The Man Who Put Up At Gadsby's

When my old friend Riley and I were newspaper correspondents in Washington, in the winter of ’67, we were coming down Pennsylvania Avenue one night, near midnight, in a driving storm of snow, when the flash of a street-lamp fell upon a man who was eagerly tearing along in the opposite direction. This man instantly stopped, and exclaimed:

“This is lucky! You are Mr. Riley, ain’t you?”

Riley was the most self-possessed and solemnly deliberative person in the republic. He stopped, looked his man over from head to foot, and finally said:

“I am Mr. Riley. Did you happen to be looking for me?”

“That’s just what I was doing,” replied the man joyously, “and it’s the biggest luck in the world that I’ve found you. My name is Lykins. I’m one of the teachers of the high school, San Francisco. As soon as I heard the San Francisco postmastership was vacant, I made up my mind to get it; and here I am.”

“Yes,” said Riley slowly, “as you have remarked, … Mr. Lykins, … here you are. And have you got it?”

“Well, not exactly got it, but the next thing to it. I’ve brought a petition, signed by the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and all the teachers, and by more than two hundred other people. Now I want you, if you’ll be so good, to go around with me to the Pacific delegation, for I want to rush this thing through and get along home.”

“If the matter is so pressing, you will prefer that we visit the delegation to-night,” said Riley, in a voice that had nothing mocking in it—to an unaccustomed ear.

“Oh, to-night, by all means! I haven’t got any time to fool around. I want their promise before I go to bed: I ain’t the talking kind, I’m the doing kind.”

“Yes, … you’ve come to the right place for that. When did you arrive?”

“Just an hour ago.”

“When are you intending to leave?”

“For New York to-morrow evening—for San Francisco next morning.”

“Just so. … What are you going to do to-morrow?”

Do! Why, I’ve got to go to the President with the petition and the delegation, and get the appointment, haven’t I?”

“Yes, … very true; … that is correct. And then what?”

“Executive session of the Senate at two P.M.,—got to get the appointment confirmed,—I reckon you’ll grant that?”

“Yes, … yes,” said Riley meditatively, “you are right again. Then you take the train for New York in the evening, and the steamer for San Francisco next morning?”

“That’s it,—that’s the way I map it out.”

Riley considered awhile, and then said:

“You couldn’t stay … a day … well, say two days longer?”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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