DIAMOND CUT DIAMOND 147
'Bemember you?' growled the other; 'no, why should I ? I have plenty to do to remember good customers without trying to remember every beggar who comes whining for charity.'
When he heard this the merchant began to tremble.
' Lala-ji!' he cried, ' surely you remember me and the little box I gave you to take care of? And you promised—yes, indeed, you promised very kindly—that I might return to claim it, and------'
' You scoundrel,' roared Beeka Mull, ' get out of my shop ! Be off with you, you impudent scamp! Every one knows that I never keep treasures for anyone ; I have trouble enough to do to keep my own ! Come, off with you!' With that he began to push the merchant out of the shop; and, when the poor man resisted, two of the bystanders came to Beeka Mull's help, and flung the merchant out into the road, like a bale of goods dropped from a camel. Slowly he picked himself up out of the dust, bruised, battered, and bleeding, but feeling nothing of the pain in his body, nothing but a dreadful numbing sensation that, after all, he was ruined and lost! Slowly he dragged himself a little further from where the fat and furious Beeka Mull still stood amongst his disordered silks and carpets, and coming to a friendly wall he crouched and leant against it, and putting his head into his hands gave himself up to an agony of misery and despair.
There he sat motionless, like one turned to stone, whilst darkness fell around him ; and when, about eleven o'clock that night, a certain gay young fellow named Kooshy Bam passed by with a friend, he saw the merchant sitting hunched against the wall, and remarked : ' A thief, no doubt.' ' You are wrong,' returned the other,' thieves don't sit in full view of people like that, even at night.' And so the two passed on, and thought no more of him. About five o'clock next morning Kooshy Bam was returning home again, when, to his astonishment, he saw