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Making Haste To Be Rich
by [?]

“CENT to cent, shilling to shilling, and dollar to dollar, slowly and steadily, like the progress of a mole in the earth! That may suit some, but it will never do for Sidney Lawrence. There is a quicker road to fortune than that, and I am the man to walk in it. ‘Enterprise’ is the word. Yes, enterprise, enterprise, enterprise! Nothing venture, nothing gain, is my motto.”

“Slow and sure is the safer motto, my young friend, and if you will take my advice, you will be content to creep before you walk, and to walk before you run. The cent to cent and dollar to dollar system is the only sure one.”

This was the language of an old merchant, who had made his fortune by the system he recommended, and was addressed to a young man just entering business with a capital of ten thousand dollars, the joint property of himself and an only sister.

Sidney Lawrence had been raised in a large mercantile establishment, that was doing an immense business and making heavy profits. But all its operations were based upon adequate capital and enlarged experience. When he commenced for himself, he could not brook the idea of keeping near the shore, like a little boat, and following its safer windings; he felt like launching out boldly into the ocean and reaching the desired haven by the quickest course. He wished to accumulate money rapidly, and believed that, on the capital he possessed, five or six thousand dollars a year might as easily be made as one thousand, if a man only had sufficient enterprise to push business vigorously. The careful, plodding course pursued by some, and strongly recommended to him, he despised. It was beneath a man of true business capacity.

“As I said before, nothing venture, nothing gain,” replied Lawrence to the old merchant’s good advice. “I am not content to eke out a thousand or two dollars every year, and, at the age of fifty or sixty, retire from business on a paltry twenty or thirty thousand dollars. I must get rich fast, or not at all.”

“Remember the words of Solomon, my young friend,” returned the merchant. “‘He that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.‘ Among all the sayings of the wise man, there is not one truer than that. I have been in business for thirty years, and have seen the rise and fall of a good many ‘enterprising’ men, who were in a hurry to get rich. Their history is an instructive lesson to all who will read it. Some got rich, or at least appeared to get rich, in a very short space of time. They grew up like mushrooms in a night. But they were gone as quickly. I can point you to at least twenty elegant mansions, built by such men in their heyday of prosperity, that soon passed into other hands. And I can name to you half a dozen and more, who, when reverses came, were subjected to trials for alleged fraudulent practices, resorted to in extremity as a means of sustaining their tottering credit and escaping the ruin that threatened to engulf them. One of these, in particular, was a young man whom I raised, and who had always acted with the most scrupulous honesty while in my store. But he was ardent, ambitious, and anxious to get rich. His father started him in business with ten thousand dollars capital. In a little while, he was trading high, and pushing his business to the utmost of its capacity. At the end of a couple of years, his father had to advance him ten thousand dollars more to keep him from failing. During the next five years, he expanded with wonderful rapidity, built himself a splendid house, and took his place at the court end of the town, as one of our wealthy citizens. It was said of him that he had made a hundred thousand dollars. But the downfall came at last, as come I knew it must. He toppled over and fell down headlong. Then it was discovered that he had been making fictitious notes, purporting to be the bills payable of country merchants, which his own credit had carried through a number of the banks, as well as made pass freely to money-brokers. He had to stand a long and painful trial for forgery, and came within an ace of being sent to the State’s prison. As soon as the trial closed, he left the city, and I have never heard of him since.”