Read CHAPTER II of The Tipster, 1901, free online book, by Edwin Lefevre, on

The clerks gave him a farewell dinner. All were there, even the head office-boy to whom the two-dollar subscription was no light matter. The man who probably would succeed Gilmartin as manager, Jenkins, acted as toastmaster. He made a witty speech which ended with a neatly turned compliment. Moreover, he seemed sincerely sorry to bid good-by to the man whose departure meant promotion which was the nicest compliment of all. And the other clerks old Williamson, long since ambition-proof; and young Hardy, bitten ceaselessly by it; and middle-aged Jameson, who knew he could run the business much better than Gilmartin; and Baldwin, who never thought of business in or out of the office all told him how good he had been and related corroborative anecdotes that made him blush and the others cheer; and how sorry they were he would no longer be with them, but how glad he was going to do so much better by himself; and they hoped he would not “cut” them when he met them after he had become a great millionaire. And Gilmartin felt his heart grow soft and feelings not all of happiness came over him. Danny, the dean of the office boys, whose surname was known only to the cashier, rose and said, in the tones of one speaking of a dear departed friend: “He was the best man in the place. He always was all right.” Everybody laughed; whereupon Danny went on, with a defiant glare at the others: “I’d work for him for nothin’ if he’d want me, instead of gettin’ ten a week from any one else.” And when they laughed the harder at this he said, stoutly: “Yes, I would!” His eyes filled with tears at their incredulity, which he feared might be shared by Mr. Gilmartin. But the toastmaster rose very gravely and said: “What’s the matter with Danny?” And all shouted in unison: “He’s all right!” with a cordiality so heartfelt that Danny smiled and sat down, blushing happily. And crusty Jameson, who knew he could run the business so much better than Gilmartin, stood up he was the last speaker and began: “In the ten years I’ve worked with Gilmartin, we’ve had our differences and well I well er oh, damn it!” and walked quickly to the head of the table and shook hands violently with Gilmartin for fully a minute, while all the others looked on in silence.

Gilmartin had been eager to go to Wall Street. But this leave-taking made him sad. The old Gilmartin who had worked with these men was no more and the new Gilmartin felt sorry. He had never stopped to think how much they cared for him nor indeed how very much he cared for them.

He told them, very simply, he did not expect ever again to spend such pleasant years anywhere as at the old office; and as for his spells of ill-temper oh, yes, they needn’t shake their heads; he knew he often was irritable he had meant well and trusted they would forgive him. If he had his life to live over again he would try really to deserve all that they had said of him on this evening. And he was very, very sorry to leave them. “Very sorry, boys; very sorry. Very sorry!” he finished lamely, with a wistful smile. He shook hands with each man a strong grip, as though he were about to go on a journey from which he might never return and in his heart of hearts there was a new doubt of the wisdom of going to Wall Street. But it was too late to draw back.

They escorted him to his house. They wished to be with him to the last possible minute.