Spice Box

Spice Box by Grace Livingston Hill Page B

Book: Spice Box by Grace Livingston Hill Read Free Book Online
Authors: Grace Livingston Hill
away as easily as this?
Oh God, was this the way You wanted me to go? Are You keeping me now? Shall I ever be safe again?
    And back on the side porch they came out with Nurse Wiley, looking for Sam and the ambulance.
    “Now where in the name of sense do you suppose that Sam has gone?” asked Nurse Ray. “I told him to be right here in plenty of time so you wouldn’t have to hurry getting in.”
    “Oh, there’s plenty of time. I’ll run out to the garage and call him,” said Brynie.
    But the ambulance, with Janice inside, disappeared down the highway in the darkness.
    And in his pleasant room, enemy number one was calling loudly for a drink and cursing his new nurse, and the place, and all the doctors and nurses.

Chapter 7
    M artha Spicer felt that it was good to get down in the heart of the city again and enter the old store. She felt as if she had been away from it for a year, though it had really been only a few days. Many of the old clerks looked at her and smiled, and some of those who didn’t know her so well hardly realized that she had really gone. There was something strange about it though, going around in her old aisles, watching another woman in her place facing a stout old gaudy purchaser who was insisting on returning some silk underwear after it had been worn.
    She had been away only a little over a week and yet she felt superior freedom when she looked about on their tired faces, watched the flying hands putting up goods and stacking boxes for the night. Another day was almost done and they were nearly free again to live their own lives for a few hours. She knew exactly how they felt. She had always felt so. And now she was out of it all. Had she actually dared to be restive and unhappy in the house and with the fortune that had made her freedom possible? She was a fool and an ingrate.
    There was a smile on her face as she walked among her former workers. They turned weary eyes of surprise after her as she passed from their midst.
    “Well, my word! Did you get on to the smile?” called one salesgirl to another as she smoothed rumpled stockings into their boxes.
    “Sure I did! What do you think of that? Isn’t that the limit? Spice Box
smiling
? I never expected to see that. I didn’t suppose she
could
smile. She musta found a silk lining to her nest. Well, I don’t blame her. If I could get out of this dump, I’d smile, too, wouldn’t you, Nannie?”
    “Sure I would,” answered Nannie, patting the bunch of curls over her forehead to make sure they were engaging as she saw a young man coming down the aisle, headed her way.
    And yet both of these girls had fairly agonized to get these jobs less than a year ago!
    “What you going to do? Join a reading circle?” asked an insolent boy at the book department when Martha asked for her Roman history. He hadn’t forgotten how Martha Spicer had once called him down for having a bit of fun when he ought to have been working. He remembered her biting sarcasm.
    The color rose in Martha’s cheeks and she almost opened her mouth to make a sharp answer, but as he grinned at her, some motion or a look on his lips reminded her of Ronald just after he had turned on his heel to “beat it” and given that fearful whistle. Then she remembered he was only three or four years older than Ronald and closed her lips. After all, she was no longer connected with the store and had no right to speak. She lifted her eyes to the young man’s face. He was white and thin, with dark shadows under his eyes. He didn’t have Ronald’s ruddy color. She recalled that this boy was supporting a widowed mother and had to struggle to make both ends meet. Suddenly a miracle happened in her heart, and she smiled up at him as if he were a comrade.
    “I don’t know but I shall, Albert,” she said. “I haven’t quite decided what I will do. I’d like to have you come and see me sometime if you are ever anywhere around near me.”
    Albert’s face was a study of

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