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About Will Maupin's weekly. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1911-1912 | View Entire Issue (Oct. 11, 1912)
The Corrector of Destinies
yflj(f BeiacTaleaot RktMaso a Related by
llfi Hl Private Secretary, Cowtlaad Parka 5?Srr
SI! The LAND PIRATE jjgif
j-jj By Muh-W Davisson Post j-J-J-.
Reform, tt vtwM seem, only cause J
the devil to Ck( bis clothes, Tke
advance C clvUisatioe Is prcsvesa
ta disguises; the agents by which the
Enrrar ot the Hoot carries oo hta
gentle arts are always costumed ap
propriately to the titans, bat the
agents themselves ren&aia tbe same.
Ft example, would yea find again th
rree-booiers, huil o oag ago at
the Ttrdrav, yon have but to look
closely at the finaaclal Btmtw that
flood the aaails.
Usaalty. the mi ot average sense
m tastaatty bis finger oa the
treed hiddea aader tbe glittering
promise; but sow and tbea ob comes
across eo-celled fiaanctal proposi
ttoa so fair. so at about with uurjes
tJoaable afegwards. that tb keenest
scrutiny caeaot discover ta tt a poe
aiblttty or toss, The are tbe scaemea
or tbo great mastery disguised sloops
or KMd, Mors aad Bonnet.
I found rack a scheme odo diy to
a letter among my awit. aad bvid tt
ea my tab) aader the tak-pet, Una
Ik tatt tashJoa:
T Baa heaU tb va3. Te aeft
seeoeattawa ever av4 t tatvester. V
r cHMr t f
t W Vfefcm CUwMn4 CWaiag
wir ttma wantikM eaaxtwtinw; Tw
en-. v . of ver i 8o
ye ewe wedft to t IrUcw Km
ot Draainc. a. croaV ot riM. la
WmliJ yee to seer aaa beat ay
yrxa. To atae get the eatvtacat.
Ta ker bk xaafty to year w
a Ijik Wo oak ealjr that ywe tot
war e Ma Cty ta CMttOeoto ot
bnil yoo jr a Ku o
M OMoaoajT baa aoi4 to yao. to
Orrtatiaa a w atock. aoaa ooal to
too ataot ot ror Oiiwwt That t
tt oatsr aiwdc wk tw ta aaur aaartt
orMcO a o awttXt o ao Too kf
yw naty oalMjr oo otaoart wta aata
ot ta ma.Nl. koatta to Aiitka ai4. at
o aaaa tl u aaak too a(t ot tovrae.
OMt oot ot mOicO JaOo IX ltckMhr
Owiaaa rtcOae. aao fca taa wm
Oth toiar w aor oaitrI tftao.
TO t"io OcuaatAat4 Otl OMMfoaj.
S4frM boo BMbp. nnaViis, fo
I 'oaa bM ao4 by tMs sirik-
t&s iTMossiUMa, It aoac4 to bo
rait4 orltb u jo ooly to tbo pro
btctioai ot tbo tBTstor, tt tt b4 taib
4 to mum tbo baak to KbScb tbo
road ororo to bo dopositod. or b4
OBM4 ooo of a. lo?r ctaodori, I
ftoulJ ta$tati bavo 49bt4 tts
oc4 taith: bet tbo IMUea baok ot
Pitt bare -vaa -ooU ratoJ; tt b4
coptt ot fivo cjU!tocs; tts stoekboMh
ora r tor tbo Most Prt. wea vbo
bo4 iaJo torttiMa ta tho oil CcMs ot
ostrm INeeBsytvmaUk It oaturaV
ty tbo back vbicb vb a company
w-o!4 oo)t. Wboro tba "was tbo
taw? Wbat a4Taataso 4ji sack
3a offer to this oompaay? Tbo
atoaoy aot pa!d to tt. but to a
responsible baak oa dopo&tt to tbo to
tor,a credit; tbo company cooi4
aot cot tt. Tbo aioaoy o-col4 bo ro
ta rood by tbo baak. anloss aa oqwal
aat ooro paid by tbo company to tbo
otockkoldoro. It orottM. todeod. bo 4
acatt to oevteo a safer acbomo. Al
aaost any oao would specoiato aader
oocb coadttioaa: tt was reatOTtac tbo
totooat ot cbaaeo troa tbo taxBo. and
yet bore OTMoatly veto tarso nat
oxpeodod ta oxptcttatioa. Surety
otoptloa was ktddea ooBaowkoro
tboro. so tbo circular fascinated no
tlko a paco ot ponies. It lay master
ay oyo for a week: tboa I dropped tt
lata a ptreockolo ot tbo desk.
Two year biter CaptataKcger Sbe-
toa coUod to see Raadotpa Kasoa.
baro rarely aset a aaaa so aptly cast
for bis part as tab Captaia Skottoa.
Ho was tail, sonaewbat aaeeeaiy tt
teaed. dotbed ta Ubt worsted, wttb a
atyto ot coat prortaclalty catted ct
away, always kept bottoaed. a top
bat aad very sbiay patent leatbers.
His oyoa woro atert aad b!s speeck
rapid aad. perswastTo. Hs caootk.
aowoTor, was looso ta tko aoder Up
tko. real Cfeptaia Sbettoa Oyias there
- bis sisaal. His aaaaaer tended quick
ly to ostabSsb rolatioas ot aaaiabio
feUowsbtp; bo stroro tor tbat wttb. a
eertata breoty traakaess.
Scmo oao oa lower Broadway bad
oert btaa to Raadolpb Masoa. Ho
ootred a Buto asaistaaco. bo explain
ed, ot a bostaeoa ratber tbaa ot
tecat aatoro. Ho bad struck a bard
place ta a trad. It bo coo Id cot over
tt. bis fortaeo was ostabtUbed.
Tbo captaia eeemed aa Ideal pro-
xaoter. Ho etroTO. wttb ao slight cub-
aias. to tBrora himself tbrousb aao
about Raadolpb Mason. Ho led to bis
queries always by two roads, like a
coraanaader ot infantry; wbea ooo
was ftmad ruarded. bo crossed quick
ly to tbo other. I think, too. tbat bis
kjtowledgo ot men was fairly accurate.
tor. wbea bo came, presently, before
Randolph Slasoa himself, bis manner
perceptibly changed, tbo "hall fellow
vaaUbed. bo stated bis business wttb
a certaia approacb to dignity, aad tt
waa only wbea tbo "murder." so to
speak, was oat. tbat tbo real man
cam visibly to tbo surface.
Raadolpb Mason gave tbo Fwinsyl
- vaaiaa ctoso attention. Ho led bim
almost oersuaslrely into detail. Ho
unearthed hero and there a covered
port ton ot bis story until tbo aaturo
ot tbo affair cam wholly Into day
light. Tbo art ot subtle Inquiry, ta tko
uso ot whicb Sbeltoa bad a certaia
akiU. was turned masterfully against
bits, and ao aaobtruslvely that eack
elicited fearuro seemed to follow
some voluntary statoaaeat like aa ia-
Captaia Skottoa bad. latoadod to
&vo sucb oleoaeats ot bis story as bo
dad accessary to bis end; but
under bis baadting by Raadolpb Ma
aoa bo was aaablo to stop at bis owa
xaarked points. Wbea bo laid bis
baads oa a protrudias limb ot bis
story bo sotuebow astoaisbi&siy drew
up witb it tbo wbole biddea body. Tbo
point apoa wbtcb bo visited aid, bad
ly put las bo bad tntoadedt. was com
mon place eoouch. Ho bold tea thou
sand acres f la ad aader oil leases,
tyias solidly ta a paranelcsram wttb
tko exception ot two tracts ot nine
buadred aax ; hundred acres re
spectively. Ttrtst, two tracts woro
owned by two directors ot a certaia
savtass baak ta New Knclaad. Tbo
tersor tract bo did aot want, but tbo
atao-buadred-acro tract bo rreatty
wisbed; tt was tbo only territory ot
tbo wbolo block tyias; ta bis opinion.
abovo oiKbeariae strata. Ho exhibited
a map skowias ta red tkis strip ot
aad ruaaias across tbo paralSeto-
rrasa. aad explaiaod tbat tbo oU-bear-
tos rocks ta tits resioa sloped oa
either aido. tormias a syacUaal. and
tbat tbta syadiaal bay almost w boUy
witbia tbo tract colored red oa the
aeap. It was. tbereforo. tbo storo-
booso ot tbo wbolo rstoak Now tbo
dtSculty was that tbeso two aaea bad
aa agreement tbat oao would aot aeil
wttboat tbo otber. Back deaaaaded
tbo saato prtco for bis property, oao
buadrod tboasaad doUars ta casb, Tbo
tract tyias over tbo ayac&nal was
wortk bait a atiiSoa dollars, tbo other
was worthless. Captaia Sbeltoa could,
ot coaroa, purchas both, but bo did
aot bavo tbo aatouat. He bad ta avail
able casb oa deposit about otcbty
tkoueaad dollars. Ho could aot cot
aaotbor dollar. Ho bad labored for
years, bo said, to locate this el dora
do. H bad fouad It at last. Ilk a pot
of cold at tbo oad ot tbo raiabow. By
risbt ot discovery tt belonged to bim;
bo bad earned tt wttb bis wtts; bo
wisbed aow to possess it.
Sack woro tbo wett-praaed tacts
tbat Captaia Sbeltoa bad selected tor
presentation to Raadolpb. Masoa; but
tbo narrative, aador Masoa'a toacbes.
would aot stop witb two directors ot
a coasoravtivo savtass baak ta New
England boldias tracts ot oil land ta
a distant stato reaaaialcs aaexplata
ed; it would aot stop witb a mysteri
ous pact biadt&s them to a cooxaoa
price; it would aot step at eishty
tbousaad dollars cleaa casb ta Sbel-
toaa band aaaccompaaied by any
avenues ot credit. Tbo parts ot tbo
story could aot bo separated without
desclosing glarias discrepancies.
Wherever tbo aarrativo was cut. tt
bled. Ia bis effort to avoid tbls obvi
ous result.-tbo man said more tbaa
bo intended aad ia tbo end told every-
tbi&s tbat bo bad Bseant to conceal.
Captaia Sbeltoa was a financial buc
ineer. Somo two years earlier, ta
a trust ot fortune, bis bris bad soak
aad bo bad come, witb five buadred
dollars, perilously ashore. Faced wttb
a desperate need for a new sloop, bo
bit finally apoa this delectable plan.
Tbo country at largo was ta a hys
teria of Industrial cousotidatfon. tbo
Rarkets corsed wttb securities, and
tbo banks aecessarUy sbort. of ready
money. He went to tbo president ot
tbo ErCIera Bank ot Ftttsburx and of
fered to secure tor tt a million ot dol
lars ta atta-taterest-beariBS deposits,
guaranteed to remain undisturbed ta
tbo Bcssessioa ot tbo baak tor at
least one year, provided tbe baak
would pay bin three per cent.
per annua tor tbo deposit.
Tbo presideet at once agreed, and.
presundas tbat tt was SheJtoaa ta
teatioa to canvass for deposits, loaded
bim wl:b literature ot tbo baak. The
excellent captaia dropped these
pampblets Into tbo waste basket and
walked over to a cheap todgins oa
Fourth Avenue. There, from a drunk
en roustabout, tor a hundred dollars,
be bought a bagful of oil leases on
worthless territory lying aloes tbe
east side ot tbe Ohio River above St.
Mary's. Tbea be sot a charter from
tbo secretary ot state ot West Tir
ginia. aad organised, tbe XTnJoa Con
solidated Oil Company wttb a capital
ot five millions. For two dollars and
fifty cents bo bousbt a seal, and for
Eve more a book of stock certificates
excellently printed on bank-note pa
Tbea tbo captaia sat down at a
hotel desk ta tbo city ot Pittsburg and
w rote tbe literature which bad come
to me la tbe mail two years before.
This be put la tbe bands of a mailing
list agency of New England witb a
deposit on account ot two buadred
dollars. With tbo remaining money
be rented three furnished rooms on
tbe nineteenth floor ot tbe Iron Build
ing, and sat down to await tbo arrival
of bis fortune.
Tbe president ot tbe Driller's Bank
seat tor Captain Sbeltoa and demand
ed aa explanation ot bis remarkable
plan. Tbo captaia Instantly Invited
aa Inspection ot tbe company. He ex
hibited recorded leases, legally valid.
covering some tea thousand acres ot
bind, and a corporation properly or
ganized, tbe lease bolds transferred
ia payment ot tbe stockevery detail
entirely witbia tbe law. He pointed
out that under bis plan ao aoaa could
lose a dollar ot bis money. It would
remain oa deposit with the bank to
tbe depositor's credit wblle be, Sbet
toa, tested tbe territory. It these
ds proved oil-producing, as be
thought tbey would, tbea bis stock
holders would make eaormous profits.
tt they proved worthless, ao man
would lose a ceat. the company woukt
be dissolved, tbe certificates can
celled and every stockholder per
mitted to withdraw his deposit. Tbea
be spoke thus pointedly:
"Tour bank's good, tsat tt? Too
wilt pay tbe people'a money back to
them, woat you? I cant rob them,
and I suppose you weaV
Tbe president ot tbe Driller Bank
determined to lay the matter before
bis directors. Ia tbe meantime, a tide
ot small deposits began to arrive.
Wbea tbe directors met oa tbe second
Tuesday ot tbe month, there were a
hundred thousand dollars ia these de
posits, increasing witb every mail.
Tbe back needed tbe money, tt was
loaded witb industrial securities. Tbe
directors hesitated, and finally con
tinued tbe matter until tbe next meet
ing. Tbe tide swelled Into a flood, tbe
matter never came up agaia before
tbe board, aad Captain Sbettoa se
cured aot one million, as be bad prom
ised, bat ta all nearly two millioa dol
lars ta deposits.
Tbe entrance ot tbe two baak direc
tors from Massachusetts followed a
little later oa. Sbeltoa bad seat bis
literature broadly scattered Into New
England, reaching for persons there
with small annuities and tittle savings
ta banks. His plan touched tbe very
kins-bolt ta the aaturo ot these peo
ple, a possibility ot wealth without
risk. The Income from their deposits
ta savings banks was slight. This
speculation Involved only the trans
fer ot deposits to a different bank wttb
a try at aa el dorado tor a rider. Hav
ing determined that tbe Drlllera Bank
ot Pittsburg was solvent, deposits
weat fioodins westward. So great
were tbe withdrawals tbat two direc
tors of one of these banks ta Massa
chusetts, at the auggesttoa ot the de
positors, weat to Fittsburg to look
into the matter.
Captaia Sbeltoa was advised. He
met these gentlemen at the Pennsyt
vaata station, entertained them at the
best hostelry, directed their attention
to tbe stability of the Driller's Bank,
and then carried them down into the
oil field. There they found blind
folded Fortune scattering her favors
like a tipsy Vestal.
Captain Sbeltoa counted well upon
bis beady air. He brought forth his
maps but be spoke little and sanely.
The topsy-turvy condition spoke for
bim. He posed as one sober, careful,
far-sighted, ia a community ot drunk
ards. Here were opportunities to be
seised, wisely held in band and made
to produce, net a casual pot of gold,
but a great fortune lasting for a cen
tury. He brought shrewdly to the
strangers notice tbe two tracts tying
within bis parallelogram of leased ter
ritory. They Instantly inquired why
these tracts were not included, and
ho replied that at tbe time the com
pany leases were taken tbey could not
be bad, and aow be could not secure
them without the consent of tbe stock
holders, a thing Impracticable. He
would take these two tracts la bis
owa name, but sucb an act might sub
ject bim to criticism. This was, of
course, a lie. The roustabout from
whom Sbeltoa bad secured bis leases
omitted these tracts because the own
ers demanded twenty-five cents an
acre bonus. Around these two tracts
Sheltoa masked his arts ot suggestion.
Ho wished these men's fingers dipped
witb bis ia tbo dish, a little ot their
gold oa tbo table, a wager left here
behind them on the spin ot tbo wbeeL
When tbe two bank directors re
turned to New England, they took
with, them tbe fee simple titles ot
these two tracts. They took witb
them also tbo Impression, but not the
certainty, that Captaia Sheltoa was
merely aa adventurer. Able to Judge
accurately any situation la Sew Eng
land, tbey were at sea here. The bank
ia Pittsburg was certainly solvent.
Tbo te-ritory advertised by Sbeltoa
was certainly covered by bis leases.
Eighteen months later, tbe Union
Consolidated OH Company was dis
solved and Its stock cancelled. Tbe
baak returned tbe deposits aad paid
lars ta Interest. He feared to place
this atoney in bank lest some on su
ing bim might attach tt, and kept tt la
a safety deposit box ot a New York
trust company. He bad learned tbat
the two baak directors were aow ta
New York, and bad hurried here hop
ing to purchase the tract of land be
wisbed; but. oa reflection, be hesi
tated to approacb them. They would
be greatly suspicious of bim, and he
would not risk having tbe deed taken
ta tbe aame ot any other person. He
desired to get bold ot the tract lying
over tbe synclinal, and be would, tt
necessary, give all tbe money be bad
for it. This was the story skillfully
unmasked by Randolph Mason.
Tbe captaia. wbea tbe cat was out.
begaa to regret bis rashness. His
secret bad escaped bim; it was aa in
discretion to be amended by greater
caution. He was taken swiftly with a
trembling seizure of suspicions.
"You have overlooked tbe names ot
these gentlemen from Massachusetts,
said Randolph Mason.
A certain cunning dodged along
Captaia Shettoa'a features,
"I have aot overlooked it." be re
plied "I dont intend to teU them. I
expect my regular lawyer to be pres
ent when these mea are seen, I came
to you tor a plaa. Wbea I get that,
my lawyer will do tbe rest. I doat
meaa these Yankees to sleep oa tbo
trade. Tbe deeds and tbe casb will
go oa tbe table together. When they
are exchanged, the matter will be end
ed. That's my way ot doing business.
Now, what's your plan?"
"My plaa, said Mason, "will con
form to your way ot doing business.
Have these mea here at two o'clock.
Let them know nothing ot tbe object
ot this conference. But you, oa your
part, take every precaution. Gome a
half hour earner witb. your attorney.
Bring the deeds and tbe cash with
you. Bring also a notary. I would
have you take no chance. I would
have you omit no safeguard which
your Instincts suggest.'
Captaia Sbeltoa was greatly reas
sured; but a doubt remained.
"It I come, tbey woat sell,- be said.
Htrk fee Pennsylwesnftrtw ie
"That's tbe very trouble Fm trying to
T will get around that, replies
"Then, said Captaia Sbelton. "you
will have to pretend to represent some
one else, and leave me to my lawyer.'
"Ycur foresight is amazing," replied
Mason. T shall leave you entirely to
your lawyer. I shall pretend to rep
resent, let us say. the stockholders ot
the Union Consolidated Oil Company.
"Good!" cried the captain, "tbat lie
will do tbo work!"
Randolph Mason arose, and waited
tor bis visitor to depart.
"I think." be remarked, "tbat tt will
do tbe work excellently."
Tbo men. who met ta Randolph Ma
son's private office were ot most in
congruous types. My visual memory
of this conference remains dear-cut.
like tbe rlimaT ot some drama; there
was the notary, a tired old man. look
ing on unconcerned from a chair by
the door; Captain Sbelton. his under
lip painfully tightened, seated oa one
side of tbe library table witb his at
torney at bis elbow. This attorney
merits a word of comment; be was
tbe ablest practitioner of bis class In
New York, a class abandoned wholly
to Intrigue, schooled smatteringly in
the law through attendance and ex
perience at trials, but past masters of
trickery: be was a little, rotund man.
bald, with a fringe of hair running
from the top of one ear around to
the other; a face as expressionless as
wood; eyes steady as though set In by
aa optician. The man's hands alone
betrayed bis thoughts they were as
nimble as the fore paws ot a mink.
Opposite were the two New Kngland
ers, aa uncle and bis nephew the el
der, tall, grave, somber; tbe younger.
a youth, powerfully built, his face
fresh witb. health, bis bands suggest
ing the strength of Ivory and Ran
dolph Mason, walking up and down
by tbe bookcases.
Mason introduced tbe matter witb
this remarkable statement to the men
from Massachusetts : He represented
certaia ot th stockholders ot tbe
Union Consolidated Oil Company, act
ing for the benefit of alL The stock
holders ot tbat company bad lost ta
Interest oa their deposits, through
Captaia Roger Sheltoa, some eighty
thousand dollars. This money Cap
taia Sbeltoa was now ready to return.
He wisbed to do so through these di
rectors, leaving them to distribute tt
ta detail to tbe stockholders. How
ever, ia the manner ot this restitution.
Captaia Sheltoa wished to avoid the
appearance ot compounding a fraud.
Mason bad. therefore, called this meet
ing to propose that these two direc
tors sell their tracts of worthless oil
territory to Captain Sbeltoa ia con
sideration ot this money aad. after de
ducting their Individual expenditures.
refund tbe balance of tt to tbe various
stockholders ot the Union Consolidat
ed Oil Company.
The two bank directors, who bad
been until now greatly mytified.
agreed instantly to this proposition,
the elder speaking for the other. Tbey
considered their investment Ia this
oil territory somewhat In tbe nature
ot a trust, and had determined to bold
tbe tracts indefinitely, ta the hope
tbat at some future time tbey would
yield enough money to repay what
the stockholders of the company bad
lost. They bad gone to Pittsburg as
envoys, ta a way, for tbe stockholders.
and any gala arising from that jour
ney was equitably tbe property ot all.
Tbey bad consequently asked one
hundred thousand dollars in casb for
each of these tracts, and bad agreed
to pool tbe two properties, so that It
oil were ever discovered oa either
tract, tt would pay ta full tbe losses
ot the stockholders. This price tbey
knew to be prohibitive, but tbe tracts
were either to adjust the matter or
remain unsold until the end of time.
Tbe Pennsy Iranian, sitting with, a
calf-skin satchel oa bis knees, ob
served tbo difficulty in the way of his
fortune thus easily overcome witb a
sudden mounting joy be could not
wholly conceal. His face fell into the
sanctiiroaious expression ot one who,
at the cost ot abnegations, would be
perfect. Evea tbe bands ot tbe In
scrutable attorney opened wide their
fingers as ta admiratioa ot a master.
The next statement ot Masoa won
still further their amazed approval.
He said tbat the two sales mast be
understood to be complete and sepa
rate transaction, concluded absolutely
la every detail apoa tbe signing of tbe
deed. and. ta order tbat ao claim
could be afterward set up that in this
sale Captaia Sheltoa took advantage
ot any secret knowledge ot tbe value
ot either ot tbe two tracts, be sug
gested tbat Sheltoa be permitted to
select tbe tract whicb at this time be
considered the more valuable, in or
der tbat his opinion might be known
before the deeds were signed, pay for
it seventy-nine thousand dollars, and
take the other tract at a nominal sum,
say one thousand dollars. Then if
either tract should prove In tbe future
to be oil-producing. Captain Sbelton
could enjoy that good fortune free
from any imputation of deception ta
The attorney's nimble fingers
danced on the rungs of bis chair
this piece ot strategy was excellent.
Sbelton. too. Instantly saw its wis
dom. If be took. now. the worthless
tract at the large price, tbe very fact
of this selection would conclusively
prove that whea this worthless tract
was purchased be knew nothing ot tbe
fabulous value of tbe other. His good
faith, his Innocence of secret knowl
edge, would be here and now irre
vocably established for all time to
come. Those who sold estates for pot
tage usually came crying to the courts,
and tt tbe deeds showed oa their faces
that the purchaser was himself mis
taken, in the value of these estates.
that cry would fail. Separate, tbe two
sales ought also to be, tbat no one
other tbaa the signer ot the deed
could afterward claim aa attaching
The two New Englanders assented
to this, and Captain Sheltoa instantly
selected tbe worthless tract. The at
torney took two deeds from bis pocket
and laid them before bim on tbe table.
He tbea stated ta detail tbe terms ot
the purchase: seventy-nine thousand
dollars la cash for the tract of twelve
hundred acres, one thousand dollars
ia casb for tbe tract of nine hundred
acres: the two sales distinct, sepa
rate transaction directly between the
parties named ta the deed. He wished
this agreement clearly understood.
The sentimental reason moving Roger
Sbelton to this purchase, as given by
Randolph Mason, was an observation
beside the point. He alone represent
ed Roger Shelton. The purchase ot
these tracts was now a clean-cut mat
ter ot business, showing wholly on the
face of the deed. Tbea be took up
one of tbe deeds, wrote into it the
consideration, seventy-nine thousand
dollars, and handed it to the younger
man. who, it happened, was the own
er of this tract. The latter looked
swiftly over the deed and signed it.
tbe notary took his acknowledgment.
affixed tbe seal and returned the deed
to the attorney, who looked .over It
and nodded to bis client.
Captain Shelton set bis calf-skin
satchel oa the table, unlocked it with
a brass key, took out a thousand dol
lars in one-hundred-dollar bills and
pushed tbe satchel across the table.
"There's your money." be said, "and
I throw in tbe satchel."
Tbe Xew Englander took the money
out in packs, counted it and put it
back; then he reached over on the
table, took the brass key, locked the
satchel, set it down oo the floor be
tween his feet and tucked tbe key
Into the pocket ot his waistcoat. The
attorney put the executed deed Into
his pocket, wrote the consideration of
one thousand dollars Into the other
deed and pushed it. likewise, across
tko table. Tbe elder New
spread out tbe deed before bim
carefully read It, bia torefiager
tng slowly along each Baa.
a to tbe end. be fixed
glasses a little more aecarety to kaa
nose, took up a pea and dipped tt ma
tbe ink-pot. At this momeat. Raa
dolpb Masoa. standing beats btaa,
leaned over swiftly, picked ap tke
deed and tore it ia two.
Instantly Roger Sbeltoa threw htm
self across tbe table, grabbing lor tae
leather satchel. Tb younger New
Englander. amazed at this vtoleat ac
cident, but instinctively determined aa
protect the money aow ta his pans
stoa at any cost, gripped tbe kaadba
ot the satchel witb bis sight aad, ris
ing a little, struck tbe Pennsytvastaa
witb tbe clenched fingers of bis left.
Tbe long body ot Captaia Sbeltoa saw
back, across the table, crashing ats
chair. Tbe little bald attorney was
Immediately oa bis feet, bis fingers
twitching like live electric wires, be
his face still as expresstoalcas aa
wood. He saw Instantly that bis cOeat
had been outwitted, trapped and. per
haps, ruined: tbat tbe attempt to re
cover tbe money by force had tailed;
tbat farther deception and tatrtgaa
would likewise equally tail. This ath
letic young man. muscled Hke a 1
smith, bis bands clenched, bis
ders thrown loosely forward, ft
folly to assail with blows. It
equally folly to assail wttb wilea taax
other there, calmly tearing tbe dead
to ribbons, running tke strips at pa
per backward and forward through hia
Tke plaa bad crashed
warning, and yet tbe attorney's
ence ot mind was aot a wait ibitre
His face held its set like plaster, aot
a nerve quivered, net a muscle apt sag
he bad been schooled to meek that
unforseea. He bad gooe threwge. a
thousand staggering crises where the
life, the reputation, the fortune at kta
client Were ta a Sash periled. He aa
derstood Instantly, judged the sftaa-
tkm. and acted at eaca. He threat
tbe pack ot one thousand dollars, left
lying oa tbe table, into Ms pocket
aad helped his dazed cUeat to bis feet
and to tbe door. Tbea 1m
back to Randolph Masoa.
"Your destracttoa of this
aot do any good," he said.
tract for tbe sale of this tract of 1
t definitely made aad
here, ta the presence of this notary at
a witness; tke signing ot tbe deed bv
a mere physical act ia ao way aaTeet
ing this sale. I shall at
a suit for tbe specific perfo
this contract ot sale aad have a coat
commissioner make tbe deed, tt th
maa refuses. Tbe testimony of the
notary, as the only disinterested per
son present, will Insure the turcms e
"Yon will hardly Institute sack I
suit. I think."
-Why will I aot tnstttEie ttT re
plied the attorney, bis voice rising ta
a stronger volume.
Masoa advanced slowly wttb bt
"Well." he said, "let as say that
such a suit would be founded oa a
moral wrong. This tract ot land ta
thought by your client to be tabulows
ly rich. It lies. T believe, above a
synclinal in the oO-bearing strata.
That is. it contains the oO reservoir of
the whole region around it. It ta
worth, your client teBs me. a halt
millioa dollars. To take tt from ta
owner tor a mere thousand would be a
striking injustice. II tbe .
mitted this wrong, would
science permit it?"
The attorney standing at tbe
laughed without -disturbing tke aaaa
cles ot bis face.
"We will take exactly wbat tbe
law gives as," be said.
T thought that." replied Raadotpk
Masoa. bis prodding ended, bis voiea
now lashing Bice a whip, "aad. there
fore, I have taken care to see that the
law does not permit this wrong to be
come effective. IT yoa took at chapter
ninety-eight ot tbe Code of the state
ia which this oil territory Bes. yoa
will discover tbat no contract for the
sale of real estate can be enforced la
its courts unless that - contract. e
some agreement or
it. be ia writing and signed by
party to be charged thereby
agents. A contract for the
land in that state may be.
tbe presence of a hundred
every detail agreed it, the bargain
struck, or assented to, coded, aad yet
it cannot be enforced ia its Marts
without some signed writing. That
act is called the Statute of Fraads. I
commend It, likewise, to yoa for the
value of its name."
The hope rising ia Roger SheWaara
eyes, called ap by tbe words ot ant
counsel, died there. His month, bleed
ing from tbe impact ot bis enemy's
knuckles oa tbe bone, fell into a baa
gy gaping. He tamed painfully
through the door. Tbe attorney
remained a moment, looking at
Randolph Mason. He bad beea out
witted, balked, juggled with, tbea
grilled on tbe fire, and yet be came
forth unmoved, a Karragaeset from
the stake. He followed his client
slowly out, his face placid as though
every nerve ia it were cut.
Tbe two bank directors, realizing ,
now the full import ot Mason's re
markable strategy, came forward witb
profound expressions of than kf nines.
The unfair gains of a rascal had beea
skillfully choked out ot bim. Resti
tution had beea made to tricked per
sons, and yet nothing of vabae
been lost. The el dorado sighted '
there, remaining ia tts i
For the legal principle tav
volved in this story see Sec 1
of chapter 9 of the Code of
West Virginia, called the Statate
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