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[159] “ What is it?” gasps an eager crowd. With shrugs and smiles, of deep and hidden meaning, the proprietors of that mine affect surprise: “What is it? What is what? Pooh, pooh, beware of club gossip and newspaper lies!” Some sales take place: a rise is scored. Outsiders sniff a secret, which the ring (ha, ha!-you see!) are trying to conceal.

Next day inquiry quickens. Hints are dropped that the great secret, so far kept by three or four mining firms, is the discovery of a new vein of silver in the Virginia mine; a vein of pure and solid ore, so fine and solid that it may be minted on the spot, exactly as it leaves the mine. “ Bonanza!” cry the listeners to this tale; “a big bonanza!”

“ What is a bonanza?”

“Bonanza is a sailor's term,” the banker tells me, “meaning a fair wind, a bright day, a prosperous voyage. Our miners use the word for luck, a happy hit, a stroke of fortune. A bonanza is the Californian god, and you will find his temple in California Street.”

In California Street stands the Stock Exchange.

One grain of truth there may be in this rumour of a vein of silver having been found; but in a

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