"We are very glad to welcome you to the McKee family," was what was written

on the pad.

"Very happy, indeed, to be with you," wrote back Le Moyne--and realized

with a sort of shock that he meant it.

The kindly greeting had touched him. The greeting and the breakfast

cheered him; also, he had evidently made some headway with Tillie.

"Don't you want a toothpick?" she asked, as he went out.

In K.'s previous walk of life there had been no toothpicks; or, if there

were any, they were kept, along with the family scandals, in a closet. But

nearly a year of buffeting about had taught him many things. He took one,


and placed it nonchalantly in his waistcoat pocket, as he had seen the

others do.

Tillie, her rush hour over, wandered back into the kitchen and poured

herself a cup of coffee. Mrs. McKee was reweighing the meat order.

"Kind of a nice fellow," Tillie said, cup to lips--"the new man."

"Week or meal?"

"Week. He'd be handsome if he wasn't so grouchy-looking. Lit up some when

Mr. Wagner sent him one of his love letters. Rooms over at the Pages'."

Mrs. McKee drew a long breath and entered the lam stew in a book.

"When I think of Anna Page taking a roomer, it just about knocks me over,

Tillie. And where they'll put him, in that little house--he looked thin,

what I saw of him. Seven pounds and a quarter." This last referred, not

to K. Le Moyne, of course, but to the lamb stew.

"Thin as a fiddle-string."

"Just keep an eye on him, that he gets enough." Then, rather ashamed of

her unbusinesslike methods: "A thin mealer's a poor advertisement. Do you

suppose this is the dog meat or the soup scraps?"

Tillie was a niece of Mrs. Rosenfeld. In such manner was most of the

Street and its environs connected; in such wise did its small gossip start

at one end and pursue its course down one side and up the other.

"Sidney Page is engaged to Joe Drummond," announced Tillie. "He sent her a

lot of pink roses yesterday."

There was no malice in her flat statement, no envy. Sidney and she, living

in the world of the Street, occupied different spheres. But the very

lifelessness in her voice told how remotely such things touched her, and

thus was tragic. "Mealers" came and went--small clerks, petty tradesmen,

husbands living alone in darkened houses during the summer hegira of wives.

Various and catholic was Tillie's male acquaintance, but compounded of good

fellowship only. Once, years before, romance had paraded itself before her

in the garb of a traveling nurseryman--had walked by and not come back.

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