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what she desired.
It was a long time since Mrs. Sommers had been fitted with
gloves. On rare occasions when she had bought a pair they were
always "bargains," so cheap that it would have been preposterous
and unreasonable to have expected them to be fitted to the hand.
Now she rested her elbow on the cushion of the glove counter,
and a pretty, pleasant young creature, delicate and deft of touch,
drew a long-wristed "kid" over Mrs. Sommers's hand. She smoothed
it down over the wrist and buttoned it neatly, and both lost
themselves for a second or two in admiring contemplation of the
little symmetrical gloved hand. But there were other places where
money might be spent.
There were books and magazines piled up in the window of a
stall a few paces down the street. Mrs. Sommers bought two
high-priced magazines such as she had been accustomed to read in the
days when she had been accustomed to other pleasant things. She
carried them without wrapping. As well as she could she lifted her
skirts at the crossings. Her stockings and boots and well fitting
gloves had worked marvels in her bearing--had given her a feeling
of assurance, a sense of belonging to the well-dressed multitude.
She was very hungry. Another time she would have stilled the
cravings for food until reaching her own home, where she would have
brewed herself a cup of tea and taken a snack of anything that was
available. But the impulse that was guiding her would not suffer her
to entertain any such thought.
There was a restaurant at the corner. She had never entered
its doors; from the outside she had sometimes caught glimpses of
spotless damask and shining crystal, and soft-stepping waiters
serving people of fashion.
When she entered her appearance created no surprise, no
consternation, as she had half feared it might. She seated herself
at a small table alone, and an attentive waiter at once approached
to take her order. She did not want a profusion; she craved a nice
and tasty bite--a half dozen blue-points, a plump chop with cress,
a something sweet--a creme-frappee, for instance; a glass of Rhine
wine, and after all a small cup of black coffee.
While waiting to be served she removed her gloves very
leisurely and laid them beside her. Then she picked up a magazine