Potash & Perlmutter_ Their Copartnership Ventures and Adventures
Mr. Louis Mintz What Comes to Work by Us
P O T A S H &
P E R L M U T T E R
G R O S S E T & D U N L A P
PUBLISHERS :: NEW YORK
Copyright, 1909, by The Curtis Publishing Company
Copyright, 1910, byHoward E. Altemus
Copyrighted 1911, by Doubleday, Page &Company.
THE COUNTRY LIFE PRESS, GARDEN CITY, N. Y.
"No, siree, sir," Abe Potashexclaimed as he drew a check to the order of his attorney for a hundredand fifty dollars, "I would positively go it alone from now on till Idie, Noblestone. I got my stomach full with Pincus Vesell already, andif Andrew Carnegie would come to me and tell me he wants to go with meas partners together in the cloak and suit business, I would say 'No,'so sick and tired of partners I am."
For the twentieth time he examined the dissolution agreement which hadended the firm of Vesell & Potash, and then he sighed heavily andplaced the document in his breast pocket.
"Cost me enough, Noblestone, I could assure you," he said.
"A hundred and fifty ain't much, Potash, for a big lawyer like Feldman,"Noblestone commented.
Abe flipped his fingers in a gesture of deprecation.
"That is the least, Noblestone," he rejoined. "First and last I bet youI am out five thousand dollars on Vesell. That feller got an idee thatthere [Pg 8]ain't nothing to the cloak and suit business but auctionpinochle and taking out-of-town customers to the theayter. Hard work issomething which he don't know nothing about at all. He should of been inthe brokering business."
"The brokering business ain't such a cinch neither," Noblestone retortedwith some show of indignation. "A feller what's in the brokeringbusiness has got his troubles, too, Potash. Here I've been trying tofind an opening for a bright young feller with five thousand dollarscash, y'understand, and also there ain't a better designer in thebusiness, y'understand, and I couldn't do a thing with the proposition.Always everybody turns me down. Either they got a partner already orthey're like yourself, Potash, they just got through with a partnerwhich done 'em up good."
"If you think Pincus Vesell done me up good, Noblestone," Potash said,"you are mistaken. I got better judgment as to let a lowlife like himget into me, Noblestone. I lost money by him, y'understand, but at thesame time he didn't make nothing neither. Vesell is one of them fellerswhat you hear about which is nobody's enemy but his own."
"The way he talks to me, Potash," Noblestone replied, "he ain't suchfriends to you neither."
"He hates me worser as poison," Abe declared fervently, "but that ain'tneither here nor there, Noblestone. I'm content he should be my enemy.He's the kind of feller what if we would part friends, [Pg 9]he wouldcome back every week and touch me for five dollars yet. The feller ain'tgot no money and he ain't got no judgment neither."
"But here is a young feller which he got lots of common sense and fivethousand dollars cash," Noblestone went on. "Only one thing which heain't got."
"I seen lots of them fellers in my time, Noblestone," he said."Everything about 'em is all right excepting one thing and that's alwaysa killer."
"Well, this one thing ain't a killer at all," Noblestone rejoined, "heknows the cloak and suit business from A to Z, and he's a first-class Anumber one feller for the inside, Potash, but he ain't no salesman."
"So long as he's good on the inside, Noblestone," Abe said, "it don't dono harm if he ain't a salesman, because there's lots of fellers in thecloak and suit business which calls themselves drummers, y'understandEvery week regular they turn in an expense account as big as a doctor'sbill already, and not only they ain't salesmen, Noblestone, but theydon't know enough about the inside work to get a job as assistantshipping clerk."
"Well, Harry Federmann ain't that kind, Potash," Noblestone went on."He's been a cutter and a designer and everything you could think of inthe cloak and suit business. Also the feller's got[Pg 10] good backing.He's married to old man Zudrowsky's daughter and certainly them peoplewould give him a whole lot of help."
"What people do you mean?" Abe asked.
"Zudrowsky & Cohen," Noblestone answered. "Do you know 'em, Potash?"
Abe laughed raucously.
"Do I know 'em?" he said. "A question! Them people got a reputationamong the trade which you wouldn't believe at all. Yes, Noblestone, if Iwould take it another partner, y'understand, I would as lief get afeller what's got the backing of a couple of them cut-throats up in SingSing, so much do I think of Zudrowsky & Cohen."
"All I got to say to that, Potash, is that you don't know them people,otherwise you wouldn't talk that way."
"Maybe I don't know 'em as good as some concerns know 'em, Noblestone,but that's because I was pretty lucky. Leon Sammet tells me he wouldn'ttrust 'em with the wrapping paper on a C. O. D. shipment oftwo dollars."
Noblestone rose to his feet and assumed an attitude of what he believedto be injured dignity.
"I hear enough from you, Potash," he said, "and some day you will besorry you talk that way about a concern like Zudrowsky & Cohen. Ifyou couldn't say nothing good about 'em, you should shut up your mouth."
"I could say one thing good about 'em, Noblestone,"[Pg 11] Abe retorted,as the business broker opened the store door. "They ain't ashamed of acouple of good old-time names like Zudrowsky & Cohen."
This was an allusion to the circumstance that Philip Noblestone had oncebeen Pesach Edelstein, and the resounding bang with which the brokerclosed the door behind him, was gratifying evidence to Abe that hisparting shot had found its target.
"Well, Noblestone," Zudrowsky cried, as the broker entered the show-roomof Zudrowsky & Cohen, "what did he say?"
"He says he wouldn't consider it at all," Noblestone answered. "He ain'tin no condition to talk about it anyway, because he feels too sore abouthis old partner, Pincus Vesell. That feller done him up to the tune often thousand dollars."
In Noblestone's scheme of ethics, to multiply a fact by two was to speakthe truth unadorned.
"S'enough, Noblestone," Zudrowsky cried. "If Potash lost so much moneyas all that, I wouldn't consider him at all. One thing you got toremember, Noblestone. Me, I am putting up five thousand dollars forHarry Federmann, and what that feller don't know about business,Noblestone, you could take it from me, would make even you amillionaire, if you would only got it in your head."
Noblestone felt keenly the doubtfulness of Zudrowsky's compliment, butfor a lack of a[Pg 12] suitable rejoinder he contented himself bynodding gravely.
"So I wouldn't want him to tie up with a feller like Potash, what getsdone up so easy for ten thousand dollars," Zudrowsky went on. "What Iwould like, Noblestone, is that Harry should go as partners togetherwith some decent, respectable feller which got it good experience in thecloak business and wouldn't be careless with my five thousand dollars. Ineedn't to tell you, Noblestone, if I would let Harry get his hands onit, I might as well kiss myself good-by with that five thousanddollars."
Noblestone waggled his head from side to side and made inarticulateexpressions of sympathy through his nose.
"How could you marry off your daughter to a schafskopf likeFedermann?" he asked.
"It was a love match, Noblestone," Zudrowsky explained. "She falls inlove with him, and he falls in love with her. So naturally he ain't nobusiness man, y'understand, because you know as well as I do,Noblestone, a business man ain't got no time to fool away on suchnonsense."
"Sure, I know," Noblestone agreed. "But what makes Federmann so dumb?He's been in the cloak and suit business all his life, ain't he?"
"What's that got to do with it?" Zudrowsky exclaimed. "Cohen and me gotthese here fixtures for fifteen years already, and you could more expectthem tables and racks they should know the cloak[Pg 13] and suitbusiness as Harry Federmann. They ain't neither of 'em got no brains,Noblestone, and that's what I want you to get for Harry,—someyoung feller with brains, even though he ain't worth much money."
"Believe me, Mr. Zudrowsky," Noblestone replied. "It ain't such aneasy matter these times to find a young feller with brains what ain'tgot no money, Mr. Zudrowsky, and such young fellers don't need nopartners neither. And, anyhow, Mr. Zudrowsky, what is five thousanddollars for an inducement to a business man? When I would go around andtell my clients I got a young feller with five thousand dollars whatwants to go in the cloak and suit business, they laugh at me. In thecloak and suit business five thousand dollars goes no ways."
"Five thousand ain't much if you are going to open up as a new beginner,Noblestone," Zudrowsky replied, "but if you got a going concern,y'understand, five thousand dollars is always five thousand dollars.There's lots of business men what is short of money all the time,Noblestone. Couldn't you find it maybe a young feller which is alreadyestablished in business, y'understand, and what needs doch a littlemoney?"
Noblestone slapped his thigh.
"I got it!" he said. "I'll go around and see Sam Feder of the KosciuskoBank."
Half an hour later Noblestone sat in the first[Pg 14] vice-president'soffice at the Kosciusko Bank, and requested that executive officer tofavor him with the names of a few good business men, who wouldappreciate a partner with five thousand dollars.
"I'll tell you the truth, Noblestone," Mr. Feder said, "we turndown so many people here every day, that it's a pretty hard thing for meto remember any particular name. Most of 'em is good for nothing, eitherfor your purpose or for ours, Noblestone. The idee they got aboutbusiness is that they should sell goods at any price. In figuring thecost of the output, they reckon labor, so much; material, so much; andthey don't take no account of rent, light, power, insurance and soforth. The consequence is, they lose money all the time; and they puttheir competitors in bad too, because they make 'em meet their foolprices. The whole trade is cut up by them fellers and sooner asrecommend one for a partner for your client, I'd advise him to take hismoney and play the ponies with it."
At this juncture a boy entered and handed Mr. Feder a card.
"Tell him to come right in," Feder said, and then he turned toNoblestone. "You got to excuse me for a few minutes, Noblestone, andI'll see you just as soon as I get through."
As Noblestone left the first vice-president's office, he encounteredFeder's visitor, who wore an air of furtive apprehension characteristicof a man making his initial visit to a pawn shop. Noblestone waited[Pg 15] on the bench outside for perhaps ten minutes, whenMr. Feder's visitor emerged, a trifle red in the face.
"That's my terms, Mr. Perlmutter," Feder said.
"Well, if I would got to accept such a proposition like that,Mr. Feder," the visitor declared, "I would sooner bust up first.That's all I got to say."
He jammed his hat down on his head and made for the door.
"Now, Mr. Noblestone, I am ready for you," Feder cried, but hissummons fell on deaf ears, for Noblestone was in quick pursuit of thevanishing Perlmutter. Noblestone overtook him at the corner and touchedhis elbow.
"How do you do, Mr. Perlmutter!" he exclaimed.
Perlmutter stopped short and wheeled around.
"Huh?" he said.
"This is Mr. Sol Perlmutter, ain't it?" Noblestone asked.
"No, it ain't," Perlmutter replied. "My name is Morris Perlmutter, andthe pair of real gold eye-glasses which you just picked up and would letme have as a bargain for fifty cents, ain't no use to me neither."
"I ain't picked up no