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Mr. Wormser and Mr. Walsh are only types. They did not
stand out pre-eminently in the day's doings. Nobody did.
It was not a time of ceremony and while the younger
element was quicker to buy and sell, many of the old
hands lost their heads and were overborne in the general
scramble. Others with unlimited resources operated
through brokers or Exchange members on a large scale.
But dignity was thrown to the winds. There was no more
of it on the floor than Justice Jerome and his
associates find in a down town poolroom raided by the
Committee of Fifteen.
Among the large houses whose representatives were to be
seen, flushed and excited, but buying as conservatively
as the exigency of the hour would permit, were H. B.
Hollins & Co., T.J. Taylor & Co., Moore & Schley, A.A.
Housman & Co. These firms naturally took advantage of
the situation, and as a member of one of them who had
spent the day on the floor said, "While it was a hard
trial, there was money in it for the rich." According to
this same authority, the general public will bear the
brunt of the loss.
It was evident from the beginning of the session that
the commercial world had felt the pulse of the situation
and realized that there would be a good deal doing
between the rap of the gavel and the ring of the gong.
Not within the memory of the corporation have so many
senior members of firms been seen upon the floor, and
silver hairs did not aid them in efforts to conceal the
excitement under which they were laboring. As the day
wore on some of these disappeared, to be replaced by
juniors more active and, perhaps, less cautious. But by
noon caution had been abandoned, anyway, by old and
All Order Abandoned
Every railroad post seemed to be lodestone, and around
it humanity whirled and seethed and fought for place.
Many fortunes went into the vortex thus formed, and were
sucked out of sight in a twinkling. One of the quietest
moments followed the announcement that Northern Pacific
had passed 200. It was the calm before the storm, for
when the full import of such a quotation was realized a
roar akin to the approach of a hurricane arose, and all
effort to preserve anything like order was abandoned.
The early gallery crowd was not typical. It is
generally made up of persons drawn thither by idle
curiosity. Not so yesterday. Many of the persons who
looked down upon the struggling mass had more than a
passing interest in the struggle. Some knew that their
all was staked upon the game that was being played, and
though the odds were tremendously against them they were
held to the spot as if fascinated, and long after the
quotations told a spectator that he had been "wiped
out," he would cling to the railing, unable to take his
eyes from the scene.
And when the time came to clear the galleries there
were those in the crowd who refused to budge. One
white-haired man in particular would argue the point,
and he undertook to cite precedent to show that
"Investors," as he called them, had a sort of
prescriptive right to stay in the gallery. He was
reminded that he was not in the Stock Exchange, but in
the Produce Exchange gallery, and that the
Stock-Exchange itself had only temporary quarters in the
building, and finally, he reluctantly left the gallery,
going into the corridor, from which he was soon hurried
into the street.
That the Exchange members kept in close touch with
their firms was plainly shown by the stream of messenger
boys which poured in and out of the Exchange. They
seemed to average at least one a second, and having
caught the spirit of the occasion, they moved in lively
fashion for at least one day of their lives.
One of the most exciting incidents of the day was the
appearance of A. A. Housman on the floor. About noon he
was called up by a member and asked if it were true, as
reported, that "he had dropped dead." Mr. Housman's
reply was to go at once to the Exchange and offer for
loan $1,000,000, all of which was taken. This was one of
the things which helped to steady the market toward the
close. Among those early on hand was Controller Coler, who has
been a member of the Stock Exchange for years. But he
did not mingle with the "wild" ones, although he did
pick up some bargains along conservative lines.
As the gong sounded for the close the excitement among
the brokers seemed to relax, and it was evident that the
close of a day so full of financial and commercial
history was warmly welcomed by those who had made that
history. Congratulations were general that not a single
failure of a Stock Exchange firm had been announced from
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