274 LADIES FIRST.
" It's a little rocky, boys, but never say die,
Hope springs eternal in the human breast!" " It
can't go any lower than that for they have our
orders to take it all at that limit," he concluded,
Avith a SAveeping wave of his hand, and he and
Banatyne looked the brace of daring, reckless,
leading speculators that they Avere.
" The fellow laughs longest who laughs last,—
and my laughing time hasn't come yet," added
Flalstead, Avith that smile that robbed him of his
hayseed guilelessness, and transformed him into the
bold and defiant manipulator that many knew Nat
Halstead to be.
" We sympathize with 3'Ou, old felloAVS ; we are
all in the same boat," said one of the men in
the crowd, voicing the sentiments of his com¬
" That's all right, boys, the boat won't sink.
Our ship'll be on top," Avent on Banatyne, cheerily,
the croAvd thirsting for his every encouraging
Avord. " The worst is over," he continued. " Come
here in the morning, and avo'I! have some good
noAvs that'll make the bears hunt their holes."
The dauntless courage of these two speculators,
their very assurance, their sanguine hope, Avere
absorbed by their co-sufferers, and, after giving
three cheers for Banatyne and Halstead, the
assemblage dispersed, feeling better for having
listened to such optimistic vioAvs that accorded
with their hopes.
As soon as he and Halstead were alone, and
after fairly mopping the perspiration from their
foreheads, necks and hands, Banatyne said: