Amy Morris marked it as to-read Jan 14, Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms. Believe he favors his father. Cinematically, this film is simply gorgeous. Tonight would be fine with me. Dennis rated it it was amazing Jun 14, Whatever he was up to, it had to be for a good cause.

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Drop it off before then. Well, you just go ahead and do whatever needs to be done. Herbert was gone. Alma answered the door. Oh, yes, yes. Sorry, company rules. As I washed up, I thought of the list of securities Herbert had taken from between the plasterboard walls. Those securities meant winters in Florida, filet mignon and twelve-year-old bourbon, Jaguars, silk underwear and handmade shoes, a trip around the world.

Name it Herbert Foster could have it. I sighed heavily. The soap in the Foster soap dish was mottled and dingy—a dozen little chips moistened and pressed together to make a new bar.

I thanked Alma, and started to leave. On my way out. I paused by the mantel to look at a small tinted photograph. A feeble effort at public relations. Herbert had married a girl just like the girl that married dear old dad. Everything good about Herbert comes from his mother? She taught Herbert to be decent and respectable and God-fearing.

But what he does with it is something quite different. Maybe Herbert looked on his fortune as filthy, untouchable. Herbert worshiped him. God knows what he wanted from the securities. He was upset about something, and not paying much attention to me.

I want you to concentrate. Took out thirty-two dollars for Christmas, and gave a hundred to the church. Home and family meant nothing to him. His real love was for low-down music and honky-tonks, and for the trash in them. But he relaxed again.

I want you to handle my securities, not my life. I was only trying to get the whole picture for planning. I want to make my own way. I respect you for it. Herbert said something I missed.

Herbert was deadly serious. Earned the whole car by the sweat of your brow, right down to the tip of the exhaust pipe. A sound portfolio is a tiling of beauty in its way, aside from its cash value.

Putting one together is a creative act, if done right, with solid major themes of industrials, rails and utilities, and with the lighter, more exciting themes of electronics, frozen foods, magic drugs, oil and gas, aviation and other more speculative items.

I was thrilled and proud of what the firm had done, and not being able to show it off, even to him, was depressing. It was too much for me, and I decided to engineer a coincidence. I would find out in which restaurant Herbert worked, and then drop in, like any other citizen, for something to eat. I would happen to have a report on his overhauled portfolio with me. Herbert had picked one hell of a place, indeed, to do penance for a wayward father, or to demonstrate his gratitude to his wife, or to maintain his self-respect by earning his own way— or to do whatever it was he was doing there.

I elbowed my way between bored-looking women and race-track types to the bar. I had to shout at the bartender to be heard. Herbert, then, was about as minor an employee as there was in the establishment.

He was probably doing something greasy in the kitchen or basement. In the kitchen, a crone was making questionable-looking hamburgers, and nipping at a quart of beer. Herbert had apparently picked the joint out of a telephone book, and told Alma it was where he spent his week-end evenings. But what was it that was worth more to Herbert than eight hundred and fifty thousand? Whatever he was up to, it had to be for a good cause. I gave up on the puzzle, and ordered a nightcap.

And then Herbert Foster, looking drab and hunted, picked his way through the crowd. His expression was one of disapproval, of a holy man in Babylon.

He was oddly stiff-necked and held his arms at his sides as he pointedly kept from brushing against anyone or from meeting any of the gazes that fell upon him. There was no question that being in the place was absolute, humiliating hell for him. I called to him, but he paid no attention. There was no communicating with him. Herbert was in a near coma of see-no-evil, speak-no-evil, hear-no-evil. The crowd in the rear parted for him, and I expected to see Herbert go into a dark corner for a broom or a mop.

But a light flashed on at the far end of the aisle the crowd made for him, and a tiny white piano sparkled there like jewelry. The bartender set a drink on the piano, and went back to his post.

Herbert dusted off the piano bench with his handkerchief, and sat down gingerly. He took a cigarette from his breast pocket and lighted it. And then the cigarette started to droop slowly from his lips; and, as it drooped, Herbert hunched over the keyboard and his eyes narrowed as though he were focusing on something beautiful on a faraway horizon.

Startlingly, Herbert Foster disappeared. In his place sat an excited stranger, his hands poised like claws. Suddenly he struck, and a spasm of dirty, low-down, gorgeous jazz shook the air, a hot wraith of the twenties. In a week or so, there would be a juicy melon from one of his steel companies. Three of his oil stocks were paying extra dividends. The farm machinery company in which he owned five thousand shares was about to offer him rights worth three dollars apiece. I had a right to be proud, but my triumph—except for the commission—was gall and wormwood.

Nobody could do anything for Herbert. Herbert already had what he wanted, long before the inheritance or I intruded. He had the respectability his mother had hammered into him. But just as priceless as that was an income not quite big enough to go around.


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