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“Such an ungodly lot of snobs a fellow does meet!” remarked his host, cheerily. “They have a fine time making fun of me—it amuses them, and I don't mind. Sometimes it does make you mad, though; you feel you'd like to make them swallow you, anyway. But then you think, What's the use of going after something you don't want, just because other people say you can't have it?”

It was on Montague's lips to ask, “Then why do you come here?” But he forbore.

The car sped on down the stately driveway, and his companion proceeded to point out the mansions and the people, and to discuss them in his own peculiar style.

“See that yellow brick house in there,” said he. “That belongs to Allis, the railroad man. He used to live in Pittsburg, and I remember him thirty years ago, when he had one carriage for his three babies, and pushed them himself, by thunder. He was glad to borrow money from me then, but now he looks the other way when I go by.

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“Allis used to be in the steel business six or eight years ago,” Gamble continued, reminiscently. “Then he sold out—it was the real beginning of the forming of the Steel Trust. Did you ever hear that story?”

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“Not that I know of,” said Montague.

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“Well,” said the other, “if you are going to match yourself against the Steel crowd, it's a good idea to know about them. Did you ever meet Jim Stagg?”

“The Wall Street plunger?” asked Montague. “He's a mere name to me.”

“His last exploit was to pull off a prize fight in one of the swell hotels in New York, and one nigger punched the other through a plate-glass mirror. Stagg comes from the wild West, you know, and he's wild as they make 'em—my God, I could tell you some stories about him that'd make your hair stand up! Perhaps you remember some time ago he raided Tennessee Southern in the market and captured it; and old Waterman testified that he took it away from him because he didn't consider he was a fit man to own it. As a matter of fact, that was just pure bluff, for Waterman uses him in little jobs like that all the time.—Well, six or eight years ago, Stagg owned a big steel plant out West; and there was a mill in Indiana, belonging to Allis, that interfered with their business. One time Stagg and some of his crowd had been on a spree for several days, and late one night they got to talking about Allis. 'Let's buy the——out,' said Stagg, so they ordered a special and a load of champagne, and away they went to the city in Indiana. They got to Allis's house about four o'clock in the morning, and they rang the bell and banged on the door, and after a while the butler came, half awake.

“'Is Allis in?' asked Stagg, and before the fellow could answer, the whole crowd pushed into the hall, and Stagg stood at the foot of the stairs and roared—he's got a voice like a bull, you know—'Allis, Allis, come down here!'

“Allis came to the head of the stairs in his nightshirt, half frightened to death.

“'Allis, we want to buy your steel plant,' said Stagg.

“'Buy my steel plant!' gasped Allis.

“'Sure, buy it outright! Spot cash! We'll pay you five hundred thousand for it.'