“Next day we gets up late and has a good breakfast, and sits on the lawn and smokes. The sun was shining, the little birds was singing, and there wasn’t a thing, east, west, north, or south, that looked like work. If I had been asked my address at that moment, on oath, I wouldn’t have hesitated a second. I should have answered, ‘No. 1, Easy Street.’ You see, Jerry Moore was one of these slow, simple fellers, and you could tell in a moment what a lot he thought of Gentleman. Gentleman, you see, had a way with him. Not haughty, he wasn’t. More affable, I should call it. He sort of made you feel that all men are born equal, but that it was awful good of him to be talking to you, and that he wouldn’t do it for everybody. It went down proper with Jerry Moore. Jerry would sit and listen to him giving his views on things by the hour. By the end of the first day I was having visions of sitting in that garden a white-haired old man, and being laid out when my time should come, in Jerry’s front room.”

He paused, his mind evidently in the past, among the cigars and big breakfasts. Presently he took up his tale.

“This here Jerry Moore was a simple sort of feller. Deafies are like that. Ever noticed? Not that Jerry was a real deafy. His hearing was a bit off, but he could foller you if you spoke to him nice and clear. Well, I was saying, he was kind of simple. Liked to put in his days pottering about the little garden he’d made for himself, looking after his flowers and his fowls, and sit of an evening listening to Gentleman ’olding forth on Life. He was a philosopher, Gentleman was. And Jerry took everything he said as gospel. He didn’t want no proofs. ’E and the King of Denmark would have been great pals. He just sat by with his big blue eyes getting rounder every minute and lapped it up.

“Now you’d think a man like that could be counted on, wouldn’t you? Would he want anything more? Not he, you’d say. You’d be wrong. Believe me, there isn’t a man on earth that’s fixed and contented but what a woman can’t knock his old Paradise into ’ash with one punch.

“It wasn’t long before I begin to notice a change in Jerry. He never had been what you’d call a champion catch-as-catch-can talker, but now he was silenter than ever. And he got a habit of switching Gentleman off from his theories on Life in general to Woman in particular. This suited Gentleman just right. What he didn’t know about Woman wasn’t knowledge.

“Gentleman was too busy talking to have time to get suspicious, but I wasn’t; and one day I draws Gentleman aside and puts it to him straight. ‘Gentleman,’ I says, ‘Jerry Moore is in love!’

“Well, this was a nasty knock, of course, for Gentleman. He knew as well as I did what it would mean if Jerry was to lead home a blushing bride through that front foor. It would be outside into the cold, hard world for the bachelor friends. Gentleman sees that quick, and his jaw drops. I goes on. ‘All the time,’ I says, ‘that you’re talking away of an evening Jerry’s seeing visions of a little woman sitting in your chair. And you can bet we don’t enter into them visions. He may dream of little feet pattering about the house,’ I says, ‘but they aren’t ours; and you can ’ave something on that both ways. Look alive, Gentleman,’ I says, ‘and think out some plan, or we might as well be padding the hoof now.’

“Well, Gentleman did what he could. In his evening discourses he started to give it to Woman all he knew. Began to talk about Delilahs and Jezebels and Fools-there-was and the rest of it, and what a mug a feller was to let a female into ’is cosy home, who’d only make him spend his days hooking her up, and his nights wondering how to get back the blankets without waking her. My, he was crisp! Enough to have given Romeo the jumps, you’d have thought. But, lor! It’s no good talking to them when they’ve got it bad.

“A few days later we caught him with the goods, talking in the road to a girl in a pink dress.

“I couldn’t but admit that Jerry had picked one right from the top of the basket. This wasn’t one of them languishing sort wot sits about in cosy corners and reads story-books, and don’t care what’s happening in the home so long as they find out what became of the hero in his duel with the Grand Duke. She was a brown, slim, wiry-looking little thing. You know. Held her chin up and looked you up and down

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