"No; I don't. I believe you're an efficient man, if you can adjust yourself to new
conditions. Do you think you can?"
"Well, I ain't much on the high-brow stuff, Mr. Surtaine, but I can take orders, I guess.
I'm used to the old 'Clarion,' and I kinda like you, even if we don't agree. Maybe this
virtuous jag'll get us some business for what it loses us. But, say, Mr. Surtaine, you ain't
going to get virtuous in your advertising columns, too, are you?"
"I hadn't considered it," said Hal. "One of these days I'll look into it."
"For God's sake, don't!" pleaded Shearson, with such a shaken flabbiness of vehemence
that both Hal and Ellis laughed, though the former felt an uneasy puzzlement.
The article and editorial on the Pierce accident had appeared in a Thursday's "Clarion." In
their issues of the following day, the other morning papers dealt with the subject most
delicately. The "Banner" published, without obvious occasion, a long and rather fulsome
editorial on E.M. Pierce as a model of high-minded commercial emprise and an exemplar
for youth: also, on the same page in its "Pointed Paragraphs," the following, with a point
quite too palpably aimed:—
"It is said, on plausible if not direct authority, that one of our morning contemporaries
will appropriately alter its motto to read, 'With Malice toward All: with Charity for
But it remained for that evening's "Telegram" to bring up the heavy guns. From its first
edition these headlines stood out, black and bold:—
E.M. PIERCE DEFENDS DAUGHTER
MAGNATE INCENSED AT UNJUST ATTACKS
WILL PUSH CASE AGAINST HER
TRADUCERS TO A FINISH
There followed an interview in which the great man announced his intention of bringing
both civil and criminal action for libel against the "Clarion." McGuire Ellis frowned
savagely at the sheet.
"Dirty skunk!" he growled.
"Meaning our friend Pierce?" queried Hal.
"No. Meaning Parker, and the whole 'Telegram' outfit."