“Why do you wish to sell out?” asked Morgan.
“I want to go to the mines. I need an out-of-door life and want a change.”
“Does this business pay?”
“Sometimes I have made seventy-five dollars profit in a day.”
“How much do you ask for the business?”
“I’ll take five hundred dollars, cash.”
“Have you a reliable cook?”
“Yes. He knows his business.”
“Will he stay?”
“For the present. If you want a profitable business, you will do well to buy.”
“I don’t want it for myself. I want it for this young man.”
“For this boy?” asked the restaurant-keeper, surprised.
Joe looked equally surprised.
JOE STARTS IN BUSINESS
“Do you think you can keep a hotel, Joe?” asked Morgan.
“I can try,” said Joe promptly.
“Come in, gentlemen,” said the restaurant-keeper.
“We can talk best inside.”
The room was small, holding but six tables. In the rear was the kitchen.
“Let me see your scale of prices,” said Morgan.
It was shown him.
“I could breakfast cheaper at Delmonico’s,” he said.
“And better,” said the proprietor of the restaurant; “but I find people here willing to pay big prices, and, as long as that’s the case, I should be a fool to reduce them. Yes, there’s a splendid profit to be made in the business. I ought to charge a thousand dollars, instead of five hundred.”
“Why don’t you?” asked Morgan bluntly.
“Because I couldn’t get it. Most men, when they come out here, are not content to settle down in the town. They won’t be satisfied till they get to the mines.”
“That seems to be the case with you, too.”
“It isn’t that altogether. My lungs are weak and confinement isn’t good for me. Besides, the doctors say the climate in the interior is better for pulmonary affections.”
“What rent do you have to pay?”
“A small ground-rent. I put up this building myself.”
“How soon can you give possession?”
“Will you stay here three days, to initiate my young friend into the mysteries of the business?”
“Oh, yes; I’ll do that willingly.”
“Then I will buy you out.”
In five minutes the business was settled.
“Joe,” said Morgan, “let me congratulate you. You are now one of the business men of San Francisco.”
“It seems like a dream to me, Mr. Morgan,” said Joe. “This morning when I waked up I wasn’t worth a cent.”
“And now you own five hundred dollars,” said Mr. Morgan, laughing.
“That wasn’t exactly the way I thought of it, sir, but are you not afraid to trust me to that amount?”
“No, I am not, Joe,” said Morgan seriously. “I think you are a boy of energy and integrity. I don’t see why you shouldn’t succeed.”