The Hand That Riles the World (Henry)

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The Hand That Riles the World
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: Two men were hired to secure a political appointment for their friend, but their efforts were thwarted when a beautiful female lobbyist obtained the wrong position for him.

Jeff Peters and Andy Tucker were approached by their friend Bill Humble, who wanted their help in securing a position as United States Marshal. Bill offered them $1,000 for their efforts and an additional $1,000 if they succeeded. Jeff and Andy accepted the offer and traveled to Washington, D.C. to lobby for Bill's appointment.

Jeff Peters — narrator; skeptical of women's abilities in politics and business; cunning, resourceful.
Andy Tucker — Jeff's partner; artistic temperament; more trusting of women's abilities.
Bill Humble — friend seeking political appointment; uneducated, father of nine, former outlaw.

Upon arriving in Washington, they were advised by a hotel clerk that the best way to secure the appointment was through a lady lobbyist. They were referred to Mrs. Avery, a beautiful and well-connected woman. After explaining their situation and offering her $500 for her services, Mrs. Avery agreed to help them and asked them to return in four days.

Mrs. Avery — beautiful, influential female lobbyist; busy, confident, and successful.

During their wait, Jeff expressed his doubts about Mrs. Avery's ability to secure the appointment, while Andy remained confident in her abilities.

A woman like that ought to lead a man to the highest positions of opulence and fame.

When they returned to Mrs. Avery, she presented them with an official document bearing Bill's name and the great seal of the United States. She informed them that she had easily secured the appointment by simply asking for it.

Jeff and Andy were surprised and impressed by Mrs. Avery's success. They paid her the $500 and returned to the Territory, sending a telegram to Bill informing him of their success. However, upon closer examination of the document, they discovered that Bill had been appointed as postmaster of Dade City, Florida, rather than United States Marshal.

The paper was for Bill, all right, and a genuine document, but it appointed him postmaster of Dade City, Fla.

Disappointed and embarrassed, Jeff and Andy decided to mail the appointment to Bill and head towards Lake Superior, never seeing Bill Humble again.