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Woman's home companion
Vol. LXIV, No. 6 (1937)

Nason, Leonard H.
The colonel's knife,   pp. 13-14 PDF (1.4 MB)


Page 13

13
THE office of the president of the Standish
National Bank had been refurnished in oak
and green leather when the new incumbent, Colonel
Knight, took it over. Colonel Knight himself was
new to Standish. He had lived there only three
summers, but long enough to impress the natives
with his financial astuteness, so that they had
asked him to become president of the local bank to
see if he could not unravel its tangled affairs.
"Mark," said Colonel Knight to the young man
who sat beside the desk, " I've asked you to come
in here this morning because we must do some-
thing about the loan outstanding that the bank ad-
vanced your father before-before he-that is, last
year. It wasn't a new loan, Mark, it was an exten-
sion of an extension. I haven't pressed this before
because I wanted you to have plenty of time to ar-
range your father's affairs, but the time has come,
Mark, the time has come. We must have it!"
"Well," said Mark hesitatingly, "people aren't
usually ready to take up their notes in the month of
June. Standish is a summer place, you know. No
one's got any money until after the summer people
have gone in the fall. I been giving credit all
spring, that is, since the store came into my hands,
mostly to fishermen, and they won't be ready to
pay until autumn."
*    YOUR sales have been going down and down,
Mark," said the colonel, "not because the fish-
ermen and the farmers don't buy any more but be-
cause they don't buy at your store! That's the
trouble, my boy! You've inherited an old cross-
roads country store from your father, inefficient,
uneconomical, out of date! That's why you can't
meet your obligations as they come due!"
"Well, what will I do for a living, then?" asked
Mark. "If I sell the store, I won't have anything
to do!"-
"Sell the store, Mark, and look around you after-
ward for a good place to put the funds! This part
of the country is going ahead fast. A lot of land is
changing hands these days! Sell the store and
someone will put up a moving picture theater there,
or a modem garage. Perhaps you could help
finance it! Reinvest your money right on the
spot!"
"Ummm!" said Mark. "It sounds reasonable."
The colonel was a lean hard-looking man, thought
Mark, kindly enough at heart but utterly ruthless
wen
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but
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colo
"No
agai
said
toth
M
squa
enou
Acro
fied
t on the colonel. "Unless
can find funds, the bank
take the store over. If it
that will be the end of it.
re like that has no place in
community.-
ark turned to leave the office
the colonel detained him.
That was business," said the
iel in a different tone.
w we'll be just friends
n. Don't let anything I've
here keep you from coming
e wedding, will you?"
No, sir, I'll go."
ark went out into the sunlit
re, his heart like lead. Sure
gh, the old order changeth!
ss the street was the digni-
vhite pillared meeting house,
fron
wer
The
agai
hous
bog,
insu
had
0
and
stor
fami
ham
som
A
nize
rent
I LLSTP.TOP.
was
chu
a g
stor
all
buil
whi
"Z.
had
fash
left
mitt
men
LLUSTATOR:to t
as far as business or money went  over
DAVID     HENDRICKSON                                       Think it over hard, Mark!"  boy
Aor/
"Five hundred dollars?
You're crazy!" He went
out and slammed the door
('
-4N
hundred years old, where the colonel's daughter
going to be married in a few days. Beyond the
rch was the glittering facade of a chain store, then
arage, a moving picture theater, a modern drug-
e and a clothing store. On the right hand, facing
these and at the junction of two streets, stood a
ding that somehow matched the church, low,
te, dignified. It bore above its porch a sign,
Stewart and Son. General Merchandise." That
been Mark's grandfather.
ark went in and sat down dejectedly at the cld-
ioned desk. He pulled out an account book but
it unopened. He knew what was in it. Oilskins,
tens, line, spare parts for motors, all sold to fisher-
Wool, dresses, buttons, thread, beeswax, sold
heir wives. Bills for cordage, for powder and shot,
ails, grindstones, hatchets, leather jackets for the
s, fur-trimmed coats for the girls. Stoves for the
t parlor, linoleum for the kitchen. All these bills
to be paid for out of the summer's earnings.
se people had all paid their bills before, they would
n-if they could! Ah, that was the rub!
MARK sighed heavily. His father had died that
spring and left the store to Mark. That and the
se, and a few odd lots of beach land and cranberry
most of them only tax liabilities. Therewas enough
rance to take care of Mark's mother, but Mark
had to leave college.
olonel Knight, after all, was a man of the world
knew what was best to do. Better get rid of the
. Let the bank have it. But it had been in the
ly for three generations! There wasn't a fishing
let, a farm, or a family in town that did not have
e merchandise from the Stewart store.
customer entered breezily. Mark rose. He recog-
d a certain T. Carberry Jones, a New Yorker, who
ed summer cottages, sold land now and again and


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