Press enter after choosing selection

Debtor And Creditor

Debtor And Creditor image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

Two men met ín New York. They j were merchants. " What do you think of Carlton's ! airs, Mr. Eider?" asked one of them. I "I think we shall have a pretty fair ercentage. Doa'tyou?" "Yes, if we wind hini up." " That we shall do, of course. Why et him go on f It will take him two or iree years to get throngh, if at all." "If he can got through in two or ;hree years, I shall certainly be n favor of letting him go on. 'imes have been rather hard and business dull. But evorything looks enouraging now. " "Ion't believe in extensions, Mr. lighland. The stirest way, when a man gets into diffioulties, is to wind him up, md secure what you can. Ten chances o one, if you let him go, you lose every ent." " I have granted extensions in several nstances, Mr. Eider, " replied his anion, " and obtained, eventually, my whole claim, except in a single case." " It's always a risk. I go by the mot;o, 'A bird in the hand is worth two in b.e bush,' " returned Eider. " I am always ready to take what I can get toay, and never trust to the morrow. 'nat is my way of doing business." "But do you not think the debtor itled to soino consideration ?" " How ?" with a look of surprise. "Heisa man of like passions with urselves." " I don 't know that I understand you xactly, Mr. Highland." "Mr. Oarlton has domestic relations, s well as you and I." "I never doubted it. But what of that?" " If we break him up in business, the evil will not visit him alono. Think of ho effect upon his family." " In trade we nevor consider a man 's amily relations." "But shotüd we not, Mr. Eider? áhould we not regard the debtor as a man?" " As a man who owes us, and is unable to pay ua what is due; but in no other light," returned Mr. Eider with a light curl of the lip. "There we difter widely." "And will continue to diífer. I imagine. Good morning, Mr. Highland." The two men parted. An hour previous, Mr. Carlton, about whom they had been conversing, sat with his family, a wife and three daughters, at the breakfast table. He tried to converse in his usual cheerful manner, but too heavy a weight was upon his heart. There had carne a crisis in his affairs, which he feared would not be passed without ruin to himself. If the effects of his misforturre would not reach beyond his store and counting-room ; if upon his head alone would fall the fragments of a broken fortune, he would not have murmured. But the disaster could not stop there. It would extend even to the sanctuary of home. On the day previous, he had called on u few of his creditors, and asked of them ra extensión. If this were not given, it would be impossibJe for him to keep on longer than a few weeks. The spirit in which most of the creditors had received tho ucexpected announcement that he was in difficulties gave Mm little to hope. Ho was to have anothcr interview with thom during the day. From that, as it would exhibit the result of a aight's reflection upou the minds of bis creditors, he would be ablo to see clearly his chancos of being sustaiced in business. I awnited the hour with nervous aniety. When itarrived, and the few creditors Oalled in had assembled, he saw little in their faces to give him hope. Tlie first who spoke out plainly was Eider. " I, gentlemen," he said, flrmly, " am oppoaed to all extensions. If a man cannot pay as he goee, I think líe liad better wind vip.' " If all do not agree in this matter, it will be no use to attempt extending Mr. Carlton's time," remarked one of the creditors, who thought and feit as did Ëlder, but was not willirig to eome out so plainly. " That is very true," said a third. "A partial extensión will be of no use." The heart of poor Carlton almost ceased to beat. " Have y ou any pbjection to retiring for a few minutes ?" said Mr. Higbland to the debtor. "I will withdraw, ceitainly," retiirned Mr. Carlton, and left the room. "My own view, gentlemen," said Mr. Highland, "is, that we ought to grant all that is asked. Mr. Carlton's business is good, and he will get over his present difficulties easily, if we only assist a little. We should be just, as man toward man; and this I do not think wo should be in this case unlesswe consider Carlton as well as ourselves. He is an honcst man, and an honest man in difficulties is alwayg entitled to consideration." "That is all very well. But when. a man gives bis note payable n,t r, ceïtain day, he ought to te very sure that he will be ftble to takc it up. Creditors are entitled to some consideration, ás well as debtors. The cry of ' poor debtor ' is soon raised, but who, I wonder, thinks of the poor oreditor? I, for one, am not prepored to extend." This was said by Eider. "As for me," spoke up another, " I take but one view of matters like this. If I think I will do better by renewing, I am ready to do so ; if, by winding up i thê party now, I can do better, I go for winding up. I have confidence in öarlton's integrity. I believe he niöans wel!. But can he get through? that iS the question." "1 believe he can, ' said Mr. Highland. "And I doubt it," returned Eider. The efforts of Eider to effaee the impression tïia words of Mr. Highland hftd made proved in vam. It was agreed that the debtor should recei the extensión he asked, Wïien infornred of i this decisión, Garitón could not hide hls emotions, though be strove hard to do so. His gratef'ul acknowledgments for the favor granted touched more than one heart that bad been cold as ice toward him a short time before. How different were bis feelings when be met bis family tbat evening, and silently thanked Heaven tbat the cloud which I had hovered over, and threatened to break in desolating tempeat, bad passed from the sky. Long before the ai'rival of the time for which an extensión bad been granted Mr. Carlton was able to pay off everything, and to look in the lace, without unpleasant emotions, every man he met. Strunge üiiugs happen in real Hfo. Mr. Eider was a sbipper, and j ly engaged in trade. For a series of years everything went on prosperously with him. His ventwres always f ound a good market, and his conaignments safe and energetio factors. All this he attributed to his own business acumen. "I never niake bad shipments," he would sometimes say. "I never' 1 sign to doubtful agents. " A man líke Mr. Eider is rarely permitted to go through life without a practical conviction that be is in the band of One who governs all events. It is rarely that such a one does not become painfully conscious, in the end, tbat human prudence is as nothing. The first thing that occurred to check the confident spirit of Mr. Eider was the loss of a ship and cargo, undeï circumstftnees that gave the tmderwiiters a fair plea for not paying the risk. He sned and was cast. The loss was $25,000. A few weeks after, news camo that a shipment to the South American coast had resulted in a loss. From tbat time everything seemed to go wrong. His a'dventures found a glutted market, and his return cargoes a depression of prices. If he held on to a thing in the topes of better rates, prices would go down, until, in a desperate mood, be would sell ; then tbey would go up steadily. The time was when be could confine himself strictly to legitímate trade, but a mania for speculation now took hold of him and urged him on to ruin. He even ventured into the i wildering precincts of the stock market, lured by the hope of splendid results. Here he stood upon ground that soon crumbled beneath bis feet. A loss of 820,000 or $30,000 cured him of this folly, and ho turned witb a sigb to his eounting-room, to digest, with care and prudent forethought, some safe operation in his regular business. But the true balance of his mind was lost. 'He could not considev with I ness the business in hand. A false move was the consequence. Loss instead of profit was the unfortunate res uit. Se ven years from the day Mr. Eider opposed an arrangement with Mr. Carlton, which should regard the debtor as well as the creditor, ho himself' found it impossible to provide for all his heavy payments. For some time he had kept bis head above water by making sacrifices. but the end of this came. After a sleepless night the merchant started ono morning for his store, oppressed witb the sad conviction that before the day closed his fair fame would be tarnished. As be walked along, Mr. Carlton carne to bis side, witb a cheerful salutation. Mr. C. was now a large cretlitor, instoad of a debtor. On that very day, bilis in his favor had matured to tbc amouut of .$5,000, and these Eider could not pay. The recollection of this made it almost impossible for bim to reply to the pleasant observati'ons of bis companion. Vividly, as if it had occurred yesterday, came up before his mind the circumstances that had transpired a few years previously. He remembered how eagerly be had sought, from the merest selfisb motives, to break down Mr. Carlton, and throw bim helpless upon the world, and how near he was to accomplishing merchant's total overthrow. Such recolloctions drove from bis mind ttïe hope that for a moment had presented itself of enlisting Mr. Carlton's good feelings, and j ing him as a friend in the trial through which hc was about to pass. Several times during the walk he was ou the point of brealring the matter to Mr. C. , but cither his heart failed him, or his companion made some remark to whicb be was compelled to reply. At length they separated, withovt any allusion by Mr, Eider to tho subject on which he was flo desirous of speaking. He had not tho courage to utter tho first word. But tbis was onjy postponing for a very brief period the evil day. Saveral remittances were anxiously looked for tliat morning. Ho broke the Bealiug, letter after letter, "with trembliiig anxiety. Alas ! the mail brought him no aid. Eua last hopo was gone. Nothing now remained for Mm but to turn his face bravely to the threatening storm, and bear up against its fury. Por a while he debated the question as to what courso was best for him. to pursue. At one time he thought oí giving no iiiformation of liis condition, üntil the notary's protest skould startle them from their ignoranoe. Then he thought it would be best to iiotify the hokler of paper due On that day, that it would not be taken up. Then it seemed to him best to give noties of his condition. He piepared brief notes to. all, but Mr. Oarlton first. His heart failed him when he attempted to write his name. Vividly, as if it had occurred but the day previous, came up before his mind all the circumstancS3 aUendant upon that gentleman's appeal to his creditors. His eheek burned when he reruembered the position he had assumed in that affair. But, even though such were his feel ings, when he carne to dispatch the notes he had prepared he could only find courage to send the ono written to Mr. Oarlton. The otabï cïeilliors, whose bilis had matured that day, he thought he would .go and see; but half an hour passed without his acting upon the resoI lution to do so. Most of the day was spent in walking uneasily the floor of his counting-room, or in examining cer[ tain accounts in his ledger, or entries in his bill-book. He was bending, all absorbed, over a page of calculations at his desk, when some one, who had entered unperceived, pronounced his name. He turned quickly, and looked j Mr. Carlton in the face. The color inounted instantly to tho temples of Mr. Eider. He tried to speAk bnt culd hoi.. " ïonr note has tjiken me altogether by surprise," said Mr. Oarlton; "but I hope.things are hot so bad as you suppose." Mr. Eider shook his hoad. He tried to speak, bnt could not. "How much have you to prty to-dtiy ?" asked Mr, ÖarittM, "Ten thoüsand dollars," was the reply, in a husky voice. "How much have you toward it ?" " Not two thoüsand." " How much falls due to-morrow ?" 'Tour thoüsand." " How much ín a month ?" "Fifty thoüsand." "What will be your avaüable resources ?" " Not half the amount." " Haven't you good bilis V' "Yes: but not negotiable. " Mr. Carlton nmëed for söme time. At length he said : " Soit must not lie o Ver to-day." "I óannot help it." "If you will transfer to me, as security in case you have to stop payment, the bilis of which you speak, I wiU lend you tlift ñmminf, yon wíuií; to-dav. " The color retired from the clieeks ot Mr. Eider, and thcñ came baok with a rjnick ñush. He made no answer, but looked steadily and dóubfcingly into Mr. Carlton's face. "I have been in diinculties myself, and I know how to sympathize with others, " said the latter. ",We should aid if we can, not broak down a fellow-merchant when in trouble. Indorse bilis to I my order for the sum you want, and I will fill up a check for the amount." Eider tarned slowly to his desk, and took tiierefrom sundry notes of hand in his favor, at various dates from six to twelve months, and indorsed them páyatele to Carlton i whp immedí ately gave him a check for $8,000j and left the store. A clerk was instantly dispatched to thé bank, and then Mr. Eider sank into i a chair, half stupefied. He could hardly believe his senses untJ the canceled notes were placed in his hands. On the next morning, Mr. Eider went to his place of business with feelings but little less troubled than they had been on the day before. His paymenfcs were lighter, but his means were for the first time exhauated. The best he could do would be to borrow, but he already Owed heavily for borrowed money, and was not certain ihat to gofurtherwas practicable. He thought of Mr. Carlton, but every feeling of his heart forbade him to seek further aid from him. "I deserve no consideration there, and I cannot ask it," he murmured, as he pursued his way toward his store. The first thing that caught his eye on entering his counting-room was a pile of ship letters. There had been an arrival from Valparaiso. He broke the seal of the first one he took up, with eagerness. " Thank God!" was his almost immediate exclamation. It was from one of his Captains, and contamed drafts for $15,000. It also informed him that the ship Sarah, commanded by said Captain, would sail for home in a week, with a return cargo of hides and specie amounting to$30,000. The voyage had been prolitable beyond expectation. Eider had just fmished reading the letter, when Mr. Carlton came in. Seizing the kind-hearted merchant by the hand, and pressiiig it hard, he said, with emotion : " Carlton, yoii have saved me ! Ah ! sir, this wouíd be to me a far happier moment if, seven years ago, when you were in trouble, I had as generously aided you." "Let the past sleep in peace," returned Mr. Carlton. "If fortune has smiled again, permit me to rejoice with you, as I do with all who are blessed with favoring gales. To meet with difficulties is of use to us. It gives iis the power of sympathy with others, and that gift we should all desire, for it is a good thing to lift the burden from shoulders bent down with too heavy a weight, and throw sunlight over a heart shaded by gloom." Mr. Eider recovered from his crippled condition in the course of a few months. He was never again known to oppress a suífering debtor.


Old News
Michigan Argus