The Gentle Grafter eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 172 pages of information about The Gentle Grafter.

“‘I misdoubt,’ says I, ’if any woman ever helped a man to secure a job any more than to have his meals ready promptly and spread a report that the other candidate’s wife had once been a shoplifter.  They are no more adapted for business and politics,’ says I, ’than Algernon Charles Swinburne is to be floor manager at one of Chuck Connor’s annual balls.  I know,’ says I to Andy, ’that sometimes a woman seems to step out into the kalsomine light as the charge d’affaires of her man’s political job.  But how does it come out?  Say, they have a neat little berth somewhere as foreign consul of record to Afghanistan or lockkeeper on the Delaware and Raritan Canal.  One day this man finds his wife putting on her overshoes and three months supply of bird seed into the canary’s cage.  “Sioux Falls?” he asks with a kind of hopeful light in his eye.  “No, Arthur,” says she, “Washington.  We’re wasted here,” says she.  “You ought to be Toady Extraordinary to the Court of St. Bridget or Head Porter of the Island of Porto Rico.  I’m going to see about it.”

“‘Then this lady,’ I says to Andy, ’moves against the authorities at Washington with her baggage and munitions, consisting of five dozen indiscriminating letters written to her by a member of the Cabinet when she was 15; a letter of introduction from King Leopold to the Smithsonian Institution, and a pink silk costume with canary colored spats.

“‘Well and then what?’ I goes.  ’She has the letters printed in the evening papers that match her costume, she lectures at an informal tea given in the palm room of the B. & O. Depot and then calls on the President.  The ninth Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Labor, the first aide-de-camp of the Blue Room and an unidentified colored man are waiting there to grasp her by the hands—­and feet.  They carry her out to S.W.  B. street and leave her on a cellar door.  That ends it.  The next time we hear of her she is writing postcards to the Chinese Minister asking him to get Arthur a job in a tea store.’

“‘Then,’ says Andy, ’you don’t think Mrs. Avery will land the Marshalship for Bill?’

“‘I do not,’ says I.  ’I do not wish to be a septic, but I doubt if she can do as well as you and me could have done.’

“‘I don’t agree with you,’ says Andy.  ’I’ll bet you she does.  I’m proud of having a higher opinion of the talent and the powers of negotiation of ladies.’

“We was back at Mrs. Avery’s hotel at the time she appointed.  She was looking pretty and fine enough, as far as that went, to make any man let her name every officer in the country.  But I hadn’t much faith in looks, so I was certainly surprised when she pulls out a document with the great seal of the United States on it, and ‘William Henry Humble’ in a fine, big hand on the back.

“‘You might have had it the next day, boys,’ says Mrs. Avery, smiling.  ‘I hadn’t the slightest trouble in getting it,’ says she.  ’I just asked for it, that’s all.  Now, I’d like to talk to you a while,’ she goes on, ’but I’m awfully busy, and I know you’ll excuse me.  I’ve got an Ambassadorship, two Consulates and a dozen other minor applications to look after.  I can hardly find time to sleep at all.  You’ll give my compliments to Mr. Humble when you get home, of course.’

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The Gentle Grafter from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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