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September 07 , 2010

Eyes of Youth: A Book of Verse by Padraic Colum, Shane Leslie, A.O.


Rosie was going to buy a new spring suit for George’s birthday. Looking at that sentence again, I see that it could be open to misconstruction. The suit was for herself. But it was to be bought in honour of George’s birthday and flashed before his admiring gaze for the duration of that occasion. Altogether, taking it all round, George Mellon’s twenty-first birthday promised to be one of the biggest things in history. In the afternoon he was going to strike his employer for a raise, in the evening he and Rosie would dine at the McAstor instead of the red-ink place they usually frequented, and at night they would take in a show, with possibly a bite of supper afterwards at a cabaret place. A formidable program, and one that made it imperative that Rosie’s dress should not be out of the picture. She had been saving all the winter to buy a really irreproachable suit, and the money was in the bank, straining at the leash. All that remained was to make a good selection. You probably know Rosie by sight. She sits in a sort of kiosk in front of one of those motion picture palaces that have sprung up in recent years like a rash on the face of our fair city. You hand your money in through a little pigeonhole in the glass front of her den and she presses a button, causing a cardboard ticket to leap at you out of a brass slab. Thus far you may argue that I have not sufficiently identified Rosie, New York being full of girls who do conjuring tricks in glass cages. True, since the movie delirium set in, there are a great many girls who do this. But Rosie is the one who smiles. The Others give you your ticket with a sort of aloof hauteur. They have a resigned air, as if the spectacle of multitudes wasting money on the movies saddened them. If they spoke you feel that they would say: “Oh, well, what’s the use? There’s one born every minute
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