1929 AN UPPER CLASS AFFAIR

Excerpts from the Book


It was nearly eleven in the morning when Josie's mother pulled open the antique rose drapes in her Marie Antoinette inspired bedroom. As Claire Baxter-Browne kissed her daughter on the forehead, she said, "It's time to go." 

Josie smiled, then rolled over and went back to sleep in her elaborately canopied satinwood state bed. Twenty minutes later, her mother returned armed with a few pieces of ice. Throwing back the pale pink satin bedspread, blankets and Egyptian cotton sheets, she placed the ice on Josie's feet. As Josie jumped out of bed screaming, her youthful mother laughed. As Claire walked out of her daughter's room, she said, "Meet me in the hall in five minutes. Michael has already brought the car to the front." 

Josie quickly threw on a Chanel jersey suit, ran a comb through her hair and bolted for the stairs to meet her mother. She was in such a rush that when she tossed her silk gossamer Callot Soeurs nightgown onto the bed and it instead fell onto the Aubusson carpet, she didn't bother to pick it up. 

Ten minutes later, the Baxter-Browne women, who looked more like sisters than mother and daughter, strolled into the Palm Court at the Plaza Hotel. In his social column, Maury Paul noted that New York's comely, slender grand dame, the Mrs. Whitney Straight, the fetchingly attractive, petite brunette Stanleys and the shapely Ashleys joined the Chanel clad Baxter-Brownes. While the social columnist and fashion commentator noted the dowager's navy Molyneux suit and fetching Madame Agnes turban and complemented Rebecca on her new, shorter shingled hair style and Suzanne Talbot cloche hat that made her appear taller, he found Geraldine's Nile-green, georgette dress with a gypsy girdle "did nothing for her." 

While a quartet played Mozart's "Four Seasons," Maury Paul prepared his column and the ladies lunched. He noted Catherine Thompson and her mother, Gertrude Thayer Thompson (Mrs. John R. Thompson), would have joined the group as usual if they had been in town. Unfortunately, the unexpected death of Catherine's Great Aunt, who lived in Paris, meant the Thompsons were not able to attend the weekly luncheon. The social columnist wrote that New York society looked forward to the imminent return of the Thompsons who would be coming back shortly by way of Cunard's luxury liner, the Berengaria. 

After ordering lunch, Mrs. Whitney Straight proposed a toast. "To the glorious stock market!" She explained that she had just returned from her broker's office and wanted to celebrate another record performance for her portfolio. Beaming, the grand dame announced that by buying and selling stocks, she had made several million dollars in the last year alone. 

As the conversation turned to money, Mrs. Stanley, a delicate, hazel eyed, former southern belle from a once prosperous planter family, looked at Mrs. Whitney Straight disdainfully. Euphoric about her earnings, Mrs. Whitney Straight remained oblivious to Mrs. Stanley's response and continued gleefully, "My stock earnings now allow me to have financial independence from my husband." Appalled, Mrs. Stanley said aghast. "Adele! I can't believe what you are saying. Are you contemplating a divorce?" "Not at all," said Mrs. Whitney Straight. "I adore Mr. W.S., but I also love my economic independence." 

Unable to resist making the comment, the grand dame then explained as her eyes twinkled, "The main reason I enjoy earning my own money is so I don't have to listen to how hard Mr. W.S. works for his." 

Finding her friend's logic as incomprehensible as her humor, Mrs. Stanley stammered, "But you have your own money! Your family left you with a trust." "Inheriting money is just not the same as earning it." Mrs. Whitney Straight insisted, "Self-sufficiency is empowering." "I think money-making is a sordid business," countered Mrs. Stanley adamantly. 

After an awkward silence, where even she realized her denunciation fell on deaf ears, she spluttered almost apologetically, "It's positively boring!" "You also thought voting was too difficult a task for women before we got that right!" retorted the unmoved suffragist who was the first New York socialite to cut off her locks and one of the first to embrace the super short Eton crop. 

Making it clear where she still stood when it came to enfranchisement, Mrs. Stanley who still coiled her long hair in a chignon asserted, "I still rely on my husband to tell me which candidate is the right one for us." 

Exasperated, Mrs. Whitney Straight rolled her eyes. Diplomatically Claire Baxter-Browne tried to change the subject by asking, "Is anyone planning to attend the Huntsman's Ball this year?" 

"We live in the age of the automobile. Horses are passé!" exclaimed Mrs. Whitney Straight sourly. "I think it will be the event of the season," countered Mrs. Stanley. 

Frostily she stated, "I am on the committee." 

"I meant no offense by my comment," said Mrs. Whitney Straight quickly. "No offense taken," replied Mrs. Stanley just as promptly. Mrs. Whitney Straight graciously offered, "I will, of course, support you by taking a table." The proud chairwoman asserted, "No need Adele. We are oversubscribed." 

"Already?" replied Mrs. Whitney Straight clearly impressed. Having chaired the first Huntsman's Ball forty years before when horses meant something and so did the money of the Old Guard, the dowager knew only too well how difficult it could be to fill a charity event. "I heard you sold more tickets this year for the ball than in the entire history of the event. Is that right?" inquired Lady Ashley. "Indeed it is," acknowledged the current chairwoman. "Although I will admit there are a few responses that I do not wholly approve." "Oh really?" replied the women leaning closer for an explanation. "Yes, you know, ‘new' money," whispered Mrs. Stanley confidentially. 

While Mrs. Stanley gossiped about the offensive people to Lady Ashley and Claire Baxter-Browne, Mrs. Whitney Straight had more interesting matters to discuss with the girls. She explained, "From my experience, playing the market is really simple. Anyone can do it. Every day fortunes are made by ordinary workers and the middle class!" 

Half joking, the salt and pepper haired, grand dame of society informed the girls, "Between us, I think the only reason men haven't wanted us involved in business is because women would realize we actually don't need them." Seeing the girls clearly were interested in what she had to say, Mrs. Whitney Straight enthusiastically said to Josie, Rebecca and Geraldine, "Times are changing. It's very important for you girls to be exposed to business." 

Enthusiastically she offered, "If you like, I'll take you to my brokerage after lunch." After settling the bill, Mrs. Stanley declined the offer. Taking Rebecca by the hand, as she got up to go, she said coolly, "My husband is handling our finances very well. I think the act of making money is simply – vulgar – and I don't see any need to expose my daughter to such a working glass mentality." 

Emphatically the diminutive woman stated, her voice pitching higher and higher as she got emotionally worked up until she practically screeched, "My Rebecca has been raised to be a lady in society – not to mingle with shop girls and secretaries!" Having witnessed Mrs. Stanley's hysterics on a number of occasions and noticing that Rebecca was getting increasingly embarrassed by the situation, Josie squeezed her friend's hand under the table to let her know she felt bad for her. She often thought Rebecca's mother was extremely vocally opinionated without reason. 

Although she herself often disagreed with her own mother, at times like these, Josie considered herself lucky that however disappointed or angry, Claire found it much more effective to put pressure on her headstrong daughter in private. As Rebecca and Mrs. Stanley left to go shopping at Bergdorf Goodman, Lady Ashley said, "I've had no interest in money, but a visit to your brokerage would be a laugh." Also game, Geraldine picked up her sketchbook and prepared to go. Claire Baxter-Browne said sheepishly, "My husband runs a bank, but I haven't the slightest idea what he really does. He tried to explain things to me once, but it was all rather confusing. Perhaps with your help, I might understand a bit more." 

Delighted with the exposure, Josie thought that the trip could be quite enlightening. She asked the concierge at the hotel for some stationary and a pen to take notes in case she saw something worth committing to memory. Tapped by Vogue magazine to serve as a social commentator, Josie had great fun going to parties and writing about her friends. Occasionally she also submitted articles to other magazines on more serious topics. Considered the darling of the English department and a Glascock Poetry winner, after graduating from Mount Holyoke with high honors the previous year, Josie had expected she'd have no trouble becoming a regular contributor to the New Yorker while she worked on her first book of poetry. 

To what degree her hopes were dashed by her success as a debutante as opposed to the fact that there simply were many other far more talented writers wasn't clear. Regardless, her attempt to join the literati's Algonquin Round Table certainly only could be viewed as a spectacular failure culminating in a highly publicized scathing putdown by Dorothy Parker who described her poetry as sophomoric – "just what you'd expect from a deb – pretty to look at but lacking any substance." Depressed, dejected and infuriated by the criticism, Josie shed endless tears over the snub but nonetheless forced herself to continue writing her social diary for Vogue and to submit the occasional article for other periodicals – even the New Yorker. The aspiring writer tried hard not to take the rejection personally. Her friends claimed Dorothy Parker was jealous of her -- that the literary world's doyenne simply didn't want an attractive, younger competitor in her inner circle. But, true to herself, Josie also knew Parker's talents, unlike her own, were beyond question. 

For better or worse, the Algonquin Table rebuff led to her loss of interest in writing poetry. For several months, Josie remained dispirited. Her social prominence magnified her own doubts. After the build-up leading to her crowning as the debutante of 1929, she knew the gossip columnists and other girls and their mothers looked forward to publicly broadcasting her failings. 

Growing up, she had witnessed this vicious cycle dozens of times. Although Josie generally didn't care what others thought of her, the attack on her proposed career and sniping in her own circles hurt more than she expected. In the immediate aftermath, she had to force herself to attend events merely out of the necessity to appear unaffected. By hiding her hurt behind a veil of frivolity and flurry of social activity, during this time she managed to get Maury Paul and Cholly Knickerbocker to focus not on her shortcomings but rather on the Junior League events she suddenly took unprecedented interest in chairing. 

Privately she had nursed thoughts of confronting Dorothy Parker and telling the woman exactly what she thought of her and what pain her callous remarks had caused. But for once she had curbed her natural impulsive nature, reckoning upon reflection it only would lead to another acerbic attack by the seasoned writer. 

Still, never one to accept defeat easily, Josie put her ego aside to see a potential opportunity in the setback. The socialite even considered asking the acclaimed critic to become her mentor. On three occasions she actually walked down to West 44th Street and stood outside the Algonquin Hotel in the hope of intercepting the formidable woman. But after reading more of Ms. Parker's reviews, learning more about her personality and seriously thinking about what she enjoyed writing most, Josie thought it wise to give up her pursuit of becoming Parker's protégé. Not one to sulk too long or to be dismissed by one rejection, eight months after the humiliation, Josie enthusiastically embraced a new literary venture. 

With the help of Geraldine, she established a humorous magazine entitled Twenties Humor, where she and other "mediocre" writers poked fun of the literary establishment that lambasted them as well as social conventions, religious zealots and other hot topics that appealed to the just over twenty crowd. Although panned by critics as just an extension of College Humor, a publication to which Josie had frequently contributed as a student, no one could question its appeal. Drawing initially first on the talents of her friends and a few recent graduates, due to Josie's stature, determination, and promotional efforts, within its first year, the publication became the most popular satirical rag for the Flaming Youth. 

Although there were still times when she'd feel low and then subsequently angry when gossips took potshots at her for her failure to become a "serious writer," Josie countered that she had more fun with her writers' clique that was composed of people her own age who wrote things that interested her generation specifically than she would have done if she hadn't been an Algonquin Table reject. By the time the ladies finally left the Plaza, Josie had scribbled down a few angles and specific questions she planned to ask the lady investors for Twenties Humor. 

She noted she found it quite irking that when she attempted to walk into one of the traditional brokerages at the Plaza for a comparison, she was not even allowed to do more than peer inside the doorway because of her gender. 

Once outside the hotel, Mrs. Whitney Straight stopped the Baxter-Brownes and Ashleys from ordering their cars and suggested instead that the ladies all went in hers. As she got behind the wheel of her Silver Cloud Rolls Royce, she shocked her friends by bombastically announcing, "I'll drive." 

"But you had the most marvelous driver before," replied Lady Ashley. "What was his name? Bigford? What happened to him? He came from Suffolk around the same village as my great grandparents." 

Her gray eyes twinkling with laughter, Mrs. Whitney Straight said, "Bigford is the one who got me into the market." 

"You don't say!" chimed the women together. 

Then Lady Ashley inquired, "How so?" The grand dame explained, "When Bigford turned in his notice, naturally I asked him what he was going to do. You know he had been very happy with us, so I was quite surprised when he decided to leave." 

"Who's he working for now?" inquired Claire. The women looked confused at Mrs. Whitney Straight when she replied, "For himself." 

As they set off she explained, "Bigford made an absolute fortune in the market by buying on margin. He started small after the slump of ‘21 and now has several million dollars. He's been a great teacher! You should see his place!" 

"Where does he live on Park – over one of the little shops?" inquired Lady Ashley kindly. "My dears, he's at 1040," stated Mrs. Whitney Straight. Confidentially she informed her friends, "He has a ten room apartment on the top floor." Lady Ashley gasped, "Your old driver has a penthouse?" 

"That's right," replied the grand dame. Then shocking her friends even more, she said, "He's just across from the Nasts." Josie giggled as her mother gasped. 1040 Park Avenue was considered one of the most exclusive, grand apartment buildings in New York. A lot of the old families had sold their townhouses and had taken spacious residences in this complex. They both knew Mrs. Stanley would be destroyed if she learned Bigford lived at 1040. 

Last year after the Stanleys were robbed, they had seriously considered moving into the building, and it hadn't even been on one of the top floors. Thinking of the impact of the stock market on the social breakdown of the Old Guard in New York, Josie said, "I wonder if Bigford saw that article by John Jacob Raskob's in Reader's Digest. If I remember correctly, Raskob asserted that the average American could become rich just by buying stock. I guess he's right. If Bigford can move into 1040, everyone in America has the potential of becoming a millionaire through this market!" 

Several minutes later, as Adele Whitney Straight pulled up in front of the Waldorf Astoria, attentive valet attendants opened the doors for the women and parked the automobile. Once inside, the women headed to the private suite on the second floor. The sign outside read: "Ladies Only." Geraldine picked up her pad and started sketching. The blue velvet drapes with matching valances and tiebacks were drawn and the lighting kept dim. Otherwise, the wall-papered lounge resembled the sitting rooms found in the dorms of any of the seven sister colleges. From the gilded mirrors and crystal chandelier hanging from the decorative ceiling rosette, to the inlaid tables, comfortable overstuffed chairs and antique sofas, the décor of the Ladies' Brokerage seemed very familiar to the upper class women. 

To those not born into the elite, the suite offered them the chance to learn what it was like if they had enough money to open a sizable account. There was only an hour left before the exchange closed. The clients were so busy following the ticker that few looked up to acknowledge Mrs. Whitney Straight and her guests. Periodically, a burst of delight was emitted by one of the ladies when a sizable profit was made. Glasses clinked and Turkish cigarettes lit up. Mrs. Whitney Straight showed her friends the ropes. Using the ticker, they found several of the grand dame's stocks by their symbols and calculated how much money she made during the day. 

With Anaconda Copper up over five points, Steel up four and GM near its all time high, without even calculating her more speculative holdings, Mrs. Whitney Straight had made a paper profit of $35,153 as they lunched. The women were highly impressed with how easy it was to make money from stocks. After the market closed, Josie talked with several clients. She was surprised to learn that one of the most sophisticatedly dressed women was a former Midwestern housewife who had left her abusive husband on their pig farm after an investment tip in an auto stock led to an overnight profit of over $67,000. Since then, the woman had bought mail-order houses that netted her close to $550,000 in the past year alone. Now the investor informed Josie she was bullish about National City, a stock that traded at over 500 points per share. Josie and Geraldine soon heard numerous tales of former seamstresses, washerwomen, divorcees and even grand dames like Mrs. Whitney Straight, who daily made vast sums through investing in stocks. 

While Geraldine and Josie looked around the suite before leaving, Geraldine said, "There's one problem with this place." 

"What's that?" inquired Josie. Geraldine asked, "Why should women have to buy stocks segregated from men – in suites like this – why can't they trade on Wall Street?" 

"Perhaps women would rather not subject themselves to a group of egotistical men smoking cheap cigars," Josie replied jokingly. The girls laughed. Geraldine added Josie's comment as the caption to her sketch of the place. The girls decided to submit the piece to the Vogue as well as printing it with Josie's article in Twenties Humor. With close to 5,000 ladies only brokerage offices in the United States, female investors had become ubiquitous and a source of interest for the Vogue's readers. 

The editorial staff immediately selected the sketch and printed it in one of the hottest issues focused on the flapper scene. Josie thought it was time she found out even more about the market. A week later, the stock market was still on Josie's mind as she sat between Randolph Churchill and Warren Bates during J.D. Rockefeller's dinner party in honor of Randolph's father, Winston. Josie was having a wonderful time. What she did not know was it had not been planned that way. 



Winston picked Josie up in front of her house at ten thirty in the morning. Because of the crowds in the financial district, their driver was unable to drop them off in front of the Exchange. Noting the concern on Josie's face, Winston said, "Don't worry.
Americans always over-react."

Even outside the Exchange, Winston and Josie could hear the rumbling roar of the traders. The grand windows in the stone building seemed to shake from all the activity.


At any moment, Josie half expected a man to throw himself through the glass. As Josie smiled weakly, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer escorted her inside with a brave face. She knew he was invested heavily in the American market as well.

While they were taken up to the Member's Gallery by William Crawford the superintendent of the Exchange, Josie whispered to Winston, "I guess if things were really bad, they wouldn't have let us enter the Exchange." But when she looked down on the activity, Josie realized it really was that bad.

The stench of nervous perspiration permeated the air. On the floor, belligerent traders besieged specialists. To thrust their orders forward, they aggressively shoved each other. Although these were useless gestures given the overwhelming demand to sell positions, the floor traders persisted in a frenzied state of panic. Tempers flared as they pushed against each other, grabbing and tearing shirts, discarding their jackets and ripping off their glasses that got squashed along with their wads of sell orders under the feet of the panicking mob. Several went berserk. A specialist who couldn't handle the pressure anymore grabbed the nearest trader and started choking him. Another trader nabbed an unsuspecting runner by the hair and wouldn't let go until the boy broke away after losing clumps of hair. Scalped, he retreated to the medical clinic that unfortunately couldn't re-grow or replace the missing strands.

The boys, who worked the phones that connected the posts to their brokerage houses, screamed incoherencies. Some smashed

the phones. They were beyond explaining the situation to their brokerage counterparts who called with even more sell orders. No one understood what anyone else was saying, but it didn't matter in the least because everyone could see that there was an avalanche of sellers with no end in sight.

Clasping a paper with the stocks that Charles had purchased, Josie watched in horror as each one on the list declined precipitously along with the rest of the market. She held the list so tightly that her nails dug deeply into her skin and her fingers turned white. If her grip was firm enough, subconsciously she felt the items she held might make it through the panic.

Josie could tell Winston wasn't faring much better. Even his favorite stock, Simmon & Company steeply declined. As Josie squeezed Winston's hand reassuringly, he said with sardonic humor, "That's what you get for buying a stock based upon a good
advertisement."

Feeling sick to her stomach from what she had witnessed, Josie walked downstairs for some air. On her way, she bumped into some of Stock Exchange members. Curious as to what they planned to do about the situation, she followed them to what she found out was an undisclosed meeting organized to decide whether to keep the Exchange open for trading or not.

Peering through the doorway, Josie saw a group of the most powerful men in the world assembled. Obsessively, they lit cigarette after cigarette. Repetitiously they dropped them after only one or two puffs only to light up another again and again and again. While they did this, their eyes stared blankly ahead like the fish on display blocks away at the Fulton Market.

Several hours later, after a representative from the House of Morgan came through, Josie heard the members agree to keep the Exchange open for the moment. Relieved, Josie returned to the gallery, where Winston busily jotted down notes for an article on the correction. With his stocks tanking, he knew he'd need to support his family through other means.

When Josie stared down at the floor of the Exchange, she saw the atmosphere was even direr than moments before. There was less trading taking place, just lots of men running around wildly gesturing, waving, shouting loudly.

In a most horrible moment that spread like a plague contagiously across the Exchange floor, groups of stocks could not find any buyers at any price. It was like a reverse auction with specialists reducing their bids by tens of points until they pleaded, "Does anyone want to buy any of this stock? Do I hear a price – any price?" As the babbling gibberish subsided, a deafening silence answered.

Gasping, Josie said to Winston in horror, "They're worthless!" Clearly affected, a grim Winston wiped the perspiration from his brow. Then displaying the calmness and resolution that would be his trademark in the most terrible of times to come, he dryly
remarked, "Now that's a sight to remember." At that moment, they were informed the gallery had been closed.

Josie imagined the closing of the Exchange would soon follow and with it, unimaginable havoc. While she walked through the crowds gathered outside, she saw the look of those who know there is no hope, only failure. In despair over their losses, many no longer had the will to fight. Shattered, robbed of the fantasies that made their lives, even when most miserable, worth living, Josie thought, the financially ruined resembled hunted creatures at the exact moment they recognized they were finished.

Desperately feeling the need to pray, Josie went to Trinity Church. She saw people of all faiths and backgrounds gathered in union at this place of worship, begging the All Merciful for salvation. Many prayed out loud. Men, who never cried even in front of their families, publicly shed tears. 

Finally finding a spot to kneel in one of the packed pews, Josie bent down to pray for the numerous investors suffering and particularly for Charles. She wanted to visit him at the brokerage, but she knew she shouldn't distract him since she was certain he was swamped. Feeling more confident after her prayer, Josie rejoined the waiting Winston to set out to find their driver in order to return uptown. Casting a long look at the scene, Josie thought it was a most dreadful day. She had no idea how much worse it could get.




Winston picked Josie up in front of her house at ten thirty in the morning. Because of the crowds in the financial district, their driver was unable to drop them off in front of the Exchange. Noting the concern on Josie's face, Winston said, "Don't worry. Americans always over-react."

Even outside the Exchange, Winston and Josie could hear the rumbling roar of the traders. The grand windows in the stone building seemed to shake from all the activity. At any moment, Josie half expected a man to throw himself through the glass.

As Josie smiled weakly, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer escorted her inside with a brave face. She knew he was invested heavily in the American market as well.

While they were taken up to the Member's Gallery by William Crawford the superintendent of the Exchange, Josie whispered to Winston, "I guess if things were really bad, they wouldn't have let us enter the Exchange." But when she looked down on the activity, Josie realized it really was that bad.

The stench of nervous perspiration permeated the air. On the floor, belligerent traders besieged specialists. To thrust their orders forward, they aggressively shoved each other. Although these were useless gestures given the overwhelming demand to sell positions, the floor traders persisted in a frenzied state of panic.

Tempers flared as they pushed against each other, grabbing and tearing shirts, discarding their jackets and ripping off their glasses that got squashed along with their wads of sell orders under the feet of the panicking mob. Several went berserk. A specialist who couldn't handle the pressure anymore grabbed the nearest trader and started choking him. Another trader nabbed an unsuspecting runner by the hair and wouldn't let go until the boy broke away after losing clumps of hair. Scalped, he retreated to the medical clinic that unfortunately couldn't re-grow or replace the missing strands.

The boys, who worked the phones that connected the posts to their brokerage houses, screamed incoherencies. Some smashed the phones. They were beyond explaining the situation to their brokerage counterparts who called with even more sell orders.

No one understood what anyone else was saying, but it didn't matter in the least because everyone could see that there was an avalanche of sellers with no end in sight. Clasping a paper with the stocks that Charles had purchased,

Josie watched in horror as each one on the list declined precipitously along with the rest of the market. She held the list so tightly that her nails dug deeply into her skin and her fingers turned white. If her grip was firm enough, subconsciously she felt the items she held might make it through the panic. Josie could tell Winston wasn't faring much better. Even his favorite stock, Simmon & Company steeply declined. As Josie squeezed Winston's hand reassuringly, he said with sardonic humor, "That's what you get for buying a stock based upon a good advertisement."

Feeling sick to her stomach from what she had witnessed, Josie walked downstairs for some air. On her way, she bumped into some of Stock Exchange members. Curious as to what they planned to do about the situation, she followed them to what she found out was an undisclosed meeting organized to decide whether to keep the Exchange open for trading or not.

Peering through the doorway, Josie saw a group of the most powerful men in the world assembled. Obsessively, they lit cigarette after cigarette. Repetitiously they dropped them after only one or two puffs only to light up another again and again and again. While they did this, their eyes stared blankly ahead like the fish on display blocks away at the Fulton Market.

Several hours later, after a representative from the House of Morgan came through, Josie heard the members agree to keep the Exchange open for the moment. Relieved, Josie returned to the gallery, where Winston busily jotted down notes for an article on the correction. With his stocks tanking, he knew he'd need to support his family through other means.

When Josie stared down at the floor of the Exchange, she saw the atmosphere was even direr than moments before. There was less trading taking place, just lots of men running around wildly gesturing, waving, shouting loudly.

In a most horrible moment that spread like a plague contagiously across the Exchange floor, groups of stocks could not find any buyers at any price. It was like a reverse auction with specialists reducing their bids by tens of points until they pleaded, "Does anyone want to buy any of this stock? Do I hear a price – any price?" As the babbling gibberish subsided, a deafening silence answered.

Gasping, Josie said to Winston in horror, "They're worthless!" Clearly affected, a grim Winston wiped the perspiration from his brow. Then displaying the calmness and resolution that would be his trademark in the most terrible of times to come, he dryly remarked, "Now that's a sight to remember."

At that moment, they were informed the gallery had been closed. Josie imagined the closing of the Exchange would soon follow and with it, unimaginable havoc. While she walked through the crowds gathered outside, she saw the look of those who know there is no hope, only failure. In despair over their losses, many no longer had the will to fight. Shattered, robbed of the fantasies that made their lives, even when most miserable, worth living, Josie thought, the financially ruined resembled hunted creatures at the exact moment they recognized they were finished.

Desperately feeling the need to pray, Josie went to Trinity Church. She saw people of all faiths and backgrounds gathered in union at this place of worship, begging the All Merciful for salvation.

Many prayed out loud. Men, who never cried even in front of their families, publicly shed tears. Finally finding a spot to kneel in one of the packed pews, Josie bent down to pray for the numerous investors suffering and particularly for Charles. She wanted to visit him at the brokerage, but she knew she shouldn't distract him since she was certain he was swamped. Feeling more confident after her prayer, Josie rejoined the waiting Winston to set out to find their driver in order to return uptown.

Casting a long look at the scene, Josie thought it was a most dreadful day. She had no idea how much worse it could get.


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