I think this passage, from Booth Tarkington's "Penrod" (1914), is the very place where I first encountered the word "concertina." The reference is only enriched by the fact that the instrument in question isn't a concertina at all. Though I'll bet Mr. Schofield disposed of it by offering it on eBay as one.
Sadly, I never seem to meet mysterious benefactors like Penrod's.
"Oh SOMETHING!" shouted Mr. Schofield, clasping his bilious brow with both hands. "Stop that noise! Isn't it awful enough for you to SING? Sit DOWN! Not with that thing on! Take that green rope off your shoulder! Now take that thing out of the dining-room and throw it in the ash-can! Where did you get it?"
"Where did I get what, papa?" asked Penrod meekly, depositing the accordion in the hall just outside the dining-room door.
"That da--that third-hand concertina."
"It's a 'cordian," said Penrod, taking his place at the table, and noticing that both Margaret and Mr. Robert Williams (who happened to be a guest) were growing red.
"I don't care what you call it," said Mr. Schofield irritably. "I want to know where you got it."
Penrod's eyes met Margaret's: hers had a strained expression.
She very slightly shook her head. Penrod sent Mr. Williams a grateful look, and might have been startled if he could have seen himself in a mirror at that moment; for he regarded Mitchy-Mitch with concealed but vigorous aversion and the resemblance would have horrified him.
"A man gave it to me," he answered gently, and was rewarded by the visibly regained ease of his patron's manner, while Margaret leaned back in her chair and looked at her brother with real devotion.
"I should think he'd have been glad to," said Mr. Schofield. "Who was he?"
"Sir?" In spite of the candy which he had consumed in company with Marjorie and Mitchy-Mitch, Penrod had begun to eat lobster croquettes earnestly.
"Who WAS he?"
"Who do you mean, papa?"
"The man that gave you that ghastly Thing!"
"Yessir. A man gave it to me."
"I say, Who WAS he?" shouted Mr. Schofield.
"Well, I was just walking along, and the man came up to me--it was right down in front of Colgate's, where most of the paint's rubbed off the fence"
"Penrod!" The father used his most dangerous tone.
"Who was the man that gave you the concertina?"
"I don't know. I was walking along"
"You never saw him before?"
"No, sir. I was just walk"
"That will do," said Mr. Schofield, rising. "I suppose every family has its secret enemies and this was one of ours. I must ask to be excused!"
Edited by Bob Michel, 28 January 2016 - 05:49 PM.