REAL VS. NOT-SO-REAL
HE story goes that a
certain very impulsive and prosperous, but close-fisted,
pearl-merchant in Germany came near losing all he held dearest on the
day he learned that the Japanese had succeeded in the culture of the
full round pearl.
the first flush of his anger and unhappy anticipation he broke his
beloved fiddle into smithereens. Then, somewhat calmed by this excess,
he sent for his daughter, an only child. She looked at him and asked if
he was ill.
"If what I have just heard is true," he announced grimly, "I shall deck you with pearls until you look like an Indian idol!"
to such prodigality on the part of her father, she thought that some
great good fortune had come his way, and clapped her hands for joy;
while the old man, not realizing for the moment that his bitterly
facetious remark had miscarried, flung open his safe, took from it an
armful of pearl necklets and ropes, the whole of his stock-in-trade,
and hung them around his daughter's neck until she could hardly breathe
under the load.
he rushed out to his wife, to tell her that he was an utterly ruined
man and that their only child—who stood preening herself before a
mirror—was unspeakably callous and vain. While he was gone, the girl
slipped out of the house to show herself to their next-door neighbors,
where the son of the house had long since found favor in her eyes, and
she in his. The old man had, however, always stamped his foot at any
talk of the match and had called the young man nothing but a lazy
good-for-nothing who should never have his daughter.
Up to this point the story is plain enough, but now it has