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Title: Wall street stories
Author: Lefèvre, Edwin
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                              WALL STREET

                             EDWIN LEFÈVRE

                                NEW YORK
                        McCLURE, PHILLIPS & CO.

                 COPYRIGHT, 1901, BY S. S. MCCLURE CO.
                   1900 AND 1901, BY FRANK A. MUNSEY
                    1901, BY MCCLURE, PHILLIPS & CO.

                     FIRST IMPRESSION OCTOBER, 1901
                    SECOND IMPRESSION NOVEMBER, 1901
                    THIRD IMPRESSION NOVEMBER, 1901


                          Samuel Hughes Watts




                      THE WOMAN AND HER BONDS    1

                      THE BREAK IN TURPENTINE   31

                      THE TIPSTER               77

                      A PHILANTHROPIC WHISPER  113

                      THE MAN WHO WON          129

                      THE LOST OPPORTUNITY     161

                      PIKE’S PEAK OR BUST      175

                      A THEOLOGICAL TIPSTER    209

                        THE WOMAN AND HER BONDS

It seemed to Fullerton F. Colwell, of the famous Stock-Exchange house of
Wilson & Graves, that he had done his full duty by his friend Harry
Hunt. He was a director in a half score of companies—financial
_débutantes_ which his firm had “brought out” and over whose
stock-market destinies he presided. His partners left a great deal to
him, and even the clerks in the office ungrudgingly acknowledged that
Mr. Colwell was “the hardest worked man in the place, barring none”—an
admission that means much to those who know it is always the downtrodden
clerks who do all the work and their employers who take all the profit
and credit. Possibly the important young men who did all the work in
Wilson & Graves’ office bore witness to Mr. Colwell’s industry so
cheerfully, because Mr. Colwell was ever inquiring, very courteously,
and, above all, sympathetically, into the amount of work each man had to
perform, and suggesting, the next moment, that the laborious amount in
question was indisputably excessive. Also, it was he who raised
salaries; wherefore he was the most charming as well as the busiest man
there. Of his partners, John G. Wilson was a consumptive, forever going
from one health resort to another, devoting his millions to the purchase
of railroad tickets in the hope of out-racing Death. George B. Graves
was a dyspeptic, nervous, irritable, and, to boot, penurious; a man
whose chief recommendation at the time Wilson formed the firm had been
his cheerful willingness to do all the dirty work. Frederick R. Denton
was busy in the “Board Room”—the Stock Exchange—all day, executing
orders, keeping watch over the market behavior of the stocks with which
the firm was identified, and from time to time hearing things not meant
for his ears, being the truth regarding Wilson & Graves. But Fullerton
F. Colwell had to do everything—in the stock market and in the office.
He conducted the manipulation of the Wilson & Graves stocks, took charge
of the un-nefarious part of the numerous pools formed by the firm’s
customers—Mr. Graves attending to the other details—and had a hand in
the actual management of various corporations. Also, he conferred with a
dozen people daily—chiefly “big people,” in Wall Street parlance—who
were about to “put through” stock-market “deals.” He had devoted his
time, which was worth thousands, and his brain, which was worth
millions, to disentangling his careless friend’s affairs, and when it
was all over and every claim adjusted, and he had refused the executor’s
fees to which he was entitled, it was found that poor Harry Hunt’s
estate not only was free from debt, but consisted of $38,000 in cash,
deposited in the Trolleyman’s Trust Company, subject to Mrs. Hunt’s
order, and drawing interest at the rate of 2½ per cent per annum. He had
done his work wonderfully well, and, in addition to the cash, the widow
owned an unencumbered house Harry had given her in his lifetime.

Not long after the settlement of the estate Mrs. Hunt called at his
office. It was a very busy day. The bears were misbehaving—and
misbehaving mighty successfully. Alabama Coal & Iron—the firm’s great
specialty—was under heavy fire from “Sam” Sharpe’s Long Tom as well as
from the room-traders’ Maxims. All that Colwell could do was to instruct
Denton, who was on the ground, to “support” _Ala. C. & I._ sufficiently
to discourage the enemy, and not enough to acquire the company’s entire
capital stock. He was himself at that moment practising that peculiar
form of financial dissimulation which amounts to singing blithely at the
top of your voice when your beloved sackful of gold has been ripped by
bear-paws and the coins are pouring out through the rent. Every
quotation was of importance; a half inch of tape might contain an epic
of disaster. It was not wise to fail to read every printed character.

“Good morning, Mr. Colwell.”

He ceased to pass the tape through his fingers, and turned quickly,
almost apprehensively, for a woman’s voice was not heard with pleasure
at an hour of the day when distractions were undesirable.

“Ah, good morning, Mrs. Hunt,” he said, very politely. “I am very glad
indeed to see you. And how do you do?” He shook hands, and led her, a
bit ceremoniously, to a huge armchair. His manners endeared him even to
the big Wall Street operators, who were chiefly interested in the terse
speech of the ticker.

“Of course, you are very well, Mrs. Hunt. Don’t tell me you are not.”

“Ye-es,” hesitatingly. “As well as I can hope to be since—since——”

“Time alone, dear Mrs. Hunt, can help us. You must be very brave. It is
what he would have liked.”

“Yes, I know,” she sighed. “I suppose I must.”

There was a silence. He stood by, deferentially sympathetic.

“_Ticky-ticky-ticky-tick_,” said the ticker.

What did it mean, in figures? Reduced to dollars and cents, what did the
last three brassy taps say? Perhaps the bears were storming the Alabama
Coal & Iron intrenchments of “scaled buying orders”; perhaps Colwell’s
trusted lieutenant, Fred Denton, had repulsed the enemy. Who was
winning? A spasm, as of pain, passed over Mr. Fullerton F. Colwell’s
grave face. But the next moment he said to her, slightly
conscience-strickenly, as if he reproached himself for thinking of the
stock market in her presence: “You must not permit yourself to brood,
Mrs. Hunt. You know what I thought of Harry, and I need not tell you how
glad I shall be to do what I may, for his sake, Mrs. Hunt, and for your

“_Ticky-ticky-ticky-tick!_” repeated the ticker.

To avoid listening to the voluble little machine, he went on: “Believe
me, Mrs. Hunt, I shall be only too glad to serve you.”

“You are so kind, Mr. Colwell,” murmured the widow; and after a pause:
“I came to see you about that money.”


“They tell me in the trust company that if I leave the money there
without touching it I’ll make $79 a month.”

“Let me see; yes; that is about what you may expect.”

“Well, Mr. Colwell, I can’t live on that. Willie’s school costs me $50,
and then there’s Edith’s clothes,” she went on, with an air which
implied that as for herself she wouldn’t care at all. “You see, he was
so indulgent, and they are used to so much. Of course, it’s a blessing
we have the house; but taxes take up so much; and—isn’t there some way
of investing the money so it could bring more?”

“I might buy some bonds for you. But for your principal to be absolutely
safe at all times, you will have to invest in very high-grade
securities, which will return to you about 3½ per cent. That would mean,
let’s see, $110 a month.”

“And Harry spent $10,000 a year,” she murmured, complainingly.

“Harry was always—er—rather extravagant.”

“Well, I’m glad he enjoyed himself while he lived,” she said, quickly.
Then, after a pause: “And, Mr. Colwell, if I should get tired of the
bonds, could I always get my money back?”

“You could always find a ready market for them. You might sell them for
a little more or for a little less than you paid.”

“I shouldn’t like to sell them,” she said, with a business air, “for
less than I paid. What would be the sense?”

“You are right, Mrs. Hunt,” he said, encouragingly. “It wouldn’t be very
profitable, would it?”

“_Ticky-ticky-ticky-ticky-ticky-ticky-tick!_” said the ticker. It was
whirring away at a furious rate. Its story is always interesting when it
is busy. And Colwell had not looked at the tape in fully five minutes!

“Couldn’t you buy something for me, Mr. Colwell, that when I came to
sell it I could get more than it cost me?”

“No man can guarantee that, Mrs. Hunt.”

“I shouldn’t like to lose the little I have,” she said, hastily.

“Oh, there is no danger of that. If you will give me a check for
$35,000, leaving $3,000 with the trust company for emergencies, I shall
buy some bonds which I feel reasonably certain will advance in price
within a few months.”

“_Ticky-ticky-ticky-tick_,” interrupted the ticker. In some inexplicable
way it seemed to him that the brassy sound had an ominous ring, so he
added: “But you will have to let me know promptly, Mrs. Hunt. The stock
market, you see, is not a polite institution. It waits for none, not
even for your sex.”

“Gracious me, must I take the money out of the bank to-day and bring it
to you?”

“A check will do.” He began to drum on the desk nervously with his
fingers, but ceased abruptly as he became aware of it.

“Very well, I’ll send it to you to-day. I know you’re very busy, so I
won’t keep you any longer. And you’ll buy good, cheap bonds for me?”

“Yes, Mrs. Hunt.”

“There’s no danger of losing, is there, Mr. Colwell?”

“None whatever. I have bought some for Mrs. Colwell, and I would not run
the slightest risk. You need have no fear about them.”

“It’s exceedingly kind of you, Mr. Colwell. I am more grateful than I
can say. I—I——”

“The way to please me is not to mention it, Mrs. Hunt. I am going to try
to make some money for you, so that you can at least double the income
from the trust company.”

“Thanks, ever so much. Of course, I know you are thoroughly familiar
with such things. But I’ve heard so much about the money everybody loses
in Wall Street that I was half afraid.”

“Not when you buy good bonds, Mrs. Hunt.”

“Good morning, Mr. Colwell.”

“Good morning, Mrs. Hunt. Remember, whenever I may be of service you are
to let me know immediately.”

“Oh, thank you, so much, Mr. Colwell. Good morning.”

“Good morning, Mrs. Hunt.”

Mrs. Hunt sent him a check for $35,000, and Colwell bought 100 five-per
cent gold bonds of the Manhattan Electric Light, Heat & Power Company,
paying 96 for them.

“These bonds,” he wrote to her, “will surely advance in price, and when
they touch a good figure I shall sell a part, and keep the balance for
you as an investment. The operation is partly speculative, but I assure
you the money is safe. You will have an opportunity to increase your
original capital and your entire funds will then be invested in these
same bonds—Manhattan Electric 5s—as many as the money will buy. I hope
within six months to secure for you an income of twice as much as you
have been receiving from the trust company.”

The next morning she called at his office.

“Good morning, Mrs. Hunt. I trust you are well.”

“Good morning, Mr. Colwell. I know I am an awful bother to you, but——”

“You are greatly mistaken, Mrs. Hunt.”

“You are very kind. You see, I don’t exactly understand about those
bonds. I thought you could tell me. I’m so stupid,” archly.

“I won’t have you prevaricate about yourself, Mrs. Hunt. Now, you gave
me $35,000, didn’t you?”

“Yes.” Her tone indicated that she granted that much and nothing more.

“Well, I opened an account for you with our firm. You were credited with
the amount. I then gave an order to buy one hundred bonds of $1,000
each. We paid 96 for them.”

“I don’t follow you quite, Mr. Colwell. I told you”—another arch
smile—“I was so stupid!”

“It means that for each $1,000–bond $960 was paid. It brought the total
up to $96,000.”

“But I only had $35,000 to begin with. You don’t mean I’ve made that
much, do you?”

“Not yet, Mrs. Hunt. You put in $35,000; that was your margin, you know;
and we put in the other $61,000 and kept the bonds as security. We owe
you $35,000, and you owe us $61,000, and——”

“But—I know you’ll laugh at me, Mr. Colwell—but I really can’t help
thinking it’s something like the poor people you read about, who
mortgage their houses, and they go on, and the first thing you know some
real-estate agent owns the house and you have nothing. I have a friend,
Mrs. Stilwell, who lost hers that way,” she finished, corroboratively.

“This is not a similar case, exactly. The reason why you use a margin is
that you can do much more with the money that way than if you bought
outright. It protects your broker against a depreciation in the security
purchased, which is all he wants. In this case you theoretically owe us
$61,000, but the bonds are in your name, and they are worth $96,000, so
that if you want to pay us back, all you have to do is to order us to
sell the bonds, return the money we have advanced, and keep the balance
of your margin; that is, of your original sum.”

“I don’t understand why I should owe the firm. I shouldn’t mind so much
owing you, because I know you’d never take advantage of my ignorance of
business matters. But I’ve never met Mr. Wilson nor Mr. Graves. I don’t
even know how they look.”

“But you know me,” said Mr. Colwell, with patient courtesy.

“Oh, it isn’t that I’m afraid of being cheated, Mr. Colwell,” she said
hastily and reassuringly; “but I don’t wish to be under obligations to
any one, particularly utter strangers; though, of course, if you say it
is all right, I am satisfied.”

“My dear Mrs. Hunt, don’t worry about this matter. We bought these bonds
at 96. If the price should advance to 110, as I think it will, then you
can sell three fifths for $66,000, pay us back $61,000, and keep $5,000
for emergencies in savings banks drawing 4 per cent interest, and have
in addition 40 bonds which will pay you $2,000 a year.”

“That would be lovely. And the bonds are now 96?”

“Yes; you will always find the price in the financial page of the
newspapers, where it says BONDS. Look for _Man. Elec. 5s_,” and he
showed her.

“Oh, thanks, ever so much. Of course, I am a great bother, I know——”

“You are nothing of the kind, Mrs. Hunt. I’m only too glad to be of the
slightest use to you.”

Mr. Colwell, busy with several important deals, did not follow closely
the fluctuations in the price of Manhattan Electric Light, Heat & Power
Company 5s. The fact that there had been any change at all was made
clear to him by Mrs. Hunt. She called a few days after her first visit,
with perturbation written large on her face. Also, she wore the
semi-resolute look of a person who expects to hear unacceptable excuses.

“Good morning, Mr. Colwell.”

“How do you do, Mrs. Hunt? Well, I hope.”

“Oh, I am well enough. I wish I could say as much for my financial
matters.” She had acquired the phrase from the financial reports which
she had taken to reading religiously every day.

“Why, how is that?”

“They are 95 now,” she said, a trifle accusingly.

“Who are _they_, pray, Mrs. Hunt?” in surprise.

“The bonds. I saw it in last night’s paper.”

Mr. Colwell smiled. Mrs. Hunt almost became indignant at his levity.

“Don’t let that worry you, Mrs. Hunt. The bonds are all right. The
market is a trifle dull; that’s all.”

“A friend,” she said, very slowly, “who knows all about Wall Street,
told me last night that it made a difference of $1,000 to me.”

“So it does, in a way; that is, if you tried to sell your bonds. But as
you are not going to do so until they show you a handsome profit, you
need not worry. Don’t be concerned about the matter, I beg of you. When
the time comes for you to sell the bonds I’ll let you know. Never mind
if the price goes off a point or two. You are amply protected. Even if
there should be a panic I’ll see that you are not sold out, no matter
how low the price goes. You are not to worry about it; in fact, you are
not to think about it at all.”

“Oh, thanks, ever so much, Mr. Colwell. I didn’t sleep a wink last
night. But I knew——”

A clerk came in with some stock certificates and stopped short. He
wanted Mr. Colwell’s signature in a hurry, and at the same time dared
not interrupt. Mrs. Hunt thereupon rose and said: “Well, I won’t take up
any more of your time. Good morning, Mr. Colwell. Thanks ever so much.”

“Don’t mention it, Mrs. Hunt. Good morning. You are going to do very
well with those bonds if you only have patience.”

“Oh, I’ll be patient now that I know all about it; yes, indeed. And I
hope your prophecy will be fulfilled. Good morning, Mr. Colwell.”

Little by little the bonds continued to decline. The syndicate in charge
was not ready to move them. But Mrs. Hunt’s unnamed friend—her Cousin
Emily’s husband—who was employed in an up-town bank, did not know all
the particulars of that deal. He knew the Street in the abstract, and
had accordingly implanted the seed of insomnia in her quaking soul.
Then, as he saw values decline, he did his best to make the seed grow,
fertilizing a naturally rich soil with ominous hints and headshakings
and with phrases that made her firmly believe he was gradually and
considerately preparing her for the worst. On the third day of her agony
Mrs. Hunt walked into Colwell’s office. Her face was pale and she looked
distressed. Mr. Colwell sighed involuntarily—a scarcely perceptible and
not very impolite sigh—and said: “Good morning, Mrs. Hunt.”

She nodded gravely and, with a little gasp, said, tremulously: “The

“Yes? What about them?”

She gasped again, and said: “The p-p-papers!”

“What do you mean, Mrs. Hunt?”

She dropped into a chair nervelessly, as if exhausted. After a pause she
said: “It’s in all the papers. I thought the _Herald_ might be mistaken,
so I bought the _Tribune_ and the _Times_ and the _Sun_. But no. It was
the same in all. It was,” she added, tragically, “93!”

“Yes?” he said, smilingly.

The smile did not reassure her; it irritated her and aroused her
suspicions. By him, of all men, should her insomnia be deemed no
laughing matter.

“Doesn’t that mean a loss of $3,000?” she asked. There was a
deny-it-if-you-dare inflection in her voice of which she was not
conscious. Her cousin’s husband had been a careful gardener.

“No, because you are not going to sell your bonds at 93, but at 110, or

“But if I did want to sell the bonds now, wouldn’t I lose $3,000?” she
queried, challengingly. Then she hastened to answer herself: “Of course
I would, Mr. Colwell. Even I can tell that.”

“You certainly would, Mrs. Hunt; but——”

“I knew I was right,” with irrepressible triumph.

“But you are not going to sell the bonds.”

“Of course, I don’t want to, because I can’t afford to lose any money,
much less $3,000. But I don’t see how I can help losing it. I was warned
from the first,” she said, as if that made it worse. “I certainly had no
business to risk my all.” She had waived the right to blame some one
else, and there was something consciously just and judicial about her
attitude that was eloquent. Mr. Colwell was moved by it.

“You can have your money back, Mrs. Hunt, if you wish it,” he told her,
quite unprofessionally. “You seem to worry about it so much.”

“Oh, I am not worrying, exactly; only, I do wish I hadn’t bought—I mean,
the money was so safe in the Trolleyman’s Trust Company, that I can’t
help thinking I might just as well have let it stay where it was, even
if it didn’t bring me in so much. But, of course, if you want me to
leave it here,” she said, very slowly to give him every opportunity to
contradict her, “of course, I’ll do just as you say.”

“My dear Mrs. Hunt,” Colwell said, very politely, “my only desire is to
please you and to help you. When you buy bonds you must be prepared to
be patient. It may take months before you will be able to sell yours at
a profit, and I don’t know how low the price will go in the meantime.
Nobody can tell you that, because nobody knows. But it need make no
difference to you whether the bonds go to 90, or even to 85, which is

“Why, how can you say so, Mr. Colwell? If the bonds go to 90, I’ll lose
$6,000–-my friend said it was one thousand for every number down. And at
85 that would be”—counting on her fingers—“eleven numbers, that is,
_eleven—thousand—dollars_!” And she gazed at him, awe-strickenly,
reproachfully. “How _can_ you say it would make no difference, Mr.

Mr. Colwell fiercely hated the unnamed “friend,” who had told her so
little and yet so much. But he said to her, mildly: “I thought that I
had explained all that to you. It might hurt a weak speculator if the
bonds declined ten points, though such a decline is utterly improbable.
But it won’t affect you in the slightest, since, having an ample margin,
you would not be forced to sell. You would simply hold on until the
price rose again. Let me illustrate. Supposing your house cost $10,000,

“Harry paid $32,000,” she said, correctingly. On second thought she
smiled, in order to let him see that she knew her interpolation was
irrelevant. But he might as well know the actual cost.

“Very well,” he said, good-humoredly, “we’ll say $32,000, which was also
the price of every other house in that block. And suppose that, owing to
some accident, or for any reason whatever, nobody could be found to pay
more than $25,000 for one of the houses, and three or four of your
neighbors sold theirs at that price. But you wouldn’t, because you knew
that in the fall, when everybody came back to town, you would find
plenty of people who’d give you $50,000 for your house; you wouldn’t
sell it for $25,000, and you wouldn’t worry. Would you, now?” he
finished, cheerfully.

“No,” she said slowly. “I wouldn’t worry. But,” hesitatingly, for, after
all, she felt the awkwardness of her position, “I wish I had the money
instead of the bonds.” And she added, self-defensively: “I haven’t slept
a wink for three nights thinking about this.”

The thought of his coming emancipation cheered Mr. Colwell immensely.
“Your wish shall be gratified, Mrs. Hunt. Why didn’t you ask me before,
if you felt that way?” he said, in mild reproach. And he summoned a

“Make out a check for $35,000 payable to Mrs. Rose Hunt, and transfer
the 100 Manhattan Electric Light 5s to my personal account.”

He gave her the check and told her: “Here is the money. I am very sorry
that I unwittingly caused you some anxiety. But all’s well that ends
well. Any time that I can be of service to you—Not at all. Don’t thank
me, please; no. Good morning.”

But he did not tell her that by taking over her account he paid $96,000
for bonds he could have bought in the open market for $93,000. He was
the politest man in Wall Street; and, after all, he had known Hunt for
many years.

A week later Manhattan Electric 5–per cent bonds sold at 96 again. Mrs.
Hunt called on him. It was noon, and she evidently had spent the morning
mustering up courage for the visit. They greeted one another, she
embarrassed and he courteous and kindly as usual.

“Mr. Colwell, you still have those bonds, haven’t you?”

“Why, yes.”

“I—I think I’d like to take them back.”

“Certainly, Mrs. Hunt. I’ll find out how much they are selling for.” He
summoned a clerk to get a quotation on Manhattan Electric 5s. The clerk
telephoned to one of their bond-specialists, and learned that the bonds
could be bought at 96½. He reported to Mr. Colwell, and Mr. Colwell told
Mrs. Hunt, adding: “So you see they are practically where they were when
you bought them before.”

She hesitated. “I—I—didn’t you buy them from me at 93? I’d like to buy
them back at the same price I sold them to you.”

“No, Mrs. Hunt,” he said; “I bought them from you at 96.”

“But the price was 93.” And she added, corroboratively: “Don’t you
remember it was in all the papers?”

“Yes, but I gave you back exactly the same amount that I received from
you, and I had the bonds transferred to my account. They stand on our
books as having cost me 96.”

“But couldn’t you let me have them at 93?” she persisted.

“I’m very sorry, Mrs. Hunt, but I don’t see how I could. If you buy them
in the open market now, you will be in exactly the same position as
before you sold them, and you will make a great deal of money, because
they are going up now. Let me buy them for you at 96½.”

“At 93, you mean,” with a tentative smile.

“At whatever price they may be selling for,” he corrected, patiently.

“Why did you let me sell them, Mr. Colwell?” she asked, plaintively.

“But, my dear madam, if you buy them now, you will be no worse off than
if you had kept the original lot.”

“Well, I don’t see why it is that I have to pay 96½ now for the very
same bonds I sold last Tuesday at 93. If it was some other bonds,” she
added, “I wouldn’t mind so much.”

“My dear Mrs. Hunt, it makes no difference which bonds you hold. They
have all risen in price, yours and mine and everybody’s; your lot was
the same as any other lot. You see that, don’t you?”

“Ye-es; but——”

“Well, then, you are exactly where you were before you bought any.
You’ve lost nothing, because you received your money back intact.”

“I’m willing to buy them,” she said resolutely, “at 93.”

“Mrs. Hunt, I wish I could buy them for you at that price. But there are
none for sale cheaper than 96½.”

“Oh, why did I let you sell my bonds!” she said, disconsolately.

“Well, you worried so much because they had declined that——”

“Yes, but I didn’t know anything about business matters. You know I
didn’t, Mr. Colwell,” she finished, accusingly.

He smiled in his good-natured way. “Shall I buy the bonds for you?” he
asked. He knew the plans of the syndicate in charge, and being sure the
bonds would advance, he thought she might as well share in the profits.
At heart he felt sorry for her.

She smiled back. “Yes,” she told him, “at 93.” It did not seem right to
her, notwithstanding his explanations, that she should pay 96½ for them,
when the price a few days ago was 93.

“But how can I, if they are 96½?”

“Mr. Colwell, it is 93 or nothing.” She was almost pale at her own
boldness. It really seemed to her as if the price had only been waiting
for her to sell out in order to advance. And though she wanted the
bonds, she did not feel like yielding.

“Then I very much fear it will have to be nothing.”

“Er—good morning, Mr. Colwell,” on the verge of tears.

“Good morning, Mrs. Hunt.” And before he knew it, forgetting all that
had gone before, he added: “Should you change your mind, I should be
glad to——”

“I know I wouldn’t pay more than 93 if I lived to be a thousand years.”
She looked expectantly at him, to see if he had repented, and she
smiled—the smile that is a woman’s last resort, that says, almost
articulately: “I know you will, of course, do as I ask. My question is
only a formality. I know your nobility, and I fear not.” But he only
bowed her out, very politely.

On the Stock Exchange the price of _Man. Elec. L. H. & P. Co. 5s_ rose
steadily. Mrs. Hunt, too indignant to feel lachrymose, discussed the
subject with her Cousin Emily and her husband. Emily was very much
interested. Between her and Mrs. Hunt they forced the poor man to make
strange admissions, and, deliberately ignoring his feeble protests, they
worked themselves up to the point of believing that, while it would be
merely generous of Mr. Colwell to let his friend’s widow have the bonds
at 93, it would be only his obvious duty to let her have them at 96½.
The moment they reached this decision Mrs. Hunt knew how to act. And the
more she thought the more indignant she became. The next morning she
called on her late husband’s executor and friend.

Her face wore the look often seen on those ardent souls who think their
sacred and inalienable rights have been trampled upon by the tyrant Man,
but who at the same time feel certain the hour of retribution is near.

“Good morning, Mr. Colwell. I came to find out exactly what you propose
to do about my bonds.” Her voice conveyed the impression that she
expected violent opposition, perhaps even bad language, from him.

“Good morning, Mrs. Hunt. Why, what do you mean?”

His affected ignorance deepened the lines on her face. Instead of
bluster he was using _finesse_!

“I think you ought to know, Mr. Colwell,” she said, meaningly.

“Well, I really don’t. I remember you wouldn’t heed my advice when I
told you not to sell out, and again when I advised you to buy them

“Yes, at 96½,” she burst out, indignantly.

“Well, if you had, you would to-day have a profit of over $7,000.”

“And whose fault is it that I haven’t?” She paused for a reply.
Receiving none, she went on: “But never mind; I have decided to accept
your offer,” very bitterly, as if a poor widow could not afford to be a
chooser; “I’ll take those bonds at 96½.” And she added, under her
breath: “Although it really ought to be 93.”

“But, Mrs. Hunt,” said Colwell, in measureless astonishment, “you can’t
do that, you know. You wouldn’t buy them when I wanted you to, and I
can’t buy them for you now at 96½. Really, you ought to see that.”

Cousin Emily and she had gone over a dozen imaginary interviews with Mr.
Colwell—of varying degrees of storminess—the night before, and they had,
in an idle moment, and not because they really expected it, represented
Mr. Colwell as taking that identical stand. Mrs. Hunt was, accordingly,
prepared to show both that she knew her moral and technical rights, and
that she was ready to resist any attempt to ignore them. So she said, in
a voice so ferociously calm that it should have warned any guilty man:
“Mr. Colwell, will you answer me one question?”

“A thousand, Mrs. Hunt, with pleasure.”

“No; only one. Have you kept the bonds that I bought, or have you not?”

“What difference does that make, Mrs. Hunt?”

He evaded the answer!

“Yes or no, please. Have you, or have you not, those same identical

“Yes; I have. But——”

“And to whom do those bonds belong, by rights?” She was still pale, but

“To me, certainly.”

“To _you_, Mr. Colwell?” She smiled. And in her smile were a thousand
feelings; but not mirth.

“Yes, Mrs. Hunt, to me.”

“And do you propose to keep them?”

“I certainly do.”

“Not even if I pay 96½ will you give them to me?”

“Mrs. Hunt,” Colwell said with warmth “when I took those bonds off your
hands at 93 it represented a loss on paper of $3,000——”

She smiled in pity—pity for his judgment in thinking her so hopelessly

“And when you wanted me to sell them back to you at 93 after they had
risen to 96½, if I had done as you wished, it would have meant an actual
loss of $3,000 to me.”

Again she smiled—the same smile, only the pity was now mingled with
rising indignation.

“For Harry’s sake I was willing to pocket the first loss, in order that
you might not worry. But I didn’t see why I should make you a present of
$3,000,” he said, very quietly.

“I never asked you to do it,” she retorted, hotly.

“If you had lost any money through my fault, it would have been
different. But you had your original capital unimpaired. You had nothing
to lose, if you bought back the same bonds at practically the same
price. Now you come and ask me to sell you the bonds at 96½ that are
selling in the market for 104, as a reward, I suppose, for your refusal
to take my advice.”

“Mr. Colwell, you take advantage of my position to insult me. And Harry
trusted you so much! But let me tell you that I am not going to let you
do just as you please. No doubt you would like to have me go home and
forget how you’ve acted toward me. But I am going to consult a lawyer,
and see if I am to be treated this way by a _friend_ of my husband’s.
You’ve made a mistake, Mr. Colwell.”

“Yes, madam, I certainly have. And, in order to avoid making any more,
you will oblige me greatly by never again calling at this office. By all
means consult a lawyer. Good morning, madam,” said the politest man in
Wall Street.

“We’ll see,” was all she said; and she left the room.

Colwell paced up and down his office nervously. It was seldom that he
allowed himself to lose his temper, and he did not like it. The ticker
whirred away excitedly, and in an absent-minded, half-disgusted way he
glanced sideways at it.

“_Man. Elec. 5s, 106⅛_,” he read on the tape.

                        THE BREAK IN TURPENTINE

In the beginning of the beginning the distillers of turpentine carried
competition to the quarrelling point. Then they carried the quarrel to
the point of silence, which was most to be feared, for it meant that no
time was to be wasted in words. All were losing money; but each hoped
that the others were losing more, proportionately, and therefore would
go under all the sooner. The survivors thought they could manage to keep
on surviving, for on what twelve would starve four could feast.

It is seen periodically in the United States: an industry apparently
suffering from suicidal mania. It is incomprehensible, inexplicable,
though mediocrities mutter: “Over-production!” and shake their heads
complacently, proud of having diagnosed the trouble. Here was the
turpentine business, once great and lucrative, now ruin-producing;
formerly affording a comfortable livelihood to many thousands and now
giving ever-diminishing wages to ever-diminishing numbers.

It was Mr. Alfred Neustadt, a banker in a famous turpentine district,
who first called his brother-in-law’s attention to the pitiable sight.
Mr. Jacob Greenbaum’s soul thrilled during Neustadt’s recital. He
perceived golden possibilities that dazzled him: He decided to form a
Turpentine Trust.

First he bought for a song all the bankrupt stills; seven of them. Later
on, in his scheme of trust creation, these self-same distilleries would
be turned over to the “octopus,” at nice fat figures, as Greenbaum put
it, self-admiringly, to his brother-in-law. Then he secured options on
nine others, the tired-unto-death plants. In this way he was able to
control “a large productive capacity” at an expenditure positively
marvellous—it was so small. It was also in his brother-in-law’s name.
Then the banking house of Greenbaum, Lazarus & Co. stepped in,
interested accomplices, duped or coerced into selling enough other
distillers to assure success, cajoled the more stubborn, wheedled the
more credulous, gave way gracefully to the shrewder and gathered them
all into the fold. The American Turpentine Company was formed, with a
capital stock of $30,000,000 or 300,000 shares at $100 each. The cash
needed, to pay Mr. Greenbaum, Neustadt and others who sold their plants
for “part cash and part stock,” was provided by an issue of $25,000,000
of 6 per cent bonds, underwritten by a syndicate composed of Greenbaum,
Lazarus & Co., I. & S. Wechsler, Morris Steinfelder’s Sons, Reis &
Stern, Kohn, Fischel & Co., Silberman & Lindheim, Rosenthal, Shaffran &
Co. and Zeman Bros.

They were men who never “speculated”; sometimes they “conducted
financial operations.” They had shears, not fleeces.

The prospectus of the “Trust” was a masterpiece of persuasiveness and
vagueness, of slim statistics and alluring generalities. In due course
of time the public subscribed for the greater part of the $25,000,000 of
bonds, and both bonds and stock were “listed” on the New York Stock
Exchange—that is, they were placed on the list of securities which
members may buy or sell on the “floor” of the Exchange.

Tabularly expressed, the syndicate’s operations were as follows:

           Authorized stock                      $30,000,000
           Authorized bonds                       25,000,000
                           Total                 $55,000,000
           Actual worth of property               12,800,000
                        _Aqua Pura_              $42,200,000

    Paid to owners for 41 distilleries representing 90 per cent of the
    turpentine production (and 121 per cent of the consumption!) of
    the United States:

           Cash from bond sales                   $8,975,983
           Bonds                                  12,000,000
           Stock                                  18,249,800
                           Total                 $39,225,783
           Syndicate’s commission, stock          12,988,500
           Retained in Co.’s treasury, unissued    2,000,000
           Expenses and discounts on bonds, etc.     785,717
                           Total                 $55,000,000

These figures were not for publication. They told the exact truth.

The public knew nothing of the company’s earning capacity, save a few
tentative figures from the prospectus, which was a sort of financial
gospel according to Greenbaum, but which did not create fanatical
devotees among investors. The stock, unlike the Kipling ship, had not
found itself. It was not market-proven, not seasoned; no one knew how
much dependence to put on it; wherefore the banks would not take it as
collateral security on loans and wherefore the “speculative community”
(as the newspapers call the stock gamblers) would not touch it, since in
a pinch it might prove utterly unvendible. It remained for the syndicate
to make a “market” for it, to develop such a condition of affairs that
anyone at any time could, without overmuch difficulty and without
causing over-great fluctuations, sell readily American Turpentine
Company stock. The syndicate would have to earn its commission.

All the manufacturers who had received stock in part payment were told
most impressively by Mr. Greenbaum not to sell their holdings under any
circumstances at any price below $75 a share. Not knowing Mr. Greenbaum,
they readily and solemnly promised to obey him. They even permitted
themselves to think, after talking to him, that they would some day
receive $80 per share for all their holdings. This precluded any
untimely “unloading” by the only people outside the syndicate that held
any Turpentine stock at all.

Mr. Greenbaum took charge of the market conduct of “Turp,” as the tape
called the stock of the American Turpentine Company. At first, the price
was marked up by means of “matched” orders—preconcerted and therefore
not bona fide transactions. Mr. Greenbaum told one of his brokers to
sell 1,000 shares of “Turp” to another of his brokers and shortly
afterwards the second broker sold the same 1,000 shares to a third, by
pre-arrangement—this being the matching process—with the result that the
tape recorded transactions of 2,000 shares. After the “matching” had
gone on for some time, readers of the tape were supposed to imagine that
the stock was legitimately active and strong—two facts which in turn
were supposed to whet the buying appetite. It was against the rule of
the Exchange to “match” orders, but how could convictions be secured?

“Turp” began at 25 and as the syndicate had all the stock in the market,
it was easily manipulated upward to 35. Every day, many thousands of
shares, according to the Stock Exchange’s official records, “changed
hands”—from Greenbaum’s right to his left and back again—and the price
rose steadily. But something was absent. The manipulation was not
convincing. It did not make the general public nibble. The only buyers
were the “room traders,” that is, the professional stock gamblers who
were members of the Exchange and speculated for themselves exclusively;
and those customers of the commission houses who, because they were
bound to speculate daily or die and because they studied the
ticker-ribbon so assiduously, were known by the generic name of
“tape-worms.” These gentry, in and out of the Exchange, provided the
tape in its curious language foretold a rise, would buy anything—from
capitalized impudence, as in the case of Back Bay Gas, whose property
was actually worth nil and its capital stock was $100,000,000, up to
Government bonds.

Now, the room traders and the tape-worms reasoned not illogically that
the “Greenbaum gang” had all the stock and that perforce the “gang” had
to find a market for it; and the only way to do this was by a nice
“bull” or upward movement. When a stock rises and rises and rises the
newspapers are full of pleasant stories about it and the lambs read but
do not run away; they buy on the assumption that, as the stock has
already risen ten points it may rise ten more. This explains why they
make so much money in Wall Street—for the natives.

Greenbaum and his associates were exceptionally shrewd business men,
thoroughly familiar with Wall Street and its methods, cautious yet bold,
far-seeing yet eminently of the day. They were practical financiers.
They marked up the price of “Turp” ten points; but they could not arouse
public interest in it so that people would buy it. Indeed, at the end of
three weeks, during which the “Street” had been flooded with impressive
advice, printed and spoken, to buy because the price was going higher,
all they had for their trouble was more stock-–6,000 shares from Ira D.
Keep, a distiller, who sold out at 38 because he needed the money; and
they also were obliged to buy back from the “room traders” at 35 and 36
and higher, the same stock the “gang” had sold at 30 and 31 and 32 and
34. Then the manipulators had to “support” the stock at the higher
level, that is, they had to keep it from declining, which could be done
only by continuous buying. By doing this the public might imagine there
was considerable merit in a stock which was in such good demand from
intelligent people as to remain firm, notwithstanding its previous
substantial rise. And if somebody wanted “Turp” why shouldn’t the public
want it? The public generally asks itself that question. It is in the
nature of a nibble and rejoices the hearts of the financial anglers.

Every attempt to sell “Turp” met with failure. At length it was decided
to allow the price to sink back to an “invitingly low” level. It was
done. But still the invited public refused to buy. Efforts to encourage
a short interest to over-extend itself unto “squeezable” proportions
failed similarly. The Street was afraid to go “short” of a stock which
was so closely held. The philosophy of short selling is simple; it
really amounts to betting that values will decline. A man who “sells
short” sells what he does not possess, but hopes to buy, later on, at a
lower price. But since he must deliver what he sells he borrows it from
some one else, giving the lender ample security. To “cover” or to “buy
in” is to purchase stock previously sold short. Obviously, it is unwise
to be short of a stock which is held by such a few that it may be
difficult to borrow it. To “squeeze” shorts is to advance the price in
order to force “covering.” This is done when the short interest is large
enough to make it worth while.

In the course of the next few months, after a series of injudicious
fluctuations which gave to “Turp” a bad name, even as Wall Street names
went, despite glowing accounts of the company’s wonderful business and
after distributing less than 35,000 shares, the members of the
“Turpentine Skindicate,” as it was popularly called, sorrowfully
acknowledged that, while they had skilfully organized the trust and had
done fairly well with the bonds, they certainly were not howling
successes as manipulators. During the following eight months they sold
more stock. They spared not the widow nor the orphan. They even “stuck”
their intimate friends. They had sold for something what had cost them
nothing; it was natural to wish to sell more.

Now, manipulators of stocks are born, not made. The art is most
difficult, for stocks should be manipulated in such wise that they will
not look manipulated. Anybody can buy stocks or can sell them. But not
every one can sell stocks and at the same time convey the impression
that he is buying them, and that prices therefore must inevitably go
much higher. It requires boldness and consummate judgment, knowledge of
technical stock-market conditions, infinite ingenuity and mental
agility, absolute familiarity with human nature, a careful study of the
curious psychological phenomena of gambling and long experience with the
Wall Street public and with the wonderful imagination of the American
people; to say nothing of knowing thoroughly the various brokers to be
employed, their capabilities, limitations and personal temperaments;
also, their price.

Adequate manipulative machinery, moreover, can be perfected only with
much toil and patience and money. Professional Wall Street will always
tell you that “the tape tells the story.” The little paper ribbon,
therefore, must be made to tell such stories as the manipulator desires
should be told to the public; he must produce certain effects which
should preserve an appearance of alluring spontaneity and, above all, of
legitimacy and candor; he must be a great artist in mendacity and at the
same time have the superb self-confidence of a grizzly.

Several members of the syndicate had many of these qualities, but none
had them all. It was decided to put “Turp” stock in the hands of Samuel
Wimbleton Sharpe, the best manipulator Wall Street had ever known.
“Jakey” Greenbaum said he would conduct the negotiations with the great

Sharpe was a financial free-lance, free-booter and free-thinker. He had
made his first fortune in the mining camps of Arizona and finding that
field too narrow had come to New York, where he could gamble to his
heart’s content. He was all the things that an ideal manipulator should
be and several more. He had arrived in New York with a sneer on his lips
and a loaded revolver in his financial hands. The other “big operators”
looked at him in pained astonishment. “I carry my weapons openly,”
Sharpe told them, “and you conceal your dirks. Don’t hurt yourselves
trying to look honest. I never turn my back on such as you.” Of this
encounter was born a hostility that never grew faint. Sharpe had nothing
of his own to unload on anyone else, no property to overcapitalize and
sell to an undiscriminating public by means of artistic lies and his
enemies often did. So they called him a gambler, very bitterly, and he
called them philanthropists, very cheerfully. If he thought a stock was
unduly high he sold it confidently, aggressively, stupendously. If he
thought a stock was too low he bought it boldly, ready to take all the
offerings and bid for more. And once on the march, he might be
temporarily checked, be forced by the enemy to halt for a day or a week
or a month; but inevitably he arrived. And such an arrival!

And as a manipulator of stock-values he had no equal. On the bull side
he rushed a stock upward so steadily, so boldly and brilliantly, but,
above all, so persuasively, that lesser gamblers almost fought to be
allowed to take it off his hands at incredibly high prices. And when in
the conduct of one of his masterly bear campaigns he saw fit to “hammer”
the market, values melted away as by magic—Satanic magic, the poor lambs
thought. All stocks looked “sick,” looked as though prices would go much
lower; murmurs of worse things to come were in the air, vague,
disquieting, ruin-breeding. The atmosphere of the Street was
supersaturated with apprehension, and the black shadow of Panic brooded
over the Stock Exchange, chilling the little gamblers’ hearts, wiping
out the last of the little gamblers’ margins. And even the presidents of
the solid, conservative banks studied the ticker uneasily in their

Greenbaum was promptly admitted to Sharpe’s private office. It was a
half-darkened room, the windows having wire-screens, summer and winter,
in order that prying eyes across the street might not see his visitors
or his confidential brokers, whose identity it was advisable should
remain unknown to the Street. He was walking up and down the room,
pausing from time to time to look at the tape. The ticker is the only
telescope the stock-market general has; it tells him what his forces are
doing and how the enemy is meeting his attacks. Every inch of the tape
is so much ground; every quotation represents so many shots.

There was something feline in Sharpe’s stealthy, soundless steps, in his
mustaches, in the conformation of his face—broad of forehead and
triangulating chin-ward. In his eyes, too, there was something
tigerish—unmelodramatically cold hearted and coldly curious as they
looked upon Mr. Jacob Greenbaum. Unconsciously the unfanciful
Trust-maker asked himself whether Sharpe’s heart-beats were not ticker
ticks, impassively indicating the pulse of the stock-market.

“Hallo, Greenbaum.”

“How do you do, Mr. Sharpe?” quoth the millionaire senior partner of the
firm of Greenbaum, Lazarus & Co. “I hope you are well?” He bent his head
to one side, his eyes full of a caressing scrutiny, as though to
ascertain the exact condition of Sharpe’s health. “Yes, you must be. I
haven’t seen you look so fine in a long time.”

“You didn’t come up here just to tell me this, Greenbaum, did you? How’s
your Turpentine? Oh!”—with a long whistle—“I see. You want me to go into
it, hey?” And he laughed—a sort of half-chuckle, half-snarl.

Greenbaum looked at him admiringly; then, with a tentative smile, he
said: “I am discovered!”

Nearly every American may be met as an equal on the field of Humor. To
jest in business matters of the greatest importance bespoke the national
trait. Moreover, if Sharpe declined, Greenbaum could treat the entire
affair—the proposal and the rejection—as parts of a joke.

“Well?” said Sharpe, unhumorously.

“What’s the matter with a pool?”

“How big?” coldly.

“Up to the limit.” Again the Trust-maker smiled, uncertainly.

“You haven’t all the capital stock, I hope.”

“Well, call it 100,000 shares,” said Greenbaum, more uncertainly and
less jovially.

“Who is to be in it besides you?”

“Oh, you know; the same old crowd.”

“Oh, I know,” mimicked Mr. Sharpe, scornfully, “the same old crowd. You
ought to have come to me before; it will take something to overcome your
own reputations. How much will each take?”

“We’ll fix that O. K. if you take hold,” answered Greenbaum, laughingly.
“We’ve got over 100,000 shares and we’d rather some one else held some
of it. We ain’t hogs. Ha! Ha!”

“But, the distillers?”

“They are in the pool. I’ve got most of their stock in my office. I’ll
see that it does not come out until I say so.”

There was a pause. Between Sharpe’s eyebrows were two deep lines. At
length, he said:

“Bring your friends here, this afternoon. Good-by, Greenbaum. And, I
say, Greenbaum.”


“No funny tricks at any stage of the game.”

“What’s the use of saying such things, Mr. Sharpe?” with an experimental

“The use is so you won’t try any. Come at four,” and Mr. Sharpe began to
pace up and down the room. Greenbaum hesitated, still frowning
tentatively; but he said nothing and at length went out.

Sharpe looked at the tape. “Turp” was 29¼.

He resumed his restless march back and forth. It was only when the
market “went against him” that Mr. Sharpe did not pace about the room in
the mechanical way of a menagerie animal, glancing everywhere but seeing
nothing. When something unexpected happened in the market Sharpe stood
immobile beside the ticker, because his overworked nerves were
tense—like a tiger into whose cage there enters a strange and eatable

On the minute of four there called on Mr. Sharpe the senior partners of
the firms of Greenbaum, Lazarus & Co., I. & S. Wechsler, Morris
Steinfelder’s Sons, Reis & Stern, Kohn, Fischel & Co., Silberman &
Lindheim, Rosenthal, Shaffran & Co., and Zeman Bros.

They were ushered not into the private office, but into a sumptuously
furnished room, the walls of which were covered with dashing oil
paintings of horses and horse-races. The visitors seated themselves
about a long oaken table.

Mr. Sharpe appeared at the threshold.

“How do you do, gentlemen? Don’t move, please; don’t move.” He made no
motion to shake hands with any of them, but Greenbaum came to him and
held out his fat dexter resolutely and Sharpe took it. Then Greenbaum
sat down and said, “We’re here,” and smiled, blandly.

Sharpe stood at the head of the polished, shining table, and glanced
slowly down the double row of alert faces. His look rested a fraction of
a minute on each man’s eyes—a sharp, half-contemptuous, almost menacing
look that made the older men uncomfortable and the younger resentful.

“Greenbaum tells me you wish to pool your Turpentine stock and have me
market it for you.”

All nodded; a few said “yes”; one—Lindheim, _aetat 27_—said, flippantly,
“That’s what.”

“Very well. What will each man’s proportion be?”

“I have a list here, Sharpe,” put in Greenbaum. He intentionally omitted
the “Mr.” for effect upon his colleagues. Sharpe noted it, but did not
mind it.

Sharpe read aloud:

               Greenbaum, Lazarus & Co    38,000 shares.
               I. & S. Wechsler           14,000 shares.
               Morris Steinfelder’s Sons  14,000 shares.
               Reis & Stern               11,000 shares.
               Kohn, Fischel & Co         10,000 shares.
               Silberman & Lindheim        9,000 shares.
               Rosenthal, Shaffran & Co    9,800 shares.
               Zeman Bros                  8,600 shares.

                         Total           114,400 shares.

“Is that correct, gentlemen?” asked Sharpe.

Greenbaum nodded his head and smiled affably as befitted the holder of
the biggest block. Some said “Yes”; others, “That is correct.” Young
Lindheim said, “That’s what.” The founders of the firm—his uncle and his
father—were dead, and he had inherited the entire business from the two.
His flippancy was not inherited from either.

“It is understood,” said Sharpe, slowly, “that I am to have complete
charge of the pool, and conduct operations as I see fit. I want no
advice and no questions. If there is any asking to be done, I’ll do it.
If my way does not suit you we’ll call the deal off right here, because
it’s the only way I have. I know my business, and if you know yours
you’ll keep your mouths shut in this office and out of it.”

No one said a word, not even Lindheim.

“Each of you will continue to carry the stock for which he has agreed to
stand in the pool. You’ve had it a year and couldn’t sell it, and you
might keep it a few weeks more, until I sell it for you. It must be
subject to my call at one minute’s notice. I’ve looked into the
company’s business, and I think the stock can easily sell at 75 or 80.”

Something like a gasp of astonishment came from those eight hardened
speculators. Then Greenbaum smiled, knowingly, as if that were his
programme, memorized and spoken by Sharpe.

“It is also understood,” went on Sharpe, very calmly, “that none of you
has any other stock for sale at any price, excepting his proportion in
this pool, and that proportion, of course, is not to be sold excepting
by me.” No one said a word, and he continued:

“My profit will be 25 per cent of the pool’s winnings, figuring on the
stock having been put in at 29. The remaining profits will be divided
pro rata among you; the necessary expenses will be shared similarly. I
think that’s all. And, gentlemen, no unloading on the sly—not one

“I want you to understand, Mr. Sharpe, that we are not in the habit of—”
began Greenbaum with perfunctory dignity. He felt it was his duty to
remonstrate before his colleagues.

“Oh, that’s all right, Greenbaum. I know you. That’s why I’m particular.
We’ve all been in Wall Street more than a month or two. I simply said,
‘No shenanigan.’ And, Greenbaum,” he added, very distinctly, while his
eyes took on that curious, cold, menacing look, “I mean it, every d——d
word of it. I want the numbers of all your stock-certificates. Excuse
me, gentlemen. I am very busy. Good-afternoon.”

And that is how the famous bull pool in Turpentine came to be formed.
They thought he might have been nicer, more diplomatic; but as they had
sought him, not he them, they bore with his eccentricities. Each pool
manager had his way, just as there are various kinds of pools.

“Sam is not half a bad fellow,” Greenbaum told them, as if apologizing
for a dear friend’s weaknesses. “He wants to make out he is a devil of a
cynic, but he’s all right. If you humor him you can make him do
anything. _I_ always let him have his way.”

On the very next day began the historical advance in Turpentine. It
opened up at 30. The specialists—brokers who made a specialty of dealing
in it—took 16,000 shares, causing an advance to 32⅛. Everybody who had
been “landed” with the shares at higher figures, and had bitterly
regretted it ever since, now began to feel hopeful. As never before a
stock had been manipulated, with intent to deceive and malice prepense,
so did Sharpe manipulate Turpentine stock. The tape told the most
wonderful stories in the world, not the less wonderful because utterly
untrue. Thus, one day the leading commission houses in the Street were
the buyers, which inevitably led to talk of “important developments”;
and the next day brokers identified with certain prominent financiers
took calmly, deliberately, nonchalantly, all the offerings; which
clearly indicated that the aforementioned financiers had acquired a
“controlling interest”—the majority of the stock—of the American
Turpentine Company. And on another day there was a long string of
purchases of “odd” lots—amounts less than 100 shares—by brokers that
usually did business for the Greenbaum syndicate, meaning that friends
of the syndicate had received a “tip” straight from “the inside” and
were buying for investment.

Then, one fine, sunshiny day, when everybody felt very well and the
general market was particularly firm, the loquacious tape told the
watchful professional gamblers of Wall Street—oh, so plainly!—that there
was “inside realizing”; said, almost articulately to them, that the
people most familiar with the property were unloading. Sharpe was
selling, with intentional clumsiness, stock he had been forced to
accumulate during his bull manipulation—for in order to advance the
price he had to buy much—and he was not averse to conveying such
impressions as would lead to the creation of a short interest, large
enough to make it profitable to “squeeze.” He had too much company on
the bull side. And sure enough the professional gamblers said: “Aha!
They are through with it. The movement is over!” and sold “Turp” short
confidently, for a worthless stock had no business to be selling at $46
a share. The price yielded and they sold more the next day. But lo, on
the day following, the Board member of a very conservative house went
into the “Turp” crowd and bought it—he did not “bid up” the price at
all, but bought and bought until he had accumulated 20,000 shares, and
the bears became panic-stricken, and rumors of a nearby dividend began
to circulate, and the bears covered their shorts at a loss and “went
long”—bought in the hope of a further rise—and the stock closed at 52.

And Sharpe reduced very greatly the amount of “Turp” stock he had been
obliged to take for manipulative purposes. So far he was buying more
than he sold. Later he would sell more than he bought. When the demand
exceeds the vendible supply, obviously the price rises; when the supply
for sale exceeds the demand, a fall results. But the average selling
price of a big line may be high enough to make the operation profitable,
even though a decline occurs during the course of the selling.

For a week “Turp” rested; then it began to rise once more. At 56 and 58
it became the most active stock of the entire list. Everybody talked
about it. The newspapers began to publish statements of the company’s
wonderful earnings, and the Street began to think that, in common with
other “trusts,” the American Turpentine Company must be a very
prosperous concern. The company at this time developed a habit of
advancing prices a fraction of a cent per gallon every week, so that the
papers could talk of the boom in the turpentine trade.

At 60 the Street thought there really must be something behind the
movement, for no mere manipulation could put up the price thirty points
in a month’s time, which shows what a wonderful artist Sharpe was. And
people began to look curiously and admiringly and enviously and in many
other ways at “Jakey” Greenbaum and his accomplices, and to accuse them
of having intentionally kept down the price of the stock for a year in
order to “freeze out” the poor, unsophisticated stockholders, and to
“tire out” some of the early buyers, because “Turp,” being “a good
thing,” Greenbaum _et al._ wanted it all for themselves. And Greenbaum
_et al._ smiled guiltily and said nothing, though Jakey winked from time
to time when they spoke to him about it; and old Isidore Wechsler
cultivated a Napoleon III. look of devilish astuteness; and “Bob”
Lindheim became almost dignified; and myopic little Morris Steinfelder
gained 15 pounds and Rosenthal stopped patting everybody on the back,
and mutely invited everybody to pat him on the back.

Then Sharpe sent for “Jakey,” and on the next day young “Eddie” Lazarus
swaggeringly offered to wager $10,000 against $5,000 that a dividend on
“Turp” stock would be declared during the year. Whereupon the newspapers
of their own accord began to guess how great a dividend would be paid,
and when; and various figures were mentioned in the Board room by
brokers who confided to their hearers that they “got it on the dead q.
t., _straight from the inside_.” And two days later Sharpe’s unsuspected
brokers offered to pay 1¾ per cent for the dividend on 100,000 shares,
said dividend to be declared within sixty days or the money forfeited.
And the stock sold up to 66¾, and the public wanted it. A big, broad
market had been established, in which one could buy or sell the stock
with ease by the tens of thousands of shares. The 114,400 shares, which
at the inception of the movement at the unsalable price of $30 a share
represented a theoretical $3,432,000, now readily vendible at $65 a
share, meant $7,422,000; not half bad for a few weeks’ work.

And still Sharpe, wonderful man that he was, gave no sign that he was
about to begin unloading. Whereupon the other members of the pool began
to wish he were not quite so greedy. They were satisfied to quit, they
said. The presence of the pool’s stock in their offices began to
irritate them. They knew the vicissitudes of life, the uncertainties of
politics, and of the stock market. Supposing some crazy anarchist blew
up the President of the United States, or the Emperor of Germany were to
insult his grandmother, the market would “break” to pieces, and their
$4,000,000 of paper profits would disappear. They implored, individually
and collectively, Mr. Jacob Greenbaum to call on Sharpe; and Greenbaum,
disregarding a still, small voice that warned him against it, went to
Sharpe’s office, and came out of it, two minutes later, somewhat
flushed, and assured his colleagues one by one that Sharpe was all
right, and that he seemed to know his business. Also, that he was cranky
that day. He always was, added Greenbaum forgivingly, when one of his
horses lost a race.

The stock fluctuated between 60 and 65. It seemed to be having a resting
spell. But as it had enjoyed these periods of repose on three several
occasions during the rise—at 40 and 48 and 56–-the public became all the
more eager to buy it whenever it fell to 60 or 59, for the Street was
now full of tips that “Turp” would go to par. And such was the public’s
speculative temper and Mr. Sharpe’s good work that disinterested
observers were convinced the stock would surely sell above 90 at the
very least. Mr. Sharpe still bought and sold, but he sold twice as much
as he bought, and the big block he had been obliged to take in the
course of his manipulation diminished. On the next day he hoped to begin
selling the pool stock.

That very day Mr. Greenbaum, as he returned to his office from his
luncheon, felt well pleased with the meal and therefore with himself and
therefore with everything. He scanned a yard or two of the tape and
smiled. “Turp” was certainly very active and very strong.

“In such a market,” thought Mr. Greenbaum, “Sharpe can’t possibly tell
he’s getting stock from me. In order to be on the safe side I’m going to
let him have a couple of thousand. Then, should anything happen, I’d be
that much ahead. Ike!” he called to a clerk.

“Yes, sir.”

“Sell two—wait; make it 3,000–-no, never mind. Send for Mr. Ed Lazarus.”
And he muttered to himself, with a sub-thrill of pleasure: “I can just
as well as not make it 5,000 shares.”

“Eddie,” he said to his partner’s son, “give an order to some of the
room traders, say to Willie Schiff, to sell five—er—six—tell him to sell
7,000 shares of Turpentine and to borrow the stock. I am not selling a
share, see?” with a wink. “It’s short selling by him, do you

“Do I? Well, I guess. I’ll fix that part O.K.,” said young Lazarus,
complacently. He thought he would cover Greenbaum’s tracks so well as to
deceive everybody, including that highly disagreeable man, Samuel
Wimbleton Sharpe. He felt so confident, so elated, did the young man,
that when he gave the order to his friend and club-mate, Willie Schiff,
he raised it to 10,000 shares. Greenbaum’s breach of faith had grown
from the relatively small lot of 2,000 shares to five times that amount.
It was to all appearances short stock, and it was duly “borrowed” by
young Schiff. It was advisable that it should so appear. In the first
place no member of the pool could supply the stock which he held,
because Sharpe could trace the selling to the office, as he had the
numbers of the stock certificates. And, again, short selling does not
have the weakening effect that long selling has. When stock is sold
short it is evident that sooner or later the seller will have to buy it
back; that is, a future demand for the stock is assured from this
source, if from no other. Whereas, long stock is that actually held by
some one.

Isidore Wechsler, who held 14,000 shares, was suffering from a bad liver
the same day that Greenbaum was suffering from nothing at all, not even
a conscience. A famous art collection would be sold at auction that
week, and he felt sure his vulgar friend, “Abe” Wolff, would buy a
couple of exceptionally fine Troyons and a world-famous Corot, merely to
get his name in the papers.

“‘Turp,’ 62⅞,” said his nephew, who was standing by the ticker.

Then old Wechsler had an idea. If he sold 2,000 shares of Turpentine at
62 or 63, he would have enough to buy the best ten canvases of the
collection. His name—and the amounts paid—would grace the columns of the
papers. What was 3,000 shares, or even 4,000, when Sharpe had made such
a big, broad market for the stock?

“Why, I might as well make it 5,000 shares while I’m about it, for
there’s no telling what may happen if Sharpe should overstay his market.
I’ll build a new stable at Westhurst”—his country place—“and call it,”
said old Wechsler to himself, in his peculiar, facetious way so renowned
in Wall Street, “the Turpentine Horse Hotel, in honor of Sharpe.” And so
his 5,000 shares were sold by E. Halford, who had the order from Herzog,
Wertheim & Co., who received it from Wechsler. It was short selling, of

Total breach of faith, 15,000 shares.

Now that very evening Bob Lindheim’s extremely handsome wife wanted a
necklace, and wanted it at once; also she wanted it of filbert-sized
diamonds. She had heard her husband speak highly of Sam Sharpe’s
masterly manipulation of Turpentine, and she knew he was “in on the
ground floor.” She read the newspapers, and she always followed the
stock market diligently, for Bob, being young and loving, used to give
her a share in his stock deals from time to time, and she learned to
figure for herself her “paper” or theoretical profits, when there were
any, so that Bob couldn’t have “welched” if he had wished. On this
particular evening she had statistics ready for him, showing how much
money he had made; and she wanted that necklace. She had longed for it
for months. It cost only $17,000. But there was also a lovely bracelet,
diamonds and rubies, and——

Lindheim, to his everlasting credit, remonstrated and told her: “Wait
until the pool realizes, sweetheart. I don’t know at what price that
will be, for Sharpe says nothing. But I know we’ll all make something
handsome, and so will you. I’ll give you 500 shares at 30. There!”

“But I want it now!” she protested, pouting. She was certainly
beautiful, and when she pouted, with her rich, red lips——

“Wait a week, dear,” he urged nevertheless.

“Lend me the money now, and I’ll pay it back to you when you give me
what I make on the deal,” she said, with fine finality. And seeing
hesitation in Bob’s face, she added, solemnly: “Honest, I will, Bob.
I’ll pay you back every cent, this time.”

“I’ll think about it,” said Bob. He always said it when he had
capitulated, and she knew it, and so she said, magnanimously: “Very
well, dear.”

Lindheim thought 1,000 shares would do it, so he decided to sell a
thousand the next day, for you can never tell what may happen, and
accidents seldom help the bulls. But as he thought of it in his office
more calmly, more deliberately, away from his wife and from the
influence she exercised over him, it struck him forcibly that it was
wrong to sell 1,000 shares of Turpentine stock. He might as well as not
make it 2,500; and he did. He was really a modest fellow, and very
young. His wife’s cousin sold the stock for him, apparently short.

Total breach of faith, 17,500 shares. The market stood it well. Sharpe
was certainly a wonderful chap.

Unfortunately, Morris Steinfelder, Jr., decided to sell 1,500 “Turp,”
and did so. The stock actually rose a half point on his sales. So he
sold another 1,500, and, as a sort of parting shot, 500 shares more. All
this through an unsuspected broker.

Total breach of faith, 21,000 shares. The market was but slightly

Then Louis Reis of Reis & Stern, “Andy” Fischel of Kohn, Fischel & Co.,
Hugo Zeman of Zeman Bros., and “Joe” Shaffran of Rosenthal, Shaffran &
Co., all thought they could break their pledges to Sharpe with impunity,
and each sold, to be on the safe side. This last lump figured up as

                     │ Sales First │  Period of  │Actual Sales.
                     │Contemplated.│ Hesitancy.  │
                     │   Shares.   │  Minutes.   │   Shares.
        Louis Reis   │        1,500│      3      │        2,600
        Andy Fischel │        2,000│     15      │        5,000
        Hugo Zeman   │        1,000│      0      │        1,000
        Joe Shaffran │          500│      1¾     │        1,800

Total breach of faith, 31,400 shares.

The market did not take it well. Sharpe, endeavoring to realize on the
remainder of his manipulative purchases, found that “some one had been
there before him.”

An accurate list of the buyers and sellers was sent in every day by his
lieutenants, for all but the most skilful operators invariably betray
themselves when they attempt to sell a big block of stock. He scanned it
very carefully now, and put two and two together; and he made certain
inquiries and put four and four together—four names and four other
names. He saw through the time-worn device of the fictitious short
selling. He knew the only people who would dare sell such a large amount
must be his colleagues. He also was convinced that their breach of faith
was not a concerted effort, because if they had discussed the matter
they would have sold a smaller quantity. He knew where nearly every
share of the stock was. It was his business to know everything about it.

“Two,” he said to his secretary, “may play at that game.” And he began
to play.

By seemingly reckless, plunging purchases he started the stock rushing
upward with a vengeance-–63, 64, 65, 66, four points in as many minutes.
The floor of the Stock Exchange was the scene of the wildest excitement.
The market—why, the market was simply Turpentine. Everybody was buying
it, and everybody was wondering how high it would go, Greenbaum and the
other seven included. It looked as if the stock had resumed its
triumphant march to par.

Then Sharpe called in all the stock his brokers were loaning to the
shorts, and he himself began to borrow it. This, together with the
legitimate requirements of the big short interest, created a demand so
greatly in excess of the supply that Turpentine loaned at a
sixty-fourth, at a thirty-second, at an eighth, and finally at a quarter
premium over night. It meant that the shorts had either to cover or to
pay $25 per diem for the use of each 100 shares of stock they borrowed.
On the 31,400 shares that the syndicate was borrowing it meant an
expense of nearly $8,000 a day; and in addition the stock was rising in
price. The shorts were losing at the rate of many thousands a minute.
There was no telling where the end would be, but it certainly looked
stormy for both the real and the fictitious shorts.

Mr. Sharpe sent a peremptory message to Greenbaum, Lazarus & Co.; I. &
M. Wechsler; Morris Steinfelder’s Sons; Reis & Stern; Kohn, Fischel &
Co.; Silberman & Lindheim; Rosenthal, Shaffran & Co.; and Zeman Bros. It
was the same message to all:

“_Send me at once all your Turpentine stock!_”

There was consternation and dismay, also admiration and
self-congratulation, among the recipients of the message. They would
have to buy back in the open market the stock they had sold a few days
before. It would mean losses on the treasonable transactions of fully a
quarter of a million, but the pool “stood to win” simply fabulous sums,
if Mr. Sharpe did his duty.

There were some large blocks of stock for sale at 66, but Sharpe’s
brokers cleared the figures with a fierce, irresistible rush, whooping
exultantly. The genuine short interest was simply panic-stricken, and
atop it all there came orders to buy an aggregate of 31,400
shares—orders from Messrs. Greenbaum, Wechsler, Lindheim, Steinfelder,
Reis, Fischel, Shaffran, and Zeman. The stock rose grandly on their
buying: 4,000 shares at 66; 2,200 at 66⅜; 700 at 67⅝; 1,200 at 68; 3,200
at 69½; 2,000 at 70; 5,700 at 70½; 1,200 at 72. Total, 31,400 shares
bought in by the “Skindicate.” Total, 31,400 shares sold by Samuel
Wimbleton Sharpe to his own associates in the great Turpentine pool. In
all he found buyers for 41,700 shares that day, but it had taken
purchases of exactly 21,100 to “stampede the shorts” earlier in the day,
and in addition he held 17,800 shares acquired in the course of his bull
manipulation, which had not been disposed of when he discovered the
breach of faith, so that at the day’s close he found himself not only
without a share of stock manipulatively purchased, but “short” for his
personal account of 2,800 shares.

The newspapers published picturesque accounts of the “Great Day in
Turpentine.” A powerful clique, they said, owned so much of the
stock—had “cornered” it—that they could easily mark up the price to any
figure. They called it a “memorable squeeze.” It was hinted also that
Mr. Sharpe had been on the wrong side of the market, and one paper gave
a wealth of details and statistics in bold, bad type to prove that the
wily bear leader had been caught short of 75,000 shares, and had covered
at a loss of $1,500,000. A newspaper man whose relations with Sharpe
were intimate asked him, very carelessly: “What the deuce caused the
rise in Turpentine?” and Sharpe drawled: “I don’t know for a certainty,
but I rather imagine it was inside buying!”

On the next day came the second chapter of the big Turpentine deal. Mr.
Sharpe, having received the pool’s 114,400 shares, divided it into three
lots, 40,000 shares, 50,000 shares, and 24,400 shares. The market had
held fairly strong, but the lynx-eyed room traders failed to perceive
the usual “support” in “Turp” and began to sell it in order to make
sure. There was enough commission-house buying and belated
short-covering to keep it moderately steady. Then the room traders
redoubled their efforts to depress it, by selling more than there were
buying orders for; also by selling it cheaper than was warranted by the
legitimate demand for the stock. It was a favorite trick to offer to
sell thousands of shares lower than people were willing to pay, in order
to frighten the timid holders and make them sell; which in turn would
make still others sell, until the movement became general enough to
cause a substantial fall.

Slowly the price began to yield. All that was needed was a leader.
Whereupon Mr. Sharpe took the first lot of pool stock, 40,000 shares,
and hurled it full at the market. The impact was terrible; the execution
appalling. The market reeled crazily. The stock, which after selling up
to 72¾ had “closed” on the previous day at 71⅞, dropped twenty points
and closed at 54. The newspapers said that the corner was “busted”; that
the “squeeze” was over. Hundreds of people slept ill that night. Scores
did not sleep at all.

On the next day he fired by volleys 50,000 shares more at the market.
The stock sank to 41¼. Such a break was almost unprecedented.

The Street asked itself if it were not on the eve of a crash that would
become historic in a district whose chronology is reckoned by big market

Greenbaum rushed to Sharpe’s office. The terrible break gave him courage
to do anything. A Wall Street worm will turn when the market misbehaves

“What’s the matter?” he asked angrily. “What are you doing to

Sharpe looked him full in the face, but his voice was even and
emotionless as he replied: “Somebody has been selling on us. I don’t
know who. I wish I did. I was afraid I might have to take 100,000 shares
more, so I just sold as much as I could. I’ve marketed most of the
pool’s stock. If it had not been for the jag of stock I struck around 60
and 62, Turpentine would be selling at 85 or 90 to-day. Come again next
week, Greenbaum; and keep cool. Did you ever know me to fail? Good-by,
Greenbaum; and don’t raise your voice when you speak to me.”

“This has gone too far,” said Greenbaum, hotly. “You must give me an
explanation or by Heaven I’ll——”

“Greenbaum,” said Mr. Sharpe, in a listless voice, “don’t get excited.
Good-by, Greenbaum. Be virtuous and you will be happy.” And he resumed
his caged-tiger pacing up and down his office. As by magic, Mr. Sharpe’s
burly private secretary appeared, and said: “This way, Mr. Greenbaum,”
and led the dazed Trust-maker from the office. On his return Sharpe told
him: “There is no need to accuse those fellows of breach of faith.
They’d deny it.”

The next day Mr. Sharpe simply poured the remaining 25,000 shares of the
pool’s stock on the market as one pours water from a pitcher into a cup.
The bears had it all their own way. The loquacious tape said, ever so
plainly: “This is nothing but inside liquidation, all the more dangerous
and ominous since it is at such low figures and is so urgent in its
character. Heaven alone can tell where it will end; and there is no
telephone communication thither.”

Everybody was selling because somebody had started a rumor that the
courts had dissolved the company for gross violation of the Anti-Trust
law, and that a receiver had been appointed. Having sold out the last of
the pool’s stock, Mr. Sharpe “took in” at $22 a share the 2,800 shares
which he had put out at $72, a total profit on his small “line” of

Turpentine stock had declined fifty points in fifteen business hours. It
meant a shrinkage in the market value of the company’s capital stock of
$15,000,000. The shrinkage in the self-esteem of some of the pool was
measurable only in billions.

Sharpe notified his associates that the pool had completely
realized—_i.e._, had sold out—and that he would be pleased to meet them
at his office on Monday—this was Thursday—at eleven A.M., when he would
have checks and an accounting ready for them. He refused himself to
Greenbaum, Wechsler, Zeman, Shaffran, and others who called to see what
could be done to save their reputations from the wreck of Turpentine.
The stalwart private secretary told them that Mr. Sharpe was out of
town. He was a very polite man, was the secretary; and an amateur boxer
of great proficiency.

Failing to find Sharpe, they hastily organized a new pool, of a
self-protective character, and sent in “supporting” orders. They were
obliged to take large quantities of stock that day and the next in order
to prevent a worse smash, which would hurt them in other directions.
They found themselves with more than 50,000 shares on their hands, and
the price was only 26 @ 28. And merely to try to sell the stock at that
time threatened to start a fresh Turpentine panic.

They met Sharpe on Monday. His speech was not so short as usual. He had
previously sent to each man an envelope containing a check and a
statement, and now he said, in a matter-of-fact tone:

“Gentlemen and Greenbaum, you all know what I did for Turpentine on the
up-tack. Around 62 I began to strike some stock which I couldn’t account
for. I knew none of you had any for sale, of course, as you had pledged
me your honorable words not to sell, save through me. But the stock kept
coming out, even though the sellers borrowed against it, as if it were
short stock, and I began to fear I had met an inexhaustible supply. It
is always best on such occasions to act promptly, and so, after driving
in the real shorts, I sold out our stock. The average selling price was
40. If it had not been for that mysterious selling it would have been
80. After commissions and other legitimate pool expenses, I find we have
made nine points net, or $1,029,600, of which 25 per cent., or $250,000,
come to me according to the agreement. It is too bad some people didn’t
know enough to hold their stock for 90. But I find Wall Street is full
of uncertainties—there is so much stupidity in the district. I trust you
are satisfied. In view of the circumstances, I am. Yes, indeed.
Good-day, gentlemen; and you too, Greenbaum, good-day.”

There was nothing tigerish about him. He was affable and polished; they
could see that he seemed pleased to the purring point. He nodded to them
and went into his inner office.

They blustered and fumed among themselves and gained courage thereby and
tried Sharpe’s door and found it locked. They knocked thereon,
vehemently, and the ubiquitous private secretary came out and told them
that Mr. Sharpe had an important engagement and could not be disturbed,
but that he was authorized to discuss any item of the statement, and he
had charge of all the vouchers, in the shape of brokers’ reports, etc.
So they expressed their opinions of the private secretary and of his
master rather mildly, and went out, crestfallen. Outside they compared
notes, and in a burst of honesty they confessed. Then, illogically
enough, they cursed Sharpe. The pool was not “ahead of the game.” They
had so much more stock on their hands than they desired, that in reality
they were heavy losers!

And as time wore on they had to buy more “Turp”; and more “Turp”; and
still more “Turp.” They thought they could emulate Sharpe and rush the
price up irresistibly, at any rate up to 50. They declared a dividend of
2 per cent on the stock. But they could not market Turpentine. Again and
again they tried, and again and again they failed. And each time the
failure was worse because they had to take more stock.

It is now quoted at 16 @ 18. But it is not readily vendible at that
figure; nor, indeed, at any price. Opposition distilleries are starting
up in all the turpentine districts, and the trade outlook is gloomy. And
the principal owners of the stock of the American Turpentine Company,
holding among them not less than 140,000 out of the entire issue of
300,000 unvendible shares, are the famous “Greenbaum Skindicate.”

                              THE TIPSTER

Gilmartin was still laughing professionally at the prospective buyer’s
funny story when the telephone on his desk buzzed. He said: “Excuse me
for a minute, old man,” to the customer—Hopkins, the Connecticut

“Hello; who is this?” he spoke into the transmitter. “Oh, how are
you?—Yes—I was out—Is that so?—Too bad—Too bad—Yes; just my luck to be
out. I might have known it!—Do you think so?—Well, then, sell the 200
Occidental common—You know best—What about Trolley?—Hold on?—All right;
just as you say—I hope so—I don’t like to lose, and—Ha! Ha!—I guess

“It’s from my brokers,” explained Gilmartin, hanging up the receiver.
“I’d have saved five hundred dollars if I had been here at half-past
ten. They called me up to advise me to sell out, and the price is off
over three points. I could have got out at a profit, this morning; but,
no sir; not I. I had to be away, trying to buy some camphor.”

Hopkins was impressed. Gilmartin perceived it and went on, with an air
of comical wrath which he thought was preferable to indifference: “It
isn’t the money I mind so much as the tough luck of it. I didn’t make my
trade in camphor after all and I lost in stocks, when if I’d only waited
five minutes more in the office I’d have got the message from my brokers
and saved my five hundred. Expensive, my time is, eh?” with a woful
shake of the head.

“But you’re ahead of the game, aren’t you?” asked the customer,

“Well, I guess yes. Just about twelve thousand.”

That was more than Gilmartin had made; but having exaggerated, he
immediately felt very kindly disposed toward the Connecticut man.

“Whew!” whistled Hopkins, admiringly. Gilmartin experienced a great
tenderness toward him. The lie was made stingless by the customer’s
credulity. This brought a smile of subtle relief to Gilmartin’s lips. He
was a pleasant-faced, pleasant-voiced man of three-and-thirty. He
exhaled health, contentment, neatness, and an easy conscience. Honesty
and good-nature shone in his eyes. People liked to shake hands with him.
It made his friends talk of his lucky star; and they envied him.

“I bought this yesterday for my wife; took it out of a little deal in
Trolley,” he told Hopkins, taking a small jewel-box from one of the
desk’s drawers. It contained a diamond ring, somewhat showy but
obviously quite expensive. Hopkins’ semi-envious admiration made
Gilmartin add, genially: “What do you say to lunch? I feel I am entitled
to a glass of ‘fizz’ to forget my bad luck of this morning.” Then, in an
exaggeratedly apologetic tone: “Nobody likes to lose five hundred
dollars on an empty stomach!”

“She’ll be delighted, of course,” said Hopkins, thinking of Mrs.
Gilmartin. Mrs. Hopkins loved jewelry.

“She’s the nicest little woman that ever lived. Whatever is mine, is
hers; and what’s hers is her own. Ha! Ha! But,” becoming nicely serious,
“all that I’ll make out of the stock market I’m going to put away for
her, in her name. She can take better care of it than I; and, besides,
she’s entitled to it, anyhow, for being so nice to me.”

That is how he told what a good husband he was. He felt so pleased over
it, that he went on, sincerely regretful: “She’s visiting friends in
Pennsylvania or I’d ask you to dine with us.” And they went to a
fashionable restaurant together.

Day after day Gilmartin thought persistently that Maiden Lane was too
far from Wall Street. There came a week in which he could have made four
very handsome “turns” had he but been in the brokers’ office. He was out
on business for his firm and when he returned the opportunity had gone,
leaving behind it vivid visions of what might have been; also the
conviction that time, tide and the ticker wait for no man. Instead of
buying and selling quinine and balsams and essential oils for Maxwell &
Kip, drug brokers and importers, he decided to make the buying and
selling of stocks and bonds his exclusive business. The hours were easy;
the profits would be great. He would make enough to live on. He would
not let the Street take away what it had given. That was the great
secret: to know when to quit! He would be content with a moderate
amount, wisely invested in gilt-edged bonds. And then he would bid the
Street good-by forever.

Force of long business custom and the indefinable fear of new ventures
for a time fought successfully his increasing ticker-fever. But one day
his brokers wished to speak to him, to urge him to sell out his entire
holdings, having been advised of an epoch-making resolution by Congress.
They had received the news in advance from a Washington customer. Other
brokers had important connections in the Capital and therefore there was
no time to lose. They dared not assume the responsibility of selling him
out without his permission. Five minutes—five eternities!—passed before
they could talk by telephone with him; and when he gave his order to
sell, the market had broken five or six points. The news was “out.” The
news-agencies’ slips were in the brokers’ offices and half of Wall
Street knew. Instead of being among the first ten sellers Gilmartin was
among the second hundred.


The clerks gave him a farewell dinner. All were there, even the head
office-boy to whom the two-dollar subscription was no light matter. The
man who probably would succeed Gilmartin as manager, Jenkins, acted as
toastmaster. He made a witty speech which ended with a neatly turned
compliment. Moreover, he seemed sincerely sorry to bid good-by to the
man whose departure meant promotion—which was the nicest compliment of
all. And the other clerks—old Williamson, long since ambition-proof; and
young Hardy, bitten ceaselessly by it; and middle-aged Jameson, who knew
he could run the business much better than Gilmartin; and Baldwin, who
never thought of business in or out of the office—all told him how good
he had been and related corroborative anecdotes that made him blush and
the others cheer; and how sorry they were he would no longer be with
them, but how glad he was going to do so much better by himself; and
they hoped he would not “cut” them when he met them after he had become
a great millionaire. And Gilmartin felt his heart grow soft and feelings
not all of happiness came over him. Danny, the dean of the office boys,
whose surname was known only to the cashier, rose and said, in the tones
of one speaking of a dear departed friend: “He was the best man in the
place. He always was all right.” Everybody laughed; whereupon Danny went
on, with a defiant glare at the others: “I’d work for him for nothin’ if
he’d want me, instead of gettin’ ten a week from anyone else.” And when
they laughed the harder at this he said, stoutly: “Yes, I would!” His
eyes filled with tears at their incredulity, which he feared might be
shared by Mr. Gilmartin. But the toastmaster rose very gravely and said:
“What’s the matter with Danny?” And all shouted in unison: “He’s all
right!” with a cordiality so heartfelt that Danny smiled and sat down,
blushing happily. And crusty Jameson, who knew he could run the business
so much better than Gilmartin, stood up—he was the last speaker—and
began: “In the ten years I’ve worked with Gilmartin, we’ve had our
differences and—well—I—well—er—oh, DAMN IT!” and walked quickly to the
head of the table and shook hands violently with Gilmartin for fully a
minute, while all the others looked on in silence.

Gilmartin had been eager to go to Wall Street. But this leave-taking
made him sad. The old Gilmartin who had worked with these men was no
more and the new Gilmartin felt sorry. He had never stopped to think how
much they cared for him nor indeed how very much he cared for them. He
told them, very simply, he did not expect ever again to spend such
pleasant years anywhere as at the old office; and as for his spells of
ill-temper—oh, yes, they needn’t shake their heads; he knew he often was
irritable—he had meant well and trusted they would forgive him. If he
had his life to live over again he would try really to deserve all that
they had said of him on this evening. And he was very, very sorry to
leave them. “Very sorry, boys; very sorry. _Very_ sorry!” he finished
lamely, with a wistful smile. He shook hands with each man—a strong grip
as though he were about to go on a journey from which he might never
return—and in his heart of hearts there was a new doubt of the wisdom of
going to Wall Street. But it was too late to draw back.

They escorted him to his house. They wished to be with him to the last
possible minute.


Everybody in the drug trade seemed to think that Gilmartin was on the
high road to Fortune. Those old business acquaintances and former
competitors whom he happened to meet in the streetcars or in theatre
lobbies always spoke to him as to a millionaire-to-be, in what they
imagined was correct Wall Street jargon, to show him that they too knew
something of the great game. But their efforts made him smile with a
sense of superiority, at the same time that their admiration for his
cleverness and their good-natured envy for his luck made his soul thrill
joyously. Among his new friends in Wall Street also he found much to
enjoy. The other customers—some of them very wealthy men—listened to his
views regarding the market as attentively as he, later, felt it his
polite duty to listen to theirs. The brokers themselves treated him as a
“good fellow.” They cajoled him into trading often—every one-hundred
shares he bought or sold meant $12.50 to them—and when he won, they
praised his unerring discernment. When he lost they soothed him by
scolding him for his recklessness—just as a mother will treat her
three-years-old’s fall as a great joke in order to deceive the child
into laughing at its misfortune. It was an average office with an
average clientele.

From ten to three they stood before the quotation board and watched a
quick-witted boy chalk the price-changes, which one or another of the
customers read aloud from the tape as it came from the ticker. The
higher stocks went the more numerous the customers became, being allured
in great flocks to the Street by the tales of their friends, who had
profited greatly by the rise. All were winning, for all were buying
stocks in a bull market. They resembled each other marvellously, these
men who differed so greatly in cast of features and complexion and age.
Life to all of them was full of joy. The very ticker sounded mirthful;
its clicking told of golden jokes. And Gilmartin and the other customers
laughed heartily at the mildest of stories without even waiting for the
point of the joke. At times their fingers clutched the air happily, as
if they actually felt the good money the ticker was presenting to them.
They were all neophytes at the great game—lambkins who were bleating
blithely to inform the world what clever and formidable wolves they
were. Some of them had sustained occasional losses; but these were
trifling compared with their winnings.

When the slump came all were heavily committed to the bull side. It was
a bad slump. It was so unexpected—by the lambs—that all of them said,
very gravely, it came like a thunderclap out of a clear sky. While it
lasted, that is, while the shearing of the flock was proceeding, it was
very uncomfortable. Those same joyous, winning stock-gamblers, with
beaming faces, of the week before, were fear-clutched, losing
stock-gamblers, with livid faces, on what they afterward called the day
of the panic. It really was only a slump; rather sharper than usual. Too
many lambs had been over-speculating. The wholesale dealers in
securities—and insecurities—held very little of their own wares, having
sold them to the lambs, and wanted them back now—cheaper. The customers’
eyes, as on happier days were intent on the quotation-board. Their
dreams were rudely shattered; the fast horses some had all but bought
joined the steam-yachts others almost had chartered. The beautiful homes
they had been building were torn down in the twinkling of an eye. And
the demolisher of dreams and dwellings was the ticker, that instead of
golden jokes, was now clicking financial death.

They could not take their eyes from the board before them. Their own
ruin, told in mournful numbers by the little machine, fascinated them.
To be sure, poor Gilmartin said: “I’ve changed my mind about Newport. I
guess I’ll spend the summer on my own _Hotel de Roof_!” And he grinned;
but he grinned alone. Wilson, the dry goods man, who laughed so joyously
at everybody’s jokes, was now watching, as if under a hypnotic spell,
the lips of the man who sat on the high stool beside the ticker and
called out the prices to the quotation boy. Now and again Wilson’s own
lips made curious grimaces, as if speaking to himself. Brown, the
slender, pale-faced man, was outside in the hall, pacing to and fro. All
was lost, including honor. And he was afraid to look at the ticker,
afraid to hear the prices shouted, yet hoping—for a miracle! Gilmartin
came out from the office, saw Brown and said, with sickly bravado: “I
held out as long as I could. But they got _my_ ducats. A sporting life
comes high, I tell you!” But Brown did not heed him and Gilmartin pushed
the elevator-button impatiently and cursed at the delay. He not only had
lost the “paper” profits he had accumulated during the bull-market but
all his savings of years had crumbled away beneath the strokes of the
ticker that day. It was the same with all. They would not take a small
loss at first but had held on, in the hope of a recovery that would “let
them out even.” And prices had sunk and sunk until the loss was so great
that it seemed only proper to hold on, if need be a year, for sooner or
later prices must come back. But the break “shook them out,” and prices
went just so much lower because so many people had to sell, whether they
would or not.


After the slump most of the customers returned to their legitimate
business—sadder, but it is to be feared, not much wiser men. Gilmartin,
after the first numbing shock, tried to learn of fresh opportunities in
the drug business. But his heart was not in his search. There was the
shame of confessing defeat in Wall Street so soon after leaving Maiden
Lane; but far stronger than this was the effect of the poison of
gambling. If it was bad enough to be obliged to begin lower than he had
been at Maxwell & Kip’s, it was worse to condemn himself to long weary
years of work in the drug business when his reward, if he remained
strong and healthy, would consist merely in being able to save a few
thousands. But a few lucky weeks in the stock market would win him back
all he had lost—and more!

He should have begun in a small way while he was learning to speculate.
He saw it now very clearly. Every one of his mistakes had been due to
inexperience. He had imagined he knew the market. But it was only now
that he really knew it and therefore it was only now, after the slump
had taught him so much, that he could reasonably hope to succeed. His
mind, brooding over his losses, definitely dismissed as futile the
resumption of the purchase and sale of drugs, and dwelt persistently on
the sudden acquisition of stock market wisdom. Properly applied, this
wisdom ought to mean much to him. In a few weeks he was again spending
his days before the quotation board, gossiping with those customers who
had survived, giving and receiving advice. And as time passed the grip
of Wall Street on his soul grew stronger until it strangled all other
aspirations. He could talk, think, dream of nothing but stocks. He could
not read the newspapers without thinking how the market would “take” the
news contained therein. If a huge refinery burnt down, with a loss to
the “Trust” of $4,000,000, he sighed because he had not foreseen the
catastrophe and had sold Sugar short. If a strike by the men of the
Suburban Trolley Company led to violence and destruction of life and
property, he cursed an unrelenting Fate because he had not had the
prescience to “put out” a thousand shares of Trolley. And he constantly
calculated to the last fraction of a point how much money he would have
made if he had sold short just before the calamity at the very top
prices and had covered his stock at the bottom. Had he only known! The
atmosphere of the Street, the odor of speculation surrounded him on all
sides, enveloped him like a fog, from which the things of the outside
world appeared as though seen through a veil. He lived in the district
where men do not say “Good-morning” on meeting one another, but “How’s
the market?” or, when one asks: “How do you feel?” receives for an
answer: “Bullish!” or “Bearish!” instead of a reply regarding the state
of health.

At first, after the fatal slump, Gilmartin importuned his brokers to let
him speculate on credit, in a small way. They did. They were kindly
enough men and sincerely wished to help him. But luck ran against him.
With the obstinacy of unsuperstitious gamblers he insisted on fighting
Fate. He was a bull in a bear market; and the more he lost the more he
thought the inevitable “rally” in prices was due. He bought in
expectation of it and lost again and again, until he owed the brokers a
greater sum than he could possibly pay; and they refused point blank to
give him credit for another cent, disregarding his vehement entreaties
to buy a last hundred, just one more chance, the last, because he would
be sure to win. And, of course, the long-expected happened and the
market went up with a rapidity that made the Street blink; and Gilmartin
figured that had not the brokers refused his last order, he would have
made enough to pay off the indebtedness and have left, in addition,
$2,950; for he would have “pyramided” on the way up. He showed the
brokers his figures, accusingly, and they had some words about it and he
left the office, almost tempted to sue the firm for conspiracy with
intent to defraud; but decided that it was “another of Luck’s
sockdolagers” and let it go at that, gambler-like.

When he returned to the brokers’ office—the next day—he began to
speculate in the only way he could—vicariously. Smith, for instance, who
was long of 500 St. Paul at 125, took less interest in the deal than did
Gilmartin who thenceforth assiduously studied the news-slips and sought
information on St. Paul all over the Street, listening thrillingly to
tips and rumors regarding the stock, suffering keenly when the price
declined, laughing and chirruping blithely if the quotations moved
upward, exactly as though it were his own stock. In a measure it was as
an anodyne to his ticker-fever. Indeed, in some cases his interest was
so poignant and his advice so frequent—he would speak of _our_ deal—that
the lucky winner gave him a small share of his spoils, which Gilmartin
accepted without hesitation—he was beyond pride-wounding by now—and
promptly used to back some miniature deal of his own on the Consolidated
Exchange or even in “Percy’s”—a dingy little bucket-shop, where they
took orders for two shares of stock on a margin of one per cent.; that
is, where a man could bet as little as two dollars.

Later, it often came to pass that Gilmartin would borrow a few dollars,
when the customers were not trading actively. The amounts he borrowed
diminished by reason of the increasing frequency of their refusals.
Finally, he was asked to stay away from the office where once he had
been an honored and pampered customer.

He became a Wall Street “has been” and could be seen daily on New
Street, back of the Consolidated Exchange, where the “put” and “call”
brokers congregate. The tickers in the saloons nearby fed his gambler’s
appetite. From time to time luckier men took him into the same
be-tickered saloons, where he ate at the free lunch counters and drank
beer and talked stocks and listened to the lucky winners’ narratives
with lips tremulous with readiness to smile and grimace. At times the
gambler in him would assert itself and he would tell the lucky winners,
wrathfully, how the stock he wished to buy but couldn’t the week before,
had risen 18 points. But they, saturated with their own ticker-fever,
would nod absently, their soul’s eyes fixed on some quotation-to-be; or
they would not nod at all but in their eagerness to look at the tape
from which they had been absent two long minutes, would leave him
without a single word of consolation or even of farewell.


One day, in New Street, he overheard a very well known broker tell
another that Mr. Sharpe was “going to move up Pennsylvania Central right
away.” The over-hearing of the conversation was a bit of rare good luck
that raised Gilmartin from his sodden apathy and made him hasten to his
brother-in-law who kept a grocery store in Brooklyn. He implored Griggs
to go to a broker and buy as much Pennsylvania Central as he could—that
is, if he wished to live in luxury the rest of his life. Sam Sharpe was
going to put it up. Also, he borrowed ten dollars.

Griggs was tempted. He debated with himself many hours, and at length
yielded with misgivings. He took his savings and bought one hundred
shares of Pennsylvania Central at 64 and began to neglect his business
in order to study the financial pages of the newspapers. Little by
little Gilmartin’s whisper set in motion within him the wheels of a
ticker that printed on his day-dreams the mark of the dollar. His wife,
seeing him preoccupied, thought business was bad; but Griggs denied it,
confirming her worst fears. Finally, he had a telephone put in his
little shop, to be able to talk to his brokers.

Gilmartin, with the ten dollars he had borrowed, promptly bought ten
shares in a bucket shop at 63⅞; the stock promptly went to 62⅞; he was
promptly “wiped”; and the stock promptly went back to 64½.

On the next day a fellow-customer of the Gilmartin of old days invited
him to have a drink. Gilmartin resented the man’s evident prosperity. He
felt indignant at the ability of the other to buy hundreds of shares.
But the liquor soothed him, and in a burst of mild remorse he told
Smithers, after an apprehensive look about him as if he feared someone
might overhear: “I’ll tell you something, on the dead q. t., for your
own benefit.”

“Fire away!”

“Pa. Cent. is going ‘way up.”

“Yes?” said Smithers, calmly.

“Yes; it will cross par sure.”

“Umph!” between munches of a pretzel.

“Yes. Sam Sharpe told”—Gilmartin was on the point of saying a “friend of
mine” but caught himself and went on, impressively—“told me, yesterday,
to buy Pa. Cent. as he had accumulated his full line, and was ready to
whoop it up. And you know what Sharpe is,” he finished, as if he thought
Smithers was familiar with Sharpe’s powers.

“Is that so?” nibbled Smithers.

“Why, when Sharpe makes up his mind to put up a stock, as he intends to
do with Pa. Cent., nothing on earth can stop him. He told me he would
make it cross par within sixty days. This is no hearsay, no tip. It’s
cold facts. I don’t _hear_ it’s going up; I don’t _think_ it’s going up;
I _know_ it’s going up. Understand?” And he shook his right forefinger
with a hammering motion.

In less than five minutes Smithers was so wrought up that he bought 500
shares and promised solemnly not to “take his profits,” _i.e._ sell out,
until Gilmartin said the word. Then they had another drink and another
look at the ticker.

“You want to keep in touch with me,” was Gilmartin’s parting shot. “I’ll
tell you what Sharpe tells me. But you must keep it quiet,” with a
side-wise nod that pledged Smithers to honorable secrecy.

Had Gilmartin met Sharpe face to face, he would not have known who was
before him.

Shortly after he left Smithers he buttonholed another acquaintance, a
young man who thought he knew Wall Street, and therefore had a
hobby—manipulation. No one could induce him to buy stocks by telling him
how well the companies were doing, how bright the prospects, etc. That
was bait for “suckers” not for clever young stock operators. But anyone,
even a stranger, who said that “they”—the perennially mysterious “they,”
the “big men,” the mighty “manipulators” whose life was one prolonged
conspiracy to pull the wool over the public’s eyes—“they” were going to
“jack up” these or the other shares, was welcomed, and his advice acted
upon. Young Freeman believed in nothing but “their” wickedness and
“their” power to advance or depress stock values at will. Thinking of
his wisdom had given him a chronic sneer.

“You’re just the man I was looking for,” said Gilmartin, who hadn’t
thought of the young man at all.

“What Sam?”

“Sharpe. The old boy sent for me. He was in mighty good-humor too.
Tickled to death. He might well be—he’s got 60,000 shares of
Pennsylvania Central. And there’s going to be from 50 to 60 points
profit in it.”

“H’m!” sniffed Freeman, skeptically, yet impressed by the change in
Gilmartin’s attitude from the money-borrowing humility of the previous
week to the confident tone of a man with a straight tip. Sharpe was
notoriously kind to his old friends—rich or poor.

“I was there when the papers were signed,” Gilmartin said, hotly. “I was
going to leave the room, but Sam told me I needn’t. I can’t tell you
what it is about; really I can’t. But he’s simply going to put the stock
above par. It’s 64½ now, and you know and I know that by the time it is
75 the newspapers will all be talking about inside buying; and at 85
everybody will want to buy it on account of important developments; and
at 95 there will be millions of bull tips on it and rumors of increased
dividends, and people who would not look at it thirty points lower will
rush in and buy it by the bushel. Let me know who is manipulating a
stock, and to h—l with dividends and earnings. Them’s _my_ sentiments,”
with a final hammering nod, as if driving in a profound truth.

“Same here,” assented Freeman, cordially. He was attacked on his
vulnerable side.

Strange things happen in Wall Street. Sometimes tips come true. It so
proved in this case. Sharpe started the stock upward brilliantly—the
movement became historic in the Street—and Pa. Cent. soared dizzily and
all the newspapers talked of it and the public went mad over it and it
touched 80 and 85 and 88 and higher, and then Gilmartin made his
brother-in-law sell out and Smithers and Freeman. Their profits were:
Griggs, $3,000; Smithers, $15,100; Freeman, $2,750. Gilmartin made them
give him a good percentage. He had no trouble with his brother-in-law.
Gilmartin told him it was an inviolable Wall Street custom and so Griggs
paid, with an air of much experience in such matters. Freeman was more
or less grateful. But Smithers met Gilmartin and full of his good luck
repeated what he had told a dozen men within the hour: “I did a dandy
stroke the other day. Pa. Cent. looked to me like higher prices and I
bought a wad of it. I’ve cleaned up a tidy sum,” and he looked proud of
his own penetration. He really had forgotten that it was Gilmartin who
had given him the tip. But not so Gilmartin who retorted, witheringly:

“Well, I’ve often heard of folks that you put into good things and they
make money and afterward they come to you and tell how damned smart they
were to hit it right. But you can’t work that on me. I’ve got

“Witnesses?” echoed Smithers, looking cheap. He remembered.

“Yes, wit-ness-es,” mimicked Gilmartin, scornfully. “I all but had to
get on my knees to make you buy it. And I told you when to sell it, too.
The information came to me straight from headquarters and you got the
use of it and now the least you can do is to give me twenty-five hundred

In the end he accepted $800. He told mutual friends that Smithers had
cheated him.


It seemed as though the regeneration of Gilmartin had been achieved when
he changed his shabby raiment for expensive clothes. He paid his
tradesmen’s bills and moved into better quarters. He spent his money as
though he had made millions. One week after he had closed out the deal
his friends would have sworn Gilmartin had always been prosperous. That
was his exterior. His inner self remained the same—a gambler. He began
to speculate again, in the office of Freeman’s brokers.

At the end of the second month he had lost not only the $1,200 he had
deposited with the firm, but an additional $250 he had given his wife
and had been obliged to “borrow” back from her, despite her assurances
that he would lose it. This time, the slump was really unexpected by
all, even by the magnates—the mysterious and all powerful “they” of
Freeman’s—so that the loss of the second fortune did not reflect on
Gilmartin’s ability as a speculator but on his luck. As a matter of
fact, he had been too careful and had sinned from over-timidity at
first, only to plunge later and lose all.

As the result of much thought about his losses Gilmartin became a
professional tipster. To let others speculate for him seemed the only
sure way of winning. He began by advising ten victims—he learned in time
to call them clients—to sell Steel Rod preferred, each man 100 shares;
and to a second ten he urged the purchase of the same quantity of the
same stock. To all he advised taking four points’ profit. Not all
followed his advice, but the seven clients who sold it made between them
nearly $3,000 over night. His percentage amounted to $287.50. Six bought
and when they lost he told them confidentially how the treachery of a
leading member of the pool had obliged the pool managers to withdraw
their support from the stock temporarily; whence the decline. They
grumbled; but he assured them that he himself had lost nearly $1,600 of
his own on account of the traitor.

For some months Gilmartin made a fair living but business became very
dull. People learned to fight shy of his tips. The persuasiveness was
gone from his inside news and from his confidential advice from Sharpe
and from his beholding with his own eyes the signing of epoch-making
documents. Had he been able to make his customers alternate their
winnings and losses he might have kept his trade. But for example,
“Dave” Rossiter, in Stuart & Stern’s office, stupidly received the wrong
tip six times in succession. It wasn’t Gilmartin’s fault but Rossiter’s
bad luck.

At length failing to get enough clients in the ticker-district itself
Gilmartin was forced to advertise in an afternoon paper, six times a
week, and in the Sunday edition of one of the leading morning dailies.
They ran like this:

                              WE MAKE MONEY

    for our investors by the best system ever devised. Deal with
    genuine experts. Two methods of operating; one speculative, the
    other insures absolute safety.


    is the time to invest in a certain stock for ten points sure
    profit. Three points margin will carry it. Remember how correct we
    have been on other stocks. Take advantage of this move.

                              IOWA MIDLAND.

    Big movement coming in this stock. It’s very near at hand. Am
    waiting daily for word. Will get it in time. Splendid opportunity
    to make big money. It costs only a 2–cent stamp to write to me.

                        CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION.

    Private secretary of banker and stock operator of world-wide
    reputation, has valuable information. I don’t wish your money. Use
    your own broker. All I want is a share of what you will surely
    make if you follow my advice.

                       WILL ADVANCE $40 PER SHARE.

    A fortune to be made in a railroad stock. Deal pending which will
    advance same $40 per share within three months. Am in position to
    keep informed as to developments and the operations of a pool.
    Parties who will carry for me 100 shares with a New York Stock
    Exchange house will receive the full benefit of information.
    Investment safe and sure. Highest references given.

He prospered amazingly. Answers came to him from furniture dealers on
Fourth Avenue and dairymen up the State and fruit growers in Delaware
and factory workers in Massachusetts and electricians in New Jersey and
coal miners in Pennsylvania and shop keepers and physicians and plumbers
and undertakers in towns and cities near and far. Every morning
Gilmartin telegraphed to scores of people—at their expense—to sell, and
to scores of others to buy the same stocks. And he claimed his
commissions from the winners.

Little by little his savings grew; and with them grew his desire to
speculate on his own account. It made him irritable, not to gamble.

He met Freeman one day in one of his dissatisfied moods. Out of
politeness he asked the young cynic the universal query of the Street:

“What do you think of ‘em?” He meant stocks.

“What difference does it make what _I_ think?” sneered Freeman, with
proud humility. “I’m nobody.” But he looked as if he did not agree with

“What do you _know_?” pursued Gilmartin, mollifyingly.

“I know enough to be long of Gotham Gas. I just bought a thousand shares
at 180.” He really had bought a hundred only.

“What on?”

“On information. I got it straight from a director of the company. Look
here, Gilmartin, I’m pledged to secrecy. But, for your own benefit, I’ll
just tell you to buy all the Gas you possibly can carry. The deal is on.
I know that certain papers were signed last night, and they are almost
ready to spring it on the public. They haven’t got all the stock they
want. When they get it, look out for fireworks.”

Gilmartin did not perceive any resemblance between Freeman’s tips and
his own. He said, hesitatingly, as though ashamed of his timidity:

“The stock seems pretty high at 180.”

“You won’t think so when it sells at 250. Gilmartin, I don’t _hear_
this; I don’t _think_ it; I _know_ it!”

“All right; I’m in,” quoth Gilmartin, jovially. He felt a sense of
emancipation now that he had made up his mind to resume his speculating.
He took every cent of the nine hundred dollars he had made from telling
people the same things that Freeman told him now, and bought a hundred
Gotham Gas at $185 a share. Also he telegraphed to all his clients to
plunge in the stock.

It fluctuated between 184 and 186 for a fortnight. Freeman daily
asseverated that “they” were accumulating the stock. But, one fine day,
the directors met, agreed that business was bad and having sold out most
of their own holdings, decided to reduce the dividend rate from 8 to 6
per cent. Gotham Gas broke seventeen points in ten short minutes.
Gilmartin lost all he had. He found it impossible to pay for his
advertisements. The telegraph companies refused to accept any more
“collect” messages. This deprived Gilmartin of his income as a tipster.
Griggs had kept on speculating and had lost all his money and his wife’s
in a little deal in Iowa Midland. All that Gilmartin could hope to get
from him was an occasional invitation to dinner. Mrs. Gilmartin, after
they were dispossessed for non-payment of rent, left her husband and
went to live with a sister in Newark who did not like Gilmartin.

His clothes became shabby and his meals irregular. But always in his
heart, as abiding as an inventor’s faith in himself, there dwelt the
hope that some day, somehow, he would “strike it rich” in the stock

One day he borrowed five dollars from a man who had made five thousand
in Cosmopolitan Traction. The stock, the man said, had only begun to go
up, and Gilmartin believed it and bought five shares in “Percy’s,” his
favorite bucket-shop. The stock began to rise slowly but steadily. The
next afternoon “Percy’s” was raided, the proprietor having disagreed
with the police as to price.

Gilmartin lingered about New Street, talking with other customers of the
raided bucket shop, discussing whether or not it was a “put up job” of
old Percy himself who, it was known, had been losing money to the crowd
for weeks past. One by one the victims went away and at length Gilmartin
left the ticker district. He walked slowly down Wall Street, then turned
up William Street, thinking of his luck. Cosmopolitan Traction had
certainly looked like higher prices. Indeed, it seemed to him that he
could almost hear the stock shouting, articulately: “_I’m going up,
right away, right away!_” If somebody would buy a thousand shares and
agree to give him the profits on a hundred, on ten, on one!

But he had not even his carfare. Then he remembered that he had not
eaten since breakfast. It did him no good to remember it now. He would
have to get his dinner from Griggs in Brooklyn.

“Why,” Gilmartin told himself with a burst of curious self-contempt, “I
can’t even buy a cup of coffee!”

He raised his head and looked about him to find how insignificant a
restaurant it was in which he could not buy even a cup of coffee. He had
reached Maiden Lane. As his glance ran up and down the north side of
that street, it was arrested by the sign:

                             MAXWELL & KIP.

At first he felt but vaguely what it meant. It had grown unfamiliar with
absence. The clerks were coming out. Jameson, looking crustier than
ever, as though he were forever thinking how much better than Jenkins he
could run the business; Danny, some inches taller, no longer an office
boy but spick and span in a blue serge suit and a necktie of the latest
style, exhaling health and correctness; Williamson, grown very gray and
showing on his face thirty years of routine; Baldwin, happy as of yore
at the ending of the day’s work, and smiling at the words of
Jenkins—Gilmartin’s successor who wore an air of authority, of the habit
of command which he had not known in the old days.

Of a sudden Gilmartin was in the midst of his old life. He saw all that
he had been, all that he might still be. And he was overwhelmed. He
longed to rush to his old associates, to speak to them, to shake hands
with them, to be the old Gilmartin. He was about to step toward Jenkins;
but stopped abruptly. His clothes were shabby and he felt ashamed. But,
he apologized to himself, he could tell them how he had made a hundred
thousand and had lost it. And he even might borrow a few dollars from

Gilmartin turned on his heel with a sudden impulse and walked away from
Maiden Lane quickly. All that he thought now was that he would not have
them see him in his plight. He felt the shabbiness of his clothes
without looking at them. As he walked, a great sense of loneliness came
over him.

He was back in Wall Street. At the head of the Street was old Trinity;
to the right the sub-Treasury; to the left the Stock Exchange.

From Maiden Lane to the Lane of the Ticker—such had been his life.

“If I could only buy some Cosmopolitan Traction!” he said. Then he
walked forlornly northward, to the great Bridge, on his way to Brooklyn
to eat with Griggs, the ruined grocery-man.

                        A PHILANTHROPIC WHISPER

There have been all manner of big stock operators and “leaders” in Wall
Street—gentlemanly, well-educated leaders with a gift of epigram and
foul-spoken leaders who knew as little of grammar as of manners; leaders
to whom the stock market was only the Monte Carlo of the Tape and
leaders to whom it was a means to an end; cool, calculating,
steel-nerved leaders and fidgety, impulsive, excitable leaders; leaders
who were church pillars and total abstainers and leaders whose only God
was the ticker and whose most brilliant operations were carried on
during the course of a drunken debauch. But never before, in the
breathless history of Wall Street, had there been a leader whose
following was numbered by the thousands and included not only the
“shoe-string” speculators but the very richest of the rich! Never before
a leader whose word took the place of statistical information, whose
mere “I am buying it” created more purchasers for a stock than all the
glowing prospectuses and all the accountants’ affidavits and all the
bankers’ estimates.

At first Wall Street said the public was suffering from an epidemic of
speculative insanity; that Colonel Treadwell was merely a bold operator
“backed” by a clique of the greatest fortunes in America; that he was
not a skilful “manipulator” of values, but by sheer brute force of
tremendous buying he made those stocks advance with which he was
identified and that, of course, the public always follows the stocks
that are made active; and many other explanations. But in the end Wall
Street came to realize exactly to what it was that the blind devotion of
the speculative public for the colonel was due. Defying all traditions,
upsetting all precedents, violating all rules, driving all the
“veterans” to the verge of hysterics and bankruptcy by his daily
defiance of accepted views as to the art of operating in stocks, Colonel
Josiah T. Treadwell founded a new school: He told the truth.

The colonel sat in his office alone with his thoughts. The door was
open—it was always open—and the clerks and customers of Treadwell & Co.
as they passed to and fro caught glimpses of the great leader’s broad,
kindly face and shrewd, little, twinkling eyes that seemed to smile at
them. They wondered what new “deal” the colonel was planning. And then
they wished with all their souls and purses they knew the name of the
stock—merely the name of it—so that they might “get in on the ground

The famous operator sat on a revolving chair by his desk. He had turned
his back on an accumulation of correspondence and he now rotated from
right to left and from left to right. The tips of his shoes—he was a
short man—missed the floor by an inch or two and he swung his feet
contentedly. A ticker whirred away blithely and from time to time
Treadwell ceased his rocking and his foot-swinging, and glanced jovially
at the ticker “tape.” From his window he could see a Mississippi of
people or a bit of New York summer sky, but his restless eyes were
roaming and skipping from place to place. And the clerks and the
customers wondered whether the market was going the way the colonel had
planned. The ticker was whirring and clicking, impassively, and the
colonel wore a meditative look. What was the “old man” scheming? The
bears had better be on their guard! As a matter of fact, Josiah T.
Treadwell was thinking that his brother Wilson, who had left him a few
minutes before, was certainly growing bald. He also wondered whether
people who advertised “restorers” and “invigorators” were veracious or
merely “Wall Streety” as he put it to himself.

A young man, an utter stranger to Colonel Treadwell, halted at the door,
and looked at the leader of the stock market, hesitatingly.

“Come in, come in,” called out the colonel, cheerily. “Won’t you walk
into my parlor?”

“Good-morning, Colonel Treadwell,” said the lad, diffidently.

“Who are you, and what are you, and what can I do for you?” said the
colonel, extending his hand.

The youth did not heed the chubby, outstretched hand. “My name,” he
said, very formally and introductorily, “is Carey. My father used to
know you when he was editor of the _Blankburg Herald_.”

“Well,” said the colonel, encouragingly, “shake hands anyhow.”

Carey shook hands; his diffidence vanished. He was a pleasant-faced,
pleasant-voiced young fellow, Treadwell thought. He was a good-hearted,
jocular old fellow, unlike what he had imagined the leader of the stock
market would be, Carey thought.

“Yes,” went on the colonel, “I remember your father very well. I never
forget my up-the-State friends, and I am always glad to see their sons.
When I ran for Congress, Bill Carey wrote red-hot editorials in my
favor, and I was beaten by a large and enthusiastic majority. I haven’t
seen your father in twenty-odd years—not since he went wrong and took to

“Well, Colonel Treadwell,” laughed Carey, “I guess Dad did his best for
you. And if you didn’t go to Congress you’re better off, from all I have
read in the papers about you.”

You would have thought they had known each other for years.

“That’s what I say; I have to,” chuckling.

“Colonel,” said the young man, boldly, “I’ve come to ask your advice.”

“Most people don’t ask it twice. Be careful now.”

“Do you mean that they get so rich following it that they don’t have to
come again?”

“You are a politician, young man. You’ll wake up and find yourself in
Congress, some fine day, unless your father goes back to newspaper work
and writes some editorials in _your_ favor.”

The boy had a pleasant smile, the colonel thought.

“I have saved up some money, Colonel.”

“Keep it. That’s the best advice I can give you. Go away instantly.
Great Scott, youngster, you are in Wall Street now.”

“Oh, I—I’m safe enough in this office, I guess,” retorted Carey.

The famous leader of the stock market looked at him solemnly. The boy
returned the look, imperturbably. Then Colonel Treadwell laughed, and
Carey laughed back at him.

“What are you doing to keep out of State’s prison?” asked Treadwell.

“I’m a clerk in the office of the Federal Pump Company, third floor,
upstairs. I have saved some money and I want to know what to do with it.
I read an article in the _Sun_ the other day. It said you had advised
people to put their savings into Suburban Trolley and how well they had

“That was a year ago. Trolley has gone up 50 points since then.”

“That shows how good the advice was. And you also said a young man
should do something with his savings and not let them lie idle.” The
young man looked straight into the little, twinkling, kindly eyes of the
leader of the stock market.

“How much money have you?”

“I have two hundred and ten dollars,” replied the lad with an uncertain
smile. He had felt proud of the magnitude of his savings in his own
room; in this office he felt a bit ashamed of their insignificance.

“Dear me,” said the millionaire speculator, very seriously, “that is a
good deal of money. It’s a blame sight more’n I had, when I started in
business. Got it with you?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Well, I’ll introduce you to my brother Wilson, who has charge of our
customers. Come in, John.”

“John” came in. His other name was Mellen. He was a slim, quiet-looking
man of about five-and-fifty. His enemies said that he had made
$1,000,000 for every year he had lived and had kept it.

“Sit down, John,” said Colonel Treadwell, shaking hands with Mr. Mellen,
“I’ll be back in a minute.”

At the door he shook hands with two more visitors—a tall, ruddy-faced,
white-haired, and white-whiskered man, Mr. Milton Steers, after-dinner
speaker and self-confessed wit; and, incidentally, president of a
railroad system; also Mr. D. M. Ogden, who looked like an English
clergyman and was the owner of the huge Ogden Buildings in Wall Street.
They had come to discuss the advisability of a new deal in “Trolley.”
They represented, they and their associates, more than $500,000,000. But
Colonel Treadwell made them wait while he escorted his new acquaintance
to his brother’s room.

“Wilse,” he said, “I’ve brought you a new customer, Mr. Carey.”

Wilson P. Treadwell smiled pleasantly. He was a tall, slender man with a
serious look. The firm did not desire new accounts, for there was
already more business than could be handled. They were the busiest and
the best-known stock brokers in the United States. But the colonel’s
friends were welcome, always.

“I’m very glad to meet Mr. Carey,” said Wilson Treadwell. The firm had
some very youthful customers; but their means were in inverse ratio to
their years.

“I think,” said the colonel, “that we had better buy some Easton &
Allentown for him.” He was smiling; he generally did. Moreover, he was
thinking of his brother’s mistaken impression of the new customer.

“That is a good idea,” assented Wilson. “You ought to put in your order
at once. The stock is going up very fast, Mr. Carey.”

“Well, young man, give him your margin and let him buy you as much as he
thinks best,” said the colonel.

“Five thousand shares?” suggested Wilson Treadwell.

Colonel Treadwell chuckled. “Five thousand? A paltry five?”

“Well, fifty thousand if he wants them, and you guarantee his account,”
said his brother with a smile.

“I guess,” said the leader of the stock market, slowly, “that you had
better begin with one hundred shares.”

Then Wilson, who knew his brother thoroughly, said “Oh!” and smiled and
gave an order to a clerk to buy one hundred shares of Easton & Allentown
Railroad stock at the “market” or prevailing price, for Mr. Carey, and
took the boy’s two hundred and ten dollars with the utmost gravity. The
smallest Stock Exchange house would not accept such a pitiful account.
Treadwell & Co. being the largest, would and did.

The colonel shook hands with young Carey, whose father had once edited a
country newspaper, but who had never been an intimate friend, told him
to “Come again, any time,” and went back to his accomplices.

Easton & Allentown stock was the “feature” of the market that week and
the next. Ten days after Carey had bought his hundred shares at 94 the
stock sold at 106.

The young man went into the office of Treadwell & Co., on the eleventh
day. He knew he had made a great deal of money—more than he had ever
thought of having at his age—but he did not know what to do now. He
heard one man say to another: “Take profits? Not at this price. E. & A.
is sure to go to 115.”

Carey figured that if he waited for the stock to sell at 115, he would
make nearly a thousand dollars more.

“There is no use of being a blamed hog,” the man continued, with
picturesque emphasis, “but where in blazes is the sense of throwing away
that much money by selling out too soon? Limit your losses and let your
profits run.”

They stood in the corridor of the partitioned office, the crowd of men,
all of them customers of Treadwell & Co., excepting the newspaper
reporters who had called for their usual daily interview with the famous
leader of the stock market. There were two United States Senators; an
ex-Congressman; a score of men who had inherited fortunes and were
doubling them in the stock market; three or four gray-haired
shrewd-faced capitalists whose names appeared many times in the
financial pages of newspapers; a baker’s dozen of prominent municipal
politicians, a well-known Western railroad president with a ruddy face
and a snow-white beard; two famous physicians; the vice-president of a
life insurance company; a half score of wholesale merchants and a
low-voiced, insignificant little man, with a quiet, almost apologetic
look, who seldom spoke and never smiled, but who, next to the colonel
himself, was beyond question the heaviest “plunger” in the office.

The colonel came out of his office to go to his brother’s room, where,
seated about a long polished table were several directors of the
Suburban Trolley Company—men to whom the newspapers always referred not
by name but as “prominent insiders.” It was a very important gathering.
It involved no less than a final understanding in regards to the great
“Trolley pool” whose operations, later on, were to become historical in
Wall Street. It was, as one of the speculators outside put it, “a case
of show down”—the cash resources available for pool purposes were to be
ascertained, each man announcing the proportion of the 100,000 shares
for which he was willing to “put up.”

Carey was standing by the door of Wilson Treadwell’s office. He did not
feel altogether comfortable, among so many elderly and obviously very
rich men. His diffidence was the saving of him for as the colonel passed
he paused and said, in a low voice: “Got your stock yet?”

The customers in the corridor, men who, by the colonel’s advice, were
“carrying” from 500 to 10,000 shares each of Easton & Allentown, leaned
forward eagerly. All were men who north of Wall Street would not have
stooped to listen to others’ conversations if their lives depended on
it. In a broker’s office, when the leader of the stock market was
speaking, such notions were absurd, almost wicked. Certainly, at that
moment, twenty pairs of eyes were looking fixedly at the great leader of
the stock market and the young clerk.

The colonel felt this intuitively. He confirmed it with a quick glance
of his sharp little eyes. He had not sold all his Easton & Allentown,
but was disposing of it just as fast as the market would take it. It was
not likely that the stock would go much higher. Wall Street, ever loath
to believe well of any stock operator, used to comment sneeringly on the
fact that the world heard much about the “Treadwell buying” but never a
word about the Treadwell selling.

If the colonel gave a hint to the customers there would be an avalanche
of selling orders that would make the price of the stock break sharply,
and this would not benefit anyone. He had advised them to buy the stock
at 90 and at 95–-it was 105 now. He had more than done his duty. If they
did not sell out, in the hope of making more, it was their own lookout.

But there was the boy with the one hundred shares, the pleasant little
clerk from up-the-State, who had brought in his entire fortune, his
accumulated savings of two hundred and ten dollars. He was a stranger to
Wall Street. But supposing he should tell that he had been advised to
sell? There would be the deuce to pay!

The colonel took chances. Out of one corner of his mouth, so that he did
not even turn his head toward the boy and so that the watching customers
could not suspect what he was doing, he shot a quick whisper—a lob-sided
but philanthropic affair—at him: “Look at the color of your money, boy!
Take your profits and say nothing!” And he walked into the room where
the Suburban Trolley magnates awaited him impatiently.

Carey, thrilled but taciturn, gave his order to sell his Easton &
Allentown, unsuspected by the mob. They sold it for him at 105⅛.
Deducting commissions and interest charges the colonel’s whisper had put
$1,050 in the young clerk’s pocket.

And the stock went a little higher and then declined slowly to about 99.
The customers all made a great deal of money as it was, but not as much
as they would have “taken out” of the Easton & Allentown “deal” if they
had overheard that one of Colonel Treadwell’s many whispers—lob-sided
but philanthropic affairs!

                            THE MAN WHO WON

“Brown,” said Mr. John P. Greener, as he turned away from the ticker in
the corner, “I wish you would go over to the Board and see how the
market is for Iowa Midland. Find out how much stock there is for sale
and who has it. It ought to be pretty well distributed about the

“What’s up in it?” asked his partner, curiously.

“Nothing—yet,” answered Greener, quietly.

He sat down at his desk and took up a letter, headed “President’s
Office, Keokuk & Northern Railway Company, Keokuk, Iowa.” When he had
finished the entire sixteen closely written pages, he arose and paced
slowly up and down his office.

He was a sallow-faced, black-bearded little man, slender—almost frail
looking—with a high but rather narrow forehead. His eyes were furtive,
shifty bits of brown light. He was thinking, and thinking to some
purpose. Any one, even a stranger, seeing him, would have known that he
was thinking of something big—the forehead was responsible for the
impression; and also of something tricky, unscrupulous, cold-blooded—his
eyes were to blame there. At length his brow cleared. He muttered: “I
must have that road. Then, a consolidation with my Keokuk & Northern;
and a new system that will endure as long as the country!”

Brown returned in a half hour and reported. There was very little stock
for sale below $42 a share—a few small lots held by unimportant
commission houses. The vendible supply increased at 44, and at 46
“inside stock would come out,” which, translated into plain English,
meant that whenever the price of Iowa Midland Railway Company stock rose
to $46 per share, directors of the company or close friends of theirs
would be found willing to part with their holdings. It was thus evident
that the greater part of such stock of the Iowa Midland as the Street
was “carrying” speculatively was not for sale at such a price as would
be regarded in the light of a great bargain by Mr. John F. Greener,
president _de facto_ of the rival Keokuk & Northern Railway, but better
known to countless “lambs” and widows and orphans and brother financiers
as the Napoleon of the Street.

“Any supporting orders?” piped Greener. Stocks are “supported,” or
bought on declines, so that the price shall not go down too much, and
above all not too quickly.

“Bagley has orders to buy 300 shares every quarter of a point down until
37 is reached, and then to take 5,000 shares at that figure. He got them
direct from Willetts himself.” Bagley was a broker who made a specialty
of dealing in Iowa Midland. Willetts was the president of the company.

“Willetts,” squeaked Greener, “was in Council Bluffs this morning. He is
to take part in the ceremonies of unveiling the Soldiers’ Monument,
which begin at one o’clock—that is, within twenty minutes, allowing for
difference in time. He will be out of the reach of the telegraph for the

Brown laughed. “No wonder they are afraid of you.”

“Brown,” said Greener, “start the movement by selling 10,000 shares of
Iowa Midland. Divide it up among the boys on the floor. It would be well
if the room were frightened by the selling. It is more important for us
to get the price down than to put out shorts at high figures. I want
that stock down.” If he had merely desired to sell the stock “short” he
would have gone about it carefully, to disturb the price as little as

“If you want that I think you’ll get it,” said Brown. As he was going
out Mr. Greener squeaked after him: “Keep them guessing, Brown; keep
them guessing.”

“That,” mused Mr. John F. Greener, “ought to mean a three-or four-point
break in Iowa Midland at the very least, and perhaps we can work through
the peg at 37. We’ll see.” By the “peg” he meant the figure at which the
supporting orders to buy were heaviest.

A few minutes later the Iowa Midland “post” on the floor of the Stock
Exchange was surrounded by a dozen puzzled and apprehensive but
gentlemanly brokers. And still a few minutes later the same spot was a
seething whirlpool of maniacal humanity. It was appalling, the sight of
these gesticulating, yelling, fighting, coat-tearing, fisticuffing
brokers—appalling and vulgar, selfish, unpleasant, ungentlemanly but
eminently typical. And all that caused the transformation was the fact
that Mr. Brown had been seen whispering to Harry Wilson, and Harry
Wilson had left him, gone to the Iowa Midland crowd, and sold 1,000
shares at 42⅛ and 42. Then Mr. Brown had been seen speaking with W. G.
Carleton in what struck witnesses as being a more or less agitated
manner, and later Carleton had sauntered carelessly over to the Iowa
Midland precinct, and, after displaying very great indifference about
the world in general, but most particularly about the market for Iowa
Midland, had sold 1,500 shares to Bagley, the specialist, at 41¾, 41⅝,
and 41½. Mr. Brown was now watched by two or three scores of sharp eyes,
all having the same expression. And he was observed to look about him
apprehensively and then begin to converse with Frank J. Pratt; whereupon
Pratt, as fast as his fat legs would carry him, hastened to “Iowa
Midland” and sold 2,000 shares at an average price of 41. The observant
eyes had by this taken on a new expression—of indecision; but when they
beheld Mr. Brown anxiously beckon to his “particular” friend, Dan
Simpson, and saw shrill-voiced Dan rush like mad into the increasing
crowd and sell 5,000 shares of Iowa Midland, apparently regardless of
price, the observant eyes ceased to observe Brown. Activity was
transferred to their owners’ throats as they thought to emulate Simpson
and the rest of the Brown “whisperees.” Everybody scented danger,
especially as the same “whisperees” had not “given up” the name of Brown
& Greener as the real sellers, but had sold as though each Brown-talked
man was acting for himself—which every other man in the room knew was
out of the question, and which, in turn, increased the general
uneasiness. It was a confident and yet a mystifying movement. It became
more maddeningly perplexing when certain brokers, believed to be “close
to the inside,” also began to sell the stock. Everybody started to do
likewise. And everybody asked the same question—“What’s the matter?”—and
received an avalanche of answers, all different but all unfavorable. One
man said it was crop failures, another mentioned divers kinds of bugs, a
third asserted it was extensive wash-outs and ruinous landslides, and
bankrupting attacks by a socialistic legislature, and receivership

Each of these was a good and sufficient reason why Iowa Midland stock
should be sold. The comparison is odiously trite, but the growth of an
adverse rumor in Wall Street really resembles nothing so much as the
traditional snowball rolling down a hillside and becoming larger and
larger as it rolls, until it is huge, terrific, with appalling
possibilities for evil.

The Board Room became Iowa-Midland-mad. Speculators often stampede—just
like other animals. No stock can withstand their rush to sell, even
though it be “protected” or “supported” by its manipulators, much less a
stock like Iowa Midland, whose market sponsor was out of town, and out
of reach of the telegraph.

From all over the room men rushed to Brown, who was sitting calmly at
the Erie “post,” chatting pleasantly with a friend.

“Brown, what’s up in Iowa Midland?” one of them asked, feverishly. The
others listened eagerly.

Brown might have said, “I don’t know,” rudely, and turned his back on
them. But he did not. He responded jocularly: “It seems to me that
something is down in Iowa Midland, that something being about three
points, I should say. Ha! ha!”

By this time nearly all the listeners had concluded that, since Brown
refused to tell, there must be something serious—something very serious.
Brown obviously was still selling the stock through other brokers, and
would keep the bad news to himself until he had marketed his “line.”
After that, probably he would become interestingly garrulous. They
therefore advised their respective offices to get rid of their Iowa
Midland stock. It might be all right; but it might be all wrong. And it
was going down fast.

Mr. Greener in his office was looking at the “tape” as it came out of
the little electrical printing machine that records the transactions and

The sallow-faced little man permitted himself a slight—a very
slight—smile. The tape showed: “IA. MID., 1000. 39; 300. 38¾; 500. ⅝;
300. ½; 200. ⅜; ¼; 300. 38.”

He turned away to summon a clerk, to whom he said: “Mr. Rock, please
send for Mr. Coolidge. Make haste.”

“Very well, sir.”

A portly, white-waistcoated, white-haired man, with snow-white,
short-cropped side whiskers, burst unceremoniously into the room.

“How do you do, Mr. Ormiston?” squeaked Greener, cordially.

“Greener,” panted the portly man, “what’s the matter with Iowa Midland?”

“How should I know?” in a half-complaining, half-petulant squeak.

“Brown started the selling. I saw it myself. Greener, I did you a good
turn once in Central District Telegraph. I’m long 6,000 shares of this
Iowa Midland. For God’s sake, man, if you know anything——”

“Mr. Ormiston, all I know is what I learn from my confidential reports
of the Iowa crop. Along the line of the Keokuk & Northern the crop is
not what I hoped for.” And he shook his head dolefully.

“_Ticky-ticky-ticky tick!_” said the ticker, calmly.

The portly man approached the little machine.
“Thirty-seven-and-an-eighth. Thirty-seven!” he shouted. “Great Scott!
she’s going down like a——” He did not finish the comparison, but rushed
out of the office without pausing to say good-by. At one o’clock his
6,000 shares at $42½ represented $255,000. Now, at two o’clock, at $37,
the same stock would fetch about $222,000. A depreciation of $33,000 in
an hour is apt to make one neglectful of the little niceties. An
additional un-nicety was the obvious fact that an attempt to sell 6,000
shares on a declining market would inevitably cause a still further
drop. Mr. Ormiston was excusable.

Again Mr. Greener summoned a confidential clerk.

“Mr. Rock,” he squeaked, placidly, “telephone Mr. Brown that Ormiston,
Monkhouse & Co. are about to sell 6,000 shares of Iowa Midland, and that
Mr. Coolidge must not pay more than 35 for it.”

“Mr. Coolidge is in your private room, sir,” announced an office-boy.

The little financier, with an expressionless, sallow face, confronted
his chief confidential broker. Their relations were unsuspected by the
Street. Everybody thought Coolidge was a pleasant and honorable man.

“Coolidge, go to the Board at once. Ormiston is going to sell 6,000
shares of Iowa Midland. Get it as cheap as you can. Don’t be in a hurry,

“How much shall I buy?” asked the broker, jotting down a few figures in
his order book.

“As much as you can; all that is offered below 37,” squeaked the
Napoleon of the Street. It was a Napoleonic order. “And, Coolidge, I
don’t want this known by any one. Clear the stock yourself.” It meant
that Mr. Coolidge was to put the stock through the Clearing House in his
own name. As there is a charge for this service, in addition to the
usual buying or selling commission, such steps are not resorted to
unless it is desired to conceal the identity of the broker’s principal,
should the latter be a fellow-member of the Exchange.

“Very well, Mr. Greener. Good-morning.” And the broker went out on a
run. “Whew!” he whistled when he was in the Street on his way to the
Stock Exchange, a few doors below. “Brown & Greener must be short at
least 50,000 or 60,000 shares.” This was five times too much. But it
showed that Mr. Greener was impartial in his distribution of erroneous
impressions. He wanted to accumulate the stock rather than “cover” a
short line; but there was no reason why even his most trusted broker
should know it.

Ormiston’s 6,000 shares found their way to Mr. Coolidge’s office at from
34⅞ to 35¾. Mr. Brown in the meantime had succeeded in forcing down the
prices by the usual tricks. The man who once had done Greener a good
turn now did him another—the gift of $40,000!

In addition, Coolidge, employing several brokers, purchased 23,000
shares in all, which meant that Mr. Greener, after “covering” Brown’s
early “short sales,” was in possession of fully 14,000 shares of the
common stock of the Iowa Midland Railway Company, at a price averaging
nearly 6 points lower than they could have been bought on the preceding
day, which is to say $75,000 cheaper.

But Brown & Greener had made as much on their short sales, which was
actually equivalent to having the lambs pay a man for the privilege of
being shorn by him!

Such was the first of a series of skirmishes by means of which the
diminutive Napoleon of the Street captured the floating supply of Iowa
Midland stock, until he had no less than 65,000 shares safe in his

All the old tricks that he knew and new devices he invented were used to
hide from the Street the fact that Mr. Greener was buying the stock on
every opportunity. But beyond a certain limit extensive purchases of a
particular stock cannot be concealed from the thousand shrewd men who
make their living—a very good living, indeed—by not being blind. First
one thing, then another, told these men that some powerful financier or
group of financiers had bought enormously of Iowa Midland, “absorbing”
unostentatiously all the stock shaken out by the violent fluctuations of
the past few months. This fact and the remarkable improvement of
business along the line of the road caused a “substantial rise” in the
price of the company’s securities. But no one suspected the little
Napoleon with the shifty eyes and the squeak and the genius, who had
bought in the open market, through unsuspected brokers, and in Iowa from
the local holders, by means of secret agents, until he had accumulated

Brown said to his partner one day, a little uneasily: “Supposing we
can’t get any more stock, what are we going to do with what we have?” To
try to sell it, however carefully, would be sure to break the market.

“Brown,” squeaked the little man, plaintively, “I have concluded that in
case I can’t get enough stock to bring Willetts and his crowd”—the
president of the Iowa Midland and his fellow-directors—“to my way of
thinking, we had better sell the block we now hold to the Keokuk &
Northern Railway Company at the market price of $68 a share. Perhaps we
could even run it up a little higher. Our stock cost us on an average
$51 a share. We could take our payment one half in cash and half in
first mortgage bonds at a fair discount. The deal would be highly
beneficial to the Keokuk & Northern Company, since, having such a large
block of her rival’s stock, there would be no more fighting and
rate-cutting. Our company would be a powerful factor in the Iowa
Midland’s affairs, for we ought to have two or possibly three directors
in their board.”

“Greener,” said Brown, “shake!”

“Oh, no; not yet,” squeaked the little man, deprecatingly.

Shortly afterward began a campaign of hostility against the management
of the Iowa Midland Railway Company and President Willetts in
particular. It was a bitter campaign of defamation, of ingenious
accusations, and of alarming prognostications. All the newspapers,
important or obscure, subsidized or honest, began to print articles of
the kind technically known as “roasts.” The road, it was declared, had
escaped a receivership by a sheer miracle. President Willetts’s
incompetence was stupendous and incurable. There was, in sooth, some
basis for the complaints, and many stockholders were undoubtedly
dissatisfied with the Willetts “dynasty.” But not even the newspapers
themselves knew that they were merely moving in response to wires
artistically pulled by a financial genius of the first water. The stock
once more declined. Not knowing who was fighting him, President Willetts
was unable to defend himself effectively. Many timid or disgusted
holders sold out. Mr. Greener gave no sign of life; but his brokers
bought the stock offered for sale.

At length a well-known and talkative broker confided to an intimate
friend, who told his intimate friend in confidence, who whispered to his
chum, who told, etc., etc., that Mr. John F. Greener had been
responsible for the fall and rise of Iowa Midland stock; that for months
he had been buying it on the Stock Exchange; that he had quietly picked
up some large blocks in Iowa. All of which was very sad, and, worse
still, true. Also, that Mr. Greener now held 182,300 shares of the
stock, which was even sadder, but untrue.

It really was very well done. The annual meeting of the company was only
six weeks away.

The reporters rushed to Mr. Greener’s office. The little financier would
not be seen. At length he reluctantly consented to be interviewed. He
admitted, after a skilful display of unwillingness, that he had bought
Iowa Midland stock. As to the amount, he said that was not of interest
to the general public. The reporters finally cornered him and succeeded
in making the little financier say, with a fleeting and very peculiar
smile: “Yes; it _is_ over 100,000 shares.” And not another word could
the newspaper men get out of him.

Being an intelligent man, he never lied for publication. Each reporter
who saw that smile and the furtive look that accompanied it went away
convinced to the life-wagering point that Mr. John F. Greener was in
control of the Iowa Midland. And they wrote accordingly.

President Willetts all but had an apoplectic stroke. The Street
disgustedly said: “Another successful, villainous plot of Greener’s!”
And such was his reputation as an “absorber” of roads and roads’ profits
that the stock declined ten points in two days. Investors and
speculators alike displayed a frantic desire not to be identified in any
way or manner with one of Mr. Greener’s properties.

The little financier had not been mistaken. His last card was his own
evil reputation! He had reserved it for the end. On the wide-spread fear
that followed his broker’s artistic “indiscretion” he was able to
“scoop” 32,000 shares more at low figures. Such is the value of fame!

He now held 110,600 shares, or one third of the Iowa Midland Railroad
Company’s entire capital stock—enough to coerce Willetts into making
very profitable arrangements with Mr. Greener’s Keokuk & Northern
Railway Company. Of course the absolute control of the Iowa Midland was
best of all, if it only could be secured. But of this the sallow-faced
little man with the high forehead and the shifty eyes was doubtful. He
confessed as much to Brown, ending with: “It’s a shame, too. I could
make so much out of that property!”

He estimated—it had cost him $11,000 to secure the necessary data—that
Willetts and his clique held 105,000 shares, so that there were still
122,000 shares unaccounted for—probably scattered among small investors
throughout the country, who did not care who managed the road so long as
they received pleasant promises of dividends, and also among banking
houses and anti-Greener men, who, though they did not approve of
Willetts, disapproved even more emphatically and vehemently of Greener
and his methods.

If he could not buy the stock itself he must try to secure proxies.

He knew that some of the trust companies held a fair amount of the
longed-for stock. He laid siege to them. He bombarded them with promises
and poured an enfilading fire of pledges so honorable, so eminently
sound and business-like, as to pierce the armor of their distrust. In
the end they actually grew to believe that they were acting wisely when
they pledged their support to Mr. Greener. The guarantee he gave them
seemed ironclad, and they agreed to give him their proxies whenever he
should send for them.

He called his clerk Rock and told him: “Go to the Rural Trust Company
and to the Commercial Loan & Trust Company. See Mr. Roberts and Mr.
Morgan. They will give you some Iowa Midland proxies made out to
Frederick Rock or John F. Greener.”

Rock was a good-looking, quiet chap, with a very well-shaped head and a
resolute chin. His manners were pleasing. He had a habit of looking one
straight in the eyes, but did not always succeed thereby in conveying an
impression of straightforwardness. But he certainly impressed one as
being bold and keen. His fellow-clerks used to say that Rock spent his
spare time in studying the financial operations of the Napoleon of the
Street with the same care and minuteness that military students go over
the campaigns of Napoleon Bonaparte—which was the truth.

“Mr. Greener,” said Rock, “you are carrying 110,000 shares of stock, are
you not?”

“Eh?” squeaked Greener, innocently.

“I figure that, unless you are doing something outside this office, you
will need proxies for 50,000 shares more to give you absolute control
and elect your own board of directors and carry out your plans in
connection with Keokuk & Northern.”

Not by so much as the twinkling of an eye did the little man betray that
he was interested in Rock’s words, or that the clerk’s meddling with the
firm’s affairs was at all out of the ordinary.

“Mr. Greener,” said the clerk, very earnestly, “I should like to try to
get them for you.”

“Yes?” he squeaked, absent-mindedly.

“Yes, sir,” answered Rock.

“Go ahead, then,” said Mr. Greener, carelessly. “Let me know next week
how you are getting on.”

An expression of disappointment came into Rock’s face, whereupon Greener
added: “Of course if you succeed I’ll do well by you.”

“What will you do, Mr. Greener?” asked the clerk, looking straight at

“I’ll give you,” he squeaked, encouragingly, “ten thousand dollars.”

“Is that a good price for the work, Mr. Greener? I may have to pay out a
great deal,” added the young clerk with a faint touch of bitterness.

“It is all that it is worth to me, Mr. Rock, and I think it is worth
more to me than to anybody else. I’ll raise your salary from sixteen
hundred to two thousand a year. That’s a great deal more money than I
had at your age, Mr. Rock.”

“Very well,” said Rock, quietly. “I’ll do the best I can.” But once away
from Greener, his face flushed with anger and indignation. “Ten thousand
for what might be worth ten millions to the financier!” The clerk had
studied Greener’s Napoleonic methods for two years. He had learned
patience for one thing, and he had waited for his chance. It had come at
last, and he knew it.

Events make the man. Rock had thought carefully, intelligently, and,
best of all, coolly. He had planned logically. It was a good plan; it
was the only feasible plan, and it could not be upset by meddlesome
courts. How Mr. John F. Greener had failed to think of the same plan was
a bit strange. The unscrupulousness of it did not frighten the clerk. He
had the instincts of a financier of the Greener school.

The clerk all that week did nothing but collect the Iowa Midland proxies
promised by the complaisant trust companies. They amounted to 21,200
shares. From prominent brokerage houses, by means of alluring and
unauthorized promises, he secured 7,100 shares; in all he had 28,300
shares. This meant that at the approaching annual meeting Mr. Greener
could vote 138,900 shares out of a possible total of 320,000. Unless the
opposition could unite, the election was already sure to “go Mr.
Greener’s way.”

From time to time, when the little financier would ask Rock how he was
progressing, the clerk would tell him he was doing as well as could be
expected. He also told Mr. Greener that the trust companies had given
only 14,000 shares, and he said nothing whatever of the 7,100 shares he
had secured from the friendly brokers. It was a desperate risk, this
concealing from Mr. Greener how well he had done; but the clerk was

The moment Rock became convinced that there were no more pro-Greener
proxies to be had by hook or crook, he began his attack on the enemy.
His problem was to capture the anti-Greener votes—or stock. He proceeded
to put his plan into effect. And the plan of this healthy clerk with the
unflinching eyes and the resolute chin was worthy of the sallow-faced
little man with the furtive look and the great forehead.

“It is a case of _heads I win; tails you lose_,” Rock muttered to
himself, exultingly.

The young man presented himself forthwith at the office of Weddell,
Hopkins & Co., prominent bankers and bitter enemies of Mr. John F.
Greener and his methods. They knew Rock as one of the confidential
clerks of Brown & Greener, and he had no difficulty in securing an
audience from Mr. Weddell.

“Good-morning, Mr. Weddell.”

“Good-morning, sir,” said the banker, coldly. “I must say I’m somewhat
surprised at the presumption of your people in sending you to me.”

“Mr. Weddell,” said Rock, a trifle too eagerly to be artistic, “I’ve
left the firm of Brown & Greener. They were,” he added, youthfully, “too
rascally for me.”

Mr. Weddell’s face froze solid. He feared an application for a position.

“Ye-es?” he said. His voice matched his face in frigidity.

“Mr. Weddell,” said the young clerk, looking straight into the old
banker’s eyes, “you in common with other honest men have been wishing
you could prevent Mr. Greener from wrecking the Iowa Midland. Now, Mr.
Weddell,” he went on, eagerly, as the enthusiasm of the plan grew upon
him, “I know all about Mr. Greener’s plans and resources and I want you
to help me fight him. If you do we will win, sure.”

“How will you go about it?” asked the old banker, evasively. He was not
certain this was not some trick of the versatile Mr. John F. Greener.

“Mr. Greener,” answered young Rock, “has not control of the property. He
has only 110,600 shares. I had access to the books, and I know to a

“I don’t wish you to betray an employer’s secrets, even though he may be
my enemy. I do not care to hear any more.” He was an old-fashioned
banker, was Mr. Weddell.

“I am not betraying any secrets. He himself said he had over 100,000
shares, and all the reporters jumped at the conclusion that he had
actually a controlling interest. And that is what he will have, unless
you help me. I have proxies here for 28,300 shares from trust companies
and commission houses. My plan is to get all the proxies I can from the
anti-Greener and the anti-Willetts stockholders. Then we can make Mr.
Willetts give us pledges in black and white to inaugurate the
much-needed reforms and stop his policy of extravagance and his costly
traffic arrangements. Willetts will do it to save himself and the road
from falling into Greener’s hands. But there’s no time to lose, Mr.
Weddell.” The excitement of the game he was playing stimulated him like

“And you?” queried the old banker, meaningly. “Where do _you_ come in?”
The insinuation was his last weapon. The young man’s was really the only
feasible plan that he could see.

“I? It might be, Mr. Weddell, that after the election I could be
appointed assistant secretary of the company, as an evidence of good
faith on the part of the reform management. I can keep tabs on them and
represent the Weddell-Hopkins interest. The salary,” he added, with
truly artistic significance, “could be $5,000 a year. I have been
getting just one-half that.” His salary was exactly $1,600; but why
minimize one’s commercial value?

The old banker walked up and down....

“By gad, sir, you shall have our proxies,” said Mr. Weddell, at length.

“It would be well not to let Mr. Greener suspect this,” added Rock. And
the banker agreed with him.

Weddell, Hopkins & Co. held 14,000 shares of Iowa Midland stock, and on
the next day Rock received their proxies. Coming from so well-known, so
notoriously anti-Greener a house, they served as credentials to him, and
he was able to convince many doubting Thomases. He secured proxies from
practically all the anti-Greener stock held in the city, as well as in
Philadelphia and Boston.

His day-long absences from the office aroused no suspicions there, since
everybody thought he was working in the interest of Brown & Greener,
including Messrs. Brown & Greener. All told, the proxies he had secured
from Mr. Greener’s friends and from his foes amounted to 61,830 shares.
It was really a remarkable performance. He felt very proud of it. As to
consequences, he had carefully weighed them. He was working for
Frederick Rock. He was bound to succeed, on whichever side the coin came

Mr. Greener called him into the private office.

“Mr. Rock, how about those Iowa Midland proxies?”

“I have them safe,” answered the clerk, a bit defiantly.

“How many?”

Rock pulled out a piece of paper, though he knew the figures by heart.
He said, in a tone he endeavored to make nonchalant: “I have exactly

“What? What?” The Napoleon’s voice overflowed with astonishment.

Rock looked straight into Greener’s shifty brown eyes. “I said,” he
repeated, “that I had proxies for 61,830 shares.”

Mr. Greener remembered himself. “I congratulate you, Mr. Rock, on
keeping your word. You will find I keep mine equally well,” he said in
his normal squeak.

“We may as well have an understanding now as any other time, Mr.
Greener.” Rock’s eyes did not leave the sallow face of the great
railroad wrecker. He knew he had crossed the Rubicon. He was fighting
for his future, for the prosperity of his dreams. And he was fighting a
giant of giants. All this the clerk thought; and the thought braced him
wonderfully. He became self-possessed, discriminating—a Napoleonic bud
about to burst into full bloom.

“What do you mean?” squeaked Mr. Greener, naïvely.

Mr. Brown entered. He was just in time to hear the clerk say: “You have,
all told, 110,000 shares of Iowa Midland. President Willetts and his
crowd control about the same amount.”

“Yes,” said the sallow-faced little man. His forehead was moist—barely
moist—with perspiration, but his face was expressionless. His eyes were
less furtive; that was all. He was looking intently now at the young
clerk, for he understood.

“Well, some of the proxies stand in the name of Frederick Rock or John
F. Greener, but the greater part in my name alone. I can vote the entire
lot as I please. And whichever side I vote for will have an absolute
majority. Mr. Greener, I have the naming of the directors, and therefore
of the president of the Iowa Midland. And you can’t prevent me; and you
can’t touch me; and you can’t do a d—d thing to me!” he ended,
defiantly. It was nearly all superfluous, inartistic. But, youth—a
defect one overcomes with time!

“You infernal scoundrel!” shouted Mr. Brown. He had a short, thick neck,
and anger made his face dangerously purple.

“I secured most of the proxies,” continued Rock, in a tone that savored
slightly of self-defence, “by assuring Weddell, Hopkins & Co. and their
friends that I would vote against Mr. Greener.” He paused.

“Go ahead, Mr. Rock,” squeaked Mr. Greener; “don’t be afraid to talk.”
The pale little man with the black beard and the high forehead not only
had a great genius for finance, but possessed wonderful nerve. His
squeak was an inconsistency; but it served to make him human.

“You offered me $10,000 cash and $2,000 a year.”

“Yes,” admitted Mr. Greener, meekly. “How much do you want?” His look
became furtive again. A great weight had been removed from his mind.
Rock perceived it and became even more courageous.

“Weddell, Hopkins & Co. and their friends want me to vote the Willetts
ticket, Mr. Willetts having promised to make important reforms. My
reward is to be the position of assistant secretary, with headquarters
in New York, at a salary of $5,000 a year, to say nothing of the backing
of Weddell, Hopkins & Co.”

“I’ll do as much and give you $20,000 in cash,” said Mr. Greener,

“No. I want to join the New York Stock Exchange. I want you to buy me a
seat and I want you to give me some of your business. And I want you to
lend me $50,000 on my note.”


“Mr. Greener, you know what I can do; and I know what the absolute
control of the Iowa Midland means to you, and what the consolidation
with Keokuk & Northern or the lease of the one by the other would do for
both of them—and for you. And I want to be your broker. I’ll serve you
faithfully, Mr. Greener.”

“Rock,” squeaked Mr. Greener, “shake hands. I understand just how you
feel about this. I’ll buy you a seat and I’ll give you all the business
I can, and I’ll lend you $100,000 without any note. I think I know you
now. The seat you shall have just as soon as it can be bought. My
interests shall be your interests in the future.”

“I’ve made all the necessary arrangements. I can buy the seat at a
moment’s notice,” said Rock, calmly, though his heart was beating wildly
for sheer joy of victory. “It will cost $23,000.”

“Tell Mr. Simpson to make out my personal check for $25,000,” piped the
Napoleon of the Street, almost cordially.

“Th-thank you very much, Mr. Greener,” stammered the bold clerk. “The

“Oh, that’s all right,” interrupted Mr. John F. Greener. “You’ll go to
Des Moines with us. You’re one of us now. I’ve long wanted a man like
you. But, Rock, nowadays, young men are either gamblers or fools,” he
added, with a final plaintive squeak.

A week later Mr. Greener was elected president of the Iowa Midland
Railway Company and Mr. Rock was elected a member of the New York Stock

                          THE LOST OPPORTUNITY

For many years Daniel Dittenhoeffer had desired the ruin of John F.
Greener. “Dutch Dan,” as the Street called Dittenhoeffer was a burly man
with very blonde hair, a very red nose and a very loud voice. Greener
was a sallow, swarthy bit of a man, with black hair and a squeaky voice.
He had furtive brown eyes and a very high forehead; while Dittenhoeffer
had frank blue eyes and the pugnacious chin and thick neck of a prize
fighter. Both were members of the New York Stock Exchange but Greener
was never seen on the “floor” after one of his victims lifted him bodily
by the collar and dropped him fifteen feet into a coal cellar on
Exchange Place. He would plan the wrecks of railroad systems as a
measure preliminary to their absorption, just as a boa constrictor
crushes its victims into pulp the more easily to swallow them. But the
practice, unchecked for years, had made him nervous and soul-fidgetty.

Dan spent his days from 10 to 3 on the Stock Exchange and his nights
from 10 to 3 at the roulette tables or before a faro lay-out. Restless
as the quivering sea and suffering from chronic insomnia, he had
perforce to satisfy his constitutional craving for powerful stimulants,
but as he hated delirium tremens he gave himself ceaselessly big doses
of the wine of gambling—it does as much for the nerves as the very best
whiskey. He would buy or sell 50,000 shares of a stock and he would bet
$50,000 on the turn of a card. On an occasion he offered to wager a
fortune that he could guess which of two flies that had alit on a table
would be the first to fly away. Greener found, in the Stock Exchange,
the means to a desired end. Despite innumerable bits of stock jobbing,
he had no exalted opinion, in his heart of hearts, of stock operations.
But Dittenhoeffer thought the stock market was the court of last resort,
whither financiers should go, when they were in the right, to get their
deserts; and when they were in the wrong to overcome their deserts by
the brute force of dollars. It was natural that in their operations in
the market the two men should be as dissimilar as they were in their
physical and temperamental characteristics—Machiavelli and Richard

Nobody knew exactly how the enmity between Greener and Dittenhoeffer
began. The “Little Napoleon of Railroading” had felt toward Dutch Dan a
certain passive hostility for interference with sundry stock market
deals. But Dan hated Greener madly, probably for the same reason that a
hawk may have for hating a snake: the instinctive antipathy of the
utterly dissimilar.

Scores of men had tried to “bust” Greener, but Greener had grown the
richer by their efforts, the growth of his fortune being proportionate
to the contraction of theirs. Sam Sharpe had come from Arizona with
$12,000,000 avowedly to show the effete East how to crush “financial
skunks of the Greener class.” And the financial skunk learned no new
lesson, though the privilege of imagining he was giving one cost Sharpe
a half-million a month for nearly one year. Then, after Sharpe had
learned more of the game—and of Greener—he joined hands with
Dittenhoeffer and together they attacked Greener. They were skilful
stock operators, very rich and utterly without financial fear. And they
loathed Greener. In a more gorgeous age they would have cut the Little
Napoleon to pieces and passed his roasted heart on a platter around the
festive board. In the colorless XIX century they were fain to content
themselves with endeavoring to despoil him of his tear-stained millions;
to do which they united their own smile-wreathed millions—some seven or
eight of them—and opened fire. Their combined fortune was divided into
ten projectiles and one after another hurled at the little man with the
squeaky voice and the high forehead. The little man dodged the first and
the second and the third, but the fourth broke his leg and the fifth
knocked the wind out of him. The Street cheered and showed its
confidence in the artillerists by going short of the Greener stocks. But
just before the sixth shot Greener called to his assistance old Wilbur
Wise, the man with the skin-flinty heart and thirty millions in cash. A
protecting rampart, man-high, of government bonds was raised about the
prostrate Napoleon and the financial cannoneers ceased firing precious
projectiles. The new fortifications were impregnable and they knew it;
so they contented themselves with gathering up their own shot and a
small railroad or two dropped by Greener in his haste to seek shelter.
Then Sharpe went to England to win the Derby and Dittenhoeffer went to
Long Branch to amuse himself playing a no-limit faro game that cost him
on an average $10,000 a night for a month.

There was a period of peace in Wall Street following the last encounter
between the diminutive Napoleon and Dutch Dan. But after a few months
the fight resumed. Greener was desirous of “bulling” his stocks
generally and his pet, Federal Telegraph Company, particularly. Just to
show there was no need to hurry the “bull” or upward movement Dan sold
the stock “short” every time Greener tried to advance the price. Four
times did Greener try and four times Dittenhoeffer sold him a few
thousand shares—just enough to check the advance. Up to a certain point
a manipulator of stocks is successful. His manipulation may comprise
many ingenious and complex actions and devices, but the elemental fact
in bull manipulation is to buy more than the other fellow can or wishes
to sell. Greener was willing to buy, but Dan was even more willing to

Greener really was in desperate straits. He was committed to many
important enterprises. To carry them out he needed cash and the banks,
fearful of stock market possibilities, were loath to lend him enough.
Besides which, there was the desire on the part of the banks’ directors
to pick up fine bargains should their refusal to lend Greener money
force him to throw overboard the greater part of his load. Greener had
despoiled innumerable widows and orphans in his railroad wrecking
schemes. The money lenders should avenge the widows and orphans. It was
a good deed. There was not a doubt of it in their minds.

Federal Telegraph, in which Greener’s commitments were heaviest, had
been slowly sinking. Successful in other quarters of the market, Dutch
Dan decided to “whack the everlasting daylights out of Fed. Tel.” He
went about it calmly, just as he played roulette—selling it
methodically, ceaselessly, depressingly. And the price wilted. Greener,
unsuccessful in other quarters of the Street, decided it was time to do
something to save himself. He needed only $5,000,000. At a pinch
$3,000,000 might do; or, for the moment, even $2,500,000. But he must
have the money at once. Delay meant danger and danger meant
Dittenhoeffer and Dittenhoeffer might mean death.

Of a sudden, rising from nowhere, fathered by no one, the rumor whirled
about the Street that Greener was in difficulties. Financial ghouls ran
to the banks and interviewed the presidents. They asked no questions in
order to get no lies. They simply said, as though they knew: “Greener is
on his uppers.”

The bank presidents smiled, indulgently, almost pityingly: “Oh, you’ve
just heard it, have you? We’ve known it for six weeks!”

Back to the Stock Exchange rushed the ghouls to sell the Greener
stocks—not Federal Telegraph which was really a good property, but his
reorganized roads, whose renascence was so recent that they had not
grown into full strength. Down went prices and up went the whisper:
“Dittenhoeffer’s got Greener at last!”

A thousand brokers rushed to find their dear friend Dan to congratulate
him—Napoleon’s conqueror, the hero of the hour, the future dispenser of
liberal commissions, but dear Dan could not be found. He was not on the
“floor” of the Exchange nor at his office.

Some one had sought Dittenhoeffer before the brokers thought of
congratulating him—some one who was the greatest gambler of all, greater
even than Dutch Dan—a little man with furtive brown eyes and a squeaky
voice; also a wonderful forehead: Mr. John F. Greener.

“Mr. Dittenhoeffer, I sent for you to ask you a question,” he squeaked,
calmly. He stood beside a garrulous ticker.

“Certainly, Mr. Greener.” And Dittenhoeffer instantly had a vision of
humble requests to “let up.” And he almost formulated the very words of
a withering refusal.

“Would you execute an order from me?”

“Certainly, Mr. Greener. I’ll execute anybody’s orders. I’m a broker.”

“Very well. Sell 50,000 shares of Federal Telegraph Company for me.”

“What price?” jotting down the figures, from force of habit, his mind
being paralyzed.

“The best you can get. The stock,” glancing at the tape, “is 91.”

“Very well.”

The two men looked at one another—Dutch Dan half menacingly, Greener,
calmly, steadily, his furtive eyes almost truthful.

“Good-morning,” said Dittenhoeffer at length and the little man’s
high-browed head nodded dismissingly.

Dittenhoeffer hastened back to the Exchange. At the entrance he met his
partner, Smith—the “Co.” of D. Dittenhoeffer & Co.

“Bill, I’ve just got an order from Greener to sell 50,000 shares of
Federal Telegraph.”

“Wh-what?” gasped Smith.

“Greener sent for me, asked me whether I’d accept an order from him, I
said yes, and he told me to sell 50,000 shares of Telegraph, and I’m——”

“You’ve got him, Dan. You’ve got him,” exultantly.

“I’m going to cover my 20,000 shares with the first half of the order
and sell the rest the best I can.”

“Man alive, this is your chance! Don’t you see you’ve got him? Smilie of
the Eastern National Bank tells me there isn’t a bank in the city will
lend Greener money, and he needs it badly to pay the last $10,000,000 to
the Indian Pacific bondholders. He’s bit off more than he can chew, damn

“Well, Bill, we’ll treat Mr. Greener as we do any other customer,” said

“But—” began Smith, with undisguised consternation; he was an honest
man, when away from the Street.

“Oh, I’ll get him yet. This won’t save him. I’ll get him yet,” with a
confident smile.

It would have been very easy for him to take advantage of Greener’s
order to make a fortune. He was short 20,000 shares which he had put out
at an average price of 93. He could have taken Greener’s block of 50,000
shares and hurled it bodily at the market. Not even a gilt-edge stock
could withstand the impact of such a fearful blow, and the price of
Federal Telegraph doubtless would have broken 15 points or more, and he
could easily have taken in his shorts at 75 or possibly even at
70–-which would have meant a profit of a half-million of dollars—and a
loss of a much needed million to his arch-foe, Greener. And if he
allowed his partner to whisper in strict confidence to some friend how
Dan was selling out a big line of Telegraph for Greener the “Room” would
have gone wild and everybody would have hastened to sell and the decline
would have gone so much further as to cripple the little Napoleon
possibly beyond all hope of recovery. Had Greener made the most colossal
mistake of his life in giving the order to his enemy?

Dan went to the Federal Telegraph post where a score of madmen were
shouting at the top of their voices the prices they were willing to pay
or to accept for varying amounts of the stock. He gave to twenty brokers
orders to sell 1,000 shares each at the best obtainable price and he
himself, through another man took an equal amount. On the next day he in
person sold 20,000 shares and on the third day the last 10,000 shares of
Greener’s order. This selling, the Street thought, was for his own
account. It was all short stock; that is, his colleagues thought he was
selling stock he didn’t own, trusting later on to buy it back cheaply.
Such selling never has the depressing effect of “long” stock because it
is obvious that the short seller must sooner or later buy the stock in,
insuring a future demand, which should exert a lifting influence on
prices; for

                  “_He who sells what isn’t his’n
                  Must buy it back or go to pris’n._”

And Dittenhoeffer was able to get an average of $86 per share for
Greener’s 50,000 shares of Federal Telegraph Company stock, for the
Street agreed, with many headshakings, that Dan was becoming too
reckless and Greener was a slippery little cuss and the short interest
must be simply enormous and the danger of a bad “squeeze” exceedingly
great. Wherefore, they forebore to “whack” Telegraph. Indeed, many
shrewd traders saw, in the seeming weakness of the stock, a trap of the
wily little Napoleon and they “fooled” him by astutely buying Federal

With the $4,300,000 which he received from the sale of the big block of
stock, Greener overcame his other troubles and carried out all his
plans. It was a daring stroke, to trust to a stock broker’s professional
honor. It made him the owner of a great railroad system. Dutch Dan’s
attacks later did absolutely no harm. Greener had made an opportunity
and Dittenhoeffer had lost one.

                          PIKE’S PEAK OR BUST

He was only seventeen, fair-haired and rosy-cheeked, with girlish blue
eyes, when he applied for the vacancy in the office of Tracy &
Middleton, Bankers and Brokers. His name was Willis N. Hayward, and he
was a proud boy, indeed, when he was selected out of twenty “applicants”
to be telephone-clerk for the firm.

From 10 A.M. until 3 P.M. he stood by Tracy & Middleton’s private
telephone on the floor of the Stock Exchange—the Board Room—receiving
messages from the office—chiefly orders to buy or sell stocks for
customers—and transmitting the same messages to the “Board member” of
the firm, Mr. Middleton; also telephoning Mr. Middleton’s reports to the
office. He spoke with a soft, refined voice, and his blue eyes beamed so
ingenuously upon the other telephone-boys in the same row of booths,
that they said they had a Sally in their alley, and they immediately
nicknamed him Sally.

It was all very wonderful to young Hayward, who had been out of
boarding-school but a few months—the excited rushing hither and thither
of worried-looking men, the frantic waving of hands, the maniacal
yelling of the brokers executing their orders about the various “posts,”
and their sudden relapse into semi-sanity as they jotted down the price
at which they had sold or bought stocks. It was not surprising that he
should fail to understand just how they did business; but what most
impressed him was the fact, vouched for by his colleagues, that these
same clamoring, gesticulating brokers were actually supposed to make a
great deal of money. He heard of “Sam” Sharpe’s $100,000 winnings in
Suburban Trolley, and of “Parson” Black’s famous million-dollar _coup_
in Western Delaware—the little gray man even being pointed out to him in
corroboration. But, then, he had also heard of Aladdin and the Wonderful
Lamp, and Jack the Giant Killer.

He learned the business, as nearly all boys must do in Wall Street, by
absorption. If he asked questions he received replies, but no one
volunteered any information for his guidance, and in self-defence he was
forced to observe closely, to see how others did, and to remark what
came of it. He heard nothing but _speculate! speculate!_ in one guise or
another, many words for the same meaning. It was all buying or selling
of stocks—a concentrated and almost visible hope of making much money in
the twinkling of an eye. Nobody talked of anything else on the Exchange.
Bosom friends met at the opening of business and did not say
“Good-morning,” but plunged without preamble into the only subject on
earth—speculation. And if one of them arrived late he inevitably
inquired forthwith, “How’s the market?”—asked it eagerly, anxiously, as
if fearful that the market had taken advantage of his absence to
misconduct itself. The air was almost unbreathable for the innumerable
“tips” to buy or sell securities and insecurities of all kinds. The
brokers, the customers, the clerks, the Exchange door-keepers, all Wall
Street read the morning papers, not to ascertain the news, but to pick
such items as would, should, or might, have some effect on stock values.
There was no god but the ticker, and the brokers were its prophets!

All about Sally were hundreds of men who looked as if they took their
thoughts home with them and dined with them and slept with them and
dreamed of them—the look had become settled, immutable. And it was not a
pleasant look, about the eyes and lips. He saw everywhere the
feverishness of the “game.” Insensibly the atmosphere of the place
affected him, colored his thoughts, induced certain fancies. As he
became more familiar with the technique of the business he grew to
believe, like thousands of youthful or superficial observers, that
stock-market movements were comparable only to the gyrations of the
little ivory ball about the roulette-wheel. The innumerable tricks of
the trade, the uses of inside misinformation, the _rationale_ of
stock-market manipulation, were a sealed book to him. He heard only that
his eighteen-year-old neighbor made $60 buying twenty shares of Blue
Belt Line on Thursday and selling them on Saturday, 3⅜ points higher; or
that Micky Welch, Stuart & Stern’s telephone-boy, had a “tip” from one
of the big room traders which he bravely “played”—as you “play” horse or
“play” the red or the black—and cleared $125 in less than a week; or
that Watson, a “two-dollar” broker, made a “nice turn” selling Southern
Shore. Or else he heard, punctuated with poignant oaths, how Charlie
Miller, one of the New Street door-keepers, lost $230 buying
Pennsylvania Central, after he accidentally overheard Archie Chase, who
was “Sam” Sharpe’s principal broker, tell a friend that the “Old Man”
said “Pa. Cent.” was due for a ten-point rise; instead of which there
had been a seven-point decline. Always the boy heard about the
apparently irresponsible “bulges” and “drops,” of the winnings of the
men who happened to guess correctly, or of the losses of those who had
failed to “call the turn.” Even the vernacular of the place savored of
the technicalities of a gambling-house.

As time wore on the glamour of the game wore off; likewise his scruples.
His employers and their customers—all gentlemanly, agreeable
people—speculated every day, and nobody found fault with them. It was
not a sin; it was a regular business. And so, whenever there was a “good
thing,” he “chipped in” one dollar to a telephone-boys’ “pool” that
later operated in a New Street bucket shop to the extent of ten shares.
His means were small, his salary being only $8 a week; and very often he
thought that if he only had a little more money he would speculate on a
larger scale and profit proportionately. If each time he had bought one
share he had held twenty instead, he figured that he would have made no
less than $400 in three months.

The time is ripe for other things when a boy begins to reason that way.
Having no scruples against speculating, the problem with him became not,
“Is it wrong to speculate?” but rather, “What shall I do to raise money
for margin purposes?” It took nearly four months for him to arrive at
this stage of mind. With many boys the question is asked and
satisfactorily solved within three weeks. But Hayward was an
exceptionally nice chap.

Now, the position of telephone-boy is really important in that it
requires not only a quick-witted but a trustworthy person to fill it. In
the first place, the boy knows whether his firm is buying or selling
certain stocks; he must exercise discrimination in the matter of
awarding the orders, should the Board member of the firm happen to be
unavailable when the boy receives the order. For example: International
Pipe may be selling at 108. A man in Tracy & Middleton’s office, who has
bought 500 shares of it at 104, wishes to “corral” his profits. He gives
an order to the firm to sell the stock, let us say, “at the market,”
that is, at the ruling market price. Tracy & Middleton immediately
telephone over their private line to the Stock Exchange to their Board
member to “sell 500 shares of International Pipe at the market.” The
telephone-boy receives the message and “puts up” Mr. Middleton’s number,
which means that on the multicolored, checkered strip on the frieze of
the New Street wall, Mr. Middleton’s number, 611, appears by means of an
electrical device. The moment Mr. Middleton sees that his number is
“up,” he hastens to the telephone-booth to ascertain what is wanted.
Now, if Mr. Middleton delays in answering his number the telephone-boy
knows he is absent, and gives the order to a “two-dollar” broker, like
Mr. Browning or Mr. Watson, who always hover about the booths looking
for orders. He does the same if he knows that Mr. Middleton is very busy
executing some other order, or if, in his judgment, the order calls for
immediate execution. The two-dollar broker sells the 500 shares of
International Pipe to Allen & Smith, and “gives up” Tracy & Middleton on
the transaction, that is, he notifies the purchaser that he is acting
for T. & M., and Allen & Smith must look to the latter firm—the real
sellers—for the stock bought. For this service the broker employed by
Tracy & Middleton receives the sum of $2 for each 100 shares, while
Tracy & Middleton, of course, charge their customers the regular
commission of one eighth of one per cent., or $12.50 per each hundred

Young Hayward attended to his business closely, and when Mr. Middleton
was absent from the floor, or busy, he impartially distributed the
firm’s telephoned buying or selling orders among the two-dollar brokers,
for Tracy & Middleton did a very good commission business indeed. He was
a nice-looking and nice-acting little chap, was Hayward—clean-faced,
polite, and amiable. The brokers liked him, and they “remembered” him at
Christmas. The best memory was possessed by “Joe” Jacobs, who gave him
$25, and insinuated that he would like to do more of Tracy & Middleton’s
business than he had been getting.

“But,” said Sally, “the firm said I was to give the order to whichever
broker I found first.”

“Well,” said Jacobs, oleaginously, “I am never too busy to take orders
from such a nice young fellow as yourself, if you take the trouble to
find me; and I’ll do something nice for you. Look here,” in a whisper,
“if you give me plenty of business, I’ll give you $5 a week.” And he
dived into the mob that was yelling itself hoarse about the Gotham Gas

Hayward’s first impulse was to tell his firm about it, because he felt
vaguely that Jacobs would not have offered him $5 a week if he had not
expected something dishonorable in return. Before the market closed,
however, he spoke to Willie Simpson, MacDuff & Wilkinson’s boy, whose
telephone was next to Tracy & Middleton’s. Sure enough, Willie expressed
great indignation at Jacobs’s action.

“It’s just like that old skunk,” said Willie. “Five dollars a week, when
he can make $100 out of the firm. Don’t you do it, Sally. Why, Jim Burr,
who had the place before you, used to get $20 a week from old man Grant
and $50 a month from Wolff. You’ve got a cinch, if you only know how to
work it. Why, they are supposed to give you fifty cents a hundred.”
Willie had been in the business for two years, and he was a very
well-dressed youth, indeed. Sally now understood how he managed it on a
salary of $12 a week.

He did not say anything to the firm that day, nor any other day. And he
didn’t say anything to Jacobs in return, but, by Willie’s sage advice,
contented himself with merely withholding all orders from that
oleaginous personage, until Mr. Jacobs was moved to remonstrate. And
Sally, who had learned a great deal in a week under Willie’s tuition,
answered curtly: “Business is very bad; the firm is doing hardly

“But Watson told me,” said Jacobs, angrily, “that he was doing a great
deal of business for Tracy & Middleton. I want you to see that I get my
share, or I’ll speak to Middleton and find out what the trouble is.”

“Is that so?” said Sally, calmly. “You might also tell Mr. Middleton
that you offered me $5 a week to give you the bulk of our business.”

One of the most stringent laws of the Stock Exchange treats of
“splitting” commissions. Any member who, in order to increase his
business, charges an outsider or another member less than exactly the
prescribed amount for buying or selling stocks, is liable to severe
penalties. The offer of a two-dollar broker to give a telephone-boy
fifty cents for each order of 100 shares secured was obviously a
violation of the rule.

Jacobs came down to business at once. “I’ll make it $8,” he said,

“Jim Burr, who had the position before me,” expostulated Sally,
indignantly, “told me he received $25 a week from Mr. Grant, with an
extra $10 thrown in from time to time, when Mr. Grant made some lucky
turn, to say nothing of what the other men did for him.”

Three months before he could not have made this speech had his life
depended on it. The rapid development of his character was due
exclusively to the “forcing” power of the atmosphere which surrounded

“You must be crazy,” said Jacobs, angrily. “Why, I never get much more
than a thousand shares a week from Tracy & Middleton, and usually less.
Say, you ought to be on the floor. You are wasting your talent in the
telephone business, you are. Let’s swap places, you and I.”

“According to our books,” said Sally to the irate broker, having been
duly coached by Mr. William Simpson, “the last week you did business for
us you did 3,800 shares, and received $76.”

“That was an exceptional week. I’ll make it $10,” said Jacobs.

“Twenty-five,” whispered Sally, determinedly.

“Let’s split the difference,” murmured Jacobs, wrathfully. “I’ll give
you $15 a week, but you must see that I get at least 2,500 shares a

“All right. I’ll do the best I can for you, Mr. Jacobs.”

And he did, for the other brokers gave him only twenty-five cents, or at
the most fifty cents per hundred shares. In the course of a month or two
Sally was in possession of an income of $40 a week. And he was only


Time-passed. As it had happened with his predecessor, so did it happen
now with Sally. He began by speculating, wildly at first, more carefully
later on. He met with sundry reverses, but he also made some very lucky
turns indeed, and he was “ahead of the game” by a very fair
amount—certainly a sum far greater than any plodding clerk could save in
five years, greater than many an industrious mechanic saves in his
entire life. From the bucket-shops he went to the Consolidated Exchange.
Then he asked Jacobs and the other two-dollar brokers to let him deal in
a small way with them, which they did out of personal liking for him,
until he had three separate accounts and could “swing a line” of several
hundred shares. He became neither more nor less than 10,000 other human
beings in Wall Street—moved by the same impulses, actuated by the same
feelings, experiencing the same emotions, having the same thoughts and
the same views of what they are pleased to call their “business.”

At last the blow fell which Sally had so long dreaded—he was “promoted”
to a clerkship in Tracy & Middleton’s office. The firm meant to reward
him for his devotion to his work, for his brightness and quickness. From
$15 a week they raised his salary to $25, which they considered quite
generous, especially in view of his youth, and that he had started three
years before with $8. He was only twenty now. But Sally, knowing it
meant the abandonment of his lucrative perquisites as telephone “boy,”
bemoaned his undeserved fate.

He took the money he had made to Mr. Tracy and told him an interesting
story of a rich aunt and a legacy, and asked him to let him open an
account in the office. Tracy congratulated his young clerk, took the
$6,500, and thereafter Sally was both an employee and a customer of
Tracy & Middleton.

Addicted to sharp practices though Mr. Tracy was and loving commissions
as he did, he nevertheless sought to curb Sally’s youthful propensity
for “plunging,” which was as near being kind as it was possible for a
stock-broker to be. But the money had “come easy.” That is why fortunes
won by stock gamblers are lost with apparent recklessness or stupidity.
Sally speculated with varying success, running up his winnings to
$10,000, and seeing them dwindle later to $6,000. But in addition to
becoming an inveterate speculator, he gained much valuable experience.
And when he had learned the tricks of the trade he was taken from the
ledgers and turned loose in the customers’ room, to take the latter’s
orders and keep them in good humor and tell them the current stories,
and give them impressively whispered “tips,” and “put them into” various
“deals” of the firm, and see that they traded as often as possible,
which meant commissions for the firm. He became friendly and even
familiar with Tracy & Middleton’s clients, among whom were some very
wealthy men, for a stock-broker’s office is a democratic place. Men who
would not have dreamed of taking their Wall Street acquaintances to
their homes or to their clubs for a million reasons, all but called each
other by their first names there.

He really was a bright, amiable fellow, very obliging—he was paid for it
by the firm—and he made the most of his opportunities. The customers
grew to like him exceedingly well, and to think with respect of his
judgment, market-wise. One day W. Basil Thornton, one of the wealthiest
and boldest customers of the firm, complained of the difficulty of
“beating the game” with the heavy handicap of the large brokerage

Jestingly, yet hoping to be taken seriously, Sally said: “Join the New
York Stock Exchange or buy me a seat, and form the firm of Thornton &
Hayward. Just think, Colonel, we would have your trade, and you could
bring some friends, and I could bring mine, and I think many of
these”—pointing to Tracy & Middleton’s customers—“would come over to us.
They all think a lot,” diplomatically, “of your opinions on the market.”

Thornton was favorably impressed with the idea, and Sally saw it. From
that moment on he worked hard to gain the Colonel’s confidence. It was
he who gave Thornton the first hint of Tracy & Middleton’s condition,
which led to the withdrawal of Thornton’s account—and his own—from the
office. It was a violation of confidence and of business ethics, but
Thornton was very grateful when, two months later, Tracy & Middleton
failed, under circumstances which were far from creditable, and which
were discussed at great length by the Street. He showed his gratitude by
adding a round sum to Sally’s $11,500, and Willis N. Hayward became a
member of the New York Stock Exchange. Shortly afterward the firm of
Thornton & Hayward, Bankers and Brokers, was formed. Sally, then in his
twenty-fifth year, had become a seasoned Wall Street man.


From the start the new firm did well. Colonel Thornton and two or three
friends who followed him from Tracy & Middleton’s office, all of them
“plungers,” were almost enough to keep Hayward busy on the Exchange
executing orders, and, moreover, new customers were coming in. Had he
been satisfied with this start, and with letting time do the rest, he
would have fared very well. But he began to speculate for himself, and
all reputable commission men will tell you, with varying degrees of
emphasis, that this not only “ties up” the firm’s money, but that no man
can “trade”—speculate—on his own hook and at the same time do justice to
his customers.

Thornton was a rich man, and protected his own speculations more than
amply. He noticed the development of his young partner’s gambling
proclivities, and remonstrated with him—in a kindly, paternal sort of

Sally vowed he would stop.

Within less than three months he had broken his promise twice, and his
unsuccessful operations in Alabama Coal at one time threatened seriously
to embarrass the firm.

Colonel Thornton came to the rescue.

Sally promised, with a solemnity born of sincere fear, never to do it

But fright lasts but a little space, and memory is equally short-lived.
Wall Street has no room for men with an excess of timidity or of
recollection. He had gambled before he joined the New York Stock
Exchange. After all, if speculating were a crime and convictions could
be secured in fifty out of a hundred flagrant instances, one half the
male population of the United States would perforce consist of
penitentiary guards forever engaged in watching over the convicted other
half, Sally told a customer one day.

And then, too, Willis N. Hayward, the Board member of Thornton &
Hayward, was a very different person from Sally, the nice little
telephone-boy of Tracy & Middleton’s. His cheeks were not pink; they
were mottled. His eyes were not clear and ingenuous; they were shifty
and a bit watery. He had been in Wall Street eight or ten years, and he
overworked his nerves every day from 10 A.M. to 3 P.M. on the Stock
Exchange; also from 5 P.M. to midnight at the café of a big up-town
hotel, where Wall Street men gathered to talk shop. His system craved
stimulants; gambling and liquor were the strongest he knew.

When, after three years, the firm expired by limitation, Colonel
Thornton withdrew. He had had enough of Hayward’s plunging. To be sure,
Sally had become a shrewd “trader,” and he had made $75,000 during the
big bull boom; but he was at heart a “trader,” which is to say, a mere
gambler in stocks, and not a desirable commission man.

But Sally, flushed with success on the bull side, did not worry when
Thornton refused to continue the partnership. The slogan was “Buy A. O.
T. It’s sure to go up!” the initial standing for _Any Old Thing_! The
most prosperous period in the industrial and commercial history of the
United States begot an epidemic of speculative madness such as was never
before known, and probably never again will be. Everybody had money in
abundance, and the desire for speculation in superabundance. Sally
formed a new firm immediately—Hayward & Co.—with his cashier as partner.


All mundane things have an end, even bull markets and bear markets. The
bull market saw Hayward & Co. doing a good business, as did everybody
else in Wall Street. It ended, and the firm’s customers, after a few bad
“slumps” in prices, were admonished to turn bears in order to recoup
their losses. Bears believe prices are too high and should go lower;
bulls, optimists, believe the opposite. The public can’t sell stocks
“short” any more than the average man is left-handed. These customers
were no exception, so they did nothing.

Hayward had “overstayed” the bull market, though not disastrously; that
is, he was in error regarding the extent and duration of the upward
movement of prices. He proceeded to fall into a similar error on the
bear, or downward, side. The market had been extremely dull following
what the financial writers called a “severe decline,” but which meant
the loss of millions of dollars by speculators. A panic had been
narrowly averted by a timely combination of “powerful interests,” after
which the market became professional. In the absence of complaisant
lambs, the financial cannibals known as “room traders” and “pikers”
tried to “scalp eighths” out of each other for weeks—to take advantage
of fractional fluctuations instead of waiting for big movements.
Hayward’s customers, like everybody else’s customers, were not
speculating. So he used their money to protect his own speculations.
Office expenses were numerous and heavy, and commissions few and light.

Hayward was very bearish. He had sold stocks, sharing the belief of the
majority of his fellows, that the lowest prices had not been reached. As
a result he was heavily “short,” and he could not “cover” at a profit,
because prices had advanced very slowly, but very steadily.

One day a big gambler in Chicago, bolder or keener than his Eastern
brethren, thought the time was ripe for a “bull” or upward movement in
general, and particularly in Consolidated Steel Rod Company’s stock. He
was the chairman of the board of directors. Mr. William G. Dorr decided
upon a plan whereby the stock would be made attractive to that class of
speculative investors, so to speak, who liked to buy stocks making
generous disbursements of profits to their holders. Mr. Dorr’s plan was
kept a secret. The first step consisted of sending in large buying
orders, handled by prominent brokers, and synchronously the publication,
in the daily press, of various items, all reciting the wonderful
prosperity of the Consolidated Steel Rod Company and its phenomenal
earnings; also the unutterable cheapness of the stock at the prevailing
price. Mr. Dorr and associates, of course, had previously taken
advantage of the big “slump” or fall in values to buy back at 35 the
same stock they had sold to the public some weeks before at 70. Having
acquired this cheap stock, they “manipulated”—by means of further
purchase—the price so that they could sell out at a profit.

It so happened, however, that once before dividend rumors about “Con.
Steel Rod” had been disseminated, with the connivance of Dorr, and they
had not come true, to the great detriment of credulous buyers and the
greater profit of the insiders, who were “short” of the stock “up to
their necks”—a typical bit of stock-jobbing whereat other and more
artistic stock-jobbers had expressed the greatest indignation. Instead
of putting the stock on a dividend-paying basis, the directors had
decided—at the last hour—that it would not be conservative to do so,
whereupon the stock had “broken” seventeen points. The lambs lost
hundreds of thousands of dollars; the insiders gained as much. It was a
“nice turn.”

Hayward remembered this, and when the stock, after several days of
conspicuous activity and steady advances, rose to 52, he promptly sold
“short” 5,000 shares—believing that the barefaced manipulation would not
raise the stock much above that figure, and that before long it must
decline. Only a month previously it had sold at 35 and nobody wanted any
of it. He was all the more decided in his opinion that the “top” had
been reached by prices, because Mr. Dorr, in a Chicago paper, had stated
that the stockholders would probably receive an entire year’s dividend
at one fell swoop by reason of the unexampled prosperity in the steel
rod trade. Such an action was unprecedented. It had been talked about at
various times in connection with other stocks, but it had never come
true. Why should it come true in this instance?

Hayward, familiar with Dorr’s record, promptly “coppered” his “tip” to
buy, banking on Dorr’s consistent mendacity. But Mr. William G. Dorr,
shrewdest and boldest of all Western stock gamblers, fooled everybody—he
actually told the truth. That week the directors did exactly as he had
predicted. When a speculator of his calibre lies he fools only one
half—the foolish half—of the Street. When he tells the truth he deceives
everybody. Before Wall Street could recover from the shock the price of
the stock was up 5 points, which meant that Hayward was out $25,000 on
that deal alone. But, in addition, the general list was carried upward
sympathetically. The semi-paralyzed bulls regained confidence as they
saw the successful outcome of the Chicago gambler’s manœuvres in
Consolidated Steel Rod. Money rates and bear hopes fell; stock values
and bull courage rose! Hayward began “covering” Steel Rod. He “bought
in” 5,000 shares, and after he finished he had lost $26,750 by the deal.
He was still “short” about 12,000 shares of other stocks, on which his
“paper” losses, at the last quoted prices, were over $35,000; but if he
tried to buy back such a large amount of stock in a market so sensitive
to any kind of bull impetus, he would send prices upward in a jiffy,
increasing his own losses very materially.

He went to his office that morning in a tremor. He consulted the
cashier, and found he had only $52,000 at the bank, of which two thirds
belonged to his customers. He was already, morally speaking, an
embezzler. He was ruined if he didn’t cover, and he was ruined if he
did. His “seat” on the Stock Exchange was worth possibly $40,000, not a
cent more; and as he personally owed his out-of-town correspondents
nearly $38,000, he could not avoid being hopelessly ruined. Moreover,
his bankruptcy would not be an “honest” failure, for, as he told himself
bitterly, after the harm was done, “I had no business to speculate on my
own hook with other people’s money.”

He had felt it rather than had seen it coming, for, gambler-like, he had
closed his eyes and had buried his head in the sand of hope, trusting in
luck to protect him from punishment. But now he was face to face with
the question that every gambler dreads: “If I stood to lose all, how
desperate a risk would I take in order to get it back?” The answer is
usually so appallingly thief-like that the numerous Haywards of the
Stock Exchange and the Board of Trade forthwith stop thinking with a
suddenness that does credit to the remnants of their honesty. But it
haunts them, does the ominous question and the commenced but unfinished

As he left his office to go to the “Board Room” he put to himself the
fateful query. But he would not let himself answer it until he had
stopped at “Fred’s,” the official barroom of the Stock Exchange, and had
taken a stiff drink of raw whiskey. Then the answer came.

He was ruined anyhow. If he failed without further ado, that is, without
increasing his liabilities, he would be cursed by twenty-five of his
customers and by fifteen of his fellow-brokers who were “lending” stocks
to him. But if he made one last desperate effort, he might pull out of
the hole; or, at the worst, why, the number of cursing customers would
remain the same, but the fellow-brokers would rise to twenty or thirty.

He took another stiff drink. The market had become undoubtedly a bull
market. The bears had been fighting the advance, and there still
remained a stubborn short interest in certain stocks, as, for example,
in American Sugar Company stock. Now if that short interest could be
stampeded it might mean an eight or ten-point advance. If he bought
10,000 or 15,000 shares and sold them at an average profit of four or
five points, he would put off the disaster, and if he made ten points he
would be a great operator. He had, to be sure, no business to buy even
1,000 shares of Sugar; but then he had no business to be on the verge of

The liquor was potent. Sally said to himself, aggrievedly: “I might as
well be hung for a flock as for one measly old mutton.”

He walked a trifle unsteadily from “Fred’s” across the narrow asphalted
New Street to the Stock Exchange. He paused at the entrance. There was
no escape. Unless he could make a lucky strike, he would fail

“Pike’s Peak or bust!” he muttered to himself, and walked into the big

“Good-morning, Mr. Hayward,” said the doorkeeper. Hayward nodded
absently, caught himself repeating, “Pike’s Peak or bust!” and walked
straight toward the Sugar post.

He began to bid for stock. One thousand shares at 116; he got it.
Another thousand; it was forthcoming at 116⅛. A third thousand; somebody
was glad to sell it at 116½. So far, so bad. Then he bid 117 for 2,500
shares, and it was promptly sold. But when he bid “117 for any part of
5,000!” the crowd hesitated; the brokers were not altogether sure
Hayward was “good for it”; his ability to pay for the stock was not
undoubted. So Sally, taking advantage of the hesitation, bid 117¼ and
117½ for 5,000 Sugar, at which price “Billy” Thatcher, a two-dollar
broker, sold it to him. It made 10,500 shares Hayward had bought, and
the stock had risen only 1½ points. The shorts were not frightened a wee
bit. But Sally was. He rushed out of the crowd to his telephone and made
a pretence of “reporting” the transactions to his office, as he would
have done had they been _bona fide_ purchases. He was followed by a
hundred sharply curious—and curiously sharp—eyes. They saw him hold the
telephone receiver to his ear with an expression of great interest, as
if he were listening to an important message. But the only message he
heard was that of his heart-beats, that seemed to say, almost
articulately: “You have played and you have lost; you have played and
you have lost. Therefore, you are that much worse off than before. You
must play again—_and not lose_!”

He left his telephone and rushed back to the Sugar crowd. He was less
excited, less like a drunken man; his face was no longer flushed, but
pale. And anon there flashed upon him, as if in candent letters, the
words _Pike’s Peak or bust_! But _Pike’s Peak_ glowed dully, feebly,
while the alternative was of a lurid splendor. And he blinked his eyes
and made a curious impatient motion with his hand, as one waves away an
annoying insect.

He gave an order for 5,000 Sugar to his friend, Newton Hartley.

“Is this for yourself, Sally?” asked Hartley.

“No. It’s for one of the biggest men in the Street, Newt. It’s all
right. Absolutely O. K.”

And thus reassured, Hartley bought the stock. The price was 118. The
seller would hold Hartley responsible for the purchase money if Hayward
“laid down”—refused to pay.

Sally wiped his forehead twice, quite unnecessarily. The shorts were not
stampeding. Any attempt to sell out the 15,000 shares he had bought
would result only in depressing the price, five points at least. It was
worse than bad, the outlook for him.

He gave another order to buy 5,000 shares to “Billy” Lansing, an old and
reliable two-dollar broker, but Lansing declined it. He tried another,
but the order was not accepted. They mistrusted him; but he could not
even bluster, for they excused themselves on the ground of having
important orders elsewhere. So he had recourse to another personal
friend—J. G. Thompson.

“Joe, buy 5,000 Sugar.”

“Are you sober?” said Thompson, seriously.

“See for yourself,” answered Sally, laughingly. He had nerve. “Old man,
I’ve got a very big order from one of the biggest men in the Street.
Some important developments are going on.”

“Sally, are you sure you’ve got an order from some one else?” asked the
unconvinced broker. His incredulity was obviously in the nature of an
insult, but it was pardonable, for there was too much at stake.

“Joe, come over to the office and I’ll show you.—Really, I can’t tell
you. But I can advise you, as a friend, to buy Sugar for all you are
worth.” And as he uttered the lie he looked straight into Thompson’s

“Hayward, are you sure? Are you sure you’re not making a mistake?” He
wanted the commission of $100, but he did not feel certain of his

“Oh, hell, no. I’ve got a lot more to buy. It’s all right. Go ahead,

And Joe went ahead. He bought the 5,000 shares. The stock rose to 119½,
and Hayward, warned by his experience with Hartley and Thompson, did not
ask either friend or foe to buy another 5,000 shares for him. What he
did was to distribute buying orders for 10,000 shares in lots of 500.
Brokers now accepted his orders, for they were not so large as to be
dangerous. And the stock rose to 122¾. A few shorts were frightened. He
might win out after all; he might make Pike’s Peak. He began to bid up
the stock. He even bought “cash” stock, that is, stock for which he paid
cash, had to pay cash outright, receiving the certificates forthwith,
presumably to hand over to some investor of millions. Everybody on the
“floor” was talking about Hayward. The entire market had risen in
sympathy with Sugar.

But at 124 it seemed as if the entire capital stock was for sale. He
ceased buying. He had accumulated 38,000 shares. To pay for the stock
necessitated about six and one-half millions! But if he could unload on
an average of only 122 he might “come out even” in his other troubles.

He gave an order to sell 10,000 shares to a broker to whom he had always
been a good friend. It was a fatal mistake. The broker, Louis W.
Wechsler, had previously sold 1,000 shares to Hayward for “cash” at 122.
He suspected what was coming, and declining the order, he himself went
to Hayward’s office and asked for a check. The cashier sought to put him
off with excuses, and Wechsler now being certain of the true state of
affairs, returned to the Board and began to sell Sugar short for his own
account. If a crash came he would make instead of losing it. Hayward was
sure to be ruined, and Wechsler told himself sophistically that he was
only profiting by the inevitable. In the meantime Sally had sold the
10,000 shares through another broker, and the price had declined to
121¾. But Wechsler’s 5,000 shares put it down to 120½. And somebody else
sold more, and the shorts recovered from their fright, and the fatal
hour was approaching when Hayward would have to settle. Pike’s Peak or
bust! He did, indeed, need a veritable Pike’s Peak of dollars to pay for
the 28,000 Sugar he had on hand. So he busted.

He threw up his hands. He acknowledged defeat to himself. The tension
was over. He was no longer excited, but cool, almost cynical. On one of
the little slips of paper on which brokers jot down memoranda of their
transactions he scribbled a message in lead pencil. It was his last
official lie, and would cost Hartley and Thompson and other friends, as
well as his customers, many thousands of dollars. It was as follows:

“Owing to the refusal of their bank to extend the usual facilities to
them, Hayward & Co. are compelled to announce their suspension.”

“Boy!” he yelled. And he gave the bit of paper to one of the Exchange
messenger boys in gray. “Take this to the Chairman.”

And he walked slowly, almost swaggeringly, out of the New York Stock
Exchange—for the last time—as the Chairman pounded with his gavel until
the usual crowd gathered about the rostrum, and listened to the
announcement of the failure of “Sally” Hayward, who began as a nice
little telephone-boy and ended as a stock-gambler.

                         A THEOLOGICAL TIPSTER

At first Wall Street thought that Silas Shaw’s “religiousness” was an
affectation. What purpose the Old Man desired to serve by the calculated
notoriety of his church affiliations no one could tell. It is true that
many ingenious theories were advanced, some going so far as to hint at
repentance. But deep in the hearts of his fellow-brokers, and of his
friends and his victims alike, was the belief that old Shaw, in some not
generally known way, made practical use of his ostentatious enthusiasm
for things churchly as politicians resort to more or less obvious
devices to “capture the German vote” or to “please the Irish element.”

One day, after a series of skirmishes and a final pitched battle in
“South Shore” between the Old Man and the bears, when the pelts of the
latter, after the capitulation, added nearly a half million to the old
fellow’s bank account, certain luminaries of the Methodist Episcopal
Church were called into consultation. Silas Shaw had long thought about
it; and now there was much conferring and more or less arid and
misplaced sermonizing by the theologians and much soothing talk by the
Old Man’s lawyers; and more Methodist clergymen and more lawyers and
more talk; and then a real estate agent and an architect and a leading
banker and, at last, just one check from the Old Man.

The next day the newspapers announced that the Shaw Theological Seminary
had been founded and endowed by Mr. Silas Shaw. But even after the Old
Man had devoted his ursine spoils to this praiseworthy object, Wall
Street continued skeptical.

And, yet, Wall Street made a mistake—as it often does in its judgment of
its leaders. Silas Shaw really had a soft spot in his tape-wound and
ticker-dented old heart for all things ecclesiastical. Next to being a
power in the Street he loved to be regarded as one of the pillars of his
church. He heard with pleasure, of week days, the wakeful _staccato_
sound of the ticker; but on Sundays he certainly enjoyed the soothing
cadences of familiar hymns. And if more than one hardened broker
expressed picturesque but unreproducible opinions of the old man, so
also more than one enthusiastic young minister could tell pleasant
stories of how the old stock gambler received him and responded to the
fervent appeal for the funds wherewith many a little backwoods church
was built.

Shaw’s generosity was so notorious among the church people that the
Reverend Doctor Ramsdell, pastor of the Steenth Street Methodist
Episcopal Church and a trustee of the Shaw Theological Seminary, felt no
embarrassment in applying to him for assistance. It was not Shaw’s
church, but in Dr. Ramsdell’s charge there were one or two bankers well
known in Wall Street and several members of the New York Stock Exchange.
It seemed particularly fitting to the Rev. Dr. Ramsdell that the name of
Silas Shaw, followed by a few figures, should head a subscription list.
It was desired to erect a Protestant Chapel in Oruro, Bolivia—the most
uncivilized of all the South American “republics.”

“Good-morning, Brother Shaw; I trust you are well.”

“Tolerable, tolerable, thank’ee kindly,” replied the sturdy old gambler.
“What brings you down to this sinful section? Doing some missionary
work, eh? I wish you’d begin among those da—er—dandy young bears.”

“Ah, yes,” said the Rev. Dr. Ramsdell, eagerly. “It is precisely _à
propos_ of missionary work.” And he told Silas Shaw all about the plan
for carrying the light into Bolivia by building the only Protestant
chapel in Oruro, where it was incredibly tenebrous—worse than darkest
Africa. The reverend doctor hoped, nay, he knew, in view of Brother
Shaw’s well-known devotion to the glorious work of redeeming their
benighted Bolivian brethren, that he could count upon him, etc.; and the
subscription list——

“My dear Dr. Ramsdell,” interrupted Shaw, “I never sign subscription
lists. When I give, I give; and I don’t want everybody to know how much
I’ve given.”

“Well, Brother Shaw, you need not sign your name. I’ll put you down as
X. Y. Z.,” he smiled encouragingly.

“No, no; don’t put me down at all.”

The good doctor looked so surprised and so woebegone that Shaw laughed.

“Cheer up, Doctor. I tell you what I’ll do; I’ll buy some Erie for you.
Yes, sirree; that’s the best thing I can do. What do you say to that?”
And he looked at the doctor, triumphantly.

“Ahem!—I am not—are you sure it will prove a—ahem!—a desirable
investment? You see, I do not—ah—know much about Wall Street.”

“Neither do I. And the older I grow the less I know.”

The reverend doctor ventured a tentative smile of semi-incredulity.

“That’s right, Doctor. But we’ll make something for you. The blooming, I
mean, benighted Bohemians——”

“Ahem!—Bolivians, Brother Shaw.”

“I meant Bolivians. They must have a chance for their souls. John,” to a
clerk; “buy 500 shares of Erie at the market.”

“Yes, sir,” said John, disappearing into the telephone booth. To buy,
“at the market” meant to buy at the prevailing or market price.

“Brother Shaw, I am extremely grateful to you. This matter is very close
to my heart, I assure you. And—ah—will—when will I know if
the—ah—investment turns out profitably?”

“Oh, have no fears on that score. We shall make the stock market
contribute to your missionary fund. All you’ll have to do is to look on
the financial page of your paper every evening and keep posted.”

“I fear, Brother Shaw,” said Dr. Ramsdell, deprecatingly, “that I shall
have no little trouble in—ah—keeping posted.”

“Not at all. See, here,” and he took up his paper and turned to the
stock tables. “Draw up your chair, Doctor. You see, here is Erie.
Yesterday, on transactions of 18,230 shares, Erie Railroad stock sold as
high as 64¾ and as low as 63¼, the last or closing sale being at 64½.
The numbers mean dollars per share. It was very strong. Haven’t you got
a report on that 500 Erie yet, John?”

“Yes, sir,” said John. “Sixty-five and one-eighth.”

“You see, Doctor, the stock is still going up. Well, every day when you
look on the table you will see at what price Erie stock is selling. If
it is more than 65⅛, why, that will show you are making money. Every
point up, that is, every unit, will mean that your missionary fund is
$500 richer.”

“And—Brother Shaw—ahem!—if it should be—ah—less?”

“What’s the use of thinking such things, Dr. Ramsdell? All you have to
remember is that I am going to make some money for you; and that I paid
65⅛ for the stock I bought.”

“You really think——”

“Have no fears, Doctor. You understand, of course, that it is well not
to give such matters undue publicity.”

“Of course, of course,” assented the doctor. “I understand.” But he did

“Nothing more, Doctor?”

“No; I thank you very much, Brother Shaw. I—er—most sincerely hope
my—ah—your—I should say—ah—our investment, may result in—ah—favorably
for our Bolivian Missionary Fund. Thanks very much.”

“Don’t mention it, Doctor. And don’t you worry. We will come out O.K.
You’ll hear from me in a week or two. Good-morning.”

The reverend doctor went across the Street to the office of one of his
parishioners, Walter H. Cranston, a stock broker.

Mr. Cranston was bemoaning the appalling lack of business and making up
his mind about certain Delphic advice he contemplated giving his timid
customers, in order to make them “trade,” which would mean commissions,
when Dr. Ramsdell’s card was brought.

“Confound him, what does he want to come around, bothering a man at his
business for?” he thought. But he said: “Show him in, William.”

“Good-morning, Brother Cranston.”

“Why, good-morning, Dr. Ramsdell. To what do I owe this unexpected

“I’ve called to see you about our Missionary Fund. You know I take a
great deal of interest in it. We desire to build a chapel in Bolivia,
where the light is needed, Brother Cranston, as much as in China, I
assure you. And it is so much nearer home.”

“Doctor, I really—” began Cranston, with an injured air.

“I want your valuable autograph to head the subscription list,” said the
clergyman with an air he endeavored to make arch and playful. “Don’t
refuse me.”

“Why don’t you try some well-known person?” said Cranston, modestly.

“To tell you the truth, Brother Cranston, I did try Silas Shaw.” And he
added, hastily, “Not but that you are sufficiently well-known for my

“What did the old ras—the Old Man say?”

“He said he never signed subscription lists.”

“Didn’t he give you anything at all?”

“Oh, yes; he—er—he did something for me.” The doctor’s face assumed a
portentous air.

Cranston’s eyes brightened. “What was that?” he said.

“Well,” said the clergyman, hesitatingly, “he said we would come out
O.K. Those are his own words, Brother Cranston.”

“Yes?” Cranston’s face did not look promising for Bolivian

“Yes. He—er—told me he would make the stock market contribute to the

“Indeed!” Cranston showed a lively interest.

“Yes. I suppose since you are in the same business, there is no harm in
telling you that he bought some stock for me. Five hundred shares, it
was. Do you think, Brother Cranston, that that—er—that will mean much?
You see, I have the fund very close to my heart; that is why I ask.”

“It depends,” said Cranston, very carelessly, “upon what stock he bought
for you.”

“It was Erie Railroad stock.”

“Of course, Dr. Ramsdell, your profits will depend upon the price you
paid.” This also in a tone of utter indifference.

“It was Brother Shaw who paid. The price was 65⅛.”

“Aha!” said Cranston. “So the Old Man is bullish on Erie, is he?”

“I do not know what you mean, but I know he told me I should read the
paper every day and see how much above 65⅛ the price went; and that I
would surely hear from him.”

“I sincerely hope you will, Doctor. Let me see, will $100 do? Very well,
I’ll make out a check for you. Here it is. And now, Doctor, will you
excuse me? We are very busy, indeed. Good-morning, Dr. Ramsdell. Call
again any time you happen to be down this way.” And he almost pushed the
good man out of the office in his eagerness to be rid of him.

No sooner had the ground-glass door closed on the Rev. Dr. Ramsdell than
Cranston rushed to the telephone and put in an order to buy 1,000 shares
of Erie at the best possible price. By doing this before he notified his
friends he proved that he himself firmly believed in Erie; also, he
bought his stock ahead of theirs and thereby, in all likelihood, bought
it cheaper. He then rushed into the customers’ room and yelled: “Hi,
there! Everybody get aboard Erie! Silas Shaw is bullish as Old Nick on
it. I get this absolutely straight. I’ve thought all along the old
rascal was quietly picking it up. It’s his movement and no mistake.
There ought to be ten points in it if you buy now.”

The firm of Cranston & Melville bought in all, that day, for themselves
and their customers, 6,200 shares of Erie, doing as much as anyone else
to advance the price to 66½.

All that week the reverend doctor was busy collecting subscriptions for
the Bolivian Missionary Fund. He was a good soul and an enthusiast on
the subject of that particular subscription list.

So, he told his parishioners how Brother Cranston had given $100 and
Brother Baker, another Wall Street man, $250, and Brother Shaw had
promised—he told this with an amused smile, as if at the incongruity of
it—to make the stock market contribute to the fund! Brother Shaw had
done this by buying some stock for him and had assured him, in his
picturesque way, that it would come out O.K. in a week or two. Everybody
to whom he told that fact developed curiosity regarding the name of the
stock itself. They showed it in divers ways, according to their various
temperaments. And as he had told some he felt that he should not
discriminate against others; so, he told to all, impartially, the name
of the stock. It would not harm Brother Shaw, he supposed—and he
supposed rightly. He experienced, in a gentle, benevolent,
half-unconscious sort of way, something akin to the great Wall Street
delight—that of “giving a straight tip” to appreciative friends. The
Bolivian Missionary Fund grew even beyond the good man’s optimistic

But a strange, a very strange thing happened: Erie stock, according to
the doctor’s daily perusal of the dry financial pages, had been
fluctuating between 65 and 67. On the following Tuesday, to his intense
surprise, the stock table recorded: “Highest, 65¾; lowest, 62; last,
62⅝.” On Wednesday the table read: “Highest, 62½; lowest, 58; last 58.”
On Thursday, there was a ray of hope—the stock sold as high as 60 and
closed at 59½. But on Friday there was a bad break and Erie touched 54⅛,
just 11⅛ points below what the Bolivian Missionary Fund’s stock had
cost. And, on Saturday, the stock declined to 50, closing at 51¼.

That Sunday the Reverend Doctor Henry W. Ramsdell preached to the
gloomiest congregation in Gotham. Wherever he turned his gaze he met
reproachful looks—accusing eyes, full of bitterness or of anger or of
sadness. An exception was Mr. Silas Shaw, who had come, as he often did,
to hear his friend, Dr. Ramsdell, preach. His eyes beamed benignantly on
the pastor throughout the long sermon. He looked as if he felt, Dr.
Ramsdell thought, inexplicably contented. Had he forgotten his
promise—the promise from which benighted Bolivia expected so much?

The two men met after the service. Dr. Ramsdell’s manner was
constrained; Mr. Shaw’s affable.

“Good-morning, Doctor,” said the grizzled old operator. “I’ve carried a
small piece of paper in my pocket for some days, in the hope of meeting
you. Here it is.” And he handed a check for $5,000 to the clergyman.

“Why—er—I—er—I—didn’t—the stock—er—go down?”


“How is it then that——”

“Oh, that’s all right. It came out just as I expected. That’s why you
get the check.”

“But—ahem!—didn’t you buy 500 shares for me?”

“Yes; but after you left I sold 10,000 shares between 65 and 67. Your
congregation, Doctor, developed a remarkable bullishness on Erie.” He
chuckled gleefully. “It was to them that I sold the stock!”

“But my—ahem!—impression was that you said the stock would go up.”

“Oh, no. I never said that. I merely told you we’d come out O.K. And I
guess we have.” He laughed joyously. “It’s all right, Doctor; those
pesky Bolivians will be enlightened, you bet.”

“But,” said the doctor, with a very red face, fingering the check,
hesitatingly, “I don’t know whether to accept it or not.”

“Oh, you’re not robbing me,” the old stock gambler assured him, gaily.
“I made out quite well; quite well, thank you.”

“I—I—mean—” stammered the clergyman, “I don’t know whether it is right

Shaw frowned. “Put that check in your pocket,” he said, sharply. “You
earned it.”

                                THE END


                        McClure, Phillips & Co.

                               _New York_


                       _Anthony Hope’s New Novel_

                           TRISTRAM OF BLENT

It is always a question what Anthony Hope will do next. From a dashing
romance of an imaginary kingdom to drawing-room repartee is a leap which
this versatile writer performs with the greatest ease. In his “Tristram
of Blent” he has made a new departure, demonstrating his ability to
depict character by some exceedingly delicate and skillful delineation.
The plot is unique, and is based upon the difference of time of the
Russian and English calendars, by which a marriage, a birth, and the
ownership of lands and name are in turn affected, producing
complications which hurry the reader on in search of the satisfactory
solution which awaits him. The Tristrams are characters of strong
individualities, of eccentricities likewise. These, coloring all their
acts, leave the reader in doubt as to the issue; yet it is a logical
story through and through, events following events in carefully planned
sequence. A work of undoubted originality based on modern conditions,
“Tristram of Blent” proves that the author does not need an ideal
kingdom to write a thrilling romance. (12mo, $1.50.)

                            IRISH PASTORALS

                          _By Shan F. Bullock_

“Irish Pastorals” is a collection of character sketches of the soil—of
the Irish soil—by one who has lived long and closely among the laboring,
farming peasantry of Ireland. It is not, however, a dreary recital of
long days of toil with scanty food and no recreation, but it depicts
within a life more strenuous than one can easily realize, abundant
elements of keen native wit and irrepressible good nature. The book will
give many American readers a new conception of Irish pastoral life, and
a fuller appreciation of the conditions which go to form the strength
and gentleness of the Irish character. (12mo, $1.50.)

                             THE WESTERNERS

                       _By Stewart Edward White_

When the Black Hills were discovered to be rich in valuable ores, there
began that heterogeneous influx of human beings which always follows
new-found wealth. In this land and in this period, Stewart Edward White
has laid the setting of “The Westerners,” a story which is full of
excitement, beauty, pathos and humor. A young girl, growing to womanhood
in a rough mining camp, is one of the central figures of the plot. The
other is a half-breed, a capricious yet cool, resourceful rascal, ever
occupied in schemes of revenge. Around these two are grouped the
interesting characters which gave color to that rude life, and, back of
them all, rough nature in her pristine beauty. The plot is strong,
logical, and well sustained; the characters are keenly drawn; the
details cleverly written. Taken all in all, “The Westerners” is a
thoroughly good story of the far West in its most picturesque decade.
(12mo, $1.50.)

                             BY BREAD ALONE

                          _By I. K. Friedman_

Mr. Friedman has chosen a great theme for his new novel, one which
affords a wealth of color and a wide field for bold delineation. It is a
story of the steel-workers which introduces the reader to various and
little-known aspects of those toiling lives. In the course of the work
occurs a vivid description of a great strike. The author, however, shows
no tinge of prejudice, but depicts a bitter labor struggle with
admirable impartiality. Along with the portrayal of some of man’s worst
passions is that of his best, his affection for woman, forming a
love-story which softens the stern picture. The book will appeal to
students of industrial tendencies, as well as to every lover of good
fiction. (12mo, $1.50.)


_Here are two volumes of most thrilling tales, gleaned from the material
which the age has brought us. Each collection occupies an original field
and depicts some characteristic phase of our great commercial life._

                          WALL STREET STORIES

                           _By Edwin Lefèvre_

It would be difficult to find a better setting for a good story than
this hotbed of speculation. On the Exchange, every day is a day of
excitement, replete with dangerous risks, narrow escapes, victories,
defeats. There are rascals, “Napoleonic” rascals, and the “lambs” who
are shorn; there is the old fight between right and wrong, and sometimes
the right wins, and sometimes—as the world goes—the wrong. In the
maddening whirl of this life, which he knows so well, Edwin Lefèvre has
laid the setting of his Wall Street stories. A number of them have
already appeared in _McClure’s Magazine_, and their well-merited success
is the cause of publication in book form of this absorbing collection.
(12mo, $1.25.)

                            HELD FOR ORDERS

                        STORIES OF RAILROAD LIFE

                         _By Frank H. Spearman_

While railroad life affords fewer elements of passion and emotion than
the life of Wall Street, it offers however a far greater field for the
depiction of the heroic. Deeds of bravery are probably more common among
these hardy, cool, resourceful men—the railroad employees—than among any
other members of society. “Held For Orders” describes thrilling
incidents in the management of a mountain division in the far West. The
stories are all independent, but have characters in common, many of whom
have been met with in _McClure’s Magazine_. Mr. Spearman combines the
qualities of a practical railroad man with those of a fascinating
storyteller, and his tales, both in subject and manner of telling, are
something new in literature. (12mo, $1.50.)


                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES

 1. Silently corrected typographical errors.
 2. Retained anachronistic and non-standard spellings as printed.
 3. Enclosed italics font in _underscores_.

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