WUD7YV

WUD7YV

“Yes,” said Oliver, “and she told me all about it. He has as many tricks as a conjurer. He has read a lot of New Thought stuff, and he talks about his yearning soul, and every woman he meets is his affinity. And then again, he is a free thinker, and he discourses about liberty and the rights of women. He takes all the moralities and shuffles them up, until you'd think the noblest role a woman could play is that of a married man's mistress.”

Montague could not forbear to smile. “I have known you to shuffle the moralities now and then yourself, Ollie,” he said.

“Yes, that's all right,” replied the other. “But this is Lucy. And somebody's got to talk to her about Stanley Ryder.”

“I will do it,” Montague answered.

He found Lucy in a cosy corner of the library when he came down to dinner. She was full of all the wonderful things that she had seen in Dan Waterman's art gallery. “And Allan,” she exclaimed, “what do you think, I met him!”

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“You don't mean it!” said he.

“He was there the whole afternoon!” declared Lucy. “And he never did a thing but be nice to me!”

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“Then you didn't find him so terrible as you expected,” said Montague.

“He was perfectly charming,” said Lucy. “He showed me his whole collection and told me the history of the different paintings, and stories about how he got them. I never had such an experience in my life.”

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“He can be an interesting man when he chooses,” Montague responded.

“He is marvellous!” said she. “You look at that lean figure, and the wizened-up old hawk's face, with the white hair all round it, and you'd think that he was in his dotage. But when he talks—I don't wonder men obey him!”

“They obey him!” said Montague. “No mistake about that! There is not a man in Wall Street who could live for twenty-four hours if old Dan Waterman went after him in earnest.”

“How in the world does he do it?” asked Lucy. “Is he so enormously rich?”

“It is not the money he owns,” said Montague; “it's what he controls. He is master of the banks; and no man can take a step in Wall Street without his knowing it if he wants to. And he can break a man's credit; he can have all his loans called. He can swing the market so as to break a man. And then, think of his power in Washington! He uses the Treasury as if it were one of his branch offices.”

“It seems frightful,” said Lucy. “And that old man—over eighty! I'm glad that I met him, at any rate.”

She paused, seeing Stanley Ryder in the doorway. He was evidently looking for her. He took her in to dinner; and every now and then, when Montague stole a glance at her, he saw that Ryder was monopolising her attention.