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The Girl And The Habit
by [?]

During a brisk luncheon hour Miss Merriam’s conversation, while she took money for checks, would run something like this:

“Good morning, Mr. Haskins–sir?–it’s natural, thank you–don’t be quite so fresh. . . Hello, Johnny–ten, fifteen, twenty–chase along now or they’ll take the letters off your cap. . . Beg pardon–count it again, please–Oh, don’t mention it. . . Vaudeville?–thanks; not on your moving picture–I was to see Carter in Hedda Gabler on Wednesday night with Mr. Simmons. . . ‘Scuse me, I thought that was a quarter. . . Twenty-five and seventy-five’s a dollar–got that ham-and-cabbage habit yet. I see, Billy. . . Who are you addressing? –say–you’ll get all that’s coming to you in a minute. . . Oh, fudge! Mr. Bassett–you’re always fooling–no–? Well, maybe I’ll marry you some day–three, four and sixty-five is five. . . Kindly keep them remarks to yourself, if you please. . . Ten cents? –‘scuse me; the check calls for seventy–well, maybe it is a one instead of a seven. . . Oh, do you like it that way, Mr. Saunders?– some prefer a pomp; but they say this Cleo de Merody does suit refined features. . . and ten is fifty. . . Hike along there, buddy; don’t take this for a Coney Island ticket booth. . . Huh?–why, Macy’s–don’t it fit nice? Oh, no, it isn’t too cool–these light- weight fabrics is all the go this season. . . Come again, please– that’s the third time you’ve tried to–what?–forget it–that lead quarter is an old friend of mine. . . Sixty-five?–must have had your salary raised, Mr. Wilson. . . I seen you on Sixth Avenue Tuesday afternoon, Mr. De Forest–swell?–oh, my!–who is she? . . . What’s the matter with it?–why, this ain’t South America. . . Yes, I like the mixed best–Friday?–awfully sorry, but I take my jiu- jitsu lesson on Friday–Thursday, then. . . Thanks–that’s sixteen times I’ve been told that this morning–I guess I must be beautiful. . . Cut that out, please–who do you think I am? . . . Why, Mr. Westbrook–do you really think so?–the idea!–one–eighty and twenty’s a dollar–thank you ever so much, but I don’t ever go automobile riding with gentlemen–your aunt?–well, that’s different–perhaps. . . Please don’t get fresh–your check was fifteen cents, I believe–kindly step aside and let. . . Hello, Ben–coming around Thursday evening?–there’s a gentleman going to send around a box of chocolates, and . . . forty and sixty is a dollar, and one is two . . .”

About the middle of one afternoon the dizzy goddess Vertigo–whose other name is Fortune–suddenly smote an old, wealthy and eccentric banker while he was walking past Hinkle’s, on his way to a street car. A wealthy and eccentric banker who rides in street cars is–move up, please; there are others.

A Samaritan, A Pharisee, a man and a policeman who were first on the spot lifter Banker McRamsey and carried him into Hinkle’s restaurant. When the aged but indestructible banker opened his eyes he saw a beautikful vision bending over him with a pitiful, tender smile, bathing his forehead with beef tea and chafing his hands with something frapp’e out of a chafing-dish. Mr. McRamsey sighed, lost a vest button, gazed with deep gratitude upon his fair preserveress, and then recovered consciousness.

To the Seaside Library all who are anticipating a romance! Banker McRamsey had an aged and respected wife, and his sentiments toward Miss Merriam were fatherly. He talked to her for half an hour with interest–not the kind that went with his talks during business hours. The next day he brought Mrs. McRamsey down to see her. The old couple were childless–they had only a married daughter living in Brooklyn.

To make a short story shorter, the beautiful cashier won the hearts of the good old couple. They came to Hinkle’s again and again; they invited her to their old-fashioned but splendid home in one of the East Seventies. Miss Merriam’s winning loveliness, her sweet frankness and impulsive heart took them by storm. They said a hundred times that Miss Merriam reminded them so much of their lost daughter. The Brooklyn matron, n’ee Ramsey, had the figure of Buddha and a face like the ideal of an art photographer. Miss Merriam was a combination of curves, smiles, rose leaves, pearls, satin and hair-tonic posters. Enough of the fatuity of parents.