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The Lion and the Mouse; a Story of an American Life   By: (1867-1915)

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The Lion and the Mouse


Charles Klein

A Story of an American Life

Novelized from the play by

Arthur Hornblow

"Judges and Senates have been bought for gold; Love and esteem have never been sold." POPE


Chapter I

Chapter II

Chapter III

Chapter IV

Chapter V

Chapter VI

Chapter VII

Chapter VIII

Chapter IX

Chapter X

Chapter XI

Chapter XII

Chapter XIII

Chapter XIV

Chapter XV

Chapter XVI



There was unwonted bustle in the usually sleepy and dignified New York offices of the Southern and Transcontinental Railroad Company in lower Broadway. The supercilious, well groomed clerks who, on ordinary days, are far too preoccupied with their own personal affairs to betray the slightest interest in anything not immediately concerning them, now condescended to bestir themselves and, gathered in little groups, conversed in subdued, eager tones. The slim, nervous fingers of half a dozen haughty stenographers, representing as many different types of business femininity, were busily rattling the keys of clicking typewriters, each of their owners intent on reducing with all possible despatch the mass of letters which lay piled up in front of her. Through the heavy plate glass swinging doors, leading to the elevators and thence to the street, came and went an army of messengers and telegraph boys, noisy and insolent. Through the open windows the hoarse shouting of news venders, the rushing of elevated trains, the clanging of street cars, with the occasional feverish dash of an ambulance all these familiar noises of a great city had the far away sound peculiar to top floors of the modern sky scraper. The day was warm and sticky, as is not uncommon in early May, and the overcast sky and a distant rumbling of thunder promised rain before night.

The big express elevators, running smoothly and swiftly, unloaded every few moments a number of prosperous looking men who, chatting volubly and affably, made their way immediately through the outer offices towards another and larger inner office on the glass door of which was the legend "Directors Room. Private." Each comer gave a patronizing nod in recognition of the deferential salutation of the clerks. Earlier arrivals had preceded them, and as they opened the door there issued from the Directors Room a confused murmur of voices, each different in pitch and tone, some deep and deliberate, others shrill and nervous, but all talking earnestly and with animation as men do when the subject under discussion is of common interest. Now and again a voice was heard high above the others, denoting anger in the speaker, followed by the pleading accents of the peace maker, who was arguing his irate colleague into calmness. At intervals the door opened to admit other arrivals, and through the crack was caught a glimpse of a dozen directors, some seated, some standing near a long table covered with green baize.

It was the regular quarterly meeting of the directors of the Southern and Transcontinental Railroad Company, but it was something more than mere routine that had called out a quorum of such strength and which made to day's gathering one of extraordinary importance in the history of the road. That the business on hand was of the greatest significance was easily to be inferred from the concerned and anxious expression on the directors' faces and the eagerness of the employes as they plied each other with questions.

"Suppose the injunction is sustained?" asked a clerk in a whisper. "Is not the road rich enough to bear the loss?"

The man he addressed turned impatiently to the questioner: "That's all you know about railroading. Don't you understand that this suit we have lost will be the entering wedge for hundreds of others. The very existence of the road may be at stake. And between you and me," he added in a lower key, "with Judge Rossmore on the bench we never stood much show. It's Judge Rossmore that scares 'em, not the injunction... Continue reading book >>

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