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The Story Of Jones & Co.

The Story Of Jones & Co. image
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I guess pa and ma was pretty ncti oiie time, for when they carne to California it was on their wedding tour andcost lots; they came by way of New York, and "Washington and Panama City, in a steamboat, and ma brought a maid to wait on lier, and pa had a black feller named 'Jim,' and when we got to California- I say we, l'ni only fourteen years now, but I was not bom then, though that don't matter, I guess - pa had lots of money. I was born at the l.ick House, and you ought to see my baby clothes. Jones & Co. haven't the kind of goods that them was, because Maud has draggled them all to pieces. Maud is the baby. Six years old Maud is, and it won't be long before she will be a clerk in Jones & Co. First babies always have the nicest things. Ma says first babies are like second wives. But I keep getting away from Jones &Co. Well, I am of the opinión that af ter pa bought his house on Van ïTess avenue he went into stocks, whatever that means. Going into stocks must be a very curious business, and sometimes" pa came home looking splendid, and wantëd to buy everytliing, and j laughed at ma for being so mean, and not getting better clothes, and then he wanted to drive in the park and to the theatre. One day he came home with a brand new carrlage and a span of long-tailed horses, and a negro coachman, and a funny little darkey for I footman. It was for ma, and we rode j ever.v day. Then sometimes pa came i home and looked very blue, amitalked about stocks, and I began to watch pa, j and noticed that sometimes when he laughed loudest he looked just as if he wanted to cry, and then he sold the horses, and then the house, and the furniture was sent to auction, and ma slie feit very bad, and pa wasn't like himself any more, and never told me stories nor kissed me. and once when baby Maud was asleep in lus arms, he kissed her and cried, and when I told ma she said she guessed pa did not i feel very well, and that I musn't notice it, and then she cried. After this we went to a boardinghouse- a nasty mussy boarding-house. Everything was well enough, only a boarding-house ain't like home. Then the habv caine.and it died.and ma almost died, and I heard pa say to the man who kept the boarding-house that 'he was pretty tight up, but it was all comin' out right,' and the next day padidnt have any watcb, nor any sleeve buttons. I didn't seem to notice it because I seen that may be pa had sold them to pay his board, and I heard pa and ma talk away into the night, and Bometimes ma cried. and pa would look in the morning just as if he iiadu't slept a wink, and I don't believe he had. Once it was dreadf ui. Pa came home tipsy, and I never seen ma feel so bad, ever ; and then they talked it over, and flnally ma went home to grandpa's in New York with Maud, and I stayed with pa to go to school. Then pa kept getting worse and ivotse, and we went to live in rooms ind eat at restaurants, and pa stayed out late nights, and I guess he drank more than was good for him, and I thought something had to be done, So 1 said to pa one day : "Pa, less go into business and open a store." And he laughed and said : "What kind of a store ?" And I said: "Oh, a candy store, or a stationery store, or a thread and needie store, just such as women keep andlittle girls help in." And pa laughed and said he would think of it, and when he carne home that night I asked him if he had thought about it, and he said he hadn't, and I said he had bet ter, and hesaid he would, and that morning he didn't go out, but stayed at home and wrote ma a long letter. So next day I went into a store on Polk street kept by a nice lady who had a bad husband, where they sold everythSiig. and she said in France they called it lingerie. I didn't know what that meant because it was Frenen, and I asked her if she didn't want to sell her store, and ghe said : "Do you wan't to buy a store, little girl?" And I said: "My pa does." And she smiled and said she guessed the I sheriff would have a store to sell in a few days. and I said I would teil pa because he knew Mr. N"unan, the sheriff. It was one of Mr. Nunan's men that sold pa's horses and furniture for him. And the next day I told pa about the store and what a nice one it was, and he said he had had a large store, and sold silk dress goods, and velvets and f urs, and laces, worth ever so much a yard, and India shawls worth more than a thousand dollars apieee. I don't know exactly what pa did.but I think something "turned up" a few days afterwards, for I heard him say he had made a "raise," and he showed me more than a thousand dollars in gold notes, and for a day or two he canied them in a side pocket, and mostly kept his hand over them for fear they would jump out and fly away : and pa bought me some shoes and a liat, and stuff tor aprons, and I made tliem myself, and I never saw pa look so happy since ma went away ; and one day he said to me: "Vevie, I have bought the store on Polk street, and you are to be my saleswoinan and partner." And sure enough, in a few days we went into a store, and over the door was a great big sign of "Jones & Co." and pa said I was the Co." And when I said, 'and so, pa, you are "Jones," he blushed, and I guess he didn't like kis old friends to know tliat he was selling needies, and tliread, and tape and things. We had two snug little rooms in the back of the store to sleep in, and I made pa's bed and swept out the rooms, and tidied things. At flrst pa simt up the store when he had to go down town on business, and after a while I tended it, and when there was two customers in the store I waited on one, and it wasn't long before I could make change and sell things, and add up almost as good as pa could ; and by-andby when he went down town I tended store, and we had splendid times. We went out to a nice place across the street for our meáis. I tended store when pa went, and pa ttnded store when I went. One aay pa same in and looked dreadful troubled.and then Isaid, "pa, ain't 1 a partner, and don't partners have a right to know everything, and ain't you hiding something about Jones &Co.?" And then I found out that pa had bought too many things for the store, and that a note for a thousand dollars had to be paid, and there wasn't any money to pay it with, and that's what made pa feel bad. And then I thought and thought, and wondered how I could get a thousand dollars, and I kept on thinking over everybody that I guessed had a thousand dollars, and every one I guessed had it I Kuessed wouldn't lend it to pa. And then I thought about Mr. Flood and said, "Hl go down to bis bank and get it, for he's got more than a thousand millions, and down in the Bank of : Nevada the cellar is f uil of gold, and of : course he don't want to use it all the time, and I will borrow a thousand dollars for pa, and before Mr. Flood wants it l'll take it back to him, and pay the interest." And tben I jumped up and hurrahed for "Jones & Co.," took my best bonnet, and put on my gloves, and took off my store apron, and combed my hair, and got into a car and went to the Nevada bank, and told the clerk I wanted to borrow a thousand dollars ; and he laughed and said he "guessed I had better see Mr. M'Lane." And I asked who Mr. M'Lane was. The clerk. said Mr. M'Lane was the president, and was in the back room, and I went into the back room, and Mr. M'Lane said : 'Well, little girl, what can I do for you ?" And I said : "I want to borrow a thousand dollars." Mr. M'Lane he opened his eyes, and screwed bis chair round, and looked at me and said, "A thousand dollars 1" with as much surprise as though a thousand dollars was all the money he had in the bank. Then I began to gét scared and cry, and then 1 told Mr. M'Lane all about pa and "Jones & Co.," and what we wanted to do with the mones, and that I would pay it back to him ; and he looked kinder puzzled, and asked me what my pa's name was, and I told him, and where the store was, and all about ma, and Maud, and how the baby died. I guess that was not very much like business, and I don't know what Mr. M'Lane wanted to know all that for. Then he looked at me again, and I guess he wasn't going to let me have the money, when a gentleman at the other desk came up to where I was sitting on a chair, and Mr. M'Lane said : "Well, Flood, what do you think of this young merchant ?" And then I knew it was the rich Mr. Flood: and I looked into his eyes, and they kind of laughed, and he said: "Let her have the money. I will endorse her note." ïhen I jmnped up and kissed him, and he kissed me back, and Mr.M'Lane made a note for ninety days. and I signed it "Jones & Co. " and Mr. Flood wrote his name on the back of it. I took the money away in a canvas bag, that Mr. M' Lane said I must bnng back, and I took the money to pa, and didu't he look surprised when I poured out the gréat big $20 pieces on the counter y Then I told him just what happened at the bank, and when I asked him it' he didn t think I was a pretty good business woman after all, I guess he feit real shamed. In a few days a beautiful carriage drove up to the door, and a nice young lady came in and bought nearly 20 worth of things. I never sold so many goods to any one person before, and the young lady was real kind, and helped me to add up the bilí. I saw pa didn't offer to help me at all, and looked er comical when she and me was puzzledover the figures to get tliem all right. The nines trouble me dreadful in adding, and so I have got in the way of making figures either fiyes or nothings, so they will add up easier. When the young lady drove away, 1 went to the carriage and saw the letter "F" on the panel and on the harnes?. "F,"saidlto myselL;"I wonder who it can be ?" I should have thought it was Miss Flood, only she hadn't any diamonds in her ears or on her lingera, and was dressedonly nice and plain; and I said of course it wasn't Miss Flood. After this, 1 never see anything like it - such lots of carriages and such nice ladies kept coming eyery day, and most all of them traded with me, and pa was just as pleased and happy as he could be. Jones & Co. was making lots of money. When I took Mr. Flood's money back, I just marched right through the bank, past the big counters, into Mr. M'Lane's room, and I took very good care to let the clerk that laughed at me before see the bag. Mr. Flood was in there, and M'Lane, and I opened the bag and turned out the money on Mr. Mïane's desk and Mr. Flood carne up and laughed and Mr. M'Lane laughed, and I heard Mr. Flood teil Mr M'Lane they would liave that champagne lunch to-day And then Mr. Flood told me if I wanted to borrow money again not to goto any of the other banks, but to come to his, and I thanked him, and Mr. M'Lane brought me my note, can celled by a great blue "Paid" stampec across the face, right over where ', wrote "Jones & Co." Then I told M Flood that perhaps when we feit abl to send for ma I should come and bor row some more money, because wanted to buy a house for ma an Maud, so that they wouldn't have t go into any more nasty boarding ïouses, and Mr. F lood said I shoukl ïave all the money I wanted. Then we sent for ma and Maud. Grandpa gave ma the money to come, and so we didn't have to borrow any more ; and we took a nice cottage, not very near the store, for pa didn't want na to know about Jones & Co., though ; was just crazy to teil her. For several days we fooled her. She ;hought pa had a store down town, and was goiag to school. I told lots of ibs about being detained at school, gong down town. and all sorts of stories o acccJunt for being home late. One day who should 1 see coming nto the store but ma! "Have you any pearl shirt-buttons, ittle girl '(" said ma. "Yes, ma'am," said I, looking her right square in the face. "Goodness gracious!' said ma, "Is that you Vevie V" I said : "Beg pardon, ma'am, what did you want ?" And then ma looked at me again. I httd a atore apron on, ana a Simill cap like a French girl, and because I wasn't very high pa bought me a pair of wooden brogaiis, with feit on the bottoms, into which I slipped my feet, md they made me about four or flve inches taller. And ma stared at me, and then laughed and said : "Oh! I beg your pardon, little girl. You looked so much like my daughter jenevieve that I thought you was :ier." Then I heard pa snicker 'down beïind the counter ; he had seen ma come in, and hid. Jusi as soon as ma went out, pa jumped up and laughed, and said: "Snatch off your apron and cap, Vevie, and run round the block and get home before your mother. I did, and when ma got home she was the most surprisedest woman you ever seen. We knew this thing couldn't last, and so that night we told ma all about the house of "Jones & Co.," and ma k'ssed pa, and said he was a "splendid, noble fellow, and just as good as gold," and that she "never was so proud of him in all her life," and feil to kissing him and to crying and to taking on. I never saw ma act so foolish in all her life, and pa said she "was making love to him over again." Well, now, the story is about over. Ma came down to the store to help. At first she looked kinder sheepish, especially when some lady came in that she had known at the Lick House ; but soon she got over all that, and began to make botmets, and we had a milliner store, and then she insisted upon saving the expense of a separate house, and we moved into a larger store next door, with nice rooms fixed up to live in, and a mee show window for bonnets, and little Maudie is beginning to be handy about, and all of us woik, and we are just as happy as the day's long, and have lots of money. I never seen Mr. Flood but once since, when I went down to the bank unbeknown to pa, and i told Mr. Flood and Mr. M'Lane that any time they wantod to borrow a thousand dollars, "Jones & Co." would lend it to them ; and they laughed, and I said, "they couldn't teil, stocks might go down ;" and then Mr. Flood said, "if all the people he had given and loaned money to would pay it back as I had, he didn't think he would get busted in a long time." And then I saw the clerk that laughd at me, and I smiled at hini and bowd, and since then he has been buying 11 his gloves at the store. I told liim thought he used a great many pairs f gloves, and he said they wore out very fast counting the money. He is dreadful particular about his gloves, and if there is nobody in the store but me he is sometimes half an hour picking out just the kind he wants. Pa has bought a splendid gold watch - a real stern-winder - and we - Jones & Co. - have bought a nice large lot out on Gov. Stanford's new cable railroad, and paid for it, and if times are good this summer, as pa thinks they will be, we shall have a house of our own again, where we shall all live in peace, die in Greece and be buried in a cake of tallow. - Mary Jane Jones.


Old News
Michigan Argus