It was in the tightest tangle of the crossing and apparently on this conjuring of her husband that Carrie jerked suddenly free of Alma’s frailer hold.
“No—no—not home—now. Him. Alma!” And darted back against the breast of the down side of the traffic.
There was scarcely more than the quick rotation of her arm around with the spoke of a truck wheel, so quickly she went down.
It was almost a miracle, her kind of death, because out of all that jam of tonnage she carried only one bruise, a faint one, near the brow.
And the wonder was that Louis Latz, in his grief, was so proud.
“To think,” he kept saying over and over again and unabashed at the way his face twisted—“to think they should have happened to me. Two such women in one lifetime as my little mother—and her. Fat little old Louis to have had those two. Why, just the memory of my Carrie—is almost enough. To think old me should have a memory like that—it is almost enough—isn’t it, Alma?”
She kissed his hand.
That very same, that dreadful night, almost without her knowing it, her throat-tearing sobs broke loose, her face to the waistcoat of Leo Friedlander.
He held her close—very, very close. “Why, sweetheart,” he said, “I could cut out my heart to help you! Why, sweetheart! Shh-h-h! Remember what Louis says. Just the beautiful memory—of—her—is—wonderful—”
“Just—the b-beautiful—memory—you’ll always have it, too—of her—my mamma—won’t you, Leo? Won’t you?”
“Always,” he said when the tight grip in his throat had eased enough.
She could not know how dear she became to him then, because not ten minutes before, from the very lapel against which her cheek lay pressed, he had unpinned a white carnation.
I set out to write a love story, and for the purpose sharpened a bright-pink pencil with a glass ruby frivolously at the eraser end.
Something sweet. Something dainty. A candied rose leaf after all the bitter war lozenges. A miss. A kiss. A golf stick. A motor car. Or, if need be, a bit of khaki, but without one single spot of blood or mud, and nicely pressed as to those fetching peg-top trouser effects where they wing out just below the skirt-coat. The oldest story in the world told newly. No wear out to it. Editors know. It’s as staple as eggs or printed lawn or ipecac. The good old-fashioned love story with the above-mentioned miss, kiss, and, if need be for the sake of timeliness, the bit of khaki, pressed.
Just my luck that, with one of these modish tales at the tip of my pink pencil, Hester Bevins should come pounding and clamoring at the door of my mental reservation, quite drowning out the rather high, the lipsy, and, if I do say it myself, distinctly musical patter of Arline. That was to have been her name. Arline Kildane. Sweet, don’t you think, and with just a bit of wild Irish rose in it?