The story of a New England village held tight in the grip of its banker. Works up to a dramatic climax in which humorous elements are mingled.
n out of its misery.
Right behind Britt, as he stood on the porch, was a sheaf of yellowed papers nailed to the side of the tavern. Nobody in Egypt bothered to look at the papers; all the taxpayers knew what they were; the papers were signed by the high sheriff of the county and represented that all the real estate of Egypt had been sold over and over for taxes and had been bid in by the town as a municipality--and there the matter rested. Egypt, in other words, had been trying to lift itself by the bootstraps and was not merely still standing on the ground, but was considerably sunk in the hole that had been dug by the boot heels while Egypt was jumping up and down. Mr. Britt was not troubled by the sight of the yellowed papers; he owned mortgages and pulled in profit by the legal curiosities known as "Holmes notes"--leeches of particular drawing power. Mr. Britt did not own real estate. Egypt, in its financial stress and snarl of litigation, was a wonderful operating field for a man with loose money