THE FINANCIER 
against the rules, as they were understood by everybody. 
However much breaking of the rules under the surface 
of things there might be, the rules were still there. As 
he had heard one young man remark once at school, when 
some story had been told of a boy leading a girl astray 
and to a disastrous end, "That isn't the way at all." 
Still, now that he had said this, strong thoughts of her 
were in his mind. It is curious how we grow on what 
we eat. We seem at times to work the bellows that 
heighten the flames of our desires; we feed the fire that 
ultimately consumes us—and how deliberately and re- 
sourcefully! Our conscience, as some one has said, may 
be as the shell is of the sea, murmurous of morality; but 
it avails nothing. There appears to exist an age-old 
fight between spirit and the flesh, God and the devil, 
idealism and materialism, heat and cold, wealth and 
poverty, strength and weakness, and so on—a struggle 
without evidence of victory or failure on either hand. 
"From everlasting to everlasting" may as well have been 
spoken of evil as of good. Or there is no evil, nor any 
good, as we understand them. 
Aileen's thoughts were interrupted the least moment 
by her apologies for having evaded her prospective part- 
ner and given the dance to some one else. As she had 
planned to prevaricate, so she did. She returned to her 
chair, weary for the time being of other attentions, for 
this sudden definite suggestion of Cowperwood's gave her 
so much to think of. She toyed aimlessly with her fan 
as a black-haired, thin-faced young law student talked 
to her, one of the scions of the better families; and, seeing 
Norah in the distance through the hangings separating 
this from the music-room, she asked to be allowed to run 
and talk to her. Mrs. Drake interrupted her flight, but 
delineated upon the fair, plump body and face—she saw 
Cowperwood. He had set a strange tingling in her veins. 
What was this? Did she love him? Why was it that his 
straight-looking gray eyes fascinated her? His shoulders