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The craftsman
Volume XXXI, Number 3 (December 1916)

Jakobi, Paula
The lecture: a story,   pp. 254-257 PDF (1.1 MB)


Page 257


A STORY
   The house is darkened.
   Broodingly they leave the theater.
   Many, happy as schoolgirls freed from compulsory tasks, talk
volubly.
   There are little staccato ejaculations.
   "Will you walk up the avenue with me?"
   "No, I haven't time. I must go to my dressmaker."
   "Sorry I can't go. I'm due at *the Belgian Relief."
   "I go to a Suffrage luncheon."
   "Oh, do you? And I'm off for the Labor Temple to address a
meeting of the Strikers."
   "Life is interesting these days, but it certainly is one grand rush
I"
   "It's well enough to hear about the municipally owned street car,
but give me a lecture on Tchekoff or Andreef. Those Russians get
under the skin."
   "Hasn't he a wonderful vocabulary?"
   "Yes, but did you notice his smile?"
   "Did you see Mrs. Mendes? I wonder who makes her clothes?"
   "Say, Flossie, I got here late. What did he say?"
   "I really didn't understand exactly, but I was tremendously
moved."
   "Are you going to buy his book?"
   "Mercy, no. I haven't time for reading. I have to attend a
 lecture of some kind every morning."
   Furs, sandal, satin and pearls.
   Out of the theater into the waiting limousines.
   The last car moves away. The street is cleared.
   The stranger thinks sympathetically of the poor, tired lecturer
 facing this crowd of idle, emotional women.
   "How he must long for an audience of men!
   How sick he must be of us women!"
   The lecturer enters the lobby eagerly, as if he were seeking some
 one.
    Is he looking for a man, a peer, an equal?
    A fair, fragile little woman goes toward him.
    "At last," he murmurs. They gaze into each other's eyes.
    He takes her arm in his.
    They walk off self absorbed and happy.
    They do not see the stranger.
    They are oblivious to the world.
                                                             257


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