Short Story by Thomas Smith

I contemplate my problem. I have an appointment with a businessman, which is of great importance to my company, the Tabulating Machine Company. He, however, is sick. He has invited me to come anyway, but I don't know if I will.

I remember Flora Fergusson. She was my fiancée, once. Dark and intelligent, she was as perfect as someone could be for me, not to insult my marvelous wife Lu.

I remember one of my last conversations with her. She had typhoid. We talked about the preservation of health. She told me to always avoid sickness like, well, the plague. Only a few days later, she died.

Soon after she died, a friend of hers sent me a package. Curious about what was inside, I opened it up. I am still not sure whether it was a good idea to open it. Beneath the wrapping was a bible. I recognized it as Flora's. On the inside of the cover was written:

I know how much you will prize the little Bible--Flora loved both you and it. Some day, it may be the means of reuniting you in that land where there is no parting and no tears.

It, along with my engagement ring and some other items which caused excruciatingly painful memories, ended up in a locked black metal box. That box is open in my mind now, and that's why tears are running down my cheeks. I remember her so well.

I am not going to the meeting.

(Austrian 38, 42)


This short story is to tell about Hollerith's time with Flora Fergusson. I wanted to show the scar which her death left. I feel that this story, although it is really quite short, conveys the scar well. Therefore, I feel that it is substance. If it needs to be fleshed out anyway, I can do this.