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A Conqueror's Attack Post by :shotgunwedding Category :Essays Author :Robert Cortes Holliday Date :November 2011 Read :3277

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A Conqueror's Attack

On the post-office store porch an old brindled Dane dog, town loafer, was asleep on his back. Chickens wallowed in the road. A baby crawled from behind a barrel at the post-office store door. A quorum was met on the hotel porch across the way. The butcher and the cobbler came forth from dove-cot shops to pass the time of day. The villagers come in ones and twos to get their mail. One, a fair, freckled milk-maid, as it would seem, from some old story, stands on the sidewalk path, waiting for the mail to be "sorted." A willowy lass, one would say a "summer boarder," pokes her parasol musingly through a knot-hole in the porch floor. The shop next door is a "dry goods and notions" store; butter and peaches and cherries and roses and cream in the shape of a feminine clerk leans beneath the low lintel, and, one can guess, like the old dog, dreams. The one of brave days of the past, perchance; the other, perchance, of conquests to come.

A fat fly buzzes leisurely about the door, then suddenly takes a straight line a considerable distance down the straggling street, pauses, circles about, returns, now through the early sunshine, now through the shadow of a venerable tree, back to the shelter of the porch, hums around again, poises absolutely stationary, tacks away another time over the same course, and returns as before.

Suddenly appearing, briskly advancing upon the scene, walking rapidly up from the direction of the railroad station, scintillating punctuality, dispatch, succinctness, assurance, commercial agility, comes an apparition from, without manner of doubt, the hurrying ways, the collision of the busy marts of men. The chickens scatter from the road, making for picketless gaps in the picket fence; the old dog opens an eye and limply raises a limb; and the rapid, confident "traveling man" (it can be none but he), resplendent in the very latest "gent's furnishing," with a neat grip and a bundle of what apparently are rolled calendars, springs nimbly upon the porch of the Chappaqua general store. Genial, pushing, the hurrying "good fellow," though sociability is his bent as well as business, he has not much time. It evidently is his habit to snatch a brief moment of pleasant acquaintanceship as he passes. As to this, he has as quick an eye for the sex as for commerce, and, as will be seen, as successful a manner with them as in the other.

"Attacking," said another conqueror, Barry Lyndon, "is the only secret. That is my way of fascinating women." Quickly, as with a practiced eye, this gallant looks over the ground. Chappaqua apparently is rich in human flowers. A man of poorer mettle would be satisfied with one. That is not the way with your conquerors. Smugly, flashingly, he thrusts his grinning, big-prowed countenance forward, and with one killing glance that fair, freckled milk-maid is undone. So much for number one. Quick as a terrier that leaps from rat to rat, and with a single brilliant crunch breaks each rodent's back, our high-stepping man leaps his glance upon the dreaming butter and peaches and cream; her rich lashes fall, but she does not frown. No; she does not frown. But be bold enough, and you will not fail.

He has stepped through the doorway, set his grip down. Brightly he turns and does for the summer boarder. She springs open her parasol before her pleased confusion, and retreats, very slowly. He has turned to business; whips out his watch, snaps it shut, replaces it, unrolls a calendar. He "makes" the next town in so many hours.

(The end)
Robert Cortes Holliday's essay: Conqueror's Attack

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