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THE CHIMNEY CORNER., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 248, 21 January 1881
THE CHIMNEY CORNER.
MY MEMORANDUM BOOK
“ Look here, my dear hoy; I am T going to give you a. piece of advice. • When you cashed that cheque in the bank you scarcely looked at. the notes before thrusting them in a bundlein your breast pocket. Now, I dare .say you think it looks very, fine to shove away a lot of bank notes into, your, pocket as if you were accustomed to carry about large sums.’ But listen to me. lam ah old man', and I date say I have- had as much to do with the' handling of money as you are likely ever to have; and I strongly; recommend 3'ou never to put away any note, cheque, draft, or in fact any paper equivalent rfor cash, without entering the number in your, pocket book, with the date of its reception and the name qf the person.from ayhom yoirtook.it.. LyeViince Lbegan bhsinbss I made’ it' a! fixed rule always, to ,do so; and I could now, by referring to a ledger, tell you what notes passed through \my hands, and the,exact dates they did so. It gives very'Uttfe trouble ; ■ and iyott never can tell ;when thei record .may be of use to ypuf'sqlf or to others.” ■’MY.’’ RehsfiaW wakV.afr i'pld.. t ah,d esteemed iriend of my father’s. He had com? into Bosgnquet’s bank as I was cashing a-small cheque; and as we walked down Lombard street, he adthis Jittle-r,eprof ; -not, howfcilth tlfe/ least ihatpfiess or sar-casm, ib.ut., \yii|h.>a. .kind fatherly manner, vyhich could not offend the ■most touihyl especially Jasqfroceeding from an old to a young man. I had known hitn as long as,l could remember,, he having, 1 been connected with my father ih : many' business ttansabtions, and thus entertaining for each other a feeling of mutual esteem.- He was a man of good standing in the “;city,” and had" been always remarkable for his great punctuality and correctness in business ,matters.-Ifpr ; fifty years he had worked m the 'firm from which he had .lately retired, , having, been .chief partner fbr mbre than half that period. His: motto in business had always been Method, and he ! certainly carried out his principal in every action ; not, however like spme methodical people, who think that every one else should .go out of the way that their regular routine may not be interrupted. On the contrary, in his ordinary life—although every* hour of the day had its appointed purpose—fie readily, lent himself. to aid in the pleasure or business of’ his friends; nor. did he look ! harshly on those . whose -habits, were not. just so exact as his own. His mind was-large enough,to see that it would be impossible, indeed not desirable, that all men should think like him; and that a sound intellect and good moral worth are to be found among the apparently light and careless, as well as among the methodical and steady. At the same time, in his own immediate business concerns,* lie insisted on a methodical system being .strictly adhered to. “ Gentlemen,” he was .wont to say to his clerks, “ out of office you may be sky-rockets if you please; in the office, chronometers.” . - “ I daresay, John,” he continued to ‘me, “ you think that I am a sort of old moral parallel-ruler, and that I never cap get beyond nia’king one lihe' rtin straight' alongside of anqfher; but be 1 * Heve : rae,'as‘ yOlir fathers old ‘ friend, ahd yours too, ■ my hoy, s ;t|iat ; thing like method ifrotn the smallest: to tl^p J greatest transaction, do everything as if you 1 were casting up accounts r-for you/know.hpw aDonv' little error multiplies—and'bewafe of trusting to. yourmemofy anj'thiWghhat > shduld -be put down in black and whitp. Therp, •now*| 'l' have giveii;Vcj.il ahdT “ Not a bit, sir,* I replica. “ I aare-
say —I’m sure you are right; deed I never looked on you iff* the light of a parallel-ruler ; though I should not object bearing a little resemblance myself to that respectable instrument. And yet, I fear I should never be able to bring myself to keep account of the numbers of every note I received.” “ And yet,” my companion replied, “ they think it worth while to do so at the bank you get them from. How about if you lost them ?” “ That’s true,” said I ; “but it’s not very likely. 1 always keep my wits about me.”
, “ Just like you—just like you young men; you’re all so sharp. Never mind, my dear boy. Come up this evening—l dine at 6—and I’ll tell you a story in which the honor and credit of a youqg;man—all that lie was worth to society and himself, depended on the huinber of a bank note.” Six o’clock with Mr. Renshaw meant 6 o’clock 1 and I am sure, by his hearty wGcoine, he felt a little flattered at my. rememberance of his hobby as Tentered the drawing-room just five minutes be-
fore the hour. The dinner-party vvas quite a-familylbne, comprising,!besides ourselves, Mrs. Renshaw and her two daughters. 4 ' I could not help observing during dinner -how quietly everything was conducted, yet without’ the- slightest stiffness. Everything that was needed was at 4 hand, and 'the courses' Wei-e noiselessly removed or replaced without any, ringing of bells or other interruption to the cheerful conversation which was being carried on.
“ Now, John,” said my host, when the ladfes had left the' room, and we had drawn'up,our chairs near the fire, and .placed the decanters within reach, “'fill your glass, and don’t mind me—old method, you see—while I tell you my story.. But I must fetch the documents from my study,” " Following my friend’s advice,'! filled my glass and cracked a few filberts; and in a few minutes Mr. Renshaw returned,, bringing with him three newspapers, which he laid beside him on the table. He then drew from his coat a pocketbook of: the usual shape that “;city ”■ men carry about with them, but differing from those in ordinary use, being of a bright blue color. “Another of my \yhims, John. I had my memoran-dum-book made of an unusual color, that it might be more easily* if lost; and now,” he continued, placing the book beside, the papers, “my, memoranda are all in order, and I only ask your attention. .
“I daresay.you have heard your : father speak of a Mr. Brierley—though' perhaps not, as I now remember he must have died when you were; quile a child, “However, your father knew him well, and I also knew him, but not intimately, though I have, at different times, transacted business for hini.' He knew, little about such matters himself, and always left everything connected with his propery in the hands of an'agent—not that lever acted as such .—my connection with him was casual. ,He \yas possessed ol a little landed property; but the bulk of his money was invested in stock of different kinds. He dabbled, however, very little in the share-market; for though his man of business was willing enough to speculate, yet old Mr, Brierly said that he", had enough and to spare ; and whenever he knew his money was 4 safely in- - vested, then he let it stay; so that his ;agent had little to dp, and his pickings Were ,proportionately small. l.iltleior nothing was known of Mr. Brierlyibefore he came to settle near Hartwell, where he bought himself a pretty place, and lived in strict .retire-, ment with his only daughter and sole companion,' a child about ten qr eleven-years old. Different stories of course were in.circulation as to. who he was and where he came from. 4 Some/ hinted' at a deserted wife ; others, that he Whs a widower. ;: The latter,' I have ‘ reason to believe, 1 was correct. But as, far as he was ,concerned he never satlsU 4 iq. ; but lived-. quietly on, haying apparently no thought of pleasure beyond his child. As I told you, he was nothing of a business man; and like many such, be plaeed'eririre 4 trust in his agenvor more correctly agents; for the mariagement of his estate was confided to the hands
of Dibden, Kndllys & Dibden, solicitors and conveyancers of Bellyard, Doctors’ Commonsj Theffirm used to be Dibden &• Knotty until - Dibden’s-'ofily son, /Stephen, joined it, when his name was addedj shortly after >vhich event Knollys died,, but the name was retained by the firm, so that, at the t;mc , I speak of, the whole business belonged to the two Dibdens, father, and .son.. Why Mr. Brierly should ever have selected such agents, of how he met them, I never found out, but he ’placed in them the most implicit confidence, and used constantly to send to 'the elder Dibden to his house, especially the last'two years before his death, when his health was failing, and he disliked the trouble and fatigue of going up to town. Whether it was Dibden’s cleverness as a man of business that he was taken with; or whether he was managed by cunning, I know not ; but he certainly let him obtain a great deal of influence over him ; and at his death, which took place when his; child was only 15 years of age, his will directed that she should be under the guardianship of Dibden, who, during fler minority, or as long as she remained with him, was to receive LSOO a year for his charge. It, moreover, directed that she was not to marry before she. was legally of age, and then only with Dibden’s consent, until after, her isth birthday, when she was free to do as she liked. The most curious part of the will —and it evidently shows that whatever influence Dibden exerted over the old . man was not sufficient to induce him to attach a permanent penalty on his child if she disobeyed his that, in the event of her not complying with the terms of the will, she should have only an allowance of LSOO a year during her life; but that the property should be settled ton her children, to be enjoyed by them ’after her death. Hard as this arrangement was for a loved and only child to be excluded from being mistress of her property for four years after she became of age, unless. sip .married .with her guardianite- consent in" thfe iheantime, I am certain myself that it Would have been harder Tf‘ Dibden 1 could have managed it; but he was evidently not able to convince’ the fallpr, that, after 23 ; years ' 'of age, a woman’s fortune pjght bCi left tpjierown discretion Everybody was, of course,
stn'pnseiL at the will ; but as there were no to interfere, no question was raised jrijind as soon as the funeral was over, Dibden took the child home with Him. ' - ? if 7 0 be continued. )
THE CHIMNEY CORNER., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 248, 21 January 1881
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