Rus In Urbe
Considering men in relation to money, there are three kinds whom I dislike: men who
have more money than they can spend; men who have more money than they do spend;
and men who spend more money than they have. Of the three varieties, I believe I have
the least liking for the first. But, as a man, I liked Spencer Grenville North pretty well,
although he had something like two or ten or thirty millions-- I've forgotten exactly how
I did not leave town that summer. I usually went down to a village on the south shore of
Long Island. The place was surrounded by duck- farms, and the ducks and dogs and
whippoorwills and rusty windmills made so much noise that I could sleep as peacefully
as if I were in my own flat six doors from the elevated railroad in New York. But that
summer I did not go. Remember that. One of my friends asked me why I did not. I
"Because, old man, New York is the finest summer resort in the world." You have heard
that phrase before. But that is what I told him.
I was press-agent that year for Binkly & Bing, the theatrical managers and producers. Of
course you know what a press-agent is. Well, he is not. That is the secret of being one.
Binkly was touring France in his new C. & N. Williamson car, and Bing had gone to
Scotland to learn curling, which he seemed to associate in his mind with hot tongs rather
than with ice. Before they left they gave me June and July, on salary, for my vacation,
which act was in accord with their large spirit of liberality. But I remained in New York,
which I had decided was the finest summer resort in--
But I said that before.
On July the 10th, North came to town from his camp in the Adirondacks. Try to imagine
a camp with sixteen rooms, plumbing, eiderdown quilts, a butler, a garage, solid silver
plate, and a long-distance telephone. Of course it was in the woods--if Mr. Pinchot wants
to preserve the forests let him give every citizen two or ten or thirty million dollars, and
the trees will all gather around the summer camps, as the Birnam woods came to
Dunsinane, and be preserved.
North came to see me in my three rooms and bath, extra charge for light when used
extravagantly or all night. He slapped me on the back (I would rather have my shins
kicked any day), and greeted me with out-door obstreperousness and revolting good
spirits. He was insolently brown and healthy-looking, and offensively well dressed.
"Just ran down for a few days," said he, "to sign some papers and stuff like that. My
lawyer wired me to come. Well, you indolent cockney, what are you doing in town? I
took a chance and telephoned, and they said you were here. What's the matter with that