Decidedly the ship Agustus Vernon Robert Todd “had found herself.”
It was with hearty thankfulness at the idea of being finally rid of Raffles that Jack walked over to the “Lodestone” by himself on the Thursday, jingling his last few shillings in his pockets. Raffles was waiting for him in the stables, and he was very friendly and familiar, which always annoyed Jack immensely.
“Glad you’re in time, sir, and to ‘ear the dibs a-rattlin’ in your pockets.”
“Because they’ll rattle in yours, soon, I suppose. I make out I owe you about ten shillings, Raffles.”
“’Ow do you make that out, Mr. Bourne?”
“Rabbits, cartridges, and dummy pigeons. I’m about right, I fancy?”
“Right as far as they go.”
“As far as they go, of course—not farther. Then here you are.”
“And the gun,” said Raffles, calmly, looking into vacancy, and not seeing Jack’s coins—“leastwise, wot was a gun.”
“Am I to pay for that filthy article?” said Jack, angrily. “Why, it nearly blew my brains out!”
“’As’e to pay for that breech-loader gun?” said Raffles, laughing softly as at some good joke. “Why, of course you have.”
“My opinion is, Raffles, that that gun was rotten. It wasn’t worth a sovereign. I don’t believe it was ever fit to shoot with, now.”
“Of course, now,” said Raffles, with a sneer. “Now, when you’ve got to pay for it.”
“I don’t know so much about ‘have got to pay for it’ at all. That grin of yours doesn’t improve your looks, Raffles,” said Jack, who was rather nettled by Raffles’ sneer.
“Well, my bantam cock,” said Raffles, savagely, “I only ’opes as this ’ere bill won’t spoil yours. And let me tell you, young shaver, I want the money.”
Jack calmly took the piece of note-paper which Raffles hurriedly fished out of his pocket, and flourished dramatically before Bourne. There was a touching simplicity about Raffles’ bill-making that would in ordinary times have made Jack split with laughter, but, naturally, at the present time he did not feel in a very jovial frame of mind. Hence he read through the farrago with only one very strong desire—to kick Raffles neck and crop out of the stable. This was the bill:—
Mr. burn owes me daniel raffles this money.
To bunneys at sixpence each... 2 0 To 50 cartrigges...... 6 6 To pidgins......... 1 6 1 gunn breech loder...... L7 0 0 _______ totel L7 10 0
“Now, Raffles,” said Jack, in a white heat, “what do you mean by this rotten foolery?”
“There’s no foolery about it,” said Raffles, sulkily. “That’s my bill.”
“Why, you unspeakable rascal, did you fancy I’d pay it?”
“I did, and I do.”
Something in the fellow’s tone made Jack a trifle uneasy, and he considered within himself for a moment what he had better do. That the rascal had made up his mind to be nasty was evident, and when Jack thought that the gun, poor as it was, was destroyed, though through no fault of his own, he thought perhaps he might give his old jackal something as a solatium.