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little picking at chicken-billiards at some of the comparatively speaking) harmless tables of the commercial city.
"Well, Fad,” said his friend Crop, as arm in arm they sauntered off together, “ I really think you must consent to expedite matters a little. I expect, my fine fellow, that it can make no great difference to you whether you are declared bankrupt two months hence or six ?"
" I expect not much," replied Fad, gaily. “ The fact is, that I have a notion my lady is dubitating whether she shan't take a house and give a ball, and I was calculating, you see, that it might be more profitable to give it before than after, on account of clearing off expenses."
"Why so it might, I expect, a trifle; but nothing comparable to what we should both lose if we should suffer this chap to escape,” replied Mr. Crop, “and as to time, though I would be the last man in the world to vex dear Mrs. Fad by disappointing her about her ball, the whole business will take so little time to get through, that I don't consider it will signify a cent to her, one way or the other. The smash will be over, and you up again, and as good a man as ever, before the winter season is over.”
"Oh dear, yes, I know that perfectly well,” replied Fad; “I am that much used to it, like the most of us, that don't mind it the value of that,” snapping his fingers, "and therefore, I'm your man, either for drawing or backing, or any thing you like.”
" That will do, then,” replied Crop ; "if you are ready, the job is, and I won't say but what I shall enjoy it, for it's plain to see that this gay London officer fancies himself a devilish deal sharper than any body as he is likely to meet with here. The very fact of his bringing his money out here to speculate with proves that fact. Don't you see, Fad? If he did not think us that soft that he could take some advantage or other of us, d'ye think he would have taken the trouble to steam out here for the sake of investing his thousands ? Not he, take my word for it. He thinks to do us, Mr. Fad, and we'll just see, once and away, if we can't do him.”
"Oh! but you forget, Crop,” rejoined Fad, with a roguish sort of wink, " you forget the gentleman's political principles. Don't you know that he is come out here out of pure love for our constitution?"
" All that's very well when there's no money in the case, Mr. Washington Fad,” replied the candid republican," but the moment a man mixes up any question of money with his politics, I know, and so we do all, I expect, pretty considerably well on this side of the Atlantic, which is the substance and which is the shadow.”
“You may say that, Mr. Jefferson Crop," returned his friend, laughing, but by the stars and the stripes, you must not waste any more time in being witty, for if I am to put things in train, to declare myself bankrupt in two months, I must be tarnation active to-day, tomorrow, and the day after, I calculate, and therefore I must begin by begging you to go over the whole transaction, as it is to be done and performed for our mutual profit and advantage."
"I have got it all as clear in my head as rock crystal,” said Mr. Crop," and I expect he'll do his part of it as gentle as a lamb. At our next meeting I'll tell him that you have got an unaccountable good opportunity of buying your wife's brother's share of a fine property in Ohio, but that for a few months you must borrow a few thousand dollars, for which you are willing to give good interest."
“Why you don't mean to come upon him smack with a proposal to borrow his money, do you ?” said Fad, shaking his head, “ that will never do."
“ I expect not, Mr. Fad. I should like to know whereabouts you think I was hatched? However, here we are at the Bowery—I'll explain it all when we come out. Our path is as straight before us as the Broadway."
With these words Mr. Crop pushed open the spring.doors of the theatre, and entered followed by his friend.
On the following morning Major Allen Barnaby had the pleasure of finding his new friend, Mr. Crop, better than his word, for instead of keeping him waiting till noon for the intelligence he had only half promised to obtain for him, he took him aside when they met at breakfast, for the purpose of saying that he had now got an opportunity, in a little way, of showing him what sort of interest might be obtained for money at New York, by those who thought it worth their while to look about for it; and then he proposed a walk on the Battery, to give them a leisurely and quiet interval for explanation. Major Allen Barnaby readily agreed to accompany him, and they set off together, Mr. Fad excusing himself from joining the party on account of business elsewhere.
“ You must not fancy, sir," said the American, as soon as they found themselves on one of the quiet walks of the beautiful promenade they had sought, “ You must not fancy, major, that I have been lucky enough to hit upon any grand and great speculation for you—no such thing. That would require a little more time than you have allowed me, I expect. But I shall just be able to show you, that I have not been talking of what I did not understand when I spoke to you of the rate of interest in New York. Without disbursing a single cent of your capital, you may get at the rate of twenty per cent. for only accepting a bill of Fad's. I'll let him have the money with all the pleasure in life, for I know my man, and instead of ten thousand dollars, I'd be happy and proud to lend hiin fifty thousand. But one does not get such a chance as that in a hurry. Fad wants the money all on a hop, you see, to purchase his wife's brother's share of a fine property in Ohio, that must be sold by auction out and out, directly, because the father, you see, is dead. Upon these ten thousand dollars, you and I shall make a pretty trifle each by dividing the interest, though it's only for a few months. But that's the way we do business in New York. What do you say to it, Major Allen Barnaby?”
“Why I cannot but feel greatly obliged to you, sir, for letting me share this profitable trifle with you," replied the major. “But if you know Mr. Fad so well, as being himself a perfectly responsible person, why should you require an endorsement ?"
“ As far as I'm concerned,” returned Crop, “I would not give a single levy for it. But it is the custom, you know. The fact is, that the monied men of New York have made it a sort of law, expressly for the purpose of turning a few thousand dollars in the year by just signing their names."
“Ay, ay, I see, I understand," said the major, looking perfectly satisfied, and I shall be quite ready to give my name for the consideration you mention—which I presume is paid in advance.”
“Certainly, major, it is always paid in advance,” said Crop. “But you must see Fad, of course, and settle all about it with him; and perhaps when the bill is drawn and endorsed, you may as well hand it over to me at my counting-house yourself, for the interest is a little sharpish even for New York, and I see no good to any of us in putting the transaction before the eyes of any body but the parties concerned. I'll tell Fad that you will be with him in an hour, shall I ?"
you please, sir ; I will not fail to be punctual,” returned the major; and after receiving a card with Mr. Fad's commercial address, he returned to the boarding house and employed himself upou some little jobs that he had to do in his own room till it was time to set off again to keep his appointment.
When Major Allen Barnaby reached the counting-house of Mr. Fad, he found that gentleman seated there alone in the enjoyment of a solitary cigar, with a considerable mass of papers, ledgers, and account-books, ranged on the table before him.
“ Your servant, Major Allen Barnaby," he said, as the gentleman entered. “You are punctual, sir, and that's the very soul of business. I often say that I have made as much money by my punctuality, as by my knowledge of business, and that is setting my value for it considerable high, I expect. Pray be seated, sir."
The major accepted the invitation, and immediately entered upon the business that brought him there, observing that their friend, Mr. Crop had promised to be ready at his own counting-house to complete the transaction forthwith.
“I know he will,” returned Fad. “Crop is one of the best fellows that ever lived; he knows that it is an object with me to be ready to step in with my money immediately, as there is a chance that I may lose the bargain if I don't, and I should reckon that a good three thousand out of my pocket, considering the pretty bit of property that I have got next lot to it. And now, sir, here is pen and paper all ready-shall I draw and you accept? or you draw and I back it ?"
" I'll draw it, if you will,” replied the major carelessly.
The materials for doing so were placed before him and he began to write.
“ I can't say much in praise of your pens, Mr. Fad,” he said, first trying one and then another of those that stood in the inkstand before him. “Perhaps, sir,” he added, “ you would be kind enough to give a touch to one of them with your penknife? We Englishmen, Mr. Fad, are natty about our pens, and I confess I like to write my name legibly, whether for ten thousand dollars or ten thousand pounds."
Mr. Fad instantly started up and retreated with a quill to the window, saying,
“If you are natty in using pens, Major Allen Barnaby, we count ourselves natty in making them. If you'll wait one minute, sir, you shall have one fit to imitate copper-plate." And he set himself assiduously to the task of turning a goose-quill into a pen.
“Don't trouble yourself, Mr. Fad," said the major, when the pen was about half made, “ I have found one that will do exceedingly well. Now then, sir, have the kindness to endorse it without losing time, for I have promised Mr. Griskin to cross to Hoboken with him before dinner, and it is as much as I shall be able to do to bring the money to you here, and then get to the ferry by the time we agreed upon."
“I will not detain you an instant, my dear sir," cried Mr. Fad, hastening back to the table, where the major, who had completed his part of the business, was employed in carefully pressing the bill on a sheet of blotting-paper, holding in his hand another morsel of the same material in readiness for the endorsement, that no time might be lost, yet no danger of blotting ensue.
“ You will be here, Mr. Fad ?" said the major, carefully folding up the bill, and placing it in his pocket-book. "I must beg that you won't go till I return, for I shall by no means choose to cross the ferry with all this money about me.”
“I think I told you, my dear sir, that I could not leave the office till my clerk came back. You may depend upon finding me.”
Having received this assurance, our friend posted off with all speed to the counting-house of his other new acquaintance, whom he found sitting alone, much in the same style as he had found Mr. Fad. After being again complimented on his punctuality, the major said,
“I suppose you and Mr. Fad understand one another, sir, 'and therefore I have drawn this bill here according to his instructions, though the sum is double what you named to me."
The first words of this speech caused Mr. Crop to start slightly, but the conclusion not only chased the feeling of 'alarm to which the opening had given rise, but produced a well-pleased though involuntary smile, which spoke as plainly as a smile could speak, that the alteration mentioned was any thing rather than disagreeable.
Neither the start nor the smile were lost upon the observant major, and he too would have smiled in his turn, had he not thought it more advisable to look grave.
“There, sir,” he added, laying a bill drawn by him on Mr. Fad for twenty thousand dollars, and bearing that honourable gentleman's acceptance on the back of it.
“ There, sir, is the bill according to the request of your friend, for twenty thousand dollars instead of ten, an increased accommodation to him, to which, he said, you had agreed.”
“Quite right, sir, quite true," replied Mr. Crop, applying himself as he spoke to an iron strong box, which stood ready on the table, “I told him, as I believe I told you, that I should not have the slightest objection to advance him fifty thousand if he wanted it. I won't say,” he continued, “but what I should have tried to make a better bargain for my friend Fad if I had known in the first instance, when I opened
the business to you, that the sum would have been so large, It's getting a pretty sum considerable easy, I expect, Major Allen Barnaby.'
“Very true, sir," replied the major, rather drily: “ had it been otherwise, I certainly should not have accepted the proposal at all, for I detest trouble.”
While this was passing, Mr. Crop continued drawing a heap of dirty American bank paper from his strong box, till the sum of twenty thousand dollars was laid before Major Allen Barnaby, who presented the bill to Mr. Crop in return for it, and then took his leave, saying, “I have promised Mr. Fad to return with the money instantly, so I must wish you good morning.”
“Good morning, sir, good morning," returned the civil Mr. Crop, attending him politely to the door ; and so parted those two bright specimens of the old world and the new. But in this instance at least, if in no other, the Englishman proved by far the most accomplished knave of the two, at least if success be taken in proof of superiority ; for the well-timed bankruptcy of the excellent Mr. Fad, which was of course to throw the whole responsibility upon our friend, had no more power to prevent the fitting of the active major, than it had to prevent_his drawing twenty thousand dollars instead of ten. In short, the Englishman proved himself the harder, and sharper diamond of the two.
The major kept his promise very punctually to the eagerly.expectant Mr. Fad, paying over to him ten thousand dollars of the sum he had received; but changing his mind as to his project of visiting the pleasant shades of Hoboken, he immediately returned to the boardinghouse, accompanied by a porter, to whose truck he consigned all the remaining baggage of the party, having taken care before he made his last exit to leave it all in a state ready for removal.
But let it not be supposed for a moment that Major Allen Barnaby meant to make a clandestine escape from his quarters; on the contrary, he took the most handsome and honourable leave possible of the master of the establishment, paying him rather more than a week in advance, and expressing the most flattering regret at being thus suddenly obliged to leave a residence he had so greatly enjoyed, and a city he so greatly admired, in consequence of a letter just received from his daughter, announcing the painful intelligence that his beloved wife had been suddenly taken ill and wished him to rejoin her instantly.
Mr. Perring, of the boarding-house, received both the dollars and the farewell with great politeness, and in less than a quarter of an hour afterwards, the major, his trunks, and his pocket-book, were on board the Atalanta steamboat, bound to Albany, to which place he very audibly told the porter he was going, in the hearing of one white and one black domestic at the boarding-house.