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(c. 1925)

by Charles MacArthur

Chapter II.

“Don’t bring that mugg in without a dame,” warned Louse-House Sprout, as he caught sight of the new arrival. “We’re a girl shy now.”

“I’m host here,” Stew Ribbon reproved. “Drag him in, Charlie.”

“Make him take off his hat first,” suggested one of the girls. “There’s a few ladies present!”

“I wish I thought so,” roared Louse-House Sprout, winking at Miller. The latter patiently waited out the guffaws that followed this witticism.

“This is my son-in-law, folks,” he commenced, remarking in a solicitious undertone to his companion: “Pardon me, but I didn’t catch your name.”

“I didn’t say. It’s Shinkle. Eugene Shinkle.”

“Mr. Shingle, folks.”

“Shinkle, I said --”

“Pardon me, Mr. Shinkle -- my son-in-law. Meet Miss Buster La Rue and Miss Lola Baumes, of the stage, Miss Maizie Stuss, and over there Stew Ribbon and Louse-House Sprout. My son-in-law, Mr. Shinkle.”

All the guests expressed their appreciation at meeting Mr. Shinkle and he was urged to have a chair. Inclined to accept, Miller deterred him and self consciously continued to the company:

“I don’t want to spoil your evening, folks -- but Mr. Shinkle here has brought me some mighty sad news. Friends, my wife just passed away ...”

Although none of the little gathering knew that Miller had been a benedict, all were immediately moved. Buster began to weep and there was a fountain of sympathetic comment. Stoically, Miller waved all these garlands aside.

“That’s the way it goes,” he observed. “Here today and gone tomorrow.”

Fetching a deep sigh, he departed with his kinsman, Eugene.

© 2003-04 The Estate of Charles G. MacArthur. All Rights Reserved.

Continue to Chapter Three or Return to Charles Gordon MacArthur Page

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