now we had attracted quite a lot of attention, and our transaction was very much coram publico.
a portly gentleman, I said: "Perhaps you, sir? You have seen this
magnificent stone and you have heard what these experts have had to say
about it. Will you buy the gem? I need spending money while I am in
port, and if you buy it, your wife will thank you for it."
me have a good look," said the European. I placed the stone in his
palm. He turned it this way and that and asked: "How much?"
"Two hundred pounds," I said casually, as if naming the price of soap.
is a lot of money," said the customer. "However, I have taken a liking
to the stone and I will take it." Thereupon he brought out his wallet,
counted out the money and walked away with the gem.
looked a very nice little transaction, but, you see, I had "planted" my
customer and he had paid for my sapphire with my money. I soon found,
however, that good jokes must be paid for.
seen me become rich at a stroke before their very eyes, the boys set up
a great clamour. They had "assisted" at the sale and they wanted their
squeeze. If it had not been for them, they said, I would not have sold
the stone. Furthermore, as a stranger, I had poached upon their selling
territory and owed them compensation. Bare they might be from the waist
up, but they knew all the answers, and I now found myself confronted by
a host of partners who must be paid out.
This was not quite so funny. But I managed in the end