It will be seen that there is a difference of 1/8 in the two prices, and this represents what is called the jobber's profit, or turn, as it is more generally called, and this would amount to a goodly sum on a big transaction. But considering that this profit is not assured to him, and that he has to run a risk of getting it, it is not more than the jobber is entitled to. For, as speculators well know, the prices of shares, unlike those of commodities, do not stand still for long, and this is the case in mining shares more than in other shares. They are continually fluctuating. For instance, an hour or two after the above transaction has taken place there may be a rise in the price of Modderfonteins, either on good news or bull buying, and hence, instead of making a profit, the jobber may incur a considerable loss, for he would have to give a higher price for the shares if he had to buy them than that at which he had sold them. Or, if he had bought the shares of the broker at the lower price, he would want to sell them again, and if, for some reason or other, the price moved down, he might get less than he gave for them. So that, it will he seen, his profit is not always assured to him.

Sometimes we find that there is a wider margin in the prices than 1/8, which means that in such cases the market is a narrower one, and therefore in order to protect himself the jobber takes less risks. For instance, there is a much freer market in Modderfonteins than in Aladdin's Lamp, and thus for the latter he may quote 5/16 - 9/16, with a difference of 1/4. In many shares, especially in other markets, the quotations may be much wider even than this, and generally in such cases the transaction is a matter of negotiation. Thus, readers will at once see what is meant by a narrow and a wide margin, and what significance it generally carries. In their newspaper articles, however, they will generally see only one price given, and this is always the middle price, which in the case of Modderfonteins would be 11 3/4, and in the case of Aladdin's Lamp 7/16 showing to the reader that if he wants to buy he would have to give a little more, and if he wanted to sell he would receive a little less, than the middle price given.

Therefore, having transacted this bargain and bought these 300 Modderfontein shares, the broker desires to know whether we wish to pay for them in cash - that is, at once - or at the next settlement; and as very few bargains are done for cash, we tell him we will pay for the shares at the next settlement, which I will deal with more fully in the next chapter. He therefore remits us an 'advice' note of the bargain done, and also a 'contract' note, in which he sets out the amount of the security he has bought or sold, with the price at which the bargain has been transacted, the commission he charges, the stamp duties we have to pay, and the transfer fee charged by the company.

The stamp duties charged by the Government are of two kinds. For any contract over £5 in value a penny stamp is paid if the bargain is below £100, and a shilling stamp if it is in excess of that value. In addition it charges duties on the conveyance or transfer of stock and shares, the charge being 6d. for each £5 or part of £5 up to £25, and 2s. 6d. over £25 up to £300, and 5s. for each £50 over £300. In those cases, however, where shares have been transferred to another person in the way of a gift or for any nominal consideration, the stamp fee is 10s. for each deed. As for the transfer fee of the company, that is generally at the uniform rate of 2s. 6d. The client will duly receive the transfer form after the settlement, and from that moment his name will appear in the books of the company as the holder of the shares.

Thus, it will be seen that every bargain is concluded with wonderfully little trouble, especially to the buyer or seller. The broker, for his commission, sees the whole thing through from beginning to end, and his client has little or nothing to worry himself about. It seems a very complicated business to the outsider, but everything is done in so methodical a way that a hitch of any kind would be almost like a miracle. Thus, a person wishing to speculate in mining or any other shares need not be deterred from doing so because he fears the trouble and worries of the business will be too much for him. He will have no trouble, and his only worry will be whether he has bought the right share at the right time and the right price, and though his broker may give him advice in the matter it will not be infallible. He should not trust to brokers entirely, for he may know more than they, and though they may advise clients to the best of their ability, it may be far from the best advice he could get elsewhere. A broker is merely the medium between the public and the dealer, and there his duty ends. He is not supposed to advise, and he often does so with reluctance, for he may lose a great deal if the advice be misleading. But the outside broker is always advising, for this is his method of attracting clients and extending his business.