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Phil. A. (Philip Augustus) Rush.

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" He covered up his peculations by manipulating the bank's books."

Frontispiece,
(See page x, Jiit



THE TELLER'S TALE



A BANKING STORY FOR BANKERS

A LAW STORY FOR LAWYERS

A LOVE STORY FOR LOVERS



BY

PHIL. A. RUSH



NEW YORK

fmtcftetbocfeer press

1905



COPYRIGHT, 1905

BY
PHIL. A. RUSH



Entered at Stationers' Hall
A II Rights Reserved



DEDICATED TO

THE FAITHFUL BANK EMPLOYEES
OF AMERICA



2138096



CONTENTS



PART I

CHAPTER

INTRODUCTORY .
I. WILLOW SPRINGS.
II. ARTHUR AND MARY

III. ALBERT AND ALICE

IV. LOVE'S LABOR .

V. PASSION TENDER AND TRUE .
VI. MOTHER AND DAUGHTER
VII. THE COLONEL AND j Col. Wilmot }
THE CONGRESSMAN ( Mr. Blair }
VIII. THE BLAIRS AT HOME .
IX. THE BANKERS' MEETING
X. How SHALL WE KNOW?
XL COLONEL WILMOT AND THE BANK-
ERS

XII. MINISTER AND NOBLEMAN

XIII. THE LAW

XIV. LIGHT IN DARK PLACES
XV. POLITICS AND POLITICIANS

XVI. THE RACE is WON



PAGE

vii
I
8

16

21
29

35
40

5 2
59
76

93
98

i5

112
117
122



VI



Contents



PART II

CHAPTER PAGE

XVII. WILL SORROWS NEVER CEASE? 125
XVIII. ARTHUR'S STORY: LESSONS AND

REFLECTIONS . . -131
XIX. ARTHUR'S STORY: IN THE BANK 141
XX. ARTHUR'S STORY: TEMPTATION 148
XXI. ARTHUR'S STORY: PRACTISING

TO DECEIVE . . . 153

XXII. ARTHUR'S STORY: A TANGLED

WEB ..... 161

XXIII. ARTHUR'S STORY: CONFLICTS OF

CONSCIENCE . . . 168

XXIV. IN THE TOILS . . . .173
XXV. WEEPING AT NIGHT . . 181

XXVI. TRUTH MOVES UNSEEN . . 184

XXVII. THE WASTE-BASKET . . 192

XXVIII. THE DEATH OF MRS. WARD . 200

XXIX. THE TOILS UNWOUND . . 203

XXX. FROM OVER THE SEA . . 206

XXXI. JOY IN THE MORNING . .212

EPILOGISTIC . . . .217




ILLUSTRATIONS



PAGE



HE COVERED UP HIS PECULATIONS BY MA-
NIPULATING THE BANK'S BOOKS

Frontispiece

THE CHARM OF HER MAGNIFICENT PHYSICAL

BEAUTY 10

COLONEL WILMOT READING HIS PAPER AT

THE BANKERS' MEETING . . .64

" I USED THE MONEY OF THE BANK, AND

LOST, TIME AFTER TIME " . . . 163

MR. ADAMS REACHED DOWN INTO THE
WASTE BASKET FOR PAPER TO SCRIB-
BLE ON ...... 192

THEY PLACED SOME FLOWERS THERE IN
MEMORY OF WHAT SHE HAD BEEN TO
THEM . 216



Vll



INTRODUCTORY



(Clipped from Newspapers)
GAMBLED IN GRAIN

CASHIER DEFAULTER

TO EXTENT OF

$170,000

CAUSED THE AMERICAN EXCHANGE

BANK TO CLOSE ITS DOORS

AT PARKSBURG



PARKSBURG, O., Jan. 22. The Amer-
ican Exchange Banking Company, cor-
ner Broadway and Central Avenue,
closed its doors to-day. The Insolvency
Court has appointed the Parksburg
Trust Company as receivers. The assets
and liabilities are placed at $1,500,000
each.

Attorney James Maguire on behalf of
the bank made the following statement
this afternoon:

"George A. Riggs, cashier of the
bank, is a defaulter to the extent of
$i 70,000. The defalcation is more than



Introductory



the paid capital and surplus combined.
The original capital was $200,000, but
only $50 per share was paid in. The
depositors will be protected fully. The
stockholders will have to pay in the sum
of $100,000 more on their capital stock
and $200,000 on stockholders' liability.
' ' The directors worked all day trying
to make up the deficiency, but the bur-
den was too heavy and they decided to
close the bank.

"FOR MANY YEARS RlGGS HAS BEEN
SPECULATING IN GRAIN. HE COVERED

UP HIS PECULATIONS BY MANIPULATING
THE BANK'S BOOKS."



EMBEZZLER OF $100,000
CAPTURED IN MEMPHIS

JAMES M. EDDY

DEFAULTING TELLER

THIRD NATIONAL BANK

CLEVELAND, N. J.



MEMPHIS, TENN., January 8. James
M. Eddy was arrested here to-day
charged with embezzling $100,000 from
the Third National Bank of Cleveland,
N. J., while occupying the position of
teller.

Eddy was found driving a butter
wagon, attired in a sweater and cap and
other clothing usual to the occupation,
and bore but little resemblance to the
dressy figure so familiar in Cleveland's
social set sixteen months ago.

He was going under the name of
George Dane, but when arrested and
confronted by the Pinkerton man he
readily admitted his identity and con-
fessed his guilt.



Introductory xi

RACE HORSES HIS DOWNFALL

Eddy said that while with the bank
he had contracted the habit of betting
on the races, and that this habit had
resulted in his downfall.

Luck had not been with him, and he
had been compelled to use the funds of
the bank to carry on his betting opera-
tions. FOR NINE MONTHS he had con-
tinued in his course of embezzlement,
until finally being discovered he was
compelled to leave Cleveland.

The thousands of dollars which had
passed through his hands in the capa-
city of note teller had been too strong a
temptation for Eddy to resist. As he
told the detective yesterday, he was no
piker in his bettings. If he were playing
an apparent "sure thing" it was no-
thing unusual for him to lay $4000 and
$5000 upon a race.

According to Eddy's own statement,
money had been taken from the bank
just as he needed it whether $50 or
$5000, it being as easy to obtain one
sum as the other.

Ever before the mind of Eddy there
floated that alluring will-o'-the-wisp
hope that he would sooner or later
make a winning that would place him
on his feet and enable him to straighten
out his accounts with the bank. DUR-
ING ALL THAT TIME HE HAD MANAGED BY
SKILFUL MANIPULATION TO KEEP HIS
BOOKS IN SUCH SHAPE THAT THEY
WOULD NOT REVEAL HIS SECRET.

The above are samples of what we see
almost daily in the public press. The
names given of cities, banks and indi-
viduals are fictitious, but the occurrences
are real.



Xll



Introductory



Does a system of banking which permits
such occurrences which, confessedly, is
powerless to prevent them deserve our
confidence? Has it earned the right to
a place among the progressive business
methods of the day ?

If not, what then ?

THE AUTHOR.

Two OAKS, March, 1905.




The Teller's Tale



The Teller's Tale



Part I



CHAPTER I

WILLOW SPRINGS

UPON a plateau where the sand-hills
which rise from the river many
miles to the south, meet the red lands
that descend from the mountains far to
the north, Willow Springs lifts her proud
head as the home of as good civilization,
past and present, as our continent has
ever known.

Just how long the town has been in
existence no one knows; but it was an
Indian village, called by five words which



2 The Teller's Tale

meant Big-trees-by-rising-water, from the
fact that a great artesian spring comes
out of the ground in the midst of the
town and forms a dampness of soil
and atmosphere in which willow trees
grow to unusual size. And the name
it now bears was taken from the same
circumstance.

Under these willows, in the olden times,
neighboring tribes who came for water,
and to counsel among their friends, held
their meetings and discussed the courte-
sies of the chase, and other matters of
rude diplomacy.

And long before the present territory
of the State was marked out, traders
came among the friendly natives and
exchanged the wares of civilization for
the returns of the chase and the handi-
work of the wigwam.

Some of the Indians remained long
after the white man became the pre-
vailing type in the community, and even
retained ownership of lots in the town
after it was laid off by municipal sur-
veys. And on the county records at



Willow Springs 3

Willow Springs may be seen some deeds
to town lots made by old Tush-mo -ko-lah
and others of his tribe curious things
indeed to come from those children of
the forest.

But now Tush-mo-ko-lah has perished
from the earth, and his descendants are
huddled in a narrow place in a strange
land sullen, silent, and sad waiting
for the Great Father to call them to
the happy hunting-grounds beyond the
grave.

Long years have passed since that
time, and the town has had its trials and
triumphs in both war and peace. Its
people have planted trees on their broad
thoroughfares and erected dwellings gen-
erally of more than average size and
beauty on the spacious lots, while the
County Court-house in the centre of a
large business square, and the several
churches, schools of learning, and other
buildings of a public nature, as well
as the private manufacturing establish-
ments situated on the railroad skirt-
ing two sides of the town, give us the



4 The Teller's Tale

appearance and the fact of substantial
growth and prosperity.

In both civic and political life Willow
Springs has been more prominent in
days gone by than any other place in
the State. Being attractively located,
it drew from the older States men of
character, scholarship, and ability, who
pre-empted large bodies of fertile lands,
and brought their slaves to help reduce
them to cultivation.

Later followed the invention and in-
troduction of the cotton-gin, which gave
to the growth of cotton such an impetus,
and to the lands themselves such a value,
as the pioneer had never dreamed of.
And with it all there came a life strenu-
ous, especially in the law, for settling
vexed legal questions and fixing rights,
and in politics, for studying statecraft
and maintaining the institutions which
had grown up with, and out of, slavery.
The issues involved were sufficient to
arouse within them all the ambitions
of the Anglo-Saxon race, while the op-
portunity which leisure and wealth gave



Willow Springs 5

for prosecuting ambition and developing
ability made them what they were.

This spirit of activity on a high plane
pervaded other sections of the country,
but Willow Springs was the highly
favored. She had more great lawyers
at the bar, before the War of Secession,
and more judges on the bench, and more
statesmen in the halls of legislation ; and
had more commissioned officers, from
general down, in that war, than any
other three towns of the same size in
the State.

These great men have all gone to their
fathers. The circumstances which made
them have passed away. Greatness is
now being developed along new lines.
Some of the sons of these men have
caught the spirit of this later day and are
relatively in the position occupied by
their forbears. But, with most of them,
the changes were either too great for the
inherited trend of their lives, or they in-
herited the vices transmitted from their
sires, not their virtues; and they are
to-day either struggling with the dry



6 Tne Teller's Tale

bones of the past, trying to make the
skeleton stand upon its feet, or punily and
pitifully occupying minor positions in the
new life, eking out a bare existence.

And in looking at the past of those
people and the present the causes of
yesterday which brought their certain
effects, and the causes of to-day with
effects unknown I think one who has
lived through the past, or understands
the past, is but a poor observer if he
cannot form an hypothetical equation
of the known qualities, and from them
find the unknown.

If so, then the life which lies about us
is replete with suggestions for the writer,
on lines which are interesting, instruc-
tive, and inexhaustible.

This reminds me of the story of one
who was our guest in troublesome times
a poor German laborer who came to
this country before the war, and settled
in another part of the State. Having
enlisted in the Southern cause he was
with his command at Willow Springs
when the Federals were driven from the



Willow Springs 7

town. The surprisedness of the attack
having forced the enemy to leave the
paymaster's supplies behind, the patriotic
Confederates were proceeding to destroy
everything, when the thrifty Dutchman,
thinking to hold both ends of the credit
currency string (one of which was grow-
ing very weak at that time), filled his
knapsack full of greenbacks and bore
them safely home at the conclusion of
peace.

I see it stated that only one person
out of fifty knows how to use money
which he has not earned. This may be
true, but, if so, this was the one of the
fifty. For he became a man of affairs
a successful planter, banker, manu-
facturer and reared a large family of
worthy children, now among the pros-
perous citizens of the New South.

And but let that pass, to become a
part of the story which follows this
(The Second Slavery), while we linger at
the flowing fountain of Willow Springs
and listen to a recital of The Teller's Tale.



CHAPTER II

ARTHUR AND MARY

Arthur St. John love Mary Blair?
The gossips said he did. The gos-
sips ought to know, judging from the
interest they take and the noise they
make. Anyhow, if Arthur St. John had
been asked by any one having the right
to know, he would have answered in the
affirmative.

Why should he not love the brunette
beauty of splendid physique, of charming
manners, of fine accomplishments? A
little cold at times, a little spoiled al-
ways, might not a lover find a warmth
beneath such exterior all the more genial
for the reason that it glowed for him
alone ? Volcanic fires are sometimes con-
cealed within the mountain whose crest
is covered with snow.

8



Arthur and Mary 9

Mary Blair was the daughter of the
Hon. Charles Henry Blair, the Con-
gressman from the district of which
Willow Springs is the centre, he having
been elected to this position a number
of years before, after presiding for two
terms over the judicial circuit.

Since finishing school she had been on
a visit with him in Washington, and the
attentions she received there would have
been sufficient to turn the head and
shake the purposes of a girl of less
resolution; and she was compelled to
admit to herself that the small life and
narrow associations of Willow Springs
could not fill the cultivated capacity for
social life which had been stirred within
her.

Like many other successful politicians,
Mr. Blair had not forgotten to spurn some-
what the steep ascent and rugged way by
which he had climbed, as well as the in-
valuable school of necessity in which he
had learned the earlier lessons of life.

Spurning the way, he also secretly
despised those who were yet sojourners



io The Teller's Tale

therein, and he could not bear the
thought of a village youth being reckoned
among the serious friends of his daughter.

Mary Blair might have made a wonder-
ful match had she remained in Washing-
ton, for not many men could resist the
fascinating brilliancy of her mind, and
fewer still could fail to fall under the
charm of her magnificent physical beauty.

But while these qualities take us by
storm when the possessor of them bears
down upon us, they do not, nowadays,
carry men a thousand miles, unless ac-
companied by a halo of riches.

Mary Blair had no riches. Therefore
when she returned to Willow Springs it
is natural that she should have dropped
into the rather quiet life at home, with
no prospect that an outsider would come
to take her from us.

It was the wish of Mr. and Mrs. Blair
that Mary should remain in Washington
in the presence of opportunity. Why
then did she come home? Did she re-
ciprocate the affection of Arthur St.
John? The gossips were busy with this





The charm of her magnificent physical beauty.



Arthur and Mary 1 1

question (nothing seems too sacred for
the wag of their tongues), and declared
that Arthur St. John was the one at-
traction that could reconcile her to the
oppressive dulness in the old life at
home. And the gossips are sometimes
right.

Who was this Arthur St. John, that
the world as Mary saw it should have
moved about him as a common centre?
Only this, a young man of honesty,
earnestness, cleverness, character, ad-
mired by everybody who liked goodness
and cleverness.

Mary and Arthur had been children
together, their parents living on ad-
jacent lots in the town; and she being
an only child, the two were associated
almost as closely as brother and sister.
Many a time did the dark curls of the
girl and the light hair of the boy bend
together over the sand -pile, building
castles which a summer shower would
melt away. They sat side by side in the
swing ; and gathered nuts under the old
hickory tree in the St. John yard, Mary



12 The Teller's Tale

bringing them in her apron and pouring
them down, where Arthur, hammer in
hand, soon converted them into a goodly
feast for their childish appetites.

They attended the mixed school to-
gether, and often spent their evenings
by the same lamplight, the stronger,
analytical mind of the boy guiding the
girl through many trying problems of
mathematics, while she helped him quite
as often with her finer constructive
faculty in overcoming the difficulties in
language and composition.

In their earlier and innocent child-
hood they also played sweethearts with
that trustful earnestness which is char-
acteristic of children. And this was the
beginning of those feelings and sympa-
thies which existed between Mary Blair
and Arthur St. John.

If there is a sentiment more tender,
more impressive, more enduring, than
that of our first love, and one which,
even in my advanced years, I find my-
self unable to express in the cold, hard
lines of prose composition, I have not



Arthur and Mary 13

felt it. There is an impression made
then which is unlike any ever made
afterwards a nearness, a dearness, an
indefinable, blending of spirits, which fate
accords to us but once in this life, the like
of which is echoed in Meredith's Aux
Italiens, the cry of a soul for its own first
love in the happy youth -time of long ago.

It makes little difference what has
separated us from that early love in-
compatibility of temperament, inequal-
ity of education, differences in caste or
social standing, ill-health, duties calling
us apart, even death itself; nor does it
matter what may be our lot in after-
life, there is absolutely nothing which
can supplant it or wholly supply its
place. The union made with another
may be, in every outward and material
respect, more desirable, without satis-
fying the demands of the heart. Yet
there are those who deny that the spirit
deals with our affairs not religious.

How wise hath the Creator made the
laws which govern our intrinsic selves!
For if these matters were committed to



14 The Teller's Tale

judgment, not sentiment, how, out of a
multitude of meritorious manhood and
womanhood would we be perpetually
perplexed, like the referees at a baby
show, in choosing a companion for life!
How weak would be the bonds of matri-
mony, and how unhappy would we be
in that relation, when the imperfections
of character and disposition are dis-
closed, as they surely are, by intimate
association! Would affection founded
on judgment alone carry us beyond the
honeymoon ?

But does this imply that the old love,
or the first love, was the truer or the
better love; or that if realized it would
have been more enjoyed? On the con-
trary, may we not accept as true
the sometimes debated proposition,
that it is in the pursuit of the things
desired, not in their possession, that
humanity finds its highest degree of
happiness? Is it not true that

"Man always is to be, but never is, blest" ?
Does not the disposition of the human



Arthur and Mary 15

heart to brood over the old love's loss
appear in the light of an excessive senti-
mentality, rather than a well-founded
regret ? And may we not charge up to
imagination and sentimentality, rather
than to real suffering, at least some of
our unsatisfied heart -longings ?

Does it not also follow that the old love
is no better as an asset to begin house-
keeping on than the new love, and that
when put to the test of hard times, or
misfortunes, or trials of faith, it would
not believe more, or endure more, or
suffer more ?

But let these things pass as deductions
which might be made from some lives,
but not all; for "as one star differeth
from another in glory," so the ways of
love, like the ways of Divinity whose
attribute love is, are not always dis-
cernible. Therefore we are to follow the
fortunes of Arthur St. John and Mary
Blair and know them as they are, not
as they should be.



CHAPTER III

ALBERT AND ALICE

A LBERT WARD and Alice Wilmot
** had also grown up in our little city,
and were intimate friends of Arthur St.
John and Mary Blair. Albert was the
oldest, Arthur the next, Mary the next
after Arthur, while Alice was the youngest
of the four.

Albert Ward was well educated for one
of his years, and his aptitude, steadiness,
and kindly disposition and manner had
recommended him to employment with
the County Bank, where close application
and the quickly developed faculty of do-
ing the right thing the right way had
given him rapid promotion. He was
tall and slender and rather angular; had
a swarthy complexion, and thoughtful
dark eyes, but with not quite enough
light in his face to be called handsome.

16



Albert and Alice 17

Albert Ward's father had belonged to
the old regime of aristocratic commercial
travellers, each of whom carried two
porters, and had a good time. He lived
as long as some very old men, but it
did n't take him as long to do it by
two dozen years or more. He plunged;
he speculated. His life was of course a
disappointment; his death, not unex-
pected. But whatever was his cata-
logue of faults, it is quite certain that
he was more of an enemy to himself
than to others.

Albert's mother was proud and grand,
even in her grief, which never ended.
She never believed Mr. Ward had a fault
or a failing, although, to others, her dissi-
pated life and very looks, advertised the
depths of downheartedness into which
she had descended with him.

Through the timely good offices of
others she had saved something from
the wreck of their fortunes, and was now
living with Albert in their neat little
cottage on North Street, he the cyno-
sure of her every look and thought, and



i8 The Teller's Tale

she the object of his more than filial
consideration.

Alice Wilmot, perhaps, had more to
be proud of than any one of the others
of the quartette whose fortunes were
so early interblended a disposition of
meekness, a heart of goodness, and a
character to contemplate with increasing
appreciation. She was always happy;
not in seeking happiness, but in giving it.

In playing together, it was Mary who
took and Alice who gave. It was so
with toys and cakes and apples; and
even with sweethearts, Mary had first
choice, but Alice was none the less
agreeable.

It thus occurred, in the seeming dis-
pensation of love, guided by the will and
selfishness of Mary Blair, that Albert
Ward was allotted to Alice Wilmot ; and
she seemed to be pleased with his kind,
big self walking by her petite side.

Why is a thing of beauty a joy for-
ever? Why does its loveliness increase,
instead of passing into nothingness?
Because it is a spiritual quality, indi-



Albert and Alice 19

visible and indestructible, and like all
spiritual things, increases with use and
cultivation. Not only this, but all who
feed upon beautiful things become beau-
tiful themselves.

With bodily food, surfeiting succeeds
satisfaction, and the lagging appetite
warns the physical man where assimila-
tion ends and indigestion begins, just as
conscience warns the soul against the in-
ception of sin; but there is no limit to
the capacity of the heart for enjoying
the loveliness of beauty and the ex-
hilaration which it gives.

But how shall we feed upon beauty,
and thereby become beautiful in word,
thought, and deed, and have our souls
lifted up into an atmosphere of ex-
hilaration? It is simple enough by
doing beauty, the qualities of which are
most perfectly expressed in self-sacri-
fice, the essence of love.

Our supply of beauty will be in pro-
portion to the sacrifice we have made
and the joy we have given to others.

We shall be like Alice Wilmot inde-



20 The Teller's Tale

pendent of those extrinsic agencies of
happiness which most people seek and
upon which they depend for satisfaction.

Certainly there are outward beauties
formed for the pleasure of the eye; but
these are perishing. Enduring beauty
belongs to our intrinsic selves to char-
acter ; and although manifesting itself in
the simple doing of duty, it is a progres-
sive virtue and reaches its highest expres-
sion only when we have gone far beyond
our recognized obligations.

With the light of such a presence as
Alice Wilmot to walk by his side, it is
small wonder that Albert Ward's rather
dark features should have been improved
by the association.

Under such circumstances, any man
ought to have acquired enough reflected
spirituality to make him good, and with
strength of will and purpose he should
have followed up the advantages of


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