I put it all over Carter, who had made me a side bet of the dinners for the four of us that his individual score would be better than mine.
Miss Harding won an automobile which will cost not less than $15,000; I won fifty-six dozen golf balls, enough to last me two years; Carter lost a dinner which I thoroughly enjoyed, and Mr. Harding lost his temper, but I will give him credit for finding it the moment the game was over.
He laughed as if it were the greatest joke in the world.
“You threw me down, Kid,” he said to Miss Harding, “but I’ll forgive you. You get the buzz wagon and Smith gets a cartload of balls, but I’ll tell you one thing, and that is this: I’m going to learn how to hit one of those blamed balls in the nose every time I swipe at it, even if I have to resign the presidency of the R.G. & K. railroad.”
I can see that the golf microbe has marked him for a shining victim.
MR. SMITH GETS BUSY
I have had to neglect my golf and attend to business. For nearly a week I have not seen Miss Harding. And all on account of that miserable N.O. & G. stock.
Early in the week it dropped to more than ten points below the figure at which I purchased it. This meant a loss of $20,000.
Tuesday morning I called on my broker and he informed me that if N.O. & G. dropped two more points he would have to call on me for margins. There were rumours, he said, that it would pass its next dividend, or at least reduce it. Then I got busy.
I called on Jones, the kind friend who steered me against this investment. Jones informed me that certain powerful banking interests were raiding the stock. He could not identify them, and I saw that he knew nothing about it.
“We are the lambs, Smith,” he sadly said. “I’m in for a thousand shares myself.”
“They have not an ounce of my fleece yet,” I declared, and turned and left him.
I served two years on Wall Street under my father, and there was no streak of mutton in him. It made me furious to think that I should be made to “hold the bag” for a lot of unscrupulous tricksters.
I set about ascertaining the exact status of the business of the N.O. & G. In my search for information I was thwarted again and again, but I do not think it was entirely luck which led me to solve the mystery to my personal satisfaction. I employed detectives to assist me, and in four days had the information on which to act.
It is as neat a conspiracy as ever was hatched by financial brigands, but I think I know every tree behind which they are hid. It is probable that they are within the pale of the written law, but one would have the same right to operate in gold bricks or green goods.
It may be that the action I have taken will spell my financial ruin, but I propose to ascertain if a gentleman cannot take a modest flyer in Wall Street without being marked as “a come-on,” which is the term used by those who rig the market.