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Rolling Stones

A Dinner At –––– [3]
[The story referred to in this skit appears in "The Trimmed Lamp" under the same title—
"The Badge of Policeman O'Roon."]
THE ADVENTURES OF AN AUTHOR WITH HIS OWN HERO
All that day—in fact from the moment of his creation—Van Sweller had conducted
himself fairly well in my eyes. Of course I had had to make many concessions; but in
return he had been no less considerate. Once or twice we had had sharp, brief contentions
over certain points of behavior; but, prevailingly, give and take had been our rule.
His morning toilet provoked our first tilt. Van Sweller went about it confidently.
"The usual thing, I suppose, old chap," he said, with a smile and a yawn. "I ring for a b.
and s., and then I have my tub. I splash a good deal in the water, of course. You are aware
that there are two ways in which I can receive Tommy Carmichael when he looks in to
have a chat about polo. I can talk to him through the bathroom door, or I can be picking
at a grilled bone which my man has brought in. Which would you prefer?"
I smiled with diabolic satisfaction at his coming discomfiture.
"Neither," I said. "You will make your appearance on the scene when a gentleman
should—after you are fully dressed, which indubitably private function shall take place
behind closed doors. And I will feel indebted to you if, after you do appear, your
deportment and manners are such that it will not be necessary to inform the public, in
order to appease its apprehension, that you have taken a bath."
Van Sweller slightly elevated his brows.
"Oh, very well," he said, a trifle piqued. "I rather imagine it concerns you more than it
does me. Cut the 'tub' by all means, if you think best. But it has been the usual thing, you
know."
This was my victory; but after Van Sweller emerged from his apartments in the
"Beaujolie" I was vanquished in a dozen small but well-contested skirmishes. I allowed
him a cigar; but routed him on the question of naming its brand. But he worsted me when
I objected to giving him a "coat unmistakably English in its cut." I allowed him to "stroll
down Broadway," and even permitted "passers by" (God knows there's nowhere to pass
but by) to "turn their heads and gaze with evident admiration at his erect figure." I
demeaned myself, and, as a barber, gave him a "smooth, dark face with its keen, frank
eye, and firm jaw."
 
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