Little O'Grady vs. The Grindstone
Chapter XXVI

The Pin-and-Needle Combine fell apart the next day. The Grindstone National Bank followed it the day after. Richard and Robin had turned the handle a little too briskly and the Grindstone had flown to pieces. Three or four other banks followed.

Little O'Grady danced with joy. His curse had told. And the great hulking bully that had dared to cuff him was flat on his back with the rest. When O'Grady fully realized what he--he--had done his breast heaved proudly. He ran over to see the fatal placard fastened on one of the Grindstone's great polished columns, and then tramped on down the avenue of ruin with the step and mien of a conqueror. All this devastation was due to him--whatever the foolish newspapers, groping in the dark, might say. He alone was the Thunderer; he alone wielded the lightning.

There was but one drawback; never should he get Eudoxia Pence's profile--now.

Eudoxia felt that the McNultys had disgraced her,--"as people of that sort always will if you give them a chance." Virgilia lingered in the limbo of engagement; impossible to say, now, when matrimony might ensue. The question of money was the question still. Dill was no Prochnow, to carry her off by main force, nor was she a Preciosa to permit it. She could not conceive of existence beyond the pale of society; the impulsive action of a pair of social outcasts could scarcely serve as a precedent. "I must wait," said Virgilia. Unconsciously she compared Daffingdon with Ignace Prochnow and realized how easy it would be for her to wait quite a while without discomfort, regret or protest.

Prochnow and Preciosa were married in the midst of the crash. Little O'Grady and Medora Joyce took the other two seats in their carriage and saw them through the ceremony. Preciosa knew that her mother would never forgive her, but she thought it not improbable that her grandfather might acquiesce. In any event, she would marry the man of her choice.

Little O'Grady patted Preciosa's hand patronizingly as the carriage rolled along. He, none other, was the good angel of the whole affair. "What do we care, darlin'," he said, "for the Morrell Combine?--hasn't it kept us on pins and needles long enough? What do we care for the Grindstone, either?--hasn't it ground our noses as long and hard as it could? Down wid 'em both--and let 'em stay down, too! And let anybody think twice, my children, before he tries to prick the skin or grind the nose of little Terence O'Grady!"