from the Collection «The Four Million»
A man was on a quest to understand the meaning of the term "Man About Town." He began by asking a few questions about various topics, but soon became fixated on finding out more about this elusive character. He started his search by asking a newspaper reporter, who described the Man About Town as someone who falls between a "rounder" and a "clubman," often seen at various events and places around the city.
Unsatisfied with the reporter's explanation, the man continued his search and asked a bartender for his opinion. The bartender described the Man About Town as a "fly guy" who knows the ins and outs of the city and is always on the lookout for something new. Still not content with the answers he received, the man approached a Salvation Army worker, who referred to the Man About Town as a member of "the devil's bodyguard," always present at sinful events and places.
The man then met a friend, a critic, who provided a more detailed description of the Man About Town. The critic explained that the Man About Town is a curious, impudent, and omnipresent figure who is always seeking new experiences and sensations. He is well-dressed and follows the conventions of manners, but is also intrusive and inquisitive.
He is curiosity, impudence and omnipresence. A new sensation is the breath in his nostrils;
Determined to find a real-life example of the Man About Town, the man set out to search the city, specifically Broadway, where he believed the character would most likely be found. As he crossed the street, he was suddenly hit by a vehicle and lost consciousness.
When he awoke in Bellevue Hospital, a young doctor handed him a newspaper article about the accident. The article described the man as a "typical Man About Town," suggesting that he had unknowingly become the very character he was seeking to understand.