Mammon and The Archer
Old Anthony Rockwall, retired manufacturer and proprietor of Rockwalls Eureka Soap, looked out the library window of his Fifth Avenue mansion and grinned. His neighbour to the right;the aristocratic clubman, G. Van Schuylight Suffolk-Jonescame out to his waiting motor-car, wrinkling a contumelious nostril, as usual, at the Italian renaissance sculpture of the soap palaces front elevation.
Stuck-up old statuette of nothing doing! commented the ex-Soap King. The Eden Museell get that old frozen Nesselrode yet if he dont watch out. Ill have this house painted red, white, and blue next summer and see if thatll make his Dutch nose turn up any higher.
And then Anthony Rockwall, who never cared for bells, went to the door of his library and shouted Mike! in the same voice that had once chipped off pieces of the welkin on the Kansas prairies.
Tell my son, said Anthony to the answering menial, to come in here before he leaves the house.
When young Rockwall entered the library the old man laid aside his newspaper, looked at him with a kindly grimness on his big, smooth, ruddy countenance, rumpled his mop of white hair with one hand and rattled the keys in his pocket with the other.
Richard, said Anthony Rockwall, what do you pay for the soap that you use?
Richard, only six months home from college, was startled a little. He had not yet taken the measure of this sire of his, who was as full of unexpectednesses as a girl at her first party.
Six dollars a dozen, I think, dad.
And your clothes?
I suppose about sixty dollars, as a rule.
Youre a gentleman, said Anthony decidedly. Ive heard of these young bloods spending $24 a dozen for soap, and going over the hundred mark for clothes. Youve got as much money to waste as any of em, and yet you stick to whats decent and moderate. Now I use the old Eurekanot only for sentiment, but its the purest soap made. Whenever you pay more than ten cents a cake for soap you buy bad perfumes and labels. But fifty cents is doing very well for a young man in your generation, position and condition. As I said, youre a gentleman. They say it takes three generations to make one. Theyre off. Moneyll do it as slick as soap grease. Its made you one. By hokey! its almost made one of me. Im nearly as impolite and disagreeable and ill-mannered as these two old Knickerbocker gents on each side of me that cant sleep of nights because I bought in between em.
There are some things that money cant accomplish, remarked young Rockwall rather gloomily.
Now, dont say that, said old Anthony, shocked. I bet my money on money every time. Ive been through the encyclopædia down to Y looking for something you cant buy with it; and I expect to have to take up the appendix next week. Im for money against the field. Tell me something money wont buy.
For one thing, answered Richard, rankling a little, it wont buy one into the exclusive circles of society.
Oho! wont it? thundered the champion of the root of evil. You tell me where your exclusive circles would be if the first Astor hadnt had the money to pay for his steerage passage over?
And thats what I was coming to, said the old man less boisterously. Thats why I asked you to come in. Theres something going wrong with you, boy. Ive been noticing it for two weeks. Out with it. I guess I could lay my hands on eleven millions within twenty-four hours, besides the real estate. If its your liver, theres the Rambler down in the bay, coaled, and ready to steam down to the Bahamas in two days.
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