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“You are an Englishman, Mr. Robinson,” said he. I acknowledged that I was.

“I am another. My wife, however, is Irish. My daughter,—by a former marriage,—is English also. You see that box there.”

“Oh, yes,” said I, “I see it.” I began to be so fascinated by the box that I could not keep my eyes off it.

“I don’t know whether or no it is prudent, but I keep all my money there; my money for travelling, I mean.”

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“If I were you, then,” I answered, “I would not say anything about it to any one.”

“Oh, no, of course not,” said he; “I should not think of mentioning it. But those brigands in Italy always take away what you have about your person, but they don’t meddle with the heavy luggage.”

“Bills of exchange, or circular notes,” I suggested.

“Ah, yes; and if you can’t identify yourself, or happen to have a headache, you can’t get them changed. I asked an old friend of mine, who has been connected with the Bank of England for the last fifty years, and he assured me that there was nothing like sovereigns.”

“But you never get the value for them.”

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“Well, not quite. One loses a franc, or a franc and a half. But still, there’s the certainty, and that’s the great matter. An English sovereign will go anywhere,” and he spoke these words with considerable triumph.

“Undoubtedly, if you consent to lose a shilling on each sovereign.”

“At any rate, I have got three hundred and fifty in that box,” he said. “I have them done up in rolls of twenty-five pounds each.”

I again recommended him to keep this arrangement of his as private as possible,—a piece of counsel which I confess seemed to me to be much needed,—and then I went away to my own room, having first accepted an invitation from Mrs. Greene to join their party at dinner. “Do,” said she; “we have been so dull, and it will be so pleasant.”

I did not require to be much pressed to join myself to a party in which there was so pretty a girl as Miss Greene, and so attractive a woman as Mrs. Greene. I therefore accepted the invitation readily, and went away to make my toilet. As I did so I passed the door of Mr. Greene’s room, and saw the long file of boxes being borne into the centre of it.

I spent a pleasant evening, with, however, one or two slight drawbacks. As to old Greene himself, he was all that was amiable; but then he was nervous, full of cares, and somewhat apt to be a bore. He wanted information on a thousand points, and did not seem to understand that a young man might prefer the conversation of his daughter to his own. Not that he showed any solicitude to prevent conversation on the part of his daughter. I should have been perfectly at liberty to talk to either of the ladies had he not wished to engross all my attention to himself. He also had found it dull to be alone with his wife and daughter for the last six weeks.

He was a small spare man, probably over fifty years of age, who gave me to understand that he had lived in London all his life, and had made his own fortune in the city. What he had done in the city to make his fortune he did not say. Had I come across him there I should no doubt have found him to be a sharp man of business, quite competent to teach me many a useful lesson of which I was as ignorant as an infant. Had he caught me on the Exchange, or at Lloyd’s, or in the big room of the Bank of England, I should have been compelled to ask him everything. Now, in this little town under the Alps, he was as much lost as I should have been in Lombard Street, and was ready enough to look to me for information. I was by no means chary in giving him my counsel, and imparting to him my ideas on things in general in that part of the world;—only I should have preferred to be allowed to make myself civil to his daughter.