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bald man with the fussy tie and the dia ] niond ring on his little finger came up to ) Carter in Lesser's brokerage office. His thin voice sounded across the rattling of the tick |j ers, the hum of conversation and the monoto nous calls of the blackboard clerk. 'Mr. Carter? Pardon me, Mr. Carter. A word with you, sir — just a word." The Virginian, secure in the superior armor of flawless clothes and perfection of manner, looked askance at his questioner and made as if to pass. "You have the advantage of me, sir," he mur mured coldly. But the bald man, smiling and popping his brow, held his ground easily. "Very likely. Still. I will make so bold "as to pre sume upon it. I have a proposition that might inter est you, I think." Robert Carter was the last man in the world to play the victim in a bucket shop game or to waste his time with the petty rogues and swindlers of the street, but it so happened that he was idle; that there tvas no one about that he knew and that he was just curious enough to wish tb discover bow this bald man meant to use him. It was sufficiently remarkable that his name was known. He seated himself in a va^ar.t corner and prepared to listen. \u25a0"YcuTe not to be blamed if you shy off at this for a while," began the bald man, fumbling with his erratic tie. "I'm willing to believe that it is — well, unusual. Mr. Carter." The Virginian showed no surprise. "ive taken considerable interest in watching you for some time," continued the bald man. Carter eyed him. •You flatter me." he returned, -ill forgive you the dig/ laughed the other, set tling hack genially into the leather cushions. "But the point is this: Without any desire to convey offense, I have made myself fairly familiar with your way of life and general habits." Carter began to stiffen. Decidedly, this was uncom fort;iUe. He thought first of St Geoff ry, then of his onknovm antagonist in the affair of the rosewood cuiuet. • But the bald jaan hurried on, noting the suspicion in the Virginian's face. "If I took the trouble you would see that I must have had a motive. So I had. lam the representative o: .) grouif of operators having very wide interests and enga^ius m a great variety of activities. Recently they assigned me to pick out a young man familiar with the* district, smart enough to execute commis sions and with such connections that he could appear to invest on his ov.n account. Do you get me?" '"Weil:" said Carter. "Well, it's a plain business offer. I noticed you and followed you up. You are the one we want. You arc on speaking terms with some big men. You are straight. To be frank, you look and act the part of the wealthy young loiterer. And unless I have slipped up the inducement we can offer ypu will prove acceptable." "I don't think I understand the nature of the serv ice you are seeking," said the Virginian, still on his guard. "Why, nothing more or less than to follow the instructions you will receive from day to- day, placing orders as you are told to. Y"ou must be able to see the reason. There are others in the same business, fellows of good family, but no funds, who are useful to manipulators in concealing big market, moves. I make no gaudy promises. I am offering you employ ment that will give you personal prestige without risk and without fear of discovery." "I shall have to consider it." "Do so," returned the other. "My name is Weld etone. You can find me at my office in William Btreet. So long, Mr. Carter." The bald man waved bis diamond and was gone. The Virginian found some difficulty in adjusting himself toward the proposed position. It was allur ing, and there was no denying the fact that it might supply very welcome assistance. But he scanned it closely. His social advance had been too hardly won to permit the slightest indiscretion. In his policy it was better to refuse a million than to lose standing with any of the friends he had so laboriously culti vated. He had heard of such arrangements, how ever, and could see that they offered desirable advan tages. To be able to' show money, to handle large stakes, to pose, as he had never been able to, for t man of wealth — there were possibilities for him here The mere tickling of his vanity meant nothing. Wha drew him was the apparent chance to buttress hi.' importance. It meant that he could approach a class of men whom he never could have impressed on th< recommendation of perfect clothes and polishet manner. He saw Weldstone in Lesser's the next. day ant had another interview with him. He put his ques tions with the utmost and watchfulness Within half an hour he was satisfied. According t< the agreements he was to call upon Weldstone eacl morning for orders. He was to have the power ti command sums of money in several banks, place< temporarily at his disposal. This was the road by which Robert Carter, enterec the field of finance. He was well chosen for his role THE SOCIETY WOLF Within a month he had handled $60,000, placing them in the dark and simply as the pawn of the powers employing him. Had his cynicism stood in need of fresh lessons he could have drawn them from his experience during that month. As a well dressed idler who blinked ?1 <"o blackboards. and exchanged an occasional greeting he had been remarked but ; slightly. As a young man with money to play he was one to be recognized. With, ar. eye characteristically set upon taking all the lead he well might, he skill fully built-up the impression that he commanded large private resources and that so far he had only felt his way. Among the intimacies which his new occupation enabled him to foster was that with Gatz-Brown, the wily Talleyrand of the change, ..whom he already knew more than slightly. Figures loomed and fig ures faded in the kaleidoscope of Wall street, bitt the ruddy little man with curly, white galways, always formed a part of the design. From the height of fuller knowledge Carter saw in Gatz-Brown one.pf the shrewdest, most farsighted and successful stock manipulators in the country. He always knew how far to swim with the 1 dominant wave, drawing out before disaster and chuckling serenely to the surface when reaction set in. It was impossible not to like x Gatz-Brown, and aside from the social obligations under which he had placed Carter the Virginian found him a valu able study. He made it a practice to drop into the operator'^ office at least once daring the week and chat about thoroughbreds, the passion of the mil lionaire's life. Gatz-Brown put a few casual ques- 1 tions to him one day concerning his presence in the district. Carter answered offhandedly, but he ,\vas \u25a0 quite aware that he could not deceive the. financier ; in such a matter. If Gatz-Brown really cared to find out the source of any one's activity the. information i could hot be hidden from him. :}.'.'\u25a0 The Group of Five ) In due course Carter met the four other men who , with Weldstone, composed the group of his employ-.; 1 ers. They were built of and for money — hard, sharp, ; unsympathetic. They formed interesting • subjects - before the clinic on his observation. Among them : Weldstone alone seemed most human. He rather liked Weldstone. > '• He had been invited to luncheon with all five. • There was that in the air by which he was conscious i . of a definite purpose in -the event. It cropped to view I presently. ' . "You must know Gatz-Brown fairly well,, don't ; you?" asked White, a grizzled broker with a shifty • eye. % ' ; The Virginian admitted that he did. I "Notice you look in on him pretty regularly." i. ; Again Carter assented. There was a moment of t silence. I "Ever hear the, old man drop anything about the - market? You ought 'to pick up something good that Carter eyed the speaker distantly. ; "Do you mean to ask whether , Mr.! Gatz-Brown i may not at times 'make some inadvertent remark' that .would have a bearing on values?" t "Something-of that kind," was the answer, and 5^ there was a short laugh about the table. Carter., no s ticed that Weldstone did not laugh. . - ; "Mr. Gatz-Brown may have said such things," i said Carter slowly, /'but I have never tried to re "Never tried to, eh? Better make a note oL them ;. next time. We . might have \u25a0 use for them." . VH' o 'Twill bear your "instructions in mind," returned h Carter precisely. \u25a0 ". o "'Several weeks later Carter, had sent in "his card d to Gatz-Brown and was seated in the .little : anteroom to the private office..' The clerk, preceding;him from \ the outer rooms, had across the apartment, di^ ..greeting him naturally to the chair nearest the .odrti- A REVERSE ON THE MARKET "1 ye Made JM early a minarea inousana tion. From beyond came the indistinct grumble of voices, scarcely audible, for the dividing • wall was firmly made. Carter was not' interested. He yawned and disposed himself comfortably in the chair. Suddenly the knob on the frosted glass door lead ing into the financier's sanctum clicked and the voices became distinguishable, as the door itself was held ajar the fraction of an inch. — —"and, -as I say, you are placing me under a debt which I can never hope to repay." The voice of the speaker, was almost tearful. It was that of a man, but soft and pitched rather high. Carter did not recognize it. "Tut, tut," came the amiable tones of . "You have been unfortunate — acted on poor advice., After this keep out. of the street. It's no place for one of your calling. And remember what I said about keeping it to yourself." _..,'. "You are most kind, Arthur. I shall not forget this. X. Y. Z., you said?" "Yes. And buy — not sell. See if you can get that right," said- the manipulator, dropping his voice. "Buy for a 20 point rise and keep" mum. It's all over if the thing gets, out." Then, - with a burst of cheery goodbys,' echoed more faintly by the other, he apparently shook hands with his visitor. A second later the door swung open and the stranger crossed the anteroom. • He was thin, slight and dressed in clerical garb. He hurried by with short steps without noticing Carter.- Several minutes passed before a clerk from the inner room, came in to inform the Virginian that Gatz-Brown would see him. He found the financier seated at his desk, busily engaged with a mass of papers. "Hello, Carter," was the jovial greeting: "sit down, my boy, sit down. How's the tape running for you the day? -Did you get a bit of that Yellow Rose Copper trimming? No? Now, that's unfor tunate. By the way, I bought a new roadster yes terday,, a dream. You must come out and see her." So ran the rapid fire of: his conversation,- popping trivialities and street gossip like a Gatling gun, and all with a bland, almost fatuous, smile. It was hard to reconcile* this chubby little individual with: his cheerful, inconsequential comments, and the fearsome dictator who juggled fortunes every hour. Carter met him on his own ground, , the only; possible way with Gatz-Brown,. and stayed his usual' time: As he started to rise the manipulator stayed^him with: . "Don't forget your umbrella." . . . He pointed to one standing against a .chair. The, Virginian disclaimed it. " '. .:. " : '.'lt's not mine." . "Oh," exclaimed Gatz-Brown, "then it must be my brother in law's. : He; was here just before you came. Wouldn't have made the^mistake,"- he continued with a grin, "if I'd looked at it'closer. Isn't it eloquent of - rustic virtues and the cloth?; You'd swear, now, that no one but a country clergyman could own it. .One of my sisters married a /small, struggling minister years ago. He's.done nothing but struggle ever since. He drops in oh me now and then. A decent enough chap, but .simple, quite simple. '.Goodby." ; . ' •r The Virginian went, away in" thoughtful mood. Here was one of thos e elusive tips : that : formed ; the basis of so many wondrous tales, afloat among the gilded, canyons, one of the chance straws to which \, hardened and sophisticated veterans ;~ of the street were . apt to attach great,- importance :\u25a0'\u25a0\u25a0 in V trimming their sails for the ; financial wind. .He ran. over the incident with close" attention "Apparently the cler • ical \u25a0 in (law had sought to swelPa scanty;iri ; come by venturing into the thorny 'paths of tion. Apparently. also he had; sustained ; the inevi table scratches in passage. The balm offered by Gatz-; /Brown "was X. Y. Z.; an' industrial stock that \ had hovered sluggishly about par for a year or more.Vßut -: in;. going over, the incident' one thing, dominated.his .thought, one. thing that would not'b'e, reconciled} with xbisxonception of ' Gatz-Brown. The financier was not , J "'' \u25a0'\u25a0' - .;'.\u25a0' '- •\u25a0' , '\u25a0':.;\u25a0 '\ the man to leave an open door upon his confidences, even by "accident. a I;,v; i Carter slept: little that night. He passed the hours in going over the situation, bringing to bear all his power oi keen analysis and all his native intuition, [thel two qualities which gave him his great aptitude for the -peculiar task he had set himself. At the -end he came to the conclusion that -here was the best opportunity he had had to place himself beyond the pinch of necessity. Recently he had improved the little sum he possessed and had cleared himself of debt by successful eighth chasing. But his total capi tal was inadequate for the affair into which he had stumbled. He needed a stake— needed it badly His early visit to Weldstone next rrforning was accompanied by a request that his five employers be gathered together for a conference Weldstone good naturedly translated the occasion into a luncheon at which he would be host, and for the second time the Virginian" was pne in the circle of money hunters that had engaged his services. When cigars had been reached Carter related, without addition or variation, the incident of the previous day at Gatz-Brown's. . "I felt at liberty to reveal this, gentlemen," said the Virginian, with a sidelong glance at Weldstone, "because it was picked up in the legitimate round of my duties. Any one might have been in the office at that time and might have heard what I did., 1 leave you to draw your own conclusions, and to act accordingly. I have told you nothing but what hap pened." The group broke up without comment, and Car ter accompanied Weldstone. to his office. He knew well enough that there would be a later meeting of the brokers to consider action on his information. In the meantime he desired some private conversa tion with the man in whom he had the greatest hop« of friendliness. $10,000 Call "Weldstone," began the Virginian, when they were together in privacy, "I come to you because you are the one who knows me best. You told me once that you had' looked 'into my personal history. Ir that case you know that my record is straight, thai I have made a fair • starts that T have some powerful friends., You should know, moreover, that some da> :: — some day, I said— l shall arrive." He threw into his speech the sincere decision and force that were the outgrowth of his .complete, un wavering faith in himself. Weldstone's beady eyes twinkled at him. ' "What r then?" he asked cautiously. "Just this: I want a loan of ten thousand frorr you or credit for ten thousand at your office. It is extraordinary; I know, to ask such a thing of a mar in your position and business. But it is a fair gambit as I look at it.- Even should I lose I am sure to b< able to repay you some time.- In the meantime this is my one opportunity. \ I have' no money." Weldstone had recourse to his necktie, which h< adjusted nervously. "I will go so far as to consider it, Carter," he an swered., "Certainly, as you say, -this is not in tht line of regular business. How long is this tip gooc for?": '"I should say for three, days," returned Carter ai haphazard. "Say until Friday." [ The other nodded. , / . \u25a0\u25a0;. "Arid kindly say nothing of this to your asso ciates," said Carter as -he took his leave. On Wednesday and again on Thursday Weldstone failed to mention their little affair when Carter callet for' instructions for his usual work. The Virginiai dixLnot remind him. : On, Friday morning. the broke; gave -his answer. . "I can't see your, proposition, Carter," he'said wit! 'watchful eyes." "I can't afford it. -Sorry, but th< thing, is impossible." a Carter bowed gravely and made, no comment. A "Oh, by the way," called : Weldstone as. the Vir giniah was about^ to close the door, "I am about t( leave town until next Tuesday. You can fill in you • time* as you like until then. ;. The market . is rathe dull." '\u25a0••_- ;..,-.. ; ; Any. one conversant with disappointmen would have looked to see the young- man /in graj humor as^he walked away from the \u25a0broker's office That same any . one 'would have been surprised to sei \u25a0the : smile that kindled ; the "h'ands"onie : face: Promptly at 2 o'clock, , the } hour \u25a0.when' Carter wa: ; always^ to] be x found* at \u25a0Lesser's, Weldstone :• bustle< Jh.and plumped into a~ chair beside the' Virginian, wh( was calmly; going over his note- book. . "I climb down. Carter," the broker exploded; mop i;pingf'his bald head vigorously. -His necktie ' had flow; The San v Francisco Sunday Call beyond all bounds.' The other- looked at him in «urn prise. "Here, take, ray pocketbook, my ring and my shoes," continued Weldstone, with a grin. "You can have your ten thousand." He sank limply against the leather cushion with a sigh. "I thought you were going away," said Carter mischievously. Weldstone passed it off with a wave of his diamond. "You fetched me," he said. "It was well done. There was something like fifty thousand subject to your orders in one bank alone. I almost broke my ne«k stopping it after you sprang your request. I may as well tell you now. I removed the stop, but I watched every bank and you as well — and you never reached out a hand. Come. I owe you the best drink money can buy." Passing the Test Carter indulged in a little pardonable self-congrat ulation as they walked toward n place of refreshment. Throughout his campaign toward the citadel of the socially elect he had' been meticulously careful in money matters. He knew instinctively that here was the shoal upon which many a hope as ambitious and as well founded as his own had gone to wreck. It was the truest indication of his sagacity that he had avoided the acquisition of the smallest sum in a manner open to suspicion. He had few scruples. He was simply wise enough to be Honest. And, further more, in this particular case he had foreseen the exact test to which Weldstone would submit him. And now to cancel part of his debt to the broker. The paper was signed and Carter received the slip showing the amount to which he could claim credit in Weldstone's office. "How high do you think it will go?" asked Weld stone when the transaction was closed. "How high will what go?" returned Carter. "Why, X. Y. Z., of course." There was an inter val, during which the broker showed some astonish ment and the Virginian looked at him steadily.* "Do" you purpose buying X. Y. Z.?" asked Carter finally. "Do I purpose? Why, of course. What else? I have bought already. Isn't that what you wanted the credit for?" "Not exactly," returned the Virginian slowly. "I am going to sell." It was a long interval this time. The necktie de manded much attention, but the broker's gaze was never removed from Carter's face. His own was blank for some minutes. Then a -grin broke across it. He extended his hand across the table. Carter re turned the grip in silence. "I. shouldn't care to confide my intentions to too many persons. Weldstone," said Carter at parting, and the other nodded his understanding. Carter began his coup on Saturday. There was still no sign of life in X. Y. Z. Inert and safe, it hung soddehly at 98. Virginian went about the brokerage offices as usual and placed some buying or ders on the stock, distributing them judiciously. Dur ing the morning hours he ran into Gatz-Brown. "There you art, Carter, my boy," hailed the ma i nipulator. "Ever on the wing. I see. You must quit i this and come out for an afternoon behind Tinkling . Chimes, my new pacer. Ah, you youngsters! You : will learn the value of conservation some day." \u25a0 "I'd like to go," said Carter abstractedly, "but i I've a big undertaking on at present." "Well, well," returned Gatz-Brown, chuckling , cheerfully. "I suppose you must have your fling. Good luck to you, my boy." [ Closing quotations on Saturday showed X. Y. Z. , up to par, and the unwonted move attracted some : interest. Carter, who knew what to expect, had ob : served indications of considerable secret buying of ! the stock. He was not the only one to> whom the : tip had been passed. Early on Monday X. Y. Z. moved to 102. Carter was. watching the board at Lesser's when the figures • ran from beneath the chalk. He dashed out into the ''maelstrom of Wall street. Dodging and squirming, : he reached Weldstone's. There he negotiated with . his credit slip and turned anxiously to the ticker in - the inner office. Weldstone was absent at the ex : change. X. Y. Z. was climbing. Suddenly it jumped to 107. Carter sought the clerk and_signed away the last thousand dollars which he had kept in reserve . as margin. Then he hurried into the street without : another glance at the ticker. ; He lacked the courage to stay or to return to , Lesser's. He let the crowd whirl him this way and t that, retaining his cool, self-possessed pose through I force of habit, but inwardly helpless in a gyrating r confusion of brain Had he missed? Had he read Gatz-Brown aright? Or had he merely bungled hi 3 I own "play by haste? He found himself outside the . exchange and stood staring at it. For nearly an hour 5 he remained 'there with vacant, unseeing eyes. When he finally pulled himself together a sense of the situation swept over him and he wa3 seized i with a pressing instant need to know, to end the un s certainty. In his agitation he passed a dozen offices i where he might have found what he wanted and ; headed for Weldstone's. He had his foot on the : lower ' step when ji rotund thunderbolt crashed ; into him and he held to a fat arm to avoid being hurled to the gutter. ~He was about to dodge away i with an exclamation when he caught a glimpse of a flaring tie. "Great fish hooks, man I" a thin voice was wheez ; , ing at him. "What's the hurry? It's all over." • 1 "What's happened, Weldstone?/ cried Carter. "I've been out of it." The brokec gurgled and mopped t his shiny head. "Not much," he answered, "only the bottom's dropped out of X. Y. Z. It went from 107 to S6. I've - made nearly a hundred thousand." Carter presented himself at the office of Gatz : Brown after the market closed with X. Y. Z. at 84. 1 The Virginian had covered himself at 85, well con i tent. The financier looked up at him with an ex r pectant smile. - "Well,- my boy," he said cheerfully, "such are the l chances of the game." ; "Quite so," assented Carter gravely. "I understand you were in pretty heavily.** "Not so heavily as I could have wished." - : "Eh?" 3 f"l "was selling," said Carter casually. He waited a r moment, then, bending closer, he added: "By th~ r way, how is that brother in law of yours you were telling me about the other day?" t Gatz-Brown looked thoughtful for the space of it some three seconds, a fact afterward treasured by the :. Virginian. It was the only known occasion; upon c which the financier allowed himself to be seen stripped of his smile. There was a new expression s m the eye he turned toward Carter with a redcem 1 ing chuckle. ~ 5 ' "Well," he. said, accepting the situation with full comprehension, "I can only "repeat that invitation as - to Tinkling Chimes." q7 (Continued Next Sunday*. .