Tom DeLorey forwarded a link to a copy of Mark Twain's story written around the million pound banknote discussed last week. Here's a short excerpt, but you can read the complete tale online.
Those two old brothers had been having a pretty hot argument a couple of days before, and had ended by agreeing to decide it by a bet, which is the English way of settling everything.
You will remember that the Bank of England once issued two notes of a million pounds each, to be used for a special purpose connected with some public transaction with a foreign country. For some reason or other only one of these had been used and canceled; the other still lay in the vaults of the Bank. Well, the brothers, chatting along, happened to get to wondering what might be the fate of a perfectly honest and intelligent stranger who should be turned adrift in London without a friend, and with no money but that million-pound bank-note, and no way to account for his being in possession of it. Brother A said he would starve to death; Brother B said he wouldn't. Brother A said he couldn't offer it at a bank or anywhere else, because he would be arrested on the spot. So they went on disputing till Brother B said he would bet twenty thousand pounds that the man would live thirty days, anyway, on that million, and keep out of jail, too. Brother A took him up. Brother B went down to the Bank and bought that note. Just like an Englishman, you see; pluck to the backbone. Then he dictated a letter, which one of his clerks wrote out in a beautiful round hand, and then the two brothers sat at the window a whole day watching for the right man to give it to.
They saw many honest faces go by that were not intelligent enough; many that were intelligent, but not honest enough; many that were both, but the possessors were not poor enough, or, if poor enough, were not strangers. There was always a defect, until I came along; but they agreed that I filled the bill all around; so they elected me unanimously, and there I was now waiting to know why I was called in.
To read the complete Mark Twain story, see:
The £1,000,000 Bank-Note
Tom also sent a link to a Wikipedia page about the movie based on Twain's story.
The Million Pound Note (released as Man with a Million as well as Big Money in the U.S.) is a 1954 British comedy, directed by Ronald Neame and starring Gregory Peck.
To read the complete article, see:
The Million Pound Note
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
BRITAIN'S 1M AND 100M POUND BANKNOTES
Wayne Homren, Editor
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