A deal in Wheat is the location story in Norris" collection, A deal in Wheat and also Other stories of the brand-new and Old West, published in 1903.

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Vincent valve Gogh, Wheat Field, 1888 Vincent valve Gogh, Wheat Field, 1888


As Sam Lewiston backed the equine into the shafts of his backboard and began hitching the tugs to the whiffletree, his wife came out indigenous the kitchen door of the house and drew near, and stood for some time in ~ the horse"s head, her arms folded and also her apron rolled approximately them. Because that a lengthy moment neither spoke. They had actually talked over the case so long and also so comprehensively the night prior to that there appeared to be nothing much more to say.

The time was late in the summer, the location a ranch in southwestern Kansas, and also Lewiston and also his wife were 2 of a vast population of farmers, wheat growers, that at that moment were passing through a crisis—a crisis that at any kind of moment could culminate in tragedy. Wheat was under to sixty-six.

At length Emma Lewiston spoke.

"Well," she hazarded, looking vaguely out throughout the ranch towards the horizon, leagues distant; "well, Sam, there"s constantly that sell of brothers Joe"s. We can quit—and go to Chicago—if the worst comes."

"And offer up!" exclaimed Lewiston, running the lines through the torets. "Leave the ranch! provide up! After every these years!"

His mam made no answer for the moment. Lewiston climbed right into the buckboard and gathered up the lines. "Well, here goes because that the last try, Emmie," the said. "Good-by, girl. Probably things will look far better in town to-day."

"Maybe," she claimed gravely. She kissed she husband good-by and also stood for some time looking after the buckboard traveling toward the town in a moving pillar the dust.

"I don"t know," she murmured at length; "I don"t know just just how we"re walk to do out."

When he got to town, Lewiston bound the equine to the stole railing in front of the odd Fellows" Hall, the ground floor of which was populated by the post-office, and also went throughout the street and also up the stairway the a structure of brick and also granite—quite the many pretentious framework of the town—and knocked at a door top top the first landing. The door to be furnished with a pane of frosted glass, ~ above which, in gold letters, was inscribed, "Bridges & Co., grain Dealers."

Bridges himself, a middle-aged guy who wore a velvet skull-cap and who was smoking a Pittsburg stogie, met the farmer in ~ the counter and the two exchanged perfunctory greetings.

"Well," stated Lewiston, tentatively, after awhile.

"Well, Lewiston," said the other, "I can"t take the wheat the yours in ~ any better than sixty-two."


"It"s the Chicago price that does it, Lewiston. Truslow is bearing the ingredient for all he"s worth. It"s Truslow and the be affected by each other clique that stick the knife right into us. The price broke again this morning. We"ve just obtained a wire."

"Good heavens," murmured Lewiston, spring vaguely from next to side. "That—that damages me. I can"t bring my grain any kind of longer—what through storage charges and—and—Bridges, ns don"t check out just exactly how I"m going to do out. Sixty-two cent a bushel! Why, man, what v this and also with that it"s cost me almost a disagreement a bushel come raise the wheat, and also now Truslow—"

He turned away abruptly v a quick gesture of limitless discouragement.

He went down the stairs, and making his way to wherein his buckboard to be hitched, got in, and, through eyes vacant, the reins slipping and sliding in his limp, half-open hands, drove slowly ago to the ranch. His wife had seen the coming, and also met him as he drew up prior to the barn.

"Well?" she demanded.

"Emmie," he stated as he gained out the the buckboard, laying his arm across her shoulder, "Emmie, i guess we"ll take up through Joe"s offer. We"ll go to Chicago. We"re cleaned out!"


…——and claimed Party the the Second part further covenants and also agrees come merchandise such wheat in international ports, it gift understood and agreed in between the Party that the an initial Part and also the Party the the Second component that the wheat hereinbefore discussed is released and sold come the Party that the Second part for export objectives only, and also not for intake or distribution within the borders of the United claims of America or that Canada.

"Now, Mr. Gates, if you will authorize for Mr. Truslow i guess that"ll it is in all," remarked Hornung as soon as he had finished reading.

Hornung affixed his signature come the 2 documents and also passed them end to Gates, that signed because that his principal and also client, Truslow—or, together he had actually been called ever because he had gone into the fight versus Hornung"s corner—the an excellent Bear. Hornung"s secretary was called in and witnessed the signatures, and Gates thrust the contract into his Gladstone bag and stood up, smoothing his hat.

"You will supply the warehouse receipts because that the grain," started Gates.

"I"ll send a messenger to Truslow"s office before noon," interrupted Hornung. "You deserve to pay through certified examine through the Illinois to trust people."

When the other had taken self off, Hornung sat for some moments gazing abstractedly toward his office windows, reasoning over the totality matter. He had just i agree to relax to Truslow, in ~ the rate of one dollar and also ten cent per bushel, one hundred thousand the end of the two million and odd bushels that wheat the he, Hornung, controlled, or actually owned. And for the moment he was wondering if, after ~ all, he had done wisely in no goring the great Bear come actual financial death. He had actually made him pay one hundreds thousand dollars. Truslow was an excellent for this amount. Would it not have been much better to have actually put a prohibitive figure on the grain and also forced the Bear right into bankruptcy? True, Hornung would certainly then be without his enemy"s money, but Truslow would have been eliminated from the situation, and that—so Hornung called himself—was constantly a consummation many devoutly, strenuously and diligently to it is in striven for. Truslow as soon as dead to be dead, however the Bear to be never much more dangerous than as soon as desperate.

"But so lengthy as that can"t get wheat," muttered Hornung in ~ the finish of his reflections, "he can"t hurt me. And also he can"t gain it. That ns know."

For Hornung regulated the situation. Therefore far earlier as the February of the year one "unknown bull" had been making his existence felt ~ above the floor of the plank of Trade. Through the center of in march the advertising reports the the day-to-day press had started to speak of "the powerful bull clique"; a couple of weeks later that legendary condition of affairs implied and epitomized in the magic native "Dollar Wheat" had actually been attained, and also by the first of April, when the price had been boosted to one dollar and also ten cents a bushel, Hornung had actually disclosed his hand, and in ar of only rumours, the definite and also authoritative news that might wheat had been cornered in the Chicago pit walk flashing roughly the world from Liverpool to Odessa and also from Duluth come Buenos Ayres.

It was—so the veteran operator were persuaded—Truslow himself who had actually made Hornung"s edge possible. The good Bear had actually for once over-reached himself, and, believing himself all-powerful, had hammered the price simply the fatal portion too much down. Wheat had gone come sixty-two—for the time, and also under the circumstances, an abnormal price.

When the reaction come it was tremendous. Hornung experienced his chance, seized it, and in a couple of months had turned the tables, had actually cornered the product, and also virtually pushed the bear clique the end of the pit.

On the exact same day that the shipment of the hundred thousand bushels to be made to Truslow, Hornung met his broker in ~ his having lunch club.

"Well," said the latter, "I watch you let go that line of stuff to Truslow."

Hornung nodded; however the broker added:

"Remember, i was versus it native the an extremely beginning. I recognize we"ve settled over a hundred thou". Ns would have actually fifty times preferred to have lost double that and smashed Truslow dead. Bet you what you prefer he renders us pay for it somehow."

"Huh!" grunted his principal. "How around insurance, and warehouse charges, and carrying costs on that lot? guess: v we"d have had actually to salary those, too, if we"d hosted on."

But the other put up his chin, unwilling to be persuaded. "I won"t sleep easy," the declared, "till Truslow is busted."


Just together Going an installed the measures on the edge of the pit the great gong struck, a roar of a hundred voices developed with the swiftness of successive explosions, the sirloin of a hundred males surging bottom to the center of the pit fill the air through the stamp and also grind of feet, a hundred hands in passionate strenuous gestures tossed upward from the end the brown that the crowd, the official reporter in his cage on the margin that the pit leaned far forward with straining ear to capture the opened bid, and also another day of battle was begun.

Since the sale of the hundred thousand bushels of wheat come Truslow the "Hornung crowd" had steadily shouldered the price greater until on this specific morning it stood at one dollar and a half. That was Hornung"s price. No one else had any type of grain come sell.

But no ten minute after the opening, Going was surprised out of all countenance come hear shouted from the other side that the pit this words:

"Sell might at one-fifty."

Going to be for the minute touching elbows v Kimbark ~ above one side and also with Merriam on the other, all three belonging to the "Hornung crowd." their answering difficulty of "Sold" was together the voice the one man. Castle did no pause to reflect top top the strangeness the the circumstance. (That to be for afterward.) Their an answer to the sell was together unconscious, together reflex activity and almost as rapid, and also before the pit to be well aware of what had actually happened the transaction that one thousands bushels was under upon Going"s trading-card and fifteen hundred dollars had changed hands. But here was a marvel—the whole accessible supply that wheat cornered, Hornung grasp of the situation, invincible, unassailable; however behold a man willing come sell, a bear bold enough to progressive his head.

"That was Kennedy, wasn"t it, who made that offer?" request Kimbark, as Going detailed down the trade—"Kennedy, that new man?"

"Yes; who execute you expect he"s selling for; who"s ready to go quick at this stage of the game?"

"Maybe the ain"t short."

"Short! good heavens, man; where"d he gain the stuff?"

"Blamed if ns know. We can account because that every handful of May. Steady! Oh, there he walk again."

"Sell a thousand might at one-fifty," vociferated the bear-broker, throwing the end his hand, one finger elevated to suggest the number of "contracts" offered. This time that was apparent that he to be attacking the Hornung group deliberately, for, skipping the jam that traders that brushed up toward him, he looked throughout the pit to where Going and Kimbark were shouting "Sold! Sold!" and nodded his head.

A second time Going make memoranda the the trade, and either the Hornung holdings were boosted by 2 thousand bushels of might wheat or the Hornung bank account swelled by at the very least three thousands dollars of part unknown short"s money.

Of late—so certain was the bull group of that is position—no one had also thought of glancing in ~ the inspection paper on the bulletin board. Yet now one of Going"s messengers hurried up to him v the announcement that this sheet proved receipts at Chicago for the morning of twenty-five thousand bushels, and also not credited to Hornung. Part one had got hold of a line of wheat overlooked by the "clique" and also was dumping that upon them.

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"Wire the Chief," claimed Going over his shoulder to Merriam. This one struggled out of the crowd, and also on a telegraph empty scribbled:

"Strong bear movement—New man—Kennedy—Selling in lots of 5 contracts—Chicago receipts twenty-five thousand."

The post was despatched, and in a few moments the answer come back, laconic, of military terseness:

"Support the market."

And walking obeyed, Merriam and also Kimbark following, the brand-new broker fairly throwing the wheat at them in thousand-bushel lots.