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|A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court||Mark Twain|
|Page 4 of 4||
He ceased. There was a pale and awful silence. Not a limb stirred. Not a nostril betrayed the passage of breath.
"Is that all?" I asked, in a voice of the most perfect calmness.
"All, fair sir, save that certain matters of light moment are placed together under a head hight sundries. If it would like you, I will sepa --"
"It is of no consequence," I said, accompanying the words with a gesture of the most utter indifference; "give me the grand total, please."
The clerk leaned against the tree to stay himself, and said:
"Thirty-nine thousand one hundred and fifty milrays!"
The wheelwright fell off his stool, the others grabbed the table to save themselves, and there was a deep and general ejaculation of:
"God be with us in the day of disaster!"
The clerk hastened to say:
"My father chargeth me to say he cannot honorably require you to pay it all at this time, and therefore only prayeth you --"
I paid no more heed than if it were the idle breeze, but, with an air of indifference amounting almost to weariness, got out my money and tossed four dollars on to the table. Ah, you should have seen them stare!
The clerk was astonished and charmed. He asked me to retain one of the dollars as security, until he could go to town and -- I interrupted:
"What, and fetch back nine cents? Nonsense! Take the whole. Keep the change."
There was an amazed murmur to this effect:
"Verily this being is MADE of money! He throweth it away even as if it were dirt."
The blacksmith was a crushed man.
The clerk took his money and reeled away drunk with fortune. I said to Marco and his wife:
"Good folk, here is a little trifle for you" -- handing the miller-guns as if it were a matter of no consequence, though each of them contained fifteen cents in solid cash; and while the poor creatures went to pieces with astonishment and gratitude, I turned to the others and said as calmly as one would ask the time of day:
"Well, if we are all ready, I judge the dinner is. Come, fall to."
Ah, well, it was immense; yes, it was a daisy. I don't know that I ever put a situation together better, or got happier spectacular effects out of the materials available. The blacksmith -- well, he was simply mashed. Land! I wouldn't have felt what that man was feeling, for anything in the world. Here he had been blowing and bragging about his grand meat-feast twice a year, and his fresh meat twice a month, and his salt meat twice a week, and his white bread every Sunday the year round -- all for a family of three; the entire cost for the year not above 69.2.6 (sixty-nine cents, two mills and six milrays), and all of a sudden here comes along a man who slashes out nearly four dollars on a single blow-out; and not only that, but acts as if it made him tired to handle such small sums. Yes, Dowley was a good deal wilted, and shrunk-up and collapsed; he had the aspect of a bladder-balloon that's been stepped on by a cow.
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|A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur's Court
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