The metropolitan worldling struck a match and held it up. This was on the order of strategy. He wished to see Banneker's face. To his relief it did not look angry or even stern. Rather, it appeared thoughtful. Banneker was considering impartially the matter of his apparel. What is the matter with my clothes? he asked. Why--well, began Wickert, unhappy and fumbling with his ideas; Oh, _they_'re all right. For a meeting of the Farmers' Alliance. Banneker was smiling good-naturedly. But for the East? Well, if you really want to know, began Wickert doubtfully. If you won't get sore-- Banneker nodded his assurance. Well, they're jay. No style. No snap. Respectable, and that lets 'em out. They don't look as if they were made in New York or for New York? Young Mr. Wickert apportioned his nike air max 1 voice equitably between a laugh and a snort. No: nor in Hoboken! he retorted. Listen, 'bo, he added, after a moment's thought. You got to have a smooth shell in Nuh Yawk. The human eye only sees the surface. Get me? And it judges by the surface. He smoothed his hands down his dapper trunk with ineffable complacency. Thirty-eight dollars, this. Bernholz Brothers, around on Broadway. Look it over. That's a cut! Is that how they're making them in the East? doubtfully asked the neophyte, reflecting that the pinched-in snugness of the coat, and the flare effect of the skirts, while unquestionably more impressive than his own box-like garb, still lacked something of the quiet distinction which he recalled in the clothes of Herbert Cressey. The thought of that willing messenger set him to groping for another sartorial name. He hardly heard Wickert say proudly: If Bernholz's makes 'em that way, you can bet it's up to the split-second of date, and _maybe_ they beat the pistol by a jump. I bluffed for a raise of five dollars, on the strength of this outfit, and got it off the bat. There's the suit paid for in two months and a pair of shoes over. He thrust out a leg, from below the sharp-pressed trouser-line of which protruded a boot trimmed in a sort of bizarre fretwork. Like me to take you around to Bernholz's? Banneker shook his head. The name for which he sought had come to him. Did you ever hear of Mertoun, somewhere on Fifth Avenue? Yes. And I've seen Central Park and the Statue of Liberty, railed the other. Thinkin' of patternizing Mertoun, was you? Yes, I'd like to. Like to! There's a party at the Astorbilt's to-morrow night; you'd _like_ to go to that, wouldn't you? Fat chance! said the disdainful and seasoned cit. D'you know what Mertoun would do to you? Set you back a hundred simoleons soon as look at you. And at that you got to have a letter of introduction like gettin' in to see the President of the United States or John D. Rockefeller. Come off, my boy! Bernholz's 'll nike air max 90 fix you just as good, all but the label. Better come around to-morrow. Much obliged, but I'm not buying yet. Where would you say a fellow would have a chance to see the best-dressed men? Young Mr. Wickert looked at once self-conscious and a trifle miffed, for in his own set he was regarded as quite the mould of fashion. Oh, well, if you want to pipe off the guys that _think_ they're the whole thing, walk up the Avenue and watch the doors of the clubs and the swell restaurants. At that, they haven't got anything on some fellows that don't spend a quarter of the money, but know what's what and don't let grafters like Mertoun pull their legs, said he. Say, you seem to know what you want, all right, all right, he added enviously. You ain't goin' to let this little old town bluff you; ay? No. Not for lack of a few clothes. Good-night, replied Banneker, leaving in young Wickert's mind the impression that he was a queer gink, but also, on the whole, a good guy. For the worldling was only small, not mean of spirit. Banneker might have added that one who had once known cities and the hearts of men from the viewpoint of that modern incarnation of Ulysses, the hobo, contemptuous and predatory, was little likely to be overawed by the most teeming and headlong of human ant-heaps. Having joined the ant-heap, Banneker was shrewdly concerned with the problem of conforming to the best type of termite discoverable. The gibes of the doorstep chatterers had not aroused any new ambition; they had merely given point to a purpose deferred because of other and more immediate pressure. Already he had received from Camilla Van Arsdale a letter rich in suggestion, hint, and subtly indicated advice, with this one passage of frank counsel: If I were writing, spinster-aunt-wise, to any one else in your position, I should be tempted to moralize and issue warnings about--well, about the things of the spirit. But you are equipped, there. Like the Master, you will go your own way with inevitable motion. With the outer man--that is different. You have never given much thought to that phase. And you have an asset in your personal appearance. I should not be telling you this if I thought there were danger of your becoming vain. But I really think it would be a good investment for you to put yourself into the hands of a first-class tailor, and follow his advice, in moderation, of course. Get the sense of being fittingly turned out by going where there are well-dressed people; to the opera, perhaps, and the theater occasionally, and, when you can afford it, to a good restaurant. Unless the world has changed, people will look at you. _But you must not know it_. Important, this is!... I could, of course, give you letters of introduction. _Les morts vont vite_, it is true, and I am dead to that world, not wholly without the longings of a would-be _revenant_; but a ghost may still claim some privileges of memory, and my friends would be hospitable to you. Only, I strongly suspect that you would not use the letters if I gave them. You prefer to make your own start; isn't it so? Well; I have written to a few. Sooner or later you will meet with them. Those things always nike air footscape free happen even in New York Be sure to write me all about the job when you get it-- Prudence dictated that he should be earning something before he invested in expensive apparel, be it never so desirable and important. However, he would outfit himself just as soon as a regular earning capacity justified his going into his carefully husbanded but dwindling savings. He pictured himself clad as a lily of the field, unconscious of perfection as Herbert Cressey himself, in the public haunts of fashion and ease; through which vision there rose the searing prospect of thus encountering Io Welland. What was her married name? He had not even asked when the news was broken to him; had not wanted to ask; was done with all that for all time. He was still pathetically young and inexperienced. And he had been badly hurt. Part 2 Chapter 2 Dust was the conspicuous attribute of the place. It lay, flat and toneless, upon the desk, the chairs, the floor; it streaked the walls. The semi-consumptive office boy's middle-aged shoulders collected it. It stirred in the wake of quiet-moving men, mostly under thirty-five, who entered the outer door, passed through the waiting-room, and disappeared behind a partition. Banneker felt like shaking himself lest he should be eventually buried under its impalpable sifting. Two hours and a half had passed since he had sent in his name on a slip of paper, to Mr. Gordon, managing editor of the paper. On the way across Park Row he had all but been persuaded by a lightning printer on the curb to have a dozen tasty and elegant visiting-cards struck off, for a quarter; but some vague inhibition of good taste checked him. Now he wondered if a card would have served better. While he waited, he checked up the actuality of a metropolitan newspaper entrance-room, as contrasted with his notion of it, derived from motion pictures. Here was none of the bustle and hurry of the screen. No brisk and earnest young figures with tense eyes and protruding notebooks darted feverishly in and out; nor, in the course of his long wait, had he seen so much as one specimen of that invariable concomitant of all screen nike free 3.0v2 journalism, the long-haired poet with his flowing tie and neatly ribboned manuscript. Even the office boy, lethargic, neutrally polite, busy writing on half-sheets of paper, was profoundly untrue to the pictured type. Banneker wondered what the managing editor would be like; would almost, in the wreckage of his preconceived notions, have accepted a woman or a priest in that manifestation, when Mr. Gordon appeared and was addressed by name by the hollow-chested Cerberus. Banneker at once echoed the name, rising. The managing editor, a tall, heavy man, whose smoothly fitting cutaway coat seemed miraculously to have escaped the plague of dust, stared at him above heavy glasses. At two-forty-seven, thirty, replied the visitor with railroad accuracy. The look above the lowered glasses became slightly quizzical. You're exact, at least. Patient, too. Good qualities for a newspaper man. That's what you are? What I'm going to be, amended Banneker. There is no opening here at present. That's formula, isn't it? asked the young man, smiling.  
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