Read CHAPTER VII - Halsey & Company Open a Bank of Halsey & Co. / The Young Bankers and Speculators, free online book, by H. K. Shackleford, on ReadCentral.com.

“Bob, I’m going to resign,” said Fred, when they came out from Bowles’ office.

“Resign what?”

“My place at Tracey’s.”

“Well, I think you can afford to.”

“Yes. We can go in on our own hook now,” and he went over to the office and told the gruff old broker he wanted to quit.

“What’s the matter?” Tracey asked.

“Going to open a bank.”

“What with, a jimmy?”

“No, a key.”

“Going to play craps, I guess. Do you know a boy I can get?’

“Yes, sir.”

“Bring him here then and I’ll let you off.”

In half an hour Fred had a youth on hand who lad been looking for a place for mouths. He then went downstairs and joined Bob. They agreed to keep the deal a secret as long as possible. Bob was to wait for Gertie Clayton, Bowles’ typewriter, and warn her to say nothing about it to any one, while Fred was to wait for Callie as she came out of Barron’s bank. When business closed for the day, Fred saw Callie come up and go up toward Broadway. He soon joined her.

“Have you heard the news from the deal in M. & C.?” he asked her.

“No. How did is turn out?”

“It sold at 80.”

“Did you sell?”

“Yes.”

She made a rapid calculation and said:

“You have made a fortune.”

“Yes, so we have, but mum is the word.”

“Do I get anything?”

“Of course; ten percent.”

She gasped, turned pale, and seemed almost ready to faint.

“I have a check for your share in my pocket,” he added.

“How much is it?”

“Seventeen thousand.”

“Oh, Fred!”

“Do suppose you would turn up your nose at a eager boy now if he were to come courting he remarked.

“That depends on who he is and how he behaves himself,” she replied, regaining control of herself.

Then a minute or two later she asked:

“What am I to do? Please tell me for my head is all in a whirl.”

“Oh, don’t lose your head,” said he laughing. “Just leave it where you left the other one and that will be all right. Keep your eyes and ears open for another tip.”

“Why, must I keep on at work?”

“Yes, of course. How can you get any tips if you don’t?”

“I’m afraid I can’t do much work with so much money in bank.”

“Why, that ought to make you work harder. You should not think of stopping before you have made at least one hundred thousand dollars. Then you could live in a fine house and keep a carriage.”

They went on up the street talking and laughing. He gave her the check and she put it in her pocket.

“Now, Callie,” he said, “I’ve rented a flat in the block above where you live and have bought some furniture for it. I want you to select the carpets, curtains and other things for me, as I don’t know what they are worth, or even what sort to get. I am preparing a surprise for my aunt and sister.”

“Oh, that is good of you! They don’t know of your good luck yet?”

“They don’t even dream of it.”

“Oh, what a surprise it will be to them. Of course I will help you, Fred. Where are you going to buy?”

“Come along with me,” and they went to a big store where he had already purchased some things. She had good tastes, good judgment and was a quick buyer. In half an hour she had made the selections; Fred paid the bill and ordered everything put into the flat as soon as possible.

Then he saw her home, left her at the entrance and made his way across town toward his aunt’s humble abode. She was still at work over the tub, and, as a matter of course, very tired.

“I’ll break all that up in a few days,” he said to himself.

Two days later Broker Bowles said to him:

“You can get Risley & Cohn’s offices, but the rent is high­$5,000 a year. They ask $3,000 for the furniture as it stands.”

“Take both for Halsey & Company,” said Fred. “Pay one year in advance. I’ll give you a check for $8,000,” and he did.

“I’ll have the lease for you this afternoon,” said the old man.

Bob and Fred then went off to engage a sign painter to put up their firm name in big gold letters on the immense plate glass front of the offices.

The next day they found their name

“Halsey & company,
“Bankers,
“Speculators in Stocks, Bonds, etc.”

in big gold letters, the handsomest on the street. Mr. Allison, the man who had kept the books for Risley & Cohn for fifteen years, had been engaged for them by Bowles, who told him they were a couple of boys. He was elderly, bald, with a full, round face known to every broker in Wall Street. His knowledge of Wall Street was thorough.

“It will create a sensation when it is known who Halsey & Company are,” he remarked to them, as they watched the people admire the sign as they went by.

“Yes, I guess so. We’ll have some fun with ’em. But see here, Mr. Allison, we are no fools if we haven’t got any beards. We want you to manage the banking end of this thing, and stand ready to collar us when you see us going wrong. Do you understand?” and Fred faced him as he spoke.

The old man looked over his glasses at him for a few moments as if surprised at what he had just heard.

“Well, that shows you have good, old-fashioned horse sense, young man,” he replied. “Most boys of your age think they know it all, and have to pay dearly for lessons they might have had free.”

Just then Broker Tracey came by and stopped to look at the new firm name on the glass front. Fred went to the door and invited him in. Tracey looked at him in astonishment and then at the sign again.

“How do you like our new quarters?” Fred asked him.

“Whose quarters?”

“Halsey & Company­Fred Halsey and Bob Newcombe­we are the firm. Mr. Allison here is our manager.”

Tracey glanced at Allison, whom he had known for years, and the old man said:

“It is true, Sir.”

“Got any capital?” Tracey asked.

“Plenty of it,” replied Allison.

He turned on Fred and asked:

“What has happened? Where did you get it?”

“What some people lose others gain,” Fred replied. “I got a good deal of fleece out of M. & C. the other day. Did you lose any wool?”

Tracey’s face was a picture to look at. He was a loser in that deal to the tune of some $20,000, and this sudden and unexpected discovery of where it had gone was a shock to him.

“Well, I’m jiggered!” he exclaimed, looking at Allison. “I’ve been thirty years in Wall Street and these are the first boy bankers I ever saw.”

“They are the first I ever saw, too, sir,” said Allison, “and I’ve been thirty-five years in the Street. They’ve both got good heads on their shoulders.”

“Just come in here and let me show you something. Mr. Tracey,” said Bob, leading the way into the private office of the former bankers. “I want to show you some fleece we have on exhibition,” and he pointed to a large bunch of white wool hanging to a hook on the wall above his desk, labeled:

“JamesBryant,
“M. & C. fleece.”

The old broker roared.

“Say, I hope you won’t hang mine up that way!” he exclaimed.

“We have too much respect for you to do that sir.”

“How about Manson?”

“Oh, we got a good lot off him, but I was once in his employ.”

“Well, I’m glad you haven’t got mine hung up,” and he went out, laughing heartily.

In an hour the whole Street had the news, and scores of brokers came by to look in at the two boys. They were all amused, for they laughed and joked each other about it.

Half an hour later a wave of jolly laughter went through the Street as the fleece story was told. Bryant was guyed till he had to shut himself up in his office and refuse to see any one. Manson came in and whispered to Bob to drop that Bryant’s fleece business, adding:

“He has a host of friends in Wall Street, and it will hurt your business to make an enemy of him.”

“He is already my enemy,” Bob replied, “and had me discharged from your employ. I will never let up on him as long as I live.”

Just before business closed Bryant rushed into the office and said:

“I want to see the bunch of wool you have here with my name on it.”

“Here it is,” said Bob, opening the door of the private office and pointing to the wool hanging against the wall.

Bryant grabbed it and started to the door with it. Bob opened the drawer of the desk, took out a revolver, and aiming at him, said:

“Here’s something to go with it.”

Bryant wheeled around and found himself looking down the muzzle of the revolver.