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“With all my heart," responded Mr. Norman.
“And I'm quite sure that our worthy host will be delighted to propose as well as drink it.”
“The King!" shouted Mr. Norman, “upstanding, and three times three !” Mr. Norman sprang to his feet before he had completed the sentence, and all the others simultaneously imitated his example. The toast was drunk amidst deafening plaudits.
“I am quite sure,” resumed Mr. Sherwin, “I only give expression to the mutual feelings of our worthy host and the gallant officer, when I say that they will be most happy to shake hands, and entirely forget all that has past.”
“With infinite pleasure," responded both at once. They advanced and shook hands amidst the gratulations of all present. Harmony was then completely restored, and the remainder of the evening was spent in the most agreeable
Mr. Norman had only one partner in the publishing business, and his name was Rogers -a married man, and the father of a family. His notions on moral points were essentially the same as those of Mr. Norman and Joseph. He was in the habit, in his convivial moments, of talking loosely respecting the sacredness of the marriage obligation. Neither was he celebrated for an undue respect for the principles of honesty in his commercial transactions.
On the morning after the festive occasion to which we have alluded, Joseph called at the bibliopolic establishment of Rogers and Norman, for the purpose of seeing the latter. He had not yet arrived. Joseph was surprised at the confused manner of Mr. Rogers; and his surprise was heightened when he was not asked, as in similar circumstances he had invariably been before, to sit down till Mr. N. came. Just, however, as Joseph was leaving the place, he met Mr. Norman, and, in compliance with his request, was accompanying him inside the counter, when the latter was accosted by Mr. Rogers, who looked an impersonation of fury,
with “You - scoundrel, how dare you, sir, ever look me again in the face ?”
“What's the matter?” inquired Mr. Norman, in utter amazement, and with considerable trepidation.
• What's the matter! Your own conscience, you consummate villain, must, if you have one, tell you what's the matter."
“Upon my honour I don't understand you. What can be the meaning of this ?”
Here Joseph withdrew, not wishing to be present at.so unpleasant an altercation, especially as he had not the remotest idea of what were the circumstances which had led to it.
“If, sir, you have any regard for your own life, you will leave the counting-house directly, and never again enter the place where I am.”
“Mr. Rogers, this unaccountable conduct requires explanation.”
“Yours, sir, will admit of none, far less of justification.”
“Your conduct perfectly astounds me."
“You ought to be astounded at your own villany."
“Pray explain the meaning of all this."
“Do you, sir, know whose handwriting that is?" said Mr. Rogers, showing Mr. Norman his own signature to a letter, but concealing everything else.
“ That is my signature,” remarked the other.
“And perhaps that also is your writing," said Mr. Rogers, holding before Mr. Norman the back of a letter addressed to Mrs. Rogers.
Mr. Norman turned as pale as death, and quivered like an aspen leaf.
Mr. Rogers, whose eye glared with indignation, and whose whole manner displayed an ungovernable rage, was about to renew his denunciations of the conduct of his partner, when Mr. Merton, a venerable-looking old gentleman, remarkable alike for his amiable manners and the moral rectitude of his conduct, entered the counting-house.
The moment the door opened, Mr. Rogers, without taking the slightest notice of Mr. Merton, hurried out of the place into an 'adjoining room. Mr. Merton, being intimate with both parties, was very much surprised at this; but still he took no notice of it to Mr.
In less than two minutes, the housemaid opened the door, and, advancing with tremulous' step and flurried manner (caused by the excitement under which Mr. Rogers was labouring) towards Mr. Norman and Mr. Merton, who were both standing beside the desk inside the counter-she put a slip of paper into the hands of the latter; observing in faltering accents, “Mr. Rogers, sir, desired me to give you this."
Mr. Merton opened the piece of paper and read as follows, the ink being scarcely dry : “ Your conduct to my wife proves you to be one of the most atrocious scoundrels in exist-, ence; and if you do not quit the premises pre