Robert Louis



Übersetzt von Marguerite Thesing
Synchronisation und Ergänzungen © Doppeltext 2022




Yes,’ said the deal­er, ‘our wind­falls are of vari­ous kinds.
Some cus­tom­ers are ig­nor­ant, and then I touch a di­vidend on my su­per­i­or know­ledge.
Some are dis­hon­est,’ and here he held up the candle, so that the light fell strongly on his vis­it­or,
‘and in that case,’ he con­tin­ued, ‘I profit by my vir­tue.’
Markheim had but just entered from the day­light streets, and his eyes had not yet grown fa­mil­i­ar with the mingled shine and dark­ness in the shop.
At these poin­ted words, and be­fore the near pres­ence of the flame, he blinked pain­fully and looked aside.
The deal­er chuckled. ‘You come to me on Christ­mas Day,’ he re­sumed,
‘when you know that I am alone in my house, put up my shut­ters, and make a point of re­fus­ing busi­ness.
Well, you will have to pay for that; you will have to pay for my loss of time, when I should be bal­an­cing my books;
you will have to pay, be­sides, for a kind of man­ner that I re­mark in you to-day very strongly.
I am the es­sence of dis­cre­tion, and ask no awk­ward ques­tions; but when a cus­tom­er can­not look me in the eye, he has to pay for it.’
The deal­er once more chuckled; and then, chan­ging to his usu­al busi­ness voice, though still with a note of irony,
‘You can give, as usu­al, a clear ac­count of how you came into the pos­ses­sion of the ob­ject?’ he con­tin­ued. ‘Still your uncle’s cab­in­et? A re­mark­able col­lect­or, sir!’
And the little pale, round-shouldered deal­er stood al­most on tip-toe, look­ing over the top of his gold spec­tacles, and nod­ding his head with every mark of dis­be­lief.
Markheim re­turned his gaze with one of in­fin­ite pity, and a touch of hor­ror.
‘This time,’ said he, ‘you are in er­ror. I have not come to sell, but to buy.
I have no curios to dis­pose of; my uncle’s cab­in­et is bare to the wains­cot; even were it still in­tact,
I have done well on the Stock Ex­change, and should more likely add to it than oth­er­wise, and my er­rand to-day is sim­pli­city it­self.
I seek a Christ­mas present for a lady,’ he con­tin­ued, wax­ing more flu­ent as he struck into the speech he had pre­pared;
‘and cer­tainly I owe you every ex­cuse for thus dis­turb­ing you upon so small a mat­ter.
But the thing was neg­lected yes­ter­day; I must pro­duce my little com­pli­ment at din­ner;
and, as you very well know, a rich mar­riage is not a thing to be neg­lected.’
There fol­lowed a pause, dur­ing which the deal­er seemed to weigh this state­ment in­cred­u­lously.
The tick­ing of many clocks among the curi­ous lum­ber of the shop,
and the faint rush­ing of the cabs in a near thor­ough­fare, filled up the in­ter­val of si­lence.
‘Well, sir,’ said the deal­er, ‘be it so. You are an old cus­tom­er after all;
and if, as you say, you have the chance of a good mar­riage, far be it from me to be an obstacle.
Here is a nice thing for a lady now,’ he went on, ‘this hand glass — fif­teenth cen­tury, war­ran­ted;
comes from a good col­lec­tion, too; but I re­serve the name, in the in­terests of my cus­tom­er,
who was just like your­self, my dear sir, the neph­ew and sole heir of a re­mark­able col­lect­or.’

Robert Louis Stevenson
Zweisprachige Ausgabe
Übersetzt von Marguerite Thesing

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