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Edna Ferber: Buttered Side Down
3. III. WHAT SHE WORE (continued)
Once the boss had kissed Sophy--not on the mouth, but just where her shabby gown formed its charming but immodest V. Sophy had slapped him, of course. But the slap had not set the thing right in her mind. She could not forget it. It had made her uncomfortable in much the same way as we are wildly ill at ease when we dream of walking naked in a crowded street. At odd moments during the day Sophy had found herself rubbing the spot furiously with her unlovely handkerchief, and shivering a little. She had never told the other girls about that kiss.
So--there you have Sophy and her costume. You may take her or leave her. I purposely placed these defects in costuming right at the beginning of the story, so that there should be no false pretenses. One more detail. About Sophy's throat was a slender, near-gold chain from which was suspended a cheap and glittering La Valliere. Sophy had not intended it as a sop to the conventions. It was an offering on the shrine of Fashion, and represented many lunchless days.
At eleven o'clock one August morning, Louie came to Chicago from Oskaloosa, Iowa. There was no hay in his hair. The comic papers have long insisted that the country boy, on his first visit to the city, is known by his greased boots and his high-water pants. Don't you believe them. The small-town boy is as fastidious about the height of his heels and the stripe of his shift and the roll of his hat-brim as are his city brothers. He peruses the slangily worded ads of the "classy clothes" tailors, and when scarlet cravats are worn the small-town boy is not more than two weeks late in acquiring one that glows like a headlight.
Louie found a rooming-house, shoved his suitcase under the bed, changed his collar, washed his hands in the gritty water of the wash bowl, and started out to look for a job.
Louie was twenty-one. For the last four years he had been employed in the best shoe store at home, and he knew shoe leather from the factory to the ash barrel. It was almost a religion with him.
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