Once again, I gathered my courage. “Um . . . Mr. Towne, do you still have the Simeon Combs for sale?”
“Yes, indeed.” He stood on a ladder to reach the top shelf and took down a box. “I have them in horn, bone, ivory, tin, and lead. Do you want to buy one?”
“Yes, if I have enough money. How much do the lead ones cost?” I asked, holding my breath in suspense as I pulled the coins out of my pocket.
My heart sank. “Thirty? No, not today, sir.”
“I have some nice tortoise shell ones for only fifteen cents.”
I slipped the coins back through the slit in my skirt. “No. No, thank you. Good morning, sir.”
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