The Perfect Woman

Clark Ashton Smith

Once there was an idealist who sought for the Perfect Woman. In the course of his search, which lasted many years, and was thorough and painstaking, he acquired the reputation of a rake, and lost his youth, his hair, his illusions, and most of his money. He made love to actresses, ingenues, milkmaids, nurses, nuns, typists, trollops and married women. He acquired an expert knowledge of hairpins and lingerie, and data on feminine cussedness. Also, he sampled every known variety of lipstick. But still he failed to find the Ideal.

One day, to continue the weary tale, he lost whatever reason his experiences had left (or given) him; and, seized with furry of a fiercer mania, threw a Charlotte Russ at the perfectly nice deputant with whom he was drinking. Two days latter he received a membership in a home for the Mentally Exalted. Whether his insanity from disappointment, excess, prohibition, booze or a Streptococcic infection, the M. D.'s were never quite able to determine.

On his way to the asylum, guided by two stalwart keepers, he saw a rubber doll in a shop window, and fell in love with it like a college-boy with a soubrette. He had the price of the doll in his purse, so the keepers kindly permitted him to buy it, and bring it with him to enliven his sojourn in the Refuge for the Ecstatic.

"Gee, ain't he the nut?" they grinned.

However, he was happy at last, and did not mind. He believed he had found the Perfect Woman.

He still believes it, for the doll (one of the squeekless and unmechanized kind), has never said or done anything to disillusion him. He loves it with an absolute and ideal devotion, and believes his love is returned. He is perfectly happy.

^xxx^ xxx was added by Smith.
[xxx] xxx was deleted by Smith.
February 28, 1923

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