From the American Scene: Collection Lawyer
LET us call the client, harassed by certain department and fish store bills, X., for of course it is myself. Who else? The scene is an old-fashioned office building in Pemberton Square, Boston.
The building has a marble entrance hall with two gilt elevators you have to ring and ring for, since they huddle down at the bottom of the shaft, in the warmth, while their aging operators doze. As I waited, I remembered I had been here twenty years before, calling on a kind, white-mustached, portly cousin, a court stenographer, whose office was stacked with neat notebooks of immaculate Pitman shorthand: I believe he used a mechanical pencil known as a stylo. The woman waiting with me for the elevator might have been his very amanuensis-a maiden stenographer in her fifties, in a serge dress with a lace collar, with rats under, and a net over, her grizzled hair.
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