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body, and I 'm just beginning."

" Politics ! " cried the bewildered mer-
chant. " Do you mean to say you don't
expect any cash ? "

" Well, hardly that," said Grannon ; " but
business is more important with me just
now. You have some legal business occa-
sionally, I suppose ? "

" A little. Brownell usually attends to it."

"I thought so," remarked Grannon,
with a satisfied smile. " Well, City Attorney
Brownell is reasonably busy now, and I 'd
like to look after your law matters. This
consolidation is worth a big fee in itself,
but I '11 throw it in on the condition that
you pay me six hundred dollars a year to
act as general counsel of the new corpora-
tion. Fifty dollars a month is n't much,
and for that I am at your service whenever
you have need of me. I make the figure
small because I understand that you do
not have much in my line except occa-
sional collections; but this organization
work alone is worth one thousand dollars.
However, I am after business and influ-

" That certainly is reasonable," admitted

" I meant it should be," said Grannon.
" I want to do this job, and I want to do
it so well that it will bring other people to
me. Do you know Knight ? "

"The insiu-ance man and politician ? "

" Well, he 's a politician all right enough,
and he has the agency for a number of
insurance companies."

"Of course we know him."

"Well, you '11 see him climbing the
stairs to my office some day. However,
that 's a personal matter and this is busi-
ness. Will you go in on the basis I pro-
pose ? "

The partners looked at each other.

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Ambition, long dormant, began to assert
itself, and the mental picture was attrac-
tive. Without the investment of an addi-
tional cent of cash they would gain the
controlling interest in a much larger estab-
Ushment. DilHngham nodded, and Thurber
said, " Go ahead/'

Grannon tried to conceal his elation,
and he was measurably successful until he
was alone with the milliner. Then he no
longer tried, for he felt the need of sharing
his joy with some one who would be

" Kitty," he said, " the way to get busi-
ness is to make it. I Ve discovered that.
The way to do is to show other people how
to make money and take part of the profits
for your cleverness. That 's what most of
the big lawyers of to-day are doing. You
hear of them as lawyers, then attorneys,
then general counsel, and pretty soon
they 're mighty close to the whole thing
without the investment of a cent of their
own money. The old-time lawyer who
stuck to court practice and waited for
business to come to him is out of date.
The thing to do is to become guide and
guardian of a great corporation; and if
you can't get that job with an existing
corporation, why, make a new one. I *ve
had to be modest at the beginning, but
just you watch me ! "

"I should think," suggested Kitty,
"that you 'd want a crockery and glass-
ware department in your big store. You *re
aiming to make it a store for women, are n't
you ? "

" Just the thing ! " cried Grannon, jump-
ing up. " If you just stick by me with your
suggestions, I '11 organize this town from
top to bottom ; I '11 hit Knight and Brown-
ell so hard that they '11 be saying to me,
* Please, mister, won't you be good and go
to Congress from this district ? ' They
want influence, and I '11 give it to them.
And say, Kitty."


" They '11 have to get a new manager
for their millinery department."

" How do you know ? " she demanded.

"Well, I think so."

" Can't you get stock in the company
any other way ? " she asked maliciously,
and then, when he started toward her,
quickly disappeared into the workroom.

Grannon assumed a different tone with
Telford, the crockery man. It was quite

immaterial to him, he said, whether Tel-
ford went into the scheme or not Of
course they would have such a depart-
ment, anyway, and he was merely giving
Telford a chance to get in on the ground
floor. After due reflection Telford decided
to go in. So did Billings, the toy and con-
fectionery man, and Grannon convinced
Dillingham & Thurber of the advisability
of rearranging the consolidation on this

About this time Brownell and Knight
woke up. The former was losing some of
his private practice and the latter began
to see trouble ahead. They watched the
first consolidation silently, anticipating a
slip somewhere ; but none came. Indeed,
the venture was so successful that a con-
solidation fever attacked many of the mer-
chants of the town, and rumor had it that
Grannon was busy with a plan to put the
businesses of a ready-made clothing dealer,
a tailor, a haberdasher, and a hatter under
one roof and one management. But the
thing that worried them most was the
clever way he divided the shoe business
of Brown & Calkins. Brown, with the
women's and children's shoes, was ab-
sorbed by one company, and Calkins, with
the men's and youth's shoes, joined the
other. That was a business feat that
showed ability of a high order. Brown &
Calkins had been among the best of Brown-
ell's cHents before, too.

" I don't believe I care to be city attor-
ney another term," said Brownell. " Per-
haps you 'd better offer it to Grannon. If
he '11 agree to give it his imdivided atten-
tion, as he wished to do before, it may be
a good thing."

" Suppose you offer it to him," suggested
Knight, after a moment of thought

So Brownell ascended to Grannon's
office and offered him the nomination.

"I don't believe I care for it," said
Grannon, coolly. " As between your ofl5cial
business and your private practice I 've
decided that I 'd rather have the latter.
You had the chance to divide it the other
way once, you know."

Brownell argued, threatened, and then
pleaded, but it was no use. He pointed
out that a few of the strong and dis-
gruntled ones, by a concerted effort, could
smash at least one of the companies.
They could get the financial backing to
start some independent shops in the old

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locations and run them at an actual loss
as long as might be necessary to kill the
correq>on(iing features of the consohdated

"WhCTe will you get that backing?"
asked Grannon.

"We will be strong enough to get it
frcwn-either of the banks," replied BrownelL

"My dear sir," returned Grannon, " I
am now busy drawing up the necessary
papers for the consolidation of the only
two banks here. I pointed out to the di-
rectors one or two recent consoUdations
of this sort in New York and Chicago, and
convinced them that one real strong bank
was better and more profitable than two of
only moderate resources. I am to have a
block of the stock and be general counsel
of the new institution, and I think I can
speak for the directors in ssLying that we
should not care to advance money for any
such shaky enterprise as you propose."

" Are you going to be general counsel
to the whole city?" exclaimed Brownell.

"Perhaps," replied Grannon. "Would
you like a job as office manager ? "

Brownell was too angry to reply to this,
but he hastened to inform Knight that the
situation was serious. Knight, however,
had made this discovery himself, for the
time had come to renew some of the in-
surance and his clerk had failed to make
the necessary arrangements. The clerk
had been referred to Grannon, and Gran-
non had intimated that he did not care to
do business with an assistant.

" I wonder what he 's up to," growled

"You '11 have to go to him to find out,"
said Brownell.

So Knight, even as Grannon had pre-
dicted, also ascended to Grannon's office
and awaited Grannon's pleasure in an

" I came to see you about that fire-in-
surance," he said, when he was finally
admitted to the private office.

" I have charge of that detail for all my
companies, of course," Grannon retiuned
carelessly. " Naturally, in the consolida-
tions we merely readjusted existing policies
and let them nm, but I have decided to
make new arrangements as the old ones
expire. I don't think I can place any more
through you."

" Why not ? " ask^d Knight, anxiously,
for this meant a great deal to him.

"Frankly," rephed Grannon, with en-
gaging candor, " you are hurting yourself
by devoting so much time to politics. Of
course the stability of the companies you
represent is in no way affected by your
individual actions, but business men Uke to
do business with business men. That 's the
way I feel about it It looks like neglect
when we have to deal with a clerk — as if
our affairs were not receiving the attention
they deserve. You 've got a paying thing
there if you only give your time to it"

The coolness and effrontery of this prop-
osition took Knight's breath away.

"Do you mean," he cried, "that my
retirement from politics is the price you
ask for your business ? "

" Oh, I *m asking no price at all," re-
plied Grannon. " To be successful in busi-
ness you must have business influence;
political influence won't do— at least in
this case. When you 've got yoiu' influence.
Knight, come bacL That 's what you told
me to do once."

" Do you think you own this town ? "
demanded Knight

"Not yet," answered Grannon, "but
I 'm gradually consolidating it. Possibly
you 've noticed that this consolidation idea
has taken a strong hold on the people and
that they seem to regard me as the only
man with the necessary experience and
influence to adjust matters satisfactorily.
That 's what counts. Knight— experience
and influence. You ought to lay in a

Knight retired, angry and crestfallen;
and the next day there was a consultation
of politicians. Grannon was becoming so
big a man that he was dangerous politi-
cally. Aside from his commercial strength,
—or perhaps because of it, — he was re-
garded as a man of wonderful judgment.
His opinion carried weight If he chose
to enter politics he would have the follow-
ing that meteoric success always brings,
and the industries with which he was al-
hed added to his power. He would have
to be placated ; but how ?

" I think," said one of the men who had
been called into the conference because
his business influence had a certain value,
although he had no direct interest in poli-
tics — " I think you 'd better let me retire
from this conference, for I am not in a
position to be a disinterested judge. You
see, Grannon has got hold of a fellow who

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has been making a new cereal food on a
small scale, and he has convinced me that
there is enough in it, so that we are going
to take him into our grocery firm after
consolidating with Trainor's butcher-shop.
We will supply about everything in the
line of food, in addition to which we hope
to make an exceptionally good thing of
the new cereal product. All it requires is
pushing, and we have secured the neces-
sary capital. The papers were signed

" Has Grannon got his finger in any
more pies ? " demanded Knight, hotly.

" Several, I understand," was the reply.
" I think he has about succeeded in bring-
ing the Smith Furniture Company, Hack-
ley's sawmill, Marshall's varnish plant,
and Dixon, who owns extensive timber
lands, together, and there is talk of adding
a wagon factory. I know he has been
working on this for some time, and I un-
derstand it is about settled. I think, per-
haps, you 'd better find out just what he

The others thought so, too, so a dele-
gation waited upon Grannon to urge him
to heed the call of his enthusiastic fellow-
citizens and kindly sacrifice his private
interests for the public good. They offered
him the mayoralty.

" Don't want it," said Grannon.

" But the city needs the services of men
of your distinguished ability," urged the
delegation. " We all owe something to the

" I 'm glad you *ve found it out," said
Grannon. " Heretofore you seem to have
gone on the theory that the city owed
something to you, and you 've been col-
lecting it, with interest. Just now the city
needs a good business man, rather than a
politician, for mayor."

"Just what we 've been saying."

" Well, you pick out such a man— make
up your whole ticket, in fact, and then
bring it to me for approval. And, by the
way, don't bother Knight with the details.
He 's going to retire from politics for a
while to gain a little business experience
and influence. It 's a mighty necessary
thing, is influence."

They turned towanl Knight for explana-
tion, and he knew he had come to the part-

ing of the ways. It would have to be
business or politics ; it could not be both.

"Yes," he said, with great apparent
frankness ; " I have neglected my private
business long enough in the interests of
the city."

" Besides," added Grannon, " continued
power makes men autocratic and unrea-
sonably greedy. Machines have to be
smashed and bosses overthrown occasion-
ally, just to make conditions bearable."

" But what Ao you want ? " they asked.

" Gentlemen," he replied, " I aspire to
no higher office than that of general coun-
sel. I Ve discovered that that is about as
big and powerful a position as there is to
be had these days. He may not loom up
like some of the other officials, but you '11
find that you Ve got to deal with the gen-
eral counsel in pretty nearly all the big
affairs of the business world. Just remem-
ber that, please."

When they had retired he laughed. He
also laughed when he called to see Kitty
that evening.

" They wanted influence," he said, " and
I 've given it to them ; but I intend to use
it mighty little— just enough to show them
what a fellow can do who keeps up to date
and studies modem conditions and meth-
ods instead of following ancient precedent.
Influence must be used enough to keep it
from getting rusty, but not enough to wear
it out. Politicians, on the contrary, usually
wear it out"

" Well, you can take it easy now," she
remarked. " I guess there 's nothing left to

"On the contrary," he replied, taking
her hand, " the time has come for the most
important consolidation of all. You know
what it is, Kitty, and you once said, you
know, that when we were able to—"

" Oh, but I 'm afraid of you now," she
demiured playfully. "You 've become
such an autocrat."

" Oh, no," he urged ; " I 'm only general
counsel, and that 's all that I want to be,
even in the home."

" I suppose," she returned, \%*ith a pretty
pretense of doubt, " that I could n't get a
better general counsel."

And then— But this is not a love-story,
so let that piiss.

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Author of *• Abner Daniel," " The Georgians," etc

work in his corn-patch near
the main- traveled road. It
was about ten o'clock in
the morning, and since sun-
rise he had been fighting
the tenacious crab-grass that threatened to
choke out his promising crop. He had
paused to rest, and was leaning against the
rail fence when a couple passed. The
woman was about thirty years of age, her
companion a beardless boy of nineteen or

Immediately in their wake was a little
old woman, shght and stooped, in a plain
gingham dress and sunbonnet of like ma-
terial. Catching the genial glance of the
old man, she paused and stood for a mo-
ment, her wistful eyes on the receding

"I 'm at my wits' end, Brother Daniel,"
she said, with a sigh. " You see the antics
o' them two? Well, it 's been goin' on
now fer three months ; it begun at the Big
Bethel Christmas tree, when she put on a

handkerchief fer him. That turned his
head; he hain't hardly let 'er out o' his
sight sence then. He growed from child
to man betwixt two suns."

Abner nodded thoughtfully. " You mean
Leon an' Sally Hawkes ? " he said. " Yes,
it 's the talk o' the neighborhood, Mrs.
Waynright ; it shorely is a peculiar sort of
an attachment ; she is plenty old enough to
'a' nussed *im. I '11 bet she was settin' 'er
cap fer beaus when he was born, 'lliinkin'
o' that 'u'd make some fellers ashamed to
act that a- way ; but, as apt as not, Leon
don't study about it. Somehow, I kin ex-
cuse it in 'im better 'n in her, 'ca'se she 's
old enough to know better."
► The woman sighed again. " Brother
Daniel, sometimes 1 think I 've had more
put on me 'n my share in this world. I 've
had three boys besides this un, an' ev'ry
last one of 'em give me trouble along at
Leon's age."

" About women ? " said Abner.

"Yes; it looks like it runs in the blood
—not in mine, thank the Lord ! fer I wish

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narry woman had ever been made ; but all
o' my boys no sooner got pants on an* a
dab o' fuzz on the'r lips than they made a
dead run fer the fust woman in sight, an'
many they would in spite o* all possessed."

"An' not one o* the lot married well,
I 've heard," was the old man's sympathetic

" Not one," said Mrs. Waynright. " The
two oldest jest stuck to it long enough to
sorter feel tied down to responsibilities, an'
they went off an' left the'r wives high an'
dry. Jim 's still livin' with hisn, but I cry
my eyes out ever' time I see 'im pass:
looks like he hain't got a thing to Hve fer.
When a man leaves his fireside an' loves
to come an' set around his old mammy's
house, like Jim does, he hain't got no para-
dise under his own roof. Ef he 'd 'a' had
children, it mought *a' been better. I did
think I could show Leon the mistakes of
his brothers, an' make 'im do better. I 've
talked it to 'im sence he was old enough
to understand anything, but you see how
little weight it had with 'im."

" Why don't you go to headquarters an*
call a halt ? " asked the farmer.

"You mean to Sally? Well, I did go
over thar, but somehow she gits around the
question. She jest looks sorter ashamed an'
keeps wantin' to talk about other things.
Then I 'm dead sorry fer 'er. I 'm sorry
fer any woman that 's as crazy fer atten-
tion as she is. You see, she hain't never
had a bit o' luck in the man line, an' it
looks like she 's got rebellious an' has
determined to show folks that she kin

" What 's the boy have to say ? " asked

" Oh, he talks as big as a railroad presi-
dent; he talks jest the same foolishness
that his brothers did: he was doin' the
marryin'— nobody else had a thing to do
with it. That 's what hurts so. Ef I could
jest git the pore simple boy out of her
clutches a month, I believe I could open
his eyes. Sometimes I try to git resigned
an' argue with myse'f that maybe his case-
will turn out better 'n the rest; an' then
ag'in, when I see my pore baby boy with
that old maid out in public, I jest give up,

" We must simply bust it up, Mrs. Wayn-
right," said Abner, firmly. " We must bust
it up ; that 's all thar is about it."

"I wish you would help me. Brother

Daniel. But I see 'im comin' back this
way ; I '11 walk on."

A moment after she had gone, Leon
Waynright came along spryly, cutting the
dog-fennel with his walking-stick. Abner
leaned over the fence toward him. '** Ah,
ha ! " exclaimed the old man. " I seed you
pass along with Sally Hawkes jest now—
leastwise, it looked like her."

" Yes, that was her," said the boy, a grati-
fied expression on his face. " I was takin*
'er home from Mrs. Spriggs's quiltin'."

"I '11 bet my hat I know what you
wanted to see her about," smiled the de-
signing old man. " One o' the young men
— the growed-up men, I mean — sent you
with some word fer 'er. When I was yore
age I used to pick up a lots o' odd dimes
takin' notes an' messages fer young men to
the gals. A few years from now you '11 be
hirin' boys to \i€^you out. You must hear
a lots o' funny things. I 'd give a purty to
be nigh Sally Hawkes when she got word
from some man or other. She 's waited a
long time ; I reckon a thing like that 'u'd
tickle 'er to death."

The boy frowned darkly. This method
of the old man was too adroit and subtle
for his comprehension ; he felt that it was
opposition, and yet he had not the courage
to meet it as that.

" I don't know what you mean," the boy
said. " I don't tote notes fer nobody."

" I reckon they sent word, then,' said
Daniel, looking away in well-assumed ab-
straction ; " but, on second thought, I hardly
reckon anybody is thinkin' seriously o'
courtin' Sally; you know she 's been a
drug on the market a long time. I wonder
ef she ever told you about her 'n' that tin-
peddler. She told me about it— that was
away back when you was in frocks. Sally
an' the peddler had up a' awful case ; they
was goin' to git married an' open up a tin-
shop in Darley, but a man come along an'
reported that the peddler had a wife al-
ready, an' the skunk changed his route.
Lawsy me! how Sally did take on! We
heard 'er cryin' clean to the sugar-mill."

" I don't believe one word of it," said
the boy, angrily. " She told me she never
had had a sweetheart in 'er life."

" Maybe she meant she never had helt
,on to one," said Abner. "She certainly
has had awful luck. I reckon she 's passed
the line now an' would n't marry nobody."

" She 's goin' to marry me," said the

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Drawn by Grainille Smith. Malf-tone |tl.\te eiigra\c«.i by R. C. Collins


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boy, pale and excited. "She 's goin* to "I hain't goin' to stand here an' h'sten
marry me,— that 's who she 's goin' to to you, sir," blustered the youth. " I won't
marry." put up with it from nobody."

Drawn by Granville Smith. Half-tone plate cntfraved by F. H. Wellington


" Oh, you say she is. Well, that will cer- " Well, I would n't," said Daniel ; " I

tainly be some'n' to look forward to. They would n't. Ef I was you, my boy, I 'd

tell me we are goin' to have a circus in the marry all the old maids in the settlement,

fall, too." ^"' SO about^fightin' fer 'em."

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" You are jest meddlin* with my busi-
ness," said Leon, and he turned and
walked away.

"I hit 'im purty hard," the old man
mused, as he turned back to his hoe ; " but
I had to— I jest had to: that boy's mam-
my has had enough to bear. By gum!
I 'm sorry fer Sally, too ; but marryin' this
boy would n't better her in the least."

Abner finished the corn-row he was on
and then went into the farm-house, put
on his black alpaca coat, and walked to
the cross-roads store, half a mile down the
dusty road, near the swift-flowing moun-
tain creek. The store was a narrow, one-
story frame-building, with a parapet in
front on which was painted a big sign per-
taining to the purchase of all kinds of
country produce and the sale of general
merchandise at the lowest ca.sh or credit

Sim Leghorn, a bachelor about thirty-
five years of age, owned the store. He
was of medium height, had a patient, con-
fiding face, and wore better clothing than
the farmers in the vicinity, the reason for
this being that he came more in touch
with the outer world in his occasional trips
to Atlanta to purchase stock. Then, too,
he met and had frequent conversations
with the traveling salesmen who drove out
from the railroad seeking his patronage.

Abner went into the store, helped him-
self to a plug of tobacco behind the coun-
ter, tossed a dime on to the show-case, and
seated himself in one of the heavy hide-
bottomed chairs. Sim stood in front of him ;
he wore no coat, and thrust his thumbs
under his suspenders and smiled.

" Seed Leon Waynright pass with Sally
Hawkes jest now," he laughed. "He
stepped in to buy 'er some red candy.
Folks say they railly are goin* to make a
marry of it."

" Certainly looks that a- way," responded
Daniel as he took out his knife and began
to cut a triangular bit of tobacco from the
plug he had bought.

"They say Leon's ma 's mighty nigh
distracted over it," said the storekeeper.
"Well, it looks like she *s reason fer it.
Every son she 's got made a plumb idiot
of hisse'f at Leon's age."

" A case o' premature big head," said
the farmer. " Mrs. Waynright was talkin'
to me about it jest now, an' I promised to
try to influence the boy. But he 's beyond

me : he knows it all, includin' Sally Hawkes
an' womenkind in general; he 's a man,

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