The Unspeakable Perk
Two On A Mountain-Side
ORCHIDS do not, by preference, grow upon a cactus plant. Little though she recked of
botany, Miss Brewster was aware of this fundamental truth. Neither do they, without
extraneous impulsion, go hurtling through the air along deserted mountain-sides, to find a
resting-place far below; another natural-history fact which the young lady appreciated
without being obliged to consult the literature of the subject. Therefore, when, from the
top of the appointed rock, she observed a carefully composed bunch of mauve Cattleyas
describe a parabola and finally join two previous clusters upon the spines of a prickly-
pear patch, she divined some energizing force back of the phenomenon. That energizing
force she surmised was temper.
"Fie!" said she severely. "Beetle gentlemen should control their little feelings. Naughty,
From below rose a fervid and startled exclamation.
"Naughtier, naughtier!" deprecated the visitor. "Are these the cold and measured terms of
"You haven't lived up to your bet," complained the censured one.
"Indeed I have! I always play fair, and pay fair. Here I am, as per contract."
"Nearly half an hour late."
"Not at all. Four-thirty was the time."
"And now it is three minutes to five."
"Making twenty-seven minutes that I've been sitting here waiting for a welcome."
"Waiting? Oh, Miss Brewster--"
"I'm not Miss Brewster. I'm a voice in the wilderness."
"Then, Voice, you haven't been there more than one minute. A voice isn't a voice until it
makes a noise like a voice. Q.E.D."
"There is something in that argument," she admitted. "But why didn't you come up and
look for me?"
"Does one look for a sound?"
"Please don't be so logical. It tires my poor little brain. You might at least have called."
"That would have been like holding you up for payment of the bet, wouldn't it? I was
waiting for you to speak."