“Is the property large?” inquired Mr De Benyon.
“Not very large,” replied I; “but still a very handsome property, I am told.” The reader may surmise that the property referred to was my own pretty self. “May I ask you a few particulars relative to the present earl and his brothers?”
“Most certainly, sir,” replied Mr De Benyon; “any information I can give you will be at your service. The Earl has four brothers. The eldest Maurice.”
“Is he married?”
“Yes, and has two children. The next is William.”
“Is he married?”
“No; nor has he ever been. He is a general in the army. The third is myself, Henry.”
“You are married, I believe, sir?”
“Yes, with a large family.”
“May I request you will proceed, sir?”
“Arthur is the fourth brother. He is lately married, and has two children.”
“Sir, I feel much obliged to you; it is a curious and intricate affair. As I am here, I may as well ask one question, although not of great consequence. The earl is married, I perceive, by the peerage, but I do not find that he has any children.”
“On the contrary, he has two—and prospects of more. May I now request the particulars connected with this property?”
“The exact particulars, sir, I cannot well tell you, as I am not acquainted with them myself; but the property in question, I rather think, depends upon a name. May I venture to ask the names of all your children?”
Mr De Benyon gave me a list seriatim, which I put down with great gravity.
“Of course, there is no doubt of your second brother not being married. I believe we ought to have a certificate. Do you know his address?”
“He has been in the East Indies for many years. He returned home on furlough, and has now just sailed again for Calcutta.”
“That is unfortunate; we must forward a letter through the India Board. May I also be favoured with your address, as in all probability it may be advisable?”
Mr De Benyon gave me his address. I rose, promised to give him all the particulars as soon as they were known to me, bowed, and made my exit. To one who was in his sober senses, there certainly was not any important information gained; but to me, it was evident that the Mr De Benyon who was a general in the army was to be interrogated, and I had almost made up my mind to set off for Calcutta.
I affront an Irish gentleman,
and make a handsome apology, which
Before I had gained my own room, I informed Mr Cophagus, who had just returned from a visit to his maiden aunt’s house, of what had passed.
“Can’t see anything in it, Japhet—wild goose chase?—who told you?—oh! Pleggit’s men—sad liars—De Benyon not name, depend upon it—all stuff, and so on.”