en-fr  Shearing the Wolf
Jeff Peters était toujours éloquent lorsque l'éthique de son métier était l'objet de discussion.

— Les seules fois, dit-il, qu'Andy Tucker et moi avons eu des hiatus dans nos intentions cordiales, c'est quand nous n'étions pas d'accord sur les aspects moraux du travail. Andy avait ses critères et j'avais les miens. Je n'approuvais pas tous les manigances d'Andy pour percevoir des contributions du public, et il pensait que je laissais ma conscience interférer trop souvent pour le bien financier de l'entreprise. Nous avions de vives discussions parfois. Un mot en entrainant un autre jusqu'à qu'il me dise que je lui rappelais Rockefeller.

— Je ne sais pas ce que tu veux dire, Andy, dis-je, mais nous sommes amis depuis trop longtemps pour que je m'offusque d'une raillerie que tu regretteras quand tu seras calmé. Il me reste encore, dis-je, à serrer la main d'un huissier.

— Un été, Andy et moi décidâmes de nous reposer dans une charmante petite ville dans les montagnes du Kentucky, appelée Grassdale. Nous étions supposés être des cavaliers, et de bons et honnêtes citoyens d'ailleurs, prenant des vacances d'été. Les gens de Grassdale nous apprécièrent, ainsi Andy et moi déclarâmes la fin des hostilités, même pas glisser la page de garde d'un prospectus de concession de caoutchouc ou l'éclat d'un diamant brésilien pendant que nous étions là.

— Un jour, le principal quincailler de Grassdale passe vers l'hôtel où Andy et moi sommes arrêtés, et fume avec nous, sympathique, sur le côté du porche. Nous le connaissions très bien depuis le lancement des palets dans l'après-midi dans la cour du palais de justice. C'est un homme bruyant et rougeaud, respirant fort, mais gras et respectable, au-delà de toute raison.

— Lancement des palets dans l'après-midi dans la cour du palais de justice.

Après avoir parlé de tous les sujets connus du jour, ce Murkison - car tel est son nom - extirpe une lettre de sa poche de manteau d'une manière consciencieuse et négligente et nous la laisse lire.

— Maintenant, qu'est-ce que tu en penses ? dit-il en riant, une lettre comme ça à MOI !

Andy et moi voyons d'un coup d'oeil de quoi il sagit ; mais nous prétendons la lire par le biais. Il s'agissait d'une de ces bonnes vielles lettres blanchies dactylographiées à la machine, expliquant comment, en échange de 1 000 $, vous pouvez recevoir 5 000 $ en billets qu'un expert ne pourrait pas distinguer de l'authentique ; et continuent à dire comment ils ont été fabriqués à partir de plaques volées par un employé du Trésor à Washington.

— Quel toupet m'envoyer une lettre comme ça à MOI ! dit encore Murkison.

Quel toupet m'envoyer une lettre comme ça à MOI !

Beaucoup de braves hommes en reçoivent, dit Andy. Si vous ne répondez pas à la première lettre, ils vous laissent tomber. Si vous y répondez, ils écrivent de nouveau en vous demandant de venir avec votre argent et de conclure l'affaire.

Mais quel culot m'écrire à moi ! dit Murkison.

— Quelques jours plus tard, il repasse.

— Messieurs, dit-il, je sais que vous êtes sûrs ou je ne me confierai pas à vous. Je leur ai repondu les voyous juste pour rire. Ils ont répondu et m'ont dit de venir à Chicago. Ils ont dit de télégraphier à J. Smith quand je commencerais. Quand j'arrive là bas, j'attends à tel coin de rue jusqu'à ce qu'un homme en costume gris arrive et dépose un journal devant moi. Alors je dois lui demander comment est l'eau, ainsi il sait que c'est moi et je sais que c'est lui.

— Ah, oui, dit Andy, bâillant, c'est la même vielle combine. Je l'ai souvent lu dans les journaux. Ensuite, il vous conduit à l'abattoir privé de l'hôtel, où M. Jones attend déjà. Ils vous montrent de la vraies monnaie et vous vendent tout ce que vous voulez à cinq contre un. Vous les voyez les mettre dans une sacoche pour vous et savoir que c'est là. Bien sûr, ce n'est que du papier d'emballage quand tu vas regarder plus tard.

— Bien sûr, c'est du papier d'emballage.

— Oh, ils ne pourraient pas faire l'échange avec moi, dit Murkison. Je n'ai pas bâti l'entreprise la plus rentable à Grassdale sans qu'on fasse des plaisanteries à mon sujet. Vous dites que c'est de la vraie monnaie qu'ils vous montrent, monsieur. Tucker ?

— J'ai toujours ... j'ai vu dans les journaux que c'est toujours comme ça, dit Andy.

— Les gars, dit Murkison, j'ai la certitude que ces types ne peuvent pas me mener en bateau. Je pense que je vais mettre quelques dollars dans mon jean pour monter là-bas et les diffuser partout. Si Bill Murkison pose une fois les yeux sur ces billets qu'ils lui montreront, il ne les quittera jamais des yeux. Ils offrent 5 $ contre 1 $, et ils devront tenir compte de la négociation si je les affronte. C'est le genre de négociateur qu'est Bill Murkison. Oui, je crois bien que je vais monter à Chicago et prendre 5 contre 1 sur J. Smith. J'imagine que l'eau sera assez bonne.

Andy et moi, nous tentons de persuader Murkison d'oublier cette citation financière inexacte, mais nous aurions aussi bien pu essayer d'empêcher le gars qui fait rouler des cacahouètes avec un cure-dent de parier sur l'élection de Bryan. Non Monsieur, il allait accomplir un devoir public en attrapant ces escrocs à la fausse monnaie à leur propre jeu. Peut-être leur donnerait-il une leçon.

Après que Murkison nous eut quittés, Andy et moi restâmes assis quelques temps concentrés sur nos silencieuses méditations et nos pensées hérétiques. Pendant nos heures de loisir, nous avons toujours amélioré nos egos supérieurs par le raisonnement et la réflexion.

Jeff, dit Andy après un long laps de temps, j'ai très souvent contesté ton point de vue quand nous discutions le bout de gras au sujet de ta façon consciencieuse de faire des affaires. J'ai probablement eu souvent tort. Mais voici un cas sur lequel je pense que nous pouvons être d'accord. Je sens que ce serait une erreur de laisser M. Murkison rencontrer seul ces vendeurs de fausse monnaie de Chicago. Cela ne peut se terminer que d'une seule manière. Ne crois-tu pas que nous nous sentirions mieux tous les deux si nous devions intervenir de quelque façon et empêcher la réalisation de cette affaire?

Je me levai et serrai longuement et vigoureusement la main d'Andy Tucker.

— Andy, dis-je, j'ai pu avoir une ou deux mauvaises opinions à propos du manque de cœur de ta corporation, mais je les retire maintenant. Tu as un bon fond après tout. C'est tout à ton honneur. J'avais justement la même idée que celle que tu as exprimée. Ce ne serait ni honorable ni méritoire de notre part, dis-je, de laisser Murkison poursuivre ce projet qu'il a commencé. S'il est décidé à y aller, allons avec lui et empêchons cette arnaque de se réaliser.

Andy m'approuva et je fus heureux de voir qu'il était déterminé à briser ce complot de fausse monnaie.

— Je ne prétend pas être un bon croyant, dis-je, ou un fanatique de la bigoterie morale, mais je ne peux pas rester immobile et voir un homme qui a développé son affaire par ses propres efforts et idées risquer d'être dévalisé par un escroc sans scrupules qui est une menace pour le bien public.

Absolument Jeff, dit Andy. Nous allons coller à Murkison s'il insiste pour y aller et bloquer cette drôle d'affaire. Je détesterais autant que toi voir le moindre argent jeté là-dedans.

— Bien, nous allâmes voir Murkison.

— Non les gars, dit-il. Je ne peux pas consentir à laisser le chant de cette sirène de Chicago flotter près de moi dans la brise d'été. Je vais faire frire un peu de graisse de ce feu-follet ou faire un trou dans la poêle. Mais ça me ferait bien rigoler de vous avoir tous les deux avec moi. Peut-être pourriez-vous donner un coup de main quand il s'agira d'encaisser le ticket à une chance sur 5. Oui, je prendrais vraiment ça comme un passe-temps et un amusement si vous veniez aussi, les gars.

— Murkison laisse entendre dans Grassdale qu'il va partir quelques jours avec MM. Peters et Tucker pour visiter une certaine mine de fer en Virginie de l'ouest. Il télégraphie à J. Smith qu'il mettra le pied dans la toile d'araignée à une date donnée ; et nous trois, on décampe pour Chicago.

— En route Murkison s'amuse des prémonitions et avance de plaisants souvenirs.

— En costume gris, dit-il, à l'angle sud-ouest de l'avenue Wabash et de la rue du lac. Il laisse tomber le journal et je demande comment est l'eau. Oh, mon Dieu, mon Dieu, mon Dieu! Et il rit aux éclats pendant cinq minutes.

Parfois Murkison était sérieux et tentait de sortir de ses cogitations, quelles qu'elles fussent, en parlant.

— Les gars, dit-il, je ne voudrais pas devoir sortir dans Grassdale pour dix mille dollars. Cela me detruirait. Mais je sais que vous allez tous bien. Je crois que c'est le devoir de chaque citoyen, dit-il, d'essayer de rouler ces voleurs qui s'en prennent au public. Je vais leur montrer si l'eau est bonne. Cinq dollars pour un, c'est ce que J. Smith offre, et il devra conserver son contrat s'il fait affaire avec Bill Murkison.

Nous arrivâmes à Chicago vers 7 heures. Murkison devait rencontrer l'homme en gris à 9 heures du soir. Nous avons dîné dans un hôtel et nous sommes allés jusqu'à la salle de Murkison pour attendre le moment venu.

— Maintenant les gars, dit Murkison, mettons notre bon sens en commun et imaginons un plan pour vaincre l'ennemi. Supposons que, pendant que je discute avec désinvolture avec le type au chapeau gris, vous messieurs, vous arrivez par hasard, n'est-ce pas, et vous braillez: "Salut Murkison!" et on se serre la main familièrement en manifestant de la surprise. Alors j'emmène le type à part et je lui dis que vous êtes Jenkins et Brown de Grassdale, des épiciers, des braves types prêts à saisir les opportunités alors qu'ils sont loin de chez eux.

"Amène-les bien sûr, il dira, s'ils ont envie de faire un investissement. Bon, qu'est-ce que vous pensez de ce plan?

Qu'en dis-tu Jeff? dit Andy en me regardant.

Bon, voilà ce que j'en dis, dis-je. Je dis, réglons ça ici maintenant. Je ne vois aucune raison de perdre plus de temps. Je sors un 38 nickelé de ma poche et fais tourner le barillet quelques instants.

Espèce de cochon mécréant, immoral et sournois, dis-je à Murkison, sors les deux mille dollars et pose-les sur la table. Obéissez vite, dis-je, sinon d'autres alternatives sont imminentes. En général je suis un homme indulgent mais de temps à autre je me trouve entre les extrêmes. Des types comme vous, continuai-je après qu'il eut sorti l'argent, sont ceux qui font se pérenniser les prisons et les cours de justice. Vous êtes venu ici pour dépouiller ces gens de leur argent. Est-ce que ça vous excuse? Demandé-je, qu'ils essaient de vous plumer? Non Monsieur. Vous alliez voler Peter pour donner à Paul. Vous êtes dix fois pire, dis-je, que ces faux monnayeurs. Vous allez à l'église chez vous et faites semblant d'être un honnête citoyen, mais vous allez vous rendre à Chicago et dépouiller des hommes qui ont construit une saine et profitable entreprise en faisant affaire avec des vauriens aussi méprisables que vous avez essayé de l'être aujourd'hui. Comment savez-vous, dis-je, que ce type à la fausse monnaie n'a pas une grande famille qui dépend de ses escroqueries? Ce sont vous les citoyens supposés respectables qui êtes toujours à l'affût pour obtenir quelque chose pour rien, dis-je, qui soutiennent les loteries, les mines et les bourses de valeurs malsaines et les voleurs de télégrammes de ce pays. Si vous n'étiez pas là, ils feraient faillite. Le type à la fausse monnaie que vous alliez dévaliser, dis-je, a peut-être appris son métier pendant des années. À chaque transaction, il risque son argent et sa liberté et peut-être sa vie. Vous venez ici tout contents et tout équipés de respectabilité et d'une jolie adresse postale pour l'arnaquer. S'il prend l'argent, vous pouvez le dénoncer à la police. Si vous le prenez, il met le costume gris au clou pour acheter son souper et ne dit rien. M. Tucker et moi, nous vous avons jugé, dis-je, et sommes venus voir que vous avez obtenu ce que vous méritiez. Refilez-nous l'argent, dis-je, espèce d'hypocrite nourri à l'herbe.

— Je mis les deux mille dollars, qui étaient en billets de 20, dans ma poche intérieure.

Maintenant sortez votre montre, dis-je à Murkison. — Non, je ne le veux pas, dis-je. Placez-la sur la table et asseyez-vous sur cette chaise jusqu'à ce qu'une heure soit écoulée. Ensuite, vous pourrez partir. Si vous faites le moindre bruit ou que vous partez plus tôt, nous vous rechercherons partout dans Grassdale. Je suppose que votre position élevée là-bas vaut plus de 2 000 $.

— Puis, Andy et moi, sommes partis.

Dans le train, Andy fut longtemps silencieux. Puis il dit : — Jeff, je peux te poser une question ?

— Deux, dis-je, ou quarante.

— Était-ce l'idée que tu avais, dit-il, quand nous sommes partis avec Murkison ?

— Pourquoi, absolument, dis-je. — Quoi d'autre sinon ? N'était-ce pas la tienne aussi ?

— Après environ une demi-heure, Andy parla à nouveau. Je pense qu'il y a des moments où Andy ne comprend pas exactement mon système d'éthique et d'hygiène morale.

— Jeff, dit-il, un jour où tu auras le loisir, je souhaite que tu dessines un diagramme et des explications de cette conscience qui est la tienne. — J'aimerais m'y référer à l'occasion.
unit 1
Jeff Peters was always eloquent when the ethics of his profession was under discussion.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 12 months ago
unit 3
Andy had his standards and I had mine.
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 12 months ago
unit 5
We had high arguments sometimes.
1 Translations, 5 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
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One word led on to another till he said I reminded him of Rockefeller.
1 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
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I have yet,' says I, 'to shake hands with a subpœna server.'
2 Translations, 4 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
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We was supposed to be horse drovers, and good decent citizens besides, taking a summer vacation.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
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We knew him pretty well from pitching quoits in the afternoons in the court house yard.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
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He was a loud, red man, breathing hard, but fat and respectable beyond all reason.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
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"Pitching quoits in the afternoon in the court house yard."
3 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
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"'Now, what do you think of that?'
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
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says he, laughing—'a letter like that to ME!'
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
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"Me and Andy sees at a glance what it is; but we pretend to read it through.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
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"'Think of 'em sending a letter like that to ME!'
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says Murkison again.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
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"'Think of 'em sending a letter like that to ME!'"
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
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"'Lot's of good men get 'em,' says Andy.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
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'If you don't answer the first letter they let you drop.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 26
If you answer it they write again asking you to come on with your money and do business.'
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
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"'But think of 'em writing to ME!'
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says Murkison.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 29
"A few days later he drops around again.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
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"'Boys,' says he, 'I know you are all right or I wouldn't confide in you.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 31
I wrote to them rascals again just for fun.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
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They answered and told me to come on to Chicago.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
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They said telegraph to J. Smith when I would start.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 35
Then I am to ask him how the water is, and he knows it's me and I know it's him.'
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 36
"'Ah, yes,' says Andy, gaping, 'it's the same old game.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 37
I've often read about it in the papers.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 38
Then he conducts you to the private abattoir in the hotel, where Mr. Jones is already waiting.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
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They show you brand new real money and sell you all you want at five for one.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 40
You see 'em put it in a satchel for you and know it's there.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 41
Of course it's brown paper when you come to look at it afterward.'
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 42
"'Of course, it's brown paper.'"
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
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"'Oh, they couldn't switch it on me,' says Murkison.
3 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
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'I haven't built up the best paying business in Grassdale without having witticisms about me.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
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You say it's real money they show you, Mr.
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Tucker?'
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
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"'I've always—I see by the papers that it always is,' says Andy.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
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"'Boys,' says Murkison, 'I've got it in my mind that them fellows can't fool me.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
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I think I'll put a couple of thousand in my jeans and go up there and put it all over 'em.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 50
If Bill Murkison gets his eyes once on them bills they show him he'll never take 'em off of 'em.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 51
They offer $5 for $1, and they'll have to stick to the bargain if I tackle 'em.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 52
That's the kind of trader Bill Murkison is.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 53
Yes, I jist believe I'll drop up Chicago way and take a 5 to 1 shot on J. Smith.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 54
I guess the water'll be fine enough.'
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
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Maybe it would teach 'em a lesson.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 59
In our idle hours we always improved our higher selves by ratiocination and mental thought.
2 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 61
I may have been often wrong.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
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But here is a case where I think we can agree.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 64
There is but one way it can end.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 66
"I got up and shook Andy Tucker's hand hard and long.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
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You have a kind nucleus at the interior of your exterior after all.
2 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
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It does you credit.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 70
I was just thinking the same thing that you have expressed.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 72
If he is determined to go let us go with him and prevent this swindle from coming off.'
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 75
"'Right, Jeff,' says Andy.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 76
'We'll stick right along with Murkison if he insists on going and block this funny business.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 77
I'd hate to see any money dropped in it as bad as you would.'
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 78
"Well, we went to see Murkison.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 79
"'No, boys,' says he.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 80
'I can't consent to let the song of this Chicago siren waft by me on the summer breeze.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
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I'll fry some fat out of this ignis fatuus or burn a hole in the skillet.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
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But I'd be plumb diverted to death to have you all go along with me.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 83
Maybe you could help some when it comes to cashing in the ticket to that 5 to 1 shot.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 84
Yes, I'd really take it as a pastime and regalement if you boys would go along too.'
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 87
"On the way Murkison amuses himself with premonitions and advance pleasant recollections.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 2 months ago
unit 88
"'In a gray suit,' says he, 'on the southwest corner of Wabash avenue and Lake street.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 89
He drops the paper, and I ask how the water is.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 90
Oh, my, my, my!'
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And then he laughs all over for five minutes.
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unit 93
"'Boys,' says he, 'I wouldn't have this to get out in Grassdale for ten times a thousand dollars.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
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It would ruin me there.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
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But I know you all are all right.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 97
I'll show 'em whether the water's fine.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 99
"We got into Chicago about 7 p.m. Murkison was to meet the gray man at half past 9.
2 Translations, 0 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
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We had dinner at a hotel and then went up to Murkison's room to wait for the time to come.
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and shake hands with symptoms of surprise and familiarity.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 105
"'"Bring 'em along," he'll say, of course, "if they care to invest."
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 106
Now, how does that scheme strike you?'
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 107
"'What do you say, Jeff?'
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 108
says Andy, looking at me.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 109
"'Why, I'll tell you what I say,' says I.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 110
'I say let's settle this thing right here now.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 111
I don't see any use of wasting any more time.'
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 112
I took a nickel-plated .38 out of my pocket and clicked the cylinder around a few times.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 114
Obey with velocity,' says I, 'for otherwise alternatives are impending.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 115
I am preferably a man of mildness, but now and then I find myself in the middle of extremities.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 117
You come up here to rob these men of their money.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 118
Does it excuse you?'
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 119
I asks, 'that they were trying to skin you?
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 120
No, sir; you was going to rob Peter to stand off Paul.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 121
You are ten times worse,' says I, 'than that green goods man.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 125
If it wasn't for you they'd go out of business.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 126
The green goods man you was going to rob,' says I, 'studied maybe for years to learn his trade.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 127
Every turn he makes he risks his money and liberty and maybe his life.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 129
If he gets the money you can squeal to the police.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 130
If you get it he hocks the gray suit to buy supper and says nothing.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 131
Mr. Tucker and me sized you up,' says I, 'and came along to see that you got what you deserved.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 132
Hand over the money,' says I, 'you grass fed hypocrite.'
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 133
"I put the two thousand, which was all in $20 bills, in my inside pocket.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 134
"'Now get out your watch,' says I to Murkison.
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unit 135
'No, I don't want it,' says I.
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 136
'Lay it on the table and you sit in that chair till it ticks off an hour.
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unit 137
Then you can go.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 138
If you make any noise or leave any sooner we'll handbill you all over Grassdale.
2 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 139
I guess your high position there is worth more than $2,000 to you.'
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 140
"Then me and Andy left.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 141
"On the train Andy was a long time silent.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 142
Then he says: 'Jeff, do you mind my asking you a question?'
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 143
"'Two,' says I, 'or forty.'
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 144
"'Was that the idea you had,' says he, 'when we started out with Murkison?'
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 145
"'Why, certainly,' says I.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 146
'What else could it have been?
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 147
Wasn't it yours, too?'
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 148
"In about half an hour Andy spoke again.
1 Translations, 2 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 149
I think there are times when Andy don't exactly understand my system of ethics and moral hygiene.
1 Translations, 3 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
unit 151
I'd like to have it to refer to occasionally.'"
1 Translations, 1 Upvotes, Last Activity 1 year, 1 month ago
GCHOTEAU • 2259  translated  unit 46  1 year, 2 months ago
francevw • 14086  commented on  unit 44  1 year, 2 months ago
francevw • 14086  commented on  unit 39  1 year, 2 months ago
Gabrielle • 13947  translated  unit 46  1 year, 2 months ago
Gabrielle • 13947  commented on  unit 4  1 year, 3 months ago

Jeff Peters was always eloquent when the ethics of his profession was under discussion.

"The only times," said he, "that me and Andy Tucker ever had any hiatuses in our cordial intents was when we differed on the moral aspects of grafting. Andy had his standards and I had mine. I didn't approve of all of Andy's schemes for levying contributions from the public, and he thought I allowed my conscience to interfere too often for the financial good of the firm. We had high arguments sometimes. One word led on to another till he said I reminded him of Rockefeller.

"'I don't know how you mean that, Andy,' says I, 'but we have been friends too long for me to take offense at a taunt that you will regret when you cool off. I have yet,' says I, 'to shake hands with a subpœna server.'

"One summer me and Andy decided to rest up a spell in a fine little town in the mountains of Kentucky called Grassdale. We was supposed to be horse drovers, and good decent citizens besides, taking a summer vacation. The Grassdale people liked us, and me and Andy declared a cessation of hostilities, never so much as floating the fly leaf of a rubber concession prospectus or flashing a Brazilian diamond while we was there.

"One day the leading hardware merchant of Grassdale drops around to the hotel where me and Andy stopped, and smokes with us, sociable, on the side porch. We knew him pretty well from pitching quoits in the afternoons in the court house yard. He was a loud, red man, breathing hard, but fat and respectable beyond all reason.

"Pitching quoits in the afternoon in the court house yard."

"After we talk on all the notorious themes of the day, this Murkison—for such was his entitlements—takes a letter out of his coat pocket in a careful, careless way and hands it to us to read.

"'Now, what do you think of that?' says he, laughing—'a letter like that to ME!'

"Me and Andy sees at a glance what it is; but we pretend to read it through. It was one of them old time typewritten green goods letters explaining how for $1,000 you could get $5,000 in bills that an expert couldn't tell from the genuine; and going on to tell how they were made from plates stolen by an employee of the Treasury at Washington.

"'Think of 'em sending a letter like that to ME!' says Murkison again.

"'Think of 'em sending a letter like that to ME!'"

"'Lot's of good men get 'em,' says Andy. 'If you don't answer the first letter they let you drop. If you answer it they write again asking you to come on with your money and do business.'

"'But think of 'em writing to ME!' says Murkison.

"A few days later he drops around again.

"'Boys,' says he, 'I know you are all right or I wouldn't confide in you. I wrote to them rascals again just for fun. They answered and told me to come on to Chicago. They said telegraph to J. Smith when I would start. When I get there I'm to wait on a certain street corner till a man in a gray suit comes along and drops a newspaper in front of me. Then I am to ask him how the water is, and he knows it's me and I know it's him.'

"'Ah, yes,' says Andy, gaping, 'it's the same old game. I've often read about it in the papers. Then he conducts you to the private abattoir in the hotel, where Mr. Jones is already waiting. They show you brand new real money and sell you all you want at five for one. You see 'em put it in a satchel for you and know it's there. Of course it's brown paper when you come to look at it afterward.'

"'Of course, it's brown paper.'"

"'Oh, they couldn't switch it on me,' says Murkison. 'I haven't built up the best paying business in Grassdale without having witticisms about me. You say it's real money they show you, Mr. Tucker?'

"'I've always—I see by the papers that it always is,' says Andy.

"'Boys,' says Murkison, 'I've got it in my mind that them fellows can't fool me. I think I'll put a couple of thousand in my jeans and go up there and put it all over 'em. If Bill Murkison gets his eyes once on them bills they show him he'll never take 'em off of 'em. They offer $5 for $1, and they'll have to stick to the bargain if I tackle 'em. That's the kind of trader Bill Murkison is. Yes, I jist believe I'll drop up Chicago way and take a 5 to 1 shot on J. Smith. I guess the water'll be fine enough.'

"Me and Andy tries to get this financial misquotation out of Murkison's head, but we might as well have tried to keep the man who rolls peanuts with a toothpick from betting on Bryan's election. No, sir; he was going to perform a public duty by catching these green goods swindlers at their own game. Maybe it would teach 'em a lesson.

"After Murkison left us me and Andy sat a while prepondering over our silent meditations and heresies of reason. In our idle hours we always improved our higher selves by ratiocination and mental thought.

"'Jeff,' says Andy after a long time, 'quite unseldom I have seen fit to impugn your molars when you have been chewing the rag with me about your conscientious way of doing business. I may have been often wrong. But here is a case where I think we can agree. I feel that it would be wrong for us to allow Mr. Murkison to go alone to meet those Chicago green goods men. There is but one way it can end. Don't you think we would both feel better if we was to intervene in some way and prevent the doing of this deed?'

"I got up and shook Andy Tucker's hand hard and long.

"'Andy,' says I, 'I may have had one or two hard thoughts about the heartlessness of your corporation, but I retract 'em now. You have a kind nucleus at the interior of your exterior after all. It does you credit. I was just thinking the same thing that you have expressed. It would not be honorable or praiseworthy,' says I, 'for us to let Murkison go on with this project he has taken up. If he is determined to go let us go with him and prevent this swindle from coming off.'

"Andy agreed with me; and I was glad to see that he was in earnest about breaking up this green goods scheme.

"'I don't call myself a religious man,' says I, 'or a fanatic in moral bigotry, but I can't stand still and see a man who has built up his business by his own efforts and brains and risk be robbed by an unscrupulous trickster who is a menace to the public good.'

"'Right, Jeff,' says Andy. 'We'll stick right along with Murkison if he insists on going and block this funny business. I'd hate to see any money dropped in it as bad as you would.'

"Well, we went to see Murkison.

"'No, boys,' says he. 'I can't consent to let the song of this Chicago siren waft by me on the summer breeze. I'll fry some fat out of this ignis fatuus or burn a hole in the skillet. But I'd be plumb diverted to death to have you all go along with me. Maybe you could help some when it comes to cashing in the ticket to that 5 to 1 shot. Yes, I'd really take it as a pastime and regalement if you boys would go along too.'

"Murkison gives it out in Grassdale that he is going for a few days with Mr. Peters and Mr. Tucker to look over some iron ore property in West Virginia. He wires J. Smith that he will set foot in the spider web on a given date; and the three of us lights out for Chicago.

"On the way Murkison amuses himself with premonitions and advance pleasant recollections.

"'In a gray suit,' says he, 'on the southwest corner of Wabash avenue and Lake street. He drops the paper, and I ask how the water is. Oh, my, my, my!' And then he laughs all over for five minutes.

"Sometimes Murkison was serious and tried to talk himself out of his cogitations, whatever they was.

"'Boys,' says he, 'I wouldn't have this to get out in Grassdale for ten times a thousand dollars. It would ruin me there. But I know you all are all right. I think it's the duty of every citizen,' says he, 'to try to do up these robbers that prey upon the public. I'll show 'em whether the water's fine. Five dollars for one—that's what J. Smith offers, and he'll have to keep his contract if he does business with Bill Murkison.'

"We got into Chicago about 7 p.m. Murkison was to meet the gray man at half past 9. We had dinner at a hotel and then went up to Murkison's room to wait for the time to come.

"'Now, boys,' says Murkison, 'let's get our gumption together and inoculate a plan for defeating the enemy. Suppose while I'm exchanging airy bandage with the gray capper you gents come along, by accident, you know, and holler: "Hello, Murk!" and shake hands with symptoms of surprise and familiarity. Then I take the capper aside and tell him you all are Jenkins and Brown of Grassdale, groceries and feed, good men and maybe willing to take a chance while away from home.'

"'"Bring 'em along," he'll say, of course, "if they care to invest." Now, how does that scheme strike you?'

"'What do you say, Jeff?' says Andy, looking at me.

"'Why, I'll tell you what I say,' says I. 'I say let's settle this thing right here now. I don't see any use of wasting any more time.' I took a nickel-plated .38 out of my pocket and clicked the cylinder around a few times.

"'You undevout, sinful, insidious hog,' says I to Murkison, 'get out that two thousand and lay it on the table. Obey with velocity,' says I, 'for otherwise alternatives are impending. I am preferably a man of mildness, but now and then I find myself in the middle of extremities. Such men as you,' I went on after he had laid the money out, 'is what keeps the jails and court houses going. You come up here to rob these men of their money. Does it excuse you?' I asks, 'that they were trying to skin you? No, sir; you was going to rob Peter to stand off Paul. You are ten times worse,' says I, 'than that green goods man. You go to church at home and pretend to be a decent citizen, but you'll come to Chicago and commit larceny from men that have built up a sound and profitable business by dealing with such contemptible scoundrels as you have tried to be to-day. How do you know,' says I, 'that that green goods man hasn't a large family dependent upon his extortions? It's you supposedly respectable citizens who are always on the lookout to get something for nothing,' says I, 'that support the lotteries and wild-cat mines and stock exchanges and wire tappers of this country. If it wasn't for you they'd go out of business. The green goods man you was going to rob,' says I, 'studied maybe for years to learn his trade. Every turn he makes he risks his money and liberty and maybe his life. You come up here all sanctified and vanoplied with respectability and a pleasing post office address to swindle him. If he gets the money you can squeal to the police. If you get it he hocks the gray suit to buy supper and says nothing. Mr. Tucker and me sized you up,' says I, 'and came along to see that you got what you deserved. Hand over the money,' says I, 'you grass fed hypocrite.'

"I put the two thousand, which was all in $20 bills, in my inside pocket.

"'Now get out your watch,' says I to Murkison. 'No, I don't want it,' says I. 'Lay it on the table and you sit in that chair till it ticks off an hour. Then you can go. If you make any noise or leave any sooner we'll handbill you all over Grassdale. I guess your high position there is worth more than $2,000 to you.'

"Then me and Andy left.

"On the train Andy was a long time silent. Then he says: 'Jeff, do you mind my asking you a question?'

"'Two,' says I, 'or forty.'

"'Was that the idea you had,' says he, 'when we started out with Murkison?'

"'Why, certainly,' says I. 'What else could it have been? Wasn't it yours, too?'

"In about half an hour Andy spoke again. I think there are times when Andy don't exactly understand my system of ethics and moral hygiene.

"'Jeff,' says he, 'some time when you have the leisure I wish you'd draw off a diagram and foot-notes of that conscience of yours. I'd like to have it to refer to occasionally.'"