“Good heavens! what an infamous assertion!” exclaimed I, clasping my hands.
“On reference back to the calendar, we observed that one J. Newland was transported for such an offence. Query?”
“It must have been some other person; but this has arisen from the vindictive feeling of those two scoundrels who served under Pleggit,” cried I.
“How can you possibly tell, sir?” mildly observed one of the governors.
“How can I tell, sir?” replied I, starting from my chair. “Why, I am Japhet Newland myself, sir.”
“You, sir,” replied the governor, surveying my fashionable exterior, my chains, and bijouterie.
“Yes, sir, I am the Japhet Newland brought up in this asylum, and who was apprenticed to Mr Cophagus.”
“Probably, then, sir,” replied the president, “you are the Mr Newland whose name appears at all the fashionable parties in high life?”
“I believe that I am the same person, sir.”
“I wish you joy upon your success in the world, sir. It would not appear that it can be very important to you to discover your parents.”
“Sir,” replied I, “you have never known what it is to feel the want of parents and friends. Fortunate as you may consider me to be—and I acknowledge I have every reason to be grateful for my unexpected rise in life—I would, at this moment, give up all that I am worth, resume my Foundling dress, and be turned out a beggar, if I could but discover the authors of my existence.”—I then bowed low to the governors, and quitted the room.
and I set our wits to work, and he
resumes his old profession of a gipsy.
I hastened home with feelings too painful to be described. I had a soreness at my heart, an oppression on my spirits, which weighed me down. I had but one wish—that I was dead. I had already imparted to Harcourt the history of my life, and when I came in, I threw myself upon the sofa in despair, and relieved my agonised heart with a flood of tears. As soon as I could compose myself, I stated what had occurred.
“My dear Newland, although it has been an unfortunate occurrence in itself, I do not see that you have so much cause to grieve, for you have this satisfaction, that it appears there has been a wish to reclaim you.”
“Yes,” replied I, “I grant that, but have they not been told, and have they not believed, that I have been ignominiously punished for a capital crime? Will they ever seek me more?”
“Probably not; you must now seek them. What I should recommend is, that you repair to-morrow to the apothecary’s shop, and interrogate relative to the person who called to make inquiries after you. If you will allow me, I will go with you.”
“And be insulted by those malignant scoundrels?”
“They dare not insult you. As an apothecary’s apprentice they would, but as a gentleman they will quail; and if they do not, their master will most certainly be civil, and give you all the information which he can. We may as well, however, not do things by halves; I will borrow my aunt’s carriage for the morning, and we will go in style.”