CHAPTER XVII 

 houses and the bank-front of Cowperwood & 
Co. had been proceeding apace. The latter was 
a thought of Cowperwood's modified by Ellsworth. 
It was early Florentine in its decorations, reserved and 
refined, with windows which grew narrower as they ap- 
proached the roof, and a door of wrought iron set between 
delicately carved posts, and a straight lintel of brown- 
stone. It was low in height and distinguished. In the 
center panel had been hammered a hand, delicately 
wrought, thin and artistic, holding aloft a flaming brand. 
The latter, Ellsworth informed him, had formerly been a 
money-changer's sign used by a small and successful 
group of usurers in Venice, but long since fallen into the 
limbo of nothingness. Here it would look quaint. Cow- 
perwood approved, for, in spite of his financial subtlety 
and money tendency generally, this idea of the refining 
influence of art appealed to him greatly. He sympathized 
with the artistic spirit, believed that after wealth and 
feminine beauty it was the one great thing. Perhaps 
wealth and beauty and material art forms—the arts and 
crafts of the world—were indissolubly linked. Sometimes, 
as he looked at life—the mere current, visible scene—it 
seemed intensely artistic. A snow-storm outside his win- 
dow, a crowd of men on 'change, the full-sailed boats 
coming up the Delaware—he had not much time for these 
things, he was so busy, but they were beautiful. Once 
he saw a great, disheveled, dusty, and blood-stained com- 
pany of men returning from Gettysburg, their knapsacks 
awry, their blankets dirty, their arms or foreheads or 
legs roughly bandaged in several instances, and he thought