Ginger and Pickles gave unlimited credit.
Now the meaning of “credit” is this—when a customer buys a bar of soap, instead of the customer pulling out a purse and paying for it—she says she will pay another time.
And Pickles makes a low bow and says, “With pleasure, madam,” and it is written down in a book.
The customers come again and again, and buy quantities, in spite of being afraid of Ginger and Pickles.
But there is no money in what is called the “till.”
The customers came in crowds every day and bought quantities, especially the toffee customers. But there was always no money; they never paid for as much as a pennyworth of peppermints.
But the sales were enormous, ten times as large as Tabitha Twitchit’s.
As there was always no money, Ginger and Pickles were obliged to eat their own goods.
Pickles ate biscuits and Ginger ate a dried haddock.
They ate them by candle-light after the shop was closed.
When it came to Jan. 1st there was still no money, and Pickles was unable to buy a dog licence.
“It is very unpleasant, I am afraid of the police,” said Pickles.
“It is your own fault for being a terrier; I do not require a licence, and neither does Kep, the Collie dog.”
“It is very uncomfortable, I am afraid I shall be summoned. I have tried in vain to get a licence upon credit at the Post Office;” said Pickles. “The place is full of policemen. I met one as I was coming home.”
“Let us send in the bill again to Samuel Whiskers, Ginger, he owes 22/9 for bacon.”
“I do not believe that he intends to pay at all,” replied Ginger.
“And I feel sure that Anna Maria pockets things—Where are all the cream crackers?”
“You have eaten them yourself,” replied Ginger.
Ginger and Pickles retired into the back parlour.
They did accounts. They added up sums and sums, and sums.
“Samuel Whiskers has run up a bill as long as his tail; he has had an ounce and three-quarters of snuff since October.”
“What is seven pounds of butter at 1/3, and a stick of sealing wax and four matches?”
“Send in all the bills again to everybody ‘with comp’ts,’” replied Ginger.
After a time they heard a noise in the shop, as if something had been pushed in at the door. They came out of the back parlour. There was an envelope lying on the counter, and a policeman writing in a note-book!
Pickles nearly had a fit, he barked and he barked and made little rushes.
“Bite him, Pickles! bite him!” spluttered Ginger behind a sugar-barrel, “he’s only a German doll!”