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.

Short Stories · The Magazine Rack

A Subway Romance Part II

A young woman stands next to a newspaper stand in this 1924 illustration. People stream behind her. Most of them are men in suits, overcoats, and hats.
The young womanl stands among the bustle of the New York subway tunnel.

When we last left our dreamer Nick, he had just met an intriguing girl at his newsstand in the New York subway system. If you missed the first section of the story, you can locate it here. Now we continue with “A Subway Romance,” Part II.

The story continues…

Her voice was rich and low, with a kind of sighing lilt in it. She seemed not to have seen the price labels.

She bought two nut bars and slipped them into a bag at her side, while Nick tried futilely to think of something to say. It had been a long time since he had indulged in social small talk. At last he found himself commenting upon the coolness of the weather and urging her to try some of the whipped creams.

The Gipsy shook her head. Her red lips smiled. Nick caught a tantalizing gleam between long lashes and stood staring helplessly as she walked away. When he had recovered his wits sufficiently to crawl out of the low side door and go to look for her she had disappeared in the crowd. Nick ran up the stairs and down. He plunged frantically into the floods of passengers streaming from local to express and from express to local. He returned to his stall flushed and baffled, and found two customers thrusting coins over the magazine counter, with no pair of hands there to return the change.

After this Nick began to look at the people around him instead of gazing dreamily at the subway vault. He began to grow vaguely dissatisfied with his life, yet unwilling to break away for one of his vagrant adventures. A wan loneliness possessed him, such as he had never known in the most isolated country places; and still he felt loath to desert his subway stand. He studied the faces that streamed past him and began to experience a faint thrill of satisfaction at discovering some of the same ones day after day. Often he watched hopefully for a flash of the Gipsy’s crimson shawl. But he watched in vain. Her voice had broken the spell of his long silence, her wild beauty had stirred the sluggish pool of his content, and then she had swept on, lost in the seething current of the subway crowds.

An old friend resurfaces

One night, a week after the Gipsy passed, Nick saw a familiar face peering in at him. It was a loose-mouthed, heavy-jawed face with no self discipline. In a flash of recollection Nick recognized this man. They had bunked together in a slum hotel in San Francisco. Nick usually avoided the out and out hoboes. Shorty had been more congenial than most of his kind. In Nick’s present mood the familiar face was welcome.

“Hello, Shorty,” said Nick.

“H’ar ye, Bo,” grinned Shorty sticking his hand in across the newspapers.

When Nick closed the stand that night Shorty was waiting for him. They had lunch at a hot tamale wagon down in Christopher Street and they sat on a park bench and watched the moon edging over the roofs while Shorty told of his wanderings. Again Nick felt the pull of vagabondage. His mind raced out along an Arizona canyon slivered with moonlight. He heard the sough of the pines, the murmur of prairie grasses, the trickle of water beside a pitch-pine campfire. He crumpled a sooty park leaf in his fingers, and longed for the smell of sage and resin.

Catching up

Nick only half heard the marvelous tale that Shorty related with profane emphasis. He was planning to pack the battered suitcase that lay covered with dust under the cot in his hall bedroom, planning to chuck the news stand and the rewards of a regular income. He had thought of it vaguely before, but the force of habit and the weekly check had held him. But tonight, with the moon rising over the roofs and Shorty chuckling at his elbow, his business acumen had sunk to almost a minus quantity.

Why had he stuck there for the last two years? he asked himself. He had money now, enough to take him to Cuba, to South America, though he had never thought of saving it for that purpose. Well, he was ready at last to leave the noisy glare of his burrow. He had hoarded his savings senselessly like a blind mole storing away food. He had watched the trains pass long enough. He had watched millions of faces without hearing a voice or touching a hand. Restless feet had surged past him, day after day, and he had quietly stuck to his cage, pushing out papers and picking up change.

Yet, under all his eager planning, there lurked a poignant regret. More than he would admit, he had hoped that the Gipsy girl might return sometime and smile and speak to him over the candy counter. It was she who had aroused him from his strange lethargy. But he had a persistent intuition that he would miss her, out along the open trails, for in spite of her Gipsy dress she had seemed a creature of the town. At the thought of missing her, Nick’s heart sank, and his bold resolution ebbed like water.

At water’s edge

“Guess we’d better move on somewheres.” Shorty’s arm was around Nick’s shoulders. Shorty’s corncob pipe was unpleasantly near Nick’s nose. Nick looked up and saw a policeman moored in the offing, swinging his club a shade ostentatiously. They moved on. Over on the Brooklyn waterfront they lighted a driftwood fire. Nick stretched on the ground beside it, unmindful of the fact that his suit had just been cleaned and pressed. In spite of the cheering blaze the wind crept up with a little nagging chill, and Shorty made a tour of investigation along a row of warehouses and returned with a dirty horse blanket. They crept under it together, after arranging some empty boxes to protect themselves and their fire. Nick sniffed the smell of the water and stared blissfully up at the stars.

He heard the waves lapping against the pier, and his drowsy wits went roving. South America, Cuba. Long roads that he had never traveled, blue seas that he had never crossed. Perhaps China and Japan a little later. Strange cities, far ports. That would be his way of life. He rejoiced at the thought of the money he had laid by. When that was gone he would work again, and then he would go on. What had he been thinking of, to sit dreaming behind a counter? He felt a sudden contempt for the Sunday afternoon hikes he had taken around Manhattan, the holiday excursions up in the Bronx. He laughed as he remembered his nonsense about that Gipsy girl.

Shorty stirred sleepily.

“What’s the joke, Bo?” he inquired.

“Nothin’. Jest a-dreamin’, I guess,” murmured Nick.

A new morning

It seemed only a few minutes until he turned on his side and peered out at the sky, reddening beyond the warehouses. Shorty had kept the fire going and Nick felt warm, even with the wind blowing up stronger from the water.

They boiled their coffee in an empty Karo can, munched sandwiches, and watched the bay flashing like a vast opal under the morning sun. Ships crept up the harbor, ferry boats steered a resolute course, motor boats chugged erratically about.

To be continued…

Find out what happens after “A Subway Romance,” Part II. Look for Part III, which brings an end to the tale.

This is a typical Twenties short story. These tales sold magazines by the thousands for a good many years. Sometimes they were serialized, and then released in book form. Often, though, they appeared like this: short, single tales that transported the reader to a different place, time, or situation.

Short Stories · The Magazine Rack

Short Story: A Subway Romance

A 1924 illustration of a woman, dressed in a blouse and skirt, stands before a news stand, gesturing. A dark shawl hangs over her skirt, knotted at the hip, and she wears a silk handkerchief on her head. Illustration from the short story A Subway Romance.
“How much are the chocolate bars?”

Today’s short story, “A Subway Romance” appeared in The American Needlewoman in December, 1924. Written by Rose Henderson, this story is in the public domain. Henderson was an accomplished writer whose stories appeared in several of the story-printing publications of the day.

Keep in mind that this is an antique story, posted as it was written. It is a product of its time. It may contain terms and ideas that we find outdated or offensive. For ease of reading the story will appear here as a three part series. This is Part I of the short story, “A Subway Romance”.

A Subway Romance

To the New York crowds pushing and swirling through the Ninety-Sixth Street subway station, the man in the glass-windowed stall behind the candy, newspapers and magazines was hardly more human than the penny-in-the-slot weighing machines, or the chewing gum boxes with dirty mirrors at their tops and a row of coin slots below. He seemed like another mechanical convenience, a pair of hands that made change deftly or reached down a magazine that somebody pointed out. In the noisy, garish gloom of the subway station people pointed at what they wanted a good deal of the time, or they merely threw down their money and took their choice.

Nick Barnes had arranged his stall to suit the haste and directness of his customers, who, in their turn, were mere marionettes to him. With thousands whirling past him, hour after hour, it was seldom indeed that anyone spoke. They knew the prices of their favorite magazines; and the packages of chewing gum and candy in the pasteboard boxes bore conspicuous price labels. Conversation with the man behind the wares was a needless waste of time and energy. They didn’t even look at him. Rushing from local to express, and from express to local, they saw only his ands and the things he sold.

Even if they waited hectically before his booth watching for the Bronx express to come shrieking in, they looked at the magazine covers and read the newspaper headlines. And their impersonal attitude seemed natural enough to Nick. He was equally indifferent to the crowd, though often lonely for a real friend.

Dreaming in the subway

If anyone had paused to study the face above the deft hands he would have been surprised at the dreamy remoteness of Nick’s long, brown eyes. Looking out over the stampeding crowds, Nick saw strange and remote scenes blossom into life down the dim arch of the subway tunnel. He saw, for instance, a pine-shaded trail leading through the Rocky Mountains, an oil-packed automobile road bordered with lupin and California poppies, a golden expanse of Dakota wheat fields, a sloping-roofed farmhouse, gray with rain. The pictures were dim and elusive, to be sure, but they held Nick’s mind with a kind of placid enchantment while his hands gathered in the pennies for papers and chewing gum.

He had always possessed this facility of detachment, of living in places far remote from his real surroundings. It was a source of much pacific enjoyment, though as a rule the tranquility was broken, sooner or later, by a sudden fling at actual adventuring.

There were boyish wanderings when he deserted the slant-roofed farmhouse and the school across the fields. At first they were one-day excursions, a fishing tour up Gipson’s creek, or blissful idleness in the great meadow behind his father’s barns. For hours at a time he would lie in the clover, looking up at the clouds that flocked across a midsummer sky. Then came the insistent wanderlust of his early manhood and his tramp from Kansas to California, his season in a fisherman’s deserted shack on the Pacific Coast, his gold-hunting period in Alaska.

Singurlarly, his love for the open road was balanced by an almost equal delight in sheltered seclusion. Sometime he had always returned to the old farmhouse, loitered through the grassy orchard, loped along the meadow, helped with the work for a time and then went on again, down the long hill to the main highway, out through the grain-covered prairies to the little town where he took the train, if he happened to have money enough, traveled to a strange neighborhood, worked, dreamed, and traveled on.

Moving to New York

In one of these home visits he found his mother stricken with a sudden severe illness. The doctors recommended a New York specialist. Nick had a little money saved from his Alaska venture. He had always adored his mother. So the two came to New York, she to linger for a year in the specialist’s sanitarium, and Nick to sit dreaming in the underground world of the subway station. She had been dead for two years. Still Nick stayed on, seldom stopping to wonder at his strange docility, only half alive to the swirling activity that isolated his retreat.

But just as it seemed that the city’s intricate energy had caught him like a dazed gnat in the corner of a gigantic web, the latent wanderlust stirred within him. He looked at the pushing mobs and longed to escape them. He became conscious of the narrow confines of this booth and felt foolishly imprisoned. The pictures of his fancy still wavered confusedly along the subway vault, but they no longer soothed him to passivity.

Colors of October

It was a day in early October when the awakening came. The magazine covers were aglow with autumn colors. Women were wearing furs for warmth instead of for style only. The wind blew fresh from the river in the early morning when Nick left his fiurnished room and went down to unlock the news stand. The air in the subway was heavy and chilling. Nick sat humped on his stool behind the candy boxes, skimming through an adventure story. The trains shrieked and clanged and roared through their black-walled caverns. Lights flashed and glared. The crowds poured up and down stairways, pushed in and out of iron doors, swirled about the windows of Nick’s booth, threw down coins for candy or reading matter and swept away, dissolving continually into new eddies and currents.

Nick closed the magazine and remembered the frost-covered leaves around his camp in a Canada forest. He looked up at the subway roof where his memories visualized most effectively, but his eyes were caught by the flare of a crimson sash like a bit of gay foliage in the dark masses of the crowd. It was a Gipsy shawl, worn about lithe hips and knotted at the side. A yellow blouse, a brown skirt, brown stockings and moccasins completed the costume, with a red silk handkerchief forming a cap set jauntily over curly dark hair. The girl was strikingly handsome in the garish costume, with huge gold rings in her ears. She returned Nick’s stare with a keen, level glance that make him flush self consciously.

Then she stepped in front of the little piles of gum and candy.

“How much are the chocolate bars?” she asked.

To be continued…

This short story, “A Subway Romance,” will be continued. Watch for the next installment. Discover what happens with Nick in the short story A Subway Romance.

Browse through another issue of The American Needlewoman at the Internet Archive.

Short Stories · The Magazine Rack

The Little Miser Part 3

The Little Miser, Part 3, concludes this World War I story of home sacrifice and family bonds. Does Hippity-hop’s work on her brother’s behalf go to naught? Does she save him? If you missed the start of this series, you can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

If you enjoy these stories, let me know in the comments. I have hundreds more.

Closeup of Hippity-hop, the main character in The Little Miser short story.
Hippity-hop hoards her wealth.

Our Story, Continued….

Hippity no longer talked to the flowers, the bees, the butterflies, and the chipmunk. Rags was her only confidant. Once or twice, when she knew they were alone, she permitted herself the luxury of tears. Rags understood how she was suffering, and licked her hands and face. He begged her, in dog talk, to unburden her mind, and tell. He wanted her to be happy again. Then they would romp and play with Daddy and big brother Dick and Hippity would laugh aloud when he chased butterflies. 

Hippity-hop struggled through the succeeding days, her definite purpose marooning her from the mainland of sympathy. Muvver and Daddy thought she was a miser. It was best so. What Dick thought she had no way of discovering, but her mind grasped at a straw. Perhaps he would understand that what she was doing was for him.

At the thought a roseate glow of righteousness enveloped her. In a few days the two months would be up, and she would be able to give him the money he needed. He would be free –– free from the persecution of Jerry Stewart, from the danger that Jerry represented! Then he would tell Muvver and Daddy that she wasn’t a miser, that she was a good little girl, and that she did love her country.

But a few days was a long way off. Supposing––and self-sympathy plunged deep into her mind, crowding out less thoughts––supposing she should die before! She had never seen death, but her imagination luxuriated in the picture of her flower-covered lifeless body wept over by a sorrowful family. When she lay dead they would understand how they had wronged her. She worked herself up into an ecstasy of anticipation until she actually believed her days were numbered. The seraphic exaltation inspired by her impending fate was tempered by a very human satisfaction over the grief and remorse her maligners would justly endure. They would learn too late that she had loved them.

But how would they know? There was only one way. Rags would tell, but they wouldn’t understand him. She must leave a letter. They would read the letter. It would make them weep, and then they would wish they had been kinder. 

Her curriculum at school did not include spelling. She almost decided not to die when she thought of the stupendous task the composition of a letter would entail. Yet she had the heroic persistence which overcomes difficulties. She shut herself in her room. The epistle took her the better part of the afternoon. The sheet was wet with tears of self-pity as she wrote:

deer Mother      Ime not a myzer––I luv you and dad and dick and i luv my Kuntree     I sayvd the muny for dick
Your  ded  chile
Elizabeth Browne

She must not incriminate Dick in any way. He would understand, and in his joy at the deliverance he would tell of her noble sacrifice.

She folded the note and put it into her bank.

Two evenings later, the date marked on the calendar with Daddy’s cross, found her still alive and the possessor of nine dollars and thirty-five cents. She was almost sorry that her last will and her dramatic exit from this vale of tears would have to be sacrificed. But Dick would be saved! That was all she wanted.

It was the hour before dinner. Jerry was dining there that evening. With the money tied in a handkerchief she knocked at Dick’s door, and entered. The glory of her accomplishment bathed her cherubic face. Without a word she untied the handkerchief, emptied its contents on Dick’s bed and with shining eyes looked at her brother. 

She expected an explosion of gratitude, but received only a look of mystification and heard a surprised throaty exclamation.

She gasped in a painful effort to enunciate words. Her face became tragic with her purpose. 

“The money––you know––the money––you––for Jerry!”

She broke down.

His face went red and then very white. His throat swelled. His hands trembled as he asked in a strained whisper:

“How did you know?”

“I heard you an’ Jerry in the study. Jerry said you’d have to go to prison, if you didn’t pay him in two months.” Her voice became tense with the horror of her next disclosure. “I heard him ask you to steal the money from Daddy. I knew you wouldn’t do that.”

“And that’s why you saved the money?”

A sad little affirmative nod was all she could manage. Then, with the thought that she had hurt her brother, she ran to him, threw her arms round his neck, and sobbed her heart out on his shoulder. 

“Dick, Dick, give the money to Jerry! I don’t want ‘em to put you in jail!”

Tears gathered in big brother Dick’s eyes as he realized what the poor little thing had gone through for his sake.

He couldn’t talk, but his shoulders squared with a firm resolve as he picked her up and carried her into the dining room, where Muvver and Daddy and Jerry Stewart awaited them.

Tears were still in Dick’s eyes as he held Hippity close, but in his carriage was a manliness which commanded attention.

“Mother––Dad––I’ve come to tell you the truth.”

There was a warning gesture from Jerry, who suddenly paled, but Dick ignored it.

“This blessed baby,” he kissed Hippity’s hand reverently as he spoke, “has been suffering martyrdom for two months on my account. If I had only known that it was my conduct which was causing her sorrow!” Jerry had started nervously on his feet. Dick went on. “I gambled––played poker––with him.” Scornfully Dick made Jerry the target of his gesture. “I lost. I paid him all I had and still owed him eighteen dollars, for which I gave him my IOU. From time to time I paid him what I could. He threatened me with arrest if I didn’t pay all in two months. Tonight the two months are up. I still owe him seven dollars and a half.”

Without a word Daddy took the money from his pocket, handed it to Jerry, who was standing cringingly and sullenly, and pointed to the door. As the door closed on Jerry Stewart the silence was broken by a long, gasping sob of relief from Hippity.

Muvver took the little girl from Dick’s arms. Daddy and she kissed her in reparation for the wrong they had done her.

Dick stood at a distance. He was not fit to join the family circle. Hippity-hop saw him standing shamed, grieved, remorseful. Turning from her mother to her daddy, she spoke imploringly.

“I want you to love Dicky, too.”

Her word had become law. 

Short Stories · The Magazine Rack

The Little Miser Part 2

Welcome to The Little Miser, Part 2. We continue with The Little Miser, a short story by Ray Unger published in 1919. While it was published in January of 1919, it was written during World War I. If you missed Part 1, you can find it here.

A little girl sits on her bed, next to a piggy bank and a calendar. Piles of coins scatter in front of her. A red cross poster is on the wall. Illustration from The Little Miser short story.
Hippity-hop tries to conceal her hoard as she is discoverer by Muvver.

The Little Miser, continued….

Hippity grasped her mother’s skirts and looked pathetically, appealingly into her puzzled eyes. Her words came in a hurried, alarmed, entreating crescendo:

“Oh no, no, no, Muvver! Don’t take me out of school! I want to go to school! I don’t want to stay home! I’ll be polite to Jerry!”

Her excitement increased. Her need was imperative. 

Mother took her up in her arms.

“I want my little girl to be happy. Surely you may stay at school if you wish.”

Hippity cuddled gratefully in her mother’s arms.

In the meantime her hoard was slowly growing. Her calendar told her it was a month since she had overheard the angry words which came through the study window.

Her heart bounded with glad anticipation. She saw the time ahead when she could again help her country.

It was a period of thrift and saving for which Hippity was grateful. Everybody expected little girls to help the war. All the children were taking money to school for the Red Cross. They were nearly all buying Thrift-Stamps. All but her. She had to bear the reproachful looks of her teacher and the scathing denunciation of her patriotic schoolmates. Still her money went into her little bank. Every night after Muvver left her she counted it, and every night she marked her calendar. She wasn’t sure how much she needed, but she would try to find out. 

She waylaid Dick one evening. Her manner with him was gentle and sympathetic. 

“Dicky, if you had all the money you wanted, wouldn’t that be nice?”

“I should say so. Are you going to tell the fairy to give it to me?”

“How much would you like?”

Without hesitation, with a face of imperturbable gravity, he answered.

“I’d want nine dollars and thirty-five cents.”

Her heart bounded with glad anticipation. She saw the time ahead when she could again help her country. Last night, when she counted her hoard, it had totaled six dollars and twenty-three cents.

Next day Miss Whitney, the teacher, called her at recess.

“Elizabeth, your mamma signed the Red Cross Pledge for you, didn’t she?”

The little girl nodded a silent yes.

“But you haven’t been paying lately.”

Elizabeth, nobody can need the money more than your country. It is wrong to save it, or use it for anything else.

Elizabeth looked at her teacher, looked for some sign of sympathy, but met a cold wall of censure. Her heart went dead within her when Miss Whitney continued:

“I know your mother and father wish you to give the money to the Red Cross. I’m sure they didn’t forget to give it to you.”

Elizabeth broke down. She would throw herself on Miss Whitney’s mercy. Her voice was convulsive. Miss Whitney had difficulty in distinguishing the words.

“Muvver – gave – me – the money – and I’m saving it. I can’t ever, ever tell you what for.”

The teacher was moved.

“Elizabeth, nobody can need the money more than your country. It is wrong to save it, or use it for anything else. You’re not a true little American girl if you do.”

Elizabeth’s silence was dogged. Nothing could make her stop saving. But she must hurry – save faster. Nine dollars and thirty-five cents wasn’t so awfully much. It wouldn’t take so very long. If people would only let her alone! Then she could help her flag again. She would sell her hair ribbons. Hadn’t Susie Black offered her an orange for the red one when it came off the other day? She would gather them together and sell them for a penny apiece. All the girls had pennies nowadays. If only Miss Whitney wouldn’t tell Muvver that she wasn’t giving any money to the Red Cross!

But Miss Whitney must have done so. That night, after Muvver had tucked her in bed and left her, Elizabeth took out her bank. She felt secure. Not once had she been disturbed in her nightly task. The coins were strewn over the white counterpane, and Elizabeth was arranging them in systematic piles, when the door quietly opened. Muvver stood in the door looking silently at the little girl, who was clutching the coins and counterpane in a vain effort to hide her occupation. Fear held the child’s heart, but obstinacy veiled her face.

Her face was that of a miser, avid with possession, and fearful lest she be dispossessed of what was rightfully hers.

Mrs. Browne’s startled cry, “Elizabeth!” evoked no response from Hippity-hop – merely a tighter clutching of her hoard.

“What are you doing with that money?”

The little girl gave no answer.

It was a Hippity-hop whom Muvver had never seen who pulled the coverlet and its contents close. Her face was that of a miser, avid with possession, and fearful lest she be dispossessed of what was rightfully hers. Silent until now, as Muvver approached, her expression of fear increased and she let forth a shrill scream which formed into articulate words:

“You shan’t have it! it’s mine!”

In her perturbed state she was praying that Muvver would be angry. If Muvver put her arms around her as she always did when her little girl was in trouble, Hippity might break down at the dear touch, and tell. That she mustn’t, mustn’t do, no matter what happened! She kept saying it over and over to herself. She wanted Muvver to love her, and yet she must make Muvver hate her!

The unhappy little girl’s mind was seething with contradictory thoughts. If Muvver took the money away from her, what then? She thought of big brother Dick and set her teeth. She wouldn’t let Muvver have that money––no! not if she had to fight and scratch and scream! Dick must have it! She was like a hunted creature at bay, fighting for her young.

Her thoughts were interrupted by Muvver’s soothing voice. “Elizabeth, dear, of course it’s your money. Mother doesn’t want it. Tell mother all about it. Tell her what’s troubling her little girl!”

With eyes distended, Hippity watched her mother come close. She mustn’t let Muvver take her in her arms and kiss her. She saw what was coming. Muvver was standing over her, a world of love in her eyes, her arms extended. A touch of the loved hands, and Hippity would be lost!

“No, I won’t! Don’t touch me! I just want my money! I don’t want to give it to the Red Cross! I want it myself!” 

Her voice was raucous with excitement.

Mother was nonplused. The child was too agitated to be argued with, too irresponsible to be punished. There was nothing to do but leave the room. She looked in later, before retiring. Elizabeth was asleep, the little face flushed, the hands tight, the lips now and then muttering indistinguishable words.

In the morning Hippity’s heart was thumping, but she presented a stolid appearance. She knew Muvver would discover that the hair ribbons were missing, and question her. She must show care. When Muvver put the expected question, Hippity at first refused to answer. When Muvver insisted, she curtly responded:

“I sold ‘em. I want the money.”

Mrs. Browne’s tone abruptly changed from love and distress to censure. It was a case for discipline. 

“Elizabeth, if there is anything you want to buy with that money, tell mother. I must know! If you won’t tell me, tell Daddy.”

Her request was met with silence. 

“You will, won’t you? You know Muvver and Daddy love you, and would do anything for you.”

Muvver was again speaking in the affectionate tone that Hippity feared. She must make her change it.

This was a danger which Hippity had not foreseen. She mustn’t let Muvver’s tears move her.

She muttered between her lips, her voice a monotone, her face surly and unresponsive.

“I don’t want to buy anything. I just want the money.”

“Then I’ll have to believe that my little girl is a miser. She doesn’t love her daddy and mother and brother; she doesn’t love her country; she loves only money.”

In her extremity the tears gathered in Muvver’s eyes.

This was a danger which Hippity had not foreseen. She mustn’t let Muvver’s tears move her. She didn’t trust her voice. A mask of imperturbable composure hid her inner trembling. She wished Muvver wouldn’t cry. If Muvver cried she didn’t know how she could hold out. But she would –– she would hold out forever! If she told, what would become of Dick?

Mother sent to Miss Whitney the Red Cross money that Hippity owed. She discontinued questioning the child, but Hippity knew she was being watched. 

Till next time….

Discover the end to this thrilling tale in the next blog post.

These stories were short enough to read at one sitting, but rather long when posted to a blog. Dividing it into several shorter segments gives enough to keep up with the story, but allows the reader to stop and pick up with the next segment if time is short.

One or two of these stories fit perfectly with a fresh cup of hot coffee or tea. Thanks for sticking with me through The Little Miser, Part 2, and I hope you enjoy Part 3.

Short Stories · The Magazine Rack

The Little Miser from 1919

In an earlier blog post I talked about the lure of the Twentieth Century magazine stand. You can read that post here. Today begins a three-part post where I give you one of the stories from World War I: The Little Miser, by Ray Unger. The story was illustrated by Edmund Frederick. Although The Little Miser dates from 1919, it was written during the war itself. The illustration dates from 1916. Enjoy this dip into magazines’ literary past with The Little Miser from 1919.

1916 illustration of little girl counting money on her bed while her mother looks on. A red cross poster hangs above her bed.
Muvver catches Hippity-hop counting her pennies when she should be asleep.

The Little Miser

by Ray Unger

A loud, angry exclamation which came through the open study window produced upon Hippity-Hop the effect of a physical blow. She started back, clutching Rags tightly. Her frightened blue eyes grew black. Her lips parted as she sharply released her breath. Rags snapped an answering bark, but Hippity-Hop’s warning finger quieted him. The child and the Skye terrier understood each other. 

Words of recrimination hot as live coals dropped from Jerry Stewart’s lips. It was hard to believe! Jerry’s image rose before her as she listened in horror. He was a big, reticent youth whose beetling black brows overshadowed deeper gray eyes. She had thought him her brother Dick’s friend, but friends didn’t use such ugly words to each other. At his denunciation a hitherto unknown passion was born in her soul – a strong hate of the young man who dared assail dear, kind, big brother Dick in this unwarrantable fashion – Dick, who loved everybody and whom everybody loved. When she heard Dick, who was afraid of nothing, answer in trembling tones of fear, she marveled. A hard look came into her eye as the conversation continued. The voices ceased. The wedge of reality had pierced her soul. Laughing, singing Hippity-hop Sunbeam, who spent much of her time talking to the flowers, the butterflies, the birds, and the chipmunks, became a responsible Elizabeth.

To big brother Dick she was “Hippity-hop,” to Daddy she was “Sunbeam,” but Muvver called her Elizabeth. The combination of names gives one a fair idea of six-year-old Elizabeth Ellison Browne.

She knew now why he was pale and silent, why Jerry Stewart haunted him like a shadow.

Only this afternoon she had romped with Rags. She had grown tired and was now sitting under the study window. Snub-nosed, happy, and elusive as a flea, but with less responsibility than that insect, the presence of Hippity-hop Sunbeam had brought gladness to the Browne household. Muvver encouraged the sedate company manners of Elizabeth and was answerable for the tight little pigtails done in a pretzel, with the concession to Hippity-hop Sunbeam of two huge red bows. The buds of the old-fashioned Berkeley garden had seemed to expand their chalices to drink in the merriment of her laughter and the rhythm of her dancing footsteps. She had vied with the sunshine in shedding brightness.

Now all was changed. She spoke to Rags in a whisper:

“Rags, we mustn’t tell anybody!”

Her bright cherubic face was contorted with dread.

Silently she went into the house. Her eyes sought big brother Dick. She knew now why he was pale and silent, why Jerry Stewart haunted him like a shadow. Muvver and Daddy thought he was studying too hard. She had heard Muvver tell Daddy.

Clenching her little fists and tightening her lips, she muttered:

“I mustn’t, mustn’t ever tell!”

Her ready laugh did not come, but she smiled politely with her lips at Daddy’s jokes. Daddy and Muvver looked concernedly at each other, and then at her. The usual after-dinner romp was dispensed with when Daddy realized Hippity-hop Sunbeam’s half-hearted attempt to show her enjoyment. 

Muvver carried the child off to bed. Bedtime was the hour of confidences between the two. She questioned her little daughter, but her questions elicited no answers. Elizabeth’s pulse was normal, her throat could not have been better; there was no fever, no sign of illness. Reassured by her investigations, Muvver tucked the little girl in bed after hearing her simple prayer. 

Hippity-hop listened as her mother’s footsteps descended the stairs, threw the covers back, sprang from bed, took her bank from the bureau drawer, and hurried back to bed. After listening furtively for any interruption, she emptied it of its contents and started counting the money. That was a laborious task. The nickels and dimes were easy enough, but the pennies and quarters and one half dollar puzzled her. She knew she had to do it alone. Rags was the only one who knew, and he couldn’t help her. After several attempts she counted out four dollars and ninety cents. That was a beginning. The Red Cross would have to do without her money. She couldn’t help it. Her throat constricted with the thought. 

She carried her calendar carefully to her room. By marking each day as it passed, she would be able to work more intelligently toward the fulfillment of her plan.

When Muvver looked in before going to her room, a blanket-tossed bed gave evidence of Elizabeth’s restlessness, but Elizabeth was asleep. 

Next morning a serious problem assailed Hippity-hop. Jerry had said he would give Dick two months. How would she know when the two months were up? A solution came to her. She would ask Daddy for a calendar. If he asked her why she wanted it, she mustn’t tell him.

As Daddy was leaving, he made matters easier by saying as he kissed her:

“Well, Sunbeam, what shall Daddy bring home for his little girl?”

“I’d like a nice calendar with big black numbers on it.”

Daddy laughed heartily.

“Your modest wish refutes the feminine reputation for extravagant demands.”

That night, when Daddy gave her the calendar, she asked:

“Will you put a cross on yesterday?”

Daddy acceded to her wish, at the same time asking the dreaded question. “Why?”

Hippity was prepared. She hadn’t pondered all day for nothing.

“Yesterday Susie Black said she was going to have a birthday in two months. When’s two months?”

Unsuspectingly Daddy was led into the trap. He put a cross on the important date. 

She carried her calendar carefully to her room. By marking each day as it passed, she would be able to work more intelligently toward the fulfillment of her plan.

Hippity-hop knew they were all watching her, knew that she must not divulge her secret, and her need enveloped her perturbation in a husk of unconscious theatrical effort. The crystal transparency of her soul was befogged by a hidden purpose. 

Dick had grown even more quiet and serious. He and Jerry didn’t play tennis so often, nor did Jerry come to the house quite so frequently. There was a constraint between the boys when they were together. Hippity-hop found it an effort to be polite to the sullen, glowering youth when he came. She could not forgive him; she blamed him for the change in her dear brother, her teasing, romping, laughing Dick, who had become silent, morose, furtive. When Jerry did come, Dick and he remained closeted in the study. They said they had to dig for examinations. Muvver and Daddy believed them, but Hippity-hop, although she heard no more angry words, knew better.

Muvver chided her gently when she discovered her standing indeterminately first on one foot, then the other, her hands locked behind, her face, unmantled of courtesy, obviously expressing repulsion. Jerry’s hand was extended to her in welcome.

“Shake hands with Jerry, Elizabeth.”

Coldly, distrustfully, she allowed her hand to rest in Jerry’s for a moment. 

Mother looked at the little girl reproachfully, and apologetically addressed Jerry.

“Elizabeth hasn’t been very well lately. I’m worried about her. Her father and I have been seriously considering taking her out of school for a while.”

Fear clutched the child’s heart. She would have to pull herself together. Taking her out of school would mean being deprived of the money which Muvver gave her for the Red Cross and Thrift stamps.

To be continued…

This story continues in the next two blog posts. Click the title to see The Little Miser Part 2.

History · Short Stories · The Magazine Rack

Cinderella Confesses Everything: Part 2

Today I give you the rest of the story. We haven’t even gotten to the confession part yet! But first, a little more background. If you haven’t read the first half of the story, start here.

When G. Lynn Sumner helped to create and release this story for the women’s periodicals of 1919, this was a gamble. No one had ever tried to sell with a story before. Today it’s become so commonplace that we view it as cliché. Back then, however, it was new.

And how did it work? Over the next few years, running these full-page story advertisements, the company brought in over 12 million dollars… from a product that cost its purchaser $61. However, that $61 had the buying power of nearly $1,000 in 2021 dollars. So this was no small investment for a person who wanted to either cut costs or start her own shop as an entrepreneur.

But how did it work for the women who sent their money to this school? Was it a waste of their time, energy and resources? Actually, the program really did work. One of their 1920s newsletters, sent to students and graduates of the program, lists several Apprentice Wanted ads from graduates who set up dressmaking shops in their own towns and now needed extra help. The newsletters also printed real letters from students that told of how much money they saved on clothing. Some families saved from 1/3 to 1/2 of their annual clothing budget by designing and making clothing at home.

Even though these stories were fictional, and the women reading them probably knew the magazine ads weren’t true, the stories spoke to felt needs of the readers: an inability to fit in; loneliness; desperation over finances; feeling less-than or socially inept. In the world right after World War I, where sickness seemed to go wherever it wanted and prices continued to climb, these feelings were real and tangible. And in some small way, the Institute provided a glimmer of hope.

Enough of the numbers. On with the story.

Closeup pencil sketch of Twenties Cinderella entering the workroom.
Cinderella enters the room.

Cinderella continued…

Never will I forget that Wednesday evening. It was the most wonderful of our lives! We had never seen our Cinderella looking quite so sweet, so beautiful. And such a dinner as she gave us! After dinner she took us all through her new home and then, gathering us before a great log fire in the living room, she told us her story: 

“Of course you all know what a wretched, forlorn creature I was when I first came to the office, she began. That is all past now and I have blotted out of my memory the heartaches of those first cruel weeks when my shabby attire made me a fit subject for ridicule. 

“I had never known what it meant to have stylish, becoming clothes. My home was in a little cross-roads town in Iowa. My mother died when I was a mere child and my father brought me up in a good, substantial home, but with never an opportunity to get out and see how other girls lived. I had no chance to learn the things about clothes that would have been familiar to most girls of my age. 

“Two years ago father died, and when his affairs had been straightened out there was only a few hundred dollars left. So I went to Benton City and took stenography at the business school there. As soon as I had finished my course I came here and within two days had secured a position at Warners. 

“And now for my confession. At the office for the first time in my life I realized how different I was from the other girls. I saw that I was not one of you. I did not know how to make myself attractive. And i felt it. At first I was tempted to give up and go back to the little country town i had left. But one night at the boarding-house a young woman whom i had to secretly admired, but never spoken to, slipped her arm through mine after dinner and said, “Come up to my room, child. I want to talk to you.

“Once in her room she looked down at me with the kindest smile, and said, ‘I am Louise Stewart. I have the little dress-making shop on Wilcox Square that you pass on your way to the office. Two years ago I couldn’t sew a stitch. Today folks say I’m the best designer and dressmaker in this city. And I learned all about planning and making fashionable clothes – right in my own room evenings.’ 

“‘I have seen you going to your room every night,’ she continued. ‘How would you like to use some of your evenings learning to make stylish, charming dresses for yourself, garments that will be a delight to wear, wonderful dresses, waists and suits that will surprise your friends.’ 

“‘Oh, tell me how!’ I fairly gasped.

You may doubt your ability to do it. Never fear. So did I.

“‘Sit right down now,’ she said, ‘and write a little note to the Woman’s Institute and simply tell them that you would like to learn to make your own clothes.’ 

“She gave me the address and told me this great Institute had developed a wonderful plan by which any woman or girl, wherever she might live, could learn right in her home or boarding place, in spare time, to make all her own clothes and hats.

“‘You may doubt your ability to do it,’ she said. ‘Never fear. So did I. But come into my shop someday and see the dresses I make!’

“I hurried to my room, wrote the letter, and mailed it at the corner 20 minutes later. And that night I dreamed I was making and wearing more beautiful clothes than I had ever seen on living people, and that every one liked me! 

“In a few days an attractive, illustrated booklet came, telling me about the Woman’s Institute and its 45,000 members. The booklet contained many wonderful letters from these members praising the work of the Institute and telling how easily they had learned at home to make their own clothes. There were letters from housewives, business women, girls at home or in school, girls in stores, shops and offices. And there were, oh, so many letters from mothers who poured out their thanks because the Institute had taught them how to have dainty clothes for themselves and their little ones at a mere fraction of what they had cost before!  

“Many others wrote that the Institute had made it possible for them to take up dressmaking and millinery as a business. Some now have important positions in big, fashionable city shops; others, like Louise Stewart, are making money in cozy, exclusive shops of their own. Still others have secured good-paying positions as teachers of sewing and dressmaking. 

There are girls of 15 or 16 and women of 50 or 60.

“The Institute members, I found, are of all ages. There are girls of 15 or 16 and women of 50 or 60. The majority live in the United States, but there are hundreds in Canada and in foreign lands — all learning dressmaking or millinery at home just as successfully as if they were together in a classroom! 

“Well, when I read all those letters and then read in detail about the plan by which the Institute teaches, I knew that, what all these other thousands of women and girls could do, I could do. 

“So, without telling anyone, I joined the Institute and took up dressmaking. I could scarcely wait until my first lesson came. And when at last I found it on the table in the hall one night, I carried it upstairs to my room and opened it as if it were a love letter! Turning the pages, I looked at the wonderful pictures! There are nearly 2000 in the dressmaking course alone and they illustrate perfectly just exactly what to do. 

“And the delightful part of it is that almost at once you start making garments. Why, that little blue organdie waist you admired so much I made from my third lesson! The course can easily be completed in a few months by studying an hour a day. I found my couldn’t help learning rapidly! The textbooks seem to foresee and explain everything. And the teachers take just as personal an interest as if they were right beside you. 

“And what was most important to me, I learned not only how to make every kind of garment, but I learned what colors and fabrics were most appropriate for me, how to develop those little touches that make clothes distinctively becoming to the wearer.  My course opened up a whole new world to me. When, after just a few lessons, I finished my first dress and stood before the mirror, I hardly recognized myself. I was tempted to wear it the next morning to the office, but I determined to keep my skill a secret until I had enough new things made so that I would never need to wear the old ones again. 

“The lessons followed each other so naturally that I was soon working on difficult dresses and suits. Gradually, I learned to copy models I saw in the shop windows, on the street, or in fashion magazines. Every step was so clearly explained that the things I had always thought only a professional dressmaker could develop were perfectly easy for me!

“Luckily, I began my studies in the summer time and by fall I had more and prettier clothes than I had ever seen before in my life, and they cost me only one fourth of what ordinary clothes would have cost ready made. I couldn’t possibly have had them any other way. 

“A little while after starting the dressmaking I had taken up millinery, too, and soon I was making and trimming hats such as I have been wearing lately. And so, just a few months from the eventful night when Louise Stewart told me about the Institute, I walked in on you that morning — in the results of my evenings of delightful secret study.

 “My wedding clothes! You girls saw them before dinner – did you ever see any more beautiful? Well, I made every stitch myself — a whole section of my course was devoted to complete directions for planning and making a bride’s entire outfit. I didn’t have the least bit of trouble – even with my wedding dress.

“So that’s my confession. The rest of my story you know – what a wonderful change this made in my life – how friends and happiness seemed to follow close upon the change in my appearance that lead you to call me Cinderella. I adore that name! The whole thing is like a fairy story! But of one thing I am sure — I owe it all to the Woman’s Institute. “

The page goes on to explain how the reader, too, can see the same or similar results as Cinderella if she will only take the time to complete the tiny interest form at the bottom of the page. Many women did. And many learned to sew their own clothing. Foundation garments like corsets were still purchased, and stockings were bought ready made, but the Institute told its students how to make every other article of clothing they needed, from underwear to a wedding trousseau. And the women, by and large, learned the skills they set out to master.

History · Short Stories · The Magazine Rack

It Takes a Story to Reach a Nation, or Cinderella Confesses Everything

The year was 1919, and a company was about to try something new in the world of advertising. Known as the Woman’s Home Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences, it was trying to reach women who were interested in learning how to sew, cook, or make their own hats at home.

Some of them were teachers who needed to look presentable but received little money to make that happen. Others worked in the offices of the cities, and found that after the month’s room and board were paid, they had little left for the luxuries of life. Most were housewives old and new. Some longed for an artistic outlet outside the home, while others needed a little help to make ends meet.

They had only been in business for three years, as an offshoot of a larger correspondance school. Here Mary Brooks Picken served as Director of Instruction. She wrote most of the manuals used in the courses. She had a passion for helping women to succeed in the places they could. And students were enrolling, but it was slow. Then one night the president of the Institute, G. Lynn Sumner, decided to take a chance. Try something entirely different. He, along with the advertising firm that worked with the school, decided to tell a story designed to gather students. Their first story was called Cinderella’s Confession and it was so successful that they used it over, and over, and over. In time this story appeared in most of the popular women’s magazines of 1919-1925. Here it is.

I’m giving you the first half this time, and you’ll find the second half in the next post. These stories each completely filled a page with tiny magazine text, with only a black and white illustration and a small coupon to break the sea of type.

Pencil sketch of a woman entering an office of secretaries in 1920.
In walked a wonderfully radiant creature in the neatest, prettiest, most becoming dress you ever saw.

Cinderella’s Confession

The story of how a shabby little stranger
became the best dressed girl in our town

Her real name was Enid, and I’ll never forget how she looked that first morning! When she came in the door the whole office stopped and stared and – I am ashamed to say it – we grinned. That dress – I suppose it had been stylish once, about five years before! Its tired-out bronze color made her face look even paler than it was and it fit her as if it had been made for a big sister. A faded old-rose toque set dejectedly upon her mass of unruly yellow hair. She was a picture – so shabby and forlorn that I pitied her! 

We all thought she’d gotten into the office by mistake. But she hung up her hat and made herself at home at Sarah Long’s old desk. And there she quietly did her work for months – always the office mystery and always an object of pity among the rest of the girls at Warner’s. Hartley, the office manager, told us all he knew about her – an orphan from a little town in Iowa – that was her story in a nutshell. She roomed alone, and in the office and out she kept to herself. The truth was you just couldn’t invite her out – in those clothes. And so we simply came to regard her as an office fixture that nobody quite understood.

Then one morning, early in the fall, Enid gave the office its second shock – a more surprising one, if possible, then the first. Everybody was on time that morning – except Enid. We spent the first few minutes after the bell rang wondering where she could be. But by 9 o’clock we had all nicely settled down to work and the typewriters were clicking like mad when the door opened and in walked a wonderfully radiant creature in the neatest, prettiest, most becoming dress you ever saw and a charming hat you just knew had been made for that little blonde head!

Every typewriter stopped as if by magic.

Every typewriter stopped as if by magic, and two dozen audible murmurs of admiration registered the effect on that office full of girls. Hartley looked up from a sheet of figures with a frown, then smoothed down what hair he had with one hand, yanked off his spectacles with the other, and rose to learn the caller’s business. He was halfway between his desk and the door before the young lady who had caused all the commotion smilingly removed her hat, and we realized for the first time that it was Enid!

No one in the office could keep her mind on her work the rest of that morning. After months of the shabby bronze dress, the old-rose toque, this was too much! And no one ever realized before how pretty Enid really was. But in her new attire she was simply a new creature. The transformation was so complete that even the old name didn’t fit, and it just seemed natural that from that day we should call her “Cinderella.”

Next morning, Cinderella was dressed just as tastefully in another charming dress. She had evidently worn the old outfit until she was ready to give us a steady surprise, because after that her dresses, waists, skirts and hats were always becoming and stylish to the last degree. 

I never saw such a complete and sudden change in the attitude of a lot of girls. Cinderella, instead of being ignored, became the pet of the whole office. The girls consulted her about their clothes, beaux, and other things. She was deluged with invitations. Her costumes were admired in and out of the office and she was the envy of every girl in the place. 

Gradually she became popular in the social life of the town. She was in constant demand at parties and dances. Cinderella, the little stranger, had taken the town by storm and all because of her magic transformation from shabby attire to radiant, becoming clothes. 

One Saturday in December, as we were all leaving the office, Cinderella called us together. 

“Girls!” she said. “I’ve a secret to tell you. This is my last day at the office. I’m going to marry Tom Warner next Monday!” 

Tom! Cinderella was certainly living up to her reputation for surprises. Tom was the oldest son of the boss and one of the most promising young men in town. We could hardly believe our ears, but a moment later she stepped into Tom Warner’s big gray limousine and was whisked out of sight. 

None of us dreamed how much Cinderella would be missed in that office. We would gather into little clusters after lunch and recall her coming to the place and what a wonderful change had come over her and all the rest of us when she blossomed out in distinctive clothes that made her attractive, beautiful and lovable. 

Then one morning Dan Hartley found in his mail a dainty scented envelope bearing a gold monogram. He opened it, called us all around him and read: 

Dear Girls and Boys: I’m coming home tomorrow and I miss you all so much that you’re to be the very first guests at our new home. I want you all to come out to 301 Arlington Avenue next Wednesday evening. Come right up from the office and don’t bother about Sunday togs. I’m going to make my confession and I don’t want any of you to miss it. With love, Cinderella.