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The Financier - Theodore Dreiser

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The Financier
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
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