"Excuse me," began the visitor, who was more or less visibly embarrassed; "but---my name is Tompkins! Er---did---er---my wife---er---leave an order here for cigars, to be delivered to my home on---er---Christmas Eve?"
"Tompkins?" said the cigar man. "Just one minute! D. B. Tompkins? Yes, sir. One hundred flor de Hobokianos! Price, $2.50! Ordered banded in red and gold and a card enclosed, with the felicitations of Mrs. D. B. Tompkins!"
"Exactly! Well, I’m D. B. Tompkins. Now, I’ll tell you what I’d like you to do. You take those red-and-gold-banded stinkarees my wife ordered and hand them to some fireworks man to be utilized as punk along about the Fourth of next July. Use the box thus provided for a hundred good, clear Havanas at about $9.50. I’ll pay the difference! Understand? And in the meantime---mum---‘M-U-M’---is the word! Do you get me?"
"I’m wise in a second!" replied the cigar man. "What you want me to do is to take the present incumbents of the box ordered by Mrs. Tompkins out on the hillside somewhere and bury them deep down in the yawning sod. In their places you want a practical smoking cigar of the kind that is usually sold without an accident policy! And you stand ready to pay the difference!"
Tompkins handed over a greenback and received his change.
The cigar man smiled appreciatively.
On Christmas Day Tompkins opened the box and abstracted therefrom a good, big, black Havana.
"You seem to enjoy that cigar," suggested Mrs. Tompkins, as he blew rings of soft blue curling smoke at the chandelier.