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Left Guard Gilbert by Ralph Henry Barbour

Don bought some candy and Clint a bag of peanuts


But

when they reached what Tim called "the heart of the city" Tom was allowed to come to life again. The heart of the city consisted of the junction of two village streets whereon were located the diminutive town hall, the post office, a fire house and five stores. They began with the druggist's, ranging themselves in front of one of the two windows and pretending to be overwhelmed with the beauty and magnificence of the goods displayed.

"What beautiful soap," exclaimed Tom. "I never saw such beautiful soap, fellows. Pink and green and white! Looks almost good enough to wash with, doesn't it?"

"And get on to the lovely toilet set in the green velvet box," begged Tim awedly. "Scissors and brushes and little do-funnies and----"

"I'm going to buy a bottle of that hair-grower," announced Don. "I want to raise a beard."

"Let's get a bottle and present it to Uncle Sim," suggested Clint. Uncle Sim was Mr. Simkins, the Greek and Latin instructor, and was noticeably bald. The others chuckled and thought very well of the suggestion until Tom discovered that the price, as stated on the label, was one whole dollar. They had, they decided, better uses for what little money they carried. Eventually they went inside, and sat on stools in front of the small soda fountain and drank gaily-coloured concoctions which, according to Tim, later, sounded better than

they tasted. Having exhausted the amusement to be derived from the drug store, they went to the fire house next door and, pressing their noses against the glass, debated what would happen if an alarm was rung in. There was a box beside the doors, a most tempting red box and Tim eyed it longingly until Don led him gently but firmly away from temptation.

In the small store across the street they examined all the books and magazines displayed on the counters, which didn't take long, as literature was not a large part of the stock. Tim spent ten cents for a football guide, explaining that he had always wanted to know some of the rules of that game! Don bought some candy and Clint a bag of peanuts, although the others protested that if they ate truck they'd spoil their appetites for real food. The force of the protest was somewhat marred by the actions of the protestants, who helped themselves liberally to the contents of the two bags.

There was a convenient fence a few steps along the street and they perched themselves on the top rail and consumed the peanuts and candy and watched the "rush of the great city," to again quote the poetic Tim. During the next twenty minutes exactly eight carriages and four automobiles entered their range of vision; and at that Clint insisted that they had counted one automobile twice. He accused it of going around the block in order to add to the confusion. Possibly some three dozen people passed within sight, although that may have been a too liberal estimate. Tom at last declared that he couldn't stand the excitement any longer; that his brain reeled and his eyes ached; and that he was going to find a quiet spot far from the dizzy whirl. So they adjourned to the grocery and butcher shop and talked learnedly of loins and shoulders and ribs. And Clint dragged what he alluded to as a "brisket" into the conversation to the confusion of the others, who had never heard of it and didn't believe in it anyway. Tom said Clint meant "biscuit" and that this wasn't a bakery. Then he caught sight of some rather pathetic and unseasonable radishes and, having a passion for radishes, went in and purchased four bunches. That outlay led to an expenditure for salt, and as a large, round pasteboard carton of it was the least they could buy, they retreated down the street to the Inn porch, trickled the salt along the top of the railing, drew up chairs and consumed the radishes at their leisure. All, that is, save Tim. Tim didn't like radishes, called them "fire-crackers" and pretended to be deeply disgusted with his companions for eating them.


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