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producer or carrier to go beyond a cer. painted and frescoed and gilded and tain mark, and to that extent he is upholstered it until it's quite showy; bound to give protection. Sometimes but I shouldn't care to live there myhe overreaches himself, but it carries its self. It's too bad about Morrison's own cure. Waiving the ethics of the building.” matter, you know that no responsible “Hasn't the city a building inspector business man goes into a scheme which to look after these things?” he knows is going to kill people. He “Oh, Rankin!” Wilmot laughed a understands the reaction."
little. “Larrabee got him his appoint“Which was just my friend's point.” ment,” he volunteered. “However, it's The president smiled genially as he no business of mine."
"No business scheme actually contemplates the taking of human life; Larrabee had not seen the afternoon's it simply overlooks it entirely. It Times, but he bought one as he went doesn't enter, so to speak, into the out into the chillp dusk. He always specifications. Well, gentlemen, my bought the opposition papers; they kept sermon is finished. I am now going to him posted on what his enemies were risk my personal safety on one of Wil- up to. mot's cars, and if I lose a leg or two, I It was late, but he would go down to shall prove this argument in court." his dingy little office before going home.
Larrabee left them—he was always He squeezed on the rear platform of a the first out—and as the president cross-town car, braced his legs for corturned to follow, Wilmot looked over ners with ease of long habit and took at him with twinkling eyes.
out his paper. He was enjoying him“Have you seen this afternoon's self now. In the directors' room of the Times?"
Cornhill Bank he felt smothered; but “No. What's in it?"
here he was elbowing his own kind. “Well, I didn't think you had, when Two or three columns he skimmed you began your exposition on negligible over quickly in the dimming light; then quantities. You know Larrabee is in his jaw settled into hardness, his bright the City Hall Ring, and the Times little eyes narrowed into two sharply lines up with the opposition. It comes peering slits. The fighter in Larrabee out with a column article about a new was coming out. Presently he dropped scraper he is putting up for Morrison off the car as it slowed down, and went on Forty-second, next to the Berwick, into a shabby office building. and it more than hints that he has Five stories up was the office of inched on the specifications until it “John P. Larrabee, Contractor and doesn't come up to legal requirements Builder.” As Larrabee entered it his for safety. Then it raps the Berwick clerk, just ready to leave, hesitated exand calls it ‘a rotted eight-story fire- pectantly, but the contrator shook his trap.' The Berwick belongs to Lar- head. rabee, you know."
“No, I don't want you." “No, I did not know," The old He sat down by his desk, waited undirector frowned a little.
til the clerk had gone and pulled the "I thought the Berwick was a pretty telephone toward him. When he got decent hotel,” Atwood ventured cur- his number he gave a little internal iously.
grunt of satisfaction. Building In"Oh, it looks all right, and it com- spector Rankin was in. mands good prices; but I guess it was "Hello! That you, Rankin! This is pretty old when Larrabee bought it, Larrabee. Seen the Times ? diệt cheap, about ten years ago. He has Say, I want to talk to you tonight,
Better come up to my house. Don't When Rankin came Larrabee carried talk until you see me.
Good him off to what he always called the bye.”
"sittin'-room," and shut the door. For A grim little smile twitched at his ten minutes the strong murmur of his mouth as he hung up. His skies were voice rose and fell. clearing. This was action, and action “Now," finished Lararbee, "I want was meat and strong drink to him. He you to go over to the Berwick and the stayed at his desk nearly an hour long- new building. Make a regular official er, deep in a wilderness of figures. inspection, and report. Pay special at.
He ate alone that night. His boy tention to the new building. That's Frank was home from college for the the way to shut those fellows up. As Easter holiday, but he was out some- soon as you're through I'll go to the where for supper—no, dinner. Plain Times people and cram it down their supper had always been good enough throats. for Larrabee, but the boy's friends The Building Inspector cleared his seemed to do things differently. Down own throat and hesitated. He had been somewhere in his tough little knotted in politics long enough to know what muscle of a heart Larrabee nursed a he owed his backers. queer vanity over the “swellness" of “I took a run up there after I got his boy's college friends. Frank should your 'phone, but it was so dark I have the things in life which he him- couldn't see much. Maybe a little bracself had been denied. His wife had ing here and there might show up well. died some years before, but he still kept They've been blasting a couple of his house, with all its speaking ugliness sqares down, and that might have of misspent wealth, for the boy's sake. weakened it. If Morrison should get It was for the same untimate end, un- nervousformulated but insistent, that he had “Fiddlesticks !” The contractor taken an expensive pew in an expensive snapped it out contemptuously. “I'll church and sat stolidly through the be responsible to Morrison. Now see service each Sunday morning, and for here, Rankin, I'm not running any the same reason he lingered after the risk of losing money on buildings that directors' meeting of the Cornhill I put up. If that place isn't safe I'll Bank, listening to conversation which go to work and make it safe. That's he did not always understand. In some business, and you're the man to put me obscure way these things seemed to be a wise about it. But I say it is safe. title of respectability to hand on to the I've been all over the plans again toboy.
night. Guess you've heard somebody Larrabee was no fool. He knew talk." where he stood that with all his mon- He narrowed his sharp eyes at Raney and strength he could not get kin, not ill-naturedly. The Inspector beyond a certain plane. He knew that knew as well as he that Larrabee had while men like Atwood and Gordon “inched” on the specifications in quanwould meet him genially on a business tity and quality as far as he dared, and level, they would as soon think of in- justified himself in it. That, as he viting an East River tugboat to sit at would have said, was business. Rankin their tables. For himself he could snap also knew that what Larrabee said was his fingers at it; but they should not true—that he was not the man to lose despise his son. Frank should be all money by going too far if he knew it. that he was and all that he could not "I questioned the foreman a bit," he hope to be, and thus far the boy had admitted, "and he said that the masons justified his ambition,
have been grumbling lately. They have a notion that she's going to lean before was his boy's classmate; the other the walls are up. Perhaps that's where names he mentioned were of the same the t'imes got it."
social altitude, and they were begging “Damn their notions !” said Larrabee Frank to go with them. His boy was shortly. "Now Rankin, put that as good as any of 'em, and better. He through tomorrow, and we won't for- could buy 'em all out some day, body get you. If you think there's trouble and soul. ahead, come to me first and say so. I'm The son talked on contentedly. It not doing anything foolish if I know seemed odd to him that his father it, but I think she's all right.”
should enjoy these details of his doings,
but since he did, there was no harm in Larrabee was still up when his son telling them. Perhaps some day Larreturned. At the sound of the key in rabee's boy would be ashamed of his the latch he laid down the trade journal father, or--college democracy pasthe had been reading.
would be dropped by these friends of “Hello, dad; you up?"
another life and come to live content"M'm, been busy."
edly enough on the father's plane, but The young man threw his hat and just at present he was simply a healthy, coat at one chair, stretched himself in good-looking youngster with a likable another, and took the cigar his father way about him and only the normal shoved toward him. He was a well set amount of iniquity in his system, and he up youngster, with pleasant gray eyes was content to take the good things that which came from his mother's side, the world offered without asking why. and a strong chin which marked him “The Gordons gave a dinner tonight the son of his father. That was the to Billy and all the men of our class only resemblance that outsiders ever no. who are in town for the holiday. That's ticed between Larrabee and his son. It where I was. Stag? No, mixed. I might develop later, but the advantag- met Tom's sister; she's awfully fine.” es which Larrabee's money had bought He arose and slowly gathered up his for the boy had given him something belongings. “She's going with the parthat the father could never buy for ty tomorrow, and Mrs. Gordon chaphimself. When Larrabee wore a “dress erons it. Tom has a splendid mother, suit” it looked hired; it struck him that and she's mighty kind to all his friends. the boy looked as though he had grown Well, good-night. See you tomorrow into his.
morning. We take the 2:20, and I'll get "Dad, do you mind if I desert you
back in time for another day home befor a few days?"
fore vacation ends." “Do as you please," Larrabee grunt
His father was fumbling in his pocked briefly. "I want you to have a good ets. time.”
"You'll need money,” he suggested. “It's a wedding,” the boy explained. “I left my check-book at the office, but “Billy Cummings-he's Gordon's cous- let me know what you want and I'll in, you know, and graduated last year— leave it there for you.
gone Billy's engaged to a girl out in Chicago, when you get down.” and the wedding comes off Thursday. I
It was his way of expressing approvhadn't intended going, but the boys got al. For a long time after Frank left at me tonight, and I promised. There him he sat there and smoked, deliberwill be quite a party of us going from ating the boy's future. Next year he here, and we'll have a big time.” would take him into the business, or
Larrabee swelled with that silent start him out on a venture of his own. pride as he listened. Old Gordon's boy And in a few years more--.
It happened about two o'clock the “Hurry up!” he snapped. What was next day, one of those windy, violent the fool stuttering about? days when winter grudgingly gives “Your son came in for the letter you way to spring, fighting to the last inch left. I'm afraid-al least, he said he for supremacy. Larrabee's clerk an
must hurry, for he had to catch a train swered the telephone call which an- and was to stop for a friend who was nounced it, and his eyes rounded in dis- staying at the Berwick. That was may. No, Mr. Larrabee was out of twenty minutes of two, and—” town. He had an appointment with Larrabee glared at him from the an architect over in Jersey--no, he doorway. He clenched his fist, half hadn't said where, but he would be back raised it. by four.
“You lie,” he said thickly. The clerk hung up and began to fidget around the room. He looked wor- The fire was out when Larrabee arried. Then he hunted up a time table, rived. The Berwick was two ragged looked it over and fidgeted again. Twice walls above ground and a steaming he started to put on his overcoat, and chaos below. Morrison's new "scraper, took it off. He dared not leave the office
a tall steel skeleton the day before, was now-Larrabee might come in. He went
now a twisted, bewildering heap of to the telephone and called again for
scrap. Men were working on the ruins news. It was bad. He ventured to say already, where they could. An engine what was troubling him. No, they knew
was playing on the hot embers of the nothing about it, but they should not be hotel, and firemen were venturing whersurprised.
ever a beam would hold, but most of It was nearly four when Larrabee the injured—or dead—were down in came. He had secured his contract, and that smouldering pit and might not he was brisk and contented. At the yet be reached. sight of the clerk's perturbed face and The danger zone was roped off, pothe overcoat lying in a heap on the desk
licemen guarding it, and ambulances his brows went up.
stood lined up in readiness. Around “What's wrong?"
the place on three sides the crowd "Well, Mr. Larrabee, it's bad news, surged and pressed, held back only by a but I hope—"
single line of rope and bulky statues in "Well, well, out with it! _Lord, man, blue. Now and then a cry went up as it won't get any better by keeping !" some one guessed at a friend or kindred
“The new building-Morrison's—it in the ruins and struggled to get near. collapsed about two o'clock."
er. Larrabee went inside the inclosure; “Hell !”
Building Inspector Rankin had just Larrabee's wrath exploded in one
been admitted. word. His brows went together, his "Hello--you here!" lips tightened. He jerked his head for The satellite smiled deprecatingly. the man to go on.
He was uneasy, but Larrabee could help “I got it over the 'phone. She fell to him out if he wished. the left and crushed that side of the “Well, I thought I might get a line Berwick, and the hotel took fire. It's on something. It's pretty bad, isn't under control now, but_Mr. Larra- it ?” bee !"
"Sure!” Larrabee grunted impatientLarrabee was going for the door, and ly—he did not like people to waste he looked impatiently over his should- words over the obvious. “Some of these er.
trouble-hunters would like to scare me,” he added harshly, scowling at the of the crowd swelled into a hoarse mursmoking debris. “I've had two or three mur. They held him culpable, him, fools tell me my boy was in the Ber- Larrabee! It was the damned intrusive wick, but he wasn't. He took the 2:20 folly of that paper_lies, lies, all lies! for Chicago."
It was the blasting, the wind. Didn't He said it again, five minutes later, he know how to put up buildings? He to one of the policemen holding back spoke to the officer nearest him, without the crowd. He caught furtive looks moving his head. from those who knew his face, and it “Keep tabs on the hospitals that take rasped him to dull irritation.
the workmen. That's up to me." The crowd surged, craned its neck Another body came down, still anand went into an expectant hush. A other, this one a woman, a charred rag group of workers had concentrated sud- of humanity from the hotel. The mur. denly in one spot and were delving fast, mur of the crowd surged after each yet with delicate care. They brought one. Larrabee leaned against a post up something limp and red stained, and waited. An extra was called with hung arms and dragging legs, and through the street. He bought one, a stretcher from the nearest ambulance read its arraignment of himself with was raced over the precarious footing contemptuously out-thrust lip, and of fallen masonry and twisted steel. frowned at the paragraph which spoke It was one of the workmen, alive, for he of his son. It was a lie. Frank had to groaned faintly as they brought him catch the train. Something that Gordown. The ropes parted to let him out, don had said the day before marched closed again, and the diminishing clang and countermarched through his brain of the ambulance pounded into Larra- in stark procession: “No business bee's brain.
scheme actually contemplates the tak"I've sent a telegram after my boy,” ing of human life; it simply overlooks he said in Rankin's ear, “but he won't it entirely. It does not enter, so to get it before tomorrow."
speak, in the specifications.” Pooh! “That's a good idea." Rankin nodded Gordon was an old fool. and moved off uneasily. He wanted to get away from the restless crowd and The crowd stopped counting as the Larrabee's parrot repetition about his bearers of still burdens came down into son, and he ducked under the rope and the inclosure. Some of these lived; went home. Tomorrow would have its more did not; all were horrible. Larraown reckoning, but Larrabee could see bee watched them with hard, keen eyes him through.
as they were carried past, especially the At the edge of the crowd an old wom
All New York seemed to his an, gray-uaired and frowzed in her fretted nerves to be straining at those strident grief, leveled a thin finger at ropes to claim its dead. Strangled sobs the contractor.
came to him as stretchers went out with “That's him! That's Larrabee!" she what was left of men and women; red shrilled across the inclosure. “Where's eyes and unsteady lips blurred across my Johnny, him as worked for ye? Ye his sharp vision. He took out a telesent him in that hole to work, didn't graph blank and sent another message ye? Now bring him out again.”
after the boy. The accusing finger coiled into a Darkness came, and over the wreck threatening fist; she leaned far over of both buildings lanterns gleamed out, and shrieked hideous revilement at him bobbing here and there. They could and his building; broke into sobs again, not do much more until morning. The and went limp and gasping. The voice mob thinned out, save for those who