written by Francis Bret Harte


— Francis Bret Harte

Here's yer toy balloons! All sizes!
Twenty cents for that. It rises
Jest as quick as that 'ere, Miss,
Twice as big. Ye see it is
Some more fancy. Make it square
Fifty for 'em both. That's fair.

That's the sixth I've sold since noon.
Trade's reviving. Just as soon
As this lot's worked off, I'll take
Wholesale figgers. Make or break,--
That's my motto! Then I'll buy
In some first-class lottery
One half ticket, numbered right--
As I dreamed about last night.

That'll fetch it. Don't tell me!
When a man's in luck, you see,
All things help him. Every chance
Hits him like an avalanche.
Here's your toy balloons, Miss. Eh?
You won't turn your face this way?
Mebbe you'll be glad some day.
With that clear ten thousand prize
This 'yer trade I'll drop, and rise
Into wholesale. No! I'll take
Stocks in Wall Street. Make or break,--
That's my motto! With my luck,
Where's the chance of being stuck?
Call it sixty thousand, clear,
Made in Wall Street in one year.

Sixty thousand! Umph! Let's see!
Bond and mortgage'll do for me.
Good! That gal that passed me by
Scornful like--why, mebbe I
Some day'll hold in pawn--why not?--
All her father's prop. She'll spot
What's my little game, and see
What I'm after's HER. He! he!

He! he! When she comes to sue--
Let's see! What's the thing to do?
Kick her? No! There's the perliss!
Sorter throw her off like this.
Hello! Stop! Help! Murder! Hey!
There's my whole stock got away,
Kiting on the house-tops! Lost!
All a poor man's fortin! Cost?
Twenty dollars! Eh! What's this?
Fifty cents! God bless ye, Miss!

About the poet

Francis Bret Harte

Francis Bret Harte was an American author and poet, best remembered for his accounts of pioneering life in California. He was born in Albany, New York, as Francis Brett Hart. He was named after his great-grandfather Francis Brett, and his family name was Hart. When he was young his father changed the spelling of the family name from Hart to Harte. Later, Francis preferred to be known by his middle name, but he spelled it with only one "t", becoming Bret Harte. He moved to California in 1853, later working there in a number of capacities, including miner, teacher, messenger, and journalist. He spent part of his life in the northern California coastal town of Union (now known as Arcata), a...

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