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faint, impersonal professional smile
that seemed to cover something like
weariness or contempt.
When the display was over Piatt
seemed to hesitate? -Zizzbaum was a
little anxious, thinking that his cus
tomer might be inclined to try else
where. But Piatt was only looking"
over in his mind the best building
sites in Cactus City, trying to select
one on which to build a house for
wife-to-be who waa just then in the
dressing-room taking off an evening
gown of lavender and tulle.
"Take your time, Mr. Piatt," said
Zizzbaum. "Think it over tonight.
You won't find anybody else meet our
prices on goods like these. I'm afraid
you're having a dull time in New
York, Mr. Piatt. A young man like
-,ou of course, you miss the society
qf the ladies. Wouldn't you like a
nice young lady to take out to dinner
this evening? Miss Asher, now, is a
very nice young lady; she will make
it agreeable for you."
"yhy, she doesn't know me," said
Piatt', wonderingly. "She doesn't
know anything about me. Would
she go? I'm not acquainted with
'Would she go?" repeated Zizz
baum, with uplifted eyebrows. "Sure,
she would go. I will introduce you.
Sure she would go."
He called Miss Asher loudly.
She came, calm and slightly con
temptuous, in her white shirt waist
and plain black skirt.
"Mr. Piatt would like the pleasure
of your company to dinner this even
ing," said Zizzbaum, walking away.
"Sure," said Miss Asher, looking at
the ceiling. "I'd be much pleased.
Nme-eleven West Twentieth street.
"Say 7 o'clock."
"All right, but please don't come
ahead of time. I room with a school
teacher, and she doesn't allow any
gentlemen to call in the room. There
isn't any parlor, so you'll have to wait
ih the -halL I'll be ready."
At half-past 7 Piatt and MisS'Asher
sat at a table in a Broadway restau
rant. She was dressed in a plain,
filmy black. Piatt didn't know that
it was all a part of her day's work.
With the unobtrusive aid of a good
waiter he managed to order a respec
table dinner minus the usual Broad
Miss Asher flashed upon him a daz
"Mayn't I have something to
drink?" she asked.
"Why, certainly," said Piatt. "Any
thing you want."
"A dry Martini," she said to the
When it was brought and set be
fore her Piatt reached over and took
"What is this?" he asked.
"A cocktail, of course."
"I thought it was some kind of ta
you ordered. This is liquor. You
can'-t drink this. What is your first
"To my intimate friends," sajd
Miss Asher, freezingly, "it is
'Helen.' " i
"Listen, Helen," said Piatt, leaning
over the table. For many years
every time the spring flowers blos
somed out on the prairies I got to
thinking of somebody that I'd never
seen or heard of. I knew it was you
the minute I saw you yesterday I'm
going back home tomorrow, and
you're going with me1.. I know it, for
I saw it in your eyes when 'you first
looked at me. You needn't kick, for
you've got to fall into line. Here's a
little trick I picked out for you on my
He flicked a two-carat diamond
solitare ring across the table. Miss
Asher flipped it back to him with her
"Don't get fresh," she said, se
"I'm worth a hundred thousand
dollars," said Piatt. "Ill build you
the finest house in West Texas."
"You can't buy me, Mr. Buyer,"
said Miss Asher, "lf-you.had'a hun
dred Eaillion. I didn't thinlr I'd! have
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