A Man of Means
Excerpt: ...it? I didn't think that any one ever really read 'Squibs.'" "Read it!" cried Roland, recklessly abandoning truth. "I should jolly well think so. I know it by heart. Do you mean to say that, after an article like that, they actually sacked you? Threw you out as a failure?" "Oh, they didn't send me away for incompetence. It was simply because they couldn't afford to keep me on. Mr. Petheram was very nice about it." "Who's Mr. Petheram?" "Mr. Petheram's everything. He calls himself the editor, but he's really everything except office-boy, and I expect he'll be that next week. When I started with the paper, there was quite a large staff. But it got whittled down by degrees till there was only Mr. Petheram and myself. It was like the crew of the 'Nancy Bell.' They got eaten one by one, till I was the only one left. And now I've gone. Mr. Petheram is doing the whole paper now." "How is it that he can't get anything better to do?" Roland said. "He has done lots of better things. He used to be at Carmelite House, but they thought he was too old." Roland felt relieved. He conjured up a picture of a white-haired elder with a fatherly manner. "Oh, he's old, is he?" "Twenty-four." There was a brief silence. Something in the girl's expression stung Roland. She wore a rapt look, as if she were dreaming of the absent Petheram, confound him. He would show her that Petheram was not the only man worth looking rapt about. He rose. "Would you mind giving me your address?" he said. "Why?" "In order," said Roland carefully, "that I may offer you your former employment on 'Squibs.' I am going to buy it." After all, your man of dash and enterprise, your Napoleon, does have his moments. Without looking at her, he perceived that he had bowled her over completely. Something told him that she was staring at him, open-mouthed. Meanwhile, a voice within him was muttering anxiously, "I wonder how much this is going to cost." "You're going to buy 'Squibs!'" Her voice had fallen...
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