Vandover and the Brute HTML version

Chapter Eighteen
That winter passed, then the summer; September and October came and went, and by the
middle of November the rains set in. One very wet afternoon toward the end of the month
Charlie Geary sat at his desk in his own private office. He was unoccupied for the
moment, leaning back in his swivel chair, his feet on the table, smoking a cigar. Geary
had broken from his old-time habit of smoking only so many cigars as he could pay for
by saving carfare. He was doing so well now that he could afford to smoke whenever he
chose. He was still with the great firm of Beale & Storey, and while not in the partnership
as yet, had worked up to the position of an assistant. He had cases of his own now, a great
many of them, for the most part damage suits against that certain enormous corporation
whom it was said was ruining the city and entire state. Geary posed as one of its bitterest
enemies, pushing each suit brought against it with a tireless energy, with a zeal that was
almost vindictive. He began to fit into his own niche, in the eyes of the public, and just in
proportion as the corporation was hated, Geary was admired. Money came to him very
fast. He was hardly thirty at this time, but could already be called a rich man.
His "deal" with Vandover had given him a taste for real estate, and now and then, with
the greatest caution, he made a few discreet investments. At present he had just
completed a row of small cottages across the street from the boot and shoe factory. The
cottages held two rooms and a large kitchen. Geary had calculated that the boot and shoe
concern would employ nearly a thousand operatives, and he had built his row with the
view of accommodating a few of them who had families and who desired to live near the
factory. His agents were Adams & Brunt.
It was toward half-past five, there was nothing more that Geary could do that day, and for
a moment he leaned back in his swivel chair, before going home, smiling a little, very
well pleased with himself. He was still as clever and shrewd as ever, still devoured with
an incarnate ambition, still delighted when he could get the better of any one. He was yet
a young man; with the start he had secured for himself, and with the exceptional faculties,
the faculties of self-confidence and "push" that he knew himself to possess, there was no
telling to what position he might attain. He knew that it was only a question of time—of a
short time even—when he would be the practical head of the great firm. Everything he
turned his hand to was a success. His row of houses in the Mission might be enlarged to a
veritable settlement for every workman in the neighbourhood. His youth, his cleverness,
and his ambition, supported by his money on the one hand, and on the other by the vast
machinery of the great law firm, could raise him to a great place in the world of men.
Gazing through the little blue haze of his cigar smoke, he began to have vague ideas,
ideas of advancement, of political successes. Politics fascinated him—such a field of
action seemed to be the domain for which he was precisely suited—not the politics of the
city or of the state; not the nasty little squabbling of boodlers, lobbyists, and supervisors,
but something large, something inspiring, something on a tremendous scale, something to
which one could give up one's whole life and energy, something to which one could
sacrifice everything—friendships, fortunes, scruples, principles, life itself, no matter
what, anything to be a "success," to "arrive," to "get there," to attain the desired object in