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his wife, clutching her little baby closely in her arm, sobbingly corroborated her husband's account. Romano's story was as follows:

One day come a man to mine bro', he say "You buya de watch. I sella de watch an' chain for $75. You pay fifta centa a week.' Mine bro' he saya 'All rite.' Den de man come to me an' say, 'You hire you bro'. I like to do business with you better. You signa de paper.' I no signa, I just make a mark, and den he go way. He come again; I paya him $1.50. Then he say I pay a dollar a week. I say no, I cannot; I have wife and three babies. Then by an' by he come and say he take me to jail. I say I give back the watch-I can't pay. Then he take me off an' my woman she come too. I no geta a summons. I no get nothing-just I go to jail.”

Hardly had Romano finished his story of his wrongs when his employer, Timothy Cashin, came in and asked Mr. Ringwalt what he should do.

"This is a pretty situation,” said he, indignantly. “This man is a good fellow; he has worked for me for two years, and I will stand by him. Is there no protection for the poor man at all?"

Ringwalt advised the woman to go home, and said he would take the case up and get her husband released. As she was pushed to the little wicket door she began to weep piteously,

“I no go without my man,” she sobbed. “I have three babies. I no stay alone. Please letta my man out?” Then the baby opened its big blue eyes and, seeing its mother sobbing, began to cry also. To prevent a scene the woman was allowed to sit on a bench' beside her husband. Then she pulled out a dirty cloth, and, unrolling it, disclosed the cause of the trouble. A huge watch, cheaply chased and already tarnished, to which were attached strands of a coppercolored chain, was all she could show for the $75 pledged for it.

“De man he tella me it fourteen carata, she wailed. “I taka to a pawnshop and they tell me chain no good, watch ten carata; they think it worth $10."

Just then there was a stir in the hall, and Marshal Abrahamson, Stromberg the instalment dealer, and a prisoner came in.

“Dat are de man! Dat are de man!” exclaimed Romano in terror, shrinking back into the corner in fright.

The wife, who had quieted down when she was allowed to stay with her husband, and had begun to nurse her baby, started up in terror also.

Pushing through the gate the dealer walked up to the woman, who cowered before him.

Well, are you going to settle?” he demanded.

“I no gotta de money; my man he no gotta de money; how canna we settle?" she sobbed. The dealer offered to settle if the property were returned and the man paid $20 in addition to the $4.50 already paid in instalments.

"Don't you pay it,” advised Mr. Ringwalt. "I no can,” sobbed the woman, clinging to her baby hysterically.

“All right,” said Stromberg, coolly, turning towards the husband. “Stay there, then;" and he walked away.

Then the wife followed the dealer out of the jail. Presently she came back, and presenting a twenty-dollar bill, asked for her husband.

I settle! I settle!" she shouted, overcome with joy.

“The case is settled,” declared Marshal Abrahamson. “Release the prisoner.”

The $20 quickly found its way to the hands of the dealer, and a

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moment later the prisoner was outside the gate, and holding his baby in his arms.

“There's a pretty case for you,” grumbled one of the jail officers, as he watched them go away. “There's a cool twenty dollars raised by just frightening them into it. It's getting so that they just use this place as a means of scaring people. Why, they used to bring them here 'at 1 and 2 o'clock in the morning. I stopped that, though.”

When the matter had been settled, and the dealer had received his tarnished watch and its pendant chain, the marshal and he held a hurried consultation and then adjourned to the sidewalk, where a group of hangers on were watching the proceeding.

Besides practicing sheer persistence that sometimes forces sales on unwilling customers and persons who had no thought of buying, the agents resort to the most wretched subterfuge and deceit. They leave old goods as "samples," assuring customers that the real article will be brought by the collector. Broken and defective clocks, phonographs and the like, are sold with the promise of repairs, the purchaser, it will be remembered, certifying according to the contract, “that there is no contract or understanding, verbal or otherwise, between myself and said firm, its agents or salesmen, other than is here expressed.” Other goods are promised in addition to those actually delivered. Of course the most unblushing falsehoods are told regarding quality and value. A curious fact was the marking of jewelry with the letters AT. The peddler's assurance that it was AT jewelry sounded like a guarantee that it was “eighteen,' so the purchaser believed he was getting 18-carat goods. This is mentioned as being interesting rather than significant, for the peddlers would not hesitate to declare their goods eighteen hundred carats fine if they thought it would help sales. To continue, watches are sometimes left “for trial” with persons who do not care to buy, the agent simply getting the purchaser to make his mark on a receipt, which, of course, turns up as an instalment contract. Promise is always made that goods may be returned if not satisfactory. Persons are persuaded to sign as guarantees or simply witnesses, and are immediately dragged into the following suits as principals. In short, the accounts published in the press from time to time of the methods of these agents have been in nowise exaggerated. Their aim is, by some means or other to get the mark on the bit of paper which, in the mind of the poor ignorant buyer renders him liable to arrest. As honest means do not usually serve, they have not the least hesitation in using dishonest ones, of which those stated above are simply typical.

As for the contract itself, it is often made out in pencil, so that it is a simple matter to change it at will. Thus a contract calling for twenty-five cents a week may be changed to one dollar. An agreement to pay forty dollars for a watch may be changed to sixty-five. Such things are not mere possibilities, but facts of everyday experience. Sometimes the names are changed. This is simple enough, as the purchaser only makes his mark. Hence, if he goes away, it is easy to substitute his landlord's name, or that of some friend. And here it should be noted that the agent is usually careful to connect with the sale in some way the name of some person through whom he thinks it will be possible by hook or crook to secure payment; though, as has so frequently been noted, he is perfectly willing to sell to a man whom he knows to be dishonest. The reckless carelessness with which contracts are altered is one startling feature of the business.

The first feature of a “fake” sale is, then, a price in itself presumptive evidence of fraud and a contract carelessly made out, lending itself with the greatest readiness to fraudulent changes. More than this, though it seem like an exaggeration to say so, it is none the less perfectly true that a considerable proportion of jewelry sales are made with a more or less well defined purpose, not only to get three or four times the value of the goods, but also to give occasion for lawsuits and thus secure cash on instalment contracts. It is this thing which in my definition constitutes the very essence and perfection of the “fake” business. If further evidence of the fact be needed than the enormous number of suits brought, it may be found in the fact, which at first seems so peculiar, that jewelry is sold principally, and peddlers are especially instructed to sell, to the Italians, who are notoriously irresponsible in financial matters, celebrated as patrons of the pawn-shops, easily wrought upon by fear of imprisonment, and very ready to help one another in trouble, even to the extent of helping pay debts. Clearly enough, they would be the last persons on earth to whom one · would wish to make a genuine instalment sale, for a man's friends are no less ready to help him avoid payment when possible, than to help him pay when face to face with the alternative of the jail.

Given a purely “fake” sale, their default in payment falls in perfectly with the dealer's plans; in fact it may be said that his efforts are definitely directed to that end. Any one of the dozens of unfulfilled promises of the agent may be the cause of sufficient dissatisfaction to make the buyer refuse payment. If so, well and good. If he continues to pay regularly and if he appears to be a promising victim, the collector may be instructed, as he often is, to discontinue his calls for a time. Though the purchaser may be perfectly ready to make his pay

ments, no one appears to collect them. Now all is ready, and the dealer sends him what is called a "lawyer letter," purporting to come from the dealer's attorney, but in many cases emanating from his own office. This letter states that a claim for such and such an amount having been placed in the attorney's hands by the dealer, settlement must be made by a given date, or suit will be brought. In many cases the mere threat is effectual and the claim is paid, including a lawyer's fee, most, if not all, of which goes into the dealer's pocket. More often, however, no attention is paid to the letter, or else no offer of settlement is made, other than the return of the goods. These the dealer invariably refuses to take back. Then suit is brought. How frequently this occurs the records of the municipal courts show. During the year 1901 Adolph Teitelbaum brought 386 suits in the Fourth District Court, Louis Miller 122, and other known dealers 104, while for 'the same period the records of the Second District Court show that Philip and Isaac Stromberg furnished 587 cases and Charles Ludwin 346. The records of the Fifth District Court have not been gone over with the same detail, but they would show similar results, though in this court there are a larger number of dealers and a smaller number of cases per dealer. Out of a total of somewhere near 9,000 cases in the Second and Fourth District Courts, five men contributed no less than 1,441, and it is safe to say that one-sixth of all the business of the overcrowded courts of the three great East Side districts is due to the pernicious activity of not more than fifty men.

With the bringing of the suit comes a second complication, and further dishonesty of more serious character. The city marshals, who serve summonses in such cases, being paid by a system of fees, are naturally anxious to get as much business as possible. They therefore find it profitable to be in alliance with the dealers who do so large a legal business. Accordingly, each "fake" dealer has a marshal, who ordinarily serves, or rather does not serve, his summonses, and who is known as his marshal. Of course one marshal does business for more than one dealer. But there are, or rather have been, four especially prominent "instalment marshals,” so-called because of the large amount of instalment business which they do. Of these William H. Lee, who was dismissed from office by Mayor Low during the past summer after having been guilty, it is alleged, of almost every act of official wrong-doing possible, had for some years done practically all of Teitelbaum's business, and was known as his man. He also did business for a considerable number of other dealers at the same time. A former employee of Mr. Teitelbaum's states that on this business Lee used to make sometimes $75 a day, and that he sometimes went out with a wagon in which to bring in prisoners. Marshal Comisky, who has for months been under charges of the most serious character, is “Phil Stromberg's marshal.”

The profitableness of the business to the marshals is great, for they work under quite a liberal system of fees. Now all this might be well enough if all the marshals performed their duties honestly. I shall not indulge in the sweeping denunciation of all the marshals which I have so frequently heard, one marshal himself going so far as to assure me that he was the only honest man among the entire thirty-seven. But unfortunately it is true that many of them care more for a dollar than for the sanctity of an official oath, and have no conception of the duties of their office higher than the making it a source of personal profit, at whatever cost of injustice and injury to others. Give to such a marshal a summons to serve on some mere "dago” who does not know enough, and who has no friends powerful enough, to make trouble, and it is so much easier, quicker and more profitable simply to sit down in the office and mark it served than to go to the trouble and expense of hunting up the man and actually serving the summons on him; the chances of detection are comparatively slight, and the chances of conviction, even if he is detected, very small-all these influences act so powerfully that in a large proportion of instalment cases the summons is never served. An assistant to one of the most prominent marshals has assured me that not 50% of the summonses issued to their office in instalment cases were ever served. It will be observed that even if non-service of summons is alleged, the allegation can be supported only by the testimony of an ignorant and timid foreigner, more or less confused as to the meaning of the whole process, while on the other side there is the sworn statement of service of a city officer backed by the oath of the dealer and an assistant or two, who stand ready to swear that they went personally with the marshal when he served the summons. Under such circumstances, what can a judge do? It may seem strange that such a system of official perjury could go on for years almost unchecked, yet when one considers that it is almost impossible to secure conviction in such cases, when he sees the great profit of the transaction, and above all, when he knows the character of many of the marshals and dealers, he ceases to wonder.

We must now trace further the progress of the suit. On the day marked for trial, no defendant appears-naturally enough,

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