Another one by the "Prince of Storytellers":
I was, in fact, halfway through dinner when, without a word of warning, a
man who seemed to enter with a lightfooted speed that, considering his
size, was almost incredible, drew a chair toward him and took the vacant
place at my table. My glass of wine and my plate were moved with smooth
and marvelous haste to his vicinity. Under cover of the tablecloth a
packet--I could not tell what it contained--was thrust into my hand.
"Sir," he said, raising my glass of wine to his lips, "I am forced to take
somewhat of a liberty. You can render me the service of a lifetime! Kindly
accept the situation."
I stared at him for a moment quite blankly. Then I recognized him; and,
transferring at once the packet to my trousers pocket, I drew another
glass toward me and poured out the remainder of my half-bottle of hock. So
much, at any rate, I felt I had saved!
"I shall offer you presently," my self-invited guest continued, with his
mouth full of my chicken, "the fullest explanation. I shall also ask you
to do me the honor of dining with me. I think I am right in saying that we
are not altogether strangers?"
Quite a lot of fun to have with this one!
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