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From Each According To His Ability
by [?]

“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 too 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 diamond 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 Ronkonkoma. 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, Emerson?”

“Double the ante!” cried the criticised one, greedily. “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 window.”

“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 expense.”

“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 like to.”

“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.”