Once there was a leading Citizen with only one Daughter, but she was Some Offspring.
Bernice was chief Expense Account and Crown Jewel of a Real Estate Juggler who had done so well that all the Strap-Hangers regarded him as an Enemy to Society.
Papa was foolish, even as a Weasel.
He was what you might call Honest, which signified that all of his Low Work had been done by Agents.
A Person of rare judgment, withal. He never copped a piece of bulky Swag unless he had a Wheelbarrow with him at the time.
He had been going East with the Green Goods ever since the Party in Power precipitated the first Panic.
He had Stacks of the Needful, and his Rating was AA Plus 1, to say nothing of a Reserve cached in the little Tin Box.
Daughter alone could induce him to unbuckle, and melt, and jar loose, and come across, and kick in, and sting the Check-Book.
One day Bernice was a Little Girl, and the next she was head Flossie among the Debutantes, with a pack of Society Hounds pursuing in Full Cry, each willing to help count the Bank Roll.
Father was scared pink when he sized up the Field.
He still wore box-toed Boots and carried Foliage on the Sub-Maxillary so that those who came ringing the Front Bell didn’t look very lucky to him.
Sometimes he would dream that he had been pushed into a Mausoleum and that a slender Cyril with a Lady’s Watch strapped on his wrist was spending all of that Money for Signed Etchings.
Whereupon he would awake in a Cold Sweat and try to think of a safe Recipe for poisoning Boulevard Blighters.
One day Bernice went out into the Sunshine and found something and brought it home with her and put it on a Rug in the Elizabethan Room.
Father came in and took one look and said: “Not for Mine! I won’t stand for any Puss Willow being grafted on to our Family Tree.”
His name was Kenneth, and he reduced his Percentage on the first day by having the hem-stitched Mouchoir tucked inside of the Cuff.
Also, it was rumored that he put oil on his Eye-Brows and rubbed Perfumery on the backs of his Hands.
Father walked around the He-Canary twice, looking at him over the Specs, and then he rushed to the Library and kicked the Upholstery out of an $80 chair.
He could see the love-light glinting in the Eyes of Bernice. She had fallen for the Flukus.
Kenneth was installed as Steady.
When Bernice saw him turn the Corner and approach the House, he looked to her like Rupert, the long lost Heir–while Father discerned only an insect too large to be treated with Powder.
Kenneth was the kind of Sop that you see wearing Evening Clothes on a Colored Post-Card.
If his private Estate had been converted into Pig Iron, he could have carried it in his Watch Pocket.
He was re-fined and had lovely Teeth, but those who knew him well believed the Story that when he was a Babe in Arms, the Nurse had let him fall and strike on the Head.
He wore his Hair straight back and used Patent Leather dressing.
He was full of Swank and put on much Side and wore lily-colored Spats and was an awful Thing all around, from Pa’s point of view.
In a crowd of Bank Directors he would have been a cheap Swivel, but among the Women Folks he was a regular Bright Eyes.
When you passed through the Archway of his Intellectual Domain you found yourself in the Next Block.
But–he could go into a Parlor and sprinkle Soothing Syrup all over the Rugs.
He had a Vaudeville Education and a small Tenor Voice, with the result that many a fluttering Birdie regarded him as the bona-fide Ketchup.
Bernice thought she was lucky to have snared him away from the others, and she had slipped him the whispered Promise, come Weal, come Woe.