Sunday, April 20, 2008

Litigation over the Waco and Northwestern stretched on for three years. One effect of the battle was that it made Hetty a folk hero among California farmers who hated Huntington. A group of San Franciscans sent her as a gift a .44 caliber revolver, along with a holster, belt and cartridges, and a note promising that if she ever came to visit, they would turn out ten thousand strong at the depot to greet her. For Hetty, accustomed now to being on the receiving end of unflattering articles about her personal idiosyncrasies, this was an unfamiliar gesture of embrace. She relished it. She loved to tell her friends about the gift, and also about the time, during the height of the battle, that Huntington came to see her at her office at the Chemical Bank. No doubt he went with the idea of intimidating her. During the course of the conversation, he threatened that if she and Ned (who remained in Texas) didn't relent, he would see to it that Ned was tossed into a Texas jail. Hetty's eyes narrowed on Huntington. "Up to now, Huntington, you have dealt with Hetty Green, the business woman. Now you are fighting Hetty Green the mother. Harm one hair of Ned's head and I'll put a bullet through your heart!" She made a motion to the revolver on her desk (perhaps the one sent to her from California). Huntington, surprised and alarmed, left the office so quickly that he forgot to take his silk hat. He sent an assistant for it the next day.

Charles Slack, Hetty: The Genius and Madness of America's First Female Tycoon (126)

No comments: