But I must for a little while recross the Bay of Biscay, and, with my reader, look into the chambers of Mr John Forster.
Upon this child—I saved her, must not leave
Her life to chance; but point me out some nook
Of safety, where she less may shrink and grieve.
This child, who parentless, is therefore mine.”
A few minutes after Newton had quitted the chambers of his uncle, the clerk made his appearance, announcing to Mr John Forster that a gentleman requested to speak to him.
“I asked the gentleman’s name, sir,” observed the clerk, shutting to the door, “but he did not choose to give it. He has a little girl with him.”
“Very well, Scratton, the little girl cannot concern me,” replied the old lawyer; “ask him to walk in;”—and he again conned over the brief, not choosing to lose the minute which might elapse before he was again to be interrupted. The door was reopened, and Edward Forster, with Amber holding him by the hand, entered the room.
“Your servant, sir. Scratton, a chair—two chairs, Scratton. I beg your pardon, young lady.”
When the clerk had retired, Mr John Forster commenced as usual.—“Now, sir, may I request the favour of asking your business with me?”
“You do not recollect me; nor am I surprised at it, as it is fifteen years since we last met. Time and suffering, which have worn me to a skeleton, have also worn out the remembrance of a brother. I am Edward Forster.”
“Edward Forster!—humph! Well, I did not recollect you; but I’m very glad to see you, brother. Very strange—never have heard of one of my family for years, and now they all turn up at once! No sooner get rid of one, than up starts another. Nicholas came from the Lord knows where, the other day.”
Edward Forster, who was better acquainted with his brother’s character than Newton, took no notice of the abruptness of his remarks, but replied:
“Nicholas! Is he, then, alive? I shall be delighted to see him.”
“Humph!” replied John, “I was delighted to get rid of him. Take care of your watch or spectacles when you meet him.”
“Indeed, brother! I trust he is not such a character.”
“But he is a character, I can tell you; not what you suppose—he’s honest enough. Let me see—if my memory serves me, brother Edward, we last met when you were passing through London on your way to ——, having been invalided, and having obtained a pension of forty pounds per annum for a severe wound received in action. And pray, brother, where have you been ever since?”
“At the same spot, from which I probably never should have been induced to remove, had it not been for the sake of this little girl who is now with me.”
“And pray who may be that little girl? Is she your daughter?”