The Red Book Magazine, May 1916
AC’S restaurant—nobody calls it MacFarland’s—is a mystery. It is off the beaten track; it is not smart; it does not advertise; it provides nothing nearer to a cabaret than a solitary piano; yet, with all these things against it, it is a success. In theatrical circles, especially, it holds a position which might turn the white lights of many a lobster-palace green with envy.
This is mysterious. You do not expect Seventh Avenue to compete with and even eclipse Times Square in this way. And when Seventh Avenue does so compete, there is generally romance of some kind somewhere in the background.
Somebody happened to mention to me casually that Henry, the old waiter, had been at Mac’s since its foundation.
“Me?” said Henry, questioned during a slack spell in the afternoon. “Sure I have.”
“Then can you tell me what it was that first gave the place an impetus? What causes should you say were responsible for its phenomenal prosperity? What—”
“What put it on the map? Is that what you’re trying to get at?”
“Exactly. What put it on the map? Can you tell me?”
“Me?” said Henry. “Sure I can.”
And he told me this chapter from the unwritten history of the New York whose day begins when Nature’s finishes.
OLD man MacFarland (said Henry) started the place fifteen years ago. He was a widower with one son and what you might call half a daughter. That’s to say, he had adopted her. Katie was her name, and she was the child of a friend of his, dead. The son’s name was Andy. A little freckled mutt he was when I first knew him, one of those silent kids that don’t say much and have as much obstinacy in them as if they were army mules. Many’s the time, in them days, I’ve clumped him on the head and told him to do something; and he didn’t run yelling to his pop, as most kids would have done, but just said nothing and went on not doing whatever it was I had told him to do. That was the sort of disposition Andy had, and it grew on him. Gee, when he came back from college the time the old man sent for him,—what I’m going to tell you about soon,—he had a jaw on him like the ram of a battleship.
Katie was the kid for my money. I liked Katie; we all liked Katie.
Old man MacFarland started out with two big advantages. One was Jules, and the other was me. Jules came from Paris, and he was the greatest little cook you ever seen. And me—well, I was just come from ten years as waiter at the Aureata on Fifth Avenue, and I won’t conceal it from you that I gave the place a tone. I gave Seventh Avenue something to think about over its corned-beef hash, believe me. It was a come-down in the world for me, maybe, after the Aureata, but what I said to myself was that, when you get a tip on Seventh Avenue, it may be only a nickel but you keep it; whereas on Fifth Avenue about ninety-nine hundredths of it goes to helping maintain some stiff of a head waiter in the style to which he has been accustomed. It was through my kind of harping on that fact that me and the Aureata parted company. The head waiter kicked to the management the day I called him a fat-headed vampire.
Well, what with me and what with Jules, MacFarland’s—it wasn’t Mac’s in them days—began to get a move on. Old man MacFarland, who knew a good man when he saw one and always treated me more like a brother than a hired help, used to say to me: “Henry, if this keeps up, I’ll be able to send the boy to college.” Until one day he changed it to: “Henry, I’m going to send the boy to college.” And next year, sure enough, off Andy went.
Katie was sixteen then, and she had just been given the cashier job, as a treat. She wanted to do something to help the old man, so he put her on a high chair behind a wire cage with a hole in it, and she gave the customers their change. And I want to say right here, mister, that a man that wasn’t satisfied after he’d had me serve him a dinner cooked by Jules and then had a chat with Katie through the wire cage, would have beefed at Paradise. For she was mighty easy to look at, was Katie, and getting easier every day. I spoke to the boss about it. I said it was putting temptation in the girl’s way to set her up there right in the public eye, as it were. And he told me to chase myself. So I chased myself.
Katie was crazy about dancing. Nobody knew it till later; but all this while, it turned out, she was attending one of them schools regular. That was where she went to in the afternoons when we all thought she was visiting girl friends. It all come out after, but she had us fooled then. Girls are like monkeys when it comes to artfulness.
She called me Uncle Bill, because she said the name Henry always reminded her of cold mutton. If it had been young Andy that had ’ve said it, I’d ’ve clumped him one; but he never said anything like that. Come to think of it, he never said anything much at all. He just thought a heap without opening his head.
So young Andy went off to college, and I said to him: “Come along, now, you young buster, you show some pep and be a credit to us, or I’ll bust your head when you come home.” And Katie said: “Oh, Andy, I shall miss you.” And Andy didn’t say nothing to me, and he didn’t say nothing to Katie, but he give her a look, and later in the day I found her crying, and she said she’d got toothache, and I went round the corner to the drug-store and bought her something for it.
It was in the middle of Andy’s second year at college that the old man had the stroke which put him out of business. He went down under it as if he’d been hit with an ax, and the doc’ tells him he’ll never be able to leave his bed again.
So they sent for Andy, and he quit his college and come back to New York to look after the restaurant.
I was sorry for the kid. I told him so in a fatherly kind of way. And he just looks at me and says: “Thanks very much, Henry.”
“What must be, must be,” I says. “Maybe it’s all for the best. Maybe it’s better you’re here than in among all those young devils at New Haven who might be leading you astray.”
“If you would think less of me and more of your work, Henry,” he says, “maybe that gentleman over there wouldn’t have to holler sixteen times for the waiter.”
Which, on looking into it, I found to be the case, and the customer went away without giving me no tip, which shows what you lose in a hard world by being sympathetic.
I’M bound to say that young Andy showed us all mighty quick that he hadn’t come home just to be an ornament around the place. There was exactly one boss in the joint, and it was Andy. It come a little hard at first to have to be respectful to a kid whose head you had spent many a happy hour in clumping for his own good in the past; but he pretty soon showed me I could do it if I tried, and I done it. As for Jules and the two young fellers that had been taken on to help me, owing to increase of business, they would jump through hoops and roll over if he just looked at them. He was a boy who liked his own way, was Andy, and believe me, at MacFarland’s restaurant he got it.
And then, when things had settled down into a steady jog, Katie broke loose.
She done it quite quiet and unexpected one afternoon when there was only me and her and Andy in the place. And I don’t think either of them knew I was there, for I was taking it easy on a chair at the back, reading a baseball extra.
She said, kind of quiet: “Oh, Andy.”
“Yes, darling,” he said.
And that was the first I knew that there was anything between them.
“Andy, I’ve something to tell you.”
“What is it?”
She kind of hesitated.
“Andy dear, I sha’n’t be able to help any more in the restaurant.”
He looked at her, sort of surprised.
“What do you mean?”
“I’m—I’m going on the stage.”
I put down my baseball extra. What do you mean—did I listen? Of course I listened. What do you take me for?
From where I sat I could see young Andy’s face, and I didn’t need any more to tell me there was going to be trouble. That jaw of his was right out. I forgot to tell you that the old man had died, poor old feller, maybe six months before, so that now Andy was the real boss instead of just acting boss; and what’s more, in the nature of things, he was, in a manner of speaking, Katie’s guardian, with a license to tell her what she could do and what she couldn’t. And I felt that Katie wasn’t going to have any smooth passage with this stage business which she was handing out. Andy didn’t hold with the stage—not with any girl he was fond of, being on it, anyway. And when Andy didn’t like a thing, he said so.
He said so now.
“You aren’t going to do anything of the sort.”
“Don’t be horrid about it, Andy dear. I’ve got a big chance. Why should you be horrid about it?”
“I’m not going to argue about it. You don’t go.”
“But it’s such a big chance. And I’ve been working for it for years.”
“How do you mean, working for it?”
And then it come out about this dancing-school she’d been attending regular.
When she’d finished telling him about it, he just shoved out his jaw another inch.
“You aren’t going on the stage.”
“But it’s such a chance. I saw Mr. Mandelbaum yesterday, and he saw me dance, and he was very pleased, and said he would give me a solo dance to do in this new piece he’s putting on.”
“You aren’t going on the stage.”
What I always say is, you can’t beat tact. If you’re smooth and tactful, you can get folks to do ’most anything you want; but if you just shove your jaw out at them, and order them about, why then they come back at you, quick and sassy. I knew Katie well enough to know that she would do anything for Andy, if he asked her properly; but she wasn’t going to stand for this sort of thing. But you couldn’t drive that into the head of a feller like young Andy, with a steam-hammer.
She flared up quick, as if she couldn’t hold herself in no longer.
“I certainly am,” she said.
“You know what it means?”
“What does it mean?”
“The end of—everything.”
She kind of blinked, as if he’d hit her; then she come back at him.
“Very well,” she says. “Good-by.”
“Good-by,” says Andy, the pig-headed young mule; and she walks out one way and he walks out another.
I DON’T follow the drama much as a general rule, but seeing that it was now, so to speak, in the family, I did keep an eye open for the newspaper notices of “The Rose Girl,” which was the name of the piece which Mr. Mandelbaum was letting Katie do a solo dance in; and while some of them roasted the play considerable, they all gave Katie a boost. All of them praised her, and one guy said that she was like ice-water on the morning after, which is high praise, coming from a newspaper man.
There wasn’t a thing to it. She had landed. You see, she was something new, and Broadway always sits up and takes notice when you give it that.
There were pictures of her in the papers, and one evening paper had a piece about “How I Preserve My Youth,” signed by her. I cut it out and showed it to Andy.
He gave it the once-over. Then he gave me the once-over, and I didn’t like the look in his eye.
“Well?” he says.
“Pardon?” I says.
“What about it?” he says.
“I don’t know,” I says.
“Get back to your work,” he says.
I got back.
It was that same night that the queer thing happened.
We didn’t do much in the supper line at MacFarland’s as a rule in them days, but we kept open, of course, in case Seventh Avenue should take it into its head to treat itself to a Welsh rabbit before going to bed; so all hands was on deck, ready for the call if it should come, at half-past eleven that night; but we weren’t what you might term sanguine.
Well, just on the half-hour, up drives a taxicab, and in comes a party of four. There was a feller, another feller, a girl, and another girl. And the second girl was Katie.
“Hello, Uncle Bill,” she says.
“Good evening, madam,” I says dignified, being on duty.
“Oh, stop it, Uncle Bill,” she says. “Say ‘Hello!’ to a pal, like a regular guy, or I’ll tell them about the time you cut loose at Coney.”
Well, there’s some bygones that are best left bygones, and the night at Coney what she was alluding to was one of them. I still maintain, as I always shall maintain, that the cop had no right to—but there, it’s a story that wouldn’t interest you. And anyway, I was real glad to see Katie again, so I cracked a smile.
“Keep it under your hat,” I says. “I’m mighty pleased to see you, Katie.”
“Bully for you. Say, people, I want you to meet my friend Uncle Bill. Jimmy—Ted—this is Uncle Bill. Genevieve, this is Uncle Bill.”
It wasn’t my place to fetch her one on the side of the head, but I’d ’ve liked to have; for she was acting like she’d never used to act when I knew her, all tough and sassy. Then it come to me that she was nervous. And natural, too, seeing young Andy might pop out any moment.
And sure enough, out he popped from the back room at that very instant. Katie looked at him, and he looked at Katie, and I seen his face get kind of hard; but he didn’t say a word. And presently he went out again.
I heard Katie breathe sort of deep.
“He’s looking natural, Uncle Bill, ain’t he?” she says to me, very soft.
“Pretty fair,” I says. “Say kid, I been reading the pieces in the papers. You’ve hit ’em.”
“Ah, don’t, Bill,” she says, as if I’d hurt her. And me meaning only to say the civil thing. You can’t figure girls out.
When the party had paid their check and give me a tip which made me think I was back on Fifth again—only there weren’t any Jesse James of a head waiter standing by to hold me up for his—they beat it. But Katie hung back, and had a word with me.
“He was looking natural, wasn’t he, Uncle Bill?”
“Does—does he ever speak of me?”
“I ain’t heard him.”
“I guess he’s still pretty sore at me, isn’t he, Uncle Bill? You’re sure you’ve never heard him speak of me?”
So, to cheer her up, I tell her about the piece in the paper I showed him; but it didn’t seem to cheer her up any. And she goes out.
The very next night, in she come again for supper, but with different fellers and different girls. There was six of them this time, counting her. And they’d hardly sat down at their table when in come the fellers she had called Jimmy and Ted, with two girls. And they sat eating of their suppers and joshing one another across the floor, all as pleasant and sociable as you please.
“Say, Katie,” I heard one of the fellers say, “you were right. He’s worth the price of admission.”
I don’t know who they meant, but they all laughed. And every now and again I’d hear them praising the eats, which I don’t wonder at, for Jules had certainly shown a flash of speed. All artistic temperament, these Frenchmen are. The moment I told him we had company, so to speak, he blossomed like a flower does when you put it in water.
“Ah, see, at last,” he says, trying to clinch and kiss me, “our fame has gone abroad in the world which amuses himself, ain’t it? For a good supper connection I have always prayed, and he has arrived.”
Well, it did begin to look as if he was right. Ten high-class supper-folk in an evening was going some for MacFarland’s. I’m bound to say I got worked up myself. I can’t deny that I missed the Aureata at times.
On the fifth night, when the place was fairly packed and looked for all the world like a real Lobster Square joint, and me and the two young fellers helping me was working to beat the band, I suddenly got onto it; and I went up to Katie and, bending over her very respectful with a bottle, I whispers: “Great work, kid. This is sure one swell boom you’re working for the old place.” And by the way she smiled back at me, I seen I had the right dope.
Andy was hanging around, keeping an eye on things as he always did, and I says to him, when I was passing: “She’s doing us well, ain’t she!” And he says, “Get on with your work.” And I got on.
Katie hung back at the door, when she was on her way out, and had a word with me.
“Has he said anything about me, Uncle Bill?”
“Not a word,” I says.
And she goes out.
You’ve probably noticed about New York, mister, that a flock of sheep isn’t in it with the spenders, the way they all troop on each other’s heels to supper places. One month they’re all going to one joint, next month to another. Some one with a pull starts the cry that he’s found a new place, and off they all go to try it. The trouble with most of the places is that, once they’ve got the custom, they think it’s going to keep on coming, and all they’ve got to do is to lean back and watch it come. Popularity comes in at the door, and good food and good service flies out at the window. We wasn’t going to have any of that at MacFarland’s. Even if it hadn’t been that Andy would have come down like half a ton of lead on the first sign of slackness, Jules and me both of us had our professional reputations to keep up. I didn’t put on no frills when I seen things coming our way. I worked all the harder, and I seen to it that the four young fellers under me—there was four now—trotted quick heats with the customers’ orders.
The consequence was that the difference between us and most popular restaurants was that we kept our popularity. We fed them well, and we served them well; and once the thing had started rolling, it didn’t stop. Seventh Avenue isn’t so very far away from Broadway, when you come to look at it; and they didn’t mind the extra step, seeing that there was something good at the end of it. So we got our popularity, and we kept our popularity; and we’ve got it to this day. That’s how MacFarland’s came to be put on the map, mister.
WITH the air of one who has told a well-rounded tale, Henry ceased, and observed that it was wonderful the way Mr. Matthewson, of the New York Giants, preserved his skill in spite of his advanced years.
I stared at him.
“But, heavens, man,” I cried, “you surely don’t think you’ve finished? What about Katie and Andy? What happened to them? Did they ever come together again?”
“Oh—ah,” said Henry. “I was forgetting.”
And he resumed.
AS time went on, I begin to get pretty sore with young Andy. He was making a fortune as fast as any feller could out of the sudden boom in the supper-custom, and he knowing perfectly well that, if it hadn’t ’ve been for Katie, there wouldn’t ’ve been any supper-custom at all; and you’d ’ve thought that anyone claiming to be a human being would have had the gratitood to can the rough stuff and go over and say a civil word to Katie when she come in. But no, he just hung around looking black at all of them; and one night he goes and puts the lid on it.
The place was full one night, and Katie was there, and the piano going, and everybody enjoying themselves, when the young feller at the piano struck up the tune what Katie danced to in the show. Catchy tune it was. Lum-tum-tum, tiddle-iddle-um; something like that, it went. Well, the young feller struck up with it, and everybody began clapping and hammering on the tables and hollering to Katie to get up and dance. Which she done, in an open space in the middle; and she hadn’t hardly started when along come Andy.
He goes up to her, all jaw, and I seen something that wanted dusting on the table next to ’em, so I went up and began dusting it, so by good luck I happened to hear the whole thing.
He says to her, very quiet: “You can’t do that here. What do you think this place is?”
And she says to him: “Oh, Andy!”
“I’m very much obliged to you,” he says, “for all the trouble you seem to be taking, but it isn’t necessary. MacFarland’s got on very well before your well-meant efforts to turn it into a joint.”
And him coining the money from the supper-custom! Sometimes I think gratitood’s a thing of the past and this world not fit for a self-respecting rattlesnake to live in.
“Andy!” she says.
“That’s all. We needn’t argue about it. If you want to come here and eat, I can’t stop you. But I’m not going to have the place turned into a Haymarket.”
I don’t know when I’ve heard anything so raw. If it hadn’t ’ve been that I hadn’t the nerve, I’d have give him a look.
Katie didn’t say another word, but just went back to her table.
But the episode, as they say, wasn’t concluded. As soon as the party she was with seen that she was through dancing, they begin to kick; and one young feller with about an inch and a quarter of forehead and the same amount of chin, kicked special.
“No, I say! I say, you know!” he hollered. “That’s too bad, you know. Encore! Don’t stop! Encore!”
Andy goes up to him.
“I must ask you please not to make so much noise,” he says, quite respectful. “You are disturbing people.”
“Disturbing be blamed! Why—”
“One moment. You can make all the noise you please out on the street, but as long as you stay in here you’ll be quiet. Do you understand?”
Up jumps the feller. He’d had quite enough to drink, I know, because I’d been serving him.
“Who the devil are you?” he says.
“Sit down,” says Andy.
And the young feller took a crack at him. And the next moment Andy had him by the collar and was bouncing him in a way that would have done credit to a real professional in a Bowery joint. He dumped him on the sidewalk as neat as you please.
That broke up the party.
You can never tell with restaurants. What kills one makes another. I’ve no doubt that, if we had bounced a good customer from the Aureata, that would have been the end of the place. But it only seemed to do MacFarland’s good. I guess it gave just that touch to the place which made the spenders think that this was real Bohemia. Come to think of it, it does give a kind of charm to a place if you feel that at any moment the feller at the next table to you may be gathered up by the slack of his pants and slung into Seventh Avenue.
Anyway, that’s the way our supper-custom seemed to look at it; and after that you had to book a table in advance if you wanted to eat with us. They fairly flocked to the place.
But Katie didn’t. She didn’t flock. She stayed away. And no wonder, after Andy behaving so raw. I’d have spoke to him about it, only he wasn’t the kind of feller you do speak to about things.
So we saw no more of her, and if Andy was pleased he didn’t show it. He became silenter than ever.
One day I says to him, to cheer him up: “Some restaurant, this, now, Mr. Andy.”
“Hang the restaurant!” he says.
And him with all that supper-custom. Can you beat it!
MISTER, have you ever had a real shock—something that came out of nowhere and just knocked you flat? I have, and I’m going to tell you about it.
When a man gets to be my age, and has a job of work which keeps him busy till it’s time for him to go to bed, he gets into the habit of not doing much worrying about anything that ain’t shoved right under his nose. That’s why, about now, Katie had kind of slipped my mind. It wasn’t that I wasn’t fond of the kid, but I’d got so much to think about, what with having four young fellers under me and things being in such a rush at the restaurant, that if I thought of her at all, I just took it for granted that she was making out all right, and didn’t bother. To be sure, we hadn’t seen nothing of her at MacFarland’s since the night when Andy give her the call-down and bounced her pal with the small size in foreheads, but that didn’t worry me any. If I’d been her, I’d have stopped away the same as she done, seeing that young Andy still had his grouch. I took it for granted, as I’m telling you, that she was all right, and that the reason we didn’t see nothing of her was that she was taking her patronage elsewhere.
And then, one evening, which happened to be my evening off, I got her letter, and for ten minutes after I read it I was down and out.
You get to believe in Fate when you get to be my age, and Fate had sure taken a hand in this game. If it hadn’t ’ve been my evening off, don’t you see, I wouldn’t ’ve gotten home till two o’clock or past that in the morning, being on duty. Whereas, seeing it was my evening off, I was back at half-past eight.
I was living at the same rooming-house on Second Avenue what I’d lived at for the past ten years, and when I got there, I find her letter shoved half under my door.
I can tell you every word of it. This is how it went:
“Darling Uncle Bill,” it says. “Don’t be too sorry when you read this. It is nobody’s fault, but I am just tired of everything, and I want to end it all. You have been such a dear to me always that I want you to be good to me now. I should not like Andy to know the truth, so I want you to make it seem as if it had happened naturally. You will do this for me, won’t you? It will be quite easy. By the time you get this, it will be half-past two, and it will all be over, and you can just come up and open the window and let the gas out and then everyone will think I just died naturally. It will be quite easy. I am leaving the door unlocked so that you can get in. I am in the room just above yours. I took it yesterday, so as to be near you. Good-by, Uncle Bill. You will do it for me, won’t you? I don’t want Andy to know what it really was.”
And it was signed, “Katie.”
That was it, mister, and I tell you it had me down and out. And then it come to me, kind of as a new idea, that it was up to me to get busy, and up the stairs I went quick.
There she was, on the bed, with her eyes closed, and the gas just beginning to get bad.
As I come in, she jumped up and stood staring at me. I went to the tap and turned the flow off, and then I gives her a look.
“Now then,” I says.
“How did you get here?”
“Never mind how I got here! What have you got to say for yourself?”
She just began to cry, same as she used to when she was a kid and some one had hurt her.
“Here,” I says, “let’s get along out of here, and go where there’s some air to breathe. Don’t you take on so. You come along out and tell me all about it.”
She started to walk to where I was, and suddenly I seen she was limping. So I give her a hand down to my room, and set her on a chair.
“Now then,” I says again.
“Don’t be angry with me, Uncle Bill,” she says.
“Don’t you worry, honey,” I says. “Nobody ain’t going to be angry with you. But for the love of Mike,” I says, “tell a man why in the name of goodness you ever took and acted so foolish.”
“I wanted to end it all.”
“Sure. But why?”
She burst out a-crying again, like a kid.
“Didn’t you read about it in the paper, Uncle Bill?”
“Read about what in the paper?”
“My accident. I broke my ankle at rehearsal ever so long ago, practicing my new dance. The doctor says it will never be right again. I shall never be able to dance any more. I shall always limp. And when I thought of that—and Andy—and everything—I—”
I got onto my feet.
“Kid” I says, “you sure were up against it, and I don’t know as I blame you for wanting to make a quick finish. But I shouldn’t, if I were you. It’s a chump’s game. See here: if I leave you alone for half an hour, you won’t go trying it on again? Promise.”
“Very well, Uncle Bill. Where are you going?”
“Oh, just out. I’ll be back soon.”
IT didn’t take me ten minutes to make the restaurant in a cab. I found Andy in the back room.
“What’s the matter, Henry?” he says.
“Take a look at this,” I says.
There’s always this risk, mister, in being the Andy type of feller what must have his own way and goes straight ahead and has it; and that is that, when he does get his, he gets it good and hard. It sometimes seems to me that in this life we’ve all got to get ours sooner or later, and some of us gets it bit by bit, spread out thin, so to speak, and a few of us gets it in a lump, biff! And that was what happened to Andy, and what I reckoned was going to happen when I shown him that letter.
I don’t often go to the theater, but when I do, I like one of those plays with some pep to them, which the papers generally roast. The papers say that real human beings don’t carry on in that way. Take it from me, mister, they do. I seen a feller on the stage read a letter once which didn’t hit him just right, and he gasped and rolled his eyes and tried to say something and couldn’t, and had to get a hold on a chair to keep him from falling. There was a piece in the paper saying that this was all wrong, and that he wouldn’t ’ve pulled them stunts in real life. Believe me, the paper was wrong. There wasn’t a thing that feller did that Andy didn’t do when he read that letter.
“God!” he says. “Is she—she isn’t—were you in time?”
And he looks at me, and I seen that he had got what was coming to him.
“If you mean, is she dead,” I says, “no, she ain’t dead.”
And the next moment we was out of that room and in the cab.
He was never much of a talker, was Andy, and he sure didn’t chat in that cab. He didn’t say a word till we was going up the stairs.
“Where?” he says.
“Here,” I says.
And I opens the door.
Katie was standing looking out of the window. She turned as the door opened, and then she saw Andy. Her lips parted, as if she was going to say something, but she didn’t say nothing. And Andy, he didn’t say nothing neither. He just looked, and she just looked.
And then he sort of stumbles across the room, and goes down on his knees, and gets his arms around her.
“Oh, my darling!” he says.
And I seen I wasn’t wanted, so I shut the door, and I beat it. I went and took in the last half of a vaudeville show. But I don’t know—it didn’t kind of have no fascination for me. You gotta give your mind to it, to appreciate good vaudeville.
Next month: “A Very Shy Gentleman,” by Pelham Grenville Wodehouse.
Compare this to the British version of this story, “The Making of Mac’s” from the Strand magazine of one year earlier; though published first, there is some evidence to suggest that the British text was adapted (either by Wodehouse or by the Strand editors) from an American original closer to the version given here. In most cases the Americanisms are more piquant than the English expressions which replace them. Also, the American version is slightly more internally consistent; for instance, it always uses a form of the word “bounce” for ejecting from a restaurant, but the British version has two uses of “chuck out” and one of “bounce.”
Printer’s errors and idiosyncratic spellings corrected above: Magazine had “I’d clumped him one”; Strand version includes “have” at this point, so “ ’ve” is inserted above.
Magazine spelled “won’t” and “ain’t” without apostrophes; corrected above.
Magazine had “Never mind how I got here?”; changed to ! above.
Despite the caption above the title, this was Wodehouse’s second story for Red Book; “A Black Cat for Luck” had appeared in July 1915.