Short Stories · The Magazine Rack

A Subway Romance: Conclusion

Welcome to Part III and “A Subway Romance” conclusion. Here in A Subway Romance: Conclusion we will learn what happens to Nick. Does he throw it all away and go to Cuba? He has the money saved up for it. The Great Depression is still five years off. He could feed his wanderlust by closing his news stand and living the roaming life.

When we left Nick and his vagabond friend Shorty, they had just finished breakfast over the campfire at the Brooklyn waterfront. If you missed that section, you can find it here. To start at the beginning of the tale, begin here.

The conclusion

They strolled to a railway station, skulking along the outskirts of the crowd. They walked on through the switch yards. A truckload of baggage crowded them against a moving freight. As Nick cringed and stepped aside he felt a nudge at his elbow.

“S’long,” muttered Shorty, as he swung aboard.

“S’long,” answered Nick.

Nick hurried to the nearest railway station. It was late. He would be losing his brisk eight o’clock trade.

Dreaming on the train

Once aboard the Broadway train, however, he was lost in a dream of palm bordered roadways, of Pampas plains and tropic seas. He created vividly luxurious groves of bananas and breadfruit trees. He imagined how the moon would look shining through a notch of the Andes.

Nick came to with a start, as the crowds pushed on and off at Times Square. He moved nearer the door so as to be ready for his station. He would send his resignation in to the news agency right away. They would have no trouble getting a man for his place. Only one more dy at the stand. Tomorrow he would be free.

The train jerked to a stop.

Reaching the news stand

Nick separated himself from the crowd and went up to unlock the news stand. He was startled to see that the windows were open, and the morning papers arranged in orderly piles. He looked in across the papers and saw a curly dark head over an open magazine. Looking closer he served large gold earrings and long-lashed eyes.

He leaned over the counter.

“What––what did you do with the Gipsy dress?” he asked.

The girl started and then blushed.

“How did you know me?” she asked.

“I’d have known you in––South America,” babbled Nick. “But it’s great to fid you here. How did you get into the news stand?”

“By the door. Isn’t that the way you get into yours?”

“Into mine? Mine? Why––isn’t this mine?” Nick stared wildly.

“This is Seventy-second Street,” laughed the girl. “Did you think you were home?”

Nick looked at the huge sign, foolishly.

“My––I––” He wanted to say that his heart must have directed him here. “But what did you do with the Gipsy shawl and everything?” he blurted.

The shawl

“Oh, I want to explain to you,” said the girl. “They’re my grandmother’s. I wore them to an autumn pageant one day, when I danced a Gipsy dance. And when I came back I was very busy dreaming, and I got off at the wrong station. I––I felt rather free and reckless in my Gipsy togs. So when I saw a strange, dreamy-eyed man where I thought my news stand was going to be, I––I’m afraid I acted very silly and––nervy. I––apologize. But, it was the costume, really. And, of course, I didn’t expect to see you again.”

“I wonder what her name is,” mused Nick, as he arranged his papers, uncovered the candy and gum, and dusted the magazines. He was an hour late, but the thought failed to worry him.

The crowds surged up and down stairways and crossed and recrossed between local and express. Nick saw them not. Trains shrieked and bellowed, but he did not hea.r His lean hands juggled change or reached down a magazine from the rack behind him. His eyes were on the gray subway arch, and he was smiling at the memory of a brown roofed cottage he had seen once, away up at the end of the subway near Van Courtland Park.

His mind was busy adding a few fanciful details, among them an open wood fire and a dark-haired girl beside it, wearing a Gipsy shawl. He would be able to get home by nine o-clock in the evenings, and sh would come to meet him down a grassy little bystreet bordered with poplars. The wind would ripple the poplar leaves softly, and sometimes there would be a moon shining through a notch between the trees.

The End

This is the end of A Subway Romance Conclusion. I hope you enjoyed reading this very typical example of a magazine short story. These stories appeared in almost every magazine of the time. Stories sold magazines. I’m sure, after reading A Subway Romance to its conclusion, you can understand why.

You may also be interested in reading Cinderella’s Confession, an advertisement from 1919 that changed advertising when it mimicked the popular magazine short story.