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Dietz’s 7462 Bessie John
by [?]

Mr. Gubb was much distressed. He had no doubt that his Syrilla would rapidly recover a part of her lost weight, but he felt as if at the moment he had lost Syrilla. He could not picture her as a sylph of one hundred and fifty pounds. He was worried, indeed, as he sat eating his lunch in Mrs. Pilker’s mansion. It was then he heard a voice:–

“Say, are you the feller they call Bugg?”

Mr. Gubb looked up. In the dining-room door stood a man who looked like Napoleon Bonaparte gone to seed.

“If the party you are looking for to seek,” said Mr. Gubb with somewhat offended pride, “is Mister P. Gubb, him and me are one and the same party. My name is P. Gubb, deteckative and paper-hanger.”

“Well, youse is the party I’m looking for,” said the stranger. “I got a hunch from Horton, the wall-paper-store feller, that youse was up here and that youse wanted a helper. Does youse?”

“If you know paper-hanging as a trade and profession and can go to work immediately at once, I could use you,” said Mr. Gubb. “I’ve got more jobs than I can handle alone by myself.”

“Say, me a paper-hanger?” said the stranger scornfully. “Why, sport, I’ve hung more wall-paper than youse ever saw, see? Honest, when I butted in here and saw that there Dietz’s 7462 Bessie John on the wall–“

“That what?” asked Philo Gubb.

“That there Dietz’s 7462 Bessie John, on the wall there,” explained the stranger. “Don’t youse even know the right name of that wall-paper there, that’s been a Six Best Seller for the last three years?”

“It is a forest tapestry,” said Mr. Gubb.

“Sure, Mike!” said the stranger. “And one of the finest youse ever seen. Looks like youse could walk right into it and pick hickory nuts off them oak trees, don’t it? It’s one of me old friends.”

Philo Gubb took another bite of sandwich and masticated it slowly.

“Let me teach youse something,” said the stranger, and he took a roll of the tapestry paper in his hand and unrolled a few feet. He pointed to the margin of the printed side of the paper with his oily forefinger. “Do youse see them printings?” he asked. “Says 7462 B J, don’t it?”

“It does,” mumbled Philo Gubb.

“Well, say! This here wall-paper feller Dietz–he makes this here paper, don’t he? And that there 7462 is the number of this here forest tap. pattern, see? And B J–that’s Bessie John–that tells youse what the coloring is, see? Bessie John is the regular nature coloring, see? They got one with pink trees and yeller sky, for bood-u-wars and bedrooms. That’s M S–Mary Sam.”

“It is a very ingenious way to proceed to do,” said Philo Gubb, “and if regular union wages is all right you can take that straight-edge and trim all them Bessie John letters off this bundle of 7462 Bessie John I’m sitting onto.”

This was satisfactory to the stranger. He removed his greasy coat, threw his greasy cap into a corner, wiped his greasy hands on a wad of trimmings and set to work. When Mr. Gubb had completed his modest luncheon he asked his name.

“Youse might as well call me Greasy,” said the new employee. “I’m greasier than anything. Got it off’n my motor-boat.”

During the afternoon Philo Gubb learned something of his assistant’s immediate past. “Greasy” had saved some money, working at St. Paul, and had bought a motor-boat–“Some boat!” he said; “Streak o’ Lightnin’ was what I named her, and she was”–and he had come down the Mississippi. “She can beat anything on the Dad,” he said.

The “Dad” was his disrespectful paraphrase of “The Father of Waters,” the title of the giant Mississippi. He told of his adventures until he mentioned the Silver Sides. Then he swore in a manner that suited his piratical countenance exactly.

He had been floating peacefully down the river with the current, his power shut off and himself asleep in the bottom of the boat, doing no harm to any one, when along came the Silver Sides, and without giving him a warning signal, ran him down.