He had asked in a loud voice of the middling funny gentleman (then in the middle of a song) whether he thought Joey would be long in coming, and when at last Joey did come he screamed out, "How do you do, Joey!" and went into convulsions of mirth.
Joey and his father were shadowing a pork-butcher's shop, pocketing the sausages for which their family has such a fatal weakness, and so when the butcher engaged Joey as his assistant there was soon not a sausage left.
Heaven knows I have no wish to defend this cruel deed, but as Joey told me afterward, it is very difficult to say what they will think funny and what barbarous.
"It hurts the poor chap," I was told by Joey, whom I was agreeably surprised to find by no means wanting in the more humane feelings, "and he wouldn't stand it if there wasn't the laugh to encourage him."
"I sha'n't laugh," David said, nobly true to the memory of the little dog, "I sha'n't laugh once," and he closed his jaws very tightly as we drew near the house in Soho where Joey lodged.
The house was rather like the ordinary kind, but there was a convenient sausage-shop exactly opposite (trust Joey for that) and we saw a policeman in the street looking the other way, as they always do look just before you rub them.
It was a funny room, of course, but not so funny as you might expect; there were droll things in it, but they did nothing funny, you could see that they were just waiting for Joey. There were padded chairs with friendly looking rents down the middle of them, and a table and a horse-hair sofa, and we sat down very cautiously on the sofa but nothing happened to us.
The biggest piece of furniture was an enormous wicker trunk, with a very lively coloured stocking dangling out at a hole in it, and a notice on the top that Joey was the funniest man on earth.
He even managed not to laugh (though he did gulp) when we discovered on the mantelpiece a photograph of Joey in ordinary clothes, the garments he wore before he became a clown.
As they all sat silent (so the story goes) every member of that party of merrymakers--they had merry-made on coffee and lemonade only--distinctly heard that ghost call the name "Joey, Joey!" A moment later nothing was there.
Now, at that moment, as was afterward ascertained, Joey was wandering about in the sage-brush on the opposite side of the continent, near Winnemucca, in the State of Nevada.
Greater wonder than these, when a bottle-nosed person in a glazed hat had after some considerable hesitation ordered another glass of gin and water of the attendant potboy, and when Miss Abbey, instead of sending it, appeared in person, saying, 'Captain Joey
, you have had as much as will do you good,' not only did the captain feebly rub his knees and contemplate the fire without offering a word of protest, but the rest of the company murmured, 'Ay, ay, Captain!