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Just Going To Do It
by [?]

EVERY man has some little defect of character, some easily-besetting sin that is always overtaking him, unless he be ever on the alert. My friend, Paul Burgess, was a man of considerable force of mind; whatever he undertook was carried through with much energy of purpose. But his leading defect was a tendency to inertia in small matters. It required an adequate motive to put the machinery of his mind in operation. Some men never let a day pass without carefully seeing after every thing, little or great, that ought to be done. They cannot rest until the day’s work is fully completed. But it was very different with Paul. If the principal business transactions of the day were rightly performed, he was satisfied to let things of less consideration lie over until another time. From this cause it occurred that every few weeks there was an accumulation of things necessary to be done, so great that their aggregate calls upon his attention roused him to action, and then every thing was reduced to order with an energy, promptness, and internal satisfaction that made him wonder at himself for ever having neglected these minor interests so long. On these occasions, a firm resolution was always made never again to let a day come to its close without every thing being done that the day called for. It usually happened that the first hour did not pass after the forming of this resolution without seeing its violation–so strong was the power of habit growing out of an original defect in the mind.

Every consequence in life is the natural result of some cause, and upon the character of the cause always depends the nature of the consequence. An orderly cause never produces a disorderly consequence, and the converse of this is equally true. Every defect of character that we have, no matter how small and seemingly insignificant it may be, if suffered to flow down into our actions, produces an evil result. The man who puts off the doing of a thing until to-morrow that ought to be done to-day, injures his own interest or the interest of others. This may not always clearly show itself, but the fact is nevertheless true. Sometimes the consequences of even the smallest neglect are felt most deeply.

My friend Paul had a very familiar saying when reminded by any one of something that ought to have been previously done. “I was just going to do it,” or “I am just going to do it,” dropped from his tongue half-a-dozen times in a day.

“I wish you would have my bill ready by three o’clock,” said a customer to him, dropping in one morning.

“Very well, it shall be made out,” replied Paul.

The customer turned and walked hurriedly away. He evidently had a good deal of business to do, and but a small time to do it in.

Precisely at three, the man called, and found the merchant reading the afternoon paper.

“Is my bill made out?” he asked.

“I am just going to do it,” answered Paul, handing the paper towards his customer. “Look over the news for a few moments while I draw it off; it won’t take me long.”

“I am sorry,” replied the customer, “for I cannot wait. I have three or four more accounts to settle, and the boat leaves in an hour. Send me the bill by mail, and I will remit you the amount. Good-by”–offering his hand–“I hope to see you again in the fall.”

Paul took the extended hand of his customer, and shook it warmly. In the next moment he was standing alone, his ledger open before him, and his eye resting upon an account, the payment of which was of some importance to him just at that time. Disappointed and dissatisfied with himself, he closed the ledger heavily and left the desk, instead of making out the account and mailing it. On the next day, the want of just the amount of money he would have received from his customer kept him on the street two hours. It was three weeks before he made out the account and sent it on. A month elapsed, but no remittance came. He dropped his customer a line, and received for answer that when last in the city he had bought more goods than he intended, and consequently paid away all his cash; business had not yet begun to stir, and thus far what little he had sold had been for credit, but that he hoped soon to make him a remittance. The next news Paul had of his customer was that he had failed.