A friend who had introduced us in New York sat by my side and I looked at him.
"Henry," I said, "I haven't touched a brilliant for years, I am not au fait with
values, I am a steady goer, I take no wild plunges, and my paper if I
give it has to be met. Tell our friend here to look for other
who was a great expert on brilliants and had for twenty-five years
never lost touch with the diamond market, and who loved me as a
brother, said: "Buy!"
bought the lot; it came to over forty thousand pounds, and I paid with
my signature. I did not know then what I had let myself in for. But of
that more anon. I shipped the goods out to my brother, who was then in
charge of our Manila office.
I remembered, even as the goods were on their way, that you might buy
diamonds for ,£40,000 on tick if the seller had faith in your
integrity, but that the American Collector of Customs in Manila would
want to see the colour of our money before issuing a clearance
certificate for the goods. Fifteen per cent ad valorem meant ,£
6,000 in Customs duty, and this was an outlay which I had not figured
on before I had left the Islands. In great perturbation I mentioned
this little fact to the seller. He laughed. "I gave you credit for
forty thousand pounds, so I may as well make it forty-six thousand," he
said, grabbed the phone and instructed his bank to make cable transfer
to Manila of ,£ 6,000 in our favour.
shows you what sort of a Napoleon my creditor was. Two weeks later,
having been in the interim in London, I went again to Antwerp. I
called on my friend. He