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9. IX. THAT HOME-TOWN FEELING (continued)
Do you gather from this that you are being taken slumming? Not at all. For the passer-by on Clark Street varies as to color, nationality, raiment, finger-nails, and hair-cut according to the locality in which you find him.
At the tenement end the feminine passer-by is apt to be shawled, swarthy, down-at-the-heel, and dragging a dark-eyed, fretting baby in her wake. At the hotel end you will find her blonde of hair, velvet of boot, plumed of head-gear, and prone to have at her heels a white, woolly, pink-eyed dog.
The masculine Clark Streeter? I throw up my hands. Pray remember that South Clark Street embraces the dime lodging house, pawnshop, hotel, theater, chop-suey and railway office district, all within a few blocks. From the sidewalk in front of his groggery, "Bath House John" can see the City Hall. The trim, khaki-garbed enlistment officer rubs elbows with the lodging house bum. The masculine Clark Streeter may be of the kind that begs a dime for a bed, or he may loll in manicured luxury at the marble-lined hotel. South Clark Street is so splendidly indifferent.
Copy-hunting, I approached Tony with hope in my heart, a smile on my lips, and a nickel in my hand.
"Philadelphia--er--Inquirer?" I asked, those being the city and paper which fire my imagination least.
Tony whipped it out, dexterously.
I looked at his keen blue eye, his lean brown face, and his punishing jaw, and I knew that no airy persiflage would deceive him. Boldly I waded in.
"I write for the magazines," said I.
"Do they know it?" grinned Tony.
"Just beginning to be faintly aware. Your stand looks like a story to me. Tell me, does one ever come your way? For instance, don't they come here asking for their home-town paper--sobs in their voice--grasp the sheet with trembling hands--type swims in a misty haze before their eyes--turn aside to brush away a tear--all that kind of stuff, you know?"
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