The Four Million HTML version
A Service Of Love
When one loves one's Art no service seems too hard.
That is our premise. This story shall draw a conclusion from it, and show at the same
time that the premise is incorrect. That will be a new thing in logic, and a feat in story-
telling somewhat older than the great wall of China.
Joe Larrabee came out of the post-oak flats of the Middle West pulsing with a genius for
pictorial art. At six he drew a picture of the town pump with a prominent citizen passing
it hastily. This effort was framed and hung in the drug store window by the side of the ear
of corn with an uneven number of rows. At twenty he left for New York with a flowing
necktie and a capital tied up somewhat closer.
Delia Caruthers did things in six octaves so promisingly in a pine-tree village in the
South that her relatives chipped in enough in her chip hat for her to go "North" and
"finish." They could not see her f—, but that is our story.
Joe and Delia met in an atelier where a number of art and music students had gathered to
discuss chiaroscuro, Wagner, music, Rembrandt's works, pictures, Waldteufel, wall
paper, Chopin and Oolong.
Joe and Delia became enamoured one of the other, or each of the other, as you please,
and in a short time were married—for (see above), when one loves one's Art no service
seems too hard.
Mr. and Mrs. Larrabee began housekeeping in a flat. It was a lonesome flat—something
like the A sharp way down at the left-hand end of the keyboard. And they were happy;
for they had their Art, and they had each other. And my advice to the rich young man
would be—sell all thou hast, and give it to the poor—janitor for the privilege of living in
a flat with your Art and your Delia.
Flat-dwellers shall indorse my dictum that theirs is the only true happiness. If a home is
happy it cannot fit too close—let the dresser collapse and become a billiard table; let the
mantel turn to a rowing machine, the escritoire to a spare bedchamber, the washstand to
an upright piano; let the four walls come together, if they will, so you and your Delia are
between. But if home be the other kind, let it be wide and long—enter you at the Golden
Gate, hang your hat on Hatteras, your cape on Cape Horn and go out by the Labrador.
Joe was painting in the class of the great Magister—you know his fame. His fees are
high; his lessons are light—his high-lights have brought him renown. Delia was studying
under Rosenstock—you know his repute as a disturber of the piano keys.
They were mighty happy as long as their money lasted. So is every—but I will not be
cynical. Their aims were very clear and defined. Joe was to become capable very soon of