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“He can be an interesting man when he chooses,” Montague responded.

“He is marvellous!” said she. “You look at that lean figure, and the wizened-up old hawk's face, with the white hair all round it, and you'd think that he was in his dotage. But when he talks—I don't wonder men obey him!”

“They obey him!” said Montague. “No mistake about that! There is not a man in Wall Street who could live for twenty-four hours if old Dan Waterman went after him in earnest.”

“How in the world does he do it?” asked Lucy. “Is he so enormously rich?”

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“It is not the money he owns,” said Montague; “it's what he controls. He is master of the banks; and no man can take a step in Wall Street without his knowing it if he wants to. And he can break a man's credit; he can have all his loans called. He can swing the market so as to break a man. And then, think of his power in Washington! He uses the Treasury as if it were one of his branch offices.”

“It seems frightful,” said Lucy. “And that old man—over eighty! I'm glad that I met him, at any rate.”

She paused, seeing Stanley Ryder in the doorway. He was evidently looking for her. He took her in to dinner; and every now and then, when Montague stole a glance at her, he saw that Ryder was monopolising her attention.

After dinner they adjourned to the music-room, and Ryder played a couple of Chopin's Nocturnes. He never took his eyes from Lucy's face while he was playing. “I declare,” remarked Betty Wyman in Montague's hearing, “the way Stanley Ryder makes love at the piano is positively indecent.”

Montague dodged several invitations to play cards, and deliberately placed himself at Lucy's side for the evening. And when at last Stanley Ryder had gone away in disgust to the smoking-room, he turned to her and said, “Lucy, you must let me speak to you about this.”

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“I don't mind your speaking to me, Allan,” she said; with a feeble attempt at a smile.

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“But you must pay attention to me,” he protested. “You really don't know the sort of man you are dealing with, or what people think about him.”

She sat in silence, biting her lip nervously, while Montague told her, as plainly as he could, what Ryder's reputation was. All that she could answer was, “He is such an interesting man!”

“There are many interesting men,” said he, “but you will never meet them if you get people talking about you like this.”

Lucy clasped her hands together.

“Allan,” she exclaimed, “I did my best to persuade him not to come out here. And you are right. I will do what you say—I will have nothing to do with him, honestly. You shall see! It's his own fault that he came, and he can find somebody else to entertain him while he's here.”

“I wish that you would tell him plainly, Lucy,” said Montague. “Never mind if he gets angry. Make him understand you—once for all.”

“I will—I will!” she declared.

And Montague judged that she carried out her promise quickly, for the rest of the evening Ryder gave to entertaining the company. About midnight Montague chanced to look into the library, and he saw the president of the Gotham Trust in the midst of a group which was excitedly discussing divorce. “Marriage is a sin for which the church refuses absolution!” he heard Stanley Ryder exclaiming.