“He's been after that thing for six months, you know—and just as smooth and quiet! It's about the slickest game I ever heard of!”
“But how could he know what officers were to make out those specifications?”
“Oh, that's easy,” said the other. “That was the beginning of the whole thing. They got a tip that the contract was to be let, and they had no trouble in finding out the names of the officers. That kind of thing is common, you know; the bureaus in Washington are rotten.”
“I see,” said Montague.
“Gamble's company is in a bad way,” Oliver continued. “The Trust just about had it in a corner. But Gamble saw this chance, and he staked everything on it.”
Tips, opportunities to make money：fireman bands money callin“But what's his idea?” asked the other. “What good will it do him to write the specifications?”
“There are five officers,” said Oliver, “and he's been laying siege to every one of them. So now they are all his intimate friends, and every one of them has come to him for help! So there will go into Washington five sets of specifications, all different, but each containing one essential point. You see, Gamble's company has a peculiar kind of oil; it contains some ingredient or other—he told me the name, but I don't remember it now. It doesn't make it any better oil, and it doesn't make it any worse; but it's different from any other oil in the world. And now, don't you see—whatever other requirements are specified, this one quality will surely appear; and there will be only one company in the world that can bid. Of course they will name their own figure, and get a five-year contract.”
“I see,” said Montague, drily. “It's a beautiful scheme. And how much do you get out of it?”
“He paid me ten thousand at the start,” said Oliver; “and I am to get five per cent of the first year's contract, whatever that may be. Gamble says his bid won't be less than half a million, so you see it was worth while!”
And Oliver chuckled to himself. “He's going home to-morrow,” he added. “So my job is done. I'll probably never see him again—until his four prize daughters get ready for the market!”
Montague returned to New York and plunged into his work. The election at which he was scheduled to become president of the Northern Mississippi was not to come off for a month. Meantime there was no lack of work for him to do. It would, of course, be necessary for him to return to Mississippi to live, and he had to close up his affairs in New York. Also he wished to fit himself for the work of superintending a railroad. Through the courtesy of General Prentice, he was introduced to the president of one of the great transcontinental lines, and made a study of that official's office system. He went South again to inspect the work of the surveyors, and to consult with the engineers who had been selected for the work.
Price went ahead with his arrangements to take over the control of the road, without paying any attention to the old management. He sent for Montague one day, and introduced him to a Mr. Haskins, who was to be elected vice-president of the road. Haskins, he said, had formerly been general manager of the Tennessee Southern, and was a practical railroad man. Montague was to rely upon him for all the details of his work.
Tips, opportunities to make money：osrs ironman early money makingHaskins was a wiry, nervous little man, with a bad temper and a sarcastic tongue; he worshipped the gospel of efficiency, and in the consultations with him Montague got many curious lights upon the management of railroads. He learned, for instance, that a conspicuous item in the construction account was the money to be used in paying local government boards for right of way through towns and villages. Apparently no one even considered the possibility of securing the privilege by any other methods. Montague did not like the prospect, but he said nothing. Then again, the road was to purchase its rails and other necessaries from the Mississippi Steel Company, and apparently it was expected to pay a fancy price for these; it was not to ask for any of the discounts which were customary. Also Montague was troubled to learn that the secretary and treasurer of the road were to receive liberal salaries, and that no questions were to be asked, because they were relatives of Price.
All that he put up with; but matters came to a head about ten days before the election, when one day Haskins came to his office with the engineers' estimates, and with his own figures of the probable cost of the extension. Most of the figures were much higher than those which Montague had worked out for himself.
“We ought to do better on those contracts,” he said, pointing to some of the items.
“I dare say we might,” said Haskins; “but those contracts are to go to the Hill Manufacturing Company.”
“I don't understand you,” said Montague; “I thought that we were to advertise for bids.”
“Yes,” replied Haskins, “but that company is to get the contracts, all the same.”