“Well, if you don’t want any shoes, to-day, I guess I must be goin’.” He made a feint of jerking his horse’s reins, but forebore at the entreaties that went up from the group of girls.
“Yes, we do!” “Let’s see them!” “Oh, don’t go!” they chorused in an equally histrionic alarm, and the shoeman got down from his perch to show his wares.
“Now, the’a, ladies,” he said, pulling out one of the drawers, and dangling a pair of shoes from it by the string that joined their heels, “the’e’s a shoe that looks as good as any Sat’d’y-night shoe you eva see. Looks as han’some as if it had a pasteboa’d sole and was split stock all through, like the kind you buy for a dollar at the store, and kick out in the fust walk you take with your fella—’r some other gul’s fella, I don’t ca’e which. And yet that’s an honest shoe, made of the best of material all the way through, and in the best manna. Just look at that shoe, ladies; ex-amine it; sha’n’t cost you a cent, and I’ll pay for youa lost time myself, if any complaint is made.” He began to toss pairs of the shoes into the crowd of girls, who caught them from each other before they fell, with hysterical laughter, and ran away with them in-doors to try them on. “This is a shoe that I’m intaducin’,” the shoeman went on, “and every pair is warranted—warranted numba two; don’t make any otha size, because we want to cata to a strictly numba two custom. If any lady doos feel ’em a little mite too snug, I’m sorry for her, but I can’t do anything to help her in this shoe.”
“Too snug !” came a gay voice from in-doors. “Why my foot feels puffectly lost in this one.”
“All right,” the shoeman shouted back. “Call it a numba one shoe and then see if you can’t find that lost foot in it, some’eres. Or try a little flour, and see if it won’t feel more at home. I’ve hea’d of a shoe that give that sensation of looseness by not goin’ on at all.”
The girls exulted joyfully together at the defeat of their companion, but the shoeman kept a grave face, while he searched out other sorts of shoes and slippers, and offered them, or responded to some definite demand with something as near like as he could hope to make serve. The tumult of talk and laughter grew till the chef put his head out of the kitchen door, and then came sauntering across the grass to the helps’ piazza. At the same time the clerk suffered himself to be lured from his post by the excitement. He came and stood beside the chef, who listened to the shoeman’s flow of banter with a longing to take his chances with him.
“That’s a nice hawss,” he said. “What’ll you take for him?”
“Why, hello!” said the shoeman, with an eye that dwelt upon the chef’s official white cap and apron, “You talk English, don’t you? Fust off, I didn’t know but it was one of them foreign dukes come ova he’a to marry some oua poor millionai’es daughtas.” The girls cried out for joy, and the chef bore their mirth stoically, but not without a personal relish of the shoeman’s up-and-comingness. “Want a hawss?” asked the shoeman with an air of business. “What’ll you give?”