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Z — EVERY LITTLE HELPS. A Sketch of a Financial Crisis. r Amos Darnley paced to and fro in his narrow counting-house, with his head bent and hia hands clasped behind him. The clerks had gone the porter had been dismissed. Mr. Darnley having promised that he would himself see that the outer doors were locked, and thus the young merchant was alone in his warehouse. By-and-by he stopped before his private desk, and having turned up the gas, he sat down and opened a small memorandum-book; and as he examined the items therein set down, bis hands trembled and his face grew pale. He was thus engaged, when a noise behind him attracted his attention, and, upon turning, he beheld his friend, Mark Potter. Mark Potter was five years older than was Amos Darnley, yet they had been college chums; they had been clerks together; and they had been very intimate under all circumstances since childhood. Ha! Mark, is this you? I thought Michael had closed the doors." And is that any reason why I should not open them ? Why, bless your soul, I've been waiting for you at Taylor's more than an hour. We shall lose our seats at the opera if we don't make up for lost time." You will have to go alone to-night, Mark. I am otherwise engaged." Mark Potter drew a ohair near ta his friend's desk and sat down. "Amos, what ails you r "Nothing, nothing, only I am busy; I have im. portant matters on my hands." And Amos Darnley, as he thus spoke, strove so hard to hide his real feelings from his friend that he appeared very much unlike himself. Come, come, Amos," said Mark, placing his hand kindly upon his companion's shoulder, you must not try to deceive me. I know what is the matter." Ha!" cried the young merchant with a start, then it is already known." Easy, Amos. It is whispered on the street that you are in a snug corner. I heard of it this afternoon for the first time. But what of that ? You can certainly find some way out." Amos shook his head. No, Mark, there is no way out." Pshaw! you're foolish to talk so. Of course, you cannot have become so deeply involved." Ah, my dear fellow, you don't know all." Then tell me aJJ. Surely you are not afraid to trust me?" "Mark Potter, you are the only man on earth whom I would have see me thus; but I do not fear you. No, no-we have been brothers too long. Mark, I am utterly, irretrievably ruined!" "No, no——" "Stop! I tell you the simple truth. I was a fool to do as I did, but it cannot be helped now. I am re- sponsible for Drake and Anderson to the amount of £ 5,000, which will become due the day after to- morrow. Drake has suspended, and brazenly an. nounces that he is not worth a shilling, and Anderson has decamped; but the creditors take it very coolly, and snap their fingers as they refleet that Amos Darn- ley is at the back of all that paper. What do you think now, Mark?" Mark Potter was surprised and grieved, as his looks plainly showed; but he was not a man to sit quietly down and despair when there was need of work. Upon my soul, Amos, this is bad-far worse than I had any idea of. But you must not give up. Some- thing can be done." "What can be done ? asked Darnley. We will see." Ah, Mark, you will look and study in vain. Three months ago, by the advice of Mortimer, and really against my own instincts, I speculated heavily in cotton. I bought at three months. Within a week after money became excessively tight. Cottons fell, and I lost. It's of no use. I am ruined. One year ago-only one year, Mark-I know I was worth £ 25,000, free and clear; to-day I am not worth one penny! Aye, worse than that, I cannot pay my debts The day after to-morrow my paper will be dishonoured, and my name will be a thing of scorn "My dear DarnVoy, don't allow anoli feelings to possess you. From all that you tell me, I thins you must make some arrangement with your creditors. It would be unsafe to attempt to get out of the trouble by borrowing." Ah, Mark," returned the poor man, with a woeful shake of the head, "you nead not fear my borrowing any mora. I may fall, but I will not bring my friends into trouble." You are right, there, Amos; and of course your only available step is to make some arrange- ment with your creditors." Again Darnley shook his head. He had made some effort in that direction, and had been coldly repulsed. Who repulsed you ?" asked Mark. Tyndale." Did you tell him just how you were situated? No—I did not let him know exactly how badly off I was. But I gave him to understand that I might want more time on some of my bills." "And he, in turn, gave you to understand that he did not wish to grant it ? "Exactly." Which," continued Mark," was a gentle hint that you should exert yourself. I know that Tyndale is a severe man; but he is an honourable man. Go to him and state the case fairly, and I think he will help "Ah, Mark, you don't strike at the root of the diffi- culty. What good will more time do me? It will take a lor)g-very long-time for me to make up the amount that I am called upon to pay at Drake and Anderson's Bank. "Very well, my dear man. If more time won't do, then jast let your creditors understand that you must be allowed to pay what you can. Go to them, and show them your books; and offer them all your pro- perty and let them do as they will. My word for it, when they find that you are desirous to make the moat honourable settlement that can be made, they will not press you." Amos Darnley told his friend that he would think of it. Of course," he said, I cannot go with you to any place of amusement to-night. I must look over my private accounts and find just how I stand. I may see you again before the final crash comes." Pshaw1 Why will you talk so, Amos. Why talk about a crash ? If you intend to bow your head, and allow the blow to find you unprepared for resistance, there may be a crash; but if you will only make an effort, you may avoid all such evil consequence. Don't sit here and think that this whole load must all be taken upon your shoulders at once. You are to re- move it gradually. Remember that every little helps, and that by a proper attention to LITTLE HELPS the one great help may come of itself. Now ba up and doing. I would stop with you longer, but our friends are waiting for me, and I must rejoin them." You won't say anything to them of my trouble, Mark." << —I'll leave that for you to break in your own way. But take courage. Of course it's a hard place in which to find one's self; but if you are resolved to help yourself I think all may be right. And then, my dear fellow, in the time to come, when you are once more upon your feet, this experience may be among the most valuable of your possessions. Mark Potter went away, and Darnley was once more alone. For a little while the young merchant thought of struggling bravely against the adverse current; and to that end he began to call to mind those of his credi- tors whom he should first visit. Tyndale, and the very thought of that stern, hard countenance took away all his courage. He looked over hi3 books once more, and he waa satisfied tnat ne eould go no further. On the morrow over *4vW would be due from him to the bank, and on the day following more still. The bringing of so much into those two days had been the result of injudicious ex- tension of some earlier bills. At midnight Darnley closed his books and went home. Hia wife was up; and when she asked him if he had-been to the concert, he told her an untruth, and told her that he had; and when she asked him what ailed him,, he told her that he had a terrible bead-ache. She sympathised with him and kissed him; and wished to fix a wet bandage on his brow and temples; but he would not have it. In the morning he professed to feel better, though hia wife could very plainly see that he waa not entirely well. She suggested to him that ha had better remain at home during the day; but he declared that his business was too pressing. Dear Amos," pleaded the fond, affectionate wife, (ivou are not well. There is something more than you have told ine. If there is anything wrong, let me Know of it, and I may kelp you." Your help wouldn't do me much good, Ci&ra," Perhaps not, Amos; but it might be a little; and every little helps." „, 1^ But Amos Darnley had become a coward as well as a liILr. He dared not tell his wife the truth. He did not ston to think how kind and true-hearted she was. He only thought of the pleasant life she had led and of the fall that was in store for her as well as for him; and he dared not break to her the truth. Aye-he was a greater coward than he thought. Once under the weight of despondency, the heart ot Amos Darnley sank rapidly, and the slough of despair was soon reached. He went down to his warehouse and looked in, but he did not purpose to make a long stay. He simply went into his private office to see if any important letters had arrived, and when he found nothing new that was of importance, he turned to leave. It was then not quite noon. In a very few hours a messenger would be there to announce that his bill had been dishonoured, and before night it would be generally known that he was a ruined man. One single minute he leaned over his desK, ana men he took a pen and wrote a brief note to his wife. He told her that he was ruined, and that he could not live to stare that ruin in the face. He did not confess that he was a coward, and that he lacked the will to save his wife and children from a fate almost worse than death, but he wrote as though he had done all that could be done, and that he died to avoid a ruin and disgrace that he could not avoid if he lived. He asked her to forgive him and to pity him. He sealed this and left it upon his desk, and then went away. Like a guilty thing the merchant hurried on, took a boat down the river, far from the region where his creditors were-and as he went he thought that he should never look upon old scenes again. It's of no use," he muttered to himself-and this was the point to which all his reasoning had led him I am ruined beyond hope of redemption. I can- not look those men in the face. They would not help me if I did. They would only scoff, and accuse me of dishonesty." A still, small voice tried to ask him if it was a very honest and honourable thing he was abou1; to do, but he would not listen to the soft appeal. By-and-by he reached a point beyond the busy hum of London city, he had reached Gravesend, und then he turned down towards the water. His plan was very simple, and he talked it over to himself. He meant to take the first small boat he could find, and row out into the river, and there wait for some steamer going up or down, and throw himself under the paddle. wheels. It would be a very sure death, and a speedy one. When he landed, he observed a throng of people collected to witness the launching of a ship that had just been built. Why could he not hire one of the many small boats that were secured near at hand, and place himself where the ship's rudder would strike him as she plunged into the stream ? No—he would be too late for that, for the ways were already prepared, the ship had been set upon the cradle, and the main shores and keel-blocks removed, and the order for knocking away the dog-shorea [had been given. There was something too exciting in the scene to permit Darnley to pass on now. He would have to wait only a moment-only long enough to sea the noble mass glide to her proper element-he would wait so long, and then hurry on to his doom. For the moment he forgot the dread agony of the hour, being irresist. ibly held by the inspiration of the present scene, and with his heart fairly hushed, as were the hearts of hundreds of others, he waited to behold the huge structure fairly ^launched. Two stout men, with ponderous wooden mauls prepared for that purpose, knocked away the dog- shores, and then the multitude waited in hushed silence. But the ship did not start. The workmen ran around from stem to stern, but no obstruction was visible. Then the director of the work called for levers, and while the levers were being brought, some one among the crowd wished to know why some one else did not push the ship off. At that moment, as if in sport, a curly-headed boy, with ruddy face and sparkling eye, cried out that he would push her off, and as he started forward for that purpose, an older companion laughed at him, saying- "Keen back, Tom, you can do no good." And. Tom, without stopping, quickly replied- very little helps I n and in a. few momenta more he mounted upon one of the removed blocks, ana set his shoulder against the bend of the cut-water, where the stem joined the keel. And then, in silvery tones, but earnestly withal, he shouted, Ho-o Heave-o Did that tiny shoulder, set so bravely to the work, applv the last OURce of power that was necessary to overcome the dead weight that rested upon the ways ? Is it impossible ? No. Is it improbable? No. Away went the mighty ship-at first moving slowly, and in solemn majesty—but gradually increasing her speed-until at length a traok of flame marked her rapid course. And the curly-headed boy swung his dimpled hand in the air, and joined his shout with the Amos Darnley stood apart; and when he had seen the noble ship come to a safe, proud rest upon the bosom of the river, he turned and gazed for a moment upon the boy who still shouted hurrah at the top of hia voice. T "Upon my word," he said to himself, I think I have gained a lesson. If so little a thing, applied at the right moment, can produce such a result as this, which I have just seen, why should I despair while health and strength are mine ? Thus, with a mow impulse, the young merchant turned back from his tragic purpose, resolved that he would make a manly effort. And, with the resolve once taken, he grew stronger and stronger as he re- turned to London. When he reached his warehouse he found that the messenger had been there, and that he had left word that if Mr. Darnley would call upon his employers at any time before five o'clock, the business might be arranged without giving it Amos^Darnley's naind and disposition had entirely changed. As he laid his hand upon the note which he had left for his wife, and tore it up, he felt as though he had really gained a new life; and with this new life he would save his honour, if possible. V ery s"g £ c causes sometimes work marvelloua changes in the affairs of mortals, and when the tide is once turned, then all floating, moving things must go in the new dl And°so' with Darnley. The trouble had not been a lack of power, but simply a lack of will. The power had been held in reserve, and the moment the little help was applied that moved the will in the right direo. tion, all difficulty was overcome.. Mr. Tyndale waa found to be severely just; but when he was made to understand that Amos Darnley only sought the privilege of being allowed time and opportunities for being honest, he not only granted that privilege, but he insisted upon doing more. He became Darnley's mediator with other creditors, and ere long the bark of the young merchant's fortunes was once more in smooth water. i. jj No man is so strong as is he who comprehends and appreciates the very smallest helps of every-day life; and Amos Darnley is to-day, if not in affluence, a pros. perous merohant, simply because he has learned that lesson.