THE FINANCIER 
Cowperwood, who was retaining his self-possession by 
an effort, signaled her after a moment or two. "It's all 
right," he said. " He's gone away." She lifted her veil, 
removed her cloak, and took in, without seeming to, the 
stuffy, narrow thickness of the room, his wretched shoes, 
the cheap, misshapen suit, the iron door behind him 
leading out into the little yard attached to his cell. 
Against such a background, with his partially caned chairs 
visible at the end of the bed, he seemed strange, unnatural. 
It was useless for her to try to speak for the moment, 
and then she suddenly said, putting her arms around him 
and stroking his head: 
" My poor Frank, my brave boy. Is this what they 
have done to you?" 
Cowperwood did his best to retain his sense of com- 
posure in the face of this sudden onslaught; but for the 
first time in his life, and the only time in all his life, he 
lost it. He lost it by some inexplicable trick of chemis- 
try—that chemistry of the body, of blind forces which so 
readily supersede reason at times. The depth of Aileen's 
feeling, the cooing sound of her voice, the velvety tender- 
ness of her hands, that beauty that had drawn him all the 
time—more radiant here perhaps within these hard walls, 
and in the face of his physical misery, than it had ever been 
before—completely unmanned him. He did not under- 
stand how it could; he tried to defy the mood, but he 
could not. When she held his head close and caressed 
it, of a sudden, in spite of himself, his breast felt thick 
and stuffy, and his throat hurt him. He felt, for him, an 
astonishingly strange feeling, a desire to cry, which he 
did his best to overcome; it shocked him so. There then 
combined and conspired to defeat him a strange, rich 
picture of the great world he had so recently lost, of the 
lovely, magnificent world which he hoped some day to 
regain. He felt more poignantly at this moment than 
ever he had before the degradation of the clog shoes, the 
cotton shirt, the striped suit, the reputation of a convict 
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