Senta stepped inside the door as the bell hanging above it jingled. Miss Lusk followed and the bell jingled again as the door closed. Mr. Parnorsham looked up from behind the counter where he was rearranging costume jewelry in the glass case. He squinted through his bifocals and wiped his hands on his white apron.
“Good day ladies.”
“Good day Mr. Parnorsham.” Miss Lusk politely feigned interest in the costume jewelry. “I’m in need of some two inch lace today.”
“Let me show you what I have.”
Senta wandered over to look at the toy counter. It was a small twenty four inch square counter divided into six inch square compartments, each with a different type of toy. There were rubber bouncing balls, toy guns, tin soldiers, doll sized tea cups with saucers, and wooden ponies with yarn tails. Senta picked one up and made a horse noise by blowing air between her lips.
“That’s just the one I need,” said Miss Lusk from the other aisle.
“How much is the toy horse, Mr. Parnorsham?” called Senta.
“It’s a toy pony and it’s five pfennigs. Oh, by the way Miss Lusk, I just got in some more tins of butter biscuits. I know how much you like them.”
“Yes I’ll take one of those too.”
“Just one,” she peered around the aisle at Senta and whispered loudly. “I won’t need that bustle if I keep eating these. Aren’t you a bit old for a toy pony?”
“It’s for Bessemer. He’s been playing with my doll lately and I’m afraid he’s going to bite her head off.”
“Do you have five pfennigs?”
“Yeah. I just don’t know if I want to spend them. I guess I will though.” She picked up the wooden pony and brought it to the counter.
“That will be seventy five P, Miss Lusk.”
“We’ll have two of those as well,” said Miss Lusk, pointing at a large framed picture of a brown bottle emblazoned with the words “Billingbow’s Original Sarsaparilla and Wintergreen Soda Water.” Then she winked again at Senta.“Well that will bring you total to ninety seven P.”
Mr. Parnorsham is around in all the books, a comfortable background character.