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Lavengro by George Henry Borrow

He informed me that since the death of the last Haik monarch


'I

never heard a more foolish plan,' said I, 'or one less likely to terminate profitably or satisfactorily. I thank you, however, for your offer, which is, I daresay, well meant. If I am to escape from my cares and troubles, and find my mind refreshed and invigorated, I must adopt other means than conducting a French demoiselle to Brighton or Bagnigge Wells, defraying the expense by borrowing from a friend.'

CHAPTER FORTY-NINE

SINGULAR PERSONAGE--A LARGE SUM--PAPA OF ROME--ARMENIANS--ROOTS OF ARARAT--REGULAR FEATURES

The Armenian! I frequently saw this individual, availing myself of the permission which he had given me to call upon him. A truly singular personage was he, with his love of amassing money, and his nationality so strong as to be akin to poetry. Many an Armenian I have subsequently known fond of money-getting, and not destitute of national spirit; but never another, who, in the midst of his schemes of lucre, was at all times willing to enter into a conversation on the structure of the Haik language, or who ever offered me money to render into English the fables of Z--- in the hope of astonishing the stock-jobbers of the Exchange with the wisdom of the Haik Esop.

But he was fond of money, very fond. Within a little time I had won his confidence to such a degree that he informed me that the

grand wish of his heart was to be possessed of two hundred thousand pounds.

'I think you might satisfy yourself with the half,' said I. 'One hundred thousand pounds is a large sum.'

'You are mistaken,' said the Armenian, 'a hundred thousand pounds is nothing. My father left me that or more at his death. No, I shall never be satisfied with less than two.'

'And what will you do with your riches,' said I, 'when you have obtained them? Will you sit down and muse upon them, or will you deposit them in a cellar, and go down once a day to stare at them? I have heard say that the fulfilment of one's wishes is invariably the precursor of extreme misery, and forsooth I can scarcely conceive a more horrible state of existence than to be without a hope or wish.'

'It is bad enough, I daresay,' said the Armenian; 'it will, however, be time enough to think of disposing of the money when I have procured it. I still fall short by a vast sum of the two hundred thousand pounds.'

I had occasionally much conversation with him on the state and prospects of his nation, especially of that part of it which still continued in the original country of the Haiks--Ararat and its confines, which, it appeared, he had frequently visited. He informed me that since the death of the last Haik monarch, which occurred in the eleventh century, Armenia had been governed both temporally and spiritually by certain personages called patriarchs; their temporal authority, however, was much circumscribed by the Persian and Turk, especially the former, of whom the Armenian spoke with much hatred, whilst their spiritual authority had at various times been considerably undermined by the emissaries of the Papa of Rome, as the Armenian called him.


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