Cléante. There is nothing to object to that.

La Flèche. “The lender, in order not to charge his conscience with the least scruple, will only lend his money at a little more than five and a half per cent.’’

Cléante. At a little more than five and a half per cent? Zounds! that is honest enough. There is no reason to complain.

La Flèche. That is true. “But as the lender has not the sum in question by him, and as, to oblige the borrower, he is himself obliged to borrow it of some one at the rate of twenty per cent., it shall be agreed that the said first borrower shall pay this interest, without prejudice of the rest, seeing that it is only to oblige him that the said lender takes up that loan.’’

Cléante. What the devil! what Jew, what Arab is this? This is more than twenty-five per cent.

La Flèche. It is true, that is what I have said. It is for you to see to that.

Cléante. What can I see? I want the money, and I am bound to consent to everything.

La Flèche. That is the answer which I made.

Cléante, There is something else still?

La Flèche. Nothing but a small matter. “Of the fifteen thousand francs required, the lender can count down in cash only twelve thousand; and, for the remaining thousand crowns, the borrower will have to take them out in chattels, clothing, and jewelry, of which the following is the memorandum, and which the lender has set down honestly at the lowest possible price.’’

Cléante. What does this mean?

La Flèche. Listen to the memorandum. “First, a four-post bed, elegantly adorned with Hungary-lace bands, with hangings of olive coloured cloth, with six chairs, and a counterpane of the same; the whole in very good condition, and lined with a shot taffetas, red and blue. Item: a tester for this bed, of good Aumale, pale rose-coloured serge, with large and small silk fringes.’’

Cléante. What does he want me to do with it?

La Flèche. Wait. “Item: Tapestry hangings, representing the loves of Gombaud and Macée. Item: a large walnut table, with twelve columns or turned legs, which draws out at both sides, provided with six stools underneath it.’’

Cléante. What have I to do, egad! …

La Flèche. Only have patience. “Item: three large muskets inlaid with mother-of-pearl, with the necessary rests. Item: a brick furnace, with two retorts, and three receivers very useful for those who have a turn for distilling.’’

Cléante. I am going mad.

La Flèche. Gently. “Item: a bologna lute with all its strings, or nearly all. Item: a trou-madame table, a draught-board, with the game of mother goose, restored from the Greeks, very agreeable to pass the time when one has nothing else to do. Item: a lizzard’s skin of three feet and a half, stuffed with hay: a very pretty curiosity to hang at the ceiling of a room. The whole of the above-mentioned, really worth more than four thousand five hundred francs, and brought down to the value of a thousand crowns, through the discretion of the lender.’’

  By PanEris using Melati.

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