Ives, it appeared, was in the secret of Marrineal's journalistic connection, the talk was resumed, becoming more general. Presently Marrineal consulted his watch. "You're not going up to the After-Theater Club to-night?" he asked Banneker, and, on receiving a negative reply, made his adieus and went out with Ives to his waiting car. Banneker and Edmonds looked at each other.
For a young man, jobless, highly unsettled of prospects, the ratio of whose debts to his assets was inversely to what it should have been, Banneker presented a singularly care-free aspect when, at 11 A.M. of a rainy morning, he called at Mr. Tertius Marrineal's Fifth Avenue house, bringing with him a suitcase heavily packed. Mr.
The issue was not to be joined when he was ready, but when Marrineal was ready, and on Marrineal's own ground. Very well, Banneker could be a good waiter. Meantime he had at least asserted his independence. Io called him up by 'phone, avid of news of the editorial, and he was permitted to take her to luncheon and tell her all about it. In her opinion he had won a victory; established a position.
Edmonds on roving commission and you to handle the big local stuff," he pursued, "we should have the nucleus of a news organization. Like him, you would be responsible to me alone. And, of course, it would be made worth your while. What do you think? Will you join us?" "No." "No?" There was no slightest hint of disappointment, surprise, or resentment in Marrineal's manner.
Marrineal's personal Jap took over the burden and conducted it and its owner to a small rear room at the top of the house. Banneker apprehended at the first glance that this was a room for work. Mr. Marrineal, rising from behind a broad, glass-topped table with his accustomed amiable smile, also looked workmanlike.
"Underneath all his appearance of candor, Marrineal's a secret animal," said Edmonds. "Does he leave you a free hand with your editorials, Ban?" inquired the outsider. "Absolutely." "Watches the circulation only," said Edmonds. "Thus far," he added. "You're looking for an ulterior motive, then," interpreted Miss Van Arsdale.
Besides, there was his good and protective fairy always ready with the flag of warning at the necessary moment. Launched into the world after the elder Marrineal's death, Tertius interested himself in sundry of the businesses left by his father. Though they had been carefully devised and surrounded with safeguards, the heir managed to break into and improve several of them.
Stumpley-Triggs's aquatic dinner served in the hundred-thousand-dollar swimming-pool on her Westchester estate. That makes Jim think." "You mean that it makes him discontented." "Well, discontent is a mighty leaven." Miss Van Arsdale directed her fine and serious eyes upon Banneker. "So it comes back to the cult of discontent. Is that Mr. Marrineal's formula, too, Mr. Edmonds?"
Banneker's brain seemed filled with flashes of light, as he returned to his desk. He sat there, deep-slumped in his chair, thinking, planning, suspecting, plumbing for the depths of Marrineal's design, and above all filled with an elate ambition. Not that he believed for a moment in Marrineal's absurd and megalomaniacal visions of the presidency.
He, too, was if Marrineal's idea worked out to draw down a percentage varying in direct ratio to his suppleness in accommodating his writings to "the best interests of the paper." He swore that he would see The Patriot and its proprietor eternally damned before he would again alter jot or tittle of his editorial expression with reference to any future benefit. It did not take long for Mr.