“This is mighty good of you, Miss Galt,” began Von Herman. “It’s the Kool Komfort Klothes Company’s summer campaign stuff. We’ll only need you for an hour or so—to get the expression and general outline. Poster stuff, really. Then this young man will pose for the summer union suit pictures.”
“Don’t apologize,” said Miss Galt. “We had a hard enough time to get that Kool Komfort account. We don’t want to start wrong with the pictures. Besides, I think posing’s real fun.”
Jock thought so too, quite suddenly. Just as suddenly Von Herman remembered the conventions and introduced them.
“McChesney?” repeated Miss Galt, crisply. “I know a Mrs. McChesney, of the T.A. Buck—”
“My mother,” proudly.
“Your mother! Then why—” She stopped.
“Because,” said Jock, “I’m the rawest rooky in the Berg, Shriner Company. And when I begin to realize what I don’t know about advertising I’ll probably want to plunge off the Palisades.”
Miss Galt smiled up at him, her clear, frank eyes meeting his.
“You’ll win,” she said.
“Even if I lose—I win now,” said Jock, suddenly audacious.
“Hi! Hold that pose!” called Von Herman, happily.
[Illustration: “‘Hi! Hold that pose!’ called Von Herman”]
There are seven stages in the evolution of that individual whose appearance is the signal for a listless “Who-do-you-want-to-see?” from the white-bloused, drab-haired, anaemic little girl who sits in the outer office forever reading last month’s magazines. The badge of fear brands the novice. Standing hat in hand, nervous, apprehensive, gulpy, with the elevator door clanging behind him, and the sacred inner door closed before him, he offers up a silent and paradoxical “Thank heaven!” at the office girl’s languid “Not in,” and dives into the friendly shelter of the next elevator going down. When, at that same message, he can smile, as with a certain grim agreeableness he says, “I’ll wait,” then has he reached the seventh stage, and taken the orders of the regularly ordained.
Jock McChesney had learned to judge an unknown prospective by glancing at his hall rug and stenographer, which marks the fifth stage. He had learned to regard office boys with something less than white-hot hate. He had learned to let the other fellow do the talking. He had learned to condense a written report into twenty-five words. And he had learned that there was as much difference between the profession of advertising as he had thought of it and advertising as it really was, as there is between a steam calliope and a cathedral pipe organ.
In the big office of the Berg, Shriner Advertising Company they had begun to chuckle a bit over the McChesney solicitor’s reports. Those same reports indicated that young McChesney was beginning to find the key to that maddening jumble of complexities known as human nature. Big Sam Hupp, who was the pet caged copy-writing genius of the place, used even to bring an occasional example of Jock’s business badinage into the Old Man’s office, and the two would grin in secret. As when they ran thus: