“I'm going to let my money stay.”


“I believe that the institution is sound; and I am not going to leave Prentice in the lurch. I telegraphed you, so that you could do as you chose.”

It was a moment or two before Oliver could find words to reply.

“Thanks!” he said. “You might have done a little more—sent somebody down to keep a place in line for me. You're out of your mind, but there's no time to talk about it now. Good-by.” And so he rang off.

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Montague dressed and had his breakfast; in the meantime he glanced over a copy of the Despatch, where, in the account of the day's events, he found the fatal statements about the Trust Company of the Republic. It was very interesting to Montague to read these newspapers and see the picture of events which they presented to the public. They all told what they could not avoid telling—that is, the events which were public matters; but they never by any chance gave a hint of the reasons for the happenings—you would have supposed that all these upheavals in the banking world were so many thunderbolts which had fallen from the heavens above. And each day they gave more of their space to insisting that the previous day's misfortunes were the last—that by no chance could there be any more thunderbolts to fall.

When he went down town, he rode one station farther than usual in order to pass the Trust Company of the Republic. He found a line of people extending halfway round the block, and in the minute that he stood watching there were a score or more added to it. Police were patrolling up and down—it was not many hours later that they were compelled to adopt the expedient of issuing numbered tickets to those who waited in the line.

Montague walked on toward the front, looking for his brother. But he had not gone very far before he gave an exclamation of amazement. He saw a short, stout, grey-haired figure, which he recognised, even by its back. “Major Venable!” he gasped.

The Major whirled about. “Montague!” he exclaimed. “My God, you are just in time to save my life!”

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“What do you want?” asked the other.

“I want a chair!” gasped the Major, whose purple features seemed about to burst with his unwonted exertions. “I've been standing here for two hours. In another minute more I should have sat down on the sidewalk.”

“Where can I get a chair?” asked Montague, biting his tongue in order to repress his amusement.

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“Over on Broadway,” said the Major. “Go into one of the stores, and make somebody sell you one. Pay anything—I don't care.”

So Montague went back, and entered a leather-goods store, where he saw several cane-seated chairs. He was free to laugh then all he pleased; and he explained the situation to one of the clerks, who demurred at five dollars, but finally consented for ten dollars to take the risk of displeasing his employer. For fifty cents more Montague found a boy to carry it, and he returned in triumph to his venerable friend.

“I never expected to see you in a position like this,” he remarked. “I thought you always knew things in advance.”

“By the Lord, Montague!” muttered the other, “I've got a quarter of a million in this place.”

“I've got about one-fourth as much myself,” said Montague.