For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form

“The Beau Monde of Mrs. Bridge”

Evan S. Connell

Excerpt

Through the silver candelabra and miniature turkey sandwiches Mrs. Bridge went graciously smiling and chatting a moment with everyone, quietly opening windows to let out the smoke, removing wet glasses from mahogany table tops, slipping away now and then to empty the onyx ashtrays she had bought and distributed throughout the house.

Beachy Marsh got drunk. He slapped people on the shoulder, told jokes, laughed loudly, and also went around emptying the ashtrays of their magenta-colored stubs, all the while attempting to control the tips of his shirt collar which had become damp from perspiration and were rolling up into the air like horns. Following Mrs. Bridge halfway up the carpeted stairs he said hopefully, “There was a young maid from Madras, who had a magnificent ass; not rounded and pink, as you probably think—it was grey, had long ears, and ate grass.”

“Oh, my word!” replied Mrs. Bridge, looking over her shoulder with a polite smile but continuing up the stairs, while the auto salesman plucked miserably at his collar

We read it in The Paris Review No. 10.