In a partitioned-off section
of a saloon sat a man with a
half dozen women, gleefully laughing,
hovering about him. The man had
arrived at that stage of drunkenness
where affection is felt for the
"I'm good f'ler, girls," he
said, convincingly. "I'm damn
good f'ler. An'body treats me
right, I allus trea's zem right!
The women nodded
their heads approvingly. "To be sure," they
cried out in hearty chorus. "You're
the kind of a man we like, Pete.
You're outa sight! What yeh goin'
to buy this time, dear?"
"An't'ing yehs wants, damn
it," said the man in an abandonment
of good will. His countenance
shone with the true spirit of
benevolence. He was in the proper
mode of missionaries. He would
have fraternized with obscure
Hottentots. And above all, he
was overwhelmed in tenderness
for his friends, who were all
"An't'ing yehs wants, damn
it," repeated he, waving his
hands with beneficent recklessness. "I'm
good f'ler, girls, an' if an'body
treats me right I--here," called
he through an open door to a
waiter, "bring girls drinks,
damn it. What 'ill yehs have,
girls? An't'ing yehs wants, damn
The waiter glanced in with
the disgusted look of the man
who serves intoxicants for the
man who takes too much of them.
He nodded his head shortly at
the order from each individual,
"Damn it," said the man, "we're
havin' heluva time. I like you
girls! Damn'd if I don't! Yer
right sort! See?"
He spoke at length and with
feeling, concerning the excellencies
of his assembled friends.
"Don' try pull
man's leg, but have a heluva
time! Das right!
Das way teh do! Now, if I sawght
yehs tryin' work me fer drinks,
wouldn' buy damn t'ing! But yer
right sort, damn it! Yehs know
how ter treat a f'ler, an' I
stays by yehs 'til spen' las'
cent! Das right! I'm good f'ler
an' I knows when an'body treats
Between the times of the arrival
and departure of the waiter,
the man discoursed to the women
on the tender regard he felt
for all living things. He laid
stress upon the purity of his
motives in all dealings with
men in the world and spoke of
the fervor of his friendship
for those who were amiable. Tears
welled slowly from his eyes.
His voice quavered when he spoke
Once when the waiter was about
to depart with an empty tray,
the man drew a coin from his
pocket and held it forth.
"Here," said he, quite magnificently, "here's
The waiter kept his hands on
"I don' want yer money," he
The other put forth the coin
with tearful insistence.
"Here, damn it," cried he, "tak't!
Yer damn goo' f'ler an' I wan'
"Come, come, now," said the
waiter, with the sullen air of
a man who is forced into giving
advice. "Put yer mon in yer pocket!
Yer loaded an' yehs on'y makes
a damn fool of yerself."
As the latter passed out of
the door the man turned pathetically
to the women.
"He don' know I'm damn goo'
f'ler," cried he, dismally.
"Never you mind, Pete, dear," said
a woman of brilliance and audacity,
laying her hand with great affection
upon his arm. "Never you mind,
old boy! We'll stay by you, dear!"
"Das ri'," cried the man, his
face lighting up at the soothing
tones of the woman's voice. "Das
ri', I'm damn goo' f'ler an'
w'en anyone trea's me ri', I
treats zem ri'! Shee!"
"Sure!" cried the women. "And
we're not goin' back on you,
The man turned appealing eyes
to the woman of brilliance and
audacity. He felt that if he
could be convicted of a contemptible
action he would die.
damn it, I allus trea's yehs
shquare, didn' I?
I allus been goo' f'ler wi' yehs,
ain't I, Nell?"
"Sure you have, Pete," assented
the woman. She delivered an oration
to her companions. "Yessir, that's
a fact. Pete's a square fellah,
he is. He never goes back on
a friend. He's the right kind
an' we stay by him, don't we,
exclaimed. Looking lovingly
at him they raised their
glasses and drank his health.
"Girlsh," said the man, beseechingly, "I
allus trea's yehs ri', didn'
I? I'm goo' f'ler, ain' I, girlsh?"
"Well," said he finally, "le's
have nozzer drink, zen."
"That's right," hailed a woman, "that's
right. Yer no bloomin' jay! Yer
spends yer money like a man.
The man pounded the table with
his quivering fists.
"Yessir," he cried, with deep
earnestness, as if someone disputed
him. "I'm damn goo' f'ler, an'
w'en anyone trea's me ri', I
allus trea's--le's have nozzer
He began to beat the wood with
he, growing suddenly impatient.
As the waiter
did not then come, the man swelled
The waiter appeared at the
"Bringsh drinksh," said
The waiter disappeared with
"Zat f'ler damn fool," cried
the man. "He insul' me! I'm ge'man!
Can' stan' be insul'! I'm goin'
lickim when comes!"
"No, no," cried the women,
crowding about and trying to
subdue him. "He's all right!
He didn't mean anything! Let
it go! He's a good fellah!"
"Din' he insul' me?" asked
the man earnestly.
"No," said they. "Of
course he didn't! He's all
"Sure he didn' insul' me?" demanded
the man, with deep anxiety in
"No, no! We
know him! He's a good fellah.
He didn't mean
"Well, zen," said the man,
resolutely, "I'm go' 'pol'gize!"
When the waiter came, the man
struggled to the middle of the
you insul' me! I shay damn
lie! I 'pol'gize!"
"All right," said
The man sat down. He felt a
sleepy but strong desire to straighten
things out and have a perfect
understanding with everybody.
"Nell, I allus
trea's yeh shquare, din' I?
Yeh likes me, don' yehs,
Nell? I'm goo' f'ler?"
the woman of brilliance and
I'm stuck on yehs, don' yehs,
Overwhelmed by a spasm of drunken
adoration, he drew two or three
bills from his pocket, and, with
the trembling fingers of an offering
priest, laid them on the table
before the woman.
damn it, yehs kin have all
got, 'cause I'm
stuck on yehs, Nell, damn't,
I--I'm stuck on yehs, Nell--buy
drinksh-- damn't--we're havin'
heluva time--w'en anyone trea's
me ri'--I-- damn't, Nell--we're
Shortly he went to sleep with
his swollen face fallen forward
on his chest.
The women drank and laughed,
not heeding the slumbering man
in the corner. Finally he lurched
forward and fell groaning to
The women screamed in disgust
and drew back their skirts.
"Come ahn," cried one, starting
up angrily, "let's get out of
The woman of brilliance and
audacity stayed behind, taking
up the bills and stuffing them
into a deep, irregularly-shaped
pocket. A guttural snore from
the recumbent man caused her
to turn and look down at him.
She laughed. "What a damn fool," she
said, and went.
The smoke from the lamps settled
heavily down in the little compartment,
obscuring the way out. The smell
of oil, stifling in its intensity,
pervaded the air. The wine from
an overturned glass dripped softly
down upon the blotches on the