OCCASIONALLY A SIGHT bobs up without warning in a city, which starts a train of thought, sad or gay, according to how you look at it. And so, Lucy, Priscilla, and Virginia Adams, walking along Broadway, saw a crowd around a lamp post, upon which was a patrol-box; and, though our girls don’t customarily follow up such sights, Lucy saw a man’s form sprawling flat up against that post, as limp as a rag. Priscilia said, in disgust:—

“Ugh!! It’s Norman Antor! Drunk again!!” and Virginia, hastily grasping both girls’ arms and hurrying past, said:—

“So!! His vacation in jail didn’t do him any good! But, still, it’s too bad. Norman is a

good looking, manly lad, with a good mind and a thorough schooling. And now look at him! A common drunk!!’

Priscilla was sad, too, saying:— “Awful! Awful for so young a chap. What is his Dad doing now?”

“Still in jail,” was all Virginia could say; adding sadly: “I do pity poor young Mary, who sold Antor’s liquor, you know. Doris says that lots of school-girls snub that kid. Now that’s not right. It’s downright horrid! Mary was brought up in what you almost might call a pool of liquor. and I don’t call it fair to snub a child for that; for you know that, not only ‘Past’ Councilman Antor, but also Madam Antor, got what our boys call litup’ on many public occasions. Antor’s pantry was full of it! Which way could that poor kid look without finding it? You know Mary is not so old as most of us; and I’m just going to go to that child and try to bring a ray of comfort into that young mind. That rum-guzzling Antor family!! Ugh!!’

* * * *

But a city also has amusing sights; and our trio ran plump into that kind, just around a turn; for, standing on a soap box, shouting a high-sounding jargon of rapidly shot words, was Arthur Rankin, an original Organization lad; a crowd of boys, a man or two, and a woman hanging laughingly around. Our trio’s first inkling as to what it was all about was Arthur’s bail to Priscilia:—

“Aha! Branton Hills’ fair womanhood is

now approaching! !”

Now if our trio didn’t know Arthur so thoroughly, such girls might balk at this publicity. But Priscilla and Arthur had had many a “slapping match” long ago, arising from childhood’s spats; Priscilla originally living on an adjoining lot, and was Arthur’s “first girl ;” which, according to his old Aunt Anna, “was just silly puppy stuff !” So nobody thought anything of this public hail and Arthur was raving on about “which puts an instant stop to all pain; will rid you of anything from dandruff to ingrowing nails; will build up a strong body from a puny runt; will grow hair on a billiard-ball scalp, and taboo it on a lady’s chin; will put a glamorous gloss on tooth or nail; stop stomach growls; oil up kinky joints, and bring you to happy, smiling clays of Utopian bliss! How many, Priscilla? Only a dollar a box; two for dollar-sixty!”

Priscilla, laughing, said:—

“Not any today, thank you, Art! All I want is a pair of juicy lamb chops—a dish of onions — a dish of squash — a dish of carrots — a pint of milk — potato-chips — hot biscuits — cold slaw — custard pudding — nuts — raisins —”

“Whoa, Priscilla! Hop right up on this box! I know that word-slinging ability of old” and as that crowd was fading away, Priscilla said:

“This is odd work for you, Arthur; you so good a draughtsman. What’s up?”

And Arthur, a happy, rollicking boy, having always had all such things as most boys had, with a Dad making good pay as a railroad conductor, told sadly of an awful railway smash-up which took “Dad” away from four small Rankin orphans, whom Arthur was now supporting; and a scarcity of jobs in Branton Hills and of trips to surrounding towns, always finding that old sign out: “No Work Today.” Of this soap box opportunity bobbing up, which was now bringing in good cash. So our girls found that our Branton Hills boys didn’t shirk work of any kind, if brought right up against want.



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Books with no spinal columns.