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Curious Cubes

By T. Bell

YOU might camp out on the Great American Desert for days and days and nothing worthy of comment would happen.

At the junction of Thirty-Fourth Street, Sixth Avenue and Broadway something happens every two and one-half minutes, or twice every five minutes, wherein that vicinity differs vastly from the Great American Desert.

This is no reflection on the G. A. D., but such are the facts, and must be so set down as hereinbefore provided and contained in the minutes of this meeting.

First, a fire-engine came tearing up Broadway. Second, a cab-horse, for reasons known only to cab-horses and possibly to traffic policemen—though I have never inquired of one—lay down on the car-tracks.

Then all the trucks, street-cars, automobiles, ambulances, and fire-fighting apparatus in the vicinity became inextricably entangled in a true lover's-knot, so that a common, ordinary Mexican ant could not have made its way out of the mass.

In company with hundreds of other New Yorkers who are so busy neglecting their own business that they have time to mind every one else's, I paused and surveyed the scene of disorder.

Suddenly a cry broke from the lips of the assembled multitude (I got this phrase out of a book—rather good—eh, what?) and I looked in the direction toward which all eyes were turned.

There, in the very core and center of the hub- locked mess of traffic was a little old man, caught like a rat in a trap, He darted up, under, over, and above, through, outside, inside, and across, beneath the hoofs of prancing steeds, narrowly escaping death by hairbreadths, and then, just as he was about to drag himself clear of the whole business, some invisible force set the congested mass in motion and he would have been crushed beneath the wheels of an expensive, red automobile had I not dashed forward and pulled him to his feet.

It all happened in a moment.

He leaned heavily against me, grasping my arm. I steadied him and slowly forced him through the crowd now rapidly reducing itself to fragments. When we hit an open space he looked up into my face with gratitude.

"Young man," he said in a small, thin, weak, trembling voice. "you have saved my life."

"Don't mention it," I said airily, brushing myself off. "It was a rare pleasure, I assure you."

"I am disposed to reward you." He regarded me thoughtfully, the while he stroked his long, luxurious, King-Leopold beard. "Yes," he went on, "I shall reward you. It is fitting and proper."

"Please," I said modestly, "don't think of such a thing. I really won't permit it."

We walked slowly down Broadway. He was leaning on my arm and I was heartily wishing I c...

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