Short Stories
All Titles

In Association with Amazon.com

Home > Authors Index > Browse all available works of George V. Hobart > Text of John Henry On Social Affairs

A short story by George V. Hobart

John Henry On Social Affairs

Title:     John Henry On Social Affairs
Author: George V. Hobart [More Titles by Hobart]

Last year Bunch and Alice spent several weeks doing the society stunt at the fashionable seaside resorts.

I must put you next to a letter Bunch wrote me from Newport:

Dear John:

With a party of our society friends we have been Newporting all this week.

Next week I hope to Bar Harbor for a few days, and the week after that I hope to Narragansett for a short period.

In the party with us here are Clarence Fussyface, Llewellyn Shortbrow, Harry Pifflemind, Cecil Vanwigglevandoozen, Mrs. George Plentycash and Miss Clorinda Fritters.

Mrs. Plentycash is accompanied by a friend of her husband's by the name of Murgatroyd Mutt; and Mr. Harry Pifflemind has his own private bartender, so there is nothing to mar the beauty of the visit.

During our first day at Newport we played bridge until two o'clock, then we jumped in our automobiles to see if we could run across a few friends.

Llewellyn Shortbrow made a mistake with his machine and ran across a stranger, hitting him just between the wish-bone and the Casino.

The stranger's leg was broken, which put the laugh on Llewellyn.

The next evening Cecil Vanwigglevandoozen gave us one of the most delightful experiences I have ever known.

It was a monkey dinner.

A monkey dinner consists of a happy mixture of Society and monkey--with just a trifle more Society than monkey to give it the proper flavor.

The idea of the monkey dinner originated in a fertile spot in the southeastern part of Vanwigglevandoozen's brain, which up to then was supposed to be extinct.

The eruption of such a gigantic idea from a brain supposed to be extinct came as a great but pleasant shock to Society.

Originally it was Vanwigglevandoozen's idea to have Clarence Fussyface play the monkey, because Clarence's intelligence is built on a plan to suggest such mimicry, but a hand-organ proprietor by the name of Guissepi, who is summering at Newport, came to the rescue with a real monkey by the name of Claude.

Claude has acted for many years as a second-story man for Guissepi, and is one of the very best ice-cutters in the whole monkey business.

A full dress suit was made for Claude, and when he entered Society you could tell at once that he was not a waiter.

Claude was placed at the head of the table, and as he sat there smiling at his friends it made one of the sweetest pictures of family contentment I have ever witnessed.

There were no set speeches.

Vanwigglevandoozen gave Claude a glass of champagne, which the guest of honor politely refused by spilling it down the neck of Harry Pifflemind in such an artless monkey way that the other guests roared with delight.

With monkey signs Claude gave the signal to rush the growler, which was accompanied with a true spirit of goodfellowship by the butler.

The conversation during the dinner hour was altogether of a zoological nature.

Claude displayed an acrobatic appetite and went down the line, from soup to nuts, in a manner which was captivating in the extreme.

After completely filling the large inside pocket originally built for him by Mother Nature, Claude began to put the knives and forks in the pockets of his full dress suit.

This was greeted with ringing cheers from those present.

The only break that Claude made during the dinner was trying to put his feet on the table before the ladies left the room, but Llewellyn Shortbrow remedied this by hitting Claude on the chest with a table spoon.

When the other young men began to smoke their cigarettes Claude grew uneasy.

After they had consumed about seven sticks apiece Claude buried his face in a foaming stein of beer, and there it remained until a happy unconsciousness put him down and out.

Eight footmen, six coachmen, twenty-seven valets and the butler carried Claude to his bed-chamber, and the monkey dinner broke up with loud cries of "Author! Author! Author!"

Vanwigglevandoozen is now the hero of the day, and great things are expected of him.

But I have my doubts.

It is too much to expect one brain to think up another idea as good as that.

* * * * * *

Yesterday afternoon at 2:30 a loud shriek emanated from the "Bungalooza Villa," followed almost immediately by its publisher, Mrs. Shinevonboodle.

Both the shriek and its author came out as far as the gate and attracted the ears of a policeman.

"My diamonds have been stolen!" exclaimed Mrs. Shinevonboodle, excitedly.

"For publication purposes or for pawning?" inquired the policeman.

"Must I tell you the details without first being introduced to you?" said Mrs. Shinevonboodle, angrily.

"Not unless you don't care to meet me," answered the policeman.

"Mercy!" said Mrs. Shinevonboodle, "must I cross the social chasm to get those presents back?"

"What kind of diamonds are missing?" inquired the policeman. "Are they sparklers or shines?"

"What is the difference?" asked Mrs. Shinevonboodle, haughtily.

"The difference is about $95 a carat," whispered the policeman.

"The best that money can buy is none too good for me," said Mrs. Shinevonboodle, with proud scorn.

"Yes, I noticed that by your hair and complexion," replied the policeman, politely.

"Will you find the missing diamonds, or must I shriek again?" inquired Mrs. Shinevonboodle.

"Is your photographer present?" demanded the policeman.

"Do you suspect him?" gasped Mrs. Shinevonboodle, with a shudder.

"The photographer generally takes things," answered the policeman. "Otherwise, how could the pictures get in the newspapers?"

"Heaven forgive me for this oversight, but my photographer neglected to take the jewels before I lost them," said Mrs. Shinevonboodle, with bitter tears in her lamps.

The policeman turned away to conceal his emotion and to take a pull at his two-for cigar.

"What, oh! what is to be done?" wailed the helpless woman.

"Nothing," responded the policeman, after a miserable pause. "Without pictures of the jewels to put in the newspapers the sensation will be weak and will wobble at the knees."

Mrs. Shinevonboodle leaned against the fence and groaned inwardly.

"It is too bad," muttered the policeman, as he bit into the two-for cigar and walked silently away.

Mrs. Shinevonboodle sat down in her most expensive flower bed and wept bitterly.

Just then the policeman came running back.

"Perhaps you remember the jewels well enough to get a photograph from memory?" he suggested.

A smile chased itself over the face of Mrs. Shinevonboodle, and she picked herself up from the geraniums.

"I remember them perfectly," she whispered, "because when my husband got the bill for them he had four different styles of fits in four minutes. Three of these fits were entirely new and original with him, so I remember the jewels perfectly."

"Good!" said the policeman. "I will have 18 detectives and 219 reporters up here in ten minutes. Calm yourself, now, calm yourself, because what is lost will soon be found in the newspapers."

The policeman rushed away to the telephone, and with a glad cry of thanksgiving Mrs. Shinevonboodle ran in the house and began to beat Mozart out of the piano.

* * * * * *

That's all the Society news I have at present, John.

Yours as per usual,

[The end]
George V. Hobart's short story: John Henry On Social Affairs