Page images
PDF
EPUB

He almost choked in the utterance, and to protect myself from a smile, I affected surprise. “You a swindler, Mr. Wilson l’” “He did indeed, Sir: he called me, Sir, a swindler—a swindler! and on 'Change too!” “A dirty swindler,” interposed Taylor. “Be silent, or I’ll break your head, blockhead! he called me a swindler, I tell you, Mr. Sharpe.” “Dirty,” whispered Taylor again.” “Another word, you scoundrel, and you shall eat it.” “How did it happen, Mr. Wilson?” “I went on 'Change at four, Sir—” “Ten minutes to four by our clock,” observed Taylor, with provoking punctuality. “I tell you it was four, Sir! Don't heed that booby: at four o’clock exactly I went on 'Change: it is always my custom.” “Except on Saturdays,” interjected Taylor. “I haven't missed three Saturdays this twelvemonth, jackanapes.” “Ramsgate excepted,” rejoined Taylor, still correcting him. “And didn’t I go to Ramsgate for health, Sir? Is a man of my years to die on 'Change?” “You always said you would die at the desk, Sir?” “And mayn’t I die where I please, Sir?” “But the affair on 'Change, Mr. Wilson. I think you had better not interrupt your employer, Mr. Taylor.” “You are right, Sir; he is always interrupting me: where did I leave off, Taylor’” “At “dirty swindler, Sir.” “You lie, rascal, you lie! he did not say “dirty:’ ‘bad enough as 'twas, he never said “dirty.’” “It is not material, Mr. Wilson; ‘swindler’ is the actionable word.” “It is actionable then thank you, Sir; thank you twenty times, Mr. Sharpe: that’s all I wanted to know.” “Beg pardon,” began Taylor; “you wanted to know if ‘cheat” and ‘blackguard’ were actionable too.” “Did he use all these coarse epithets, Mr. Wilson It would not have been exactly legal, but I think, in your place, I should have knocked him down.” But Wilson turned again on his unlucky clerk; and I almost feared he was about to begin the knocking-down system before my face: he raised his umbrella, and shaking it violently, swore he would break every bone in his skin, if he presumed to open his lips again, " and then turned to me. “He called me swindler, Sir, and nothing else; but that’s enough for me, you say it is actionable, and I’ll proceed, or my name is not Wilson . He disgraced me before all 'Change, the infamous villain; but thank heaven, I did not knock him down: bring the action, Sir, immediately; retain Scarlett, retain the Attorney-General, retain Gurney, Brougham, and all of them. I’ll have the whole bar, Sir; fortyone years have I imported from the Baltic, and never was called “swindler’ before l’” “You forgot Lloyd’s in the panic,” observed the accurate clerk. “I forget nothing, Sir; I never forgot any thing in my life, Mr. Make-mischief!” “And that job about the bark Sally,” again said Taylor. “Say another word, Sir! say another word, that’s all! say only one more word, Mr. Taylor' only speak again, Mr. Taylor one more word, Sir, and—”

Poor Wilson could say no more himself, and gasping for breath, and apparently suffocated with rage, he put on his hat, and left me abruptly: before he reached the foot of the stairs, he reiterated his instructions in a peremptory tone: “Immediately, Mr. Sharpe, if you please, immediately.” Taylor remained behind, apparently unmoved by all the scene, and unconscious of any thing extraordinary.

“Well, Mr. Taylor, I have my suspicions; pray who used the pretty words ‘cheat and blackguard?’”

“Mr. Wilson.”

“I thought as much: and who began the controversy %"

“Mr. Wilson.”

“And what was it all about?”

“ Tallow.”

“Who sold it 2 ”

“Mr. Wilson.”

“What was the complaint?’

“Not equal to sample.”

“Who was right?”

“Mr. Wilson.”

“Tallows have fallen f *

“Yes.”

“Then bring Mr. Wilson here again to-morroW.”

He came accordingly, gool and composed; laughed at the affair of the previous day, thanked me for my negligence in not retaining all the bar, employed me on the tallow-contract where he proved to be right, and without litigation beyond the service of a writ, he obtained nearly all the difference in the value of the

consignment.

« PreviousContinue »