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Newspaper Page Text
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The Professor's Discovery.
As the old German entered the
offices of the great oil company
the clerks looked at one another
and wagged their heads, grin
ning. It was funny to these boys
to know that the old man would
no longer spend his days messing
with his bottks and retorts in the,
laboratory. The word that he was
to be discharged had spread all
through the building.
The German said nothing, but
sat down placidly, his fingers
pressing a small, square package
in his overcoat pocket. He loved
to handle that! That he was to be
discharged he knew; and he was
hoping against hope that he could
conscientiously accept it. He
must not say too little or too
much. . s
He had kicked his heels upon'
the bench for nearly an hour
when Mr. Van Bambergh sent for
him. He was a sharp, harassed
looking man; and because he felt
ashamed of what he was going to
do he was the gruffer and less cer
emonious. "Professor, we can't use your
services any longer," he began
abruptly. "Go, to the cashier and
get 3'our salary to date."
"May I might I say a few
words?" asked the old man mild-
The president spread his hands
out in depreciation.
"Now it's no use putting up a
plea," he said. "I'm, sorry for you,
but this is a matter of business.
We are not in the oil trade for our
health. If you want a recommen-
"I want merely a few words to
say," said the professor his grasp
tightening on the small package
in the pocket of his overcoat.
He hoped to be refused; but,
since the president said nothing,
he began to speak.
"You hired me two years ago
at a salary of $12 a week," he be
gan. "You set me a very difficult
almost an impossible task. You
told me that you wanted me to
discover the gasoline atom. You
pointed out that when gasoline
was distilled from crude oil, nine
tenths of the oil went to waste. If
I could split up the oil molecule,
and free the gasoline atom, there
by avoiding the process of distil
lation, it would be worth a for
tune to you. And I have worked
steadily and hard at it ever since."
"I don't deny that, professor,"
said the president, more kindly.
"But what have you done? You
asked for a year's extension and
we ga.ve it to you. Meanwhile our
rival, the Pittsburgh Refining Co.
has had out a standing offer of
$50,000 for the discovery, and
they have their experts at work.
I can't pension you on your $12 a
week for life, on the chance of
your hitting on the discovery.
We've got to get an expert on this
business, and I've sent to Ger
many for a trained investigator.
That's all I've got to say."
"Himmel! Will you turn me
adrift, at my age, to starve, be
cause I haven't done the impos
sible" cried the old man, furious
ly. "Listen. Give me one month
longer, My wife is sick, and