But bears, as a rule, do not sell without assigning some reason for it, and in the market report we learn that those reasons take the shape of all kinds of rumours. Therefore, to be a successful bear we must have a good imagination, and be endowed with the inventive faculty, whilst it would certainly not do to have a too scrupulous regard for truth. Thus, in a way, 'bearing' has become an art, for though most of us can invent rumours and cultivate the gift of lying, we must learn from experience what kind of rumours to invent to suit special occasions, or what kind of lies to tell that will look so much like truth as to deceive the ordinary man. Thus, the bear wishes to depress the price of Belle Vues. What rumour, therefore, shall he put into circulation, or what lie shall he tell to enable him to achieve his object? Why, what better statement could assist him than this: that the mine is becoming impoverished, that the lode is pinching out, and that therefore there will be a considerable falling off in the monthly returns? Something of the kind has happened in the case of other West Australian mines. It is known that the gold-field is somewhat patchy, and therefore such a statement is likely to gain more credence than any other. Thus the rumour is started, and once it is started it quickly spreads on the Stock Exchange. No one knows who the originator is, and no one thinks of finding out. It is sufficient to know that Belle Vues are the things to sell, and accordingly they are sold. It is, of course, duly recorded in the market articles the following morning, and perhaps leading articles are devoted to it, and so the scare spreads. Everybody, except an astute speculator here and there, plays into the hands of the bears. Explanations are demanded of the officials of the company, and the next day the officials of the company publish a statement to the effect that it has not come to their knowledge that the lode is pinching out, etc., and that, in their opinions, the monthly returns will be maintained. This helps to set fears at rest, but still many continue to believe that 'there is something in it,' and this belief eventually compels them to sell. It will thus be seen that it is, after all, a very stale device, but it is a device that continues to succeed, simply because speculation is so much a game of chance, and the novices in the game are so easily 'cheated.' Moreover, the dishonesty of company officials greatly helps the bears to play their game successfully. We know that it is the practice of directors to conceal important information from the shareholders until they themselves have profited from it, and therefore we cannot seek refuge in the belief that if the lode is pinching out the directors would have said so, in accordance with the duty they owe the shareholders.

As a rule, however, it is unwise to act on rumours that are spread in this way. It is better to try and view the situation calmly, and to try and reason it out, than to act impulsively, on a momentary fear. It some cases the rumour may be true, but, as in the vast majority of cases it is not, it would be wiser to act in accordance with the greater experience in this as well as in other affairs of life. If we sold on the occasion of every such rumour we should always lose, whereas if we invariably refrained from doing so we should find that we should gain greatly in the majority of cases, which would vastly overbalance any loss we suffered now and then. Moreover, as a rule, when there is any truth in the rumour, it is not likely to spread about in this fashion. If there is any truth in it, the first people to know are likely to be the directors, and in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred they will keep it secret in order to excite no suspicion. They will at the same time, in order to have an excuse for keeping the matter a secret, keep telegraphing to their manager for explanations, etc., and then, when they have made themselves safe, they will startle the shareholders and bears and bulls alike by suddenly publishing the news. If anyone had private information of the kind, they would be sure first of all to trade upon it, for it would be a valuable secret to them. They would be fools to let the whole world know - for bears never act on philanthropic principles - and thus give it an opportunity to share in this valuable secret. We should not do it ourselves, and, as speculation depends upon taking advantage of Other people, it would seem somewhat contradictory to give them an advantage in order to take it from them.

So that we see we must apply common-sense to all these matters; but if everybody applied common-sense to them there would be an end of speculation. Bears would invent and lie in vain if people tested their inventions and lies by common-sense. In fact, bears are so sure that this common-sense will not be applied that they may start a rumour in the midst of profound peace that France had sent an ultimatum to England, and thousands would believe, it. Who these bears are no one knows, but we imagine them to be some people who are in the councils of the statesmen and Cabinets of Europe. If we would just stop a moment to reflect and reason that responsible Ministers do not impart secrets to mysterious and irresponsible personages, we would see the absurdity of it. But we are so scared that we do not stop to reflect, but rush to sell our Consols and other securities, only to learn a few hours afterwards that 'there is no truth in the rumour.'