Big Jim Dougherty was a sport. He belonged
to that race of men. In Manhattan it is a distinct
race. They are the Caribs of the North -- strong,
artful, self-sufficient, clannish, honorable within the
laws of their race, holding in lenient contempt neigh-
boring tribes who bow to the measure of Society's
tapeline. I refer, of course, to the titled nobility of
sportdom. There is a class which bears as a qualify-
ing adjective the substantive belonging to a wind in-
strument made of a cheap and base metal. But the
tin mines of Cornwall never produced the material
for manufacturing descriptive nomenclature for "Big
The habitat of the sport is the lobby or the outside
corner of certain -hotels and combination restaurants
and cafes. They are mostly men of different sizes,
running from small to large; but they are unanimous
in the possession of a recently shaven, blue-black
cheek and chin and dark overcoats (in season) with
black velvet collars.
Of the domestic life of the sport little is known. It
has been said that Cupid and Hymen sometimes take
a band in the game and copper the queen of hearts to
lose. Daring theorists have averred - not content
with simply saying - that a sport often contracts a
spouse, and even incurs descendants. Sometimes he.
sits in the game of politics; and then at chowder
picnics there is a revelation of a Mrs. Sport and
little Sports in glazed hats with tin pails.
But mostly the sport is Oriental. He believes his
women-folk should not be too patent. Somewhere be-
bind grilles or flower-ornamented fire escapes they
await him. There, no doubt, they tread on rugs from
Teheran and are diverted by the bulbul and play
upon the dulcimer and feed upon sweetmeats. But
away from his home the sport is an integer. He does
not, as men of other races in Manhattan do, become
the convoy in his unoccupied hours of fluttering laces
and high heels that tick off delectably the happy
seconds of the evening parade. He herds with his
own race at corners, and delivers a commentary in his
Carib lingo upon the passing show.
"Big Jim" Dougherty had a wife, but be did not
wear a button portrait of her upon his lapel. He bad
a home in one of those brown-stone, iron-railed
streets on the west side that look like a recently ex-
cavated bowling alley of Pompeii.
To this home of his Mr. Dougherty repaired each
night when the hour was so late as to promise no
further diversion in the arch domains of sport. By
that time the occupant of the monogamistic harem
would be in dreamland, the bulbul silenced and the
hour propitious for slumber.
"Big Jim" always arose at twelve, meridian, for
breakfast, and soon afterward he would return to
the rendezvous of his "crowd."
He was always vaguely conscious that there was
a Mrs. Dougherty. He would have received without
denial the charge that the quiet, neat, comfortable
little woman across the table at home was his wife. In
fact, he remembered pretty well that they bad been
married for nearly four years. She would often tell
him about the cute tricks of Spot, the canary, and
the light-haired lady that lived in the window of the
flat across the street.
"Big Jim" Dougherty even listened to this con-
versation of hers sometimes. He knew that she would
have a nice dinner ready for him every evening at
seven when he came for it. She sometimes went to
matinees, and she bad a talking machine with six
dozen records. Once when her Uncle Amos blew in on
a wind from up-state, she went with him to the Eden
Musee. Surely these things were diversions enough
for any woman.
One afternoon Mr. Dougherty finished his break-
fast, put on his bat and got away fairly for the door.
When his hand was on the knob be heard his wife's
"Jim," she said, firmly, "I wish you would take
me out to dinner this evening. It has been three years
since you have been outside the door with me."
"Big Jim" was astounded. She bad never asked
anything like this before. It had the flavor of a
totally new proposition. But he was a game sport.
"All right," be said. "You be ready when I come
at seven. None of this 'wait two minutes till I primp
an hour or two' kind of business, now, Dele."
"I'll be ready," said his wife, calmly.
At seven she descended the stone steps in the Pom-
peian bowling alley at the side of "Big Jim" Dough-
erty. She wore a dinner gown made of a stuff that
the spiders must have woven, and of a color that a
twilight sky must have contributed. A light coat with
many admirably unnecessary capes and adorably
inutile ribbons floated downward from her shoulders.
Fine feathers do make fine birds; and the only re-
proach in the saying is for the man who refuses to
give up his earnings to the ostrich-tip industry.
"Big Jim" Dougherty was troubled. There was
a being at his side whom be did not know. He
thought of the sober-hued plumage that this bird of
paradise was accustomed to wear in her cage, and
this winged revelation puzzled him. In some way she
reminded him of the Delia Cullen that be had married
four years before. Shyly and rather awkwardly he
stalked at her right band.
"After dinner I'll take you back home, Dele," said
Mr. Dougherty, "and then I'll drop back up to Selt-
zer's with the boys. You can have swell chuck to-
night if you want it. I made a winning on Anaconda
yesterday; so you can go as far as you like."
Mr. Dougherty had intended to make the outing
with his unwonted wife an inconspicuous one. Uxori-
ousness was a weakness that the precepts of the
Caribs did not countenance. If any of his friends of
the track, the billiard cloth or the square circle had
wives they had never complained of the fact in public.
There were a number of table d'hote places on the
cross streets near the broad and shining way; and to
one of these he had purposed to escort her, so that the
bushel might not be removed from the light of his
But while on the way Mr. Dougherty altered those
intentions. He had been casting stealthy glances at
his attractive companion and he was seized with the
conviction that she was no selling plater. He re-
solved to parade with his wife past Seltzer's cafe,
where at this time a number of his tribe would be
gathered to view the daily evening procession. Yes;
and he would take her to dine at Hoogley's, the swell-
est slow-lunch warehouse on the line, he said to
The congregation of smooth-faced tribal gentle-
men were on watch at Seltzer's. As Mr. Dougherty
and his reorganized Delia passed they stared, mo-
mentarily petrified, and then removed their hats - a
performance as unusual to them as was the astonish-
ing innovation presented to their gaze by "Big Jim".
On the latter gentleman's impassive face there ap-
peared a slight flicker of triumph - a faint flicker,
no more to be observed than the expression called
there by the draft of little casino to a four-card spade
Hoogley's was animated. Electric lights shone
as, indeed, they were expected to do. And the napery,
the glassware and the flowers also meritoriously per-
formed the spectacular duties required of them. The
guests were numerous, well-dressed and gay.
A waiter - not necessarily obsequious - conducted
"Big Jim" Dougherty and his wife to a table.
"Play that menu straight across for what you like,
Dele," said "Big Jim." "It's you for a trough of
the gilded oats to-night. It strikes me that maybe
we've been sticking too fast to home fodder."
"Big Jim's" wife gave her order. He looked at
her with respect. She had mentioned truffles; and be
bad not known that she knew what truffles were. From
the wine list she designated an appropriate and de-
sirable brand. He looked at her with some admiration.
She was beaming with the innocent excitement that
woman derives from the exercise of her gregarious-
ness. She was talking to him about a hundred things
with animation and delight. And as the meal pro-
gressed her cheeks, colorless from a life indoors, took
on a delicate flush. "Big Jim" looked around the
room and saw that none of the women there had her
charm. And then he thought of the three years she
had suffered immurement, uncomplaining, and a flush
of shame warmed him, for he carried fair play as an
item in his creed.
But when the Honorable Patrick Corrigan, leader
in Dougherty's district and a friend of his, saw them
and came over to the table, matters got to the three-
quarter stretch. The Honorable Patrick was a gal-
lant man, both in deeds and words. As for the Blar-
ney stone, his previous actions toward it must have
been pronounced. Heavy damages for breach of
promise could surely have been obtained had the
Blarney stone seen fit to sue the Honorable Patrick.
"Jimmy, old man!" he called; he clapped Dough-
erty on the back; be shone like a midday sun upon
"Honorable Mr. Corrigan - Mrs. Dougherty,"
said "Big Jim."
The Honorable Patrick became a fountain of en-
tertainment and admiration. The waiter had to
fetch a third chair for him; he made another at the
table, and the wineglasses were refilled.
"You selfish old rascal!" he exclaimed, shaking an
arch finger at "Big Jim," "to have kept Mrs.
Dougherty a secret from us."
And then "Big Jim" Dougherty, who was no
talker, sat dumb, and saw the wife who had dined
every evening for three years at home, blossom like
a fairy flower. Quick, witty, charming, full of light
and ready talk, she received the experienced attack
of the Honorable Patrick on the field of repartee and
surprised, vanquished, delighted him. She unfolded
her long-closed petals and around her the room
became a garden. They tried to include "Big
Jim" in the conversation, but he was without a
And then a stray bunch of politicians and good
fellows who lived for sport came into the room. They
saw "Big Jim" and the leader, and over they came
and were made acquainted with Mrs. Dougherty. And
in a few minutes she was holding a salon. Half a
dozen men surrounded her, courtiers all, and six
found her capable of charming. "Big Jim" sat,
grim, and kept saying to himself: "Three years,
The dinner came to an end. The Honorable Pat-
rick reached for Mrs. Dougherty's cloak; but that
was a matter of action instead of words, and Dough-
erty's big band got it first by two seconds.
While the farewells were being said at the door
the Honorable Patrick smote Dougherty mightily
between the shoulders.
"Jimmy, me boy," he declared, in a giant whis-
per, "the madam is a jewel of the first water. Ye're
a lucky dog."
"Big Jim" walked homeward with his wife. She
seemed quite as pleased with the lights and show
windows in the streets as with the admiration of the
men in Hoogley's. As they passed Seltzer's they
heard the sound of many voices in the cafe. The
boys would be starting the drinks around now and
discussing past performances.
At the door of their home Delia paused. The
pleasure of the outing radiated softly from her
countenance. She could not hope for Jim of evenings,
but the glory of this one would Tighten her lonely
hours for a long time.
"Thank you for taking me out, Jim," she said,
gratefully. "You'll be going back up to Seltzer's
now, of course."
"To -- with Seltzer's," said "Big Jim," em-
emphatically. "And d-- Pat Corrigan! Does
he think I haven't got any eyes?
And the door closed behind both of them.