Two High School Heliotropes named Lib and Angie were very Thick.
Each Girl kept a Nightie at the Other Girl’s House and, long after they had retired, the Inmates would hear smothered Giggles, interspersed with Fragments of what He said to Her and what She said to Him.
The Period of their Adolescence was about 20 years ago, when Romance was still alive and Knighthood was in Flower around every Dancing Academy west of Pittsburgh.
The two Chums had made a Pact. They were to be Friends for ever and ever and ever and neither was to hold out anything from the other.
Each carried in a Locket a Four-Leaf Clover presented by One to whom she had bared her Soul.
After supplementing the Graded Schools with a full course of Mrs. Southworth and learning to play “The Battle of Prague” on the Melodeon, naught remained for them in the way of passionate Diversion except to go ahead and get Married.
They waited three years for the Fairy Prince of their Dreams to come clattering down Main Street in his Coach all White and Gold, and then began to mistrust the Schedule. So they effected the usual Compromise, falling gracefully into the awkward Embraces of two cornfed Lizards named Otis and Wilbur.
In the Shake-off it befell that Angie got Wilbur and Lib drew Otis. The two Brides were somewhat envied, as Wilbur was a Good-Looker with raven Pompadour and large snappy eyes, while Otis was supposed to possess the Faculty of copping the Mazume.
However, the purpose of this Fable is to indicate that each Gal found out too late that she had Dutched her Book and backed into the wrong Paddock.
Fate separated the Young Couples and many a Full Moon deflated itself before Lib and Angie had another chance to get away by themselves and fill up on Oolong and cautiously exhibit their Wounds.
Wilbur was a Hustler who lacked Terminal Facilities. He was full of St. Vitus Activity and was always transferring a lot of Papers from one Pocket to another and getting ready to invest Capital in some Megatherian Enterprise paying 20 per cent. per Annum, but somehow he never Arrived.
While negotiating for a Rubber Plantation in Yucatan he would hear about Two Million Acres waiting to be Irrigated in Colorado, but before he could turn on the Water he would be lured away by the Prospect of developing some Monte Carlo Proposition up in the Mesaba Range.
In the meantime he wore Celluloid Collars and owed for every round Steak that he had carried home during the preceding Five Years.
Otis, on the Other Hand, played nothing but Cinches. He was out for the Pastry. It was not his Fault if the Widows and Orphans who invested on his Tips all wound up as Department Store Employees.
He double-crossed his Partners and whip-sawed his Customers and bluffed the Courts and bullied his way into the Strongholds of Finance.
While the U. S. Grand Jury would be in Session, trying to get him with the Goods, he would be motoring in Normandy and tossing Showers of Silver to the Peasantry.
Do not mistrust the Tale, for every Buccaneer from Broad Street, N. Y., to the St. Francis Bar at the Golden Gate, was once a Poor Boy with Store Clothes on his Back and Grand Larceny in his Heart.
When Angie went to visit Lib, after the Lapse of Many Years, you can Gamble that they had Some Talk to unload.
Angie carried a Wicker Suit-Case costing $1.98 and her General Get-Up was that of the Honest Creature who may be found in any Hotel Corridor at 2 A. M. massaging the Mosaic Floor with a Hot Cloth.
“Get me!” said Wilbur’s wife, dropping wearily to a Divan in the Style of Louis Quatorze. “Pipe the Lid! It is a 1906 Model and the Aigrette is made of Broom Straw. Take a Peek at the shine Tailor-Made and the Paper Shoes. Ever since they wished that False Alarm on to me I have been giving a correct Imitation of Lizzie the Honest Working Girl. Each Evening he comes home to give me a Sweet Kiss and promises me a Trip to Europe and a Set of Gray Squirrels, and next Morning, when I get up to remove the Oatmeal from the Fireless Cooker, I find on the Back Porch a large Rough-neck in a Sweater who has come to shut off the Gas or take away the Parlor Furniture. Then I think of You, with your Closets hanging full of fluffy Frocks and your Man rushing in every few Minutes to slap you in the Face with a Hundred Dollar Bill. You can take it from me, Dearie, I would jump the whole Game were it not for the Children. I have put in my whole Life trying to realize something on a Promissory Note that was a Bloomer to begin with. He has kidded me along ever since the World’s Fair at Chicago, feeding me on Canned Stuff and showing me pictures of Electric Runabouts and Country Places on Long Island. In the Meantime I am playing in Great Luck if I can get a Trolley Car to Stop for me.”
At this point the Wife of Otis arose and, pulling the rose-colored Silk Wrapper more closely about her made-to-order Form, interrupted with an Imperious Gesture.
“Back up, Angie!” she exclaimed. “You should be a Happy Woman. You have your Husband’s Love and you have your Children, both of which are denied a Woman of my Assured Position in the Two Minute Class of the Terrible Spenders. Talk about Hardships! Do you know what it is to lead the Grand March, surrounded by 800 Assegai-Throwers, Harpooners and Cannibal Queens, who are pointing you out as the Wife of the Malefactor who is about to the Tried in the Federal Courts! Did you ever Stagger around all Evening with $100,000 worth of Tiffany Merchandise fastened on to you–expecting every Minute to be hit in the Coiffure by some Raffles? Did you ever, during a Formal Dinner, hear the Door Bell tinkle and find in the Hallway a Reporter from a Morning Paper who wishes to ask your Husband if he denies his Guilt or can give any Reason why Sentence of Death should not be passed upon him? Are you Wise to the Fact that the Wife of a Successful Business Man now occupies a Niche in the Hall of Fame right next to the Sister of Jesse James? You are in Great Luck. No one takes a Shot at a Failure.”
Having arrived at this cordial Understanding, each leaned against the other and had a Good Cry, after which they chircked up and paid a lot of Attention to a well-preserved Bachelor who dropped in to get warm and take a slight Fall out of the Side-Board.
MORAL: When Wealth walks in the Door, the Press Agent comes in through the Window.