Part 9 out of 11
good can ye get out of it, now? What good can ye expect to come
of it? Be hivins, if ye had any sinse at all I should think ye
could see that for yerself. Ye're only addin' to your troubles,
not takin' away from them--and she'll not thank ye for that later
He stopped, rather astonished that he should have been drawn into
an argument. His contempt for this man was so great that he could
scarcely look at him, but his duty and his need was to get Aileen
back. Cowperwood looked at him as one who gives serious attention
to another. He seemed to be thinking deeply over what Butler had
"To tell you the truth, Mr. Butler," he said, "I did not want
Aileen to leave your home at all; and she will tell you so, if
you ever talk to her about it. I did my best to persuade her
not to, and when she insisted on going the only thing I could do
was to be sure she would be comfortable wherever she went. She
was greatly outraged to think you should have put detectives on
her trail. That, and the fact that you wanted to send her away
somewhere against her will, was the principal reasons for her
leaving. I assure you I did not want her to go. I think you
forget sometimes, Mr. Butler, that Aileen is a grown woman, and
that she has a will of her own. You think I control her to her
great disadvantage. As a matter of fact, I am very much in love
with her, and have been for three or four years; and if you know
anything about love you know that it doesn't always mean control.
I'm not doing Aileen any injustice when I say that she has had as
much influence on me as I have had on her. I love her, and that's
the cause of all the trouble. You come and insist that I shall
return your daughter to you. As a matter of fact, I don't know
whether I can or not. I don't know that she would go if I wanted
her to. She might turn on me and say that I didn't care for her
any more. That is not true, and I would not want her to feel that
way. She is greatly hurt, as I told you, by what you did to her,
and the fact that you want her to leave Philadelphia. You can do
as much to remedy that as I can. I could tell you where she is,
but I do not know that I want to. Certainly not until I know what
your attitude toward her and this whole proposition is to be."
He paused and looked calmly at the old contractor, who eyed him
grimly in return.
"What proposition are ye talkin' about?" asked Butler, interested
by the peculiar developments of this argument. In spite of himself
he was getting a slightly different angle on the whole situation.
The scene was shifting to a certain extent. Cowperwood appeared
to be reasonably sincere in the matter. His promises might all
be wrong, but perhaps he did love Aileen; and it was possible that
he did intend to get a divorce from his wife some time and marry
her. Divorce, as Butler knew, was against the rules of the Catholic
Church, which he so much revered. The laws of God and any sense
of decency commanded that Cowperwood should not desert his wife
and children and take up with another woman--not even Aileen, in
order to save her. It was a criminal thing to plan, sociologically
speaking, and showed what a villain Cowperwood inherently was;
but, nevertheless, Cowperwood was not a Catholic, his views of
life were not the same as his own, Butler's, and besides and worst
of all (no doubt due in part to Aileen's own temperament), he had
compromised her situation very materially. She might not easily
be restored to a sense of of the normal and decent, and so the
matter was worth taking into thought. Butler knew that ultimately
he could not countenance any such thing--certainly not, and keep
his faith with the Church--but he was human enough none the less
to consider it. Besides, he wanted Aileen to come back; and Aileen
from now on, he knew, would have some say as to what her future
"Well, it's simple enough," replied Cowperwood. "I should like
to have you withdraw your opposition to Aileen's remaining in
Philadelphia, for one thing; and for another, I should like you
to stop your attacks on me." Cowperwood smiled in an ingratiating
way. He hoped really to placate Butler in part by his generous
attitude throughout this procedure. "I can't make you do that,
of course, unless you want to. I merely bring it up, Mr. Butler,
because I am sure that if it hadn't been for Aileen you would not
have taken the course you have taken toward me. I understood you
received an anonymous letter, and that afternoon you called your
loan with me. Since then I have heard from one source and another
that you were strongly against me, and I merely wish to say that
I wish you wouldn't be. I am not guilty of embezzling any sixty
thousand dollars, and you know it. My intentions were of the best.
I did not think I was going to fail at the time I used those
certificates, and if it hadn't been for several other loans that
were called I would have gone on to the end of the month and put
them back in time, as I always had. I have always valued your
friendship very highly, and I am very sorry to lose it. Now I
have said all I am going to say."
Butler looked at Cowperwood with shrewd, calculating eyes. The
man had some merit, but much unconscionable evil in him. Butler
knew very well how he had taken the check, and a good many other
things in connection with it. The manner in which he had played
his cards to-night was on a par with the way he had run to him on
the night of the fire. He was just shrewd and calculating and
"I'll make ye no promise," he said. "Tell me where my daughter
is, and I'll think the matter over. Ye have no claim on me now,
and I owe ye no good turn. But I'll think it over, anyhow."
"That's quite all right," replied Cowperwood. "That's all I can
expect. But what about Aileen? Do you expect her to leave
"Not if she settles down and behaves herself: but there must be
an end of this between you and her. She's disgracin' her family
and ruinin' her soul in the bargain. And that's what you are doin'
with yours. It'll be time enough to talk about anything else when
you're a free man. More than that I'll not promise."
Cowperwood, satisfied that this move on Aileen's part had done her
a real service if it had not aided him especially, was convinced
that it would be a good move for her to return to her home at
once. He could not tell how his appeal to the State Supreme Court
would eventuate. His motion for a new trial which was now to be
made under the privilege of the certificate of reasonable doubt
might not be granted, in which case he would have to serve a term
in the penitentiary. If he were compelled to go to the penitentiary
she would be safer--better off in the bosom of her family. His
own hands were going to be exceedingly full for the next two months
until he knew how his appeal was coming out. And after that--well,
after that he would fight on, whatever happened.
During all the time that Cowperwood had been arguing his case in
this fashion he had been thinking how he could adjust this
compromise so as to retain the affection of Aileen and not offend
her sensibilities by urging her to return. He knew that she would
not agree to give up seeing him, and he was not willing that she
should. Unless he had a good and sufficient reason, he would be
playing a wretched part by telling Butler where she was. He did
not intend to do so until he saw exactly how to do it--the way that
would make it most acceptable to Aileen. He knew that she would
not long be happy where she was. Her flight was due in part to
Butler's intense opposition to himself and in part to his determination
to make her leave Philadelphia and behave; but this last was now
in part obviated. Butler, in spite of his words, was no longer
a stern Nemesis. He was a melting man--very anxious to find his
daughter, very willing to forgive her. He was whipped, literally
beaten, at his own game, and Cowperwood could see it in the old
man's eyes. If he himself could talk to Aileen personally and
explain just how things were, he felt sure he could make her see
that it would be to their mutual advantage, for the present at
least, to have the matter amicably settled. The thing to do was
to make Butler wait somewhere--here, possibly--while he went and
talked to her. When she learned how things were she would probably
"The best thing that I can do under the circumstances," he said,
after a time, "would be to see Aileen in two or three days, and
ask her what she wishes to do. I can explain the matter to her,
and if she wants to go back, she can. I will promise to tell her
anything that you say."
"Two or three days!" exclaimed Butler, irritably. "Two or three
fiddlesticks! She must come home to-night. Her mother doesn't
know she's left the place yet. To-night is the time! I'll go and
fetch her meself to-night."
"No, that won't do," said Cowperwood. "I shall have to go myself.
If you wish to wait here I will see what can be done, and let you
"Very well," grunted Butler, who was now walking up and down with
his hands behind his back. "But for Heaven's sake be quick about
it. There's no time to lose." He was thinking of Mrs. Butler.
Cowperwood called the servant, ordered his runabout, and told
George to see that his private office was not disturbed. Then,
as Butler strolled to and fro in this, to him, objectionable room,
Cowperwood drove rapidly away.
Although it was nearly eleven o'clock when he arrived at the
Calligans', Aileen was not yet in bed. In her bedroom upstairs
she was confiding to Mamie and Mrs. Calligan some of her social
experiences when the bell rang, and Mrs. Calligan went down and
opened the door to Cowperwood.
"Miss Butler is here, I believe," he said. "Will you tell her
that there is some one here from her father?" Although Aileen had
instructed that her presence here was not to be divulged even to
the members of her family the force of Cowperwood's presence and
the mention of Butler's name cost Mrs. Calligan her presence of
mind. "Wait a moment," she said; "I'll see."
She stepped back, and Cowperwood promptly stepped in, taking off
his hat with the air of one who was satisfied that Aileen was
there. "Say to her that I only want to speak to her for a few
moments," he called, as Mrs. Calligan went up-stairs, raising his
voice in the hope that Aileen might hear. She did, and came down
promptly. She was very much astonished to think that he should
come so soon, and fancied, in her vanity, that there must be great
excitement in her home. She would have greatly grieved if there
had not been.
The Calligans would have been pleased to hear, but Cowperwood was
cautious. As she came down the stairs he put his finger to his
lips in sign for silence, and said, "This is Miss Butler, I
"Yes," replied Aileen, with a secret smile. Her one desire was
to kiss him. "What's the trouble darling?" she asked, softly.
"You'll have to go back, dear, I'm afraid," whispered Cowperwood.
"You'll have everything in a turmoil if you don't. Your mother
doesn't know yet, it seems, and your father is over at my place
now, waiting for you. It may be a good deal of help to me if you
do. Let me tell you--" He went off into a complete description
of his conversation with Butler and his own views in the matter.
Aileen's expression changed from time to time as the various phases
of the matter were put before her; but, persuaded by the clearness
with which he put the matter, and by his assurance that they could
continue their relations as before uninterrupted, once this was
settled, she decided to return. In a way, her father's surrender
was a great triumph. She made her farewells to the Calligans,
saying, with a smile, that they could not do without her at home,
and that she would send for her belongings later, and returned
with Cowperwood to his own door. There he asked her to wait in
the runabout while he sent her father down.
"Well?" said Butler, turning on him when he opened the door, and
not seeing Aileen.
"You'll find her outside in my runabout," observed Cowperwood.
"You may use that if you choose. I will send my man for it."
"No, thank you; we'll walk," said Butler.
Cowperwood called his servant to take charge of the vehicle, and
Butler stalked solemnly out.
He had to admit to himself that the influence of Cowperwood over
his daughter was deadly, and probably permanent. The best he
could do would be to keep her within the precincts of the home,
where she might still, possibly, be brought to her senses. He
held a very guarded conversation with her on his way home, for
fear that she would take additional offense. Argument was out of
"Ye might have talked with me once more, Aileen," he said, "before
ye left. Yer mother would be in a terrible state if she knew ye
were gone. She doesn't know yet. Ye'll have to say ye stayed
somewhere to dinner."
"I was at the Calligans," replied Aileen. "That's easy enough.
Mama won't think anything about it."
"It's a sore heart I have, Aileen. I hope ye'll think over your
ways and do better. I'll not say anythin' more now."
Aileen returned to her room, decidedly triumphant in her mood for
the moment, and things went on apparently in the Butler household
as before. But those who imagine that this defeat permanently
altered the attitude of Butler toward Cowperwood are mistaken.
In the meanwhile between the day of his temporary release and the
hearing of his appeal which was two months off, Cowperwood was
going on doing his best to repair his shattered forces. He took
up his work where he left off; but the possibility of reorganizing
his business was distinctly modified since his conviction. Because
of his action in trying to protect his largest creditors at the
time of his failure, he fancied that once he was free again, if
ever he got free, his credit, other things being equal, would be
good with those who could help him most--say, Cooke & Co., Clark
& Co., Drexel & Co., and the Girard National Bank--providing his
personal reputation had not been too badly injured by his sentence.
Fortunately for his own hopefulness of mind, he failed fully to
realize what a depressing effect a legal decision of this character,
sound or otherwise, had on the minds of even his most enthusiastic
His best friends in the financial world were by now convinced that
his was a sinking ship. A student of finance once observed that
nothing is so sensitive as money, and the financial mind partakes
largely of the quality of the thing in which it deals. There was
no use trying to do much for a man who might be going to prison
for a term of years. Something might be done for him possibly in
connection with the governor, providing he lost his case before
the Supreme Court and was actually sentenced to prison; but that
was two months off, or more, and they could not tell what the
outcome of that would be. So Cowperwood's repeated appeals for
assistance, extension of credit, or the acceptance of some plan
he had for his general rehabilitation, were met with the kindly
evasions of those who were doubtful. They would think it over.
They would see about it. Certain things were standing in the way.
And so on, and so forth, through all the endless excuses of those
who do not care to act. In these days he went about the money
world in his customary jaunty way, greeting all those whom he
had known there many years and pretending, when asked, to be very
hopeful, to be doing very well; but they did not believe him, and
he really did not care whether they did or not. His business was
to persuade or over-persuade any one who could really be of
assistance to him, and at this task he worked untiringly, ignoring
"Why, hello, Frank," his friends would call, on seeing him. "How
are you getting on?"
"Fine! Fine!" he would reply, cheerfully. "Never better," and he
would explain in a general way how his affairs were being handled.
He conveyed much of his own optimism to all those who knew him and
were interested in his welfare, but of course there were many who
In these days also, he and Steger were constantly to be met with
in courts of law, for he was constantly being reexamined in some
petition in bankruptcy. They were heartbreaking days, but he did
not flinch. He wanted to stay in Philadelphia and fight the thing
to a finish--putting himself where he had been before the fire;
rehabilitating himself in the eyes of the public. He felt that
he could do it, too, if he were not actually sent to prison for a
long term; and even then, so naturally optimistic was his mood,
when he got out again. But, in so far as Philadelphia was concerned,
distinctly he was dreaming vain dreams.
One of the things militating against him was the continued opposition
of Butler and the politicians. Somehow--no one could have said
exactly why--the general political feeling was that the financier
and the former city treasurer would lose their appeals and eventually
be sentenced together. Stener, in spite of his original intention
to plead guilty and take his punishment without comment, had been
persuaded by some of his political friends that it would be better
for his future's sake to plead not guilty and claim that his offense
had been due to custom, rather than to admit his guilt outright
and so seem not to have had any justification whatsoever. This
he did, but he was convicted nevertheless. For the sake of
appearances, a trumped-up appeal was made which was now before the
State Supreme Court.
Then, too, due to one whisper and another, and these originating
with the girl who had written Butler and Cowperwood's wife, there
was at this time a growing volume of gossip relating to the alleged
relations of Cowperwood with Butler's daughter, Aileen. There had
been a house in Tenth Street. It had been maintained by Cowperwood
for her. No wonder Butler was so vindictive. This, indeed,
explained much. And even in the practical, financial world,
criticism was now rather against Cowperwood than his enemies. For,
was it not a fact, that at the inception of his career, he had
been befriended by Butler? And what a way to reward that friendship!
His oldest and firmest admirers wagged their heads. For they
sensed clearly that this was another illustration of that innate
"I satisfy myself" attitude which so regulated Cowperwood's conduct.
He was a strong man, surely--and a brilliant one. Never had
Third Street seen a more pyrotechnic, and yet fascinating and
financially aggressive, and at the same time, conservative person.
Yet might one not fairly tempt Nemesis by a too great daring and
egotism? Like Death, it loves a shining mark. He should not,
perhaps, have seduced Butler's daughter; unquestionably he should
not have so boldly taken that check, especially after his quarrel
and break with Stener. He was a little too aggressive. Was it not
questionable whether--with such a record--he could be restored to
his former place here? The bankers and business men who were
closest to him were decidedly dubious.
But in so far as Cowperwood and his own attitude toward life was
concerned, at this time--the feeling he had--"to satisfy myself"--
when combined with his love of beauty and love and women, still
made him ruthless and thoughtless. Even now, the beauty and
delight of a girl like Aileen Butler were far more important to
him than the good-will of fifty million people, if he could evade
the necessity of having their good-will. Previous to the Chicago
fire and the panic, his star had been so rapidly ascending that
in the helter-skelter of great and favorable events he had scarcely
taken thought of the social significance of the thing he was doing.
Youth and the joy of life were in his blood. He felt so young, so
vigorous, so like new grass looks and feels. The freshness of
spring evenings was in him, and he did not care. After the crash,
when one might have imagined he would have seen the wisdom of
relinquishing Aileen for the time being, anyhow, he did not care
to. She represented the best of the wonderful days that had gone
before. She was a link between him and the past and a still-to-be
His worst anxiety was that if he were sent to the penitentiary,
or adjudged a bankrupt, or both, he would probably lose the
privilege of a seat on 'change, and that would close to him the
most distinguished avenue of his prosperity here in Philadelphia
for some time, if not forever. At present, because of his
complications, his seat had been attached as an asset, and he could
not act. Edward and Joseph, almost the only employees he could
afford, were still acting for him in a small way; but the other
members on 'change naturally suspected his brothers as his agents,
and any talk that they might raise of going into business for
themselves merely indicated to other brokers and bankers that
Cowperwood was contemplating some concealed move which would not
necessarily be advantageous to his creditors, and against the law
anyhow. Yet he must remain on 'change, whatever happened,
potentially if not actively; and so in his quick mental searchings
he hit upon the idea that in order to forfend against the event
of his being put into prison or thrown into bankruptcy, or both,
he ought to form a subsidiary silent partnership with some man who
was or would be well liked on 'change, and whom he could use as a
cat's-paw and a dummy.
Finally he hit upon a man who he thought would do. He did not
amount to much--had a small business; but he was honest, and he
liked Cowperwood. His name was Wingate--Stephen Wingate--and he
was eking out a not too robust existence in South Third Street as
a broker. He was forty-five years of age, of medium height, fairly
thick-set, not at all unprepossessing, and rather intelligent and
active, but not too forceful and pushing in spirit. He really
needed a man like Cowperwood to make him into something, if ever
he was to be made. He had a seat on 'change, and was well thought
of; respected, but not so very prosperous. In times past he had
asked small favors of Cowperwood--the use of small loans at a
moderate rate of interest, tips, and so forth; and Cowperwood,
because he liked him and felt a little sorry for him, had granted
them. Now Wingate was slowly drifting down toward a none too
successful old age, and was as tractable as such a man would
naturally be. No one for the time being would suspect him of being
a hireling of Cowperwood's, and the latter could depend on him to
execute his orders to the letter. He sent for him and had a long
conversation with him. He told him just what the situation was,
what he thought he could do for him as a partner, how much of his
business he would want for himself, and so on, and found him
"I'll be glad to do anything you say, Mr. Cowperwood," he assured
the latter. "I know whatever happens that you'll protect me, and
there's nobody in the world I would rather work with or have greater
respect for. This storm will all blow over, and you'll be all right.
We can try it, anyhow. If it don't work out you can see what you
want to do about it later."
And so this relationship was tentatively entered into and Cowperwood
began to act in a small way through Wingate.
By the time the State Supreme Court came to pass upon Cowperwood's
plea for a reversal of the lower court and the granting of a new
trial, the rumor of his connection with Aileen had spread far and
wide. As has been seen, it had done and was still doing him much
damage. It confirmed the impression, which the politicians had
originally tried to create, that Cowperwood was the true criminal
and Stener the victim. His semi-legitimate financial subtlety,
backed indeed by his financial genius, but certainly on this account
not worse than that being practiced in peace and quiet and with
much applause in many other quarters--was now seen to be
Machiavellian trickery of the most dangerous type. He had a wife
and two children; and without knowing what his real thoughts had
been the fruitfully imaginative public jumped to the conclusion
that he had been on the verge of deserting them, divorcing Lillian,
and marrying Aileen. This was criminal enough in itself, from
the conservative point of view; but when taken in connection with
his financial record, his trial, conviction, and general bankruptcy
situation, the public was inclined to believe that he was all the
politicians said he was. He ought to be convicted. The Supreme
Court ought not to grant his prayer for a new trial. It is thus
that our inmost thoughts and intentions burst at times via no known
material agency into public thoughts. People know, when they
cannot apparently possibly know why they know. There is such a
thing as thought-transference and transcendentalism of ideas.
It reached, for one thing, the ears of the five judges of the State
Supreme Court and of the Governor of the State.
During the four weeks Cowperwood had been free on a certificate
of reasonable doubt both Harper Steger and Dennis Shannon appeared
before the judges of the State Supreme Court, and argued pro and
con as to the reasonableness of granting a new trial. Through his
lawyer, Cowperwood made a learned appeal to the Supreme Court
judges, showing how he had been unfairly indicted in the first
place, how there was no real substantial evidence on which to
base a charge of larceny or anything else. It took Steger two
hours and ten minutes to make his argument, and District-Attorney
Shannon longer to make his reply, during which the five judges on
the bench, men of considerable legal experience but no great
financial understanding, listened with rapt attention. Three of
them, Judges Smithson, Rainey, and Beckwith, men most amenable to
the political feeling of the time and the wishes of the bosses,
were little interested in this story of Cowperwood's transaction,
particularly since his relations with Butler's daughter and Butler's
consequent opposition to him had come to them. They fancied that
in a way they were considering the whole matter fairly and
impartially; but the manner in which Cowperwood had treated Butler
was never out of their minds. Two of them, Judges Marvin and
Rafalsky, who were men of larger sympathies and understanding, but
of no greater political freedom, did feel that Cowperwood had been
badly used thus far, but they did not see what they could do about
it. He had put himself in a most unsatisfactory position, politically
and socially. They understood and took into consideration his
great financial and social losses which Steger described accurately;
and one of them, Judge Rafalsky, because of a similar event in his
own life in so far as a girl was concerned, was inclined to argue
strongly against the conviction of Cowperwood; but, owing to his
political connections and obligations, he realized that it would
not be wise politically to stand out against what was wanted.
Still, when he and Marvin learned that Judges Smithson, Rainey, and
Beckwith were inclined to convict Cowperwood without much argument,
they decided to hand down a dissenting opinion. The point involved
was a very knotty one. Cowperwood might carry it to the Supreme
Court of the United States on some fundamental principle of liberty
of action. Anyhow, other judges in other courts in Pennsylvania
and elsewhere would be inclined to examine the decision in this
case, it was so important. The minority decided that it would not
do them any harm to hand down a dissenting opinion. The politicians
would not mind as long as Cowperwood was convicted--would like it
better, in fact. It looked fairer. Besides, Marvin and Rafalsky
did not care to be included, if they could help it, with Smithson,
Rainey, and Beckwith in a sweeping condemnation of Cowperwood.
So all five judges fancied they were considering the whole matter
rather fairly and impartially, as men will under such circumstances.
Smithson, speaking for himself and Judges Rainey and Beckwith on
the eleventh of February, 1872, said:
"The defendant, Frank A. Cowperwood, asks that the finding of
the jury in the lower court (the State of Pennsylvania vs. Frank
A. Cowperwood) be reversed and a new trial granted. This court
cannot see that any substantial injustice has been done the
defendant. [Here followed a rather lengthy resume of the history
of the case, in which it was pointed out that the custom and
precedent of the treasurer's office, to say nothing of
Cowperwood's easy method of doing business with the city
treasury, could have nothing to do with his responsibility for
failure to observe both the spirit and the letter of the law.]
The obtaining of goods under color of legal process [went on
Judge Smithson, speaking for the majority] may amount to
larceny. In the present case it was the province of the jury
to ascertain the felonious intent. They have settled that
against the defendant as a question of fact, and the court
cannot say that there was not sufficient evidence to sustain
the verdict. For what purpose did the defendant get the check?
He was upon the eve of failure. He had already hypothecated
for his own debts the loan of the city placed in his hands for
sale--he had unlawfully obtained five hundred thousand dollars
in cash as loans; and it is reasonable to suppose that he
could obtain nothing more from the city treasury by any
ordinary means. Then it is that he goes there, and, by means
of a falsehood implied if not actual, obtains sixty thousand
dollars more. The jury has found the intent with which this
It was in these words that Cowperwood's appeal for a new trial was
denied by the majority.
For himself and Judge Rafalsky, Judge Marvin, dissenting, wrote:
"It is plain from the evidence in the case that Mr. Cowperwood
did not receive the check without authority as agent to do so,
and it has not been clearly demonstrated that within his
capacity as agent he did not perform or intend to perform the
full measure of the obligation which the receipt of this check
implied. It was shown in the trial that as a matter of policy
it was understood that purchases for the sinking-fund should
not be known or understood in the market or by the public in
that light, and that Mr. Cowperwood as agent was to have an
absolutely free hand in the disposal of his assets and
liabilities so long as the ultimate result was satisfactory.
There was no particular time when the loan was to be bought,
nor was there any particular amount mentioned at any time to
be purchased. Unless the defendant intended at the time he
received the check fraudulently to appropriate it he could not
be convicted even on the first count. The verdict of the jury
does not establish this fact; the evidence does not show
conclusively that it could be established; and the same jury,
upon three other counts, found the defendant guilty without
the semblance of shadow of evidence. How can we say that
their conclusions upon the first count are unerring when they
so palpably erred on the other counts? It is the opinion of
the minority that the verdict of the jury in charging larceny
on the first count is not valid, and that that verdict should
be set aside and a new trial granted."
Judge Rafalsky, a meditative and yet practical man of Jewish
extraction but peculiarly American appearance, felt called upon
to write a third opinion which should especially reflect his own
cogitation and be a criticism on the majority as well as a slight
variation from and addition to the points on which he agreed with
Judge Marvin. It was a knotty question, this, of Cowperwood's
guilt, and, aside from the political necessity of convicting him,
nowhere was it more clearly shown than in these varying opinions
of the superior court. Judge Rafalsky held, for instance, that
if a crime had been committed at all, it was not that known as
larceny, and he went on to add:
"It is impossible, from the evidence, to come to the
conclusion either that Cowperwood did not intend shortly to
deliver the loan or that Albert Stires, the chief clerk, or
the city treasurer did not intend to part not only with the
possession, but also and absolutely with the property in the
check and the money represented by it. It was testified by
Mr. Stires that Mr. Cowperwood said he had bought certificates
of city loan to this amount, and it has not been clearly
demonstrated that he had not. His non-placement of the same
in the sinking-fund must in all fairness, the letter of the
law to the contrary notwithstanding, be looked upon and judged
in the light of custom. Was it his custom so to do? In my
judgment the doctrine now announced by the majority of the
court extends the crime of constructive larceny to such limits
that any business man who engages in extensive and perfectly
legitimate stock transactions may, before he knows it, by a
sudden panic in the market or a fire, as in this instance,
become a felon. When a principle is asserted which
establishes such a precedent, and may lead to such results,
it is, to say the least, startling."
While he was notably comforted by the dissenting opinions of the
judges in minority, and while he had been schooling himself to
expect the worst in this connection and had been arranging his
affairs as well as he could in anticipation of it, Cowperwood was
still bitterly disappointed. It would be untrue to say that,
strong and self-reliant as he normally was, he did not suffer.
He was not without sensibilities of the highest order, only they
were governed and controlled in him by that cold iron thing, his
reason, which never forsook him. There was no further appeal
possible save to the United States Supreme Court, as Steger pointed
out, and there only on the constitutionality of some phase of the
decision and his rights as a citizen, of which the Supreme Court
of the United States must take cognizance. This was a tedious
and expensive thing to do. It was not exactly obvious at the
moment on what point he could make an appeal. It would involve
a long delay--perhaps a year and a half, perhaps longer, at the
end of which period he might have to serve his prison term anyhow,
and pending which he would certainly have to undergo incarceration
for a time.
Cowperwood mused speculatively for a few moments after hearing
Steger's presentation of the case. Then he said: "Well, it looks
as if I have to go to jail or leave the country, and I've decided
on jail. I can fight this out right here in Philadelphia in the
long run and win. I can get that decision reversed in the Supreme
Court, or I can get the Governor to pardon me after a time, I
think. I'm not going to run away, and everybody knows I'm not.
These people who think they have me down haven't got one corner
of me whipped. I'll get out of this thing after a while, and when
I do I'll show some of these petty little politicians what it
means to put up a real fight. They'll never get a damned dollar
out of me now--not a dollar! I did intend to pay that five hundred
thousand dollars some time if they had let me go. Now they can
He set his teeth and his gray eyes fairly snapped their
"Well, I've done all I can, Frank," pleaded Steger, sympathetically.
"You'll do me the justice to say that I put up the best fight I
knew how. I may not know how--you'll have to answer for that--
but within my limits I've done the best I can. I can do a few
things more to carry this thing on, if you want me to, but I'm
going to leave it to you now. Whatever you say goes."
"Don't talk nonsense at this stage, Harper," replied Cowperwood
almost testily. "I know whether I'm satisfied or not, and I'd
soon tell you if I wasn't. I think you might as well go on and
see if you can find some definite grounds for carrying it to the
Supreme Court, but meanwhile I'll begin my sentence. I suppose
Payderson will be naming a day to have me brought before him now
"It depends on how you'd like to have it, Frank. I could get a
stay of sentence for a week maybe, or ten days, if it will do you
any good. Shannon won't make any objection to that, I'm sure.
There's only one hitch. Jaspers will be around here tomorrow
looking for you. It's his duty to take you into custody again,
once he's notified that your appeal has been denied. He'll be
wanting to lock you up unless you pay him, but we can fix that.
If you do want to wait, and want any time off, I suppose he'll
arrange to let you out with a deputy; but I'm afraid you'll have
to stay there nights. They're pretty strict about that since that
Albertson case of a few years ago."
Steger referred to the case of a noted bank cashier who, being
let out of the county jail at night in the alleged custody of a
deputy, was permitted to escape. There had been emphatic and
severe condemnation of the sheriff's office at the time, and since
then, repute or no repute, money or no money, convicted criminals
were supposed to stay in the county jail at night at least.
Cowperwood meditated this calmly, looking out of the lawyer's
window into Second Street. He did not much fear anything that
might happen to him in Jaspers's charge since his first taste of
that gentleman's hospitality, although he did object to spending
nights in the county jail when his general term of imprisonment
was being reduced no whit thereby. All that he could do now in
connection with his affairs, unless he could have months of freedom,
could be as well adjusted from a prison cell as from his Third
Street office--not quite, but nearly so. Anyhow, why parley? He
was facing a prison term, and he might as well accept it without
further ado. He might take a day or two finally to look after
his affairs; but beyond that, why bother?
"When, in the ordinary course of events, if you did nothing at all,
would I come up for sentence?"
"Oh, Friday or Monday, I fancy," replied Steger. "I don't know
what move Shannon is planning to make in this matter. I thought
I'd walk around and see him in a little while."
"I think you'd better do that," replied Cowperwood. "Friday or
Monday will suit me, either way. I'm really not particular.
Better make it Monday if you can. You don't suppose there is any
way you can induce Jaspers to keep his hands off until then? He
knows I'm perfectly responsible."
"I don't know, Frank, I'm sure; I'll see. I'll go around and talk
to him to-night. Perhaps a hundred dollars will make him relax
the rigor of his rules that much."
Cowperwood smiled grimly.
"I fancy a hundred dollars would make Jaspers relax a whole lot of
rules," he replied, and he got up to go.
Steger arose also. "I'll see both these people, and then I'll
call around at your house. You'll be in, will you, after dinner?"
They slipped on their overcoats and went out into the cold February
day, Cowperwood back to his Third Street office, Steger to see
Shannon and Jaspers.
The business of arranging Cowperwood's sentence for Monday was soon
disposed of through Shannon, who had no personal objection to
any reasonable delay.
Steger next visited the county jail, close on to five o'clock,
when it was already dark. Sheriff Jaspers came lolling out from
his private library, where he had been engaged upon the work of
cleaning his pipe.
"How are you, Mr. Steger?" he observed, smiling blandly. "How are
you? Glad to see you. Won't you sit down? I suppose you're round
here again on that Cowperwood matter. I just received word from
the district attorney that he had lost his case."
"That's it, Sheriff," replied Steger, ingratiatingly. "He asked
me to step around and see what you wanted him to do in the matter.
Judge Payderson has just fixed the sentence time for Monday morning
at ten o'clock. I don't suppose you'll be much put out if he doesn't
show up here before Monday at eight o'clock, will you, or Sunday
night, anyhow? He's perfectly reliable, as you know." Steger was
sounding Jaspers out, politely trying to make the time of Cowperwood's
arrival a trivial matter in order to avoid paying the hundred dollars,
if possible. But Jaspers was not to be so easily disposed of.
His fat face lengthened considerably. How could Steger ask him
such a favor and not even suggest the slightest form of remuneration?
"It's ag'in' the law, Mr. Steger, as you know," he began, cautiously
and complainingly. "I'd like to accommodate him, everything else
being equal, but since that Albertson case three years ago we've
had to run this office much more careful, and--"
"Oh, I know, Sheriff," interrupted Steger, blandly, "but this isn't
an ordinary case in any way, as you can see for yourself. Mr.
Cowperwood is a very important man, and he has a great many things
to attend to. Now if it were only a mere matter of seventy-five
or a hundred dollars to satisfy some court clerk with, or to pay
a fine, it would be easy enough, but--" He paused and looked wisely
away, and Mr. Jaspers's face began to relax at once. The law
against which it was ordinarily so hard to offend was not now so
important. Steger saw that it was needless to introduce any
"It's a very ticklish business, this, Mr. Steger," put in the
sheriff, yieldingly, and yet with a slight whimper in his voice.
"If anything were to happen, it would cost me my place all right.
I don't like to do it under any circumstances, and I wouldn't,
only I happen to know both Mr. Cowperwood and Mr. Stener, and I
like 'em both. I don' think they got their rights in this matter,
either. I don't mind making an exception in this case if Mr.
Cowperwood don't go about too publicly. I wouldn't want any of
the men in the district attorney's office to know this. I don't
suppose he'll mind if I keep a deputy somewhere near all the time
for looks' sake. I have to, you know, really, under the law. He
won't bother him any. Just keep on guard like." Jaspers looked
at Mr. Steger very flatly and wisely--almost placatingly under the
circumstances--and Steger nodded.
"Quite right, Sheriff, quite right. You're quite right," and he
drew out his purse while the sheriff led the way very cautiously
back into his library.
"I'd like to show you the line of law-books I'm fixing up for
myself in here, Mr. Steger," he observed, genially, but meanwhile
closing his fingers gently on the small roll of ten-dollar bills
Steger was handing him. "We have occasional use for books of that
kind here, as you see. I thought it a good sort of thing to have
them around." He waved one arm comprehensively at the line of
State reports, revised statutes, prison regulations, etc., the
while he put the money in his pocket and Steger pretended to look.
"A good idea, I think, Sheriff. Very good, indeed. So you think
if Mr. Cowperwood gets around here very early Monday morning, say
eight or eight-thirty, that it will be all right?"
"I think so," replied the sheriff, curiously nervous, but agreeable,
anxious to please. "I don't think that anything will come up that
will make me want him earlier. If it does I'll let you know, and
you can produce him. I don't think so, though, Mr. Steger; I
think everything will be all right." They were once more in the
main hall now. "Glad to have seen you again, Mr. Steger--very
glad," he added. "Call again some day."
Waving the sheriff a pleasant farewell, he hurried on his way to
You would not have thought, seeing Cowperwood mount the front
steps of his handsome residence in his neat gray suit and well-cut
overcoat on his return from his office that evening, that he was
thinking that this might be his last night here. His air and walk
indicated no weakening of spirit. He entered the hall, where an
early lamp was aglow, and encountered "Wash" Sims, an old negro
factotum, who was just coming up from the basement, carrying a
bucket of coal for one of the fireplaces.
"Mahty cold out, dis evenin', Mistah Coppahwood," said Wash, to
whom anything less than sixty degrees was very cold. His one
regret was that Philadelphia was not located in North Carolina,
from whence he came.
"'Tis sharp, Wash," replied Cowperwood, absentmindedly. He was
thinking for the moment of the house and how it had looked, as he
came toward it west along Girard Avenue--what the neighbors were
thinking of him, too, observing him from time to time out of their
windows. It was clear and cold. The lamps in the reception-hall
and sitting-room had been lit, for he had permitted no air of
funereal gloom to settle down over this place since his troubles
had begun. In the far west of the street a last tingling gleam
of lavender and violet was showing over the cold white snow of
the roadway. The house of gray-green stone, with its lighted
windows, and cream-colored lace curtains, had looked especially
attractive. He had thought for the moment of the pride he had
taken in putting all this here, decorating and ornamenting it,
and whether, ever, he could secure it for himself again. "Where
is your mistress?" he added to Wash, when he bethought himself.
"In the sitting-room, Mr. Coppahwood, ah think."
Cowperwood ascended the stairs, thinking curiously that Wash would
soon be out of a job now, unless Mrs. Cowperwood, out of all the
wreck of other things, chose to retain him, which was not likely.
He entered the sitting-room, and there sat his wife by the oblong
center-table, sewing a hook and eye on one of Lillian, second's,
petticoats. She looked up, at his step, with the peculiarly
uncertain smile she used these days--indication of her pain, fear,
suspicion--and inquired, "Well, what is new with you, Frank?" Her
smile was something like a hat or belt or ornament which one puts
on or off at will.
"Nothing in particular," he replied, in his offhand way, "except
that I understand I have lost that appeal of mine. Steger is coming
here in a little while to let me know. I had a note from him, and
I fancy it's about that."
He did not care to say squarely that he had lost. He knew that
she was sufficiently distressed as it was, and he did not care to
be too abrupt just now.
"You don't say!" replied Lillian, with surprise and fright in her
voice, and getting up.
She had been so used to a world where prisons were scarcely thought
of, where things went on smoothly from day to day without any
noticeable intrusion of such distressing things as courts, jails,
and the like, that these last few months had driven her nearly mad.
Cowperwood had so definitely insisted on her keeping in the
background--he had told her so very little that she was all at sea
anyhow in regard to the whole procedure. Nearly all that she had
had in the way of intelligence had been from his father and mother
and Anna, and from a close and almost secret scrutiny of the
At the time he had gone to the county jail she did not even know
anything about it until his father had come back from the court-room
and the jail and had broken the news to her. It had been a terrific
blow to her. Now to have this thing suddenly broken to her in this
offhand way, even though she had been expecting and dreading it
hourly, was too much.
She was still a decidedly charming-looking woman as she stood
holding her daughter's garment in her hand, even if she was forty
years old to Cowperwood's thirty-five. She was robed in one of
the creations of their late prosperity, a cream-colored gown of
rich silk, with dark brown trimmings--a fetching combination for
her. Her eyes were a little hollow, and reddish about the rims,
but otherwise she showed no sign of her keen mental distress.
There was considerable evidence of the former tranquil sweetness
that had so fascinated him ten years before.
"Isn't that terrible?" she said, weakly, her hands trembling in
a nervous way. "Isn't it dreadful? Isn't there anything more you
can do, truly?" You won't really have to go to prison, will you?"
He objected to her distress and her nervous fears. He preferred
a stronger, more self-reliant type of woman, but still she was his
wife, and in his day he had loved her much.
"It looks that way, Lillian," he said, with the first note of real
sympathy he had used in a long while, for he felt sorry for her
now. At the same time he was afraid to go any further along that
line, for fear it might give her a false sense as to his present
attitude toward her which was one essentially of indifference.
But she was not so dull but what she could see that the consideration
in his voice had been brought about by his defeat, which meant hers
also. She choked a little--and even so was touched. The bare
suggestion of sympathy brought back the old days so definitely
gone forever. If only they could be brought back!
"I don't want you to feel distressed about me, though," he went
on, before she could say anything to him. "I'm not through with
my fighting. I'll get out of this. I have to go to prison, it
seems, in order to get things straightened out properly. What I
would like you to do is to keep up a cheerful appearance in front
of the rest of the family--father and mother particularly. They
need to be cheered up." He thought once of taking her hand, then
decided not. She noted mentally his hesitation, the great difference
between his attitude now and that of ten or twelve years before.
It did not hurt her now as much as she once would have thought. She
looked at him, scarcely knowing what to say. There was really not
so much to say.
"Will you have to go soon, if you do have to go?" she ventured,
"I can't tell yet. Possibly to-night. Possibly Friday. Possibly
not until Monday. I'm waiting to hear from Steger. I expect him
here any minute."
To prison! To prison! Her Frank Cowperwood, her husband--the
substance of their home here--and all their soul destruction going
to prison. And even now she scarcely grasped why! She stood there
wondering what she could do
"Is there anything I can get for you?" she asked, starting forward
as if out of a dream. "Do you want me to do anything? Don't you
think perhaps you had better leave Philadelphia, Frank? You needn't
go to prison unless you want to."
She was a little beside herself, for the first time in her life
shocked out of a deadly calm.
He paused and looked at her for a moment in his direct, examining
way, his hard commercial business judgment restored on the instant.
"That would be a confession of guilt, Lillian, and I'm not guilty,"
he replied, almost coldly. "I haven't done anything that warrants
my running away or going to prison, either. I'm merely going
there to save time at present. I can't be litigating this thing
forever. I'll get out--be pardoned out or sued out in a reasonable
length of time. Just now it's better to go, I think. I wouldn't
think of running away from Philadelphia. Two of five judges found
for me in the decision. That's pretty fair evidence that the State
has no case against me."
His wife saw she had made a mistake. It clarified her judgment
on the instant. "I didn't mean in that way, Frank," she replied,
apologetically. "You know I didn't. Of course I know you're not
guilty. Why should I think you were, of all people?"
She paused, expecting some retort, some further argument--a kind
word maybe. A trace of the older, baffling love, but he had
quietly turned to his desk and was thinking of other things.
At this point the anomaly of her own state came over her again.
It was all so sad and so hopeless. And what was she to do in the
future? And what was he likely to do? She paused half trembling
and yet decided, because of her peculiarly nonresisting nature--
why trespass on his time? Why bother? No good would really come
of it. He really did not care for her any more--that was it.
Nothing could make him, nothing could bring them together again,
not even this tragedy. He was interested in another woman--Aileen--
and so her foolish thoughts and explanations, her fear, sorrow,
distress, were not important to him. He could take her agonized
wish for his freedom as a comment on his probable guilt, a doubt
of his innocence, a criticism of him! She turned away for a minute,
and he started to leave the room.
"I'll be back again in a few moments," he volunteered. "Are the
"Yes, they're up in the play-room," she answered, sadly, utterly
nonplussed and distraught.
"Oh, Frank!" she had it on her lips to cry, but before she could
utter it he had bustled down the steps and was gone. She turned
back to the table, her left hand to her mouth, her eyes in a queer,
hazy, melancholy mist. Could it be, she thought, that life could
really come to this--that love could so utterly, so thoroughly die?
Ten years before--but, oh, why go back to that? Obviously it could,
and thoughts concerning that would not help now. Twice now in her
life her affairs had seemed to go to pieces--once when her first
husband had died, and now when her second had failed her, had
fallen in love with another and was going to be sent off to prison.
What was it about her that caused such things? Was there anything
wrong with her? What was she going to do? Where go? She had no
idea, of course, for how long a term of years he would be sent away.
It might be one year or it might be five years, as the papers had
said. Good heavens! The children could almost come to forget him
in five years. She put her other hand to her mouth, also, and
then to her forehead, where there was a dull ache. She tried to
think further than this, but somehow, just now, there was no further
thought. Suddenly quite outside of her own volition, with no
thought that she was going to do such a thing, her bosom began to
heave, her throat contracted in four or five short, sharp, aching
spasms, her eyes burned, and she shook in a vigorous, anguished,
desperate, almost one might have said dry-eyed, cry, so hot and
few were the tears. She could not stop for the moment, just stood
there and shook, and then after a while a dull ache succeeded, and
she was quite as she had been before.
"Why cry?" she suddenly asked herself, fiercely--for her. "Why
break down in this stormy, useless way? Would it help?"
But, in spite of her speculative, philosophic observations to
herself, she still felt the echo, the distant rumble, as it were,
of the storm in her own soul. "Why cry? Why not cry?" She might
have said--but wouldn't, and in spite of herself and all her logic,
she knew that this tempest which had so recently raged over her
was now merely circling around her soul's horizon and would return
to break again.
The arrival of Steger with the information that no move of any
kind would be made by the sheriff until Monday morning, when
Cowperwood could present himself, eased matters. This gave him
time to think--to adjust home details at his leisure. He broke
the news to his father and mother in a consoling way and talked
with his brothers and father about getting matters immediately
adjusted in connection with the smaller houses to which they were
now shortly to be compelled to move. There was much conferring
among the different members of this collapsing organization in
regard to the minor details; and what with his conferences with
Steger, his seeing personally Davison, Leigh, Avery Stone, of Jay
Cooke & Co., George Waterman (his old-time employer Henry was dead),
ex-State Treasurer Van Nostrand, who had gone out with the last
State administration, and others, he was very busy. Now that he
was really going into prison, he wanted his financial friends to
get together and see if they could get him out by appealing to the
Governor. The division of opinion among the judges of the State
Supreme Court was his excuse and strong point. He wanted Steger
to follow this up, and he spared no pains in trying to see all
and sundry who might be of use to him--Edward Tighe, of Tighe &
Co., who was still in business in Third Street; Newton Targool;
Arthur Rivers; Joseph Zimmerman, the dry-goods prince, now a
millionaire; Judge Kitchen; Terrence Relihan, the former
representative of the money element at Harrisburg; and many others.
Cowperwood wanted Relihan to approach the newspapers and see if
he could not readjust their attitude so as to work to get him out,
and he wanted Walter Leigh to head the movement of getting up a
signed petition which should contain all the important names of
moneyed people and others, asking the Governor to release him.
Leigh agreed to this heartily, as did Relihan, and many others.
And, afterwards there was really nothing else to do, unless it
was to see Aileen once more, and this, in the midst of his other
complications and obligations, seemed all but impossible at times--
and yet he did achieve that, too--so eager was he to be soothed
and comforted by the ignorant and yet all embracing volume of her
love. Her eyes these days! The eager, burning quest of him and
his happiness that blazed in them. To think that he should be
tortured so--her Frank! Oh, she knew--whatever he said, and however
bravely and jauntily he talked. To think that her love for him
should have been the principal cause of his being sent to jail,
as she now believed. And the cruelty of her father! And the
smallness of his enemies--that fool Stener, for instance, whose
pictures she had seen in the papers. Actually, whenever in the
presence of her Frank, she fairly seethed in a chemic agony for
him--her strong, handsome lover--the strongest, bravest, wisest,
kindest, handsomest man in the world. Oh, didn't she know! And
Cowperwood, looking in her eyes and realizing this reasonless, if
so comforting fever for him, smiled and was touched. Such love!
That of a dog for a master; that of a mother for a child. And
how had he come to evoke it? He could not say, but it was beautiful.
And so, now, in these last trying hours, he wished to see her much--
and did--meeting her at least four times in the month in which he
had been free, between his conviction and the final dismissal of
his appeal. He had one last opportunity of seeing her--and she
him--just before his entrance into prison this last time--on the
Saturday before the Monday of his sentence. He had not come in
contact with her since the decision of the Supreme Court had been
rendered, but he had had a letter from her sent to a private mail-box,
and had made an appointment for Saturday at a small hotel in Camden,
which, being across the river, was safer, in his judgment, than
anything in Philadelphia. He was a little uncertain as to how she
would take the possibility of not seeing him soon again after
Monday, and how she would act generally once he was where she could
not confer with him as often as she chose. And in consequence, he
was anxious to talk to her. But on this occasion, as he anticipated,
and even feared, so sorry for her was he, she was not less emphatic
in her protestations than she had ever been; in fact, much more so.
When she saw him approaching in the distance, she went forward to
meet him in that direct, forceful way which only she could attempt
with him, a sort of mannish impetuosity which he both enjoyed and
admired, and slipping her arms around his neck, said: "Honey, you
needn't tell me. I saw it in the papers the other morning. Don't
you mind, honey. I love you. I'll wait for you. I'll be with you
yet, if it takes a dozen years of waiting. It doesn't make any
difference to me if it takes a hundred, only I'm so sorry for you,
sweetheart. I'll be with you every day through this, darling,
loving you with all my might."
She caressed him while he looked at her in that quiet way which
betokened at once his self-poise and yet his interest and satisfaction
in her. He couldn't help loving Aileen, he thought who could? She
was so passionate, vibrant, desireful. He couldn't help admiring
her tremendously, now more than ever, because literally, in spite
of all his intellectual strength, he really could not rule her.
She went at him, even when he stood off in a calm, critical way,
as if he were her special property, her toy. She would talk to
him always, and particularly when she was excited, as if he were
just a baby, her pet; and sometimes he felt as though she would
really overcome him mentally, make him subservient to her, she was
so individual, so sure of her importance as a woman.
Now on this occasion she went babbling on as if he were broken-hearted,
in need of her greatest care and tenderness, although he really
wasn't at all; and for the moment she actually made him feel as
though he was.
"It isn't as bad as that, Aileen," he ventured to say, eventually;
and with a softness and tenderness almost unusual for him, even
where she was concerned, but she went on forcefully, paying no heed
"Oh, yes, it is, too, honey. I know. Oh, my poor Frank! But I'll
see you. I know how to manage, whatever happens. How often do
they let visitors come out to see the prisoners there?"
"Only once in three months, pet, so they say, but I think we can
fix that after I get there; only do you think you had better try
to come right away, Aileen? You know what the feeling now is.
Hadn't you better wait a while? Aren't you in danger of stirring
up your father? He might cause a lot of trouble out there if he
were so minded."
"Only once in three months!" she exclaimed, with rising emphasis,
as he began this explanation. "Oh, Frank, no! Surely not! Once
in three months! Oh, I can't stand that! I won't! I'll go and see
the warden myself. He'll let me see you. I'm sure he will, if
I talk to him."
She fairly gasped in her excitement, not willing to pause in her
tirade, but Cowperwood interposed with her, "You're not thinking
what you're saying, Aileen. You're not thinking. Remember your
father! Remember your family! Your father may know the warden out
there. You don't want it to get all over town that you're running
out there to see me, do you? Your father might cause you trouble.
Besides you don't know the small party politicians as I do. They
gossip like a lot of old women. You'll have to be very careful
what you do and how you do it. I don't want to lose you. I want
to see you. But you'll have to mind what you're doing. Don't try
to see me at once. I want you to, but I want to find out how the
land lies, and I want you to find out too. You won't lose me.
I'll be there, well enough."
He paused as he thought of the long tier of iron cells which must
be there, one of which would be his--for how long?--and of Aileen
seeing him through the door of it or in it. At the same time he
was thinking, in spite of all his other calculations, how charming
she was looking to-day. How young she kept, and how forceful!
While he was nearing his full maturity she was a comparatively
young girl, and as beautiful as ever. She was wearing a
black-and-white-striped silk in the curious bustle style of the
times, and a set of sealskin furs, including a little sealskin cap
set jauntily on top her red-gold hair.
"I know, I know," replied Aileen, firmly. "But think of three
months! Honey, I can't! I won't! It's nonsense. Three months! I
know that my father wouldn't have to wait any three months if he
wanted to see anybody out there, nor anybody else that he wanted
to ask favors for. And I won't, either. I'll find some way."
Cowperwood had to smile. You could not defeat Aileen so easily.
"But you're not your father, honey; and you don't want him to know."
"I know I don't, but they don't need to know who I am. I can go
heavily veiled. I don't think that the warden knows my father.
He may. Anyhow, he doesn't know me; and he wouldn't tell on me
if he did if I talked to him."
Her confidence in her charms, her personality, her earthly
privileges was quite anarchistic. Cowperwood shook his head.
"Honey, you're about the best and the worst there is when it comes
to a woman," he observed, affectionately, pulling her head down
to kiss her, "but you'll have to listen to me just the same. I
have a lawyer, Steger--you know him. He's going to take up this
matter with the warden out there--is doing it today. He may be
able to fix things, and he may not. I'll know to-morrow or Sunday,
and I'll write you. But don't go and do anything rash until you
hear. I'm sure I can cut that visiting limit in half, and perhaps
down to once a month or once in two weeks even. They only allow me
to write one letter in three months"--Aileen exploded again--"and
I'm sure I can have that made different--some; but don't write me
until you hear, or at least don't sign any name or put any address
in. They open all mail and read it. If you see me or write me
you'll have to be cautious, and you're not the most cautious person
in the world. Now be good, will you?"
They talked much more--of his family, his court appearance Monday,
whether he would get out soon to attend any of the suits still
pending, or be pardoned. Aileen still believed in his future.
She had read the opinions of the dissenting judges in his favor,
and that of the three agreed judges against him. She was sure his
day was not over in Philadelphia, and that he would some time
reestablish himself and then take her with him somewhere else.
She was sorry for Mrs. Cowperwood, but she was convinced that she
was not suited to him--that Frank needed some one more like herself,
some one with youth and beauty and force--her, no less. She clung
to him now in ecstatic embraces until it was time to go. So far
as a plan of procedure could have been adjusted in a situation so
incapable of accurate adjustment, it had been done. She was
desperately downcast at the last moment, as was he, over their
parting; but she pulled herself together with her usual force and
faced the dark future with a steady eye.
Monday came and with it his final departure. All that could be
done had been done. Cowperwood said his farewells to his mother
and father, his brothers and sister. He had a rather distant but
sensible and matter-of-fact talk with his wife. He made no special
point of saying good-by to his son or his daughter; when he came
in on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings, after he
had learned that he was to depart Monday, it was with the thought
of talking to them a little in an especially affectionate way.
He realized that his general moral or unmoral attitude was perhaps
working them a temporary injustice. Still he was not sure. Most
people did fairly well with their lives, whether coddled or deprived
of opportunity. These children would probably do as well as most
children, whatever happened--and then, anyhow, he had no intention
of forsaking them financially, if he could help it. He did not
want to separate his wife from her children, nor them from her.
She should keep them. He wanted them to be comfortable with her.
He would like to see them, wherever they were with her, occasionally.
Only he wanted his own personal freedom, in so far as she and they
were concerned, to go off and set up a new world and a new home
with Aileen. So now on these last days, and particularly this
last Sunday night, he was rather noticeably considerate of his boy
and girl, without being too openly indicative of his approaching
separation from them.
"Frank," he said to his notably lackadaisical son on this occasion,
"aren't you going to straighten up and be a big, strong, healthy
fellow? You don't play enough. You ought to get in with a gang
of boys and be a leader. Why don't you fit yourself up a gymnasium
somewhere and see how strong you can get?"
They were in the senior Cowperwood's sitting-room, where they had
all rather consciously gathered on this occasion.
Lillian, second, who was on the other side of the big library
table from her father, paused to survey him and her brother with
interest. Both had been carefully guarded against any real
knowledge of their father's affairs or his present predicament.
He was going away on a journey for about a month or so they
understood. Lillian was reading in a Chatterbox book which had
been given her the previous Christmas.
"He won't do anything," she volunteered, looking up from her reading
in a peculiarly critical way for her. "Why, he won't ever run
races with me when I want him to."
"Aw, who wants to run races with you, anyhow?" returned Frank,
junior, sourly. "You couldn't run if I did want to run with you."
"Couldn't I?" she replied. "I could beat you, all right."
"Lillian!" pleaded her mother, with a warning sound in her voice.
Cowperwood smiled, and laid his hand affectionately on his son's
head. "You'll be all right, Frank," he volunteered, pinching his
ear lightly. "Don't worry--just make an effort."
The boy did not respond as warmly as he hoped. Later in the
evening Mrs. Cowperwood noticed that her husband squeezed his
daughter's slim little waist and pulled her curly hair gently.
For the moment she was jealous of her daughter.
"Going to be the best kind of a girl while I'm away?" he said to
"Yes, papa," she replied, brightly.
"That's right," he returned, and leaned over and kissed her mouth
tenderly. "Button Eyes," he said.
Mrs. Cowperwood sighed after he had gone. "Everything for the
children, nothing for me," she thought, though the children had
not got so vastly much either in the past.
Cowperwood's attitude toward his mother in this final hour was
about as tender and sympathetic as any he could maintain in this
world. He understood quite clearly the ramifications of her
interests, and how she was suffering for him and all the others
concerned. He had not forgotten her sympathetic care of him in
his youth; and if he could have done anything to have spared her
this unhappy breakdown of her fortunes in her old age, he would
have done so. There was no use crying over spilled milk. It was
impossible at times for him not to feel intensely in moments of
success or failure; but the proper thing to do was to bear up,
not to show it, to talk little and go your way with an air not so
much of resignation as of self-sufficiency, to whatever was awaiting
you. That was his attitude on this morning, and that was what he
expected from those around him--almost compelled, in fact, by his
"Well, mother," he said, genially, at the last moment--he would
not let her nor his wife nor his sister come to court, maintaining
that it would make not the least difference to him and would only
harrow their own feelings uselessly--"I'm going now. Don't worry.
Keep up your spirits."
He slipped his arm around his mother's waist, and she gave him a
long, unrestrained, despairing embrace and kiss.
"Go on, Frank," she said, choking, when she let him go. "God
bless you. I'll pray for you." He paid no further attention to
her. He didn't dare.
"Good-by, Lillian," he said to his wife, pleasantly, kindly. "I'll
be back in a few days, I think. I'll be coming out to attend some
of these court proceedings."
To his sister he said: "Good-by, Anna. Don't let the others get
"I'll see you three afterward," he said to his father and brothers;
and so, dressed in the very best fashion of the time, he hurried
down into the reception-hall, where Steger was waiting, and was
off. His family, hearing the door close on him, suffered a poignant
sense of desolation. They stood there for a moment, his mother
crying, his father looking as though he had lost his last friend
but making a great effort to seem self-contained and equal to his
troubles, Anna telling Lillian not to mind, and the latter staring
dumbly into the future, not knowing what to think. Surely a
brilliant sun had set on their local scene, and in a very pathetic
When Cowperwood reached the jail, Jaspers was there, glad to see
him but principally relieved to feel that nothing had happened to
mar his own reputation as a sheriff. Because of the urgency of
court matters generally, it was decided to depart for the courtroom
at nine o'clock. Eddie Zanders was once more delegated to see
that Cowperwood was brought safely before Judge Payderson and
afterward taken to the penitentiary. All of the papers in the
case were put in his care to be delivered to the warden.
"I suppose you know," confided Sheriff Jaspers to Steger, "that
Stener is here. He ain't got no money now, but I gave him a
private room just the same. I didn't want to put a man like him
in no cell." Sheriff Jaspers sympathized with Stener.
"That's right. I'm glad to hear that," replied Steger, smiling
"I didn't suppose from what I've heard that Mr. Cowperwood would
want to meet Stener here, so I've kept 'em apart. George just
left a minute ago with another deputy."
"That's good. That's the way it ought to be," replied Steger.
He was glad for Cowperwood's sake that the sheriff had so much
tact. Evidently George and the sheriff were getting along in a
very friendly way, for all the former's bitter troubles and lack
The Cowperwood party walked, the distance not being great, and as
they did so they talked of rather simple things to avoid the more
"Things aren't going to be so bad," Edward said to his father.
"Steger says the Governor is sure to pardon Stener in a year or
less, and if he does he's bound to let Frank out too."
Cowperwood, the elder, had heard this over and over, but he was
never tired of hearing it. It was like some simple croon with
which babies are hushed to sleep. The snow on the ground, which
was enduring remarkably well for this time of year, the fineness
of the day, which had started out to be clear and bright, the
hope that the courtroom might not be full, all held the attention
of the father and his two sons. Cowperwood, senior, even commented
on some sparrows fighting over a piece of bread, marveling how
well they did in winter, solely to ease his mind. Cowperwood,
walking on ahead with Steger and Zanders, talked of approaching
court proceedings in connection with his business and what ought
to be done.
When they reached the court the same little pen in which Cowperwood
had awaited the verdict of his jury several months before was
waiting to receive him.
Cowperwood, senior, and his other sons sought places in the
courtroom proper. Eddie Zanders remained with his charge. Stener
and a deputy by the name of Wilkerson were in the room; but he and
Cowperwood pretended now not to see each other. Frank had no
objection to talking to his former associate, but he could see
that Stener was diffident and ashamed. So he let the situation
pass without look or word of any kind. After some three-quarters
of an hour of dreary waiting the door leading into the courtroom
proper opened and a bailiff stepped in.
"All prisoners up for sentence," he called.
There were six, all told, including Cowperwood and Stener. Two
of them were confederate housebreakers who had been caught red-handed
at their midnight task.
Another prisoner was no more and no less than a plain horse-thief,
a young man of twenty-six, who had been convicted by a jury of
stealing a grocer's horse and selling it. The last man was a
negro, a tall, shambling, illiterate, nebulous-minded black, who
had walked off with an apparently discarded section of lead pipe
which he had found in a lumber-yard. His idea was to sell or
trade it for a drink. He really did not belong in this court at
all; but, having been caught by an undersized American watchman
charged with the care of the property, and having at first refused
to plead guilty, not quite understanding what was to be done with
him, he had been perforce bound over to this court for trial.
Afterward he had changed his mind and admitted his guilt, so he
now had to come before Judge Payderson for sentence or dismissal.
The lower court before which he had originally been brought had
lost jurisdiction by binding him over to to higher court for trial.
Eddie Zanders, in his self-appointed position as guide and mentor
to Cowperwood, had confided nearly all of this data to him as he
The courtroom was crowded. It was very humiliating to Cowperwood
to have to file in this way along the side aisle with these others,
followed by Stener, well dressed but sickly looking and disconsolate.
The negro, Charles Ackerman, was the first on the list.
"How is it this man comes before me?" asked Payderson, peevishly,
when he noted the value of the property Ackerman was supposed to
"Your honor," the assistant district attorney explained, promptly,
"this man was before a lower court and refused, because he was
drunk, or something, to plead guilty. The lower court, because
the complainant would not forego the charge, was compelled to
bind him over to this court for trial. Since then he has changed
his mind and has admitted his guilt to the district attorney. He
would not be brought before you except we have no alternative.
He has to be brought here now in order to clear the calendar."
Judge Payderson stared quizzically at the negro, who, obviously
not very much disturbed by this examination, was leaning comfortably
on the gate or bar before which the average criminal stood erect
and terrified. He had been before police-court magistrates before
on one charge and another--drunkenness, disorderly conduct, and
the like--but his whole attitude was one of shambling, lackadaisical,
"Well, Ackerman," inquired his honor, severely, "did you or did
you not steal this piece of lead pipe as charged here--four dollars
and eighty cents' worth?"
"Yassah, I did," he began. "I tell you how it was, jedge. I was
a-comin' along past dat lumber-yard one Saturday afternoon, and
I hadn't been wuckin', an' I saw dat piece o' pipe thoo de fence,
lyin' inside, and I jes' reached thoo with a piece o' boad I
found dey and pulled it over to me an' tuck it. An' aftahwahd dis
Mistah Watchman man"--he waved his hand oratorically toward the
witness-chair, where, in case the judge might wish to ask him some
questions, the complainant had taken his stand--"come around tuh
where I live an' accused me of done takin' it."
"But you did take it, didn't you?"
"Yassah, I done tuck it."
"What did you do with it?"
"I traded it foh twenty-five cents."
"You mean you sold it," corrected his honor.
"Yassah, I done sold it."
"Well, don't you know it's wrong to do anything like that? Didn't
you know when you reached through that fence and pulled that pipe
over to you that you were stealing? Didn't you?"
"Yassah, I knowed it was wrong," replied Ackerman, sheepishly.
"I didn' think 'twuz stealin' like zackly, but I done knowed it
was wrong. I done knowed I oughtn' take it, I guess."
"Of course you did. Of course you did. That's just it. You
knew you were stealing, and still you took it. Has the man to
whom this negro sold the lead pipe been apprehended yet?" the
judge inquired sharply of the district attorney. "He should be,
for he's more guilty than this negro, a receiver of stolen goods."
"Yes, sir," replied the assistant. "His case is before Judge
"Quite right. It should be," replied Payderson, severely. "This
matter of receiving stolen property is one of the worst offenses,
in my judgment."
He then turned his attention to Ackerman again. "Now, look here,
Ackerman," he exclaimed, irritated at having to bother with such
a pretty case, "I want to say something to you, and I want you to
pay strict attention to me. Straighten up, there! Don't lean on
that gate! You are in the presence of the law now." Ackerman had
sprawled himself comfortably down on his elbows as he would have
if he had been leaning over a back-fence gate talking to some one,
but he immediately drew himself straight, still grinning foolishly
and apologetically, when he heard this. "You are not so dull but
that you can understand what I am going to say to you. The offense
you have committed--stealing a piece of lead pipe--is a crime. Do
you hear me? A criminal offense--one that I could punish you very
severely for. I could send you to the penitentiary for one year
if I chose--the law says I may--one year at hard labor for stealing
a piece of lead pipe. Now, if you have any sense you will pay
strict attention to what I am going to tell you. I am not going
to send you to the penitentiary right now. I'm going to wait a
little while. I am going to sentence you to one year in the
penitentiary--one year. Do you understand?" Ackerman blanched a
little and licked his lips nervously. "And then I am going to
suspend that sentence--hold it over your head, so that if you are
ever caught taking anything else you will be punished for this
offense and the next one also at one and the same time. Do you
understand that? Do you know what I mean? Tell me. Do you?"
"Yessah! I does, sir," replied the negro. "You'se gwine to let
me go now--tha's it."
The audience grinned, and his honor made a wry face to prevent
his own grim grin.
"I'm going to let you go only so long as you don't steal anything
else," he thundered. "The moment you steal anything else, back
you come to this court, and then you go to the penitentiary for a
year and whatever more time you deserve. Do you understand that?
Now, I want you to walk straight out of this court and behave
yourself. Don't ever steal anything. Get something to do! Don't
steal, do you hear? Don't touch anything that doesn't belong to
you! Don't come back here! If you do, I'll send you to the
"Yassah! No, sah, I won't," replied Ackerman, nervously. "I won't
take nothin' more that don't belong tuh me."
He shuffled away, after a moment, urged along by the guiding hand
of a bailiff, and was put safely outside the court, amid a mixture
of smiles and laughter over his simplicity and Payderson's undue
severity of manner. But the next case was called and soon engrossed
the interest of the audience.
It was that of the two housebreakers whom Cowperwood had been and
was still studying with much curiosity. In all his life before
he had never witnessed a sentencing scene of any kind. He had
never been in police or criminal courts of any kind--rarely in any
of the civil ones. He was glad to see the negro go, and gave
Payderson credit for having some sense and sympathy--more than he
He wondered now whether by any chance Aileen was here. He had
objected to her coming, but she might have done so. She was, as
a matter of fact, in the extreme rear, pocketed in a crowd near
the door, heavily veiled, but present. She had not been able to
resist the desire to know quickly and surely her beloved's fate--
to be near him in his hour of real suffering, as she thought. She
was greatly angered at seeing him brought in with a line of ordinary
criminals and made to wait in this, to her, shameful public manner,
but she could not help admiring all the more the dignity and
superiority of his presence even here. He was not even pale, as
she saw, just the same firm, calm soul she had always known him
to be. If he could only see her now; if he would only look so she
could lift her veil and smile! He didn't, though; he wouldn't. He
didn't want to see her here. But she would tell him all about it
when she saw him again just the same.
The two burglars were quickly disposed of by the judge, with a
sentence of one year each, and they were led away, uncertain, and
apparently not knowing what to think of their crime or their future.
When it came to Cowperwood's turn to be called, his honor himself
stiffened and straightened up, for this was a different type of
man and could not be handled in the usual manner. He knew exactly
what he was going to say. When one of Mollenhauer's agents, a
close friend of Butler's, had suggested that five years for both
Cowperwood and Stener would be about right, he knew exactly what
to do. "Frank Algernon Cowperwood," called the clerk.
Cowperwood stepped briskly forward, sorry for himself, ashamed of
his position in a way, but showing it neither in look nor manner.
Payderson eyed him as he had the others.
"Name?" asked the bailiff, for the benefit of the court stenographer.
"Frank Algernon Cowperwood."
"1937 Girard Avenue."
"Banker and broker."
Steger stood close beside him, very dignified, very forceful, ready
to make a final statement for the benefit of the court and the
public when the time should come. Aileen, from her position in
the crowd near the door, was for the first time in her life biting
her fingers nervously and there were great beads of perspiration
on her brow. Cowperwood's father was tense with excitement and
his two brothers looked quickly away, doing their best to hide
their fear and sorrow.
"Ever convicted before?"
"Never," replied Steger for Cowperwood, quietly.
"Frank Algernon Cowperwood," called the clerk, in his nasal,
singsong way, coming forward, "have you anything to say why judgment
should not now be pronounced upon you? If so, speak."
Cowperwood started to say no, but Steger put up his hand.
"If the court pleases, my client, Mr. Cowperwood, the prisoner at
the bar, is neither guilty in his own estimation, nor in that of
two-fifths of the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court--the court of
last resort in this State," he exclaimed, loudly and clearly, so
that all might hear.
One of the interested listeners and spectators at this point was
Edward Malia Butler, who had just stepped in from another courtroom
where he had been talking to a judge. An obsequious court attendant
had warned him that Cowperwood was about to be sentenced. He had
really come here this morning in order not to miss this sentence,
but he cloaked his motive under the guise of another errand. He
did not know that Aileen was there, nor did he see her.
"As he himself testified at the time of his trial," went on Steger,
"and as the evidence clearly showed, he was never more than an
agent for the gentleman whose offense was subsequently adjudicated
by this court; and as an agent he still maintains, and two-fifths
of the State Supreme Court agree with him, that he was strictly
within his rights and privileges in not having deposited the sixty
thousand dollars' worth of city loan certificates at the time, and
in the manner which the people, acting through the district attorney,
complained that he should have. My client is a man of rare financial
ability. By the various letters which have been submitted to your
honor in his behalf, you will see that he commands the respect and
the sympathy of a large majority of the most forceful and eminent
men in his particular world. He is a man of distinguished social
standing and of notable achievements. Only the most unheralded
and the unkindest thrust of fortune has brought him here before
you today--a fire and its consequent panic which involved a financial
property of the most thorough and stable character. In spite of
the verdict of the jury and the decision of three-fifths of the
State Supreme Court, I maintain that my client is not an embezzler,
that he has not committed larceny, that he should never have been
convicted, and that he should not now be punished for something
of which he is not guilty.
"I trust that your honor will not misunderstand me or my motives
when I point out in this situation that what I have said is true.
I do not wish to cast any reflection on the integrity of the court,
nor of any court, nor of any of the processes of law. But I do
condemn and deplore the untoward chain of events which has built
up a seeming situation, not easily understood by the lay mind, and
which has brought my distinguished client within the purview of
the law. I think it is but fair that this should be finally and
publicly stated here and now. I ask that your honor be lenient,
and that if you cannot conscientiously dismiss this charge you
will at least see that the facts, as I have indicated them, are
given due weight in the measure of the punishment inflicted."
Steger stepped back and Judge Payderson nodded, as much as to say
he had heard all the distinguished lawyer had to say, and would
give it such consideration as it deserved--no more. Then he turned
to Cowperwood, and, summoning all his judicial dignity to his aid,
"Frank Algernon Cowperwood, you have been convicted by a jury of
your own selection of the offense of larceny. The motion for a
new trial, made in your behalf by your learned counsel, has been
carefully considered and overruled, the majority of the court being
entirely satisfied with the propriety of the conviction, both upon
the law and the evidence. Your offense was one of more than usual
gravity, the more so that the large amount of money which you
obtained belonged to the city. And it was aggravated by the fact
that you had in addition thereto unlawfully used and converted to
your own use several hundred thousand dollars of the loan and money
of the city. For such an offense the maximum punishment affixed
by the law is singularly merciful. Nevertheless, the facts in
connection with your hitherto distinguished position, the
circumstances under which your failure was brought about, and the
appeals of your numerous friends and financial associates, will
be given due consideration by this court. It is not unmindful of
any important fact in your career." Payderson paused as if in
doubt, though he knew very well how he was about to proceed. He
knew what his superiors expected of him.
"If your case points no other moral," he went on, after a moment,
toying with the briefs, "it will at least teach the lesson much
needed at the present time, that the treasury of the city is not
to be invaded and plundered with impunity under the thin disguise
of a business transaction, and that there is still a power in the
law to vindicate itself and to protect the public.
"The sentence of the court," he added, solemnly, the while Cowperwood
gazed unmoved, "is, therefore, that you pay a fine of five thousand
dollars to the commonwealth for the use of the county, that you
pay the costs of prosecution, and that you undergo imprisonment
in the State Penitentiary for the Eastern District by separate or
solitary confinement at labor for a period of four years and three
months, and that you stand committed until this sentence is complied
Cowperwood's father, on hearing this, bowed his head to hide his
tears. Aileen bit her lower lip and clenched her hands to keep
down her rage and disappointment and tears. Four years and three
months! That would make a terrible gap in his life and hers. Still,
she could wait. It was better than eight or ten years, as she
had feared it might be. Perhaps now, once this was really over
and he was in prison, the Governor would pardon him.
The judge now moved to pick up the papers in connection with
Stener's case, satisfied that he had given the financiers no
chance to say he had not given due heed to their plea in Cowperwood's
behalf and yet certain that the politicians would be pleased
that he had so nearly given Cowperwood the maximum while appearing
to have heeded the pleas for mercy. Cowperwood saw through the
trick at once, but it did not disturb him. It struck him as rather
weak and contemptible. A bailiff came forward and started to hurry
"Allow the prisoner to remain for a moment," called the judge.
The name, of George W. Stener had been called by the clerk and
Cowperwood did not quite understand why he was being detained, but
he soon learned. It was that he might hear the opinion of the
court in connection with his copartner in crime. The latter's
record was taken. Roger O'Mara, the Irish political lawyer who
had been his counsel all through his troubles, stood near him, but
had nothing to say beyond asking the judge to consider Stener's
previously honorable career.
"George W. Stener," said his honor, while the audience, including
Cowperwood, listened attentively. "The motion for a new trial as
well as an arrest of judgment in your case having been overruled,
it remains for the court to impose such sentence as the nature of
your offense requires. I do not desire to add to the pain of your
position by any extended remarks of my own; but I cannot let the
occasion pass without expressing my emphatic condemnation of your
offense. The misapplication of public money has become the great
crime of the age. If not promptly and firmly checked, it will
ultimately destroy our institutions. When a republic becomes
honeycombed with corruption its vitality is gone. It must crumble
upon the first pressure.
"In my opinion, the public is much to blame for your offense and
others of a similar character. Heretofore, official fraud has
been regarded with too much indifference. What we need is a higher
and purer political morality--a state of public opinion which would
make the improper use of public money a thing to be execrated. It
was the lack of this which made your offense possible. Beyond that
I see nothing of extenuation in your case." Judge Payderson paused
for emphasis. He was coming to his finest flight, and he wanted
it to sink in.
"The people had confided to you the care of their money," he went
on, solemnly. "It was a high, a sacred trust. You should have
guarded the door of the treasury even as the cherubim protected
the Garden of Eden, and should have turned the flaming sword of
impeccable honesty against every one who approached it improperly.
Your position as the representative of a great community warranted
"In view of all the facts in your case the court can do no less
than impose a major penalty. The seventy-fourth section of the
Criminal Procedure Act provides that no convict shall be sentenced
by the court of this commonwealth to either of the penitentiaries
thereof, for any term which shall expire between the fifteenth of
November and the fifteenth day of February of any year, and this
provision requires me to abate three months from the maximum of
time which I would affix in your case--namely, five years. The
sentence of the court is, therefore, that you pay a fine of five
thousand dollars to the commonwealth for the use of the county"--
Payderson knew well enough that Stener could never pay that sum--
"and that you undergo imprisonment in the State Penitentiary for
the Eastern District, by separate and solitary confinement at labor,
for the period of four years and nine months, and that you stand
committed until this sentence is complied with." He laid down
the briefs and rubbed his chin reflectively while both Cowperwood
and Stener were hurried out. Butler was the first to leave after
the sentence--quite satisfied. Seeing that all was over so far
as she was concerned, Aileen stole quickly out; and after her, in
a few moments, Cowperwood's father and brothers. They were to
await him outside and go with him to the penitentiary. The remaining
members of the family were at home eagerly awaiting intelligence
of the morning's work, and Joseph Cowperwood was at once despatched
to tell them.
The day had now become cloudy, lowery, and it looked as if there
might be snow. Eddie Zanders, who had been given all the papers
in the case, announced that there was no need to return to the
county jail. In consequence the five of them--Zanders, Steger,
Cowperwood, his father, and Edward--got into a street-car which
ran to within a few blocks of the prison. Within half an hour
they were at the gates of the Eastern Penitentiary.
The Eastern District Penitentiary of Pennsylvania, standing at
Fairmount Avenue and Twenty-first Street in Philadelphia, where
Cowperwood was now to serve his sentence of four years and three
months, was a large, gray-stone structure, solemn and momentous
in its mien, not at all unlike the palace of Sforzas at Milan,
although not so distinguished. It stretched its gray length for
several blocks along four different streets, and looked as lonely
and forbidding as a prison should. The wall which inclosed its
great area extending over ten acres and gave it so much of its
solemn dignity was thirty-five feet high and some seven feet thick.
The prison proper, which was not visible from the outside,
consisted of seven arms or corridors, ranged octopus-like around
a central room or court, and occupying in their sprawling length
about two-thirds of the yard inclosed within the walls, so that
there was but little space for the charm of lawn or sward. The
corridors, forty-two feet wide from outer wall to outer wall,
were one hundred and eighty feet in length, and in four instances
two stories high, and extended in their long reach in every direction.
There were no windows in the corridors, only narrow slits of
skylights, three and one-half feet long by perhaps eight inches
wide, let in the roof; and the ground-floor cells were accompanied
in some instances by a small yard ten by sixteen--the same size
as the cells proper--which was surrounded by a high brick wall in
every instance. The cells and floors and roofs were made of stone,
and the corridors, which were only ten feet wide between the cells,
and in the case of the single-story portion only fifteen feet high,
were paved with stone. If you stood in the central room, or rotunda,
and looked down the long stretches which departed from you in every
direction, you had a sense of narrowness and confinement not
compatible with their length. The iron doors, with their outer
accompaniment of solid wooden ones, the latter used at times to
shut the prisoner from all sight and sound, were grim and unpleasing
to behold. The halls were light enough, being whitewashed frequently
and set with the narrow skylights, which were closed with frosted
glass in winter; but they were, as are all such matter-of-fact
arrangements for incarceration, bare--wearisome to look upon. Life
enough there was in all conscience, seeing that there were four
hundred prisoners here at that time, and that nearly every cell
was occupied; but it was a life of which no one individual was
essentially aware as a spectacle. He was of it; but he was not.
Some of the prisoners, after long service, were used as "trusties"
or "runners," as they were locally called; but not many. There
was a bakery, a machine-shop, a carpenter-shop, a store-room, a
flour-mill, and a series of gardens, or truck patches; but the
manipulation of these did not require the services of a large number.
The prison proper dated from 1822, and it had grown, wing by wing,
until its present considerable size had been reached. Its population
consisted of individuals of all degrees of intelligence and crime,
from murderers to minor practitioners of larceny. It had what was
known as the "Pennsylvania System" of regulation for its inmates,
which was nothing more nor less than solitary confinement for all
concerned--a life of absolute silence and separate labor in separate
Barring his comparatively recent experience in the county jail,
which after all was far from typical, Cowperwood had never been
in a prison in his life. Once, when a boy, in one of his perambulations
through several of the surrounding towns, he had passed a village
"lock-up," as the town prisons were then called--a small, square,
gray building with long iron-barred windows, and he had seen, at
one of these rather depressing apertures on the second floor, a
none too prepossessing drunkard or town ne'er-do-well who looked
down on him with bleary eyes, unkempt hair, and a sodden, waxy,
pallid face, and called--for it was summer and the jail window
"Hey, sonny, get me a plug of tobacco, will you?"
Cowperwood, who had looked up, shocked and disturbed by the man's
disheveled appearance, had called back, quite without stopping to
"Naw, I can't."
"Look out you don't get locked up yourself sometime, you little
runt," the man had replied, savagely, only half recovered from his
debauch of the day before.
He had not thought of this particular scene in years, but now
suddenly it came back to him. Here he was on his way to be locked
up in this dull, somber prison, and it was snowing, and he was
being cut out of human affairs as much as it was possible for him
to be cut out.
No friends were permitted to accompany him beyond the outer gate--
not even Steger for the time being, though he might visit him
later in the day. This was an inviolable rule. Zanders being
known to the gate-keeper, and bearing his commitment paper, was
admitted at once. The others turned solemnly away. They bade a
gloomy if affectionate farewell to Cowperwood, who, on his part,
attempted to give it all an air of inconsequence--as, in part and
even here, it had for him.
"Well, good-by for the present," he said, shaking hands. "I'll
be all right and I'll get out soon. Wait and see. Tell Lillian
not to worry."
He stepped inside, and the gate clanked solemnly behind him.
Zanders led the way through a dark, somber hall, wide and high-ceiled,
to a farther gate, where a second gateman, trifling with a large
key, unlocked a barred door at his bidding. Once inside the prison
yard, Zanders turned to the left into a small office, presenting
his prisoner before a small, chest-high desk, where stood a prison
officer in uniform of blue. The latter, the receiving overseer
of the prison--a thin, practical, executive-looking person with
narrow gray eyes and light hair, took the paper which the sheriff's
deputy handed him and read it. This was his authority for receiving
Cowperwood. In his turn he handed Zanders a slip, showing that
he had so received the prisoner; and then Zanders left, receiving
gratefully the tip which Cowperwood pressed in his hand.
"Well, good-by, Mr. Cowperwood," he said, with a peculiar twist of
his detective-like head. "I'm sorry. I hope you won't find it
so bad here."
He wanted to impress the receiving overseer with his familiarity
with this distinguished prisoner, and Cowperwood, true to his
policy of make-believe, shook hands with him cordially.
"I'm much obliged to you for your courtesy, Mr. Zanders," he said,
then turned to his new master with the air of a man who is determined
to make a good impression. He was now in the hands of petty
officials, he knew, who could modify or increase his comfort at
will. He wanted to impress this man with his utter willingness
to comply and obey--his sense of respect for his authority--without
in any way demeaning himself. He was depressed but efficient,
even here in the clutch of that eventual machine of the law, the
State penitentiary, which he had been struggling so hard to evade.
The receiving overseer, Roger Kendall, though thin and clerical,
was a rather capable man, as prison officials go--shrewd, not
particularly well educated, not over-intelligent naturally, not
over-industrious, but sufficiently energetic to hold his position.
He knew something about convicts--considerable--for he had been
dealing with them for nearly twenty-six years. His attitude toward
them was cold, cynical, critical.
He did not permit any of them to come into personal contact with
him, but he saw to it that underlings in his presence carried out
the requirements of the law.
When Cowperwood entered, dressed in his very good clothing--a