The Cost

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Author: David Graham Phillips

XXVIII. After the Long Winter.

Within two hours Langdon, in full control, had arranged with Tavistock to make the imperiled victory secure. Thus, not until the next day but one did it come out that the cataclysm had been caused by a man ruined and broken and with his back against death’s door to hold it shut; that Dumont himself had turned the triumphing host of his enemies into a flying mob, in its panic flinging away its own possessions as well as its booty.

Perhaps the truth never would have been known, perhaps Langdon would have bribed Tavistock to silence and would have posed as the conquering genius, had he found out a day earlier how Dumont had put himself in funds. As it was, this discovery did not come too late for him to seize the opportunity that was his through Dumont’s secret methods, Pauline’s indifference to wealth and his own unchecked authority. He has got many an hour of—strictly private—mental gymnastics out of the moral problem he saw, in his keeping for himself and Gladys the spoils he gathered up. He is inclined to think he was intelligent rather than right; but, knowing his weakness for self-criticism, he never gives a positive verdict against himself. That, however, is unimportant, as he is not the man to permit conscience to influence conduct in grave matters.

He feels that, in any case, he did not despoil Pauline or Gardiner. For, after he had told her what Dumont did—and to protect himself he hastened to tell it—she said: "Whatever there may be, it’s all for Gardiner. I waive my own rights, if I have any. But you must give me your word of honor that you won’t let anything tainted pass to him." Langdon, judging with the delicacy of a man of honor put on honor, was able to find little such wealth.

He gives himself most of the credit for Gardiner’s turning out so well—"Inherited riches are a hopeless handicap," he often says to Gladys when they are talking over the future of their children.

Pauline—

The first six months of her new life, of her resumed life, she spent in Europe with her father and mother and Gardiner. Late in the fall they were back at Saint X, at the old house in Jefferson Street. In the following June came Scarborough. She was in the garden, was waiting for him, was tying up a tall rose, whose splendid, haughty head had bent under the night’s rain.

He was quite near her when she heard his step and turned. He stood, looked at her—the look she had seen that last afternoon at Battle Field. He came slowly up and took both her hands.

"After all the waiting and longing and hoping," he said, "at last—you! I can’t put it into words—except to say—just—Pauline!"

She drew a long breath; her gaze met his. And in her eyes he saw a flame that had never shone clearly there before—the fire of her own real self, free and proud. "Once you told me about your father and mother—how he cared—cared always."

"I remember," he answered.

"Well—I—I," said Pauline, "I care as SHE must have cared when she gave him herself—and YOU."

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Chicago: David Graham Phillips, "XXVIII. After the Long Winter.," The Cost, ed. Hawthorne, Julian, 1846-1934 in The Cost (New York: Sir Isaac Pitman and Sons, 1894), Original Sources, accessed October 4, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=KZZUZB738ZFRXIY.

MLA: Phillips, David Graham. "XXVIII. After the Long Winter." The Cost, edited by Hawthorne, Julian, 1846-1934, in The Cost, Vol. 22, New York, Sir Isaac Pitman and Sons, 1894, Original Sources. 4 Oct. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=KZZUZB738ZFRXIY.

Harvard: Phillips, DG, 'XXVIII. After the Long Winter.' in The Cost, ed. . cited in 1894, The Cost, Sir Isaac Pitman and Sons, New York. Original Sources, retrieved 4 October 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=KZZUZB738ZFRXIY.