By: George Payne Rainsford James (1799-1860)
Humphrey Scriven is a fine, genial, mercantile man, left widowed to raise three daughters and a son. Two of the daughters marry well although happiness is not enduring. The other defers her marriage, knowing her father disapproves of her choice. The son is a disappointment to his father -- his character is not as generous or kind. However, in time, this son inherits the business, with the exception of a portion left to a trusted clerk, Mr. Hayley. But there is a secret side to Mr. Hayley and maybe he is not quite the right man to guide the novice merchant. The two part ways acrimoniously and the clerk is driven to actions for which his son pays dearly.