The Moonstone Second Period, Narrative 2, Chapter 2
By Wilkie Collins
Second Period, Narrative 2, Chapter 2
About a week after Rachel moves out of the Bruffs' house, an Indian gentleman asks to see Mr. Bruff at his office, with a note from Mr. Septimus Luker.
Bruff doesn't know Mr. Luker, so it's both strange and kind of impolite for Mr. Luker to presume to introduce a new client to him.
The Indian gentleman says that he has come to borrow some money, and offers a beautiful and ornate box as security.
The gentleman says that Mr. Luker had refused him on the grounds that he had no money to lend.
Mr. Bruff apologizes, but says that he can't do it – he never lends money to strangers.
On his way out, the gentleman asks Mr. Bruff a quick question: on the occasions when he does lend money, how long is allowed before the money is paid back?
The answer is one year, to the day.
And the gentleman leaves.
After thinking about it for a while, Mr. Bruff concludes that the whole thing was a set-up. The Indian gentleman just wanted the excuse to ask Mr. Bruff the parting question about how long someone would have to pay back a debt.
Then Mr. Bruff gets a letter from Mr. Luker asking for an appointment.
Mr. Bruff agrees.
The next day, Mr. Luker explains that he had recognized the Indian gentleman as one of the people who had harassed him before.
So he was nervous, and insisted that he had no money to lend.
When the man asked him where to go instead, Mr. Luker had blurted out Mr. Bruff's name off the top of his head.
Mr. Luker wants to apologize for the impoliteness of recommending a client to someone whom he didn't really know.
Mr. Luker also mentions that the Indian gentleman had asked him the same question about how long a person would have to pay back a debt from a money lender.