In Wayback Township, along in the Thirties, there arrived a 12-pounder. When he was three days old he was exhibited to a Bunch in the Front Room by an Old Lady who had made a Study of Colic. She was a Baby Expert who always broke in to do considerable heavy standing around and calling off when there was a lift in the Population.
While little Ipsy-Wipsy was being inspected, he opened one Eye and spotted a silver Half-Dollar that the Honorary Nurse wore as a Brooch. Immediately he closed in on it. They had to choke him to make him let go. In after Years it was remarked that this was the only time that he went after the Coin and failed to bring it home.
The Baby never had any Tantrums at Night because he had overheard them say that it cost $2 every time Doc was called in. He would lie quietly in his Crib for Hours at a time looking up at the Ceiling and computing Compound Interest on the $5 Gold Piece that had been put in the Bank, to be drawn out when he should be 21.
His Parents gave him a Biblical Name so so as to make him a strong Come-On for Investors who belong to the Pious Element. Hezekiah Hooper is what they christened him. They wanted a Name that would carry weight on a Letter-Head and reassure the Soft Mark who was about to sink his Funds in a Mining Venture with a Guarantee of 48 per cent. Dividends.
At the age of 4 Hezekiah sat down and figured that if he devoted his Life to Physical Toil, he might some day be the Owner of a six-room cottage fully protected by a Mortgage, whereas if he wore a White Shirt and kept busy with the Pencil, he might be Rich enough some day to land in the Senate. So he went out looking for Work to hand to other People, thus becoming what the Campaign Orator calls a Captain of Industry.
If a man wanted the Weeds pulled from his Garden, then Hez would take the Job for 25 cents. He would buy 5 cents worth of Stick Candy and place it judiciously, so that at Nightfall the other boys would have Blisters and the Stomach-Ache, while Hez would have 20 cents salted away in the Tin Bank.
When he was still a Young Man he made the Important Discovery that the honest Laborer who digs Post-Holes for 11 Hours at a Stretch gets $1.25 in the Currency of the Realm, while the Brain-Worker who leads out a Spavined Horse and puts in 20 Minutes at tall Bunko Work, can clean up $14.50 and then sit on the Porch all Afternoon, reading “The Lives of the Saints.”
Also Hezekiah led up to the Altar a Hold-Over whose Eyes refused to work as a Duet and whose Figure had all of the graceful Ins and Outs of a Flag-Pole, but she owned half of the Land in the Township. Hezekiah said something about the Beauty that fadeth even as a Flower, and then he connected with her Property.
When grim-visaged War showed its awful Front, Hezekiah went down to the Court-House and hollered for the Union until he was black in the Face. He showed all the emotional Farm Hands where to sign their Names and promised to keep them supplied with Blue Overcoats, Beans, Navy Plug and Hard Tack until the whole Works had been saved. Every time there was a new Call for Men, he took a firmer hold on the Commissary Department and began to gouge the Government in a new Place.
The Heroes who came home full of Malaria and Lead were met at the Station by Hezekiah, who had grown a Chin Whisker and was sporting a White Vest. He gave each one a Card announcing that all of our country’s Brave Defenders who had failed to become well fixed on $13 per, would get what Money they needed at 2 per cent. a Month, with Real Estate as Security.