“Politeness! you are wrong—all wrong, Japhet. Your mind is cankered, or you never would have used that term. I thought you were composed of better materials; but it appears, that although you can sail with a fair wind, you cannot buffet against an adverse gale. Because you are no longer fooled and flattered by the interested and the designing, like many others, you have quarrelled with the world. Is it not so?”
“Perhaps you are right, sir.”
“I know that I am right, and that you are wrong. Now I shall be seriously displeased if you do not go down and see Lady de Clare and her daughter, as soon as you can.”
“I will obey your orders, sir.”
“My wishes, Japhet, not my orders. Let me see you when you return. You must no longer be idle. Consider, that you are about to recommence your career in life; that hitherto you have pursued the wrong path, from which you have nobly returned. You must prepare for exertions, and learn to trust to God and a good conscience. Lord Windermear and I had a long conversation relative to you yesterday evening; and when you come back, I will detail to you what are our views respecting your future advantage.”
A new character appears,
but not a very amiable one; but I attach
myself to him, as drowning men catch at straws.
I took my leave, more composed in mind, and the next day I went down to Lady de Clare’s. I was kindly received, more than kindly, I was affectionately and parentally received by the mother, and by Cecilia as a dear brother; but they perceived my melancholy, and when they had upbraided me for my long neglect, they inquired the cause. As I had already made Lady de Clare acquainted with my previous history, I had no secrets; in fact, it was a consolation to confide my griefs to them. Lord Windermear was too much above me—Mr Masterton was too matter-of-fact—Timothy was too inferior—and they were all men; but the kind soothing of a woman was peculiarly grateful, and after a sojourn of three days, I took my leave, with my mind much less depressed than when I arrived.
On my return, I called upon Mr Masterton, who stated to me that Lord Windermear was anxious to serve me, and that he would exert his interest in any way which might be most congenial to my feelings; that he would procure me a commission in the army, or a writership to India; or, if I preferred it, I might study the law under the auspices of Mr Masterton. If none of these propositions suited me, I might state what would be preferred, and that, as far as his interest and pecuniary assistance could avail, I might depend upon it. “So now, Japhet, you may go home and reflect seriously upon these offers; and when you have made up your mind what course you will steer, you have only to let me know.”