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About The Sunday Oregonian. (Portland, Ore.) 1881-current | View Entire Issue (Oct. 31, 1915)
THE SUNDAY OREGONIAX, PORTLAXD, OCTOBER 31, 1915.
She C)e0 $deirhire 6
IAM0D5 Bfflffi PlJSERS:
GEORGE RANDOLPH CHESTER
Author of "Get-Rlch-4uiek:-WaIllacford"
CHARLES W. GODDARD
Builder of the World Greatest Serials
BURR McINTOSH J. Rufus Wallingford
MAX FIGMAN Blackie Daw
LOLITA ROBERTSON Violet
(Copyright by The Star Co.)
the: master touch.
AS BIG and genial Jim Wallingford
and lean and dapper Blackie Daw
swung on the train, the two War
den girls rushed up to meet them, eager
"We thought the train would never
tome," said Violet, slipping her hand
through Blackie's arm. and casting
down her lashes after he had gazed
quite long enough into her sparkling
blue eyes. "You're more than an hour
"I had the train stop to gather these
violets for thee," grinned Blackie. and
with a tremendous flourish, presented
her with a smooth little white box, tied
with a florist's ribbon.
"And I suppose you plucked the boxes
from a box hedge," laughed Fannie
Warden, the flush of welcome still on
her brown cheeks. She was happily
untying the ribbon bow, and big J.
Rufus was smiling down at her In
"Business before pleasure," he
chuckled. He led the way to a wait
ing bus, and as It started, the rattle
of the infernal contraption gave them
as much privacy as If they had been
locked in a vault "What do you know
"Not as much as we had hoped to
find out," reported Fannie. "He prac
tically owns the town, and we know
that he is guilty, for he recognized us
when we went into his bank, and
dropped his eyes. We've investigated
all the directors of the bank and all
the employes. The directors we can't
get anything out of."
"They're a sporty crowd," interrupted
Violet. "They spend a tremendous
mount of money. Tell him about
"I was coming to him." went on Fan
rile," her brown eyes deeply thought
ful. "He's the head bookkeeper at the
hank. He knows us, too."
"He jumps and Jerks every time he
ees us, so we let him see us as often
as possible," added Violet, not noticing.
In her excitement, that she was clutch
ing Blackie's little finger for em
phasis. He let her do it, and grinned.
"He's screamingly funny," laughed
Violet. "He's rabbit-eyed, and his long
ears. actually twitch when he's startled.
His heck sticks out of the middle of
his collar like a stalk of asparagus
growing through a hoop."
"Thin little fellow," eh?" Walling
ford and Blackie looked at each other
"He seems to me as if he might be
n the verge of a nervous breakdown,"
considered Fannie. "And we've been
paying so much attention to him be
cause we think he's your source of in
formation." "Hey!" yelled a voice outside. "Hey!
Running beside the bus was a boy
ao freckled that he looked like a Span
ish omelet. He held his cap In his
hand, and his carrot-colored hair was
flying. He grinned ecstatically as he
aaw Blackie and Wallingford. and
Jumped on the rear step of the bus with
a flying leap. He Jerked open the door
and thruBt in his head.
"Hey!" he said in a hoarse whisper,
and reached for the bell strap. "Qua
ley's leaving the bank."
"Goodbye," cried Violet; Jumping up
as the bus stopped abruptly.
"We'll see you at the hotel." said
Fannie, and the girls were out and fol
lowing Toad Jessup before the men
could offer to help them alight.
Blackie Daw blew an ecstatic kiss
While J. Rufus and Blackie Daw were
laughingly declining to purchase a va
cant lot opposite Prine's bank, and ad
Joining Prine's Emporium, and fronting
Prine's residence, the Warden siBters
were following the fast retreating Toad
Jessup, who was sleuthing the track of
the nerve-racked Qualey. A curious
path the bookkeeper had taken, es
pecially curious In view of the fact that
this was 10:30 in the morning. Straight
out into the country, and along the
willow bank of a little creek, and to a
sheltered pond where he stopped
abruptly and paced up and down on the
sandy bank: while Toad Jessup, hid
den behind the wllows, watched him
with hawk-like keenness, until he was
satisfied that the man would stay
where he was. Then Toad Jessup, as
noiseless as an eel, stepped back along
the bank to meet the breathless girls.
"Hush!" whispered Toad, gripping
each one tensely by the hand. "Got
him treed! Foller me! Hush!"
On tiptoe, and careful to avoid even
the snapping of a twig, the three stole
along the bank Indian file, until they
reached the willows surrounding the
pond. Toad Jessup was the first, of
course, and as he peered through the
leaves he jerked back hastily. "Gee!
He's got a gun; and he's scared of it!"
Bookkeeper Qualey was, without
doubt, "scared of the gun." He stood
at the edge of the pond, revolver in
hand, trembling from head to foot. He
had Just raised It to his head as the
horror-stricken girls peered through
the leaves, but. before they could utter
an outcry, he had thrown the revolver
on the sand, edging away from it aa if
It were a snake.
Again ha walked agitatedly up and
dowa the sand, then suddenly he threw
off his coat, and it was plain now that
he had reached a determination, for his
pale faca was set and grim as he ran
toward the spring-board which hung
over the water.
"Stop!" Fannie Warden had burst
through the leaves, and the startled
man on the spring-board halted almost
in the act of leaping.
"You can serve a useful purpose by
living, Mr. Qualey," said Fannie, when
the man was" able to listen to her with
calm attention. "I know someone who
can help you. Won't you come with
us to the hotel, and have a talk with
Mr. Wallingford and Mr. Daw?"
"Twenty-one thousand three sixty
five, twenty-seven," repeated Qualey,
with a strange new excitement upon
him. He sought the faces of the five
directors one by one. prepared to
twitch at the first word.
"Very well, Qualey," said President
Prlne, in dismissal, and his eyes caught
those of Secretary Morris for just an
"Fortunately it isnt" much," the fat
director consoled himself. He wore a
plaid bow tie and an upturned nose,
and the only distress of his life was
that he might be distressed about
"The amount makes no difference,"
snapped the little director with the
fierce whiskers. "The trouble is that
the stockholders are likely to bother
around with impertinent questions
about our other loans."
The bookkeeper's eyes rounded until
his high-arched brows stopped their
"There is likely to be an investiga
tion," he guessed, holding his wrist.
"No," .growled President Prine, his
dimple deepening as he realized that
the bookkeeper was still there. "Get
back to your work, Qualey."
"Wouldn't it be a kindness for us
to raise a private fund to cancel that
note of the Wickers' Manufacturing
Company?" asked President Prlne.
The suggestion was thoughtfully re
ceived. "Then the bank would not need to
report the loss," speculated the high
A young man knocked and came in.
"A gentleman wishes to speak with
the board," he told President Prlne,
proffering a card. Each of the five
directors glanced at the others. None
of them glanced at the young man.
"J. Rufus Wallingford." read the
president aloud, and the dimple deep
ened in hla chin. "Never heard of
"He says that he wishes to address
the board in the handling of deteriorat
ing loans. He's a specialist in banking
troubles," reported the young man.
Silence. Everybody was thinking.
President Prine walked out of the
other door. He strolled around into the
paying teller's case and counted the
"Send him in," directed President
Prlne, returning to the ooardroom, and,
a minute and a half later, J. Rufus
Wallingford stood before them, thor
oughly at ease and in smiling posses
sion of them every one.
"Gentlemen," said he. in a round
voice which had a suspicion of the ora
torical in It. "I am a professional goat."
and he chuckled jovially at them, his
broad shoulders heaving, his eyes half
closing, and the color of his face deep
ening. "We win." declared Wallingford, to
Blackie Daw, as the telephone bell an
nounced President Prine. "It's a safe
bet to tell any crook he'd better come
and see you. He always comes."
Blackie rose to go.
"According to your program, I don't
get a speaking part in this until the
last act," he observed.
"Stick for the chat." grinned Wal
lingford. "A crook's always more un
comfortable with two in the room,"
President Prine proved the truth of
that observation by losing a degree of
his suavity the moment he caught
sight of the lanky black-mustached
partner of Wallingford.
"Mr. Daw; Mr. Prine," introduced
Wallingford urbanely. "Mr. Daw is one
of my trusted men. His specialty is
Mr. Prine, surveying Mr. Daw in the
coal-black eye, began to look as if he
were sorry he had come.
"You're introducing me to a lot of
new thoughts," he observed, deciding
to sit in the big leather chair Walling
ford pushed forward. The chair looked
inviting, but a man sat huddled back
in It so deep and so low that he was
at a tremendous psychological disad
vantage. Wallingford. sitting opposite
in a stiff chair, fairly towered over
him. "You were so vague at the bank
this morning that I scarcely under
stood anything more than your invita
tion to call. So I have called; out of
Wallingford grinned down at him.
"You called to help yourself out of a
scrape," he declared, looking Mr. Prine
unwaveringly in the eye. "Somebody
has misplaced the funds of the Peo
ple's Bank, and you can't let go as easy
as you thought you could."
Mr. Prlne managed it this time. Ha
rose from his chair and looked prop
"This is an outrage!" he blustered.
Blackie Daw had studied the man's
countenance to some purpose, and now
he assisted Wallingford with one of
those lightning flashes of Judgment.
"Oh, sit down!" he ordered President
Prine, and pushed that dignified gen
tleman in the chest with a handful of
long fingers; whereupon Mr. Prine
having been lightly balanced, sat down
with a grunt and with a red face. "Tell
him he's a crook, Jim."
"You're a crook!" immediately
charged Wallingford, extending an im
pressive finger toward President Prine.
"We have the goods on you, because
somebody who knows too much got six
ounces too much of alcohol in his skin."
That shot told. In President Prine's
countenance could be seen a rapid and
worried calculation as to who the Ine
briate might be.
"If this insult is based on a drunken
J. Rufus Wallingford arose and
opened the door with great lmpresslve
ness. "If you don't care to listen to what 1
have to Bay, the door's open, and no
body's holding you," he stated.
v President Prine looked at the door,
but he did not get up. Blackie Daw
watched him a long moment, and then,
with a grin, sauntered to the telephone
and ordered drinks.
President Prlne became less indig
nant than he was interested.
"I don't think I follow you."
"I'll explain Mr. Daw's business," re
sumed Wallingford, as Blackie re
turned from the 'phone. "He is willing
to borrow any amount of money on his
notes; and not get the money."
President Prine's eyes seemed to
draw closer together. '
"I don't see It," he acknowledged.
"No," agreed Wallingford. "If It were
so simple as that, you might have
thought of it yourself. Here's what
we'll do with you. For fifty thousand
dollars we'll step in and bear the blame
for anything irregular in your bank.
If anybody's pinched, we'll stand the
pinch. If anybody's to go to Honduras,
we'll do the traveling."
"You step down and out of the bank
with every bad note for which you are
responsible paid off and entered in the
bank's cash account; then we step in
and cover the cash which isn't here."
"The banking laws in this state"
"Let us do the worrying about that.
Now we'll get down to figures and to
details, Mr. Prine. What are the
amounts of your bogus securities?"
The rabbit-eyed bookkeeper an
swered the bell of the new manager
with weak knees, but the hugely im
pressive Wallingford beamed on him
with a cordial good-will which was so
full of vitality that it seemed like a
"Well. Qualey. here we are," ob
served Wallingford, pleasantly.
"Yes, sir," and Mr. Qualey's face
brightened for the first time in five
"Now we'll make this an honest
bank," chuckled the big man. "Please
bring me these notes.' and he handed
over a list, one glance at which
brought back Into Qualey's counte
nance all the wrinkles ha had been ac
cumulating, since he first began to
blink his eye at the sight of a brass
"Yes, sir," fluttered Mr. Qualey, and
taking that list into the vault of the
bank, he leaned hla head for five min
utes against the cool surface of locker
662. When he brought the familiar
notes to Wallingford, he laid them
down, and crumpled up In a chair like
a ripped balloon.
"Very good," remarked Wallingford,
lighting a thick, black cigar.
"How's our currency supply?"
"Rather low." stated the bookkeeper,
the color coming gradually back into
"Very well, Qualey. We'll have these
notes paid In currency. I'll issue the
demand in writing. It's a good thing
for a bank not to let its currency sup
ply get too low. Cancel all these notes
with your time-stamp, showing the
date, hour, and minute of cancellation,
return them to me by 11 o'clock, and
enter them as paid, in cash."
"Yes, sir," heartily agreed Qualey.
There was animation in his tone, the
moisture of relief in his eye, actual
color in his cheeks; but he was holding
his wrist with a grip which was leav
ing finger-marks. "We get the actual
cash, do we? Of course!"
Wallingford blew a placid smoke
"Not so," he said. "Not so!"
"Oh, Lord!" groaned Qualey, his eyes
"I don't see why we can't resign In a
body and be done with it," growled the
fierce-whiskered little director, who
had been out of town and was being
plunged Into the whirl of events with
The president, the secretary, the high
shouldered director, and the fat one
with the upturned nose were each ready
to tell him.
"In that case we'd have nothing to
say about our successors, stated Presi
dent Prine, who was quicker of speech
than the others, and his dimple deep
ened with misgiving as he glanced at
the four strangers clustered with Wal
lingford around the tick of the grand
father's clock. "Our resignation in a
body would necessitate a special stock
holders' meeting for an election of of
ficers, and, since we no longer hold a
majority of stock, we would have suc
cessors who" and he paused for a
choice of words "who would not un
"Oh!" observed the fierce-whiskered
director, his- face lighting with pleas
ure. "As I see It, we step out of of
fice with every piece of commercial
paper about which there could be any
. possible question called In, paid in cash
'"All paid." corroborated Secretary
Morris, twirling endlessly at his glossy
brown mustache. He was worried this
morning. He was about to purchase a
new car, and he could not decide on
which of two makes. .
"In cash," added the high-shouldered
director, cracking the knuckles of his
ten fingers . In succession. The left
thumb gave him some trouble, but he
"Fine!" exclaimed the belated little
director. "Where is the cash?'
, "Well, as it Just happens, there is no
need to handle the actual specie, since
Mr. Wallingford infoms me that he is
to make a specie loan of J60.000 dollars
more than the amount collected, and
his client will accept specie orders on
the amounts represented by the notes,
taking the notes themselves for deliv
ery." The proceedings which followed were
brief and crisp. President Prine re
signed from his office and from the
directorate. The remaining directors
immediately named J. Rufus Walling
ford as director to fill the unexpired
vacancy in spite of the fact that he
only held one share of stock. Imme
diately thereafter they elected J. Rufus
Wallingford president, and at once in
ducted that genial and smiling finan
cier Into office.
Secretary Morris resigned, and no
sooner had he done so than he ceased
to twirl his mustache. The board
elected to take his place one Paul Pol
let, a short, chunky young man with
thick spectacles and a wiry pompa
dour. The fierce-whiskered director re
signed and was replaced by the stran
ger who ha8 sat nearest the clock. This
new director's name was W. O. Jones,
and he was so bald-headed that a
short-sighted lamp-cleaner had once
mistaken him for an are lamp. The
fat director with the upturned nose
was replaced by one Chinchilla Wil
liams, who had received his nickname
from the luxuriant fringe concealing
his countenance. Jim Measen, a big
boned man with a red neck and a much
used mustache, replaced the director
with the high shoulders, and then
President Wallingford, with a tap of
.his gavel, announced smilingly that the
board would go Into executive session;
whereupon the retiring directors arose
to file out and leave the People's Bank
to its fate. Ex-President Prlne paused
to bend over the chair of President
"It JUBt occurs to me that it might
be best not to make that new loan
until tomorrow," he suggested.
Wallingford was grateful to him for
having paved the way to a suggestion
of his own. "I think Til chance it." he
agreed, with a slight contraction of his
brows; "but if a bank examiner were
to suddenly pop In here tomorrow
morning, or if anything else were to
happen, I might have to hustle to ac
count for that 1330,000 of missing spe
cie." "That's up to you," returned Prlne
gayly. "We're leaving this bank in as
eolvent a condition as it was on the
day of the opening," and he sauntered
out through the lobby, where simple
minded business men were eagerly de
positing their money.
"Mr. President," remarked W. O. or
Onion Jones, as soon as the door had
closed behind the last of the retiring
directors, "I move that we all go into
tne vault and split the cash."
"Meeting's adjourned," chuckled
President Wallingford. "And let me
warn you loose-jawed bankers to buy
seme sticky taffy and keep right on
chewing It until you get on that two
forty train. Sign these resignations,
and don't fill in the dates." Producing
a big red pocketbook, he handed them
each a thousand-dollar bill and a ticket
to New York.
A tall, thin gentleman with a black
mustache walked up to the window of
the paying teller in the People's Bank
and laid down a check for 150.00o,
"Currency, please," he observed.
The paying teller, who was an el
derly man with severe spectacles, ex
amined the check on both sides, and
Blackie Daw from as many angles aa
"H. O. Daw," he voicelessly formed
with his lips, and a knot of concentra
tion sprang between his eyes, lifting
bis spectacles. That name was a new
one to him, and he consulted his refer
ences. The account was there, brand
new, and for the exact amount men
tioned on the check. "Have you any
means of identification, Mr. Daw?"
"The man who took my money
should be able to identify me," stated
Mr. Daw, blowing a thin blue thread
of smoke into the gilt dome.
"I can't pick him out." returned Mr.
Daw, his neck refusing most insolently
to turn. "It's his business to pick me
out. I want my money," he shouted.
"There's no necessity for shouting,
protested the paying teller, glaring at
Blackie. "You'll have your money as
soon as you're properly identified.
There's something Irregular here. I
don't find yourMgnature on file."
The excitable Mr. Daw suddenly
grew furious. He shook both fists at
the paying teller's grill.
"I want my money!" he yelled.
"You're trying to delay me! There's a
rumor all over town that the old offi
cers looted the bank and resigned. If
I don't get my money right away I'll
call an officer."
The lady depositor was the first to
reach the paying teller's window,
while the hay and feed merchant was
still hesitating over his deposit slip.
The lady sweetly shoved Blackie Daw
aside and pushed a check in at the
"Where's Mr. Prlne, Mr. Douglas?"
she sweetly inquired.
"He's not In today," replied the pay
ing teller, his severe spectacles stray
ing from Blackie to the receiving
teller ,to the casl ler and to the secre
"And Mr. Morris is not in?" still
"Not today." confessed the paying
teller, the knot between his eyes re
laxing and his severe spectacles de
scending a fraction of an inch as he
smiled diplomatically on the lady.
The door of the president's office
stood ajar. Now It opened and big J.
Rufua Wallingford came out. In plain
view. The lady, who, though very
much concentrated, had noticed a car
nation on the mandolin player's desk
and a fleck on the collar of the assist
ant secretary and a ptn on the floor
back near the vault entrance. Immedi
ately drew her check toward her.
"Who is that gentleman?" she wanted
to know. The paying teller coughed
and his spectacles went up.
"Our new manager, Mr. Wallingford,"
"I think I'll change the figures on
this check. Mr. Douglas." the lady
sweetly observed. "What is my balance,
please?" And reaching inside the
wicket for a pen, she produced her
tiny folding check-book and prepared
The hay-and-feed merchant tore up
his deposit-slip and hurried over to a
side desk. The butter-and-egg merchant
had already drawn a check for his bal
ance. There wee eight depositors in
the bank by now. The butter-and-egg
merchant, waiting his turn at the win
dow, was talking excitedly to three of
them, and displaying his check.
"Would you mind waiting a few
minutes, Mrs. Grandin?" asked the pay
ing teller anxiously aa he counted out
the lady's money. "I'd like to talk
"I'll be back," promised Mrs. Grandin
sweetly, as she stuffed the money hast
ily into her handbag. "I want to tele
phone some friends of mine," and as
she darted away the raying teller real
ized with a aickenlng sense of disaster
that the minute Mrs. Grandin emerged
from the door. Irreparable damage
would be done.
The butter-and-egg man lunged his
bulk Into the space vacated by the lady
and slammed down a check. His eyes
were bulging and his cheeks were
working. Blackie Daw lunged into the
butter-and-egg man's side with a Bharp
elbow and bumped him away; then
Blackie wound his long fingers Into the
grill, to hold his place in front of the
"My money," he howled. "You're
holding me back because a hundred
and fifty thousand dollars cash will
clean out your bank! You're going to
have a run today and you know It!"
"Call an officer!" 'ordered the paying
teller, about whose aged mouth there
was a snap which Blackie rather ad
mired. President Wallingford stepped for
"I know the man," he said, entering
the paying-teller's cage. "The account
is correct, give him the money." He
picked up the check, and put his O. K.
on it. "What do you mean by this?"
he demanded of H. G. Daw. "Are you
trying to ruin the People's Bunk?'
"They wouldn't give me my money."
loudly explained Mr. Daw. "I don't
want to put the old officers in bad, but
the truth about Prlne and the rest of
them had to come out before the day's
over, anyway, and I wanted my money!"
"Shut up, you fool!" ordered Walling
ford, quite visibly angry. "Come in
side, and wait until your money can be
"Give me room, will you! will you!"
Blackie excitedly requested of the de
positors who ,were crowding him. There
were nine of them now in line and there
was no depositor In front of the receiving-teller's
window. Blackie Daw
picked up a big yellow suitcase, and
"Remember," he cautioned the paying
teller, as he moved away, "no one gets
paid until I get mine!"
The paying teller looked at the re
ceiving teller, and the receiving teller
looked across at the paying teller. Both
were lost In profound wonder as to how
that account of H. G. Daw's had come
on the books, but they didn't speak.
No employe desired to know anything
which would be embarrassing on a wit
ness stand, with the sole exception of
the mandolin player; and he was handi
capped. "Shall I leave you the little toilet
bag?" asked Blackie Daw in the office
of President Wallingford. and he af
fectionately patted the yellow suitcase,
now stuffed with money.
"No," directed Wallingford, with a
strained look on his face. He sat down
with frowning anxiety. "I don't want
the money on me."
"I wish I could stay." reflected
Blackie, his eyes kindling. "You're
liable to have a scrimmage before you
get out of this."
"I think not,", calculated Walling -
ford, though the look of anxiety was
still on his brow, "m have the town
back of me if Prlne tries to start any
thing. There's no vengeance In a man
who's trying to save his own neck."
Twenty minutes later, Blackie Daw
walked out the back way way with a
hundred and fifty thousand dollars in
the yellow suitcase, and Wallingford
immediately sent for the bookkeeper.
"Well, Qualey, we're caught," he
cheerfully told the shiverer. who stood
before him. "We'll probably all be
Jailed inside of twenty-four hours."
Mr. Qualey crumpled in a chair and
shrank three sizes.
"We're lost!" exclaimed Wallingford.
"Listen to that mob!"
"There's one way out of this by which
no one need be arrested. Prine and
Morris and the other former directors
must cover that deficit on the Jump and
"That's right!" agreed the bookkeep
er, with unexpected determination.
"They're the ones who took the money,
and they're the ones w-ho have to save
"Gee! It tookou a long time to find
your sand!" chuckled Wallingford, wip
ing his brow in relief. "You hustle
right around to Prine and tell him
what they have to do."
"You bet I will!" declared Qualey.
shaking his fist. "They can raise the
money among them. If they have to
shut up the Pit bucket-shop, and all
In a few minutes Prine slipped in the
back way and confronted Wallingford.
"A fine mess you got us Into!" he
"Rotten!" agreed Wallingford. "Just
hear them out there."
"It's none of my affair," declared
Prlne. "I was astonished that you sent
crazy Qualey to me. When we stepped
out of this bank, we left it in a perfect
ly solvent condition. I can prove it by
"You'll never have a chance." Wal
lingford told him. with a grin. "If this
were only a matter of legal conse
quences, you might bluff; but, if this
bank closes " its doors with a deficit
of nearly half its capital, the people
of this town will take you apart for
souvenirs. If you don't believe it, open
the front door and show yourself."
Prlne walked to the door and put his
hand on the knob. He paused as he
heard his own name shouted. An angry
depositor was demanding to know
where he was.
"I'm sorry you blame me." grinned
Wallingford. "You see. I haven't had a
chance to pull the scheme that was to
square you. I don't suppose anybody
figured on the possibility of a run."
There was a knock at the door. The
mandolin player came in, his expres
sion entirely unchanged.
"'Several of the depositors have asked
to see Mr. Prlne. If he Is In." he po
litely reported, thrumming on the edge
of the door with his finger-tips. The
tune was, "Oh, Myrtle. My Sweetheart."
"Not here!" snapped Prine.
"Very well, sir." accepted the mando
lin player, no hair of his curly forelock
"Good work," commented Walling
ford. "Prlne, we have cash enough to
last about one hour, by slow counting.
Before that's gone, you'd better be
pouring the currency In here."
To add efect to his threat, he set the
door about an Inch ajar. The lobby of
the bank was packed solidly and a roar
came from the crowd, like a zoo Just
before feeding time. Even Wallingford
paled as he caught their temper from
"I dare you to let this bank close."
bluffed Wallingford. shutting the door.
"Moreover, they'll mob you Just as
quickly for my deficit as for your own.
So get your crowd together, and shoot
in that four-fifty quick?"
"I doubt If I can get back to my own
office," speculated Prine. listening to
the frequent recurrence of his name.
"Go out the front way," advised Wal
lingford. "Here are the minutes of the
meeting in which you resigned. I
saved them out of the minute-book on
loose sheets. Tear them up, and make
these people a speech. Tell them It's
all a mistake. Damn them a little, and
tell them to draw their money."
Prlne hesitated for just a moment,
then he grabbed the minute-sheets;
tore them Into small bits and threw
them Into the waste-basket.
"I'll make them a speech, all right,"
he snapped at Wallingford, his dimple
black. "I'll tell them the only defalca
tion was yours!"
Wallingford touched a beil, and
Qualey came In. stiffening at the sight
"Qualey. tell President Prine where
the deficit went."
"The Pit Brokerage Company,'
shrilled the desperate Qualey.
"You'll swear that on the witness
jstand?" "You bet I will!"
Prlne merely glanced at his book
keeper, and sat down at the 'phone.
He called up his fellow directors In
succession, and told them what they
had to do and how rapidly they had to
do it- Then he walked out into the
brass-grilled bank-cage, and made a
speech; a nice speech, a frank,
straightforward, manly speech, the
speech of an honest banker. At first
they howled him down, but he finally
got their ears, and told them how the
absurd rumor had arisen, merely be
cause the bank bad employed a man
ager who was a stranger. Honest and
capable as ho was. that manager had
been dismissed. Above all things, he
told them that their money was there!
He wanted them to draw it, and be
ashamed of themselves, and bring it
back next day It was a fine speech,
and they believed him, but they went
on drawing their money just the same.
The paying teller spoke to him aa he
started back to the office.
"The currency Is running rather low,
Concludea ea face