determined to enlarge the premises, the three clerks who had been

retained having two weeks' vacation with half pay.

It is extraordinary how frequently "wise serpents" are retained

by the management on half, or even full, salary, while the

services of the "harmless doves" are dispensed with, and they are

set free to flutter where they will.

THE SERPENT

Rose Wiley had the brightest eyes in Edgewood. It was impossible

to look at her without realizing that her physical sight was

perfect. What mysterious species of blindness is it that

descends, now and then, upon human creatures, and renders them

incapable of judgment or discrimination?

Claude Merrill was a glove salesman in a Boston fancy-goods

store. The calling itself is undoubtedly respectable, and it is

quite conceivable that a man can sell gloves and still be a man;

but Claude Merrill was a manikin. He inhabited a very narrow

space behind a very short counter, but to him it seemed the earth

and the fullness thereof.

When, irreproachably neat and even exquisite in dress, he gave a

Napoleonic glance at his array of glove-boxes to see if the

female assistant had put them in proper order for the day; when,

with that wonderful eye for detail that had wafted him to his

present height of power, he pounced upon the powder-sprinklers

and found them, as he expected, empty; when, with masterly

judgment, he had made up and ticketed a basket of misfits and odd

sizes to attract the eyes of women who were their human

counterparts, he felt himself bursting with the pride and pomp of

circumstance. His cambric handkerchief adjusted in his coat with

the monogram corner well displayed, a last touch to the carefully

trained lock on his forehead, and he was ready for his customers.

"Six, did you say, miss? I should have thought five and three

quarters--Attend to that gentleman, Miss Dir, please; I am very

busy.

"Six-and-a-half gray suede? Here they are, an exquisite shade.

Shall I try them on? The right hand, if you will. Perhaps you'd

better remove your elegant ring; I shouldn't like to have

anything catch in the setting."

"Miss Dir! Six-and-a-half black glace--upper shelf, third box

--for this lady. She's in a hurry. We shall see you often

after this, I hope, madam."

"No; we don't keep silk or lisle gloves. We have no call for

them; our customers prefer kid."

Oh, but he was in his element, was Claude Merrill; though the

glamour that surrounded him in the minds of the Edgewood girls

did not emanate wholly from his finicky little person: something

of it was the glamour that belonged to Boston,--remote,

fashionable, gay, rich, almost inaccessible Boston, which none

could see without the expenditure of five or six dollars in

railway fare, with the added extravagance of a night in a hotel,

if one would explore it thoroughly and come home possessed of all

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