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deliver through the Clearing House, is not presented there by one o'clock, he is considered to have failed so far as it is concerned, and is suspended from the privileges of the institution. The charge made for clearing is at the rate of a dollar in currency for each hundred thousand in gold, and the Bank's bills are payable by the dealers for this service weekly, while for every error in statements, or orders to receive or deliver gold, or in exchanging orders, a penalty of five dollars is imposed.

It is obvious that this system of clearing gold dispenses with the need of handling it or its representative — the gold check on a bank, or the Treasury gold certificate- at all by the dealers; unless in those instances where they receive more than they deliver, or vice versa. Provided he receives and delivers an equal amount of gold daily, a dealer actually requires no capital to conduct the largest transactions he may choose to engage in, beyond the amount of the differences against him; while if those should be in his favor, he, of course, receives instead of paying. This is supposing that none of the parties with whom he makes contracts call upon him, as they have the option of doing, for margins to secure their fulfilment. Speculation is thus made easy—perhaps too easy for men of small means in the Gold Room; while dealers, whether large or small, are saved a vast amount of clerical labor. In view of this example, it is surprising that no similar institution for clearing stocks should exist, excepting the Bankers and Brokers Association, which, although originally designed for this end, failed to secure it.

The lowest rate of commission brokers are allowed to charge for buying, or selling, is one sixty-fourth of one per cent.- although they commonly charge their outside customers a thirty-second, or a sixteenth- and a violation of this rule involves suspension from membership for not less than six months, in addition to a fine of five hundred dollars.

The business of borrowing and lending gold is an important one with brokers, and every morning borrowers and lenders group themselves in a certain spot in the Gold Room and transact this part of their business for the day. The rates for borrowing vary with the demand and supply, and are liable to change as often as the price of gold itself. When gold has been made scarce by holding it off the market in order to assist a bull movement in the face of a large "short "" "" "bear or interest, the rate paid for its use has sometimes risen as high as one per cent. per diem; but with gold in superabundant supply, the short interest small, and the money market stringent, as much as one per cent. for a single day has been paid for having it carried, or in other words, for the use of the currency advanced on it; although usually in quiet times the rates fluctuate between "flat," or no interest, and seven per cent. per annum for borrowing or carrying, as the case may be. Gold borrowed for a day must be returned the following day, unless the contract is renewed by the borrower before half-past eleven in the forenoon; and if it is borrowed through the Clearing House it must be returned through it, while if borrowed ex-Clearing House it must be returned in the same way. The gold brokers, as such, will, like Othello, find their occupation gone after

the resumption of specie payments; but in view of this ultimate result, one of the articles of the association provides that it may, at any time, by a majority vote extend the transactions of its members to United States bonds or other securities.

During the first few years of the gold speculation the indicator in the window of the Gold Room was the only mechanical medium for communicating the quotations to those outside, but afterwards one of the officers of the association applied the telegraph to the transmission of these, direct from the room, to the offices of all who chose to pay for the convenience, and this system was immediately extended to the Stock Exchange, embracing all the quotations there, while rival telegraph companies have since competed for the business. Hence it is that every commission broker's office is provided with two instruments communicating directly with the Stock Exchange and Gold Room respectively, one for recording stock transactions, and occasionally the price of gold, and the other the price of gold only, and during business hours, which, practically, from nine to six have been wisely narrowed to from ten to three-these indicate every change that Occurs. These instruments are, however, no longer confined to the neighborhood of Wall Street, but are to be found in hotels, offices, restaurants, stores, and private residences all over the city and its suburbs, where they are consulted by those interested in the quotations, while in addition to two stock telegraph lines there is a third for foreign exchange, European market reports, and miscellaneous telegraphic advices. Those familiar with the Gold Room during the war when a heaving, swaying mass of excited men made their offers and bids with semi-frantic eagerness, flushed or pallid faces, and flashing eyes — could now see in it but little beyond the fittings of the apartment to remind them of the days gone by. The body is still there, but the spirit of the scene has departed, and it is well that it has; for in the old war-times, life in the Gold Room was one of ceaseless, wearing, health-destroying, feverish excitement from morning till night, every day of the week and every day of the year, but the Sabbath and, at long intervals, a national holiday. Strong men broke down under the strain, and weak ones passed from the Gold Room to the grave. Rich men became poor, and poor men rich, in an almost incredibly short space of time. Fortunes were made and lost almost at a single throw of the dice of fortune. Millions of gold were bought and sold on the spur of the moment, with an apparent recklessness of consequences that savored of desperation. Never before were such daring speculators seen in the United States as those that gathered from all sections of the country in and around the Gold Room. The flame of political partisanship united with the burning thirst for lucre and impelled them to daring ventures. The Southern and South-western men were almost invariably rabid secessionists and persistent "bulls," and many a strong Union man found himself a "bear" to his cost. The secessionists and, consequently, the "bulls " were always in the majority during that eventful period, and, as a rule, they made money fast, only to lose it with the triumph of the Union arms and the collapse of the Southern Confederacy. For years they were drunk with

success, and then suddenly, or gradually, as the case might be, like luckless gamesters, they lost all their previous gains.

Many made fortunes by the fall in gold following Sherman's successful march and Lee's surrender. I knew of a successful stock operator, not an habitual dealer in gold, who went into the Gold Room one afternoon when a dispatch came that Sherman was nearing the coast, and sold three millions "short," and kept out his contracts until he had made more than a million of dollars profit. He was worth several millions then, the fruit of successful speculation; but not long afterwards he left Wall Street, to use his own language, "without a red," besides being a defaulter on his contracts. His protested notes, given in settlement of his indebtedness, still remind those with whom he had dealings that he was once somebody in Wall Street; but now he is a nobody, who ekes out a precarious existence by an occasional loan from a friend of his better days, or tries to make a trifle by getting one of his old Wall Street acquaintances to give him a put" or a call on a hundred shares of stock. Such wrecks are pitiable, and should act as warnings to others, but they rarely do so. Though experience is dear, every one seems desirous of buying it for himself.

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The Gold Room is no more a scene of disorder and angry passions which might be likened to a den of hungry wild beasts struggling with each other for the bones that were thrown to them. Composure has taken the place of delirium, and order has superseded confusion. The brokers now act as if they had more than a minute longer to live, and as if they were in the habit of allowing themselves time to eat and sleep. They no longer rush in and out of the Gold Room as if they were trying to catch some agile thief who was decamping with their valuables, but walk in and out leisurely, and make their bids and offers with a coolness which would have been refreshing when the fate of the republic seemed to some to hang trembling in the balance. There is little noise or animation among them, and their orders to buy and sell gold come almost exclusively from the foreign bankers dealing in exchange, and the importers. Speculation in gold is confined almost entirely to the brokers themselves, the fluctuations in the premium being too slight to invite outsiders, who have to pay commissions, to dabble in the market. But many of the brokers make a living by catching fluctuations of an eighth per cent. Events may, however, occur before the resumption of specie payments, and the consequent abolition of the Gold Room, which will infuse something of the old war-spirit into the dealings within its walls; but it is to be hoped they will not, and that its future history will be marked by monotony and a slowly but steadily declining premium, until at last greenbacks and gold meet at par, and the necessity which called it into existence has passed away. This consummation so devoutly to be wished is still somewhat remote, and the sooner it is reached the better for us all, rich and poor alike.

KINAHAN CORNWALLIS.

[graphic]

420

HEIGH-HO!

BACHELOR (loquitur.)

I.

EIGH-HO!

Η

Wonder if she cares for me! Sitting, lone, here in the gloaming, Stars aglow, and bright waves foaming, Comes this rush of memory.

Heigh-ho!

Once I sat here by the maiden

With whose name my thoughts are laden,Who could make this earth my Aidenn.

Heigh-ho!

Wonder if she cares for me!

II.

Heigh-ho!

She sixteen, and fancy-free,—
My days in the sere and yellow
Leaf, that so discounts a fellow
With no gold to daze the e'e:

(Heigh-ho!)

When I made her that poor offer

A full heart, and empty coffer —
Why, of course, she spurned my proffer.

Heigh-ho!

Wonder if she cares for me!

III.

Heigh-ho!

Used to take her on my knee,

(Her, the child !) and gaze and wonder Who'd succumb those bright eyes under,

When she'd grace society

(Heigh-ho!)

Thinking, "There'll be need for pity,"

Little thinking this, my ditty,

Would be fonder far than witty.

Heigh-ho! Wonder if she cares for me!

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