The Business Associates of Alexander liked to see Europe from the inside every summer and investigate the Cocktail Crop of Florida every winter, so they allowed him to be the Works.
He began building the Skids which finally carried them to the Fresh Air and left only one name on the Gold Sign.
Up to his Chin in Debt and with a Panic looming on the Horizon, it behooved Alexander to be on the job at 7:30 A.M. and hang around to scan the Pay-Roll until 9:30 P.M.
Ofttimes while galloping from his Apartment to the Galleys or chasing homeward to grab off a few wasteful hours of Slumber, he would see People of the Lower Classes going out to the Parks with Picnic Baskets, or lined up at the Vaudeville Palaces, or watching a hard-faced Soubrette demonstrate something in a Show Window.
It got him to think Dubs could frivol around and waste the golden Moments when they might be hopping on to a Ten-Cent Piece.
His usual Gait was that of a man going for the Doctor, and he talked Numbers to himself as he sped along and mumbled over the important Letters he was about to dictate.
Those who were pushed out of his way would overhear a scrap or two of the Raving and think he was Balmy.
The answer is that every hard-working Business Guy acts as if he had Screech-Owls in the Tower.
Aleck had his whole Staff so buffaloed that the Hirelings tried to keep up with him, so that Life in the Beehive was just one thing after another, with no Intermission.
The Whip cracked every five minutes, and the Help would dig in their toes and take a fresh lean-up against the Collars, for the Main Squeeze was trying to be a Bank Director, and Rockefeller had stolen a long start on him.
With a thousand important Details claiming his attention, Aleck had no time to monkey with side issues such as the general State of his Health or the multifarious plans for uplifting the Flat-Heads that he could see from his Window.
Those who recommended Golf to him seemed to forget that no one ever laid by anything while on the Links.
As for the Plain People, his only Conviction when he surveyed them in the Mass was that every Man-Jack was holding back Money that rightfully belonged to him (Alexander).
Needless to say, the battling Financier was made welcome at the Directors’ Table and handed a piece of a Trust Company and became an honored Guest when any Melon was to be sliced.
All that he dreamt while sleeping in the cold room over the Store had eventuated for fair.
The more Irons in the Fire, the more flip-flops he turned.
He never paused, except to weep over the fact that some of the rival Procurers were getting more than he could show. It was an unjust World.
Brushing away the salty Tears, he would leap seven feet into the Air and spear a passing Dollar.
By the time he had the Million necessary for the support of a suitable and well-recommended Lady, he was too busy to go chasing and too foxy to split his Pile with a rank Outsider.
His Motor-Car squawked at the Sparrow Cops when they waved their Arms.
The engineer who pulled the Private Car always had his Orders to hit it up.
Sometimes the Private Secretary would drop out from Exhaustion, but the Human Dynamo never slowed up. He would shout his General Orders into the Cylinder of a Talking Machine.
He reposed at Night with a Ticker on his Bosom and a Receiver at his Ear.
When he finally flew the Track and blew out the Carburetor, they had to use a Net to get him under Control so that he could be carted away to the Hospital.
Then the Trained Nurse had to practise all the Trick Holds known to Frank Gotch to keep him from arising to resume the grim Battle against his Enemies on the Board.
He fluttered long before calming down, but finally they got him all spread out and as nice a Patient as one could wish to see.
When he was too weak to start anything, Doc sat down and cheered him along by telling what Precautions should have been taken, along about 1880.
“And now, I have some News for you,” said the Practitioner, holding in his Grief so well that no one could notice it. “You are going away from here. Owing to the total absence of many Organs commonly regarded as essential, it will be impossible for you to go back to the Desk and duplicate any of your notable Stunts. No doubt we shall be able to engage Six Men of Presentable Appearance to act as Pall-Bearers. It is our purpose to proceed to the Cemetery by Automobile so as not to impede Traffic on any of the Surface Lines in which you are so heavily interested. I congratulate you on getting so far along before being tripped up, and I am wondering if you have a Final Request to make.”
“Just one,” replied the Great Man. “I’d like to have you or somebody else tell me what it’s all been about.”
The only remaining Fact to be chronicled is that the original Dollar, picked up on the Circus Lot, was found among the Effects.
A Nephew, whom Alexander Campbell Purvis never had seen, took the Dollar and with it purchased two Packs of Egyptian Cigaroots, Regal size, with Gold Tips.
MORAL: A pinch of Change, carefully put by, always comes in handy.