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Full Online Book HomePoemsThe Batch Of Letters, Or One Day With A Busy Man
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The Batch Of Letters, Or One Day With A Busy Man Post by :jamesjoseph Category :Short Stories Author :George Ade Date :July 2011 Read :1925

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The Batch Of Letters, Or One Day With A Busy Man

One Morning an energetic little Man who had about a Ton of Work piled up on his Desk came down Town with a Hop, Skip and Jump determined to clean up the whole Lay-Out before Nightfall.

He had taken eight hours of Slumber and a cold Dip in the Porcelain. After Breakfast he came out into the Spring Sunshine feeling as fit as a Fiddle and as snippy as a young Colt.

"Me to the Office to get that Stack of Letters off my Mind," said the Hopeful Citizen.

When he dashed into the Office he carried 220 pounds of Steam and was keen for the Attack.

A tall Man with tan Whiskers arose from behind the roll-top Desk and greeted him.

"How are you feeling this Morning?" asked the Stranger.

"Swell and Sassy," was the Reply.

"And yet, to-morrow you may join the Appendicitis Colony and day after to-morrow you may lie in the darkened Front Room with Floral Offerings on all sides," said the Stranger. "What you want is one of our non-reversible, twenty-year, pneumatic Policies with the Reserve Fund Clause. Kindly glance at this Chart. Suppose you take the reactionable Endowment with the special Proviso permitting the accumulation of both Premium and Interest. On a $10,000 Policy for 20 Years you make $8,800 clear, whether you live or die, while the Company loses $3,867.44 as you can see for yourself."

"This is my--" began the Man.

"Or, you may prefer the automatic tontine Policy with ball-bearings," continued the Death Angel. "In this case, the entire Residue goes into the Sinking Fund and draws Compound Interest. This is made possible under our new System of reducing Operating Expenses to a Minimum and putting the Executive Department into the Hands of well-known New York Financiers who do not seek Pecuniary Reward but are actuated by a Philanthropic Desire to do good to all Persons living west of the Alleghenies."

"That will be about all from you," said the Man. "Mosey! Duck! Up an Alley!"

"Then you don't care what becomes of your Family?" asked the Stranger, in a horrified Tone.

"My Relatives are collecting all of their Money in Advance," said the Man. "If they are not worrying over the Future, I don't see why you should lose any Sleep."

So the Solicitor went out and told every one along the Street that the Man lacked Foresight.

At 9.30 o'clock the industrious little Man picked up letter number 1 and said to the Blonde Stenographer, "Dear Sir."

At that moment the Head of the Credit Department hit him on the Back and said he had a Good One. It was all about little Frankie, the Only Child, the Phenom, the 40-pound Prodigy.

In every large Establishment there is a gurgling Parent who comes down in the Morning with a Story concerning the incipient Depew out at their House. It seems that little Frankie has been told something at Sunday School and he asked his Mother about it and she told him so-and-so, whereupon the Infant Joker arose to the Emergency and said: and then you get it, and any one who doesn't laugh is lacking in a Finer Appreciation of Child Nature. The Busy Man listened to Frankie's Latest and asked, "What's the Rest of it?"

So the Parent remarked to several People that day that the Man was sinking into a crabbed Old Age.

At 10 A.M. the Man repeated "Dear Sir" and a Voice came to him, remarking on the Beauty of the Weather. A Person who might have been Professor of Bee-Culture in the Pike County Agricultural Seminary, so far as make-up was concerned, took the Man by the Hand and informed him that he (the Man) was a Prominent Citizen and that being the case he would be given a Reduction on the Half-Morocco Edition. While doing his 150 Words a Minute, he worked a Kellar Trick and produced a large Prospectus from under his Coat. Before the Busy Man could grab a Spindle and defend himself, he was looking at a half-tone Photo of Aristotle and listening to all the different Reasons why the Work should be in every Gentleman's Library. Then the Agent whispered the Inside Price to him so that the Stenographer would not hear and began to fill out a Blank. The Man summoned all his Strength and made a Buck.

"I don't read Books," he said. "I am an Intellectual Nit. Clear Out!"

So the Agent gave him a couple of pitying Looks and departed, meeting in the Doorway a pop-eyed Person with his Hat on the Back of his Head and a Roll of Blue Prints under his Arm. The Man looked up and moaned. He recognized his Visitor as a most dangerous Monomaniac--the one who is building a House and wants to show the Plans.

"I've got everything figured out," he began, "except that we can't get from the Dining Room to the Library without going through the Laundry and there's no Flue connecting with the Kitchen. What do you think I'd better do?"

"I think you ought to live at a Hotel," was the reply.

The Monomaniac went home and told his Wife that he had been insulted.

At 11.30 came a Committee of Ladies soliciting Funds for the Home for the Friendless.

"Those who are Friendless don't know their own Luck," said the Busy Man, whereupon the Ladies went outside and agreed that he was a Brute.

At Noon he went out and lunched on Bromo Seltzer.

When he rushed back to tackle his Correspondence, he was met by a large Body of Walking Delegates who told him that he had employed a non-union Man to paint his Barn and that he was a Candidate for the Boycott. He put in an Hour squaring himself and then he turned to the Stenographer.

"How far have we got?" he asked.

"'Dear Sir,'" was the Reply.

Just then he got the Last Straw--a bewildered Rufus with a Letter of Introduction. That took 40 Minutes. When Rufe walked out, the Busy Man fell with his Face among the unanswered Letters.

"Call a Cab," he said.

"The 'Phone is out of order," was the Reply.

"Ring for a Messenger," he said.

She pulled the Buzzer and in 20 minutes there slowly entered a boy from the Telegraph Office.

The Man let out a low Howl like that of a Prairie Wolf and ran from the Office. When he arrived at Home he threw his Hat at the Rack and then made the Children back into the Corner and keep quiet. His Wife told around that Henry was Working too hard.

* * * * *

MORAL: Work is a Snap, but the Intermissions do up the Nervous System.

(The end)
George Ade's short story: Batch Of Letters, Or One Day With A Busy Man

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