Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1836-1922 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the
National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. external link Learn more
Image provided by: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL
Newspaper Page Text
the' papers with feverish energy. Only
a few minutes showed him the nature
of his occupation. He was conducting
a loan business and he was the. shark.
No doubt the police were engaged on
one of their periodical ' crusades
against such "people.
Into the half ream of documents
had been compressed the pitiful trag
edies of many lives. School teachers,
small clerks, city officials all were
in his net. He, Henry Patterson, sat
there like a spider and sucked the
blood out of those fellow-creatures
who had written down their obliga
tions on these pages. There were
legal and illegal bonds and undertak
ings, salary assignments; therev was"
a special fund for tracking down ab
sconding debtors. Within an hour
Drumfield's trained legal mind had
shown him the exact status of his en
terprise. He knew that the papers
were not worth, legally, the ink with
which they were written. But they
were good enough to terrify those
who feared the money-lender and his
means of making their lives miser
"Mr. Ebenezer Jones is outside,
sir," said the woman, putting her
hard face in at the door. She ran her
fingers over the documents and pull
ed one out. "That's him," she said,
snickering. "Borrowed $50 three
years ago; has paid back $195 to date
and still owes us $122.50. There's a
dollar fine for being ten minutes late
with the last payment." She whisper
ed: "The sucker will stand a lot of
blood-sucking yet. I told him we
might renew the loan for a consid
eration. Shall I show him in?"
"Yes, and stay with us," said Drum
field, quickly. "I'm not quite faniiliar
with the details of the business here."
The woman snickered again and
called the man inside. He came in
humbly) hat in hand. He was an old,
rheumatic, farmer-looking man, and
the moment he was within the door
he fell upon his knees at Drumfield's
"For God's sake, give me a
chancel" he'pleadedl- "My wife die'dp
yesterday and I've got tb keep her
out of a pauper's grave. Let me re
new and I'll work my fingers to the
bone for you."
"Thatfs how you all talk,", said the
loan shark clek, contemptuously."
"And youfre just the kind of chap
that runs round to the district attor
ney and tries to get us into trouble.
But you can't," she snapped, waving
her fingers in Mr. Jones' face. "Get
up, you cheap skate, you poor pay,
you ten-cent man. Now then! Sup
pose we let you renew "
"I will go in!" shouted a voice out
side. "You shall not keep me back.
I'm going to see Mr. Patterson him
The woman clerk swung around
and filled the doorway with her burly
body. Outside a young woman,
pressed impotently against the .clos
"Let -her come in!" called Drum
field, and,, reluctantly, the clerk let
"Another of them down-and-outs,"
she shrilled. "Case No. 247. School
teacher. Borrowed $40 to pay for her
sister's illness and owes us $125, and
says she's too poor to settle. Ugh!
I'd settle her."
Slowly John Drumfield drew out
the two papers. He tore them into
fragments and let the pieces flutter
out of the open window.
"Your debts are paid," he said to
the old man and the girl. And while
the woman stared in horror and.
amazement he 'quickly ripped the rest
of the documents to pieces. "That
ends this business," he said.
Outside there, came a hammering
at the door. The woman turned
"I thought you was mad," she
whimpered. "Now I know .what you
are, you dog. You're one of the gov
ernment men. Oh, God! I've queered
the business. Seventy-five thousand
dollars gone up in the air!"
With a crash the outside door
yielded and two burly men came in at