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A Lady in Boomtown: Miners and Manners on the Nevada Frontier - Page 52

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The district looked so promising that the claims Mr. Patrick had optioned were considered to be worth three times $ 75,000. There were men with ready cash, clamoring to pay Charlie Taylor any amount if he would break his contract with Lucian Patrick. But the two cardinal sins on the frontier are to break one’s word and to be disloyal to a friend. Prospectors seldom welch. Charlie Taylor stood pat. The day when the option was to be taken up, for some reason the money had not reached the bank. There were no banking facilities or telegraph in Goldfield, so all the principals were in Tonopah. The money was to be telegraphed to the Nye County Bank. “ L. L. was in my office all that day,” Hugh explained. “ I thought he was going to wear a hole in my floor and drop right through into the bank saloon. He thrashed up and down that room, back and forth, back and forth. We had arranged with George Richard to signal the moment the money came if it did arrive before the bank closed.” “ I was so nervous, I sweated like a horse,” said Lucian. “ I couldn’t understand why in hell the money didn’t come. They had telegraphed me earlier that week that everything was okay. But there it was two o’clock and no money, and two men ready to grab my option at three, when the bank would close. Down the street were knots of men, buttonholing Charlie Taylor, talking, speculating on what had happened, some of them even betting on whether the money would show up in time. At ten minutes to three Hugh saw George come out of the bank waving a piece of paper. “ God! I just couldn’t look,” continued Lucian. “ I was so worn out I just sat down...” The news spread like sparks sputtering from a fuse. Men everywhere came running together. Hugh had to drag Lucian to his feet and almost carry him over to the bank. And the money was paid out in gold. “ In gold?” I exclaimed. “ Five thousand dollars in gold?” “ Five thousand dollars,” returned Lucian Patrick. And then all the men came whirling around him. “ We should have put you down the Desert Queen shaft and kept you there until after banking hours!” they were yelling at him. “ It was highway robbery for those claims to go for $ 75,000!” Most of the dashing young men in Tonopah moved to Goldfield. Tonopah holdings had quickly been consolidated into big companies, while in Goldfield a young man could compete with other gay blades who were bent



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