Click here to Download The Grain Of Dust PDF Book by David G. Phillips English having PDF Size 3 MB and No of Pages 177.
Into the offices of Lockyer, Sanders, Benchley, Lockyer & Norman, corporation lawyers, there drifted on a December afternoon a girl in search of work at stenography and typewriting. The firm was about the most important and most famous—radical orators often said infamous—in New York. The girl seemed, at a glance, about as unimportant and obscure an atom as the city hid in its vast ferment.
The Grain Of Dust PDF Book by David G. Phillips
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She was blonde—tawny hair, fair skin, blue eyes. Aside from this hardly conclusive mark of identity there was nothing positive, nothing definite, about her. She was neither tall nor short, neither fat nor thin, neither grave nor gay. She gave the impression of a young person of the feminine gender—that, and nothing more.
She was plainly dressed, like thousands of other girls, in darkish blue jacket and skirt and white shirt waist. Her boots and gloves were neat, her hair simply and well arranged. Perhaps in these respects—in neatness and taste—she did excel the average, which is depressingly low. But in a city where more or less strikingly pretty women, bent upon being seen.
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Are as plentiful as the blackberries of Kentucky’s July—in New York no one would have given her a second look, this quiet young woman screened in an atmosphere of self-effacement. She applied to the head clerk. It so happened that need for another typewriter had just arisen. She got a trial, showed enough skill to warrant the modest wage of ten dollars a week.
She became part of the office force of twenty or twenty-five young men and women similarly employed. As her lack of skill was compensated by industry and regularity, she would have a job so long as business did not slacken. When it did, she would be among the first to be let go. She shrank into her obscure niche in the great firm, came and went in mouse-like fashion, said little, obtruded herself never.
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Was all but forgotten. Nothing could have been more commonplace, more trivial than the whole incident. The name of the girl was Hallowell—Miss Hallowell. On the chief clerk’s pay roll appeared the additional information that her first name was Dorothea. The head office boy, in one of his occasional spells of “freshness,” addressed her as Miss Dottie.
She looked at him with a puzzled expression; it presently changed to a slight, sweet smile, and she went about her business. There was no rebuke in her manner, she was far too self-effacing for anything so positive as the mildest rebuke. But the head office boy blushed awkwardly—why he did not know and could not discover, though he often cogitated upon it. She remained Miss Hallowell.
Opposites suggest each other. The dimmest personality in those offices was the girl whose name imaged to everyone little more than a pencil, notebook, and typewriting machine. The vividest personality was Frederick Norman. In the list of names upon the outer doors of the firm’s vast labyrinthine suite, on the seventeenth floor of the Syndicate Building. The Grain Of Dust PDF Book
His name came last—and, in the newest lettering, suggesting recentness of partnership. In age he was the youngest of the partners. Lockyer was archaic, Sanders an antique; Benchley, actually only about fifty-five, had the air of one born in the grandfather class. Lockyer the son dyed his hair and affected jauntiness.
But was in fact not many years younger than Benchley and had the stiffening jerky legs of one paying for a lively youth. Norman was thirty-seven—at the age the Greeks extolled as divine because it means all the best of youth combined with all the best of manhood. Some people thought Norman younger, almost boyish.
Those knew him uptown only, where he hid the man of affairs beneath the man of the world-thatamuses-itself. Some people thought he looked, and was, older than the age with which the biographical notices credited him. They knew him down town only—where he dominated by sheer force of intellect and will. The Grain Of Dust PDF Book
As has been said, the firm ranked among the greatest in New York. It was a trusted counselor in large affairs—commercial, financial, political—in all parts of America, in all parts of the globe, for many of its clients were international traffickers. Yet this young man, this youngest and most recent of the partners, had within the month forced a reorganization of the firm—or, rather.
Of its profits—on a basis that gave him no less than one half of the whole. His demand threw his four associates into paroxysms of rage and fear—the fear serving as a wholesome antidote to the rage. It certainly was infuriating that a youth, admitted to partnership barely three years ago, should thus maltreat his associates. Ingrate was precisely the epithet for him.
At least, so they honestly thought, after the quaint human fashion; for, because they had given him the partnership, they looked on themselves as his benefactors, and neglected as unimportant detail the sole and entirely selfish reason for their graciousness. But enraged though these worthy gentlemen were. The Grain Of Dust PDF Book
And eagerly though they longed to treat the “conceited and grasping upstart” as he richly deserved, they accepted his ultimatum. Even the venerable and venerated Lockyer—than whom a more convinced self-deceiver on the subject of his own virtues never wore white whiskers, black garments.
And the other badges of eminent respectability—even old Joseph Lockyer could not twist the acceptance into another manifestation of the benevolence of himself and his associates. They had to stare the grimacing truth straight in the face; they were yielding because they dared not refuse. To refuse would mean the departure of Norman with the firm’s most profitable business.
It costs heavily to live in New York; the families of successful men are extravagant; so conduct unbecoming a gentleman may not there be resented if to resent is to cut down one’s income. The time was, as the dignified and nicely honorable Sanders observed, when these and many similar low standards did not prevail in the legal profession. The Grain Of Dust PDF Book
But such is the frailty of human nature—or so savage the pressure of the need of the material necessities of civilized life, let a profession become profitable or develop possibilities of profit—even the profession of statesman, even that of lawyer—or doctor—or priest—or wife—and straightway it begins to tumble down toward the brawl and stew of the market place.
The brother and sister dined alone. Clayton was, finding his club a more comfortable place than his home, in those days of his wife’s disillusionment and hesitation about the future. Many weak creatures are curiously armed for the unequal conflict of existence—some with fleetness of foot, some with a pole-cat weapon of malignance.
Some with porcupine quills, some with a ‘possumlike instinct for “playing dead.” Of these last was Fitzhugh. He knew when to be silent, when to keep out of the way, when to “sit tight” and wait. His wife had discovered that he was a fool—that he perhaps owed more to his tailor than to any other single factor for the success of his splendid pose of the thorough gentleman. The Grain Of Dust PDF Book Download
Yet she did not realize what an utter fool he was, so clever had he been in the use of the art of discreet silence. Norman suspected him, but could not believe a human being capable of such fathomless vacuity as he found whenever he tried to explore his brother-in-law’s brain. After dinner Norman took Ursula to the opera, to join the Seldins.
And after the first act went to Josephine, who had come with only a deaf old aunt. Josephine loved music, and to hear an opera from a box one must be alone. Norman entered as the lights went up. It always gave him a feeling of dilation, this spectacle of material splendor—the women, whose part it is throughout civilization to-day to wear for public admiration.
And envy the evidences of the prowess of the males to whom they belong. A truer version of Dr. Holmes’s aphorism would be that it takes several generations in oil to make a deep-dyed snob—wholly to destroy a man’s or a woman’s point of view, sense of the kinship of all flesh, and to make him or her over into the genuine believer in caste and worshiper of it. The Grain Of Dust PDF Book Download
For all his keenness of mind, of humor, Norman had the fast-dyed snobbishness of his family and friends. He knew that caste was silly, that such displays as this vulgar flaunting of jewels and costly dresses were in atrocious bad taste. But it is one thing to know, another thing to feel; and his feeling was delight in the spectacle, pride in his own high rank in the aristocracy.
His eyes rested with radiant pleasure on the girl he was to marry. And she was indeed a person to appeal to the passion of pride. Simply and most expensively dressed in pearl satin, with only a little jewelry, she sat in the front of her parterre box, a queen by right of her father’s wealth, her family’s position, her own beauty.
She was a large woman—tall, a big frame but not ungainly. She had brilliant dark eyes, a small proud head set upon shoulders that were slenderly young now and, even when they should became matronly, would still be beautiful. She had good teeth, an exquisite smile, the gentle good humor of those who, comfortable themselves, would not have the slightest objection to all others being equally so. The Grain Of Dust PDF Book Download
Because she laughed appreciatively and repeated amusingly she had great reputation for wit. Because she industriously picked up from men a plausible smatter of small talk about politics, religion, art and the like, she was renowned as clever verging on profound. And she believed herself both witty and wise—as do thousands, male and female, with far less excuse.
“Except that she’s trustworthy—and insignificant and not too good at her business.” “I shouldn’t think you could afford to keep incompetent people,” said the girl shrewdly. “Perhaps they won’t keep her,” parried Norman gracefully. “The head clerk looks after those things.” “He probably likes her.” “No,” said Norman, too indifferent to be cautious.
“She has no ‘gentlemen friends.'” “How do you know that?” said the girl, and she could not keep a certain sharpness out of her voice. “Tetlow, the head clerk, told me. I asked him a few questions about her. I had some confidential work to do and didn’t want to trust her without being sure.” He saw that she was now prey to her jealous suspicion. The Grain Of Dust PDF Book Download
He was uncertain whether to be amused or irritated. She had to pause long and with visible effort collect herself before venturing: “Oh, she does confidential work for you? I thought you said she was incompetent.” He, the expert cross-examiner, had to admire her skill at that high science and art. “I felt sorry for her,” he said. “She seemed such a forlorn little creature.”
She laughed with a constrained attempt at raillery. “I never should have suspected you of such weakness. To give confidential things to a forlorn little incompetent, out of pity.” He was irritated, distinctly. The whole thing was preposterous. It reminded him of feats of his own before a jury. By clever questioning.
Josephine had made about as trifling an incident as could be imagined take on really quite imposing proportions. There was annoyance in his smile as he said: “Shall I send her up to see you? You might find it amusing, and maybe you could do something for her.” Josephine debated. “Yes,” she finally said. “I wish you would send her—” with a little sarcasm—”if you can spare her for an hour or so.” The Grain Of Dust PDF Book Free
“Don’t make it longer than that,” laughed he. “Everything will stop while she’s gone.” It pleased him, in a way, this discovery that Josephine had such a common, commonplace weakness as jealousy. But it also took away something from his high esteem for her—an esteem born of the lover’s idealizings; for, while he was not of the kind of men who are on their knees before women.
He did have a deep respect for Josephine, incarnation of all the material things that dazzled him—a respect with something of the reverential in it, and something of awe—more than he would have admitted to himself. To-day, as of old, the image-makers are as sincere worshipers as visit the shrines.
In our prostrations and genuflections in the temple we do not discriminate against the idols we ourselves have manufactured; on the contrary, them we worship with peculiar gusto. Norman knew his gods were frauds, that their divine qualities were of the earth earthy. But he served them, and what most appealed to him in Josephine was that she incorporated about all their divine qualities. The Grain Of Dust PDF Book Free
He and his sister went home together. Her first remark in the auto was: “What were you and Josie quarreling about?” “Quarreling?” inquired he in honest surprise. “I looked at her through my glasses and saw that the was all upset—and you, too.” “This is too ridiculous,” cried he. “She looked—jealous.” “Nonsense! What an imagination you have!” The Grain Of Dust PDF Book Free
“I saw what I saw,” Ursula maintained. “Well, I suppose she has heard something—something recent. I thought you had sworn off, Fred. But I might have known.” Norman was angry. He wondered at his own exasperation, out of all proportion to any apparent provoking cause. And it was most unusual for him to feel temper, all but unprecedented for him to show it, no matter how strong the temptation. “It’s a good idea, to make her jealous,” pursued his sister. “Nothing like jealousy to stimulate interest.”