The Efficiency Expert

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 40

shoppers and those
other thousands who always seize upon the slightest pretext for a
celebration.

It was a noisy, joyous crowd whose spirit, harmonizing with the bright
lights and the gay shop windows, infected all who came within its
influence. As the car moved slowly northward along the world's greatest
retail street the girls leaned forward to watch the passing throng
through the windows.

"Isn't it wonderful," exclaimed Harriet, "what a transformation a few
lights make? Who would ever think of State Street as a fairy-land? And
yet, if you half close your eyes the hallucination is complete. Even the
people who by daylight are shoddy and care-worn take on an appearance of
romance and gaiety, and the tawdry colored lights are the scintillant
gems of the garden of a fairy prince."

"Don't!" Elizabeth pleaded. "The city night always affects me. It
makes me want to do something adventurous, and on Christmas Eve it is
even worse. If you keep on like that I shall soon be telling David to
drive us up and down State Street all night."

"I wish we didn't have to go home right away," said Harriet. "I feel
like doing something devilish."

"Well, let's!" exclaimed Elizabeth.

"Do something devilish?" inquired Harriet. "What, for instance?"

"Oh, 'most anything that we shouldn't do," replied Elizabeth, "and there
isn't anything that we could do down here alone that we should do."

They both laughed. "I have it!" exclaimed Elizabeth suddenly. "We'll
be utterly abandoned--we'll have supper at Feinheimer's without an
escort."

Harriet cast a horrified glance at her companion. "Why, Elizabeth
Compton," she cried, "you wouldn't dare. You know you wouldn't dare!"

"Do you dare me?" asked the other.

"But suppose some one should see us?" argued Harriet. "Your father
would never forgive us."

"If we see any one in Feinheimer's who knows us," argued Elizabeth
shrewdly, "they will be just as glad to forget it as we. And anyway it
will do it no harm. I shall have David stay right outside the door
so that if I call him he can come. I don't know what I would do without
David. He is a sort of Rock of Ages and Gibraltar all in one."

Through the speaking-tube Elizabeth directed David to drive to
Feinheimer's, and, whatever David may have thought of the order, he gave
no outward indication of it.

Christmas Eve at Feinheimer's is, or was, a riot of unconfined hilarity,
although the code of ethics of the place was on a higher plane than that
which governed the Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve patrons of so-called
respectable restaurants, where

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