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The One Million Pound

By this time I was tramping the streets again. The sight of a tailor-shop gave me a sharp longing1 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. I asked if they had a misfit suit on their hands. The fellow I spoke2 to nodded his head towards another fellow, and gave me no answer.
 
I waited till he was done with what he was doing, then he took me into a back room, and overhauled3 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 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 sarcastic4 expression of countenance5, and said: "Oh, you haven’t? Well, of course, I’d only expect gentlemen like you to carry large change." I was nettled6, 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." "I didn’t mean any particular harm," he said, "but 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 around all over, 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. I never before saw a smile caught like that, in perpetuity.

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