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Philip Dru: Administrator

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<SPAN name="VII"></SPAN> <h1 align="center" style="margin-top: 2em;font-variant: small-caps">Chapter VII</h1> <h2 align="center" style="margin-top: 2em;font-variant: small-caps">The Winning of a Medal</h2> <p>It had become the practice of the War Department to present to the army every five years a comprehensive military problem involving an imaginary attack upon this country by a powerful foreign foe, and the proper line of defense. The competition was open to both officers and men. A medal was given to the successful contestant, and much distinction came with it.</p> <p>There had been as yet but one contest; five years before the medal had been won by a Major General who by wide acclaim was considered the greatest military authority in the Army. That he should win seemed to accord with the fitness of things, and it was thought that he would again be successful.</p> <p>The problem had been given to the Army on the first of November, and six months were allowed to study it and hand in a written dissertation thereon. It was arranged that the general military staff that considered the papers should not know the names of the contestants.</p> <p>Philip had worked upon the matter assiduously while he was at Fort Magruder, and had sent in his paper early in March. Great was his surprise upon receiving a telegram from the Secretary of War announcing that he had won the medal. For a few days he was a national sensation. The distinction of the first winner, who was again a contestant, and Philip&#8217;s youth and obscurity, made such a striking contrast that the whole situation appealed enormously to the imagination of the people. Then, too, the problem was one of unusual interest, and it, as well as Philip&#8217;s masterly treatment of it, was published far and wide.</p> <p>The Nation was clearly treating itself to a sensation, and upon Philip were focused the eyes of all. From now he was a marked man. The President, stirred by the wishes of a large part of the people, expressed by them in divers ways, offered him reinstatement in the Army with the rank of Major, and indicated, through the Secretary of War, that he would be assigned as Secretary to the General Staff. It was a gracious thing to do, even though it was prompted by that political instinct for which the President had become justly famous.</p> <p>In an appreciative note of thanks, Philip declined. Again he became the talk of the hour. Poor, and until now obscure, it was assumed that he would gladly seize such an opportunity for a brilliant career within his profession. His friends were amazed and urged him to reconsider the matter, but his determination was fixed.</p> <p>Only Gloria understood and approved.</p> <p>&#8220;Philip,&#8221; said Mr. Strawn, &#8220;do not turn this offer down lightly. Such an opportunity seldom comes twice in any man&#8217;s life.&#8221;</p> <p>&#8220;I am deeply impressed with the truth of what you say, Mr. Strawn, and I am not putting aside a military career without much regret. However, I am now committed to a life work of a different character, one in which glory and success as the world knows it can never enter, but which appeals to every instinct that I possess. I have turned my face in the one direction, and come what may, I shall never change.&#8221;</p> <p>&#8220;I am afraid, Philip, that in the enthusiasm of youth and inexperience you are doing a foolish thing, one that will bring you many hours of bitter regret. This is the parting of the ways with you. Take the advice of one who loves you well and turn into the road leading to honor and success. The path which you are about to choose is obscure and difficult, and none may say just where it leads.&#8221;</p> <p>&#8220;What you say is true, Mr. Strawn, only we are measuring results by different standards. If I could journey your road with a blythe heart, free from regret, when glory and honor came, I should revel in it and die, perhaps, happy and contented. But constituted as I am, when I began to travel along that road, from its dust there would arise to haunt me the ghosts of those of my fellowmen who had lived and died without opportunity. The cold and hungry, the sick and suffering poor, would seem to cry to me that I had abandoned them in order that I might achieve distinction and success, and there would be for me no peace.&#8221;</p> <p>And here Gloria touched his hand with hers, that he might know her thoughts and sympathy were at one with his.</p> <p>Philip was human enough to feel a glow of satisfaction at having achieved so much reputation. A large part of it, he felt, was undeserved and rather hysterical, but that he had been able to do a big thing made him surer of his ground in his new field of endeavor. He believed, too, that it would aid him largely in obtaining the confidence of those with whom he expected to work and of those he expected to work for.</p>
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