“How do you feel, Japhet, to-day?”
“To-day!” replied I; “day and night are the same to me.”
“That is your own fault,” replied he. “Have you considered what I proposed to you yesterday?”
“Yes,” replied I; “and I will agree to this. Let Sir Henry give me my liberty, come over to England, prove his relationship to Fleta, and I will give her up. What can he ask for more?”
“He will hardly consent to that,” replied Melchior; “for, once in England, you will take a warrant out against him.”
“No; on my honour I will not, Melchior.”
“He will not trust to that.”
“Then he must judge of others by himself,” replied I.
“Have you no other terms to propose,” replied Melchior.
“Then I will carry your message, and give you his answer to-morrow.”
Melchior then brought in another basket, and took away the former, and did not make his appearance till the next day. I now had recovered my strength, and determined to take some decided measures, but how to act I knew not. I reflected all night, and the next morning (that is, according to my supposition) I attacked the basket. Whether it was that ennui or weakness occasioned it, I cannot tell, but either way, I drank too much wine, and was ready for any daring deed, when Melchior again the door.
“Sir Henry will not accept of your terms. I thought not,” said Melchior, “I am sorry—very sorry.”
“Melchior,” replied I, starting up; “let us have no more of this duplicity. I am not quite so ignorant as you suppose. I know who Fleta is, and who you are.”
“Indeed,” replied Melchior; “perhaps you will explain?”
“I will. You, Melchior, are Sir Henry de Clare; you succeeded to your estates by the death of your elder brother, from a fall when hunting.”
Melchior appeared astonished.
“Indeed!” replied he; “pray go on. You have made a gentleman of me.”
“No; rather a scoundrel.”
“As you please; now will you make a lady of Fleta?”
“Yes, I will. She is your niece.” Melchior started back. “Your agent, M’Dermott, who was sent over to find out Fleta’s abode, met me in the coach, and he has tracked me here, and risked my life, by telling the people that I was a tithe proctor.”
“Your information is very important,” replied Melchior, “You will find some difficulty to prove all you say.”