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Francie loves the warmth, the shabbiness, and the smell of the library. An eager reader, she is attacking all the books in the library in alphabetical order, hoping to read each one on the shelf. Each day of the week, she checks out one new book, and on Sundays she picks two. The second one is always a recommendation from the librarian.
Returning home from the library, Francie climbs up the fire escape and places a rug on it. Then equipped with a glass of cold water, her peppermint wafers, and her book, she retires onto the fire escape to read and watch the world go by. She hears the sound of Dr. Fraber's wagon, which stops somewhere close to her house. She overhears Flossie Gladdis, a neighbor, call out to Frank, trying to make a date with him; as usual, he declines. Francie compares Flossie to Aunt Sissy, deciding that both women like to spend their time chasing men.
Francie has a thirst for knowledge and a love for books. She eagerly goes to the library each day and feels happiness upon entering its doors. Always observant, Francie notices even the small things in the library, like pencils and paste. Francie is determined to read every title on the shelves and is attacking them in alphabetical order. After checking out a book, Francie hurries home to begin reading. She prepares for herself a special reading place out on the fire escape. From there she can also see the world go by. She takes pleasure in watching Frank unharness, clean, and feed his horse. As she watches him, Francie thinks about the owner of a pet looking similar to the pet itself. Francie also hears and sees Flossie pursuing Frank. Her assumption about Flossie being starved for male attention and the comparison to Aunt Sissy show that Francie is a wise girl for her age. The fact that she has sympathy for Flossie also reveals that Francie is kindhearted.