This is very crude and very cynical, but unfortunately it is true.
We always cringe to money; which is humiliating. And the sun always rises at an hour when sensible people are abed and have not the least need for its services; which is foolish. And what you and I, my dear madam, are to do about rectifying either one of these vexatious circumstances, I am sure I don’t know.
We can, at least, be honest. Let us, then, console ourselves at will with moral observations concerning the number of pockets in a shroud and the difficulty of a rich man’s entering into the kingdom of Heaven; but with an humble and reverent heart, let us admit that, in the world we know, money rules. Its presence awes us. And if we are quite candid we must concede that we very unfeignedly envy and admire the rich; we must grant that money confers a certain distinction on a man, be he the veriest ass that ever heehawed a platitude, and that we cannot but treat him accordingly, you and I.
You are friendly, of course, with your poor cousins; you are delighted to have them drop in to dinner, and liberal enough with the claret when they do; but when the magnate comes, there is a magnum of champagne, and an extra lamp in the drawing-room, and—I blush to write it—a far more agreeable hostess at the head of the table. Dives is such good company, you see. And speaking for my own sex, I defy any honest fellow to lay his hand upon his waistcoat and swear that it doesn’t give him a distinct thrill of pleasure to be seen in public with a millionaire. Daily we truckle in the Eagle’s shadow—the shadow that lay so heavily across Selwoode. With the Eagle himself and with the Eagle’s work in the world—the grim, implacable, ruthless work that hourly he goes about—our little comedy has naught to do; Schlemihl-like, we deal but in shadows. Even the shadow of the Eagle is a terrible thing—a shadow that, as Felix Kennaston has told you, chills faith, and charity, and independence, and kindliness, and truth, and—alas—even common honesty.
But this is both cynical and digressive.
Dr. Jeal, better than his word, had Billy Woods out of bed in five days. To Billy they were very long and very dreary days, and to Margaret very long and penitential ones. But Colonel Hugonin enjoyed them thoroughly; for, as he feelingly and frequently observed, it is an immense consolation to any man to reflect that his home no longer contains “more damn’ foolishness to the square inch than any other house in the United States.”
On all sides they sought for Cock-eye Flinks. But they never found him, and to this day they have never found him. The Fates having played their pawn, swept it from the board, and Cock-eye Flinks disappeared in Clotho’s capacious pocket.
All this time the young people saw nothing of one another. On this point Jeal was adamantean.