I’m No Swindler, I Know Greek!

Thomas de Quincey, Confessions of an English Opium Eater:

What followed, however, was somewhat worse.  “Oh, my lord,” answered my landlady (according to her own representation of the matter), “I really don’t think this young gentleman is a swindler, because —”  “You don’t think me a swindler?” said I, interrupting her, in a tumult of indignation: “for the future I shall spare you the trouble of thinking about it.”  And without delay I prepared for my departure.  Some concessions the good woman seemed disposed to make; but a harsh and contemptuous expression, which I fear that I applied to the learned dignitary himself, roused her indignation in turn, and reconciliation then became impossible.  I was indeed greatly irritated at the bishop’s having suggested any grounds of suspicion, however remotely, against a person whom he had never seen; and I thought of letting him know my mind in Greek, which, at the same time that it would furnish some presumption that I was no swindler, would also (I hoped) compel the bishop to reply in the same language; in which case I doubted not to make it appear that if I was not so rich as his lordship, I was a far better Grecian.  Calmer thoughts, however, drove this boyish design out of my mind; for I considered that the bishop was in the right to counsel an old servant; that he could not have designed that his advice should be reported to me; and that the same coarseness of mind which had led Mrs. Betty to repeat the advice at all, might have coloured it in a way more agreeable to her own style of thinking than to the actual expressions of the worthy bishop.

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