The Million Pound Bank Note

by Mark Twain

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Chapter XIV

"Henry, the mere unconsidered drippings of your daily income would--"
"Oh, my daily income! Here, down with this hot Scotch, and cheer up your soul. Here's with you! Or, no - you're hungry; sit down and--"
"Not a bite for me; I'm past it. I can't eat, these days; but I'll drink with you till I drop. Come!"
"Barrel for barrel, I'm with you! Ready? Here we go! Now, then, Lloyd, unreel your story while I brew."
"Unreel it? What, again?"
"Again? What do you mean by that?"
"Why, I mean do you want to hear it over again?"
"Do I want to hear it over again? This is a puzzler. Wait; don't take any more of that liquid. You don't need it."
"Look here, Henry, you alarm me. Didn't I tell you the whole story on the way here?"
"Yes, I."
"I'll be hanged if I heard a word of it."
"Henry, this is a serious thing. It troubles me. What did you take up yonder at the minister's?" Then it all flashed on me, and I owned up like a man.
"I took the dearest girl in this world - prisoner!"
So then he came with a rush, and we shook, and shook, and shook till our hands ached; and he didn't blame me for not having heard a word of a story which had lasted while we walked three miles. He just sat down then, like the patient, good fellow he was, and told it all over again. Synopsized, it amounted to this: He had come to England with what he thought was a grand opportunity; he had an "option" to sell the Gould and Curry Extension for the "locators" of it, and keep all he could get over a million dollars. He had worked hard, had pulled every wire he knew of, had left no honest expedient untried, had spent nearly all the money he had in the world, had not been able to get a solitary capitalist to listen to him, and his option would run out at the end of the month. In a word, he was ruined. Then he jumped up and cried out:
"Henry, you can save me! You can save me, and you're the only man in the universe that can. Will you do it? Won't you do it?"


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