Page:Sawdust & Spangles.djvu/124

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98
SAWDUST AND SPANGLES

when I was honored with a call from the landlord.

"Mr. Coup," he said, "there'll be another feller up to bunk with you in a few minutes. You'd better wait up and arrange with him about the side of the bed you are to sleep on. If he walks in and finds you sleepin' on his side, there might be a coolness spring up between you."

At that time I was a stranger to southern customs, and their manner of doing things struck me as being a trifle irregular. However, I offered no objection. It has always been a rule with me to maintain the silence which is said to be golden when I am among strangers in a strange land. I afterwards discovered that it was customary for this landlord to put as many as three in one bed when he happened to be cramped for room. In about ten minutes my bedfellow came up. He was an elderly man with eyes which seemed to pierce one.

His bedroom candle lighted up a face which I have never since been able to eradicate from my memory. It was one of the most interesting faces it has ever been my good fortune to gaze upon. When he smiled, I was somehow irresistibly drawn towards him. It was the saddest, tenderest, sweetest smile that I have