'The long and the short of it is, what's the security?'
'The paid-up capital, my dear sir,' said Tigg, referring to some papers on the table, 'is, at this present moment--'
'Oh! I understand all about paid-up capitals, you know,' said Jonas.
'You do?' cried Tigg, stopping short.
'I should hope so.'
He turned the papers down again, and moving nearer to him, said in his ear:
'I know you do. I know you do. Look at me!'
It was not much in Jonas's way to look straight at anybody; but thus requested, he made shift to take a tolerable survey of the chairman's features. The chairman fell back a little, to give him the better opportunity.
'You know me?' he inquired, elevating his eyebrows. 'You recollect? You've seen me before?'
'Why, I thought I remembered your face when I first came in,' said Jonas, gazing at it; 'but I couldn't call to mind where I had seen it. No. I don't remember, even now. Was it in the street?'
'Was it in Pecksniff's parlour?' said Tigg
'In Pecksniff's parlour!' echoed Jonas, fetching a long breath. 'You don't mean when--'
'Yes,' cried Tigg, 'when there was a very charming and delightful little family party, at which yourself and your respected father assisted.'
'Well, never mind HIM,' said Jonas. 'He's dead, and there's no help for it.'
'Dead, is he!' cried Tigg, 'Venerable old gentleman, is he dead! You're very like him.'
Jonas received this compliment with anything but a good grace, perhaps because of his own private sentiments in reference to the personal appearance of his deceased parent; perhaps because he was not best pleased to find that Montague and Tigg were one. That gentleman perceived it, and tapping him familiarly on the sleeve, beckoned him to the window. From this moment, Mr Montague's jocularity and flow of spirits were remarkable.
'Do you find me at all changed since that time?' he asked. 'Speak plainly.'
Jonas looked hard at his waistcoat and jewels; and said 'Rather, ecod!'
'Was I at all seedy in those days?' asked Montague.
'Precious seedy,' said Jonas.
Mr Montague pointed down into the street, where Bailey and the cab were in attendance.
'Neat; perhaps dashing. Do you know whose it is?'
'Mine. Do you like this room?'
'It must have cost a lot of money,' said Jonas.
'You're right. Mine too. Why don't you'--he whispered this, and nudged him in the side with his elbow--'why don't you take premiums, instead of paying 'em? That's what a man like you should do. Join us!'
Jonas stared at him in amazement.
'Is that a crowded street?' asked Montague, calling his attention to the multitude without.
'Very,' said Jonas, only glancing at it, and immediately afterwards looking at him again.
'There are printed calculations,' said his companion, 'which will tell you pretty nearly how many people will pass up and down that thoroughfare in the course of a day. I can tell you how many of 'em will come in here, merely because they find this office here; knowing no more about it than they do of the Pyramids. Ha, ha! Join us. You shall come in cheap.'
Jonas looked at him harder and harder.
'I can tell you,' said Tigg in his ear, 'how many of 'em will buy annuities, effect insurances, bring us their money in a hundred shapes and ways, force it upon us, trust us as if we were the Mint; yet know no more about us than you do of that crossing-sweeper at the corner. Not so much. Ha, ha!'
Jonas gradually broke into a smile.
'Yah!' said Montague, giving him a pleasant thrust in the breast; 'you're too deep for us, you dog, or I wouldn't have told you. Dine with me to-morrow, in Pall Mall!'
'I will' said Jonas.
'Done!' cried Montague. 'Wait a bit. Take these papers with you and look 'em over. See,' he said, snatching some printed forms from the table. 'B is a little tradesman, clerk, parson, artist, author, any common thing you like.'
'Yes,' said Jonas, looking greedily over his shoulder. 'Well!'
'B wants a loan. Say fifty or a hundred pound; perhaps more; no matter.