“Nothing stirring,” said Jimmy. “I wouldn’t sell another sock if you paid me ten thousand dollars a year. I am through.”
“Oh, very well,” said the buyer aggrievedly, “but if you leave me this way you will be unable to refer to the house.”
But nothing, not even a team of oxen, could have held Jimmy in that section another minute, and so he got his pay and left with nothing more in view than a slow death by starvation.
“There,” exclaimed Elizabeth Compton, as she sank back on the cushions of her car.
“There what?” asked Harriet.
“I have placed him.”
“That nice-looking young person who waited on us in the hosiery section.”
“Oh!” said Harriet. “He was nice-looking, wasn’t he? But he looked out of place there, and I think he felt out of place. Did you notice how he flushed when he asked you what size?” and the girls laughed heartily at the recollection. “But where have you ever met him before?” Harriet asked.
“I have never met him,” corrected Elizabeth, accenting the “met.” “He changed a wheel on the roadster several weeks ago one evening after I had taken Harold down to the club. And he was very nice about it. I should say that he is a gentleman, although his clothes were pretty badly worn.”
“Yes,” said Harriet, “his suit was shabby, but his linen was clean and his coat well brushed.”
“My!” exclaimed Elizabeth. “He must have made an impression on some one.”
“Well,” said Harriet, “it isn’t often you see such a nice-looking chap in the hosiery section.”
“No,” said Elizabeth, “and probably if he were as nice as he looks he wouldn’t be there.”
Whereupon the subject was changed, and she promptly forgot Mr. Jimmy Torrance. But Jimmy was not destined soon to forget her, for as the jobless days passed and he realized more and more what an ass he had made of himself, and why, he had occasion to think about her a great deal, although never in any sense reproaching her. He realized that the fault was his own and that he had done a foolish thing in giving up his position because of a girl he did not know and probably never would.
There came a Saturday when Jimmy, jobless and fundless, dreaded his return to the Indiana Avenue rooming-house, where he knew the landlady would be eagerly awaiting him, for he was a week in arrears in his room rent already, and had been warned he could expect no further credit.
“There is a nice young man wanting your room,” the landlady had told him, “and I shall have to be having it Saturday night unless you can pay up.”
Jimmy stood on the corner of Clark and Van Buren looking at his watch. “I hate to do it,” he thought, “but the Lizard said he could get twenty for it, and twenty would give me another two weeks.” And so his watch went, and two weeks later his cigarette-case and ring followed. Jimmy had never gone in much for jewelry—a fact which he now greatly lamented.