But still, I'm not sorry you stuck to business. It's such a constructive career." "Do you really think so?" yearned Raymie, across the apple-sauce. It was the first time that either of them had found a dependable intellectual companionship. They looked down on Willis Woodford the bank-clerk, and his anxious babycentric wife, the silent Lyman Casses, the slangy traveling man, and the rest of Mrs.
The plastic mind of the bank-clerk had been overlaid, colored and distorted by that which he had read, and the result as delivered was a confused tangle of other voices most like the muttered song through a City telephone in the busiest part of the day. He talked of the galley his own galley had he but known it with illustrations borrowed from the "Bride of Abydos."
For the space of about twenty-five minutes Psmith sat in silence, concentrated on his ledger, the picture of the model bank-clerk. Then he flung down his pen, slid from his stool with a satisfied sigh, and dusted his waistcoat. 'A commercial crisis, he said, 'has passed. The job of work which Comrade Rossiter indicated for me has been completed with masterly skill. The period of anxiety is over.
Still it was necessary to salve my conscience before I possessed myself of Charlie's thoughts. "Let's make a bargain. I'll give you a fiver for the notion," I said. Charlie became a bank-clerk at once. "Oh, that's impossible. Between two pals, you know, if I may call you so, and speaking as a man of the world, I couldn't. Take the notion if it's any use to you. I've heaps more."
But a debt of four hundred dollars hanging over his head was an argument in favour of a clerkship in the bank, at a salary of a thousand dollars a year, not to be resisted. "I'll keep it until I get even with the world again," he consoled himself by saying, "and then I'll go back into a counting-room. I've an ambition above being a bank-clerk all my life."
What chance had he against the memories of men? Would the man of whom he had bought, forget that the check was signed by Roger's agent? Had the bank-clerk forgotten? Thrice fool, Martin Pike, to dream that in a town like Canaan, Norbert or any of his kind could touch an order for so great a sum and forget it! But Martin Pike had not dreamed that; had dreamed nothing.
To get these burdens off his shoulders, it took twelve months longer, and then he was nearly thirty years of age. "Thirty years old!" said he to himself on his thirtieth birth-day. "Can it be possible? Long before this I ought to have been doing a flourishing business, and here I am, nothing but a bank-clerk, with the prospect of never rising a step higher as long as I live.
The summer came and was peculiarly fine, and almost every evening Clare might be seen taking his pleasure neither like bank-clerk nor like nurse-maid, for always he had little Ann in his arms, or was leading her along with care and entire attention: he never let her walk except on entreaty, and not always then.
Van Ness, whose relations with the Wharton family had been extremely intimate for many years, was a bank-clerk, but during the spring and early summer of 1871, besides attending to his regular duties, was employed in settling a large estate. He habitually rose early, often at 5 A.M., and generally worked until eleven o'clock at night.
Morris looked on in dismay at the various futile plans suggested as remedies at the proposal to make the bankrupt Caisse d'Escompte a national bank, at the foolish Caisse Patriotique, and at the issue of assignats. "If they only had a financier of the calibre of Hamilton," said Mr. Morris to Calvert; "but they haven't a man to compare with that young genius. Necker is only a sublimated bank-clerk.