Elam was the main Whizzer in a huddle of Queen Annes, bounded on the North by a gleaming Cemetery, on the East by a limping subdivision, on the South by a deserted Creamery, and on the West by an expanse of Stubble.
Claudine was the other two-thirds of the Specialty.
She was a snappy little Trick and it was a dull hour of the Day or Night when she couldn’t frame up a new General Order for the Breadwinner.
The Marriage came off during the third summer of her twenty-seventh year.
She accepted Elam about a week before he proposed to her, thus simplifying the Ordeal.
While the Wafer on the License was still warm, she put on her spangled Suit, moved to the centre of the Ring, and cracked the Whip.
After that Elam continued to be a Hellion around the Office, but in his private Quarters he was merely Otto, the Trained Seal.
Claudine could make him Bark, play the Cymbals, or go back to the Blue Bench.
There is one Elam in every Settlement.
All the wise Paper-hangers and the fly Guitar Players had him marked up as a Noodle, but somehow, every time the winning Numbers were hung out, he would be found in Line, waiting to Cash.
He was not Bright enough to do anything except garner the Gold Certificates.
Elam had no Ear for Music, and, coming out of the Opera House, never could remember the name of the Play or which one of the Burglars was the real Hero.
His Reading was confined to the Headlines of a conservative Paper which was still printing War News.
Baseball had not come into his Life whatsoever.
A cultured Steno, who knew about George Meredith and Arnold Bennett, had to do his Spelling for him at 14 Bucks per.
The Cerebellum of Elam was probably about the dimensions of a Malaga Grape.
Sizing him by his Looks, one would have opined that Nature meant him for a Ticket-taker in a suburban Cinema Palace.
Elam was a mental Gnat and a spiritual Microbe, but the Geezer knew how to annex the Kale.
When Providence is directing the Hand-outs, she very often slips some Squarehead the canny Gift of corraling the Cush, but holds out all of the desirable Attributes supposed to distinguish Man from what you see in the Cages at the Zoo.
After the Pater had earned his Shaft in the Cemetery, Elam became the Loud Noise around a dinky Manufacturing Plant down by the Yards.
The Cracker Barrel Coterie and all the Old Ladies who had become muscle-bound from wielding the Sledge predicted that Elam would put the Organization into the Ditch, wrong side up.
The Well-wishers, the Brotherly Lovers, and the total membership of the Helping Hand Society sat back waiting for Elam to be dug out of the Debris, so they could collect Witness Fees at the Autopsy.
The Junior earned their abiding Dislike by putting one across.
He made the Fossils sit up in their padded Rocking Chairs and pay some attention to the Idiot Child.
He never could hold down any Position until tried out for a Captain of Industry and then he began to Bat 450 and Field 998.
After the dusty Workmen had manufactured the Product, and the Salesmen had unloaded it, and the Collectors had brought in the Dinero, then Elam had to sit at a Mahogany Desk with a Picture of Claudine in front of him, and figure how much of the hard-earned Mazuma would be doled out to his greedy Employees.
Sometimes he would be compelled to fork over nearly half of the Gross, whereupon his Heart would ache and he would become Morose.
In a few Years he had a lot of new Buildings, with Skylights and improved Machinery and all sorts of humane Appliances to enable the Working Force to increase the Output.
As the Bank Account expanded and the Happy Couple found themselves going up, Claudine began to scan the Horizon and act restless-like.