Queed eBook

Henry Sydnor Harrison
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 413 pages of information about Queed.

“I remember.”

“Well,” said he, determined to find something wrong, “those men whom I mentioned to you are not so good as they think, particularly Smathers.  I may as well tell you that I shall show Smathers up completely in my book.”

“We shall examine your arguments with care and attention.  We leave no stone unturned to keep abreast of the best modern thought.”

“It is extraordinary that such a position should be held by a girl like you, who can have no scientific knowledge of the many complex problems....  However,” he said, a ray of brightness lightening his displeasure, “your State is notoriously backward in this field.  Your department, I fancy, can hardly be more than rudimentary.”

“It will be much, much more than that in another year or two.  Why, we’re only four years old!”

“So this is why you are interested in having editorials written about reformatories.  It is a reformatory for women that you wish to establish?”

“How did you know?”

“I merely argue from the fact that your State is so often held up to reproach for lack of one.  What is the plan?”

“We are asking,” said the Assistant Secretary, “for a hundred thousand dollars—­sixty thousand to buy the land and build, forty thousand for equipment and two years’ support.  Modest enough, is it not?  Of course we shall not get a penny from the present legislature.  Legislatures love to say no; it dearly flatters their little vanity.  We are giving them the chance to say no now.  Then when they meet again, two years from now, we trust that they will be ready to give us what we ask—­part of it, at any rate.  We can make a start with seventy-five thousand dollars.”

Queed was moved to magnanimity.  “Look here.  You have been civil to me—­I will write that article for you Myself.”

While Sharlee had become aware that the little Doctor was interested, really interested, in talking social science with her, she thought he must be crazy to offer such a contribution of his time.  A guilty pink stole into her cheek.  A reformatory article by Mr. Queed would doubtless be scientifically pluperfect, but nobody would read it.  Colonel Cowles, on the other hand, had never even heard of Willoughby and Smathers; but when he wrote an article people read it, and the humblest understood exactly what he was driving at.

“Why—­it’s very nice of you to offer to help us, but I couldn’t think of imposing on your time—­”

“Naturally not,” said he, decisively; “but it happens that we have decided to allow a breathing-space in my series on taxation, that the public may digest what I have already written.  I am therefore free to discuss other topics for a few days.  For to-morrow’s issue, I am analyzing certain little understood industrial problems in Bavaria.  On the following day—­”

“It’s awfully good of you to think of it,” said Sharlee, embarrassed by his grave gaze.  “I can’t tell you how I appreciate it.  But—­but—­you see, there’s a lot of special detail that applies to this particular case alone—­oh, a great lot of it—­little facts connected with peculiar State conditions and—­and the history of our department, you know—­and I have talked it over so thoroughly with the Colonel—­”

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Queed from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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