As you know, I keep a pretty close eye on the packing house, but on account of my rheumatism I don’t often go through the cellars. But along about this time we began to get so many complaints about our dry salt meats that I decided to have a little peek at our stock for myself, and check up the new cellar boss. I made for him and his gang first, and I was mightily pleased, as I came upon him without his seeing me, to notice how he was handling his men. No hollering, or yelling, or cussing, but every word counting and making somebody hop. I was right upon him before I discovered that it wasn’t the new foreman, but Mike, who was bossing the gang. He half ducked behind a pile of Extra Short Clears when he saw me, but turned, when he found that it was too late, and faced me bold as brass.
“A nice state you’ve let things get in while I was away, sorr,” he began.
It was Mike, the cellar boss, who knew his job, and no longer Mr. Shaughnessy, the millionaire, who didn’t know his, that was talking, so I wasn’t too inquisitive, and only nodded.
“Small wonder,” he went on, “that crime’s incr’asing an’ th’ cotton crop’s decreasing in the black belt, when you’re sendin’ such mate to the poor naygurs. Why don’t you git a cellar man that’s been raised with the hogs, an’ ’ll treat ’em right when they’re dead?”
“I’m looking for one,” says I.
“I know a likely lad for you,” says he.
“Report to the superintendent,” says I; and Mike’s been with me ever since. I found out when I looked into it that for a week back he’d been paying the new cellar boss ten dollars a day to lay around outside while he bossed his job.
Mike sold his old masters to a saloon-keeper and moved back to Packingtown, where he invested all his money in houses, from which he got a heap of satisfaction, because, as his tenants were compatriots, he had plenty of excitement collecting his rents. Like most people who fall into fortunes suddenly, he had bought a lot of things, not because he needed them or really wanted them, but because poorer people couldn’t have them. Yet in the end he had sense enough to see that happiness can’t be inherited, but that it must be earned.
Being a millionaire is a trade like a doctor’s—you must work up through every grade of earning, saving, spending and giving, or you’re no more fit to be trusted with a fortune than a quack with human life. For there’s no trade in the world, except the doctor’s, on which the lives and the happiness of so many people depend as the millionaire’s; and I might add that there’s no other in which there’s so much malpractice.
Your affectionate father,
From John Graham, at Mount Clematis, Michigan, to his son, Pierrepont, at the Union Stock Yards, Chicago. The young man has done famously during the first year of his married life, and the old man has decided to give him a more important position.