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Midge’s and Annabel’s pearls

“The Standard of Living” by Dorothy Parker

November/December 2015

“All right,” she said. “So you’ve got this million dollars. So what would be the first thing you’d do?”

“Well, the first thing I’d do,” Midge said, “I’d get a mink coat.” But she said it mechanically, as if she were giving the memorised answer to an expected question.

“Yes,” Annabel said. “I think you ought to. The terribly dark kind of mink.” But she, too, spoke as if by rote. It was too hot; fur, no matter how dark and sleek and supple, was horrid to the thoughts.

They stepped along in silence for a while. Then Midge’s eye was caught by a shop window. Cool, lovely gleamings were there set off by chaste and elegant darkness.

“No,” Midge said, “I take it back. I wouldn’t get a mink coat the first thing. Know what I’d do? I’d get a string of pearls. Real pearls.”

Annabel’s eyes turned to follow Midge’s.

“Yes,” she said, slowly. “I think that’s a kind of a good idea. And it would make sense, too. Because you can wear pearls with anything.”

The Standard of Living
by Dorothy Parker 

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