The Faith of Men and Other Stories HTML version
The One Thousand Dozen
David Rasmunsen was a hustler, and, like many a greater man, a man of the one idea.
Wherefore, when the clarion call of the North rang on his ear, he conceived an adventure
in eggs and bent all his energy to its achievement. He figured briefly and to the point, and
the adventure became iridescent-hued, splendid. That eggs would sell at Dawson for five
dollars a dozen was a safe working premise. Whence it was incontrovertible that one
thousand dozen would bring, in the Golden Metropolis, five thousand dollars.
On the other hand, expense was to be considered, and he considered it well, for he was a
careful man, keenly practical, with a hard head and a heart that imagination never
warmed. At fifteen cents a dozen, the initial cost of his thousand dozen would be one
hundred and fifty dollars, a mere bagatelle in face of the enormous profit. And suppose,
just suppose, to be wildly extravagant for once, that transportation for himself and eggs
should run up eight hundred and fifty more; he would still have four thousand clear cash
and clean when the last egg was disposed of and the last dust had rippled into his sack
"You see, Alma,"--he figured it over with his wife, the cosy dining-room submerged in a
sea of maps, government surveys, guide- books, and Alaskan itineraries,--"you see,
expenses don't really begin till you make Dyea--fifty dollars'll cover it with a first- class
passage thrown in. Now from Dyea to Lake Linderman, Indian packers take your goods
over for twelve cents a pound, twelve dollars a hundred, or one hundred and twenty
dollars a thousand. Say I have fifteen hundred pounds, it'll cost one hundred and eighty
dollars--call it two hundred and be safe. I am creditably informed by a Klondiker just
come out that I can buy a boat for three hundred. But the same man says I'm sure to get a
couple of passengers for one hundred and fifty each, which will give me the boat for
nothing, and, further, they can help me manage it. And . . . that's all; I put my eggs ashore
from the boat at Dawson. Now let me see how much is that?"
"Fifty dollars from San Francisco to Dyea, two hundred from Dyea to Linderman,
passengers pay for the boat--two hundred and fifty all told," she summed up swiftly.
"And a hundred for my clothes and personal outfit," he went on happily; "that leaves a
margin of five hundred for emergencies. And what possible emergencies can arise?"
Alma shrugged her shoulders and elevated her brows. If that vast Northland was capable
of swallowing up a man and a thousand dozen eggs, surely there was room and to spare
for whatever else he might happen to possess. So she thought, but she said nothing. She
knew David Rasmunsen too well to say anything.
"Doubling the time because of chance delays, I should make the trip in two months.
Think of it, Alma! Four thousand in two months! Beats the paltry hundred a month I'm
getting now. Why, we'll build further out where we'll have more space, gas in every
room, and a view, and the rent of the cottage'll pay taxes, insurance, and water, and leave