Best Short Stories eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 132 pages of information about Best Short Stories.

One of the squad held up his right leg by mistake.  This brought his right-hand companion’s left leg and his own right leg close together.  The officer, seeing this, exclaimed angrily: 

“And who is that blooming galoot over there holding up both legs?”

HIS SYSTEM WAS A COMPLETE ONE

We know that the achievements of American business experts are often beyond belief.  Whether the following story is true, or is merely a satire, must be left to the judgment of the acute reader: 

“May I have a few moments’ private conversation?”

The faultlessly dressed gentleman addressed the portly business man, standing upon the threshold of his office.

“This is a business proposition, sir,” he said, rapidly closing the door and sinking into a seat beside the desk.  “I am not a book agent, nor have I any article to sell.  I have come to see you about your wife.”

“My wife!”

“Yes, sir.  Glancing over the society column of your local paper, I am informed that she is about to take her annual autumn trip to Virginia.  You will, or course, have to remain behind to take care of your vast business interests.  Your wife, sir, is a charming and attractive woman, still in the bloom of youth.  Have you, sir, considered the possibilities?”

The other man started to get up, his face red with rage.

“You—­” he began.

“One moment, sir, and I think I can satisfy your mind that my motives are pure as alabaster.  This is an age of machinery, of science and invention, and, above all, of efficiency.  I am simply carrying this idea of efficiency into the domestic life, which, as you are doubtless aware, is so much more important than the physical.  One moment, sir.  I can furnish you with the highest credentials.  This is purely professional, I can assure you.  Will give bond if you so desire.  My proposition is this:  I will accompany your wife on her trip, always, when travelling, at a respectful distance, you understand, and it will be my pleasure as well as business to amuse and interest her during her stay.  I do everything—­play tennis, bridge, dance all the latest steps, know the latest jokes, can sing, converse on any subject or remain silent, am a life-saver, can run an auto, flirt discreetly, and, in fact, am the most delightful companion for a wife that you can imagine.  Remember, sir, that unless you engage my services your wife is at the mercy of all the strangers she may meet and being in that peculiar condition of mind where she is bound to be attracted by things that would otherwise seem commonplace, there is no telling what the end might be.  But with me she is perfectly safe.  I guarantee results.  I insure your heart’s happiness against the future.  Terms reasonable.  I can refer you to—­”

In reply the enforced host rose up, and, taking him not too gently by the arm, led him to the door.

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Best Short Stories from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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