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The Clarksville Panic

The Clarksville Panic image
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The panie la the Clarksville school has naturally cast a gloora over playground and dormitory, and it will probably be long before the frame of marbles recovers its former standing as a repntable though risky ganie. The panie was distinctl.v duo to oyertrading in marbles. An immense business was (Jone without nsuffioient capital: and a shrinkage In the value of rabbits or othcr giionrltiel wonld have preeipitated a panlc at any time during the last three months. ïlie fallare oí' James Smith was, of course, the inmediato origin of the panie, bat the firni could not, in any event, have kept itself above water more than a week or two longer. Miistcr James Smith is not only a skillful marbïe-player, but he is a íinancial genius. At the beginntng of the present school term he conceived a great scheme for enriching himself and all the boys who had conlidence in him. He proposed that he should borrow marbles at a high rate of interest, and pay both this interest aud large dividends out oí his wiunings as a marble-player. To every boy who should lend him six marbles hu oilered to repay nine marbles within two days, and in case the lender should reinvest both principal and proftta he undertoük to repay him at any moment with profits at the rate of iifty per cent. every two days. The ofl'ijr wis so temptlng that there was a general anxiety on the part of the boys to lend their marbles to James Smitb, and In the course of the week every boy In the school had invested In the marbie pool It was uuderstood that James Smith was to win marbles froni boys unonnected with the school; but, curiously enough, no one inquired where these boys were to be fonnd or at what hour in the night James Smith was in the habit of secretly getting out of bed and going off to play with his unknown adversarios. The boys were, however, perfectly satislied with liis method of conductin? business. He never failed to tender large quantities of marbles to his patrons whenvje, i),yJll)aA'irinïfii.JjJA,cnu.t.racis. thev edOad tn the whole amount with him. Each of thera decided to make at least a million of marbles before ëKHtng thcir accounts with James Smith, and they were eager, not to draw marbles, but to add to their investments. The local storekeeper who sokl marbles consented, after the boys had spent all their money, to sell thera marbles on credit, provided they would place securities in his hands. Most of the boys kept rabbits, and they pledged their rabbits, their tops, their jaek-knives, and other negotiable securities, with the utmost recklessness. Last Thursday night the books of James Snilth showed that 28,000,000 marbles, in round numbers, were due to the sixty-four boys of the Clarksville school. On Friday night James Smith announced his insolyency, and assigned 203 marbles to the Greek professor iu trust for his creditors. The disaster was precipituted by a shrinkage in the value of rabbits, caused by the breaking out of a distemper among the rabbits hypothecated with the storekeeper. The latter, not kuowing at what moment all the rabbits might die, demanded that they should be redeemed. In order to redeem theru thcir owners were compelled to cali in the marbles that they had invested with James Smith. The lalter was unable to respond to the cill; a panie followed, and the unfortuuate boys lost both their marbles and their hypothecated securitief. The principal of the school investigated the aftairs of James Smith on Saturdaj' afternoon with three consecutive apple-tree switches of the largest size. He found no assets worth mentioning. James Smith liad played marbles with the son of the janitor of the female seminary on two or three occasions, and had lost heavüy. The dividendo which he tendered to his victitns were sltnply the investments made by other vicuñas. He had not won a single legitímate rnarble during his entile career as a marbie ltnancier, and as the principal coldly rcmarked whenever he stopped to select a new switch, his conduct had been no better' than that of a professional pickpocket. At present the Clarksville schoolboys have neither pocket money, marbles, rabbits, nor any other negotiable property. No one can palliate their folly or feel much synipathy for them in their losses. Nevertheless, although no grown person would for an instant be guilty of like folly, it fhould be mentioned that James Smith informed the boys that he conducted his business strictly in ccordance witli Wall street methods, and that they actually believed that he spoke the truth.


Ann Arbor Courier
Old News