THE FINANCIER 
completely. She saw things through his cold, direct " I 
satisfy myself " attitude. He was sorry for all the little 
differences of personality that sprang up between people, 
causing quarrels, bickerings, opposition, and separation; 
but they could not be helped. People outgrew each 
other. Their points of view altered at varying ratios— 
hence changes. Religion—he smiled. It was for the 
weak, the fearsome. Morals—those who had them had 
them; those who didn't, didn't. There was no explain- 
ing. As for him, he saw nothing wrong in the sex rela- 
tionship. Between those who were mutually compatible 
it was innocent and delicious. Aileen in his arms, un- 
married, but loved by him, and he by her, was as good 
and pure as any living woman—a great deal purer than 
most. Without propinquity—nearness of blood, mood, 
mind, sentiment, such a relationship was impossible. It 
would not occur. With these things, marriage or no 
marriage, it was perfect, delightful. One found oneself 
in a given social order, theory, or scheme of things. For 
purposes of social success, in order not to offend, to 
smooth one's path, make things easy, avoid useless criti- 
cism, and the like, it was necessary to create an outward 
seeming—ostensibly conform. Beyond that it was not 
necessary to do anything. Never fail, never get caught. 
If you did, fight your way out silently and say nothing. 
That was what he was doing in connection with his pres- 
ent financial troubles; that was what he had been ready 
to do the other day when they were caught. It was 
something of all this that was coloring Aileen's mood as 
she listened at present. 
"But father," she protested, "I love Mr. Cowper- 
wood. It's almost the same as if I were married to him. 
He will marry me some day when he gets a divorce from 
Mrs. Cowperwood. You don't understand how it is. 
He's very fond of me, and I love him. He needs me." 
Butler looked at her with strange, non-understanding 
eyes. He scarcely comprehended what she was talking 
527