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But, although these, "metallic tractors," or rather subtractors, appear always quite "at home," they are invariably "found out" when their too easy friends "make a call upon them."
The lenders, of course, are numerous, or it would be impossible for the borrowers to live; and, notwithstanding the vocation requires the utmost circumspection, is fraught with danger, and bristling with the thorns of anxiety, it is well known that most of these pecuniary purveyors-really take a great interest in lending!
With some, indeed, it becomes a perfect passion; and, mixing as they do with men of no principal, they frequently abandon their own and are ruined, while the chorus of the ungrateful and designing borrowers is more curious than classic in its strain.
"The old fellow's done brown,'" says A. "I always thought him 'green,' "adds B.
"He looks blue,' at any rate, now," chimes in C. "He's a 'grey' old badger," declares D.
"He's an extortionate old hunks," ejaculates E. "I once borrowed a cool hundred pounds of him, and he actually deducted twenty-five pounds for interest and commission."
"Shocking!" cries A indignantly.
"Did you repay the hundred pounds?" inquires B, with a dubious leer.
"Repay!" replies E; "certainly not. Why, I should have considered such an act a downright encouragement to usury. No, sir, I have more respect for the moral' of society."
And so the too-accommodating lender drops; and,
whether he really coincides with A, B, C, and D, and believes he is actually " done brown," and has assumed the hues of "green," "blue," and "grey," and is ashamed to appear such a parti-coloured monster in the eyes of the world, or for some more cogent reason, certain it is he has recourse to the efficacious remedy of "whitewashing."
The advertising borrowers, the C.D. (query seedy) and Y. Z. (query wise-head) do the thing in a more business-like manner; as for example :—
“Five pounds will be given for the loan of fifty pounds for three months. Undeniable security and references if required. No money-lenders need apply. Address C. D." &c.
Five pounds for three months! This bait is eagerly devoured by some retired tradesman, who is probably discontented with the paltry three-per-cents., the produce of his savings invested in the Bank.
He seeks an interview with C. D., confesses candidly he is "not in the habit of doing these things," and asks as a favour to see the securities. C. D. forthwith produces a cash-box, and displays some old leases, (already assigned, or long since expired,) and a number of shares in the Pengully Mines, situated somewhere in Cornwall, which (he gratuitously informs the small capitalist) are, according to the last annual report, expected to produce "lots of tin," although at present they are at a discount in the market, owing to something or somebody.
Then, as to the promised references, he can give some of the first names in the city, but confesses it is rather a ticklish affair, and might affect his credit (?)
to let his friends 66 suppose that he is in want of money, many of them being ready to give him a cheque for ten times the amount; but he wishes to be independent, (very true!) and would rather make a sacrifice (of the small capitalist ?) than lay himself under an obligation. Still, to satisfy the lender, if not already assured of his ability to reimburse the trifle required, of course he must submit.
The novice, who is probably quite as anxious as the borrower to keep this delicate transaction a secret, consents to forego the references. The affair is amicably arranged; notes are exchanged, (that is, a note-of-hand for a bank-note,) and the lender walks gingerly away with the very liberal discount in his pocket, his flustered imagination filled with splendid visions of rapidly increasing his store. He has opened a new mine; but, should he continue to "work it," he may find to his cost (what many other wiser heads have done before), that new mines often consume more than they produce!
"Is that the law !"-Merchant of Venice.
"Je ne me plains pas de la justice, lui respondis-je, elle est très équitable: je voudrais seulement que tous ses officiers fussent d'honnêtes gens."-Gil Blas.
"He sought among lawyers but only could find
That Law was expensive, and Justice was blind."-Song.
BRIEF THE FIRST.
JUSTICE was the only daughter of Truth and Equity; unfortunately, she was born blind.
Sophistry, being a neighbour of Truth's, had frequent opportunities of seeing the little darling, and, although he would sometimes amuse himself by thwarting, he could not in his heart help loving her. Being a smooth-tongued, smiling, specious old soldier, who had studied every move in the field, although more famous for a feint or a retreat than a straight-forward stand-up fight, he determined, if possible, to promote a match between his son, Chicanery, and his neighbour's daughter. Sophistry exerted all his eloquence to persuade his son to be more circumspect in his conduct; for Truth, indeed, had once or twice expressed her fears that her neighbour had a heavy hand with him ; for, at an early age, he was addicted to the juvenile amusement of appropriating the apples grown in the neighbouring orchards. It was also generally rumoured that he had appeared at some of the adjacent fairs and race-courses as an itinerant thimble-rigger, and had, moreover, "done a few" by his dexterity at the cups and balls in the skirts of the highways and by-ways. But the world is so given to fibbing, that it is very likely they attributed more criminality to the activeminded and adroit stripling than was merited; certain it is, that he invariably extricated himself from the