“Hoong!” snorted McGuire Ellis.
“Oh!” cried Esme. “Were you there all the time? We—I—didn’t know—Have you been asleep?”
“I have been just that,” replied the dormant one, yawning.
“I hope we haven’t disturbed—” began Esme in the same breath with Hal’s awkward “Sorry we waked you up, Mac.”
“Don’t be—” Ellis checked his familiar growl, looked with growing suspicion from Esme’s flushed loveliness to Hal’s self conscious confusion, leaped to his feet, gathered the pair into a sudden, violent, impartial embrace, and roared out:—
“Go ahead! Be young! You can only be it once in a lifetime.”
Old Home Week passed in a burst of glory and profit. True to its troublous type, the “Clarion” had interfered with the profit, in two brief, lively, and effective campaigns. It had published a roster of hotels which, after agreeing not to raise rates for the week, had reverted to the old, tried and true principle of “all the traffic can bear,” with comparative tables, thereby causing great distress of mind and pocket among the piratical. Backed by the Consumers’ League, it had again taken up the cudgels for the store employees, demanding that they receive pay for overtime during the celebration and winning a partial victory. No little rancor was, of course, stirred up among the advertisers. The usual threats were made. But the business interests of Worthington had begun to learn that threatening the “Clarion” was a futile procedure, while advertisers were coming to a realization of the fact that they couldn’t afford to stay out of so strong a medium, even at increased rates.
The raise in the advertising schedule had been partly Esme Elliot’s doing. As a condition of her engagement to Hal, she demanded a resumption of the old partnership. Entered into lightly, it soon became of serious moment, for the girl had a natural gift for affairs. When she learned that on the basis of circulation the “Clarion” would be justified in increasing its advertising card by forty per cent, but dared not do so because of the narrow margin upon which it was working, she insisted upon the measure, supporting her argument with a considerable sum of money of her own. Hal revolted at this, but she pleaded so sweetly that he finally consented to regard it as a reserve fund. It was never called for. The turn of the tide had come for the paper. It lost few old advertisers and put on new ones. It was a success.
No one was more delighted than Dr. Surtaine. Forgetting his own prophecies of disaster he exalted Hal to the skies as a chip of the old block, an inheritor of his own genius for business.
“Knew all along he had the stuff in him,” he would declare buoyantly. “Look at the ‘Clarion’ now! Most independent, you-be-damned sheet in the country. And what about the chaps that were going to put it out of business? Eating out of its hand!”