Late September had come, with the Street, after its summer indolence taking

up the burden of the year. At eight-thirty and at one the school bell

called the children. Little girls in pig-tails, carrying freshly sharpened

pencils, went primly toward the school, gathering, comet fashion, a tail of

unwilling brothers as they went.

An occasional football hurtled through the air. Le Moyne had promised the

baseball club a football outfit, rumor said, but would not coach them

himself this year. A story was going about that Mr. Le Moyne intended to

go away.

The Street had been furiously busy for a month. The cobblestones had gone,


and from curb to curb stretched smooth asphalt. The fascination of writing

on it with chalk still obsessed the children. Every few yards was a

hop-scotch diagram. Generally speaking, too, the Street had put up new

curtains, and even, here and there, had added a coat of paint.

To this general excitement the strange case of Mr. Le Moyne had added its

quota. One day he was in the gas office, making out statements that were

absolutely ridiculous. (What with no baking all last month, and every

Sunday spent in the country, nobody could have used that amount of gas.

They could come and take their old meter out!) And the next there was the

news that Mr. Le Moyne had been only taking a holiday in the gas

office,--paying off old scores, the barytone at Mrs. McKee's hazarded!--and

that he was really a very great surgeon and had saved Dr. Max Wilson.

The Street, which was busy at the time deciding whether to leave the old

sidewalks or to put down cement ones, had one evening of mad excitement

over the matter,--of K., not the sidewalks,--and then had accepted the new


But over the news of K.'s approaching departure it mourned. What was the

matter with things, anyhow? Here was Christine's marriage, which had

promised so well,--awnings and palms and everything,--turning out badly.

True, Palmer Howe was doing better, but he would break out again. And

Johnny Rosenfeld was dead, so that his mother came on washing-days, and

brought no cheery gossip; but bent over her tubs dry-eyed and silent--even

the approaching move to a larger house failed to thrill her. There was

Tillie, too. But one did not speak of her. She was married now, of

course; but the Street did not tolerate such a reversal of the usual

processes as Tillie had indulged in. It censured Mrs. McKee severely for

having been, so to speak, and accessory after the fact.

The Street made a resolve to keep K., if possible. If he had shown any

"high and mightiness," as they called it, since the change in his estate,

it would have let him go without protest. But when a man is the real

thing,--so that the newspapers give a column to his having been in the city

almost two years,--and still goes about in the same shabby clothes, with

the same friendly greeting for every one, it demonstrates clearly, as the

barytone put it, that "he's got no swelled head on him; that's sure."

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