I laid the money on the salver, and desired Timothy to ring for the landlord, when who should come up but the Major and Harcourt. “Why, Newland! what are you going to do with that money?” said the Major.
“I am paying my bill, Major.”
“Paying your bill, indeed; let us see—L104. O this is a confounded imposition. You mustn’t pay this.” At this moment the landlord entered. “Mr Wallace,” said the Major, “my friend Mr Newland was about, as you may see, to pay you the whole of your demand; but allow me to observe, that being my very particular friend, and the Piazza having been particularly recommended by me, I do think that your charges are somewhat exorbitant. I shall certainly advise Mr Newland to leave the house to-morrow, if you are not more reasonable.”
“Allow me to observe, Major, that my reason for sending for my bill, was to pay it before I went into the country, which I must do to-morrow, for a few days.”
“Then I shall certainly recommend Mr Newland not to come here when he returns, Mr Wallace, for I hold myself, to a certain degree, after the many dinners we have ordered here, and of which I have partaken, as I may say, particeps criminis, or in other words, as having been a party to this extortion. Indeed, Mr Wallace, some reduction must be made, or you will greatly hurt the credit of your house.”
Mr Wallace declared, that really he had made nothing but the usual charges; that he would look over the bill again, and see what he could do.
“My dear Newland,” said the Major, “I have ordered your dinners, allow me to settle your bill. Now, Mr Wallace, suppose we take off one-third?”
“One-third, Major Carbonnell! I should be a loser.”
“I am not exactly of your opinion; but let me see—now take your choice. Take off L20, or you lose my patronage, and that of all my friends. Yes or no?”
The landlord, with some expostulation, at last consented, he receipted the bill, and leaving L20 of the money on the salver, made his bow, and retired.
“Rather fortunate that I supped in, my dear Newland; now there are L20 saved. By-the-bye, I’m short of cash. You’ve no objection to let me have this? I shall never pay you, you know.”
“I do know you never will pay me, Major; nevertheless, as I should have paid it to the landlord had you not interfered, I will lend it to you.”
“You are a good fellow, Newland,” said the Major, pocketing the money. “If I had borrowed it, and you had thought you would have had it repaid, I should not have thanked you; but as you lend it me with your eyes open, it is nothing more than a very delicate manner of obliging me, and I tell you candidly, that I will not forget it. So you really are off to-morrow?”
“Yes,” replied I, “I must go, for I find that I am not to make ducks and drakes of my money, until I come into possession of my property.”