If Jefferson "Parleyvoo" Pickens had appeared in print just a few years later, he might have been the "Gentle Grifter" instead of the "Gentle Grafter", the name O. Henry picked for him. His situation as an ethical graft artist gives Jeff an extra impediment in pursuing his craft, but he never wanted it to be too easy. The result is fourteen delightful tales for us and a number of new partners for him. With those partners (he always has at least one) he works his way through a number of confidence games. Some they win, some they lose, some go into extra innings. They seem never to end just the way you figure they will. In the end he conquers almost all, except for the English language, which often seems to defeat him. (Intro by Leslie Walden)
First Page:THE GENTLE GRAFTER
Illustrated by H. C. Greening and May Wilson Preston
[Illustration: "They began to cuss, amiable, and throw down dollars." (Frontispiece)]
I. The Octopus Marooned II. Jeff Peters as a Personal Magnet III. Modern Rural Sports IV. The Chair of Philanthromathematics V. The Hand That Riles the World VI. The Exact Science of Matrimony VII. A Midsummer Masquerade VIII. Shearing the Wolf IX. Innocents of Broadway X. Conscience in Art XI. The Man Higher Up XII. A Tempered Wind XIII. Hostages to Momus XIV. The Ethics of Pig
THE OCTOPUS MAROONED
"A trust is its weakest point," said Jeff Peters.
"That," said I, "sounds like one of those unintelligible remarks such as, 'Why is a policeman?'"
"It is not," said Jeff. "There are no relations between a trust and a policeman. My remark was an epitogram an axis a kind of mulct'em in parvo. What it means is that a trust is like an egg, and it is not like an egg. If you want to break an egg you have to do it from the outside. The only way to break up a trust is from the inside... Continue reading book >>
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