The Dancing Partner (Jerome)

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The Dancing Partner
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A toymaker created an electric dancing man that went out of control during a ball, causing chaos and injury to a young girl before being stopped by its creator.

In Furtwangen, a small town in the Black Forest, lived a talented old toymaker named Nicholau Geibel. He was known for creating mechanical toys with European reputation.

Nicholau Geibel — elderly toymaker; creative, passionate about his work, and skilled in mechanics.

One day, after overhearing a group of girls discussing their ideal dancing partner, Geibel decided to create a mechanical man who could dance.

A month later, Geibel brought his creation, Lieutenant Fritz, to a ball.

Lieutenant Fritz — electric dancing man; stiff, unyielding, and relentless in its dance.

At first, the guests were hesitant to dance with the mechanical man, but eventually, a girl named Annette agreed to give it a try.

Annette — young girl who danced with Fritz; initially nervous, then enthusiastic about the dance.

The figure performed admirably, keeping perfect time and step while maintaining a constant flow of conversation. As the night went on, Annette and Fritz danced faster and faster, until they were the only couple left on the floor.

Oh, he's just lovely, I could go on dancing with him all my life.

However, the situation took a dark turn when Annette appeared to have fainted, and the figure refused to release her. Panic ensued as the guests tried to stop the mechanical man, but their efforts only resulted in it crashing against the walls and furniture. The guests searched for Geibel, eventually finding him in a counting-house with another man named Wenzel.

Find Geibel -- fetch Geibel.

Geibel and Wenzel entered the ballroom, locked the door behind them, and managed to stop the mechanical man. After this incident, Geibel decided to focus on making simpler mechanical toys, such as rabbits and cats.

From that day old Nicholaus Geibel confined himself to the making of mechanical rabbits, and cats that mewed and washed their faces.