(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

John Philip Johnson comes down the steps from his house on a bright morning. His shoes have just been resoled, and his feet feel good. He smiles at everyone and greets the other customers at the newsstand where he stops to buy his newspaper. He has filled his pockets with candy and peanuts and, before he sets out for his walk uptown, he goes into a flower shop and buys a carnation for his buttonhole, but he immediately gives it to a child in a carriage.

Mr. Johnson seldom follows the same route twice. On this fine day, he walks several blocks uptown, then cuts across a side street. Halfway along it, a van is parked. A woman and her child are moving out of their apartment. The woman looks bedraggled, and Mr. Johnson offers to watch her child while she attends to the moving. He and the child get along well, sharing the peanuts in Mr. Johnson’s pocket. Mr. Johnson learns that the two are moving to Greenwich, Vermont, and he gives them the name of a friend who lives there, telling the woman that the man will help her in any way he can when she arrives in Greenwich. She is grateful.

Continuing his walk, he meets a young woman, Mildred Kent. He talks with her and, when he realizes that he is making her late for work, insists on compensating her for her lost time. As she waits, he walks out onto the sidewalk and engages in conversation with a young man, Arthur Adams. He then introduces the two and gives them enough money to cover their day’s wages. He encourages them to spend the day together doing something they want to do, such as going to Coney Island. He gives them money to cover their expenses.

Leaving them, he continues his walk. He gives a peanut to a...

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