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A short story by George V. Hobart

You Should Worry About Getting A Goat

Title:     You Should Worry About Getting A Goat
Author: George V. Hobart [More Titles by Hobart]

Hep Hardy's goat belongs to the chamois branch of that famous family.

When it gets out it wants to leap from crag to crag.

Hep's chamois got loose recently and, believe me, I never saw a goat perform to better advantage.

For a long time Hep has been in love with Clarissa Goober, the daughter of Pop Goober, who made millions out of the Flower-pot Trust. Of late, however, Hep's course of true love has been running for Sweeney, and my old pal has been staring at the furniture and conversing with himself a great deal.

On our way home night before last Hep and I dropped into the Saint Astormore for a cocktail, and at a table near us sat Pop Goober and something else which afterwards turned out to be a Prussian nobleman--the Count Cheese von Cheese.

When Hep got a flash of these two his goat kicked down the door of its box-stall and began cavorting all over the Western Hemisphere.

"Pipe!" he whispered hoarsely, "pipe Pop Goober and the human germ with him! It's a titled foreigner--honest it is! It can walk and say, 'Papa!' And it is trained to pick out a millionaire father-in-law at fifty paces!"

"Why, what's the matter, Hep?" I inquired after the waiter had vamped.

"Oh, I'm wise to these guys with the Gorgonzola titles all wrapped up in pink tissue paper and only $8 in the jeans," Hep rumbled, with a glare in the direction of the Count Cheese von Cheese.

"Pop Goober certainly does make both ends meet in the lemon industry," he continued. "That old gink is the original Onion collector and he spends his waking hours falling for dead ones."

Hep paused to bite the froth off a Bronx. His goat was at the post.

"That driblet is over here to pick out an heiress and fall in love with her because he needs the money," Hep growled as his goat got away in the lead. "Every steamer brings them over, John, some incognito, some in dress suits, and some in hoc signo vinces, but all of them able to pick out a lady with a bank account as far as the naked eye can see.

"It's getting so now, John, that an open-face, stem-winding American has to kick four Dukes, eight Earls, seven Counts and a couple of Princes off the front steps every time he goes to call on his sweetheart--if she has money.

"When I go down into Wall Street, John, I find rich men with the tears streaming down their faces while they are calling up on the telephone to see if their daughter, Gladys, is still safe at home, where they left her before they came down to business.

"Walk through a peachy palace of the rich on Fifth Avenue, and what will you find?

"Answer: You will find a proud mother bowed with a great grief, and holding onto a rope which is tied to her daughter's ankle to prevent the latter from running out on the front piazza, and throwing kisses at the titled foreigners.

"You will find these cheap skates everywhere, John, rushing hither and thither, and sniffing the air for the odor of burning money."

Hep's goat at the quarter and going strong.

"They're all over the place, John," he rushed on; "the street cars are full of Earls and Baronets, traveling on transfers. There they are, John, sitting in the best seats and reading the newspapers until an heiress jumps aboard and hands them her address, with a memorandum of her papa's bank account.

"Then they arise with the true nobility of motion and ask that a day be set for the wedding.

"Why should it be thus, John? We have laws in this country to protect the birds and the trees, the squirrels and all animals except those that can be reached by an automobile, but why don't we have a law to protect the heiresses?

"Why are these titled zimboes permitted to borrow carfare, and come over here and give this fair land a fit of indigestion?

"Why are they permitted to set their proud and large feet on the soil for which our forefathers fought and bled for their country, and for which some of us are still fighting and bleeding the country? Why? Why do these fat-heads come over here with a silver cigarette case and a society directory and make every rich man in the country fasten a burglar alarm to his checkbook?"

Hep's goat at the half by a length.

"A few days ago, John, one of these mutts with an Edam title jumped off an ocean liner, and immediately the price of padlocks rose to the highest point ever known on the Stock Exchange.

"All over the country rich men with romantic daughters rushed to and fro and then rushed back again. They were up against a crisis. If you could get near enough to the long-distance telephone, John, you could hear one rich old American guy shrieking the battle-cry to another captain of industry out in Indianapolis: 'To arms! The foe! The foe! He comes with nothing but his full dress suit and a blank marriage license! To arms! To arms!'"

Hep's goat at the three-quarters by two lengths.

"Why, John," he exploded again, "every telegraph wire in the country is sizzling with excitement. Despatches which would make your blood curdle with anguish and sorrow for the rich are flying all over the country. Something like this:

"'Boston. To-day.

"'At ten-thirty this morning Rudolph Oscar Grabbitall, the millionaire stone-breaker, read the startling news that a foreign Count had just landed in New York. His suffering was pathetic. His daughter, Gasolene Panatella, who will inherit $19,000,000, mostly in bonds, stocks and newspaper talk, was in the dental parlor five blocks away from home when the blow fell. Calling his household about him, Mr. Grabbitall rushed into the dental parlor, beat the dentist down with his bill, dragged Gasolene Panatella home and locked her up in the rear cupboard of the spare room on the second floor of the mansion. Her teeth suffered somewhat, but, thank Heaven! her money will remain in this country. The community breathes easier, but all the incoming trains are being watched.'

"Are you wise, John, to what the panhandling nobility of Europe are doing to our dear United States?

"They are putting all our millionaires on the fritz, that's what they're doing."

Hep's goat in the stretch, under wraps.

"Le'me tell you something, John; it will soon come to pass that the heiress will have to be locked up in the safe deposit vaults with papa's bank book. Here is an item from one of our most prominent newspapers. Get this, John:

"'Long Island City. Now.

"'Pinchem Shortface, the millionaire who made a fortune by inventing a way to open clams by steam, has determined that no foreign Count will marry his daughter, Sudsetta. She will inherit about $193,000,000, about $18 of which is loose enough to spend. The unhappy father is building a spite fence around his mansion, which will be about twenty-two feet high, and all the unmarried millionaires without daughters, to speak of, will contribute broken champagne bottles to put on top of the fence. If the Count gets Sudsetta he is more of a sparrow than her father thinks he is.'

"It's pitiful, John, that's what it is, pitiful! All over the country rich men are dropping their beloved daughters in the cyclone cellars and hiding mamma's stocking with the money in it out in the hay loft.

"I am glad, John, that I am not a rich man with a daughter who is eating her heart out for a moth-covered title and a castle on the Rhinewine.

"You can bet, John, that no daughter of mine can ever marry a tall gent with a nose like the rear end of an observation car and a knowledge of the English language which doesn't get beyond I O U--do you get me?"

Hep's goat wins in a walk.

"Are you all through, Hep?" I inquired feebly.

"I'm not through--but I'll take a recess," he snapped back at me.

"By the way," I said, offhand like, "is Clarissa Goober in town?"

"Yes, but she sails for Europe to-morrow on the Imperator," he answered sullenly.

"Oh," I said; "who's going with her?"

"The Count Cheese von Cheese."


Long pause.

"Let's have another Bronx," I suggested.

Hep took six--one for himself and five for the goat.

Can you blame him?

[The end]
George V. Hobart's short story: You Should Worry About Getting A Goat