“He kills my roses,” justified the Professor. “He’s a murderer. Society has a right to extinguish him.”
“The old fallacy, a tooth for a tooth?”
“You’d sacrifice my roses to save this insect?”
“I’d teach the rose to take care of itself.”
“You’re crazy,” he snapped, and walked on, Jarvis at his heels.
“I didn’t come to quarrel with you about our views of gardening, or of life. I realize that we have no common ground. You are of the Past, and I am of the Future.”
“There is nobody more modern than I am!” cried the Professor.
“Rubbish! No modern wastes his life in rows of inanimate numerals. We get out and work at humanity and its problems.”
“What are the problems of humanity?”
“Food, employment, education, health.”
“All of them mathematical. Economics is mathematical.”
“Well, I wish instead of teaching a few thousand students higher algebra that you had taught your own daughter a little common sense.”
“Common sense is not taught. It is a gift of the gods, like genius,” said the Professor.
Jarvis glanced at him quickly, and took out the notebook.
“Put that thing away!” shouted the Professor. “I will not be annotated.”
Jarvis meekly returned it to his pocket, but as the Professor right-about faced, he exploded:
“For heaven’s sake, sit down and listen to me! This mathematical progression makes me crazy.”
“I have just so many rows to do,” the Professor replied, as he marched along. “Do I understand you to criticise my daughter’s education?”
“I don’t know anything about her education. I didn’t know she had one,” said Jarvis, “but this whim of hers, in marrying me, is very trying to me. It is most upsetting.”
“Have it annulled. It can’t possibly be legal.”
“She won’t hear of it. She desires to be married to me.”
The Professor rose and faced him.
“Then you may as well resign yourself. I have lived with her nineteen years and I know.”
“But it is absurd that a child like that should always have her own way. You have spoiled her.”
Even the Professor’s bent back showed pity.
“You have a great deal to learn, young man.”
“Can’t you persuade her to divorce me?”
“I cannot. I tried to persuade her to do that before she married you.”
“I suppose you think I ought to make a living for her?”
“At the risk of being called a back number, I do.”
“Just when I am beginning to count.”
“Count? Count what?”
“Count as a creative artist.”
“Just what is it you do, Jocelyn?”
“I try to express the Philosophy of Modernism
through the medium of the
“Who buys it?”
“How are you beginning to count, then?”