“My dear Newland,—I have been thinking about you ever since you left me this morning, and as you appear resolved to prosecute your search, it has occurred to me that you should go about it in a more systematic way. I do not mean to say that what I now propose will prove of any advantage to you, but still it may, as you will have a very old, and very clever head to advise with. I refer to Mr Masterton, my legal adviser, from whom you had the papers which led to our first acquaintance. He is aware that you were (I beg your pardon) an impostor, as he has since seen Mr Estcourt. The letter enclosed is for him, and with that in your hand you may face him boldly, and I have no doubt but that he will assist you all in his power, and put you to no expense. Narrate your whole history to him, and then you will hear what he may propose. He has many secrets, much more important than yours. Wishing you every success that your perseverance deserves,
“Yours very truly,
“I believe the advice to be good,” said I, after reading the letter. “I am myself at fault, and hardly know how to proceed. I think I will go at once to the old gentleman, Timothy.”
“It can do no harm, if it does no good. Two heads are better than one,” replied Timothy. “Some secrets are too well kept, and deserting a child is one of those which is confided but to few.”
“By-the-bye, Timothy, here have I been, more than so many years out of the Foundling Hospital, and have never yet inquired if any one has ever been to reclaim me.”
“Very true; and I think I’ll step myself to the workhouse, at St Bridget’s, and ask whether any one has asked about me,” replied Timothy, with a grin.
“There is another thing that I have neglected,” observed I, “which is, to inquire at the address in Coleman Street, if there is any letter from Melchior.”
“I have often thought of him,” replied Timothy. “I wonder who he can be—there is another mystery there. I wonder whether we shall ever fall in with him again—and Nattee, too?”
“There’s no saying, Timothy. I wonder where that poor fool, Philotas, and our friend Jumbo, are now?”
The remembrance of the two last personages made us both burst out a laughing.
“Timothy, I’ve been reflecting that my intimacy with poor Carbonnell has rather hindered than assisted me in my search. He found me with a good appearance, and he has moulded me into a gentleman, so far as manners and appearance are concerned; but the constant vortex in which I have been whirled in his company, has prevented me from doing anything. His melancholy death has perhaps been fortunate for me. It has left me more independent in circumstances, and more free. I must now really set to in earnest.”
“I beg your pardon, Japhet, but did not you say the same when we first set off on our travels, and yet remain more than a year with the gipsies? Did not you make the same resolution when we arrived in town, with our pockets full of money, and yet, once into fashionable society, think but little, and occasionally, of it? Now you make the same resolution, and how long will you keep it?”