“Now, let me see,” the impecunious man demanded as he buttonholed an acquaintance, “do I owe you anything?”
“Not a penny, my dear sir,” was the genial reply. “You are going about paying your little debts?”
“No, I’m going about to see if I’ve overlooked anybody? Lend me ten till Saturday.”
* * *
Ted had a habit of dropping in at the house next door on baking day, for the woman of that house had a deft way in the making of cookies, and Ted had no hesitation in enjoying her hospitality, even to the extent of asking for cookies if they were not promptly forthcoming.
When the boy’s father learned of this, he gave Ted a lecture and a strict order never to ask for cookies at the neighbor’s kitchen. So, when a few days later the father saw his son munching a cookie as he came away from the next house, he spoke sternly:
“Have you been begging cookies again?”
“Oh, no, I didn’t beg any,” Ted answered cheerfully. “I just said, this house smells as if it was full of cookies. But what’s that to me?”
* * *
Sometimes the use of a diplomatic method defeats its own purpose, as in the case of the old fellow who was enthusiastic in praise of the busy lawyer from whose office he had just come, after a purely social call.
“That feller, for a busy man,” he declared earnestly, “is one of the pleasantest chaps I ever did meet. Why, I dropped in on him jest to pass the time o’ day this mornin’, an’ I hadn’t been chattin’ with ‘im more’n five minutes before he’d told me three times to come and see ‘im agin.”
* * *
The lady of uncertain age simpered at the gentleman of about the same age who had offered her his seat in the car.
“Why should you be so kind to me?” she gurgled.
“My dear madam, because I myself have a mother and a wife and a daughter.”
* * *
Diplomacy is shown inversely by the remark of the professor to the lady in this story.
At a reception the woman chatted for some time with the distinguished man of learning, and displayed such intelligence that one of the listeners complimented her.
“Oh, really,” she said with a smile, “I’ve just been concealing my ignorance.”
The professor spoke gallantly.
“Not at all, not at all, my dear madam! Quite the contrary, I do assure you.”