A Kentucky friend some years since related to us the following anecdote, as having actually occurred in that State.
There was a roystering sort of fellow named Peter Russell, but usually called Peter Russell, who owned a good deal of property, and therefore had a pecuniary responsibility, though he was always in want of money, and frequently in the hands of shavers.
On one occasion he went to a certain accommodating friend, to borrow two thousand dollars.—“Yes,” said his friend, “Pete, I will lend you the two thousand dollars, and without interest too, if you will give me your bill for the amount on London.”
“Oh, no,” replied Pete, “I can’t stand that. If I give you a bill on London, the cursed thing will be back on me here under protest, in four months at farthest, and then I must pay the amount and twenty per cent. damages. That’s too deep a dig.”
“Well,” said Shylock, “that is cutting it rather fat, I acknowledge, but I will tell you, Pete, what I will do—I will take your bill on London for two thousand dollars, and pay you for it two thousand two hundred, and when it comes back protested, you will have to refund the two thousand dollars and twenty per cent. damages, making together two thousand four hundred, which will leave me only two hundred dollars.”
“Agreed,” said Pete, “I am willing to stand that.” So down they sat to prepare the documents.
“But who the deuce shall I draw upon in London?” said Pete. “I do not know a living soul there.”
“It is perfectly immaterial whom you draw upon,” said his friend. “So far as I am concerned, I am willing you should draw upon the town pump.”
“By Jove!” said Pete, “I have it—I’ll draw upon my cousin, the Duke of Bedford.”
It will be recollected that the family name of his grace is Russell, and Pete was in the habit of boasting that he descended from the same stock. So Pete “let fly his kite” for two thousand dollars on his grace of Bedford, and received the stipulated amount of two thousand two hundred dollars. The bill, of course, had to be sent to London, to be presented to his grace, and regularly protested, in order to establish a legal claim upon the drawer. One morning it was accordingly found, with other documents, on the table in the Duke’s study, having been left for acceptance or payment.
“And who,” said his grace of Bedford, taking up the bill, and addressing his man of business, “is this Peter Russell, that is drawing on me for two thousand dollars? I never heard of him before, and do not know by what authority he does so.”
"I am equally ignorant, your grace,” said the steward. “I know nothing of him.”
“Well,” said his grace, after musing a moment, “it is very probable now, that he is some poor and distant branch of my family, who has wandered away off there to the wilds of Kentucky, and is in distress; the amount is but a trifle; let the bill be paid;” and paid it was.
In due course of time Pete’s friend got back two thousand dollars, less banker’s commissions, and without interest, for two thousand two hundred he had paid Pete some months previous.
It was a regular shave, only the shaver became the shavee.
Our friend, from whom we had the story, said he never heard whether Pete ever renewed the operation.
We can only add, that we have often wished we had such a cousin in London.—New Orleans Bulletin.
Source: Richmond Semi-Weekly Examiner 20 October 1848: 4. (Library of Virginia Archives).
Erin Bartels prepared and proofread this typescript.
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