A Tempered Wind (Henry)

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A Tempered Wind
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: Two con artists, Buck and Pick, run a fraudulent investment company, but when they realize the harm they are causing to innocent people, they decide to return the money and disappear.

In Kansas City, the narrator sees a man named Buckingham Skinner stick his head out of a window and yell "Whoa!" as if trying to stop runaway mules. The narrator approaches him and learns that Skinner's "graft" is pretending to be a farmer in need of a loan.

Buckingham Skinner — one of the con artists; straw-colored hair, matinee actor's hands, rye straw in his ear, wears blue jeans and cowhide boots.

He goes to loan companies, pretends his team of mules ran away, and asks for a loan to fix his equipment. He then leaves, claiming he needs to go after his mules, but really waits for the loan company to offer him money.

"No man," says I, kindly, "need to be ashamed of putting the skibunk on a loan corporation for even so small a sum as ten dollars, when he is financially abashed."

The narrator and Skinner become partners in a new scheme. They hire a young lady named Miss Malloy and start a company called the Golconda Gold Bond and Investment Company.

Miss Sarah Malloy — business partner of Buck and Pick; about twenty-two, brown hair, pleasant ways.

They sell stock to the public, guaranteeing a 10% monthly profit. After three months, the scheme is exposed in the newspapers, and the stockholders demand their money back. The narrator and Skinner pay them back and disappear. They decide to go back to their old ways of selling fake products.