THE FINANCIER 
only brought six. Some kegs of vinegar were knocked 
down at one-third their value, and so on. He began to 
wish he could bid; but he had no money, just a little 
pocket change. The auctioneer noticed him standing 
almost directly under his nose, and was curious at his 
interest. He was also impressed with the stolidity- 
solidarity—of the boy's expression. 
" I am going to offer you now a fine lot of Castile soap— 
seven cases, no less, which, as you know, if you know any- 
thing about soap, is now selling at fourteen cents a bar. 
This soap is worth anywhere at this moment eleven dol- 
lars and seventy-five cents a case. What am I bid? 
What am I bid? What am I bid?" He was talking fast 
in the usual style of auctioneers, with much unnecessary 
emphasis; but Cowperwood was not unduly impressed. 
He was already rapidly calculating for himself. Seven 
cases at eleven dollars and seventy-five cents would be 
worth just eighty-two dollars and twenty-five cents; and 
if it went at half—if it went at half- 
" Twelve dollars," commented one bidder. 
" Fifteen," bid another. 
" Twenty," called a third. 
"Twenty-five," a fourth. 
Then it came to dollar raises, for Castile soap was 
not such a vital commodity. " Twenty-six." " Twenty- 
seven." "Twenty-eight." "Twenty-nine." There was 
a pause. 
" Thirty," observed young Cowperwood, decisiyely. 
The auctioneer, a short, lean-faced, spare man with 
bushy hair and an incisive eye, looked at him curiously— 
without pausing, however. He had, somehow, in spite 
of himself, been impressed by the boy's peculiar eye; and 
now he felt, without knowing why, that the offer was 
probably legitimate enough, and that the boy had the 
money. He might be the son of a grocer. 
" I'm bid thirty! I'm bid thirty! I'm bid thirty 
for this fine lot of Castile soap. It's a fine lot. It's 
3o