The visitors having taken what seats they could, Hakkabut closed the door, and, like a prisoner awaiting his sentence, stood with folded hands, expecting the captain to speak.
"Listen," said Servadac; "we have come to ask a favor."
Imagining that at least half his property was to be confiscated, the Jew began to break out into his usual formula about being a poor man and having nothing to spare; but Servadac, without heeding his complainings, went on: "We are not going to ruin you, you know."
Hakkabut looked keenly into the captain's face.
"We have only come to know whether you can lend us a steelyard."
So far from showing any symptom of relief, the old miser exclaimed, with a stare of astonishment, as if he had been asked for some thousand francs: "A steelyard?"
"Yes!" echoed the professor, impatiently; "a steelyard."
"Have you not one?" asked Servadac.