“Isn’t it too strong for you two?” asked the doubting woman-soul.
“No. We understand it because we made it.”
“Frankenstein once said something like that,” she murmured.
“It isn’t a monster,” rumbled Edmonds. “Sometimes I think it’s a toy dog, with Ban’s ribbon around its cute little neck. I’ll answer for Ban, Miss Van Arsdale.”
The smoke of his minute pipe went up, tenuous and graceful, incense devoted to the unseen God behind the strangely patterned curtain of print; to Baal who was perhaps even then grinning down upon his unsuspecting worshipers.
But Banneker, moving purposefully amidst that vast phantasmagoria of pulsing print, wherein all was magnified, distorted, perverted to the claims of a gross and rabid public appetite, dreamed his pure, untainted dream; the conception of his newspaper as a voice potent enough to reach and move all; dominant enough to impose its underlying ideal; confident enough of righteousness to be free of all silencing and control. That voice should supply the long unsatisfied hunger of the many for truth uncorrupted. It should enunciate straightly, simply, without reservation, the daily verities destined to build up the eternal structure. It should be a religion of seven days a week, set forth by a thousand devoted preachers for a million faithful hearers.
Camilla Van Arsdale had partly read his dream, and could have wept for it and him.
Io Eyre had begun to read it, and her heart went out to him anew. For this was the test of success.
It was one of those mornings of coolness after cloying heat when even the crowded, reeking, frowzy metropolis wakes with a breath of freshness in its nostrils. Independent of sleep as ever, Banneker was up and footing it briskly for the station before eight o’clock, for Camilla Van Arsdale was returning to Manzanita, having been ordered back to her seclusion with medical science’s well-considered verdict wrapped up in tactful words to bear her company on the long journey. When she would be ordered on a longer journey by a mightier Authority, medical science forbore to specify; but in the higher interests of American music it was urgently pressed upon her that she be abstemious in diet, niggardly of work, careful about fatigue and excitement, and in general comport herself in such manner as to deprive the lease of life remaining to her of most of its savor and worth. She had told Ban that the physicians thought her condition favorable.