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volunteered Brierley, “is the everlasting trimming up of a square peg to make it fit a round hole.”

“Then drive it in and make it fit,” answered Louis. “It will hug all the tighter for the raw edges it raises.”

“And if it splits the plank, Louis?” I asked.

“Let it split! A man, High-Muck, who can’t make a success of his life is better out of it, unless he’s a cripple, and then he can have my pocket-book every time. Look at Herbert!—he’s forged ahead; yet he’s been so hungry sometimes he could have gnawed off the soles of his shoes.”

“Only the imagination of the out-door painter, gentlemen,” answered Herbert with a laughing nod to the table at large. “The hungry part is, perhaps, correct, but I forget about the shoes.”

“I stick to my point!” exclaimed Le Blanc, facing Herbert as he spoke. “It’s blood as well as push that makes a man a success. When he lacks the combination he fails—that is, he does nine times out of ten, and that percentage, of course, is too small to trust to.”

“That reminds me of a story,” interrupted Brierley with one of his quiet laughs, “of some