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

Charles Gardiner West asserted that he had not a thing in all this world to do, and that erranding was only another way of taking a walk, when you came to think of it.  She was frankly glad of his company; to be otherwise was to be fantastic; and now as they strolled she led him to talk of his work, which was never difficult.  For West, despite his rising prosperity, was dissatisfied with his calling, the reason being, as he himself sometimes put it, that his heart did not abide with the money changers.

“Sometimes at night,” he said seriously, “I look back over the busy day and ask myself what it has all amounted to.  Suppose I did all the world’s stock-jobbing, what would I really have accomplished?  You may say that I could take all the money I made and spend it for free hospitals, but would I do it?  No.  The more I made, the more I’d want for myself, the more all my interest and ambition would twine themselves around the counting-room.  You can’t serve two masters, can you, Miss Weyland?  Uplifting those who need uplifting is a separate business, all by itself.”

“You could make the money,” laughed she, “and let me spend it for you.  I know this minute where I could put a million to glorious advantage.”

“I’m going to get out of it,” said West.  “I’ve told Semple so—­though perhaps it ought not to go further just yet.  I’d enjoy,” said he, “just such work as yours.  There’s none finer.  You’d like me immensely as your royal master, I suppose?  Want nothing better than to curtsy and kowtow when I flung out a gracious order?—­as, for instance, to shut up shop and go and take a holiday?”

“Delicious!  Though I doubt if anybody in the world could improve on Mr. Dayne.”  Suddenly a new thought struck her, and she made a faint grimace.  “There’s nothing so very fine about my present work—­oh me!  I’ll give you that if you want it.”

“I see I must look this gift horse over very closely.  What is it?”

“They call it dunning.”

“I forgot.  You started to tell me, and then your dog ran amuck and began butting perfect strangers all over the place.”

“Oh,” said she, “it’s the commonest little story in the world.  All landladies can tell them to you by the hour.  This man has been at Aunt Jennie’s nearly a month, and what’s the color of his money she hasn’t the faintest idea.  Such is the way our bright young men carve out their fortunes—­the true Gothic architecture!  Possibly Aunt Jennie has thrown out one or two delicate hints, carefully insulated to avoid hurting his feelings.  You know the way our ladies of the old school do—­the worst collectors the world has ever seen.  So she telephoned me this morning—­I’m her business woman, you see—­asking me to come and advise her, and I’m coming, and after supper—­”

“Well, what’ll you do?”

“I’m going to talk with him, with the man.  I’m simply going to collect that money.  Or if I can’t—­”

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