The Million Pound Bank Note

by Mark Twain

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Chapter XVI

When the month was up at last, I had a million dollars to my credit in the London and County Bank, and Hastings was fixed in the same way. Dressed at my level best, I drove by the house in Portland Place, judged by the look of things that my birds were home again, went on towards the minister's and got my precious, and we started back, talking salary with all our might. She was so excited and anxious that it made her just intolerably beautiful. I said: "Dearie, the way you're looking it's a crime to strike for a salary a single penny under three thousand a year."
"Henry, Henry, you'll ruin us!"
"Don't you be afraid. Just keep up those looks, and trust to me. It'll all come out right." So, as it turned out, I had to keep bolstering up her courage all the way. She kept pleading with me, and saying:
"Oh, please remember that if we ask for too much we may get no salary at all; and then what will become of us, with no way in the world to earn our living?"
We were ushered in by that same servant, and there they were, the two old gentlemen. Of course, they were surprised to see that wonderful creature with me, but I said:
"It's all right, gentlemen; she is my future stay and helpmate."
And I introduced them to her, and called them by name. It didn't surprise them; they knew I would know enough to consult the directory. They seated us, and were very polite to me, and very solicitous to relieve her from embarrassment, and put her as much at her ease as they could. Then I said:
"Gentlemen, I am ready to report."
"We are glad to hear it," said my man, "for now we can decide the bet which my brother Abel and I made. If you have won for me, you shall have any situation in my gift. Have you the million-pound note?"
"Here it is, sir," and I handed it to him.
"I've won!" he shouted, and slapped Abel on the back. "Now what do you say, brother?"
"I say he did survive, and I've lost twenty thousand pounds. I never would have believed it." "I've a further report to make," I said, "and a pretty long one. I want you to let me come soon, and detail my whole month's history; and I promise you it's worth hearing. Meantime, take a look at that."


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