The Efficiency Expert

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 23

when Harold Bince entered, the older man leaned back in his chair
and motioned the other to be seated.

"I can't understand these statements, Harold," said Compton. "Here is
one for August of last year and this is this August's statement of
costs. We never had a better month in the history of this organization
than last month, and yet our profits are not commensurate with the
volume of business that we did. That's the reason I sent for these cost
statements and have compared them, and I find that our costs have
increased out of all proportions to what is warranted. How do you
account for it?"

"Principally the increased cost of labor," replied Bince. "The same
holds true of everybody else. Every manufacturer in the country is in
the same plight we are."

"I know," agreed Compton, "that that is true to some measure. Both
labor and raw materials have advanced, but we have advanced our prices
correspondingly. In some instances it seems to me that our advance in
prices, particularly on our specialties, should have given us even a
handsomer profit over the increased cost of production than we formerly
received.

"In the last six months since I appointed you assistant manager I am
afraid that I have sort of let things get out of my grasp. I have a lot
of confidence in you, Harold, and now that you and Elizabeth are engaged
I feel even more inclined to let you shoulder the responsibilities that
I have carried alone from the inception of this organization. But I've
got to be mighty sure that you are going to do at least as well as I
did. You have shown a great deal of ability, but you are young and
haven't had the advantage of the years of experience that made it
possible for me to finally develop a business second to none in this
line in the West.

"I never had a son, and after Elizabeth's mother died I have lived in
the hope somehow that she would marry the sort of chap who would really
take the place of such a son as every man dreams of--some one who will
take his place and carry on his work when he is ready to lay aside his
tools. I liked your father, Harold. He was one of the best friends that
I ever had, and I can tell you now what I couldn't have you a month ago:
that when I employed you and put you in this position it was with the
hope that eventually you would fill the

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