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The Tipster 1901, From "Wall Street Stories"   By: (1871-1943)

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By Edwin Lefevre

From "Wall Street Stories." Copyright, 1901, by McClure, Phillips & Co.


Glmartin was still laughing professionally at the prospective buyer's funny story when the telephone on his desk buzzed. He said: "Excuse me for a minute, old man," to the customer Hopkins, the Connecticut manufacturer.

"Hello; who is this?" he spoke into the transmitter. "Oh, how are you? Yes I was out Is that so? Too bad Too bad Yes; just my luck to be out. I might have known it! Do you think so? Well, then, sell the 200 Occidental common You know best What about Trolley? Hold on? All right; just as you say I hope so I don't like to lose, and Ha! ha! I guess so Good by."

"It's from my brokers," explained Gilmartin, hanging up the receiver. "I'd have saved five hundred dollars if I had been here at half past ten. They called me up to advise me to sell out, and the price is off over three points. I could have got out at a profit this morning; but no, sir; not I. I had to be away, trying to buy some camphor."

Hopkins was impressed. Gilmartin perceived it and went on, with an air of comical wrath which he thought was preferable to indifference: "It isn't the money I mind so much as the tough luck of it. I didn't make my trade in camphor after all and I lost in stocks, when if I'd only waited five minutes more in the office I'd have got the message from my brokers and saved my five hundred. Expensive, my time is, eh?" with a woful shake of the head.

"But you're ahead of the game, aren't you?" asked the customer, interestedly.

"Well, I guess yes. Just about twelve thousand."

That was more than Gilmartin had made; but having exaggerated, he immediately felt very kindly disposed toward the Connecticut man.

"Whew!" whistled Hopkins, admiringly. Gilmartin experienced a great tenderness toward him. The lie was made stingless by the customer's credulity. This brought a smile of subtle relief to Gilmartin's lips. He was a pleasant faced, pleasant voiced man of three and thirty. He exhaled health, contentment, neatness, and an easy conscience. Honesty and good nature shone in his eyes. People liked to shake hands with him. It made his friends talk of his lucky star; and they envied him.

"I bought this yesterday for my wife; took it out of a little deal in Trolley," he told Hopkins, taking a small jewel box from one of the desk's drawers. It contained a diamond ring, somewhat showy, but obviously quite expensive. Hopkins's semi envious admiration made Gilmartin add, genially: "What do you say to lunch? I feel I am entitled to a glass of 'fizz' to forget my bad luck of this morning." Then, in an exaggeratedly apologetic tone: "Nobody likes to lose five hundred dollars on an empty stomach!"

"She'll be delighted, of course," said Hopkins, thinking of Mrs. Gilmartin. Mrs. Hopkins loved jewelry.

"She's the nicest little woman that ever lived. Whatever is mine is hers; and what's hers is her own. Ha! ha! But," becoming nicely serious, "all that I'll make out of the stock market I'm going to put away for her, in her name. She can take better care of it than I; and, besides, she's entitled to it, anyhow, for being so nice to me."

That is how he told what a good husband he was. He felt so pleased over it that he went on, sincerely regretful: "She's visiting friends in Pennsylvania or I'd ask you to dine with us." And they went to a fashionable restaurant together.

Day after day Gilmartin thought persistently that Maiden Lane was too far from Wall Street. There came a week in which he could have made four very handsome "turns" had he but been in the brokers' office. He was out on business for his firm and when he returned the opportunity had gone, leaving behind it vivid visions of what might have been; also the conviction that time, tide, and the ticker wait for no man. Instead of buying and selling quinine and balsams and essential oils for Maxwell & Kip, drug brokers and importers, he decided to make the buying and selling of stocks and bonds his exclusive business... Continue reading book >>

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