"Well, then," said Servadac, "if you do not like to lend us your steelyard, do you object to sell it to us?"
Isaac fairly shrieked aloud. "God of Israel!" he ejaculated, "sell my steelyard? Would you deprive me of one of the most indispensable of my means of livelihood? How should I weigh my merchandise without my steelyard--my solitary steelyard, so delicate and so correct?"
The orderly wondered how his master could refrain from strangling the old miser upon the spot; but Servadac, rather amused than otherwise, determined to try another form of persuasion. "Come, Hakkabut, I see that you are not disposed either to lend or to sell your steelyard. What do you say to letting us hire it?"
The Jew's eyes twinkled with a satisfaction that he was unable to conceal. "But what security would you give? The instrument is very valuable;" and he looked more cunning than ever.
"What is it worth? If it is worth twenty francs, I will leave a deposit of a hundred. Will that satisfy you?"
He shook his head doubtfully. "It is very little; indeed, it is too little, your Excellency. Consider, it is the only steelyard in all this new world of ours; it is worth more, much more. If I take your deposit it must be in gold--all gold. But how much do you agree to give me for the hire-- the hire, one day?"
"You shall have twenty francs," said Servadac.
"Oh, it is dirt cheap; but never mind, for one day, you shall have it. Deposit in gold money a hundred francs, and twenty francs for the hire." The old man folded his hands in meek resignation.