The Managing Editor of the News-Record turned slowly in his chair until his broad chest was full-front toward the young candidate for the staff. He lowered his florid face slowly until his double chin swelled out over his low "stick-up" collar. Then he gradually raised his eyelids until his amused blue eyes were looking over the tops of his glasses, straight into Howard's eyes.
"Why?" he asked. "Why should we?"
Howard's grey eyes showed embarrassment and he flushed to the line of his black hair which was so smoothly parted in the middle. "Well—you see—the fact is—I need twenty a week. My expenses are arranged on that scale. I'm not clever at money matters. I'm afraid I'd get in a mess with only fifteen."
"My dear young man," said Mr. King, "I started here at fifteen dollars a week. And I had a wife; and the first baby was coming."
"Yes, but your wife was an energetic woman. She stood right beside you and worked too. Now I have only myself."
Mr. King raised his eyebrows and became a rosier red. He was evidently preparing to rebuke this audacious intrusion into his private affairs by a stranger whose card had been handed to him not ten minutes before. But Howard's tone and manner were simple and sincere. And they happened to bring into Mr. King's mind a rush of memories of his youth and his wife. She had married him on faith. They had come to New York fifteen years before, he to get a place as reporter on the News-Record, she to start a boarding-house; he doubting and trembling, she with courage and confidence for two. He leaned back in his chair, closed his eyes and opened the book of memory at the place where the leaves most easily fell apart: