Open main menu


This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

don't quite see, Mr. Ponderevo, the full advantages, the full advantages——" I met his eye and he was embarrassed.

Then came a room with a couple of secretaries—no typewriters because my uncle hated the clatter—and a casual person or two sitting about, projectors whose projects were being entertained. Here and in a further room nearer the private apartments, my uncle's correspondence underwent an exhaustive process of pruning and digestion before it reached him. Then the two little rooms in which my uncle talked; my magic uncle who had got the investing public—to whom all things were possible.

As one came in one would find him squatting with his cigar up and an expression of dubious beatitude upon his face, while some one urged him to grow still richer by this or that.

"Thatju, George?" he used to say. "Come in. Here's a thing. Tell him—Mister—over again. Have a drink, George? No! Wise man! Lissn."

I was always ready to listen. All sorts of financial marvels came out of the Hardingham, more particularly during my uncle's last great flurry, but they were nothing to the projects that passed in. It was the little brown and gold room he sat in usually. He had had it redecorated by Bordingly and half a dozen Sussex pictures by Webster hung about it. Latterly he wore a velveteen jacket of a golden-brown colour in this apartment that I think over-emphasized its æsthetic intention and he also added some gross Chinese bronzes. . . .

He was on the whole a very happy man throughout all that wildly enterprising time. He made and, as I shall tell in its place, spent great sums of money.