Abel sat motionless, stunned by the outburst. Before half of his tirade was over, Abel felt that any counter - argument was going to be pointless. He waited for the histrionic speech to come to an end, and was glad the senator couldn't see his startled face.



'Senator, I'm sure you're right and I'm sorry to have wasted your time,'



Abel said quietly. 'I hadn't thought of it in quite that light before!



'Well, it just goes so show how tricky'those commie bastards can be,' said McCarthy, his tone softening. 'You have to keep an eye on them all the time. Anyway, I hope you~re more alert now to the continual danger the American people face.'



'I am indeed, Senator. Thank you once again for taking the trouble to speak to me personally. Goodbye, Senator!



'Goodbye, Rosenovski.'



Abel heard the phone click and realised it was the same sound as a closing door.



29



William became aware of feeling older when Kate teased him about his greying hair, hairs which he used to be able to count and now no longer could, and Richard started to bring girls home whom he found attractive.



William almost always approved of Richard's choice of young ladies, as he called them, perhaps because they were all rather like Kate who, he considered, was more beautiful in middle - age than she had ever been. His daughters, Virginia and Lucy, now also becor - ming young ladies, brought him great happiness as they grew in the image *of their mother. Virginia was becoming quite an artist and the kitchen and children's bedrooms were always covered in her latest works of genius, as Richard described them mockingly. Virginia's revenge came the day Richard started cello lessons when even the servants were heard to murmur unsavoury comments whenever the bow came in contact with the strings. Lucy adored thern both and considered Virginia with uncritical prejudice the new Picasso and Richard the new Casals. William began to wonder what the future would hold for all three of them when he was no longer around. In Kate's eyes all three children advanced satisfactorily. Richard, now at St. Paul's, had improved enough at the cello to be chosen to play in a school concert, while Virginia was painting well enough for one of her pictures to be hung in the front room. But it became obvious to all the family that Lucy was going to be the beauty when, aged only eleven, she started receiving little love notes from boys who until then had only shown an interest in baseball.



In 1951, Richard, was accepted at Harvard and although he did not win the top mathematics scholarship, Kate was quick to point out to William that he had played baseball and the cello for St. Paul's, two accomplishments William had never so much as attempted to master. William was secretly proud of Richard's achievements but mumbled to Kate something about not knowing many bankers who played baseball or the cello.



Banking was moving into an expansionist period as Americans began to believe in a lasting peace. William soon found himself overworked, and for a short time, the threat of Abel Rosnovski and the problems associated with him had to be pushed into the background.



The flow of quarterly reports from Thaddeus Cohen indicated that Rosnovski had embarked on a course which he had no intention of abandoning - through a third party he had let every stockholder other than William know of his interest in Lester's shares. William wondered if that course was heading towards a direct confrontation between himself and the Pole. He began to feel that the time was fast approaching when he would have to inform the Lester's board of Rosnovski's actions and perhaps even to offer his resignation if the bank looked to be under siege, a move that would result in a complete victory for Abel Rosnovski, which was the one reason William did not seriously contemplate such a move. He decided that if he had to fight for his life, fight he would, and if one of the two had to go under, he would do everything in his power to ensure that it wasn't William Kane.



The problem of what to do about Abel Rosnovski's investment programme was finally taken out of William's hands.



Early in 1951, the bank had been invited to represent one of America's new airline companies, Interstate Airways, when the Federal Aviation Agency granted them a frunchise for flights between the East and West coasts. The airline approached Lester's bank when they needed to raise the thirty million dollars to provide them with the financial backing required by governmental regulations.



William considered the airline and the whole project to be well worth supporting, and he spent virtually his entire time setting up a public offering to raise the necessary thirty million.



The bank, acting as the sponsor for the project, put all their resources behind the new venture. 'Me project became William's biggest since he had returned to Lester's, and he realised that his personal reputation was at stake when he went to the market for the thirty million dollars. In July, when the details of the offering were announced the stock was snapped up in a matter of days. William received lavish praise from all quarters for the way he had handled the project and carried it through to such a successful conclusion. He could not have been happier about the outcome himself, until he read in Thaddeus Cohen's next report that ten per cent of the airline's stock had been obtained by one of Abel Rosnovski's dummy corporations.