If they had learned some very simple principles, they would have been able to determine at a glance at his curly blond hair; by his secretively veiled eyes; by his large, somewhat fleshy nose, not particularly high in the bridge; by the weakness and looseness of his mouth, and the small and retreating contour of his chin, and by other important indications, that he was selfish by nature, grasping, extravagant, too hopeful, too optimistic, too fond of money, too self-indulgent; that he lacked conscientiousness; that he lacked caution; that he lacked foresight; that he lacked any very keen sense of distinction between what was his and what belonged to others; that he lacked firmness, decision, self-control, will-power. Notwithstanding his lack of all these things, he had made a success for himself, up to the time of his defalcation, by means of a keen, penetrating intellect, excellent powers of expression, the ability to make himself agreeable, ease in mingling with strangers, a natural talent for piety and pious profession, and considerable financial and commercial shrewdness.
A man of this type is nearly always a gambler if he has an opportunity; but he ought to be placed in a position where there will be no temptation to him to rob others to satisfy his gambling proclivities. He is one of the last men in the world who ought to be placed in a position of responsibility, trust, and confidence. For the protection of others and for protection against himself, he ought to be under the most careful supervision. His intellectual powers, his suavity, his ability to meet and handle strangers, his commercial and financial shrewdness, ought all to be given full scope by his employers, but any opportunity to handle money or help himself to the funds of others should be carefully shut away from him.
Some years ago we had an opportunity to look into the affairs of a mail-order house which had just failed for a large sum, so that its creditors, in the final adjustment, received about eleven cents on a dollar for their claims. The business had been established by a capitalist of considerable wealth, who had made his money in an entirely different line. For some years it was operated in a conservative way by a man who had had years of experience in the mail-order business. The man was well along in years and rather old-fashioned in his ideas. While his management was safe and sane, it had not produced a very large return upon the capital investment. For this reason, the owner determined to engage, as advertising manager, a young man who had several years’ successful experience in advertising, but no first-hand knowledge of the mail-order business. The young man did brilliant work. The business of the house began to grow, dividends began to come in, and the owner was delighted. But the new advertising manager and the old general manager did not get along well together. The young man was progressive, optimistic, had ideas of expansion and growth, while the old man was conservative, careful, and somewhat out of date in his ideas as to business.