And it also came to him that all this colossal operating of his was being done on his own money. Dowsett, Guggenhammer, and Letton were risking nothing. It was a panic, short-lived, it was true, but sharp enough while it lasted to make him remember Holdsworthy and the brick-yard, and to impel him to cancel all buying orders while he rushed to a telephone.
Well, that much he would be frank about; he would let them know exactly how many stacks of chips he could buy. Leon Guggenhammer was young and fat. Not a day more than thirty, his face, save for the adumbrated puff sacks under the eyes, was as smooth and lineless as a boy's. He, too, gave the impression of cleanness.
It was a wild animal fight; the strong trampled the weak, and the strong, he had already discovered, men like Dowsett, and Letton, and Guggenhammer, were not necessarily the best. He remembered his miner comrades of the Arctic.
They were sneak-thieves and swindlers, that was what they were, and they had given him the double-cross. The newspapers were right. He had come to New York to be trimmed, and Messrs. Dowsett, Letton, and Guggenhammer had done it. He was a little fish, and they had played with him ten days ample time in which to swallow him, along with his eleven millions.
They called this feature of the game HIGH FINANCE. They were all engaged primarily in robbing the worker, but every little while they formed combinations and robbed one another of the accumulated loot. This explained the fifty-thousand-dollar raid on him by Holdsworthy and the ten-million-dollar raid on him by Dowsett, Letton, and Guggenhammer.
This will be of inestimable advantage to us, while you and all of us will profit by it as well. And as Mr. Letton has pointed out, the thing is legitimate and square. On the eighteenth the directors meet, and, instead of the customary dividend, a double dividend will be declared." "And where will the shorts be then?" Leon Guggenhammer cried excitedly.
The Guggenhammer experts concluded that it was too big for him to handle, and when they gave him an ultimatum to that effect he accepted and bought them out. The plan was his own, but he sent down to the States for competent engineers to carry it out.
This was one of the great Guggenhammer family; a younger one, but nevertheless one of the crowd with which he had locked grapples in the North. Nor did Leon Guggenhammer fail to mention cognizance of that old affair. He complimented Daylight on his prowess "The echoes of Ophir came down to us, you know. And I must say, Mr. Daylight er, Mr. Harnish, that you whipped us roundly in that affair."
The talk soon centred down to business, though Guggenhammer had first to say his say about the forthcoming international yacht race and about his own palatial steam yacht, the Electra, whose recent engines were already antiquated. Dowsett broached the plan, aided by an occasional remark from the other two, while Daylight asked questions.
Dowsett sat quietly and waited, while Leon Guggenhammer struggled into articulation. "You have certainly raised Cain," he said. Daylight's black eyes flashed in a pleased way. "Didn't I, though!" he proclaimed jubilantly. "And didn't we fool'em! I was totally surprised. I never dreamed they would be that easy.