THE FINANCIER 
nated, Aileen Butler and her sister were coming, and there 
had been much intermediate discussion of this fact. The 
Butlers, mere and pere, had to be eliminated, and Cowper- 
wood himself was quite well aware that it ought to be 
attended to. After his wife had asked him what he 
intended to do about it, or whether he thought they'd 
really come, he approached Aileen at the piano one even- 
ing in his own home. Norah and Anna were discussing 
things in general in the living-room before a grate-fire. 
Mrs. Cowperwood was teaching Frank Cowperwood, 
Jr., to spell beside the table lamp. Aileen was meditat- 
ively strumming in an effort to match a mood. 
He leaned over her, watching her hands. 
" Do your father and mother understand that the dance 
afterward is principally for young people?" 
It was rather a hard thing to ask; but he dressed it 
out in a nonchalant air, and gave it with a sweetness that 
was full of real sympathy, consideration, and something 
more. 
Aileen nodded her head. She knew what the point was. 
They did not want her father and mother; but neither 
did she, truly. She had been planning to obviate this 
all along. Still, if any one else save he had said it, if he 
had asked it in any other way than this, with much of 
appeal and much of sympathy and understanding thrown 
in, it would have been very different. But, as it was, 
she understood, and between them they understood. 
He wanted to help her, and she him. 
"You have pretty hands," he said, softly. 
She pursed her lips reproachfully. 
" You mustn't tell me that." 
He went away, not at all hurt, but because he was 
cautious. He was playing a subtle role, and it was dan- 
gerous. Still, this girl held him in spite of any of these 
difficulties which might intervene. Caution—plenty of 
it—and he might be as nice to her as he pleased. 
This dance was coming—the very night, at 
 
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