A Poor Wise Man
"Oh, him!" said Miss Boyd, with a self-conscious smile. "I'm through with him.
He's a Bolshevik!"
"He has the Bolshevist possessive eye," agreed Willy Cameron, readily. "Does
he know you are through with him? Because that's important, too. You may know
it, and I may know it, but if he doesn't know it
"Why don't you say right out you don't want to take me? Willy Cameron's
chivalrous soul was suddenly shocked. To his horror he saw tears in Miss Boyd's
"I'm just a plain idiot, Miss Edith," he said. "I was only fooling. It will mean a lot to
me to have a nice girl go with me to the movies, or anywhere else. We'll make it
to-night, if that suits you, and I'll take a look through the neighborhood at noon
and see what's worth while."
The Eagle Pharmacy was a small one in a quiet neighborhood. During the entire
day, and for three evenings a week, Mr. William Wallace Cameron ran it almost
single-handed, having only the preoccupied assistance of Miss Boyd in the candy
and fancy goods. At the noon and dinner hours, and four evenings a week, he
was relieved by the owner, Mr. Davis, a tired little man with large projecting ears
and worried, child-like eyes, who was nursing an invalid wife at home. A pathetic
little man, carrying home with unbounded faith day after day bottles of liquid
foods and beef capsules, and making wistful comments on them when he
"She couldn't seem to keep that last stuff down, Mr. Cameron," he would say. "I'll
try something else."
And he would stand before his shelves, eyes upturned, searching, eliminating,
Miss Boyd attended to the general merchandise, sold stationary and perfumes,
candy and fancy soaps, and in the intervals surveyed the world that lay beyond
the plate glass windows with shrewd, sophisticated young eyes.
"That new doctor across the street is getting busier," she would say. Or, "The
people in 42 have got a Ford. They haven't got room for a garage, either.
Probably have to leave it out at nights."
Her sophistication was kindly in the main. She combined it with an easy tolerance
of weakness, and an invincible and cheery romanticism, as Willy Cameron
discovered the night they first went to a moving picture theater together. She
frankly wept and joyously laughed, and now and then, delighted at catching some
film subtlety and fearful that he would miss it, she would nudge him with her