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Briggs, Charles F. (Charles Frederick), 1804-1877 [1839], The adventures of Harry Franco. Volume 2 (F. Saunders, New York) [word count] [eaf025v2].
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CHAPTER III. Bright and pleasant. —On the high road to riches.

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As I was sitting in the hall of my boarding-house
after dinner, conjuring up a thousand bright
images, I heard my name spoken by somebody at
the door, and starting up, I perceived Mr. Dooitt.
That wealthy gentleman had called on me to invite
me to his house to tea; his carriage was at
the door, and of course I could not refuse so
great an honor. I took my seat in his barouche
in a high state of excitement. Mr. Dooitt's equipage
spoke his immense riches. His coachman
was dressed in a long blue coat, the seams of
which were covered with gold lace; he wore a
pair of bright yellow gauntlets, such as tragedy
heroes wear on the stage, and his glossy hat was
ornamented with a broad gold band. The footman
behind the carriage was dressed in the same
manner, with the exception of the gauntlets.

Mr. Dooitt was not, like some great men,
ashamed of the condition from which he had risen,
but, on the contrary, spoke with becoming frankness
of his sudden elevation.

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“Only eight months ago,” said Mr. Dooitt, “I
done a small business in the hook and eye trade.”

“As a jobber?” I inquired, wishing to make myself

“No, I warn't even a jobber,” said Mr. Dooitt,
meekly, “I was only a commission agent for a New
England concern.”

“Is it possible!” I exclaimed.

“Yes, it is possible,” he replied, “and now I
am worth millions. But mind you, I don't want
it to be known.”

“Why not; it is not looked upon as disgraceful,
is it?” I inquired.

“O! no, quite the contrary,” said Mr. Dooitt,
“but they would make me pay a heap of taxes if
they knew how rich I am.”

I could not but express my admiration of Mr.
Dooitt's talents and good fortune.

“There is no good fortune about it,” he said,
“any man may get rich if he isn't a fool. I have
taken a kind of a liking to you, and if you will
take my advice, I will put you in a way of making
two or three hundred thousand dollars in less than
six months.”

I thanked Mr. Dooitt, with great fervency, for
his kind offers, and as he saw my eyes fill with
tears, he very considerately turned the

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conversation, and told me he intended, as soon as he could
arrange his affairs, to go to Europe, where his father's
relations were living.

I asked him in what part of Europe his relations
lived; he said he didn't exactly know, but he had
no doubt he could easily find them for money.

As Mr. Dooitt's house was in the very genteelest
extremity of the city, it was almost dark before we
reached it, but there was still light enough for me
to discover that it was a bran new house, and as
nearly resembling all the rest in the same street, as
though they had all been cast in the same mould.
It was as red as red paint could make it, the windows
were shaded with bright green blinds, and the
front door and iron railings were all bronzed. As
we walked into the hall, it smelt of varnish, like a
cabinet maker's shop; every thing was bright and
new. Mrs. Dooitt was seated in the parlor, on a
crimson ottoman, with a superbly bound annual in
her hand.

“Allow me to make you acquainted with my
wife,” said Mr. Dooitt. “My dear, this is my particular
friend, Mr.—Mr.—. I forget exactly the

“Mr. Franco,” I said, blushing very red.

“Mr. Franco,” said Mr. Dooitt.

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The lady rose and made a very low curtsey,
and I made a very low bow.

I felt very much embarrassed, but ventured to
remark that the weather was very pleasant.

“It is indeed very,” said Mrs. Dooitt, with so
much earnestness in her manner, that I congratulated
myself upon having made an observation exactly
suited to the occasion. So I followed it up
with another on the same subject.

“I think we may reasonably expect a change
before long,” I said.

“Indeed, I should not be extremely surprised,
if we did experience one before a very lengthy
period of time,” observed Mrs. Dooitt, emphatically.

Feeling entirely at a loss for another remark, I
fixed my eyes upon a plaster cast of General Lafayette,
which stood on the mantel piece, with as
much earnestness as though I had never seen one
before in my life.

Mr. D. seeing that I cast a glance towards the
marble centre table, remarked, that it was a beautiful
piece of mechanism, and asked me to guess
how much it cost.

I had not the slightest knowledge of the value
of furniture, but I felt ashamed to say so, and I
guessed a thousand dollars. At which Mr. and

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Mrs. D. both laughed very loud, and both spoke
at once, and said it cost eighty dollars only. I felt
very much confused, but Mrs. D. appeared to be
highly delighted with my blunder. She asked me
to guess how much the French clock on the mantel
cost; and then Mr. D. asked me to guess how
much the card tables cost. My answers caused a
good deal of merriment to Mr. D. and his accomplished
lady, and, after having spent half an hour
in this pleasant manner, he asked me to take a
glass of champagne with him, which of course I
did not refuse, and then I was invited into the tearoom
to tea.

The tea-room was a little square box, with whitewashed
walls, and one window with a green blind
to it. Like the hall and the parlor, the tea-room
smelt disagreeably strong of paint. We were
waited upon by the coachman, with his blue laced
coat, but without his yellow gauntlets. The tea
table was most abundantly covered with all manner
of contrivances, for destroying the appetite;
there were two plates of cakes, a plate of cheese,
another of bread, another of crackers, two glass
dishes of preserves, a champagne glass full of radishes,
a dish of hot waffles, a plate of raw beef,
and a plate of butter.

I had eaten a hearty dinner at five o'clock, and

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the champagne which I had just drank, had given
me a perfect loathing for food, and I was distressed
beyond measure by Mr. Dooitt and his wife, pressing
me to eat, sometimes alternately, and sometimes

“Have you got the dyspepsia?” asked Mrs. D.

“Aint you a Grahamite?” asked Mr. D.

“Why dont you eat?” ejaculated both together.

I spent a very uncomfortable half hour at the
tea table, and then Mr. Dooitt and I returned to
the parlor; Mrs. D. remaining in the tea-room,
as she said, to feed the baby.

Mr. Dooitt exhibited to me the plan of a good
many new cities, and he promised to name a street
after me in one of them, if I would take an interest
in it.

I replied, that I certainly should take a very
lively interest in it.

He said the kind of interest he meant, was to
buy some of the lots. He offered them to me on
the same terms that Mr. Worhoss had; but as I
had promised that gentleman that I would not
make any purchase, without consulting him, I was
obliged to decline Mr. Dooitt's liberal offer.
Finding that I would not buy any lots, he said if
I would lend him a thousand dollars, he would

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allow one quarter per cent. interest per day for it,
and give me some endorsed paper as collateral
security. By doing this, he remarked, my money
would not remain idle an hour

I liked this proposition very well; for the rate
of interest which he offered me, would pay my
daily expenses, and I could select some lots, either
from his city or from Mr. Worhoss's, at my
leisure. But I felt a little delicate about receiving
collateral security, from a gentleman of Mr. Dooitt's
wealth, and liberal feelings; so I tóld him if
he would give me his own note, and name in it
the rate of interest which he proposed to pay me,
to guard against accidents, I would not require
the collaterals. He assented very willingly to this
proposal, and I gave him the money, and he gave
me the note as I wished. After we had concluded
this negotiation, I pretended to have an engagement,
and took my leave of my generous host. It
is such men as Mr. Dooitt, I thought to myself, as
I left his door, who compel us to think well of our
species, and convince us that the human heart is
not, as some assert, wholly evil.

As I am writing my own adventures, I might,
of course, pass over all my own weaknesses without
noticing them, and so give the reader a more
favorable impression of my character than it

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might deserve; but that, I conceive, would be
acting unfairly, and I shall therefore make a record
of my foibles with as much candor, as though
I were writing the adventures of somebody else.

The attentions which were shown me by the
wealthy speculator in fast property, and the bright
prospects which were opened to my delighted fancy,
by the promises of that gentleman, and my
old friend, Mr. Worhoss, nearly upset my reason.
As I walked from Mr. Dooitt's house down Broadway,
I felt very grand, and twirled round my black
ebony stick, and inclined my head from one side
to the other, as though it was so full of big
thoughts, that I could not keep it balanced upon
my shoulders. I stopped at some of the genteelest
bar-rooms, and drank a julep in one, a cock
tail in another, and a sangaree in another; and
to appear grand, I bought a shilling's worth of
Spanish cigars; but I took good care not to put
one of the nauseous things into my mouth.

I got to my boarding house about midnight,
and went to bed, and awoke the next morning
with a burning thirst, and a terrible feeling in my
head. At the breakfast-table, I nibbled my toast,
and sipped my coffee, with as poor an appetite as
the greatest gentleman could desire. There was

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not the least affectation in the mincing airs which
I exhibited. I felt miserably enough.

It was not long before I began to have misgivings
that the suit of clothes which I had purchased
at the “emporium of fashion,” were not as
strictly genteel as they might be, and I consulted
Mr. Worhoss on the propriety of purchasing a
new suit. He advised me to do so by all means,
and said he would introduce me to his own tailor,
the celebrated Mr. Suffers, of the late house
of Allskirt and Suffers. Mr. Worhoss was very
warm in the praise of his tailor; he represented
him as being a perfect gentleman in his manners,
and so entirely devoted to the science of
cutting, that he cut up five pieces of superfine
wool dyed black cloth, annually, in experimental
garments. Like all the rest of the world,
Mr. Suffers had grown immensely rich by speculating
in lots, but he still continued to carry on
his business from a love of art.

For my own part, I thought the best plan would
be to employ the gentleman who published the
reports of the fashions, but Mr. Worhoss said it
was a decidedly vulgar concern, and I allowed
myself to be guided by his better judgment. He
took me to the establishment of the celebrated Mr.

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Suffers, in Broadway, and introduced me to him,
and I submitted myself to the hands of that accomplished
gentleman, who took my measure for
a full suit, consisting of a black dress coat
with a velvet collar, a green satin vest, and a pair
of pantaloons of ribbed cassimere. Mr. Suffers
recommended me to have my coat of inwisible
green, and althoughit was, no doubt, presumption
in me to differ from such high authority in
matters of dress, yet I insisted on having black.

Fine clothes, they say, make fine birds; but
they do more, they cause fine feelings. I was so
well pleased with my new suit when I put it on,
that I made a memorandum, at the time, of the
leading ideas of an essay I meant to write on the
usefulness of tailors; but as I was afterwards very
much annoyed by the frequent calls of Mr. Suffers'
collector, I concluded not to write it.

Time passed pleasantly away for a few days;
I became acquainted with a good many genteel
young men, and a good many lucky speculators
in lots—noble, whole souled fellows, who spared
no expense in promoting their own pleasures,
but who were quite indifferent about the happiness
of others. Female society I was a stranger
to, but I did not regret it. The gentle image of

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Georgiana De Lancey, which grew brighter and
brighter in my memory, was all-sufficient for me.
I felt myself in honor bound, for her sake, to
keep aloof from all woman kind.

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Briggs, Charles F. (Charles Frederick), 1804-1877 [1839], The adventures of Harry Franco. Volume 2 (F. Saunders, New York) [word count] [eaf025v2].
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