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THE PASSING OF EFFORT: THE VISAGE OF
The next morning he looked over the papers and waded through a
long list of advertisements, making a few notes. Then he turned to
the male-help-wanted column, but with disagreeable feelings. The
day was before him-a long day in which to discover something-
and this was how he must begin to discover. He scanned the long
column, which mostly concerned bakers, bushel-men, cooks,
compositors, drivers, and the like, finding two things only which
arrested his eye. One was a cashier wanted in a wholesale
furniture house, and the other a salesman for a whiskey house. He
had never thought of the latter. At once he decided to look that up.
The firm in question was Alsbery & Co., whiskey brokers.
He was admitted almost at once to the manager on his appearance.
"Good-morning, sir," said the latter, thinking at first that he was
encountering one of his out-of-town customers.
"Good-morning," said Hurstwood. "You advertised, I believe, for
"Oh," said the man, showing plainly the enlightenment which had
come to him. "Yes. Yes, I did."
"I thought I’d drop in," said Hurstwood, with dignity. "I’ve had
some experience in that line myself."
"Oh, have you?" said the man. "What experience have you had?"
"Well, I’ve managed several liquor houses in my time. Recently I
owned a third-interest in a saloon at Warren and Hudson streets."
"I see," said the man.
Hurstwood ceased, waiting for some suggestion.
"We did want a salesman," said the man. "I don’t know as it’s
anything you’d care to take hold of, though."
"I see," said Hurstwood. "Well, I’m in no position to choose, at
present. If it were open, I should be glad to get it."
The man did not take kindly at all to his "No position to choose."
He wanted some one who wasn’t thinking of a choice or
something better. Especially not an old man. He wanted some one
young, active, and glad to work actively for a moderate sum.
Hurstwood did not please him at all. He had more of an air than
"Well," he said in answer, "we’d be glad to consider your
application. We shan’t decide for a few days yet. Suppose you
send us your references."
"I will," said Hurstwood.
He nodded good-morning and came away. At the corner he
looked at the furniture company’s address, and saw that it was in
West Twenty-third Street. Accord-ingly, he went up there. The
place was not large enough, however. It looked moderate, the men
in it idle and small salaried. He walked by, glancing in, and then
decided not to go in there.
"They want a girl, probably, at ten a week," he said.
At one o’clock he thought of eating, and went to a restaurant in
Madison Square. There he pondered over places which he might
look up. He was tired. It was blowing up grey again. Across the
way, through Madison Square Park, stood the great hotels,
looking down upon a busy scene. He decided to go over to the
lobby of one and sit a while. It was warm in there and bright. He
had seen no one he knew at the Broadway Central. In all
likelihood he would encounter no one here. Finding a seat on one
of the red plush divans close to the great windows which look out
on Broadway’s busy rout, he sat musing. His state did not seem so
bad in here. Sitting still and looking out, he could take some slight
consolation in the few hundred dollars he had in his purse. He
could forget, in a measure, the weariness of the street and his
tiresome searches. Still, it was only escape from a severe to a less
severe state. He was still gloomy and disheartened. There,
minutes seemed to go very slowly. An hour was a long, long time
in passing. It was filled for him with observations and mental
comments concerning the actual guests of the hotel, who passed in
and out, and those more prosperous pedestrians whose good
fortune showed in their clothes and spirits as they passed along