The Caliph and the Cad (Henry)

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The Caliph and the Cad
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A truck driver, fascinated by high society, dressed up and mingled with the wealthy, eventually discovering his true gentlemanly nature after defending a lady from her rude companion.

Corny Brannigan, a truck driver for a Canal Street importing firm, had a peculiar hobby of mingling with the wealthy and fashionable people of the city. Every evening, after finishing his work and having dinner, he would dress up in elegant evening attire and stroll around the lobbies of the best hotels, absorbing the atmosphere of high society. He would also visit the theater entrances and fashionable restaurants, hoping to learn more about the behavior of the upper class.

Corny Brannigan — truck driver; fascinated by high society; observant, well-mannered, and gentlemanly.

One night, Corny witnessed a couple arguing on the street. The lady was dressed in a beautiful white gown, while the man was impeccably dressed and appeared to be quite wealthy. The lady seemed sad and was trying to appease the man, who was acting quite rudely towards her.

The Lady — elegant woman in a white evening gown; sad, mistreated by her companion.

Corny, feeling that the man's behavior was unacceptable, decided to intervene. He approached the man and presented him with a card he had collected from a wealthy tourist, pretending to be a gentleman himself.

No gent would talk to a lady like you done. Fie upon you, Willie! Even if she happens to be your wife you ought to have more respect for your clothes than to chin her back that way.

The Lady's Escort — tall, well-dressed man; rude, disrespectful, and aggressive.

The man was not impressed, and a heated exchange of words ensued. Eventually, the argument escalated into a physical fight, with Corny emerging as the victor.

As the lady's carriage arrived, Corny helped her into it and apologized for the altercation.

I beg your pardon, ma’am, if he’s your man.

The lady thanked him and gave him three red roses before driving away. Corny then helped his opponent up from the ground and took him to a nearby saloon for a drink.

During their conversation, Corny realized that he had learned something important about himself. He had always thought that his fascination with high society was merely superficial, but the incident with the couple had shown him that he was, in fact, a true gentleman at heart. This newfound self-awareness filled him with pride and satisfaction, as he finally understood that his interest in the upper class was not just about appearances, but also about the values and principles that define a true gentleman.