“I’m going to try to forget this,” she said in a dry, hard voice. “You do the same. I won’t quit my job unless you want me to.”
“Don’t,” said Hal.
“But you won’t be bothered with seeing me any more. I’ll send you Maggie Breen’s letter and the story. I guess I understand a little better now how she felt when she took the poison.”
With that rankling in his brain, Hal Surtaine sat and pondered in his private study at home. His musings arraigned before him for judgment and contrast the two women who had so stormily wrought upon his new life. Esme Elliot had played with his love, had exploited it, made of it a tinsel ornament for vanity, sought, through it, to corrupt him from the hard-won honor of his calling. She had given him her lips for a lure; she had played, soul and body, the petty cheat with a high and ennobling passion. Yet, because she played within the rules by the world’s measure, there was no stain upon her honor. By that same measure, what of Milly Neal? In her was no trickery of sex; only the ungrudging, wide-armed offer of all her womanhood, reckless of aught else but love. Debating within himself the phrase, “an honest woman,” Hal laughed aloud. His laughter lacked much of being mirthful, and something of being just. For he had reckoned two daughters of Eve by the same standard, which is perhaps the oldest and most disastrous error hereditary to all the sons of Adam.
THE POWER OF PRINT
Hal paid thirty-two thousand dollars for the new press. It was a delicate giant of mechanism, able not only to act, but also to think with stupendous accuracy and swiftness; lacking only articulate speech to be wholly superhuman. But in signing the check for it, Hal, for the first time in his luxurious life experienced a financial qualm. Always before there had been an inexhaustible source wherefrom to draw. Now that he had issued his declaration of pecuniary independence, he began to appreciate the perishable nature of money. He came back from his week’s journey to New York feeling distinctly poorer.
Moreover there was an uncomfortable paradox connected with his purchase. That he should be put to so severe an expenditure merely for the purpose of incurring an increased current expense, struck him as a rather sardonic joke. Yet so it was. Circulation does not mean direct profit to a newspaper. On the contrary, it implies loss in many cases. For some weeks it had been costing the “Clarion,” to print the extra papers necessitated by the increased demand, more than the money received from their sale. Until the status of the journal should justify a higher advertising charge, every added paper sold would involve a loss. True, an augmented circulation logically commands a higher advertising rate; it is thus that a newspaper reaps its harvest; and soon Hal hoped to be able to raise his advertising rate from fifteen