although he used phrases which might be con¬
strued against his integrity, he did not mean them
in their common acceptation, but as a sort of
throw-down-the-gauntlet challenge to all adver¬
saries to enter the arena of stock gambling and
play battledore and shuttlecock with their for¬
tunes, and see who would win the day and conse¬
quently the money.
Whether his fearless reliance on luck, or his
generosity, enlisted that invisible protection given
to birds, flowers and things which exist and are
cared for with no thought of theirs for the dreaded
" rainy day," be it said that so far everything had
gone his way, and that he had been successful far
beyond his most sanguine expectations.
Banatyne's score in years was thirty-five. A
handsome man of decided blonde type, Scotch
born, but no trace of an accent heralded his native
country. A man of the world fully equipped with
all the savoir fairc, that such a position implies—
belonged to all the clubs, and took every inch of
enjoyment out of life that did not interfere with
his speculative tendency, for that was the very
oxygen he breathed, to which no other pleasure
could be compared.
It Avas in the fifties, that era when California,
tlie Banner State of gold-producing properties,
electrified the world. When she, though but an
infant in years, was a veteran in importance.
When the financial powers of both the Eastern and
the Western hemispheres stood on tip-toe, fear¬
ful that so vast a gold production from the, until
then, unknovv-n section, would revolutionize com-