The Four Million HTML version
The Coming-Out Of Maggie
Every Saturday night the Clover Leaf Social Club gave a hop in the hall of the Give and
Take Athletic Association on the East Side. In order to attend one of these dances you
must be a member of the Give and Take—or, if you belong to the division that starts off
with the right foot in waltzing, you must work in Rhinegold's paper-box factory. Still, any
Clover Leaf was privileged to escort or be escorted by an outsider to a single dance. But
mostly each Give and Take brought the paper-box girl that he affected; and few strangers
could boast of having shaken a foot at the regular hops.
Maggie Toole, on account of her dull eyes, broad mouth and left-handed style of
footwork in the two-step, went to the dances with Anna McCarty and her "fellow." Anna
and Maggie worked side by side in the factory, and were the greatest chums ever. So
Anna always made Jimmy Burns take her by Maggie's house every Saturday night so that
her friend could go to the dance with them.
The Give and Take Athletic Association lived up to its name. The hall of the association
in Orchard street was fitted out with muscle-making inventions. With the fibres thus
builded up the members were wont to engage the police and rival social and athletic
organisations in joyous combat. Between these more serious occupations the Saturday
night hop with the paper-box factory girls came as a refining influence and as an efficient
screen. For sometimes the tip went 'round, and if you were among the elect that tiptoed
up the dark back stairway you might see as neat and satisfying a little welter-weight affair
to a finish as ever happened inside the ropes.
On Saturdays Rhinegold's paper-box factory closed at 3 P. M. On one such afternoon
Anna and Maggie walked homeward together. At Maggie's door Anna said, as usual: "Be
ready at seven, sharp, Mag; and Jimmy and me'll come by for you."
But what was this? Instead of the customary humble and grateful thanks from the non-
escorted one there was to be perceived a high-poised head, a prideful dimpling at the
corners of a broad mouth, and almost a sparkle in a dull brown eye.
"Thanks, Anna," said Maggie; "but you and Jimmy needn't bother to-night. I've a
gentleman friend that's coming 'round to escort me to the hop."
The comely Anna pounced upon her friend, shook her, chided and beseeched her. Maggie
Toole catch a fellow! Plain, dear, loyal, unattractive Maggie, so sweet as a chum, so
unsought for a two-step or a moonlit bench in the little park. How was it? When did it
happen? Who was it?
"You'll see to-night," said Maggie, flushed with the wine of the first grapes she had
gathered in Cupid's vineyard. "He's swell all right. He's two inches taller than Jimmy, and
an up-to-date dresser. I'll introduce him, Anna, just as soon as we get to the hall."