Pitcher, who worked in the office of Harvey Maxwell, broker, usually allowed his face to show no feeling. This morning he allowed his face to show interest and surprise when Mr. Maxwell entered. It was half past nine, and Mr. Maxwell was with his young lady secretary.
“Good morning, Pitcher,” said Maxwell. He rushed to his table as if he were going to jump over it, then began to look at the many, many letters and other papers waiting there for him.
The young lady had been Maxwell’s secretary for a year. She was very beautiful, and very different from most other secretaries. Her hair always looked plain and simple. She did not wear chains or jewels. Her dress was gray and plain, but it fitted her very well. On her small black- hat was the gold-green wing of a bird.
On this morning she seemed to shine softly. Her eyes were dreaming but bright. Her face was warmly colored, and her expression was happy.
Pitcher watched her. There was a question about her in his mind. She was different this morning. Instead of going straight to the room where she worked, she waited. She seemed not to know what to do. Once she went over to Maxwell’s table, near enough for him to see that she was there.
The machine sitting at that table was no longer a man. It was a busy New York broker.
“What is it? Anything?” asked Maxwell shortly. Papers lay like snow covering his table. His gray eyes looked at her as if she were another machine.
“Nothing,” answered the secretary, moving away with a little smile.
“Mr. Pitcher,” she said, “did Mr. Maxwell talk to you yesterday about getting another secretary?”
“He did,” Pitcher answered. “He told me to get another one. Several are coming to talk to us this morning. But it’s now after nine and not one has appeared.”
“I will do the work as usual,” said the young lady, “until someone comes to fill the place.” And she went to her table. She took off the black hat with the gold-green bird wing and put it away as usual.
If you have never seen a busy New York broker on a busy day, you know little about men at work. Every minute of a broker’s hour is crowded.
And this day was Harvey Maxwell’s busy day.
Beside his table stood a machine. From this came a long, narrow, endless piece of paper, bringing him business news as soon as it happened.
Men began to come into the office and speak to him. Some were happy, some were not, some were in a hurry, some were full of anger.
Boys ran in and out with letters for him to read and answer at once.
Pitcher’s face now showed that he was alive. The other men who worked in the office jumped around like sailors during a storm.
And there were storms in the business world, fearful storms. Every storm was felt in the broker’s office.
Maxwell moved his chair against the wall. Now he was like a dancer. He jumped from the machine to his table to the door and back again.
In the middle of all this, he slowly realized that something had come near him. There was golden hair; there was a very large amount of it, high on a head. On top of the hair was a big hat covered with birds’ wings. There was a long silver chain, hanging from a neckuntil it nearly touched the floor. And among all these things there was a young lady.
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