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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 220 pages of information about The Card, a Story of Adventure in the Five Towns.
“The recent sensational burglary at Sneyd Hall has drawn attention to the magnificent state apartments of that unique mansion.  As very few but the personal friends of the family are allowed a glimpse of these historic rooms, they being of course quite closed to the public, we have thought that some account of them might interest the readers of the Signal.  On the occasion of our last visit...,” etc.

He left out nothing of their splendour.

The article was quoted as far as Birmingham in the Midlands Press.  People recalled Denry’s famous waltz with the Countess at the memorable dance in Bursley Town Hall.  And they were bound to assume that the relations thus begun had been more or less maintained.  They were struck by Denry’s amazing discreet self-denial in never boasting of them.  Denry rose in the market of popular esteem.  Talking of Denry, people talked of the Universal Thrift Club, which went quietly ahead, and they admitted that Denry was of the stuff which succeeds and deserves to succeed.

But only Denry himself could appreciate fully how great Denry was, to have snatched such a wondrous victory out of such a humiliating defeat!

His chin slowly disappeared from view under a quite presentable beard.  But whether the beard was encouraged out of respect for his mother’s sage advice, or with the object of putting the housekeeper of Sneyd Hall off the scent, if she should chance to meet Denry, who shall say?

CHAPTER VII

THE RESCUER OF DAMES

I

It next happened that Denry began to suffer from the ravages of a malady which is almost worse than failure—­namely, a surfeit of success.  The success was that of his Universal Thrift Club.  This device, by which members after subscribing one pound in weekly instalments could at once get two pounds’ worth of goods at nearly any large shop in the district, appealed with enormous force to the democracy of the Five Towns.  There was no need whatever for Denry to spend money on advertising.  The first members of the club did all the advertising and made no charge for doing it.  A stream of people anxious to deposit money with Denry in exchange for a card never ceased to flow Into his little office in St Luke’s Square.  The stream, indeed, constantly thickened.  It was a wonderful invention, the Universal Thrift Club.  And Denry ought to have been happy, especially as his beard was growing strongly and evenly, and giving him the desired air of a man of wisdom and stability.  But he was not happy.  And the reason was that the popularity of the Thrift Club necessitated much book-keeping, which he hated.

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