by Theodore Dreiser 33 страница

preliminary trial Steger was almost afraid to suggest confidently

what the State Supreme Court would or would not do; but he had to say

something.

"I don't think you need worry about what the outcome of my appeal will

be, Frank. I'll get a certificate of reasonable doubt, and that's as

good as a stay of two months, perhaps longer. I don't suppose the bail

will be more than thirty thousand dollars at the outside. You'll be out

again in five or six days, whatever happens."

Cowperwood said that he hoped so, and suggested that they drop matters

for the night. After a few by Theodore Dreiser 33 страница fruitless parleys his father and Steger

finally said good night, leaving him to his own private reflections. He

was tired, however, and throwing off his clothes, tucked himself in his

mediocre bed, and was soon fast asleep.

Chapter XLV

Say what one will about prison life in general, modify it ever so much

by special chambers, obsequious turnkeys, a general tendency to make one

as comfortable as possible, a jail is a jail, and there is no getting

away from that. Cowperwood, in a room which was not in any way inferior

to that of the ordinary boarding-house, was nevertheless conscious of

the character by Theodore Dreiser 33 страница of that section of this real prison which was not yet his

portion. He knew that there were cells there, probably greasy and smelly

and vermin-infested, and that they were enclosed by heavy iron bars,

which would have as readily clanked on him as on those who were now

therein incarcerated if he had not had the price to pay for something

better. So much for the alleged equality of man, he thought, which gave

to one man, even within the grim confines of the machinery of justice,

such personal liberty as he himself was now enjoying, and to another,

because he chanced by Theodore Dreiser 33 страница to lack wit or presence or friends or wealth, denied

the more comfortable things which money would buy.

The morning after the trial, on waking, he stirred curiously, and

then it suddenly came to him that he was no longer in the free and

comfortable atmosphere of his own bedroom, but in a jail-cell, or rather

its very comfortable substitute, a sheriff's rented bedroom. He got up

and looked out the window. The ground outside and Passayunk Avenue

were white with snow. Some wagons were silently lumbering by. A few

Philadelphians were visible here and there, going to and fro on morning

errands. He began to by Theodore Dreiser 33 страница think at once what he must do, how he must act

to carry on his business, to rehabilitate himself; and as he did so he

dressed and pulled the bell-cord, which had been indicated to him, and

which would bring him an attendant who would build him a fire and later

bring him something to eat. A shabby prison attendant in a blue uniform,

conscious of Cowperwood's superiority because of the room he occupied,

laid wood and coal in the grate and started a fire, and later brought

him his breakfast, which was anything but prison fare, though poor

enough at that by Theodore Dreiser 33 страница.

After that he was compelled to wait in patience several hours, in spite

of the sheriff's assumption of solicitous interest, before his brother

Edward was admitted with his clothes. An attendant, for a consideration,

brought him the morning papers, and these, except for the financial

news, he read indifferently. Late in the afternoon Steger arrived,

saying he had been busy having certain proceedings postponed, but that

he had arranged with the sheriff for Cowperwood to be permitted to see

such of those as had important business with him.

By this time, Cowperwood had written Aileen under no circumstances to

try to see him, as he would be by Theodore Dreiser 33 страница out by the tenth, and that either that

day, or shortly after, they would meet. As he knew, she wanted greatly

to see him, but he had reason to believe she was under surveillance by

detectives employed by her father. This was not true, but it was preying

on her fancy, and combined with some derogatory remarks dropped by Owen

and Callum at the dinner table recently, had proved almost too much for

her fiery disposition. But, because of Cowperwood's letter reaching her

at the Calligans', she made no move until she read on the morning of the

tenth that Cowperwood's plea for a certificate by Theodore Dreiser 33 страница of reasonable doubt had

been granted, and that he would once more, for the time being at least,

be a free man. This gave her courage to do what she had long wanted to

do, and that was to teach her father that she could get along without

him and that he could not make her do anything she did not want to do.

She still had the two hundred dollars Cowperwood had given her and some

additional cash of her own--perhaps three hundred and fifty dollars in

all. This she thought would be sufficient to see her to the end of her

adventure by Theodore Dreiser 33 страница, or at least until she could make some other arrangement for

her personal well-being. From what she knew of the feeling of her family

for her, she felt that the agony would all be on their side, not hers.

Perhaps when her father saw how determined she was he would decide to

let her alone and make peace with her. She was determined to try it,

anyhow, and immediately sent word to Cowperwood that she was going to

the Calligans and would welcome him to freedom.

In a way, Cowperwood was rather gratified by Aileen's message, for

he felt that by Theodore Dreiser 33 страница his present plight, bitter as it was, was largely due to



Butler's opposition and he felt no compunction in striking him through

his daughter. His former feeling as to the wisdom of not enraging Butler

had proved rather futile, he thought, and since the old man could not be

placated it might be just as well to have Aileen demonstrate to him that

she was not without resources of her own and could live without him. She

might force him to change his attitude toward her and possibly even to

modify some of his political machinations against him, Cowperwood. Any

port in a storm--and besides by Theodore Dreiser 33 страница, he had now really nothing to lose, and

instinct told him that her move was likely to prove more favorable than

otherwise--so he did nothing to prevent it.

She took her jewels, some underwear, a couple of dresses which she

thought would be serviceable, and a few other things, and packed them

in the most capacious portmanteau she had. Shoes and stockings came into

consideration, and, despite her efforts, she found that she could not

get in all that she wished. Her nicest hat, which she was determined to

take, had to be carried outside. She made a separate bundle of it,

which was not by Theodore Dreiser 33 страница pleasant to contemplate. Still she decided to take it.

She rummaged in a little drawer where she kept her money and jewels, and

found the three hundred and fifty dollars and put it in her purse. It

wasn't much, as Aileen could herself see, but Cowperwood would help

her. If he did not arrange to take care of her, and her father would not

relent, she would have to get something to do. Little she knew of the

steely face the world presents to those who have not been practically

trained and are not economically efficient. She did not understand the

bitter reaches of life by Theodore Dreiser 33 страница at all. She waited, humming for effect, until she

heard her father go downstairs to dinner on this tenth day of December,

then leaned over the upper balustrade to make sure that Owen, Callum,

Norah, and her mother were at the table, and that Katy, the housemaid,

was not anywhere in sight. Then she slipped into her father's den, and,

taking a note from inside her dress, laid it on his desk, and went out.

It was addressed to "Father," and read:

Dear Father,--I just cannot do what you want me to. I have

made up my mind that I love by Theodore Dreiser 33 страница Mr. Cowperwood too much, so I am

going away. Don't look for me with him. You won't find me

where you think. I am not going to him; I will not be

there. I am going to try to get along by myself for a

while, until he wants me and can marry me. I'm terribly

sorry; but I just can't do what you want. I can't ever

forgive you for the way you acted to me. Tell mama and Norah

and the boys good-by for me.

Aileen

To insure its discovery, she picked up Butler's heavy by Theodore Dreiser 33 страница-rimmed spectacles

which he employed always when reading, and laid them on it. For a moment

she felt very strange, somewhat like a thief--a new sensation for

her. She even felt a momentary sense of ingratitude coupled with pain.

Perhaps she was doing wrong. Her father had been very good to her. Her

mother would feel so very bad. Norah would be sorry, and Callum and

Owen. Still, they did not understand her any more. She was resentful of

her father's attitude. He might have seen what the point was; but no, he

was too old, too hidebound in religion and conventional ideas--he by Theodore Dreiser 33 страница never

would. He might never let her come back. Very well, she would get along

somehow. She would show him. She might get a place as a school-teacher,

and live with the Calligans a long while, if necessary, or teach music.

She stole downstairs and out into the vestibule, opening the outer door

and looking out into the street. The lamps were already flaring in the

dark, and a cool wind was blowing. Her portmanteau was heavy, but she

was quite strong. She walked briskly to the corner, which was some fifty

feet away, and turned south, walking rather nervously and irritably, for

this was a new by Theodore Dreiser 33 страница experience for her, and it all seemed so undignified, so

unlike anything she was accustomed to doing. She put her bag down on

a street corner, finally, to rest. A boy whistling in the distance

attracted her attention, and as he drew near she called to him: "Boy!

Oh, boy!"

He came over, looking at her curiously.

"Do you want to earn some money?"

"Yes, ma'am," he replied politely, adjusting a frowsy cap over one ear.

"Carry this bag for me," said Aileen, and he picked it up and marched

off.

In due time she arrived at the Calligans', and amid by Theodore Dreiser 33 страница much excitement was

installed in the bosom of her new home. She took her situation with

much nonchalance, once she was properly placed, distributing her toilet

articles and those of personal wear with quiet care. The fact that she

was no longer to have the services of Kathleen, the maid who had served

her and her mother and Norah jointly, was odd, though not trying. She

scarcely felt that she had parted from these luxuries permanently, and

so made herself comfortable.

Mamie Calligan and her mother were adoring slaveys, so she was not

entirely out of the atmosphere which she craved and to which she was

accustomed.

Chapter XLVI

Meanwhile by Theodore Dreiser 33 страница, in the Butler home the family was assembling for dinner. Mrs.

Butler was sitting in rotund complacency at the foot of the table, her

gray hair combed straight back from her round, shiny forehead. She had

on a dark-gray silk dress, trimmed with gray-and-white striped ribbon.

It suited her florid temperament admirably. Aileen had dictated her

mother's choice, and had seen that it had been properly made. Norah was

refreshingly youthful in a pale-green dress, with red-velvet cuffs and

collar. She looked young, slender, gay. Her eyes, complexion and hair

were fresh and healthy. She was trifling with a string by Theodore Dreiser 33 страница of coral beads

which her mother had just given her.

"Oh, look, Callum," she said to her brother opposite her, who was

drumming idly on the table with his knife and fork. "Aren't they lovely?

Mama gave them to me."

"Mama does more for you than I would. You know what you'd get from me,

don't you?"

"What?"

He looked at her teasingly. For answer Norah made a face at him. Just

then Owen came in and took his place at the table. Mrs. Butler saw

Norah's grimace.

"Well, that'll win no love from your brother, ye by Theodore Dreiser 33 страница can depend on that,"

she commented.

"Lord, what a day!" observed Owen, wearily, unfolding his napkin. "I've

had my fill of work for once."

"What's the trouble?" queried his mother, feelingly.

"No real trouble, mother," he replied. "Just everything--ducks and

drakes, that's all."

"Well, ye must ate a good, hearty meal now, and that'll refresh ye,"

observed his mother, genially and feelingly. "Thompson"--she was

referring to the family grocer--"brought us the last of his beans. You

must have some of those."

"Sure, beans'll fix it, whatever it is, Owen," joked Callum. "Mother's

got the by Theodore Dreiser 33 страница answer."

"They're fine, I'd have ye know," replied Mrs. Butler, quite unconscious

of the joke.

"No doubt of it, mother," replied Callum. "Real brain-food. Let's feed

some to Norah."

"You'd better eat some yourself, smarty. My, but you're gay! I suppose

you're going out to see somebody. That's why."

"Right you are, Norah. Smart girl, you. Five or six. Ten to fifteen

minutes each. I'd call on you if you were nicer."

"You would if you got the chance," mocked Norah. "I'd have you know I

wouldn't let you. I'd feel by Theodore Dreiser 33 страница very bad if I couldn't get somebody better

than you."

"As good as, you mean," corrected Callum.

"Children, children!" interpolated Mrs. Butler, calmly, looking about

for old John, the servant. "You'll be losin' your tempers in a minute.

Hush now. Here comes your father. Where's Aileen?"

Butler walked heavily in and took his seat.

John, the servant, appeared bearing a platter of beans among other

things, and Mrs. Butler asked him to send some one to call Aileen.

"It's gettin' colder, I'm thinkin'," said Butler, by way of

conversation, and eyeing Aileen's empty chair. She would come soon

now--his heavy by Theodore Dreiser 33 страница problem. He had been very tactful these last two

months--avoiding any reference to Cowperwood in so far as he could help

in her presence.

"It's colder," remarked Owen, "much colder. We'll soon see real winter

now."

Old John began to offer the various dishes in order; but when all had

been served Aileen had not yet come.

"See where Aileen is, John," observed Mrs. Butler, interestedly. "The

meal will be gettin' cold."

Old John returned with the news that Aileen was not in her room.

"Sure she must be somewhere," commented Mrs. Butler, only slightly

perplexed. "She'll be comin by Theodore Dreiser 33 страница', though, never mind, if she wants to. She

knows it's meal-time."

The conversation drifted from a new water-works that was being planned

to the new city hall, then nearing completion; Cowperwood's financial

and social troubles, and the state of the stock market generally; a new

gold-mine in Arizona; the departure of Mrs. Mollenhauer the following

Tuesday for Europe, with appropriate comments by Norah and Callum; and a

Christmas ball that was going to be given for charity.

"Aileen'll be wantin' to go to that," commented Mrs. Butler.

"I'm going, you bet," put in Norah.

"Who's going to take by Theodore Dreiser 33 страница you?" asked Callum.

"That's my affair, mister," she replied, smartly.

The meal was over, and Mrs. Butler strolled up to Aileen's room to see

why she had not come down to dinner. Butler entered his den, wishing so

much that he could take his wife into his confidence concerning all that

was worrying him. On his desk, as he sat down and turned up the light,

he saw the note. He recognized Aileen's handwriting at once. What could

she mean by writing him? A sense of the untoward came to him, and

he tore it open slowly, and, putting on his by Theodore Dreiser 33 страница glasses, contemplated it

solemnly.

So Aileen was gone. The old man stared at each word as if it had been

written in fire. She said she had not gone with Cowperwood. It was

possible, just the same, that he had run away from Philadelphia and

taken her with him. This was the last straw. This ended it. Aileen

lured away from home--to where--to what? Butler could scarcely believe,

though, that Cowperwood had tempted her to do this. He had too much at

stake; it would involve his own and Butler's families. The papers would

be certain to get it quickly. He by Theodore Dreiser 33 страница got up, crumpling the paper in his

hand, and turned about at a noise. His wife was coming in. He pulled

himself together and shoved the letter in his pocket.

"Aileen's not in her room," she said, curiously. "She didn't say

anything to you about going out, did she?"

"No," he replied, truthfully, wondering how soon he should have to tell

his wife.

"That's odd," observed Mrs. Butler, doubtfully. "She must have gone out

after somethin'. It's a wonder she wouldn't tell somebody."

Butler gave no sign. He dared not. "She'll be back," he said, more in

order to by Theodore Dreiser 33 страница gain time than anything else. He was sorry to have to pretend.

Mrs. Butler went out, and he closed the door. Then he took out

the letter and read it again. The girl was crazy. She was doing an

absolutely wild, inhuman, senseless thing. Where could she go, except

to Cowperwood? She was on the verge of a public scandal, and this would

produce it. There was just one thing to do as far as he could see.

Cowperwood, if he were still in Philadelphia, would know. He would go to

him--threaten, cajole, actually destroy him, if necessary. Aileen must

come back. She need not go by Theodore Dreiser 33 страница to Europe, perhaps, but she must come back

and behave herself at least until Cowperwood could legitimately marry

her. That was all he could expect now. She would have to wait, and some

day perhaps he could bring himself to accept her wretched proposition.

Horrible thought! It would kill her mother, disgrace her sister. He got

up, took down his hat, put on his overcoat, and started out.

Arriving at the Cowperwood home he was shown into the reception-room.

Cowperwood at the time was in his den looking over some private papers.

When the name of Butler was announced he by Theodore Dreiser 33 страница immediately went down-stairs.

It was characteristic of the man that the announcement of Butler's

presence created no stir in him whatsoever. So Butler had come. That

meant, of course, that Aileen had gone. Now for a battle, not of words,

but of weights of personalities. He felt himself to be intellectually,

socially, and in every other way the more powerful man of the two. That

spiritual content of him which we call life hardened to the texture of

steel. He recalled that although he had told his wife and his father

that the politicians, of whom Butler was one, were trying to make by Theodore Dreiser 33 страница a

scapegoat of him, Butler, nevertheless, was not considered to be wholly

alienated as a friend, and civility must prevail. He would like very

much to placate him if he could, to talk out the hard facts of life in a

quiet and friendly way. But this matter of Aileen had to be adjusted now

once and for all. And with that thought in his mind he walked quickly

into Butler's presence.

The old man, when he learned that Cowperwood was in and would see him,

determined to make his contact with the financier as short and effective

as possible. He moved the least bit when he by Theodore Dreiser 33 страница heard Cowperwood's step, as

light and springy as ever.

"Good evening, Mr. Butler," said Cowperwood, cheerfully, when he saw

him, extending his hand. "What can I do for you?"

"Ye can take that away from in front of me, for one thing," said Butler,

grimly referring to his hand. "I have no need of it. It's my daughter

I've come to talk to ye about, and I want plain answers. Where is she?"

"You mean Aileen?" said Cowperwood, looking at him with steady, curious,

unrevealing eyes, and merely interpolating this to obtain a moment for

reflection. "What can I tell by Theodore Dreiser 33 страница you about her?"

"Ye can tell me where she is, that I know. And ye can make her come back

to her home, where she belongs. It was bad fortune that ever brought ye

across my doorstep; but I'll not bandy words with ye here. Ye'll tell me

where my daughter is, and ye'll leave her alone from now, or I'll--" The

old man's fists closed like a vise, and his chest heaved with suppressed

rage. "Ye'll not be drivin' me too far, man, if ye're wise," he added,

after a time, recovering his by Theodore Dreiser 33 страница equanimity in part. "I want no truck with

ye. I want my daughter."

"Listen, Mr. Butler," said Cowperwood, quite calmly, relishing the

situation for the sheer sense of superiority it gave him. "I want to

be perfectly frank with you, if you will let me. I may know where your

daughter is, and I may not. I may wish to tell you, and I may not. She

may not wish me to. But unless you wish to talk with me in a civil way

there is no need of our going on any further. You are privileged to do

what you like. Won't you come up-stairs to by Theodore Dreiser 33 страница my room? We can talk more

comfortably there."

Butler looked at his former protege in utter astonishment. He had

never before in all his experience come up against a more ruthless

type--suave, bland, forceful, unterrified. This man had certainly

come to him as a sheep, and had turned out to be a ravening wolf. His

incarceration had not put him in the least awe.

"I'll not come up to your room," Butler said, "and ye'll not get out of

Philadelphy with her if that's what ye're plannin'. I can see to that.

Ye think ye have the by Theodore Dreiser 33 страница upper hand of me, I see, and ye're anxious to make

something of it. Well, ye're not. It wasn't enough that ye come to me

as a beggar, cravin' the help of me, and that I took ye in and helped ye

all I could--ye had to steal my daughter from me in the bargain. If it

wasn't for the girl's mother and her sister and her brothers--dacenter

men than ever ye'll know how to be--I'd brain ye where ye stand. Takin'

a young, innocent girl and makin' an evil woman out of her by Theodore Dreiser 33 страница, and ye a

married man! It's a God's blessin' for ye that it's me, and not one of

me sons, that's here talkin' to ye, or ye wouldn't be alive to say what

ye'd do."

The old man was grim but impotent in his rage.

"I'm sorry, Mr. Butler," replied Cowperwood, quietly. "I'm willing to

explain, but you won't let me. I'm not planning to run away with your

daughter, nor to leave Philadelphia. You ought to know me well enough to

know that I'm not contemplating anything of that kind; my interests are

too large by Theodore Dreiser 33 страница. You and I are practical men. We ought to be able to talk

this matter over together and reach an understanding. I thought once

of coming to you and explaining this; but I was quite sure you wouldn't

listen to me. Now that you are here I would like to talk to you. If you

will come up to my room I will be glad to--otherwise not. Won't you come

up?"

Butler saw that Cowperwood had the advantage. He might as well go up.

Otherwise it was plain he would get no information.

"Very well," he said.

Cowperwood led the way by Theodore Dreiser 33 страница quite amicably, and, having entered his private

office, closed the door behind him.

"We ought to be able to talk this matter over and reach an

understanding," he said again, when they were in the room and he had

closed the door. "I am not as bad as you think, though I know I appear

very bad." Butler stared at him in contempt. "I love your daughter, and

she loves me. I know you are asking yourself how I can do this while

I am still married; but I assure you I can, and that I do. I am not

happily married. I had expected by Theodore Dreiser 33 страница, if this panic hadn't come along, to

arrange with my wife for a divorce and marry Aileen. My intentions are

perfectly good. The situation which you can complain of, of course, is

the one you encountered a few weeks ago. It was indiscreet, but it was

entirely human. Your daughter does not complain--she understands." At

the mention of his daughter in this connection Butler flushed with rage

and shame, but he controlled himself.

"And ye think because she doesn't complain that it's all right, do ye?"

he asked, sarcastically.

"From my point of view, yes; from yours no. You have one view of by Theodore Dreiser 33 страница life,

Mr. Butler, and I have another."

"Ye're right there," put in Butler, "for once, anyhow."

"That doesn't prove that either of us is right or wrong. In my judgment

the present end justifies the means. The end I have in view is to marry

Aileen. If I can possibly pull myself out of this financial scrape that

I am in I will do so. Of course, I would like to have your consent

for that--so would Aileen; but if we can't, we can't." (Cowperwood was

thinking that while this might not have a very soothing effect on the

old by Theodore Dreiser 33 страница contractor's point of view, nevertheless it must make some appeal to

his sense of the possible or necessary. Aileen's present situation

was quite unsatisfactory without marriage in view. And even if he,

Cowperwood, was a convicted embezzler in the eyes of the public, that

did not make him so. He might get free and restore himself--would

certainly--and Aileen ought to be glad to marry him if she could

under the circumstances. He did not quite grasp the depth of Butler's

religious and moral prejudices.) "Lately," he went on, "you have been

doing all you can, as I understand it, to pull by Theodore Dreiser 33 страница me down, on account of

Aileen, I suppose; but that is simply delaying what I want to do."

"Ye'd like me to help ye do that, I suppose?" suggested Butler, with

infinite disgust and patience.

"I want to marry Aileen," Cowperwood repeated, for emphasis' sake. "She

wants to marry me. Under the circumstances, however you may feel, you

can have no real objection to my doing that, I am sure; yet you go on


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