**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!


The Magnate
by [?]

He hangs up the receiver. By this master-stroke he has made a quarter of a million. It may seem to you or me an easy way of doing it. Ah, but what, we must ask ourselves, of the great brain that conceived the idea, the foresight which told the exact moment when to put it into action, the cool courage which seized the moment–what of the grasp of affairs, the knowledge of men? Ah! Can we grudge it him that he earns a quarter of a million more quickly than we do?

Yet Mr. Felix Mountenay is not happy. When we have brought off a coup for a hundred thousand even, we smile gaily. Mr. Mountenay did not smile. Fiercely he bit another inch off his cigar, and muttered to himself.

The words were “Leo Abraham! Wait!”

. . . . .

This is positively the last row of dots. Let us take advantage of them to jump forward another month. It was October 1st, 19–. (If that was a Sunday, then it was October 2nd. Anyhow, it was October.)

Mr. Felix Mountenay was sleeping in his office. For once that iron brain relaxed. He had made a little over three million in the last month, and the strain was too much for him. But a knock at the door restored him instantly to his own cool self.

“I beg your pardon, sir,” said his secretary, “but somebody is selling zinc.”

The word “zinc” touched a chord in Mr. Mountenay’s brain which had lain dormant for years. Zinc! Why did zinc remind him of Leo Abraham?

“Fetch the Encyclopedia Britannica, quick!” he cried.

The secretary, a man of herculean build, returned with some of it. With the luck which proverbially attends rich men, Mr. Mountenay picked up the “Z” volume at once. As he read the Zinc article it all came back to him. Leo Abraham had owned an empty zinc-mine! Was his enemy in his clutches at last?

“Buy!” he said briefly.

In a fortnight the secretary had returned.

“Well,” said Mr. Mountenay, “have you bought all the zinc there is?”

“Yes, sir,” said the secretary. “And a lot that there isn’t,” he added.

“Good!” He paused a moment. “When Mr. Leo Abraham calls,” he added grimly, “show him up at once.”

It was a month later that a haggard man climbed the stairs of No. — Throgneedle Street, and was shown into Mr. Mountenay’s room.

“Well,” said the financier softly, “what can I do for you?”

“I want some zinc,” said Leo Abergavenny.

“Zinc,” said Mr. Mountenay, with a smile, “is a million pounds a ton. Or an acre, or a gallon, or however you prefer to buy it,” he added humorously.

Leo went white.

“You wish to ruin me?”

“I do. A promise I made to your wife some years ago.”

“My wife?” cried Leo. “What do you mean? I’m not married.”

It was Mr. Mountenay’s turn to go white. He went it.

“Not married? But Miss Sloan—-“

Mr. Leo Abergavenny sat down and mopped his face.

“I don’t know what you mean,” he said. “I asked Miss Sloan to marry me, and told her I was changing my name to Abergavenny. And she said that she was changing hers to Moses. Naturally, I thought—-“

“Stop!” cried Mr. Mountenay. He sat down heavily. Something seemed to have gone out of his life; in a moment the world was empty. He looked up at his old rival, and forced a laugh.

“Well, well,” he said; “she deceived us both. Let us drink to our lucky escape.” He rang the bell.

“And then,” he said in a purring voice, “we can have a little talk about zinc. After all, business is still business.”