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lying under a little wooden cross on the outskirts of some village of northern France, he will wonder, if he never wondered before, whether his so-called success was worth the price he paid for it. He will see things in their true relation to one another. He will wish devoutly that he had lived more as he went along and less in anticipation, and he will envy the poor devil that he used to scorn because he only earned a couple of thousand dollars a year, although he had a jolly good time doing it. But, success or failure, they are all coming forward.
There has never been a more inspiring response to the call of patriotism in the history of the world. Men who are on the point of achieving their highest ambitions are nevertheless ready to scrap their success at the call of duty, well knowing that it is a trivial thing to themselves and to their families compared to having their names upon their country's roll of honor. Their real success lies not in what they have done in the world but in their ability to recognize its true value. It is a glorious refutation of the cabal that we are a nation of materialists and moneygrubbers. The man who counts his assets in dollars will discover that dollars no longer count. He will perceive the futility of his ambition to live in a fortyfoot instead of a seventeen-foot house, and to have three automobiles instead of one. It will lead him to a consideration of what he will do with his life. He
will cease to measure his happiness by his bankaccount. He will find out that he has a soul as well as a stomach; and even if this does not send him into the trenches it may result in his doing something for the service of mankind.
I found my partner sitting dejectedly at his desk, looking about as cheerful as an undertaker upon his introductory visit.
"What's the matter?" I demanded. "Miss Peterson told me that you had just sold a block of bonds. It didn't use to make you feel that way!"
He held up a slip of paper. It was a check for a hundred thousand dollars. I knew our profits would be about five thousand.
"What's the trouble with you?" I inquired, as I pulled out my pipe (I didn't know any easier way to save a dollar a day than to give up cigars) and leaned back in my chair.
He swung around and looked at me rather disgustedly.
"I don't want to make any more money!" he remarked.
"What!" I exclaimed. Such a statement was preposterous coming from Lord.
"I mean it," he said seriously. "It sickens me to be trying to sell securities at a time like this! It's like playing the fiddle with Rome burning. Everybody has been doing a lot of thinking lately, I guess.
What I've been asking myself is, What are we doing for the country?"
"We furnish," I repeated reminiscently, "an important and necessary link between capital and investment, a market for the distribution of money. We enable the small investor to contribute easily and safely to the development of industry!"
Lord gave a hollow laugh.
"We are about as useful at the present juncture as dealers in Punch and Judy shows!"
"Don't you think," I asked with mock impressiveness, "that we are an important link
“We're the missing link between utter uselessness and the pretense of activity!" he cried bitterly. “No, no. Don't fool yourself! This bond-shop is only an excuse for you and me to come down-town and not to do something else.”
"What else?" I asked curiously.
"Anything!" he almost shouted. "We bond and stock brokers are nothing but parasites just now. We're about on a par with theatre-ticket speculators. I'm getting tired of sitting here kicking my heels when there's so much big work to be done. It's all right for you you've been away out of the darn thing; but stay here awhile! I'm all ready to fly the coop." "Look here, old man!" I expostulated. "You mustn't talk that way. One would think you were on the point of giving up business and going into the trenches."
“I'm thinking of it," he replied.
"But you've got a wife and child!" I returned. "Wife and child! Wife and child!" he ground out bitterly. "Ich habe weib und kind zu haus'! My wife's got an independent income and you know it. My child is thirteen years old and is a beneficiary under her grandfather's trust estate to the extent of five thousand dollars per year. I'm thirty-nine years old and the champion golfer of my county! Of course I can sit here like a stuffed dove and look pained when any real man comes along, and get off the customary sad rot about how hard I've tried to 'do something' but nobody'll have me, and how Washington is overflowing with men of my class holding down clerical jobs. That's the most miserable sort of camouflage. There isn't a fitter man than I to go into the trenches to-day. I've waited until you got back-as Morris was away--but now I can face the thing squarely. At the present time I'm a slacker-that's all! A slacker -nothing else!"
He got up nervously and thrust his hand through his hair.
"I give you two weeks to feel just as I do. Of course I couldn't chuck the business with everybody away. I had to stick to the ship. So I worked the old 'wife and child' racket and snivelled around about how I'd give my eyes to go abroad-but couldn't! I would give my eyes to go-that's God's own truth! But that I can't go is a damn lie! I've fought this
thing out with myself and it's clear as daylight. The world has got to be saved from those German brutes and it's everybody's job to go to it and clean 'em up -unless he is physically incapacitated. It's the old distinction between legal and moral obligation. If you see your neighbor's baby crawling on the railroad track in front of an express-train and you can save it merely by putting out your hand and yanking it out of the way, you have no legal obligation to do so. Well, I haven't any legal obligation to do my bit on the other side, either."
"Great Scott!" I replied. "I've got to have a chance to think. Why couldn't you have waited a day or two before springing all this on me?"
He turned and looked at me earnestly.
"It would be all the same," he protested. "Sooner or later-I'm going. I'm not going to see the railroad train run down the child without doing what I can to save it."
There was an expression almost of exaltation on his face. What curious things the war did to people! I looked out of the window with my brain awhirl. Flapping lazily on its pole hung our service-flag with its three stars. There was room enough for more. With a sudden impulse I turned and held out my hand to him:
"You're right, old man! To hell with the business!" I cried.