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- Northern Lights, Volume 2. - 15/15 -


"You never told him, then--you never told him that?" asked the old man.

"I wanted him to win without it," she said. "If he won, he would be the stronger; if he lost, it would not be so hard for him to bear."

The old man drew her down and kissed her cheek. He chuckled, though the tears were still in his eyes. "You are a wonder--the tenth wonder of the world!" he declared.

Jim stood staring at the bundle in Nancy's hands. "Five millions--five million dollars!"--he kept saying to himself.

"I said Nancy's worth ten times that, Jim." The old man caught his hand and pressed it. "But it was a damned near thing, I tell you," he added. "They tried to break me and my railways and my bank. I had to fight the combination, and there was one day when I hadn't that five million dollars there, nor five. Jim, they tried to break the old man. And if they'd broken me, they'd have made me out a scoundrel to her--to this wife of yours who risked everything for both of us, for both of us, Jim; for she'd given up the world to save you, and she was playing like a soul in Hell for Heaven. If they'd broken me, I'd never have lifted my head again. When things were at their worst I played to save that five millions,--her stake and mine,--I played for that. I fought for it as a man fights his way out of a burning house. And I won--I won. And it was by fighting for that five millions I saved fifty--fifty millions, son. They didn't break the old man, Jim. They didn't break him--not much."

"There are giants in the world still," said Jim, his own eyes full. He knew now his father and himself, and he knew the meaning of all the bitter and misspent life of the old days. He and his father were on a level of understanding at last.

"Are you a giant?" asked Nancy, peering up into her grandfather's eyes.

The old man laughed, then sighed. "Perhaps I was once, more or less, my dear--" saying to her what he meant for the other two. "Perhaps I was; but I've finished. I'm through. I've had my last fight."

He looked at his son. "I pass the game on to you, Jim. You can do it. I knew you could do it as the reports came in this year. I've had a detective up here for four years. I had to do it. It was the devil in me.

"You've got to carry on the game, Jim; I'm done. I'll stay home and potter about. I want to go back to Kentucky, and build up the old place, and take care of it a bit-your mother always loved it. I'd like to have it as it was when she was there long ago. But I'll be ready to help you when I'm wanted, understand."

"You want me to run things--your colossal schemes? You think--?"

"I don't think. I'm old enough to know."

ETEXT EDITOR'S BOOKMARKS:

I don't think. I'm old enough to know Knew when to shut his eyes, and when to keep them open Nothing so popular for the moment as the fall of a favourite That he will find the room empty where I am not The temerity and nonchalance of despair


Northern Lights, Volume 2. - 15/15

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