A quarter of an hour later Austen went down the narrow wooden flight of stairs into the street, and as he emerged from the entry almost bumped into the figure of a young man that was hurrying by. He reached out and grasped the young man by the collar, pulling him up so short as almost to choke him.
"Hully gee!" cried the young man whose progress had been so rudely arrested. "Great snakes!" (A cough.) "What're you tryin' to do? Oh," (apologetically) "it's you, Aust. Let me go. This day ain't long enough for me. Let me go."
Austen kept his grip and regarded Mr. Tooting thoughtfully.
"I want to speak to you, Ham," he said; "better come upstairs."
"Say, Aust, on the dead, I haven't time. Pardriff's waitin' for some copy now."
"Just for a minute, Ham," said Austen; "I won't keep you long."
"Leggo my collar, then, if you don't want to choke me. Say, I don't believe you know how strong you are."
"I didn't know you wore a collar any more, Ham," said Austen.