“Good morning, sir,” replied Newton, with a faltering voice, as he hurried away to conceal the disappointment and indignation which he felt at this cool reception and dismissal.
“Not legally mine—humph! I like that boy,” muttered the old lawyer to himself when Newton had disappeared.—“Scratton!”
“Yes, sir,” replied the clerk, opening the door.
“Fill up a cheque for five hundred pounds, self or bearer, and bring it to me to sign.”
“Is it this evening or to-morrow, that I attend the arbitration meeting?”
“This evening, seven o’clock.”
“What is the name of the party by whom I am employed?”
“East India director, is he not?”
“Humph!—that will do.”
The clerk brought in the draft, which was put into his pocket-book without being signed; his coat was then buttoned up, and Mr John Forster repaired to the chop-house, at which for twenty-five years he had seldom failed to make his appearance at the hour of three or four at the latest.
It was with a heavy heart that Newton returned to the inn in the Borough, at which he had left his father, whom he found looking out of window, precisely in the same seat and position where he had left him.
“Well, Newton, my boy, did you see my brother?”
“Yes, sir; but I am sorry to say that I have little hope of his being of service to us.”
Newton then entered into a narration of what had passed.
“Why really, Newton,” said his father, in his single-heartedness, “I do not see such cause of despair. If he did doubt your being his nephew, how could he tell that you were? and if he had no interest with naval people, why it’s not his fault. As for my expecting him to break his spectacles on purpose to buy new ones of me, that’s too much, and it would be foolish on his part. He said that he was very happy to have made your acquaintance, and that he should be glad to see me. I really don’t know what more you could expect. I will call upon him to-morrow, since he wishes it. At five o’clock precisely, don’t you say?”
“No, sir, at one.”
“Well, then, at one; those who have nothing to do must suit their hours to those who are full of business. Recollect now, two o’clock precisely.”
“One o’clock, sir.”
“Ay, very true, one o’clock I meant; now let’s go to dinner.”
Nicholas Forster appeared in excellent spirits: and Newton, who did not like to undeceive him, was glad to retire at an early hour, that he might be left to his own reflections, and form some plan as to their proceedings in consequence of this unexpected disappointment.
“Now, by two-headed Janus.
Nature hath named strange fellows in her time;
Some that will ever more peep through their eyes,
And laugh like parrots at a bagpiper;
And others of such vinegar aspect,
That they’ll not show their teeth in way of smile,
Though Nestor swear the jest be laughable.”