... I know so little of journalism, but there are things about it that I distrust instinctively. Do you remember what that wrangler from the Jon Cal told Old Bill Speed when Bill wanted to hire him: “I wouldn’t take any job that I couldn’t look in the eye and tell it to go to hell on five minutes’ notice.” I have a notion that you’ve got to take that attitude toward a reporting job. There must be so much that a man cannot do without loss of self-respect. Yet, I can’t imagine why I should worry about you as to that. Unless it is that, in a strange environment one gets one’s values confused.... Have you had to do any “Society” reporting yet? I hope not. The society reporters of my day were either obsequious little flunkeys and parasites, or women of good connections but no money who capitalized their acquaintanceship to make a poor living, and whom one was sorry for, but would rather not see. Going to places where one is not asked, scavenging for bits of news from butlers and housekeepers, sniffing after scandals—perhaps that is part of the necessary apprenticeship of newspaper work. But it’s not a proper work for a gentleman. And, in any case, Ban, you are that, by the grace of your ancestral gods.
Little enough did Banneker care for his ancestral gods: but he did greatly care for the maintenance of those standards which seemed to have grown, indigenously within him, since he had never consciously formulated them. As for reporting, of whatever kind, he deemed Miss Van Arsdale prejudiced. Furthermore, he had met the society reporter of The Ledger, an elderly, mild, inoffensive man, neat and industrious, and discerned in him no stigma of the lickspittle. Nevertheless, he hoped that he would not be assigned to such “society news” as Remington did not cover in his routine. It might, he conceived, lead him into false situations where he could be painfully snubbed. And he had never yet been in a position where any one could snub him without instant reprisals. In such circumstances he did not know exactly what he would do. However, that bridge could be crossed or refused when he came to it.
Such members of the Brashear household as chose to accommodate themselves strictly to the hour could have eight o’clock breakfast in the basement dining-room for the modest consideration of thirty cents; thirty-five with special cream-jug. At these gatherings, usually attended by half a dozen of the lodgers, matters of local interest were weightily discussed; such as the progress of the subway excavations, the establishment of a new Italian restaurant in 11th Street, or the calling away of the fourth-floor-rear by the death of an uncle who would perhaps leave him money. To this sedate assemblage descended one crisp December morning young Wickert, clad in the natty outline of a new Bernholz suit, and obviously swollen with tidings.
“Whaddya know about the latest?” he flung forth upon the coffee-scented air.