Schulers Books Online
books - games - software - wallpaper - everything
- Philip Dru: Administrator - 6/33 -
mankind. A generation or two ago, Gloria, this mad unreasoning scramble for wealth began. Men have fought, struggled and died, lured by the gleam of gold, and to what end? The so-called fortunate few that succeed in obtaining it, use it in divers ways. To some, lavish expenditure and display pleases their swollen vanity. Others, more serious minded, gratify their selfishness by giving largess to schools of learning and research, and to the advancement of the sciences and arts. But here and there was found a man gifted beyond his fellows, one with vision clear enough to distinguish things worth while. And these, scorning to acquire either wealth or power, labored diligently in their separate fields of endeavor. One such became a great educator, the greatest of his day and generation, and by his long life of rectitude set an example to the youth of America that has done more good than all the gold that all the millionaires have given for educational purposes. Another brought to success a prodigious physical undertaking. For no further reason than that he might serve his country where best he could, he went into a fever-laden land and dug a mighty ditch, bringing together two great oceans and changing the commerce of the world."
THE PROPHET OF A NEW DAY
Philip and Mr. Strawn oftentimes discussed the mental and moral upheaval that was now generally in evidence.
"What is to be the outcome, Philip?" said Mr. Strawn. "I know that things are not as they should be, but how can there be a more even distribution of wealth without lessening the efficiency of the strong, able and energetic men and without making mendicants of the indolent and improvident? If we had pure socialism, we could never get the highest endeavor out of anyone, for it would seem not worth while to do more than the average. The race would then go backward instead of lifting itself higher by the insistent desire to excel and to reap the rich reward that comes with success."
"In the past, Mr. Strawn, your contention would be unanswerable, but the moral tone and thought of the world is changing. You take it for granted that man must have in sight some material reward in order to bring forth the best there is within him. I believe that mankind is awakening to the fact that material compensation is far less to be desired than spiritual compensation. This feeling will grow, it is growing, and when it comes to full fruition, the world will find but little difficulty in attaining a certain measure of altruism. I agree with you that this much-to-be desired state of society cannot be altogether reached by laws, however drastic. Socialism as dreamed of by Karl Marx cannot be entirely brought about by a comprehensive system of state ownership and by the leveling of wealth. If that were done without a spiritual leavening, the result would be largely as you suggest."
And so the discussion ran, Strawn the embodiment of the old order of thought and habit, and Philip the apostle of the new. And Gloria listened and felt that in Philip a new force had arisen. She likened him to a young eagle who, soaring high above a slumbering world, sees first the gleaming rays of that onrushing sun that is soon to make another day.
THE WINNING OF A MEDAL
It had become the practice of the War Department to present to the army every five years a comprehensive military problem involving an imaginary attack upon this country by a powerful foreign foe, and the proper line of defense. The competition was open to both officers and men. A medal was given to the successful contestant, and much distinction came with it.
There had been as yet but one contest; five years before the medal had been won by a Major General who by wide acclaim was considered the greatest military authority in the Army. That he should win seemed to accord with the fitness of things, and it was thought that he would again be successful.
The problem had been given to the Army on the first of November, and six months were allowed to study it and hand in a written dissertation thereon. It was arranged that the general military staff that considered the papers should not know the names of the contestants.
Philip had worked upon the matter assiduously while he was at Fort Magruder, and had sent in his paper early in March. Great was his surprise upon receiving a telegram from the Secretary of War announcing that he had won the medal. For a few days he was a national sensation. The distinction of the first winner, who was again a contestant, and Philip's youth and obscurity, made such a striking contrast that the whole situation appealed enormously to the imagination of the people. Then, too, the problem was one of unusual interest, and it, as well as Philip's masterly treatment of it, was published far and wide.
The Nation was clearly treating itself to a sensation, and upon Philip were focused the eyes of all. From now he was a marked man. The President, stirred by the wishes of a large part of the people, expressed by them in divers ways, offered him reinstatement in the Army with the rank of Major, and indicated, through the Secretary of War, that he would be assigned as Secretary to the General Staff. It was a gracious thing to do, even though it was prompted by that political instinct for which the President had become justly famous.
In an appreciative note of thanks, Philip declined. Again he became the talk of the hour. Poor, and until now obscure, it was assumed that he would gladly seize such an opportunity for a brilliant career within his profession. His friends were amazed and urged him to reconsider the matter, but his determination was fixed.
Only Gloria understood and approved.
"Philip," said Mr. Strawn, "do not turn this offer down lightly. Such an opportunity seldom comes twice in any man's life."
"I am deeply impressed with the truth of what you say, Mr. Strawn, and I am not putting aside a military career without much regret. However, I am now committed to a life work of a different character, one in which glory and success as the world knows it can never enter, but which appeals to every instinct that I possess. I have turned my face in the one direction, and come what may, I shall never change."
"I am afraid, Philip, that in the enthusiasm of youth and inexperience you are doing a foolish thing, one that will bring you many hours of bitter regret. This is the parting of the ways with you. Take the advice of one who loves you well and turn into the road leading to honor and success. The path which you are about to choose is obscure and difficult, and none may say just where it leads."
"What you say is true, Mr. Strawn, only we are measuring results by different standards. If I could journey your road with a blythe heart, free from regret, when glory and honor came, I should revel in it and die, perhaps, happy and contented. But constituted as I am, when I began to travel along that road, from its dust there would arise to haunt me the ghosts of those of my fellowmen who had lived and died without opportunity. The cold and hungry, the sick and suffering poor, would seem to cry to me that I had abandoned them in order that I might achieve distinction and success, and there would be for me no peace."
And here Gloria touched his hand with hers, that he might know her thoughts and sympathy were at one with his.
Philip was human enough to feel a glow of satisfaction at having achieved so much reputation. A large part of it, he felt, was undeserved and rather hysterical, but that he had been able to do a big thing made him surer of his ground in his new field of endeavor. He believed, too, that it would aid him largely in obtaining the confidence of those with whom he expected to work and of those he expected to work for.
THE STORY OF THE LEVINSKYS
As soon as public attention was brought to Philip in such a generous way, he received many offers to write for the press and magazines, and also to lecture.
He did not wish to draw upon his father's slender resources, and yet he must needs do something to meet his living expenses, for during the months of his inactivity, he had drawn largely upon the small sum which he had saved from his salary.
The Strawns were insistent that he should continue to make their home his own, but this he was unwilling to do. So he rented an inexpensive room over a small hardware store in the East Side tenement district. He thought of getting in one of the big, evil-smelling tenement houses so that he might live as those he came to help lived, but he abandoned this because he feared he might become too absorbed in those immediately around him.
What he wanted was a broader view. His purpose was not so much to give individual help as to formulate some general plan and to work upon those lines.
And yet he wished an intimate view of the things he meant to devote his life to bettering. So the clean little room over the quiet hardware store seemed to suit his wants.
The thin, sharp-featured Jew and his fat, homely wife who kept it had lived in that neighborhood for many years, and Philip found them a mine of useful information regarding the things he wished to know.
The building was narrow and but three stories high, and his landlord occupied all of the second story save the one room which was let to Philip.
He arranged with Mrs. Levinsky to have his breakfast with them. He soon learned to like the Jew and his wife. While they were kind-hearted and sympathetic, they seldom permitted their sympathy to encroach upon their purse, but this Philip knew was a matter of environment and early influence. He drew from them one day the story of their lives, and it ran like this:
Ben Levinsky's forebears had long lived in Warsaw. From father to son, from one generation to another, they had handed down a bookshop, which included bookbinding in a small way. They were self-educated and widely read. Their customers were largely among the gentiles and for a long
Previous Page Next Page
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 20 30 33
Schulers Books Online
books - games - software - wallpaper - everything