The policeman on the beat moved up the avenue impressively.
The impressiveness was habitual and not for show, for spectators were few.
The time was barely 10 o'clock at night, but chilly gusts of wind with a taste of rain in them had well nigh de-peopled the streets.
Trying doors as he went, twirling his club with many intricate and artful movements, turning now and then to cast his watchful eye adown the pacific thoroughfare, the officer, with his stalwart form and slight swagger, made a fine picture of a guardian of the peace.
The vicinity was one that kept early hours.
Now and then you might see the lights of a cigar store or of an all-night lunch counter;
but the majority of the doors belonged to business places that had long since been closed.
When about midway of a certain block the policeman suddenly slowed his walk.
In the doorway of a darkened hardware store a man leaned, with an unlighted cigar in his mouth.
As the policeman walked up to him the man spoke up quickly.
“It's all right, officer,”
he said, reassuringly.
“I'm just waiting for a friend.
It's an appointment made twenty years ago.
Sounds a little funny to you, doesn't it?
Well, I'll explain if you'd like to make certain it's all straight.
About that long ago there used to be a restaurant where this store stands—
'Big Joe' Brady's restaurant.”
“Until five years ago,”
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