THE SPRING SUIT BY P. G. WODEHOUSE
THE SPRING SUIT
P. G. WODEHOUSE
Rosie was going to buy a new spring suit for George’s birthday. Looking at that sentence again, I see that it could be open to misconstruction. The suit was for herself. But it was to be bought in honour of George’s birthday and flashed before his admiring gaze for the duration of that occasion. Altogether, taking it all round, George Mellon’s twenty-first birthday promised to be one of the biggest things in history. In the afternoon he was going to strike his employer for a raise, in the evening he and Rosie would dine at the McAstor instead of the red-ink place they usually frequented, and at night they would take in a show, with possibly a bite of supper afterwards at a cabaret place.
A formidable program, and one that made it imperative that Rosie’s dress should not be out of the picture. She had been saving all the winter to buy a really irreproachable suit, and the money was in the bank, straining at the leash. All that remained was to make a good selection.
You probably know Rosie by sight. She sits in a sort of kiosk in front of one of those motion picture palaces that have sprung up in recent years like a rash on the face of our fair city. You hand your money in through a little pigeonhole in the glass front of her den and she presses a button, causing a cardboard ticket to leap at you out of a brass slab. Thus far you may argue that I have not sufficiently identified Rosie, New York being full of girls who do conjuring tricks in glass cages.
True, since the movie delirium set in, there are a great many girls who do this. But Rosie is the one who smiles. The others give you your ticket with a sort of aloof hauteur. They have a resigned air, as if the spectacle of multitudes wasting money on the movies saddened them. If they spoke you feel that they would say: “Oh, well, what’s the use? There’s one born every minute!”
Rosie is different. Rosie beams at you. She has a cheerful little face, with a nice wide mouth; and when you push your hard-earned money through the opening in the glass a flash of white teeth encourages you to believe that, after all, you may not be going to waste your evening, and that you will not subsequently kick your spine up through your hat for having been such a chump as to pay thirty good cents to see Mabelle Gooch—or whoever it is—tumble over herself in Lepers of the Great White Way, or whatever the picture is called. You go in feeling heartened, with a vague impression that Rosie must be a rather nice girl.
George Mellon, the party of the second part, is also, curiously enough, a door hound, a keeper of the gates and a dweller upon the threshold. But he works by day. He is the presentable young man who sits in the anteroom at the offices of the Ladies’ Sphere and keeps people from seeing the editor. Editors, who are human beavers, industrious little creatures who work hard and shrink from the public gaze, generally employ, to insure privacy, a small boy with red hair, a tight suit and an air of having seen all the trickery and wickedness in the world.
At the Ladies’ Sphere, however, where beautiful and refined women are popping in and out all day like rabbits, something with a little more tone is required: and George landed the job against a field of twenty- six competitors. This should enable you to get an adequate angle on George. It is not every young man who can head off without offense lovely creatures in Paris frocks and mink coats, and convince them simultaneously that it is the editor’s dearest wish to have a long cozy chat with them, but that he can’t see them this morning. Men with less diplomacy than George have held down ambassadorships in foreign capitals.
It was this manner of his that had first attracted Rosie when she had called one morning to see the editor.