George Mellon, the party of the second part, is also, curiously enough, a door hound, a keeper of the gates and a dweller upon the threshold. But he works by day. He is the presentable young man who sits in the anteroom at the offices of the Ladies' Sphere and keeps people from seeing the editor. Editors, who are human beavers, industrious little creatures who work hard and shrink from the public gaze, generally employ, to insure privacy, a small boy with red hair, a tight suit and an air of having seen all the trickery and wickedness in the world.
At the Ladies' Sphere, however, where beautiful and refined women are popping in and out all day like rabbits, something with a little more tone is required: and George landed the job against a field of twenty- six competitors. This should enable you to get an adequate angle on George. It is not every young man who can head off without offense lovely creatures in Paris frocks and mink coats, and convince them simultaneously that it is the editor's dearest wish to have a long cozy chat with them, but that he can't see them this morning. Men with less diplomacy than George have held down ambassadorships in foreign capitals.
It was this manner of his that had first attracted Rosie when she had called one morning to see the editor.
"Have you an appointment, madam?" George had inquired, bending suavely over the little wooden gate with the air of a plenipotentiary at the Court of St. James exchanging compliments with a princess of the blood.
Rosie said she had no appointment.
"Then I fear," said George with manly regret, "that it will scarcely be possible for you to see Mr. Hebblethwaite to-day. Mr. Hebblethwaite is exceedingly busy just now. The magazine goes to press to-day." The magazine was always going to press when people tried to get past George. "If you would care to leave a message-"
"I only wanted to ask him if he would mind giving me the Ten Delicious Morsels From the Chafing Dish that he had in the March number. I cut them out, but I lost them."
"Our Circulation Department would attend to that," said George. "If you would care to leave your name and address I will see that they are forwarded to you."
And in the short space of time it took Rosie to write down her name and address George had handed the raspberry to two artists and a short-story writer. Rosie felt that this was no ordinary man.
George must have conceived an equally flattering opinion of her; for that same evening he called at her rooming house in person, bearing the March number. And so pleasantly and swiftly did their acquaintance progress that, before he left, Rosie had cooked Delicious Morsel Number Three on her chafing dish, and they ate it together. Rosie was a wonderful cook; and it may be that George, who had suffered much from boarding-house meals since he came to New York, acquired at that moment his first yearning for domesticity.
All through the summer and fall their intimacy had ripened, and in the middle of November George proposed. They decided that they would get married immediately after his next raise of salary, and George had fixed the beginning of May as the date for negotiating that business deal. Balmy spring, with all its softening influences, would have had a chance by then to work on Mr. Hebblethwaite and render him malleable.
"But oh, George," said Rosie, "suppose he doesn't give it to you!"
"He will. He knows I'm a valuable man."
"Of course you are. But-"
"There were twenty-six others applied for the job same time as me, and I copped. That shows you."
"I know you're wonderful!" said Rosie. "But, still-"
Rosie had once traveled up in the elevator with Mr. Hebblethwaite and the memory lingered. The editor was a little man, with fiery eyes that glowed behind big spectacles, and he had glared at Rosie in the elevator as if the only thing that kept him from eating her was the fact that he had already breakfasted.
"It isn't everyone," said George, "who could do my job. You wouldn't believe the number of females who come every day to waste Mr. Hebblethwaite's time. I tell you, I wonder I don't lose my voice with telling them he's busy. And it's got to be done right, or you might as well not do it at all. You can't go offending people. But gee, you've no idea what an amount of gall women have! Why, the first week I was at the office a female got past me by saying she was the boss' wife. She looked all right, she spoke all right; so I thought she was all right, and I opened the gate. In about ten minutes out she came, said good morning with a nice smile, and beat it. And two seconds later I'm rung for and there's the boss chewing holes in the carpet and smashing up the furniture with his bare hands. Seems she was a lady book agent; and before he could get rid of her she had landed him with Historic Heartbreakers, highly educational and as interesting as a novel. Since then I've played it safe. No body gets past me without an appointment. The boss knows that, and values me according."
"But Mr. Hebblethwaite looks so fierce. I'd die of fright if I had to ask him for a raise."
George felt in his inner pocket and produced, with a certain complacence, a cutting from the advertising pages of the magazine that employed him.
"I might have felt that way once, but the other day I came across this. I've written for - the book. It looks to me like the goods."
The cutting showed a picture of a resolute young man with a clean-cut face and a strong mouth pointing a minatory finger at an elderly man with a pointed beard. The elderly man was cowering down in his chair and obviously getting the loser's end of the mix up. Beneath the picture were the words: "Look Him in the Eye and Win! Have courage and the world is your oyster."
- Дмитрий Шопин
- Вареник для Эника
- Утомленная солнцем
- Рулле Вой
- Доротея Брукс
- Ch. E.
- Captain Ballard
Победитель получает главный приз 100-го конкурса — DVD-комплект с сериалом
"Дживс и Вустер", (Ограниченный Тираж) с уникальным номером "100".