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Title: Making Money
Author: Johnson, Owen, 1878-1952
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Making Money" ***

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[Illustration: Book Cover]



MAKING MONEY



[Illustration: "'Bojo, you must marry Doris,' she said brokenly"]



MAKING MONEY


BY
OWEN JOHNSON

AUTHOR OF "THE SALAMANDER," "STOVER AT YALE,"
"THE SIXTY-FIRST SECOND," ETC.


_WITH EIGHT ILLUSTRATIONS BY_
_JAMES MONTGOMERY FLAGG_


[Illustration]


NEW YORK
FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY
PUBLISHERS


_Copyright, 1915, by_
FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY



CONTENTS


  CHAPTER                                                           PAGE
       I THE ARRIVAL                                                   1
      II FOUR AMBITIONS, AND THREE WAYS TO MAKE MONEY                 16
     III ON THE TAIL OF A TERRIER                                     31
      IV BOJO'S FATHER                                                46
       V DANIEL DRAKE, THE MULTI-MILLIONAIRE                          58
      VI BOJO OBEYS HIS GENERAL MANAGER                               67
     VII UNDER THE TICKER'S TYRANNY                                   75
    VIII THE RETURN OF PATSIE                                         88
      IX THE WEDDING BALL                                            100
       X DRAKE'S GAME                                                111
      XI BOJO BUTTS IN                                               122
     XII SNOW MAGIC                                                  133
    XIII BOJO MAKES A DECISION                                       147
     XIV THE CRASH                                                   154
      XV SUDDEN WEALTH                                               165
     XVI BOJO BEGINS TO SPEND HIS QUARTER-MILLION                    173
    XVII PAYING THE PIPER--PLUS                                      184
   XVIII BOJO FACES THE TRUTH                                        195
     XIX A CHIP OF THE OLD BLOCK                                     207
      XX BOJO HUNTS A JOB                                            213
     XXI BOJO IN OVERALLS                                            222
    XXII DORIS MEETS A CRISIS                                        234
   XXIII THE LETTER TO PATSIE                                        247
    XXIV PATSIE APPEALS FOR HELP                                     259
     XXV DRAKE ADMITS HIS DANGER                                     270
    XXVI A FIGHT IN MILLIONS                                         277
   XXVII PATSIE'S SCHEME                                             288
  XXVIII ONE LAST CHANCE                                             302
    XXIX THE DELUGE                                                  309
     XXX THE AFTER-YEARS                                             323



ILLUSTRATIONS


  "'Bojo, you must marry Doris,' she said brokenly"       _Frontispiece_
                                                                  FACING
                                                                    PAGE
  "'Say, you're a judge of muscle, aren't you?'"                      40
  "'Just you wait; you're going to be one of the big men some
      day!'"                                                         104
  "'Drina, dear child,' he said in a whisper"                        144
  "The message was the end of hope"                                  158
  "'What does all the rest amount to?' she said breathlessly. 'I
      want you'"                                                     208
  "'He wants to see you now,' she said"                              268
  "'Your promise. No one is to know what I do'"                      292



CHAPTER I

THE ARRIVAL


Toward the close of a pleasant September afternoon, in one of the years
when the big stick of President Roosevelt was cudgeling the shoulders of
malefactors of great wealth, the feverish home-bound masses which poured
into upper Fifth Avenue with the awakening of the electric night were
greeted by the strangest of all spectacles which can astound a
metropolitan crowd harassed by the din of sounds, the fret and fury of
the daily struggle which is the tyranny of New York. A very young man,
of clean-cut limbs and boyish countenance, absolutely unhurried amidst
the press, without a trace of preoccupation, worry, or painful mental
concentration, was swinging easily up the Avenue as though he were
striding among green fields, head up, shoulders squared like a
grenadier, without a care in the world, so visibly delighted at the
novelty of gay crowds, of towering buildings decked in electric
garlands, of theatric shop-windows, that more than one perceiving this
open enthusiasm smiled with a tolerant amusement.

Now when a young man appears thus on Fifth Avenue, undriven, without
preoccupation, without a contraction of the brows and particularly
without that strained metropolitan gaze of trying to decide something
of importance, either he is on his way to the station with a coveted
vacation ahead or he has been in the city less than twenty-four hours.
In the present instance the latter hypothesis was true.

Tom Beauchamp Crocker, familiarly known as Bojo, had sent his baggage
ahead, eager to enjoy the delights one enjoys at twenty-four, which the
long apprenticeship of school and college is ended and the city is
waiting with all the mystery of that uncharted dominion--The World. He
went his way with long, swinging steps, smiling from the pure delight of
being alive, amazed at everything: at the tangled stream of nations
flowing past him; at the prodigious number of entrancing eyes which
glanced at him from under provoking brims; at the sheer flights of
blazing windows, shutting out the feeble stars; at the vigor and
vitality on the sidewalks; at the flooded lights from sparkling shop
windows; at the rolling procession of incalculable wealth on the Avenue.

Everywhere was the stir of returning crowds, the end of the summer's hot
isolation, the reopening of gilded theaters, the thronging of hotels,
and the displays of radiant shop fronts, preparing for the winter's
campaign. In the crush of the Avenue was the note of home-coming, in
taxicabs and coupés piled high with luggage and brown-faced children
hanging at the windows, acclaiming familiar landmarks with piping cries.
Tradesmen and all the world of little business, all the world that must
prepare to feed, clothe, and amuse the winter metropolis, were pouring
in.

And in the midst of this feverish awaking of luxury and pleasure one
felt at every turn a new generation of young men storming every avenue
with high imaginations, eager to pierce the multitudes and emerge as
masters. Bojo himself had not woven his way three blocks before he felt
this imperative need of a stimulating dream, a career to emulate--a
master of industry or a master of men--and, sublimely confident, he
imagined that some day, not too distant, he would take his place in the
luxurious flight of automobiles, a personage, a future Morgan or a
future Roosevelt, to be instantly recognized, to hear his name on a
thousand lips, never doubting that life was only a greater game than the
games he had played, ruled by the same spirit of fair play with the
ultimate prize to the best man.

In the crowd he perceived a familiar figure, a college mate of the class
above him, and he hailed him with enthusiasm as though the most amazing
and delightful thing in the world was to be out of college on Fifth
Avenue and to meet a friend.

"Foster! Hallo there!"

At this greeting the young man stopped, shot out his hand, and rattled
off in business manner: "Why, Bojo, how are you? How's it going? Making
lots of money?"

"I've just arrived," said Crocker, somewhat taken back.

"That so? You're looking fine. I'm in the devil of a rush--call me up at
the club some time. Good luck."

He was gone with purposeful steps, lost in the quick, nervous crowd
before Crocker with a thwarted sense of comradeship could recover
himself. A little later another acquaintance responded to his greeting,
hesitated, and offered his hand.

"Hello, Bojo, how are things? You look prosperous; making lots of money,
I suppose. Glad to have seen you--so long."

For a second time he felt a sense of disappointment. Every one seemed in
a hurry, oppressed by the hundred details to be crowded into the too
short day. He became aware of this haste in the air and in the street.
In this speed-driven world even the great stone flights seemed to have
risen with the hour. Dazzling electric signs flashed in and out,
transferring themselves into bewildering combinations with the necessity
of startling this wonder-surfeited city into an instant's recognition.
Electricity was in the vibrant air, in the scurrying throngs, in the
nervous craving of the crowd for excitement after drudgery, to be out,
to be seen in brilliant restaurants, to go with the rushing throngs,
keyed to a higher tension, avid of lights and thrumming sounds.

Insensibly he felt the stimulus about him, his own gait adjusted itself
to the rush of those who jostled past him. He began to watch for
openings, to dart ahead, to slip through this group and that, weaving
his way as though there was something precious ahead, an object to be
gained by the first arrival. All at once he perceived how unconsciously
he had surrendered to the subtle spirit of contention about him, and
pulled himself up, laughing. At this moment an arm was slipped through
his and he turned to find a classmate, Bob Crowley, at his side.

"Whither so fast?

"Just in. I'm bound for the diggings."

"Fred DeLancy's been asking about you for a week. I saw Marsh and old
Granny yesterday. The Big Four still keeping together?

"Yes, we're going to stick together. How are you?"

"Oh, so-so."

"Making money?"

The salutation came like a trick to his lips before he noticed the
adoption. Crowley looked rather pleased.

"Thanks, I've got a pretty good thing. If you've got any loose change I
can put you on to a cinch. Step into the club a moment. You'll see a lot
of the crowd."

At the club, an immense hotel filled with businesslike young men rushing
in and rushing out, thronging the grill-room with hats and coats on, an
eye to the clock, Bojo was acclaimed with that rapturous campus
enthusiasm which greets a returned hero. The tribute pleased him, after
the journey through the indifferent multitude. It was something to
return as even a moderate-sized frog to the small puddle. He wandered
from group to group, ensconced at round tables for a snatched moment
before the call of the evening. The vitality of these groups, the
conflict of sounds in the low room, bewildered him. Speculation was in
the air. The bonanza age of American finance was reaching its climax.
Immense corporations were being formed overnight and stocks were
mounting by bounds. All the talk in corners was of this tip and that
while in the jumble staccato sentences struck his ear.

"A sure thing, Joe-- I'll tell you where I got it."

"They say Harris cleaned up two thousand last week."

"The amalgamation's bound to go through."

"I'm in the bond business now; let me talk to you."

"Two more years in the law school, worse luck."

"At the P. and S."

"They say the Chicago crowd made fifteen millions on the rise--"

"I ran across Bozer last week."

"Hello, Bill, you old scout, they tell me you're making money so fast--"

All the talk was of business and opportunity, among these graduates of a
year or two, eager and restless, all keen, all confident of arriving,
all watching with vulture-like sharpness for an opportunity for a
killing: a stock that was bound to shoot up or to tumble down. Every one
seemed to be making money or certain to do so soon, cocksure of his
opinion, prognosticating the trend of industry with sure mastery. Bojo
was rather dazed by this academic fervor for material success; it gave
him the feeling that the world was after all only a postgraduate course.
He had left a group, with a beginning of critical amusement, when a hand
spun him around and he heard a well-known voice cry:

"Bojo--you old sinner--you come right home!"

It was Roscoe Marsh, chum of chums, rather slight, negligently dressed
among these young men of rather precise elegance, but dominating them
all by the shock of an aggressive personality that stood out against
their factoried types. Just as the generality of men incline to the
fashions of conduct, philosophy, and politics of the day, there are
certain individualities constituted by nature to be instinctively of the
opposition. Marsh, finding himself in a complacent society, became a
terrific radical, perhaps more from the necessity of dramatic sensations
which was inherent in his brilliant nature than from a profound
conviction. His features were irregular, the nose powerful and aquiline,
the eyebrows arched with a suggestion of eloquence and imagination, the
eyes gray and domineering, the mouth wide and expressive of every
changing thought, while the outstanding ears on the thin, curved head
completed an accent of oddity and obstinacy which he himself had
characterized good-humoredly when he had described himself as looking
like a poetical calf. Roscoe Marsh, the father--editor, politician, and
capitalist, one of the figures of the last generation--had died, leaving
him a fortune.

"What the deuce are you wasting time in this collection of
fashion-plates and messenger-boys for?" said Marsh when the greetings
were over. "Come out into the air where we can talk sense. When did you
come?"

"An hour ago."

"Fred and Granny have been here all summer. You're a pampered darling,
Bojo, to get a summer off. What was it--heart interest?"

"Ask me no questions, I'll tell you no lies," said Bojo with a half
laugh and a whirl of his cane. "By George, Roscy, it's good to be here!"

"We'll get you to work."

"Who could help it? I say, is every one making money in this place? I've
heard nothing else since I landed."

"On paper, yes, but you don't make money till you hear it chink, as lots
will find out," said Marsh with a laugh. "However, this place's a
regular mining-camp--every one's speculating. I say, what are you going
to do?"

"Oh, I'm going into Wall Street too, I suppose. I spent a month with Dan
Drake."

"--And daughter."

"And daughters," said Bojo, smiling. "I think I'll have a good opening
there--after I learn the ropes, of course."

"Drake, eh," said Marsh reflectively, naming one of the boldest
manipulators of the day. "Well, you ought to get plenty of excitement
out of that. No use my tempting you with a newspaper job, then. But how
about your Governor?"

Bojo became quiet, whistling to himself. "I've got a bad half-hour
there," he said solemnly. "I've got to fight it out with the old man as
soon as he arrives. You know what he thinks of Wall Street."

"I like your Governor."

"So do I. The trouble is we're too much alike."

"So you've made up your mind?"

"I have; no mills and drudgery for me."

"Well, if you've made up your mind, you've made it up," said Marsh a
little anxiously.

In college the saying was that Marsh would sputter but Crocker would
stick, and this byword expressed the difference between them. One
attacked and the other entrenched. Crocker had an intense admiration for
Marsh, for whom he believed all things possible. As they walked side by
side, Bojo was the more agreeable to the eye; there was an instinctive
sense of pleasing about him. He liked most men, so genuinely interested
in their problems and point of view that few could resist his good
nature. Mentally and in the knowledge of the world he was much the
younger. There was a boyishness and an unsophistication about him that
was in the clear forehead and laughing brown eyes, in the spontaneous
quality of his smile, the spring in his feet, the general enthusiasm for
all that was new or difficult. But underneath this easy manner there was
a dangerous obstinacy ready to flare up at an instant's provocation,
which showed in the lower jaw slightly undershot, which gave the lips a
look of being pugnaciously compressed. He was implacable in a hatred or
a fight, blind to the faults of a friend, and stubborn in his opinions.

"What sort of quarters have we got?" asked Bojo, who had left the detail
to his three friends.

"The queerest spot in New York--the cave of Ali Baba. Wait till you see
it--you'd never believe it. Hidden as safe as a needle in a haystack. No
more than a stone's throw from here, and you'd never guess it."

He stopped, for at this moment they entered Times Square under the
shadow of the incredible tower, dazzled by the sudden ambuscade of
lights which flamed about them. Marsh, who could never brook waiting,
without having altered his pace made a wide detour amid a jam of
automobiles, dodged two surface cars and a file of trucks, and arrived
at the opposite curb considerably after Crocker, who had waited for the
direct route. Neither perceived how characteristic of their divergent
temperaments this incident had been. But Marsh, whose spirit was
irreverence, exclaimed contemptuously:

"The Great White Way. What a sham!" He extended his arm with an
extravagant gesture, as much as to say, "I could change all that," and
continued: "Look at it. There are not ten buildings on it that will last
five years. Take away the electric advertisements and you'll see it as
it is--a main street in a mining town. All the rest is shanty
civilization, that will come tumbling down like a pack of cards. Look at
it; a few hidden theaters with an entrance squeezed between a
cigar-store and a haberdashery, restaurants on one floor, and the rest
advertisements."

"Still it gives you quite a feeling," said Bojo in dissent, caught in
the surging currents of automobiles and the mingled throngs of late
workers and early pleasure-seekers. "There's an exhilaration about it
all. It does wake you up."

"Think of a city of five thousand millionaires that can build a hundred
business cathedrals a year, that has an opera house with the front of a
warehouse and calls a row of squatty booths luxury. Well, never mind;
here we are. Rub your eyes."

They had left the roar and brilliancy of the curiously blended mass
behind, plunging down a squalid side street with tenements in the dark
distances, when Marsh came to a stop before two green pillars, above
which a swaying sign announced--

  WESTOVER COURT
  BACHELOR APARTMENTS

Before Bojo could recover from his astonishment, he found himself
conducted through a long, irregular monastic hall flooded with mellow
lights and sudden arches, and as bewilderingly introduced, in a sort of
Arabian Nights adventure, into an oasis of quiet and green things. They
were in an inner court shut in from the outer world by the rise of a
towering wall at one end and at the other by the blazing glass back of a
great restaurant. In the heart of the noisiest, vilest, most brutal
struggle of the city lay this little bit of the Old World, decked in
green plots, with vine-covered fountain and a stone Cupid perched on
tip-toe, and above a group of dream trees filling the lucent yellow and
green enclosure with a miraculous foliage. Lights blazed in a score of
windows above them, while at four medieval entrances, of curved doorways
under sloping green aprons, the suffused glow of iron lanterns seemed
like distant signals lost in a fog. Everything about them was so remote
from the stress and fury out of which they had stepped, that Bojo
exclaimed in astonishment:

"Impossible!"

"Isn't it bully?" said Marsh enthusiastically. "Ali Baba Court I call
it. That's what a touch of imagination can do in New York. I say, look
over here. What do you think of this for a quiet pipe at night?"

He drew him under the trees, where a table and comfortable chairs were
waiting. Above the low roofs high against the blue-black sky the giant
city came peeping down upon them from the regimented globes of fire on
the Astor roof. A milky flag drifted lazily across an aigrette of steam.
To the right, the top of the Times Tower, divorced from all the ugliness
at its feet, rose like an historic campanile played about by timid
stars. Over the roof-tops the hum of the city, never stilled, turned
like a great wheel, incessantly, with faint, detached sounds pleasantly
audible: a bell; a truck moving like a shrieking shell; the impertinent
honk of taxis; urchins on wheels; the shattering rush of distant iron
bodies tearing through the air; an extra cried on a shriller note; the
ever-recurring pipe of a police whistle compelling order in the
confusion; fog horns from the river, and underneath something more
elusive and confused, the churning of great human masses passing and
repassing.

Marsh gave a peculiar whistle and instantly at a window on the second
floor a shadowy figure appeared, the sash went up with a bang, and a
cheery voice exclaimed:

"Hello, below there! Is that Bojo with you? Come up and show your
handsome map!"

"Coming, Freddie, coming," said Bojo with a laugh, and, plunging into a
swinging entrance, he found himself in a cozy den, almost thrown off his
feet by the greetings of a little fellow who dived at him with the
frenzy of a faithful dog.

"Well, old fashion-plate, how are you?" Bojo said at last, flinging him
across the room. "Been into any more trouble?"

"Nope. That is, not lately," said DeLancy, picking himself up. "Haven't
a chance, living with two policemen. What kept you all this time? Fallen
in love?"

"None of your damned business. By George, this looks homelike," said
Bojo to turn the conversation. On the walls were a hundred mementoes of
school and college, while a couple of lounges and several great chairs
were indolently grouped about the fireplace, where a fire was laid. "I
say, Roscy, has the infant really been behaving?"

"Well, we haven't bailed, him out yet," said Marsh meditatingly.

Fred DeLancy had been in trouble all his life and out of it as easily.
Trouble, as he himself expressed it, woke up the moment he went out. He
had been suspended and threatened with expulsion for one scrape after
another more times than he could remember. But there was something that
instantly disarmed anger in the odd star-pointing nose, the twinkly
eyes, and the wide mouth set at a perpetual grin. One way or another he
wriggled through regions where angels fear to tread, assisted by much
painful effort on the part of his friends.

"I'm getting frightfully serious," he said with mock contrition. "I'm
getting to be an old man; the cares of life and all that sort of stuff."

He broke off and flung himself at the piano, where he started an
improvisation:

  "The cares of life,
  This dreadful strife,
  I'll take a wife--
  No, change the rhyme
  I haven't time
  For matrimony--O!
  Leave that to handsome Bojo
  Bojo's in love,
  Blush like a dove--

"No, doves don't blush," he said, swinging around. "Do they or don't
they? Anyhow, a dove in love might-- To continue:

  "Bojo's in love,
  Blush like a dove,
  Won't tell her name,
  I'll guess the same--"

But at this moment, just as a pillow came hurtling through the air, the
doorway was ruled with a great body and George Granning came crowding
into the room, hand out, a smile on his honest, open face.

"Hello, Tom, it's good to see you again."

"The government can go on," said DeLancy joyfully. "We're here!"

As the four sat grouped about the room they presented one of those
strange combinations of friendship which could only result from the
process of American education. Four more dissimilar individualities
could not have been molded together except by the curious selective
processes of an academic society system. The Big Four, as they had been
dubbed (there is always a Big Four in every school and college), had
come from Andover linked by the closest ties, and this intimacy had
never relaxed, despite all the incongruous opposition of their
beginnings.

Marsh was a New Yorker, an aristocrat by inheritance and by force of
fortune; Crocker a Yankee, son of a keen, self-made father, who had
fought his way up to a position of mastery in the woolen mills of New
England; DeLancy from Detroit, of more modest means, son of a small
business man, to whom his education had meant a genuine sacrifice; while
George Granning, older by many years than the rest, was evidence of that
genius for evolution that stirs in the American mass. They knew but
little of his history beyond what he had chosen to confide in his
silent, reserved way.

He had the torso of a stevedore, the neck and hands of the laborer,
while the boulder-like head, though devoid of the lighter graces of
imagination and wit, had certain immovable qualities of persistence and
determination in the strongly hewn jaw and firm, high-cheekbones. He
was tow-headed and blue-eyed, of unfailing good humor, like most men of
great strength. Only once had he been known to lose his temper, and that
was in a football match in his first year in the varsity. His opponent,
doubtless hoping to intimidate the freshman, struck him a blow across
the face under cover of the first scrimmage. Before the half was over
the battering he had received from the enraged Granning was so terrific
that he had to be transferred to the other side of the line.

Granning had worked his way through Andover by menial service at the
beginning, gradually advancing by acquiring the agencies for commercial
fields and doing occasional tutoring. His summers had been given over to
work in foundries and in preparation for the business career he had
chosen long ago. He was deeply religious in a quiet, unostentatious way.
That there had been stormy days in the beginning, tragedies perhaps, the
friends divined; besides, there were lines in his face, stern lines of
pain and hardship, that had been softened but could never disappear.



CHAPTER II

FOUR AMBITIONS, AND THREE WAYS TO MAKE MONEY


They dined that night on the top of the Astor roof, where in the midst
of aërial gardens one forgot that another city waited toiling below.
Their table was placed by an embrasure from which they could scan the
dark reaches toward the west where the tenements of the city, broken by
the occasional uprising of a blatant sign, mathematically divided into
squares by rows of sentinel lights, rolled somberly toward the river. To
the south, vaguely defined by the converging watery darkness, the city
ran down to flaming towers in the glistening haze that seemed a luminous
vapor rising from dazzling avenues.

Wherever the eye could see myriad lights were twinkling: brooding and
fraught with the dark mystery of lonely, distant river banks; red, green
and golden on the rivers, crossing busily on a purposeful way; intruding
and bewildering in the service of industry from steel skeletons against
the sky; magic and dreamlike on the fairy spread of miraculous bridges;
winking and dancing with the spirit of gaiety from the theaters below
and the roof gardens above; that in the summer, suddenly spread a new
and brilliant city of the night above the tired metropolis of the day.
Looking down on these myriad points of light one seemed to have suddenly
come upon the nesting of the stars; where planets and constellations
germinated and took flight toward the swarming firmament.

The incomparable drama of the spectacle affected the four young men on
the threshold of life in a different way. Bojo, to whom the sensation
was new, felt a sort of prophetic stimulation as though in the
glittering sweep below lay the jewel which he was to carry off.
Granning, who had broken into the monastic routine of his life to make
an exception of this gathering of the clans, looked out in reverence,
stirred to deeper questionings of the spirit. Marsh, more dramatically
attuned, felt a sensation of weakness, as though suddenly confronted
with the gigantic scheme of the multitude; he felt the impotence of
single effort. While DeLancy, who dined thus every night, seeing no
further than the festooned gardens, the brilliant splashes of color, the
faces of women flushed in the yellow glow of candle-lights, hearing only
the pleasant thrumming sounds of a hidden orchestra, rattled on in his
privileged way.

"Well, now that the Big Four is together again, let's divide up the
city." He sent a sweeping gesture toward the stenciled stretch of blocks
below and continued: "Boscy, what'll you have? Take your choice. I'll
have a couple of hotels, a yacht and a box at the opera. Next bidder,
please!"

But Bojo without attention to this chatter said:

"Remember the night before we went to college and we picked out what we
intended to make. Came pretty close to it too, didn't we?"

Marsh looked up quickly, seized by a sudden dramatic suggestion.

"Well, here we are again. I'll tell you what we'll do. Let's tell the
truth--no buncombe--just what each expects to get out of life."

"But will we tell the truth?" said Bojo doubtfully.

"I will."

"Of course we all want to make a million first," said Fred DeLancy,
laughing. "Roscy's got his, so I suppose he wants ten. First place, is
it admitted each of us wants a million? Every properly brought up young
American ought to believe in that, oughtn't he?"

"Freddie, behave yourself," said Bojo severely. "Be serious."

"Serious," said DeLancy, with an offended air. "I'll be more serious
than any of you and I'll tell more of the truth and when I do you won't
believe me."

"Go on, Roscy, start first."

"Freddie's right in one respect. I intend to treble what I've got in ten
years or go bankrupt," said Marsh instantly. He flung the stub of his
cigar out into the night, watched it a moment in earthbound descent, and
then leaned forward over the table, elbows down, hands clasped, the
lights laying deep shadows about the hollowed eyes, the outstanding ears
accentuating the irregularity and oddity of the head. "I'm not sure but
that would be the best thing for me. If I had to start at the bottom I
believe I'd do something. I mean something big."

A half-concealed smile passed about the group, accustomed to the
speaker's dramatic instincts.

"Well, I've got to start at life in a different way. The trouble is, in
this American scheme I have no natural place unless I make one. Abroad I
could settle down to genteel loafing and find a lot of other congenial
loafers, who would gamble, hunt, fish, race, globe-trot, beat up Africa
in search of big sport, or drift around fashionable capitals for a bit
of amusement; either that or if I wanted to develop along the line of
brains there's a career in politics or a chance at diplomacy. Here we
are developing millionaires as fast as we can turn them out and never
thinking how we can employ them. What's the result? The daughters of
great fortunes marry foreign titles as fast as they get the chance in
order to get the opportunity to enjoy their wealth to the fullest,
because here there is no class so limited and circumscribed without
national significance as our so-called Four Hundred; the sons either
become dissipated loafers, professional amateurs of sport, or are
condemned to piling more dollars on dollars, which is an absurdity."

"I grieve for the millionaire," interjected DeLancy flippantly.

"And yet you want to triple what you've got," said Bojo with a smile.

"I'm coming to that--wait. Now the idea of money grubbing is distasteful
to me. What I want is a great opportunity which only money can give. I
have, I suppose, if a conservative estimate could be made, pretty close
to two million dollars--which means around one hundred thousand a year.
Now if I want to settle down and marry, that's a lot; but if I want to
go in and compete with other men, the leaders, that's nothing at all.
Now the principal interest I've got ahead is the _Morning Post_; it's
not all mine, but the controlling share is. It's a good conservative
nursery rocking-horse. It can go rocking on for another twenty years,
satisfied with its little rut. Now do you understand why I want more
money? I want a million clear to throw into it. I don't want it to be a
profitable high-class publication--I want it to be _the_ paper in New
York."

"But are you willing to go slow, to learn every rope first?" said
Granning with a shake of his head.

"You know I am," said Marsh impatiently. "I've plugged at it harder than
any one on the paper this summer and last too."

"Yes, you work hard--and play hard too," Granning admitted.

Marsh accepted the admission with a pleased smile and continued
enthusiastically:

"Exactly. Win or lose, play the limit! That's my motto, and there's
something glorious in it. I'm going to work hard, but I'm going to play
just as hard. I want to live life to its fullest; I want to get every
sensation out of it. And when I'm ready I'm going to make the paper a
force, I'm going to make myself feared. I want to round myself out. I
want to touch everything that I can, but above all I want to be on the
fighting line. After this period of financial buccaneering there's going
to come a great period--a radical period, the period of young men."

"Roscy, you want to be noticed," said DeLancy.

"I admit it. If you had what I have, wouldn't you? I repeat, I want the
sensation of living in the big way. Granning shakes his head-- I know
what he's thinking."

"Roscy, you're a gambler," said Granning, but without saying all he
thought.

"I am, but I'm going to gamble for power, which is different, and that's
the first step to-day; that's what they all have done."

"You haven't told us what your ambition is," said Bojo.

"I want to make of the _Morning Post_ not simply a great paper but a
great institution," said Marsh seriously. "I believe the newspaper can
be made the force that the church once was. Now the church was dominant
only as it entered into every side of the life of the community; when it
was not simply the religious and political force, but greater still, the
social force. I believe the newspaper will become great as it satisfies
every need of the human imagination. There are papers that print a
Sunday sermon. I would have a religious page every day, just as you
print a woman's page and a children's page. I'd run a legal bureau free
or at nominal charges, and conduct aggressive campaigns against petty
abuses. I'd organize the financial department so as to make it personal
to every subscriber, with an investment bureau which would offer only a
carefully selected list for conservative investors and would refuse to
deal in seven per cent. bonds and fifteen per cent. shares. I would have
a great auditorium where concerts and plays would be given at no higher
price than fifty cents."

"Hold up! How could you get plays on such conditions?" said DeLancy, who
had been held breathless by this Utopian scheme.

"Any manager in the city with a sense of publicity would jump at the
chance of giving an afternoon performance, expenses paid, under such
conditions, especially as the list would be guaranteed. Then, above all,
I'd give the public fiction, the best I could get and first hand. What
do you think gives _Le Petit Parisien_ and _Le Petit Journal_ a
circulation of about a million each and all over France? Serial novels.
Do you know the circulation of papers in New York? There are only three
over a hundred thousand and the greatest has hardly a quarter of a
million. However, I won't go on. You see my ideas make an
institution--the modern institution, replacing and absorbing all past
institutions."

"And what else do you want?" said Bojo, laughing.

"I want that by the time I'm thirty-five. I want ten millions and I want
to be at forty either senator or ambassador to Paris or London. I want
to build a yacht that will defend the American cup and to own a horse
that will win the derby.

"And will you marry?"

"The most beautiful woman in America."

The four burst into laughter simultaneously, none more heartily than
Marsh, who added:

"Remember, we're to tell the truth, and that's what I'd like to do." He
concluded: "Win or lose, play the limit. Never mind, Granny; when I'm
broke, you'll give me a job. Up to you. Confess."

Granning began diffidently, for he was always slow at speech and the
fluency of Marsh's recital intimidated him.

"I don't know that there's anything so interesting in my future," he
began, turning the menu nervously in his hands and fixing a spot on the
tablecloth where a wine stain broke the white monotony. "You see, I'm
different from you fellows. You're facing life in a different sort of
way. I'm not sure but what there's more danger in it than you think, but
the fact is you're all looking for the gamble. You want what you want,
Roscy, by the time you're thirty-five. Bojo and Fred want a million by
the time they're thirty. You're looking for the easy way--the quick way.
You may get it and then you may not. You've got friends,
opportunities--perhaps you will."

"That's where you'll never learn, you old fossil," said Marsh. "If you'd
get out and meet people, why, some time you'd strike a man with a nice
fat contract in his pocket looking for just the reliable--" he stopped,
not wishing to add, "old plodder that you are."

Granning shook his head emphatically. Among these boyish types he seemed
of another generation, a rather roughly hewn type of a district leader
of fixed purpose and irresistible momentum.

"Not for me," he said decisively. "There's one thing I've got strong,
where I have the start over you and a good thing it is, too: I know my
limitations. I'm not starting where you are. My son will; I'm not. Hold
up; it's the truth, and the truth is what we're telling. You can gamble
with life--you've got something to fall back on. I'm the fellow who's
got to build. Yes, I'll be honest. I want to make a million, too, I
suppose, as Fred said, like every American does. After all, if you're
out to make money, it's a good thing to try for something high. There
isn't much chance for romance in what I'm doing. I've got to go up step
by step, but it means more to me to get a fifty-dollar raise than that
next million can mean to you, Roscy. That's because I look back, because
I remember."

He stopped and the memories of the existence out of which he had dragged
himself, of which he never spoke, threw thoughtful shadows over the
broad forehead. All at once, taking a knife, he drew a long straight
line on the table, inclining upward like the slope of a hill, with a
cross at the bottom and one at the top, while the others looked on,
puzzled.

"You see there's not much banging of drums or dancing in what I've got
ahead and not much to tell until I get there. You know how a mole
travels; well, that's me." He laid his finger on the cross at the bottom
and then shifted it to the cross at the top. "Here's where I go in and
here's where I come out. In between doesn't count."

"And what besides that?" said Bojo.

"Well," said Granning simply, "I don't know what else. I'd like to get
off for a couple of months and see Europe and what they're doing over in
France and Germany in the steel line."

"But all that'll happen. What would you really like to get out of life?"
said Marsh, smiling--"you old unimaginative bear!"

"I'd like to go into politics in the right sort of way; I think every
man ought. Perhaps I'll marry, have a home and all that sort of thing
some day. I think what I'd like best would be to get a chance to run a
factory along certain lines I've thought out--a cooperative arrangement
in a way. There's so much to be worked out along the lines of
organization and efficiency." He thought over the situation a moment and
then concluded with sudden diffidence as though surprised at the daring
of his self-confession. "That's about all there is to it, I guess."

When he had ended thus clumsily, DeLancy took up immediately, but
without that spirit of good-humored raillery which was characteristic.
When he spoke in matter-of-fact, direct phrases, the three friends
looked at him in astonishment, realizing all at once an undivined intent
underneath all the lightness of that attitude by which they had judged
him.

"One thing Granning said strikes at me--knowing your limitations," he
said with a certain defiance, as though aware that he was going to shock
them. "I suppose you fellows think of me as a merry little jester, an
amusing loafer, happy-go-lucky and all that sort of stuff. Well, you're
mistaken. I know my limitations, I know what I can do and what I can't.
I'm just as anxious to get ahead as any of you, and you can bet I don't
fool myself. I don't sit down and say, 'Freddie, you've got railroads in
your head--you're an organizer--you'd shine at the bar--you'd push John
Rockefeller off the map,' or any of that rot. No, sir! I know where I
stand. On a straight out-and-out proposition I wouldn't be worth twenty
dollars a week to any one. But just the same I'm going to have my
million and my automobile in five years. Dine with me five years from
this date and you'll see."

"Well, Fred, what's the secret? How are you going to do it?" said Bojo,
a little suspicious of his seriousness.

But DeLancy as though still aware of the necessity of further
explanations before his pronouncement continued:

"I said I didn't fool myself and I don't. I haven't got ability like
Granning over here, who's entirely too modest and who'll end by being an
old money-bags--see if he doesn't. I haven't got a bunch of greenbacks
left me or behind me like Roscy or Bojo. My old dad's a brick; he's
scraped and pinched to put me through college on the basis of you
fellows. Now it's up to me. I haven't got what you fellows have got, but
I've got some very valuable qualities, very valuable when you keep in
mind what you can do with them. I have a very fine pair of dancing legs,
I play a good game of bridge and a better at poker, I can ride other
men's horses and drive their automobiles in first-rate style, I wear
better clothes than my host with all his wad, and you bet that impresses
him. I know how to gather in friends as fast as you can drum up
circulation, I can liven up any party and save any dinner from going on
the rocks, I can amuse a bunch of old bores until they get to liking
themselves; in a word, I know how to make myself indispensable in
society and the society that counts."

"What the deuce is he driving at?" Marsh broke in with a puzzled
expression.

"Why am I sitting down in a broker's office drawing fifty dollars a
week, just to smoke long black cigars? Because I know a rap what's
going on? No. Because I know people, because I'm a cute little social
runner who brings custom into the office; because my capital is friends
and I capitalize my friends."

"Oh, come now, Fred, that's rather hard," said Bojo, feeling the note of
bitterness in this cynical self-estimate.

"It's the truth. What do you think that old fraud of a Runker, my boss,
said to me last week when I dropped in an hour late? 'Young man, what do
you come to the office for--for afternoon tea?' And what did I answer? I
said 'Boss, you know what you've got me here for, and do you want me to
tell you what you ought to say? You ought to say, "Mr. DeLancy, you've
been working very hard in our interest these nights and though we can't
give you an expense account, you must be more careful of your health. I
don't want to see you burning the candle at both ends. Sleep late of
mornings."' And what did he say, the old humbug? He burst out laughing
and raised my salary. He knew I was wise."

"Well, what's the point of all this?" said Granning after the laugh.
"Never heard you take so long coming to the point before."

"The point is this: there're three ways of making money and only three:
to have it left you like Roscy, to earn it like Granning, and to marry
it--"

"Like you!"

"Like me!"

The others looked at him with constraint, for at that period there was
still a prejudice against an American man who made a marriage of
calculation. Finally Granning said:

"You won't do that, Freddie!"

"Indeed I will," said DeLancy, but with a nervous acceleration. "My
career is society. Oh, I don't say I'm going to marry for money and
nothing else. It's much easier than that. Besides, there's the patriotic
motive, you know. I'm saving an American fortune for American uses,
American heiresses for American men. Sounds like American styles for
American women," he added, trying to take the edge off the declaration
with a laugh. "After all, there's a lot of buncombe about it. A
broken-down foreigner comes over here with a reputation like a Sing-Sing
favorite, and because he calls himself Duke he's going to marry the
daughter of Dan Drake to pay up his debts and the Lord knows for what
purposes in the future--and do you fellows turn your back on him and
raise your eyebrows as you did a moment ago? Not at all. You're tickled
to death to go up and cling to his ducal finger. Am I right, Roscy?"

"Yes, but--"

"But I'm an American and will make a damned sight better husband, and
American children will inherit the money instead of its being swallowed
up by a rotten aristocracy. There's the answer."

"It's the way you say it, Fred," said Bojo uneasily.

"Because I have the nerve to say it. This is all I'm worth and this is
the only way to get what we all want."

"You'll never do it," said Granning with decision; "not in the way you
say it."

"Granning, you're a babe in the woods. You don't know what life is,"
said DeLancy, laughing boisterously. "After all, what are you going to
do? You're going to put away the finest days of your life to come out
with a pile when you're middle-aged and then what good will it do you? I
knew I'd shock you. Still there it is--that's flat!" He drew back,
lighting a cigar to cover his retreat and said: "Bojo next. I dare you
to be as frank."

Bojo, thus interrogated, took refuge in an evasive answer. The
revelations he had listened to gave him a keen sense of change. On this
very evening when they had come together for the purpose of celebrating
old friendship, it seemed to him that the parting of their ways lay
clearly before him.

"I don't know what I shall do," he said at last. "No, I'm not dodging; I
don't know. Much depends on certain circumstances." He could not say how
vividly their different announced paths represented to him the
difficulties of his choice. "I'd like to do something more than just
make money, and yet that seems the most natural thing, I suppose. Well,
I'd like a chance to have a year or two to think things over, see all
kinds of men and activities--but I don't know, by next week I may be at
the bottom--striking out for myself and glad of a chance."

He stopped and they did not urge him to continue. After DeLancy's flat
exposition each had a feeling of the danger of disillusionment. Besides,
Fred and Roscoe were impatient to be off, Fred to a roof garden, Marsh
to the newspaper. Bojo declined DeLancy's invitation, alleged the
necessity of unpacking, in reality rather desirous of being alone or of
a quieter talk with Granning in the new home.

"Here's to us, then," said Marsh, raising his glass. "Whatever happens
the old combination sticks together."

Bojo raised his glass thoughtfully, feeling underneath that there was
something irrevocably changed. The city was outside sparkling and black,
but there was a new feeling in the night below, and the more he felt the
multiplicity of its multifold expressions the more it came to him that
what he would do he would do alone.



CHAPTER III

ON THE TAIL OF A TERRIER


When he returned with Granning into the court and upstairs to their
quarters a telegram greeted him from the floor as he opened the door. It
was from his father, brief and businesslike.

     Arrive to-morrow. Wish to see you at three at office.
     Important.

  J. B. CROCKER.

He stood by the fireplace tearing it slowly to pieces, feeling the
approach of reality in his existence, a little frightened at its
imminence.

"Not bad news," said Granning, settling his great bulk on the couch and
reaching for a pipe from the rack. But at this instant a smiling
Japanese valet ushered in the trunks.

"This is Sweeney," said Granning with an introductory wave. "He's one of
four. We gave up trying to remember their names, so Fred rechristened
them. The others are Patsy, O'Rourke, and Houlahan. Sweeney speaks
perfect English, if you ask him for a telephone book he'll rush out and
bring you a taxicab. Understand, eh, Sweeney?"

"Velly well, yes, sir," said Sweeney, smiling a pleased smile.

"How the deuce do you work it then?" said Bojo, prying open his trunk.

"Oh, it's quite simple. Fred discovered the combination. All you have to
remember is that no matter what you ask for Sweeney always gets a taxi,
Patsy brings in the breakfast, Houlahan starts for the tailor, and
O'Rourke produces the scrubwoman. Just remember that and you'll have no
trouble. But for the Lord's sake don't get em mixed up." He broke off.
"What's the matter? You look serious."

"I'm wondering how I'll feel this time to-morrow," said Bojo with his
arms full of shirts and neckties. "I've got a pleasant little interview
with the Governor ahead." He filled a drawer of the bureau and returned
into the sitting-room, and as Granning, with his usual discretion,
ventured no question he added, looking out at the court where three
blazing windows of the restaurant were flinging pools of light across
the dark green plots: "He'll want me to chuck all this,--shoot up to a
hole in the mud; bury myself in a mill town for four or five years.
Pleasant prospect."

It did seem a bleak prospect, indeed, standing there in the commodious
bay window, seeing the flooded sky, hearing all the distant mingled
songs of the city. From the near-by wall the orchestra of the theater
sent the gay beats of a musical comedy march feebly out through open
windows, while from the adjoining wall of the Times Annex, beyond the
brilliant busy windows, the linotype machines were clicking out the news
of the world that came throbbing in. The theater, the press, that world
of imagination and hourly sensation, the half-opened restaurant with
glimpses of gay tables and the beginnings of the nightly cabaret, the
blazing court itself filled with ardent young men at the happy period
of the first great ventures, all were brought so close to his own eager
curiosity that he turned back rebelliously:

"By heavens, I won't do it, whatever happens! I won't be starved out for
the sake of more dollars. Well, would you in my place--now?"

He took a pair of shoes and flung them scudding across the floor into
the room and then stood looking down at the noncommittal figure of his
friend.

"Granning, you don't approve of us, do you? Stop looking like a sphinx.
Answer or I'll dump the tray over you. You don't approve, do you?
Besides, I watched your face to-night when Fred was spouting all that
ridiculous stuff."

"He meant it."

"Do you think so?" He sat down thoughtfully. "I wonder."

"What worried you?" said Granning directly, with a sharp look.

"I was sort of upset," Bojo admitted. "You know when you got through and
Fred got through, I thought after all you were right--we are gamblers.
We want things quick and easily. It's the excitement, the living on a
high tension."

"I always sort of figured out you'd want to do something different,"
said Granning slowly.

"So I would," he said moodily. "I wish I had Roscy's brains. I wonder
what I could do if I had to shift for myself."

"So that's the idea, is it?"

He nodded.

"The old Dad's stubborn as blazes. Had an up-and-down row with Jack, my
older brother, and turned him out. Lord knows what's become of him.
Dad's got as much love for the Wall Street game as your pesky old self.
Thinks they're a lot of loafers and confidence men."

"I didn't say it," said Granning with a short laugh.

"No, but you think it."

Granning rose as the clock struck ten and shouldered off to his bedroom
according to his invariable custom. When Bojo finally turned in it was
to sleep by fits and starts. The weight of the decision which he would
have to make on the morrow oppressed him. It was all very well to
announce that he would start at the bottom rather than yield, but the
world had opened up to him in a different light since the dinner of
confidences. He saw the two ways clearly--the long, slow plodding way of
Granning, and the other way, the world of opportunities through friends,
the world of quick results to those privileged to be behind the scenes.
If the end were the same, why take the way of toil and deprivation?
Besides, there were other reasons, sentimental reasons, that urged him
to the easier choice. If he could only make his father see things
rationally--but he had slight hope of making an impression upon that
direct and adamant will.

"Well, if everything goes smash, I'll make Roscy give me a job on the
paper," he thought as he turned restlessly in his bed.

The white gleam of a shifting electric sign, high above the roofs,
played over the opposite wall. At midnight he heard dimly two sounds
which were destined from now on to dispute the turning of the night
with their contending notes of work and pleasure--the sound of great
presses beginning to rumble under the morning edition and from the
restaurant an inconscient chorus welcoming the midnight with jingling
rhythm.

  You want to cry,
  You want to die,
  But all you do is laugh, Hi! Hi!
  You've got the High Jinks! That's why!

When he awoke the next morning it was to the sound of Roscoe Marsh in
the adjoining sitting-room telephoning for breakfast. The sun was
pouring over his coverlet and the clock stood reproachfully at nine o
clock. He slipped into a dressing-gown and found Marsh yawning over the
papers. Granning had departed at seven o'clock to the works on the
Jersey shore. DeLancy presently staggered out, tousled and sleepy,
resplendent in a blazing red satin dressing-gown, announcing:

"Lord, but this brokerage business is exacting work."

"Late party, eh?" said Bojo, laughing.

"Where the devil is the coffee?" said DeLancy for all answer.

Marsh, too, had been of the party after the night work had been
completed, though he showed scarcely a trace of the double strain.
Breakfast over, Bojo finished unpacking, killing time until noon
arrived, when, after a solicitous selection of shirts and neckties, he
went off by appointment to meet Miss Doris Drake.

To-day the thoughts of that other interview with his father were too
present in his imagination to permit of the usual zest such a meeting
usually drew forth. The attachment, for despite the insinuations of
DeLancy and Marsh it was hardly more than that, had been of long
standing. There had been a period toward the end of boarding-school when
he had been tremendously in love and had corresponded with extraordinary
faithfulness and treasured numerous tokens of feminine reciprocation
with a sentimental devotion. The infatuation had cooled, but the
devotion had remained as a necessary romantic outlet. She had been his
guest as a matter of course at all the numerous gala occasions of
college life, at the football match, the New London race, and the Prom.
He was tremendously proud to have her on his arm, so proud that at times
he temporarily felt a return of that bitter-sweet frenzy when at school
he turned hot and cold with the expectancy of her letters. At the bottom
he was perhaps playing at love, a little afraid of her with that spirit
of cautious deliberation which, had he but known it, abides not with
romance.

During the month on the ranch he had spent in their house-party, he had
a hundred times tried to convince himself that the old ardor was there,
and when somehow in his own honesty he failed, he would often wonder
what was the subtle reason that prevented it. She was everything that
the eye could imagine, brilliant, perhaps a little too much so for a
young lady of twenty, and sought after by a score of men to whom she
remained completely indifferent. He was flattered and yet he remained
uneasy, forced to admit to himself that there was something lacking in
her to stir his pulses as they had once been stirred. When DeLancy had
so frankly announced his intention of making a favorable marriage,
something had uneasily stirred his conscience. Was there after all some
such unconscious instinct in him at the bottom of this continued
intimacy?

When he reached the metropolitan castle of the Drakes on upper Fifth
Avenue, he found the salons still covered up in summer trappings, long
yellow linens over the furniture, the paintings on the walls still
wrapped in cheesecloth. As he was twirling his cane aimlessly before the
fireplace, wondering how long it would please Miss Doris to keep him
waiting, there came a breathless scamper and rush, accompanied by
delighted giggles, and the next moment an Irish terrier, growling and
snarling in mock fury, slid over the polished floor, pursued by a young
girl who had a firm grip on the stubby tail. The chase ended in the
center of the room with a sudden tumble. The dog, liberated, stood
quivering with delight at a safe distance, head on one side, tongue out,
ready for the next move of his tormenter who was camped in the middle of
the floor. But at this moment she perceived Bojo.

"Oh, hello," she said with a start of surprise but no confusion. "Who
are you?"

"I'm Crocker, Tom Crocker," he said, laughing back at the flushed oval
face, with mischievous eyes dancing somewhere in the golden hair that
tumbled in shocks to her shoulder.

She sprang up brightly, advancing with outstretched hand.

"Oh, you're Bojo," she said in correction. "You don't know me. I'm
Patsie, the terror of the family. Now don't say you thought I was a
child, I'm seventeen--going on eighteen in January."

He shook the hand that was thrust out to him in a direct boyish grip,
surprised and a little bewildered at the irresistible youth and spirits
of the young lady who stood so naturally before him in short skirt and
in simple shirtwaist open at the tanned neck.

"Of course they've told you I'm a terror," she said defiantly. He
nodded, which seemed to please her, for she rattled on: "Well, I am.
They had to keep me away until Dolly hooked the Duke. Have you seen him?
Well, if that's a duke all I've got to say is I think he's a mutt. Of
course you're waiting for Doris, aren't you?"

The assumption of his vassalage somehow stirred a little antagonism, but
before he could answer she was off again.

"Well, a jolly long wait you'll have, too. Doris is splashing around
among the rouge and powder like Romp in a puddle."

Her own cheeks needed no such encouragement, he thought, laughing back
at her through the pure infection of her high spirits.

"I like you; you're all right," she said, surveying him with her head on
one side like Romp, the terrier, who came sniffing up to him in the
friendliest way. "You're not like a lot of these fashion plates that
come in on tiptoes. Say, that was a bully tackle you made in that
Harvard game."

He was down on one knee rubbing the shaggy coat of the terrier. He
looked up.

"Oh you saw that, did you?"

"Yep! I guess there wasn't much left of that fellow! Dad said that was
the finest tackle he ever saw."

"It shook me up all right," he said, grinning.

"Well, if Dad likes you and Romp likes you, you must be some account,"
she continued, camping on the rug and seizing triumphantly the stubby
tail. "Dad's strong for you!"

Bojo settled on the edge of the sofa, watching the furious encounter
which took place for the possession of the strategic point.

"I suppose you're going to marry Doris," she said in a moment of calm,
while Romp made good his escape.

Bojo felt himself flushing under the direct child-like gaze.

"I should be very flattered if Doris--"

"Oh, don't talk that way," she said with a fling of her shoulders.
"That's like all the others. Tell me, are all New York men such hopeless
ninnies? Lord, I'm going to have a dreary time of it." She looked at him
critically. "One thing I like about you; you don't wear spats."

"I suppose you're home for the wedding," he asked curiously, "or are you
through with the boarding-school?"

"Didn't you hear about this?" she said with a touch to her shortened
hair. "They wanted me to come out and I said I wouldn't come out. And
when they said I should come out, I said to myself, I'll just fix them
so I can't come out, and I hacked off all my hair. That's why they sent
me off to Coventry for the summer. I'd have hacked it off again, but
Dad cut up so I let it grow, and now the plaguey old fashion has gotten
around to bobbed hair. What do you think of that?"

"So you don't want to come out?" he answered.

"What for? To be nice to a lot of old frumps you don't like, to dress up
and drink tea and lean up against a wall and have a crowd of mechanical
toys tell you that your eyes are like evening stars and all that rot. I
should say _not_."

"Well, what would you like to do?"

"I'd like to go riding and hunting with Dad, live in a great country
house, with lots of snow in winter and tobogganing--" She broke off with
a sudden suspicion. "Say, am I boring you?"

"You are not," he said with emphasis.

[Illustration: "'Say, you're a judge of muscle, aren't you?'"]

"You don't like that society flub-dub either, do you?" she continued
confidentially. "Lord, these dolled up women make me tired. I'd like to
jounce them ten miles over the hills. Say, you're a judge of muscle,
aren't you?"

"In a way."

"What do you think of that?" She held out a cool firm forearm for his
inspection and he was in this intimate position when Doris came down the
great stairway, with her willowy, trailing elegance. She gave a quick
glance of her dark eyes at the unconventional group, with Romp in the
middle an interested spectator, and said:

"Have I been keeping you hours? I hope this child's been amusing you."

The child, being at this moment perfectly screened, retorted by a
roguish wink which almost upset Bojo's equanimity. The two sisters
were an absolute contrast. In her two seasons Doris had been converted
into a complete woman of the world; she had the grace that was the grace
of art, yet undeniably effective; stunning was the term applied to her.
Her features were delicate, thinly turned, and a quality of precious
fragility was about her whole person, even to the conscious moods of her
smile, her enthusiasm, her serious poising for an instant of the eyes,
which were deep and black and lustrous as the artfully pleasing masses
of her hair. But the charm that was gone was the charm that looked up at
him from the unconscious twilight eyes of the younger sister!

"Patsie, you terrible tomboy--will you ever grow up!" she said
reprovingly. "Look at your dress and your hair. I never saw such a
little rowdy. Now run along like a dear. Mother's waiting."

But Patsie maliciously declined to hurry. She insisted that she had
promised to show off Romp and, abetted by Bojo in this deception, she
kept her sister waiting while she put the dog through his tricks and--to
cap the climax went off with a bombshell.

"My, you two don't look a bit glad to see each other--you look as
conventional as Dolly and the Duke."

"Heavens," said Doris with a sigh, "I shall have my hands full this
winter. What they'll think of her in society the Lord knows."

"I wouldn't worry about her," said Bojo pensively. "I don't think she's
going to have as much trouble as you fear."

"Oh, you think so?" said Doris, glancing up. Then she laid her hand over
his with a little pressure. "I'm awfully glad to see you, Bojo."

"I'm awfully glad to see you," he returned with accented enthusiasm.

"Just as glad as ever?"

"Of course."

"We shall have to use the Mercedes; Dolly's off with the Reynier. You
don't mind?" she said, flitting past the military footman. "Where are we
lunching?"

He named a fashionable restaurant.

"Oh, dear, no; you never see any one you know there. Let's go to the
Ritz." And without waiting for his answer she added: "Duncan, the Ritz."

At the restaurant all the personelle seemed to know her. The head waiter
himself showed her to a favorite corner, and advised with her
solicitously as to the selection of the menu, while Bojo, who had still
to eat ten thousand such luncheons, furtively compared his elegant
companion with the brilliant women who were grouped about him like rare
hot-house plants in a perfumed conservatory. The little shell hat she
wore suited her admirably, concealing her forehead and half of her eyes
with the same provoking mystery that the eastern veil lends to the women
of the Orient. Everything about her dress was soft and beguilingly
luxurious. All at once she turned from a fluttered welcome to a distant
group and, assuming a serious air, said:

"Have you seen Dad yet? Oh, of course not--you haven't had time. You
must right away. He's taken a real fancy to you, and he's promised me
to see that you make a lot of money--" she looked up in his eyes and
then down at the table with a shy smile, adding emphatically--"soon!"

"So you've made up your mind to that?"

"Yes, indeed. I'm going to make you!"

She nodded, laughing and favoring him with a long contemplation.

"You dress awfully well," she said approvingly. "Clothes seem to hang on
you just right--"

"But--" he said, laughing.

"Well, there are one or two things I'd like you to do," she admitted, a
little confused. "I wish you'd wear a mustache, just a little one like
the Duke. You'd look stunning."

He laughed in a way that disconcerted her, and an impulse came into his
mind to try her, for he began to resent the assumption of possession
which she had assumed.

"How do you think that would go in a mill town with overalls and a lunch
can?"

"What do you mean?

"In a week I expect to be shipped to New England, to a little town, with
ten thousand inhabitants; nice, cheery place with two moving-picture
houses and rows on rows of factory homes for society."

"For how long?"

"For four or five years."

"Bojo, how horrible! You're not serious!"

"I may be. How would you like to keep house up there?" He caught at the
disconsolate look in her face and added: "Don't worry, I know better
than to ask that of you. Now listen, Doris, we've been good chums too
long to fool ourselves. You've changed and you're going to change a lot
more. Do you really like this sort of life?"

"I adore it!"

"Dressing up, parading yourself, tearing around from one function to
another." She nodded, her face suddenly clouded over. "Then why in the
world do you want me? There are fifty--a hundred men you'll find will
play this game better than I can."

He had dropped his tone of sarcasm and was looking at her earnestly, but
the questions he put were put to his own conscience.

"Why do you act this way just when you've come back?" she said,
frightened at his sudden ascendency.

"Because I sometimes think that we both know that nothing is going to
happen," he said directly; "only it's hard to face the truth. Isn't that
it?"

"No, that isn't it. I love to be admired, I love pretty things and
society and all that. Why shouldn't I? But I do care for you, Bojo;
you've always brought out--" she was going to say, "the best in me," but
changed her mind and instead added: "I am very proud of you-- I always
would be. Don't look at me like that. What have I done?"

"Nothing," he said, drawing a breath. "You can't help being what you
are. Really, Doris, in the whole room you're the loveliest here. No one
has your style or a smile as bewitching as yours. There is a fascination
about you."

She was only half reassured.

"Well, then, don't talk so idiotically."

"Idiotic is exactly the word," he said with a laugh, and the
compliments he had paid her in a spirit of self-raillery awakened a
little feeling of tenderness after his teasing had shown him that,
according to her lights, she cared more than he had thought.

All the same when he rose to hurry downtown, he was under no illusions:
if opportunity permitted him to fit into the social scheme of things,
well and good; if not-- His thoughts recurred to Fred DeLancy's words:

"There are three ways of making money: to have it left to you, to earn
it, and to marry it."

He broke off angrily, troubled with doubts, and for the hundredth time
he found himself asking:

"Now why the deuce can't I be mad in love with a girl who cares for me,
who's a beauty and has everything in the world! What is it?"

For he had once been very much in love when he was a schoolboy and Doris
had been just a schoolgirl, with open eyes and impulsive direct ways,
like a certain young lady, with breathless, laughing lips who had come
sliding into his life on the comical tail of a scampering terrier.



CHAPTER IV

BOJO'S FATHER


The offices of the Associated Woolen Mills were on the sixteenth floor
of a modern office building in the lower city, which towered above the
surrounding squalid brownstone houses given over to pedlers and
delicatessen shops like a gleaming stork ankle deep in a pool of murky
water.

Bojo wandered through long mathematical rooms with mathematical young
men perched high on desk stools all with the same mathematical curve of
the back, past squadrons of clicking typewriters, clicking endlessly as
though each human unit had been surrendered into the cogs of a universal
machine. He passed one by one a row of glassed-in rooms with names of
minor officers displayed, marking them solemnly as though already he saw
the long slow future ahead: Mr. Pelton, treasurer; Mr. Spinny, general
secretary; Mr. Colton, second vice-president; Mr. Horton,
vice-president; Mr. Rhoemer, general manager, until he arrived at the
outer waiting-room with its faded red leather sofas and polished brass
spittoons, where he had come first as a boy in need of money.

Richardson, an old young man, who walked as though he had never been in
a hurry and spoke in a whisper, showed him into the inner office of
Jotham B. Crocker, explaining that his father would return presently.
Everything was in order; chairs precisely placed, the window shades at
the same level, bookcases with filed memoranda, even to the desk, where
letters to be read and letters to be signed were arranged in neat
packages side by side.

On the wall was extended an immense oil painting fifteen feet by ten, of
Niagara Falls in frothy eruption, with a large and brilliant rainbow
lost in the mist and several figures in the foreground representing the
noble Indians gazing with feelings of awe upon the spectacle of nature.
Behind the desk hung a large black and white engraving of Abraham
Lincoln, with one hand resting on the Proclamation of Emancipation,
flanked by smaller portraits of Henry Ward Beecher and the author of the
McKinley tariff. Opposite was an old-time family group done in crayons,
representing Mr. and Mrs. Crocker standing side by side, with Jack in
long trousers and Tom in short, while on the shining desk amid the
papers was a daguerrotype mounted in a worn leather frame, of the wife
who had been dead fifteen years.

Bojo selected a cigar from the visitors box and strode up and down,
rehearsing in his mind the arguments he would bring to bear against the
expected ultimatum. From the window the lower bay expanded below him
with its steam insects crawling across the blue-gray surface, its
wharf-crowded shores, beyond the ledges on ledges of factories trailing
cotton streamers against the brittle sky. Everywhere the empire of
industry extended its stone barracks without loveliness or pomp,
smoke-grimed, implacable prisons, where multitudes herded under
artificial light that humanity might live in terms of millions.

As he looked, he seemed already to have surrendered his individuality,
swallowed up in the army of labor, and the revolt arose in him anew.
What was the use of money if it could not bring a wider horizon and
greater opportunities? And a sort of dull anger moved in him against the
parental ambition which limited him to unnecessary drudgery.

Of all the persons he had met the greatest stranger to him was his
father. Since his mother's death, when he was but eight years of age,
his life had been spent in boarding school and college, in summer camps
or on visits to chums. Their relations had been formal. At the beginning
and end of each summer he had come down the long avenue of desks, past
the glass doors into the private office, to report, to receive money,
and to be sped with a few appropriate words of advice. Several times
during the year his father would appear on a short warning, stay a few
hours, and hurry off. On such occasions Tom had always felt that he was
being surveyed and estimated as a lumberman watches the growth of a
young forest.

His father was always in a hurry, always in good health, matter of fact,
and generous. That his business had prospered and extended he knew,
though to what extent his father's activities had multiplied he still
was ignorant. Conversation between them had always been difficult in
those tours of inspection; but Bojo, instinctively, censored the
lithographs on the wall (harmless though they were) and the choice of
novels which his father would be sure to examine with a critical eye.

Klondike, the sweep, arranged the room in military order and Fred
DeLancy was enjoined to observe a bread-and-milk diet. Bojo had an idea
that his father was very stern, rigid, and exact, with the unrelenting
attitude toward folly and leisure which had characterized the Crocker
family in the days of their seven celebrated divines.

"How are you, Tom?" said a chest-voice behind him. "Turn around. You
look in first-class shape. Glad to see you."

"Glad to see you, father," he said hastily, taking the stubby, powerful
hand.

"Just a moment--go on with your cigar. Let me straighten out this desk.
Train was ten minutes late."

"Now it comes," thought Bojo to himself as he gripped his hands and
assumed a determined frown.

As they faced each other they were astonishingly alike and unlike. They
had the same squaring of the brows, the same obstinate rise of the head
at the back, and the prominent undershot jaw. Years had thickened the
frame of the father and written characteristic lines about the mouth and
the eyes. He had become so integral a part of the machine he had created
that in the process all the finer youthful shades of expression had
faded away.

Concentration on a fixed idea, indomitable purpose, decision,
self-discipline were there in the strongly sculptured chin and maxillary
muscles, under the sparse, close-cropped beard shot with gray; courage
and tenacity in the deep eyes, which, like Bojo's, had the disconcerting
fixity of the mastiff's; but the quality of dreams which so keenly
qualified the tempestuous obstinacy of the son had been discarded as so
much superfluous baggage. Life to him was a succession of immediate
necessities, a military progress, and his imagination went with
difficulty beyond the demands of the hour. He dressed in a
pepper-and-salt business suit made of his own product, wore a made-up
tie and comfortable square-toed shoes, with a certain aggressive disdain
for the fashions as a quality of pretentiousness.

He ran through his correspondence in five minutes while Bojo pricked up
his ears at the sums which he flung off without hesitation. Richardson
faded from the room, the father shifted a package of memoranda, turned
the face of his desk clock so he could follow the time, drew back in his
chair, and helped himself to a cigar, shooting a glance at the embattled
figure of the son.

"You look all primed up--ready to jump in the ring," he said with a
smile, and without waiting for Bojo's embarrassed answer he continued,
caging his fingers and adopting a quick, incisive tone.

"Well, Tom, you have now arrived at man's estate and it is right that I
should discuss with you your future course in life. But before we come
to that I wish to say several things. You've finished your college
course very creditably. You have engaged a good deal in different
sports, it is true; but you have not allowed it to interfere with your
serious work, and I believe on the whole your experience in athletics
has been valuable. It has taught you qualities of self-restraint and
discipline, and it has given you a sound body. Your record in your
studies, while it has not been brilliant, has been creditable. You've
kept out of bad company, chosen the right friends-- I am particularly
impressed with Mr. Granning--and you've not gone in for dissipation.
You've done well and I have no complaint. You've worked hard and you've
played hard. You will take a serious view of life."

This discourse annoyed Bojo. It seemed to fling a barrier of
conventionality between them, driving them further apart.

"Why the deuce doesn't he talk in a natural way?" he thought moodily.
And he felt with a sudden depression the futility of arguing his case.
"We're in for a row. There's no way out."

"Now, Tom, lets talk about the future."

"Here it comes," said Bojo to himself, bracing himself to resist.

"What would you like to do?"

"What would _I_ like?" said Tom, completely off his guard.

"Yes, what are your ideas?"

The turn was so unexpected that he could not for the moment assemble his
thoughts. He rose, making a pretext of seeking an ash-tray, and
returned.

"Why, to tell the truth, sir, I came here expecting that you would
demand that I go into this--into the mills."

"I see, and you don't want to do what your father's done. You want
something else, something better."

The tone in which this was said aroused the obstinacy in the young man,
but he repressed the first answer.

"Well?"

"I don't know, sir, that there's any use of my explaining myself; I
don't know what good it'll do," he said slowly.

"On the contrary, I am not making demands on you. I am here to discuss
with you." (Bojo repressed a smile at this.) "You've thought about this.
What do you suggest?"

"I don't think you'll understand it at all, but I want time."

"Time to do what?"

"To get out and see the world, to meet men who are doing things, to get
a chance to develop, to get my ideas straightened out a bit."

"Is that all?"

"No, that's not quite honest," said Bojo suddenly. "The truth is, sir, I
don't see why I should begin all over again, the drudgery and the
isolation and all. If you wanted me to do only that why did you send me
to college? I've made friends and it's only right I should have the
opportunity to lead as big a life as they. Money isn't everything, it's
what you get out of life, and besides I've got opportunities, unusual
opportunities to get ahead here."

"Have you made up your mind, Tom?" said the father slowly.

"I'm afraid I have, sir."

"Let me talk to you. You may see it in a different light. First you
speak of opportunities--what opportunities?"

"Mr. Drake has been kind enough--"

"That means Wall Street."

"Yes, sir."

The father thought a moment.

"What is the situation between you and Miss Drake?"

"We are very good friends."

"Would you marry her if you didn't have a cent?"

"I would not."

"I am glad to hear you say that. Very glad. So you re going into Wall
Street," he said, after a moment. "Are you going into the banking
business?"

"Why, no."

"Or into railroads or any creative industry?"

"Not exactly."

"You're going into Wall Street," said Crocker, "like a great many young
men, who've been having an easy, luxurious time at college and who want
to go on with it. You're going there as a gambler, hoping to get the
inside track through some influence and make a hundred thousand dollars
of other people's money in a lucky year."

"That's rather a hard way to put it, sir."

"You don't pretend to be able to earn a hundred thousand dollars in one
year or in five, do you, Tom?"

"Let me put it in another way," said Bojo after a moment's indecision.
"What you have made and what you have been able to give me have put me
in the way of acquiring friends that others can't make, and friends are
assets. The higher up you go in society the easier it is to make money;
isn't it so? Opportunities are assets also. If I have the opportunity to
make a lot of money in a short time, what is the sense of turning my
back on the easiest way and taking up the hardest?"

"Tom, do you young fellows ever stop to think that there is such a thing
as your own country, and that if you've got advantages you've also got
responsibilities?" said Crocker, senior, shaking his head. "You want
money like all the rest. What good do you want to do in return? What
usefulness do you accomplish in the scheme of things here? You talk of
opportunity--you don't know what a real opportunity and a privilege is.
Now let me say my say."

Richardson came sliding into the room at this moment and he paused to
deny the card, with a curt order against further interruptions. When he
resumed it was on a quieter note, with a touch of sadness.

"The trouble is, our points of view are too far apart for us to come
together at present. You want something that isn't going to satisfy you
and I know isn't going to satisfy you. But I can't make you see it,
there's the pity of it. You've got to get your hard knocks yourself.
You've got real ambition in you. Now let me tell you something about the
mills and you think it over. There's some bigger things in this world
than you think, and the biggest is to create something, something useful
to the community; to make a monument of it and to pass it down for your
son to carry on--family pride. You think there's only drudgery in it.
Did you ever think there were thousands and thousands of people
depending on how you run your business? Do you realize that every great
business to-day means the protection of those thousands; that you've got
to study out how to protect them at every point in order to make them
efficient; that there's nothing unimportant? You've got to watch over
their health and their happiness, see that they get amusement,
relaxation; that they're encouraged to buy homes and taught to save
money. You've got to see that they get education to keep them out of the
hands of ignorant agitators. You've got to make them self-respecting and
able intelligently to understand your own business, so that they'll
perceive they're getting their just share. Add to that the other side,
the competition, the watching of every new invention, the calculating to
the last cent, the study of local and foreign conditions of supply and
demand, the habits and tastes of different communities. Add also the
biggest thing that you've got, a mixed population, that's got to be
turned into intelligent, useful American citizens, and you've got as big
an opportunity and responsibility as you can place before any young
fellow I know. What do you say?"

Bojo had nothing to say--not that he had surrendered, but that his own
arguments seemed petty besides these.

The father rose and laid his hands on his son's shoulders.

"Why, Tom, don't you know it's been the dream of my life to hand you
down this thing that I've built myself? Don't you know there's a
sentiment about it? Why, it isn't dollars and cents: I've got ten times
what I want; it's pride. I'm proud of every bit of it. There isn't a new
turn, mechanical or social, has come up over the world but what I've
adopted it there. I haven't had a strike in fifteen years. I've done
things there would open your eyes. You'd be proud. Well, what are you
thinking?"

"You make it very hard, sir," he said slowly. He had not expected this
sort of appeal. "If I were older, I don't know--but it's hard now." He
could not tell him all the surrender would mean, and though his deeper
nature had been reached he still fought on. "I'm not starting where you
started, sir; that's the trouble. You went to work when you were twelve.
It would be easier if I had, and, if you'll forgive me, it's your fault
too that I want what I want now. I suppose I do want to begin on top,
but I've been on top all these years, that's all. I couldn't do it now;
perhaps later--I don't know. If I went up to the mills now I should eat
my heart out. I'm sorry to have to say this to you, but it's the truth."

The father left him abruptly and seated himself at his desk without
speaking.

"If I insisted you would refuse," he said slowly.

"I'm afraid I'd have to, sir," said Bojo, with a feeling of dread.

There was another silence, at the end of which Mr. Crocker drew out his
check-book and looked at it solemnly.

"Good! Now he's figuring how much he'll give me and cut me off!" thought
the son.

"Tom, I don't want to lose you too," said the father slowly. "I'm going
to try a different way with you. You're sound and you ring true. The
only trouble is you don't know; you've got to learn your lesson. So you
think if you had a start you'd clean up a fortune, don't you?--and you
believe--" he paused--"in Wall Street friends. Very well; I'm going to
give you an opportunity to get your eyes open."

He dipped his pen in the ink and wrote a check with deliberation, while
Bojo, puzzled, thought to himself: "What the deuce is he up to now?"

"I'm not going to make a bargain with you. I'm going to trust to
experience and to the Crocker in you. I know the stuff you're made of.
You'll never make an idler, you'll never stand that life, but you want
to try it. Very well. I'm going to give you a check. It's yours. Play
with it all you want. You'll get it taken away from you in two years at
the most. When that happens come back to me, do you understand, where
you belong! Blood's thicker than water, my boy; there's something in
father and son sticking together, doing something that counts! Here,
take this."

And he placed in his hand a check which read:

  Pay to the order of Thomas Beauchamp Crocker
  Fifty thousand dollars
  JOTHAM B. CROCKER.



CHAPTER V

DANIEL DRAKE, THE MULTI-MILLIONAIRE


A week after his interview with his father, Tom Crocker entered the
great shadowy library of the Drakes in response to an invitation from
the father. At this time, when Wall Street was approaching that dramatic
phase which is inevitable in social transformations, when dominant and
outstanding individualities succumb to the obliterating rise of
bureaucracies, there was no more picturesque personality than Daniel
Drake. He had come to New York several years before, awaited as a
vaulting spirit who played the game recklessly and who would never cease
to aspire until he had forced his way to the top or been utterly broken
in the attempt.

His career had bordered on the fantastic. As a boy the _Wanderlust_ had
driven him over the face of the globe. A shrewd capacity for making
money of anything to which he put his hand had carried him through
strange professions. He had been a pedler on the Mississippi, cook on a
tramp steamer to Australia, boxed in minor professional encounters,
exhibited as a trick bicycle rider, served as a soldier of fortune up
and down Central America, and returned to his native country to
establish a small fortune in the field of the country fairs.

With the acquisition of capital, he became conservative and
industrious. Reconciled with his family, he had secured the necessary
funds to attempt an operation in the wheat market which, conducted on a
reasonable scale, netted him a handsome profit and enlarged his
activities. His genius for manipulation and trading, which was soon
recognized, brought him into the services of big industries. He made
money rapidly, and married impulsively against the advice of his friends
a woman of social prominence who cared absolutely nothing about him--a
fact which he was the last to perceive.

He next undertook a daring operation, the buying up of the control of a
great industry in competition with an eastern group. A friend whom he
trusted betrayed the pool he had formed, and the loyalty of his
associates, which made him continue, completely bankrupted him. Before
the public had even an inkling of the extent of his catastrophe he had
mended his fortunes by the brilliant stroke, secured control of one of
the subsidiary companies destined for the steel trust, and realized a
couple of millions as his share. When he referred to this moment, which
he often did, he used to say frankly:

"We went into the meeting bankrupt and came out seven millionaires."

He became the leader of a group of young financiers who acquired and
developed with amazing success a chain of impoverished railroads. He
played the game, scrupulous to his word, merciless in a fight, generous
to a conquered enemy, for the love of the game itself. A big man with a
curious atmosphere of amused calm in the midst of the flurry and turmoil
he aroused, he enjoyed the turns and twists of fate with the zest of a
boy gray-eyed, imperturbable, and magnetic, winning even those who saw
in him an ethical and economical danger.

Such was the man who was bending over a great oaken table engrossed in
the piecing together of an intricate picture puzzle, as Bojo came
through the heavy tapestry portières. Patsie, perched on a corner, was
looking on with approving interest at the happy solving of a perplexing
group. She sprang down, flung her arms about her father in an impulsive
farewell, and came prancing over to Bojo with a laughing warning:

"Whatever you do, _never_ find a piece for him. It makes him madder than
a wet hen. He wants to do it all himself. Now I'm running off. Don't
worry! Go on, talk your old business."

She went off like the flash of a golden bird while Bojo, slightly
intimidated, was wishing she might remain.

"Tom--glad to see you--come in--just a moment--help yourself to a cigar.
Confound that piece, I knew it fitted in there!" Drake left the board
with a lingering regret, shook hands with a grip that seemed to envelop
the young man, and went to the mantel for a match, where a large
equestrian statue of Bartolommeo Colleoni rose threateningly from the
shadows.

"Glad to see you, my boy--my orders are in from the General Manager, and
when the General Manager gives orders I know it means hustle!" By this
title he designated Doris, whose practical ambitions and perseverance he
satirized with an indulgent smile. "Far as I can make out, Doris has
determined to make you a millionaire in a couple of years or so, so I
suppose the best thing is to sit down and discuss it."

As he stood there gaunt and alert against the bronze background, there
was something about him too of the old condottieri, a certain blunt and
hardened quality of the grizzled head, as though he too had just hung
back a steel helmet and emerged tense and victorious from a bruising
scramble.

"Supposing he's figuring out that I'll cost him less than the Duke,"
thought Tom, conscious of a certain proprietary estimation below all the
surface urbanity, and, squaring to the charge, he said: "I'm afraid,
sir, you've a pretty poor opinion of me."

"What do you mean?" said Drake, with sudden interest.

"May I talk to you plainly, sir?" said Tom, a little flustered. "I don't
know just how I feel about Doris or even just how she feels about me. I
certainly have no intention of marrying her until I know what I am worth
myself, and I certainly don't intend to come to you, her father, to make
money for me."

He stopped with a little fear for his boldness, for this had not been
his intention on entering the room. In fact, he had come rather in a
state of indecision, after long discussions with Doris, and much serving
up of sophistries to his conscience; but Drake's greeting had struck at
his young independence, as perhaps it had been meant to do, and an
impulsive wave of indignation overruled his calculations. He stood a
little apprehensive, watching the older man, wondering how he would
receive the defiance.

"That's talking," said Drake, with an approving smile. "Go on."

"Mr. Drake, I can't help feeling that we're going to look at things more
and more from a different point of view. Doris cares for me--I suppose
so--if she can have me without sacrificing anything. I don't express it
very well, but I do feel at times that she's more interested in what she
can make out of me than in me, and I don't know if I'll work out the way
she wants; in fact, I'm not at all sure," he blurted out pugnaciously.
"But I want to work out that way, and if I don't there'll come a smashup
pretty soon."

"There's something in what you say," said Drake, nodding, "and I like
your coming straight out with it. Now look here, my boy, I'm not going
to take hold of you because I expect you to marry Doris, but because I
_want_ you to marry her! Get that down. I can control lots of things,
but I can't control the women. They beat me every time. I'm pulp. I've
given in once, though Lord knows I hope my little girl won't regret it.
I've got one decayed foreign title dangling to the totem-pole, and
that's enough; that's got to satisfy the missus. I don't want another
and I don't want any high-stepping Fifth Avenue dude. I want a man, one
of my own kind who can talk my language."

He arose, took a turn, and clapped him on the shoulder. "I want you. I
settled that in my own mind long ago. Now I'm going to talk as plain to
you. As you get on you'll look at people differently than you do. You'll
see how much is due to accident, the parting of the ways, going to the
left instead of to the right. Now I know Doris. I've watched her. She's
got two sides to her; you appeal to the best. I know it. She knows it.
She wouldn't marry you if you were a beggar--women are that way--but
she'll stick to you loyal, as a regular, if she marries you; and you're
not going to be a beggar."

"Yes, if I consent to close my eyes and let you build--"

"Now don't get huffy. I'm not going to tuck you under my wing," said
Drake, grinning. "Furthermore, I wouldn't want you in the family if I
didn't know you had stuff in you. Don't you think I want some one I can
trust in this cut-throat game? Don't worry, if you're the right sort I
can use you. Now quit thinking too much--let things work out. Doris is
the kind that belongs at the top; she's bound to be a leader, and we're
going to put her there, you and I. Now what do you want to do?"

"I want to stand on my own feet," said Tom, with a last resistance. "I
want to see what I'm worth by myself."

"Wall Street, of course," said Drake, grinning again. "Well, why not?
You'll learn quicker the things you've got to learn, even if it costs
you more."

He flung down in a great armchair, and stared out at the raw recruit as
though for an instant rolling back the years to his own beginnings.

"Tom, if you're going in," he said all at once, "go in with your eyes
open and make up your mind soon what you want; but when you've made up
your mind don't fool yourself. If you want to plod along safe and sane,
you can do it just as well in Wall Street as anywhere else. But I reckon
that's not what you're after." He chuckled at Bojo's confused
acknowledgment of the patness of his surmise and continued:

"Well, then, recognize that what you're going into is war, nothing more
nor less. You see, we're a curious people; we haven't had the chance to
develop as others. And there's something instinctive about war; in a
growing nation it lets off a lot of wild energy. Now there's a group of
the big fellows here that ought to have had a chance at being field
marshals or admirals, and because they haven't the chance they've
developed a special little battlefield of their own to fight each other.
And, say, the big fellows don't fool themselves--they know what they're
doing! They're under no illusions. But there're a lot of big little men
down there who go around hugging delusions to their hearts, who'll sack
a railroad or lay siege to a corporation with the idea they're ordained
to grab the other fellow's property. Now I don't fool myself: that's my
strong point. I'm grabbing as fast as the other fellow, but I know the
time's coming when they won't let us grab any more. I do it because I
want to, because I love it and because we're founding aristocracies here
as the Old World did a couple of centuries ago. Well, to come back to
you. I'll see you start in a good firm--"

"I'd rather do it myself."

"As you wish. Got any money?"

"Fifty thousand dollars," said Tom, who then related his father's
prediction.

"Ordinarily he's a good guesser," said Drake, laughing. "But we may put
one over on him. There's a scheme I've been brewing over for a big
combine in the woolen industry that may give him a pleasant surprise.
Well, then, start in on your own feet, my boy. Learn all you can of men.
Study them--browse around in figures, if you want, but everlastingly
keep your eyes on men! It's the man and not the proposition that's
gilt-edged or empty. You've got to learn how the other fellow thinks,
what he'll do in a given situation, if you're going to think ahead of
him, and that's the quality that counts. That's where I've got them
guessing, every minute of the day; there isn't one of them can figure
out now if I'm twenty millions to the good or ten behind."

"Why, Tom, there was a time when I was stone broke--by golly, even my
creditors were broke, which is an awful thing; and everything depended
on my getting the right backing on the proposition that saved me. Do you
think any one of those sleuth-hounds were on? Not on your life. I was
living at the biggest hotel, in the biggest suite, spilling money all
over the city--on tick, of course. And, say, in the critical week, when
I was dodging my own tailor, I sent the missus (she didn't know
anything, either) up to Fifth Avenue to buy a $100,000 necklace. That
settled it. The other fellows, the fellows whose brains wind up like
clocks, couldn't figure it out. I got my backing."

"But supposing you hadn't," said Bojo involuntarily. He had been
listening to this recital open-eyed like a child at a circus. "What
would have happened?"

Drake laughed contentedly. "There you are. That's all the other fellow
could figure on. Now don't imagine you can do what I did--you can't. I
suppose there's no use telling you not to speculate, because you're
going to, no matter what you think now. You will; because the young
fellow who goes into Wall Street and doesn't think he's a genius in the
first three months hasn't been born yet! But the first time it comes
over you, throw only a third of your capital out of the window. Do you
get me?"

"I won't do that," said Bojo resolutely.

"Go on. Do. You ought. It's cheap at that! I paid seven hundred thousand
for the same information," said Drake, giving him his hand. He caught
his shoulder in his powerful grip and added: "If you get in too much
trouble, come to me! Remember that and good luck!"



CHAPTER VI

BOJO OBEYS HIS GENERAL MANAGER


Three months after his entry into Wall Street, Bojo emerged from his
bedroom into the communal sitting-room in a state of tense excitement.
The day before he had taken his first plunge into the world of
speculation and bought a thousand shares of Indiana Smelter on a twenty
per cent. margin. This transaction, which represented to his mind the
inevitable challenge at the gates of fortune, had left him in a turmoil
through all the restless night. He had taken the decision which was to
decide his future only after a long wrestling with his conscience.

At first he had imposed a limit, promising himself that he would not
touch a penny of his $50,000 capital until he should know of his own
knowledge. Gradually this time limit had contracted. Speculation was in
the air, triumphant and insidious. The whole market was sweeping up
irresistibly. The times were dramatic. Golden opportunity seemed within
every one's grasp. Expansion, development, amalgamation were on every
tongue. Roscoe Marsh had made a hundred thousand on paper. Even Fred
DeLancy had won several turns which had netted him handsome profits.

Bojo had resisted stubbornly at first, turning heedless ears to the
excited arguments of his friends, but the fever of speculation had
entered his veins, he dreamed of nothing else, and gradually the thought
of his $50,000, so modestly invested in four per cent. bonds obsessed
him. What was worse was that each time he had refused to follow a tip of
Marsh or DeLancy or a dozen new-found friends, he secretly noted down
the speculation; and the thought of these dollars he had refused, which
could have been his for the asking, rose up before him in a constant
reproach. In the end it was Doris who decided him.

That indefatigable schemer, whom even he now called the General Manager,
had a dozen times summoned him for an excited consultation on some rumor
which she had caught in passage. At first he had laughed her down, then
he had stubbornly refused such an alliance. But Doris, undaunted,
returned to the charge, amazing him at times with the pertinency of her
information, which she picked up from the wives and daughters, from
those who came as suitors, or as mere friends of the family, while just
as industriously and cleverly she commandeered her acquaintance and sent
Bojo a string of customers which had remarkably affected his progress in
the brokerage offices of Hauk, Flaspoller and Forshay.

Finally he had yielded, because for weeks he had been longing to yield
as a spectator tires of watching inactive the spectacle of the shifting
golden combinations on the green cloth of the gambling table. She had
information of the most explicit sort. A great combination of Middle
Western Smelters had been held up for several weeks by the refusal of
two great companies to enter at the price offered--Indiana Smelter and
Rockland Foundry. She knew positively that the matter would be adjusted
in the next fortnight.

"Did your father say so?" he asked, really impressed, for Drake was
reported as directly interested.

"Not in the first place."

"But where did you get your information?"

"Oh, I have my ways," she said, delighted, "and I keep my secrets too.
Just remember if you'd taken my advice what you'd have made."

"It is astounding how right you've been," he said doubtfully.

"Listen, Bojo, this is absolutely correct. I know it. I can't tell you
now--I promised--but if I could you wouldn't have the slightest doubt.
Can't you trust me just this once? Don't you know that I'm working for
you? Oh, it's such an opportunity for us both. Listen, if you won't do
it, buy five hundred shares for me with my own money. Oh, how can I
convince you!"

He looked away thoughtfully; tempted, convinced, suspecting the source
of her information, but wishing to remain ignorant.

"You are determined to buy?" She nodded energetically. "What does your
father say?"

She seized his idea, saving him the embarrassment of a direct
suggestion.

"If Dad says yes, will that convince you? Wait." She thought a moment,
pacing up and down, humming brightly to herself. Suddenly she turned,
her eyes sparkling with the delight of her own machinations. "I'll tell
you how I'll do it. Next week's my birthday. I'll ask him to give me
the tip as a birthday present." She clapped her hands gleefully, adding:
"I'll tell him it's for my trousseau. If he says all right you won't
refuse."

"No, I won't."

She flung herself joyfully into his arms at this victory won, at this
prospect opened.

"Bojo, I do love you and I do want to do so much for you!" she cried,
tightening her arms about his neck, with more genuine demonstration than
she had shown in months.

"After all, I'd be a fool to refuse," he thought, excited too, and aloud
he said, "Yes, Miss General Manager."

"Oh, call me anything you like if you'll only let me manage you!" she
said, laughing. "Now sit down and let me tell you all I've planned out
for you to do."

That night she told him excitedly over the telephone that her little
scheme had succeeded, that her father had given his O. K., but of course
no one must know. The next day he had bought five hundred shares for
her, and after much hesitation a thousand for his own account at
104-1/2. It was a good risk; the stock had been stable for years; even
if the combination did not go through, there was little danger of a
rapid fall; and if it went up there was a chance at a thirty- or
forty-point rise. He kept the injunction of secrecy, as all such
injunctions are kept, to the point of telling only his closest friends,
Marsh and DeLancy, who bought at once.

Nevertheless, no sooner had the transaction been completed than he had a
sudden revulsion. He had been long enough in Wall Street to have heard
a hundred tales of the methods of big manipulators. What if Dan Drake's
endorsement was only a clever ruse to conceal his real intentions, quits
for reimbursing Doris afterward with a check, according to a famous
precedent? Perhaps he even suspected that he, Bojo, had put Doris up to
it and was taking this method to read him the lesson that his methods
were not to be solved along such lines. At any rate, Tom passed a very
bad night, saying to himself that he had plunged ahead on the flimsiest
sort of evidence and fully deserved a shearing.

A glorious December morning, with a touch of Indian summer, was pouring
through the half-opened window, bearing the distant sounds of steam
riveters. Marsh was busily culling half a dozen newspapers, while Fred
was yawning over the eggs and coffee, when the mail was brought in by
the grinning Oriental who had been dubbed Sweeney. DeLancy, who had the
curiosity of a girl, pounced upon the letters, slinging half a dozen at
Bojo with a grumbled comment.

"Dog ding him if he isn't more popular than me! Important business
letters--Mr. Morgan and Mr. Rockefeller asking your advice--society
invitations--do honor our humble palace, pink envelope, heavily scented.
I say, Bojo, I've gone in deep on your precious stock, two hundred
shares--all I could scrape together. Hope you guess right. Anything I
hate is work, and 10 per cent. margin ought to be bolstered up by divine
revelation."

"Wish the deuce you hadn't," said Bojo, sitting down and opening the
formal announcement of his broker's purchase, which struck his eyes
like a criminal warrant.

"Cheer up," said Marsh, emerging from the litter of papers. "I've got a
tip from another angle, one of the lawyers involved. I'm going in for
another couple of thousand shares. Why so glum, Bojo?"

"Wish I hadn't told you fellows."

"Rats; that's all in the game!" said Marsh, but DeLancy did not look so
philosophical.

Bojo opened several invitations, a notice from the tailor to call for a
fitting, two letters from clients, personal friends, and finally the
pink envelope, which was from Doris.

     Bojo dear:

     Whatever you do don't tell a soul. Dad questioned me
     terrifically and I told a little fib. How many shares did
     you buy? Dad made me promise to buy only five hundred, but I
     know it's all right from the way he acted. Oh, Bojo, I hope
     you make lots and lots of money! Wouldn't Dad be surprised?
     He asked me to-night in the funny gruff way he puts on,
     'How's that young man of yours getting on? Have they got his
     hide yet?' Won't it be a joke on him? By the way, I dined
     with the Morrisons (she's an old school chum of mine) and
     put in my clever little oar. Don't be surprised if some one
     else calls you up soon to place a little order. I'm working
     in another direction too. Don't fail to come up for tea.

  With much love,
  DORIS.

     P.S. The Tremaines are _awfully_ influential. Be sure and go
     to their dance.

He placed the letter in his pocket thoughtfully, not entirely happy. It
was a fair sample of a score of letters--enthusiasm, solicitude,
ambition, and clever worldly advice, but lacking the one note that
something in him craved despite all the purely mental satisfaction the
prospect held for him.

DeLancy continuing to loiter, he went out, alone, obsessed with the
thought of the opening of the market and the sound of the ticker, and
caught the subway for Wall Street, preoccupied and serious.

It had been three months now since the day when he had first come
downtown to take up service as a broker's runner, and much had changed
within him during that time, much of which he himself was not aware. The
first days he had been rather bewildered and resentful of the menial
beginning. It did not seem quite a man's work--this messenger service,
and the contemplation of those above him, the men at the sheets and the
office clerks, inspired him with a distaste. Often he remembered his
conversation with his father and talks with Granning, the
matter-of-fact; comparing their outlook on the life with his associates
much to the disadvantage of the curiously inconsequential throng of
young men who, like himself, were willing to go scurrying in the rain
and dark on servants' quests, in order to get a peek into the intricate
mysteries of Wall Street that held sudden fortunes for those who could
see.

He had come out of college with a love of manly qualities and the belief
that it was a man's privilege to face difficult and laborious tasks, and
the prevalent type among the beginners was not his type. Then, too, the
magnitude of the Street overpowered him, the skyscrapers without tops
dwarfed him, its jargon mystified him, as the colossal scale of the
operations he saw seemed to rob him of the sense of his own
individuality. But gradually, being possessed of shrewd native sense and
persistence, he began to distinguish in the mob types and among the
types figures that stood out in bold relief. He began to see those who
would pass and those who would persist.

He began to meet the more rugged type, schooled in earlier tests,
shrewd, cautious, and resolved, self-made men who had abrupt ways of
speaking their thoughts, who frankly classed him with other fortunate
youths and assured him that they were there by right, to take away from
them what had been foolishly given and pay them back in experience. He
took their chaffing in good humor, seeking their companionship and their
points of view by preference, gradually disarming their criticism,
secretly resolved that whatever might be the common fate at least he
would not prove a foolish lamb for the shearing.

Steeled in this resolution, he began by setting his face against
speculation, investing his money temporarily in irreproachable bonds,
refusing to listen to all the tips, whispered or openly proffered, which
assailed his ears from morning until night, until the day when he should
know of his own knowledge of men and things. He worked hard, following
Drake's advice, seeking information from men rather than from books,
checking up what each told him by what the next man had to say of his
last informant, mystified often by the glib psychology of finance,
slowly rating men at their just value, no longer lending credulous ear
to the frayed prophets of New Street or thrilling with the excitement of
a thrice confidential tip.

He had advanced rapidly, but underneath all his delight there was an
abiding suspicion that his progress had not been entirely due to his own
glaring accomplishments, but that the name of Crocker, senior, his bank
account, and the magic touch of Daniel Drake had been for much.



CHAPTER VII

UNDER THE TICKER'S TYRANNY


During the last month he had had several tentative approaches from
Weldon Forshay, who was what DeLancy called the social scavenger of the
firm, a club man irreproachably connected, amiable and winning in his
ways, who received uptown clients in the outer office, went out to lunch
with the riding set, who lounged in toward midday for what they termed a
whack at the market. Forshay was a thoroughly good fellow who gave his
friends the best of advice, which was no advice at all, and left
business details to his partners, Heinrich Flaspoller and Silas T. Hauk,
shrewd, conservative, self-made men who exchanged one ceremonial family
dinner party a year with their brilliant associate.

Forshay, who was no fool and neglected no detail of social connections,
had been keen to perceive the advantages of an alliance with the
prospective son-in-law of Daniel Drake, keeping in view the voluminous
transactions that flowed monthly from the keys of that daring
manipulator. The transactions of the last days had been noted with more
than usual interest, and Bojo's announcement of the amount of collateral
which he had to offer as security (he did not, naturally, give the
impression that this was the sum of his holdings) had further increased
the growing affection of the firm for an industrious young man, of such
excellent prospects.

When Crocker arrived, excited and keyed to the whirring sound of the
ticker, Forshay, a splendid American imitation of an English aristocrat,
drew him affably into an inner room.

"I say, Crocker," he said, "the firm's been thinking you over rather
seriously. It isn't often a young fellow comes down here and makes his
way as quickly as you. We like your methods, and I think we've been
quick to recognize them--haven't we?"

"You certainly have," said Tom with real enthusiasm.

"You've brought us business and you'll bring us more. Now some evening
soon I want you to come up to the club and sit down over a little dinner
and discuss the whole prospect." He looked at him benignly and added: "I
don't see why an ambitious man like you who has got what you have ahead
of you shouldn't fit into this firm before very long."

"Provided I marry Miss Doris Drake," thought Bojo to himself. The cool
way in which he received the news made a distinct impression on Forshay,
who went a little further. "We realize that with the friends and backing
you've got you're not on the lookout to stay forever on a salary. What
you want is to get a fair share of the business you can swing, and the
only way is to join some firm. Well, I won't say any more now. You know
what we're thinking. We'll foregather later."

"You're very kind, indeed, Mr. Forshay," said Bojo, delightfully
flustered.

"Not at all. You're the kind that goes ahead. Oh, by the way, the firm
wants me to tell you that from next week your salary will be
seventy-five dollars."

This time Bojo gulped down his surprise and shook hands in boyish
delight.

"Mighty glad to give it to you," said Forshay, laughing. "I see you
think well of Indiana Smelter. Now I don't want you to betray any
confidences, but of course I know how you stand in certain quarters.
There is no harm in my saying that, is there? I've watched you. You
haven't been running after every rumor on the block. You're shrewd.
You're too conservative to invest without some pretty solid reason or to
let your friends in unless you're pretty sure."

"I am pretty sure," said Crocker solemnly.

"I thought so," said Forshay meditatively. "I'm rather tempted to try
the thing myself. I've sort of a hunch about you. I liked you, Tom, from
the first. Hope you hit it hard." He glanced in the direction of the
senior partners and lowered his voice confidentially. "Then it's good to
see one of our own kind make good--you understand?"

In five minutes Bojo had told him in the strictest confidence all he
knew. Forshay received the news with thoughtful deliberation.

"I'd like it better if Dan Drake had said it direct to you," he said,
frowning. "Still, it's valuable. There may be a good deal in it. I think
I can get a line on it myself. Jimmie Boskirk is a good pal of mine and
he'll know. You keep me informed and I'll let you know what I find out.
Go a little slow. Dan Drake is up to a good many tricks. He's fooled
the talent many a time before. Suppose we say Friday night for our
little confab. Good."

The mention of Jimmie Boskirk cast a damper over the delights the
interview had brought Bojo. He did not at once realize how easily
Forshay had played him for the information he desired and how really
valuable he believed it. He was lost in a new irritation. Young Boskirk
had been conspicuously assiduous in his attentions to Doris; and, while
this fact aroused in him no jealousy, he had an uncomfortable feeling
that Boskirk was in fact the source of her information.

But the opening of the market completely drove all other thoughts out of
his mind. For the first time he came under the poignant tyranny of the
flowing tape. Do what he would he could not keep away from it. Indiana
Smelter opened at 104-1/2, went off the fraction, and then advanced to
106 on moderate strength in buying orders.

"A point and a half--$1500--I've made $1500--just like that," he said to
himself, stupefied. He went to his desk, but ten minutes later on the
pretext of getting a glass of water he returned to the tape to make sure
that his eyes had not deceived him. There it was again and no
mistake--200 Indiana Smelter, 106. He sat down at his desk in a turmoil.
Fifteen hundred dollars! Five times what he had made in three months. If
he had bought two thousand shares, as he could have easily, at a safe
twenty per cent. margin, he would have made three thousand. He felt
angry at himself, defrauded, and, drawing a paper before him, he began
to figure out his profits if the stock should go to 140 or 150, as
every one said it must if the combination went through.

Then, in order to realize himself his colossal earnings, he called up
Doris on the telephone to hear the sound of such figures. At one, when
he went out to snatch a mouthful at a standing lunch, he consulted three
tickers, impatient that no further sales had been recorded. When
Ricketts, who was still on the sheets, came up to him with his daily
budget of gossip, he listened avidly. Every tip interested him, fraught
with a new dramatic significance. He felt like taking him aside and
whispering in his ear:

"Listen, Ricketts, if you want a good thing buy Indiana Smelter: it'll
go to 140. I've made fifteen hundred dollars on it in a couple of
hours."

But he did nothing of the sort. He looked very wise and bored, feeling
immensely superior as a capitalist and future member of the firm of
Hauk, Flaspoller and Forshay, over Ricketts, who had started when he had
started and was still on the sheets at fifteen dollars a week.
"Whispering Bill" Golightly, who had the hypnotic art of inducing
clients to buy and sell and buy again all in the same day, on artfully
fluctuating rumors (to no disparagement of his commission account), came
sidling up, and he hailed him regally.

"Hello, Bill, what do you know?"

"Buy Redding," said Golightly softly, with a confidential flutter of the
near eyelid.

"You're 'way behind. I know something better than that. Come around next
week."

He left Golightly smiling incredulously and ambled slowly through the
motley group of New Street, that tragic anteroom to Wall Street, where
fallen kings of finance retell the glories of the past and wager a few
miserable dollars on a fugitive whisper.

"If they only knew what I know," he said to himself, smiling as he
passed on in confident youth, through these wearied old men who in their
misfortune still preferred to be last in the Street if only to be near
Rome. At the offices, high on Exchange Place, looking down on the
huddled group of the curb below in sheepskins and mufflers, flinging
fingered signals in the air to waiting figures in windows above, he
found a new order from Roscoe Marsh and hurriedly had it executed. He
felt like calling up all his friends and asking them to follow his lead
blindly.

He wanted every one to be making money as easily as he could. Before the
market closed Indiana Smelter receded to 105-1/4 and he felt as though
some one had bodily lifted $500 from his pocket. Still he had made a
thousand dollars for the day. He caught the subway with the crowd of
stockbrokers who came romping out of the stock exchange like released
schoolboys after the day's tension, pommeling and shoving each other
with released glee. His first action was to turn to the financial
columns of his newspaper, to make sure there had been no error, to see
in cold print that he had actually made no mistake. During the week
Indiana Smelter climbed irregularly to 111-1/4, broke three points, and
ended at 109 amid a sudden concentration of public interest.

On Saturday, when he came back to his blazing windows in the mellow
half-lights of the court, preparatory to dressing for a party in the
wake of Fred DeLancy, he took the flight two steps at a time, bursting
with the need of pouring out his tale of good fortune to responsive
ears. He found only George Granning, snug in the big armchair, sunk in
the beatific contemplation of an immense ledger.

"What the deuce are you grinning at, you old rhinoceros?" said Bojo,
stopping surprised.

"I'm casting up accounts," said Granning. "I'm twelve hundred and
forty-two dollars ahead of the game. To-morrow you can buy me my first
bond and make me a capitalist. Bojo, congratulate me. I've got my
raise--forty a week from now on--assistant superintendent! What do you
think of that?"

"No!" exclaimed Bojo, who had been dreaming in hundreds of thousands. He
shook hands with all the enthusiasm he could force. Then a genuine pity
seized him for the inequalities of opportunity. He seized a chair and
drew it excitedly near his friend. "Granny, listen to me. Do you know
what I have made in ten days? Almost five thousand dollars! Now you know
nothing in this world would let me get you in wrong, unless I knew.
Well, Granny, I know! I'll guarantee you--do you understand--that if
you'll let me take your thousand and invest it as I want, I'll double
your capital in a month."

"Thank you, no," said Granning in a way that admitted no discussion.
"The gilt-edged kind is my ambition. Look here, how much money have you
put up?"

"Only twenty thousand."

"Then give me the rest and let me bury it for you."

"I tell you I can sell it now and make $4500. What do you say to that?"

"I'm damned sorry to hear it."

"You're a nice friend."

"Lecturing isn't my strong point," said Granning imperturbably, "but
since you insist, the first lesson in life to my mind is a wholesome
respect for the difficulty of making money."

"You act as though you think I've robbed some old widow, you anarchist!"

"Twelve times 30 is 360, add 12 times 150 times 30," said Granning,
taking up his pencil.

"What the deuce are you figuring out?"

"I'm calculating that at the rate I'm living I can buy another bond in
about ten and three quarter months," said Granning blissfully.

"Oh, go to the devil," said Bojo, retreating into his room.

As he started to dress for the evening he began to moralize, glancing
out at Granning, who continued his figuring, a picture of rugged
happiness.

"Suppose he's thinking of that forty-five dollar a year income now,"
thought Bojo, who began to indulge in many worldly speculations of which
he would have been incapable three months before. After all, if some
people only knew it, it was just as easy to make a hundred thousand as a
thousand. All it required was to recognize that the world was unequal
and always would remain unequal, and toward the top of society, when one
had the opportunity of course, it was all a question of knowledge and
influence.

"Poor old Granny," he said, shaking his head. "In four years I'll be
worth a million and he'll be plodding on, working like a slave,
gloating over a ten-dollar raise." But as he was withal honest in his
values he added: "And the old fellow's worth ten times what I am too!"
He remembered his own raise in salary, but for certain reasons
determined not to risk an ethical comparison.

"Well, Capitalist, good night," he said, arrayed in top hat, fur coat,
and glowing linen.

Granning grunted complacently and called him back as he was
disappearing.

"Hi, there!"

"What?"

"Come over to the factory with me some day and see what real work is."

Bojo slammed the door and went laughing down the stairs.

       *       *       *       *       *

The buying orders multiplied in Indiana Smelter, the air was full of
rumors, the financial columns accepted as a fact that the combination
was decided, and the stock went soaring in the third week, despite one
day of horrible uncertainty, when the report was spread that all
negotiations were off and Indiana Smelter dropped twelve points. When
135 was reached, Bojo became bewildered. In less than a month he had
cleared over thirty thousand dollars. He could not believe his own
reason. Where had it come from? Did it actually exist or would he wake
up some morning and find it evaporated?

The spinning tack-tack of the ticker was always in his ears. At night
when he started to go to sleep, the room was always full of diabolical
instruments, and great curling streams of thin paper fell over his bed
and Indiana Smelter was kiting up into impossible figures or abruptly
crumbling to nothing. One morning the necessity of actually holding in
his own hands these enormous sums which he had been incredulously
contemplating all these weeks was so imperious that he sold out as the
stock reached 138-1/4.

For a day a feeling of sublime liberation came to him, as though the
clicking tyranny were forever vanished from his ears. In his pocket was
certainty, incredible but tangible, a check to his order for over
thirty-three thousand dollars. When once this certainty had impressed
itself upon him he had a quick revulsion. It seemed to him that what he
had done was grossly immoral, as though he had thrown his money on a
gambling table and won fabulously with a beginner's luck. Some
providence must have protected him, but he resolved firmly never to
repeat the test.

He informed Granny of this decision, admitting frankly all the appetite
for gain, the reckless, dangerous excitement it had roused in him. He
spoke with such profound conviction, being for the moment convinced
himself, that Granny's skepticism was conquered, and they shook hands
upon Bojo's sudden enlightenment.

But the next day, when he had gone up to the Drakes and exhibited the
check for the delectation of Doris, his good intentions began to waver
in the flush of triumph.

"Now, aren't you glad you listened to a wise little person who is going
to make your fortune?" she said, thrilled at the sight of the check.

"Who gave you the tip, Doris?" he said uneasily. "You can tell me now."

"Ask me no questions--"

"A man or a woman?" he persisted, seeking a subterfuge, for the thought
of asking pointblank if he owed his fortune to Boskirk was repugnant.

She hesitated a moment, divining his qualms.

"Promise to ask no more questions."

"If you'll tell me."

"A woman, then."

He pretended to himself a great satisfaction, immensely relieved in his
pride, willing to be convinced. Dan Drake came in and Doris, glad of the
interruption, displayed the check in triumph.

"So that's it, is it?" said Drake, glancing up at Bojo, who looked
sheepishly happy. And assuming an angry air, he caught Doris by the ear.
"A traitor in my own household, eh?"

"What do you mean?" she said, defending herself.

"I mean the next time you wheedle such inside information out, just
remember you've got a daddy."

"Now, Dad, don't be horrid and take away all my fun. Isn't it glorious!"

"Very," said Drake with a grimace. "I congratulate you, young scamps.
Your getting in and spreading the good news among the bosom friends--"
he glanced at Bojo, who flushed--"cost me a couple of hundred thousand
more than I intended to pay. I guess, young man, it'll be cheaper for me
to have you inside my office than out!"

"I didn't realize, sir--"

"No reason you should, but I want to tell you and your General Manager
so that you won't get any mistaken ideas of your Napoleonic talents,
that there was a moment ten days ago when the whole combination came
near a cropper, wherever you got your information." He stopped, looked
at his daughter severely, and said: "By the way, where _did_ you get
your information, young lady?"

Doris laughed mischievously, not at all deceived by his assumed anger.

"I have my own sources of information," she said, imitating his manner.

The father looked at her shrewdly, amused at the intrigue he divined.

"Well, this is my guess--"

But Doris, flinging herself, laughing, at him, closed his lips with her
pretty hand.

"She used Boskirk to help me," thought Bojo, perceiving her start of
fear and the shrewd smile on the face of the father.

He did not pursue the matter, but the conviction remained with him.

Despite his new-found resolutions he was surprised to find that the
obsession of the ticker still held him. With the announcement of the
completion of the Smelter merger, Indiana Smelter rose as high as
142-3/4, and the thought of these thousands which he might have had as
easily as not began to annoy him. He forgot that he had condemned
speculation in the contemplation of what might have been.

Looking back, it seemed to him that what he had made was ridiculously
small. If he had played the stock as other resolute spirits conducting
such campaigns for fortune, he should have thrown the rest of his
capital behind the venture once he was playing on velvet. He figured out
a dozen ways by which he might have achieved a master stroke and
trebled, even quadrupled, his profits, and the more his mind dwelt upon
it the more eager he became to embark into a fresh venture. Dan Drake
had hinted at taking him into his office. He began to long for the time
when the proposition would be again offered to him, to accept, to be
privileged to play the game as others played it--with marked cards.



CHAPTER VIII

THE RETURN OF PATSIE


During this time Bojo had seen much of life. Marsh was too busily
occupied in the detailed exploration of the machinery and organization
of his paper to be often available, and Bojo's time was pretty evenly
divided between the formal evenings in Doris's set and the excursions
with Fred DeLancy into regions not quite so orthodox. He began to see a
good deal behind the scenes, to marvel at the unbending of big men of a
certain suddenly enriched type, at their gullibility and curious
vanities of display. He himself had an innate love of refinement and an
olden touch of chivalry in his attitude toward women, and went through
what he saw without more harm than disillusionment, wiser for the
lesson.

To his surprise he found, that what DeLancy had estimated of his social
values was quite true. Fred was in great demand at quiet dances in
discreet salons at Tenafly's and Lazare's, where curious elements
combined to distract the adventurer, rich at forty-five, who, after a
life of Spartan routine, awoke to the call of pleasure and curiosity at
an age when other men have solved their attitude. Fred was looked upon
as a sort of _enfant gâté_ to be rewarded after a gay night with an
easily tossed off order for a thousand shares of this or that to make
his commission. It did not take Bojo long to perceive the inherent
weakness in DeLancy's lovable but pleasure-running character, nor to
speculate upon his future with some apprehension, despite all Fred's
protestations that he was shrewd as they are made, and jolly well alive
to the main chance every minute of the day.

Bojo had been admitted far enough into his confidence to know that there
was already some one in the practical background, a Miss Gladys Stone,
financially a prize who had been caught with the volatile gaiety and
amusing tricks of Fred DeLancy. DeLancy in fact, in moments of serious
intimacy, openly avowed his intention of settling down within a year or
two at the most, and Bojo, with the memory of riotous nights from which
he had with difficulty extracted the popular Fred, owned to himself that
the sooner this occurred the better he would be suited.

He had met Gladys Stone once when he had dropped in on Doris, and he had
a blurred recollection of a thin, blond girl, who giggled and chattered
a great deal and spoke several times of being bored by this or that, by
the opera where there was nothing new, by dinner parties where it was
such a bore to talk bridge, by Palm Beach, which was getting to be a
bore because cheaper hotels had gone up and every one was being let in,
but who would go off into peals of laughter the moment Fred DeLancy
struck a chord on the piano and imitated a German ballade.

"Gladys is a good soul at bottom. She's crazy about Fred and he can
marry her any day he wants her," said Doris, sitting in judgment.

"Do you think it would turn out well?" he said.

"Why not? Gladys hasn't a thought in her head. She'll be a splendid
audience for Fred. He isn't the sort of a person ever to fall
desperately in love."

"I don't know about that," said Bojo, with an uneasy recollection of a
certain alluring but rather obvious little actress, respectable but
entirely too calculating to his way of thinking, whom Fred had been
seeing entirely too much.

"Nonsense! That sort of person is always thinking of the crowd. Besides
Gladys is too stupid to be jealous. It's a splendid match. She'll get a
husband that'll save her house from being a bore, and he'll get a pile
of money: just what each needs."

He saw Doris three or four times a week. She had become a very busy
lady, constantly complaining of the fatigues of a social season. Fred
DeLancy, who, with Marsh, had been admitted to intimacy, made fun of her
to her face in his impudent way, pretending a deep solicitude for the
overburdened rich.

"But it's true," said Doris indignantly. "I haven't a minute to myself.
I'm going from morning to night. You haven't an idea how exacting our
lives are."

"Tell me," said DeLancy, assuming a countenance of commiseration, while
Bojo laughed.

"Horrid beast!" said Doris, pouting. "And then there's charity; you've
no idea how much time charity takes. I'm on three committees and we have
to meet once a week for luncheon. Then I'm in the show for the benefit
of some hospital or other, and now they want us to come to morning
rehearsals. Then there's the afternoon bridge class until four, and half
a dozen teas to go through, and back to be dressed and curled and start
out for dinner and a dance, night after night. And now there's Dolly's
wedding coming on, and the dressmaker and the shopping. I tell you I'm
beginning to look old already!"

She glanced at the clock and went off with a sigh to be decked out for
another social struggle, as Mrs. Drake entered. The young men excused
themselves. Bojo never felt quite comfortable under the scrutiny of the
mother's menacing lorgnette. She was a frail, uneasy little woman, who
dressed too young for her age, whose ready tears had won down the
opposition of her husband, much as the steady drip of a tiny rivulet
bores its way through granite surfaces. She did not approve of Bojo--a
fact of which he was well aware--and was resolved when her first
ambition had been gratified by Dolly's coming marriage to turn her
forces on Doris.

At present she was too much occupied, for there were weak moments when
Dolly, for all her foreign education, rose up in revolt, and others when
Mr. Drake, incensed at the cold-blooded conduct of the pre-nuptial
business arrangements, had threatened to send the whole pack of impudent
lawyers flying. Patsie had been packed off on a visit to a cousin after
a series of indiscretions, culminating in a demand to know from the Duke
what the French meant by a _mariage de convenance_--a request which fell
like a bombshell in a sudden silence of the family dinner.

It was a week before the wedding, as Bojo was swinging up the Avenue
past the Park on his way to Doris, that he suddenly became aware of a
young lady in white fur cap and black velvets skipping toward him,
pursued by a terrier that had a familiar air, while from the attendant
automobile a tall and scrawny spinster was gesticulating violently and
unheeded. The next moment Patsie had run up to him, her arm through his,
Romp leaning against him in recognition, while she exclaimed:

"Bojo, thank Heaven! Save me from this awful woman!"

"What's wrong, what's the matter?" he said, laughing, feeling all at
once a delightful glow at the sight of her snapping eyes and breathless,
parted lips.

"They've brought me back and tied a dragon to me," she cried
indignantly. "I won't stand it. I won't go parading up and down with a
keeper, just like an animal in a zoo. It's all mother's doings, and
Dolly's, because I miffed her old duke. Send the dragon away, please,
Bojo, please."

"What's her name?" he said, with an eye to the approaching car.

"Mlle. du Something or other--how do I know?"

The frantic companion now bearing down, with the chauffeur set to a
grin, Bojo explained his right to act as Miss Drina's escort, and the
matter was adjusted by the _demoiselle de compagnie_ promising to keep a
block behind until they neared home.

Patsie waxed indignant. "Wait till I get hold of Dad! I'll fix her! The
idea! I'm eighteen-- I guess I can take care of myself. I say, let's
give them the slip. No? Oh, dear, it would be such fun. I'm crazy to
slip off and get some skating. What do you think? Can't even do that.
Too vulgar!"

"What did you say to the Duke that raised such a row?" said Bojo,
pleasantly conscious of the light weight on his arm.

"Nothing at all," said Patsie, with an innocent face; but there was a
twinkle in the eyes. "I simply asked what this _mariage de convenance_
was I heard them all talking about, and when he started in to make some
long-winded speech I cut in and asked him if it wasn't when people
didn't love each other but married to pay the bills. Then every one
talked out loud and mother looked at me through her telescope."

"You knew, of course," said Bojo reprovingly.

Drina laughed a guilty laugh.

"I don't think Dolly wants to marry him a bit," she declared. "It's all
mother. Catch me marrying like that."

"And how are you going to marry?"

"When I marry, it'll be because I'm so doggoned in love I'd be sitting
out on the top step waiting for him to come round. If I were engaged to
a man I'd hook him tight and I wouldn't let go of him either, no matter
who was looking on. What sort of a love is it when you sit six feet
apart and try to look bored when some one rattles a door!"

"Patsie--you're very romantic, I'm afraid."

She nodded her head energetically, rattling on: "Moonlight, shifting
clouds, heavily scented flowers, and all that sort of thing. Never mind,
they'd better look out. I'm not going to stand this sort of treatment.
I'll elope."

"You wouldn't do that, Patsie."

"Yes, I would. I say, when you and Doris marry will you let me come and
stay with you?"

"We certainly will," he said enthusiastically.

"Then what are you waiting for?"

"I'm waiting," said Bojo dryly, after a pause, "until I have made enough
money of my own."

"Good for you," she said, as if immensely relieved. "I knew you were
that sort."

"And when are you coming out?" he asked, to turn the conversation.

"The night before the wedding. Isn't it awful?"

"You'll have lots of men hanging about you--crazy about you," he said
abruptly.

"Pooh!"

"Never mind, I shall watch over you carefully and keep the wrong ones
away."

"Will you?"

He nodded, looking into her eyes.

"Good for you. I'll come to you for advice."

They were at the house, the lemon livery of the footmen showing behind
the glass doors.

"I say," said Patsie, with a sudden mischievous smile, "meet me at the
corner to-morrow at four and we'll go off skating."

He shook his head sternly.

"Bojo, please--just for a lark!"

"I will call for you in a proper social manner perhaps."

"Will Doris have to be along?" she asked, thoughtfully.

"I shall of course ask Doris."

"On second thoughts, no, thank you. I think I shall go to my
dressmaker's," she said, with a perfect imitation of his formal
tone--and disappeared with a final burst of laughter.

       *       *       *       *       *

He went in to see Doris with a sudden determination to clear up certain
matters which had been on his conscience. As luck would have it, as he
entered the great anteroom Mr. James Boskirk was departing. He was a
painstaking, rather obvious young man of irreproachable industry and
habits, a little over serious, rated already as one of the solid young
men of the younger generation of financiers, who made no secret of the
fact that he had arrived at a deliberate decision to invite Miss Doris
Drake into the new firm which he had determined to found for the
establishment of his home and the perpetuation of his name.

It seemed to Bojo, in the perfunctory greeting which they exchanged as
civilized savages, that there was a look of derogatory accusation in
Boskirk's eyes, and, infuriated, he determined to bring up the subject
of Indiana Smelter again and force the truth from Doris.

He came in with a well-assumed air of amusement, adopting a sarcastic
tone, which he knew she particularly dreaded.

"See here, Miss General Manager, this'll never do," he said lightly. "I
thought you were cleverer than that."

"What do you mean?" she said, instantly scenting danger.

"Letting your visits overlap. I only hope you had time to manage all Mr.
Boskirk's affairs. Only, for Heaven's sake, Doris, now that you've got
him in hand, get him to change his style of collar and cuffs. He looks
like the head of an undertakers' trust."

The idea that he might be jealous pleased her.

"Poor Mr. Boskirk," she said, smiling. "He's a very straightforward,
simple fellow."

"Very simple," he said dryly. "Well, what more information has he been
giving you?"

"He does not give me any information."

"You know perfectly well, Doris, that he gave you the tip on Indiana
Smelter," he said furiously, "and that you denied because you knew I
would never have approved."

"You are perfectly horrid, Bojo," she said, going to the fireplace and
stirring up the logs. "I don't care to discuss it with you."

"I'm sorry," he said, "but you've hurt my pride."

"How?"

"Good heavens, can't you see! Haven't you women any sense of fitness?
Don't you know that some things are done and some things are not done?"

She came to him contritely and put her hands on his shoulders.

"Bojo, why do you reproach me? Because I am only thinking of your
success, all the time, every day? Is that what you are angry about?"

He felt like blurting out that there was something in that too, that he
wanted the privilege of feeling that he was winning his own way; but
instead he said:

"So it was Boskirk."

She looked at him, hesitated, and answered:

"No, it wasn't. But if it had been why should you hold it against me?
Why don't you want me to help?--for you don't!"

He resolved to be blunt.

"If you would only do something that is not reasonable, not calculated,
Doris! But everything you do is so well considered. You didn't use to
be this way. I can't help thinking you care more about your life in
society than you do me. It's the worldly part of you I'm afraid about."

She looked into his eyes steadily a moment and then turned her head away
and nodded, smiling in assent.

"Heavens, Doris, if you want to do like Dolly, if you want a position,
or a title, say so and let's be honest."

"But I don't-- I don't," she cried impetuously. "You don t know how I
have fought--" she stopped, not wishing to mention her mother and,
lifting her glance to him anxiously, said: "Bojo, what do you want me to
do?"

"I want you to do something uncalculated," he burst out--"mad,
impulsive, as persons do who are wild in love with each other. I want
you to marry me now."

"Now!"

"Listen: With what I've got and my salary I can scrape up ten
thousand--no, don't spoil it-- I don't want any money from you. Will you
take your chances and marry me on my own basis now?"

She caught her breath and finally said, marking each word:

"Yes--I--will--marry--you--now!"

He burst out laughing at the look of terror in her eyes at the thought
of facing life on ten thousand a year.

"Don't worry, Doris," he said, taking her in his arms. "I wouldn't be so
cruel. I only wanted to hear you say it."

"But I did--I will--if you ask it," she said quickly.

He shook his head.

"If you'd only said it differently. Don't mind me--I'm an idiot--and you
don't understand."

What he meant was that he was an idiot, when he was getting so much that
other men coveted, to insist on what was not in her charming, facile
self to give him. An hour later, after an interview with Daniel Drake,
he was ready to wonder what had made him flare up so quickly--Boskirk's
presence perhaps, or something impulsive which had awakened within him
when Drina had flushed while describing her distinct ideas upon the
subject of the sentiments.

But a new exhilaration effectively drove away all other emotions--the
delirious appetite for gain which had come irresistibly and tyrannically
into his life with the dramatic intensity of his first speculation. In
the interim in Daniel Drake's library, with Doris perched excitedly on
the arm of his chair, several things had been decided. A great operation
was under way which promised an unusual profit. Bojo was to place
$50,000 in the pool which was to be used to operate in the stocks of a
certain Southern railroad long suspected to be on the verge of a
receivership, at the end of which campaign he was to enter Mr. Drake's
service in the rôle of a private secretary.

Meanwhile he was to continue in the employ of Hauk, Flaspoller and
Forshay, the better to figure in the mixed scheme of manipulation which
would be necessary. He was so seized with the drama of the opportunity,
so keen over the thought of being once more a part of all the whirling,
hurtling machinery of speculation that he did not remember even for a
passing thought, the horror which had come over him at his first
incredible success.



CHAPTER IX

THE WEDDING BALL


The wedding of Miss Dolly Drake to the Duke of Polin-Crecy was the event
of the season. It was preceded by a ball which marked the definite
surrender of the last recalcitrant members of New York society to the
ambitions of Mrs. Drake. Such events have a more or less public quality,
like a performance for charity or a private view at an important
auction. Every one who could wheedle an invitation by hook or crook,
arrived with the rolling crowd that blocked the avenue and side streets
and necessitated a special detachment of the police to prevent the mob
of enthusiastic democrats from precipitating themselves on the ducal
carriage and tearing the ducal garments in shreds in the quest of
souvenirs.

The three young men from Ali Baba Court arrived together, abandoning
their taxicab and forcing their way on foot to the front. Marsh, who was
always moved to sarcasm by such occasions, kept up a running comment.

"Marvelous exhibition! Every one who's gunning for Drake is here
to-night. There's old Borneman. He's been laying for a chance to catch
Daniel D. on the wrong side of the market ever since Drake trimmed him
in a wheat corner in Chicago. By Jove, the Fontaines and the Gunthers.
They're going to this as to a circus. Why the deuce didn't the cards
read Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Drake invite you to meet their enemies!"

"Never mind," said Bojo, laughing. "It's Mrs. Drake's night--she'll be
in her glory, you can bet."

"Oh, you'll be as bad as the rest," said Marsh, who spoke his mind.
"Tom, you're doomed. I can see that. You've got a feminine will to
contend with, so make your mind up to the inevitable. There's Haggerdy's
party now--every bandit in Wall Street'll be here figuring up how they
can get at their host. Well, Bojo, you're lost to us already."

"How so?"

"In this game, you never pay attention to your friends--you've got to
entertain those who dislike you, to make sure they'll have to invite you
to some function or other where everybody must be seen. Well, I know
what I'll do, I'll get hold of the youngest sister, who is a trump, and
play around with her."

Bojo looked at him uneasily; even this casual interest in Patsie
affected him disagreeably. DeLancy had deserted them to rush over to the
assistance of the Stones, who were just arriving.

"I hope he gets her," said Marsh, studying the blond profile of Miss
Gladys Stone.

"I believe there's some sort of an understanding."

"The sooner the better--for Freddie," said Marsh, with a shake of his
head. "The trouble with Fred is he thinks he's a cold thinking machine,
and he's putty in the hands of any woman who comes along."

"I'm worried about a certain person myself," said Bojo.

But at this moment Thornton, one of Mr. Drake's secretaries, touched him
on the arm.

"Will you please come to the library, Mr. Crocker? Mr. Drake has been
asking for you to witness some papers."

In the library off in a quiet wing he found a party of five gathered
about the table desk, lawyers verifying the securities for the marriage
settlement, Maître Vondin, a stubby, black-bearded Frenchman imported
for the occasion, coldly incredulous and suavely insistent, the storm
center of an excited group who had been arguing since dinner. Drake, by
the fireplace, was pacing up and down, swearing audibly.

"Is the _gentleman_ now quite satisfied?" he said angrily.

Maître Vondrin smiled in the affirmative.

Drake sat down at the table with the gesture of brushing away a swarm of
flies and signed his name to a document that was placed before him,
nodding to Bojo to add his signature as a witness.

"Pity some of our corporations couldn't employ Vondrin," said Drake,
rising angrily. "There wouldn't be enough money left to keep a savings
bank."

Other signatures were attached and the party broke up, Maître Vondrin,
punctilious and unruffled, bowing to the master of the house and
departing with the rest.

Drake's anger immediately burst forth.

"Cussed little sharper! He was keen enough to save this until now. By
heavens, if he'd sprung these tactics on me a week ago, his little Duke
could have gone home on a borrowed ticket."

Bojo learned afterward that the lawyer for the noble family had refused
to take Drake's word on a single item of the transfer of property,
insisting on having every security placed before his eyes, personally
examining them all, wrangling over values, compelling certain
substitutes, even demanding a personal guarantee in one debated issue of
bonds.

"God grant she doesn't come to regret it," said Drake, thinking of his
wife. His anger made him careless of what he said. "Tom, mark my words,
if ever this precious Duke comes to me for money--as, mark my words, he
will--I'll make him get down on his knees for all his superciliousness,
and turn somersaults like a trick dog. Yes, by heaven, I will!"

Bojo was silent, not knowing what to say, and Drake finally perceived
it.

"It isn't Dolly's fault," he said apologetically. "She's a good sort.
This isn't her doing. There was a time when her mother-- Well, I'll say
no more. Nasty business! Tom, I'll bless the day when I see Doris safe
with you, married to a decent American." He took a turn or two and said
abruptly, trying to convey more than he expressed: "Don't wait too long.
It's a bad atmosphere, all this--there are influences--it isn't fair to
the girl, to Doris. Money be damned! I'll see you never have to ask your
wife for pocket money. No, I won't present it to you. We'll make it
together. There are a lot of buzzards sitting around here to-night,
calculating I'm loaded up to the brim and ready for a plucking. Well,
Tom, I'm going to fool them. I'm going to make them pay for the
wedding."

The idea struck him. He burst out laughing. His eyes snapped with a
sudden project.

"Here," he said, clapping Bojo on the shoulder. "Forget what you've
heard. Go in and take a look at Doris. She's a sight for tired eyes." He
held his hand. "Are you willing to risk your money with me--go it blind,
eh?"

"Every cent I have, Mr. Drake," said Bojo, drawn to him by the dramatic
sympathies the older man knew how to arouse; "only I don't want any
favors. If we lose I lose."

"We won't lose," said Drake and, drawing Bojo's arm under his, he added:
"Come on. I've got to get a smile on my face. So here goes."

Bojo found Doris in the corner of the ballroom assiduously surrounded by
a black-coated hedge of young men. He had a moment's thrill at the sight
of her, radiant and dazzling with every art of dressmaker and
hairdresser, revealed in a sinuous arrangement of black chiffon with
mysterious sudden sheens of gold. She came to him at once, expectancy in
her eyes; and the thought that this prize was his, that hundreds would
watch them as they stood together, acknowledging his right, gave him a
sudden swift sense of power and conquest.

"I was with your father," he said, in explanation, "to witness some
papers. Say, Doris, how every woman here must hate you to-night!"

"It's all for you," she said, delighted. "Dance with me. Tell me what
happened. There's been a dreadful row, I know, for days. Mother and
father haven't spoken except in public, and Dolly's been moping."

"It was something about the settlements. Your father was white-hot all
right."

"We won't have more than a round or two," she said. "I've kept what I
could for you--the supper dance, of course. Every one is here!"

"I should say so. Your mother is smiling all over. She even favored me.
Look out, though, Doris--she'll begin on you."

[Illustration: "'Just you wait; you're going to be one of the big men
some day!'"]

"Don't worry, Bojo," she said in a whisper, with a little pressure of
his arm. She was quite excited by the brilliance of the throng, at her
own personal triumph and the good looks of her partner. "I want
something I can make myself, and we'll do it too. Just you wait, you're
going to be one of the big men one of these days, and we'll have our
house and our parties--finer than this, too!"

This time he fell into her mood, turning her over to another partner
with a confident smile, exhilarated with the thought of little
supremacies in regions of brilliant lights and dreamy music. Fred
DeLancy, back from a dance with Gladys Stone, stopped him with an
anecdote.

"I say, Bojo, wish you could have seen some of the old hens inspecting
the palace. You know Mrs. Orchardson, Standard Oil? I was right back of
her when she wandered into some Louis or other room, and what did she
do? She ran her thumbnail into a partition and whispered to her
neighbor: 'Ours is real mahogany'! Don't they love one another, though?"

By the buffet groups of men were smoking, glass in hand, Borneman and
Haggerdy talking business. In the ante-chamber where the great marble
staircase came winding down, he found Patsie at bay repelling a group
of admirers. She signaled him frantically.

"Bojo; rescue me. They're even quoting poetry to me!"

She sprang away and down the stairs to his side, hurrying him off.

"Faster, faster! Isn't there any place we can hide? My ears are dropping
off."

"Patsie, I never should have known you!" he said, amazed.

"Well, I'm out!" she said, with an indignant pout. "How do you like me?"

She stood away from him, a little malicious delight in her eyes at his
bewilderment, her chin saucily tilted, her profile turned, her little
hands balanced in the air.

"This is the way the models pose. Well?"

"I thought you were a child--" he said stupidly, troubled at the sudden
discovery of the woman.

"Is that all?" she said, pretending displeasure.

He checked an impulsive compliment and said a little angrily:

"Oh, Patsie, you are going to make a terrible amount of trouble. I can
see that!"

"Pooh!"

"Yes, and you like the mischief you're causing too. Don t fib!"

"Yes, I like it," she said, nodding her head. "Dolly and Doris stared at
me as if I were a ghost. Well, I'll show them I'm not such a savage."

"I hope you won't change," he said.

"Won't I?" she said, and to tease him she continued, "I'll show them!"

He felt sentimentally moved to give her a lecture, but instead he said,
deeply moved:

"I'd hate to think of your being different."

"Oh, really?" she continued irrelevantly. "You didn't bother your soul
about me while you thought I was nothing but a tomboy and a terror! But
now when there are a lot of black flies buzzing around me--"

"Now, Patsie, you know that isn't true!"

She relented with a laugh.

"Do you really like me like this? No, don't say anything mushy. I see
you do. Oh, dear, I knew this old money would find me," she said,
suddenly perceiving a plump youngster with a smirch of a mustache
bearing down. "Please, Bojo, come and dance with me--often."

He more than shared the evening with her, quite unconscious of the
effect she had made on him, constantly following her in the confusion of
the dances, pleased when at a distance she saw his look and smiled back
at him.

       *       *       *       *       *

Meanwhile, in the buffet, Haggerdy and Borneman, in the midst of a
group, discussed their host; that is, Borneman discussed and Haggerdy,
stolid as a buffalo, with his great emotionless mask, nodded
occasionally.

"Well, Dan's at the top," said Marcus Stone. "Dukes come high. What do
you think it cost him?"

"Dukes are no longer a novelty," said Borneman. He was rather out of
place in this formal gathering, having about him a curious air of
always being in his shirt-sleeves. A long, sliding nose, lips pursed
like a catfish, every feature seemed alert and pointed to catch the
furthest whisper. Stone nodded and moved off. Borneman drew Haggerdy
into a corner.

"Jim, I have reason to believe Drake's overloaded," he said.

Haggerdy scratched his chin, thoughtfully, as much as to say, "quite
possible," and Borneman continued: "He's stocked up with Indiana
Smelter, and a lot of other things too. I happen to know. He's
long--mighty long of the market. A little short flurry might worry him
considerable. Now, do you know how I've figured it?"

"How?"

"Dan Drake's a plunger, always was. This here duke has cost him
considerable--a million." He glanced at Haggerdy. "Two million
perhaps--and in securities, Jim; nothing speculative; gilt-edged bonds.
That's a million or two out of his reserve--do you get me?--and that's a
lot, when you're carrying a dozen deals at once."

"Well?"

"Well, Dan Drake's a plunger, remember that; he don't see one million
going out--without itching to see where another million's coming in--"

Haggerdy nudged him quietly. At this moment Drake came through the crowd
and perceived them in consultation. A glance at their attitudes made him
divine the subject of their conversation.

"Hello, boys," he said, coming up; "being properly attended to?"

"Dan, that's a pretty fine duke you've got there. Darn sight more
intelligent looking than the one Fontaine picked up," said Borneman.
"Dukes are expensive articles though, Dan. Take more than a wheat corner
to settle up for this, I should say."

"Been thinking so myself," said Drake cheerily. "Well, Al, if I made up
my mind to try a little flyer--just to pay for the wedding, you
understand--what would you recommend?"

"What would _I_ recommend?" said Borneman, startled.

"Exactly. What do you think about general conditions?"

"My feelings are," said Borneman, watching him warily, "the market's
top-heavy. Values are 'way above where they ought to be. Prices are
coming tumbling sooner or later, and then, by golly, it's going hard
with a lot of you fellows."

"You're inclined to be bearish, eh?" said Drake, as though struck by the
thought.

"I most certainly am."

"Shouldn't wonder if you're right, Al. I've a mind to follow your
advice. Sell one thousand Southern Pacific, one thousand Seaboard Air
Line, one thousand Pennsylvania, and one thousand Pittsburgh & New
Orleans. Just as a feeler, Al. Perhaps to-morrow I'll call you up and
increase that. Can't introduce you to any of the pretty girls--not
dancing? All right."

Borneman caught his breath and looked at Haggerdy as Drake went off. If
there was one man he had fought persistently, at every turn biding his
time, it was Daniel Drake, who had thus come to him with an appearance
of frankness and exposed his game.

"It's a bluff," he said excitedly. "He thinks he can fool me. He's in
the market, but he's in to buy."

"Think so?" said Haggerdy profoundly.

"Or he has the impudence to show me his game thinking I won't believe
him. Anyhow, Dan's got something started, and if I know the critter,
it's something big!"

Haggerdy smiled and scratched his chin.



CHAPTER X

DRAKE'S GAME


The evening was still at its height as Daniel Drake left Haggerdy and
Borneman with their heads together puzzling over the significance of his
selling orders.

"Let them crack that nut," he said, chuckling grimly. "Borneman will
worry himself sick for fear I'll catch him again." He looked around for
further opportunities, anxious to avail himself of the seeming chance
which had played so well into his plans. Across the room through the
shift and sudden yield of gay colors he saw the low, heavy-shouldered
figure of Gunther, the banker, in conversation with Fontaine and Marcus
Stone. Gunther, the simplest of human beings, a genius of common sense,
had even at this time assumed a certain legendary equality in Wall
Street, due to the possession of the unhuman gift of silence, that had
magnified in the popular imagination the traits of tenacity, patience
and stability which in the delicately constructed mechanism of
confidence and credit had made him an indispensable balance wheel,
powerful in his own right, yet irresistible in the intermarried forces
of industry he could set in motion. Fontaine was of the old landed
aristocracy; Stone, a Middle-Westerner, floated to wealth on the
miraculous flood of oil.

Aware that every conversation would be noted, Drake allowed several
minutes to pass before approaching the group and, profiting by a
movement of the crowd, contrived to carry off Gunther on the pretext of
showing him a new purchase of Chinese porcelains in the library. They
remained a full twenty minutes, engrossed in the examination of the
porcelains and Renaissance bronzes, of which Gunther was a connoisseur,
and returned without a mention of matters financial. But as Wall Street
men are as credulous as children, this interview made an immense
impression, for Gunther was of such power that no broker was unwilling
to concede that the slightest move of his could be without significance.

To be again in the arena of manipulation awakened all the boyish
qualities of cunning and excitement in Drake. In the next hour he
conversed with a dozen men seemingly bending before their advice,
bullish or bearish, mixing up his orders so adroitly that had the entire
list been spread before one man, it would have been impossible to say
which was the principal point of attack. At two o'clock, as the party
began to thin out, Borneman and Haggerdy came up to shake hands.
Borneman restless and worried, Haggerdy impassive and brooding.

"What, going already? Haven't they been treating you right?" said Drake
jovially.

"Dan, you've a great poker face," said Borneman slyly.

"In what way?"

"That was quite a little bluff you threw into us--those selling orders.
Orders are cheap _before_ business hours."

"So you think I'll call you up in the morning, bright and early, and
cancel?"

Borneman nodded with a nervous, jerky motion of his head.

"I suppose you've been sort of fretting over those orders all evening.
Trouble with you, Al, is _you_ don't play poker: great game. Teaches you
to size up a bluff from a stacked hand."

"I've got your game figured out this time all right," said Borneman,
with his ferret's squint.

"Have you told Haggerdy?" said Drake laughing. "You have. Want a little
bet on it? A thousand I'll tell you exactly what you've figured out."

He took a bill from his pocketbook and held it out tauntingly.

"Are you game?"

Borneman hesitated and frowned.

"Come on," said Drake, with a mischievous twinkle, "the information's
worth something."

This last decided Borneman. He nodded to Haggerdy.

"My check to-morrow if you win. What exactly have I figured your game to
be?"

"You've figured out that I am long to the guzzle in the market and that
I'm putting up a bluff at running down values to get you fellows to run
stocks up on me while I unload. Credit that thousand to my account. I'm
going to use it!"

Haggerdy smiled grimly and handed over the bill, while Borneman,
completely perplexed, stood staring at the manipulator like a startled
child.

"Al, don't buck up against me," said Drake, serious all at once. "Of
course you will, but remember I warned you. Let bygones be bygones or
trim some other fellow."

"I don't forget as easy as that," said Borneman sullenly.

"Great mistake," said Drake, with a mocking smile. "You let your
personal feelings get into your business--bad, very bad. You ought to be
like Haggerdy and me--no friends and no enemies. Well, Al, you will have
a crack at me, I know. If you've figured it out, you've got me. I may
have told you the truth. It's all very simple--either you're right or
you're wrong. Flip up a coin."

Borneman went off mumbling. Haggerdy loitered, ostensibly to shake
hands.

"Drake, you and I ought to do something together," he said slowly, with
his cold, lantern stare.

"Why not?"

"Instead of taking a fling, suppose we work up something worth while.
The market's ready for it."

"And Borneman?"

"Use him," said Haggerdy, with a trace of a smile.

"Why, yes, we might do something together," said Drake, pretending to
consider. "You might do me or I might do you."

"I'm serious."

"So am I." He shook hands and turned back for a final shot. "By the way,
Haggerdy, I'll tell you one thing. Your information's correct. That
federal suit is coming off. Didn't know I knew it? Lord bless you, I
passed it on to you!"

He turned his back without waiting to watch the effect of this
disclosure and returned to the supper room, where he signaled Crocker
and drew him aside.

"Tom, I'll have a little something for you to do to-morrow. It's about
time we started moving things. I'm going to put some orders in through
you and I'm going to operate some through one of my agents. Put this
away in your head--Joseph R. Skelly. Write it down when you get home.
Anything that comes through him, I stand behind. We won't do anything in
a rush, but we'll lay a few lines. To-morrow I want you to sell for
me--" He paused and deliberated, suddenly changing his mind. "No, do it
this way. Call me up from your office at twelve--no, eleven sharp. I've
got that wedding at three. Ask for me personally. Understand? All
right?"

At half past three Fred DeLancy, Marsh and Bojo went out with the last
stragglers. Fred was in high spirits, keeping them in roars of laughter,
on the brisk walk home. He had been with Gladys Stone constantly all the
evening and the two friends had watched a whispered parting on the
stairs.

"I believe it's a go," said Marsh, while DeLancy was passing the time of
day with the policeman at the corner. (Fred was assiduous in his
cultivation of the force; he called it "accident insurance.")

"Something was settled," said Bojo nodding. "They've got an
understanding, I'll bet. I passed them once tucked in back of a palm and
they stopped talking like a shot. Wish we had the infant safely put
away, Fred."

"So do I."

The streets were unearthly stilled and inhuman as they came back to Ali
Baba Court, with all the windows black, and only the iron lanterns at
the entrances shining their foggy welcome.

"Don't feel a bit like sleep," said Bojo.

"Neither do I," said Marsh. He stood looking up at the incessantly
vigilant windows of the great newspaper office now in the charge of the
night watch. "Wonder what's filtering in there? I always feel guilty
when I cut a night. I suppose it's like the fascination of the tape. It
always gets me--the click of the telegraph."

"How are things working out on the paper?" said Bojo.

"Thanks, I'm getting into all sorts of trouble," said Marsh, rather
gloomily, he thought. "I'm finding out a lot of things I don't
know--sort of measles and mumps period. I had no right to be out
to-night. I say, if you get into any other good thing, let me know. I
may need it."

Alone in his room, Bojo did not go to bed at once. He was nervously
awake, revolving in his mind too many new impressions, new ambitions and
strange philosophies. The evening at the Drakes had swept from him his
last prejudices against the adventurous life on which he had embarked.
There was something overpowering in the spectacle of society as he had
seen it, something so insolently triumphant and aloof from all plodding
standards, so dramatically enticing that he felt no longer compunctions
but only fierce desires. The appetite had entered his veins, infusing
its fever. The few words Drake had spoken to him had sent his hope
soaring. He was surprised, even a little alarmed, at the intensity which
awoke in him to risk the easy profits against a greater gamble.

The market went off a shade the next morning, rallied and then weakened
under a steady stream of selling orders. Rumors filled the air of
possible causes known only to the inside group, a conflict of big
interests, a suit for dissolution by a federal investigation. Something
was up-- Drake's name was whispered about, along with Haggerdy's and a
western group. On the Exchange a hundred rumors came into existence like
newly hatched swarms of insects. Some one was steadily bearing eastern
railroads and some one as obstinately supporting them, but who remained
a mystery, eagerly discussed in little knots, fervently alive to a
firmer touch on the strings of speculation.

At eleven o'clock, true to appointment, Bojo called up Daniel Drake on
his private wire and received an order to buy at once 500 shares of
Seaboard Air Line and sell 500 of Pittsburgh & New Orleans. He turned
the order over to Forshay, with the caution of secrecy that had been
transmitted to him. This transaction created quite a flurry, and after a
consultation Forshay was delegated to sound Bojo.

"Personal order from the old man himself?" he said, when he had reported
to him the execution of the order. "Nothing confidential, of course.
Happened to hear you telephone."

"Why, no," said Bojo, telephoning in his report.

"Suppose you've an inkling what's up? Naturally you have," said Forshay.
"Now, I'm not going to beat around the bush or worm things out of you.
We're mighty grateful to you, Tom, for the shot at Indiana Smelter. If
you can let us in on anything, why do so. You understand. I've been
talking things over with Hauk and Flaspoller. If Drake's going into the
market, we don't see why we can't be of use. 'Course, on account of your
relations, he probably wouldn't want to do much openly here. Too many
eyes on us. But what we want you to put up to him is--we can cover
things up as well as any one else. Any orders to be placed quietly, we
can work through certain channels--you understand. By the way, doing
anything on your own account?"

"Not yet."

"Don't want to talk?"

Bojo shrugged his shoulders.

"I'm quite in the dark, Mr. Forshay," he said cautiously.

Forshay took a few steps thoughtfully about the room, stopping curiously
to examine the tape and came back.

"Look here, Tom, if there's anything on a big scale on, why shouldn't we
get a whack at it? You see, I'm putting my cards on the table. We
consider you a sort of a member of the firm. I made you a proposition
once. Perhaps we can better it now." He hesitated, rearranging the
sheets on the desk before him. "I'm trying to see how we could work this
out. It's not exactly etiquette to give commissions down here--though
why the Lord knows. Suppose I work out a scale of salary--to meet, say,
certain eventualities. Let me think that over. Meanwhile here's what
we'd be glad to do. You can't be calling up Drake out here where any one
can be pricking up his ears. Now it may fit in his plans or not, but
there's no harm trying. If he wants to operate through us, and have
things well covered up, it might be better for you to handle it from my
room on a special wire. We'll fix you up in there; glad to." He stopped,
considered Bojo thoughtfully, and added: "Tom, we want some of Drake's
business. No reason in the world why you shouldn't get it. You know us.
You know we can be trusted, and you know we are appreciative--understand?

"I can try," said Bojo doubtfully.

But to his surprise when he approached Drake on the following night he
found a receptive listener.

"Don't know but what I could use your firm," said the operator
thoughtfully. "Not that I'm rushing matters too much, Tom. The market's
pretty strong at present. I want to feel it out. Maybe I could use
them--for what I want them to know. Get your raise, but keep out of the
firm--for the present, anyhow. Just now I'm holding back a little, Tom,
a little early to uncover my game--tell you, though, what you might do;
sell five hundred shares a day of Pittsburgh & New Orleans for me, but
tell them to break it up 50 here and 50 there. I don't mind telling you
one thing, but keep it under your belt; no confidences this time." He
looked up sharply at the young fellow, who twisted on his heel under the
look. "Confidences sometimes react and I don't want the cat out of the
bag. What's Pittsburgh & New Orleans quoted?"

"47-1/8 Closing," said Bojo.

"A month from to-day it'll sell below thirty. And another thing, Tom,
don't go trying any fliers on your own hook, without coming to me. You
had fool's luck once, don't try it again. Remember I'm manipulating this
pool and I have my ways!"

This time Bojo was under no illusions. Despite his warning he knew in
the bottom of his heart that when the moment came he would operate for
himself. However, he resolved on two things: to share his secret with no
one and to watch the course of Pittsburgh and New Orleans for a week
before making up his mind. The first flurry had subsided. To the
surprise of every one the attack ceased over night. The list resumed its
normal position with the exception of several southern railroad stocks,
notably Pittsburgh & New Orleans, which remained heavy, declining
fractionally.

During these days, Bojo resolutely stuck to his resolve, imparting no
information, keeping out of the market himself. On the announcement of
the first order for Drake, his salary was raised to $125 a week and the
affection of the firm showed itself in several invitations to enter the
consultation. Each day Forshay found opportunity to ask in a casual way:

"Not doing anything on your own hook yet, eh? Sort of watching
developments?"

Ten days after the first attack, another flurry arrived, but this time
the attack was from the open, from all the bear cohorts who for months
had been grumbling in vain, predicting disaster from inflation and the
panic that must follow inevitable readjustment. Borneman and his crowd
sold openly and viciously, raiding all stocks alike, particularly
industrials. That day, among other orders, Hauk, Flaspoller and Forshay
sold 10,000 shares of Pittsburgh & New Orleans which broke from 44 to
39-5/8 under savage pounding. Crocker resisted no longer and sold a
thousand for his own account. That day Forshay failed to make his usual
inquiry.

After three days of convulsive advances and speedy falls, the attack
again slackened, but this time the whole list rallied with difficulty,
receding almost imperceptibly, but slowly yielding under a decided
change of public sentiment. When Pittsburgh & New Orleans touched 38,
Bojo squared his conscience to the extent of exacting the most solemn
promises of undying secrecy from Fred DeLancy before communicating to
them the information that had now become a conviction, that he had
placed $50,000 in a pool which Drake was engineering to sell the market
short and make a killing of Pittsburgh & New Orleans. He imparted the
confidence not simply because it had become an almost intolerable secret
to carry, but for deeper reasons. Fred DeLancy had sunk half of his
former profits in the purchase of an automobile and in free spending,
and Marsh was faced with serious losses on the paper from a strike of
compositors and a falling of advertising as the result of the new
radical policy of the editorial page.



CHAPTER XI

BOJO BUTTS IN


Sunday the four were accustomed to lounge through the morning and
saunter down the Avenue for a late luncheon at the Brevoort. On the
present date, Granning was stretched on the window-seat re-reading a
favorite novel of Dumas, Bojo and Marsh pulling at their pipes in a deep
discussion of an important rumor which might considerably affect the
downward progress of Pittsburgh & New Orleans--a possible investigation
by certain Southern States which was the talk of the office--while Fred
at the piano was replaying by ear melodies from last night's comic
opera, when the telephone rang.

"You answer it, Bojo," said DeLancy, "and hist, be cautious!"

Bojo did as commanded, saying almost immediately:

"Party for you, Freddie."

"Male or female voice?"

"Male."

DeLancy rose with a look of relief and tripped over to the receiver. But
almost immediately he crumpled up with a simulation of despair. Bojo and
Marsh exchanged a glance, and Granning ceased reading, at muffled sounds
of explanation which reached them from the other room.

"Pinched," said DeLancy, returning gloomy and, flopping on the piano
stool, he struck an angry chord.

The three friends, according to male etiquette, maintained an attitude
of correct incomprehension while Fred marched lugubriously up and down
the keyboard. "Holy cats, now I am in for it!"

"Louise Varney?" said Bojo.

"Louise! And I swore on my grandmother's knuckles I was going up country
this afternoon. Beautiful--beautiful prospect! I say, Bojo, you got me
into this--you've got to stick by me!"

"What's that mean?"

"Shooting off in the car with us for luncheon. For the love of me, stand
by a fellow, will you?"

Bojo hesitated.

"Go on," said Marsh with a wary look. "If you don't, the infant'll come
back married!"

"Quite possible," said DeLancy, disconsolately.

"I'll go if you'll stand for the lecture," said Bojo severely, for
DeLancy had become a matter of serious deliberation.

"Anything. You can't rub it in too hard," said Fred, who went to the
mirror to see if his hair was turning gray. "And say, for Mike's sake,
think up a new lie-- I'm down to dentist's appointments and mother's
come to town."

Delighted at Bojo's adherence that saved him from the prospects of a
difficult tête-à-tête, he began to recover his spirits; but Bojo,
assuming a severe countenance, awaited his opportunity.

"I say, don't look at me with that pulpit expression," said DeLancy an
hour later as they streaked through the Park on their way to upper
Riverside. "What have I done?"

"Fred, you're getting in deep!"

"Don't I know it?" said that impressionable young man, jerking the car
ahead. "Well, get me out."

"I'm not sure you want to get out," said Bojo.

DeLancy confessed; in fact, confession was a pleasant and
well-established habit with him.

"Bojo, it's no use. When I'm away from her, I can call myself a fool in
six languages. I _am_ a fool. I know I have no business hanging round;
but, say, the moment she turns up I'm ready to lie down and roll over."

"It's puppy love."

"I admit it."

"She's just going to keep you dangling, Fred. You know as well as I do
you haven't a chance even if you were idiotic enough to think of
marrying her. She's not losing her head, you can bet on that. That's why
the mother is on deck."

"Oh, there are half a dozen Yaps with a wad she could have, and any time
she wants to whistle," said Fred pugnaciously.

Bojo decided to change his tactics.

"I thought you were cleverer. Thought you'd planned out your whole
career; remember the night up on the Astor roof--you weren't going to
make any mistakes, oh no! You were going to marry a million. You weren't
going to get caught!"

"Shut up, Bojo. Can't you see how rotten I'm in it? I'm doing my best to
break away."

"Get up a row then and stay away."

"I've tried, but she's too clever for that. Honest, Tom, I think she's
fond of me."

Bojo groaned.

"She thinks you're a millionaire with your confounded style, and your
confounded car--that's all!"

"Well, maybe I will be," said DeLancy with a sudden revulsion to
cheerfulness, "if Pittsburgh & New Orleans keeps a-sliding."

"Suppose we get caught."

"I say, there's no danger of that?" said Fred, alarmed. "I'm in deep."

"No, not much, but there's always the chance of a slip," said Bojo, who
began to wonder if a successful issue would not further complicate
Fred's sentimental entanglements.

At this moment they came to a stop, and Fred said in a comforting tone:

"Louise'll be furious because I brought you."

"You old humbug," said Bojo, perceiving the eagerness in Mr. Fred's
eyes. "You're just tickled to death."

"Well, perhaps I am," said Fred, laughing at his friend's serious face.
"Say, she has a way with her--hasn't she now?"

Miss Louise Varney did not seem over-delighted at the spectacle of a
guest in the party as she came running out, backed by the vigilant
dowager figure of Mrs. Varney, who never let her daughter out of her
charge. But whatever irritation she might have felt she concealed under
a charming smile, while Mrs. Varney, accustomed to swinging in solitary
dignity in the back seat, welcomed him with genuine enthusiasm.

"Well, Mr. Crocker, isn't this grand! You and me can sit here flirting
on the back seat and let them whisper sweet nothings." She tapped him on
the arm, saying in a half voice: "Say, they certainly are a good looking
team now, ain't they?"

The old Grenadier, as she was affectionately termed by her daughter's
admirers, was out in her war paint, dressed like a débutante, fatly
complacent and smiling with the prospect of a delicious lunch at the end
of the drive.

"Say, I think Fred's the sweetest feller," she began, beaming on Bojo,
"and so smart too. Louise says he could make a forchin in vaudeville. I
think he's much cleverer than that Pinkle feller who gets two-fifty a
week for giving imitations on the pianner. Why haven't you been around,
Mr. Crocker?" She nudged him again, her maternal gaze fondly fixed on
her daughter. "Isn't she a dream in that cute little hat? My Lord, I
should think all the men would be just crazy about her."

"Most of them are, I should say," said Bojo, and, smiling, he nodded in
the direction of Fred DeLancy, who was at that moment in the throes of a
difficult explanation.

Mrs. Varney gave a huge sigh and proceeded confidentially.

"'Course Louise's got a great future, every one says, and vaudeville
does pay high when you get to be a top notcher; but, my sakes, Mr.
Crocker, money isn't everything in this world, as I often told her--"

"Mother, be quiet--you're talking too much," said Miss Louise Varney
abruptly, whose alert little ear was always trained for maternal
indiscretions. Mrs. Varney, as was her habit, withdrew into an attitude
of sulky aloofness, not to relax until they were cozily ensconced at a
corner table in a wayside inn for luncheon. By this time Miss Varney had
evidently decided to accept the protestations of DeLancy, and peace
having been declared and the old Grenadier mollified by her favorite
broiled lobster and a carafe of beer, the party proceeded gaily. Fred
DeLancy, in defiance of Bojo's presence, beaming and fascinated,
exchanged confidential whispers and smiles with the girl which each
fondly believed unperceived.

"Good Lord," thought Bojo to himself, now quite alarmed, "this is a
pickle! He's in for it fair this time and no mistake. She can have him
any time she wants to. Of course she thinks he's loaded with diamonds."

Mr. Fred's attitude, in fact, would have deceived a princess of the
royal blood.

"Louis, get up something tasty," he said to the bending _maître
d'hôtel_. "You know what I like. Don't bother me with the menu. Louis,"
he added confidentially, "is a jewel--the one man in New York you can
trust." He initialed the check without examining it and laid down a
gorgeous tip with a careless flip of the finger.

"The little idiot," thought Bojo. "I wonder what bills he's run up.
Decidedly I must get a chance at the girl and open her eyes."

Chance favored him, or rather Miss Varney herself. Luncheon over, while
Fred went out for the car, she said abruptly:

"Let's run out in the garden. I want to talk to you. Don't worry, mamma.
It's all right." And as Mrs. Varney, true to her grenadierial instincts,
prepared to object, she added with a shrug of her shoulders: "Now just
doze away like a dear. We can't elope, you know!"

"What can she want to say to me?" thought Bojo curiously, suffering her
to lead him laughing out through the glass doors into the pebbled paths.
Despite his growing alarm, Bojo was forced to admit that Miss Varney,
with her quick Japanese eyes and bubbling humor, was a most fascinating
person, particularly when she exerted herself to please in little
intimate ways.

"Mr. Crocker, you don't like me," she said abruptly. He defended himself
badly. "Don't fib--you are against me. Why? On account of Fred?"

"I don't dislike you--no one could," he said, yielding to the persuasion
of her smile, "but if you want to know, I am worried over Fred. He is
head over heels in love with you, young lady."

"And why not?"

"Do you care for him?"

"Yes--very much," she said quietly, "and I want you to be our friend."

"Good heavens, I really believe she does," he thought, panic-stricken.
Aloud he said abruptly: "If that is what you want, let me ask you a
question. Please forgive me for being direct. Do you know that Fred
hasn't a cent in the world but what he makes? You can judge yourself how
he spends that."

"But Fred told me he had made a lot lately and I know he expects to make
ten times that in something--" she stopped hastily at a look in Bojo's
face. "Why, what's wrong?"

"Miss Varney--you haven't put anything into it, have you?

"Yes, I have," she said after a moment's hesitation. "Why, he told me
you yourself told him he couldn't lose. You don't mean to say there's
any--any danger?"

"I'm sorry. He shouldn't have told you! There's always a risk. I'm sorry
he let you do that."

"Oh, I oughtn't to have let it out," she said contritely. "Promise not
to tell him. I didn't mean to! Besides--it's not much really."

Bojo shook his head.

"Mr. Crocker-- Tom," she said, laying her hand on his arm, "don't turn
him against me. I'm being square with you. I do care for Fred. I don't
care if he hasn't a cent in the world; really I'm not that sort,
honest."

"And your mother?"

She was silent, and he seized the advantage.

"Why get into something that'll only hurt you both? Suppose things turn
out all right. He'll spend every cent he'll make in a few months. Now
listen, Louise. You're not made for life in a flat; neither is he. It
would be a miserable disaster. I'm sorry," he said, seeing her eyes
fill. "But what I say is true. You've got a career, a brilliant career
with money and fame ahead; don't spoil your chances and don't spoil
his."

"What do you mean?" she said, flaring up. "Then there is some one else!
I knew it! That's where he's going this afternoon!"

"There is no one else," he said, lying outrageously. "I've warned you.
I've told you the real situation. That's all."

"Let's go back," she said abruptly, and she went in silence as far as
the house, where she turned on him. "I don't believe what you've told
me. I know he is not poor or a beggar as you say. Would he be going
around with the crowd he does? No!" With an upspurt of rage of which he
had not believed her capable, she added: "Now I warn you. What we do is
our affair. Don't butt in or there'll be trouble!"

On the return, doubtless for several reasons, she elected to send her
mother in front, and to keep Bojo company on the back seat, where as
though regretting her one revealing flash of temper, she sought to be as
gracious and entertaining as possible. Despite a last whispered appeal
accompanied by a soft pressure of the arm and a troubled glance of the
eyes, no sooner had they deposited mother and daughter than Bojo broke
out:

"Fred, what in the name of heaven possessed you to put Louise Varney's
money in a speculation? How many others have you told?"

"Only a few--very few."

"But, Fred, think of the responsibility! Now look here, straight from
the shoulder--do you know what's going to happen? Before you know it,
you're going to wake up and find yourself married to Louise Varney!"

"Don't jump on me, Bojo," said Fred, miserably. "I'm scared to death
myself."

"But, Fred, you can't do such a thing. Louise is pretty--attractive
enough--I'll admit it--and straight; but the mother, Fred--you can't do
it, you'll just drop out. It'll be the end of you. Man, can't you see
it? I thought you prided yourself on being a man of the world. Look at
your friends. There's Gladys Stone--crazy about you. You know it. Are
you going to throw all that away!"

"If I was sure of a hundred thousand dollars I believe I'd marry Louise
to-morrow!" said Fred with a long breath. "Call me crazy--I am crazy--a
raving, tearing fool, but that doesn't help. Lord, nothing helps!"

"Fred, answer me one question. We all thought, the night of the ball,
you and Gladys Stone had come to an understanding. Is that true?"

Fred turned his head and groaned.

"I'm a cad, a horrible, beastly little cad!"

"Good Lord, is it as bad as that!" said Bojo. "But, Fred, old boy, how
did it happen? How did you ever get in so deep!"

"How do I know?" said DeLancy miserably. "It was just playing around.
Other men were crazy over her. I never meant to be serious in the
beginning--and then--then I was caught."

"Fred, old fellow, you've got to get hold of yourself. Will you let me
butt in?"

"I wish to God you would."

That night Bojo sent a long letter off to Doris, who was staying in the
Berkshires with Gladys Stone as a guest. As a result the two young men
departed for a week-end of winter sports. On the Pullman they stowed
their valises and wandered back into the smoker where the first person
Bojo saw, bound for the same destination, was young Boskirk.



CHAPTER XII

SNOW MAGIC


Boskirk and Bojo greeted each other with that excessive cordiality which
the conventions of society impose upon two men who hate each other
cordially but are debarred from the primeval instincts to slay.

"He wouldn't gamble, he wouldn't take a risk! Oh no, nothing human about
him," said Bojo to Fred, sending a look of antagonism at Boskirk, who
was adjusting his glasses and spreading the contents of a satchel on the
table before him.

"The human cash-register!" said DeLancy. "Born at the age of forty-two,
middle names Caution, Conservatism, and the Constitution. Favorite
romance--Statistics."

"Thank you!" said Bojo, somewhat mollified.

  "There was a young man named Boskirk
  Who never his duty would shirk,--"

began DeLancy--and forthwith retired into intellectual seclusion to
complete the limerick.

The spectacle of Boskirk immersed in business detail irritated Bojo
immeasurably. The feeling it aroused in him was not jealousy but rather
a sense that some one was threatening his right and his property.

A complete and insidious change had been worked in his moral fiber. The
hazardous speculation to which he was now committed, which was nothing
but the sheerest and most vicious form of gambling, the wrecking of
property, would have been impossible to him six months before. But he
had lived too long in the atmosphere of luxury, and too close to the
master adventurers of that speculative day. Luxury had become a second
nature to him; contact with men who could sell him out twenty times over
had brought him the parching hunger for money. All other ideals had
yielded before a new ideal--force. To impose one's self, making one's
own laws, brushing aside weak scruples, planning above ridiculously
simple and obvious schemes of legal conduct for the ordering of the
multitude, silencing criticism by the magnitude of the operation--a
master where a weak man ended a criminal:--this was the new scheme of
life which he was gradually absorbing.

He had become worldly with the confidence of succeeding. Whatever
compunctions he had formerly felt about a marriage with Doris he had
dismissed as pure sentimentality. There remained only a certain pride, a
desire to know his worth by some master stroke. In this fierce need, he
had lost moderation and caution. With the steady decline of Pittsburgh &
New Orleans, his appetite had increased. It was no longer a fair profit
he wanted, but something miraculous. He had sold hundreds of shares,
placing always a limit, vowing to be satisfied, and always going beyond
it. He had plunged first to the amount of thirty odd thousand, reserving
the fifty thousand which was pledged to the pool, but which he had not
been called on to deliver. But this fifty thousand remained a horrible
ever-present temptation. He resisted at first, borrowing five thousand
from Marsh when the rage of selling drove him deeper in; then finally,
absolutely confident, he had yielded, without much shock to his
conscience, and drawn each day until on this morning he had drawn on the
last ten thousand as collateral.

And still Pittsburgh & New Orleans receded, heaping up before his mind
fantastic profits.

  "When asked, 'Don't you tire,'
  He said, 'Di diddledee dire--
  I never can get enough work.'"

finished Fred with a grimace. "That's pretty bad--but so's the subject."

"Look here, Fred," said Bojo, thus recalled from the tyranny of figures
which kept swirling before his eyes. "I want to talk to you. I'm worried
about your letting Louise Varney in on Pittsburgh & New Orleans; besides
I suspect you've plunged a darned sight deeper than you ought."

And from the moral superiority of a man of force, he read him a lecture
on the danger to the mere outsider of risking all on one hazard--a
sensible pointed warning which DeLancy accepted contritely, in utter
ignorance of the preacher's own perilous position.

It was well after seven when they stepped out on the icy station amid
the gay crowd of week-enders. Patsie, at the reins, halloed to them from
a rakish cutter, and the next moment they were off over the crackling
snow with long, luminous, purple shadows at their sides, racing past
other sleighs with jingling bells and shrieks of recognition.

"Heavens, Patsie, you're worse than Fred with his car! I say, look
out--you missed that cutter by a foot," said Bojo, who had taken the
seat beside the young Eskimo at an imperious command.

"Pooh, that's nothing!" said that reckless person. "Watch this." With a
sudden swerve she drew past a contending sleigh and gained the head of
the road by a margin so narrow that the occupants of the back seat broke
into many cries.

"Here, let me out-- Murder!-- Police!"

"Don't worry, the snow's lovely and soft!" Patsie shouted back,
delighted. "Turned over myself yesterday--doesn't hurt a bit."

This encouraging information was received with frantic cries and demands
on Bojo to take the reins.

"Don't you dare," said the gay lady indignantly, setting her feet firmly
and flinging all the weight of her shoulders against a sudden break of
the spirited team.

"Pulling pretty hard," said Bojo, watching askance the riotous struggle
that whirled past cottage and evergreen and filled the air with a snowy
bombardment from the scurrying hoofs. "Say when, if you need me."

"I _won't_! Tell the back seat to jump if I shout!"

"Holy murder!" exclaimed Fred DeLancy, who so far forgot his animosities
as to cling to Boskirk, possibly with the idea of providing himself a
cushion in case of need.

"Are they awfully scared?" said Patsie in a delighted whisper. "Yes?
Just you wait till we get to the gate. That will make them howl! How's
your nose--frozen?

"Glorious!"

"Too cold for Doris and the rest. Catch them getting chapped up. Their
idea of winter sports is popping popcorn by the fire. Thank heaven
you've arrived, Bojo! I'm suffocating. Hold tight!"

"Hold tight!" sang out Bojo, not without some apprehension as the
sleigh, without slackening speed, approached the sudden swerve which led
through massive stone columns into the Drake estate. The quick turn
raised them on edge, skidding over the beaten snow so that the sleigh
came up with a bump against the farther pillar and then shot forward up
the long hill crowned with blazing porches and to a stop at last,
saluted by the riotous acclaim of a dozen dogs of all sizes and breeds.

"Scared--honor-bright?" said Patsie, leaping out as a groom came up to
take the horses.

"Never again!" said DeLancy, springing to terra firma with a groan of
relief, while Boskirk looked at the reckless girl with a disapproving
shake of his head.

They went stamping into the great hall to the warmth of a great log
blaze, Patsie dancing ahead, shedding toboggan cap and muffler riotously
on the way, for a dignified footman to gather in.

"Don't look so disappointed!" she cried, laughing, as the three young
men looked about expectantly. "The parlor beauties are upstairs
splashing in paint and powder, getting ready for the grand entrance!"

Boskirk and DeLancy went off to their rooms while Bojo, at a sign from
Patsie, remained behind.

"Well?" he said.

"Bojo, do me a favor--a great favor," she said instantly, seizing the
lapels of his coat. "It's moonlight to-night and we've got the most
glorious coast for a toboggan and, Bojo, I'm just crazy to go. After
dinner, won't you? Please say yes."

"Why, we'll get up a party," said Bojo, hesitating and tempted.

"Party? Catch those mollycoddles getting away from the steam-heaters!
Now, Bojo, be a dear. You're the only real being I've had here in weeks.
Besides, if you have any spunk you'll do it," she added artfully.

"What do you mean?"

"Just let Doris get her fill of that old fossil of a Boskirk. Show your
independence. Bojo, please do it for me!"

She clung to him, coquetting with her eyes and smile with the dangerous
inconscient coquetry of a child, and this radiance and rosy youth, so
close to him, so intimately offered, brought him a disturbing emotion.
He turned away so as not to meet the sparkling, pleading glance.

"Young lady," he said with assumed gruffness, "I see you are learning
entirely too fast. I believe you are actually flirting with me."

"Then you will!" she cried gleefully. "Hooray!" She flung her arms about
him in a rapturous squeeze and fled like a wild animal in light,
graceful bounds up the stairs, before he could qualify his
acquiescence.

When he came down dressed for dinner, Doris was flitting about the
library, waiting his coming. She glanced correctly around to forestall
eavesdroppers, and offered him her cheek.

"Is this a skating costume?" he said, glancing quizzically at the
trailing, mysterious silken ballgown of lavender and gold, which
enfolded her graceful figure like fragrant petals. "By the way, why
didn't you let me know I was to have a rival?"

"Don't be silly," she said, brushing the powder from his sleeve. "I was
furious. It was all mother's doings."

"Yes, you look furious!" he said to tease her. "Never mind, Doris,
General Managers must calculate on all possibilities."

She closed his lips with an indignant movement of her scented fingers,
looking at him reproachfully.

"Bojo, don't be horrid. Marry Boskirk? I'd just as soon marry a mummy. I
should be petrified with boredom in a week."

"He's in love with you."

"He? He couldn't love anything. How ridiculous! Heavens, just to think
I'll have to talk his dreary talk sends creeping things up and down my
back."

Bojo professed to be unconvinced, playing the offended and jealous
lover, not perhaps without an ulterior motive, and they were in the
midst of a little tiff when the others arrived. Mrs. Drake did not dare
to isolate him completely, but she placed Boskirk on Doris's right, and
to carry out his assumed irritation Bojo devoted himself to Patsie, who
rattled away heedless of where her chatter hit.

Dinner over, Bojo, relenting a little, sought to organize a general
party, but meeting with no success went off, heedless of reproachful
glances, to array himself in sweater and boots.

Twenty minutes later they were on the toboggan, Patsie tucked in front,
laughing back at him over her shoulder with the glee of the escapade.
Below them the banked track ran over the dim, white slopes glowing in
the moonlight.

"All you have to do is to keep it from wobbling off the track with your
foot," said Patsie.

"How are you--warm enough? Wrap up tight!" he said, pushing the toboggan
forward until it tilted on the iced crest. "Ready?"

"Let her go!"

He flung himself down on his side, her back against his shoulder, and
with a shout they were off, whistling into the frosty night, shooting
down the steep incline, faster and faster, rocking perilously, as the
smooth, flat toboggan rose from the trough and tilted against the
inclined sides, swerving back into place at a touch of his foot, rising
and falling with the curved slopes, shooting past clustered trees that
rushed by them like inky storm-clouds, flashing smoothly at last on to
the level.

"Lean to the left!" she called to him, as they reached a banked curve.

"When?"

"Now!" Her laugh rang out as they rose almost on the side and sped into
the bend. "Hold tight, there's a jump in a minute-- Now!"

Their bodies stiffened against each other, her hair sweeping into his
eyes, blinding him as the toboggan rose fractionally from the ground
and fell again.

"Gorgeous!"

"Wonderful!"

They glided on smoothly, with slacking speed, a part of the stillness
that lay like the soft fall of snow over the luminous stretches and the
clustered mysterious shadows; without a word exchanged, held by the
witchery of the night, and the soft, fairylike crackling voyage. Then
gradually, imperceptibly, at last the journey ended. The toboggan came
to a stop in a glittering region of white with a river bank and elfish
bushes somewhere at their side, and ahead a dark rise against the
horizon with lights like pin-pricks far off, and on the air, from
nowhere, the tinkle of sleigh-bells, but faint, shaken by some
will-o'-the-wisp perhaps.

"Are you glad you came?" she said at last, without moving.

"Very glad."

"Think of sitting around talking society when you can get out here," she
said indignantly. "Oh, Bojo, I'm never going to stand it. I think I'll
take the veil."

He laughed, but softly, with the feeling of one who understands, as
though in that steep plunge the icy air had cleansed his brain of all
the hot, fierce worldly desires for money, power, and vanities which had
possessed it like a fever.

"I wish we could sit here like this for hours," she said, unconsciously
resting against his shoulder.

"I wish we could, too, Drina," he answered, meditating.

She glanced back at him.

"I like you to call me Drina," she said.

"Drina when you are serious, Patsie when you are trying to upset
sleighs."

"Yes, there are two sides of me, but no one knows the other." She sat a
moment as though hesitating on a confidence, and suddenly sprang up.
"Game for another?"

"A dozen others!"

They caught up the rope together, but suddenly serious she stopped.

"Bojo?"

"What?"

"Sometimes I think you and Doris are not a bit in love."

"What makes you think that?" he said, startled.

"I don't know--you don't act--not as I would act--not as I should think
people would act in love. Am I awfully impertinent?"

Troubled, he made no answer.

"Nothing is decided, of course," he said at last, rather surprised at
the avowal.

They tramped up the hill, averting their heads occasionally as truant
gusts of wind whirled snow-sprays in their eyes, chatting confidentially
on less intimate subjects.

"Let's go softly and peek in," she said, returning into her mischievous
self as the great gabled house afire with lights loomed before them.
They stood, shoulder to shoulder, peeping about a protecting tree at the
group in the drawing-room. Mr. Drake was reading under the lamp, Fred
and Gladys ensconced in the bay window, while Doris at the phonograph
had resorted to Caruso.

"Heavens, what an orgy!-- Sh-h. Hurry now."

A second time they went plunging into the night, close together, more
sober, the silence cut only by the hissing rush and an occasional
warning from Drina, as each obstacle sprang past. But her voice was no
longer hilarious with the glee of a child; it was attuned to the hush
and slumber of the countryside.

"I hate the city!" she said rebelliously when again they had come to a
stop. "I hate the life they want me to lead."

All at once a quick resentment came to him, at the thought that she
should change and be turned into worldly ways.

"I'm afraid you're not made for a social career, Patsie," he said
slowly. "I would hate to think of your being different."

"You can't say what you want, or do what you want, or let people know
what you feel," she said in an outburst. "Just let them try to marry me
off to any old duke or count and see what'll happen!"

"Why, no one wants to marry you off yet, Patsie," he said in dismay.

"I'm not so sure." She was silent a moment. "Do you think it's awful to
hate your family--not Dad, but all the rest--to want to run away, and be
yourself--be natural? Well, that's just the way I feel!"

"Is that the way you feel?" he said slowly.

She nodded, looking away.

"I want to be real, Bojo." She shuddered. "I know Dolly's
unhappy--there was some one she did care for-- I know. It must be
terrible to marry like that--terrible! It would kill me--oh, I know it!"

They were silent; come to that moment where secret carriers are near,
she still a little shy, he afraid of himself.

"We must go back now," he said after a long pause. "We must, Drina."

"Oh, must we!"

"Yes."

"Will you come out to-morrow night?"

"I don't know," he said confusedly.

He held out his hand and raised her to her feet.

"Come."

"I don't want to go back," she said, yielding reluctantly. She threw out
her arms, drawing a long breath, her head flung back in the path of the
moonbeams with the unconscious instinct of the young girl for enchanting
the male. "You don't want to go either. Now do you?"

He made no reply, fidgeting with the rope.

"Now be nice and say you don't!"

"No, I don't," he said abruptly.

"Drina?"

"Drina."

She took his arm, laughing a low, pleased laugh, quite unconscious of
all the havoc she was causing, never analyzing the moods of the night
and the soul which were stealing over her too in an uncomprehended
happiness.

"I think I could tell you anything, Bojo," she said gently. "You seem
to understand, and so much that I don't say too!"

All at once she slipped and flung back against him to avoid falling. He
held her thus--his arm around her.

"Turn your ankle? Hurt?"

"No, no--ouf!"

A galloping gust came tearing over the snow, whirling white spirals,
showering them with a myriad of tiny, pointed crystal sparks, stinging
their cheeks and blinding their eyes. With a laugh she turned her head
away and shrank up close to him, still in the protection of his arms.
The gust fled romping away and still they stood, suddenly hushed,
clinging with half-closed eyes. She sought to free herself, felt his
arms retaining her, glanced up frightened, and then yielded, swaying
against him.

[Illustration: "'Drina, dear child,' he said in a whisper"]

"Drina--dear child," he said in a whisper that was wrenched from his
soul. Such a sensation of warmth and gladness, of life and joy, entered
his being that all other thoughts disappeared tumultuously, as he held
her thus in his arms, there alone in the silence and the luminous night,
reveling wildly in the knowledge that the same inevitable impulse had
drawn her also to him.

"Oh, Bojo, we mustn't, we can't!"

The cry had so much young sorrow in it as he drew away that a pain went
through his heart to have brought this suffering.

"Drina, forgive me. I wouldn't hurt you-- I couldn't help it-- I didn't
know what happened," he said brokenly.

"Don't--you couldn't help it--or I either. I don't blame you--no, no, I
don't blame you," she said impulsively, her eyes wet, her hands
fervently clasped. He did not dare meet her glance, his brain in a riot.

"We must go back," he said hastily, and they went in silence.

When they returned Patsie disappeared. He entered the drawing-room and,
though for the first time he felt how false his position was, even with
a feeling of guilt, he was surprised at the sudden wave of kindliness
and sympathy that swept over him as he took his place by Doris.



CHAPTER XIII

BOJO MAKES A DECISION


The next morning Patsie persistently avoided him. Instead of joining the
skaters on the pond, she went off for a long excursion across country on
her skis, followed by her faithful bodyguard of Romp and three different
varieties of terrier. Bojo came upon her suddenly quite by accident on
her return. She was coming up the great winding stairway, not like a
whirlwind, but heavily, her head down and thoughtful, heedless of the
dogs that tumbled over each other for the privilege of reaching her
hand. At the sight of him she stopped instinctively, blushing red before
she could master her emotions.

He came to her directly, holding out his hand, overcome by the thought
of the pain he had unwittingly caused her, seeking the proper words,
quite helpless and embarrassed. She took his hand and looked away, her
lips trembling.

"I'm so glad to see you," he said stupidly. "We're pals, good pals, you
know, and nothing can change that."

She nodded without looking at him, slowly withdrawing her hand. He
rushed on heedlessly, imbued with only one idea--to let her know at all
costs how much her opinion of him mattered.

"Don't think badly of me, Patsie. I wouldn't bring you any sorrow for
all the world. What you think means an awful lot to me." He hesitated,
fearing to say too much, and then blurted out: "Don't turn against me,
Drina, whatever you do."

She turned quickly at the name, looked at him steadily a moment, and
shook her head, trying to smile.

"Never, Bojo--never that-- I couldn't," she said, and hurriedly went up
the stairs.

A lump came to his throat; something wildly, savagely delirious, seemed
to be pumping inside of him. He could not go back to the others at once.
He felt suffocated, in a whirl, with the need of mastering himself, of
bringing all the unruly, triumphant impulses that were rioting through
his brain back to calm and discipline.

At luncheon, Patsie proposed an excursion in cutters, claiming Mr.
Boskirk as her partner, and with a feeling almost of guilt he seconded
the proposal, understanding her desire to throw him with Doris. DeLancy
and Gladys Stone started first, after taking careful instructions for
the way to their rendezvous at Simpson's cider-mill--instructions which
every one knew they had not the slightest intention of following.
Boskirk, with the best face he could muster, went off with Patsie, who
disappeared like a runaway engine, chased by a howling brigade of dogs,
while Bojo and Doris followed presently at a sane pace.

"We sha'n't see Gladys and Fred," said Doris, laughing. "No matter.
They're engaged!"

"As though that were news to me."

"Did he tell you?"

"I guessed. Last night in the conservatory." He added with a sudden
feeling of good will: "Gladys is much nicer than I thought, really."

"She's awfully in love. I'm so glad."

"When will it be announced?"

"Next week."

"Heaven be praised!"

In a desire to come to a more intimate sharing of confidences he told
her of his fears.

"Louise Varney, a vaudeville actress!" said Doris, with a figurative
drawing in of her skirts.

"Oh, there's nothing against her," he protested, "excepting perhaps her
chaperone! Only Fred's susceptible, you know--terribly so--and easily
led."

"Yes, but people don't marry such persons--you can get infatuated and
all that--but you don't marry them!" she said indignantly. She shrugged
her shoulders. "It's all right to be--to be a man of the world, but not
that!"

He hesitated, afraid of going further, of finding a sudden
disillusionment in the worldly attitude her words implied. A certain
remorse, a feeling of loyalty betrayed impelled him on, as though all
danger could be avoided by forever settling his future. Their
conversation by degrees assumed a more intimate turn, until at length
they came to speak of themselves.

"Doris, I have something to ask you," he said, plunging in miserably.
"We have never really--formally been engaged, have we?"

"The idea! Of course we have," she said, laughing. "It's only you who
wouldn't have it announced because--because you were too proud or some
other ridiculous reason!"

"Well, now I want it announced." He met her glance and added: "And I
want you to announce at the same time the date of the wedding."

He had said it--irrevocably decided for the path of conscience and
loyalty, and it seemed to him as though a great load had shifted from
his shoulders.

"Bojo! Do you mean--now, soon!"

"Just that. Doris, when this deal is settled up--and I'll know this
week--I'm going to have close on to two hundred thousand--on my own
hook, not counting what I'll get from the pool. I've plunged. I've put
every cent I had in it or could borrow," he said hastily, avoiding an
explanation of just what he had done. "I've risked everything on the
turn--"

"But supposing something went wrong?"

"It won't! This week, we're going to hammer Pittsburgh & New Orleans
down below thirty: I know. The point is now--when that's all safe--I
want you to marry me."

"I have a quarter of a million in my own name. Father gave us each that
three years ago."

He hesitated.

"Do you need that very much? I'd rather you'd start--"

"Oh, Bojo, why? If you've got that, why shouldn't I?"

He wavered before this argument.

"I would rather, Doris, we started on less, on what I myself have got.
I've thought it over a good deal. I think it would mean a great deal to
us to start out that way--to have me feel you were by my side, helping
me. It _is_ pride, but pride means all to a man, Doris."

"If I only used it for dresses and jewels--just for myself?" she said
after a moment. "You want me to look as beautiful as the other women,
and we aren't going to drop out of society, are we?"

"No. Keep it then," he said abruptly.

"I won't take a cent from father," she said virtuously, and was furious
when he laughed.

"And you are willing to give up all the rest, now, and be just plain
Mrs. Crocker?"

She nodded, watching him askance.

"When?"

"In May at the close of the social season--butterfly."

He had begun with a hunger in his heart to reach depths in hers, and he
ended with laughter, with a feeling of being defrauded.

They stopped at Simpson's for a cool drink of cider and were on again,
passing through wintry forests, with green Christmas trees against the
creamy stretches where rabbit paths ran into dark entanglements. All at
once they were in the open again, sweeping through a sudden factory
village, Jenkinstown, stagnant with the exhaustion of the Sunday's rest.

"There, aren't you glad you didn't begin there?" she said gaily, with a
nick of the whip toward the grim gray line of barracks that crowded
against the street.

"You never would have married me then," he said.

"Oh, ask me anything but to be _poor_!" she said, shuddering.

"She might at least have lied," he thought grimly. He gazed with
curiosity at this glimpse of factory life, at the dulled faces of women,
wrapped in gay shawls, staring at them; at the sluggish loiterers on the
corners, and the uncleanly hordes of children, who cried impertinently
after them, recalling his father's words:--"a great mixed horde to be
turned into intelligent, useful American citizens!" Squalid and
hopelessly commonplace it seemed to him, cruelly devoid of pleasure or
joy in the living. But such as these had placed him where he was, with
an opportunity to turn in a year what in the lifetime of generations
they could never approach.

The spectacle affected Doris like a disagreeable smell.

"I hate to think such people exist," she said, frowning.

"But they do exist," he said slowly.

"Yes, but I don't want to think of it. Heavens, to be poor like that!"

"It's late; we'd better be going back," he said.

They came back enveloped in the falling dusk, Doris running on gaily,
quite delighted now at the prospect of their coming marriage, making a
hundred plans for the ordering of the establishment, debating the
question of an electric or an open car to start with, the proper quarter
to seek an apartment, and the number of servants, while Bojo, silently,
rather grim, listened, thinking of the look which would come into some
one's eyes when their decision was told.

At the porte-cochère Gladys and Patsie came rushing out with frightened
faces. Fred had caught the last train home after a call from New York.
Bojo, with a sinking feeling, seized the note he had left for him.

     Roscy telephoned. There's a rumor that a group have been
     cornering Pittsburgh & New Orleans all this while. If so
     there'll be the devil to pay in the morning. Forshay's been
     wild to get you. Get back somehow. If in time get the Harlem
     6:42 at Jenkinstown. In haste.

  FRED.

"Can I make the 6:42 at Jenkinstown?" he cried to the groom.

"Just about, sir."

"Jump in."

"I'm so frightened! Telephone at once!" He heard Doris cry, and, hardly
heeding her he looked about vacantly. Then something was pressed in his
hand, and Patsie's voice was sounding in his ears. "Here's your bag. I
packed it. Keep up your courage, Bojo!"

"Patsie, you're a dear. Thank you. All right now!" He took her hands,
met her clear brave eyes, and sprang into the sleigh. A terrible
sickening dread came over him, an unreasoning superstitious dread. He
felt ruin and worse, cold and damp in the air about him, ruin inevitable
from the first, the bubble's collapse as he waved a hasty farewell and
shot away in the race across the night.



CHAPTER XIV

THE CRASH


"What has happened?" he asked himself a hundred times during the
headlong drive. A corner in Pittsburgh & New Orleans--that was possible
but hardly probable. But if a corner had taken place it meant ruin,
absolute ruin--and worse. The thought was too appalling to be seized at
once. He reassured himself with specious explanations. There might be a
flurry; Gunther and his crowd, who were in control of the system, might
have attempted a division to support their property; but the final
attack at which Joseph Skelly had hinted more than once as timed for the
coming week, the throwing on the market of 100,000 shares--200,000 if
necessary--must overwhelm this support, must overwhelm it. What was
terrible, though, was the unknown--to be hours from New York, cut off
from communication, and not to know what was this shapeless dread.

When they swung into Jenkinstown, orange lights from the windows cut up
the snowbound streets in checkerboard patterns of light and shade: an
organ was beginning in mournful bass from a shanty church; a cheap
phonograph in a flickering ice-cream parlor was grinding out a ragged
march. Through the windows, heavy parties still at the Sunday newspapers
were gathered under swinging lamps. The cutter drew up by the hovel of
a station and departed, leaving him alone in the semi-darkness, a prey
to his thoughts. A group returning after a day's visit trudged past him,
laughing uproariously, Slavic and brutish in type, the women in imitated
finery, gazing at him in insolent curiosity. He began to walk to escape
the dismal sense of unlovely existence they brought him. Beyond were the
mathematical rows of barracks--other brutish lives, the bleak ice-cream
parlor, the melancholy of the evening service. It was all so one-sided,
obsessed by the one idea of labor, lacking in the simplest direction
toward any comprehension of the enjoyment of life.

The crisis he had reached, the threatened descent from the sublime to
the ridiculous, brought with it that contrition which in men is a
superstitious seeking for the secret of their own failures in some
transgressed moral law. His own life all at once seemed cruelly selfish
and gluttonous before this bleak view of the groping world and,
profoundly stirred to self-analysis, he said to himself:

"After all--why am I here--to try and change all this a little for the
better or to pass on and out without significance?" And at the thought
that year in and year out these hundreds would go on, doomed to this
stagnation, there woke in him a horror, a horror of what it must mean to
fall back and slip beneath the surface of society.

He arrived in New York at three in the morning, after an interminable
ride in the jolting, wheezing train, fervently awake in the dim and
draughty smoking-car where strange human beings huddled over a greasy
pack of cards or slept in drunken slumber. And all during the lagging
return one thought kept beating against his brain:

"Why didn't I close up yesterday--yesterday I could have made--" He
closed his eyes, dizzy with the thought of what he could have netted
yesterday. He said to himself that he would wind up everything in the
morning. And there would still be a profit, there was still time ...
knowing in his heart that disaster had already laid its clutching hand
upon his arm. The city was quiet with an unearthly, brooding quiet as he
reached the Court, where one light still shone in the window of a
returned reveler. Marsh and DeLancy came hurriedly out at the sound of
his entrance.

"What's wrong?" he cried at the sight of Fred's drawn face.

"Everything. The city's full of it," said Marsh. "It leaked out this
afternoon, or rather the Gunther crowd let it leak out. Pittsburgh & New
Orleans will declare an additional quarterly dividend to-morrow."

"It's the end of us," said Fred. "The stock will go kiting up."

"We've got to cover," said Bojo.

"In a crazy market? If we can!"

"It may not be true."

"I've got it as direct as I could get it," said Marsh, shaking his head.

"Suppose there is a corner and we have to settle around 100 or 150?"
said DeLancy, staring nervously away.

There was no need for Bojo to ask how deeply involved they were. He
knew.

"Some one's been buying large blocks of it. That's known," said Marsh,
calmer than the rest. "Ten to one it's Gunther's crowd. They had the
advance information. Ten to one they've laid the trap and sprung a
corner."

"No, nonsense! It's not as bad as that. If they're putting out an extra
dividend, the stock's going to jump up--for a while. That's all. And
then some one else may have a card up his sleeve," said Bojo, fighting
against conviction.

"Call up Drake," said Fred.

Bojo hesitated. The situation called for any measure. He went to the
telephone, after long minutes getting a response. Mr. Drake was out of
town on a hunting trip; was not expected back until the following night.
There remained Drake's agent Skelly, but a quick search of the book
revealed no home telephone.

"Can you put up more margin?" asked Bojo.

DeLancy shook his head.

"I can, but it may be better to take the loss," said Marsh. "We'll have
to wait and see. Quick work to-morrow! By the way, there's a call for
you from Forshay to be at the office by eight o'clock to-morrow. Well,
let's get a few winks of sleep if we can. Luck of the game!"

"I'm sorry," said Bojo desperately.

"Shut up. We're over age," said Marsh, thumping him on the back, but
DeLancy went to his room, staring. The moment he was gone Marsh turned
to Bojo. "Look here, whatever we do we've got to save Fred. You and I
can stand a mauling. Fred's caught."

"If we can," said Bojo, without letting him know how serious the
situation was for him. "How deep in is he?"

"Close to 2,000 shares."

"Good heavens, where did he get the money?"

Marsh looked serious, shook his head, and made no further reply.

At seven o'clock, when Bojo was struggling up from a sleepless night,
Granning came into his room, awkwardly sympathetic.

"Look here, Bojo, is it as bad as the fellows feared?"

"Can't tell, Granny. Looks nasty."

"You in trouble too?"

Bojo nodded.

"I say, I've got that bond for a thousand tucked away," said Granning
slowly. "Use it if it'll help any."

"Bless your heart," said Bojo, really touched. "It's not a thousand,
Granny, that'll help now. You were right--gambler's luck!"

"Cut that out," said Granning, shifting from foot to foot. "I'm damned
sorry--tough luck, damned tough luck. I wish I could help!"

"You can't--no use of throwing good money after bad. Mighty white of you
all the same!"

       *       *       *       *       *

When he reached the offices, he learned for the first time how deeply
the firm had speculated on the information of Drake's intentions.
Forshay was cool, with the calm of the sportsman game in the face of
ruin, but Flaspoller and Hauk were frantic in their denunciations. It
was a trick, a stock-jobbing device of an inner circle. Nothing could
justify an additional dividend. The common stock had not been on a two
per cent. basis more than three years. Nothing justified it. Some one
would go behind the bars for it! Forshay smoked on, shrugging his
shoulders, rather contemptuous.

"Hit you hard?" he said to Bojo.

"Looks so. And you?"

"Rather."

"You call up Drake. Maybe he come back," said Flaspoller, ungrammatical
in his wrath.

"He won't be in," said Bojo, and for the twentieth time he received the
invariable answer.

[Illustration: "The message was the end of hope"]

At nine o'clock Skelly's office called up. A clerk gave the message, Mr.
Skelly being too occupied. Bojo listened, hoping desperately against
hope, believing in the possibility of salvation in an enormous block to
be thrown on the market. The message was the end of hope!

"Cancel selling orders. Buy Pittsburgh & New Orleans at the market up to
20,000 shares."

He tried ineffectively to reach Skelly personally and then communicated
the order to the others, who were waiting in silence.

"If Drake's out, good-by," said Forshay, who went to the window,
whistling. "Well, let's save what we can!"

The realization of the situation brought a sudden calm. Hauk departed
for the floor of the Stock Exchange. The others prepared to wait.

"Match you quarters," said Forshay with a laugh. He came back, glancing
over Bojo's shoulder at a few figures jotted down on a pad, reading off
the total: "12,350 shares. I thought you were in only ten thousand."

"Twenty-three fifty Saturday," said Bojo, staring at the pad. "At 5 per
cent. margin too."

"Lovely. What cleans you out?"

Bojo figured a moment, frowned, consulted his list, and finally
announced: "Thirty-seven and one-half wipes me out nice and clean."

"I'm good for a point higher. I say, there's rather a rush on this
office; have you got buying orders elsewhere?" Bojo nodded. "Good. Take
every chance. What did we close at Saturday, thirty-one and one-half?"

"Thirty-two."

"Oh well, there's a chance." He looked serious a moment, turning a coin
over and over on his hand, thinking of others. "No fool like an old
fool, Tom. If I've been stung once I've been stung a dozen times! It's
winning the first time that's bad. You can't forget it--the sensation of
winning. Sort of your case too, eh? Well, come on. I'm matching you!"

An hour later, with the announcement of the additional dividend, they
stood together by the tape and watched Pittsburgh & New Orleans mount by
jerks and starts--5000 at 33--2,000 at 35-1/2--1,000 at 34-1/2--4,000 at
35-3/4--500 at 34.

"Having a great time, isn't it? Jumping all over the place. Orders must
be thick as huckleberries. Selling all over the place so fast they can't
keep track of it."

Flaspoller came in with the first purchase by Hauk, who was having a
frantic time executing his orders.

"I've bought 2,000 at 34, thank God," said Bojo, returning from the
telephone. "What's it now?"

"Touched 36: 10,000 at 35-1/2--big orders are coming in. Thirty-six
again. Lovelier and lovelier."

Back and forth from telephone to ticker they went without time for
luncheon, elated at the thought of shares purchased at any price, grimly
watching the ominous figures creep up and up, mute, paralyzing
indications of the struggle and frenzy on the floor, where brokers flung
themselves hoarse and screaming into knotted, swaying groups and
telephone-boys swarmed back and forth from the booths like myriad angry
ants trampled out of their ant-hills.

At two o'clock Pittsburgh & New Orleans had reached 42. An hour before
Bojo had left the ticker, waiting breathlessly at the telephone for the
announcement of purchases that meant precious thousands. At two-thirty
the final dock of 500 shares came in at 42-1/2. Mechanically he added
the new figures to the waiting list. Of the $83,000 in the bank and the
$95,000 which yesterday summed up his winnings on paper, he had to his
credit when all accounts were squared hardly $15,000. The rest had
collapsed in a morning, like a soap bubble.

"Save anything?" said Forshay, struck by the wildness in the young man's
look.

"I can settle my account here, I'm glad to say," said Bojo with
difficulty. "That's something. I think I'll pull out with around fifteen
thousand. Hope you did better."

"Thanks, awfully."

"Cleaned out?" said Bojo, startled.

"Beautiful. Clean. Well, good-by, Tom, and--better luck next time."

Bojo looked up hastily, aghast. But Forshay was smiling. He nodded and
went out.

Bojo reached the court still in a daze, unable to comprehend where it
had all gone--this fortune that was on his fingers yesterday. Yesterday!
If he had only closed up yesterday! Then through the haze of his numbed
sense of loss came a poignant, terrifying recall to actuality. He stood
pledged to Drake for the amount of $50,000, and he could not make good
even a third! If the pool had been wiped out--and he had slight hopes of
saving anything there--he would have to procure $35,000 somewhere,
somehow, or face to Drake and his own self-respect that he could not
redeem his own word. What could he say, what excuse offer! If the pool
had collapsed--he was dishonored.

The realization came slowly. For a long while, sitting in the embrasure
of the bay window--his forehead against the cold panes, it seemed to him
incredible the way he had gone these last six months; as though it had
all been a fever that had peopled his horizon with unreal figures,
phantasies of hot dreams.

But the unblinkable, waking fact was there. His word had been pledged
for $50,000 to Drake, to the father of the girl he was to marry. Marry!
At the thought he laughed aloud bitterly. That, too, was a thing that
had vanished in the bubble of dreams. He thought of his father, to whom
he would have to go; but his pride recoiled. He would never go to him
for aid--a failure and a bankrupt. Rather beg Drake on his knees for
time to work out the debt than that!

"How did I do it? What possessed me! What madness possessed me!" he said
wearily again and again.

At eight o clock, when all the high electric lights had come out about
the blazing window of the court, recalled by the sounds of music from
the glass-paneled restaurant he went out for dinner, wondering why his
friends had not returned. At ten when he came back after long tramping
of the streets, a note was on the table, in Granning's broad
handwriting.

     Hoped to catch you. Fred's gone off on a tear; God knows
     where he is. Roscy and I have been trying to locate him all
     day. Hope you pulled through, old boy.

  GRANNING.

At twelve o clock, still miserably alone, tortured by remorse and the
thought of the wreck he had unwittingly brought his chums, he could bear
the suspense of evasion no longer. He went up to Drake's to learn the
worst, steeled to a full confession.

In the hall, as he waited chafing and miserable, Fontaine, Gunther's
right-hand partner, passed out hurriedly, jaws set, oblivious. Drake was
in the library in loose dressing-gown and slippers, a cigar in his
mouth, immersed in the usual contemplation of the picture puzzle.

"By George, he bears it well," Bojo thought to himself, moved to
admiration by the calm of that impassive figure.

"Hello, Tom," he said, looking up, "what's brought you here at this time
of night? Anything wrong?"

"Wrong?" said Bojo faintly. "Haven't you heard about Pittsburgh & New
Orleans?"

"Well, what about it?"

Bojo gulped down something that was in his throat, steadying himself
against the awful truth that meant ruin and dishonor to him.

"Mr. Drake--tell me what I owe you? I want to know what I owe you," he
said desperately.

"Owe? Nothing."

"But the pool?"

"Well, what about the pool?" said Drake, eyeing him closely.

"The pool to sell Pittsburgh & New Orleans."

"Who said anything about selling!" said Drake sharply. "The pool's all
right." He looked at him a long moment, and the boyish triumph,
suppressed too long, broke out with the memory of Fontaine's visit. "I
bought control of Pittsburgh & New Orleans at eleven o'clock this
morning and sold it ten minutes ago, for what I paid for it, plus--plus
a little profit of ten million dollars." He paused long enough to let
this sink into the consciousness of the reeling young man and added,
smiling: "On a pro rata basis, Tom, your fifty thousand stands you in
just a quarter of a million. I congratulate you."



CHAPTER XV

SUDDEN WEALTH


"Your fifty thousand stands you in just a quarter of a million."

The words came to him faintly as though shouted from an incredible
distance. The shock was too acute for his nerves. He sought to mumble
over the fantastic news and sank into a chair, sick with giddiness. The
next thing he knew clearly was Drake's powerful arm about him and a
glass forced to his lips.

"Here, get this down. Then steady up. Good luck doesn't kill."

"I thought they'd caught us--thought I was cleaned out," he said
incoherently.

"You did, eh?" said Drake, laughing. "You haven't much faith in the old
man."

Bojo steadied himself, standing alone. The room seemed to race about him
and in his ears were strange unfixed sounds. One thought rapped upon his
brain--he was not disgraced, not dishonored; no one would ever
know--Drake would never need to know; that is if he were careful, if he
could somehow dissimulate before that penetrating glance.

"I thought we were to sell Pittsburgh & New Orleans," he said vacantly,
leaning against the mantelpiece.

"So did a good many others," said Drake shrewdly. "Sit down, till I tell
you about it. Head clearin' up?"

"It's rather a shock," said Bojo, trying to smile. "I'm sorry to be such
a baby."

"I warned you not to jump to conclusions or try any flyers," said Drake,
watching him. "Of course you did?"

Bojo nodded, his glance on the floor.

"Well, write it off against your profits and charge it up to
experience," said Drake, smiling. "Store this away for the future and
use it if you ever need it, if you're ever running a pool of your
own--which I hope you won't. It's been my golden rule and I paid a lot
to learn it. It's this: If you want a secret kept, keep it yourself." He
burst into a round, hearty laugh, gazing contentedly into the fire.
"Wish I could see Borneman's face. Helped me a lot, Borneman did. You
see, Tom," he said, with the human need of boasting a little, which
allies such men rather to the child on an adventure than to the
criminal, between whom they occupy an indefinable middle position,
"you've come in on the drop of the curtain. You've seen the finale of
something that'll set Wall Street stewing for years to come. Yes, by
George, it's the biggest bit of manipulation by a single operator yet!
And look at the crowd I tricked--the inner gang, the crême de la crême,
Tom--exactly that!"

"I don't understand it," said Bojo, as Drake began to smile, reflecting
over remembered details. He himself understood only confusedly the
events which had been whirling about him.

"Tom, the crowd had figured me out for a trimming," said Drake,
gleefully, caressing his chin. "They thought the time had come to trim
old Drake. You see, they calculated I was loaded up with stocks, crowded
to busting and ready to squeal at the slightest squeeze. Now getting
rich on paper is one thing and getting rich in the bank's another. Any
one can corner anything--but it's all-fired different to get Mr. Fly to
come down to your parlor and take some stock after you've got it where
you want it. That's what they figured. Dan Drake was loaded to the sky
with stocks that looked almighty good on the quotation column, but
darned hard to swap for cold, hard cash. That's what they figured, and
the strange part about it is they were right.

"But--there's always a but--they hadn't reckoned on the fact that Mr. Me
was expecting just what they'd figured out. That's what I told you was
the secret of the game--any game--think the way the other man thinks,
and then think two jumps ahead of him. Now if I was reasonably sure a
certain powerful gang was going to put stocks down, and put them down
hard, I might look around to see how that could benefit me at one end
while it was annoying me, almightily annoying me, at the other. Now when
them coyotes get to juggling stocks they always like to juggle stock
they know about--something with a nice little pink ribbon to it, with a
president and board of directors on the other end, that'll wriggle in
the right direction when the coyotes pull the string.

"Now I'd been particularly hankering after Pittsburgh & New Orleans for
quite a while. It was good in their old Southern system, but it looked
mighty better outside of it. In independent hands it could stir up a
lot of trouble; sort of like a plain daughter in a rich man's house--no
one notices her until she runs off with the chauffeur. That was my idea.
Only Pittsburgh was high. But--again the but--if some particular breed
of coyote would be obliging enough to run it down along with a lot of
other properties on the market, I might pitch in and help them force it
down to where I could pick up what I wanted from the bargain counter.
See?"

"But you sold openly," said Bojo, amazed.

"Exactly. Sold it where they could see it and bought it back twice over,
ten times over, where they couldn't. Very simple process. All great
processes are simple, and it never dawned on those monumental
intelligences that they were fetchin' and carryin' for yours truly until
they woke up at six o'clock to-day to find while they were scrambling in
the dark, the chauffeur had run off with Miss Pittsburgh!"

He turned and walked to the table desk, motioning to Bojo.

"Come over here, look at it." He held out a check for ten million
dollars. "You don't see one of those fellows very often. Great man,
Gunther. When he's got to act he doesn't waste time. Right to the point.
'We are satisfied you have control. What's your terms?' 'Ten millions
and what the stock cost me.' 'We accept your terms,' Great man, Gunther.
Suppose I might have added another million, but it wouldn't have sounded
as well, would it? Something rather nice about costs and ten million!"

As he spoke, he had drawn out his check-book and filled out a check to
Bojo.

"Well, Tom, this isn't ten millions, but it's some pin money, and I
guess to you it looks bigger than the other. There you are--take it."

Bojo took it quite stupidly, saying:

"Thank you, thank you, sir!"

Drake watched the young man's emotion with tolerant amusement.

"Don't wonder you're a bit shaken up, Tom. Supposing you call up a
certain young lady on long distance. Rather please her, I reckon."

"Why, yes. I wanted to do it. I--I will, of course."

"So you thought I was going to sell short Pittsburgh & New Orleans,"
said Drake with a roguish humor.

Bojo nodded, at loss for words, biding the moment to escape into the
outer air.

"But, of course, Tom," said Drake slowly, with smiling eyes, "_you_
didn't tell any one, did you?"

Bojo mumbled something incoherent and went out, clutching the check,
which lay in his hand with the heaviness of lead.

In the open air he tried to readjust the events of the night. He had a
confused idea of rushing through the great hall, past the mechanical
footman, of hearing Thompson cry, "Get you a taxi, sir!" and of being
far down resounding pavements in the lovely night with something still
clutched in his hand.

"Two hundred and fifty thousand," he said to himself. He repeated it
again and again as a sort of dull drum-beat accompaniment, resounding in
his ears, even as his cane tapped out its sharp metallic punctuation.

"Two hundred _and_ fifty!" he said for the hundredth time, utterly
unable to comprehend what had in one hour changed the face of his world.
He stopped, drew his hand from his pocket, took the crumpled check and
placed it in his wallet, buttoned his coat carefully, and then
unbuttoned it to make sure it had not slipped from his pocket.

Drake had not asked him the vital question. He had not had to answer
him, to tell him what he had lost, to own that he had gambled beyond his
right. The issue he had gone to meet, resolved on a clean confession,
had been evaded, and in his pocket was the check--a fortune! Certain
facts did not at once focus in his mind, perhaps because he did not want
to contemplate them, perhaps because he was too bewildered with his own
sensations to perceive clearly what a rôle he had been made to play.

But as he swung down the Avenue past the Plaza with its Argus-eyed
windows still awake, past a few great mansions with cars and grouped
footmen in wait for revelers, at the thought of the quiet Court, of
Roscoe and Granning, at the sudden startled recollection of DeLancy, the
cold fact forced itself upon him; they had lost and he had won. He had
won because they had lost, and how many others!

"How could I help it?" he said to himself uneasily, and answered it
immediately with another question "But will they believe me?"

Suddenly Drake's last question flashed across him with a new
significance. "Of course you didn't tell any one, did you?"

Why had he not asked him then and there what he had meant? Because he
had been afraid, because he did not wish to know the answer, just as he
had evaded the knowledge that Doris in the first speculation had made
use of Boskirk. Even now he did not wish to force the ugly fact--seeking
to put it from him with plausible reasonings. After all, what had Drake
done? Told him a lie? No. He had specially cautioned him not to jump to
conclusions, warned him against doing anything on his own initiative.

"Yes, that's true," he said with a sigh of relief, as though a great
ethical question had been disposed of. "He played square, absolutely
square. There's nothing wrong in it."

Yet somehow the conviction brought no joy with it; there was something
stolen about the sensation of sudden wealth which possessed him. He
seemed to be scurrying through the shadowy city almost like a thief
afraid of confrontation.

Yet there was the home-coming, the friends to be faced. What answer
could he make them, how announce the stroke of fortune which had come to
him! On one thing at least he was resolved, and the resolution seemed to
lighten the weight of many problems which would not slip from his
shoulders. He was responsible for Roscy and Fred--at least they should
suffer no loss for having taken his advice. The others--Forshay, the
firm, one or two acquaintances he had tipped off in the last days, the
outsiders; they were different, and besides he did not want to think of
them. His friends should not suffer loss--not even a dollar. They were a
part of the pool, in a way. Of course they had had their friends, though
he had sworn them to secrecy. At this point he stopped in his mental
turnings, faced by a sudden barrier.

Had Drake knowingly used him to convey a false impression of his
intentions, made him the instrument of ruining others in order to carry
through his stupendous coup de force?

"If I thought that," he said hotly, "I wouldn't touch a cent of it!" But
after a moment, uneasily and in doubt, he added, "I wonder?"

He came to the Court and hurried in. Lights were blazing in the
bay-window, black silhouettes across the panes.

"Good God, supposing anything has happened to Fred!" he thought,
suddenly remembering Granning's note. He burst upstairs and into the
room. Roscoe Marsh was by the fireplace, gravely examining a pocket
revolver, which lay in his hand. Granning was on the edge of the couch
staring at Fred DeLancy, who was sunk in a great chair, disheveled and
dirt-stained, a sodden, cold-drunk mass.



CHAPTER XVI

BOJO BEGINS TO SPEND HIS QUARTER-MILLION


At the sight of Fred DeLancy, Bojo checked himself. A glance from
Granning apprised him of the seriousness of the situation. He walked
over to the huddled figure and laid his hand on his shoulder.

"Hello there, Fred. It's Bojo."

DeLancy raised his head, looked out through glazed eyes, and slowly
withdrew his stare to the vacant fireplace, where a smoldering flicker
drew his mind.

"Found him an hour ago in a hell over in Eighth Avenue," said Marsh.
"Bad."

Granning beckoned him, and together they went into the bedroom, closing
the door.

"All right now. Guess he'll stay quiet. Pretty violent when we came
back," said Granning. "Wanted to throw himself out of the window."

"And the pistol," said Bojo, sick at the thought of what might have
been.

"Yes, we found that on him," said Granning gravely. "Lucky he got drunk
so quick, or that might have been serious." He hesitated and added: "He
swears he'll kill himself first chance. Guess I'd better keep my eye on
him to-night."

At this moment there was the sound of a scuffle from the den and a shout
from Marsh. They rushed in to find him grappling with Fred, who was
striving frantically to reach the window. For a moment the air was full
of shouts and sudden scurrying.

"Look out, he's got that paper-cutter!"

"In his right hand."

"All right, I've got him."

"Throw him over on the couch. Sit on him. That's it."

Under their combined weights, DeLancy was flung, hoarse and screaming
maledictions, to the couch, where despite objurgations and ravings
Granning secured his arms behind his back with a strap and hobbled his
legs. For half an hour Fred twisted and strove, raving and swearing or
suddenly weakly remorseful, bursting into tears, cursing himself and his
folly. The three sat silently, faces sternly masked, looking unwilling
on the ugly spectacle of human frenzy in the raw. At the end of this
time DeLancy became suddenly quiet and dropped off into sodden sleep.

"At last," said Granning, rising. "Best thing for him. Oh, he won't hear
us--talk all you like."

"How hard is he hit?" said Bojo anxiously.

Marsh shrugged his shoulder and swore.

"How hard, Granning?"

"Twenty thousand or more," said Granning gravely, "and there are some
bad sides to it." He shook his head, glanced at DeLancy, and added:
"Then there's the girl."

"Louise Varney?"

"The same--mother has been camping on the telephone all day. Not a very
calm person, mother--ugh--nasty business!"

"Rotten business," said Bojo, remorsefully. He went to the bay-window
and stood there gazing out into the sickly night, paling before the
first grays of the morning. He was subdued by this spectacle of the
other side of speculation, wondering how many similar scenes were taking
place in sleepless rooms somewhere in the dusky flight of roof-tops.
Marsh, misunderstanding his mood, said:

"How did it hurt you? You pulled through all right, didn't you?"

Bojo came back thoughtfully, evading the question with another.

"And you?"

"Oh, better than I expected," said Marsh with a wry face. "I say, you're
not--not cleaned out?"

Granning rose and with his heavy hand turned him around solicitously.
"How about it, son?"

For hours Bojo had been debating his answer to this inevitable question
without finding a solution. He drew his pocketbook and slowly extracted
the check. "Gaze on that," he said solemnly.

Granning took it, stared at it, and passed it to Marsh, who looked up
with an exclamation: "For God's sake, what does that mean?"

"It means," said Bojo slowly, "that I can tell you the truth now. We
haven't lost a cent; on the contrary--" he paused and emphasized the
next word--"_we_ have made a killing. We means you, Fred, and myself."

"I don't get it," said Marsh, frowning.

"The real object of the pool was not to bear Pittsburgh & New Orleans,
but to buy it. If I let you sell short, it was only to get others to
sell short. To-morrow I'll settle up with you and Fred, every cent
you've lost, plus--"

"Bojo, you're lying," said Marsh abruptly.

"I'm not, I--"

"And you're lying badly!"

"What about that check?"

"That's all right; Drake may have done what you said, but you never
knew--"

"Roscy, I swear."

"Hold up and answer this. Do you want me to believe, Tom Crocker, that
you deliberately told me and Fred DeLancy, your closest friends, a lie,
in order to get us to spread false information to _our_ friends, to ruin
our friends in order to make a killing for you? Well, a straight
answer."

Bojo was silent.

"No, no, Bojo; don't come to me with any cock-and-bull story like
that--"

"Roscy, it _is_ a lie. I was completely in the dark myself; but I won't
touch a cent of it until your losses are squared, every dollar of them!"

"So that's the game, eh?" said Marsh, laughing. "Well you go plump to
the devil!

"Roscy!" said Bojo, jumping up and seizing his arm. "At least let me
square up what you lost. Hold up. Wait a second, don t go off
half-cocked! Fred's got to be hauled out of this; it's not only
bankruptcy, it's a darned sight worse--it's his word, his honor--a
woman's money, too. You know him--he's weak, he won't stand up under it.
Good God, you don't want me to have his life on my conscience?"

"What do you want to do?"

"I want to make Fred believe what I told you--it's the only way. If you
play into the game he'll believe it. Good Lord, Roscy, this thing's bad
enough as it is. You don't think I could profit one cent while you
fellows were cleaned out by my own fault?"

"Look here," said Marsh, sitting down, "it isn't your fault. I gambled,
that's all, and lost. I gambled before on your advice and won.
Fifty-fifty, that's all. Now Fred's different. I'll admit it. You can do
what you please with him; that's between you two. If you've got to make
him believe I'm doing the same, to make him take the money--all right;
but if you come around again to me with any such insulting proposition,
Tom Crocker, there'll be trouble."

Bojo clasped and unclasped his hands in utter helplessness. Then he
glanced at Granning.

"You've done what you could," said Granning, shaking his head.

"A rotten mess. I feel rotten," said Bojo slowly.

Marsh, relenting, clapped him on the shoulder affectionately. "Mighty
white of you, Bojo--and don't think for a moment any one's blaming you!"

"I'm not sure how I feel myself," said Bojo slowly.

"Drake used you, Tom," said Granning quietly. "He'd figured out you'd be
watched--the old decoy game."

"No, no," said Bojo warmly. "He did not, I'm sure of that. He
particularly warned me not to do anything on my own hook without
consulting him. It was my fault-- I jumped at conclusions!"

Granning and Marsh laughed.

"By George, if I thought that!" said Bojo, rising up.

"Don't think anything," said Marsh quietly. "It's all in the game
anyhow!" Suddenly he stopped and, the journalistic instinct awakening,
said: "You say Drake bought Pittsburgh & New Orleans--what do you mean?"

"Bought control, of course, and sold it back at midnight to Gunther &
Co. for a profit of ten millions."

"Repeat that," said Marsh, aghast. "Good Lord! What? When? Where was the
sale? For God's sake, Bojo, don't you know you've got the biggest story
of the year? Three-twenty now. It's 'good-night' to our composing-room
at half past. Talk it fast and I can make it."

Hastily, under his prompting, Bojo recalled details and scraps of
information. Three minutes later Marsh was at the telephone and they
heard the shouted frantic orders.

"_Morning Post?_ Who's on the long wait? Hill? Give him to me--on the
jump. Damn it, this is Marsh! Hello, Ed? Hold your press men for an
extra. We've got a smashing beat. Front page and the biggest head you
can put on! Play it up for all you're worth. Ready: Dan Drake bought
control...." The outlines in staccato, dramatic sentences, followed,
then directions to get Gunther, Drake, Fontaine, and others on the wire.
Then silence, and Marsh burst through the room and down the stairs in a
racket that threatened to wake the house.

Granning and Bojo sat on, watching the restless, heavy figure on the
couch, too feverishly awake for sleep, talking in broken phrases, while
the white mists came into the room and the city began to wake. At four
o'clock Doris called up from long distance. Bojo had completely
forgotten her in the tension of the night and rather guiltily hastened
to reassure her. Gladys was at her side, anxious to hear from Fred, to
learn if she might come to his assistance, wondering why he had not sent
her word--alarmed.

He invented a lie to clear the situation--a friend who was in desperate
straits--with whom Fred was watching out the night.

At six o'clock DeLancy rose up suddenly, disheveled and haggard, staring
at them, bewildered at the pressure of the straps. "What the devil's
happened?"

Granning rose and released him. "You were rather obstreperous last
night, young man," he said quietly. "We were afraid you might dent the
fire-escape or carry off the mantel. How are you?"

"Oh, good God!" said DeLancy, sinking his head in his hands with a
groan, suddenly recalling the pool.

"If you hadn't gone off like a bad Indian," said Bojo sternly, "you'd be
celebrating in a different way." Then, as Fred without interest
continued oblivious, he went over and struck him a resounding blow
between the shoulders. "Wake up there. I've been trying to beat it into
you all night. We haven't lost a cent. The pool went through like a
charm. Drake fooled the whole bunch!"

"What--what do you mean?" said DeLancy, staring up.

"The running down was only the first step; the real game was to buy up
the control. All our selling short was just bluff, charged up to the
expense account and nothing else."

"All bluff," repeated Fred in a daze. "I don't seem to understand. I
can't get it."

"Well, get this then--feast your eyes on it," said Bojo, sitting beside
him, his arm about his shoulder and the check held before his eyes.
"That's profit--my part out of ten millions Drake cleaned up by selling
out to the Gunther crowd. Listen." He repeated in detail the story of
the night, adding: "Now do you see it? Every cent we lost bearing the
stock goes to expenses--that's understood."

"You mean--" DeLancy rose, steadied himself, and lurched against a
chair. "You mean what I lost--what I--"

"What you've lost and Louise's losses, too," said Bojo quickly--"every
cent is paid by the pool. There wasn't the slightest question about
that!"

"Is that the truth?"

"Yes."

Fred's sunken eyes rested on Bojo's an interminable moment, and the
agony written on that fevered face steeled Crocker in his resolve.
Presently DeLancy, as though convinced, turned away.

"Good Lord, I thought I was done for!" he said in a whisper. His lip
trembled, he caught at his throat, and the next moment his racked body
was shaken with convulsive sobs.

"Let yourself go, Fred; it's all right--everything's all right," said
Bojo hastily. He left the den, nodding to Granning, and went to his
bedroom. His bag was still on the bed, where he had thrown it unopened.
He took out his clothes mechanically, feeling the weariness of the
wasted night, and suddenly on the top of a folded jacket he found a
card, in Patsie's writing; a few words only, timidly offered.

"I hope, oh, I do hope everything will come all right," and below these
two lines that started reveries in his eyes, the signature was not
Patsie, but Drina.

When he came into the den again after a hasty toilet, DeLancy had got
hold of himself again.

"Better, old boy?" said Bojo, pulling his ear.

"If you knew--if you knew what I'd been through," said Fred with a quick
breath.

"I know," said Bojo, shuddering instinctively. "Now let's get to
business. You'll feel a lot better when you tidy up your bank account.
What did you lose?"

"I say, Bojo," said DeLancy, avoiding his glance, "on your honor
straight this is all right, isn't it?"

"Sure!"

"I ought to take it--there's no reason why--you're not telling me a fake
story?"

"I certainly am not," said Bojo cheerily, taking up his check-book at
the desk. "Come on now."

But DeLancy, unconvinced, still wavered.

"How about Roscy?" he said slowly, his eyes fixed, his mouth parted as
though hanging on the answer.

"The same thing goes with Roscy, naturally," said Bojo, carelessly.

DeLancy drew a long breath and approached.

"How much? Confess up!"

"Twenty-seven thousand eight hundred."

Bojo restrained a start of amazement.

"Say twenty-eight flat," he said carefully. "Does that include Louise
Varney's account?"

"Yes, everything," said DeLancy slowly. He stood at the desk, staring,
while Bojo wrote a check, watching the traveling pen as though still
incredulous.

"There you are, old rooster, and good luck," said Bojo.

"Here, I say, you've made it out for thirty-eight thousand, said
DeLancy, taking the check.

"Ten thousand is profits, sure."

"Here, I say, that's not right. I couldn't take that--no, never, Bojo!"

"Shut up and be off with you!" said Bojo. "You don't think for a moment
I'd use my friends and not see they got a share of the winnings, do
you?"

"It doesn't seem right," said DeLancy again. He gazed at the check, a
prey to conflicting desires.

"Rats!"

"I don't feel as though I ought to."

Bojo, watching his struggle with his conscience a moment, perceived the
inherent weakness at the bottom of his nature, suddenly feeling a sense
of distance intervening in the old friendship, sadly disillusioned. When
he spoke, it was abruptly, as a superior:

"Shut up, Fred--you're going to take it, and that's all!

"How can I thank you?

"Don't."

He turned on his heel and went back to his room to hide the flash of
scorn that came to his eyes. "Great Heavens," he thought, "is that the
way men behave under great tests?"

But all at once he added, "And myself?"

For at the bottom there was an uneasy stirring feeling, awakened by the
sudden incredulous laugh of his friends that had greeted his assertion
of Drake's innocence, which was bringing him to a realization that he
was to face a decision more profoundly significant to his own
self-esteem than any he had yet confronted.

"Thank heaven for one thing--nothing happened to Fred! That's settled. I
have nothing on my conscience," he said with a sigh. The ten thousand he
had added represented in a confused way a tribute to that conscience, to
those others, unknown and unvisualized, whom unwittingly he might have
caused to suffer.

"Bojo!"

"Hello! What is it?"

He came out hurriedly at the sound of Granning's voice.

"Roscy on the 'phone.... What?... Good God!"

"What's that? What's happened?" he cried, as Fred came rushing out.

"Forshay--committed suicide--this morning--at his club--cut his
throat!"



CHAPTER XVII

PAYING THE PIPER--PLUS


To go down to the office with the pall of disaster and tragedy over it,
to face the accusatory looks of Hauk and Flaspoller with the dread
consciousness of his own personal responsibility, was the hardest thing
Bojo had ever had to do. Several times in the subway, filled with the
Wall Street crowd excitedly discussing the sudden turn of yesterday,
alarmed for the future, he had a wild impulse toward flight. Before him
were the startling scare-heads of the _Morning Post_, the sole paper to
have the story.

     DRAKE BUYS AND SELLS PITTSBURGH AND NEW ORLEANS

     SECURED CONTROL AT 6 MONDAY. SOLD AT MIDNIGHT. PROFIT IN
     MILLIONS. BROKERS HARD HIT. THREE FIRMS SUSPEND. CLIMAX OF
     DRAMATIC DAY.

He saw only dimly what every one else was poring over frantically. He
was reading over for the twentieth time the ugly story of Forshay's
suicide.

     WELL-KNOWN BROKER ENDS LIFE AT CLUB

     W. O. FORSHAY THOUGHT TO HAVE BEEN CAUGHT IN DRAKE'S CLEAN
     UP

The bare facts followed, with a history of Forshay's career, his social
connections, an account of his marriage, city house, and country house.

"But after all am I responsible?" he said to himself miserably, and
though he returned always to the premise that he had been an innocent
participant, he began to be obsessed with the spreading sense of ruin
which such victories could occasion.

Forshay would not have blamed him, perhaps, for Forshay had played the
game to the limit of the law and asked no favors. It was not that which
profoundly troubled him and awoke the long dormant ethical sense. Had
Drake figured out just what his conclusions would be and the effect on
the public from allowing him to proceed blindly on a wrong start? In a
word, had Drake deliberately used him to mislead others, knowing that
after the success of Indiana Smelter his prospective son-in-law would be
credited with inside information?

He did not as yet answer these questions in the affirmative; to do so
meant a decision subversive of all his newly acquired sense of success.
But though he still denied the accusations, they would not be thus
answered, constantly returning.

At the offices it was as though the dead man were lying in wait. A sense
of fright possessed him with the opening of the door. The girl at the
telephone greeted him with swollen eyes, swollen with hysterical
weeping; the stenographers moved noiselessly, hushed by the indefinable
sense of the supernatural. The brass plate on the door--W. O.
Forshay--seemed to him something inexpressibly grim and horrible. He had
the feeling which the others showed in their roving glances, as though
that plate hid something, as though there was something behind his door,
waiting.

He went into the inner offices, at a sudden summons. Hauk was at the
table, gazing out of the window; Flaspoller worrying and fussing in the
center of the rug, switching aimlessly back and forth.

Bojo nodded silently on entering.

"You saw?" said Hauk with a jerk of his head.

"Yes. Horrible!"

Flaspoller broke out: "Not a cent in the world. God knows how much the
firm will have to make good. Thirty-five, forty, forty-five thousand,
maybe more. Oh, we're stuck all right."

"Do you mean to say," said Bojo slowly, "that he left nothing--no
property?"

"Oh, a house perhaps--mortgaged, of course; and then do we know what
else he owes? No. A hell of a hole we've got in with your Pittsburgh &
New Orleans."

"That's not quite fair," said Bojo quietly. "I did give you a tip on
Indiana Smelter and you made money on that. I never said anything about
Pittsburgh & New Orleans. I distinctly refused to. You drew your own
conclusions."

"That's a good joke," said Flaspoller with a contemptuous laugh.

"What do you mean?" said Bojo, flushing angrily.

"Well, I'll tell you what I mean," said Flaspoller, discretion to the
winds. "When you come into a firm that has treated you generously as we
have, put up your salary without waiting to be asked, and you bring in
orders, confidential orders, to sell five hundred shares to-day, a
thousand to-morrow, like you sell yourself, and your friends sell
too--if you let your firm go on selling and don't know what's up, you're
either one big jackass or a--"

"Or a what?" said Bojo, advancing.

Something in the menacing eye caused the little broker to halt abruptly
with a noncommittal shrug of his shoulders.

"I wouldn't go too far, Flaspoller," said Bojo coldly. "If this was a
mistake, I paid for it too, as you know. You know what I dropped."

"I know nothing," said Flaspoller, recovering his courage with his
anger, and planting himself defiantly in the young fellow's path. "I
know only what you lost--here, and I know too what _we_ lose."

"Good heavens, do you mean to insinuate that I did anything _crooked_?"
said Bojo loudly, yet at the bottom ill at ease.

"Shut up now," said Hauk, as Flaspoller started on another angry tirade.
"Look here, Mr. Crocker, there's no use wasting words. The milk's spilt.
Well, what then?"

"I'm sorry, of course," said Bojo, frowning.

"Of course you understand after what's happened," said Hauk quietly, "it
would be impossible for us to make use of your services any more."

Much as he himself had contemplated breaking off relations, it gave him
quite a shock to hear that he was being dismissed. He caught his breath,
looked from one to another and said:

"Quite right. There I agree with you. I shall be very glad to leave your
office to-day."

He went to his desk in a towering rage, went through his papers blindly,
and rose shortly to go out where he could get hold of himself and decide
on a course of action. The fact was that for the first time he had a
feeling of guilt. He again assured himself that he was perfectly
innocent, that there was nothing in his whole course which could be
objected to. Yet how many would have believed him if they knew that this
very morning he had deposited a check for a quarter of a million? What
would Hauk and Flaspoller have said at the bare announcement?

He wandered into familiar groups, tarrying a moment and then passing on,
parrying the questions that were showered on him by those who knew the
intimacy of his relations with the successful manipulator. In all their
conversations Drake appeared like a demigod. Men went back to the famous
corners of Commodore Vanderbilt for a comparison with the skill and
boldness of the late manipulator. It was freely said that there was no
other man in Wall Street who would have dared so openly to defy the
great powers of the day and force them to terms.

In this chorus of admiration there was no note of censure. He had played
the game as they played it. No one held him responsible for the tragedy
of Forshay and the unwritten losses of those who had been caught.

Yet Bojo was not convinced. He knew that he had not been able to meet
the partners openly; that despite all the injustice of their attitude,
he had withheld the knowledge of his ultimate winnings, and that he had
withheld it because he would have been at a loss to explain it. More
potent than the stoic indifference of Wall Street was the memory of the
chance acquaintance, wrecked by the accident of this meeting; of
Forshay, calmly matching quarters with him before the opening of the
market, calculating the fatal point beyond which a rise meant to him the
end. And as he examined it from this intimate outlook, he wondered more
and more how free from responsibility and cruelty, from the echoes of
agony, could be any fortune of ten millions made over night, because of
others who had been led recklessly to gamble beyond their means.

Forshay recalled DeLancy, and he shuddered at the thought of how close
the line of disaster had passed to him. Again and again he remembered
with distaste the look in DeLancy's face when at the end he had
persuaded him to take the check. What sat most heavily upon his
conscience was that now, with the ranging of events in clearer
perspective, he began to compare his own attitude with Drake's, with
DeLancy's weak submission to his explanation. If DeLancy had taken money
that Marsh had indignantly rejected, what had he himself done?

At twelve, making a sudden resolve, he went up to the offices. The
partners were still there, brooding over the rout, favoring him with
dark looks at his interruption.

"Mr. Hauk, will you give me the total of Mr. Forshay's indebtedness to
your firm?"

Flaspoller wheeled with an insolent dismissal on his lips, but Hauk
forestalled him. "What business is that of yours?"

"You stated that his losses might amount to forty or forty-five
thousand. Is that correct?"

"That's our affair!"

"You don't understand," said Bojo quietly, "but I think it will be to
your interest to listen to me. Do I understand that you intend to
exercise your claim on whatever property may still be left to Mr.
Forshay's widow?"

"What nonsense is he talking?" said Flaspoller, turning to his partner
in amazement.

"I thought so," said Bojo, taking his answer from their attitude. "I
repeat, kindly give me the exact figures, in detail, of the total
indebtedness of Mr. Forshay to your firm."

"I suppose you want to pay it, eh?" said Flaspoller contemptuously.

"Exactly."

"What!"

The reply came almost in a shout. Hauk, keener than his partner,
perceiving from the exalted calm of the young man that the matter was
serious, caught Flaspoller by the arm and shot him into a chair.

"You sit down and be quiet." He approached Bojo, studying him keenly.
"You want to pay up for Forshay--am I right?"

"You are.

"When?"

"Now."

Hauk himself was not proof against the shock the announcement brought.
He sat down, stupidly rubbing his hand across his forehead, glancing
suspiciously at Bojo. Finally he recovered himself sufficiently to say:

"For what reason do you want to do this?"

"That is my business," said Bojo, "and besides you would not understand
in the least."

"Well, well," said Flaspoller, recovering his eagerness with his
cupidity.

"You're not going to refuse, are you?"

"That's very noble, very generous," said Hauk slowly. "We were a little
hasty, Mr. Crocker. We've lost a good deal of money. We sometimes say
things a little more than we mean at such times. You mustn't think too
much of that. We are very much upset--we thought the world of Mr.
Forshay--"

"All this is quite unnecessary," said Bojo with quiet scorn. "We are
dealing with figures. Have you the account ready--now?"

"Yes, yes--we can have it ready in a moment--look it over--take just a
few moments," said Flaspoller eagerly. "Sit down, Mr. Crocker, while we
look it up."

"Thanks, I prefer to wait outside. Remember I want a complete and minute
statement."

He wheeled and went out with disgust, taking his seat by his old place
at the window, without removing his hat and coat. He waited thus, long
minutes, staring out at the dirt-stained walls of the opposite
skyscraper that, five hundred feet in the air, shut them out from a
glimpse of the sky, oblivious to whispered conversations, curious
glances, or the nervous bustling to and fro of the partners. Presently
the telephone buzzed at his side.

"Mr. Hauk would like you to step into his office, sir."

"Tell him to come to me."

It was bravado, but a revenge that was precious to him. Almost
immediately Hauk came sliding to his desk, laying a paper before him.

"This is it, Mr. Crocker."

"Every claim you have against the estate--every one?" said Bojo,
examining carefully the items.

"Perfectly."

But at this moment Flaspoller arrived hastily and alarmed.

"We forgot the share in the expense of the office," he said hurriedly.

"Put it down," said Bojo, with a wave of his hand. At the point of
bitter scorn at which he had arrived, it seemed to him a sublime thing
to accept all figures without condescending to enter into discussion.
"Anything more, gentlemen?"

Flaspoller in vain tortured his memory at this last summons. Hauk,
misunderstanding the frown and the stare with which Bojo continued to
gaze at the paper, began to explain: "This item here is calculated on a
third share in--"

"I don't want any explanations," said Bojo, cutting him short. "You
will, of course, furnish complete details to the executor of the estate.
Now if this is complete, kindly give me a written acknowledgment of a
payment in full of every claim you hold against the estate of W. O.
Forshay, and likewise an attestation that this is in every respect a
just and true bill of Mr. Forshay's debts." He drew out his check-book.
"Fifty-two thousand, seven hundred--"

"And forty-six dollars," said Flaspoller, who followed the strokes of
the pen with incredulous eyes as though unable to believe in Providence.

Bojo rose, took the acquittals and the bill of items, and handed them
the check, saying: "This closes the matter, I believe."

An immense struggle was going on in the minds of the two
partners--curiosity, cupidity, and a new sense of the financial strength
of the man who could thus toss off checks, plainly written in their
startled expressions.

"Mr. Crocker, Tom, we should be very glad if you forgot what we said
this morning," said Flaspoller hurriedly. "You've been very handsome,
very handsome indeed. You can always have a desk in our offices. Mr.
Crocker, I apologize for mistaking you. Shake hands!"

"Good-by, gentlemen!" said Bojo, lifting his hat with the utmost
punctiliousness.

He took a hasty luncheon and went uptown to the Court, where Della, the
pretty little Irish girl at the telephone desk, opened her eyes in
surprise at this unusual appearance.

"Why, Mr. Crocker, what's wrong?"

"I'm changing my habits, Della," he said with an attempted laugh.

He went to his room and sat a long while before the fireplace, pulling
at a pipe. At length he rose, went to the desk, and wrote:

     Dear Doris:

     A good many things have come up since I left you. I think it
     is better that no announcement be made until we have had a
     chance to talk matters over very seriously. I hope that can
     be soon.

  BOJO.

     P.S. Please thank Patsie for packing my bag. I went off in
     such a rush I think I forgot.

     P.P.S. Tell Gladys that Fred came out all right--shouldn't
     be surprised if he'd made a little too.



CHAPTER XVIII

BOJO FACES THE TRUTH


The next days he spent aimlessly. He had a great decision to make, and
he acted as though he had not a thought in the world but to drift
indolently through life. He idled through breakfast, reading the morning
papers laboriously, and was amazed to find that with all his delay it
was only eleven o'clock, with an interminable interval to be filled in
before lunch. He began a dozen novels, seeking to lose himself in the
spell of other lands and other times; but as soon as he sallied out to
his club he had the feeling that the world had been turned inside out.

After luncheon he tried vainly to inveigle some acquaintance into an
afternoon's loafing, only to receive again that impression of strange
loneliness in a foreign land, as one after the other disappeared before
the call of work. He had nothing to do except the one thing which in the
end he knew had to be done, and the more he sought to put it from him,
idling in moving-picture halls or consuming long stretches of pavement
in exploring tramps, the more he felt something always back of his
shoulder, not to be denied.

He avoided the company of his chums, seeking other acquaintances with
whom to dine and take in a show. Something had fallen into the midst of
the old intimacy of Westover Court. There was a feeling of unease and
impending disruption. The passion for gain had passed among them at last
and the trail of disillusionment it had left could not be effaced. The
boyish delight, the frolicking with life had passed. They seemed to have
aged and sobered in a night. The morning breakfasts were constrained,
hurried affairs. There was not the old give-and-take spirit of horse
play. DeLancy was moody and evasive, Marsh silent, and Granning grim.
Bojo could not meet DeLancy's eyes, and with the others he felt that
though they would never express it, he had disappointed them, that in
some way they held him responsible for the changes which had come and
the loss of that complete and free spirit of comradeship which would
never return.

He had reached the point where he had decided on a full confession to
Drake and a certain restitution. But here he met the rock of his
indecision. What should he restore? After deducting the sums paid to
DeLancy and to the estate of Forshay, he had still almost one hundred
and sixty thousand dollars. Why should he not deduct his own losses,
amounting to over seventy thousand dollars incurred in the service of a
campaign which had netted millions?

His conscience, tortured by the tragic memory of Forshay and the feeling
of the spreading circles of panic and losses which had started from his
unwitting agency, had finally recoiled before the thought of making
profit of the desolation of others. But if he renounced the gain, was
there any reason why he should suffer loss; why Drake should not
reimburse him as he had reimbursed others? To accept this view meant
that he would still remain in possession of upwards of eighty-five
thousand dollars, producing a tidy income, able to hold up his own in
the society to which he had grown accustomed. To renounce the payment of
his losses meant not simply a blow to his pride in the acknowledgment
that in the first six months he had already lost two-thirds of what his
father had given him, but that his whole scheme of living would have to
be changed, while marriage with Doris became an impossibility.

Beyond the first letter he had written her in the first tragic reaction
on his return from the office, he had sent Doris no further word. What
he had to say was yet too undefined to express on paper. Too much
depended on her attitude when they met at last face to face. Her
letters, full of anxiety and demand for information, remained
unanswered. One afternoon on returning after a day's tramp on the East
Side, he found a telegram, which had been waiting hours.

     Return this afternoon four-thirty most anxious meet me
     station.

  DORIS.

It was then almost six. Without waiting to telephone explanations he
jumped in a taxi and shot off uptown. At the Drakes' he sent up his name
by Thompson, learning with a sudden tightening of the heart that Drake
himself was home. He went into the quiet reception room, nervously
excited by the approaching crisis, resolved now that it was up, to push
it to its ultimate conclusion. As he whipped back and forth, fingering
impatiently the shining green leaves of the waxed rubber plant, all at
once, to his amazement, Patsie stood before him.

"You here?" he said, stopping short.

She nodded, red in her cheeks, looking quickly at him and away.

"Doris is changing her dress; she'll be down right away. Didn't you get
the telegram?"

"I'm sorry-- I was out all day."

He stopped and she was silent, both awkwardly conscious of the other.
Finally he stammered: "I asked Doris to thank you--for getting my bag
ready and--and your message."

"Oh, Bojo," she said impulsively and the spots of red on her cheek
spread like names, "I want to speak to you so much. I have been thinking
over so many things that I ought to say."

"You can say anything," he said gently.

"Bojo, you must marry Doris!" she said brokenly, joining her hands.

"Why?" he said, too startled to notice the absurdity of the question.

"She needs you. She loves you. If you could have seen her all Sunday
night when we--when she was afraid you had been ruined. You don't know
how she cares. I didn't. I was terribly mistaken--unjust. You mustn't
let her go off and marry some one she doesn't care about, like Boskirk,
the way Dolly did."

"But I must do what is right for me too," he said desperately, moved by
the radiance in her eyes that seemed to flow out and envelope him
irresistibly. "I have a right to love too, to find a woman who knows
what love means--"

"Don't--don't," she said, turning away miserably, too young to make the
pretense of not understanding him.

"Listen, Drina," he said, catching her hand. "I am up against a
decision, the greatest decision in my life, which means whether I am to
have the right to my own self-respect and yours and others. One way
means money, an easy way to everything people want in this world, and no
blame attached except what I myself might feel. The other means standing
on my own feet, no favors, taking a loss of thousands of dollars, and a
fight of perhaps five, ten years to get where I am now. Which would you
do? No, you don't even need to answer," he said joyfully, carried away
by the look in her eyes as she swung fearlessly around. "I know you."

In his fervor he caught her hand and pressed it against his heart.
"Drina dear, you ring true, true as a bell. You, I know, will understand
whatever I do." He was rushing on when suddenly a thought stopped him.
If he did what he had planned, what right would he have to hope of
marrying her even after years of toil? He dropped her hands, his face
going so blank that, forgetting the mingled joy and terror his words had
brought her, she cried:

"Bojo--what's wrong--what are you thinking of?"

He turned away, shaking his head, drawing a deep breath.

But at this moment, before Patsie could escape, Doris came down the
stairs and directly to him.

"Bojo--I've been so worried--why didn't you answer my letters? And _why_
didn't you meet me?"

She threw her arms about his neck, gazing anxiously into his eyes. He
had a blurred vision of Patsie, shrinking and white, turning from the
sight of the embrace, as he stammered explanations. Luckily Drake
himself broke the tension with an unexpected appearance and a bluff--

"Hello, Tom. Where have you been keeping yourself? Now that you're a
millionaire I expected you to come sailing in on a steam yacht! Well,
Doris, what do you think of your financier?"

"Mr. Drake, I've got something important I must talk over with you. Can
you see me for a few minutes now? It's very important. If you could--"

The tone in which he said these words, staring past them into the vista
of the salons, impressed each with the feeling of a crisis. Drake
halted, shot a quick glance from the young fellow to Doris, and said, as
he went out:

"Why, yes--of course. Come in now. Soon as you're ready. The
library--glad to see you."

At the same moment, with a last appealing glance, Patsie disappeared
behind the curtains. Doris came to him, startled and alarmed.

"You're not in trouble?" she said, wonder in her look. "Dad told me
you'd made a quarter of a million and that everything was all right.
That is true, isn't it?"

"Doris, everything is not all right," he said solemnly. "Whether I am to
keep my share or not depends on what answer your father gives to one
question I am going to ask him."

"What do you mean? You mean you would not accept--"

"Under certain circumstances I _can't_ accept this money--exactly that."

"But, Bojo, don't do anything rash--hastily," she said hurriedly. "Talk
it over with me first. Let me know."

"No," he said firmly. "This is my decision."

"At least let me come with you--let me hear!"

He shook his head. "No, Doris--not even that. This is between your
father and me."

"But our marriage," she said in desperation, following him to the door.

"Afterward--when I have seen your father, then we must talk of that."

The new decision in his voice and movement surprised and controlled her.
She raised her hand as though to speak, and found no word to utter in
her amazement. He went quickly through the salons, knocked, and went
into the library. Drake, with a premonition perhaps of what was coming,
was waiting impatiently, spinning the chain of his watch.

"Well, Tom, to the point. What is it?" he said imperiously.

"Mr. Drake," Bojo began carefully, "I have not been in to see you
because--because I did not know just what to say. Mr. Drake, I've been
terribly upset by this Pittsburgh & New Orleans deal!"

"What, upset by making a cool quarter of a million?"

"Yes, that's it," he said firmly, never losing an expression on the
older man's face. "You know, of course, that Forshay, who committed
suicide, was in my office."

"What, in your office?" said Drake, with a start. "No, I didn't know
that!"

"That's rather shaken me up. He ruined himself on Pittsburgh & New
Orleans. And then that night--when I got home one of my chums was pretty
close to the same thing."

"I told you not to take any one into your confidence, Tom," said Drake
quietly.

"That's true, you _told_ me that. Mr. Drake, answer me this, didn't you
expect me to tell--some one?"

Drake looked at him quickly, then down, drumming with his fingers.

"What's the point?"

Bojo had no longer any doubts. The transaction had been as he had
finally divined. Yet the words had not been spoken that meant to him the
renunciation of all the luxury and opportunity that surrounded him in
the tapestried wealth of the great room. He hesitated so long that Drake
looked up at him and frowned, repeating the question:

"What's the point, Tom?"

"Mr. Drake, you knew I would tell others to sell Pittsburgh & New
Orleans--you _intended_ I should, didn't you? That was part of your
plan--a necessary part, wasn't it?"

"Tom, I expressly told you not to jump to conclusions," said Drake,
rising and raising his voice. "I expressly told you not to let the cat
out of the bag."

"Won't you answer my question? Yes or no?" said the young fellow, very
quiet and quite colorless.

"I have answered that."

"Yes, you have answered," said Bojo slowly. "Now, Mr. Drake, I won't
press you any further. I know. I can't accept that money. It is not
mine."

"Can't accept? What's this nonsense?" said Drake, stopping short.

"I can't make money off the losings of my friends, whom I have ruined to
make your deal succeed."

"That's a hard word!"

"And there's another reason," said Bojo, ignoring his flash of anger. "I
was not honest with you. The night I came here I was ruined myself."

"I knew that."

"But you didn't know that I had used the fifty thousand dollars pledged
to your pool and that if you had been operating as I thought and wiped
out, I should have owed you thirty-five thousand dollars--pledged to
you--a debt which would mean dishonor to me."

"I didn't know that. No. How did that happen?" said Drake, sitting down
and gazing anxiously at him.

"I lost my head--absolutely--completely. I did just what Forshay and
DeLancy did--gambled with money that didn't belong to me. I lived in a
nightmare. Mr. Drake, I lost my bearings. Now I'm going to get them
back." He paused, drew breath, and continued earnestly: "Now you
understand why I don't deserve a cent of that money even if you could
swear to me you didn't use me purposely, which you can't! I pretty
nearly went over the line, Mr. Drake, and it wasn't my fault I didn't,
either. I guess I'm not built right for this sort of life--that's the
short of it."

"You are young, very young, Tom," said Drake slowly. "Young people look
at things through their emotions. That's what you're doing!"

"Thank God," said Bojo, and it seemed to him for the first time a
feeling of peace returned.

"What do you want to do?" said Drake, frowning and rising.

"I can not return you the two hundred thousand dollars," said Bojo
slowly. "I paid one friend thirty-eight thousand to cover his losses, to
save him from disgrace and dishonor in the eyes of a woman; another
friend refused to accept a cent. I paid to the estate of Forshay every
cent of indebtedness he owed the firm--fifty-two odd thousand dollars.
Forshay gambled because he thought I knew. That makes over ninety
thousand dollars. The rest--one hundred and fifty-nine thousand--I will
return to you."

"Good heavens, Tom, you did that?" said Drake, taking out his
handkerchief. He sat down in his chair, overcome. For a long interval no
one spoke, and then from the chair a voice came out that sounded not
like Drake but something bodiless. "That's awful--awful. From my point
of view I have played the game as others, as square as the squarest. I
have lost thousands of thousands sticking to a friend, thousands in
keeping to my word. This is not business, this is war. Those who go in,
who intend to gamble with life, to fight with thousands and millions,
must go in to take the consequences. If they ever get me it'll be
because some one has turned traitor, not because I've sold out or done
anything disreputable. If others were ruined in Pittsburgh & New
Orleans, that's because they were willing to make money by smashing up
some other person's property. It was their fault, not mine. If a man
can't control himself--his fault. If a man goes bankrupt and won't face
the world and work back instead of blowing his brains out--his fault.

"You think of the individual--men, friends, death. They move you,
they're closer to you than the big perspective. They don't count, no one
counts. If a man kills himself, he dies quicker than he would and is not
worth living, that's all. Sounds cold-blooded to you. Yes. But we're
dealing in movements, armies! Poverty, sorrow, disaster, death, they are
life--you can't get away from them. A great bridge is more important
than the lives of the men who build it, a great railroad is necessary,
not the question whether a few thousand people lose their fortunes, in
the operation which makes a great amalgamation possible. That's my point
of view. It's not yours. You're set on what you've made up your mind to
do. Your emotions have got you. Ten years from now you'll regret it."

"I hope not," said Bojo simply.

"What are you going to do? Well, come in here as my private secretary,"
said Drake, placing his hand on the young man's shoulder, and adding,
with that burst of human understanding which gave him a magnetic power
over men: "Tom, you're a ---- fool to do what you're doing, but, by
heaven, I love you for it!"

"Thank you," said Bojo, controlling his voice with difficulty.

"Will you come here?"

"No."

"Why not?"

"Frankly, I want to do something by myself," said Bojo stubbornly. "I
don't want some one to take me by the collar and jack me up into
success."

"Think it over!"

"No, I'll stick to that. I want to get into a rational life. To live the
way I've been living is torture."

Drake hesitated, as though loathe to let him go, seeking some way out.

"Won't you let me make good your losses--at least that?"

"Not after the hole I got into, no."

"Damn it, Tom, won't you let me do something to help out?"

"No, not a thing." He went up and shook hands. "You don't know what it
means to be able to look you in the eyes again, sir. That's everything!"

"And Doris?" said Drake slowly, beaten at every point.

"Doris I am going to see now," he said.

He went to the door hastily to avoid sentimentalities, and on the other
side of the curtain, where she had been listening, he found Doris,
wide-eyed and thrilled, her finger on her lips.



CHAPTER XIX

A CHIP OF THE OLD BLOCK


"What, you were there! You heard!" he said, astounded.

She nodded her head, incapable of speech, her finger still on her lips,
drawing him by the hand into the little sitting-room where they were in
a measure free from other eyes.

"Now for a torrent of reproaches," he thought grimly.

But instead the next moment tears were on her cheeks, her arms about
him, and her head on his shoulder. Seeing her thus shaken, he thought
bitterly that all this grief was but for the material loss, the blow to
her ambitions. All at once she raised her head, took him firmly by the
shoulder, and said:

"Bojo, I've never loved you before--but I do now, oh, yes, now I know!"

He shook his head, unable to believe her capable of great emotions.

"Doris, you are carried away--this is not what you'll say to-morrow!"

"Yes, yes, it is!" she cried fervently. "I'll sacrifice anything
now--nothing will ever make me give you up!"

"Luckily for you," he said, his look darkening, "you'll have time enough
to come to your senses. If you heard all, you know what this
means--starting at the beginning."

"I heard-- I understand," she said, close to him, her eyes shining with
a light that blotted out the world in confused shadow. He looked at her,
thrilled by her feeling, by the thought that it belonged to him, that he
was the master of it, and yet unconvinced.

"It's just your imagination," he said quietly, "that's all. Doris, I
know you too well--what you've lived with and what you must have." He
added, with a doubting smile: "You remember what you said to me that day
on our ride, when we passed through that factory village--'ask me
anything but to be _poor_.'"

"Bojo," she said, desperately, "you don't understand what a woman is.
That was true--then. There's all that you say in me, but there's
something else which you've never called out before, which can come when
I love, when I really love." She clung to him, fighting for him, feeling
how close she had been to losing him. "Bojo, believe in me, give me one
more chance!"

"To-morrow you'll come to me with some new scheme for making money!"

"No, no."

"You'll try to persuade me that I should marry you on your money, take
the opportunities your father can shove in my way. Oh, Doris, I know you
too well!"

"No, no, I won't. I don't want--don't you see I don't want to make you
do anything? I want to follow you!"

"That has been the trouble," he said, abruptly.

He turned, walked away, and sat down, gazing out through the window,
feeling something dark and enveloping closing about him without his
being able to slip away. She came impulsively to his side, flinging
herself on the floor at his knees, carried away with the intensity of
her emotion.

[Illustration: "'What does all the rest amount to?' she said
breathlessly. 'I want you'"]

"What does all the rest amount to!" she said breathlessly. "I want you!
I want a man, not a dummy, in my life. I want some one to look up to,
bigger, stronger than I am, that can make me do things."

He put his hand on hers, thrilling as he bent quickly and kissed it.

"The trouble has been," he said slowly, "all this time I've been trying
to come to your ways of living, to reach you. Doris, I can't promise;
I'm not sure of myself, of what I think--"

"Oh, it would be such a dreadful thing if you were to let me go now,"
she said suddenly, covering her face. "Now, when I know what I could
do!"

"Yes," he assented, feeling too the power he had suddenly acquired to
make or mar a life, and with that power the responsibility.

"You can do anything with me," she said in a whisper.

He felt a lump in his throat, a sense of being blocked at every turn, a
horror of doing harm, and a wild pride in the thought that at the last
this girl, whom he had rebelled against so often for being without
emotion or passion, was at his feet, without reserve, a warm, adoring
woman.

"Doris, you have got to come to me on my footing," he said firmly at
last.

She accepted it as the answer she had longed for, raising her face
suffused with joy, pressing his hand to her heart, her eyes swimming
with tears, inarticulate.

"Try me--anything! I'm happy--so happy--so afraid-- I was so afraid--
Oh, Bojo, to think I might never have known you--lost you!"

When a little calm had been reestablished, she wished to marry him at
once, to live in one room in a boarding-house, if necessary, to prove
her sincerity. He answered her evasively, pretending to laugh at her,
feeling the while the leaden load of what by a trick of fate he had
assumed at the moment when he had expected the completest freedom. Yet
there was something so genuine, so uncalculated in her contrition,
something so helpless and appealing to his strength in her surrender to
his will and decision, that he felt stirred to a poignant pity, and
shrank before the brutality of inflicting pain.

When he left, quiet and brooding, turning the corner of the Avenue his
glance happened to go to a window on the second floor, and he saw Patsie
looking down. He stopped, stumbling in his progress, and then,
recovering himself, lifted his hat solemnly. She did not move nor make
an answering gesture. He saw her only immobile, looking down at him.

       *       *       *       *       *

When he returned to the Court and stopped mechanically at the desk for
his mail, Della, with her welcoming smile, chided him.

"My, but you look awful serious, Mr. Crocker!"

"Am I?-- Yes, I suppose so," he said absent-mindedly.

He went through into the inner court that yesterday had seemed to him
such a constricted little spot in the great city which had responded to
his fortunate touch. Now, in the falling dusk, with the lights
blossoming out, the court seemed very big, crowded with human beings in
the battle of life, and he himself small and without significance.

"Well, I've gone and done it," he said to himself with a half laugh. "I
wonder--"

He wondered, now that it was all over, now that the curtain had dropped
on the drama of it, whether after all Drake had been right--whether he
was seeing life through his emotions, and what the point of view of
thirty-five and forty would be in retrospection.

"Well, I've chucked it all," he said, lingering in the quiet and the
suffused half lights. "I took the bit in my teeth. There's no turning
back now." He remembered his father and the old battling look of
defiance in his eyes as he had exhorted his son.

"Guess, after all," he said grimly, feeling all at once drawn closer to
his own, "I must be a chip of the old block."

Granning alone was in the study as he came in, spinning his hat on to
the sofa.

"Well, Granning, I've up and done it," he said shortly.

"Eh, what?" said Granning, looking up rather alarmed.

He told him.

"And so, Granning, I'm a horny-handed son of labor from this time
forth," he said in conclusion. "You'll have to find me a job!" The laugh
failed. It seemed out of place at that moment with Granning staring at
him. He added quietly: "Guess self-respect is worth more than I
thought!"

"God, I'm glad!" said Granning, bringing down his great fist.

He had never in all the long friendship seen Granning so stirred!



CHAPTER XX

BOJO HUNTS A JOB


"Well, now to hunt a job!"

He woke up the next morning with this one idea dominant, dressed to a
whistling accompaniment, and came gaily to breakfast. A load seemed to
have been suddenly lifted from his mind, the day fair and the future
keen with the zest of a good fight without favors. The breakfast was
delicious and the air alive with energy.

"Seems to me you're looking rather cocky," said Marsh, studying him with
surprise.

"Never felt fitter in my life," said Bojo, stealing a roll from DeLancy,
who had completely lost his good spirits.

"What's up? Going to trim the market again?"

Bojo laughed, a free and triumphant laugh.

"Never again for me!" He added quickly, remembering the attitude they
had assumed for DeLancy's benefit: "Luck's been with me long enough--
I'm not going to bank on luck any more!"

Fred pushed his plate from him and went into the outer room without
meeting their glances.

"I say, Bojo, one thing we ought to do," said Marsh under his breath:
"get after the infant and give him a solemn dressing-down."

"You don't suppose he's fool enough to try the market again?"

"Who knows what he'll do?" said Marsh gloomily. "Sometimes I think it
would have kept him out of more trouble if you'd let him be cleaned out!

"You mean Louise Varney-- Good Lord!"

"Exactly!"

"Do you think he suspects?" said Bojo, after a moment's hesitation--"I
mean about his taking a profit?"

"Of course," said Marsh quietly.

"Poor devil! Well, heavens, I can't criticize him," said Bojo, moodily.
"I pretty near did the same thing."

"What are you going to do now?" said Marsh, to keep the conversation
clear of disturbing memories.

"Going to start in on a new job."

"What?" said Marsh, surprised.

"Oh, I'm going to look around," said Bojo in an offhand sort of way. "I
want something solid and real--constructive is the word. Well, Roscy,
wish me good luck-- I'm starting to look over the field this morning."
He rose confident and happy, slapping his friend on the shoulder, with
the old boyish exhilaration. "By Jove, I'm glad to have it over and to
begin a real life!"

"Give you a try at reporting," said Marsh.

"Not on your life. I'm going out for something myself! Hello there, old
Freddie-boy! Got your hair on straight? Well, then, come on and tell
Wall Street what to do."

An hour later, still full of confidence, he took the bull by the horns
and entered the offices of Stoughton and Bird. Young Stoughton was of
his social crowd, and the father had been particularly agreeable to him
on the several occasions on which he had dined at their home. The house
was known for its conservatism, dealing in solid investments.

"Hello, Skeeter," said Bojo, giving young Stoughton his college
nickname. "Is the Governor busy--could he see me ten minutes?"

They were in a vast outer chamber with junior members installed at
distant desks, the telephone ringing at every moment.

"I think you've caught him right," said Stoughton, shaking his hand
cordially. "Wait a moment-- I'll 'phone in." He nodded presently. "Sure
enough--go right in."

Stoughton, senior, a short, well-groomed man, club-man and whip, pumped
his hand affably with the smiling relaxation of one who throws off
momentarily the professional manner.

"Glad to see you, Tom. I was asking Jo yesterday what had become of you.
Well, what have you got up your sleeve? You look mighty important. Want
to sell me a railroad in Mexico or half of a Western State?"

"Nothing like that," said Tom, laughing and at his ease at once. "What
I'm looking for is a job."

"You don't mean it," said Stoughton in surprise.

"I want to get experience along solid lines," said Bojo confidentially.
"In conservative financing and investments. I don't know whether you've
got anything open, but if you have I'd like to apply."

"I see." Stoughton nodded, plainly perplexed. "Does that mean you've
left--"

"Hauk and Flaspoller--yes."

Stoughton frowned.

"That's poor Charlie Forshay's firm, isn't it?"

"Yes."

"They were caught pretty hard in Pittsburgh & New Orleans," said
Stoughton meditatively. "Yes, I remember. Were you caught too?"

"I was."

"What were you getting there?"

"Of course I don't expect to get what I was making there--not just at
present," said Bojo magnanimously. "I was getting as much as one hundred
and twenty-five a week at the end."

"No," said Stoughton, without the flicker of a smile, "you can't expect
that." The social affability had faded. Gradually he had withdrawn into
a quiet defensive attitude, tinged with curiosity. "By the way, you
don't mind my asking a discreet question? Why don't you try Drake?"

Bojo could not give an answer which would reveal too much, but he
contented himself with saying frankly:

"Why, Mr. Stoughton, I'd rather not ask favors. I'd like to work this
out for myself."

"Right," said Stoughton, brightening. Still beaming, he added: "Wish we
had a place for you here. Unfortunately, our system is rather complex
and we start a man at the bottom. Of course we wouldn't offer you
anything like that. You're out of the ten-dollar-a-week class. Besides,
you've got friends--good connections. Lots of firms would be glad to get
you."

"I want to get into something sound. I want to keep away from just
brokers," said Bojo, much cheered.

"And you're right," said Stoughton, nodding. He drew out a card and
penciled it. "You know Harding and Stonebach? Harding's a good friend of
mine--give him this card. They're what you want--make a specialty of
development, electric plants, street railways, and that sort of thing.
Big future for a young fellow who's got a talent for constructive
organization."

"That's just what I want," said Bojo, delighted. He shook hands,
thanking him effusively.

Mr. Harding was in but asked him to call after lunch. He wandered about
the Wall Street district, stopping to chat with several acquaintances on
the curb, and ate lunch, finding it hard to kill time. Back at the
appointment, he was forced to sit, shifting restlessly, watching the
clock hands make a slow full revolution before his name was called. This
enforced wait, stealing glances at the flitting procession of purposeful
visitors and the two or three oldish men, neither impatient nor very
hopeful, who came after him, biding their turn, somehow robbed him of
all his confidence. His head was weary with the click of typewriters and
the fire of his assurance out. He tried to state his case concisely and
promptly, and felt hurried and embarrassed.

In two minutes he was out in the hall again, the interview for which he
had waited a day, over. Mr. Harding, with incisive, businesslike
despatch, had taken his card and noted his address, promising to notify
him if occasion arose. He understood it was a dismissal. As he went out,
one of the oldish men arose without emotion at the new summons, folding
his newspaper and pocketing his spectacles. Bojo returned to the Court,
essaying to laugh down his disappointment, yielding already to the
subtle depression of being a straggler and watching the army sweep by.

The next day he continued his quest, the next and all of that week.
Sometimes he met with curt refusal that left a scar on his pride;
sometimes he seemed to gain headway and have opportunity almost on his
fingers until somehow, sooner or later, in the categorical questioning
it transpired that his last venture had been with a firm of speculative
brokers who had been caught and squeezed. Gradually it dawned upon him
that there was something strange in the resulting sudden shift of
attitude, a superstition of the Street itself, a gambler's dread of
failure, an instinctive horror of any one who had been touched with
misfortune, as the living hurry from the dead. The feeling of loneliness
began to creep over him. Alarmed, he steadfastly refused all week-end
invitations.

One Sunday his father turned up suddenly in the Court, shook hands with
Granning, who alone kept him company, and passed a few perfunctory
remarks with his son.

"How is it you haven't been to me for money?" he said gruffly.

Bojo answered with a lightness he was far from feeling:

"Well, they haven't taken it away from me yet, Dad."

"Mighty sorry to hear it." He looked him over critically. "In good
shape?"

"Fine."

"Get enough sleep and don't do much sitting up and counting the stars?"

"Hardly. How've you been?"

"Sound as a drum."

"How's the business, father?"

The question brought them perilously near what each had in mind. Perhaps
one word of daring would have broken down the pride of their mutual
obstinacy. Mr. Crocker growled out:

"Business is mighty shaky. Your precious Wall Street and politics have
got every one scared to death. Mighty lucky we'll be if a crash doesn't
hit us."

Had Bojo defended himself, the father might have reopened the question
of his entering the mills; but he didn't, and after a few minutes of
indefinite seeking for an opening Mr. Crocker went off as abruptly as he
had come.

The next morning Bojo, to end this depressing period of inactivity, made
a resolve to accept any opportunity, no matter how humble the salary,
and went down to see Mr. Stoughton to ask him for the chance to start at
the bottom. Skeeter received him with the same cordiality as before, but
access to the father was not to be had that day. In desperation he sat
down and wrote his request. Two days later he received his answer in the
evening mail.

  Mr. Thomas Crocker.

     Dear Tom:

     Please forgive any delay due to press of business. Just at
     present there is no vacancy, and frankly I would not advise
     you to take the step even if there were. I know you are
     young and impatient to be at work again, but I can not but
     feel that you would not be happy in making such a radical
     move, particularly when at any moment the opportunity you
     are looking for may turn up.

  Cordially yours,
  J. N. STOUGHTON.

Granning came in as he was sitting by the wastebasket and slowly tearing
this letter into minute shreds.

"Hello, young fellow--what luck?"

"I think I'm on," said Bojo, slowly, feeling all at once shelved and
abandoned. "The last thing people downtown have any use for, Granning,
is a busted broker!"

"You have found that out, have you?" said Granning quickly.

Bojo nodded.

"Well, you're right." He sat down. "See here, old sport, why don't you
do the thing you ought to do?"

"What's that?"

"Go down and see the old man and tell him you're ready to start for the
mills to-morrow!"

"No, no, I can't do that."

"You want to do it, at heart. It's only pride that's keeping you."

"Perhaps, but that pride means a lot to me," said Bojo doggedly. "Never!
I'm not going to him a failure. So shut up about that."

"Well, what are you going to do?"

Bojo began to whistle, looking out the window.

"Suppose I were to offer you a job over at the factory?"

"Would you?" said Bojo, looking up with a leaping heart.

"That means starting in on rock bottom--as I did. Up at six, there at
seven--beginning as a day laborer on a beautifully oily and smudgy
blanking machine among a bunch of Polacks."

"Will you give me a chance?" said Bojo breathlessly.

"Will you stick it out?"

"You bet I will!"

"Done!"

And they shook hands with a resounding smack that seemed to explode all
Bojo's pent-up feelings.

"All right, young fellow," said Granning with a grin. "To-morrow we'll
find out what sort of stuff you're made of!"



CHAPTER XXI

BOJO IN OVERALLS


The day he entered the employ of the Dyer-Garnett Caster and Foundry
Company was like an open door into the wonderland of industry. The sun,
red and wrapped in dull mists, came stolidly out of the east as they
crossed the river in the unearthly grays, with electric lights showing
in wan ferry-boats. When they entered the factory a few minutes before
seven, the laborers were passing the time-clocks, punching their
tickets, Polack and Saxon, Hun and American, Irish and Italian, the men
a mixture of slouchy, unskilled laborers and keen, strong mechanics,
home-owners and thinkers, the women of rather a higher class,
bright-eyed, deft, with a prevailing instinct for coquetry.

In the offices Dyer, lanky New Englander, engineer and inventor, and
Garnett, the president, self-made, simple and shrewd, both in their
shirt sleeves, gave him a cordial welcome. Unbeknown to Bojo, Granning
had given a flattering picture of his future destination as heir
apparent to the famous Crocker mills and his progressive desire for
preliminary experience in factories that were handling problems of
labor-saving along modern lines.

"Glad to meet you," said Garnett, gripping his hand. "Mr. Granning tells
me you want to see the whole scheme from the bottom up. It's not
playing football, Mr. Crocker."

"Hope not," said Bojo with a smile. "It's very good of you to give me an
opportunity."

"Don't know how you'll feel about it after a couple of weeks. I'll get
Davy--that's my son--to show you around. We're doing some things here
you'll be interested in. Mr. Dyer's just installed some very pretty
machines. Davy'll put you onto the ropes--he's just been through it.
That's a great plant of your father's--went through it last year.
Nothing finer in the country."

He found young Garnett a boy of twenty, just out of high-school, alert,
eager, and stocked with practical knowledge. The morning he spent in
exploration was a revelation. In his old prejudice against what he had
confusedly termed business he had always recoiled as before a leveling
process, stultifying to the imagination, a thing of mechanical movements
and disciplined drudgery. He found instead his imagination leaping
forward before the spectacle of each succeeding regiment of machines,
before the teeming of progress, of the constant advance toward the
harnessing of iron and steel things to the bidding of the human mind.

Cars were being switched at the sidings, unloading their cargoes of
coiled steel; other cars were receiving the completed article, product
of a score of intricate processes, stamped, turned, assembled, and
hammered together, plated, lacquered, burnished, and packed for
distribution. He had but a confused impression at first of these rooms
of tireless wheels, automatic feeders and monstrous weights that sliced
solid steel like paper. The noises deafened him: the sandy, grinding
whirl of the tumbling room, the colliding shock of the blanking
machines, the steel hiss of the burnishers--deafening voices that in the
ensuing months were to become articulate utterances to his informed
ears, songs of triumph, prophetic of a coming age.

In the burnishing-room grotesque human and inhuman arms reached down
from a central pipe to the poisonous gases of the miniature furnaces.

"Granning's idea," said young Garnett. "Carries off the fumes. This room
was a hell before. Now it's clean and safe as a garden. Here's a machine
the Governor's just installed--does the work of six women. Isn't it a
beauty?"

Bojo looked beyond it to the clustered groups of women by long counters
piled with steel parts, working rapidly at slow, intricate processes of
assembling.

"I suppose you'll get a machine some day to do all that too," he said.

"Sure. Wherever you see more than two at a job there's something to be
done. Look here." They stood by a couple of swarthy Polack women, who
were placing tiny plugs in grooves on round surfaces to be covered and
fastened with ball-bearing casters. "Looks pretty tough proposition to
get out of those fingers. We've worked two years at it, but we'll get
them yet. It's the slug shape that makes it hard; the simple
ball-bearings were a cinch. Here's how we worked that out."

A machine was under Bojo's eyes that caught the open roller and plunged
it into a circular arena, where from six converging gates steel balls
were released and fell instantly into place, a fraction of a second
before the upper cover, descending, was fixed and hammered down.

"One hundred and fifty a minute against thirty to forty, and two
operations made into one."

"But you can't do the same thing with an irregular slug," said Bojo,
amazed.

"There's a way somehow," said Garnett, smiling at the tribute of his
astonishment. "If you want to see what a machine can do, look at this,
the pride of the shop."

"Who's watching it?" said Bojo, surprised to see no one in attendance.

"Not a soul. It's a wise old machine. All we do is to fill up the hamper
once an hour, and it goes ahead, feeds itself, juggles a bit, hammers on
a head, and fills up its can, two hundred a minute."

In a large feeding-box, a tangled mass of small steel pins, banded at
one end, were rising and falling, settling and readjusting themselves. A
thin grooved plate rose and fell into the mass, sucking into its groove,
or catching in its upward progress, from one to six of the pins, which,
perpendicularly arranged, slid down to a new crisis. Steel fingers
caught each pin as released, threw it with a half turn into another
groove, where it was again passed forward and fixed in shape for the
crushing hammer blow that was to flatten the head. A safety-device based
on exact tension stopped the machine instantly in case of accident.

"Suffering Moses, is it possible!" said Bojo, staring like a schoolboy.
"Never saw anything like it."

"Gives you an idea what can be done, doesn't it?"

"It does!"

Then he began to see these strangely human machines and these mechanical
human beings in a larger perspective, in a constant warfare, each
ceaselessly struggling with the other, each unconsciously being
fashioned in the likeness of his enemy.

"When we've got the human element down to the lowest terms, then we'll
fight machines with machinery, I suppose," said Garnett.

"Makes you sort of wonder what'll be done fifty years from now," said
Bojo.

"Doesn't it?" said Garnett. "I wouldn't dare tell you what the Governor
talks about. You'd think he's plum crazy."

"By George, I feel like starting now."

"Same way I did," said Garnett, nodding. "I suppose what you'll want
will be to follow the whole process from the beginning. It gives you a
general idea. I say, that's a great machine your father's just
installed."

He began to expatiate enthusiastically on an article he had read in a
technical paper, assuming full knowledge on Bojo's part, who listened in
wonder, already beginning to feel, beyond the horizon of these animated
iron shapes, the mysterious realms of human invention he had so long
misunderstood.

The next morning, in overalls and flannels, he took his place in the
moving throngs and found his own time-card, a numbered part of a great
industrial battalion. He was apprenticed to Mike Monahan, a grizzled,
good-humored veteran, whose early attitude of suspicion disappeared with
Bojo's plunge into grime and grease. He was himself conscious of a
strange bashfulness which he had never experienced in his contact with
Wall Street men. It seemed to him that these earnest, life-giving hordes
of labor must look down on him as a useless, unimportant specimen. When
he came to take his place in the early morning, sorting out his
time-card, he was conscious of their glances and always felt awkward as
he passed from room to room. Gradually, being essentially simple and
manly in his instincts, he won his way into the friendly comprehension
of his associates, living on their terms, seeking their company, talking
their talk, with a dawning avid curiosity in their points of view, their
needs, and their opinions of his own class.

Garnett had not exaggerated when he had said that the work was not
playing football. There were days at first when the constant mental
application and the mechanical iteration amid the dinning shocks in the
air left him completely fagged in mind and body. When he returned home
it was with no thought of theater or restaurant, but with the joy of
repose. Moreover, to his surprise, he found that he awaited the arrival
of Sunday eagerly for the opportunity of reading along the lines where
his imagination had been stirred. As he studied the factory closer, his
pleasure lay in long discussions with Granning over such subjects as the
utilization of refuse, the possible saving of time in the weekly
cleanings by some process of construction which might permit of quicker
concentration, or the possibility of further safety-devices.

He saw Doris every Sunday, in the afternoon, often staying for the
dinner and departing soon after. Patsie was never present at these
meals. A month later, he heard that she had left on a round of visits.
Mr. Drake often made humorous allusions to his enforced servitude, but
never attempted to sway his course, being too good a judge of human
nature to underestimate the intensity of the young man's convictions.
Doris had completely changed in her attitude toward him. She no longer
sought to direct, but seemed content to accept his views in quiet
submission. He found her simple and straightforward, patiently resigned
to wait his decisions. He could not honestly say to himself that he was
madly in love, yet he owned to a feeling of growing respect and genuine
affection.

Matters went on according to the routine of the day without much change
while the spring passed into the hot stretches of summer. The exigencies
of the life of discipline he had enforced on himself had withdrawn him
more and more from the intimate knowledge of the every-day life of
Marsh, whose hours did not coincide with his, and of DeLancy, who, since
the episode of the speculation in Pittsburgh & New Orleans, had, from a
feeling of unease, seemed to avoid his old friends. Occasionally in her
letters from the country Doris mentioned the fact that Gladys had been
to visit her and that she thought Fred was rather neglectful; but beyond
that he was completely ignorant of his friend's sentimental standing
either with Gladys or with Louise Varney, so that what happened came to
him like a bolt out of the blue.

Toward the end of July Fred DeLancy married Louise Varney.

It was on a Friday night when Marsh, after an unusual tarrying in the
den, was preparing to return to the office, that DeLancy, to their
surprise, came into the room. In response to their chorused welcome, he
flung back a curt acknowledgment, looked around gravely in momentary
hesitation, and finally installed himself on the edge of a chair,
bending forward, his hat between his knees, turning in his hands. The
others exchanged glances of interrogation, for such seriousness on
Fred's part usually presaged a scrape or disaster.

"Well, infant, why so solemn?" said Marsh. "Been getting into trouble
lately?"

DeLancy looked up and down.

"Nope."

"There's not much information in that," said Marsh cheerily. "Well,
what's the secret sorrow? Out with it!"

"There's nothing wrong," said DeLancy quietly. He began to whistle,
staring at the floor.

"Oh, very well," said Marsh in an offended tone.

They sat, watching him, for quite a moment, in silence. Finally DeLancy
spoke, slowly and monotonously:

"I have made up my mind to a serious decision!"

Again they waited without questioning him, while he frowned and seemed
to choose his words.

"You will think I have gone out of my head, I suppose. Well--I am going
to be married--to-night--at eleven."

"Louise Varney?" said Marsh, jumping up, while Granning and Bojo stared
at each other blankly.

"Yes."

"You damned fool!"

At this Fred started up wildly with an oath, but Granning interposed
with a warning cry.

"You fool--you idiot!" cried Marsh, furiously. "Shoot yourself--cut your
throat--but don't--don't do that!"

"Shut up, Roscy, that does no good!" said Bojo quickly. He seized Fred
by the wrist: "Fred, honestly--you're going to marry her to-night?"

DeLancy nodded, his mouth grim.

"Oh, Fred, you don't know what you're doing!"

"Yes, I do," he said, sitting down. "It's nothing hasty. It's been
coming for months. I know what I'm doing."

"But--but the other--Fred, you can't--in decency you can't--not like
this."

"Shut up!" said DeLancy, wincing.

"No, no, you can't like this," said Bojo indignantly.

"By heavens, he sha'n't," said Marsh angrily. "If we have to tie him up
and keep him here--he's not going to ruin two lives like this, the
lunatic!"

"Go easy," said Granning, with a warning glance.

But, contrary to expectation, Fred did not resent the attack. When he
spoke, it was with a shrug of his shoulders, in a tired, unresisting
voice:

"It's no use, Roscy. It's settled and done for."

"Why, Fred, old boy, can't you see clear?" said Roscy, coming to him
with a changed tone. "Don't you know what this means? You're not a fool.
Think! I'm not saying a word against Louise."

"You'd better not!" said Fred, flushing.

"Her character's as good as any one else's--granted that. But, Fred,
that's not all. She's not of your world, her mother's not--her friends
are not. If you marry her, Fred, as sure as there's a sun in heaven,
you're ended, done for; you're dropped out of the world and you'll never
get back!"

"Well, I'm going to do it," said DeLancy, stubbornly.

"You're going to do it and deliberately throw over every friend and
every attachment you've got in life?"

"I don't admit that."

"What are you going to live on?" said Granning.

"I've got the money I made and what I make."

"What you make now," said Marsh, seizing the opening, "what you make
because you know people and bring down customers! You yourself said it.
But when you drop out of society you'll drop out of business. You know
it."

"I may fool you yet," said Fred angrily.

"You think you can play the Wall Street game and beat it," said Bojo,
divining his thought. "Fred, if you marry, whatever else you do--quit
gambling." Knowing more than the others, he had from the first known the
hopelessness of argument. Still he persisted blindly. "Fred, can't you
wait and think it over--let us talk it over with you?"

"I can't, Bojo, I can't. I've given my word!"

"Good God!" said Marsh, raising his hands to heaven in fury.

"Fred, can't you see what Roscy says is true?" said Granning, quieter
than the rest.

"Even so, I'm going to do it," said Fred, in a low voice.

"But why?"

"Because I'm crazy, mad in love," said Fred, jumping up and pacing
around. "Infatuated?--Yes!--Mad?--Yes! But there it is. I can't do
without her. I've been like a wild man all these months. Whether it
ruins me or not, I can't help it-- I've got to have her, and that's all
there is to it!"

"Then I guess that's all there is to it," repeated Granning solemnly.

Marsh swore a fearful oath and went out.

"I want to talk to him a moment," said Bojo, turning to Granning with a
nod. Granning went into the bedroom, while Bojo drew nearer to DeLancy.
"Fred, let's talk this over quietly."

"Oh, I know what you're going to fling at me," said Fred miserably.
"Gladys and all that. I know I'm a beast, I've no excuse. But, Bojo, I'm
half wild! I don't know what I'm doing--honest I don't!"

"Is it as bad as all that, old fellow?" said Bojo, shaking his head.

"It's awful--awful." He sat down, burying his head in his hands.

"Fred, answer me--do you yourself _want_ to do this?"

"How do I know what I want!" he said breathlessly. He raised his head,
staring in front. "I suppose it will end me with the crowd. I suppose
that's true. Bojo, I know everything that it will do to me--everything.
I know it's suicide. But, Bojo, that doesn't do any good. Reasoning
doesn't do any good--what's got to be has got to be! Now I've told you.
You'll see it's no use."

"I hope it will work out better than we think," said Bojo, solemnly.
"And Gladys?"

"I wrote to her."

"When?"

"Yesterday." He hesitated. "Her letters and one or two things--they're
done up in a pile."

"I'll get them to her."

"Thank you." He turned. "I say, Bojo, stand by me in this, won't you?
I've got to have some one. Will you?"

"All right. I'll come."

       *       *       *       *       *

At eleven o'clock in a little church up in Harlem he stood by DeLancy's
side while the words were said that he knew meant the end of all things
for him in the worldly world he had chosen for his own. It was more like
an execution, and Bojo had a guilty, horribly guilty, feeling, as though
he were participating in a crime.

"Louise looks beautiful," he found the heart to whisper.

"Yes, doesn't she?" said Fred gratefully, with such a sudden leap in the
eyes that Bojo felt something choking in his throat.

He waved them good-by after he had put them in the automobile, and took
Mrs. Varney and a Miss Dingler, the maid of honor, home in a taxi. It
was all very gloomy, shoddy, and depressing.



CHAPTER XXII

DORIS MEETS A CRISIS


It was toward the end of August, when the dry exhaustion of the summer
had begun to be touched with the healing cool of delicious nights, that
Bojo and Granning were lolling on the window-seat, busy at their pipes.
Below in the Court foggy shapes were sunk in cozy chairs under the
spread of the great cotton umbrella, and the languid echoes of
wandering, contented conversation came to them like the pleasant closing
sounds of the day across twilight fields--the homing jingle of cattle,
the returning creak of laden wagons seeking the barns, or a tiny distant
welcome from a barking throat.

"Ouf! It's good to get a lung-full of cool air again," said Bojo,
turning gratefully to an easier position.

"Well, how do you like being a horny-handed son of toil?" said Granning.

"I like it."

"You're through the worst of it now."

"It's sort of like being in training again," said Bojo reminiscently.
"Jove, how they used to drive us in the fall--the old slave drivers!
It's great, though, to feel you've earned the right to rest. I say,
Granning, it's a funny thing, but you know that first raise, ten dollars
a week, thrilled me more than making thirty thousand in a clip. Come to
think of it, I don't believe I ever really made that money."

"You didn't."

Bojo laughed. "Well, this is a man's life," he said evasively. Then
suddenly: "What precious idiots we were that first night, prophesying
our lives. Poor old Freddie, who was going to marry a million and all
that--and weren't we indignant, though, at him! A fine grave he's dug
for himself now. Queer."

"I like him better than if he'd married the other girl in cold blood."

"Yes, I suppose I do too. Still--" He broke off. "Do you believe he's
had the sense to get out of the market?"

"No," said Granning shortly.

"Good Lord, if I thought that, I'd--"

"You'd do nothing. You can't help him--neither can I or any one. After
all--don't think I'm hard, but what does it matter what happens to
fellows like Fred DeLancy? What's important is what happens to men
who've got power and energy and are trying to force their way up. Men
you and I know--"

"That's rather cruel."

"Well, life is cruel. My sympathy is with the fellow that's knocking for
opportunity, not the fellow who's throwing it away. Bojo, the salvation
of this country isn't in making sinecures for good-natured, lovable
chaps of the second generation, but in sorting 'em out and letting the
weak ones fall behind. Keep open the doors to those who are coming up."

"I don't think you've ever forgiven Fred for taking that money," said
Bojo reluctantly. "You don't like him."

"I did like him--but I've grown beyond him--and so have you," said
Granning bluntly. In the last few months he had come to speak his mind
directly to Bojo, with results that sometimes shocked the younger man.

At this moment the telephone rang.

"Shuffle over to it," said Granning, withdrawing his legs. "No one ever
telephones for me."

"It may be from Fred--perhaps they're back," said Bojo, departing.

He came back in a few moments rather excited.

"That's queer--it's from Doris."

"Been rather neglectful, haven't you?"

"It wasn't long distance. She's here!"

"Here--in town?"

"Yes. Funny she didn't warn me," said Bojo, mystified. He dug out his
hat from the crowded desk and halted before the reclining figure. "Well,
I'm summoned. Sorry to leave you. Felt just like rambling along."

"Well, be firm."

"What?"

"Be firm."

"Now just what did he mean by that?" he said to himself as he tripped
down the stairs and out. He puzzled more over this advice as he hastened
uptown. Why had Doris come, abruptly and without notification? The more
he thought of it, the more he believed he understood the reason of
Granning's warning. Doris had come to him with some new proposition, an
investment for quick returns or an opening along lines of increasing
salaries. The open surface-car with its cargo of coatless men and
shirt-waisted women went pounding up the Avenue, hurrying him toward
Doris.

He would have been at loss to define to himself his real feelings.
Despite the sudden awakening in her, the delirious quality of romance
had not returned to him. Memories of another face and other hours had
ended that. Yet there was a solid feeling of doing the right thing, of
playing square by Doris, and of a responsibility well performed. In the
long, crowded, heated weeks there were long intervals when he forgot her
entirely. Yet when he saw her or opened her letters, poignant with
solicitude and faith, he felt his imagination kindle, if but for the
moment.

He had reached the self-conscious stage in youth when he looked upon
himself as supernaturally old and tried in the furnace of experience. He
quieted the dormant longings in his heart by assuring himself that he
now took a different view of marriage, a more significant one as a grave
social step. The less he felt the romance of their relations, the more
he acknowledged the solid supplementary qualities which Doris would
bring him as his companion, as associate and organizer of the home.

That he could not give her all that she now poured out unreservedly to
him, gave him at times a twinge of pity and compassion. She was so keen
to progress, to broaden the outlook of her views, to be of real service
to him. There were moments in her letters of inner revelations that
stirred him almost with the guilty feeling of surprising what was not
his to see. The idea of an early marriage would have been unbearable,
yet as a possibility of the future it seemed to him an eminently wise
and just procedure.

At the Drake mansion his ring was answered by a caretaker, who came
doubtfully to let him in, pausing to search for the electric buttons. In
the anteroom and down the vistas of the salons, everything was bare and
draped in dust-clothes; there was a feeling of abandonment and
loneliness in the bared arches, as on his first visit a year before.

"Bojo--is it you?"

He heard her voice descending somewhere from the upper flights of the
great stone stairway, and answered cheerily. The caretaker disappeared,
satisfied, and he waited at the foot while she came rushing down and
hung herself in his arms.

"Why, Doris!" he exclaimed, surprised at her emotion and the tenseness
of the figure that clung to him. "Doris, why, what's wrong?"

"Wait, wait," she said breathlessly, burying her head on his shoulder
and tightening the grip of her arms.

She led him, still clinging to his side, through the ballroom and the
little salon into the great library, where he had gone for his decisive
interview with Drake. They stood a moment in filtered obscurity, groping
for the buttons, until suddenly the room sprang out of the night. Then
he saw that she had been weeping. Before he could exclaim, the tears
sprang to her eyes and she flung herself in his arms again, sheltering
her head against his shoulder, clinging to his protection as though
reeling before the sudden down swoop of a storm. His first thought was
of death, a catastrophe in the family--father, mother--Patsie! At this
thought his heart seemed to stop and he said brokenly:

"Doris, what is it--nothing has happened--no one is--is in danger?"

"No, no," she said in a whisper. "Oh, don't make me speak--not just yet.
Keep your arms about me. Tighter so that I can never, never get away."

He obeyed, wondering, his mind alert, seeking a reason for this strange
emotion. Suddenly she raised her head and, seizing his in her hands with
such tenacity that he felt the cut of her sharp little fingers, kissed
him with the poignant agony of a great separation.

"Bojo, remember this," she cried through her tears, "whatever
happens--whatever comes--it is you--you! I shall love only you all my
life--no one else!"

"Whatever happens?" he said, frowning, but beginning to have a glimmer
of the truth. "What do you mean?"

She moved from him, standing, with head slightly down, staring at him
silently for a long moment. Then she said, shaking her head slowly:

"Oh, how you will hate me!"

He went to her quickly and, taking her by the wrist, led her to the big
sofa.

"Now sit down. Tell me just what this all means!"

His tone was harsh, and she glanced at him, frightened.

"It means," she said at last, "that I am not what you thought--what I
thought I could be. I am not strong. I've tried and I've failed! I am
very, very weak, very selfish. I can't give up what I'm used to--luxury!
I can't, Bojo, I can't--it's beyond me!" She turned away, her
handkerchief to her eyes, while he sat without a word, compelling her to
go on. At last she turned, stealing a look at his set face. "Of course
you'll say you told me--but I tried-- I did try!"

"I am saying nothing at all," he said quietly. "So you wish to end the
engagement, that is all, isn't it?"

"All!" she said indignantly with a flood of tears. "Oh, how can you look
at me so brutally? I am miserable, absolutely miserable. I am throwing
away my life, my whole chance of loving, of being happy, and you look at
me as though you were sending me to the gallows!"

If her distress was intended to weaken him in his attitude of quiet,
critical contemplation, it failed. Nevertheless he modified his tone
somewhat.

"I am quite in the dark. I understand you have come to break off the
engagement--that is not perhaps the shock you believe it--but I am
curious to know what are your reasons."

Her tears stopped abruptly. She faced his glance.

"I said you would hate me," she said slowly.

"No, I do not think so."

"Yes, yes, you will hate me," she said breathlessly, "and you should.
Oh, I'm not excusing myself. I hate myself. I despise myself. If you
hated me you would only be right. Yes, you have every right."

"Are you engaged to any one else, Doris?" he said with a smile.

She sprang up indignantly.

"Oh, how could you say such a thing! Bojo!"

"If I have offended you I beg your pardon."

"You beg my pardon," she said, her lip trembling. She came and knelt at
his side. "Bojo, look at me. You believe that I love you, don't
you?--that you are the only thing, the only person in my life that I
have ever loved, and that if I give you up it is because I must, because
I can't help it, because--because I know myself so well that I know I
haven't the strength to do what other women do--to be--poor! There you
have it!"

"But you knew all this six months ago," he said, scenting some mystery.
"Something else must have happened--what?"

She nodded.

"Yes."

He waited a moment.

"Well?"

She rose, listened a moment and glanced carefully about the room.
Afterward he remembered this glance.

"You must give me your word of honor not to mention--not to breathe one
word I say to you," she said in a lower voice.

"That is hardly necessary," he said quickly, on his dignity.

"No, no. This is not my secret. Your word of honor. I must have your
word of honor."

"Very well," he said, carried away by his curiosity.

"Before the end of the year, in a few months even, Dad may lose every
cent he has!"

"He told you?" he said incredulously. "Or is this some trick of your
mother's?"

"No, no, it is no trick. Dad told us himself."

"Us? Whom?"

"Mother and me!"

"And Patsie?"

"No, Patsie is away."

"When did he tell you?"

"Just a week ago."

"But why?-- That doesn't seem like him to tell you," said Bojo,
frowning. "Perhaps you've exaggerated."

"No, no. He is in a bad way. He is caught," she said hurriedly. "Times
have been hard, the market has gone down steadily--all summer--way, way
down--and Dad is carrying enormous blocks of stock--must carry them or
admit defeat--and you know Dad! I don't know exactly what's wrong. He
didn't go into the matter; but he has enemies, tremendous enemies that
are trying to put him out, and it's a question of credit. Oh, if you'd
seen his face when he told us, you'd know just how serious it was!"

"Just what did he say?"

"He told us--I can't remember the words--that if times continued as they
had been, he stood a chance of losing every cent he had, that he was in
a fight for existence and that he couldn't tell how it would come out."
She hesitated a moment and added: "He thought the situation so critical
that we should know of it."

This last and the halting before saying it, suddenly gave him the light
he had been seeking during all this interview.

"In other words, Doris," he said quickly, "frankly and honestly, since
we are going to be honest now that we have come to the parting of the
ways--your father let you understand so that you might know how critical
the situation was and take your measures accordingly. That's it--isn't
it?"

"Yes, I suppose so."

"I hope at least that you haven't concealed anything from Boskirk," he
said quietly.

"Why should I tell him?"--she started to burst out, and caught her
breath, trapped.

"So you are already to be congratulated?" he said, looking at her with a
smile.

"That isn't true," she said hastily. "You know and I know that Mr.
Boskirk wants to marry me, that I can have him any day--"

"Don't," he said gravely. "You know there is an understanding--"

"Oh, an understanding--" she began.

"True," he interrupted. "At this moment, Doris, you know that Boskirk
has proposed and you have accepted him. Why deny it? It is quite plain.
You made up your mind that you would marry him the moment you learned
you might be a pauper. Come, be honest--be square."

She went away from him and stood by the fireplace, her back to him.

"That is true--all of it," she said. A shudder passed over her. "I hate
him!"

"What!" he cried, advancing toward her in amazement. "You hate him and
yet you will marry him?"

"Yes. Because I can't bear to give up anything--because I am a weak,
selfish woman."

In a flash he saw her as she would be--this woman who now stood before
him twisting and turning in half-sincere outbursts, seeking to excuse or
accuse herself before his eyes from the need of dramatic sensations.

"You will be," he said quietly. "So you are going to marry Boskirk?"

She nodded.

"Soon, _very_ soon?"

She winced under the note of sarcasm in his voice and turned
breathlessly:

"Oh, Bojo--you despise me!"

"No--" he said indifferently. He held out his hand. "Well, we have said
all we have to say, haven't we?"

Before he could prevent her or divine her intentions, she had flung
herself on his shoulder, clinging to him despite his efforts to tear her
from him.

"Please, no scenes," he said hastily. "Quite unnecessary."

She wished him to kiss her once--a last kiss; but he refused. Then she
began to cry hysterically, vowing again and again, between her torrents
of self-accusation, that no matter what the future brought she would
never love any one else but him. It was not until she grew exhausted
from the very storm of her emotion that he was able to loosen her arms
and force her from him.

"Oh, you don't love me--you don't care!" she cried, when at last she
felt herself alone and her arms empty.

"If that can be any consolation--if your grief is real--if you really do
care for me," he said, "that is true. I do not love you, Doris, and I
never have. That is why I do not hate you or despise you. I am sorry,
awfully sorry. You could have been such an awfully good sort."

At this she caught her throat and, afraid of another paroxysm, he went
out quickly.

Before the curb the touring-car was waiting. An idea came to him,
remembering the glance Doris had sent about the room.

"Going back to-night, Carver?" he said to the chauffeur. "Much of a
run?"

"Two hours and a half, sir."

"Mrs. Drake came down with you?"

"Yes, sir."

"That's the answer," he thought to himself, wondering how much she might
have overheard. "Poor Doris."

He thought of her already as some one distantly removed, amazed to
realize how quickly with the snapping of the artificial bond their true
relationship had readjusted itself. He thought of her only with a great
wonder, recognizing now all the possibilities which had lain in her for
good, saddened, and shuddering in his young imagination at the price she
had elected to pay.

He turned the corner with a last look at the turreted and gabled roof of
the great Drake mansion, faint unreal shadows against the starlit sky,
as though, in his newly acquired knowledge of the tremendous
catastrophe impending, it lay against the crowded silhouette of the city
like a thing of dreams to vanish with the awakening reality.

Before the next month was over, Doris had married young Boskirk--a quiet
country wedding whose simplicity excited much comment. Before another
fortnight the market, which had been slowly receding before the rising
wrath of a great financial panic, broke violently.



CHAPTER XXIII

THE LETTER TO PATSIE


Two days after the breaking of his engagement to Doris, Bojo wrote to
Patsie. His letter--the first he had written her--he was two days in
composing, tearing up several drafts. He was afraid to say too much, and
to discuss trivial matters seemed to him insincere. Finally he sent this
letter:

     Dear Drina:

     I suppose by now Doris has told you of what has happened.
     There are a great many things I want you to know about these
     trying months, that I've wanted you to know and have been
     hurt that you didn't know. Now that it's over I realize what
     a tragedy it would have been, and yet I would have gone on
     believing it was the right thing to do, trying to make
     myself believe in what I was doing. During all this time I
     have never forgotten certain things you said to me, your
     message the day of the panic, the look in your eyes that
     afternoon before I went in to see your father and--other
     memories. I want to see you. Where are you? When will you be
     back in New York?

  Faithfully yours,
  BOJO.

Having written this he carried it around in his pocket for another day
before posting it. No sooner was it irrevocably beyond his hands than he
had the feeling that he had committed an irretrievable blunder. The next
moment it seemed to him that he had done the direct and courageous
thing, that she would understand and be grateful to him for his
frankness. Each morning he heard the rustle of the mail slipping under
the door with a sudden cold foreboding, certain that her letter had
come. Each evening, back from the grind of the factory, he came into the
monastic corridors of Westover Court and turned the corner of the desk
with a hot-and-cold hope that in the letter-box there, under the number
51, would be a letter waiting for him. When after a week no word had
come, he began to make excuses. She was away on a visit, her mail had to
be forwarded or more probably held for her return. But one day,
happening to glance at the social column, in a report of the Berkshires
he found her name as a contender in a tennis tournament. He wrote a
second note:

     Dear Patsie:

     Did you get my letter of ten days ago, and won't you write
     me?

  Yours,
  BOJO.

Perhaps his first had miscarried. Such accidents were rare but yet they
did occur. He calculated the shortest time she could receive his letter
and answer it and waited expectantly all that day. Again a week passed
and no word from her. What had happened? Had he really blundered in
sending the first letter? Was her pride hurt, or what? A feeling of
despair began to settle over him. He did not attempt a third letter,
sick at heart. The thought that he might have wounded her--he always
imagined her as a child--was unbearable. It hurt him as it had hurt him
with a haunting sadness, the day after their wild toboggan ride, when he
had seen the pain in her eyes--eyes that were yet too young for the
knowledge of the sorrow and ugliness of the world. Finally, through a
chance remark one day when he had dropped in to his club, he learned
that she was to be present at a house party at Skeeter Stoughton's on
Long Island. Overlooking the incident of his unsuccessful attempt to
enter their employ, he took his friend into a half confidence and begged
him to secure him an invitation for over Sunday.

When he was once on the train and he knew for certain that in a short
two hours he would look into her eyes again, a feeling almost of panic
seized him. When they were in the motor rushing over smooth white roads
and he felt the lost distances melting away beneath him, this feeling
became one of the acutest misery. All that he had carefully planned and
rehearsed to say to her, suddenly deserted his mind.

"What shall I say? What shall I do?" he said to himself, cold with
horror. There seemed to be nothing he could say or do. His very presence
was an impertinence, which she must resent.

Luckily no one was in the house except their hostess and he had a short
moment to reassemble his thoughts before they strolled down to join the
party at the tennis courts. He was known to most of the crowd who
greeted his appearance as the return of the prodigal. Patsie was on the
courts, her back to him as they came up, Gladys Stone on the opposite
side of the net. Some one called out joyfully, "Bojo Crocker!" and she
turned with an involuntarily startled movement, then hastily controlling
herself at the cry of her partner, drove the ball into the net for the
loss of the point.

When next, ensconced under a red-and-white awning among the array of
cool flannels and summery dresses, he sought her, she was seriously
intent on Hieher game, a little frown on her young forehead, her lips
rebelliously set, the swirling white silk collar open at the browned
throat, the sleeve rolled up above the firm slender forearm. She moved
lightly as a young animal in slow, well calculated tripping movements or
in rapid shifting springs. Her partner, a younger brother of Skeeter's,
home on vacation, gathered in the balls and offered them to her with a
solicitude that was quite evident. Bojo felt an instinctive antipathy
watching their laughing intimacy. It seemed to him that they excluded
him, that she was still a child unable to distinguish between a
stripling and a man, still without need of any deeper emotions than a
light-hearted romping comradeship.

With the ending of the set, greetings could no longer be avoided. As
she came to him directly, holding out her hand in the most natural way,
he felt as though he were going red to the ears, that every one must
perceive his embarrassment before this girl still in her teens. He said
stupidly, pretending amazement,

"You here? Well, this is a surprise!"

"Yes, isn't it?" she said with seeming unconsciousness.

That was all. The next moment she was in some new group, arranging
another match. Short and circumstantial as her greeting had been, it
left him with a sinking despair. He had hurt her irrevocably, she
resented his presence--that was evident. His whole coming had been a
dreadful mistake. Depressed, he turned to Gladys Stone to attempt the
concealment from strange eyes of the disorder within himself. He was yet
too inexperienced in the ways of the women of the world to even suspect
the depth of resentment that could lie in her tortured heart.

"I'm awfully glad to see you--awfully," he said, committing the blunder
of giving to his voice a note of discreet sympathy. It had been his
distressing duty to bring her personally the little baggage of her
sentimental voyage--letters, a token or two, several photographs--to
witness with clouding eyes the spectacle of her complete breakdown.

She drew a little away at his words, straightening up and looking from
him.

"Have you heard the date of the wedding, Doris's wedding?" she said
coldly.

It was his time to wince, but he was incapable of returning the feminine
attack.

"You should know better than I," he said quietly.

She looked at him with a perfect simulation of ignorance:

"You were rather well interested, weren't you?"

"More than that, as you know, Gladys," he said, looking directly in her
eyes. A certain look she saw there caused her to make a sudden retreat
into banality--

"Do you play?"

"Sometimes."

Miss Stoughton and others impatient of the rôle of spectators were
organizing tables of auction inside the house. His reason told him that
the best thing for him to do would be to join them and show a certain
indifference, but the longing, miserable and unreasoning, within him to
stay, to be where he could see her, filling his eyes, after all the long
vacant summer, was too strong. He hesitated and remained, saying to
himself--

"Suppose I am a fool. She'll think I haven't the nerve of a mouse."

He wanted to chatter, to laugh at the slightest pretext, to maintain an
attitude of light inconsequential amusement, but the attempt failed. He
remained moody and taciturn, his eyes irresistibly fastened on the young
figure, so free and untamed, reveling in the excitement and hazards of
the game, wondering to himself that this girl, who now seemed so calmly
steeled against the display of the slightest interest in him, had once
swayed against his shoulder, yielding to the enveloping sense of a
moonlight night, loneliness and the invisible, inexplicable impulse
toward each other. What had come to end all this and how was it possible
for her to dissemble the emotion that she must feel, with the knowledge
of his eyes steadily and moodily fixed upon her?

He was resolved to find a moment's isolation in which to speak to her
directly and she just as determined to prevent it. As a consequence he
felt himself circumvented at every move, without being able to say to
himself that it had been done deliberately. The others who perhaps
perceived his intention sought an instinctive distance, with that innate
sympathy which goes out to lovers, but Patsie with a foreseeing eye
called young Stoughton to her side and pretending a slightly wrenched
ankle, leaned heavily on his arm. In which fashion they regained the
house without Bojo having been able by hook or crook to have gained a
moment for a private word.

At dinner, where he had hoped that Skeeter Stoughton, in return for his
half confidence, would have arranged so that he should sit next to her,
he found Patsie on the opposite side of the table. An accusatory glance
towards Skeeter was answered by one of mystification. Then he understood
that she must have rearranged the cards herself. He was unskilled in the
knowledge of the ways of young girls and their instinctive cruelty to
those who love them and even those whom they themselves love. He was
hurt, embarrassed, prey to idiotic suppositions that left him miserable
and self-conscious. He was even ready to believe that she had taken the
others into her confidence, that every one must be watching, smiling
behind their correct masks. The dinner seemed interminable. He was too
wretched to conceal his emotions, neglecting his neighbors shamefully
until one, a débutante of the year, rallied him maliciously.

"Mr. Crocker, I believe you're in love!"

He glanced at Patsie, frightened lest the remark might have carried, but
from her attitude he could divine nothing. She was rattling away,
answering some lightly flung remark from down the table. He began to
talk desperately in idiotic, meaningless sentences, aware that his
neighbor was watching him with a mischievous smile.

"Are you really in love?" she said delightedly when he had run out of
ideas.

He was struck by a sudden inspiration.

"If I confess will you help me?" he said in a whisper. Miss Hunter,
enraptured with the idea of anything that bordered on the romantic,
bobbed her head in enthusiastic response.

"Very well, after dinner," he said in the same low tone. He had a
feeling that Patsie had been trying to listen and began to talk with a
gaiety for which he found no reason in himself. Several times he glanced
across the table and he felt--though their eyes never met--that her
glance had but just left him, was on him the moment he turned away. He
found her much changed. She was not yet a woman, by a certain veil of
fragility and inconscient shyness, but the child was gone. Her glance
was more sobered and more thoughtful as though the touch of some sadness
had stolen the bubbling spirits of childhood and left a comprehension of
deeper trials approaching. At times she assumed an attitude of great
dignity, la grande manière, which was yet but assumed and made him
smile.

Dinner over, dancing began. He made no attempt to seek out Patsie,
putting off Miss Hunter too with evasive answers. He danced once or
twice, but without enjoyment and finally, not to witness the spectacle
of her dancing with other men, made the pretext of an evening cigar to
seek the obliterating darkness of the verandah. Safely hidden in a
favoring corner, he sat, moodily watching the occasional flitting of
laughing couples silhouetted against the starry night. He was totally at
loss to account for the reception. At times a suspicion passed through
his mind that Doris might have given a different account of their
parting scene than the facts warranted. At others, remembering details
of romantic novels, he had devoured, he was willing to believe that his
letter had not reached her, had been intercepted perhaps by Mrs. Drake.
At the end of an hour, fearing to have made his absence too noticeable,
he rose unwillingly to join the gay party within. Suddenly as he rounded
the corner he came upon a couple separating, the man returning to the
dance, the girl leaning against a pillar, plucking at invisible vines.
Then she too turned, coming into a momentary reflection. It was Patsie.

She stopped short, divining who it was, and the instinctive step
backward which she made brought an angry outburst to his lips.

"I beg your pardon," he said stiffly. "I didn't mean to annoy you. I had
been finishing my smoke. I--" He paused, at his wits' end. At this
moment if he had been called upon to recognize his true feelings, he
would have sworn that he hated her bitterly with a fierce, unreasoning
hatred.

"You do not annoy me," she said quietly.

"I was afraid so."

"No."

He hesitated a moment.

"Did you get my letters?"

"Yes."

"Did you answer them?" he said, with a last hope of some possible
misunderstanding.

She shook her head.

He waited a moment for some explanation and as none came, he started to
leave, saying,

"I don't understand at all--but--I don't suppose that matters--"

He went toward the door. Then stopped. He thought he had heard her
calling his name. He returned slowly.

"Did you call me?"

"No, no."

All at once he came to her tempestuously, catching her arm as he would a
naughty child's.

"Drina, I won't be turned away like this. In heaven's name what have I
done that you should treat me like this? At least tell me!"

She did not struggle against his hold, but turned away her head without
answer.

"Was it my first letter? You didn't like me to write that way--so
soon--so soon after breaking the engagement? Was that it? It was, wasn't
it?"

It seemed to him, though he could not be sure, that her head made a
little affirmative nod.

"But what was wrong?" he cried in dismay. "You wouldn't have me be
insincere. You know and I know what you meant to me, you know that if I
went on with Doris after--after that night, it was only from a sense of
duty, of loyalty. Yes, because you yourself came to me and begged me to.
If that's true, why not be open about--"

"Hush," she said hastily. "Some one will hear."

"I don't care if they all hear," he said recklessly. "Drina, what's the
use of pretending. You know I've been in love with you, you and only
you, from the first day I saw you."

She drew her arm from his grasp and turned on him defiantly--

"Thanks-- I don't care to be second fiddle!" she said spitefully.

"Good heavens, that is it!"

"Yes, that is it," she cried out and breaking from him she fled around
the corner of the verandah and it seemed to him that he had caught the
sound of a sob.

He entered the house, a prey to conflicting emotions, perplexed, angry,
inclined to laugh, with alternate flashes of hope and as sudden relapses
into despair. Just as he had made up his mind that she had left for the
night, she reappeared without a trace of concern. But try as he might he
did not succeed in getting another opportunity to speak to her. She
avoided him with a settled cold antagonism. The next day it was the
same. It seemed that everything she did was calculated to wound him and
display her hostility. He had neither the strength nor the wisdom to
respond with indifference, suffering openly. At ten o'clock that night
as he was miserably preparing to enter the automobile that was to take
him to the station, Patsie came hurriedly down the steps, something
white in her hand.

"Please do something for me," she said breathlessly.

"What is it?"

"A letter-- I want you to mail this letter--it's important."

He turned, taking the letter and putting it in his pocket without
noticing it.

She held out her hand. Surprised, he took it, yet without relenting.

"Good-by, Bojo," she said softly.

The next moment he was whirled away. When he reached the Court he
remembered for the first time his commission and, stopping at the desk,
he handed the letter absent-mindedly to Della, saying,

"If you're going out, Della, mail this."

She burst out laughing, with her irresistible Irish smile.

"What are you laughing at?" he said, surprised.

"You're always up to tricks, Mr. Crocker," she said, looking at the
inscription.

"What do you mean?" he asked, puzzled, and, perceiving the cause of her
merriment, he snatched the envelope and glanced at it. It was addressed
to him. Covered with confusion he fled up to his room in a fever of
anticipation and wild hope.

     Dear Bojo:

     Forgive me for being a horrid, spiteful little cat. I am
     sorry but you are very stupid--_very_! Please forgive me.

  PATSIE.

     P.S. As soon as the wedding is over, we come to New York.
     Will you come and see me there--and I'll promise to behave.

  DRINA.

He went to bed in the seventh heaven of delight, repeating to himself a
hundred times every word of this letter, turning each phrase over and
over for favorable interpretation. It seemed to him that never had he
spent such deliciously happy days as the last two.



CHAPTER XXIV.

PATSIE APPEALS FOR HELP


Meanwhile Fred and Louise returned. He went to see them at a fashionable
hotel where they were staying temporarily. The great rooms and the large
salon on the corner, overlooking the serried flight of houses and
factories toward the river must have cost at least fifteen dollars a
day. Louise went into the bedroom presently to her hairdresser, closing
the door.

"Congratulations, Prince," said Bojo laughing, but with a certain
intention to approach serious matters. "The royal suite is charming."

"Remember I'm a married man," said DeLancy, the incorrigible, with a
laugh. "Aren't you ashamed to try and lecture me?"

"Have you discovered a gold mine?" said Bojo.

"Oh! I got in on two or three good things last Summer," said Fred, who
broke off in some confusion at perceiving that he had just divulged to
his friend that he had been trying his fortune again in Wall Street.

"So that's it," said Bojo grimly. "Thought you'd sworn off."

"I never did," said DeLancy obstinately.

"It's not my affair, Fred," said Bojo finally. "Only do go slow, old
fellow; we're neither of us great manipulators and what comes slowly,
goes with a rush."

"Honest, Bojo, I am careful," said Fred with a show of conviction. "No
more ten per cent. margins and no more wild-cat chances. If I buy, it's
on good information, no plunging."

"Are you sure?"

"Oh, absolutely! I take the solemn oath!" said Fred with a face to
convince a meeting of theologians.

"And no margins?"

"Oh, conservative margins!"

"What do you call conservative?"

"Twenty-five points--twenty points naturally."

Bojo shook his head.

"What are you going to do, live here?"

"Of course not. We are looking around for an apartment for the Winter."

Bojo wanted to know what Louise intended, whether she had made up her
mind to leave the stage or not, but he did not know quite how to
approach the subject. As he studied DeLancy, he thought he looked
irrepressibly happy and indifferent to what lay ahead. He wondered if
Fred had made any approaches to his old friends with a view to their
accepting his wife.

"Will Louise stay here too?" he asked finally.

"Naturally."

"Is--is she giving up her career?" he said hesitatingly.

DeLancy looked rather embarrassed. He did not reply at first.

"I have left that to Louise herself. It's her decision. For the present
nothing is settled, not as yet."

Bojo felt the embarrassment that possessed him. He had come to ask a
score of questions. He started to leave with the feeling that he had
found out nothing. At the noise of his going, Louise came out of the
room with her hair down. Probably she had been listening. She said
good-by to him with extra cordiality, with an ironical look in her eyes.

"Mind you look us up after."

"Yes, yes."

Fred accompanied him to the elevator.

"As soon as we are settled we'll have a spree," he said with an attempt
at the old gaiety.

"Of course."

Bojo went off shrugging his shoulders, saying to himself, "Where will it
all end?"

During the Summer a marked change had come over industrial conditions, a
feeling of something ominous was in the air, a vague and undefined
threat impending. At the factory a fifth of the machines were idle and
Garnett was moodily contemplating a general reduction in salaries. Bojo
scarcely paid any attention to Wall Street matters now, but he knew that
the movement downward of values had been slow and gradual and that
prophecies of dark days were current. Matters with Marsh were going
badly. Advertisers were deserting the paper, there had been several
minor strikes with costly readjustments. Roscoe seemed to have lost his
early enthusiasm, to be increasingly moody, impatient and quick to take
offense. The reasons given for the business depression were many, over
capitalization, timidity of the small investors due to the exposure of
great corporations, distrust of radical political reforms. Whatever the
causes, the receding tide had come. People were apprehensive,
dispirited, talking poverty. Granning held that the country was paying
for the sins of the great financial adventurers and the cost of the
giddy structures they had thrown up. Marsh from the knowledge of his
newspaper world, held that below all was the coalescing power of great
banking systems, arrayed against the government on one side and on the
other, waiting their opportunity to crush the new-risen financial idea
of the Trust Company organized to deal in speculative ventures denied to
them. When Bojo in his simplicity asked why in a great growing nation of
boundless resources, a panic should ever be necessary, each sought to
explain with confusing logic which did not convince at all. Only from it
he gathered that above the great productive mechanism of the nation was
an artificial structure, in the possession of powerful groups able to
control the sources of credit on which the sources of production depend.

Four days after he had read in the newspapers the account of Doris's
wedding to Boskirk, about seven o'clock in the evening, while he was
waiting for Roscoe to call for him to go out to dinner, Sweeney, the
Jap, brought him a card.

It was from Patsie, hastily scribbled across, "I am outside. Can you
come and see me?"

"Where is she? Outside?" he said all in a flutter. Sweeney informed him
that she was waiting in an automobile.

He guessed that something serious must have happened and hurried down.
Patsie's face was at the window, watching impatiently. When she saw him
she relaxed momentarily with a sigh of relief.

"Why, Patsie, what's wrong?" he said instantly, taking her hand.

"You can come? It's important."

"Of course."

He jumped in and the car made off.

"Tell him to drive through the Park."

He transmitted the order. And then turned to look at her.

"I am so worried!" she said at once, gazing into his eyes, with eyes
that held an indefinable fear.

He had not relinquished her hand since he had seated himself. He pressed
it strongly, fighting back the desire to take her in his arms, that came
to him with the spectacle of her misery. There flashed through his mind
the details of his final parting with Doris and her ominous declaration
of the ruin impending over her father. He had only half believed it then
but now it flashed across his memory with instant conviction.

"Your father is in trouble--financial trouble!" he said suddenly.

"How do you know?" she said amazed.

"Doris told me."

"Doris? When?" she said. She stiffened at the name, though he did not
notice the action.

"The last time I saw her--why, Drina, didn't you know? Why she came
down, why she saw me and asked to be released--didn't you know her
reason?"

"I know nothing. Do you mean to say that she--" she paused as though
overwhelmed at the thought, "that then she knew Dad was facing ruin?"

"Knew? Why, your father told her!-- Doris and your mother! You didn't
know?"

"No."

"You weren't told afterward?"

"No, no--not a word."

Rapidly he recounted the details of the scene, failing in his excitement
to notice how divided was her interest, between the knowledge of what
was threatening her father, and what bore upon the situation between
Doris and himself.

"Then it was Doris who broke it!" she said suddenly and a shudder went
through her body.

He checked himself, saw clear and answered impetuously.

"Yes, she did--that's true. But let me tell the truth also. I never
would have married her--never--never! I never in all my life felt such
relief--yes, such absolute happiness as that night when I walked away
free. I did not love her. I had not for a long, long time. I pitied her.
I believed that through her love for me a great change was coming in
her--for the best. And so it had. I pitied her. I was afraid of doing
harm. That was all. She knew it, Drina. You can't believe I cared--you
must have known!"

"And yet--yet," she began, hesitatingly, and stopped.

"Don't hold anything back," he said impulsively. "We mustn't let
anything stand between us. Say anything you want. Better that."

"What I couldn't understand," she said at last, with an effort, in which
her hurt pride was evident--"that afternoon--when you gave back the
money to Dad--after what you said to me-- Oh! how can I say it."

"You thought that I was going to tell the truth to Doris and break the
engagement. That was it, wasn't it?"

"Yes," she said, covering her face, in terror that she could have said
such a thing, and yet her whole being hanging on his answer--"I couldn't
understand--afterwards."

"I came out of the library to make an end of everything and before I
knew it, it was Doris who had changed everything. She had listened. She
had heard all. She imagined she was in love for the first time. She
begged me not to turn from her, to give her another chance. I was
caught, what was I to do?"

"She loves you," she said breathlessly.

"She only imagines it. She only plays with that idea."

"No, no! she loves you," she said in a tone of great suffering.

"But, Drina," he said, aghast at her inconsistency, "it was you who came
to me--who begged me to marry Doris--how can you forget that?"

She burst into tears.

"What! You are jealous!--jealous of her!" he cried with a great hope in
his voice, his hand going out to her.

She stiffened suddenly and drew back, frightened into her corner.

"No, I'm not jealous," she said furiously. "Only hurt--terribly hurt."

This sudden change left him bewildered. He felt it unjustified,
inconsistent and a reproach was on his lips.

In the end he quieted himself and said, forcing himself to speak like a
stranger:

"This, I suppose, is not what you wanted to say to me?"

Instantly her alarm overcame her defiant attitude.

"No, no. I am terribly worried. I want your help, oh! so much."

She extended her hand timidly as though in apology, but still offended,
he withdrew his, saying:

"Anything I can do and you need not fear that I'll take advantage of
it!"

"Oh!" she shrank back and then in a moment said, "Bojo, forgive me-- I
am very cruel-- I know it. Will you forgive me?"

"I forgive you," he said at last, trembling at the sweetness of her
voice, resolved whatever the temptation, to show her that he could
control himself.

"Bojo, everything is going against Dad--everything. Doris must come back
and we must get word to Dolly. He needs all the help we can give him."

"Are you sure?" he said, amazed.

"Oh! I know."

"But your father has millions and in the Pittsburgh & New Orleans he
made at least ten more. How can it be?"

"I overheard-- I listened and then--then mother told me."

"When?"

"The night after the wedding--that in another month we might be
ruined--that I--I ought to look to the future."

"Oh, like Doris!" he cried.

"Yes, that was what she meant," she said with a shudder. "Think of it,
my mother, my own mother. Then I went to him--to Dad--but he would tell
me nothing--only laughed and said everything was all right, but I knew!
I don't know how or why, but I knew from the look in his eyes."

"Yet I can't believe it," he said incredulously.

"Oh! I feel so alone and so helpless," she cried, twisting her hands.
"Something must be done and I don't know how to do it. Bojo, you must
help me--you must tell me. It's money--he can't get money-- I believe no
one will lend it to him." Suddenly she turned on him, caught his
arm,--"You say Doris knew, Dad told her--before the wedding!"

"Yes--because she told me."

"Oh! that is too terrible," she cried, "and knowing it she allowed him
to make her a gift of half a million."

"He did that? You are certain?"

"Absolutely. I saw the bonds."

"But then that proves everything is all right," he cried joyfully.

"You don't know Dad," she said, shaking her head mournfully. "Bojo, we
must get Doris back, she may do things for you that she won't do for any
one else-- Oh! yes, you don't know. Then I have something--a quarter of
a million. I want to turn it into cash. He won't take it from me if he
knew. But you might deposit it to his credit, make him believe some one
did it anonymously--couldn't that be done?"

He raised her hand with a sudden swelling in his throat and kissed it,
murmuring something incoherent.

"That is nothing to do, nothing," she said, shaking her head.

"I wish I could go to him," he said doubtfully.

"You can. You can. I know Dad believes you, trusts you. Oh! if you
would.

"Of course I will and at once," he said joyfully. He leaned out the
window and gave the order. "Heavens, child, we've forgotten all about
dinner. I shall have to invite myself." He took her hand, patting it as
though to calm her. "It may not be so bad as you imagine. We'll
telegraph Doris to-night, the Boskirks can do a lot. Of course they'll
help. Then there's your mother--she has money of her own, I know."

"That's what I'm afraid of--mother," she said in a whisper.

"What do you mean?"

She shook her head.

"Don't ask me. I shouldn't have said it. And yet--and yet--"

"We are almost there," he said hurriedly. He wanted to say something to
her, revolting at the discipline he had imposed on himself, something
from the heart and yet something at which she would not take offense. He
hesitated and stammered--"Thank you for coming to me. You know--you
understand, don't you?"

She turned, her glance rested on his a long moment, she started as
though to say something, stopped and turned hurriedly away, but brief as
the moment had been, a feeling of meltable content came over him. The
next moment they came to a stop. In the vestibule she bade him wait in
the little parlor and went in ahead to the library. He had picked up a
paper and paced up and down, scanning it anxiously, with brief glances
down the wide luxurious salons and at the liveried servants who seemed
to move nervously, all eyes and ears, scenting danger in the air. The
accent of fear was in the headlines even. He was staring at a caption
telling of rumored suspensions and prophecies of ill when Patsie came
tripping back.

[Illustration: "'He wants to see you now' she said"]

"It's all right. He wants to see you now," she said, happiness in her
eyes, holding out her hand to lead him.



CHAPTER XXV

DRAKE ADMITS HIS DANGER


Drake was before the fireplace, moving or rather switching back and
forth, and this unwonted nervousness seemed an evil augury to Bojo.
However, at the slight rustle of the portières, Drake came forward with
energetic strides, his hand flung out--

"Well, stranger, almost thought you'd fled the country. How are you?
Glad, mighty glad, to see you." He stood with a smile, patting the
shoulder of Patsie, who leaned against his side. "Let's see your hands,
Tom. They tell me you've become quite a horny-handed son of toil."

"I'm mighty glad to see _you_," said Bojo, studying him anxiously. At
first he felt reassured, the old self-possession and careless confidence
were there in tone and gesture. It was only when he examined him more
closely that his forebodings returned. About the eyes, not perceptible
at first, but lurking in the depths was a hunted, restless look, which
struck the young man at once.

"I wanted Bojo so to come," said Patsie breathlessly. "I thought--in
some way--somehow he might be of help."

"I only wish I could," said Bojo instantly. "You know you can trust me."

"Yes, I know that," said Drake briefly with a sudden clouding over of
his face. He added stubbornly, pulling his daughter's ear with a kindly
look, "This young lady is all in a panic over nothing. Comes from
talking business before them."

"Oh, Daddy, why not be truthful? Whatever comes we can face it. Only let
us know," said Patsie with her large eyes fixed sadly on his face in
unbelief.

"I'm in a fight--a big fight, Tom, that's all, a little tougher than
other fights," he said loudly as though talking to himself. "If you want
to see some ructions and learn a few things that may help you in dealing
with certain brands of coyotes later, why come in--just possible you
might fit in handy."

"Thank you, sir," said Bojo gratefully, exalted to the seventh Heaven by
this permission, which seemed to bring him back the old intimacy. Patsie
was looking at him with shining eyes.

"Yes, but how about your work--the factory?" said Drake.

"The factory be damned," said Bojo fervidly, with the American instinct
for the fitness of the direct word. All broke out laughing at his
impetuosity.

"Well, Tom, I always did want you in the family," said Drake, clapping
him on the shoulder with a sly look at Patsie. "Have it as you wish.
I'll be mighty glad to have you, though you did give me a pretty stiff
lesson!"

At this moment when Patsie and Bojo did not dare to look at each other,
the situation was luckily saved by the announcement of dinner.

In the dining-room they waited several moments for Mrs. Drake to appear
until finally a footman brought the news that the mistress of the house
was indisposed and begged them to sit down without her. Drake looked
rather startled at this and went off into a moody abstraction for quite
a while, during which Patsie exchanged solicitous glances with Bojo.

"It is more serious than he will admit," he thought. "I must get a
chance to speak to him alone. He will never tell the truth before
Drina."

Dinner over, a rather anxious meal partaken of in long silences with
occasional bursts of forced conversation, Bojo found opportunity to
whisper to Patsie as they returned towards the library.

"Make some excuse and leave us as soon as you can. I'll see you before I
go."

She gave him a slight movement of her eyes to show she comprehended and
went dancing in ahead.

"Now before you begin on business, let me make you both comfortable,"
she cried. She indicated chairs and pushed them into their seats,
laughing. She brought the cigars and insisted on serving them with
lights, while each watched her, charmed and soothed by the grace and
youth of her spirits, though each knew the reason of her assuming. She
camped finally on the arm of her father's chair, with a final enveloping
hug, which under the appearance of exuberance, conveyed a deep
solicitude.

"Shall I stay or do you want to talk alone?"

"Stay." Drake caught the hand which had stolen about his neck and patted
it with rough tenderness. "Besides I want you to get certain false ideas
out of your head. Well, Tom, I'll tell you the situation." He stopped a
moment as though considering, before beginning again with an appearance
of frankness which almost convinced the young man, though it failed
before the alarmed instinct of his daughter. "Miss Patsie here is taking
entirely too seriously something her mother repeated to her. I won't
attempt to deny that the times are shaky. They are. They may become
suddenly worse. That depends entirely on a certain group of men. But the
strong point as well as the weak point in the present situation is that
it can depend on a certain group. There will be no panic for the simple
reason that in a panic this group will lose in the tens of millions
where others lose thousands. Now this group in the past through their
control direct or inter-related has been able to dominate the centers of
credit, the money loaning institutions, such as the great banks and
insurance companies. By this means they have been in a measure able to
keep to themselves the great industrial exploitations dependent on the
ability to finance in the hundreds of millions. More, they have been
able to limit to narrow fields such men as myself and other newcomers,
who wish to rise to the same financial advantage. Lately this supremacy
has been threatened by the rise of a new financial idea, the Trust
company. This new form of banking, due to the scope permitted under the
present law, has been able to deal in business and to make loans on
collateral which, while valid, is forbidden a bank under the statutes.
The Trust companies, able to deal in more profitable business and to pay
good interest consequently on deposits, have developed so enormously as
to threaten to overshadow the banks. Back of all this the Trust
companies have been developed and purchased by the younger generation of
financiers in order to acquire the means of providing themselves with
the credit necessary to develop their large schemes of industrial
expansion, without being at the mercy of influences which can be
controlled by others. From the moment the dominant group perceived this
phase of the development of the Trust company, war was certain. That's
where I come in. Pretty dry stuff. Can you get it?"

Patsie nodded, more interested perhaps in her father's manner than in
what he said. Bojo listened with painful concentration.

"After my deal in Indiana Smelters and the turn in Pittsburgh & New
Orleans I knew that the knives were out against me. I tried to make
peace with Gunther but I might just as well have tried to sleep with the
tiger. I saw that. There were several things I wanted to do--big things.
I had to have credit. Where could I get it--dare to get it? So I went
into the Trust companies. They want to get me and they want to get
them." He stopped, rubbed his chin and said with a grin, "Perhaps they
may sting me--good and hard--but at the worst we could worry along on
eight or nine millions, couldn't we, living economically, Patsie?"

"Is that the worst it could mean?" she said, drawing off to look in his
eyes.

He nodded, adding:

"Oh, it isn't pleasant to have fifteen to twenty millions clipped from
your fleece, but still we can live--live comfortably."

She pretended to believe him, throwing herself in his arms.

"Oh! I'm so relieved."

His hand ran over her golden head in a gentle caress and his face, as
Bojo saw it, was strained and grim, though his words were light:

"But I'm not going to lose those twenty millions, not if I can help it!"

Patsie sprang up laughing, caught Bojo's signal and ran out crying:

"Back in a moment. Must see how mother is."

When the curtains, billowing out at her tumultuous exit, had fluttered
back to rest, Bojo said quietly:

"Mr. Drake, is that what you wish me to believe?"

"Eh, what's that?" said Drake, looking up.

"Am I to believe what you've just told?"

There was a long moment between them, while each studied the other.

"How far can I trust you?" said Drake slowly.

"What do you mean?"

"Can I have your word that you will not tell Patsie--or any one?"

Bojo reflected a moment, frowning.

"Is that absolutely necessary?"

"That's the condition."

"Very well, I shall tell her nothing more than she knows. Will that
satisfy you?"

Drake nodded slowly, his eyes still on the young man as though finally
considering the advisability of a confidence.

"That was partly true," he said slowly; "only partly. There's more to
it. It's not a question _yet_ of being wiped out, but it may be a
question. Tom, I'm not sure but what they've got me. It all depends on
the Atlantic Trust. If they dare let it go to the wall--" He grinned,
took a long whistle and threw up his arms.

"But surely not all--you don't mean wiped out?" said Bojo, aghast. "You
must be worth twenty, twenty-two million."

"I am worth that and more," said Drake quietly. "On paper and not only
on paper, under any other system of banking in the world, I would be
worth twenty-seven millions of dollars. Every cent of it. Remember that
afterward, Tom. You'll never see anything funnier. Twenty-seven millions
and to-day I can't borrow five hundred thousand dollars on collateral
worth forty times that. You don't understand it. I'll tell you."



CHAPTER XXVI

A FIGHT IN MILLIONS


Drake did not immediately proceed. Having impulsively expressed his
intention to reveal his financial crisis, he hesitated as though
regretting that impulse. He left the fireplace and went from door to
door as though to assure himself against listeners, but aimlessly,
rather from indecision than from any precaution. Returning, he flung
away his cigar, though it was but half consumed, and took a fresh one,
offering the box to Bojo without perceiving that he was in no need. So
apparent was his disinclination, that Bojo felt impelled to say:

"Perhaps you would rather not tell me, sir!"

"I'd only be telling you what my enemies know," said Drake sharply,
flinging himself down. "They know to a dollar what I've pledged and what
I can draw on-- Oh! trust them."

"Mr. Drake," said Bojo slowly, "I don't need to tell you, do I, that I
would do anything in this world for Patsie, and that without knowing in
the slightest what she feels toward me--believe me. I say this to
you--because I want you to know that I've come only in the wildest hope
that I might help in some way--some little way."

Drake shook his head.

"You can't, and yet--" He hesitated a last time and then said, in a
dreamy, indecisive way, so foreign to his nature that it showed the
extent of the mental struggle through which he had passed, "and yet
there are some things I'd be glad to have you know--to remember, Tom,
after it's all over, particularly if you come into the family. For I
don't think you quite understand my ways of fighting. You took a rather
harsh view of certain things from your standpoint-- I admit you had some
cause."

"I didn't judge you," said Bojo hastily, blushing with embarrassment. "I
was only judging myself, my own responsibility."

"Well, you judged me too," said Drake, smiling. "Yes--and I felt it, and
I'll say now that I felt uncomfortable--damned uncomfortable. That's why
I'm going to let you see that according to my ways of looking at things
I play the game square. I'm going to let you overhear a certain very
interesting little meeting that is going to take place" (he glanced at
the clock) "in about half an hour. Mr. James H. Haggerdy is coming to
make me a proposition from Gunther and Co. It'll interest you."

"Thank you," said Bojo simply.

"Now, here's the situation in a nutshell. If I could weather this
depression a year, six months, or if there had been no depression, but
normal times, I would be able to swing a deal and clear out at over one
hundred millions-- I gambled big. It was in me--fated-- I had to sink or
swim on a big stake. If I'd have won out, I'd have been among the kings
of the country. That's what I wanted--not money. It's the poker in my
blood. However. Here's the case: I made money, as you know--a great
deal of money. I was worth considerable after the Indiana Smelters got
going. I was worth ten millions more when I had sold back Pittsburgh &
New Orleans. That was the crisis. I wanted to get in with the inner
crowd--not simply to be a buccaneer, for that's about what I'd been.
That's why they bought their old railroad back. I was rated a dangerous
man. I was. So is every man dangerous till he gets what he wants. I went
to Gunther and laid my cards on the table. Gunther's a big man, the only
man I'd have done it to, but he has one fault--he can hate. The ideal
master ought to have no friends and no enemies. I said to Gunther:

"'Gunther, let's talk straight. I want to come into the field--on your
level--you know what that means. Your word and I'll be satisfied. Am I
big enough yet? Do you want me inside or outside the breastworks? Say
the word.'

"He sat there smiling, listening, gazing out the window.

"'I know what I'm asking's a big thing, to forget what I've cost you. It
_is_ a lot to ask. But you're big enough to see beyond it. Say the word
and I'm yours, through thick and thin, from now on, and I'll lay before
you now a campaign as big as anything you handled so far. All I want is
your word--is it peace or war!'

"That's where he played square.

"'I don't forget easily,' he said.

"'So that's the answer?' I said.

"He nodded.

"'I'm sorry. I came to you because you're the only man down here I'm
willing to look up to,' I said, for I knew there was no use going on,
but as I went out I plumped in a last shot: 'In a year from now I'm
going to put the same offer to you, and when I do I'll carry a few more
guns.'

"I went out and I got to work. As a matter of fact, I had already begun.
I went in with Majendie of the Atlantic Trust, Ryerson of the Columbian,
and Dryser of the Seaboard Trust. I bought my way in. I'd got a say in
institutions able to lend millions on good collateral without having to
duck at a bell pressed downtown. Then I started with a group of
Middle-Westerners to make myself felt. There was only one big field left
and it was a question how long that would be left alone. They had
organized their steel industries and their railroads, they'd knocked out
or digested competitors, controlled the field of production and had
things sailing along gloriously, but they'd forgotten, or almost
forgotten, one thing which they ought to have controlled the first, the
iron to pour into their furnaces and the coke to keep them going. When
they woke up, they found me in control of the Eastern Coke and Iron
Company, holding about eighty million dollars worth of land in West
Virginia and Virginia which they had to have sooner or later. Then they
woke up with a vengeance. The first thing they did was to send word to
me through Haggerdy to get out of the Seaboard Trust and be a good
little boy and they'd let me come around and play. I laughed at that,
though I knew it meant war to the knife. About ten weeks ago I got a
taste of what they could do. Of course, to carry what I was carrying, I
had need of big sums, and I had large blocks of Eastern Coke and Iron
hypothecated not only among my Trust Company connections, but in banks
around town, where it was upon good strong margins. Ten weeks ago, when
I dropped in at a certain bank to renew my loan, I was told that they
had decided on account of the business outlook, the downward trend of
prices and what not, to call in their loans and proceed on a very
conservative basis. Of course, under that rigamarole I knew what was
doing--orders from headquarters--and more to follow. I placed the loan
with the Atlantic Trust and waited. Last week another refusal. This time
the warning was a little more pointed. The president himself looked with
grave concern--that's always the expression--on the amount of Eastern
C. and I. stock hypothecated at present. A collapse in the stock, which
had been declining steadily, might seriously upset financial conditions
all over the country, etc. Well, I weathered that and a couple others
until I've got where I'm stumped. A bank has got the right to decide for
itself what it wants to lend money on; it can decline a loan on any
security or all securities offered, and what are you going to do about
it? The trust companies are carrying all they can and besides they're
being squeezed themselves. As a matter of fact, with solid properties
worth to-day in the market from fifty-five to fifty-seven millions, of
which we own sixty per cent., there isn't a bank in town will lend us a
hundred thousand dollars. The word has been passed around and those who
are independent don't dare. I need two million cash by day after
to-morrow, absolutely must have it, and they know it and Haggerdy's
coming here to look me over, examine my pocketbook and say, 'What have
you got that we want!'"

At this moment the butler came with a card.

"Did you say any one was here?" said Drake, studying the card.

"No, sir."

"Show Mr. Haggerdy in when I ring," said Drake, with a nod of dismissal.
He rose and beckoning Bojo placed him in the embrosine of the window,
where a slight recess hid him completely from the rest of the room.

"No need of a record; take it in just for your own curiosity," he said,
returning to his desk.

Mr. James H. Haggerdy came in like a bulky animal emerging from a cage
and blinking at the sun. He was not the man to beat about the bush, and
in his own long and varied experience in Wall Street he had been called
many names, but he had never been branded with anything petty, a fact
which made a certain bond of sympathy between the two men.

"Hello, Dan!"

"Hello, Jim!"

Haggerdy moved to a chair, refused a cigar, and said directly:

"Well, Jim, I suppose you know what I've come for."

"Sure, to carry off the furniture and the silverware," said Drake,
laughing.

"That's about it!" said Haggerdy, nodding with a grim twist of his lips.
He had a sense of humor, though he seldom laughed. "Dan, they've got
you."

"So they seem to think."

"And they want your Eastern C. and I. stock."

"That's quite evident. Will they accept it as a present or do they want
me to pay them for taking it?" said Drake grimly.

"What's the use of faking," said Haggerdy. "Gunther wants the stock and
is going to have it. Do you want to sell now or hand it over. You're a
sensible man, Dan; you ought to know when you're beaten."

"I'm not sure I am a sensible man," said Drake facetiously.

"It's all in the game. You're not kicking because you've been caught,
are you?" said Haggerdy, as though in surprise.

"No. If I were in Gunther's place I should do just what he's doing.
Quite right. Only I'm not sure, Jim, he'd do what I do were conditions
reversed."

"You paid around 79 for the stock. You've got a million shares you're
carrying. The stock's to-day at 54. We'll buy you out at 55. Take it,
Dan."

"Thanks for the advice, but my answer's No."

"Why?"

"That stock's going to be worth 150 in two years."

"Two years isn't to-day. You're facing conditions." He looked at him as
though trying to understand his motive. "The old man isn't bargaining
when he says 55; he means 55 and no more."

"I know that."

"Where are you going to raise two million dollars cash in forty-eight
hours? You see, we are well informed."

Drake smiled as though this were the easiest matter in the world.

"Suppose the Clearing House refuses to clear for the Atlantic Trust
to-morrow. What'll that mean?"

"A panic."

"And where would your Eastern Coke and Iron go then?"

"To 40 or 35, wherever you wanted it to go--possibly."

"And can't you take a hint?"

"Not when I know a stock that's worth over a hundred has been pushed
down on purpose to freeze me out."

"You're not talking morality, Dan?"

"Oh, no! You think I'm beaten. I know I'm not."

"You're bluffing, Dan."

"Find out."

"To-morrow'll be too late."

"Possibly, but if Gunther can buy it at 40 or 35, why should he pay 55
to me?"

"I think he likes you, Dan," said Haggerdy slowly.

"No. He wants to make sure of getting the stock. He doesn't want a
scramble for it," said Drake. "I'm surprised to hear you talking such
nonsense."

Haggerdy rose, shaking his head impressively.

"A mistake, Dan--a mistake." He waited a moment and then played his last
card. "Of course, if you sell out in this, it's understood Gunther'll
see you through on the rest. And that may mean the question of the roof
over your head."

"That means credit at the bank--that I'll be allowed to put up good
collateral like a respectable member of the crowd?"

"Phrase it as you will, that's it. Gunther will buy out your Trust
Company holdings for what you paid for them and he'll see you through on
Indiana Smelters--that means something saved out of the wreck--and, Dan,
there's a big smash up just over the horizon."

"I thought that was the proposition," said Drake, ruminating. "Well,
Jim, it's more than ever no."

"Why more than ever?"

"Because this in good old-fashioned English means just one
thing--getting out, saving my skin at the expense of others."

"Quite so--every man for himself."

"Not with me. I've given my word on the Coke and Iron deal. I'll see it
through. Tell Gunther I'll sell out at 80 all or nothing, and give him
twenty-four hours."

Haggerdy stretched out his hand in farewell.

"Are you sure of the other fellows, Dan?" he said slyly.

"I don't give a damn what the other fellows may do. I've given my word
and I stand by that."

"I'm sorry for you, Dan," said Haggerdy, shaking his head ominously.
"Telephone me if you change your mind."

"Thanks for your wishes, but don't lose any sleep--expecting," said
Drake, laughing.

Bojo came out aghast.

"You don't mean to say the Atlantic Trust is in danger," he cried,
foreseeing all in a glance the structures that would go toppling.

"It's in danger, all right," said Drake moodily, "but they won't--they
don't dare let it close--impossible!"

"And if you can't raise two million?"

Drake shrugged his shoulders.

"But surely there's some way," Bojo cried helplessly, "some
friends--there must be a way to raise it. This house surely is worth
twice that--it isn't mortgaged, is it?"

"No, it's quite clear, but it belongs to my wife," said Drake, and again
there came into his face that shadow of broken despair which Bojo had
noticed a score of times.

"But then--does she realize--"

"Yes, she knows," said Drake to himself. It was easy to see that the
interview with Haggerdy had profoundly convinced him. "Mrs. Drake's
fortune outside of that is fully three millions, which I have given
her--"

"But why haven't you told her and your daughter--they ought--" Suddenly
he stopped short, his eyes met Drake's and a suspicion of the truth
struck him. "You don't mean--"

"Don't," said Drake helplessly, and for the first time he caught a
glimpse of the vastness of his inner suffering. The next minute he had
hurriedly recovered his mask, saying: "Don't ask me about that-- I
can't-- I must not tell you."

"Mrs. Drake has refused to help you!" exclaimed Bojo, carried away. "She
has--she has. I see it by your face."

Drake walked to the fireplace and stood gazing down. Presently he
nodded as though talking to himself.

"Yes; my wife could come to my assistance. I have been forced to ask
her. She won't. I have been living in a fool's paradise. That's what
hurts!"



CHAPTER XXVII

PATSIE'S SCHEME


When Bojo returned home after a brief stolen interview with Patsie, he
could hardly believe what he had himself witnessed. It seemed incredible
that all that magnificence and luxury might be dissipated in a night,
could depend upon the wavering of an hour in a mad exchange. But deeper
than the feeling of impending disaster--which he even now could not
realize--was the disclosure of the true state of affairs in the Drake
household. Without telling Patsie the extent of her father's danger, he
had told of Drake's applying to his wife for assistance and her refusal.
Then Patsie brokenly had told her part, how she had pled with her mother
and sought in vain to place before her the true seriousness of the
situation, her father's peril and his instant need. To entreaties and
remonstrances Mrs. Drake remained deaf, sheltering herself behind an
invariable answer. Why should she throw good money after bad? What was
to be gained by it? If he had thrown away the family fortune, all the
more reason for her to save what she had. The worst was that Dolly was
abroad and Doris and her husband were cruising off Palm Beach and the
telegram they sent might not reach them in time.

The next morning Bojo waited fitfully for the opening of the Stock
Exchange, with the dreaded memories of Haggerdy's prophecies running in
his head. It took him back to the days when he himself had been a part
of the vast maelstrom of speculation. He breakfasted with one eye on the
clock waiting for the hands to advance to the fatal hour of ten. At five
minutes past that hour he went feverishly across the way to the ticker
in the neighboring hotel brokerage. He had a feeling as though he were
being sucked back into the old life of violent emotions and unreal
theatrical upsets. He remembered the day before the drop in Pittsburgh &
New Orleans when he had waited in the Hauk and Flaspoller offices
matching quarters with Forshay to endure the last few intervening
minutes before the crisis which was to sweep away their fortunes as a
tidal wave obliterates a valley. He had not understood then the ironical
laughter in Forshay's eyes, but as he came back again to the old
associations he felt himself living over with a new poignant
understanding the final act of that tragedy.

Between the Tom Crocker of those breathless days and the ordered self
which he had built up during these last months of discipline there
seemed to intervene unreal worlds.

The group gathered in the hotel branch of Pitt & Sanderson were
indolently interested rather than excited. They were of the flitting and
superficial gambling type, youngsters still new to the excitement of the
game and old men who could not tear themselves away from their
established habit. They formed quite a little coterie in which the
differences of age and wealth were obliterated by the common bond of
the daily hazard. He knew the type well, the reckless plunger risking
thousands on shallow margins, determined to make or lose all at one
killing; the rodent, sharp-eyed, close-fisted veteran, wary from many
failures, who was content to play for half a point rise and take his
instant profit. The lounging group studied him with a moment's
curiosity, seeking in which category to place the intruder, whether
among the shifting truant crowd stopping for the moment's information or
among that harried occasional group of lost souls who came expectant of
nothing but complete disaster.

Bojo went to the tape with almost the feeling with which a reformed
drunkard closes his hand over the glass that had once been his
destruction. His mind, excited by the memories of the night before, was
prepared for a shock. To his surprise the clicking procession of
values--Reading, Union Pacific, Amalgamated Copper, Northern
Pacific--showed but fractional declines. The break he had come to
witness did not develop. He waited a quarter of an hour, half an hour,
an hour. The market continued weak but heavy.

"Nothing much doing," he said, turning to his neighbor, a financial rail
bird of a rather horsy type, grisled and bald.

"Playing it short?"

"Haven't yet made up my mind. What do you think?" he said, to draw the
other on.

"Think?" said the other with the enthusiasm of the gambler's conviction.
"Lord, there's only one thing to think. This market's touched bottom
two weeks ago. When it starts to rise watch things go kiting."

"You think so?" said Bojo, with the instinctive tendency to seek hope in
the slightest straws that is the strangest part of all the strange
acquaintanceships of the moment which speculation engenders. He had to
listen for five minutes to impassioned oratory, to hearing all the
reasons recounted why the long depression was nothing but psychological
and an upward turn a certainty. He slipped away presently, rather
relieved at this confidence from a shallow prophet, and when he met
Patsie by appointment, the news he brought her dispelled the feelings of
foreboding under which she had been suffering the last week.

"After all, perhaps we have been rather panicky," he said, with a new
assumption of cheerfulness. "Remember one thing, your father knows this
game and when he says that the big group does not intend to have a
panic, because they themselves have too much to lose, Patsie, he must
know what he is talking about."

"If Doris were only here," she said, her woman's instinct unconvinced.

"You sent the telegram?"

"Last night. I should have had the answer this morning. That's what
worries me. Perhaps it won't reach them in time and even if it does it
will be over two days before they can get back."

"It would help a good deal," he admitted. The prospect of going to Doris
for help after what had happened was one from which he shrank, yet he
was resolved to stop at nothing, willing to sacrifice his pride if only
to secure the aid which, knowing their connections, he knew Boskirk
could bring the imperilled financier.

"At least I shall do what I can do," she said, with a determined shake
of her head.

He looked at her doubtfully. "I am afraid, Patsie, that a few hundred
thousands will not help much--but if your mind is made up."

"It is made up."

"Very well, what address shall I give them?" He leaned forward and
repeated the number.

Twenty minutes later they were in the office of Swift and Carlson, in
the inner room, talking to the senior partner. Thaddeus C. Swift was one
of the innumerable agents through whom Daniel Drake operated in the
placing of his more serious enterprises, of the older generation of Wall
Street, conservative, seemingly unruffled by the swirling tide of
strident young men which churned about him. He had known Patsie since
her childhood and received her as he would his own daughter, with
perhaps a quizzical and searching glance at the young man who waited a
little uncomfortably in the background. Patsie opened the conversation
directly without the slightest hesitation.

"Mr. Swift," she said imperiously, "you must give me your word that you
will keep my confidence." And as this caused the old gentleman to stare
at her with a startled look, she added insistently: "You must not say a
word of my coming here or whatever I may ask you to do. Promise."

"Sounds quite terrible," said Mr. Swift, smiling indulgently. In his
mind he decided that the visit meant a demand for a few hundred dollars
for some girlish fancy. "Well, how shall I swear? Cross my heart and all
that sort of thing?"

"Mr. Swift, I am serious, awfully serious," stamping her foot with
annoyance, "and please do not treat me as a child."

He saw that the matter was of some importance, and scenting perhaps
complications, withdrew into a defensive attitude.

"Suppose you tell me a little of what you want of me," he said
carefully, "before I give such a promise."

Patsie, who for her reasons did not wish her father to have the
slightest suspicion of this visit, hesitated, looked from Mr. Swift to
Bojo, and turned away nervously, seeking some new method to gain her
end.

"Miss Drake is coming to you as a client," said Bojo, deciding to speak,
"to consult you about her interests. So long as it is about her business
affairs, it seems quite natural, doesn't it, that you should keep her
confidence?"

"Eh, what?" said Mr. Swift, frowning. He seemed to repeat the question
to himself, and answered grudgingly: "Of course, of course, that's all
right, that's true. If it is only to consult me about your business
affairs--"

[Illustration: "'Your promise. No one is to know what I do'"]

"It is absolutely that," said Patsie hastily. She stood beside him,
holding out her hand obstinately. "Your promise. No one is to know what
I do."

Mr. Swift made a mental reservation and nodded his head. The three sat
down.

"How much have I deposited in stocks and bonds to my account?" asked
Patsie.

"Do you wish a list?" said Mr. Swift, preparing to touch a button.

"No, no, not now; only the value--in a general way."

"Of course," said Mr. Swift, caging his fingers and looking over their
heads to the depths of the ceiling, "of course, it depends somewhat on
the state of the market. While what you have is the best of securities,
still, as you must know, even the best will not bring to-day what it
would a year ago."

"Yes, but in a general way," she insisted.

"In a general way," he said carefully, "I should say what you have would
represent a capital of $500,000 to $510,000. Possibly, under favorable
conditions, a little more."

Patsie and Bojo looked at him in astonishment.

"You said $500,000?" she said incredulously.

He nodded.

"You are thinking of Doris," she said, bewildered.

"Not at all. That is approximately the value of your holding. Your
father deposited with me securities to the value of $260,000 on your
coming of age last January."

"Yes, yes; I know that, but--"

"And securities of the par value of $250,000 on the occasion of your
sister's marriage."

"He did that?" exclaimed Patsie, her heart in her throat; "he really did
that?" Her eyes filled with tears and she turned away hastily with an
emotion quite inexplicable to the older man. Bojo himself was much moved
at the thought of how the father in the face of a supreme conflict had
been willing to risk his reserves to provide for the future of his
daughters.

Patsie came back, her emotion in a measure controlled. She placed her
hand upon the shoulder of Mr. Swift, who continued to gaze at her
without comprehension.

"I know you don't understand; you will later. Mr. Swift, I want you to
sell every one of my securities, now, immediately. I want everything in
cash."

Mr. Swift looked at her as though he had seen a ghost and then rapidly
at Bojo. In his mind perhaps was working some fantastic idea of an
elopement. Perhaps Patsie guessed something of this, for she blushed
slightly and said:

"My father needs it. I want to give it to him."

Her words cleared the atmosphere, though they left Mr. Swift obstinately
determined.

"But, Patsie," he said, as a father might to a child, "this is a
bombshell. I can't allow you on my own responsibility to do a thing like
this on impulse. You should not ask me. How do you know your father is
in need? He has not sent you here?"

"No, no; never. Don't you know him better than that? If he knew he never
would permit it. That's the difficulty, don't you see? He must never
know of it and you must arrange some way so he will never guess it is
coming from me."

Mr. Swift stared at her utterly amazed. At length he turned and,
addressing Bojo, said:

"You are in the confidence of Miss Drake? If so, perhaps you can help me
out. Does she know what she is doing, and is it possible that she has
any valid reason for believing that her father can possibly be in need
of such heroic assistance as this?"

His face expressed so much amazement mingled with consternation at the
thought that Daniel Drake could possibly be in difficulties that Bojo
for the first time perceived what he should have foreseen, the direct
danger to the financier from the suspicion of his true situation which
must come from the revelation of Patsie's intentions.

"Mr. Swift," he said, in great perturbation, "I do not know whether we
have done wisely in speaking to you so frankly. You will perhaps
understand now why Miss Drake insisted on a promise of secrecy."

"What! Daniel Drake in need of money?" said Mr. Swift, staring at him or
rather through him, and already perceiving the tremendous significance
of this disclosure upon the distraught times.

"At least Miss Drake believes so," said Bojo carefully. "She may
exaggerate the necessity. What she is doing she is doing because she has
made up her mind herself to do it and not because I have advised her or
suggested it in the slightest. You are too good a friend of the family I
know, sir, to speak of what has occurred."

"Oh, Mr. Swift," said Patsie, breaking in and seizing his hand
impulsively, "you _will_ help me, won't you?"

Mr. Swift gazed at her blankly, a hundred thoughts racing through his
mind; still too upset by the news he had just received, which could not
fail to be full of significance to his own fortunes, to be able to
focus for the moment on the immediate decision.

Patsie repeated her demand with a quivering lip. He came out of his
abstraction and began to think, arranging and rearranging a pile of
letters before him, convinced at last that the situation was of the
highest seriousness.

"Wait, wait a moment; I must think it over," he said slowly. "This is an
unusually serious decision you have put up to me. My dear Patsie, you
know nothing about such matters; you're a child."

"I am eighteen and I have a right to dispose of what belongs to me."

"Yes, yes, you have the right, but I have the right also to advise you
and to make you see the situation as it exists." His manner changed
immediately and he said simply and frankly, "Since you have trusted me,
you must give me your full confidence. I shan't abuse it. Mr. Crocker, I
can see by your manner and your attempt at caution that this matter is
not a trifle. Do you know from your own knowledge how serious it is?
Please do not hide anything from me."

"I won't," said Bojo. "I know of my personal knowledge and I believe it
to be as serious as it can possibly be."

The two men exchanged a glance and the look in both their eyes told
Swift even more than his words revealed, more than he wished Patsie
herself to suspect.

"Suppose the very worst were true," said Mr. Swift after a moment's
thought, "that your father was in danger of complete failure? I am
merely supposing this extreme case to show you the difficulty of my
position. Your father has placed these securities to your account with
the distinct intention that whatever happens to him you shall be
provided for as his other daughters are provided for, and undoubtedly
his wife is taken care of. If I should allow you to do this, even as a
matter of sentiment it is possible in an extreme case everything you
have as well as everything your father possesses might be wiped away. Do
you realize that?"

"And that's just what I am afraid may happen," she exclaimed, worried
beyond the thought of caution by her forebodings.

"And you are willing to take the risk of losing everything?" he said
slowly; "for after all there is no reason why you should sacrifice what
belongs to you rightfully and legally even if your father should fail
completely."

"No reason?" she cried. "Do you think for a moment that money means
anything to me when he, my father, the one who has given it to me, needs
it?"

"But if even this won't save him?" he persisted, shaking his head.

"What has that got to do with the question?" she said impatiently,
almost angrily. "Everything I have I want him to have. That's all there
is to it."

He gazed at her fresh and ardent face a moment and then laid his hand
over hers, muttering something underneath his breath which Bojo did not
catch, although he divined its reverence.

"Then you will do as I wish?" she cried joyfully, guessing his
surrender.

He nodded, gave a helpless glance to Bojo and cleared his throat
huskily. "As you wish, my dear," he said very gently.

"And you will sell everything at once?" she cried.

"I can't promise that," he said quietly. "Such a block of securities
can't be thrown on the market all at once. But I will do my best."

"But how long will it take?" she said in dismay.

"Four days, possibly five."

"But that will be too late. I must have it all the day after to-morrow."

"That will mean a serious sacrifice," he said.

"What do I care? I must have it by to-morrow night."

"You are determined?"

"Absolutely."

"It will have to be so then."

"And when that is done," she cried joyfully, clapping her hands in
delight, "you will help me to send it to him so he will never suspect
it?"

He nodded, yielding every point, perhaps more moved than he cared to
show.

They left the office after Patsie had signed the formal order.

At the house they found a telegram from Doris.

     Dear Patsie, your telegram has thrown us into the greatest
     anxiety. Jim and I are leaving at once. Will be in New York
     day after to-morrow. Courage. We will do everything to help.

  DORIS.

This news and their success of the morning restored their spirits
immeasurably. It seemed as though clouds had suddenly cleared away and
left everything with a promise of sunshine and fair weather. They
lunched almost gaily. Mrs. Drake still kept her room and Patsie was
impatient for the day to pass and the next one to have the certainty
that the sale was achieved. Confident from her first success she
declared once Doris was back she would go with her sister to her mother
and shame her if they could not persuade her into a realization of the
gravity of the situation. When Bojo left they had even forgotten for the
space of half an hour that such bugbears as Wall Street, loans and banks
could exist. The realization of the seriousness of human disasters had
somehow left them simple and devoid of artifices or coquetry before each
other. He found again in her the Patsie of earlier days. He comprehended
that she loved him, had always loved him, that the slight
misunderstanding that had momentarily arisen between them had come from
the long summer renunciation and the passionate jealousy of one sister
for the other. He comprehended this all, but did not take advantage of
his knowledge. On leaving her he held her a moment, his hands on her
shoulders, gazing earnestly into her eyes. From this intensity of his
look she turned away a little frightened, not quite reconciled. Already
his, but still hesitating before the final avowal. The knowledge of how
indispensable he was to her in these moments of trial restrained him in
the impulsive movement towards her. He took her hand and bowed over it a
deep bow, a little quixotic perhaps, and hurried away without trusting
himself to speak. Outside he went rushing along as though the blocks
were mere steps, swinging his cane and humming to himself gloriously. He
was so happy that the thought that any one else could be unhappy, that
any disaster could threaten her or any one who belonged to her, seemed
incredible.

"Everything is going to turn out all right," he repeated to himself
confidently. "Everything; I feel it."

He went back to the Court radiant and gay and dressed for dinner,
surprising Granning, who came in preoccupied and anxious, with the flow
of animal spirits. At the sight of his contagious happiness Granning
looked at him with a knowing smile.

"Well, things aren't so black after all, then?"

"You bet they're not!"

"Glad to hear it. You had me scared last night. My guess is that
something besides stocks and bonds must have cheered you up," he added
suspiciously with a wise nod of his head. "Glad to see it, old fellow.
You've been mum and gloomy as a hippopotamus long enough."

"Have I?" said Bojo, laughing with a little confusion. "Well, I'm not
going to be any longer. You're an old hippopotamus yourself." He got him
around the knees and flung him with an old time tackle on the couch, and
they were scrambling and laughing thus when the telephone rang. It was
Patsie's voice, very faint and pitiful.

"Have you heard? The Clearing House has refused to clear for the
Atlantic Trust. Oh, Bojo, what does it mean?"



CHAPTER XXVIII

ONE LAST CHANCE


Bojo came away from the telephone with a face so grave that Granning
greeted him with an involuntary exclamation:

"Good heavens, Bojo, what's wrong?"

"The Atlantic Trust has gone under. The Clearing House refused to clear.
You know what that means."

"But, I say, you're not affected. You've been out of the market for
months. I say, you didn't have anything up."

"No, no," said Bojo grimly. He went and sat down, his head in his hands.
"I'm not thinking of myself. Some one else. I can't tell you; you must
guess. It will probably all be out soon enough. By George, this is a
cropper."

"I think I understand," said Granning slowly. He sat down in turn,
kicking his toes against the twisted andirons on the hearth. "The
Atlantic Trust--and a billion--who knows, a billion and a half deposits!
What the deuce are we coming to? It will hit us all--bad times!"

Bojo got up heavily and went out. Hardly had he stepped from the leafy
isolation of the Court into the strident conflict of Times Square when
he felt the instant alarm that great disasters instantaneously convey
to a metropolitan crowd. Newspaper trucks were screaming past, halting
to fling out great bunches of the latest extras to fighting, scrambling
groups of street urchins who dispersed, screaming their shrill evil in
high-pitched, contagion-spreading voices. Every one was devouring the
last panic-ridden sheet, some hurrying home, others stopping in their
tracks spellbound to read to the end. He bought an extra hastily from a
strident newsboy who thrust it in his face. The worst was true. The
great Atlantic Trust had been refused clearance. Darkest suspicions were
thrown upon its solvency. The names of other banks, colossal
institutions, were linked under the same awful rumors. The morrow would
see a run on a dozen banks such as the generation had not witnessed. He
hailed a taxicab and hurried uptown. Drake had told him that everything
depended upon the Atlantic Trust. Now that this had gone under did this
mean his absolute ruin? Patsie was already waiting for him as he drew up
before the great gray stone mansion. She flung herself in his arms,
trembling and physically unnerved. He was afraid that she was going to
collapse completely and began solicitously to whisper in her ear many
deceptive words of hope and comfort.

"It may not be so bad. Your father--have you seen your father? How do
you know what he has done? Perhaps he has come to some agreement this
afternoon. Perhaps he has saved himself by some bold stroke. I believe
him capable of anything."

She stopped the futile flow of words with her fingers across his lips.

"Oh, how happy we were this afternoon," she said, for the moment almost
breaking down. But immediately the Spartan courage which was at the
bottom of her character prevailed. She drew herself up, saying so
quietly that he was surprised:

"Bojo, we mustn't deceive ourselves. This is the end, I know it.
Whatever is to come we must help immediately."

"Yet I still feel, I can't help it, that something may have happened. He
may have been able to do something to-day."

"I wish I could feel so," she said sadly.

With her hand still in his she led the way into the great library, which
seemed a region of mystifying and gloomy things, lit only by the lights
of the desk lamps.

"All we can do is to wait," she said.

"Have you seen your mother?" he said at last.

She shook her head. "It is useless. I have no influence over her. Doris
perhaps, or Doris' husband; she might do something for fear of what
others might think of her, but she wouldn't do it for me."

"I can't understand it at all," he said, shaking his head.

"I can," she said quietly. "My mother doesn't love him. She has never
loved him. She married him just as Doris and Dolly married, for money,
for position."

"But even then--"

"Yes, even then," she took up with a laugh that had tears in it.
"Wouldn't you think that for the sake of the family name and honor, out
of just simple ordinary gratitude for what had been given her, she would
part with the half, even a third of her fortune? But you do not know my
mother. When she has made up her mind nothing will ever change it."

"Let us hope you are wrong."

She laughed again and began walking up and down, her hands clenched,
trying to think of some way out.

"Poor Dad, just when he needs all his courage to go on fighting! This,
too, has broken him up. That's the only sort of a blow he couldn't get
over."

The butler came in at this moment, announcing dinner.

"No, no; not for me," she said. "I couldn't; but you, perhaps?"

"No, not until your father comes back."

The butler went out. Bojo held out his hand to her, saying: "Come here;
sit down by me." Worn out by the strain of emotions, she obeyed quietly.
She came to take a seat on the sofa beside him, looked a moment into his
eyes, saw the depths of tenderness and sympathy there and with a tired,
fleeting smile laid her head gratefully on his shoulder.

It was almost eleven o'clock before Drake came wearily in. They were
exhausted with the long tensity of their vigil, waiting for every sound
that would announce his arrival, but at his entrance they stood up,
vibrantly alert. One glance at Drake, at the hunted and harassed look
across his forehead told Bojo that the worst had happened. Patsie went
to her father bravely with a steady smile that never wavered and put her
arms around his neck.

"Pretty bad, isn't it, Dad?" she said.

He nodded, incapable for the moment of speech.

"I am so sorry. Never mind, even if we have to begin at the bottom we
will win out again."

Bojo had come up and taken his free hand, looking in his eyes anxiously
for the answer.

"I guess the game is up," said Drake at last. "There is only one chance,
and though I swore I never would do it--" he stopped a moment, running
his hand over Patsie's golden curls, "I guess I'll have to swallow my
pride," he said.

"You're going to her," said the daughter, shuddering.

"Once more," he said, grimly.

Leaving her he went to the little table by the desk and poured out a
stiff drink.

"Whew, what a day! Two hours more and I might have pulled through; I
thought I had it all fixed up, but that Clearing House mess ended that!
You can't sell men eggs at five cents a piece when they know to-morrow
they can get the same at three cents."

He tried to smile, but back of it all Bojo was alarmed to see the
disorder in the physical and moral man which had gained over him since
yesterday. Despite Drake's determination to assume a stoic attitude he
felt the biting bitterness and revolt that was gnawing at his soul.

Patsie wanted him to sit down to rest a moment, to have something, if
only a morsel, brought in, but he refused absent-mindedly.

"No, no, I must get it over with. I must know where I stand."

Still he delayed his departure, evidently revolting against the rôle
which he had determined to play.

"Your mother is home?" he said abruptly.

"She is home--in her room," said Patsie.

He took a final turn before at last making up his mind, then he gave a
short gesture of his hand towards them, saying:

"Wait."

The next moment he went out, not with the old accustomed swinging gait,
but with a lagging step as though already convinced of the futility of
his errand.

"He is doing it for his daughters," thought Bojo; "only that would make
him so humble himself." He felt with a little compunction that he had
judged Drake rather harshly, for in these last interviews it had seemed
to him at times that there had been an absence of that gameness which in
his mind he would like to have associated with the romantic figure of
the manipulator. Now with the secrets of the household laid bare to him
he felt strongly the inner vulnerability of such men. Able outwardly to
defy the great turns of fortune and present a smiling front to
adversity, yet unable to resist the mortal blow which strikes at the
vital regions in their sentiments and their affections. Implacable as he
had been, neither giving nor asking quarter in his struggles with his
own kind, Bojo at length realized the tenderness and pride amounting
almost to a weakness with which he idolized his own. What he had seen
working in the soul of the man in this last half hour made him feel more
than simply the ruin of his worldly possessions. The moment was too
tense for words, the issue too tremendous. They sat side by side, his
hand over hers, staring ahead, waiting.

Ten minutes, half an hour elapsed without a sound. He pictured to
himself to what arguments and entreaties the desperate father must
resort, trying through his inexperience to visualize the drama in one of
these domestic scenes which pass unguessed.

Patsie heard him first. She sprang up with a sharp intaking of her
breath. He rose less precipitately, hearing at last the sound of
returning footsteps. The next moment Drake came into the room and stood
gazing at the two erect figures of the young man and the young girl.
Then he tried to smile and couldn't. Her instinct guessed on the instant
what had happened. She went to him swiftly and put her arms about his
shoulders as though to support him.

"Never mind, Dad," she said bravely. "Don't you care, money isn't
everything in this world. Whatever happens, you've got me."



CHAPTER XXIX

THE DELUGE


The next day the deluge broke.

On leaving Patsie and her father he had gone down the Avenue in a vain
hope that his father might be in town, hoping to catch him at his hotel.
On his way to his amazement he perceived a long line of curious shapes
stretched along the sidewalk. As he came nearer he saw a file of men and
women, some standing, some seated, camped out for the night. Then he
noticed above all the great white columns of the Atlantic Trust and he
realized that these were the first frightened outposts of the army of
despair and panic which would come storming at the doors on the morrow.
By the morning a dozen banks scattered over the city were besieged by
frantic hordes of depositors, a dozen others hastily preparing against
the impending tide of evil rumor and disaster.

With the opening of the Stock Exchange the havoc began, for with the
threatened collapse of gigantic banking systems orders came pouring in
from all over the country to sell at any price. In the wild hours that
ensued holdings were thrown on the market in such quantities that the
machinery of the Stock Exchange was momentarily paralyzed. Stocks were
selling at half a dozen figures simultaneously, until it became a human
impossibility for the frantic brokers to fulfil the demands that came
pouring in on them to sell at any price. Any rumor was believed and
shouted frantically: receivers were to be appointed for a dozen
institutions: the State Superintendent's investigation was showing
incredible defalcations and misuses of funds. Indictments were to be
returned against the most prominent men in the financial world, and at
the close of the day on top of the wildest fabrications of the
imagination came the supreme horror of fact. Majendie, the president of
the Atlantic Trust, was dead, slain by his own hand. But what happened
this day would be nothing to the morrow.

At Patsie's frantic request Bojo went down in the late forenoon to see
Mr. Swift. He had to wait almost an hour in the outer offices, watching
breathless, frantic men, men of fifty and sixty as panic-stricken as
youngsters of twenty-five, breaking under the strain of their first
knowledge of overwhelming ruin, an indiscriminate convulsive mass
pouring in and out. Then a door opened and a secretary issued him in.
Mr. Swift received him with an agitated clutch of the hand, and valuing
the precious seconds, without waiting for his questions, burst out:

"Mr. Crocker, it's absolutely humanly impossible for me to do what Miss
Drake requested. We disposed yesterday of over forty thousand dollars.
To sell now would be a financial slaughter to which I simply will not
give my permission. Moreover, it's all very well to talk of selling, but
who's going to buy?"

"If you can't sell," said Bojo, gloomily, "Miss Drake would like to
know what you could raise on her holdings as security."

"She wants to know?" said Mr. Swift, on edge with the anxiety of twenty
operations to be safe-guarded, "I'll tell you. Not a hundred thousand
dollars, nor ten thousand. There isn't an institution that would dare
weaken its cash supply to-day on any security offered. Mr. Crocker, say
for me that I absolutely and completely refuse to offer a single
security." A door opened and back of the secretary the faces of two new
visitors were already to be seen. Mr. Swift with scant ceremony seized
his hand and dismissed him. "It can't be done, that's all; it can't be
done."

Bojo went out and telephoned the result. He even tried, though he knew
the futility of the attempt, to place a loan at two banks where he was
known, one his own and the other the depository for the Crocker Mills.
At the first he got no further than a subordinate, who threw up his
hands at the first mention of his plan. At the latter he gained a
moment's opportunity to state his demand to the vice-president, who had
known him from childhood. The refusal was as instantaneous. The banks
were coming to the aid of no one, frightened for their own security. He
even attempted to call up his father on long distance, but after long,
tedious waits he was unable to locate him. What he would have asked of
him he did not quite know, only that he was seeking frantically some
means, some way, to come to the assistance of the girl he loved, even
though in his heart he knew the futility of her attempt; perhaps even
despite his admiration for her unselfishness, glad that the sacrifice
could not be made. He went up later in the afternoon to explain to her
all he had tried to do, to get her to go for a short ride up the river
in order to snatch a little rest and calm, but Patsie refused
obstinately. She was afraid that at any moment her father might return
and call for her, declaring that she must be ready to go to him. Perhaps
she had fears that she did not express even to him, but she remained as
she had remained all day, waiting feverishly. Drake did not come back
until long after midnight. Then there were conferences to be held in his
library far into the gray morning. Everything seemed topsy-turvy. The
night was like the daytime. At every hour an automobile came rustling
up, a hurried ring of the bell followed by a ghostly flitting passage
into the library of strange, hurrying figures. Drake was no longer the
dejected, resigned man, broken in pride and courage, of the night
before. He put them aside hastily with a swift, convulsive hug for his
daughter and a welcoming handshake for Bojo. He would say nothing and
they could guess nothing of all the desperate remedies that were being
discussed and acted upon in the shifting conference within the library.
It was after four o'clock when Bojo left, after persuading Patsie of the
uselessness of further vigil. He felt too tremulously awake for need of
sleep. He went down the Avenue and in the convalescing gray of the weak
and sickly dawn passed the growing lines of depositors still obstinately
clinging to their posts, feeling as though he were walking a world of
nightmares and alarms. About seven o'clock he came back to the Court for
a tub and a cup of coffee. There he received news of Fred DeLancy, who
had been in frantically the night before begging for loans to back up
his disappearing margins. Neither Marsh nor Granning could come to his
assistance and he had left absolutely unnerved, vowing that he would be
wiped out if he could not raise only ten thousand dollars before the
morrow. Bojo shook his head. He had no desire to help him. The few
thousands he still retained seemed to him something miraculously solid
and precious in the whirling evaporation of fictitious values. There was
nothing he could do before the arrival of Doris and her husband, if
anything could be done then. He went down again to Wall Street merely as
a matter of curiosity and entered the spectators' gallery in the Stock
Exchange. The panic there had become a delirium. He stood leaning over
the railing gazing profoundly down into this frenzy which had once been
his life. Removed from its peril--judging it. What he saw was ugly to
look upon. A few figures stood out grim, game and defiant to the last,
meeting the crisis as sportsmen facing the last chance. But for the
rest, the element of the human seemed to have disappeared in the animal
madness of beasts trapped awaiting destruction. These shifting,
struggling, contending clumps of men, shrieking and hoarse, all strength
cast to the winds, fighting for the last disappearing rung of financial
security, gave him a last final distaste of the life he had renounced.
He went out and passed another howling group of savages on the curb,
feeling all at once the high note of tragedy that lies in the
manifestation of obliterating rage of a great people disposing finally
of all the shallow horde of petty parasites that are eliminated by the
cleansing force of a great panic.

Doris arrived in the late afternoon and there was a family consultation,
at which he was not present. Whatever might have been done the week
before the issue had been decided. Drake's fate was in the hands of
Gunther, to whose house he had been summoned that night to learn the
terms which would be accorded him by the group of financial leaders who
had been hastily organized to save the country from the convulsion which
now threatened to overwhelm every industry and every institution.

At midnight Drake returned a ruined man, stripped of every possession, a
bankrupt. Only Patsie and Bojo were there when he came in. A certain
calm seemed to have replaced the unnatural febrile activity of the last
forty-eight hours, the calm of accepted defeat, the end of hopes, the
certainty of failure.

"It's over," he said with a nod of recognition. "They got me. I'm rather
hungry; let's have something to eat."

"What do you mean by it's over?" said Patsie, coming towards him. "You
lost?" He nodded. "How much?"

"Stripped clean."

"You mean that there's nothing left, not a cent?"

For the first time the old hunted look came back to his eyes. "It's
worse than that," he said. "It's what's got to be made good. Your Daddy
is a bankrupt, Patsie, one million and a half to the bad."

"You owe that?"

"Pretty close to it."

"But what will you do? They can't put you to prison."

"Oh, no," he said grimly, "there's nothing to be ashamed of in it; that
is, so far." He stopped a moment and watching him closely they both
divined that he was thinking of his wife. "If worse comes to worse," he
added moodily, "I've got to find some way of paying that over, every
cent of it."

"But, Mr. Drake," said Bojo hastily, "surely there is no reason why you
should feel that way. Others have met misfortune--been forced into
bankruptcy. Every one will know that it could not be helped, that
conditions were against you, that you were forced into it."

"And every one," he said quickly, speaking without reserve for the first
time, "will say that Dan Drake knew how to fail at the right time and in
the right way." He gave a wave of his hand as though to indicate the
great house of which he was thinking, and added bitterly: "What will
they think of this, when this goes on? They'll think just one
thing--that I worked a crooked, double-crossing game and salted away my
fortune behind a petticoat! By God, that's what hurts!" He brought down
his fist with an outburst of anger such as they had never seen in him
before and sprang up trembling and heavy. "No, by Heavens, if I fail she
can't go on with her millions." The rage that possessed him made him
seemingly oblivious to their presence. "Oh, what a fool, a blind,
contemptible fool I've been! If she is worth a cent she is worth four
millions to-day, and every cent I made for her, I gave to her. Talk
about business heads, there is not a one of us can touch her. Oh, she's
known all right what she has been doing all these years. She took no
chances. She knew when to work me and how to work me. Clever? Yes, she's
clever and as cold as they make 'em. Under all her pretense of being
weak and sickly, tears and hysterics, you can't beat her."

"Oh, Daddy, Daddy," said Patsie, laying her hand on his arm to calm him,
"she can't, she won't refuse to come to your help now when it's a
question of honor, our honor and her honor. I know, I promise you, we
will pay over every cent of what you owe."

"You think so? Try!"

"Daddy," said Patsie quietly, "I have $500,000 you gave me. Bojo and I
tried our best to sell them and raise money for you. If you had only let
me know sooner perhaps we could have. Every cent of that will go to you.
Doris, too, I know, will give her third. We will only ask my mother for
what we are giving ourselves. That she will not refuse, she cannot, she
won't dare. Daddy, there is one thing you must not worry about. We won't
let any one say a single word against you. Every cent you owe shall be
paid. I'll promise you that."

At the first mention of what she had done, Drake turned and stared at
her, deaf to what had followed. When she ended tears were in his eyes.
For a moment he could not control his voice.

"You did that?" he said at last. "You would have done that?"

"Why, Dad," she said, smiling, "I couldn't do anything else."

He took her suddenly in his arms and the touch of kindness broke him
down where everything else had failed. Bojo turned hastily away, not to
intrude on the sanctity of the scene. When a long moment afterwards
Patsie called him back from the window where he had been standing Drake
seemed to have grown suddenly old and feeble.

"I want you to wait here, Bojo dear," she said as determined as her
father seemed without will or energy. "I am going to settle this now. I
am going to see my mother. Don't worry."

She went out after bending lightly for a last kiss and a touch of her
hand, over the weak shoulders.

Left alone, there was a long silence. Finally Drake arose and began to
pace the floor, talking to himself, stopping from time to time with
sudden contractions of the arms, clutches of the fists, to take a long
breath and shake his head. When Bojo was least expecting it, he came to
him abruptly and said:

"Tom, I tell you this, and you may believe I mean it--that it's going to
be. Not one cent will I take from that child. With all that I provided
for the others she's not going to be left a pauper. It's got to be my
wife who stands by me in this." In his excitement he seized the young
man by the wrist so that the fingers cut into his flesh. "It's got to be
her and only her, do you understand, or else--" He stopped with a wild
glance, with a disorder that left Bojo cold with apprehension, and
suddenly as though afraid to say too much Drake dropped the young man's
wrist roughly and went and sat down, covering his face with his hands.

"I mean it," he said, and several times he repeated the phrase as though
to himself.

They spoke no more. Bojo on the edge of his chair sat staring at the
older man, turning over what he had heard, not daring to think. At the
end of a long wait a maid knocked and came in.

"Mr. Crocker, please. Miss Drake would like you to come to her mother's
room."

Bojo, startled, sprang up hastily, saying: "All right, right away." He
turned, striving to find a word of encouragement, hesitated, and went
out.

When he came into the little sitting room which gave on to Mrs. Drake's
private apartments he found the two confronting each other, Patsie erect
and scornful, with flashing, angry eyes, and her mother, in a hastily
donned wrapper and bedroom cap, clutching a sort of blue lace quilt,
sunk hysterically in the depths of a great armchair. At the first glance
he guessed the scene of cries and reproaches which had just ended. At
his entrance Mrs. Drake burst out furiously:

"I won't have it; I won't be insulted like this. Mr. Crocker, I desire
you, I command you, to leave the room. It's enough that my daughter
should take advantage of me. I will not be shamed before strangers."

"Lock the door," said Patsie quietly, "and keep the key."

He did so and came back to her side.

"Don't mind what she says," said Patsie scornfully. "She's not ill,
she's not hysterical, it's all put on: she knows just what she's doing."

At this Mrs. Drake burst into exaggerated sobs and shrank down into the
chair, covering her face with the quilt she clung to, without
perception of the grotesqueness of her act.

"Now, you're going to listen to me," said Patsie, striving to remain
calm through her anger. "You don't fool me the least bit, so you might
just as well listen quietly. I know just how much money you have and
every cent of it has been given to you by my father. You are worth over
four million dollars, I know that."

"It's not true, that's a lie," said Mrs. Drake with a scream.

"It is true," continued Patsie calmly, "and you know it's true. This
house is yours and everything in it. Do you want me to tell you exactly
what stocks and bonds you have at the present moment? Shall I have my
father come in, too, and tell us in detail just what he has given you
all these years? Do you want that?" She waited a moment and added
scornfully: "No, I rather guess that is not what you want. I asked you
before to help raise a loan to save him from losing what he had. You
could have done it: you refused. Now I am asking you to give exactly
what I shall give and what Doris will give, $500,000, so there will be
nothing, not the slightest reproach against his good name, against the
name you bear and I bear. Will you do it or not?"

"You don't know what you are talking about," cried the mother wildly.
"It's $500,000 now, it's $500,000 to-morrow and then it's everything.
You want me to ruin myself. You think just because he's gone on risking
everything, just because he never could be satisfied, that I should
suffer, too. You want me to make a pauper of myself. Well, I won't.
What right had he to risk money that didn't belong to him? What right
have you to reproach me, abuse me?"

Bojo attempted to burst in on the stream of meaninglessness and repeated
phrases. He, too, saw through the assumption of hysteria, shielding
behind a cloak of weakness a cold and covetous woman.

"My dear Mrs. Drake," he said icily, "you are proud of your position in
society. Let me put this to you. Don't you realize that if your husband
fails for a million and a half and you continue living as you have lived
that it will be a public scandal? Don't you realize what people will
say?"

"No, I don't," she cried: "I don't admit any such ridiculous nonsense. I
know that I have a right to my life, to my existence. I know what is
mine is mine. If he has lost money, other people have lost money in the
same way who gamble just as he has. They should take their losses, too,
without coming to people who are not responsible, who don't believe in
such things. And then what good will it do? The money's mine. Why throw
good money after bad? I tell you that he has never had a thought about
the duties and responsibilities to his family; I have. I won't
impoverish myself, I won't impoverish my family, I won't, I won't, and I
won't be badgered and brow-beaten in this brutal way. You're a bad
daughter, you've always been a disobedient, wicked daughter. You've
always been this way to me from the first. Now you think you can force
me into this, but you shan't."

"Mother," started Patsie stonily, but she was interrupted by a fresh
torrent of words.

"No, no, I can't, I won't, I'm ill, I have been ill for days. Do you
want to kill me? I suppose that's what you want. Go on. Put me down,
make me ill. Oh, my God, my God, I can't stand it, I can't stand it. I
can't. Ring for the doctor, the doctor or some one."

"Come away," said Bojo, taking Patsie by the arm as Mrs. Drake went into
the paroxysm which she knew was perfectly assumed. "It's useless trying
to say anything more to her. To-morrow perhaps Doris and her husband may
have more effect."

They went out without even looking back.

Patsie was in such a rage of indignation, shaking from head to foot,
that he had to take her in his arms and quiet her.

"What shall we say to Daddy?" she said at last in despair.

"Lie," he said. "Tell him that it will be done."

But when they came back into the library Drake was gone. He didn't
return all that night. Afterwards from what they learned he must have
spent the night hours in wandering about the city.

The next morning Mrs. Drake locked her doors, sent word by a doctor that
she was too ill to see any one, that seeing them might have disastrous
effects. Despite which they forced an entrance and with Doris and her
husband present went over again the same shameful and degrading scene of
the night before. Nothing could shake Mrs. Drake, neither remonstrances
nor scorn nor tears. Drake returned haggard and wild-eyed towards noon
to learn the result, which they were unable to conceal from him. He went
out immediately. At five o'clock he was taken to a hospital, having been
run over by an autobus. Various stories as to how this happened were
circulated. The insurance company which carried his life insurance
attempted to prove suicide in vain. The testimony of witnesses all
seemed to point to an accident. He had started across the street, had
lost his hat and in stooping to pick it up slipped and fallen underneath
the wheels.

Death resulted a few hours later.



CHAPTER XXX

THE AFTER-YEARS


When Daniel Drake's affairs were wound up it was found that with the
sums derived from his life insurance there remained a deficit of a
little over $400,000. In this crisis the old loyal and generous spirit
of Doris returned for perhaps the last time. She wished to take upon
herself the total indebtedness, but Patsie would not listen to this. She
would have preferred perhaps in her devotion to the name of her father
to have shouldered all the responsibility with a certain fierce pride.
In the end the sum was divided. The younger sister left the house of her
mother and went to stay for a short while at Doris's.

It was given out officially that Mrs. Drake's health had been wrecked by
the family catastrophes. She left shortly for Paris, Rome and the
Italian Riviera, where her health speedily improved and she passed the
remainder of her life as an exile with a pronounced aversion to anything
American.

The panic which swept over the country, leveling the poor and rich
alike, gradually subsided into a long period of depression. Fred DeLancy
lost every cent he had and became dependent upon his wife's career. He
dropped completely out of society. A few of his friends saw him at rare
moments, but whenever he could he avoided such encounters, for they
recalled to him the expectations of his earlier days. Fate, which had
played him several rude turns, had however a compensation in store. With
the arrival of the dance craze several years later Mr. and Mrs. Fred
DeLancy, who were of the first to seize its possibilities, became
suddenly the rage of society, and in the letting down of barriers that
followed the frantic rush from boredom among our most conservative sets
the DeLancys regained curiously enough a certain social position.
Adversity had taught him the value of making money. Guided by the hands
of one of those remarkable and adroit personages that instigate and
expand popularity, the press agent, Fernando Wiskin, a genius of
diplomacy, the DeLancy craze overran the country. They had their own
restaurant, with dancing studios attached, and an after midnight dancing
club. They appeared in the movies, made trips to Europe. They set a
dozen fashions, they inspired sculptors, illustrators and caricaturists,
and raised up a host of imitators, some better and some worse. Properly
coached, they received fees for instruction a surgeon might envy, but as
once a gambler always a gambler, what they made miraculously they spent
hugely, and despite all warnings it would surprise no one if with the
turning of the fickle public from one fad to another the DeLancys, after
spending $50,000 a year, would end just as poor as they began.

Roscoe Marsh, hard hit by the panic, after steady reverses consequent
upon a rather visionary adventure into journalism, found himself
compelled to part with his newspaper to a syndicate organized by his
own city editor, a man who had come up from the ranks, who had long
bided his opportunity, a self-made American of the type that looks
complacently upon the arrival in the arena of the sons of great fortunes
with a belief that an equalizing Providence has sent them into the world
to be properly sheared. Marsh, despite these reverses, still retained a
considerable fortune, constantly augmented by a large family of uncles,
aunts and cousins whose sole purpose in life seemed to be to die at
opportune moments. He became interested in many radical movements,
rather from the need of dramatic excitement than love of publicity or
any deep conviction. At the bottom, however, he believed himself the
most sincere man in the world, and for a long time continued to believe
that he had a mission to perform.

George Granning became one of the solid men of the steel trade. Of the
four young men who had met that night on the Astor roof and prophesied
their futures he was the only one to fulfil his program to the minutest
detail. He married, rose to the managership of the Garnett foundries,
left them to become general manager of a subsidiary to the steel
corporation at a salary of which he had never dreamed. He became a close
student of industrial conditions and outside of his business career
found time to serve on many boards of arbitration and industrial
investigation. Though his intellectual growth had been slower than his
more gifted companions he had never relinquished a single fact acquired.
At thirty-five he was constantly broadening, constantly curious for new
interests. He went into politics and became more and more a power in
party councils, and though not aspiring to office himself was speedily
appointed to offices of social research and usefulness.

The panic extended its paralyzing influence over the histories of
industries of the nation. A month after the events recorded in the last
chapter Bojo was still deliberating on his course of action when he
learnt by accident the serious crisis confronting the Crocker Mills.
With the knowledge that his father needed him he hesitated no longer,
and taking the train by impulse one morning arrived as his father was
sitting down to breakfast with the announcement that he had come to
stay.

Before the year was over he had married Patsie, settled down in the
little mill town to face the arduous struggle for the survival of the
fabric which his father had so painfully erected. For three years he
worked without respite, more arduously than he believed it was possible
for any man to work. Due to this devotion the Crocker Mills weathered
the financial depression and emerged triumphantly with added strength as
a leader and model among factory communities of the world. Despite the
sacrifices and extraordinary demands made upon his knowledge and his
youth, he found these years the best in his life, with a realization
that his leadership had its significance in the welfare and growth of
thousands of employees. When, the battle won, he removed with his family
to New York and larger interests, there were times when he confided to
his wife that life seemed to be robbed of half its incentive. In
connection with Granning, to whom he had grown closer in bonds of
friendship, he devoted his time and money more and more to the problems
of Americanizing the great alien industrial populations of this country
with such enthusiasm that he in more than one quarter was suspected of
believing in the most radical socialistic ideas.


THE END





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