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3. III. WHAT SHE WORE (continued)
Curiosity, which plays leads in so many life dramas, led Louie to the rotunda of the tallest building. It was built on the hollow center plan, with a sheer drop from the twenty-somethingth to the main floor. Louie stationed himself in the center of the mosaic floor, took off his hat, bent backward almost double and gazed, his mouth wide open. When he brought his muscles slowly back into normal position he tried hard not to look impressed. He glanced about, sheepishly, to see if any one was laughing at him, and his eye encountered the electric-lighted glass display case of the shoe company upstairs. The case was filled with pink satin slippers and cunning velvet boots, and the newest thing in bronze street shoes. Louie took the next elevator up. The shoe display had made him feel as though some one from home had slapped him on the back.
The God of the Jobless was with him. The boss had fired two boys the day before.
"Oskaloosa!" grinned the boss, derisively. "Do they wear shoes there? What do you know about shoes, huh boy?"
Louie told him. The boss shuffled the papers on his desk, and chewed his cigar, and tried not to show his surprise. Louie, quite innocently, was teaching the boss things about the shoe business.
When Louie had finished--"Well, I try you, anyhow," the boss grunted, grudgingly. "I give you so-and-so much." He named a wage that would have been ridiculous if it had not been so pathetic.
"All right, sir," answered Louie, promptly, like the boys in the Alger series. The cost of living problem had never bothered Louie in Oskaloosa.
The boss hid a pleased smile.
"Miss Epstein!" he bellowed, "step this way! Miss Epstein, kindly show this here young man so he gets a line on the stock. He is from Oskaloosa, Ioway. Look out she don't sell you a gold brick, Louie."
But Louie was not listening. He was gazing at the V in Sophy Epstein's dress with all his scandalized Oskaloosa, Iowa, eyes.
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