The Riverman by Stewart Edward White
In the meantime Newmark had closed his desk, picked his hat from the nail, and marched precisely down the street to Heinzman's office. He found the little German in. Newmark demanded a private interview, and without preliminary plunged into the business that had brought him. He had long since taken Heinzman's measure, as, indeed, he had taken the measure of every other man with whom he did or was likely to do business.
"Heinzman," said he abruptly, "my partner wants to raise seventy- five thousand dollars for his personal use. I have agreed to get him that money from the firm."
Heinzman sat immovable, his round eyes blinking behind his big spectacles.
"Proceed," said he shrewdly.
"As security in case he cannot pay the notes the firm will have to give, he has signed an agreement to turn over to me his undivided one-half interest in our enterprises."
"Vell? You vant to borrow dot money of me?" asked Heinzman. "I could not raise it."
"I know that perfectly well," replied Newmark coolly. "You are going to have difficulty meeting your July notes, as it is."
Heinzman hardly seemed to breathe, but a flicker of red blazed in his eye.
"Proceed," he repeated non-committally, after a moment. "I intend," went on Newmark, "to furnish this money myself. It must, however, seem to be loaned by another. I want you to lend this money on mortgage."
"What for?" asked Heinzman.
"For a one tenth of Orde's share in case he does not meet those notes."
"But he vill meet the notes," objected Heinzman. "You are a prosperous concern. I know somethings of your business, also."
"He thinks he will," rejoined Newmark grimly. "I will merely point out to you that his entire income is from the firm, and that from this income he must save twenty-odd thousand a year.
"If the firm has hard luck--" said Heinzman.
"Exactly," finished Newmark.
"Vy you come to me?" demanded Heinzman at length.
"Well, I'm offering you a chance to get even with Orde. I don't imagine you love him?"
"Vat's de matter mit my gettin' efen with you, too?" cried Heinzman. "Ain't you beat me out at Lansing?"
Newmark smiled coldly under his clipped moustache.
"I'm offering you the chance of making anywhere from thirty to fifty thousand dollars."
"Perhaps. And suppose this liddle scheme don't work out?"
"And," pursued Newmark calmly, "I'll carry you over in your present obligations." He suddenly hit the arm of his chair with his clenched fist. "Heinzman, if you don't make those July payments, what's to become of you? Where's your timber and your mills and your new house--and that pretty daughter of yours?"
Heinzman winced visibly.
"I vill get an extension of time," said he feebly.
"Will you?" countered Newmark.
The two men looked each other in the eye for a moment.
"Vell, maybe," laughed Heinzman uneasily. "It looks to me like a winner."
"All right, then," said Newmark briskly. "I'll make out a mortgage at ten per cent for you, and you'll lend the money on it. At the proper time, if things happen that way, you will foreclose. That's all you have to do with it. Then, when the timber land comes to you under the foreclose, you will reconvey an undivided nine-tenths' interest--for proper consideration, of course, and without recording the deed."
Heinzman laughed with assumed lightness.
"Suppose I fool you," said he. "I guess I joost keep it for mineself."
Newmark looked at him coldly.
"I wouldn't," he advised. "You may remember the member from Lapeer County in that charter fight? And the five hundred dollars for his vote? Try it on, and see how much evidence I can bring up. It's called bribery in this State, and means penitentiary usually."
"You don't take a joke," complained Heinzman.
"It's understood, then?" he asked.
"How so I know you play fair?" asked the German.
"You don't. It's a case where we have to depend more or less on each other. But I don't see what you stand to lose--and anyway you'll get carried over those July payments," Newmark reminded him.
Heinzman was plainly uneasy and slightly afraid of these new waters in which he swam.
"If you reduce the firm's profits, he iss going to suspect," he admonished.
"Who said anything about reducing the firm's profits?" said Newmark impatiently. "If it does work out that way, we'll win a big thing; if it does not, we'll lose nothing."
He nodded to Heinzman and left the office. His demeanour was as dry and precise as ever. No expression illuminated his impassive countenance. If he felt the slightest uneasiness over having practically delivered his intentions to the keeping of another, he did not show it. For one thing, an accomplice was absolutely essential. And, too, he held the German by his strongest passions-- his avarice, his dread of bankruptcy, his pride, and his fear of the penitentiary. As he entered the office of his own firm, his eye fell on Orde's bulky form seated at the desk. He paused involuntarily, and a slight shiver shook his frame from head to foot--the dainty, instinctive repulsion of a cat for a large robustious dog. Instantly controlling himself, he stepped forward.
"I've made the loan," he announced.
Orde looked up with interest.
"The banks wouldn't touch northern peninsula," said Newmark steadily, "so I had to go to private individuals."
"So you said. Don't care who deals it out," laughed Orde.
"Thayer backed out, so finally I got the whole amount from Heinzman," Newmark announced.
"Didn't know the old Dutchman was that well off," said Orde, after a slight pause.
"Can't tell about those secretive old fellows," said Newmark.
"I didn't know he was friendly enough to lend us money."
"Business is business," replied Newmark.