THE FINANCIER 
law and morality, the newspapers, the preachers, the 
police, and the public moralists generally, so loud in their 
denunciation of evil in humble places, were cowards all 
when it came to corruption in high ones. They did not 
dare to utter even a feeble squeak until some giant had 
accidentally fallen and they could do so without danger 
to themselves. Then, 0 heavens, what a palaver! What 
beatings of tom-toms! Run now, good people, for you 
may see clearly how evil is dealt with in high places! It 
made him smile. Such hypocrisy! Such cant! Still, 
so the world was organized, and it was not for him to set 
it right. Let it wag as it would. The thing for him to 
do was to get rich and hold his own—to build up a seem- 
ing of virtue and dignity which would pass muster for 
the genuine thing. Force would do that. Quickness of 
wit. And he had these. Let the world wag. " I satisfy 
myself," was his motto; and it might well have been em- 
blazoned upon any coat of arms which he could have con- 
trived to set forth his claim to intellectual and social 
nobility. 
But this matter of Aileen, which had come to a definite 
point, was up for consideration and solution at this pres- 
ent moment, and because of his forceful, determined 
character he was not at all disturbed by the problem it 
presented. It was a problem, like some of those knotty 
financial complications which presented themselves daily; 
but it was not insoluble. What did he want to do? Ha 
couldn't leave his wife and fly with Aileen, that was cer- 
tain. He had too many connections. He had too many 
subtle things to bind him. Besides, he was not at all 
sure that he wanted to. He did not intend to leave his 
growing interests, and at the same time he did not intend 
to give up Aileen immediately. The unheralded mani- 
festation of interest on her part was too attractive. Mrs. 
Cowperwood was no longer what she should be physically 
and mentally, in so far as he was concerned. To be sure, 
she was devoted to him in her quiet way, not passionately 
244