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The Financier
by [?]

I wired back: “Sell fifty, quick.”

Next day he told me he had sold them.

“That’s all right,” I said cheerfully; “they’re his. He can watch them go up and down. When do I get my twenty-five pounds?” To save twenty-five pounds from the wreck was wonderful.

“Not for a month; and, of course, you don’t deliver the shares till then.”

“What do you mean, ‘deliver the shares’?” I asked in alarm. “I haven’t got the gold-mine here; it’s in Africa or somewhere. Must I go out and—-“

“But you’ve got a certificate for them.”

My heart sank.

“Have I?” I whispered. “Good Lord, I wonder where it is.”

I went home and looked. I looked for two days; I searched drawers and desks and letter-books and safes and ice-tanks and trouser-presses–every place in which a certificate might hide. It was no good. I went back to Andrew. I was calm.

“About these Jaguars,” I said casually. “I don’t quite understand my position. What have I promised to do? And can they put me in prison if I don’t do it?”

“You’ve promised to sell fifty Jaguars to a man called Stevens by the middle of next month. That’s all.”

“I see,” I said, and I went home again.

And I suppose you see too. I’ve got to sell fifty Jaguars to a man called Stevens by the middle of next month. Although I really have fifty fully matured ones of my own, there’s nothing to prove it, and they are so suspicious in the City that they will never take my bare word. So I shall have to buy fifty new Jaguars for this man called Stevens–and buy them by the middle of next month.

And this is why I am still eagerly watching the price of Jaguars. Yesterday they were 5/8. I am hoping that by the middle of next month they will be down to 1/2 again. But I find it difficult to remember sometimes which way I want them to go. This afternoon, for instance, when I saw they had risen to 11/16 I was quite excited for a moment; I went out and bought some cigars on the strength of it. Then I remembered; and I came home and almost decided to sell the pianola. It is very confusing. You must see how very confusing it is.