“What I’ve got on my conscience you’ve put there. You’ve made me turn back on every principle I have. I’ve dishonored myself and my office for you. You’ve cost me the respect of the men I work with, and the faith of the best friend I’ve got in the world.”
“The best friend, Boy-ee?” questioned the Doctor gently.
“The best friend: McGuire Ellis.”
Hal’s gaze met his father’s. And what he saw there all but unmanned him. From the liquid depths of the old quack’s eyes, big and soft like an animal’s, there welled two great tears, to trickle slowly down the set face.
Hal turned and stumbled from the office.
Hardly knowing whither he went, he turned in at the first open door, which chanced to be Shearson’s. There he sat until his self-control returned. As the aftermath of his anger there remained with him a grim determination. It was implicit in his voice, as he addressed Shearson, who walked in upon him.
“Cut out every line of medical from the paper.”
“When?” gasped Shearson.
“Now. For to-morrow’s paper.”
“But, Mr. Surtaine—”
“Every—damned—line. And if any of it ever gets back, the man responsible loses his job.”
“Yes, sir,” said the cowed and amazed Shearson.
Hal returned to his sanctum, to find Ellis in his own place and Dr. Surtaine gone.
“Ellis, you put that motto on my desk.”
“Lest we forget,” repeated Ellis.
“Not much danger of that,” replied his employer bitterly. “Now, I want you to take it down.”
“Is that an order?”
“Would you obey it if it were?”
“You’d resign first?”
“Then I’ll take it down myself.”
With his letter-opener he pried the offensive strip loose, tore it across thrice, and scattered the pieces on the floor.
“Mr. Ellis,” said he formally, “hereafter no medical advertising will be accepted for or published in the ‘Clarion.’ The same rule applies to fraudulent advertising of any kind. I wish you and the other members of the staff to act as censors for the advertising.”
“Yes, sir,” said McGuire Ellis.
He turned back to his desk, and sprawled his elbows on it. His head lapsed lower and lower until it attained the familiar posture of rest. But McGuire Ellis was not sleeping. He was thinking.
THE VOICE OF THE PROPHET