“If you think so, Mr. Morgan, I will leave in your hands three thousand dollars for investment in other lots. This will leave me, including my profits from the business during my absence, nearly three thousand dollars more, which I shall take East and invest there.”
“I will follow your instructions, Joe, and predict that your real estate investments will make you rich sooner than you think.”
“Joe,” said Bickford, “I’ve a great mind to leave half of my money with Mr. Morgan to be invested in the same way.”
“Do it, Mr. Bickford. That will leave you enough to use at home.”
“Yes—I can buy a farm for two thousand dollars and stock it for five hundred more. Besides, I needn’t pay more than half down, if I don’t want to.”
“A good plan,” said Joe.
“Mr. Morgan, will you take my money and invest it for me just like Joe’s? Of course I want you to take a commission for doing it.”
“With pleasure, Mr. Bickford, more especially as I have decided to open a real estate office in addition to my regular business. You and Joe will be my first customers. I shouldn’t wonder if the two or three thousand dollars you leave with me should amount in ten years to ten thousand.”
“Ten thousand!” ejaculated Joshua, elated. “Won’t I swell round Pumpkin Holler when I’m worth ten thousand dollars!”
Six days later, among the passengers by the steamer for Panama, were Joseph Mason and Joshua Bickford.
JOE’S WELCOME HOME
On arriving in New York both Joe and Mr. Bickford bought new suits of clothes. Mr. Bickford purchased a blue dress suit, resplendent with brass buttons, and a gold watch and chain, which made a good deal of show for the money. His tastes were still barbaric, and a quiet suit of black would not have come up to his idea of what was befitting a successful California miner.
He surveyed himself before the tailor’s glass with abundant satisfaction.
“I guess that’ll strike ’em at home, eh, Joe?” he said.
“You look splendid, Mr. Bickford.”
“Kinder scrumptious, don’t I?”
“I say, Joe, you’d better have a suit made just like this.”
Joe shuddered at the thought. In refinement of taste he was decidedly ahead of his friend and partner.
“I’m going to buy a second-hand suit,” he said.
“What!” ejaculated Joshua.
“I knew you’d be surprised, but I’ll explain. I want people to think at first that I have been unlucky.”
“Oh, I see,” said Joshua, nodding; “kinder take ’em in.”
“Just so, Mr. Bickford.”
“Well, there is something in that.”
“Then I shall find out who my true friends are.”
* * * * *