Part 2 out of 4
reputable and disreputable, serving business men at noon and criminals
and the women of the underworld at night. In the weeks that he was there
he came to know many of the local celebrities in various walks of life,
to know them at least by name. There was Steve Murray, the labor leader,
whom rumor said was one of Feinheimer's financial backers--a large man
with a loud voice and the table manners of a Duroc-Jersey. Jimmy took an
instinctive dislike to the man the first time that he saw him.
And then there was Little Eva, whose real name was Edith. She was a
demure looking little girl, who came in every afternoon at four o'clock
for her breakfast. She usually came to Jimmy's table when it was vacant,
and at four o'clock she always ate alone. Later in the evening she would
come in again with a male escort, who was never twice the same.
"I wonder what's the matter with me?" she said to Jimmy one day as he
was serving her breakfast. "I'm getting awfully nervous." '
"That's quite remarkable," said Jimmy. "I should think any one who
smoked as many cigarettes and drank as much whisky as you would have
The girl laughed, a rather soft and mellow laugh. "I suppose I do hit
it up a little strong," she said.
"Strong?" exclaimed Jimmy. "Why, if I drank half what you do I'd be in
the Washingtonian Home in a week."
She looked at him quizzically for a moment, as she had looked at him
often since he had gone to work for Feinheimer.
"You're a funny guy," she said. "I can't quite figure you out. What
are you doing here anyway?"
"I never claimed to be much of a waiter," said Jimmy, "but I didn't know
I was so rotten that a regular customer of the place couldn't tell what
I was trying to do."
"Oh, go on," she cried; "I don't mean that. These other hash-slingers
around here look the part. Aside from that, about the only thing they
know how to do is roll a souse; but you're different."
"Yes," said Jimmy, "I am different. My abilities are limited. All I
can do is wait on table, while they have two accomplishments."
"Oh, you don't have to tell me," said the girl. "I wasn't rubbering. I
was just sort of interested in you."
"Thanks," said Jimmy.
She went on with her breakfast while Jimmy set up an adjoining table.
Presently when he came to fill her water-glass she looked up at him
"I like you, kid," she said. "You're not fresh. You know what I am as
well as the rest of them, but you wait on me just the same as you would
on"--she hesitated and there was a little catch in her voice as she
finished her sentence--"just the same as you would on a decent girl."
Jimmy looked at her in surprise. It was the first indication that he
had ever had from an habitu, of Feinheimer's that there might lurk
within their breasts any of the finer characteristics whose outward
indices are pride and shame. He was momentarily at a loss as to what to
say, and as he hesitated the girl's gaze went past him and she
"Look who's here!"
Jimmy turned to look at the newcomer, and saw the Lizard directly behind
"Howdy, bo," said his benefactor. "I thought I'd come in and give you
the once-over. And here's Little Eva with a plate of ham and at four
o'clock in the afternoon."
The Lizard dropped into a chair at the table with the girl, and after
Jimmy had taken his order and departed for the kitchen Little Eva jerked
her thumb toward his retreating figure.
"Friend of yours?" she asked.
"He might have a worse friend," replied the Lizard non-committally.
"What's his graft?" asked the girl.
"He ain't got none except being on the square. It's funny," the Lizard
philosophized, "but here's me with a bank roll that would choke a horse,
and you probably with a stocking full of dough, and I'll bet all the
money I ever had or ever expect to have if one of us could change places
with that poor simp we'd do it."
"He is a square guy, isn't he?" said the girl. "You can almost tell it
by looking at him. How did you come to know him?"
"Oh, that's a long story," said the Lizard. "We room at the same place,
but I knew him before that."
"On Indiana near Eighteenth?" asked the girl.
"How the hell did you know?" he queried.
"I know a lot of things I ain't supposed to know," replied she.
"You're a wise guy, all right, Eva, and one thing I like about you is
that you don't let anything you know hurt you."
And then, after a pause: "I like him," she said. "What's his name?"
The Lizard eyed her for a moment.
"Don't you get to liking him too much he said. That bird's the class.
He ain't for any little--"
"Cut it!" exclaimed the girl. "I'm as good as you are and a damn
straighter. What I get I earn, and I don't steal it."
The Lizard grinned. "I guess you're right at that; but don't try to
pull him down any lower than he is. He is coming up again some day to
where he belongs."
"I ain't going to try to pull him down," said the girl. "And anyhow,
when were you made his godfather?"
Jimmy saw Eva almost daily for many weeks. He saw her at her
post-meridian breakfast--sober and subdued; he saw her later in the
evening, in various stages of exhilaration, but at those times she did
not come to his table and seldom if ever did he catch her eye.
They talked a great deal while she breakfasted, and he learned to like
the girl and to realize that she possessed two personalities. The one
which he liked dominated her at breakfast; the other which he loathed
guided her actions later in the evening. Neither of them ever referred
to those hours of her life, and as the days passed Jimmy found himself
looking forward to the hour when Little Eva would come to Feinheimer's
for her breakfast.
It was Christmas Eve. Elizabeth Compton and Harriet Holden were
completing the rounds of their friends' homes with Christmas
remembrances--a custom that they had continued since childhood. The
last parcel had been delivered upon the South Side, and they were now
being driven north on Michigan Boulevard toward home. Elizabeth directed
the chauffeur to turn over Van Buren to State, which at this season of
the year was almost alive with belated Christmas shoppers and those
other thousands who always seize upon the slightest pretext for a
It was a noisy, joyous crowd whose spirit, harmonizing with the bright
lights and the gay shop windows, infected all who came within its
influence. As the car moved slowly northward along the world's greatest
retail street the girls leaned forward to watch the passing throng
through the windows.
"Isn't it wonderful," exclaimed Harriet, "what a transformation a few
lights make? Who would ever think of State Street as a fairy-land? And
yet, if you half close your eyes the hallucination is complete. Even the
people who by daylight are shoddy and care-worn take on an appearance of
romance and gaiety, and the tawdry colored lights are the scintillant
gems of the garden of a fairy prince."
"Don't!" Elizabeth pleaded. "The city night always affects me. It
makes me want to do something adventurous, and on Christmas Eve it is
even worse. If you keep on like that I shall soon be telling David to
drive us up and down State Street all night."
"I wish we didn't have to go home right away," said Harriet. "I feel
like doing something devilish."
"Well, let's!" exclaimed Elizabeth.
"Do something devilish?" inquired Harriet. "What, for instance?"
"Oh, 'most anything that we shouldn't do," replied Elizabeth, "and there
isn't anything that we could do down here alone that we should do."
They both laughed. "I have it!" exclaimed Elizabeth suddenly. "We'll
be utterly abandoned--we'll have supper at Feinheimer's without an
Harriet cast a horrified glance at her companion. "Why, Elizabeth
Compton," she cried, "you wouldn't dare. You know you wouldn't dare!"
"Do you dare me?" asked the other.
"But suppose some one should see us?" argued Harriet. "Your father
would never forgive us."
"If we see any one in Feinheimer's who knows us," argued Elizabeth
shrewdly, "they will be just as glad to forget it as we. And anyway it
will do it will do harm. I shall have David stay right outside the door
so that if I call him he can come. I don't know what I would do without
David. He is a sort of Rock of Ages and Gibraltar all in one."
Through the speaking-tube Elizabeth directed David to drive to
Feinheimer's, and, whatever David may have thought of the order, he gave
no outward indication of it.
Christmas Eve at Feinheimer's is, or was, a riot of unconfined hilarity,
although the code of ethics of the place was on a higher plane than that
which governed the Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve patrons of so-called
respectable restaurants, where a woman is not safe from insult even
though she be properly escorted, while in Feinheimer's a woman with an
escort was studiously avoided by the other celebrators unless she chose
to join with them. As there was only one class of women who came to
Feinheimer's at night without escort, the male habitues had no
difficulty in determining who they might approach and who they might
Jimmy Torrance was as busy as a cranberry merchant. He had four tables
to attend to, and while the amount of food he served grew more and more
negligible as the evening progressed, his trips to the bar were
exceeding frequent. One of his tables had been vacated for a few minutes
when, upon his return from the bar with a round of drinks for Steve
Murray and his party he saw that two women had entered and were
occupying his fourth table. Their backs were toward him, and he gave
them but little attention other than to note that they were unescorted
and to immediately catalogue them accordingly. Having distributed Steve
Murray's order, Jimmy turned toward his new patrons, and, laying a menu
card before each, he stood between them waiting for their order.
"What shall we take?" asked Elizabeth of Harriet. Then: "What have you
that's good?" and she looked up at the waiter.
Jimmy prided himself upon self-control, and his serving at Feinheimer's
had still further schooled him in the repression of any outward
indication of his emotions. For, as most men of his class, he had a
well-defined conception of what constituted a perfect waiter, one of the
requisites being utter indifference to any of the affairs of his patrons
outside of those things which actually pertained to his duties as a
servitor; but in this instance Jimmy realized that he had come very
close to revealing the astonishment which he felt on seeing this girl in
Feinheimer's and unescorted.
If Jimmy was schooled in self-control, Elizabeth Compton was equally so.
She recognized the waiter immediately, but not even by a movement of an
eyelid did she betray the fact; which may possibly be accounted for by
the fact that it meant little more to her than as though she had chanced
to see the same street-sweeper several times In succession, although
after he had left with their order she asked Harriet if she, too, had
"Immediately," replied her friend. "it doesn't seem possible that such
a good-looking chap should be occupying such a menial position."
"There must be something wrong with him," rejoined Elizabeth; "probably
"Or he may have some vice," suggested Harriet.
"He doesn't look it," said Elizabeth. "He looks too utterly healthy for
that. We've seen some of these drug addicts in our own set, as you may
readily recall. No, I shouldn't say that he was that."
"I suppose the poor fellow has never had an opportunity," said Harriet.
"He has a good face, his eyes and forehead indicate intelligence, and
his jaw is strong and aggressive. Probably, though, he was raised in
poverty and knows nothing better than what he is doing now. It is too
bad that some of these poor creatures couldn't have the advantages of
"Yes," said Elizabeth, "it is too bad. Take a man like that; with a
college education he could attain almost any decree of success he
"He certainly could," agreed Harriet; and then suddenly: "Why, what's
the matter, Elizabeth? Your face is perfectly scarlet."
The other girl tapped the floor with the toe of one boot impatiently.
"That horrid creature at the next table just winked at me," she said
Harriet looked about in the direction her companion had indicated, to
see a large, overdressed man staring at them. There was a smirk on his
face, and as Harriet caught his eye she saw him rise and, to her horror,
realized that he was advancing toward their table.
He stopped in front of them with his huge hands resting on the edge of
their table and looked down at Elizabeth.
"Hello, kiddo!" he said. "What are you going to drink?"
Elizabeth gave the man one look such as would utterly have frozen a male
from her own stratum of society, but it had as little effect upon Steve
Murray's self-assurance as the cork from a popgun would have on the
armored sides of a rhinoceros.
"All right," said the man, "what's the use of asking? There's only one
thing when Steve Murray buys. Here, waiter," he yelled, pounding on the
table. The nearest waiter, who chanced not to be Jimmy, who was then in
the kitchen, came hurriedly forward. "Open up some wine," commanded
Murray. "Come on, boys! Bring your chairs over here," he continued,
addressing his companions; "let's have a little party."
Elizabeth Compton rose.
"You will oblige me," she said, "by leaving our table."
Steve Murray laughed uproariously. He had dropped into a chair next to
"That's great!" he cried. "I guess you don't know who I am, kiddo. You
won't cop off anything better in this joint than Steve Murray. Come
on--let's be friends. That's a good girl," and before Elizabeth
realized the man's intentions he had seized her wrist and pulled her
down into his lap.
It was this scene that broke upon Jimmy's view as he emerged from the
kitchen with a laden tray. He saw Steve Murray seize the girl, and he
saw her struggling to free herself, and then there was a mighty crash as
Jimmy dropped the tray of steaming food upon the floor and ran quickly
Murray was endeavoring to draw the girl's lips to his as Jimmy's hand
shot between their faces and pushed that of the man away. With his free
arm he encircled the girl's body and attempted to draw her from her
"Cut it, Murray!" he commanded in a low tone of voice. "She isn't your
"Who the hell are you?" cried the labor leader, releasing the girl and
rising to his feet. "Get the hell out of here, you dirty hash-slinger!
Any girl in this place belongs to me if I want her. There don't only one
kind come in here without an escort, or with one, either, for that
matter. You get back on your job, where you belong," and the man pressed
forward trying to push Jimmy aside and lay hands on Elizabeth again.
Jimmy did not strike him then. He merely placed the palm of one hand
against the man's breast and pushed him backward, but with such force
that, striking a chair, Steve Murray fell backward and sprawled upon the
floor. Scrambling to his feet, he rushed Jimmy like a mad bull.
In his younger days Murray had been a boiler-maker, and he still
retained most of his great strength. He was a veritable mountain of a
man, and now in the throes of a berserker rage he was a formidable
opponent. His face was white and his lips were drawn back tightly,
exposing his teeth in a bestial snarl as he charged at Jimmy. His great
arms and huge hands beat to the right and left like enormous flails, one
blow from which might seemingly have felled an ox.
Torrance had stood for a moment with an arm still around the girl; but
as Murray rose to his feet he pushed her gently behind him, and then as
the man was upon him Jimmy ducked easily under the other's clumsy left
and swung a heavy right hook to his jaw. As Murray staggered to the
impact of the blow Jimmy reached him again quickly and easily with a
left to the nose, from which a crimson burst spattered over the waiter
and his victim. Murray went backward and would have fallen but for the
fact he came in contact with one of his friends, and then he was at
By this time waiters and patrons were crowding forward from all parts of
the room, and Feinheimer, shrieking at the top of his voice, was
endeavoring to worm his fat, toadlike body through the cordon of excited
spectators. The proprietor reached the scene of carnage just in time to
see Jimmy plant a lovely left on the point of Murray's jaw.
The big man tottered drunkenly for an instant, his knees sagged, and, as
Jimmy stood in readiness for any eventuality, the other crashed heavily
to the floor.
Towering above the others in the room suddenly came a big young fellow
shouldering his way through the crowd, a young man in the uniform of a
chauffeur. Elizabeth saw him before he discovered her.
"Oh David!" she cried. "Quick! Quick! Take us out of here!"
As the chauffeur reached her side and took in the scene he jerked his
head toward Jimmy. "Did any one hurt you miss?"
"No, no!" she cried. "This man was very kind. Just get us out of here,
David, as quickly as you can." And, turning to Jimmy: "How can I ever
repay you? If it hadn't been for you--oh, I hate to think what would
have happened. Come out to the car and give David your name and address,
and I will send you something tomorrow."
"Oh, that's all right," said Jimmy. "You just get out of here as quick
as you can. If the police happened to look in now you might be held as a
"How utterly horrible!" exclaimed Elizabeth. "Come, David! Come,
Harriet!" David making a way for her, she started for the door.
Harriet paused long enough to extend her band to Jimmy. "It was
wonderfully brave of you," she said. "We could never do enough to repay
you. My name is Harriet Holden," and she gave him an address on Lake
Shore Drive. "If you will come Monday morning about ten o'clock," she
said, "I am sure that there is something we can do for you. If you want
a better position," she half suggested, "I know my father could help,
although he must never know about this to-night."
"Thanks," said Jimmy, smiling. "It's awfully good of you, but you must
hurry now. There goes your friend."
Feinheimer stood as one dazed, looking down at the bulk of his friend
"Mein Gott!" he cried. "What kind of a place you think I run, young
man?" He turned angrily on Jimmy. "What you think I hire you for? To
beat up my best customer?"
"He got what was coming to him," said a soft feminine voice at Jimmy's
elbow. The man looked to see Little Eva standing at his side. "I didn't
think anybody could do that to Murray," she continued. "Lord, but it was
pretty. He's had it coming to him ever since I've known him, but the big
stiff had everybody around this joint buffaloed. He got away with
anything he started."
Feinheimer looked at Little Eva disgustedly.
"He's my best customer," he cried, "and a bum waiter comes along and
beats him up just when he is trying to have a little innocent sport on
Christmas Eve. You take off your apron, young man, and get your time. I
won't have no rough stuff in Feinheimer's."
Jimmy shrugged his shoulders and grinned.
"Shouldn't I wait to see if I can't do something more for Mr. Murray?"
"You get out of here!" cried Feinheimer "Get out of here or I'll call
Jimmy laughed and took off his apron as he walked back to the servants'
coat-room. As he emerged again and crossed through, the dining-room he
saw that Murray had regained consciousness and was sitting at a table
wiping the blood from his face with a wet napkin. As Murray's eyes fell
upon his late antagonist he half rose from his chair and shook his fist
"I'II get you for this, young feller!" he yelled. "I'll get you yet,
and don't you forget it."
"You just had me," Jimmy called back; "but it didn't seem to make you
He could still hear Murray fuming and cursing as he passed out into the
barroom, at the front of which was Feinheimer's office.
UP OR DOWN?
After Jimmy had received his check and was about to leave, a couple of
men approached him.
"We seen that little mix-up in there," said one of them. "You handle
your mitts like you been there before."
"Yes," said Jimmy, smiling, "I've had a little experience in the manly
art of self-defense."
The two men were sizing him up.
"Feinheimer can you?" asked one of them. Jimmy nodded affirmatively.
"Got anything else in view?"
"No," said Jimmy.
"How'd you like a job as one of Brophy's sparring partners?"
"I wouldn't mind," said Jimmy. "What is there in it?"
They named a figure that was entirely satisfactory to Jimmy.
"Come over the day after Christmas," he was told, "and we'll give you a
"I wonder," thought Jimmy as he started for home, "if I have gone up a
notch in the social scale or down a notch? From the view-point of the
underworld a pug occupies a more exalted position than a waiter; but--
oh, well, a job's a job, and at least I won't have to look at that
greasy Feinheimer all day."
At ten o'clock Monday Jimmy was at Young Brophy's training quarters,
for, although he had not forgotten Harriet Holden's invitation, he had
never seriously considered availing himself of her offer to help him to
a better position. While he had not found it difficult to accept the
rough friendship and assistance of the Lizard, the idea of becoming an
object of "charity," as he considered it, at the hands of a girl in the
same walk of life as that to which he belonged was intolerable.
Young Brophy's manager, whom Jimmy discovered to be one of the men who
had accosted him in Feinheimer's after his trouble with Murray, took him
into a private office and talked with him confidentially for a half-hour
before he was definitely employed.
It seemed that one of the principal requisites of the position was a
willingness to take punishment without attempting to inflict too much
upon Young Brophy. The manager did not go into specific details as to
the reason for this restriction, and Jimmy, badly in need of a job, felt
no particular inclination to search too deeply for the root of the
"What I don't know," he soliloquized, "won't hurt me any." But he had
not been there many days before the piecing together of chance remarks
and the gossip of the hangers-on and other sparring partners made it
very apparent why Brophy should not be badly man-handled. As it finally
revealed itself to Jimmy it was very simple indeed. Brophy was to be
pitted against a man whom he had already out-pointed in a former bout.
He was the ruling favorite in the betting, and it was the intention to
keep him so while he and his backers quietly placed all their money on
the other man.
One of the sparring partners who seemed to harbor a petty grudge against
Brophy finally explained the whole plan to Jimmy. Everything was to be
done to carry the impression to the public through the newspapers, who
were usually well represented at the training quarters, that Brophy was
in the pink of condition; that he was training hard; that it was
impossible to find men who could stand up to him on account of the
terrific punishment he inflicted upon his sparring partners; and that
the result of the fight was already a foregone conclusion; and then in
the third round Young Brophy was to lie down and by reclining peacefully
on his stomach for ten seconds make more money than several years of
hard and conscientious work earnestly performed could ever net him.
It was all very, very simple; but how easily public opinion might be
changed should one of the sparring partners really make a good stand
against Brophy in the presence of members of the newspaper fraternity!
"I see, "said Jimmy, running his fingers through his hair. "Oh, well,
it's none of my business, and if the suckers want to bet their money on
a prize-fight they're about due to lose it anyway."
And so he continued permitting himself to be battered up four or five
times a week at the hands of the pussy Mr. Brophy. He paid back the
twenty the Lizard had loaned him, got his watch out of pawn, and was
even figuring on a new suit of clothes. Never before in his life had
Jimmy realized what it meant to be prosperous, since for obvious reasons
Young Brophy's manager was extremely liberal in the matter of salaries
with all those connected with the training-camp.
At first it had been rather humiliating to Jimmy to take the drubbings
he did at the hands of Young Brophy in the presence of the audience
which usually filled the small gymnasium where the fighter was training.
It was nearly always about the same crowd, however, made up of
dyed-in-the-wool fans, a few newspaper men, and a sprinkling of
thrill-seekers from other walks of life far removed from the prize-ring.
Jimmy often noticed women among the spectators--well-dressed women,
with every appearance of refinement, and there were always men of the
same upper class of society.
He mentioned the fact once to the same young man who had previously
explained the plan under which the fight was to be faked.
"That's just part of the graft," said his informant. "These birds have
got next to a bunch of would-be sports with more money than brains
through the athletic director of--" he mentioned the name of one of
the big athletic clubs--"and they been inviting 'em here to watch
Brophy training. Every one of the simps will be tryin' to get money down
on Brophy, and this bunch will take it all up as fast as they come.
"The bettin' hasn't really started yet; in fact, they are holding off
themselves until the odds are better. If Brophy goes into the ring a
three-to-one favorite these fellows will make a killing that will be
talked of for the next twenty years." "And incidentally give boxing
another black eye," interjected Jimmy.
"Oh, what the hell do we care?" said the other. "I'm goin' to make mine
out of it, and you better do the same. I'm goin' to put up every cent I
can borrow or steal on the other guy."
It was Saturday, the 15th of January, just a week before the fight, that
Jimmy, trained now almost to perfection, stepped into the ring to take
his usual mauling. For some time past there had been insidiously working
its way into his mind a vast contempt for the pugilistic prowess of
"If," thought Jimmy," this bird is of championship caliber, I might be a
champion myself." For, though Young Brophy was not a champion, the
newspapers had been pointing to him for time as a likely possibility for
these pugilistic honors later.
As this mental attitude grew within him and took hold of Jimmy it more
and more irked him to take the punishment which he inwardly felt he
could easily inflict upon Brophy instead, but, as Jimmy had learned
through lean and hungry months, a job is a job, and no job is to be
sneezed at or lightly thrown aside.
There was quite a gathering that afternoon to watch Young Brophy's
work-out, and rather a larger representation than usual from society's
younger set. The program, which had consisted in part of shadow boxing
and bag punching by Young Brophy, was to terminate with three rounds
For two rounds the young man had permitted Brophy to make a monkey of
him, hitting him where he would at will, while Jimmy, as a result of
several weeks of diligent practice, was able to put up apparently a very
ferocious attempt to annihilate his opponent without doing the latter
any material damage.
At the close of the second round Brophy landed a particularly vicious
right, which dropped Jimmy to the canvas. The crowd applauded
vociferously, and as the gong sounded as Jimmy was slowly rising to his
feet they were all assured that it was all that had saved the young man
from an even worse thrashing.
As Jimmy returned to his corner there arose within him a determination
to thrash Young Brophy within an inch of his life after the big fight
was out of the way and Jimmy no longer bound by any obligations, for he
realized that for some reason Brophy had just gone a little too far with
his rough tactics, there having been in the arrangement with the
sparring partners an understanding that when a knock-down was to be
staged Brophy was to give his opponent the cue. No cue had been given,
however. Jimmy had not been expecting it, and he had been floored with a
punch behind which were all the weight and brawn of the pugilist.
He had long since ceased to consider what the spectators might think.
So far as Jimmy was concerned, they might have been so many chairs. He
was merely angry at the unnecessary punishment that had been inflicted.
As he sprawled in his corner he let his eyes run over the faces of the
spectators directly in front of him, to whom previously be had paid no
particular attention, and even now it was scarcely more than an
involuntary glance; but his eyes stopped suddenly upon a face, and as
recognition suddenly dawned upon him he could feel the hot blood rushing
to his own. For there was the girl whom Fate had thrice before thrown in
his path! Beside her he recognized the Miss Harriet Holden who had been
with her the night at Feinheimer's, and with them were two young men.
Something within Jimmy Torrance rebelled to a point where it utterly
dominated him--rebelled at the thought that this girl, whom be had
unconsciously set upon a pedestal to worship from afar, should always
find him in some menial and humiliating position. It was bad enough that
she should see him as a sparring partner of a professional pug, but it
made it infinitely worse that she should see him as what he must appear,
an unsuccessful third or fourth rate fighter.
Everything within Jimmy's mind turned suddenly topsyturvy. He seemed to
lose all sense of proportion and all sense of value in one overpowering
thought, that he must not again be humiliated in her presence.
And so it was that at the tap of the gong for the third round it was not
Torrance the sparring partner that advanced from his corner, but Jimmy
Torrance, champion heavyweight boxer of a certain famous university. But
why enter into the harrowing details of the ensuing minute and a half?
In thirty seconds it was unquestionably apparent to every one in the
room, including Young Brophy himself, that the latter was pitifully
outclassed. Jimmy hit him whenever and wherever he elected to him, and
he hit him hard, while Brophy, at best only a second or third rate
fighter, pussy and undertrained, was not only unable to elude the blows
of his adversary but equally so to land effectively himself.
And there before the eyes of half a dozen newspaper reporters, of a
dozen wealthy young men who had fully intended to place large sums on
Brophy, and before the eyes of his horrified manager and backer, Jimmy,
at the end of ninety seconds, landed a punch that sent the flabby Mr.
Brophy through the ropes and into dreamland for a much longer period
than the requisite ten seconds.
Before Jimmy got dressed and out of the gymnasium he, with difficulty,
escaped a half-dozen more fistic encounters, as everybody from the
manager down felt that his crime deserved nothing short of capital
punishment. He had absolutely wrecked a perfectly good scheme in the
perfection of which several thousand dollars had been spent, and now
there could not be even the possibility of a chance of their breaking
When Jimmy got home that night he saw a light in the Lizard's room and
"Well," said the cracksman, "how's every little thing?"
Jimmy smiled ruefully.
"Canned again," he announced, and then he told the Lizard the story of
his downfall, attributing the results of the third round, however, to
Brophy's unwarranted action at the end of the second.
"Well," said the Lizard, "you certainly are the champion boob. There
you had a chance to cop off a nice bunch of coin on that fight and
instead you kill it for yourself and everybody else."
"You don't think, "said Jimmy, "that I would have put any money on that
"Why not?" asked the Lizard, and then be shook his head sadly. "No, I
don't suppose you would. There's lots of things about you that I can't
understand, and one of them is the fact that you would rather starve to
death than take a little easy money off of birds that have got more than
they got any business to have. Why, with your education and front we two
could pull off some of the classiest stuff that this burg ever saw."
"Forget it," admonished Jimmy.
"What are you going to do now?" asked the Lizard.
"Go out and hunt for another job," said Jimmy.
"Well, I wish you luck," said the Lizard.
"Maybe I can find something for you. I'll try, and in the mean time if
you need any mazuma I always got a little roll tucked away in my sock."
"Thanks," said Jimmy, "and I don't mind telling you that you're the one
man I know whom I'd just as soon borrow from and would like the
opportunity of loaning to. You say that you can't understand me, and yet
you're a whole lot more of an enigma yourself! You admit, in fact,
you're inclined to boast, that you're a pickpocket and a safe-blower and
yet I'd trust you, Lizard, with anything that I had."
The Lizard smiled, and for the first time since he had known him Jimmy
noticed that his eyes smiled with his lips.
"I've always had the reputation," said the Lizard, "of being a white guy
with my friends. As a matter of fact, I ain't no different from what
you'd probably be if you were in business and what most of your friends
are. Morally they're a bunch of thieves and crooks. Of course, they
don't go out and frisk any one and they don't work with a jimmy or a
bottle of soup. They work their graft with the help of contracts and
lawyers, and they'd gyp a friend or a pauper almost as soon as they
would an enemy. I don't know much about morality, but when it comes
right down to a question of morals I believe my trade is just as decent
as that of a lot of these birds you see rolling up and down Mich Boul in
"It's all in the point of view," said Jimmy.
"Yes," said the Lizard. "It's all in the point of view, and my point of
view ain't warped by no college education."
Jimmy grinned. "Eventually, Lizard, you may win me over; but when you
do why fritter away our abilities upon this simple village when we have
the capitals of all Europe to play around in?"
"There's something in that," said the Lizard; "but don't get it into
your head for a minute that I am tryin' to drag you from the straight
and narrow. I think I like you better the way you are."
"Did you ever," said Harriet Holden, "see anything so weird as the way
we keep bumping into that stocking-counter young man?"
"No," said Elizabeth, "it's commencing to get on my nerves. Every time
I turn a corner now I expect to bump into him. I suppose we see other
people many times without recognizing them, but he is so utterly
good-looking that he sort of sticks in one's memory."
"Do you know," said Harriet, "that I have a suspicion that he recognized
us. I saw him looking up at us just after that other person knocked him
down and I could have sworn that he blushed. And then, you know, he went
in and was entirely different from what he had been in the two preceding
rounds. Billy said that he is really a wonderful fighter, and there are
not very many good fights that Billy misses. What in the world do you
suppose his profession is anyway? Since we first noticed him he has been
a hosiery clerk, a waiter, and a prize-fighter."
"I don't know, I am sure," said Eliza beth, yawning. "You seem to be
terribly interested in him."
"I am," admitted Harriet frankly. "He's a regular adventure all in
himself--a whole series of adventures."
"I've never been partial to serials," said Elizabeth.
"Well, I should think one would be a relief after a whole winter of
heavy tragedy, "retorted Harriet.
"What do you mean?" asked Elizabeth.
"Oh, I mean Harold, of course," said Harriet. "He's gone around all
winter with a grouch and a face a mile long. What's the matter with him
"I don't know," sighed Elizabeth. "I'm afraid he's working too hard."
"Oh, fiddlesticks! "she exclaimed. "You know perfectly well that
Harold Bince will never work himself to death."
"Well, he is working hard, Harriet. Father says so. And he's worrying
about the business, too. He's trying so hard to make good."
"I will admit that he has stuck to his job more faithfully than anybody
expected him to."
Elizabeth turned slowly upon her friend, "You don't like Harold," she
said; "why is it?"
Harriet shook her head.
"I do like him, Elizabeth, for your sake. I suppose the trouble is that
I realize that he is not good enough for you. I have known him all my
life, and even as a little child he was never sincere. Possibly he has
changed now. I hope so. And then again I know as well as you do that you
are not in love with him."
"How perfectly ridiculous!" cried Elizabeth. "Do you suppose that I
would marry a man whom I didn't love?"
"You haven't the remotest idea what love is. You've never been in
"Have you?" asked Elizabeth.
"No," replied Harriet, "I haven't, but I know the symptoms and you
certainly haven't got one of them. Whenever Harold isn't going to be up
for dinner or for the evening you're always relieved. Possibly you don't
realize it yourself, but you show it to any one who knows you."
"Well, I do love him," insisted Elizabeth, "and I intend to marry him.
I never had any patience with this silly, love-sick business that
requires people to pine away when they are not together and bore
everybody else to death when they were."
"All of which proves," said Harriet, "that you haven't been stung yet,
and I sincerely hope that you may never be unless it happens before you
IN AGAIN--OUT AGAIN.
Jimmy Torrance was out of a job a week this time, and once more he was
indebted to the Lizard for a position, the latter knowing a politician
who was heavily interested in a dairy company, with the result that
Jimmy presently found himself driving a milk-wagon. Jimmy's route was on
the north side, which he regretted, as it was in the district where a
number of the friends of his former life resided. His delivery schedule,
however, and the fact that his point of contact with the homes of his
customers was at the back door relieved him of any considerable
apprehension of being discovered by an acquaintance.
His letters home were infrequent, for he found that his powers of
invention were being rapidly depleted. It was difficult to write glowing
accounts of the business success he was upon the point of achieving on
the strength of any of the positions he so far had held, and doubly so
during the far greater period that he had been jobless and hungry. But
he had not been able to bring himself to the point of admitting to his
family his long weeks of consistent and unrelieved failure.
Recently he had abandoned his futile attempts to obtain positions
through the medium of the Help Wanted columns.
"It is no use," he thought. "There must be something inherently wrong
with me that in a city full of jobs I am unable to land anything without
some sort of a pull and then only work that any unskilled laborer could
The truth of the matter was that Jimmy Torrance was slowly approaching
that mental condition that is aptly described by the phrase, "losing
your grip," one of the symptoms of which was the fact that he was almost
contented with his present job.
He had driven for about a week when, upon coming into the barn after
completing his morning delivery, he was instructed to take a special
order to a certain address on Lake Shore Drive. Although the address was
not that of one of his regular customers he felt that there was
something vaguely familiar about it, but when he finally arrived he
realized that it was a residence at which he had never before called.
Driving up the alley Jimmy stopped in the rear of a large and
pretentious home, and entering through a gateway in a high stone wall he
saw that the walk to the rear entrance bordered a very delightful
garden. He realized what a wonderfully pretty little spot it must be in
the summer time, with its pool and fountain and tree-shaded benches, its
vine-covered walls and artistically arranged shrubs, and it recalled to
Jimmy with an accompanying sigh the homes in which he had visited in
what seemed now a remote past, and also of his own home in the West.
On the alley in one corner of the property stood a garage and stable, in
which Jimmy could see men working upon the owner's cars and about the
box-stalls of his saddle horses. At the sight of the horses Jimmy heaved
another sigh as he continued his way to the rear entrance. As he stood
waiting for a reply to his summons he glanced back at the stable to see
that horses had just entered and that their riders were dismounting,
evidently two of the women of the household, and then a houseman opened
the door and Jimmy made his delivery and started to retrace his steps to
Approaching him along the walk from the stable were the riders--two
young women, laughing and talking as they approached the house, and
suddenly Jimmy, in his neat white suit, carrying his little tray of
milk-bottles, recognized them, and instantly there flashed into
recollection the address that Harriet Holden had given him that night at
"What infernal luck," he groaned inwardly; "I suppose the next time I
see that girl I'll be collecting garbage from her back door." And then,
with his eyes straight to the front, he stepped aside to let the two
It was Harriet Holden who recognized him first, and stopped with a
little exclamation of surprise. Jimmy stopped, too. There was nothing
else that a gentleman might do, although he would have given his right
hand to have been out of the yard.
"You never came to the house as I asked you to," said Miss Holden
reproachfully. "We wanted so much to do something to repay you for your
protection that night."
"There was no use in my coming," said Jimmy, "for, you see, I couldn't
have accepted anything for what I did--I couldn't very well have done
anything else, could I, under the circumstances?"
"There were many other men in the place," replied Harriet, "but you were
the only one who came to our help."
"But the others were not---" Jimmy been upon the point of saying
gentlemen, but then he happened to think that in the eves of these two
girls, and according to their standard, he might not be a gentleman,
either. "Well, you see," he continued lamely, "they probably didn't know
who you were."
"Did you?" asked Elizabeth.
"No," Jimmy admitted, "of course, I didn't know who you were, but I knew
what you were not, which was the thing that counted most then."
"I wish," said Harriet, "that you would let us do something for you."
"Yes," said Elizabeth, "if a hundred dollars would be of any use to
you--"Harriet laid a hand quickly on her friend's arm.
"I wasn't thinking of money," she said to Jimmy. "One can't pay for
things like that with money, but we know so many people here we might
help you in some way, if you are not entirely satisfied with your
Out of the corner of his eye Jimmy could not help but note that
Elizabeth was appraising him critically from head to foot and he felt
that he could almost read what was passing through her mind as she took
stock of his cheap cotton uniform and his cap, with the badge of his
employer above the vizor. Involuntarily Jimmy straightened his shoulders
and raised his chin a trifle.
"No, thank you," he said to Harriet "it is kind of you, but really I am
perfectly satisfied with my present job. It is by far the best one I
have ever held," and touching his cap, he continued his interrupted way
to his wagon.
"What a strange young man," exclaimed Harriet. "He is like many of his
class," replied Elizabeth, "probably entirely without ambition and with
no desire to work any too hard or to assume additional
"I don't believe it," retorted Harriet. "Unless I am greatly mistaken,
that man is a gentleman. Everything about him indicates it; his
inflection even is that of a well-bred man."
"How utterly silly," exclaimed Elizabeth. "You've heard him speak
scarcely a dozen words. I venture to say that in a fifteen-minute
conversation he would commit more horrible crimes against the king's
English than even that new stable-boy of yours. Really, Harriet, you
seem very much interested in this person."
"Why shouldn't I be?" asked Harriet. "He's becoming my little pet
mystery. I wonder under what circumstances we see him next?"
"Probably as a white-wings," laughed Elizabeth. "But if so I positively
refuse to permit you to stop in the middle of Michigan Boulevard and
converse with a street-sweeper while I'm with you."
Jimmy's new job lasted two weeks, and then the milk-wagon drivers went
on strike and Jimmy was thrown out of employment.
"Tough luck," sympathized the Lizard. "You sure are the Calamity Kid.
But don't worry, we'll land you something else. And remember that that
partnership proposition is still open."
There ensued another month of idleness, during which Jimmy again had
recourse to the Help Wanted column. The Lizard tried during the first
week to find something for him, and then occurred a certain very famous
safe-robbery, and the Lizard disappeared.
Early in March Jimmy was again forced to part with his watch. As he was
coming out of the pawn-shop late in the afternoon he almost collided
with Little Eva.
"For the love of Mike!" cried that young lady, "where have you been all
this time, and what's happened to you? You look as though you'd lost
your last friend." And then noting the shop from which he had emerged
and the deduction being all too obvious, she laid one of her shapely
hands upon the sleeve of his cheap, ill-fitting coat. "You're up against
it, kid, ain't you?" she asked.
"Oh, it's nothing," said Jimmy ruefully. "I'm getting used to it."
"I guess you're too square," said the girl. "I heard about that Brophy
business." And then she laughed softly. "Do you know who the biggest
backers of that graft were?"
"No," said Jimmy.
"Well, don't laugh yourself to death," she admonished. "They were Steve
Murray and Feinheimer. Talk about sore pups! You never saw anything like
it, and when they found who it was that had ditched their wonderful
scheme they threw another fit. Say, those birds have been weeping on
each other's shoulders ever since."
"Do you still breakfast at Feinheimer's?" asked Jimmy.
"Once in a while," said the girl, "but not so often now." And she
dropped her eyes to the ground in what, in another than Little Eva,
might have been construed as embarrassment. "Where you going now?" she
"To eat," said Jimmy, and then prompted by the instincts of his earlier
training and without appreciable pause: "Won't you take dinner with me?"
"No," said the girl, "but you are going to take dinner with me. You're
out of a job and broke, and the chances are you've just this minute
hocked your watch, while I have plenty of money. No," she said as Jimmy
started to protest, "this is going to be on me. I never knew how much I
enjoyed talking with you at breakfast until after you had left
Feinheimer's. I've been real lonesome ever since," she admitted frankly.
"You talk to me different from what the other men do." She pressed his
arm gently. "You talk to me, kid, just like a fellow might talk to his
Jimmy didn't know just what rejoinder to make, and so he made none. As
a matter of fact, he had not realized that he had said or done anything
to win her confidence, nor could he explain his attitude toward her in
the light of what he knew of her life and vocation. There is a type of
man that respects and reveres woman-hood for those inherent virtues
which are supposed to be the natural attributes of the sex because in
their childhood they have seen them exemplified in their mothers, their
sisters and in the majority of women and girls who were parts of the
natural environment of their early lives.
It is difficult ever entirely to shatter the faith of such men, and
however they may be wronged by individuals of the opposite sex their
subjective attitude toward woman in the abstract is one of chivalrous
respects. As far as outward appearances were concerned Little Eva might
have passed readily as a paragon of all the virtues. As yet, there was
no sign nor line of dissipation marked upon her piquant face, nor in her
consociation with Jimmy was there ever the slightest reference to or
reminder of her vocation.
They chose a quiet and eminently respectable dining place, and after
they had ordered, Jimmy spread upon the table an evening paper he had
purchased upon the street.
"Help me find a job," he said to the girl, and together the two ran
through the want columns.
"Here's a bunch of them," cried the girl laughingly, "all in one ad.
Night cook, one hundred and fifty dollars; swing man, one hundred and
forty dollars; roast cook, one hundred and twenty dollars; broiler, one
hundred and twenty dollars. I'd better apply for that. Fry cook, one
hundred and ten dollars. Oh, here's something for Steve Murray: chicken
butcher, eighty dollars; here's a job I'd like," she cried, "ice-cream
man, one hundred dollars."
"Quit your kidding," said Jimmy. "I'm looking for a job, not an
"Well," she said, "here are two solid pages of them, but nobody seems to
want a waiter. What else can you do?" she asked smiling up at him.
"I can drive a milk-wagon," said Jimmy, "but the drivers are all on
"Now, be serious," she announced. "Let's look for something really good.
Here's somebody wants a finishing superintendent for a string music
instrument factory, and a business manager and electrical engineer in
this one. What's an efficiency expert?"
"Oh, he's a fellow who gums up the works, puts you three weeks behind in
less than a week and has all your best men resigning inside of a month.
I know, because my dad had one at his plant a few years ago."
The girl looked at him for a moment. "Your father is a business man?"
she asked, and without waiting for an answer, "Why don't you work for
It was the first reference that Jimmy had ever made to his connections
or his past.
"Oh," he said, "he's a long way off and--if I'm no good to any one here
I certainly wouldn't be any good to him."
His companion made no comment, but resumed her reading of the
advertisement before her:
WANTED, an Efficiency Expert--Machine works
wants man capable of thoroughly reorganizing large
business along modern lines, stopping leaks and
systematizjng every activity. Call International
Machine Company, West Superior Street. Ask for
"What do you have to know to be an efficiency expert?" asked the girl.
"From what I saw of the bird I just mentioned the less one knows about
anything the more successful he should be as an efficiency expert, for
he certainly didn't know anything. And yet the results from kicking
everybody in the plant out of his own particular rut eventually worked
wonders for the organization. If the man had had any sense, tact or
diplomacy nothing would have been accomplished."
"Why don't you try it?" asked the girl.
Jimmy looked at her with a quizzical smile. "Thank you," he said.
"Oh, I didn't mean it that way," she cried. "But from what you tell me
I imagine that all a man needs is a front and plenty of punch. You've
got the front all right with your looks and gift of gab, and I leave it
to Young Brophy if you haven't got the punch."
"Maybe that's not the punch an efficiency expert needs," suggested
"It might be a good thing to have up his sleeve," replied the girl, and
then suddenly, "do you believe in hunches?"
"Sometimes," replied Jimmy.
"Well, this is a hunch, take it from me," she continued. "I'll bet you
can land that job and make good."
"What makes you think so? "asked Jimmy.
"I don't know," she replied, "but you know what a woman's intuition is."
"I suppose," said Jimmy, "that it's the feminine of hunch. But however
good your hunch or intuition may be it would certainly get a terrible
jolt if I presented myself to the head of the International Machine
Company in this scenery. Do you see anything about my clothes that
"It isn't your clothes that count, Jimmy," she said, "it's the
combination of that face of yours and what you've got in your head.
You're the most efficient looking person I ever saw, and if you want a
reference I'll say this much for you, you're the most efficient waiter
that Feinheimer ever had. He said so himself, even after he canned you."
"Your enthusiasm," said Jimmy, "is contagious. If it wasn't for these
sorry rags of mine I'd take a chance on that hunch of yours."
The girl laid her hand impulsively upon his.
"Won't you let me help you?" she asked. "I'd like to, and it will only
be a loan if you wanted to look at it that way. Enough to get you a
decent-looking outfit, such an outfit as you ought to have to land a
good job. I know, and everybody else knows, that clothes do count no
matter what we say to the contrary. I'll bet you're some looker when
you're dolled up! Please," she continued "just try it for a gamble?"
"I don't see how I can," he objected. "The chances are I could never
pay you back, and there is no reason in the world why you should loan me
money. You are certainly under no obligation to me."
"I wish you would let me, Jimmy," she said. "It would make me awfully
The man hesitated.
"Oh," she said, "I'm going to do it, anyway. Wait a minute," and,
rising, she left the table.
In a few minutes she returned. "Here," she said, "you've got to take
it," and extended her hand toward him beneath the edge of the table. "I
can't," said Jimmy. "It wouldn't be right."
The girl looked at him and flushed.
"Do you mean," she said, "because it's my--because of what I am?"
"Oh, no," said Jimmy; "please don't think that!" And impulsively he
took her hand beneath the table. At the contact the girl caught her
breath with a little quick-drawn sigh.
"Here, take it!" she said, and drawing her hand away quickly, left a
roll of bills in Jimmy's hand.
JIMMY THROWS A BLUFF.
That afternoon Mr. Harold Bince had entered his superior's office with
an afternoon paper in his hand.
"What's the idea of this ad, Mr. Compton?" he asked. "Why do we need an
efficiency expert? I wish you had let me know what you intended doing."
"I knew that if I told you, Harold, you would object," said the older
man, "and I thought I would have a talk with several applicants before
saying anything about it to any one. Of course, whoever we get will work
with you, but I would rather not have it generally known about the
plant. There seems to be a leak somewhere and evidently we are too close
to the work to see it ourselves. It will require an outsider to discover
"I am very much opposed to the idea," said Bince. "These fellows usually
do nothing more than disrupt an organization. We have a force that has
been here, many of them, for years. There is as little lost motion in
this plant as in any in the country, and if we start in saddling these
men with a lot of red tape which will necessitate their filling out
innumerable forms for every job, about half their time will be spent in
bookkeeping, which can just as well be done here in the office as it is
now. I hope that you will reconsider your intention and let us work out
our own solution in a practical manner, which we can do better in the
light of our own experience than can an outsider who knows nothing of
our peculiar problems."
"We will not permit the organization to be disrupted," replied Mr.
Compton. "It may do a lot of good to get a new angle on our problems and
at least it will do no harm."
"I can't agree with you," replied Bince. "I think it will do a lot of
Compton looked at his watch. "It is getting late, Harold," he said,
"and this is pay-day. I should think Everett could help you with the
pay-roll." Everett was the cashier.
"I prefer to do it myself," replied Bince. "Everett has about all he
can do, and anyway, I don't like to trust it to any one else." And
realizing that Compton did not care to discuss the matter of the
efficiency expert further Bince returned to his own office.
The following afternoon the office boy entered Mr. Compton's office. "A
gentleman to see you, Sir," he announced. "He said to tell you that he
came in reply to your advertisement."
"Show him in," instructed Compton, and a moment later Jimmy entered--a
rehabilitated Jimmy. Upon his excellent figure the ready-maid suit had
all the appearance of faultlessly tailored garments. Compton looked up
at his visitor, and with the glance he swiftly appraised Jimmy--a
glance that assured him that here might be just the man he wanted, for
intelligence, aggressiveness and efficiency were evidently the
outstanding characteristics of the young man before him. After Jimmy had
presented himself the other motioned him to a chair.
"I am looking," said Mr. Compton, "for an experienced man who can come
in here and find out just what is wrong with us. We have an
old-established business which has been making money for years. We are
taking all the work that we can possibly handle at the highest prices we
have ever received, and yet our profits are not at all commensurate with
the volume of business. It has occurred to me that an experienced man
from the outside would be able to more quickly put his finger on the
leaks and stop them. Now tell me just what your experience has been and
we will see if we can come to some understanding."
From his pocket Jimmy drew a half-dozen envelopes, and taking the
contents from them one by one laid them on the desk before Mr. Compton.
On the letter-heads of half a dozen large out-of-town manufacturers in
various lines were brief but eulogistic comments upon the work done in
their plants by Mr. James Torrance, Jr. As he was reading them Mr.
Compton glanced up by chance to see that the face of the applicant was
slightly flushed, which he thought undoubtedly due to the fact that the
other knew he was reading the words of praise contained in the letters,
whereas the truth of the matter was that Jimmy's color was heightened by
a feeling of guilt.
"These are very good," said Mr. Compton, looking up from the letters. "I
don't know that I need go any further. A great deal depends on a man's
personality in a position of this sort, and from your appearance I
should imagine that you're all right along that line and you seem to
have had the right kind of experience. Now, what arrangement can we
Jimmy had given the matter of pay considerable thought, but the trouble
was that be did not know what an efficiency expert might be expected to
demand. He recalled vaguely that the one his father had employed got
something like ten dollars a day, or one hundred a day, Jimmy couldn't
remember which, and so he was afraid that he might ask too much and lose
the opportunity, or too little and reveal that he had no knowledge of
the value of such services.
"I would rather leave that to you," he said. "What do you think the work
would be worth to you?"
"Do you expect to continue in this line of work?" asked Mr. Compton.
"When this job is finished you would want to go somewhere else, I
Jimmy saw an opening and leaped for it. "Oh, no!" he replied. "On the
contrary, I wouldn't mind working into a permanent position, and if you
think there might be a possibility of that I would consider a reasonable
salary arrangement rather than the usual contract rate for expert
"It is very possible," said Mr. Compton, "that if you are the right man
there would be a permanent place in the organization for you. With that
idea in mind I should say that two hundred and fifty dollars a month
might be a mutually fair arrangement to begin with."
Two hundred and fifty dollars a month! Jimmy tried to look bored, but
not too bored.
"Of course," he said, "with the idea that it may become a permanent,
well-paying position I think I might be inclined to consider it--in
fact, I am very favorably inclined toward it," he added hastily as he
thought he noted a sudden waning of interest in Compton's expression.
"But be sure yourself that I am the man you want. For instance, my
methods--you should know something of them first."
In Jimmy's pocket was a small book he had purchased at a second-hand
bookshop the evening before, upon the cover of which appeared the title
"How to Get More Out of Your Factory." He had not had sufficient time to
study it thoroughly, but had succeeded in memorizing several principal
headings on the contents page.
"At first," he explained, "I won't seem to be accomplishing much, as I
always lay the foundation of my future work by studying my men. Some men
have that within them which spurs them on; while some need artificial
initiative--outside encouragement," he quoted glibly from "How to Get
More Out of Your Factory." "Some men extend themselves under stern
discipline; some respond only to a gentle rein. I study men--the men
over me, under me, around me. I study them and learn how to get from
each the most that is in him. At the same time I shall be looking for
leaks and investigating timekeeping methods, wage-paying systems and
planning on efficiency producers. Later I shall start reducing costs by
studying machines, handling material economically and producing power at
lowest cost; keeping the product moving, making environment count on the
balance-sheet and protecting against accident and fire." This was as far
as Jimmy had memorized, and so he stopped.
"I think," said Mr. Compton, "that you have the right idea. Some of
your points are not entirely clear to me, as there are many modern
methods that I have not, I am sorry to say, investigated sufficiently."
Jimmy did not think it necessary to explain that they were not clear to
"And now," said Compton, "if you are satisfied with the salary, when can
Jimmy rose with a brisk and businesslike manner. "I am free now," he
said, "with the exception of a little personal business which I can
doubtless finish up tomorrow--suppose I come Thursday?"
"Good," exclaimed Compton, "but before you go I want you to meet our
assistant general manager, Mr. Bince." And he led Jimmy toward Bince's
"This is Mr. Torrance, Harold," said Mr. Compton as they entered, "Mr.
Bince, Mr. Torrance. Mr. Torrance is going to help us systematize the
plant. He will report directly to me and I know you will do everything
in your power to help him. You can go to Mr. Bince for anything in the
way of information you require, and Harold, when Mr. Torrance comes
Thursday I wish you would introduce him to Everett and the various
department heads and explain that they are to give him full cooperation.
And now, as I have an appointment, I shall have to ask you to excuse me.
I will see you Thursday. If there are any questions you want to ask, Mr.
Bince will be glad to give you any information you wish or care for."
Jimmy had felt from the moment that he was introduced to Bince that the
latter was antagonistic and now that the two were alone together he was
not long left in doubt as to the correctness of his surmise. As soon as
the door had closed behind Mr. Compton Bince wheeled toward Jimmy.
"I don't mind telling you, Mr. Torrance," he said, "that I consider the
services of an expert absolutely unnecessary, but if Mr. Compton wishes
to experiment I will interfere in no way and I shall help you all I can,
but I sincerely hope that you, on your part, will refrain from
interfering with my activities. As a matter of fact, you won t have to
leave this office to get all the information you need, and if you will
come to me I can make it easy for you to investigate the entire workings
of the plant and save you a great deal of unnecessary personal labor. I
suppose that you have had a great deal of experience along this line?"
Jimmy nodded affirmatively.
"Just how do you purpose proceeding?"
"Oh, well," said Jimmy, "each one of us really has a system of his own.
At first I won't seem to be accomplishing much, as I always lay the
foundation of my future work by studying my men. Some men have that
within them which spurs them on; while some need artificial
initiative--outside encouragement." He hoped that the door to Compton's
office was securely closed.
"Some men extend themselves under stern discipline; some respond only to
a gentle rein. I study men--the men over me, under me, around me. I
study them and learn how to get from each the most that is in him. At
the same time I shall be looking for leaks and investigating
time-keeping methods "--he was looking straight at Bince and he could
not help but note the slight narrowing of the other's lids--
"wage-paying systems and planning on efficiency producers."
Here he hesitated a moment as though weighing his words, though as a
matter of fact he had merely forgotten the title of the next chapter,
but presently he went on again:
"Later I shall start reducing costs by studying machines, handling
material economically and producing power at lowest costs: keeping the
product moving, making environment count on the balance-sheet and
protecting against accident and fire."
"Is that all?" asked Mr. Bince.
"Oh, no, indeed!" said Jimmy. "That's just a very brief outline of the
way I shall start."
"Ah!" said Mr. Bince. "And just how, may I ask, do you make environment
count on the balance-sheet? I do not quite understand."
Jimmy was mentally gasping and going down for the third time. He had
wondered when he read that chapter title just what it might mean.
"Oh," he said, "you will understand that thoroughly when we reach that
point. It is one of the steps in my method. Other things lead up to it.
It is really rather difficult to explain until we have a concrete
example, something that you can really visualize, you know. But I assure
you that it will be perfectly plain to you when we arrive at that point.
"And now," he said, rising, "I must be going. I have a great deal to
attend to this afternoon and to-morrow, as I wish to get some personal
matters out of the way before I start in here Thursday."
"All right," said Mr. Bince, "I suppose we shall see you Thursday, but
just bear in mind, please, that you and I can work better together than
JIMMY ON THE JOB.
As Jimmy left the office he discovered that those last words of Bince's
had made a considerable and a rather unfavorable impression on him. He
was sure that there was an underlying meaning, though just what it
portended he was unable to imagine.
From the International Machine Company Jimmy went directly to the
restaurant where he and Little Eva had dined the night before. He found
her waiting for him, as they had agreed she would.
"Well, what luck?" she asked as he took the chair next to her.
"Oh, I landed the job all right," said Jimmy. "but I feel like a crook.
I don't know how in the world I ever came to stand for those letters of
recommendation. They were the things that got me the job all right, but
I honestly feel just as though I had stolen something."
"Don't feel that way," said the girl. "You'll make good, I know, and
then it won t make any difference about the letters."
"And now," said Jimmy, "tell me where you got them. You promised me that
you would tell me afterward."
"Oh," said the girl, "that was easy. A girl who rooms at the same place
I do works in a big printing and engraving plant and I got her to get me
some samples of letterheads early this morning. In fact, I went
down-town with her when she went to work and then I went over to the
Underwood offices and wrote the recommendations out on a machine--I
used to be a stenographer."
"And you forged these names?" asked Jimmy, horrified.
"I didn't forge anybody's name," replied the girl. "I made them up."
"You mean there are no such men?"
"As far as I know there are not," she replied, laughing.
Slowly Jimmy drew the letters from his inside pocket and read them one
by one, spreading them out upon the table before him. Presently he
looked up at the girl.
"Why don't you get a position again as a stenographer?" he asked.
"I have been thinking of it," she said; "do you want me to?"
"Yes," he said, "I want you to very much."
"It will be easy," she said. "There is no reason why I shouldn't except
that there was no one ever cared what I did."
As she finished speaking they were both aware that a man had approached
their table and stopped opposite them. Jimmy and the girl looked up to
see a large man in a dark suit looking down at Eva. Jimmy did not
recognize the man, but he knew at once what he was.
"Well, O'Donnell, what's doing?" asked the girl.
"You know what's doing," said the officer. "How miny toimes do the
capt'in have to be afther isshuin' orrders tellin' you janes to kape out
uv dacent places?"
The girl flushed. "I'm not working here," she said.
"To hell ye ain't," sneered O'Donnell. "Didn't I see ye flag this guy
whin he came in?"
"This young lady is a friend of mine," said Jimmy. "I had an
appointment to meet her here."
O'Donnell shifted his gaze from the girl to her escort and for the first
time appraised Jimmy thoroughly. "Oh, it's you, is it?" he asked.
"It is," said Jimmy; "you guessed it the first time, but far be it from
me to know what you have guessed, as I never saw you before, my friend."
"Well, I've seen you before," said O'Donnell, "and ye put one over on me
that time all roight, I can see now. I don't know what your game was,
but you and the Lizard played it pretty slick when you could pull the
wool over Patrick O'Donnell's eyes the way ye done."
"Oh," said Jimmy, "I've got you now. You're the bull who interfered
with my friend and me on Randolph and La Salle way back last July."
"I am," said O'Donnell, "and I thought ye was a foine young gentleman,
and you are a foine one," he said with intense sarcasm.
"Go away and leave us alone," said the girl. "We're not doing anything.
We ate in here last night together. This man is perfectly respectable.
He isn't what you think him, at all."
"I'm not going to pinch him," said O'Donnell; "I ain't got nothin' to
pinch him for, but the next time I see him I'll know him."
"Well," said the girl, "are you going to beat it or are you going to
stick around here bothering us all evening? There hasn't anybody
registered a complaint against me in here."
"Naw," said O'Donnell, "they ain't, but you want to watch your step or
"All right," said the girl, "run along and sell your papers." And she
turned again to Jimmy, and as though utterly unconscious of the presence
of the police officer, she remarked, "That big stiff gives me a pain.
He's the original Buttinsky Kid."
O'Donnell flushed. "Watch your step, young lady," he said as he turned
and walked away.
"I thought." said Jimmy. "that it was the customary practise to attempt
to mollify the guardians of the law."
"Mollify nothing." returned the girl. "None of these big bruisers knows
what decency is, and if you're decent to them they think you're afraid
of them. When they got something on you you got to be nice, but when
they haven't, tell them where they get off. I knew he wouldn't pinch me;
he's got nothing to pinch me for, and he'd have been out of luck if he
had, for there hasn't one of them got anything on me." "But won't he
have it in for you?" asked Jimmy.
"Sure, he will," said the girl. "He's got it in for everybody. That's
what being a policeman does to a man. Say, most of these guys hate
themselves. I tell you, though," she said presently and more seriously,
"I'm sorry on your account. These dicks never forget a face. He's got
you catalogued and filed away in what he calls his brain alongside of a
dip and--a "--she hesitated--" a girl like me, and no matter how high
up you ever get if your foot slips up will bob O'Donnell with these two
"I'm not worrying," said Jimmy. "I don't intend to let my foot slip in
"I hope not," said the girl.
Thursday morning Jimmy took up his duties as efficiency expert at the
plant of the International Machine Company. Since his interview with
Compton his constant companion had been "How to Get More Out of Your
Factory," with the result that he felt that unless he happened to be
pitted against another efficiency expert he could at least make a noise
like efficiency, and also he had grasped what he considered the
fundamental principle of efficiency, namely, simplicity.
"If," he reasoned, "I cannot find in any plant hundreds of operations
that are not being done in the simplest manner it will he because I
haven't even ordinary powers of observation or intelligence," for after
his second interview with Compton, Jimmy had suddenly realized that the
job meant something to him beside the two hundred and fifty dollars a
month--that he couldn't deliberately rob Compton, as he felt that he
would be doing unless he could give value received in services, and he
meant to do his best to accomplish that end.
He knew that for a while his greatest asset would be bluff, but there
was something about Mason Compton that had inspired in the young man a
vast respect and another sentiment that he realized upon better
acquaintance might ripen into affection. Compton reminded him in many
ways of his father, and with the realization of that resemblance Jimmy
felt more and more ashamed of the part he was playing, but now that he
had gone into it he made up his mind that he would stick to it, and
there was besides the slight encouragement that he had derived from the
enthusiasm of the girl who had suggested the idea to him and of her
oft-repeated assertion relative to her "hunch", that he would make good.
THE EFFICIENCY EXPERT.
Unlike most other plants the International Machine Company paid on
Monday, and it was on the Monday following his assumption of his new
duties that Jimmy had his first clash with Bince. He had been talking
with Everett, the cashier, whom, in accordance with his "method," he was
studying. From Everett he had learned that it was pay-day and he had
asked the cashier to let him see the pay-roll.
"I don't handle the pay-roll," replied Everett a trifle peevishly.
"Shortly after Mr. Bince was made assistant general manager a new rule
was promulgated, to the effect that all salaries and wages were to be
considered as confidential and that no one but the assistant general
manager would handle the pay-rolls. All I know is the amount of the
weekly check. He hires and fires everybody and pays everybody."
"Rather unusual, isn't it?" commented Jimmy.
"Very," said Everett. "Here's some of us have been with Mr. Compton
since Bince was in long clothes, and then he comes in here and says that
we are not to be trusted with the pay-roll."
"Well," said Jimmy, "I shall have to go to him to see it then."
"He won't show it to you," said Everett.
"Oh, I guess he will." said Jimmy, and a moment later he knocked at
Bince's office door. When Bince saw who it was he turned back to his
work with a grunt.
"I am sorry, Torrance," he said, "but I can't talk with you just now.
I'm very busy."
"Working on the pay-roll?" said Jimmy. "Yes," snarled Bince.
"That's what I came in to see," said the efficiency expert.
"Impossible," said Bince. "The International Machine Company's pay-roll
is confidential, absolutely confidential. Nobody sees it but me or Mr.
Compton if he wishes to."
"I understood from Mr. Compton," said Jimmy, "that I was to have full
access to all records."
"That merely applied to operation records," said Bince. "It had nothing
to do with the pay-roll."
"I should consider the pay-roll very closely allied to operations,"
"I shouldn't," said Bince.
"You won't let me see it then?" demanded Jimmy.
"Look here," said Bince, "we agreed that we wouldn't interfere with each
other. I haven't interfered with you. Now don't you interfere with me.
This is my work, and my office is not being investigated by any
efficiency expert or any one else."
"I don't recall that I made any such agreement," said Jimmy. "I must
insist on seeing that pay-roll."
Bince turned white with suppressed anger, and then suddenly slamming his
pen on the desk, he wheeled around toward the other.
"I might as well tell you something," he said, "that will make your path
easier here, if you know it. I understand that you want a permanent job
with us. If you do you might as well understand now as any other time
that you have got to be satisfactory to me. Of course, it is none of
your business, but it may help you to understand conditions when I tell
you that I am to marry Mr. Compton's daughter, and when I do that he
expects to retire from business, leaving me in full charge here. Now, do
you get me?"
Jimmy had involuntarily acquired antipathy toward Bince at their first
meeting, an antipathy which had been growing the more that he saw of the
assistant general manager. This fact, coupled with Bince's present
rather nasty manner, was rapidly arousing the anger of the efficiency
expert. "I didn't come in here," he said, "to discuss your matrimonial
prospects, Mr. Bince. I came in here to see the pay-roll, and you will
oblige me by letting me see it."
"I tell you again," said Bince, "once and for all, that you don't see
the pay-roll nor anything else connected with my office, and you will
oblige me by not bothering me any longer. As I told you when you first
came in, I am very busy."
Jimmy turned and left the room. He was on the point of going to
Compton's office and asking for authority to see the pay-roll, and then
it occurred to him that Compton would probably not take sides against
his assistant general manager and future son-in-law.
"I've got to get at it some other way," said Jimmy, "but you bet your
life I'm going to get at it. It looks to me as though there's something
funny about that pay-roll."
On his way out he stopped at Everett's cage. "What was the amount of the
check for the pay-roll for this week, Everett?" he asked.
"A little over ninety-six hundred dollars."
"Thanks," said Jimmy, and returned to the shops to continue his study of
his men, and as he studied them he asked many questions, made many notes
in his little note-book, and always there were two questions that were
the same: "What is your name? What wages do you get?"
"I guess," said Jimmy, "that in a short time I will know as much about
the payroll as the assistant general manager."
Nor was it the pay-roll only that claimed Jimmy's attention. He found
that several handlings of materials could be eliminated by the adoption
of simple changes, and that a rearrangement of some of the machines
removed the necessity for long hauls from one part of the shop to
another. After an evening with the little volume he had purchased for
twenty-five cents in the second-hand bookshop he ordered changes that
enabled him to cut five men from the pay-roll and at the same time do
the work more expeditiously and efficiently.
"Little book," he said one evening, "I take my hat off to you. You are
the best two-bits' worth I ever purchased."
The day following the completion of the changes he had made in the shop
he was in Compton's office.
"Patton was explaining some of the changes you have made," remarked
Compton. Patton was the shop foreman. "He said they were so simple that
he wondered none of us had thought of them before. I quite agree with
"So do I," returned Jimmy, "but, then, my whole method is based upon
simplicity. "And his mind traveled to the unpretentious little book on
the table in his room on Indiana Avenue.
"The feature that appeals to me most strongly is that you have been able
to get the cooperation of the men," continued Compton "that's what I
feared--that they wouldn't accept your suggestions. How did you do it?"
"I showed them how they could turn out more work and make more money by
my plan. This appealed to the piece-workers. I demonstrated to the
others that the right way is the easiest way--I showed them how they
could earn their wages with less effort."
"Good," said Compton. "You are running into no difficulties then? Is
there any way in which I can help you?"
"I am getting the best kind of cooperation from the men in the shop,
practically without exception," replied Jimmy, "although there is one
fellow, a straw boss named Krovac, who does not seem to take as kindly
to the changes I have made as the others, but he really doesn't amount
to anything as an obstacle." Jimmy also thought of Bince and the
pay-roll, but he was still afraid to broach the subject. Suddenly an
inspiration came to him.
"Yes," he said, "I believe your accounting system could be improved--it
will take me months to get around to it, as my work is primarily in the
shop, at first, at least. You can save both time and money by having
your books audited by a firm of public accountants who can also suggest
a new and more up-to-date system."
"Not a bad idea," said Compton. "I think we will do it."
For another half-hour they discussed Jimmy's work, and then as the
latter was leaving Compton stopped him.
"By the way, you don't happen to know of a good stenographer, do you?
Miss Withe is leaving me Saturday."
Jimmy thought a moment. Instantly he thought of Little Eva and what she
had said of her experience as a stenographer, and her desire to abandon
her present life for something in the line of her former work. Here was
a chance to repay her in some measure for her kindness to him.
"Yes," he said, "I do know of a young lady who, I believe, could do the
work. Shall I have her call on you?"
"If you will, please," replied Compton
As Jimmy left the office Compton rang for Bince, and when the latter
came, told him of his plan to employ a firm of accountants to renovate
their entire system of bookkeeping.
"Is that one of Torrance's suggestions?" asked Bince.
"Yes, the idea is his," replied Compton, "and I think it is a good one."
"It seems to me," said Bince, "that Torrance is balling things up
sufficiently as it is without getting in other theorizers who have no
practical knowledge of our business. The result of all this will be to
greatly increase our overhead by saddling us with a lot of red-tape in
the accounting department similar to that which Torrance is loading the
producing end with."
"I am afraid that you are prejudiced, Harold," said Compton. "I cannot
discover that Torrance is doing anything to in any way complicate the
shop work. As a matter of fact a single change which he has just made
has resulted in our performing certain operations in less time and to
better advantage with five less men than formerly. Just in this one
thing he has not only more than earned his salary, but is really paying
dividends on our investment."
Bince was silent for a moment. He had walked to the window and was
looking out on the street below, then he turned suddenly toward Compton.
"Mr. Compton," he said, "you have made me assistant general manager here
and now, just when I am reaching a point where I feel I can accomplish
something, you are practically taking the authority out of my hands and
putting it in that of a stranger. I feel not only that you are making a
grave mistake, but that it is casting a reflection on my work. It is
making a difference in the attitude of the men toward me that I am
afraid can never be overcome, and consequently while lessening my
authority it is also lessening my value to the plant. I am going to ask
you to drop this whole idea. As assistant general manager, I feel that
it is working injury to the organization, and I hope that before it is
too late--that, in fact, immediately, you will discharge Torrance and
drop this idea of getting outsiders to come in and install a new
"You're altogether too sensitive, Harold," replied Compton. "It is no
reflection on you whatsoever. The system under which we have been
working is, with very few exceptions, the very system that I evolved
myself through years of experience in this business. If there is any
reflection upon any one it is upon me and not you. You must learn to
realize, if you do not already, what I realize--that no one is
infallible. Just because the system is mine or yours we must not think
that no better system can be devised. I am perfectly satisfied with what
Mr. Torrance is doing, and I agree with his suggestion that we employ a
firm of accountants, but I think no less of you or your ability on that
Bince saw that it was futile to argue the matter further.
"Very well, sir," he said. "I hope that I am mistaken and that no
serious harm will result. When do you expect to start these accountants
"Immediately," replied Compton. "I shall get in touch with somebody
Bince shook his head dubiously as he returned to his own office.
The following Monday Miss Edith Hudson went to work for the
International Machine Company as Mr. Compton's stenographer. Nor could
the most fastidious have discovered aught to criticize in the appearance
or deportment of Little Eva.
The same day the certified public accountants came. Mr. Harold Bince
appeared nervous and irritable, and he would have been more nervous and
more irritable had he known that Jimmy had just learned the amount of
the pay-check from Everett and that he had discovered that, although
five men had been laid off and no new ones employed since the previous
week, the payroll check was practically the same as before--
approximately one thousand dollars more than his note-book indicated
it should be.
"Phew!" whistled Jimmy. "These C.P.A.s are going to find this a more
interesting job than they anticipated. Poor old Compton! I feel mighty
sorry for him, but he had better find it out now than after that grafter
has wrecked his business entirely."
That afternoon Mr. Compton left the office earlier than usual,
complaining of a headache, and the next morning his daughter telephoned
that he was ill and would not come to the office that day. During the
morning as Bince was walking through the shop he stopped to talk with
Pete Krovac was a rat-faced little foreigner, looked upon among the men
as a trouble-maker. He nursed a perpetual grievance against his employer
and his job, and whenever the opportunity presented, and sometimes when
it did not present itself, he endeavored to inoculate others with his
dissatisfaction. Bince had hired the man, and during the several months
that Krovac had been with the company, the assistant general manager had
learned enough from other workers to realize that the man was an
agitator and a troublemaker. Several times he had been upon the point of
discharging him, but now he was glad that he had not, for he thought he
saw in him a type that in the light of present conditions might be of
use to him.
In fact, for the past couple of weeks he had been using the man in an
endeavor to get some information concerning Torrance and his methods
that would permit him to go to Compton with a valid argument for Jimmy's
"Well, Krovac," he said as be came upon the man, "is Torrance
interfering with you any now?"
"He hasn't got my job yet," growled the other, "but he's letting out
hard-working men with families without any reason. The first thing you
know you'll have a strike on your hands."
"I haven't heard any one else complaining," said Bince. "You will,
though," replied Krovac. "They don't any of us know when we are going to
be canned to give Compton more profit, and men are not going to stand
for that long."
"Then," said Bince, "I take it that he really hasn't interfered with you
"Oh, he's always around asking a lot of fool questions," said Krovac.
"Last week he asked every man in the place what his name was and what
wages he was getting. Wrote it all down in a little book. I suppose he
is planning on cutting pay."
Bince's eyes narrowed. "He got that information from every man in the
shop?" he asked.
"Yes," replied Krovac.
Bince was very pale. He stood in silence for some minutes, apparently
studying the man before him. At last he spoke.
"Krovac," he said, "you don't like this man Torrance, do you?"
"No," said the other, "I don't."
"Neither do I," said Bince. "I know his plans even better than you.
This shop has short hours and good pay, but if we don't get rid of him
it will have the longest hours and lowest pay of any shop in the city."
"Well?" questioned Krovac.
"I think," said Bince, "that there ought to be some way to prevent this
man doing any further harm here."
He looked straight into Krovac's eyes.
"There is," muttered the latter.
"It would be worth something of course," suggested Bince. "How much?"
"Oh, I should think it ought to be worth a hundred dollars," replied
Krovac thought for a moment.
"I think I can arrange it," he said, "but I would have to have fifty
"I cannot give it to you here," said Bince, "but if I should happen to
pass through the shop this afternoon you might find an envelope on the
floor beside your machine after I have gone."
The following evening as Jimmy alighted from the Indiana Avenue car at
Eighteenth Street, two men left the car behind him. He did not notice
them, although, as he made his way toward his boarding-house, he heard
footsteps directly in his rear, and suddenly noting that they were
approaching him rapidly, he involuntarily cast a glance behind him just
as one of the men raised an arm to strike at him with what appeared to
be a short piece of pipe.
Jimmy dodged the blow and then both men sprang for him. The first one
Jimmy caught on the point of the chin with a blow that put its recipient
out of the fight before he got into it, and then his companion, who was
the larger, succeeded in closing with the efficiency expert.
Inadvertently, however, he caught Jimmy about the neck, leaving both his
intended victim's arms free with the result that the latter was able to
seize his antagonist low down about the body, and then pressing him
close to him and hurling himself suddenly forward, he threw the fellow
backward upon the cement sidewalk with his own body on top. With a
resounding whack the attacker's head came in contact with the concrete,
his arms relaxed their hold upon Jimmy's neck, and as the latter arose
he saw both his assailants, temporarily at least, out of the fighting.
Jimmy glanced hastily in both directions. There was no one in sight.
His boardinghouse was but a few steps away, and two minutes later he was
safe in his room.
"A year ago," he thought to himself, smiling, "my first thought would
have been to have called in the police, but the Lizard has evidently
given me a new view-point in regard to them," for the latter had
impressed upon Jimmy the fact that whatever knowledge a policeman might
have regarding one was always acquired with the idea that eventually it
might be used against the person to whom it pertained.
"What a policeman don't know about you will never hurt you," was one way
that the Lizard put it.
When Jimmy appeared in the shop the next morning he noted casually that
Krovac had a cut upon his chin, but he did not give the matter a second
thought. Bince had arrived late. His first question, as he entered the