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Twenty Years of Hus'ling Part 37

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This last assertion offended him very much, and he quickly gave me to understand that he was as much of a gintleman as I was and niver failed to moind his own business.

I told him that might be, but it was very strange to me how he should make such singular discoveries.

He then made a full explanation, and I overlooked it all.

[Illustration]

CHAPTER XXI.

THE DOCTOR SWINDLED--HOW WE GOT EVEN--DIAMOND CUT DIAMOND--THE DOCTOR PEDDLING STOVE-PIPE BRACKETS--HIS FIRST CUSTOMER--HIS MISHAP AND DEMORALIZED CONDITION--THE DOCTOR AND MYSELF INVITED TO A COUNTRY DANCE--HE THE CENTER OF ATTRACTION--THE DOCTOR IN LOVE WITH A CROSS-EYED GIRL--ENGAGED TO TAKE HER HOME--HIS PLAN FRUSTRATED--HE GETS EVEN WITH ME--WE CONCLUDE TO DIET HIM--THE LANDLADY RETURNS--DOES NOT KNOW THE HOUSE.

One day while I was up-town, marketing, the Doctor traded his old English gold watch and chain to a professional horse-trader, for another watch with all modern improvements. Immediately on my return he called me up-stairs, and said:

"Johnston, I have made enough on a single trade to pay me a good month's salary." And handing me the watch, said: "Look and see what an elegant thing it is. It cost the infernal fool three hundred and fifty dollars, and I got it even-up for my old-fashioned gold watch and chain."

I asked him what he valued his old watch and chain at. He said the chain would bring sixty dollars for old gold, and he didn't know what value to put on the watch. After examining it, I said:

"Well, Doctor, you made a big hit."

"Well, that's what I think," he shouted, as he hopped about in his usual frisky manner.

I again remarked:

"Yes sir, you did well. I once traded a horse and watch for a twin brother to this very watch, and mighty soon discovered that the auction price on them was three dollars and fifty cents each!"

He then flew into a rage, and cussed me and my judgment. I prevailed on him to accompany me to a jeweler, who placed the retail price at five dollars, and said it was a brass watch.

The Doctor declared he would have the fellow arrested; but I urged that the best way was to keep still, and not even let him know that he was sick of his bargain. He agreed to this, provided I would help him to get even with him in some way.

I promised I would.

The horse-trader didn't come near the hotel for a few days, and not until the Doctor had met him and treated him very nicely, thus entirely disarming him of suspicion.

One day a circus came to town, and with it a street-salesman carrying a stock of the very cheapest jewelry manufactured. He was unable to procure a license, and made no sales there. I bought from him twenty-five cents' worth of his goods. The Doctor took about half of my purchase, and wrapping them in tissue paper, put them carefully in his valise; and we awaited the arrival of our friend Sam, the horse-trader.

One evening we saw him hitching his horse outside, and made ready for him by beginning a very heated discussion concerning a deal we had been having in jewelry. As he entered we were in the hottest of it. The Doctor abused me, and I accused him of not living up to his agreement, and peremptorily demanded one hundred and sixty dollars in cash, or the return of the jewelry.

The Doctor said he couldn't pay the money under ten days, and refused to return the jewelry. Then I declared there would be a fight, unless he did one thing or the other on the spot. The Doctor then said he wouldn't disgrace himself by fighting, if he had to turn all the jewelry over to me, and got his valise at once and produced it, and my original bill to him. Sam stepped forward to examine it as I was taking a careful inventory to make sure it was all there.

I then casually remarked that I was going to see a certain man the next day, and trade it for a horse and buggy. Sam said:

"I'll trade you a nice horse and buggy for it."

"Where is your rig?" I asked.

"Outside here."

I stepped out, and after looking the horse and wagon over, said:

"I think that whole rig is worth one hundred and fifty dollars, and I'll trade for ten dollars boot."

Sam said he would look the jewelry over again, which he did. He then offered to trade even.

I refused to do that, but told him I would trade, if he would let me keep two of the rings. He offered to let me keep one ring. The trade hung for a few moments, and at last, seeing his determination, we consummated the trade and I drove the outfit to the barn.

The Doctor didn't sleep a wink that night, and the next morning wanted me to sell out at once, and divide the money.

But, seeing a chance to tantalize him, I said:

"Doctor, who do you want me to divide with?"

"With me," he shouted. "Whom do you suppose?"

"Well, thunderation! Doctor; it was my property we traded off. Why should I give you half the profits?"

"Great Heavens!" he screamed. "Think of it! One shilling's worth of property!"

Then he sizzled around for awhile, and said I was worse than Sam, the horse-shark; because Sam didn't practice beating his friends, and I did, according to that deal.

I offered the harness to the Doctor as his share of the deal. He refused, and abused me roundly, till I took him in as full partner on the whole thing.

The next day Sam came in the hotel, and handing me one of the rings that had turned perfectly black, asked me if that was one I traded him. I told him it looked like it in shape, but not in color. He asked if I had any more like it, but assured me that he was no squealer, and would never "kick" if I had traded him brass jewelry for his farm, only he simply wanted to know how badly he had been "done up." I showed him what I had, and gave them to him. He said he would take better care of that lot than he did the first, and would try and get even in some way.

A day or two later he came in, and asked what I had to trade. I told him I had a note of one hundred and forty-two dollars, past due, against a young man in Battle Creek, Michigan, which I had traded patent rights for, and I would trade it for a horse. He looked it over, and said he would think of it. A few days later he came in again and asked how I would trade the note for his horse standing outside. After looking the animal over, I offered to trade for twenty-five dollars. He said he would trade even, and a few minutes later we made the deal, and I took the animal to the stable.

The Doctor was more pleased over this trade than I was, and so much so that I began to think he expected a half interest in it, and asked him if he did.

He said he did not; but it pleased him to see me get the best of Sam, the horse-shark.

About ten days later, as the Doctor and I were going into the post office together, we met Sam just as he had opened a letter from Battle Creek, containing a draft for the full amount of the note with interest, all amounting to something near one hundred and fifty dollars. Sam said he had written to a banker there before he traded for the note, and ascertained it was all right.

The Doctor turned ghastly pale, and I came near fainting. To think that I had traded such a note for an old plug of a horse was sickening, especially when considering our circumstances.

One day a gentleman stopped at the hotel selling wire stove-pipe brackets. They were so constructed as to fasten around the pipe of the cook-stove, and make a very convenient shelf to set the cooking utensils on.

The Doctor took a particular liking to the man selling them, and lost no opportunity to speak a good word for the invention. One day he ventured the assertion that he could sell six dozen a day to the housekeepers of that town. I suggested that he start out at once.

He was insulted, and said he was in other business. I said a poor excuse was better than none and offered to wager the price of a new hat that he couldn't sell one in a week. He then offered to bet the cigars for the crowd that he could sell one to his washerwoman.

"Yes," I replied, "I suppose she would be glad to take cats and dogs for what you owe her."

That settled it, and he raked me right and left. He said I needn't judge him from my shirtless experience at Fort Wayne (which I had related to him), and that he always paid his wash bill. He then reminded me that only for him and his money a few weeks before, I would have gone without laundered shirts many a day.

"Yes," said I, "and only for me where would you be eating now?"

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Twenty Years of Hus'ling Part 37 summary

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