20Q

20Q

“To-morrow morning,” spelled the cord.

Bates could hardly keep still for his excitement.

“Do you catch what that means?” he whispered. “The Clearing-house is to throw out the Gotham Trust!”

“Why, they'll wreck it!” panted the other.

“My God, my God, they're mad!” cried Bates. “Don't they realise what they'll do? There'll be a panic such as New York has never seen before! It will bring down every bank in the city! The Gotham Trust! Think of it!—the Gotham Trust!”

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“Prentice objects,” came Rodney's next message.

“Objects!” exclaimed Bates, striking his knee in repressed excitement. “I should think he might object. If the Gotham Trust goes down, the Trust Company of the Republic won't live for twenty-four hours.”

“Afraid,” spelled the cord. “Patterson angry.”

“Much he has to lose,” muttered Bates.

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Montague started up and began to pace the room. “Oh, this is horrible, horrible!” he exclaimed.

Through all the images of the destruction and suffering which Bates's words brought up before him, his thoughts flew back to a pale and sad-faced little woman, sitting alone in an apartment up on the Riverside. It was to her that it all came back; it was for her that this terrible drama was being enacted. Montague could picture the grim, hawk-faced old man, sitting at the head of the council board, and laying down the law to the masters of the Metropolis. And this man's thoughts, too, went back to Lucy—his and Montague's alone, of all those who took part in the struggle!

“Waterman protect Prentice,” spelled Rodney. “Insist turn out Ryder. Withdraw funds.”

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“There's no doubt of it,” whispered Bates; “they can finish him if they choose. But oh, my Lord, what will happen in New York to-morrow!'

“Ward protect legitimate banks,” was the next message.

“The little whelp!” sneered Bates. “By legitimate banks he means those that back his syndicates. A lot of protecting he will do!”

But then the newspaper man in Bates rose to the surface. “Oh, what a story,” he whispered, clenching his hands, and pounding his knees. “Oh, what a story!”

Montague carried away but a faint recollection of the rest of Rodney's communications; he was too much overwhelmed by his own thoughts. Bates, however, continued to spell out the words; and he caught the statement that General Prentice, who was a director in the Gotham Trust, was to vote against any plan to close the doors of that institution. While they were after it, they were going to finish it.

Also he caught the sentence, “Panic useful, curb President!” And he heard Bates's excited exclamations over that. “Did you catch that?” he cried. “That's Waterman! Oh, the nerve of it! We are in at the making of history to-night, Mr. Montague.”