“Vanity,” said Craig. “You are vain, like all people who don’t talk about themselves. The whole human race is vain—individually and collectively. Now, if a man talks about himself as I do, why, his vanity froths away harmlessly. But you and your kind suffer from ingrowing vanity. You think of nothing but yourselves—how you look—how you feel—how you are impressing others—what you can get for yourself—self—self—self, day and night. You don’t like Margaret any more because she saw you humiliated. Where would I be if I were like that? Why, I’d be dead or hiding in the brush; for I’ve had nothing but insults, humiliations, sneers, snubs, all my life. Crow’s my steady diet, old pal. And I fatten and flourish on it.”
Grant was laughing, with a choke in his throat. “Josh,” said he, “you’re either more or less than human.”
“Both,” said Craig. “Grant, we’re wasting time. Walter!” That last in a stentorian shout.
The valet appeared. “Yes, Mr. Craig.”
“Pack your friend Grant, here, for two days in New York. He’s going to-night and—I guess you’d better come along.”
Arkwright threw up his hands in a gesture of mock despair. “Do as he says, Walter. He’s the boss.”
“Now you’re talking sense,” said Craig. “Some day you’ll stand before kings for this—or sit, as you please.”
On their way out Josh fished from the darkness under the front stairs a tattered and battered suitcase and handed it to Walter. “It’s my little all,” he explained to Grant. “I’ve given up my rooms at the Wyandotte. They stored an old trunkful or so for me, and I’ve sent my books to the office.”
“Look here, Josh,” said Grant, when they were under way; “does Margaret know you’re coming?”
“Does Margaret know I’m coming?” repeated Joshua mockingly. “Does Margaret know her own mind and me? ... Before I forget it here’s a list I wrote out against a lamp-post while I was waiting for you to come home. It’s the things I must have, so far as I know. The frills and froth you know about—I don’t.”
PEACE AT ANY PRICE
Miss Severance, stepping out of a Waldorf elevator at the main floor, shrank back wide-eyed. “You?” she gasped.
Before her, serene and smiling and inflexible, was Craig. None of the suits he had bought at seven that morning was quite right for immediate use; so there he was in his old lounge suit, baggy at knees and elbows and liberally bestrewn with lint. Her glance fell from his mussy collar to his backwoodsman’s hands, to his feet, so cheaply and shabbily shod; the shoes looked the worse for the elaborate gloss the ferry bootblack had put upon them. She advanced because she could not retreat; but never had she been so repelled.