Contents I II
sitting-room of Edward Brown's home in Bridgetown, Conn. To the left in
the foreground a door leading into the dining room. Farther back a
book-case and two windows looking out on the back yard. In the corner an
expensive Victrola machine with cabinet for records. In the middle of
the far side of the room is a huge old fashioned fire place with brass
andirons. On either side of the fire place a window opening on the
garden. In the right hand corner near the window a Morris chair. Farther
forward a large doorway leading to the parlor with two sliding doors
which are tightly drawn together, it being neither Sunday nor a holiday.
Still farther in the foreground a smaller door opening on the hallway.
the fire place a mantel on the center of which is a Mission clock with a
bright brass pendulum. The remainder of the mantel is taken up by cigar
boxes, a skull-and-cross-bones tobacco jar, a brass match safe, etc. A
square table with four or five easy chairs grouped around it stands in
the center of the large sober-colored rug which covers all but the edge
of the hard-wood floor. On the table a stack of magazines and a
newspaper, also an embroidered center-piece, the fringe of which can be
seen peeking out from under the shining base of an electric reading lamp
wired from the chandelier above. Two stiff looking chairs have been used
to fill up floor spaces which must have seemed unduly bare to the
mistress of the household. The walls are papered a dull blurred crimson.
This monotony of color is at well-regulated intervals monotonously
relieved by pretentiously stupid paintings of the "Cattle-at-the-Stream",
"Sunrise-on-the-Lake" variety. These daubs are imprisoned in
ornate gilt frames.
room is sufficiently commonplace and ordinary to suit the most
fastidious Philistine. Just at present it's ugliness is shamelessly
revealed by the full downward glare of
the reading lamp and the searching stare of all four bulbs on the
is about eight o'clock on a hot evening in September of the present day.
All the windows are open.
and Mrs. Brown and their eldest son, Edward, are discovered seated by
the table. Mrs. Brown is a small grey-haired, tired-looking
woman about fifty years
old, neatly dressed in black. Her expression is meek and when she speaks
the tone of her voice apologizes for the unseemly indulgence.
himself is a tall, lean old man with a self-satisfied smile forever on
his thin lips. He is smooth-shaven, a trifle bald, fifty-eight
years old, and dressed as becomes a leading citizen.
Edward is tall and stout, pudgy faced, dark-haired, small of eye,
thick of lip and neck. He is dressed exactly as a small-town alderman
should be dressed and is thirty years old.
aside the newspaper he has been reading) I don't think much of that
"ad" you've got in here, Ed.
deferential) What's the matter with it, Father? (with dignity)
I wrote it myself.
I know you did. I can see you sticking out all over it. It's too wordy
in other words.
desire was to appeal to the better class of people in the townthe
people whose patronage is really worth while and
right there. You're running a hardware store, not a cotillion. The
people you've got to appeal to are the people who want something we've
got and have the money to pay for it. No other distinction goes in our
I thought it would be an asset
to get and hold the trade of the best people.
isn't as much of an asset as getting and holding the trade of the
working people. They pay cash. While the othersI'd
never have to hire a collector if it wasn't for those same best people.
Keep your social high-flying out of the store. It's no place for it. (with
asperity) Remember I haven't retired yet and, although God knows
I've earned it, I never will be able to if you mess things up this way.
Please consult me after this before you appeal to the best people.
I'll have the "ad" taken out tomorrow and you can write
kindly) No, write it yourself. You know how to do it when you want
to. (with a sly smile) Forget you're an alderman for a few
minutes. Keep your speeches for the Board of Common Council. Remember
your father was a working man and a farm hand, and all the education
he's got beyond grammar school he picked up along the way. Write an
"ad" which would appeal to him if he had five dollars and
needed some kitchen utensils.
his father's acknowledgement of his humble origin a grave social error)
You have risen beyond all such
be so sure of me. Well, don't forget about that "ad." Anything
but there is another matter not directly connected with the store which
I would like to talk over seriously with you.
away. You've got the floor, Alderman.
It's about John.
it's like this, Father. Harry and I, and I am sure the girls will agree
with us, think it is rather hard John should so obviously be made the
pet of the family. High school was good enough for any of us but you
sent him through four years at Princeton. You have always told us you
considered a college education more of a hindrance than a help to a
man's success in life, and yet you allowed John to take up a classical
gentleman's course, as they call it, which will certainly be of little
use to him if he goes into business.
And who said he was to go into business? I always clearly stated I
intended John for one of the professions. We've got enough business men
in the family already.
never heard him speak of taking up a profession.
It's been sort of a secret between your mother, John, and myself, but
since you bring the matter up I might as well tell you I've decided he
shall go to law school. There's plenty of opportunity here for a young
lawyer with position and money to back him upof
that I'm certain. Thanks to you and Harry the business I've built up
will be well taken care of if anything should happen to me, and I see
no reason for placing John in it; especially as his talents seem to run
in another direction.
the indignation he feels at this fresh favor shown
his younger brother) Perhaps
you are right, sir. I confess I am no judge of what future would best
suit John. He never speaks of himself or his plans to me, or, for that
matter, to any of us except Bessie, and she seems to treat whatever he
tells her as confidential. What appeared strange to Harry and me was the
fact that you had never asked John to work during any of his vacations.
he is speaking Harry enters from the hall. He is a tall,
dark, pleasant-looking young fellow
of twenty-five with the
good-natured air and breezy manners of a young-man-about-small-town. A
bit of a sport, given to beer drinking, poker parties and kelly pool, if
the foppish mode of his light check clothes be any criterion.)
has caught his brother's
remark about vacations) Good evening people. Go to it, Ed. (He
goes over and takes a chair near the
relishing the interruption) I was
just explaining to Father how we feel about John not helping us in any
got part of what you said. On the level, Father, it isn't square for us
to toil and sweat while our fair young brother pulls that lily of the
field stuff. (He says this
with the air of getting off
Keep your vulgar slang for your barroom companions and don't play the
fool when you come home. You perform well enough outside without any
rehearsals. If you can't talk sense, don't say anything. (Harry
accepts this reprimand with a
smile.) What was it you were saying, Ed?
was saying that while Harry and I and the girls, too, have been working
at something ever since we left high school, you have never even
suggested that John help in any way.
intend to put him in some law office during the summers in which he's in
in his tones) Yes, John is going to law school this fall. Father
just told me.
be peeved? Every family in town has a lawyer
in it that can afford the luxury. Why not us? But you'll have a hard
time making John approve of your scheme. He doesn't want to be a lawyer.
You'll find out he wants to be a painter.
There is room for a good painting business in this town with all the new
summer homes being built along the shore.
a laugh) Not that kind of a painter, you nut. He's too much
high-brow for houses. Portraits of the Four Hundred would be more in his
tell you he wants to be a lawyer. His painting's only something to take
up spare time.
his time is spare time. (His father looks
at him angrily and Harry
hastily changes the subject.) Where
is the subject of this elevating discussion this evening?
up from her knitting) You mean
John? He's over at the Steele's for dinner. (Edward looks glum and Harry glances meaningly at
him with a tantalizing smile.)
and Juliet had nothing on those two. Why so pensive, Edward?
surprise me, Alderman.
a damned ass, Harry.
Thank you, dear brother. (He turns to his mother.) Mother,
when are the glad tidings to be made public? You ought to be in the
mean about Maud and John?
Ed and I are anxious to know in time to dust off the old frock coats and
not disgrace ourselves.
wish I could tell you. I do hope it will come about, I'm sure. Maud is
such a nice sensible girl, she would make a lovely wife.
forgetting the fact that her dear daddy is over-burdened with coin and
she's an only child; and remembering that the Steeles are socially
spotless. Ask Edward if I speak not truth. He doped it all out for
himself once, didn't you, Ed? (in tones of great
sadness) But that was long, long
a year. And, alas, she tied the can to him.
Father, I appeal to you to inform Harry there are feelings he should
respect and not make the butts
of his vulgar jokes. Myerformer
affection for Miss. Steele is one of them. Though I have never told
anyone but this (glaring at Harry) would-be humorist,and
that in a moment of foolish confidence I shall never cease to regret
him with soft
approach) Oh, Edward! You forced the confidence on me. You were in
liquor, Edward. You had been drinking heavily. I can remember vividly to
this day how grieved I was to see you in such a stateyoua
pillar of the church!
face red with shame) I must
acknowledge to my shame that what Harry says about myercondition
at the time is not wholly unwarranted. He exaggerates, greatly
were so sad. You wept on my shoulder and ruined a new silk tie I had
Harry! (Brown is
have to confess I had a great deal too much to drink. (pompously)
It was the first time in my life such a thing has happened and I promise
you it will be the last.
what they all say. (Edward glowers
at him.) All right, I'm going. (He turns
round at the door to hurl a parting shot.) My feelings are too much
for me. I cannot bear to hear the harrowing tale of my elder brother's
shame a second time. I will go out in the garden and weep a little. (He
goes out. Edward wears an
expression of patient martyrdom. Brown with difficulty hides his
impulse to laugh outright.)
tut, don't be so serious. You know Harry. What if you were a bit under
the weather? It's a good man's faultonce
in a great while. I can remember a good many times in my life when I was
three sheets in the wind celebrating one thing or another.
I have never approved of intoxicants in any form. It was a shocking
deviation from my principles. (firmly) It shall never happen
again. (Brown cannot hide a
smile. Edward is piqued.) I beg of you, Father, to believe what I say. My one
lapseerI was upset, terribly upset, by Miss. Steele's refusal to become my wife
asked Maud to marry you!
that they should think
such a thing strange)
Why do you seem so surprised? I
flatter myself I was in a better position to take care of a wife than my
brother John is now.
wasn't thinking about that. I was surprised neither your mother nor I
had ever suspected anything of the kind. Now that I come to think of it
you did used to be over at the Steele's a lot of the time.
by this piece
of news) Who'd ever dream
of such a thing!
Steele did not definitely refuse me. She said she was too young to
marry. However she gave me to understand she had already bestowed her
affections on someone else.
old man Steele know anything of all this?
I thought it my duty to inform him of my intentions before I spoke to
his daughter. He did not seem displeased with the idea but left the
matter entirely to MauderMiss.
Steele, with the result I have just made known to you.
able to recover from
her astonishment) You're
the last one I ever thought would fall in love, Ed.
do not harp on that point, Mother. I am quite human though you do not
appear to think so.
So that's how the land lies, is it? That explains a lot of things.
do not understand you.
mean your sudden interest in John and your desire to see him improving
his time at the store instead of at the Steele's.
Do you mean to accuse me of vulgar jealousy because I still take enough
interest in Miss. Steele's welfare to be unwilling my brother should
compromise her? (While he
is speaking his two sisters, Mary and Bessie, enter from the hall. Mary
is a thin, angular woman with a long face and sharp features. She is
twenty-eight years old but looks older, wears spectacles, and is primly
dressed in a plain, black gown as unfashionable as she considers
is as attractive as Mary is plain. Small, plump, with a mass
of wavy black hair and great hazel eyes, a red, pouting, laughing mouth,
glowing complexion, and small restless hands and feet, Bessie is quite
adorable. She is twenty-three years old, one year older than John, but
she only looks about nineteen.)
said nothing about jealousy, Ed.
It must have been
you heard. (Edward grows
over to her mother and kisses her saying) We walked
up to the post-office. (Mary
sits down in one of the straight-backed chairs near Edward and breaks
right into the subject in discussion.)
voice raspy and monotonous) I must say
I agree with Ed,
Father. It's the talk of the
town the way John
is tagging after Maud Steele.
The town's always gossiping
I do think it's high time John
put his education to some use. We all have to work at somethingeven
Bessie is a stenographerand
I don't see why he shouldn't.
why don't you leave John alone?
He's been working
all summer at his painting. (Edward gives a scornful grunt.) You
don't think that's
work because he gets no regular
salary for it. I should think you'd
be ashamed, Ed, running him
way you do. Your real reason is just
jealousy because Mauds in love with
him. You ought to be more
of a man.
arc very unjust, Bessie, and you don't know what
you're talking about. I merely want to see John do the right thing for
all our sakes.
Mr. Steele will ever consent to
Maud's being married so young. I know if I were
he I would never approve of
it. A young
twenty is altogether too young to think of marriage.
suddenly from the hallmockingly)
But it's better to
be married too soon than not at
all, isn't it, Sister? (Mary favors him with a terrible look. He
grins back at her.) Still holding
the inquest? Then allow me to
announce that the subject of this debate has
just entered the house. (He turns around
and shouts into the hall) Come on, John! Don't
keep the court waiting. (Bessie
giggles.) Thanks, Bessie. Thank God,
I am not wholly unappreciated.
(John enters, smiling bashfully,
his face flushed and excited. They all greet him in embarrassed tones.
He is an altogether different type from the other members of the family;
a finer, more sensitive organization. In appearance he is of medium
height, wiry looking and graceful in his flannel clothes of unmistakable
college cut. His naturally dark complexion has been burnt to a gold
bronze by the sun. His hair, worn long and brushed straight back from
his forehead, is black, as are his abnormally large dreamer's eyes,
deep-set and far apart in the oval of his face. His mouth is full
lipped and small, almost weak in it's general character; his nose
straight and thin with the nostrils of the enthusiast. When he
experiences any emotion his whole face lights up with it. In the bosom
of his own family and in the atmosphere of their typical New England
fireside he seems woefully out of place.)
a nasal drawl) Prisoner at the bar, you are accused
God's sake, stop your chatter
for a moment. Sit down, John. (John takes a chair by the table.)
Harry) Well, what am I accused of?
and Edward accuse you of being a flagrant member
of the Idle Rich Class.
(protests from the court)
joke's a joke but
and unclasping his hands nervously) I suppose it would be hopeless
to enter a plea before this
court that trying to express oneself in
paint is a praiseworthy occupation which should be encouraged.
I have to acknowledge being salaryless
and I guess the best thing to do to save the court's time is plead
I think this joke has gone far enough and we ought to explain to John
Silence! (Edward jumps in his chair.) Alderman, you are liable to fine for contempt.
are a fool!
made that remark once before, Alderman. Don't repeat your statements. You're not running for office now.
(He looks as if he meditated assault and battery.)
not relishing this form of
entertainment) Come back to me,
Harry. What else am I accused of?
accuses you of contemplated theft. (John is puzzled and
embarrassed. The others raise a storm of protest.)
You shouldn't say such a thing even if you are only joking. Explain what
can I when you make so much noise? Prisoner, Mother insists that you are
planning to purloin from one of our most respected citizenshis
only daughter! (All laugh except Edward. John grows red with confusion and smiles
foolishly.) What have you to say on that charge?
afraid I'll have to plead guilty to that, toonot
only to the intention but to the actual deed itself.
You mean Maud has accepted you?
(They all crowd around him
showering him with congratulations. The women kiss him,
Harry claps him on the
back, Brown shakes his hand. Edward mutters a few conventional phrases
but is unable to hide his mortification.)
taking his watch
out and looking at it)
I am sorry to have to leave all of you on such a joyful occasion but (importantly)
I have an engagement at the club with Congressman Whitney which I cannot
very well ignore. (swelling out
with dignity) He said he
wished to confer with me on a matter of grave importance. So I hope you
will excuse me. Good night, everyone. (He bows gravely
and goes toward the door to the ball.)
Edward's pose) I beg
of you not to plunge your country into any bloody war, Edward. You have
a terrible responsibility on your shoulders. (Edward glares
at him for a moment as if meditating a
retort but thinks better of it and goes
he isn't the original Mr. Gloom!
on finding out all the facts of John's
romance) John, does Mr. Steele know about Maud's accepting you?
Yes, we both told him tonight. He
seems quite reconciled to our news. Of course, it is understood
the engagement will have to be a long one, as I have my way to make and
What has an engaged man to say about his own future? Speaking of futures
shall I communicate to you the reverend judge's (indicating
his father) sentence regarding
yours? He has sentenced you to a lifetime of delightful idlenessYou
are condemned to be a lawyer.
What Harry says is the truth. I have decided John shall go to law school
this fall. He fully agrees with me that the practice of law opens up the
land of opportunity to a young man of position. (John's
miserable expression contradicts this sweeping
turning to her
father) But John doesn't want to be a lawyer.
exactly what I said.
hear how cock-sure they are, John. You better tell them the truth.
I'm afraid what Bessie said is the truth, Father.
don't want to be a lawyer. When you spoke to me about this before you
didn't really give me a chance to say what I thought. You decided it all
for me. I have been intending to tell you how I felt ever since but you
never mentioned it again and I thought you had discovered my unfitness
and given up the idea. (There is
a pause during which all eyes are
fixed on Brown who is staring at john
in angry bewilderment.)
up the idea? Why, I supposed the thing settled! That's why I never spoke
I'm sorry, Father. It has been a misunderstanding all around.
could you imagine John a lawyer, Daddy!
We're not all gifted with your insight, my dear. (turning to
John rather severely) Young
man, this is a sad blow to all my plans for you. I'm sure this decision
of yours is a hasty one and you will reconsider it when you've looked
more thoroughly into the matter.
think not, Father. I am certain of my own mind or I wouldn't trouble you
I ask what your objections are?
this, Father: I simply am not fitted for it. The idea is repugnant to
me, and it's useless for me to try and live a lie. As a lawyer I would
be a failure in every way. In later years you, yourself, would be the
first to regret it. My interest in life is different, and if I wish to
be a man I must develop the inclinations which God has given menot
attempt to blot them out.
are you so sure you wouldn't learn to like the law? You know very little
about it on which to base such a pronounced dislike.
excitement) Oh, I have seen and met all the lawyers in townmost of them at any rateand I don't care for them. I don't understand them or they me. We're of a
different breed. How do I know I wouldn't learn to like law? In the same
way a man knows he cannot love two women at the same time. I love,
really love in the full sense of the word, something else in life. If I
took up law I would betray my highest hope, degrade my best ambition.
by this outburst)
And what is thiserlove
large eyes glowing with
I am an artist in soul I know. My brain values are Art values. I want to
learn how to express in terms of color the dreams in my brain which
demand expression. (Harry gives a comic gasp and
winks at Mary who is regarding John
as if he
were a lunatic. In fact, it is
plain there is
a suspicion in the minds of all
of them except
perhaps John has been
Do I understand you to say you wish to make painting pictures the
serious aim of your life?
fiery ardor smothered under this wet
blanket) I wish to become an artist, yes, if that's what you mean. I
want to go to art school instead of law school, if you will permit me to
choose my own career.
I'm a bad prophet, I guess!
course in art school will be very inexpensive. You remember Babe Carter,
my room-mate at Princeton? The fellow who came up here to spend last
Thanksgiving holidays with us? (Brown nods.)
Ask Bessie if she remembers. (Bessie looks confused.)
he's going to art school in New York this Fall; has made arrangements to
take a studio with two other fellows and wants me to come in with them.
With four in the studio the living expenses would be reduced to almost
nothing; while on the other hand the cost of sending me to law school
would be pretty heavy, as you know.
But heavens, boy, what money is there in art? From all I've ever read
about artists it seems the only time their pictures sell for a big price
is after they're dead.
are plenty of artists in the world today who are painting and making
their living at it. (eagerly) But money is not the important
point. Think of the work they're doingthe
beauty and wonder of it! (He stops realizing the hopelessness of
trying to make them understand this side of the question.)
seems to me a young man who is engaged to be married ought to make money
the important point.
Does Maud know of this craze of yours?
Maud knows of this craze of mine, as you are pleased to call it, and
approves of it in every way. She realizes I would not be worthy of her
love if I were not true to myself.
Love must be blind. And I suppose you told Mr. Steele all about your
talked it all over with him this evening.
And of course he approved!
what'a you giving us!
don't believe it.
for old Steele! I never thought he had so much sense.
I'm not disputing your statement, John, but it seems impossible a
practical, hard-headed business man like my friend Steele could approve
of this idea of yours. Are you
sure he understood this was to be your whole occupation, not just a side
issue? Now I, myself, think you'd be foolish to drop painting altogether
when ,you've such a talent and liking for it. But as a means of living I
can't see it.
laid emphasis on that point in my conversation with Mr. Steele. I told
him quite frankly I was painting my life work. He said it was a good
idea and told me he didn't think much of your law school plan.
(The others are all equally
be here in a few minutes and verify my statement; he said he'd be over
tonight to have a talk with you.
be very glad to hear his views on this matter. His opinions are always
sound and sensiblebut
in the present case
stiffly from her chair)
Well, if Mr. Steele is coming
over we'd better make ourselves a little more presentable. Come Bessie!
You, too, Mother.
toward hall door with Bessie and Mary)
Goodness, Johnnie, why couldn't
you have told us before? The house is in a nice state. (They
go out with Mrs.
Brown fuming and
to John) A
word with you. (whispering) Have you got a real cigarette? (John
produces a box.) Thanks, I'll take a couple. The week is waning and
in the latter end of weeks I'm usually confined to a diet of self-mades.
(puts cigarette in mouth) Stringency of the paternal money
market, you know. (lights cigarette) And now I'll say farewell. I
want to get away before old Steele comes. He detests me, and with all
due respect to your future father-in-law I think he's the prize simp of
the world. It would only ruffle his good nature to find me here. (then
seriously) John, I
didn't get some of that high-brow stuff you pulled. It sort of soared
over my sordid beansome
phrase, that, what?but
volplaning down from your lofty artistic ozone I want to say I'm for
you. Do what you want to do, that's the only dope. I can't wish you any
better than good luck. (He
holds out his hand
which John clasps heartily, his face lighting up with gratitude. The door bell rings.)
There he is now. I'll blow out the back way; be good; s'long, Father. (He
by the door
to left leading to the dining room, carefully closing it after him.)
better go out and meet him, John. (John
hurries into the hall and returns a moment later with Steele. Steele is
a tall, stout, vigorous looking man of about fifty-five, with the
imposing air of one who is a figure of importance in the town and takes
this importance seriously. He has grey hair and a short-cropped grey
mustache; a full florid face with
undistinguished features, and small, shrewd, grey eyes. He is carefully
dressed in a well-fitting light suit and looks the part of the
prosperous small-town merchant. He comes over to Brown, who has risen to
greet him, and they shake hands after the manner of old friends.)
to see you, Dick. Sit down and make yourself at home. (They both take chairs by the table. A confused babble of women's
voices and laughter is heard from the hallway.) Maud come over with you?
(with a wink at Brown) And
that being the case I guess we can excuse the young man here, don't you
think so, Ed?
Oh, I guess we can manage. (John
gives an embarrassed laugh and hurries out.)
Ed, I hate to think of losing Maud. (feelingly)
She's all I've got, you know;
but if it has to be someone I'm mighty glad it's one of your boys. For a
time I sort of thought it would be Edward. He spoke to me once about the
matter and I wished him luck. I like Edward very much. He's a good solid
business man and bound to succeed; but Maud didn't love him and there
you are. I guess she and John were pretty thick even then, although I
never suspected what was in the wind until just lately.
can't say I was wholly
unprepared for John's announcement. He hasn't much of a faculty for
hiding his feelingstoo
nervous and high-strung. (with
a chuckle) Of course his
mother has known right along. You can't fool a woman on those things.
I wish Maud's mother were alive
today. (briskly) Well,
well, what can't be, can't be. John's an awful likable chap, and Maud
says she loves him, so I'm sure I'm satisfied. As long as she's happy
I'm contented. She's the boss.
got his way to make yet, but as long as they're willing to make it a
him laughingly) I'm
selfish enough to like the idea of the marriage being a long ways off;
I'll have Maud so much longer.
of John's future, he told me tonight you fully approved of this artistic
notion of hisgoing
to art school and all that. I found it pretty hard to believe, knowing
you the way I do.
was perfectly right. I think it's the real thing for him.
know I was intending to send him to law school.
be foolish, Ed. The supply of lawyers already is ten times greater than
the demand. Take this town for example. Nearly every family I know of
any importance has a lawyer in it or is going to have one. Where will
they all get cases? Why, do you know, I actually think some families get
into suits just to give their sons a job.
have to admit there's an abundance of legal talent in Bridgetown; but in
a broader field
thing all over the countrytoo
many lawyers and doctors. Besides, John would never make a lawyertoo
sensitive and retiring. You have to have push and gall to burn. On the
other hand he's got an undoubted talent for painting. I've seen sketches
he made for Maud and those drawings he did for the college magazine.
They're great! And look at those posters he did for the Fair last monthfinest
things of the kind I ever looked at. John's bound to succeed. I'm sure
But where does the money end of it come in?
Why, Ed, there's loads of money in it. Look at advertising. I know of a
young fellow in New York who paints those high-toned fashion plates. He
makes between ten and twelve thousand dollars a year; has his own
business and everything. He's only been at it a few years, too. (Brown
is evidently impressed
but shakes his head
doubtfully.) Look at the
magazines. (He picks one
from the table and points to the picture
on the outside covera
How much do
you think that fellow got for that? Not less than a couple of hundred
dollars, I'll bet. John could draw a prettier girl than that in half an
hour. With new magazines coming out every month the demand for that sort
of stuff is tremendous. There's all kinds of opportunity for a young
fellow with the goods; and John has the goods. I tell you, Ed, you don't
appreciate the talent your own son has.
he wants to go to art school.
let him; he's young; if he thinks he's got any rough edges that need
polishing off, why let him have a year or so of schooling. He looks as
good to me right now as any of them, but he's a better judge than we are
on that point. He can't be too good and while he's studying he can be
looking around New York getting the lay of the land. He'll meet a lot of
people in the same line who can put him on to the ropes.
listen here! I never heard him mention the advertising or magazine end
of it. His ideas on the subject of painting are very lofty. He may
consider such things beneath him. You've never seen any of his big oil
paintings, have you?
hardly call those a salable product. (with a smile) It's hard to
make out what some of them are.
They must be some of those Impressionistic pictures you hear so much
about. But don't worry. John'll get over all that. Give him a year in
New York and don't allow him any more money than is absolutely
necessary, and I'll guarantee at the end of that time he'll have lost
his high-fangled notions. He's just an enthusiastic kid and there's
nothing like a year in New York to make him realize the importance of a
bank account and settle down to brass tacks. He'll get in with the
others who are making money and want to fall in line. But don't let on
about this to him. There's no use in offending the young man's dignity.
Encourage him to go to the city and paint his head off. He'll come
gradually to see the commercial aspects of the caseespecially
if you keep a tight hand on the pocket-book.
face clearing) You've convinced me, Dick. I'll let the boy go his
That's the idea. Biggest mistake in
the world to force a boy into something he's not interested in.
a stage whisper) And
now what do you say to a wee drop to celebrate this joyful occasion?
tone) Your proposition tickles me to death.
follow me. (They go
into the dining room, shutting the door after
moment later john appears
in the doorway leading to
the hall. He looks quickly
around to make sure the
room is empty; then beckons to someone
in the hall behind him, and walks softly over to the table. Maud Steele, giggling
and flushed with excitement, tiptoes
after him. She is a remarkably pretty
girl of twenty with great blue
eyes, golden brown hair, and
small delicate features.
Of medium height her figure is lithe
and graceful. She
is dressed in a
fluffy white summer frock and wears white
tennis shoes. Her rather
kittenish manner and the continual pout of
her small red mouth indicate
the spoiled child even before one hears the note of petulance in her
soft, all-too-sweet voice.)
gave them the slip. (She comes over to
John who takes her in his arms
and kisses her passionately.)
Maudie dear, I can't realize it. It all seems too good to be true.
(He releases her. She
speaks with soft
got my dress all mussed up. What will your sisters think. (makes a
face at him) Rough thing.
a motion as if to take
her in his arms again)
out of reachmockingly)
I said just one. Aren't you
kissing you? Each one is sweeter than the last and I eternally long for
the next one.
you. You do say such sweet things, Johnnie dear. We'll be caught if we
stay in here much longer. Where are the two fathers?
the dining room, I guess. We can hear them coming.
it all settledabout
to catch her) Yes,
dearest girl. (She evades
him.) Yes, cruel one, it's
all settled. All I'm afraid of is father won't
let me go to art school. He can't understand. None of them can but you
her foot) He
must; I won't have you a horrid old lawyer. (with a confident
persuade him. I'm sure of it. He thinks you'll just make oodles and
oodles of money in New York when you get started.
The money part will take a long
time, I'm afraid. (turning to
her with deep emotion) But
you'll wait for me, won't you, dear? You'll have faith in me, won't you?no
matter what they say? It's going to be a long hard struggle.
course I will, silly boy! (She
goes to the table. The magazine with the pretty
girl cover catches
her eye. She holds it up with
a flourish.) Look!
Papa says he gets a couple of hundred dollars apiece for those. (She
smiles at him roguishly.)
I know whose name is going to be down in the corner there in a year or
so. (John makes
a gesture of annoyance.)
Oh, I'll be so proud then! I'll
carry a copy with me all the time and show it to everyone I meet.
the picture on the cover
with a contemptuous smile reads the
title disdainfully) The
September Girl, eh?
she just too sweet for anything?
sweet for anything human. (In
he takes the magazine from her hand
and drops it into the waste paper basket. Maud looks at him in pained
astonishment, her large eyes filling
with tears at
his rudeness. John takes her
in his arms in
of repentance.) Forgive me,
Maudie! I only meant I want to do much finer things than that, don't you
away and smiling
up into his face) Of course I do!
her again as