298 Old-time Schools and School-books
ask him to lend me a hammer — and you may as well borrow a few nails, while you are about it."
A little boy now enters and says, " Father sent me to ask if you had done with his hoe, which you borrowed a week ago last Wednesday ; he wants to use it."
" Wants his hoe, child ? What can he want with it ? I have not half done with it. Tell him to send it back, though, as soon as he can spare it."
They sit down to breakfast. " O la ! " exclaims Mrs. Green, "there is not a particle of butter in the house — James, run over to Mrs. Notable's, she always has excellent butter in her dairy, and ask her to lend me a plateful."
After a few minutes James returns; " Mrs. Notable says she has sent you the butter, but begs you to remember, that she has already lent you nineteen platefuls, which are scored on the dairy door."
" Nineteen platefuls," exclaimed the astonished Mrs. Green, holding up both her hands; "it is no such thing — I never had half that quantity ; and if I had, what is a little plateful of butter ? I should never think of keeping an account of such a trifling affair — I declare, I have a great mind never to borrow any thing of that mean creature again, as long as I live."
The narrative goes on to relate other borrowing episodes in the Green family, and closes with the statement that —
After all, the lowest, the most degraded class of borrowers, are Newspaper Borrowers ; fellows who have not soul enough to subscribe for a newspaper, yet long to know its contents; who watch with lynx-eyed vigilance for the arrival of the mail, and when their more generous neighbor receives his paper, send their boys with messages like the following.