PART III. FULFILLMENT
The House With Three Eyes sent forth into the darkness a triple glow of
hospitality. Through the aloof Chelsea district street, beyond the westernmost L
structure, came taxicabs, hansoms, private autos, to discharge at the central
door men who were presently revealed, under the lucent globe above the lintel,
to be for the most part silhouette studies in the black of festal tailoring and silk
hat against the white of expansive shirt-front. Occasionally, though less often,
one of the doors at either flank of the house, also overwatched by shining orbs,
opened to discharge an early departure. A midnight wayfarer, pausing opposite
to contemplate this inexplicable grandeur in a dingy neighborhood, sought
enlightenment from the passing patrolman:
"Wot's doin'? Swell gamblin' joint? Huh?" As he spoke a huge, silent car crept
swiftly to the entry, which opened to swallow up two bareheaded, luxuriously
befurred women, with their escorts. The curious wayfarer promptly amended his
query, though not for the better.
"Naw!" replied the policeman with scorn. "That's Mr. Banneker's house."
"Banneker? Who's Banneker?"
With augmented contempt the officer requested the latest quotations on clover
seed. "He's the editor of The Patriot," he vouchsafed. "A millionaire, too, they
say. And a good sport."
"Givin' a party, huh?"
"Every Saturday night," answered he of the uniform and night-stick, who, having
participated below-stairs in the reflections of the entertainment, was
condescending enough to be informative. "Say, the swellest folks in New York fall
over themselves to get invited here."
"Why ain't he on Fi'th Avenyah, then?" demanded the other.
"He makes the Fi'th Avenyah bunch come to him," explained the policeman, with
obvious pride. "Took a couple of these old houses on long lease, knocked out the
walls, built 'em into one, on his own plan, and, say! It's a pallus! I been all through
A lithely powerful figure took the tall steps of the house three at a time, and
turned, under the light, to toss away a cigar.
"Cheest!" exclaimed the wayfarer in tones of awe: "that's K.O. Doyle, the
middleweight, ain't it?"
"Sure! That's nothin'. If you was to get inside there you'd bump into some of the
biggest guys in town; a lot of high-ups from Wall Street, and maybe a couple of
these professors from Columbyah College, and some swell actresses, and a
bunch of high-brow writers and painters, and a dozen dames right off the head of
the Four Hundred list. He takes 'em, all kinds, Mr. Banneker does, just so they're
_somethin_'. He's a wonder."
The wayfarer passed on to his oniony boarding-house, a few steps along, deeply
marveling at the irruption of magnificence into the neighborhood in the brief year
since he had been away.