University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The Literature Collection

Page View

Armstrong, Margaret (ed.) / The Wisconsin magazine
Volume XI, Number 6 (March 1914)

Morsell, Mary P.
Lost--a La Valliere,   pp. eight-nine

Page eight

       Lost---A   La Valliere
            Mary P. Morsell '17
          HE nosiy street was thronged
   ET t     with an impatient, jostling
            crowd   of   workers,   who
            streamed in appalling numbers
from every factory, department store, and
office building. Although all grades of so-
ciety were represented in this motley throng,
the common purpose of satisfying the needs
of the inner man animated each one. Some
waited impatiently for the already over-
,crowded street cars; others filled to over-
flowing the numerous dairy and quick
lunches whose windows displayed such a
tempting array of fruits, cake and pastry.
   Resolutely turning aside from all such
culinary snares for the pocketbook, Mamie
Callahan threaded her way through the
crowd to a plate glass show case which dis-
played articles of more interest than even
fruit or cake. Mamie's eyes, skilled through
a week's practice, quickly fastened upon a
glittering rhinestone La Valliere whose
ordinary brilliance was increased a hundred
fold by myriad red electric lights which the
clever jewelry firm employed in their show
case to add luster to the cheap goods they
carried. A thrill of possession already
swept over Mamie as she felt the dimes and
quarters now swelling her usually slender
purse. A week's sacrifice of luncheon now
seemed as nothing. She visualized as she
had done a hundred times before, her ap-
pearance on Saturday night.
    "I c'n take the dirty chiffon off'n my
 black crepe de chien and make it slightly
 decollete," mused Mamie, even to herself
employing the much admired French
phraseology of the head clerk in waists
whose knowledge of fashions and Paris
filled her with unspeakable awe. "An'
Minnie '11 learn me how to make them velvet
roses what they soak you fifty-nine cents
for at the ribbon counter. But it'll be that
there La Valliere what'll make 'em sit up
and take notice at the Cement Mixer's Ball,"
she continued. "That catty Goldie Stronks
ain't gonta cut me out a George even if she
did get a raise in sal'ry and blow it all in on
a taupe messaline with one 'o them new
lamp shade effect skirt what they showed
at the 'promenade des Toilettes.'"
  At last satisfied with gazing upon her fu-
ture purchase, Mamie completed her noon
hour by a critical survey of all the shop
windows and then returned to work.
   When the weary afternoon had at last
 dragged itself out, Mamie hastened home-
 wards in order to effect the necessary
 changes upon her long suffering crepe de-
 chien. She had been sewing but a few
 moments when the muffled sound of con-
 vulsive sobs came to her ears. They
 seemed to emanate from the room next
 her own which she faintly recollected had
 been taken by a delicate, countrified looking
 girl but a few days before.
   Warm hearted Mamie threw her dress
 upon the chair and knocked at her neigh-
 bor's door. There was no response but the
 sobs still continued.- Pushing upon the
 door, Mamie found that her conjecture had
 been correct. The countrified looking girl
 in a rusty black skirt and run down heels
 lay face downward upon the bed.
   "Come on, kid, can the tears," entreated

Go up to Top of Page