“Been a fine day,” said the candy man, hollowly. “First time in a month I’ve felt first-class. Hit it up down old Madison, hollering out like I useter. Think it’ll rain to-morrow?”
Mademoiselle laid two round arms on the cushion on the window-sill, and a dimpled chin upon them.
“Candy man,” said she, softly, “do you not love me?”
The candy man stood up and leaned against the brick wall.
“Lady,” said he, chokingly, “I’ve got $800 saved up. Did I say you wasn’t beautiful? Take it every bit of it and buy a collar for your dog with it.”
A sound as of a hundred silvery bells tinkled in the room of Mademoiselle. The laughter filled the alley and trickled back into the court, as strange a thing to enter there as sunlight itself. Mademoiselle was amused. Sidonie, a wise echo, added a sepulchral but faithful contralto. The laughter of the two seemed at last to penetrate the candy man. He fumbled with his horseshoe pin. At length Mademoiselle, exhausted, turned her flushed, beautiful face to the window.
“Candy man,” said she, “go away. When I laugh Sidonie pulls my hair. I can but laugh while you remain there.”
“Here is a note for Mademoiselle,” said Felice, coming to the window in the room.
“There is no justice,” said the candy man, lifting the handle of his cart and moving away.
Three yards he moved, and stopped. Loud shriek after shriek came from the window of Mademoiselle. Quickly he ran back. He heard a body thumping upon the floor and a sound as though heels beat alternately upon it.
“What is it?” he called.
Sidonie’s severe head came into the window.
“Mademoiselle is overcome by bad news,” she said. “One whom she loved with all her soul has gone—you may have heard of him—he is Monsieur Ives. He sails across the ocean to-morrow. Oh, you men!”
SQUARING THE CIRCLE
At the hazard of wearying you this tale of vehement emotions must be prefaced by a discourse on geometry.
Nature moves in circles; Art in straight lines. The natural is rounded; the artificial is made up of angles. A man lost in the snow wanders, in spite of himself, in perfect circles; the city man’s feet, denaturalized by rectangular streets and floors, carry him ever away from himself.
The round eyes of childhood typify innocence; the narrowed line of the flirt’s optic proves the invasion of art. The horizontal mouth is the mark of determined cunning; who has not read Nature’s most spontaneous lyric in lips rounded for the candid kiss?
Beauty is Nature in perfection; circularity is its chief attribute. Behold the full moon, the enchanting golf ball, the domes of splendid temples, the huckleberry pie, the wedding ring, the circus ring, the ring for the waiter, and the “round” of drinks.