"Is the chief in?" I asked.
"He is gone for a mountain tour in Jotunhejmen," he replied. Was it anything very particular, eh?
"It concerns a couple of pence for food," I said, and I tried to smile. "I am hungry, and haven't a fraction."
"Then you're just about as rich as I am," he remarked, and began to tidy some packages of wool.
"Ah, don't turn me away—not now!" I said on the moment, with a cold feeling over my whole body. "I am really nearly dead with hunger; it is now many days since I have eaten anything."
With perfect gravity, without saying a word, he began to turn his pockets inside out, one by one. Would I not believe him, upon his word? What?
"Only a halfpenny," said I, "and you shall have a penny back in a couple of days."
"My dear man, do you want me to steal out of the till?" he queried, impatiently.
"Yes," said I. "Yes; take a halfpenny out of the till."
"It won't be I that will do that," he observed;