“Who can she be, Michael? None of your common ones, of course?”

“Oh no, of course not; she’s ‘seen better days,’ as the slang phrase is.”

“No doubt of that. What name did she give.”

“Lizzy Glenn. But that may or may not be correct. People likely her are sometimes apt to forget even their own names.”

“Where does she live?”

“In the lower part of the town somewhere. I have it in the book here.”

“You think she’ll bring them shirts back?”

“Oh, yes. Folks that have come down in the world as she has, rarely play grab-game after that fashion.”

“She seemed all struck aback at the price.”

“I suppose so. Ha! ha!”

“But she’s the right kind,” resumed Berlaps. “I only wish we had a dozen like her.”

“I wish we had. Her work will never rip.”

Further conversation was prevented by the entrance of a customer. Before he had been fully served, a middle- aged woman came in with a large bundle, and went back to Berlaps’s desk, where he stood engaged over his account-books.

“Good-day, Mrs. Gaston,” said he, looking up, while not a feature relaxed on his cold, rigid countenance.

“I’ve brought you in six pairs of pants,” said the woman, untying the bundle she had laid upon the counter.

“You had seven pair, ma’am.”

“I know that, Mr. Berlaps. But only six are finished; and, as I want some money, I have brought them in.”

“It is more than a week since we gave them out. You ought to have had the whole seven pair done. We want them all now. They should have been in day before yesterday.”

“They would have been finished, Mr. Berlaps,” said the woman, in a deprecating tone; “but one of my children has been sick; and I have had to be up with her so often every night, and have had to attend to her so much through the day, that I have not been able to do more than half work.”

“Confound the children!” muttered the tailor to himself, as he began inspecting the woman’s work. “They’re always getting sick, or something else.”

After carefully examining three or four pairs of the coarse trowsers which had been brought in, he pushed the whole from him with a quick impatient gesture and an angry scowl, saying, as he did so—

“Botched to death! I can’t give you work unless it’s done better, Mrs. Gaston. You grow worse and worse!”

“I know, sir,” replied the woman, in a troubled voice, “that they are not made quite so well as they might be. But consider how much I have had against me. A sick child—and worn out by attendance on her night and day.”

“It’s always a sick child, or some other excuse, with the whole of you. But that don’t answer me. I want my work done well, and mean to have it so. If you don’t choose to turn out good work, I can find a plenty who will.”

“You sha’n’t complain of me hereafter, Mr. Berlaps,” replied the woman submissively.

“So you have said before; but we shall see.”

Berlaps then turned moodily to his desk, and resumed the employment he had broken off when the seamstress came in, whilst she stood with her hands folded across each other, awaiting his pleasure in regard to the payment of the meagre sum she had earned by a full week of hard labor, prolonged often to a late hour in the night. She had stood thus, meekly, for nearly five minutes, when Berlaps raised his head, and looking at her sternly over the top of his desk, said—

“What are you waiting for, Mrs. Gaston?”

“I should like to have the money for the pants I have brought in. I am out of every”—

“I never pay until the whole job is done. Bring in the other pair, and you can have your money.”

“Yes; but Mr. Berlaps”—

“You needn’t talk any thing about it, madam. You have my say,” was the tailor’s angry response.

Slowly turning away, the woman moved, with hesitating steps, to the door, paused there a moment, and then went out. She lingered along, evidently undecided how to act, for several minutes, and then moved on at a quicker pace, as if doubt and uncertainty had given way to some encouraging thought. Threading her way along the narrow winding streets in the lower part of the city, she soon emerged into the open space used as a hay market, and, crossing over this, took her way in the direction of one of the bridges. Before reaching this, she turned down toward the right, and entered a small grocery. A woman was the only attendant upon this.

“Won’t you trust me for a little more, Mrs. Grubb?” she asked, in a supplicating voice, while she looked anxiously into her face.

“No, ma’am! not one cent till that dollar’s paid up!” was the sharp retort. “And, to tell you the truth, I think you’ve got a heap of impudence to come in here, bold-faced, and ask for more trust, after having promised me over and over again for a month to pay that dollar. No! pay the dollar first!”

“I did intend to pay you a part of it this very day,” replied Mrs. Gaston. “But”—

“Oh yes. It’s ‘but’ this, and ‘but’ that. But ‘buts’ ain’t my dollar. I’m an honest woman, and want to make an honest living; and must have my money.”

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