“You told your father, Harcourt, did you not?”
“Yes, and the whole of them, Japhet; and you must acknowledge, that in their estimation you did not suffer. My father is pleased with our intimacy, and advises me to cultivate it. To prove to you that I am anxious so to do, I have a proposal to make. I know your house as well as you do, and that you have reserved only the first floor for yourself; but there are two good rooms on the first floor, and you can dispense with a dressing-room. Suppose we club together. It will be a saving to us both, as poor Carbonnell said, when he took you in.”
“With all my heart: I am delighted with the proposal.”
Harcourt then stated what it was his intention to offer for his share of the apartment; the other expenses to be divided, and his servant dismissed. I hardly need say, that we did not disagree, and before I had been a week in town, we were living together. My interview with Mr Masterton, and subsequent events, had made me forget to call on the governors of the Foundling Hospital, to ascertain whether there had been any inquiries after me. On my return to town I went there, and finding that there was a meeting to be held on the next day, I presented myself. I was introduced into the room where they were assembled.
“You wish to speak with the governors of the Hospital, I understand,” said the presiding governor.
“Yes, sir,” replied I; “I have come to ask whether an inquiry has been made after one of the inmates of this charity, of the name of Japhet Newland.”
“If you recollect, sir, he was bound to an apothecary of the name of Cophagus, in consequence of some money which was left with him as an infant, enclosed in a letter, in which it was said that he would be reclaimed if circumstances permitted.”
“I recollect it perfectly well—it is now about six years back. I think there was some inquiry, was there not, Mr G——?”
“I think that there was, about a year and a half ago; but we will send for the secretary, and refer to the minutes.”
My heart beat quick, and the perspiration bedewed my forehead, when I heard this intelligence. At last, my emotion was so great, that I felt faint. “You are ill, sir,” said one of the gentlemen; “quick—a glass of water.”
The attendant brought a glass of water, which I drank, and recovered myself. “You appear to be much interested in this young man’s welfare.”
“I am, sir,” replied I; “no one can be more so.”
The secretary now made his appearance with the register, and after turning over the leaves, read as follows: “August the 16th—, a gentleman came to inquire after an infant left here, of the name of Japhet, with whom money had been deposited—Japhet, christened by order of the governors, Japhet Newland—referred to the shop of Mr Cophagus, Smithfield Market. He returned the next day, saying that Mr Cophagus had retired from business—that the parties in the shop knew nothing for certain, but believed that the said Japhet Newland had been transported for life for forgery, about a year before.”