He looked sunnily round at the other men, and March said: “You ought to be in charge of a Siamese white elephant, Fulkerson. It’s a disgrace to be connected with you.”
“It seems to me,” said Becton, “that you’d better get a God-gifted girl for your art editor.”
Fulkerson leaned alertly forward, and touched him on the shoulder, with a compassionate smile. “My dear boy, they haven’t got the genius of organization. It takes a very masculine man for that—a man who combines the most subtle and refined sympathies with the most forceful purposes and the most ferruginous will-power. Which his name is Angus Beaton, and here he sets!”
The others laughed with Fulkerson at his gross burlesque of flattery, and Becton frowned sheepishly. “I suppose you understand this man’s style,” he growled toward March.
“He does, my son,” said Fulkerson. “He knows that I cannot tell a lie.” He pulled out his watch, and then got suddenly upon his feet.
“It’s quarter of twelve, and I’ve got an appointment.” Beaton rose too, and Fulkerson put the two books in his lax hands. “Take these along, Michelangelo Da Vinci, my friend, and put your multitudinous mind on them for about an hour, and let us hear from you to-morrow. We hang upon your decision.”
“There’s no deciding to be done,” said Beaton. “You can’t combine the two styles. They’d kill each other.”
“A Dan’el, a Dan’el come to judgment! I knew you could help us out! Take ’em along, and tell us which will go the furthest with the ’ewig Weibliche.’ Dryfoos, I want a word with you.” He led the way into the front room, flirting an airy farewell to Beaton with his hand as he went.
March and Beaton remained alone together for a moment, and March said: “I hope you will think it worth while to take hold with us, Mr. Beaton. Mr. Fulkerson puts it in his own way, of course; but we really want to make a nice thing of the magazine.” He had that timidity of the elder in the presence of the younger man which the younger, preoccupied with his own timidity in the presence of the elder, cannot imagine. Besides, March was aware of the gulf that divided him as a literary man from Beaton as an artist, and he only ventured to feel his way toward sympathy with him. “We want to make it good; we want to make it high. Fulkerson is right about aiming to please the women, but of course he caricatures the way of going about it.”
For answer, Beaton flung out, “I can’t go in for a thing I don’t understand the plan of.”