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Hiram Oakley, with no bills in his
windows, was doing a roaring trade
during the boom times. Wills found
himself reduced to his last five hun
dred. And he was not taking in
enough to pay the cost of his help.
As the sales dwindled Wills' posters
became more flashy. Hiram Oakley,
who had had no communication with
the couple since their marriage, knew
that the time was at hand.
But, after all, it was Wills who
came to him came in humbly, but
looking much more of a man that
he had looked before when he defied
"Mr. Oakley," he began frankly,
"I've come to tell you that I have
been a fool, sir."
Old Oakley looked him up and
down. "There's always hope for a
man when he finds that out," he said
"Don't think that I've come to ask
your help," said Wills. "I'm anx
ious about Madge, that's all. Frank
ly, the business can't go on another,
month. And I don't know what we
are going to do. You see "
And Oakley learned that he was to
become a grandfather.
There is nothing that touches an
old man's heart so much. Oakley
was genuinely fond of his daughter,
and he thought that the pair had had
about as much of a lesson as they
"So I'm thinking of selling out and
moving to another town, sir," con
tinued Wills. "But before I go I want
you to forgive Madge and and tell
me why I couldn't succeed," he blurt
ed out. "I thought I knew all the
tricks of the trade, with my New
"So you did, my boy," answered
Oakley briskly. "You knew tricks
that I'd heard of but never soiled
my fingers with, nor wouldn't.
"In the first place, you went-into
the business in a spirit of vindictive
ness instead of willingness, to kill
another man's trade rather than es
tablish your own. That can't help
showing itself in the tine of the sell
ing force. Your salespeople took
their cue from you, and they lost
customers by their unwillingness and
"Then, again, you tried to sell the
same goods I did, but cheaper goods.
People find out good from" bad. They
don't repeat their purchases at a
store that does them. They'd rather
pay more and get more for their out
lay. -There's the same spirit again
the cut-throat spirit. There's room
for two- department stores in Four
Corners, and two high-class ones,
only you didn't know it.
"Furthermore, if you wanted to sell
cheap goods, you shouldn't have set
up on Main street. You should have
gone downtown. There you'll find
the class of people that want cheap
stuff. You've cut your throat all the
time, Mr. Wills, and you didn't know
Wills swallowed hard, for the les
son was a bitter one. But the spirit
of vindictiveness had been driven out
of him. He shook Mr. Oakley by the
"I'm obliged to you, sir," he said.
"And you'll see Madge before we
leave next week "
"Next week!" exclaimed Mr. Oak
ley. "That's rather early, isn't it?"
"Well, the fact is," answered Wills,
"I've had an offer from an anony
mous person to buy my property, and
I think it will be enough to start else
where in a humbler way. 1"
"Wait a minute!" said old Oakley.
"Now it's my turn to speak. I've
been planning turning it into a com
pany and opening a branch. In fact,
I've acquired some property for the
branch store, and if you like to be my
manager, I think it'll pay you better
than leaving town. I am retaining 55
per cent of the stock, and in course of
time it ought to go to you and Madge.
And then I've only one child. What
do you say?"
Wills grasped old Oakley's hands
impulsively. "I say I accept but I
don't deserve it, sir," he said. "And