speculating in cranberries
...Thoreau's Journal: 20-Nov-1853
I once came near speculating in cranberries. Being put to it to raise the wind to pay for “A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers,” and having occasion to go to New York to peddle some pencils which I had made, as I passed through Boston I went to Quincy Market and inquired the price of cranberries. The dealers took me down cellar, asked if I wanted wet or dry, and showed me them. I gave them to understand that I might want an indefinite quantity. It made a slight sensation among them and for aught I know raised the price of the berry for a time. I then visited various New York packets and was told what would be the freight, on deck and in the hold, and one skipper was very anxious for my freight. When I got to New York, I again visited the markets as a purchaser, and "the best of the Eastern Cranberries" were offered me by the barrel at a cheaper rate than I could buy them in Boston. I was obliged to manufacture a thousand dollars’ worth of pencils and slowly dispose of and finally sacrifice them, in order to pay an assumed debt of a hundred dollars.