In the end “Nopper” consented to follow Brewster’s advice, and it was agreed that they should share equally all that resulted from his prospecting tour. Brewster “grub-staked” him for a year, and before the end of the week a new tenderfoot was on his way to the Rocky Mountains.
THE PRODIGAL AT SEA
Harrison’s departure left Brewster in sore straits. It forced him to settle down to the actual management of his own affairs. He was not indolent, but this was not the kind of work he cared to encourage. The private accounts he had kept revealed some appalling facts when he went over them carefully one morning at four o’clock, after an all-night session with the ledger. With infinite pains he had managed to rise to something over $450,000 in six months. But to his original million it had been necessary to add $58,550 which he had realized from Lumber and Fuel and some of his other “unfortunate” operations. At least $40,000 would come to him ultimately through the sale of furniture and other belongings, and then there would be something like $20,000 interest to consider. But luck had aided him in getting rid of his money. The bank failure had cost him $113,468.25, and “Nopper” Harrison had helped him to the extent of $60,000. The reckless but determined effort to give a ball had cost $30,000. What he had lost during his illness had been pretty well offset by the unlucky concert tour. The Florida trip, including medical attention, the cottage and living expenses, had entailed the expenditure of $18,500, and his princely dinners and theater parties had footed up $31,000. Taking all the facts into consideration, he felt that he had done rather well as far as he had gone, but the hardest part of the undertaking was yet to come. He was still in possession of an enormous sum, which must disappear before September 23d. About $40,000 had already been expended in the yachting project.
He determined to begin at once a systematic campaign of extinction. It had been his intention before sailing to dispose of many household articles, either by sale or gift. As he did not expect to return to New York before the latter part of August, this would minimize the struggles of the last month. But the prospective “profit” to be acquired from keeping his apartment open was not to be overlooked. He could easily count upon a generous sum for salaries and running expenses. Once on the other side of the Atlantic, he hoped that new opportunities for extravagance would present themselves, and he fancied he could leave the final settlement of his affairs for the last month. As the day for sailing approached, the world again seemed bright to this most mercenary of spendthrifts.