Vuyning left his club, cursing it softly, without
any particular anger. From ten in the morning un-
til eleven it had bored him immeasurably. Kirk with
his fish story, Brooks with his Porto Rico cigars, old
Morrison with his anecdote about the widow, Hep-
burn with his invariable luck at billiards -- all these
afflictions had been repeated without change of bill or
scenery. Besides these morning evils Miss Allison
had refused him again on the night before. But that
was a chronic trouble. Five times she had laughed at
his offer to make her Mrs. Vuyning. He intended
to ask her again the next Wednesday evening.
Vuyning walked along Forty-fourth Street to
Broadway, and then drifted down the great sluice
that washes out the dust of the gold-mines of Gotham.
He wore a morning suit of light gray, low, dull kid
shoes, a plain, finely woven straw hat, and his visible
linen was the most delicate possible shade of belio-
trope. His necktie was the blue-gray of a Novem-
ber sky, and its knot was plainly the outcome of a
lordly carelessness combined with an accurate con-
ception of the most recent dictum of fashion.
Now, to write of a man's haberdashery is a worse
thing than to write a historical novel "around"
Paul Jones, or to pen a testimonial to a hay-fever
Therefore, let it be known that the description of
Vuyning's apparel is germane to the movements of
the story, and not to make room for the new fall
stock of goods.
Even Broadway that morning was a discord in
Vuyning's ears; and in his eyes it paralleled for a
few dreamy, dreary minutes a certain howling,
scorching, seething, malodorous slice of street that he
remembered in Morocco. He saw the struggling
mass of dogs, beggars, fakirs, slave-drivers and
veiled women in carts without horses, the sun blazing
brightly among the bazaars, the piles of rubbish
from ruined temples in the street - and then a lady,
passing, jabbed the ferrule of a parasol in his side
and brought him back to Broadway.
Five minutes of his stroll brought him to a certain
corner, where a number of silent, pale-faced men are
accustomed to stand, immovably, for hours, busy
with the file blades of their penknives, with their hat
brims on a level with their eyelids. Wall Street
speculators, driving home in their carriages, love to
point out these men to their visiting friends and tell
them of this rather famous lounging-place of the
"crooks." On Wall Street the speculators never
use the file blades of their knives.
Vuyning was delighted when one of this company
stepped forth and addressed him as he was passing.
He was hungry for something out of the ordinary,
and to be accosted by this smooth-faced, keen-eyed,
low-voiced, athletic member of the under world, with
his grim, yet pleasant smile, had all the taste of an
adventure to the convention-weary Vuyning.
"Excuse me, friend," said be. "Could I have a
few minutes' talk with you -- on the level?"
"Certainly," said Vuyning, with a smile. "But,
suppose we step aside to a quieter place. There is a
divan -- a cafe over here that will do. Schrumm
will give us a private corner."
Schrumm established them under a growing palm,
with two seidls between them. Vuyning made a
pleasant reference to meteorological conditions, thus
forming a binge upon which might be swung the
door leading from the thought repository of the
"In the first place," said his companion, with the
air of one who presents his credentials, "I want you
to understand that I am a crook. Out West I am
known as Rowdy the Dude. Pickpocket, supper man,
second-story man, yeggman, boxman, all-round bur-
glar, cardsharp and slickest con man west of the
Twenty-third Street ferry landing -- that's my his-
tory. That's to show I'm on the square -- with you.
My name's Emerson."
"Confound old Kirk with his fish stories" said
Vuyning to himself, with silent glee as he went
through his pockets for a card. "It's pronounced
'Vining,'" he said, as he tossed it over to the other.
"And I'll be as frank with you. I'm just a kind of
a loafer, I guess, living on my daddy's money. At
the club they call me 'Left-at-the-Post.' I never
did a day's work in my life; and I haven't the heart
to run over a chicken when I'm motoring. It's a
pretty shabby record, altogether."
"There's one thing you can do," said Emerson,
admiringly; "you can carry duds. I've watched you
several times pass on Broadway. You look the best
dressed man I've seen. And I'll bet you a gold mine
I've got $50 worth more gent's furnishings on my
frame than you have. That's what I wanted to see
you about. I can't do the trick. Take a look at
me. What's wrong?"
"Stand up," said Vuyning.
Emerson arose, and slowly revolved.
"You've been 'outfitted,'" declared the clubman.
"Some Broadway window-dresser has misused you."
"That's an expensive suit, though, Emerson."
"A hundred dollars," said Emerson.
"Twenty too much," said Vuyning. "Six months
old in cut, one inch too long, and half an inch to-
much lapel. Your hat is plainly dated one year ago,
although there's only a sixteenth of an inch lacking
in the brim to tell the story. That English poke in
your collar is too short by the distance between Troy
and London. A plain gold link cuff-button would
take all the shine out of those pearl ones with dia-
mond settings. Those tan shoes would be exactly
the articles to work into the heart of a Brooklyn
school-ma'am on a two weeks' visit to Lake Ronkon-
koma. I think I caught a glimpse of a blue silk
sock embroidered with russet lilies of the valley when
you -- improperly -- drew up your trousers as you
sat down. There are always plain ones to be had
in the stores. Have I hurt your feelings, Emer-
"Double the ante!" cried the criticised one, greed-
ily. "Give me more of it. There's a way to tote
the haberdashery, and I want to get wise to it. Say,
you're the right kind of a swell. Anything else to the
queer about me?"
"Your tie," said Vuyning, "is tied with absolute
precision and correctness."
"Thanks," gratefully -- "I spent over half an
hour at it before I -- "
"Thereby," interrupted Vuyning, "completing
your resemblance to a dummy in a Broadway store
"Yours truly," said Emerson, sitting down again.
"It's bully of you to put me wise. I knew there
was something wrong, but I couldn't just put my
finger on it. I guess it comes by nature to know how
to wear clothes."
"Oh, I suppose," said Vuyning, with a laugh,
"that my ancestors picked up the knack while they
were peddling clothes from house to house a couple
of hundred years ago. I'm told they did that."
"And mine," said Emerson, cheerfully, "were
making their visits at night, I guess, and didn't have
a chance to catch on to the correct styles."
"I tell you what," said Vuyning, whose ennui had
taken wings, "I'll take you to my tailor. He'll
eliminate the mark of the beast from your exterior.
That is, if you care to go any further in the way of
"Play 'em to the ceiling," said Emerson, with a
boyish smile of joy. "I've got a roll as big around
as a barrel of black-eyed peas and as loose as the
wrapper of a two-for-fiver. I don't mind telling you
that I was not touring among the Antipodes when
the burglar-proof safe of the Farmers' National Bank
of Butterville, Ia., flew open some moonless nights
ago to the tune of $16,000."
"Aren't you afraid," asked Vuyning, "that I'll
call a cop and hand you over?"
"You tell me," said Emerson, coolly, "why I
didn't keep them."
He laid Vuyning's pocketbook and watch -- the
Vuyning 100-year-old family watch on the table.
"Man," said Vuyning, revelling, "did you ever
hear the tale Kirk tells about the six-pound trout
and the old fisherman?"
"Seems not," said Emerson, politely. "I'd
"But you won't," said Vuyning. "I've heard it
scores of times. That's why I won't tell you. I was
just thinking how much better this is than a club.
Now, shall we go to my tailor?"
"Boys, and elderly gents," said Vuyning, five days
later at his club, standing up against the window
where his coterie was gathered, and keeping out the
breeze, "a friend of mine from the West will dine
at our table this evening."
"Will he ask if we have heard the latest from
Denver?" said a member, squirming in his chair.
"Will he mention the new twenty-three-story Ma-
sonic Temple, in Quincy, Ill.?" inquired another,
dropping his nose-glasses.
"Will he spring one of those Western Mississippi
River catfish stories, in which they use yearling
calves for bait?" demanded Kirk, fiercely.
"Be comforted," said Vuyning. "He has none of
the little vices. He is a burglar and safe-blower,
and a pal of mine."
"Oh, Mary Ann!" said they. "Must you always
adorn every statement with your alleged humor?"
It came to pass that at eight in the evening a calm,
smooth, brilliant, affable man sat at Vuyning's right
hand during dinner. And when the ones who pass
their lives in city streets spoke of skyscrapers or of
the little Czar on his far, frozen throne, or of insig-
nificant fish from inconsequential streams, this big,
deep-chested man, faultlessly clothed, and eyed like
an Emperor, disposed of their Lilliputian chatter
with a wink of his eyelash.
And then he painted for them with hard, broad
strokes a marvellous lingual panorama of the West.
He stacked snow-topped mountains on the table,
freezing the hot dishes of the waiting diners. With
a wave of his hand he swept the clubhouse into a
pine-crowned gorge, turning the waiters into a grim
posse, and each listener into a blood-stained fugitive,
climbing with torn fingers upon the ensanguined
rocks. He touched the table and spake, and the five
panted as they gazed on barren lava beds, and each
man took his tongue between his teeth and felt his
mouth bake at the tale of a land empty of water and
food. As simply as Homer sang, while he dug a tine
of his fork leisurely into the tablecloth, he opened a
new world to their view, as does one who tells a child
of the Looking-Glass Country.
As one of his listeners might have spoken of tea
too strong at a Madison Square "afternoon," so he
depicted the ravages of redeye in a border town
when the caballeros of the lariat and "forty-five"
reduced ennui to a minimum.
And then, with a sweep of his white, unringed
hands, be dismissed Melpomene, and forthwith Diana
and Amaryllis footed it before the mind's eyes of
The savannas of the continent spread before them.
The wind, humming through a hundred leagues of
sage brush and mesquite, closed their ears to the
city's staccato noises. He told them of camps, of
ranches marooned in a sea of fragrant prairie blos-
soms, of gallops in the stilly night that Apollo would
have forsaken his daytime steeds to enjoy; he read
them the great, rough epic of the cattle and the hills
that have not been spoiled by the band of man, the
mason. His words were a telescope to the city men,
whose eyes had looked upon Youngstown, O., and
whose tongues had called it "West."
In fact, Emerson had them "going."
The next morning at ten he met Vuyning, by ap-
pointment, at a Forty-second Street cafe.
Emerson was to leave for the West that day. He
wore a suit of dark cheviot that looked to have been
draped upon him by an ancient Grecian tailor who
was a few thousand years ahead of the styles.
"Mr. Vuyning," said he, with the clear, ingenuous
smile of the successful "crook," it's up to me to
go the limit for you any time I can do so. You're
the real thing; and if I can ever return the favor, you
bet your life I'll do it."
"What was that cow-puncher's name?" asked
Vuyning, "who used to catch a mustang by the nose
and mane, and throw him till he put the bridle on?"
"Bates," said Emerson.
"Thanks," said Vuyning. "I thought it was
Yates. Oh, about that toggery business -- I'd for-
"I've been looking for some guy to put me on the
right track for years," said Emerson. "You're the
goods, duty free, and half-way to the warehouse in a
"Bacon, toasted on a green willow switch over red
coals, ought to put broiled lobsters out of business,"
said Vuyning. "And you say a horse at the end of a
thirty-foot rope can't pull a ten-inch stake out of wet
prairie? Well, good-bye, old man, if you must
At one o'clock Vuyning had luncheon with Miss
Allison by previous arrangement.
For thirty minutes be babbled to her, unaccount-
ably, of ranches, horses, cations, cyclones, round-ups,
Rocky Mountains and beans and bacon. She looked
at him with wondering and half-terrified eyes.
"I was going to propose again to-day," said Vuy-
ning, cheerily, but I won't. I've worried you often
enough. You know dad has a ranch in Colorado.
What's the good of staying here? Jumping jon-
quils! but it's great out there. I'm going to start
"No, you won't," said Miss Allison.
"What?" said Vuyning.
"Not alone," said Miss Allison, dropping a tear
upon her salad. "What do you think?"
"Betty!" exclaimed Vuyning, "what do you
"I'll go too," said Miss Allison, forcibly.
Vuyning filled her glass with Apollinaris.
"Here's to Rowdy the Dude!" he gave -- a toast
"Don't know him," said Miss Allison; "but if
he's your friend, Jimmy -- here goes!"