Tigg. Though turned and twisted upside down, and inside out, as great men have been sometimes known to be; though no longer Montague Tigg, but Tigg Montague; still it was Tigg; the same Satanic, gallant, military Tigg. The brass was burnished, lacquered, newly stamped; yet it was the true Tigg metal notwithstanding.
Beside him sat a smiling gentleman, of less pretensions and of business looks, whom he addressed as David. Surely not the David of the--how shall it be phrased?--the triumvirate of golden balls? Not David, tapster at the Lombards' Arms? Yes. The very man.
`The secretary's salary, David,' said Mr. Montague, `the office being now established, is eight hundred pounds per annum, with his house-rent, coals, and candles free. His five-and-twenty shares he holds, of course. Is that enough?'
David smiled and nodded, and coughed behind a little locked portfolio which he carried; with an air that proclaimed him to be the secretary in question.
`If that's enough,' said Montague, `I will propose it at the Board to-day, in my capacity as chairman.'
The secretary smiled again; laughed, indeed, this time; and said, rubbing his nose slily with one end of the portfolio:
`It was a capital thought, wasn't it?'
`What was a capital thought, David?' Mr. Montague inquired.
`The Anglo-Bengalee,' tittered the secretary.
`The Anglo-Bengalee Disinterested Loan and Life Assurance Company is rather a capital concern, I hope, David,' said Montague.
`Capital indeed!' cried the secretary, with another laugh--' in one sense.'
`In the only important one,' observed the chairman; `which is number one, David.'
`What,' asked the secretary, bursting into another laugh, `what will be the paid-up capital, according to the next prospectus?'
`A figure of two, and as many oughts after it as the printer can get into the same line,' replied his friend. `Ha, ha!'
At this they both laughed; the secretary so vehemently, that in kicking up his feet, he kicked the apron open, and nearly started Cauliflower's brother into an oyster-shop; not to mention Mr. Bailey's receiving such a sudden swing, that he held on for a moment, quite a young Fame, by one strap and no legs.
`What a chap you are!' exclaimed David admiringly, when this little alarm had subsided.
`Say, genius, David, genius.'
`"Well, upon my soul, you are a genius then,' said David. `I always knew you had the gift of the gab, of course; but I never believed you were half the man you are. How could I?'
`I rise with circumstances, David. That's a point of genius in itself,' said Tigg. `If you were to lose a hundred pound wager to me at this minute David, and were to pay it (which is most confoundedly improbable), I should rise, in a mental point of view, directly.'
It is due to Mr. Tigg to say that he had really risen with his opportunities; peculating on a grander scale, he had become a grander man altogether.
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