So saying, Ravenslee hung up the receiver and hastened out of the stifling heat of the suffocating booth, mopping perspiring brow.
“You look kinder warm!” ventured the chemist.
“I feel it.”
“And it’s going to be warmer. Try an ice-cream soda—healthy and invigorating.”
“And better than any cocktail on such a day!”
“I guess! Take one?”
“Thank you, yes.”
So the bright-eyed chemist mixed the beverage and handed it over the counter.
“Chin-chin!” he nodded.
“Twice,” said Ravenslee, lifting the long glass. “To the Beautiful City of Perhaps!” and he drank deep.
“Say,” said the chemist, staring, “that sounds t’ me like a touch of the sun. Try a bottle of my summer mixture, good for sunstroke, heat-bumps, colic, spasms, and Hell’s Kitchen generally—try a bottle?”
“Thanks,” said Ravenslee, “I will.” And grimly pocketing the bottled panacea, he stepped out into the hot and noisy avenue.
HOW SPIKE HEARKENED TO POISONOUS SUGGESTION AND SOAPY BEGAN TO WONDER
Spike was on his way from the office, very conscious of his new straw hat and immaculate collar; his erstwhile shabby suit had been cleaned and pressed by Hermione’s skilled and loving fingers, hence Spike turned now and then as he passed some shop window to observe the general effect with furtive eye; and stimulated by his unwontedly smart appearance, he whistled joyously as he betook himself homeward. Moreover in his breast pocket was his pay envelope, not very bulky to be sure, wherein lay his first week’s wages, and as often as he turned to glance at the tilt of the straw hat or heed the set of his tie, his hand must needs steal to this envelope to make sure of its safety. His fingers were so employed when he chanced to espy a certain article exposed for sale in an adjacent shop window; whereupon, envelope in hand, he incontinent entered and addressed the plump Semitic merchant in his usual easy manner.
“Greetings, Abe! I’ll take one o’ them hair-combs.”
“Hair-gombs?” nodded the merchant. “Vot kind?”
“What kind? Why, the best you got.”
“Ve got ’em up to veefty dollars—”
“Come off it, Cain, come off—I ain’t purchasin’ a diamond aigrette to-day, it’s a lady’s hair-comb I want—good, but not too flossy-lookin’—savvy that? This’ll do, I guess—how much? Right there!” said Spike, flicking a bill upon the counter. “That’s it, stick it in a box—oh, never mind th’ wrappin’s. S’long, Daniel!”
With his purchase in his pocket, Spike strode out of the shop, whistling cheerily, but the merry notes ended very suddenly as he dodged back again, yet not quite quick enough, for a rough voice hailed him, hoarse and jovial.
“Why, hello, Kid, how goes it?” M’Ginnis’s heavy hand descended on his shrinking shoulder and next moment he was out on the sidewalk where Soapy lounged, a smouldering cigarette pendent from his thin, pallid lips as usual. And Soapy’s eyes, so bright between their narrowed, puffy lids, so old-seeming in the youthful oval of his pale face, were like his cigarette, in that they smouldered also.