The Romance of a Busy Broker (Henry)

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The Romance of a Busy Broker
Summary of a short story
Microsummary: A busy broker, consumed by his work, forgot he had requested a new stenographer. Amidst the chaos, he impulsively proposed to his current stenographer, only to be reminded they had married the night before.

In the busy office of Harvey Maxwell, a broker, his confidential clerk, Pitcher, noticed the entrance of Maxwell and his young lady stenographer one morning. The stenographer, who had been working for Maxwell for a year, was beautiful and dressed modestly. She seemed to be in a particularly good mood that day, and Pitcher observed her lingering in the outer office instead of going straight to her desk.

Maxwell, completely absorbed in his work, barely acknowledged her presence. When she asked if he had mentioned hiring another stenographer, he seemed confused and denied it. Pitcher, however, confirmed that Maxwell had indeed requested another stenographer, and they were expecting someone from the agency that morning. The young lady decided to continue working until her replacement arrived.

The office was a whirlwind of activity, with Maxwell attending to various tasks and dealing with a constant stream of clients, messages, and phone calls. In the midst of this chaos, a self-possessed young lady from the stenographer's agency arrived, but Maxwell, still confused, insisted that he had never requested a replacement and that the current stenographer's position was secure.

As the day continued, the pace of business only grew more intense. Maxwell was completely consumed by his work, with no time for personal matters. However, during a brief lull in the activity, he caught a whiff of a familiar lilac scent that belonged to his stenographer. This sudden reminder of her presence prompted him to make a spontaneous decision.

Maxwell rushed into the stenographer's office and, without preamble, asked her to marry him. He explained that he loved her but had not had the time to court her in the traditional manner. The stenographer was initially shocked and confused, but then she smiled and gently reminded him that they had, in fact, been married the previous evening at a small church nearby.

It became clear that Maxwell's intense focus on his work had caused him to forget his own wedding, and the stenographer's earlier behavior was due to her happiness at their recent union. The story highlights the all-consuming nature of the business world and the potential for it to overshadow personal relationships and even the most significant life events.