CHAPTER VI
ENTER THE LION

IT is a fact, as Shakespeare has so tersely hinted, that fame sometimes comes in the line of duty. To be sure, if Austen Vane had been Timothy Smith, the Meader case might not have made quite so many ripples in the pond with which this story is concerned. Austen did what he thought was right. In the opinion of many of his father's friends whom he met from time to time he had made a good-sized stride towards ruin, and they did not hesitate to tell him so -- Mr. Chipman, president of the Ripton National Bank; Mr. Greene, secretary and treasurer of the Hawkeye Paper Company, who suggested with all kindness that, however noble it may be, it doesn't pay to tilt at windmills.

"Not unless you wreck the windmill," answered Austen. A new and very revolutionary point of view to Mr. Greene, who repeated it to Professor Brewer, urging that gentleman to take Austen in hand. But the professor burst out laughing, and put the saying into circulation.

Mr. Silas Tredway, whose list of directorships is too long to print, also undertook to remonstrate with the son of his old friend, Hilary Vane. The young lawyer heard him respectfully. The cashiers of some of these gentlemen, who were younger men, ventured to say -- when out of hearing -- that they admired the championship of Mr. Meader, but it would never do. To these, likewise, Austen listened good-naturedly enough, and did not attempt to contradict them. Changing the angle of the sun-dial does not affect the time of day.

It was not surprising that young Tom Gaylord, when he came back from New York and heard of Austen's

-65-

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