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ONE USES THE HANDKERCHIEF

By ELINORE COWAN STONE

From Woman’s Home Companion

APASSIONATE sneeze rent the studious calm of the Third Grade room. Before its echoes had died away, the Third Grade, Mexican, as one man, had focused a shocked, incredulous gaze upon the author of the disturbance—a pale, shrinking boy with eager eyes peering nearsightedly from beneath an unkempt shock of dull black hair.

“Ticher,” shrilled several scandalized voices, as the startled Miss Lipscomb looked up, “Ticher, eet iss that Raphael who sneezes—that Raphael Arcienega.”

“Right into the air he sneezes, Ticher,” vociferated Anita Perez, “indignantly, “that air that we mus’ breathe—nosotros.”

“And sooch wet sneezes,” objected Emilia Villa.

“He doss not even cover weeth the hand the face,” cut in Concha Florida. “I think he iss veree bad boys. Now shall we all mebbie be seek.”

Quien sabe? Perhaps even we shall die,” supplemented Hortensia Valdes, her voice rising in a hysterical quaver.

It was as if the Third Grade already felt itself in the throes of a deadly epidemic. Anita Perez shivered and sneezed virtuously into a dainty lace-edged fragment of muslin. Since handkerchiefs had become á la moda in the Third Grade, Anita's had always been of the daintiest and, naturally, the most often on display. Manuelo Habanera and Pedro Gonzalos hastily drew from their pockets generous squares of cotton of dubious cleanliness, into which they coughed sepulchrally and long, turning reproachful eyes upon the author of the contaminating sneeze.

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