[BACK] [Blueprint] [NEXT]



The Little House on Duke of Gloucester Street; and the Beginning of Various Feelings, Sensibilities, and Attitudes between two Lonely Men.

ONE instant thought the news of the Colonel’s death struck from nearly everybody’s mind: He’ll miss the Reunion. For within a few days the city was to witness that yearly gathering of broken armies which, of all assemblages among men, the Colonel had loved most dearly. In thirty years, he had not missed one, till now. They buried the old warrior with pomp and circumstance, not to speak of many tears, and his young assistant in the sanctum came home from the graveside with a sense of having lost a valued counselor and friend. Only the home to which the assistant returned with this feeling was not the Third Hall Back of Mrs. Paynter’s, sometimes known as the Scriptorium, but a whole suite of pleasant rooms, upstairs and down, in a nice little house on Duke of Gloucester Street. For Nicolovius had made his contemplated move on the first of May, and Queed had gone with him.

It was half-past six o’clock on a pretty summer’s evening. Queed opened the house-door with a latch-key and went upstairs to the comfortable living-room, which faithfully reproduced the old professor’s sitting-room at Mrs. Paynter’s. Nicolovius, in his black silk cap, was sitting near the open window, reading and smoking a strong cigarette.

“Ah, here you are! I was just thinking that you were rather later than usual this evening.”

“Yes, I went to Colonel Cowles’s funeral. It was decidedly impressive.”


Queed dropped down into one of Nicolovius’s agreeable 240 chairs and let his eyes roam over the room. He was extremely comfortable in this house; a little too comfortable, he was beginning to think now, considering that he paid but seven dollars and fifty cents a week towards its support. He had a desk and lamp all his own in the living-room, a table and lamp in his bedroom, ease and independence over two floors. An old negro man looked after the two gentlemen and gave them excellent things to eat. The house was an old one, and small: it was in an unfashionable part of town, and having stood empty for some time, could be had for thirty-five dollars a month. However, Nicolovius had wiped out any economy here by spending his money freely to repair and beautify. He had had workmen in the house for a month, papering, painting, plumbing, and altering.

“Dozens of people could not get in the church,” said Queed. “They stood outside in the street till the service was over.”

Nicolovius was looking out of the window, and answered casually. “I daresay he was an excellent man according to his lights.”

“Coming to know him very well in the past year, I found that his lights stood high.”

“As high, I am sure, as the environment in which he was born and raised made possible.”

“You have a low opinion, then, of ante-bellum civilization in the South?”

“Who that knows his history could have otherwise?”

“You know history, I admit,” said Queed, lightly falling upon the side issue, “surprisingly, indeed, considering that you have not read it for so many years.”

“A man is not likely to forget truths burned into him when he is young.”

“Everything depends,” said Queed, returning to his muttons, “upon how you are going to appraise a civilization. If the only true measure is economic efficiency, no one can question that the old Southern system was one of the worst ever conceived.”


“Can you, expert upon organized society as you are, admit any doubts upon that point?”

“I am admitting doubts upon a good many points these days.”

Nicolovius resumed his cigarette. Talk languished. Both men enjoyed a good silence. Many a supper they ate through without a word. The old man’s attitude towards the young one was charming. He had sloughed off some of the too polished blandness of his manner, and now offered a simpler meeting ground of naturalness and kindliness. They had shared the Duke of Gloucester Street roof-tree for a month, but Queed did not yet accept it as a matter of course. He was decidedly more prone to be analytical than he had been a year ago. Yet whatever could be urged against it, the little house was in one way making a subtle tug upon his regard, it was the nearest thing to a home that he had ever had in his life, or was ever likely to have.

“And when will the Post directors meet to choose his successor?”

“I have n’t heard. Very soon, I should think.”

“It is certain, I suppose,” said Nicolovius, “that they will name you?”

“Oh, not at all — by no means! I am merely receptive, that is all.”

Queed glanced at his watch and rose. “There is half an hour before supper, I see. I think I must turn it to account.”

Nicolovius looked regretful. “Why not allow yourself this minute’s rest, and me the pleasure of your society?”

Queed hesitated. “No — I think my duty is to my work.”

He passed into the adjoining room, which was his bedroom, and shut the door. Here at his table, he passed all of the hours that he spent in the house, except after supper, when he did his work in the sitting-room with Nicolovius. He felt that, in honor, he owed some companionship, of the body at least, to the old man in exchange for the run of the house, and his evenings were his conscientious concession 242 to his social duty. But sometimes he felt the surprising and wholly irrational impulse to concede more, to give the old man a larger measure of society than he was, so to say, paying for. He felt it now as he seated himself methodically and opened his table drawer.

From a purely selfish point of view, which was the only point of view from which such a compact need be considered, he could hardly think that his new domestic arrangement was a success. Greater comforts he had, of course, but it is not upon comforts that the world’s work hangs. The important facts were that he was paying as much as he had paid at Mrs. Paynter’s, and was enjoying rather less privacy. He and Nicolovius were friends of convenience only. Yet somehow the old professor managed to obtrude himself perpetually into his consciousness. The young man began to feel an annoying sense of personal responsibility toward him, an impulse which his reason rejected utterly.

He was aware that, personally, he wished himself back at Mrs. Paynter’s and the Scriptorium. A free man, in possession of this knowledge, would immediately pack up and return. But that was just the trouble. He who had always, hitherto, been the freest man in the world, appeared no longer to be free. He was aware that he would find it very difficult to walk into the sitting-room at this moment, and tell Nicolovius that he was going to leave. The old man would probably make a scene. The irritating thing about it was that Nicolovius, being as solitary in the great world as he himself, actually minded his isolation, and was apparently coming to depend upon him.

But after all, he was contented here, and his work was prospering largely. The days of his preparation for his Post labors were definitely over. He no longer had to read or study; he stood upon his feet, and carried his editorial qualifications under his hat. His duties as assistant editor occupied him but four or five hours a day; some three hours a day — the allotment was inexact, for the Schedule had lost its first rigid precision — to the Sciences of Physical Culture 243 and Human Intercourse; all the rest to the Science of Sciences. Glorious mornings, and hardly less glorious nights, he gave, day after day, week after week, to the great book; and because of his astonishingly enhanced vitality, he made one hour tell now as an hour and a half had told in the period of the establishment of the Scriptorium.

And now, without warning and prematurely, the jade Fortune had pitched a bomb at this new Revised Schedule of his, leaving him to decide whether he would patch up the pieces or not. And he had decided that he would not patch them up. Colonel Cowles was dead. The directors of the Post might choose him to succeed the Colonel, or they might not. But if they did choose him, he had finally made up his mind that he would accept the election.

In his attitude toward the newspaper, Queed was something like those eminent fellow-scientists of his who have set out to “expose” spiritualism and “the occult,” and have ended as the most gullible customers of the most dubious of “mediums.” The idea of being editor for its own sake, which he had once jeered and flouted, he had gradually come to consider with large respect. The work drew him amazingly; it was applied science of a peculiarly fascinating sort. And in the six days of the Colonel’s illness in May, when he had full charge of the editorial page — and again now — he had an exhilarating consciousness of personal power which lured him, oddly, more than any sensation he had ever had in his life.

No inducements of this sort, alone, could ever have drawn him from his love. However, his love was safe, in any case. If they made him editor, they would give him an assistant. He would keep his mornings for himself — four hours a day. In the long vigil last night, he had threshed the whole thing out. On a four-hour schedule he could finish his book in four years and a half more: — an unprecedented early age to have completed so monumental a work. And who could say that in thus making haste slowly, he would not have acquired a breadth of outlook, and closer knowledge 244 of the practical conditions of life, which would be advantageously reflected in the Magnum Opus itself?

The young man sat at his table, the sheaf of yellow sheets which made up the chapter he was now working on ready under his hand. Around him were his reference books, his note-books, his pencils and erasers, all the neat paraphernalia of his trade. Everything was in order; yet he touched none of them. Presently his eyes fell upon his open watch, and his mind went off into new channels, or rather into old channels which he thought he had abandoned for this half-hour at any rate. In five minutes more, he put away his manuscript, picked up his watch, and strolled back into the sitting-room.

Nicolovius was sitting where he had left him, except that now he was not reading but merely staring out of the window. He glanced around with a look of pleased surprise and welcome.

“Ah-h! did genius fail to burn?” he asked, employing a bromidic phrase which Queed particularly detested.

“That is one way of putting it, I suppose.”

“Or did you take pity on my solitariness? You must not let me become a drag upon you.”

Queed, dropping into a chair, rather out of humor, made no reply. Nicolovius continued to look out of the window.

“I see in the Post,” he presently began again, “that Colonel Cowles, after getting quite well, broke himself down again in preparing for the so-called Reunion. It seems rather hard to have to give one’s life for such a rabble of beggars.”

“That is how you regard the veterans, is it?”

“Have you ever seen the outfit?”


“I have lived here long enough to learn something of them. Look at them for yourself next week. Mix with them. Talk with them. You will find them worth a study — and worth nothing else under the sun.”

“I have been looking forward to doing something of the sort,” said Queed, introspectively. 245

Had not Miss Weyland, the last time he had seen her — namely, one evening about two months before, — expressly invited him to come and witness the Reunion parade from her piazza?

“You will see,” said Nicolovius, in his purring voice, “a lot of shabby old men, outside and in, who never did an honest day’s work in their lives.”

He paused, finished his cigarette and suavely resumed:

“They went to war as young men, because it promised to be more exciting than pushing a plow over a worn-out hillside. Or because there was nothing else to do. Or because they were conscripted and kicked into it. They came out of the war the most invincible grafters in history. The shiftless boor of a stable-boy found himself transformed into a shining hero, and he meant to lie back and live on it for the rest of his days. Be assured that he understood very well the cash value of his old uniform. If he had a peg-leg or an empty sleeve, so much the more impudently could he pass around his property cap. For forty years, he and his mendicant band have been a cursed albatross hung around the necks of their honest fellows. Able-bodied men, they have lolled back and eaten up millions of dollars, belonging to a State which they pretend to love and which, as they well know, has needed every penny for the desperate struggle of existence. Since the political party which dominates this State is too cowardly to tell them to go to work or go to the devil, it will be a God’s mercy when the last one of them is in his grave. You may take my word for that.”

But Queed, being a scientist by passion, never took anybody’s word for anything. He always went to the original sources of information, and found out for himself. It was a year now since he had begun saturating himself in the annals of the State and the South, and he had scoured the field so effectually that Colonel Cowles himself had been known to appeal to him on a point of history, though the Colonel had forty years’ start on him, and had himself helped to make that history. 246

Therefore Queed knew that Nicolovius, by taking the case of one soldier in ten, perhaps, or twenty or fifty, and offering it as typical of the whole, was bitterly caricaturing history; and he wondered why in the world the old man cared to do it.

“My own reading of the recent history of the South,” said Queed, “can hardly sustain such a view.”

“You have only to read further to be convinced.”

“But I thought you yourself never read recent history.”

Nicolovius flung him a sharp look, which the young man, staring thoughtfully at the floor, missed. The old professor laughed.

“My dear boy! I read it on the lips of Major Brooke, I read it daily in the newspapers, I read it in such articles as your Colonel Cowles wrote about this very Reunion. I cannot get away from history in the making, if I would. Ah, there is the supper bell — I’m quite ready for it, too. Let us go down.”

They went down arm in arm. On the stairs Nicolovius said: “These Southern manifestations interest me because, though extreme, they are after all so absurdly typical of human nature. I have even seen the same sort of thing in my own land.”

Queed, though he new the history of Ireland very well, could not recall any parallel to the United Confederate Veterans in the annals of that country. Still, a man capable of distorting history as Nicolovius distorted it could always find a parallel to anything anywhere.

When the meal was about half over, Queed said: —

“You slept badly last night, did n’t you?”

“Yes — my old enemy. The attack soon passed. However, you may be sure that it is a comfort at such times to know that I am not alone.”

“If you should need any — ahem — assistance, I assume that you will call me,” said Queed, after a pause.

“Thank you. You can hardly realize what your presence here, your companionship and, I hope I may say, your friendship, mean to me.” 247

Queed glanced at him over the table, and hastily turned his glance away. He had surprised Nicolovius looking at him with a curiously tender look in his black diamond eyes.

The young man went to the office that night, worried by two highly irritating ideas. One was that Nicolovius was most unjustifiably permitting himself to become dependent upon him. The other was that it was very peculiar that a Fenian refugee should care to express slanderous views of the soldiers of a Lost Cause. Both thoughts, once introduced into the young man’s mind, obstinately stuck there.



Meeting of the Post Directors to elect a Successor to Colonel Cowles; Charles Gardiner West’s Sensible Remarks on Mr. Queed; Mr. West’s Resignation from Old Blaines College, and New Consecration to the Uplift.

THE Post Directors gathered in special meeting on Monday. Their first act was to adopt some beautiful resolutions, prepared by Charles Gardiner West, in memory of the editor who had served the paper so long and so well. Next they changed the organization of the staff, splitting the late Colonel’s heavy duties in two, by creating the separate position of managing editor; this official to have complete authority over the news department of the paper, as the editor had over its editorial page. The directors named Evan Montague, the able city editor of the Post, to fill the new position, while promoting the strongest of the reporters to fill the city desk.

The chairman, Stewart Byrd, then announced that he was ready to receive nominations for, or hear discussion about, the editorship.

One of the directors, Mr. Hopkins, observed that, as he viewed it, the directors should not feel restricted to local timber in the choice of a successor to the Colonel. He said that the growing importance of the Post entitled it to an editor of the first ability, and that the directors should find such a one, whether in New York, or Boston, or San Francisco.

Another director, Mr. Boggs, remarked that it did not necessarily follow that a thoroughly suitable man must be a New York, Boston, or San Francisco man. Unless he was greatly deceived, there was an eminently suitable man, not merely in the city, but in the office of the Post, where, since 249Colonel Cowles’s death, he was doing fourteen hours of excellent work per day for the sum of fifteen hundred dollars per annum.

“Mr. Boggs’s point,” said Mr. Hickok, a third director, who looked something like James E. Winter, “is exceedingly well taken. A United States Senator from a Northern State is a guest in my house for Reunion week. The Senator reads the editorials in the Post with marked attention, has asked me the name of the writer, and has commended some of his utterances most highly. The Senator tells me that he never reads the editorials in his own paper — a Boston paper, Mr. Hopkins, by the bye — his reason being that they are never worth reading.”

Mr. Shorter and Mr. Porter, fourth and fifth directors, were much struck with Mr. Hickok’s statement. They averred that they had made a point of reading the Post editorials during the Colonel’s absence, with a view to sizing up the assistant, and had been highly pleased with the character of his work.

Mr. Wilmerding, a sixth director, declared that the Colonel had, in recent months, more than once remarked to him that the young man was entirely qualified to be his successor. In fact, the Colonel had once said that he meant to retire before a great while, and, of course with the directors’ approval, turn over the editorial helm to the assistant. Therefore, he, Mr. Wilmerding, had pleasure in nominating Mr. Queed for the position of editor of the Post.

Mr. Shorter and Mr. Porter said that they had pleasure in seconding this nomination.

Mr. Charles Gardiner West, a seventh director, was recognized for a few remarks. Mr. West expressed his intense gratification over what had been said in eulogy of Mr. Queed. This gratification, some might argue, was not wholly disinterested, since it was Mr. West who had discovered Mr. Queed and sent him to the Post. To praise the able editor was therefore to praise the alert, watchful, and discriminating director. (Smiles.) Seriously, Mr. Queed’s 250work, especially during the last few months, had been of the highest order, and Mr. West, having worked beside him more than once, ventured to say that he appreciated his valuable qualities better than any other director. If the Colonel had but lived a year or two longer, there could not, in his opinion, be the smallest question as to what step the honorable directors should now take. But as it was, Mr. West, as Mr. Queed’s original sponsor on the Post, felt it his duty to call attention to two things. The first was the young man’s extreme youth. The second was the fact that he was a stranger to the State, having lived there less than two years. At his present rate of progress, it was of course patent to any observer that he was a potential editor of the Post, and a great one. But might it not be, on the whole, desirable — Mr. West merely suggested the idea in the most tentative way, and wholly out of his sense of sponsorship for Mr. Queed — to give him a little longer chance to grow and broaden and learn, before throwing the highest responsibility and the final honors upon him?

Mr. West’s graceful and sensible remarks made a distinct impression upon the directors, and Mr. Hopkins took occasion to say that it was precisely such thoughts as these that had led him to suggest looking abroad for a man. Mr. Shorter and Mr. Porter asserted that they would deprecate doing anything that Mr. West, with his closer knowledge of actual conditions, thought premature. Mr. Boggs admitted that the ability to write editorials of the first order was not all that should be required of the editor of the Post. It might be doubtful, thought he, whether so young a man could represent the Post properly on occasions of a semi-public nature, or in emergency situations such as occasionally arose in an editorial office.

Mr. Wilmerding inquired the young man’s age, and upon being told that he was under twenty-six, remarked that only very exceptional abilities could counteract such youth as that.

“That,” said Mr. Hickok, glancing cursorily at Charles 251 Gardiner West, “is exactly the sort of abilities Mr. Queed possesses.”

Discussion flagged. The chairman asked if they were ready for a vote upon Mr. Queed.

“No, no — let’s take our time,” said Mr. Wilmerding. “Perhaps somebody has other nominations to offer.”

No one seemed to have other nominations to offer. Some minutes were consumed by random suggestions and unprogressive recommendations. Busy directors began to look at their watches.

“Look here, Gard — I mean Mr. West,” suddenly said young Theodore Fyne, the baby of the board. “Why could n’t we persuade you to take the editorship? . . . Resign from the college, you know?”

“Now you have said something!” cried Mr. Hopkins, enthusiastically.

Mr. West, by a word and a gesture, indicated that the suggestion was preposterous and the conversation highly unwelcome.

But it was obvious that young Mr. Fyne’s suggestion had caught the directors at sight. Mr. Shorter and Mr. Porter affirmed that they had not ventured to hope, etc., etc., but that if Mr. West could be induced to consider the position, no choice would appear to them so eminently — etc., etc. So said Mr. Boggs. So said Messrs. Hopkins, Fyne, and Wilmerding.

Mr. Hickok, the director who resembled James E. Winter, looked out of the window.

Mr. West, obviously restive under these tributes, was constrained to state his position more fully. For more than one reason which should be evident, he said, the mention of his name in this connection was most embarrassing and distasteful to him. While thanking the directors heartily for their evidences of good-will, he therefore begged them to desist, and proceed with the discussion of other candidates.

In that case,” said Mr. Hickok, “it appears to be the reluctant duty of the nominator to withdraw Mr. West’s name.”


But the brilliant young man’s name, once thrown into the arena, could no more be withdrawn than the fisherman of legend could restore the genie to the bottle, or Pandora get her pretty gifts back into the box again. There was the idea, fairly out and vastly alluring. The kindly directors pressed it home. No doubt they, as well as Plonny Neal, appreciated that Blaines College did not give the young man a fair field for his talents; and certainly they knew with admiration the articles with which he sometimes adorned the columns of their paper. Of all the directors, they now pointed out, he had stood closest to Colonel Cowles, and was most familiar with the traditions and policies of the Post. Their urgings increased in force and persistence; perhaps they felt encouraged by a certain want of finality in the young man’s tone; and at length West was compelled to make yet another statement.

He was, he explained, utterly disconcerted at the turn the discussion had taken, and found the situation so embarrassing that he must ask his friends, the directors, to extricate him from it at once. The editorship of the Post was an office which he, personally, had never aspired to, but it would be presumption for him to deny that he regarded it as a post which would reflect honor upon any one. He was willing to admit, in this confidential circle, moreover, that he had taken up college work chiefly with the ambition of assisting Blaines over a critical year or two in its history, and that, to put it only generally, he was not indefinitely bound to his present position. But under the present circumstances, as he said, he could not consent to any discussion of his name; and unless the directors would agree to drop him from further consideration, which he earnestly preferred, he must reluctantly suggest adjournment.

“An interregnum,” said Mr. Hickok, looking out of the window, “is an unsatisfactory, not to say a dangerous thing. Would it not be better, since we are gathered for that purpose, to take decisive action to-day?”

“What is your pleasure, gentlemen?” inquired Chairman Byrd.


Mr. Hickok was easily overruled. The directors seized eagerly on Mr. West’s suggestion. On motion of Mr. Hopkins, seconded by Mr. Shorter and Mr. Porter, the meeting stood adjourned to the third day following at noon.

On the second day following the Post carried the interesting announcement that Mr. West had resigned from the presidency of Blaines College, a bit of news which his friends read with sincere pleasure. The account of the occurrence gave one to understand that all Mr. West’s well-known persuasiveness had been needed to force the trustees to accept his resignation. And when James E. Winter read this part of it, at his suburban breakfast, he first laughed, and then swore. The same issue of the Post carried an editorial, mentioning in rather a sketchy way the benefits Mr. West had conferred upon Blaines College, and paying a high and confident tribute to his qualities as a citizen. The young acting-editor, who never wrote what he did not think, had taken much pains with this editorial, especially the sketchy part. Of course the pestiferous Chronicle took an entirely different view of the situation. “The Chronicle has won its great fight,” so it nervily said, “against classism in Blaines College.” And it had the vicious taste to add: “Nothing in Mr. West’s presidential life became him like the leaving of it.”

On the third day the directors met again. With characteristic delicacy of feeling, West remained away from the meeting. However, Mr. Hopkins, who seemed to know what he was talking about, at once expressed his conviction that they might safely proceed to the business which had brought them together.

“Perceiving clearly that I represent a minority view,” said Mr. Hickok, “I request the director who nominated Mr. Queed to withdraw his name. I think it proper that our action should be unanimous. But I will say, frankly, that if Mr. Queed’s name remains before the board, I shall vote for him, since I consider him from every point of view the man for the position.”

Mr. Queed’s name having been duly withdrawn, the di254rectors unanimously elected Charles Gardiner West to the editorship of the Post. By a special resolution introduced by Mr. Hopkins, they thanked Mr. Queed for his able conduct of the editorial page in the absence of the editor, and voted him an increased honorarium of eighteen hundred dollars a year.

The directors adjourned, and Mr. Hickok stalked out, looking more like James E. Winter than ever. The other directors, however, looked highly gratified at themselves. They went out heartily congratulating each other. By clever work they had secured for their paper the services of one of the ablest, most gifted, most polished and popular young men in the State. Nevertheless, though they never knew it, their action was decidedly displeasing to at least one faithful reader of the Post, to wit, Miss Charlotte Lee Weyland, of the Department of Charities. Sharlee felt strongly that Mr. Queed should have had the editorship, then and there. It might be said that she had trained him up for exactly that position. Of course, Mr. West, her very good friend, would make an editor of the first order. But, with all the flocks that roamed upon his horizon, ought he to have reached out and plucked the one ewe lamb of the poor assistant? Beside, she thought that Mr. West ought to have remained at Blaines College.

But how could she maintain this attitude of criticism when the new editor himself, bursting in upon her little parlor in a golden nimbus of optimism, radiating good humor and success, showed up the shallowness and the injustice of it?

“To have that college off my neck — Whew! I’m as happy, my friend, as a schoolboy on the first day of vacation. I have n’t talked much about it to you,” continued Mr. West, “for it’s a bore to listen to other people’s troubles — but that college had become a perfect old man of the sea! The relief is glorious! I’m bursting with energy and enthusiasm and big plans for the Post.”

“And Mr. Queed?” said Sharlee. “Was he much disappointed?”


West was a little surprised at the question, but he gathered from her tone that she thought Mr. Queed had some right to be.

“Why, I think not,” he answered, decisively. “Why in the world should he be? Of course it means only a delay of a year or two for him, at the most. I betray no confidence when I tell you that I do not expect to remain editor of the Post forever.”

Sharlee appeared struck by this summary of the situation, which, to tell the truth, had never occurred to her. Therefore, West went on to sketch it more in detail to her.

“The last thing in the world that I would do,” said he, “is to stand in that boy’s light. My one wish is to push him to the front just as fast as he can stride. Why, I discovered Queed — you and I did, that is — and I think I may claim to have done something toward training him. To speak quite frankly, the situation was this: In spite of his great abilities, he is still very young and inexperienced. Give him a couple of years in which to grow and broaden and get his bearings more fully, and he will be the very best man in sight for the place. On the other hand, if he were thrust prematurely into great responsibility, he would be almost certain to make some serious error, some fatal break, which would impair his usefulness, and perhaps ruin it forever. Do you see my point? As his sponsor on the Post, it seemed to me unwise and unfair to expose him to the risks of forcing his pace. That’s the whole story. I’m not the king at all. I’m only the regent during the king’s minority.”

Sharlee now saw how unjust she had been, to listen to the small whisper of doubt of West’s entire magnanimity.

“You are much wiser and farther-sighted than I.”

“Perish the thought.”

“I’m glad my little Doctor — only he is n’t either little or very much of a doctor any more — has such a good friend at court.”

“Nonsense. It was only what anybody who stopped to think a moment would have done.”


“Not everybody who stops to think is so generous. . .”

This thought, too, Mr. West abolished by a word.

“But you will like the work, won’t you!” continued Sharlee, still self-reproachful. “I do hope you will.”

“I shall like it immensely,” said West, above pretending, as some regents would have done, that he was martyring himself for his friend, the king. “Where can you find any bigger or nobler work? At Blaines College of blessed memory, the best I could hope for was to reach and influence a handful of lumpish boys. How tremendously broader is the opportunity on the Post! Think of having a following of a hundred thousand readers a day! (You allow three or four readers to a copy, you know.) Think of talking every morning to such an audience as that, preaching progress and high ideals, courage and honesty and kindness and faith — moulding their opinions and beliefs, their ambitions, their very habits of thought, as I think they ought to be moulded. . . .”

He talked in about this vein till eleven o’clock, and Sharlee listened with sincere admiration. Nevertheless, he left her still troubled by a faint doubt as to how Mr. Queed himself felt about what had been done for his larger good. But when she next saw Queed, only a few days later, this doubt instantly dissolved and vanished. She had never seen him less inclined to indict the world and his fortune.

[BACK] [Blueprint] [NEXT]

From Queed; A Novel by Henry Sydnor Harrison, New Edition Edited with Introduction, Notes, Questions and Study Helps by Elizabeth Shepardson Curtis; Houghton Mifflin Company; Boston, 1928; pp. 239-256.

Valid CSS!