Satisfied with the discomfiture of Mr Cophagus, I turned round, when I perceived the Irish agent, with whom I had been in conversation, eyeing me most attentively. As I said before, he was a hard-featured man, and his small grey eye was now fixed upon me, as if it would have pierced me through. I felt confused for a moment, as the scrutiny was unexpected from that quarter; but a few moments’ reflection told me, that if Sir Henry de Clare and Melchior were the same person, and this man his agent, in all probability he had not been sent to England for nothing; that if he was in search of Fleta, he must have heard of my name, and perhaps something of my history. “I appear to have a great likeness to many people,” observed I, to the agent, smiling. “It was but the other day I was stopped in Bond Street as a Mr Rawlinson”
“Not a very common face either, sir,” observed the agent; “if once seen not easily forgotten, nor easily mistaken for another.”
“Still such appears to be the case,” replied I, carelessly.
We now stopped to take refreshment. I had risen from the table, and was going into the passage, when I perceived the agent looking over the way-bill with the guard. As soon as he perceived me, he walked out in front of the inn. Before the guard had put up the bill, I requested to look at it, wishing to ascertain if I had been booked in my own name. It was so. The four names were, Newland, Cophagus, Baltzi, M’Dermott. I was much annoyed at this circumstance. M’Dermott was, of course, the name of the agent; and that was all the information I received in return for my own exposure, which I now considered certain; I determined, however, to put a good face on the matter, and when we returned to the coach, again entered into conversation with Mr M’Dermott, but I found him particularly guarded in his replies whenever I spoke about Sir Henry or his family, and I could not obtain any further information. Mr Cophagus could not keep his eyes off me—he peered into my face—then he would fall back in the coach. “Odd—very odd—must be—no—says not—um.” In about another half hour, he would repeat his examination, and mutter to himself. At last, as if tormented with his doubts, he exclaimed, “Beg pardon—but—you have a name?”
“Yes,” replied I, “I have a name.”
“Well, then—not ashamed. What is it?”
“My name, sir,” replied I, “is Newland;” for I had resolved to acknowledge to my name, and fall back upon a new line of defence.
“Thought so—don’t know me—don’t
Brookes’s—Tim—rudiments—and so on.”
“I have not the least objection to tell you my name; but I am afraid you have the advantage in your recollection of me. Where may I have had the honour of meeting you?”
“Meeting—what, quite forgot—Smithfield?”
“And pray, sir, where may Smithfield be?”
“Very odd—can’t comprehend—same name, same face—don’t recollect me, don’t recollect Smithfield?”