Sol had never seen a bone-meal mill, but it flattered him mightily to be promoted into the manufacturing end, “where a fellow could get ahead faster,” and he said good-by to the boys in the office with his nose in the air, where he kept it, I reckon, during the rest of his connection with the house.
If Sol had stuck it out for a month at the mill I’d have known that he had the right stuff in him somewhere and have taken him back into the office after a good rub-down with pumice-stone. But he turned up the second day, smelling of violet soap and bone-meal, and he didn’t sing his list of grievances, either. Started right in by telling me how, when he got into a street-car, all the other passengers sort of faded out; and how his landlady insisted on serving his meals in his room. Almost foamed at the mouth when I said the office seemed a little close and opened the window, and he quoted some poetry about that being “the most unkindest cut of all.” Wound up by wanting to know how he was going to get it out of his hair.
I broke it to him as gently as I could that it would have to wear out or be cut out, and tried to make him see that it was better to be a bald-headed boss on a large salary than a curly-headed clerk on a small one; but, in the end, he resigned, taking along a letter from me to the friend who had recommended him and some of my good bone-meal.
I didn’t grudge him the fertilizer, but I did feel sore that he hadn’t left me a lock of his hair, till some one saw him a few days later, dodging along with his collar turned up and his hat pulled down, looking like a new-clipped lamb. I heard, too, that the fellow who had given him the wise-men-muses letter to me was so impressed with the almost exact duplicate of it which I gave Sol, and with the fact that I had promoted him so soon, that he concluded he must have let a good man get by him, and hired him himself.