nothing to prevent their buying safety-razors!" she raged.
She fought herself: "I must be wrong. People do live here. It CAN'T be
as ugly as--as I know it is! I must be wrong. But I can't do it. I can't
go through with it."
She came home too seriously worried for hysteria; and when she found
Kennicott waiting for her, and exulting, "Have a walk? Well, like
the town? Great lawns and trees, eh?" she was able to say, with a
self-protective maturity new to her, "It's very interesting."
The train which brought Carol to Gopher Prairie also brought Miss Bea
Miss Bea was a stalwart, corn-colored, laughing young woman, and she was
bored by farm-work. She desired the excitements of city-life, and the
way to enjoy city-life was, she had decided, to "go get a yob as hired
girl in Gopher Prairie." She contentedly lugged her pasteboard telescope
from the station to her cousin, Tina Malmquist, maid of all work in the
residence of Mrs. Luke Dawson.
"Vell, so you come to town," said Tina.
"Ya. Ay get a yob," said Bea.
"Vell. . . . You got a fella now?"
"Ya. Yim Yacobson."
"Vell. I'm glat to see you. How much you vant a veek?"
"There ain't nobody pay dat. Vait! Dr. Kennicott, I t'ink he marry a
girl from de Cities. Maybe she pay dat. Vell. You go take a valk."
"Ya," said Bea.
So it chanced that Carol Kennicott and Bea Sorenson were viewing Main
Street at the same time.
Bea had never before been in a town larger than Scandia Crossing, which
has sixty-seven inhabitants.
As she marched up the street she was meditating that it didn't hardly
seem like it was possible there could be so many folks all in one place
at the same time. My! It would take years to get acquainted with them
all. And swell people, too! A fine big gentleman in a new pink shirt
with a diamond, and not no washed-out blue denim working-shirt. A lovely
lady in a longery dress (but it must be an awful hard dress to wash).
And the stores!
Not just three of them, like there were at Scandia Crossing, but more
than four whole blocks!
The Bon Ton Store--big as four barns--my! it would simply scare a person
to go in there, with seven or eight clerks all looking at you. And the
men's suits, on figures just like human. And Axel Egge's, like home,
lots of Swedes and Norskes in there, and a card of dandy buttons, like