Once there was a Hireling at the tail-end of a Pay Roll who longed to get a Chunk of Money so that he could own a House and pick out his own Wall-Paper.
He read an Ad in a Religious Weekly. It said to Hurry and get a Slice of the Bullkon Mining Company because on July 1st the Price would be whooped from $1 a Share to $2.75. The Guggenheims wanted it but the Directors preferred to slip it to the American People.
The Property was right up against some other Property so rich that the Workmen engaged in lifting out the Precious Metal had to wear Goggles to keep from being blinded.
The Man fell for it. He rushed to the Savings Bank and drew his Wad and sent it to a Man with several Chins, who had to sit at a Desk for nearly an hour each Day taking Money out of Envelopes.
The Stockholder received a Certificate. It had at the Top an Engraving of a Lady spilling Golden Nuggets out of a Cornucopia and below was a Seal and the Signatures of all the Officers of the Company. Any one standing off ten Feet from this Certificate couldn’t have told it from a 1915 Bond of the Pennsylvania Company.
Every Week the Stockholder found in his Mail a Report from the Expert in charge of Shaft No. 13 in the Skiddykadoo Fields showing that the Assay ran $42.16 and the Main Lateral had been opened as far as the Mezzanine Drift, which meant that the $1 Shares would be selling around $85 before the Holidays.
Whereupon he would pinch out some of the Money about to be frittered away on Dress Goods and Cereals and send it to J. Etherington Cuticle, Promoter, who was thus enabled to have a new Collar put on his Fur Coat.
In course of Time the incipient Monte Cristo had a Bale of Certificates. He could borrow a Pencil and figure out, in a few Minutes, that when the Stock went to Par (as per Prospectus) he would land a few feet behind Hetty Green and somewhat in advance of the First National Bank.
While he was waiting for Dame Fortune, with the Sheet wrapped around her, to begin rolling it out of the Cornucopia, as advertised on the One-Sheets, he inadvertently up and died.
The Administrator and the Brother-in-Law went over the stuff at the Safety Deposit. They checked all the Items from the outlawed Note down to the Delinquent Tax Notice and then advised the Widow to pick out a nice lucrative Position in a Hand Laundry.
Two Years passed by. The Family was now living in Comfort. Down in a Bureau Drawer, with the Dance Programs and the High School Diplomas, reposed the Stock Certificates of the Bullkon Gold and Silver Mining and Development Company, Inc.
The Widow had been tempted to use them on the Shelves, but every time she looked at the Litho of the Benevolent Female dumping the $20 Gold Pieces out of the Cornucopia, and saw the Seal, and alongside of it the majestic Signature of J. Etherington Cuticle, and noted that the total Face Value was $80,000, she would replace the Elastic and decide to Wait.
One day a soft-spoken Gentleman met her as she returned from her Daily Toil and said that a Syndicate was about to take over all the Holdings of the Bullkon G. and S. M. and D. Co., Inc., and stood ready to purchase her Stock.
With trembling Hands she undid the Bundle. It took a long time to make the Count but when he got it all straightened out and figured up, he looked her straight in the Eye and said: “It comes out to One Dollar and Eighty-Two Cents.”
MORAL: Fiction is stranger than Truth.