The financier by theodore dreiser i-v chapter


By Theodore Dreiser

Chapter I

The Philadelphia into which Frank Algernon Cowperwood was born was
A city of two hundred and fifty thousand and more. It was set with
Handsome parks, notable buildings, and crowded with historic memories.
Many of the things that we and he knew later were not then in
Existence – the telegraph, telephone, express company, ocean steamer,
City delivery of mails. There were no postage-stamps or registered
Letters. The street car had not arrived. In its place were hosts of
Omnibuses, and for longer travel the slowly developing railroad system
Still largely connected by canals.

Cowperwood’s father was a bank clerk at the time of Frank’s birth,
But ten years later, when the boy was already beginning to turn a very
Sensible, vigorous eye on the world, Mr. Henry Worthington Cowperwood,
Because of the death of the bank’s president and the consequent moving
Ahead of the other officers, fell heir to the place vacated by the
Promoted teller, at the, to him, munificent salary of thirty-five
Hundred dollars a year. At once he decided, as he told his wife
Joyously, to remove his family from 21 Buttonwood Street to 124 New
Market Street, a much better neighborhood, where there was a nice brick
House of three stories in height as opposed to their present two-storied
Domicile. There was the probability that some day they would come into
Something even better, but for the present this was sufficient. He was
Exceedingly grateful.

Henry Worthington Cowperwood was a man who believed only what he saw and
Was content to be what he was – a banker, or a prospective one. He was at
This time a significant figure – tall, lean, inquisitorial, clerkly – with
Nice, smooth, closely-cropped side whiskers coming to almost the lower
Lobes of

his ears. His upper lip was smooth and curiously long, and
He had a long, straight nose and a chin that tended to be pointed. His
Eyebrows were bushy, emphasizing vague, grayish-green eyes, and his hair
Was short and smooth and nicely parted. He wore a frock-coat always – it
Was quite the thing in financial circles in those days – and a high hat.
And he kept his hands and nails immaculately clean. His manner might
Have been called severe, though really it was more cultivated than

Being ambitious to get ahead socially and financially, he was very
Careful of whom or with whom he talked. He was as much afraid of
Expressing a rabid or unpopular political or social opinion as he was
Of being seen with an evil character, though he had really no opinion
Of great political significance to express. He was neither anti – nor
Pro-slavery, though the air was stormy with abolition sentiment and its
Opposition. He believed sincerely that vast fortunes were to be made
Out of railroads if one only had the capital and that curious thing, a
Magnetic personality – the ability to win the confidence of others. He
Was sure that Andrew Jackson was all wrong in his opposition to Nicholas
Biddle and the United States Bank, one of the great issues of the day;
And he was worried, as he might well be, by the perfect storm of wildcat
Money which was floating about and which was constantly coming to his
Bank – discounted, of course, and handed out again to anxious borrowers
At a profit. His bank was the Third National of Philadelphia, located in
That center of all Philadelphia and indeed, at that time, of practically
All national finance – Third Street – and its owners conducted a brokerage
Business as a side line.

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The financier by theodore dreiser i-v chapter