Personal experiences in achieving success were a logical sequence to this; success in any field, from running a city as set forth by His Honor the Mayor, to becoming a movie star, by all the movie stars or aspirants whom their press-agents could crowd into the paper. A distinguished novelist of notably high blood-pressure contributed a series of thoughtful essays on “How to be Irresistible in Love,” and a sentimental pugilist indulged in reminiscences (per a hired pen from the cheap magazine field) upon “The Influence of my Mother on my Career.” An imitator of Banneker developed a daily half-column of self-improvement and inspiration upon moral topics, achieving his effects by capitalizing all the words which otherwise would have been too feeble or banal to attract notice, thereby giving an air of sublimated importance to the mildly incomprehensible. Nine tenths of The Patriot’s editorial readers believed that they were following a great philosopher along the path of the eternal profundities. To give a touch of science, an amateur astronomer wrote stirring imaginative articles on interstellar space, and there were occasional “authoritative” pronouncements by men of importance in the political, financial, or intellectual worlds, lifted from public speeches or old publications. The page, if it did not actually itch, buzzed and clanged. But above the composite clamor rose ever the voice of Banneker, clear, serene, compelling.
And Banneker took his pay for it, deeming it well earned.
Life was broadening out before Banneker into new and golden persuasions. He had become a person of consequence, a force to be reckoned with, in the great, unheeding city. By sheer resolute thinking and planning, expressed and fulfilled in unsparing labor, he had made opportunity lead to opportunity until his position was won. He was courted, sought after, accepted by representative people of every sort, their interest and liking answering to his broad but fine catholicity of taste in human relationships. If he had no intimates other than Russell Edmonds, it was because he felt no need of them.
He had found Io again.
Prophecies had all failed in the matter of his rise. He thought, with pardonable exultation, of how he had confuted them, one after another. Cressey had doubted that one could be at the same time a successful journalist and a gentleman; Horace Vanney had deemed individuality inconsistent with newspaper writing; Tommy Burt and other jejune pessimists of the craft had declared genuine honesty incompatible with the higher and more authoritative phases of the profession. Almost without set plan and by an inevitable progress, as it now seemed to him, he had risen to the most conspicuous, if not yet the most important, position on Park Row, and had suffered no conscious compromise of standards, whether of self-respect, self-assertion, or honor.