Bargain Hunt

At least one of the group of three with whom we’re going to be concerned is Jewish. He happens to be one of the two painters; the third person is a patron of art, so-called, a physician, a man of means, well-to-do in any event. This Jewish artist had brought along his doctor friend to the studio of a fellow-artist, a somewhat older man whose work he greatly admired. He had persuaded the physician to buy a picture from this fellow-painter, and the physician had selected a canvas.

The price was the difficulty, although it shouldn’t have been. It was something like $50. But the physician seemed determined to turn the picture purchase into a bargain hunt. He pretended to be unable to afford to spend more than $10. The painter whose picture he wanted couldn’t know, as the mutual friend did, that a ten-dollar bill was nothing to him, and therefore took him at his word and let him have, for $10, the picture for which he had asked, and with justice, $50.

Came the time to pay for the picture. The physician took out a lump of bills, but a lump! It was one of those wads of bills wealthy bootleggers, or gangster chiefs are supposed to carry about with them, and do. It was one of those vast fistfuls on which horses are supposed to choke. There were hundred dollar bills on the outer rim, fifty dollar bills further along, and there were more twenties and way inside, in the core of the wad, the great patron of art found a mean little ten dollar bill which he extracted and passed over to the painter whose face, I am informed, was apopletic red with anger and chagrin.

And as for the Jewish painter who had thought to do his friend a good turn by calling his work to the attention of a man of means, his face also was red.

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