The Priceless Pearl

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E-text prepared by Martin Pettit and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team (https://www.pgdp.net) from page images generously made available by Internet Archive (https://archive.org) Note: Images of the original pages are available through Internet Archive. See https://archive.org/details/pricelesspearl00mill THE PRICELESS PEARL by ALICE DUER MILLER Author of "Manslaughter," "Come Out of the Kitchen," "Are Parents People?" etc. New York Dodd, Mead & Company 1924 Copyright 1923, 1924 By Alice Duer Miller Printed in U. S. A. THE PRICELESS PEARL CHAPTER I "The girl is simply too good-looking," said Bunner, the office manager, in a high, complaining voice. "She is industrious, intelligent, punctual and well-mannered, but simply too good-looking--a disturbing element in the office on account of her appearance. I made a grave mistake in engaging her." The president, who had been a professor of botany at a great university before he resigned in order to become head of The Universal Encyclopedia of Necessary Knowledge Publishing Corporation, was a trifle deaf, but had not as yet admitted the fact to himself; and he inquired with the patient, slightly contemptuous surprise of the deaf, "But I do not understand why she is crying." "It is not she who is crying," answered the office manager regretfully; "it is Mr. Rixon, our third vice president. He is crying because he has most unfortunately become interested in the young woman--fallen in love with her--so my stenographer tells me." The president peered through his bifocal lenses. He did not wish to be thought one of those unsophisticated scientists who understand only the plain unpsychological process of plants. He inquired whether the girl had encouraged the third vice president, whether, in a word, she had given him to understand that she took a deeper interest in him than was actually the fact, "the disappointment of the discovery being the direct cause of the emotional outbreak which you have just described." Bunner hesitated. He would have liked to consider that Miss Leavitt was to blame, for otherwise the responsibility was entirely his own. In his heart he believed she was, for he was one of those men who despise women and yet consider them omnipotent. "I can't say I've ever seen her do more than say good morning to him," he answered rather crossly. "But I believe there is a way of avoiding a man--with her appearance. You have probably never noticed her, sir, but----" "Oh, I've noticed her," said the president, nodding his old head. "I've noticed a certain youth and exuberant vitality, and--yes, I may say beauty--decided beauty." Bunner sighed. "A girl like that ought to get married," he said. "They ought not to be working in offices, making trouble. It's hard on young men of susceptible natures like Mr. Rixon. You can hardly blame him."

Alice Duer Miller

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