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|True Riches||T.S. Arthur|
|Page 5 of 7||
"It is easy to talk about making tens of thousands, Martin; but the fact itself is a more difficult matter."
"A fact is a fact, however, Mr. Jasper," said the other. "What is done, is done."
"It is a fact that money is made at the lead-mines, hand over fist," continued Martin. "Of this I am prepared to give you the strongest kind of evidence."
"Why should you be so anxious to convince me of this fact?" returned the merchant. "I have quite as many irons in the fire now as I can see to."
"Ah! That may be," said Martin, forcing to his rather hard features a bland smile. "But these new irons I will keep from burning."
"It's no use, Martin, to talk of lead-mines to me," said Jasper firmly. "I am spread out enough already. Contraction, not expansion, is my present motto. I've met with more than one heavy loss since I saw you."
"Have you, indeed? I'm sorry for that. But a false card will turn up now and then, you know. The game in the long run is sure."
"We're sure of nothing," replied Jasper, with considerable feeling.
"I wouldn't like to say that. Of course, all plans will not succeed; for man's judgment is far from possessing the virtue of infallibility. But human reason would be a poor endowment, did it not lead us, in most cases, to right conclusions, if we are careful in our modes of using this high faculty."
"The purpose of your visit to the East," said Jasper, who understood perfectly the man with whom he was dealing, and, therefore, determined to know at once the length and breadth of what he was expected to do, "is, I presume, to enlist some capitalists here in a lead-mining speculation?"
"My ideas do not extend quite that far," was Martin's answer. "Too many cooks, you are aware, sometimes spoil the broth. To come to the point at once, let me explain the purpose of my present journey to the East."
"Well; I am all attention."
"My fur-trade business, as I wrote you a year ago, turned out disastrously."
"After that, I opened a small store in one of the frontier towns, and I did very well, all things considered. But the gain was too slow to suit my ideas of things; so, meeting with a fair chance, I sold out, and bought a lead-mine, which I have been working ever since to good profit. Recently, I struck upon one of the richest veins ever discovered. If properly worked, it will yield a rapid fortune. But I have not sufficient capital to avail myself of the advantages offered, and have come on here to lay the matter before you, and to offer you a share in the business."
Jasper shook his head, saying--
"I have more business on my hands now, Martin, than I can possibly attend to."
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