When that letter was opened, and the astounding figures on the bill were read and comprehended, what a time there was at that house, and how the neighbors came again to see the wonderful paper, and how it was figured how many farms it would buy, what houses it would build and furnish, and how the boy who had been expelled from school for fighting had done it all! What a smashing of old theories it made, and how every wild boy in the neighborhood to whom the evil example of the bad Sedgwick boy had been held up as an illustration of total depravity and as proof that nothing of good ever came to a youth that would fight and get expelled from school, rejoiced! To these, what a day of exultation that bill of exchange brought!
But it was only a day, before there began to circulate rumors that the whole thing was but a joke; that the bill would be repudiated when presented for payment, or at most that it was only for $1,000.
Sedgwick, pere, with his sons, lost no time in testing the matter. Sedgwick had written in the letter that though the bill was drawn on New York, any bank in Cincinnati would cash it. So they repaired to the city, and calling on their lawyer, asked him to go with them and identify them at some bank, as they desired to get a little check cashed. He complied.
The cashier looked at the bill and asked in what kind of money the payment was wanted.
The old man thought he would give his neighbors an object lesson, and replied that he would take it in gold.
The cashier smiled and asked him how he would take it away.
The old man said, “I do not understand you.”
“It will, in gold, weigh about 400 pounds,” said the cashier.
At this the lawyer became interested in a moment and said: “Four hundred pounds of gold! What kind of a check have you?”
“It is a bill of exchange on New York for $100,000,” said the cashier.
“One hundred thousand dollars!” said the lawyer; “Great heavens! have you found an oil well on your farm, robbed a bank, or what?”
“No,” said the elder Sedgwick, “but my wild boy has come from Nevada, and I guess this is a part of the great bonanza.”
Finally $25,000 was drawn in paper, enough to clear up all the home indebtedness, and the rest left on deposit until the son and brother should return; for, as they talked it all over, they concluded that he had left with them all his fortune, except traveling expenses.