Monday, September 19, 2011

Letters from A Self-Made Merchant To His Son - Being the Letters written by John Graham, Head of the House of Graham & Company, Pork-Packers in Chicago

"Because there ain’t any rotten apples in the top layer, it ain’t always safe to bet that the whole barrel is sound.

A man doesn’t snap up a horse just because he looks all right. As a usual thing that only makes him wonder what really is the matter that the other fellow wants to sell.

So he leads the nag out into the middle of a ten-acre lot, where the light will strike him good and strong, and examines every hair of his hide, as if he expected to find it near-seal, or some other base imitation; and he squints under each hoof for the grand hailing sign of distress; and he peeks down his throat for dark secrets.

If the horse passes this degree the buyer drives him twenty or thirty miles, expecting him to turn out a roarer, or to find that he balks, or shies, or goes lame, or develops some other horse nonsense.

If after all that there are no bad symptoms, he offers fifty less than the price asked, on general principles, and for fear he has missed something."

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