Roads of Destiny HTML version

The Guardian Of The Accolade
Not the least important of the force of the Weymouth Bank was Uncle Bushrod. Sixty
years had Uncle Bushrod given of faithful service to the house of Weymouth as chattel,
servitor, and friend. Of the colour of the mahogany bank furniture was Uncle Bushrod—
thus dark was he externally; white as the uninked pages of the bank ledgers was his soul.
Eminently pleasing to Uncle Bushrod would the comparison have been; for to him the
only institution in existence worth considering was the Weymouth Bank, of which he was
something between porter and generalissimo-in-charge.
Weymouth lay, dreamy and umbrageous, among the low foothills along the brow of a
Southern valley. Three banks there were in Weymouthville. Two were hopeless,
misguided enterprises, lacking the presence and prestige of a Weymouth to give them
glory. The third was The Bank, managed by the Weymouths—and Uncle Bushrod. In the
old Weymouth homestead—the red brick, white-porticoed mansion, the first to your right
as you crossed Elder Creek, coming into town—lived Mr. Robert Weymouth (the
president of the bank), his widowed daughter, Mrs. Vesey—called "Miss Letty" by every
one—and her two children, Nan and Guy. There, also in a cottage on the grounds, resided
Uncle Bushrod and Aunt Malindy, his wife. Mr. William Weymouth (the cashier of the
bank) lived in a modern, fine house on the principal avenue.
Mr. Robert was a large, stout man, sixty-two years of age, with a smooth, plump face,
long iron-gray hair and fiery blue eyes. He was high-tempered, kind, and generous, with a
youthful smile and a formidable, stern voice that did not always mean what it sounded
like. Mr. William was a milder man, correct in deportment and absorbed in business. The
Weymouths formed The Family of Weymouthville, and were looked up to, as was their
right of heritage.
Uncle Bushrod was the bank's trusted porter, messenger, vassal, and guardian. He carried
a key to the vault, just as Mr. Robert and Mr. William did. Sometimes there was ten,
fifteen, or twenty thousand dollars in sacked silver stacked on the vault floor. It was safe
with Uncle Bushrod. He was a Weymouth in heart, honesty, and pride.
Of late Uncle Bushrod had not been without worry. It was on account of Marse Robert.
For nearly a year Mr. Robert had been known to indulge in too much drink. Not enough,
understand, to become tipsy, but the habit was getting a hold upon him, and every one
was beginning to notice it. Half a dozen times a day he would leave the bank and step
around to the Merchants and Planters' Hotel to take a drink. Mr. Robert's usual keen
judgment and business capacity became a little impaired. Mr. William, a Weymouth, but
not so rich in experience, tried to dam the inevitable backflow of the tide, but with
incomplete success. The deposits in the Weymouth Bank dropped from six figures to
five. Past-due paper began to accumulate, owing to injudicious loans. No one cared to
address Mr. Robert on the subject of temperance. Many of his friends said that the cause
of it had been the death of his wife some two years before. Others hesitated on account of
Mr. Robert's quick temper, which was extremely apt to resent personal interference of