels comprising Feinholz's shipment.

"If that's the last I seen of them garments," Abe said as he returned to the show-room, "I'm a lucky man."

"Always you're beefing about something happening what ain't going to happen, Abe," Morris retorted. "Just a few minutes since you hoped Kaskel Schwartz ain't going to be careless about cigarettels, and now you're imagining things about Feinholz sending back the goods."

"Never mind, Mawruss," Abe replied; "in two days' time I shall breathe easier yet."

For the rest of the day it rained in a steady, tropical downpour, and when Abe came downtown the next morning the weather had moderated only slightly.

"Yes, Mawruss," he said as he entered, "that's a fine weather for a cloak business, Mawruss; and I bet yer, Mawruss, if we was making cravenettes and umbrellas yet we would be having a long dry spell."

He heaved a great sigh and approached the bookkeeper's desk, where Morris had laid the morning mail.

"Did you hear from those suckers out in Kansas City what made the kick about them London Smokes, Mawruss?" he asked.

"Sure I did," Morris replied; "they says they decided to keep the goods."

"I guess it left off raining in Kansas City," Abe commented. "Them suckers only made that kick because they thought they couldn't sell nothing in wet weather. Any other kicks, Mawruss?"

"Yes," Morris replied shortly.

Abe looked up.

"Louis Feinholz!" he gasped.

Morris nodded and handed Abe a letter. It read as follows:


GENTS: Your shipment of this date arrived and we must say we are surprised at the goods which you sent us. They are in no respect up to sample which we keep pending a settlement of any differences which we might have in respects to this matter. Yours truly, L. FEINHOLZ. Dic LF to RC

"What does that sucker mean, Mawruss?" Abe asked. "We ain't sent him no sample of them capes, Mawruss. We made 'em up according to his instructions, Mawruss. Ain't it?"

Morris nodded solemnly and again Abe read the letter.

This time he dashed the note to the floor and grew purple with rage.

"Why," he choked, "that sucker must mean it the winder sample."

Again Morris nodded solemnly.

"But a ten-year-old child could tell that them garments ain't like that winder sample, Mawruss," Abe went on.

"Sure I know," Morris replied sadly, "and a district court judge could tell it, too. Also, a jury by the city court could tell it, Abe; and also, I rung up Henry D. Feldman and asked him if he could take a case for us against Louis Feinholz, and Feldman says that Feinholz is such an old client that he couldn't do it. And that's the way it goes."

"But them capes was never intended to be the same like that sample, Mawruss," Abe cried.

"That's what I told Louis Feinholz when I rung him up after I spoke to Feldman, and Feinholz says he got the goods and he got the sample, and that's all he knows about it. Then I asked him if he didn't say it distinctly we should make up a first-class, expensive winder sample and ship it along with the order, and he says he don't remember it and that I should show him a writing."

"Ain't you got it a writing?" Abe asked.

"I ain't got no writing about the winder sample, Abe," Morris replied. "I only got it a writing about the order."

"But ain't you got no witnesses, Mawruss?" Abe asked.

"Witnesses I got it plenty, Abe," Morris answered. "And so has Feinholz got it witnesses. What's the use witnesses when all Feinholz has got to do is to get Henry D. Feldman to make theayter acting over that sample? For you know as well as I do, Abe, anyone would see that them garments is doch, anyway, a cheap imitation of that winder sample, Abe."

At this juncture Jake, the shipping clerk, entered.

"Mr. Potash," he said, "here comes Margulies' Harlem Express with them packages what we shipped it the Longchamps Store yesterday. Should I take 'em in?"

Abe jumped to his feet.

"Did Margulies bring 'em up?" he asked.

"He had 'em just now on the elevator," Jake replied.

"Wait, I go with you," Abe said. Together they walked rapidly toward the freight elevator, which opened into the cutting-room, but before they reached the door a shrill outcry rose from the floor below.

The East Side slogan of woe, "Oi gewalt," blended with women's shrieks, and at length came the cry: "Fie-urr! Fie-urr!"

Simultaneously Miss Cohen, the bookkeeper, lifted up her voice in strident despair while a great cloud of black smoke puffed from the elevator shaft, and the next moment Abe, Morris, Jake and the half-dozen cutters were pushing their way downstairs, elbowed by a frenzied mob of operators, male and female. When they arrived at the ground floor the engines were clanging around the corner, and Abe and Morris ran across the street to the opposite sidewalk. Suddenly an inarticulate cry escaped Abe and he sank onto a convenient dry-goods box.

"What's the trouble, Abe?" Morris asked. "Are you sick?"

"The policies!" Abe croaked, and closed his eyes. When he opened them a minute later his partner grinned at him reassuringly.

"I got 'em in my breast pocket, Abe," Morris said. "As soon as I seen the smoke I grabbed 'em, and I locked up the safe with the books inside."

Abe revived immediately.

"That reminds me, Mawruss," he said as he took a cigar from his waistcoat pocket: "What become of Miss Cohen?"

Twenty minutes later the fire was extinguished, and Abe and Morris returned to their loft. The first person to greet them was Miss Cohen, and, aside from a slight careening of her pompadour, she seemed none the worse for her dangerous experience.

"Mr. Potash," she said in businesslike tones, "the Longchamps Store just rung up and says about them garments what they returned that it was all a mistake, and that they was all right and you should reship 'em right away."

The show-room was flooded with sunlight and a mild spring breeze had almost dissipated the acrid smell of smoke.

"What did I tell you, Mawruss?" Abe said. "Feinholz is like them suckers in Kansas City. He was scared he couldn't sell them capes in wet weather, and now it's cleared up fine he wants 'em bad, Mawruss. I'll go and see what happened to 'em."

He hustled off toward the rear of the loft while Morris turned to Miss Cohen.

"Well, Miss Cohen," he said, "how did you make out by the fire just now?"

Miss Cohen blushed and patted her pompadour.

"Oh, Mr. Perlmutter," she said, "I was scared stiff, and Mr. Margulies, the expressman, pretty near carried me up to the roof and we stays there till the fireman says we should come down."

"And where's Margulies?" Morris asked.

"He's gone back to the cutting-room," Miss Cohen replied. "When he seen the smoke coming up he shuts quick the iron door on the freight elevator and everything's all right in the cutting-room, only a little water by the elevator shaft."

"And how about the packages from Feinholz?" Morris continued. But before Miss Cohen could reply Abe burst into the show-room with a broad grin on his face.

"That's a good joke on Feinholz, Mawruss," he said. "All the fire was in the elevator shaft and them garments what he returned it us is nothing but ashes."

"But, Abe," Morris began, when the telephone bell trilled impatiently. Abe took up the receiver.

"Hallo!" he said. "Yes, this is Potash. Oh, hallo, Feinholz!"

"Say, Potash," Feinholz said at the other end of the wire, "we got the store full of people here. Couldn't you send up them capes right away?"

Abe put his hand over the mouthpiece of the 'phone.

"It's Feinholz," he said to Morris. "He wants them capes right away. What shall I tell him?"

"Tell him nothing," Morris cried. "The first thing you know you will say something to that feller, and he sues us yet for damages because we didn't deliver the goods."

Abe hesitated for a minute.

"You talk to him," he said at length.

Morris seized the receiver from his partner.

"Hallo, Feinholz," he yelled. "We don't want nothing to say to you at all. We are through with you. That's all. Good-by."

He hung up the receiver and turned to Abe.

"When I deal with a crook like Feinholz," he said, "I'm afraid for my life."

Ten minutes later he went out to lunch and when he returned he brandished the early edition of an evening paper.

"What you think it says here, Abe?" he cried. "It says the fire downstairs was caused by an operator throwing a cigarettel in the clipping bin. Ain't that a quincidence, Abe?"

"I bet yer that's a quincidence," Abe replied. "A couple more of them quincidences, Mawruss, and we got to pay double for our insurance. I only wish we would be finished collecting on our policies for this here quincidence, Mawruss."

Morris shrugged his shoulders and was about to make a reassuring answer when the door opened and two men entered.

One of them was Samuel Feder, vice-president of the Kosciusko Bank, and the other was Louis Feinholz, proprietor of the Longchamps Store.

"Well, Abe," Feder cried, "what's this I hear about the fire?"

"Come into the office, Mr. Feder," Abe cried, while Morris greeted Feinholz. "Morris will be through soon."

"Say, Mawruss," Feinholz said. "What's the matter with you boys? Here I got to come downtown about them capes, and my whole store's full of people. Why didn't you ship them capes back to me like I told you?"

"Look a-here, Feinholz," Morris exclaimed in tones sufficiently loud for Feder to overhear, "what d'ye take us for, anyhow? Greenhorns? Do you think you can write us a dirty letter like that and then come down and get them capes just for the asking?"

"Ain't you getting touchy all of a sudden, Mawruss?" Feinholz cried excitedly. "You had no business to deliver them goods in such rotten weather. You know as well as I do that I couldn't use them goods till fine weather sets in, and now I want 'em, and I want 'em bad."

"Is that so?" Morris replied. "Why, I thought them garments was no good, Feinholz. I thought them capes wasn't up to sample."

"What are you talking about?" Feinholz shouted. "Them goods was all right and the sample's all right, too. All I want now is you should ship 'em right away. I can sell the lot this afternoon if you only get 'em up to my store in time."

Morris waved his hand deprecatingly.

"S'enough, Feinholz," he said; "you got as much show of getting them goods as though you never ordered 'em."

"Why not?" Feinholz cried.

"Because them goods got burned up on our freight elevator this morning," Morris replied.

"What!" Feinholz gasped.

"That's what I said," Morris concluded; "and if you excuse me I got some business to attend to."

Feinholz turned and almost staggered from the store, while Morris joined his partner and Sam Feder in the firm's office. Feder had overheard the entire conversation and greeted Morris with a smile.

"Well, Mawruss," he said, "it serves that sucker right. A feller what confesses right up and down that the goods was all right and then he fires them back at you just because the weather was rotten ought to be sued yet."

"What do we care?" Abe replied. "We got 'em insured, and so long as we get our money out of 'em we would rather not be bothered with him."

"Did you have any other damages, boys?" Feder asked, with a solicitude engendered of a ten-thousand-dollar accommodation to Potash & Perlmutter's debit on the books of the Kosciusko Bank.

"Otherwise, everything is O. K.," Morris replied cheerfully. Together they conducted Feder on a tour of their premises and, after he was quite reassured, they presented him with a good cigar and ushered him into the elevator.

"I guess you put your foot in it with Feinholz, Mawruss," Abe said after Feder had departed. "How can we go to that kid nephew of his now and ask him to adjust the loss, Mawruss?"

Morris arched his eyebrows and stared at his partner.

"What's the matter with you, anyway, Abe?" he asked. "Ain't J. Blaustein good enough for you? Ain't J. Blaustein always done it our insurance business up to now all O. K., Abe? And now that we got it our very first fire, why should you want to throw Blaustein down?"

Abe put on his hat thoroughly abashed.

"I thought we got to get Rudy Feinholz to adjust it the loss," he said. "Otherwise, I wouldn't of suggested it. But, anyway, I will go right down to Blaustein and see what he says."

Morris jumped to his feet.

"Wait," he said; "I'll go with you."

Half an hour afterward Abe and Morris were seated in J. Blaustein's office on Pine Street, recounting the details of the fire.

"How many garments was there?" Blaustein asked.

"Forty-eight, and we figured it up the loss at twelve-fifty apiece," Morris explained. "That's what we billed 'em to Feinholz for."

Blaustein frowned.

"But look a-here, Perlmutter," he said: "them insurance companies won't pay you what you were going to sell them garments for. They'll only pay you what they cost to make up. They'll figure it: so much cloth—say, fifty dollars; so much trimmings—say, forty dollars; so much labor—say, thirty dollars; and that's the way it goes."

"But how could we prove that to the company, Mr. Blaustein?" Abe protested. "There ain't enough left of them garments to show even what color they was."

Blaustein rose to his feet.

"Well, gentlemen," he said, "we'll discuss that later. The first thing we must do is to go up and see young Feinholz. That Farmers and Ranchers' Insurance Company is a pretty close corporation. Louis Feinholz's brother out in Arizona is the president, and they got such a board of directors that if they printed the names on the back of the policy it would look like the roster of an East Side free-burial society. Also, this here Rudy Feinholz what acted as your broker is also general agent, adjuster and office manager for the Metropolitan District; and, taking it by and large, youse gentlemen is lucky you come to me instead of him to adjust this loss."

Rudy Feinholz's insurance business occupied what had once been the front parlor of a high-stoop brown-stone residence. Similarly the basement dining-room had been converted into a delicatessen store, and the smoked meats, pickles, cheese and spices with which it was stocked provided rather a strange atmosphere for the Metropolitan Agency of the Farmers and Ranchers' Insurance Company. Moreover, the Italian barber who rented the quondam back parlor was given to practicing on the mandolin; and when Abe, Morris and J. Blaustein entered the Metropolitan Agency a very imperfect rendition of Santa Lucia came through the partition and made conversation difficult for the Metropolitan agent.

"What d'ye say if we all go round to the Longchamps," he said, "and talk things over."

"I'm agreeable," Morris said, looking at his partner.

"Sure thing," Blaustein replied. "That delicatessen store smell is so thick around here that I'm getting ptomaine poisoning."

"But," Abe protested, "maybe Louis Feinholz don't want us round there. We ain't on the best of terms with Louis."

"That's all right," Rudy Feinholz said. "I arranged with him to bring you round there. Uncle Louis is a heavy stockholder in the Farmers and Ranchers', and——"

"S'enough!" Morris cried. "I hear enough about the family history of this here Farmers and Ranchers. It wouldn't make no difference to me if your mother was the vice-president and your sister the secretary. All I want is we should settle this thing up."

"Well, come along, then," Rudy cried, and the two brokers and their clients repaired to Feinholz's store. Abe and Morris entered not without trepidation, but Louis received them with unaffected amiability.

"Well, Mawruss," he said, "that's too bad you got a fire in your place."

"We can stand it," Morris replied. "We was insured."

Feinholz rejoined: "Yes, you was insured by your loft, but you wasn't insured by your freight elevator."

"But by the rules of the Fire Insurance Exchange," Blaustein interrupted, "when a policy reads——"

"What do we care about the Fire Insurance Exchange?" Feinholz broke in. "The Farmers and Ranchers' ain't members of the Fire Insurance Exchange. We got a license to do business from the Superintendent of Insurance, and we don't give a cent for the Fire Insurance Exchange. We insured it the loft, and the goods was burnt in the freight elevator."

Abe jumped to his feet.

"Do you mean," he cried, "that you ain't going to pay us nothing for our fire?"

"That's what I mean," Feinholz declared.

Morris turned to Abe.

"Come, Abe," he said, "we'll take Feder's advice."

"Feder's advice?" Feinholz repeated. "You mean that feller what I seen it in your store this morning?"

"That's what I mean," Morris replied. "Feder says to us we should take it his lawyers, McMaster, Peddle & Crane, and he would see to it that they wouldn't charge us much."

Feinholz smiled.

"But the Farmers and Ranchers' Insurance Company got also a good lawyer," he said triumphantly.

"Maybe they have," Morris admitted, "but we ain't got nothing to do with the Farmers and Ranchers' Insurance Company now. We take it Feder's lawyers and sue you, Feinholz. Feder hears it all what you got to say, and he is willing to go on the stand and swear that you says that the goods was all right and the sample was all right. I guess when a banker and a gentleman like Feder swears something you could get all the Henry D. Feldmans in the world and it wouldn't make no difference."

Feinholz passed his hand over his forehead and breathed hard.

"Maybe we could settle the matter, Rudy," he said to his nephew, "if the other companies what they are insured by would contribute their share."

"The other companies," Morris announced, "is got nothing to do with it. You fired them goods back at us, and that's the reason why they got damaged. So, we wouldn't ask for a cent from the other companies."

"Then it is positively all off," cried Feinholz as one of his saleswomen entered. She held a familiar garment in her hand, and in the dim light of Feinholz's private office the buttons and soutache with which the cape was adorned sparkled like burnished gold.

"Mr. Feinholz," she said, "a lady saw this on one of the racks and she wants to know how much it costs."

Morris eyed the cape for one hesitating moment, and then he sprang to his feet and snatched it from the astonished saleswoman.

"You tell the customer," he said, "that this here cape ain't for sale."

He rolled it into a tight bundle and thrust it under his coat.

"Now, Feinholz," he declared calmly, "I got you just where I want you. Feder is willing to go on the stand and swear that you said them goods was up to sample, and this here is the sample. Any feller what knows anything about the cloak and suit trade could tell in a minute that these here samples costed twenty-five dollars to make up. Forty-eight times twenty-five is twelve hundred dollars, and so sure as you are sitting there, Feinholz, Abe and me will commence suit against you for twelve hundred dollars the first thing to-morrow morning, unless we get it a certified check from the Farmers and Ranchers' Insurance Company for six hundred dollars, which is the price what you agreed to pay us for the garments."

A moment later Blaustein and Abe followed him to the sidewalk.

"Well, Blaustein," Morris asked as they walked to the elevated railroad, on their way home, "what do you think of it all? Huh?"

"I think it's a good bluff you are making," Blaustein replied, "but it may work. So, if you come right down to my office I'll fix up your proof of loss and send it up to him this afternoon."

The next morning Abe and Morris reached their loft a good hour ahead of the letter-carrier, and when he entered they both made a grab for the mail which he handed them. Morris won out, and as he shuffled the letters with the deftness of long pinochle experience he emitted a cry.

"What is it?" Abe asked.

For answer Morris tore open a long yellow envelope and flicked it up and down between his thumb and finger until a small piece of paper fluttered to the carpet. Abe swooped down on it immediately and ran to the office, hugging it to his breast. It was a certified check for six hundred dollars.

"Well, Abe," Morris said as he filled out a deposit slip of the Kosciusko Bank, "there's one feller comes out of this deal pretty lucky, all considering."

"Who's that, Mawruss?" Abe asked.

"The rutt honn Earl of Warrington," Morris replied.


Abe Potash entered the firm's private office one morning in mid-September and deliberately removed his hat and coat. As he did so he emitted groans calculated to melt the heart of the most hardened medical practitioner, but Morris Perlmutter remained entirely unmoved.

"Well, Abe," he said, "you've been making a hog of yourself again. Ain't it? Sol Klinger says he seen you over to the Harlem Winter Garden, and I suppose you bought it such a fine supper you couldn't sleep a wink all night. What?"

Abe started to draw himself up to his full five feet three, but lumbago brooks no hauteur, and he subsided into the nearest chair with a low, expressive "Oo-ee!"

"That's a heart you got it, Mawruss," he declared bitterly, "like a stone. I drunk it nothing but lithia water and some dry toast, which them suckers got the nerve to charge me fifty cents for."

"Well, why don't you seen it a doctor, Abe?" Morris said. "You could monkey with yourself a whole lifetime, Abe, and it would never do you no good; whilst if you seen it a doctor, Abe, he gives you a little pinch of powder, y'understand, and in five minutes you are a well man."

Abe sighed heavily.

"It don't go so quick, Mawruss," he replied. "I seen a doctor this morning and he says I am full from rheumatism. I dassen't do nothing, Mawruss, I dassen't touch coffee or schnapps. I dassen't eat no meat but lamb chops and chicken."

"I tasted worser things already as lamb chops and chicken, Abe," Morris retorted.

"And the worstest thing of all, Mawruss," Abe concluded, "the doctor says he wouldn't be responsible for my life already if I go out on the road."

"What?" Morris exclaimed. In less than two weeks Abe was due to leave on his Western trip, and for the past few days Morris had been in the throes of preparing the sample line.

"This is a fine time for you to get sick, Abe," he cried.

"Could I help it, Mawruss?" Abe protested. "You talk like I got the rheumatism to spite you, Mawruss. Believe me, Mawruss, I ain't so stuck on staying in the store here with you, Mawruss. I could prefer it a million times to be out on the road."

He rose to his feet with another hollow groan.

"But, anyway, Mawruss, it won't help matters none if we sit around here all the morning. We got to get it somebody to sell our line, because even if, to hear you talk, the goods do sell themselves when I go out with them, Mawruss, we couldn't take no chances on some kid salesman. We got to get it a first-class A Number One feller what wouldn't fool away his time."

"Well, why don't you put it an ad in the Daily Cloak and Suit Record, Abe?" Morris asked.

"I put it in last night already," Abe replied, "and I bet yer we get it a million answers by the first mail this afternoon."

For the remainder of the morning Morris busied himself with the sample line, while Abe moved slowly about the show-room, well within the hearing of his partner, and moaned piteously at frequent intervals. Every half-hour he cleared his throat with a rasping noise and, when he had secured Morris' attention, ostentatiously swallowed a large gelatine capsule and rolled his eyes upward in what he conceived to be an expression of acute agony. At length Morris could stand it no longer.

"What are we running here, anyway, Abe?" he asked. "A cloak and suit business or a hospital? If you are such a sick man, Abe, why don't you go home?"

"Must I got to get your permission to be sick, Mawruss?" Abe asked. "Couldn't I take it maybe a bit of medicine oncet in a while if I want to, Mawruss?"

He snorted indignantly, but further discussion was prevented by the entrance of the letter-carrier, and immediately Abe and Morris forgot their differences in an examination of the numerous letters that were the fruit of the advertisement.

"Don't let's waste no time over fellers we don't know nothing about, Abe," Morris suggested as he tossed one envelope into the waste-paper basket. "Here's a feller called Rutherford B. H. Horowitz, what says he used to be a suit-buyer in Indianapolis. Ever hear of him, Abe?"

"We don't want no fellers what used to be buyers, Mawruss," Abe retorted. "What we want is fellers what is cloak and suit salesmen. Ain't it?"

"Well, here's a feller by the name Arthur Katzen, Abe," Morris went on. "Did y'ever hear of him, Abe?"

"Sure I know him, Mawruss," Abe replied. "You know him, too, Mawruss. That's a feller by the name Osher Katzenelenbogen, what used to work for us as buttonhole-maker when we was new beginners already. Two years ago, I met that feller in the Yates House and I says to him: 'Hallo,' I says, 'ain't you Osher Katzenelenbogen?' And he says: 'Excuse me,' he says, 'you got the advantage from me,' he says. 'My name is Arthur Katzen,' he says; and I assure you, Mawruss, the business that feller was doing, Mawruss, was the sole topic what everybody was talking about."

Morris waved his hand deprecatingly.

"I seen lots of them topics in my time already, Abe," he commented. "Topics what went up with red fire already and come down like sticks. That's the way it goes in this business, Abe. A feller gets a little streak of luck, and everybody goes to work and pats him on the back and tells him he's a great salesman."

"But mind you, Mawruss, Arthur Katzen was a good salesman then and is a good salesman to-day yet. The only trouble with him is that he's a gambler, Mawruss. That feller would sooner play auction pinochle than eat, and that's the reason why he could never hold it a job."

"Why shouldn't he hold a job, Abe?" Morris asked. "If I would have a crackerjack drummer, for my part he could play the whole book of Hoyle, from klabbias to stuss, and it wouldn't affect me none so long as he sold the goods."

"Maybe you're right, Mawruss," Abe admitted. "But when a feller fools away his time at auction pinochle his business is bound to suffer."

"Well, then, here's a feller answers by the name Mozart Rabiner," Morris continued. "Did y'ever hear of him, Abe?"

"If you mean Moe Rabiner, Mawruss," Abe replied. "I never knew his name was Mozart before, Mawruss, but there was a feller by the name Moe Rabiner what used to work for Sammet Brothers, Mawruss, and that feller could make the pianner fairly talk, Mawruss. If he could only get a lady buyer up against a pianner, Mawruss, he could sell her every time."

Morris tore up Mozart's application.

"So long as a feller fools away his time, Abe," he said, "it don't make no difference either he plays auction pinochle or either he plays the pianner. Ain't it?"

He opened another envelope and scanned the enclosed missive.

"This sounds good to me, Abe," he said, and handed the letter to his partner. It read as follows:


Gents:—Seeing your ad in to days Record and in reply would beg to state am a first class, womans outer garment salesman selling only to the high class trade. Was for three years with one of the largest concerns in the trade traveling to the coast and making Tooson, Denver, Shyenne and Butte, selling the best houses in Frisco, Portland, Seattle, Los Angles, Fresno &c &c &c. Am all for business and can give A 1 references. At present am unnattached but expect quick action as am neggotiating with one of the largest speciality houses in the trade. Ask no favors of nobody but results will show. Yours truly MARKS PASINSKY.

"By jimminy!" Abe cried after he had finished reading the letter. "That's the feller we want to hire it, Mawruss. Let's write him to call."

It would hardly be violating Marks Pasinsky's confidence to disclose that he held himself to be a forceful man. He never spoke save in italics, and when he shook hands with anyone the recipient of the honor felt it for the rest of the day. Abe watched Morris undergo the ordeal and plunged his hands in his trousers' pockets.

"And this is Mr. Potash," Pasinsky cried, releasing his grip on Morris and extending his hand toward Abe.

"How d'ye do?" Abe said without removing his hands. "I think I seen you oncet before already in Mandleberger Brothers & Co., in Chicago."

"I presume you did," Marks Pasinsky replied. "Ed Mandleberger and me married cousins. That is to say, my wife's mother's sister is a sister-in-law to a brother of Ed Mandleberger's wife's mother."

"Huh, huh," Abe murmured. "Do you know Simon Kuhner, buyer for their cloak department?"

Marks Pasinsky sat down and fixed Abe with an incredulous smile.

"A question!" he exclaimed. "Do I know him? Every afternoon, when I am in Chicago, Simon and me drinks coffee together."

Abe and Morris looked at each other with glances of mixed wonder and delight.

"I'll tell you another feller I'm intimate with, too," he said. "Do you know Charles I. Fichter, cloak buyer for Gardner, Baum & Miller, in Seattle?"

Abe nodded. He had been vainly trying to sell Fichter a bill of goods since 1898.

"Well, Charlie and me was delegates to the National Grand Lodge of the Independent Order Mattai Aaron, and I nominated Charlie for Grand Scribe. The way it come about was this, if you'd care to hear about it."

"That's all right," Morris interrupted. "We take your word for it. The point is, could you sell it him a big bill of goods, maybe?"

Marks Pasinsky leaned back in his chair and laughed uproariously.

"Why, Mr. Perlmutter," he said, all out of breath from his mirth, "that feller is actually putting his job in danger because he's holding off in his fall buying until I get to Seattle. Fichter wouldn't buy not a dollar's worth of goods from nobody else but me, not if you was to make him a present of them for nothing."

He gave many more instances of his friendship with cloak and suit buyers. For example, it appeared that he knew Rudolph Rosenwater, buyer for Feigenson & Schiffer, of San Francisco, to the extent of an anecdote containing a long, intimate dialogue wherein Rosenwater commenced all his speeches with: "Well, Markie."

"And so I says to him," Pasinsky concluded, "'Rudie, you are all right,' I says, 'but you can't con me.'"

He looked from Abe to Morris and beamed with satisfaction. They were in a condition of partial hypnotism, which became complete after Pasinsky had concluded a ten-minutes' discourse on cloak and suit affairs. He spoke with a fluency and emphasis that left Abe and Morris literally gasping like landed fish, although, to be sure, the manner of his discourse far outshone the matter.

But his auditors were much too dazed to be critical. They were cognizant of only one circumstance: If this huge personage with his wonderful magnetism and address couldn't sell goods, nobody could.

Pasinsky rose to his feet. He was six feet in height, and weighed over two hundred pounds.

"Well, gentlemen," he said, towering over his proposed employers, "think it over and see if you want me. I'll be back at noon."

"Hold on a minute," Abe cried. "You ain't told us nothing about who you worked for last. What were all them references you was telling us about?"

Pasinsky regarded Abe with a smile of amusement.

"I'll tell you, Mr. Potash, it's like this," he explained. "Of course you want to know who I worked for and all about it."

Abe nodded.

"But the way I feel about it," Marks Pasinsky went on, "is that if you advance my expenses for two weeks, understand me, and I go out with your sample line, understand me, if you don't owe me a thousand dollars commissions at the end of that time, then I don't want to work for you at all."

Morris' jaw dropped and he wiped beads of perspiration from his forehead.

"But who did you sell goods for?" Abe insisted.

Marks Pasinsky bent down and placed his hand on Abe's shoulder.

"B. Gans," he whispered.

"Let me in on this, too, Abe," Morris exclaimed.

"He says he worked for B. Gans," Abe replied.

"That's an A Number One concern, Abe," Morris said.

"A A Number One," Pasinsky corrected. "B. Gans ain't got a garment in his entire line that retails for less than a hundred dollars."

"Well, we ain't so tony as all that," Morris commented. "We got it one or two garments, Mr. Pasinsky—just one or two, y'understand—which retails for ninety-nine dollars and ninety-eight cents, y'understand. So, naturally, you couldn't expect to sell the same class of trade for us as you sold it for B. Gans."

"Naturally," Pasinsky agreed loftily, "but when a salesman is a salesman, Mr. Perlmutter, he ain't content to sell a line of goods which sells themselves, so to speak, like B. Gans' line. He wants to handle such a line like you got it, Mr. Perlmutter, which is got to be pushed and pushed good and plenty. If I wouldn't handle an inferior line oncet in a while, Mr. Perlmutter, I would quick get out of practice."

Morris snorted.

"If our line don't suit you, Mr. Pasinsky," he began, when Abe interrupted with a wave of his hand.

"Pasinsky is right, Mawruss," he said. "You always got it an idee you made up a line of goods what pratically sold themselves, and I always told you differencely. You wouldn't mind it if I went around to see B. Gans, Mr. Pasinsky."

Pasinsky stared superciliously at Abe.

"Go as far as you like," he said. "Gans wouldn't tell you nothing but good of me. But if I would work for you one week, Mr. Potash, you would know that with me recommendations is nix and results everything."

He blew his nose like a challenge and clapped his silk hat on his flowing black curls. Then he bowed to Morris, and the next moment the elevator door clanged behind him.

B. Gans guided himself by the maxim: "In business you couldn't trust nobody to do nothing," and albeit he employed over a hundred workmen he gave practical demonstrations of their duties to all of them. Thus, on the last of the month he made out statements in the office, and when the shipping department was busy he helped tie up packages. Occasionally he would be found wielding a pressing iron, and when Abe Potash entered to inquire about Pasinsky's qualifications B. Gans had just smashed his thumb in the process of showing a shipping clerk precisely how a packing-case ought to be nailed.

"What's the matter, Gans?" Abe asked.

"Couldn't you afford it to hire shipping clerks no more?"

"I want to tell you something, Potash," Gans replied. "Jay Vanderbilt ain't got money enough to hire it a good shipping clerk, because for the simple reason there ain't no good shipping clerks. A shipping clerk ain't no good, otherwise he wouldn't be a shipping clerk."

"How about drummers?" Abe asked. "I ain't come to ask you about shipping clerks, Gans; I come to ask you about a drummer."

"What should you ask me about drummers for, Potash?" Gans replied. "You know as well as I do what drummers is, Potash. Drummers is bluffs. I wouldn't give a pinch of snuff for the best drummers living. The way drummers figure it out nowadays, Potash, there ain't no more money in commissions. All the money is in the expense account."

Abe laughed.

"I guess you got a tale of woe to tell about designers and models, too, Gans," he said; "but with me, Gans, so long as a salesman could sell goods I don't take it so particular when it comes right down to the expense account."

"Oh, if they sell goods, Potash," Gans agreed, "then that's something else again. But the way business is to-day, Potash, salesmen don't sell goods no more. Former times a salesman wasn't considered a salesman unless he could sell a customer goods what the customer didn't want; but nowadays it don't make no difference what kind of salesman you hire it, Potash, the goods is got to sell themselves, otherwise the salesman can't do no business. Ain't it?"

"But take a salesman like Marks Pasinsky, for instance," Abe said. "There's a feller what can sell goods. Ain't it?"

B. Gans looked up sharply.

"Did Marks Pasinsky send you here?" he asked.

"Well, he give you as a reference," Abe replied.

"All right," B. Gans continued. "You tell Marks Pasinsky from me that I says he's a good salesman and that why he left me was by mutual consent."

"Sure," Abe said, "but I wanted to ask you more about Pasinsky. You see, Pasinsky wants to come to work by us as salesman, and I want to find out a few things about him first."

"Well, I'm just telling you, ain't I?" Gans replied. "I said Marks Pasinsky was a good salesman and the reason why he left me was by mutual consent; and you tell Pasinsky that that's what I said it, and if you'll excuse me I got business to attend to."

He turned away and fairly ran toward the rear of the loft, while Abe, now thoroughly mystified, returned to his place of business.

"Well, Abe," Morris cried as his partner entered. "What for a reference did you get it from B. Gans?"

"The reference is all right, Mawruss," Abe replied. "B. Gans says that Pasinsky is a good salesman and that the reason he left was by mutual consent."

"Mutual consent?" Morris exclaimed. "What kind of reasons is that for firing a feller?"

"Gans didn't fire him, Mawruss," Abe said. "He left by mutual consent."

"I know, Abe," Morris rejoined, "but when a feller quits by mutual consent you know as well as I do, Abe, what that means. It means that if I should say to Jake, the shipping clerk, 'Jake, you are a rotten shipping clerk and I don't want you no more, and if you don't get right out of here I will kick you out,' and then Jake says to me, 'In that case you could take your dirty job and give it to some poor sucker what wants it more as I do,' then Jake quits by mutual consent. Ain't it?"

Abe stared indignantly at his partner.

"I'm surprised to hear you you should talk that way, Mawruss, about a decent, respectable young feller what works so hard like Jake does," he said. "That only goes to show what a judge you are. If you couldn't tell it a good shipping clerk when you see one, how should you know anything about salesmen? B. Gans says that Pasinsky is a good salesman, Mawruss, and you can do what you like about it; I'm going to hire him, Mawruss, when he comes back here."

"Go ahead, Abe," Morris retorted. "Only, if things shouldn't turn out O. K. you shouldn't blame me. That's all."

"I wouldn't blame you, Mawruss," Abe said. "All I would blame you is if you wouldn't have our sample line in good shape by next week, because I want Pasinsky to leave here by Monday sure."

"Don't you worry about them samples, Abe," Morris cried.

"Them samples is good enough to sell themselves; and the way I figure it out, they got to sell themselves, Abe, because I don't believe Pasinsky could sell nothing to nobody."

"You don't believe nothing, Mawruss," Abe concluded as he made for the cutting-room; "you're a regular amethyst."

"With a feller like Kuhner," Marks Pasinsky declared on the following Monday, "you couldn't be a cheap skate, Mr. Potash."

"I always sold it Kuhner, too," Abe replied; "but I never spent it so much as three hundred dollars in one week in Chicago."

"Sure, I know," Pasinsky agreed, "but how much did you sell Kuhner? A thousand or two thousand at the outside. With me, Mr. Potash, I wouldn't bother myself to stop off in Chicago at all if I couldn't land at least a five-thousand-dollar order from Simon Kuhner, of Mandleberger Brothers & Co., and we will say four thousand with Chester Prosnauer, of the Arcade Mercantile Company."

It lacked half an hour of Marks Pasinsky's train-time, and, in addition, Abe had grown a little weary of his parting instructions to his newly-hired salesman. Indeed, the interview had lasted all the forenoon, and it would have been difficult to decide who was doing the instructing.

"S'enough," Abe cried. "Let's make an end. I'll speak to my partner about it, and if he says it's all right I'm agreeable."

He repaired to the cutting-room, where Morris chafed at the delay in Pasinsky's departure.

"Ain't that feller gone yet, Abe?" he asked.

"I'm just giving him a few last advices," Abe replied.

"Well, I hope you're more successful as I was, Abe," Morris rejoined. "That feller's got so much to say for himself I couldn't get a word in sideways."

Abe nodded.

"He's a good talker," he said, "only he's too ambitious, Mawruss."

"He shouldn't get ambitious around me, Abe," Morris retorted, "because I wouldn't stand for it. What's he getting ambitious with you about?"

"Well, he wants it three hundred dollars for expenses one week in Chicago already," Abe answered.

"What!" Morris cried.

"He says he got to do some tall entertaining, Mawruss," Abe went on, "because he expects to sell Simon Kuhner a five-thousand-dollars bill of goods, and the Arcade Mercantile Company also five thousand."

"Say, looky here, Abe: I want to tell you something," Morris broke in. "Of course, this ain't my affair nor nothing, because you got the rheumatism and it's your funeral. Also, I am only a partner here, y'understand, and what I says goes for nix. But the way it looks to me now, Abe, if this here Pasinsky sells all the goods he talks about, Abe, we will got to have four times more capital as we are working with now. And if he spends it three hundred dollars in every town he makes we wouldn't have no capital left at all. And that's the way it goes."

He turned and strode angrily away, while Abe went back to the show-room.

"Well, Pasinsky," he said, "I decided I would take a chance and advance you the three hundred; but you got to do the business, Pasinsky, otherwise it is all off."

Pasinsky nodded and tucked away the yellowbacks which Abe gave him.

"All you've got to do, Mr. Potash, is to fill the orders," he said, extending his hand to Abe, "and I will do the rest. And now good-by and good luck to you."

He squeezed Abe's hand until it was completely numb, and with a parting nod to Miss Cohen, the bookkeeper, he started on his journey for the West.

"You would thought, Mawruss," Abe said afterward, "that he was staying home and that it was me what goes away on the trip."

"I wish you was, Abe," Morris replied fervently. "I ain't got no confidence in that feller at all."

"I wouldn't knock the feller until I seen what he could do, Mawruss," Abe said. "He promised me we should hear from him so soon as he gets there."

Four days later the expected mail arrived. Abe received the letter from the carrier and burst it open with his thumb. Then he drew forth the contents of the envelope and shook the folded sheet, but no order slip fell out. He sighed heavily and perused the letter, which read as follows:



Gents:—Arrived here this A M and things look very promising. Am informed by everybody that business is good on the coast and prospects of big orders also very promising. Sales have been slow here on a/c weather is very hot. Miss Schimpfer asst buyer millinary dept Mandleberger Bros & Co says things look very promising and expects to do a big fall business. Was two hours late getting in to Chicago on a/c freight wreck and missed seeing Kuhner his sister's daughter gets married and Kuhner goes to the wedding. Will see Kuhner to morrow A M and let you know results. Have appointment with Chester Prosnauer to morrow A M and things look very promising there. Will write you to morrow. Regards to Mr. Perlmutter. Hoping things is all right in the store, I am, MARKS PASINSKY.

Abe finished reading the letter and handed it in silence to Morris, who examined it closely.

"That's a very promising letter, Abe," he said. "I'd like to know what that feller done all day in Chicago. I bet yer that assistant millinery buyer eats a good lunch on us, Abe, if she didn't also see it a theayter on us, too. What does he think he's selling, anyway, Abe, millinery or cloaks?"

"Give the feller a show, Mawruss," Abe replied. "He ain't been in Chicago forty-eight hours yet. We'll wait till we get it another letter from him, Mawruss, before we start to kick."

Another day elapsed, but no further epistle came from Marks Pasinsky, and when the last mail arrived without any word from Chicago Morris grew worried.

"Not even a weather report, Abe," he said. "If he couldn't sell no goods, Abe, at least he could write us a letter."

"Maybe he's too busy, Mawruss," Abe suggested.

"Busy taking assistant millinery buyers to lunch, Abe," Morris replied. "The way that feller acts, Abe, he ain't no stranger to auction pinochle, neither, I bet yer."

Abe put on his hat and coat preparatory to going home.

"What's the use knocking him yet a while, Mawruss?" he said. "A different tune you will sing it when we get a couple of orders from him to-morrow morning."

But the next forenoon's mail was barren of result, and when Abe went out to lunch that day he had little appetite for his food. Accordingly he sought an enameled-brick dairy restaurant, and he was midway in the consumption of a bowl of milk toast when Leon Sammet, senior partner of Sammet Brothers, entered.

"Well, Abe," he said, "do you got to diet, too?"

"Gott sei dank, it ain't so bad as all that, Leon," Abe replied. "No, Leon, I ain't going to die just yet a while, although that's a terrible sickness, the rheumatism. The doctor says I could only eat it certain things like chicken and chops and milk toast."

"Well, you wouldn't starve, anyhow," Leon commented.

"No, I wouldn't starve," Abe admitted, "but I also couldn't go out on the road, neither. The doctor wouldn't let me, so we got to hire a feller to take care of our Western trade. I guess he's a pretty good salesman, too. His name is Marks Pasinsky. Do you know him?"

"Sure I know him," Leon Sammet replied. "He used to work by B. Gans, and he's a very close friend of a feller what used to work for us by the name Mozart Rabiner."

"You mean that musical feller?" Abe said.

"That's the one," Leon answered. "I bet yer he was musical. That feller got the artistic temperature all right, Abe. He didn't give a damn how much of our money he spent it. Every town he makes he got to have a pianner sent up to the hotel. Costs us every time three dollars for the pianner and five dollars for trucking. We got it a decent salesman now, Abe. We hired him a couple of weeks since."

"What's his name?" Abe asked.

"Arthur Katzen," Leon Sammet replied. "He had a big week last week in Buffalo, Erie, Cleveland and Detroit. He's in Chicago this week."

"Is that so?" Abe commented.

"He turned us in a fine order to-day," Leon continued, "from Simon Kuhner, of Mandleberger Brothers & Co."

"What?" Abe gasped.

"Sure," Sammet went on, "and the funny thing about it is that Kuhner never bought our line before, and I guess he wouldn't of bought it now, but this here Arthur Katzen, Abe, he is sure a wonder. That feller actually booked a five-thousand-dollar order from sample garments which didn't belong to our line at all. They're some samples which I understand Kuhner had made up already."

"That's something what I never heard it before," Abe exclaimed.

"Me neither," Leon said; "but Kuhner gives him the privilege to send us the garments here, and we are to make up sample garments of our own so soon as we can copy the styles; and after we ship our samples and Kuhner's samples back to Kuhner, Kuhner sends us a confirmation. We expect Kuhner will ship us his samples to-morrow."

Abe rose wearily from his seat.

"Well, Leon," he concluded, "you certainly got it more luck with your salesman as we got it with ours. So far he ain't sent us a single, solitary order."

He passed down the aisle to the cashier's desk and had almost reached the door when a restraining hand plucked at his coat tails.

"Hallo, Abe!" a voice cried. It was Sol Klinger, whose manner of eating crullers and coffee received and merited the unfavorable attention of everybody seated at his table. "Sit down and have a cup of coffee."

"I had it my lunch already," Abe replied.

"Sit down and have a cup of coffee, anyhow," Sol Klinger coaxed.

"I wouldn't have no coffee," Abe said as he took the vacant chair next to Sol. "I'll have a cup of chocolate. To a man in my conditions, Sol, coffee is poison already."

"Why, what's the matter, Abe?" Sol asked.

"I'm a sick feller, Sol," Abe went on. "The rheumatism I got it all over my body. I assure you I couldn't go out on the road this fall. I had to hire it a salesman."

"Is that so?" Sol Klinger replied. "Well, we had to hire it a new salesman, too—a young feller by the name Moe Rabiner. Do you know him?"

"I heard about him already," Abe said. "How is he doing?"

"Well, in Buffalo, last week, he ain't done hardly nothing," said Sol; "but he's in Chicago this week and he done a little better. He sent us a nice order this morning, I bet yer. Four thousand dollars from the Arcade Mercantile Company."

Abe was swallowing a huge mouthful of cocoa, and when Sol vouchsafed this last piece of information the cocoa found its way to Abe's pharynx, whence it was violently ejected into the face of a mild-mannered errand-boy sitting opposite. The errand-boy wiped his face while Sol slapped Abe on the back.

"What's the matter, Abe?" Sol asked solicitously. "Do you got bronchitis, too, as well as rheumatism?"

"Go ahead, Sol," Abe gasped. "Tell me about this here order."

"There ain't much to tell, Abe," Sol went on, "except that this here Rabiner does something I never heard about before in all my experience in the cloak and suit business."

"No?" Abe croaked. "What was that?"

"Why, this here Rabiner gets an order from Prosnauer, of the Arcade Mercantile Company, for garments what we ain't got in our line at all," Sol Klinger explained; "and Prosnauer furnishes us the sample garments, which we are to return to him just so soon as we can copy them, and then——"

"S'enough," Abe cried. "I heard enough, Sol. Don't rub it in."

"Why, what do you mean, Abe?" Sol asked.

"I mean I got it a salesman in Chicago, Sol," Abe went on, "what ain't sent us so much as a smell of an order. I guess there's only one thing for me to do, Sol, and that's to go myself to Chicago and see what he's up to."

Sol looked shocked.

"Don't you do it, Abe," he said. "Klein got a brother-in-law what got the rheumatism like you got it, Abe, and the feller insisted on going to Boston. The railroad trip finished him, I bet yer."

"Did he die?" Abe asked.

"Well, no, he didn't die exactly," Klinger replied; "but on the train the rheumatism went to his head, and that poor, sick young feller took a whole theayter troupe into the cafe car and blows 'em to tchampanyer wine yet. Two hundred dollars it costed him."

"That's all right, Sol," Abe replied. "I could stand it if it stood me in three hundred dollars, so long as I could stop Marks Pasinsky making another town."

He rose to his feet with surprising alacrity for a rheumatic patient, and returned to his office, where no communication had been received from Marks Pasinsky.

"That settles it, Mawruss," Abe said as he jammed his hat farther down on his head.

"Where are you going now?" Morris asked.

"I'm going home to pack my grip," Abe announced, "and I'll get that six o'clock train to Chicago, sure."

"But, Abe," Morris protested, "I thought the doctor says if you went out on the road he wouldn't be responsible for you."

"I know he did," Abe concluded as he passed out, "but who will be responsible for Marks Pasinsky, Mawruss?"

When Abe reached Chicago the following afternoon he repaired at once to the hotel at which Marks Pasinsky was staying.

"Mr. Pasinsky ain't in his room. What?" he said to the clerk.

"Mr. Pasinsky went out about one o'clock and hasn't been back since," the clerk replied as he handed Abe over to a bell-boy. Fifteen minutes later Abe descended from his room with the marks of travel almost effaced, and again inquired for Marks Pasinsky.

"He ain't been back since, Mr. Potash," said the clerk.

"He didn't go out with nobody. No?" Abe asked.

"I think he went out with a short, dark gentleman," the clerk answered.

Abe pondered for a moment. Simon Kuhner stood full six feet tall and was a decided blond, while Chester Prosnauer, whom he knew by sight only, was as large as Marks Pasinsky himself.

"Who could that be, I wonder?" Abe murmured.

"It was a gentleman staying over at the Altringham," the clerk said.

"Then it couldn't be them," Abe concluded. "If Pasinsky comes back you should please tell him to wait. I will be back here at six, sure."

He made immediately for the business premises of Mandleberger Brothers & Co., where he found Simon Kuhner hard at work in his office.

"Hallo, Abe!" Kuhner cried as Abe entered. "They told me you was a fit subject for crutches when I asked for you the other day."

"Who told you?" Abe said without further preface. "Marks Pasinsky?"

"Marks Pasinsky?" Kuhner repeated. "Why, no. He didn't mention your name, Abe. Do you know Marks Pasinsky, too?"

"Do I know him, too?" Abe almost shrieked. "A question! Ain't he selling goods for me?"

"Is he?" Kuhner said.

"Is he!" Abe cried. "Why, you don't mean to tell me that feller ain't been in here yet?"

"Sure he was in here," Kuhner replied, "but he didn't say nothing about selling goods for you. In fact, he got a fine order from me, Abe, for a concern which I never done business with before. People by the name Sammet Brothers. What's the matter, Abe? Are you sick?"

Abe gurgled once or twice and clutched at his collar.

"Did you got the samples here what he shows you?" he managed to gasp.

"Why, Abe, what's troubling you?" Kuhner said. "A sick man like you shouldn't be attending to business at all."

"Never mind me," Abe cried. "What about them samples, Kuhner?"

"He left some samples with me, and I was to ship 'em to Sammet Brothers."

"Did you ship 'em yet?" Abe exclaimed.

"Why, what's the matter, Abe?" Kuhner commenced soothingly.

"The matter is," Abe shouted, "them samples is my samples, and there's some monkey business here."

"Monkey business!" Kuhner said. "What sort of monkey business?"

"I don't know," Abe replied, "but I'm going to find out right away. Promise me you wouldn't ship them samples till I come back."

"Sure I will promise you, Abe," Kuhner declared. "When will you be back?"

"To-morrow morning some time," Abe concluded as he rose to leave. "I got to see a lawyer and make this here feller Pasinsky arrested."

"Don't do nothing rash, Abe," Kuhner advised.

"I won't do nothing rash," Abe promised. "I'll kill him, that's what I'll do."

He took the stairs three at a jump and fairly ran to the dry-goods store of the Arcade Mercantile Company.

"Mr. Prosnauer," he cried as he burst into Prosnauer's office in the cloak department, "my name is Mr. Potash, of Potash & Perlmutter, from New York. Did you seen it my salesman, Marks Pasinsky?"

"Sit down, Mr. Potash," Prosnauer said, "and don't excite yourself."

"I ain't exciting myself," Abe exclaimed. "I don't got to excite myself, Mr. Prosnauer. I am excited enough already when I think to myself that that lowlife Pasinsky takes my samples out of my store and comes here with my money and gets an order from you for four thousand dollars for Klinger & Klein."

"Not so fast, Mr. Potash," Prosnauer began. "I've known Marks Pasinsky for a number of years. He and I play auction pinochle together every Saturday night when he is in Chicago, and——"

"Auction pinochle!" Abe interrupted, throwing up his hands. "Das fehlt nur noch!"

"As I was saying, Mr. Potash," Prosnauer went on with a withering glance at Abe, "those samples are outside, and Pasinsky has asked me to ship them to Klinger & Klein, and——"

"Ship 'em!" Abe cried. "You shouldn't ship nothing. Them samples belongs to me."

"How do I know that?" Prosnauer asked. "Is your name engraved on 'em?"

"All right," Abe cried, jumping to his feet. "All right, Mr. Prosnauer. If you are going to make jokes with me I got nothing to say, but I give you warning that you should do absolutely nothing with them samples till I send a sheriff round for them."

"Now you're making threats," said Prosnauer.

"With people like Marks Pasinsky," Abe retorted as he paused at the door, "I don't got to make no threats. I know who I am dealing with, Mr. Prosnauer, and so, instead I should make threats I go right away and see a lawyer, and he will deliver the goods. That's all I got to say."

"Hold on there, Mr. Potash," Prosnauer cried. "It ain't necessary for you to see a lawyer. Prove to me that you own the samples and you can have 'em."

Abe hesitated.

"Well," he said, "if you would hold it them samples till to-morrow noon, Mr. Prosnauer, I'll give you all the proofs you want."

"Very well," Prosnauer said, "I'll hold them. When will you be back?"

"Before twelve to-morrow," Abe replied. "Believe me, Mr. Prosnauer, I ain't so stuck on paying lawyers. If I can settle this thing up nice and friendly I would do so."

They shook hands, and Abe retraced his steps to the hotel, where he again inquired for Marks Pasinsky.

"He hasn't come back yet, Mr. Potash," the clerk said, and Abe retired to the writing-room and smoked a cigar by way of a sedative.

From six o'clock that evening until midnight he smoked so many sedative cigars and made so many fruitless inquiries at the desk for Marks Pasinsky, that his own nerves as well as the night clerk's were completely shattered. Before Abe retired he paid a farewell visit to the desk, and both he and the clerk gave vent to their emotions in a great deal of spirited profanity.

There was no rest for Abe that night, and when at length he fell asleep it was almost daylight. He awoke at nine and, dressing himself fireman fashion, he hurried to the desk.

"What time did Marks Pasinsky come in?" he asked the clerk.

"Why, Mr. Pasinsky didn't come in at all," the clerk replied.

Abe pushed his hat back from his forehead.

"Say, young feller," he said, "do you got the gall to tell me that Marks Pasinsky ain't come back since he went over to the Altringham with that short, dark feller yesterday afternoon?"

"Call me a liar, why don't you?" the clerk retorted.

"You're a fresh young feller!" Abe exclaimed. "Couldn't you answer a civil question?"

"Ah, don't be worrying me with your troubles!" the clerk snarled. "Go over to the Altringham yourself, if you think I'm stringing you."

Abe turned without another word and hustled over to the Altringham.

"Do you know a feller by the name Marks Pasinsky?" he asked the clerk.

"Is he a guest of the house?" the clerk said.

"He's a big feller with a stovepipe hat and curly hair," Abe replied, "and he came in here yesterday afternoon with a short, dark feller what is stopping here. This here Pasinsky is stopping where I am, but he ain't showed up all night, and I guess he's stayed here with that short, dark feller."

The clerk touched a bell.

"Front," he said, "show this gentleman up to eighty-nine."

"Eighty-nine?" Abe cried. "Who's up in eighty-nine?"

"Tall, curly-haired gentleman came in here yesterday afternoon with a short, dark gentleman name of Katzen and——"

Abe clapped his hand to his forehead.

"Arthur Katzen!" he cried.

The clerk nodded.

"Short, dark feller," Abe murmured as he followed the bell-boy. "Why didn't I think of Arthur Katzen before?"

He entered the elevator, feeling as though he were walking in his sleep; nor did the jolt with which he was shot up to the eighth floor awaken him. His conductor led him down the corridor and was about to knock at room eighty-nine when Abe seized him by the arm.

"Hold on," Abe whispered. "The door is open."

They tiptoed up to the half-open door and, holding himself well within the shadow of the corridor, Abe peeped in. It was ten o'clock of a sunny fall day, but the dark shades of room eighty-nine were drawn and the electric lights were blazing away as though it were still midnight. Beneath the lights was a small, oblong table at which sat three men, and in front of each of them stood a small pile of chips. Marks Pasinsky was dealing.

"A-ah, Katzen, you ruined that hand," Marks Pasinsky said as he flipped out the cards three at a time. "Why didn't you lead it out the ace of Schueppe right at the start? What did you expect to do with it? Eat it?"

Katzen nodded sleepily.

"The way I feel now, Pasinsky, I could eat most anything," he retorted. "I could eat a round trip, if I had a cup of coffee with it, so hungry I am. Let's have some supper."

"Supper!" Pasinsky cried. "What do you want supper for? The game is young yet."

"Shall I tell you something?" the third hand—a stranger to Abe—said. "You both played that hand like Strohschneiders. Pasinsky sits there with two nines of trump in his hand and don't lead 'em through me. You could have beat me by a million very easy."

He waved his hand with the palm outward and flapped his four fingers derisively.

"You call yourself a pinochle player!" he jeered, and fell to twisting his huge red mustache with his fingers.

Abe nodded an involuntary approval, and then as silently as they had arrived he and the bell-boy retreated toward the elevator shaft.

"Dem guys is card fiends all right," the bell-boy commented. "Dey started in at five o'clock last night."

As they waited for the elevator the strains of a piano came from the floor below.

"What's that?" Abe exclaimed.

"Dat's anudder member of de gang," the bell-boy replied. "Dat's Mr. Rabiner. He quit a big loser about one o'clock dis mornin'."

Abe handed his informant a dime.

"Take me to his room," he said.

The bell-boy led the way to the seventh floor and conducted Abe to the door of Rabiner's room.

"Dat's a pretty said spiel dat guy is tearin' off," he commented. "It makes me tink of a dago funeral."

Abe nodded. He knocked at the door, and Liszt's transcription of the Liebestod ceased immediately.

"Well?" Mozart Rabiner cried and, for answer, Abe opened the door.

"Hallo, Moe!" he said. "You don't know me. What? I'm Abe Potash."

"Oh, hello, Potash!" Rabiner said, rising from the piano stool.

"That's some pretty mournful music you was giving us, Moe," Abe went on. "Sounds like business was poor already. Ain't you working no more?"

"I am and I ain't," Mozart replied. "I'm supposed to be selling goods for Klinger & Klein, but since I only sold it one bill in two weeks I ain't got much hopes that I'll get enough more money out of 'em to move me out of town."

"What do you make next, Moe?" Abe asked.

"St. Paul and Minneapolis," Mozart replied.

Abe handed him a large cigar and, lighting the mate to it, puffed away complacently.

"That was a pretty good order you got it from Prosnauer which Sol Klinger tells me about," he said.

Mozart nodded sadly.

"Looky here, Moe," Abe went on, "how much money do you need to move you?"

Mozart lifted his eyebrows and shrugged hopelessly.

"More as you would lend me, Potash," he said. "So what's the use talking about it?"

"Well, I was going to say," Abe continued, "if it was something what you might call within reason, Moe, I might advance it if——"

"If what?" Moe inquired.

"If you would tell me the insides of just how you got it that order from Prosnauer."

Mozart gave a deprecatory wave of his right hand.

"You don't got to bribe me to tell you that, Potash," he said, "because I ain't got no concern in that order no longer. I give up my commission there to a feller by the name Ignatz Kresnick."

"A white-faced feller with a big red mustache?" Abe asked.

"That's him," Mozart replied. "The luck that feller Kresnick got it is something you wouldn't believe at all. He could fall down a sewer manhole and come up in a dress suit and a clean shave already. He cleans me out last night two hundred dollars and the commission on that Prosnauer order."

"But you didn't get that order in the first place, Moe," Abe said. "Marks Pasinsky got the order."

"Sure, I know," Mozart replied, "but he got set back a couple of four hundred hands last Tuesday night with Katzen and me in the game, and the way he settles up his losing is that Katzen and me should take his commissions on a couple of orders which he says he is going to get from Simon Kuhner, of Mandleberger Brothers & Co., and Chester Prosnauer, of the Arcade Mercantile Company. Sure enough, he gets the orders from both of 'em the very next morning. That's the kind of salesman he is."

"But why didn't Pasinsky send us along the orders, Moe," Abe protested, "and we could fix up about the commissions later? Why should he sent it the orders to Klinger & Klein and Sammet Brothers?"

"Well, you see, business was poor with me and I wanted to make good, being as this was my first trip with the concern; so, as a favor to me Pasinsky turns over the whole order to me," Mozart explained; "and then, when Katzen sees that, he wants the other order sent to his concern, too."

"But this was Pasinsky's first trip by us, also," Abe cried.

"I know it," Mozart said, "but Pasinsky says that he didn't care, because a good salesman like him could always find it an opening somewhere, and anyway he wasn't stuck on working for a piker concern like yours."

Abe rose with his eyes ablaze.

"That settles it," he said, jamming his hat on his head. "I'm going for a policeman. I'll teach that sucker to steal my orders!"

He bounced out of the room and, as he rang for the elevator, Isolde's lament once more issued from beneath. Mozart Rabiner's fingers:

Mild und leise wie er laechelt Wie das Auge hold er oeffnet

While from the floor above came the full, round tones of the salesman, Marks Pasinsky.

"Sixty queens," he said.

Abe ran out of the hotel lobby straight into the arms of a short, stout person.

"Excuse me," Abe exclaimed.

"I'll excuse you, Potash," said the short, stout person, "but I wouldn't run like that if I got it the rheumatism so bad."

Abe looked at the speaker and gasped. It was B. Gans.

"What are you doing in Chicago, Potash?" Gans asked.

"You should ask me that," Abe snorted indignantly. "If it wouldn't be for you I wouldn't never got to leave New York."

"What do you mean?" Gans asked.

"I mean you gives me a good reference for this feller Marks Pasinsky," Abe shouted. "And even now I am on my way out for a policeman to make this here Pasinsky arrested."

B. Gans whistled. He surrendered to a bell-boy the small valise he carried and clutched Abe's arm.

"I wouldn't do that," he said. "Come inside the cafe and tell me all about it."

Abe shook himself free.

"Why shouldn't I make him arrested?" he insisted. "He's a thief. He stole my samples."

"Well, he stole my samples, too, oncet," B. Gans replied. "Come inside the cafe and I'll give you a little sad story what I got, too."

A moment later they were seated at a marble-top table.

"Yes, Abe," B. Gans went on after they had given the order, "Marks Pasinsky stole my samples, too. Let's hear your story first."

Straightway Abe unfolded to B. Gans the tale of Marks Pasinsky's adventure with Mozart Rabiner and Arthur Katzen, and also told him how the orders based on Potash & Perlmutter's sample line had found their way into the respective establishments of Sammet Brothers and Klinger & Klein.

"Well, by jimminy!" B. Gans commented, "that's just the story I got to tell it you. This feller does the selfsame funny business with my samples. He gets orders from a couple of big concerns in St. Louis and then he gambles them away to a feller called Levy. So what do I do, Potash? He goes to work and has 'em both arrested, and then them two fellers turns around and fixes up a story and the first thing you know the police judge lets 'em go. Well, Potash, them two fellers goes down to New York and hires a lawyer, by the name Henry D. Feldman, and sue me in the courts yet that I made them false arrested. Cost me a thousand dollars to settle it, and I also got to agree that if anybody inquires about Pasinsky I should say only that he is a good salesman—which is the truth, Potash, because he is a good salesman—and that the reason he left me is by mutual consent, y'understand?"

Abe nodded.

"That's a fine piece of work, that Marks Pasinsky," he commented. "I wish I had never seen him already. What shall I do, Gans? I am in a fine mess."

"No, you ain't yet," B. Gans replied. "Prosnauer and Kuhner knows me, Potash, and I am willing, as long as I got you into this, I will get you out of it. I will go with you myself, Potash, and I think I got influence enough in the trade that I could easy get them to give you back them samples."

"I know you can," Abe said enthusiastically, "and if you would put it to 'em strong enough I think we could swing back to us them orders from Sammet Brothers and Klinger & Klein."

"That I will do for you, also," B. Gans agreed. "But now, Potash, I got troubles ahead of me, too."

"How's that?" Abe inquired, much interested.

"I got it a lowlife what I hired for a salesman, also," he replied, "and three weeks ago that feller left my place with my samples and I ain't heard a word from him since. If I got to search every gamblinghouse in Chicago I will find that loafer; and when I do find him, Potash, I will crack his neck for him."

"I wouldn't do nothing rash, Gans," Abe advised. "What for a looking feller is this salesman of yours?"

"He's a tall, white-faced loafer with a big red mustache," Gans replied, "and his name is Ignatz Kresnick."

Abe jumped to his feet.

"Come with me," he cried. Together they took the elevator to the eighth floor and, as Ignatz Kresnick dealt the cards for the five-hundredth time in that game, all unconscious of his fast-approaching Nemesis, Mozart Rabiner played the concluding measures of the Liebestod softly, slowly, like a benediction:

Ertrinken— Versinken— Unbewusst— Hoechste Lust.


"Who do you think I seen it in Hammersmith's just now, Mawruss?" Abe Potash shouted as he burst into the show-room one Saturday afternoon in April.

"I ain't deaf, Abe," Morris replied. "Who did you seen it?"

"J. Edward Kleebaum from Minneapolis," Abe answered.

Morris shrugged.

"What d'ye want me to do, Abe?" he asked.

Abe ignored the question.

"He promised he would come in at two o'clock and look over the line," he announced triumphantly.

"Plenty crooks looked over our line already, Abe," Morris commented, "and so far as I'm concerned, they could look over it all they want to, Abe, so long as they shouldn't buy nothing from us."

"What d'ye mean? Crooks?" Abe cried. "The way Kleebaum talks he would give us an order for a thousand dollars goods, maybe, Mawruss. He ain't no crook."

"Ain't he?" Morris replied. "What's the reason he ain't, Abe? The way I look at it, Abe, when a feller makes it a dirty failure like that feller made it in Milwaukee, Abe, and then goes to Cleveland, Abe, and opens up as the bon march, Abe, and does another bust up, Abe, and then he goes to——"

"S'enough, Mawruss," Abe interrupted. "Them things is from old times already. To-day is something else again. That feller done a tremendous business last spring, Mawruss, and this season everybody is falling over themselves to sell him goods."

"Looky here, Abe," Morris broke in, "you think the feller ain't a crook, and you're entitled to think all you want to, Abe, but I seen it Sol Klinger yesterday, and what d'ye think he told me?"

"I don't know what he told you, Mawruss," Abe replied, "but it wouldn't be the first time, Mawruss, that a feller tells lies about a concern that he couldn't sell goods to, Mawruss. It's the old story of the dawg and the grapes."

Morris looked hurt.

"I'm surprised you should call a decent, respectable feller like Sol Klinger a dawg, Abe," he said. "That feller has always been a good friend of ours, Abe, and even if he wouldn't be, Abe, that ain't no way to talk about a concern what does a business like Klinger & Klein."

"Don't make no speeches, Mawruss," Abe retorted. "Go ahead and tell me what Sol Klinger told it you about J. Edward Kleebaum."

"Why, Sol Klinger says that he hears it on good authority, Abe, that that lowlife got it two oitermobiles, Abe. What d'ye think for a crook like that?"

"So far what I hear it, Mawruss, it ain't such a terrible crime that a feller should got it two oitermobiles. In that case, Mawruss, Andrew Carnegie would be a murderer yet. I bet yer he got already fifty oitermobiles."

"S'all right, Abe," Morris cried. "Andrew Carnegie ain't looking to buy off us goods, Abe, and even so, Abe, he never made it a couple of failures like Kleebaum, Abe."

"Well, Mawruss, is that all you got against him that he owns an oitermobile? Maybe he plays golluf, too, Mawruss."

"Golluf I don't know nothing about, Abe," Morris replied, "but auction pinochle he does play it, Abe. Sol Klinger says that out in Minneapolis Kleebaum hangs out with a bunch of loafers what considers a dollar a hundred chicken feed already."

Abe rose to his feet.

"Let me tell you something, Mawruss," he said. "I got over them old fashioned idees that a feller shouldn't spend the money he makes in the way what he wants to. If Kleebaum wants to buy oitermobiles, that's his business, not mine, Mawruss, and for my part, Mawruss, if that feller was to come in here and buy from us a thousand dollars goods, Mawruss, I am in favor we should sell him."

"You could do what you please, Abe," Morris declared as he put on his hat. "Only one thing I beg of you, Abe, don't never put it up to me, Abe, that I was in favor of the feller from the start."

"Sure not, Mawruss," Abe replied, "because you wouldn't never let me forget it. Where are you going now, Mawruss?"

"I told you yesterday where I was going, Abe," Morris said impatiently. "Me and Minnie is going out to Johnsonhurst to see her cousin Moe Fixman."

"Moe Fixman," Abe repeated. "Ain't that the same Fixman what was partners together with Max Gudekunst?"

Morris nodded.

"Well, you want to keep your hand on your pocketbook, Mawruss," Abe went on, "because I hear it on good authority that feller ain't above selling the milk from his baby's bottle."

Morris paused with his hand on the door knob.

"That's the first I hear about it, Abe," he said. "Certainly, when a feller gets together a little money, y'understand, always there is somebody what knocks him, Abe. Who told you all this about Fixman, Abe?"

"A feller by the name Sol Klinger, Mawruss," Abe replied, "and if you don't believe me you could——"

But Morris cut off further comment by banging the door behind him and Abe turned to his task of preparing the sample line for his prospective customer's inspection. A half an hour later J. Edward Kleebaum entered the show-room and extended his hand to Abe.

"Hallo, Potash," he said. "You got to excuse me I'm a little late on account I had to look at a machine up on Fiftieth Street."

"That's a sample I suppose, ain't it?" Abe said.

"No," Kleebaum replied, "it's one of their stock machines, a Pfingst, nineteen-nine model."

"Pfingst!" Abe exclaimed, "that's a new one on me. Certainly, I believe a feller should buy the machines what suits his purpose, but with Mawruss and me, when we was running our own shop we bought nothing but standard makes like Keeler and Silcox and them other machines."

At this juncture Kleebaum broke into a hearty laugh.

"This machine is all right for what I would want it," he said. "In fact, I got it right down in front of the door now. It's a nineteen-nine Pfingst, six cylinder roadster up to date and runs like a chronometer already."

"Oh, an oitermobile!" Abe cried. "Excuse me, Mr. Kleebaum. Oitermobiles ain't in my line, Mr. Kleebaum. I'm satisfied I should know something about the cloak and suit business, Mr. Kleebaum. Now, here is a garment which me and Mawruss don't consider one of our leaders at all, Mr. Kleebaum. But I bet yer that if another concern as us would put out a garment like that, Mr. Kleebaum, they would make such a holler about it that you would think nobody else knows how to make garments but them."

"When a feller's got the goods, Potash," Kleebaum replied, as he lit one of Abe's "gilt-edged" cigars, "he's got a right to holler. Now you take this here Pfingst car. It is made by the Pfingst Manufacturing Company, a millionaire concern, and them people advertise it to beat the band. And why shouldn't they advertise it? Them people got a car there which it is a wonder, Potash. How they could sell a car like that for twenty-five hundred dollars I don't know. The body alone must cost them people a couple of thousand dollars."

"That's always the way, Mr. Kleebaum," Abe broke in hurriedly. "Now, you take this here garment, Mr. Kleebaum, people would say, 'How is it possible that Potash & Perlmutter could turn out a garment like this for eighteen dollars?' And certainly, Mr. Kleebaum, I don't say we lose money on it, y'understand, only we got——"

"But this here car, Potash, has selective transmission, shaft drive and——"

"Say, lookyhere, Kleebaum," Abe cried, "am I trying to sell you some cloaks or are you trying to sell me an oitermobile? Because if you are, I'm sorry I got to tell you I ain't in the market for an oitermobile just at present. On the other hand, Mr. Kleebaum, I got a line of garments here which it is a pleasure for me to show you, even if you wouldn't buy so much as a button."

"Go ahead, Potash," Kleebaum said, "and we'll talk about the car after you get through."

For over two hours Abe displayed the firm's sample line and his efforts were at last rewarded by a generous order from Kleebaum.

"That makes in all twenty-one hundred dollars' worth of goods," Kleebaum announced, "and if you think you could stand the pressure, Potash, I could smoke another cigar on you already."

"Excuse me, Mr. Kleebaum!" Abe cried, producing another of his best cigars.

"Much obliged," Kleebaum mumbled as he lit up. "And now, Abe, after business comes with me pleasure. What d'ye say to a little spin uptown in this here Pfingst car which I got it waiting for me downstairs."

Abe waved his hand with the palm out.

"You could go as far as you like, Mr. Kleebaum," he replied, "but when it comes to oitermobiles, Mr. Kleebaum, you got to excuse me. I ain't never rode in one of them things yet, and I guess you couldn't learn it an old dawg he should study new tricks. Ain't it?"

"D'ye mean to tell me you ain't never rode in an oitermobile yet?" Kleebaum exclaimed.

"You got it right," Abe said, "and what's more I ain't never going to neither."

"What you trying to give me?" Kleebaum asked. "You mean to say if I would ask you you should come riding with me now, you would turn me down?"

"I bet yer I would," Abe declared. "An up-to-date feller like you, Kleebaum, is different already from an old-timer like me. I got a wife, Kleebaum, and also I don't carry a whole lot of insurance neither, y'understand."

"Come off, Potash!" Kleebaum cried. "I rode myself in oitermobiles already millions of times and I ain't never been hurted yet."

"Some people's got all the luck, Kleebaum," Abe replied. "With me I bet yer if I would ride in an oitermobile once, y'understand, the least that would happen to me is I should break my neck."

"How could you break your neck in a brand new car like that Pfingst car downstairs?" Kleebaum insisted.

"Never mind," Abe answered, "if things is going to turn out that way, Mr. Kleebaum, you could break your neck in a baby carriage yet."

"Well, don't get mad about it, Potash," Kleebaum said.

"Me, I don't get mad so easy," Abe declared. "Wouldn't you come downstairs to Hammersmith's and take a cup coffee or something?"

Together they descended to the sidewalk where they were saluted by a tremendous chugging from the Pfingst roadster.

"Say, my friend," the demonstrating chauffeur cried as he caught sight of Kleebaum, "what d'ye think I'm running anyway? A taxicab?"

"You shouldn't get fresh, young feller," Kleebaum retorted, "unless you would want to lose your job."

"Aw, quit your stalling," the chauffeur protested. "Is this the guy you was telling me about?"

Kleebaum frowned and contorted one side of his face with electrical rapidity.

"Say, my friend," the chauffeur replied entirely unmoved, "them gestures don't go down with me. Is this the guy you was telling the boss you would jolly into buying a car, because——"

Kleebaum turned to Abe and elaborately assumed an expression of amiable deprecation.

"That's a salesman for you," he exclaimed.

Abe surveyed Kleebaum with a puzzled stare.

"Say, lookyhere, Kleebaum," he said, "if you thought you would get me to buy an oitermobile by giving me this here order, Kleebaum, I'm satisfied you should cancel it. Because again I got to tell it you, Kleebaum, I ain't in the market for oitermobiles just yet awhile."

Kleebaum clapped Abe on the shoulder.

"The feller don't know what he's talking about, Potash," he declared. "He's thinking of somebody quite different as you. That order stands, Potash, and now if you will excuse me joining you in that cup coffee, Potash, I got to say good-by."

He wrung Abe's hand in farewell and jumped into the seat beside the chauffeur while Abe stood on the sidewalk and watched them disappear down the street.

"I bet yer that order stands," he mused. "It stands in my store until I get a couple of good reports on that feller."

"What a house that feller Fixman got it, Abe," Morris Perlmutter exclaimed on Monday morning. "A regular palace, and mind you, Abe, he don't pay ten dollars more a month as I do up in a Hundred and Eighteenth Street. And what a difference there is in the yard, Abe. Me, I look out on a bunch of fire escapes, while Fixman got a fine garden with trees and flowers pretty near as good as a cemetery."

"Well, why don't you move to Johnsonhurst, too, Mawruss," Abe Potash said. "It's an elegant neighborhood, Mawruss. Me and Rosie was over to Johnsonhurst one day last summer and it took us three hours to get out there and three hours to get back. Six cigars I busted in my vest pockets at the bridge yet and Rosie pretty near fainted in the crowd. Yes, Mawruss, it's an elegant neighborhood, I bet yer."

"That was on Sunday and the summer time, Abe, but Fixman says if he leaves his house at seven o'clock, he is in his office at a quarter to eight."

"I believe it, Mawruss," Abe commented ironically. "That feller Fixman never got downtown in his life before nine o'clock. He shouldn't tell me nothing like that, Mawruss, because I know Fixman since way before the Spanish war already, and that feller was always a big bluff, y'understand. Sol Klinger tells me he's got also an oitermobile."

"Sol Klinger could talk all he wants, Abe," Morris replied. "Fixman told it me that if he had the money what Klinger sinks in one stock already, Abe, he could run a dozen oitermobiles. Sure, Fixman's got an oitermobile. With the money that feller makes, Abe, he's got a right to got on oitermobile. Klinger should be careful what he tells about people, Abe. The feller will get himself into serious trouble some day. He's all the time knocking somebody. Ain't it?"

"Is that so?" Abe said. "I thought Klinger was such a good friend to us, Mawruss. Also, Mawruss, you say yourself on Saturday that a feller what's got an oitermobile is a crook yet."

"Me!" Morris cried indignantly. "I never said no such thing, Abe. Always you got to twist around what I say, Abe. What I told you was——"

"S'all right, Mawruss," Abe said. "I'll take your word for it. What I want to talk to you about now is this here J. Edward Kleebaum. He gives us an order for twenty-one hundred dollars, Mawruss."

"Good!" Morris exclaimed.

"Good?" Abe repeated with a rising inflection. "Say, Mawruss, what's the matter with you to-day, anyway?"

"Nothing's the matter with me, Abe. What d'ye mean?"

"I mean that on Saturday you wouldn't sell Kleebaum not a dollar's worth of goods, Mawruss, and even myself I was only willing we should go a thousand dollars on the feller, and now to-day when I tell it you he gives us an order for twenty-one hundred dollars, Mawruss, you say, 'good'."

"Sure, I say, 'good'," Morris replied. "Why not? Just because a sucker like Sol Klinger knocks a feller, Abe, that ain't saying the feller's N. G. Furthermore, Abe, suppose a feller does run a couple of oitermobiles, y'understand, Abe, does that say he's going to bust up right away? That's an idee what a back number like Klinger got it, Abe, but with me I think differently. There's worser things as oitermobiles to ride in, Abe, believe me. Fixman takes out his wife and Minnie and me on Saturday afternoon, and we had a fine time. We went pretty near to Boston, I bet yer."

"To Boston!" Abe exclaimed.

"Well, we seen the Boston boats going out, and a fine view of the City College also, and a gas factory and North Beach, too. Everything went off beautiful, Abe, and I assure you Minnie and me we come home feeling fine. I tell you, Abe, a feller has got to ride in one of them things to appreciate 'em."

"S'all right, Mawruss," Abe cried. "I take your word for it. What I am worrying about now, Mawruss, is this here Kleebaum."

"Kleebaum is A Number One, Abe," Morris said. "I was talking to Fixman about him and Fixman says that there ain't a better judge of an oitermobile between Chicago and the Pacific Coast."

"Say, lookyhere, Mawruss," Abe asked, "are we in the cloak and suit business or are we in the oitermobile business? Kleebaum buys from us cloaks, not oitermobiles. And while I ain't got such good judgment when it comes to oitermobiles, I think I know something about the cloak and suit business, and I got an idea that feller is out to do us."

"Why, Abe, you don't know the feller at all," Morris protested. "Why don't you make some investigations about the feller, Abe?"

"Investigations is nix, Mawruss," Abe replied impatiently. "When a feller is a crook, Mawruss, he could fool everybody, Mawruss. He could fix things so the merchantile agencies would only find out good things about him, and he buffaloes credit men so that to hear 'em talk you would think he was a millionaire already. No, Mawruss, when you are dealing with a crook, investigations is nix. You got to depend on your own judgment."

"But, Abe," Morris cried, "you got a wrong idee about that feller. Fixman tells me Kleebaum does a fine business in Minneapolis. He has an elegant trade there and he's got a system of oitermobile delivery which Fixman says is great. He's got three light runabouts fixed up with removable tonneaus, thirty horse-power, two cylinder engines and——"

At this juncture Abe rose to his feet and hurried indignantly toward the cutting-room, where Morris joined him five minutes later.

"Say, Abe," he said, "while me and Minnie was out with Fixman on Saturday I got a fine idee for an oitermobile wrap."

Abe turned and fixed his partner with a terrible glare.

"Tell it to Kleebaum," he roared.

"I did," Morris said genially, "and he thought it would make a big hit in the trade."

"Why, when did you seen it, Kleebaum?" Abe asked.

"This morning on my way over to Lenox Avenue. I met Sol Klinger and as him and me was buying papers near the subway station, comes a big oitermobile by the curb and Kleebaum is sitting with another feller in the front seat, what they call a chauffeur, and Kleebaum says, 'Get in and I'll take you down town,' so we get in and I bet yer we come downtown in fifteen minutes."

"Ain't Klinger scared to ride in one of them things, Mawruss?" Abe asked.

"Scared, Abe? Why should the feller be scared? Not only he wasn't scared yet, Abe, but he took up Kleebaum's offer for a ride down to Coney Island yet. Kleebaum said they'd be back by ten o'clock and so Klinger asks me to telephone over to Klein that he would be a little late this morning."

"That's a fine way for a feller to neglect his business, Mawruss," Abe commented.

Morris nodded without enthusiasm.

"By the way, Abe," he said, "me and Minnie about decided we would rent the house next door to Fixman's down in Johnsonhurst, so I guess we will go down there again this afternoon at three o'clock."

"At three o'clock!" Abe cried. "Say, lookyhere, Mawruss, what do you think this here is anyway? A bank?"

"Must I ask you, Abe, if I want to leave early oncet in awhile?"

"Oncet in awhile is all right, Mawruss, but when a feller does it every day that's something else again."

"When did I done it every day, Abe?" Morris demanded. "Saturday is the first time I leave here early in a year already, while pretty near every afternoon, Abe, you got an excuse you should see a customer up in Broadway and Twenty-ninth Street."

"Shall I tell you something, Mawruss," Abe cried suddenly. "You are going for an oitermobile ride with J. Edward Kleebaum."

Morris flushed vividly.

"Supposing I am, Abe," he replied. "Ain't Kleebaum a customer from ours? And how could I turn down a customer, Abe?"

"Maybe he's a customer, Mawruss, but I wouldn't be certain of it because you could go oitermobile riding with him if you want to, Mawruss, but me, I am going to do something different. I am going to look that feller up, Mawruss, and I bet yer when I get through, Mawruss, we would sooner be selling goods to some of them cut-throats up in Sing Sing already."

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