Although Monday was practically a holiday for the Sunday- supplement staff of "The
Times," Condy Rivers made a point to get down to the office betimes the next morning.
There were reasons why a certain article descriptive of a great whaleback steamer
taking on grain for famine-stricken India should be written that day, and Rivers wanted
his afternoon free in order to go to Laurie Flagg's coming-out tea.
But as he came into his room at "The Times" office, which he shared with the exchange
and sporting editors, and settled himself at his desk, he suddenly remembered that,
under the new order of things, he need not expect to see Travis at the Flaggs'.
"Well," he muttered, "maybe it doesn't make so much difference, after all. She was a
corking fine girl, but--might as well admit it--the play is played out. Of course, I don't love
her--any more whan she loves me. I'll see less and less of her now. It's inevitable, and
after a while we'll hardly even meet. In a way, it's a pity; but, of course, one has to be
sensible about these things....Well, this whaleback now."
He rang up the Chamber of Commerce, and found out that the "City of Everett," which
was the whaleback's name, was at the Mission Street wharf. This made it possible for
him to write the article in two ways. He either could fake his copy from a clipping on the
subject which the exchange editor had laid on his desk, or he could go down in person
to the wharf, interview the captain, and inspect the craft for himself. The former was the
short and easy method. The latter was more troublesome, but would result in a far more
Condy debated the subject a few minutes, then decided to go down to the wharf. San
Francisco's water-front was always interesting, and he might get hold of a photograph of
the whaleback. All at once the "idea" of the article struck him, the certain underlying
notion that would give importance and weight to the mere details and descriptions.
Condy's enthusiasm flared up in an instant.
"By Jove!" he exclaimed; "by Jove!"
He clapped on his hat wrong side foremost, crammed a sheaf of copy-paper into his
pocket, and was on the street again in another moment. Then it occurred to him that he
had forgotten to call at his club that morning for his mail, as was his custom, on the way
to the office. He looked at his watch. It was early yet, and his club was but two blocks'
distance. He decided that he would get his letters at the club, and read them on the way
down to the wharf.
For Condy had joined a certain San Francisco club of artists, journalists, musicians, and
professional men that is one of the institutions of the city, and, in fact, famous
throughout the United States. He was one of the younger members, but was popular