“I don’t know whether we have manners at home,” she said, “and I don’t believe I care. At least we have decencies.”
“Don’t be a jingo,” said her husband.
Though Stoller had formally discharged Burnamy from duty for the day, he was not so full of resources in himself, and he had not so general an acquaintance in the hotel but he was glad to have the young fellow make up to him in the reading-room, that night. He laid down a New York paper ten days old in despair of having left any American news in it, and pushed several continental Anglo-American papers aside with his elbow, as he gave a contemptuous glance at the foreign journals, in Bohemian, Hungarian, German, French, and Italian, which littered the large table.
“I wonder,” he said, “how long it’ll take’em, over here, to catch on to our way of having pictures?”
Burnamy had come to his newspaper work since illustrated journalism was established, and he had never had any shock from it at home, but so sensitive is youth to environment that, after four days in Europe, the New York paper Stoller had laid down was already hideous to him. From the politic side of his nature, however, he temporized with Stoller’s preference. “I suppose it will be some time yet.”
“I wish,” said Stoller, with a savage disregard of expressed sequences and relevancies, “I could ha’ got some pictures to send home with that letter this afternoon: something to show how they do things here, and be a kind of object-lesson.” This term had come up in a recent campaign when some employers, by shutting down their works, were showing their employees what would happen if the employees voted their political opinions into effect, and Stoller had then mastered its meaning and was fond of using it. “I’d like ’em to see the woods around here, that the city owns, and the springs, and the donkey-carts, and the theatre, and everything, and give ’em some practical ideas.”
Burnamy made an uneasy movement.
“I’d ‘a’ liked to put ’em alongside of some of our improvements, and show how a town can be carried on when it’s managed on business principles.”
“Why didn’t you think of it?”
“Really, I don’t know,” said Burnamy, with a touch of impatience.
They had not met the evening before on the best of terms. Stoller had expected Burnamy twenty-four hours earlier, and had shown his displeasure with him for loitering a day at Leipsic which he might have spent at Carlsbad; and Burnamy had been unsatisfactory in accounting for the delay. But he had taken hold so promptly and so intelligently that by working far into the night, and through the whole forenoon, he had got Stoller’s crude mass of notes into shape, and had sent off in time for the first steamer the letter which was to appear over the proprietor’s name in his paper. It was a sort of rough but very full study of the Carlsbad city government, the methods of taxation, the municipal ownership of the springs and the lands, and the public control in everything. It condemned the aristocratic constitution of the municipality, but it charged heavily in favor of the purity, beneficence, and wisdom of the administration, under which there was no poverty and no idleness, and which was managed like any large business.