Page:O Henry Prize Stories of 1924.djvu/177

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

THE TIE THAT BINDS

143

“Well, I have. And she’s had good schooling, too.”

“Huh! Where is it at, this here—what did you say it was?”

“You seen it just before we come into the harbour. Sure you, did—the big white thing ’way up on top of that high hill.”

“Shucks, that’s five miles from here!”

“Sure. It’s at Athens, you poor roughneck. Ain’t you never read nothin’?”

“How’ll we git there?”

“Oh, there’s bound to be some way. Come on, shake a leg.”

“All right,” Hardtack assented, “I’ll go. But I hope you'll remember your weakness, Wally.”

“There you go again! That’s just like you!”

“Well, I only wanted to warn you for your own good.”

“Do you take me for a fool?”

Hardtack evaded the question.

“You ain’t forgot the ruckus we got into in Constantinople?” he reminded him.

“Whose fault was that? Mine, I suppose!”

“The police seemed to think so. Anyhow, every time a woman looks sideways at you, it ain’t safe to figure you’ve got the all-clear signal, buddy—remember that.”

“You make me tired,”

“Well, I've done my duty, so let’s go.”

The formality of obtaining a landing permit delayed them two hours, because the steamer had arrived late in the afternoon and the control and quarantine officers showed no hurry about inspection, so it was after eight o’clock before the pair were ready to start.

“No use goin’ now,” Hardtack complained.

“Why ain’t there? The moon’ll be just right by the time we get there. She’s near full to-night, too.”

“I wish I was.”

They haggled with a boatman and were presently put ashore at the landing stage. There they encountered a belated runner. for a travel agency frantically searching for some lost trunks, and he directed them to the electric railway. They boarded a first-class car. In a few minutes the train stopped at Phalerum and three gobs got on.