Stories from Everybody’s Magazine

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Author: Various

Alaska Reynoldsized

Really, according to local report, these nuggets of native copper had been taken from sluice boxes on Chittitu Creek, 235 miles inland. Reynolds, so ran the story, had treated them with an acid bath to brighten them, knowing that bright bait is better. At any rate, the good, sober New Englanders went back home and sent him $300,000 more, which set him entirely "dippy," in local phrase.

Reynolds’s scheme was to run all the barber shops, laundries, bars, and pretty much everything else on the Alaskan coast. A certain Sam Blum had a store and bank; Reynolds wanted it; and Blum, it is alleged, annexed $50,000 of the New England money as a forfeited first payment on his property. A steamship company, it was said, got $75,000 of money on a forfeit. So the good New England savings merrily disappeared, in one of the most spectacular farces ever known in Alaska; which latter is too good and valid and valuable a national possession to permit to be Reynoldsized, as it has been. Reynolds, in the belief of one who knew him well, was a combination of the ignorant enthusiast, the wild promoter, and the crazy man; and as for Brady, another Alaskan called him "nothing worse than an innocent old ninny." Yet, even with so sorry a mental equipment, these two took something like half a million out of conservative New England! The ease with which money can be raised for such enterprises by the deliberately fraudulent or the unintentionally insane continues one of the wonders of our civilization.

Another kind of bait offered is that of the "prominent name." This has proved more useful in England than in this country. Whittaker Wright was able to secure members of the nobility for his boards of directors, and the English public swallowed his schemes one after another, bait, hook, bob, and sinker. In this country we have no lords whom we dearly love, so the names of prominent literary or scientific men sometimes are employed by wise promoters. A "prominent mining expert" is excellent bait. Some good men have been used in this way, and the bait of their reputation in other lines of activity has served to make ignorant and innocent people of small means swallow the hook hid in the lying statements which they have perhaps innocently, certainly ignorantly, fathered. We are all familiar with the literature of this class, sent to us under the guise of personal and intimate confidence. Always that part of the communication is followed by the blackfaced type where the stinger lies concealed. The words AT ONCE usually come in capitals, as do LAST CHANCE, and PRICE POSITIVELY WILL ADVANCE AFTER TEN DAYS. Millions and millions of dollars have been extracted from the public by these means. There is no law against it.

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Chicago: Various, "Alaska Reynoldsized," Stories from Everybody’s Magazine, ed. Hawthorne, Julian, 1846-1934 and trans. Stevens, Bertram, 1872 - in Stories from Everybody’s Magazine (Boston: John W. Luce and Company, 1911), Original Sources, accessed May 29, 2024, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4YN8TG4MD93FRHT.

MLA: Various. "Alaska Reynoldsized." Stories from Everybody’s Magazine, edited by Hawthorne, Julian, 1846-1934, and translated by Stevens, Bertram, 1872 -, in Stories from Everybody’s Magazine, Boston, John W. Luce and Company, 1911, Original Sources. 29 May. 2024. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4YN8TG4MD93FRHT.

Harvard: Various, 'Alaska Reynoldsized' in Stories from Everybody’s Magazine, ed. and trans. . cited in 1911, Stories from Everybody’s Magazine, John W. Luce and Company, Boston. Original Sources, retrieved 29 May 2024, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4YN8TG4MD93FRHT.