“Yes,” said her father, “that is the idea, and even in the short time he has been with us Mr. Torrance has effected some very excellent changes.”
“It must be very interesting work,” commented the girl; “a profession that requires years of particular experience and study, and I suppose one must be really thoroughly efficient and successful himself, too, before he can help to improve upon the methods of others or to bring them greater prosperity.”
“Quite true,” said Jimmy. “Whatever a man undertakes he should succeed in before he can hope to bring success to others.”
“Even in trifling occupations, I presume,” suggested the girl, “efficiency methods are best—an efficiency expert could doubtlessly drive a milk-wagon better than an ordinary person?” And she looked straight into Jimmy’s eyes, an unquestioned challenge in her own.
“Unquestionably,” said Jimmy. “He could wait on table better, too.”
“Or sell stockings?” suggested Elizabeth.
It was at this moment that Mr. Compton was called to the telephone in an adjoining room, and when he had gone the girl turned suddenly upon Jimmy Torrance. There was no cordiality nor friendship in her expression; a sneer upcurved her short upper lip.
“I do not wish to humiliate you unnecessarily in the presence of my father,” she said. “You have managed to deceive him into believing that you are what you claim to be. Mr. Bince has known from the start that you are incompetent and incapable of accomplishing the results father thinks you are accomplishing. Now that you know that I know you to be an impostor, what do you intend to do?”
“I intend to keep right on with my work in the plant, Miss Compton,” replied Jimmy.
“How long do you suppose father would keep you after I told him what I know of you? Do you think that he would for a moment place the future of his business in the hands of an ex-waiter from Feinheimer’s—–that he would let a milk-wagon driver tell him how to run his business?”
“It probably might make a difference,” said Jimmy, “if he knew, but he will not know—listen, Miss Compton, I have discovered some things there that I have not even dared as yet to tell your father. The whole future of the business may depend upon my being there during the next few weeks. If I wasn’t sure of what I am saying I might consider acceding to your demands rather than to embarrass you with certain knowledge which I have.”
“You refuse to leave, then?” she demanded.
“I do,” he said.
“Very well,” she replied; “I shall tell father when he returns to this room just what I know of you.”
“Will you tell him,” asked Jimmy, “that you went to the training quarters of a prize-fighter, or that you dined unescorted at Feinheimer’s at night and were an object of the insulting attentions of such a notorious character as Steve Murray?”
The girl flushed. “You would tell him that?” she demanded. “Oh, of course, I might have known that you would. It is difficult to realize that any one dining at my father’s home is not a gentleman. I had forgotten for the moment.”