When Jimaboy began to live
by his wits-otherwise, when
he set up author and proposed
to write for bread and meat-it
was a time when the public
appetite demanded names and
naivete. And since Jimaboy
was fresh enough to satisfy
both of these requirements,
the editors looked with favor
upon him, and his income,
for a little while, exceeded
the modest figure of the railroad
clerkship upon which he had
ventured to ask Isobel to
But afterward there came
a time of dearth; a period
in which the new name was
no longer a thing to conjure
with, and artlessness was
a drug on the market. Cleverness
was the name of the new
requirement, and Jimaboy's
gift was glaringly sentimental.
When you open your magazine
at "The Contusions
of Peggy, by James Augustus
Jimaboy," you are justly
indignant when you find
melodrama and predetermined
pathos instead of the clever
clowneries which the sheer
absurdity of the author's
Jimaboy, jotting it down
in his notebook while Isobel
hung over the back of his
chair: "It's a perilous
thing to make people cry
when they are out for amusement.
Did the postman remember
us this morning?"
Isobel nodded mournfully.
"And the crop?"
two from New York and one
"'So flee the works
Back to the earth again,'"
quoted the sentimentalist,
smiling from the teeth outward.
"Is that all?"
"All you would care
about. There were some fussy
"Whose, for instance?"
"Oh, the grocer's
and the coal man's and the
butcher's and the water
company's, and some other
"'Some other little
ones'," mused Jimaboy.
"There's pathos for
you. If I could ever get
that into a story, with
your intonation, it would
be cheap at fifteen cents
the word. We're up against
it, Bella, dear."
"Well?" she said,
with an arm around his neck.
"It isn't well; it's
confoundedly ill. It begins
to look as if it were 'back
to the farm' for us."
She came around to sit
on the arm of the chair.
"To the railroad office?
Never! Jimmy, love. You
are too good for that."
"Am I? That remains
to be proved. And just at
present the evidence is
accumulating by the ream
on the other side-reams
of rejected MS."
He forced a smile. "Let's
offer a reward. 'Lost: the key
to James and Isobel Jimaboy's
success in life. Finder will be
suitably recompensed on returning
same to 506 Hayward Avenue, Cleland,
She leaned over and planted a
soft little kiss on the exact
spot on his forehead where it
would do the most good.
"I could take the city examination
and teach, if you'd let me, Jimmy."
He shook his head definitely.
That was ground which had been
gone over before.
"Teach little babies their
a b c's? I'm afraid that isn't
your specialty, heart of mine.
Now if you could teach other women
the art of making a man believe
that he has cornered the entire
visible supply of ecstatic thrills
in marrying the woman of his choice-by
Jove, now! there's an idea!"
Now Jimaboy had no idea in particular;
he never had an idea that he did
not immediately coin it into words
and try to sell it. But Isobel's
eyes were suspiciously bright,
and the situation had to be saved.
"I was just thinking: the
thing to do successfully is the-er-the
thing you do best, isn't it?"
She laughed, in spite of the
"Why can't you put clever
things like that into your stories,
"As if I didn't!" he
retorted. "But don't step
on my idea and squash it while
it's in the soft-shell-crab stage.
As I said, I was thinking: there
is just one thing we can give
the world odds on and beat it
out of sight. And that thing is
our long suit-our specialty."
"But you said you had an
idea," said Isobel, whose
private specialty was singleness
"Oh-yes," said Jimaboy.
Then he smote hard upon the anvil
and forged one on the spur of
the moment. "Suppose we call
it The Post-Graduate School of
W. B., Professor James Augustus
Jimaboy, principal; Mrs. Isobel
Jimaboy, assistant principal.
How would that sound?"
"It would sound like the
steam siren on the planing mill.
But what is the 'W. B.'?"
"'Wedded Bliss,' of course.
Here is the way it figures out.
We've been married three years,
"Three years, five months
and fourteen days," she corrected.
"Excellent! That accuracy
of yours would be worth a fortune
on the faculty. But let me finish-during
these three years, five months
and fourteen days we have fought,
bled and died on the literary
battle-field; dined on bath-mitts
and cafe hydraulique, walked past
the opera-house entrance when
our favorite play was on, and
all that. But tell me, throb of
my heart, have we ever gone shy
She met him half-way. It was the
spirit in which they had faced the
bill collector since the beginning
of the period of leanness.
"Never, Jimmy, dear; not
even hardly ever."
"There you are, then. Remains
only for us to tell others how
to do it; to found the Post-Graduate
School of W. B. It's the one thing
needful in a world of educational
advantage; a world in which everything
but the gentle art of being happy,
though married, is taught by the
postman. We have solved all the
other problems, but there has
been no renaissance in the art
of matrimony. Think of the ten
thousand divorces granted in a
single state last year! My dear
Isobel, we mustn't lose a day-an
She pretended to take him seriously.
"I don't know why we shouldn't
do it, I'm sure," she mused.
"They teach everything by
mail nowadays. But who is going
to die and leave us the endowment
to start with?"
"That's the artistic beauty
of the mail scheme," said
Jimaboy, enthusiastically. "It
doesn't require capitalizing;
no buildings, no campus, no football
team, no expensive university
plant; nothing but an inspiration,
a serviceable typewriter, and
a little old postman to blow his
whistle at the door."
"And the specialty,"
added Isobel, "though some
of them don't seem to trouble
themselves much about that. Oh,
yes; and the advertising; that
is where the endowment comes in,
But Jimaboy would not admit the
"That is one of the things
that grow by what they are fed
upon: your ad. brings in the money,
and then the money buys more ad.
Now, there's Blicker, of the Woman's
Uplift; he still owes us for that
last story-we take it out in advertising
space. Also Dormus, of the Home
World, and Amory, of the Storylovers-same
boat-more advertising space. Then
the Times hasn't paid for that
string of space-fillers on 'The
Lovers of All Nations.' The Times
has a job office, and we could
take that out in prospectuses
and application blanks."
By this time the situation was
entirely saved and Isobel's eyes
"Wouldn't it be glorious?"
she murmured. "Think of the
precious, precious letters we'd
get; real letters like some of
those pretended ones in Mr. Blicker's
correspondence column. And we
wouldn't tell them what the 'W.
B.' meant until after they'd finished
the course, and then we'd send
them the degree of 'Master of
Wedded Bliss,' and write it out
in the diploma."
Jimaboy sat back in his chair
and laughed uproariously. The
most confirmed sentimentalist
may have a saving sense of humor.
Indeed, it is likely to go hard
with him in the experimental years,
if he has it not.
"It's perfectly feasible-perfectly,"
he chuckled. "It would be
merely pounding sand into the
traditional rat-hole with all
the implements furnished-teaching
our specialty to a world yearning
to know how. You could get up
the lectures and question schedules
for the men, and I could make
some sort of a shift with the
"Yes; but the text-books.
Don't these 'Fit-yourself-at-Home'
schools have text-books?"
"Um, y-yes; I suppose they
do. That would be a little difficult
for us-just at the go-off. But
we could get around that. For
example, 'Dear Mrs. Blank: Replying
to your application for membership
in the Post-Graduate School of
W. B., would say that your case
is so peculiar'-that would flatter
her immensely-'your case is so
peculiar that the ordinary text-books
cover it very inadequately. Therefore,
with your approval, and for a
small additional tuition fee of
$2 the term, we shall place you
in a special class to be instructed
by electrographed lectures dictated
personally by the principal.'"
Isobel clapped her hands. "Jimmy,
love, you are simply great, when
you are not trying to be. And,
after a while, we could print
the lectures and have our own
text-books copyrighted. But don't
you think we ought to take in
the young people, as well?-have
a-a collegiate department for
"'Sh!" said Jimaboy,
and he got up and closed the door
with ostentatious caution. "Suppose
somebody-Lantermann, for instance-should
hear you say such things as that:
'take in the young people'! Shades
of the Rosicrucians! we wouldn't
'take in' anybody. The very life
of these mail things is the unshaken
confidence of the people. But,
as you suggest, we really ought
to include the frying size."
It was delicious fooling, and
Isobel found a sketch-block and
dipped her pen.
"You do the letter-press
for the 'collegiate' ad., and
I'll make a picture for it,"
she said. "Hurry, or I'll
Jimaboy laughed and squared himself
at the desk, and the race began.
Isobel had a small gift and a
large ambition: the gift was a
cartoonist's facility in line
drawing, and the ambition was
to be able, in the dim and distant
future, to illustrate Jimaboy's
stories. Lantermann, the Times
artist, whose rooms were just
across the hall, had given her
a few lessons in caricature and
some little gruff, Teutonic encouragement.
"Time!" she called,
tossing the sketch-block over
to Jimaboy. It was a happy thought.
On a modern davenport sat two
young people, far apart; the youth
twiddling his thumbs in an ecstasy
of embarrassment; the maiden making
rabbit's ears with her handkerchief.
Jimaboy's note of appreciation
was a guffaw.
"I couldn't rise to the
expression on those faces in a
hundred years!" he lamented.
"Hear me creak:"
until you have taken the Preparatory
Course in the Post-Graduate School
of W. B. Home-Study in the Science
of Successful Heart-Throbs. Why
earn only ten kisses a week when
one hour a day will qualify you
for the highest positions? Our
Collegiate Department confers
degree of B. B.; Post-Graduate
Department that of M. W. B. Members
of Faculty all certificated Post-Graduates.
A postal card brings Prospectus
and application blank.
Address: The Post-Graduate School
of W. B., 506 Hayward Avenue, Cleland,
Isobel applauded loyally. "Why,
that doesn't creak a little bit!
Try it again; for the unhappy
T. M.'s, this time. Ready? Play!"
Her picture was done while Jimaboy
was still nibbling his pen and
scowling over the scratch-pad.
It was a drawing-room interior,
with the wife in tears and the
husband struggling into his overcoat.
To them, running, an animated
United States mail-bag, extending
a huge envelope marked: "From
the Post-Graduate School of W.
Jimaboy scratched out and rewrote,
with the pen-drawing for an inspiration:
when you have taken a Correspondence
Course in Wedded Bliss. A Scholarship
in the Post-Graduate School of
W. B. is the most acceptable wedding
gift or Christmas present for
your friends. Curriculum includes
Matrimony as a Fine Art, Post-Marriage
Courtship, Elementary and Advanced
Studies in Conjugal Harmony, Easy
Lessons in the Gentle Craft of
Eating Her Experimental Bread,
Practical Analysis of the Club-Habit,
with special course for wives
in the Abstract Science of Honeyfugling
Parsimonious Husbands. Diploma
qualifies for highest positions.
Our Gold Medalists are never idle.
The Post-Graduate School of W.
B., 506 Hayward Avenue, Cleland,
N. B.-Graphophone, with Model
Conversations for Married Lovers,
furnished free with lectures on
They pinned the pictures each
to its "copy" and had
their laugh over the conceit.
"Blest if I don't believe
we could actually fake the thing
through if we should try,"
said Jimaboy. "There are
plenty of people in this world
who would take it seriously."
"I don't doubt it,"
was Isobel's reply. "People
are so ready to be gold-bricked-especially
by mail. But it's twelve o'clock!
Shall I light the stove for luncheon?-or
can we stand Giuseppe's?"
Jimaboy consulted the purse.
"I guess we can afford stuffed
macaroni, this one time more,"
he rejoined. "Let's go now,
while we can get one of the side
tables and be exclusive."
They had barely turned the corner
in the corridor when Lantermann's
door opened and the cartoonist
sallied out, also luncheon-stirred.
He was a big German, with fierce
military mustaches and a droop
in his left eye that had earned
him the nickname of "Bismarck"
on the Times force. He tapped
at the Jimaboy door in passing,
growling to himself in broken
"I like not dis light housegeeping
for dese babies mit der wood. Dey
starf von day und eat nottings der
next. I choost take dem oud once
und gif dem sauerkraut und wiener."
When there was no answer to his
rap he pushed the door open and
entered, being altogether on a
brotherly footing with his fellow-lodgers.
The pen-drawings with their pendant
squibs were lying on Jimaboy's
desk; and when Lantermann comprehended
he sat down in Jimaboy's chair
and dwelt upon them.
"Himmel!" he gurgled;
"dot's some of de liddle
voman's fooling. Goot, sehr goot!
I mus' show dot to Hasbrouck."
And when he went out, the copy
for the two advertisements was
in his pocket.
Jimaboy got a check from the
Storylovers that afternoon, and
in the hilarity consequent upon
such sudden and unexpected prosperity
the Post-Graduate School of W.
B. was forgotten. But not permanently.
Late in the evening, when Jimaboy
was filing and scraping laboriously
on another story,-he always worked
hardest on the heels of a check,-Isobel
thought of the pen-drawings and
looked in vain for them.
"What did you do with the
W. B. jokes, Jimmy?" she
"I didn't do anything with
them. Don't tell me they're lost!"-in
"They seem to be; I can't
find them anywhere."
"Oh, they'll turn up again
all right," said Jimaboy;
and he went on with his polishing.
They did turn up, most surprisingly.
Three days later, Isobel was glancing
through the thirty-odd pages of
the swollen Sunday Times, and
she gave a little shriek.
"Horrors!" she cried;
"the Times has printed those
ridiculous jokes of ours, and
run them as advertisements!"
"What!" shouted Jimaboy.
"It's so; see here!"
It was so, indeed. On the "Wit
and Humor" page, which was
half reading matter and half advertising,
the Post-Graduate School of W.
B. figured as large as life, with
very fair reproductions of Isobel's
drawings heading the displays.
Jimaboy; and then his first thought
was the jealous author's. "Isn't
it the luckiest thing ever that
the spirit didn't move me to sign
"You might as well have
signed them," said Isobel.
"You've given our street
"My kingdom!" groaned
Jimaboy. "Here-you lock the
door behind me, while I go hunt
Hasbrouck. It's a duel with siege
guns at ten paces, or a suit for
damages with him."
He was back again in something
under the hour, and his face was
"We are lost!" he announced
tragically. "There is nothing
for it now but to run."
"Oh, just as simply and easily
as rolling off a log-as such things
always happen. Lantermann saw the
things on the desk, and your sketches
caught him. He took 'em down to
show to Hasbrouck, and Hasbrouck,
meaning to do us a good turn, marked
the skits up for the 'Wit and Humor'
page. The intelligent make-up foreman
did the rest: says of course he
took 'em for ads. and run 'em as
"But what does Mr. Hasbrouck
"He gave me the horse laugh;
said he would see to it that the
advertising department didn't
send me a bill. When I began to
pull off my coat he took it all
back and said he was all kinds
of sorry and would have the mistake
explained in to-morrow's paper.
But you know how that goes. Out
of the hundred and fifty thousand
people who will read those miserable
squibs to-day, not five thousand
will see the explanation to-morrow.
Oh, we've got to run, I tell you;
skip, fly, vanish into thin air!"
But sober second thought came
after a while to relieve the panic
pressure. 506 Hayward Avenue was
a small apartment-house, with
a dozen or more tenants, lodgers,
or light housekeepers, like the
Jimaboys. All they would have
to do would be to breathe softly
and make no mention of the Post-Graduate
School of W. B. Then the other
tenants would never know, and
the postman would never know.
Of course, the non-delivery of
the mail might bring troublesome
inquiry upon the Times advertising
department, but, as Jimaboy remarked
maliciously, that was none of
Accordingly, they breathed softly
for a continuous week, and carefully
avoided personal collisions with
the postman. But temporary barricades
are poor defenses at the best.
One day as they were stealthily
scurrying out to luncheon-they
had acquired the stealthy habit
to perfection by this time-they
ran plump into the laden mail
carrier in the lower hall.
"Hello!" said he; "you
are just the people I've been
looking for. I have a lot of letters
and postal cards for The Post-Graduate
School of something or other,
506 Hayward. Do you know anything
They exchanged glances. Isobel's
said, "Are you going to make
me tell the fib?" and Jimaboy's
"I-er-I guess maybe they
belong to us"-it was the
man who weakened. "At least,
it was our advertisement that
brought them. Much obliged, I'm
sure." And a breathless minute
later they were back in their
rooms with the fateful and fearfully
bulky packet on the desk between
them and such purely physical
and routine things as luncheon
"James Augustus Jimaboy!
What have you done?" demanded
the accusing angel.
"Well, somebody had to say
something, and you wouldn't say
it," retorted Jimaboy.
"Jimmy, did you want me
"That's what you wanted
me to do, wasn't it? But perhaps
you think that one lie, more or
less, wouldn't cut any figure
in my case."
"Jimmy, dear, don't be horrid.
You know perfectly well that your
curiosity to see what is in those
letters was too much for you."
Jimaboy walked to the window and
shoved his hands deep into his pockets.
It was their first quarrel, and
being unfamiliar with the weapons
of that warfare, he did not know
which one to draw next. And the
one he did draw was a tin dagger,
crumpling under the blow.
"It has been my impression
all along that curiosity was a
feminine weakness," he observed
to the windowpanes.
"James Jimaboy! You know
better than that! You've Said
a dozen times in your stories
that it was just the other way
about-you know you have. And,
besides, I didn't let the cat
out of the bag."
Here was where Jimaboy's sense
of humor came in. He turned on
her quickly. She was the picture
of righteous indignation trembling
to tears. Whereupon he took her
in his arms, laughing over her
as she might have wept over him.
"Isn't this rich!"
he gasped. "We-we built this
thing on our specialty, and here
we are qualifying like cats and
dogs for our great mission to
a quarrelsome world. Listen, Bella,
dear, and I'll tell you why I
weakened. It wasn't curiosity,
or just plain, every-day scare.
There is sure to be money in some
of these letters, and it must
be returned. Also, the other people
must be told that it was only
"B-but we've broken our
record and qu-quarreled!"
"Never mind," he comforted;
"maybe that was necessary,
too. Now we can add another course
to the curriculum and call it
the Exquisite Art of Making Up.
Let's get to work on these things
and see what we are in for."
They settled down to it in grim
determination, cutting out the
down-town luncheon and munching
crackers and cheese while they
opened and read and wrote and
returned money and explained and
re-explained in deadly and wearisome
"My land!" said Jimaboy,
stretching his arms over his head,
when Isobel got up to light the
lamps, "isn't the credulity
of the race a beautiful thing
to contemplate? Let's hope this
furore will die down as suddenly
as it jumped up. If it doesn't,
I'm going to make Hasbrouck furnish
us a stenographer and pay the
But it did not die down. For
a solid fortnight they did little
else than write letters and postal
cards to anxious applicants, and
by the end of the two weeks Jimaboy
was starting up in his bed of
nights to rave out the threadbare
formula of explanation: "Dear
Madam: The ad. you saw in the
Sunday Times was not an ad.; it
was a joke. There is no Post-Graduate
School of W. B. in all the world.
Please don't waste your time and
ours by writing any more letters."
The first rift in the cloud was
due to the good offices of Hasbrouck.
He saw matter of public interest
in the swollen jest and threw
the columns of the Sunday Times
open to Jimaboy. Under the racking
pressure, the sentimentalist fired
volley upon volley of scathing
ridicule into the massed ranks
of anxious inquirers, and finally
came to answering some of the
choicest of the letters in print.
"Good!" said Hasbrouck,
when the "Jimaboy Column"
in the Sunday paper began to be
commented on and quoted; and he
made Jimaboy an offer that seemed
like sudden affluence.
But the crowning triumph came
still later, in a letter from
the editor of one of the great
magazines. Jimaboy got it at the
Times office, and some premonition
of its contents made him keep
it until Isobel could share it.
"We have been watching your
career with interest," wrote
the great man, "and we are
now casting about for some one
to take charge of a humorous department
to be called 'Bathos and Pathos,'
which we shall, in the near future,
add to the magazine. May we see
more of your work, as well as
some of Mrs. Jimaboy's sketches?
"O Jimmy, dear, you found
yourself at last!"
But his smile was a grin. "No,"
said he; "we've just got
our diplomas from the Post-Graduate
School of W. B.-that's all."
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