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The Purple Dress

Short Stories


A Bird of Bagdad

A Blackjack Bargainer

A Call Loan

A Chaparral Christmas Gift

A Chaparral Prince

A Comedy in Rubber

A Cosmopolite in a Cafe

A Departmental Case

A Dinner at--------*

A Double-Dyed Deceiver

A Fog in Santone

A Harlem Tragedy

A Lickpenny Lover

A Little Local Colour

A Little Talk about Mobs

A Madison Square Arabian Night

A Matter of Mean Elevation

A Midsummer Knight's Dream

A Midsummer Masquerade

A Municipal Report

A Newspaper Story

A Night in New Arabia

A Philistine in Bohemia

A Poor Rule

A Ramble in Aphasia

A Retrieved Reformation

A Ruler of Men

A Sacrifice Hit

A Service of Love

A Snapshot at the President

A Strange Story

A Technical Error

A Tempered Wind

According to Their Lights

After Twenty Years

An Adjustment of Nature

An Afternoon Miracle

An Apology

An Unfinished Christmas Story

An Unfinished Story

Aristocracy Versus Hash

Art and the Bronco

At Arms With Morpheus

Babes in the Jungle


Between Rounds

Bexar Scrip No. 2692

Blind Man's Holiday

Brickdust Row

Buried Treasure

By Courier

Calloway's Code


Cherchez La Femme

Christmas by Injunction

Compliments of the Season

Confessions of a Humorist

Conscience in Art

Cupid a La Carte

Cupid's Exile Number Two


Dougherty's Eye-Opener

Elsie in New York

Extradited from Bohemia

Fickle Fortune or How Gladys Hustled

Friends in San Rosario

From Each According to His Ability

From the Cabby's Seat

Georgia's Ruling


He Also Serves

Hearts and Crosses

Hearts and Hands

Helping the Other Fellow

Holding Up a Train

Hostages to Momus

Hygeia at the Solito

Innocents of Broadway

Jeff Peters as a Personal Magnet

Jimmy Hayes and Muriel

Law and Order

Let Me Feel Your Pulse

Little Speck in Garnered Fruit

Lord Oakhurst's Curse

Lost on Dress Parade

Madame Bo-Peep, of the Ranches

Makes the Whole World Kin

Mammon and the Archer

Man About Town

Masters of Arts

Memoirs of a Yellow Dog

Modern Rural Sports

Money Maze

Nemesis and the Candy Man

New York by Camp Fire Light

Next to Reading Matter

No Story

October and June

On Behalf of the Management

One Dollar's Worth

One Thousand Dollars

Out of Nazareth

Past One at Rooney's


Proof of the Pudding

Psyche and the Pskyscraper

Queries and Answers

Roads of Destiny

Roses, Ruses and Romance

Rouge et Noir

Round the Circle

Rus in Urbe

Schools and Schools

Seats of the Haughty

Shearing the Wolf



Sisters of the Golden Circle


Sociology in Serge and Straw

Sound and Fury

Springtime a La Carte

Squaring the Circle

Strictly Business

Strictly Business

Suite Homes and Their Romance

Telemachus, Friend

The Admiral

The Adventures of Shamrock Jolnes

The Assessor of Success

The Atavism of John Tom Little Bear

The Badge of Policeman O'Roon

The Brief Debut of Tildy

The Buyer From Cactus City

The Caballero's Way

The Cactus

The Caliph and the Cad

The Caliph, Cupid and the Clock

The Call of the Tame

The Chair of Philanthromathematics

The Champion of the Weather

The Church with an Overshot-Wheel

The City of Dreadful Night

The Clarion Call

The Coming-Out of Maggie

The Complete Life of John Hopkins

The Cop and the Anthem

The Count and the Wedding Guest

The Country of Elusion

The Day Resurgent

The Day We Celebrate

The Defeat of the City

The Detective Detector

The Diamond of Kali

The Discounters of Money

The Dog and the Playlet

The Door of Unrest

The Dream

The Duel

The Duplicity of Hargraves

The Easter of the Soul

The Emancipation of Billy

The Enchanted Kiss

The Enchanted Profile

The Ethics of Pig

The Exact Science of Matrimony

The Ferry of Unfulfilment

The Fifth Wheel

The Flag Paramount

The Fool-Killer

The Foreign Policy of Company 99

The Fourth in Salvador

The Friendly Call

The Furnished Room

The Gift of the Magi

The Girl and the Graft

The Girl and the Habit

The Gold That Glittered

The Greater Coney

The Green Door

The Guardian of the Accolade

The Guilty Party - An East Side Tragedy

The Halberdier of the Little Rheinschloss

The Hand that Riles the World

The Handbook of Hymen

The Harbinger

The Head-Hunter

The Hiding of Black Bill

The Higher Abdication

The Higher Pragmatism

The Hypotheses of Failure

The Indian Summer of Dry Valley Johnson

The Lady Higher Up

The Last Leaf

The Last of the Troubadours

The Lonesome Road

The Lost Blend

The Lotus And The Bottle

The Love-Philtre of Ikey Schoenstein

The Making of a New Yorker

The Man Higher Up

The Marionettes

The Marquis and Miss Sally

The Marry Month of May

The Memento

The Missing Chord

The Moment of Victory

The Octopus Marooned

The Passing of Black Eagle

The Pendulum

The Phonograph and the Graft

The Pimienta Pancakes

The Plutonian Fire

The Poet and the Peasant

The Pride of the Cities

The Princess and the Puma

The Prisoner of Zembla

The Proem

The Purple Dress

The Ransom of Mack

The Ransom of Red Chief

The Rathskeller and the Rose

The Red Roses of Tonia

The Reformation of Calliope

The Remnants of the Code

The Renaissance at Charleroi

The Roads We Take

The Robe of Peace

The Romance of a Busy Broker

The Rose of Dixie

The Rubaiyat of a Scotch Highball

The Rubber Plant's Story

The Shamrock and the Palm

The Shocks of Doom

The Skylight Room

The Sleuths

The Snow Man

The Social Triangle

The Song and the Sergeant

The Sparrows in Madison Square

The Sphinx Apple

The Tale of a Tainted Tenner

The Theory and the Hound

The Thing's the Play

The Third Ingredient

The Trimmed Lamp

The Unknown Quantity

The Unprofitable Servant

The Venturers

The Vitagraphoscope

The Voice of the City

The Whirligig of Life

The World and the Door

Thimble, Thimble


To Him Who Waits

Tobin's Palm

Tommy's Burglar

Tracked to Doom

Transformation of Martin Burney

Transients in Arcadia

Two Recalls

Two Renegades

Two Thanksgiving Day Gentlemen

Ulysses and the Dogman

Vanity and Some Sables

What You Want

While the Auto Waits

Whistling Dick's Christmas Stocking

Witches' Loaves

We are to consider the shade known as purple. It is a color justly
in repute among the sons and daughters of man. Emperors claim it
for their especial dye. Good fellows everywhere seek to bring their
noses to the genial hue that follows the commingling of the red and
blue. We say of princes that they are born to the purple; and no
doubt they are, for the colic tinges their faces with the royal tint
equally with the snub-nosed countenance of a woodchopper's brat. All
women love it--when it is the fashion.

And now purple is being worn. You notice it on the streets. Of course
other colors are quite stylish as well--in fact, I saw a lovely thing
the other day in olive green albatross, with a triple-lapped flounce
skirt trimmed with insert squares of silk, and a draped fichu of lace
opening over a shirred vest and double puff sleeves with a lace band
holding two gathered frills--but you see lots of purple too. Oh, yes,
you do; just take a walk down Twenty-third street any afternoon.

Therefore Maida--the girl with the big brown eyes and cinnamon-colored
hair in the Bee-Hive Store--said to Grace--the girl with the
rhinestone brooch and peppermint-pepsin flavor to her speech--"I'm
going to have a purple dress--a tailor-made purple dress--for

"Oh, are you," said Grace, putting away some 71/2 gloves into the
63/4 box. "Well, it's me for red. You see more red on Fifth avenue.
And the men all seem to like it."

"I like purple best," said Maida. "And old Schlegel has promised to
make it for $8. It's going to be lovely. I'm going to have a plaited
skirt and a blouse coat trimmed with a band of galloon under a white
cloth collar with two rows of--"

"Sly boots!" said Grace with an educated wink.

"--soutache braid over a surpliced white vest; and a plaited basque

"Sly boots--sly boots!" repeated Grace.

"--plaited gigot sleeves with a drawn velvet ribbon over an inside
cuff. What do you mean by saying that?"

"You think Mr. Ramsay likes purple. I heard him say yesterday he
thought some of the dark shades of red were stunning."

"I don't care," said Maida. "I prefer purple, and them that don't
like it can just take the other side of the street."

Which suggests the thought that after all, the followers of purple
may be subject to slight delusions. Danger is near when a maiden
thinks she can wear purple regardless of complexions and opinions;
and when Emperors think their purple robes will wear forever.

Maida had saved $18 after eight months of economy; and this had
bought the goods for the purple dress and paid Schlegel $4 on the
making of it. On the day before Thanksgiving she would have just
enough to pay the remaining $4. And then for a holiday in a new
dress--can earth offer anything more enchanting?

Old Bachman, the proprietor of the Bee-Hive Store, always gave a
Thanksgiving dinner to his employees. On every one of the subsequent
364 days, excusing Sundays, he would remind them of the joys of the
past banquet and the hopes of the coming ones, thus inciting them
to increased enthusiasm in work. The dinner was given in the store
on one of the long tables in the middle of the room. They tacked
wrapping paper over the front windows; and the turkeys and other
good things were brought in the back way from the restaurant on the
corner. You will perceive that the Bee-Hive was not a fashionable
department store, with escalators and pompadours. It was almost
small enough to be called an emporium; and you could actually go
in there and get waited on and walk out again. And always at the
Thanksgiving dinners Mr. Ramsay--

Oh, bother! I should have mentioned Mr. Ramsay first of all. He is
more important than purple or green, or even the red cranberry

Mr. Ramsay was the head clerk; and as far as I am concerned I am for
him. He never pinched the girls' arms when he passed them in dark
corners of the store; and when he told them stories when business
was dull and the girls giggled and said: "Oh, pshaw!" it wasn't G.
Bernard they meant at all. Besides being a gentleman, Mr. Ramsay
was queer and original in other ways. He was a health crank, and
believed that people should never eat anything that was good for
them. He was violently opposed to anybody being comfortable, and
coming in out of snow storms, or wearing overshoes, or taking
medicine, or coddling themselves in any way. Every one of the ten
girls in the store had little pork-chop-and-fried-onion dreams every
night of becoming Mrs. Ramsay. For, next year old Bachman was going
to take him in for a partner. And each one of them knew that if she
should catch him she would knock those cranky health notions of his
sky high before the wedding cake indigestion was over.

Mr. Ramsay was master of ceremonies at the dinners. Always they had
two Italians in to play a violin and harp and had a little dance in
the store.

And here were two dresses being conceived to charm Ramsay--one
purple and the other red. Of course, the other eight girls were
going to have dresses too, but they didn't count. Very likely
they'd wear some shirt-waist-and-black-skirt-affairs--nothing as
resplendent as purple or red.

Grace had saved her money, too. She was going to buy her dress
ready-made. Oh, what's the use of bothering with a tailor--when
you've got a figger it's easy to get a fit--the ready-made are
intended for a perfect figger--except I have to have 'em all taken
in at the waist--the average figger is so large waisted.

The night before Thanksgiving came. Maida hurried home, keen and
bright with the thoughts of the blessed morrow. Her thoughts were of
purple, but they were white themselves--the joyous enthusiasm of the
young for the pleasures that youth must have or wither. She knew
purple would become her, and--for the thousandth time she tried to
assure herself that it was purple Mr. Ramsay said he liked and not
red. She was going home first to get the $4 wrapped in a piece of
tissue paper in the bottom drawer of her dresser, and then she was
going to pay Schlegel and take the dress home herself.

Grace lived in the same house. She occupied the hall room above

At home Maida found clamor and confusion. The landlady's tongue
clattering sourly in the halls like a churn dasher dabbing in
buttermilk. And then Grace come down to her room crying with eyes as
red as any dress.

"She says I've got to get out," said Grace. "The old beast. Because
I owe her $4. She's put my trunk in the hall and locked the door. I
can't go anywhere else. I haven't got a cent of money."

"You had some yesterday," said Maida.

"I paid it on my dress," said Grace. "I thought she'd wait till next
week for the rent."

Sniffle, sniffle, sob, sniffle.

Out came--out it had to come--Maida's $4.

"You blessed darling," cried Grace, now a rainbow instead of sunset.
"I'll pay the mean old thing and then I'm going to try on my dress.
I think it's heavenly. Come up and look at it. I'll pay the money
back, a dollar a week--honest I will."


The dinner was to be at noon. At a quarter to twelve Grace switched
into Maida's room. Yes, she looked charming. Red was her color.
Maida sat by the window in her old cheviot skirt and blue waist
darning a st--. Oh, doing fancy work.

"Why, goodness me! ain't you dressed yet?" shrilled the red one.
"How does it fit in the back? Don't you think these velvet tabs look
awful swell? Why ain't you dressed, Maida?"

"My dress didn't get finished in time," said Maida. "I'm not going
to the dinner."

"That's too bad. Why, I'm awfully sorry, Maida. Why don't you put on
anything and come along--it's just the store folks, you know, and
they won't mind."

"I was set on my purple," said Maida. "If I can't have it I won't go
at all. Don't bother about me. Run along or you'll be late. You look
awful nice in red."

At her window Maida sat through the long morning and past the time
of the dinner at the store. In her mind she could hear the girls
shrieking over a pull-bone, could hear old Bachman's roar over his
own deeply-concealed jokes, could see the diamonds of fat Mrs.
Bachman, who came to the store only on Thanksgiving days, could see
Mr. Ramsay moving about, alert, kindly, looking to the comfort of

At four in the afternoon, with an expressionless face and a lifeless
air she slowly made her way to Schlegel's shop and told him she
could not pay the $4 due on the dress.

"Gott!" cried Schlegel, angrily. "For what do you look so glum? Take
him away. He is ready. Pay me some time. Haf I not seen you pass
mine shop every day in two years? If I make clothes is it that I do
not know how to read beoples because? You will pay me some time when
you can. Take him away. He is made goot; and if you look bretty in
him all right. So. Pay me when you can."

Maida breathed a millionth part of the thanks in her heart, and
hurried away with her dress. As she left the shop a smart dash of
rain struck upon her face. She smiled and did not feel it.

Ladies who shop in carriages, you do not understand. Girls whose
wardrobes are charged to the old man's account, you cannot begin to
comprehend--you could not understand why Maida did not feel the cold
dash of the Thanksgiving rain.

At five o'clock she went out upon the street wearing her purple
dress. The rain had increased, and it beat down upon her in a
steady, wind-blown pour. People were scurrying home and to cars with
close-held umbrellas and tight buttoned raincoats. Many of them
turned their heads to marvel at this beautiful, serene, happy-eyed
girl in the purple dress walking through the storm as though she
were strolling in a garden under summer skies.

I say you do not understand it, ladies of the full purse and varied
wardrobe. You do not know what it is to live with a perpetual
longing for pretty things--to starve eight months in order to bring
a purple dress and a holiday together. What difference if it rained,
hailed, blew, snowed, cycloned?

Maida had no umbrella nor overshoes. She had her purple dress and
she walked abroad. Let the elements do their worst. A starved heart
must have one crumb during a year. The rain ran down and dripped
from her fingers.

Some one turned a corner and blocked her way. She looked up into Mr.
Ramsay's eyes, sparkling with admiration and interest.

"Why, Miss Maida," said he, "you look simply magnificent in your
new dress. I was greatly disappointed not to see you at our dinner.
And of all the girls I ever knew, you show the greatest sense and
intelligence. There is nothing more healthful and invigorating than
braving the weather as you are doing. May I walk with you?"

And Maida blushed and sneezed.

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