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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 432 pages of information about Japhet, in Search of a Father.

“Well, Mr Newland,” replied her ladyship, “how you have obtained the knowledge I know not, but there was, I acknowledge, a trifling flirtation with Edward Warrender and me—­but I was young, very young at that time.”

“I grant it, and do not, for a moment, imagine that I intend to blame your ladyship; but, as I before said, madam, I am much interested in the business.”

“What interest you can have with a little flirtation of mine, which took place before you were born, I cannot imagine, Mr Newland.”

“It is because it took place before I was born, that I feel so much interest.”

“I cannnot understand you, Mr Newland, and I think we had better change the subject.”

“Excuse me, madam, but I must request to continue it a little longer.  Is Mr Warrender dead, or not?  Did he die in the West Indies?”

“You appear to be very curious on this subject, Mr Newland; I hardly can tell.  Yes, now I recollect, he did die of the yellow fever, I think—­but I have quite forgotten all about it—­and I shall answer no more questions; if you were not a favourite of mine, Mr Newland, I should say that you were very impertinent.”

“Then, your ladyship, I will put but one more question, and that one I must put, with your permission.”

“I should think, after what I have said, Mr Newland, that you might drop the subject.”

“I will, your ladyship, immediately; but, pardon me, the question—­”

“Well, Mr Newland—?”

“Do not be angry with me—­”

“Well?” exclaimed her ladyship, who appeared alarmed.

“Nothing but the most important and imperative reasons could induce me to ask the question” (her ladyship gasped for breath, and could not speak), I stammered, but at last I brought it out.  “What has become of—­of—­of the sweet pledge of your love, Lady Maelstrom?”

Her ladyship coloured up with rage, raised up her clenched hand, and then fell back in violent hysterics.

Chapter XXXV

     I repair the damage, and make things worse—­Plot and
     counterplot—­Tim gains a watch by setting watch upon his tongue.

I hardly knew how to act—­if I called the servants, my interview would be at an end, and I was resolved to find out the truth—­for the same reason, I did not like to ring for water.  Some vases with flowers were on the table; I took out the flowers, and threw the water in her face, but they had been in the water some time, and had discoloured it green.  Her ladyship’s dress was a high silk gown, of a bright slate colour, and was immediately spoiled; but this was no time to stand upon trifles.  I seized hold of a glass bottle, fancying, in my hurry, it was eau de cologne, or some essence, and poured a little into her mouth; unfortunately, it was a bottle of marking ink, which her ladyship, who was very economical, had on the table in disguise.  I perceived my error, and had recourse to another vase of flowers, pouring a large quantity of the green water down her throat.  Whether the unusual remedies had an effect or not, I cannot tell, but her ladyship gradually revived, and, as she leant back on the sofa, sobbing, every now and then, convulsively, I poured into her ear a thousand apologies, until I thought she was composed enough to listen to me.

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