Page images
PDF
EPUB

whose good opinion she does not care, she is gross, coarse and sensual in every feature of her life. She eats too much, does not exercise enough and considers it amusing to let other people wait on her and do for her the things she should do for herself. Her room is a jumble of disorder. The one gleam of hope for her lies in the fact that out of shame, she allows no visitor to enter her apartments if she can help it. Concrete selfishness is her chief mark. She will avoid responsibility, side-step every duty that calls for honest effort; is untruthful, secretive, indolent and dishonest. “What are you eating ?” asks Nora Hebler's husband as she enters the room, not expecting to see him. “Nothing,” is the answer, and she hides the box of bonbons behind her, and soon backs out of the room. I think Mr. Hebler had no business to ask her what she was eating—no man should ask any woman such a question, and really it was no difference anyway. But Nora is always on the defensive and fabricates when it is necessary, and when it is n't, just through habit. She will hide a letter written by her grandmother

as quickly and deftly as if it were a missive from a guilty lover. The habit of her life is one of suspicion, for being inwardly guilty herself, she suspects everybody although it is quite likely that crime with her has never broken through thought into deed. Nora will rifle her husband's pockets, read his note-book, examine his letters, and when he goes on a trip she spends the day checking up his desk, for her soul delights in duplicate keys. At times she lets drop hints of knowledge concerning little nothings that are none of hers, just to mystify folks. She does strange, annoying things simply to see what others will do. In degree, Nora's husband fixed the vice of finesse in her nature, for when even a “good” woman is accused she parries by the use of trickery and wins her point by the artistry of the bagnio. Women and men are never really far apart anyway, and women are largely what men have made them. We are all just getting rid of our shackles; listen closely, anywhere, even among honest and intellectual people, if such there be, and you can detect the rattle of chains

The Disagreeable Girl's mind and soul have not kept pace with her body. Yesterday she was a slave, sold in a Circassian mart, and freedom to her is so new and strange that she is unfamiliar with her environment, and she does not know what to do with it. The tragedy she works, according to George Bernard Shaw, is through the fact that very often good men, blinded by the glamour of sex, imagine they love the Disagreeable Girl, when what they love is their own ideal-an image born in their own minds. Nature is both a trickster and a humorist, and ever sets the will of the species beyond the discernment of the individual. The picador has to blindfold his horse in order to get him into the bull-ring, and likewise, Dan Cupid does the myopic to a purpose. For aught we know, the lovely Beatrice of Dante was only a Disagreeable Girl, clothed in a poet's fancy, and idealized by a dreamer. Fortunate was Dante that he worshipped her afar, that he never knew her well enough to be undeceived, and so walked through life in love with love, sensitive, saintly, sweetly sad and most divinely happy in his melancholy, RE is known to me a S prominent business house that by the very force of its directness and worth has incurred the enmity of many rivals. In fact, there is a very general conspiracy on hand to put

[graphic]

the institution down and out. In talking with a young man employed by this house, he yawned and said, “Oh, in this quarrel I am neutral.” “But you get your bread and butter from this firm, and in a matter where the very life of the institution is concerned, I do not see how you can be a neutral.” And he changed the subject. I think that if I enlisted in the Japanese army I would not be a neutral. Business is a fight-a continual struggle just as life is. Man has reached his present degree of development through struggle. Struggle there must be and always will be. The struggle began as purely physical; as man evolved it shifted ground to the mental, psychic, and the spiritual, with a few dashes of cave-man

proclivities still left. But depend upon it, the struggle will always be-life is activity. And when it gets to be a struggle in well-doing, it will still be a struggle. When inertia gets the better of you it is time to telephone to the undertaker. The only real neutral in this game of life is a dead one. Eternal vigilance is not only the price of liberty, but of every other good thing. A business that is not safeguarded on every side by active, alert, attentive, vigilant men is gone to the As oxygen is the disintegrating principle of life, working night and day to dissolve, separate, pull apart and dissipate, so there is something in business that continually tends to scatter, destroy and shift possession from this man to that. A million mice nibble eternally at every business venture. The mice are not neutrals, and if enough employes in a business house are neutrals, the whole concern will eventually come tumbling about their ears. I like that order of Field-Marshal Oyama: “Give every honorable neutral that you find in our lines the honorable jiu-jitsu hikerino.”

« PreviousContinue »