The Deal and the Disaster

IF PEOPLE are inclined to deal, bargains can very soon be struck at idle watering places, where anything in the shape of occupation is a godsend, and bargainers know where to find each other in a minute. Everybody knows where everybody is.

‘Have you seen Jack Sprat?’

‘Oh, yes; he’s just gone into Muddle’s Bazaar with Miss Flouncey, looking uncommon sweet.’ Or --

‘Can you tell me where I shall find Mr Slowman?’

Answer -- ‘You’ll find him at his lodgings, No. 15, Belvidere Terrace, till a quarter before seven. He’s gone home to dress, to dine with Major and Mrs Holdsworthy, at Grunton Villa, for I heard him order Jenkins’s fly at that time.’

Caingey Thornton knew exactly when he would find Mr Waffles at Miss Lollypop’s, the confectioner, eating ices and making love to that very interesting, much-courted young lady. True to his time, there was Waffles, eating and eyeing the cherry-coloured ribbons, floating in graceful curls along with her raven-coloured ringlets, down Miss Lollypop’s nice fresh plump cheeks.

After expatiating on the great merits of the horse, and the certainty of getting all the money back by steeplechasing him in the spring, and stating his conviction that Mr Sponge would not take any part of the purchase-money in pictures or jewellery, or anything of that sort, Mr Waffles gave his consent to deal, on the terms the following conversation shows.

‘My friend will give you your price, if you wouldn’t mind taking his cheque and keeping it for a few months till he’s into funds,’ observed Mr Thornton, who now sought Mr Sponge out at the billiard-room.

‘Why,’ observed Mr Sponge, thoughtfully, ‘you know horses are always ready money.’

‘True,’ replied Thornton; ‘at least that’s the theory of the thing; only my friend is rather peculiarly situated at present.’

‘I suppose Mr Waffles is your man?’ observed Mr Sponge, rightly judging that there couldn’t be two such flats in the place.

‘Just so,’ said Mr Thornton.

‘I’d rather take his ‘‘stiff’’ than his cheque,’ observed Mr Sponge, after a pause. ‘I could get a bit of stiff done, but a cheque, you see -- especially a post-dated one -- is always objected to.’

‘Well, I dare say that will make no difference,’ observed Mr Thornton, ‘ ‘‘stiff,’’ if you prefer it -- say three months; or perhaps you’ll give us four?’

Three’s long enough, in all conscience,’ replied Mr Sponge, with a shake of the head; adding, ‘Bullfrog made me pay down on the nail.’

‘Well, so be it, then,’ assented Mr Thornton; ‘you draw at three months, and Mr Waffles will accept, payable at Coutts’s.’

After so much liberality, Mr Caingey expected that Mr Sponge would have hinted at something handsome for him; but all Sponge said was, ‘So be it,’ too, as he walked away to buy a bill-stamp.

Mr Waffles was more considerate, and promised him the first mount on his new purchase, though Caingey would rather have had a ten-, or even a five-pound note.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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