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Chapter 31

  • The work which Eugene undertook in connection with the art department of th_World_ was not different from that which he had done ten years before i_hicago. It seemed no less difficult for all his experience—more so i_nything, for he felt above it these days and consequently out of place. H_ished at once that he could get something which would pay him commensuratel_ith his ability. To sit down among mere boys—there were men there as old a_imself and older, though, of course, he did not pay so much attention t_hem—was galling. He thought Benedict should have had more respect for hi_alent than to have offered him so little, though at the same time he wa_rateful for what he had received. He undertook energetically to carry out al_he suggestions given him, and surprised his superior with the speed an_magination with which he developed everything. He surprised Benedict th_econd day with a splendid imaginative interpretation of "the Black Death,"
  • which was to accompany a Sunday newspaper article upon the moder_ossibilities of plagues. The latter saw at once that Eugene could probabl_nly be retained a very little while at the figure he had given him. He ha_ade the mistake of starting him low, thinking that Eugene's talent after s_evere an illness might be at a very low ebb. He did not know, being new t_he art directorship of a newspaper, how very difficult it was to ge_ncreases for those under him. An advance of ten dollars to anyone mean_arnest representation and an argument with the business manager, and t_ouble and treble the salary, which should have been done in this case, wa_ut of the question. Six months was a reasonable length of time for anyone t_ait for an increase—such was the dictate of the business management—and i_ugene's case it was ridiculous and unfair. However, being still sick an_pprehensive, he was content to abide by the situation, hoping with returnin_trength and the saving of a little money to put himself right eventually.
  • Angela, of course, was pleased with the turn of affairs. Having suffered s_ong with only prospects of something worse in store, it was a great relief t_o to the bank every Tuesday—Eugene was paid on Monday—and deposit ten dollar_gainst a rainy day. It was agreed between them that they might use six fo_lothing, which Angela and Eugene very much needed, and some sligh_ntertainment. It was not long before Eugene began to bring an occasiona_ewspaper artist friend up to dinner, and they were invited out. They had gon_ithout much clothing, with scarcely a single visit to the theatre, withou_riends—everything. Now the tide began slowly to change; in a little while,
  • because they were more free to go to places, they began to encounter peopl_hom they knew.
  • There was six months of the drifting journalistic work, in which as in hi_ailroad work he grew more and more restless, and then there came a time whe_e felt as if he could not stand that for another minute. He had been raise_o thirty-five dollars and then fifty, but it was a terrific grind o_xaggerated and to him thoroughly meretricious art. The only valuable result_n connection with it were that for the first time in his life he was drawin_ moderately secure living salary, and that his mind was fully occupied wit_etails which gave him no time to think about himself. He was in a large roo_urrounded by other men who were as sharp as knives in their thrusts of wit,
  • and restless and greedy in their attitude toward the world. They wanted t_ive brilliantly, just as he did, only they had more self-confidence and i_any cases that extreme poise which comes of rare good health. They wer_nclined to think he was somewhat of a poseur at first, but later they came t_ike him—all of them. He had a winning smile and his love of a joke, so keen,
  • so body-shaking, drew to him all those who had a good story to tell.
  • "Tell that to Witla," was a common phrase about the office and Eugene wa_lways listening to someone. He came to lunching with first one and the_nother, then three or four at a time; and by degrees Angela was compelled t_ntertain Eugene and two or three of his friends twice and sometimes thre_imes a week. She objected greatly, and there was some feeling over that, fo_he had no maid and she did not think that Eugene ought to begin so soon t_ut the burden of entertainment upon their slender income. She wanted him t_ake these things very formal and by appointment, but Eugene would stroll i_enially, explaining that he had Irving Nelson with him, or Henry Hare, o_eorge Beers, and asking nervously at the last minute whether it was al_ight. Angela would say, "Certainly, to be sure," in front of the guests, bu_hen they were alone there would be tears and reproaches and firm declaration_hat she would not stand it.
  • "Well, I won't do it any more," Eugene would apologize. "I forgot, you know."
  • Still he wanted Angela to get a maid and let him bring all who would come. I_as a great relief to get back into the swing of things and see lif_roadening out once more.
  • It was not so long after he had grown exceedingly weary of his underpai_elationship to the _World_ that he heard of something which promised a muc_etter avenue of advancement. Eugene had been hearing for some time from on_ource and another of the development of art in advertising. He had read on_r two articles on the subject in the smaller magazines, had seen from time t_ime curious and sometimes beautiful series of ads run by first on_orporation and then another, advertising some product. He had always fancie_n looking at these things that he could get up a notable series on almost an_ubject, and he wondered who handled these things. He asked Benedict on_ight, going up on the car with him, what he knew about it.
  • "Why so far as I know," said Benedict, "that is coming to be quite a business.
  • There is a man out in Chicago, Saljerian, an American Syrian—his father was _yrian, but he was born over here—who has built up a tremendous business ou_f designing series of ads like that for big corporations. He got up tha_olly Maguire series for the new cleaning fluid. I don't think he does any o_he work himself. He hires artists to do it. Some of the best men, _nderstand, have done work for him. He gets splendid prices. Then some of th_ig advertising agencies are taking up that work. One of them I know. Th_ummerville Company has a big art department in connection with it. The_mploy fifteen to eighteen men all the time, sometimes more. They turn ou_ome fine ads, too, to my way of thinking. Do you remember that Korn_eries?"—Benedict was referring to a breakfast food which had been advertise_y a succession of ten very beautiful and very clever pictures.
  • "Yes," replied Eugene.
  • "Well, they did that."
  • Eugene thought of this as a most interesting development. Since the days i_hich he worked on the Alexandria _Appeal_ he had been interested in ads. Th_hought of ad creation took his fancy. It was newer than anything else he ha_ncountered recently. He wondered if there would not be some chance in tha_ield for him. His paintings were not selling. He had not the courage to star_ new series. If he could make some money first, say ten thousand dollars, s_hat he could get an interest income of say six or seven hundred dollars _ear, he might be willing to risk art for art's sake. He had suffered to_uch—poverty had scared him so that he was very anxious to lean on a salary o_ business income for the time being.
  • It was while he was speculating over this almost daily that there came to hi_ne day a young artist who had formerly worked on the _World_ —a youth by th_ame of Morgenbau—Adolph Morgenbau—who admired Eugene and his work greatly an_ho had since gone to another paper. He was very anxious to tell Eugen_omething, for he had heard of a change coming in the art directorship of th_ummerville Company and he fancied for one reason and another that Eugen_ight be glad to know of it. Eugene had never looked to Morgenbau like a ma_ho ought to be working in a newspaper art department. He was too self-poised,
  • too superior, too wise. Morgenbau had conceived the idea that Eugene wa_estined to make a great hit of some kind and with that kindling intuitio_hat sometimes saves us whole he was anxious to help Eugene in some way and s_ain his favor.
  • "I have something I'd like to tell you, Mr. Witla," he observed.
  • "Well, what is it?" smiled Eugene.
  • "Are you going out to lunch?"
  • "Certainly, come along."
  • They went out together and Morgenbau communicated to Eugene what he ha_eard—that the Summerfield Company had just dismissed, or parted company with,
  • or lost, a very capable director by the name of Freeman, and that they wer_ooking for a new man.
  • "Why don't you apply for that?" asked Morgenbau. "You could hold it. You'r_oing just the sort of work that would make great ads. You know how to handl_en, too. They like you. All the young fellows around here do. Why don't yo_o and see Mr. Summerfield? He's up in Thirty-fourth Street. You might be jus_he man he's looking for, and then you'd have a department of your own."
  • Eugene looked at this boy, wondering what had put this idea in his head. H_ecided to call up Dula and did so at once, asking him what he thought woul_e the best move to make. The latter did not know Summerville [ _sic_ ], bu_e knew someone who did.
  • "I'll tell you what you do, Eugene," he said. "You go and see Baker Bates o_he Satina Company. That's at the corner of Broadway and Fourth Street. We d_ big business with the Satina Company, and they do a big business wit_ummerfield. I'll send a letter over to you by a boy and you take that. The_'ll call Bates up on the phone, and if he's favorable he can speak t_ummerfield. He'll want to see you, though."
  • Eugene was very grateful and eagerly awaited the arrival of the letter. H_sked Benedict for a little time off and went to Mr. Baker Bates. The latte_ad heard enough from Dula to be friendly. He had been told by the latter tha_ugene was potentially a great artist, slightly down on his luck, but that h_as doing exceedingly well where he was and would do better in the new place.
  • He was impressed by Eugene's appearance, for the latter had changed his styl_rom the semi-artistic to the practical. He thought Eugene looked capable. H_as certainly pleasant.
  • "I'll talk to Mr. Summerfield for you," he said, "though I wouldn't put muc_ope in what will come of it if I were you. He's a difficult man and it's bes_ot to appear too eager in this matter. If he can be induced to send for yo_t will be much better. You let this rest until tomorrow. I'll call him up o_nother matter and take him out to lunch, and then I'll see how he stands an_ho he has in mind, if he has anyone. He may have, you know. If there is _eal opening I'll speak of you. We'll see."
  • Eugene went away once more, very grateful. He was thinking that Dula ha_lways meant good luck to him. He had taken his first important drawing. Th_ictures he had published for him had brought him the favor of M. Charles.
  • Dula had secured him the position that he now had. Would he be the cause o_is getting this one?
  • On the way down town on the car he encountered a cross-eyed boy. He ha_nderstood from someone recently that cross-eyed boys were good luck—cross-
  • eyed women bad luck. A thrill of hopeful prognostication passed over him. I_ll likelihood he was going to get this place. If this sign came true thi_ime, he would believe in signs. They had come true before, but this would b_ real test. He stared cheerfully at the boy and the latter looked him full i_he eyes and grinned.
  • "That settles it!" said Eugene. "I'm going to get it."
  • Still he was far from being absolutely sure.