THE FINANCIER 
he had done so much to assist. There forced itself into his 
naturally slow-moving but rather accurate mind a sense 
of the distinction and charm of his daughter—a consider- 
ably sharper picture than he had ever had before, and at 
the same time a keener understanding of the personality 
of Frank Algernon Cowperwood. How was it he had 
failed to detect any of the real subtlety of this man? 
How was it he had never seen any sign of it, if there had 
been anything between Cowperwood and Aileen? Parents 
are frequently inclined, because of a time-flattered sense 
of security, to take their children for granted. Nothing 
ever has happened, so nothing ever will happen. They 
see their children every day, and through the eyes of 
affection; and despite their natural charm and their own 
strong parental love, the children are apt to become not 
only commonplaces, but ineffably secure against evil. 
Mary is naturally a good girl—a little wild, but what 
harm can befall her? John is a straightforward, steady- 
going boy—how could he get into trouble? They are 
home almost every evening. The astonishment of most 
parents at the sudden accidental revelation of evil in con- 
nection with any of their children is almost invariably 
pathetic. " My John ! My Mary! Impossible!" But 
it is possible. Very possible. Decidedly likely. Some, 
through lack of experience or understanding, or both, grow 
hard and bitter on the instant. They feel themselves 
astonishingly abased in the face of notable tenderness and 
sacrifice. Others collapse and go to pieces before the 
grave manifestation of the insecurity and uncertainty of 
life and mortal chemistry. Others, taught roughly by 
life, or furnished broadly by understanding or intuition, 
or both, see in this the latest manifestation of that in- 
comprehensible chemistry which we call life and person- 
ality, and, knowing that it is quite vain to hope to gain- 
say it, save by greater subtlety, put the best face they 
can upon the matter and call a truce until they can think. 
We all know that life is unsolvable—we who 
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