eventually be returned to the treasury. If they refused, 
and injury was done him, he proposed to let them wait 
until he was " good and ready," to use an American phrase, 
which in all probability would be never, before he returned 
a dollar. But, really, it was not quite clear how action 
against him was to be prevented—even by them. The 
money was down on his books as owing the city treasury, 
and it was down on the city treasury's books as owing 
from him. Besides, there was a local organization known 
as the Citizens' Municipal Reform Association which oc- 
casionally conducted investigations in connection with 
public affairs. His defalcation would be sure to come to 
the ears of this body. A public investigation, which 
must surely follow, would reveal it. Various private 
individuals knew of it already. His creditors, for instance, 
who were now examining his books. 
To ask for time—to ask the politicians, for the sake of 
avoiding a scandal, to hush up—was all very good if they 
could hush up. But could they? The situation had be- 
come already so dangerous. 
This matter of seeing Mollenhauer or Simpson, or 
both, was important, anyhow, he thought; but before 
doing so he decided to talk all this over with Harper 
Steger, his lawyer, and get the legal end of it, so far as 
the sixty-thousand-dollar check was concerned, straight 
in his mind. So several days after he had closed his doors, 
he sent for Steger and told him all about the transaction, 
except that he did not make it clear that he had not in- 
tended to put the certificates in the sinking-fund unless 
he survived quite comfortably. Steger was a little 
dubious; though he thought that, seeing how loosely city 
funds had always been handled, how close the relations 
of Cowperwood and Stener were, nothing would come of 
it before a jury. 
" Let them proceed against you," he said, his brilliant 
legal mind taking in all the phases of the situation at 
once. " I don't see that there is anything more here than