In the morning, and with the bright September sunshine streaming into the room, his disquietude of the previous night seemed rather foolish. No doubt Miss Martha had been mistaken; perhaps Horatio had not had any idea of buying her shares. Martha herself seemed a little doubtful.
“I’ve been thinkin’ it over,” she said, “and I wonder if I just imagined that’s what he was after. It seems almost as if I must have. I can’t think of any sensible reason why a man who was so dreadfully anxious to sell, and only a little while ago, should be wantin’ to buy now. Perhaps he didn’t mean anything of the kind.”
Galusha comforted himself with the thought that this was, in all probability, the truth: Miss Martha had misinterpreted the Pulcifer purpose; Raish had not meant anything of the kind.
But the comfort was short-lived. A few days later Doctor Powers called at the Phipps’ home. After he had gone Martha came to the sitting room, where her lodger was reading the paper, and, closing the door behind her, said:
“Mr. Bangs, I guess I was right, after all. Raish Pulcifer was hintin’ at buyin’ my Wellmouth Development stock.”
Galusha dropped the paper in his lap. “Oh, dear! I—I mean, dear me!” he observed.
“Yes, I guess there isn’t much doubt of it. Doctor Powers came here to tell me that he had sold his shares to him and that Eben Snow and Jim Henry Willis have sold theirs in the same place. He says he doesn’t know for certain, but he thinks Raish has bought out all the little stockholders. He’s been quietly buyin’ the Development stock for the last week.”
Mr. Bangs took off his spectacles and put them on again.
“Good gracious!” he stammered.
“That’s what Doctor Powers says. He stopped in, just as an old friend, to drop the hint to me, so that I could be ready when Raish came to buy mine. I asked him what the Pulcifer man was payin’ for the stock. He said as little as he had to, as near as he could find out. Of course, no one was supposed to tell a word about it— Raish had asked ’em not to do that—but somebody told, and then it all began to come out. As a matter of fact, you might as well ask water to run up hill as to ask Jim Willis to keep quiet about his own business or keep out of any one else’s. The price paid, so the doctor says he’s heard, runs all the way from eight dollars a share up to fourteen and a half. Poor old Mrs. Badger—Darius Badger’s widow—got the eight dollars. She was somethin’ like me, I guess— had given up the idea of ever gettin’ a cent—and so she took the first offer Raish made her. Eben Snow got the fourteen and a half, I believe, the highest price. He needed it less than anybody else, which is usually the way. Doctor Powers sold his for twelve and a half. Said he thought, when he was doin’ it, that he was mighty lucky. Now he wishes he hadn’t sold at all, but had waited. ‘Don’t sell yours for a penny less than fifteen, Martha,’ he told me. ‘There’s somethin’ up. Either Raish has heard somethin’ and is buyin’ for a speculation, or else he’s actin’ as somebody else’s agent.’ What did you say, Mr. Bangs?”