“I have owned Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific stock for more than three years. I commenced to buy at fifty-seven, and I am still buying, when I can get hold of a little money that doesn’t have to go into this blessed farm. It is now eighty-one, and it will go higher. I am so sure of this that I will agree to take the stock from each or all of you at the price you pay for it at any time during the next two years. There is no risk in this proposition to you, and there may be a very handsome return.”
They were pleased with the plan, and we formed a pool to buy thirty shares of stock. Thompson and I were trustees, and the certificate stood in our names; but each contributor received a pro-rata interest; Lena, one thirtieth; Judson, five-thirtieths; and the others between these extremes. The stock was bought at eighty-two. I may as well explain now how it came out, for I am not proud of my acumen at the finish. A little more than a year later the stock reached 122, and I advised the syndicate to sell. They were all pleased at the time with the handsome profit they had made, but I suspect they have often figured what they might have made “if the boss hadn’t been such a chump,” for we have seen the stock go above two hundred.
This was not the only enterprise in which our colony took a small share. The people at Four Oaks are now content to hold shares in one of the great trusts, which they bought several points below par, and which pay 13/4. per cent every three months. Even Lena, who held only one share of the C., R.I., & P. five years ago, has so increased her income-bearing property that she is now looked upon as a “catch” by her acquaintances. If I am correctly informed, she has an annual income of $105, independent of her wages.
THE DEATH OF SIR TOM
At 7.30 on the morning of March 16, Dr. High telephoned me that Sir Thomas O’Hara was seriously ill, and asked me to come at once. It took but a few minutes to have Jerry at the door, and, breasting a cold, thin rain at a sharp gallop, I was at my friend’s door before the clock struck eight. Dr. High met me with a heavy face.
“Sir Tom is bad,” said he, “with double pneumonia, and I am awfully afraid it will go hard with him.”
I remembered that my friend’s pale face had looked a shade paler than usual the evening before, and that there had been a pinched expression around the nose and mouth, as if from pain; but Sir Tom had many twinges from his old enemy, gout, which he did not care to discuss, and I took little note of his lack of fitness. He touched the brandy bottle a little oftener than usual, and left for home earlier; but his voice was as cheery as ever, and we thought only of gout. He was taken with a hard chill on his way home, which lasted for some time after he was put to bed; but he would not listen to the requests of William and the faithful cook that the doctor be summoned. At last he fell into a heavy sleep from which it was hard to rouse him, and the servants followed their own desire and called Dr. High. He came as promptly as possible, and did all that could be done for the sick man.