There was always something going on for the young folk. The day’s activities were usually planned at the general breakfast table. One day Nan had two hours of the forenoon on her hands, while her chum and Grace went shopping with Mrs. Mason. Nan did not like shopping—much.
“Not unless I can have lots of money in my pocket-book, and be extravagant,” she said, laughing.
“You never were extravagant in your life!” declared Bess, in refutation of this.
However, Nan was left alone and Walter found it out. He had brought his black horse down from Freeling with him. He sent for this and the cutter, and insisted that Nan go with him through the park.
Nan went, and would have had a delightful time had it not been for a single incident. As they turned back, suddenly there met them a very handsome, heavy, family sleigh, the pair of horses jingling their harness-bells proudly, and with tossing plumes and uniformed coachman and footman.
“Goodness!” gasped Nan, as she saw a girl in furs lean far out of the great sleigh and wave her muff to Walter.
It was Linda Riggs. Linda quite ignored Nan’s presence behind the black horse.
“A MOVING SCENE”
Nan did not refuse to go shopping every time her school friends went. The big Chicago stores appealed to her just as much as to any country girl who ever fell under their charm. In the Windy City the department stores—that mammoth of modern commerce—is developed to the highest degree.
It was like wandering through an Alladin’s Palace for Nan to walk about Wilson-Meadows, Galsig-Wheelwrights, or any of the other big stores. And it was because she was so much interested in what she saw, that she wandered one day away from her friends and found herself in the jewelry department, where the French novelties loaded the trays and were displayed in the cases.
Nan forgot her friends—and the flight of time. It was not alone the pretty things displayed that interested her, but the wonderfully dressed women who paraded through the aisles of the store.
She found herself beside a beautifully dressed woman, in a loose, full-flowing fur garment, with fur hat to match, who, it seemed to Nan, was quite the most fashionable person she had ever beheld. The woman had a touch of rouge upon her otherwise pale cheeks; her eyebrows were suspiciously penciled; her lips were slightly ruddy. Nevertheless, she was very demure and very much the lady in appearance.
She was idly turning over lavallieres on a tray—holding them up for inspection, and letting the pretty chains run through her fingers to drop into the tray again, like sparkling water.
“I don’t think I care for any of these, don’t you know?” she drawled, but very pleasantly. “I’m sorry—really.”
She turned away from the counter. Nan was close by and had been secretly watching the pretty woman more than she had the lavallieres. The clerk—rather an attractive girl with curly, black hair and very pink cheeks; quite an excitable young thing—suddenly leaned over the counter and whispered: