Bulls and Bears



ON the morning of the day which brought the downfall of Stearine and his indorsers, Sandford and Faycrweather, with the Vortex, whose funds they had misappropriated, Monroe came to the counting-room unusually cheerful. His anxiety respecting his little property was relieved, for he thought the monetary crisis was past, and that thenceforth affairs would improve. He had reasoned with himself that such a pressure could not last always, and that this had certainly reached its limit. The clear, bracing air of the morning had its full influence over his sensitive nature. All Nature seemed to rejoice, and he, for the time, forgot the universal distress, and sympathized with it. But the thermometer fell rapidly as lie caught the expression which the face of his employer wore. Mr. Lindsay, of the house of Lindsay & Co., was usually a reserved, silent man, -in business almost a machine, honest both from instinct and habit, and proud, in his quiet way, of his position and his stainless name. lie had a wife and daughter, and therefore was presumed to have affections; hut those whom he met in the market never thought of him, save as the systematic* merchant. 5Yell as Monroe knew him, being his confidential clerk, he never had seen more than the case in which the buying, selling, and note-paying machinery was inclosed. lie respected the evident integrity and worth of the head of the house, but never dreamed of a different feeling; he could as easily have persuaded himself into cherishing an affection for the counting-house clock.

This morning, Mr. Lindsay's face wore an unusually sleepless, anxious look. The man of routine was hut a man, after all, and, in his distress, he longed for some intelligent, friendly sympathy. Monroe

recognized the mute appeal, but, from long habits of reticence, he was at a loss how to approach his stately chief. Determined, however, to give him an opportunity to speak, if he chose, Monroe asked after the news, the day’s failures, and the prospects of business. The merchant needed only a word, and broke out at once,-

“ Prospect ? there is no prospect but ruin. If a whirlwind would bury the city, or a conflagration leave it a heap of ashes, it would be better for all of us.”

“ But don’t you think the darkest time has past ?

“ Not at all ; the pressure will continue until scores more are brought down. Better fail at once than live in dread of it.”

"You surprise me ! Why, you are not in danger ? ”

“ Did you ever consider ? Look at the bales of goods in our lofts,-goods which nobody will buy and nobody can pay for. And our acceptances have been given to the manufacturers for them,- acceptances that are maturing daily. Up to this time I have taken up all our paper, as it became due; but Clod knows how the next payments are to be made.”

“ 1 had not thought of that.”

“ The house of Lindsay & Co. has never known dishonor ”-

The merchant wiped his spectacles,- hut it was tlie eyes that were dim, not the glasses. Ilis lips quivered and his breath came hard, as he continued,-

“ But the time has come ; the house must go down.”

“ I hope not,” said Monroe, fervently. “ Can nothing be done V ”

“ Nothing. Every resource has been used. The hanks won’t discount; and 1 suppose they can’t; they are fully weak as their customers.”

“I don’t know but the offer may be useless, contemptible, even; but I have a small sum, in good notes, that may be available.”

The merchant shook his head.

“ Whatever it is, you are welcome to it. Perhaps ten thousand dollars”-

“Ten thousand dollars!” exclaimed Mr. Lindsay,-“ you have that sum ? ”

“ Yes,- the little property that was my father’s. Let me go and get the notes, and see if I can’t get some money upon them.”

Mr. Lindsay rose and took the clerk’s hand with a heartiness that astonished him.

“ God bless you, Monroe,” he said. “ I may be saved, after all. Ten thousand dollars will be enough ibr the present pinch, and before the next acceptance is due some relief may come.”

“ Don’t speak of thanks. I’ll get the notes in a moment.”

Tears stole silently down the unaccustomed furrows ; the gateway of feeling was open, but the tremulous lips refused to speak. Before he could recover his self-possession, Monroe was gone. Mr. Lindsay tried to read the newspapers, but the print before his eyes conveyed no idea to his preoccupied brain. Then his thoughts turned to his beautiful villa in Brookline, and he remembered how that morning his daughter stepped lightly into the brougham with him at the back piazza, rode down the winding path between the evergreen-hedges, and, after giving him a kiss, sprang out when they reached the gate. He knew, that, when he returned in the evening, he should find her in her place under the great horse-chestnut, at the foot of the hill, ready to ride to the house. How could he meet her with the news he would have to carry ?-how crush the spirits of his invalid wife ? Humiliating as the idea of failure was when considered in his relations with the mercantile world, the thought of home, with its changed feelings and circumstances, and the probable deprivation of habitual indulgences, was far more poignant.

It was not long before Monroe returned, but with a less buoyant air. Mr. Lindsay’s spirits fell instantly. “ I see it all,” said he, “ you can’t do anything.”

“ Perhaps I may, yet. The notes I spoke of, though due to me, are in the hands of Mr. Sandford, Secretary of the Vortex Insurance Company. I have been there, and cannot see him. His shutting himself up, I am afraid, bodes me no good. However, I'll go again an hour hence.”

“ No harm in trying. Did you indorso the notes to him ? ”

"No. They were merely left with him for convenience’ sake, as he was my agent in loaning the money.”

“ Then he can’t make way with them, -honestly.”

Monroe seemed hurt by the implied suspicion, but did not reply, thinking it best, if possible, to change the subject of conversation.

Mr. Lindsay sat in silence, a silence that was broken only once or twice during the morning, and then by some friend or business acquaintance asking, in hurried or anxious tones. “Anything over to-day ?” A mournful shake of the head was the only answer, and the merchant sunk into a deeper gloom.

Again Monroe went to see Mr. Sandford, but with no better success. The third time he naturally spoke in a peremptory tone, and, giving his name and business, said, that he must and would see Mr. Sandford, or get the notes. The weight of his employer’s trouble rested on him, and gave an unwonted force to his usually kind and modest temper. The elerk, not daring to break his instructions, and seeing that it was not far from two o’clock, intimated, in a half-confidential tone, that he would do well to ask Mr. Tonsor, the broker, about them. Nervous with apprehension, Monroe walked swiftly to Tonsor’s office. At the door he met Fletcher coming out with exultation in every feature. Within stood Bullion, his legs more astride than usual, his chin more confidently settled over his collar, and the head of his cane pressed against his mouth. As Monroe entered, Tonsor ceased the conversation, and, looking up, said, blandly, “ My young friend, can I do anything for you?” Bullion at the same time turned the eyes that might have been only glittering petrifactions, and pointed the long eyebrow at him inquiringly.

“ I hope so,” was the reply. “ Have you some notes in your possession payable to Walter Monroe ? ”

“ Who asks the question?”-very civilly.

“ My name is Monroe.”

“ Ah ! Mr. Sandford is your agent, I presume ? ”

“ Yes. I left the notes with him.”

“ And you wanted to raise some money on them ? ”

“ Yes, that is what I wish.”

“ Then you’ll be pleased to know that Mr. Sandford has anticipated you. I loaned him eight thousand dollars upon them this morning.”

"Loaned him eight thousand dollars ? ”

“ Certainly. Is it extraordinary that your agent has done what you desired?”

“ I never asked him to borrow for me; and I never authorized him to transfer the notes.”

“He hasn’t transferred them; he has only pledged them.”

“ He couldn’t pledge them ; he had no legal right in them.”

“ But he has pledged them, and they are in my safe, subject to the repayment of the sum I loaned.”

“ If you have loaned Mr. Sandford money, that is your affair.”

“ And yours, too, my friend, you will find, if he doesn’t pay it.”

“ You haven’t a right to detain the notes a moment.”

“ I have the possession, which will answer as well as the right. And let me advise you,- don’t get excited and conclude that everything is wrong. You are not so well posted as you might be. Go and see Mr. Sandford, and I haven’t a doubt you’ll find the money ready for you.”

“ I shall go. But I wish you to understand, that, if I am not ‘posted,’ as you say, I do know my rights, and I shall take proper measures to get possession of my property. You have no more hold upon it than a pawnbroker has upon a stolen spoon.”

Trembling with the unusual excitement, and despairing of being able to aid his employer, Monroe did not wait for a reply, but rushed to the Vortex again. Mr. Sandford had gone out on business, was the answer. He bad not gone far, if the truth were known ; for his position commanded the office-door, and he saw every visitor.

Time did not lag that eventful day; the hands seemed to sweep round the dial on the Old State House as though they had been swords in pursuit of some dilatory debtor. It now lacked only fifteen minutes of two, and Monroe, sick at heart, turned his steps towards Milk Street, to announce the utter failure of his plan. Mr. Lindsay received the intelligence with more firmness than might have been expected.

“ Monroe, my friend,-for I can truly call you so,-you have done what you could. It was not your fault that your agent deceived and swindled you. You generously offered me your all. I shall never forget it. I can’t say more now. Please stay and inform the notary, when he comes, that he must take the usual course. Tell John, when he comes with the brougham, that he may drive back. I shall take the ears to-day, and shall not be at home, probably, until after tea, I pray God, Monroe, that you may never go home, as I do now.-O Clara, my daisy, my darling ! how can I tell you ? ”

Still murmuring to himself, Mr. Lindsay slowly walked out of the countingroom.

It was not strange, that, under the pressure of his own calamity, Mr. Lindsay had no thought for the losses of others, He forgot that Monroe was really in a far worse position, since, if the ten thousand dollars were lost, it was his all. Neither did Monroe, at first, reflect upon his own impending misfortune ; he had been so intent upon preserving the credit of the house, that his own interest had been lost sight of.

Presently the notary came with the inevitable demand. he was a cheerful fellow in his sorry business, blithe as an old stager of an undertaker at a firstclass funeral. He chatted about the crisis, and, as a matter of course, brought all the latest news from State Street. Monroe listened to one piece of news, but had ears for no more. “ Sandford and Fayerweather had failed, and the old Vortex, which they had managed, was dead broke, cleaned out.”

Mr. Lindsay was not the only heartstricken man who left the counting-room that day.


MONROE was walking sorrowfully homeward, when he met Easelmann near the corner of Summer Street. He was in no humor for conversation, but he could not civilly avoid the painter, who evidently was waiting to speak to him.

“ Glad to see one man that isn’t a capitalist. You and I, Monroe, are independent of banks and brokers."

Monroe faintly smiled.

“ This is a deadly time here in Boston,-a horrible stagnation. Every man avoids his neighbor as though he had the plague ; and we have no Boccaccio to tell us stories while the dead-carts go by.”

“ The dead-cart went through our street to-day.”

“ You don’t tell me ! Who is the lucky corpse that is out of his misery ? ”

“ Mr. Lindsay. Our house is shut up, and I am a vagrant.”

“ A pair of us ! For the last month I have performed the Wandering Jew all by myself. Now I have company. What shall we do to be jolly ? ”

“Jolly!”-with a tone of melancholy surprise.

“ When should a man be jolly, if he can’t when he’s nothing to do ? I am the slave of gold, you understand. If any rich magician rubs his double-eagles

before me, woe is me, if I don’t paint! When the magicians send their eagles on other errands, I am free from their drudgery. Mean while, I live on air, flattened out and packed away, like a Mexican horned-frog, or a dreaming toad, in a fissure of a preadamite rock.”

“ I am sorry I haven’t your art of making misfortune comfortable.”

“Misfortune? My philosophical friend, there isn’t any such thing. The true man is superior to circumstances or accidents. (Some old fellow, I believe, has said that; somebody always says my good things before me; but no matter.) Nothing can happen amiss to the wise and good.”

“ Then I am neither wise nor good, for I have lost my all, and it comes confoundedly amiss to me.”

“ Your all? That’s what the shoemaker said; but he bought a new one for sixpence. But how happened it ? ”

“ By my folly.”

“ I knew that, of course ; but I wanted to know what folly in particular.”

“ I trusted it to a man whom I thought not only honest, but my friend, and he has proved a scoundrel.”

“ You shouldn’t have led him into temptation. You are particeps criminis, and the partaker is as bad as the thief. Don't trust without taking security, my friend; it’s offering a premium to crime. Consider your guilt now ! Think of the family into whose innocent bosom you have brought sin and remorse ! Who is the luckless person ? ”

“ Sandford ! ”

“ I knew it. I expected it. He was too good by half. I didn’t blame him for his widow-and-orphan business; somebody must do it ; but I made up my mind some time ago that he would come to grief.”

“ Prophets are always plenty after the event.”

“ True, my friend. But just think ! He passed by my pictures in the Exhibition, and 'bought the canvas of my friend Greenleaf,-a man of genius, doubtless, but young, you understand, young. Can YOu conceive of the wickedness ? I felt sure from that moment, that, if he were not totally depraved, he at least had a moral inability, as the preachers call it, that would be his ruin.”

“ Well, he is ruined effectually ; but the worst of it is, that he has dragged innocent people down with him."

“ ‘ Innocent,’-yes, you have the word.

A man that cares for money at all, and trusts all he has without security to any fair-spoken financier, is an innocent, truly.”

“ Well, there is no use in lamenting, and just as little in the consolation of thinking how the loss might have been avoided.”

“I don't know. I don’t admit that. I am not to be deprived of the rights of a freeborn American. The ‘ I told-you-so’ is a fine balm for all sorts of wounds,- rather more soothing to physician than patient, perhaps. Combined with the ‘ You-might-have-known-it,’ it gets up a wholesome blister in the least possible time, especially where ‘ a raw’ has been established previously."

I don’t think I was prudent.”

“ Of course not ; if you had been, you wouldn’t have lost. There are no such things as mistakes in the world.- But to look at affairs. Imprimis,-Lindsay smashed, house closed, salary stopped.”

“ I suppose so.”

Item, - private funds gone; owner taken in by the patent-safe game.

"Item, - dwelling-house standing; so much gain,-but

Item,-the dweller is not alone, having other mouths to feed.

“ But don't be discouraged. I don’t doubt you will find something to do in good time.”

“ But when is the good time coming ? I must earn something at once.”

“The danger of being made to work isn’t pressing. Ships will have time to get well rested. Truckmen are actually growing civil with a little starvation. The beggars don’t hold out their hands for coppers ; they make more money by hauling out their old Stockings and lending at five per cent. a month.”

“ You will laugh me out of my misery in spite of myself.”

“ I hope so ; but I am not sure that a man can be laughed out of a thing he wasn’t laughed into. Now, Monroe, I am going to surprise you. I am going to bore you, annoy you; for I am to see you every day for the next week. Can you bear it ? I shall be worse than the balm of 'I-told-you-so.’ ”

Monroe pressed his friend's hand. “Come, by all means. And now we are near my house ; go in and take tea with us.”

“ No, not to-day. It is dies nefaslus. Good-bye ! ”

Twirling his grizzly moustaches and humming to himself, Ease!mann turned back. He did not go to his room, however, but went down a quiet street, apparently guided by instinct, and rang the bell at a well-known door.

“ Is Mr. Holworthy at home ?”

The servant-girl nodded and smiled, and Easelmann entered. Mr. Holworthy was emphatically at home, for he was on all-fours, his three children riding cockhorse, with merry shouts, varied by harmless tumbles and laborious clam berings up. Mr. Holwortliy rose with a flushed and happy face, and the children rushed at once to clasp the knees of their familiar old friend.

“ We all have to come down at times, I believe,” said Mr. Holworthy, smoothing the few thin hairs on his handsomely arched crown.

“ Certainly; a man that can’t be a boy with his children deserves to have none. Now the reason I am a bachelor is that I feared I could never unbend, being somewhat remarkable for my perpendie ”-

The word was cut off by a sudden movement; the children in their playful struggles had, in fact, thrown him down. In a moment more they were on his back and he trotting round the room with the grace of an elephant.

“ Come, children,” said the father, “ that was a rough joke. Get off, now, and go for your bread and milk.”

Reather reluctantly they obeyed, casting wishful glances backward to the grown-up boy with whom they had hoped to have a frolic.

“ Glad to see you,” satd Mr. Holworthy. "You have been unsocial, lately.”

"Yes ; all the effect of the panic. I am such a butterfly that I seem out of place in a work-a-day community. I am constantly advised, like the volatile person in the fable, to learn wisdom from my aunt ; but I can't, for the soul of me.”

“ You ought to visit the more, to cheer the wretched and downcast.”

“ Oh, but it’s a fearful waste of magnetism. Five minutes’ talk with a man who has notes to pay draws all the virtue out of me. It lowers my vital tone like standing in an ice-house. You feel such a man from afar like a coming iceberg. You don't have notes to pay ? thought not. I should go at once.”

“ No, my little shop pays its way. I buy for cash. I pay my hands when they bring in their work, and I have customers enough who ask me for no credit.”

“ Happy man! most fortunate of tailors !-I have been thinking, Holworthy, among your many benevolent projects, why you never devised some means of relieving people who are supposed to be in good circumstances, - a society for ameliorating the condition of the rich.”

“Bless me ! the poor are quite numerous enough, and are in unusual straits just now.”

“ I know, and for that reason they are better off than usual. People say, 'How the poor must suffer in these pinching times! 'So they double their charities.”

"Poverty is an ocean without bottom, my friend. All that is given is like emptying stones into the sea; the waves swallow them and sweep over as before.”

“ True, you can’t satisfy the beggars till you drown ’em. Wouldn’t a gentle asphyxia by water, now, be the best thing for some of the Broad-Street cellarers ? ”

“ Very likely; but they would probably object to the remedy.”

“ But to return to my project. I see some forms of distress that seem to me far more painful than utter poverty. I won’t expatiate, but state a case. I know a man of good sense and culture, able and willing to do his part in the world. His employer has failed, so that his salary will stop. He is unmarried, but has a mother, an invalid, who never stirs out of doors; and besides has some poor relation or other to support. He has a house, it is true; so they needn’t sleep in the street; but how are the mouths to be fed, the backs to be clothed ? ”

“ Let him sell his house and wait till better times for employment.”

"It is easy to say sell; but who will buy ? A house won’t fetch half its value, and there isn’t any money to be had. Besides,-and this is the hardship,- the pride and the feelings of association cling round a house that has been consecrated by years of affection and by the memory of the dead.-I believe I am making an oration ; but I despair of expressing myself.”

“ I understand you perfectly ; it is sad, indeed.”

“ Excuse me, you don’t understand me. Some men put off old houses and put on new ones, like their clothes, without a thought. Others grow into their habitations and become a part of them. You might as well say to a lobster, ‘Get out of your shell,’ when you know that the poor wretch will die when his naked, quivering members are exposed to the sharp-edged stones. A delicate nature, proud, but gentle, too sensitive to accept charity, and doubtful of a friendly service even, suffers more anguish in one hour, under such circumstances, than your brazen beggar feels from his dirty cradle to his nameless grave.”

Mr. Holworthy mused.

“ He has nothing to do, then ? ”

“ Nothing, but to suck his thumbs.”

“ Is he willing to work, even if the task should appear irksome ?

“I haven’t a doubt. He has no false pride. Anything honorable would be welcome.” “Perhaps I can find something for him to do ; it will be temporary, but its continuance will depend upon himself”

“ And what is it ? ”

“In visiting the district which has been allotted to me, I have found an unusual number of ignorant, vicious boys, cared for by no one, growing up for the prison or the gallows. I have thought of making some effort to gather them together and start a ragged school. Some friends have agreed to provide the means. But the pay would necessarily be small, and the labor and difficulty great.”

“A teacher of tatterdemalions! It isn't an inviting field of labor.”

“ No, to a refined man it must be repulsive. Nothing but the idea of doing good would make it a pleasure or even endurable.”

“ I confess myself utterly without any such motive. I hate poor people, and ragged children, and sick women, the forlorn wives of drunken brutes. I shut my eyes to all such odious sights. They say, in a hotel you mustnever go into the kitchen, if you would keep your appetite ; and I am sure one must avoid these wretches in the cellar, if he would have a cheerful view of life in his attic.”

“ You are not so hard-hearted as you would have me believe. Somebody must relieve their distresses.”

“ Somebody, too, must cut off legs, and sew tip spouting arteries, and extirpate cancers. Ugh ! but I shan’t. I leave such jobs to the doctors, whose ears are familiar with shrieks, and whose appetites are not disturbed by the sight of blood.”

“ So the Levite left the wounded man by the wayside, in disgust at his bruises ; but still the good Samaritan who helped him hadn’t a doctor’s degree.”

“ Oh, I know. You have me, I acknowledge. But I can’t change my temper, and I shrink from suffering as from death. I would rather bear it than see it. Society always provides its good Samaritans; and you are one of them. Don’t look modest. I went once through some of those damnable alleys near HaifMoon Court, the agreeable place where

you spend so much of your leisure. I was looking for a subject to paint. For curiosity, I asked an urchin if he knew you. He flung his ragged cap twenty feet into the air, turned a somerset, and came up smiling as well as he could through the dirt,-‘Don’t, I, though? He brung us meal an’ ’taters when dad broke his leg, and he fetched oranges in his pocket when marm had the fevers. He’s one of ’em, he is.’-Don’t interrupt me. -An old woman, whom I asked, said, ‘Do I know Mister ’Olworthy ? A blissed saint in the flesh; my poor ol’ bones would ’ave hached many a cold night but for the blankets he brought me. God in ’eaven reward ’im for that same!’ I spare you the rest of the answers. Oh, you are a saint, without robe or wings.”

“ Hadn’t we better come back to the subject,” said Mr. Holworthy, in a mild voice. “ We shan’t aid your friend in this way.”

“ Right, my considerate Mentor. But talk is tempting. I believe I should forget my errand and let a friend hang, if I got into an argument with the Governor while he was filling out the pardon.”

“ I hope the gentleman you speak of is not so much afraid of contact with what is disagreeable as you are ? ”

“ Perhaps not; he has an artistic temperament, and therefore loves what is comely; but he would go through fire to what he thought his duty.”

“ And wouldn’t you ? ”

“ What a question ! Go through fire ? No, I should bawl for the engine.”

“ It’s plain, then, that he will answer better than you for the place.”

“No doubt. I shouldn’t answer at all.

I tell you I never talk with these creatures. I can’t. If an old woman stops me, with her dried-apple face and whining voice, I give her a sixpence and tell her to hush up and go about her business.

I fling coppers to the boys with slit breeches before they ask me, for I know they will tell me of mothers sick with consumption. Their devilish tears are contagious; and I can’t cry ; it chokes me, So I buy apples and oranges from the imploring looking girls; it’s the easiest way of getting rid of them. The little change don't amount to much in a day, and I save my nerves and my digestion at a cheap rate."

Mr. Holworthy smiled at Easclmann’s notion of his own hard-heartcdness, and said, hesitatingly,-

“ I am afraid that some professedly charitable persons don’t do so much."

“ Of course they don't. I don’t mean that I do anything. It’s pure selfishness on my part, as I told you. But you may feel pretty sure, that, if a man’s name is always in the papers, as ‘our estimable fellow-citizen, President This, Director That, and Treasurer T’other,’ he 'does not give indiscriminate alms’: -I believe that is the phrase. Perhaps he won’t rob, like my friend Sandford; but his 'disinterested labors’ are an economical substitute for substantial charity, and his desire for a place in the public eye is the mainspring of all his actions.”

“ Most of the distress in the community is relieved by organized effort ; individual charities, however well meant, would be entirely inadequate. Besides, you should not be severe upon all because one prominent person has proved unworthy.”

“ Sandford is a type of the class. If there is anybody I hate worse than a sick beggar, it is a man who makes a trade of philanthropy.”

“ And yet you are consenting to your friend’s earning a living by teaching a ragged school.”

“ True, one may stop at any place in a storm, just for shelter.”

“ And you can console yourself further with the assurance that your friend won’t make enough in this place to induce him to take up the 'trade as you call it.”

“ I hope not. Starve him judiciously. If he should come out, after a year or so, with a white neckcloth, spectacles, and a sanctified face, soliciting aid for his school, in Pecksniffian tones, I should regret that I hadn’t furnished him with a cord and a bag of stones to drop himself into the dock with.”

“ I don’t know why a teacher or a street-missionary may not be a gentleman.”

“Sure enough, why not ? Whatever Walter Monroe is, he will always be a gentleman.”

“ Suppose you bring him to see me to-morrow or next day; we will talk about this.”

“ I will. Now, good-bye ! My regrets to the children that we couldn’t finish our romp.”

“ Good-bye,” said Holworthy. “ Come again; the children will be glad to See you.”


As Mr. Sandford walked homeward, the streets seemed to close up behind him; he was shut out from the scenes of his activity, no more to return : State Street was henceforth for him a thing of memory. He had played his game there, while admirers and friends watched his far-seeing moves. He had lost; and now, after checkmate, he must resign his place. How he struggled against the idea ! He could not bring himself to acknowledge that the past was irretrievable. His spirit, seemed in prison, shut in as by the bars of a dungeon, against which he might tug and rage in vain.

At home, dinner was on the table, waiting for him. As he entered the hall, he met his sister-in-law. She saw the fatal news in his face, and with a sinking heart gave him her usual greeting. Marcia took her place at the table, but with less animation than usual. Charles sat down with his studied indifference. Each one seemed to be absorbed in separate spheres of thought, and the courses came on and were removed in painful silence. At last Mr. Sandford spoke.

“ I suppose I need not tell you that it is all over.”

“ All over!” exclaimed Marcia.

“Yes,-I have failed; so has Fayerweather; so has Stearme.”

“Failed ?” said Marcia, in an incredulous tone. “I thought it was the great people,-I mean people in business, or with estates, that failed.”

“ Well, have I not been in business?”

“Yes,-as secretary, and you have a salary. How can a man with a salary fail ? ”

“ Quite easily. Suppose the Vortex fails ? My salary would stop.”

“That isn’t failing, is it? Then Pompey might fail, if he didn’t get his pay for brushing your boots.”

Mr. Sandford gave a contemptuous look.

“ That shows how much you know about business.”

“ I never did know about your business; nor does anybody, I believe. I never could understand how, with your little property, you had these ‘ transactions,’ as you call them, where you owed people and people owed you so many thousands.”

“ It is not necessary for you to know. Women can’t understand these things.”

“ But women feel their effects, and it’s a pity they could not learn about what concerns them.”

“ Will it change your situation at once?” asked Mrs. Sandford of her brother.

“ I can’t say ; probably not at once ; but without some aid, all I have must go.”

“ What! the house?” exclaimed Marcia.

“ Yes, - the house, Marcia, and the furniture. We shall be stripped.”

“ The deuse ! ” said Charles.

“ Heaven help us! what shall we do?”

“ I haven’t had time to form any plan. I trust, indeed, that Heaven will help us, as you rather lightly wished.”

His face wore a touching look of faith and resignation, while at the same time his hand rested with secret satisfaction upon his pocket-book.

The conversation was disagreeable to Charles, and he sauntered off’ to the drawingroo m.

Mrs. Sandford inwardly determined to return to her home, or at least to go elsewhere in the city, so as not to be a bur-

den to her brother-in-law; but she remained silent. Mr. Sandford balanced his knife, sliced his bread into figures, then hummed and beat a tattoo upon the table,-sure indications of forgetfulness in one so scrupulous as he. At length, with a bland voice, but a sharp, inquiring eye, he said,-

“ How is it about this painter, Marcia? Are you going to marry him? ”

She looked fixedly, as she replied,-

“ Why do you ask ? You know I am going to marry him.”

“ Oh, it’s settled, is it ? You know, sister, you have had similar intentions before,-several times, in fact,-intentions that haven’t come to much.”

She did not answer further; a flush of anger came, then went, leaving her pale face with a rather sterner expression.

“ While I was prosperous, I was not disposed to he mercenary ; though I did think you were not worldly-wise. Now that I am destitute, you can see that to marry a man not worth a dollar, and with a precarious profession, is not what it would have been.”

“ Mr. Greenleaf earns a good income, doesn’t he ? ”

“ He hasn’t sold a picture, except to friends whom I persuaded to buy.”

“ You have friends and influence still ? ”

“ I don't know ; a man’s friends don’t last long after his money is gone. Besides, nobody wants to buy now. Raphael himself couldn’t sell a picture here till times improve. A painter is a pretty butterfly for fine weather; what is he to do with his flimsy wings in such a hurricane as this ? ”

“ I think I understand you, Brother Henry. You begin afar off; but I know what you are coming to. You want to bring up that odious Denims again,-a man whom I hate, and whom you yourself would show out of doors, like a vagrant, if it were not for his money !"

The effort exhausted her, and she breathed painfully.

“ You think yourself quick. I haven’t mentioned Denims. In fact, you have treated him in such a way that I am quite sure he would never trouble himself to be even civil to you again.”

“ I am glad of it,-the fool !”

“ Sister Marcia, I have borne much from your turbulent temper. You are a spoiled child. Fortune has let you have your own way hitherto; so much the worse for you. But circumstances have changed. I can no longer supply you as though you were a duchess. In fact, I don’t, know what may be before us. I hope no actual want. [Another grip of the pocket-book.] But I advise you to consider whether it is. for the interest of a dependent woman to go out of her way to thwart and insult me.”

“ You would compel me, then, and threaten starvation as the alternative?”

“ What odiously blunt language you use ! ”

“I only translated your roundabout phrases as I understood them.”

“ You need not be violent.”

“ You cannot cajole me by soft words, when your purposes are so obvious. You think Denims may save the wreck of your fortune; and you are willing to sacrifice me. if he were ten times the brute he is, to further your ends. But I shall marry Greerileaf.”

“ Greerileaf' will be a powerful protector ! I doubt if he can raise money enough to pay the clergyman for marrying you! He will be without a shilling in a month, if he is not now. Go to him, Sister Marcia. I would, now. You can live in his attic studio, you know. In such a romantic place you would never be hungry, of course.”

Mrs. Sandford interposed,-

“ Don't, Henry ! This is not the way.”

Marcia’s eyes Hashed through her tears, as she answered,-

“ You sav you are ruined,-that the house and furniture must go, How much better off shall I he here?”

“ Well, you have your choice.”

“ And when the time comes, I shall take it.”

Sobs and fears followed, but her lips were firm and her hands clenched.

“ As you please, sister.”

“ You come home ill-tempered, and the rage which you could not or dared not give vent to in the street you pour out here.”

“Perhaps you would have been pleased, if I had not come home at all ?”

“ I’m sure we should have been quite as happy without you.”

“ Very well. I may leave you, yet.”

“ I don’t care how soon.”

New sobs and a firmer pressure of the lips.

Oddly enough, at that moment, Mr. Sandford was summoned to the drawingroom, where a man was waiting for him. Fearful of the result, he went to his own room, first, and left the precious pocketbook, and then descended to the hall.

Notwithstanding the words she had spoken, Marcia waited with breathless anxiety her brother's return ; for the sound of voices, in earnest, if not angry, conversation, rose through the house. Presently he came back with a look his face seldom wore,- a fierce look that transformed his handsome features to a fiend’s.

“ Yon have your wish, Sister Marcia,” -and the words were shot out like fiery arrows,-“ I am to leave you, and go to jail.”

“ To jail ? ” exclaimed both at once, in terror.

“ Yes,-to jail. Gratifying to you, I suppose. ’Tis to me,-very.”

“ What is the meaning of this ? ” asked Mrs. Sandford.

“ It means, that one of my creditors pretends to believe that I am about to abscond, and has had me arrested, that I may give bail not to run away with an empty pocket.”

“ Can’t you get out ? ”

“ Some time, undoubtedly ; but not till I give bail.”

“ For how much ? ”

“ Twenty thousand dollars.”

“ Can’t you got some one to become security ? ”

“ I don’t know. Perhaps I might get Greenleaf! ” Marcia winced, but did not answer the taunt.

“ Good-bye, my dear and independent sister! ”

Marcia turned her back upon him, confounded between sorrow and resentment.

Crowding his hat over his eves, Mr. Sandford left his house and walked with the officer towards Cambridge Street.

“ Gone to jail! ” exclaimed Charles, returning, “ How doosid awkward ! What a jolly wow it will make when it gets about town ! By gwacious, if you aren’t cwring ! Go to bed, both of you ; I’ll go to the club.”

He went accordingly ; and the women, who could ill console each other, were about to go to their own rooms when the door-bell rang again.

“ What next, I wonder?” asked Marcia, in despair.

"Please, Ma’am,” said the servant, “ there’s a man at the door, who looks quare, and says, if he can’t see Mr. Sandford, he must see you.”

“ Tell him I am ill,-and besides, I don’t transact my brother’s business.”

“ Yes’m.”

But she soon returned with a new message. The man would not go. Mrs. Sandford at once went to the hall to learn what was the matter, leaving Marcia trembling in every limb. The conversation was not carried on in whispers; in fact, Marcia heard every word.

“ Sorry to disturb you, Ma’am, especially as Mr. Sandford isn’t at home; but duty is duty, and must be ’tended to. My orders is, to ’tach the furnitur', and stay till I git a receipter.”

Mrs. Sandford’s reply was inaudible. The voice proceeded :-

“Can’t help it, Ma’am. Won’t be back to-night, won’t he ? Bad, cert’in. But duty is duty, as I said afore. I’ll bunk here on the sofy, an’ to-morror we’ll see what’s to be done.”

Another pause.

“ Oh, you won’t run off ’ith anythin’? I s’pose not. But duty is duty, as I said afore, and I must mind orders. 'Stick by till you git a receipter,’ sez be. I

will,’ sez I,-an’ I must. -Never mind

about bedclose. I c’n sleep jest ez I be. You jest go up-stairs. I’ll make myself ’t home.”

Glad to be out of the society of the officer, Mrs. Sandford started to go upstairs, but was recalled by the voice.

“ I say, Ma’am! A long night afore a chap, all by himself.”

Mrs. Sandford trembled with mingled terror and rage.

“ No ’bjeetion to light the gaas, I ’spose, so’s’t a feller can read a paper ? Thought o’that, and brought the ‘York Herald’ and 'Clipper.’ If you don’t like tobarkcr, you c’n shet your doors and the smell won’t git in.”

“ Do what you like. I can’t prevent you.”

“ Oil, well, no ’fence, I hope ? Goodnight, Ma’am.”

Mrs. Sandford found Marcia walking about the room in great excitement.

“ The odious wretch ! ” exclaimed Marcia. “ If Henry were only here, or even Charles, he should be horse whipped, pitched out of the house. To sleep with his dirty clothes on my sofa! I’m glad it’s to be sold. I never could touch the filthy thing again. Then his pipe ! Good heavens, what is to be done ? The abominable wretch ! I smell the tobacco now, worse than an Irishman’s. The smoke will be all through the house. Faugh! it suffocates, nauseates me ! ”

“ Be calm, Marcia. We will go to the upper chambers, shut the doors, and open the windows for fresh air. It’s only for one night. We can’t go away, you know; and we can’t get the fellow away, of course.”

“ I wish I had died when I was sick. This disgrace, this infamy, this shocking barbarity, is worse than death. What are we to do ? and where are we to go ? Ruin is a light thing to talk about. I have read of ruin in the papers, until it has become a matter of course ;-I begin to know what it means.”

It was a changeful, terrible beauty that beamed on her face. She looked like an inspired priestess before the altar,-then like Norma in her despair,-then like the maddened Medea in Rachel's thrilling impersonation. Then disgust and fright overcame her. and her sensitive womanly nature bore sway. It was more than she could bear, this accumulation of misfortune, disgrace, and insult. Her soul rebelled, contended desperately with fate, till, overcome, she sank into her chair, and suffered herself to be led to her room.

Shut up in their retreat, the women waited for the morning with sleepless eyes, or with only transient lapses of consciousness. Sometime after midnight, they were startled by the sound of a body falling heavily in the hall, and, an instant after, by the shout of “Burglars! thieves!” They rushed to the staircase in extreme fright, and soon learned the cause. The wary officer evidently did not believe the tale that had been told him respecting the absence of Mr. Sandford ; and, that nobody should go out or in without his knowledge, he had drawn the sofa across the hall, completely cutting off all passage. A small jet of gas was left burning. Charles, returning late from the club in a mild stage of inebriation, entered the house by means of his latch-key, not without difficulty, and at once fell headlong over the sofa, and the worthy official sleeping thereon. When he heard the cry of “Burglars!” it occurred to him that he must have been knocked down by one of the gang; and he joined his own voice to the uproar,- “ BuggLARS ! buggLARS ! ”

An instant after, there was a grip on his collar.

“Now I got ye, ye vill’in ! "What ye doin’ on here ? ”

“ What youdoin’on, you rasc’l, inagen’I’m’n’shouse thistim’o’night ?"

“ Arnswer me, you scoundrel, breakin’ into a peaceful dwellin’! ”

Tha'swhat/wan’toknow.- How’dyoucom’ere ? What’syerbusiness? Le’gomycollar. I’llsen’forp’lice. Le’go ! ”

Tipsy as he was, he managed to give his assailant a pretty substantial token of regard under the ear. with his knuckles. “ Now young’un, you’re drunk ! I won’t hit you back, ’cause a case for manslaughter might be expensive. How’d you break in here, when you are so drunk you can’t stand ? I don’t see how you could get in with the door open.”

“ Noneo’yerimp’r’ence! Cl’ont ! Adecen’bugglar'sbad’nough; yousmokerot’nt’baccah. G’off! youdirty bugglanr !”

“ Young chap, it’s time to stop this nonsense, or I’ll have you in the watch-house in no time. Who are you ? and how came you here ? ”

“ Tha’sit; who are you ? tha’s whatIwan’know.”

“ Charles ! ” ( from above.)

“ WhocallsCh’rl’s ? HereIam. Igott’efellah, the bugglar. Callp’lice ! P’LICK!”

“ Charles ! ” (once more.)

“ Do you belong here, young chap ? ”

“ B’long’ere ? ’vcourseIdo ; wherethedevilsh’dIb’Iong ? ”

“ You are not Mr. Sandford ? ”

“ Howd’yeknowIa'n't ? I am Mis’rrSanf’d.”

“ You are Mr. Sandford’s brother, are you ? ”

“ No, Mis’rr Sanf’d’s my bro’rr.”

“ Well, if you’ve got brains enough to understand, listen to me.”

“ I’m all ’tensh’n, ’s Balaam said to th’ass. G’on, ol fellah !-an’ then g’off!”

“ I am an officer, sent to ’tach your brother’s furnitur’and stuff; and as there’s nobody here to go bail, I hed to stay and look arter things.”

“ H’mushbailye want ? I’llgi’bail. An’ I’ll plankzemoney. I’vegotsev’ndollars’n’alf.”

“ Charles !” (the third time.)

“ Wha’nyewant ?”

“ They want you to go to bed, where you b’long.”

“ Gotobed ? ’llseeyoudam’f’st! Leave’nofficer’nth’ouse ? Gnessnot ! ”

“ Young’un, I say, take your band out of my neckhan’kercher ! Hold up ! None o’ yer chokin’ games! Quit, I say ! or, by hokey, I’ll settle ye ! ”

Thougtsh’dmakeyespuawk, ol’t’bacc’worm! Gõ’n’toel'out ? Gõ’n’tovacateprem’ses ? ” “ Ooo-arr-awkk !” said the man, under the pressure of a tightening cravat, at the same time giving the assailant “a settler,” as he had threatened. The two unfortunate women had hitherto looked down upon the conflict, as celestial beings might upon the affairs of men, with no small degree of interest, but clad in robes too ethereal to descend. But when they saw Charles felled to the floor, and a deathlike silence ensued, they forgot their fears, and rushed down the stairs. The officer had already raised Charles up. He was stunned, senseless, and his face was covered with blood.

“ You brute ! you have murdered him ! ” exclaimed Marcia.

“ Guess not, Ma’am. Wet his head in col’ water, put him to bed, an’ he’ll sleep it off.”

“ It’s useless to talk to such a fellow,” whispered Mrs. Sandford; “ besides, we want his aid to carry Charles upstairs.”

“ Ye see, I couldn’t help it, Ma’am. He nigh about choked me to death, and I give him fair warnin’.”

“ Never mind now about the quarrel,” said Mrs. Sandford; “ you help him upstairs to his room, and we’ll bathe his head.”

While the officer was carrying the young man up-stairs, Mrs. Sandford put on a shawl, and, by the time he had reached the second flight, she opened a door, and lighted the gas with a taper, saying,-

“ In here, if you please. My brother Henry’s room is the most convenient.”

The officer’s eyes twinkled.

“So this is Mr. Sandfonl’s room?”

“ Yes, but he is absent, as you were told before. Lay Charles on the bed, if you please. There, that will do. I will attend to him now. You can return to the lower story.”

“ In a minit, Ma’am. Duty is duty, and this ’ere accident saves some trouble,” casting sharp glances around the room.

The facts, that Sandford had drawn from the bank, and that he had bor-

rowed from Tonsor, were known to the creditors. The officer had determined, therefore, to make what search he could for the money. The unlooked-for accident had given him the opportunity he wanted.

“ What do you mean, Sir? Go hack to your place.”

“ Softly, Ma’am, softly! Duty is duty; an’ ’f any damage is done, I’m responsible.”

His eyes fastened upon a dressing-case that lay on a table near the mirror,-apparently the last article handled by the occupant of the room.

“ No robbery, Ma’am,” said he, opening the case, and taking out its contents. “ Razors and brushes, and such like, is personal, and not subject to levy; but these, Ma’am, you see, air.”

He held up a pocket-book full of banknotes.

“ I’ll count ’em before you, Ma’am, if you please, so’s there ’ll be no mistake. Thirteen thousand! A pretty good haul! I’ll go down, now. If anythin’s wantin’ for the chap when he comes to, jest le’me know.”

With a gleam of intense satisfaction on his sharp and vulgar features, the officer descended the stairs.


JOHN FLETCHER sat by his fireside, reading the evening, papers. The failures of the day, of course, engaged his attention ; among them, those of Sandford and his associates were not unexpected. His little wife sat by him, fondling the weakly baby.

“ Old Sandford has gone by the board, ducky. Good enough for him! He’s come to grief, as he deserved. He’ll never trouble me any more.”

“ I’m afraid a good many more ’ll come to grief, as you say, before this panic is over.”

“ Some, of course ; the dead trees, and the worm-eaten, powder-posted ones, will fall in the high winds, naturally. But old Bullion is safe. No rotten hollow in his old white-oak trunk;-sound as a ship’s mainmast.”

“ Is it Bullion who owes you ? ”

“ Yes. I have his notes for ten thousand dollars; and our next settlement, I calculate, will give me as much more.”

“ Why don’t you get your pay?”

“ What should I do with it, my duck ? I couldn’t lend it to anybody safer. If I deposit, the bank is as likely to fail as he. As long as he has the whole capital to swing, he will make the more for us both.”

“ I would rather have the money.”

“ That shows how little you know about it.”

“ I know, if you had it, and didn’t lend it nor speculate with it, you couldn’t lose it.”

“ Now, ducky, don’t interfere. You take care of babies nicely. Let me manage my own affairs.”

“ You always treat me like a child that has to be petted with sugar-plums.”

“ That’s because you are a child. What the devil does a woman know about business ? ”

The “ ducky ” cried a little, and was quite sure that John would go on and risk what he had, till he lost all.

“ Little woman, none of your blubbering! It annoys me. Am I to be harassed by business all day, and have no peace when I come home ? ”

He settled himself to read the papers, onee more, and the wife picked up the fretful, puny infant, and retreated to the kitchen, where she could indulge her sorrow without rebuke or interruption.

Presently, Bullion entered, though not unexpected ; for he had given Fletcher an intimation, that, in order to have a private interview, he would endeavor to see him at home.

“ Nice little box,” said the capitalist, looking around. “ Any babies ? ”

“ One,” said Fletcher.

“ Boy or girl ? ”

“ A girl.”

“ Bad. Girls always an expense. Dress, piano, parties, and d-d nonsense.

Boys, you put ’em into harness and work ’em till they’re willing to eat their wild oats; he ! he ! ”

The eyebrow flourished over the jocose idea; the stony eye glittered a moment like a revolving light, and then relapsed into darkness.

“ However, I have but one, and I think I can make her comfortable.”

“ Yes, my boy, quite comfortable. Let me see, I owe you ten thousand. How does the new account stand ?”

“ Here are the figures, taken from Tonsor’s book,” said Fletcher. "Seventy-nine thousand eight hundred and forty-three. Ten per cent. to me is seven thousand nine hundred and eighty-four.”

“ A big pile of money, Fletcher.”

“ Yours, you mean ? Yes, seventy thousand and odd is a big pile.”

“ Yours,-I meant yours.”

“ Why, yes,” replied Fletcher, indifferently, “ a good fair sum, for a man that hadn’t any before.”

“ Don’t you think, now, Fletcher, that the ten thousand pays you for all you’ve done ? Isn’t it enough for a month or two’s work ? ”

“ I think I am paid when I get what was agreed on,” replied Fletcher, stoutly.

The eyebrow was raised with a deprecatory, inquiring look.

“ Why, Fletcher, sharp's the word, is it ? ”

“ That’s what you said, when we started.”

“ Suppose I pay you the notes and a thousand or two more, and we call it square ? Then you salt down what you got.”

“ And you propose to haul off from operating ? ”

“ Well, no, I can’t say I do. I may try the bulls another fall or two. But you haven’t anything else. If we lose, you are smashed. I have other property to fall back on.”

“ So it’s merely to do me a kindness and make me safe and snug that you propose to keep back the six thousand that belong to me ? ”

“ You put it rather strong, youngster. I didn’t agree to pay till the scheme was carried out. But we’ve done better than we ’xpected, and, to take you out of danger, I offered to pay part down. In a business as ticklish as stocks, you don’t expect a man to come down with the ready without a consideration ?”

“ You know you could never have kept the run of the market, if it hadn’t been for me ; and the ten per cent. is no more than a fair share. This isn’t a matter of dollars altogether, though dollars are useful, but of information, activity, brains.”

“ Well, remember, young man, I offer you now twelve thousand. If anything happens, don’t squawk nor play baby.”

“ Why, you’re not going to fail ? ”

“ No,-not if the world don’t tip over.”

“ And you’re going on with your operations ? ”

“ Yes,-till the wind shifts. It’s due east yet.”

“ Well, I think the ship that carries you is safe enough for me. Make me the notes, and let the operations go on another week.”

With an increased respect for his agent, when he found that he could neither humbug nor frighten him, Bullion filled out and signed the notes. Next they reviewed the stock-market, and decided upon the course to be pursued. Bullion then fell into a profound meditation, and did not speak for five minutes, though the busy eyebrow showed that his mind was not lost in vacancy. At last he started up, saying,-

“ I must go. But, Fletcher, any reason why you particularly wanted to pay Sandford that thousand, to-day ? ”

Fletcher turned pale, and his heart rose in his mouth.

“ No,-no reason,-that is-he wanted it-I-I was willing to oblige ”-

“ No matter about reasons,” said Bullion, with a quiet air. “ I never tread on people’s corns. Only when it’s wanted let me know. You see he went by the board. He begged me to save him.

How could I ? I’ve done enough for other people. Must take care of number one, now. Kerbstone, he begs, too. I shan’t help him.”

Fletcher felt relieved; at the same time he determined without delay to make a new effort to get the fatal evidence of his former crime into his own possession.

“ Oh,” said Bullion, as if he had forgotten something, “ the wife and baby, let’s see ’em.”

Fletcher called his wife, who came in timidly, and shrank from the fierce look of the man of money.

“ How d’e do, Ma’am ? Your servant, Ma’am. Glad to see you. But the baby?”

“ Fetch the baby, lovey,” said Fletcher.

Baby was brought, smiling with as little reason as possible, and winking very hard in the light.

“ Pretty dear ! ” said Bullion, chucking her under the chin.

“ I wonder what the devil this means,” thought Fletcher.

How was his surprise increased when, after a moment, Bullion inquired,-

“Teeth cut yet? Some of ’em, I see. More to come. Want something to bite, little one ? ”

He pulled out his purse and gave the child three or four large gold pieces. The little hands could not hold them, and they fell on the carpet, rolling in different directions. Bullion left hastily, with a quick nod and a clipped “ Good-bye.”

“’Well, I vow!” said Fletcher, with a long breath. “ It’s well he didn’t stay to pick ’em up ; they’d ’ave stuck to his fingers like wax. He couldn’t have let ’em alone.”

“ What a good man he is ! ” said the overjoyed little woman.

Good man ! He’s crazy. Old Bullion giving away gold pieces to a baby! He’s lost his wits, sure. He never gave away a sixpence before in his life. Oh, he’s cracked, without a doubt. I must keep watch of him. When he grows generous, there’s something wrong.”

[ To be continued.]