Once upon a time there was a He-Gossip named Cyrenius Bizzy. Mr. Bizzy was Middle-Aged and had a Set of dark Chinchillas. He carried a Gold-Headed Cane on Sunday. His Job on this Earth was to put on a pair of Pneumatic Sneakers every Morning and go out and Investigate Other People’s Affairs.
He called himself a Reformer, and he did all his Sleuthing in the line of Duty.
If he heard of a Married Man going out Cab-Riding after Hours or playing Hearts for Ten Cents a Heart or putting a Strange Woman on the Car, he knew it was his Duty to edge around and slip the Information to some one who would carry it to the Wife. He was such a Good Man himself that he wanted all the other Men to wear long sable Belshazzars on the Sub-Maxillary and come to him for Moral Guidance. If they would not do it, the only Thing left for him to do was to Warn their Families now and then and get them into Hot Water, thus demonstrating that the Transgressor must expect Retribution to fall on him with quite a Crash.
Sometimes he would get behind a Board Fence to see the Wife of the Postmaster break off a Yellow Rose and pass it over the Gate to the Superintendent of the High School. Then he would Hustle out on his Beat and ask People if they had heard the Talk that was Going Around. Of course it Grieved him to be compelled to Peddle such Stories, but he had to do it in the Interests of Morality. If Folks did not have a Pious Protector to spot Worldly Sin and then get after it with a Sharp Stick, the Community would probably go to the Dogs in less than no time. When he had a Disagreeable Task to Perform, such as letting a Merchant know that his Business Partner had been seen slightly Sprung at a Picnic, he always wished to get through with it as quickly as possible, so usually he Ran. He did not want any one else to beat him there, because the Other Fellow might not get it Right.
Next Door to Cyrenius Bizzy there lived a Family that needed Regulating. Cyrenius Bizzy knew that he had been Called to do the Regulating. The Family had too much Fun to suit Cy. The Neighbor never came over to ask Mr. Bizzy how late they had better Sit Up, or what Young Men the Girls ought to invite to the House. Cyrenius would have been glad to fix up a Set of Rules, for he was a Bureau of Advice, open at all Hours. He could tell People just how much Money they ought to Save every Week, and how often they ought to Lick the Children, and so on. But the Family that lived Next Door made Loud Sport of Mr. Bizzy, and had no use for his Counsel. They played Authors right in the Front Room with the Curtains up, and they Danced the Two-Step so that he could be sure to see it from where he was hidden behind the Evergreen Tree, and they ran the Ice-Cream Freezer on Sunday Morning, and sang College Songs nearly every Evening.
It kept the He-Gossip on the Go most of the time to let the Neighborhood know all the Details of these Debauches. It did very little Good. The Family did not want to be Reformed. He even wrote Anonymous Letters telling them how Depraved they were. They were so Brazen and Hardened they paid no Attention except to give him the Rowdy Hee-Ho when they saw him pottering around the Shrubbery in his Front Yard, pretending to be at Work, but really doing the Pinkerton Act, and keeping one Ear spread for a nice, juicy Bit of Scandal.