“Then I will set off for Ireland to-morrow morning, sir,” said I.
“You will do no such thing,” replied the lawyer; “but you will call upon me to-morrow evening, and perhaps I may have something to say to you.”
I did not fail to attend Mr Masterton, who stated that he had made every inquiry relative to the De Benyons; as he had said, they were an Irish family of the highest rank, and holding the peerage of De Beauvoir, but that he had written to his agent in Dublin, giving him directions to obtain for him every possible information in his power relative to all the individuals composing it. Till this had been received, all that I could do was to remain quiet. I then narrated to him the behaviour of the agent, Mr Iving, to Timothy. “There is some mystery there, most assuredly,” observed Mr Masterton; “When do you go again to ——?”
I replied, that it was not my intention to go there for some time, unless he would wish to see the little girl.
“I do, Newland. I think I must take her under my protection as well as you. We will go down to-morrow. Sunday is the only day I can spare; but it must be put down as a work of charity.”
The next day we went down to ——. Fleta was surprised to see me so soon, and Mr Masterton was much struck with the elegance and classical features of my little protegee. He asked her many questions, and with his legal tact, contrived to draw from her many little points relative to her infant days, which she had, till he put his probing questions, quite forgotten. As we returned to town, he observed, “You are right, Japhet, that is no child of humble origin. Her very appearance contradicts it; but we have, I think, a chance of discovering who she is—a better one, I’m afraid, than at present we have for your identification. But never mind, let us trust to perseverance.”
For three weeks I continued to live with Harcourt, but I did not go out much. Such was the state of my affairs, when Timothy came to my room one morning, and said, “I do not know whether you have observed it, sir; but there is a man constantly lurking about here, watching the house, I believe. I think, but still I’m not quite sure, that I have seen his face before; but where I cannot recollect.”
“Indeed, what sort of a person may he be?”
“He is a very dark man, stout, and well made; and is dressed in a sort of half-sailor, half-gentleman’s dress; such as you see put on by those who belong to the Funny Clubs on the river; but he is not at all a gentleman himself—quite the contrary. It is now about a week that I have seen him, every day; and I have watched him, and perceive that he generally follows you as soon as you go out.”
“Well,” replied I, “we must find out what he wants—if we can. Point him out to me; I will soon see if he is tracing my steps.”