The Million Pound Bank Note

by Mark Twain

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Chapter VI

" 'Tend to you presently."
I waited till he was done with what he was at, then he took me into a back room, and overhauled a pile of rejected suits, and selected the rattiest one for me. I put it on. It didn't fit, and wasn't in any way attractive, but it was new, and I was anxious to have it; so I didn't find any fault, but said, with some diffidence:
"It would be an accommodation to me if you could wait some days for the money. I haven't any small change about me."
The fellow worked up a most sarcastic expression of countenance, and said:
"Oh, you haven't? Well, of course, I didn't expect it. I'd only expect gentlemen like you to carry large change."
I was nettled, and said:
"My friend, you shouldn't judge a stranger always by the clothes he wears. I am quite able to pay for this suit; I simply didn't wish to put you to the trouble of changing a large note."
He modified his style a little at that, and said, though still with something of an air:
"I didn't mean any particular harm, but as long as rebukes are going, I might say it wasn't quite your affair to jump to the conclusion that we couldn't change any note that you might happen to be carrying around. On the contrary, we can."
I handed the note to him, and said:
"Oh, very well; I apologize."
He received it with a smile, one of those large smiles which goes all around over, and has folds in it, and wrinkles, and spirals, and looks like the place where you have thrown a brick in a pond; and then in the act of his taking a glimpse of the bill this smile froze solid, and turned yellow, and looked like those wavy, wormy spreads of lava which you find hardened on little levels on the side of Vesuvius. I never before saw a smile caught like that, and perpetuated. The man stood there holding the bill, and looking like that, and the proprietor hustled up to see what was the matter, and said, briskly:
"Well, what's up? what's the trouble? what's wanting?"
I said: "There isn't any trouble. I'm waiting for my change."
"Come, come; get him his change, Tod; get him his change."


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