The Silverado Squatters

第17章

CARELESS.Right Moses--Usury is Prudence and industry and deserves to succeed----SIR OLIVER.Then Here is--all the success it deserves!

[Drinks.]

CHARLES.Mr.Premium you and I are but strangers yet--but I hope we shall be better acquainted by and bye----SIR OLIVER.Yes Sir hope we shall--more intimately perhaps than you'll wish.[Aside.]

CARELESS.No, no, that won't do! Mr.Premium, you have demurred at the toast, and must drink it in a pint bumper.

FIRST GENTLEMAN.A pint bumper, at least.

MOSES.Oh, pray, sir, consider--Mr.Premium's a gentleman.

CARELESS.And therefore loves good wine.

SECOND GENTLEMAN.Give Moses a quart glass--this is mutiny, and a high contempt for the chair.

CARELESS.Here, now for't! I'll see justice done, to the last drop of my bottle.

SIR OLIVER.Nay, pray, gentlemen--I did not expect this usage.

CHARLES.No, hang it, you shan't; Mr.Premium's a stranger.

SIR OLIVER.Odd! I wish I was well out of their company.[Aside.]

CARELESS.Plague on 'em then! if they won't drink, we'll not sit down with them.Come, Harry, the dice are in the next room.--Charles, you'll join us when you have finished your business with the gentlemen?

CHARLES.I will! I will!--

[Exeunt SIR HARRY BUMPER and GENTLEMEN; CARELESS following.]

Careless.

CARELESS.[Returning.] Well!

CHARLES.Perhaps I may want you.

CARELESS.Oh, you know I am always ready: word, note, or bond, 'tis all the same to me.

[Exit.]

MOSES.Sir, this is Mr.Premium, a gentleman of the strictest honour and secrecy; and always performs what he undertakes.

Mr.Premium, this is----

CHARLES.Psha! have done.Sir, my friend Moses is a very honest fellow, but a little slow at expression: he'll be an hour giving us our titles.Mr.Premium, the plain state of the matter is this:

I am an extravagant young fellow who wants to borrow money; you Itake to be a prudent old fellow, who have got money to lend.I am blockhead enough to give fifty per cent.sooner than not have it!

and you, I presume, are rogue enough to take a hundred if you can get it.Now, sir, you see we are acquainted at once, and may proceed to business without further ceremony.

SIR OLIVER.Exceeding frank, upon my word.I see, sir, you are not a man of many compliments.

CHARLES.Oh, no, sir! plain dealing in business I always think best.

SIR OLIVER.Sir, I like you the better for it.However, You are mistaken in one thing; I have no money to lend, but I believe I could procure some of a friend; but then he's an unconscionable dog.

Isn't he, Moses? And must sell stock to accommodate you.Mustn't he, Moses!

MOSES.Yes, indeed! You know I always speak the truth, and scorn to tell a lie!

CHARLES.Right.People that speak truth generally do.But these are trifles, Mr.Premium.What! I know money isn't to be bought without paying for't!

SIR OLIVER.Well, but what security could you give? You have no land, I suppose?

CHARLES.Not a mole-hill, nor a twig, but what's in the bough pots out of the window!

SIR OLIVER.Nor any stock, I presume?

CHARLES.Nothing but live stock--and that's only a few pointers and ponies.But pray, Mr.Premium, are you acquainted at all with any of my connections?

SIR OLIVER.Why, to say the truth, I am.

CHARLES.Then you must know that I have a devilish rich uncle in the East Indies, Sir Oliver Surface, from whom I have the greatest expectations?

SIR OLIVER.That you have a wealthy uncle, I have heard; but how your expectations will turn out is more, I believe, than you can tell.

CHARLES.Oh, no!--there can be no doubt.They tell me I'm a prodigious favourite, and that he talks of leaving me everything.

SIR OLIVER.Indeed! this is the first I've heard of it.

CHARLES.Yes, yes, 'tis just so.Moses knows 'tis true; don't you, Moses?

MOSES.Oh, yes! I'll swear to't.

SIR OLIVER.Egad, they'll persuade me presently I'm at Bengal.

[Aside.]

CHARLES.Now I propose, Mr.Premium, if it's agreeable to you, a post-obit on Sir Oliver's life: though at the same time the old fellow has been so liberal to me, that I give you my word, I should be very sorry to hear that anything had happened to him.

Robert Louis Stevenson

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