to whatever I choose to say. I tell you your party is rotten and filled with grafters, and instead of flying into a rage you hum and haw and admit there is a great deal in what I say. And why? Because Im famous; because Ive a lot of money. Not because Im Martin Eden, a pretty good fellow and not particularly a fool. I could tell you the moon is made of green cheese and you would subscribe to the notion, at least you would not repudiate it, because Ive got dollars, mountains of them. And it was all done long ago; it was work performed, I tell you, when you spat upon me as the dirt under your feet.
But Martin did not shout out. The thought gnawed in his brain, an unceasing torment, while he smiled and succeeded in being tolerant. As he grew silent, Bernard Higginbotham got the reins and did the talking. He was a success himself, and proud of it. He was self-made. No one had helped him. He owed no man. He was fulfilling his duty as a citizen and bringing up a large family. And there was Higginbothams Cash Store, that monument of his own industry and ability. He loved Higginbothams Cash Store as some men loved their wives. He opened up his heart to Martin, showed with what keenness and with what enormous planning he had made the store. And he had plans for it, ambitious plans. The neighborhood was growing up fast. The store was really too small. If he had more room, he would be able to put in a score of labor-saving and money-saving improvements. And he would do it yet. He was straining every effort for the day when he could buy the adjoining lot and put up another two-story frame building. The upstairs he could rent, and the whole ground-floor of both buildings would be Higginbothams Cash Store. His eyes glistened when he spoke of the new sign that would stretch clear across both buildings.
Martin forgot to listen. The refrain of Work performed, in his own brain, was drowning the others clatter. The refrain maddened him, and he tried to escape from it.
How much did you say it would cost? he asked suddenly.
His brother-in-law paused in the middle of an expatiation on the business opportunities of the neighborhood. He hadnt said how much it would cost. But he knew. He had figured it out a score of times.
At the way lumber is now, he said, four thousand could do it.
Including the sign?
I didnt count on that. Itd just have to come, onct the buildin was there.
And the ground?
Three thousand more.
He leaned forward, licking his lips, nervously spreading and closing his fingers, while he watched Martin write a check. When it was passed over to him, he glanced at the amount-seven thousand dollars.
I I cant afford to pay more than six per cent, he said huskily.
Martin wanted to laugh, but, instead, demanded:-
How much would that be?
Lemme see. Six per cent six times seven four hundred an twenty.
That would be thirty-five dollars a month, wouldnt it?
Then, if youve no objection, well arrange it this way. Martin glanced at Gertrude. You can have the principal to keep for yourself, if youll use the thirty-five dollars a month for cooking and washing and
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