This man, acknowledged by her father to be one of the cleverest in the business world, said that she was an "inspiration" to him. Could this be possible! This, then, was what Eleanor had meant, this was woman's mission. But still, she insisted to herself, she would rather be the recipient than the giver. As Covington left the room Gorham turned to Alice.
"Didn't Harris show you that list?" "Yes; but that was some days ago." "You've unloaded, eh? That won't help you any. We'll find out who's got it." "You need not take any trouble about the matter, as I am quite ready to give you the necessary information. Miss Gorham now holds the shares." "Gorham's daughter?" queried Harris. "Does he know it?"
His jesting equanimity was rarely disturbed; consequently, everybody felt the importance of his testimony. "I'm sorry to be so completely in the minority," said Gorham, "but that's the way the matter strikes me. I don't think you quite catch my point, though, Caspar," he added, glancing at Mr. Green. At a less heated moment the company, with the possible exception of Mrs.
"They will still cost the Companies 'something over two millions," shouted Brady, "and the public be damned." "Our slogan is, 'The public be pleased," smiled Gorham. "The offer of the Consolidated Companies will hold for twenty-four hours only," he continued, rising. "The franchise, you will perhaps remember, grants full privileges for the construction of further subway connections.
This was why, when Alice asked her later, in their apartment, "Don't you think Allen needs a little of that 'inspiration' you spoke of?" she had kissed the girl, and answered without hesitation, "Yes, dear; and you are just the one to give it to him." "Then this is my chance to enter business by proxy?" Alice asked again; and Mrs. Gorham, smiling quietly to herself, had answered, "Perhaps."
Gorham closed his eyes involuntarily as he ceased speaking, still standing before his associates. A single tremor passed over his face, and then it was as impassive as before. With a bow as courteous as it was impressive, he left the room. When Covington entered Gorham's office an hour later he found his chief bowed forward on his desk, his head resting upon his hands.
Covington change the entire policy of the Companies if he came into control?" he asked, significantly. "No," Gorham replied, firmly. "In the first place, if he gained control, he would have no desire to change it; in the second, my Executive Committee is made up of men of too high principle to permit him or any other man to operate the Companies upon other than a proper basis."
"Don't you know enough already to understand why I could never live through it?" Gorham urged no further and caressed her gently, yet there was an expression of distinct disappointment in his face. "There must be no trial," he said, firmly. "You shall be shielded from that and from everything else which threatens to bring you sorrow. You must leave it all in my hands."
This in no way reflected upon its management, but it was too trifling an enterprise for the Consolidated Companies to retain. Covington was enthusiastic in his reports to Mr. Gorham regarding Alice's proficiency and natural ability along business lines.
As Allen made no reply and showed no inclination to leave, Gorham wondered if he had still anything further to say. The boy moved uncomfortably in his chair as the question was asked. "Not regarding the business detail, Mr. Gorham," he replied at length. "Oh, I am all at sea!" he burst out suddenly, his voice trembling with emotion. "I guess business isn't in my line anyhow."