By the end of June he found it safe to give less and less time to the study of editorial paradigms, for he had the technique at his fingers’ ends; and so he gave more and more time to the amassment of material. For he had made a magnificent boast, and he never had much idea of permitting it to turn out empty, for all his nights of torturing misgivings. He read enormously with expert facility and a beautifully trained memory; read history, biography, memoirs, war records, old newspapers, old speeches, councilmanic proceedings, departmental reports—everything he could lay his hands on that promised capital for an editorial writer in that city and that State. By the end of July he felt that he could slacken up here, too, having pretty well exhausted the field, and the first day of August—red-letter day in the annals of science—saw him unlock the sacred drawer with a close-set face. And now the Schedule, so long lapsed, was reinstated, with Four Hours a Day segregated to Magnum Opus. A pitiful little step at reconstruction, perhaps, but still a step. And henceforth every evening, between 9.30 and 1.30, Dr. Queed sat alone in his Scriptorium and embraced his love.
Insensibly summer faded into autumn, and still the science of Human Intercourse was faithfully practiced. The Paynter parlor knew Queed not infrequently in these days, where he could sometimes be discovered not merely suffering, but encouraging, Major Brooke to talk to him of his victories over the Republicans in 1870-75. Nor was he a stranger to Nicolovius’s sitting-room, having made it an iron-clad rule with himself to accept one out of every two invitations to that charming cloister. After all, there might be something to learn from both the Major’s fiery reminiscences and the old professor’s cultured talk. He himself, he found, tended naturally toward silence. Listeners appeared to be needed in a world where the supply of talkers exceeded the demand. The telling of humorous anecdote he had definitely excided from his creed. It did not appear needed of him; and he was sure that the author of his creed would h&self have authorized him to drop it. He never missed Fifi now, according to the way of this world, but he thought of her sometimes, which is all that anybody has a right to expect. Miss Weyland he had not seen since the day Fifi died. Mrs. Paynter had been away all summer, a firm spinster cousin coming in from the country to run the boarders, and the landlady’s agent came to the house no more. Buck Klinket he saw incessantly; he was the first person in the world, probably, that the little Doctor had ever really liked. It was Buck who suggested to his pupil, in October, a particularly novel experience for his soul’s unfolding, which Queed, though failing to adopt it, sometimes dandled before his mind’s eye with a kind of horrified fascination, viz: the taking of Miss Miller to the picture shows.