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He walked into the little room, past the office Since then, the cost had increased, further, to of Walter Pratt, who was chief of that particular everybody in the office except Theron. By subdivision of the department, which he shared mean little expedients he had contrived thus far with Lambert Brill. He drew out his cheap, but that there should be no cut in his savings. But reliable watch, noting with satisfaction that he roundabout the wave of inflated values was riswas, as usual, five minutes ahead of time. He ing. Ere long, despite the discovery he had made hung his hat in the wardrobe, wherein dangled in laundry matters, it would encroach upon the the four-year-old overcoat he had not been wear- hardpan of his belo ved dollars. ing for some days, as the weather had turned With his brief elation over the laundry, now
warm. As he closed the door,
passed, Wade stood scowling there came a disagreeable odor A blonde girl—they had never reflectively. To protect his of gasoline from the interior. liked each other-handed him his
ratio of savings, and perhaps envelope. She leered at him unWade had cleaned the collar
to increase it, he had to have himself a few days before and
more money. had laid the stuff on too thick.
The office should pay him He turned to the window, looking over the val
But he knew there would be no use in ley studded with chimneys of varied quarters, asking for it unless the powers were considering those of factory sections and of handsome another general advance. And this, he conresidential districts. Grave, lofty, surrounding
sidered doubtful, so soon. hills were beginning to show the deep emerald of He heard a stir in the outer office; evidently spring. Filmy patches of clouds, like the hand- old Pratt had arrived. A tapping of light footkerchiefs of a goddess, sailed in the blue sky. steps told, too, that Hannah Thomas, the Rare beauty-but Wade was not thinking of stenographer, had come in. Then, as the silvery that. As nearly always, his thought turned in- chime of the clock in Pratt's room began the ward. It reached out only for money.
toll of nine, a swinging tread approached his door. That forty a week which he drew; he reflected Lambert Brill, his desk mate, entered the room. rebelliously that it should be more. A month “Hello, Wadie,” he called," as he tossed his hat longer than a year he had been with the Mara- on a hook in the wardrobe, and flung himself in thon; they had increased his weekly salary five dol- the chair opposite Theron's at the long, flat lars in the fall, a general advance through the office mahogany desk. "Everything seems more'n made in deference to the increasing cost of living. rosy to-day!” he remarked.
Wade contrived a perfunctory smile and a many frugalities. This was never expressed in monosyllabic answer. He wasn't for anybody, words, but Theron felt it. So he hated Brill in much, except Theron.
growing measure as weeks and months drifted by.
The young men worked in silence for a few RILL stretched back in his chair with a minutes. Then Walter Pratt, the chief of their
prodigious yawn, while he stared in division, entered. He was a drab, gray, little enmity at some sheets of figures requiring im- man in his dwindling fifties, soberly garbed like a mediate attention. "Too fine a day to be cooped preacher of the old school, hopelessly steeped in up with this junk!” grumbled his resonant bari- routine. His voice was dusty, like his eyes protone. “Makes you feel like an old woman with tected by thick, polished lenses. her tatting! Wadie, wouldn't it give you a pain “Brill, here's this new schedule proof to comin the gizzard, if you had any?”
pare with the original. Read it very carefully, The good-natured mockery got no "rise" from please, and I'd like to have it soon after lunch to Theron. Back in school days they had said he send downstairs. There's been delay on it was about as sensitive to flings as a tortoise to already.” mosquito stings. His cold gray eyes, bleakly He glided noiselessly upon rubber soles back lighting a hawk's profile, stared unblinkingly at into his office. The door swung shut bebind him. Brill.
From the basement, far below, came the muffled "It's work,” replied his dry, precise voice. thunder of the presses, busy turning out the “We've got to work to live.”
printed matter of diversified sales systems which “I'd rather live than work,” flippantly re- were finding favor around the world. sponded Lambert, yawning again. “Well, if I have to—” and with a prodigious sigh he lan- AMBERT BRILL glowered at the sheets guidly stretched forth a brown, stubby hand for
which Pratt had left, while he ran his the sheets of figures.
fingers through tousled hair. As he made ready to attack his own columns, "Schedule proofs," he growled, though with a preparatory to a session at the adding machine, whimsical light in his eyes. “Soon after lunch. Wade glanced at Brill, from under lowered lids, That makes a full day for me, all right, with the in a stealthy habit he had. That he did not care rest of it. And I had a little date for this mornfor Lambert was evident from this look. His ing, and another one for the afternoon!" mask of cool friendliness, assumed for Brill's Theron looked up. There flashed into his face, was only that. The lightninglike look memory other recent occasions when Brill had from the gray eyes had shown startling malice. absented himself from the office upon outside
Yet the well-groomed, dark-skinned, tall business. To him came the beginnings of a plan young fellow, with coal-black hair brushed of action, nebulous as yet, but stealthy. He straight back, had never harmed Wade. Quite spoke from sudden impulse. the contrary. At Pratt's request, Brill had “Keep your dates if you want to, Brill. I can broken him in to the work when he had come the manage that schedule proof, along with my work. year before. Two or three times Brill had asked I can get Miss Thomas to read the copy while I him out to lunch and enabled him to save that correct." much more during that particular week. He had At the ring of eagerness in his tone Brill stared never returned the courtesy; especially as Brill at him in justified surprise. The pace required lunched at more expensive resorts than he fre- of Pratt's two young assistants was not of the quented. The mere possibility of paying such a lash-driven order. He had often helped Wade, check, for two, would have caused his frugal especially when he was breaking in. Never till soul intense pain.
this moment had Theron ever offered to relieve Wade hated Brill because he was so wholly him, even in temporary interims when more than the antithesis of himself; just as some other per- the usual quota of work had been thrust upon sons hate each other because they are so much him. alike. Theron had found that Brill received The fellow must be growing human! Well, in five dollars a week more than he did; he hated that case, he should be encouraged! Brill him for that. He would have bet that Lambert grinned gratification. lived weekly to the limit of his forty-fifth dollar; “Why, thanks, old man!” as he handed Wade he wore good clothes; he had “breeze,” sang a couple of cigars. “That's decent of you! Do froid, a careless twentieth-century nonohalance, as much for you sometime. I'll manage to duck hallmark of his twenty-six years.
out after an hour, I think.” More than these, he had a tolerant contempt Greedily Wade pocketed the cigars, which for Wade's colorless mode of life and for his were of quality better than twice his own.
A little after ten o'clock, Brill seized his bat Talcott Storm looked up from the loaded but and disappeared, saying he would be back about well-ordered mahogany desk in the center of the an hour after lunch. Wade worked steadily, most ornate office Theron had ever seen. Wade and more rapidly than usual, so as to be abreast of caught a fleeting impression of a sturdy, mediumhis own work and the extra task of Brill's which sized figure that could not have been tailored inhe had taken upon himself.
side of a couple of hundred dollars. That soft There was a light in his eyes. Bu', it was not silk collar and the loosely knotted tie, they must the warm glow of good fellowship. Rather, it have together required fifteen. And, if he had was the icy sheen of self-seeking, like bleak sun- time to think of them, the probable cost of those light upon ice.
polished russet shoes and brown silyen hose, At last he understood the impulse which had matching the suit, would have filled him with disled him to offer to do a part of Brill's work, so as approving horror. to allow him egress from the office during busi- It was like Wade, when meeting a man for the ness hours. As the minutes ticked away he first time, to lower his gaze and to meet his eyes gloated in it. He had been looking for an op- last. So, when after a fleeting instant, his look portunity to better his fortunes; to conserve his met Storm's he felt sudden perturbation new in savings and to add to them. The chance was his experience. For his gaze had traveled uphere, and now.
ward, from sordid details of polished shoes and If a man didn't look out for himself, who was clothing of dark, rich sheen like the mahogany's guing to do it for him!
luster, to two living, brilliant, disconcerting A face fitted through his mental vision as he eyes. worked at an increasing pace. It was not Brill's, Never had Wade previously remarked, in nor Pratt's. It was the face of the man “higher seeing Storm from a distance, the penetrating up”; the cold, rocklike, keen-eyed face of the quality of those eyes. With the detachment of Marathon's new general manager, Talcott cold steel, they seemed to look, from under Storm.
somewhat narrowed lids, right through one. That surname of "the boss” had struck young "Well?” prompted Talcott Storm, as Theron Wade as incongruous when the new arbiter had seemed rooted before his desk. No shadow of come from New York, six months before, to take impatience showed in his thin, ruddy, shaven the tiller. Rather, his aspect was as bleak and face, the visage of a healthy, coördinated, poised calm and uncompromising as a November day. man in the full flood of matured powers. He was A stickler for duty, for pace, for results; a man somewhere in the forties; thin gray hair was who interested himself in every department; who brushed straight back upon a symmetrical head. viewed at close range with the naked eye instead His voice, a part of his controlled personality, of afar through a telescope, he was emphatically exuded neither warmth nor coldness, but only the man for Wade's hour. He and Theron polite inquiry. Somehow it proved further diswould understand each other!
concerting to Wade, who had been so sure of So, while one hour glided into the next, and himself when he had asked at the switchboard the work of the Marathon and of the rest of the for this interview. work-a-day world went on, Theron Wade was “I-1-sir,- I can save you money,” he asdoubly busy.
serted, rather lamely. At the front of his brain reigned twin duties Storm's thin lips relaxed in a slight, grim of the day, his own and the extra task of his smile. He indicated a chair at the side of his office mate, which he had assumed. At the back, desk. “We're always glad to entertain sugwelling from dark chambers of the subconscious gestions pertaining to that matter. Sit down, mind, rose dubious vapors which coalesced in a Mr. Wade, and tell me about it. Something saffron-hued scheme.
about Mr. Pratt's department, I assume?" . That plan, if carried out as Wade desired, The slight smile had sufficed to reassure Theron. would financially benefit him—and Lambert Brill He slid into the chair with passing wonderment. not at all.
He was but one of many cogs in that big wheel of
business, and he had merely given his name to the END him in.” The direction was ex- switchboard girl, with no reference to the departtended at ten the next morning.
ment. Yet Storm had placed him. Nobody The girl at the switchboard on the main floor, saw him around overmuch, but he evidently had turned to Wade. But he had heard the even, the business at his fingers' ends. And he was a clean-cut, resonant voice carrying beyond the stickler for efficiency, for production, for devotion transmitter. He was already striding toward the to the job. general manager's office.
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HAT a wonderful thing it would be for
have the benefit of a stimulus sufficiently powerful to unlock all his powers and make him Employees on small salaries who have been do what he is capable of doing! How quickly the for many years in one position without an world would go forward. What marvelous un- advance, often write to me for advice. Many dreamed of resources would be brought to light! of them think they have been treated unWhat courage, what progress, what happiness justly. While this is sometimes the case, the would crown the race!
fault usually lies in themselves. Promotion is Many of us think we are doing our best, yet based upon better work, greater effort. Many how much better we could do under a greater employees seem to ignore this fact. stimulus! If you are an ordinary employee, and The vast majority of people who complain knew that, to-morrow morning, you would be because they have not been advanced more called into your employer's private office and rapidly, the men who have worked hard for offered a partnership in the business, provided years and feel dissatisfied with the small returns for the next three months you could very materi- for their experience and service, are themselves ally improve on your past; if you knew that this much to blame for their unsatisfactory condition. great dream of yours was unexpectedly to be They have not put their best into their endeavors. realized, provided you could measure up to a They may have worked hard, but they have not certain standard, don't you think you would find been the exceptional employees. a way to improve very materially on what you The “John Allen" who returns from a business have been doing?
trip to find his name on the door is the "John