Gold coinage to the worth of one hundred and twenty francs was handed over to the Jew, who clutched at the money with unmistakable eagerness. The steelyard was committed to the keeping of Ben Zoof, and the visitors prepared to quit the _Hansa_.
All at once it occurred to the professor that the steelyard would be absolutely useless to him, unless he had the means for ascertaining the precise measurement of the unit of the soil of Gallia which he proposed to weigh. "Something more you must lend me," he said, addressing the Jew. "I must have a measure, and I must have a kilogramme."
"I have neither of them," answered Isaac. "I have neither. I am sorry; I am very sorry." And this time the old Jew spoke the truth. He would have been really glad to do another stroke or two of business upon terms as advantageous as the transaction he had just concluded.
Palmyrin Rosette scratched his head in perplexity, glaring round upon his companions as if they were personally responsible for his annoyance. He muttered something about finding a way out of his difficulty, and hastily mounted the cabin-ladder. The rest followed, but they had hardly reached the deck when the chink of money was heard in the room below. Hakkabut was locking away the gold in one of the drawers.
Back again, down the ladder, scrambled the little professor, and before the Jew was aware of his presence he had seized him by the tail of his slouchy overcoat. "Some of your money! I must have money!" he said.
"Money!" gasped Hakkabut; "I have no money." He was pale with fright, and hardly knew what he was saying.
"Falsehood!" roared Rosette. "Do you think I cannot see?" And peering down into the drawer which the Jew was vainly trying to close, he cried, "Heaps of money! French money! Five-franc pieces! the very thing I want! I must have them!"
The captain and his friends, who had returned to the cabin looked on with mingled amusement and bewilderment.