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The San Francisco call. [volume] (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, September 29, 1907, Image 2

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O. Henry
<Ceprri£ht, 1907, by Jotepb B. Bovta)
ACROSS our two- dlcbes of
spaghetti, In a corner of Proven
zano's restaurant, Jeff Peters
was explaining to me the three
kinds of graft.
Every winter " Jeff comes to New
York to eat spaghetti, to watch the
Ehlpplng In East, river 'from the depths
of hie ; chinchilla overcoat, and to lay
in a -supply, of Chicago made clothing
at- onei of the Fulton etr#et stores. '
During the. other three gea*one he may
be found farther west — his range is
from Spokane to Tampa. In his profes
sion he takes a pride which he sup
ports and defends with a serious and
unique philosophy of ethic*. His pro
fession Is no new one. He Is an
incorporated, uncapltalteed. unlimited'
a^jrluin for the reception of the restless
and unw|s« dollars of his fellow men. \u25a0
In the wilderness of stone in which
Jeff seeks his annual loneiy holiday he
5s glad to palaver of his many adven
tures, as a boy will whittle after «un
down in a wood. Wherefore, I mark on
my calendar the time of his coming,
and open a question of privilege at
Provenzano's concerning the little wine
stained table hi the corner between the
rakish rubber plant and the framed
palazio deila something on the wall.
"There are two kinds of graft," said
Jeff, "that ought to be wiped out by
law. I mean Wall street speculation
and burglary-"
"Nearly everybody will agree with
you as to one of them," said I, with a
"Well, burglary ought to be wiped
out, too," said Jeff, and I wondered
whether the laugh had been redundant.
"About three months ago," said Jeff,
"it was my privilege to become fa
miliar with a sansple of each of the
aforesaid branches of .illegitimate art.
I was slae Qua grata with a member
of the house breakers* union, and one
of the John D. Napoleons of Usance at
the same time."
"Interesting combination," said I
with a yawn. ."Did I tell you I bagged
a duck and a ground squirrel at one
shot last week over in the Ramapos?"
I knew well how to draw Jeff's stories.
"Let me tell you first about these
barnacle* that dog th* wheels of so
ciety by poisoning the springs of rec
titude with their cpas like eye," said
Jeff, with the pure gleam of the muck
raker in his own.
"As I said, three months ago I got'
into' bad company. There are two
times In a man's life when he dees
this — when he's dead broke and when
he's rich.
"Now and then the most legitimate
business runs out of luck. It wa* out
in Arkansas I made the wrong tarn at
& cross road, and drives Into this town
of Peavln* by mistake. It seems I had
already assaulted the disfigured Pea
vine the. spring of the year before. I
had cold J6OO worth of young fruit
trees there^ — plume, cherries, peaches
and pears. The Peaviners were keep
ing an eye on the country road and
hoping I might pass that way again. I
drove down Main street as far as the
Crystal Palace drug store- before I
realised I had committed ambush upon
myself and my white horse BilL
"The Peaviners took me by surprise
and Bill by the bridle and began a
conversation that wasn't entirelj' dis
eesoclated with the subject of fruit
trees. A committee of 'em ran some
trace chains through the armholes of
my vest and escorted me through their
gardens and orchards.
"Their fruit trees hadn't lived up to
their labels. Mosj. of >m had turned
out to be persimmons and dogwoods,
with a grove or twe of blackjacks and
poplars. »The only one that showed any
signs of bearing anything: was a fine
young cottonwood that had put forth
a hornet's nest and half of an old
corset covtr.
"The P<?aviners protracted our.fruit
less stroll to. the. edge of town. They
took my watch and money on ac
count, and they kept Bill r.nd - the
wagon as hostages. ,' They said the
first time one of them dogwood trees
put forth an Amsden's Juno peach I'
might come backhand get my things.
Then they took off, the trace chain
and Jerked their thumbs in the direc
tion of the Rocky mountains, and I
ttruck a Lewis and Clark lope' for the
swollen rivers and Impenetrable for
"When I .regained conscientiousness
I found myself walking Into an un
in \u25a0 nirf !\u25a0 iiwuipiUMiwyaiHlliFiilllilßHf f'B fjl" "I ' ""Ir. Hi _|i ""W jf
Identified town on the Atchlson, To
peka and Santa Fe railroad. The
Peaviners hadn't left anything in my
pockets except a plug of chewing
—they wasn't after my life — and that
saved It, I bit off a chuWc and sits
down on a pile of ties by the track
to recogltate my. sensations 'of thought
and perspicacity. • ,
"And then along comes a fast freight
which flows up a little at the town,
and off of It drops a black bundle that
rolls for 20 yards in a cloud of dust
and tlien gets up and begins to spit
soft coal and interjections. I- see It i- is;
a young man, broad across the face,^
dressed more for Pullmans . than
freights, and with a cheerful kind of
smile In spite .of - it all ; that made
' Phoebe Snow's Job. look like a chimney
- "'Fall off?' says I.
'.- 'Nunk,' says' he. 'Got off. Arrived
at my v destination. " What town is
."'Haven't looked it up on the map
yet," *ays I. "I got in about five min
utes, before you* did. How does .it
strike you?'
"'Hard,' says he, twisting one of his
arms around. ,'I telieve that shoul
der—no, it's all right.'
"He stoops over to brush the dust
off his clothes, when out of:hls:p'ockex.
drops a fine, nine finch burglar's ; steel
Jlmmj'. He picks it up arid looks'
at me sharp, and then grins and. ho[dß>.
out his hand. .:;/,.'' f/M. : >
" 'Brother,* says "her"* .'greetings.;
Didn't I see you In southern \ Missouri
last summer selling colored sandrat
half a dollar a teaspbonful to put 'into
lamps to "keep .the :oil : from exploding?;
"'Oil,' says' I, 'never explodes. It's
the grasthat forms that explodes.' But
I shakes hands with him, anyway.
" .*My > name's Bill Bassett,' ; says he
to me, 'and If you'll call it professional"
pride instead of conceit I'll Inform you
that you have the pleasure of meeting,
the best burglar that \eyer, set a gum
shoe on ground drained by the Missis
sippi river.' y
"Well, me and this Bill Bassett sits
on the ties and exchanges brags as
artists in" kindred lines will do. It
seems be~ didn't have a cent, either,
and. We went Into close caucus. He ex
plained why an able burglar sometimes
had to travel on freights by telling me
that a servant girl had played him falso
in Little Rock, and he was making a
Quick getaway. . " X
,- ? It's part of my business,' says Bill
Bassett, 'to play up to the ruffles when
X want to make a rtffle as a Baffles.
'TU love that makes the. bit go 'round.'
Show me a house with the swag in v tt
and .a pretty parlor maid, 'and .'you *
might as well call the silver; melted;
down and sold,' and me. spilling the;
truffles and that ' Chateau trick on .the
napkin under my chin, while the police:
are calling it an Inside job just because
the old lady's ; nephew teaches a bible
.'class. I first make an -impression 'on the
girl,' says Bill, 'and when the lets me'
Inside I make an lmpresßion-.on the;
locks. But ' this one in ' Littief Rock^
done me.Vsays ho. 'Sheosaw me taking
a trolley ride -with another ; girl,' and
when I came 'round on the night sha"
was to leave- the door open forme v it;
was fast. Andj l had keys* made for the
doors ' upstairs' But. no,, sir. She had
sure cut off my locks, She was- .a'
Delilah.' says Bill Bassett.
"It seems that Bill' tried,' toj break
In, anyhow with his jimmy,' but the
girl emitted a succession of bravura
noises like the top riders or a tally-ho,
and Bill had to take' all tijo hurdles
.between, there and. the depot. *As he
had no baggage ;;they_^Jxiod : hard .to
check his departure, but h*». made a
train that was just pulling out.
" 'Well,'; says Bill Bassett** whon we
had exchanged mrmoirs of -our dead
lives, 'I could *>at. This town don't
,look^Jiko. it was kept under a Yale
lock. Suppose , we. 'compilt some mild
atrocity that will bring. in temporary,
expense money. I don't, suppose : you've
brought along any : hair tonic ' or rolled
gold watch chains, or iiimilar* law
dcfj'lng swindles that you could sell on
the plaza to the pikers of /the: paretic '
populace, have you?'- •
' ".'.^o.' says I, 'I left -an elegant line
of Patagonian^ diamond -, earrings y&nd'i
• rainy day sunbursts in my Valise '.at
Peavine. But they're to stay there till
some of them blackgum trees. begin to
glut^the market with yellow clings and
'Japanese plums.; I reckon we can't
count on them unless we take Luther
Burbank in" for a partner.' " " j, '-;s
" *^*cry well,* says Bassett, "we'll do
- the beat we can. . Maybe after dark
I'll borrow ,a; hairpin lady
and openvthe farmers* and drivers' -miv
rlne bank^with.it.V ,; < ••
T "While we was r talking up pulls a
passenger, train '^o^ the. depot near' by.;-
A person:, In; a . high hat; gets '. off on the Y
wrong sl4e of Mhe '.train and cbmesr
tripping" down, the,: track toward us. : He
was a -little fat 'man .with ; ' a .big : nose^
and' rat's eyes, -but dressed' expensive"
and carrying a hand satchel careful, as >
if it had v eggs • or i railroad •\u25a0 bonds in ; it.
He -; passes by us and keeps ; on ; down ;
the track, not : appear! ng to I notice . the
- " .'Come . on,' says : Bill Bassett '\u25a0, to me, :
starting .'after \u25a0 him:
€y 'Wlierer. I asks.' . v
,- . " 'Uordyl' says Bill, 'had you forgot .
you* was in the desert? Didn't. you see
Colonel Manna' drop dowri^ right \ before
your eyes? Don't you hear, the rustling"
of ;Geueral Raven's wlrige? I'm sur-.
prised : at.y ou, Elijah.'- V ' \
•IWe' overtook -; th«Vstrariger in the
edge • of . some woods, and, as \it was
after "sundown arid in a quiet placer; no
body, saw; us stop hlm.^Bill] takes .the ;•;
silk .hat off hls-head and' bniaihes lt %
with hia u sleeve": and;'puts'?lt-;back:v".
\u25a0 ".'Whatdoes this meani sir? 1 says the
man. ' - • ; , \u25a0 . : .;
" IWhen .1 wore one of these,' says
Bill," 'and felt embarrassed. I always
. done that. Not \ having one ; now I . had
to use . yours. I hardly know how, to' be
gin, slrl in explaining f.our, ; business'
with" youi ' but . I : guess -vwe'll .try your
pockets, first.' ' \u0084 ->,
"Bill Bassett felt in^all. of them, and
looked disgusted, v'l >'
" -'Not even a watch.' says; he. 'Ain't •
you ashamed of .yourself. ; you whited
sculpture? Going: about dressed like/ a
head' waltor,- and." financed like a'count.'
.You~-liayen"t"..cvV i n[, got -carfare. •\u25a0 What
did "you "do with your : transfer ?'-:. . ". " ;
' : . .'.'The man - s>pea ks > up; and ' pays , he ' haw
no assets Vjrfvaluables^of; an y.lsort.^: But*
; Bass»tt "takes: jhls^'hand* satchel -and
\u25a0 opens Ii t. V.Out. : comes \u25a0; some " "collars ) and',
socks "ari"d half /a r. page : . of ; a . "newspaper
clipped out.;. Bill; read: the : ; clippings*
careful; and ; held;out 'hlsr.haml- to^thej
heldup party. :''?• -.- ;.
- " 'Brother.' says he, '/greetings l.VAc'-,
coptl thei apologies -of :f fiends." I'_am*Blli(
Bassett. '.. the"; burglar.*?. Mr?;: Peters: you
f must \u25a0' make f the ' acquaintaricelof Mr. Al
\u25a0 f red : E. r : Ricks. 1 ! Shake: bands.i Mr.l Peters, V
says; Bill, f /Mr.i Ricks;,; lnStlietjiine: of
havoc and; corruption,^standsjabout half ,"=
\u25a0wayj betweenVriio f and!you/f : ; HeTalways \
\u25a0gives 'something; for^the : irioneyj he : gets.
I'm glad" \u25a0totmeet^youl; Mr.jßicks^-you;
and- Mr.> Peters. 1 ; This^is ;the^first : time
111 1 ''ever '\u25a0\u25a0- attended :l: l a', i full v gatherin g ; of '
? the i national "synod ;. of '{ sharks-chouse^
!breakihg,^swlndlingi: and^T. financiering)
all i represented.!,;* PleaseX: 'examine^ Mr.
Ricks' credentials/? Mr* v Peters.'. ~; -; j
\u25a0"The piece > of -newspaper that Bill
Bassett handed. me had- a fe good picture^
of i this ] Ricks • on.'- U. - V It was . a Chicago
paper, and ; lt: v ; had obloquies of Ricks ;
In ©very '- paragraph. /; By reading ; ; it >
over : I \u25a0 harvested- the ; Intelligence that *
said ; alleged! Ricks; had ,lald ; off all that
portion yof the t : iitate; of -Florida that •
lies under- water * lnto ; v town lots ; and
sold Vem { to - alleged J Innocent - Investors .
from his >. magriiflcently " furnished .; of
fices in* Chicago. After; he had, taken in
a hundred *>• thousand ,v or, so," "dollars,
one of these If ussy, purchasers? that ' are
always " making^ trouble -.' d'ye : i, had - 'em
actually :< try X gold 'watches I've ' sold
'em; with, acid) took a cheap excursion
down to the . land \u25a0\u25a0. where ? it ' is always '
Just' before 1 supper; ; to; look; at : . his lot.
and i »ee ; if : it : didn't • need' a new paling'
or' two 'on the : fence,' -and?: market a
few lemons ; In time ; for the iChristmas ;
present trade. -:H» hires 'a ' surveyor r . to
find ! his lot for him." The>% run v the'- line"
out ; and ; find ' the flourishing ;. town i' of
Paradise ; Hollow, : ; so'^ advertised; to Ibe
rods; and ; 16 .poles -\u25a0 S. 27 :^&'
greet ;B.s:ofJthe T : middle ,of-Lake^Okee
'chobee: '. This /man's lot \ was \u25a0: under; S6 ;
feet • of .'.water.y and,':' besides, v-had: been"
pre-empted*; so ilong by ; the "alligators
and . gars .that ; his title '; looked = fishy.
; r : ''Naturally. ; the <:mari^' goes back '•'\u25a0 to
Chlcagojand X makes 'I It itist hot 'for; Xl
; f red » E.' j ßicks \ as r the morning ; after,' a
prediction 'off snow \u25a0\u25a0'\u25a0\u25a0 by th<^ ' weather
-bureau, 'r; Ricks'* defied;- the .allegation,"
;;but'Jhe ; .couldn'tV'deny ; the
\u25a0 One ; n»orningi the: papers*, came; out^with.
a ,; column ; about : 1 1, i. arid /Ricks % comes
out > by the ; fire "escape's ':. It f seems , th e
alleged .authorities-h ad beat him to
the e safe \ deposit ;> box li .whero.'? he -.- kept
his ; winnings," if and r Ricks ; has Hto ;,west-
ward, ho! i-withi o'nlyJ- feetwearV and a'
"dozen ;,; ,1 5 %'.' English; pokes * in : his ; sho"p^
ping bag. >? He I happened vto "have "some
mileage- left •inlhiajbook.f and that took
htm. as; far. 1 as- the Uown . In; the; wilder-'
: ness.v where he was spilled out ' on" me
; and; Bill;; Bassett as .Elijah lir^ with
riot- a raven; in 'sight ,for ' any. of :us;
, "Then this Alfred PJ.Ricks letsout a
; squeak "that he' is-: hungry, -too,, and
'passes up~the hypothesis that he is good
; for/ the value, let alonoj this ; price of a
meal. . Arid so' there^VaK.tlie three, of
us, : - representing, VlfJ-w^irjid a' mind to
'draw; syllogisms v and •parabolas, laWor
; arid nj trade . arid '£ capi tai.V*^ Now, "".when;
i trad e|has'rio"<:apjtal-:th"pi lejisn*1 ejisn*t r a -"'dicker:
to s be > -rriadp.VrAridt\Vh?h*'capital!has\no*
'^moneyjthere'sTa'stagnation in st<?ak and
\u25a0^onions. put' i t \u25a0up • to] tlio hian .with
the jlmriry. ; '!'" '-''[\u25a0'7.-i'- -'": .-.X: - \u25a0\u25a0
" "Brothor; bushrangers." says Bill
Bassett, • 'never.; yet ' -In i " trouble~dld ; I ;de^;
' sert '• »-; pal: , ;C Hard iby, i ln^ yon ;.wood," I
seem f,to-:f ,to - : see unfurnished -lodgings.:
L<jt ; ; us- go there arid Kwait; till fdark.'
,:' ''There c.was Y ari J 6ldldeserted|cabiri|ln:
the grove, ; and -wo" tlirce'\ took *; posses-j
,sion of, 'it. 'After.darkf ter.dark Bill I Bassett tellsi
s.us to wait and goes out for half >an hour.'
* He/ comes jbackrwith? a; armful of bread
" and y spareribs Sand ' ples.'^SßßßEiaßffijj
:. '~i 'VPanharidled Vem f at ' a farmhouse ; ori
'.Washita; avenue/ ; says he; . 'Eat, ; drink
and r be leafy.' ' " '; •; -'3pjg6flßH
; "The full ,'moon; was .coming up
; bright; iso * w» . sat ori i th o floor ; t>f the
cablri^and ~\ ate " in ' ; the - light ". btr~ It. V And ;
this Bill Bassett begins to brag.
.''/ Sometimes,' 'says he, - with ] his
mouth^fulPoflcountry produce, : 'l lose
all patience with you people; that", think
you ;: are ; higher-up JinHhe- profession
you 'do ; in : the present I emergency , to* set ;
ua on our feet again? -.Could you do It,
Rlckßyr.Vr^-.;-';~-v. --". ;^;^'^. ' -\u25a0' \u25a0\u25a0 .' \u25a0'\u25a0
'"'I :;, must ' confess, Mr.\ Bassett,' says
Ricks, speaking; nearly. lnaudible -out of
a , slice of ; pie, , 'that ; at 'this * immediate ',
Juncture] I -could 'not, perhaps,", promote
anVenterprise itolrelleve the situations
Larger operations*-'' such : as ";I.*direct,
naturally $ requiro S careful v preparation
in i advance. I—' : .] ' :^XBg&^^UUI^tM
"'I \u25a0 know,' \ Ricksy.V breaks .In Bill
Bassett'v-v'You needn't finish. \u25a0'..'\u25a0 You nee 3
$GOO /- to ? make i the " first : payment ; on -" a
blonde ; ; typewriter- and * four .• roomsf ul
of; quartered": oak furniture."^ And y you
need* $500"more^ for \u25a0< advertisingf;con
tracts.?;. And > you: need itwb\weeks*' time
for) the flshitoibegJnto bite. ? Your -line"
of relief would be about as useful in an
emergency ias ,: advocating • : municipal
ownership to cure a" man^auffocatedHby
;80 • i cent T gas. ."Arid your ; graft : ain't'
much /;.-;, swifter,' . : Brother ,'. Peters,' V he'
winds " uP'S^^^ShBBHHBB .'\u25a0\u25a0\u25a0-- \u25a0\u25a0'
' X" 'Oh,' • says ;I, ,'I haven" t seen you
'turn' anything; . into r. goid : .with your
wand • yet,tMr." Good \ Fairy. \u25a0 ; 'Most \ any-
vbody. cpuld } rub j th o ; magic ; ring/ f or^ a
II ttle i leftover '.victuals. 1 .
" 'That was only: getting the -pump-'
•kin ready/;; says : Bassett/ ,-bra'ffgy' and
i/cheerful. ;:»The*jcoach; and six'll- drive"
Jup tojthe door before you know, Jt,' Miss'
: Cinderella. ifs Maybe \u25a0;'. you' vo-: got' : some
i schemoTunderTypur sleeve holders- that
will^glye us'a I start/
' " 'Son,' . ; ; says p 1,7 Tm 15 years - older.
than i you . : are, • and young :: ; enough- to
-.yetitake; out ian'endowment^pol icy. I've
,-been-jbroke \u25a0 before.V We'can see the
lights ;o; of 'that 7towniiot half a mile
(awajvV^l^learned "under Montague;Sll
'ver>\the;greatest\street man : that ever
'' spoke f rom ; a >wagori.V There, arc.liun'i
dreds:of men walking 7 .those 'streets '-'tills
moment, with .."grtasoV »j.»ots; ori jhclr
clbthes^ r Giver me-a tga^uiine lamp, .a
» dry 'goods [box. Vand^a two-dollar^ bar. of
\u0084whiteTcastile;soaV;t:ut'iriuV-;uttlQ— r— '.'
: . " .'.Where's your -two "dollars?" snlck-
Jered;Biir Bassett 'into i.wy •, »liscour.-'«'.
-.There' was: no 7 use' arsuinpr -\vitli Jtln.-t
\ bu r gla>. ~ 7^^SBSbBSS^B^^sI^SS9S^
•• :"Xo,' - he ..g'oes ;nn: ."both
.babes : in. the. woods". .'-FJnaii';'^i has <,-«^.- f '''
the, mahogany; desk : ; ;i ritl ; f ;-vi i\c , has *. p utu t
,the? shutters ;\ip.~ y Both ; of; y-Tii I'iuk •to
labor to \u25a0. start th^ whof>lK . proliiß. '•- -,1-VU
"right. «v You "admit it; i.T.onlght.;!'!! ahow
you'what'Bill' Bassett;oan: do.'
"..'Bassett ' tells^me" a.iid ; ; Ricks; not to
leave the - cablh^;, till v-heV<'oni"eß^ back;
.even if, it's [daylight,"; and then* he .starts
• off *towardsitown, - iwhlstLlngvgay.'. \;
; "JThls ? Alfred jE., Ricks pulls off; hia
!' shoes 3 arid i hi s -_' coat, ' lay s^ a ) silk I hand-*
kerchief 'over c his.lhat;^and lays down
*onT the,: floor.'! 1 "' :**. ; ~t^'r - -
- ' " 'IfthlnkrlwilHendeavor to secure'a
llttlel slumber,',; he i squeaks. ; .'The \ day
; T fatlguhig." " Good ' night, my
rdear}MrrjPeters.v::;K"- : ".\u25a0'.i.-'-V'-. '-'•'. \u25a0 :,'.' ; ; ' X . v\u25a0 ," '
=-" ."/My 3. regards f to' Morpheus, *"-says'" I.
'I'think'rirsitiup'a^while.vV' , > J
:"About;2fo'clock, ! ;assnearia3;i;could
' guess V by^my^watch"; in \ Peavino,^ home
comes \ our,i laboring : man ' and \ kicks" up
The San Francisco Sunday Call.
Ricks and .calls us to the streak of
bright moonlight shining In the. cabin
door. Then he spreads out packages of
$1,000 each on the floor, and begins to
cackle over the nest egg- like a hen.
\u25a0:" 'I'll' tell you 'a' few about
that town/ says he. 'It's "named Rocky
;Springß,tand they're building a Masonic
temple, and it looks llko the democratic
candidate for "mayor is going < '-to"*, get
• soaked *by a ; npp. -. and : Judge ; Tucker's
.wjfe.vwho has oeen down with pleurisy.
Is some better. I had to talk on these
Itliputian. theslses before "I 'could get
a siphon In the fountain of knowledge
that I -was after. And there's : a , bank
there: called the' Lumberman'^ Fidelity
Plowman's- savingiT" lnstitution.- "" TltT It
closed vfor.v business yesterday with
523,000 cash on hand. It will open' this
inorn ing with $18,000— all silver— that*
: the ;'feaaoni I didn't bring more. There
,you are, trade and : capital. .. Now, will
you : be badr . r . .; . ' , :
4 . " 'My, young friend,' says Alfred E.
Ricks, holding up his hands, 'have you
robbed; this'bank? Dear me, dear- me!'
"'You couldn't call It that.' says
Bassettr. ",'Robblng" sounds harsh.
All I had to do was to find out what
street it was '.on. The ; town : was so
quiet that; l could stand on- the street
corner, and hear the tumblers clicking
'ln*.;that safe lock — "right to 45; left
twice to 80 ;- J right once: to 60; left to
l 15?-^-as plaln^as the Yale captain giv
ing, orders inlthe. football dialect. Now,
.boys,' -says? Bawett,- 'this :1s- an .'early
rising .town. , .They tell me the citizens
are all up and stirring before daylight.
I asked r what " for,' - and - they said . be
cause;; breakfast \u25a0> was ready ;- at that
time. ; And{what*6f merry Robin Hood?
It;must,be*jToicksl and; away with .the
tinkers*-; chorus, v I'll stake you..;; How
much do you*waatT Speak up" Capital.*
•^.'.VMy ;d 9 arj young , friend,',' says \ this
ground squirrel of a Ricks, standing on
his hind legs and Jußslinsr nut« In his
paws,-:/! "; have friends ... In • Denver -who
_would. assist; me.j If I had a hundred
1-^-' J. . " v
\u25a0 "Bassett unpins a package of the
currency and .throws' five .. twenties to
Rlcks/r --*:'\u25a0.;•; >: > : \u25a0 '• ": -'.v :\u25a0\u25a0 -•-:< " .
V " 'Trade,^ how muchV he. says'to m«.
. '"P4 l ; your" money ; - up, tabor," says L
'I never ? yet drew upon honest toil for
Its hard /earned pittance. 'The dollars
I get are surplus ones, that are burning
the^ pockets f of damfools - and* green
horns. *.When" I stand on a street; cor
ner and sell a solid gold diamond ring
,to; a*.yap,;for' $3,. I make Just $2.60.
And I know , he's going . to give it \u25a0' to
a- girl In -return for* all the - benefits
accruing from a $125 ring. His profits
are $12". Which /of us,: is the biggest
faker?*., / ;";-\u25a0 \u25a0; . • "".. : \u25a0\u25a0>- : "
" 'And I when'; you: sell a; poor woman
a "'; pinch {of ' sand ; for '50 ; cents ' toj^ keep
her, lamp ; from > exploding/ ; ; says " Baa
sett, '.'what ;do -you flgur* her* gross
earnings to be, with sand at 40 cents
" "Listen, 1 ; says 1.. 'I Instruct her. to
keep .• her lamp clean and well: filled.
If < she does that .'it can't And
with -the sand In tit she knows It can't,
and she don't worry.* *\u25a0
~E; Ricks all but licks the
dust off! of Bill Bassett's shoes.
r" Ily'dearj young frlend.V says he, 'I
will never, forget ' your ..' generosity.
Heavenywlll ; reward • you."!:.; But : let : me
Implore; you ,; to ' turn -from your ways
of; violence and crime.' ' \u0084'.\u25a0\u25a0\u25a0
O;'*<Mousie.V; says Bill; 'the hole infcthe
.wainscoting .< for, yours. v\Your dogmas
and". lnculcations ; sound to me like \u25a0 the
last -words •: of \u25a0; a \ bicycle pump.' -What
has your "high 1 moral; elevator service
systems, of pillage brought you- to?
Penuriousness ; and want Even Brother
Peters, who insists upon contaminating
thwart; of v_ robbery . w lth '- theories of
corrifnerce ; and trade, - admitted . he ' was
on itho Jltft. youlllve by.the
gilded", rule. Brother. Peters,' says Bill,
; 'you'd: better a slice of : - this ; em-
J&almed- currency, r You're welcome.* ' "
r*v"l ; told Bill Bassett once;more to put
his money ' in" bis ' pocket. I ' never had
the : respect for burglary .that 1 ; some
p^ple; have. *I always 'gave 'something
, for.; the.^ money I -'took,-- even if. it -was
only, some little trifle for a' souvenir Ito
' remind .'crh \ nn t -", to : : get : caught I again." '.'
"And \u25a0•\u25a0 then Alfred -E.\ Ricks 'grOvels
j'at 'Bill's feet again,- and : bids us adieu.
lle.rsays A he,-v/ill hire a team/ at a
Ifafnilious^r and; drive .to. the: station',be
low'"and take the train* for Denver. It
salubrin"ed;the atmosphere .when that
lamentable ;boll;worm- took his depart
ure. He Jwas a disgrace j to ' every ! non
industrial profession" in 'the country.
Wltlu oil :.'\u25a0 hisj : 'bigr; schemes' 'and ,'flne
offices lirhad'woundup unable even to
pt-t an. honest meal except, by the klnd
n<'t;a of a "strange and maybe 'unscrupu
•ibTisiburglar. 1 ; 1 was glad: to see him go.
rthougii .1 "felt a little' sorry. r for him.'
ik^a' .that"_lj«r'wasjrulned'f6rever.;; What
.couliJ; >ucli » "man Tdo" \u25a0'without! a.big
capital : lo work with? Why, Alfred, E.
Ricks, aa,,we' : .lof t him. was as helpless
]:ia.'. > . turtl'? on v its ; back. ' He ; couldn't
have tyorkod ; a scheme* to beat a 'little
girl out v of a" penny, slate pencil." -
. \u25a0"When nic anri Bill ;Ba?sett* was 'left
aloin: 7 1- did a \u25a0 little; sleight of hand turn
in my.' head .with a trade secretfat the
oml : of it.' \Thlnks , l, I'll "show ; this; Mr:
Burglar Man the ': difference between
: business :'a*hd labor. He had hurt some
'.of ."rhy^V professional self-adulation *;by
casting: his -"Persiana upon commerce
and' trade. \ r
; l "VI-, won't take any of your money as
a;gift;iMr.'Bassett.';:says Ijto :hlha.- 'but
'if you'll'; pay; my expenses a3 , a, tray- ;
.elingt;'companlon\until, we; get * out of
'the [danger,; zone :*of? the ; lmmoral deficit
\u25a0you'have; caugied in' this', town's finances
; tonight,^ I'lljbeobliged.' ; <;" ? /
; : "Bill jßtt3sett agreed to - that, and we
; hiked as; soon '\u25a0 as we h could
catch-, a] sa.fo' train." - ; .
\ "When Iwe got' to a town In Arizona
"called LosPerros I suggested that we
' once more try our luck. on terra cotta.
That was, the home of Montague Sil
ver, my old instructor, now retired
from business. I knew Monty would
stake me to web money If I could show ;
-him a fly buzzing 'round In the locality. ,
Bill Bassett said all towns looked alike .
to him, as be worked mainly in the
dark. So we got off the train in Los :
Perros, a. fine little town In the sliver
; region.
"I had an elegant little sure thing In
'the way of a commercial slungshot
that I intended to hit Bassett behind ;
the, ear with. I wasn't going to take,
'•his money while he was asleep, but I,
,was going to leave him with a lottery!
ticket that would represent In "expert-*
ence to him 15,755. r think that was
the amount he had when he got off:
the train. But the first time I hintetl ;
-to him about an Investment he turns*
on me and disencumbers himself of
the following terms and expressions: !
. \u2666 " "Brother Peters,* says he, 'It ain't a |
bad Idea to go Into an enterprise of j
'some kind, as you suggest. I think I,
: will. But if I do it will b,e sacb a cold;
proposition that nobody but Robert E. ;
Peary; and Charlie Fairbanks will be
able to sit on the board of directors." !
"'I thought you might want to turn 1
your money over,' says I.
-**1 do,' says he, 'frequently. I can't:
sleep on. one side all night. Til tell
you. Brother Peters.' says he, Tm ;
going to start a poker room. I don't ,
seem to care for the humdrum In
swindling, such as peddling egg beat- 1
ers and working off breakfast food on;
Barnum and Bailey for sawdust to
strew in their circus rings. But thai
gambling business,' says he, 'from the .
' profitable side of the table Is a good :
.compromise between "_ swiping silver
.spoons., and < selling, .penwipers at a'
"Waldorf -Astoria " charity.",bazaar.'
- "'Then,' "says 1. -'Mr. ; Bassett, you'
don't care to talk over my little busl- ',
-ness .proposition?*
" *Why/ says he, 'do you know, " you ;
can't gat a Pasteur institute to start!
up within 50 miles of where I live. I j
bite- so seldom.'
"So Bassett rents a room over a sa- 1
loon and looks around for soas furni
ture end chromos. Th«'sama night I)
went to Monty Silver's house and he let!
me have J2flO on my prospects. Thenj
I went to tee only store In Los Perrosi
that, sold playing cards and bought:
every deck in*- the. house. The next
morning v;hon tha itore opened Z was
there,-bringing all the cards back with?
me. I said that my. partner that wu
going to back me In the game had [
changed his mind, and T wanted, to sell
the cards back again. The storekeeper!
took;,'em;at half price.
-"Tes. I was $75.Ioser,tip to that time.!
But while I had the cards that night I!
• marked every one In every deck. Thati
was labor. And then ' trade and com- j*
meres had their, innings, and tha bread
, I had cast upon -the "waters began t»
: come back in the form of cotta s9 pud
ding with wine sauce.
"Of course I was among tha firtt to
buy chips at Bill Bassett's game. Ha
had bought .the only cards there was
to be had in town; and I knew the back
of every one of them better than 1
-know the back of my - bead when the'
barber shows me my haircut In tha two
"When the game closed I had ta» six
thousand and a few odd dollars, and all
Bill Bassett had was the wanderlust and
a blank cat he tad bought for a mascot.
Bill shook hand* with me when I left.
•"Brother Peters.' cays he, 1 have no
business being In business. I was pre
ordained'to labor. ...When a 2»o* 1 bur
glar tries to make a James out of his
•"Jimmy he perpetrates Jan Improfandlty.
You have a* well oiled .and efficacious
system of luck cards.' says he. "Peace
go with you.' And I v never afterward
sees Bill .Bassett again."
"Well, Jeff," said I. when the
lycan , adventurer soe-med to have di
vulged the gist of his tale, "I hopa you
took care of the money. That .would
be a :respeeta — that is a considerable
working .capital If you should choose **
/some* day to settle down to some sort
of regular business."
"Me?" said Jeff, virtuously. Tou
can bet I've^taken care of that six
; He* tapped . his coat over. the region
of his chest exultantly. .
TGold .mlningr stock," he explained.
"every, cent of It Shares par value $1.
Bound to go up 500" per cent within a
year. Nonassessable: The Blue Gopher
mine. Just « discovered a month ago.
Better get In yourself if you've any
spare dollars on hand."
"Sometimes," said I, "these mines ar»
. -"Oh. this one's solid- "STi an old goosW."
\u25a0 said -"Jeff. ,;."Fifty ".thousand dollars'
.worth of ore in sight and 1(T per cent
monthly ; earnings guaranteed." -
. He drew *a * long mvelopo from his
pock*st and cast it on tho. table..
"Always carry it with me," said he.
"So the burglar can't corrupt or " the
capitalist break in and water It." "
"I j looked at the beautifully engraved
certificate of stock.
1 "In ' Colorado, I see." said I.' "And,
by the way. Jeff, what was the name
; of? the little man who went to- Denver
: one. "you and Bill met at the '
station?" \u25a0
. " "Alfred E. Ricks." • said Jeff, "was th«
toad's "designation.", . ; •
"I see," .-• said I, "the president of
this company signs himself A.
•Lfc-Frederlcks. .l:was,wondering-^-" ' '
"Let me see : that stock." said Jeff "
quickly, almost snatching: it from me '
To • mitigate.*:' even r though alightly*
the embarrassment ,of .the moment I
) summoned . the ; waiter land 'ordered an
other bottle of. the Barbera. I . thought
jit was the leaat.l could do.

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