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When I was twenty-seven years old, I was a mining-broker's clerk in San Francisco, and an expert in all the details of stock traffic. I was alone in the world, and had nothing to depend upon but my wits and a clean reputation; but these were setting my feet in the road to eventual fortune, and I was content with the prospect.

My time was my own after the afternoon board, Saturdays, and I was accustomed to put it in on a little sail-boat on the bay. One day I ventured too far, and was carried out to sea. Just at nightfall, when hope was about gone, I was picked up by a small brig which was bound for London. It was a long and stormy voyage, and they made me work my passage without pay, as a common sailor. When I stepped ashore in London my clothes were ragged and shabby, and I had only a dollar in my pocket. This money fed and sheltered me twenty-four hours. During the next twenty-four I went without food and shelter.

About ten o'clock on the following morning, seedy and hungry, I was dragging myself along Portland Place, when a child that was passing, towed by a nurse-maid, tossed a luscious big pear - minus one bite - into the gutter. I stopped, of course, and fastened my desiring eye on that muddy treasure. My mouth watered for it, my stomach craved it, my whole being begged for it. But every time I made a move to get it some passing eye detected my purpose, and of course I straightened up then, and looked indifferent, and pretended that I hadn't been thinking about the pear at all. This same thing kept happening and happening, and I couldn't get the pear. I was just getting desperate enough to brave all the shame, and to seize it, when a window behind me was raised, and a gentleman spoke out of it, saying:

"Step in here, please."

I was admitted by a gorgeous flunkey, and shown into a sumptuous room where a couple of elderly gentlemen were sitting. They sent away the servant, and made me sit down. They had just finished their breakfast, and the sight of the remains of it almost overpowered me. I could hardly keep my wits together in the presence of that food, but as I was not asked to sample it, I had to bear my trouble as best I could.

Now, something had been happening there a little before, which I did not know anything about until a good many days afterwards, but I will tell you about it now. Those two old brothers had been having a pretty hot argument a couple of days before, and had ended by agreeing to decide it by a bet, which is the English way of settling everything.

You will remember that the Bank of England once issued two notes of a million pounds each, to be used for a special purpose connected with some public transaction with a foreign country. For some reason or other only one of these had been used and canceled; the other still lay in the vaults of the Bank. Well, the brothers, chatting along, happened to get to wondering what might be the fate of a perfectly honest and intelligent stranger who should be turned adrift in London without a friend, and with no money but that million-pound bank-note, and no way to account for his being in possession of it. Brother A said he would starve to death; Brother B said he wouldn't. Brother A said he couldn't offer it at a bank or anywhere else, because he would be arrested on the spot. So they went on disputing till Brother B said he would bet twenty thousand pounds that the man would live thirty days, anyway, on that million, and keep out of jail, too. Brother A took him up. Brother B went down to the Bank and bought that note. Just like an Englishman, you see; pluck to the backbone. Then he dictated a letter, which one of his clerks wrote out in a beautiful round hand, and then the two brothers sat at the window a whole day watching for the right man to give it to.

They saw many honest faces go by that were not intelligent enough; many that were intelligent, but not honest enough; many that were both, but the possessors were not poor enough, or, if poor enough, were not strangers. There was always a defect, until I came along; but they agreed that I filled the bill all around; so they elected me unanimously, and there I was now waiting to know why I was called in. They began to ask me questions about myself, and pretty soon they had my story. Finally they told me I would answer their purpose. I said I was sincerely glad, and asked what it was. Then one of them handed me an envelope, and said I would find the explanation inside. I was going to open it, but he said no; take it to my lodgings, and look it over carefully, and not be hasty or rash. I was puzzled, and wanted to discuss the matter a little further, but they didn't; so I took my leave, feeling hurt and insulted to be made the butt of what was apparently some kind of a practical joke, and yet obliged to put up with it, not being in circumstances to resent affronts from rich and strong folk.

I would have picked up the pear now and eaten it before all the world, but it was gone; so I had lost that by this unlucky business, and the thought of it did not soften my feeling towards those men. As soon as I was out of sight of that house I opened my envelope, and saw that it contained money! My opinion of those people changed, I can tell you! I lost not a moment, but shoved note and money into my vest pocket, and broke for the nearest cheap eating house. Well, how I did eat! When at last I couldn't hold any more, I took out my money and unfolded it, took one glimpse and nearly fainted. Five millions of dollars! Why, it made my head swim.

I must have sat there stunned and blinking at the note as much as a minute before I came rightly to myself again. The first thing I noticed, then, was the landlord. His eye was on the note, and he was petrified. He was worshiping, with all his body and soul, but he looked as if he couldn't stir hand or foot. I took my cue in a moment, and did the only rational thing there was to do. I reached the note towards him, and said, carelessly:

"Give me the change, please."

Then he was restored to his normal condition, and made a thousand apologies for not being able to break the bill, and I couldn't get him to touch it. He wanted to look at it, and keep on looking at it; he couldn't seem to get enough of it to quench the thirst of his eye, but he shrank from touching it as if it had been something too sacred for poor common clay to handle. I said:

"I am sorry if it is an inconvenience, but I must insist. Please change it; I haven't anything else."

But he said that wasn't any matter; he was quite willing to let the trifle stand over till another time. I said I might not be in his neighborhood again for a good while; but he said it was of no consequence, he could wait, and, moreover, I could have anything I wanted, any time I chose, and let the account run as long as I pleased. He said he hoped he wasn't afraid to trust as rich a gentleman as I was, merely because I was of a merry disposition, and chose to play larks on the public in the matter of dress. By this time another customer was entering, and the landlord hinted to me to put the monster out of sight; then he bowed me all the way to the door, and I started straight for that house and those brothers, to correct the mistake which had been made before the police should hunt me up, and help me do it. I was pretty nervous; in fact, pretty badly frightened, though, of course, I was no way in fault; but I knew men well enough to know that when they find they've given a tramp a million-pound bill when they thought it was a one-pounder, they are in a frantic rage against him instead of quarreling with their own near-sightedness, as they ought. As I approached the house my excitement began to abate, for all was quiet there, which made me feel pretty sure the blunder was not discovered yet. I rang. The same servant appeared. I asked for those gentlemen.

"They are gone." This in the lofty, cold way of that fellow's tribe.

"Gone? Gone where?"

"On a journey."

"But whereabouts?"

"To the Continent, I think."

"The Continent?"

"Yes, sir."

"Which way - by what route?"

"I can't say, sir."

"When will they be back?"

"In a month, they said."

"A month! Oh, this is awful! Give me some sort of idea of how to get a word to them. It's of the last importance."

"I can't, indeed. I've no idea where they've gone, sir."

"Then I must see some member of the family."

"Family's away, too; been abroad months - in Egypt and India, I think."

"Man, there's been an immense mistake made. They'll be back before night. Will you tell them I've been here, and that I will keep coming till it's all made right, and they needn't be afraid?"

"I'll tell them, if they come back, but I am not expecting them. They said you would be here in an hour to make inquiries, but I must tell you it's all right, they'll be here on time and expect you."

So I had to give it up and go away. What a riddle it all was! I was like to lose my mind. They would be here "on time." What could that mean? Oh, the letter would explain, maybe. I had forgotten the letter; I got it out and read it. This is what it said:

"You are an intelligent and honest man, as one may see by your face. We conceive you to be poor and a stranger. Enclosed you will find a sum of money. It is lent to you for thirty days, without interest. Report at this house at the end of that time. I have a bet on you. If I win it you shall have any situation that is in my gift - any, that is, that you shall be able to prove yourself familiar with and competent to fill."

No signature, no address, no date.

Well, here was a coil to be in! You are posted on what had preceded all this, but I was not. It was just a deep, dark puzzle to me. I hadn't the least idea what the game was, nor whether harm was meant me or a kindness. I went into a park, and sat down to try to think it out, and to consider what I had best do.

At the end of an hour my reasonings had crystallized into this verdict.

Maybe those men mean me well, maybe they mean me ill; no way to decide that - let it go. They've got a game, or a scheme, or an experiment, of some kind on hand; no way to determine what it is - let it go. There's a bet on me; no way to find out what it is - let it go. That disposes of the indeterminable quantities; the remainder of the matter is tangible, solid, and may be classed and labeled with certainty. If I ask the Bank of England to place this bill to the credit of the man it belongs to, they'll do it, for they know him, although I don't; but they will ask me how I came in possession of it, and if I tell the truth, they'll put me in the asylum, naturally, and a lie will land me in jail. The same result would follow if I tried to bank the bill anywhere or to borrow money on it. I have got to carry this immense burden around until those men come back, whether I want to or not. It is useless to me, as useless as a handful of ashes, and yet I must take care of it, and watch over it, while I beg my living. I couldn't give it away, if I should try, for neither honest citizen nor highwayman would accept it or meddle with it for anything. Those brothers are safe. Even if I lose their bill, or burn it, they are still safe, because they can stop payment, and the Bank will make them whole; but meantime I've got to do a month's suffering without wages or profit - unless I help win that bet, whatever it may be, and get that situation that I am promised. I should like to get that; men of their sort have situations in their gift that are worth having.

I got to thinking a good deal about that situation. My hopes began to rise high. Without doubt the salary would be large. It would begin in a month; after that I should be all right. Pretty soon I was feeling first-rate. By this time I was tramping the streets again. The sight of a tailor-shop gave me a sharp longing to shed my rags, and to clothe myself decently once more. Could I afford it? No; I had nothing in the world but a million pounds. So I forced myself to go on by. But soon I was drifting back again. The temptation persecuted me cruelly. I must have passed that shop back and forth six times during that manful struggle. At last I gave in; I had to. I asked if they had a misfit suit that had been thrown on their hands. The fellow I spoke to nodded his head towards another fellow, and gave me no answer. I went to the indicated fellow, and he indicated another fellow with his head, and no words. I went to him, and he said:

"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."

Tod retorted: "Get him his change! It's easy to say, sir; but look at the bill yourself."

The proprietor took a look, gave a low, eloquent whistle, then made a dive for the pile of rejected clothing, and began to snatch it this way and that, talking all the time excitedly, and as if to himself:

"Sell an eccentric millionaire such an unspeakable suit as that! Tod's a fool - a born fool. Always doing something like this. Drives every millionaire away from this place, because he can't tell a millionaire from a tramp, and never could. Ah, here's the thing I am after. Please get those things off, sir, and throw them in the fire. Do me the favor to put on this shirt and this suit; it's just the thing, the very thing - plain, rich, modest, and just ducally nobby; made to order for a foreign prince - you may know him, sir, his Serene Highness the Hospodar of Halifax; had to leave it with us and take a mourning-suit because his mother was going to die - which she didn't. But that's all right; we can't always have things the way we - that is, the way they - there! trousers all right, they fit you to a charm, sir; now the waistcoat; aha, right again! now the coat - Lord! look at that, now! Perfect - the whole thing! I never saw such a triumph in all my experience."

二十七岁那年,我正给旧金山的一个矿业经济人打工,把证券交易所的门槛摸得清清楚楚。我是只身混世界,除了自己的聪明才智和一身清白,就再也没什么可依靠的了;不过,这反倒让我脚踏实地,不做那没影儿的发财梦,死心塌地奔自己的前程。

每到星期六下午股市收了盘,时间就全都是我自己的了,我喜欢弄条小船到海湾里去消磨这些时光。有一天我驶得远了点儿,漂到了茫茫大海上。正当夜幕降临,眼看就要没了盼头的时候,一艘开往伦敦的双桅帆船搭救了我。漫漫的旅途风狂雨暴,他们让我以工代票,干普通水手的活儿。到伦敦上岸的时候,我鹑衣百结,兜里只剩了一块钱。连吃带住,我用这一块钱顶了二十四个小时。再往后的二十四个小时里,我就饥肠辘辘,无处栖身了。

第二天上午大约十点钟光景,我破衣烂衫,饿着肚子正沿波特兰大道往前蹭。这时候,一个保姆领着孩子路过,那孩子把手上刚咬了一口的大个儿甜梨扔进了下水道。不用说,我停了下来,满含欲望的眼光罩住了那个脏兮兮的宝物儿。我口水直淌,肚子里都伸出手来,全心全意地乞求这个宝贝儿。可是,只要我刚一动弹,想去拣梨,总有哪一双过路的火眼金睛明察秋毫。我自然又站得直直的,没事人一样,好像从来就没在那个烂梨身上打过主意。这出戏演了一回又一回,我就是得不着那个梨。我受尽煎熬t正打算放开胆量、撕破脸皮去抓梨的时候,我身后的一扇窗子打开了,一位先生从里面发话:

“请到这儿来。”

一个衣着华丽的仆人把我接了进去,领到一个豪华房间,里头坐着两位上了岁数的绅士。他们打发走仆人,让我坐下。他们刚刚吃了早餐,看着那些残羹剩饭,我简直透不过气来。有这些吃的东西在场,我无论如何也集中不了精力,可是人家没请我品尝,我也只好尽力忍着。

这里刚刚发生过的事,我是过了好多天以后才明白的,不过现在我就马上说给你听。这对老兄弟为一件事已经有两天争得不可开交了,最后他们同意打个赌来分出高低——无论什么事英国人靠打赌都能一了百了。

你也许记得,英格兰银行曾经发行过两张一百万英镑的大钞,用于和某国公对公交易之类的特殊目的。不知怎么搞的,这两张大钞只有一张用过后注销了;另一张则一直躺在英格兰银行的金库里睡大觉。且说这两兄弟聊着聊着,忽发奇想:假如一位有头脑、特诚实的外地人落难伦敦,他举目无亲,除了一张百万英镑的大钞以外一无所有,而且他还没法证明这张大钞就是他的——这样的一个人会有怎样的命运呢?大哥说这人会饿死;弟弟说饿不死。大哥说,别说去银行了,无论去哪儿这人也花不掉那张大钞,因为他会当场被抓住。兄弟两个就这样争执不下,后来弟弟说他愿出两万镑打赌,这人靠百万英镑大钞无论如何也能活三十天,而且进不了监狱。大哥同意打赌,弟弟就到英格兰银行把大钞买了回来。你看,英国男子汉就是这样,魄力十足。然后,他口述一信,叫一个文书用漂亮的楷体字誊清;然后,两兄弟在窗前坐了整整一天,巴望来一个能消受大钞的合适人选。

他们检阅着一张张经过窗前的脸。有的虽然老实,却不够聪明;有的够聪明,却不够老实;还有不少又聪明又老实的,可人穷得不彻底;等到个赤贫的。又不是外地人——总是不能尽如人意。就在这时,我来了;他们俩认定我具备所有条件,于是一致选定了我;可我呢,正等着知道叫我进来到底要干什么。他们开始问一些有关我个人的问题,很快就弄清楚了我的来龙去脉。最后,他们告诉我,我正合他们的心意。我说,我打心眼里高兴,可不知道这心意到底是什么意思。这时,俩人当中的一位交给我一个信封,说打开一看便知。我正要打开,可他又不让;要我带到住处去仔仔细细地看,不要草率从事,也不用慌慌张张。我满腹狐疑,想把话头再往外引一引,可是他们不干。我只好揣着一肚子被侮辱与被损害的感觉往外走,他们明摆着是自己逗乐,拿我耍着玩;不过,我还是得顺着他们,这时的处境容不得我对这些阔佬大亨耍脾气。

本来,我能把那个梨拣起来,明目张胆地吃进肚子去了,可现在那个梨已经无影无踪;就因为那倒霉的差事,把我的梨弄丢了。想到这里,我对那两个人就气不打一处来。走到看不见那所房子的地方,我打开信封一看,里边装的是钱哪!说真的,这时我对他们可是另眼相看喽!我急不可待地把信和钱往马甲兜里一塞,撒腿就朝最近的小吃店跑。好,这一顿猛吃呀!最后,肚子实在塞不下东西去了,我掏出那张钞票来展开,只扫了一眼,我就差点昏倒。五百万美元!乖乖,我懵了。

我盯着那张大钞头晕眼花,想必足足过了一分钟才清醒过来。这时候,首先映入我眼帘的是小吃店老板。他的目光粘在大钞上,像五雷轰顶一般。他正在全心全意地祷告上帝,看来手脚都不能动弹了。我一下子计上心来,做了这时按人之常情应该做的事。我把那张大钞递到他眼前,小心翼翼地说:

“请找钱吧。”

他恢复了常态,连连道歉说他找不开这张大票,不论我怎么说他也不接。他心里想看,一个劲地打量那张大票;好像怎么看也饱不了眼福,可就是战战兢兢地不敢碰它,就好像凡夫俗子一接那票子上的仙气就会折了寿。我说:

“不好意思,给您添麻烦了,可这事还得办哪。请您找钱吧,我没带别的票子。”

他却说没关系,这点小钱儿何足挂齿,日后再说吧。我说,我一时半会儿不会再到这儿来了;可他说那也不要紧,他可以等着,而且,我想什么时候来就什么时候来,想点什么就点什么,这账呢,想什么时候结就什么时候结。他说,我只不过因为好逗个乐于,愿意打扮成这样来跟老百姓开个玩笑,他总不至于因此就信不过像我这么有钱的先生吧。这时候又进来了一位顾客,小吃店老板示意我收起那张巨无霸,然后作揖打恭地一直把我送了出来。我径直奔那所宅子去找两兄弟,让他们在警察把我抓起来之前纠正这个错误。尽管这不是我的错,可我还是提心吊胆——说实在的,简直是胆战心惊。我见人见得多了,我明白,要是他们发现把一百万镑的大钞错当一镑给了一个流浪汉,他们决不会怪自己眼神不好,非把那个流浪汉骂个狗血喷头。快走到那宅子的时候,我看到一切如常,断定还没有人发觉这错票的事,也就不那么紧张了。我摁了门铃。原先那个仆人又出来了。我求见那两位先生。

“他们走了。”他用这类人那种不可一世的冷冰冰的口气说。

“走了?去哪儿了?”

“出远门了。”

“可——上哪儿啦?”

“我想是去欧洲大陆了吧。”

“欧洲大陆?”

“没错,先生。”

“怎么走的——走的是哪条路呀?”

“我说不上,先生。”

“什么时候回来呢?”

“他们说,得一个月吧。”

“一个月!唉,这可糟了!帮忙想想办法,看怎么能给他们传个话。这事要紧着哪。”

一实在办不到。他们上哪儿了我一无所知,先生。”

“那,我一定要见这家的其他人。”

“其他人也走了;出国好几个月了——我想,是去埃及和印度了吧。”

“伙计,出了件大错特错的事。他们不到天黑就会转回来。请你告诉他们我来过,不把这事全办妥,我还会接着来,他们用不着担心。”

“只要他们回来我就转告,不过,我想他们不会回来。他们说过,不出一个钟头你就会来打听,我呢,一定要告诉你什么事都没出;等时候一到,他们自然会在这儿候着你。”

我只好打住,走开了。搞的什么鬼!我真是摸不着头脑。“等时候一到”他们会在这儿。这是什么意思?哦,没准那封信上说了。我把刚才忘了的那封信抽出来一看,信上是这样说的:

看面相可知,你是个又聪明、又诚实的人。我们猜,你很穷,是个外地人。你会在信封里找到一笔钱。这笔钱借你用三十天,不计利息。期满时来此宅通报。我们在你身上打了一个赌。假如我赢了,你可以在我的职权范围内随意择一职位——也就是说,你能证明自己熟悉和胜任的任何职位均可。

没落款,没地址,也没有日期。

好嘛,这真是一团乱麻!现在你当然明白这件事的前因后果,可当时我并不知道。这个谜洞对我来说深不可测、漆黑一团。这出把戏我全然不晓,也不知道对我是福还是祸。我来到一个公园坐下来,想理清头绪,看看我怎么办才好。

我经过一个小时的推理,得出了如下结论。

那两个人也许对我是好意,也许是歹意;无从推断——这且不去管它。他们是玩把戏,搞阴谋,做实验,还是搞其他勾当,无从推断——且不去管它。他们拿我打了一个赌;赌什么无从推断——也不去管它。这些确定不了的部分清理完毕,其他的事就看得见、摸得着、实实在在,可以归为确定无疑之类了。假如我要求英格兰银行把这钞票存入那人名下,银行会照办的,因为虽然我不知道他是谁,银行却会知道;不过银行会盘问钞票怎么会到了我手里。说真话,他们自然会送我去收容所;说假话,他们就会送我去拘留所。假如我拿这钞票随便到哪儿换钱,或者是靠它去借钱,后果也是一样。无论愿不愿意,我只能背着这个大包袱走来走去,直到那两个人回来。虽然这东西对我毫无用处,形同粪土,可是我却要一边乞讨度日,一边照管它,看护它。就算我想把它给人,也出不了手,因为不管是老实的良民还是剪径的大盗,无论如何都不会收,连碰都不会碰一下。那两兄弟可以高枕无忧了。就算我把他们的钞票丢了,烧了,他们依然平安无事,因为他们能挂失,银行照样让他们分文不缺;与此同时,我倒要受一个月的罪,没薪水,也不分红——除非我能帮着赢了那个赌,谋到那个许给我的职位。我当然愿得到这职位,这种人赏下来的无论什么职位都值得一干。

我对那份美差浮想联翩,期望值也开始上升。不用说,薪水决不是个小数目。过一个月就要开始上班,从此我就会万事如意了。转眼间,我的自我感觉好极了。这时,我又在大街上逛了起来。看到一家服装店,一股热望涌上我的心头:甩掉这身破衣裳,给自己换一身体面的行头。我能买得起吗?不行;除了那一百万英镑,我在这世上一无所有。于是,我克制住自己,从服装店前走了过去。可是,不一会儿我又转了回来。那诱惑把我折磨得好苦。我在服装店前面来来回回走了足有六趟,以男子汉的气概奋勇抗争着。终于,我投降了;我只有投降。我问他们手头有没有顾客试过的不合身的衣服。我问的伙计没搭理我,只是朝另一个点点头。我向他点头示意的伙计走过去,那一个也不说话,又朝第三个人点点头,我朝第三个走过去,他说:

“这就来。”

我等着。他忙完了手头的事,把我带到后面的一个房间,在一摞退货当中翻了一通,给我挑出一套最寒酸的来。我换上了这套衣服。这衣服不合身,毫无魅力可言,可它总是新的,而我正急着要衣服穿呢;没什么可挑剔的,我迟迟疑疑地说:

“要是你们能等两天再结账。就帮了我的忙了。现在我一点零钱都没带。”

那店员端出一副刻薄至极的嘴脸说:

“哦,您没带零钱?说真的,我想您也没带。我以为像您这样的先生光会带大票子呢。”

我火了,说:

“朋友,对外地来的,你们不能总拿衣帽取人哪。这套衣服我买得起,就是不愿让你们找不开一张大票,添麻烦。”

他稍稍收敛了一点,可那种口气还是暴露无遗。他说:

“我可没成心出口伤人,不过,您要是出难题的话,我告诉您,您一张口就咬定我们找不开您带的什么票子,这可是多管闲事。正相反,我们找得开。”

我把那张钞票递给他,说:

“哦,那好;对不起了。”

他笑着接了过去,这是那种无处不在的笑容,笑里有皱,笑里带褶,一圈儿一圈儿的,就像往水池子里面扔了一块砖头;可是,只瞟了一眼钞票,他的笑容就凝固了,脸色大变,就像你在维苏威火山山麓那些平坎上看到的起起伏伏、像虫子爬似的凝固熔岩。我从来没见过谁的笑脸定格成如此这般的永恒状态。这家伙站在那儿捏着钞票,用这副架势定定地瞅。老板过来看到底出了什么事,他神采奕奕地发问:

“哎,怎么啦?有什么问题?想要点什么?”

我说:“什么问题也没有。我正等着找钱哪。”

“快点,快点;找给他钱,托德;找给他钱。”

托德反唇相讥:“找给他钱!说得轻巧,先生,自个儿看看吧,您哪。”