THE FINANCIER 
it was he was in danger of doing. If he, Cowperwood, 
failed, Stener was certainly in a bad way. The man 
would be charged with embezzlement. As for himself, 
things were not so bad. He would not, technically, be 
charged with embezzlement, though he might be accused 
of compounding a felony. Nevertheless, he would be 
broken financially, and that was the one thing he dreaded 
most of all—the loss of his wealth. He could not stand 
that. Fortune was too nearly within his reach. It 
would be too much to lose it. Still he fronted the pos- 
sibility with a steady eye. 
Stener sat there ridiculously meditating when, as a 
matter of fact, his very financial blood, to use a simile, 
was oozing away. His wound was a fatal one, and he 
realized it. Yet he was afraid to act. He was afraid of 
Mollenhauer, afraid of Cowperwood, afraid of life and of 
himself. The thought of panic, loss, was not so much a 
definite thing connected with his own property, his money, 
as it was with his social and political standing in the 
community. Few people have the sense of financial in- 
dividuality strongly developed. They do not know what 
it means to be a controller of wealth, to have that which 
releases the sources of social action—its medium of ex- 
change. In most people thoughts of financial supremacy 
are not high and strong. They want money, but not for 
money's sake. They want it for what it will buy in the 
way of simple comforts, whereas the financier wants it for 
what it will control—for what it will represent in the way 
of dignity, force, power. Cowperwood wanted money in 
that way; Stener not. That was why he had been so ready 
to let Cowperwood act for him; and now, when he should 
have seen more clearly than ever the significance of what 
Cowperwood was proposing, he was frightened and his 
reason obscured by such things as Mollenhauer's probable 
opposition and rage, Cowperwood's possible failure, his 
own inability to face a real crisis, and things of that sort. 
Cowperwood's real innate financial ability did not reas- 
350