ONE WAY OUT
JOSEPH LISTER RUTLEDGE
Hardy Anson decided his job would never catch him like a weasel in a trap —but then Anson was the kind of chap who preferred to make his own mistakes.
THE divisional sales manager sat at his orderly desk in an orderly office with a frown of concentration darkening his usually pleasant face.
There was reason for the frown: on the desk before him was a letter from one of his salesmen that told of the loss of Oliphant Baking Company order. It had been a bit of business that they needed badly. It represented a sale that ran into thousands of barrels; big and profitable business, part of the backbone of his campaign.
The frown deepened on Hardy Anson’s pleasant face. It wasn’t only the loss of that business—of course you couldn’t pick it all off—the breaks were going to fall against you sometimes; but he hadn’t expected this to be one of the times.
If it had been Gerrie or Franks— but this was Seldon,
Billy Seldon. Even in his comparatively short time with the company, Anson had come to look on Billy as the pick of the heap. They had worked the thing out together, ' the argument, the terms, the price. Even the canvass they had mulled over together, and Billy had seemed just as sure of that order as he had himself.
And now facing him was that brief note announcing his failure.
Anson wondered if he were reading into that note a curtness that was not there; if it was only the natural result of a sharp disappointment. He picked it up and read again its brief dozen words:
“Lost the Oliphant business. Policy I was instructed to adopt wasn’t good enough.”
The frown deepened on his brow. “What’s biting the chap?” he demanded of his empty office. “I didn’t tell him to adopt any policy, just talked it over with him.”
He tossed the letter into his filing basket and turned to other work, but it would keep coming back. A
salesman doesn’t have to be a Solomon, he reflected, he just has to have ordinary horse sense, and two feet of his own to stand on. What the devil had gone wrong with Billy Seldon anyway?
The entrance of his secretary with just the suggestion of an enquiry on her face, made him glance at his watch.
“Sorry,” he said, “hadn’t noticed it was so late.” He signed his mail, and, when his secretary had taken it and departed, he retrieved Seldon’s letter from the filing basket. “I’ll talk it over with him,” he said.
As Anson was leaving he met James Dawson, the general manager, coming from his office. He was a little man with a flurried nervous way with him. The shadow of a frown seem to flicker across his face as he noticed Anson. It might have suggested to a more suspicious nature than Anson’s that the general manager did not quite approve of him, but Anson did not notice it. He was still thinking of Seldon’s letter.
“Just got word from Seldon,” he said, “that we have lost the Oliphant order. It’s a surprise to me. I thought we were certain of it. Something funny must have turned up or Seldon would have pulled it through.” James Dawson studied him with nearsighted blue eyes.
“Lost it, eh. That’s too bad-—too bad. We mustn’t be losing orders like that, Mr. Anson.”
Anson flushed at the implied rebuke. “I did everything I could,” he said. “We discussed the matter thoroughly — decided pretty well just how Oliphant should be approached, and the terms we could offer.” “I didn’t quite agree with some of your plans,” James Dawson broke in, somewhat severely. “I went over the matter with Seldon myself, later. I wish, Mr. Anson, that you would discuss these matters with me before making decisions. Remember I have had more experience in this particular business than you have.”
Surprise held Anson speechless, while Dawson turned away and entered his waiting car.
With a dark flush on his face, Anson went back to his office and took Seldon’s letter from his desk drawer, read it over carefully. “So that’s what he meant,” he
announced with an angry ring in his pleasant voice.
He left his office and went striding down the street, his shoulders thrown back very straight, and a scowl on his brow. As he stepped off the curb to cross the street a grey-runabout almost brushed his coat sleeve. His scowl deepened, and then suddenly disappeared as a light voice called to him: “A penny for your thoughts, Mr. Anson.”
“They’d melt the penny,” he announced as he approached with a smile.
“They nearly brought one young life to an early close,” she said severely. “Perhaps if you are going to walk along the streets with your head in a cloud of wrath, you’d better get in here, so that I can deliver you safely.”
Anson climbed into the seat beside her with evident satisfaction.
“Where to?” she asked.
“The world is wide,” he replied with a wave of his arm, “and pleasantly full of roads. You can take your choice.”
June Wilmott was not one of the people who have to have their minds made up for them. She wasted no time in argument.
“That being the case,” she remarked, “I’ll choose the windiest one of them all, because it goes around by the lake, and turns up later at our front door, where we can have tea.”
“My judgment does me credit,” he reflected aloud. “Another chap might have spent a whole afternoon in planning a trip that wouldn’t have been half as satisfactory.”
“Then you like other people to think things out for you?”
“Heaven forbid!” he ejaculated, piously. “If there’s one thing more poisonous than another, it’s to have someone else do your thinking for you. No. If I hadn’t had the fullest confidence in your judgment, I would have suggested a journey by the most winding road available, the one that ends by a happy chance at your front door. I have pleasant recollections of tea and muffins.”
“There aren’t any muffins,” she announced as she swung the car into the lake road.
“Whatever there happens to be will, doubtless, take the muffins’ place very acceptably.”
From where he sat, lolling in comfortable ease he could watch her intent young face as she threaded her way through a maze of traffic. It was young and eager, a determined young face, with a haunting quality of beauty about it, but beauty born of a very definite character.
She turned on him with a sudden demand. “What was it that you were so wrathy about?”
Anson came back to mundane things with a start.
“Wrathy?” he enquired with a puzzled air.
“Yes, you were fuming like an angry wasp when I picked you up.”
“Oh, that,” he announced, with a judicial air, “was due to the motherly old gargoyle who governs our business destinies. We disagreed on some particulars bearing on my own department.”
“Perhaps he was right,” she suggested, with a hint of malice.
“Perhaps he was,” he agreed, pleasantly. “Only his plan was tried, and failed; while mine was not tried. I think you’ll agree that leaves me one up. Anyway,” the frown settled on his face again, for a moment, “I’d prefer to make my mistakes myself.”
"That seems reasonable enough ambition,” she agreed.
When, an hour or so later, the winding road finally brought them home they found Daniel Wilmott sitting in comfortable ease in his ample living room like a human oasis in a desert of scattered newspapers.
“I was just dipping into the news,” he announced, apologetically to his daughter. “.June is going to'toll you that J’m not a very tidy person,” he said as he advanced toward Anson with outstretched hand.
"The evidence is all about you,” she retorted with mock severity. “Now I am going to leave you two together for a while, and we’ll have tea in the garden in fifteen minutes, if you can burrow yourselves out in
The marked similarity between father and daughter struck Anson, then, as it had impressed itself on him on other occasions. The same eager interest in things, the same evident enjoyment in life, the same swift sympathy.
Davirl Wilmott followed his daughter’s retreating figure with an affectionate glance. "Strangely enough,” he remarked, “J’m a rather tidy person in my office; but I don’t seem to be able to bring that quality home. J’m rather a trouble to June.
“Tell me how things are going with you,” he said, suddenly. “June says that business is my one dissipation. I rather imagine that she’s right, too. But I’m rather out of the thick of it now and I miss it.”
“.Judging from what I hear of you, sir, you aren’t out very Jar. They say around town that you have a
finger in quite a heap of pies, good sized pies, too.”
David Wilmott smiled his slow smile. “True, in a sense,” he admitted, “but they’re not exactly my pies. That makes a difference, you know. I’ve had something to do with them, but they’re not mine, not now. I’ve only kept them long enough to find someone who could look after them as well, or perhaps a little better than I could. Sometimes I rather hanker to get a whole hand in one of those pies, but they won’t let me. I have to be content with the finger.”
“But you had your whole hand in once. Why did you take it out?”
“Had only two hands, and there were such a number of interesting pies. I suppose that was the reason. But you lose something by getting out of actual touch with the day by day struggle. That’s why I’m interested in what you young fellows who are in that struggle are doing.”
Anson found himself talking over his own problems, prompted by a stray question interjected now and then from the older man. The Oliphant order came up and Anson spoke of it without the hint of criticism, but Wilmott had heard of the earlier plan.
“I know' Dawson,” he interjected. “He has qualities, you know. Perhaps,” he continued, reflectively, “it would be better to say that he had them; at least, he had the qualities that were most needed in the struggling days, caution and incessant care and sound conservative judgment. The trouble is that the qualities that are valuable, can often be pressed beyond their rightful limits, and then they become a handicap. A bit of a meddler, too, isn’t he?”
“I wouldn’t like to say that, sir. He’s been in the business a long time, and his judgment should be sound. It’s fairly new to me and I’ve little better than the average ability for making mistakes.”
Wilmott smiled at him approvingly. It was part of the spirit of the game, as he saw it, to resent a reflection from an outside source.
“It would be one of those mistakes,” he said, “if we don’t hurry out in the garden and see what June has provided.”
But while Hardy Anson was not ready to openly admit a criticism in anything but a spirit of levity, he had plenty of moments with himself when criticism welled up hotly within him. He had come to his present position with high hopes. In a smaller way he had made quite a conspicuous success of his first venture into business. It was that which had brought him his present opportunity. For when he had taken the position of District Sales Manager at the Home Office branch of the Westchester Mills it had certainly looked like an opportunity. It was a big organization with branches scattered over the country. He had gone at his task with hopeful enthusiasm for all his hampering of lack of knowledge. For the first year he devoted every waking hour to that business. He studied it in every way he knew how. When he discovered conditions that might be bettered, it was with all the reputed enthusiasm of the .husbandm: n finding goodly pearls. It was his opportunity. Ho had ideas and suggestions that would help the business; that they would help him also was only a dim thought in his mind. He had the creative business spark that found a real joy in the work.
It came to him very slowly that ideas and suggestions were not in demand. He refused to believe at first, putting each rebuff down to some flaw in his own reasoning. There was enough uncertainty in his business knowledge in those early days to justify this attitude. It was Neil Maxwell that gave him his first definite shock. He had taken to Maxwell at once. Anson had turned to him naturally as head of the advertising department, and had found him ready to give every assistance, and a quiet friendship as well.
“If we work together,” Anson had remarked, with enthusiasm, on one occasion, “we can make this old dog do a lot of new tricks.”
Maxwell had eyed him curiously. “I’m not coldblooded enough,” he said, after a pause, “to wet-blanket your young enthusiasms.”
Anson had looked at him in surprise. “Just what do you mean by that?”
But Maxwell had only shaken his head. “What was it we were discussing?” he asked.
Anson looked at him for a moment as though he would continue the enquiry, then shrugged his shoulders with a laugh. “We were talking of a new advertising appeal,” he said. “You were saying, you remember, that our advertising to sell flour for bread making was money thrown away.”
“Ever since I’ve been here, four years now,” Maxwell broke in, “we’ve been advertising to the public to use our flour for bread making. Have you ever stopped to think how many of the dear public bake bread nowa-days?”
“Don’t know that I have,” Anson admitted.
“Don’t you think it would be a good idea to put your mind on it a bit; looks to me that it has quite a bearing on your job and mine. If they don’t bake bread, then they’re not going to go to the men you are trying
to sell to ask for our flour to bake bread with. That sentence may be a bit tangled, but you get the idea.” Anson sat thinking for a moment. “If you’re right—” “I am right.”
“Yes, but you’ll have to have the evidence to prove it.” “I have the evidence. I’ve investigated eleven thousand homes in this city, and you can take it, I suppose, as a fair example of any other city; and ten thousand odd of them buy their bread from a bakery. Do you think they’re going to ask their baker to use our flour? I tell you that appeal is thrown away, and it has cost us a pot of money to make it.”
“Well, one thing,” Anson retorted cheerfully, “because you’ve been wrong for four years doesn’t mean that we have to go on being wrong. Let’s take it up with the G.M.”
“Oh, I’ve taken it up.” There was no enthusiasm in Maxwell’s voice.
“And what did he say?”
“Said he was busy”—there was a mildly cynical tone in Maxwell’s voice—“said he’d consider the matter, but he thought I was jumping at conclusions. Indicated that I’d better be a good boy and do what I was told.” “That only proves that you didn’t convince him,” Anson announced, triumphantly. Then, realizing the reflection in his words, “Sorry, old man, I’m not saying you didn’t do everything you could. I know he’s a bit up-stage in the matter of receiving suggestions. Perhaps if we joined forces on this we could get the idea across. We owe it to the business.”
“Oh, you didn’t hurt my feelings, I’m ready to try it again if you want.”
They waited on the general manager the next morning, and were firmly informed that he was busy. On several other occasions their request for admission met with a variation of the same excuse. Finally Anson lost patience. “The general manager of a concern such as this is likely to be busy for the rest of his natural life,” he remarked, “so we might as well disturb him now as later.” He opened the office door with a firm hand and walked in closely followed by Maxwell.
James Dawson looked up and scanned them through near-sighted blue eyes, a slight frown darkening his face. Without a word his eyes returned to his desk. He was going over a series of bills of lading with meticulous care, initialling each one neatly in one corner. While the two men stood before him, he rang for a clerk.
“These are all right,” he said. “You can look after them. Have Tallman bring me the outgoing statements.” He turned to the two men.
“Well?” he enquired.
It was not a propitious opening, but Anson hardly noticed that fact. He was anxious to make his case. He talked eagerly and convincingly, while Maxwell seconded him in quieter tones. James Dawson made no effort to interrupt. When Anson had finished speaking, he turned to Maxwell. “I think we discussed this matter before, Mr. Maxwell. I think I told you that I would consider the suggestion at the first opportunity. I can only repeat that statement. I may tell you frankly, however, that I do not find myself greatly impressed.” He turned suddenly. “This is hardly your department, is it, Mr. Anson? I think you might be well advised to confine your attentions more definitely to your own work.”
Anson would have retorted hotly, but James Dawson silenced him with a lifted hand. “I am afraid, gentlemen, that is all the time I can spare at the moment.”
“One thing,” broke in Maxwell’s pleasant voice, as the door closed behind them, “because you’ve been wrong for four years, doesn’t mean that you have to go on being wrong.”
Anson turned on his heel without a word and stalked
Anson found the opportunity to take up the Oliphant matter a little later. He had approached Mr. Dawson, hot from a talk with the somewhat sullen Seldon and convinced in his own mind that there was ground for Seldon’s annoyance. Mr. Dawson met him in an attitude of bland superiority. “I couldn’t agree with the concessions you were making to Oliphant, it was for that reason that I modified your instructions.”
“But they weren’t concessions,” Anson retorted hotly. “They were placing a big order and were entitled to everything we were offering them. We have adopted the same policy in other cases.”
“That may be so,” Mr. Dawson agreed. “I did not feel that they were entitled to the same consideration as some of our older customers. We must maintain the prestige of this company, and I do not feel that these— you will permit me to cal! them concessions?” he added blandly, “would help us to that end.”
“It won’t help it, either, to lose orders like that.” “You’re not expected to lose orders like that,” Mr. Dawson retorted sharply. “You are supposed to sell t hem on the basis that I have outlined. I don’t think we need go into this matter, farther,” he concluded.
Anson rose to go with a baffled sense of having achieved nothing, and with hot anger burning within him.
“And Mr. Anson,” the general manager fixed his weak blue eyes on him, “I would be glad if you would consult with me before settling any definite policy. It will avoid any little misunderstanding, such as this.” Anson only nodded, not trusting himself to speak. But Hardy Anson had youth on his side, with all of youth’s resiliency. The hot anger rankled for a while, but new interests came to crowd it out, new ideas, and a growing enthusiasm, Whatever else was uncertain he had no doubts about the business. It left scope for all the energies and enthusiasms he possessed.
He said something of the sort to Maxwell and one or two others at lunch a day or so later.
“Would be,” Bill Coyne, who was one of the group, agreed somewhat sullenly, “if old dust-and-ashes in there would let you take hold of those opportunities. As far as I’m concerned; it’s just a job. It’s a fairish job, and I’m hanging on to it, but I’m not kidding myself that it’s a great opening door of business opportunity. As far as my job goes I’ve as much liberty of action as a weasel in a trap.”
“I don’t just see that,” Anson said, soberly. “You’re routing agent. You can know your job and do it right and the company will profit. It may not show to your advantage all at once, but I have a feeling that lights aren’t hidden permanently under bushels.”
“You’re a fairly new man here, Anson, old son,” Coyne retorted, with a certain air of condescension. “You think you’re captain of your own little ship; try easing her off a bit from the beaten track and see what happens.”
“I’ll do just that,” Anson retorted, sharply, “when that track looks dangerous or unprofitable.”
“And you’ll be slapped and sent back.”
“I’d venture a little bet,” Maxwell’s quiet voice broke in, “that Bill’s been slapped and sent back; or thinks he has.”
Bill grinned. “You win,” he said. “I ought to have known better, but I have my moments of weak enthusiasm, like Anson here. We had a big order from Ripley. It’s in Warren territory, you know; the milling in transit rate didn’t apply from Warren to Ripley, but it did from Andover. I routed the stuff from Andover to save that item on freight. It amounted to quite a little sum. Of course the Warren people set up a howl, and the G.M. had me on the carpet. I explained as carefully as I could, showed the saving and all that, but I couldn’t interest him. He couldn’t get away from making it a personal matter; said I’d exceeded my authority; should take up all matters like that with him personally. You’d have thought the way he talked that I’d been making the profit myself. Anyway,
I was told quite plainly to jolly well follow the beaten path and let someone else figure the profits.
That’s what I aim to do in future.
Shipped the last Ripley order from Warren, lost the company two hundred dollars, and everything’s rosy again. The only difference between you chaps-and me is that I’m a wise weasel, and I know that beating around in the trap only hurts and it doesn’t get you anything.”
“It’s a fine business philosophy,” Maxwell interjected, “he’s got a job.”
“You said it!” Bill retorted.
That was the spirit of a good part of the organization, as Anson* came to discover. With every new move he undertook he found himself faced with the question: “What will the G.M. think?” He argued the point at first with a confidence born on his belief in the soundness of his own judgment; but time and again he found those judgments overridden as in the case of the Oliphant Company. He found himself growing a little less ready to rebound from these rebuffs than he had been; and inclined to flare up at that repeated question. “This is my department and not the general man-
ager’s,” he snapped at one of the salesmen who had questioned him.
“If there’s any part of this concern that’s not the G.M.’s I haven’t heard of it,” the salesman retorted somewhat sullenly. “I hear he spent two days last week buying paper napkins and spoons and things for the cafeteria. I’d have said that wasn’t his business, but it appears it is. What I’m getting at is this,” he continued, “I don’t mind taking orders when I know the order goes, but I don’t like messing around with all these orders and counter orders and re-orders. I don’t know where I’m at.
“Well this order goes, or I do,” Anson snapped.
From the little girding annoyances of his daily work Anson often sought relief in the friendly home of Daniel Wilmott. It wasn’t because of June. He was careful to assure himself of that with every visit. June was a good scout, and it was a pleasant relief to be able to run around with her at times, but as for any matters of sentiment, he assured himself again and again that it had never crossed his mind. As a matter of fact his mind was so full of his personal problem that other matters found only temporary lodgement there. There must be some way out of the trap, that Bill Coyne had so graphically portrayed, and it was not hard to convince himself that he went to the Wilmott home to see if the shrewd comments of Daniel Wilmott might not throw some light on his problem.
He did not discuss his own affairs, openly, but he often led the conversation around to some hypothetical point that had a bearing on these matters; and if Daniel Wilmott saw any hidden significance in these questions he presented a wisely inscrutable face.
Business was near to the heart of Daniel Wilmott, and he loved to philosophize over it, and Anson gained much from his comments.
“There are only two systems of business management,” he said on one occasion. “They’re both very simple. Do it yourself or find someone else to do it for you. The one can only go so far, the other can go anywhere. When the business thinking,” he rambled on, “all comes from one mind it can only go as far as that mind can reach, perhaps not quite so far; for that mind has to force its will on other minds, minds that may be antagonistic or, what is worse, apathetic. If one man holds all the strings, he is bound to drop some of
them, sometimes. That’s human; and in that sort of business they’re not likely to fall into capable hands.” “I’m being hopelessly dogmatic,” he said with a dry chuckle, “but I found that out by trying to be that kind of a manager. Those dropped strings almost wrecked a nice little business that you’ve never heard of.” “And the business that can go anywhere?” Anson
enquired with a carefully assumed carelessness.
“Is just in finding business managers,” Wilmott continued, “Supervision, yes; encouragement, a little inspiration, suggestions perhaps; but beyond that just a free hand. Growing concerns do their growing of the thought of many minds. They need men who are capable and are not afraid to think and act for themselves.”
Anson trembled on the brink of a definite question, but he smothered it, unasked, as June came into the
Daniel Wilmott smiled at her. “I’ve talked Anson into a state of coma,” he said. “Take him out and see if you can revive him.”
But, for all that the question had remained unasked, Daniel Wilmott sat by himself with a puzzled frown on his face, pondering its answer. “He’s got ability,” he said, talking to himself as was his custom. “He’s got judgment too. Has he the necessary courage? I think he can use authority, but can he stand up against authority unwisely used? If he has that kind of courage he’ll find his way out.”
June, seated at the wheel of her roadster, surveyed Anson with speculative eyes. “How do you do it?” she demanded.
“Why, make dad talk. Mostly he’s about as chatty as a barn owl. I’ve tried to make him a social success, but he thinks that market quotations are social small talk, and it doesn’t seem to make a hit with the average run of dowagers.”
“He’s wise for his years,” Anson agreed, pleasantly.
“He’s a dear old dad, but he’s hard to manage at times,” she agreed.
“Perhaps you don’t use the right system.”
She looked at him in surprise.
“System number one,” he explained, “do it yourself. System number two, turn it over to other capable hands.”
“That’s not the right system.”
“It’s the only one that works with Dad,” she announced firmly.
Hardy Anson made no answer. He was contented to sit back and drink in the beauty of the passing countryside. He always came to that particular scene with a certain lift to his spirit. Here the high tableland on which Westchester was located was broken away as
though the top crust had been torn off the earth and a new world lay before untarnished and unspoiled in its fresh young verdure.
They turned down the steep road and all that vista of dappled farm lands spread out before them. Then he felt the car suddenly gaining speed. He looked up in surprise, saw June’s face, gone ashen white, noticed her desperate pressure on the foot brake that was powerless to hold the racing car. He leaned across her,with a steady hand and tugged at the emergency. “It’s gone,” she said with a gasping note in her voice.
Like a flash he saw that turn in the road, with that sloping line of tree tops that stretched down into the valley. For one panicky moment he pictured the wild plunge of that racing car, then his mind began to function steadily again. He remembered the great bank of clay, just at the margin of the turn. He put his right hand firmly on the wheel. “Let go,” he said sharply, “I’ll steady it. Move over toward me.”
She obeyed him without question. As they reached that perilous turn he wrenched the wheel over. He
felt the car lurch over as he caught June about the
waist and threw himself backward, twisting sharply as he jumped, so that his body might break the terrific impact.
June came to herself in a moment, blood streaming Continued on vage 42
One Way Out
Continued from page 11
from a cut on her head where a flying stone had struck her. It dripped down on Hardy Anson’s white shirt front, where he lay sprawled out in ungainly fashion beneath her. She heard the car crashing down among the trees, as it rolled over and over. She arose, staggering and shaken, then threw herself on the ground beside him, panic stricken at that bright splotch on his chest. “Hardy!” she cried, desperately. “Hardy! Hardy!” She leaned over and touched her lips to his white forehead. He moaned slightly, but his closed eyes did not open.
She must get help, she realized. There was a house just at the brow of the hill. She started up, running desperately. At the top she found two men, and gasped out her story in panting breath. She could have shrieked, they seemed so slow to understand. They questioned her, evidently interested in the fact of the accident—and Hardy Anson lying there dead, perhaps. At last they seemed to understand, and one of them started off across the field. She grew desperate then, and started back by herself, racing down the steep roadway, stumbling as she went. Hardy Anson still lay where she had left him. He had not moved. But as she stooped over him, he opened his eyes and smiled at her through white lips. “Then you came through all right,” he said, faintly. Around the curve of the road came two stolid figures, one of them carrying something that looked like a shutter. They stood looking down at Anson with mildly curious eyes. Then, gently enough, they lifted him on the shutter, and without so much as a word, started with their heavy burden up that steep incline with June following at their side.
When they had laid him on a sofa in an airless front room, one of them broke his silence. “What do you aim to do
“Send for a doctor and an ambulance and take him home.” She said with a tremor in her voice.
And the silent one nodded his approval.
When Hardy Anson came, fully, to himself in a quiet bedroom in the Wilmott home, it was to look into the anxious eyes of June and her father. He smiled and tried to raise himself, but stabbing pains sent him back again with a smothered gasp of agony. The doctor, standing in the background, stepped to the bed.
“You’d better lie quiet for a while, young fellow,” he said. “If you break anything more you’re likely to fall to pieces. How do you feel, anyway?”
“Rather as though I had had a heated argument with a Diplodocus.” Anson replied weakly. “Seems as though he must have had rather the edge on me,
too. Have you estimated the damage?” “A broken arm and collar bone and a couple of ribs, otherwise you seem to be sound enough. You’re playing in luck at that.”
“I suppose you’re right,” Anson admitted, ruefully, “but it seems a curious idea of luck.”
Anson seemed likely to become a permanency in the Wilmott home. Both June and her father met any suggestion of removal with a heated refusal that left small room for argument. Nevertheless, Anson continued to protest that he could not continue living on their kindness.
“If you don’t like it here,” June told him severely, “I’m sorry; and if you’ll say what’s the matter we will try to change it.”
Anson had a mental picture of a white cot in a hospital or his own rather dingy rooms.. “It’s not that,” he said with a whimsical smile, “if you’d give me a harp to strum on, I’d think I was in Heaven. But you see I’ve no right to be there.” “We haven’t got a harp,” she retorted with no lessening of her severity, “but I’ll bring you a gramaphone, if that will make you any more contented.”
He shook his head. “I can’t picture myself basking in Heaven with a gramaphone clasped to my bosom.”
“Then you will have to be satisfied with things as they are, because you are going to stay right here.”
“I begin to understand,” he retorted, “what you meant when you said that you managed your father.”
After a week or so, men from the office began to drop in to see Anson. June was often in the room, and they watched her with ill-concealed admiration; but they talked the gossip of the business, and through it all there was that steady undercurrent of antagonism to Dawson. June learned much from those conversations and even more from things they let drop when they were with her for a few moments, alone.
She questioned Anson about Mr. Dawson, but he was uncommunicative.
“He has his peculiarities,” he admitted, “but most people have.”
But June felt no demand for charitable thinking. “Hardy Anson hasn’t a chance with that man Dawson,” she said to her father. “Can’t you do something to help him?”
Daniel Wilmott was silent so long, that she thought he had not heard her question. She repeated it with a rising inflection that demanded an answer.
“I think he has his chance,” he said slowly, ‘'if he has courage.”
Continued on page 44
Continued from page 42
“Courage?” she questioned sharply.
“I never doubted his physical courage. It’s not that, I mean; it’s standing on your own feet; it’s going all out for something you know is right, without thought of consequence—”
“He went all out for me,” she said, softly.
“I’m not forgetting it. I could help him, yes, in the way you mean. He doesn’t know it; and I don’t want him to know it; but I control the stock of the Westchester Mills. It’s held by the Westchester Trust Company, but,” he smiled faintly, “I’m the Trust Company too, though only Dawson and the directors know of my interest in the Mills. Yes, I could do something for him. I could help him along—” He shook his head. “I can help him most by not helping,” he said.
She surveyed him in curious silence. “Sometimes, dad, I think I understand you through and through; and then you say something that I don’t understand at all.”
He rose and put his arm about her with a caressing pressure. “It’s because you are looking for something, deep and impressive and very wise,” he said with a whimsical smile,” and you miss it, because it is just the simplest simplicity.”
Six weeks after the accident, Hardy Anson was back at his desk; weak and white-faced but whole-heartedly glad to be at work again. Mr. Dawson unbent enough to call him to his glass-walled office, and say a few perfunctory words of congratulation on his return. To Anson they seemed to lack sincerity; even to have an underlying burden of suspicion.
He reversed his impression a week or so later, when Mr. Dawson called him in again. He talked at some length of the Warren branch. Anson was at a loss to understand the bearing of the talk, until it came to him, finally, that Mr. Dawson in his devious way was offering him the virtual management there. It was management hedged by restrictions and limitations, but robbed of the cloud of words that hung about it, it meant that Anson should represent the manager in that important production field.
Anson went that night to the Wilmott home, walking on air.
June was delighted when he told her. “You are to have full control?” she asked.
“Within certain limitations.” In the pleasure at his advancement, these limitations did not seem overwhelming.
“It’s a fine chance, my boy,” Daniel Wilmott’s hearty voice broke in. “I’m going to Warren myself in a few weeks. I’ll take June along to see you in all your glory.
When Hardy Anson had been at Warren for a little while he began to realize that the limitations that he had spoken of so lightly in the Wilmott parlor, were more tangible than he had imagined. Not only that, but there was an underlying feeling about the office and plant that he could not quite understand. It brought to his mind something that Bill Coyne had said about the head office.
“There’s too much politics here for my liking. Everyone’s gunning for someone else’s scalp.” He had judged Coyne keenly enough not to give too much weight'to his observations; still he had admitted, even then, that there was a germ of truth in the idea. There was the same thing about the Warren office, a sense of intangible suspicion. He did not think that it was directed against himself. The man he had replaced had left at his own wish and, apparently, his departure had brought no particular regrets. It was more, as Anson saw it, a habit of suspicion that had spread out from the Home Office. He discovered also that, through some source, all his actions were faithfully recorded. Such things as he thought of importance in his daily work, he reported. But the general manager’s knowledge of the inner workings of the branch, he discovered, went far beyond that. He had received letters, commenting, not always favorably by any means, on matters that he had not considered necessary to mention. There was nothing that he wanted to hide, but the fact that someone, unknown to himself, was reporting on his actions gave him more than one moment of annoyance. There were too many things about the
plant that needed changing, he felt to waste time on a daily chronicle incidentals.
One of the matters that troubled him was the low production of the plant. It had been consistently running below its milling capacity for years past, and yet they had orders on the books that had been standing for weeks, sometimes months. He spent some days puzzling over this problem. It was not a lack of wheat, their sidings were crowded with cars awaiting unloading and demurrage rates were piling up. He questioned Morgan, the mill superintendent.
“Can’t we clean enough wheat to keep the mills moving at capacity?”
“Sure we can.” The superintendent had seen managers come and go and he knew that each new manager meant a temporary increase in activity, and simple questions vexing to explain.
“Can’t you elevate enough.”
“Then where’s the hitch?”
The superintendent’s patience, never his outstanding quality, was fast evaporating.
“Because when we’re elevating we can’t clean, and when we’re cleaning we can’t elevate,” he explained, ungraciously.
“Then we can’t deliver more grain to the mills. That’s what you mean?”
“Yeh, that’s it. The way this elevator’s flowed, that’s exactly it.”
Anson did not pursue the enquiry at that time. But next day he donned overalls, and followed the course of the wheat from the unloading tracks up, story after story to the top of the elevator, and down again to the cleaning separators. Hot, dusty work following that perpendicular stream; but he found the explanation for himself. He found that the wheat was elevated to a great hopper scale many stories above the ground, and from there fed into storage bins. He found that to clean that wheat it had to feed back through this hopper scale, before it could begin its downward course. When the stream of wheat was coming in to be weighed, cleaning operations were automatically stopped.
Anson sat down in the breathless heat of the elevator top to ponder the problem. As the situation was, there could be no hope of increased output because of the limit set by that double-purpose hopper.
“I know enough of freight routing,” he said, “to know that if your direct shipping takes_ you through a congested divisional point, you’ll save time and money by going around rather than through it.” That suggested a thought to him. He spent a perspiry half-hour climbing in and out among the maze of spouts that led to and from the bins. The net result of his investigation was that it would be possible, by installing a new spout ahead of the hopper scale, to couple on with the downward spouts below the scale, so that the incoming wheat would not dam the downward flow to the cleaner.
He descended, dirty and triumphant, and found the elevator superintendent and explained his idea in detail.
“Yeh,”_ the superintendent conceded, “sounds like it could be done; if you can make the old man see it that way,” he concluded glumly.
“There won’t be any difficulty there,” Anson responded, cheerfully. “The change won’t tie up our present production for more than a day or so, and the whole thing should be done at a nominal cost.” He wrote Mr. Dawson that same afternoon suggesting the change and explaining how it would overcome the present difficulty and increase production.
(( Mr. Dawson’s reply came promptly. . I am not favorably disposed toward innovations in the plant at this time,” he wrote. “I will consider what you say, when I have an opportunity to visit the plant and see for myself, but that, I am afraid, will not be for some time. In the meanwhile I think you would be well advised to devote your attention to the definite work of handling the Warren business as expeditiously as may be.” Anson’s expression as he studied that letter was anything but pleasant. “Well, that’s that,” he reflected sullenly. He tried to put the matter out of his mind and concentrate on the business of the moment that was crowding upon him, but it would keep coming back. “It’s a question,” he reflected, “of whether I’m supposed to be working for the best interests of the business, or working as management demands. Apparently there are times when you can’t do both. I wonder what answer Wilmott would have for that?” he pondered. “It’s his old case of the man
trying to hold all the strings. It doesn’t give anyone a chance, certainly it doesn’t give the business a chance and yet—what’s the answer?” He shrugged his shoulders with a gesture of annoyed indecision.
The entrance of his branch sales manager turned his mind to other things.
“I’ve just been thinking, Mr. Anson,” he said, “that we might as well take our salesmen off the road for a week or so.” Anson looked at him in surprise. “That’s your business, Tom,” he said, “but why?”
“We’re a couple of weeks behind in deliveries now, and it’ll take us all our time handling what orders come by mail, without going after them; and when we’re out bidding for business and aren’t delivering it, when we get it, we aren’t adding any to our popularity. Every call, under such conditions, makes it harder for the boys to get business on their next call. We can save that anyway, and we can save their road expenses.”
“And if we could make a seven-day delivery?”
“Oh, that’d be different. Nobody could kick on that. But this old mill can’t do it. We’ve got orders on our books now that are more than a month old, and we’ve been shipping others out in driblets.”
“But if we could clean this up, in say a couple of weeks, and get on a seven-day delivery basis.”
“In that case we could pound them for all they’re worth.”
Anson sat pondering for a moment, as though uncertain. Suddenly he turned with an alert movement. “Suppose we pound them, then,” he said.
“You mean that I’ll deliver your orders within seven days of receipt at latest. We’re going to make this old mill do some new tricks. We’re going to add thirty per cent, to its output; that should mean a sufficient supply for all purposes. My business, at the moment, is to provide that supply; yours, as I see it, is to dispose of it. That,” he concluded with a smile, “that is, precisely, what I mean.”
“I’m on,” the other reported, cheerfully. When he had left the office, Anson rang for the superintendent, “We’re going to cut around that hopper scale, as I suggested,” he said.
“You got the authority to do that?” Morgan enquired.
“I’m assuming that I have. It’s worth spending a couple of hundred to add a third to our output, isn’t it?”
“I gave up thinking years ago,” Morgan admitted somewhat sourly, “but if you were asking me about some other mill, I’d say, yes.”
Anson grinned, “I don’t want to crowd you into my opinion,” he said, “but I’m glad to hear you say that much, for we’re going to do it.”
It was a month later that Daniel Wilmott strode into Hardy Anson’s office with his friendly smile and outstretched hand. Anson rose to greet him with a sense of well-being at his coming. They had been hard weeks, but successful. He had a sense of pride in real achievement and he wanted to talk about it, with someone who could appreciate; more than anyone else he wanted to talk about it to Mr. Wilmott. But through all his sense of elation, there remained an element of suspense. He had achieved something, only to fall heir to another problem. It had been occupying most of his thoughts of recent days. Wilmott saw it in the troubled look that flashed across his face from time to time.
“It’s been pretty hard sledding, has it?” he enquired.
Anson nodded. “It’s going to be harder,” he said, “I think we’re in for a strike, Mr. Wilmott.”
“What’s the trouble?” Wilmott enquired.
“There’s no trouble, not as far as we are concerned. I mean our men haven’t any particular grievance. It’s a sympathy strike. You know how they’ve tied everything up at Madison; well our fellows are talking of going out to help that crowd. I think it’s more than talk, I think they’re going to go. There isn’t anything much you can do to hold them.”
“You’ve advised Mr. Dawson, of course?”
Anson nodded. “Mr. Dawson advises a conciliatory attitude. I don’t know just what he means by that,” Anson acknowledged, “and 'I can’t see how we can conciliate men who haven’t a real grievance. It will put us in a tight hole. We’re doing a good business now; it’s coming up every day, and we have to take care of it. If this strike should break to-morrow we would
have about twenty thousand dollars worth of wheat in process. I’ve either got to stop taking orders, and clear the tempering bins or be caught, sooner or later, probably sooner, with a cold loss of twenty thousand; that is, if we have to shut down for more than a day or so. It doesn’t make me feel in a conciliatory mood.” “What does Dawson say to that?” Anson was silent for a while. There was a worried look on his face. He turned to Wilmott, with a rueful smile. “I haven’t asked him,” he admitted. “I haven’t been very successful in putting my ideas across with Mr. Dawson. I don’t seem to be very diplomatic. We always seem to get sidetracked on to discussions as to whether I’m assuming responsibilities that I shouldn’t assume. No, I haven’t asked him. I’m assuming that being sent to manage this branch means just that. I’ve been getting my hands on quite a number of men. They’re in town now, ready. If the strike comes, I am going to operate this mill. I’m hoping that it isn’t going to break; but if it does; I’m going to fight back.” Daniel Wilmott nodded, approvingly. “I don’t know much about the matter,” he admitted, “but there aren’t many occasions when fighting back isn’t a sound business policy.”
Daniel Wilmott rose to go. “You’ll have dinner with us?” he suggested. “June is with me. I don’t know that I would dare to go back to her, unless you agree to come.”
“You needn’t worry, sir, I’ll be there.” June rose to meet him with a welcoming smile, as he crossed the rotunda of the Elgin Arms. She held out her hand, and held his while she surveyed him with an appraising glance.
“He carries his honors with modesty,” she announced to her father.”
“If modesty’s bearing the burden,” he retorted with a laugh, “he never had an easier job.”
“You’re thinner,” she challenged. “Somebody hasn’t been taking care of you.”
“Mrs. Minns, my landlady, has provided me with prunes, every single day,” he assured her. “They’re reputed to be healthy.”
“We’re going to be here for a while,” she announced severely, “and I’m going to see that you eat proper food, and play around a little, too.”
“When the playtime comes around,” he assured her, “I’m as playful as a kitten.” “I don’t know anything about playing around,” Daniel Wilmott broke in, “but this looks like a good moment to begin dieting. You youngsters can run around afterwards; but the white horse of famine is stalking me at the moment, and I’m rather anxious to avoid him.”
Through the events of the next crowded weeks, Anson thought often of that night, and of June with her swiftly changing moods. There was no longer any pretence. He knew, now, that he wanted her, far more than he had ever wanted anything in his life before. The remembrance of the night would come back to him in little flashing pictures; the road they had travelled, bordered by fantastic shadows; the landscape that seemed to leap out of the blackness to meet them; and the heavens, dimpled with cold stars. But mostly they were pictures of June; June with an errant lock of hair blown back by the breeze; June with her lips parted in that little, fleeting smile of hers; June looking at him with interested, sober eyes as he talked ' o her of his work. With all his remembrance there was an aching sense of loss, as though she were worlds away, instead of separated from him by only a few city blocks.
He remembered that he had trembled on the edge of a confession. In those weary hours, between waking and sleeping he did not quite know whether he was glad or sorry that the question had been left unasked. It was his sense of fairness that held him in the balance.
The course he was taking—he believed it to be right; believed it with a fierce intentness. But he could not hope that James Dawson would so consider it. More likely he would view it as open rebellion. It was just a matter, then, of seeing the thing through with all his might, and then starting the climb all over again. He had nothing that he could ask anyone to share.
Anson had awakened on the morning following his visit to the Wilmott’s, to find that the strike was a reality. He left his hardly-tasted breakfast and hurried down to the mill. The clerks were standing around, uncertainly, as he passed through. He called to two of them, and
they followed him into his office. Anson took two carefully-prepared slips of paper from his desk drawer, and gave one to each of them. “Get a car, each of you,” he said, “go to the addresses on that list and tell the men named there to report at the mill, at once. Just that—report at once.”
When they had left, he sent for Morgan, the superintendent.
Morgan entered with his usual stolid look. “Might as well be going home, I suppose,” he remarked with a wry smile.
“Are you wanting to go home?” There was an unusual sharpness in Anson’s tone.
Morgan surveyed him with faint surprise. “Only just came from there,” he drawled. “No, I’m ready to stay a while.’ “Then here are the cards, all face up. I’m going to run this mill, strike or no strike. We’ve got fifteen thousand dollars worth of wheat in the tempering bins. We have to mill it, or lose those dollars. I’ll be frank with you. I don’t know where Mr. Dawson stands in this matter. I don’t know, because I have been careful not to ask him. But I do know that this mill must be kept running and I am going to run it.”
Morgan eyed him with a wry smile. “If it’s fighting,” he said, “I think I won’t go home. I’m a quarrelsome devil myself.” Anson held out his hand, and the other took it, abashed at his own friendliness. “There will be twenty-five men here today,” Anson said, “and we’ll turn the office staff into the mill.”
But the superintendent’s moment of expansiveness had passed. “A fine crowd,” he growled, sourly. “Praise be, Old Thomson was too deaf for them to convince. The milling end will be all right.” In some manner, Anson hardly knew how, the mill swung, slowly, back into its old gait. It was a constant, feverish struggle. No day ever knew just how many of the men would turn up. There was the perpetual need of filling up the gaps in the ranks, and Anson worked almost without sleeping. He had a cot placed in his office, and it was there that he found his few hours of rest. More than once there were stormy demonstrations around the mill, but nothing that broke into open conflict. And, day by day, the letters from Mr. Dawson urged and commanded that Anson hold business to the narrowest limits.
Anson put them aside, unanswered, and went unswervingly about his work. Then, one day, his sales manager came to him. “You know,” he said, “we have been bidding for the Barlow business for years, and have never been able to touch it. Now the Empire people that Barlow has been dealing with for years back, can’t deliver. It is our chance, I could get that business now, if we could handle it; at a good figure, too. They would pay us any price. But we can’t handle it. We would have to almost double our output. There’s a fat chance of doing that now, isn’t there?”
Anson looked at him with tired eyes. Suppose they went after it. It was only adding another problem, another chance of disagreement. “If you got it, do you think you could hold it?”
“Sure, they’re in a tight hole now. They know we’re in a tight hole too. If we could help them out now, there isn’t much doubt that we could hold that order.”
Anson thought for a moment, then his sagging shoulders straightened. “Take the order,” he said, “take it subject to unforeseen contingencies. Tell, them, though, that if it is possible, anyway, we will deliver it. And take it at our regular figures.”
Anson made no mention of this matter in his daily letter, but by some devious channel the news seeped through to James Dawson. He wasted no time in writing but caught the night train for Warren, and two days later he came storming into the Warren Mill. He was trembling with excitement, and from time to time he glanced out of the window apprehensively his nervous eyes fixed on two men who lounged stolidly by the gateway.
Not finding Anson in his office, he turned about. The main office was almost deserted, save for two clerks working steadily over their books. “Where’s Anson?” he demanded, in none too gracious tones.
“Proba,bly in the mill,” one of them answered, without taking his eyes off his work. “He mostly is, these days.”
Still fuming, James Dawson stalked out and made his way, by the covered passage, to the mill.
He found Anson at last, a dust-covered and dishevelled Anson, in eager conversation with one of the mill workers.
At the sight of him, all Dawson’s pentup anger burst forth. “You must have been crazy, Anson,” he almost shouted, “to take that order at this time. I know Barlow; he’ll hold us up to the last cent.” Anson wheeled, swiftly, and faced him; his first surprise giving place to something sterner, as the import of Dawson’s words struck him. But when he answered, his voice was quiet. “We are in no danger, Mr. Dawson, there is a guarding clause in that contract.”
“Then cancel it. Cancel it, at once.” Dawson almost whimpered in his relief.
“I can’t, Mr. Dawson. I have agreed to deliver. The guarding clause is only against unforeseen contingencies. No such contingencies have arisen. The situation is just what it was when I took the order, so, as I see it, we must deliver.” Half unconsciously Anson saw Daniel Wilmott coming toward him; saw Wilmott stop as he caught sight of Dawson.
“What, what,” Dawson was stammering, a red flush suffusing his face. “I tell you, you must cancel. It’s an order; an order. Do you understand?”
Past that angry face Hardy Anson caught for a fleeting instant the steady gaze of Daniel Wilmott. In the flash of a second, he wondered what he would advise in such a situation. Then his thoughts came back. It was not Wilmott’s problem. It was his.
“Mr. Dawson,” he said, slowly. His face was very white and set, but his voice never lost its even tone. “I assumed this obligation for the company, as its authorized agent. It is profitable business. It will gain us a friend who will be of great value to us. I assumed this obligation with full knowledge of what it entailed. I have made the necessary provisions, and provided the necessary safeguards. We are operating double time and we can deliver as ordered.”
“And if you get to tempering sufficient wheat for that order you may have to shut down. I won’t take that chance. Clear those bins and then cancel.”
“We won’t have to shut down. We are operating now, successfully. There is no reason to fear. I have men enough, that I can count on.”
“Mr. Anson,” Dawson’s voice had a stubborn ring. “I am not going to argue the point. You will cancel that order.” Anson faced him steadily, “I have no alternative, Mr. Dawson. You are in authority here. I am bound to obey. If you will put that order in writing. I will hold up further work on the Barlow contract.”
“Why a written order?” Dawson demanded, impatiently.
“It is profitable business,” Anson spoke almost as if talking to himself, “but it is more than that, it involves the integrity of this company. You are asking me to do something that I do not think we can honestly do. When I have received your written order, I am going to put the facts, as I-see them, before the directors of this company, by wire.”
It was then that Daniel Wilmott stepped forward and touched Dawson lightly on the arm. “When you are finished here, Dawson,” his pleasant voice broke in, “I would like to have a chat with you.”
Dawson made as though he would say something, thought better of it and turned away.
Anson waited a moment, his eyes still on Mr. Dawson, then he called to one of the men who was standing by in openmouthed amazement. “Tell Mr. Morgan,” he said, “that if those cars are spotted, he can start loading the Barlow order.” Dawson hesitated, then, without a word, he followed Wilmott out of the mill.
Two weeks later Anson watched them roll the last barrel of the Barlow order into the car and close and seal the door.
Morgan turned to him with a glint of satisfaction in his eyes. “That’s finished,” he said. “To-morrow we’ll go on regular shifts.”
Anson nodded and was turning away, when Morgan’s voice stayed him. “You aren’t looking too frisky,” he said with gruff friendliness. “I’ll stick here tonight. You’d better have a rest.”
Anson’s face brightened. “I would like to,” he said, “if—”
“That’s all right then,” Morgan broke in. “I’ll look after things.”
It was the second time that Anson had travelled with June that long road bordered by its fantastic shadows. They drove for a while in silence. He was tired, more tired than he had imagined, and the relief from strain, the peace of things, and more than all June’s nearness lulled him with a sense of perfect well being.
“You’re not very chatty, are you?” she asked. “You should have, oh, such loads of things to tell me.”
“I had something,” he said.
She turned in surprise, at the soberness of his voice.
“Had?” she enquired.
“If you had come a month or so ago,” he said, “I could have told you something, something that means a great deal to me; told you something, and asked you something.” He did not continue.
She was silent for a while. “What difference can a month make?” she asked softly.
“A month or so ago, I thought I had a good grip on the business ladder, and I thought there was nothing to do but go on climbing. Now,” he laughed a little bitterly, “I’m rather expecting a kick,” he added, “and that kick will land me on the ground, and I’ll have to start climbing again; and the ladder isn’t in sight.”
“And that is what is making you so silent?”
“I suppose so,” he admitted.
“You dear, stupid thing,” she laughed softly, “what possible difference could your place on the ladder make to what you have to tell me?”
It was an hour later that they found Daniel Wilmott, sitting smoking peacefully in his private parlor. June flung her arms about his neck, and kissed him, and he caught her hand affectionately.
“There’s a wire for you, Hardy,” he said. “It’s scrawled on that pad on the table. They phoned it from the office.” Anson picked up the paper and read the message.
“Good luck,” it said. “The home office boys are with you.”
He handed it to Wilmott with a puzzled air. “I don’t get it,” he said, “unless it means that they’re siding with me against Dawson. I don’t want that.”
Wilmott looked up at him, sharply. “Dawson has retired,” he said.
Anson shook his head, “Even that,” he said, “doesn’t make it any clearer.” “They, the directors, have appointed another man in his place.” Wilmott continued without noticing Anson’s remark. “They have been looking for him for some time, knowing that Mr. Dawson would soon be retiring. It is not an easy position to fill. It needs a man of many qualities, Mr. Dawson had some of them, but not all, not all by any means. They had to find a man who could assume authority. When he was a younger man, Mr. Dawson could do that, but he lacked another and just as important a quality, the ability to delegate that authority, wisely. They wanted a man who would think first of the business, not only as a thing to make money, but a thing to give service, that is a larger view, and that larger view is the only one that can be profitable, over a period of years. They wanted a man who could work with men, not over them; who could not only do these things himself, but could make others do them too.” He turned to Anson with a whimsical smile. ’’They’re not numerous, this type of man. Sometimes when you see a business headed by another sort, a man who is only good at the more mechanical side of business you may wonder: but it is only because the man they have is the best man showing at the time. But this other man, this man that I have been speaking of, he is what every business needs.” He rose, holding out his hand. “They will be writing you about it, but I wanted to be the first to tell you. You’re that man.” Anson stared at him, unbelievingly. “Yes,” Wilmott continued. “You have those qualities now. Don’t let obligations or prejudices or habits creep in to spoil them as they did with Dawson. The great gift of management belongs to the man who is trying to create others who can do things better than he can do them himself. Don’t forget that. Don’t be afraid to make others think for you, act for you, decide for you. Delegated authority is real authority. It is the evidence that you have budded wisely.”
Anson reached out and caught June’s ■hand, and turned again to Wilmott with a happy laugh. “I won’t forget,” he said, “I’ve begun already. I have given June the mangement of—of me.”