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Philip Dru: Administrator

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<SPAN name="XXVII"></SPAN> <h1 align="center" style="margin-top: 2em;font-variant: small-caps">Chapter XXVII</h1> <h2 align="center" style="margin-top: 2em;font-variant: small-caps">A New Era at Washington</h2> <p>When General Dru assumed the responsibilities of Government he saw that, unless he arranged it otherwise, social duties would prove a tax upon his time and would deter him from working with that celerity for which he had already become famous. He had placed Mr. Strawn at the head of the Treasury Department and he offered him the use of the White House as a place of residence. His purpose was to have Mrs. Strawn and Gloria relieve him of those social functions that are imposed upon the heads of all Governments. Mrs. Strawn was delighted with such an arrangement, and it almost compensated her for having been forced by her husband and Gloria into the ranks of the popular or insurgent party. Dru continued to use the barracks as his home, though he occupied the offices in the White House for public business. It soon became a familiar sight in Washington to see him ride swiftly through the streets on his seal-brown gelding, Twilight, as he went to and from the barracks and the White House. Dru gave and attended dinners to foreign ambassadors and special envoys, but at the usual entertainments given to the public or to the official family he was seldom seen. He and Gloria were in accord, regarding the character of entertainments to be given, and all unnecessary display was to be avoided. This struck a cruel blow at Mrs. Strawn, who desired to have everything in as sumptuous a way as under the old r&#233;gime, but both Dru and Gloria were as adamant, and she had to be content with the new order of things.</p> <p>&#8220;Gloria,&#8221; said Dru, &#8220;it pleases me beyond measure to find ourselves so nearly in accord concerning the essential things, and I am glad to believe that you express your convictions candidly and are not merely trying to please me.&#8221;</p> <p>&#8220;That, Philip, is because we are largely striving for the same purposes. We both want, I think, to take the selfish equation out of our social fabric. We want to take away the sting from poverty, and we want envy to have no place in the world of our making. Is it not so?&#8221;</p> <p>&#8220;That seems to me, Gloria, to be the crux of our endeavors. But when we speak of unselfishness, as we now have it in mind, we are entering a hitherto unknown realm. The definition of selfishness yesterday or to-day is quite another thing from the unselfishness that we have in view, and which we hope and expect will soon leaven society. I think, perhaps, we may reach the result quicker if we call it mankind&#8217;s new and higher pleasure or happiness, for that is what it will mean.&#8221;</p> <p>&#8220;Philip, it all seems too altruistic ever to come in our lifetime; but, do you know, I am awfully optimistic about it. I really believe it will come so quickly, after it once gets a good start, that it will astound us. The proverbial snowball coming down the mountain side will be as nothing to it. Everyone will want to join the procession at once. No one will want to be left out for the finger of Scorn to accuse. And, strangely enough, I believe it will be the educated and rich, in fact the ones that are now the most selfish, that will be in the vanguard of the procession. They will be the first to realize the joy of it all, and in this way will they redeem the sins of their ancestors.&#8221;</p> <p>&#8220;Your enthusiasm, Gloria, readily imparts itself to me, and my heart quickens with hope that what you say may be prophetic. But, to return to the immediate work in hand, let us simplify our habits and customs to as great a degree as is possible under existing circumstances. One of the causes for the mad rush for money is the desire to excel our friends and neighbors in our manner of living, our entertainments and the like. Everyone has been trying to keep up with the most extravagant of his set: the result must, in the end, be unhappiness for all and disaster for many. What a pitiful ambition it is! How soul-lowering! How it narrows the horizon! We cannot help the poor, we cannot aid our neighbor, for, if we do, we cannot keep our places in the unholy struggle for social equality within our little sphere. Let us go, Gloria, into the fresh air, for it stifles me to think of this phase of our civilization. I wish I had let our discussion remain upon the high peak where you placed it and from which we gazed into the promised land.&#8221;</p>
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