I once visited my old haunts in Colorado and Wyoming after about seven years of absence. I also went to Utah, where spring had come in the rich valley of the Jordan and the glossy blackbird, with wing of flame, scooted gaily from bough to bough, deftly declaring his affections right and left, and acquiring more wives than he could support, then clearing his record by claiming to have had a revelation which made it all right.
One could not shut his eyes to the fact that there was great real estate activity in the West that spring. It took the place of mining and stock, I judge, and everywhere you heard and saw men with their heads together plotting against the poor rich man. In Salt Lake I saw the sign, “Drugs and Real Estate.”
I presume it meant medicine and a small residence lot in the cemetery.
In early days in Denver, Henry C. Brown, then in the full flush and vigor of manhood, opened negotiations with the agent of the Atchison stage line for a ticket back to Atchison, as he was heart-broken and homesick. He owned a quarter-section of land, with a heavy growth of prairie dogs on it, and he had almost persuaded the agent to swap him a ticket for this sage brush conservatory, when the ticket seller backed gently out of the trade. Mr. Brown then sat him down on the sidewalk and cried bitterly.
I just tell this to show how easily some men weep. Atchison is at present so dead that a good cowboy, with an able mule, could tie his rope to its tail, and, putting his spurs to the mule, jerk loose the entire pelt at any time, while Brown’s addition to Denver is worth anywhere from one and a half to two millions of dollars. When Mr. Brown weeps now it is because his food is too rich and gives him the gout. He sold prairie dogs enough to fence the land in so that it could not blow into Cherry Creek vale, and then he set to work earnestly to wait for the property to advance. Finding that he could not sell the property at any price, he, with great foresight, concluded to retain it. Some men, with no special ability in other directions, have the greatest genius for doing such things, while others, with superior talent in other ways, do not make money in this way.
A report once got around that I had made a misguess on some property. This is partly true, only it was my wife who speculated. She had never speculated much before, though she had tried other open air amusements. So she swapped a cottage and lots in Hudson, Wisconsin, for city lots in Minneapolis, employing a man named Flinton Pansley to work up the trade, look into the title, and do the square thing for her. He was a real good man, with heavenly aspirations and a true sorrow in his heart for the prevalence of sin. Still this sorrow did not break in on his business. Well, the business was done by correspondence and Mr. Pansley only charged a reasonable amount, she giving him her new carriage to remunerate him for his brain fag. What the other man paid him for disposing of the lots I do not know. I was away at the time, and having no insect powder with which to take his life I regretfully spared him to his Bible class.
I did send a man over the lots, however, when I returned. They were not really in the city of Minneapolis, that is, they were not near enough to worry anybody by the tumult of the town. In fact, they were in another county. You may think I am untruthful about this, but the lots are there, if you have any curiosity to see them. They are not where they were represented to be, however, and the machine shops and gas works and court-house are quite a long distance away.