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Angela's Business   By: (1880-1930)

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First Page:

ANGELA'S BUSINESS

BY HENRY SYDNOR HARRISON

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY FREDERIC R. GRUGER

BOSTON AND NEW YORK HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY The Riverside Press Cambridge 1915

COPYRIGHT, 1914 AND 1915, BY HENRY SYDNOR HARRISON

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Published March 1915

To JACK Who does not think as I do.

[Illustration: "I DECIDED I WOULD REFUSE IT"]

ILLUSTRATIONS

"I DECIDED I WOULD REFUSE IT"

"NO! MORALS ARE THE BULWARK OF THE NATION!"

CHARLES HAD NO GREAT CHANCE TO SHOW HIS FEARLESSNESS OF PUBLIC OPINION

"OH!... WHY DO YOU DO THIS?"

"WELL, I WON'T MARRY HER! I WON'T!"

ANGELA PEEPED OVER INTO WASHINGTON STREET

THIS SPINSTER SUPPLIED A QUIET CHARM

"HO! HAD YOUR SPIES ON ME, HAVE YOU?"

ANGELA'S BUSINESS

I

Being an author actually at work, and not an author being photographed at work by a lady admirer, he did not gaze large eyed at a poppy in a crystal vase, one hand lightly touching his forehead, the other tossing off page after page in high godlike frenzy. On the contrary, the young man at the table yawned, lolled, sighed, scratched his ear, read snatches of Virginia Carter's "Letters to My Girl Friends" in the morning's "Post," read snatches of any printed matter that happened to be about, and even groaned. When he gazed, it was at no flower, but more probably at his clock, a stout alarm clock well known to the trade as "Big Bill"; and the clock gazed back, since there was a matter between them this evening, and seemed to say, "Well, are you going to the Redmantle Club, or are you not ?" But that was precisely the point on which the young man at the table had not yet made up his mind.

Of course, if he went to the Redmantle Club, he could not possibly spend the whole evening here, writing, and, oddly enough, this was at once a cogent reason for staying away from the Redmantle Club, and a seductive argument for going to the same. No lady admirer could ever grasp this paradox, but every true writer must admit that I know his secret perfectly.

From time to time, no diversion offering, the author would read over the last sentence he had written, which very likely ran as follows:

We have a society organized on the agreeable assumption that every woman, at twenty five or thereabouts, finds herself in possession of a home, a husband, and three darling little curly headed children.

Stimulated a trifle, he would thereupon sharpen up his pencil and charge forward a few sentences, as now:

Slipshod people never test such old assumptions against actuality; they cling to what their grandfathers said, and call their slipshodness conservatism. So (like ostriches) they avoid the fact that there are three large and growing classes of women who simply have no relation to their comfortable old theory. I refer, of course, to the classes of Temporary Spinsters, of Permanent Spinsters, and of Married but Idle childless wives living in boarding houses, for example. Let no Old Tory conceive that he has disposed of the Woman Question until he can plainly answer: What are all these various women to DO in their fifteen waking hours a day?

Following which, he lit a cigarette in a moody manner, and sat frowning at the back of the head of his relative and secretary, who was clacking away all the while on a second hand typewriter near by.

It will be contended that some hesitancy was fitting enough to the writer's thesis, Woman having raised perplexities in the bosoms of philosophers from the earliest times on. But perplexity did not happen to be the trouble with this philosopher, Charles King Garrott. These sentences Mr. Garrott so apathetically set down were the ancient commonplaces of his mind, the familiar bare bones of special researches long holding a unique position in his life... Continue reading book >>




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