The Four Million HTML version

The Romance Of A Busy Broker
Pitcher, confidential clerk in the office of Harvey Maxwell, broker, allowed a look of
mild interest and surprise to visit his usually expressionless countenance when his
employer briskly entered at half past nine in company with his young lady stenographer.
With a snappy "Good-morning, Pitcher," Maxwell dashed at his desk as though he were
intending to leap over it, and then plunged into the great heap of letters and telegrams
waiting there for him.
The young lady had been Maxwell's stenographer for a year. She was beautiful in a way
that was decidedly unstenographic. She forewent the pomp of the alluring pompadour.
She wore no chains, bracelets or lockets. She had not the air of being about to accept an
invitation to luncheon. Her dress was grey and plain, but it fitted her figure with fidelity
and discretion. In her neat black turban hat was the gold-green wing of a macaw. On this
morning she was softly and shyly radiant. Her eyes were dreamily bright, her cheeks
genuine peachblow, her expression a happy one, tinged with reminiscence.
Pitcher, still mildly curious, noticed a difference in her ways this morning. Instead of
going straight into the adjoining room, where her desk was, she lingered, slightly
irresolute, in the outer office. Once she moved over by Maxwell's desk, near enough for
him to be aware of her presence.
The machine sitting at that desk was no longer a man; it was a busy New York broker,
moved by buzzing wheels and uncoiling springs.
"Well—what is it? Anything?" asked Maxwell sharply. His opened mail lay like a bank
of stage snow on his crowded desk. His keen grey eye, impersonal and brusque, flashed
upon her half impatiently.
"Nothing," answered the stenographer, moving away with a little smile.
"Mr. Pitcher," she said to the confidential clerk, did Mr. Maxwell say anything yesterday
about engaging another stenographer?"
"He did," answered Pitcher. "He told me to get another one. I notified the agency
yesterday afternoon to send over a few samples this morning. It's 9.45 o'clock, and not a
single picture hat or piece of pineapple chewing gum has showed up yet."
"I will do the work as usual, then," said the young lady, "until some one comes to fill the
place." And she went to her desk at once and hung the black turban hat with the gold-
green macaw wing in its accustomed place.
He who has been denied the spectacle of a busy Manhattan broker during a rush of
business is handicapped for the profession of anthropology. The poet sings of the