“I’ve been saving up out of my wages for a year just for this vacation. I wanted to spend one week like a lady if I never do another one. I wanted to get up when I please instead of having to crawl out at seven every morning; and I wanted to live on the best and be waited on and ring bells for things just like rich folks do. Now I’ve done it, and I’ve had the happiest time I ever expect to have in my life. I’m going back to my work and my little hall bedroom satisfied for another year. I wanted to tell you about it, Mr. Farrington, because I—I thought you kind of liked me, and I—I liked you. But, oh, I couldn’t help deceiving you up till now, for it was all just like a fairy tale to me. So I talked about Europe and the things I’ve read about in other countries, and made you think I was a great lady.
“This dress I’ve got on—it’s the only one I have that’s fit to wear—I bought from O’Dowd & Levinsky on the instalment plan.
“Seventy-five dollars is the price, and it was made to measure. I paid $10 down, and they’re to collect $1 a week till it’s paid for. That’ll be about all I have to say, Mr. Farrington, except that my name is Mamie Siviter instead of Madame Beaumont, and I thank you for your attentions. This dollar will pay the instalment due on the dress to-morrow. I guess I’ll go up to my room now.”
Harold Farrington listened to the recital of the Lotus’s loveliest guest with an impassive countenance. When she had concluded he drew a small book like a checkbook from his coat pocket. He wrote upon a blank form in this with a stub of pencil, tore out the leaf, tossed it over to his companion and took up the paper dollar.
“I’ve got to go to work, too, in the morning,” he said, “and I might as well begin now. There’s a receipt for the dollar instalment. I’ve been a collector for O’Dowd & Levinsky for three years. Funny, ain’t it, that you and me both had the same idea about spending our vacation? I’ve always wanted to put up at a swell hotel, and I saved up out of my twenty per, and did it. Say, Mame, how about a trip to Coney Saturday night on the boat—what?”
The face of the pseudo Madame Heloise D’Arcy Beaumont beamed.
“Oh, you bet I’ll go, Mr. Farrington. The store closes at twelve on Saturdays. I guess Coney’ll be all right even if we did spend a week with the swells.”
Below the balcony the sweltering city growled and buzzed in the July night. Inside the Hotel Lotus the tempered, cool shadows reigned, and the solicitous waiter single-footed near the low windows, ready at a nod to serve Madame and her escort.
At the door of the elevator Farrington took his leave, and Madame Beaumont made her last ascent. But before they reached the noiseless cage he said: “Just forget that ‘Harold Farrington,’ will you?— McManus is the name—James McManus. Some call me Jimmy.”
“Good-night, Jimmy,” said Madame.