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Whenever Plooie saw the drabbled little worker busy on a doorstep, he would cross over and open the conversation according to an invariable formula. "Annie oombrella for mend? Annie oombrella?" Thereby the little Swiss became known as, and ever will be called locally, "Annie Oombrella." Like most close-knit, centripetal communities, we have a fatal penchant for nicknames in Our Square.

From across the park sounded Plooie's patient falsetto: "Parapluie-ee-ee-ee-ees! Annie Oombrella for mend? Parapluie-ee-ee-" The call broke off in a kind of choke. "What's happened to Plooie?" I asked. "The youngsters can't have got back from the parade already, have they?" "A very tall man has stopped him," said the Bonnie Lassie.

"He can carry a load all day." "He won't leave Annie Oombrella, then. Or perhaps she won't let him." "When I asked her, she cried harder than ever and said that her mother was French and she would go and fight herself, if they'd have her." "Then I give it up. What does your Olympian wisdom make of it?" "I don't know. But I'm afraid the Garins are going to have trouble."

They were, I was subsequently given to understand, the pick and flower of the city's reportorial genius. to His Majesty No; Plooie and Annie Oombrella need no help from the humble now. Their well-deserved fortune is made. The months go by bleak March and May-day heat Harvest is over winter well-nigh done And still I say, "To-morrow we shall meet."

The basement cubbyhole remained vacant, with only the picture of Albert of the Kingdom of Sorrows in the window as a memento. Nothing further was seen or heard of Plooie. But Schepstein, wandering far afield in search of tenement sales a full year after, encountered Annie Oombrella washing down the steps of an office far over in Lewis Street, nearly to the river.

Humanly, however, they were convincing enough. Said Plooie: "Who will have a care of that little one if I have not?" Said Annie Oombrella: "He is so lonely!" So those two unfortunates united their misfortunes, and lo! happiness came of it. Luckily that is all that did come of it. What disposition the pair would have made of children, had any arrived, it is difficult to conjecture.

But I think it was the fact that he who stayed at home when others went forward had set a picture of Albert of Belgium in the window of his cubbyhole that most exasperated us against him. Tactless, to say the least! His call grew quavery and furtive. Annie Oombrella ceased to sing at work. Matters looked ill for the Garins.

Only by miraculous compression of ribs, handles, and fabrics was space contrived in the basement cubbyhole for Annie Oombrella to squeeze in.

Habitude is the real secret of tolerance. As we became accustomed to Plooie, Our Square ceased to resent his invincible outlandishness; we endured him with equanimity, although it would be exaggeration to say that we accepted him, and we certainly did not patronize him professionally. Nevertheless, in a minor degree, he nourished. Annie Oombrella must have lavished care upon him. His pinched-in shoulders broadened perceptibly. His gait, still a halting shuffle, grew noticeably brisker. There was even a heartier note in his lamentable trade cry: "Parapluie-ee-ee-ee-ees

Along the outer edge of the compact mob trotted little Annie Oombrella. From time to time she dashed herself blindly against that human wall, which repulsed her not too roughly and with indulgent laughter. Their concern was not with her. It was with the coward; their prisoner, delivered by fate to the stern decrees of mob justice.

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