Page images
PDF
EPUB

By ORISON SWETT MARDEN

O

[ocr errors]

I

N the morning of November 3, 1920, during his seven years in the White House be

when the press announced the election of cause he was all that time put right on his metal

Warren G. Harding to the Presidency of to do his best He had to keep in view at all the United States, thousands of young men times the dignity of his position as chief executhroughout the country were thrilled at the tive of a great nation; he had to realize that he thought of his good fortune, of the marvelous was actually on exhibition, as it were; that the luck that had come to him. They looked to- eyes of the world were upon him and that he ward the White House with longing eyes, and must conduct himself accordingly. almost envied the man who in a few months would reside there as President of the greatest F you were to hold the same high ideal of the Republic in the world, the leader of 106,000,000 duties and obligations of your job as he did pecple.

of his; if you were to hold your position in life in It certainly is a wonderful thing for a poor any such high esteem, just think what it would boy to climb to such heights, and it emphasizes do for you; how it would affect your developanew the boundless opportunities open to every ment; how it would affect your reputation, American youth. It shows that any ambitious people's judgment of you. American boy, however humble his station in Perhaps you have been contrasting your life, has his chance to reach distinction.

humble position, your inferior standing, your

insignificance, with the great position, the high F you really want to climb to the top notch of standing and opportunity and the great import

your possibilities, you will find it a wonderful ance of Mr. Harding. You may think that you, help to hold the thought that you have just as too, could measure up to his opportunity if it good a chance to make good as had Mr. Harding, were given you. You may say to your self, “If and that the position you now occupy is just as I were President of the United States, I would important to you as his is to him.

always conduct myself with the dignity becomPresident-elect Harding had no more advan- ing a man of such lofty station, wielding such tages at the start than you have. He began as mighty power. I would carry myself in a very a poor boy. Indeed, many of you who envy manly, very dignified way. I would be very him to-day probably have had infinitely better careful in regard to every detail of my personal opportunities to bring out the big man in you appearance, because, as President, I would be than he had; but have you done it? You can on exhibition wherever I went and any carelessbring out your larger self, but will you? There ness on these points would be a reflection on my is the point: You can, but will you?

high office. I would be as particular about my to you, my friend. Mere

conversation as about my position cannot do much

personal appearance, for for a man's development

it would never do for the outside of giving him a

President of the United

in life, keep in an chance to do his best, and

States to be cheap and you have that chance ambition - arousing atmos

common, slangy and slovwhere you are.

Just dig

phere. Keep close to those enly in his speech." pify your chance in life. who are dead - in-earnest, Make the most of it, as who are ambitious to do

HIS would be fine. the President of the

But did you ever stop United States must make something and be some

to think, my friend, that the most of his. That is body in the world. Keep you are just as important the way to bring out the close to those who are do- to yourself as Presidentpossibilities of your job ing big things along the elect Harding is to himand qualify for the one line of your own aspira

self? That you can make above you. tions.

your position relatively Theodore Roosevelt

yield just as much to you improved marvelously

as he can make the Presi

It is all up

WHATEVER you do

THUS

IT is not enough to try to

same

dency yield to him? In

but for the next four other words, just think T

years, as you think you what it is possible for you

would be if you were Presito make of your own po

be somebody; you must dent; if you always try sition if you exercise the try to be somebody with to exercise your best judgcare in regard to

all your might, with the ment, to use the finest conduct and bearing, the whole weight of your be

possible discrimination on same infinite pains in de

all important questions, to tails, in regard to your ing. You must try to be

be just as careful not to appearance, to your con- somebody with all the force make a break, not, to versation, to your man- of

your talents, with all the show your weaknesses, as ner, your bearing, if you force of your enthusiasm,

the President would be, are as careful not to make

just think what an effect a bad impression, not to

your grit, your pep, your it would have on your make bad breaks, not to determination. This is the

conduct, on your characexhibit your yellow streak only thing that is worthy of ter, on

your fortunes! as you would be if you your life's sentiments.

Why you would gain so Think, were President!

much in every way that, at if you were President, how

the end of the four years, important it would be to

your most intimate friends, cover up your fool streaks, your weak points, to if they had not seen you in the interval, would hardcontrol your moods, emotions, your temper, to ly know you—you would hardly know yourself. maintain the dignity of your office! You know It is possible for you to make as much, pervery well that it wouldn't do for a President to haps more, of your life during the next four years fly into a passion over every little thing that than Mr. Harding will make of his during his goes wrong, the mistakes of a stenographer or a stay in the White House. servant, to cheapen and belittle himself before The great secret of progress is the daily effort servants or officials at the White House by to live up to a great ideal—to have an inspiring behaving in an undignified manner.

slogan. I know of no better slogan for an amIf you are just as careful, not only for this year, bitious young man than, “If I were President!"

[merged small][graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
[graphic]

The Meanest Man in

the World As Interpreted by George M. Cohan

Review by Selma H. Lowenberg

Photographs by White, New York

no such

T

HERE is

office. Bart Nash, his assistant, is informed by thing as lucky the telephone company that service will be dis

man. There is no continued until the bill is paid. Only incoming such thing as an unlucky calls may be received. Bart is in love with man. It's the stuff that Kitty Crockett, the stenographer, and together man is made of that puts they discuss their employer's defunct business. him where he gets.” That They are both loyal and devoted to Clark, but is the keynote of Mr. Bart nurses a dryly humorous grouch because he George M. Cohan's latest has received but two-week's pay in five weeks. play, "The Meanest Man Clark is also indebted to Kitty, but she manages in the World,” which he nicely with an income from stenographic work has personally produced and for other tenants in the building. She offers in which he plays the

now to lend Bart some money. Bart Nash with the

The leading rôle. daily lunch

He is touched, but refuses her philosophy of Rich

kindly. Their conversation is ard Clark, the struggling young lawyer

interrupted by the entrance in the play, is really the philosophy of

of the janitor who announces Mr. Cohan; that happiness is the most important thing in life "and the way to get it is to create it—and the only way to keep it is to spread it around.”

This great truth comes to Richard Clark after he has been told he is a failure because he allows his heart to rule in matters of business, and not his head. His friends reproach him for his kindly sentimentalism and advise him to bury his heart if he would be a success. He is a collection lawyer and he simply cannot find it in his heart to turn people out of their homes and businesses because of their inability to meet their bills. He hears their stories and his heart is touched, and so he struggles on for five years to gain

GEORGE M. COHAN AS RICHARD a foothold, while his

CLARK, THE “MEANEST MAN” less able friends and

“Friendship is the most essential

thing in the business world, or in any classmates harden

other walk of life. And you can't their hearts and forge make friends by brow-beating and ahead.

tearing down and destroying everyThe story opens in

body and everything you come in con

tact with.” Richard Clark's law

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

ances.

CA

THELR

that the superintendent of the building wishes to dream clients. He tells Ned that his mother see Mr. Clark the moment he comes in; that un- must never know of his failure; it would kill her, less the rent is paid he is to be dispossessed and and he extracts a promise of secrecy. He exanother tenant is ready to move in. He tells plains that his father has left his mother and Kitty that Mr. Mason, a tenant, wants her to sister well provided for, and that he has used up take some dictation, and Kitty is about to leave all his own inheritance trying to keep up appearwhen Mr. Clark enters.

Ned savs that luck has been against

him, but Clark replies: LARK is a good-looking young man with a “There is no such thing as an unlucky man. kindly, diffident manner, and appears

to be There is no such thing as a lucky man. I've not the least bit discouraged. He pulls out a thought that all out too. It's the stuff that a roll of bills. “What's gone now?” asks Bart, man is made of that puts him where he gets. and Clark points to the spot on his tie, but lately Perseverance and application are all right but it's adorned with a stick-pin, for which he has re- ability that counts in the end. Nobody ever ceived forty dollars. He gives ten to Kitty and tried harder than I have. Nobody has ever ten to Bart; then, whistling, he walks over to the given it a tougher fight. I've had the spirit, telephone to make a call, only to discover that desire, ambition, and everything that goes with his service has been cut off. Bart tells him of a business equipment, but the main essential the janitor's call and threat of dispossession, but wasn't there-ability. That's what I lacked, Clark continues cheerfully to whistle, much to and I

suppose that's why I'm a failure." Bart's disgust.

For some time Richard and Bart have been HEIR conversation is interrupted by the economizing by eating their lunch in the office arrival of Mrs. Clark and Nellie, and while prepared on an alcohol stove. Bart is given ten Richard is trying hard to create an atmosphere dollars to go out and buy pork chops, milk, and of the successful law office, Bart bursts in with bread and stop on the way to deliver a note to, the paper bags containing the lunch. Clark a man who has long owed Richard $250. “Wait turns on his surprised assistant and belabors for an answer,” admonishes Richard, as he hands him for coming in, and hastily explains to his Bart the note.

mother and sister that Bart is one of his office “But what if he says there is no answer?” boys. Nellie asks to use the phone and is un“That's an answer, isn't it?”

thinkingly allowed to make an attempt to get "Well, what if he says he can't pay?”

“central," when Richard stops her just in time “There is nothing more to do about it then.” and explains that he has a long-distance call in

"That's just it,” storms Bart. "You're too for Chicago. easy. You let everyone impose on you.”

Frederick Leggitt. Ned's wealthy uncle, now

arrives with a mission for Richard. His own 'HEN Bart is gone, Stephensan old assistant, Carlton Childs, a former classmate of

college mate in love with Richard's sister, Richard's, has been called to Washington, and and a nephew of Frederick Leggitt, millionaire Leggitt commissions Clark to collect a troublemember of the firm of Montgomery & Leggitt some bill of $850, owed to his firm by J. Hudson occasional clients of Clark's, comes in. He has & Co., of Hudsonville, Pennsylvania. But more an appointment to meet Mrs. Clark and Nellie, important than the $850, he is to investigate a and take them to luncheon. Ned inquires how certain Hiram Leeds, who is reported to the firm Richard is doing, and is enthusiastically assured of Montgomery & Leggitt as suspiciously eager that business is wonderful. Ned stops him short to buy up their claim of J. Hudson & Co., in and calls his bluff. He has been in the superin- order to obtain certain property which may postendent's office and has overheard that Richard sibly contain oil.

sibly contain oil. Richard suggests that Leggitt is to be dispossessed, paid the rent himself, and send his nephew, Ned, along to study the possinow hands his friend the receipted bill.

bilities of the oil land, but notwithstanding the Richard is chiefly concerned for fear that Ned fact that Ned is a graduate mining engineer his will tell his sister of his financial straits and that uncle looks upon him as a joke. Richard sugNellie will tell his mother, to whom he is devoted, gests that he let Ned come along then just to and for whom he has been playing his bluff for keep him company. five years, comforted in the thought of her pride in his supposed success.

EGGITT inquires how Richard has succeeded All through his struggles he has been inventing in collecting rent from his tenant, Trowbridge. stories of his legal work for Schwab, Wanamaker, Richard attempts to explain why he has failed. John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and other prominent It is the same old story. His heart has been

[ocr errors]

touched by the old man's story and he has the stage in motion to impress the cliert with his granted an extension of time. Leggitt is furious, legal importance and "speaks" loudly with John will listen to no explanations, and withdraws his D. Rockefeller over the telephone. The "client,” commission on the Hudson account. He cries who turns out to be a collector for the telephone out that sympathy and sentiment have no place company hugely enjoying the joke. Richard in business and that when Richard comes to his borrows back from Bart in order to pay his telesenses and accepts this dictum then-only then phone bill. Kitty returns and he dictates a -may he come to him for work. “Maybe-I letter to Trowbridge enclosing his last five-dollar said, maybeI'll give you a job,” he shouts in bill to help the old man out. parting.

But Leggitt has told Clark that Carlton Childs ARLTON CHILDS arrives. He is a positive is to call with his railroad ticket and expense inhuman, money-grabbing man. The old money to Hudsonville, and Richard realizes that friends greet each other warmly. Childs has if he can prevent subsequent communication be- not seen Leggitt and is under the impression that tween Leggitt and Childs after the latter's ar- previous arrangements are to stand. “Well, rival with the ticket and money he may be able here you are, he says. It's a matter of eight

to make good on the J. Hud- hundred and fifty dollars
son & Co., collection and once against J. Hudson and Com-
more restore himself in Leg- pany, of Hudsonville, Penn-
git's good graces. As Leggitt sylvania. It's one of the
angrily departs, Bart enters hardest collections Montgom-
excitedly to announce the ar- ery and Leggitt ever had.”
rival of a seemingly prosperous CLARK: "Is that so? What's
client. Richard quickly sets so hard about this?”

[graphic]

“J. Hudson” before she met the "Meanest Man"

“Jane Hudson” informs “Mike O'Brien,” the old cobbler, that “Richard

Clark" is coming to collect the bill or close her business

« PreviousContinue »