December 9, 2019

Supply and Demand part 6

“‘Tell ’em, says I to McClintock, ‘it ain’t money I want tell ’em I’ll take gold-dust. Tell ’em I’ll allow ’em sixteen dollars an ounce for it in trade. That’s what I’m out for the dust.’

“Mac interprets, and you’d have thought a squadron of cops had charged the crowd to disperse it. Every uncle’s nephew and aunt’s niece of ’em faded away inside of two minutes.

“At the royal palace that night me and the King talked it over.

“ ‘They’ve got the dust hid out somewhere,’ says I, ‘or they wouldn’t have been so sensitive about it.’

“ ‘They haven’t,’ says Shane.‘ What’s this gag you’ve got about gold? You been reading Edward Allen Poe? They ain’t got any gold.’

“‘They put it in quills,’ says I, ‘and then they empty it in jars, and then into sacks of twenty-five pounds each. I got it straight.’

“‘W. D.,’ says Shane, laughing and chewing his cigar, ‘I don’t often see a white man, and I feel like putting you on. I don’t think you’ll get away from here alive, anyhow, so I’m going to tell you. Come over here.’
“He draws aside a silk fiber curtain in a corner of the room and shows me a pile of buckskin sacks.

Gold-dust

“ ‘Forty of ’em,’ says Shane. ‘One arroba in each one. In round numbers, $220,000 worth of gold-dust you see there. It’s all mine. It belongs to the Grand Yacuma. They bring it all to me. Two hundred and twenty thousand dollars think of that, you glass-bead peddler,’ says Shane ‘and all mine.’

“ ‘Little good it does you,’ says I, contemptuously and hatefully. ‘And so you are the government depository of this gang of moneyless moneymakers? Don’t you pay enough interest on it to enable one of your depositors to buy an Augusta (Maine) Pullman carbon diamond worth $220 for $4.85?’
“‘Listen,’ says Patrick Shane, with the sweat coming out on his brow. ‘I’m confident with you, as you have, somehow, enlisted my regards. Did you ever,’ he says, ‘feel the avoirdupois power of gold not the troy weight of it, but the sixteen-ounces-to-the-pound force of it?’

“‘Never,’ says I. ‘I never take in any bad money.’

“Shane drops down on the floor and throws his arms over the sacks of gold-dust.

“‘I love it,’ says he. ‘I want to feel the touch of it day and night. It’s my pleasure in life. I come in this room, and I’m a king and a rich man. I’ll be a millionaire in another year. The pile’s getting bigger every month. I’ve got the whole tribe washing out the sands in the creeks. I’m the happiest man in the world, W. D. I just want to be near this gold, and know it’s mine and it’s increasing every day. Now, you know,’ says he, ‘why my Indians wouldn’t buy your goods. They can’t. They bring all the dust to me. I’m their king. I’ve taught ’em not to desire or admire. You might as well shut up shop.’

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