DEAR SIR last night my wife Ethel ses Joe if I tell you something will you promise not to tell another living soul? I ses whats it about sweets? Ethel ses why I can’t tell you what its about until you promise me you will not tell another living soul. I ses well I guess I can promise that all right unless its something illegal and you would not know about anything illegal.
Ethel ses of course not Joe. How could I? I ses well go ahead and tell me what its about. Ethel ses its about Mildred Samuels. She told me today but she made me promise I would not tell another living soul not even you. I ses did you promise? Ethel ses certainly I promised. Mildred would not have told me if I had not promised. I ses well then what do you want to tell me for? I ses won’t that be breaking your promise?
Ethel ses why Joe what good would it do me to know something if I could not tell you? I ses yes but you ses you promised Mildred you would not tell even me. I ses now you want to tell me so what kind of a promise is that? I ses suppose she finds out that you did tell me? Ethel ses well suppose she does? I ses then she will never tell you anything else again. Ethel ses O yes she will. I am her best friend and what good would it do her to know something if she did not tell her best friend? Besides how can she find out I told you when you are not going to tell another living soul?
I ses well Ethel I guess you better not tell me. I ses I would not have you betray somebodys confidence for the world and Ethel ses but don’t you want to hear what it is Joe? I ses Ethel even if I wanted to hear it the worst way in the world I would not like to have you betray somebodys confidence. I ses you promised Mildred you would not tell anybody not even me so you just keep your word. I ses Mildred would probably be terribly disappointed in you if she found out you told me. Ethel ses why thats crazy Joe. Mildred expects me to tell you. She would not have told me unless she expected me to tell you.
I ses now wait a minute Ethel. I ses let me get this figured out. I ses you ses Mildred Samuels told you something after getting you to promise you would not tell another living soul even me? Ethel ses thats right Joe. I ses now you want to tell me and when I remind you of your promise to Mildred not to tell me you ses she expected you to tell me? Ethel ses thats right Joe. Whats wrong with that?
I ses well it does not make sense to me. I ses it sounds daffy. I ses suppose somebody told me something and made me promise not to tell another living soul not even you and then I came home and told it to you what would you think of me? I ses wouldn’t you think I was dishonorable to betray somebodys confidence? Ethel ses of course not Joe. I would think you were very mean if you did not tell me. Has somebody told you something lately that you have not told me?
I ses no but if they had told me and I had promised not to tell anybody not even you I would not have told you. I ses I would have kept my promise to them. Ethel ses Joe I believe you are keeping something back from me. What is it? I ses look Ethel. I ses I am not keeping anything back but I am just telling you how I feel about promises like that. I ses suppose you told me about Mildred Samuels and I promised never to tell another living soul and then went and told somebody else wouldn’t you think I was a stinker?
Ethel ses thats not a very nice word Joe and besides you do not understand. Everybody tells somebody something and makes them promise not to tell another living soul but they do not expect them not to tell. Joe if somebody has told you something you have not told me you can go ahead and tell it because they expect you to. I ses Ethel I tell you nobody has told me a thing and she ses well do you want to hear about Mildred Samuels? I ses no sweets you keep it to yourself like you promised and now I am going to bed.
Ethel ses well its very important and I ses thats all the more reason you should not tell me. She ses I hate to know something and not tell it but good night Joe. I want to listen to the radio awhile. So I went to bed and went to sleep but about half past one this morning I woke up and shook Ethel and when I got her awake I ses hay Dolly what was that about Mildred Samuels? Ethel ses why Joe what do you mean? I ses what was it about her that she made you promise not to tell another living soul not even me?
Ethel ses well now let me think a minute Joe. O yes. She is going to run away to Toronto with Chub Walters and get married. I ses when? Ethel ses why they are going at ten o’clock tonight. What time is it Joe? I ses one thirty and Ethel ses well I guess they have gone. I am glad for Mildred’s sake. I ses Chub Walters owes me twenty bucks and he was to have paid me tomorrow morning so I guess I can kiss that goodbye.
Ethel ses yes Joe I guess you can but if you had let me tell you about Mildred when I wanted to you could have caught him at her house before they left. You see Joe you ought to listen to me. I ses good night Ethel. She ses good night Joe dear.