A busy broker
At nine o’clock sharp Harvey Maxwell, a broker, entered his office together with his young stenographer. Pitcher, a clerk, who was sitting at the desk, looked at them with a smile.
“Good morning, Pitcher”, said Maxwell and hurried to his desk where a heap of letters and telegrams was waiting for him. A busy day began.
But the young stenographer was not in a hurry. Instead of going straight into the next room she stood before Mr. Maxwell’s table and watched him for some time. The man sitting at the desk was no longer a man. It was a machine, phoning, selling, buying.
“Well, what is it?” asked Maxwell impatiently.
“Nothing”, answered the stenographer. She looked a bit disappointed and hurt.
“Mr. Pitcher”, she said to the clerk, “did Mr. Maxwell tell you anything yesterday about finding another stenographer?”
“He did,” answered Pitcher. “He told me to find another one. I promised to do it.”
“I’ll do the work as usual”, said the young stenographer, “until someone comes to take my place.”
It was a busy day. The telephone rang. Men entered the office and shouted at Maxwell and went away. Messenger boys ran in and out with letters and telegrams. The clerks in the office jumped about like sailors during a storm.
Suddenly a young girl entered the office. Pitcher came up to Maxwell’s desk, apologized for interrupting him and introduced the girl.
“The new stenographer”, said Pitcher.
“What stenographer?” asked Maxwell.
“You told me yesterday to get a new stenographer”, said Pitcher.
“But we have a stenographer, don’t we?” said Maxwell. “Miss Leslie is a very good one. I never told you to get another stenographer, Pitcher. I’m in no mood for joking. I’m sorry, madam, but there is
no place open here.”
With these words he began to read the great heap of telegrams and letters which were lying on the table before him.
The young girl shrugged her shoulders and went away. Pitcher remarked to his colleagues that the boss was getting more forgetful with every passing day.
When the luncheon hour drew near, there came a relaxation. Maxwell stood by his desk with his hands full of telegrams, with a fountain-pen over his right ear and his hair hanging in disorder over his forehead. The window was open and suddenly through it came a delicate sweet smell of lilac. The smell reminded Maxwell of something…
“I’ll do it now”, he said to himself. “I’ll ask her now. I have just five minutes before business begins again.”
He ran into the next room and came up to the stenographer. She looked at him with a smile. Maxwell was still holding telegrams in both hands and his fountain-pen was over his ear.
“Miss Leslie”, he began hurriedly. “I have but a moment to spare. I want to say something. I don’t know how to put it. Will you be my wife? I love you. Talk quick, please.”
“Oh, what are you talking about?” exclaimed the young lady. She rose to her feet and looked at him round-eyed.
“Don’t you understand?” said Maxwell impatiently. “I want to marry you. I love you. Oh, I’m wanted on the phone. Tell them to wait a minute, Pitcher. Will you marry me?”
At first the stenographer seemed surprised. Tears filled her eyes. But then she smiled and much to Maxwell’s surprise put one of her arms around his neck.
“Oh, I know now”, she said softly. “Business makes you forget everything. But don’t you remember, Harvey, don’t you remember that we were married yesterday in the Little Church Round the Corner?”