Ray glanced up. “Oh, that!” she said contemptuously. “That’s just a cheap skirt. Only twelve-fifty. Machine-made lace. Imitation embroidery—”
She stopped. She stared a moment at Myrtle with the fixed and wide-eyed gaze of one who does not see.
“What’d I just say to you?”
“Huh?” ejaculated Myrtle, mystified.
“What’d I just say?” repeated Ray.
Myrtle laughed, half understanding. “You said that was a cheap junk skirt at only twelve-fifty, with machine lace and imitation—”
But Ray Willets did not wait to hear the rest. She was off down the aisle toward the elevator marked “Employees.” The superintendent’s office was on the ninth floor. She stopped there. The grey superintendent was writing at his desk. He did not look up as Ray entered, thus observing rules one and two in the proper conduct of superintendents when interviewing employees. Ray Willets, standing by his desk, did not cough or wriggle or rustle her skirts or sag on one hip. A consciousness of her quiet penetrated the superintendent’s mind. He glanced up hurriedly over his left shoulder. Then he laid down his pencil and sat up slowly.
“Oh, it’s you!” he said.
“Yes, it’s me,” replied Ray Willets simply. “I’ve been here a month to-day.”
“Oh, yes.” He ran his fingers through his hair so that the brown forelock stood away from the grey. “You’ve lost some of your roses,” he said, and tapped his cheek. “What’s the trouble?”
“I guess it’s the dress,” explained Ray, and glanced down at the folds of her gown. She hesitated a moment awkwardly. “You said you’d send for me at the end of the month. You didn’t.”
“That’s all right,” said the grey superintendent. “I was pretty sure I hadn’t made a mistake. I can gauge applicants pretty fairly. Let’s see—you’re in the lingerie, aren’t you?”
Then with a rush: “That’s what I want to talk to you about. I’ve changed my mind. I don’t want to stay in the lingeries. I’d like to be transferred to the kitchen utensils and household goods.”
“Transferred! Well, I’ll see what I can do. What was the name now? I forget.”
A queer look stole into Ray Willets’ face, a look of determination and shrewdness.
“Name?” she said. “My name is Rachel Wiletzky.”
Miss Sadie Corn was not a charmer, but when you handed your room-key to her you found yourself stopping to chat a moment. If you were the right kind you showed her your wife’s picture in the front of your watch. If you were the wrong kind, with your scant hair carefully combed to hide the bald spot, you showed her the newspaper clipping that you carried in your vest pocket. Following inspection of the first, Sadie Corn would say: “Now that’s what I call a sweet face! How old is the youngest?” Upon perusal the second was returned with dignity and: “Is that supposed to be funny?” In each case Sadie Corn had you placed for life.