I.15. Devil Take The Hindmost
Wingrave and Aynesworth were alone in a private room of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.
The table at which the former was seated was covered with letters and papers. A New
York directory and an atlas were at his elbow.
"I propose," Wingrave said, leaning back in his chair, "to give you some idea of the
nature of my business in this country. You will be able then, I trust, to carry out my
instructions more intelligibly."
"I thought," he said, "that you came here simply to remain in seclusion for a time."
"That is one of my reasons," Wingrave admitted, "but I had a special purpose in coming
to America. During my--enforced seclusion--I made the acquaintance of a man called
Hardwell. He was an Englishman, but he had lived in America for some years, and had
got into trouble over some company business. We had some conversation, and it is upon
his information that I am now going to act."
"He is trustworthy?" Aynesworth asked.
"I take the risk," Wingrave answered coolly. "There is a small copper mine in Utah called
the Royal Hardwell Copper Mine. The shares are hundred dollar ones, and there are ten
thousand of them. They are scarcely quoted now, as the mine has become utterly
discredited. Hardwell managed this himself with a false report. He meant to have the
company go into liquidation, and then buy it for a very small amount. As a matter of fact,
the mine is good, and could be worked at a large profit."
"You have Hardwell's's word for that," Aynesworth remarked.
"Exactly!" Wingrave remarked. "I am proceeding on the assumption that he told me the
truth. I wish to buy, if possible, the whole of the shares, and as many more as I can get
brokers to sell. The price of the shares today is two dollars!"
"I presume you will send out an expert to the mine first?" Aynesworth said.
"I shall do nothing of the sort," Wingrave answered. "The fact that I was buying upon
information would send the shares up at once. I mean to buy first, and then go out to the
mine. If I have made a mistake, I shall not be ruined. If Hardwell's story is true, there will
be millions in it."
Aynesworth said nothing, but his face expressed a good deal.