IV. The Mercy Sign-One
"Want a job, Average?"
Bertram, his elegance undimmed by the first really trying weather of the early summer,
drifted to the coolest spot in the Ad-Visor's sanctum and spread his languid length along
a wicker settee.
"Give a man breathing space, can't you?" returned Average Jones. "This is hotter than
"Why, I assumed that your quest of the quack's scion would have trained you down fit
"Haven't even caught up with the clippings that Simpson floods me with, since I came
back," confessed the other. "What have you got up your faultlessly creased sleeve? It's
got to be something different to rouse me from a well-earned lethargy."
"Because a man buncoes a loving father out of five thousand dollars," Average Jones
snorted gently, "is no reason why he should unanimously elect himself a life member of
the Sons of Idleness,"' murmured Bertram.
He cast an eye around the uniquely decorated walls, upon which hung, here, the
shrieking prospectus of a mythical gold-mine; there a small but venomous political
placard, and on all sides examples of the uncouth or unusual in paid print; exploitations
of grotesque quackeries; appeals, business-like, absurd, or even passionate, in the form
of "Wants;" threats thinly disguised as "Personals;"' dim suggestions of crime, of fraud,
of hope, of tragedy, of mania, all decorated with the stars of "paid matter" or designated
by the Adv. sign, and each representing some case brought to A. Jones, Ad-Visor--to
quote his hybrid and expressive doorplate--by some one of his numerous and
"Something different?" repeated the visitor, reverting to Average Jones' last observation.
"Well, yes; I think so. Where is Bellair Street?"
"Ask a directory. How should I know?" retorted the other lazily. "Sounds like old
Bertram reached over with a cane of some pale, translucent green wood, selected to
match his pale green tie and the marvelous green opal which held it in place, and
prodded his friend severely in the ribs. "Double-up Lucy; the sun is in the sky!" he
proclaimed with unwonted energy. "Listen. I cut this out of yesterday's Evening
Register. With my own fair hands I did it, to rouse you from your shameless sloth. With
your kind attention, ladies and gentlemen--" He read: