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content. His salary enabled him to of his profound reaction to the charm of dress to his own ideals, to secure the Mary Pickford. best bedroom nearest the bath at Mrs. Any girl—just so she's pretty-can Madden's, to deposit a little money tiddledywink for the movies, aimed every two weeks at the Building Asso Dobbs at Jenkins. “W’y, the only one ciation at five per cent., to dress in his in the whole bloomin' bunch that can best every Sunday and make rather really act is Marguerite Snow." pointless excursions on the lake for the Jenkins flushed like a girl at comwant of anything else to do, and from mencement rising to a first vocal essaythe time he discovered them to go to giddy at hearing his own voice in public. a moving-picture show every evening "Marguerite Snow!” he was amazed immediately after dinner.
to hear himself exclaim. “Why—she's What the moving-picture shows did a sweet little thing all right and I like for Jenkins was wonderful. Before he her-but she's light. She couldn't have found them, his intellectual life had been done that volcano act like Mary Picklimited to the reading of the full-page ford; she's just sweet and light-like advertisement of the Spalding bargains this Nabisco wafer.” for the week to Mrs. Madden in the The comparison was spontaneous, the dining-room after breakfast on Sunday first bon mot of Jenkins's known history morning, when Jenkins always bought a and impressive before the facts of canned paper; and, following this, to a leisure peaches and wafers for dessert. And hour in his room over the illustrated sup beautiful "Little Mary of the Movies" plement, when he sometimes hastened might have continued to hold her place down-stairs again with an interesting as unsung Beatrice to Jenkins's obscure, item for Mrs. Madden..
onlooking Dante, if it had not been for “See that big stone house on the hill? an event amazing as it was unforseeable. That's the Spalding residence. They It came of what Jenkins designated as say it has about fifty rooms.
Think of "a fierce little movie" that took place it! And he began like me—as a cash- in July in the Spalding basement, boy!"
whither he had been sent on an errand “An' you helped ’im to 't, Mr. Jen- for Sprague. It was hot enough down kins-you know you did.” The old there to hatch chickens, and a young woman's voice was gruff and purring. woman who worked in a screened corner “He couldn't 'a' managed without of "The Art Department, ” daubing
gasolene and stamping four-leaf clovers Mrs. Madden was fat and sixty and on hundreds of tiny guest towels for the sedate as a hen. Jenkins was to her a Monday morning sales, had gone into heroic figure, though she had mended violent hysterics. Jenkins, of all the and darned for him for years. He helped men of all the history of life on this her unfold and lay the long, best table- planet, was called upon to hold the girl cloth for the Sunday mid-day dinner, until the arrival of the house-mother. and had a very modest man's apprecia- Thereupon, in his capacity as handytion of the fraction of truth in the old man, he found himself embracing against woman's creed.
her will a small fighting fury of redAt the picture show Jenkins came haired, waxen-skinned, blue-eyed, eighsuddenly, by the mere act of looking teen-year-old womanhood, looking like a into a complex knowledge of life that he flower, smelling like a gasolene-tank, and had neither the ability nor the taste to screaming in a voice pretty enough for a get from books. He began to buy and play: read the moving-picture magazines and *Change the pattern! Change the became a mild authority on "stars," pattern! If you don't, I'll set fire to the reels, and salaries. At Mrs. Madden's gasolene!" voluble, polyglot table, where he had It lasted less than a minute and it been mostly silent because he had no changed the world for Jenkins. thoughts, it was discovered by Dobbs, Some psychologists identify the a e of the grocery-clerk, that it was possible to thirty-five as the high-tide of consciousget"a rise” out of Jenkins on the ground ness for the average man and the peak
of illumination for the seer. Jenkins was “Couldn't you make them change the thirty-five. He was not a seer.
His pattern, Mr. Jenkins? I'm about crazy consciousness was simpler, perhaps, than stamping the same old thing all the that of the average man, for life had time!” brought him nothing supremely pre Jenkins went up-stairs with a flutter cious, nothing to unseal the fountains of under a crumpled collar, a pounding his deep. But then and there he had his under an elaborate vest, and a red-gold high moment—his mount of vision, from hair on the sleeve of his coat. which the past looked dull and dead and In a dusky corner of the drapery dethe future spread forth in shining vistas partment, well out of the range of Miss of light. It was suddenly spring with O'Dowd of the cretonnes, he wound the him. His consciousness put forth a new hair on his finger, studying it oddly. spray. The chrysalis of drapery-clerk He found, on removing it, that it went and handy-man suddenly cracked, and into a long spiral that subsided into a out of it emerged Romeo with Juliet in ring of gold in the palm of his hand. He arms! From that moment he sensed a found that its texture was as resistant as reason for living and working that he fine wire-wire that wanted to curl. He had not known he lacked. From that placed the circlet in his memorandummoment he was in love with the eyes, book and often during the day looked at the mouth, the slightly hollowed rondure it secretly in dark nooks among the of the cheek, the rage, the struggle of the draperies. Jenkins was not sentimental. lithe little body against his, the whole He had never possessed an article of that April appeal of her.
kind before. As a judge of colors and Vol. CXXXVI.-No. 815.-93
textures, he was struck by a peculiar sort of Ptolemaic
system of astronomy fact. Even in dark corners the ringlet which placed the girl as its center and did not darken. It always gave out a pivot. vivid red-gold fire, as though it held “I'd like to take some of this home to something of the essence of the sun itself, mother in a bag.” which darkness could not affect as it did “Peanuts?" put Jenkins, with alacdraperies. And as evening came on the rity; "I'll go and get some more.' ring took on a talismanic value for “No”–Molly's laugh was the splinJenkins—the objective proof of his tering of fine, iridescent glass—“I mean morning adventure into a strange, new,
-the water—the music—the delightful country.
boat. All this!” Like a mystic amulet, the possession The girl, having switched on the stars of the ring worked creatively upon Jen- and a hundred other new and bewilderkins. If he had been Napoleonic it ing lights for Jenkins, left them all might have fired him to the rescue of the burning. girl by immediate abduction. If he had The effect was dynamic. Jenkins been a poet-but the stiffest reactionary went home and made a discovery. He must see the opportunity the occasion who had daily paid a fee for following the offered for free verse: Molly from Kil illuminations of the lives of others at the larney, doomed to live under a sky- picture show found himself making moscraper of the New World, shut off from tion pictures of his own! From his pilthe sun, breathing gasolene, and stamp low in the darkness of the upper room ing linen with the beloved four-leaf at Mrs. Madden's he began to project clover, and pining for the blue, sunlit upon the screen of his eyelids a marvelfields of flowering fax of old Ireland. ous "movie.” As night followed night,
Jenkins waited that evening across the it proved to have numberless reels, alstreet from the employees' exit, joined ways in the making and never made, the girl on her way to a florist's, where always the elaboration of the new, the she bought for twenty-five cents an delightful possibilities of life on the American Beauty rose as a birthday sur earth-planet with Molly. prise for her mother.
The picture began with a cottage on “I'm to have twelve new patterns to the lake nestling among trees, with stamp!" she confided, radiantly. “And white Swiss curtains blowing prettily Saturday afternoons off--with the extra from an upper window. A brilliant sky pay!”
framed the scene, with a wood in the He rode home with her on the crowded background to break the north wind, “L,” standing nearly all the hour's ride, since, according to Molly, a house should left her at the side entrance to a frame face the south and have sunrise and sunhouse in a shabby street where a sign set windows. Molly at the front gate in in the second-floor-front window showed a blue bungalow apron (August sale, that the girl's mother took in plain sew fifty cents, first floor right main ening. And at the last moment he found trance, Spalding's). Her hair is a blazing himself arranging with the girl for a halo in the sun as she waves good-by Saturday afternoon walk in the park to him on the run for the morning “L
' with supper at the restaurant on the to the store. Molly picking roses in the lagoon, and for a Sunday afternoon and garden-France roses, which she likes evening ride on the lake—which was best because of their big dewy hearts full Jenkins's moral equivalent for abduc- of odor. Molly in the dining-room, tion.
clearing the breakfast things, stopping After that walk and that ride the real to feed the canary, in a brass cage on a reason for parks, lagoons, lakes, sunsets, brass pedestal (Spalding's tenth floor stars, dawned on Jenkins.
rear). Molly running up-stairs, arrangOn the return trip on the lake that ing the pretty blue-and-white bedroom Sunday evening--one of those moonless and singing that song about a “land that nights when stars speak-he took at her lies across the
away, far away!" suggestion his first glance at the uni- Molly arriving at Spalding's in the afterverse. And thereupon he developed a noon, dressed in a cunning little tailored
suit and sport hat (fifth aisle, third Aoor imagination was not the only inner north). *Mrs. Jenkins” choosing dra event in Jenkins. His ordinary daylight peries ... and, Heavens!... who knows mind became active on the subject of what? Molly riding home with him Molly. As undertow to even his busiest full of happy whisperings about new hours at the store he developed a theme. patterns—why not?—about new pat It went somewhat in this way: terns in infants' robes! Molly and him A girl like that—so crazy about self arriving at the cottage. The table stars, sunshine, clouds, shadows, wind spread. Molly's mother waiting for on the lake, and all outdoors-oughtn't them, keeping supper hot, sitting in a to have to live in a basement all day. low chair in the bay-window and knit A girl like that-so fond of babies, ting on something very small-and animals, flowers, peeping into nearly white—and woolly. Molly up-stairs after every baby-carriage in the park, speaksupper-fussing over a bassinet! (It was ing to every dog she met, and calling amazing how promptly his knowledge nasturtiums little Japanese ladies under of the Spalding stock served his dramatic green parasols-ought to live in a sunneeds.) Molly sitting pensive in the shiny place on the lake with flowers, moonlight-wondering whether it would dogs, and babies around her. be a girl or a boy.
A girl like that—with proud, particu
lar little nostrils that swelled-oughtn't But the night work of the creative to have to ride in the bad air of the
crowded "L" every day and breathe “The Vandevorts!” went the whisper gasolene the rest of the time.
among the clerks. A girl like that-so keen about pict They knew about Betty Vandevort. ures and statues at the Art Museum, and They read in the society sheets of her wanting to know everything in the books wondrous comings and goings. To the at the Public Library-oughtn't to have older women working-bees of the Spaldto spend her time daubing gasolene and ing hive she represented all that life stamping linen for days and weeks might have been. To the younger, what and months, especially
especially through the it might yet be. Her fate held for them summer when she wanted to enjoy the a perfection that transcends envy. It world.
was the life for which French Rooms and A girl like that was too smart for the the exquisite trappings of the waxen job. She had too much mind for it. women of the Spalding show-cases were A duller girl-one without a temper made. And more than this. The girl would have stood it better.
brought with her the aura of a world A smart girl's ambition went against where sky, hills, woodlands, terraced her there. The more towels they sold gardens, moonlit seas, boudoirs, drawthe more she stamped, even to insisting ing-rooms, yachts, limousines, lackeys in on working extra on Saturday after- livery, made but the brilliant stage setnoons, because she needed the money. tings for the drama of youth, beauty,
No wonder a smart girl like that went and love. to pieces on the job!
Their interest was quickened this All of which was Jenkins's equivalent morning because of the recent newspaper
announcement of the girl's engagement This morning, in the window-seat, to Cyril Scott, iron magnate. Jenkins watching the cloud, his theme made an had indeed spent a Sunday morning hour excursion down a blind alley.
over supplement pictures of "Beautiful But why was she so fierce about Betty Vandevort and Her Dogs," "Miss changing the pattern? Why should a Vandevort and Her Horse, Diamond," smart girl like that care whether she and views of the stone palace on the stamped clovers or crocodiles? Funny lake, called a cottage, which was to be how she blamed it all to the pattern. re-decorated and furnished for the recepIt wasn't because she was touchy about tion of the bride in December. Ireland. She was born in Chicago. And By noon Jenkins, with several assistshe wasn't a girl to worry over a thing ants, had set up the drawing-room. The like that. She said she wasn't afraid of storm had come, a noisy, electric one, work or hardships-that what she followed by an unrelenting downpour. wanted was a life of her own, worth The absence of Sprague, the lack of working and suffering for. That's just customers, due to the rain, and the preswhat she said. Funny, though, when ence of these glorified shoppers, brought shorter hours and a raise of salary really for Jenkins the concurrence of a lifetime. made all the difference, that she set He worked all morning spurred by the most store by the twelve new patterns. thought that Sprague would never have But women in the movies are like that gone on his vacation if he had dreamed of always making mountains out of mole the possibility of a sale of such magnihills that men don't mind. There's tude in the hottest weeks of the year. something - stumping — about them. The fact that Miss Vandevort was now Molly is like that-but even more choosing the furniture for the home that stumping than Mary Pickford, because was to be hers in December made for things are set up for Mary. Molly sur Jenkins the nuptial moment of man and prised you every minute -just out of his opportunity. For to him such a sale herself.
might well mean more than the usual "Gobelins and gold for the drawing- perquisites in percentage and prestige. room
After twenty years of flexible service Jenkins rose and went quickly to meet and following upon his first request for two women shoppers arriving from the "a raise” it might mean even a promoelevator.