Once there was a Wife who gave the Money-Getter a Vacation by going into the Country for a Month. Dearie took her to the Train, and all the way she kept saying that it did not seem just Right to romp away on a Pleasure Trip and leave him Shell-Roaded.
He began to fear that she would Weaken, so he told her that while he was slaving and humping in the City, it would give him sufficient Joy to know that Darling was out in the Woods, listening to the Birds. He insisted that she should stay until she was thoroughly Rested. Of course, he did not dare to make it too Strong. He played the Self-Sacrifice Gag and threw in a Dash of Marital Solicitude, and made an awful Try at imitating one who has been soaked by a Great Sorrow. As the Missus looked at him through her Tears and held his Salary-Hook in hers, little did she suspect that he had framed up a Poker Festival for that Night and already the Wet Goods were spread out on the Ice.
He had told her that he was going to sit up in the Library every Evening and read Macaulay’s History of England. By opening the Windows on both sides he could get a nice Breeze from the West. Along about 10 o’clock, if he got Sleepy, he could turn in. Why not?
It was a lovely Time-Table that he had mapped out. He submitted it to Pet before she went away and she put her O.K. on it, even though her Heart ached for him. Breakfast at the strange Boarding-House. A day of Toil interrupted by a small Bunch of Food at the Dairy Lunch.
Then back to the unfamiliar Faces at the Boarding-House.
Then sitting alone in the Gloaming, thinking of the Absent One.
Then an Hour or two in the Library with the jovial Macaulay.
Then to Bed in the lonesome House and Dreams of Sweetie.
He gave her a Schedule which she could consult at any time, Day or Night, and thereby find out what he was doing at that Moment. It was just as convenient as sending a Marconi every Hour or so.
He held himself down until the Train had flirted around the Curve, for he knew that she was watching him from the Observation Car. Then he threw his Hat in the Air and began to do Flip-Flops.
“O, I suppose this is Miserable,” he said. “I can see a very poor Month ahead of me–yes–not. Me wearing all my Bells and taking a Hurdle every Furlong.”
He rushed in to the Telegraph Office and sent a Wire to her, so that it would catch her at the first Station up the Road. It said not to worry and to take a Good Rest and everything was moving along about the same as usual. With Love and Kisses.
After which he went over to the Brewery to see if they would make a Reduction on Wholesale Orders.
Hubby went up street with his Straw dipped down in Front, the same as the College Rakes wear them, and his Coat was thrown wide open to show the dizzy Pleats. His Cuban Blood was all het up and he told himself that he was 19 years old and never had a Home.
Oh, but he was Nifty. He was out of the Corral and into the Red Clover and nix any Halter and Box Stall for him. At least not for a Month.
It happened that he had the usual number of disreputable Friends. They were All Right, but he did not dare to have them up to the House, because Angel-Face had investigated them and returned True Bills. They were a little too Gamey for Presbyterian Circles, but they fitted right in at any Function where every man takes off his Coat.