A story of Yankee shrewdness of the David Harum sort. Baines' fat, uncouth exterior conceals a kindly heart, a shrewd far-seeing brain and a sense of humor which enable him to become the master of a richly timbered valley, presumably in New England, and a political power in his state.
o scratch. "It's jest like robbery," said Old Man Penny, tremulously.
"Keep your money," retorted Scattergood. "I'm satisfied the way things is at present."
Within the hour they were back with seven hundred and fifty dollars in bills, a lawyer, and an agreement, which Scattergood read with minute attention. It bound him not to sell, barter, trade, exchange, deal, or in any way to derive a profit from the handling of groceries, dry goods, notions, millinery, clothing, and gent's furnishings. It contained no hidden pitfalls, and Scattergood was satisfied. He signed his name and thrust the roll of bills into his pocket.... Then he picked up his mop and went to work as hard as ever.
"Say," Old Man Penny said, "what you goin' ahead for? You jest agreed not to."
"There wasn't nothin' said about moppin'," grinned Scattergood, "and there wasn't nothin' said about hardware and harness and farm implements, neither. If you don't b'lieve me, jest read the agreement. What I'm doin', neighbors,
These appear to be collected shorts from newspaper. Central is a guy who starts without money in a lonesome valley full of timber, and shows the (other) crooks how to play. That he himself is a parasite (on the trees) was not obvious at the time, which cherished shrewdness at any cost. So maybe this is for you, maybe not.
The repetitions of the protagonist's history and his constant scheming make this short story collection dull reading after the first few chapters.