Mr. Johnson made no answer. His eyes were upon the floor and his thoughts away back to the time when he had suffered the great disappointment of seeing his daughter marry the slow, plodding Watson, instead of becoming the wife of the enterprising Mortimer.
“I will try, my son,” said he, at length, in a subdued voice, “to get through without drawing upon you too largely. Ah, me! How blind I have been.”
“You may depend on me for at least twenty thousand dollars,” replied Watson, cheerfully; “and for even more, if it is needed.”
It was soon known that Mortimer had committed extensive forgeries upon various persons, and that he had left the city. Officers were immediately despatched for his arrest, and in a few days he was brought back as a criminal. In his ruin, many others were involved. Among these was his father-in-law, who was stripped of every dollar in his old age.
“Slow and sure—slow and sure. Yes, Watson was right.” Thus mused Mr. Johnson, a few months afterwards, on hearing that Mortimer was arraigned before the criminal court, to stand his trial for forgery. “It is the safest and the best way, and certainly leads to prosperity. Ah, me! How are we drawn aside into false ways through our eagerness to obtain wealth by a nearer road than that of patient industry in legitimate trade. Where one is successful, a dozen are ruined by this error. Slow and sure! Yes, that is the true doctrine. Watson was right, as the result has proved. Happy for me that his was a better experiment than that of the envied Mortimer!”
“WHERE now?” said Frederick Williams to his friend Charles Lawson, on entering his own office and finding the latter, carpet-bag in hand, awaiting his arrival.
“Off for a day or two on a little business affair,” replied Lawson.
“Business! What have you to do with business?”
“Not ordinary, vulgar business,” returned Lawson with a slight toss of the head and an expression of contempt.
“Oh! It’s of a peculiar nature?”
“It is—very peculiar; and, moreover, I want the good offices of a friend, to enable me the more certainly to accomplish my purposes.”
“Come! sit down and explain yourself,” said Williams.
“Haven’t a moment to spare. The boat goes in half an hour.”
“The New Haven boat. So come, go along with me to the slip, and we’ll talk the matter over by the way.”
“I’m all attention,” said Williams, as the two young men stepped forth upon the pavement.
“Well, you must know,” began Lawson, “that I have a first rate love affair on my hands.”
“Now don’t smile; but hear me.”
“Go on—I’m all attention.”
“You know old Everett?”
“Thomas Everett, the silk importer?”