CHAPTER I YOU SHOULD WORRY ABOUT A TANGO LESSON
The idea originated with Bunch Jefferson. You can always count on Bunch having a few freak ideas in the belfry where he keeps his butterflies. Bunch and his wife, Alice, live out in Westchester County, about half a mile from Uncle Peter's bungalow, where friend wife and I are spending the winter.
The fact that Uncle Peter and Aunt Martha had decided to give us a party was the inspiration for Bunch's brilliant idea.
"Listen, John," he Macchiavellied; "not one of this push out here knows a thing about the Tango. Most of them have a foolish idea that it's a wicked institution invented by the devil, who sold his patent rights to the Evil-Doers' Association. Now, I'll tell you what we'll do, John: we'll put them wise. We'll take about two lessons from a good instructor in town and on the night of the party we'll make the hit of our lives teaching them all to Tango—are you James to the possibilities?"
"It listens like a good spiel," I agreed; "but will a couple of lessons be enough for us?"
"Sure," he came back; "we're not a couple of Patsys with the pumps! We can learn enough in two lessons to make good in this Boob community. Why, we'll start a Tango craze out here that will put life and ginger in the whole outfit and presently they'll be putting up statues in our honor."
Well, to make a long story lose its cunning, we made arrangements next day with Ikey Schwartz, Dancing Instructor, to explain the mysteries of this modern home-wrecking proposition known as the Tango, and paid him in advance the sum of $100.
It seemed to me that a hundred iron men in advance was a nifty little price for two lessons, but Bunch assured me the price was reasonable on account of the prevalence of rich scholars willing to divide their patrimony with anybody who could teach their feet to behave in time to the music.
We made an appointment to meet Ikey at his "studio" for our first lesson the following afternoon. Then we hiked for home on the 4.14, well pleased with our investment and its promise of golden returns.
That night Bunch and Alice were over to our place for dinner. After dinner Bunch and I sat down by the log fire in the Dutch room, filled our faces with Havana panatellas, and proceeded to enjoy life in silence.
Into the next room came Alice and Peaches and sat down for their usual cackle.
Bunch and I started from our reveries when we heard Alice say to Peaches, "You don't know what a source of comfort it has been to me to realize that Bunch doesn't know a blessed thing about the Tango or any of those hatefully intimate new dances!"
"The same with me, Alice," friend wife chirped in. "I believe if John were to suddenly display the ability to dance the Tango I'd be broken-hearted. Naturally, I'd know that he must have learned it with a wicked companion in some lawless cabaret. And if he frequented cabarets without my knowledge—oh, Alice, what would I do?"
I looked at Bunch, he looked at me, and then we both looked out the window....