The suicide of Charles Cressler had occurred on the tenth of June, and the report
of it, together with the wretched story of his friend's final surrender to a
temptation he had never outlived, reached Curtis Jadwin early on the morning of
He and Gretry were at their accustomed places in the latter's office, and the news
seemed to shut out all the sunshine that had been flooding in through the broad
plate-glass windows. After their first incoherent horror, the two sat staring at each
"My God, my God," groaned Jadwin, as if in the throes of a deadly sickness. "He
was in the Crookes' ring, and we never knew it--I've killed him, Sam. I might as
well have held that pistol myself." He stamped his foot, striking his fist across his
forehead, "Great God--my best friend--Charlie--Charlie Cressler! Sam, I shall go
mad if this--if this--"
"Steady, steady does it, J.," warned the broker, his hand upon his shoulder, "we
got to keep a grip on ourselves to-day. We've got a lot to think of. We'll think
about Charlie, later. Just now ... well it's business now. Mathewson & Knight
have called on us for margins--twenty thousand dollars."
He laid the slip down in front of Jadwin, as he sat at his desk.
"Oh, this can wait?" exclaimed Jadwin. "Let it go till this afternoon. I can't talk
business now. Think of Carrie--Mrs. Cressler, I--"
"No," answered Gretry, reflectively and slowly, looking anywhere but in Jadwin's
face. "N--no, I don't think we'd better wait. I think we'd better meet these margin
calls promptly. It's always better to keep our trades margined up."
Jadwin faced around.
"Why," he cried, "one would think, to hear you talk, as though there was danger
of me busting here at any hour."
Gretry did not answer. There was a moment's silence Then the broker caught his
principal's eye and held it a second.
"Well," he answered, "you saw how freely they sold to us in the Pit yesterday.
We've got to buy, and buy and buy, to keep our price up; and look here, look at
these reports from our correspondents--everything points to a banner crop.
There's been an increase of acreage everywhere, because of our high prices.
See this from Travers"--he picked up a despatch and read: "'Preliminary returns