Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
When he got back to Minsk Street from the factory district, Klein had a simple lunch and took a nap. He didn’t wake up until the evening when the sky had darkened.
But even so, he still felt exhausted, exhaustion that stemmed from the depths of his heart.
After quite some time of being lost in thought, Klein went down to the first floor and lit the gas lamp. He prepared to sit on the sofa and read the day’s newspapers, but when he glanced around, he saw an invitation letter on the coffee table.
He was stunned for a moment before realizing that it was an invitation letter which Mrs. Stelyn Sammer had sent her maidservant to deliver a few days ago.
I almost forgot about this… The disguised matchmaking banquet… Klein put down the invitation letter and walked to the bathroom on the first floor. He used cold water to wash his face, sprucing himself up to look much more energetic.
Compared to when he first arrived at Backlund, there was a much thicker black stubble around his lips and under his chin. Although it didn’t completely eliminate his scholarly bearing, it made him look more mature and rugged.
Someone who doesn’t really know me well wouldn’t be able to recognize me in person… Klein exhaled silently, wiped his face clean, and put his gold-rimmed glasses on the bridge of his nose.
He took a short break, changed into a shirt with a starched collar and a black tailcoat, and then, quite formally, he put on his silk half top hat and picked up his cane stick and invitation letter before leaving the house for the unit beside his.
Amidst the tinkling of the doorbell, he saw Julianne, the maidservant, open the door, and Stelyn with her blonde hair coiled up high, and her ears adorned with silver earrings.
Klein took off his hat, bowed, and praised politely, “Mrs. Sammer, you are very beautiful today.”
Although his words were extremely perfunctory, it was true that she was much more beautiful than usual. It appeared that her ability to doll herself up meticulously had experienced a significant breakthrough.
It seems like the adultery case made her besties with Ma’am Mary. Besides, Mary is now a tycoon with a wealth of tens of thousands of pounds, and she has been admitted into the National Atmospheric Pollution Council, allowing her to acquaint herself with many people in power. She must have had sufficient experience in the areas of makeup, clothing, accessories, and so on… Klein nodded in understanding.
The corners of Stelyn’s mouth couldn’t help but curl up.
“These are my new earrings that cost eight soli.”
Lady, you haven’t changed in the slightest… Klein smiled and handed his hat, cane, and coat to the maidservant.
The fireplace and the pipes in the room brought the warmth of early summer. Many women and young ladies were not dressed that conservatively. Some of their fair arms were exposed, while others bared their creamy chests.
“Luke is talking business with some friends. Let me apologize on his behalf.” Stelyn played her role as the female host to its fullest. “Have your meal first. I’ll introduce you to a few well-educated ladies later.”
Actually, there’s no need for that. Just let me eat in peace… Klein smiled.
“I can already smell the fragrance of the food.”
Since there were quite a lot of guests, with over twenty of them, the dinner was in the form of a buffet. Klein took a plate and walked around, and he found that the food was a lot more varied than before.
Cold trout, chicken pie, mutton stew with peas, salted breast, curry, roast beef, turkey, beef tongue pastry, ham, salad, and cream cake…
The alcohol provided was still champagne and red wine.
This suited a carnivore’s palate very well. Klein, with his large plate, didn’t make conversation with anyone. He hid in a corner and slowly savored the food.
It’s not as good as the chefs at the Quelaag Club… From time to time, he would inwardly make comments on the food.
He was about to go for second helpings when he was finally discovered by Stelyn Sammer.
At the same time, he saw an acquaintance beside the lady. He was none other than Lawyer Jurgen with his serious expression.
Right, Jurgen is also a bachelor… Klein smiled and walked over, taking the initiative to ask, “How is Mrs. Doris’s recovery?”
Jurgen uncomfortably tugged at his bow tie.
“She’ll be discharged next week.”
“That’s great,” Klein sincerely said with mixed emotions.
At that moment, Stelyn had already brought a few young ladies over and introduced them.
“This is Mr. Jurgen Cooper, a senior solicitor, who earns at least three pounds a week. He often gets a commission from the cases he handles, and he definitely earns more than two hundred pounds a year. Furthermore, he is young and capable. He will most likely become a great lawyer in the future.
“This is Mr. Sherlock Moriarty, a well-known detective. His income is unstable, but he is paid handsomely for every mission he receives, for example ten or fifty pounds.”
Lady, isn’t this too direct… Klein couldn’t help but silently lampoon.
Jurgen, who was standing beside him, evidently frowned.
Without feeling that she had made a faux pas, Stelyn continued the introductions.
“Miss Sarah Taylor. Her parents are teachers at a grammar school…
“Miss Angelina Watson. Her father is a civil servant at the Backlund Police Department…”
Klein smiled numbly and greeted each lady.
After Stelyn was done, Jurgen said in a deep voice, “Mrs. Sammer, it’s impolite to mention the income of others in front of others.”
Stelyn wasn’t mad; instead, she replied very seriously, “No, it’s very important.
“If you end up liking each other and decide to start a family, then income is essential.
“Think about it, there must be meat, vegetables, fruits, milk, white bread, butter, cream, and other foods every day. It costs at least a pound and five soli a week on food alone, not to mention the alcohol. In addition, to rent a better house is nearly a pound a week. Yes, there’s also the need to purchase water, gas, charcoal, soap, and the like. One still needs to consider transportation expenses. This adds up to about ten soli.
“That is just the most fundamental expenses. Are you not bringing your wife to a musical concert or to go watch a play?
“Don’t you need to get new clothes every year? Ladies, I believe that a family must spend at least 30 pounds a year on it in order to be considered to be living a decent life.
“In addition, there is the salary of the maid, the cost of education for any children, the emergency money that’s needed to be set aside for medical treatment, as well as the expenditure of some necessary decorations.
“Only with an income of more than 200 pounds a year can those needs be met. Only then can a happy family be achieved.
“Thus, in order to not delay everyone’s time or cause any misunderstandings, I believe it is necessary to include this in the introduction.”
As a lawyer, Jurgen was momentarily unable to provide a rejoinder. Fortunately, he always had a serious and stern expression on his face.
How big-hearted… But the basic etiquette is to tell the two parties this information in private, and of course, I know exactly why you’re making the introductions straight to their face… Klein smiled.
“Yes, income is very important.
“Only with an income of more than 400 pounds a year can one host a dinner at this level. Only with that much can one afford to have his wife be dressed in beautiful dresses and exquisite earrings.”
Stelyn raised her chin slightly as she tried her best to suppress her smile and said, “430 pounds. I mean that there must be some savings each year, to prevent any accidents or to have spare cash to invest into stocks or bonds.”
That was her husband’s approximate annual income.
After finding a common topic for the two groups of strangers, she left and greeted the other guests. Klein could also clearly sense that Sarah, Angelina, and the other ladies were more interested in Lawyer Jurgen. After all, he was a good-looking man, and his job and income were very stable.
As for a private detective who might be locked up in the police station at any time, they were not the first choice for middle-class women. Besides, Klein now looked rugged with his beard. It wasn’t a surprise that the girls would remain a little apprehensive towards him.
After a short casual chat with them, he found an excuse to leave before hiding in a corner and eating while he enjoyed watching Jurgen’s awkward and helpless performance.
At this moment, it was a wonder where his eloquence as a lawyer had gone to.
A few minutes later, the two children of the Sammers ran past Klein while playing.
They noticed the gentleman in the corner, stopped, and, with widened eyes, asked curiously, “Mr. Moriarty, we heard that you’re a detective?”
“Yes.” Klein smiled in response.
The little girl said innocently, “Can you tell us about the cases you’ve cracked?”
Her twin brother nodded immediately.
The cases I cracked? If it doesn’t involve wraiths, puppets, or Devil dogs, then it’s about finding cats or catching an adulterer. There’s really nothing suitable for children… Klein thought for a few seconds, then chuckled.
“Alright, this is a story about treasure.
“An officer who had just returned from East Balam was suddenly murdered…”
He had mostly forgotten the detective novels he had read in his previous life, so he could only make them up based on a vague impression. The two children didn’t care about the irrationality of the plot and listened very seriously, even learning to ask “what happened next.”
Without realizing it, Klein was a lot more relaxed.
When the banquet was almost over, and he was about to leave, he saw that Stelyn’s face was filled with joy.
“What is the cause for celebration?” Klein casually asked.
Stelyn raised her head slightly and replied with a reserved smile, “Mary has received a luncheon invitation from the chief secretary of the National Atmospheric Pollution Council, Mr. Hibbert Hall, on Monday.
“This gentleman is the eldest son of Count Hall, a true nobleman. He has invited all the members of the council and has allowed them to bring two or three friends with them.”
“Luke and I were just invited by Mary.”
Dressed to the nines, Stelyn Sammer, who was accompanied by her husband Luke Sammer, followed Ma’am Mary to Empress Borough where they saw a large building.
Marble statues, pools, fountains, gardens, and lawns reflected themselves in her eyes, making her feel nervous even before she entered the villa.
“Luke, does my necklace not match my dress?” she asked her husband as she tilted her head.
Luke shook his head and laughed.
“Darling, you’re too nervous.
“You don’t have to worry about that. The nobles only live in a place that’s slightly bigger than ours and eat a little better. We aren’t lacking in any way.”
Stelyn nodded when she heard that, as though she had found her confidence.
Entering the villa, they saw the gorgeous crystal chandelier, the hall which could accommodate many dancers, and the plates of delicious food.
Foie gras, pan-fried Dragon-Bone Fish, baked lobster… Aurmir grape wine, misty champagne… It’s exactly the same as the magazine’s description. Stelyn looked at the food with curiosity, thinking that she could have such a meal on a holiday or during new year’s if they scrimped a little.
Except for the Aurmir wine and the misty champagne… she finally added in her mind.
At this moment, her gaze suddenly straightened as she saw a young girl wearing a beige palace dress walking over.
The girl had blonde hair and green eyes, and she was abnormally beautiful. She wore a pair of white silk gloves with a pair of small beautiful emerald earrings. She exuded pureness and elegance.
She’s just like an angel… Even though she had always been proud of her appearance, Stelyn couldn’t help but exclaim in admiration, and she felt an inexplicable sense of inferiority at that moment.
“Hello,” she clumsily greeted with the etiquette she had just learned.
“Hello,” the girl returned the greeting gracefully.
After they had passed each other, Stelyn accompanied her husband and Mary to meet the distinguished guests and the noble, Mr. Hibbert Hall.
After a while, she walked to the balcony by herself, intending to ease her mood. However, she unexpectedly saw the angelic girl from before.
She was looking out over the landscape, a large golden retriever obediently sat beside her rose ribbon-rimmed shoes.
“It’s so cute.” Stelyn made an attempt to make conversation.
The young girl replied with a faint smile, “Let me thank you on Susie’s behalf for your praise.”
As she looked at the duo, Stelyn suddenly felt that she should own a similar pet for herself.
This was the only way to showcase the Sammers’ dignity! She asked in a measured tone, “I heard that the nobles rear a lot of hunting hounds. Is this one of them?”
“Yes.” The girl whose emerald-green eyes looked more enchanting than her earrings’ gems lightly nodded.
“May I know how much money is needed to buy one?” Stelyn asked with a smile.
The pure and elegant girl looked down at the huge golden retriever and, without minding the question, answered with a slight smile, “450 pounds.”