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my power at present to serve you, I assure you there is no one whom I would so willingly oblige, but you can't be at a los for so small à sun, you have many friends who will doubt, less be happy to come forward on this
"My father dis lained to reply to this speech, which never.heless cut him to the heart; there was not one of his friends on whom he had so firm a reliance, as the man whom he had just proved to be false and hollow; necessity, however, urged him to try others, but, alas! he met with ingratitude and disappointment everywhere.
"He determined to call his creditors together, to give up the remnant of his all amongst them, and then to seek a subsistence at a distance from Loudon. The morning before the meeting of the creditors, he was told that Mr. Thornton wanted to see him; he would gladly have dispensed with this gentleman's. visit; Mr. Thornton was a merchant,
he was a man just in his dealings, but parsimonious in the extreme.
"He comes (thought my father), to exult in my misfortunes, but he shall at least see that I can bear them like a man; and he ordered the servant to admit him.
"Good morning to you, Mr. Villars, (said the old man, entering with an air of unusual respect, for his manners were blunt, and unpolished.) I am sorry to find that you have met with those misfortunes to which we are all liable, and I came to offer you my services.'
"My father thanked him with not small degree of surprise, but said he had no occasion to trouble him; Mr.. Thornton, however, would not take this
"Look'ee, Mr. Villars (cried he), I can assist you without injury to myself, and I am determined that I will do it, so no compliments, but let us proceed like men of business.
"How happens it (said my father), that you, with whom I never was on terms of friendship, or even intimacy, should thus generously step forward at a time when I find myself deserted by all who ought to serve me.'
"Mr. Thornton pressed his hand, you are an honest man, sinking under the pressure of unmerited calamity, and that is enough for me' (cried he).
"The generosity of this eccentric, but worthy man, was the means of enabling my father to settle his affairs; he paid his creditors twenty shillings in the pound, and in a short time saw himself clear with his friend Thornton, and in possession of a sum that would be a moderate independence for the rest of his days. I will not tempt my fortune farther (said he), and he retired from business. He was rather advanced in life, and had no thoughts of marrying, but the person and disposition of my mother, induced him
to enter a state, in which he experienced the greatest happiness.
"I was their only child, and at a very early age I showed a strong disposition to a life of commerce; in compliance with my earnest wishes, I was placed with Mr. Denton, a gentleman of eminence in the line, and with him I still am.
"Mr. Denton has the strongest confidence in me, and until a few days since, it was not ill placed, but in an unfortunate moment, I was prevailed upon to lend to a gentleman whom I had known from infancy, a large sum that I had in my hands of Mr. Denton's, he solemnly promised to return it within a few hours, and as I knew that it would essentially serve him, I thought not of the imprudence of which I was guilty. Oh, sir! what were my feelings, when I learned the next morning, that the villain had absconded; ruin and infamy stared me in the face, and what was worse than all, I should bring
disgrace upon the grey hairs of my beloved father. In a moment of despair, I formed the desperate resolution of trying my fortune at the gaming table, and though the hope of winning such a sum appeared almost chimerical, yet, I had nearly realized it, when my reverse of fortune, tempted me to the rash act which you prevented."
Montalva presented him with the money, and added to it the sum he wanted, which was not a large one; he interrupted Villars's acknowledgments, by expressing a wish to take some rest, and giving Henry his address, they retired to separate apartments.
It was the first time in Montalva's. whole life that he had ever done what might be termed a disinterested good action, and oppressed as his conscience was with a load of guilt, he enjoyed for some moments the pleasure of having relieved a fellow creature from despair; but the worm that never dies, soon dissipated the pleasing reflections that