Buying a Piano
A Houston man decided a few days ago to buy his wife a piano for a Christmas present. Now, there is more competition, rivalry, and push among piano agents than any other class of men. The insurance and fruit tree businesses are mild and retiring in comparison with the piano industry. The Houston man, who is a prominent lawyer, knew this, and he was careful not to tell too many people of his intentions, for fear the agents would annoy him. He inquired in a music store only once, regarding prices, etc., and intended after a week or so to make his selection.
When he left the store he went around by the post-office before going back to work.
When he reached his office he found three agents perched on his desk and in his chair waiting for him.
One of them got his mouth open first, and said: “Hear you want to buy a piano, sir. For sweetness, durability, finish, tone, workmanship, style, and quality the Steingay is—”
“Nixy,” said another agent, pushing in between them and seizing the lawyer’s collar. “You get a Chitterling. Only piano in the world. For sweetness, durability, finish, tone, workmanship—”
“Excuse me,” said the third agent. “I can’t stand by and see a man swindled. The Chronic and Bark piano, for sweetness, durability, finish—”
“Get out, every one of you,” shouted the lawyer. “When I want a piano I’ll buy the one I please. Get out of the room!”
The agents left, and the lawyer went to work on a brief. During the afternoon, five of his personal friends called to recommend different makes of pianos, and the lawyer began to get snappish.
He went out and got a drink and the bartender said: “Say, gent, me brudder works in a piano factory and he gimme de tip dat you’se wants to buy one of de tum-tums. Me brudder says dat for sweetness, durability, finish—”
“Devil take your brother,” said the lawyer.
He got on the street car to go home and four agents were already aboard waiting for him. He dodged back before they saw him and stood on the platform. Presently the brakeman leaned over and whispered in his ear:
“Frien’, the Epperson piano what me uncle handles in East Texas, fur sweetness, durability—”
“Stop the car,” said the lawyer. He got off and skulked in a dark doorway until the four agents, who had also got off the car, rushed past, and then he picked up a big stone from the gutter and put it in his pocket. He went around a back way to his home and slipped up to the gate feeling pretty safe.
The minister of his church had been calling at the house, and came out the gate just as the lawyer reached it. The lawyer was the proud father of a brand-new, two-weeks-old baby, and the minister had just been admiring it, and wanted to congratulate him.
“My dear brother,” said the minister. “Your house will soon be filled with joy and music. I think it will be a great addition to your life. Now, there is nothing in the world that for sweetness—”
“Confound you, you’re drumming for a piano, too, are you?” yelled the lawyer, drawing the stone from his pocket. He fired away and knocked the minister’s tall hat across the street, and kicked him in the shin. The minister believed in the church militant, and he gave the lawyer a one-two on the nose, and they clinched and rolled off the sidewalk on a pile of loose bricks. The neighbors heard the row and came out with shotguns and lanterns, and finally an understanding was arrived at.
The lawyer was considerably battered up, and the family doctor was sent for to patch him. As the doctor bent over him with sticking-plaster and a bottle of arnica, he said:
“You’ll be out in a day or two, and then I want you to come around and buy a piano from my brother. The one he is agent for is acknowledged to be the best one for sweetness, durability, style, quality, and action in the world.”