In "In the Midst of Alarms" (1894) by Robert Barr, Yates, who was a reporter for Argus newspaper in US and was camping in Canada, was negotiating with a telegraph boy who demanded one hundred dollars to deliver his article to Argus office in Buffalo.

Yates said: “Quite so. I think you will be able to take care of yourself in a cold and callous world. Now, look here, young man; I’ll trust you if you’ll trust me. I’m not a traveling mint, you know. Besides, I pay by results. If you don’t get this dispatch through, you don’t get anything. I’ll give you an order for a hundred dollars, and as soon as I get to Buffalo I’ll pay you the cash. I’ll have to draw on the Argus when I get to Buffalo; if my article has appeared, you get your cash; if it hasn’t, you’re out. See?”

I think, from the context, that "draw on" here means "visit" or "go to", but I didn't find such a meaning in the dictionary.

Or does it mean "take money from Argus"?

  • 2
    It means get money from Argus (presumably from the Argus office in Buffalo). Definition 4.1 of Lexico draw: "Obtain or withdraw (money) from a bank or other source."
    – Peter Shor
    Feb 14, 2021 at 21:24

1 Answer 1


In Chapter XVI Yates had received a telegraph from his employer that ended with the following words:

Draw on us for cash you need; and don't spare expense.

Even though he was on vacation, the newspaper wanted him to report on the Fenian raids.

The telegraph boy in Chapter XVIII still remembers the phrase "Spare no expense" and he is the only one who can take Yate's telegraph message across the border. So Yates promises him a hundred dollars, which he will need to get from his employer, Argus. "Draw on" here (and in Chapter XVI) means "use as a source of money". (To "draw money from a bank" means "to take from a deposit at a bank".)

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