' LADIES FIRST. 271
strangely out of tune Avith the groans and the
hisses of desperately exasperated men, who, find¬
ing themselves paupers, pushed closer to him and
Banat3'ne Avith dangerous gleams darting from
their angry e3'es.
In a moment Halstead sprang to his feet.
" What's the matter Avith you all ? " he shouted
excitedly " Aren't you men ? Can't you stand
a momentary collapse in the market without
squealing? I've got ten shares where you may
have one, and I'm not pleading the baby act,
am I ?"
" I'll Avager this bit, which is about all I have
left," sneered a heavy loser, " that you and Bana-
t3'ne have unloaded at high figures; that neither
of you have a share left."
" You couldn't find one in this crowd to take
that bet," Avas the insinuation from another.
" N^o, Ave Avant enough carfare to ride home to
our Avives; they are beggars," snarled a third.
" Weil, Ave are all pretty Avell loaded Avith Bana¬
tyne and Halstead's stock; they have the profits
but I Avouldn't like to be burdened Avith their
consciences," Avas another compliment for their
" You're all talking like a lot o' putty men. I'm
up to my neck in that stock," declared Halstead,
'•' and so is Banatyne, and that's a dead moral cer-
taintv," he added vindictively, rage flashing from
his eyes, for he was telling the truth and dared
face his accusers.
" Oh ! yes, you are," snarled a disgusted individ¬
ual ; " Ave'vc beard that dodge before."