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He asked what terms he could make. I told him they retailed for fifty cents each, but in order to secure the exclusive sale in his town he would have to pay the regular retail price for the first four hundred, after which he could have all he wanted at half that price.
He said he wouldn't care to invest more than one hundred dollars anyhow, and expressed a desire to see one of them.
"Well," said I, "I am always glad to do a man a favor, and I will run down town and bring one up to you."
I went immediately to where the gentleman was unpacking his sifters, and asked if he would be willing to sell two hundred and give the exclusive sale.
He refused to do so, and I saw there was little use in trying to persuade him, when I explained the nature of my case.
He said it wouldn't pay him to sell so few.
"Then I'll tell you what I'll do," said I. "You see if I was to sell two hundred at the price I have quoted, I'd make fifty dollars. Now if you will let me make the sale I'll give you half of my profits."
He agreed, and I returned to my victim and put the deal through in less than an hour, and pocketed twenty-five dollars--my share of the profits.
I then returned at once to my flavoring extract and sold over three dollars' worth that afternoon, making a clear profit of thirty-five dollars for my day's work.
I then joined Frank at Sturgis, and after settling up our affairs there, he left for Ohio with the understanding that I would meet him at Elmore three days later.
ARRIVING AT ELMORE, OHIO, STRANDED--RECEIVING EIGHT DOLLARS ON A PATENT-RIGHT SALE--DUNNED IN ADVANCE BY THE LANDLORD--CHANGING HOTELS--MY VISIT TO FREMONT--MEETING MR. KEEFER AND BORROWING MONEY--OUR VISIT TO FINDLAY--A BIG DEAL--LOSING MONEY IN WHEAT--FOLLOWED BY OFFICERS WITH A WRIT OF REPLEVIN--OUTWITTING THEM--A FOUR-MILE CHASE--HIDING OUR RIG IN A CELLAR.
I stopped at Bronson, where my wife and boy were visiting her people and in a couple of days we all started for Elmore, where we arrived bag and baggage without a cent.
My wife said she couldn't see why I should want her to accompany me when I was meeting with such poor success. I explained that it would possibly come very handy to have her Saratoga trunk along occasionally to help satisfy the landlords of our responsibility.
"O, I see you want to sort of p.a.w.n us, occasionally for hotel bills, don't you?"
"Well, yes," I answered, "it might be convenient to do so should we get cornered."
She said she didn't think she cared to be detained for hotel bills.
"Well, you wouldn't see a fellow starve would you?"
"No," she replied, "but if ever we _are_ p.a.w.ned I want you to try and redeem us as soon as possible."
We took quarters at one of the best hotels, and the next day after our arrival a young man came there selling ornamental stove-pipe hole covers made of plaster of paris.
I made his acquaintance at once and learned that he was from Battle Creek, Mich., where his father resided and owned a good property.
I asked his reason for engaging in that business. He said his father suggested it so that he would gain experience.
"Oh, I see, you are looking for experience."
"Yes, that's what I want."
"Well sir," I said, "you are in a poor business to get experience. You ought to get into the business I am in if you want experience."
"What is your business?" he asked. I then introduced my model and explained its merits.
He said he would like Calhoun County, Mich., and asked the price. I looked the map over and set the price at one hundred and fifty dollars.
He said he would like it, but hadn't money enough.
I asked how much he had.
After counting what he had he said eight dollars was all he could spare.
"Well, I will take the eight dollars and your note for one hundred and forty-two dollars, payable three months after date."
He agreed, and I made out the papers, receiving the cash and note.
This amount of money, though small, came just in the nick of time, because of the Saratoga-trunk scheme not proving a success. In less than one hour after I had made the deal, the landlord asked me to pay in advance. I immediately flew into a rage and demanded him to make out my bill for what we had had and receipt it in full, which he did, and I paid it with a flourish and with the air of a millionaire!
There was another hotel just across the street, and when our landlord happened to step out in front of his house and I noticed the landlord of the opposite house also standing outside of his door I at once took advantage of the situation and began to abuse my landlord at a terrible rate for his impertinence and cussed meanness and gave him to distinctly understand that he would lose boarders by the means.
I then called on the other landlord and explained how his compet.i.tor had shown his narrow ideas of running a hotel and how quickly he secured his pay after demanding it and then asked if he could give us accommodations. He said he could, and we moved at once.
The new proprietor proved to be our kind of a landlord. The next day Frank, who had stopped off at Toledo, came on and joined us.
We left my family there and went over to Fremont, where by accident we met Mr. Keefer and my mother.
They asked how we were progressing.
I explained everything and "just how it all happened."
My mother said she thought we had done splendidly. Mr. Keefer said: "It did beat the d----l."
I then called him one side and began negotiations for a hundred-dollar loan.
He explained that he was absolutely hard up, but would be glad to help me if he could.
I then reminded him that his signature at the bank would be all that was needed.
"Well," said he, "I believe you will come out all right some day, and I guess I'll sign with you if you think you can meet it."
We stepped into the bank and procured the money.
The next day Frank and I went over to Findlay where we met a man selling a patent washing machine. We there succeeded in effecting a trade in our patent, and also found a customer for a large sale on the washing machine, for which the agent paid us liberally.
The two trades netted us thirteen hundred dollars in cash and a fine horse, harness and carriage.
We then drove over to Elmore, where I had left my wife and boy. After leaving her money enough to convince her that she would not be p.a.w.ned that week we started the next day eastward, stopping at Fremont for supper about six o'clock.