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HOME > Short Stories > The Disagreeable Woman > CHAPTER X. A RUSTIC ADMIRER.
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Sunday was always a lonely day to me. In the country village, where I knew everybody, I always looked forward to it as the pleasantest day of the week. Here in the crowded city, I felt isolated from human sympathy. I accustomed myself to attending church in the forenoon. In the afternoon I took a walk or an excursion.

At the boarding-house even it was dull and less social than usual. Such of the boarders as had friends near the city were able to absent themselves after breakfast. Among the faces that I missed was that of the Disagreeable Woman. Sometimes she appeared at[Pg 94] breakfast; but never at dinner or tea. Though she never indulged in conversation to any extent, I think we all missed her.

One Sunday afternoon, soon after the gathering described in the last chapter, I walked up Fifth Avenue to Central Park. It was a pleasant day and many were out. Through the magnificent avenue I walked in a leisurely way, and wondered idly how it would seem to own a residence in this aristocratic street. I could not repress a feeling of envy when I thought of the favored class who dwelt in the long line of palaces that line the avenue. Their lives seemed far removed from that of a struggling physician, who was in daily doubt how long he could maintain his modest style of living in the crowded metropolis.

Arrived at Fifty-ninth street I sauntered toward the menagerie. This is the favorite resort of children, and of young persons from the country. [Pg 95]Perhaps I, myself, might be classed among the latter. I did not care so much, however, to observe the animals as the visitors. I had a hope that I might see some one whom I knew.

At first I could see no familiar face. But presently I started, as my glance fell on the short and somewhat plump figure of the young woman from Macy's.

She was not alone. With her walked a tall, sun-burned young man, who was evidently from the country. She leaned confidingly upon his arm, and her face was radiant. He was evidently an old friend, perhaps a lover. He, too, looked contented and happy. Were they lovers? It looked like it. If so, the matrimonial plans of Prof. Poppendorf were doomed to disappointment. Delicacy dictated my silent withdrawal, but I confess that my curiosity was aroused, and I resolved to gratify it.

Accordingly I pressed forward and overtook the young woman from Macy's[Pg 96] and her escort. She looked up casually, and a little flush overspread her face when she recognized me.

"Dr. Fenwick!" she said, impulsively.

I turned and lifted my hat.

"I am glad to meet you, Miss Canby!" I said.

At the same time I looked inquiringly at her escort.

"Stephen," she said, "this is Dr. Fenwick from our boarding-house."

"Proud to know you, sir," said the young man, offering his hand.

I shook it heartily.

"You have not mentioned your friend's name, Miss Canby," I said.

"Excuse me! I am very neglectful. This is Stephen Higgins from our town. I used to go to school with him."

"I am glad to make your acquaintance, Mr. Higgins."

"Same to you, sir."

"I suppose you are on a visit to the city, Mr. Higgins."

[Pg 97]

"Yes, sir. I came here to spend Sunday, and see Ruth."

"I presume you have been in the city before?"

"Not for five years. It's a pretty smart place. I'm so turned round that I hardly know which way to turn."

"You will have a good guide in Miss Canby."

"In Ruth, yes."

"I wish I could go round with him all the time he is here, Dr. Fenwick, but to-morrow I shall have to go back to my work at Macy's."

She gave a little sigh as she spoke.

"Do you intend to stay long, Mr. Higgins?"

"Only a day or two. It's pretty expensive stayin' in York."

"I want him to stay over till Tuesday, Dr. Fenwick. He can't see much if he goes home to-morrow."

"If you could be with me, Ruth—"

[Pg 98]

"But I can't, so it's no use talking about it."

"Wouldn't Mr. Macy give you a day off?"

"If I could find him perhaps he would," she said, laughing.

"Why can't you find him? Isn't he at the store every day?"

"Mr. Macy is dead, Stephen."

"Then how can he keep store?" asked Stephen, bewildered.

"Somebody else runs it in his na............
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