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THE GREAT CHOWSEMPOOR BANK.

It has long been a prevalent idea with that
benighted creature, "the million," that to
follow the vocation of a banker, requires a
long life of training in the deep, mysterious
workings of complicated accounts, interest-
tables, and something more than mere
multiplication; that to become an expert and
successful banker, involves deep and patient
study, long practice, and an unblemished
career; in short, that bankers, like bishops,
can hardly be worth anything until their hair
is grey. It has been the task of the Anglo-
Indian community of the present century to
demonstrate the hollowness of this long-
cherished belief. The wise men of the East
have flung the antiquated Lombard Street
creed far into the shade; they have
demonstrated to a nicety that what Lord Byron
once wrote of criticism may now be equally
applied to the banker's craft:

"A man must serve his time to every trade,
Save banking, bankers all are ready made."

Under the genial influence of a tropical
climate, the development of a bank far out-
strips the fabled worth of Jack's magic
beanstalk. While some institutions on the old
system, in the old country, would be issuing
circulars and preparing their ledgers; in the
East, young military subs and beardless
civilians spring up into full-grown, " first-
chop " bank directors.

It was in the latter part of the year
eighteen hundred and somethingnot so long
since, but that I perfectly remember all the
circumstances, and I am not an old man yet,—
when a party of officers and civilians sitting
round the mess-table at Blankpoor, a military
station in the largest presidency of our Indian
Empire, agreed among themselves to "get
up " a bank; the want of " accommodation"
being then much felt in that part of the
world. Before they rose from the table, the
amount of capital had been agreed upon, the
scrip apportioned, the "direction" filled, and
the secretary and managers appointed. No
time was lost. It was discovered that what
looked so beautifully rose-colour after a
dozen of Champagne, wore an equally cheerful
aspect when looked at the following morning
over Bass's pale ale. The thing was not long
in embryo. Within a week the Great
Chowsempoor Bank was a fact. The Bank had
directors and a regular working staff ; the
directors had shares; and, by some
complication of circumstances, before a dozen
accounts were opened, the shares got up to a
premium. Residents at the other neighbouring
stations, military and civil, thirsted for
bank honours, and scrip was applied for from
all quarters, and in any quantity.

For some brief period the Chowsempoor
institution wore an appearance of intense
humility and modesty. It would not for the
world have been thought ambitious or even
presuming. The young captain of light-infantry, who condescended to act as secretary
on three thousand rupees a month, informed
the public, in the virgin Chowsempoor
circular, that their capital was intended to be
limited to a lac, or ten thousand pounds.
But, the ten thousand became augmented to
twenty, and then to fifty thousand. Neither
was it very long before the majors, and
collectors, and magistrates forming the Board
discovered, that such places as Blankpoor and
Anditorbad, and other minor hill stations
were far too circumscribed a field for their
growing operations. They must extend their
influence through other channels; they must
have a branch establishment at the great
metropolis of the Presidency; accordingly a
branch was formeda branch which was
fated to outgrow the parent institution in
more respects than mere extent of operations.

By way of a little variety, a few merchants
were admitted into the branch direction; this
imported fresh vigour to the system, and the
Hooghly Bund Branch of the Great Chowsempoor
Bank bade fair to do all in its power to
develope the resources of that portion of
British India, on the most approved modern
principle.

A spacious building was appropriated for
the " Branch," in the most commanding and
expensive part of the capital. The house was
fitted and furnished in true Oriental style and
costliness, and was tended and guarded by a
little army of retainers. Not the least splendid
were the suite of apartments devoted to the
local managera skilful penman, a mighty
warrior in figures, a special pleader in
conversation, in deeds something more: in

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