Monday, May 26, 2008

He Looked Like a Dude


But Then There Are Occasions When Appearances Prove Deceptive.

People who rode down town in a certain electric car on Washington avenue the other day are inclined to think that they received a liberal return for their investment of a nickel apiece. In addition to being carried, safely and expeditiously, to their destination, they were given an opportunity of becoming acquainted with the bravest young man in all St. Louis. That, at all events, is the light in which they regard him.

He was a good looking, stylishly dressed, boyish young fellow, and next to him sat a shabby woman holding in her lap a whining, unattractive baby. Something about the young man's appearance seemed to please the baby, and it stopped whining long enough to smile brightly and extend its arms toward him. The young man blushed furiously, and two or three girls on an opposite seat tittered, which made the young man blush still more. He edged away as far as possible and tried, with indifferent success, to look unconcerned. When the baby renewed its advances, he refused to respond to them, and the mother, annoyed and embarrassed, made an effort to distract its attention.

But the baby was not to be put off. It liked that young man and wanted to see more of him. When it became evident that there was a combination to prevent it doing so, the little one fell back upon childhood's last resort and cried lustily.

Vainly the mother tried to sooth her. Whispered assurances that "she was a good girl" had no effect. Endearing epithets made her cry more loudly. She had eyes and ears only for a very badly "rattled" young man, who did not seem to return her affection. She cried as if her heart were breaking.

And then the young man rose to the occasion. Calmly ignoring the broadening smiles of a car full of passengers, he took the child from its mother, rocked it a moment in his strong arms, then walked forward and sat down. Instantly the baby's wail gave way to laughter. Her towzled little head was laid upon her new friend's shoulder, her arm was about his neck, and not once again until Broadway was reached did she utter a sound, save in glee. The mother didn't quite know what to make of it. Neither did the young man himself, for that matter, and, as for the girls who had tittered, why, it was entirely beyond their comprehension.

And the strangest part of the story is that the young man looked like a dude. One of the girls, however, explained that as she left the car.

"Of course he can't really be a dude," she said to her companions, "because he has lots of sense and a great big heart. He just dresses like a dude to deceive people. I wonder why he does it?" — St. Louis Republic.

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