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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 VIII. Gain employment

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The generosity of my old shipmate had rescued
me from absolute want, and given me a
short respite from death. The means which I
now possessed I was resolved to use with the
greatest prudence, and make one more exertion
to prove my proud cousin a liar, and render myself
worthy of Georgiana De Lancey. I tried
hard to forget her, but without success; I could
sooner have forgotten myself; she was a part
of my existence. She hovered over me in my
dreams at night, and walked by my side through
the day; I heard her voice in every gentle sound,
and I saw her sweet smile in every thing that was
bright and beautiful. The folly and absurdity of
such feelings towards one who knew nothing of
me, and of whom I knew nothing, were apparent
to me, but I could not overcome them. I could
only hope that time and exertion might eradicate
them; I dared not to hope that they would ever
be gratified.

In accordance with my prudent resolutions, I
obtained a cheap boarding house, and in a few

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days, I chanced to see an advertisement in one of
the morning papers, for a clerk in an office in
South street. I determined to let no opportunity
pass of gaining employment, though it were in
ever so humble a capacity. I had waited upon
Fortune long enough to find that I was not one of
her favorites, and now I meant to depend solely
upon my own exertions.

The advertisement directed applicants for the
situation to apply at the counting room of Marisett
& Co. in South street, between nine and ten
in the morning. So I dressed myself as neatly as
I could, and made my appearance at the appointed
place, as the clock struck nine, determined to be
the first on the list of applicants.

I felt a little nervous, as I went in, and inquired,
with some trepidation, for Mr. Marisett.

One of the clerks who was writing at the nearest
desk, spoke to another clerk, whom he called Mr.
Hopper, and asked if Mr. Marisett had come

“Mr. Marisett is not in the office,” said Mr.
Hopper, addressing himself to me, “but our Mr.
Bargin is in. Have you any business with the

“Nothing very particular,” I replied, “I

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wanted to make application for the clerkship which is

The announcement of my business gained me a
glance from all the other clerks, who looked at
me over their desks.

“O, ah!” said Mr. Hopper, “you will find
our Mr. Bargin in the private office. Perhaps he
can arrange matters with you.”

Mr. Hopper pointed with his pen towards the
door of the private office, and I entered, with my
hat in my hand. It was a neatly carpeted room,
and the walls were hung round with the portraits
of ships. There were three writing desks, with a
broad bottomed mahogany arm chair to each, one
of which was partly filled by a long sided cadaverous
looking gentleman, with his neck confined in
a stiff white cravat; he was very neat in his
dress, and looked as though he had just been taken
out of a bandbox. A pair of green colored
kid gloves, as spotless as a snow drop, lay aside
of a pile of unopened letters, on his desk before
him. As there was no other person in the office,
I supposed, rightly enough, that this was Mr.
Bargin. He looked at me inquiringly, as I entered,
and I told him the object of my visit.

“Very good, sir,” he said, “have the goodness
to take a seat for a few moments.”

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I sat down, and soon after another gentleman
came in. He addressed Mr. Bargin, as “William,”
and Mr. Bargin called him “Mr. Garvey.”

Mr. Garvey took up the letters which Mr. Bargin
had opened, and glanced over them very
rapidly, apparently imbibing their contents with
as much ease as a mirror reflects an object when
held before it.

Mr. Garvey was a very spare gentleman, and
his hair was very red; his dress was of the very
straitest cut of the straitest of all possible sects,
Hicksite quakers; his coat had neither a superfluous
button, nor a superfluous seam; and no luxurious
linen showed itself above his narrow confined
neck-cloth, to hide the sharp points of his projecting

“The cotton market looks well,” said Mr. Garvey.

“Quite so,” replied Mr. Bargin.

“Them sea islands will leave a handsome margin,”
said Mr. G.

“Very much so,” replied Mr. B.

“Who is that?” asked Mr. Garvey, putting his
mouth close to Mr. Bargin's ear, but speaking
loud enough to be heard in the next office.

“Thee wants to apply for the situation, does

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thee?” said Mr. Garvey, addressing himself to

“Yes, sir,” I replied, rising.

“What house was thee in last?”

“I have never been employed in any counting
house,” I replied.

“What is thy name?”

“Harry Franco.”

“Well, Henry, how old is thee?”

“I am about twenty. But my name is Harry.”

“Thee is particular, Harry, about thy name;
thee shouldst also be particular about thy age. Is
thee just twenty, or more than twenty, or not quite

“A little more than twenty.”

“I should think so. I don't think thee will answer,
but thee can sit down and wait until our John
Marisett comes in; he will arrange with thee.”

Very fortunately Mr. Garvey put no more questions
to me, or if he had, it is probable I should
have given him a reply that would have ruined my
prospects with the house of Marisett & Co.

After Mr. Garvey had left, Mr. Bargin remarked,
that it was the senior partner of the firm who
wanted a clerk, and consequently he preferred
making the engagement himself, otherwise there
would be no necessity for me to wait for him.

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But I was not kept waiting a great while longer,
for Mr. Marisett came in very soon after Mr. Garvey
went out. He spoke to me before he read one
of his letters, and having asked me one or two unimportant
questions, he said that, although he had
named the hour in his advertisement, he should not
be able to attend to me, and requested me to call
on him again at five o'clock, when he would be at

The words and kind manner of Mr. Marisett,
were drops of honey to me, and I left the counting
room with the most agreeable anticipations of success.

Time went wearily with me until five, and just
as the clock struck the appointed hour, I entered
Mr. Marisett's private office, and found him at his
desk alone.

“Ah,” he said, looking at his watch, “there is
nothing like punctuality. Sit down.”

After writing a few minutes, he laid down his
pen, and wheeled round his chair, folded his hands
quietly together, and having paused a moment,
asked me my name, what my former occupation
had been, how long I had been in the city, and
what my age was; but in a manner so kind and
encouraging, that I felt assured there could be
nothing gained by practising the least deception,

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and so I related to him, as plainly and as shortly
as I could, the particulars of my adventures since I
left my home; the manner in which I got my money
on board the man of war, and the manner in
which I had lost it. I said nothing, however,
about the predictions of my cousin, nor of the
beauty of Georgiana De Lancey.

He listened very patiently to my relation, sometimes
smiling slightly, and sometimes looking very
grave. When I had made an end, he said that
my education and habits had not been exactly of
the right kind, to fit me for the duties which he
should put upon me, if he were to engage me as
his clerk. But as they were very simple, and required
nothing so much as industry and punctuality,
he thought I might discharge them to his satisfaction,
if I chose to devote my whole time to

I assured him that I would not only devote all
my time to his service, but that I would make use of
all the energy of which I was master, to qualify
myself for the duties which he might require of me.

He said that his two partners, and each of the
clerks in his employ, had their respective duties to
perform, and he wanted a clerk to attend to his
own private affairs, and when necessary to assist
in the counting room. Such an employment, he

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remarked, would afford me an opportunity of acquiring
a knowledge of mercantile affairs, and fit
me for some more important station. He concluded
by saying he would take me on trial for a
month, and at the end of that time, if he was satisfied
with me, and I should be willing to remain with
him, he would make a permanent engagement with

I left the office of Mr. Marisett in an ecstacy of
pleasurable anticipations. The first time I saw him,
I felt my affections drawn out towards him. His
manners were winning and unaffected, and while
his gentleness and apparent good nature inspired
you with confidence, and led you to act without
restraint in his presence, there was a calm dignity
about him which inspired you with respect; indeed,
with me, it amounted to a feeling of awe.

In person, Mr. Marisett was a little under the
ordinary height; but he was very muscular, and
somewhat inclined to corpulency, although there
was not the slightest approach to grossness; his
complexion was clear and ruddy; his forehead was
high and broad, and as smooth as marble; his
hair was a rich chestnut color; he wore it long and
parted on his forehead; perhaps he was vain of it;
if so, it was a most excusable vanity, for it was
truly a glory even to a head like his. But his

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most remarkable feature was his mouth; you might
read his whole character in its expression, it was so
sweetly stern, so firm, so gentle. He had a peculiar
manner of compressing his lips, and casting
down his eyes, which, having once seen, you could
never forget.

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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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