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THERE is a noral, a social and an economic force in the ordinary city directory that Rob ert Carter, social climber, could not overlook. It was brought to his attention one day while he was referring to that ponderous piece of literature in a corner drug stare. Thereupon he was moved to reflection. He observed that: though few and favored are they who may read their names in the social register, many and not all unfavored are they who may derive a similar delight in j the directory. It was desirable, highly so, that R. Pendleton Carteret should some day appear in the little guide to the elect. That being out of the question) for the time being, what about the larger and more common publication? He ran over the leaves. "Hemkin, Raoul W., pres., — — Wall, h. Madison ay." Now, if a man must submit to be herded with the crowd it is just as well that he should hedge himself about with a degree of exclusivcness. There was a world of possibility in that "pres." Henkin, Raoul W.," might be president of anything, from a republic to a chess club, but the single word "pres." served to hold him aloft in a man ner suggestive of dignity and reserve. He was aware that he distinctly wished his own name might carry some such attachment. And this is the manner, trivial as it may appear, in which Robert Carter started upon one of the most instructive experiences of his career. It was a small thing, perhaps, but he had made his remarkable ad vance into the fair, guarded fastnesses of society .vithout a passport chiefly by his attention to the n. ail thing?. The suggestion dwelt somewhere in he corner of his mind to bear fruit at convenient >ppd.rtuaityi ThY opportunity came one afternoon during a reaching; trip> at Lenox. Carter was the guest ofthe Uannafds 1 / riot on the unsupported solicitation of Birdsall Mancard, be it said, for the Virginian knew exactly what value to place upon that fat witted <::ight of the \ table. The word had come from none other than Mr.s. Mannard herself and had marked a iistir.ct and veiy real triumph for the aspiring Carter. lie was sitting ;%vith young Janson Cutten on the back ?eat and they hzA entered into casual discussion that ranged from golf\to finance. The latter subject was to the fore. "Heard something about your father's intended rc srganization of the th avenue road," ventured Carter. In simple. truth Carter had no more knowl edge of the doings of the th avenue road or old Henry Cutten than any other reader of the daily papers. But he was an adept at assuming offhand familiarity with any theme 'helpful in making conver sation. "Oh, jes," assented. Janson, languidly, "there is something of that kind in view." "Welcome news to the stock holders, myself among them," continued Carter. "So it would seem," nodded the other. "From all accounts the company was in a fearful state. The governor thought something might be done with it. It was lopped off from the Panurban system, you know, by court order, and was flopping around in a helpless sort of way." "What's he going to do?" "He hasn't confided in me," answered Janson, dryly. Then he went on, with a grimace, "He's just begun my practical training and I've not progressed far enough to be on the inside." "Oh, I didn't mean that," said Carter, hastily. "I was interested in merely a general way." THE CAR LINE DEAL "It's all right, old chap. I knew you weren't aim ing to pump me," smiled Janson. "It's fairly well known, I'll go bail, how the governor and I stand on business. But since you're interested at all, cast your eyes upon me more carefully. I'm slated for the new vice president of the company." He said this with such droll good humor and such frank appreciation of its significance that Carter broke into open laughter. Janson Cutten had been one of the wildest fledglings of the season two years before, and his appearance in any organization more serious than at a dinner society at that time would have served as a rare joke. It had been rumored that Cut ten, senior, had taken in hand the regeneration of his son and heir recently. "Still, why not?" said Carter a moment later. "You'll have to serve your apprenticeship some where." \ 'I suppose, returned the other doubtfully. "But I shall hardly find.lhe duties arduous. The vice pres identship of the th avenue railroad under Henry Cutlcn is not exactly the place one would pick out from which to reach a hand into the seething cal dron of finance. I happen to- know that he offered it to at least two others before he thought of me. He's scratching for directors now." Then Carter suddenly remembered the drug store compendium of popular Information and the thought it had raised. Director! Why not? It would look extremely well, almost as well as "pres." "Your honored father hasn't cast his hook into these troubled waters for his directors yet," he sug- THE SOCIETY WOLF gested. "I wonder if he knows that one of the secret, burning ambitions of my young life is to serve on the directorate of a street railroad. I've held. a block of the original stock for a year now and it's brought me nothing so far." It was the other's turn to laugh. "Now, there's a really brilliant idea. R. Pendleton Carteret, the' mir ror of fashion and the favorite of the" salons, ven tures upon the thorny path of industrial empire building. Your fate is sealed, old chap. ' I'll recom mend you to the governor tonight." "There's no telling where the th avenue rail road will end if it draws a few more heavy weights like ourselves into its service," said Carter affably. Through some chance or mischance Carter had annexed a number of the th avenue shares, the identity of which had never been lost in the various combinations of the city's traction system. His cautious market operations had gone well with him, his balance was good and he had had no occasion to dispose of the holdings. He was thus given some shadow of claim to the position, and it came about that at a nominal meeting of stock holders a few weeks later, when -Henry Cutten put through his list of officers, the name of R. Pendleton Carteret was on the list as a director. , Beyond the slight tickling of his vanity and. the satisfaction he took from looking himself up in the city directory, the Virginian drew no immediate result from the transaction. He had almost forgotten the hollow honor when Mrs. Wilfred Stilton recalled it to his mind rather unexpectedly. The charming Mrs. Stilton was a * widow and con sequently empress of her own affairs, a fact which may have accounted in part for her marked interest in matters of business. She never made the mistake of introducing sordid topics in company that would have taken offense, but there were certain men in the active banking and operating sets who found : her wholly fascinating in her coquettish assumption .of familiarity with the .movements of securities and con ditions on 'change. With these friends she discussed, behind a fan, the latest rumor of dividend or consoli dation, while more conventional, though perhaps less profitable talk, was under way elsewhere. Meanwhile she had astonishing success with her investments. "And that rattletrap old street road of yours, Mr. Carteret," was her unctious challenge to the Vir ginian. "I'm sure you're planning some ' surprising coup, now, aren't you?" Carter parried the sparkling glance. He had a constitutional objection to feminine activity in masculine pursuits. But he recovered him self the next moment.. Mrs. Stilton. was wealthy, and well received. It was never his policy to allow senti ment to interfere where advantage might^lie. t LAYING THE PLANS, . "You are , flattering, but poorly informed," he laughed. "I am On the directorate merely, to lend re spectability and dignity to that body. The chances are, Mrs. Stilton,' that you know much more about. the -th avenue than I do." But the incident aroused a latent curiosity in him. He had attended one stupid meeting. of the directors,' at which a fixed number of phrases supplied by Cutten 'had been mumbled and voted 'through with out comment. Now he was reminded that, after all, he was an officer of the companyy and as such entitled' to know something of its conduct. He'jhad made a fair start toward education in the intricacies of wealth building. He was at least entered in the primary grade. And he was inclined now- to resume his studies. In pursuance of the plan he visited the company's office the next day. That •is to say, he 'visited Vthat part of the Baltic building occupied by':. Cutten V firm.: The "office" of the th avenue, strictly speaking, was under Henry Cutten's; hat. Bydeputationjt'was in possession of the particular clerk charged, with the superintendence of the company's books,' for the great financier kept the. actual management and routine at a distance. Carter sought out this clerk' and in- his capacity as director demanded all the recent" reports and ; statements. Accommodated with a sheaf of folders and some typewritten sheets, he settled himself ;ima\ corner j-of the room- reserved for. meetings of Cutten's various directorates and proceeded to his first text book les son in modern, finance. He had never read- a;state ment before. Perhaps he was the clearer sighted for this very reason. He dug through the -figures with the single purpose of mastering the inner; mean ing off cryptic \u25a0 phrases .and confusing > items. For a long time the whole thing was a senseless jumble. AN EDUC ATI O^AL INGI DENT Then, with his natural capacity for analysis and- his ability to absorb and pluck the meat from a subject, he began to make some headway. Presently, under expenses, he came to this line: Relaying: track between - — \u25a0 — th and.- — -th : streets V. . . . '. . . : . . $321,620 .' Slowly this little announcement took meaning in his. mind. Thedistance betweenthe streets named could not, at the most, be more than half a mile. H And it had cost'eonsiderably, more than a quarter of. a million to take up the rails and replace them with new ones_ within that space. Really, it was no simple* problem, this conducting of. a street railroad. To him, one of the uninitiated, "fon instance,, this item > appeared beyond comprehension, i Yet here it was in • cold print.; It-was clearthat if *he was to under stand the matter at all he must 'begin % with funda mentals. He decided that the subject was altogether too. k abstruse to be mastered' in one afternoon and he took the papers home with him.. /Next day found him. in the Astor library, occupied with repelling books of statistics and state reports. By evening 'he felt that' he had made progress. He had come upon a statement from another street jail road,- dated a few years previously." This other road had also found occasion to relay its tracks over a dis tance of=half a rriile, and the total expense, so far. as he could I find, had been in the neighborhood of $22,000. Yes, beyond doubt, he was making progress. He made; many other discoveries before he came to the end of his investigations, and the question took dim": shape before him,' shadowy," forbiddingly strange, but undeniably-real. He continued his explorations. He questioned the clerk who presided over the books. ' He fell on the trail of a. mysterious construction com : pany that had, supposedly,' done the track work on the; —7-th avenue road. He ran back into the ancient history; of the road. ;He dug,: wrought and squirmed- among; the facts.. Within a week he had all the -necessary- parts in place and was confronted with the astonishing result. . ; THE DREAMING CARTER • Thereupon -Robert Carter, practical idler, clever parasite f and . ambitious sealer ;of '\u25a0 the heights, dreamed a> dream. = Some , years had passed since the -country 3. boy *had won his first foothold toward the. glittering goal. - His successes had been many "and easy. In every, essential he ' had proved his qualifications. for the prize :he desired.; He,had made one withJthese^f .the.purple'and fine linen; )he had learned* to live their lives, to think, their .Throughout- itall his supreme confidence in himself -had prospered and -waxed fat. , . '';,'.. '-'\u0084., And now he - ; went a degree : further, and persuaded himself ; that' he could combat^these moldersVof for tunes at their own game. Why; should he not? He :: had ; consistently r : used them, overreached them, " ma neuvered them in furtherance- of his schemes 'for > social advancement. , Should he not ; prove equally - theirrnaster at handling the forcesjand'fortunes they juggled? His weapons lay ready to* his hand and ; the taste, for power was sharp'on^his-tongue. _••'\u25a0_' Decision - once taken, he wasted no -.time in ; scru-, . pies'. ii r His/ first* move was to' seek Mrs.- Stilton/. She received him . coquettishly and was; quite ,\ willing .- to 'follow himinto financial waters \u25a0 when he headed .that .;way. ; Once : started; he \u25a0.explained rapidly .that! -he' *; "and * others" would v take - advantage :of s a /bear.;' raid '\u25a0upon — — th avenue. Certain, stories would ;be*made '; public. next day, that would, bring; the stock to hope less [smash: -It was unfortunate,, of* course, since he vhadlbeen connected with the road.' : But "the conncc ,tion;was merely ornamental, and since the raid could r not be stopped' he jtnight as* well profit by theTharvest. : He : had remembered her ; interest in' ——th' avenue '\u25a0'.\u25a0 -V-.S»i '\u25a0\u25a0"\u25a0: \u25a0'- .;> : ; ;\u25a0<-:. :"_..: ..\u25a0"•.": £r. \u25a0:\u25a0\u25a0•.',['\u25a0 ..'"'.\u25a0'» 1 .. t'.;.-''.';S':v. : . '-.-'-•'* :;':\u25a0'\u25a0::\u25a0'•\u25a0 PARDON ME, JIM; BUT WHAT THE DEVIL DO YOU MEAN and had thought she would like to have a word in time. She did like it extremely. She was a thousand times obliged to Mr. Carteret for the information. She would ; certainly act upon it. How clever and thoughtful he was! And they parted with the friendly feeling of fellow conspirators. Matters developed quickly. Carter- himself placed heavy selling orders on the stock early in the after noon, his resignation from the directorate having been left in the hands of the superintending clerk as a precautionary measure. His motive in calling Mrs. Stilton into his scheme was to increase the down ward pressure and give body to the assault he planned. There were no others to whom he dared trust the tip. During the rest of the day he was busy in his apartments with the preparation of the manu script-that would be his 13 inch gun in the action. Having finished it by 4 o'clock, he sent it out to be mimeographed and ordered SO copies. At 8 o'clock his preliminaries were complete. He was definitely launched on his experiment. He was content. Each detail had been well planned. There would be a terrific explosion on the morrow and from the wreckage would emerge R v Pendleton Carteret in a new role, a commanding financial .figure, playing only for the biggest stakes, a live factor among the giants of--.- wealth. He recalled Janson Cutten's grandilo quent phrase, "the thorny path of industrial empire building." He was on that path and he could see no i reason to fear failure. He had his hand on the telephone receiver at half-past eight. Just as he was about to lift it from the hook, the buzzer announced a visitor. He went to the hall . door and opened it. Outside stood "Jimmy" Hope. . ' w% "Well, here's good fortune," exclaimed Carter, welcoming him with outstretched hand and drawing him into the sitting room. "Sit down, won't you? Wait until I get .the glasses. Haven't seen you in months. What blew you here?" ; "Come to pluck your battered form off the rocks," .'said: Hope, grimly, with more feeling than precision. He. helped himself sparingly from the bottle and se lected the easiest chair. "What an utter, confounded 'idiot you are, Carteret." /THE GOOD AT THE SURFACE "Thanks," said the Virginian, calmly. "But why this sudden appreciation of my virtues?" "Jimmy" Hope was a very different person from the tremulous, 'dissipated wastrel that -Carter had helped ;to a wife during his first adventure in the metropolis. The firm hand of the Woman had kept him carefully, to the narrow way, and her love had coaxed the good ; grain of him to the surface. He took hold of, the: situation now with assurancef \u25a0; ''Question for question, Carteret. What ever in duced you .to embark on this utterly wildscheme of yours?/ Do youjwant to be crushed off hand? Thanks be, little, Stilton hadsense^nough to sound Mrs. Hope on your exact eligibility as'a, tipster and we heard the :whole mad thing. I'm, here to turn you back." . ' Carter'rose abruptly. Pardon me, -Jim,*- but' what the devil do you mean?" k V ' ''Mean ! } ' What do you mean? ' Here, you are, an awfully; decent -chap,: I'll allow, but with no. more knowledge of the big. game you're apparently hunting than the T child L j new: born. And of , all things -you .haye -to start a raid on Cutten's: properties. And if that isn't bad enough, you try to drag a, woman along to help. . Now/let's hear, the 'whole thing from start to. finish." .. -. \ " \u0084 «. r The=Virginian was.on the verge of a sharp retort. He' had fallen into. the habit of regarding. "Jimmy" as a good*. natured 'nonentity j infinitely inferior to.him self in all things *but money and 'rank. The: tone of The San Francisco Sunday j Call condescension in the other's voice went hard, but he remembered 'that Hope was his good friend and ha£ come in friendship and a certain uneasiness pos sessed him. n lilgWell, if you're really interested, J«m, witm » smile that was a trifle forced. "I think I can show you that I'm not quite out of my senses. The road is in * perfectly rotten state and I've found it out. It's bee* crooked all the way through. I don't propose to let that chance get away from me. When the facts are made public the bottom will drop out, of course. I propose to ; profit by it while exposing it. There you have the situation and it's sane enough." "Good Lord!" exclaimed Hope, leaning back in utter amazement. "You— you are going to expose it I You find it's rotten! You propose to profit!" He silently apostrophized the ceiling with one limp hand. "Yes," said Carter, warming to his case. "I know. I've been through the.documents. I've got the proofs. I tell yoqj that millions of dollars have dropped out of sight. Where are they? Personally I don't care a rap, but I can stir up a fine rumpus by asking." "A rumpus! Ye*. And one that will squash you like a fly on the pane." Carter produced another smile. "Now look here," said Hope, straightening himself with sudden energy. "I won't waste time telling you what a forsaken lunatic you are. But if you're still amenable^to reason, listen to me. "I know your position in this town better than any one else but yourself, I guess. Yoit've done weliw You've made a place for yourself. You're favorably known. If I've got you listed right that's exactly what you've been striving and planning for all this time. But, my dear boy, your success has turned your head. This is impossible. You'll be torn limb from limb. Cutten won't stop with taking every cent you've got. He'll drive you out of society. He'll drive you out of New York. Oh, you don't know. You haven't an idea. He can pull strings on every one you've met. Every one. Yes, even me. You'll be ostracized, besides failing miserably in the very thing you count on doing. It's worse than madnes>. It's simply chaos." The visitor's vehemence brought him to a pause. "But I have proof," Carter put in eagerly. "I cant fail. The stock will go under like lead." "Wrong," Hope went on. "Dead wrong. You're the only thing that will go under. Why. man, Cntten and his ring can move any security any way they like as you would that matchbox. Do you think men like that would let you bother them? Like enough they'd have you in Islip by night. But what's the use? I'm here now and I'll keep you from going any further. By force if necessary." "On the contrary," said Carter> with a sudden sinking. "You're too late. I sent the story to the newspapers by special messenger an hour ago." CARTER LEARNS THE LESSON "What?" shrieked Hope, bouncing in his seat. The Virginian nodded and lighted a cigarette. He handed the other one of the mimeographed copies on the table. "Jimmy" glanced it through. "Then it's all over," he groaned. "Goodby, old man. I'm sorry. I did my best." He got up with an effort and held out his hand. "Let us hear from you some time. My wife will regret this." Carter stared at him. Was the situation really so serious? Was it possible that he had made so des perate a misplay? lie was conscious, now, that he W knew very, very little of the part he had chosen. * "Sit down, Jim," he said, laughing uneasily. "Ex plain your meaning. It seems to me you're a little previous." Hope returned to the chair and took up the con versation, with the conscientious air of one who lays a simple proposition before a child. "Carteret, my boy, you're a thousand miles at sea. What possible business is it of yours how Cutten manipulates the th avenue? The things he has done are done every day. A man like you has no more chance to stand in. the way of them than he has to stop a 60 mile train by getting in front of it. "With all your cleverness you've overlooked primal facts. If you want to get on, you absolutely must not pry into affairs that don't concern you. It's ruin if you do. Certain things are never mentioned or discussed in society.* You've committed the un pardonable crime of aligning yourself with an attack upon the institutions that create wealth. That's all I can say. I hope you understand.'* And Carter did understand.. He had been blind; worse than that, a traitor to his own purposes. Hope was right, of course. .What call had he to interfere with the way this class made its money? His proper part was to hang upon the class, to humor it, to know it for what it was, but to keep that knowledge to him self, to use its weaknesses and its vanities, but not to seek standup fights with it. His advantage must come at second hand. He was not built or equipped to wrest it in the arena. His battlefield was social, not financial. He saw his mistake now, too late, he reflected bitterly. !* "Well, you've done it now," said Hope, gloomily. "I suppose it's too late to call back that messenger?" "Yes. The story is in every office by this time." "And with your name on it, of course." "No. I was just going to start telephoning when you came in. I was going to explain to each cityv^ editor" "Hold on. Do you mean that no one knows yet where the story comes from?" "No. But what difference does that make? They have the story." Hope had yanked him out of his chair and was waltzing him grotesquely about the room. "Still crazy," he yelled. "You're saved and don't know it! Not a sheet will dare touch a line without some one to stand for it. They'll shun it as they would the plague. You; poor doddering imbecile, you don't see it yet! I tell you the story is useless without a re sponsible author. Get your messenger and buy him off, quick. This is too, too much!" They went over the situation calmly an hour later. The messenger, having returned, had been discreetly silenced. It appeared that he had delivered all his envelopes without incident and had left before being questioned attach office. It was a close call, but Car ter was safe. " • "You'll have to close out ail your-deals and swal low the loss,"- said Hope after a time. "It's cheap at the price," said the Virginian, with full conviction. , "And I shoud advise you in future to leave the manipulation of large enterprises to others. Cutten will hear of your sales and he'll be on the watch for you. But as it stands he has no pressing need to $ro gunning for you." "Jim," said Carter, solemnly, "I hereby re<* ; ster i valuable failure and cut loose from 'the thorny oathW of industrial empire building' for all time. Here with^ my hand upon it, endeth my first and last lesson in high finance." .Another Story Next Sunday.