Frank Norris, The Octopus,
For a moment Dyke was confused. Then swiftly the matter became clear in his mind. The Railroad had raised the rate on hops from two cents to five.
All his calculations as to a profit on his little investment he had based on a freight rate of two cents a pound. He was under contract to deliver his crop. He could not draw back. The new rate ate up every cent of his gains. He stood there ruined.
"Why, what do you mean?" he burst out. "You promised me a rate of two cents and I went ahead with my business with that understanding. . . ."
"The rate is five cents," declared the clerk doggedly.
"Well that ruins me," shouted Dyke. "Do you understand? I won't make fifty cents. Make? Why, I will owe, -I'll be-be-That ruins me, do you understand?"
The other raised a shoulder.
"We don't force you to ship. You can do as you like. The rate is five cents."
"Well-but-. . . . You told me-you promised me a two-cent rate." . . . Dyke stared in blank astonishment
". . . Look here. What's your basis of applying freight rates, anyhow?" he suddenly vociferated with furious sarcasm S. Behrman emphasized each word of his reply with a tap of one forefinger on the counter before him: "All-the traffic-will-bear."