Page:O Henry Prize Stories of 1924.djvu/183

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THE TIE THAT BINDS

149

to say, “So was I. This is the third night I’ve started out to get a look at the Parthenon by moonlight and I ain’t made it yet.”

“A lot of the boys have, though, Red.”

“What good does that do me?” demanded Red.

“My sister says——” began Wally.

“Sure! It’s majestic,” Hardtack cut in. “Well, it ain’t too late to go now.”

But they had no heart for sight-seeing. Only the gob who had been kicked in the mid-section took any notice of Hardtack’s proposal—he seemed peculiarly tenacious of ideas.

“I’m on,” he announced. “I started out to see the Parthenon, and I’m a-going to see the Parthenon.”

One of the others suggested: “Well, there’s no hurry. How about a beer?”

“I’ll go you. But I tell you night now I’m a-going to see the Parthenon.”

“Nobody’s trying to stop you that I know of.”

“They’d better not,” said the gob.

Over a round of beers they fell to discussing the events of the evening. All were agreed that nothing but the timely intervention of the soldiery had saved their opponents. Also, they were unanimously convinced that the Old Man would raise Cain, and no mistake.

“Say,” remarked a gob, struck with a sudden thought, “how did you two birds get into it, anyhow? Who asked you to the party?”

“You did.”

“How come?”

“We heard you yellin’ for help,” replied Hardtack.

The A. B. transfixed him with a steely stare and retorted in a rasping voice: “Any time you catch me yellin’ for help——— Say, for two obols I’d——-”

“Aw, cut it out!” somebody protested. “Do you want to start something? Seems to me like we’ve had enough fightin’ for a while.”

Said Red, “Ain’t it the truth? I’ve been in more trouble since the Armistice than I was during the whole war.”

There was a chorus of assent.

“The limeys and us to-night.”

“And us and the limeys at Constantinople.”