“What do you want?” asked the other.

“I want a chair!” gasped the Major, whose purple features seemed about to burst with his unwonted exertions. “I've been standing here for two hours. In another minute more I should have sat down on the sidewalk.”

“Where can I get a chair?” asked Montague, biting his tongue in order to repress his amusement.

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“Over on Broadway,” said the Major. “Go into one of the stores, and make somebody sell you one. Pay anything—I don't care.”

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So Montague went back, and entered a leather-goods store, where he saw several cane-seated chairs. He was free to laugh then all he pleased; and he explained the situation to one of the clerks, who demurred at five dollars, but finally consented for ten dollars to take the risk of displeasing his employer. For fifty cents more Montague found a boy to carry it, and he returned in triumph to his venerable friend.

“I never expected to see you in a position like this,” he remarked. “I thought you always knew things in advance.”

“By the Lord, Montague!” muttered the other, “I've got a quarter of a million in this place.”

“I've got about one-fourth as much myself,” said Montague.

“What!” cried the Major. “Then what are you doing?”

“I'm going to leave it in,” said Montague. “I have reason to know that that report in the Despatch is simply a blunder, and that the institution is sound.”

“But, man, there'll be a run on it!” sputtered the old gentleman.

“There will, if everybody behaves like you. You don't need your quarter of a million to pay for your lunch, do you?”

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The Major was too much amazed to find a reply.