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crutinized closely every passerby. Occasionally he hailed one or the other, conversed earnestly a brief instant, and passed them inside. Gradually it on Bob that this man was acting in the capacity of “barker”–that with quite admirable perspicacity and accuracy, he was engaged in selecting from the countless throngs the few possible purchasers for Lucky Lands. Curious to see what attraction was offered to induce this unanimity of acquiescence to the barker’s invitation, the young man approached.
“What’s going on?” he asked.
The barker appraised him with one sweeping glance.
“Stereopticon lecture inside,” he snapped, and turned his back.
Bob made his way into a dimly lighted hall. At one end was a slightly elevated platform above which the white screen was suspended. More agricultural products supplied the decorations. The body of the hall was filled with folding chairs, about half of which were occupied. Perhaps a dozen attendants tiptoed here and there. A successful attempt was everywhere made to endow with high importance all the proceedings and appurtenances of the Lucky Land Co.
Bob slipped into a chair. Immediately a small pasteboard ticket and a fountain pen were thrust into his hand.
“Sign your name and address on this,” the man whispered.
Bob held it up, the better to see what it was.
“All these tickets are placed in a hat,” explained the man, “and one is drawn. The lucky ticket gets a free ride to Lucky on one of our weekly homeseekers’ excursions. Others pay one fare for round trip.”
“I see,” said Bob, signing, “and cheap nike air max in return you get the names and addresses of every one here.”
He glanced up at his interlocutor with a quizzical expression that changed at once to one of puzzlement. Where had he seen the man before? He was, perhaps, fifty-five years old, tall and slender, slightly stooped, slightly awry. His lean gray face was deeply lined, his close-clipped moustache and hair were gray, and his eyes twinkled behind his glass nike air max sale es with a cold gray light. Something about these glasses struck faintly a chord of memory in Bob’s experience, but he could not catch its modulations. The man, on his side, stared at Bob a trifle uncertainly. Then he held the card up to the dim light.
“You are interested in Lucky Lands–Mr. John Smith, of Reno?” he asked, stooping low to be heard.
“Sure!” grinned Bob.
The man said nothing more, but glided away, and in a moment the flare of light on the screen announced that the lecture was to begin.
The lecturer, was a glib, self-possessed youth, filled to the brim with statistics, with which he literally overwhelmed his auditors. His remarks were accompanied by a rapid-fire snapping of fingers to the time of which the operator changed his slides. A bewildering succession of coloured views flashed on the screen. They show nike air max classic ed Lucky in all its glories–the blacksmith shop, the main street, the new hotel, the grocery, Brown’s walnut ranch, the ditch, the Southern Pacific Depot, the Methodist Church and a hundred others. So quickly did they succeed each other that no one had time to reduce to the terms of experience the scenes depicted on these slides–for with the glamour of exaggerated colour, of unaccustomed presentation, and of skillful posing the most commonplace village street seems wonderful and attractive for the moment. The lecturer concluded by an alarming statement as to the rapidity with which this desirable ranching property was being snapped up. He urged early decisions as the only safe course; and, as usual with all real estate men, called attention to the contrast between the Riverside of twenty years ago and the Riverside of t cheap nike air max o-day.
The daylight was then admitted.
“Now, gentlemen,” concluded the lecturer, still in his brisk, time-saving style, “the weekly excursion to Lucky will take place to-morrow. One fare both ways to homeseekers. Free carriages to the Lands. Grand free open-air lunch under the spreading sycamores and by the babbling brook. Train leaves at seven-thirty.”
In full sight of all he threw the packet of tickets into a hat and drew one.
“Mr. John Smith, of Reno,” he read. “Who is Mr. Smith?”
“Here,” said Bob.
“Would you like to go to Lucky to-morrow?”
“Sure,” said Bob.
One of the attendants immediately handed Bob a railroad ticket. The lecturer had already disappeared.
To his surprise Bob found the street door locked.
” nike air max 90 This way,” urged one of the salesmen. “You go out this way.”
He and the rest of the audience were passed out an cheap nike air max other door in the rear, where they were forced to go through the main offices of the Company. Here were stationed the gray man and all his younger assistants. Bob paused by the door. He could not but admire the acumen of the barker in selecting his men. The audience was made up of just the type of those who come to California with agricultural desires and a few hundred dollars–slow plodders from Eastern farms, Italians with savings and ambitions, half invalids–all the element that crowds the tourist sleepers day in and day out, the people who are filling the odd corners of the greater valleys. As these debouched into the glare of the outer offices, they hesitated, making up their slow minds which way to turn. In that instant or so the gray man, like a captain, assigned his salesmen. The latter were of all sorts–fat and nike air max 90 sale joking, thin and very serious-minded, intense, enthusiastic, cold and haughty. The gray man sized up his prospective c nike air max 1 ustomers and to each assigned a salesman to suit. Bob had no means of guessing how accurate these estimates might be, but they were evidently made intelligently, with some system compounded of theory or experience. After a moment Bob became conscious that he himself was being sharply scrutinized by the gray man, and in return watched covertly. He saw the gray man shake his head slightly. Bob passed out the door unaccosted by any of the salesmen.
At ha nike air max lf-past seven the following morning he boarded the local train. In one car he found a score of “prospects” already seated, accompanied by half their number of the young men of the real estate office. The utmost jocularity and humour prevailed, except in one cheap nike air max trainers corner where a very earnest young man drove home the points of his argument with an impressive forefinger. Bob dropped unobtrusively into a seat, and prepared to enjoy his never-failing interest in the California landscape with its changing wonderful mountains; its alternations of sage brush and wide cultivation; its vineyards as far as the eye could distinguish the vines; its grainfields seeming to fill the whole cup of the valleys; its orchards wide as forests; and its desert stretches, bigger than them all, awaiting but the vivifying touch of water to burst into productiveness. He heard one of the salesmen expressing this.
“‘Water is King,'” h cheap nike air max trainers e was saying, quoting thus the catchword of this particular concern. He was talking in a half-joking way, asking one or the other how many inches of rainfall could be expected p cheap nike air max 90 er annum back where they came from.
“Don’t know, do you?” he answered himself. “Nobody pays any great and particular amount of attention to that–you get water enough, except in exceptional years. Out here it’s different. Every one knows to the hundredth of an inch just how much rain has fallen, and how much ought to have fallen. It’s vital. Water is King.”
He gathered close the attention of his auditors.
“We have the water in California,” he went on; “but it isn’t always in the right place nor does it come at the right time. You can’t grow crops in the high mountains where most of the precipitation occurs. But you can bring that water down to the plains. That’s your answer: irrigation.”
He looked from one to the other. Several nodded.
“But a man can’t irrigate by himself. He can’t build reservoirs, dit nike air max 95 ches all alone. That’s where a concern like the Lucky Company makes good. We’ve brought the water to where you can use it. Under the influence of cultivation that apparently worthless land can produce–” he went

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