A Gem


On November 6, 1943, publication of "Memo to a Kind Stranger." Collier's. Pipe Night.

Middle-Aged Edwin Purvis gives a friend's seventeen year-old daughter a lift in a taxicab from Wall Street to Grand Central Station, and in the course of this ride we learn he is in love with her (although he doesn't tell her and nothing ever happens).

Here's the opening:

   "It is a strange thing, although it probably is just as well for everyone, that in New York City alone there are millions of people walking the streets who are in love, but not a single one of those millions ever gives much though to the fact of having this one thing in common with so many others. You walk along the street, say a street in the downtown financial district, and you hardly notice the people as individuals at all . . . The reason may be that you don't often see love unless you look for it, and you don't usually look for it in anyone except someone from whom you want it . . . "

And toward the end of the ride:

"It was enough, because it had to be enough, just to look at her the way she expected to be looked at by him.

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