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I Knew How It Would Be
by [?]

“HE’LL never succeed!” was the remark of Mr. Hueston, on reference being made to a young man named Eldridge, who had recently commenced business.

“Why not?” was asked.

“He’s begun wrong.”

“In what way?”

“His connection is bad.”

“With Dalton?”

“Yes. Dalton is either a knave or a fool. The former, I believe; but in either case the result will be the same to his partner. Before two years, unless a miracle takes place, you will see Eldridge, at least, coming out at the little end of the horn. I could have told him this at first, but it was none of my business. I never meddle with things that don’t concern me.”

“You know Dalton, then?”

“I think I do.”

“Has he been in business before?”

“Yes, half a dozen times; and somehow or other, he has always managed to get out of it, with cash in hand, long enough before it broke down to escape all odium and responsibility.”

“I’m sorry for Eldridge. He’s a clever young man, and honest into the bargain.”

“Yes; and he has energy of character and some business talents. But he is too confiding. And here is just the weakness that will prove his ruin. He will put too much faith in his plausible associate.”

“Some one should warn him of his danger. Were I intimate enough to venture on the freedom, I would certainly do so.”

“I don’t meddle myself with other people’s affairs. One never gets any thanks for the trouble he takes on this score. At least, that is my experience. And, moreover, it’s about as much as I can do to take good care of my own concerns. This is every man’s business.”

“I wish you had given the young man a word of caution before he was involved with Dalton.”

“I did think of doing so; but then I reflected that it was his look-out, and not mine. Each man has to cut his eye-teeth for himself, you know.”

“True; but when we see a stumbling-block in the way of a blind man, or one whose eyes are turned in another direction, we ought at least to utter a warning word. It seems to me that we owe that much good-will to our fellows.”

“Perhaps we do. And I don’t know that it would have been any harm if I had done as you suggest. However, it is too late now.”

“I think not. A hint of the truth would put him on his guard.”

“I don’t know.”

“Oh, yes, it would.”

“I am not certain. Dalton is a most plausible man; and I am pretty sure that, in the mind of a person like Eldridge, he can inspire the fullest confidence. To suggest any thing wrong, now, would not put him on his guard, and might lead the suggester into trouble.”

Much more was said on both sides, but no good result flowed from the conversation. Mr. Hueston did not hesitate to declare that he knew how it would all be in the end; but at the same time said that it was none of his business, and that “every man must look out for himself.”

The character of Dalton was by no means harshly judged by Mr. Hueston. He was, at heart, a knave; yet a most cunning and specious one. Eldridge, on the contrary, was the very soul of integrity; and, being thoroughly honest in all his intentions, it was hard for him to believe that any man who spoke fair to him, and professed to be governed by right principles, could be a scoundrel. With a few thousand dollars, his share of his father’s estate, he had come to Boston for the purpose of commencing some kind of business. With creditable prudence, he entered the store of a merchant and remained there for a year, in order to obtain a practical familiarity with trade. During this period he fell in with Dalton, who was in a small commission way that barely yielded him enough to meet his expenses. Dalton was not long in discovering that Eldridge had some cash, and that his ultimate intention was to engage in business for himself. From that time he evinced towards the young man a very friendly spirit, and soon found a good reason for changing his boarding-place, and making his home under the same roof with Eldridge. To win upon the young man’s confidence was no hard matter. Before six months, Dalton was looked upon as a generous-minded friend, who had his interest deeply at heart. All his views in regard to business were freely communicated; and he rested upon the suggestions of Dalton with the confidence of one who believed that he had met a friend, not only fully competent to advise aright, but thoroughly unselfish in all his feelings.