But the sectional pride which had raised the capital could not furnish the traffic. The towns which Judge Dupree had imagined did not materialise, and the little railroad did not keep pace with the progress of the time. For the last decade or so its properties had been depreciating and its earnings falling off, and it had been several years since Montague had drawn any dividends upon the fifty thousand dollars' worth of stock for which his father had paid par value.
He was reminded, as he talked about all this with Lucy, of a project which had been mooted some ten or twelve years ago, to extend the line from Atkin so as to connect with the plant of the Mississippi Steel Company, and give that concern a direct outlet toward the west. The Mississippi Steel Company had one of the half dozen largest plate and rail mills in the country, and the idea of directing even a small portion of its enormous freight was one which had incessantly tantalised the minds of the directors of the Northern Mississippi.
They had gone so far as to conduct a survey, and to make a careful estimate of the cost of the proposed extension. Montague knew about this, because it had chanced that he, together with Lucy's brother, who was now in California, had spent part of his vacation on a hunting trip, during which they had camped near the surveying party. The proposed line had to find its way through the Talula swamps, and here was where the uncertainty of the project came in. There were a dozen routes proposed, and Montague remembered how he had sat by the campfire one evening, and got into conversation with one of the younger men of the party, and listened to his grumbling about the blundering of the survey. It was his opinion that the head-surveyor was incompetent, that he was obstinately rejecting the best routes in favour of others which were almost impossible.
Montague had taken this gossip to his father, but he did not know whether his father had ever looked into the matter. He only knew that when the project for the proposed extension had been brought up at a stockholders' meeting, the cost of the work was found so great that it was impossible to raise the money. A proposal to go to the Mississippi Steel Company was voted down, because Mississippi Steel was in the hands of Wall Street men; and neither Judge Dupree nor General Montague had realised at that time the hopelessness of the plight of the little railroad.
Tips, opportunities to make money：lil wayne pussy money weedAll these matters were brought up in the conversation between Lucy and Montague. There was no reason, he assured her, why they should still hold on to their stock; if, by the proposed extension, or by any other plan, new capitalists could make a success of the company, it would be well to make some combination with them, or, better yet, to sell out entirely. Montague promised that he would take the matter in hand and see what he could do.
His first thought, as he went down town, was of Jim Hegan. “Come and see me sometime,” Hegan had said, and Montague had never accepted the invitation. The Northern Mississippi would, of course, be a mere bagatelle to a man like Hegan, but who could tell what new plans he might be able to fit it into? Montague knew by the rumours in the street that the great financier had sold out all his holdings in two or three of his most important ventures.
He went at once to Hegan's office, in the building of one of the great insurance companies downtown. He made his way through corridors of marble to a gate of massively ornamented bronze, behind which stood a huge guardian in uniform, also massively ornamented. Montague generally passed for a big man, but this personage made him feel like an office-boy.
“Is Mr. Hegan in?” he asked.
“Do you call by appointment?” was the response.
Tips, opportunities to make money：12 pounds to naira“Not precisely,” said Montague, producing a card. “Will you kindly send this to Mr. Hegan?”
Tips, opportunities to make money：typing job online earn money“Do you know Mr. Hegan personally?” the man demanded.
“I do,” Montague answered.
The other had made no sign, as far as Montague could make out, but at this moment a dapper young secretary made his appearance from the doors behind the gate. “Would you kindly state the business upon which you wish to see Mr. Hegan?” he said.
“I wish to see Mr. Hegan personally,” Montague answered, with just a trifle of asperity, “If you will kindly take in this card, it will be sufficient.”