**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!


The Pleasant Surprise
by [?]

I remembered that I had seen the man with the barrow farther down the street.

“Excuse me for one moment, Eliza,” I said, and dashed out after him.

* * * * *

He was a big, red-faced man, and he made no difficulty about it at all.

“Yes,” he said, “I bought that jacket, gov’ner, and I don’t deny it. There it is at the bottom of my bundle, and I ain’t even looked at it since. Nor I ain’t goin’ to look now. You say there was two suvreigns in the pocket. A gent like you don’t want to swindle a common man like me. If you say the two suvreigns was there, then they’re there now, and I can return yer two pound out o’ my own, in a suttunty of gettin’ ’em back out o’ the jacket pocket. Bless yer! I knows an honest man when I sees one.”

With these words he drew the money from his own waistcoat pocket, and handed it to me. I took it with some reluctance.

“Hadn’t you better make quite certain—-“

“Not a bit,” says he. “If them suvreigns were there when the jacket were ‘anded to me, they is there now. I could see as you was a man to be trusted, otherwise I’d ‘ave undone the bundle and searched long afore this.”

* * * * *

“What have you been doing?” said Eliza, on my return.

“Never mind. Your mother has given you a new jacket. Let me have the pleasure of giving you a new hat.” I pressed the two coins into her palm.

She looked at them, and said, “You can’t get a hat for a halfpenny, you know, dear. What did you rush out for just now? And why did you have these two farthings gilded? You’ll be mistaking them for sovereigns, if you’re not careful. Were you trying to take me in?”

I did not quite see what to say for the moment, and so I took her suggestion. I explained that it was a joke.

“You don’t look much as if you were joking.”

“But I was. I suppose I ought to know if any man does. However, Eliza, if you want a new hat, anything up to half a sovereign, you’ve only to say it.”

She said it, thanked me, and asked me to come and help her water the spiraea.

“It’s such a shapely spiraea,” she said.

“Yes,” I answered sadly, “it’s a regular plant.” And so it was, though I had not been intending what the French call a double entendre at the time.