THE GREAT BEEF CONTRACT. 2'j
" Why didn't the Second tell me ? why didn't
the Third .? why didn't all those divisions and
departments tell me .? "
" None of them knew. We do things by routine
here. You have followed the routine and found
out what you wanted to know. It is the best way.
It is the only way. It is very regular, and very
slow, but it is very certain."
" Yes, certain death. It has been, to the most ot
our tribe. I begin to feel that I, too, am called.
Young man, you love the bright creature yonder
with the gentle blue eyes and the steel pens behind
her ears—I see it in your soft glances; you wish to
marry her—but you are poor. Here, hold out
your hand—here is the beef contract; go, take her
and be happy ! Heaven bless you, mj' children ! "
This is all I know about the great beef contract
that has created so much talk in the community.
The clerk to whom I bequeathed it died. I know
nothing further about the contract, or any one
connected with it. I only know that if a man lives
long enough he can trace a thing through the
Circumlocution Office of Washington, and find out,
after much labour and trouble and delay, that
which he could have found out on the first day if
the business of the Circumlocution Office were as
ingeniously systematized as it would be if it were a
great private mercantile institution.