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11. CHAPTER XI. CHRISTMAS EVE.
It was Christmas Eve. Elizabeth Compton and Harriet Holden were completing the rounds of their friends' homes with Christmas remembrances--a custom that they had continued since childhood. The last parcel had been delivered upon the South Side, and they were now being driven north on Michigan Boulevard toward home. Elizabeth directed the chauffeur to turn over Van Buren to State, which at this season of the year was almost alive with belated Christmas 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."
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