2 A BE AN D M AW R US S Bein g F u rt h e r Adve nt u re s o f Po t ash and P e rlm utt e r B Y MONTAGUE (3 LA SS ILLU S TRATED B Y J. J. GOU LD AN D MARTIN J USTICE N e w Yo rk G ROS S ET 8: D U N LAP Pub lish e rs
4 CONTENTS SYMPATHY TH E J U DG M E N T OF PAR IS DEAD MEN S SHOES TH E RAIN COAT KIN G A RETU RN TO AR CADY A PRESENT F OR MR. G E IG E RMAN N BROTH ERS ALL R. S. V. P. F IRIN G MIss COHEN AU! ITA LIENS MAN PRO POSES
6 ABE AN D MAWRUSS CHAPTER ON E I COME down o n the subway with Max Link heimer this m o rnin g, M aw ru ss, Abe Potash said to his partner, Morris Perlmutter, as they in the showroom hot July mo rnin sat That o ne g. feller is a regular p h ilant ro p ist. I b e t yer, Morris replied. He would tal k a tin ear o n to you if you only give him a chance. Leon Sammet t oo, Abe, I assure you. I seen Leon in the Harlem Winter Garden last night, and the goods he sold while he was talking to me and Barney Gans, Abe, in two seasons we don t do such a business. Yes, Abe ; Leon Sammet is j ust such another o ne of them fellers like Max Link h eim e r. What d ye mean such another one Of them fellers like Max Abe repeated. B e tween Leon Sammet and Max Link h e im e r is the difference like day from night. Max Link h e im e r Morris is o ne fine man, M aw ru ss. shrugged. I didn t sa y he wasn t,
7 4 ABE AND MAWRUSS he Alil l isay s ig was that Le o n Sammet is Abe rose t o his feet and stared indignantly at his partner. I don t know what comes over you lately, M aw ru ss, he cried. Seemingly y o u don t u n d e rst and the English lan g uage at all. A philan tropist ain t a schmooser, Maw ru ss. I know he ain t, Abe ; but j ust the same Max Link h e im e r is a feller which he got a whole lot too much to say for himself. Furthermore, Abe, my Minnie says Mrs. Link h e im e r tells her Max ain t home a single night neither, and when a man ne g lects his family like that, Abe, I ain t got no u se fo r him at all. That s because he belongs to eight lodges, Abe replied. There ain t a single Sunday neither which he ain t busy with funerals too, Maw ru ss. Is that so? Morris retorted. Well, if I would be in the button business, Abe, I would be a p h ila nt ro p i st t o o. A feller s got to belong to eight lodges if he s in the button business, Abe, because Othe rwise he couldn t sell no goods at all. Abe continued : Link h e im e r ain t looking to sell goods to lodge brothers, Maw ru ss. He s t o o Old established a business for that. He s got a heart too, Maw ru ss Why the money that feller spends o n charity, Maw
8 you might just as well give him to the d aw g c at ch e r. SYMPATHY 5 russ, y o u wouldn t believe at all. He told me so himself. Always he tries to do good. Only this morning, he Was telling me abo ut a young feller by the name Sc h e nk m ann which he is trying to find a position for as stock clerk. Nobody would take the young feller o n, because he got into trouble with a house in Dallas, Texas, which they claim the young feller stole from them a hundred dollars, Maw ru ss. But Link h eim e r says how if you would give a d aw g a bad name, So Link h e im e r is willing to take a chance o n this here feller S ch e nk m ann, and he gives him a job in his o wn place. D aw g s I don t know nothing about at all, Abe, Morris commented. But I would be will ing to give the young feller a show Abe if t I o o,, would only got plain bone and metal buttons in But when you carry a couple hundred stock. pieces silk goods Abe like we do then that s some,,, thing else again. Well, M aw ru ss, Gott sei da nk we don t g o t to get a new shipping clerk. Jake has been with us five years now, and so far what I could se e he ain t got ambition enough to ask for a raise even, let alone look for a better job. Yo u shouldn t c o n g ra dulat e yourself too quick, Abe, Morris replied. Ambition he s got it plenty, but h e ain t g o t the nerve. We really ought to give
9 6 ABE AN D MAWRUSS the feller a raise, Abe. I mean it. Every time I g o near him at all he gives me a loo k, and the first thing you know, Abe, he would be leaving us. Looks we could stand it, Maw ru ss ; but if we would start In giving him a raise there would be no end to it at all. Lass s bleibe n. If the feller wants a raise, he should ask for it. Barely two weeks after the conversation above forth however Jake entered the se t fi rm s private,, Office and tendered his resignation. Mr. Perlmutter, he said, I m going to leave. Going to leave? Morris cried. What d ye mean going to leave? Going to leave? Abe repeated crescendo. An idea! You should positively do nothing o f the kind. It wouldn t be no more than you deserve Jake,, if we would fire you right of the store Morris o ut, added work for us here five years and then " Yo u " y o u come to us and sa y you are going to leave. Did you ever hear o f such a thing? If you want it a couple dollars more a week, we would give it to you and f arti g. But if y o u get fresh and come to us and tell us you are going to leave, y u nde r st and, then that s something else again. Moost I work for you if I don t want to? Jake asked. S enough, Jake, Abe said. We heard e no u g h ' fro m y o u already.
10 SYMPATHY 7 All right, Mr. Potash, he replied. But j ust the same I am telling you, Mr. Potash, you should look for a new shipping clerk, as I bought it a candy, cigar and stationery store o n Lenox Avenue, and I am going to quit Saturday sure. Well, Abe, what did I told y o u? Morris said bitterly after Jake had left the the, Office. Fo r sake Of a couple Of dollars a week Abe we are losing,, a good shipping clerk. Abe covered h is embarrassment with a mirthless laugh. Good shipping clerks you could get any day in the week, he said. We ain t going to go o ut Of business exactly, y u nde rst and, j ust because Jake is leaving us. I bet yer if we would advertise in to - morrow morning s paper we would get a dozen good shipping clerks. G O ahead, advertise, Morris grunted. This is your idee Jake leaves us, Abe, and now you should find somebody to take his place. I m sick and tired making changes in the store. Always kicking, always kicking! Abe retorted. By Saturday I bet yer we would get a hundred good shipping clerks already. But Saturday came and went, and although in the meantime Old and young shipping clerks Of every degree Of uncleanliness passed in review before Abe and Morris, none o f them proved ac c e p t a b le.
11 8 AB E AN D MAWRUSS All right, Abe, Morris said o n the Monday morning after Jake had gone, y o u done enough about this here shipping clerk business. Give me a show. I ain t got such liberal idees about ship ping clerks as you got, Abe, but all the same, Abe, I think I could g O at this business with a little system, y u nde rst and. Yo u shouldn t trouble yourself, Abe replied, with an airy wave o f his hand. I hired o n e already. Yo u hired o ne already, Abe! Morris repeated. Well, ain t I got something to sa y about it too? Again kicking, M aw ru ss? Abe exclaimed. You yourself told me I should find a shipping clerk, and so I done so. Well, Morris cried, ain t I even entitled to know the feller s name at all? Sure y o u are entitled to know his name, Abe answered. He s a young feller by the name o f Sc h e nkman n. S c h e nk m an n, Morris said slowly. Schenk mann? Where did I you mean that feller by the name S c h e nk m an n which he works by Max Link h e im e r Abe nodded. What s the matter with you, Abe? Morris cried. Are y o u crazy or what? What do you mean am I crazy? Abe said. We carry burglary insurance, ain t it? And b e
12 thousand buttons, and what is it? But with us, SYMPATHY 9 sides he ain t, Max Link h e im e r says, missed so much as a button since the feller worked for him. A button Morris shouted let me tell, ; y o u something Max Link h im could miss a e e r, Abe. Abe, one piece o f silk goods is more as a hundred dollars. Max S all right, Abe interrupted. Link h e im e r says we shouldn t be afraid. He says he trusts the young feller in the Office with hun dreds Of dollars laying in the safe, and he ain t touched a cent so far. Fu rt hermore the young feller s got a wife and baby, Maw ru ss. Well I g o t a wife and baby t o o, Abe. Sure, I know, M aw ru ss, and so you ought to got a little sympathy for the feller. Morris laughed raucously. Sure, I know, Abe, he replied. A good way to lose money in business, Abe, is to got sympathy for somebody. Yo u sell a feller goods, Abe, b e cause he s a new beginner and you got sympathy for him, Abe, and the feller busts up on you. You accommodate a concern with five hundred dollars a check against their check dated two weeks ahead, Abe because their collections is slow and y o u got sympath y for them, and when the two weeks goes by, Abe, the check is N. G. You give a feller o u t in Kansas City two months an extension because
13 pathy fo r him, and the first thing y o u know, Abe, IO AB E AND MAWRUSS he done a b ad spring business, and y o u g o t s y m a jobber o ut in Omaha gets a j udgment against him and closes him up. And that s the way it goes, If we would hire this young feller because we g o t sympathy fo r him, Abe, the least that happens us is th t a h gets away with a couple hundred dollars e worth o f piece goods. Max Link h e im e r says positively nothing Of the kind, Ab e insisted. Max says the feller has turned around a new leaf, and he would trust him like a brother. Like a brother - in - law, y o u mean, Abe, Morris j eered That feller Link h e im e r never trusted nobody for nothing, Abe. Always by the first of the month comes a statement, and if he don t get a check by the fifth, Abe, he sends another with past due stamped o n to it. S O much the better, Maw ru ss. If Max Link heimer don t trust nobody, and he lets this young feller work in his store, Maw russ, then the feller must be Ain 0. K. t it? Morris rose wearily to his feet. All right, Abe, he said. If Link h e ime r is so anxious, to get rid o f this feller, let him give us a recommendation in writing, y unde rst and, and I am satisfied we should give this here young Schenk mann a trial. He could only get into us oncet, Abe, so go right over there and see Link h e im e r, and if in
14 SYMPATHY I1 writing he would give us a guaranty the feller is honest go ahead and hire, him. Right away I couldn t do it M Abe aw ru ss,, When I left Link h im in the subway e e r said. this morning he said he was going over to Newark and he wouldn t be back till to - night. I ll stop in there the first thing to morrow morning. With this ultimatum, Abe proceeded to the back Of the loft and personally attended to the shipment of ten garments to a customer in Cincinnati. Under his supervision a stock boy placed the garments in a woo den packing box, and after the first top board was in position Abe took a wire nail and held it twixt his thumb and finger point down o n the edge o f the case. Then he poised the hammer in his right hand and carefully closing one eye he gauged the distance between the upraised hammer and the head Of the nail. At length the blow descended, and forthwith Abe commenced to dance around the floor in the newborn agony Of a smashed thumb. It was while he w as putting the finishing touches o n a bandage that made up in bulk What it lacked in symmetry that Morris entered. What s the matter, Abe? he cried. Did you hu rted yourself? Abe transfixed his partner with a malevolent glare. N O, he said, as he started for the front o f the store, I ain t hurted myself at all.
15 1 2 ARE AN D MAWRU S S I m j ust tying this here handkerchief on my thumb to remind myself what a fool I got it fo r a partner. Morris waited t illab e had nearly reached the door. I don t g o t to tie something o n my thumb to remind myself of that, Abe, he said. Ever since the birth of his so n it had seemed to Morris th at the Lenox Avenue express service had grown increasingly slow. N o r did the evening papers contain half the interesting news o f his early married life, and he could barely wait until the train had stopped at One Hundred and Sixtee nth Street before he was elbowing his w a to the y platform. On the Monday night Of his partner s mishap he made his accustomed dash from the subway station to his home One Hundred and Eighteenth o n Street, confident that as soon as his latchkey rattled in the door Mrs. Perlmutter and the baby would be in the hall to greet him ; but o n this occasion he was disappointed. To be sure the appetizing Odour of g e dam pf te s k albfl eis ch wafted itself down the elevator Shaft as he entered the gilt and plas'ter - po rphyry e n trance from the street, but when he crossed the t h re s hold o f his o w n apartment the robust wail Of his so n and heir mingled with the tones Of Lina, the Slavic maid. Of Mrs. Perlmutter, however, there w as no sign. Where s NIinnie? he demanded. Mrs. Perlmutter, she go out, Lina announced, and she ain t coming home yet.
16 sufficiently calm to disclose the cause Of her distress, SYMPATHY 1 3 N o t since the return from their honeymoon had Minnie failed to be at home to greet her husband his arrival from business and Morris was about o n, to telephone a general alarm to police headquarters when the doorbell rang sharply and Perl Mrs. mutter hat whose size and weight He r entered., ought to have lent it stability, was tilted at a dan gerons angle, and beneath its broad brim her eyes glistened with unmistakable tears. Minnie lebeu, Morris cried, as he clasped her in his arms, what is it? Sympathy only opened anew the floodgates o f Mrs. Pe rlm u t t e r s emotions, and before sh e w as the g edam pf t es k albfl eisc h gave evidence Of its impending destruction by a strong Odour f o Hastily Perlmutter dried her scorching. Mrs. eyes and ran to the kitchen that it was not so, until the rescued dinner smoked the dining o n room table that Morris learned the reason for his wife s tears. Such a room, Morris, Mrs. Perlmutter declared ; like a pigsty, and not a crust of bread in the house. I met the poor woman in the meat market and sh e tried to beg a piece Of liver from that loafer Hirsch kein. N o t anoth er cent Of my money will he ever get. I bought a big piece o f steak for her and then I went home with her. He r poor baby, Morris, looked like a little skeleton.
17 14 AB E AN D MAWRUSS Morris shook his head from side to side and made inarticulate expressions Of commiseration through his nose, his mouth being temporarily oc cupied by about half a pound o f luscious veal. He r husband has a job fo r eight dollars a week, sh continued and th ey have to live e o n, that. Morris swallowed the veal with an effort In Russland he began six people,, I know Perlmutter interrupted but, Mrs., this is America and you ve got to around with, g o m e right after dinner and se e the poor people. Morris shrugged his shoulders. If I must I must he said helping himself to,,, more of t h veal stew but I could tell you right e, now Minnie I ain t got twenty - in my fiv e cents,, clothes so you to lend me a couple, g o t f dollars o till Saturday. I ll cash a check for you, Mrs. Perlmutter said fi rmly, and as soon as dinner w as concluded Morris drew a check for ten dollars anl Irs. Pe rlm ut t e r gave him that amount o ut o f her housekeeping money. It was nearly nine O clock when Morris and NIin nie groped along the dark hallway Of a tene ment house in Park Avenue. On the iron viaduct that bestrides that deceptively named thoroughfare heavy trains thundered at intervals, and it was o nly after Morris had knocked repeatedly at t h e doo r Of a t o p - flo o r apart ment that its inmates heard th e summons above the roar of the traffi c wit hout.
20 SYMPATHY r 5 Well S ch nkm Minnie cried cheer e ann, Mrs., fully how s the baby to - night?, S ch nk m e ann? Morris murmured Schenk ; mann? Is that the name f them people? o Why, yes, Minnie replied. Didn t I tell y o u that? Mrs. S c h e nk m ann, this is my husband. And I suppose this is Mr. Sc h e nk m ann. A tall, gaunt person rose from the soap b o x that did duty as a chair and ducked his head shyly S c h e nk m ann? Morris repeated. Yo u ain t the Sch e nk m ann which he works by Max Link heimer? Nathan Sch e nk m ann nodded and Mrs. Schenk mann groaned aloud. Al zuris! sh e cried, fo r his sorrow h e works by Max Link h eim e r. Eight dollars a week he is Supposed to get there, and Link h e im e r makes u s live here in his house. Twelve dollars a month w e pay for the rooms, lady, and Link h e im e r takes three dollars each week from Nathan s money. We couldn t even get dispossessed like some peopl e does and save a month s rent oncet in a while maybe. The rooms ain t worth it, lady, believe me. Does Max Link h e im e r o w n this house? Mor ris asked. Sure, h e s the landlord, Mrs. Sch e nk m ann went I am just telling eight dollars o n Fo r. you. a week a man should work! Ain t it a disgrace? Well why doesn t he get another, j o b? Morri s
21 1 6 ABE AN D MAWRUSS inquired ; and then, as Mr. and Mrs. S ch e nk m ann e xchanged embarrassed looks and hung their heads, Morris blushed. What a fine baby! he cried hurriedly. He chucked the infant under its chin and made such noises with his tongue as are popularly supposed by parents to be f a nature entertaining to very o young children. In point Of fact the poor little S h nk m child with its blue c e ann - white complexion,, looked more like a cold - storage chicken than a h u m baby but to the maternal eye Of Schenk an, Mrs. mann it represented the sum total Of infantile beauty. God bless you, mister, she said. I seen y o u a good h art and if you know g o t e Link l\/iax h im e e, r, h must told why my husband couldn e y o u t get another tells He e v e job. r y b d o y f la d and makes y, em believe he gives my husband a j o b o ut f char o it y. S O sure as I got a baby which I hope he would g row up to be a man, lady, my husband never took n o money in Dallas. Them people gives. him a h undred dollars he should deposit it in the bank, and he Went and lost it. If he would stole it he would o f gave it to me, lady, because my Nathan is agood man. He ain t no loafer that he should gamble it away. There was a ring o f truth in Mrs. Sch e nk m ann s tones, and as Morris looked at the twenty - eight years Old N athan, aged by ill nutrition and abu se,
22 S YMPATHY I 7 his suspicions all dissolved and gave place only to a great pity. Don t say no more, Mrs. S ch e nkm ann, he cried ; I don t want t o hear no more about it. TO - morrow morning your man leaves that loafer Max Link h e im e r and comes to work by u s fo r D eighteen dollars a week. Easily the most salient feature Of Mr. Max Link heimer s attire was the I. O. M. A. j ewel that dangled from the tangent point o f his generous waist line. It had been presented to him by Har mony Lodge, 1 2 2, at the conclusion Of his term Of Office as National Grand Corresponding Secretary, and it weighed about eight ounces avoirdupois. Not that the rest o f Mr. Link h e im e r s wearing a p parel was not in keeping, for he affected to be some what Old - fashioned in his attire, with just a dash Of b o nh omie. This implies that he wore a wrinkled frock coat and low - cut But he had waistcoat. discarded the black string tie that goes with it for a white ready made bow as being more suitable to the - of The b nh role om he supplied by o ie philanthropist. not buttoning the t wo top buttons Of his waistcoat. Why, hallo, Abe, my boy! he cried all in one breath, as Abe Potash entered his button ware rooms o n Tuesday morning ; what c an I do for you? He seized Abe s right hand in a soft, warm grip,
23 18 ABE AND MAWRUSS slightly moist, and continued to hold it for the better part o f five minutes. I come to see you about S c h e nk m an n, Abe replied. We decide we would have him come to work by us as a shipping clerk. I m glad to hear it, said Link h eim e r, As Itold y o u the other day, I ve just been asked by a lodge I belong to if I could help out a young feller just o u t of an orphan asylum. He s a big, strong, healthy boy, and he s willing to c o m e to work for half what I m paying S ch e nk m an n. So naturally I ve got to get rid of S c h e nk m ann. I wonder y o u got time to bother yourself break ing in a new beginner, Abe commented. Link h e im e r waggled his head solemnly. Ican t help it, Abe, he said. I let my busi ness suffer, but nevertheless I m constantly giving the helping hand to these poor inexperienced fellows. I assure y ouit costs me thousands o f dollars in a year, but that s my nature, Abe. I m all heart. When would you want S ch e nk m an n to come to work? Right away, Mr. Link h e im e r. Very good, I ll go and call him. He rose to his feet and started for the door. Oh, by the way, Abe, he said, as he paused at t h e threshold, you know S ch e nk m ann is a married man with a wife and child, and I understand Mrs. S ch e nk m ann is inclined to be extravagant. Fo r
24 SYMPATHY I 9 that reason I let him live in a house I own o n Park Avenue, and I take o u t the rent each week from his pay. It s really a charity to do so. The amount is e r sixteen dollars a month. I suppose you have no Objection to sending me four dollars a week l of his wages o ut? Well I ain t exactly a collecting agency y un,, d e rst and Abe said but I ll what my p artner, ; se e says and if he s agreeable I Only thing o ne,, am. though h Link h Ir im my partner the e e r bothers.,, life out o f me I should get from you a re c o m m e nd a tion. I ll give you one with pleasure, Abe, Link heimer replied ; but it isn t necessary. He returned to the front o f the Office and went to the safe. Why just look here, Abe, he said. I have here in the safe five hundred dollars and some small bills which I put in there last night after I come back from It was money I received the day Newark. before yesterday as chairman of the entertainment committee Of a lodge I belong to. The safe was unlocked from five to seven last night and Schenk mann w as in and out here all that time. He opened the middle compartment and pulled o ut a roll Of bills. You see, Abe, he said, counting out the money, here it is : one hundred, two hundred, three hun dred, four hundred and
25 2 0 AB E AND MAWR US S Here Mr. Link h e im e r paused and examined the last bill carefully, for instead o f a hundred - dollar bill it was only a ten - dollar bill. Well, what d ye think Of that dirty thief? he cried at last. That S c h e nk m an n h as taken a hundred - dollar bill out Of there. What? Abe exclaimed. Just as sure as you are sitting there, Link h e im e r went o n excitedly. That feller S c h e nk m an n has pinched a hundred - dollar bill o n me. Here his academic English completely forsook him and he continued in the vernacular Of the lower East Side. Always up to now I have kept the safe locked o n that feller, and the very first time I get careless he goes to work and does me for a hundred dollars yet. But, Abe protested, you might Of made a mistake ain t it? If the feller took it a hundred, dollars why don t he turn around and, g am the er other four hundred? Ain t it? The ten dollars also he might Of took What? it. A anef you couldn ' t tell what he would do at g all, Link h e im e r rejoined, and Abe rose to his feet. I m sorry for you, Mr. Link h e im e r, he said, seizing his hat, but I guess I must be getting back to the store. So you shouldn t trouble yourself about this here feller S c h e nk m ann. We decided we would get along without him. But Abe s words fell on deaf ears, fo r as he turned
27 2 2 AB E AND MAWRUSS Abe s moustache bristled and his eyes bulged so indignantly that they seemed to rest on his cheeks. Yo u should be careful what you say, he retorted. Maybe he ain t no more a g anef as I am, but just the same, he is in j ail and I ain t. In j ail, Morris exclaimed. What for i n j ail? B ecause he stole from Link h e im e r a hundred dollars yesterday, and while I was there y e t, Li nk h e im e r finds it o u t. SO naturally he make s this here feller arrested. Yesterday, he stole a hundred dollars? Mor~ ris interrupted. Ye sterday afternoon, Abe repeated. With my o w n eyes I seen it the other money which he didn t stole. Then, Morris said, if he stole it yesterday afternoo n Abe, he didn t positively do nothing of the k ind. Fo rt h wit h he related to Abe h is visit to Schenk mann s rooms and the condition o f poverty that he found. I give you my word, Abe, he said, the feller didn t got even a chair to sit o n. What do you know, what he got and what he didn t got? Abe rejoined impatiently. The feller naturally ain t going to show you the hundred dollars which he stole it especially,
28 SYMPATHY 3 if he thinks he could work you fo r a couple dollars more. Say, lo o k y h e re, Abe, Morris broke in ; don t sa y again that feller stole a hundred dollars, because I m telling you once more, Abe, I know he didn t take nothing certain, sure. Gek t oe/e, Abe cried disgustedly ; you talk like a fool! Do I? Morris shouted. All right, Abe. Maybe I do and maybe I don t, but just the same so positive I am he didn t done it, I m going right down to Henry Feldman D., and I will fix that feller Link h e im e r he should work a poor half - starved yokel fo r five dollars a week and a couple o f top fio o r tenement rooms which it ain t worth six dollars a month. Wait! I ll Show that sucker. seized his hat and made for the elevator door He, which he had almost reached when Abe grabbed him by the arm Maw h e cried are crazy ru ss,, y? What o u for you should put yourself o ut about this here young feller? He ain t the last shipping clerk in existence. You could get plenty good shipping clerks without bothering yourself like this. Besides, if he did steal it o r if he didn t steal it, what difference does it make to us? With the silk piece goods which we got it around o u r place, Maw russ we couldn t afford to take no, chances. I ain t taking no chances, Abe, Morris main
29 2 4 AB E A ND MAWR U S S t ain e d stoutly. I know this feller ain t took the money. Sure, that s all right, Abe agreed ; but you couldn t afford to be away all morning right in the busy season. Besides, since when did y o u become to be charitable all so f a sudd o e nt? Me charitable? Morris cried I indignantly. ain t charitable, Abe. Gott s oll h to suckers like Max Link h e im e r. u'teu. I leave that But when I know a decent, respectable feller is being put into j ail for something which he didn t do at all, Abe, then that s something else again. At this j uncture the elevator arrived, and as he plunged in he shouted that he would be back before noon. Abe returned to the rear o f the loft where a number o f rush orders had been arranged for ship ment. Under his instruction and supervision the stock boy nailed down the top boards Of the packing cases, but in nearly every instance, after the case was strapped and stencilled, they discovered t h e v had left o ne garment o u t, and the whole process had to be repeated. Thus it was nearly o ne o clock before Abe s task was concluded, and although he had breakfasted late that morning, when he looked at his watch he became suddenly famished. could starve yet, he muttered, for all that feller c a re sf I He walked up and down the showroom floor in an ecstasy o f imaginary hunger, and as he was making
30 SYMPATHY 2 5 the hundredth trip the elevator door Opened and Max Linkh im stepped low e e r o ut His - waist c ut. coat disclosed that his shirtfront ordinarily Of a, glossy white perfection, had fallen victim to a profuse perspiration. Even his collar had not escaped the flood, and as for his I. O. M. A. charm, it seemed positively tarnished. Say, lo o k y h e re, Potash, he began, what d ye mean by sending your partner to bail o ut that Me send my partner to bail out a g a n ef? Abe What are you talking, nonsense? exclaimed. I ain t talking nonsense, Link h im e e r retorted. Look at the kinds of conditions I am in. That feller Feldman made a fine monkey out Of me in the police court. Was Feldman there t o o? Abe asked. Yo u don t know, I suppose, Feldman was there, Link h e im e r continued ; and your partner went o n his bail for two thousand dollars. Abe shrugged his shoulders. In the first place, Mr. Linkh e im e r, he said, I didn t tell my partner he should do nothing of the kind. He done it against my advice, Mr. Link heimer. But at the same time, Mr. Link h e im e r, if he wants to go bail for that feller, y u nde rst and, what is it my business? What is it your business? Link h e im e r repeated. Wh y, don t y o u know if that feller runs away the
31 chair and gaped at Link h e im e r. 2 6 AB E AND MAWR U S S sheriff could come in here and clean o ut your place? That s all. What? Abe cried. He sat down in the nearest Ye s, sir, Link h e im e r repeated, y o u could be ruined by a thing like that. Abe s lower j aw fell still further. He w a s too dazed for comment. W what could I do about it? he gasped at length. DO about it! Link h e im e r cried. Why, if I had a partner who played me a dirty trick like that I d kick him out o f my place. There ain t a c o partnership agreement in existence that doesn t expressly sa y o ne partner shouldn t give a bail bond without the other partner s consent. Abe rocked to and fro in his chair. After all these years a feller should do a thing like that to me! he moaned. Link h e im e r smiled with satisfaction, and he w as about to instance a striking and wholly imaginary case o f o ne partner ruining another by giving a bail bond when the door leading to the cutting room in the rear opened and Morris Perlmutter appeared. As his eyes rested on Link h e im e r they blazed with anger, a n d fo r once Morris seemed t o po ssess a certain dignity. Out, he commanded ; o ut from mein store. you d aw g, you!
32 SYMPATHY 2 7 As he rushed o n the startled button dealer, Abe grabbed his coat - tails and pulled him back. Say, what are we here, he cr i ed, a t h e a y t r e? Let him alone, Abe, Link h e im e r counselled in a rather shaky voice. I m pretty nearly twenty years Older than he is, but I guess I could co p e with him. Yo u wouldn t cope with nobody around here, Abe replied. If youse two want to cope you should the g o o ut o n sidewalk. Never mind Morris broke in his valour now,, quite evaporated ; I ll fix him yet. Another thing, Abe interrupted ; why don t you come in the front way like a m an. I come in which way I please, Abe, Morris rejoined. And furthermore, Abe, when I got with me a poor skeleton o f a feller like Nathan Schenk mann, Abe, I don t take him up the front elevator. I would be ashamed for o u r competitors that they should think we let o u r work - people starve. The feller actually fainted o n me as we was coming up the freight elevator. As y o u was coming up the freight elevator? Abe repeated. Do you mean to tell me y o u got the nerve to actually bring this feller into mein place y e t? DO I got to get your permission, Ab e, I s hould
33 2 8 AB E AND MAWRUS S bring who I want to into my o w n place? Morris rejoined. Then all I got to say is you should take him right o u t again, Abe said. I wouldn t have no g anévim in my place. Once and for all, M aw ru ss, I am telling y o u I wouldn t stand for your nonsense. Yo u are giving our stock as a bail for this feller, and if he runs away on u s, the sheriff comes in and Wh o says I give o u r stock as a bail fo r this feller? Morris demanded. I got a surety company bond, Abe, because Feldman says I shouldn t go o n no bail bonds, and I give the surety company my per sonal check for a thousand dollars which they will return when the case is over. That s what I done it to keep this here S c h e nk m an n o ut o f j ail, Abe, and if it would be necessary to get this here Link heimer into j ail, Abe, I would have another check for a thousand dollars for keeps. Abe grew somewhat abashed at this disclosure. He looked at Link h e im e r and then at Morris, but before he could think Of something to sa y the eleva tor door Opened and Jake stepped o ut. It was per haps the first time in all their acquaintance with Jake that Abe and Morris had seen him with his face washed. Moreover, a clean collar served further to conceal his identity, and at first Abe did not recognize his former shipping clerk. Hallo, Mr. Potash! Jake said. I ll be with you in o ne moment, Mister
35 3 0 AB E AND MAWRUS S down with h is thumb and finger and produced a small yellow wad about the size Of a postage stamp. This he proceeded to unfold until it took o n the appearance Of a hundred - dollar bill. He gives me this here, Jake announced, and I give him the change for a ten - dollar bill. SO this here is a hundred - dollar bill, ain t it, and it don t belong to me, which I come downtown I should give it him back again. What isn t mine I don t want at all. This was p erhaps the longest speech that Jake had ever made, and he paused to lick his dry lips for the peroration. And so, he concluded, handing the bill to Link h e im e r, here it is, and and nine dollars and ninety cents, please. Link h e im e r grabbed the bill automatically and gazed at the figures o n it with bulging eyes. Why, Abe gasped, why, Link h eim e r, you had four o ne - hundred - dollar bills and a ten - dollar bill in the safe this morning. Ain t it? Link h im e e r nodded. Once more he broke into a Copiou perspiration s, as he handed a ten - dollar bill to Jake. And so, Abe went o n, and so y o u must Of took a hundred - dollar bill o ut o f the safe last night, instead o f a ten - dollar bill. Ain t it? Link h eim e r nodded again. And so y o u made a mistake, ain t it? Abe
36 SYMPATHY 3 1 And this here feller S h nk m didn c e an n t cried. took no money of the safe at Ain o u t t it? all. the third time Link h im nodded and Abe Fo r e e r, turned to his partner. What (I y e think Of that feller? he said, nodding his head in Link h e im e r s direction. Morris shrugged, and Abe plunged his hands into his trousers pockets and glared at Link h e im e r. S O, Link h e im e r, he concluded, you made a sucker o u t Of yourself and o ut f me too! Ain it o t? I m sorry Abe Link h im muttered as he e e r,,, folded away the hundred dollar bill in his wallet - I bet yer he s sorry Morris I, interrupted. would be sorry too if I would got a lawsuit on m y, hands like he s g o t it. What d ye mean? Linkh e im e r cried. I, ain t got no lawsuit o n my hands. Not yet, Morris said significantly, but when F e ldm an hears Of this, you would quick get a su m mons for a couple Of thousand dollars damages which y o u done this yo ung feller Sch e nk m ann by makin g him false arrested. It ain t no more than you deserve, Link h e im e r, Abe added You re lucky I don t su e y o u fo r trying to make trouble between me and my partne r yet. Fo r one brief moment Link h im e e r regarded Ab e sorrowfully. There were few occasions t o which Link h im e e r could no t do justice with a cut - and
37 3 2 AB E AND MAWR US S fl d ried sentiment o r a well - worn aphorism, and he was about to expatiate o n ingratitude in business when Abe forestalled him. Another thing I wanted to sa y to you, Link heimer, Abe said ; you shouldn t wait until the first o f the month to send us a statement. Mail it to - night yet because we notice we close, yo u give, your account right here and now. On e week later Abe and Morris watched Nathan S c h e nk m ann driving nails into the t o p of a packing case with a force and precision o f which Jake had been wholly incapable ; for seven days o f better h ousing and better feeding had done wonders for N athan. Yes, Abe, Morris said as they turned away ; I think we made a find in that b o y, and we also d one a charity t o o. Some people s got an idee, Ab e, that, business is always business ; but with me I think diffe re nc e l y. Yo u could never make no big success in business unless y o u got a little sym pathy fo r a feller oncet in a while. Ain t it? Abe nodded. I give you right, he said.
38 THE JU DGMENT OF PARIS HERE was an intimate connection between Abe Potash s advent in the lobby o f the Prince Clarence Hotel o n e hot summer day in June and the publication in that morning s Arrival o f Buyers column Of the following state ment and news item : G rie sm an, M., Dr y Go od s Comp an y, S y racu se ; M. G rie sm an, l adie s and mi sse s cl o aks, suit s, w aist s, and fu rs ; Pri nc e Cl are nce Ho t el. Nevertheless when Abe caught sight f o, Mr. G sm lolling in Of the hotel rie an s capacious o ne he quickly looked the other way and passed fauteuils to the clerk s Then he asked in a loud o n desk. tone for Elkan Reinberg f Boonton New o Mr.,, Jersey ; and, almost before the clerk told him that no such person was registered, he turned about and recognized Mr. G rie sm an with an elaborate start. Why how do you do G sm rie an? he ex,, Mr. Ain t it a pleasure to see claimed. y o u! What doing here in New York a re y o u? 3 3
39 AB E AND MAWRUS S G rie sm an looked hard at his interlocutor before replying. Some two years earlier there had been an a c rim o nio u s correspondence between them with reference t o a shipment o f skirts lost in transit a corre s p o n d e nc e ending in threatened liti g ation and Mr. G rie sm an had transferred his account with Potash 8c Perlmutter to Sammet Brothers. g arded Abe s proffered hand coldly, Hence he re and instead Of r ising to his feet he continued t o puff at his cigar fo r a few moments. I know your face, he said at length, but your n ame ain t familiar. Think again, Mr. G rie sm an, Abe said, quite unmoved by the rebuff. Where did y o u seen me before? I think I seen a law Office oncet Gries y o u In, m said the best an TO f my recollection the o ccasion was which you said didn t give o o ne y o u damn about my business at all and if I wouldn t a, the s would make it hot p a y fo r skirt y o u fo r me. But far what I hear it I ain t paid the skirts so fo r,, nd I didn t sweat none a either. Why not let bygones be bygones, Mr. Gries m an? Abe rejoined. I ain t got no bygones Abe G sm rie an,, replied. The bygones is all your I ain t got the o n side. s kirts ; so I didn t pay for em. Well, what is a few skirts that fellers should be J
40 THE JUD GM ENT OF PARIS 3 5 enemies about em, Mr. G rie sm an? The skirts is vorbei sch long since Why don on t already. y o u anyhow come down to place oncet in a while and o u r us Moe? se e, What would I do in your place Ab? e, still use a Yo u c o u p le g arm like we make e nt s, it, in your business, Moe, Abe continued Yo u got to buy goods in New York oncet in a while. Ain t it? Well, I do and I don t, Abe, Mo e rejoined. I ain t the back number which I o ncet used to was, Abe. I got fresh idees a little t o o, Abe. N owadays, Abe, all. a buyer couldn t rely on his own judgment at Before he buys a new season s goods he s g o t to find o u t what they re wearing o n the other sid e first. SO with me, Abe, I go first to Paris, Abe. Then I se e there what I want to buy here, Abe, and when I come back to N ew York I buy only them goods which has got the idees I seen it in Paris. But how do you know we ain t got the idees you would seen it in Paris, Moe? I don t know, Abe, Moe replied, because I ain t been to Paris yet I am now my so o n w a y far. over to Paris Abe and furthermore Abe if I would, ;,, been to Paris, y u nde rst and what does a feller like, h f aw m know about designing? ss What d ye mean what does a feller like Maw ru ss, know about designing? Abe repeated. Don t y o u fool yourself, Moe ; Maw ru ss is a first - class,
41 3 6 A B E AN D MAWRUS S A number o ne designer. He gets his idees straight from the best fashion journals. Then t oo, Moe, when it comes to u p - to - date styles, I ain t such a big fool neither, y u nde rst and. I know o n e o r t wo things about designing myself, Mo e, and you could take it from me, Moe, there ain t no hous e in the trade, Mo e, which they got better facilities for giving you the latest u p - to - the - minute style like we g o t it. Sure, I know, Mo e continued ; but as I told it y o u before, Abe, I ain t in the market fo r my fall goods now. I am now only on my way to Paris, and when I would come back it would be time for y o u to waste your breath. I could waste my breath all I want to, Mo e, Abe rejoined. I ain t like some people, Moe ; m y breath don t cost me nothing. Wh at d ye mean? Moe cried indignantly. He had allowed himself the unusual indulgence o f a cocktail that morning as a corollary to a rather turbulent evening with Leon Sammet, and he had been absently chewing a clove throughout the inter view with Abe. I mean Hymie Salzman, designer fo r Sammet Brothers, Abe replied. There s a feller which he got it such a breath, Mo e, he ought to put a revenue stamp o n his chin. That may be, Abe ; but the feller delivers the goods. Sammet Brothers are sending him to Pari s
43 3 8 AB E AN D MAWRU S S What could I think, Maw ru ss? he replied. \ Th garment looks all right and e Maw I ru ss,, ain t kicking, y u nde rst and but I tell you the ; honest truth Maw the way things is nowa ru ss,, days a feller could be Elij ah the Prophet, already, and he couldn t tell in June what is going to please the garment buyers in September. Morris flushed angrily. I don t know what comes over you lately, Abe ; n othing suits you, he cried. I got here a garment which if we would be paying a designer ten thousand dollars a year yet he couldn t turn us o ut nothing b etter, and yet you are kicking. What d ye mean, kicking? Abe rejoined. I in t I am only passing a remark Maw a kicking., I am saying I couldn t tell nothing about russ. it Maw because so far ahead Of time like ru ss,, this Maw a garment could look ever ru ss so ro t,, ten and it could turn be a reco rd Maw ru ss o ut t o,, s eller anyhow. So Abe Morris broke furiously o ut,,, y o u think the garment looks rotten! What? Well all, I got to sa y is this, Abe ; if the garment looks so rotten y o u should quick hire some o ne which could design a better one, because I am sick and tired of your kicking. What s the matter got pepper up your nose, yo u all Of a sudden, Maw ru ss? Abe protested. I ain t saying nothing about the g arment is rotten.
44 THE JUD GMENT OF PARIS 3 9 Iam only saying it gets so nowadays that in June a feller turns o ut a style which if we was making masquerade costumes already it would be freaky anyhow ; and yet, it would go big in You g e t ' t h e idee what I am talking September. about, Maw ru ss? I get the idee all right, Morris retorted with bitter emphasis. Yo u got the nerve to stand there and tell me this here garment is freaky like a m a s q u e rad S ch e on g ut From no w I o n costume., Abe. wash myself of the whole I am through thing., Abe. Yo u should right away advertise for a designer. Abe rose wearily to h is feet. With a touchy proposition like y o u, he said, a feller couldn t open his mouth at all. I ain t saying nothing about you as a designer, Maw russ. All I am saying, is, a designer could be a feller which he is so Paquin or any Of them Fr e n c h e rs, high - grade like but if he gets his idees from fashion papers Ode r the Dail y Cloak a nd S uit Gazette, then oncet in a while he t urns o ut a sticker. Morris was stripping the garment from the dis p lay form, but he paused to favour h is partner with a glare. What would you want me to do, then? he asked. Make up styles out from my o w n head, Abe? If I wouldn t get my idees from the fashion papers, Abe, Where would I get em?
45 4 0 AB E AN D MAWR US S Where would y o u get em? Abe repeated. Why, where does Hymie Salzman, designer for Sammet Brothers, and Charles Eise nb lu m, designer for Klinger Klein, get t h e ir ide e s, M aw ru ss? This was purely a rhetorical question, but a s Abe paused to heighten the effect Of the peroratio n, Mo rrl s undertook t o supply an answer. Them suckers don t get their idees, Abe, he said ; they steal em. If a concern gets a run o n a certain garment, Abe, them two highway robbers makes a duplicate Of it before y o u could turn around your head. That s the kind o f c ut throats them fellers is, Abe. Sure, I know, Abe continued ; but they got to turn out some garments Of their o w n, and they get their idees right from headquarters. They get their idees from Paris, Maw ru ss. Only this morning I hear It that Hymie Salzman sails fo r Paris o n Saturday. Well, I couldn t stop him, Abe, Morris com m e nt e d. Sure, I know, M aw ru ss, Abe went o n ; but things is very quiet here in the store, and for a month yet we wouldn t do hardly no busi ness. I could get along here all right until, sa y, July 1 5 t h anyhow. For t w o minutes Morris looked hard at h is partner. What are you driving into, Abe? he asked at length.
46 run dry and they got to build a railroad there first, THE JUD GMENT OF PARIS 4 1 Why I am driving into this M aw Abe ru ss,,, Why don t you go to Paris? continued. Me go to Paris! Morris exclaimed. Why no t? Abe The suggestion murmured. did seem preposterous after all. Why not! Morris repeated. There s a whole lot Of reasons why not, Abe, and the first and foremost is that the Atlantic Ocean would got to Abe. I crossed the water just oncet, Abe, and I wouldn t cross it again if I never sold another dollar s worth more goods so long a s I live, Abe ; and that s all there is to it. What are y o u talking nonsense, Maw ru ss? On them big boats like the Al orrisania there ain t no more motion than if a feller would be g oing to Coney Island, Maw ru ss. That s all right Abe Morris replied,, firmly. Me if I would go to Coney Island I am taking,, always the trolley Abe from the New York side,, Of the Furthermore Abe if Sammet bridge.,, Brothers sends a drinker like H y m ie, alzm an to S Paris, Abe, they got a right to spend their money the way they want to ; but all I got to sa y is that we shouldn t be afraid they would cop o u t any o f o u r trade on that account, Abe. Hymie would come home with new idees o f t c h am p an y e r wine and not garments, Abe. Sure, I know, M aw ru ss, Abe retorted ; but
47 is, with a sticker like you got It there, wants to g o to Paris, Abe all right! G O ahead, 4 2 AB E AND MAWRUS S if y o u would g o over to Paris, y o u would come back with some new idees which you would turn o ut some real snappy stuff, Maw ru ss. As it we would ruin o u r business. All right, Abe ; I heard enough. You got al together t o o much t o sa y for a feller which comes downtown at ten O clock with no excuse no r nothing. At this point Abe interrupted his partner long enough to relate his visit to G Mo sm but the e rie an, information entirely failed to placate Morris. All right, Abe, he shouted ; why don t y o u go to Paris? That s all you re fit fo r. I got a wife and baby, Abe ; but with a feller which he has got no more interest in his home, y u nd e rst and, than he Abe ; g o to Paris. I am satisfied. Abe regarded his partner fo r o ne hesitating moment. S ch on g ut, I will go to Paris, he said ; and the next moment the elevator door closed behind him. Fo r five minutes after Abe s departure Morris gazed earnestly at his newest creation. He had intended the model as a pleasant surprise to his partner, since not only had he conceived the garment to be a triumph Of the dressmaker s art, but it had been finished far in advance Of the season for origi nating new styles. He had confidently expected
48 THE JUD GMENT OF PARIS 43 an enthusiastic reception Of this ch ef - d ce usre; but in view Of Abe s scathing criticism, he commenced to doubt his o w n estimate Of the beauty Of the dress. Indeed, p e are d, the longer he looked at it the uglier it a p until at length he grabbed it roughly and literally tore it from the wire form. He had rolled it into a ball and was abo ut to cast it into a corner when the elevator door opened and a young lady stepped o ut. Good morning, Mr. Perlmutter, sh e said. Morris turned his face in the direction of the speaker and at once his mouth expanded into a broad grin. Why, Miss Smith! he exclaimed as he rushed forward to greet her. Ho w do y o u do? Me and Mrs. Perlmutter was just talking about y o u to - day. Ho w much you think that b o y weighs now Sixteen pounds, Miss Smith replied. Twenty - two, Morris cried net. Yo u don t say so! said Miss Smith. We got y o u to thank for that, Miss Smith, Morris continued. The doctor says without y o u anything could happen. Miss Smith deprecated this compliment to her professional skill with a smiling shake f the o head. We wouldn t forget it in a hurry Morris, Everything what that b is to o y - day declared., Miss Smith, we o w e it to you. You re making it hard for me, Mr. Perlmutter,
49 44 AB E AN D MAWRUS S Miss Smith replied, because I ve come to ask you a favour. A favour? Morris replied. Yo u couldn t ask me t o do you a favour because it wouldn t be no favour. It would be a pleasure. What could I do for y o u? I have t o leave town to - morrow o n a case, Miss Smith explained, and I need a dress in a hurry, something light fo r e v ening wear. Morris frowned perplexedly. That s t o o bad, he said, because j ust at present we g o t nothing but last year s goods in stock all except all except this. He unfolded the model and shook it o ut. What a pretty dress! Miss Smith cried, clasp ing her hands. Pretty! Morris Ho w could you exclaimed. say it was pretty? It s perfectly stunning Miss Smith, continued. What Size 18 It, Mr. Perlmutter? The usual size, Morris replied ; thirty - six. Why, that s j ust my size, Miss Smith declared. Let me se e it. Morris handed her the dress and sh e examined it carefully. What a pity, she said, it has a slight rip in front. Somebody s been handling it carelessly. Sure I know Morris I tore it myself,, said., Miss Smith but if really and truly like it Miss ; y o u, Smith which I tell you the truth I don t and my,,
51 AN 4 6 AB E ' D MAWRUS S By the steamship office, Abe replied. I am going next Saturday. Going next Saturday? Morris repeated. Where t o? TO Paris, Abe replied, o n the same ship with Moe G rie sm an, Leon Sammet and Hymie Salzman. Morris nodded slowly as the news sank in. Well, all I could sa y is, Abe, he commented at length, that I don t wish you and the other passengers no harm, y u nde rst and ; but, with them thr e e suckers o n board the ship, I h O p e it sinks. The five days preceding Abe s departure were made exceedingly busy fo r him by Morris, w h o soon became reconciled to his partner s fashion hunting trip, particularly when he learned that Mo e G rie sm an formed part Of the quarry. Yo u g o t t o remember o n e thing, Abe, he de c lared. Extremes is nix. Let the other feller b uy the freaks ; what we are after is something in moderation. Yo u shouldn t w o rr y ab o ut that, Abe replied. I wouldn t bring y o u home no such model like Showed it me this y o u week. Yo u would be lucky if y o u wouldn t bring home worser yet, Morris retorted. But anyhow that ain t the point. I got here the names Of a couple commission men which it is their business t o look o ut for greenhorns.