“Is Dickinson in?” I asked.
We went through the cool bank, with its shining brass and red mahogany, its tiled floor, its busy tellers attending to files of clients, to the president’s sanctum in the rear. Leonard Dickinson, very spruce and dignified in a black cutaway coat, was dictating rapidly to a woman, stenographer, whom he dismissed when he saw us. The door was shut.
“I was just asking Paret about the telephone affair,” said Mr. Tallant.
“Well, have you found a way out?” Leonard Dickinson looked questioningly at me.
“It’s all right,” I answered. “I’ve seen Jason.”
“All right!” they both ejaculated at once.
“We win,” I said.
They stood gazing at me. Even Dickinson, who was rarely ruffled, seemed excited.
“Do you mean to say you’ve fixed it?” he demanded.
I nodded. They stared at me in amazement.
“How the deuce did you manage it?”
“We organize the Interurban Telephone Company, and bid for the franchise—that’s all.”
“A dummy company!” cried Tallant. “Why, it’s simple as ABC!”
Dickinson smiled. He was tremendously relieved, and showed it.
“That’s true about all great ideas, Tallant,” he said. “They’re simple, only it takes a clever man to think of them.”
“And Jason agrees?” Tallant demanded.
I nodded again. “We’ll have to outbid the Automatic people. I haven’t seen Bitter yet about the—about the fee.”
“That’s all right,” said Leonard Dickinson, quickly. “I take off my hat to you. You’ve saved us. You can ask any fee you like,” he added genially. “Let’s go over to—to the Ashuela and get some lunch.” He had been about to say the Club, but he remembered Mr. Tallant’s presence in time. “Nothing’s worrying you, Hugh?” he added, as we went out, followed by the glances of his employees.
“Nothing,” I said....
Making money in those days was so ridiculously easy! The trouble was to know how to spend it. One evening when I got home I told Maude I had a surprise for her.
“A surprise?” she asked, looking up from a little pink smock she was making for Chickabiddy.
“I’ve bought that lot on Grant Avenue, next to the Ogilvys’.”
She dropped her sewing, and stared at me.
“Aren’t you pleased?” I asked. “At last we are going to have a house of our very own. What’s the matter?”
“I can’t bear the thought of leaving here. I’m so used to it. I’ve grown to love it. It’s part of me.”
“But,” I exclaimed, a little exasperated, “you didn’t expect to live here always, did you? The house has been too small for us for years. I thought you’d be delighted.” (This was not strictly true, for I had rather expected some such action on her part.) “Most women would. Of course, if it’s going to make such a difference to you as that, I’ll sell the lot. That won’t be difficult.”