Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Personality Plus - Some Experiences of Emma McChesney and Her Son, Jock
Author: Ferber, Edna, 1885-1968
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Personality Plus - Some Experiences of Emma McChesney and Her Son, Jock" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



  [Illustration: "'What is this anyway? A George Cohan comedy?'"]


PERSONALITY PLUS

 SOME EXPERIENCES OF EMMA McCHESNEY
 AND HER SON, JOCK


By

EDNA FERBER

AUTHOR OF "DAWN O'HARA," "BUTTERED SIDE DOWN,"
"ROAST BEEF, MEDIUM," ETC.


_WITH FIFTEEN ILLUSTRATIONS BY
JAMES MONTGOMERY FLAGG_


NEW YORK
FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY
1914



CONTENTS


CHAPTER
  I. MAKING GOOD WITH MOTHER

 II. PERSONALITY PLUS

III. DICTATED BUT NOT READ

 IV. THE MAN WITHIN HIM

  V. THE SELF-STARTER



ILLUSTRATIONS


"'What is this anyway? A George Cohan comedy?'" _Frontispiece_

"'You're a jealous blond,' he laughed"

"He was the concentrated essence of do-it-now"

"'Hi! Hold that pose!' called Von Herman"

"With a jolt Jock realized she had forgotten all about him"

"'Well, raw-thah!' he drawled"

"... became in some miraculous way a little boy again"

"Jock McChesney began to carry a yellow walking stick down to
work"

"'Good Lord, Mother! Of course you don't mean it, but--'"

"'Greetings!'"

"She laid one hand very lightly on his arm and looked up into the
sullen, angry young face"

"He made straight for the main desk with its battalion of clerks"

"'Let's not waste any time,' he said"

"He found his mother on the floor ... surrounded by piles of
pajamas, socks, shirts and collars"

"'Well, you said you wanted somebody to worry about, didn't you?'"



PERSONALITY PLUS



I

MAKING GOOD WITH MOTHER


When men began to build cities vertically instead of horizontally
there passed from our highways a picturesque figure, and from our
language an expressive figure of speech. That oily-tongued,
persuasive, soft-stepping stranger in the rusty Prince Albert and
the black string tie who had been wont to haunt our back steps and
front offices with his carefully wrapped bundle, retreated in
bewildered defeat before the clanging blows of steel on steel that
meant the erection of the first twenty-story skyscraper. "As
slick," we used to say, "as a lightning-rod agent." Of what use
his wares on a building whose tower was robed in clouds and which
used the chain lightning for a necklace? The Fourth Avenue antique
dealer had another curio to add to his collection of andirons,
knockers, snuff boxes and warming pans.

But even as this quaint figure vanished there sprang up a new and
glittering one to take his place. He stood framed in the great
plate-glass window of the very building which had brought about
the defeat of his predecessor. A miracle of close shaving his face
was, and a marvel of immaculateness his linen. Dapper he was, and
dressy, albeit inclined to glittering effects and a certain
plethory at the back of the neck. Back of him stood shining shapes
that reflected his glory in enamel, and brass, and glass. His
language was floral, but choice; his talk was of gearings and
bearings and cylinders and magnetos; his method differed from that
of him who went before as the method of a skilled aëronaut differs
from that of the man who goes over Niagara in a barrel. And as he
multiplied and spread over the land we coined a new figure of
speech. "Smooth!" we chuckled. "As smooth as an automobile
salesman."

But even as we listened, fascinated by his fluent verbiage there
grew within us a certain resentment. Familiarity with his
glittering wares bred a contempt of them, so that he fell to
speaking of them as necessities instead of luxuries. He juggled
figures, and thought nothing of four of them in a row. We looked
at our five-thousand-dollar salary, so strangely shrunken and thin
now, and even as we looked we saw that the method of the unctuous,
anxious stranger had become antiquated in its turn.

Then from his ashes emerged a new being. Neither urger nor
spellbinder he. The twentieth century was stamped across his brow,
and on his lips was ever the word "Service." Silent, courteous,
watchful, alert, he listened, while you talked. His method, in
turn, made that of the silk-lined salesman sound like the hoarse
hoots of the ballyhoo man at a county fair. Blithely he accepted
five hundred thousand dollars and gave in return--a promise. And
when we would search our soul for a synonym to express all that
was low-voiced, and suave, and judicious, and patient, and sure,
we began to say, "As alert as an advertising expert."

Jock McChesney, looking as fresh and clear-eyed as only twenty-one
and a cold shower can make one look, stood in the doorway of his
mother's bedroom. His toilette had halted abruptly at the
bathrobe stage. One of those bulky garments swathed his slim
figure, while over his left arm hung a gray tweed Norfolk coat.
From his right hand dangled a pair of trousers, in pattern a
modish black-and-white.

Jock regarded the gray garment on his arm with moody eyes.

"Well, I'd like to know what's the matter with it!" he demanded, a
trifle irritably.

Emma McChesney, in the act of surveying her back hair in the
mirror, paused, hand glass poised half way, to regard her son.

"All right," she answered cheerfully. "I'll tell you. It's too
young."

"Young!" He held it at arm's length and stared at it. "What d'you
mean--young?"

Emma McChesney came forward, wrapping the folds of her kimono
about her. She took the disputed garment in one hand and held it
aloft. "I know that you look like a man on a magazine cover in it.
But Norfolk suits spell tennis, and seashore, and elegant leisure.
And you're going out this morning, Son, to interview business men.
You're going to try to impress the advertising world with the fact
that it needs your expert services. You walk into a business
office in a Norfolk suit, and everybody from the office boy to the
president of the company will ask you what your score is."

She tossed it back over his arm.

"I'll wear the black and white," said Jock resignedly, and turned
toward his own room. At his doorway he paused and raised his voice
slightly: "For that matter, they're looking for young men.
Everybody's young. Why, the biggest men in the advertising game
are just kids." He disappeared within his room, still talking.
"Look at McQuirk, advertising manager of the Combs Car Company.
He's so young he has to disguise himself in bone-trimmed
eye-glasses with a black ribbon to get away with it. Look at
Hopper, of the Berg, Shriner Company. Pulls down ninety thousand a
year, and if he's thirty-five I'll--"

"Well, you asked my advice," interrupted his mother's voice with
that muffled effect which is caused by a skirt being slipped over
the head, "and I gave it. Wear a white duck sailor suit with blue
anchors and carry a red tin pail and a shovel, if you want to look
young. Only get into it in a jiffy, Son, because breakfast will be
ready in ten minutes. I can tell by the way Annie's crashing the
cups. So step lively if you want to pay your lovely mother's
subway fare."

Ten minutes later the slim young figure, in its English-fitting
black and white, sat opposite Emma McChesney at the breakfast
table and between excited gulps of coffee outlined a meteoric
career in his chosen field. And the more he talked and the rosier
his figures of speech became, the more silent and thoughtful fell
his mother. She wondered if five o'clock would find a droop to the
set of those young shoulders; if the springy young legs in their
absurdly scant modish trousers would have lost some of their
elasticity; if the buoyant step in the flat-heeled shoes would not
drag a little. Thirteen years of business experience had taught
her to swallow smilingly the bitter pill of rebuff. But this boy
was to experience his first dose to-day. She felt again that
sensation of almost physical nausea--that sickness of heart and
spirit which had come over her when she had met her first sneer
and intolerant shrug. It had been her maiden trip on the road for
the T.A. Buck Featherloom Petticoat Company. She was secretary of
that company now, and moving spirit in its policy. But the wound
of that first insult still ached. A word from her would have
placed the boy and saved him from curt refusals. She withheld that
word. He must fight his fight alone.

"I want to write the kind of ad," Jock was saying excitedly, "that
you see 'em staring at in the subways, and street cars and
L-trains. I want to sit across the aisle and watch their up-turned
faces staring at that oblong, and reading it aloud to each other."

"Isn't that an awfully obvious necktie you're wearing, Jock?"
inquired his mother irrelevantly.

"This? You ought to see some of them. This is a Quaker stock in
comparison." He glanced down complacently at the vivid-hued silken
scarf that the season's mode demanded. Immediately he was off
again. "And the first thing you know, Mrs. McChesney, ma'am, we'll
have a motor truck backing up at the door once a month and six
strong men carrying my salary to the freight elevator in sacks."

Emma McChesney buttered her bit of toast, then looked up to remark
quietly:

"Hadn't you better qualify for the trial heats, Jock, before you
jump into the finals?"

"Trial heats!" sneered Jock. "They're poky. I want real money.
Now! It isn't enough to be just well-to-do in these days. It needs
money. I want to be rich! Not just prosperous, but rich! So rich
that I can let the bath soap float around in the water without any
pricks of conscience. So successful that they'll say, 'And he's a
mere boy, too. Imagine!'"

And, "Jock dear," Emma McChesney said, "you've still to learn that
plans and ambitions are like soap bubbles. The harder you blow and
the more you inflate them, the quicker they burst. Plans and
ambitions are things to be kept locked away in your heart, Son,
with no one but yourself to take an occasional peep at them."

Jock leaned over the table, with his charming smile. "You're a
jealous blonde," he laughed. "Because I'm going to be a captain of
finance--an advertising wizard; you're afraid I'll grab the glory
all away from you."

  [Illustration: "'You're a jealous blond,' he said"]

Mrs. McChesney folded her napkin and rose. She looked unbelievably
young, and trim, and radiant, to be the mother of this boasting
boy.

"I'm not afraid," she drawled, a wicked little glint in her blue
eyes. "You see, they'll only regard your feats and say, 'H'm, no
wonder. He ought to be able to sell ice to an Eskimo. His mother
was Emma McChesney.'"

And then, being a modern mother, she donned smart autumn hat and
tailored suit coat and stood ready to reach her office by
nine-thirty. But because she was as motherly as she was modern she
swung open the door between kitchen and dining-room to advise with
Annie, the adept.

"Lamb chops to-night, eh, Annie? And sweet potatoes. Jock loves
'em. And corn au gratin and some head lettuce." She glanced toward
Jock in the hallway, then lowered her voice. "Annie," she teased,
"just give us one of your peach cobblers, will you? You see
he--he's going to be awfully--tired when he gets home."

So they went stepping off to work together, mother and son. A
mother of twenty-five years before would have watched her son
with tear-dimmed eyes from the vine-wreathed porch of a cottage.
There was no watching a son from the tenth floor of an up-town
apartment house. Besides, she had her work to do. The subway
swallowed both of them. Together they jostled and swung their way
down-town in the close packed train. At the Twenty-third Street
station Jock left her.

"You'll have dinner to-night with a full-fledged professional
gent," he bragged, in his youth and exuberance and was off down
the aisle and out on the platform. Emma McChesney managed to turn
in her nine-inch space of train seat so that she watched the slim,
buoyant young figure from the window until the train drew away and
he was lost in the stairway jam. Just so Rachel had watched the
boy Joseph go to meet the Persian caravans in the desert.

"Don't let them buffalo you, Jock," Emma had said, just before he
left her. "They'll try it. If they give you a broom and tell you
to sweep down the back stairs, take it, and sweep, and don't
forget the corners. And if, while you're sweeping, you notice that
that kind of broom isn't suited to the stairs go in and suggest a
new kind. They'll like it."

Brooms and back stairways had no place in Jock McChesney's mind as
the mahogany and gold elevator shot him up to the fourteenth floor
of the great office building that housed the Berg, Shriner
Company. Down the marble hallway he went and into the reception
room. A cruel test it was, that reception room, with the cruelty
peculiar to the modern in business. With its soft-shaded lamp, its
two-toned rug, its Jacobean chairs, its magazine-laden cathedral
oak table, its pot of bright flowers making a smart touch of color
in the somber richness of the room, it was no place for the
shabby, the down-and-out, the cringing, the rusty, or the
mendicant.

Jock McChesney, from the tips of his twelve-dollar shoes to his
radiant face, took the test and stood it triumphantly. He had
entered with an air in which was mingled the briskness of
assurance with the languor of ease. There were times when Jock
McChesney was every inch the son of his mother.

There advanced toward Jock a large, plump, dignified personage, a
personage courteous, yet reserved, inquiring, yet not offensively
curious--a very Machiavelli of reception-room ushers. Even while
his lips questioned, his eyes appraised clothes, character,
conduct.

"Mr. Hupp, please," said Jock, serene in the perfection of his
shirt, tie, collar and scarf pin, upon which the appraising eye
now rested. "Mr. McChesney." He produced a card.

"Appointment?"

"No--but he'll see me."

But Machiavelli had seen too many overconfident callers. Their
very confidence had taught him caution.

"If you will please state your--ah--business--"

Jock smiled a little patient smile and brushed an imaginary fleck
of dust from the sleeve of his very correct coat.

"I want to ask him for a job as office boy," he jibed.

An answering grin overspread the fat features of the usher. Even
an usher likes his little joke. The sense of humor dies hard.

"I have a letter from him, asking me to call," said Jock, to
clinch it.

"This way." The keeper of the door led Jock toward the sacred
inner portal and held it open. "Mr. Hupp's is the last door to the
right."

The door closed behind him. Jock found himself in the big, busy,
light-flooded central office. Down either side of the great room
ran a row of tiny private offices, each partitioned off, each
outfitted with desk, and chairs, and a big, bright window. On his
way to the last door at the right Jock glanced into each tiny
office, glimpsing busy men bent absorbedly over papers, girls busy
with dictation, here and there a door revealing two men, or three,
deep in discussion of a problem, heads close together, voices
low, faces earnest. It came suddenly to the smartly modish,
overconfident boy walking the length of the long room that
the last person needed in this marvelously perfected and
smooth-running organization was a somewhat awed young man named
Jock McChesney. There came to him that strange sensation which
comes to every job-hunter; that feeling of having his spiritual
legs carry him out of the room, past the door, down the hall and
into the street, even as, in reality, they bore him on to the very
presence which he dreaded and yet wished to see.

Two steps more, and he stood in the last doorway, right. No
matinee idol, nervously awaiting his cue in the wings, could have
planned his entrance more carefully than Jock had planned this.
Ease was the thing; ease, bordering on nonchalance, mixed with a
brisk and businesslike assurance.

The entrance was lost on the man at the desk. He did not even look
up. If Jock had entered on all-fours, doing a double tango to
vocal accompaniment, it is doubtful if the man at the desk would
have looked up. Pencil between his fingers, head held a trifle to
one side in critical contemplation of the work before him, eyes
narrowed judicially, lips pursed, he was the concentrated essence
of do-it-now.

  [Illustration: "He was the concentrated essence of do-it-now"]

Jock waited a moment, in silence. The man at the desk worked on.
His head was semi-bald. Jock knew him to be thirty. Jock fixed his
eye on the semi-bald spot and spoke.

"My name's McChesney," he began. "I wrote you three days ago; you
probably will remember. You replied, asking me to call, and I--"

"Minute," exploded the man at the desk, still absorbed.

Jock faltered, stopped. The man at the desk did not look up. A
moment of silence, except for the sound of the busy pencil
traveling across the paper. Jock, glaring at the semi-bald spot,
spoke again.

"Of course, Mr. Hupp, if you're too busy to see me--"

"M-m-m-m," a preoccupied hum, such as a busy man makes when he is
trying to give attention to two interests.

"--why I suppose there's no sense in staying; but it seems to me
that common courtesy--"

The busy pencil paused, quivered in the making of a final period,
enclosed the dot in a proofreader's circle, and rolled away across
the desk, its work done.

"Now," said Sam Hupp, and swung around, smiling, to face the
affronted Jock. "I had to get that out. They're waiting for it."
He pressed a desk button. "What can I do for you? Sit down, sit
down."

There was a certain abrupt geniality about him. His
tortoise-rimmed glasses gave him an oddly owlish look, like a
small boy taking liberties with grandfather's spectacles.

Jock found himself sitting down, his anger slipping from him.

"My name's McChesney," he began. "I'm here because I want to work
for this concern." He braced himself to present the convincing,
reason-why arguments with which he had prepared himself.

Whereupon Sam Hupp, the brisk, proceeded to whisk his breath and
arguments away with an unexpected:

"All right. What do you want to do?"

Jock's mouth fell open. "Do!" he stammered. "Do! Why--anything--"

Sam Hupp's quick eye swept over the slim, attractive, radiant,
correctly-garbed young figure before him. Unconsciously he rubbed
his bald spot with a rueful hand.

"Know anything about writing, or advertising?"

Jock was at ease immediately. "Quite a lot; yes. I practically
rewrote the Gridiron play that we gave last year, and I was
assistant advertising manager of the college publications for
two years. That gives a fellow a pretty broad knowledge of
advertising."

"Oh, Lord!" groaned Sam Hupp, and covered his eyes with his hand,
as if in pain.

Jock stared. The affronted feeling was returning. Sam Hupp
recovered himself and smiled a little wistfully.

"McChesney, when I came up here twelve years ago I got a job as
reception-room usher. A reception-room usher is an office boy in
long pants. Sometimes, when I'm optimistic, I think that if I live
twelve years longer I'll begin to know something about the
rudiments of this game."

"Oh, of course," began Jock, apologetically. But Hupp's glance was
over his head. Involuntarily Jock turned to follow the direction
of his eyes.

"Busy?" said a voice from the doorway.

"Come in, Dutch! Come in!" boomed Hupp.

The man who entered was of the sort that the boldest might well
hesitate to address as "Dutch"--a tall, slim, elegant figure,
Van-dyked, bronzed.

"McChesney, this is Von Herman, head of our art department."

Their hands met in a brief clasp. Von Herman's thoughts were
evidently elsewhere.

"Just wanted to tell you that that cussed model's skipped out.
Gone with a show. Just when I had the whole series blocked out in
my mind. He was a wonder. No brains, but a marvel for looks and
style. These people want real stuff. Don't know how I'm going to
give it to them now."

Hupp sat up. "Got to!" he snapped. "Campaign's late, as it is.
Can't you get an ordinary man model and fake the Greek god
beauty?"

"Yes--but it'll look faked. If I could lay my hands on a chap who
could wear clothes as if they belonged to him--"

Hupp rose. "Here's your man," he cried, with a snap of his
fingers. "Clothes! Look at him. He invented 'em. Why, you could
photograph him and he'd look like a drawing."

Von Herman turned, surprised, incredulous, hopeful, his artist eye
brightening at the ease and grace and modishness of the smart,
well-knit figure before him.

"Me!" exploded Jock, his face suffused with a dull, painful red.
"Me! Pose! For a clothing ad!"

"Well," Hupp reminded him, "you said you'd do anything."

Jock McChesney glared belligerently. Hupp returned the stare with
a faint gleam of amusement shining behind the absurd glasses. The
amused look changed to surprise as he beheld the glare in Jock's
eyes fading. For even as he glared there had come a warning to
Jock--a warning sent just in time from that wireless station
located in his subconscious mind. A vivid face, full of pride, and
hope, and encouragement flashed before him.

"Jock," it said, "don't let 'em buffalo you. They'll try it. If
they give you a broom and tell you to sweep down the back
stairs--"

Jock was smiling his charming, boyish smile.

"Lead me to your north light," he laughed at Von Herman. "Got any
Robert W. Chambers's heroines tucked away there?"

Hupp's broad hand came down on his shoulder with a thwack. "That's
the spirit, McChesney! That's the--" He stopped, abruptly. "Say,
are you related to Mrs. Emma McChesney, of the Featherloom Skirt
Company?"

"Slightly. She's my one and only mother."

"She--you mean--her son! Well I'll be darned!" He held out his
hand to Jock. "If you're a real son of your mother I wish you'd
just call the office boy as you step down the hall with Von Herman
and tell him to bring me a hammer and a couple of spikes. I'd
better nail down my desk."

"I'll promise not to crowd you for a year or two," grinned Jock
from the doorway, and was off with the pleased Von Herman.

Past the double row of beehives again, into the elevator, out
again, up a narrow iron stairway, into a busy, cluttered,
skylighted room. Pictures, posters, photographs hung all about.
Some of the pictures Jock recognized as old friends that had gazed
familiarly at him from subway trains and street cars and theater
programmes. Golf clubs, tennis rackets, walking sticks, billiard
cues were stacked up in corners. And yet there was a bare and
orderly look about the place. Two silent, shirt-sleeved men were
busy at drawing boards. Through a doorway beyond Jock could see
others similarly engaged in the next room. On a platform in one
corner of the room posed a young man in one of those costumes the
coat of which is a mongrel mixture of cutaway and sack. You see
them worn by clergymen with unsecular ideas in dress, and by the
leader of the counterfeiters' gang in the moving pictures. The
pose was that met with in the backs of magazines--the head lifted,
eyes fixed on an interesting object unseen, one arm crooked to
hold a cane, one foot advanced, the other trailing slightly to
give a Fifth Avenue four o'clock air. His face was expressionless.
On his head was a sadly unironed silk hat.

Von Herman glanced at the drawing tacked to the board of one of
the men. "That'll do, Flynn," he said to the model. He glanced
again at the drawing. "Bring out the hat a little more, Mack. They
won't burnish it if you don't,"--to the artist. Then, turning
about, "Where's that girl?"

From a far corner, sheltered by long green curtains, stepped a
graceful almost childishly slim figure in a bronze-green Norfolk
suit and close-fitting hat from beneath which curled a fluff of
bright golden hair. Von Herman stared at her.

"You're not the girl," he said. "You won't do."

"You sent for me," retorted the girl. "I'm Miss Michelin--Gelda
Michelin. I posed for you six months ago, but I've been out of
town with the show since then."

Von Herman, frowning, opened a table drawer, pulled out a card
index, ran his long fingers through it and extracted a card. He
glanced at it, and then, the frown deepening, read it aloud.

"'Michelin, Gelda. Telephone Bryant 4759. Brunette. Medium build.
Good neck and eyes. Good figure. Good clothes.'"

He glanced up. "Well?"

"That's me," said Miss Michelin calmly. "I've got the same
telephone number and eyes and neck and clothes. Of course my hair
is different and I am thinner, but that's business. I'd like to
know what chance a fat girl would have in the chorus these days."

Von Herman groaned. "I'll pay you for the time you've waited and
for your trouble. Can't use you for these pictures." Then as she
left he turned a comically despairing face to the two men at the
drawing boards. "What are we going to do? We've got to make a
start on these pictures and everything has gone wrong. They want
something special. Two figures, young man and woman. Said
expressly they didn't want a chicken. No romping curls and none of
that eyes and lips fool-girl stuff. This chap's ideal for the
man." He pointed to Jock.

Jock had been staring, fascinated, at the shaded, zigzag marks
which the artist--dark-skinned, velvet-eyed, foreign-looking
youth--was making on the sheet of paper before him. He had
scarcely glanced up during the entire scene. Now he looked briefly
and coolly at Jock.

"Where did you get him?" he asked, with the precise enunciation of
the foreign-born. "Good figure. And he wears his clothes not like
a cab driver, as the others do."

"Thanks," drawled Jock, flushing a little. Then, boyish curiosity
getting the better of him, "Say, tell me, what in the world are
you doing to that drawing?"

He of the velvety eyes smiled a twisted little smile. His slim
brown fingers never stopped in their work of guiding the pen in
its zigzag path.

"It is work," he sneered, "to delight the soul of an artist. I am
now engaged in the pleasing task of putting the bones in a
herringbone suit."

But Jock did not smile. Here was another man, he thought, who had
been given a broom and told to sweep down the stairway.

Von Herman was regarding him almost wistfully. "I hate to let you
slip," he said. Then, his face brightening, "By Jove! I wonder if
Miss Galt would pose for us if we told her what a fix we were in."

He picked up the telephone receiver. "Miss Galt, please," he said.
Then, aside, "Of course it's nerve to ask a girl who's earning
three thousand a year to leave her desk and come up and pose
for--Hello! Miss Galt?"

Jock, seated on the edge of the models' platform, was beginning to
enjoy himself. Even this end of the advertising business had its
interesting side, he thought. Ten minutes later he knew it had.

Ten minutes later there appeared Miss Galt. Jock left off
swinging his legs from the platform and stood up. Miss Galt was
that kind of girl. Smooth black hair parted and coiled low as only
an exquisitely shaped head can dare to wear its glory-crown. A
face whose expression was sweetly serious in spite of its youth. A
girl whose clothes were the sort of clothes that girls ought to
wear in offices, and don't.

"This is mighty good of you, Miss Galt," began Von Herman. "It's
the Kool Komfort Klothes Company's summer campaign stuff. We'll
only need you for an hour or so--to get the expression and general
outline. Poster stuff, really. Then this young man will pose for
the summer union suit pictures."

"Don't apologize," said Miss Galt. "We had a hard enough time to
get that Kool Komfort account. We don't want to start wrong with
the pictures. Besides, I think posing's real fun."

Jock thought so too, quite suddenly. Just as suddenly Von Herman
remembered the conventions and introduced them.

"McChesney?" repeated Miss Galt, crisply. "I know a Mrs.
McChesney, of the T.A. Buck--"

"My mother," proudly.

"Your mother! Then why--" She stopped.

"Because," said Jock, "I'm the rawest rooky in the Berg, Shriner
Company. And when I begin to realize what I don't know about
advertising I'll probably want to plunge off the Palisades."

Miss Galt smiled up at him, her clear, frank eyes meeting his.

"You'll win," she said.

"Even if I lose--I win now," said Jock, suddenly audacious.

"Hi! Hold that pose!" called Von Herman, happily.

  [Illustration: "'Hi! Hold that pose!' called Von Herman"]



II

PERSONALITY PLUS

There are seven stages in the evolution of that individual whose
appearance is the signal for a listless "Who-do-you-want-to-see?"
from the white-bloused, drab-haired, anæmic little girl who sits
in the outer office forever reading last month's magazines. The
badge of fear brands the novice. Standing hat in hand, nervous,
apprehensive, gulpy, with the elevator door clanging behind him,
and the sacred inner door closed before him, he offers up a silent
and paradoxical "Thank heaven!" at the office girl's languid "Not
in," and dives into the friendly shelter of the next elevator
going down. When, at that same message, he can smile, as with a
certain grim agreeableness he says, "I'll wait," then has he
reached the seventh stage, and taken the orders of the regularly
ordained.

Jock McChesney had learned to judge an unknown prospective by
glancing at his hall rug and stenographer, which marks the fifth
stage. He had learned to regard office boys with something less
than white-hot hate. He had learned to let the other fellow do the
talking. He had learned to condense a written report into
twenty-five words. And he had learned that there was as much
difference between the profession of advertising as he had thought
of it and advertising as it really was, as there is between a
steam calliope and a cathedral pipe organ.

In the big office of the Berg, Shriner Advertising Company they
had begun to chuckle a bit over the McChesney solicitor's reports.
Those same reports indicated that young McChesney was beginning to
find the key to that maddening jumble of complexities known as
human nature. Big Sam Hupp, who was the pet caged copy-writing
genius of the place, used even to bring an occasional example of
Jock's business badinage into the Old Man's office, and the two
would grin in secret. As when they ran thus:

    _Pepsinale Manufacturing Company_:

    Mr. Bowser is the kind of gentleman who curses his
    subordinates in front of the whole office force. Very touchy.
    Crumpled his advertising manager. Our chance to get at him is
    when he is in one of his rare good humors.

Or:

    _E.V. Kreiss Company_:

    Kreiss very difficult to reach. Permanent address seems to be
    Italy, Egypt, and other foreign ports. Occasionally his
    instructions come from Palm Beach.

At which there rose up before the reader a vision of Kreiss
himself--baggy-eyed, cultivated English accent, interested in
polo, fast growing contemptuous of things American.

Or still another:

    _Hodge Manufacturing Company:_

    Mr. Hodge is a very conservative gentleman. Sits still and
    lets others do the talking. Has gained quite a reputation for
    business acumen with this one attribute. Spent $500 last year.
    Holding his breath preparatory to taking another plunge.

It was about the time that Jock McChesney had got over the novelty
of paying for his own clothes, and had begun to talk business in a
slightly patronizing way to his clever and secretly amused mother,
Mrs. Emma McChesney, secretary of the T.A. Buck Featherloom
Petticoat Company, that Sam Hupp noticed a rather cocky
over-assurance in Jock's attitude toward the world in general.
Whereupon he sent for him.

On Sam Hupp's broad flat desk stood an array of diminutive jars,
and bottles, and tiny pots that would have shamed the toilette
table of a musical comedy star's dressing-room. There were
rose-tinted salves in white bottles. There were white creams in
rose-tinted jars. There were tins of ointment and boxes of
fragrant soap.

Jock McChesney, entering briskly, eyed the array in some surprise.
Then he grinned, and glanced wickedly at Sam Hupp's prematurely
bald head.

"No use, Mr. Hupp. They say if it's once gone it's gone. Get a
toupee."

"Shut up!" growled Sam Hupp, good-humoredly. "Stay in this game
long enough and you'll be a hairless wonder yourself. Ten years
ago the girls used to have to tie their hands or wear mittens to
keep from running their white fingers through my waving silken
locks. Sit down a minute."

Jock reached forward and took up a jar of cream. He frowned in
thought. Then: "Thought I recognized this stuff. Mother uses it.
I've seen it on the bathroom shelf."

"You bet she uses it," retorted Sam Hupp. "What's more, millions
of other women will be using it in the next few years. This
woman," he pointed to the name on the label, "has hit upon the
real thing in toilette flub-dub. She's made a little fortune
already, and if she don't look out she'll be rich. They've got
quite a plant. When she started she used to put the stuff together
herself over the kitchen stove. They say it's made of cottage
cheese, stirred smooth and tinted pink. Well, anyway they're
nationally known now--or will be when they start to advertise
right."

"I've seen some of their stuff advertised--somewhere," interrupted
Jock, "but I don't remember--"

"There you are. You see the head of this concern is a little bit
frightened at the way she seems slated to become a lady cold cream
magnate. They say she's scared pink for fear somebody will steal
her recipes. She has a kid nephew who acts as general manager, and
they're both on the job all the time. They say the lady herself
looks like the spinster in a b'gosh drama. You can get a boy to
look up your train schedule."

Train! Schedule! Across Jock McChesney's mind there flashed a
vision of himself, alert, confident, brisk, taking the luxurious
nine o'clock for Philadelphia. Or, maybe, the Limited to Chicago.
Dashing down to the station in a taxi, of course. Strolling down
the car aisle to take his place among those other thoroughbreds of
commerce--men whose chamois gloves and walking sticks, and talk of
golf and baseball and motoring spelled elegant leisure, even as
their keen eyes and shrewd faces and low-voiced exchange of such
terms as "stocks," and "sales" and "propositions" proclaimed them
intent on bagging the day's business. Sam Hupp's next words
brought him back to reality with a jerk.

"I think you have to change at Buffalo. It gets you to Tonawanda
in the morning. Rotten train."

"Tonawanda!" repeated Jock.

"Now listen, kid." Sam Hupp leaned forward, and his eyes behind
their great round black-rimmed glasses were intent on Jock. "I'm
not going to try to steer you. You think that advertising is a
game. It isn't. There are those who think it's a science. But it
isn't that either. It's white magic, that's what it is. And you
can't learn it from books, any more than you can master trout
fishing from reading 'The Complete Angler.'" He swung about and
swept the beauty lotions before him in a little heap at the end of
his desk. "Here, take this stuff. And get chummy with it. Eat it,
if necessary; learn it somehow."

Jock stood up, a little dazed. "But, what!--How?--I mean--"

Sam Hupp glanced up at him. "Sending you down there isn't my idea.
It's the Old Man's. He's got an idea that you--" He paused and put
a detaining hand on Jock McChesney's arm. "Look here. You think I
know a little something about advertising, don't you?"

"You!" laughed Jock. "You're the guy who put the whitening in the
Great White Way. Everybody knows you were the--"

"M-m-m, thanks," interrupted Sam Hupp, a little dryly. "Let me
tell you something, young 'un. I've got what you might call a
thirty-horse-power mind. I keep it running on high all the time,
with the muffler cut out, and you can hear me coming for miles.
But the Old Man,"--he leaned forward impressively,--"the Old Man,
boy, has the eighty-power kind, built like a watch--no smoke, no
dripping, and you can't even hear the engine purr. But when he
throws her open! Well, he can pass everything on the road. Don't
forget that." He turned to his desk again and reached for a stack
of papers and cuts. "Good luck to you. If you want any further
details you can get 'em from Hayes." He plunged into his work.

There arose in Jock McChesney's mind that instinct of the man in
his hour of triumph--the desire to tell a woman of his greatness.
He paused a second outside Sam Hupp's office, turned, and walked
quickly down the length of the great central room. He stopped
before a little glass door at the end, tapped lightly, and
entered.

Grace Galt, copy-writer, looked up, frowning a little. Then she
smiled. Miss Galt had a complete layout on the desk before
her--scrap books, cuts, copy, magazines. There was a little smudge
on the end of her nose. Grace Galt was writing about magnetos.
She was writing about magnetos in a way to make you want to drop
your customer, or your ironing, or your game, and go downtown and
buy that particular kind of magneto at once. Which is the
secretest part of the wizardry of advertising copy. To look at
Grace Galt you would have thought that she should have been
writing about the rose-tinted jars in Jock McChesney's hands
instead of about such things as ignition, and insulation, and ball
bearings, and induction windings. But it was Grace Galt's gift
that she could take just such hard, dry, technical facts and weave
them into a story that you followed to the end. She could make you
see the romance in condensers and transformers. She had the power
that caused the reader to lose himself in the charm of magnetic
poles, and ball bearings, and high-tension sparks.

"Just dropped in to say good-by," said Jock, very casually. "Going
to run up-state to see the Athena Company--toilette specialties,
you know. It ought to be a big account."

"Athena?" Grace Galt regarded him absently, her mind still on her
work. Then her eyes cleared. "You mean at Tonawanda? And they're
sending you! Well!" She put out a congratulatory hand. Jock
gripped it gratefully.

"Not so bad, eh?" he boasted.

"Bad!" echoed Grace Galt. Her face became serious. "Do you realize
that there are men in this office who have been here for five
years, six years, or even more, and who have never been given a
chance to do anything but stenography, or perhaps some private
secretarying?"

"I know it," agreed Jock. But there was no humbleness in his tone.
He radiated self-satisfaction. He seemed to grow and expand before
her eyes. A little shadow of doubt crept across Grace Galt's
expression of friendly interest.

"Are you scared," she asked; "just the least bit?"

Jock flushed a little. "Well," he confessed ruefully, "I don't
mind telling you I am--a little."

"Good!"

"Good?"

"Yes. The head of that concern is a woman. That's one reason why
they didn't send me, I suppose. I--I'd like to say something, if
you don't mind."

"Anything you like," said Jock graciously.

"Well, then, don't be afraid of being embarrassed and fussed. If
you blush and stammer a little, she'll like it. Play up the coy
stuff."

"The coy stuff!" echoed Jock. "I hadn't thought much about my
attitude toward the--er--the lady,"--a little stiffly.

"Well, you'd better," answered Miss Galt crisply. She put out her
hand in much the same manner as Sam Hupp had used. "Good luck to
you. I'll have to ask you to go now. I'm trying to make this
magneto sound like something without which no home is complete,
and to make people see that there's as much difference between it
and every other magneto as there is between the steam shovels that
dug out the Panama Canal and the junk that the French left
there--" She stopped. Her eyes took on a far-away look. Her lips
were parted slightly. "Why, that's not a bad idea--that last. I'll
use that. I'll--"

  [Illustration: "With a jolt Jock realized she had forgotten all
  about him"]

She began to scribble rapidly on the sheet of paper before her.
With a jolt Jock McChesney realized that she had forgotten all
about him. He walked quietly to the door, opened it, shut it very
quietly, then made for the nearest telephone. He knew one woman he
could count on to be proud of him. He gave his number, waited a
little eager moment, then:

"Featherloom Petticoat Company? Mrs. McChesney." And waited again.
Then he smiled.

"You needn't sound so official," he laughed; "it's only your son.
Listen. I"--he took on an elaborate carelessness of tone--"I've
got to take a little jump out of town. On business. Oh, a day or
so. Rather important though. I'll have time to run up to the flat
and throw a few things into a bag. I'll tell you, I really ought
to keep a bag packed down here. In case of emergency, you know.
What? It's the Athena Toilette Preparations Company. Well, I
should say it is! I'll wire you. You bet. Thanks. My what? Oh,
toothbrush. No. Good-by."

So it was that at three-ten Jock McChesney took himself, his
hopes, his dread, and his smart walrus bag aboard a train that
halted and snuffed and backed, and bumped and halted with
maddening frequency. But it landed him at last in a little town
bearing the characteristics of all American little towns. It was
surprisingly full of six-cylinder cars, and five and ten-cent
stores, and banks with Doric columns, and paved streets.

After he had registered at the hotel, and as he was cleaning up a
bit, he passed an amused eye over the bare, ugly, fusty little
hotel bedroom. But somehow, as he stood in the middle of the room,
a graceful, pleasing figure of youth and confidence, the smile
faded. Towel in hand he surveyed the barrenness of it. He stared
at the impossible wall paper, at the battered furniture, the worn
carpet. He sniffed the stuffy smell of--what was that smell,
anyhow?--straw, and matting, and dust, and the ghost-odor of
hundreds who had occupied the room before him. It came over him
with something of a shock that this same sort of room had been his
mother's only home in the ten years she had spent on the road as a
traveling saleswoman for the T.A. Buck Featherloom Petticoat
Company. This was what she had left in the morning. To this she
had come back at night. As he stared ahead of him there rose
before him a mental picture of her--the brightness of her, the
sunniness, the indomitable energy, and pluck, and courage. With a
sudden burst of new determination he wadded the towel into a moist
ball, flung it at the washstand, seized hat, coat, and gloves, and
was off down the hall. So it was with something of his mother's
splendid courage in his heart, but with nothing of her canny
knowledge in his head, Jock McChesney fared forth to do battle
with the merciless god Business.

It was ten-thirty of a brilliant morning just two days later that
a buoyant young figure swung into an elevator in the great office
building that housed the Berg, Shriner Advertising Company. Just
one more grain of buoyant swing and the young man's walk might
have been termed a swagger. As it was, his walrus bag just saved
him.

Stepping out of the lift he walked, as from habit, to the little
unlettered door which admitted employes to the big, bright, inner
office. But he did not use it. Instead he turned suddenly and
walked down the hall to the double door which led into the
reception room. He threw out his legs stiffly and came down rather
flat-footed, the way George Cohan does when he's pleased with
himself in the second act.

"Hel-lo, Mack!" he called out jovially.

Mack, the usher, so called from his Machiavellian qualities,
turned to survey the radiant young figure before him.

"Good morning, Mr. McChesney," he made answer smoothly. Mack
never forgot himself. His keen eye saw the little halo of
self-satisfaction that hovered above Jock McChesney's head. "A
successful trip, I see."

Jock McChesney laughed a little, pleased, conscious laugh. "Well,
raw-thah!" he drawled, and opened the door leading into the main
office. He had been loath to lose one crumb of the savor of it.

  [Illustration: "'Well, raw-thah!' he drawled"]

Still smiling, he walked to his own desk, with a nod here and
there, dropped his bag, took off coat and hat, selected a
cigarette, tapped it smartly, lighted it, and was off down the big
room to the little cubby-hole at the other end. But Sam Hupp's
plump, keen, good-humored face did not greet him as he entered.
The little room was deserted. Frowning, Jock sank into the empty
desk chair. He cradled his head in his hands, tilted the chair,
pursed his mouth over the slender white cylinder and squinted his
eyes up toward the lazy blue spirals of smoke--the very picture
of content and satisfaction.

Hupp was in attending some conference in the Old Man's office, of
course. He wished they'd hurry. The business of the week was being
boiled-down there. Those conferences were great cauldrons into
which the day's business, or the week's, was dumped, to be boiled,
simmered, stirred, skimmed, cooled. Jock had never been privileged
to attend one of these meetings. Perhaps by this time next week he
might have a spoon in the stirring too--

There came the murmur of voices as a door was opened. The voices
came nearer. Then quick footsteps. Jock recognized them. He rose,
smiling. Sam Hupp, vibrating electric energy, breezed in.

"Oh--hello!" he said, surprised. Jock's smile widened to a grin.
"You back?"

"Hello, Hupp," he said, coolly. It was the first time that he had
omitted the prefix. "You just bet I'm back."

There flashed across Sam Hupp's face a curious little look. The
next instant it was gone.

"Well," said Jock, and took a long breath.

"Mr. Berg wants to see you."

Hupp plunged into his work.

"Me? The Old Man wants to see me?"

"Yes," snapped Hupp shortly. Then, in a new tone, "Look here, son.
If he says--" He stopped, and turned back to his work again.

"If he says what?"

"Nothing. Better run along."

"What's the hurry? I want to tell you about--"

"Better tell him."

"Oh, all right," said Jock stiffly. If that was the way they
treated a fellow who had turned his first real trick, why, very
well. He flung out of the little room and made straight for the
Old Man's office.

Seated at his great flat table desk, Bartholomew Berg did not look
up as Jock entered. This was characteristic of the Old Man.
Everything about the chief was deliberate, sure, unhurried. He
finished the work in hand as though no other person stood there
waiting his pleasure. When at last he raised his massive head he
turned his penetrating pale blue eyes full on Jock. Jock was
conscious of a little tremor running through him. People were apt
to experience that feeling when that steady, unblinking gaze was
turned upon them. And yet it was just the clear, unwavering look
with which Bartholomew Berg, farmer boy, had been wont to gaze out
across the fresh-plowed fields to the horizon beyond which lay the
city he dreamed about.

"Tell me your side of it," said Bartholomew Berg tersely.

"All of it?" Jock's confidence was returning.

"Till I stop you."

"Well," began Jock. And standing there at the side of the Old
Man's desk, his legs wide apart, his face aglow, his hands on his
hips, he plunged into his tale.

"It started off with a bang from the minute I walked into the
office of the plant and met Snyder, the advertising manager. We
shook hands and sparked--just like that." He snapped thumb and
finger. "What do you think! We belong to the same frat! He's '93.
Inside of ten minutes he and I were Si-washing around like mad. He
introduced me to his aunt. I told her who I was, and all that. But
I didn't start off by talking business. We got along from the
jump. They both insisted on showing me through the place.
I--well,"--he laughed a little ruefully,--"there's something
about being shown through a factory that sort of paralyzes my
brain. I always feel that I ought to be asking keen, alert,
intelligent questions like the ones Kipling always asks, or the
Japs when they're taken through the Stock Yards. But I never can
think of any. Well, we didn't talk business much. But I could see
that they were interested. They seemed to,"--he faltered and
blushed a little,--"to like me, you know. I played golf with
Snyder that afternoon and he beat me. Won two balls. The next
morning I found there's been a couple of other advertising men
there. And while I was talking to Snyder--he was telling me about
the time he climbed up and muffled the chapel bell--that fellow
Flynn, of the Dowd Agency, came in. Snyder excused himself, and
talked to him for--oh, half an hour, perhaps. But that was all. He
was back again in no time. After that it looked like plain
sailing. We got along wonderfully. When I left I said, 'I expect
to know you both better--'"

"I guess," interrupted the Old Man slowly, "that you'll know them
better all right." He reached out with one broad freckled hand
and turned back the page of a desk memorandum. "The Athena account
was given to the Dowd Advertising Agency yesterday."

It took Jock McChesney one minute--one long, sickening minute--to
grasp the full meaning of it all. He stared at the massive figure
before him, his mouth ludicrously open, his eyes round, his breath
for the moment suspended. Then, in a queer husky voice:

"D'you mean--the Dowd--but--they couldn't--"

"I mean," said Bartholomew Berg, "that you've scored what the
dramatic critics call a personal hit; but that doesn't get the box
office anything."

"But, Mr. Berg, they said--"

"Sit down a minute, boy." He waved one great heavy hand toward a
near-by chair. His eyes were not fixed on Jock. They gazed out of
the window toward the great white tower toward which hundreds of
thousands of eyes were turned daily--the tower, four-faced but
faithful.

"McChesney, do you know why you fell down on that Athena account?"

"Because I'm an idiot," blurted Jock. "Because I'm a
double-barreled, corn-fed, hand-picked chump and--"

"That's one reason," drawled the Old Man grimly. "But it's not the
chief one. The real reason why you didn't land that account was
because you're too darned charming."

"Charming!" Jock stared.

"Just that. Personality's one of the biggest factors in business
to-day. But there are some men who are so likable that it actually
counts against them. The client he's trying to convince is so
taken with him that he actually forgets the business he
represents. We say of a man like that that he is personality plus.
Personality is like electricity, McChesney. It's got to be tamed
to be useful."

"But I thought," said Jock, miserably, "that the idea was not to
talk business all the time."

"You've got it," agreed Berg. "But you must think it all the time.
Every minute. It's got to be working away in the back of your
head. You know it isn't always the biggest noise that gets the
biggest result. The great American hen yields a bigger income than
the Steel Trust. Look at Miss Galt. When we have a job that needs
a woman's eye do we send her? No. Why? Because she's too blame
charming. Too much personality. A man just naturally refuses to
talk business to a pretty woman unless she's so smart that--"

"My mother," interrupted Jock, suddenly, and then stopped,
surprised at himself.

"Your mother," said Bartholomew Berg slowly, "is one woman in a
million. Don't ever forget that. They don't turn out models like
Emma McChesney more than once every blue moon."

Jock got to his feet slowly. He felt heavy, old. "I suppose," he
began, "that this ends my--my advertising career."

"Ends it!" The Old Man stood up and put a heavy hand on the boy's
shoulder. "It only begins it. Unless you want to lie down and
quit. Do you?"

"Quit!" cried Jock McChesney. "Quit! Not on your white space!"

"Good!" said Bartholomew Berg, and took Jock McChesney's hand in
his own great friendly grasp.

An instinct as strong as that which had made him blatant in his
hour of triumph now caused him to avoid, in his hour of defeat,
the women-folk before whom he would fain be a hero. He avoided
Grace Galt all that long, dreary afternoon. He thought wildly of
staying down-town for the evening, of putting off the meeting with
his mother, of avoiding the dreaded explanations, excuses,
confessions.

But when he let himself into the flat at five-thirty the place was
very quiet, except for Annie, humming in a sort of nasal singsong
of content in the kitchen.

He flicked on the light in the living-room. A new magazine had
come. It lay on the table, its bright cover staring up invitingly.
He ran through its pages. By force of habit he turned to the back
pages. Ads started back at him--clothing ads, paint ads, motor
ads, ads of portable houses, and vacuum cleaners--and toilette
preparations. He shut the magazine with a vicious slap.

He flicked off the light again, for no reason except that he
seemed to like the dusk. In his own bedroom it was very quiet.

He turned on the light there, too, then turned it off. He sat down
at the edge of his bed. How was it in the stories? Oh, yes! The
cub always started out on an impossibly difficult business stunt
and came back triumphant, to be made a member of the firm at once.

A vision of his own roseate hopes and dreams rose up before him.
It grew very dark in the little room, then altogether dark. Then
an impudent square of yellow from a light turned on in the
apartment next door flung itself on the bedroom floor. Jock stared
at it moodily.

A key turned in the lock. A door opened and shut. A quick step.
Then: "Jock!" A light flashed in the living-room.

Jock sat up suddenly. He opened his mouth to answer. There issued
from his throat a strange and absurd little croak.

"Jock! Home?"

"Yes," answered Jock, and straightened up. But before he could
flick on his own light his mother stood in the doorway, a tall,
straight, buoyant figure.

"I got your wire and--Why, dear! In the dark! What--"

"Must have fallen asleep, I guess," muttered Jock. Somehow he
dreaded to turn on the lights.

And then, very quietly, Emma McChesney came in. She found him,
there in the dark, as surely as a mother bear finds her cubs in a
cave. She sat down beside him at the edge of the bed and put her
hand on his shoulder, and brought his head down gently to her
breast. And at that the room, which had been a man's room with its
pipe, its tobacco jar, its tie rack filled with cravats of
fascinating shapes and hues, became all at once a boy's room
again, and the man sitting there with straight, strong shoulders
and his little air of worldliness became in some miraculous way a
little boy again.

  [Illustration: "... became in some miraculous way a little boy
  again"]



III

DICTATED BUT NOT READ


About the time that Jock McChesney began to carry a yellow
walking-stick down to work each morning his mother noticed a
growing tendency on his part to patronize her. Now Mrs. Emma
McChesney, successful, capable business woman that she was, could
afford to regard her young son's attitude with a quiet and deep
amusement. In twelve years Emma McChesney had risen from the
humble position of stenographer in the office of the T.A. Buck
Featherloom Petticoat Company to the secretaryship of the firm. So
when her young son, backed by the profound business knowledge
gained in his one year with the Berg, Shriner Advertising Company,
hinted gently that her methods and training were archaic,
ineffectual, and lacking in those twin condiments known to the
twentieth century as pep and ginger, she would listen, eyebrows
raised, lower lip caught between her teeth--a trick which gives
a distorted expression to the features, calculated to hide any
lurking tendency to grin. Besides, though Emma McChesney was forty
she looked thirty-two (as business women do), and knew it. Her
hard-working life had brought her in contact with people, and
things, and events, and had kept her young.

  [Illustration: "Jock McChesney began to carry a yellow
  walking-stick down to work"]

"Thank fortune!" Mrs. McChesney often said, "that
I wasn't cursed with a life of ease. These
massage-at-ten-fitting-at-eleven-bridge-at-one women
always look such hags at thirty-five."

But repetition will ruin the rarest of jokes. As the weeks went on
and Jock's attitude persisted, the twinkle in Emma McChesney's eye
died. The glow of growing resentment began to burn in its place.
Now and then there crept into her eyes a little look of doubt and
bewilderment. You sometimes see that same little shocked, dazed
expression in the eyes of a woman whose husband has just said,
"Isn't that hat too young for you?"

Then, one evening, Emma McChesney's resentment flared into open
revolt. She had announced that she intended to rise half an hour
earlier each morning in order that she might walk a brisk mile or
so on her way down-town, before taking the subway.

"But won't it tire you too much, Mother?" Jock had asked with
maddeningly tender solicitude.

His mother's color heightened. Her blue eyes glowed dark.

"Look here, Jock! Will you kindly stop this lean-on-me-grandma
stuff! To hear you talk one would think I was ready for a wheel
chair and gray woolen bedroom slippers."

"Why, I didn't mean--I only thought that perhaps overexertion in a
woman of your--That is, you need your energy for--"

"Don't wallow around in it," snapped Emma McChesney. "You'll only
sink in deeper in your efforts to crawl out. I merely want to warn
you that if you persist in this pose of tender solicitude for your
doddering old mother, I'll--I'll present you with a stepfather a
year younger than you. Don't laugh. Perhaps you think I couldn't
do it."

"Good Lord, Mother! Of course you don't mean it, but--"

"Mean it! Cleverer women than I have been driven by their
children to marrying bell-boys in self-defense. I warn you!"

  [Illustration: "'Good Lord, Mother! Of course you don't
  mean it, but--'"]

That stopped it--for a while. Jock ceased to bestow upon his
mother judicious advice from the vast storehouse of his own
experience. He refrained from breaking out with elaborate
advertising schemes whereby the T.A. Buck Featherloom Petticoat
Company might grind every other skirt concern to dust. He gave
only a startled look when his mother mischievously suggested
raspberry as the color for her new autumn suit. Then, quite
suddenly, Circumstance caught Emma McChesney in the meshes and,
before she had fought her way free, wrought trouble and change
upon her.

Jock McChesney was seated in the window of his mother's office at
noon of a brilliant autumn day. A little impatient frown was
forming between his eyes. He wanted his luncheon. He had called
around expressly to take his mother out to luncheon--always a
festive occasion when taken together. But Mrs. McChesney, seated
at her desk, was bent absorbedly over a sheet of paper whereon she
was adding up two columns of figures at a time--a trick on which
she rather prided herself. She was counting aloud, her mind
leaping agilely, thus:

"Eleven, twenty-nine, forty-three, sixty, sixty-nine--" Her pencil
came down on the desk with a thwack. "SIXTY-NINE!" she repeated in
capital letters. She turned around to face Jock. "Sixty-nine!" Her
voice bristled with indignation. "Now what do you think of that!"

"I think you'd better make it an even seventy, whatever it is
you're counting up, and come on out to luncheon. I've an
appointment at two-fifteen, you know."

"Luncheon!"--she waved the paper in the air--"with this outrage on
my mind! Nectar would curdle in my system."

Jock rose and strolled lazily over to the desk. "What is it?" He
glanced idly at the sheet of paper. "Sixty-nine what?"

Mrs. McChesney pressed a buzzer at the side of her desk.
"Sixty-nine dollars, that's what! Representing two days' expenses
in the six weeks' missionary trip that Fat Ed Meyers just made for
us. And in Iowa, too."

"When you gave that fellow the job," began Jock hotly, "I told
you, and Buck told you, that--"

Mrs. McChesney interrupted wearily. "Yes, I know. You'll never
have a grander chance to say 'I told you so.' I hired him
because he was out of a job and we needed a man who knew the
Middle-Western trade, and then because--well, poor fellow, he
begged so and promised to keep straight. As though I oughtn't to
know that a pinochle-and-poker traveling man can never be anything
but a pinochle-and-poker traveling man--"

The office door opened as there appeared in answer to the buzzer a
very alert, very smiling, and very tidy office girl. Emma
McChesney had tried office boys, and found them wanting.

"Tell Mr. Meyers I want to see him."

"Just going out to lunch,"--she turned like a race horse trembling
to be off,--"putting on his overcoat in the front office. Shall
I--"

"Catch him."

"Listen here," began Jock uncomfortably; "if you're going to call
him perhaps I'd better vanish."

"To save Ed Meyers's tender feelings! You don't know him. Fat Ed
Meyers could be courtmartialed, tried, convicted, and publicly
disgraced, with his epaulets torn off, and his sword broken, and
likely as not he'd stoop down, pick up a splinter of steel to use
as a toothpick, and Castlewalk down the aisle to the tune with
which they were drumming him out of the regiment. Stay right
here. Meyers's explanation ought to be at least amusing, if not
educating."

In the corridor outside could be heard some one blithely humming
in the throaty tenor of the fat man. The humming ceased with a
last high note as the door opened and there entered Fat Ed Meyers,
rosy, cherubic, smiling, his huge frame looming mountainous in the
rippling folds of a loose-hung London plaid topcoat.

"Greetings!" boomed this cheery vision, raising one hand, palm
outward, in mystic salute. He beamed upon the frowning Jock.
"How's the infant prodigy!" The fact that Jock's frown deepened to
a scowl ruffled him not at all. "And what," went on he, crossing
his feet and leaning negligently against Mrs. McChesney's desk,
"and what can I do for thee, fair lady?"

  [Illustration: "'Greetings!'"]

"For me?" said Emma McChesney, looking up at him through narrowed
eyelids. "I'll tell you what. You can explain to me, in what
they call a few well-chosen words, just how you, or any other
living creature, could manage to turn in an expense account like
that on a six-weeks' missionary trip through the Middle West."

"Dear lady,"--in the bland tones that one uses to an unreasonable
child,--"you will need no explanation if you will just remember to
lay the stress on the word missionary. I went forth through the
Middle West to spread the light among the benighted skirt trade.
This wasn't a selling trip, dear lady. It was a buying expedition.
And I had to buy, didn't I? all the way from Michigan to Indiana."

He smiled down at her, calm, self-assured, impudent. A little
flush grew in Emma McChesney's cheeks.

"I've always said," she began, crisply, "that one could pretty
well judge a man's character, temperament, morals, and physical
make-up by just glancing at his expense account. The trouble with
you is that you haven't learned the art of spending money wisely.
It isn't always the man with the largest expense sheet that gets
the most business. And it isn't the man who leaves the greatest
number of circles on the table top in his hotel room, either."
She paused a moment. Ed Meyers's smile had lost some of its
heartiness. "Mr. Buck's out of town, as you know. He'll be back
next week. He wasn't in favor of--"

"Now, Mrs. McChesney," interrupted Ed Meyers nervously, "you know
there's always one live one in every firm, just like there's
always one star in every family. You're the--"

"I'm the one who wants to know how you could spend sixty-nine
dollars for two days' incidentals in Iowa. Iowa! Why, look here,
Ed Meyers, I made Iowa for ten years when I was on the road. You
know that. And you know, and I know, that in order to spend
sixty-nine dollars for incidentals in two days in Iowa you have to
call out the militia."

"Not when you're trying to win the love of every skirt buyer from
Sioux City to Des Moines."

Emma McChesney rose impatiently. "Oh, that's nonsense! You don't
need to do that these days. Those are old-fashioned methods.
They're out of date. They--"

At that a little sound came from Jock. Emma heard it, glanced at
him, turned away again in confusion.

"I was foolish enough in the first place to give you this job for
old times' sake," she continued hurriedly.

Fat Ed Meyers' face drooped dolefully. He cocked his round head on
one side fatuously. "For old times' sake," he repeated, with
tremulous pathos, and heaved a gusty sigh.

"Which goes to show that I need a guardian," finished Emma
McChesney cruelly. "The only old times that I can remember are
when I was selling Featherlooms, and you were out for the
Sans-Silk Skirt Company, both covering the same territory, and
both running a year-around race to see which could beat the other
at his own game. The only difference was that I always played
fair, while you played low-down whenever you had a chance."

"Now, my dear Mrs. McChesney--"

"That'll be all," said Emma McChesney, as one whose patience is
fast slipping away. "Mr. Buck will see you next week." Then,
turning to her son as the door closed on the drooping figure of
the erstwhile buoyant Meyers, "Where'll we lunch, Jock?"

"Mother," Jock broke out hotly, "why in the name of all that's
foolish do you persist in using the methods of Methuselah! People
don't sell goods any more by sending out fat old ex-traveling men
to jolly up the trade."

"Jock," repeated Emma McChesney slowly, "where--shall--we--lunch?"

It was a grim little meal, eaten almost in silence. Emma McChesney
had made it a rule to use luncheon time as a recess. She played
mental tag and hop-scotch, so that, returning to her office
refreshed in mind and body, she could attack the afternoon's work
with new vigor. And never did she talk or think business.

To-day she ate her luncheon with a forced appetite, glanced about
with a listlessness far removed from her usual alert interest, and
followed Jock's attempts at conversation with a polite effort that
was more insulting than downright inattention.

"Dessert, Mother?" Jock had to say it twice before she heard.

"What? Oh, no--I think not."

The waiter hesitated, coughed discreetly, lifted his eyebrows
insinuatingly. "The French pastry's particularly nice to-day,
madam. If you'd care to try something? Eclair, madam--peach
tart--mocha tart--caramel--"

Emma McChesney smiled. "It does sound tempting." She glanced at
Jock. "And we're wearing our gowns so floppy this year that it
makes no difference whether one's fat or not." She turned to the
waiter. "I never can tell till I see them. Bring your pastry tray,
will you?"

Jock McChesney's finger and thumb came together with a snap. He
leaned across the table toward his mother, eyes glowing, lips
parted and eager. "There! you've proved my point."

"Point?"

"About advertising. No, don't stop me. Don't you see that what
applies to pastry applies to petticoats? You didn't think of
French pastry until he suggested it to you--advertised it, really.
And then you wanted a picture of them. You wanted to know
what they looked like before buying. That's all there is to
advertising. Telling people about a thing, making 'em want it, and
showing 'em how it will look when they have it. Get me?"

Emma McChesney was gazing at Jock with a curious, fascinated
stare. It was a blank little look, such as we sometimes wear when
the mind is working furiously. If the insinuating waiter,
presenting the laden tray for her inspection, was startled by the
rapt expression which she turned upon the cunningly wrought wares,
he was too much a waiter to show it.

A pause. "That one," said Mrs. McChesney, pointing to the least
ornate. She ate it, down to the last crumb, in a silence that was
pregnant with portent. She put down her fork and sat back.

"Jock, you win. I--I suppose I have fallen out of step. Perhaps
I've been too busy watching my own feet. T.A. will be back next
week. Could your office have an advertising plan roughly sketched
by that time?"

"Could they!" His tone was exultant. "Watch 'em! Hupp's been crazy
to make Featherlooms famous."

"But look here, son. I want a hand in that copy. I know
Featherlooms better than your Sam Hupp will ever--"

Jock shook his head. "They won't stand for that, Mother. It never
works. The manufacturer always thinks he can write magic stuff
because he knows his own product. But he never can. You see, he
knows too much. That's it. No perspective."

"We'll see," said Emma McChesney curtly.

So it was that ten days later the first important conference in
the interests of the Featherloom Petticoat Company's advertising
campaign was called. But in those ten days of hurried preparation
a little silent tragedy had come about. For the first time in her
brave, sunny life Emma McChesney had lost faith in herself. And
with such malicious humor does Fate work her will that she chose
Sam Hupp's new dictagraph as the instrument with which to prick
the bubble of Mrs. McChesney's self-confidence.

Sam Hupp, one of the copy-writing marvels of the Berg, Shriner
firm, had a trick of forgetting to shut off certain necessary
currents when he paused in his dictation to throw in
conversational asides. The old and experienced stenographers, had
learned to look out for that, and to eliminate from their
typewritten letters certain irrelevant and sometimes irreverent
asides which Sam Hupp evidently had addressed to his pipe, or the
office boy, and not intended for the tube of the all-devouring
dictagraph.

There was a new and nervous little stenographer in the outer
office, and she had not been warned of this.

"We think very highly of the plan you suggest," Sam Hupp had said
into the dictagraph's mouthpiece. "In fact, in one of your
valuable copy suggestions you--"

Without changing his tone he glanced over his shoulder at his
colleague, Hopper, who was listening and approving.

"... Let the old girl think the idea is her own. She's virtually
the head of that concern, and they've spoiled her. Successful, and
used to being kowtowed to. Doesn't know her notions of copy are
ten years behind the advertising game--"

And went on with his letter again. After which he left the office
to play golf. And the little blond numbskull in the outer office
dutifully took down what the instrument had to say, word for word,
marked it, "Dictated, but not read," signed neat initials, and
with a sigh went on with the rest of her sheaf of letters.

Emma McChesney read the letter next morning. She read it down to
the end, and then again. The two readings were punctuated with a
little gasp, such as we give when an icy douche is suddenly
turned upon us. And that was all.

A week later an intent little group formed a ragged circle about
the big table in the private office of Bartholomew Berg, head of
the Berg, Shriner Advertising Company. Bartholomew Berg himself,
massive, watchful, taciturn, managing to give an impression of
power by his very silence, sat at one side of the long table. Just
across from him a sleek-haired stenographer bent over her note
book, jotting down every word, that the conference might make
business history. Hopper, at one end of the room, studied his shoe
heel intently. He was unbelievably boyish looking to command the
fabulous salary reported to be his. Advertising men, mentioning
his name, pulled a figurative forelock as they did so. Near Mrs.
McChesney sat Sam Hupp, he of the lightning brain and the
sure-fire copy. Emma McChesney, strangely silent, kept her eyes
intent on the faces of the others. T.A. Buck, interested,
enthusiastic, but somewhat uncertain, glanced now and then at his
silent business partner, found no satisfaction in her set face,
and glanced away again. Grace Galt, unbelievably young and pretty
to have won a place for herself in that conference of business
people, smiled in secret at Jock McChesney's evident struggle to
conceal his elation at being present at this, his first staff
meeting.

The conference had lasted one hour now. In that time Featherloom
petticoats had been picked to pieces, bit by bit, from hem to
waist-band. Nothing had been left untouched. Every angle had come
under the keen vision of the advertising experts--the comfort of
the garment, its durability, style, cheapness, service. Which to
emphasize?

"H--m, novelty campaign, in my opinion," said Hopper, breaking one
of his long silences. "There's nothing new in petticoats
themselves, you know. You've got to give 'em a new angle."

"Yep," agreed Hupp. "Start out with a feature skirt. Might
illustrate with one of those freak drawings they're crazy about
now--slinky figure, you know, hollow-chested, one foot trailing,
and all that. They're crazy, but they do attract attention, no
doubt of that."

Bartholomew Berg turned his head slowly. "What's your opinion,
Mrs. McChesney?" he asked.

"I--I'm afraid I haven't any," said Emma McChesney listlessly.
T.A. Buck stared at her in dismay and amazement.

"How about you, Mr. Buck?"

"Why--I--er--of course this advertising game's new to me. I'm
really leaving it in your hands. I really thought that Mrs.
McChesney's idea was to make a point of the fact that these
petticoats were not freak petticoats, but skirts for the everyday
women. She gave me what I thought was a splendid argument a week
ago." He turned to her helplessly.

Mrs. McChesney sat silent.

Bartholomew Berg leaned forward a little and smiled one of his
rare smiles.

"Won't you tell us, Mrs. McChesney? We'd all like to hear what you
have to say."

Mrs. McChesney looked down at her hands. Then she looked up, and
addressed what she had to say straight to Bartholomew Berg.

"I--simply didn't want to interfere in this business. I know
nothing about it, really. Of course, I do know Featherloom
petticoats. I know all about them. It seemed to me that just
because the newspapers and magazines were full of pictures showing
spectacular creatures in impossible attitudes wearing tango tea
skirts, we are apt to forget that those types form only a thin
upper crust, and that down beneath there are millions and millions
of regular, everyday women doing regular everyday things in
regular everyday clothes. Women who wash on Monday, and iron on
Tuesday, and bake one-egg cakes, and who have to hurry home to get
supper when they go down-town in the afternoon. They're the kind
who go to market every morning, and take the baby along in the
go-cart, and they're not wearing crêpe de chine tango petticoats
to do it in, either. They're wearing skirts with a drawstring in
the back, and a label in the band, guaranteed to last one year.
Those are the people I'd like to reach, and hold."

"Hm!" said Hopper, from his corner, cryptically.

Bartholomew Berg looked at Emma McChesney admiringly. "Sounds
reasonable and logical," he said.

Sam Hupp sat up with a jerk.

"It does sound reasonable," he said briskly. "But it isn't. Pardon
me, won't you, Mrs. McChesney? But you must realize that this is
an extravagant age. The very workingmen's wives have caught the
spending fever. The time is past when you can attract people to
your goods with the promise of durability and wear. They don't
expect goods to wear. They'd resent it if they did. They get tired
of an article before it's worn out. They're looking for novelties.
They'd rather get two months' wear out of a skirt that's slashed a
new way, than a year's wear out of one that looks like the sort
that mother used to make."

Mrs. McChesney, her cheeks very pink, her eyes very bright,
subsided into silence. In silence she sat throughout the rest of
the conference. In silence she descended in the elevator with T.A.
Buck, and in silence she stepped into his waiting car.

T.A. Buck eyed her worriedly. "Well?" he said. Then, as Mrs.
McChesney shrugged noncommittal shoulders, "Tell me, how do you
feel about it?"

Emma McChesney turned to face him, breathing rather quickly.

"The last time I felt as I do just now was when Jock was a baby.
He took sick, and the doctors were puzzled. They thought it might
be something wrong with his spine. They had a consultation--five
of them--with the poor little chap on the bed, naked. They
wouldn't let me in, so I listened in the hallway, pressed against
the door with my face to the crack. They prodded him, and poked
him, and worked his little legs and arms, and every time he cried
I prayed, and wept, and clawed the door with my fingers, and
called them beasts and torturers and begged them to let me in,
though I wasn't conscious that I was doing those things--at the
time. I didn't know what they were doing to him, though they said
it was all for his good, and they were only trying to help him.
But I only knew that I wanted to rush in, and grab him up in my
arms, and run away with him--run, and run, and run."

She stopped, lips trembling, eyes suspiciously bright.

"And that's the way I felt in there--this afternoon."

T.A. Buck reached up and patted her shoulder. "Don't, old girl!
It's going to work out splendidly, I'm sure. After all, those
chaps do know best."

"They may know best, but they don't know Featherlooms," retorted
Emma McChesney.

"True. But perhaps what Jock said when he walked with us to the
elevator was pretty nearly right. You know he said we were
criticising their copy the way a plumber would criticise the
Parthenon--so busy finding fault with the lack of drains that we
failed to see the beauty of the architecture."

"T.A.," said Emma McChesney solemnly, "T.A., we're getting old."

"Old! You! I! Ha!"

"You may 'Ha!' all you like. But do you know what they thought of
us in there? They thought we were a couple of fogies, and they
humored us, that's what they did. I'll tell you, T.A., when the
time comes for me to give Jock up to some little pink-faced girl
I'll do it, and smile if it kills me. But to hand my Featherlooms
over to a lot of cold-blooded experts who--well--" she paused,
biting her lip.

"We'll see, Emma; we'll see."

They did see. The Featherloom petticoat campaign was launched with
a great splash. It sailed serenely into the sea of national
business. Then suddenly something seemed to go wrong with its
engines. It began to wobble and showed a decided list to port.
Jock, who at the beginning was so puffed with pride that his gold
fountain pen threatened to burst the confines of his very modishly
tight vest, lost two degrees of pompousness a day, and his
attitude toward his unreproachful mother was almost humble.

A dozen times a week T.A. Buck would stroll casually into Mrs.
McChesney's office. "Think it's going to take hold?" he would ask.
"Our men say the dealers have laid in, but the public doesn't seem
to be tearing itself limb from limb to get to our stuff."

Emma McChesney would smile, and shrug noncommittal shoulders.

When it became very painfully apparent that it wasn't "taking
hold," T.A. Buck, after asking the same question, now worn and
frayed with asking, broke out, crossly:

"Well, really, I don't mind the shrug, but I do wish you wouldn't
smile. After all, you know, this campaign is costing us
money--real money, and large chunks of it. It's very evident that
we shouldn't have tried to make a national campaign of this
thing."

Whereupon Mrs. McChesney's smile grew into a laugh. "Forgive me,
T.A. I'm not laughing at you. I'm laughing because--well, I can't
tell you why. It's a woman's reason, and you wouldn't think it a
reason at all. For that matter, I suppose it isn't, but--Anyway,
I've got something to tell you. The fault of this campaign has
been the copy. It was perfectly good advertising, but it left the
public cold. When they read those ads they might have been
impressed with the charm of the garment, but it didn't fill their
breasts with any wild longing to possess one. It didn't make the
women feel unhappy until they had one of those skirts hanging on
the third hook in their closet. The only kind of advertising that
is advertising is the kind that makes the reader say, 'I'll have
one of those.'"

T.A. Buck threw out helpless hands. "What are we going to do about
it?"

"Do? I've already done it."

"Done what?"

"Written the kind of copy that I think Featherlooms ought to have.
I just took my knowledge of Featherlooms, plus what I knew about
human nature, sprinkled in a handful of good humor and sincerity,
and they're going to feed it to the public. It's the same recipe
that I used to use in selling Featherlooms on the road. It used to
go by word of mouth. I don't see why it shouldn't go on paper. It
isn't classic advertising. It isn't scientific. It isn't even what
they call psychological, I suppose. But it's human. And it's going
to reach that great, big, solid, safe, spot-cash mass known as the
middle class. Of course my copy may be wrong. It may not go, after
all, but--"

But it did go. It didn't go with a rush, or a bang. It went
slowly, surely, hand over hand, but it went, and it kept on going.
And watching it climb and take hold there came back to Emma
McChesney's eye the old sparkle, to her step the old buoyancy, to
her voice the old delightful ring. And now, when T.A. Buck
strolled into her office of a morning, with his, "It's taking
hold, Mrs. Mack," she would dimple like a girl as she laughed back
at him--

"With a grip that won't let go."

"It looks very much as though we were going to be millionaires in
our old age, you and I?" went on Buck.

Emma McChesney opened her eyes wide.

"Old!" she mocked, "Old! You! I! Ha!"



IV

THE MAN WITHIN HIM


They used to do it much more picturesquely. They rode in coats of
scarlet, in the crisp, clear morning, to the winding of horns and
the baying of hounds, to the thud-thud of hoofs, and the crackle
of underbrush. Across fresh-plowed fields they went, crashing
through forest paths, leaping ditches, taking fences, scrambling
up the inclines, pelting down the hillside, helter-skelter, until,
panting, wide-eyed, eager, blood-hungry, the hunt closed in at the
death.

The scarlet coat has sobered down to the somber gray and the
snuffy brown of that unromantic garment known as the business
suit. The winding horn is become a goblet, and its notes are the
tinkle of ice against glass. The baying of hounds has harshened to
the squawk of the motor siren. The fresh-plowed field is a blue
print, the forest maze a roll of plans and specifications. Each
fence is a business barrier. Every ditch is of a competitor's
making, dug craftily so that the clumsy-footed may come a cropper.
All the romance is out of it, all the color, all the joy. But two
things remain the same: The look in the face of the hunter as he
closed in on the fox is the look in the face of him who sees the
coveted contract lying ready for the finishing stroke of his pen.
And his words are those of the hunter of long ago as, eyes
a-gleam, teeth bared, muscles still taut with the tenseness of the
chase, he waves the paper high in air and cries, "I've made a
killing!"

For two years Jock McChesney had watched the field as it swept by
in its patient, devious, cruel game of Hunt the Contract. But he
had never been in at the death. Those two years had taught him how
to ride; to take a fence; to leap a ditch. He had had his awkward
bumps, and his clumsy falls. He had lost his way more than once.
But he had always groped his way back again, stumblingly, through
the dusk. Jock McChesney was the youngest man on the Berg, Shriner
Advertising Company's big staff of surprisingly young men. So
young that the casual glance did not reveal to you the marks that
the strain of those two years had left on his boyish face. But the
marks were there.

Nature etches with the most delicate of points. She knows the
cunning secret of light and shadow. You scarcely realize that she
has been at work. A faint line about the mouth, a fairy tracing at
the corners of the eyes, a mere vague touch just at the
nostrils--and the thing is done.

Even Emma McChesney's eyes--those mother-eyes which make the lynx
seem a mole--had failed to note the subtle change. Then, suddenly,
one night, the lines leaped out at her.

They were seated at opposite sides of the book-littered library
table in the living-room of the cheerful up-town apartment which
was the realization of the nightly dream which Mrs. Emma McChesney
had had in her ten years on the road for the T.A. Buck Featherloom
Petticoat Company. Jock McChesney's side of the big table was
completely covered with the mass of copy-paper, rough sketches,
photographs and drawings which make up an advertising lay-out. He
was bent over the work, absorbed, intent, his forearms resting on
the table. Emma McChesney glanced up from her magazine just as
Jock bent forward to reach a scrap of paper that had fluttered
away. The lamplight fell full on his face. And Emma McChesney saw.
The hand that held the magazine fell to her lap. Her lips were
parted slightly. She sat very quietly, her eyes never leaving the
face that frowned so intently over the littered table. The room
had been very quiet before--Jock busy with his work, his mother
interested in her magazine. But this silence was different. There
was something electric in it. It was a silence that beats on the
brain like a noise. Jock McChesney, bent over his work, heard it,
felt it, and, oppressed by it, looked up suddenly. He met those
two eyes opposite.

"Spooks? Or is it my godlike beauty which holds you thus? Or is my
face dirty?"

Emma McChesney did not smile. She laid her magazine on the table,
face down, and leaned forward, her staring eyes still fixed on her
son's face.

"Look here, young 'un. Are you working too hard?"

"Me? Now? This stuff you mean--?"

"No; I mean in the last year. Are they piling it up on you?"

Jock laughed a laugh that was nothing less than a failure, so
little of real mirth did it contain.

"Piling it up! Lord, no! I wish they would. That's the trouble.
They don't give me a chance."

"A chance! Why, that's not true, son. You've said yourself that
there are men who have been in the office three times as long as
you have, who never have had the opportunities that they've given
you."

It was as though she had touched a current that thrilled him to
action. He pushed back his chair and stood up, one hand thrust
into his pocket, the other passing quickly over his head from brow
to nape with a quick, nervous gesture that was new to him.

"And why!" he flung out. "Why! Not because they like the way I
part my hair. They don't do business that way up there. It's
because I've made good, and those other dubs haven't. That's why.
They've let me sit in at the game. But they won't let me take any
tricks. I've been an apprentice hand for two years now. I'm tired
of it. I want to be in on a killing. I want to taste blood. I want
a chance at some of the money--real money."

Emma McChesney sat back in her chair and surveyed the angry figure
before her with quiet, steady eyes.

"I might have known that only one thing could bring those lines
into your face, son." She paused a moment. "So you want money as
badly as all that, do you?"

Jock's hand came down with a thwack on the papers before him.

"Want it! You just bet I want it."

"Do I know her?" asked Emma McChesney quietly.

Jock stopped short in his excited pacing up and down the room.

"Do you know--Why, I didn't say there--What makes you think
that--?"

"When a youngster like you, whose greatest worry has been whether
Harvard'll hold 'em again this year, with Baxter out, begins to
howl about not being appreciated in business, and to wear a late
fall line of wrinkles where he has been smooth before, I feel
justified in saying, 'Do I know her?'"

"Well, it isn't any one--at least, it isn't what you mean you
think it is when you say you--"

"Careful there! You'll trip. Never you mind what I mean I think it
is when I say. Count ten, and then just tell me what you think you
mean."

Jock passed his hand over his head again with that nervous little
gesture. Then he sat down, a little wearily. He stared moodily
down at the pile of papers before him: His mother faced him
quietly across the table.

"Grace Galt's getting twice as much as I am," Jock broke out, with
savage suddenness. "The first year I didn't mind. A fellow gets
accustomed, these days, to see women breaking into all the
professions and getting away with men-size salaries. But her pay
check doubles mine--more than doubles it."

"It's been my experience," observed Emma McChesney, "that when a
firm condescends to pay a woman twice as much as a man, that means
she's worth six times as much."

A painful red crept into Jock's face. "Maybe. Two years ago that
would have sounded reasonable to me. Two years ago, when I walked
down Broadway at night, a fifty-foot electric sign at Forty-second
was just an electric sign to me. Just part of the town's
decoration like the chorus girls, and the midnight theater crowds.
Now--well, now every blink of every red and yellow globe is
crammed full of meaning. I know the power that advertising has;
how it influences our manners, and our morals, and our minds, and
our health. It regulates the food we eat, and the clothes we wear,
and the books we read, and the entertainment we seek. It's
colossal, that's what it is! It's--"

"Keep on like that for another two years, sonny, and no business
banquet will be complete without you. The next thing you know
you'll be addressing the Y.M.C.A. advertising classes on The Young
Man in Business."

Jock laughed a rueful little laugh. "I didn't mean to make
a speech. I was just trying to say that I've served my
apprenticeship. It hurts a fellow's pride. You can't hold your
head up before a girl when you know her salary's twice yours, and
you know that she knows it. Why look at Mrs. Hoffman, who's with
the Dowd Agency. Of course she's a wonder, even if her face does
look like the fifty-eighth variety. She can write copy that lifts
a campaign right out of the humdrum class, and makes it luminous.
Her husband works in a bank somewhere. He earns about as much as
Mrs. Hoffman pays the least of her department subordinates. And
he's so subdued that he side-steps when he walks, and they call
him the human jelly-fish."

Emma McChesney was regarding her son with a little puzzled frown.
Suddenly she reached out and tapped the topmost of the scribbled
sheets strewn the length of Jock's side of the table.

"What's all this?"

Jock tipped back his chair and surveyed the clutter before him.

"That," said he, "is what is known on the stage as 'the papers.'
And it's the real plot of this piece."

"M-m-m--I thought so. Just favor me with a scenario, will you?"

Half-grinning, half-serious, Jock stuck his thumbs in the armholes
of his waistcoat, and began.

"Scene: Offices of the Berg, Shriner Advertising Company. Time,
the present. Characters: Jock McChesney, handsome, daring,
brilliant--"

"Suppose you--er--skip the characters, however fascinating, and
get to the action."

Jock McChesney brought the tipped chair down on all-fours with a
thud, and stood up. The grin was gone. He was as serious as he had
been in the midst of his tirade of five minutes before.

"All right. Here it is. And don't blame me if it sounds like cheap
melodrama. This stuff," and he waved a hand toward the paper-laden
table, "is an advertising campaign plan for the Griebler Gum
Company, of St. Louis. Oh, don't look impressed. The office hasn't
handed me any such commission. I just got the idea like a flash,
and I've been working it out for the last two weeks. It worked
itself out, almost--the way a really scorching idea does,
sometimes. This Griebler has been advertising for years. You
know the Griebler gum. But it hasn't been the right sort of
advertising. Old Griebler, the original gum man, had fogy notions
about advertising, and as long as he lived they had to keep it
down. He died a few months ago--you must have read of it. Left a
regular mint. Ben Griebler, the oldest son, started right in to
clean out the cobwebs. Of course the advertising end of it has
come in for its share of the soap and water. He wants to make a
clean sweep of it. Every advertising firm in the country has been
angling for the contract. It's going to be a real one. Two-thirds
of the crowd have submitted plans. And that's just where my kick
comes in. The Berg, Shriner Company makes it a rule never to
submit advance plans."

"Excuse me if I seem a trifle rude," interrupted Mrs. McChesney,
"but I'd like to know where you think you've been wronged in
this."

"Right here!" replied Jock, and he slapped his pocket, "and here,"
he pointed to his head. "Two spots so vital that they make old
Achilles's heel seem armor-plated. Ben Griebler is one of the
show-me kind. He wants value received for money expended, and
while everybody knows that he has a loving eye on the Berg,
Shriner crowd, he won't sign a thing until he knows what he's
getting. A firm's record, standing, staff, equipment, mean nothing
to him."

"But, Jock, I still don't see--"

Jock gathered up a sheaf of loose papers and brandished them in
the air. "This is where I come in. I've got a plan here that will
fetch this Griebler person. Oh, I'm not dreaming. I outlined it
for Sam Hupp, and he was crazy about it. Sam Hupp had some sort of
plan outlined himself. But he said this made his sound as dry as
cigars in Denver. And you know yourself that Sam Hupp's copy is so
brilliant that he could sell brewery advertising to a temperance
magazine."

Emma McChesney stood up. She looked a little impatient, and a
trifle puzzled. "But why all this talk! I don't get you. Take your
plan to Mr. Berg. If it's what you think it is he'll see it
quicker than any other human being, and he'll probably fall on
your neck and invest you in royal robes and give you a mahogany
desk all your own."

"Oh, what's the good!" retorted Jock disgustedly. "This Griebler
has an appointment at the office to-morrow. He'll be closeted with
the Old Man. They'll call in Hupp. But never a plan will they
reveal. It's against their code of ethics. Ethics! I'm sick of the
word. I suppose you'd say I'm lucky to be associated with a firm
like that, and I suppose I am. But I wish in the name of all the
gods of Business that they weren't so bloomin' conservative.
Ethics! They're all balled up in 'em, like Henry James in his
style."

Emma McChesney came over from her side of the table and stood very
close to her son. She laid one hand very lightly on his arm and
looked up into the sullen, angry young face.

  [Illustration: "She laid one hand very lightly on his arm and
  looked up into the sullen, angry young face"]

"I've seen older men than you are, Jock, and better men, and
bigger men, wearing that same look, and for the same reason. Every
ambitious man or woman in business wears it at one time or
another. Sooner or later, Jock, you'll have your chance at the
money end of this game. If you don't care about the thing you call
ethics, it'll be sooner. If you do care, it will be later. It
rests with you, but it's bound to come, because you've got the
stuff in you."

"Maybe," replied Jock the cynical. But his face lost some of its
sullenness as he looked down at that earnest, vivid countenance
up-turned to his. "Maybe. It sounds all right, Mother--in the
story books. But I'm not quite solid on it. These days it isn't
so much what you've got in you that counts as what you can bring
out. I know the young man's slogan used to be 'Work and Wait,' or
something pretty like that. But these days they've boiled it down
to one word--'Produce'!"

"The marvel of it is that there aren't more of 'em," observed Emma
McChesney sadly.

"More what?"

"More lines. Here,"--she touched his forehead,--"and here,"--she
touched his eyes.

"Lines!" Jock swung to face a mirror. "Good! I'm so infernally
young-looking that no one takes me seriously. It's darned hard
trying to convince people you're a captain of finance when you
look like an errand boy."

From the center of the room Mrs. McChesney watched the boy as he
surveyed himself in the glass. And as she gazed there came a
frightened look into her eyes. It was gone in a minute, and in its
place came a curious little gleam, half amused, half pugnacious.

"Jock McChesney, if I thought that you meant half of what you've
said to-night about honor, and ethics, and all that, I'd--"

"Spank me, I suppose," said the young six-footer.

"No," and all the humor had fled, "I--Jock, I've never said much
to you about your father. But I think you know that he was what he
was to the day of his death. You were just about eight when I made
up my mind that life with him was impossible. I said then--and you
were all I had, son--that I'd rather see you dead than to have you
turn out to be a son of your father. Don't make me remember that
wish, Jock."

Two quick steps and his arms were about her. His face was all
contrition. "Why--Mother! I didn't mean--You see this is business,
and I'm crazy to make good, and it's such a fight--"

"Don't I know it?" demanded Emma McChesney. "I guess your mother
hasn't been sitting home embroidering lunchcloths these last
fifteen years." She lifted her head from the boy's shoulder. "And
now, son, considering me, not as your doting mother, but in my
business capacity as secretary of the T.A. Buck Featherloom
Petticoat Company, suppose you reveal to me the inner workings of
this plan of yours. I'd like to know if you really are the
advertising wizard that you think you are."

So it was that long after Annie's dinner dishes had ceased to
clatter in the kitchen; long after she had put her head in at the
door to ask, "Aigs 'r cakes for breakfast?" long after those two
busy brains should have rested in sleep, the two sat at either
side of the light-flooded table, the face of one glowing as he
talked, the face of the other sparkling as she listened. And at
midnight:

"Why, you infant wonder!" exclaimed Emma McChesney.

At nine o'clock next morning when Jock McChesney entered the
offices of the Berg, Shriner Advertising Company he carried a
flat, compact bundle of papers under his arm encased in protecting
covers of pasteboard, and further secured by bands of elastic.
This he carried to his desk, deposited in a drawer, and locked the
drawer.

By eleven o'clock the things which he had predicted the night
before had come to pass. A plump little man, with a fussy manner
and Western clothes had been ushered into Bartholomew Berg's
private office. Instinct told him that this was Griebler. Jock
left his desk and strolled up to get the switchboard operator's
confirmation of his guess. Half an hour later Sam Hupp hustled by
and disappeared into the Old Man's sanctum.

Jock fingered the upper left-hand drawer of his desk. The
maddening blankness of that closed door! If only he could find
some excuse for walking into that room--any old excuse, no matter
how wild!--just to get a chance at it--

His telephone rang. He picked up the receiver, his eye on the
closed door, his thoughts inside that room.

"Mr. Berg wants to see you right away," came the voice of the
switchboard operator.

Something seemed to give way inside--something in the region of
his brain--no, his heart--no, his lungs--

"Well, can you beat that!" said Jock McChesney aloud, in a kind of
trance of joy. "Can--you--beat--that!"

Then he buttoned the lower button of his coat, shrugged his
shoulders with an extra wriggle at the collar (the modern hero's
method of girding up his loins), and walked calmly into
Bartholomew Berg's very private office.

In the second that elapsed between the opening and the closing of
the door Jock's glance swept the three men--Bartholomew Berg,
quiet, inscrutable, seated at his great table-desk; Griebler, lost
in the depths of a great leather chair, smoking fussily and
twitching with a hundred little restless, irritating gestures; Sam
Hupp, standing at the opposite side of the room, hands in pockets,
attitude argumentative.

"This is Mr. McChesney," said Bartholomew Berg. "Mr. Griebler,
McChesney."

Jock came forward, smiling that charming smile of his. "Mr.
Griebler," he said, extending his hand, "this is a great
pleasure."

"Hm!" growled Ben Griebler, "I didn't know they picked 'em so
young."

His voice was a piping falsetto that somehow seemed to match his
restless little eyes.

Jock thrust his hands hurriedly into his pockets. He felt his face
getting scarlet.

"They're--ah--using 'em young this year," said Bartholomew Berg.
His voice sounded bigger, and smoother, and pleasanter than ever
in contrast with that other's shrill tone. "I prefer 'em young,
myself. You'll never catch McChesney using 'in the last analysis'
to drive home an argument. He has a new idea about every nineteen
minutes, and every other one's a good one, and every nineteenth
or so's an inspiration." The Old Man laughed one of his low,
chuckling laughs.

"Hm--that so?" piped Ben Griebler. "Up in my neck of the woods we
aren't so long on inspiration. We're just working men, and we wear
working clothes--"

"Oh, now," protested Berg, his eyes twinkling, "McChesney's
necktie and socks and handkerchief may form one lovely, blissful
color scheme, but that doesn't signify that his advertising
schemes are not just as carefully and artistically blended."

Ben Griebler looked shrewdly up at Jock through narrowed lids.
"Maybe. I'll talk to you in a minute, young man--that is--" he
turned quickly upon Berg--"if that isn't against your crazy
principles, too?"

"Why, not at all," Bartholomew Berg assured him. "Not at all. You
do me an injustice."

Griebler moved up closer to the broad table. The two fell into a
low-voiced talk. Jock looked rather helplessly around at Sam Hupp.
That alert gentleman was signaling him frantically with head and
wagging finger. Jock crossed the big room to Hupp's side. The two
moved off to a window at the far end.

"Give heed to your Unkie," said Sam Hupp, talking very rapidly,
very softly, and out of one corner of his mouth. "This Griebler's
looking for an advertising manager. He's as pig-headed as
a--a--well, as a pig, I suppose. But it's a corking chance,
youngster, and the Old Man's just recommended you--strong. Now--"

"Me--!" exploded Jock.

"Shut up!" hissed Hupp. "Two or three years with that firm would
be the making of you--if you made good, of course. And you could.
They want to move their factory here from St. Louis within the
next few years. Now listen. When he talks to you, you play up the
keen, alert stuff with a dash of sophistication, see? If you can
keep your mouth shut and throw a kind of a canny, I-get-you, look
into your eyes, all the better. He's gabby enough for two. Try a
line of talk that is filled with the fire and enthusiasm of
youth, combined with the good judgment and experience of middle
age, and you've--"

"Say, look here," stammered Jock. "Even if I was Warfield enough
to do all that, d'you honestly think--me an advertising
manager!--with a salary that Griebler--"

"You nervy little shrimp, go in and win. He'll pay five thousand
if he pays a cent. But he wants value for money expended. Now I've
tipped you off. You make your killing--"

"Oh, McChesney!" called Bartholomew Berg, glancing round.

"Yes, sir!" said Jock, and stood before him in the same moment.

"Mr. Griebler is looking for a competent, enthusiastic,
hard-working man as advertising manager. I've spoken to him of
you. I know what you can do. Mr. Griebler might trust my judgment
in this, but--"

"I'll trust my own judgment," snapped Ben Griebler. "It's good
enough for me."

"Very well," returned Bartholomew Berg suavely. "And if you decide
to place your advertising future in the hands of the Berg, Shriner
Company--"

"Now look here," interrupted Ben Griebler again. "I'll tie up
with you people when you've shaken something out of your cuffs.
I'm not the kind that buys a pig in a poke. We're going to spend
money--real money--in this campaign of ours. But I'm not such a
come-on as to hand you half a million or so and get a promise in
return. I want your plans, and I want 'em in full."

A little exclamation broke from Sam Hupp. He checked it, but not
before Berg's curiously penetrating pale blue eyes had glanced up
at him, and away again.

"I've told you, Mr. Griebler," went on Bartholomew Berg's patient
voice, "just why the thing you insist on is impossible. This firm
does not submit advance copy. Every business commission that comes
to us is given all the skill, and thought, and enthusiasm, and
careful planning that this office is capable of. You know our
record. This is a business of ideas. And ideas are too precious,
too perishable, to spread in the market place for all to see."

Ben Griebler stood up. His cigar waggled furiously between his
lips as he talked.

"I know something else that don't stand spreading in the market
place, Berg. And that's money. It's too darned perishable, too."
He pointed a stubby finger at Jock. "Does this fool rule of yours
apply to this young fellow, too?"

Bartholomew Berg seemed to grow more patient, more self-contained
as the other man's self-control slipped rapidly away.

"It goes for every man and woman in this office, Mr. Griebler.
This young chap, McChesney here, might spend weeks and months
building up a comprehensive advertising plan for you. He'd spend
those weeks studying your business from every possible angle.
Perhaps it would be a plan that would require a year of waiting
before the actual advertising began to appear. And then you might
lose faith in the plan. A waiting game is a hard game to play.
Some other man's idea, that promised quicker action, might appeal
to you. And when it appeared we'd very likely find our own
original idea incorporated in--"

"Say, look here!" squeaked Ben Griebler, his face dully red.
"D'you mean to imply that I'd steal your plan! D'you mean to sit
there and tell me to my face--"

"Mr. Griebler, I mean that that thing happens constantly in this
business. We're almost powerless to stop it. Nothing spreads
quicker than a new idea. Compared to it a woman's secret is a
sealed book."

Ben Griebler removed the cigar from his lips. He was stuttering
with anger. With a mingling of despair and boldness Jock saw the
advantage of that stuttering moment and seized on it. He stepped
close to the broad table-desk, resting both hands on it and
leaning forward slightly in his eagerness.

"Mr. Berg--I have a plan. Mr. Hupp can tell you. It came to me
when I first heard that the Grieblers were going to broaden out.
It's a real idea. I'm sure of that. I've worked it out in detail.
Mr. Hupp himself said it--Why, I've got the actual copy. And it's
new. Absolutely. It never--"

"Trot it out!" shouted Ben Griebler. "I'd like to see one idea
anyway, around this shop."

"McChesney," said Bartholomew Berg, not raising his voice. His
eyes rested on Jock with the steady, penetrating gaze that was
peculiar to him. More foolhardy men than Jock McChesney had
faltered and paused, abashed, under those eyes. "McChesney, your
enthusiasm for your work is causing you to forget one thing that
must never be forgotten in this office."

Jock stepped back. His lower lip was caught between his teeth. At
the same moment Ben Griebler snatched up his hat from the table,
clapped it on his head at an absurd angle and, bristling like a
fighting cock, confronted the three men.

"I've got a couple of rules myself," he cried, "and don't you
forget it. When you get a little spare time, you look up St. Louis
and find out what state it's in. The slogan of that state is my
slogan, you bet. If you think I'm going to make you a present of
the money that it took my old man fifty years to pile up, then you
don't know that Griebler is a German name. Good day, gents."

He stalked to the door. There he turned dramatically and leveled a
forefinger at Jock. "They've got you roped and tied. But I think
you're a comer. If you change your mind, kid, come and see me."

The door slammed behind him.

"Whew!" whistled Sam Hupp, passing a handkerchief over his bald
spot.

Bartholomew Berg reached out with one great capable hand and swept
toward him a pile of papers. "Oh, well, you can't blame him.
Advertising has been a scream for so long. Griebler doesn't know
the difference between advertising, publicity, and bunk. He'll
learn. But it'll be an awfully expensive course. Now, Hupp, let's
go over this Kalamazoo account. That'll be all, McChesney."

Jock turned without a word. He walked quickly through the outer
office, into the great main room. There he stopped at the
switchboard.

"Er--Miss Grimes," he said, smiling charmingly. "Where's this Mr.
Griebler, of St. Louis, stopping; do you know?"

"Say, where would he stop?" retorted the wise Miss Grimes. "Look
at him! The Waldorf, of course."

"Thanks," said Jock, still smiling. And went back to his desk.

At five Jock left the office. Under his arm he carried the flat
pasteboard package secured by elastic bands. At five-fifteen he
walked swiftly down the famous corridor of the great red stone
hotel. The colorful glittering crowd that surged all about him he
seemed not to see. He made straight for the main desk with its
battalion of clerks.

  [Illustration: "He made straight for the main desk with its
  battalion of clerks"]

"Mr. Griebler in? Mr. Ben Griebler, St. Louis?"

The question set in motion the hotel's elaborate system of
investigation. At last: "Not in."

"Do you know when he will be in?" That futile question.

"Can't say. He left no word. Do you want to leave your name?"

"N-no. Would he--does he stop at this desk when he comes in?"

He was an unusually urbane hotel clerk. "Why, usually they leave
their keys and get their mail from the floor clerk. But Mr.
Griebler seems to prefer the main desk."

"I'll--wait," said Jock. And seated in one of the great thronelike
chairs, he waited. He sat there, slim and boyish, while the
laughing, chattering crowd swept all about him. If you sit long
enough in that foyer you will learn all there is to learn about
life. An amazing sight it is--that crowd. Baraboo helps swell it,
and Spokane, and Berlin, and Budapest, and Pekin, and Paris, and
Waco, Texas. So varied it is, so cosmopolitan, that if you sit
there patiently enough, and watch sharply enough you will even see
a chance New Yorker.

From door to desk Jock's eyes swept. The afternoon-tea crowd, in
paradise feathers, and furs, and frock coats swam back and forth.
He saw it give way to the dinner throng, satin-shod, bejeweled,
hurrying through its oysters, swallowing unbelievable numbers of
cloudy-amber drinks, and golden-brown drinks, and maroon drinks,
then gathering up its furs and rushing theaterwards. He was still
sitting there when that crowd, its eight o'clock freshness
somewhat sullied, its sparkle a trifle dimmed, swept back for more
oysters, more cloudy-amber and golden-brown drinks.

At half-hour intervals, then at hourly intervals, the figure in
the great chair stirred, rose, and walked to the desk.

"Has Mr. Griebler come in?"

The supper throng, its laugh a little ribald, its talk a shade
high-pitched, drifted towards the street, or was wafted up in
elevators. The throng thinned to an occasional group. Then these
became rarer and rarer. The revolving door admitted one man, or
two, perhaps, who lingered not at all in the unaccustomed quiet of
the great glittering lobby.

The figure of the watcher took on a pathetic droop. The eyelids
grew leaden. To open them meant an almost superhuman effort. The
stare of the new night clerks grew more and more hostile and
suspicious. A grayish pallor had settled down on the boy's face.
And those lines of the night before stood out for all to see.

In the stillness of the place the big revolving door turned once
more, complainingly. For the thousandth time Jock's eyes
lifted heavily. Then they flew wide open. The drooping figure
straightened electrically. Half a dozen quick steps and Jock stood
in the pathway of Ben Griebler who, rather ruffled and untidy, had
blown in on the wings of the morning.

He stared a moment. "Well, what--"

"I've been waiting for you here since five o'clock last evening.
It will soon be five o'clock again. Will you let me show you those
plans now?"

Ben Griebler had surveyed Jock with the stony calm of the
out-of-town visitor who is prepared to show surprise at nothing in
New York.

"There's nothing like getting an early start," said Ben Griebler.
"Come on up to my room." Key in hand, he made for the elevator.
For an almost imperceptible moment Jock paused. Then, with a
little rush, he followed the short, thick-set figure. "I knew you
had it in you, McChesney. I said you looked like a comer, didn't
I?"

Jock said nothing. He was silent while Griebler unlocked his door,
turned on the light, fumbled at the windows and shades, picked up
the telephone receiver. "What'll you have?"

"Nothing." Jock had cleared the center table and was opening his
flat bundle of papers. He drew up two chairs. "Let's not waste any
time," he said. "I've had a twelve-hour wait for this." He seemed
to control the situation. Obediently Ben Griebler hung up the
receiver, came over, and took the chair very close to Jock.

  [Illustration: "'Let's not waste any time,' he said"]

"There's nothing artistic about gum," began Jock McChesney; and
his manner was that of a man who is sure of himself. "It's a
shirt-sleeve product, and it ought to be handled from a
shirt-sleeve standpoint. Every gum concern in the country has
spent thousands on a 'better-than-candy' campaign before it
realized that gum is a candy and drug store article, and that no
man is going to push a five-cent package of gum at the sacrifice
of the sale of an eighty-cent box of candy. But the health note is
there, if only you strike it right. Now, here's my idea--"

At six o'clock Ben Griebler, his little shrewd eyes sparkling, his
voice more squeakily falsetto than ever, surveyed the youngster
before him with a certain awe.

"This--this thing will actually sell our stuff in Europe! No gum
concern has ever been able to make the stuff go outside of this
country. Why, inside of three years every 'Arry and 'Arriet in
England'll be chewing it on bank holidays. I don't know about
Germany, but--" He pushed back his chair and got up. "Well, I'm
solid on that. And what I say goes. Now I'll tell you what I'll
do, kid. I'll take you down to St. Louis with me, at a figure
that'll make your--"

Jock looked up.

"Or if you don't want the Berg, Shriner crowd to get wise, I'll
fix it this way. I'll go over there this morning and tell 'em I've
changed my mind, see? The campaign's theirs, see? Then I refuse
to consider any of their suggestions until I see your plan. And
when I see it I fall for it like a ton of bricks. Old Berg'll
never know. He's so darned high-principled--"

Jock McChesney stood up. The little drawn pinched look which had
made his face so queerly old was gone. His eyes were bright. His
face was flushed.

"There! You've said it. I didn't realize how raw this deal was
until you put it into words for me. I want to thank you. You're
right. Bartholomew Berg is so darned high-principled that two
muckers like you and me, groveling around in the dirt, can't even
see the tips of the heights to which his ideals have soared. Don't
stop me. I know I'm talking like a book. But I feel like something
that has just been kicked out into the sunshine after having been
in jail."

"You're tired," said Ben Griebler. "It's been a strain. Something
always snaps after a long tension."

Jock's flat palm came down among the papers with a crack.

"You bet something snaps! It has just snapped inside me." He
began quietly to gather up the papers in an orderly little way.

"What's that for?" inquired Griebler, coming forward. "You don't
mean--"

"I mean that I'm going to go home and square this thing with a
lady you've never met. You and she wouldn't get on if you did. You
don't talk the same language. Then I'm going to have a cold bath,
and a hot breakfast. And then, Griebler, I'm going to take this
stuff to Bartholomew Berg and tell him the whole nasty business.
He'll see the humor of it. But I don't know whether he'll fire me,
or make me vice-president of the company. Now, if you want to come
over and talk to him, fair and square, why come."

"Ten to one he fires you," remarked Griebler, as Jock reached the
door.

"There's only one person I know who's game enough to take you up
on that. And it's going to take more nerve to face her at
six-thirty than it will to tackle a whole battalion of Bartholomew
Bergs at nine."

"Well, I guess I can get in a three-hour sleep before--er--"

"Before what?" said Jock McChesney from the door.

Ben Griebler laughed a little shamefaced laugh. "Before I see you
at ten, sonny."



V

THE SELF-STARTER


There is nothing in the sound of the shrill little bell to warn us
of the import of its message. More's the pity. It may be that bore
whose telephone conversation begins: "Well, what do you know
to-day?" It may be your lawyer to say you've inherited a million.
Hence the arrogance of the instrument. It knows its voice will
never wilfully go unanswered so long as the element of chance lies
concealed within it.

Mrs. Emma McChesney heard the call of her telephone across the
hall. Seated in the office of her business partner, T.A. Buck, she
was fathoms deep in discussion of the T.A. Buck Featherloom
Petticoat Company's new spring line. The buzzer's insistent
voice brought her to her feet, even while she frowned at the
interruption.

"That'll be Baumgartner 'phoning about those silk swatches. Back
in a minute," said Emma McChesney and hurried across the hall just
in time to break the second call.

The perfunctory "Hello! Yes" was followed by a swift change of
countenance, a surprised little cry, then,--in quite another
tone--"Oh, it's you, Jock! I wasn't expecting ... No, not too
busy to talk to you, you young chump! Go on." A moment of silence,
while Mrs. McChesney's face smiled and glowed like a girl's as she
listened to the voice of her son. Then suddenly glow and smile
faded. She grew tense. Her head, that had been leaning so
carelessly on the hand that held the receiver, came up with a
jerk. "Jock McChesney!" she gasped, "you--why, you don't mean!--"

Now, Emma McChesney was not a woman given to jerky conversations,
interspersed with exclamation points. Her poise and balance had
become a proverb in the business world. Yet her lips were
trembling now. Her eyes were very round and bright. Her face had
flushed, then grown white. Her voice shook a little. "Yes, of
course I am. Only, I'm so surprised. Yes, I'll be home early.
Five-thirty at the latest."

She hung up the receiver with a little fumbling gesture. Her hand
dropped to her lap, then came up to her throat a moment, dropped
again. She sat staring straight ahead with eyes that saw one
thousand miles away.

From his office across the hall T.A. Buck strolled in casually.

"Did Baumgartner say he'd--?" He stopped as Mrs. McChesney looked
up at him. A quick step forward--"What's the matter, Emma?"

"Jock--Jock--"

"Jock! What's happened to the boy?" Then, as she still stared at
him, her face pitiful, his hand patted her shoulder. "Dear girl,
tell me." He bent over her, all solicitude.

"Don't!" said Emma McChesney faintly, and shook off his hand.
"Your stenographer can see--What will the office think? Please--"

"Oh, darn the stenographer! What's this bad news of Jock?"

Emma McChesney sat up. She smiled a little nervously and passed
her handkerchief across her lips. "I didn't say it was bad, did I?
That is, not exactly bad, I suppose."

T.A. Buck ran a frenzied hand over his head. "My dear child,"
with careful politeness, "will you please try to be sane? I find
you sitting at your desk, staring into space, your face white as a
ghost's, your whole appearance that of a person who has received a
death-blow. And then you say, 'Not exactly bad'!"

"It's this," explained Emma McChesney in a hollow tone: "The Berg,
Shriner Advertising Company has appointed Jock manager of their
new Western branch. They're opening offices in Chicago in March."
Her lower lip quivered. She caught it sharply between her teeth.

For one surprised moment T.A. Buck stared in silence. Then a roar
broke from him. "Not exactly bad!" he boomed between laughs. "Not
exactly b--Not ex_act_ly, eh?" Then he was off again.

Mrs. McChesney surveyed him in hurt and dignified silence.
Then--"Well, really, T.A., don't mind me. What you find so
exquisitely funny--"

"That's the funniest part of it! That you, of all people,
shouldn't see the joke. Not exactly bad!" He wiped his eyes. "Why,
do you mean to tell me that because your young cub of a son, by a
heaven-sent stroke of good fortune, has landed a job that men
twice his age would give their eyeteeth to get, I find you sitting
at the telephone looking as if he had run off with Annie the cook,
or had had a leg cut off!"

"I suppose it is funny. Only, the joke's on me. That's why I can't
see it. It means that I'm losing him."

"That's the first selfish word I've ever heard you utter."

"Oh, don't think I'm not happy at his success. Happy! Haven't I
hoped for it, and worked for it, and prayed for it! Haven't I
saved for it, and skimped for it! How do you think I could have
stood those years on the road if I hadn't kept up courage with the
thought that it was all for him? Don't I know how narrowly Jock
escaped being the wrong kind! I'm his mother, but I'm not quite
blind. I know he had the making of a first-class cad. I've seen
him start off in the wrong direction a hundred times."

"If he has turned out a success, it's because you've steered him
right. I've watched you make him over. And now, when his big
chance has come, you--"

"I don't expect you to understand," interrupted Emma McChesney a
little wearily. "I know it sounds crazy and unreasonable. There's
only one sort of human being who could understand what I mean.
That's a woman with a son." She laughed a little shamefacedly.
"I'm talking like the chorus of a minor-wail sob song, but it's
the truth."

"If you feel like that, Emma, tell him to stay. The boy wouldn't
go if he thought it would make you unhappy."

"Not go!" cried Emma McChesney sharply. "I'd like to see him dare
to refuse it!"

"Well then, what in--" began Buck, bewildered.

"Don't try to understand it, T.A. It's no use. Don't try to poke
your finger into the whirligig they call 'Woman's Sphere.' Its
mechanism is too complicated. It's the same quirk that makes women
pray for daughters and men for sons. It's the same kink that makes
women read the marriage and death notices first in a newspaper.
It's the same queer strain that causes a mother to lavish the most
love on the weakest, wilfullest child. Perhaps I wouldn't have
loved Jock so much if there hadn't been that streak of yellow in
him, and if I hadn't had to work so hard to dilute it until now
it's only a faint cream color. There ought to be a special prayer
for women who are bringing up their sons alone."

Buck stirred a little uneasily. "I've never heard you talk like
this before."

"You probably never will again." She swung round to her desk.

T.A. Buck, strolling toward the door, still wore the puzzled look.

"I don't know what makes you take this so seriously. Of course,
the boy will be a long way off. But then, you've been separated
from him before. What's the difference now?"

"T.A.," said Emma McChesney solemnly, "Jock will be drawing a
man-size salary now. Something tells me I'll be a grandmother in
another two years. Girls aren't letting men like Jock run around
loose. He'll be gobbled up. Just you wait."

"Oh, I don't know," drawled Buck mischievously. "You've just said
he's a headstrong young cub. He strikes me as the kind who'd
raise the dickens if his three-minute egg happened to be five
seconds overtime."

Emma McChesney swung around in her chair. "Look here, T.A. As
business partners we've quarreled about everything from silk
samples to traveling men, and as friends we've wrangled on every
subject from weather to war. I've allowed you to criticise my soul
theories, and my new spring hat. But understand that I'm the only
living person who has the right to villify my son, Jock
McChesney."

The telephone buzzed a punctuation to this period.

"Baumgartner?" inquired Buck humbly.

She listened a moment, then, over her shoulder,
"Baumgartner,"--grimly, her hand covering the mouthpiece--"and
if he thinks that he can work off a lot of last year's silk
swatches on--Hello! Yes, Mrs. McChesney talking. Look here, Mr.
Baumgartner--"

And for the time being Emma McChesney, mother, was relegated to
the background, while Emma McChesney, secretary of the T.A. Buck
Featherloom Petticoat Company, held the stage.

Having said that she would be home at five-thirty. Mrs. McChesney
was home at five-thirty, being that kind of a person. Jock came
in at six, breathless, bright-eyed, eager, and late, being that
kind of a person.

He found his mother on the floor before the chiffonier in his
bedroom, surrounded by piles of pajamas, socks, shirts and
collars.

  [Illustration: "He found his mother on the floor ... surrounded
  by piles of pajamas, socks, shirts and collars"]

He swooped down upon her from the doorway. "What do you think of
your blue-eyed boy! Poor, eh?"

Emma McChesney looked up absently. "Jock, these medium-weights of
yours didn't wear at all, and you paid five dollars for them."

"Medium-weights! What in--"

"You've enough silk socks to last you the rest of your natural
life. Handkerchiefs, too. But you'll need pajamas."

Jock stooped, gathered up an armful of miscellaneous undergarments
and tossed them into an open drawer. Then he shut the drawer with
a bang, reached over, grasped his mother firmly under the arms and
brought her to her feet with a swing.

"We will now consider the question of summer underwear ended.
Would it bore you too much to touch lightly on the subject of your
son's future?"

Emma McChesney, tall, straight, handsome, looked up at her son,
taller, straighter, handsomer. Then she took him by the coat
lapels and hugged him.

"You were so bursting with your own glory that I couldn't resist
teasing you. Besides, I had to do something to keep my mind
off--off--"

"Why, Blonde dear, you're not--!"

"No, I'm not," gulped Emma McChesney. "Don't flatter yourself,
young 'un. Tell me just how it happened. From the beginning." She
perched at the side of the bed. Jock, hands in pockets, hair a
little rumpled, paced excitedly up and down before her as he
talked.

"There wasn't any beginning. That's the stunning part of it. I
just landed right into the middle of it with both feet. I knew
they had been planning to start a big Western branch. But we all
thought they'd pick some big man for it. There are plenty of
medium-class dubs to be had. The kind that answers the ad:
'Manager wanted, young man, preferably married, able to furnish
A-1 reference.' They're as thick as advertising men in Detroit on
Monday morning. But we knew that this Western branch was going to
be given an equal chance with the New York office. Those big
Western advertisers like to give their money to Western firms if
they can. So we figured that they'd pick a real top-notcher--even
Hopper, or Hupp, maybe--and start out with a bang. So when the Old
Man called me into his office this morning I was as unconscious as
a babe. Well, you know Berg. He's as unexpected as a summer shower
and twice as full of electricity.

"'Morning, McChesney!' he said. 'That a New York necktie you're
wearing?'

"'Strictly,' says I.

"'Ever try any Chicago ties?'

"'Not from choice. That time my suit case went astray--'

"'M-m-m-m, yes.' He drummed his fingers on the table top a couple
of times. Then--McChesney, what have you learned about advertising
in the last two and a half years?'

"I was wise enough as to Bartholomew Berg to know that he didn't
mean any cut-and-dried knowledge. He didn't mean rules of the
game. He meant tricks.

"'Well,' I said, 'I've learned to watch a man's eyes when I'm
talking business to him. If the pupils of his eyes dilate he's
listening to you, and thinking about what you're saying. When they
contract it means that he's only faking interest, even though he's
looking straight at you and wearing a rapt expression. His
thoughts are miles away.'

"'That so?' said Berg, and sort of grinned. 'What else?'

"'I've learned that one negative argument is worth six positive
ones; that it never pays to knock your competitor; that it's wise
to fight shy of that joker known as "editorial coöperation."'

"'That so?' said Berg. 'Anything else?'

"I made up my mind I could play the game as long as he could.

"'I've learned not to lose my temper when I'm in the middle of a
white-hot, impassioned business appeal and the office boy bounces
in to say to the boss: "Mrs. Jones is waiting. She says you were
going to help her pick out wall paper this morning;" and Jones
says, "Tell her I'll be there in five minutes."'

"'Sure you've learned that?' said Berg.

"'Sure,' says I. 'And I've learned to let the other fellow think
your argument's his own. He likes it. I've learned that the
surest kind of copy is the slow, insidious kind, like the
Featherloom Petticoat Company's campaign. That was an ideal
campaign because it didn't urge and insist that the public buy
Featherlooms. It just eased the idea to them. It started by
sketching a history of the petticoat, beginning with Eve's fig
leaf and working up. Before they knew it they were interested.'

"'That so? That campaign was your mother's idea, McChesney.' You
know, Mother, he thinks you're a wonder."

"So I am," agreed Emma McChesney calmly. "Go on."

"Well, I went on. I told him that I'd learned to stand so that the
light wouldn't shine in my client's eyes when I was talking to
him. I lost a big order once because the glare from the window
irritated the man I was talking to. I told Berg all the tricks I'd
learned, and some I hadn't thought of till that minute. Berg put
in a word now and then. I thought he was sort of guying me, as he
sometimes does--not unkindly, you know, but in that quiet way he
has. Finally I stopped for breath, or something, and he said:

"'Now let me talk a minute, McChesney. Anybody can teach you the
essentials of the advertising business, if you've any advertising
instinct in you. But it's what you pick up on the side, by your
own efforts and out of your own experience, that lifts you out of
the scrub class. Now I don't think you're an ideal advertising man
by any means, McChesney. You're shy on training and experience,
and you've just begun to acquire that golden quality known as
balance. I could name a hundred men that are better all-around
advertising men than you will ever be. Those men have advertising
ability that glows steadily and evenly, like a well-banked fire.
But you've got the kind of ability that flares up, dies down,
flares up. But every flare is a real blaze that lights things red
while it lasts, and sends a new glow through the veins of
business. You've got personality, and youth, and enthusiasm, and a
precious spark of the real thing known as advertising genius.
There's no describing it. You know what I mean. Also, you
know enough about actual advertising not to run an ad for a
five-thousand-dollar motor car in the "Police Gazette." All of
which leads up to this question: How would you like to buy your
neckties in Chicago, McChesney?'

"'Chicago!' I blurted.

"'We've taken a suite of offices in the new Lakeview Building on
Michigan Avenue. Would you like your office done in mahogany or
oak?'"

Jock came to a full stop before his mother. His cheeks were
scarlet. Hers were pale. He was breathing quickly. She was very
quiet. His eyes glowed. So did hers, but the glow was dimmed by a
mist.

"Mahogany's richer, but make it oak, son. It doesn't show
finger-marks so." Then, quite suddenly, she stood up, shaking a
little, and buried her face in the boy's shoulder.

"Why--why, Mother! Don't! Don't, Blonde. We'll see each other
every few weeks. I'll be coming to New York to see the sights,
like the rest of the rubes, and I suppose the noise and lights
will confuse me so that I'll be glad to get back to the sylvan
quiet of Chicago. And then you'll run out there, eh? We'll have
regular bats, Mrs. Mack. Dinner and the theater and supper! Yes?"

"Yes," said Emma McChesney, in muffled tones that totally lacked
enthusiasm.

"Chicago's really only a suburb of New York, anyway, these days,
and--"

Emma McChesney's head came up sharply. "Look here, son. If you're
going to live in Chicago I advise you to cut that suburb talk, and
sort of forget New York. Chicago's quite a village, for an inland
settlement, even if it has only two or three million people, and a
lake as big as all outdoors. That kind of talk won't elect you to
the University Club, son."

So they talked, all through supper and during the evening. Rather,
Jock talked and his mother listened, interrupting with only an
occasional remark when the bubble of the boy's elation seemed to
grow too great.

Quite suddenly Jock was silent. After the almost incessant rush of
conversation quiet settled down strangely on the two seated there
in the living-room with its soft-shaded lamps. Jock picked up a
magazine, twirled its pages, put it down, strolled into his own
room, and back again.

"Mother," he said suddenly, standing before her, "there was a
time when you were afraid I wasn't going to pan out, wasn't
there?"

"Not exactly afraid, dear, just a little doubtful, perhaps."

Jock smiled a tolerant, forgiving smile. "You see, Mother, you
didn't understand, that's all. A woman doesn't. I was all right. A
man would have realized that. I don't mean, dear, that you haven't
always been wonderful, because you have. But it takes a man to
understand a man. When you thought I was going bad on your hands I
was just developing, that's all. Remember that time in Chicago,
Mother?"

"Yes," answered Emma McChesney, "I remember."

"Now a man would have understood that that was only kid
foolishness. If a fellow's got the stuff in him it'll show up,
sooner or later. If I hadn't had it in me I wouldn't be going to
Chicago as manager of the Berg, Shriner Western office, would I?"

"No, dear."

Jock looked at her. In an instant he was all contrition and
tenderness. "You're tired. I've talked you to death, haven't I?
Lordy, it's midnight! And I want to get down early to-morrow.
Conference with Mr. Berg, and Hupp." He tried not to sound too
important.

Emma McChesney took his head between her two hands and kissed him
once on the lips, then, standing a-tiptoe, kissed his eyelids with
infinite gentleness as you kiss a baby's eyes. Then she brought
his cheek up against hers. And so they stood for a moment,
silently.

Ten minutes later there came the sound of blithe whistling from
Jock's room. Jock always whistled when he went to bed and when he
rose. Even these years of living in a New York apartment had
not broken him of the habit. It was a cheerful, disconnected
whistling, sometimes high and clear, sometimes under the breath,
sometimes interspersed with song, and sometimes ceasing altogether
at critical moments, say, during shaving, or while bringing the
four-in-hand up tight and snug under the collar. It was one of
those comfortable little noises that indicate a masculine
presence; one of those pleasant, reassuring, man-in-the-house
noises that every woman loves.

Emma McChesney, putting herself to bed in her room across the
hall, found herself listening, brush poised, lips parted, as
though to the exquisite strains of celestial music. There came the
thump of a shoe on the floor. An interval of quiet. Then another
thump. Without having been conscious of it, Emma McChesney had
grown to love the noises that accompanied Jock's retiring and
rising. His dressing was always signalized by bangings and
thumpings. His splashings in the tub were tremendous. His morning
plunge could be heard all over the six-room apartment. Mrs.
McChesney used to call gayly through the door:

"Mercy, Jock! You sound like a school of whales coming up for
air."

"You'll think I'm a school of sharks when it comes to breakfast,"
Jock would call back. "Tell Annie to make enough toast, Mum. She's
the tightest thing with the toast I ever did--"

The rest would be lost in a final surging splash.

The noises in the room across the hall had subsided now. She
listened more intently. No, a drawer banged. Another. Then:

"Hasn't my gray suit come back from the tailor's?"

"It was to be sponged, too, you know. He said he'd bring it
Wednesday. This is Tuesday."

"Oh!" Another bang. Then: '"Night, Mother!"

"Good night, dear." Creaking sounds, then a long, comfortable sigh
of complete relaxation.

Emma McChesney went on with her brushing. She brushed her hair
with the usual number of swift even strokes, from the top of the
shining head to the waist. She braided her hair into two plaits,
Gretchen fashion. Millions of scanty-locked women would have given
all they possessed to look as Emma McChesney looked standing there
in kimono and gown. She nicked out the light. Then she, too,
relaxed upon her pillow with a little sigh. Quiet fell on the
little apartment. The street noises came up to her, now roaring,
now growing faint. Emma McChesney lay there sleepless. She lay
flat, hands clasped across her breast, her braids spread out on
the pillow. In the darkness of the room the years rolled before
her in panorama: her girlhood, her marriage, her unhappiness,
Jock, the divorce, the struggle for work, those ten years on the
road. Those ten years on the road! How she had hated them--and
loved them. The stuffy trains, the jarring sleepers, the bare
little hotel bedrooms, the bad food, the irregular hours, the
loneliness, the hard work, the disappointments, the temptations.
Yes but the fascination of it, the dear friends she had made, the
great human lesson of it all! And all for Jock. That Jock might
have good schools, good clothes, good books, good surroundings,
happy times. Why, Jock had been the reason for it all! She had
swallowed insult because of Jock. She had borne the drudgery
because of Jock. She had resisted temptation, smiled under
hardship, worked, fought, saved, succeeded, all because of Jock.
And now this pivot about which her whole life had revolved was to
be pulled up, wrenched away.

Over Emma McChesney, lying there in the dark, there swept one of
those unreasoning night-fears. The fear of living. The fear of
life. A straining of the eyeballs in the dark. The pounding of
heart-beats.

She sat up in bed. Her hands went to her face. Her cheeks were
burning and her eyes smarted. She felt that she must see Jock. At
once. Just to be near him. To touch him. To take him in her arms,
with his head in the hollow of her breast, as she used to when he
was a baby. Why, he had been a baby only yesterday. And now he was
a man. Big enough to stand alone, to live alone, to do without
her.

Emma McChesney flung aside the covers and sprang out of bed. She
thrust her feet in slippers, groped for the kimono at the foot of
the bed and tiptoed to the door. She listened. No sound from the
other room. She stole across the hall, stopped, listened, gained
the door. It was open an inch or more. Just to be near him, to
know that he lay there, sleeping! She pushed the door very, very
gently. Then she stood in the doorway a moment, scarcely
breathing, her head thrust forward, her whole body tense with
listening. She could not hear him breathe! She caught her breath
again in that unreasoning fear and took a quick step forward.

"Stop or I'll shoot!" said a voice. Simultaneously the light
flashed on. Emma McChesney found herself blinking at a determined
young man who was steadily pointing a short, chubby, businesslike
looking steel affair in her direction. Then the hand that held the
steel dropped.

"What is this, anyway?" demanded Jock rather crossly. "A George
Cohan comedy?"

Emma McChesney leaned against the foot of the bed rather weakly.

"What did you think--"

"What would you think if you heard some one come sneaking along
the hall, stopping, listening, sneaking to your door, and then
opening it, and listening again, and sneaking in? What would you
think it was? How did I know you were going around making social
calls at two o'clock in the morning!"

Suddenly Emma McChesney began to laugh. She leaned over the
footboard and laughed hysterically, her head in her arms. Jock
stared a moment in offended disapproval. Then the humor of it
caught him, and he buried his head in his pillow to stifle
unseemly shrieks. His legs kicked spasmodically beneath the
bedclothes.

As suddenly as she had begun to laugh Mrs. McChesney became very
sober.

"Stop it, Jock! Tell me, why weren't you sleeping?"

"I don't know," replied Jock, as suddenly solemn. "I--sort
of--began to think, and I couldn't sleep."

"What were you thinking of?"

Jock looked down at the bedclothes and traced a pattern with one
forefinger on the sheet. Then he looked up.

"Thinking of you."

"Oh!" said Emma McChesney, like a bashful schoolgirl. "Of--me!"

Jock sat up very straight and clasped his hands about his knees.
"I got to thinking of what I had said about having made good all
alone. That's rot. It isn't so. I was striped with yellow like a
stick of lemon candy. If I've got this far, it's all because of
you. I've been thinking all along that I was the original electric
self-starter, when you've really had to get out and crank me every
few miles."

Into Emma McChesney's face there came a wonderful look. It was the
sort of look with which a newly-made angel might receive her
crown and harp. It was the look with which a war-hero sees the
medal pinned on his breast. It was the look of one who has come
into her Reward. Therefore:

"What nonsense!" said Emma McChesney. "If you hadn't had it in
you, it wouldn't have come out."

"It wasn't in me, in the first place," contested Jock stubbornly.
"You planted it."

From her stand at the foot of the bed she looked at him, her eyes
glowing brighter and brighter with that wonderful look.

"Now see here,"--severely--"I want you to go to sleep. I don't
intend to stand here and dispute about your ethical innards at
this hour. I'm going to kiss you again."

"Oh, well, if you must," grinned Jock resignedly, and folded her
in a bear-hug.

To Emma McChesney it seemed that the next three weeks leaped by,
not by days, but in one great bound. And the day came when a
little, chattering, animated group clustered about the slim young
chap who was fumbling with his tickets, glancing at his watch,
signaling a porter for his bags, talking, laughing, trying to hide
the pangs of departure under a cloak of gayety and badinage that
deceived no one. Least of all did it deceive the two women who
stood there. The eyes of the older woman never left his face. The
eyes of the younger one seldom were raised to his, but she saw his
every expression. Once Emma McChesney's eyes shifted a little so
as to include both the girl and the boy in her gaze. Grace Galt in
her blue serge and smart blue hat was worth a separate glance.

Sam Hupp was there, T.A. Buck, Hopper, who was to be with him in
Chicago for the first few weeks, three or four of the younger men
in the office, frankly envious and heartily congratulatory.

They followed him to his train, all laughter and animation.

"If this train doesn't go in two minutes," said Jock, "I'll get
scared and chuck the whole business. Funny, but I'm not so keen on
going as I was three weeks ago."

His eyes rested on the girl in the blue serge and the smart hat.
Emma McChesney saw that. She saw that his eyes still rested there
as he stood on the observation platform when the train pulled out.
The sight did not pain her as she thought it would. There was
success in every line of him as he stood there, hat in hand. There
was assurance in every breath of him. His clothes, his skin, his
clear eyes, his slim body, all were as they should be. He had
made a place in the world. He was to be a builder of ideas. She
thought of him, and of the girl in blue serge, and of their
children-to-be.

Her breast swelled exultingly. Her head came up.

This was her handiwork. She looked at it, and found that it was
good.

"Let's strike for the afternoon and call it a holiday," suggested
Buck.

Emma McChesney turned. The train was gone. "T.A., you'll never
grow up."

"Never want to. Come on, let's play hooky, Emma."

"Can't. I've a dozen letters to get out, and Miss Loeb wants to
show me that new knicker-bocker design of hers."

They drove back to the office almost in silence. Emma McChesney
made straight for her desk and began dictating letters with an
energy that bordered on fury. At five o'clock she was still
working. At five-thirty T.A. Buck came in to find her still
surrounded by papers, samples, models.

"What is this?" he demanded wrathfully, "an all-night session?"

Emma McChesney looked up from her desk. Her face was flushed, her
eyes bright, but there was about her an indefinable air of
weariness.

"T.A., I'm afraid to go home. I'll rattle around in that empty
flat like a hickory nut in a barrel."

"We'll have dinner down-town and go to the theater."

"No use. I'll have to go home sometime."

"Now, Emma," remonstrated Buck, "you'll soon get used to it. Think
of all the years you got along without him. You were happy,
weren't you?"

"Happy because I had somebody to work for, somebody to plan for,
somebody to worry about. When I think of what that flat will be
without him--Why, just to wake up and know that you can say good
morning to some one who cares! That's worth living for, isn't it?"

"Emma," said T.A. evenly, "do you realize that you are virtually
hounding me into asking you to marry me?"

"T.A.!" gasped Emma McChesney.

"Well, you said you wanted somebody to worry about, didn't you?"

  [Illustration: "'Well, you said you wanted somebody to worry
  about, didn't you?'"]

A little whimsical smile lay lightly on his lips.

"Timothy Buck, I'm over forty years old."

"Emma, in another minute I'm going to grow sentimental, and
nothing can stop me."

She looked down at her hands. There fell a little silence. Buck
stirred, leaned forward. She looked up from the little watch that
ticked away at her wrist.

"The minute's up, T.A.," said Emma McChesney.


THE END





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Personality Plus - Some Experiences of Emma McChesney and Her Son, Jock" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home