I’ve read the directly-related-to Jeeves and Wooster short stories out of order as well as one of the novels and I’m now starting where first mention of Gussie was made. Due to most of the stories being insulated with only minimal mention to other stories, I’m not stressing much on the order of the series, but still having fun trying to read them in as chronological as possible.
Bill the Bloodhound is the first story in this collection which introduces Henry, a detective, by a narrator not named as of yet. We come to realize how inept Henry is and looked down upon in his department, also learning of where he resides and how he’d met a woman one day called Alice, description of her disposition, and how she reacted differently from the other girls in her line of business when she found out what Henry did for a living. Henry discovers himself trying to ingratiate himself with her despite her thoughts on his profession and when he proposes to her and is promptly turned down for reasonable reasons, he still waits patiently for the right moment of pursuit of her affections, she already seeing him in good light, but resisting further delving. Henry goes to audition for a comedy musical, more along Alice’s line of career and doesn’t seem to have much talent in this respect, being turned away. Henry is then given a job by his boss to shadow a husband on the road, he being an actor, and Henry realizing it’s the same company Alice was in, he knowing he would soon be tortured with the inability to be in her company directly for having to stay undercover. When he begins his “stalking” of the company he becomes conflicted with the feeling of not being able to come out and speak with Alice, but also enjoying his time seeing the actors up close. During his trip he realizes how much he enjoyed his work of following the unsuspecting, what with having to come up with a different disguise periodically so as to stay unnoticed.
Henry didn’t keep to himself though, he making the same friend in each stop they collectively made, the actor not seeming to ever recognize him, but consistently open to and aiding the blossom of friendship. One night Henry gets an invitation from the comedian, Walter to smoke cigars with him, a sign of great respect since the man was fairly popular in general society, anyways. Walter, after getting Henry comfortable, comes right out and asks him who his mark is, everyone in the company knowing he was undercover, but not knowing who the lucky target was. This dose of reality surprised Henry to pieces and we learn how he’d been able to fool himself into believing the people around him could be tricked by his odd disguises. Walter goes on to describe how the company only made bets on what he’d change into next rather than doing more entertaining pastimes and Walter revealing what nickname they’d given Henry, he being taken aback and embarrassed and revealing nothing about who he was following. When Henry gets up to leave, Walter tries to implore him to confess whom he was following and everyone being excitedly awaiting to know who the winner was, but also due to Henry happening to be their best unofficial mascot, Henry not only being invited to stay and socialize amongst them, but to drop the disguises altogether. Henry then figures he may as well stay on at least so he could speak with Alice freely, but still wouldn’t relinquish information on whom he was tailing since he could still do this unhindered.
The next night Henry looked for Alice on stage, finally able to approach her, but having the greetings cut short by her being in the midst of waiting to go on stage for the acting “action”. We are then introduced to another woman whom no one in the company liked due to her snobbery and lack of talent and then being told of what the play the company was performing in was about, Henry vigilant on the look out for Alice, who played shrubbery and a background dancer at times. After his first approach gave no hint to her feelings, Henry plays his only hand, once Alice is back behind the curtain, asking for hers, she not being able to answer for having to go back on stage, he becoming so in need of a response from her, following blindly to the point of tripping and falling on stage with such color during a song normally taken by the crowd soberly, they were brought to their feet with shouts of approval. The same night Walter commends Henry on his fortuitousness due to what his actions had brought, Walter offering him a job with contract to stay on with him in the troupe, Henry at first not certain he could get along, but then thinking of Alice and making his decision. The ending is a bit open, but one can perceive it is a positive outcome for Henry.
Extricating Young Gussie is of course the bud of Gussie’s character being presented as we see with the start by the narrator, presumably Bertie describing Aunt Agatha when he’s awakened by Jeeves to announce of her arrival. Bertie goes in and immediately takes in her grump of a look and how she was seated in his chair. His Aunt begins by asking about his plans for the coming week and Bertie, sensing his answer had value on how she would proceed, stating of having plenty of tasks he must do, but being unable to quantify specifics, is told he will be going to America after Gussie who has holed up in New York and was making a fool of himself, his Aunt being unable to “get at him”. Aunt Agatha describes the goings on of Gussie’s time there and his foolishness stemming from his love of a girl in vaudeville, which ran in Gussie’s blood, his mother being on vaudeville at one point herself. Bertie describes his fascination of heredity and how Gussie seemed to have gotten the love-bug of vaudevillians, but his Aunt poo poo’s his enchantment to unveil to him he’ll be going to New York to stop Gussie.
When Bertie asks for a reason why, his Aunt gives him a laundry list of reasons to make Bertie realize his qualifications for the job and knowing she would make him regret his decision if he declined. So Bertie is sent off to New York, but upon arriving, in the early morning no less, he is unable to detect where Gussie was supposed to be, and discovers a bar. After sharing with one of the waiters what had happened to him and looking for a suggestion of drink, he gets one which the man had come up with and it doing it’s work, Bertie makes his way out and takes a look around the city. As he sight-sees, he gets the feeling New York tends to give to people, the static energy of being in the middle of a live city at no matter the hour. As Bertie walks up and down near Times Square and gives up caring if he sees Gussie, he spots him going into an office. When he catches up to him and realizes the office is occupied by one of the theatrical variety, Gussie surprised, asks what brought Bertie there and when he came in, the return answer and conversation which ensues confiding why Gussie wasn’t registered under his own name and professing of his love of a girl which Bertie was hesitant of ruining and so felicitates his good fortune. Gussie was then going to proceed listing to Bertie why he was in the office when he sees the object of his need and bum rushes Mr. Riesbitter before he could get to anyone else in the cramped waiting room which works out well for Gussie, landing a job and then going on to mention to Bertie why he’d gotten into show business.
This does not calm Bertie’s nerves in the least and decides he must wire back to Gussie’s mother for reinforcements, knowing he isn’t the best player for his Aunt’s relationship-smashing job. When Bertie has the chance to see Gussie rehearse for his first upcoming performance, he believes if he lets nature run its course, he won’t have to do anything to tear the happy couple up, due to how unfortunate Gussie’s acting skills seemed to be. The two get through the rehearsal which occurs for hours on the weekend and when Monday rolls around, Bertie, having planned a wonderful lunch at the time of Gussie’s first performance, couldn’t understand how he would be starting at one in the afternoon, so Bertie gives up his plans in order to give moral support and once getting a seat, which he chooses solely to ogle the pretty girl next to him, Gussie comes bounding and tripping on stage to begin his debut, which he bombs with the atom variety getting himself off-stage, but only temporarily to have to reappear and sing a song which fortunately blended well with his failure to impress with the start of his set list, leaving Bertie with the woe of the lyrics Gussie was singing, up until the young lady seated next to him stands and starts belting out the song which abruptly shuts Gussie up and embarrasses Bertie to no end. When he goes to see Gussie after the two finish the song together, Bertie realizes Gussie had been saved by his fiancée’s good will in keeping Gussie squared through his obviously difficult debut and was then glad he’d sent for help, he being out of his depth, which he is relieved of when his Aunt Julia, Gussie’s mother gets into town, she seeing Bertie in a similar way to his Aunt Agatha, but quietly so.
Bertie’s Aunt asks why he had cabled her and he decides it would be better if she saw firsthand what the issue was, they being seated to a show, which his Aunt looked on, reminiscing of her own youth. Bertie then makes sure his Aunt is aware to pay careful attention when Ray’s turn comes and her opinion of the girl is positive, Bertie then takes her to where Gussie was about to perform, she seeming a bit mystified by the end of it, but Bertie assuring her they would be going to only one other spot for her to meet Ray’s father and then she could decide what would be done about their impending marriage. When they arrive, his Aunt Julia seems to get quite a shock upon seeing Ray’s father, Joe and vice versa, which puts Bertie in a state of disarray. The two are now ignoring Bertie and catching up with delight and Joe reveals how he’d loved Julia since they’d first met and it causing him to leave England, Julia then supporting his daughter marrying her son, which Joe hadn’t put together by this point. The next few moments puts Bertie off so much, he backs his way out the door and hails for a taxi which then brings us back to Bertie’s room and how he was dealing with trying to reply to a more recent wire from his Aunt Agatha when Gussie comes in to break the news he’d been surprised with when he and Ray had gone back to her father’s place, Bertie asking to be left alone to ponder his reply and figuring an extended stay in New York might be in his immediate future. After reading this, it makes me want to go back and read the others which correspond after this one, and one day I’m sure I will.
Wilton’s Holiday has us see from an unknown Narrator’s standpoint how Jack Wilton would not be pegged for someone with any problems in his life, but for one who could be turned to as a rock of stability for others. Spencer Clay is the first to figure out what was going on with Jack and was known for his fact-sharing nature with the town of Marois Bay and used his skill upon Jack when he’d gone to unwind his tale of woe and got a woe-ier tale in return. We then learn the details of his terrible experience, and boy is it a doozy. The townspeople at first walked on eggshells to not aggravate Jack’s terrible loss, but after realizing he maintained his sunny and lighthearted disposition, reverted back to their normal ways, allowing him to dictate how to treat him with his optimistic and humorous outlook. Everyone had time to get used to these developments when a young lady, Mary Campbell came to town, which our Narrator couldn’t see the attraction to, but Jack apparently was among those who could, albeit he could draw the attention of any girl in Marois Bay for looking like a hunk. We then are told how the Narrator becomes privy to Jack’s other sad story, he describing to our Narrator himself about his asking for Mary’s hand and being turned down, the details of which are given, as well.
Jack then goes on to supply details of his first confession containing fallacy, revealing his reasons which are fairly reasonable upon the relating, this being Jack’s holiday and not wanting to be treated like he was in his home town, but now suffering the consequences of his lie. In return, the Narrator gives unsound advice and the town sees the results of this after Jack confides the truth to Mary, the two no longer speaking to each other, after which the Narrator apprises us of there only being a second-hand account of the details which follow, we learning Jack didn’t take Mary’s release of him well, seeming deflated, whilst Mary didn’t acknowledge his existence from then on, which Jack took by wearing a pensive look in her presence. The Narrator mentions the absurdity of he taking this, but Jack still defended her sensitivity, somehow still taking pleasure in her “perfection”. We move forward to a time when Jack decides to take a walk on the beach and upon realizing he was becoming over-heated, sought some shade from some rocks and once getting comfortable in his misery, falls asleep for the rhythmic sounds of the sea. When he awakens with a cramp in his leg, he then sees Mary had decided to set up a sitting spot nearby, she believing he’d followed her and he, too caught up in his sadness to realize they were there for the same woeful reasons. After she is told it was purely chance they’d both come to the same spot and fall asleep, she walks off and Jack, wanting to leave as well, had to give her time to walk off so it wouldn’t seem he was following her, waiting uncomfortably, for a wind had picked up.
When Jack thinks she would’ve had enough time for him to start walking, he sees her coming back and believes she’s changed her mind about him after all, only to get shot down with her words being about the tide coming in and needing to go another way around, Jack thoroughly freezing through his thin suit now and a little resentful she’d had all this time to walk around whilst he had to wait and continue to ice over. When she comes back again, the two don’t truly realize what her words of being trapped in the cove would mean for them, but once she sits on a rock for not knowing how else to leave and a wave laps at her feet, she starts to understand their danger, hers especially for not knowing how to swim and bringing this to Jack’s attention who stays firm with his chilly and chilled exterior until she sounds so plaintive he melts with her words of fear, he only wanting to know if she’s forgiven him, she not understanding why he’d ask her a question seemingly so insignificant at the moment, but confessing her true feelings and he finally coming out with the knowledge the tide doesn’t go past a certain rock, having been trapped there once before, she emitting a sound which told of surprise, respite and outrage, she starting the questioning every girl has experienced if having dealt with men, deciding to stay mad at him for a few moments before it begins to get quite cold, coming back to ask whether he’d be interested in snuggling due to the worse chill to come, he accepting without words and the story ends sweetly.
The Mixer – I starts with us having a Narrator we learn is a dog, whom gives description of his job, as a newly purchased pup beginning when the Shy Man became his new owner. Our Narrator describes his life before being bought (which had given him a great sense of responsibility) and how he had a predilection of getting under people’s feet and making mischief in the place he was born (being a bar and the owner entitled to both being mentioned), our Narrator giving reason for his impatience to be hereditary. He then describes of his first meeting with the Shy Man, he having a nap with his mother and how she’d begun to growl, he not taking notice of it anymore since she growled at everyone other than their Master. When our Narrator realizes the Shy Man and their Master was talking about him (due to the mention of being ugly, which he was quite aware), he then opened his eyes and took stock of the Shy Man, the Narrator being chummy with all men, a sociable sort. Our Narrator comes to the opinion of the Shy Man being shy by how he didn’t talk much, which doesn’t turn out to be the case, the Shy Man quickly showing what kind of a master he would become, getting the Narrator to calm down through physical remonstrance.
They walk for what seems like a hundred miles to the pup and when the Shy Man is close to home, he’s stopped by a policeman who makes sure the Shy Man will heed his advice in getting out of town, the Shy Man stating of going to the country and the Narrator impressed a policeman would be so concerned with the Shy Man’s health. When they get into his room, our Narrator couldn’t help but ask and talk about all the possessions he’d kept himself until then, the Shy Man again commanding him to be quiet and when our Narrator continues to babble excitedly on, getting another example of why he believed the Shy Man was so shy. They go off to the country during the night and our Narrator is taking in the scenery of finally experiencing the country and asking the Shy Man if he was going to be a caretaker of one of the large homes they were walking past, he demanding the pup to shut up once more and our Narrator acquiescing. They walk to a cottage where the Shy Man greets another man, Bill with familiarity and they discuss why he’d bought a dog, the Shy Man giving a valid reason, for the jobs they were planning and after they enter the cottage and the pup falls asleep, being awakened by a scratching at the door and knowing how a dog is educated to react to such a situation, begins barking.
The man comes in through the window, turns the light on and whacks our Narrator with a stick, this procedure occurring nightly until our Narrator finally decides to try the opposite of his mother’s sound training, believing her views to be narrow and not having dealt with as shy a man he was owned by, the next night staying quiet and getting rewarded for his silence (positively for once). When the pup had learned this, the next phase of the Shy Man’s plan was put in to effect, being of which his approach to a large house and asking if the man needed a watch dog, the old man in question surprised and pleased since he had been, his other having met an untimely death, he paying for our Narrator and the man leaving. The Narrator was at first unaware of the Shy Man’s absence, but soon changed and he began pining like dogs do until he heard a familiar sound from his old life, being a man, Fred’s motor-bike, our Narrator excitedly running outside when the old man opened the door, we learning our Narrator’s nickname at the bar (an uncommon one in today’s society, but acceptable in the times, I presume…). They all go back inside and have supper, the Narrator setting up camp in the other dog’s basket, but not being able to sleep for his excitement of seeing Fred and smelling rats, investigating and then hearing a noise he was used to hearing during his time with the Shy Man and not barking like he normally would, but waiting and listening, unsure and wondering if it could be his old owner and surprised to learn it was.
Our Narrator, being an extrovert he is, was a little underwhelmed by the Shy Man’s welcome and began to think of ways to help him cure his shyness, plotting of how he could get Fred down there so the two could meet without scaring off the Shy Man before being able to do so. Our Narrator comes up with a solid plan and slips away quietly for the Shy Man being preoccupied with grabbing some objects in another area with his back to the pup, our Narrator going off to get Fred quietly and fortunately after successfully waking Fred, he hearing the Shy Man walking around downstairs and grabbing the rifle his father had given him and going downstairs to confront the Shy Man, our Narrator about to introduce the two when Fred shouts and ruins all of the Narrator’s hard work, the Shy Man jumping out the window and our Narrator after him, Fred following and the pup catching the Shy Man’s scent which ended at a tree, he not seeing anything, Fred believing the man had got away, but our Narrator hearing the branches go and making it known he was up there, still wanting the two to meet and getting his wish even though they didn’t turn out to get along as well as our Narrator hoped, the police coming for the Shy Man and Fred and his father giving our Narrator enough treats to ease his mind about his friendship-making skills. The first half of this story reminding me of a funnier Lady: My Life as a Bitch.
The Mixer – II I’ll list like a second story, even though it looks in the book like a chapter more than a story unto itself, which may be a trick, since the Narrator of this one gets knocked down by a chauffeured car and taken in by a young boy, a Master Peter, naming him Fido, our Narrator not having liked the name, but knowing a good situation when it hit him and deciding it must be the bad which came with this good fortune. Peter seemed to have to convince everyone he’d decided on this dog, Fido to be his, the nurse-maid being the first, his mother the second, she revealing to Peter of his father being a stickler for pedigree dogs he may not like his choice, his father then walking in, but in the end accepting Peter’s firm decision on keeping Fido since he’d not been denied before and why start now.
Peter then takes Fido for his bone, given to him by Cook and then going out to the kennels where all of Peter’s father’s prize-winning dogs stayed, Fido knowing it wouldn’t be pleasant and being spot on with his assumption, the two moving off to the stables where he meets a little terrier called Jack who was owned by one of the grooms, he giving Fido sound advice about not wasting time having fun with Peter since the boy seemed to have a short attention span for the items he loved and would be better off getting favor from one of the adults before his two weeks were up. Jack was sure to make it known it wasn’t Peter’s fault, but his parents keeping him cooped up and away from other children and giving him games to idle his time away, making the boy jaded. Fido soon learned Peter certainly did treat him like his only friend and would describe to him fantastical tales of Indians and pirates making homes near and on the lake nearby. Fido finally gets a taste of what he would be in for if he lost Peter’s favor when Peter’s father gets him a toy plane and how Peter didn’t speak with him the whole time until it broke. Fido then tries to put Jack’s words of getting in with the adults into action, but not starting off well when he chases a guest up a tree whom he hadn’t met until the next morning of the man’s visit. He then makes a real enemy when he tries to play with Peter’s father, mixing signals when he was playing golf.
Fido’s final faux pas happens when there were women visitors in the drawing room and Fido was waiting for cake, but then seeing what he thought to be a rat and trying to impress the women, since he knew women hated rats, he decided to capture it, but upon throwing it across the room and it emitting a bark, surprises the dukes out of Fido, he apologizing to the rat dog before being attacked by everyone in the room, Fido taking refuge under the couch with embarrassment, but the damage having been done, Peter’s mother commanding the butler, Weeks to get Fido and tie him in an empty stall in the stables until such a time as a man could be gotten to shoot poor Fido. He stays tied there for such a long time as to believe they could have forgotten about him when he hears steps and realizes it’s Peter, he untying him and deciding they’ll go through the woods to a city of diamonds which he’d told Fido about earlier. Peter takes Fido as far as he can get before collapsing in the dense wood, tired and pretending he wasn’t scared and making up a story where Fido came to rescue him in the woods, the two falling asleep and Fido being woken in the night by sounds and light, he defending the boy until he found his father was there and Peter, half asleep is sharing the story he’d made up earlier, his father believing Fido had saved Peter from kidnappers and from then on Fido being an esteemed guest. This one ending as nicely as the first.
Crowned Heads – Katie’s story starts with her being unaware she’d be the one to be whisked off her feet, due to believing she played a minor role to her friend’s life, other than one time having been complimented on her eyes whilst Genevieve was constantly told of her good looks and receiving advice to get into show business. Genevieve also had a particular way of speaking which gave the impression of royalty rather than her “menial” role as a model at Macy’s which is why Katie was surprised a man had decided to choose her after seeing Genevieve, the situation making it clear the young man had snubbed her friend for herself which angered Genevieve all the more since she was the one whom had spotted he and his friend as proper gentlemen to escort them on their outing to Palisades Park. Genevieve thought they’d be suitable by their looks and personalities, designating whom Katie would socialize. Upon deciding this, Genevieve approaches them, Katie getting uncomfortable, not ever having gotten used to Genevieve’s ease at engaging new people. Katie knew there wasn’t anything wrong with Genevieve’s ways, but couldn’t get used to it, making her more reserved.
The young man she was walking next to lets her know he can read her feelings, she embarrassed, but confirming his supposition, he stating of seeing her difference from Genevieve and Katie regarding his words by mentioning her friend’s goodness, quick to back her up. The young man claiming Genevieve may be too nice which makes Katie inquire further about his reasons for making conversation with Genevieve if he knew he wasn’t interested, he confessing it was to get closer to her. This new knowledge was so outlandish to Katie, she walked on with the young man in silence. She had thought herself unattractive and unnoticeable by the opposite sex and so knowing the young man held interest in her was overpowering. Katie then began considering his liking her must be a mistake somehow, due to the young man’s princely appearance, presumably all in her mind, and this possibility of he being truly attracted to her was scary for her to accept. He makes conversation about whether she’d been to the park or Coney Island before, surprised her answer to the contrary on the latter, advising she should to truly enjoy the park and mentions other festivities she would have to see, realizing she must not take many trips. He then enquires what she did for a living, Katie replying she worked in a second-hand book shop (a dream of mine which has yet come true) which was a family owned business, he learning her last name once hearing what the shop was called. He then asks what they should do, Katie thinking they should go back for their friends, but the young man suggesting a couple different ideas, Katie settling on ice cream and their walk.
Katie regards her companion more comfortably, but not feeling the need to ask more about him yet, regardless of the looks she’d noticed some boys giving him as they passed. As the day wound down, he shares of having decided to visit her at her work sometime, giving his name finally, Ted Brady, and where he could be found, then upon seeing Genevieve, bids Katie goodbye. When Katie is reunited with her friend, Genevieve wouldn’t speak to her on their way back which didn’t bother her like it usually would, too caught up in her pleasant day. When she arrived back at the shop to see Mr. Murdoch, her grandfather’s board game buddy and a glass-cutter, he confides being glad to see her and confessing he’d upset her grandfather with news of suffragettes in the paper. Katie eases Mr. Murdoch’s mind to not take it seriously and goes to see her grandfather, discovering him still bristling over the news. Katie suggests he write a letter to the government and shares how he could begin which settled her grandfather’s temper greatly. We then get back-story on Katie’s grandfather’s delusions of grandeur and the latest one being the first to last as long as it had. When first dealing with his illness, it had brought her to the end of her ability to cope, but now she knew how to get through it.
Katie set out her grandfather’s breakfast and updated Mr. Murdoch on having handled the situation. We then are told of her grandfather’s pastimes and how he spent his time at the park in good spirits. Katie, now her circumstances having changed, believed herself uniquely lucky, what with being content with her work, liked caring for her grandfather, and had Ted Brady to look forward to adding to her schedule. Ted making good his promise of visiting, was plain and forward with his reasons for doing so, not being smooth at all. Their second meeting consisted of he presenting Katie with flowers, unceremoniously, sharing with her random facts about himself and referring she speak with anyone who knew him for corroboration. He also confides of not having been in a serious relationship nor being interested in anyone until seeing her, his body language conveying honesty of his statement, and the time he visits after, planting a kiss on her and putting a ring on her finger. Katie was then comparing her proposal to the ones she’d heard Genevieve relate when she’d been asked for her hand and noticed Ted had a serious and reserved countenance in comparison, but regardless to his unemotional countenance, Katie was quite happy with it.
Although after sharing the news with her grandfather, she was no longer as happy; It wasn’t caused by Ted’s social standing, job, or personality, and when Mr. Murdoch found out who Katie’s fiancée was, he was surprised a celebrity such as he would choose her as a suitable spouse. He then shares Ted’s position at the Glencoe being more important than Ted had let on. So when she received this news, she believed there wasn’t anything to worry about when approaching her grandfather with her plans, but regardless of Ted’s status, her grandfather believing he was royalty gave him pause to Ted being good enough. Katie didn’t believe his response and knew she wouldn’t be able to change his mind. Katie then taking the information to Ted whom handled the news optimistically well, but Katie clarifying of they needing to get her grandfather’s blessing and couldn’t go behind his back, considering his illness and how much her grandfather needed looking after. Ted believed it shouldn’t be a problem, mapping out their wedding plans and time frame, concluding if her grandfather had issue with their decision, it would be his own concern, but Katie maintaining the shock of her disobeying would be too much for him and continued to try having Ted understand, which once he had, wasn’t pleased at all, thinking of alternatives, one of which being to visit the old man and becoming resolute after Katie attentively agrees, making sure he’d be kind to her grandfather. After they meet, Katie is updated on they not getting any closer to an accord, but Ted having been designated an Earl, they not giving up. Genevieve even tries to help after her wounded pride had time to heal, they struggling to come up with something within the next two weeks.
Ted’s friend had come close to a decent plan which involved getting Katie’s grandfather to Washington Square to stage a fight where Ted comes out the victor and the old man deciding to allow the marriage proceedings because of his show of courage and strength; Ted approved of the plan, but once Katie heard it she thought they would need to give it another thought, believing her grandfather’s ability to handle such a situation could only end badly. Katie then shares with Ted of needing time apart, since only seeming tortured by their suspended status. Katie coming to this painful decision after many sleepless nights. She considered their state of inaction not fair to Ted and he should feel free to look for a girl whom he could get gratification with more ease. He obeys her request unenthusiastically and Katie continues caring for her grandfather who had forgotten this moment in Katie’s life, wondering why she didn’t seem as happy. During this time, Katie was a bit jealous of the girls Ted had access to meet and the ability to help him forget her. The summer comes and goes after which we see Katie sitting on the book shop’s steps in September, feeling the first breeze after the intolerable heat of summer. She finally having stopped thinking of Ted and closing her eyes to listen to the sounds around her when she hears his voice. He conveys wanting to see her grandfather, she reminding him the uselessness, but Ted insisting on speaking with him and when he begins, Katie overhears the start of their conversation, her grandfather then excitedly calling for her. Katie’s grandfather has trouble sharing the good news of Ted’s status, but he now had no objection to their betrothal. Outside Ted confesses what process his plan had gone through, feeling guilty for lying, but seeing no other way. So the plan worked in their favor and the story ends abruptly, but satisfactorily.
At Geisenheimer’s – We begin with a first person Narrative about the lady we follow not being happy and unable to feel content, all usual entertainments and pastimes uninteresting. We learn she’s gone to Geisenheimer’s, a dance club/restaurant and whilst looking for a table, is noticed by a man who comes up to her and identifies her as a Miss Roxborough, he seeming to know her and she realizing he was from the country, confessing she didn’t remember him after he introduced himself as Ferris. He claimed the last time they were there, they had danced together, she learning the time he referred was the year before and being told his first name was Charlie, he wanting to dance with her again and she of the mind she must do so if asked. She relates how the country theme seemed natural for her day starting with like thoughts, after their dance, Ferris exhilarated and asking how common Roxborough came to the restaurant, she not revealing she was paid to dance there and the rules requiring her she not confide the truth, since patrons wouldn’t take the knowledge well in regards to whom won the contest they had every night.
Roxborough and another girl would win a cup for the dance contest every other night, but she claiming it wasn’t technically rigged, considering it was possible anyone could win, it’s only the two girls must be the best dancers each night, so management made the requirement for they to act unknowing. Ferris then states how great New York was and speaks familiarly to her about he wanting to move there, but having responsibilities keeping up his deceased father’s drugstore and making it quite lucrative, he then sharing of having gotten married during their time apart, and Roxborough berating him for acting single and leaving his wife alone, but Ferris replies his wife was in the restaurant, pointing to the balcony and Roxborough having noticed the lady earlier, looking sad, posing the question to Ferris, he thinking she was having a fine time and after being asked why he wasn’t dancing with her, he confessing she didn’t dance much and was good enough in their hometown in Maine, but needed to take a backseat in New York since he believed he was more agile.
This news understandably upset and angered Roxborough, she deciding to pawn him off on some friends for not feeling like dancing anymore. After doing so, Roxborough goes to the balcony, noticing how country-looking the girl seemed and not knowing how to begin speaking with her, decides to announce she’s going to sit by her and after, surprising her by stating the obvious of having been dancing with her husband, she agreeing to have noticed. Roxborough then felt such a renewed anger, she again had violent thoughts toward Ferris for how he was treating his wife and making her feel. Roxborough then offers a friendly ear for the young lady to unload her troubles to, she at first hesitant to do so with a stranger, but Roxborough putting her reluctant mind at ease after asking her a preliminary question of why they’d come to New York with summer about to hit, she revealing of being on their honeymoon and Charlie having been set to going back to New York, she not liking the city because it scared her and sharing a story of a man whom lived in the same town who’d gotten married, come to New York for his honeymoon and his wife comparing the city and men to their hometown which upon returning home, became restless and not being able to settle. One day she runs off and the man is still waiting for her return, even after three years passing, he not thinking of divorce.
The story shocks Roxborough and upsets the young lady, she convinced the man’s fate would soon be hers as well. After getting another eye-full of Charlie, Roxborough considers the good possibility of what the girl thought, the music then stopping and an announcer speaking of the contest about to begin, Roxborough knowing this was her cue to go down on the dance floor since management constantly worried about a night when one of their hired dancers wouldn’t show and someone random winning the cup, which then gives Roxborough an idea, ushering the young woman with her to dance in the contest, Roxborough having to win her over with the idea. After she succeeds, she retrieves her ticket and one for the young lady, Mary, then going to Charlie to inform him he would be dancing in the contest with her, they going on the dance floor which had filled with all the hopefuls, and as everyone started dancing, numbers were called and the dance floor emptied until it was only Mary, her dance partner, Roxborough, and Ferris, unaware for staring at his feet.
Roxborough started to notice Mary was getting applause for her efforts, knowing people were being struck by her look and being reminded of what they missed about the country. The announcer knew he would be in for it since he was going to have to pick the couple who hadn’t won over the crowd, then the last losing number is called and Charlie finally takes a moment to look up, believing his wife was still on the balcony, but being surprised to see her on the dance floor, everyone cheering her on. Charlie is properly flummoxed and Roxborough makes sure to bop him over the head with his stupidity, they getting a drink whilst waiting for Mary to join them. Roxborough then notices the announcer across the room looking distressed by having to inform the boss of the new winner of the cup. Roxborough attempts a look of encouragement toward him before continuing her plan to keep Charlie properly hooked to his wife by mentioning Mary relating the story of the young man whom lost his wife to New York and he needing to get her back home before the same happened to him.
Charlie seemed to have taken the bait and when Mary comes over and says how she wanted to have been dancing with him, he speaks of she being a marvel and suggests they go show the trophy off at home tomorrow, the two voicing how they were over New York and Roxborough excusing herself. She walks to the announcer who was speaking like an African native, but with anger and less comprehension. Roxborough claims to not have remembered which number was for whom and it being accidental Mary had won and to explain to the boss they had made a new couple happy, the trophy being a wedding gift. The announcer was so enraged knowing Roxborough had done it on purpose and would relate to the boss of it, she confessing her plans to resign anyways, having felt unfulfilled for awhile and planning to return to the country to her (big reveal) husband. This one was cute and enjoyable, quaint and some old-timer ideas, but good indeed.
The Making of Mac’s refers to a restaurant which by now no one called MacFarland’s anymore and the place was shrouded in mystery. It is described as an out-of-the-way spot, but somehow was popular among theatre people. So the question is brought to the only waiter who had been there the longest for his opinion, which is detailed next. Henry, the waiter begins with when the place opened, Mr. MacFarland doing so fifteen years prior. His wife had died and he had a son, Andy, and a daughter, Katie, whom was the child of a dead friend and was adopted.
Henry lists Andy’s attributes as being stubborn in those days and how he differed from the typical child’s behavior, which he grew into, rather than out; Katie meanwhile, was the favored. Henry skips forward to MacFarland getting lucky when acquiring our Narrator, Henry and Jules, whom was from Paris and a phenomenal cook. Henry had taken the job which was technically a step down compared to his previous position, but had conflict with the head waiter and had left after insulting the man. MacFarland treated Henry like a brother and would share his dream of sending Andy to Oxford College until he made it come true. Then giving Katie a job as a cashier which must have helped the business for she getting more beautiful in her sixteen years of age, plus Jules’ cooking and Henry’s service rounding off the reason for popularity.
Katie loved to dance which no one knew for she being secretive about the time she’d spend doing so. During those days, Andy was about to go off to college and Katie is seen by Henry later, crying and blaming a toothache. After, during Andy’s second year in college, MacFarland had a stroke which leaves him bedridden indefinitely and so Andy quits college to run the restaurant. Henry shares his empathy for Andy’s situation and tries to look on the bright side, which unfortunately costs him a tip, after which, Andy has to inform him of the man shouting for him, he being told to focus on his work.
Andy soon shows his dedication to his new position and once hiring more servers for the increase of business, proved his worth by how he cracked the whip and the new hires being eager to fall in line. Then Henry shares of a day when it was only he, Andy, and Katie, the two not realizing he was in hearing distance and he learning of they being more than friends and Katie’s plan to leave for show business. Andy though, by this time was actually the boss since his father had died half a year ago and was now Katie’s guardian which didn’t make him prone to allowing her to go, which is when Katie mentions having been attending a school and practicing for years for this opportunity, but Andy being adamant, Henry knowing if Andy had gone about asking her to stay differently, he would’ve had a better chance of her giving in, but Andy was head-strong and so Katie maintained her resolve, the two parting ways.
Henry keeps an eye out for news of Katie, soon discovering articles about she being a hit, but the play falling short; Henry showing one to Andy and he not being receptive. The restaurant stayed open late and one night it was dead until eleven at night when a group of four came in and one of the party was Katie. She greets Henry familiarly and threatens to share a story he’d have chosen to keep in the past unless he didn’t greet her warmly in return, he not wanting to rock the boat. Henry was noticing her uncommon behavior as she introduced her group and realized it was due to she being nervous of the possibility of Andy appearing, he doing so as if by synchronicity, but after he sees her, walking back out and Katie asking Henry if Andy ever mentioned her, repeating how well he looked before and after they were ready to leave, knowing he must still be angry with her.
The next night Katie returns for supper with a bigger party and as MacFarland’s continued to gain notoriety, Henry and the chef, Jules became more excited by the buzz until Henry figured how it happened and confronted Katie about how gratified he was by the foot traffic they were gaining due to her bringing people there. Andy still refused to acknowledge Katie and she still asked Henry if he did, but due to the increase in business, Henry and Andy made sure they didn’t lose the momentum, working harder; even whilst Henry related the story, the restaurant still doing well.
Henry was satisfied with his story-telling abilities until being reminded by the listener of what had become of Katie and Andy, continuing with how Henry had become tired of Andy’s snobbish game of ignoring whom all his good fortune had come and one night it seemed Andy was close to stating his thankfulness to Katie as she was about to start dancing to the piano music playing from the show she was in, Henry overhearing by discovering a spot to clean nearby. What Andy was about to state to Katie though, was she not being allowed to dance there, he “obliged” to her efforts of bringing in business, but not needing her help and wouldn’t have the place turned into a “nightclub”. Katie sits, but one kid in her party starts a ruckus in support of her dancing, Andy walking back over to request he keep his voice down, but the young man had too much to drink and tried to smack Andy, he reacting by depositing him outside and the scene fouling the mood, but for the better, getting an overflow of business which now required reservations, and Katie not returning, Henry noticing little other than considering her response a natural one. Then on Henry’s night off he receives a letter which shocks him.
Katie not knowing Henry would be back before one in the morning and he going off to the room above him which she had rented and told no one until writing her whereabouts in her letter, he making time to save her from her own actions and she breaking down, he suggesting they go to his apartment so she could explain why she was being irrational and helping her due to seeing she was limping. When she sits and relays what had happened to her since Henry hadn’t seen the news in the paper, he makes sure she won’t doing anything rash in his absence and goes to the restaurant to inform Andy of the letter Katie sent him which gets the reaction Henry was hoping it would induce, even after knowing she hadn’t succeeded, Henry making it seem it was still a possibility and the two rushing to Henry’s apartment. When Katie and Andy see each other, they embrace and Henry leaves to give them privacy, attending the latter half of a music-hall which wasn’t interesting due to needing to be in the right state of mind to appreciate them. Another warm, tender love story which has a nice pacing, but makes me yearn for more details.
One Touch of Nature starts with J. Wilmot Birdsey in line to get into the Chelsea Football Ground, he being happily content with life, even whilst he had the darkness of his future in the depths of his mind, he not letting it concern him on this marvelous day. Mr. Birdsey was attending the first baseball game since leaving New York five years previous due to his daughter, Mae marrying the sixth Earl of Carrickstead, Hugo. Mr. Birdsey, wanted to stay close to his daughter, so moves to England, and he being an easy going fellow, was at the whim of his wife and daughter besides being a businessman, wearing these hats for twenty years, but he being quite crushed by the aspect of not seeing a baseball game, presumingly ever again, until two formidable teams had announced their date of a game he could finally partake.
Mr. Birdsey also met two men who he could relate whilst watching, he seeing them as buddies from youth and reuniting on a foreign land, also not wanting their good company to be finished, so deciding to invite the men to dinner. We then learn each man’s attributes and the ways they reacted whilst watching the game. Birdsey decides first to ask the young man, whom agrees, but when trying to get the attention of the elder man, startles him, but still sallies forth to give his invitation. In the end, Birdsey obtains his guests, but realizes the awkwardness to come, regardless of their like-minded interest. Mr. Birdsey was resolute in making the dinner memorable for the good, though and the young man, seeing Birdsey’s look, starts speaking with the older man, whom again responds as oddly as he had before, looking stalked, and responding with a shake of his head. The young man is convinced he recognized him, though and continues questioning, Birdsey figuring midway through introductions were in order, learning the young man was called Watterall and the older, was Johnson he having moved from New York for his health.
Watterall inquires further and explains recognizing faces isn’t only an obsessive hobby, but helpful in his profession. Birdsey could sense Watterall’s explanation wasn’t making Johnson any more at ease and decided to relieve his tension by speaking positively about Algiers, Johnson’s current residence which didn’t go well, but fortunately being saved by the waiter with their champagne, helping Johnson explain his reaction which allowed Birdsey to return sympathy to his discomfort. Birdsey still believed the conversation needed saving caused by the serious content so turned the topic to the game they saw and Watterall confiding his reason for attending were for his job as a journalist. Birdsey than confesses what event he was missing by scheduling this dinner afterward, which then led into a puzzling exchange between Watterall and Johnson.
Watterall reveals Johnson’s real name and where he now remembered recognizing him. Birdsey was sympathetic and in awe of the lengths Johnson had gone, risking being caught only to see another game of baseball. Birdsey then tries to convince Watterall to keep the discovery to himself, failing, and he calling Scotland Yard for someone to claim Johnson. Birdsey is shocked by his lack of camaraderie, and Johnson breaks down knowing he was sunk. Mr. Birdsey was still until seeing Watterall’s body language which to him seemed too self righteous and so literally springs to action, knocking Watterall down and shouting for Johnson to flee, which he does, and when seeing he was safely gone, gets up. Watterall is dumbfounded by Birdsey’s reaction, he explaining fans must stick together, especially those who’ve been “exiled”. Watterall then inquires what he could possibly say to the police when they arrive, Birdsey having put him in an awkward position. Birdsey states they’ll be easy compared to he making up with his wife. This was an odd story, easy read, but underwhelming due to the style of thinking.
Black For Luck brings us into the mind of a black cat (similarly of course to The Mixer) of simple means, but was noticed by Elizabeth which gave him time to play it cool, albeit still suspiciously, the two staring each other down, the cat twitching his tail reprovingly, although changing his attitude by bumping his head against her dress and allowing her to pick him up, she going to the janitor to inquire if he knew whether the cat belonged to anyone in the building, he confirming the cat’s homelessness. Elizabeth then decides to house the cat, the janitor declaring black cats to be lucky, which Elizabeth wasn’t opposed in acquiring. She brings the cat to her apartment thinking it possible he may wish to escape, but upon exploration cried to her and she agreeing he was right to ask for what was wanted, supplying him with sardines and milk, he being of easy disposition.
Elizabeth then decides to call him Joseph and the cat doesn’t wait long to take run of her apartment. Joseph brought normalcy to the place until one day disappearing, Elizabeth looking out her window after searching her place and seeing Joseph sitting on a young man’s balcony, his name being James. She goes to James’ apartment to retrieve Joseph, but James insists the cat inside is his, called Reginald, and once Elizabeth deduces how and when he’d obtained his cat Reginald, insists on his return regardless of bribes of a plentiful amount of cats. James then explains why he’d decided to take in his Reginald, Elizabeth soon agreeing with his “logic”. After, the two began seeing the other’s reasons for wanting the cat, both arguing why the other should keep him. James then suggests she come visit them both since being in a similar situation of not knowing anyone in New York. The two also being writers was another bonding point, she thinking him to be successful with his writing due to he mentioning a play he had written, which was debuting soon and being modest about his success, this quality endearing James to her all the more.
Before the week ended, Elizabeth felt as if she’d known James since youth, but she still feeling James was missing something from his back story, she revealing all the details of where she came from and how she got to New York. When James spoke it was of his college years and Chicago, briefly and then sharing details about his play, leaving Elizabeth to draw the conclusion by the finish of the second week of James being quite destitute and his play being his world. James made this statement so often, Elizabeth started giving it more reverence than the projects she had in her own career, but she thought the play was wonderful and the two were happy, until James had to start attending rehearsals which left him with down spirits which Elizabeth would drop everything to help him regain optimism. The two were nonetheless still satisfied with their relationship until one quiet evening (of which they had many, but more pleasant).
Elizabeth held a grudge this night, having received the news of being given the position of love adviser in a column, but when sharing her good news, is met with barely an acknowledgement and soon hears of all the issues James had to endure at rehearsal, Elizabeth no longer sympathetic and the two sitting silently afterward until James, whom had lost his mind, lunges at her and she at first shocked and then angered, struggling away from him. She leaves his apartment as she barely hears James, probably trying to either explain himself or apologize, she only knowing forgiveness being out of the question. From then on, she avoids James, easily enough and one day opens her door to observe a note and the newspaper. The note is from James, asking for good tidings since his play was finally premiering and the paper showed of his definitive failure, Elizabeth taking a moment to process what she’d read, then dressing and going down to buy the other papers, having beforehand realizing her feelings for James.
Elizabeth rushes back to knock on James’ door, he answering looking drained and she rushing to him, he taking the opportunity to propose, and if her answer was to accept, he would cease to care what the reviews said, she being a dope and agreeing. Joseph then rushes out, smartly, Elizabeth stating they were better rid of him, not believing in the luck of black cats anymore, but James disagrees, sure of Joseph having brought him plenty of luck. Elizabeth sharing on keeping them afloat on her new job’s salary, but James revealing how he had hoped she’d return with him to Chicago where he had a family business to go into, his father the rich sort and James’ writing being an experiment to see if he had the talent as well as the passion. They are then burst in upon by another neighbor whom Joseph had chosen, James sharing the value of Joseph and the neighbor rushing back to be sure the cat didn’t leave. The story ends with James repeating Elizabeth’s thoughts on the horrors of his family business back to her when it came to the dealings of the pigs before being turned into sausage. Once more, this story isn’t as strong as the former half of this collection due to how much it relies on the fantastical view of how females were supposed to react to stupidity. Oh, well.
The Romance of an Ugly Policeman introduces Constable Plimmer and his route for keeping the peace including Battersea Park Road, which was made up of artists and intellectuals, not making it a cesspool for crime and essentially impossible to prove worthiness for promotion. Plimmer saw his time there as a vacation of sorts, which he wasn’t necessarily upset due to the abuse he’d taken in his previous city. Battersea was a welcome, peaceful change, until he began to have the old familiar itch for action and instead receiving a love interest. Plimmer discovers her behind York Mansions where all the liveliness lay; Rich people were fairly boring, obviously. We then are shown an interaction between a goods dealer and kitchen staff in the roles of Romeo and Juliet, but with different temperaments.
Plimmer then meets the girl around noon, she asking the time and inquiring how long Plimmer had worked there, she stating of having arrived three days earlier and Plimmer hoping she thought the town pleasant, she replying the milkman being nice and Plimmer immediately despising him because of the girl’s review. Plimmer was well acquainted with the milkman, and his good looks, he charming all the girls, which the thought of sent Plimmer on his way, seething of his misfortune being caused by a career which shouldn’t have any effect on someone of his status. Plimmer soon realizes Ellen, the girl he spoke with, was in love with Alf, the milkman when she was about to post a letter which Plimmer offered to deliver, noticing to whom it was addressed. Elizabeth doesn’t take his nosiness well and gives him a taste of her wrath, Plimmer deflated by her description of him which he saw the truth in. Elizabeth’s next question was posed for an answer to continue to fuel her anger, and instead was surprised by its simple affirmation of Plimmer truly being jealous and moving along due to silencing her, she continuing on to post her letter and noticing Plimmer’s retreat.
Plimmer wanted nothing more than the drama of his former beat in Whitechapel, he growling to himself until an old lady screams from an upper window for him to come quickly inside. Plimmer welcoming the possibility of a drunk husband to smack around, but when the old woman meets him at her door, notifies of a theft being made by her cook whom was currently locked in her room, the old woman’s husband then stepping forward to admit to taking his wife’s money, but no more than once, the old woman allowing this to be true, but having missed money more than this, as well as a brooch, leading Plimmer to Ellen’s room, the two entering and Ellen giving the brooch back once asked by the old woman, she then denying she hadn’t taken the old woman’s money. The woman then confirms of she making a formal charge, Plimmer escorting Ellen to the station. As they walked in the sunshine, Alf was awaiting Ellen around the corner, she being late and then seeing her with Plimmer, at first thinking it was by choice, then realizing Plimmer was on duty, Alf admitting after the fact of not reacting well, he choosing to walk by her like he didn’t know her.
After a few more steps, Plimmer stops and with difficulty commands she run, to go after Alf, but she, being hurt and surprised by his inaction had changed her view of him, but Plimmer still insisting she leave, knowing what would happen if she was sentenced to prison, the least of which being her hair being cut. Ellen asked him why he would sacrifice his job and freedom for her, he knowing she already knew, but confirming his love for her. She then decides she can’t let him get in trouble for her sake and insists he take her in no matter how hard he argued for her to flee. As they get closer she asks if he’ll be there to greet her when she’s let go, Plimmer making it plain he’d be there no matter what and to think of considering him to be a better suitor than Alf whilst she served her time, she asking what those close to him called him. This one is better than the last couple and ends more nicely than I’m willing to describe only since the best way to do so would be to quote and if readers haven’t yet read the story, they should uncover a copy or search for it in the usual spots online.
A Sea of Troubles brings us directly into Mr. Meggs’ decision of taking his life, letting us know of the struggle he’d gone through to reach the inevitable conclusion. We then learn Meggs had come to this because of terrible stomach pain caused by indigestion and his love for food. He had tried many tonics for the pain to no avail and was the perfect candidate and age type to fall victim to his own hand. When he was younger, his meager salary kept him from the types of food which would give him this pain, until receiving his legacy, from then on living in luxury with no one to warn him where his appetite and lack of exercise would lead. One moment Meggs was feeling fine and the next, pure pain, so one June morning we are seeing Meggs ready to end it all. The day outside was like any other and Mr. Meggs was calm with his resolve as he had checks on his desk which stated all of his wealth. He had gotten joy from the decision of whom would receive them, those of which were some of his office friends. Since he didn’t know whether he had a remote relative alive somewhere, he forewent making a will and instead drew the checks for sending directly to those he deemed worthy. He methodically readied the checks to be sent and then poured a bottle, the liquid we are not privy, into a glass.
Mr. Meggs had also thought considerably on how he would do the deed, most possibilities being too messy. He then calling his stenographer, whom was an uptight steely demeanor-ed soul, and we then discovering the history Mr. Meggs had gone through to obtain her. As she enters, Mr. Meggs is satisfied with himself for remembering her unwavering loyalty. She, ready to take more notes was unexpectedly treated to a smile instead, which she took to mean something other than his intentions. He regarded her years of employment they’d shared whilst giving her the letters to post and dancing around the point of wanting to gift her for she being a long vigilant employee, planting a kiss on her forehead, he again meaning it quite differently than how it was received and paying for it, she going off on a tirade of the unprofessionalism he’d displayed. After, he tries to explain the misunderstanding, only to be interrupted repeatedly, and making him realize the error of his decision to include her among those deserving of his gratitude, demanding she leave, which she does, noting his scale of anger. Once alone and pacing in fury, it hits him how premature his plan to kill himself had been, realizing people shouldn’t be bestowed such a grand offering he’d almost mistakenly given and death by his own hand not being the answer, preferring to endure his periodic pain, but then noticing the letters were gone and he getting them back would require quick action.
Ms. Pillenger was doing her final task for Mr. Meggs by posting the letters, but then hears and sees him straining to catch up to her. Ms. Pillenger immediately believes he is trying to profess his love to her and dashes off, noticing no one on the street to help her. The woman is obviously demented as we learn details of what she thinks would happen and what the headlines would read about her story in the paper. As they continue down the street though, citizens begin to take curious notice of the scene due to the area’s penchant for being boring. Then, when Mr. Meggs finally lays a hand on Ms. Pillenger, townsmen swoop in to her aid, Mr. Meggs tries to wheeze his reasons as Ms. Pillenger has her say of what occurred and a hilarious suggestion from a bystander is given in response (Monty Python-esque). Mr. Meggs finally expresses his want only for the letters’ return, then the constable shows signs of the scene no longer having a possibility of attempted murder, the crowd dispersing, and Ms. Pillenger handing the letters over, also vowing not to return, Mr. Meggs not arguing. The next day Mr. Meggs wakes happily and realizes the running had made him feel better and would continue to add it to his daily regimen, regardless of the slight pain he sometimes felt, knowing he had the upper-hand. Funny one, which I felt worth the time.
The Man With Two Left Feet mentions a myth which is supposed to be known to Americans involving a man called Clarence MacFadden. The man, like Happy Feet, yearned to dance, but didn’t have the correct foot action to support his affinity. Clarence though, detects his opportunity to seek a coach, of whom remarks he’d have to spike the price due to the challenge involved. We then learn Clarence may not have had the most innocent reasons then the love for it would have been. Henry Mills, meanwhile was an incessant reader and had taken up dancing for the love of his wife, but dreamed of coming home from work to read, of all things, the Encyclopaedia Britannica, taking notes and determined to read it in order. Since before meeting her, this is how he liked to spend his time. We then get a flashback of Henry before marriage during a vacation, deciding to go to a bed and breakfast sort in the country (this being the scene of where Henry met his wife, Minnie).
The circumstances were simply being one night as Henry stood at the shore of the lake, believing the bugs he slapped around him couldn’t possibly be mosquitoes for being of the era where taking the word of an ad instilled a loyalty they wouldn’t lie, he sees Minnie walking along the edge of the lake in his direction, the two make eye contact and Henry greeting her. Conversation was slow going at first, but Henry soon found the reason for she looking worn was caused by dancing in the city, Henry having trouble continuing their chat for not having read far enough in the encyclopaedia, but had remembered some facts on Ballet, which impressed her jaw to dropping. She compliments his factual knowledge and admits to wishing she’d had time to read (don’t we all) and confiding of her assessment to his wonderfulness. Henry was flummoxed by being a fascination to the girl for not having been one before, and walking back to his room, he didn’t even notice the non-mosquitoes bleeding him out, as he laid in bed, realizing he was hit by love. They spent the rest of their time together until Henry travels back to New York, relating to a co-worker of his plans to marry the next week, surprising his co-worker greatly.
We learn Henry’s first year of marriage is idyllic, the two’s lives seamlessly meshing, she adapting to his schedule with ease, the only difference being he’d read from the encyclopaedia aloud to her. They had a consistently contented life, Minnie no longer looking pallid and withdrawn. On their anniversary they celebrate at a popular Italian restaurant, see a musical comedy, and end the night at a restaurant near Times Square. Henry having a particularly romantic view when dining in expensive restaurants which reminded him of certain types of novels, which is when we learn of the restaurant being one we’ve been acquainted to before. Henry truly felt at home in the busy music and conversation-filled atmosphere. He then notices and is recognized by a Sidney Mercer whom looked like he was doing well, they chit chatting, and he learning of Henry’s marriage upon hearing the reason Henry was there, and then sharing his own change of career. When asked why Henry wasn’t dancing it brought to his own attention the reason this was so, he not being of the disposition, then when Sidney offered invitation to Minnie, she declining, Henry was convinced it was for his sake, but he tries to show his acceptance and watches the two dance, making him wonder of his true age being thirty-five and no longer feeling twenty-one. Henry then starts to realize the age difference between he and Minnie as she danced, making it more plain how old he was and how bored she must be for only being read to at night and not having dance be a part of her life anymore.
When the song ended and Henry had discovered a jealousy along with his loathing feelings for Sidney, he noticed how youthful Minnie had looked returning to their table, and once they were in a cab returning home, Henry had come to his decision to learn to dance for Minnie before her birthday in a few weeks and by purchasing a book, thinking it would be easier and more convenient in keeping his plan secret, which he soon found to be quite difficult. When he resolved he would need an instructor, he then had the difficulty for figuring out a convenient time for having such a tight and regular schedule, deciding he must resort to deceptiveness which he hesitated upon the thought of due to it being the first time he would be doing so, struggling through with the update he was going to extend his exercise regimen to an hour more of walking, which Minnie accepted complacently. So Henry had some time to dedicate to learning to dance, his teacher not having had a failure other than one whom began lessons and soon after stopping for losing his feet in an odd way. What Henry wasn’t expecting was the pain he would acquire from his practice of dance, as well as the memories associated with this period of his life bringing such terrible and painful accompanying emotions. Henry also felt guilt with the method of instruction including the teacher’s niece, only reminding him how much he would rather be with Minnie. Henry also had trouble taking the criticism the instructor and niece would argue of how slowly his progress was compared to a previous physically handicapped student.
The instructor tries extensively to help him even though the process was painfully embarrassing to him, but he succeeded in slowly making advancement. As he continued he also perceived Minnie’s stagnation of their lives and no longer enjoyed being read to, he glimpsing her look of boredom, but instead of feeling distressed was excited to uncover his ability. Finally her birthday arrived and the first gift he gives is an accessory she’d been wanting , but was met with only a formal appreciation. When he then informs her of the plans he had for them later, she confesses of not being interested, but he being adamant they should celebrate and after he was out of work would meet her at the restaurant, he confirming he’d continue going on his walk after at first saying it didn’t matter, the two saying goodbye. As they take in his plans later, she is still lackluster and wants to end the night short, but Henry tries to maintain her interest for all the work he’d put in the last few weeks, finally making it to the restaurant which would conclude their night. He had a perfect vision of how he hoped his unveiling would play out, which he partly foresaw correctly, but the successful completion playing a bit out of his favor, leaving him a laughing stock. When they returned home Henry was full of remorse and confesses what he had truly been doing with his extra hour per day. Minnie then revealed her side of seeing him exit his instructress’ house one day and why she was so tired when they first met, she not regretting in the least of ever having to dance again and would much rather listen to Henry read, she confirming this by bringing him a volume, not caring it wasn’t in the chronology they had started, the two content once more. Ridiculous and cute; A fine way to finish the collection, and now on to more!