“Yes. I could even do that.”
“What do you want me to do, Boy-ee?” cried his father, in desperation. “Give up a business worth half a million a year, net?”
“I’m not asking anything, sir. Only let me do the best I can, in the way that looks right to me. I’ve got to go back to the office now. Good-night, Dad.”
The arch-quack looked after his son’s retreating figure, and his big, animal-like eyes were very tender.
“I don’t know,” he said to himself uncertainly,—“I don’t know but what he’s worth it.”
McGUIRE ELLIS WAKES UP
On implication of the Highest Authority we have it that the leopard cannot change his spots. The Great American Pumess is a feline of another stripe. Stress of experience and emotion has been known to modify sensibly her predatory characteristics. In the very beautiful specimen of the genus which, from time to time, we have had occasion to study in these pages, there had taken place, in a few short months, an alteration so considerable as to be almost revolutionary.
Many factors had contributed to the result. No woman of inherent fineness can live close to human suffering, as Esme had lived in her slum work, without losing something of that centripetal self-concern which is the blemish of the present-day American girl. Constant association with such men as Hugh Merritt and Norman Hale, men who saw in her not a beautiful and worshipful maiden, but a useful agency in the work which made up their lives, gave her a new angle from which to consider herself. Then, too, her brief engagement to Will Douglas had sobered her. For Douglas, whatever his lack of independence and manliness in his professional relations, had endured the jilting with quiet dignity. But he had suffered sharply, for he had been genuinely in love with Esme. She felt his pain the more in that there was the same tooth gnawing at her own heart, though she would not acknowledge it to herself. And this taught her humility and consideration. The Pumess was not become a Saint, by any means. She still walked, a lovely peril to every susceptible male heart. But she no longer thirsted with unquenchable ardor for conquests.
Meek though a reformed pumess may be, there are limits to meekness. When Miss Eleanor Stanley Maxwell Elliot woke up to find herself pilloried as an enemy to society, in the very paper which she had tried to save, she experienced mingled emotions shot through with fiery streaks of wrath. Presently these simmered down to a residue of angry amazement and curiosity. If you have been accustomed all your life to regard yourself as an empress of absolute dominance over slavish masculinity, and are suddenly subjected to a violent slap across the face from the hand of the most highly favored slave, some allowance is due you of outraged sensibilities. Chiefly, however Esme wondered WHY. WHY, in large capitals, and with an intensely ascendant inflection.