The best positions are not always free from the most disturbing difficulties,
for great responsibility goes with great opportunity; but Eugene went gaily t_his new task, for he knew that it could not possibly be much more difficul_han the one he was leaving. Truly, Summerfield had been a terrible man t_ork for. He had done his best by petty nagging, insisting on endles_ariations, the most frank and brutal criticism, to break down Eugene'_mperturbable good nature and make him feel that he could not reasonably hop_o handle the situation without Summerfield's co-operation and assistance. Bu_e had only been able, by so doing, to bring out Eugene's better resources.
His self-reliance, coolness under fire, ability to work long and ardently eve_hen his heart was scarcely in it, were all strengthened and developed.
"Well, luck to you, Witla," he said, when Eugene informed him one morning tha_e was going to leave and wished to give him notice.
"You needn't take me into consideration. I don't want you to stay if you'r_oing to go. The quicker the better. These long drawn-out agonies over leavin_on't interest me. There's nothing in that. Clinch the job today if you wan_t. I'll find someone."
Eugene resented his indifference, but he only smiled a cordial smile in reply.
"I'll stay a little while if you want me to—one or two weeks—I don't want t_ie up your work in any way."
"Oh, no, no! You won't tie up my work. On your way, and good luck!"
"The little devil!" thought Eugene; but he shook hands and said he was sorry.
Summerfield grinned imperturbably. He wound up his affairs quickly and go_ut. "Thank God," he said the day he left, "I'm out of that hell hole!" But h_ame to realize afterward that Summerfield had rendered him a great service.
He had forced him to do his best and utmost, which no one had ever don_efore. It had told in his character, his spiritual make-up, his ver_ppearance. He was no longer timid and nervous, but rather bold an_etermined-looking. He had lost that fear of very little things, for he ha_een sailing through stormy seas. Little storms did not—could neve_gain—really frighten him. He had learned to fight. That was the one grea_hing Summerfield had done for him.
In the offices of the Kalvin Company it was radically different. Here wa_omparative peace and quiet. Kalvin had not fought his way up by clubbin_ittle people through little difficulties, but had devoted himself to thinkin_ut a few big things, and letting them because of their very bigness an_ewness make their own way and his. He believed in big men, honest men—th_iggest and most honest he could find. He saw something in Eugene, a tendenc_oward perfection perhaps which attracted him.
The formalities of this new arrangement were soon concluded, and Eugene cam_nto his new and beautiful offices, heralded by the word recently passed abou_hat he was a most charming man. He was greeted by the editor, Townsen_iller, in the most cordial manner. He was met by his assembled staff in th_ost friendly spirit. It quite took Eugene's breath away to realize that h_as the responsible head of some fifteen capable advertising men here i_hiladelphia alone, to say nothing of eight more in a branch office in Chicag_nd traveling canvassers in the different parts of the country—the far West,
the South, the Southwest, the Canadian Northwest. His material surrounding_ere much more imposing than they had been with the Summerfield Company. Th_dea of all these men was to follow up business, to lay interestin_ropositions before successful merchants and manufacturers who had not ye_ried the columns of the _North American Weekly_ , to make contracts whic_hould be mutually advantageous to the advertiser and the _Weekly_ , and t_ain and retain good-will according to the results rendered. It was no ver_ifficult task in connection with the _North American Weekly_ to do this,
because owing to a novel and appealing editorial policy it was already i_ossession of a circulation of five hundred thousand a week, and was rapidl_aining more. It was not difficult, as Eugene soon found, to show advertiser_n most cases that this was a proposition in which worth-while results coul_e obtained. What with Eugene's fertility in suggesting new methods o_dvertising, his suaveness of approach and geniality in laying before the mos_ecalcitrant his very desirable schemes, his ability to get ideas an_uggestions out of his men in conference, he was really in no danger of no_eing able to hold his own, and indeed was destined to make a rathe_emarkable showing.
Eugene and Angela settled into what might have been deemed a fixed attitude o_omfort and refinement. Without much inconvenience to himself and with littl_riction among those about, he had succeeded in reorganizing his staff alon_ines which were eminently satisfactory to himself. Some men who were formerl_ith the Summerfield Company were now with him. He had brought them because h_ound he could inculcate in them the spirit of sympathetic relationship an_ood understanding such as Kalvin desired. He was not making the progres_hich Summerfield was making with really less means at his command, but then,
on the other hand, this was a rich company which did not ask or expect an_uch struggle as that which Summerfield had been and was still compelled t_ake for himself. The business ethics of this company were high. It believe_n clean methods, good salaries, honest service. Kalvin liked him, and he ha_ne memorable conversation with Eugene some time after he came there—almost _ear—which stuck in his memory and did him much good. Kalvin saw clearl_herein both his strength and his weakness lay, and once said to Fredericks,
his business manager: "The one thing I like about that man is his readines_ith ideas. He always has one, and he's the most willing man to try I eve_new. He has imagination. He needs to be steadied in the direction of sobe_hought, so that he doesn't promise more than he can fulfil. Outside this _ee nothing the matter with him."
Fredericks agreed. He liked Eugene also. He did as much as he could to mak_hings smooth, but of course Eugene's task was personal and to be worked ou_y him solely. Kalvin said to him when it became necessary to raise hi_alary:
"I've watched your work for a year now and I'm going to keep my word and rais_our salary. You're a good man. You have many excellent qualities which I wan_nd need in the man who sits at that desk; but you have also some failings. _on't want you to get offended. A man in my position is always like a fathe_ho sits at the head of a family, and my lieutenants are like my sons. I hav_o take an interest in them because they take an interest in me. Now you'v_one your work well—very well, but you are subject to one fault which ma_ometime lead into trouble. You're a little too enthusiastic. I don't thin_ou stop to think enough. You have a lot of ideas. They swarm in your hea_ike bees, and sometimes you let them all out at once and they buzz around yo_nd confuse you and everyone else connected with you. You would really be _etter man if you had, not less ideas—I wouldn't say that—but better contro_f them. You want to do too many things at once. Go slow. Take your time. Yo_ave lots of time. You're young yet. Think! If you're in doubt, come down an_onsult with me. I'm older in this business than you are, and I'll help yo_ll I can."
Eugene smiled and said: "I think that's true."
"It is true," said Kalvin; "and now I want to speak of another thing which i_ little more of a personal matter, and I don't want you to take offence, fo_'m saying it for your benefit. If I'm any judge of men, and I flatter mysel_ometimes that I am, you're a man whose greatest weakness lies—and, mind you,
I have no actual evidence to go upon, not one scrap—your greatest weaknes_ies perhaps not so much in the direction of women as in a love of luxur_enerally, of which women might become, and usually are, a very conspicuou_art."
Eugene flushed the least bit nervously and resentfully, for he thought he ha_onducted himself in the most circumspect manner here—in fact, everywher_ince the days he had begun to put the Riverwood incident behind him.
"Now I suppose you wonder why I say that. Well, I raised two boys, both dea_ow, and one was just a little like you. You have so much imagination that i_uns not only to ideas in business, but ideas in dress and comfort and friend_nd entertainment. Be careful of the kind of people you get in with. Stick t_he conservative element. It may be hard for you, but it's best for you,
materially speaking. You're the kind of man, if my observations and intuition_re correct, who is apt to be carried away by his ideals of anything—beauty,
women, show. Now I have no ascetic objections to women, but to you they ar_angerous, as yet. At bottom, I don't think you have the making of a real col_usiness man in you, but you're a splendid lieutenant. I'll tell you frankly _on't think a better man than you has ever sat, or could sit, in that chair.
You are very exceptional, but your very ability makes you an uncertai_uantity. You're just on the threshold of your career. This additional tw_housand dollars is going to open up new opportunities to you. Keep cool. Kee_ut of the hands of clever people. Don't let subtle women come near. You'r_arried, and for your sake I hope you love your wife. If you don't, preten_o, and stay within the bounds of convention. Don't let any scandal eve_ttach to you. If you do it will be absolutely fatal so far as I am concerned.
I have had to part with a number of excellent men in my time because a littl_oney turned their heads and they went wild over some one woman, or man_omen. Don't you be that way. I like you. I'd like to see you get along. B_old if you can. Be careful. Think. That's the best advice I can give you, an_ wish you luck."
He waved him a dismissal, and Eugene rose. He wondered how this man had see_o clearly into his character. It was the truth, and he knew it was. Hi_nmost thoughts and feelings were evidently written where this man could se_hem. Fittingly was he president of a great company. He could read men.
He went back into his office and decided to take this lesson to heart. He mus_eep cool and sane always. "I guess I've had enough experience to know that,
though, by now," he said and dismissed the idea from his mind.
For this year and the year following, when his salary was raised to twelv_housand, Eugene flourished prodigiously. He and Miller became better friend_han ever. Miller had advertising ideas which were of value to Eugene. Eugen_ad art and editorial ideas which were of value to Miller. They were togethe_ great deal at social functions, and were sometimes hailed by thei_ompanions as the "Kalvin Kids," and the "Limelight Twins." Eugene learned t_lay golf with Miller, though he was a slow student and never good, and als_ennis. He and Mrs. Miller, Angela and Townsend, frequently made a set o_heir own court or over at Miller's. They automobiled and rode a great deal.
Eugene met some charming women, particularly young ones, at dances, of whic_e had become very fond, and at dinners and receptions. They and the Miller_ere invited to a great many affairs, but by degrees it became apparent t_im, as it did to Miller and Mrs. Miller, that his presence was much mor_esired by a certain type of smart woman than was that of his wife.
"Oh, he is so clever!" was an observation which might have been heard i_arious quarters. Frequently the compliment stopped there and nothing was sai_f Angela, or later on it would come up that she was not quite so nice. No_hat she was not charming and worthy and all that, "But you know, my dear, sh_sn't quite so available. You can't use her as you can some women."
It was at this time that Angela first conceived the notion seriously that _hild might have a sobering effect on Eugene. She had, in spite of the fac_hat for some time now they had been well able to support one or more, and i_pite also of the fact that Eugene's various emotional lapses indicated tha_e needed a sobering weight of some kind, steadily objected in her mind to th_dea of subjecting herself to this ordeal. To tell the truth, aside from th_are and worry which always, owing to her early experience with her sister'_hildren, had been associated in her mind with the presence of them, she wa_ecidedly afraid of the result. She had heard her mother say that most girl_n their infancy showed very clearly whether they were to be good health_others or not—whether they were to have children—and her recollection wa_hat her mother had once said that she would not have any children. She hal_elieved it to be impossible in her case, though she had never told this t_ugene, and she had guarded herself jealously against the chance of havin_ny.
Now, however, after watching Eugene all these years, seeing the drift of hi_resent mood, feeling the influence of prosperity on him, she wished sincerel_hat she might have one, without great danger or discomfort to herself, i_rder that she might influence and control him. He might learn to love it. Th_ense of responsibility involved would have its effect. People would look t_im to conduct himself soberly under these circumstances, and he probabl_ould—he was so subject to public opinion now. She thought of this a lon_ime, wondering, for fear and annoyance were quite strong influences with her,
and she did nothing immediately. She listened to various women who talked wit_er from time to time about the child question, and decided that perhaps i_as very wrong not to have children—at least one or two; that it was ver_ikely possible that she could have one, if she wanted to. A Mrs. Sanifore wh_alled on her quite frequently in Philadelphia—she met her at th_illers'—told her that she was sure she could have one even if she was pas_he usual age for first babies; for she had known so many women who had.
"If I were you, Mrs. Witla, I would see a doctor," she suggested one day. "H_an tell you. I'm sure you can if you want to. They have so many ways o_ieting and exercising you which make all the difference in the world. I'_ike to have you come some day and see my doctor, if you will."
Angela decided that she would, for curiosity's sake, and in case she wished t_ct in the matter some time; and was informed by the wiseacre who examined he_hat in his opinion there was no doubt that she could. She would have t_ubject herself to a strict regimen. Her muscles would have to be softened b_ome form of manipulation. Otherwise, she was apparently in a healthy, norma_ondition and would suffer no intolerable hardship. This pleased and soothe_ngela greatly. It gave her a club wherewith to strike her lord—a chai_herewith to bind him. She did not want to act at once. It was too serious _atter. She wanted time to think. But it was pleasant to know that she coul_o this. Unless Eugene sobered down now——
During the time in which he had been working for the Summerfield Company an_ince then for the Kalvin Company here in Philadelphia, Eugene, in spite o_he large salary he was receiving—more each year—really had not saved so muc_oney. Angela had seen to it that some of his earnings were invested i_ennsylvania Railroad stock, which seemed to her safe enough, and in a plot o_round two hundred by two hundred feet at Upper Montclair, New Jersey, nea_ew York, where she and Eugene might some day want to live. His busines_ngagements had necessitated considerable personal expenditures, hi_pportunity to enter the Baltusrol Golf Club, the Yere Tennis Club, th_hiladelphia Country Club, and similar organizations had taken annual sums no_reviously contemplated, and the need of having a modest automobile, not _ouring car, was obvious. His short experience with that served as a lesson,
however, for it was found to be a terrific expense, entirely disproportionat_o his income. After paying for endless repairs, salarying a chauffeu_earisomely, and meeting with an accident which permanently damaged the look_f his machine, he decided to give it up. They could rent autos for all th_ses they would have. And so that luxury ended there.
It was curious, too, how during this time their Western home relations fel_ather shadowily into the background. Eugene had not been home now for nearl_wo years, and Angela had seen only David of all her family since she had bee_n Philadelphia. In the fall of their third year there Angela's mother die_nd she returned to Blackwood for a short time. The following spring Eugene'_ather died. Myrtle moved to New York; her husband, Frank Bangs, was connecte_ith a western furniture company which was maintaining important show rooms i_ew York. Myrtle had broken down nervously and taken up Christian Science,
Eugene heard. Henry Burgess, Sylvia's husband, had become president of th_ank with which he had been so long connected, and had sold his father'_aper, the Alexandria _Appeal_ , when the latter suddenly died. Marietta wa_romising to come to Philadelphia next year, in order, as she said, tha_ugene might get her a rich husband; but Angela informed him privately tha_arietta was now irrevocably engaged and would, the next year, marry a wealth_isconsin lumber man. Everyone was delighted to hear that Eugene was doing s_ell, though all regretted the lapse of his career as an artist. His fame a_n advertising man was growing, and he was thought to have considerable weigh_n the editorial direction of the _North American Weekly_. So he flourished.