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A Deal in Wheat and Other Stories of the New and Old West   By: (1870-1902)

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A DEAL IN WHEAT

And Other Stories Of The New And Old West

By FRANK NORRIS

Illustrated by Remington, Leyendecker, Hitchcock and Hooper

1903

[Illustration: "'Sell A Thousand May At One Fifty,' Vociferated The Bear Broker"]

CONTENTS

A Deal in Wheat

The Wife of Chino

A Bargain with Peg Leg

The Passing of Cock Eye Blacklock

A Memorandum of Sudden Death

Two Hearts That Beat as One

The Dual Personality of Slick Dick Nickerson

The Ship That Saw a Ghost

The Ghost in the Crosstrees

The Riding of Felipe

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

"'Sell a Thousand May at One Fifty,' Vociferated the Bear Broker"

Caught in the Circle. The last stand of three troopers and a scout overtaken by a band of hostile Indians.

"'Ere's 'Ell to Pay!"

"'My Curse Is on Her Who Next Kisses You'"

A DEAL IN WHEAT

I. THE BEAR WHEAT AT SIXTY TWO

As Sam Lewiston backed the horse into the shafts of his backboard and began hitching the tugs to the whiffletree, his wife came out from the kitchen door of the house and drew near, and stood for some time at the horse's head, her arms folded and her apron rolled around them. For a long moment neither spoke. They had talked over the situation so long and so comprehensively the night before that there seemed to be nothing more to say.

The time was late in the summer, the place a ranch in southwestern Kansas, and Lewiston and his wife were two of a vast population of farmers, wheat growers, who at that moment were passing through a crisis a crisis that at any moment might culminate in tragedy. Wheat was down to sixty six.

At length Emma Lewiston spoke.

"Well," she hazarded, looking vaguely out across the ranch toward the horizon, leagues distant; "well, Sam, there's always that offer of brother Joe's. We can quit and go to Chicago if the worst comes."

"And give up!" exclaimed Lewiston, running the lines through the torets. "Leave the ranch! Give up! After all these years!"

His wife made no reply for the moment. Lewiston climbed into the buckboard and gathered up the lines. "Well, here goes for the last try, Emmie," he said. "Good by, girl. Maybe things will look better in town to day."

"Maybe," she said gravely. She kissed her husband good by and stood for some time looking after the buckboard traveling toward the town in a moving pillar of dust.

"I don't know," she murmured at length; "I don't know just how we're going to make out."

When he reached town, Lewiston tied the horse to the iron railing in front of the Odd Fellows' Hall, the ground floor of which was occupied by the post office, and went across the street and up the stairway of a building of brick and granite quite the most pretentious structure of the town and knocked at a door upon the first landing. The door was furnished with a pane of frosted glass, on which, in gold letters, was inscribed, "Bridges & Co., Grain Dealers."

Bridges himself, a middle aged man who wore a velvet skull cap and who was smoking a Pittsburg stogie, met the farmer at the counter and the two exchanged perfunctory greetings.

"Well," said Lewiston, tentatively, after awhile.

"Well, Lewiston," said the other, "I can't take that wheat of yours at any better than sixty two."

"Sixty two ."

"It's the Chicago price that does it, Lewiston. Truslow is bearing the stuff for all he's worth. It's Truslow and the bear clique that stick the knife into us. The price broke again this morning. We've just got a wire."

"Good heavens," murmured Lewiston, looking vaguely from side to side. "That that ruins me. I can't carry my grain any longer what with storage charges and and Bridges, I don't see just how I'm going to make out. Sixty two cents a bushel! Why, man, what with this and with that it's cost me nearly a dollar a bushel to raise that wheat, and now Truslow "

He turned away abruptly with a quick gesture of infinite discouragement... Continue reading book >>




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