Thats right thats the way to take it, the cub announced airily, though he had already begun to glance anxiously at the door.
But it wasnt true, not a word of what he wrote, Martin went on, confining his attention to Brissenden.
It was just in a general way a description, you understand, the cub ventured, and besides, its good advertising. Thats what counts. It was a favor to you.
Its good advertising, Martin, old boy, Brissenden repeated solemnly.
And it was a favor to me think of that! was Martins contribution.
Let me see where were you born, Mr. Eden? the cub asked, assuming an air of expectant attention.
He doesnt take notes, said Brissenden. He remembers it all.
That is sufficient for me. The cub was trying not to look worried. No decent reporter needs to bother with notes.
That was sufficient for last night. But Brissenden was not a disciple of quietism, and he changed his attitude abruptly. Martin, if you dont poke him, Ill do it myself, if I fall dead on the floor the next moment.
How will a spanking do? Martin asked.
Brissenden considered judicially, and nodded his head.
The next instant Martin was seated on the edge of the bed with the cub face downward across his knees.
Now dont bite, Martin warned, or else Ill have to punch your face. It would be a pity, for it is such a pretty face.
His uplifted hand descended, and thereafter rose and fell in a swift and steady rhythm. The cub struggled and cursed and squirmed, but did not offer to bite. Brissenden looked on gravely, though once he grew excited and gripped the whiskey bottle, pleading, Here, just let me swat him once.
Sorry my hand played out, Martin said, when at last he desisted. It is quite numb.
He uprighted the cub and perched him on the bed.
Ill have you arrested for this, he snarled, tears of boyish indignation running down his flushed cheeks. Ill make you sweat for this. Youll see.
The pretty thing, Martin remarked. He doesnt realize that he has entered upon the downward path. It is not honest, it is not square, it is not manly, to tell lies about ones fellow-creatures the way he has done, and he doesnt know it.
He has to come to us to be told, Brissenden filled in a pause.
Yes, to me whom he has maligned and injured. My grocery will undoubtedly refuse me credit now. The worst of it is that the poor boy will keep on this way until he deteriorates into a first-class newspaper man and also a first-class scoundrel.
But there is yet time, quoth Brissenden. Who knows but what you may prove the humble instrument to save him. Why didnt you let me swat him just once? Id like to have had a hand in it.
Ill have you arrested, the pair of you, you b-b-big brutes, sobbed the erring soul.
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