"'They are a lead-pipe cinch,' I immediately answered; and he slapped me on the knee."
"'That's what I think!' he cried. 'Anyhow, I have taken 20,000 for mother. Do what you like.'"
"'Oh well,' said I, delighted at this confidence, I think I can afford to risk what you are willing to risk for your mother, Mrs. Beverly. Where is Petunia, did you say?'"
"He pulled down a roller map on the wall as you draw down a window-blind, and again I listened to statements that churned in my brain. Petunia was a new resort on the sea coast of New Hampshire. One railway system did already connect it with both Portsmouth and Portland, but it was not a very direct connection at present. Yet in spite of this, the population had increased 23 and seven-tenths per cent in five years, and now an electric railway was in construction that would double the population in the next five years. This was less than what had happened to other neighbouring resorts under identical conditions; yet with things as they now were, the company was earning two per cent on its stock, which was being put into improvements. The stock was selling at 30, and if a dividend was paid next year, it would go to par. But Mr. Beverly did not counsel buying the stock. 'I did not let mother have any,' he said, 'though I took some myself. But the bonds are different. You're getting the last that will be sold at par. In three days they will be placed before the public at 102 1/2 and interest.'"
"I was well pleased when I left Mr. Beverly's office. In a few days I was still more pleased to learn that I could sell my Petunia sixes for 104 if so wished. But I did not wish it; and Mr. Beverly told me that he should not sell his mother's unless they went to 110. 'In that case,' said he, 'it might be worth while to capitalise her premium.'"
"I liked the idea of capitalising one's premium. If you had fifty bonds that cost you par, and sold them at 110, you would then buy at par fifty-five bonds of some other rising kind, and go on doing this until--I named no limit for this process; but my delighted mind saw visions of eighty and a hundred thousand a year--comfort at least, if not affluence in New York--and I explained to Ethel what the phrase capitalising one's premium meant. I showed her the Petunias, too, and we read what it said on the coupons aloud together. Ethel was at first not quite satisfied with the arrangement of the coupons. 'Thirty dollars on January first, and thirty on July first,' she said. That seems a long while to wait for those payments, Richard. And there are only two in every year, though you pay them a thousand dollars all at once. It does not seem very prompt on their part.' I told her that this was the rule. 'But,' she urged, 'don't you think that a man like Mr. Beverly might be able to get them to make an exception if he explained the circumstances? Other people may be satisfied with waiting for little crumbs in this way, but why should we?' I soon made her understand how it was, however, and I explained many other facts about investments and the stock market to her, as I learned them. It was a great pleasure to do this. We came to talk about finance even more than we talked of my writings; for during that Spring I invested a good deal more rapidly than I wrote. The Petunias had taken only one-twentieth of a million dollars; and though Mr. Beverly warned me to rush hastily into nothing, and pointed out the good sense of distributing my eggs in a number of baskets, still we both agreed that the sooner all my money was bringing me five or six per cent, the better."
"I have come to think that it might be well were women taught the elements of investing as they are now taught French and Music. I would not have the French and Music dropped, but I would add the other. It might be more of a protection to women than being able to read a French novel, and perhaps some day we shall have it so. But of course it had been left totally out of Ethel's education; and at first she merely received my instruction and took my opinions. It was not long, however, before she began to entertain some of her own, obliging me not infrequently to reason with her. I very well remember the first occasion that this happened."
"We had been as usual talking about stocks, as we walked on the Riverside Drive on a Sunday afternoon in May. Ethel had been for some moments silent. 'Richard,' she finally began, 'if I had had the naming of these things, I should never have called them securities. Insecurities comes a great deal nearer what they are. What right has a thing that says on its face it is worth a thousand dollars to go bobbing up and down in the way most of them do? I think that securities is almost sarcastic. And have you noticed the price of those Petunias?'"