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The Flaw in the Sapphire   By:

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Copyright, 1909, by THE METROPOLITAN PRESS Registered at Stationers' Hall, London (All Rights Reserved) Printed in the United States of America

Press of Wm. G. Hewitt 24 26 Vandewater St. New York

Augustine E. McBee

A friend who stands since "Auld Lang Syne" To all that's fine related; To him, this little book of mine Is duly dedicated.

Charles M. Snyder. New York, September, 1909.



Not long since there lived, in the city of Philadelphia, a young man of singular identity.

His only parallel was the comedian who is compelled to take himself seriously and make the most of it, or a tart plum that concludes in a mellow prune.

He was the affinity of two celebrated instances to the contrary.

To those who enjoy the whimsies of paradox he presented an astonishing resemblance, in countenance, to the late Benjamin Disraeli, and maintained in speech the unmistakable accent of O'Connell, the Hebrew statesman's Celtic antagonist.

For these reasons, until the nature of his business was discovered, he was regarded with interest by that class which is disposed to estimate the contents of a book by the character of the binding, or thinks it can measure a man's ability by the size of his hat.

On nearer acquaintance, he was relegated to the dubious distinction of an oddity to whom you would be pleased to introduce your friends if you had only a satisfactory account of his antecedents.

He was cheerful, startling, ready and adroit.

Until betrayed by his brief but effectual familiarities, it was a curious experience to remark the approach of this singular being and wonder at the appraising suggestion in his speculative glance.

Presently you decided that it was the intention of this young man to address you, and, unconsciously, you accorded him the opportunity, only to be scandalized the moment afterward by the query, altogether incongruous in such a promising aspect:

"Any old clothes to day?"

And you passed on, chagrined and wondering.

For a number of years, while his auditors paused in an attempt to disentangle the Semite from the Celt, there was scarcely a day in which he had not subjected himself to the more or less pronounced hazards of rebuff incident to his invariable query, and there were few citizens of the sterner sex whom he had not thus addressed.

Apparently no consideration restrained him.

None was too dignified, none sufficiently austere to escape his solicitation; and while, as a rule, he waited until the object of his regard came to a standstill, he had been known to approach diagonally, and, at the point of incidence, presenting his query, pass on with a glance of impassive impersonality when it was evident that his overtures were futile or worse.

When successful in his forays, he would convey the results of his efforts to his father, who, after getting the garments thus secured in a condition of fictitious newness, displayed them in front of his establishment, marked with prices which, as he explained to those unwary enough to venture within the radius of his personality, brought him as near to nervous prostration as was possible for the parent of such inconsequent offspring.

However, no matter what the rewards of such industry, it must not be imagined that its disabilities did not insist upon due recognition and ugly ravel, and that such shred and fibre did not obtrude their unwelcome appeals for repair upon their central figure.

Shrewd, intelligent, persistent, he soon discovered that the very qualities which made him successful in his calling rendered him obnoxious to those who were unable to harmonize his promise with his condition... Continue reading book >>

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