KfV 7M b
fore!" groaned generous, tender
hearted Bob and he had hurried away
to meet Ned, had given him rather
forlorn, hopeless instructions and
jumped into an automobile, and had
offered the chauffeur double, triple,
quadruple pay if he could make
Taunton and back within the hour.
For while Bob had thousands in
vested in the West he could not hope
to raise a dollar in a hurry. At Taun
ton, however, there was an old-time
banking friend. It was a question of
minutes. The Tipton people would
run up the bidding to any amount to
get their rival out of the way. For
the sake of the girl he adored out of
sympathy and respect for her aged
parent, Bob must baffle these
schemes, if possible.
A representative of the Tipton in
terest was on hand at the auction, as
Ned found when he reached the
works. The auction was being con
ducted ki the little office of the plant.
There were over fifty persons pres
ent, most of them curiosity seekers.
The auctioneer had made a plat
form of one box set fiat, and a desk
of another tilted on end. His ham
mer beat a tattoo as a call to order.
"The entire plant will be sold with
out reserve," announced the man
with the gavel "contents only and
lease of the premises. Terms will be
strictly cash. What am I bid?"
"Two hundred dollars."
An untidy man who suggested the
typical junk dealer made this tender.
The Tipton agent directed at him a
withering and contemptuous glance
and said cooly:
"Fifteen hundred dollars."
Poor Ned groaned Inwardly. His
heart sank as he realized that he had
been put out of the race almost at
"Fifteen hundred dollars!" cried
the auctioneer, hammer poised, "I am
"Sixteen," interrupted him.
"Two thousand dollars," ' calmly
supplemented the man from the Tipton's.
. "Two thousand," repeated the auc
tioneer. "I hear It once are you all
done? It is twice. Two thousand
"Twenty-five hundred." 3
Ned had slunk out of view. A sol-j
emn faced man had seemhlgly made
the last bid. Immediately, too, it ap-q
peared, a fat old fellow opposite him:
named "three thousand."
"Four thousand," snapped the TipT
ton man. j
"Five," came tranquilly from he of
the grave visage. -f
"Six," as promptly proceeded fromj
the direction of the fat individual.
The man from Tipton hurriedly
drew out his pockfetbook. He glanced
it over, frowned, and spoke out:
"Will you accept a check?
"Certified by the bank, yes," nod
ded the auctioneer.
"I can arrange that. Give me time.
I have only $5,000 in cash, but can
bid up to any amount," and he bolted
from the place.
"Six thousand dollars," rattled on
the auctioneer. "Time and tide wait
for no man."
"Twenty" everybody stared.
Twenty thousand dollars? Prepos
terous! The auctioneer directed a
marveling look at the fat man, who
was staring indifferently about him.
"Twenty twenty!" ' he shouted.
"Do I hear twenty-one? No? Then
sold to cash. Step up to my clerks,
sir, and close the transaction."
"Were you speaking to me?" in
quired the fat man. -x
"Certainly, you bid in this prop-
"Me!" ejaculated the fat man.
"Nonsense! I haven't spoken a word
since I entered this room."
"Then I accept your bid," said the
auctioneer, turning to the solemnr
"I made no bid," was the instant
There was a vast hubbub. It was
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