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Mulany, John V. (ed.) / The Wisconsin literary magazine
Vol. V, No. 8 (May 1908)

Berkeley, F. C.
"Mr. W. H.",   pp. 334-344


Page 335


"MR. W. H."3
"mutton-chop." His scanty hair and his whispers were both
quite white, and the wrinkles about his eyes were the kindliest
imaginable. The old-fashioned neatness of his appearance
might have suggested the church, except that, with some in-
describable difference, he had not the look of a clergyman.
Neither could one have taken him for an habitual student, altho
he suggested subtly the scholarly life. I might have gone on
to the end of the meal trying with more or less success to "place"
him, had not he himself broken the silence, as the roast came on.
   "I think you are a stranger, are you not ?" he offered.
   I replied that I was very much of a stranger, that in fact
 this was but the end of my first week in New York.
   "Since we are neighbors, then, you must tell me your name,"
he continued. "Mine is Crofton."
   "And mine is Vaughan," I replied, whereupon we seemed,
without more ado, to know each other. We spoke of the weather,
of the seasons of the year that each preferred, of the crowds in
the Subway at evening, of the various things that New Yorkers
habitually talk about.
  "And do you go often to the play ?" Mr. Crofton inquired df
me presently.
  I explained my fondness for the theatre, altho I had not yet
seen a New York stage.
  "Ah," said Mr. Crofton, "When Kyrle Bellew comes, you
must go to see him. There are few actors, nowadays, Mr.
Vaughan, who understand their business as he does." And with
this, the conversation was over, and he bowed me a ceremonious
good-night.
  It happened that I usually had an early breakfast, and al-
ways lunched down town. Hence Mr. Crofton and I met only
at dinner, and from this meal he was frequently absent, dining
out with friends, of whom he seemed to have a great number.
I grew to miss him keenly, in absence, and to like very much
his conversation, with its old-fashioned and courtly precise-
ness. Gradually I learned something of his history. He had
never been married; he had a brother and two maiden sisters
335


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