myself a raft. I asked my ex-principal if I might be one of his
accredited brokers with a drawing account. But although he permitted me
to so attach myself, there was no drawing account, and various
incidents thereafter forced me to conclude that he had no intention of
forgetting the inkstand episode. I cast myself off into complete
independence and have remained in that state ever since.
as a free-lance broker taught me much and I do not regret the bitter
lessons of those days. There is no better schooling for one who intends
to blossom into a trader on his own account than a long apprenticeship
as a broker to the trade. It is always the buyer who is the professor,
for he is ever alert to point out what is undesirable in the
merchandise you submit for his consideration and to compare your prices
with those of your competitors. It is the buyer who puts you on your
mettle; it is the buyer you must study if you want to be a success.
Please him and you have pleased yourself. From my buyers I have learned
to discriminate between the bad, the middling, the good and the
exquisite, and from the seller—how to make the most of the least.
of my experiences at that time of my apprenticeship I mention, because
it shows something of the way in which the trade regulates its business
morals from within. A firm had given me a parcel of gems with
instructions to sell in the open market at a price they had fixed as
their lowest. Speed was the essence of the transaction, and they wanted
results, and cash, the same day.
The instructions were verbal and unfortunately I had