Bounder, pay up!
It is common etiquette while conducting business in a pub for the seller to match the buyer drink for drink. Every man in Christendom knows this fact and it is not an uncommon event to find a man in his cups slumped over a table signing his name to this document or that. After all, the Royal Navy has to be preserved some way. Instead, I found myself four cups in with the odious Mr. Gray swishing his first glass of port (port!) around his teeth and making tut-tut noises in my direction. I attempted to remain calm and give the full weight of my attention to his interminable jabber.
The little one had pledged me to arrive at the Griffin, meet with the aforementioned Mr. Gray, and make such a spectacle of myself that Gray would refuse to sell me whatever it was the little one wanted all to his own person. I was told to be “exceedingly Irish” and talk in a ridiculous brogue and exclaim such nonsense as “faith and begorrah” and “as the Virgin as my witness.” Needless to say, the little one’s grasp on what a real Irishman was left something to be desired. I was all set to proceed with my own plan, which was to obtain the documents through simple intellectual discourse, but Mr. Gray took his time in getting to his point. Instead, I had to hear about profit this and earning that and how many ships it would take to bring back 600 monkeys from the Indies. It was so dreary that I resorted to stabbing myself in the leg with my knife to stay awake and downing another pint every time Gray mentioned “low interest.”
I must remark that what happened next I am not proud of in the slightest. We came to the end the meeting and Gray seemed more and more discomfited by the moment. It seems that he expected to for me to pay for my own drink as he had only had the one. Well, the very idea is shocking. Over business, the seller always purchases the buyer’s drinks. At the whorehouse, drinks are on the house as they know you’ll be paying for other services later on. I was so shocked at that man’s usury that I rose from my seat and clubbed him about the head. He fell like a sack of flour. Luckily for me, his purse came undone upon his fall and being a wise man, I helped myself to his coppers and some scraps of paper contained therein. His bent coppers were just enough to pay for my drinks at the Griffin, and another drink down at the Laughing Moor. I left Gray groaning on the floor, it would be up to the constabulary to determine how he would have to pay for his glass of port.
The papers I kept on my person. They look fairly useless (I have posted one above), but as the little one is parsimonious in giving out tinder for the fire in my room, I might sleep warmly for the first time in a month.