A DILETTANTE IN REAL ESTATE
Do not imagine that this man’s dreams of great and easy fortunes were mere idle fancies—far from it. He was nearly always engaged in negotiations for some big deal. One of his favorite pastimes was to hunt up large holdings of real estate offered for sale, go to the owners, represent himself as a real estate broker, and secure permission to put these properties on his “list.” This permission obtained, he would go about trying to find buyers. But his ideas of real estate values, of the adaptation of properties to purchasers, of the details of a real estate transaction and of salesmanship were so vague and so impractical that if he ever succeeded in selling a piece of real estate, we have not yet heard of it. He lacked the practical sense necessary to inform himself upon such important matters as taxes, assessments, insurance rates, trend of population, direction and character of commercial expansion, bank clearings, freight shipments, volume of retail and wholesale business, projected municipal and public service improvements, crop reports, output of manufacturies, and many other items which form the basis for intelligent negotiation, in a real estate deal. He could talk only in glittering generalities, and his suggestions were usually so impracticable that he failed to secure the confidence of those who were in a position to purchase properties so valuable as those he invariably hit upon for his ambitious projects.
AN UNDESERVED BAD REPUTATION
Here, then, was a man of unusual intelligence and capacity along theoretical, abstract, philosophical, and spiritual lines. His intentions were good. He was kindly, sympathetic, generous to a fault, refined, ambitious, high principled at heart and a thorough gentleman by birth, training, and instinct. Yet, because of a lack of clear knowledge, his life has been one of hardship, privation, disappointment, disillusionment, galling poverty, and utter failure. He has been subjected to ridicule and the even more blighting cruelty of good-natured, patronizing, contemptuous tolerance. His reputation is that of a lazy, good-for-nothing, disreputable dead beat and loafer. And yet, in a sense, nothing is further from the truth. Notwithstanding his many disappointments, no one could have been more sincere than he in believing that just around the corner fortune awaited him.