THE FINANCIER 
Cowperwood. He was very badly frightened and wanted 
time to think. 
Now at the mention of three hundred and fifty thousand 
dollars he stirred nervously, and at the mention of Butler 
he moved. Strobik had told him that Cowperwood had 
practically confessed to Butler and the others that he was 
bankrupt. 
" I can't do it, Frank," Stener pleaded, piteously. " I'm 
in pretty bad in this matter, it looks to me just now. Mr. 
Mollenhauer's secretary met the train out at Wilmington 
just now to warn me against this situation, and Strobik 
is against it. They know how much money I've got 
outstanding. You or somebody has told them. I can't 
go against Mollenhauer. I owe everything I've got to 
him, in a way. He got me this place." 
Cowperwood's eyes clouded ominously. He pretended 
to be properly astonished at this development, as he might 
well have been; and yet he was not astonished, either. 
Stener was such a tool. He was more surprised at what 
Stener told him of Mollenhauer. That explained in a 
way why Mollenhauer and Simpson had refused to act 
the night before. Either Mollenhauer, Simpson, and 
Butler had combined against him, instead of assisting him 
as he had expected, or Mollenhauer and Simpson had re- 
fused Butler's proposition, or Mollenhauer was driving at 
him alone—he could not tell which. It looked to his 
shrewd mind, for the time being, as if all three had sud- 
denly combined to strike him, and were using Stener and 
the panic in combination to undo him He was angered 
and chagrined, but he did not see just what was to be done 
about it at the moment. Perhaps a few clear words from 
him to Stener would bring the latter to his senses. 
" George," he said, " there's no use being angry with 
me for going to Butler. I had to do it to save the day. 
If I hadn't been able to reach you before a day or two, and 
the politicians hadn't helped me—as it turns out they 
haven't—I would have failed, and you and the party would 
347