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6 PATRONAGE.

in his case, for my immaculate person had not worn this coat three months before it was paid for.” “Ah, I forgot,” said Fred., “who I was speaking to ; but, do you know, you treat the man of threads and patches shamefully, while I am making the fortune of him who has the honour of supplying my wardrobe, now the fact, I will answer for it, is this: you get your three or four coats a year, by which he gets his ten pounds profit; so far, so good; this probably supplies the fellow with cigars, and is better than the custom of some of my friends, who never pay at all; but mark how I patronize; my yearlybillis about three hundred. This, upon my honour, I mean to pay him some time or other if I can; in the meantime, he has the credit of being furnisher to a man who, without vanity, I may say is considered as having some pretensions to taste; this, I also flatter myself, very considerably increases the number of his customers, and fully warrants him in increasing the amount of his charges to them.” “How infinitely obliged your friends ought to be to you,” said Hartland. “Most indescribably so, my dear fellow,” replied Fred. ; “for as my patronage introduces customers to my tailor, so being served by him helps to introduce some of them to the fashionable world; but I do more for my man of cloth than this (for I am most peculiarly tenacious of everything that regards honourably returning obligations): I never permit a certain class of my friends to approach me without convincing them that they have ordered at least two out of three of every article they may happen to have on in bad taste, giving them gratuitously hints as to what should supply their place, so as this on an average causes an additional fifteen or twenty articles to each friend,

CLOSE CALCULATION. 7

and averaging those friends at fifty, let me see, for I like to be particular; say seventeen articles by fifty comes to eight hundred and fifty articles; now supposing I use one third of that number myself, and any thing was to happen that I should never pay for them as he gets half profit on all he makes, even these additional little items would produce him a considerable profit; but when we consider his usual account independent of this, you must perceive that I am making the rascal's fortune. You see I am a man of business.” “Pray how is it, Fred.,” said Hartland, “that you have never even tried to seduce me into dealing with this nonpareil of a tailor of yours.” “Because,” replied Fred., “I must pay you the compliment of saying you are a man of sense; consequently the least beneficial customer a tailor could have, as men and tailors now go “Well, Fred.,” said Hartland, rising, “your habits have become incorrigible; but, as one who has ever felt deeply interested in you, -excuse,_but mark my words, which in after years I fear you will have but too much cause to remember, you will go on till you have not a guinea left, and then I fear you will find yourself also without a friend.” “Adieu, thou bird of ill-omen " said Manderville, shaking him by the hand;—“by the by, Hartland,” added he, “joking apart; that paletot of yours is in cursed bad taste; do let my “Ridiculous!” said Hartland, and ran down stairs. “Heigho!” said Frank, throwing himself back in the many cushioned library chair; “thy words, Ned., may be prophetic; but no! it shall never come to that, though “Burnham wood should come to Dunsinnane.”

“Pettatt" cried he, on his valet answering his bell,

8 SCREWS.

“bring me the brandy,”—the heavy salver, on which was engraved the arms of the family with its crystal companions,—and the stimulating liquor made its appearance; he swallowed half a tumbler full at a draught ; “so,” cried he, “being gone, I am a man again " “Shall I take away the brandy, sir,” said the valet. “No, Pettatt, leave it,” said Fred. ; “and if Dawson is below, send him up.” The stud groom made his appearance; the well-tied white cravat, black Newmarket coat, symmetrically cut light-drab breeches and gaiters, bespoke the superior order of servant, as with a respectful salutation to his master, he awaited his commands. “Well, Dawson, how are the screws 2" This may appear a somewhat slang address from a man of fashion to his servant; but where a master places confidence in his servant in matters that if brought to light would not redound much to the master's credit, the proper distance between them is soon lost: so it was in this case. Fred. Manderville was not much out in denominating his stud screws; they were mostly such. He had began life as a man of fortune, a man of honour, and a sportsman ; but the wary and the depraved had soon, by precept and example, taught him to feel that the sports of the field, and the ordinary amusements of the gentleman, were dull and vapid when compared with others that a life of reckless London expenditure affords for a few fleeting years to those who blindly follow its heedless course. Fred., with an establishment three times as expensive as his property in his best days could have warranted him in keeping, was at the age of thirty all but a ruined man; constant ap

PROSPECTS OF A STORM. 9

plication to Jew money-lenders still kept him going; but he was drawing largely on the time that would eventually see him shunned by those who now felt flattered by his notice and acquaintance. The screws, as he termed them, were no longer kept solely as a part of the establishment of the sportsman and the gentleman, but were now often had recourse to, and sold either at a loss to meet some coming exigency, or were oftener disposed of to his friends at a price that the common dealer would never have even thought of asking; and, strange and anomalous as it may appear, the same man whose mind on some points was still alive to the highest sense of honour, was in others so warped from its natural bias that he could, and often did, stoop to use the grossest falsehood and deception where money was wanting to prolong a career that could only end in ruin and despair. Tothe inquiry respecting the screws, the man civilly, but with rather a familiar smile, said, “they are all, as the nurses say, Sir, “as well as can be expected.’ But, Sir,” added he, “Colonel Sufferwell's servant has been here; he says the Colonel's in a towering rage, and talks of prosecuting and exposing you about the Phaeton and horses he bought last month ; and, to own the truth, Sir, four hundred was coming it pretty strong for the turn out, such as it was.” “What, I suppose,” says Fred., “the two old d ls are both lame again, and the Drag has got a little musical, eh ! Dawson.” “Just so, Sir; but worse than that; Patchem has turned away the man who did the Drag up; and he told the Colonel's coachman that you bought it three months ago at Tattersall's for ten pounds; and that

10 THE STORM IS MULTIPLIED.

he put as much putty in it as a horse could draw, before he painted it up.” “Confound the fellow,” says Fred., “I wish the putty had been in his throat to have stopped his blabbing; we must give the rascal five guineas, and make him go and swear he had mistaken the carriage for another that he did up for me before; and if the Colonel should go to Tattersall's to make any inquiry, it has been too much altered to be known there. As to the horses, we are pretty sure the men in our own stable won't squeak; if it can't be proved they were lame with us, we are all right; and if I offer to take them back at the same price, and draw a hundred in changing them for my other pair, we shall do.” “I think we shall, Sir,” said the man, with a kind of equivocal smile, on hearing the word do. A well-known knock at the street door for once called the blood into Fred.'s cheek. “You may go, Dawson,” said he, rising to meet the expected visitor. A plain-dressed gentlemanly man now made his appearance, who, from the likeness to the son, it was easy to recognise as the elder Mr. Manderville. “Delighted to see you, father,” said Fred., assuming an air of perfect ease and nonchalance. “If such is the case, Frederic, and my presence is welcome from the hope that I shall farther contribute to your extravagance, you will find I have now learned how to appreciate your repeated promises of amendment; and you will not in future find in me the infatuated parent I have been for many years, indeed, always.” “What infatuation, my dear Sir, have you to accuse yourself of.”

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