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thermore, survived several stately calls, creatures down; and they clap on the and at last sallied forth for my pur- pinnacle of prices the moment they lay chases and the boat, safe in my hus
eyes on my face." band's escort.
“Well, — it will be a good lesson to I had with me only my travelling-bag; you. Early exercises in bargains. I for it had seemed unnecessary on the don't see anything else to be done." previous night to bring all our luggage “ But what?" up to the hotel, — big trunk, little trunk, “But for me to take a stage down to bandbox, and bundle. Do not, I beg the station, - it is an hour's ride, you, imagine that all the contents of and for you to saunter down Broadway." the chests and portmanteaus were van- “What — without you ? ” ities of mine ; indeed, lace and linen, Why, certainly; they don't murbonnet and bernouse, filled one little der in open daylight on Broadway." trunk alone ; the rest belonged to Char- “ But I don't know my way." lie, every inch of them. And what “ You won't have to find your way. was there in them? Why, newspa- You have only to keep straight on. Do pers. I knew you would not believe be strong-minded for once. me, yet I assure you again that their con- purchases, and wait for me at the tents were nothing but newspapers. All the way from Omaha, from St. Louis, “ Wait in the street ?" from Chicago, from Cincinnati, from “ Yes; it makes no difference, where Baltimore, nothing but newspapers ; nobody knows you. Wait for me at the after every stay in every town a new corner opposite City Hall Park, -- you trunk appeared, and in its recesses were remember that place ?" filed away the invaluable newspapers, * Ye-es. We passed it last night. – Chicago Tomahawks, and La Crosse Yes, I should know it if I saw it. And What-is-its, and Baltimore Butcher- keep straight ahead till I reach there, Blades, and Congressional Chester you said ?” with a cold perspiration, fields, – the contemporary records of the which I said nothing about. time, Charlie said, which no student of “ Yes, and wait on the Astor House history could spare. These, according- corner. I will attend to the trunks and ly, were left in the baggage-room at then saunter up Broadway till I meet the station, in one of those spasms of you, or you might go to Delmoneconomy that always prove more expen- ico's." sive in the end, and now they were to “O no indeed, I don't know where be expressed across the city to the boat, it is, I never should find it, I had and there was very little time to do it. rather not! O no indeed, I will wait
“We never can have any peace about for you on the corner opposite City Hall your shopping with such a weight on Park. I will certainly wait there." our minds as all that luggage,” said “Very well. I will find you there. Charlie. “I think that had best be at- Don't be afraid now. Give me your tended to first."
travelling-bag, I will lock it up in the “Not at all," I answered, not feeling state-room.” the possible loss of the trunks to be " Will it be safe there? It has all complete ruin ; " for if we once go down my precious manuscript in it," — alas, there we never shall come back, and I am literary! — “absolutely promised there are all our presents to buy." for next week, and if it is lost I shall be
“Well, then, you had best do the buy- undone.” ing, my love, and I will do the luggage." “Pshaw! Perfectly safe ; it is n't sen
Me?” I exclaimed, in a consterna- sational enough to explode the steamtion.
boat at the wharf, – is it? Want any “ Yes. Why not?"
money?” And then Mr. Charlie put “ But you know I always make some- his hand in his pocket, and drew it out body buy for me. I can't beat the as if he had burned it, — the place was
His pocket-book apparently the splendid windows to come into sight. had been afraid it should be left be- Somebody had told me if I wanted to hind, and had taken French leave. get cheap things to go to Sixth Avenue ;
Charlie always receives the inevitable but that had been out of the queswith a good grace.
“I have been tion on account of the want of time, robbed," said he. “About as bad a pre- and, if the things were dearer on Broaddicament - I must make haste and way, they were probably all the prettier. leave word at the Central Police Office, But either my glasses were poor or this or whatever they call it here. Don't was not Broadway, for the ideally know as it is of any use, - all thieves lovely things that I expected failed together. However, we must spring to present themselves. Nevertheless, round now, for we've no money to I continued my ramble, trusting to rustay another night in the city. That's mor, and not venturing inside any doors
- pretty strape, with two dividends because fancying that I should certainly waiting for us at home.”
see the desired display behind glass a “Can't you borrow?"
little farther down town. " Don't know a soul in New York. All at once a mass of granite and No matter; our passage is paid, and scaffolding across the way began to I've change enough in my waistcoat loom into view; a sort of spire bepocket for the stages."
yond; an iron railing and ballads “ But you can have this back." hanging over it, - the new Post Office "O no! The presents
must be probably, that I had read was in probought; we go straight through, and cess of erection, Great Heavens, don't see another store, as you may this was City Hall Park ! say, after we leave Broadway, and the To this day I do not know whether girls will expect them, of course. Good Broadway goes any farther, that was by, — straight ahead, - saunter slow- and is the end of it to me. I dared not ly, — and wait at the corner opposite stir a step beyond; and here I was City Hall Park.”
at the end of my tether, and not a presCity Hall Park,” said I. And he ent bought, and there were all those seized my bag, hailed a stage, and was gaping girls at home, each expecting, out of sight.
without doubt, some lovely memento of Protected by my husband, how brave my journey, which I also desired that and strong I had felt, defying the great they should have. There was a glitterwhirlpool of the metropolis and all its ing window at my right hand now; it terrors! but now suddenly I shrunk up belonged to a jewelry establishment; into myself like a sea-anemone; and in desperation I plunged within, — and all the careless crowd, brushing by me, lighted on a locket. gave me a sensation as if I were being “ Forty-five dollars." pricked by so many bristles.
Goodness! And I had but thirty. This was Broadway then! There “ This one ?" would be temptations; things in the win- “Forty." dows! Now I would not be a fool, but " And that?" would show myself fit to live in the “ Thirty-five." world. And in that spirit I threw up There were others at twenty-two, my veil, adjusted my eye-glasses satis- eighteen, ten, six, five, but they were the factorily, - alas, I am nearsighted !- very canaille of lockets, and the first and commenced my sauntering. one was such a piece of perfection.
My purse was firmly grasped, - I Suddenly a locket became the one denever trust my purse out of my hands, sirable thing in all the treasures of a
it contained our little all, for the jeweller. What was the difference bepresent, and demanded a share of my tween the forty-five-dollar one and the attention.
I made no purchases yet; forty? The young man hardly knew, but, as I strolled along, kept waiting for some trifle of workmanship he presumed. It grew upon me like a fungus, a discount as it is. I should be glad as I looked at the case, and nothing to accommodate you, but, indeed, we else would catch my eye, that, I must might as well give it away." have that locket, it was such a beau- *Very well,” I remarked, finding the ty, such beaten, burnished, golden gold; beating - down business not so tresuch chasing and enamelling, such a mendous after all. “ But you are willcharming initial in tiny diamonds, which ing to take something less apparently. was the very thing. I already saw it Please say what, for I am in a hurry, as hanging on Eleanor's white throat, — I said.” no toilet could be complete without it. “If you take it at forty dollars we What was the very lowest - vox hæsit, shall lose — " but I overcame - at which either of the " Then I will not be the means of first two could be had? The young your losing. I cannot give forty for it," man hardly knew again, -looked at me, and I began to give it up. - at the lockets. Which did I wish to “ But indeed, inadam, it is cheap at purchase ? he would like to know. that,” said he, glibly; " eighteen carat
I should like to purchase this one; gold, Viennese workmanship, and the but I could by no means give forty-five diamonds real. If you can find any at dollars. Still he did n't know. Could n't a less price in the city, we shall be glad he find out? Would he inquire if there to get them ourselves.” could be any abatement in the price, as "A friend of mine had one much like I was in a hurry? With that he sum- this,” I said, in a last effort, “and gave moned a messenger, and despatched but twenty-five dollars for it. I don't him and the locket to the cavernous think this is worth any more, but I am back part of the store ; and, in the ab- in haste, and will give you thirty." sence of the cynosure, a great gray “Will you have it in a box?” said he. gentleman in gold spectacles, who “No; I will take it here in my seemed to be made of lockets, and who, purse," I answered mechanically, in as I heard another customer remark, astonishment; and before I recovered “bossed round promiscuous,” inquired, from my amazement and self-congratuin a sweetly paternal way, if I were lation the money was paid, the locket finding the article that I desired. I gave was in my purse, and I in the street. him to understand that the article was No miser, no discoverer, ever felt betall right as soon as the price was, and ter pleased; but meanwhile the locket by that time the locket had returned, was the only thing in my purse except the great gray gentleman had covered a card, - and Alice's, Maud's, Susie's, successfully the dialogue between my and Georgie's presents had vanished dapper young man and his messenger, into thin air. and the young man politely requested In the street once again, I felt better to know how much I would be willing than I had felt before ; my skirmish to pay.
with the shopman had rather inspirited It was certainly not my business to me ; indignation at the forty-five dolfix prices, so I summoned all my cour- lars demanded, and desire of the locket, age, and said I should be willing to pay and finally pleasure over the victory, as little as possible. And then, as he had put my shyness momentarily out of still seemed desirous that I should sight, and I found it quite possible to name my figure, I put a bold face on ask an apple-woman if this was City the matter, and said twenty-five dollars. Hall Park, to make certain.
The young man made a movement to “Faix an' it was," she assured me, — replace it in the case, but paused half- “what there was left of it." way. “That is not to be thought of," I looked along the length of the said he, rapidly. “I could n't listen to crowded street before me, penetrating such a proposition ; it really cost us it well as eye-glasses would, but no nearly twice that; we are selling at Charlie rewarded my gaze; however, he must be there presently, and I could Meanwhile the crowd was still surgwait; so I waited, a quarter, a half ing up and down, jostling and pushing, hour, and still no Charlie. And then hastening and lingering, old and young, it rushed over me that perhaps he had little and great, men and women, and already been there before me, had grown every one had an eye to spare, it tired, in his masculine impatience, and seemed, for me. Suddenly I rememhad begun sauntering up to meet me. bered the New York Herald, and the In that case we should never meet, un
first left-hand corner of it. It was only less I took to sauntering again in my the day before that, unfolding it in the own precisely opposite direction, and cars, I said, laughingly, to my husband, we both lived long enough to turn up in “Let me see if anybody has answered China. I stood there bewildered, in a my Personal yet," and he had replied perplexity out of which the only thing in disgust, “Don't speak of the things!" that became clear was an anathematiz- Now, if there is anything on which I ing of the locket; and then I began pride myself, it is my stanch respectato bethink me if this were the right bility, - a word and a thing dear to my corner or not, for I saw that there were heart of hearts; if I am nobody myself, half a dozen corners that might all there are my ancestors! And it is not claim to be opposite City Hall Park; difficult to realize how my sense of posbut this seemed to be the last, and I session staggered as I began to feel thought it safest to assume that it was that every soul that saw me knew I had the appointed one.
been standing there a long hour and I waited there till I knew exactly how a half waiting for a gentleman; each my own little pony felt when she had glance that each new passer gave stood three days in her stall,
and seemed to be more curious than the still no Charlie. There was a bitter last. I put down my veil in self-dewind blowing, the sky was overcast, fence, but threw it up again in fear, lest all the world was hurrying by, ---and I should miss seeing Charlie, or his still no Charlie. Had he really passed eye should fail to catch sight of me by the store I was in, and gone up the reason of its obstruction ; I grew morstreet to find me ? Had I best turn tally sure that every man that passed about and follow ? or would he go all me took me for one of the miserable the way to the Fifth Avenue again, and women of the Personals. I was faint then retrace his steps till he found me? with the idea; moreover, my back ached It always made him ill to walk, and so with standing, that I was faint in made me ill to stand; we should be in reality. What else could they think of a nice condition to continue our journey this despairing-looking woman in black, that night. Nevertheless, there was no with the limp white lace scarf and the safety in deserting my post, —- then I draggled curls, — alas, my hair curls! should never find him. All I could do Is it not Thackeray who says every was to remain where I was ; and so I woman with a nes retroussé dresses her waited, — long enough for him to have hair in curls to make herself as much gone up to the Fifth Avenue and back as may be resemble a King Charles half a dozen times, and still no spaniel ? and already in the raw east signs of him. What did it mean? I wind I knew my nose was as pink as a then began to ask myself
. Something poodle's and as cold as a healthy pupmust have happened,
what could it py's, horrible comparisons! Or, if be? He must really be in some great they did not think that, — but they did, trouble to leave me so; he never would I knew they did, -they must think that in the world if he could help it; and I I was set there to perform some public could not go to him. I was getting penance; and what dreadful sin must worried beyond expression, and so they think I had committed to deserve tired that I would have given the such a penance as this ! locket itself for a seat.
A little flower-girl came along with her last bouquet, and saluted me with prim piece of precision only afraid of her petition and her poverty, begging the dampness on her finery? Would I me to buy the flowers that she might ever see, in all that forest of hats, the go home, – they were fuchsias and Par- broad brim of Charlie's again ? Had ma violets, and one bursting rose, he possibly been meditating the awful they would have been a real consola- deed for days, and, leaving me, gone tion to me. I had some loose coppers to commit suicide? or had I been de-. in my pocket, but I dared not spend ceiving myself with my happiness for them, lest I might want them in the years, and had he taken this way to rid night' for a roll; so the child went her himself of me? I cannot endure a way, and I could not find it in my heart great deal, I was afraid I was growing to pity her, she was so much better off crazy. than I; she had a home to go to. The How astonishingly small all the men's. tears began to well slowly into my hats were, - little roly - poly things, eyes; they only added to my distress, never a generous turn among them, as I was conscious how they increased not one sign of Charlie's ! my forlorn appearance. I blushed and The umbrella had drawn nearer and tingled with fresh access of mortifica- had passed me. Yes, there really was tion; I saw my dear respectability be- a heavy dampness, a sort of settling coming small by degrees and beautifully moisture ; well, I would n't mind that, less. If I had really been keeping an of course, – though assuredly it would improper appointment, I could not have spoil my crape. But now it was a endured the agony of that long hour. decided falling mist, a slow drizzle, — The little urchins, who tossed down other umbrellas, - a woman running, their pennies, and took dirty slices of — rain, real downright rain, no shower, swimming pineapple from the candy, but the regular beginning of a three stand behind the lamp-post at my side, days' easterly storm. What was I to hit me right and left with insulting im- do, where was I to go? I dared not punity. I would have given almost the take refuge in a shop, — for would whole creation, had it been mine to Charlie be able to go into all the shops give, to dare to lean against that lamp- of Broadway to look for his wife? would post. Meanwhile a burly policeman it even occur to him at all ? and was eyed me, and I expected momentarily there any possibility of his hitting upon that he would tell me to move on,- the right one, and would they not all. and where in the world was I to move be closed before he could make the to ? The sense of irretrievable dis- tour of half their number? Down grace was fastening upon me with fear- plunged the rain; I should certainly fal langs, - still no Charlie.
be arrested presently for an insane When one's circumstances become vagrant. I went and stood under an a matter of breathless importance to awning; the man came out and took one's self, it is the most natural thing the awning down. Then I was in deto believe them of equal importance to spair. Where, where, where should I everybody else. I was sure that the go? great gray gentleman in gold specta- At this crisis of my affairs I recolcles, and the dapper young man, who lected that something had been said could plainly see me from their window, about Delmonico's. If I found the must wonder where my haste and hurry place, if I went there, would Charlie had gone. I looked across the street, ever remember it? — he was such a and down the side street, and then this forgetful fellow; he never would, I was way and that, in the intricacies of the morally sure, but it was the only thing moving throng of the pavement, —- far, there was left for me to do. I sumfar off, what was the appalling sight I moned my courage, — she could but saw? An umbrella! Ah, was it really refuse, --and ran to my apple-woman, raining down there? or was it some and asked her if a gentleman with gray