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The San Francisco call. [volume] (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, April 07, 1907, Image 2

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By Horace Townsehd
"If -I only had the value of
all the time that is wasted
in London in a week, I*
should retire from busi
5O SAID Charles M. Schwab to me
once in the Carlton Hotel, after
he had fumed and fretted away
ten minutes In a futile attempt
to "get" somebody over the telephone,
snd In a sentence embodied a very
general conception on the part of the
average American concerning English
ways and English business methods.
Yet the increasing number of Ameri
cans who have actually been brought
Into contact with English business men
in their own country know that Mr.
Schwab's hasty summary, though con
taining part of the truth, does not con
tain the whole of It. Now a partial
truth !s sometimes more erroneous than
a direct misstatement. Thus the In
itial mistakes that are often made by
those who have enlisted In that Ameri
can army of commercial occupation
which Is Invading the whole world are
generally due to similar hasty general
During a ten years' residence in Lon
don, as representative of one or another
big American newspaper. It was my lot
to be brought Into contact with a con
stant succession of these scouts of
American Industry and to talk with
them, oftentimes confidentially, of their
plans and schemes for Introducing
American methods or American manu
factures. I sympathized with them In
their difficulties and . in time came to
see with their eyes the obstacles they
had overcome. These may be summed
up In a phrase — racial differences. The
newly arrived American, too, often for
sreta that the English, though they
speak the same language as the Ameri
cans, are to all Intents and purposes
as much foreigners as are the French
and Germans. Ho expects to find in
yogue the system and methods of his
own country and it takes him no little
time and occasion! him no little 01s
appointment to find out his mistake.
It was. If I remember aright. Colonel
Hunslcker, who for many years acted
as Andrew Carnegie's personal repre
sentative In London, who first put Into
concrete form a thought which must
have occurred to many visiting Ameri
cans. "Business negotiations," said he,
"between representatives of the two
nations are generally initially ham
pered by the falsity of the precon
ceived notions on either side. And.
these are the notions: The' American
is convinced . that the Englishman does
not know the meaning of the word
business; the Englishman, that the
American has not a thought for any
thing but money making and literally
worships the almighty dollar." \ "
As I have said, both of these gen
erally believed in ideas are erroneous.
In the first place the average English
man Is an excellent man of business.
I am not talking, of course, of the
very email fry— the petty tradesman,
for Instance— but Of the leading men in
the financial and industrial world. My
experience with these teaches me. that
the majority; of them hare elevated
business methods into a positive sci
ence and that It is difficult to find men
more ready of apprehension of difficult
business problems. They are men of
the world, too, and quick to read and
estimate correctly their fellowmen.
Now, as to . the common English mis
take In dealing with Americans. Con
trary to the opinion held by some of
our own countrymen, . we ' Americans
are, as a rule, not money-lovers. Money
to an American Is merely a symbol, the
chips in his game of life, as it were,
and so long as he wins the game he
is really, indifferent as to whether, the
chips stand for cents, for dollars or
for millions. But he Is not .fond of
money in the same way. that the men
of some other nationalities are.
Nowf the\ English reverence for
money, as money, is a very observable
national trait. Mark Twain has some
where commented on "that mixture of
awe and reverence and heat which
burns In a Frenchman's eye when It
fall* on another man's centime." I may
say In passing that this succinct phrase
displays Mark's insight into national
characteristics marvelous ly welU but
I may add that the Englishman stops
short at this, though, aa a rule; he 1b
prone to take off his hat somewhat
reverently at the sight of a ten pound
note. It is this. probably that leads to
the exaggerated Importance bestowed
on capital in . negotiations ,witn : Eng
ilshmen. On this : subject, I can quote
the remarks of a well known American
Inventor of textile machinery, who
came to London some years ago in or
der to place one of his most note
worthy patents on the English market.
"I cannot help being struck," sdid he;
"by the difference between the point
of view of English and Amorican cap
italists. If an American man of means
is asked to exploit a new machine or
even a new xaea ,with hifl . money, n«
recognizes very, frankly that without
the new machine or; the ; hoxv Idea: his
money, would earn him but the lowest
market rate of .- Interest" \Ho ;\u25a0 is, there
fore, cheerfully content to allow a fair
division of the profits, so fritich per cent
for the capitalist, so much per cent for
the inventor, -and not a vast difference
between the two .; percentages/' either.
The Englishman, oh the contrary, shuts
his eyes tightly -to every View of tho
situation but one. , ."Ydui" invention is
extremely clever," lie says' in effect, "or
your idea is as excellent as it is novel,
but what good is; either^ hiachinor or
idea to. you without myj nibhey? Not
the slightest In the "world;.my dear. sir,
and therefore, my7 money/; wants 7
per cent of the profits and : if machine
or idea gets a clear. s per cent you may
think yourself extremely . lucky."
Speaking generally of the business rec
titude :of , the \u25a0 average Englishman, my
. American acquaintance's with very few
exceptions maintain that he Is no bet
te?:: but no worse than the average
American. In one particular only does
his commercial morality differ. He :1s
not- wont to consider himself bound
morally, es he certainly is not legally,
by a mere verbal contract, unsupported
by corroborative evidence. "Let's have
it flown in black and white." is his
favorite phrase at the conclusion; of -a
bargain; When, too, he has; it In his
beloved black and white, he is not
happy until, he h&s taken the letter or
memorandum of agreement, or .what
not, to Sbmerset House to be stamped.
This is always, apt to puwleih© new
ly- arrlyed- American. Ho soon learns,
however,- that no agreement can be
come evidence In a court of l&W (except
upon the payment of a heavy fine) un
less within a few days of its execution
it has been taken to the Inland Rev
enue Office at Somerset Houso In the
Strand, and there on payment of a fee
of twelve cents stamped with the' Gov
ernment stamp. . y ' v V\u0084;
To t-eturn to Mr. Schwab's comment
on'-the -time that is dally, wasted in!
London. He meant,' of course, the tlmei
that Is squandered by business men in
the transaction Of business deals,' and'
was thinking doubtless, of the fact that;
a "deal' 1 which would in New ;Ybrk be !
closed inside of twenty- four hours 1 tnay<
ihiLOnflon take three weeks ot> more 1
to carty through to its conclusion. This'
arises,. however; not as In Latin coun
tries from sheer jndolencobut, from the]
national caution and instinctive dislike <
to those i."shap" judgments which are c
aaj the very/ breath \u25a0 of : life to the hust- '
: liuif. /pushing American. ;• Nevertheless !
the EngHßh are accomplished masters,
6f>the arCJof time-wasting. As a ris-'*
,ti6n',they /do'not seem to have realized'
the" truth jof the adage, that ''Time .is 1
niioney," Jand so in every rank of the'
•community; time is wasted unf emitting- [
ly and consistently from daylight until ,
'dark on every working day. of the year.'
; The. very first '\u25a0 lesson, according to 1
sharpiwltted American visitors, which 1
England- must learn unless she; wants!
to fall hopelessly in thatrear, ,Is how
to appraise correctly the value of time.
Let ;me % make a concrete \ instance.
When tha. underground railroad,^ fani^
-iliarly known as "the tube,"; was put!
Into operation in London its' manage-,
mint, : which included several '-<\u25a0 Can* i
adlan s • and one American, determined '
to introduce the "one-fare-any-dis- '
tahce" ; system, : at that time > unknown !
In London. I was' discussing the' novel,
move ;. -with James Dredge, editor'
6f; J Engineering, who as English com
'mlssloner at the, Chicago Exhibition is
not .unacquainted' with American methr !
ods.' "I: am afraid It won't do,": said
• he, "our people will pay ; twopence
(four, cents) to" go the entire distance,
but they will: leave tho line alorio" for [
short Journeys. Whj*, they will reason,!
pay f twopence to ride from the" Bank of ,
England to Chancery Lane 'when an'
omnibus will .take you the same joiir-'
ney for one penny?" "Because," said I, \
"the omnibus takes V fourteen minutes ]
to make the journey and- the under-,
\u25a0 ground will ; d 0... it . in ; six," "My dear <
sir," , answered Mr. \u25a0 Dredge, f "do you 1
• imagine '.that any ordinary "English
man will pay.l'.ajpehny.tto/isavQ eight]
minutes?" ; ; It never occurs ,to tho clerk .
that he can put more than the' value i
of ; a penny Into the employer's pocket
by; utilizing the ' eight minutes 'to ad
By Ben Blow
i^/i*\^ East street it , was," he said,
*. I I "} h r 9*ti*t day ."wh iri I saw a
V^ face coinin' tobrds me that I
- . . knew an* the man wearin' th'
face kemup an' looked hard at nie. *I
know' y' i',,' he says, 'an' I don't- know y*.
Y'f face Is fmliiar,' he says, 'but I can't
place ut.'
" "(Veli, y* ' know ut,' I sayi to him.
•Manny's the; time y* lookt down at ut
from th' poop \u25a0> deck ay wan lv Jini
Hardy's shlop wagglns In St. Loos.'
".'Sorrow th' day I ' left there,' he
says. .'But who are y'?' .
" 'V' rcm»tnbef,' I says/ 'wan day whin
iy'thrled.to'vot* under.; a Dootch name
lin th' twihty-flff ward against Garge
i Welnbrlnnerr
[^ ," 'I do,', he says. .'lt .wuz a swift
i chase y' v give me that day, Casey, fr
[i^mind y! now.' v \u25a0::'. . .
, : " 'Gaxge^wiiz me frind,'. i says; 'arid **»';
b'longed Elsewhere whin th. rayfofjhers
wui thryin' to make a knighf lv th* can
iv him.',: • \u25a0;' '\u25a0<:'"; '.; ..
v-'VTwas so,' he says, "but .what brings
y'' here'? 1 \u25a0.'•'•
" 'Harrlman,' • I says, /ah* a rat-tan
sleeping car wit a cookstove in wan md
\u25a0 an", no shirnokih room in th* other.'
,;'V An> d^iy\ like in?* he says..
\u25a0"1 do,'. I fiays. ; •
"But th'/towri's . down an* out," he
says. "Ain't It?" , -. .V.- .';
.j'/First y1:y 1 : say It. is," I says to him.
VAn'Jtlien'y' asks ain't; it. Phwat kind
oVtalk lß'that^Which ? d i /y*:mto«?| i
i '.?'Bbf .•'..lt thim," he says. "Kin ' yV
answer?'.' \\u25a0 . \u25a0 ;,"\u25a0' ' . _
:;;; 'T' talk ? like a cuttl m\ fish." I says.
'•y,; ieut. Wit' hbdcafrlers gettln 1 slvin
dollari \ an" six bits a mlnhlt an' brick
layerg; goin' f work ; at tin twlntyHn
th' mirnin' in tootle waggihsi howj kin
y' ask sich redicklus quischunar 1
/•But,whi;it buildup agirirrhe says.
"Doe* a "little dog : run down 'the
street I anY holler whin r' somebody pins
a can ; on him V. I\u25a0, says. ~_ .-, . '"\u25a0 " * .
; >AnV^d'- y'; il^e th' : town?;' he /says,
\ "an*/ are; y*. stayin" here?"
[' "an* lam. Rome sat
f on "'. iivlri hills % : ay y' b'lave .ih' dlck
i shinaries.^but San Franchisky sets on
I slyintyr-slvln: ; : Her " right ; f ut.'i •I \ sayi, >
[ "la 'oii \ th'l: neck . ; of ! th'^ Japanese^ : Her.'
I left f lit is" oniecidedibetwane Abie an'
, th' Ma^f. . Wit* her left hand i she picks
[thy nuggets outj'av -th* teeth Ivth*-
I masthodbns ly> Alaaky. : Wit* • her : right
1 hand ; B^^ howjds : th* latchstring ?lv I th'
> Pan Imy o'naL ;r She^ winks at",Thayd6re
; Roosevelt with r good- humored /iriduU
< BTence, to say ; nawthin* 5 jyi terror, 'ah'
I her s ; lap ?is full < iv^ concrete * an', : bricks
»an' mortherian*' steels an'.-*in her sock
she has a roll that' d chokejt bull ili
pharit befoor he cd gag wanst."
"V* like, th' town?" he *ays
"l do," I says. "Have y* been out f
the bache?" ,
"I have not/ he say*. M I Just kera
-in from Alamiddy on a \u25a0cow."
-.. "Cfout there," I says. "Y'll find the
Sutro baths, the biggest in th* wurld.*
Y'll find the Pacific Oceati* th' biggest
in th' world. Go in to some atin* place
an*'ate somethlh"; y'll find the prices th'
biggest in th' world fr what y' get.
Beyond' the land are th' sale rocks.
Whin th' sales see a Japan ea boat
comln' in they shin up on th* rocks, an'
bark diflanco at it. Whin army friridly
nation sails by they bark, too, but they
bark f r SanFranchlsky like th* rest ay
th' inhabitants ay th' town. Whin y*
want a change an* go back f the town
y* find y' have no . change left.* Th'
United Railroads packs y' Into th' cars
*o tight that If a dip don't frisk y* y'r
money melts from the heat Qlfr off a
Sutter-street car at Flilmbre. -Walk iii
th' middle ,_of the street, th*. St. Loos
waddle is too slow; f r th' town. Se«
what y* see. ,rFine fat girls with paches
In-' their _cheeks ah 1 tail feathers ay
ostriches^h their hats pafadin* iip.an*
«low>i wit' men that has more money in
The San Francisco Sunday Call
their clothes than y* lver heard of. Y»
see miners an* mlllinalres. y* &cc cow
punchers and counter hoppers, y* sea
stinnygraphers out wit* th* boss, y* sea
Jonnnies wif hopeful cmiles googlin' at
the girlies, and ivery wan iv them is at
pace wit' the wurld. An* why is It?
Kin y* tell? T* can't. 'Tls becua th*
town i» sloppy wit' money. Strate car
e'nductors get ninety-two dollar* an*
sixty-wan clnts a mont, besides what
sticks to the bell cord. Motormen git
more, becu* they have no bell cord to
sift nickels wit' an* th* United Rail
roads don't need more, fr they have It
all. V* go down Markfit street an' th'
hammer an' th' saw holler at y* from
ivery, side. .T* go down Sansome street
an' y* git mired in th* mud. T tak»
th' ferry 1 fur* Alamlddy an' y* think y'r
in Philadelphy an* don't git off th* boat,
havin* gone asleep. Comln' back y» see
a Chines* lady wif green glass ear
rings, howldin* the back ay her throusies
off to wan slda an* playin* that she's all
the samee 'like Melikin gurL Iv-ry wan
Is happy, lvry wan has money exdpt
them that plays th' wan-best-bet-a-day
dope books fen' J'y is unc'nflned."
"T* like th* town, thin," he say*.
"Well may y* say that," I says. "At
there's bin wan minnit lr th' day or
night whin I ain't had a good time I'm
unconscious of it. V* go into a resthy
raht fra thirty-five' cint dinner an*
y* get a bottle lv Dago red thrun in.
Th' man next y* la a Ylddlaher eatin*
fried ham. Across is a German man eatin'
chili-con-carne. Beyant him is a Harp
eatin* ' sourkrout an' the waiter is a
Frog Eater which wants to know will
y* condisclnd ' t' have a p'tit y sooson o*
pig wif y'r'eggs ur will y* hay« thim
straight, up. But Harp, Tiddlahor.
Dootch' ur Frog Eater, wan an* all
they're fur San Franclsky first, la3t an'
all th* time/ from th", calf V th' tanyard
an' thin "back on to th* fut an' that's
why th* town is buildin* up."
"Isut bulldin* upr* he says.
\u0084 "Have y* eyes." I says, "or did th«
Jarrln' ay th thrucks y* rod* here on
separata y'r lntellicta from th' plao* y'
thinkr '
"I have eyes," ha says, "an* I have •
Impty stomick an* a tired body. Have
y* the price ay a beer an' a bed?"
"Wanst only," I says -to him. Th'
mornin' finds y* gettln' work."
'I'll do ut," he says."an* ay I git work
I'll hang to It Ilka a Justice ay th' Pact*
does to his job. But wan thing." ha
says "kin I get. a Job?"
"Y'r a plate glass setter," I say 3. "an*
plate glass is beln' ate np by the acre.
answer- it y'rself.y go out t* Fill,
more strata as' tak« & Fillraor 9 car
souf. T* get off at Waller an* y* go tf
this, number where there's a hopeful
widdy lady lives an' takes boorders.
T* \u25a0 slape there decint an' sober th*
night, rise early an' hunt work, an' thin
y* come back t' me \u25a0 some time wit*
corns on y'r hands an' I'll tell y* more
about th' town that wuz shuck up wan
year ago." >jfflßßa!S

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