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The Desired Woman
by Will Nathaniel Harben
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Inside the bank that June morning the clerks and accountants on their high stools were bent over their ponderous ledgers, although it was several minutes before the opening hour. The gray-stone building was in Atlanta's most central part on a narrow street paved with asphalt which sloped down from one of the main thoroughfares to the section occupied by the old passenger depot, the railway warehouses, and hotels of various grades. Considerable noise, despite the closed windows and doors, came in from the outside. Locomotive bells slowly swung and clanged; steam was escaping; cabs, drays, and trucks rumbled and creaked along; there was a whir of a street-sweeping machine turning a corner and the shrill cries of newsboys selling the morning papers. Jarvis Saunders, member of the firm of Mostyn, Saunders & Co., bankers and brokers, came in; and, hanging his straw hat up, he seated himself at his desk, which the negro porter had put in order.
She glanced through the open door into the house as if to see if any one was within hearing. Then she came nearer to him, looking down on him from the higher step on which she stood, her pretty brow under a frown. "I was bothered after I went to bed," she said, frankly. "I don't think I ought to--to have kissed you as I did there at the gate. I would have scolded Ann for the same thing, even if she were as old as I am. I trust you--I can't help it--and last night I was so happy over Tobe's message that--Tell me honestly. Do you think that a man loses respect for a girl who will act as--as boldly as I did? Tell me; tell me truly."
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