“You show your judgment, Newland, it is correct; Stulz will be delighted to have your name on his books, and to do justice to that figure. Allons donc.”
We sauntered up St James’s Street, and before I had arrived at Stulz’s, I had been introduced to at least twenty of the young men about town. The Major was most particular in his directions about the clothes, all of which he ordered; and as I knew that he was well acquainted with the fashion, I gave him carte blanche. When we left the shop, he said, “Now, my dear Newland, I have given you a proof of friendship, which no other man in England has had. Your dress will be the ne plus ultra. There are little secrets only known to the initiated, and Stulz is aware that this time I am in earnest. I am often asked to do the same for others, and I pretend so to do; but a wink from me is sufficient, and Stulz dares not dress them. Don’t you want some bijouterie? or have you any at home?”
“I may as well have a few trifles,” replied I.
We entered a celebrated jeweller’s, and he selected for me to the amount of about forty pounds. “That will do—never buy much; for it is necessary to change every three months at least. What is the price of this chain?”
“It is only fifteen guineas, Major.”
“Well, I shall take it; but recollect,” continued the Major; “I tell you honestly, I never shall pay you.”
The jeweller smiled, bowed, and laughed; the Major threw the chain round his neck, and we quitted the shop.
“At all events, Major, they appear not to believe your word in that shop.”
“My dear fellow, that’s their own fault, not mine. I tell them honestly I never will pay them; and you may depend upon it, I intend most sacredly to keep my word. I never do pay anybody, for the best of all possible reasons, I have no money; but then I do them a service—I make them fashionable, and they know it.”
“What debts do you pay then, Major?”
“Let me think—that requires consideration. Oh! I pay my washer-woman.”
“Don’t you pay your debts of honour?”
“Debts of honour! why I’ll tell you the truth; for I know that we shall hunt in couples. If I win I take the money: but if I lose—why then I forget to pay; and I always tell them so before I set down to the table. If they won’t believe me, it’s not my fault. But what’s the hour? Come, I must make a few calls, and will introduce you.”
We sauntered on to Grosvenor Square, knocked, and were admitted into a large, elegantly-furnished mansion. The footman announced us—“My dear Lady Maelstrom, allow me the honour of introducing to you my very particular friend, Mr Newland, consigned to my charge by my Lord Windermear during his absence. He has just arrived from the continent, where he has been making the grand tour.”
Her ladyship honoured me with a smile. “By-the-bye, Major, that reminds me—do me the favour to come to the window. Excuse us one moment, Mr Newland.”