THE FINANCIER 
He smiled as he thought of his father's 
 in 
so far as he was concerned. 
" I like the way he harmonized and connected these 
rooms. George, I do ! Clever chap, that. Is he 
here ?" 
"He's somewhere around here, I think Do you know 
him?" 
" Surely." 
" Then you'll meet him." 
But this matter of building oneself up. It forced itself 
inconsequently but persistently upon Cowperwood as 
the flattering crowd filed past. There was a curious 
circumstance about it. Prejudice had so much to do 
with it. Prejudice? Life, so far as he could make out, 
was woven of mistaken ideas. Religion certainly was 
one. How plain it was that people with religious notions 
were not necessarily in accord with high religious ideas! 
And commercial honor! Write in its place commercial 
necessity, and you had the warp and woof of its fabric. 
Men defended their children—the honor of them; but 
the children cared nothing for the defenses as a rule, 
had to be constrained in order that they might observe 
them. He himself was a very excellent example. He 
had two children. It would be quite the same with them. 
And then take all of those who might have been good 
but couldn't- 
" Yes, yes, indeed, it's lovely. We're very pleased. 
I'm certainly glad to see you here." 
Yes, there were thousands who never had any chance 
at all. On 'change it was live and let live only, up to 
the point where self-interest began. Then— And in 
the banking and commercial world. God, what a strug- 
gle! The fights! The cries of the sinking! Strength 
was the thing. A strong, tactful man could do anything 
if he could scheme it out well enough beforehand; but 
one had to plan subtly, very subtly. There was so 
much danger, so much rank accident; and then what 
210