“Brains, fire, ambition, energy, skill, everything but balance,” said Ellis, as the door closed. “He’s the stuff that martyrs are made of—or lunatics. Same thing, I guess.”
“Isn’t he a trouble-maker among the men?”
“No. He’s a good workman. Something more, too. Sometimes he writes paragraphs for the editorial page; and when they’re not too radical, I use ’em. He’s brought us in one good feature, that ‘Kitty the Cutie’ stuff.”
“I’d thought of dropping that. It’s so cheap and chewing-gummy.”
“Catches on, though. We really ought to run it every day. But the girl hasn’t got time to do it.”
“Who is she?”
“Some kid in your father’s factory, I understand. Protegee of Veltman’s, He brought her stuff in and we took it right off the bat.”
“Well, I’ll tell you one thing that is going.”
“The ‘Clarion’s’ motto. ‘We Lead: Let Those Who Can Follow.’” Hal pointed to the “black-face” legend at the top of the first editorial column.
“Got anything in its place?”
“I thought of ‘With Malice Toward None: With Charity for All.’”
“Worked to death. But I’ve never seen it on a newspaper. Shall I tell Veltman to set it up in several styles so you may take your pick?”
“Yes. Let’s start it in to-morrow.”
That night Harrington Surtaine went to bed pondering on the strange attitude of the newspaper mind toward so matter-of-fact a quality as honesty; and he dreamed of a roomful of advertisers listening in sodden silence to his own grandiloquent announcement, “Gentlemen: honesty is the best policy,” while, in a corner, McGuire Ellis and Max Veltman clasped each other in an apoplectic agony of laughter.
On the following day the blatant cocks of the shrill “Clarion” stood guard at either end of the paper’s new golden text.
IN THE WAY OF TRADE
Dr. Surtaine sat in Little George’s best chair, beaming upon the world. By habit, the big man was out of his seat with his dime and nickel in the bootblack’s ready hand, almost coincidently with the final clip-clap of the rhythmic process. But this morning he lingered, contemplating with an unobtrusive scrutiny the occupant of the adjoining chair, a small, angular, hard man, whose brick-red face was cut off in the segment of an abrupt circle, formed by a low-jammed green hat. This individual had just briskly bidden his bootblack “hurry it up” in a tone which meant precisely what it said. The youth was doing so.
“George,” said Dr. Surtaine, to the proprietor of the stand.
“Were you ever in St. Jo, Missouri?”
“Yas, suh, Doctah Suhtaine; oncet.”
“Didn’t live there, did you?”
“George,” said his interlocutor impressively, “you’re lucky.”