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I The Corrector of Destinies Being Tales of Randolph Mason as Related by His Private Secretary, Courtland Parks My Friend at Bridge 0 By Melville Davisson Post Copyright by Edward J. Cloda On the evening of the twenty-thirof December I was one of a party at bridge at the residence of Baron Adolph von Hubert on Eighty-sixt- h street The baron was the American agent of the Berlin banking house of Weissell & Co. The little party on this evening consisted of Madame von Hubert, the baron, Winfield Gerry and myself. Young Gerry, who went everywhere among people of leisure, was taken to be enormously rich. His brother, Marcus Gerry, was certainly one of the wealthiest men in New York. He was the largest stockholder, and financial National dictator, of the Fifty-eightbank. Winfield Gerry was under thirty, a courtly young fellow, almost as hahdsome as a girl. He was extravagant, daring, it was said, and reckless. He had been brought up from boyhood on the continent, I think, and was colored with the Latin temperament. I do not remember ever to have been so fortunate at cards as on this evening. When we arose from the table, I had won $700, of which sum the baron lost two hundred. The remainder was the loss of .Winfield Gerry. I was glad of this distribution of the loss. Young Gerry was reputed an idle young fellow with millions at his finger tips. The baron, keeping his money, like a Teuton, in gold, handed hie ten double-eagles. Mr. Gerry said that he would give me a check at the club, and asked me to ride down town with him in his carriage. We were scarcely seated before he turned to me and said, in a quiet, even voice, as though he were announcing a score: I cant pay you, Mr. Parks. I turned in astonishment to see if he was jesting. The electric light in the carriage showed me a face distressingly drawn and tired. There W'as no pleasantry behind that countenance. The solution came to me instantly. This man, posing as a gentleman, was in fact a cad; he was about to question the regularity of the game, the regularity of a friendly sitting at bridge in the house of such people as the von Huberts. I bristled with indignation. I answered And may I inquire, frigidly, why is it that you cannot pay me, Mr. Gerry? The man did not at once reply. He took a cigarette from his pocket, lighted it and leaned back on the cushions of the carriage, For the best reason in the world, I have at Mr. Parks, he answered; this moment, to be entirely accurate, dolJust two hundred and thirty-eigh- t cents. lars and seventy-fiv- e I was greatly relieved. "My dear sir, I laughed, I do not expect you to carry about a cash drawer. 1 knew an Englishman once whose income was something like a hundred thousand sterling, and who did not have a shilling in his pocket from one years end to the other. I should be glad of your check. I should be glad .of any You are alone there, he said simply. My annoyance returned. I detest I trust, I said, passages at banter. .that you will permit me to understand you. It would be better, I have no doubt, he said, looking me evenly in the face. "I have not intended to he either obscure or facetious. The sum which I have just mentioned represents all the money that I have in the world. My reputation for wealth is thoua mere shell. I owe ninety-fiv- e sand dollars, exclusive of thi3 little debt to you. Stable and tailor hills, various club dues, run fifteen hundred more. I owe twelve hundred in overd h drafts. It is near a hundred thou- sand, you see. Against this, I have perhaps five thousand dollars of personal effects; horses worth thirty-fivhundred and a bundle of worthless stocks. I am beastly poor, atrociously poor, you Bee, Mr. Parks. I listened In astonishment. You will doubtless put me down a cad, he went on, to join a game of bridge when I had not the money to inpay my losses. In fact, I did not tend to play. I called, intending to make my excuses to the baroness and depart. I found this politely impossible, and I Bat down to the table hoping that two hundred dollars would cover my proportion of probable He paused and made a depreloss. It was no Idle fancy cating gesture. of the ancients to picture fortune a woman, I might l)ave known. Then he stopped, stripped oft bis J gloves, took out HIS purse, removed two rings, unhooked a Jewel from his tie, and, before I realized what heI was doing, handed them all to me. arput back his hand. He thrust the ticles into his waistcoat pocket and dropped his hand on his knee. I thank you for the courtesy, he said, but you would mueh better take them. They will presently be listed by the referee in bankruptcy. One Brazilian diamond, two and a half e ' - f - Something the usual platitudes. would turn up In the morning, wealthy 1 friends were in abundance. I men- tioned his brother, Marcus Gerry. He said the name over slowly after Then his lips me, Marcus Gerry. set evenly along his fine, sensitive mouth. But only for a moment. He gave me a swift glance and began to laugh. My brother is all right, you know; but he is a commercial factor. His financial sense is sound. A rotten ship is a rotten ship. The captain of Let it cannot matter a him step down and off, and the hull go to Davy Jones. Pension the captain perhaps, but cut loose from the derelict. Thats Marcus Gerry. Thats the sane view. We were down town now. The carriage was turning into Fifth avenue. The young man touched the drivers button. This is your club, Mr. Parks, I believe," he said. I am obliged by your kindness. Wont you let me give you the gewgaws ? By no means, I answered, getting out of the cab. Please do me the courtesy to forget our game of bridge. He laughed pleasantly. Oh, I shall forget it, thank you. Seafaring folk at Bremen say the cable ought always to read, Der Kapltan ging mit seinem Then he spoke to Schiffe unter. the driver and closed the carriage two-penc- door. I went into the club and got a pony of brandy, a cigar and a chair by the fire. I was greatly sorry for young Gerry. He was an exceedingly pleasant fellow. Still, I could do nothing. I had thought the matter over fully. I could, of course, bring him to Randolph Mason, hut of whatuse was that? There was no balance of injustice to be squared up heie. A reckless young spendthrift, come to the end of his tether, was all. Mason would have that fact out in a twinkle, and close the door in his face. It was out of the question to fool him. He would pick a man like a vulture at a bone till he got to the marrow. I threw the cigar into the fire. Anyway, Marcus Gerry would doubtless pension the captain of the rotten ship. At the worst, he would probably he better off than the most of us. Then I recalled the German sentence. Heinrich, I said to the club stew ard, what is Der Kapitan ging mit seinem Schiffe unter? Der Captain vent down mit his ship, replied the man. A great light came to me. I went over to the table and write on my card, Come to Randolph Mason tomorrow at eleven. The old Field mansion off Broadway, below Wall sti'eet. Then I sent it to his address That would at least by messenger. gain time; and perhaps the hoy would give up the idea of suicide. Then I took another pony of brandy and walked to my lodgings. I was a little late in arriving on Broadway the morning after the game of bridge. As I stopped to open the old iron gate to Randolph Mason's house, Winfield Gerry came across from Wall street and joined me. He and wholesome. looked We entered the house and crossed e drawingthe wide hall to the As I office. an used now for room, threw back the mahogany door, I observed Randolph Mason leaning over the table in the middle of the room. He straightened up, cast a steady, searching glance at young Gerry that ran swiftly over him to his feet, then turned abruptly and walked into the s adjoining room, closing the folding-doorbehind him. WTe entered and young Gerry took a chair by the window. Was that Randolph Mason? he said. that it was. t 1 answrered Until I saw his face, he continued, I could have sworn that it was the greatest surgeon in Europe, lie has Llebachs hands, too. But the resemblance vanished when he looked un. ' This mans lean, sinewy, protruding jaw Is almost a menace. He Is not as gray as Liebach, either; and, besides that, Liebach has, once in a while, something gentle in his face, if they do call him the Wolf, in Munich. This mans face looks metallic, as though it might ring if you struck it. I laughed, tossed him the morning paper, and begged him to excuse me while I ran over the morning mail. I was scarcely seated before lietro appeared, saying that Mr. Mason wished see me. I arose and went into the djolning room. Randolph Mason sat at his table, and ids his elbow on the writing-pachin propped in the hollow of his hand. Before him was a square she t from his memorauda files. He began to volley questions in a voice that snapped like the click of a into it block. Is Wilder acquitted? Yes, I answered; "a per curiam The mandate will opinion yesterday. come down from the Fnlted States circuit court of appeals, Monday. The Atlantic Canadian Securities? Returned out of court, coupons paid up, costs assumed by the syndl - d old-tim- Lie-bac- gun-barr- carats, valued at three hundred dollars. One imitation ruby, valued at valfifty dollars. One baroque pearl, dollars. The very ued at twenty-fivJewelry is mostly sham. I am a rather complete pretense, Mr, Parks. There was little to say, and I said cate. Andre DeRsausure? It with the best grace I could gather e 1 memorandum sheet on the table, folded his arms and stared vacantly at the rows of bookcases lining the walk This was the enemy beyond him. The state department waited a day too long. The little Frenchman had taken to his brazier of charcoal like an impulsive son of the Quartier Latin, and Mason had failed. I seized this opportune mood to get an audience for young Gerry. .Mr. Mason, I said, in the next room is another man booked to the same shipping-point.- " He turned sharply in his chair. Bring him in," he said. I opened the door and requested the young man to come into this private office, although I had little hope that Randolph Mason would even hear his history to the end. I had no hope of his assistance for young Gerry; his case had none of the elements of uncorrected injustice, bringig it within Masons zone of interest. I expected to see Mason search him mercilessly for a moment, and then drop him as a prospector would a spurious nugget. Young Gerry entered and remained standing by one of the bookcases near the table. Mason looked at him carefully for a moment; then he said, 'How mueh do you owe? Winfield Gerry glanced quizzically; at me. I reassured him wfih a nod and he answered, In round numbers, one hundred thousand dollars. ' For what? said money, replied Gerry. For what? Mason repeated. The young man hesitated; then lie said, I am thought to he rather reckless where money matters are concerned. Horses that are not fast "Dead, I replied. At the word, Mason turned over the 1 came here with no such plan. I came, in fact, merely to pit in the morning. There was something sinister In the way he spoke of the morning like a convicted prisoner, coming up to be sentenced at the afternoon sitting of a court. Where is this man, Egan Bedford? said Randolph Mason. Winfield Gerry lifted his face in You surely know Egan surprise. Bedford, he said; he Is the richest broker in Boston. Egan Bedford & Co. is the firm name; but there is no firm and no company, its all Egan Bedford. He posed a few years as a financial unfortunate, then he gradually brought out the covered funds. Today he is one of the largest private bankers in Massachusetts. Then he added, wearily, "The scheme of things seems to require a hell. Matters must be adjusted somewhere. This one will be adjusted here, said Mason. Young Gerry smiled somewhat bitSnch a thing is impossible, terly. he said; quite impossible. Randolph Mason ignored the words. Tils faie lost its gleaming vitality, as though a cm tain were lowered behind it shutting out the light. The effect on Winfield Gerry was Instantly noticeable. The atmosphere of stress was lifted. He stretched out his limbs, and looked curiously about him at the rows of bookcases along the wall, the oriental rug on the floor, the scattered volumes on the table, quite as if Randolph Mason had walked out of the room. Then lie turned as if to go into the outer office. He was half facing the door, when Masons cliin went up. with his house; that you are about to draw a series "of 'checks on the Fifty-eight- h National bank of New York, which you wish him to cash and for which you will pay him the usual commercial discount. Also tell him that you have no deNational posit in the Fifty-eightbank subject to check, but that this bank will arrange with him about meeting the checks, and to take the matter up with it at once. You will say nothing more, and leave the hank. On the next day begin, to present your checks, payable to yourself and drawn on the Fifty-eight- h National bank of New York. These cheeks will be made out for amounts, respectively, in your statement of debts. With the money, as you receive it from eah check, you will at once pay that creditor in full. This you will continue until all the creditors are paid. It ought not to require longer than a said Mr. Stratton, "that National bank held r.o deposit upon which these checks could be drawn. A light of cunning came into Egan Bedford's face. "I know that, he said; but the bank is better than sny man's account. 1 made the bank stand good for the checks. How? said Stratton, and I thought there was the faintest shadow of a smile fitting about the corners of his , eyes. Bedfords broad face lighted wjth victory. He thrust his hand into the bosom of his coat, took out a letter and a telegram and spread on the table. There, he said, is the bank's guaranty in black and white and yellow. Then he added, with a sneer, I guess your banks uot broke; is it? The lawyer moved some papers until he found a printed statement. "The hank, he said, has assets' valued at thirty-fiv- e millions of dollars; its liafortnight. Mason arose as though to dismiss bilities are some ten millions. That milthe audience with young Gerry; then would be, I believe, twenty-fivhe added, You will remember to do lions above insolvency. Thpn, said Bedford, "I want my exactly as I say; do you understand mom y. that? I understand, "Doubtless, replied Stratton. replied tho young Bedford exploded with anger. I am man in amazement. But the thing is National tired of this confounded nonsense! impossible. The Fifty-eightbank will never shoulder such a loss. he shouted. "If the bank won't pay these checks, I will Bue it. Tin se debts aggregate $300,000. Then you will lose, replied tho National bank of The Fifty-eightNew York, said Mason, will not lose lawyer quietly. Lose! cried Bedford. a dollar. The hank Then, cried Gerry, now utterly in- guaranteed these, checks, I tell you. credulous, I do not know how under There is the guaranty; dont you see heaven Egan Bedford can be got to it? and he pushed the papers across ) the table with his fat hand. cash the cheeks! I see it, said the lawyer; but It It is sufficient that I know, said Mason. lien he got up abruptly and is not worth filing room," What? shouted Bedford. walked out of the room. This guaranty of the Fifty-eightI was not present at the conference of Marcus Gerry with Randolph Ma- National bank, continued Stratton, , son. lie came on Tuesday evening, "is utterly void. Bedford plunged back on his heels when I wms at the Clovcrdale Hunt w NS, t T German. By request from Mason, like a man struck violently in the Gft Coleman Stratton, Mr. Gerrys counsel breast. He waived his fat arm at r u ; ! National his counsel, whom he hitherto had igand that of the Fifty-eightJudge, he gurgled, "judge, bank, accompanied him. I have it nored. -from Pietro that the conference ran do you hear that? ,l V r' Judge Hacker, whose knowledge of up to midnight and that half the books ?.r in the private office were on the floor the law Is said to equal that of any At twelve oclock practitioner In New York, arose and in the morning. Marcus Gerry sent a telegram to his came over to the table. He nodded to brother, saying to go ahead as Mason us, then he spoke quietly to his conPietro took this tele- frere in the law. had directed. Stratton, he said, give me accugram to the Western Union office on "he your position in this matter." rately returned When he Broadway. Coleman Stratton touched an elecssed Marcus Gerrys carriage leavtric button, scribbled a memorandum ing ihe house. on a scrap of paper and handed it to So the Gideon sign arrived in BosThen h I know the office boy who entered. ton before it was required. to Judge Hacker. accurately what followed . On Monday turned This contract of the Fifty-eightmorning Winfield Gerry went to the banking house of Egan Bedford & Co, National hank with Egan Bedford & and explained to Mr. Bedford what he Co. is one purely of guaranty, and la w ished to do, as Randolph Mason had ultra vires on the part of the bank. directed. Bedford requested Gerry to The Revised Statutes of the Lnited return the next morning. He then Slates give a national bank no authorNational ity to guarantee the debts of another. called up the Fifty-eightbank by telephone and inquired about A national bank, as you ahe aware; the checks. The hank replied that cannot exercise powers Jn .excess, of. Winfield Gerry had no deposit there, those conferred upon it by stajuie. but that it would guarantee the pay- Egan Bedford & Co.' and, for that, all ment of his rhecks up to $300,000, and persons equally with the hank ar to send it all the cheeks together by hound to take notice of, the statute. Adams express at the close of banking The guaranty is void and the bank is Bedford replied not liable. hours on Saturday. Judge Hacker listened attentively. that this arrangement was satisfac tory; hut he required it sent to him Have you the Revised Statutes? h . by cipher telegram and also by let said. Yes, replied Stratton, handing ter, which was accordingly done. The Section G13G. next morning young Gerry presented him the volume. Hacker were This cashed. which opened fhh book on' Judge his checks, Nason waited he continued to do, until on Thursday the table and began to read It careapparent interest. evening he had drawn out $297,000 and fully. In a moment h looked up. Do of attitude an into fell had paid all the creditors of his fa- you know of an authority construing too he are women that fast; Instantly enough, to attention. is thers old firm of Gerry & Bedford, this statute? he said. required usually an explanation Mr. Stratton touched his hell, xnd Are you related to Marcus Gerry? including the two hundred thousand go no further. of debts which he had personally as- the office fioy came in with a' copy of I could readily see that he was hop- said Mason. ofStratton the Federal Reporter. Tne young man crossed the floor sumed. On Friday he closed his ing to evade tliis query. What is the truth about it? said and sat down in a chair. He is my fice in Boston and came to New York, handed the book to Judge Hacker. the most puzzled man who ever enMason. Page S25, he said. brother, he replied. of Manhattan. uni the tered Borough his feet Judge Hacker took the volume this shifted said Mason, Young Gerry thing "Then," window' and went carefully over Saturday evening Ihe banking house Well, he began weakly. child's play.1 easily. wont that do for an explanation? The old listless cloud settled again of Egan Bedford & Co. sent the bundle the case. Egan Bedford followed him, National peepmg now over and now under his How-- can it matter, anyway? The over Winfield Gerry's face. Mr. Ma- of checks to the exami son, he said, there is no hope in Ipuik of New York. This bank refused arm, as though the lawyer were money is gone. infernal some them. and returned checks the incomprehensible to ining Marcus pay Mason continued monotonously to that quarter. My brother, once to New Ilis face was tense. repeat hi3 question. The young man Gerry, is not a sentimentalist, as I am Mr. Bedford amonot atunderstand this machine. whole The could lie plan of Randolph Mason York, one of When He is a practical person. seemed to go through that period In to pay the checks, was now' laid open. Plain, even uncertainty and hesitation common to pets a dollar fiom Marcus Gerry, he refusal of the nk .Winfield Gerry. He slipped his the court witness who finds himself leaves two in unquestioned securities but he was nof alarmed; he held the it in mine and wrung it. hank into hand of the writing; forced by the examiner either to make until ho comes back with the loan. guaranty inPresently Judge Hacker closed tho a clean breast of his story or stub- Ills instincts are those of a hanker, was one of the wealthiest finaneial was as sol- volume and returned it to the table. bornly refuse to answer anything at human until it conies to the money stitutions in America; it all. He chewed his lips nervously, sacks. Do not misunderstand me. My vent ns the governmc nt. Some misun- Then lie spoke to Stratton. You scent fumbled with the buttons on his brother would promptly knock down derstanding of a deik was doubtless to be right about tills, ho said. Thl waistcoat and stroked gently the the man who assailed my name in his the explanation at any rate, he was deihion of the United States circuit court of appeals appears conclusive. angle of his jaw. Mason waited with- presence. lie would go up to the door safe. National hank did Mr. Bedford went to the hank upon The Fifty-eightof states prison to crush my enemy out apparent interest. no this not receive money and consehut Lis He moral got would explanation arrival, conclusion. every his at precept grind Finally, he arrived be cannot taken to he In the force. the clerical of one it from me a of but into out quently any hole; pulp to puli He dropped his hand as with a gesa benefit by its to of paydirection An refuse thoua lie obtaining out hundred would not position explicit pay of ture resignation. was paid to knew was This act. checks all void on ment money the sand a nor hundred they dollars, dollars, Very well, he said; this is the to secure an lnter-vie- Winfield Gerry and not to the hank. effort An it. about to nor one this out debt wipe dollar, and father whole truth: Egan My with the president, Marcus Ger- Then he turned to Egan Bedford, You Bedford were financial partners. One which I have assumed. I have gone over this matter more than once with ry, brought only an appointment for will have to look to Mr. Winfield Gerall the borrowed money Bedford day counsel ry for the payment of these checks. he could get in Wall street on the him. He Is lying in wait for Egan Bed Mr. Bedford with the general at the office of Coleman Bedford raised his arms above his firms credit, and apparently used it ford. He has gone to great pains to of the bank at oclock. on four him. with and dropped them with a hopecultivate amicable relations head Broadway, Stratton, a hold to up in an unsuccessful effort & Co. has become the Boston Sue him, sue that felI was present at this conference at less gesture. line of rotten securities, while in fact Bedford Fifty-eightHe is not worth a. office of Mr. Stratton at the invi- low! he cried. Na of the the correspondent A later little the money. he secreted to a dollar! called who He hasn't tiorial which Winfield dam. of tation tinkers my belongs himhank, Gerry, the firm failed. Bedford cleared Young Gerry took out his purse, self of the wreck in bankruptcy. My lnother. Marcus Gerry will repay Bed for me at u quarter before four. We father paid up the losses out of Ills ford in his own good time when the walked over to the building. Young stripped off his rings, unhooked his hour finally comes. Gprry was amazed at the incredible pearl pin from the tie and handed private fortune as far as he could.r It remaii-deMason. situation. It was unbelievable all the them to Bedford. "You are mistaken, said has Then come, I the died assumed When he One dreamed of such he said; here is quite an estate. e leaned forward in ills eliair and way through. of the loss, about two hundred steadily In the things on oecusion. But, this affair thousand dollars. I have paid half c looked Winfield Gc-r- y Egan Bedford struck his hand, scatface, as one does with a child when ho had gone on in daylight. It belonged tering the articles over the floor. Then it; but I can go no further. MonHe dropped his hand limply on IBs wnhes to Impress upon him the im in Bagdad, yet here it was. on a he seized his hat and bolted out of th He room. York! in New in besome direction. of January, day poitanee Judge Hacker followed, hut knee, as he had done the evening Young tnan," he said, attend accu- was under an almost breaking strain paused a moment at the door to offer fore in his carriage. Again I was astonished at the contradiction wliiili rately to what 1 am ubout to say to see the dose of it. We were taken on apology for the violence of his cliWinfield Gerry presented. I Btudbd You will at once make a careful and .at once to Mr. Strattons private office. ent and to hid us good evening. I looked around me. Young Gerry his fare. It was drawn and tired, as correct estimate of the amounts owed Egan Bedford and his counsel. Judge it had been last night. I had hem by the ehtate of your father and your-pel- f Hacker, had already arrived, and were was gathering up his possessions, ht by reason of Egan Bedford. This conversing in low tones in a eorner bauds trembling, but his faeo Uko th wrong about him, wrong about Ills causes the statement must be correct. Not a cent by the window. In a moment Mr., sun. The attorney standing by th and character, his habits clean-cutof his unfortunate situation. This hoy mote, not a cent less, than the exact Stratton Joined us. lie was a table spoke the only word of comgray man, radiating vitality. was breaking at the knees under the sum. You will at once dispose of any ment. "Mr. Parks he paid,. Mill you he said, can we not present my compliments to Randolph Gentlemen, burden of anothers wrong. I under- property you have in New York, and on next Monday go to Boston and waive conventions and get at one to Mason?" stood him now. The air of re was assumed to explain these open an office as a broker. Before the this matter? The two men at the window turned debts. He , was playing the loose end of the week you will receive a spendthrift, while he strove to clear telegram from Marcus Gerry authoriz- around in their chairs. Egan Bedford For th legal principle .. InOn arose, came over to tho table and put his father's name and to return what ing you to follow my directions. volved in this story see the Bedford had stolen. receipt of it go at once to the bank- down a pack of checks, I do not seo leading cat of Bowen v. NeeYoung Gerry pulled himself to- ing house of Egan Bedford & Co., and why the bank sends me to a law ofdles Nat. bank, et a!., 04 Fed I want the money on I hardly realize why I have say to Mr. Bedford thut you wish to fice," he said; 925. i gether. laid this matter open, he continued; establish a temporary line of credit these checkB. Mason.-Borrowe- I the believe, Fifty-eight- h h e h h , h ?.'' rf 'f 3 'f' h J im ' h h ' tfoat to-th- Fiftv-eight- h h h '