The Romance of a Busy Broker (Henry)

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The Romance of a Busy Broker
Summary of the Short Story
from the Collection «The Four Million»
Microsummary: A busy broker, overwhelmed by work, impulsively proposed to his stenographer during a brief lull in the office chaos, only to be reminded that they had already married the previous evening.

Harvey Maxwell, a busy New York broker, was engrossed in his work, dealing with the constant rush of business in his office. One morning, he entered the office with his stenographer, Miss Leslie, who had been working for him for a year.

Harvey Maxwell — busy New York broker; forgetful, workaholic, and overwhelmed by his job; disheveled appearance with hair hanging in disorderly strings over his forehead.
Miss Leslie — Maxwell's stenographer and wife; beautiful, soft-spoken, and understanding; wears a grey dress and a black turban hat with a gold-green macaw wing.

Miss Leslie was a beautiful young woman, dressed modestly and professionally. That day, she seemed to be radiating happiness, with a dreamy expression on her face.

As the day progressed, the office became increasingly chaotic, with the stock market experiencing significant fluctuations. Maxwell was at the center of it all, managing orders, phone calls, and messages with great efficiency. Amidst the chaos, he noticed a woman sent by a stenographer's agency, whom he promptly dismissed, as he had no intention of replacing Miss Leslie.

During a brief lull in the frenzy, Maxwell caught a whiff of lilac, a scent that was uniquely associated with Miss Leslie. This momentary distraction made him realize his feelings for her, and he impulsively decided to propose to her. He rushed into her office and asked her to marry him, explaining that he loved her but had not had the time to express his feelings in a more traditional manner.

"Will you be my wife? I haven't had time to make love to you in the ordinary way, but I really do love you."

Miss Leslie was initially shocked and confused by his proposal, but then she smiled warmly and reminded him that they had already been married the previous evening at the Little Church Around the Corner.

"Don't you remember, Harvey? We were married last evening at 8 o'clock in the Little Church Around the Corner."

Maxwell had been so consumed by his work that he had completely forgotten about their wedding. The revelation brought a sense of relief and happiness to both of them, as they acknowledged their love for each other amidst the chaos of their professional lives.