The Adventures of Jimmie Dale HTML version

I.1. The Gray Seal
Among New York's fashionable and ultra-exclusive clubs, the St. James stood an
acknowledged leader--more men, perhaps, cast an envious eye at its portals, of
modest and unassuming taste, as they passed by on Fifth Avenue, than they did
at any other club upon the long list that the city boasts. True, there were more
expensive clubs upon whose membership roll scintillated more stars of New
York's social set, but the St. James was distinctive. It guaranteed a man, so to
speak--that is, it guaranteed a man to be innately a gentleman. It required
money, it is true, to keep up one's membership, but there were many members
who were not wealthy, as wealth is measured nowadays--there were many,
even, who were pressed sometimes to meet their dues and their house accounts,
but the accounts were invariably promptly paid. No man, once in, could ever
afford, or ever had the desire, to resign from the St. James Club. Its membership
was cosmopolitan; men of every walk in life passed in and out of its doors,
professional men and business men, physicians, artists, merchants, authors,
engineers, each stamped with the "hall mark" of the St. James, an innate
gentleman. To receive a two weeks' out-of-town visitor's card to the St. James
was something to speak about, and men from Chicago, St. Louis, or San
Francisco spoke of it with a sort of holier-than-thou air to fellow members of their
own exclusive clubs, at home again.
Is there any doubt that Jimmie Dale was a gentleman--an INNATE gentleman?
Jimmie Dale's father had been a member of the St. James Club, and one of the
largest safe manufacturers of the United States, a prosperous, wealthy man, and
at Jimmie Dale's birth he had proposed his son's name for membership. It took
some time to get into the St. James; there was a long waiting list that neither
money, influence, nor pull could alter by so much as one iota. Men proposed
their sons' names for membership when they were born as religiously as they
entered them upon the city's birth register. At twenty-one Jimmie Dale was
elected to membership; and, incidentally, that same year, graduated from
Harvard. It was Mr. Dale's desire that his son should enter the business and learn