Peska managed to

A) change the authors life completely.

B) become English to the core.

C) meet a woman who later directed his life.

D) turn his existence into a new channel.


Pitcher, a confidential clerk in the office of Harvey Maxwell, allowed a look of mild interest and surprise when his employer briskly entered at half-past nine in company with a young lady. Miss Leslie had been Maxwells stenographer for a year. She was beautiful in a way that was decidedly unstenographic. On this morning she was softly and shyly radiant. Her eyes were dreamily bright, 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 stayed for a while, slightly irresolute, in the outer office. Once she moved over by Maxwells desk near enough for him to be aware of her presence.

The man sitting at that desk was no longer a man; it was a machine, moved by buzzing wheels and uncoiling springs.

Well what is it? Anything? asked Maxwell sharply.

Nothing, answered the stenographer, moving away with a little smile.

This day was Harvey Maxwells busy day. Messenger boys ran in and out with messages and telegrams. Maxwell himself jumped from desk to door sweating. On the Exchange there were hurricanes and snowstorms and volcanoes, and those powerful disturbances were reproduced in miniature in Maxwells office. The rush and pace of business grew faster and fiercer. Share prices were falling and orders to sell them were coming and going and the man was working like some strong machine. Here was a world of finance, and there was no room in it for the human world or the world of nature.

When the luncheon hour came, Maxwell stood by his desk with a fountain pen over his right ear. His window was open. And through the window came a delicate, sweet smell of lilac that fixed the broker for a moment immovable. For this odour belonged to Miss Leslie; it was her own, and hers only. She was in the next room twenty steps away.

By George, I'll do it now, said Maxwell half aloud. Ill ask her now. I wonder why I didnt do it long ago. He dashed into the inner office and charged upon the desk of the stenographer. She looked at him with a smile.

Miss Leslie, he began hurriedly, I have but a moment to spare. I want to say something in that moment. Will you be my wife? I havent had time to approach you in the ordinary way, but I really do love you.

Oh, what are you talking about? exclaimed the young lady. She rose to her feet and gazed upon him, round-eyed.

Dont you understand? said Maxwell. I want you to marry me. I love you, Miss Leslie. I wanted to tell you, and I snatched a minute. They are calling me for the phone now. Tell them to wait a minute, Pitcher. Wont you, Miss Leslie?

The stenographer acted very strangely. She seemed overcome with amazement; then tears flowed from her wondering eyes; and then she smiled sunnily through them.

I know now, she said softly. It is this old business that has driven everything else out of your head for the time. I was frightened at first. Dont you remember, Harvey? We were married last evening at 8 oclock in the Little Church Around the Corner.



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