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PAGE 2

At Arms With Morpheus
by [?]

Then I began to think. I could not rouse his body; I must strive to excite his mind. “Make him angry,” was an idea that suggested itself. “Good!” I thought; but how? There was not a joint in Tom’s armour. Dear old fellow! He was good nature itself, and a gallant gentleman, fine and true and clean as sunlight. He came from somewhere down South, where they still have ideals and a code. New York had charmed, but had not spoiled, him. He had that old-fashioned chivalrous reverence for women, that — Eur eka! — there was my idea! I worked the thing up for a minute or two in my imagination. I chuckled to myself at the thought of springing a thing like that on old Tom Hopkins. Then I took him by the shoulder and shook him till his ears flopped. He opened his eyes lazily. I assumed an expression of scorn and contempt, and pointed my finger within two inches of his nose.

“Listen to me, Hopkins,” I said, in cutting and distinct tones, “you and I have been good friends, but I want you to understand that in the future my doors are closed against any man who acts as much like a scoundrel as you have.”

Tom looked the least bit interested.

“What’s the matter, Billy?” he muttered, composedly. “Don’t your clothes fit you?”

“If I were in your place,” I went on, “which, thank God, I am not, I think I would be afraid to close my eyes. How about that girl you left waiting for you down among those lonesome Southern pines — the girl that you’ve forgotten since you came into your confounded money? Oh, I know what I’m talking about. While you were a poor medical student she was good enough for you. But now, since you are a millionaire, it’s different. I wonder what she thinks of the performances of that peculiar class of people which she has been taught to worship — the Southern gentlemen? I’m sorry, Hopkins, that I was forced to speak about these matters, but you’ve covered it up so well and played your part so nicely that I would have sworn you were above such unmanly tricks”

Poor Tom. I could scarcely keep from laughing outright to see him struggling against the effects of the opiate. He was distinctly angry, and I didn’t blame him. Tom had a Southern temper. His eyes were open now, and they showed a gleam or two of fire. But the drug still clouded his mind and bound his tongue.

“C-c-confound you,” he stammered, “I’ll s-smash you.”

He tried to rise from the couch. With all his size he was very weak now. I thrust him back with one arm. He lay there glaring like a lion in a trap.

“That will hold you for a while, you old loony,” I said to myself. I got up and lit my pipe, for I was needing a smoke. I walked around a bit, congratulating myself on my brilliant idea.

I heard a snore. I looked around. Tom was asleep again. I walked over and punched him on the jaw. He looked at me as pleasant and ungrudging as an idiot. I chewed my pipe and gave it to him hard.

“I want you to recover yourself and get out of my rooms as soon as you can,” I said, insultingly. “I’ve told you what I think of you. If you have any honour or honesty left you will think twice before you attempt again to associate with gentlemen. She’s a poor girl, isn’t she?” I sneered. “Somewhat too plain and unfashionable for us since we got our money. Be ashamed to walk on Fifth Avenue with her, wouldn’t you? Hopkins, you’re forty-seven times worse than a cad. Who cares for your money? I don’t. I’ll bet that girl don’t. Perhaps if you didn’t have it you’d be more of a man. As it is you’ve made a cur of yourself, and” — I thought that quite dramatic — “perhaps broken a faithful heart.” (Old Tom Hopkins breaking a faithful heart!) “Let me be rid of you as soon as possible.”