Japhet, in Search of a Father eBook

Japhet, in Search of a Father by Frederick Marryat

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section Page

Start of eBook1
Prefatory Note1
Chapter I1
Chapter II6
Chapter III10
Chapter IV13
Chapter V16
Chapter VI20
Chapter VII24
Chapter VIII28
Chapter IX31
Chapter X35
Chapter XI40
Chapter XII44
Chapter XIII48
Chapter XIV52
Chapter XV54
Chapter XVI59
Chapter XVII64
Chapter XVIII68
Chapter XIX72
Chapter XX74
Chapter XXI77
Chapter XXII80
Chapter XXIII85
Chapter XXIV87
Chapter XXV91
Chapter XXVI94
Chapter XXVII96
Chapter XXVIII99
Chapter XXIX102
Chapter XXX104
Chapter XXXI107
Chapter XXXII110
Chapter XXXIII112
Chapter XXXIV114
Chapter XXXV118
Chapter XXXVI121
Chapter XXXVII124
Chapter XXXVIII127
Chapter XXXIX130
Chapter XL134
Chapter XLI137
Chapter XLII139
Chapter XLIII142
Chapter XLIV145
Chapter XLV148
Chapter XLVI151
Chapter XLVII153
Chapter XLVIII155
Chapter XLIX159
Chapter L162
Chapter LI164
Chapter LII167
Chapter LIII171
Chapter LIV173
Chapter LV176
Chapter LVI180
Chapter LVII184
Chapter LVIII187
Chapter LIX190
Chapter LX193
Chapter LXI197
Chapter LXII200
Chapter LXIII203
Chapter LXIV206
Chapter LXV208
Chapter LXVI211
Chapter LXVII215
Chapter LXVIII218
Chapter LXIX222
Chapter LXX226
Chapter LXXI230
Chapter LXXII234
Chapter LXXIII239
Chapter LXXIV245
Chapter LXXV250
Chapter LXXVI255
Chapter LXXVII259
Chapter LXXVIII264
Chapter LXXXI267

Page 1

Prefatory Note

In the Metropolitan Magazine, where this novel originally appeared (Sep. 1834-Jan. 1836), Marryat prepared his readers for its reception in the following words:—­

“And having now completed ‘Jacob Faithful,’ we trust to the satisfaction of our readers, we will make a few remarks.  We commenced writing on our own profession, and having completed four tales, novels, or whatever you may please to call them” (viz., Frank Mildmay, The King’s Own, Newton Forster, Peter Simple), “in ‘Jacob Faithful’ we quitted the salt water for the fresh.  From the wherry we shall now step on shore, and in our next number we shall introduce to our readers ’The Adventures of Japhet, in search of his Father.’”

The promise was faithfully kept, and Japhet, with all his varied experience, never went to sea.  There were indeed few companies on land to which he did not penetrate.  Reared in a foundling hospital, and apprenticed to a Smithfield apothecary, his good looks, impulsive self-confidence, and unbounded talent for lying, carried him with eclat through the professions of quack doctor, juggler, and mountebank, gentleman about town, tramp, and quaker:  to emerge triumphantly at last as the only son of a wealthy Anglo-Indian general, or “Bengal tiger,” as his friends preferred to call him.

Japhet’s “adventures,” of course, are shared by a faithful friend and ally, Timothy Oldmixon, the Sancho to his Quixote, originally an orphan pauper like himself, composed of two qualities—­fun and affection.  He encounters villains, lawyers, kind-hearted peers, “rooks” and “pigeons,” gipsies, leaders of fashion, fair maidens—­enough and to spare.  In a word, Marryat here makes use of well-worn material, and uses it well.  He has constructed a tale of private adventure on the old familiar lines, in which the local colour—­acquired from other books—­is admirably laid on, and the interest sustained to the end.  The story is well told, enlivened by humour, and very respectably constructed.

The reader will find Japhet thoroughly exciting, and will have no difficulty in believing that, while it was running in the pages of the Metropolitan, “an American vessel meeting an English one in the broad Atlantic, instead of a demand for water or supplies, ran up the question to her mast-head, ‘Has Japhet found his father yet?’”

Japhet, in search of a Father, is here re-printed, with a few corrections, from the first edition in 3 vols.  Saunders & Otley, 1836.  On page 360 a few words, enclosed in square brackets, have been inserted from the magazine version, as the abbreviated sentence, always hitherto reproduced from the first edition, is unintelligible.


* * * * *

Japhet, in Search of a Father

Chapter I

Page 2

Like most other children, who should be my godfather is decided by Mammon—­So precocious as to make some noise in the world and be hung a few days after I was born—­Cut down in time and produce a scene of bloodshed—­My early propensities fully developed by the choice of my profession

Those who may be pleased to honour these pages with a perusal, will not be detained with a long introductory history of my birth, parentage, and education.  The very title implies that, at this period of my memoirs, I was ignorant of the two first; and it will be necessary for the due development of my narrative, that I allow them to remain in the same state of bliss; for in the perusal of a tale, as well as in the pilgrimage of life, ignorance of the future may truly be considered as the greatest source of happiness.  The little that was known of me at this time I will however narrate as concisely, and as correctly, as I am able.  It was on the—­I really forget the date, and must rise from my chair, look for a key, open a closet, and then open an iron safe to hunt over a pile of papers—­it will detain you too long—­it will be sufficient to say that it was on a night—­but whether the night was dark or moonlit, or rainy or foggy, or cloudy or fine, or starlight, I really cannot tell; but it is of no very great consequence.  Well, it was on a night about the hour—­there again I’m puzzled, it might have been ten, or eleven, or twelve, or between any of these hours; nay it might have been past midnight, and far advancing to the morning, for what I know to the contrary.  The reader must excuse an infant of—­there again I am at a nonplus; but we will assume of some days old—­if, when wrapped up in flannel and in a covered basket, and, moreover, fast asleep at the time, he does not exactly observe the state of the weather, and the time by the church clock.  I never before was aware of the great importance of dates in telling a story; but it is now too late to recover these facts, which have been swept away into oblivion by the broad wing of Time.  I must therefore just tell the little I do know, trusting to the reader’s good nature, and to blanks.  It is as follows:—­that, at the hour—­of the night—­the state of the weather being also—­I, an infant of a certain age—­was suspended by somebody or somebodies—­at the knocker of the Foundling Hospital.  Having made me fast, the said somebody or somebodies rang a peal upon the bell which made the old porter start up in so great a hurry, that, with the back of his hand he hit his better half a blow on the nose, occasioning a great suffusion of blood from that organ, and a still greater pouring forth of invectives from the organ immediately below it.

All this having been effected by the said peal on the bell, the said somebody or somebodies did incontinently take to their heels, and disappear long before the old porter could pull his legs through his nether garments and obey the rude summons.  At last the old man swung open the gate, and the basket swung across his nose; he went in again for a knife and cut me down, for it was cruel to hang a baby of a few days old; carried me into the lodge, lighted a candle, and opened the basket.  Thus did I metaphorically first come to light.

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When he opened the basket I opened my eyes, and although I did not observe it, the old woman was standing at the table in very light attire, sponging her nose over a basin.

“Verily, a pretty babe with black eyes!” exclaimed the old man in a tremulous voice.

“Black eyes indeed,” muttered the old woman.  “I shall have two to-morrow.”

“Beautiful black eyes indeed!” continued the old man.

“Terrible black eyes, for sartain,” continued the old woman, as she sponged away.

“Poor thing, it must be cold,” murmured the old porter.

“Warrant I catch my death a-cold,” muttered the wife.

“But, dear me, here’s a paper!” exclaimed the old man.

“Vinegar and brown paper,” echoed the old woman.

“Addressed to the governors of the hospital,” continued the porter.

“Apply to the dispenser of the hospital,” continued his wife.

“And sealed,” said he.

“Get it healed,” said she.

“The linen is good; it must be the child of no poor people.  Who knows?”—­soliloquised the old man.

“My poor nose!” exclaimed the old woman.

“I must take it to the nurses, and the letter I will give to-morrow,” said the old porter, winding up his portion of this double soliloquy, and tottering away with the basket and your humble servant across the courtyard.

“There, it will do now,” said the old wife, wiping her face on a towel, and regaining her bed, in which she was soon joined by her husband, and they finished their nap without any further interruption during that night.

The next morning I was reported and examined, and the letter addressed to the governors was opened and read.  It was laconic, but still, as most things laconic are, very much to the point.

“This child was born in wedlock—­he is to be named Japhet.  When circumstances permit, he will be reclaimed.”

But there was a postscript by Abraham Newlands, Esq., promising to pay the bearer, on demand, the sum of fifty pounds.  In plainer terms, there was a bank note to that amount inclosed in the letter.  As in general, the parties who suspend children in baskets, have long before suspended cash payments, or, at all events, forget to suspend them with the baskets, my arrival created no little noise, to which I added my share, until I obtained a share of the breast of a young woman, who, like Charity, suckled two or three babies at one time.

We have preparatory schools all over the kingdom; for young gentlemen, from three to five years of age, under ladies, and from four to seven, under either, or both sexes, as it may happen; but the most preparatory of all preparatory schools, is certainly the Foundling Hospital, which takes in its pupils, if they are sent, from one to three days old, or even hours, if the parents are in such extreme anxiety about their education.  Here it commences with their weaning, when they are

Page 4

instructed in the mystery of devouring pap; next, they are taught to walk—­and as soon as they can walk—­to sit still; to talk—­and as soon as they can talk—­to hold their tongues; thus are they instructed and passed on from one part of the establishment to another, until they finally are passed out of its gates, to get on in the world, with the advantages of some education, and the still further advantage of having no father or mother to provide for, or relatives to pester them with their necessities.  It was so with me:  I arrived at the age of fourteen, and notwithstanding the promise contained in the letter, it appeared that circumstances did not permit of my being reclaimed.  But I had a great advantage over the other inmates of the hospital; the fifty pounds sent with me were not added to the funds of the establishment, but generously employed for my benefit by the governors, who were pleased with my conduct, and thought highly of my abilities.  Instead of being bound ’prentice to a cordwainer or some other mechanic, by the influence of the governors, added to the fifty pounds and interest, as a premium, I was taken by an apothecary, who engaged to bring me up to the profession.  And now, that I am out of the Foundling, we must not travel quite so fast.

The practitioner who thus took me by the hand was a Mr Phineas Cophagus, whose house was most conveniently situated for business, one side of the shop looking upon Smithfield Market, the other presenting a surface of glass to the principal street leading out of the same market.  It was a corner house, but not in a corner.  On each side of the shop were two gin establishments, and next to them were two public-houses and then two eating-houses, frequented by graziers, butchers, and drovers.  Did the men drink so much as to quarrel in their cups, who was so handy to plaister up the broken heads as Mr Cophagus?  Did a fat grazier eat himself into an apoplexy, how very convenient was the ready lancet of Mr Cophagus.  Did a bull gore a man, Mr Cophagus appeared with his diachylon and lint.  Did an ox frighten a lady, it was in the back parlour of Mr Cophagus that she was recovered from her syncope.  Market days were a sure market to my master; and if an overdriven beast knocked down others, it only helped to set him on his legs.  Our windows suffered occasionally; but whether it were broken heads, or broken limbs, or broken windows, they were well paid for.  Every one suffered but Mr Phineas Cophagus, who never suffered a patient to escape him.  The shop had the usual allowance of green, yellow, and blue bottles; and in hot weather, from our vicinity, we were visited by no small proportion of bluebottle flies.  We had a white horse in one window, and a brown horse in the other, to announce to the drovers that we supplied horse-medicines.  And we had all the patent medicines in the known world, even to the “all-sufficient medicine for mankind” of Mr Enouy; having which,

Page 5

I wondered, on my first arrival, why we troubled ourselves about any others.  The shop was large, and at the back part there was a most capacious iron mortar, with a pestle to correspond.  The first floor was tenanted by Mr Cophagus, who was a bachelor; the second floor was let; the others were appropriated to the housekeeper, and to those who formed the establishment.  In this well-situated tenement, Mr Cophagus got on swimmingly.  I will therefore, for the present, sink the shop, that my master may rise in the estimation of the reader, when I describe his person and his qualifications.

Mr Phineas Cophagus might have been about forty-five years of age when I first had the honour of an introduction to him in the receiving room of the Foundling Hospital.  He was of the middle height, his face was thin, his nose very much hooked, his eyes small and peering, with a good-humoured twinkle in them, his mouth large, and drawn down at one corner.  He was stout in his body, and carried a considerable protuberance before him, which he was in the habit of patting with his left hand very complacently; but although stout in his body, his legs were mere spindles, so that, in his appearance, he reminded you of some bird of the crane genus.  Indeed, I may say, that his whole figure gave you just such an impression as an orange might do, had it taken to itself a couple of pieces of tobacco pipes as vehicles of locomotion.  He was dressed in a black coat and waistcoat, white cravat and high collar to his shirt, blue cotton net pantaloons and Hessian boots, both fitting so tight, that it appeared as if he was proud of his spindle shanks.  His hat was broad-brimmed and low, and he carried a stout black cane with a gold top in his right hand, almost always raising the gold top to his nose when he spoke, just as we see doctors represented at a consultation in the caricature prints.  But if his figure was strange, his language and manners were still more so.  He spoke, as some birds fly, in jerks, intermixing his words, for he never completed a whole sentence, with um—­um—­and ending it with “so on,” leaving his hearers to supply the context from the heads of his discourse.  Almost always in motion, he generally changed his position as soon as he had finished speaking, walking to any other part of the room, with his cane to his nose, and his head cocked on one side, with a self-sufficient tiptoe gait.  When I was ushered into his presence, he was standing with two of the governors.  “This is the lad,” said one of them, “his name is Japhet.”

“Japhet,” replied Mr Cophagus; “um, scriptural—­Shem, Ham, um—­and so on.  Boy reads?”

“Very well, and writes a very good hand.  He is a very good boy, Mr Cophagus.”

“Read—­write—­spell—­good, and so on.  Bring him up—­rudiments—­spatula—­write labels—­um—­M.D. one of these days—­make a man of him—­and so on,” said this strange personage, walking round and round me with his cane to his nose, and scrutinising my person with his twinkling eyes.  I was dismissed after this examination and approval, and the next day, dressed in a plain suit of clothes, was delivered by the porter at the shop of Mr Phineas Cophagus, who was not at home when I arrived.

Page 6

Chapter II

     Like all Tyros, I find the rudiments of learning extremely
     difficult and laborious, but advance so rapidly than I can do
     without my Master.

A tall, fresh-coloured, but hectic looking young man, stood behind the counter, making up prescriptions, and a dirty lad, about thirteen years old, was standing near with his basket to deliver the medicines to the several addresses, as soon as they were ready.  The young man behind the counter, whose name was Brookes, was within eighteen months of serving his time, when his friends intended to establish him on his own account, and this was the reason which induced Mr Cophagus to take me, that I might learn the business, and supply his place when he left.  Mr Brookes was a very quiet, amiable person, kind to me and the other boy who carried out the medicines, and who had been taken by Mr Cophagus, for his food and raiment.  The porter told Mr Brookes who I was, and left me.  “Do you think that you will like to be an apothecary?” said Mr Brookes to me, with a benevolent smile.

“Yes; I do not see why I should not,” replied I.

“Stop a moment,” said the lad who was waiting with the basket, lookly archly at me, “you hav’n’t got through your rudimans yet.”

“Hold your tongue, Timothy,” said Mr Brookes.  “That you are not very fond of the rudiments, as Mr Cophagus calls them, is very clear.  Now walk off as fast as you can with these medicines, sir—­14, Spring Street; 16, Cleaver Street, as before; and then to John Street, 55, Mrs Smith’s.  Do you understand?”

“To be sure I do—­can’t I read?  I reads all the directions, and all your Latin stuff into the bargain—­all your summen dusses, horez, diez, cockly hairy.  I mean to set up for myself one of these days.”

“I’ll knock you down one of these days, Mr Timothy, if you stay so long as you do, looking at the print shops; that you may depend upon.”

“I keep up all my learning that way,” replied Timothy, walking off with his load, turning his head round and laughing at me, as he quitted the shop.  Mr Brookes smiled, but said nothing.

As Timothy went out, in came Mr Cophagus.  “Heh!  Japhet—­I see,” said he, putting up his cane, “nothing to do—­bad—­must work—­um—­and so on.  Mr Brookes—­boy learn rudiments—­good—­and so on.”  Hereupon Mr Cophagus took his cane from his nose, pointed to the large iron mortar, and then walked away into the back parlour.  Mr Brookes understood his master, if I did not.  He wiped out the mortar, threw in some drugs, and, showing me how to use the pestle, left me to my work.  In half an hour I discovered why it was that Timothy had such an objection to what Mr Cophagus facetiously termed the rudiments of the profession.  It was dreadful hard work for a boy; the perspiration ran down me in streams, and I could hardly lift my arms.  When Mr Cophagus passed through the shop and looked at me, as I continued to thump away with the heavy iron pestle.  “Good,”—­said he, “by-and-bye—­M.D.—­and so on.”  I thought it was a very rough road to such preferment, and I stopped to take a little breath.  “By-the-by—­Japhet—­Christian name—­and so on—­sirname—­heh!”

Page 7

“Mr Cophagus wishes to know your other name,” said Mr Brookes, interpreting.

I have omitted to acquaint the reader that sirnames as well as Christian names, are always given to the children at the Foundling, and in consequence of the bank note found in my basket, I had been named after the celebrated personage whose signature it bore.  “Newland is my other name, sir,” replied I.

“Newland—­heh!—­very good name—­every body likes to see that name—­and have plenty of them in his pockets too—­um—­very comfortable—­and so on,” replied Mr Cophagus, leaving the shop.

I resumed my thumping occupation, when Timothy returned with his empty basket.  He laughed when he saw me at work.  “Well, how do you like the rudimans?—­and so on—­heh?” said he, mimicking Mr Cophagus.

“Not overmuch,” replied I, wiping my face.

“That was my job before you came.  I have been more than a year, and never have got out of those rudimans yet, and I suppose I never shall.”

Mr Brookes, perceiving that I was tired, desired me to leave off, an order which I gladly obeyed, and I took my seat in a corner of the shop.

“There,” said Timothy, laying down his basket; “no more work for me hanty prandium, is there, Mr Brookes?”

“No, Tim; but post prandium, you’ll post off again.”

Dinner being ready, and Mr Cophagus having returned, he and Mr Brookes went into the back parlour, leaving Timothy and me in the shop to announce customers.  And I shall take this opportunity of introducing Mr Timothy more particularly, as he will play a very conspicuous part in this narrative.  Timothy was short in stature for his age, but very strongly built.  He had an oval face, with a very dark complexion, grey eyes flashing from under their long eyelashes, and eyebrows nearly meeting each other.  He was marked with the small-pox, not so much as to disfigure him, but still it was very perceptible when near to him.  His countenance was always lighted up with merriment; there was such a happy, devil-may-care expression in his face, that you liked him the first minute that you were in his company, and I was intimate with him immediately.

“I say, Japhet,” said he, “where did you come from?”

“The Foundling,” replied I.

“Then you have no friends or relations.”

“If I have, I do not know where to find them,” replied I, very gravely.

“Pooh! don’t be grave upon it.  I haven’t any either.  I was brought up by the parish, in the workhouse.  I was found at the door of a gentleman’s house, who sent me to the overseers—­I was about a year old then.  They call me a foundling, but I don’t care what they call me, so long as they don’t call me too late for dinner.  Father and mother, whoever they were, when they ran away from me, didn’t run away with my appetite.  I wonder how long master means to play with his knife and fork.  As for Mr Brookes, what he eats wouldn’t physic a snipe.  What’s your other name, Japhet?”

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“Newland—­now you shall have mine in exchange:  Timothy Oldmixon at your service.  They christened me after the workhouse pump, which had ’Timothy Oldmixon fecit’ on it; and the overseers thought it as good a name to give me as any other; so I was christened after the pump-maker with some of the pump water.  As soon as I was big enough, they employed me to pump all the water for the use of the workhouse.  I worked at my papa, as I called the pump, all day long.  Few sons worked their father more, or disliked him so much:  and now, Japhet, you see, from habit, I’m pumping you.”

“You’ll soon pump dry, then, for I’ve very little to tell you,” replied I; “but, tell me, what sort of a person is our master?”

“He’s just what you see him, never alters, hardly ever out of humour, and when he is, he is just as odd as ever.  He very often threatens me, but I have never had a blow yet, although Mr Brookes has complained once or twice.”

“But surely Mr Brookes is not cross?”

“No, he is a very good gentleman; but sometimes I carry on my rigs a little too far, I must say that.  For as Mr Brookes says, people may die for want of the medicines, because I put down my basket to play.  It’s very true; but I can’t give up ‘peg in the ring’ on that account.  But then I only get a box of the ear from Mr Brookes, and that goes for nothing.  Mr Cophagus shakes his stick, and says, ’Bad boy—­big stick—­um—­won’t forget—­next time—­and so on,’” continued Timothy, laughing; “and it is so on, to the end of the chapter.”

By this time Mr Cophagus and his assistant had finished their dinner, and came into the shop.  The former looked at me, put his stick to his nose, “Little boys—­always hungry—­um—­like good dinner—­roast beef—­Yorkshire pudding—­and so on,” and he pointed with the stick to the back parlour.  Timothy and I understood him very well this time:  we went into the parlour, when the housekeeper sat down with us and helped us.  She was a terribly cross, little old woman, but as honest as she was cross, which is all that I shall say in her favour.  Timothy was no favourite, because he had such a good appetite; and it appeared that I was not very likely to stand well in her good opinion, for I also ate a great deal, and every extra mouthful I took I sank in her estimation, till I was nearly at the zero, where Timothy had long been for the same offence; but Mr Cophagus would not allow her to stint him, saying, “Little boys must eat—­or won’t grow—­and so on.”

I soon found out that we were not only well fed, but in every other point well treated, and I was very comfortable and happy.  Mr Brookes instructed me in the art of labelling and tying up, and in a very short time I was very expert; and as Timothy predicted, the rudiments were once more handed over to him.  Mr Cophagus supplied me with good clothes, but never gave me any pocket-money, and Timothy and I often lamented that we had not even a halfpenny to spend.

Page 9

Before I had been many months in the shop Mr Brookes was able to leave when any exigence required his immediate attendance.  I made up the pills, but he weighed out the quantities in the prescriptions; if, therefore, any one came in for medicines, I desired them to wait the return of Mr Brookes, who would be in very soon.  One day, when Mr Brookes was out, and I was sitting behind the counter, Timothy sitting on it, and swinging his legs to and fro, both lamenting that we had no pocket-money, Timothy said, “Japhet, I’ve been puzzling my brains how we can get some money, and I’ve hit it at last; let you and I turn doctors; we won’t send all the people away who come when Mr Brookes is out, but we’ll physic them ourselves.”

I jumped at the idea, and he had hardly proposed it, when an old woman came in, and addressing Timothy, said, “That she wanted something for her poor grandchild’s sore throat.”

“I don’t mix up the medicines, ma’am,” replied Timothy; “you must apply to that gentleman, Mr Newland, who is behind the counter—­he understands what is good for every body’s complaints.”

“Bless his handsome face—­and so young too!  Why, be you a doctor, sir?”

“I should hope so,” replied I; “what is it you require—­a lotion, or an embrocation?”

“I don’t understand those hard words, but I want some doctor’s stuff.”

“Very well, my good woman; I know what is proper,” replied I, assuming an important air.  “Here, Timothy, wash out this vial very clean.”

“Yes, sir,” replied Timothy, very respectfully.

I took one of the measures, and putting in a little green, a little blue, and a little white liquid from the medicine bottles generally used by Mr Brookes, filled it up with water, poured the mixture into the vial, corked, and labelled it, haustus statim sumendus, and handed it over the counter to the old woman.

“Is the poor child to take it, or is it to rub outside?” inquired the old woman.

“The directions are on the label;—­but you don’t read Latin?”

“Deary me, no!  Latin! and do you understand Latin?  What a nice clever boy!”

“I should not be a good doctor if I did not,” replied I. On second thoughts, I considered it advisable and safer, that the application should be external, so I translated the label to her—­Haustus, rub it in—­statim, on the throat—­sumendus, with the palm of the hand.

“Deary me! and does it mean all that?  How much have I to pay, sir?”

“Embrocation is a very dear medicine, my good woman; it ought to be eighteen-pence, but as you are a poor woman, I shall only charge you nine-pence.”

“I’m sure I thank you kindly,” replied the old woman, putting down the money, and wishing me a good morning as she left the shop.

“Bravo!” cried Timothy, rubbing his hands; “it’s halves, Japhet, is it not?”

“Yes,” I replied; “but first we must be honest, and not cheat Mr Cophagus; the vial is sold, you know, for one penny, and I suppose the stuff I have taken is not worth a penny more.  Now, if we put aside two-pence for Mr Cophagus, we don’t cheat him, or steal his property; the other seven-pence is of course our own—­being the profits of the profession.”

Page 10

“But how shall we account for receiving the two-pence?” said Timothy.

“Selling two vials instead of one:  they are never reckoned, you know.”

“That will do capitally,” cried Timothy; “and now for halves.”  But this could not be managed until Timothy had run out and changed the sixpence; we then each had our three-pence halfpenny, and for once in our lives could say that we had money in our pockets.

Chapter III

     I perform a wonderful cure upon St John Long’s principle, having
     little or no principle of my own—­I begin to puzzle my head with a
     problem; of all others most difficult to solve.

The success of our first attempt encouraged us to proceed; but afraid that I might do some mischief, I asked of Mr Brookes the nature and qualities of the various medicines, as he was mixing the prescriptions, that I might avoid taking any of those which were poisonous.  Mr Brookes, pleased with my continual inquiries, gave me all the information I could desire, and thus I gained, not only a great deal of information, but also a great deal of credit with Mr Cophagus, to whom Mr Brookes had made known my diligence and thirst for knowledge.

“Good—­very good,” said Mr Cophagus; “fine boy—­learns his business—­M.D. one of these days—­ride in his coach—­um, and so on.”  Nevertheless, at my second attempt, I made an awkward mistake, which very nearly led to detection.  An Irish labourer, more than half tipsy, came in one evening, and asked whether we had such a thing as was called “A poor man’s plaister.  By the powers, it will be a poor man’s plaister when it belongs to me; but they tell me that it is a sure and sartain cure for the thumbago, as they call it, which I’ve at the small of my back, and which is a hinder to my mounting up the ladder; so as it’s Saturday night, and I’ve just got the money, I’ll buy the plaister first, and then try what a little whiskey inside will do, the devil’s in it if it won’t be driven out of me between the two.”

We had not that plaister in the shop, but we had blister plaister, and Timothy, handing one to me, I proffered it to him.  “And what may you be after asking for this same?” inquired he.

The blister plaisters were sold at a shilling each, when spread on paper, so I asked him eighteen-pence, that we might pocket the extra sixpence.

“By the powers, one would think that you had made a mistake, and handed me the rich man’s plaister, instead of the poor one’s.  It’s less whiskey I’ll have to drink, anyhow; but here’s the money, and the top of the morning to ye, seeing as how it’s jist getting late.”

Timothy and I laughed as we divided the sixpence.  It appeared that after taking his allowance of whiskey, the poor fellow fixed the plaister on his back when he went to bed, and the next morning found himself in a condition not be envied.  It was a week before we saw him again, and much to the horror of Timothy and myself, he walked into the shop when Mr Brookes was employed behind the counter.  Timothy perceived him before he saw us, and pulling me behind the large mortar, we contrived to make our escape into the back parlour, the door of which we held ajar to hear what would take place.

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“Murder and turf!” cried the man, “but that was the devil’s own plaister that you gave me here for my back, and it left me as raw as a turnip, taking every bit of my skin off me entirely, foreby my lying in bed for a whole week, and losing my day’s work.”

“I really do not recollect supplying you with a plaister, my good man,” replied Mr Brookes.

“Then by the piper that played before Moses, if you don’t recollect it, I’ve an idea that I shall never forget it.  Sure enough, it cured me, but wasn’t I quite kilt before I was cured?”

“It must have been some other shop,” observed Mr Brookes.  “You have made a mistake.”

“Devil a bit of a mistake, except in selling me the plaister.  Didn’t I get it of a lad in this same shop?”

“Nobody sells things out of this shop without my knowledge.”

The Irishman was puzzled—­he looked round the shop.  “Well, then, if this a’n’t the shop, it was own sister to it.”

“Timothy,” called Mr Brookes.

“And sure enough there was a Timothy in the other shop, for I heard the boy call the other by the name; however, it’s no matter, if it took off the skin, it also took away the thumbago, so the morning to you, Mr Pottykarry.”

When the Irishman departed, we made our appearance.  “Japhet, did you sell a plaister to an Irishman?”

“Yes—­don’t you recollect, last Saturday? and I gave you the shilling.”

“Very true; but what did he ask for?”

“He asked for a plaister, but he was very tipsy.  I showed him a blister, and he took it;” and then I looked at Timothy and laughed.

“You must not play such tricks,” said Mr Brookes.  “I see what you have been about—­it was a joke to you, but not to him.”

Mr Brookes, who imagined we had sold it to the Irishman out of fun, then gave us a very severe lecture, and threatened to acquaint Mr Cophagus, if ever we played such tricks again.  Thus the affair blew over, and it made me very careful; and, as every day I knew more about medicines, I was soon able to mix them, so as to be of service to those who applied, and before eighteen months had expired, I was trusted with the mixing up all the prescriptions.  At the end of that period Mr Brookes left us, and I took the whole of his department upon myself, giving great satisfaction to Mr Cophagus.

And now that I have announced my promotion, it will perhaps be as well that I give the reader some idea of my personal appearance, upon which I have hitherto been silent.  I was thin, between fifteen and sixteen years old, very tall for my age, and of my figure I had no reason to be ashamed; a large beaming eye, with a slightly aquiline nose, a high forehead, fair in complexion, but with very dark hair.  I was always what may be termed a remarkably clean-looking boy, from the peculiarity of my skin and complexion; my teeth were small, but were transparent, and I had a very deep dimple in my chin.  Like all embryo

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apothecaries, I carried in my appearance, if not the look of wisdom, most certainly that of self-sufficiency, which does equally well with the world in general.  My forehead was smooth, and very white, and my dark locks were combed back systematically, and with a regularity that said, as plainly as hair could do, “The owner of this does everything by prescription, measurement, and rule.”  With my long fingers I folded up the little packets, with an air as thoughtful and imposing as that of a minister who has just presented a protocol as interminable as unintelligible:  and the look of solemn sagacity with which I poured out the contents of one vial into the other, would have well become the king’s physician, when he watched the “lord’s anointed” in articulo mortis.

As I followed up my saturnine avocation, I generally had an open book on the counter beside me; not a marble-covered dirty volume, from the Minerva press, or a half-bound, half-guinea’s worth of fashionable trash, but a good, honest, heavy-looking, wisdom-implying book, horribly stuffed with epithet of drug; a book in which Latin words were redundant, and here and there were to be observed the crabbed characters of Greek.  Altogether, with my book and my look, I cut such a truly medical appearance, that even the most guarded would not have hesitated to allow me the sole conduct of a whitlow, from inflammation to suppuration, and from suppuration to cure, or have refused to have confided to me the entire suppression of a gumboil.  Such were my personal qualifications at the time that I was raised to the important office of dispenser of, I may say, life and death.

It will not surprise the reader when I tell him that I was much noticed by those who came to consult, or talk with, Mr Cophagus.  “A very fine looking lad that, Mr Cophagus,” an acquaintance would say.  “Where did you get him—­who is his father?”

“Father!” Mr Cophagus would reply, when they had gained the back parlour, but I could overhear him, “father, um—­can’t tell—­love—­concealment—­child born—­foundling hospital—­put out—­and so on.”

This was constantly occurring, and the constant occurrence made me often reflect upon my condition, which otherwise I might, from the happy and even tenor of my life, have forgotten.  When I retired to my bed I would revolve in my mind all that I had gained from the governors of the hospital relative to myself.—­The paper found in the basket had been given to me.  I was born in wedlock—­at least, so said that paper.  The sum left with me also proved that my parents could not, at my birth, have been paupers.  The very peculiar circumstances attending my case, only made me more anxious to know my parentage.  I was now old enough to be aware of the value of birth, and I was also just entering the age of romance, and many were the strange and absurd reveries in which I indulged.  At one time I would cherish the idea that I was of a noble, if not princely birth, and

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frame reasons for concealment.  At others—­but it is useless to repeat the absurdities and castle buildings which were generated in my brain from mystery.  My airy fabrics would at last disappear, and leave me in all the misery of doubt and abandoned hope.  Mr Cophagus, when the question was sometimes put to him, would say, “Good boy—­very good boy—­don’t want a father.”  But he was wrong, I did want a father; and every day the want became more pressing, and I found myself continually repeating the question, “Who is my father?

Chapter IV

     Very much puzzled with a new Patient, nevertheless take my degree
     at fifteen as an M.D.; and what is still more acceptable, I pocket
     the fees.

The departure of Mr Brookes, of course, rendered me more able to follow up with Timothy my little professional attempts to procure pocket-money; but independent of these pillages by the aid of pills, and making drafts upon our master’s legitimate profits, by the assistance of draughts from his shop, accident shortly enabled me to raise the ways and means in a more rapid manner.  But of this directly.

In the meantime I was fast gaining knowledge; every evening I read surgical and medical books, put into my hands by Mr Cophagus, who explained whenever I applied to him, and I soon obtained a very fair smattering of my profession.  He also taught me how to bleed, by making me, in the first instance, puncture very scientifically, all the larger veins of a cabbage-leaf, until well satisfied with the delicacy of my hand, and the precision of my eye, he wound up his instructions by permitting me to breathe a vein in his own arm.

“Well,” said Timothy, when he first saw me practising, “I have often heard it said, there’s no getting blood out of a turnip; but it seems there is more chance with a cabbage.  I tell you what, Japhet, you may try your hand upon me as much as you please, for two-pence a go.”

I consented to this arrangement, and by dint of practising on Timothy over and over again, I became quite perfect.  I should here observe, that my anxiety relative to my birth increased every day, and that in one of the books lent me by Mr Cophagus, there was a dissertation upon the human frame, sympathies, antipathies, and also on those features and peculiarities most likely to descend from one generation to another.  It was there asserted, that the nose was the facial feature most likely to be transmitted from father to son.  As I before have mentioned, my nose was rather aquiline; and after I had read this book, it was surprising with what eagerness I examined the faces of those whom I met; and if I saw a nose upon any man’s face, at all resembling my own, I immediately would wonder and surmise whether that person could be my father.  The constant dwelling upon the subject at last created a species of monomania, and a hundred times a day I would mutter to myself, "Who is my father?" indeed, the very bells, when they rung a peal, seemed, as in the case of Whittington, to chime the question, and at last I talked so much on the subject to Timothy, who was my Fidus Achates, and bosom friend, that I really believe, partial as he was to me, he wished my father at the devil.

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Our shop was well appointed with all that glare and glitter with which we decorate the “house of call” of disease and death.  Being situated in such a thoroughfare, passengers would stop to look in, and ragged-vested, and in other garments still more ragged, little boys would stand to stare at the variety of colours, and the ’pottecary gentleman, your humble servant, who presided over so many labelled-in-gold phalanxes which decorated the sides of the shop.

Among those who always stopped and gazed as she passed by, which was generally three or four times a day, was a well-dressed female, apparently about forty years of age, straight as an arrow, with an elasticity of step, and a decision in her manner of walking, which was almost masculine, although her form, notwithstanding that it was tall and thin, was extremely feminine and graceful.  Sometimes she would fix her eyes upon me, and there was a wildness in her looks, which certainly gave a painful impression, and at the same time so fascinated me, that when I met her gaze, the paper which contained the powder remained unfolded, and the arm which was pouring out the liquid suspended.

She was often remarked by Timothy, as well as me; and we further observed, that her step was not equal throughout the day.  In her latter peregrinations, towards the evening, her gait was more vigorous, but unequal, at the same time that her gaze was more stedfast.  She usually passed the shop for the last time each day, about five o’clock in the afternoon.

One evening, after we had watched her past, as we supposed, to return no more till the ensuing morning, for this peeping in, on her part, had become an expected occurrence, and afforded much amusement to Timothy, who designated her as the “mad woman,” to our great surprise, and to the alarm of Timothy, who sprang over the counter, and took a position by my side, she walked into the shop.  Her eye appeared wild, as usual, but I could not make out that it was insanity.  I recovered my self-possession, and desired Timothy to hand the lady a chair, begging to know in what way I could be useful.  Timothy walked round by the end of the counter, pushed a chair near to her, and then made a hasty retreat to his former position.  She declined the chair with a motion of her hand, in which there was much dignity, as well as grace, and placing upon the counter her hands, which were small and beautifully white, she bent forwards towards me, and said, in a sweet, low voice, which actually startled me by its depth of melody, “I am very ill.”

My astonishment increased.  Why, I know not, because the exceptions are certainly as many as the general rule, we always form an estimate of the voice before we hear it, from the outward appearance of the speaker; and when I looked up in her face, which was now exposed to the glare of the argand lamp, and witnessed the cadaverous, pale, chalky expression on it, and the crow’s feet near the eyes, and wrinkles on her forehead, I should have sooner expected to have heard a burst of heavenly symphony from a thunder-cloud, than such music as issued from her parted lips.

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“Good heavens, madam!” said I eagerly and respectfully, “allow me to send for Mr Cophagus.”

“By no means,” replied she.  “I come to you.  I am aware,” continued she in an undertone, “that you dispense medicines, give advice, and receive money yourself.”

I felt very much agitated, and the blush of detection mounted up to my forehead.  Timothy, who heard what she said, showed his uneasiness in a variety of grotesque ways.  He drew up his legs alternately, as if he were dancing on hot plates; he slapped his pockets, grinned, clenched his fists, ground his teeth, and bit his lips till he made the blood come.  At last he sidled up to me, “She has been peeping and screwing those eyes of her’s into this shop for something.  It’s all up with both of us, unless you can buy her off.”

“I have, madam,” said I, at last, “ventured to prescribe in some trivial cases, and, as you say, received money when my master is not here; but I am entrusted with the till.”

“I know—­I know—­you need not fear me.  You are too modest.  What I would request is, that you would prescribe for me, as I have no great opinion of your master’s talents.”

“If you wish it, madam,” said I, bowing respectfully.

“You have camphor julep ready made up, have you not?”

“Yes, madam,” replied I.

“Then do me the favour to send the boy with a bottle to my house directly.”  I handed down the bottle, she paid for it, and putting it into Timothy’s hands, desired him to take it to the direction which she gave him.  Timothy put on his hat, cocked his eye at me, and left us alone.

“What is your name?” said she, in the same melodious voice.

“Japhet Newland, madam,” replied I.

“Japhet—­it is a good, a scriptural name,” said the lady, musirg in half soliloquy.  “Newland—­that sounds of mammon.”

“This mystery is unravelled,” thought I, and I was right in my conjectures.  “She is some fanatical methodist;” but I looked at her again, and her dress disclaimed the idea, for in it there was much taste displayed.

“Who gave you that name?” said she, after a pause.

The question was simple enough, but it stirred up a host of annoying recollections; but not wishing to make a confidant of her, I gently replied, as I used to do in the Foundling Hospital on Sunday morning—­“My godfathers and godmothers in my baptism, ma’am.”

“My dear sir, I am very ill,” said she, after a pause, “will you feel my pulse?”

I touched a wrist, and looked at a hand that was worthy of being admired.  What a pity, thought I, that she should be old, ugly, and half crazy!

“Do you not think that this pulse of mine exhibits considerable nervous excitement?  I reckoned it this morning, it was at a hundred and twenty.”

“It certainly beats quick,” replied I, “but perhaps the camphor julep may prove beneficial.”

“I thank you for your advice, Mr Newland,” said she, laying down a guinea, “and if I am not better, I will call again, or send for you.  Good-night.”

Page 16

She walked out of the shop, leaving me in no small astonishment.  What could she mean?  I was lost in reverie, when Timothy returned.  The guinea remained on the counter.

“I met her going home,” said he.  “Bless me—­a guinea—­why, Japhet!” I recounted all that had passed.  “Well, then, it has turned out well for us instead of ill, as I expected.”

The us reminded me that we shared profits on these occasions, and I offered Timothy his half; but Tim, with all his espieglerie was not selfish, and he stoutly refused to take his share.  He dubbed me an M.D., and said I had beat Mr Cophagus already, for he had never taken a physician’s fee.

“I cannot understand it, Timothy,” said I, after a few minutes’ thought.

“I can,” replied Timothy.  “She has looked in at the window until she has fallen in love with your handsome face; that’s it, depend upon it.”  As I could find no other cause, and Tim’s opinion was backed by my own vanity, I imagined that such must be the case.  “Yes, ’tis so,” continued Timothy, “as the saying is, there’s money bid for you.”

“I wish that it had not been by so ill-favoured a person, at all events, Tim,” replied I; “I cannot return her affection.”

“Never mind that, so long as you don’t return the money.”

The next evening she made her appearance, bought, as before, a bottle of camphor julep—­sent Timothy home with it, and asking my advice, paid me another guinea.

“Really, madam,” said I, putting it back towards her, “I am not entitled to it.”

“Yes, you are,” replied she.  “I know you have no friends, and I also know that you deserve them.  You must purchase books, you must study, or you never will be a great man.”  She then sat down, entered into conversation, and I was struck with the fire and vigour of the remarks, which were uttered in such a melodious tone.

Her visits, during a month, were frequent, and every time did she press upon me a fee.  Although not in love with her person, I certainly felt very grateful, and moreover was charmed with the superiority of her mind.  We were now on the most friendly and confiding terms.  One evening she said to me, “Japhet, we have now been friends some time.  Can I trust you?”

“With your life, if it were necessary,” replied I.

“I believe it,” said she.  “Then can you leave the shop and come to me to-morrow evening?”

“Yes, if you will send your maid for me, saying that you are not well.”

“I will, at eight o’clock.  Farewell, then, till to-morrow.”

Chapter V

     My vanity receives a desperate wound, but my heart remains
     unscathed—­An anomaly in woman, one who despises beauty.

The next evening I left Timothy in charge, and repaired to her house; it was very respectable in outward appearance, as well as its furniture.  I was not, however, shown up into the first floor, but into the room below.

Page 17

“Miss Judd will come directly, sir,” said a tall, meagre, puritanical-looking maid, shutting the door upon me.  In a few minutes, during which my pulse beat quick (for I could not but expect some disclosure; whether it was to be one of love or murder, I hardly knew which), Miss Aramathea Judd, for such was her christian name, made her appearance, and sitting down on the sofa, requested me to take a seat by her.

“Mr Newland,” said she, “I wish to—­and I think I can entrust you with a secret most important to me.  Why I am obliged to do it, you will perfectly comprehend when you have heard my story.  Tell me, are you attached to me?”

This was a home question to a forward lad of sixteen.  I took her by the hand, and when I looked down on it, I felt as if I was.  I looked up into her face, and felt that I was not.  And, as I now was close to her, I perceived that she must have some aromatic drug in her mouth, as it smelt strongly—­this gave me the supposition that the breath which drew such melodious tones, was not equally sweet, and I felt a certain increased degree of disgust.

“I am very grateful, Miss Judd,” replied I; “I hope I shall prove that I am attached when you confide in me.”

“Swear then, by all that’s sacred, you will not reveal what I do confide.”

“By all that’s sacred I will not,” replied I, kissing her hand with more fervour than I expected from myself.

“Do me then the favour to excuse me one minute.”

She left the room, and in a very short time, there returned, in the same dress, and, in every other point the same person, but with a young and lively face of not more, apparently, than twenty-two or twenty-three years old.  I started as if I had seen an apparation.  “Yes,” said she, smiling, “you now see Aramathea Judd without disguise; and you are the first who has seen that face for more than two years.  Before I proceed further, again I say, may I trust you—­swear!”

“I do swear,” replied I, and took her hand for the book, which this time I kissed with pleasure, over and over again.  Like a young jackass as I was, I still retained her hand, throwing as much persuasion as I possibly could in my eyes.  In fact, I did enough to have softened the hearts of three bonnet-makers.  I began to feel most dreadfully in love, and thought of marriage, and making my fortune, and I don’t know what; but all this was put an end to by one simple short sentence, delivered in a very decided but soft voice, “Japhet, don’t be silly.”

I was crushed, and all my hopes crushed with me.  I dropped her hand, and sat like a fool.

Page 18

“And now hear me.  I am, as you must have already found out, an impostor; that is, I am what is called a religious adventuress—­a new term, I grant, and perhaps only applicable to a very few.  My aunt was considered, by a certain sect, to be a great prophetess, which I hardly need tell you, was all nonsense; nevertheless, there are hundreds who believed in her, and do so now.  Brought up with my aunt, I soon found out what fools and dupes may be made of mankind by taking advantage of their credulity.  She had her religious inspirations, her trances, and her convulsions, and I was always behind the scenes:  she confided in me, and I may say that I was her only confidant.  You cannot, therefore, wonder at my practising that deceit to which I have been brought up from almost my infancy.  In person I am the exact counterpart of what my aunt was at my age, equally so in figure, although my figure is now disguised to resemble that of a woman of her age.  I often had dressed myself in my aunt’s clothes, put on her cap and front, and then the resemblance was very striking.  My aunt fell sick and died, but she promised the disciples that she would re-appear to them, and they believed her.  I did not.  She was buried, and by many her return was anxiously expected.  It occurred to me about a week afterwards that I might contrive to deceive them.  I dressed in my aunt’s clothes, I painted and disguised my face as you have seen, and the deception was complete, even to myself, as I surveyed my countenance in the glass.  I boldly set off in the evening to the tabernacle, which I knew they still frequented—­came into the midst of them, and they fell down and worshipped me as a prophetess risen from the dead; deceived, indeed, by my appearance, but still more deceived by their own credulity.  For two years I have been omnipotent with them; but there is one difficulty which shakes the faith of the new converts, and new converts I must have, Japhet, as the old ones die, or I should not be able to fee my physician.  It is this:  by habit I can almost throw myself into a stupor or a convulsion, but to do that effectually, to be able to carry on the deception for so long a time, and to undergo the severe fatigue attending such violent exertion, it is necessary that I have recourse to stimulants—­do you understand?”

“I do,” replied I; “I have more than once thought you under the influence of them towards the evening.  I’m afraid that you take more than is good for your health.”

“Not more than I require for what I have to undergo to keep up the faith of my disciples; but there are many who waver, some who doubt, and I find that my movements are watched.  I cannot trust the woman in this house.  I think she is a spy set upon me, but I cannot remove her, as this house, and all which it contains, are not mine, but belong to the disciples in general.  There is another woman, not far off, who is my rival; she calls me an impostor, and says that she is the true prophetess, and that I am not one.  This will be rather difficult for her to prove,” continued she, with a mocking smile.  “Beset as I am, I require your assistance, for you must be aware that it is rather discreditable to a prophetess, who has risen from the dead, to be seen all day at the gin-shop, yet without stimulants now, I could not exist.”

Page 19

“And how can I assist you?”

“By sending me, as medicine, that which I dare no longer procure in any other way, and keeping the secret which I have imparted.”

“I will do both with pleasure; but yet,” said I, “is it not a pity, a thousand pities, that one so young—­and if you will allow me to add, so lovely, should give herself up to ardent spirits?  Why,” continued I, taking her small white hand, “why should you carry on the deception; why sacrifice your health, and I may say your happiness—­” What more I might have said I know not, probably it might have been an offer of marriage, but she cut me short.

“Why does everybody sacrifice their health, their happiness, their all, but for ambition and the love of power?  It is true, as long as this little beauty lasts, I might be courted as a woman, but never should I be worshipped as—­I may say—­a god.—­No, no, there is something too delightful in that adoration, something too pleasant in witnessing a crowd of fools stare, and men of three times my age, falling down and kissing the hem of my garment.  This is, indeed, adoration! the delight arising from it is so great, that all other passions are crushed by it—­it absorbs all other feelings, and has closed my heart even against love, Japhet.  I could not, I would not debase myself, sink so low in my own estimation, as to allow so paltry a passion to have dominion over me; and, indeed, now that I am so wedded to stimulants, even if I were no longer a prophetess, it never could.”

“But is not intoxication one of the most debasing of all habits?”

“I grant you, in itself, but with me and in my situation it is different.  I fall to rise again, and higher.  I cannot be what I am without I simulate—­I cannot simulate without stimulants, therefore it is but a means to a great and glorious ambition.”

I had more conversation with her before I left, but nothing appeared to move her resolution, and I left her lamenting, in the first place, that she had abjured love, because, notwithstanding the orris root, which she kept in her mouth to take away the smell of the spirits, I found myself very much taken with such beauty of person, combined with so much vigour of mind; and in the second, that one so young should carry on a system of deceit and self-destruction.  When I rose to go away she put five guineas in my hand, to enable me to purchase what she required.  “Add to this one small favour,” said I, “Aramathea—­allow me a kiss.”

“A kiss,” replied she, with scorn; “no, Japhet, look upon me, for it is the last time you will behold my youth; look upon me as a sepulchre, fair without but unsavoury and rottenness within.  Let me do you a greater kindness, let me awaken your dormant energies, and plant that ambition in your soul, which may lead to all that is great and good—­a better path and more worthy of a man than the one which I have partly chosen, and partly destiny has decided for me.  Look upon me as your friend; although perhaps, you truly say, no friend unto myself.  Farewell—­remember that to-morrow you will send the medicine which I require.”

Page 20

I left her, and returned home:  it was late.  I went to bed, and having disclosed as much to Timothy as I could safely venture to do, I fell fast asleep, but her figure and her voice haunted me in my dreams.  At one time, she appeared before me in her painted, enamelled face, and then the mask fell off, and I fell at her feet to worship her extreme beauty; then her beauty would vanish, and she would appear an image of loathsomeness and deformity, and I felt suffocated with the atmosphere impregnated with the smell of liquor.  I would wake and compose myself again, glad to be rid of the horrid dream, but again would she appear, with a hydra’s tail, like Sin in Milton’s Paradise Lost, wind herself round me, her beautiful face gradually changing into that of a skeleton.  I cried out with terror, and awoke to sleep no more, and effectually cured by my dream of the penchant which I felt towards Miss Aramathea Judd.

Chapter VI

     My prescriptions very effective and palatable, but I lose my
     patient—­The feud equal to that of the Montagues and the
     Capulets—­Results different—­Mercutio comes off unhurt.

The next day I sent Timothy to purchase some highly rectified white brandy, which I coloured with a blue tincture, and added to it a small proportion of the essence of cinnamon, to disguise the smell; a dozen large vials, carefully tied up and sealed, were despatched to her abode.  She now seldom called unless it was early in the morning; I made repeated visits to her house to receive money, but no longer to make love.  One day I requested permission to be present at their meeting, and to this she gave immediate consent; indeed we were on the most intimate terms, and when she perceived that I no longer attempted to play the fool, I was permitted to remain for hours with her in conversation.  She had, as she told me she intended, re-enamelled and painted her face, but knowing what beauty was concealed underneath, I no longer felt any disgust.

Timothy was very much pleased at his share of this arrangement, as he seldom brought her the medicine without pocketing half-a-crown.

For two or three months every thing went on very satisfactorily; but one evening, Timothy, who had been sent with the basket of vials for Miss Judd’s assistance, returned in great consternation, informing me that the house was empty.  He had inquired of the neighbours, and from the accounts given, which were very contradictory, it appeared that the rival prophetess had marched up at the head of her proselytes the evening before, had obtained entrance, and that a desperate contention had been the result.  That the police had been called in, and all parties had been lodged in the watch-house; that the whole affair was being investigated by the magistrates, and that it was said that Miss Judd and all her coadjutors would be sent to the Penitentiary.  This was quite enough to frighten two boys like us; for days afterwards we trembled when people came into the shop, expecting to be summoned and imprisoned.  Gradually, however, our fears were dismissed, but I never from that time heard any thing more of Miss Aramathea Judd.

Page 21

After this affair, I adhered steadily to my business, and profiting by the advice given me by that young person, improved rapidly in my profession, as well as in general knowledge; but my thoughts, as usual, were upon one subject—­my parentage, and the mystery hanging over it.  My eternal reveries became at last so painful, that I had recourse to reading to drive them away, and subscribing to a good circulating library, I was seldom without a book in my hand.  By this time I had been nearly two years and a half with Mr Cophagus, when an adventure occurred which I must attempt to describe with all the dignity with which it ought to be invested.

This is a world of ambition, competition, and rivalry.  Nation rivals nation, and flies to arms, cutting the throats of a few thousands on each side till one finds that it has the worst of it.  Man rivals man, and hence detraction, duels, and individual death.  Woman rivals woman, and hence loss of reputation and position in high, and loss of hair, and fighting with pattens in low, life.  Are we then to be surprised that this universal passion, undeterred by the smell of drugs and poisonous compounds, should enter into apothecaries’ shops?  But two streets—­two very short streets from our own—­was situated the single-fronted shop of Mr Ebenezer Pleggit.  Thank heaven, it was only single-fronted; there, at least, we had the ascendancy over them.  Upon other points, our advantages were more equally balanced.  Mr Pleggit had two large coloured bottles in his windows more than we had; but then we had two horses, and he had only one.  He tied over the corks of his bottles with red-coloured paper; we covered up the lips of our vials with delicate blue.  It certainly was the case—­for though an enemy, I’ll do him justice—­that, after Mr Brookes had left us, Mr Pleggit had two shopmen, and Mr Cophagus only one; but then that one was Mr Japhet Newland; besides, one of his assistants had only one eye, and the other squinted horribly, so if we measured by eyes, I think the advantage was actually on our side; and, as far as ornament went, most decidedly; for who would not prefer putting on his chimney-piece one handsome, elegant vase, than two damaged, ill-looking pieces of crockery?  Mr Pleggit had certainly a gilt mortar and pestle over his door, which Mr Cophagus had omitted when he furnished his shop; but then the mortar had a great crack down the middle, and the pestle had lost its knob.  And let me ask those who have been accustomed to handle it, what is a pestle without a knob?  On the whole, I think, with the advantage of having two fronts, like Janus, we certainly had the best of the comparison; but I shall leave the impartial to decide.

All I can say is, that the feuds of the rival houses were most bitter—­the hate intense—­the mutual scorn unmeasurable.  Did Mr Ebenezer Pleggit meet Mr Phineas Cophagus in the street, the former immediately began to spit as if he had swallowed some of his own vile adulterated drugs; and in rejoinder, Mr Cophagus immediately raised the cane from his nose high above his forehead in so threatening an attitude as almost to warrant the other swearing the peace against him, muttering, “Ugly puppy—­knows nothing—­um—­patients die—­and so on.”

Page 22

It may be well supposed that this spirit of enmity extended through the lower branches of the rival houses—­the assistants and I were at deadly feud; and this feud was even more deadly between the boys who carried out the medicines, and whose baskets might, in some measure, have been looked upon as the rival ensigns of the parties, they themselves occupying the dangerous and honourable post of standard bearers.

Timothy, although the kindest-hearted fellow in the world, was as good a hater as Dr Johnson himself could have wished to meet with; and when sometimes his basket was not so well filled as usual, he would fill up with empty bottles below, rather than that the credit of the house should be suspected, and his deficiencies create a smile of scorn in the mouth of his red-haired antagonist, when they happened to meet going their rounds.  As yet, no actual collision had taken place between either the principals or the subordinates of the hostile factions; but it was fated that this state of quiescence should no longer remain.

Homer has sung the battles of gods, demigods, and heroes; Milton the strife of angels.  Swift has been great in his Battle of the Books; but I am not aware that the battle of the vials has as yet been sung; and it requires a greater genius than was to be found in those who portrayed the conflicts of heroes, demigods, gods, angels, or books, to do adequate justice to the mortal strife which took place between the lotions, potions, draughts, pills, and embrocations.  I must tell the story as well as I can, leaving it as an outline for a future epic.

Burning with all the hate which infuriated the breasts of the two houses of Capulet and Montague, hate each day increasing from years of “biting thumbs” at each other, and yet no excuse presenting itself for an affray, Timothy Oldmixon—­for on such an occasion it would be a sin to omit his whole designation—­Timothy Oldmixon, I say, burning with hate and eager with haste, turning a corner of the street with his basket well filled with medicines hanging on his left arm, encountered, equally eager in his haste, and equally burning in his hate, the red-haired Mercury of Mr Ebenezer Pleggit.  Great was the concussion of the opposing baskets, dire was the crash of many of the vials, and dreadful was the mingled odour of the abominations which escaped, and poured through the wicker interstices.  Two ladies from Billingsgate, who were near, indulging their rhetorical powers, stopped short.  Two tom cats, who were on an adjacent roof, just fixing their eyes of enmity, and about to fix their claws, turned their eyes to the scene below.  Two political antagonists stopped their noisy arguments.  Two dustmen ceased to ring their bells; and two little urchins eating cherries from the crowns of their hats, lost sight of their fruit, and stood aghast with fear.  They met, and met with such violence, that they each rebounded many paces; but like stalwart knights, each kept his

Page 23

basket and his feet.  A few seconds to recover breath; one withering, fiery look from Timothy, returned by his antagonist, one flash of the memory in each to tell them that they each had the la on their side, and “Take that!” was roared by Timothy, planting a well-directed blow with his dexter and dexterous hand upon the sinister and sinisterous eye of his opponent.  “Take that!” continued he, as his adversary reeled back; “take that, and be d——­d to you, for running against a gentleman.”

He of the rubicund hair had retreated, because so violent was the blow he could not help so doing, and we all must yield to fate.  But it was not from fear.  Seizing a vile potation that was labelled “to be taken immediately,” and hurling it with demoniacal force right on the chops of the courageous Timothy, “Take that!” cried he, with a rancorous yell.  This missile, well directed as the spears of Homer’s heroes, came full upon the bridge of Timothy’s nose, and the fragile glass shivering, inflicted divers wounds upon his physiognomy, and at the same time poured forth a dark burnt-sienna coloured balsam, to heal them, giving pain unutterable.  Timothy, disdaining to lament the agony of his wounds, followed the example of his antagonist, and hastily seizing a similar bottle of much larger dimensions, threw it with such force that it split between the eyes of his opponent.  Thus with these dreadful weapons did they commence the mortal strife.

The lovers of good order, or at least of fair play, gathered round the combatants, forming an almost impregnable ring, yet of sufficient dimensions to avoid the missiles. "Go it, red-head!” “Bravo! white apron!" resounded on every side.  Draughts now met draughts in their passage through the circumambient air, and exploded like shells over a besieged town.  Bolusses were fired with the precision of cannon shot, pill-boxes were thrown with such force that they burst like grape and canister, while acids and alkalies hissed, as they neutralised each other’s power, with all the venom of expiring snakes, “Bravo! white apron!” “Red-head for ever!” resounded on every side as the conflict continued with unabated vigour.  The ammunition was fast expending on both sides, when Mr Ebenezer Pleggit, hearing the noise, and perhaps smelling his own drugs, was so unfortunately rash and so unwisely foolhardy, as to break through the sacred ring, advancing from behind with uplifted cane to fell the redoubtable Timothy, when a mixture of his own, hurled by his own red-haired champion, caught him in his open mouth, breaking against his only two remaining front teeth, extracting them as the discharged liquid ran down his throat, and turning him as sick as a dog.  He fell, was taken away on a shutter, and it was some days before he was again to be seen in his shop, dispensing those medicines which, on this fatal occasion, he would but too gladly have dispensed with.

Page 24

Reader, have you not elsewhere read in the mortal fray between knights, when the casque has been beaten off, the shield lost, and the sword shivered, how they have resorted to closer and more deadly strife with their daggers raised on high?  Thus it was with Timothy:  his means had failed, and disdaining any longer to wage a distant combat, he closed vigorously with his panting enemy, overthrew him in the first struggle, seizing from his basket the only weapons which remained, one single vial, and one single box of pills.  As he sat upon his prostrate foe, first he forced the box of pills into his gasping mouth, and then with the lower end of the vial he drove it down his throat, as a gunner rams home the wad and shot into a thirty-two pound carronade.  Choked with the box, the fallen knight held up his hands for quarter; but Timothy continued until the end of the vial breaking out the top and bottom of the pasteboard receptacle, forty-and-eight of antibilious pills rolled in haste down Red-head’s throat.  Timothy then seized his basket, and amid the shouts of triumph, walked away.  His fallen-crested adversary coughed up the remnants of the pasteboard, once more breathed, and was led disconsolate to the neighbouring pump; while Timothy regained our shop with his blushing honours thick upon him.

But I must drop the vein heroical.  Mr Cophagus, who was at home when Timothy returned, was at first very much inclined to be wroth at the loss of so much medicine; but when he heard the story, and the finale, he was so pleased at Tim’s double victory over Mr Pleggit and his messenger, that he actually put his hand in his pocket, and pulled out half-a-crown.

Mr Pleggit, on the contrary, was any thing but pleased; he went to a lawyer, and commenced an action for assault and battery, and all the neighbourhood did nothing but talk about the affray which had taken place, and the action at law which it was said would take place in the ensuing term.

But with the exception of this fracas, which ended in the action not holding good, whereby the animosity was increased, I have little to recount during the remainder of the time I served under Mr Cophagus.  I had been more than three years with him when my confinement became insupportable.  I had but one idea, which performed an everlasting cycle in my brain—­Who was my father?  And I should have abandoned the profession to search the world in the hope of finding my progenitor, had it not been that I was without the means.  Latterly, I had hoarded up all I could collect; but the sum was small, much too small for the proposed expedition.  I became melancholy, indifferent to the business, and slovenly in my appearance, when a circumstance occurred which put an end to my further dispensing medicines, and left me a free agent.

Chapter VII

Page 25

Looking out for business not exactly minding your own business—­The loss of the scales occasions the loss of place to Timothy and me, who when weighed in other scales were found wanting—­We bundle off with our bundles on.

It happened one market-day that there was an overdriven, infuriated beast, which was making sad havoc.  Crowds of people were running past our shop in one direction, and the cries of “Mad bull!” were re-echoed in every quarter.  Mr Cophagus, who was in the shop, and to whom, as I have before observed, a mad bull was a source of great profit, very naturally looked out of the shop to ascertain whether the animal was near to us.  In most other countries, when people hear of any danger, they generally avoid it by increasing their distance; but in England, it is too often the case, that they are so fond of indulging their curiosity, that they run to the danger.  Mr Cophagus, who perceived the people running one way, naturally supposed, not being aware of the extreme proximity of the animal, that the people were running to see what was the matter, and turned his eyes in that direction, walking out on the pavement that he might have a fairer view.  He was just observing, “Can’t say—­fear—­um—­rascal Pleggit—­close to him—­get all the custom—­wounds—­contusions—­and”—­when the animal came suddenly round the corner upon Mr Cophagus, who had his eyes the other way, and before he could escape, tossed him through his own shop windows, and landed him on the counter.  Not satisfied with this, the beast followed him into the shop.  Timothy and I pulled Mr Cophagus over towards us, and he dropped inside the counter, where we also crouched, frightened out of our wits.  To our great horror the bull made one or two attempts to leap the counter; but not succeeding, and being now attacked by the dogs and butcher boys, he charged at them through the door, carrying away our best scales on his horns as a trophy, as he galloped out of the shop in pursuit of his persecutors.  When the shouts and hallooes were at some little distance, Timothy and I raised our heads and looked round us; and perceiving that all was safe, we proceeded to help Mr Cophagus, who remained on the floor bleeding, and in a state of insensibility.  We carried him into the back parlour and laid him on the sofa.  I desired Timothy to run for surgical aid as fast as he could, while I opened a vein; and in a few minutes he returned with our opponent, Mr Ebenezer Pleggit.  We stripped Mr Cophagus, and proceeded to examine him.  “Bad case this—­very bad case indeed, Mr Newland—­dislocation of the os humeri—­severe contusion on the os frontis—­and I’m very much afraid there is some intercostal injury.  Very sorry, very sorry, indeed, for my brother Cophagus.”  But Mr Pleggit did not appear to be sorry; on the contrary, he appeared to perform his surgical duties with the greatest glee.

We reduced the dislocation, and then carried Mr Cophagus up to his bed.  In an hour he was sensible, and Mr Pleggit took his departure, shaking hands with Mr Cophagus, and wishing him joy of his providential escape.

Page 26

“Bad job, Japhet,” said Mr Cophagus to me.

“Very bad indeed, sir; but it might have been worse.”

“Worse—­um—­no, nothing worse—­not possible.”

“Why, sir, you might have been killed.”

“Pooh!—­didn’t mean that—­mean Pleggit—­rascal—­um—­kill me if he can—­sha’n’t though—­soon get rid of him—­and so on.”

“You will not require his further attendance now that your shoulder is reduced.  I can very well attend upon you.”

“Very true, Japhet;—­but won’t go—­sure of that—­damned rascal—­quite pleased—­I saw it—­um—­eyes twinkled—­smile checked—­and so on.”

That evening Mr Pleggit called in as Mr Cophagus said that he would, and the latter showed a great deal of impatience; but Mr Pleggit repeated his visits over and over again, and I observed that Mr Cophagus no longer made any objection; on the contrary, seemed anxious for his coming, and still more so, after he was convalescent, and able to sit at his table.  But the mystery was soon divulged.  It appeared that Mr Cophagus, although he was very glad that other people should suffer from mad bulls, and come to be cured, viewed the case in a very different light when the bull thought proper to toss him, and having now realised a comfortable independence, he had resolved to retire from business, and from a site attended with so much danger.  A hint of this escaping him when Mr Pleggit was attending him on the third day after his accident, the latter, who knew the value of the locale, also hinted that if Mr Cophagus was inclined so to do, that he would be most happy to enter into an arrangement with him.  Self-interest will not only change friendship into enmity, in this rascally world, but also turn enmity into friendship.  All Mr Pleggit’s enormities, and all Mr Cophagus’ shameful conduct, were mutually forgotten.  In less than ten minutes it was, “My dear Mr Pleggit, and so on,” and “My dear brother Cophagus.”

In three weeks every thing had been arranged between them, and the shop, fixtures, stock in trade, and good will, were all the property of our ancient antagonist.  But although Mr Pleggit could shake hands with Mr Cophagus for his fixtures and good will, yet as Timothy and I were not included in the good will, neither were we included among the fixtures, and Mr Cophagus could not, of course, interfere with Mr Pleggit’s private arrangements.  He did all he could do in the way of recommendation, but Mr Pleggit had not forgotten my occasional impertinences or the battle of the bottles.  I really believe that his ill will against Timothy was one reason for purchasing the good will of Mr Cophagus, and we were very gently told by Mr Pleggit that he would have no occasion for our services.

Page 27

Mr Cophagus offered to procure me another situation as soon as he could, and at the same time presented me with twenty guineas, as a proof of his regard and appreciation of my conduct—­but this sum put in my hand decided me:  I thanked him, and told him I had other views at present, but hoped he would let me know where I might find him hereafter, as I should be glad to see him again.  He told me he would leave his address for me at the Foundling Hospital, and shaking me heartily by the hand, we parted.  Timothy was then summoned.  Mr Cophagus gave him five guineas, and wished him good fortune.

“And now, Japhet, what are you about to do?” said Timothy, as he descended into the shop.

“To do,” replied I; “I am about to leave you, which is the only thing I am sorry for.  I am going, Timothy, in search of my father.”

“Well,” replied Timothy, “I feel as you do, Japhet, that it will be hard to part; and there is another thing on my mind—­which is, I am very sorry that the bull did not break the rudimans (pointing to the iron mortar and pestle); had he had but half the spite I have against it, he would not have left a piece as big as a thimble.  I’ve a great mind to have a smack at it before I go.”

“You will only injure Mr Cophagus, for the mortar will not then be paid for.”

“Very true; and as he has just given me five guineas, I will refrain from my just indignation.  But now, Japhet, let me speak to you.  I don’t know how you feel, but I feel as if I could not part with you.  I do not want to go in search of my father particularly.  They say it’s a wise child that knows its own father—­but as there can be no doubt of my other parent—­if I can only hit upon her, I have a strong inclination to go in search of my mother, and if you like my company, why I will go with you—­always, my dear Japhet,” continued Tim, “keeping in my mind the great difference between a person who has been feed as an M.D., and a lad who only carries out his prescriptions.”

“Do you really mean to say, Tim, that you will go with me?”

“Yes, to the end of the world, Japhet, as your companion, your friend, and your servant, if you require it.  I love you, Japhet, and I will serve you faithfully.”

“My dear Tim, I am delighted; now I am really happy:  we will have but one purse, and but one interest; if I find good fortune, you shall share it.”

“And if you meet with ill luck, I will share that too—­so the affair is settled—­and as here come Mr Pleggit’s assistants with only one pair of eyes between them, the sooner we pack up the better.”

In half an hour all was ready; a bundle each, contained our wardrobes.  We descended from our attic, walked proudly through the shop without making any observation, or taking any notice of our successors; all the notice taken was by Timothy, who turned round and shook his fist at his old enemies, the iron mortar and pestle; and there we were, standing on the pavement, with the wide world before us, and quite undecided which way we should go.

Page 28

“Is it to be east, west, north, or south, Japhet?” said Timothy.

“The wise men came from the east,” replied I.

“Then they must have travelled west,” said Tim; “let us show our wisdom by doing the same.”


Passing by a small shop, we purchased two good sticks, as defenders, as well as to hang our bundles on—­and off we set upon our pilgrimage.

Chapter VIII

     We take a coach, but the driver does not like his fare and hits us
     foul—­We change our mode of travelling upon the principle of slow
     and sure, and fall in with a very learned man.

I believe it to be a very general custom, when people set off upon a journey, to reckon up their means—­that is, to count the money which they may have in their pockets.  At all events, this was done by Timothy and me, and I found that my stock amounted to twenty-two pounds eighteen shillings, and Timothy’s to the five guineas presented by Mr Cophagus, and three halfpence which were in the corner of his waistcoat pocket—­sum total, twenty-eight pounds three shillings and three halfpence; a very handsome sum, as we thought, with which to commence our peregrinations, and, as I observed to Timothy, sufficient to last us for a considerable time, if husbanded with care.

“Yes,” replied he, “but we must husband our legs also, Japhet, or we shall soon be tired, and very soon wear out our shoes.  I vote we take a hackney coach.”

“Take a hackney coach, Tim! we mustn’t think of it; we cannot afford such a luxury; you can’t be tired yet, we are now only just clear of Hyde Park Corner.”

“Still I think we had better take a coach, Japhet, and here is one coming.  I always do take one when I carry out medicines, to make up for the time I lose looking at the shops, and playing peg in the ring.”

I now understood what Timothy meant, which was, to get behind and have a ride for nothing.  I consented to this arrangement, and we got up behind one which was already well filled inside.  “The only difference between an inside and outside passenger in a hackney coach, is that one pays, and the other does not,” said I, to Timothy, as we rolled along at the act of parliament speed of four miles per hour.

“That depends upon circumstances:  if we are found out, in all probability we shall not only have our ride, but be paid into the bargain.”

“With the coachman’s whip, I presume?”

“Exactly.”  And Timothy had hardly time to get the word out of his mouth, when flac, flac, came the whip across our eyes—­a little envious wretch, with his shirt hanging out of his trousers, having called out, Cut behind! Not wishing to have our faces, or our behinds cut any more, we hastily descended, and reached the footpath, after having gained about three miles on the road before we were discovered.

“That wasn’t a bad lift, Japhet, and as for the whip I never mind that with corduroys.  And now, Japhet, I’ll tell you something; we must get into a wagon, if we can find one going down the road, as soon as it is dark.”

Page 29

“But that will cost money, Tim.”

“It’s economy, I tell you; for a shilling, if you bargain, you may ride the whole night, and if we stop at a public-house to sleep, we shall have to pay for our beds, as well as be obliged to order something to eat, and pay dearer for it than if we buy what we want at cooks’ shops.”

“There is sense in what you say, Timothy; we will look out for a wagon.”

“Oh! it’s no use now—­wagons are like black beetles, not only in shape but in habits, they only travel by night—­at least most of them do.  We are now coming into long dirty Brentford, and I don’t know how you feel, Japhet, but I find that walking wonderfully increases the appetite—­that’s another reason why you should not walk when you can ride—­for nothing.”

“Well, I’m rather hungry myself; and dear me, how very good that piece of roast pork looks in that window!”

“I agree with you—­let’s go in and make a bargain!”

We bought a good allowance for a shilling, and after sticking out for a greater proportion of mustard than the woman said we were entitled to, and some salt, we wrapped it up in a piece of paper, and continued our course, till we arrived at a baker’s, where we purchased our bread, and then taking up a position on a bench outside a public-house, called for a pot of beer, and putting our provisions down before us, made a hearty, and, what made us more enjoy it, an independent meal.  Having finished our pork and our porter, and refreshed ourselves, we again started and walked till it was quite dark, when we felt so tired that we agreed to sit down on our bundles and wait for the first wagon which passed.  We soon heard the jingling of bells, and shortly afterwards its enormous towering bulk appeared between us and the sky.  We went up to the wagoner, who was mounted on a little pony, and asked him if he could give two poor lads a lift, and how much he would charge us for the ride.

“How much can you afford to give, measters? for there be others as poor as ye.”  We replied that we could give a shilling.  “Well, then, get up in God’s name, and ride as long as you will.  Get in behind.”

“Are there many people in there already?” said I, as I climbed up, and Timothy handed me the bundles.

“Noa,” replied the wagoner, “there be nobody but a mighty clever poticary or doctor, I can’t tell which; but he wear an uncommon queer hat, and he talk all sort of doctor stuff—­and there be his odd man and his odd boy; that be all, and there be plenty of room, and plenty o’ clean stra’.”

After this intimation we climbed up, and gained a situation in the rear of the wagon under the cloth.  As the wagoner said, there was plenty of room, and we nestled into the straw without coming into contact with the other travellers.  Not feeling any inclination to sleep, Timothy and I entered into conversation, sotto voce, and had continued for more than half an hour, supposing by their silence that the other occupants of the wagon were asleep, when we were interrupted by a voice clear and sonorous as a bell.

Page 30

“It would appear that you are wanderers, young men, and journey you know not whither.  Birds seek their nests when the night falls—­beasts hasten to their lairs—­man bolts his door. ‘Propria quae maribus,’ as Herodotus hath it; which, when translated, means, that ’such is the nature of mankind.’ ‘Tribuuntur mascula dicas’ ’Tell me your troubles,’ as Homer says.”

I was very much surprised at this address—­my knowledge of the language told me immediately that the quotations were out of the Latin grammar, and that all his learning was pretence; still there was a novelty of style which amused me, and at the same time gave me an idea that the speaker was an uncommon personage.  I gave Timothy a nudge, and then replied,

“You have guessed right, most learned sir; we are, as you say, wanderers seeking our fortunes, and trust yet to find them—­still we have a weary journey before us, ‘Haustus hora somni sumendum,’ as Aristotle hath it; which I need not translate to so learned a person as yourself.”

“Nay, indeed, there is no occasion; yet am I pleased to meet with one who hath scholarship,” replied the other.  “Have you also a knowledge of the Greek?”

“No, I pretend not to Greek.”

“It is a pity that thou hast it not, for thou wouldst delight to commune with the ancients.  Esculapius hath these words—­’A_shol_der&mda
sh;­offmotton—­accapon—­pasti—­venison,’—­which I will translate for thee—­’We often find what we seek, when we least expect it.’  May it be so with you, my friend.  Where have you been educated? and what has been your profession?”

I thought I risked little in telling, so I replied, that I had been brought up as a surgeon and apothecary, and had been educated at a foundation school.

“’Tis well,” replied he; “you have then commenced your studies in my glorious profession; still, have you much to learn; years of toil, under a great master, can only enable you to benefit mankind as I have done, and years of hardship and of danger must be added thereunto, to afford you the means.  There are many hidden secrets. ’Ut sunt Divorum, Mars, Bacchus, Apollo, Virorum,’—­many parts of the globe to traverse, ’Ut Cato, Virgilius, fluviorum, ut Tibris, Orontes.’ All these have I visited, and many more.  Even now do I journey to obtain more of my invaluable medicine, gathered on the highest Andes, when the moon is in her perigee.  There I shall remain for months among the clouds, looking down upon the great plain of Mexico, which shall appear no larger than the head of a pin, where the voice of man is heard not. ’Vocito, vocitas vocitavi,’ bending for months towards the earth. ’As in presenti,’ suffering with the cold—­’frico quod fricui dat,’ as Eusebius hath it.  Soon shall I be borne away by the howling winds towards the new world, where I can obtain more of the wonderful medicine, which I may say never yet hath failed me, and which nothing but love towards my race induces me to gather at such pains and risk.”

Page 31

“Indeed, sir,” replied I, amused with his imposition, “I should like to accompany you—­for, as Josephus says most truly, ’Capiat pillulae duae post prandium.’  Travel is, indeed, a most delightful occupation, and I would like to run over the whole world.”

“And I would like to follow you,” interrupted Timothy.  “I suspect we have commenced our grand tour already—­three miles behind a hackney-coach—­ten on foot, and about two, I should think, in this wagon.  But as Cophagus says, Cochlearija crash many summendush,’ which means, ‘there are ups and downs in this world.’”

“Hah!” exclaimed our companion.  “He, also, has the rudiments.”

“Nay, I hope I’ve done with the Rudimans,” replied Timothy.

“Is he your follower?” inquired the man.

“That very much depends upon who walks first,” replied Timothy, “but whether or no—­we hunt in couples.”

“I understand—­you are companions. ’Concordat cum nominativo numero et persona.’  Tell me, can you roll pills, can you use the pestle and the mortar, handle the scapula, and mix ingredients?”

I replied that of course I knew my profession.

“Well, then, as we have still some hours of night, let us now obtain some rest.  In the morning, when the sun hath introduced us to each other, I may then judge from your countenances whether it is likely that we may be better acquainted.  Night is the time for repose, as Quintus Curtius says, ’Custos, bos, fur atque sacerdos.  Sleep was made for all—­my friends, good-night.”

Chapter IX

     In which the adventures in the wagon are continued, and we become
     more puzzled with our new companions—­We leave off talking Latin,
     and enter into an engagement.

Timothy and I took his advice, and were soon fast asleep.  I was awakened the next morning by feeling a hand in my trouser’s pocket.  I seized it, and held it fast.

“Now just let go my hand, will you?” cried a lachrymal voice.

I jumped up—­it was broad daylight, and looked at the human frame to which the hand was an appendix.  It was a very spare, awkwardly-built form of a young man, apparently about twenty years old, but without the least sign of manhood on his chin.  His face was cadaverous, with large goggling eyes, high cheek bones, hair long and ragged, reminding me of a rat’s nest, thin lips, and ears large almost as an elephant’s.  A more woe-begone wretch in appearance I never beheld, and I continued to look at him with surprise.  He repeated his words with an idiotical expression, “Just let go my hand, can’t you?”

“What business had your hand in my pocket?” replied I, angrily.

“I was feeling for my pocket-handkerchief,” replied the young man.  “I always keeps it in my breeches’ pocket.”

“But not in your neighbour’s, I presume?”

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“My neighbour’s!” replied he, with a vacant stare.  “Well, so it is, I see now—­I thought it was my own.”

I released his hand; he immediately put it into his own pocket, and drew out his handkerchief, if the rag deserved the appellation.  “There,” said he, “I told you I put it in that pocket—­I always do.”

“And pray who are you?” said I, as I looked at his dress, which was a pair of loose white Turkish trousers, and an old spangled jacket.

“Me! why, I’m the fool.”

“More knave than fool, I expect,” replied I, still much puzzled with his strange appearance and dress.

“Nay, there you mistake,” said the voice of last night.  “He is not only a fool by profession, but one by nature.  It is a half-witted creature, who serves me when I would attract the people.  Strange in this world, that wisdom may cry in the streets without being noticed, yet folly will always command a crowd.”

During this address I turned my eyes upon the speaker.  He was an elderly-looking person, with white hair, dressed in a suit of black, ruffles and frill.  His eyes were brilliant, but the remainder of his face it was difficult to decipher, as it was evidently painted, and the night’s jumbling in the wagon had so smeared it, that it appeared of almost every colour in the rainbow.  On one side of him lay a large three-cornered cocked hat, on the other, a little lump of a boy, rolled up in the straw like a marmot, and still sound asleep.  Timothy looked at me, and when he caught my eye, burst out into a laugh.

“You laugh at my appearance, I presume,” said the old man, mildly.

“I do in truth,” replied Timothy.  “I never saw one like you before, and I dare say never shall again.”

“That is possible; yet probably if you meet me again, you would not know me.”

“Among a hundred thousand,” replied Timothy, with increased mirth.

“We shall see, perhaps,” replied the quack doctor, for such the reader must have already ascertained to be his profession; “but the wagon has stopped, and the driver will bait his horses.  If inclined to eat, now is your time.  Come, Jumbo, get up; Philotas, waken him, and follow me.”

Philotas, for so was the fool styled by his master, twisted up some straw, and stuffed the end of it into Jumbo’s mouth.  “Now, Jumbo will think he has got something to eat.  I always wake him that way,” observed the fool, grinning at us.

It certainly, as might be expected, did waken Jumbo, who uncoiled himself, rubbed his eyes, stared at the tilt of the wagon, then at us, and without saying a word, rolled himself out after the fool.  Timothy and I followed.  We found the doctor bargaining for some bread and bacon, his strange appearance exciting much amusement, and inducing the people to let him have a better bargain than perhaps otherwise they would have done.  He gave a part of the refreshment to the boy and the fool, and walked out of the tap-room

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with his own share.  Timothy and I went to the pump, and had a good refreshing wash, and then for a shilling were permitted to make a very hearty breakfast.  The wagon having remained about an hour, the driver gave us notice of his departure; but the doctor was no where to be found.  After a little delay, the wagoner drove off, cursing him for a bilk, and vowing that he’d never have any more to do with a “lamed man.”  In the mean time, Timothy and I had taken our seats in the wagon, in company with the fool, and Master Jumbo.  We commenced a conversation with the former, and soon found out, as the doctor had asserted, that he really was an idiot, so much so, that it was painful to converse with him.  As for the latter, he had coiled himself away to take a little more sleep.  I forgot to mention, that the boy was dressed much in the same way as the fool, in an old spangled jacket, and dirty white trousers.  For about an hour Timothy and I conversed, remarking upon the strange disappearance of the doctor, especially as he had given us hopes of employing us; in accepting which offer, if ever it should be made, we had not made up our minds, when we were interrupted with a voice crying out, “Hillo, my man, can you give a chap a lift as far as Reading, for a shilling?”

“Ay, get up, and welcome,” replied the wagoner.

The wagon did not stop, but in a moment or two the new passenger climbed in.  He was dressed in a clean smock frock, neatly worked up the front, leather gaiters, and stout shoes; a bundle and a stick were in his hand.  He smiled as he looked round upon the company, and showed a beautiful set of teeth.  His face was dark, and sun-burnt, but very handsome, and his eyes as black as coals, and as brilliant as gas.  “Heh! player folk—­I’ve a notion,” said he, as he sat down, looking at the doctor’s attendants, and laughing at us.  “Have you come far, gentlemen?” continued he.

“From London,” was my reply.

“How do the crops look up above, for down here the turnips seem to have failed altogether?  Dry seasons won’t do for turnips.”

I replied that I really could not satisfy him on that point, as it was dark when we passed.

“Very true—­I had forgotten that,” replied he.  “However, the barleys look well; but perhaps you don’t understand farming?”

I replied in the negative, and the conversation was kept up for two or three hours, in the course of which I mentioned the quack doctor, and his strange departure.

“That is the fellow who cured so many people at ——­,” replied he; and the conversation then turned upon his profession and mode of life, which Timothy and I agreed must be very amusing.  “We shall meet him again, I dare say,” replied the man.  “Would you know him?”

“I think so, indeed,” replied Timothy, laughing.

“Yes, and so you would think that you would know a guinea from a halfpenny, if I put it into your hands,” replied the man.  “I do not wish to lay a bet, and win your money; but I tell you, that I will put either the one or the other into each of your hands, and if you hold it fast for one minute, and shut your eyes during that time, you will not be able to tell me which it is that you have in it.”

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“That I am sure I would,” replied Tim; and I made the same assertion.

“Well, I was taken in that way at a fair, and lost ten shillings by the wager; now, we’ll try whether you can tell or not.”  He took out some money from his pocket, which he selected without our seeing it, put a coin into the hand of each of us, closing our fists over it, “and now,” said he, “keep your eyes shut for a minute.”

We did so, and a second or two afterwards we heard a voice which we instantly recognised.  “Nay, but it was wrong to leave me on the way side thus, having agreed to pay the sum demanded.  At my age one walketh not without fatigue, Excipenda tamen quaedam sunt urbium, as Philostratus says, meaning, ’that old limbs lose their activity, and seek the help of a crutch.’”

“There’s the doctor,” cried Timothy, with his eyes still shut.

“Now open your eyes,” said the man, “and tell me, before you open your hand, what there is in it.”

“A halfpenny in mine,” said Tim.

“A guinea in mine,” replied I.

We opened our hands, and they were empty.

“Where the devil is it?” exclaimed I, looking at Tim.

“And where the devil’s the doctor?” replied he, looking round.

“The money is in the doctor’s pocket,” replied the man, smiling.

“Then where is the doctor’s pocket?”

“Here,” replied he, slapping his pocket, and looking significantly at us.  “I thought you were certain of knowing him again.  About as certain as you were of telling the money in your hand.”

He then, to our astonishment, imitated the doctor’s voice, and quoted prosody syntax, and Latin.  Timothy and I were still in astonishment, when he continued, “If I had not found out that you were in want of employ, and further, that your services would be useful to me, I should not have made this discovery.  Do you now think that you know enough to enter into my service?  It is light work, and not bad pay; and now you may choose.”

“I trust,” said I, “that there is no dishonesty?”

“None that you need practise, if you are so scrupulous; perhaps your scruples may some day be removed.  I make the most of my wares—­every merchant does the same.  I practise upon the folly of mankind—­it is on that, that wise men live.”

Timothy gave me a push, and nodded his head for me to give my consent.  I reflected a few seconds, and at last I extended my hand.  “I consent,” replied I, “with the reservation I have made.”

“You will not repent,” said he; “and I will take your companion, not that I want him particularly, but I do want you.  The fact is, I want a lad of gentlemanly address, and handsome appearance—­with the very knowledge you possess—­and now we will say no more for the present.  By-the-bye, was that real Latin of yours?”

“No,” replied I, laughing; “you quoted the grammar, and I replied with medical prescriptions.  One was as good as the other.”

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“Quite—­nay, better; for the school-boys may find me out, but not you.  But now observe, when we come to the next cross road, we must get down—­at least, I expect so; but we shall know in a minute.”

In about the time he mentioned, a dark, gipsy-looking man looked into the wagon, and spoke to our acquaintance in an unknown language.  He replied in the same, and the man disappeared.  We continued our route for about a quarter of an hour, when he got out, asked us to follow him, and speaking a few words to the fool, which I did not hear, left him and the boy in the wagon.  We paid our fare, took possession of our bundles, and followed our new companion for a few minutes on the cross road, when he stopped, and said, “I must now leave you, to prepare for your reception into our fraternity; continue straight on this road until you arrive at a lime-kiln, and wait there till I come.”

He sprang over a stile, and took a direction verging at an angle from the road, forced his way through a hedge, and disappeared from our sight.  “Upon my word, Timothy,” said I, “I hardly know what to say to this.  Have we done right in trusting to this man, who, I am afraid! is a great rogue?  I do not much like mixing with these gipsy people, for such I am sure he belongs to.”

“I really do not see how we can do better,” replied Timothy.  “The world is all before us, and we must force our own way through it.  As for his being a quack doctor, I see no great harm in that.  People put their faith in nostrums more than they do in regular medicines; and it is well known that quack medicines, as they call them, cure as often as others, merely for that very reason.”

“Very true, Timothy; the mind once at ease, the body soon recovers, and faith, even in quack medicines, will often make people whole; but do you think that he does no more than impose upon people in that way?”

“He may, or he may not; at all events, we need do no more, I suppose.”

“I am not sure of that; however, we shall see.  He says we may be useful to him, and I suppose we shall be, or he would not have engaged us—­we shall soon find out.”

Chapter X

     In which the reader is introduced to several new acquaintances, and
     all connected with them, except birth and parentage, which appears
     to be the one thing wanting throughout the whole of this work.

By this time we had arrived at the lime-kiln to which we had been directed, and we sat down on our bundles, chatting for about five minutes, when our new acquaintance made his appearance, with something in his hand, tied up in a handkerchief.

“You may as well put your coats into your bundles, and put on these frocks,” said he, “you will appear better among us, and be better received, for there is a gathering now, and some of them are queer customers.  However, you have nothing to fear; when once you are with my wife and me, you are quite safe; her little finger would protect you from five hundred.”

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“Your wife! who, then, is she?” inquired I, as I put my head through the smock frock.

“She is a great personage among the gipsies.  She is, by descent, one of the heads of the tribe, and none dare to disobey her.”

“And you—­are you a gipsy?”

“No, and yes.  By birth I am not, but by choice, and marriage, I am admitted; but I was not born under a hedge, I can assure you, although I very often pass a night there now—­that is, when I am domestic; but do not think that you are to remain long here; we shall leave in a few days, and may not meet the tribe again for months, although you may see my own family occasionally.  I did not ask you to join me to pass a gipsy’s life—­no, no, we must be stirring and active.  Come, we are now close to them.  Do not speak as you pass the huts, until you have entered mine.  Then you may do as you please.”

We turned short round, passed through a gap in the hedge, and found ourselves on a small retired piece of common, which was studded with about twenty or thirty low gipsy huts.  The fires were alight and provisions apparently cooking.  We passed by nine or ten, and obeyed our guide’s injunctions, to keep silence.  At last we stopped, and perceived ourselves to be standing by the fool, who was dressed like us, in a smock frock, and Mr Jumbo, who was very busy making the pot boil, blowing at the sticks underneath till he was black in the face.  Several of the men passed near us, and examined us with no very pleasant expression of countenance; and we were not sorry to see our conductor, who had gone into the hut, return, followed by a woman, to whom he was speaking in the language of the tribe.  “Nattee bids you welcome,” said he, as she approached.

Never in my life will the remembrance of the first appearance of Nattee, and the effect it had upon me, be erased from my memory.  She was tall, too tall, had it not been for the perfect symmetry of her form.  Her face of a clear olive, and oval in shape; her eyes jetty black; nose straight, and beautifully formed; mouth small, thin lips, with a slight curl of disdain, and pearly teeth.  I never beheld a woman of so commanding a presence.  Her feet were bare, but very small, as well as her hands.  On her fingers she wore many rings, of a curious old setting, and a piece of gold hung on her forehead, where the hair was parted.  She looked at us, touched her high forehead with the ends of her fingers, and waving her hand gracefully, said, in a soft voice, “You are welcome,” and then turned to her husband, speaking to him in her own language, until by degrees they separated from us in earnest conversation.

She returned to us after a short time, without her husband, and said, in a voice, the notes of which were indeed soft, but the delivery of the words was most determined; “I have said that you are welcome; sit down, therefore, and share with us—­fear nothing, you have no cause to fear.  Be faithful, then, while you serve him, and when you would quit us, say so, and receive your leave to depart; but if you attempt to desert us without permission, then we shall suspect that you are our enemies, and treat you accordingly.  There is your lodging while here,” continued she, pointing to another hut.  “There is but one child with you, this boy (pointing to Jumbo), who can lay at your feet.  And now join us as friends.  Fleta, where are you?”

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A soft voice answered from the tent of Nattee, and soon afterwards came out a little girl, of about eleven years old.  The appearance of this child was a new source of interest.  She was a little fairy figure, with a skin as white as the driven snow—­light auburn hair, and large blue eyes; her dress was scanty, and showed a large portion of her taper legs.  She hastened to Nattee, and folding her arms across her breast, stood still, saying meekly, “I am here.”

“Know these as friends, Fleta.  Send that lazy Num (this was Philotas, the fool), for more wood, and see that Jumbo tends the fire.”

Nattee smiled, and left us.  I observed she went to where forty or fifty of the tribe were assembled, in earnest discourse.  She took her seat with them, and marked deference was paid to her.  In the meantime Jumbo had blown up a brisk fire; we were employed by Fleta in shredding vegetables, which she threw into the boiling kettle.  Num appeared with more fuel, and at last there was nothing more to do.  Fleta sat down by us, and parting her long hair, which had fallen over her eyes, looked us both in the face.

“Who gave you that name, Fleta?” inquired I.

“They gave it me,” replied she.

“And who are they?”

“Nattee, and Melchior, her husband.”

“But you are not their daughter?”

“No, I am not—­that is, I believe not.”

The little girl stopped short, as if assured that she had said too much, cast her eyes down on the ground, and folded her arms, so that her hands rested on each opposite shoulder.

Timothy whispered to me, “She must have been stolen, depend upon it.”

“Silence,” said I.

The little girl overheard him, and looking at him, put her finger across her mouth, looking to where Num and Jumbo were sitting.  I felt an interest for this child before I had been an hour in her company; she was so graceful, so feminine, so mournful in the expression of her countenance.  That she was under restraint was evident; but still she did not appear to be actuated by fear.  Nattee was very kind to her, and the child did not seem to be more reserved towards her than to others; her mournful pensive look, was perhaps inherent to her nature.  It was not until long after our first acquaintance that I ever saw a smile upon her features.  Shortly after this little conversation Nattee returned, walking with all the grace and dignity of a queen.  Her husband, or Melchior, as I shall in future call him, soon joined us, and we sat down to our repast, which was excellent.  It was composed of almost every thing; sometimes I found myself busy with the wing of a fowl, at another the leg of a rabbit—­then a piece of mutton, or other flesh and fowl, which I could hardly distinguish.  To these were added every sort of vegetable, among which potatoes predominated, forming a sort of stew, which an epicure might have praised.  I had a long conversation with Melchior in the evening, and, not to weary the reader, I shall now proceed to state all that I then and subsequently gathered from him and others, relative to the parties with whom we were associating.

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Melchior would not state who and what he was previous to his having joined the fraternity of gipsies; that he was not of humble birth, and that he had, when young, quitted his friends out of love for Nattee, or from some other causes not to be revealed, he led me to surmise.  He had been many years in company with the tribe, and although, as one received into it, he did not stand so high in rank and estimation as his wife, still, from his marriage with Nattee, and his own peculiar qualifications and dexterity, he was almost as absolute as she was.

Melchior and Nattee were supposed to be the most wealthy of all the gipsies, and, at the same time, they were the most liberal of their wealth.  Melchior, it appeared, gained money in three different characters; as a quack doctor, the character in which we first saw him; secondly, as a juggler, in which art he was most expert; and thirdly, as a fortune-teller, and wise man.

Nattee, as I before mentioned, was of very high rank, or caste, in her tribe.  At her first espousal of Melchior she lost much of her influence, as it was considered a degradation; but she was then very young, and must have been most beautiful.  The talents of Melchior, and her own spirit, however, soon enabled her to regain, and even add still more to, her power and consideration among the tribe, and it was incredible to what extent, with the means which she possessed, this power was augmented.

Melchior had no children by his marriage, and, as far as I could judge from the few words which would escape from the lips of Nattee, she did not wish for any, as the race would not be considered pure.  The subdivision of the tribe which followed Nattee, consisted of about forty, men, women, and children.  These were ruled by her during the absence of her husband, who alternately assumed different characters, as suited his purpose; but in whatever town Melchior might happen to be, Nattee and her tribe were never far off, and always encamped within communication.

I ventured to question Melchior about the little Fleta; and he stated that she was the child of a soldier’s wife, who had been brought to bed, and died a few hours afterwards; that, at the time, she was on her way to join her husband, and had been taken ill on the road—­had been assisted by Nattee and her companions, as far as they were able—­had been buried by them, and that the child had been reared in the camp.

In time, the little girl became very intimate, and very partial to me.  I questioned her as to her birth, telling her what Melchior had stated; for a long while she would not answer; the poor child had learned caution even at that early age; but after we were more intimate, she said, that which Melchior had stated was not true.  She could recollect very well living in a great house, with everything very fine about her; but still it appeared as if it were a dream.  She recollected two white ponies—­and

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a lady who was her mamma—­and a mulberry-tree, where she stained her frock; sometimes other things came to her memory, and then she forgot them again.  From this it was evident that she had been stolen, and was probably of good parentage; certainly, if elegance and symmetry of person and form, could prove blood, it never was more marked than in this interesting child.  Her abode with the gipsies, and their peculiar mode of life and manners, had rendered her astonishingly precocious in intellect; but of education she had none, except what was instilled into her by Melchior, whom she always accompanied when he assumed his character as a juggler.  She then danced on the slack wire, at the same time performing several feats in balancing, throwing of oranges, &c.  When Melchior was under other disguises, she remained in the camp with Nattee.

Of Num, or Philotas, as Melchior thought proper to call him, I have already spoken.  He was a half-witted idiot, picked up in one of Melchior’s excursions, and as he stated to me, so did it prove to be the fact, that when on the stage, and questioned as a fool, his natural folly, and idiotical vacancy of countenance, were applauded by the spectators as admirably assumed.  Even at the alehouses and taverns where we stopped, every one imagined that all his folly was pretence, and looked upon him as a very clever fellow.  There never was, perhaps, such a lachrymose countenance as this poor lad’s, and this added still more to the mirth of others, being also considered as put on for the occasion.  Stephen Kemble played Falstaff without stuffing—­Num played the fool without any effort or preparation.  Jumbo was also “picked up;” this was not done by Melchior, who stated, that any body might have him who claimed him; he tumbled with the fool upon the stage, and he also ate pudding to amuse the spectators—­the only part of the performance which was suited to Jumbo’s taste, for he was a terrible little glutton, and never lost any opportunity of eating, as well as of sleeping.

And now, having described all our new companions, I must narrate what passed between Melchior and me, the day after our joining the camp.  He first ran through his various professions, pointing out to me that as juggler he required a confederate, in which capacity I might be very useful, as he would soon instruct me in all his tricks.  As a quack doctor he wanted the services of both Tim and myself in mixing up, making pills, &c., and also in assisting him in persuading the public of his great skill.  As a fortune-teller, I should also be of great service, as he would explain to me hereafter.  In short, he wanted a person of good personal appearance and education, in whom he might confide in every way.  As to Tim, he might be made useful if he chose, in various ways; amongst others, he wished him to learn tumbling and playing the fool, when, at times, the fool was required to give a shrewd answer on any point on which he would wish the public to be made acquainted.  I agreed to my own part of the performance, and then had some conversation with Timothy, who immediately consented to do his best in what was allotted as his share.  Thus was the matter quickly arranged, Melchior observing, that he had said nothing about remuneration, as I should find that trusting to him was far preferable to stipulated wages.

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Chapter XI

     Whatever may be the opinion of the reader, he cannot assert that we
     are no conjurers—­We suit our wares to our customers, and our
     profits are considerable.

We had been three days in the camp when the gathering was broken up, each gang taking their own way.  What the meeting was about I could not exactly discover; one occasion of it was to make arrangements relative to the different counties in which the subdivisions were to sojourn during the next year, so that they might know where to communicate with each other, and, at the same time, not interfere by being too near; but there were many other points discussed, of which, as a stranger, I was kept in ignorance.  Melchior answered all my questions with apparent candour, but his habitual deceit was such, that whether he told the truth or not was impossible to be ascertained by his countenance.

When the gathering dispersed we packed up, and located ourselves about two miles from the common, on the borders of a forest of oak and ash.  Our food was chiefly game, for we had some excellent poachers among us; and as for fish, it appeared to be at their command; there was not a pond nor a pit but they could tell in a moment if it were tenanted, and if tenanted, in half an hour every fish would be floating on the top of the water, by the throwing in of some intoxicating sort of berry; other articles of food occasionally were found in the caldron; indeed, it was impossible to fare better than we did, or at less expense.

Our tents were generally pitched not far from a pool of water, and to avoid any unpleasant search, which sometimes would take place, everything liable to detection was sunk under the water until it was required for cooking; once in the pot, it was considered as safe.  But with the foraging, Timothy and I had nothing to do; we participated in the eating, without asking any questions as to how it was procured.

My time was chiefly spent in company with Melchior, who initiated me into all the mysteries of cups and balls—­juggling of every description—­feats with cards, and made me acquainted with all his apparatus for prepared tricks.  For hours and hours was I employed by his directions in what is called “making the pass” with a pack of cards, as almost all tricks on cards depend upon your dexterity in this manoeuvre.  In about a month I was considered as a very fair adept; in the meantime, Timothy had to undergo his career of gymnastics, and was to be seen all day tumbling and retumbling, until he could tumble on his feet again.  Light and active, he soon became a very dexterous performer, and could throw a somerset either backwards or forwards, walk on his hands, eat fire, pull out ribbons, and do fifty other tricks to amuse a gaping audience.  Jumbo also was worked hard, to bring down his fat, and never was allowed his dinner until he had given satisfaction

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to Melchior.  Even little Fleta had to practise occasionally, as we were preparing for an expedition.  Melchior, who appeared determined to create an effect, left us for three days, and returned with not only dresses for Timothy and me, but also new dresses for the rest of the company; and shortly afterwards, bidding farewell to Nattee and the rest of the gipsies, we all set out—­that is, Melchior, I, Timothy, Fleta, Num, and Jumbo.  Late in the evening we arrived at the little town of ——­, and took up our quarters at a public-house, with the landlord of which Melchior had already made arrangements.

“Well, Timothy,” said I, as soon as we were in bed, “how do you like our new life and prospects?”

“I like it better than Mr Cophagus’s rudimans, and carrying out physic, at all events.  But how does your dignity like turning Merry Andrew, Japhet?”

“To tell you the truth, I do not dislike it.  There is a wildness and a devil-may-care feeling connected with it which is grateful to me at present.  How long it may last I cannot tell; but for a year or two it appears to me that we may be very happy.  At all events, we shall see the world, and have more than one profession to fall back upon.”

“That is true; but there is one thing that annoys me, Japhet, which is, we may have difficulty in leaving these people when we wish.  Besides, you forget that you are losing sight of the principal object you had in view, that is, of ‘finding out your father.’”

“I certainly never expect to find him among the gipsies,” replied I, “for children are at a premium with them.  They steal from others, and are not very likely therefore to leave them at the Foundling.  But I do not know whether I have not as good a chance in our present employment as in any other.  I have often been thinking that as fortune-tellers, we may get hold of many strange secrets; however, we shall see.  Melchior says, that he intends to appear in that character as soon as he has made a harvest in his present one.”

“What do you think of Melchior, now that you have been so much with him?”

“I think him an unprincipled man, but still with many good qualities.  He appears to have a pleasure in deceit, and to have waged war with the world in general.  Still he is generous, and, to a certain degree, confiding; kind in his disposition, and apparently a very good husband.  There is something on his mind which weighs him down occasionally, and checks him in the height of his mirth.  It comes over him like a dark cloud over a bright summer sun; and he is all gloom for a few minutes.  I do not think that he would now commit any great crime; but I have a suspicion that he has done something which is a constant cause of remorse.”

“You are a very good judge of character, Japhet.  But what a dear little child is that Fleta!  She may exclaim with you—­’Who is my father?’”

“Yes, we are both in much the same predicament, and that it is which I believe has so much increased my attachment to her.  We are brother and sister in misfortune, and a sister she ever shall be to me, if such is the will of Heaven.  But we must rise early to-morrow, Tim; so good-night.”

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“Yes, to-morrow it will be juggle and tumble—­eat fire—­um—­and so on, as Mr Cophagus would have said; so good-night, Japhet.”

The next morning we arrayed ourselves in our new habiliments; mine were silk stockings, shoes, and white kerseymere kneed breeches, a blue silk waistcoat loaded with tinsel, and a short jacket to correspond of blue velvet, a sash round my waist, a hat and a plume of feathers.  Timothy declared I looked very handsome, and as the glass said the same as plain as it could speak, I believed him.  Timothy’s dress was a pair of wide Turkish trousers and red jacket, with spangles.  The others were much the same.  Fleta was attired in small, white satin, Turkish trousers, blue muslin and silver embroidered frock, worked sandals, and her hair braided and plaited in long tails behind, and she looked like a little sylph.  Melchior’s dress was precisely the same as mine, and a more respectable company was seldom seen.  Some musicians had been hired, and handbills were now circulated all over the town, stating that Signor Eugenio Velotti, with his company, would have the honour of performing before the nobility and gentry.  The bill contained the fare which was to be provided, and intimated the hour of the performance, and the prices to be paid for the seats.  The performance was to take place in a very large room attached to the inn, which, previous to the decadence of the town, had been used as an assembly-room.  A platform was erected on the outside, on which were placed the musicians, and where we all occasionally made our appearance in our splendid dresses to attract the wonder of the people.  There we strutted up and down, all but poor little Fleta, who appeared to shrink at the display from intuitive modesty.  When the music ceased, a smart parley between Melchior and me, and Philotas, and Timothy, as the two fools, would take place; and Melchior declared, after the performance was over, that we conducted ourselves to admiration.

“Pray, Mr Philotas, do me the favour to tell me how many people you think are now present?” said Melchior to Num, in an imperative voice.

“I don’t know,” said Num, looking up with his idiotical, melancholy face.

“Ha! ha! ha’” roared the crowd at Num’s stupid answer.

“The fellow’s a fool’” said Melchior, to the gaping audience.

“Well, then, if he can’t tell, perhaps you may, Mr Dionysius,” said I, addressing Tim.

“How many, sir?  Do you want to know exactly and directly?”

“Yes, sir, immediately.”

“Without counting, sir?”

“Yes, sir, without counting.”

“Well then, sir, I will tell, and make no mistake; there’s exactly as many again as half.”

“Ha! ha! ha!” from the crowd.

“That won’t do, sir.  How many may be the half?”

“How many may be the half?  Do you know yourself, sir?”

“Yes, sir, to be sure I do.”

“Then there’s no occasion for me to tell you.”

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“Ha! ha! ha!”

“Well then, sir,” continued Melchior to Philotas, “perhaps you’ll tell how many ladies and gentlemen we may expect to honour us with their company to-night.”

“How many, sir?”

“Yes, sir, how many.”

“I’m sure I don’t know,” said Num, after a pause.

“Positively you are the greatest fool I ever met with,” said Melchior.

“Well, he does act the fool as natural as life,” observed the crowd.  “What a stupid face he does put on!”

“Perhaps you will be able to answer that question, Mr Dionysius,” said I to Tim.

“Yes, sir, I know exactly.”

“Well, sir, let’s hear.”

“In the first place, all the pretty women will come, and all the ugly ones stay away; and as for the men, all those who have got any money will be certain to come; those who haven’t, poor devils, must stay outside.”

“Suppose, sir, you make a bow to the ladies.”

“A very low one, sir?”

“Yes, very low indeed.”

Tim bent his body to the ground, and threw a somerset forward.  “There, sir; I bowed so low, that I came up on the other side.”

“Ha! ha! capital!” from the crowd.

“I’ve got a round turn in my back, sir,” continued Tim, rubbing himself.  “Hadn’t I better take it out again?”

“By all means.”

Tim threw a somerset backwards.  “There, sir, all’s right now.  One good turn deserves another.  Now I’ll be off.”

“Where are you going to, sir?”

“Going, sir!!  Why, I left my lollipop in the tinder-box, and I’m going to fetch it.”

“Ha! ha! ha!”

“Strike up, music!” and Master Jumbo commenced tumbling.

Such was the elegant wit with which we amused and attracted the audience.  Perhaps, had we been more refined, we should not have been so successful.

That evening we had the room as full as it could hold.  Signor Velotti alias Melchior astonished them.  The cards appeared to obey his commands—­rings were discovered in lady’s shoes—­watches were beat to a powder and made whole—­canary birds flew out of eggs.  The audience were delighted.  The entertainment closed with Fleta’s performance on the slack wire; and certainly never was there anything more beautiful and graceful.  Balanced on the wire in a continual, waving motion, her eyes fixed upon a point to enable her to maintain her position, she performed several feats, such as the playing with five oranges, balancing swords, &c.  Her extreme beauty—­her very picturesque and becoming dress—­her mournful expression and downcast eyes—­her gentle manner, appeared to win the hearts of the audience; and when she was assisted off from her perilous situation by Melchior and me, and made her graceful courtesy, the plaudits were unanimous.

When the company dispersed I went to her, intending to praise her, but I found her in tears.  “What is the matter, my dear Fleta?”

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“O nothing! don’t say I have been crying—­but I cannot bear it—­so many people looking at me.  Don’t say a word to Melchior—­I won’t cry any more.”

Chapter XII

     It is very easy to humbug those who are so eager to be humbugged as
     people are in this world of humbug—­We show ourselves excessively
     disinterested, which astonishes everybody.

I kissed and consoled her; she threw her arm round my neck, and remained there with her face hid for some time.  We then joined the others at supper.  Melchior was much pleased with our success, and highly praised the conduct of Timothy and myself, which he pronounced was, for the first attempt, far beyond his expectations.

We continued to astonish all the good people of ——­ for five days, when we discovered the indubitable fact, that there was no more money to be extracted from their pockets, upon which we resumed our usual clothes and smock frocks, and with our bundles in our hands, set off for another market town, about fifteen miles distant.  There we were equally successful, and Melchior was delighted with our having proved such a powerful acquisition to his troop:  but not to dwell too long upon one subject, I shall inform the reader that, after a trip of six weeks, during which we were very well received, we once more returned to the camp, which had located within five miles of our last scene of action.  Every one was content—­we were all glad to get back and rest from our labours.  Melchior was pleased with his profits, poor little Fleta overjoyed to be once more in the seclusion of her tent, and Nattee very glad to hear of our good fortune, and to see her husband.  Timothy and I had already proved ourselves so useful, that Melchior treated us with the greatest friendship and confidence—­and he made us a present out of the gains, for our exertions; to me he gave ten, and to Timothy five, pounds.

“There, Japhet, had you hired yourself I should not have paid you more than seven shillings per week, finding you in food; but you must acknowledge that for six weeks that is not bad pay.  However, your earnings will depend upon our success, and I rather think that we shall make a much better thing of it when next we start, which will be in about a fortnight; but we have some arrangements to make.  Has Timothy a good memory?”

“I think he has.”

“That is well.  I told you before that we are to try the ’Wise Man,’—­but first we must have Nattee in play.  To-morrow we will start for ——­,” mentioning a small quiet town about four miles off.

We did so, early the next morning, and arrived about noon, pitching our tents on the common, not far from the town; but in this instance we left all the rest of our gang behind.  Melchior’s own party and his two tents were all that were brought by the donkeys.

Melchior and I, dressed as countrymen, went into the town at dusk, and entered a respectable sort of inn, taking our seats at one of the tables in the tap-room, and, as we had already planned, after we had called for beer, commenced a conversation in the hearing of the others who were sitting drinking and smoking.

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“Well, I never will believe it—­it’s all cheat and trickery,” said Melchior, “and they only do it to pick your pocket.  Tell your fortune, indeed!  I suppose she promised you a rich wife and half-a-dozen children.”

“No, she did not,” replied I, “for I am too young to marry; but she told me what I know has happened.”

“Well, what was that?”

“Why, she told me that my mother had married again, and turned me out of doors to work for my bread.”

“But she might have heard that.”

“How could she?  No, that’s not possible; but she told me I had a mole on my knee, which was a sign of luck.  Now how could she know that?”

“Well, I grant that was odd—­and pray what else did she promise you?”

“Why, she said, that I should meet with my dearest friend to-night.  Now that does puzzle me, for I have but one in the world, and he is a long way off.”

“Well, if you do meet your friend, then I’ll believe her; but if not, it has been all guess-work; and pray what did you pay for all this—­was it a shilling, or did she pick your pocket?”

“That’s what puzzles me,—­she refused to take anything.  I offered it again and again, and she said,’No; that she would have no money—­that her gift was not to be sold.’”

“Well, that is odd.  Do you hear what this young man says,” said Melchior, addressing the others, who had swallowed every word.

“Yes,” replied one; “but who is this person?”

“The queen of the gipsies, I am told.  I never saw such a wonderful woman in my life—­her eye goes right through you.  I met her on the common, and, as she passed, she dropped a handkerchief.  I ran back to give it her, and then she thanked me, and said, ’Open your hand and let me see the palm.  Here are great lines, and you will be fortunate;’ and then she told me a great deal more, and bid God bless me.”

“Then if she said that, she cannot have dealings with the devil,” observed Melchior.

“Very odd—­very strange—­take no money—­queen of the gipsies,” was echoed from all sides.

The landlady and the barmaid listened with wonder, when who should come in, as previously agreed, but Timothy.  I pretended not to see him, but he came up to me, seizing me by the hand, and shaking it with apparent delight, and crying, “Wilson, have you forgot Smith?”

“Smith!” cried I, looking earnestly in his face.  “Why, so it is.  How came you here?”

“I left Dublin three days ago,” replied he, “but how I came here into this house, is one of the strangest things that ever occurred.  I was walking over the common, when a tall handsome woman looked at me, and said, ’Young man, if you will go into the third public-house you pass, you will meet an old friend, who expects you.’  I thought she was laughing at me, but as it mattered very little in which house I passed the night, I thought, for the fun of the thing I might as well take her advice.”

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“How strange!” cried Melchior, “and she told him the same—­that is, he would meet a friend.”

“Strange—­very strange—­wonderful—­astonishing!” was echoed from all quarters, and the fame of the gipsy was already established.

Timothy and I sat down together, conversing as old friends, and Melchior went about from one to the other, narrating the wonderful occurrence till past midnight, when we all three took beds at the inn, as if we were travellers.

The report which we had circulated that evening induced many people to go out to see Nattee, who appeared to take no notice of them; and when asked to tell fortunes, waved them away with her hand.  But, although this plan of Melchior’s was, for the first two or three days very expedient, yet, as it was not intended to last, Timothy, who remained with me at the inn, became very intimate with the barmaid, and obtained from her most of the particulars of her life.  I, also, from repeated conversations with the landlady, received information very important, relative to herself, and many of the families in the town, but as the employment of Nattee was for an ulterior object, we contented ourselves with gaining all the information we could before we proceeded further.  After we had been there a week, and the fame of the gipsy woman had been marvellously increased—­many things having been asserted of her which were indeed truly improbable—­Melchior agreed that Timothy should persuade the barmaid to try if the gipsy woman would tell her fortune:  the girl, with some trepidation, agreed, but at the same time, expecting to be refused, consented to walk with him over the common.  Timothy advised her to pretend to pick up a sixpence when near to Nattee, and ask her if it did not belong to her, and the barmaid acted upon his suggestions, having just before that quitted the arm of Timothy, who had conducted her.

“Did you drop a sixpence?  I have picked up one,” said the girl, trembling with fear as she addressed Nattee.

“Child,” replied Nattee, who was prepared, “I have neither dropped a sixpence nor have you found one—­but never mind that, I know that which you wish, and I know who you are.  Now what would you with me?  Is it to inquire whether the landlord and landlady of the Golden Lion intend to keep you in their service?”

“No,” replied the girl, frightened at what she heard; “not to inquire that, but to ask what my fortune will be?”

“Open your palm, pretty maid, and I will tell you.  Hah!  I see that you were born in the West—­your father is dead—­your mother is in service—­and let me see,—­you have a brother at sea—­now in the West Indies.”

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At this intelligence, all of which, as may be supposed, had been gathered by us, the poor girl was so frightened that she fell down in a swoon, and Timothy carried her off.  When she was taken home to the inn, she was so ill that she was put into bed, and what she did say was so incoherent, that, added to Timothy’s narrative, the astonishment of the landlady and others was beyond all bounds.  I tried very hard to bring the landlady, but she would not consent; and now Nattee was pestered by people of higher condition, who wished to hear what she would say.  Here Nattee’s powers were brought into play.  She would not refuse to see them, but would not give answers till she had asked questions, and, as from us she had gleaned much general information, so by making this knowledge appear in her questions to them, she made them believe she knew more.  If a young person came to her, she would immediately ask the name—­of that name she had all the references acquired from us, as to family and connections.  Bearing upon them, she would ask a few more, and then give them an abrupt dismissal.

This behaviour was put up with from one of her commanding presence, who refused money, and treated those who accosted her, as if she was their superior.  Many came again and again, telling her all they knew, and acquainting her with every transaction of their life, to induce her to prophesy, for such, she informed them, was the surest way to call the spirit upon her.  By these means we obtained the secret history of the major part, that is, the wealthier part of the town of ——­; and although the predictions of Nattee were seldom given, yet when given, they were given with such perfect and apparent knowledge of the parties, that when she left, which she did about six weeks after her first appearance, the whole town rang with accounts of her wonderful powers.

It will appear strange that Melchior would not permit Nattee to reap a harvest, which might have been great; but the fact was, that he only allowed the seed to be sown that a greater harvest might be gathered hereafter.  Nattee disappeared, the gipsie’s tent was no longer on the common, and the grass, which had been beaten down into a road by the feet of the frequent applicants to her, was again permitted to spring up.  We also took our departure, and rejoined the camp with Nattee, where we remained for a fortnight, to permit the remembrance of her to subside a little—­knowing that the appetite was alive, and would not be satisfied until it was appeased.

After that time, Melchior, Timothy, and I, again set off for the town of ——­, and stopping at a superior inn in another part of the town, dressed as travellers, that is, people who go about the country for orders from the manufacturers, ordered our beds and supper in the coffee-room.  The conversation was soon turned upon the wonderful powers of Nattee, the gipsy.  “Nonsense,” said Melchior, “she knows nothing.  I have heard of her. 

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But there is a man coming this way (should he happen to pass through this town) who will surprise and frighten you.  No one knows who he is.  He is named the Great Aristodemus.  He knows the past, the present, and the future.  He never looks at people’s hands—­he only looks you in the face, and woe be to them who tell him a lie.  Otherwise, he is good-tempered and obliging, and will tell what will come to pass, and his predictions never have been known to fail.  They say that he is hundreds of years old, and his hair is white as silver.”  At this information many expressed their doubts, and many others vaunted the powers of the gipsy.  Melchior replied, “that all he knew was, that for the sum of two guineas paid down, he had told him of a legacy left him of six hundred pounds, which otherwise he would never have known of or received.”  All the town of ——­ being quite alive for fortune-telling, this new report gained wind, and after a week’s sojourn, Melchior thought that the attempt should be made.

Chapter XIII

     The seed having been carefully sown, we now reap a golden
     harvest—­We tell every body what they knew before, and we are
     looked upon as most marvellous by most marvellous fools.

We accordingly packed up, and departed to another market town.  Timothy, dressed in a sombre suit of black, very much like an undertaker, was provided with a horse, with the following directions:  to proceed leisurely until he was within half a mile of the town of ——­, and then to gallop in as fast as he could, stop at the best inn in the place, and order apartments for the Great Aristodemus, who might be expected in half an hour.  Every thing in this world depends upon appearances, that is, when you intend to gull it; and as every one in the town had heard of the Great Aristodemus, so every one was anxious to know something about him, and Timothy was pestered with all manner of questions; but he declared that he was only his courier, and could only tell what other people said; but then what other people said, by Timothy’s account, was very marvellous indeed.  Timothy had hardly time to secure the best rooms in the hotel, when Melchior, dressed in a long flowing silk gown, with a wig of long white hair, a square cap, and two or three gold chains hanging from his neck, certainly most admirably disguised, and attended by me in the dress of a German student, a wig of long brown locks hanging down my shoulders, made our appearance in a post-chaise and four, and drove up to the door of the inn, at a pace which shook every house in the street, and occasioned every window to be tenanted with one or more heads to ascertain the cause of this unusual occurrence, for it was not a very great town, although once of importance; but the manufactures had been removed, and it was occupied by those who had become independent by their own exertions, or by those of their forefathers.

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The door of the chaise was opened by the obsequious Timothy, who pushed away the ostlers and waiters, as if unworthy to approach his master, and the Great Aristodemus made his appearance.  As he ascended the steps of the door, his passage was for a moment barred by one whose profession Melchior well knew.  “Stand aside, exciseman!” said he, in a commanding voice.  “No one crosses my path with impunity.”  Astonished at hearing his profession thus mentioned, the exciseman, who was the greatest bully in the town, slipped on one side with consternation, and all those present lifted up their eyes and hands with astonishment.  The Great Aristodemus gained his room, and shut his door; and I went out to pay for the chaise and order supper, while Timothy and the porters were busy with our luggage, which was very considerable.

“My master will not see any one,” said I to the landlord; “he quits this town to-morrow, if the letters arrive which he expects by the post; therefore, pray get rid of this crowd, and let him be quiet, for he is very tired, having travelled one hundred and fifty miles since the dawn of day.”

When Tim and I had performed this duty, we joined Melchior in his room, leaving the news to be circulated.  “This promises well,” observed Melchior; “up to the present we have expended much time and money; now we must see if we cannot recover it tenfold.  Japhet, you must take an opportunity of going out again after supper, and make inquiries of the landlord what poor people they have in the town, as I am very generous, and like to relieve them; you may observe, that all the money offered to me for practising my art, I give away to the poor, having no occasion for it.”  This I did, and we then sat down to supper, and having unpacked our baggage, went to bed, after locking the door of the room, and taking out the key.

The next morning we had every thing in readiness, and as the letters, as the reader may suppose, did not arrive by the post, we were obliged to remain, and the landlord ventured to hint to me, that several people were anxious to consult my master.  I replied, that I would speak to him, but it was necessary to caution those who came, that they must either offer gold—­or nothing at all.  I brought his consent to see one or two, but no more.  Now, although we had various apparatus to use when required, it was thought that the effect would be greater, if, in the first instance, every thing was simple.  Melchior, therefore, remained sitting at the table, which was covered with a black cloth, worked with curious devices, and a book of hieroglyphics before him, and an ivory wand, tipped with gold, lying by the book.  Timothy standing at the door, with a short Roman sword buckled round his belt, and I, in a respectful attitude, behind the Great Aristodemus.

The first person who was admitted was the lady of the mayor of the town; nothing could be more fortunate, as we had every information relative to her and her spouse, for people in high places are always talked of.  Aristodemus waved his hand, and I brought forward a chair in silence, and motioned that she should be seated.  Aristodemus looked her in her face, and then turned over several leaves, until he fixed upon a page, which he considered attentively.  “Mayoress of ——­, what wouldst thou with me?”

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She started, and turned pale.  “I would ask—­”

“I know; thou wouldst ask many things, perhaps, had I time to listen.  Amongst others thou wouldst ask if there is any chance of thy giving an heir to thy husband.  Is it not so?”

“Yes, it is,” replied the lady, fetching her breath.

“So do I perceive by this book; but let me put one question to thee.  Wouldst thou have blessings showered on thee, yet do no good?  Thou art wealthy—­yet what dost thou and thy husband do with these riches?  Are ye liberal?  No.  Give, and it shall be given.  I have said.”

Aristodemus waved his hand, and the lady rose to withdraw.  A guinea was in her fingers, and her purse in her hand; she took out four more, and added them to the other, and laid them on the table.

“’Tis well, lady; charity shall plead for thee.  Artolphe, let that money be distributed among the poor.”

I bowed in silence, and the lady retired.

“Who will say that I do no good,” observed Melchior, smiling, as soon as she was gone, “Her avarice and that of her husband are as notorious as their anxiety for children.  Now, if I persuade them to be liberal, I do service.”

“But you have given her hopes.”

“I have, and the very hope will do more to further their wishes than anything else.  It is despair which too often prevents those who have no children, from having any.  How often do you see a couple, who, after years waiting for children, have at last given up their hope, and resigned themselves to the dispensations of Providence, and then, when their anxiety has subsided, have obtained a family?  Japhet, I am a shrewd observer of human nature.”

“That I believe,” replied I; “but I do not believe your last remark to be correct—­but Timothy raps at the door.”

Another lady entered the room, and then started back, as if she would retreat, so surprised was she at the appearance of the Great Aristodemus; but as Timothy had turned the key, her escape was impossible.  She was unknown to us, which was rather awkward; but Melchior raised his eyes from his book, and waved his hand as before, that she should be seated.  With some trepidation she stated, that she was a widow, whose dependence was upon an only son now at sea; that she had not heard of him for a long while, and was afraid that some accident had happened; that she was in the greatest distress—­“and,” continued she, “I have nothing to offer but this ring.  Can you tell me if he is yet alive?” cried she, bursting into tears; “but if you have not the art you pretend to, O do not rob a poor, friendless creature, but let me depart!”

“When did you receive your last letter from him?” said Melchior.

“It is now seven months—­dated from Bahia,” replied she, pulling it out of her reticule, and covering her face with her handkerchief.

Melchior caught the address, and then turned the letter over on the other side, as it lay on the table.  “Mrs Watson,” said he.

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“Heavens! do you know my name?” cried the woman.

“Mrs Watson, I do not require to read your son’s letter—­I know its contents.”  He then turned over his book, and studied for a few seconds.  “Your son is alive.”

“Thank God!” cried she, clasping her hands, and dropping her reticule.

“But you must not expect his return too soon—­he is well employed.”

“Oh!  I care not—­he is alive—­he is alive!  God bless you—­God bless you!”

Melchior made a sign to me, pointing to the five guineas and the reticule; and I contrived to slip them into her reticule, while she sobbed in her handkerchief.

“Enough, madam; you must go, for others require my aid.”

The poor woman rose, and offered the ring.

“Nay, nay, I want not thy money; I take from the rich, that I may distribute to the poor—­but not from the widow in affliction.  Open thy bag.”  The widow took up her bag, and opened it.  Melchior dropped in the ring, taking his wand from the table, waved it, and touched the bag.  “As thou art honest, so may thy present wants be relieved.  Seek, and thou shalt find.”

The widow left the room with tears of gratitude; and I must say, that I was affected with the same.  When she had gone, I observed to Melchior, that up to the present he had toiled for nothing.

“Very true, Japhet; but depend upon it, if I assisted that poor woman from no other feelings than interested motives, I did well; but I tell thee candidly, I did it from compassion.  We are odd mixtures of good and evil.  I wage war with fools and knaves, but not with all the world.  I gave that money freely—­she required it; and it may be put as a set-off against my usual system of fraud, or it may not—­at all events, I pleased myself.”

“But you told her that her son was alive.”

“Very true, and he may be dead; but is it not well to comfort her—­even for a short time, to relieve that suspense which is worse than the actual knowledge of his death?  Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof.”

It would almost have appeared that this good action of Melchior met with its reward, for the astonishment of the widow at finding the gold in her reticule—­her narrative of what passed, and her assertion (which she firmly believed to be true), that she had never left her reticule out of her hand, and that Melchior had only touched it with his wand, raised his reputation to that degree, that nothing else was talked about throughout the town, and, to crown all, the next day’s post brought her a letter and remittances from her son; and the grateful woman returned, and laid ten guineas on the black cloth, showering a thousand blessings upon Melchior, and almost worshipped him as a supernatural being.  This was a most fortunate occurrence, and as Melchior prophesied, the harvest did now commence.  In four days we had received upwards of L200, and we then thought it time that we should depart.  The letters arrived, which were expected, and when we set off in a chaise and four, the crowd to see us was so great, that it was with difficulty we could pass through it.

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Chapter XIV

     In which Melchior talks very much like an astrologer, and Tim and I
     return to our old trade of making up innocent prescriptions.

We had taken our horses for the next town; but as soon as we were fairly on the road, I stopped the boys, and told them that the Great Aristodemus intended to observe the planets and stars that night, and that they were to proceed to a common which I mentioned.  The post-boys, who were well aware of his fame, and as fully persuaded of it as everybody else, drove to the common; we descended, took off the luggage, and received directions from Melchior in their presence about the instruments, to which the boys listened with open mouths and wonderment.  I paid them well, and told them they might return, which they appeared very glad to do.  They reported what had occurred, and this simple method of regaining our camp, added to the astonishment of the good town of ——.  When they were out of sight we resumed our usual clothes, packed all up, carried away most of our effects, and hid the others in the furze to be sent for the next night, not being more than two miles from the camp.  We soon arrived, and were joyfully received by Fleta and Nattee.

As we walked across the common, I observed to Melchior, “I wonder if these stars have any influence upon mortals, as it was formerly supposed?”

“Most assuredly they have,” rejoined Melchior.  “I cannot read them, but I firmly believe in them.”

I made the above remark, as I had often thought that such was Melchior’s idea.

“Yes,” continued he, “every man has his destiny—­such must be the case.  It is known beforehand what is to happen to us by an Omniscient Being, and being known, what is it but destiny which cannot be changed?  It is fate,” continued he, surveying the stars with his hand raised up, “and that fate is as surely written there as the sun shines upon us; but the great book is sealed, because it would not add to our happiness.”

“If, then, all is destiny, or fate, what inducement is there to do well or ill?” replied I.  “We may commit all acts of evil, and say, that as it was predestined, we could not help it.  Besides would it be just that the Omniscient Being should punish us for those crimes which we cannot prevent, and which are allotted to us by destiny?”

“Japhet, you argue well; but you are in error, because, like most of those of the Christian Church, you understand not the sacred writings, nor did I until I knew my wife.  Her creed is, I believe, correct; and what is more, adds weight to the truths of the Bible.”

“I thought that gipsies had no religion.”

“You are not the only one who supposes so.  It is true that the majority of the tribe are held by the higher castes as serfs, and are not instructed; but with—­if I may use the expression—­the aristocracy of them it is very different, and their creed I have adopted.”

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“I should wish to hear their creed,” replied I.

“Hear it then.  Original sin commenced in heaven—­when the angels rebelled against their God—­not on earth.”

“I will grant that sin originated first in heaven.”

“Do you think that a great, a good God, ever created any being for its destruction and eternal misery, much less an angel?  Did he not foresee their rebellion?”

“I grant it.”

“This world was not peopled with the image of God until after the fall of the angels:  it had its living beings, its monsters perhaps, but not a race of men with eternal souls.  But it was peopled, as we see it now is, to enable the legions of angels who fell to return to their former happy state—­as a pilgrimage by which they might obtain their pardons, and resume their seats in heaven.  Not a child is born, but the soul of some fallen cherub enters into the body to work out its salvation.  Many do, many do not, and then they have their task to recommence anew; for the spirit once created is immortal, and cannot be destroyed; and the Almighty is all goodness, and would ever pardon.”

“Then you suppose there is no such thing as eternal punishment?”

“Eternal!—­no.  Punishment there is, but not eternal.  When the legions of angels fell, some were not so perverse as others:  they soon re-obtained their seats, even when, as children, having passed through the slight ordeal, they have been summoned back to heaven; but others who, from their infancy, show how bad were their natures, have many pilgrimages to perform before they can be purified.  This is, in itself, a punishment.  What other punishment they incur between their pilgrimages we know not; but this is certain, that no one was created to be punished eternally.”

“But all this is but assertion,” replied I; “where are your proofs?”

“In the Bible; some day or other I will show them to you; but now we are at the camp, and I am anxious to embrace Nattee.”

I thought for some time upon this singular creed; one, in itself, not militating against religion, but at the same time I could not call to mind any passages by which it could be supported.  Still the idea was beautiful, and I dwelt upon it with pleasure.  I have before observed, and indeed the reader must have gathered from my narative, that Melchior was no common personage.  Every day did I become more partial to him, and more pleased with our erratic life.  What scruples I had at first, gradually wore away; the time passed quickly, and although I would occasionally call to mind the original object of my setting forth, I would satisfy myself by the reflection, that there was yet sufficient time.  Little Fleta was now my constant companion when in the camp, and I amused myself with teaching her to write and read.

“Japhet,” said Timothy to me one day as we were cutting hazel broach wood in the forest, “I don’t see that you get on very fast in your search after your father.”

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“No, Tim, I do not; but I am gaining a knowledge of the world which will be very useful to me when I recommence the search; and what is more, I am saving a great deal of money to enable me to prosecute it.”

“What did Melchior give you after we left?”

“Twenty guineas, which, with what I had before, make more than fifty.”

“And he gave me ten, which makes twenty, with what I had before.  Seventy pounds is a large sum.”

“Yes, but soon spent, Tim.  We must work a little longer.  Besides, I cannot leave that little girl—­she was never intended for a rope-dancer.”

“I am glad to hear you say that, Japhet, for I feel as you do—­she shall share our fortunes.”

“A glorious prospect truly,” replied I, laughing; “but never mind, it would be better than her remaining here.  But how are we to manage that?”

“Aye! that’s the rub; but there is time enough to think about it when we intend to quit our present occupation.”

“Well, I understand from Melchior that we are to start in a few days.”

“What is it to be, Japhet?”

“Oh! we shall be at home—­we are to cure all diseases under the sun.  To-morrow we commence making pills, so we may think ourselves with Mr Cophagus again.”

“Well, I do think we shall have some fun; but I hope Melchior won’t make me take my own pills to prove their good qualities—­that will be no joke.”

“O no, Num is kept on purpose for that.  What else is the fool good for?”

The next week was employed as we anticipated.  Boxes of pills of every size, neatly labelled, bottles of various mixtures, chiefly stimulants, were corked and packed up.  Powders of anything were put in papers; but, at all events, there was nothing hurtful in them.  All was ready, and accompanied by Num (Jumbo and Fleta being left at home) we set off, Melchior assuming the dress in which we had first met him in the wagon, and altering his appearance so completely, that he would have been taken for at least sixty years old.  We now travelled on foot with our dresses in bundles, each carrying his own, except Num, who was loaded like a pack-horse, and made sore lamentations: 

“Can’t you carry some of this?”

“No,” replied I, “it is your own luggage; every one must carry his own.”

“Well, I never felt my spangled dress so heavy before.  Where are we going?”

“Only a little way,” replied Timothy, “and then you will have nothing more to do.”

“I don’t know that.  When master puts on that dress, I have to swallow little things till I’m sick.”

“It’s all good for your health, Num.”

“I’m very well, I thank’e,” replied the poor fellow; “but I’m very hot and very tired.”

Chapter XV

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In which Timothy makes a grand speech, quite as true as those delivered from the hustings—­Melchior, like the candidate, states his pretentions for public favour, and the public, as usual, swallow the bait.

Fortunately for poor Num, we were not far from the market town at which we intended to open our campaign, which we did the next morning by Num and Timothy sallying forth, the former with a large trumpet in his hand, and the latter riding on a donkey.  On their arrival at the market-place, Num commenced blowing it with all his might, while Timothy, in his spangled dress, as soon as they had collected a crowd, stood upon his saddle, and harangued the people as follows:—­

“Gentlemen and ladies—­I have the honour to announce to you the arrival in this town of the celebrated Doctor Appallacheosmocommetico, who has travelled farther than the sun and faster than a comet.  He hath visited every part of the globe.  He has smoked the calumet with the Indians of North America—­he has hunted with the Araucas in the South—­galloped on wild horses over the plains of Mexico, and rubbed noses with the Esquimaux.  He hath used the chopsticks with the Chinese, swung the Cherok pooga with the Hindoos, and put a new nose on the Great Cham of Tartary.  He hath visited and been received in every court of Europe:  danced on the ice of the Neva with the Russians—­led the mazurka with the Poles—­waltzed with the Germans—­tarantulaed with the Italians—­fandangoed with the Spanish—­and quadrilled with the French.  He hath explored every mine in the universe, walked through every town on the continent, examined every mountain in the world, ascended Mont Blanc, walked down the Andes, and run up the Pyrenees.  He has been into every volcano in the globe, and descending by Vesuvius has been thrown up by Stromboli.  He has lived more than a thousand years, and is still in the flower of his youth.  He has had one hundred and forty sets of teeth one after another, and expects a new set next Christmas.  His whole life has been spent in the service of mankind, and in doing good to his fellow-creatures; and having the experience of more than a thousand years, he cures more than a thousand diseases.  Gentlemen, the wonderful doctor will present himself before you this evening, and will then tell you what his remedies are good for, so that you may pick and choose according to your several complaints.  Ladies, the wonderful doctor can greatly assist you:  he has secrets by which you may have a family if you should so wish—­philters to make husbands constant, and salve to make them blind—­cosmetics to remove pimples and restore to youth and beauty, and powders to keep children from squalling.  Sound the trumpet, Philotas; sound, and let every body know that the wonderful Doctor Appallacheosmocommetico has vouchsafed to stop here and confer his blessings upon the inhabitants of this town.”  Hereupon Num again blew the trumpet till he was black in the face; and Timothy, dropping on his donkey, rode away to other parts of the town, where he repeated his grandiloquent announcement, followed, as may be supposed, by a numerous cortege of little ragged boys.

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About four o’clock in the afternoon, Melchior made his appearance in the market-place, attended by me, dressed as a German student, Timothy and Num in their costumes.  A stage had been already prepared, and the populace had crowded round it more with the intention of laughing than of making purchases.  The various packets were opened and arranged in front of the platform, I standing on one side of Melchior, Timothy on the other, and Num with his trumpet, holding on by one of the scaffold poles at the corner.

“Sound the trumpet, Philotas,” said Melchior, taking off his three-cornered hat, and making a low bow to the audience, at every blast.  “Pray, Mr Fool, do you know why you sound the trumpet?”

“I’m sure I don’t know,” replied Num, opening his goggle eyes.

“Do you know, Mr Dionysius?”

“Yes, sir, I can guess.”

“Explain, then, to the gentlemen and ladies who have honoured us with their presence.”

“Because, sir, trumpets are always sounded before great conquerors.”

“Very true, sir-, but how am I a great conqueror?”

“You have conquered death, sir; and he’s a very rum customer to have to deal with.”

“Dionysius, you have answered well, and shall have some bullock’s liver for your supper—­don’t forget to remind me, in case I forget it.”

“No, that I won’t, sir,” replied Timothy, rubbing his stomach, as if delighted with the idea.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” said Melchior to the audience, who were on the broad grin, “I see your mouths are all open, and are waiting for the pills; but be not too impatient—­I cannot part with my medicines unless you have diseases which require their aid; and I should, indeed, be a sorry doctor, if I prescribed without knowing your complaints. Est neutrale genus signans rem non animatam, says Herodotus, which in English means, what is one man’s meat is another man’s poison; and further, he adds, Ut jecur, ut onus, put ut occiput, which is as much as to say, that what agrees with one temperament, will be injurious to another.  Caution, therefore, becomes very necessary in the use of medicine; and my reputation depends upon my not permitting any one to take what is not good for him.  And now, my very dear friends, I will first beg you to observe the peculiar qualities of the contents of this little phial.  You observe, that there is not more than sixty drops in it, yet will these sixty drops add ten years to a man’s life—­for it will cure him of almost as many diseases.  In the first place, are any of you troubled with the ascites, or dropsy, which, as the celebrated Galen hath declared, may be divided into three parts, the ascites, the anasarca, and the tympanites.  The diagnostics of this disease are, swelling of the abdomen or stomach, difficulty of breathing, want of appetite, and a teasing cough.  I say, have any of you this disease?  None.  Then I thank Heaven that you are not so afflicted.

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“The next disease it is good for, is the peripneumonia, or inflammation on the lungs—­the diagnostics or symptoms of which are, a small pulse, swelling of the eyes, and redness of the face.  Say, have any of you these symptoms—­if so, you have the disease.  No one.  I thank Heaven that you are none of you so afflicted.

“It is also a sovereign remedy for the diarrhoea, the diagnostics of which are, faintness, frequent gripings, rumbling in the bowels, cold sweats, and spasm.”

Here one man came forward and complained of frequent gripings—­another of rumbling in the bowels, and two or three more of cold sweats.

“It is well.  O I thank Heaven that I am here to administer to you myself! for what says Hippocrates? Relativum cum antecedente concordat, which means, that remedies quickly applied, kill the disease in its birth.  Here, my friends, take it—­take it—­pay me only one shilling and be thankful.  When you go to rest, fail not to offer up your prayers.  It is also a sovereign remedy for the dreadful chiragra or gout.  I cured the whole corporation of city aldermen last week, by their taking three bottles each, and they presented me with the freedom of the city of London, in a gold box, which I am sorry that I have forgotten to bring with me.  Now the chiragra may be divided into several varieties. Gonagra, when it attacks the knees—­chiragra, if in the hands—­onagra, if in the elbow—­omagra, if in the shoulder, and lumbago, if in the back.  All these are varieties of gout, and for all these the contents of this little bottle is a sovereign remedy; and, observe, it will keep for ever.  Twenty years hence, when afflicted in your old age—­and the time will come, my good people—­you may take down this little phial from the shelf, and bless the hour in which you spent your shilling; for as Eusebius declares, ’Verbum personale concordat cum nominativo, which is as much as to say, the active will grow old, and suffer from pains in their limbs.  Who, then, has pains in his limbs, or lumbago?  Who, indeed, can say that he will not have them?”

After this appeal, the number of those who had pains in their limbs, or who wished to provide against such a disease, proved so great, that all our phials were disposed of, and the doctor was obliged to promise that in a few days he would have some more of this invaluable medicine ready.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I shall now offer to your notice a valuable plaister, the effects of which are miraculous.  Dionysius, come hither, you have felt the benefit of this plaister; tell your case to those who are present, and mind you tell the truth.”

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Hereupon Timothy stepped forward.  “Ladies and gentlemen, upon my honour, about three weeks back I fell off the scaffold, broke my back bone into three pieces, and was carried off to a surgeon, who looked at me, and told the people to take measure for my coffin.  The great doctor was not there at the time, having been sent for to consult with the king’s physicians upon the queen’s case, of Cophagus, or intermitting mortification of the great toe; but fortunately, just as they were putting me into a shell, my master came back, and immediately applying his sovereign plaister to my back, in five days I was able to sit up, and in ten days I returned to my duty.”

“Are you quite well now, Dionysius?”

“Quite well, sir, and my back is like whale-bone.”

“Try it.”

Hereupon Dionysius threw two somersets forward, two backward, walked across the stage on his hands, and tumbled in every direction.

“You see, gentlemen, I’m quite well now, and what I have said, I assure you, on my honour, to be a fact.”

“I hope you’ll allow that to be a very pretty cure,” said the doctor, appealing to the audience; “and I hardly need say, that for sprains, bruises, contusions, wrenches, and dislocations, this plaister is infallible; and I will surprise you more by telling you, that I can sell it for eight-pence a sheet.”

The plaister went off rapidly, and was soon expended.  The doctor went on describing his other valuable articles, and when he came to his cosmetics, &c., for women, we could not hand them out fast enough.  “And now,” said the doctor, “I must bid you farewell for this evening.”

“I’m glad of that,” said Timothy, “for now I mean to sell my own medicine.”

“Your medicine, Mr Dionysius! what do you mean by that?”

“Mean, sir; I mean to say that I’ve got a powder of my own contriving, which is a sovereign remedy.”

“Remedy, sir, for what?”

“Why, it’s a powder to kill fleas, and what’s more, it’s just as infallible as your own.”

“Have you, indeed; and pray, sir, how did you hit upon the invention?”

“Sir, I discovered it in my sleep by accident; but I have proved it, and I will say, if properly administered, it is quite as infallible as any of yours.  Ladies and gentlemen, I pledge you my honour that it will have the effect desired, and all I ask is sixpence a powder.”

“But how is it to be used, sir?”

“Used—­why, like all other powders; but I won’t give the directions till I have sold some; promising, however, if my method does not succeed, to return the money.”

“Well, that is fair, Mr Dionysius; and I will take care that you keep your bargain.  Will anybody purchase the fool’s powder for killing fleas.”

“Yes, I will,” replied a man on the broad grin, “here’s sixpence.  Now, then, fool, how am I to use it?”

“Use it,” said Timothy, putting the sixpence in his pocket; “I’ll explain to you.  You must first catch the flea, hold him so tight between the forefinger and thumb as to force him to open his mouth; when his mouth is open you must put a very little of this powder into it, and it will kill him directly.”

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“Why, when I have the flea as tight as you state, I may as well kill him myself.”

“Very true, so you may, if you prefer it; but if you do not, you may use this powder, which upon my honour is infallible.”

This occasioned a great deal of mirth among the bystanders.  Timothy kept his sixpence, and our exhibition for this day ended, very much to the satisfaction of Melchior, who declared he had taken more than ever he had done before in a whole week.  Indeed, the whole sum amounted to L17, 10s., all taken in shillings and sixpences, for articles hardly worth the odd shillings in the account; so we sat down to supper with anticipations of a good harvest, and so it proved.  We stayed four days at this town, and then proceeded onwards, when the like success attended us, Timothy and I being obliged to sit up nearly the whole night to label and roll up pills, and mix medicines, which we did in a very scientific manner.  Nor was it always that Melchior presided; he would very often tell his audience that business required his attendance elsewhere, to visit the sick, and that he left the explanation of his medicines and their properties to his pupil, who was far advanced in knowledge.  With my prepossessing appearance, I made a great effect, more especially among the ladies, and Timothy exerted himself so much when with me, that we never failed to bring home to Melchior a great addition to his earnings—­so much so, that at last he only showed himself, pretended that he was so importuned to visit sick persons, that he could stay no longer, and then left us, after the first half hour, to carry on the business for him.  After six weeks of uninterrupted success, we returned to the camp, which, as usual, was not very far off.

Chapter XVI

     Important news, but not communicated—­A dissolution of partnership
     takes place.

Melchior’s profits had been much more than he anticipated, and he was very liberal to Timothy and myself; indeed, he looked upon me as his right hand, and became more intimate and attached every day.  We were, of course, delighted to return to the camp, after our excursion.  There was so much continued bustle and excitement in our peculiar profession, that a little quiet was delightful; and I never felt more happy than when Fleta threw herself into my arms, and Nattee came forward with her usual dignity and grace, but with more than usual condescendence and kindness, bidding me welcome home.  Home—­alas! it was never meant for my home, or poor Fleta’s—­and that I felt.  It was our sojourn for a time, and no more.

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We had been more than a year exercising our talents in this lucrative manner, when one day, as I was sitting at the entrance to the tent, with a book in my hand, out of which Fleta was reading to me, a gipsy not belonging to our gang made his appearance.  He was covered with dust, and the dew drops hanging on his dark forehead, proved that he had travelled fast.  He addressed Nattee, who was standing by, in their own language, which I did not understand; but I perceived that he asked for Melchior.  After an exchange of a few sentences, Nattee expressed astonishment and alarm, put her hands over her face, and removed them as quickly, as if derogatory in her to show emotion, and then remained in deep thought.  Perceiving Melchior approaching, the gipsy hastened to him, and they were soon in animated conversation.  In ten minutes it was over:  the gipsy went to the running brook, washed his face, took a large draught of water, and then hastened away and was soon out of sight.

Melchior, who had watched the departure of the gipsy, slowly approached us.  I observed him and Nattee, as they met, as I was certain that something important had taken place.  Melchior fixed his eyes upon Nattee—­she looked at him mournfully—­folded her arms, and made a slight bow as if in submission, and in a low voice, quoted from the Scriptures, “Whither thou goest, I will go—­thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.”  He then walked away with her:  they sat down apart, and were in earnest conversation for more than an hour.

“Japhet,” said Melchior to me, after he had quitted his wife, “what I am about to tell you will surprise you.  I have trusted you with all I dare trust any one, but there are some secrets in every man’s life which had better be reserved for himself and her who is bound to him by solemn ties.  We must now part.  In a few days this camp will be broken up, and these people will join some other division of the tribe.  For me, you will see me no more.  Ask me not to explain, for I cannot.”

“And Nattee,” said I.

“Will follow my fortunes, whatever they may be—­you will see her no more.”

“For myself I care not, Melchior; the world is before me, and remain with the gipsies without you I will not; but answer me one question—­what is to become of little Fleta?  Is she to remain with the tribe, to which she does not belong, or does she go with you?”

Melchior hesitated.  “I hardly can answer, but what consequence can the welfare of a soldier’s brat be to you?”

“Allowing her to be what you assert, Melchior, I am devotedly attached to that child, and could not bear that she should remain here.  I am sure that you deceived me in what you stated, for the child remembers, and has told me, anecdotes of her infancy, which proves that she is of no mean family, and that she has been stolen from her friends.”

“Indeed, is her memory so good?” replied Melchior, firmly closing his teeth.  “To Nattee or to me she has never hinted so much.”

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“That is very probable; but a stolen child she is, Melchior, and she must not remain here.”

“Must not.”

“Yes; must not, Melchior; when you quit the tribe, you will no longer have any power, nor can you have any interest about her.  She shall then choose—­if she will come with me, I will take her, and nothing shall prevent me; and in so doing I do you no injustice, nor do I swerve in my fidelity.”

“How do you know that?  I may have my secret reasons against it.”

“Surely you can have no interest in a soldier’s brat, Melchior?”

Melchior appeared confused and annoyed.  “She is no soldier’s brat; I acknowledge, Japhet, that the child was stolen; but you must not, therefore, imply that the child was stolen by me or by my wife.”

“I never accused you, or thought you capable of it; and that is the reason why I am now surprised at the interest you take in her.  If she prefers to go with you, I have no more to say, but if not, I claim her; and if she consents, will resist your interference.”

“Japhet,” replied Melchior, after a pause, “we must not quarrel now that we are about to part.  I will give you an answer in half an hour.”

Melchior returned to Nattee, and re-commenced a conversation with her, while I hastened to Fleta.

“Fleta, do you know that the camp is to be broken up, and Melchior and Nattee leave it together?”

“Indeed!” replied she, with surprise.  “Then what is to become of you and Timothy?”

“We must of course seek our fortunes where we can.”

“And of me?” continued she, looking me earnestly in the face with her large blue eyes.  “Am I to stay here?” continued she, with alarm in her countenance.

“Not if you do not wish it, Fleta; as long as I can support you I will—­that is, if you would like to live with me in preference to Melchior.”

“If I would like, Japhet; you must know I would like—­who has been so kind to me as you?  Don’t leave me, Japhet.”

“I will not, Fleta; but on condition that you promise to be guided by me, and to do all I wish.”

“To do what you wish is the greatest pleasure that I have, Japhet—­so I may safely promise that.  What has happened?”

“That I do not know more than yourself; but Melchior tells me that he and Nattee quit the gipsy tents for ever.”

Fleta looked round to ascertain if any one was near us, and then in a low tone said, “I understand their language, Japhet, that is, a great deal of it, although they do not think so, and I overheard what the gipsy said in part, although he was at some distance.  He asked for Melchior; and when Nattee wanted to know what he wanted, he answered that, ‘he was dead;’ then Nattee covered up her face.  I could not hear all the rest, but there was something about a horse.”

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He was dead.  Had then Melchior committed murder, and was obliged to fly the country?  This appeared to me to be the most probable, when I collected the facts in my possession; and yet I could not believe it, for except that system of deceit necessary to carry on his various professions, I never found anything in Melchior’s conduct which could be considered as criminal.  On the contrary, he was kind, generous, and upright in his private dealings, and in many points, proved that he had a good heart.  He was a riddle of inconsistency it was certain; professionally he would cheat anybody, and disregard all truth and honesty; but, in his private character, he was scrupulously honest, and, with the exception of the assertion relative to Fleta’s birth and parentage, he had never told me a lie, that I could discover.  I was summing up all these reflections in my mind, when Melchior again came up to me, and desiring the little girl to go away, he said, “Japhet, I have resolved to grant your request with respect to Fleta, but it must be on conditions.”

“Let me hear them.”

“First, then, Japhet, as you always have been honest and confiding with me, tell me now what are your intentions.  Do you mean to follow up the profession which you learnt under me, or what do you intend to do?”

“Honestly, then, Melchior, I do not intend to follow up that profession, unless driven to it by necessity.  I intend to seek my father.”

“And if driven to it by necessity, do you intend that Fleta shall aid you by her acquirements?  In short, do you mean to take her with you as a speculation, to make the most of her, to let her sink, when she arrives at the age of woman, into vice and misery?”

“I wonder at your asking me that question, Melchior; it is the first act of injustice I have received at your hands.  No; if obliged to follow up the profession, I will not allow Fleta so to do.  I would sooner that she were in her grave.  It is to rescue her from that very vice and misery, to take her out of a society in which she never ought to have been placed, that I take her with me.”

“And this upon your honour?”

“Yes, upon my honour.  I love her as my sister, and cannot help indulging in the hope that in seeking my father, I may chance to stumble upon her’s.”

Melchior bit his lips.  “There is another promise I must exact from you, Japhet, which is, that to a direction which I will give you, every six months you will inclose an address where you may be heard of, and also intelligence as to Fleta’s welfare and health.”

“To that I gave my cheerful promise:  but, Melchior, you appear to have taken, all at once, a strange interest in this little girl.”

“I wish you now to think that I do take an interest in her, provided you seek not to inquire the why and the wherefore.  Will you accept of funds for her maintenance?”

“Not without necessity compels me; and then I should be glad to find, when I can no longer help her, that you are still her friend.”

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“Recollect, that you will always find what is requisite by writing to the address which I shall give you before we part.  That point is now settled, and on the whole I think the arrangement is good.”

Timothy had been absent during the events of the morning—­when he returned, I communicated to him what had passed, and was about to take place.

“Well, Japhet, I don’t know—­I do not dislike our present life, yet I am not sorry to change it; but what are we to do?”

“That remains to be considered; we have a good stock of money, fortunately, and we must husband it till we find what can be done.”

We took our suppers all together for the last time, Melchior telling us that he had determined to set off the next day.  Nattee looked very melancholy, but resigned; on the contrary, little Fleta was so overjoyed, that her face, generally so mournful, was illuminated with smiles whenever our eyes met.  It was delightful to see her so happy.  The whole of the people in the camp had retired, and Melchior was busy making his arrangements in the tent.  I did not feel inclined to sleep; I was thinking and revolving in my mind my prospects for the future; sitting, or rather lying down, for I was leaning on my elbow, at a short distance from the tents.  The night was dark but clear, and the stars were brilliant.  I had been watching them, and I thought upon Melchior’s ideas of destiny, and dwelling on the futile wish that I could read mine, when I perceived the approach of Nattee.

“Japhet,” said she, “you are to take the little girl with you, I find—­will you be careful of her? for it would be on my conscience if she were left to the mercy of the world.  She departs rejoicing, let not her joy end in tears.  I depart sorrowing.  I leave my people, my kin, my habits, and customs, my influence, all—­but it must be so, it is my destiny.  She is a good child, Japhet—­promise me that you will be a friend to her—­and give her this to wear in remembrance of me, but—­not yet—­not till we are gone—.”  She hesitated.  “Japhet, do not let Melchior see it in your possession; he may not like me having given it away.”  I took the piece of paper containing the present, and having promised all she required, “This is the last—­yes—­the very last time that I may behold this scene,” continued Nattee, surveying the common, the tents, and the animals browsing.  “Be it so; Japhet, good-night, may you prosper!” She then turned away and entered her tent; and soon afterwards I followed her example.

The next day, Melchior was all ready.  What he had packed up was contained in two small bundles.  He addressed the people belonging to the gang, in their own language.  Nattee did the same, and the whole of them kissed her hand.  The tents, furniture, and the greatest part of his other property, were distributed among them.  Jumbo and Num were made over to two of the principal men.  Timothy, Fleta, and I, were also ready, and intended to quit at the same time as Melchior and his wife.

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“Japhet,” said Melchior, “there is yet some money due to you for our last excursion—­(this was true,)—­here it is —­you and Timothy keep but one purse, I am aware.  Good-bye, and may you prosper!”

We shook hands with Nattee and Melchior.  Fleta went up to the former, and crossing her arms, bent her head.  Nattee kissed the child, and led her to Melchior.  He stooped down, kissed her on the forehead, and I perceived a sign of strongly suppressed emotion as he did so.  Our intended routes lay in a different direction, and when both parties had arrived to either verge of the common, we waved our hands as a last farewell, and resumed our paths again.  Fleta burst into tears as she turned away from her former guardians.

Chapter XVII

     A Cabinet Council—­I resolve to set up as a gentleman, having as
     legitimate pretensions to the rank of one as many others.

I led the little sobbing girl by the hand, and we proceeded for some time in silence.  It was not until we gained the high road that Timothy interrupted my reverie, by observing, “Japhet, have you at all made up your mind what you shall do?”

“I have been reflecting, Timothy.  We have lost a great deal of time.  The original intention with which I left London has been almost forgotten; but it must be so no longer.  I now have resolved that as soon as I have placed this poor little girl in safety, that I will prosecute my search, and never be diverted from it.”

“I cannot agree with you that we have lost time, Japhet; we had very little money when we started upon our expedition, and now we have sufficient to enable you to prosecute your plans for a long time.  The question is, in what direction?  We quitted London, and travelled west, in imitation, as we thought, of the wise men.  With all deference, in my opinion, it was like two fools.”

“I have been thinking upon that point also, Tim, and I agree with you.  I expect, from several causes, which you know as well as I do, to find my father among the higher classes of society; and the path we took when we started has led us into the very lowest.  It appears to me that we cannot do better than retrace our steps.  We have the means now to appear as gentlemen, and to mix in good company, and London is the very best place for us to repair to.”

“That is precisely my opinion, Japhet, with one single exception, which I will mention to you; but first tell me, have you calculated what our joint purses may amount to?  It must be a very considerable sum.”

I had not examined the packet in which was the money which Melchior had given me at parting.  I now opened it, and found, to my surprise, that there were Bank notes to the amount of one hundred pounds.  I felt that he had given me this large sum that it might assist me in Fleta’s expenses.  “With this sum,” said I, “I cannot have much less than two hundred and fifty pounds.”

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“And I have more than sixty,” said Timothy.  “Really, the profession was not unprofitable.”

“No,” replied I, laughing; “but recollect, Tim, that we had no outlay.  The public provided us with food, our lodging cost us nothing.  We have had no taxes to pay; and at the same time have taxed folly and credulity to a great extent.”

“That’s true, Japhet; and although I am glad to have the money, I am not sorry that we have abandoned the profession.”

“Nor am I, Tim; if you please, we will forget it altogether.  But tell me, what was the exception you were about to make?”

“Simply this.  Although upwards of three hundred pounds may be a great deal of money, yet, if we are to support the character and appearance of gentlemen, it will not last for ever.  For instance, we must have our valets.  What an expense that will be!  Our clothes too—­we shall soon lose our rank and station in society, without we obtain a situation under government.”

“We must make it last as long as we can, Timothy; and trust to good fortune to assist us.”

“That’s all very well, Japhet; but I had rather trust to our own prudence.  Now hear what I have to say.  You will be as much assisted by a trusty valet as by any other means.  I shall, as a gentleman, be only an expense and an incumbrance; but as a valet I shall be able to play into your hands, at the same time more than one half the expense will be avoided.  With your leave, therefore, I will take my proper situation, put on your livery, and thereby make myself of the greatest use.”

I could not help acknowledging the advantages to be derived from this proposal of Timothy’s; but I did not like to accept it.

“It is very kind of you, Timothy,” replied I; “but I can only look upon you as a friend and an equal.”

“There you are right and are wrong in the same breath.  You are right in looking upon me as a friend, Japhet; and you would be still more right in allowing me to prove my friendship as I propose; but you are wrong in looking upon me as an equal, for I am not so either in personal appearance, education, or anything else.  We are both foundlings, it is true; but you were christened after Abraham Newland, and I after the workhouse pump.  You were a gentleman foundling, presenting yourself with a fifty pound note, and good clothes.  I made my appearance in rags and misery.  If you find your parents, you will rise in the world; if I find mine, I shall, in all probability, have no reason to be proud of them.  I therefore must insist upon having my own choice in the part I am to play in the drama, and I will prove to you that it is my right to choose.  You forget that, when we started, your object was to search after your father, and I told you mine should be to look after my mother.  You have selected high life as the expected sphere in which he is to be found, and I select low life as that in which I am most likely

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to discover the object of my search.  So you perceive,” continued Tim, laughing, “that we must arrange so as to suit the views of both without parting company.  Do you hunt among bag-wigs, amber-headed canes, silks and satins—­I will burrow among tags and tassels, dimity and mob caps; and probably we shall both succeed in the object of our search.  I leave you to hunt in the drawing-rooms, while I ferret in the kitchen.  You may throw yourself on a sofa and exclaim—­’Who is my father?’ while I will sit in the cook’s lap, and ask her if she may happen to be my mother.”

This sally of Timothy’s made even Fleta laugh; and after a little more remonstrance, I consented that he should perform the part of my valet.  Indeed, the more I reflected upon it, the greater appeared the advantages which might accrue from the arrangement.  By the time that this point had been settled, we had arrived at the town to which we directed our steps, and took up our quarters at an inn of moderate pretensions, but of very great external cleanliness.  My first object was to find out some fitting asylum for little Fleta.  The landlady was a buxom, good-tempered young woman, and I gave the little girl into her charge, while Timothy and I went out on a survey.  I had made up my mind to put her to some good, but not very expensive, school, if such were to be found in the vicinity.  I should have preferred taking her with me to London, but I was aware how much more expensive it would be to provide for her there; and as the distance from the metropolis was but twenty miles, I could easily run down to see her occasionally.  I desired the little girl to call me her brother, as such I intended to be to her in future, and not to answer every question they might put to her.  There was, however, little occasion for this caution; for Fleta was, as I before observed, very unlike children in general.  I then went out with Timothy to look for a tailor, that I might order our clothes, as what we had on were not either of the very best taste, or in the very best condition.  We walked up the main street, and soon fell in with a tailor’s shop, over which was written in large letters—­“Feodor Shneider, Tailor to his Royal Highness the Prince of Darmstadt.”

“Will that do, Japhet?” said Timothy, pointing to the announcement.

“Why yes,” replied I; “but how the deuce the Prince of Darmstadt should have employed a man in a small country town as his tailor, is to me rather a puzzle.”

“Perhaps he made his clothes when he was in Germany,” replied Tim.

“Perhaps he did; but, however, he shall have the honour of making mine.”

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We entered the shop, and I ordered a suit of the most fashionable clothes, choosing my colours, and being very minute in my directions to the foreman, who measured me; but as I was leaving the shop the master, judging by my appearance, which was certainly not exactly that of a gentleman, ventured to observe that it was customary with gentlemen, whom they had not the honour of knowing, to leave a deposit.  Although the very proposal was an attack upon my gentility, I made no reply; but pulling out a handful of guineas, laid down two on the counter, and walked away, that I might find another shop at which we might order the livery of Timothy; but this was only as a reconnoitre, as I did not intend to order his liveries until I could appear in my own clothes, which were promised on the afternoon of the next day.  There were, however, several other articles to be purchased, such as a trunk, portmanteau, hat, gloves, &c., all which we procured, and then went back to the inn.  On my return I ordered dinner.  Fleta was certainly clad in her best frock, but bad was the best; and the landlady, who could extract little from the child, could not imagine who we could be.  I had, however, allowed her to see more than sufficient money to warrant our expenses; and so far her scruples were, although her curiosity was not, removed.

That evening I had a long conversation with Fleta.  I told her that we were to part, that she must go to school, and that I would very often come down to see her.  At first, she was inconsolable at the idea; but I reasoned with her, and the gentle, intelligent creature acknowledged that it was right.  The next day my clothes came home, and I dressed myself.  “Without flattery, Japhet,” said Timothy, “you do look very much like a gentleman.”  Fleta smiled, and said the same.  I thought so too, but said nothing.  Putting on my hat and gloves, and accompanied by Timothy, I descended to go out and order Tim’s liveries, as well as a fit-out for Fleta.

After I was out in the street I discovered that I had left my handkerchief, and returned to fetch it.  The landlady, seeing a gentleman about to enter the inn, made a very low courtesy, and it was not until I looked hard at her that she recognised me.  Then I was satisfied; it was an involuntary tribute to my appearance, worth all the flattering assertions in the world.  We now proceeded to the other tailor’s in the main street.  I entered the shop with a flourishing, important air, and was received with many bows.  “I wish,” said I, “to have a suit of livery made for this young man, who is about to enter into my service.  I cannot take him up to town this figure.”  The livery was chosen, and as I expressed my wish to be off the next evening, it was promised to be ready by an hour appointed.

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I then went to a milliner’s, and desired that she would call at the inn to fit out a little girl for school, whose wardrobe had been left behind by mistake.  On the fourth day all was ready.  I had made inquiries, and found out a very respectable school, kept by a widow lady.  I asked for references, which were given, and I was satisfied.  The terms were low—­twenty pounds per annum.  I paid the first half year in advance, and lodged fifty guineas more in the hands of a banker, taking a receipt for it, and giving directions that it was to be paid to the schoolmistress as it became due.  I took this precaution, that should I be in poverty myself, at all events Fleta might be provided in clothes and schooling for three years at least.  The poor child wept bitterly at the separation, and I could with difficulty detach her little arms from my neck, and I felt when I left her as if I had parted with the only valuable object to me on earth.

All was now ready; but Timothy did not, as yet, assume his new clothes.  It would have appeared strange that one who sat at my table should afterwards put on my livery; and as, in a small town there is always plenty of scandal, for Fleta’s sake, if for no other reason, it was deferred until our arrival in London.  Wishing the landlady good-bye, who I really believed would have given up her bill to have known who we could possibly be, we got on the outside of the stage-coach, and in the evening arrived in the metropolis.  I have been particular in describing all these little circumstances, as it proves how very awkward it is to jump, without observation, from one station in society to another.

Chapter XVIII

     I receive a letter from my uncle by which I naturally expect to
     find out who is my father—­Like other outcasts, I am warned by a

But I have omitted to mention a circumstance of great importance, which occurred at the inn the night before I placed Fleta at the boarding-school.  In looking over my portmanteau, I perceived the present of Nattee to Fleta, which I had quite forgotten.  I took it to Fleta, and told her from whom it came.  On opening the paper, it proved to contain a long chain of round coral and gold beads, strung alternately; the gold beads were not so large as the coral, but still the number of them, and the purity of the metal, made them of considerable value.  Fleta passed the beads through her fingers, and then threw it round her neck, and sat in deep thought for some minutes.  “Japhet,” said she at last, “I have seen this—­I have worn this before—­I recollect that I have; it rushes into my memory as an old friend, and I think that before morning it will bring to my mind something that I shall recollect about it.”

“Try all you can, Fleta, and let me know to-morrow.”

“It’s no use trying; if I try, I never can recollect anything.  I must wear it to-night, and then I shall have something come into my mind all of a sudden; or perhaps I may dream something.  Good-night.”

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It immediately occurred to me that it was most probable that the chain had been on Fleta’s neck at the time that she was stolen from her parents, and might prove the means of her being identified.  It was no common chain—­apparently had been wrought by people in a state of semi-refinement.  There was too little show for its value—­too much sterling gold for the simple effect produced; and I very much doubted whether another like it could be found.

The next morning Fleta was too much affected at parting with me, to enter into much conversation.  I asked whether she had recollected anything, and she replied, “No; that she had cried all night at the thoughts of our separation.”  I cautioned her to be very careful of the chain, and I gave the same caution to the schoolmistress; and after I had left the town, I regretted that I had not taken it away, and deposited it in some place of security.  I resolved to do so when I next saw Fleta; in the meantime, she would be able, perhaps, by association, to call up some passage of her infancy connected with it.

I had inquired of a gentleman who sat near me on the coach, which was the best hotel for a young man of fashion.  He recommended the Piazza, in Covent Garden, and to that we accordingly repaired.  I selected handsome apartments, and ordered a light supper.  When the table was laid, Timothy made his appearance, in his livery, and cut a very smart, dashing figure.  I dismissed the waiter, and as soon as we were alone, I burst into a fit of laughter.  “Really, Timothy, this is a good farce; come, sit down, and help me to finish this bottle of wine.”

“No, sir,” replied Timothy; “with your permission, I prefer doing as the rest of my fraternity.  You only leave the bottle on the sideboard, and I will steal as much as I want; but as for sitting down, that will be making too free, and if we were seen, would be, moreover, very dangerous.  We must both keep up our characters.  They have been plying me with all manner of questions below, as to who you were—­your name, &c.  I resolved that I would give you a lift in the world, and I stated that you had just arrived from making a grand tour—­which is not a fib, after all—­and as for your name, I said that you were at present incog.”

“But why did you make me incog.?”

“Because it may suit you so to be; and it certainly is the truth, for you don’t know your real name.”

We were here interrupted by the waiter bringing in a letter upon a salver.  “Here is a letter addressed to ’I, or J.N., on his return from his tour,’ sir,” said he; “I presume it is for you?”

“You may leave it,” said I, with nonchalance.

The waiter laid the letter on the table, and retired.

“How very odd, Timothy—­this letter cannot be for me; and yet they are my initials.  It is as much like a J as an I. Depend upon it, it is some fellow who has just gained this intelligence below, and has written to ask for a subscription to his charity list, imagining that I am flush of money, and liberal.”

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“I suppose so,” replied Tim; “however, you may just as well see what he says.”

“But if I open it he will expect something.  I had better refuse it.”

“O no, leave that to me; I know how to put people off.”

“After all, it is a fine thing to be a gentleman, and be petitioned.”

I broke open the seal, and found that the letter contained an inclosure addressed to another person.  The letter was as follows:—­

“My dear Nephew,—­[’Bravo, sir,’ said Timothy; ’you’ve found an uncle already—­you’ll soon find a father.’] From the great uncertainty of the post, I have not ventured to do more than hint at what has come to light during this last year, but as it is necessary that you should be acquainted with the whole transaction; and as you had not decided when you last wrote, whether you would prosecute your intended three months trip to Sicily, or return from Milan, you may probably arrive when I am out of town; I therefore enclose you a letter to Mr Masterton, directing him to surrender to you a sealed packet, lodged in his hands, containing all the particulars, the letters which bear upon them, and what has been proposed to avoid exposure; which you may peruse at your leisure, should you arrive before my return to town.  There is no doubt but that the affair may be hushed up, and we trust that you will see the prudence of the measure; as, once known, it will be very discreditable to the family escutcheon. (’I always had an idea you were of good family,’ interrupted Tim.) I wish you had followed my advice, and had not returned; but as you were positive on that point, I beg you will now consider the propriety of remaining incognito, as reports are already abroad, and your sudden return will cause a great deal of surmise.  Your long absence at the Gottingen University, and your subsequent completion of your grand tour, will have effaced all remembrance of your person, and you can easily be passed off as a particular friend of mine, and I can introduce you everywhere as such.  Take, then, any name you may please, provided it be not Smith or Brown, or such vulgarisms; and on the receipt of this letter, write a note, and send it to my house in Portman Square, just saying, ‘so and so is arrived.’  This will prevent the servants from obtaining any information by their prying curiosity; and as I have directed all my letters to be forwarded to my seat in Worcestershire, I shall come up immediately that I receive it, and by your putting the name which you mean to assume, I shall know whom to ask for when I call at the hotel.

     “Your affectionate Uncle,


“One thing is very clear, Timothy,” said I, laying the letter on the table, “that it cannot be intended for me.”

“How do you know, sir, that this lord is not your uncle?  At all events, you must do as he bids you.”

“What—­go for the papers! most certainly I shall not.”

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“Then how in the name of fortune do you expect to find your father, when you will not take advantage of such an opportunity of getting into society?  It is by getting possession of other people’s secrets, that you will worm out your own.”

“But it is dishonest, Timothy.”

“A letter is addressed to you, in which you have certain directions; you break the seal with confidence, and you read what you find is possibly not for you; but, depend upon it, Japhet, that a secret obtained is one of the surest roads to promotion.  Recollect your position; cut off from the world, you have to re-unite yourself with it, to recover your footing, and create an interest.  You have not those who love you to help you—­you must not scruple to obtain your object by fear.”

“That is a melancholy truth, Tim,” replied I; “and I believe I must put my strict morality in my pocket.”

“Do, sir, pray, until you can afford to be moral; it’s a very expensive virtue that; a deficiency of it made you an outcast from the world, you must not scruple at a slight deficiency on your own part, to regain your position.”

There was so much shrewdness, so much of the wisdom of the serpent in the remarks of Timothy, that, added to my ardent desire to discover my father, which since my quitting the gipsy camp had returned upon me with two-fold force, my scruples were overcome, and I resolved that I would not lose such an opportunity.  Still I hesitated, and went up into my room, that I might reflect upon what I should do.  I went to bed, revolving the matter in my mind, and turning over from one position to the other, at one time deciding that I would not take advantage of the mistake, at another quite as resolved that I would not throw away such an opening for the prosecution of my search; at last I fell into an uneasy slumber, and had a strange dream.  I thought that I was standing upon an isolated rock, with the waters raging around me; the tide was rising, and at last the waves were roaring at my feet.  I was in a state of agony, and expected that, in a short time, I should be swallowed up.  The main land was not far off, and I perceived well-dressed people in crowds, who were enjoying themselves, feasting, dancing, and laughing in merry peals.  I held out my hands—­I shouted to them—­they saw, and heard me, but heeded me not.  My horror at being swept away by the tide was dreadful.  I shrieked as the water rose.  At last I perceived something unroll itself from the main land, and gradually advancing to the inland, form a bridge by which I could walk over and be saved.  I was about to hasten over, when “Private, and no thoroughfare,” appeared at the end nearest me, in large letters of fire.  I started back with amazement, and would not, dared not pass them.  When all of a sudden, a figure in white appeared by my side, and said to me, pointing to the bridge, “Self-preservation is the first law of nature.”

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I looked at the person who addressed me; gradually the figure became darker and darker, until it changed to Mr Cophagus, with his stick up to his nose.  “Japhet, all nonsense—­very good bridge—­um—­walk over—­find father—­and so on.”  I dashed over the bridge, which appeared to float on the water, and to be composed of paper, gained the other side, and was received with shouts of congratulation, and the embraces of the crowd.  I perceived an elderly gentleman come forward; I knew it was my father, and I threw myself into his arms.  I awoke, and found myself rolling on the floor, embracing the bolster with all my might.  Such was the vivid impression of this dream, that I could not turn my thoughts away from it, and at last I considered that it was a divine interposition.  All my scruples vanished, and before the day had dawned I determined that I would follow the advice of Timothy.  An enthusiast is easily led to believe what he wishes, and he mistakes his own feelings for warnings; the dreams arising from his daily contemplations for the interference of Heaven.  He thinks himself armed by supernatural assistance, and warranted by the Almighty to pursue his course, even if that course should be contrary to the Almighty’s precepts.  Thus was I led away by my own imaginings, and thus was my monomania increased to an impetus which forced before it all consideration of what was right or wrong.

Chapter XIX

     An important chapter—­I make some important acquaintances, obtain
     some important papers which I am importunate to read through.

The next morning I told my dream to Timothy, who laughed very heartily at my idea of the finger of Providence.  At last, perceiving that I was angry with him, he pretended to be convinced.  When I had finished my breakfast, I sent to inquire the number in the square of Lord Windermear’s town house, and wrote the following simple note to his lordship, “Japhet Newland has arrived from his tour at the Piazza, Covent Garden.”  This was confided to Timothy, and I then set off with the other letter to Mr Masterton, which was addressed to Lincoln’s Inn.  By reading the addresses of the several legal gentlemen, I found out that Mr Masterton was located on the first floor.  I rang the bell, which had the effect of “Open, Sesame,” as the door appeared to swing to admit me without any assistance.  I entered an ante-room, and from thence found myself in the presence of Mr Masterton—­a little old man, with spectacles on his nose, sitting at a table covered with papers.  He offered me a chair, and I presented the letter.

“I see that I am addressing Mr Neville,” said he, after he had perused the letter.  “I congratulate you on your return.  You may not, perhaps, remember me?”

“Indeed, sir, I cannot say that I do, exactly.”

“I could not expect it, my dear sir, you have been so long away.  You have very much improved in person, I must say; yet still, I recollect your features as a mere boy.  Without compliment, I had no idea that you would ever have made so handsome a man.”  I bowed to the compliment.  “Have you heard from your uncle?”

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“I had a few lines from Lord Windermear, enclosing your letter.”

“He is well, I hope?”

“Quite well, I believe.”

Mr Masterton then rose, went to an iron safe, and brought out a packet of papers, which he put into my hands.  “You will read these with interest, Mr Neville.  I am a party to the whole transaction, and must venture to advise you not to appear in England under your own name, until all is settled.  Your uncle, I perceive, has begged the same.”

“And I have assented, sir.  I have taken a name instead of my real one.”

“May I ask what it is?”

“I call myself Mr Japhet Newland.”

“Well, it is singular, but perhaps as good as any other.  I will take it down, in case I have to write to you.  Your address is—­”

“Piazza—­Covent Garden.”

Mr Masterton took my name and address, I took the papers, and then we both took leave of one another, with many expressions of pleasure and good-will.

I returned to the hotel, where I found Timothy waiting for me, with impatience.  “Japhet,” said he, “Lord Windermear has not yet left town.  I have seen him, for I was called back after I left the house, by the footman, who ran after me—­he will be here immediately.”

“Indeed,” replied I.  “Pray what sort of person is he, and what did he say to you?”

“He sent for me in the dining-parlour, where he was at breakfast, asked when you arrived, whether you were well, and how long I had been in your service.  I replied that I had not been more than two days, and had just put on my liveries.  He then desired me to tell Mr Newland that he would call upon him in about two hours.  Then, my lord,” replied I, “I had better go and tell him to get out of bed.”

“The lazy dog!” said he, “nearly one o’clock, and not out of bed; well, go then, and get him dressed as fast as you can.”

Shortly afterwards a handsome carriage with greys drew up to the door.  His lordship sent in his footman to ask whether Mr Newland was at home.  The reply of the waiter was, that there was a young gentleman who had been there two or three days, who had come from making a tour, and his name did begin with an N.  “That will do, James; let down the steps.”  His lordship alighted, was ushered up stairs, and into my room.  There we stood, staring at each other.

“Lord Windermear, I believe,” said I, extending my hand.

“You have recognised me first, John,” said he, taking my hand, and looking earnestly in my face.  “Good heavens! is it possible that an awkward boy should have grown up into so handsome a fellow?  I shall be proud of my nephew.  Did you remember me when I entered the room?”

“To tell the truth, my lord, I did not; but expecting you, I took it for granted that it must be you.”

“Nine years make a great difference, John;—­but I forget, I must now call you Japhet.  Have you been reading the Bible lately, that you fixed upon that strange name?”

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“No, my lord, but this hotel is such a Noah’s ark, that it’s no wonder I thought of it.”

“You’re an undutiful dog, not to ask after your mother, sir.”

“I was about—­”

“I see—­I see,” interrupted his lordship; “but recollect, John, that she still is your mother.  By-the-by, have you read the papers yet?”

“No, sir,” replied I, “there they are,” pointing to them on the side table.  “I really do not like to break the seals.”

“That they will not contain pleasant intelligence, I admit,” replied his lordship; “but until you have read them, I do not wish to converse with you on the subject, therefore,” said he, taking up the packet, and breaking the seals, “I must now insist that you employ this forenoon in reading them through.  You will dine with me at seven, and then we will talk the matter over.”

“Certainly, sir, if you wish it, I will read them.”

“I must insist upon it, John; and am rather surprised at your objecting, when they concern you so particularly.”

“I shall obey your orders, sir.”

“Well, then, my boy, I shall wish you good morning, that you may complete your task before you come to dinner.  To-morrow, if you wish it—­but recollect, I never press young men on these points, as I am aware that they sometimes feel it a restraint—­if you wish it, I say, you may bring your portmanteaus, and take up your quarters with me.  By-the-bye,” continued his lordship, taking hold of my coat, “who made this?”

“The tailor to his Serene Highness the Prince of Darmsradt had that honour, my lord,” replied I.

“Humph!  I thought they fitted better in Germany; it’s not quite the thing—­we must consult Stulz, for with that figure and face, the coat ought to be quite correct.  Adieu, my dear fellow, till seven.”

His lordship shook hands with me, and I was left alone.  Timothy came in as soon as his lordship’s carriage had driven off.  “Well, sir,” said he, “was your uncle glad to see you?”

“Yes,” replied I; “and look, he has broken open the seals, and has insisted upon my reading the papers.”

“It would be very undutiful in you to refuse, so I had better leave you to your task,” said Timothy, smiling, as he quitted the room.

Chapter XX

     I open an account with my bankers, draw largely upon credulity, and
     am prosperous without a check.

I sat down and took up the papers.  I was immediately and strangely interested in all that I read.  A secret!—­it was, indeed, a secret, involving the honour and reputation of the most distinguished families.  One that, if known, the trumpet of scandal would have blazoned forth to the disgrace of the aristocracy.  It would have occasioned bitter tears to some, gratified the petty malice of many, satisfied the revenge of the vindictive, and bowed with shame the innocent as well as the guilty.  It is not necessary, nor, indeed, would I, on any account, state any more.  I finished the last paper, and then fell into a reverie.  This is, indeed, a secret, thought I; one that I would I never had possessed.  In a despotic country my life would be sacrificed to the fatal knowledge—­here, thank God, my life as well as my liberty are safe.

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The contents of the papers told me all that was necessary to enable me to support the character which I had assumed.  The reason why the party, whom I was supposed to be, was intrusted with it, was, that he was in a direct line, eventually heir, and the question was whether he would waive his claim with the others, and allow death to bury crime in oblivion.  I felt that were I in his position I should so do—­and therefore was prepared to give an answer to his lordship.  I sealed up the papers, dressed myself, and went to dinner; and after the cloth was removed, Lord Windermear, first rising and turning the key in the door, said to me, in a low voice, “You have read the papers, and what those, nearly as much interested as you are in this lamentable business, have decided upon.  Tell me, what is your opinion?”

“My opinion, my lord, is, that I wish I had never known what has come to light this day—­that it will be most advisable never to recur to the subject, and that the proposals made are, in my opinion, most judicious, and should be acted upon.”

“That is well,” replied his lordship; “then all are agreed, and I am proud to find you possessed of such honour and good feeling.  We now drop the subject for ever.  Are you inclined to leave town with me, or what do you intend to do?”

“I prefer remaining in town, if your lordship will introduce me to some of the families of your acquaintance.  Of course I know no one now.”

“Very true; I will introduce you, as agreed, as Mr Newland.  It may be as well that you do not know any of our relations, whom I have made to suppose, that you are still abroad—­and it would be awkward, when you take your right name by-and-bye.  Do you mean to see your mother?”

“Impossible, my lord, at present; by-and-bye I hope to be able.”

“Perhaps it’s all for the best.  I will now write one note to Major Carbonnell, introducing you as my particular friend, and requesting that he will make London agreeable.  He knows everybody, and will take you everywhere.”

“When does your lordship start for the country?”

“To-morrow; so we may as well part to-night.  By-the-by, you have credit at Drummond’s, in the name of Newland, for a thousand pounds; the longer you make it last you the better.”

His lordship gave me the letter of introduction.  I returned to him the sealed packet, shook hands with him, and took my departure.

“Well, sir,” said Timothy, rubbing his hands, as he stood before me, “what is the news; for I am dying to hear it—­and what is this secret?”

“With regard to the secret, Tim, a secret it must remain.  I dare not tell it even to you.”  Timothy looked rather grave at this reply.  “No, Timothy, as a man of honour, I cannot.”  My conscience smote me when I made use of the term; for, as a man of honour, I had no business to be in possession of it.  “My dear Timothy, I have done wrong already, do not ask me to do worse.”

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“I will not, Japhet; but only tell me what has passed, and what you intend to do?”

“That I will, Timothy, with pleasure;” and I then stated all that had passed between his lordship and me.

“And now, you observe, Timothy, I have gained what I desired, an introduction into the best society.”

“And the means of keeping up your appearance,” echoed Timothy, rubbing his hands.  “A thousand pounds will last a long while.”

“It will last a very long while, Tim, for I never will touch it; it would be swindling.”

“So it would,” replied Tim, his countenance falling; “well, I never thought of that.”

“I have thought of much more, Tim; recollect I must, in a very short time, be exposed to Lord Windermear, for the real Mr Neville will soon come home.”

“Good heavens! what will become of us?” replied Timothy, with alarm in his countenance.

“Nothing can hurt you, Tim, the anger will be all upon me; but I am prepared to face it, and I would face twice as much for the distant hope of finding my father.  Whatever Lord Windermear may feel inclined to do, he can do nothing; and my possession of the secret will ensure even more than my safety; it will afford me his protection, if I demand it.”

“I hope it may prove so,” replied Timothy, “but I feel a little frightened.”

“I do not; to-morrow I shall give my letter of introduction, and then I will prosecute my search.  So now, my dear Tim, good-night.”

The next morning, I lost no time in presenting my letter of introduction to Major Carbonnell.  He lived in apartments on the first floor in St James’s Street, and I found him at breakfast, in a silk dressing gown.  I had made up my mind that a little independence always carries with it an air of fashion.  When I entered, therefore, I looked at him with a knowing air, and dropping the letter down on the table before him, said, “There’s something for you to read, Major; and, in the meantime, I’ll refresh myself on this chair;” suiting the action to the word, I threw myself on a chair, amusing myself with tapping the sides of my boots with a small cane which I carried in my hand.

Major Carbonnell, upon whom I cast a furtive eye more than once during the time that he was reading the letter, was a person of about thirty-five years of age, well-looking, but disfigured by the size of his whiskers, which advanced to the corners of his mouth, and met under his throat.  He was tall and well made, and with an air of fashion about him that was undeniable.  His linen was beautifully, clean and carefully arranged, and he had as many rings on his fingers, and, when he was dressed, chains and trinkets, as ever were put on by a lady.

“My dear sir, allow me the honour of making at once your most intimate acquaintance,” said he, rising from his chair, and offering his hand, as soon as he had perused the letter.  “Any friend of Lord Windermear’s would be welcome, but when he brings such an extra recommendation in his own appearance, he becomes doubly so.”

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“Major Carbonnell,” replied I, “I have seen you but two minutes, and I have taken a particular fancy to you, in which I, no doubt, have proved my discrimination.  Of course, you know that I have just returned from making a tour?”

“So I understand from his lordship’s letter.  Mr Newland, my time is at your service.  Where are you staying?”

“At the Piazza.”

“Very good; I will dine with you to-day; order some mulligatawny, they are famous for it.  After dinner we will go to the theatre.”

I was rather surprised at his cool manner of asking himself to dine with me and ordering my dinner, but a moment’s reflection made me feel what sort of person I had to deal with.

“Major, I take that as almost an affront.  You will dine with me to-day! I beg to state that you must dine with me every day that we are not invited elsewhere; and what’s more, sir, I shall be most seriously displeased, if you do not order the dinner every time that you do dine with me, and ask whoever you may think worthy of putting their legs under our table, Let’s have no doing things by halves, Major; I know you now as well as if we had been intimate for ten years.”

The Major seized me by the hand.  “My dear Newland, I only wish we had known one another ten years, as you say—­the loss has been mine; but now—­you have breakfasted, I presume?”

“Yes; having nothing to do, and not knowing a soul after my long absence, I advanced my breakfast about two hours, that I might find you at home; and now I’m at your service.”

“Say rather I am at yours.  I presume you will walk.  In ten minutes I shall be ready.  Either take up the paper, or whistle an air or two, or anything else you like, just to kill ten minutes—­and I shall be at your command.”

Chapter XXI

     I come out under a first-rate chaperon, and at once am established
     into the regions of fashion—­Prove that I am deserving of my

“I beg your pardon, Newland,” said the Major, returning from his dressing-room, resplendent with chains and bijouterie; “but I must have your Christian name.”

“It’s rather a strange one,” replied I; “it is Japhet.”

“Japhet! by the immortal powers, I’d bring an action against my godfathers and godmothers; you ought to recover heavy damages.”

“Then I presume you would not have the name,” replied I, with a knowing look, “for a clear ten thousand a year.”

“Whew! that alters the case—­it’s astonishing how well any name looks in large gold letters.  Well, as the old gentleman, whoever he might have been, made you compensation, you must forgive and forget.  Now where shall we go?”

“With your permission, as I came to town in these clothes, made by a German tailor—­Darmstadt’s tailor by-the-bye—­but still if tailor to a prince, not the prince of tailors—­I would wish you to take me to your own:  your dress appears very correct.”

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“You show your judgment, Newland, it is correct; Stulz will be delighted to have your name on his books, and to do justice to that figure. Allons donc.”

We sauntered up St James’s Street, and before I had arrived at Stulz’s, I had been introduced to at least twenty of the young men about town.  The Major was most particular in his directions about the clothes, all of which he ordered; and as I knew that he was well acquainted with the fashion, I gave him carte blanche.  When we left the shop, he said, “Now, my dear Newland, I have given you a proof of friendship, which no other man in England has had.  Your dress will be the ne plus ultra.  There are little secrets only known to the initiated, and Stulz is aware that this time I am in earnest.  I am often asked to do the same for others, and I pretend so to do; but a wink from me is sufficient, and Stulz dares not dress them.  Don’t you want some bijouterie? or have you any at home?”

“I may as well have a few trifles,” replied I.

We entered a celebrated jeweller’s, and he selected for me to the amount of about forty pounds.  “That will do—­never buy much; for it is necessary to change every three months at least.  What is the price of this chain?”

“It is only fifteen guineas, Major.”

“Well, I shall take it; but recollect,” continued the Major; “I tell you honestly, I never shall pay you.”

The jeweller smiled, bowed, and laughed; the Major threw the chain round his neck, and we quitted the shop.

“At all events, Major, they appear not to believe your word in that shop.”

“My dear fellow, that’s their own fault, not mine.  I tell them honestly I never will pay them; and you may depend upon it, I intend most sacredly to keep my word.  I never do pay anybody, for the best of all possible reasons, I have no money; but then I do them a service—­I make them fashionable, and they know it.”

“What debts do you pay then, Major?”

“Let me think—­that requires consideration.  Oh!  I pay my washer-woman.”

“Don’t you pay your debts of honour?”

“Debts of honour! why I’ll tell you the truth; for I know that we shall hunt in couples.  If I win I take the money:  but if I lose—­why then I forget to pay; and I always tell them so before I set down to the table.  If they won’t believe me, it’s not my fault.  But what’s the hour?  Come, I must make a few calls, and will introduce you.”

We sauntered on to Grosvenor Square, knocked, and were admitted into a large, elegantly-furnished mansion.  The footman announced us—­“My dear Lady Maelstrom, allow me the honour of introducing to you my very particular friend, Mr Newland, consigned to my charge by my Lord Windermear during his absence.  He has just arrived from the continent, where he has been making the grand tour.”

Her ladyship honoured me with a smile.  “By-the-bye, Major, that reminds me—­do me the favour to come to the window.  Excuse us one moment, Mr Newland.”

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The Major and Lady Maelstrom walked to the window, and exchanged a few sentences, and then returned.  Her ladyship holding up her finger, and saying to him as they came towards me, “Promise me now that you won’t forget.”

“Your ladyship’s slightest wishes are to me imperative commands,” replied the Major, with a graceful bow.

In a quarter of an hour, during which the conversation was animated, we rose to take our leave, when her ladyship came up to me, and offering her hand, said, “Mr Newland, the friendship of Lord Windermear, and the introduction of Major Carbonnell, are more than sufficient to induce me to put your name down on my visiting list.  I trust I shall see a great deal of you, and that we shall be great friends.”

I bowed to this handsome announcement, and we retired.  As soon as we were out in the square, the Major observed, “You saw her take me on one side—­it was to pump.  She has no daughters, but about fifty nieces, and match-making is her delight.  I told her that I would stake my honour upon your possessing ten thousand a year; how much more I could not say.  I was not far wrong, was I?”

I laughed.  “What I may be worth, Major, I really cannot say; but I trust that the event will prove that you are not far wrong.  Say no more, my dear fellow.”

“I understand—­you are not yet of age—­of course, have not yet come into possession of your fortune.”

“That is exactly the case, Major.  I am now but little more than nineteen.”

“You look older; but there is no getting over baptismal registries with the executors.  Newland, you must content yourself for the two next years in playing Moses, and only peep at the promised land.”

We made two or three more calls, and then returned to St James’s Street.  “Where shall we go now?  By-the-bye, don’t you want to go to your banker’s?”

“I will just stroll down with you, and see if they have paid any money in,” replied I, carelessly.

We called at Drummond’s, and I asked them if there was any money paid in to the credit of Mr Newland.

“Yes, sir,” replied one of the clerks:  “there is one thousand pounds paid in yesterday.”

“Very good,” replied I.

“How much do you wish to draw for?” inquired the Major.

“I don’t want any,” replied I.  “I have more money than I ought to have in my desk at this moment.”

“Well, then, let us go and order dinner; or perhaps you would like to stroll about a little more; if so, I will go and order the dinner.  Here’s Harcourt, that’s lucky.  Harcourt my dear fellow, know Mr Newland, my very particular friend.  I must leave you now; take his arm, Harcourt, for half an hour, and then join us at dinner at the Piazza.”

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Mr Harcourt was an elegant young man of about five-and-twenty.  Equally pleased with each other’s externals, we were soon familiar:  he was witty, sarcastic, and wellbred.  After half an hour’s conversation he asked me what I thought of the Major.  I looked him in the face and smiled.  “That look tells me that you will not be his dupe, otherwise I had warned you:  he is a strange character:  but if you have money enough to afford to keep him, you cannot do better, as he is acquainted with, and received by, everybody.  His connections are good; and he once had a very handsome fortune, but it was soon run out, and he was obliged to sell his commission in the Guards.  Now he lives upon the world; which as Shakespeare says, is his oyster; and he has wit and sharpness enough to open it.  Moreover, he has some chance of falling into a peerage; that prospect, and his amusing qualities, added to his being the most fashionable man about town, keeps his head above water.  I believe Lord Windermear, who is his cousin, very often helps him.”

“It was Lord Windermear who introduced me to him,” observed I.

“Then he will not venture to play any tricks upon you, further than eating your dinners, borrowing your money, and forgetting to pay it.”

“You must acknowledge,” said I, “he always tells you beforehand that he never will pay you.”

“And that is the only point in which he adheres to his word,” replied Harcourt, laughing; “but, tell me, am I to be your guest to-day?”

“If you will do me that honour.”

“I assure you I am delighted to come, as I shall have a further opportunity of cultivating your acquaintance.”

“Then we had better bend our steps towards the hotel, for it is late,” replied I; and we did so accordingly.

Chapter XXII

     The real Simon Pure proves the worse of the two—­I am found guilty,
     but not condemned; convicted, yet convince; and after having
     behaved the very contrary to, prove that I am, a gentleman.

On our arrival, we found the table spread, champagne in ice under the sideboard, and apparently everything prepared for a sumptuous dinner, the Major on the sofa giving directions to the waiter, and Timothy looking all astonishment.

“Major,” said I, “I cannot tell you how much I am obliged to you for your kindness in taking all this trouble off my hands, that I might follow up the agreeable introduction you have given me to Mr Harcourt.”

“My dear Newland, say no more; you will, I dare say, do the same for me if I require it, when I give a dinner. (Harcourt caught my eye, as if to say, “You may safely promise that.”) But, Newland, do you know that the nephew of Lord Windermear has just arrived?  Did you meet abroad?”

“No,” replied I, somewhat confused; but I soon recovered myself.  As for Tim, he bolted out of the room.  “What sort of a person is he?”

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“That you may judge for yourself, my dear fellow, for I asked him to join us, I must say, more out of compliment to Lord Windermear than anything else; for I am afraid that, even I could never make a gentleman of him.  But take Harcourt with you to your room, and by the time you have washed your hands, I will have dinner on the table.  I took the liberty of desiring your valet to show me in about ten minutes ago.  He’s a shrewd fellow that of your’s—­where did you pick him up?”

“By mere accident,” replied I; “come, Mr Harcourt.”

On our return, we found the real Simon Pure, Mr Estcourt, sitting with the major, who introduced us, and dinner being served, we sat down to table.

Mr Estcourt was a young man, about my own age, but not so tall by two or three inches.  His features were prominent, but harsh; and when I saw him, I was not at all surprised at Lord Windermear’s expressions of satisfaction, when he suppossd that I was his nephew.  His countenance was dogged and sullen, and he spoke little; he appeared to place an immense value upon birth, and hardly deigned to listen, except the aristocracy were the subject of discourse.  I treated him with marked deference, that I might form an acquaintance, and found before we parted that night, that I had succeeded.  Our dinner was excellent, and we were all, except Mr Estcourt, in high good humour.  We sat late—­too late to go to the theatre, and promising to meet the next day at noon, Harcourt and the Major took their leave.

Mr Estcourt had indulged rather too much, and, after their departure, became communicative.  I plied the bottle and we sat up for more than an hour; he talked of nothing but his family and his expectations.  I took this opportunity of discovering what his feelings were likely to be when he was made acquainted with the important secret which was in my possession.  I put a case somewhat similar, and asked him whether in such circumstances he would waive his right for a time, to save the honour of his family.

“No, by G—­d!” replied he, “I never would.  What! give up even for a day my right—­conceal my true rank for the sake of relatives? never—­nothing would induce me.”

I was satisfied, and then casually asked him if he had written to Lord Windermear to inform him of his arrival.

“No,” replied he; “I shall write to-morrow.”  He soon after retired to his own apartment, and I rang for Timothy.

“Good heavens, sir!” cried Timothy, “what is all this—­and what are you about?  I am frightened out of my wits.  Why, sir, our money will not last two months.”

“I do not expect it will last much longer, Tim; but it cannot be helped.  Into society I must get—­and to do so, must pay for it.”

“But, sir, putting the expense aside, what are we to do about this Mr Estcourt?  All must be found out.”

“I intend that it shall be found out, Tim,” replied I; “but not yet.  He will write to his uncle to-morrow; you must obtain the letter, for it must not go.  I must first have time to establish myself, and then Lord Windermear may find out his error as soon as he pleases.”

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“Upon my honour, Japhet, you appear to be afraid of nothing.”

“I fear nothing, Tim, when I am following up the object of my wishes.  I will allow no obstacles to stand in my way, in my search after my father.”

“Really, you seem to be quite mad on that point, Japhet.”

“Perhaps I may be, Tim,” replied I, thoughtfully.  “At all events, let us go to bed now, and I will tell you to-morrow morning, all the events of this day.”

Mr Estcourt wrote his letter, which Tim very officiously offered to put into the post, instead of which we put it between the bars of the grate.

I must now pass over about three weeks, during which I became very intimate with the Major and Mr Harcourt, and was introduced by them to the clubs, and almost every person of fashion.  The idea of my wealth, and my very handsome person and figure, ensured me a warm reception, and I soon became one of the stars of the day.  During this time, I also gained the entire confidence of Mr Estcourt, who put letter after letter into the hands of Timothy, who of course put them into the usual place.  I pacified him as long as I could, by expressing my opinion, that his lordship was on a visit to some friends in the neighbourhood of his seat; but at last, he would remain in town no longer.  You may go now, thought I, I feel quite safe.

It was about five days after his departure, as I was sauntering, arm in arm with the Major, who generally dined with me about five days in the week, that I perceived the carriage of Lord Windermear, with his lordship in it.  He saw us, and pulling his check-string, alighted, and coming up to us, with the colour mounting to his forehead with emotion, returned the salute of the Major and me.

“Major,” said he, “you will excuse me, but I am anxious to have some conversation with Mr Newland; perhaps,” continued his lordship, addressing me, “you will do me the favour to take a seat in my carriage?”

Fully prepared, I lost none of my self-possession, but, thanking his lordship, I bowed to him, and stepped in.

His lordship followed, and, saying to the footman, “Home—­drive fast,” fell back in the carriage, and never uttered one word until we had arrived, and had entered the dining-parlour.  He then took a few steps up and down, before he said, “Mr Newland, or whatever your name may be, I perceive that you consider the possession of an important secret to be your safeguard.  To state my opinion of your conduct is needless; who you are, and what you are, I know not; but,” continued he, no longer controlling his anger; “you certainly can have no pretensions to the character of a gentleman.”

“Perhaps your lordship,” replied I, calmly, “will inform me upon what you may ground your inference.”

“Did you not, in the first place, open a letter addressed to another?”

“My lord, I opened a letter brought to me with the initials of my name, and at the time I opened it I fully believed that it was intended for me.”

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“We will grant that, sir; but after you had opened it you must have known that it was for some other person.”

“I will not deny that, my lord.”

“Notwithstanding which, you apply to my lawyer, representing yourself as another person, to obtain sealed papers.”

“I did, my lord; but allow me to say, that I never should have done so, had I not been warned by a dream.”

“By a dream?”

“Yes, my lord.  I had determined not to go for them, when in a dream I was ordered so to do.”

“Paltry excuse! and then you break private seals.”

“Nay, my lord, although I did go for the papers, I could not, even with the idea of supernatural interposition, make up my mind to break the seals.  If your lordship will recollect, it was you who broke the seals, and insisted upon my reading the papers.”

“Yes, sir, under your false name.”

“It is the name by which I go at present, although I acknowledge it is false; but that is not my fault—­I have no other at present.”

“It is very true, sir, that in all I have now mentioned, the law will not reach you; but recollect, that by assuming another person’s name—­”

“I never did, my lord,” interrupted I.

“Well, I may say, by inducing me to believe that you were my nephew, you have obtained money under false pretences; and for that I now have you in my power.”

“My lord, I never asked you for the money; you yourself paid it into the banker’s hands to my credit, and to my own name.  I appeal to you now, whether, if you so deceived yourself, the law can reach me?”

“Mr Newland, I will say, that much as I regret what has passed, I regret more than all the rest, that one so young, so prepossessing, so candid in appearance, should prove such an adept in deceit.  Thinking you were my nephew, my heart warmed towards you, and I must confess, that since I have seen my real nephew, the mortification has been very great.”

“My lord, I thank you; but allow me to observe, that I am no swindler.  Your thousand pounds you will find safe in the bank, for penury would not have induced me to touch it.  But now that your lordship appears more cool, will you do me the favour to listen to me?  When you have heard my life up to the present, and my motives for what I have done, you will then decide how far I am to blame.”

His lordship took a chair, and motioned to me to take another.  I narrated what had occurred when I was left at the Foundling, and gave him a succinct account of my adventures subsequently—­my determination to find my father—­the dream which induced me to go for the papers—­and all that the reader has already been acquainted with.  His lordship evidently perceived the monomania which controlled me, and heard me with great attention.

“You certainly, Mr Newland, do not stand so low in my opinion as you did before this explanation, and I must make allowances for the excitement under which I perceive you to labour on one subject; but now, sir, allow me to put one question, and I beg that you will answer candidly.  What price do you demand for your secrecy on this important subject?”

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“My lord!” replied I, rising with dignity; “this is the greatest affront you have put upon me yet; still I will name the price by which I will solemnly bind myself, by all my future hopes of finding my father in this world, and of finding an eternal Father in the next, and that price, my lord, is a return of your good opinion.”

His lordship also rose, and walked up and down the room with much agitation in his manner.  “What am I to make of you, Mr Newland?”

“My lord, if I were a swindler, I should have taken your money; if I had wished to avail myself of the secret, I might have escaped with all the documents, and made my own terms.  I am, my lord, nothing more than an abandoned child, trying all he can to find his father” My feelings overpowered me, and I burst into tears.  As soon as I could recover myself, I addressed his lordship, who had been watching me in silence, and not without emotion.  “I have one thing more to say to you, my lord.”  I then mentioned the conversation between Mr Estcourt and myself, and pointed out the propriety of not making him a party to the important secret.

His lordship allowed me to proceed without interruption, and after a few moments’ thought said, “I believe that you are right, Mr Newland; and I now begin to think that it was better that this secret should have been entrusted to you than to him.  You have now conferred an obligation on me, and may command me.  I believe you to be honest, but a little mad, and I beg your pardon for the pain which I have occasioned you.”

“My lord, I am more than satisfied.”

“Can I be of any assistance to you, Mr Newland?”

“If, my lord, you could at all assist me, or direct me in my search—­”

“There I am afraid I can be of little use; but I will give you the means of prosecuting your search, and in so doing, I am doing but an act of justice, for in introducing you to Major Carbonnell, I am aware that I must have very much increased your expenses.  It was an error which must be repaired, and therefore, Mr Newland, I beg you will consider the money at the bank as yours, and make use of it to enable you to obtain your ardent wish.”

“My lord—­”

“I will not be denied, Mr Newland; and if you feel any delicacy on the subject, you may take it as a loan, to be repaid when you find it convenient.  Do not, for a moment, consider that it is given to you because you possess an important secret, for I will trust entirely to your honour on that score.”

“Indeed, my lord,” replied I, “your kindness overwhelms me, and I feel as if, in you, I had already almost found a father.  Excuse me, my lord, but did your lordship ever—­ever—­”

“I know what you would say, my poor fellow:  no, I never did.  I never was blessed with children.  Had I been, I should not have felt that I was disgraced by having one resembling you.  Allow me to entreat you, Mr Newland, that you do not suffer the mystery of your birth to weigh so heavily on your mind; and now I wish you good morning, and if you think I can be useful to you, I beg that you will not fail to let me know.”

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“May Heaven pour down blessings on your head,” replied I, kissing respectfully his lordship’s hand; “and may my father, when I find him, be as like unto you as possible.”  I made my obeisance, and quitted the house.

Chapter XXIII

     The Major prevents the landlord from imposing on me, but I gain
     nothing by his interference—­For economical reasons I agree to live
     with him that he may live on me.

I returned to the hotel, for my mind had been much agitated, and I wished for quiet, and the friendship of Timothy.  As soon as I arrived I told him all that had passed.

“Indeed,” replied Timothy, “things do now wear a pleasant aspect; for I am afraid, that without that thousand, we could not have carried on for a fortnight longer.  The bill here is very heavy, and I’m sure the landlord wishes to see the colour of his money.”

“How much do you think we have left?  It is high time, Timothy, that we now make up our accounts, and arrange some plans for the future,” replied I.  “I have paid the jeweller and the tailor, by the advice of the Major, who says, that you should always pay your first bills as soon as possible, and all your subsequent bills as late as possible; and if put off sine die, so much the better.  In fact, I owe very little now, but the bill here, I will send for it to-night.”

Here we were interrupted by the entrance of the landlord.  “O Mr Wallace, you are the very person I wished to see; let me have my bill, if you please.”

“It’s not of the least consequence, sir,” replied he; “but if you wish it, I have posted down to yesterday,” and the landlord left the room.

“You were both of one mind, at all events,” said Timothy, laughing; “for he had the bill in his hand, and concealed it the moment you asked for it.”

In about ten minutes the landlord re-appeared, and presenting the bill upon a salver, made his bow and retired.  I looked it over, it amounted to L104, which, for little more than three weeks, was pretty well.  Timothy shrugged up his shoulders, while I ran over the items.  “I do not see that there is anything to complain of, Tim,” observed I, when I came to the bottom of it; “but I do see that living here, with the Major keeping me an open house, will never do.  Let us see how much money we have left.”

Tim brought the dressing-case in which our cash was deposited, and we found, that after paying the waiters, and a few small bills not yet liquidated, our whole stock was reduced to fifty shillings.

“Merciful Heaven! what an escape,” cried Timothy; “if it had not been for this new supply, what should we have done?”

“Very badly, Timothy; but the money is well spent, after all.  I have now entrance into the first circles.  I can do without Major Carbonnell; at all events, I shall quit this hotel, and take furnished apartments, and live at the clubs.  I know how to put him off.”

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I laid the money on the salver, and desired Timothy to ring for the landlord, when who should come up but the Major and Harcourt.  “Why, Newland! what are you going to do with that money?” said the Major.

“I am paying my bill, Major.”

“Paying your bill, indeed; let us see—­L104.  O this is a confounded imposition.  You mustn’t pay this.”  At this moment the landlord entered.  “Mr Wallace,” said the Major, “my friend Mr Newland was about, as you may see, to pay you the whole of your demand; but allow me to observe, that being my very particular friend, and the Piazza having been particularly recommended by me, I do think that your charges are somewhat exorbitant.  I shall certainly advise Mr Newland to leave the house to-morrow, if you are not more reasonable.”

“Allow me to observe, Major, that my reason for sending for my bill, was to pay it before I went into the country, which I must do to-morrow, for a few days.”

“Then I shall certainly recommend Mr Newland not to come here when he returns, Mr Wallace, for I hold myself, to a certain degree, after the many dinners we have ordered here, and of which I have partaken, as I may say, particeps criminis, or in other words, as having been a party to this extortion.  Indeed, Mr Wallace, some reduction must be made, or you will greatly hurt the credit of your house.”

Mr Wallace declared, that really he had made nothing but the usual charges; that he would look over the bill again, and see what he could do.

“My dear Newland,” said the Major, “I have ordered your dinners, allow me to settle your bill.  Now, Mr Wallace, suppose we take off one-third?”

“One-third, Major Carbonnell!  I should be a loser.”

“I am not exactly of your opinion; but let me see—­now take your choice.  Take off L20, or you lose my patronage, and that of all my friends.  Yes or no?”

The landlord, with some expostulation, at last consented, he receipted the bill, and leaving L20 of the money on the salver, made his bow, and retired.

“Rather fortunate that I supped in, my dear Newland; now there are L20 saved.  By-the-bye, I’m short of cash.  You’ve no objection to let me have this?  I shall never pay you, you know.”

“I do know you never will pay me, Major; nevertheless, as I should have paid it to the landlord had you not interfered, I will lend it to you.”

“You are a good fellow, Newland,” said the Major, pocketing the money.  “If I had borrowed it, and you had thought you would have had it repaid, I should not have thanked you; but as you lend it me with your eyes open, it is nothing more than a very delicate manner of obliging me, and I tell you candidly, that I will not forget it.  So you really are off to-morrow?”

“Yes,” replied I, “I must go, for I find that I am not to make ducks and drakes of my money, until I come into possession of my property.”

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“I see, my dear fellow.  Executors are the very devil; they have no feeling.  Never mind; there’s a way of getting to windward of them.  I dine with Harcourt, and he has come to ask you to join us.”

“With pleasure.”

“I shall expect you at seven, Newland,” said Harcourt, as he quitted the room with the Major.

“Dear me, sir, how could you let that gentleman walk off with your money?” cried Timothy.  “I was just rubbing my hands with the idea that we were L20 better off than we thought, and away it went, like smoke.”

“And will never come back again, Tim; but never mind that, it is important that I make a friend of him, and his friendship is only to be bought.  I shall have value received.  And now, Tim, we must pack up, for I leave this to-morrow morning.  I shall go down to ——­, and see little Fleta.”

I dined with Harcourt.  The Major was rather curious to know what it was which appeared to flurry Lord Windermear, and what had passed between us.  I told him that his lordship was displeased on money matters, but that all was right, only that I must be more careful for the future.  “Indeed, Major, I think I shall take lodgings.  I shall be more comfortable, and better able to receive my friends.”

Harcourt agreed with me, that it was a much better plan, when the Major observed, “Why, Newland, I have a room quite at your service; suppose you come and live with me?”

“I am afraid I shall not save by that,” replied I, laughing, “for you will not pay your share of the bills.”

“No, upon my honour I will not; so I give you fair warning; but as I always dine with you when I do not dine elsewhere, it will be a saving to you—­for you will have your lodgings, Newland; and you know the house is my own, and I let off the rest of it; so as far as that bill is concerned, you will be safe.”

“Make the best bargain you can, Newland,” said Harcourt; “accept his offer, for depend upon it, it will be a saving in the end.”

“It certainly deserves consideration,” replied I; “and the Major’s company must be allowed to have its due weight in the scale; if Carbonnell will promise to be a little more economical—­”

“I will, my dear fellow—­I will act as your steward, and make your money last as long as I can, for my own sake, as well as yours.  Is it a bargain?  I have plenty of room for your servant, and if he will assist me a little, I will discharge my own.”  I then consented to the arrangement.

Chapter XXIV

     The Major teaches me how to play Whist, so as never to lose, which
     is by playing against each other, and into each other’s hands.

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The next day I went to the banker’s, drew out L150, and set off with Timothy for ——.  Fleta threw herself into my arms, and sobbed with joy.  When I told her Timothy was outside, and wished to see her, she asked why he did not come in; and, to show how much she had been accustomed to see, without making remarks, when he made his appearance in his livery, she did not, by her countenance, express the least surprise, nor, indeed, did she put any questions to me on the subject.  The lady who kept the school praised her very much for docility and attention, and shortly after left the room.  Fleta then took the chain from around her neck into her hand, and told me that she did recollect something about it, which was, that the lady whom she remembered, wore a long pair of ear-rings, of the same make and materials.  She could not, however, call to mind anything else.  I remained with the little girl for three hours, and then returned to London—­taking my luggage from the hotel, and installed myself into the apartments of Major Carbonnell.

The Major adhered to his promise; we certainly lived well, for he could not live otherwise; but in every other point, he was very careful not to add to expense.  The season was now over, and everybody of consequence quitted the metropolis.  To remain in town would be to lose caste, and we had a conference where we should proceed.

“Newland,” said the Major, “you have created a sensation this season, which has done great honour to my patronage; but I trust, next spring, that I shall see you form a good alliance; for, believe me, out of the many heartless beings we have mingled with, there are still not only daughters, but mothers, who are not influenced by base and sordid views.”

“Why, Carbonnell, I never heard you venture upon so long a moral speech before.”

“True, Newland, and it may be a long while before I do so again; the world is my oyster, which I must open, that I may live; but recollect, I am only trying to recover my own, which the world has swindled me out of.  There was a time when I was even more disinterested, more confiding, and more innocent than you were when I first took you in hand.  I suffered, and was ruined by my good qualities; and I now live and do well by having discarded them.  We must fight the world with its own weapons; but still, as I said before, there is some good in it, some pure ore amongst the dross; and it is possible to find high rank and large fortune, and at the same time an innocent mind.  If you do marry, I will try hard but you shall possess both; not that fortune can be of much consequence to you.”

“Depend upon it, Carbonnell, I never will marry without fortune.”

“I did not know that I had schooled you so well; be it so—­it is but fair that you should expect it; and it shall be an item in the match, if I have anything to do with it.”

“But why are you so anxious that I should marry, Carbonnell?”

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“Because I think you will, in all probability, avoid the gaming-table, which I should have taken you to myself had you been in possession of your fortune when I first knew you, and have had my share of your plucking; but now I do know you, I have that affection for you that I think it better you should not lose your all; for observe, Newland, my share of your spoliation would not be more than what I have, and may still receive, from you; and if you marry and settle down, there will always be a good house and a good table for me, as long as I find favour with your wife; and, at all events, a friend in need, that I feel convinced of.  So now you have my reasons; some smack of the disinterestedness of former days, others of my present worldliness; you may believe which you please.”  And the Major laughed as he finished his speech.

“Carbonnell,” replied I, “I will believe that the better feelings predominate—­that the world has made you what you are; and that had you not been ruined by the world, you would have been disinterested and generous; even now, your real nature often gains the ascendency, and I am sure that in all that you have done, which is not defensible, your poverty, and not your will, has consented.  Now, blunted by habit and time, the suggestion of conscience do not often give you any uneasiness.”

“You are very right, my dear fellow,” replied the Major; “and in having a better opinion of me than the world in general, you do me, I trust, no more than justice.  I will not squander your fortune, when you come to it, if I can help it; and you’ll allow that’s a very handsome promise on my part.”

“I’ll defy you to squander my fortune,” replied I, laughing.

“Nay, don’t defy me, Newland, for if you do, you’ll put me on my mettle.  Above all, don’t lay me a bet, for that will be still more dangerous.  We have only spent about four hundred of the thousand since we have lived together, which I consider highly economical.  What do you say, shall we go to Cheltenham?  You will find plenty of Irish girls, looking out for husbands, who will give you a warm reception.”

“I hate your fortune and establishment hunters,” replied I.

“I grant that they are looking out for a good match, so are all the world; but let me do them justice.  Although, if you proposed, in three days they would accept you; yet once married, they make the very best wives in the world.  But recollect we must go somewhere; and I think Cheltenham is as good a place as any other.  I do not mean for a wife, but—­it will suit my own views.”

This last observation decided me, and in a few days we were at Cheltenham; and having made our appearance at the rooms, were soon in the vortex of society.  “Newland,” said Carbonnell, “I dare say you find time hang rather heavy in this monotonous place.”

“Not at all,” replied I; “what with dining out, dancing, and promenading, I do very well.”

“But we must do better.  Tell me, are you a good hand at whist?”

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“Not by any means.  Indeed, I hardly know the game.”

“It is a fashionable and necessary accomplishment.  I must make you master of it, and our mornings shall be dedicated to the work.”

“Agreed,” replied I; and from that day, every morning after breakfast till four o’clock, the Major and I were shut up, playing two dummies under his instruction.  Adept as he was, I very soon learnt all the finesse and beauty of the game.

“You will do now, Newland,” said the Major one morning, tossing the cards away.  “Recollect, if you are asked to play, and I have agreed, do not refuse; but we must always play against each other.”

“I don’t see what we shall gain by that,” replied I; “for if I win, you’ll lose.”

“Never do you mind that; only follow my injunctions, and play as high as they choose.  We only stay here three weeks longer, and must make the most of our time.”

I confess I was quite puzzled at what might be the major’s intentions; but that night we sauntered into the club.  Not having made our appearance before, we were considered as new hands by those who did not know the Major, and were immediately requested to make up a game.  “Upon my word, gentlemen, in the first place, I play very badly,” replied the Major; “and in the next,” continued he, laughing, “if I lose, I never shall pay you, for I’m cleaned out.”

The way in which the Major said this only excited a smile; he was not believed, and I was also requested to take a hand.  “I’ll not play with the Major,” observed I, “for he plays badly, and has bad luck into the bargain; I might as well lay my money down on the table.”

This was agreed to by the other parties, and we sat down.  The first rubber of short whist was won by the Major and his partner; with the bets it amounted to eighteen pounds.  I pulled out my purse to pay the Major; but he refused, saying, “No, Newland, pay my partner; and with you, sir,” said he, addressing my partner, “I will allow the debt to remain until we rise from the table.  Newland, we are not going to let you off yet, I can tell you.”

I paid my eighteen pounds, and we recommenced.  Although his partner did not perhaps observe it, for he was but an indifferent player, or if he did observe it, had the politeness not to say anything, the Major now played very badly.  He lost three rubbers one after another, and, with bets and stakes, they amounted to one hundred and forty pounds.  At the end of the last rubber he threw up the cards, exclaiming against his luck, and declaring that he would play no more.  “How are we now, sir?” said he to my partner.

“You owed me, I think, eighteen pounds.”

“Eighteen from one hundred and forty, leaves one hundred and twenty-two pounds, which I now owe you.  You must, I’m afraid, allow me to be your debtor,” continued the Major, in a most insinuating manner.  “I did not come here with the intention of playing.  I presume I shall find you here to-morrow night.”

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The gentleman bowed, and appeared quite satisfied.  Major Carbonnell’s partner paid me one hundred and forty pounds, which I put in my pocket-book, and we quitted the club.

Chapter XXV

     We fund our winnings, and consider to refund, a work of
     supererogation—­In looking after my father, I obey the old adage,
     “Follow your nose.”

As soon as we were in the street, I commenced an inquiry as to the Major’s motives.  “Not one word, my dear fellow, until we are at home,” replied he.  As soon as we arrived, he threw himself in a chair, and crossing his legs, commenced:  “You observe, Newland, that I am very careful that you should do nothing to injure your character.  As for my own, all the honesty in the world will not redeem it; nothing but a peerage will ever set me right again in this world, and a coronet will cover a multitude of sins.  I have thought it my duty to add something to our finances, and intend to add very considerably to them before we leave Cheltenham.  You have won one hundred and twenty-eight pounds.”

“Yes,” replied I; “but you have lost it.”

“Granted; but, as in most cases, I never mean to pay my losses, you see that it must be a winning speculation as long as we play against each other.”

“I perceive,” replied I; “but am not I a confederate?”

“No; you paid when you lost, and took your money when you won.  Leave me to settle my own debts of honour.”

“But you will meet him again to-morrow night.”

“Yes, and I will tell you why.  I never thought it possible that we could have met two such bad players at the club.  We must now play against them, and we must win in the long run:  by which means I shall pay off the debt I owe him, and you will win and pocket money.”

“Ah,” replied I, “if you mean to allow him a chance for his money, I have no objection—­that will be all fair.”

“Depend upon it, Newland, when I know that people play as badly as they do, I will not refuse them; but when we sit down with others, it must be as it was before—­we must play against each other, and I shall owe the money.  I told the fellow that I never would pay him.”

“Yes; but he thought you were only joking.”

“That is his fault—­I was in earnest.  I could not have managed this had it not been that you are known to be a young man of ten thousand pounds per annum, and supposed to be my dupe.  I tell you so candidly; and now good-night.”

I turned the affair over in my mind as I undressed—­it was not honest—­but I paid when I lost, and I only took the money when I won,—­still I did not like it; but the bank notes caught my eye as they lay on the table, and—­I was satisfied.  Alas! how easy are scruples removed when we want money!  How many are there who, when in a state of prosperity and affluence, when not tried by temptation, would

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have blushed at the bare idea of a dishonest action, have raised and held up their hands in abhorrence, when they have heard that others have been found guilty; and yet, when in adversity, have themselves committed the very acts which before they so loudly condemned!  How many of the other sex, who have expressed their indignation and contempt at those who have fallen, when tempted, have fallen themselves!  Let us therefore be charitable; none of us can tell to what we may be reduced by circumstances; and when we acknowledge that the error is great, let us feel sorrow and pity rather than indignation, and pray that we also may not be “led into temptation

As agreed upon, the next evening we repaired to the club, and found the two gentlemen ready to receive us.  This time the Major refused to play unless it was with me, as I had such good fortune, and no difficulty was made by our opponents.  We sat down and played till four o’clock in the morning.  At first, notwithstanding our good play, fortune favoured our adversaries; but the luck soon changed, and the result of the evening was, that the Major had a balance in his favour of forty pounds, and I rose a winner of one hundred and seventy-one pounds, so that in two nights we had won three hundred and forty-two pounds.  For nearly three weeks this continued, the Major not paying when not convenient, and we quitted Cheltenham with about eight hundred pounds in our pockets; the Major having paid about one hundred and twenty pounds to different people who frequented the club; but they were Irishmen, who were not to be trifled with.  I proposed to the Major that we should pay those debts, as there still would be a large surplus:  he replied, “Give me the money.”  I did so.  “Now,” continued he, “so far your scruples are removed, as you will have been strictly honest; but, my dear fellow, if you know how many debts of this sort are due to me, of which I never did touch one farthing, you would feel as I do—­that it is excessively foolish to part with money.  I have them all booked here, and may some day pay—­when convenient; but, at present, most decidedly it is not so.”  The Major put the notes into his pocket, and the conversation was dropped.

The next morning we had ordered our horses, when Timothy came up to me, and made a sign, as we were at breakfast, for me to come out.  I followed him.

“Oh! sir, I could not help telling you, but there is a gentleman with—­”

“With what?” replied I, hastily.

“With your nose, sir, exactly—­and in other respects very like you—­just about the age your father should be.”

“Where is he, Timothy?” replied I, all my feelings in ’search of my father,’ rushing into my mind.

“Down below, sir, about to set off in a post-chaise and four, now waiting at the door.”

I ran down with my breakfast napkin in my hand, and hastened to the portico of the hotel—­he was in his carriage, and the porter was then shutting the door.  I looked at him.  He was, as Timothy said, very like me indeed, the nose exact.  I was breathless, and I continued to gaze.

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“All right,” cried the ostler.

“I beg your pardon, sir,—­” said I, addressing the gentleman in the carriage, who perceiving a napkin in my hand, probably took me for one of the waiters, for he replied very abruptly, ‘I have remembered you;’ and pulling up the glass, away whirled the chariot, the nave of the hind wheel striking me a blow on the thigh which numbed it so, that it was with difficulty I could limp up to our apartments, when I threw myself on the sofa in a state of madness and despair.

“Good heavens, Newland, what is the matter?” cried the Major.

“Matter,” replied I, faintly.  “I have seen my father.”

“Your father, Newland? you must be mad.  He was dead before you could recollect him—­at least so you told me.  How then, even if it were his ghost, could you have recognised him?”

The Major’s remarks reminded me of the imprudence I had been guilty of.

“Major,” replied I, “I believe I am very absurd; but he was so like me, and I have so often longed after my father, so long wished to see him face to face—­that—­that—­I’m a great fool, that’s the fact.”

“You must go to the next world, my good fellow, to meet him face to face, that’s clear; and I presume, upon a little consideration, you will feel inclined to postpone your journey.  Very often in your sleep I have heard you talk about your father, and wondered why you should think so much about him.”

“I cannot help it,” replied I.  “From my earliest days my father has ever been in my thoughts.”

“I can only say, that very few sons are half so dutiful to their fathers’ memories—­but finish your breakfast, and then we start for London.”

I complied with his request as well as I could, and we were soon on our road.  I fell into a reverie—­my object was to again find out this person, and I quietly directed Timothy to ascertain from the post-boys the directions he gave at the last stage.  The Major perceiving me not inclined to talk, made but few observations; one, however struck me.  “Windermear,” said he, “I recollect one day, when I was praising you, said carelessly, ’that you were a fine young man, but a little tete montee upon one point.’  I see now it must have been upon this.”  I made no reply, but it certainly was a strange circumstance that the Major never had any suspicions on this point—­yet he certainly never had.  We had once or twice talked over my affairs.  I had led him to suppose that my father and mother died in my infancy, and that I should have had a large fortune when I came of age; but this had been entirely by indirect replies, not by positive assertions; the fact was, that the Major, who was an adept in all deceit, never had an idea that he could have been deceived by one so young, so prepossessing, and apparently so ingenuous as myself.  He had, in fact, deceived himself.  His ideas of my fortune arose entirely from my asking him, whether he would

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have refused the name of Japhet for ten thousand pounds per annum.  Lord Windermear, after having introduced me, did not consider it at all necessary to acquaint the Major with my real history, as it was imparted to him in confidence.  He allowed matters to take their course, and me to work my own way in the world.  Thus do the most cunning overreach themselves, and with their eyes open to any deceit on the part of others, prove quite blind when they deceive themselves.

Timothy could not obtain any intelligence from the people of the inn at the last stage, except that the chariot had proceeded to London.  We arrived late at night, and, much exhausted, I was glad to go to bed.

Chapter XXVI

     In following my nose, I narrowly escaped being nosed by a Beak.

And as I lay in my bed, thinking that I was now nearly twenty years old, and had not yet made any discovery, my heart sank within me.  My monomania returned with redoubled force, and I resolved to renew my search with vigour.  So I told Timothy the next morning, when he came into my room, but from him I received little consolation; he advised me to look out for a good match in a rich wife, and leave time to develop the mystery of my birth; pointing out the little chance I ever had of success.

Town was not full, the season had hardly commenced, and we had few invitations or visits to distract my thoughts from their object.  My leg became so painful, that for a week I was on the sofa, Timothy every day going out to ascertain if he could find the person whom we had seen resembling me, and every evening returning without success, I became melancholy and nervous.  Carbonnell could not imagine what was the matter with me.  At last I was able to walk, and I sallied forth, perambulating, or rather running through street after street, looking into every carriage, so as to occasion surprise to the occupants, who believed me mad; my dress and person were disordered, for I had become indifferent to it, and Timothy himself believed that I was going out of my senses.

At last, after we had been in town about five weeks, I saw the very object of my search, seated in a carriage, of a dark brown colour, arms painted in shades, so as not to be distinguishable but at a near approach; his hat was off, and he sat upright and formally.  “That is he!” ejaculated I, and away I ran after the carriage.  “It is the nose,” cried I, as I ran down the street, knocking every one to the right and left.  I lost my hat, but fearful of losing sight of the carriage, I hastened on, when I heard a cry of “Stop him, stop him!” “Stop him,” cried I, also, referring to the gentleman in black in the carriage.

“That won’t do,” cried a man, seizing me by the collar; “I know a trick worth two of that.”

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“Let me go,” roared I, struggling; but he only held me the faster.  I tussled with the man until my coat and shirt were torn, but in vain; the crowd now assembled, and I was fast.  The fact was, that a pickpocket had been exercising his vocation at the time that I was running past, and from my haste, and loss of my hat, I was supposed to be the criminal.  The police took charge of me—­I pleaded innocence in vain, and I was dragged before the magistrate, at Marlborough Street.  My appearance, the disorder of my dress, my coat and shirt in ribbons, with no hat, were certainly not at all in my favour, when I made my appearance, led in by two Bow Street officers.

“Whom have we here?” inquired the magistrate.

“A pickpocket, sir,” replied they.

“Ah! one of the swell mob,” replied he.  “Are there any witnesses?”

“Yes, sir,” replied a young man, coming forward.  “I was walking up Bond Street, when I felt a tug at my pocket, and when I turned round, this chap was running away.”

“Can you swear to his person?”

There were plenty to swear that I was the person who ran away.

“Now, sir, have you anything to offer in your defence?” said the magistrate.

“Yes, sir,” replied I; “I certainly was running down the street; and it may be, for all I know or care, that this person’s pocket may have been picked—­but I did not pick it.  I am a gentleman.”

“All your fraternity lay claim to gentility,” replied the magistrate; “perhaps you will state why you were running down the street.”

“I was running after a carriage, sir, that I might speak to the person inside of it.”

“Pray who was the person inside?”

“I do not know, sir.”

“Why should you run after a person you do not know.”

“It was because of his nose.”

“His nose?” replied the magistrate, angrily.  “Do you think to trifle with me, sir?  You shall now follow your own nose to prison.  Make out his committal.”

“As you please, sir,” replied I; “but still I have told you the truth; if you will allow any one to take a note, I will soon prove my respectability.  I ask it in common justice.”

“Be it so,” replied the magistrate; “let him sit down within the bar till the answer comes.”

In less than an hour, my note to Major Carbonnell was answered by his appearance in person, followed by Timothy.  Carbonnell walked up to the magistrate, while Timothy asked the officers in an angry tone, what they had been doing to his master.  This rather startled them, but both they and the magistrate were much surprised when the Major asserted that I was his most particular friend, Mr Newland, who possessed ten thousand pounds per annum, and who was as well known in fashionable society, as any young man of fortune about town.  The magistrate explained what had passed, and asked the Major if I was not a little deranged; but the Major, who perceived what was the cause of my strange behaviour, told him that somebody had insulted me, and that I was very anxious to lay hold of the person, who had avoided me, and who must have been in that carriage.

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“I am afraid, that after your explanation, Major Carbonnell, I must, as a magistrate, bind over your friend, Mr Newland, to keep the peace.”

To this I consented, the Major and Timothy being taken as recognisances, and then I was permitted to depart.  The Major sent for a hackney coach, and when we were going home he pointed out to me the folly of my conduct, and received my promise to be more careful for the future.  Thus did this affair end, and for a short time I was more careful in my appearance, and not so very anxious to look into carriages; still, however, the idea haunted me, and I was often very melancholy.  It was about a month afterwards, that I was sauntering with the Major, who now considered me to be insane upon that point, and who would seldom allow me to go out without him, when I again perceived the same carriage, with the gentleman inside as before.

“There he is, Major,” cried I.

“There is who?” replied he.

“The man so like my father.”

“What, in that carriage? that is the Bishop of E——­, my good fellow.  What a strange idea you have in your head, Newland; it almost amounts to madness.  Do not be staring in that way—­come along.”

Still my head was turned quite round, looking at the carriage after it had passed, till it was out of sight; but I knew who the party was, and for the time I was satisfied, as I determined to find out his address, and call upon him.  I narrated to Timothy what had occurred, and referring to the Red Book, I looked out the bishop’s town address, and the next day, after breakfast, having arranged my toilet with the utmost precision, I made an excuse to the Major, and set off to Portland Place.

Chapter XXVII

     A Chapter of Mistakes—­No benefit of Clergy—­I attack a Bishop, and
     am beaten off—­The Major hedges upon the filly stakes.

My hand trembled as I knocked at the door.  It was opened.  I sent in my card, requesting the honour of an audience with his lordship.  After waiting a few minutes in an ante-room, I was ushered in.  “My lord,” said I, in a flurried manner, “will you allow me to have a few minutes’ conversation with you alone?”

“This gentleman is my secretary, sir, but if you wish it, certainly, for although he is my confidant, I have no right to insist that he shall be yours.  Mr Temple, will you oblige me by going up stairs for a little while.”

The secretary quitted the room, the bishop pointed to a chair, and I sat down.  I looked him earnestly in the face—­the nose was exact, and I imagined that even in the other features I could distinguish a resemblance.  I was satisfied that I had a last gained the object of my search.  “I believe, sir,” observed I, “that you will acknowledge, that in the heat and impetuosity of youth, we often rush into hasty and improvident connections.”

I paused, with my eyes fixed upon his.  “Very true, my young sir; and when we do we are ashamed, and repent of them afterwards,” replied the bishop, rather astonished.

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“I grant that, sir,” replied I, “but at the same time, we must feel that we must abide by the results, however unpleasant.”

“When we do wrong, Mr Newland,” replied the bishop, first looking at my card, and then upon me, “we find that we are not only to be punished in the next world, but suffer for it also in this.  I trust you have no reason for such suffering?”

“Unfortunately, the sins of the fathers are visited upon the children, and, in that view, I may say that I have suffered.”

“My dear sir,” replied the bishop, “I trust you will excuse me, when I say, that my time is rather valuable; if you have anything of importance to communicate—­anything upon which you would ask my advice—­for assistance you do not appear to require, do me the favour to proceed at once to the point.”

“I will, sir, be as concise as the matter will admit of.  Allow me, then, to ask you a few questions, and I trust to your honour, and the dignity of your profession, for a candid answer.  Did you not marry a young woman early in life? and were you not very much pressed in your circumstances?”

The bishop stared.  “Really, Mr Newland, it is a strange question, and I cannot imagine to what it may lead, but still I will answer it.  I did marry early in life, and I was, at that time, not in very affluent circumstances.”

“You had a child by that marriage—­your eldest born—­a boy!”

“That is also true, Mr Newland,” replied the bishop, gravely.

“How long is it since you have seen him?”

“It is many years,” replied the bishop, putting his handkerchief up to his eyes.

“Answer me, now, sir;—­did you not desert him?”

“No, no!” replied the bishop.  “It is strange that you should appear to know so much about the matter, Mr Newland, as you could have hardly been born.  I was poor then—­very poor; but although I could ill afford it, he had fifty pounds from me.”

“But, sir,” replied I, much agitated; “why have you not reclaimed him?”

“I would have reclaimed him, Mr Newland—­but what could I do—­he was not to be reclaimed; and now—­he is lost for ever.”

“Surely, sir, in your present affluence, you must wish to see him again?”

“He died, and I trust he has gone to heaven,” replied the bishop, covering up his face.

“No, sir,” replied I, throwing myself on my knees before him, “he did not die, here he is at your feet, to ask your blessing.”

The bishop sprang from his chair.  “What does this mean, sir?” said he, with astonishment.  “You my son!”

“Yes, reverend father—­your son; who, with fifty pounds you left—­”

“On the top of the Portsmouth coach!”

“No, sir, in the basket.”

“My son! sir,—­impossible; he died in the hospital.”

“No, sir, he has come out of the hospital,” replied I; “and as you perceive, safe and well.”

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“Either, sir, this must be some strange mistake, or you must be trifling with me,” replied his lordship; “for, sir, I was at his death-bed, and followed him to his grave.”

“Are you sure of that, sir?” replied I, starting up with amazement.

“I wish that I was not, sir—­for I am now childless; but pray, sir, who, and what are you, who know so much of my former life, and who would have thus imposed upon me?”

“Imposed upon you, sir!” replied I, perceiving that I was in error.  “Alas!  I would do no such thing.  Who am I?  I am a young man who is in search of his father.  Your face, and especially your nose, so resembled mine, that I made sure that I had succeeded.  Pity me, sir—­pity me,” continued I, covering up my face with my hands.

The bishop, perceiving that there was little of the impostor in my appearance, and that I was much affected, allowed a short time for me to recover myself, and then entered into an explanation.  When a curate, he had had an only son, very wild, who would go to sea in spite of his remonstrances.  He saw him depart by the Portsmouth coach, and gave him the sum mentioned.  His son received a mortal wound in action, and was sent to the Plymouth hospital, where he died.  I then entered into my explanation in a few concise sentences, and with a heart beating with disappointment, took my leave.  The bishop shook hands with me as I quitted the room, and wished me better success at my next application.

I went home almost in despair.  Timothy consoled me as well as he could, and advised me to go as much as possible into society, as the most likely chance of obtaining my wish, not that he considered there was any chance, but he thought that amusement would restore me to my usual spirits.  “I will go and visit little Fleta,” replied I, “for a few days; the sight of her will do me more good than anything else.”  And the next day I set off for the town of ——­, where I found the dear little girl, much grown, and much improved.  I remained with her for a week, walking with her in the country, amusing her, and amused myself with our conversation.  At the close of the week I bade her farewell, and returned to the Major’s lodgings.

I was astonished to find him in deep mourning.  “My dear Carbonnell,” said I, inquiringly, “I hope no severe loss?”

“Nay, my dear Newland, I should be a hypocrite if I said so; for there never was a more merry mourner, and that’s the truth of it.  Mr M——­, who, you know, stood between me and the peerage, has been drowned in the Rhone; I now have a squeak for it.  His wife has one daughter, and is enceinte.  Should the child prove a boy, I am done for, but if a girl, I must then come in to the barony, and fifteen thousand pounds per annum.  However, I’ve hedged pretty handsomely.”

“How do you mean?”

“Why they say that when a woman commences with girls, she generally goes on, and the odds are two to one that Mrs M——­ has a girl.  I have taken the odds at the clubs to the amount of fifteen thousand pounds; so if it be a girl I shall have to pay that out of my fifteen thousand pounds per annum, as soon as I fall into it; if it be a boy, and I am floored, I shall pocket thirty thousand pounds by way of consolation for the disappointment.  They are all good men.”

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“Yes, but they know you never pay.”

“They know I never do now, because I have no money; but they know I will pay if I come into the estate; and so I will, most honourably, besides a few more thousands that I have in my book.”

“I congratulate you, with all my heart, Major.  How old is the present Lord B——?”

“I have just been examining the peerage—­he is sixtytwo; but he is very fresh and hearty, and may live a long while yet.  By-the-bye, Newland, I committed a great error last night at the club.  I played pretty high, and lost a great deal of money.”

“That is unfortunate.”

“That was not the error; I actually paid all my losings, Newland, and it has reduced the stock amazingly.  I lost seven hundred and fifty pounds.  I know I ought not to have paid away your money, but the fact was, as I was hedging, it would not do not to have paid, as I could not have made up my book as I wished.  It is, however, only waiting a few weeks, till Mrs M——­ decides my fate, and then, either one way or the other, I shall have money enough.  If your people won’t give you any more till you are of age, why we must send to a little friend of mine, that’s all, and you shall borrow for both of us.”

“Borrow!” replied I, not much liking the idea; “they will never lend me money.”

“Won’t they?” replied the Major; “no fear of that.  Your signature, and my introduction, will be quite sufficient.”

“We had better try to do without it, Major; I do not much like it.”

“Well, if we can, we will; but I have not fifty pounds left in my desk; how much have you?”

“About twenty,” replied I, in despair at this intelligence; “but I think there is a small sum left at the banker’s; I will go and see.”  I took up my hat and set off, to ascertain what funds we might have in store.

Chapter XXVIII

     I am over head and ears in trouble about a lady’s ear-rings; commit
     myself sadly, and am very nearly committed.

I must say, that I was much annoyed at this intelligence.  The money-lenders would not be satisfied unless they knew where my estates were, and had examined the will at Doctors’ Commons; then all would be exposed to the Major, and I should be considered by him as an impostor.  I walked down Pall Mall in a very unhappy mood, so deep in thought, that I ran against a lady, who was stepping out of her carriage at a fashionable shop.  She turned round, and I was making my best apologies to a very handsome woman when her ear-rings caught my attention.  They were of alternate coral and gold, and the fac-simile in make to the chain given by Nattee to Fleta.  During my last visit, I had often had the chain in my hand, and particularly marked the workmanship.  To make more sure, I followed into the shop, and stood behind her, carefully examining them, as she looked over a quantity of laces.  There could be no doubt. 

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I waited till the lady rose to go away, and then addressed the shopman, asking the lady’s name.  He did not know—­she was a stranger; but perhaps Mr H——­, the master, did, and he went back to answer the question.  Mr H——­ being at that moment busy, the man stayed so long, that I heard the carriage drive off.  Fearful of losing sight of the lady, I took to my heels, and ran out of the shop.  My sudden flight from the counter, covered with lace, made them imagine that I had stolen some, and they cried out, “Stop thief,” as loud as they could, springing over the counter, and pursuing me as I pursued the carriage, which was driven at a rapid pace.

A man perceiving me running, and others, without their hats, following, with the cries of “Stop thief,” put out his leg, and I fell on the pavement, the blood rushing in torrents from my nose.  I was seized, roughly handled, and again handed over to the police, who carried me before the same magistrate in Marlborough Street.

“What is this?” demanded the magistrate.

“A shoplifter, your worship.”

“I am not, sir,” replied I; “you know me well enough, I am Mr Newland.”

“Mr Newland!” replied the magistrate, suspiciously; “this is strange, a second time to appear before me upon such a charge.”

“And just as innocent as before, sir.”

“You’ll excuse me, sir, but I must have my suspicions this time.  Where is the evidence?”

The people of the shop then came forward, and stated what had occurred. 
“Let him be searched,” said the magistrate.

I was searched, but nothing was found upon me.  “Are you satisfied now, sir?” inquired I.

“By no means.  Let the people go back and look over their laces, and see if any are missing; in the meantime I shall detain you, for it is very easy to get rid of a small article, such as lace, when you are caught.”

The men went away, and I wrote a note to Major Carbonnell, requesting his attendance.  He arrived at the same time as the shopman, and I told him what had happened.  The shopman declared that the stock was not correct; as far as they could judge, there were two pieces of lace missing.

“If so, I did not take them,” replied I.

“Upon my honour, Mr B——­,” said the Major, to the magistrate, “it is very hard for a gentleman to be treated in this manner.  This is the second time that I have been sent for to vouch for his respectability.”

“Very true, sir,” replied the magistrate; “but allow me to ask Mr Newland, as he calls himself, what induced him to follow a lady into the shop?”

“Her ear-rings,” replied I.

“Her ear-rings! why, sir, the last time you were brought before me, you said it was after a gentleman’s nose—­now it appears you were attracted by a lady’s ears; and pray, sir, what induced you to run out of the shop?”

“Because I wanted particularly to inquire about her ear-rings, sir.”

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“I cannot understand these paltry excuses; there are, it appears, two pieces of lace missing.  I must remand you for further examination, sir; and you also, sir,” said the magistrate, to Major Carbonnell; “for if he is a swindler, you must be an accomplice.”

“Sir,” replied Major Carbonnell, sneeringly, “you are certainly a very good judge of a gentleman, when you happen by accident to be in his company.  With your leave, I will send a note to another confederate.”

The Major then wrote a note to Lord Windermear, which he despatched by Timothy, who, hearing I was in trouble, had accompanied the Major.  And while he was away, the Major and I sat down, he giving himself all manner of airs, much to the annoyance of the magistrate, who at last threatened to commit him immediately.  “You’ll repent this,” replied the Major, who perceived Lord Windermear coming in.

“You shall repent it, sir, by God,” cried the magistrate, in a great passion.

“Put five shillings in the box for swearing, Mr B——.  You fine other people,” said the Major.  “Here is my other confederate, Lord Windermear.”

“Carbonnell,” said Lord Windermear, “what is all this?”

“Nothing, my lord, except that our friend Newland is taken up for shoplifting, because he thought proper to run after a pretty woman’s carriage; and I am accused by his worship of being his confederate.  I could forgive his suspicions of Mr Newland in that plight; but as for his taking me for one of the swell mob, it proves a great deficiency of judgment; perhaps he will commit your lordship also, as he may not be aware that your lordship’s person is above caption.”

“I can assure you, sir,” said Lord Windermear, proudly, “that this is my relative, Major Carbonnell, and the other is my friend, Mr Newland.  I will bail them for any sum you please.”

The magistrate felt astonished and annoyed, for, after all, he had only done his duty.  Before he could reply, a man came from the shop to say that the laces had been found all right.  Lord Windermear then took me aside, and I narrated what had happened.  He recollected the story of Fleta in my narrative of my life, and felt that I was right in trying to find out who the lady was.  The magistrate now apologised for the detention, but explained to his lordship how I had before made my appearance upon another charge, and with a low bow we were dismissed.

“My dear Mr Newland,” said his lordship, “I trust that this will be a warning to you, not to run after other people’s noses and ear-rings; at the same time, I will certainly keep a look-out for those very ear-rings myself.  Major, I wish you a good morning.”

His lordship then shook us both by the hand, and saying that he should be glad to see more of me than he latterly had done, stepped into his carriage and drove off.

“What the devil did his lordship mean about ear-rings, Newland?” inquired the Major.

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“I told him that I was examining the lady’s ear-rings, as very remarkable,” replied I.

“You appear to be able to deceive everybody but me, my good fellow.  I know that you were examining the lady herself.”  I left the Major in his error, by making no reply.

Chapter XXIX

     I borrow money upon my estate, and upon very favourable terms.

When I came down to breakfast the next morning, the Major said, “My dear Newland, I have taken the liberty of requesting a very old friend of mine to come and meet you this morning.  I will not disguise from you that it is Emmanuel, the money-lender.  Money you must have until my affairs are decided, one way or the other; and, in this instance, I will most faithfully repay the sum borrowed, as soon as I receive the amount of my bets, or am certain of succeeding to the title, which is one and the same thing.”

I bit my lips, for I was not a little annoyed; but what could be done?  I must have either confessed my real situation to the Major, or have appeared to raise scruples, which, as the supposed heir to a large fortune, would have appeared to him to be very frivolous.  I thought it better to let the affair take its chance.  “Well,” replied I, “if it must be, it must be:  but it shall be on my own terms.”

“Nay,” observed the Major, “there is no fear but that he will consent, and without any trouble.”

After a moment’s reflection I went up stairs and rang for Timothy.  “Tim,” said I, “hear me; I now make you a solemn promise, on my honour as a gentleman, that I will never borrow money upon interest, and until you release me from it, I shall adhere to my word.”

“Very well, sir,” replied Timothy; “I guess your reason for so doing, and I expect you will keep your word.  Is that all?”

“Yes; now you may take up the urn.”

We had finished our breakfast, when Timothy announced Mr Emmanuel, who followed him into the room.

“Well, old cent per cent, how are you?” said the Major.  “Allow me to introduce my most particular friend, Mr Newland.”

“Auh!  Master Major,” replied the descendant of Abraham, a little puny creature, bent double with infirmity, and carrying one hand behind his back, as if to counterbalance the projection of his head and shoulders.  “You vash please to call me shent per shent.  I wish I vash able to make de monies pay that.  Mr Newland, can I be of any little shervice to you?”

“Sit down, sit down, Emmanuel.  You have my warrant for Mr Newland’s respectability, and the sooner we get over the business the better.”

“Auh, Mr Major, it ish true, you was recommend many good—­no, not always good—­customers to me, and I was very much obliged.  Vat can I do for your handsome young friend?  De young gentlemen always vant money; and it is de youth which is de time for de pleasure and enjoyment.”

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“He wants a thousand pounds, Emmanuel.”

“Dat is a large sum—­one tousand pounds’ he does not vant any more?”

“No,” replied I, “that will be sufficient.”

“Vel, den, I have de monish in my pocket.  I will just beg de young gentleman to sign a little memorandum, dat I may von day receive my monish.”

“But what is that to be?” interrupted I.

“It will be to promise to pay me my monish and only fifteen per shent, when you come into your own.”

“That will not do,” replied I; “I have pledged my solemn word of honour, that I will not borrow money on interest.”

“And you have given de pledge, but you did not swear upon de book?”

“No, but my word has been given, and that is enough; if I would forfeit my word with those to whom I have given it, I would also forfeit my word with you.  My keeping my promise, ought to be a pledge to you that I will keep my promise to you.”

“Dat is veil said—­very veil said; but den we must manage some oder way.  Suppose—­let me shee—­how old are you, my young sir?”

“Past twenty.”

“Auh, dat is a very pleasant age, dat twenty.  Veil, den, you shall shign a leetle bit of paper, that you pay me L2000 ven you come into your properties, on condition dat I pay now one tousand.  Dat is very fair—­ish it not, Mr Major?”

“Rather too hard, Emmanuel.”

“But de rishque—­de rishque, Mr Major.”

“I will not agree to those terms,” replied I; “you must take your money away, Mr Emmanuel.”

“Veil, den—­vat vill you pay me?”

“I will sign an agreement to pay you L1500 for the thousand, if you please; if that will not suit you, I will try elsewhere.”

“Dat is very bad bargain.  How old, you shay?”


“Vell, I shuppose I must oblige you, and my very goot friend, de Major.”

Mr Emmanuel drew out his spectacles, pen, and inkhorn, filled up a bond, and handed it to me to sign.  I read it carefully over, and signed it; he then paid down the money, and took his leave.

It may appear strange to the reader that the money was obtained so easily, but he must remember that the Major was considered a person who universally attached himself to young men of large fortune; he had already been the means of throwing many profitable speculations into the hands of Emmanuel, and the latter put implicit confidence in him.  The money-lenders also are always on the look out for young men with large fortunes, and have their names registered.  Emmanuel had long expected me to come to him, and although it was his intention to have examined more particularly, and not to have had the money prepared, yet my refusal to sign the bond, bearing interest, and my disputing the terms of the second proposal, blinded him completely, and put him off his usual guard.

“Upon my word, Newland, you obtained better terms than I could have expected from the old Hunks.”

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“Much better than I expected also, Major,” replied I; “but now, how much of the money would you like to have?”

“My dear fellow, this is very handsome of you; but, I thank Heaven, I shall be soon able to repay it:  but what pleases me, Newland, is your perfect confidence in one whom the rest of the world would not trust with a shilling.  I will accept your offer as freely as it is made, and take L500, just to make a show for the few weeks that I am in suspense, and then you will find, that with all my faults, I am rot deficient in gratitude.”  I divided the money with the Major, and he shortly afterwards went out.

“Well, sir,” said Timothy, entering, full of curiosity, “what have you done?”

“I have borrowed a thousand to pay fifteen hundred when I come into my property.”

“You are safe then.  Excellent, and the Jew will be bit.”

“No, Timothy, I intend to repay it as soon as I can.”

“I should like to know when that will be.”

“So should I, Tim, for it must depend upon my finding out my parentage.”  Heigho, thought I, when shall I ever find out who is my father?

Chapter XXX

     The Major is very fortunate and very unfortunate—­He receives a
     large sum in gold and one ounce of lead.

I dressed and went out, met Harcourt, dined with him, and on my return the Major had not come home.  It was then past midnight, and feeling little inclination to sleep, I remained in the drawing-room, waiting for his arrival.  About three o’clock he came in, flushed in the face, and apparently in high good humour.

“Newland,” said he, throwing his pocket-book on the table, “just open that, and then you will open your eyes.”

I obeyed him, and to my surprise took out a bundle of bank-notes; I counted up their value, and they amounted to L3500.

“You have been fortunate, indeed.”

“Yes,” replied the Major; “knowing that in a short time I shall be certain of cash, one way or the other, I had resolved to try my luck with the L500.  I went to the hazard table, and threw in seventeen times—­hedged upon the deuce ace, and threw out with it—­voila.  They won’t catch me there again in a hurry—­luck like that only comes once in a man’s life; but, Japhet, there is a little drawback to all this.  I shall require your kind attendance in two or three hours.”

“Why, what’s the matter?”

“Merely an affair of honour.  I was insulted by a vagabond, and we meet at six o’clock.”

“A vagabond—­but surely, Carbonnell, you will not condescend—­”

“My dear fellow, although as great a vagabond as there is on the face of the earth, yet he is a peer of the realm, and his title warrants the meeting—­but, after all, what is it?”

“I trust it will be nothing, Carbonnell, but still it may prove otherwise.”

“Granted; and what then, my dear Newland? we all owe Heaven a death, and if I am floored, why then I shall no longer be anxious about title or fortune.”

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“It’s a bad way of settling a dispute,” replied I, gravely.

“There is no other, Newland.  How would society be held in check if it were not for duelling?  We should all be a set of bears living in a bear-garden.  I presume you have never been out?”

“Never,” replied I, “and had hoped that I never should have.”

“Then you must have better fortune, or better temper than most others, if you pass through life without an affair of this kind on your hands.  I mean as principal, not as second.  But, my dear fellow, I must give you a little advice, relative to your behaviour as a second; for I’m very particular on these occasions, and like that things should be done very correctly.  It will never do, my dear Newland, that you appear on the ground with that melancholy face.  I do not mean that you should laugh, or even smile, that would be equally out of character, but you should show yourself perfectly calm and indifferent.  In your behaviour towards the other second, you must be most scrupulously polite, but, at the same time, never give up a point of dispute, in which my interest may be concerned.  Even in your walk be slow, and move, as much as the ground will allow you, as if you were in a drawing-room.  Never remain silent; offer even trivial remarks, rather than appear distract.  There is one point of great importance—­I refer to choosing the ground, in which, perhaps, you will require my unperceived assistance.  Any decided line behind me would be very advantageous to my adversary, such as the trunk of a tree, post, &c.; even an elevated light or dark ground behind me is unadvisable.  Choose, if you can, a broken light, as it affects the correctness of the aim; but as you will not probably be able to manage this satisfactorily, I will assist you.  When on the ground, after having divided the sun fairly between us, I will walk about unconcernedly, and when I perceive a judicious spot, I will take a pinch of snuff and use my handkerchief, turning at the same time in the direction in which I wish my adversary to be placed.  Take your cue from that, and with all suavity of manner, insist as much as you can upon our being so placed.  That must be left to your own persuasive powers.  I believe I have now stated all that is necessary, and I must prepare my instruments.”

The major then went into his own room, and I never felt more nervous or more unhinged than after this conversation.  I had a melancholy foreboding—­but that I believe every one has, when he, for the first time, has to assist at a mortal rencontre.  I was in a deep musing when he returned with his pistols and all the necessary apparatus; and when the Major pointed out to me, and made me once or twice practice the setting of the hair triggers, which is the duty of the second, an involuntary shudder came over me.

“Why, Newland, what is the matter with you?  I thought that you had more nerve.”

“I probably should show more, Carbonnell, were I the principal instead of the second, but I cannot bear the reflection that some accident should happen to you.  You are the only one with whom I have been on terms of friendship, and the idea of losing you, is very, very painful.”

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“Newland, you really quite unman me, and you may now see a miracle,” continued Carbonnell, as he pressed his hand to his eye, “the moisture of a tear on the cheek of a London roue, a man of the world, who has long lived for himself and for this world only.  It never would be credited if asserted.  Newland, there was a time when I was like yourself—­the world took advantage of my ingenuousness and inexperience; my good feelings were the cause of my ruin, and then, by degrees, I became as callous and as hardened as the world itself.  My dear fellow, I thought all affection, all sentiment, dried up within me, but it is not the case.  You have made me feel that I have still a heart, and that I can love you.  But this is all romance, and not fitted for the present time.  It is now five o’clock, let us be on the ground early—­it will give us an advantage.”

“I do not much like speaking to you on the subject, Carbonnell; but is there nothing that you might wish done in case of accident?”

“Nothing—­why yes.  I may as well.  Give me a sheet of paper.”  The Major sat down and wrote for a few minutes.  “Now, send Timothy and another here.  Timothy, and you, sir, see me sign this paper, and put my seal to it.  I deliver this as my act and deed.  Put your names as witnesses.”  They complied with his request, and then the Major desired Timothy to call a hackney-coach.  “Newland,” said the Major, putting the paper, folded up, in my pocket, along with the bank notes, “take care of this for me till we come back.”

“The coach is at the door, sir,” said Timothy, looking at me, as if to say, “What can all this be about?”

“You may come with us and see,” said the Major, observing Tim’s countenance, “and put that case into the coach.”  Tim, who knew that it was the Major’s case of pistols, appeared still more alarmed, and stood still without obeying the order.  “Never mind, Tim, your master is not the one who is to use them,” said the Major, patting him on the shoulder.

Timothy, relieved by this intelligence, went down stairs with the pistols; we followed him.  Tim mounted on the box, and we drove to Chalk Farm.  “Shall the coach wait?” inquired Timothy.

“Yes, by all means,” replied I, in a low voice.  We arrived at the usual ground, where disputes of this kind were generally settled; and the Major took a survey of it with great composure.

“Now observe, Japhet,” said he, “if you can contrive—­; but here they are.  I will give you the notice agreed upon.”  The peer, whose title was Lord Tineholme, now came up with his second, whom he introduced to me as Mr Osborn.  “Mr Newland,” replied the Major, saluting Mr Osborn in return.  We both took off our hats, bowed, and then proceeded to our duty.  I must do my adversary’s second the justice to say, that his politeness was fully equal to mine.  There was no mention, on either side, of explanations and retractions—­the insult was too gross, and the character of his lordship, as well as that of Major Carbonnell, was too well known.  Twelve paces were proposed by Mr Osborn, and agreed to by me—­the pistols of Major Carbonnell were gained by drawing lots—­we had nothing more to do but to place our principals.  The Major took out his snuff-box, took a pinch, and blew his nose, turning towards a copse of beech trees.

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“With your permission, I will mark out the ground, Mr Osborn,” said I, walking up to the Major, and intending to pace twelve paces in the direction towards which he faced.

“Allow me to observe that I think a little more in this direction, would be more fair for both parties,” said Mr Osborn.

“It would so, my dear sir,” replied I, “but, submitting to your superior judgment, perhaps it may not have struck you that my principal will have rather too much of the sun.  I am incapable of taking any advantage, but I should not do my duty if I did not see every justice done to the Major, who has confided to me in this unpleasant affair.  I put it to you, sir, as a gentleman and man of honour, whether I am claiming too much?” A little amicable altercation took place on this point, but finding that I would not yield, and that at every reply I was more and more polite and bland in my deportment, Mr Osborn gave up the point.  I walked the twelve paces, and Mr Osborn placed his principal.  I observed that Lord Tineholme did not appear pleased; he expostulated with him, but it was then too late.  The pistols had been already loaded—­the choice was given to his lordship, and Major Carbonnell received the other from my hand, which actually trembled, while his was firm.  I requested Mr Osborn to drop the handkerchief, as I could not make up my mind to give a signal which might be fatal to the Major.  They fired—­Lord Tineholme fell immediately—­the Major remained on his feet for a second or two, and then sank down on the ground.  I hastened up to him.  “Where are you hurt?”

The Major put his hand to his hip—­“I am hit hard, Newland, but not so hard as he is.  Run and see.”

I left the Major, and went up to where Lord Tineholme lay, his head raised on the knee of his second.

“It is all over with him, Mr Newland, the ball has passed through his brain.”

Chapter XXXI

     The Major pays the only debt of consequence he ever did pay, and I
     find myself a man of property.

I hastened back to the Major, to examine his wound, and, with the assistance of Timothy, I stripped him sufficiently to ascertain that the ball had entered his hip, and probing the wound with my finger, it appeared that it had glanced off in the direction of the intestines; the suffusion of blood was very trifling, which alarmed me still more.

“Could you bear removal, Major, in the coach?”

“I cannot tell, but we must try; the sooner I am home the better, Japhet,” replied he faintly.

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With the assistance of Timothy, I put him into the hackney-coach, and we drove off, after I had taken off my hat and made my obeisance to Mr Osborn, an effort of politeness which I certainly should have neglected, had I not been reminded of it by my principal.  We set off, and the Major bore his journey very well, making no complaint, but, on our arrival he fainted as we lifted him out.  As soon as he was on the bed, I despatched Timothy for a surgeon.  On his arrival he examined the wound, and shook his head.  Taking me into the next room, he declared his opinion, that the ball had passed into the intestines, which were severed, and that there was no hope.  I sat down and covered up my face—­the tears rolled down and trickled through my fingers—­it was the first heavy blow I had yet received.  Without kindred or connections, I felt that I was about to lose one who was dear to me.  To another, not in my situation, it might have only produced a temporary grief at the near loss of a friend; but to me, who was almost alone in the world, the loss was heavy in the extreme.  Whom had I to fly to for solace?—­there were Timothy and Fleta—­one who performed the duty of a servant to me, and a child.  I felt that they were not sufficient, and my heart was chilled.

The surgeon had, in the meantime, returned to the Major, and dressed the wound.  The Major, who had recovered from his weakness, asked him his candid opinion.  “We must hope for the best, sir,” replied the surgeon.

“That is to say, there is no hope,” replied the Major; “and I feel that you are right.  How long do you think that I may live?”

“If the wound does not take a favourable turn, about forty-eight hours, sir,” replied the surgeon; “but we must hope for a more fortunate issue.”

“In a death-bed case you medical men are like lawyers,” replied the Major, “there is no getting a straightforward answer from you.  Where is Mr Newland?”

“Here I am, Carbonnell,” said I, taking his hand.

“My dear fellow, I know it is all over with me, and you, of course, know it as well as I do.  Do not think that it is a source of much regret to me to leave this rascally world—­indeed it is not; but I do feel sorry, very sorry, to leave you.  The doctor tells me I shall live forty-eight hours; but I have an idea that I shall not live so many minutes.  I feel my strength gradually failing me.  Depend upon it, my dear Newland, there is an internal hemorrhage.  My dear fellow, I shall not be able to speak soon.  I have left you my executor and sole heir.  I wish there was more for you—­it will last you, however, till you come of age.  That was a lucky hit last night, but a very unlucky one this morning.  Bury me like a gentleman.”

“My dear Carbonnell,” said I, “would you not like to see somebody—­a clergyman?”

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“Newland, excuse me.  I do not refuse it out of disrespect, or because I do not believe in the tenets of Christianity; but I cannot believe that my repentance at this late hour can be of any avail.  If I have not been sorry for the life I have lived—­if I have not had my moments of remorse—­if I have not promised to amend, and intended to have so done, and I trust I have—­what avails my repentance now?  No, no, Japhet, as I have sown so must I reap, and trust to the mercy of Heaven.  God only knows all our hearts, and I would fain believe that I may find more favour in the eyes of the Almighty, than I have in this world from those who—­but we must not judge.  Give me to drink, Japhet—­I am sinking fast.  God bless you, my dear fellow.”

The Major sank on his pillow, after he had moistened his lips, and spoke no more.  With his hand clasped in mine he gradually sank, and in a quarter of an hour his eyes were fixed, and all was over.  He was right in his conjectures—­an artery had been divided, and he had bled to death.  The surgeon came again just before he was dead, for I had sent for him.  “It is better as it is,” said he to me.  “Had he not bled to death, he would have suffered forty-eight hours of extreme agony from the mortification which must have ensued.”  He closed the Major’s eyes and took his leave, and I hastened into the drawing-room and sent for Timothy, with whom I sate in a long conversation on this unfortunate occurrence, and my future prospects.

My grief for the death of the Major was sincere; much may indeed be ascribed to habit, from our long residence and companionship; but more to the knowledge that the Major, with all his faults, had redeeming qualities, and that the world had driven him to become what he had been.  I had the further conviction, that he was attached to me, and, in my situation, anything like affection was most precious.  His funeral was handsome, without being ostentatious, and I paid every demand upon him which I knew to be just—­many, indeed, that were not sent in, from a supposition that any claim made would be useless.  His debts were not much above L200, and these debts had never been expected to be liquidated by those who had given him credit.  The paper he had written, and had been witnessed by Timothy and another, was a short will, in which he left me his sole heir and executor.  The whole of his property consisted of his house in St James’s Street, the contents of his pocket-book entrusted to my care, and his personal effects, which, especially in bijouterie, were valuable.  The house was worth about L4000, as he had told me.  In his pocket-book were notes to the amount of L3500, and his other effects might be valued at L400.  With all his debts and funeral expenses liquidated, and with my own money, I found myself in possession of about L8000,—­a sum which never could have been credited, for it was generally supposed that he died worth less than nothing, having lived for a long while upon a capital of a similar value.

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“I cannot but say,” observed Timothy, “but that this is very fortunate.  Had the Major not persuaded you to borrow money, he never would have won so large a sum.  Had he lived he would have squandered it away; but just in the nick of time he is killed, and makes you his heir.”

“There is truth in your observation, Timothy; but now you must go to Mr Emmanuel, that I may pay him off.  I will repay the L1000 lent me by Lord Windermear into his banker’s, and then I must execute one part of the poor Major’s will.  He left his diamond solitaire as a memento to his lordship.  Bring it to me, and I will call and present it.”

Chapter XXXII

     A chapter full of morality, which ends in a Jew refusing upwards of
     L1000, proving the Millenium to be nearly at hand.

This conversation took place the day after the funeral, and, attired in deep mourning, I called upon his lordship, and was admitted.  His lordship had sent his carriage to attend the funeral, and was also in mourning when he received me.  I executed my commission, and after a long conversation with his lordship, in which I confided to him the contents of the will, and the amount of property of the deceased, I rose to take my leave.

“Excuse me, Mr Newland,” said he, “but what do you now propose to do?  I confess I feel a strong interest about you, and had wished that you had come to me oftener without an invitation.  I perceive that you never will.  Have you no intention of following up any pursuit?”

“Yes, my lord, I intend to search after my father; and I trust that, by husbanding my unexpected resources, I shall now be able.”

“You have the credit, in the fashionable world, of possessing a large fortune.”

“That is not my fault, my lord:  it is through Major Carbonnell’s mistake that the world is deceived.  Still I must acknowledge myself so far participator, that I have never contradicted the report.”

“Meaning, I presume, by some good match, to reap the advantage of the supposition.”

“Not so, my lord, I assure you.  People may deceive themselves, but I will not deceive them.”

“Nor undeceive them, Mr Newland?”

“Undeceive them I will not; nay, if I did make the attempt, I should not be believed.  They never would believe it possible that I could have lived so long with your relative, without having had a large supply of money.  They might believe that I had run through my money, but not that I never had any.”

“There is a knowledge of the world in that remark,” replied his lordship; “but I interrupted you, so proceed.”

“I mean to observe, my lord, and you, by your knowledge of my previous history, can best judge how far I am warranted in saying so; that I have as yet steered the middle course between that which is dishonest and honest.  If the world deceives itself, you would say that, in strict honesty, I ought to undeceive it.  So I would, my lord, if it were not for my peculiar situation; but at the same time I never will, if possible, be guilty of direct deceit; that is to say, I would not take advantage of my supposed wealth, to marry a young person of large fortune.  I would state myself a beggar, and gain her affections as a beggar.  A woman can have little confidence in a man who deceives her before marriage.”

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“Your secret will always be safe with me, Mr Newland; you have a right to demand it.  I am glad to hear the sentiments which you have expressed; they are not founded, perhaps, upon the strictest code of morality; but there are many who profess more who do not act up to so much.  Still, I wish you would think in what way I may be able to serve you, for your life at present is useless and unprofitable, and may tend to warp still more, ideas which are not quite so strict as they ought to be.”

“My lord, I have but one object in allowing the world to continue in their error relative to my means, which is, that it procures for me an entrance into that society in which I have a moral conviction that I shall find my father.  I have but one pursuit, one end to attain, which is, to succeed in that search.  I return you a thousand thanks for your kind expressions and good-will; but I cannot, at present, avail myself of them.  I beg your lordship’s pardon, but did you ever meet the lady with the ear-rings?”

Lord Windermear smiled.  “Really, Mr Newland, you are a very strange person; not content with finding out your own parents, you must also be searching after other people’s; not that I do not commend your conduct in this instance; but I’m afraid, in running after shadows, you are too indifferent to the substance.”

“Ah, my lord! it is very well for you to argue who have had a father and mother, and never felt the want of them; but if you knew how my heart yearns after my parents, you would not be surprised at my perseverance.”

“I am surprised at nothing in this world, Mr Newland; every one pursues happiness in his own way; your happiness appears to be centred in one feeling, and you are only acting as the world does in general; but recollect that the search after happiness ends in disappointment.”

“I grant it but too often does, my lord; but there is pleasure in the chase,” replied I.

“Well, go, and may you prosper.  All I can say is this, Mr Newland, do not have that false pride not to apply to me when you need assistance.  Recollect, it is much better to be under an obligation, if such you will consider it, than to do that which is wrong; and that it is a very false pride which would blush to accept a favour, and yet not blush to do what it ought to be ashamed of.  Promise me, Mr Newland, that upon any reverse or exigence, you will apply to me.”

“I candidly acknowledge to your lordship, that I would rather be under an obligation to anyone but you; and I trust you will clearly appreciate my feelings.  I have taken the liberty of refunding the one thousand pounds you were so kind as to place at my disposal as a loan.  At the same time I will promise, that, if at any time I should require your assistance, I will again request leave to become your debtor.”  I rose again to depart.

“Farewell, Newland; when I thought you had behaved ill, and I offered to better you, you only demanded my good opinion; you have it, and have it so firmly, that it will not easily be shaken.”  His lordship then shook hands with me, and I took my leave.

Page 112

On my return I found Emmanuel, the money-lender, who had accompanied Timothy, fancying that I was in want of more assistance, and but too willing to give it.  His surprise was very great when I told him that I wished to repay the money I had borrowed.

“Vell, dis is very strange!  I have lent my monish a tousand times, and never once they did offer it me back.  Vell, I will take it, sar.”

“But how much must I give you, Mr Emmanuel, for the ten days’ loan?”

“How moch—­vy you remember, you vill give de bond money—­de fifteen hundred.”

“What! five hundred pounds interest for ten days, Mr Emmanuel; no, no, that’s rather too bad.  I will, if you please, pay you back eleven hundred pounds, and that I think is very handsome.”

“I don’t want my monish, my good sar.  I lend you one tousand pounds, on de condition that you pay me fifteen hundred when you come into your properties, which will be in very short time.  You send for me, and tell me you vish to pay back de monish directly; I never refuse monish—­if you wish to pay, I will take, but I will not take von farding less dan de monish on de bond.”

“Very well, Mr Emmanuel, just as you please; I offer you your money back, in presence of my servant, and one hundred pounds for the loan of it for ten days.  Refuse it if you choose, but I earnestly recommend you to take it.”

“I will not have de monish, sar; dis is de child’s play,” replied the Jew.  “I must have my fifteen hundred—­all in goot time, sar—­I am in no hurry—­I vish you a very good morning, Mr Newland.  Ven you vish for more monish to borrow, I shall be happy to pay my respects.”  So saying, the Jew walked out of the room, with his arm behind his back as usual.

Chapter XXXIII

     I decide upon honesty as the best policy, and what is more
     strange, receive legal advice upon this important point

Timothy and I burst into laughter.  “Really, Timothy,” observed I, “it appears that very little art is necessary to deceive the world, for in every instance they will deceive themselves.  The Jew is off my conscience, at all events, and now he never will be paid, until—­”

“Until when, Japhet?”

“Until I find out my father,” replied I.

“Everything is put off till that time arrives, I observe,” said Timothy.  “Other people will soon be as interested in the search as yourself.”

“I wish they were, unfortunately it is a secret, which cannot be divulged.”

A ring at the bell called Timothy down stairs; he returned with a letter, it was from Lord Windermear, and ran as follows:—­

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“My dear Newland,—­I have been thinking about you ever since you left me this morning, and as you appear resolved to prosecute your search, it has occurred to me that you should go about it in a more systematic way.  I do not mean to say that what I now propose will prove of any advantage to you, but still it may, as you will have a very old, and very clever head to advise with.  I refer to Mr Masterton, my legal adviser, from whom you had the papers which led to our first acquaintance.  He is aware that you were (I beg your pardon) an impostor, as he has since seen Mr Estcourt.  The letter enclosed is for him, and with that in your hand you may face him boldly, and I have no doubt but that he will assist you all in his power, and put you to no expense.  Narrate your whole history to him, and then you will hear what he may propose.  He has many secrets, much more important than yours.  Wishing you every success that your perseverance deserves,

     “Believe me,

     “Yours very truly,


“I believe the advice to be good,” said I, after reading the letter.  “I am myself at fault, and hardly know how to proceed.  I think I will go at once to the old gentleman, Timothy.”

“It can do no harm, if it does no good.  Two heads are better than one,” replied Timothy.  “Some secrets are too well kept, and deserting a child is one of those which is confided but to few.”

“By-the-bye, Timothy, here have I been, more than so many years out of the Foundling Hospital, and have never yet inquired if any one has ever been to reclaim me.”

“Very true; and I think I’ll step myself to the workhouse, at St Bridget’s, and ask whether any one has asked about me,” replied Timothy, with a grin.

“There is another thing that I have neglected,” observed I, “which is, to inquire at the address in Coleman Street, if there is any letter from Melchior.”

“I have often thought of him,” replied Timothy.  “I wonder who he can be—­there is another mystery there.  I wonder whether we shall ever fall in with him again—­and Nattee, too?”

“There’s no saying, Timothy.  I wonder where that poor fool, Philotas, and our friend Jumbo, are now?”

The remembrance of the two last personages made us both burst out a laughing.

“Timothy, I’ve been reflecting that my intimacy with poor Carbonnell has rather hindered than assisted me in my search.  He found me with a good appearance, and he has moulded me into a gentleman, so far as manners and appearance are concerned; but the constant vortex in which I have been whirled in his company, has prevented me from doing anything.  His melancholy death has perhaps been fortunate for me.  It has left me more independent in circumstances, and more free.  I must now really set to in earnest.”

“I beg your pardon, Japhet, but did not you say the same when we first set off on our travels, and yet remain more than a year with the gipsies?  Did not you make the same resolution when we arrived in town, with our pockets full of money, and yet, once into fashionable society, think but little, and occasionally, of it?  Now you make the same resolution, and how long will you keep it?”

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“Nay, Timothy, that remark is hardly fair; you know that the subject is ever in my thoughts.”

“In your thoughts, I grant, very frequently; but you have still been led away from the search.”

“I grant it, but I presume that arises from not knowing how to proceed.  I have a skein to unravel, and cannot find out an end to commence with.”

“I always thought people commenced with the beginning,” replied Tim, laughing.

“At all events, I will now try back, and face the old lawyer.  Do you call at Coleman Street, Tim, and at St Bridget’s also, if you please.”

“As for St Bridget’s, I’m in no particular hurry about my mother; if I stumble upon her I may pick her up, but I never make diligent search after what, in every probability, will not be worth the finding.”

Leaving Timothy to go his way, I walked to the house at Lincoln’s Inn, which I had before entered upon the memorable occasion of the papers of Estcourt.  As before, I rang the bell, the door swang open, and I was once more in the presence of Mr Masterton.

“I have a letter, sir,” said I, bowing, and presenting the letter from Lord Windermear.

The old gentleman peered at me through his spectacles.  “Why! we have met before—­bless me—­why you’re the rogue that—­”

“You are perfectly right, sir,” interrupted I.  “I am the rogue who presented the letter from Lord Windermear, and who presents you with another from the same person; do me the favour to read it, while I take a chair.”

“Upon my soul—­you impudent—­handsome dog, I must say—­great pity—­come for money, I suppose.  Well, it’s a sad world,” muttered the lawyer as he broke open the letter of Lord Windermear.

I made no reply, but watched his countenance, which changed to that of an expression of surprise.  “Had his lordship sent me a request to have you hanged if possible,” said Mr Masterton, “I should have felt no surprise, but in this letter he praises you, and desires me to render you all the service in my power.  I can’t understand it.”

“No, sir; but if you have leisure to listen to me, you will then find that, in this world, we may be deceived by appearances.”

“Well, and so I was, when I first saw you; I never could have believed you to be—­but never mind.”

“Perhaps, sir, in an hour or two you will again alter your opinion.  Are you at leisure, or will you make an appointment for some future day?”

“Mr Newland, I am not at leisure—­I never was more busy; and if you had come on any legal business, I should have put you off for three or four days, at least; but my curiosity is so raised, that I am determined that I will indulge it at the expense of my interest.  I will turn the key, and then you will oblige me by unravelling, what, at present, is to me as curious as it is wholly incomprehensible.”

Chapter XXXIV

Page 115

     I attempt to profit by intelligence I receive, and throw a lady
     into hysterics.

In about three hours I had narrated the history of my life, up to the very day, almost as much detailed as it has been to the reader.  “And now, Mr Masterton,” said I, as I wound up my narrative, “do you think that I deserve the title of rogue, which you applied to me when I came in?”

“Upon my word, Mr Newland, I hardly know what to say; but I like to tell the truth.  To say that you have been quite honest, would not be correct—­a rogue, to a certain degree, you have been, but you have been the rogue of circumstances.  I can only say this, that there are greater rogues than you, whose characters are unblemished in the world—­that most people in your peculiar situation would have been much greater rogues; and lastly, that rogue or not rogue, I have great pleasure in taking you by the hand, and will do all I possibly can to serve you—­and that for your own sake.  Your search after your parents I consider almost tantamount to a wild-goose chase; but still, as your happiness depends upon it, I suppose it must be carried on; but you must allow me time for reflection.  I will consider what may be the most judicious method of proceeding.  Can you dine tete-a-tete with me here on Friday, and we then will talk over the matter?”

“On Friday, sir; I am afraid that I am engaged to Lady Maelstrom; but that is of no consequence—­I will write an excuse to her ladyship.”

“Lady Maelstrom! how very odd that you should bring up her name after our conversation.”

“Why so, my dear sir?”

“Why!” replied Mr Masterton, chuckling; “because—­recollect, it is a secret, Mr Newland—­I remember some twenty years ago, when she was a girl of eighteen, before she married, she had a little faux pas, and I was called in about a settlement, for the maintenance of the child.”

“Is it possible, sir?” replied I, anxiously.

“Yes, she was violently attached to a young officer, without money, but of good family; some say it was a private marriage, others, that he was—­a rascal.  It was all hushed up, but he was obliged by the friends, before he left for the West Indies, to sign a deed of maintenance, and I was the party called in.  I never heard any more about it.  The officer’s name was Warrender; he died of the yellow fever, I believe, and after his death she married Lord Maelstrom.”

“He is dead, then?” replied I mournfully.

“Well, that cannot affect you, my good fellow.  On Friday, then, at six o’clock precisely.  Good afternoon, Mr Newland.”

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I shook hands with the old gentleman, and returned home, but my brain whirled with the fear of a confirmation, of that which Mr Masterton had so carelessly conveyed.  Anything like a possibility, immediately was swelled to a certainty in my imagination, so ardent and heated on the one subject; and as soon as I regained my room, I threw myself on the sofa, and fell into a deep reverie.  I tried to approximate the features of Lady Maelstrom to mine, but all the ingenuity in the world could not effect that; but still, I might be like my father—­but my father was dead, and that threw a chill over the whole glowing picture which I had, as usual, conjured up; besides, it was asserted that I was born in wedlock, and there was a doubt relative to the marriage of her ladyship.

After a long cogitation I jumped up, seized my hat, and set off for Grosvenor Square, determining to ask a private interview with her ladyship, and at once end my harassing doubts and surmises.  I think there could not be a greater proof of my madness than my venturing to attack a lady of forty upon the irregularities of her youth, and to question her upon a subject which had been confided but to two or three, and she imagined had been long forgotten:  but this never struck me; all considerations were levelled in my ardent pursuit.  I walked through the streets at a rapid pace, the crowd passed by me as shadows, I neither saw nor distinguished them; I was deep in reverie as to the best way of breaking the subject to her ladyship, for, notwithstanding my monomania, I perceived it to be a point of great delicacy.  After having overturned about twenty people in my mad career, I arrived at the door and knocked.  My heart beat almost as hard against my ribs with excitement.

“Is her ladyship at home?”

“Yes, sir.”

I was ushered into the drawing-room, and found her sitting with two of her nieces, the Misses Fairfax.

“Mr Newland, you have been quite a stranger,” said her ladyship, as I walked up to her and made my obeisance.  “I did intend to scold you well; but I suppose that sad affair of poor Major Carbonnell’s has been a heavy blow to you—­you were so intimate—­lived together, I believe, did you not?  However, you have not so much cause to regret, for he was not a very proper companion for young men like you:  to tell you the truth, I consider it as a fortunate circumstance that he was removed, for he would, by degrees, have led you into all manner of mischief, and have persuaded you to squander your fortune.  I did at one time think of giving you a hint, but it was a delicate point.  Now that he is gone, I tell you very candidly that you have had an escape.  A young man like you, Mr Newland, who could command an alliance into the highest, yes, the very highest families—­and let me tell you, Mr Newland, that there is nothing like connection—­money is of no consequence to you, but connection, Mr Newland, is what you should look for—­connection with some high family, and then you will do well.  I should like to see you settled—­well settled, I mean, Mr Newland.  Now that you are rid of the Major, who has ruined many young men in his time, I trust you will seriously think of settling down into a married man.  Cecilia, my dear, show your tambour work to Mr Newland, and ask him his opinion.  Is it not beautiful, Mr Newland?”

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“Extremely beautiful, indeed, ma’am,” replied I, glad at last that her ladyship allowed me to speak a word.

“Emma, my dear, you look pale, you must go out into the air.  Go, children, put your bonnets on and take a turn in the garden, when the carriage comes round I will send for you.”

The young ladies quitted the room.  “Nice innocent girls, Mr Newland; but you are not partial to blondes, I believe?”

“Indeed, Lady Maelstrom, I infinitely prefer the blonde to the brunette.”

“That proves your taste, Mr Newland.  The Fairfaxes are of a very old family—­Saxon, Mr Newland.  Fair-fax is Saxon for light hair.  Is it not remarkable that they should be blondes to this day?  Pure blood, Mr Newland.  You, of course, have heard of General Fairfax, in the time of Cromwell.  He was their direct ancestor—­an excellent family and highly connected, Mr Newland.  You are aware that they are my nieces.  My sister married Mr Fairfax.”

I paid the Misses Fairfax the compliments which I thought they really deserved, for they were very pretty amiable girls, and required no puffing on the part of her ladyship; and then I commenced.  “Your ladyship has expressed such kind wishes towards me, that I cannot be sufficiently grateful, but, perhaps, your ladyship may think me romantic, I am resolved never to marry, except for love.”

“A very excellent resolve, Mr Newland; there are few young men who care about love now-a-days, but I consider that love is a great security for happiness in the wedded state.”

“True, madam, and what can be more delightful than a first attachment?  I appeal to your ladyship, was not your first attachment the most delightful—­are not the reminiscences most lasting—­do you not, even now, call to mind those halcyon days when love was all and every thing?”

“My days of romance are long past, Mr Newland,” replied her ladyship; “indeed I never had much romance in my composition.  I married Lord Maelstrom for the connection, and I loved him pretty well, that is, soberly, Mr Newland.  I mean, I loved him quite enough to marry him, and to obey my parents, that is all.”

“But, my dear Lady Maelstrom, I did not refer to your marriage with his lordship; I referred to your first love.”

“My first love, Mr Newland; pray what do you mean?” replied her ladyship, looking very hard at me.

“Your ladyship need not be ashamed of it.  Our hearts are not in our own keeping, nor can we always control our passions.  I have but to mention the name of Warrender.”

“Warrender!” shrieked her ladyship.  “Pray, Mr Newland,” continued her ladyship, recovering herself, “who gave you that piece of information?”

“My dear Lady Maelstrom, pray do not be displeased with me, but I am very particularly interested in this affair.  Your love for Mr Warrender, long before your marriage, is well known to me; and it is to that love, to which I referred, when I asked you if it was not most delightful.”

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“Well, Mr Newland,” replied her ladyship, “how you have obtained the knowledge I know not, but there was, I acknowledge, a trifling flirtation with Edward Warrender and me—­but I was young, very young at that time.”

“I grant it, and do not, for a moment, imagine that I intend to blame your ladyship; but, as I before said, madam, I am much interested in the business.”

“What interest you can have with a little flirtation of mine, which took place before you were born, I cannot imagine, Mr Newland.”

“It is because it took place before I was born, that I feel so much interest.”

“I cannnot understand you, Mr Newland, and I think we had better change the subject.”

“Excuse me, madam, but I must request to continue it a little longer.  Is Mr Warrender dead, or not?  Did he die in the West Indies?”

“You appear to be very curious on this subject, Mr Newland; I hardly can tell.  Yes, now I recollect, he did die of the yellow fever, I think—­but I have quite forgotten all about it—­and I shall answer no more questions; if you were not a favourite of mine, Mr Newland, I should say that you were very impertinent.”

“Then, your ladyship, I will put but one more question, and that one I must put, with your permission.”

“I should think, after what I have said, Mr Newland, that you might drop the subject.”

“I will, your ladyship, immediately; but, pardon me, the question—­”

“Well, Mr Newland—?”

“Do not be angry with me—­”

“Well?” exclaimed her ladyship, who appeared alarmed.

“Nothing but the most important and imperative reasons could induce me to ask the question” (her ladyship gasped for breath, and could not speak), I stammered, but at last I brought it out.  “What has become of—­of—­of the sweet pledge of your love, Lady Maelstrom?”

Her ladyship coloured up with rage, raised up her clenched hand, and then fell back in violent hysterics.

Chapter XXXV

     I repair the damage, and make things worse—­Plot and
     counterplot—­Tim gains a watch by setting watch upon his tongue.

I hardly knew how to act—­if I called the servants, my interview would be at an end, and I was resolved to find out the truth—­for the same reason, I did not like to ring for water.  Some vases with flowers were on the table; I took out the flowers, and threw the water in her face, but they had been in the water some time, and had discoloured it green.  Her ladyship’s dress was a high silk gown, of a bright slate colour, and was immediately spoiled; but this was no time to stand upon trifles.  I seized hold of a glass bottle, fancying, in my hurry, it was eau de cologne, or some essence, and poured a little into her mouth; unfortunately, it was a bottle of marking ink, which her ladyship, who was very economical, had on the table in disguise.  I perceived my error, and had recourse to another vase of flowers, pouring a large quantity of the green water down her throat.  Whether the unusual remedies had an effect or not, I cannot tell, but her ladyship gradually revived, and, as she leant back on the sofa, sobbing, every now and then, convulsively, I poured into her ear a thousand apologies, until I thought she was composed enough to listen to me.

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“Your ladyship’s maternal feelings,” said I.

“It’s all a calumny! a base lie, sir!” shrieked she.

“Nay, nay, why be ashamed of a youthful passion; why deny what was in itself creditable to your unsophisticated mind.  Does not your heart, even now, yearn to embrace your son—­will not you bless me, if I bring him to your feet—­will not you bless your son, and receive him with delight?”

“It was a girl,” screamed her ladyship, forgetting herself, and again falling into hysterics.

“A girl!” replied I, “then I have lost my time, and it is no use my remaining here.”

Mortified at the intelligence which overthrew my hopes and castle buildings, I seized my hat, descended the stairs, and quitted the house; in my hurry and confusion quite forgetting to call the servants to her ladyship’s assistance.  Fortunately, I perceived the Misses Fairfax close to the iron railing of the garden.  I crossed the road, wished them good-bye, and told them that I thought Lady Maelstrom looked very ill, and they had better go in to her.  I then threw myself into the first hackney-coach, and drove home.  I found Timothy had arrived before me, and I narrated all that had passed.

“You will never be able to go there again,” observed Timothy, “and depend upon it, she will be your enemy through life.  I wish you had not said anything to her.

“What is done cannot be undone; but recollect, that if she can talk, I can talk also.”

“Will she not be afraid?”

“Yes, openly, she will; and open attacks can be parried.”

“Very true.”

“But it will be as well to pacify her, if I can.  I will write to her.”  I sat down and wrote as follows:—­

“My dear Lady Maelstrom,—­I am so astonished and alarmed at the situation I put you in, by my impertinence and folly, that I hardly know how to apologise.  The fact is, that looking over some of my father’s old letters, I found many from Warrender, in which he spoke of an affair with a young lady, and I read the name as your maiden name, and also discovered where the offspring was to be found.  On re-examination, for your innocence was too evident at our meeting to admit of a doubt, I find that the name, although something like yours, is spelt very differently, and that I must have been led into an unpardonable error.  What can I say, except that I throw myself on your mercy?  I dare not appear before you again.  I leave town to-morrow, but if you can pardon my folly and impertinence, and allow me to pay my respects when London is full again, and time shall have softened down your just anger, write me one line to that effect, and you will relieve the burdened conscience of

     “Yours most truly,

     “J.  Newland.”

“There, Tim,” said I, as I finished reading it over, “take that as a sop to the old Cerberus.  She may think it prudent, as I have talked of letters, to believe me and make friends.  I will not trust her, nevertheless.”

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Tim went away, and very soon returned with an answer.

“You are a foolish mad-cap, and I ought to shut my doors against you; you have half-killed me—­spoilt my gown, and I am obliged to keep my bed.  Remember, in future, to be sure of the right name before you make an assertion.  As for forgiving you, I shall think of it, and when you return to town, you may call and receive my sentence.  Cecilia was quite frightened, poor dear girl, what a dear affectionate child she is—­she is a treasure to me, and I don’t think I ever could part with her.  She sends her regards.


     “C.  Maelstrom.”

“Come, Timothy, at all events this is better than I expected—­but now I’ll tell you what I propose to do.  Harcourt was with me yesterday, and he wishes me to go down with him to ——.  There will be the assizes, and the county ball, and a great deal of gaiety, and I have an idea that it is just as well to beat the country as the town.  I dine with Mr Masterton on Friday.  On Saturday I will go down and see Fleta, and on Tuesday or Wednesday I will start with Harcourt to his father’s, where he has promised me a hearty welcome.  Was there anything at Coleman Street?”

“Yes, sir; Mr Iving said that he had just received a letter from your correspondent, and that he wished to know if the little girl was well; I told him that she was.  Mr Iving laid the letter down on the desk, and I read the postmark, Dublin.”

“Dublin,” replied I.  “I should like to find out who Melchior is—­and so I will as soon as I can.”

“Well, sir, I have not finished my story.  Mr Iving said, ’My correspondent wishes to know whether the education of the little girl is attended to?’ ‘Yes,’ replied I, ‘it is.’  ‘Is she at school?’ ’Yes, she has been at school ever since we have been in London.’  ’Where is she at school?’ inquired he.  Now, sir, as I never was asked that question by him before, I did not know whether I ought to give an answer, so I replied, ‘that I did not know.’  ’You know whether she is in London or not, do you not?’ ‘How should I?’ replied I, ’master had put her to school before I put on his liveries.’  ‘Does he never go to see her?’ inquired he.  ‘I suppose so,’ said I.  ’Then you really know nothing about it?—­then look you, my lad, I am anxious to find out where she is at school, and the name of the people, and if you will find out the direction for me, it will be money in your pocket, that’s all.’  ‘Um,’ replied I, ‘but how much?’ ’Why, more than you think for, my man, it will be a ten-pound note.’  ‘That alters the case,’ replied I; ’now I think again, I have an idea that I do remember seeing her address on a letter my master wrote to her.’  ‘Ay,’ replied Mr Iving, ’it’s astonishing how money sharpens the memory.  I’ll keep to my bargain; give me the address, and here’s the ten-pound note.’  ’I’m afraid that my master will be angry,’ said I, as if I did not much like to tell him.  ’Your master will never know anything about it, and you may serve a long time before he gives you a ten-pound note above your wages.’  ’That’s very true,’ said I, ’sarvice is no inheritance.  Well, then, give me the money, and I’ll write it down.’”

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“And did you give it?” interrupted I.

“Stop a moment, sir, and you shall hear.  I wrote down the address of that large school at Kensington, which we pass when we go to Mr Aubrey White’s.”

“What, that tremendous large board with yellow letters—­Mrs Let—­what is it?”

“Mrs Lipscombe’s seminary—­I always read the board every time I go up and down.  I gave him the address, Miss Johnson, at Mrs Lipscombe’s seminary, Kensington.  Well—­and here’s the ten-pound note, sir, which I have fairly earned.”

“Fairly earned, Tim?”

“Yes, fairly earned; for it’s all fair to cheat those who would cheat you.’

“I cannot altogether agree with you on that point, Tim, but it certainly is no more than they deserve; but this is matter for reflection.  Why should Melchior wish to find out her address without my knowledge?—­depend upon it, there is something wrong.”

“That’s what I said to myself coming home; and I made up my mind, that, for some reason or another, he wishes to regain possession of her.”

“I entertain the same idea, Timothy, and I am glad you have disappointed him.  I will take care that they shall not find her out, now that I am upon my guard.”

“But, sir, I wish to draw one good moral from this circumstance; which is, that if you had been served by any common footman, your interest would, in all probability, have been sacrificed to the ten-pound note; and that not only in this instance, but in many others, I did a very wise thing in taking my present situation.”

“I am but too well aware of that, Tim, my dear fellow,” said I, extending my hand, “and depend upon it, that if I rise, you do.  You know me well enough by this time.”

“Yes, I do, Japhet, and had rather serve you than the first nobleman in the land.  I’m going to purchase a watch with this ten-pound note, and I never shall look at it without remembering the advantage of keeping a watch over my tongue.”

Chapter XXXVI

     I fall very much in love with honesty because I find that it is
     well received in the world—­and to prove my honesty, inform the
     whole world that honest I have never been.

I proved the will of Major Carbonnell, in which there was no difficulty; and then I sat down to consider in what way I might best husband my resources.  The house was in good repair, and well furnished.  At the time that I lived with the Major, we had our drawing-room, and his bedroom, and another room equally large, used as his dressing-room, on the first floor.  The second floor was appropriated to me, and the sitting-room was used as a dining-room when we dined at home, which was but seldom.  The basement was let as a shop, at one hundred pounds per annum, but we had a private door for entrance, and the kitchens and attics.  I resolved to retain only the first floor, and let the remainder of the house; and I very soon got a tenant at sixty pounds per annum.  The attics were appropriated to Timothy and the servants belonging to the lodger.

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After having disposed of what was of no service to me, I found that, deducting the thousand pounds paid into the banker’s, for Lord Windermear, I had a little above three thousand pounds in ready money, and what to do with this I could not well decide.  I applied to Mr Masterton, stating the exact amount of my finances, on the day that I dined with him, and he replied, “You have two good tenants, bringing you in one hundred and sixty pounds per annum—­if this money is put out on mortgage, I can procure you five per cent., which will be one hundred and fifty pounds per annum.  Now, the question is, do you think that you can live upon three hundred and ten pounds per annum?  You have no rent to pay, and I should think that, as you are not at any great expense for a servant, you might, with economy, do very well.  Recollect, that if your money is lent on mortgage, you will not be able to obtain it at a moment’s warning.  So reflect well before you decide.”

I consulted with Timothy, and agreed to lend the money, reserving about two hundred pounds to go on with, until I should receive my rents and interest.  On the Friday I went to dine with Mr Masterton, and narrated what had passed between me and Lady Maelstrom.  He was very much diverted, and laughed immoderately.  “Upon my faith, Mr Newland, but you have a singular species of madness; you first attack Lord Windermear, then a bishop, and, to crown all, you attack a dowager peeress.  I must acknowledge, that if you do not find out your parents, it will not be for want of inquiry.  Altogether, you are a most singular character; your history is most singular, and your good fortune is equally so.  You have made more friends before you have come to age, than most people do in their whole lives.  You commence the world with nothing, and here you are, with almost a competence—­have paid off a loan of one thousand pounds, which was not required—­and are moving in the best society.  Now the only drawback I perceive in all this is, that you are in society under false colours, having made people suppose that you are possessed of a large fortune.”

“It was not exactly my assertion, sir.”

“No, I grant, not exactly; but you have been a party to it, and I cannot allow that there is any difference.  Now, do you mean to allow this supposition to remain uncontradicted?”

“I hardly know what to say, sir; if I were to state that I have nothing but a bare competence, it will be only injurious to the memory of Major Carbonnell.  All the world will suppose that he has ruined me, and that I had the fortune, whereas, on the contrary, it is to him that I am indebted for my present favourable position.”

“That may be very true, Mr Newland; but if I am to consider you as my protege, and I may add the protege of Lord Windermear, I must make you quite honest—­I will be no party to fraud in any shape.  Are you prepared to resign your borrowed plumes, and appear before the world as you really are?”

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“There is but one inducement, sir, for me to wish that the world may still deceive themselves.  I may be thrown out of society, and lose the opportunity of discovering my parents.”

“And pray, Mr Newland, which do you think is more likely to tend to the discovery, a general knowledge that you are a foundling in search of your parents, or your present method, of taxing everybody upon suspicion.  If your parents wish to reclaim you, they will then have their eyes directed towards you, from your position being known; and I will add, there are few parents who will not be proud of you as a son.  You will have the patronage of Lord Windermear, which will always secure you a position in society, and the good wishes of all, although, I grant, that such worldly people as Lady Maelstrom may strike your name off their porter’s list.  You will, moreover, have the satisfaction of knowing that the friends which you make have not been made under false colours and appearances, and a still further satisfaction, arising from a good conscience.”

“I am convinced, sir, and I thank you for your advice.  I will now be guided by you in everything.”

“Give me your hand, my good lad, I now will be your friend to the utmost of my power.”

“I only wish, sir,” replied I, much affected, “that you were also my father.”

“Thank you for the wish, as it implies that you have a good opinion of me.  What do you mean to do?”

“I have promised my friend Mr Harcourt to go down with him to his father’s.”


“And before I go I will undeceive him.”

“You are right; you will then find whether he is a friend to you or to your supposed ten thousand pounds per annum.  I have been reflecting, and I am not aware that anything else can be done at present than acknowledging to the world who you really are, which is more likely to tend to the discovery of your parents than any other means, but at the same time I shall not be idle.  All we lawyers have among us strange secrets, and among my fraternity, to whom I shall speak openly, I think it possible that something may be found out which may serve as a clue.  Do not be annoyed at being cut by many, when your history is known; those who cut you are those whose acquaintance and friendship are not worth having; it will unmask your flatterers from your friends, and you will not repent of your having been honest; in the end, it is the best policy, even in a worldly point of view.  Come to me as often as you please; I am always at home to you, and always your friend.”

Such was the result of my dinner with Mr Masterton, which I narrated to Timothy as soon as I returned home.  “Well, Japhet, I think you have found a real friend in Mr Masterton, and I am glad that you have decided upon following his advice.  As for me, I am not under false colours, I am in my right situation, and wish no more.”

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In pursuance of my promise to Mr Masterton, I called upon Harcourt the next morning, and after stating my intention to go down for a day or two into the country to see a little girl who was under my care, I said to him, “Harcourt, as long as we were only town acquaintances, mixing in society, and under no peculiar obligation to each other, I did not think it worth while to undeceive you on a point in which Major Carbonnell was deceived himself, and has deceived others; but now that you have offered to introduce me into the bosom of your family, I cannot allow you to remain in error.  It is generally supposed that I am about to enter into a large property when I come of age; now, so far from that being the case, I have nothing in the world but a bare competence, and the friendship of Lord Windermear.  In fact, I am a deserted child, ignorant of my parents, and most anxious to discover them, as I have every reason to suppose that I am of no mean birth.  I tell you this candidly, and unless you renew the invitation, shall consider that it has not been given.”

Harcourt remained a short time without answering.  “You really have astonished me, Newland; but,” continued he, extending his hand, “I admire—­I respect you, and I feel that I shall like you better.  With ten thousand pounds a-year, you were above me—­now we are but equals.  I, as a younger brother, have but a bare competence, as well as you; and as for parents—­for the benefit I now derive from them, I might as well have none.  Not but my father is a worthy, fine old gentleman, but the estates are entailed; he is obliged to keep up his position in society, and he has a large family to provide for, and he can do no more.  You have indeed an uncommon moral courage to have made this confession.  Do you wish it to be kept a secret?”

“On the contrary, I wish the truth to be known.”

“I am glad that you say so, as I have mentioned you as a young man of large fortune to my father, but I feel convinced, when I tell him this conversation, he will be much more pleased in taking you by the hand, than if you were to come down and propose to one of my sisters.  I repeat the invitation with double the pleasure that I gave it at first.”

“I thank you, Harcourt,” replied I; “some day I will tell you more.  I must not expect, however, that everybody will prove themselves as noble in ideas as yourself.”

“Perhaps not, but never mind that.  On Friday next then, we start.”

“Agreed.”  I shook hands and left him.

Chapter XXXVII

     I try back to recover the lost scent, and discover to my
     astonishment, that I have been transported for forgery.

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The behaviour of Harcourt was certainly a good encouragement, and had I been wavering in my promise to Mr Masterton, would have encouraged me to proceed.  I returned home with a light heart and a pleasing satisfaction, from the conviction that I had done right.  The next morning I set off for ——­, and, as it was a long while since I had seen Fleta, our meeting was a source of delight on both sides.  I found her very much grown and improved.  She was approaching her fifteenth year, as nearly as we could guess—­of course her exact age was a mystery.  Her mind was equally expanded.  Her mistress praised her docility and application, and wished to know whether I intended that she should be taught music and drawing, for both of which she had shown a decided taste.  To this I immediately consented, and Fleta hung on my shoulder and embraced me for the indulgence.  She was now fast approaching to womanhood, and my feelings towards her were more intense than ever.  I took the chain of coral and gold beads from her neck, telling her that I must put it into a secure place, as much depended upon them.  She was curious to know why, but I would not enter into the subject at that time.  One caution I gave her, in case, by any chance, her retreat should be discovered by the companions of Melchior, which was, that without I myself came, she was, on no account, to leave the school, even if a letter from me was produced, requesting her to come, unless that letter was delivered by Timothy.  I gave the same directions to her mistress, paid up her schooling and expenses, and then left her, promising not to be so long before I saw her again.  On my return to town I deposited the necklace with Mr Masterton, who locked it up carefully in his iron safe.

On the Friday, as agreed, Harcourt and I, accompanied by Timothy and Harcourt’s servant, started on the outside of the coach, as younger brothers usually convey themselves, for his father’s seat in ——­shire, and arrived there in time for dinner.  I was kindly received by old Mr Harcourt and his family, consisting of his wife and three amiable and beautiful girls.  But on the second day, during which interval I presume Harcourt had an opportunity of undeceiving his father, I was delighted to perceive that the old gentleman’s warmth of behaviour towards me was increased.  I remained there for a fortnight, and never was so happy.  I was soon on the most intimate terms with the whole family, and was treated as if I belonged to it.  Yet when I went to bed every night, I became more and more melancholy.  I felt what a delight it must be to have parents, sisters, and friends—­the bosom of a family to retire into, to share with it your pleasures and your pains; and the tears often ran down my cheeks, and moistened my pillow, when I had, not an hour before, been the happiest of the happy, and the gayest of the gay.  In a family party, there is nothing so amusing as any little talent out of the general way, and my performances and tricks on cards, &c., in which Melchior had made me such an adept, were now brought forward as a source of innocent gratification.  When I quitted, I had a general and hearty welcome to the house from the parents; and the eyes of the amiable girls, as well as mine, were not exactly dry, as we bade each other farewell.

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“You told your father, Harcourt, did you not?”

“Yes, and the whole of them, Japhet; and you must acknowledge, that in their estimation you did not suffer.  My father is pleased with our intimacy, and advises me to cultivate it.  To prove to you that I am anxious so to do, I have a proposal to make.  I know your house as well as you do, and that you have reserved only the first floor for yourself; but there are two good rooms on the first floor, and you can dispense with a dressing-room.  Suppose we club together.  It will be a saving to us both, as poor Carbonnell said, when he took you in.”

“With all my heart:  I am delighted with the proposal.”

Harcourt then stated what it was his intention to offer for his share of the apartment; the other expenses to be divided, and his servant dismissed.  I hardly need say, that we did not disagree, and before I had been a week in town, we were living together.  My interview with Mr Masterton, and subsequent events, had made me forget to call on the governors of the Foundling Hospital, to ascertain whether there had been any inquiries after me.  On my return to town I went there, and finding that there was a meeting to be held on the next day, I presented myself.  I was introduced into the room where they were assembled.

“You wish to speak with the governors of the Hospital, I understand,” said the presiding governor.

“Yes, sir,” replied I; “I have come to ask whether an inquiry has been made after one of the inmates of this charity, of the name of Japhet Newland.”

“Japhet Newland!”

“If you recollect, sir, he was bound to an apothecary of the name of Cophagus, in consequence of some money which was left with him as an infant, enclosed in a letter, in which it was said that he would be reclaimed if circumstances permitted.”

“I recollect it perfectly well—­it is now about six years back.  I think there was some inquiry, was there not, Mr G——?”

“I think that there was, about a year and a half ago; but we will send for the secretary, and refer to the minutes.”

My heart beat quick, and the perspiration bedewed my forehead, when I heard this intelligence.  At last, my emotion was so great, that I felt faint.  “You are ill, sir,” said one of the gentlemen; “quick—­a glass of water.”

The attendant brought a glass of water, which I drank, and recovered myself.  “You appear to be much interested in this young man’s welfare.”

“I am, sir,” replied I; “no one can be more so.”

The secretary now made his appearance with the register, and after turning over the leaves, read as follows:  “August the 16th—­, a gentleman came to inquire after an infant left here, of the name of Japhet, with whom money had been deposited—­Japhet, christened by order of the governors, Japhet Newland—­referred to the shop of Mr Cophagus, Smithfield Market.  He returned the next day, saying that Mr Cophagus had retired from business—­that the parties in the shop knew nothing for certain, but believed that the said Japhet Newland had been transported for life for forgery, about a year before.”

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“Good heavens! what an infamous assertion!” exclaimed I, clasping my hands.

“On reference back to the calendar, we observed that one J. Newland was transported for such an offence.  Query?”

“It must have been some other person; but this has arisen from the vindictive feeling of those two scoundrels who served under Pleggit,” cried I.

“How can you possibly tell, sir?” mildly observed one of the governors.

“How can I tell, sir?” replied I, starting from my chair.  “Why, I am Japhet Newland myself, sir.”

“You, sir,” replied the governor, surveying my fashionable exterior, my chains, and bijouterie.

“Yes, sir, I am the Japhet Newland brought up in this asylum, and who was apprenticed to Mr Cophagus.”

“Probably, then, sir,” replied the president, “you are the Mr Newland whose name appears at all the fashionable parties in high life?”

“I believe that I am the same person, sir.”

“I wish you joy upon your success in the world, sir.  It would not appear that it can be very important to you to discover your parents.”

“Sir,” replied I, “you have never known what it is to feel the want of parents and friends.  Fortunate as you may consider me to be—­and I acknowledge I have every reason to be grateful for my unexpected rise in life—­I would, at this moment, give up all that I am worth, resume my Foundling dress, and be turned out a beggar, if I could but discover the authors of my existence.”—­I then bowed low to the governors, and quitted the room.


     Mischief brewing—­Timothy and I set our wits to work, and he
     resumes his old profession of a gipsy.

I hastened home with feelings too painful to be described.  I had a soreness at my heart, an oppression on my spirits, which weighed me down.  I had but one wish—­that I was dead.  I had already imparted to Harcourt the history of my life, and when I came in, I threw myself upon the sofa in despair, and relieved my agonised heart with a flood of tears.  As soon as I could compose myself, I stated what had occurred.

“My dear Newland, although it has been an unfortunate occurrence in itself, I do not see that you have so much cause to grieve, for you have this satisfaction, that it appears there has been a wish to reclaim you.”

“Yes,” replied I, “I grant that, but have they not been told, and have they not believed, that I have been ignominiously punished for a capital crime?  Will they ever seek me more?”

“Probably not; you must now seek them.  What I should recommend is, that you repair to-morrow to the apothecary’s shop, and interrogate relative to the person who called to make inquiries after you.  If you will allow me, I will go with you.”

“And be insulted by those malignant scoundrels?”

“They dare not insult you.  As an apothecary’s apprentice they would, but as a gentleman they will quail; and if they do not, their master will most certainly be civil, and give you all the information which he can.  We may as well, however, not do things by halves; I will borrow my aunt’s carriage for the morning, and we will go in style.”

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“I think I will call this evening upon Mr Masterton, and ask his advice.”

“Ask him to accompany us, Newland, and he will frighten them with libel, and defamation of character.”

I called upon Mr Masterton, that evening, and told my story.  “It is indeed very provoking, Newland; but keep your courage up, I will go with you to-morrow, and will see what we can make of it.  At what time do you propose to start?”

“Will it suit you, sir, if we call at one o’clock?”

“Yes; so good-night, my boy, for I have something here which I must contrive to get through before that time.”

Harcourt had procured the carriage, and we picked up Mr Masterton at the hour agreed, and proceeded to Smithfield.  When we drove up to the door of Mr Pleggit’s shop, the assistants at first imagined that it was a mistake; few handsome carriages are to be seen stopping in this quarter of the metropolis.  We descended and entered the shop, Mr Masterton inquiring if Mr Pleggit was at home.  The shopmen, who had not recognised me, bowed to the ground in their awkward way; and one ran to call Mr Pleggit, who was up stairs.  Mr Pleggit descended, and we walked into the back parlour.  Mr Masterton then told him the object of our calling, and requested to know why the gentleman, who had inquired after me, had been sent away with the infamous fabrication that I had been transported for forgery.  Mr Pleggit protested innocence—­recollected, however, that a person had called—­would make every inquiry of his shopmen.  The head man was called in and interrogated—­at first he appeared to make a joke of it, but when threatened by Mr Masterton became humble—­acknowledged that they had said that I was transported, for they had read it in the newspapers—­was sorry for the mistake; said that the gentleman was a very tall person, very well dressed, very much of a gentleman—­could not recollect his exact dress—­was a large built man, with a stern face—­but seemed very much agitated when he heard that I had been transported.  Called twice, Mr Pleggit was not in at first—­left his name—­thinks the name was put down on the day book—­when he called a second time, Mr Pleggit was at home, and referred him to them, not knowing what had become of me.  The other shopman was examined, and his evidence proved similar to that of the first.  The day-book was sent for, and the day in August ——­ referred to; there was a name written down on the side of the page, which the shopman said he had no doubt, indeed he could almost swear, was the gentleman’s name, as there was no other name put down on that day.  The name, as taken down, was Derbennon.  This was all the information we could obtain, and we then quitted the shop, and drove off without there being any recognition of me on the part of Mr Pleggit and his assistants.

“I never heard that name before,” observed Harcourt to Mr Masterton.

“It is, in all probability, De Benyon,” replied the lawyer; “we must make allowances for their ignorance.  At all events, this is a sort of clue to follow up.  The De Benyons are Irish.”

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“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.”

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Timothy pointed him out to me after breakfast; I could not recollect the face, and yet it appeared that I had seen it before.  I went out, and after passing half a dozen streets, I turned round and perceived that the man was dodging me.  I took no notice, but being resolved to try him again, I walked to the White Horse Cellar, and took a seat inside a Brentford coach about to start.  On my arrival at Brentford I got out, and perceived that the man was on the roof.  Of a sudden it flashed on my memory—­it was the gipsy who had come to the camp with the communication to Melchior, which induced him to quit it.  I recollected him—­and his kneeling down by the stream and washing his face.  The mystery was solved—­Melchior had employed him to find out the residence of Fleta.  In all probability they had applied to the false address given by Timothy, and in consequence were trying, by watching my motions, to find out the true one.  “You shall be deceived, at all events,” thought I, as I walked on through Brentford until I came to a ladies’ seminary.  I rang the bell, and was admitted, stating my wish to know the terms of the school for a young lady, and contrived to make as long a stay as I could, promising to call again, if the relatives of the young lady were as satisfied as I professed to be.  On my quitting the house, I perceived that my gipsy attendant was not far off.  I took the first stage back, and returned to my lodgings.  When I had told all that had occurred to Timothy, he replied, “I think, sir, that if you could replace me for a week or two, I could now be of great service.  He does not know me, and if I were to darken my face, and put on a proper dress, I think I should have no difficulty in passing myself off as one of the tribe, knowing their slang, and having been so much with them.”

“But what good do you anticipate, Timothy?”

“My object is to find out where he puts up, and to take the same quarters—­make his acquaintance, and find out who Melchior is, and where he lives.  My knowledge of him and Nattee may perhaps assist me.”

“You must be careful then, Timothy; for he may know sufficient of our history to suspect you.”

“Let me alone, sir.  Do you like my proposal?”

“Yes, I do; you may commence your arrangements immediately.”

Chapter XXXIX

     I set off on a wild goose chase—­and fall in with an old friend.

The next morning Timothy had procured me another valet, and throwing off his liveries, made his appearance in the evening, sending up to say a man wished to speak to me.  He was dressed in highlow boots, worsted stockings, greasy leather small clothes, a shag waistcoat, and a blue frock overall.  His face was stained of a dark olive, and when he was ushered in, Harcourt, who was sitting at table with me, had not the slightest recognition of him.  As Harcourt knew all my secrets, I had confided this; I had not told him what Timothy’s intentions were, as I wished to ascertain whether his disguise was complete.  I had merely said I had given Timothy leave for a few days.

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“Perhaps you may wish me away for a short time,” said Harcourt, looking at Tim.

“Not at all, my dear Harcourt, why should I?  There’s nobody here but you and Timothy.”

“Timothy! excellent—­upon my word, I never should have known him.”

“He is going forth on his adventures.”

“And if you please, sir, I will lose no time.  It is now dark, and I know where the gipsy hangs out.”

“Success attend you then; but be careful, Tim.  You had better write to me, instead of calling.”

“I had the same idea; and now I wish you a good evening.”

When Timothy quitted the room, I explained our intentions to Harcourt.  “Yours is a strange adventurous sort of life, Newland; you are constantly plotted against, and plotting in your turn—­mines and counter-mines.  I have an idea that you will turn out some grand personage after all; for if not, why should there be all this trouble about you?”

“The trouble, in the present case, is all about Fleta; who must, by your argument, turn out some grand personage.”

“Well, perhaps she may.  I should like to see that little girl, Newland.”

“That cannot be just now, for reasons you well know; but some other time it will give me great pleasure.”

On the second day after Tim’s departure, I received a letter from him by the twopenny post.  He had made the acquaintance of the gipsy, but had not extracted any information, being as yet afraid to venture any questions.  He further stated that his new companion had no objection to a glass or two, and that he had no doubt but that if he could contrive to make him tipsy, in a few days he would have some important intelligence to communicate.  I was in a state of great mental agitation during this time.  I went to Mr Masterton, and narrated to him all that had passed.  He was surprised and amused, and desired me not to fail to let him have the earliest intelligence of what came to light.  He had not received any answer as yet from his agent in Dublin.

It was not until eight days afterwards that I received further communication from Timothy; and I was in a state of great impatience, combined with anxiety, lest any accident should have happened.  His communication was important.  He was on the most intimate footing with the man, who had proposed that he should assist him to carry off a little girl, who was at a school at Brentford.  They had been consulting how this should be done, and Timothy had proposed forging a letter, desiring her to come up to town, and his carrying it as a livery servant.  The man had also other plans, one of which was to obtain an entrance into the house by making acquaintance with the servants; another, by calling to his aid some of the women of his fraternity to tell fortunes:  nothing was as yet decided, but that he was resolved to obtain possession of the little girl, even if he were obliged to resort to force.  In either case Timothy was engaged to assist.

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When I read this, I more than congratulated myself upon the man’s being on the wrong scent, and that Timothy had hit upon his scheme.  Timothy continued:—­that they had indulged in very deep potations last night, and that the man had not scrupled to say that he was employed by a person of large fortune, who paid well, and whom it might not be advisable to refuse, as he had great power.  After some difficulty, he asked Timothy if he had ever heard the name of Melchior in his tribe.  Timothy replied that he had, and that at the gathering he had seen him and his wife.  Timothy at one time thought that the man was about to reveal everything, but of a sudden he stopped short, and gave evasive answers.  To a question put by Timothy, as to where they were to take the child if they obtained possession of her, the man had replied, that she would go over the water.  Such were the contents of the letter, and I eagerly awaited a further communication.

The next day I called at Long’s Hotel upon a gentleman with whom I was upon intimate terms.  After remaining a short time with him, I was leaving the hotel, when I was attracted by some trunks in the entrance hall.  I started when I read the address of—­“A.  De Benyon, Esq., to be left at F——­t Hotel, Dublin.”  I asked the waiter who was by, whether Mr De Benyon had left the hotel.  He replied that he had left it in his own carriage that morning, and having more luggage than he could take with him, had desired these trunks to be forwarded by the coach.  I had by that time resumed my serenity.  I took out a memorandum-book, wrote down the address on the trunks, saying that I was sorry not to have seen Mr De Benyon, and that I would write to him.

But if I composed myself before the waiter, how did my heart throb as I hastily passed through Bond Street to my home!  I had made up my mind, upon what very slight grounds the reader must be aware, that this Mr de Benyon either must be my father, or, if not, was able to tell me who was.  Had not Mr Masterton said that there was a clue—­had he not written to Dublin?  The case was to my excited imagination as clear as the noon-day, and before I arrived at home, I had made up my mind in what manner I should proceed.  It was then about four o’clock.  I hastily packed up my portmanteau—­took with me all my ready money, about sixty pounds, and sent the servant to secure a place in the mail to Holyhead.  He returned, stating that there was a seat taken for me.  I waited till half-past five to see Harcourt, but he did not come home.  I then wrote him a short note, telling him where I was going, and promising to write as soon as I arrived.

“Ireland is to be the ground of my future adventures, my dear Harcourt.  Call upon Mr Masterton, and tell him what I have done, which he surely will approve.  Open Timothy’s letters, and let me have their contents.  I leave you to arrange and act for me in every respect until I return.  In the meantime believe me,

     “Ever yours,

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     “J.  Newland.”

I gave the letter to the valet, and calling a coach drove to the office, and in less than five minutes afterwards was rolling away to Holyhead, felicitating myself upon my promptitude and decision, little imagining to what the step I had taken was to lead.

It was a very dark night in November when I started on my expedition.  There were three other passengers in the mail, none of whom had yet spoken a word, although we had made several miles of our journey.  Muffled up in my cloak, I indulged in my own reveries as usual, building up castles which toppled over one after another as I built and rebuilt again.  At last one of the passengers blew his nose, as if to give warning that he was about to speak; and then inquired of the gentleman next him if he had seen the evening newspapers.  The other replied in the negative.  “It would appear that Ireland is not in a very quiet state, sir,” observed the first.

“Did you ever read the history of Ireland?” inquired the other.

“Not very particularly.”

“Then, sir, if you were to take that trouble, you will find that Ireland, since it was first peopled, never has been in a quiet state, nor perhaps ever will.  It is a species of human volcano—­always either smoking, burning, or breaking out into eruptions and fire.”

“Very true, sir,” replied the other.  “I am told the White Boys are mustering in large numbers, and that some of the districts are quite impassable.”

“Sir, if you had travelled much in Ireland, you would have found out that many of the districts are quite impassable, without the impediment of the White Boys.”

“You have been a great deal in Ireland then, sir,” replied the other.

“Yes, sir,” said the other with a consequential air, “I believe I may venture to say that I am in charge of some of the most considerable properties in Ireland.”

“Lawyer—­agent—­five per cent.—­and so on,” muttered the third party, who sate by me, and had not yet spoken.

There was no mistaking him—­it was my former master, Mr Cophagus; and I cannot say that I was very well pleased at this intimation of his presence, as I took it for granted that he would recognise me as soon as it was daylight.  The conversation continued, without any remarks being made upon this interruption on the part of Mr Cophagus.  The agent, it appeared, had been called to London on business, and was returning.  The other was a professor of music bound to Dublin on speculation.  What called Mr Cophagus in that direction I could not comprehend; but I thought I would try and find out, I therefore, while the two others were engaged in conversation, addressed him in a low tone of voice.  “Can you tell me, sir, if the College at Dublin is considered good for the instruction of surgical pupils?”

“Country good, at all events plenty of practice—­broken heads—­and so on.”

“Have you ever been in Ireland, sir?”

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“Ireland!—­never—­don’t wish to go—­must go—­old women will die—­executor—­botheration—­and so on.”

“I hope she has left you a good legacy, sir,” replied I.

“Legacy—­humph—­can’t tell—­silver tea-pot—­suit of black, and so on.  Long journey—­won’t pay—­can’t be helped—­old women always troublesome alive or dead—­bury her, come back—­and so on.”

Chapter XL

     I deny my master.

Although Mr Cophagus was very communicative in his own way, he had no curiosity with regard to others, and the conversation dropped.  The other two had also asked all the questions which they wished, and we all, as if by one agreement, fell back in our seats, and shut our eyes, to court sleep.  I was the only one who wooed it in vain.  Day broke, my companions were all in repose, and I discontinued my reveries, and examined their physiognomies.  Mr Cophagus was the first to whom I directed my attention.  He was much the same in face as when I had left him, but considerably thinner in person.  His head was covered with a white night-cap, and he snored with emphasis.  The professor of music was a very small man, with mustachios; his mouth was wide open, and one would have thought that he was in the full execution of a bravura.  The third person, who had stated himself to be an agent, was a heavy, full-faced, coarse-looking personage, with his hat over his eyes, and his head bent down on his chest, and I observed that he had a small packet in one of his hands, with his forefinger twisted through the string.  I should not have taken further notice, had not the name of T.  Iving, in the corner of the side on which was the direction, attracted my attention.  It was the name of Melchior’s London correspondent, who had attempted to bribe Timothy.  This induced me to look down and read the direction of the packet, and I clearly deciphered, Sir Henry De Clare, Bart., Mount Castle, Connemara.  I took out my tablets, and wrote down the address.  I certainly had no reason for so doing, except that nothing should he neglected, as there was no saying what might turn out.  I had hardly replaced my tablets when the party awoke, made a sort of snatch at the packet, as if recollecting it, and wishing to ascertain if it were safe, looked at it, took off his hat, let down the window, and then looked round upon the other parties.

“Fine morning, sir,” said he to me, perceiving that I was the only person awake.

“Very,” replied I, “very fine; but I had rather be walking over the mountains of Connemara, than be shut up in this close and confined conveyance.”

“Hah! you know Connemara, then?  I’m going there; perhaps you are also bound to that part of the country? but you are not Irish.”

“I was not born or bred in Ireland, certainly,” replied I.

“So I should say.  Irish blood in your veins, I presume.”

“I believe such to be the case,” replied I, with a smile, implying certainty.

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“Do you know Sir Henry de Clare?”

“Sir Henry de Clare—­of Mount Castle—­is he not?”

“The same; I am going over to him.  I am agent for his estates, among others.  A very remarkable man.  Have you ever seen his wife?”

“I really cannot tell,” replied I; “let me call to mind.”

I had somehow or another formed an idea, that Sir Henry de Clare and Melchior might be one and the same person; nothing was too absurd or improbable for my imagination, and I had now means of bringing home my suspicions.  “I think,” continued I, “I recollect her—­that is, she is a very tall, handsome woman, dark eyes and complexion.”

“The very same,” replied he.

My heart bounded at the information; it certainly was not any clue to my own parentage, but it was an object of my solicitude, and connected with the welfare of Fleta.  “If I recollect right,” observed I, “there are some curious passages in the life of Sir Henry?”

“Nothing very particular,” observed the agent, looking out of the window.

“I thought that he had disappeared for some time.”

“Disappeared! he certainly did not live in Ireland, because he had quarrelled with his brother.  He lived in England until his brother’s death.”

“How did his brother die, sir?”

“Killed by a fall when hunting,” replied the agent.  “He was attempting to clear a stone wall, the horse fell back on him, and dislocated his spine.  I was on the spot when the accident happened.”

I recollected the imperfect communication of Fleta, who had heard the gipsy say that “he was dead;” and also the word horse made use of, and I now felt convinced that I had found out Melchior.  “Sir Henry, if I recollect right, has no family,” observed I.

“No; and I am afraid there is but little chance.”

“Had the late baronet, his elder brother, any family?”

“What, Sir William?  No; or Sir Henry would not have come into the title.”

“He might have had daughters,” replied I.

“Very true; now I think of it, there was a girl, who died when young.”

“Is the widow of Sir William alive?”

“Yes; and a very fine woman she is; but she has left Ireland since her husband’s death.”

I did not venture to ask any more questions.  Our conversation had roused Mr Cophagus and the other passenger; and as I had reflected how I should behave in case of recognition, I wished to be prepared for him.  “You have had a good nap, sir,” said I, turning to him.

“Nap—­yes—­coach nap, bad—­head sore—­and so on.  Why—­bless me—­Japhet—­Japhet New—­yes—­it is.”

“Do you speak to me, sir?” inquired I, with a quiet air.

“Speak to you—­yes—­bad memory—­hip! quite forgot—­old master—­shop in Smithfield—­mad bull—­and so on.”

“Really, sir,” replied I, “I am afraid you mistake me for some other person.”

Mr Cophagus looked very hard at me, and perceiving that there was no alteration in my countenance, exclaimed, “Very odd—­same nose—­same face—­same age too—­very odd—­like as two pills—­beg pardon—­made a mistake—­and so on.”

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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 recollect shop—­Mr
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?”

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“It may be very odd, sir; but, as I am very well known in London, at the west end, perhaps we have met there.  Lord Windermear’s perhaps—­Lady Maelstrom’s?”—­and I continued mentioning about a dozen of the most fashionable names.  “At all events, you appear to have the advantage of me; but I trust you will excuse my want of memory, as my acquaintance is very extensive.”

“I see—­quite a mistake—­same name, not same person—­beg pardon, sir—­apologies—­and so on,” replied the apothecary, drawing in a long sigh.

Chapter XLI

     I turn lawyer.

I watched the countenance of the agent, who appeared at last to be satisfied that there had been some mistake; at least he became more communicative, and as I no longer put any questions to him relative to Sir Henry, we had a long conversation.  I spoke to him about the De Benyons, making every inquiry that I could think of.  He informed me that the deceased earl, the father of the present, had many sons, who were some of them married, and that the family was extensive.  He appeared to know them all, the professions which they had been brought up to, and their careers in life.  I treasured up his information, and, as soon as I had an opportunity, wrote down all which he had told me.  On our arrival at Holyhead, the weather was very boisterous, and the packet was to depart immediately.  Mr M’Dermott stated his intentions to go over, but Mr Cophagus and the professor declined, and, anxious as I was to proceed, I did not wish to be any longer in company with the agent, and, therefore, also declined going on board.  Mr M’Dermott called for a glass of brandy and water, drank it off in haste, and then, followed by the porter, with his luggage, went down to embark.

As soon as he was gone, I burst into a fit of laughter.  “Well, Mr Cophagus, acknowledge that it is possible to persuade a man out of his senses.  You knew me, and you were perfectly right in asserting that I was Japhet, yet did I persuade you at last that you were mistaken.  But I will explain to you why I did so.”

“All right,” said the apothecary, taking my proffered hand, “thought so—­no mistake—­handsome fellow—­so you are—­Japhet Newland—­my apprentice—­and so on.”

“Yes, sir,” replied I, laughing, “I am Japhet Newland.” (I turned round, hearing a noise, the door had been opened, and Mr M’Dermott had just stepped in; he had returned for an umbrella, which he had forgotten; he looked at me, at Mr Cophagus, who still held my hand in his, turned short round, said nothing, and walked out.) “This is unfortunate,” observed I, “my reason for not avowing myself, was to deceive that very person, and now I have made the avowal to his face; however, it cannot be helped.”

I sat down with my old master, and as I knew that I could confide in him, gave him an outline of my life, and stated my present intentions.

“I see, Japhet, I see—­done mischief—­sorry for it—­can’t be help’d—­do all I can—­um—­what’s to be done?—­be your friend—­always like you—­help all I can—­and so on.”

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“But what would you advise, sir?”

“Advice—­bad as physic—­nobody takes it—­Ireland—­wild place—­no law—­better go back—­leave all to me—­find out—­and so on.”

This advice I certainly could not consent to follow.

We argued the matter over for some time, and then it was agreed that we should proceed together.  I was informed by Mr Cophagus that he had retired with a very handsome fortune, and was living in the country, about ten miles from the metropolis; that he had been summoned to attend the funeral of a maiden aunt in Dublin, who had left him executor and residuary legatee, but that he knew nothing of her circumstances.  He was still a bachelor, and amused himself in giving advice and medicines gratis to the poor people of the village in which he resided, there being no resident practitioner within some distance.  He liked the country very much, but there was one objection to it—­the cattle.  He had not forgotten the mad bull.  At a very late hour we retired to our beds:  the next morning the weather had moderated, and, on the arrival of the mail we embarked, and had a very good passage over.  On my arrival at Dublin I directed my steps to the F——­t Hotel, as the best place to make inquiries relative to Mr De Benyon.  Mr Cophagus also put up at the same hotel, and we agreed to share a sitting-room.

“Waiter,” said I, “do you know a Mr De Benyon?”

“Yes, sir,” replied he; “there is one of the De Benyons at the hotel at this moment.”

“Is he a married man?”

“Yes—­with a large family.”

“What is his Christian name?”

“I really cannot tell, sir; but I’ll find out for you by to-morrow morning.”

“When does he leave?”

“To-morrow, I believe.”

“Do you know where he goes?”

“Yes, sir, to his own seat.”

The waiter left the room.  “Won’t do, Japhet,” said Cophagus.  “Large family—­don’t want more—­hard times, and so on.”

“No,” replied I, “it does not exactly answer; but I may from him obtain further intelligence.”

“Won’t do, Japhet—­try another way—­large family—­want all uncle’s money—­um—­never tell—­good night.”

This remark of Mr Cophagus gave me an idea, upon which I proceeded the next morning.  I sent in my card, requesting the honour of speaking to Mr De Benyon, stating that I had come over to Ireland on business of importance, but that, as I must be back if possible by term time, it would perhaps save much expense and trouble.  The waiter took in the message.  “Back by term time—­it must be some legal gentleman.  Show him up,” said Mr De Benyon.

I walked in with a business-like air.  “Mr De Benyon, I believe?”

“Yes, sir; will you do me the favour to take a chair?”

I seated myself, and drew out my memorandum-book.

“My object, Mr De Benyon, in troubling you, is to ascertain a few particulars relative to your family, which we cannot so easily find out in England.  There is a property which it is supposed may be claimed by one of the De Benyons, but which we cannot ascertain until we have a little search into the genealogical tree.”

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“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.

Chapter XLII

     I affront an Irish gentleman, and make a handsome apology, which
     is accepted.

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.”

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And when I reflected, I could but acknowledge that the worthy apothecary might be right, and, that I was running after shadows; but this was only in my occasional fits of despondency.  I soon rallied, and was as sanguine as ever.  Undecided how to proceed, and annoyed by what Cophagus had said, I quitted the hotel, to walk out, in no very good humour.  As I went out, I perceived the agent M’Dermott speaking to the people in the bar, and the sight of him reminded me of what, for a moment, I had forgotten, which was, to ascertain whether Melchior and Sir Henry de Clare were one and the same person.  As I passed a crossing, a man in tattered habiliments, who was sweeping it, asked for alms, but being in no very charitable humour, I walked on.  He followed me, pestering me so much, that I gave him a tap with the cane in my hand, saying to him, “Be off, you scoundrel.”

“Oh! very well.  Be off, is it you mane?  By the blood of the O’Rourkes but you’ll answer for that same, anyhow.”

I passed on, and having perambulated the city of Dublin for some time, returned to the hotel.  A few minutes afterwards, I was told by the waiter that a Mr O’Donaghan wished to speak to me.  “I have not the honour of his acquaintance,” replied I, “but you may show him up.”

Mr O’Donaghan entered, a tall, thick-whiskered personage, in a shabby—­genteel dress, evidently not made for him, a pair of white cotton gloves, and a small stick.  “I believe that I have the honour of spaking to the gentleman who crossed over the street about two hours ago?”

“Upon my word, sir,” replied I, “that is so uncertain a definition, that I can hardly pretend to say whether I am the person you mean; indeed, from not having the pleasure of any one’s acquaintance in Dublin, I rather think there must be some mistake.”

“The devil a bit of a mistake, at all at all; for there’s the little bit of cane with which you paid my friend, Mr O’Rourke, the compliment over his shoulders.”

“I really am quite mystified, sir, and do not understand you; will you favour me with an explanation?”

“With all the pleasure in life, for then we shall come to a right understanding.  You were crossing the street, and a gentleman, a particular friend of mine, with a broom which he carries for his own amusement, did himself the honour to address you, whereupon of that same little stick of yours, you did him the honour to give him a slight taste.”

“What do you mean? do you refer to the sweeper, who was so importunate when I crossed over the road?”

“Then, by the powers, you’ve just hit it, as you did him.  That’s my particular friend, Thaddeus O’Rourke, gentleman.”

“Gentleman!” exclaimed I.

“And with as good and as true Milesian blood as any in Ireland.  If you think, sir, that because my friend, just for his own amusement, thinks proper to put on the worst of his clothes and carry a broom, just by way of exercise, to prevent his becoming too lusty, he is therefore to be struck like a hound, it’s a slight mistake, that’s all; and here, sir, is his card, and you will oblige me by mentioning any friend of yours with whom I may settle all the little points necessary before the meeting of two gentlemen.”

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I could hardly refrain from laughing at this Irish gentleman and his friend, but I thought it advisable to retain my countenance.  “My dear sir,” replied I, “it grieves me to the heart that I should have committed such an error, in not perceiving the gentility of your friend; had I not been so careless, I certainly should have requested him to do me the honour to accept a shilling, instead of having offered him the insult.  I hope it is not now too late?”

“By the powers, I’m not one of those harum-scarum sort, who would make up a fight when there’s no occasion for it, and as your ’haviour is that of a gentleman, I think it will perhaps be better to shake hands upon it, and forget it altogether.  Suppose, now, we’ll consider that it was all a mistake?  You give the shilling, as you intended to do, I’ll swear, only you were in so great a hurry—­and then, perhaps, you’ll not object to throw in another shilling for that same tap with the cane, just to wipe off the insult as it were, as we do our sins, when we fork out the money, and receive absolution from the padre; and then, perhaps, you will not think it too much if I charge another shilling for my time and trouble, for carrying a message between two gentlemen.”

“On the contrary, Mr O’Donaghan, I think all your demands are reasonable.  Here is the money.”

Mr O’Donaghan took the three shillings.  “Then, sir, and many thanks to you, I’ll wish you a good evening, and Mr O’Rourke shall know from me that you have absolution for the whole, and that you have offered every satisfaction which one gentleman could expect from another.”  So saying, Mr O’Donaghan put his hat on with a firm cock, pulled on his gloves, manoeuvred his stick, and, with a flourishing bow, took his departure.

I had hardly dismissed this gentleman, and was laughing to myself at the ridiculous occurrence, when Mr Cophagus returned, first putting his cane up to his nose with an arch look, and then laying it down on the table and rubbing his hands.  “Good—­warm old lady.  No—­dead and cold? but left some thousands—­only one legacy—­old Tom cat—­physic him to-morrow—­soon die, and so on.”

On a more full explanation, I found that the old lady had left about nine thousand pounds in the funds and bank securities, all of which, with the exception of twenty pounds per annum to a favourite cat, was left to Mr Cophagus.  I congratulated him upon this accession of fortune.  He stated that the lease of the house and the furniture were still to be disposed of, and that afterwards he should have nothing more to do; but he wished me very much to assist him in rummaging over the various cabinets belonging to the old lady, and which were full of secret drawers; that in one cabinet alone he had found upwards of fifty pounds in various gold coins, and that if not well examined, they would probably be sold with many articles of consequence remaining in them.

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As my only object in Ireland was to find out Sir Henry de Clare, and identify him (but, really, why I could not have said, as it would have proved nothing after all), I willingly consented to devote a day to assist Mr Cophagus in his examination.  The next morning after breakfast, we went together to the house of the old lady, whose name had been Maitland, as Mr Cophagus informed me.  Her furniture was of the most ancient description, and in every room in the house there was an ormolu, or Japan cabinet; some of them were very handsome, decorated with pillars, and silver ornaments.  I can hardly recount the variety of articles, which in all probability had been amassed during the whole of the old lady’s life, commencing with her years of childhood, and ending with the day of her death.  There were antique ornaments, some of considerable value, miniatures, fans, etuis, notes, of which the ink, from time, had turned to a light red, packages of letters of her various correspondents in her days of hope and anticipation, down to those of solitude and age.  We looked over some of them, but they appeared to both of us to be sacred, and they were, after a slight examination, committed to the flames.

After we had examined all the apparent receptacles in these cabinets, we took them up between us, and shook them, and in most cases found out that there were secret drawers containing other treasures.  There was one packet of letters which caught my eye, it was from a Miss De Benyon.  I seized it immediately, and showed the inscription to Mr Cophagus.  “Pooh—­nothing at all—­her mother was a De Benyon.”

“Have you any objection to my looking at these letters?”

“No—­read—­nothing in them.”

I laid them on one side, and we proceeded in our search, when Mr Cophagus took up a sealed packet.  “Heh! what’s this—­De Benyon again?  Japhet, look here.”

I took the packet; it was sealed, and tied with red tape.  “Papers belonging to Lieutenant William De Benyon, to be returned to him at my decease.”  “Alice Maitland, with great care,” was written at the bottom of the envelope.

“This is it, my dear sir,” cried I, jumping up and embracing Mr Cophagus “these are the papers which I require.  May I keep them?”

“Mad—­quite mad—­go to Bedlam—­strait waistcoat—­head shaved, and so on.”

Chapter XLIII

     I am not content with minding my own business, but must have a
     hand in that of others, by which means I put my foot in it.

He then, after his own fashion, told me, that as executor, he must retain those papers; pointed out to me the little probability there was of their containing any information relative to my birth, even allowing that a person of the name of De Benyon did call at the Foundling to ask for me, which was only a supposition; and, finally, overthrew all the hopes which had been, for so many days, buoying me up.  When he had

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finished, I threw myself upon the sofa in despair, and wished, at the moment, that I had never been born.  Still hope again rose uppermost, and I would have given all I possessed to have been able to break open the seals of that packet, and have read the contents.  At one moment I was so frantic, that I was debating whether I should not take them from Mr Cophagus by force, and run off with them.  At last I rose, and commenced reading the letters which I had put aside, but there was nothing in them but the trifling communications of two young women, who mentioned what was amusing to them, but uninteresting to those who were not acquainted with the parties.

When we had finished, Mr Cophagus collected all together, and putting them into a box, we returned in a coach to the hotel.  The next day Mr Cophagus had completed all his arrangements, and the day following had determined to return to England.  I walked with him down to the vessel, and watched it for an hour after it had sailed, for it bore away a packet of papers, which I could not help imagining were to discover the secret which I was so eager in pursuit of.  A night’s sleep made me more rational, and I now resolved to ascertain where Sir Henry de Clare, or Melchior, as I felt certain he must be, was to be found.  I sent for the waiter, and asked him if he could inform me.  He immediately replied in the affirmative, and gave his address, Mount Castle, Connemara, asking me when I intended to set out.  It did not strike me till afterwards, that it was singular that he should be so well acquainted with the address, and that he should have produced a card with it written upon it; or, moreover, that he should know that it was my intention to go there.  I took the address, and desired that I might have horses ready very early the next morning.  I then sat down and wrote a letter to Harcourt, informing him of my proceedings, also one to Mr Masterton much more explicit, lastly to Timothy, to the care of Harcourt, requesting him to let me know what had occurred between him and the gipsies.  After dinner, I packed up ready for my journey, and having settled my bill, I was not sorry to retire to my bed.

At daylight I was, as I requested, called by the waiter, and taking with me only a very small portmanteau, having left the rest of my effects in the charge of the people who kept the hotel, I set off in a post-chaise on my expedition.  I was soon clear of the city, and on a fine smooth road, and, as I threw myself back in the corner of the chaise, I could not help asking myself the question—­what was the purport of my journey?  As the reader will perceive, I was wholly governed by impulses, and never allowed reason or common sense to stand in the way of my feelings.  “What have I to do?” replied I to myself; “to find out if Melchior and Sir Henry de Clare be not one and the same person.  And what then?” What then?—­why then I may find out something relative to Fleta’s parentage.  Nay, but

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is that likely—­if, as you suppose, Melchior is Sir Henry de Clare—­if, as you suppose, it is he who is now trying to find out and carry off Fleta—­is it probable that you will gain any information from him?  I have an idea that Fleta is the little girl said to have died, who was the child of his elder brother.  Why so?  What interest could Melchior have in stealing his own niece?  That I cannot tell.  Why did Nattee give me the necklace?  I cannot tell; she would hardly betray her husband.  At all events, there is a mystery, and it can only be unravelled by being pulled at; and I may learn something by meeting Melchior, whereas, I shall learn nothing by remaining quiet.  This last idea satisfied me, and for many hours I remained in a train of deep thought, only checked by paying for the horses at the end of every stage.

It was now past twelve o’clock, when I found that it was necessary to change the chaise at every post.  The country also, as well as the roads, had changed much for the worse.  Cultivation was not so great, the roads were mountainous, and civilisation generally disappeared.  It was nearly dark when I arrived at the last post, from whence I was to take horses to Mount Castle.  As usual, the chaise also was to be changed; and I could not help observing that each change was from bad to worse.  Rope harness was used, and the vehicles themselves were of the most crazy condition.  Still I had travelled very fairly, for an Irish postillion knows how to make an Irish horse go a very fair pace.  I descended from the chaise, and ordered another out immediately.  To this there was no reply, except, “Wait, your honour; step in a moment, and rest from your fatigue a little.”  Presuming this was merely to give them time to get ready, I walked into the room of the inn, which indeed was very little better than a hovel, and sat down by the turf fire in company with some others, whom I could hardly distinguish for smoke.  I paid the chaise and postillion, and soon afterwards heard it drive off, on its way back.  After a few minutes I inquired if the chaise was getting ready.

“Is it the chaise your honour means?” said the landlady.

“Yes,” replied I, “a chaise on to Mount Castle.”

“Then I am sorry that your honour must wait a little; for our chaise, and the only one which we have, is gone to the castle, and won’t be back till long after the moon is up.  What will your honour please to take?”

“Not back till moonlight,” replied I; “why did you not say so? and I would have gone on with the other.”

“Is it with the other you mane, your honour?  Then if Teddy Driscoll could make his horses go one step farther than our door, may I never have a soul to be saved.  Will your honour please to sit in the little room Kathleen shall light a fire.”

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Vexed as I was with the idea of passing the night in this horrid place, there was no help for it:  so I took up my portmanteau and followed the landlady to a small room, if it deserved the appellation, which had been built after the cottage, and a door broken through the wall into it.  Ceiling there was none, it had only lean-to rafters, with tiles over head.  I took a seat on the only stool that was in the room, and leant my elbow on the table in no very pleasant humour, when I heard the girl say, “And why don’t you let him go on to the castle?  Sure the chaise is in the yard, and the horses are in the stable.”

“There’s orders ’gainst it, Kathleen,” replied the landlady.  “Mr M’Dermott was here this blessed day, and who can deny him?”

“Who is he then?” replied the girl.

“An attorney with a warrant against Sir Henry; and, moreover, they say that he’s coming to’strain upon the cattle of Jerry O’Toole for the tithes.”

“He’s a bould young chap, at all events,” replied the girl, “to come here all by himself.”

“Oh! but it’s not till to-morrow morning, and then we’ll have the troops here to assist him.”

“And does Jerry O’Toole know of this?”

“Sure enough he does; and I hope there’ll be no murder committed in my house this blessed night.  But what can a poor widow do when M’Dermott holds up his finger?  Now, go light the fire, Kathleen, and see if the poor young man wants anything; it’s a burning pity that he shouldn’t have something to comfort him before his misfortunes fall upon him.”

Kathleen made no reply.  The horror that I felt at this discourse may easily be imagined.  That it was intended that I should meet with foul play was certain, and I knew very well that, in such a desolate part of the country, the murder of an individual, totally unknown, would hardly be noticed.  That I had been held up to the resentment of the inhabitants as a tithe collector and an attorney with a warrant, was quite sufficient, I felt conscious, to induce them to make away with me.  How to undeceive them was the difficulty.

Chapter XLIV

     No hopes of rising next morning alive, as a last chance—­I get
     into bed.

Kathleen came in with fuel to light the fire, and looking rather hard at me, passed by, and was soon, busy blowing up the turf.  She was a very handsome dark-eyed girl, about nineteen years of age, stout and well made.  “What is your name?” said I.

“Kathleen, at your service, sir.”

“Listen to me, Kathleen,” said I, in a low voice.  “You are a woman, and all women are kind-hearted.  I have overheard all that passed between your mistress and you, and that M’Dermott has stated that I am a tithe collector and an attorney, with a warrant.  I am no such thing.  I am a gentleman who wishes to speak to Sir Henry de Clare on a business which he does not like to be spoken to about; and to show you what I say is the truth, it is about the daughter of his elder brother, who was killed when hunting, and who is supposed to be dead.  I am the only evidence to the contrary; and, therefore, he and M’Dermott have spread this report that I may come to harm.”

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“Is she alive, then?” replied Kathleen, looking up to me with wonder.

“Yes; and I will not tell Sir Henry where she is, and that is the reason of their enmity.”

“But I saw her body,” replied the girl in a low voice, standing up, and coming close to me.

“It was not hers, depend upon it,” replied I, hardly knowing what to answer to this assertion.

“At all events, it was dressed in her clothes; but it was so long before it was discovered, that we could make nothing of the features.  Well, I knew the poor little thing, for my mother nursed her.  I was myself brought up at the castle, and lived there till after Sir William was killed; then we were all sent away.”

“Kathleen!  Kathleen!” cried the landlady.

“Call for everything you can think of one after another,” whispered Kathleen, leaving the room.

“I cannot make the peat burn,” said she to the landlady, after she had quitted the little room; “and the gentleman wants some whisky.”

“Go out then, and get some from the middle of the stack, Kathleen, and be quick; we have others to attend besides the tithe proctor.  There’s the O’Tooles all come in, and your own Corny is with them.”

“My Corny, indeed!” replied Kathleen; “he’s not quite so sure of that.”

In a short time Kathleen returned, and brought some dry peat and a measure of whisky.  “If what you say is true,” said Kathleen, “and sure enough you’re no Irish, and very young for a tithe proctor, who must grow old before he can be such a villain, you are in no very pleasant way.  The O’Tooles are here, and I’ve an idea they mean no good; for they sit with all their heads together, whispering to each other, and all their shillelaghs by their sides.”

“Tell me, Kathleen, was the daughter of Sir William a fair-haired, blue-eyed girl?”

“To be sure she was,” replied Kathleen, “and like a little mountain fairy.”

“Now, Kathleen, tell me if you recollect if the little girl or her mother ever wore a necklace of red beads mixed with gold.”

“Yes, that my lady did; and it was on the child’s neck when it was lost, and when the body was found, it was not with it.  Well I recollect that, for my mother said the child must have been drowned or murdered for the sake of the gold beads.”

“Then you have proved all I wished, Kathleen; and now I tell you that this little girl is alive, and that I can produce the necklace which was lost with her; and more, that she was taken away by Sir Henry himself.”

“Merciful Jesus!” replied Kathleen; “the dear little child that we cried over so much.”

“But now, Kathleen, I have told you this, to prove to you that I am not what M’Dermott has asserted, no doubt, with the intention that my brains shall be knocked out this night.”

“And so they will, sure enough,” replied Kathleen, “if you do not escape.”

“But how am I to escape? and will you assist me?” And I laid down on the table ten guineas from my purse, “Take that, Kathleen, and it will help you and Corny.  Now will you assist me?”

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“It’s Corny that will be the first to knock your brains out,” replied Kathleen, “unless I can stop him.  I must go now, and I’ll see what can be done.”

Kathleen would have departed without touching the gold; but I caught her by the wrist, collected it, and put it into her hand.  “That’s not like a tithe proctor, at all events,” replied Kathleen; “but my heart aches, and my head swims, and what’s to be done I know not.”  So saying, Kathleen quitted the room.

“Well,” thought I, after she had left the room, “at all events, I have not been on a wrong scent this time.  Kathleen has proved to me that Fleta is the daughter of the late Sir William; and if I escape this snare, Melchior shall do her justice.”  Pleased with my having so identified Melchior and Fleta, I fell into a train of thought, and for the first time forgot my perilous situation; but I was roused from my meditations by an exclamation from Kathleen.  “No, no, Corny, nor any of ye—­not now—­and mother and me to witness it—­it shall not be.  Corny, hear me, as sure as blood’s drawn, and we up to see it, so sure does Corny O’Toole never touch this hand of mine.”  A pause, and whispering followed, and again all appeared to be quiet.  I unstrapped my portmanteau, took out my pistols, which were loaded, re-primed them, and remained quiet, determined to sell my life as dearly as possible.

It was more than half an hour before Kathleen returned; she looked pale and agitated.  “Keep quiet, and do not think of resistance,” said she, “it is useless.  I have told my mother all, and she believes you, and will risk her life to save him who has watched over the little girl whom she nursed; but keep quiet, we shall soon have them all out of the house.  Corny dare not disobey me, and he will persuade the others.”

She then went out again, and did not return for nearly an hour, when she was accompanied by her mother.

“Kathleen has told me all, young sir,” said she, “and do what we can, we will; but we hardly know what to do.  To go to the castle would be madness.”

“Yes,” replied I; “but cannot you give me one of your horses to return the way I came?”

“That was our intention; but I find that the O’Tooles have taken them all out of the stable to prevent me; and the house is watched.  They will come at midnight and attack us, that I fully expect, and how to conceal you puzzles my poor head.”

“If they come, we can but persuade them that he has escaped,” replied Kathleen; “they will no longer watch the house, and he will then have some chance.”

“There is but one chance,” replied the mother, who took Kathleen aside, and whispered to her.  Kathleen coloured to the forehead, and made no reply.

“If your mother bids you, Kathleen, there can be no harm.”

“Yes; but if Corny was—­”

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“He dare not,” replied the mother; “and now put this light out, and do you get into bed, sir, with your clothes on.”  They led me to a small bedroom, a miserable affair; but in that part of the country considered respectable.  “Lie down there,” said the mother, “and wait till we call you.”  They took the light away, and left me to myself and my own reflections, which were anything but pleasant.  I lay awake, it might be for two hours, when I heard the sound of feet, and then a whispering under the window, and shortly afterwards a loud knocking at the door, which they were attempting to burst open.  Every moment I expected that it would yield to the violence which was made use of, when the mother came down half-dressed, with a light in her hand, hastened to me, and desired me to follow her.  I did so, and before she left my room, she threw the window wide open.  She led me up a sort of half-stairs, half-ladder, to a small room, where I found Kathleen sitting up in her bed, and half-dressed.  “O mother! mother!” cried Kathleen.

“I bid ye do it, child,” replied the mother, desiring me to creep into her daughter’s bed, and cover myself up on the side next the wall.

“Let me put on more clothes, mother.”

“No, no, if you do, they will suspect, and will not hesitate to search.  Your mother bids you.”

The poor girl was burning with shame and confusion.

“Nay,” replied I, “if Kathleen does not wish it, I will not buy my safety at the expense of her feelings.”

“Yes, yes,” replied Kathleen, “I don’t mind now; those words of yours are sufficient.  Come in, quick.”

Chapter XLV

     Petticoat interest prevails, and I escape; but I put my head into
     the lion’s den.

There was no time for apology, and stepping over Kathleen, I buried myself under the clothes by her side.  The mother then hastened downstairs, and arrived at the door just as they had succeeded in forcing it open, when in pounced a dozen men armed, with their faces blackened.  “Holy Jesus! what is it that you want?” screamed the landlady.

“The blood of the tithe proctor, and that’s what we’ll have,” replied the O’Tooles.

“Not in my house—­not in my house!” cried she.  “Take him away, at all events; promise me to take him away.”

“So we will, honey darlint; we’ll take him out of your sight, and out of your hearing too, only show us where he may be.”

“He’s sleeping,” replied the mother, pointing to the door of the bedroom, where I had been lying down.

The party took the light from her hand, and went into the room, where they perceived the bed empty and the window open.  “Devil a bit of a proctor here, anyhow,” cried one of them, “and the window open.  He’s off—­hurrah! my lads, he can’t be far.”

“By the powers! it’s just my opinion, Mrs M’Shane,” replied the elder O’Toole, “that he’s not quite so far off; so with your lave, or by your lave, or without your lave, we’ll just have a look over the premises.”

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“O! and welcome, Mister Jerry O’Toole; if you think I’m the woman to hide a proctor, look everywhere just as you please.”

The party, headed by Jerry O’Toole, who had taken the light out of Mrs M’Shane’s hand, now ascended the ladder to the upper storey, and as I lay by Kathleen, I felt that she trembled with fear.  After examining every nook and cranny they could think of, they came to Mrs M’Shane’s room, “O! go in—­go in and look, Mr O’Toole; it’s a very likely thing to insinuate that I should have a tithe proctor in my bed.  Search, pray,” and Mrs M’Shane led the way into her own room.

Every part had been examined, except the small sleeping-room of Kathleen; and the party paused before the door.  “We must search,” observed O’Toole doggedly.

“Search my daughter’s! very well, search if you please; it’s a fine story you’ll have to tell, how six great men pulled a poor girl out of her bed to look for a tithe proctor.  It will be a credit to you anyhow; and you, Corny O’Toole, you’ll stand well in her good graces, when you come to talk about the wedding day; and your wife that is to be, pulled out of her bed by a dozen men.  What will ye say to Kathleen, when you affront her by supposing that a maiden girl has a tithe proctor in bed with her?  D’ye think that ye’ll ever have the mother’s consent or blessing?”

“No one goes into Kathleen’s room,” cried Corny O’Toole, roused by the sarcasms of Mrs M’Shane.

“Yes, Corny,” replied Mrs M’Shane, “it’s not for a woman like me to be suspected, at all events; so you, and you only, shall go into the room, if that will content ye, Mr Jerry O’Toole.”

“Yes!” replied the party, and Mrs M’Shane opened the door.

Kathleen rose up on her elbow, holding the bed clothes up to her throat, and looking at them, as they entered, said, “O Corny!  Corny! this to me?”

Corny never thought of looking for anybody, his eyes were rivetted upon his sweetheart.  “Murder, Kathleen, is it my fault?  Jerry will have it.”

“Are you satisfied, Corny?” said Mrs M’Shane.

“Sure enough I was satisfied before I came in, that Kathleen would not have any one in her bedroom,” replied Corny.

“Then good-night, Corny, and it’s to-morrow that I’ll talk with ye,” replied Kathleen.

Mrs M’Shane then walked out of the room, expecting Corny to follow; but he could not restrain himself, and he came to the bedside.  Fearful that if he put his arms round her, he would feel me, Kathleen raised herself, and allowed him to embrace her.  Fortunately the light was not in the room, or I should have been discovered, as in so doing she threw the clothes off my head and shoulders.  She then pushed back Corny from her, and he left the room, shutting the door after him.  The party descended the ladder, and as soon as Kathleen perceived that they were all down, she sprang out of bed and ran into her mother’s room.  Soon after I heard them depart.  Mrs

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M’Shane made fast the door, and came up stairs.  She first went to her own room, where poor Kathleen was crying bitterly from shame and excitement.  I had got up when she came into Kathleen’s room for her clothes, and, in about five minutes, they returned together.  I was sitting on the side of the bed when they came in:  the poor girl coloured up when our eyes met.  “Kathleen,” said I, “you have, in all probability, saved my life, and I cannot express my thanks.  I am only sorry that your modesty has been put to so severe a trial.”

“If Corny was to find it out,” replied Kathleen, sobbing again.  “How could I do such a thing!”

“Your mother bid you,” replied Mrs M’Shane, “and that is sufficient.”

“But what must you think of me, sir?” continued Kathleen.

“I think that you have behaved most nobly.  You have saved an innocent man at the risk of your reputation, and the loss of your lover.  It is not now that I can prove my gratitude.”

“Yes, yes, promise me by all that’s sacred, that you’ll never mention it.  Surely you would not ruin one who has tried to serve you.”

“I promise you that, and I hope to perform a great deal more,” replied I.  “But now, Mrs M’Shane, what is to be done?  Remain here I cannot.”

“No; you must leave, and that very soon.  Wait about ten minutes more, and then they will give up their search and go home.  The road to E——­” (the post I had lately come from) “is the best you can take; and you must travel as fast as you can, for there is no safety for you here.”

“I am convinced that rascal M’Dermott will not leave me till he has rid himself of me.”  I then took out my purse, in which I still had nearly twenty guineas.  I took ten of them.  “Mrs M’Shane, I must leave you in charge of my portmanteau, which you may forward by-and-bye, when you hear of my safety.  If I should not be so fortunate, the money is better in your hands than in the hands of those who will murder me.  Kathleen, God bless you! you are a good girl, and Corny O’Toole will be a happy man if he knows your value.”

I then wished Kathleen good-bye, and she allowed me to kiss her without any resistance; but the tears were coursing down her cheeks as I left the room with her mother.  Mrs M’Shane looked carefully out of the windows, holding the light to ascertain if there was anybody near, and, satisfied with her scrutiny, she then opened the door, and calling down the saints to protect me, shook hands with me, and I quitted the house.  It was a dark, cloudy night, and when I first went out, I was obliged to grope, for I could distinguish nothing.  I walked along with a pistol loaded in each hand, and gained, as I thought, the high road to E——­, but I made a sad mistake; and puzzled by the utter darkness and turnings, I took, on the contrary, the road to Mount Castle.  As soon as I was clear of the houses and the enclosure, there was more light, and I could distinguish the road.  I had proceeded

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about four or five miles, when I heard the sound of horses’ hoofs, and shortly afterwards two men rode by me.  I inquired if that was the way to E——.  A pause ensued, and a whisper.  “All’s right!” replied a deep voice.  I continued my way, glad to find that I had not mistaken it, and cogitating as to what must be the purpose of two men being out at such an hour.  About ten minutes afterwards I thought I again heard the sound of horses’ feet, and it then occurred to me that they must be highwaymen, who had returned to rob me.  I cocked my pistols, determined to sell my life as dearly as I could, and awaited their coming up with anxiety; but they appeared to keep at the same distance, as the sound did not increase.  After half an hour I came to two roads, and was undecided which to take.  I stopped and listened—­the steps of the horses were no longer to be heard.  I looked round me to ascertain if I could recognise any object so as to decide me, but I could not.  I took the road to the left, and proceeded, until I arrived at a brook which crossed the road.  There was no bridge, and it was too dark to perceive the stepping stones.  I had just waded about half way across, when I received a blow on the head from behind, which staggered me.  I turned round, but before I could see my assailant, a second blow laid me senseless in the water.

Chapter XLVI

     Under ground but not yet dead and buried—­The prospect anything
     but pleasant.

When my recollection returned I found myself in the dark, but where, I knew not.  My head ached, and my brain reeled.  I sat up for a moment to collect my senses, but the effort was too painful, I fell back, and remained in a state of half stupor.  Gradually I recovered, and again sat up.  I perceived that I had been lying on a bed of straw, composed of two or three trusses apparently.  I felt with my extended arms on each side of me, but touched nothing.  I opened my eyes, which I had closed again, and tried to pierce through the obscurity, but in vain—­all was dark as Erebus.  I then rose on my feet, and extending my hands before me, walked five or six steps on one side, till I was clear of the straw, and came to a wall.  I followed the wall about twenty feet, and then touched wood; groping about, I found it was a door.  I then made the circuit of the walls, and discovered that the other side was built with bins for wine, which were empty, and I then found myself again at the straw upon which I had been laid.  It was in a cellar no longer used—­but where?  Again I lay down upon the straw, and, as it may be imagined, my reflections were anything but pleasing.  “Was I in the power of M’Dermott or Melchior?” I felt convinced that I was; but my head was too painful for long thought, and after half an hour’s reflection, I gave way to a sullen state of half-dreaming, half-stupor, in which the forms of M’Dermott, Kathleen, Melchior, and Fleta, passed in succession before me.  How long I remained in this second species of trance I cannot say, but I was roused by the light of a candle, which flashed in my eyes.  I started up, and beheld Melchior in his gipsy’s dress, just as when I had taken leave of him.

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“It is to you, then, that I am indebted for this treatment?” replied I.

“No; not to me,” replied Melchior.  “I do not command here; but I knew you when they brought you in insensible, and being employed in the castle, I have taken upon myself the office of your gaoler, that I might, if possible, serve you.”

I felt, I knew this to be false, but a moment’s reflection told me that it was better at present to temporise.

“Who then does the castle belong to, Melchior?”

“To Sir Henry de Clare.”

“And what can be his object in treating me thus?”

“That I can tell you, because I am a party concerned.  You remember the little girl, Fleta, who left the gipsy camp with you—­she is now somewhere under your care?”

“Well, I grant it; but I was answerable only to you about her.”

“Very true, but I was answerable to Sir Henry; and when I could only say that she was well, he was not satisfied, for family reasons now make him very anxious that she should return to him; and, indeed, it will be for her advantage, as she will in all probability be his heir, for he has satisfactorily proved that she is a near relative.”

“Grant all that, Melchior; but why did not Sir Henry de Clare write to me on the subject, and state his wishes, and his right to demand his relative?  And why does he treat me in this way?  Another question—­how is it that he has recognised me to be the party who has charge of the little girl?  Answer me those questions, Melchior, and then I may talk over the matter.”

“I will answer the last question first.  He knew your name from me, and it so happened, that a friend of his met you in the coach as you were coming to Ireland:  the same person also saw you at the post-house, and gave information.  Sir Henry, who is a violent man, and here has almost regal sway, determined to detain you till you surrendered up the child.  You recollect, that you refused to tell his agent, the person whose address I gave you, where she was to be found, and, vexed at this, he has taken the law into his own hands.”

“For which he shall smart, one of these days,” replied I, “if there is law in this country.”

“There is a law in England, but very little, and none that will harm Sir Henry in this part of the country.  No officer would venture within five miles of the castle, I can assure you; for he knows very well that it would cost him his life; and Sir Henry never quits it from one year’s end to the other.  You are in his power, and all that he requires is information where the child may be found, and an order for her being delivered to him.  You cannot object to this, as he is her nearest relative.  If you comply, I do not doubt but Sir Henry will make you full amends for this harsh treatment, and prove a sincere friend ever afterwards.”

“It requires consideration,” replied I; “at present, I am too much hurt to talk.”

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“I was afraid so,” replied Melchior, “that was one reason why I obtained leave to speak to you.  Wait a moment.”

Melchior then put the candle down on the ground, and went out, and turned the key.  I found, on looking round, that I was right in my conjectures.  I was in a cellar, which, apparently, had long been in disuse.  Melchior soon returned, followed by an old crone, who carried a basket and a can of water.  She washed the blood off my head, put some alve upon the wounds, and bound them up.  She then went away, leaving the basket.

“There is something to eat and drink in that basket,” observed Melchior; “but I think, Japhet, you will agree with me, that it will be better to yield to the wishes of Sir Henry, and not remain in this horrid hole.”

“Very true, Melchior,” replied I; “but allow me to ask you a question or two.  How came you here? where is Nattee, and how is it, that after leaving the camp, I find you so reduced in circumstances, as to be serving such a man as Sir Henry De Clare?”

“A few words will explain that,” replied he.  “In my early days I was wild, and I am, to tell you the truth, in the power of this man; nay, I will tell you honestly, my life is in his power; he ordered me to come, and I dare not disobey him—­and he retains me here.”

“And Nattee?”

“Is quite well, and with me, but not very happy in her present situation; but he is a dangerous, violent, implacable man, and I dare not disobey him.  I advise you as a friend, to consent to his wishes.”

“That requires some deliberation,” replied I, “and I am not one of those who are to be driven.  My feelings towards Sir Henry, after this treatment, are not the most amicable; besides, how am I to know that Fleta is his relative?”

“Well, I can say no more, Japhet.  I wish you well out of his hands.”

“You have the power to help me, if that is the case,” said I.

“I dare not.”

“Then you are not the Melchior that you used to be,” replied I.

“We must submit to fate.  I must not stay longer; you will find all that you want in the basket, and more candles, if you do not like being in the dark.  I do not think I shall be permitted to come again, till to-morrow.”

Melchior then went out, locked the door after him, and I was left to my meditations.

Chapter XLVII

     A friend in need is a friend in deed—­The tables are turned and
     so is the key—­The issue in deep tragedy.

Was it possible that which Melchior said was true?  A little reflection told me that it was all false, and that he was himself Sir Henry de Clare.  I was in his power, and what might be the result?  He might detain me, but he dare not murder me.  Dare not!  My heart sank when I considered where I was, and how easy would it be for him to despatch me, if so inclined, without any one ever being aware

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of my fate.  I lighted a whole candle, that I might not find myself in the dark when I rose, and exhausted in body and mind, was soon fast asleep.  I must have slept many hours, for when I awoke I was in darkness—­the candle had burnt out.  I groped for the basket, and examined the contents with my hands, and found a tinder-box.  I struck a light, and then feeling hungry and weak, refreshed myself with the eatables it contained, which were excellent, as well as the wine.  I had replaced the remainder, when the key again turned in the door, and Melchior made his appearance.

“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.”

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“Not the least,” replied I, flushed with anger and with wine, “I have proof positive.  I have seen her mother, and I can identify the child by the necklace which was on her neck when you stole her.”

“Necklace!” cried Melchior.

“Yes, the necklace put into my hands by your own wife when we parted.”

“Damn her!” replied Melchior.

“Do not damn her; damn yourself for your villany, and its being brought to light.  Have I said enough, or shall I tell you more?”

“Pray tell me more.”

“No, I will not, for I must commit others, and that will not do,” replied I; for I felt I had already said too much.

“You have committed yourself, at all events,” replied Melchior; “and now I tell you, that until—­never mind,” and Melchior hastened away.

The door was again locked, and I was once more alone.

I had time to reflect upon my imprudence.  The countenance of Melchior, when he left me, was that of a demon.  Something told me to prepare for death; and I was not wrong.  The next day Melchior came not, nor the next; my provisions were all gone.  I had nothing but a little wine and water left.  The idea struck me, that I was to die of starvation.  Was there no means of escape?  None; I had no weapon, no tool, not even a knife.  I had expended all my candles.  At last, it occurred to me, that, although I was in a cellar, my voice might be heard, and I resolved, as a last effort, to attempt it.  I went to the door of the cellar, and shouted at the top of my lungs, “Murder—­murder!” I shouted again and again as loud as I could, until I was exhausted.  As it afterwards appeared, this plan did prevent my being starved to death, for such was Melchior’s villanous intention.  About an hour afterwards I repeated my cries of “Murder—­murder!” and they were heard by the household, who stated to Melchior, that there was some one shouting murder in the vaults below.  That night, and all the next day, I repeated my cries occasionally.  I was now quite exhausted, I had been nearly two days without food, and my wine and water had all been drunk.  I sat down with a parched mouth and heated brain, waiting till I could sufficiently recover my voice to repeat my cries, when I heard footsteps approaching.  The key was again turned in the door, and a light appeared, carried by one of two men armed with large sledge hammers.

“It is then all over with me,” cried I; “and I never shall find out who is my father.  Come on, murderers, and do your work.  Do it quickly.”

The two men advanced without speaking a word; the foremost, who carried the lantern, laid it down at his feet, and raised his hammer with both hands, when the other behind him raised his weapon—­and the foremost fell dead at his feet.

Chapter XLVIII

     Is full of perilous adventures, and in which, the reader may be
     assured, there is much more than meets the eye.

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“Silence,” said a voice that I well knew, although his face was completely disguised.  It was Timothy! “Silence, Japhet,” again whispered Timothy; “there is yet much danger, but I will save you, or die.  Take the hammer.  Melchior is waiting outside.”  Timothy put the lantern in the bin, so as to render it more dark, and led me towards the door, whispering, “when he comes in, we will secure him.”

Melchior soon made his appearance, and as he entered the cellar, “Is it all right?” said he, going up to Timothy, and passing me.

With one blow I felled him to the ground, and he lay insensible.  “That will do,” replied Timothy; “now we must be off.”

“Not till he takes my place,” replied I, as I shut the door, and locked it.  “Now he may learn what it is to starve to death.”

I then followed Timothy, by a passage which led outside of the castle, through which he and his companion had been admitted.  “Our horses are close by,” said Timothy; “for we stipulated upon leaving the country after it was done.”

It was just dark when we were safe out of the castle.  We mounted our horses, and set off with all speed.  We followed the high road to the post town to which I had been conveyed, and I determined to pull up at Mrs M’Shane’s, for I was so exhausted that I could go no further.  This was a measure which required precaution, and as there was moonlight, I turned off the road before I entered the town, or village, as it ought to have been called, so that we dismounted at the back of Mrs M’Shane’s house.  I went to the window of the bedroom where I had lain down, and tapped gently, again and again, and no answer.  At last, Kathleen made her appearance.

“Can I come in, Kathleen?” said I; “I am almost dead with fatigue and exhaustion.”

“Yes,” replied she, “I will open the back-door; there is no one here to-night—­it is too early for them.”

I entered, followed by Timothy, and, as I stepped over the threshold, I fainted.  As soon as I recovered, Mrs M’Shane led me up stairs into her room for security, and I was soon able to take the refreshment I so much required.  I stated what had passed to Mrs M’Shane and Kathleen, who were much shocked at the account.

“You had better wait till it is late, before you go on,” said Mrs M’Shane, “it will be more safe; it is now nine o’clock, and the people will all be moving till eleven.  I will give your horses some corn, and when you are five miles from here, you may consider yourselves as safe.  Holy saints! what an escape!”

The advice was too good not to be followed, and I was so exhausted, that I was glad that prudence was on the side of repose.  I lay down on Mrs M’Shane’s bed, while Timothy watched over me.  I had a short slumber, and then was awakened by the good landlady, who told me that it was time for us to quit.  Kathleen then came up to me, and said, “I would ask a favour of you, sir, and I hope you will not refuse it.”

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“Kathleen, you may ask anything of me, and depend upon it, I will not refuse it, if I can grant it.”

“Then, sir,” replied the good girl, “you know how I overcame my feelings to serve you, will you overcome yours for me?  I cannot bear the idea that anyone, bad as he may be, of the family who have reared me, should perish in so miserable a manner; and I cannot bear that any man, bad as he is, even if I did not feel obliged to him, should die so full of guilt, and without absolution.  Will you let me have the key, that Sir Henry de Clare may be released after you are safe and away?  I know he does not deserve any kindness from you; but it is a horrid death, and a horrid thing to die so loaded with crime.”

“Kathleen,” replied I, “I will keep my word with you.  Here is the key; take it up to-morrow morning, and give it to Lady de Clare; tell her Japhet Newland sent it.”

“I will, and God bless you, sir.”

“Good-bye, sir,” said Mrs M’Shane, “you have no time to lose.”

“God bless you, sir,” said Kathleen, who now put her arms round me and kissed me.  We mounted our horses and set off.

We pressed our horses, or rather ponies, for they were very small, till we had gained about six miles, when we considered that we were, comparatively speaking, safe, and then drew up, to allow them to recover their wind.  I was very much exhausted myself, and hardly spoke one word until we arrived at the next post town, when we found everybody in bed.  We contrived, however, to knock them up, and Timothy having seen that our horses were put into the stable, we lay down till the next morning upon a bed which happened to be unoccupied.  Sorry as were the accommodations, I never slept so soundly, and woke quite refreshed.  The next morning I stated my intention of posting to Dublin, and asked Tim what we should do with the horses.

“They belong to the castle,” replied he.

“Then in God’s name, let the castle have them, for I wish for nothing from that horrid place.”

We stated to the landlord that the horses were to be sent back, and that the man who took them would be paid for his trouble; and then it occurred to me, that it would be a good opportunity of writing to Melchior, alias Sir Henry.  I do not know why, but certainly my animosity against him had subsided, and I did not think of taking legal measures against him.  I thought it, however, right to frighten him.  I wrote, therefore, as follows:—­

SIR HENRY,—­I send you back your horses with thanks, as they have enabled Timothy and me to escape from your clutches.  Your reputation and your life now are in my power, and I will have ample revenge.  The fact of your intending murder, will be fully proved by my friend Timothy, who was employed by you in disguise, and accompanied your gipsy.  You cannot escape the sentence of the law.  Prepare yourself, then, for the worst, as it is not my intention that you shall escape the disgraceful punishment due to your crimes.


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Having sealed this, and given it to the lad who was to return with the horses, we finished our breakfast, and took a post-chaise on for Dublin, where we arrived late in the evening.  During our journey I requested Timothy to narrate what had passed, and by what fortunate chance he had been able to come so opportunely to my rescue.

“If you recollect, Japhet,” replied Timothy, “you had received one or two letters from me, relative to the movements of the gipsy, and stating his intention to carry off the little girl from the boarding-school.  My last letter, in which I had informed you that he had succeeded in gaining an entrance into the ladies’ school at Brentford, could not have reached you, as I found by your note that you had set off the same evening.  The gipsy, whom I only knew by the name of Will, inquired of me the name by which the little girl was known, and my answer was, Smith; as I took it for granted that, in a large seminary, there must be one, if not more, of that name.  Acting upon this, he made inquiries of the maid-servant to whom he paid his addresses, and made very handsome presents, if there was a Miss Smith in the school; she replied, that there were two, one a young lady of sixteen, and the other about twelve years old.  Of course the one selected was the younger.  Will had seen me in my livery, and his plan was to obtain a similar one, hire a chariot, and go down to Brentford, with a request that Miss Smith might be sent up with him immediately, as you were so ill that you were not expected to live; but previous to his taking this step, he wrote to Melchior, requesting his orders as to how he was to proceed when he had obtained the child.  The answer from Melchior arrived.  By this time, he had discovered that you were in Ireland, and intended to visit him; perhaps he had you in confinement, for I do not know how long you were there, but the answer desired Will to come over immediately, as there would be in all probability work for him, that would be well paid for.  He had now become so intimate with me, that he disguised nothing; he showed me the letter, and I asked him what it meant; he replied that there was somebody to put out of the way, that was clear.  It immediately struck me, that you must be the person if such was the case, and I volunteered to go with him, to which, after some difficulty, he consented.  We travelled outside the mail, and in four days we arrived at the castle.  Will went up to Melchior, who told him what it was that he required.  Will consented, and then stated he had another hand with him, which might be necessary, vouching for my doing anything that was required.  Melchior sent for me, and I certainly was afraid that he would discover me, but my disguise was too good.  I had prepared for it still further, by wearing a wig of light hair, he asked me some questions, and I replied in a surly, dogged tone, which satisfied him.  The reward was two hundred pounds, to be shared between us; and, as it was considered advisable that we should not be seen after the affair was over, by the people about the place, we had the horses provided for us.  The rest you well know.  I was willing to make sure that it was you before I struck the scoundrel, and the first glimpse from the lantern, and your voice, convinced me.”

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“Thank God, Japhet, but I have been of some use to you, at all events.”

“My dear Tim, you have indeed, and you know me too well to think I shall ever forget it; but now I must first ascertain where the will of the late Sir William is to be found.  We can read it for a shilling, and then I may discover what are the grounds of Melchior’s conduct, for, to me, it is still inexplicable.”

“Are wills made in Ireland registered here, or at Doctor’s Commons in London?”

“In Dublin, I should imagine.”

But on my arrival at Dublin I felt so ill, that I was obliged to retire to bed, and before morning I was in a violent fever.  Medical assistance was sent for, and I was nursed by Timothy with the greatest care, but it was ten days before I could quit my bed.  For the first time, I was sitting in an easy chair by the fire, when Timothy came in with the little portmanteau I had left in the care of Mrs M’Shane.  “Open it, Timothy,” said I, “and see if there be anything in the way of a note from them.”  Timothy opened the portmanteau, and produced one, which was lying on the top.  It was from Kathleen, and as follows:—­

Dear Sir,—­They say there is terrible work at the castle, and that Sir Henry has blown out his brains, or cut his throat, I don’t know which.  Mr M’Dermott passed in a great hurry, but said nothing to anybody here.  I will send you word of what has taken place as soon as I can.  The morning after you went away, I walked up to the castle and gave the key to the lady, who appeared in a great fright at Sir Henry not having been seen for so long a while.  They wished to detain me after they had found him in the cellar with the dead man, but after two hours I was desired to go away, and hold my tongue.  It was after the horses went back that Sir Henry is said to have destroyed himself.  I went up to the castle, but M’Dermott had given orders for no one to be let in on any account.

     Yours Kathleen M’Shane.

“This is news indeed,” said I, handing the letter to Timothy.  “It must have been my threatening letter which has driven him to this mad act.”

“Very likely,” replied Timothy; “but it was the best thing the scoundrel could do, after all.”

“The letter was not, however, written, with that intention.  I wished to frighten him, and have justice done to little Fleta—­poor child! how glad I shall be to see her!”

Chapter XLIX

     Another investigation relative to a child which in the same way
     as the former one, ends by the Lady going off in a fit.

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The next day the newspapers contained a paragraph, in which Sir Henry de Clare was stated to have committed suicide.  No reason could be assigned for this rash act, was the winding up of the intelligence.  I also received another letter from Kathleen M’Shane, confirming the previous accounts; her mother had been sent for to assist in laying out the body.  There was now no further doubt, and as soon as I could venture out, I hastened to the proper office, where I read the will of the late Sir William.  It was very short, merely disposing of his personal property to his wife, and a few legacies; for, as I discovered, only a small portion of the estates were entailed with the title, and the remainder was not only to the heirs male, but the eldest female, should there be no male heir, with the proviso, that should she marry, the husband was to take upon himself the name of De Clare.  Here, then, was the mystery explained, and why Melchior had stolen away his brother’s child.  Satisfied with my discovery, I determined to leave for England immediately, find out the dowager Lady de Clare, and put the whole case into the hands of Mr Masterton.  Fortunately, Timothy had money with him sufficient to pay all expenses, and take us to London, or I should have been obliged to wait for remittances, as mine was all expended before I arrived at Dublin.  We arrived safe, and I immediately proceeded to my house, where I found Harcourt, who had been in great anxiety about me.  The next morning I went to my old legal friend, to whom I communicated all that had happened.

“Well done, Newland,” replied he, after I had finished.  “I’ll bet ten to one that you find out your father.  Your life already would not make a bad novel.  If you continue your hair-breadth adventures in this way, it will be quite interesting.”

Although satisfied in my own mind that I had discovered Fleta’s parentage, and anxious to impart the joyful intelligence, I resolved not to see her until everything should be satisfactorily arranged.  The residence of the dowager Lady de Clare was soon discovered by Mr Masterton; it was at Richmond, and thither he and I proceeded.  We were ushered into the drawing-room, and, to my delight, upon her entrance, I perceived that it was the same beautiful person in whose ears I had seen the coral and gold ear-rings matching the necklace belonging to Fleta.  I considered it better to allow Mr Masterton to break the subject.

“You are, madam, the widow of the late Sir William de Clare.”  The lady bowed.  “You will excuse me, madam, but I have most important reasons for asking you a few questions, which otherwise may appear to be intrusive.  Are you aware of the death of his brother, Sir Henry de Clare?”

“Indeed I was not,” replied she.  “I seldom look at a paper, and I have long ceased to correspond with any one in Ireland.  May I ask you what occasioned his death?”

“He fell by his own hands, madam.”

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Lady de Clare covered up her face.  “God forgive him!” said she, in a low voice.

“Lady de Clare, upon what terms were your husband and the late Sir Henry?  It is important to know.”

“Not on the very best, sir.  Indeed, latterly, for years, they never met or spoke:  we did not know what had become of him.”

“Were there any grounds for ill-will?”

“Many, sir, on the part of the elder brother; but none on that of Sir Henry, who was treated with every kindness, until he—­” Lady de Clare stopped—­“until he behaved very ill to him.”

As we afterwards discovered, Henry de Clare had squandered away the small portion left him by his father, and had ever after that been liberally supplied by his eldest brother, until he had attempted to seduce Lady de Clare, upon which he was dismissed for ever.

“And now, madam, I must revert to a painful subject.  You had a daughter by your marriage?”

“Yes,” replied the lady, with a deep sigh.

“How did you lose her?  Pray do not think I am creating this distress on your part without strong reasons.”

“She was playing in the garden, and the nurse, who thought it rather cold, ran in for a minute to get a handkerchief to tie round her neck.  When the nurse returned, the child had disappeared.”  Lady de Clare put her handkerchief up to her eyes.

“Where did you find her afterwards?”

“It was not until three weeks afterwards that her body was found in a pond about a quarter of a mile off.”

“Did the nurse not seek her when she discovered that she was not in the garden?”

“She did, and immediately ran in that direction.  It is quite strange that the child could have got so far without the nurse perceiving her.”

“How long is it ago?”

“It is now nine years.”

“And the age of the child at the time?”

“About six years old.”

“I think, Newland, you may now speak to Lady de Clare.”

“Lady de Clare, have you not a pair of ear-rings of coral and gold of very remarkable workmanship?”

“I have, sir,” replied she, with surprise.

“Had you not a necklace of the same? and if so, will you do me the favour to examine this?” I presented the necklace.

“Merciful heaven!” cried Lady de Clare, “it is the very necklace!—­it was on my poor Cecilia when she was drowned, and it was not found with the body.  How came it into your possession, sir?  At one time,” continued Lady de Clare, weeping, “I thought that it was possible that the temptation of the necklace, which has a great deal of gold in it, must, as it was not found on her corpse, have been an inducement for the gipsies, who were in the neighbourhood, to drown her; but Sir William would not believe it, rather supposing that in her struggles in the water she must have broken it, and that it had thus been detached from her neck.  Is it to return this unfortunate necklace that you have come here?”

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“No, madam, not altogether.  Had you two white ponies at the time?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Was there a mulberry tree in the garden?”

“Yes, sir,” replied the astonished lady.

“Will you do me the favour to describe the appearance of your child as she was, at the time that you lost her?”

“She was—­but all mothers are partial, and perhaps I may also be so—­a very fair, lovely little girl.”

“With light hair, I presume?”

“Yes, sir.  But why these questions?  Surely you cannot ask them for nothing,” continued she hurriedly.  “Tell me, sir, why all these questions?”

Mr Masterton replied, “Because, madam, we have some hopes that you have been deceived, and that it is possible that your daughter was not drowned.”

Lady de Clare, breathless, and her mouth open, fixed her eyes upon Mr Masterton, and exclaimed, “Not drowned!  O my God! my head!” and then she fell back insensible.

“I have been too precipitate,” said Mr Masterton, going to her assistance; “but joy does not kill.  Ring for some water, Japhet.”

Chapter L

     In which, if the reader does not sympathise with the parties, he
     had better shut the book.

In a few minutes Lady de Clare was sufficiently recovered to hear the outline of our history; and as soon as it was over, she insisted upon immediately going with us to the school where Fleta was domiciled, as she could ascertain, by several marks known but to a nurse or mother, if more evidence was required, whether Fleta was her child or not.  To allow her to remain in such a state of anxiety was impossible, Mr Masterton agreed, and we posted to ——­, where we arrived in the evening.  “Now, gentlemen, leave me but one minute with the child, and when I ring the bell, you may enter.”  Lady de Clare was in so nervous and agitated a state, that she could not walk into the parlour without assistance.  We led her to a chair, and in a minute Fleta was called down.  Perceiving me in the passage, she ran to me.  “Stop, my dear Fleta, there is a lady in the parlour, who wishes to see you.”

“A lady, Japhet?”

“Yes, my dear, go in.”

Fleta obeyed, and in a minute we heard a scream, and Fleta hastily opened the door, “Quick! quick! the lady has fallen down.”

We ran in and found Lady de Clare on the floor, and it was some time before she returned to her senses.  As soon as she did, she fell down on her knees, holding up her hands as in prayer, and then stretched her arms out to Fleta.  “My child! my long-lost child! it is—­it is indeed!” A flood of tears poured forth on Fleta’s neck relieved her, and we then left them together; old Masterton observing, as we took our seats in the back parlour,

“By G—­, Japhet, you deserve to find your own father!”

In about an hour Lady de Clare requested to see us.  Fleta rushed into my arms and sobbed, while her mother apologised to Mr Masterton for the delay and excusable neglect towards him.  “Mr Newland, madam, is the person to whom you are indebted for your present happiness.  I will now, if you please, take my leave, and will call upon you to-morrow.”

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“I will not detain you, Mr Masterton; but Mr Newland will, I trust, come home with Cecilia and me; I have much to ask of him.”  I consented, and Mr Masterton went back to town; I went to the principal hotel to order a chaise and horses, while Fleta packed up her wardrobe.

In half an hour we set off, and it was midnight before we arrived at Richmond.  During my journey I narrated to Lady de Clare every particular of our meeting with Fleta.  We were all glad to go to bed, and the kind manner in which Lady de Clare wished me good-night, with “God bless you, Mr Newland!” brought the tears into my eyes.

I breakfasted alone the next morning, Lady de Clare and her daughter remaining up stairs.  It was nearly twelve o’clock when they made their appearance, both so apparently happy, that I could not help thinking, “When shall I have such pleasure—­when shall I find out who is my father?” My brow was clouded as the thought entered my mind, when Lady de Clare requested that I would inform her who it was to whom she and her daughter were under such eternal obligations.  I had then to relate my own eventful history, most of which was as new to Cecilia (as she now must be called) as it was to her mother.  I had just terminated the escape from the castle, when Mr Masterton’s carriage drove up to the door.  As soon as he had bowed to Lady de Clare, he said to me, “Japhet, here is a letter directed to you, to my care, from Ireland, which I have brought for you.”

“It is from Kathleen M’Shane, sir,” replied I, and requesting leave, I broke the seal.  It contained another.  I read Kathleen’s, and then hastily opened the other.  It was from Nattee, or Lady H. de Clare, and ran as follows:—­

     “Japhet Newland,—­Fleta is the daughter of Sir William de Clare. 
     Dearly has my husband paid for his act of folly and wickedness,
     and to which you must know I never was a party.



The letter from Kathleen added more strange information.  Lady de Clare, after the funeral of her husband, had sent for the steward, made every necessary arrangement, discharged the servants, and then had herself disappeared, no one knew whither; but it was reported that somebody very much resembling her had been seen travelling south in company with a gang of gipsies.  I handed both letters over to Lady de Clare and Mr Masterton.

“Poor Lady de Clare!” observed the mother.

“Nattee will never leave her tribe,” observed Cecilia quietly.

“You are right, my dear,” replied I.  “She will be happier with her tribe where she commands as a queen, than ever she was at the castle.”

Mr Masterton then entered into a detail with Lady de Clare as to what steps ought immediately to be taken, as the heirs-at-law would otherwise give some trouble; and having obtained her acquiescence, it was time to withdraw.  “Mr Newland, I trust you will consider us as your warmest friends.  I am so much in your debt, that I never can repay you; but I am also in your debt in a pecuniary way—­that, at least, you must permit me to refund.”

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“When I require it, Lady de Clare, I will accept it.  Do not, pray, vex me by the proposition.  I have not much happiness as it is, although I am rejoiced at yours and that of your daughter.”

“Come, Lady de Clare, I must not allow you to tease my protege, you do not know how sensitive he is.  We will now take our leave.”

“You will come soon,” said Cecilia, looking anxiously at me.

“You have your mother, Cecilia,” replied I; “what can you wish for more?  I am a—­nobody—­without a parent.”

Cecilia burst into tears; I embraced her, and Mr Masterton and I left the room.

Chapter LI

     I return to the gay world, but am not well received; I am quite
     disgusted with it and honesty, and everything else.

How strange, now that I had succeeded in the next dearest object of my wishes, after ascertaining my own parentage, that I should have felt so miserable; but it was the fact, and I cannot deny it.  I could hardly answer Mr Masterton during our journey to town; and when I threw myself on the sofa in my own room, I felt as if I was desolate and deserted.  I did not repine at Cecilia’s happiness; so far from it, I would have sacrificed my life for her; but she was a creature of my own—­one of the objects in this world to which I was endeared—­one that had been dependent on me and loved me.  Now that she was restored to her parent, she rose above me, and I was left still more desolate.  I do not know that I ever passed a week of such misery as the one which followed a denouement productive of so much happiness to others, and which had been sought with so much eagerness, and at so much risk, by myself.  It was no feeling of envy, God knows; but it appeared to me as if everyone in the world was to be made happy except myself.  But I had more to bear up against.

When I had quitted for Ireland, it was still supposed that I was a young man of large fortune—­the truth had not been told.  I had acceded to Mr Masterton’s suggestions, that I was no longer to appear under false colours, and had requested Harcourt, to whom I made known my real condition, that he would everywhere state the truth.  News like this flies like wildfire; there were too many whom, perhaps, when under the patronage of Major Carbonnell, and the universal rapture from my supposed wealth, I had treated with hauteur, glad to receive the intelligence, and spread it far and wide.  My imposition, as they pleased to term it, was the theme of every party, and many were the indignant remarks of the dowagers who had so often indirectly proposed to me their daughters; and if there was anyone more virulent than the rest, I hardly need say that it was Lady Maelstrom, who nearly killed her job horses in driving about from one acquaintance to another, to represent my unheard-of atrocity in presuming to deceive my betters.  Harcourt, who had agreed to live with me—­Harcourt, who

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had praised my magnanimity in making the disclosure—­even Harcourt fell off; and about a fortnight after I had arrived in town, told me that not finding the lodgings so convenient as his former abode, he intended to return to it.  He took a friendly leave; but I perceived that if we happened to meet in the streets, he often contrived to be looking another way; and at last, a slight recognition was all that I received.  Satisfied that it was intended, I no longer noticed him; he followed but the example of others.  So great was the outcry raised by those who had hoped to have secured me as a good match, that any young man of fashion who was seen with me, had, by many, his name erased from their visiting lists.  This decided my fate, and I was alone.  For some time I bore up proudly; I returned a glance of defiance, but this could not last.  The treatment of others received a slight check from the kindness of Lord Windermear, who repeatedly asked me to his table; but I perceived that even there, although suffered as a proteg of his lordship, anything more than common civility was studiously avoided, in order that no intimacy might result.  Mr Masterton, upon whom I occasionally called, saw that I was unwell and unhappy.  He encouraged me; but, alas! a man must be more than mortal, who, with fine feelings, can endure the scorn of the world.  Timothy, poor fellow, who witnessed more of my unhappy state of mind than anybody else, offered in vain his consolation.  “And this,” thought I, “is the reward of virtue and honesty.  Truly, virtue is its own reward, for it obtains no other.  As long as I was under false colours, allowing the world to deceive themselves, I was courted and flattered.  Now that I have thrown off the mask, and put on the raiment of truth, I am a despised, miserable being.  Yes; but is not this my own fault?  Did I not, by my own deception, bring all this upon myself?  Whether unmasked by others, or by myself, is it not equally true that I have been playing false, and am now punished for it?  What do the world care for your having returned to truth?  You have offended by deceiving them, and that is an offence which your repentance will not extenuate.”  It was but too true, I had brought it all on myself, and this reflection increased my misery.  For my dishonesty, I had been justly and severely punished:  whether I was ever to be rewarded for my subsequent honesty still remained to be proved; but I knew very well that most people would have written off such a reward as a bad debt.

Once I consulted with Mr Masterton as to the chance of there being any information relative to my birth in the packet left in the charge of Mr Cophagus.  “I have been thinking over it, my dear Newland,” said he, “and I wish I could give you any hopes, but I cannot.  Having succeeded with regard to your little protege, you are now so sanguine with respect to yourself, that a trifle light as air is magnified, as the poet says, ‘into confirmation strong

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as holy writ.’  Now, consider, somebody calls at the Foundling to ask after you—­which I acknowledge to be a satisfactory point—­his name is taken down by an illiterate brute, as Derbennon; but how you can decide upon the real name, and assume it is De Benyon, is really more than I can imagine, allowing every scope to fancy.  It is in the first instance, therefore, you are at fault, as there are many other names which may have been given by the party who called; nay, more, is it at all certain that the party, in a case like this, would give his real name?  Let us follow it up.  Allowing the name to have been De Benyon, you discover that one brother is not married, and that there are some papers belonging to him in the possession of an old woman who dies; and upon these slight grounds what would you attempt to establish? that because that person was known not to have married, therefore he was married (for you are stated to have been born in wedlock):  and because there is a packet of papers belonging to him in the possession of another party, that this packet of papers must refer to you.  Do you not perceive how you are led away by your excited feelings on the subject?”

I could not deny that Mr Masterton’s arguments had demolished the whole fabric which I had built up.  “You are right, sir,” replied I mournfully, “I wish I were dead.”

“Never speak in that way, Mr Newland, before me,” replied the old lawyer in an angry tone, “without you wish to forfeit my good opinion.”

“I beg your pardon, sir; but I am most miserable.  I am avoided by all who know me—­thrown out of all society—­I have not a parent or a relative.  Isolated being as I am, what have I to live for?”

“My dear fellow, you are not twenty-three years of age,” replied Mr Masterton, “and you have made two sincere friends, both powerful in their own way.  I mean Lord Windermear and myself; and you have had the pleasure of making others happy.  Believe me, that is much to have accomplished at so early an age.  You have much to live for—­live to gain more friends—­live to gain reputation—­live to do good—­to be grateful for the benefits you have received, and to be humble when chastened by Providence.  You have yet to learn where, and only where, true happiness is to be found.  Since you are so much out of spirits, go down to Lady de Clare’s, see her happiness, and that of her little girl; and then, when you reflect that it was your own work, you will hardly say that you have lived in vain.”  I was too much overpowered to speak.  After a pause, Mr Masterton continued, “When did you see them last?”

“I have never seen them, sir, since I was with you at their meeting.”

“What! have you not called—­now nearly two months?  Japhet, you are wrong; they will be hurt at your neglect and want of kindness.  Have you written or heard from them?”

“I have received one or two pressing invitations, sir; but I have not been in a state of mind to avail myself of their politeness.”

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“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.”

Chapter LII

     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.”

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I returned my thanks to Mr Masterton, and begged that he would convey my grateful acknowledgments to his lordship.  As I walked home, I met a Captain Atkinson, a man of very doubtful character, whom, by the advice of Carbonnell, I had always kept at a distance.  He had lost a large fortune by gambling, and having been pigeoned, had, as is usual, ended by becoming a rook.  He was a fashionable, well-looking man, of good family, suffered in society, for he had found out that it was necessary to hold his position by main force.  He was a noted duellist, had killed his three or four men, and a cut direct from any person was, with him, sufficient grounds for sending a friend.  Everybody was civil to him, because no one wished to quarrel with him.

“My dear Mr Newland,” said he, offering his hand, “I am delighted to see you; I have heard at the clubs of your misfortune, and there were some free remarks made by some.  I have great pleasure in saying that I put an immediate stop to them, by telling them that, if they were repeated in my presence, I should consider it as a personal quarrel.”

Three months before, had I met Captain Atkinson, I should have returned his bow with studied politeness, and have left him; but how changed were my feelings!  I took his hand, and shook it warmly.

“My dear sir,” replied I, “I am very much obliged for your kind and considerate conduct; there are more who are inclined to calumniate than to defend.”

“And always will be in this world, Mr Newland; but I have a fellow feeling.  I recollect how I was received and flattered when I was introduced as a young man of fortune, and how I was deserted and neglected when I was cleaned out.  I know now why they are so civil to me, and I value their civility at just as much as it is worth.  Will you accept my arm:—­I am going your way”

I could not refuse; but I coloured when I took it, for I felt that I was not adding to my reputation by being seen in his company; and still I felt, that although not adding to my reputation, I was less likely to receive insult, and that the same cause which induced them to be civil to him, would perhaps operate when they found me allied with him.  “Be it so,” thought I, “I will, if possible, extort politeness.”

We were strolling down Bond Street, when we met a young man, well known in the fashionable circles, who had dropped my acquaintance, after having been formerly most pressing to obtain it.  Atkinson faced him.  “Good morning, Mr Oxberry.”

“Good morning, Captain Atkinson,” replied Mr Oxberry.

“I thought you knew my friend Mr Newland?” observed Atkinson, rather fiercely.

“Oh! really—­I quite—­I beg pardon.  Good morning, Mr Newland; you have been long absent.  I did not see you at Lady Maelstrom’s last night.”

“No,” replied I, carelessly, “nor will you ever.  When you next see her ladyship, ask her, with my compliments, whether she has had another fainting fit.”

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“I shall certainly have great pleasure in carrying your message, Mr Newland—­good morning.”

“That fool,” observed Atkinson, “will now run all over town, and you will see the consequence.”

We met one or two others, and to them Atkinson put the same question, “I thought you knew my friend Mr Newland?” At last, just as we arrived at my own house in St James’s Street, who should we meet but Harcourt.  Harcourt immediately perceived me, and bowed low as he passed on, so that his bow would have served for both; but Atkinson stopped.  “I must beg your pardon, Harcourt, for detaining you a moment, but what are the odds upon the Vestris colt for the Derby?”

“Upon my word, Captain Atkinson, I was told, but I have forgotten.”

“Your memory appears bad, for you have also forgotten your old friend, Mr Newland.”

“I beg your pardon, Mr Newland.”

“There is no occasion to beg my pardon, Mr Harcourt,” interrupted I; “for I tell you plainly, that I despise you too much to ever wish to be acquainted with you.  You will oblige me, sir, by never presuming to touch your hat, or otherwise notice me.”

Harcourt coloured, and started back.  “Such language, Mr Newland—­”

“Is what you deserve; ask your own conscience.  Leave us, sir;” and I walked on with Captain Atkinson.

“You have done well, Newland,” observed Atkinson; “he cannot submit to that language, for he knows that I have heard it.  A meeting you will of course have no objection to.  It will be of immense advantage to you.”

“None whatever,” replied I; “for if there is any one man who deserves to be punished for his conduct towards me, it is Harcourt.  Will you come up, Captain Atkinson; and, if not better engaged, take a quiet dinner and a bottle of wine with me?”

Our conversation during dinner was desultory, but after the first bottle, Atkinson became communicative, and his history not only made me feel better inclined towards him, but afforded me another instance, as well as Carbonnell’s, how often it is that those who would have done well, are first plundered, and then driven to desperation by the heartlessness of the world.  The cases, however, had this difference, that Carbonnell had always contrived to keep his reputation above water, while that of Atkinson was gone, and never to be re-established.  We had just finished our wine when a note was brought from Harcourt, informing me that he should send a friend the next morning for an explanation of my conduct.  I handed it over to Atkinson.  “My dear sir, I am at your service,” replied he, “without you have anybody among your acquaintances whom you may prefer.”

“Thank you,” replied I, “Captain Atkinson; it cannot be in better hands.”

“That is settled, then; and now where shall we go?”

“Wherever you please.”

“Then I shall try if I can win a little money to-night; if you come you need not play—­you can look on.  It will serve to divert your thoughts, at all events.”

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I felt so anxious to avoid reflection, that I immediately accepted his offer, and, in a few minutes, we were in the well-lighted room, and in front of the rouge et noir table, covered with gold and bank notes.  Atkinson did not commence his play immediately, but pricked the chances on a card as they ran.  After half an hour he laid down his stakes, and was fortunate.  I could no longer withstand the temptation, and I backed him; in less than an hour we both had won considerably.

“That is enough,” said he to me, sweeping up his money; “we must not try the slippery dame too long.”

I followed his example, and shortly afterwards we quitted the house.  “I will walk home with you, Newland; never, if you can help it, especially if you have been a winner, leave a gaming house alone.”

Going home, I asked Atkinson if he would come up; he did so, and then we examined our winnings.  “I know mine,” replied he, “within twenty pounds, for I always leave off at a certain point.  I have three hundred pounds, and something more.”

He had won three hundred and twenty-five pounds.  I had won ninety pounds.  As we sat over a glass of brandy and water, I inquired whether he was always fortunate.  “No, of course I am not,” replied Atkinson; “but on the whole, in the course of the year I am a winner of sufficient to support myself.”

“Is there any rule by which people are guided who play?  I observed many of those who were seated, pricking the chances with great care, and then staking their money at intervals.”

Rouge et noir I believe to be the fairest of all games,” replied Atkinson; “but where there is a per centage invariably in favour of the bank, although one may win and another lose, still the profits must be in favour of the bank.  If a man were to play all the year round, he would lose the national debt in the end.  As for martingales, and all those calculations, which you observed them so busy with, they are all useless.  I have tried everything, and there is only one chance of success, but then you must not be a gambler?”

“Not a gambler?”

“No; you must not be carried away by the excitement of the game, or you will infallibly lose.  You must have a strength of mind which few have, or you will be soon cleaned out.”

“But you say that you win on the whole; have you no rule to guide you?”

“Yes, I have; strange as the chances are, I have been so accustomed to them, that I generally put down my stake right; when I am once in a run of luck, I have a method of my own, but what it is I cannot tell; only this I know, that if I depart from it, I always lose my money.  But that is what you may call good luck, or what you please—­it is not a rule.”

“Where, then, are your rules?”

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“Simply these two.  The first it is not difficult to adhere to:  I make a rule never to lose but a certain sum if I am unlucky when I commence—­say twenty stakes, whatever may be the amount of the stake that you play.  This rule is easily adhered to, by not taking more money with you; and I am not one of those to whom the croupier or porters will lend money.  The second rule is the most difficult, and decides whether you are a gambler or not.  I make a rule always to leave off when I have won a certain sum—­or even before, if the chances of my game fluctuate.  There is the difficulty; it appears very foolish not to follow up luck, but the fact is, fortune is so capricious, that if you trust her more than an hour, she will desert you.  This is my mode of play, and with me it answers; but it does not follow that it would answer with another.  But it is very late, or rather, very early—­I wish you a good-night.”

Chapter LIII

     I become principal instead of second in a duel, and risk my own
     and another’s life, my own and others’ happiness and peace of
     mind, because I have been punished as I deserved.

After Captain Atkinson had left me, I stated to Timothy what had passed.  “And do you think you will have to fight a duel, sir?” cried Timothy with alarm.

“There is no doubt of it,” replied I.

“You never will find your father, sir, if you go on this way,” said Timothy, as if to divert my attention from such a purpose.

“Not in this world, perhaps, Tim; perhaps I may be sent the right road by a bullet, and find him in the next.”

“Do you think your father, if dead, has gone to heaven?”

“I hope so, Timothy.”

“Then what chance have you of meeting him, if you go out of the world attempting the life of your old friend?”

“That is what you call a poser, my dear Timothy, but I cannot help myself; this I can safely say, that I have no animosity against Mr Harcourt—­at least, not sufficient to have any wish to take away his life.”

“Well, that’s something, to be sure; but do you know, Japhet, I’m not quite sure you hit the right road when you set up for a gentleman.”

“No, Timothy, no man can be in the right road who deceives; I have been all wrong; and I am afraid I am going from worse to worse:  but I cannot moralise, I must go to sleep, and forget everything if I can.”

The next morning, about eleven o’clock, a Mr Cotgrave called upon me on the part of Harcourt.  I referred him to Captain Atkinson, and he bowed and quitted the room.  Captain Atkinson soon called; he had remained at home expecting the message, and had made every arrangement with the second.  He stayed with me the whole day; the Major’s pistols were examined and approved of; we dined, drank freely, and he afterwards proposed that I should accompany him to one of the hells, as they are called.  This I refused, as I had some arrangements to make; and as soon as he was gone I sent for Timothy.

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“Tim,” said I, “if I should be unlucky to-morrow, you are my executor and residuary legatee.  My will was made when in Dublin, and is in the charge of Mr Cophagus.”

“Japhet, I hope you will allow me one favour, which is, to go to the ground with you.  I had rather be there than remain here in suspense.”

“Of course, my dear fellow, if you wish it,” replied I; “but I must go to bed, as I am to be called at four o’clock—­so let’s have no sentimentalising or sermonising.  Good-night, God bless you.”

I was, at that time, in a state of mind which made me reckless of life or of consequences; stung by the treatment which I received, mad with the world’s contumely, I was desperate.  True it was, as Mr Masterton said, I had not courage to buffet against an adverse gale.  Timothy did not go to bed, and at four o’clock was at my side.  I rose, dressed myself with the greatest care, and was soon joined by Captain Atkinson.  We then set off in a hackney-coach to the same spot to which I had, but a few months before, driven with poor Carbonnell.  His memory and his death came like a cloud over my mind, but it was but for a moment.  I cared little for life.  Harcourt and his second were on the ground a few minutes before us.  Each party saluted politely, and the seconds proceeded to business.  We fired, and Harcourt fell, with a bullet above his knee.  I went up to him, and he extended his hand.  “Newland,” said he, “I have deserved this.  I was a coward, in the first place, to desert you as I did—­and a coward, in the second, to fire at a man whom I had injured.  Gentlemen,” continued he, appealing to the seconds, “recollect, I, before you, acquit Mr Newland of all blame, and desire, if any further accident should happen to me, that my relations will take no steps whatever against him.”

Harcourt was very pale, and bleeding fast.  Without any answer I examined the wound, and found, by the colour of the blood, and its gushing, that an artery had been divided.  My professional knowledge saved his life.  I compressed the artery, while I gave directions to the others.  A handkerchief was tied tight round his thigh, above the wound—­a round stone selected, and placed under the handkerchief, in the femoral groove, and the ramrod of one of the pistols then made use of as a winch, until the whole acted as a tourniquet.  I removed my thumbs, found that the hemorrhage was stopped, and then directed that he should be taken home on a door, and surgical assistance immediately sent for.

“You appear to understand these things, sir,” said Mr Cotgrave.  “Tell me, is there any danger?”

“He must suffer amputation,” replied I, in a low voice, so that Harcourt could not hear me.  “Pray watch the tourniquet carefully as he is taken home, for should it slip it will be fatal.”

I then bowed to Mr Cotgrave, and, followed by Captain Atkinson, stepped into the hackney-coach and drove home.  “I will leave you now, Newland,” said Captain Atkinson; “it is necessary that I talk this matter over, so that it is properly explained.”

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I thanked Captain Atkinson for his services, and was left alone; for I had sent Timothy to ascertain if Harcourt had arrived safe at his lodgings.  Never did I feel more miserable; my anxiety for Harcourt was indescribable; true, he had not treated me well, but I thought of his venerable father, who pressed my hand so warmly when I left his hospitable roof—­of his lovely sisters, and the kindness and affection which they had shown towards me, and our extreme intimacy.  I thought of the pain which the intelligence would give them, and their indignation towards me, when their brother first made his appearance at his father’s house, mutilated; and were he to die—­good God!  I was maddened at the idea.  I had now undone the little good I had been able to do.  If I had made Fleta and her mother happy, had I not plunged another family into misery?

Chapter LIV

     This is a strange world; I am cut by a man of no character,
     because he is fearful that I should injure his character.

Timothy returned, and brought me consolation—­the bleeding had not re-commenced, and Harcourt was in tolerable spirits.  An eminent surgeon had been sent for.  “Go again, my dear Timothy, and as you are intimate with Harcourt’s servant, you will be able to find out what they are about.”

Timothy departed, and was absent about an hour, during which I lay on the sofa, and groaned with anguish.  When he returned, I knew by his face that his intelligence was favourable.  “All’s right,” cried Timothy; “no amputation after all.  It was only one of the smaller arteries which was severed, and they have taken it up.”

I sprang up from the sofa and embraced Timothy, so happy was I with the intelligence, and then I sat down again, and cried like a child.  At last I became more composed.  I had asked Captain Atkinson to dine with me, and was very glad when he came.  He confirmed Timothy’s report, and I was so overjoyed, that I sat late at dinner, drinking very freely, and when he again proposed that we should go to the rouge et noir table, I did not refuse—­on the contrary, flushed with wine, I was anxious to go, and took all the money that I had with me.  On our arrival Atkinson played, but finding that he was not fortunate, he very soon left off.  As I had followed his game, I also had lost considerably, and he entreated me not to play any more—­but I was a gamester it appeared, and I would not pay attention to him, and did not quit the table until I had lost every shilling in my pocket.  I left the house in no very good humour, and Atkinson, who had waited for me, accompanied me home.

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“Newland,” said he, “I don’t know what you may think of me—­you may have heard that I’m a roue, &c. &c. &c., but this I always do, which is, caution those who are gamesters from their hearts.  I have watched you to-night, and I tell you, that you will be ruined if you continue to frequent that table.  You have no command over yourself.  I do not know what your means may be, but this I do know, that if you were a Croesus, you would be a beggar.  I cared nothing for you while you were the Mr Newland, the admired, and leader of the fashion, but I felt for you when I heard that you were scouted from society, merely because it was found out that you were not so rich as you were supposed to be.  I had a fellow-feeling, as I told you.  I did not make your acquaintance to win your money—­I can win as much as I wish from the scoundrels who keep the tables, or from those who would not scruple to plunder others; and I now entreat you not to return to that place—­and am sorry, very sorry, that ever I took you there.  To me, the excitement is nothing—­to you, it is overpowering.  You are a gamester, or rather, you have it in your disposition.  Take, therefore, the advice of a friend, if I may so call myself, and do not go there again.  I hope you are not seriously inconvenienced by what you have lost to-night.”

“Not the least,” replied I.  “It was ready money.  I thank you for your advice, and will follow it.  I have been a fool to-night, and one folly is sufficient.”

Atkinson then left me.  I had lost about two hundred and fifty pounds, which included my winnings of the night before.  I was annoyed at it, but I thought of Harcourt’s safety, and felt indifferent.  The reader may recollect, that I had three thousand pounds, which Mr Masterton had offered to put out at mortgage for me, but until he could find an opportunity, by his advice I had bought stock in the three per cents.  Since that he had not succeeded, as mortgages in general are for larger sums, and it had therefore remained.  My rents were not yet due, and I was obliged to have recourse to this money.  I therefore went into the city, ordered the broker to sell out two hundred pounds, intending to replace it as soon as I could—­for I would not have liked that Mr Masterton should have known that I had lost money by gambling.  When I returned from the city, I found Captain Atkinson in my apartments waiting for me.

“Harcourt is doing well, and you are not doing badly.  I have let all the world know that you intend to call out whoever presumes to treat you with indifference.”

“The devil you have! but that is a threat which may easier be made than followed up by deeds.”

“Shoot two or three more,” replied Atkinson, coolly, “and then, depend upon it, you’ll have it all your own way.  As it is, I acknowledge there has been some show of resistance, and they talk of making a resolution not to meet you, on the score of your being an impostor.”

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“And a very plausible reason, too,” replied I; “nor do I think I have any right—­I am sure I have no intention of doing as you propose.  Surely, people have a right to choose their acquaintance, and to cut me, if they think I have done wrong.  I am afraid, Captain Atkinson, you have mistaken me; I have punished Harcourt for his conduct towards me—­deserved punishment.  I had claims on him; but I have not upon the hundreds, whom, when in the zenith of my popularity, I myself, perhaps, was not over courteous to.  I cannot run the muck which you propose, nor do I consider that I shall help my character by so doing.  I may become notorious, but certainly, I shall not obtain that species of notoriety which will be of service to me.  No, no; I have done too much, I may say, already; and, although not so much to blame as the world imagines, yet my own conscience tells me, that by allowing it to suppose that I was what I was not, I have, to say the least, been a party to the fraud, and must take the consequence.  My situation now is very unpleasant, and I ought to retire, and, if possible, re-appear with real claims upon the public favour.  I have still friends, thank God! and influential friends.  I am offered a writership in India—­a commission in the army—­or to study the law.  Will you favour me with your opinion?”

“You pay me a compliment by asking my advice.  A writership in India is fourteen years’ transportation, returning with plenty to live on but no health to enjoy it.  In the army you might do well, and moreover, as an officer in the army, none dare refuse to go out with you.  At the same time, under your peculiar circumstances, I think if you were in a crack regiment you would, in all probability, have to fight one half the mess, and be put in Coventry by the other.  You must then exchange on half-pay, and your commission would be a great help to you.  As for the law—­I’d sooner see a brother of mine in his coffin.  There, you have my opinion.”

“Not a very encouraging one, at all events,” replied I, laughing; “but there is much truth in your observations.  To India I will not go, as it will interfere with the great object of my existence.”

“And pray, if it be no secret, may I ask what that is?”

“To find out who is my father.

Captain Atkinson looked very hard at me.  “I more than once,” said he, “have thought you a little cracked, but now I perceive you are mad—­downright mad; don’t be angry, I couldn’t help saying so, and if you wish me to give you satisfaction, I shall most unwillingly be obliged.”

“No, no, Atkinson, I believe you are not very far wrong, and I forgive you—­but to proceed.  The army, as you say, will give me a position in society, from my profession being that of a gentleman, but as I do not wish to take the advantage which you have suggested from the position, I shrink from putting myself into one which may lead to much mortification.  As for the law, although I do not exactly agree with you in your abhorrence of the profession, yet I must say, that I do not like the idea.  I have been rendered unfit for it by my life up to the present.  But I am permitted to select any other.”

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“Without wishing to pry into your affairs, have you sufficient to live upon?”

“Yes, in a moderate way; about a younger brother’s portion, which will just keep me in gloves, cigars, and eau de cologne.”

“Then take my advice and be nothing. The only difference I can see between a gentleman and anybody else, is that one is idle and the other works hard.  One is a useless, and the other a useful, member of society.  Such is the absurdity of the opinions of the world.”

“Yes, I agree with you, and would prefer being a gentleman in that respect, and do nothing, if they would admit me in every other; but that they will not do.  I am in an unfortunate position.”

“And will be until your feelings become blunted as mine have been,” replied Atkinson.  “Had you acquiesced in my proposal, you would have done better.  As it is, I can be of no use to you; nay, without intending an affront, I do not know if we ought to be seen together, for your decision not to fight your way is rather awkward, as I cannot back one with my support who will not do credit to it.  Do not be angry at what I say; you are your own master, and have a right to decide for yourself,—­if you think yourself not so wholly lost as to be able eventually to recover yourself by other means, I do not blame you, as I know it is only from an error in judgment, and not from want of courage.”

“At present I am, I acknowledge, lost, Captain Atkinson; but if I succeed in finding my father—­”

“Good morning, Newland, good morning,” replied he, hastily.  “I see how it is; of course we shall be civil to each other when we meet, for I wish you well, but we must not be seen together, or you may injure my character.”

“Injure your character, Captain Atkinson?”

“Yes, Mr Newland, injure my character.  I do not mean to say but that there are characters more respectable, but I have a character which suits me, and it has the merit of consistency.  As you are not prepared, as the Americans say, to go the whole hog, we will part good friends, and if I have said anything to annoy you, I beg your pardon.”

“Good-bye, then, Captain Atkinson; for the kindness you have shown me I am grateful.”  He shook my hand, and walked out of the room.  “And for having thus broken up our acquaintance, more grateful still,” thought I, as he went down stairs.

Chapter LV

     I cut my new acquaintance, but his company, even in so short a
     time, proves my ruin—­notwithstanding I part with all my
     property, I retain my honesty.

Page 177

In the meantime, the particulars of the duel had found their way into the papers, with various comments, but none of them very flattering to me, and I received a note from Mr Masterton, who, deceived by the representations of that class of people who cater for newspapers, and who are but too glad to pull, if they possibly can, every one to their own level, strongly animadverted upon my conduct, and pointed out the folly of it; adding, that Lord Windermear wholly coincided with him in opinion, and had desired him to express his displeasure.  He concluded by observing, “I consider this to be the most serious false step which you have hitherto made.  Because you have been a party to deceiving the public, and because one individual, who had no objection to be intimate with a young man of fashion, station, and affluence, does not wish to continue the acquaintance with one of unknown birth and no fortune, you consider yourself justified in taking his life.  Upon this principle, all society is at an end, all distinctions levelled, and the rule of the gladiator will only be overthrown by the stiletto of the assassin.”

I was but ill prepared to receive this letter.  I had been deeply thinking upon the kind offers of Lord Windermear, and had felt that they would interfere with the primum mobile of my existence, and I was reflecting by what means I could evade their kind intentions, and be at liberty to follow my own inclinations, when this note arrived.  To me it appeared to be the height of injustice.  I had been arraigned and found guilty upon an ex parte statement.  I forgot, at the time, that it was my duty to have immediately proceeded to Mr Masterton, and have fully explained the facts of the case; and that, by not having so done, I left the natural impression that I had no defence to offer.  I forgot all this, still I was myself to blame—­I only saw that the letter in itself was unkind and unjust—­and my feelings were those of resentment.  What right have Lord Windermear and Mr Masterton thus to school and to insult me?  The right of obligations conferred.  But is not Lord Windermear under obligations to me?  Have I not preserved his secret?  Yes; but how did I obtain possession of it?  By so doing, I was only making reparation for an act of treachery.  Well, then, at all events, I have a right to be independent of them, if I please—­any one has a right to assert his independence if he chooses.  Their offers of service only would shackle me, if I accepted of their assistance.  I will have none of them.  Such were my reflections; and the reader must perceive that I was influenced by a state of morbid irritability—­a sense of abandonment which prostrated me.  I felt that I was an isolated being without a tie in the whole world.  I determined to spurn the world as it had spurned me.  To Timothy I would hardly speak a word.  I lay with an aching head, aching from increased circulation.  I was mad, or nearly so.  I opened the case of pistols, and thought of suicide—­reflection alone restrained me.  I could not abandon the search after my father.

Page 178

Feverish and impatient, I wished to walk out, but I dared not meet the public eye.  I waited till dark, and then I sallied forth, hardly knowing where I went.  I passed the gaming house—­I did pass it, but I returned and lost every shilling; not, however, till the fluctuations of the game had persuaded me, that had I had more money to carry it on, I should have won.

I went to bed, but not to sleep; I thought of how I had been caressed and admired, when I was supposed to be rich.  Of what use then was the money I possessed?  Little or none.  I made up my mind that I would either gain a fortune, or lose that which I had.  The next morning I went into the city, and sold out all the remaining stock.  To Timothy I had not communicated my intentions.  I studiously avoided speaking to him; he felt hurt at my conduct, I perceived, but I was afraid of his advice and expostulation.

At night-fall I returned to the hell—­played with various success; at one time was a winner of three times my capital, and I ended at last with my pockets being empty.  I was indifferent when it was all gone, although in the highest state of excitement while the chances were turning up.

The next day I went to a house agent, and stated my wish to sell my house, for I was resolved to try fortune to the last.  The agent undertook to find a ready purchaser, and I begged an advance, which he made, and continued to make, until he had advanced nearly half the value.  He then found a purchaser (himself, as I believe) at two-thirds of its value.  I did not hesitate, I had lost every advance, one after another, and was anxious to retrieve my fortune or be a beggar.  I signed the conveyance and received the balance, fifteen hundred and fifty pounds, and returned to the apartments, no longer mine, about an hour before dinner.  I called Timothy, and ascertaining the amount of bills due, gave him fifty pounds, which left him about fifteen pounds as a residue.  I then sat down to my solitary meal, but just as I commenced I heard a dispute in the passage.

“What is that, Timothy?” cried I, for I was nervous to a degree.

“It’s that fellow Emmanuel, sir, who says that he will come up.”

“Yesh, I vill go up, sar.”

“Let him come, Timothy,” replied I. Accordingly Mr Emmanuel ascended.  “Well, Emmanuel, what do you want with me?” said I, looking with contempt at the miserable creature who entered as before, with his body bent double, and his hand lying over his back.

“I vash a little out of breath, Mr Newland—­I vash come to say dat de monish is very scarce—­dat I vill accept your offer, and vill take de hundred pounds, and my tousand which I have lent you.  You too mush gentleman not to help a poor old man, ven he ish in distress.”

“Rather say, Mr Emmanuel, that you have heard that I have not ten thousand pounds per annum, and that you are afraid that you have lost your money.”

“Loshe my monish!—­no—­loshe my tousand pound!  Did you not say, dat you would pay it back to me, and give me hundred pounds for my trouble; dat vash de last arrangement.”  “Yes, but you refused to take it, so it is not my fault.  You must now stick to the first, which is to receive fifteen hundred pounds when I come into my fortune.”

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“Your fortune, but you av no fortune.”

“I am afraid not; and recollect, Mr Emmanuel, that I never told you that I had.”

“Vill you pay me my monish, Mr Newland, or vill you go to prison?”

“You can’t put me in prison for an agreement,” replied I.

“No; but I can prosecute you for a swindler.”

“No, you confounded old rascal, you cannot; try, and do your worst,” cried I, enraged at the word swindler.

“Veil, Mr Newland, if you have not de ten tousand a year, you have de house and de monish; you vill not cheat a poor man like me.”

“I have sold my house.”

“You have sold de house—­den you have neither de house nor de monish.  Oh! my monish, my monish!  Sare, Mr Newland, you are one d——­d rascal;” and the old wretch’s frame quivered with emotion; his hand behind his back shaking as much as the other which, in his rage, he shook in my face.

Enraged myself at being called such an opprobrious term, I opened the door, twisted him round, and applying my foot to a nameless part, he flew out and fell down the stairs, at the turning of which he lay, groaning in pain.  “Mine Got, mine Got, I am murdered!” cried he.  “Fader Abraham, receive me.”  My rage was appeased, and I turned pale at the idea of having killed the poor wretch.  With the assistance of Timothy, whom I summoned, we dragged the old man upstairs, and placed him in a chair, and found that he was not very much hurt.  A glass of wine was given to him, and then, as soon as he could speak, his ruling passion broke out again.  “Mishter Newland—­ah, Mish-ter New-land, cannot you give me my monish—­cannot you give me de tousand pound, without de interest? you are very welcome to de interest.  I only lend it to oblige you.”

“How can you expect a d——­d rascal to do any such thing?” replied I.

“D——­d rascal!  Ah! it vash I who vash a rascal, and vash a fool to say the word.  Mishter Newland, you vash a gentleman, you vill pay me my monish.  You vill pay me part of my monish.  I have de agreement in my pocket, all ready to give up.”

“If I have not the money, how can I pay you?”

“Fader Abraham, if you have not de monish—­you must have some monish; den you will pay me a part.  How much vill you pay me?”

“Will you take five hundred pounds, and return the agreement?”

“Five hundred pounds—­lose half—­oh!  Mr Newland—­it was all lent in monish, not in goods; you will not make me lose so much as dat?”

“I’m not sure that I will give you five hundred pounds; your bond is not worth two-pence, and you know it.”

“Your honour, Mishter Newland, is worth more dan ten tousand pounds:  but if you have not de monish, den you shall pay me de five hundred pounds which you offer, and I will give up de paper.”

“I never offered five hundred pounds.”

“Not offer; but you mention de sum, dat quite enough.”

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“Well then, for five hundred pounds, you will give up the paper?”

“Yes; I vash content to loshe all de rest, to please you.”

I went to my desk, and took out five hundred pounds in notes.  “Now, there is the money, which you may put your hands on when you give up the agreement.”  The old man pulled out the agreement and laid it on the table, catching up the notes.  I looked at the paper to see if it was all right, and then tore it up.  Emmanuel put the notes, with a heavy sigh, into his inside coat pocket, and prepared to depart.  “Now, Mr Emmanuel, I will show that I have a little more honour than you think for.  This is all the money I have in the world,” said I, taking out of my desk the remaining thousand pounds, “and half of it I give to you, to pay you the whole money which you lent me.  Here is five hundred pounds more, and now we are quits.”

The eyes of the old man were fixed upon me in astonishment, and from my face they glanced upon the notes; he could, to use a common expression, neither believe his eyes nor his ears.  At last he took the money, again unbuttoned and pulled out his pocket-book, and with a trembling hand stowed them away as before.

“You vash a very odd gentleman, Mishter Newland,” said he; “you kick me down stairs, and—­but dat is noting.”

“Good-bye, Mr Emmanuel,” said I, “and let me eat my dinner.”

Chapter LVI

     I resolve to begin the world again, and to seek my fortune in the
     next path—­I take leave of all my old friends.

The Jew retired, and I commenced my meal, when the door again slowly opened, and Mr Emmanuel crawled up to me.

“Mishter Newland, I vash beg your pardon, but vill you not pay me de interest of de monish?”

I started up from my chair, with my rattan in my hand.  “Begone, you old thief,” cried I; and hardly were the words out of my mouth, before Mr Emmanuel travelled out of the room, and I never saw him afterwards.  I was pleased with myself for having done this act of honesty, and for the first time for a long while, I ate my dinner with some zest.  After I had finished, I took a twenty pound note, and laid it in my desk, the remainder of the five hundred pounds I put in my pocket, to try my last chance.  In an hour I quitted the hell penniless.  When I returned home I had composed myself a little after the dreadful excitement which I had been under.  I felt a calm, and a degree of negative happiness.  I knew my fate—­there was no more suspense.  I sat down to reflect upon what I should do.  I was to commence the world again—­to sink down at once into obscurity—­into poverty—­and I felt happy.  I had severed the link between myself and my former condition—­I was again a beggar, but I was independent—­and I resolved so to be.  I spoke kindly to Timothy, went to bed, and having arranged in my own mind how I should act, I fell sound asleep.

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I never slept better, or awoke more refreshed.  The next morning I packed up my portmanteau, taking with me only the most necessary articles; all the details of the toilet, further than cleanliness was concerned, I abjured.  When Timothy came in, I told him that I was going down to Lady de Clare’s, which I intended to do.  Poor Timothy was overjoyed at the change in my manner, little thinking that he was so soon to lose me—­for, reader, I had made up my mind that I would try my fortunes alone; and, painful as I felt would be the parting with so valued a friend, I was determined that I would no longer have even his assistance or company.  I was determined to forget all that had passed, and commence the world anew.  I sat down while Timothy went out to take a place in the Richmond coach, and wrote to him the following letter:—­

My Dear Timothy,—­Do not think that I undervalue your friendship, or shall ever forget your regard for me, when I tell you that we shall probably never meet again.  Should fortune favour me, I trust we shall—­but of that there is little prospect.  I have lost almost everything:  my money is all gone, my house is sold, and all is gambled away.  I leave you, with only my clothes in my portmanteau and twenty pounds.  For yourself, there is the furniture, which you must sell, as well as every other article left behind.  It is all yours, and I hope you will find means to establish yourself in some way.  God bless you—­and believe me always and gratefully yours,

     “Japhet Newland.”

This letter I reserved to put in the post when I quitted Richmond.  My next letter was to Mr Masterton.

“Sir,—­Your note I received, and I am afraid that, unwittingly, you have been the occasion of my present condition.  That I did not deserve the language addressed to me, you may satisfy yourself by applying to Mr Harcourt.  Driven to desperation, I have lost all I had in the world, by adding gaming to my many follies.  I now am about to seek my fortune, and prosecute my search after my father.  You will, therefore, return my most sincere acknowledgments to Lord Windermear, for his kind offers and intentions, and assure him that my feelings towards him will always be those of gratitude and respect.  For yourself, accept my warmest thanks for the friendly advice and kind interest which you have shown in my welfare, and believe me, when I say, that my earnest prayers shall be offered up for your happiness.  If you can, in any way, assist my poor friend, Timothy, who will, I have no doubt, call upon you in his distress, you will confer an additional favour on,”

     “Yours, ever gratefully,”

     “Japhet Newland.”

I sealed this letter, and when Timothy returned, I told him that I wished him, after my departure, to take it to Mr Masterton’s, and not wait for an answer.  I then, as I had an hour to spare, before the coach started, entered into a conversation with Timothy.  I pointed out to him the unfortunate condition in which I found myself, and my determination to quit the metropolis.

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Timothy agreed with me.  “I have seen you so unhappy of late—­I may say, so miserable—­that I have neither eaten nor slept.  Indeed, Japhet, I have laid in bed and wept, for my happiness depends upon yours.  Go where you will, I am ready to follow and to serve you, and as long as I see you comfortable, I care for nothing else.”

These words of Timothy almost shook my resolution, and I was near telling him all; but when I recollected, I refrained.  “My dear Timothy,” said I, “in this world we must expect to meet with a chequered existence; we may laugh at one time, but we must cry at others.  I owe my life to you, and I never shall forget you, wherever I may be.”

“No,” replied Timothy, “you are not likely to forget one who is hardly an hour out of your sight.”

“Very true, Timothy; but circumstances may occur which may separate us.”

“I cannot imagine such circumstances, nor do I believe, that bad as things may turn out, that they will ever be so bad as that.  You have your money and your house; if you leave London, you will be able to add to your income by letting your own apartments furnished, so we never shall want; and we may be very happy running about the world, seeking what we wish to find.”

My heart smote me when Timothy said this, for I felt, by his devotion and fidelity, he had almost the same claim to the property I possessed, as myself.  He had been my partner, playing the inferior game, for the mutual benefit.  “But the time may come, Timothy, when we may find ourselves without money, as we were when we first commenced our career, and shared three-pence halfpenny each, by selling the old woman the embrocation.”

“Well, sir, and let it come.  I should be sorry for you, but not for myself, for then Tim would be of more importance, and more useful, than as valet with little or nothing to do.”

I mentally exclaimed, ’I have, I think I have, been a fool, a great fool, but the die is cast.  I will sow in sorrow, and may I reap a harvest in joy.  I feel,’ thought I (and I did feel), ’I feel a delightful conviction, that we shall meet again, and all this misery of parting will be but a subject of future garrulity.’  “Yes, Tim,” said I, in a loud voice, “all is right.”

“All’s right, sir; I never thought anything was wrong, except your annoyance at people not paying you the attention which they used to do, when they supposed you a man of fortune.”

“Very true; and Tim, recollect that if Mr Masterton speaks to you about me, which he may after I am gone to Richmond, you tell him that before I left, I paid that old scoundrel Emmanuel every farthing that I had borrowed of him, and you know (and in fact so does Mr Masterton), how it was borrowed.”

“Well, sir, I will, if he does talk to me, but he seldom says much to me.”

“But he may, perhaps, Tim; and I wish him to know that I have paid every debt I owe in the world.”

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“One would think that you were going to the East Indies, instead of to Richmond, by the way you talk.”

“No, Tim; I was offered a situation in the East Indies, and I refused it; but Mr Masterton and I have not been on good terms lately, and I wish him to know that I am out of debt.  You know, for I told you all that passed between Emmanuel and myself, how he accepted five hundred pounds, and I paid him the thousand; and I wish Mr Masterton should know it too, and he will then be better pleased with me.”

“Never fear, sir,” said Tim, “I can tell the whole story with flourishes.”

“No, Tim, nothing but the truth; but it is time I should go.  Farewell, my dear fellow.  May God bless you and preserve you.”  And, overcome by my feelings, I dropped my face on Timothy’s shoulder, and wept.  “What is the matter?  What do you mean, Japhet?  Mr Newland—­pray, sir, what is the matter?”

“Timothy—­it is nothing,” replied I, recovering myself, “but I have been ill; nervous lately, as you well know, and even leaving the last and only friend I have, I may say for a few days, annoys and overcomes me.”

“Oh! sir—­dear Japhet, do let us leave this house, and sell your furniture, and be off.”

“I mean that it shall be so, Tim.  God bless you, and farewell.”  I went downstairs, the hackney-coach was at the door.  Timothy put in my portmanteau, and mounted the box.  I wept bitterly.  My readers may despise me, but they ought not; let them be in my situation, and feel that they have one sincere faithful friend, and then they will know the bitterness of parting.  I recovered myself before I arrived at the coach, and shaking hands with Timothy, I lost sight of him; for how long, the reader will find out in the sequel of my adventures.

I arrived at Lady de Clare’s, and hardly need say that I was well received.  They expressed their delight at my so soon coming again, and made a hundred inquiries—­but I was unhappy and melancholy, not at my prospects, for in my infatuation I rejoiced at my anticipated beggary—­but I wished to communicate with Fleta, for so I still call her.  Fleta had known my history, for she had been present when I had related it to her mother, up to the time that I arrived in London; further than that she knew little.  I was determined that before I quitted she should know all.  I dared not trust the last part to her when I was present, but I resolved that I would do it in writing.

Lady de Clare made no difficulty whatever of leaving me with Fleta.  She was now a beautiful creature, of between fifteen, and sixteen, bursting into womanhood, and lovely as the bud of the moss-rose; and she was precocious beyond her years in intellect.  I stayed there three days, and had frequent opportunities of conversing with her; I told her that I wished her to be acquainted with my whole life, and interrogated her as to what she knew:  I carefully filled up the chasms, until I brought it down to the time at which I placed her in the arms of her mother.  “And now, Fleta,” said I, “you have much more to learn—­you will learn that much at my departure.  I have dedicated hours every night in writing it out; and, as you will find, have analysed my feelings, and have pointed out to you where I have been wrong.  I have done it for my amusement, as it may be of service even to a female.”

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On the third day I took my leave, and requesting the pony chaise of Lady de Clare, to take me over to ——­, that I might catch the first coach that went westward, for I did not care which; I put into Fleta’s hands the packet which I had written, containing all that had passed, and I bid her farewell.

“Lady de Clare, may you be happy,” said I.  “Fleta—­Cecilia, I should say, may God bless and preserve you, and sometimes think of your sincere friend, Japhet Newland.”

“Really, Mr Newland,” said Lady de Clare, “one would think we were never to see you again.”

“I hope that will not be the case, Lady de Clare, for I know nobody to whom I am more devoted.”

“Then, sir, recollect we are to see you very soon.”

I pressed her ladyship’s hand, and left the house.  Thus did I commence my second pilgrimage.

Chapter LVII

My new career is not very prosperous at its commencement—­I am robbed, and accused of being a robber—­I bind up wounds, and am accused of having inflicted them—­I get into a horse-pond, and out of it into gaol.

I had proceeded half a mile from the house, when I desired the servant to turn into a cross-road so as to gain Brentford; and, so soon as I arrived, the distance being only four miles, I ordered him to stop at a public-house, saying that I would wait till the coach should pass by.  I then gave him half-a-crown, and ordered him to go home.  I went into the inn with my portmanteau, and was shown into a small back parlour; there I remained about half an hour reflecting upon the best plan that I could adopt.

Leaving the ale that I had called for untasted, I paid for it, and, with the portmanteau on my shoulder, I walked away until I arrived at an old clothes’ shop.  I told the Jew who kept it, that I required some clothes, and also wanted to dispose of my own portmanteau and all my effects.  I had a great rogue to deal with; but after much chaffering, for I now felt the value of money, I purchased from him two pair of corduroy trousers, two waistcoats, four common shirts, four pairs of stockings, a smock frock, a pair of high-lows, and a common hat.  For these I gave up all my portmanteau, with the exception of six silk handkerchiefs, and received fifty shillings, when I ought to have received, at least, ten pounds; but I could not well help myself, and I submitted to the extortion.  I dressed myself in my more humble garments, securing my money in the pocket of my trousers unobserved by the Jew, made up a bundle of the rest, and procured a stick from the Jew to carry it on, however not without paying him three-pence for it, he observing that the stick “wash not in de bargain.”  Thus attired, I had the appearance of a countryman well to do, and I set off through the long dirty main street of Brentford, quite undecided and indifferent as to the direction I should take.  I walked about a mile, when I thought that

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it was better to come to some decision previous to my going farther; and perceiving a bench in front of a public-house, I went to it and sat down.  I looked around, and it immediately came to my recollection that I was sitting on the very bench on which Timothy and I had stopped to eat our meal of pork, at our first outset upon our travels.  Yes, it was the very same!  Here sat I, and there sat Timothy, two heedless boys, with the paper containing the meat, the loaf of bread, and the pot of beer between us.  Poor Timothy!  I conjured up his unhappiness when he had received my note acquainting him with our future separation.  I remembered his fidelity, his courage in defence, and his preservation of my life in Ireland, and a tear or two coursed down my cheek.

I remained some time in a deep reverie, during which the various circumstances and adventures of my life were passed in a rapid panorama before me.  I felt that I had little to plead in my own favour, much to condemn—­that I had passed a life of fraud and deceit.  I also could not forget that when I had returned to honesty, I had been scouted by the world.  “And here I am,” thought I, “once more with the world before me; and it is just that I should commence again, for I started in a wrong path.  At least, now I can satisfactorily assert that I am deceiving nobody, and can deservedly receive no contumely.  I am Japhet Newland, and not in disguise.”  I felt happy with this reflection, and made a determination, whatever my future lot might be, that, at least, I would pursue the path of honesty.  I then began to reflect upon another point, which was, whither I should bend my steps, and what I should do to gain my livelihood.

Alas! that was a subject of no little difficulty to me.  A person who has been brought up to a profession naturally reverts to that profession—­but to what had I been brought up?  As an apothecary—­true; but I well knew the difficulty of obtaining employment in what is termed a liberal profession, without interest or recommendation; neither did I wish for close confinement, as the very idea was irksome.  As a mountebank, a juggler, a quack doctor—­I spurned the very idea.  It was a system of fraud and deceit.  What then could I do?  I could not dig, to beg I was ashamed.  I must trust to the chapter of accidents, and considering how helpless I was, such trust was but a broken reed.  At all events, I had a sufficient sum of money, upwards of twenty pounds, to exist upon with economy for some time.  I was interrupted by a voice calling out, “Hilloa! my lad, come and hold this horse a moment.”  I looked up and perceived a person on horseback looking at me.  “Do you hear, or are you stupid?” cried the man.  My first feeling was to knock him down for his impertinence, but my bundle lying beside, reminded me of my situation and appearance, and I rose and walked towards the horse.  The gentleman, for such he was in appearance, dismounted, and throwing the rein on the horse’s neck, told me to stand by him for half a minute.  He went into a respectable-looking house opposite the inn, and remained nearly half an hour, during which I was becoming very impatient, and kept an anxious eye upon my bundle, which lay on the seat.  At last he came out, and mounting his horse looked in my face with some degree of surprise.  “Why, what are you?” said he, as he pulled out a sixpence, and tendered it to me.

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I was again nearly forgetting myself, affronted at the idea of sixpence being offered to me; but I recovered myself, saying, as I took it, “A poor labouring man, sir.”

“What, with those hands?” said he, looking at them as I took the money; and then looking at my face, he continued, “I think we have met before, my lad—­I cannot be sure; you know best—­I am a Bow Street magistrate.”

In a moment, I remembered that he was the very magistrate before whom I had twice made my appearance.  I coloured deeply, and made no reply.

“Well, my lad, I’m not on my bench now, and this sixpence you have earned honestly.  I trust you will continue in the right path.  Be careful—­I have sharp eyes.”  So saying, he rode off.

I never felt more mortified.  It was evident that he considered me as one who was acting a part for unworthy purposes; perhaps one of the swell mob or a flash pickpocket rusticating until some hue and cry was over.  “Well, well,” thought I, as I took up a lump of dirt and rubbed over my then white hands, “it is my fate to be believed when I deceive, and to be mistrusted when I am acting honestly;” and I returned to the bench for my bundle, which—­was gone.  I stared with astonishment.  “Is it possible?” thought I.  “How dishonest people are!  Well, I will not carry another for the present.  They might as well have left me my stick.”  So thinking, and without any great degree of annoyance at the loss, I turned from the bench and walked away, I knew not whither.  It was now getting dark, but I quite forgot that it was necessary to look out for a lodging; the fact is, that I had been completely upset by the observations of the magistrate, and the theft of my bundle; and, in a sort of brown study, from which I was occasionally recalled for a moment by stumbling over various obstructions, I continued my walk on the pathway until I was two or three miles away from Brentford.  I was within a mile of Hounslow, when I was roused by the groans of some person, and it being now dark I looked round, trying to catch by the ear the direction in which to offer my assistance.  They proceeded from the other side of a hedge, and I crawled through, where I found a man lying on the ground, covered with blood about the head, and breathing heavily.  I untied his neckcloth, and, as well as I could, examined his condition.  I bound his handkerchief round his head, and perceiving that the position in which he was lying was very unfavourable, his head and shoulders being much lower than his body, I was dragging the body round so as to raise those parts, when I heard footsteps and voices.  Shortly after, four people burst through the hedge and surrounded me.

“That is him, I’ll swear to it,” cried an immense stout man, seizing me; “that is the other fellow who attacked me, and ran away.  He has come to get off his accomplice, and now we’ve just nicked them both.”

“You are very much mistaken,” replied I, “and you have no need to hold me so tight.  I heard the man groan, and I came to his assistance.”

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“That gammon won’t do,” replied one of them, who was a constable; “you’ll come along with us, and we may as well put on the darbies,” continued he, producing a pair of handcuffs.

Indignant at the insult, I suddenly broke from him who held me, and darting at the constable, knocked him down, and then took to my heels across the ploughed field.  The whole four pursued, but I rather gained upon them, and was in hopes to make my escape.  I ran for a gap I perceived in the hedge, and sprang over it, without minding the old adage, of “look before you leap;” for, when on the other side, I found myself in a deep and stagnant pit of water and mud.  I sank over head, and with difficulty extricated myself from the mud at the bottom, and when at the surface I was equally embarrassed with the weeds at the top, among which I floundered.  In the meantime my pursuers, warned by the loud splash, had paused when they came to the hedge, and perceiving my situation, were at the brink of the pit watching for my coming out.  All resistance was useless.  I was numbed with cold and exhausted by my struggles, and when I gained the bank I surrendered at discretion.

Chapter LVIII

     Worse and worse—­If out of gaol, it will be to go out of the
     world—­I am resolved to take my secret with me.

The handcuffs were now put on without resistance on my part, and I was led away to Hounslow by the two constables, while the others returned to secure the wounded man.  On my arrival I was thrust into the clink, or lock-up house, as the magistrates would not meet that evening, and there I was left to my reflections.  Previously, however, to this, I was searched, and my money, amounting, as I before stated, to upwards of twenty pounds, taken from me by the constables, and what I had quite forgotten, a diamond solitaire ring, which I had intended to have left with my other bijouterie for Timothy, but in my hurry, when I left London, I had allowed to remain upon my finger.  The gaol was a square building, with two unglazed windows secured with thick iron bars, and the rain having beat in, it was more like a pound for cattle, for it was not even paved, and the ground was three or four inches deep in mud.  There was no seat in it, and there I was the whole of the night walking up and down shivering in my wet clothes, in a state of mind almost bordering upon insanity.  Reflect upon what was likely to happen, I could not.  I only ran over the past.  I remembered what I had been, and felt cruelly the situation I then was in.  Had I deserved it?  I thought not.  “Oh! father—­father!” exclaimed I, bitterly, “see to what your son is brought—­handcuffed as a felon!  God have mercy on my brain, for I feel that it is wandering.  Father, father—­alas, I have none!—­had you left me at the asylum, without any clue, or hopes of a clue, to my hereafter being reclaimed, it would have been a kindness; I should

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then have been happy and contented in some obscure situation; but you raised hopes only to prostrate them—­and imaginings which have led to my destruction.  Sacred is the duty of a parent, and heavy must be the account of those who desert their children, and are required by Heaven to render up an account of the important trust.  Couldst thou, oh! father, but now behold thy son!  God Almighty!—­but I will not curse you, father!  No, no”—­and I burst into tears, as I leant against the damp walls of the prison.

The day at last broke, and the sun rose, and poured his beaming rays through the barred windows.  I looked at myself, and was shocked at my appearance; my smock-frock was covered with black mud, my clothes were equally disfigured.  I had lost my hat when in the water, and I felt the dry mud cracking on my cheeks.  I put my hands up to my head, and I pulled a quantity of duck-weed out of my matted and tangled hair.  I thought of the appearance I should make when summoned before the magistrates, and how much it would go against me.  “Good God!” thought I, “who, of all the world of fashion—­who, of all those who once caught my salutation so eagerly—­who, of all those worldly-minded girls, who smiled upon me but one short twelve months since, would imagine, or believe, that Japhet Newland could ever have sunk so low—­and how has he so fallen?  Alas! because he would be honest, and had strength of mind enough to adhere to his resolution.  Well, well, God’s will be done; I care not for life; but still an ignominious death—­to go out of the world like a dog, and that too without finding out who is my father.”  And I put my fettered hands up and pressed my burning brow, and remained in a sort of apathetic sullen mood, until I was startled by the opening of the door, and the appearance of the constables.  They led me out among a crowd, through which, with difficulty, they could force their way, and followed by the majority of the population of Hounslow, who made their complimentary remarks upon the footpad, I was brought before the magistrates.  The large stout man was then called up to give his evidence, and deposed as follows:—­

“That he was walking to Hounslow from Brentford, whither he had been to purchase some clothes, when he was accosted by two fellows in smock-frocks, one of whom carried a bundle in his left hand.  They asked him what o’clock it was; and he took out his watch to tell them, when he received a blow from the one with the bundle (this one, sir, said he, pointing to me), on the back of his head; at the same time the other (the wounded man who was now in custody) snatched his watch.—­That at the time he had purchased his clothes at Brentford, he had also bought a bag of shot, fourteen pounds weight, which he had, for the convenience of carrying, tied up with the clothes in the bundle, and perceiving that he was about to be robbed, he had swung his bundle round his head, and with the weight of the shot, had knocked

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down the man who had snatched at his watch.  He then turned to the other (me) who backed from him, and struck at him with his stick. (The stick was here produced, and when I cast my eye on it, I was horrified to perceive that it was the very stick which I had bought of the Jew, for three-pence, to carry my bundle on.) He had closed in with me, and was wresting the stick out of my hand, when the other man, who had recovered his legs, again attacked him with another stick.  In the scuffle he had obtained my stick, and I had wrested from him his bundle, with which, as soon as he had knocked down my partner, I ran off.  That he beat my partner until he was insensible, and then found that I had left my own bundle, which in the affray I had thrown on one side.”  He then made the best of his way to Hounslow to give the information.  His return and finding me with the other man is already known to the readers.

The next evidence who came forward was the Jew, from whom I had bought the clothes and sold my own.  He narrated all that had occurred, and swore to the clothes in the bundle left by the footpad, and to the stick which he had sold to me.  The constable then produced the money found about my person and the diamond solitaire ring, stating my attempt to escape when I was seized.  The magistrate then asked me whether I had anything to say in my defence, cautioning me not to commit myself.

I replied, that I was innocent; that it was true that I had sold my own clothes, and had purchased those of the Jew, as well as the stick:  that I had been asked to hold the horse of a gentleman when sitting on a bench opposite a public-house, and that some one had stolen my bundle and my stick.  That I had walked on towards Hounslow, and, in assisting a fellow-creature, whom I certainly had considered as having been attacked by others, I had merely yielded to the common feelings of humanity—­that I was seized when performing that duty, and should willingly have accompanied them to the magistrate’s, had not they attempted to put on handcuffs, at which my feelings were roused, and I knocked the constable down, and made my attempt to escape.

“Certainly, a very ingenious defence,” observed one of the magistrates; “pray where—!” At this moment the door opened, and in came the very gentleman, the magistrate at Bow Street, whose horse I had held.  “Good morning, Mr Norman, you have just come in time to render us your assistance.  We have a very deep hand to deal with here, or else a very injured person, I cannot tell which.  Do us the favour to look over these informations and the defence of the prisoner, previous to our asking him any more questions.”

The Bow Street magistrate complied, and then turned to me, but I was so disguised with mud, that he could not recognise me.  “You are the gentleman, sir, who asked me to hold your horse,” said I.  “I call you to witness, that that part of my assertion is true.”

“I do now recollect that you are the person,” replied he, “and you may recollect the observation I made, relative to your hands, when you stated that you were a poor countryman.”

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“I do, sir, perfectly,” replied I.

“Perhaps then you will inform us by what means a diamond ring and twenty pounds in money came into your possession?”

“Honestly, sir,” replied I.

“Will you state, as you are a poor countryman, with whom you worked last—­what parish you belong to—­and whom you can bring forward in proof of good character?”

“I certainly shall not answer those questions,” replied I; “if I chose I might so do, and satisfactorily.”

“What is your name?”

“I cannot answer that question either, sir,” replied I.

“I told you yesterday that we had met before; was it not at Bow Street?”

“I am surprised at your asking a question, sir, from the bench, to which, if I answered, the reply might affect me considerably.  I am here in a false position, and cannot well help myself.  I have no friends that I choose to call, for I should blush that they should see me in such a state, and under such imputations.”

“Your relations, young man, would certainly not be backward.  Who is your father?”

“My father!” exclaimed I, raising up my hands and eyes.  “My father!  Merciful God!—­if he could only see me here—­see to what he has reduced his unhappy son,” and I covered my face, and sobbed convulsively.

Chapter LIX

By the committing of magisterial mistakes I am personally and penally committed—­I prepare for my trial by calling in the assistance of the tailor and the perfumer—­I am resolved to die like a gentleman.

“It is indeed a pity, a great pity,” observed one of the magistrates, “such a fine young man, and evidently, by his demeanour and language, well brought up; but I believe,” said he turning to the others, “we have but one course; what say you, Mr Norman?”

“I am afraid that my opinion coincides with yours, and that the grand jury will not hesitate to find a bill, as the case stands at present.  Let us, however, ask the witness Armstrong one question.  Do you positively swear to this young man being one of the persons who attacked you?”

“It was not very light at the time, sir, and both the men had their faces smutted; but it was a person just his size, and dressed in the ame way, as near as I can recollect.”

“You cannot, therefore, swear to his identity?”

“No, sir; but to the best of my knowledge and belief, he is the man.”

“Take that evidence down as important,” said Mr Norman, “it will assist him at his trial.”

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The evidence was taken down, and then my commitment to the county gaol was made out.  I was placed in a cart, between two constables, and driven off.  On my arrival I was put into a cell, and my money returned to me, but the ring was detained, that it might be advertised.  At last, I was freed from the manacles, and when the prison dress was brought to me to put on, in lieu of my own clothes, I requested leave from the gaoler to wash myself, which was granted; and, strange to say, so unaccustomed had I been to such a state of filth, that I felt a degree of happiness, as I returned from the pump in the prison-yard, and I put on the prison dress almost with pleasure; for degrading as it was, at all events, it was new and clean.  I then returned to my cell and was left to my meditations.

Now that my examination and committal were over, I became much more composed, and was able to reflect coolly.  I perceived the great danger of my situation—­how strong the evidence was against me—­and how little chance I had of escape.  As for sending to Lord Windermear, Mr Masterton, or those who formerly were acquainted with me, my pride forbade it—­I would sooner have perished on the scaffold.  Besides, their evidence as to my former situation in life, although it would perhaps satisfactorily account for my possession of the money and the ring, and for my disposing of my portmanteau—­all strong presumptive evidence against me—­would not destroy the evidence brought forward as to the robbery, which appeared to be so very conclusive to the bench of magistrates.  My only chance appeared to be in the footpad, who had not escaped, acknowledging that I was not his accomplice, and I felt how much I was interested in his recovery, as well as in his candour.  The assizes I knew were near at hand, and I anxiously awaited the return of the gaoler, to make a few inquiries.  At night he looked through the small square cut out of the top of the door of the cell, for it was his duty to go his rounds and ascertain if all his prisoners were safe.  I then asked him if I might be allowed to make a few purchases, such as pens, ink, and paper, &c.  As I was not committed to prison in punishment, but on suspicion, this was not denied, although it would have been to those who were condemned to imprisonment and hard labour for their offences; and he volunteered to procure them for me the next morning.  I then wished him a good-night, and threw myself on my mattress.  Worn out with fatigue and distress of mind, I slept soundly, without dreaming, until daylight the next morning.  As I awoke, and my scattered senses were returning, I had a confused idea that there was something which weighed heavily on my mind, which sleep had banished from my memory.  “What is it?” thought I; and as I opened my eyes, so did I remember that I, Japhet Newland, who but two nights before was pressing the down of luxury in the same habitation as Lady de Clare and her lovely child, was now on a mattress in the cell of a prison, under a charge which threatened me with an ignominious death.  I rose, and sat on the bed, for I had not thrown off my clothes.  My first thoughts were directed to Timothy.  Should I write to him?  No, no! why should I make him miserable?

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If I was to suffer, it should be under an assumed name.  But what name?  Here I was interrupted by the gaoler, who opened the door, and desired me to roll up my mattress and bed-clothes, that they might, as was the custom, be taken out of the cell during the day.

My first inquiry was, if the man who had been so much hurt was in the gaol.

“You mean your ’complice,” replied the gaoler.  “Yes, he is here, and has recovered his senses.  The doctor says he will do very well.”

“Has he made any confession?” inquired I.

The gaoler made no reply.

“I ask that question,” continued I, “because if he acknowledges who was his accomplice, I shall be set at liberty.”

“Very likely,” replied the man, sarcastically; “the fact is, there is no occasion for king’s evidence in this case, or you might get off by crossing the water; so you must trust to your luck.  The grand jury meet to-day, and I will let you know whether a true bill is found against you or not.”

“What is the name of the other man?” inquired I.

“Well, you are a good un to put a face upon a matter, I will say.  You would almost persuade me, with that innocent look of yours, that you know nothing about the business.”

“Nor do I,” replied I.

“You will be fortunate if you can prove as much, that’s all.”

“Still, you have not answered my question; what is the other man’s name?”

“Well,” replied the gaoler, laughing, “since you are determined I shall tell you, I will.  It must be news to you, with a vengeance.  His name is Bill Ogle, alias Swamping Bill.  I suppose you never heard that name before?”

“I certainly never did,” replied I.

“Perhaps you do not know your own name?  Yet I can tell it you, for Bill Ogle has blown upon you so far.”

“Indeed,” replied I; “and what name has he given to me?”

“Why, to do him justice, it wasn’t until he saw a copy of the depositions before the magistrates, and heard how you were nabbed in trying to help him off, that he did tell it; and then he said, ’Well, Phil Maddox always was a true un, and I’m mortal sorry that he’s in for’t, by looking a’ter me.’  Now do you know your own name?”

“I certainly do not,” replied I.

“Well, did you ever hear of one who went by the name of Phil Maddox?”

“I never did,” replied I; “and I am glad that Ogle has disclosed so much.”

“Well, I never before met with a man who didn’t know his own name, or had the face to say so, and expect to be believed; but never mind, you are right to be cautious, with the halter looking you in the face.”

“O God!  O God!” exclaimed I, throwing myself on the bedstead, and covering up my face, “give me strength to bear even that, if so it must be.”

The gaoler looked at me for a time.  “I don’t know what to make of him—­he puzzles me quite, certainly.  Yet it’s no mistake.”

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“It is a mistake,” replied I, rising; “but whether the mistake will be found out until too late, is another point.  However, it is of little consequence.  What have I to live for,—­unless to find out who is my father?”

“Find out your father! what’s in the wind now? well, it beats my comprehension altogether.  But did not you say you wished me to get you something?”

“Yes,” replied I; and I gave him some money, with directions to purchase me implements for writing, some scented wax, a tooth-brush, and tooth-powder, eau de cologne, hair-brush and comb, razors, small looking-glass, and various implements for my toilet.

“This is a rum world,” said the man, repeating what I asked for, as I put two guineas in his hand.  “I’ve purchased many a article for a prisoner, but never heard of such rattletraps afore; however, that be all the same.  You will have them, though what ho de colum is I can’t tell, nor dang me if I shall recollect—­not poison, be it, for that is not allowed in the prison?”

“No, no,” replied I, indulging in momentary mirth at the idea; “you may inquire, and you will find that it’s only taken by ladies who are troubled with the vapours.”  “Now I should ha’ thought that you’d have spent your money in the cookshop, which is so much more natural.  However, we all have our fancies;” so saying, he quitted the cell, and locked the door.

Chapter LX

I am condemned to be hung by the neck until I am dead, and to go out of the world without finding out who is my father—­Afterwards my innocence is made manifest and I am turned adrift a maniac in the high road.

It may appear strange to the reader that I sent for the above-mentioned articles, but habit is second nature, and although two days before, when I set out on my pilgrimage, I had resolved to discard these superfluities, yet now in my distress I felt as if they would comfort me.  That evening, after rectifying a few mistakes on the part of the good-tempered gaoler, by writing down what I wanted on the paper which he had procured me, I obtained all that I required.

The next morning, he informed me that the grand jury had found a true bill against me, and that on the Saturday next, the assizes would be held.  He also brought me the list of trials, and I found that mine would be one of the last, and would not probably come on until Monday or Tuesday.  I requested him to send for a good tailor, as I wished to be dressed in a proper manner, previous to appearing in court.  As a prisoner is allowed to go into court in his own clothes instead of the gaol dress, this was consented to, and when the man came, I was very particular in my directions, so much so, that it surprised him.  He also procured me the other articles I required to complete my dress, and on Saturday night I had them all ready, for I was resolved that I would at least die as a gentleman.

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Sunday passed away, not as it ought to have passed, certainly.  I attended prayers, but my thoughts were elsewhere—­how, indeed, could it be otherwise?  Who can control his thoughts?  He may attempt so to do, but the attempt is all that can be made.  He cannot command them.  I heard nothing, my mind was in a state of gyration, whirling round from one thing to the other, until I was giddy from intensity of feeling.

On Monday morning the gaoler came and asked me whether I would have legal advice.  I replied in the negative.  “You will be called about twelve o’clock, I hear,” continued he; “it is now ten, and there is only one more trial before yours, about the stealing of four geese and half a dozen fowls.”

“Good God!” thought I, “and am I mixed up with such deeds as these?” I dressed myself with the utmost care and precision, and never was more successful.  My clothes were black, and fitted well.  About one o’clock I was summoned by the gaoler, and led between him and another to the court-house, and placed in the dock.  At first my eyes swam, and I could distinguish nothing, but gradually I recovered.  I looked round, for I had called up my courage.  My eyes wandered from the judge to the row of legal gentlemen below him; from them to the well-dressed ladies who sat in the gallery above; behind me I did not look.  I had seen enough, and my cheeks burned with shame.  At last I looked at my fellow-culprit, who stood beside me, and his eyes at the same time met mine.  He was dressed in the gaol clothes, of pepper and salt coarse cloth.  He was a rough, vulgar, brutal looking man, but his eye was brilliant, his complexion was dark, and his face was covered with whiskers.  “Good heavens,” thought I, “who will ever imagine or credit that we have been associates?”

The man stared at me, bit his lip, and smiled with contempt, but made no further remark.  The indictment having been read, the clerk of the court cried out, “You, Benjamin Ogle, having heard the charge, say, guilty or not guilty?”

“Not guilty,” replied the man, to my astonishment.

“You, Philip Maddox, guilty or not guilty?” I did not answer.

“Prisoner,” observed the judge in a mild voice, “you must answer, guilty or not guilty.  It is merely a form.”

“My lord,” replied I, “my name is not Philip Maddox.”

“That is the name given in the indictment by the evidence of your fellow-prisoner,” observed the judge; “your real name we cannot pretend to know.  It is sufficient that you answer to the question of whether you, the prisoner, are guilty or not guilty.”

“Not guilty, my lord, most certainly,” replied I, placing my hand to my heart, and bowing to him.

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The trial proceeded; Armstrong was the principal evidence.  To my person he would not swear.  The Jew proved my selling my clothes, purchasing those found in the bundle, and the stick, of which Armstrong possessed himself.  The clothes I had on at the time of my capture were produced in court.  As for Ogle, his case was decisive.  We were then called upon for our defence.  Ogle’s was very short.  “He had been accustomed to fits all his life—­was walking to Hounslow, and had fallen down in a fit.  It must have been somebody else who had committed the robbery and had made off, and he had been picked up in a mistake.”  This defence appeared to make no other impression than ridicule, and indignation at the barefaced assertion.  I was then called on for mine.

“My lord,” said I, “I have no defence to make except that which I asserted before the magistrates, that I was performing an act of charity towards a fellow-creature, and was, through that, supposed to be an accomplice.”

“Arraigned before so many upon a charge, at the bare accusation of which my blood revolts, I cannot and will not allow those who might prove what my life has been, and the circumstances which induced me to take up the disguise in which I was taken, to appear in my behalf.  I am unfortunate, but not guilty.  One only chance appears to be open to me, which is, in the candour of the party who now stands by me.  If he will say to the court that he ever saw me before, I will submit without murmur to my sentence.”

“I’m sorry that you’ve put that question, my boy,” replied the man, “for I have seen you before;” and the wretch chuckled with repressed laughter.

I was so astonished, so thunderstruck with this assertion, that I held own my head, and made no reply.  The judge then summed up the evidence to the jury, pointing out to them, that of Ogle’s guilt there could be no doubt, and of mine, he was sorry to say, but little.  Still they must bear in mind that the witness Armstrong could not swear to my person.  The jury, without leaving the box, consulted together a short time, and brought in a verdict of guilty against Benjamin Ogle and Philip Maddox.  I heard no more—­the judge sentenced us both to execution:  he lamented that so young and prepossessing a person as myself should be about to suffer for such an offence:  he pointed out the necessity of condign punishment, and gave us no hopes of pardon or clemency.  But I heard him not—­I did not fall, but I was in a state of stupor.  At last, he wound up his sentence by praying us to prepare ourselves for the awful change, by an appeal to that heavenly Father—­“Father!” exclaimed I, in a voice which electrified the court, “did you say my father?  O God! where is he?” and I fell down in a fit.  The handkerchiefs of the ladies were applied to their faces, the whole court were moved, for I had, by my appearance, excited considerable interest, and the judge, with a faltering, subdued voice, desired that the prisoners might be removed.

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“Stop one minute, my good fellow,” said Ogle, to the gaoler, while others were taking me out of court.  “My lord, I’ve something rather important to say.  Why I did not say it before, you shall hear.  You are a judge, to condemn the guilty, and release the innocent.  We are told that there is no trial like an English jury, but this I say, that many a man is hung for what he never has been guilty of.  You have condemned that poor young man to death.  I could have prevented it if I had chosen to speak before, but I would not, that I might prove how little there is of justice.  He had nothing to do with the robbery—­Phil Maddox was the man, and he is not Philip Maddox.  He said that he never saw me before, nor do I believe that he ever did.  As sure as I shall hang, he is innocent.”

“It was but now, that when appealed to by him, you stated that you had seen him before.”

“So I did, and I told the truth—­I had seen him before.  I saw him go to hold the gentleman’s horse, but he did not see me.  I stole his bundle and his stick, which he left on the bench, and that’s how they were found in our possession.  Now you have the truth, and you may either acknowledge that there is little justice, by eating your own words, and letting him free, or you may hang him, rather than acknowledge that you are wrong.  At all events, his blood will now be on your hands, and not mine.  If Phil Maddox had not turned tail, like a coward, I should not have been here; so I tell the truth to save him who was doing me a kind act, and to let him swing who left me in the lurch.”

The judge desired that this statement might be taken down, that further inquiry might be made, intimating to the jury, that I should be respited for the present; but of all this I was ignorant.  As there was no placing confidence in the assertions of such a man as Ogle, it was considered necessary that he should repeat his assertions at the last hour of his existence, and the gaoler was ordered not to state what had passed to me, as he might excite false hopes.

When I recovered from my fit, I found myself in the gaoler’s parlour, and as soon as I was able to walk, I was locked up in a condemned cell.  The execution had been ordered to take place on the Thursday, and I had two days to prepare.  In the meantime, the greatest interest had been excited with regard to me.  My whole appearance so evidently belied the charge, that everyone was in my favour.  Ogle was requestioned, and immediately gave a clue for the apprehension of Maddox, who, he said, he hoped would swing by his side.

The gaoler came to me the next day, saying, that some of the magistrates wished to speak with me; but as I had made up my mind not to reveal my former life, my only reply was, “That I begged they would allow me to have my last moments to myself.”  I recollected Melchior’s idea of destiny, and imagined that he was right.  “It was my destiny,” thought I:  and I remained in a state of stupor.  The fact was, that I was very ill, my head was heavy, my brain was on fire, and the throbbing of my heart could have been perceived without touching my breast.

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I remained on the mattress all day, and all the next night, with my face buried in the clothes!  I was too ill to raise my head.  On Wednesday morning I felt myself gently pushed on the shoulder by some one; I opened my eyes; it was a clergyman.  I turned away my head, and remained as before.  I was then in a violent fever.  He spoke for some time:  occasionally I heard a word, and then relapsed into a state of mental imbecility.  He sighed, and went away.

Thursday came, and the hour of death,—­but time was by me unheeded, as well as eternity.  In the meantime Maddox had been taken, and the contents of Armstrong’s bundle found in his possession; and when he discovered that Ogle had been evidence against him, he confessed to the robbery.

Whether it was on Thursday or Friday, I knew not then, but I was lifted off the bed, and taken before somebody—­something passed, but the fever had mounted up to my head, and I was in a state of stupid delirium.  Strange to say, they did not perceive my condition, but ascribed it all to abject fear of death.  I was led away—­I had made no answer—­but I was free.

Chapter LXI

     When at the lowest spoke of Fortune’s wheel, one is sure to rise
     as it turns round—­I recover my senses and find myself amongst

I think some people shook me by the hand, and others shouted as I walked in the open air, but I recollect no more.  I afterwards was informed that I had been reprieved, that I had been sent for, and a long exhortation delivered to me, for it was considered that my life must have been one of error, or I should have applied to my friends, and have given my name.  My not answering was attributed to shame and confusion—­my glassy eye had not been noticed—­my tottering step when led in by the gaolers attributed to other causes; and the magistrates shook their heads as I was led out of their presence.  The gaoler had asked me several times where I intended to go.  At last, I had told him, to seek my father, and darting away from him, I had run like a madman down the street.  Of course he had no longer any power over me:  but he muttered, as I fled from him, “I’ve a notion he’ll soon be locked up again, poor fellow! it’s turned his brain for certain.”

As I tottered along, my unsteady step naturally attracted the attention of the passers-by; but they attributed it to intoxication.  Thus was I allowed to wander away in a state of madness, and before night I was far from the town.  What passed, and whither I had bent my steps, I cannot tell.  All I know is, that after running like a maniac, seizing everybody by the arm that I met, staring at them with wild and flashing eyes; and sometimes in a solemn voice, at others in a loud, threatening tone, startling them with the interrogatory, “Are you my father?” and then darting away, or sobbing like a child, as the humour took me, I had crossed the country, and three days afterwards I was picked up at the door of a house in the town of Reading, exhausted with fatigue and exposure, and nearly dead.  When I recovered, I found myself in bed, my head shaved, my arm bound up, after repeated bleedings, and a female figure sitting by me.

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“God in heaven! where am I?” exclaimed I, faintly.

“Thou hast called often upon thy earthly father during the time of thy illness, friend,” replied a soft voice.  “It rejoiceth me much to hear thee call upon thy Father which is in heaven.  Be comforted, thou art in the hands of those who will be mindful of thee.  Offer up thy thanks in one short prayer, for thy return to reason, and then sink again into repose, for thou must need it much.”

I opened my eyes wide, and perceived that a young person in a Quaker’s dress was sitting by the bed working with her needle; an open Bible was on a little table before her.  I perceived also a cup, and parched with thirst, I merely said, “Give me to drink.”  She arose, and put a teaspoon to my lips; but I raised my hand, took the cup from her, and emptied it.  O how delightful was that draught!  I sank down on my pillow, for even that slight exertion had overpowered me, and muttering, “God, I thank thee!” I was immediately in a sound sleep, from which I did not awake for many hours.  When I did, it was not daylight.  A lamp was on the table, and an old man in a Quaker’s dress was snoring very comfortably in the arm-chair.  I felt quite refreshed with my long sleep, and was now able to recall what had passed.  I remembered the condemned cell, and the mattress upon which I lay, but all after was in a state of confusion.  Here and there a fact or supposition was strong in my memory; but the intervals between were total blanks.  I was, at all events, free, that I felt convinced of, and that I was in the hands of the sect who denominate themselves Quakers:  but where was I? and how did I come here?  I remained thinking on the past, and wondering, until the day broke, and with the daylight roused up my watchful attendant.  He yawned, stretched his arms, and rising from the chair, came to the side of my bed.  I looked him in the face.  “Hast thou slept well, friend?” said he.

“I have slept as much as I wish, and would not disturb you," replied I, “for I wanted nothing.”

“Peradventure I did sleep,” replied the man; “watching long agreeth not with the flesh, although the spirit is most willing.  Requirest thou anything?”

“Yes,” replied I, “I wish to know where I am?”

“Verily, thou art in the town of Reading in Berkshire, and in the house of Phineas Cophagus.”

“Cophagus!” exclaimed I; “Mr Cophagus, the surgeon and apothecary?”

“Phineas Cophagus is his name; he hath been admitted into our sect, and hath married a daughter of our persuasion.  He hath attended thee in thy fever and thy frenzy, without calling in the aid of the physician, therefore do I believe that he must be the man of whom thou speakest; yet doth he not follow up the healing art for the lucre of gain.”

“And the young person who was at my bedside, is she his wife?”

“Nay, friend, she is half-sister to the wife of Phineas Cophagus by a second marriage, and a maiden, who was named Susannah Temple at the baptismal font; but I will go to Phineas Cophagus and acquaint him of your waking, for such were his directions.”

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The man then quitted the room, leaving me quite astonished with the information he had imparted.  Cophagus turned Quaker! and attending me in the town of Reading.  In a short time Mr Cophagus himself entered in his dressing-gown.  “Japhet!” said he, seizing my hand with eagerness, and then, as if recollecting, he checked himself, and commenced in a slow tone, “Japhet Newland—­truly glad am I—­hum—­verily do I rejoice—­you, Ephraim—­get out of the room—­and so on.”

“Yea, I will depart, since it is thy bidding,” replied the man, quitting the room.

Mr Cophagus then greeted me in his usual way—­told me that he had found me insensible at the door of a house a little way off, and had immediately recognised me.  He had brought me to his own home, but without much hope of my recovery.  He then begged to know by what strange chance I had been found in such a desolate condition.  I replied, “that although I was able to listen, I did not feel myself equal to the exertion of telling so long a story, and that I should infinitely prefer that he should narrate to me what had passed since we had parted at Dublin, and how it was that I now found that he had joined the sect of Quakers.”

“Peradventure—­long word that—­um—­queer people—­very good—­and so on,” commenced Mr Cophagus; but as the reader will not understand his phraseology quite so well as I did, I shall give Mr Cophagus’s history in my own version.

Mr Cophagus had returned to the small town at which he resided, and, on his arrival, he had been called upon by a gentleman who was of the Society of Friends, requesting that he would prescribe for a niece of his, who was on a visit at his house, and had been taken dangerously ill.  Cophagus, with his usual kindness of heart, immediately consented, and found that Mr Temple’s report was true.  For six weeks he attended the young Quakeress, and recovered her from an imminent and painful disease, in which she showed such fortitude and resignation, and such unconquerable good temper, that when Mr Cophagus returned to his bachelor’s establishment, he could not help reflecting upon what an invaluable wife she would make, and how much more cheerful his house would be with such a domestic partner.

In short, Mr Cophagus fell in love, and like all elderly gentlemen who have so long bottled up their affections, he became most desperately enamoured; and if he loved Miss Judith Temple when he witnessed her patience and resignation under suffering, how much more did he love her when he found that she was playful, merry, and cheerful, without being boisterous, when restored to her health.  Mr Cophagus’s attentions could not be misunderstood.  He told her uncle that he had thought seriously of wedding cake—­white favours—­marriage—­family—­and so on; and to the young lady he had put his cane up to his nose and prescribed, “A dose of matrimony—­to be taken immediately.”  To Mr Cophagus there was no objection raised by the lady, who was not in her teens, or by the uncle, who had always respected him as a worthy man, and a good Christian; but to marry one who was not of her persuasion, was not to be thought of.  Her friends would not consent to it.  Mr Cophagus was therefore dismissed, with a full assurance that the only objection which offered was, that he was not of their society.

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Mr Cophagus walked home discomforted.  He sat down on his easy chair, and found it excessively uneasy—­he sat down to his solitary meal, and found that his own company was unbearable—­he went to bed, but found that it was impossible to go to sleep.  The next morning, therefore, Mr Cophagus returned to Mr Temple, and stated his wish to be made acquainted with the difference between the tenets of the Quaker persuasion and those of the Established Church.  Mr Temple gave him an outline, which appeared to Mr Cophagus to be very satisfactory, and then referred him to his niece for fuller particulars.  When a man enters into an argument with a full desire to be convinced, and with his future happiness perhaps depending upon that conviction; and when, further, those arguments are brought forward by one of the prettiest voices, and backed by the sweetest of smiles, it is not to be wondered at his soon becoming a proselyte.  Thus it was with Mr Cophagus, who in a week, discovered that the peace, humility, and good-will, upon which the Quaker tenets are founded, were much more congenial to the true spirit of the Christian revelation than the Athanasian Creed, to be sung or said in our Established Churches; and with this conviction, Mr Cophagus requested admission into the fraternity, and shortly after his admission, it was thought advisable by the Friends that his faith should be confirmed and strengthened by his espousal of Miss Judith Temple, with whom, at her request—­and he could refuse her nothing—­he had repaired to the town of Reading, in which her relations all resided; and Phineas Cophagus, of the Society of Friends, declared himself to be as happy as a man could be.  “Good people, Japhet—­um—­honest people, Japhet—­don’t fight—­little stiff—­spirit moves—­and so on,” said Mr Cophagus, as he concluded his narrative, and then shaking me by the hand, retired to shave and dress.

Chapter LXII

     I fall in love with religion when preached by one who has the
     form of an angel.

In half an hour afterwards Ephraim came in with a draught, which I was desired to take by Mr Cophagus, and then to try and sleep.  This was good advice, and I followed it.  I awoke after a long, refreshing sleep, and found Mr and Mrs Cophagus sitting in the room, she at work and he occupied with a book.  When I opened my eyes, and perceived a female, I looked to ascertain if it was the young person whom Ephraim had stated to be Susannah Temple; not that I recollected her features exactly, but I did the contour of her person.  Mrs Cophagus was taller, and I had a fair scrutiny of her before they perceived that I was awake.  Her face was very pleasing, features small and regular.  She appeared to be about thirty years of age, and was studiously neat and clean in her person.  Her Quaker’s dress was not without some little departure from the strict fashion and form, sufficient to assist, without deviating from, its simplicity.  If I might use the term, it was a little coquettish, and evinced that the wearer, had she not belonged to that sect, would have shown great taste in the adornment of her person.

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Mr Cophagus, although he did not think so himself, as I afterwards found out, was certainly much improved by his change of costume.  His spindle-shanks, which, as I have before observed, were peculiarly at variance with his little orbicular, orange-shaped stomach, were now concealed in loose trousers, which took off from the protuberance of the latter, and added dignity to the former, blending the two together, so that his roundness became fine by degrees, and beautifully less as it descended.  Altogether, the Quaker dress added very much to the substantiability of his appearance, and was a manifest improvement, especially when he wore his broad-brimmed hat.  Having satisfied my curiosity, I moved the curtain so as to attract their attention, and Cophagus came to my bedside, and felt my pulse.  “Good—­very good—­all right—­little broth—­throw in bark—­on his legs—­well as ever—­and so on.”

“I am indeed much better this afternoon,” replied I; “indeed, so well, that I feel as if I could get up.”

“Pooh:—­tumble down—­never do—­lie a bed—­get strong—­wife—­Mrs Cophagus—­Japhet—­old friend.”

Mrs Cophagus had risen from her chair, and come towards the bed, when her husband introduced her in his own fashion.  “I am afraid that I have been a great trouble, madam,” said I.

“Japhet Newland, we have done but our duty, even if thou wert not, as it appears that thou art, a friend of my husband.  Consider me, therefore, as thy sister, and I will regard thee as a brother; and if thou wouldst wish it, thou shalt sojourn with us, for so hath my husband communicated his wishes unto me.”

I thanked her for her kind expressions, and took the fair hand which was offered in such amity.  Cophagus then asked me if I was well enough to inform him of what had passed since our last meeting, and telling me that his wife knew my whole history, and that I might speak before her, he took his seat by the side of the bed, his wife also drew her chair nearer, and I commenced the narrative of what had passed since we parted in Ireland.  When I had finished, Mr Cophagus commenced as usual, “Um—­very odd—­lose money—­bad—­grow honest—­good—­run away from friends—­bad—­not hung—­ good—­brain fever—­bad—­come here—­good—­stay with us—­quite comfortable—­and so on.”

“Thou hast suffered much, friend Japhet,” said Mrs Cophagus, wiping her eyes; “and I would almost venture to say, hast been chastised too severely, were it not that those whom He loveth, He chastiseth.  Still thou art saved, and now out of danger; peradventure thou wilt now quit a vain world, and be content to live with us; nay, as thou hast the example of thy former master, it may perhaps please the Lord to advise thee to become one of us, and to join us as a Friend.  My husband was persuaded to the right path by me,” continued she, looking fondly at him; “who knoweth but some of our maidens may also persuade thee to eschew a vain, unrighteous world, and follow thy Redeemer in humility?”

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“Very true—­um—­very true,” observed Cophagus, putting more Quakerism than usual in his style, and drawing out his ums to treble their usual length; “Happy life—­Japhet—­um—­all at peace—­quiet amusements—­think about it—­um—­no hurry—­never swear—­by-and-bye heh!—­spirit may move—­um—­not now—­talk about it—­get well—­set up shop—­and so on.”

I was tired with talking so much, and having taken some nourishment, gain fell asleep.  When I awoke in the evening, friend Cophagus and his wife were not in the room; but Susannah Temple, whom I had first seen, and of whom I had made inquiry of Ephraim, who was Cophagus’s servant.  She was sitting close to the light and reading, and long did I continue to gaze upon her, fearful of interrupting her.  She was the most beautiful specimen of clear and transparent white that I ever had beheld—­her complexion was unrivalled—­her eyes were large, but I could not ascertain their colour, as they were cast down upon her book, and hid by her long fringed eyelashes—­her eyebrows arched and regular, as if drawn by a pair of compasses, and their soft hair in beautiful contrast with her snowy forehead—­her hair was auburn, but mostly concealed within her cap—­her nose was very straight but not very large, and her mouth was perfection.  She appeared to be between seventeen and eighteen years old, as far as I could ascertain, her figure was symmetrically perfect.  Dressed as she was in the modest, simple garb worn by the females of the Society of Friends, she gave an idea of neatness, cleanliness, and propriety, upon which I could have gazed for ever.  She was, indeed, most beautiful.  I felt her beauty, her purity, and I could have worshipped her as an angel.  While I still had my eyes fixed upon her exquisite features, she closed her book, and rising from her chair, came to the side of the bed.  That she might not be startled at the idea of my having been watching her, I closed my eyes, and pretended to slumber.  She resumed her seat, and then I changed my position and spoke, “Is any one there?”

“Yes, friend Newland, what is it that thou requirest?” said she, advancing.  “Wouldst thou see Cophagus or Ephraim?  I will summon them.”

“O no,” replied I; “why should I disturb them from their amusements or employments?  I have slept a long while, and I would like to read a little I think, if my eyes are not too weak.”

“Thou must not read, but I may read unto thee,” replied Susannah.  “Tell me, what is it that thou wouldest have me read?  I have no vain books; but surely thou thinkest not of them, after thy escape from death.”

“I care not what is read, provided that you read to me,” replied I.

“Nay, but thou shouldest care; and be not wroth if I say to thee, that there is but one book to which thou shouldest now listen.  Thou hast been saved from deadly peril—­thou hast been rescued from the jaws of death.  Art thou not thankful?  And to whom is gratitude most due, but to thy heavenly Father, who hath been pleased to spare thee?”

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“You are right,” replied I; “then I pray you to read to me from the Bible.”

Susannah made no reply, but resumed her seat, and selecting those chapters most appropriate to my situation, read them in a beautiful and impressive tone.

Chapter LXIII

     Pride and love at issue—­the latter is victorious—­I turn Quaker
     and recommence my old profession.

If the reader will recall my narrative to his recollection, he must observe, that religion had had hitherto but little of my thoughts.  I had lived the life of most who live in this world; perhaps not quite so correct in morals as many people, for my code of morality was suited to circumstances; as to religion, I had none.  I had lived in the world, and for the world.  I had certainly been well instructed in the tenets of our faith when I was at the Asylum, but there, as in most other schools, it is made irksome, as a task, and is looked upon with almost a feeling of aversion.  No proper religious sentiments are, or can be, inculcated to a large number of scholars; it is the parent alone who can instil, by precept and example, that true sense of religion, which may serve as a guide through life.  I had not read the Bible from the time that I quitted the Foundling Hospital.  It was new to me, and when I now heard read, by that beautiful creature, passages equally beautiful, and so applicable to my situation, weakened with disease, and humbled in adversity, I was moved, even unto tears.

Susannah closed the book and came to the bedside.  I thanked her:  she perceived my emotion, and when I held out my hand she did not refuse hers.  I kissed it, and it was immediately withdrawn, and she left the room.  Shortly afterwards Ephraim made his appearance.  Cophagus and his wife also came that evening, but I saw no more of Susannah Temple until the following day, when I again requested her to read to me.

I will not detain the reader by an account of my recovery.  In three weeks I was able to leave the room; during that time, I had become very intimate with the whole family, and was treated as if I belonged to it.  During my illness I had certainly shown more sense of religion than I had ever done before, but I do not mean to say that I was really religious.  I liked to hear the Bible read by Susannah, and I liked to talk with her upon religious subjects; but had Susannah been an ugly old woman, I very much doubt if I should have been so attentive.  It was her extreme beauty—­her modesty and fervour, which so became her, which enchanted me.  I felt the beauty of religion, but it was through an earthly object; it was beautiful in her.  She looked an angel, and I listened to her precepts as delivered by one.  Still, whatever may be the cause by which a person’s attention can be directed to so important a subject, so generally neglected, whether by fear of death, or by love towards an earthly object, the advantages are the same; and although very far from what I ought to have been, I certainly was, through my admiration of her, a better man.

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As soon as I was on the sofa, wrapped up in one of the dressing-gowns of Mr Cophagus, he told me that the clothes in which I had been picked up were all in tatters, and asked me whether I would like to have others made according to the usual fashion, or like those with whom I should, he trusted, in future reside.  I had already debated this matter in my mind.  Return to the world I had resolved not to do; to follow up the object of my search appeared to me only to involve me in difficulties; and what were the intentions of Cophagus with regard to me, I knew not.  I was hesitating, for I knew not what answer to give, when I perceived the pensive, deep blue eye of Susannah fixed upon me, watching attentively, if not eagerly, for my response.

It decided the point.  “If,” replied I, “you do not think that I should disgrace you, I should wish to wear the dress of the Society of Friends, although not yet one of your body.”

“But soon to be, I trust,” replied Mrs Cophagus.

“Alas!” replied I, “I am an outcast;” and I looked at Susannah Temple.

“Not so, Japhet Newland,” replied she, mildly; “I am pleased that thou hast of thy own accord rejected vain attire.  I trust that thou wilt not find that thou art without friends.”

“While I am with you,” replied I, addressing myself to them all, “I consider it my duty to conform to your manners in every way, but by-and-bye, when I resume my search—­”

“And why shouldst thou resume a search which must prove unavailing, and but leads thee into error and misfortune?  I am but young, Japhet Newland, and not perhaps so able to advise, yet doth it appear to me, that the search can only be availing when made by those who left thee.  When they wish for you, they will seek thee, but thy seeking them is vain and fruitless.”

“But,” replied I, “recollect that inquiries have already been made at the Foundling, and those who inquired have been sent away disappointed—­they will enquire no more.”

“And is a parent’s love so trifling, that one disappointment will drive him from seeking of his child?  No, no, Japhet; if thou art yearned for, thou wilt be found, and fresh inquiries will be made; but thy search is unavailing, and already hast thou lost much time.”

“True, Susannah, thy advice is good,” replied Mrs Cophagus; “in following a shadow Japhet hath much neglected the substance; it is time that thou shouldst settle thyself, and earn thy livelihood.”

“And do thy duty in that path of life to which it hath pleased God to call thee,” continued Susannah, who with Mrs Cophagus walked out of the room.

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Cophagus then took up the conversation, and pointing out the uselessness of my roving about, and the propriety of my settling in life, proposed that I should take an apothecary’s shop, for which he would furnish the means, and that he could ensure me the custom of the whole Society of Friends in Reading, which was very large, as there was not one of the sect in that line of business.  “Become one of us, Japhet—­good business—­marry by-and-bye—­happy life—­little children—­and so on.”  I thought of Susannah, and was silent.  Cophagus then said, I had better reflect upon his offer, and make up my determination.  If that did not suit me, he would still give me all the assistance in his power.  I did reflect long before I could make up my mind.  I was still worldly inclined; still my fancy would revel in the idea of finding out my father in high life, and, as once more appearing as a star of fashion, of returning with interest the contumely I had lately received, and re-assuming as a right that position in society which I had held under false colours.

I could not bear the idea of sinking at once into a tradesman, and probably ending my days in obscurity.  Pride was still my ruling passion.  Such were my first impulses, and then I looked upon the other side of the picture.  I was without the means necessary to support myself; I could not return to high life without I discovered my parents in the first place, and in the second, found them to be such as my warm imagination had depicted.  I had no chance of finding them.  I had already been long seeking in vain.  I had been twice taken up to Bow Street—­nearly lost my life in Ireland—­had been sentenced to death—­had been insane, and recovered by a miracle, and all in prosecuting this useless search.  All this had much contributed to cure me of the monomania.  I agreed with Susannah that the search must be made by the other parties, and not by me.  I recalled the treatment I had received from the world—­the contempt with which I had been treated—­the heartlessness of high life, and the little chance of my ever again being admitted into fashionable society.

I placed all this in juxtaposition with the kindness of those with whom I now resided—­what they had done already for me, and what they now offered, which was to make me independent by my own exertions.  I weighed all in my mind; was still undecided, for my pride still carried its weight; when I thought of the pure, beautiful Susannah Temple, and—­my decision was made.  I would not lose the substance by running after shadows.

That evening, with many thanks, I accepted the kind offers of Mr Cophagus, and expressed my determination of entering into the Society of Friends.

“Thou hast chosen wisely,” said Mrs Cophagus, extending her hand to me, “and it is with pleasure that we shall receive thee.”

“I welcome thee, Japhet Newland,” said Susannah, also offering her hand, “and I trust that thou wilt find more happiness among those with whom thou art about to sojourn, than in the world of vanity and deceit, in which thou hast hitherto played thy part.  No longer seek an earthly father, who hath deserted thee, but a heavenly Father, who will not desert thee in thy afflictions.”

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“You shall direct me into the right path, Susannah,” replied I.

“I am too young to be a guide, Japhet,” replied she, smiling; “but not too young, I hope, to be a friend.”

The next day my clothes came home, and I put them on.  I looked at myself in the glass, and was anything but pleased; but as my head was shaved, it was of little consequence what I wore; so I consoled myself.  Mr Cophagus sent for a barber and ordered me a wig, which was to be ready in a few days; when it was ready I put it on, and altogether did not dislike my appearance.  I flattered myself that if I was a Quaker, at all events I was a very good looking and a very smart one; and when, a day or two afterwards, a reunion of friends took place at Mr Cophagus’s house to introduce me to them, I perceived, with much satisfaction, that there was no young man who could compete with me.  After this, I was much more reconciled to my transformation.

Chapter LXIV

     I prosper in every way, and become reconciled to my situation.

Mr Cophagus was not idle.  In a few weeks he had rented a shop for me, and furnished it much better than his own in Smithfield; the upper part of the house was let off, as I was to reside with the family.  When it was ready, I went over it with him, and was satisfied; all I wished for was Timothy as an assistant, but that wish was unavailing, as I knew not where to find him.

That evening I observed to Mr Cophagus, that I did not much like putting my name over the shop.  The fact was, that my pride forbade it, and I could not bear the idea, that Japhet Newland, at whose knock every aristocratic door had flown open, should appear in gold letters above a shop-window.  “There are many reasons against it,” observed I.  “One is, that it is not my real name—­I should like to take the name of Cophagus; another is, that the name, being so well known, may attract those who formerly knew me, and I should not wish that they should come in and mock me; another is—­”

“Japhet Newland,” interrupted Susannah, with more severity than I ever had seen in her sweet countenance, “do not trouble thyself with giving thy reasons, seeing thou hast given every reason but the right one, which is, that thy pride revolts at it.”

“I was about to observe,” replied I, “that it was a name that sounded of mammon, and not fitting for one of our persuasion.  But, Susannah, you have accused me of pride, and I will now raise no further objections.  Japhet Newland it shall be, and let us speak no more upon the subject.”

“If I have wronged thee, Japhet, much do I crave thy forgiveness,” replied Susannah.  “But it is God alone who knoweth the secrets of our hearts.  I was presumptuous, and you must pardon me.”

“Susannah, it is I who ought to plead for pardon; you know me better than I know myself.  It was pride, and nothing but pride—­but you have cured me.”

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“Truly have I hopes of thee now, Japhet,” replied Susannah, smiling.  “Those who confess their faults will soon amend them; yet I do think there is some reason in thy observation, for who knoweth, but meeting with thy former associates, thou mayst not be tempted into falling away?  Thou mayst spell thy name as thou listest; and, peradventure, it would be better to disguise it.”

So agreed Mr and Mrs Cophagus, and I therefore had it written Gnow-land; and having engaged a person of the society, strongly recommended to me, as an assistant, I took possession of my shop, and was very soon busy in making up prescriptions, and dispensing my medicines in all quarters of the good town of Reading.

And I was happy.  I had enjoyment during the day; my profession was, at all events, liberal.  I was dressed and lived as a gentleman, or rather I should say respectably.  I was earning my own livelihood.  I was a useful member of society, and when I retired home to meals, and late at night, I found, that if Cophagus and his wife had retired, Susannah Temple always waited up, and remained with me a few minutes.  I had never been in love until I had fallen in with this perfect creature; but my love for her was not the love of the world; I could not so depreciate her—­I loved her as a superior being—­I loved her with fear and trembling.  I felt that she was too pure, too holy, too good for a vain worldly creature like myself.  I felt as if my destiny depended upon her and her fiat; that if she favoured me, my happiness in this world and in the next were secured; that if she rejected me, I was cast away for ever.  Such was my feeling for Susannah Temple, who, perfect as she was, was still a woman, and perceived her power over me; but unlike the many of her sex, exerted that power only to lead to what was right.  Insensibly almost, my pride was quelled, and I became humble and religiously inclined.  Even the peculiarities of the sect, their meeting at their places of worship, their drawling, and their quaint manner of talking, became no longer a subject of dislike.  I found out causes and good reasons for everything which before appeared strange—­sermons in stones, and good in everything.  Months passed away—­my business prospered—­I had nearly repaid the money advanced by Mr Cophagus.  I was in heart and soul a Quaker, and I entered into the fraternity with a feeling that I could act up to what I had promised.  I was happy, quite happy, and yet I had never received from Susannah Temple any further than the proofs of sincere friendship.  But I had much of her society, and we were now very, very intimate.  I found out what warm, what devoted feelings were concealed under her modest, quiet exterior—­how well her mind was stored, and how right was that mind.

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Often when I talked over past events, did I listen to her remarks, all tending to one point, morality and virtue; often did I receive from her at first a severe, but latterly a kind rebuke, when my discourse was light and frivolous; but when I talked of merry subjects which were innocent, what could be more joyous or more exhilarating than her laugh—­what more intoxicating than her sweet smile, when she approved of my sentiments! and when animated by the subject, what could be more musical or more impassioned than her bursts of eloquence, which were invariably followed by a deep blush, when she recollected how she had been carried away by excitement?

There was one point upon which I congratulated myself, which was, that she had received two or three unexceptionable offers of marriage during the six months that I had been in her company, and refused them.  At the end of that period, thanks to the assistance I received from the Friends, I had paid Mr Cophagus all the money which he had advanced, and found myself in possession of a flourishing business, and independent.  I then requested that I might be allowed to pay an annual stipend for my board and lodging, commencing from the time I first came to his house.  Mr Cophagus said I was right—­the terms were easily arranged, and I was independent.

Still my advances with Susannah were slow, but if slow, they were sure.  One day I observed to her, how happy Mr Cophagus appeared to be as a married man; her reply was, “He is, Japhet; he has worked hard for his independence, and he now is reaping the fruits of his industry.”  That is as much as to say that I must do the same, thought I, and that I have no business to propose for a wife, until I am certain that I am able to provide for her.  I have as yet laid up nothing, and an income is not a capital.  I felt that whether a party interested or not, she was right, and I redoubled my diligence.

Chapter LXV

     A variety of the Quaker tribe—­who had a curious disintegration
     of mind and body.

I was not yet weaned from the world, but I was fast advancing to that state, when a very smart young Quaker came on a visit to Reading.  He was introduced to Mr and Mrs Cophagus, and was soon, as might be expected, an admirer of Susannah, but he received no encouragement.  He was an idle person, and passed much of his time sitting in my shop, and talking with me, and being much less reserved and guarded than the generality of the young men of the sect, I gradually became intimate with him.  One day when my assistant was out he said to me, “Friend Gnow-land, tell me candidly, hast thou ever seen my face before?”

“Not that I can recollect, friend Talbot.”

“Then my recollection is better than yours, and now having obtained thy friendship as one of the society, I will remind thee of our former acquaintance.  When thou wert Mr N-e-w-land, walking about town with Major Carbonnell, I was Lieutenant Talbot, of the—­Dragoon Guards.”

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I was dumb with astonishment, and I stared him in the face.

“Yes,” continued he, bursting into laughter, “such is the fact.  You have thought, perhaps, that you were the only man of fashion who had ever been transformed into a Quaker; now you behold another, so no longer imagine yourself the Phoenix of your tribe.”

“I do certainly recollect that name,” replied I; “but although, as you must be acquainted with my history, it is very easy to conceive why I have joined the society, yet, upon what grounds you can have so done, is to me inexplicable.”

“Newland, it certainly does require explanation; it has been, I assert, my misfortune, and not my fault.  Not that I am not happy.  On the contrary, I feel that I am now in my proper situation.  I ought to have been born of Quaker parents—­at all events, I was born a Quaker in disposition; but I will come to-morrow early, and then, if you will give your man something to do out of the way, I will tell you my history.  I know that you will keep my secret.”

The next morning he came, and as soon as we were alone he imparted to me what follows.

“I recollect well, Newland, when you were one of the leaders of fashion, I was then in the Dragoon Guards, and although not very intimate with you, had the honour of a recognition when we met at parties.  I cannot help laughing, upon my soul, when I look at us both now; but never mind.  I was of course a great deal with my regiment, and at the club.  My father, as you may not perhaps be aware, was highly connected, and all the family have been brought up in the army; the question of profession has never been mooted by us, and every Talbot has turned out a soldier as naturally as a young duck takes to the water.  Well, I entered the army, admired my uniform, and was admired by the young ladies.  Before I received my lieutenant’s commission, my father, the old gentleman, died, and left me a younger brother’s fortune of four hundred per annum; but, as my uncle said, ’It was quite enough for a Talbot, who would push himself forward in his profession, as the Talbots had ever done before him.’  I soon found out that my income was not sufficient to enable me to continue in the Guards, and my uncle was very anxious that I should exchange into a regiment on service.  I therefore, by purchase, obtained a company in the 23rd, ordered out to reduce the French colonies in the West Indies, and I sailed with all the expectation of covering myself with as much glory as the Talbots had done from time immemorial.  We landed, and in a short time the bullets and grape were flying in all directions, and then I discovered, what I declare never for a moment came into my head before, to wit—­that I had mistaken my profession.”

“How do you mean, Talbot?”

“Mean why, that I was deficient in a certain qualification, which never was before denied to a Talbot—­courage.”

“And you never knew that before?”

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“Never, upon my honour; my mind was always full of courage.  In my mind’s eye I built castles of feats of bravery, which should eclipse all the Talbots, from him who burnt Joan of Arc, down to the present day.  I assure you, that surprised as other people were, no one was more surprised than myself.  Our regiment was ordered to advance, and I led on my company, the bullets flew like hail.  I tried to go on, but I could not; at last, notwithstanding all my endeavours to the contrary, I fairly took to my heels.  I was met by the commanding officer—­in fact, I ran right against him.  He ordered me back, and I returned to my regiment, not feeling at all afraid.  Again I was in the fire, again I resisted the impulse, but it was of no use, and at last, just before the assault took place, I ran away as if the devil was after me.  Wasn’t it odd?”

“Very odd, indeed,” replied I, laughing.

“Yes, but you do not exactly understand why it was odd.  You know what philosophers tell you about volition; and that the body is governed by the mind, consequently obeys it; now, you see, in my case, it was exactly reversed.  I tell you, that it is a fact, that in mind I am as brave as any man in existence; but I had a cowardly carcass, and what is still worse, it proved the master of my mind, and ran away with it.  I had no mind to run away; on the contrary, I wished to have been of the forlorn hope, and had volunteered, but was refused.  Surely, if I had not courage I should have avoided such a post of danger.  Is it not so?”

“It certainly appears strange, that you should volunteer for the forlorn hope, and then run away.”

“That’s just what I say.  I have the soul of the Talbots, but a body which don’t belong to the family, and too powerful for the soul.”

“So it appears.  Well, go on.”

“It was go off, instead of going on.  I tried again that day to mount the breach, and as the fire was over, I succeeded; but there was a mark against me, and it was intimated that I should have an opportunity of redeeming my character.”


“There was a fort to be stormed the next day, and I requested to lead my company in advance.  Surely that was no proof of want of courage?  Permission was granted.  We were warmly received, and I felt that my legs refused to advance; so what did I do—­I tied my sash round my thigh, and telling the men that I was wounded, requested they would carry me to the attack.  Surely that was courage?”

“Most undoubtedly so.  It was like a Talbot.”

“We were at the foot of the breach; when the shot flew about me, I kicked and wrestled so, that the two men who carried me were obliged to let me go, and my rascally body was at liberty.  I say unfortunately, for only conceive, if they had carried me wounded up the breach, what an heroic act it would have been considered on my part; but fate decided it otherwise.  If I had lain still when they dropped

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me, I should have done well, but I was anxious to get up the breach, that is, my mind was so bent; but as soon as I got on my legs, confound them if they didn’t run away with me, and then I was found half a mile from the fort with a pretended wound.  That was enough; I had a hint that the sooner I went home the better.  On account of the family I was permitted to sell out, and I then walked the streets as a private gentleman, but no one would speak to me.  I argued the point with several, but they were obstinate, and would not be convinced; they said that it was no use talking about being brave, if I ran away.”

“They were not philosophers, Talbot.”

“No; they could not comprehend how the mind and the body could be at variance.  It was no use arguing—­they would have it that the movements of the body depended upon the mind, and that I had made a mistake—­and that I was a coward in soul as well as body.”

“Well, what did you do?”

“Oh, I did nothing!  I had a great mind to knock them down, but as I knew my body would not assist me, I thought it better to leave it alone.  However, they taunted me so, by calling me fighting Tom, that my uncle shut his door upon me as a disgrace to the family, saying, he wished the first bullet had laid me dead—­very kind of him;—­at last my patience was worn out, and I looked about to find whether there were not some people who did not consider courage as a sine quae non.  I found that the Quakers’ tenets were against fighting, and therefore courage could not be necessary, so I have joined them, and I find that, if not a good soldier, I am, at all events, a very respectable Quaker; and now you have the whole of my story—­and tell me if you are of my opinion.”

“Why, really it’s a very difficult point to decide.  I never heard such a case of disintegration before.  I must think upon it.”

“Of course, you will not say a word about it, Newland.”

“Never fear, I will keep your secret, Talbot.  How long have you worn the dress?”

“Oh, more than a year.  By-the-bye, what a nice young person that Susannah Temple is.  I’ve a great mind to propose for her.”

“But you must first ascertain what your body says to it, Talbot,” replied I, sternly.  “I allow no one to interfere with me, Quaker or not.”

“My dear fellow, I beg your pardon, I shall think no more about her,” said Talbot, rising up, as he observed that I looked very fierce.  “I wish you a good morning.  I leave Reading to-morrow.  I will call on you, and say good-bye, if I can;” and I saw no more of Friend Talbot, whose mind was all courage, but whose body was so renegade.

Chapter LXVI

     I fall in with Timothy.

About a month after this, I heard a sailor with one leg, and a handful of ballads, singing in a most lachrymal tone,

“Why, what’s that to you if my eyes I’m a wiping?  A tear is a pleasure, d’ye see, in its way”—­

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“Bless your honour, shy a copper to Poor Jack, who’s lost his leg in the sarvice.  Thanky, your honour,” and he continued,

“It’s nonsense for trifles, I own, to be piping, But they who can’t pity—­why I pities they.  Says the captain, says he; I shall never forget it, Of courage, you know, boys, the true from the sham,”

“Back your maintopsail, your worship, for half a minute, and just assist a poor dismantled craft, who has been riddled in the wars—­“’Tis a furious lion.’  Long life to your honour—­’In battle so let it—­’

“’Tis a furious lion, in battle so let it; But duty appeased—­but duty appeased—­

“Buy a song, young woman, to sing to your sweetheart, while you sit on his knee in the dog-watch—­

“But duty appeased’tis the heart of a lamb.”

I believe there are few people who do not take a strong interest in the English sailor, particularly in one who has been maimed in the defence of his country.  I always have, and as I heard the poor disabled fellow bawling out his ditty, certainly not with a very remarkable voice or execution, I pulled out the drawer behind the counter, and took out some halfpence to give him.  When I caught his eye I beckoned to him, and he entered the shop.  “Here, my good fellow,” said I, “although a man of peace myself, yet I feel for those who suffer in the wars;” and I put the money to him.

“May your honour never know a banyan day,” replied the sailor; “and a sickly season for you, into the bargain.”

“Nay, friend, that is not a kind wish to others,” replied I.

The sailor fixed his eyes earnestly upon me, as if in astonishment, for, until I had answered, he had not looked at me particularly.

“What are you looking at?” said I.

“Good heavens!” exclaimed he.  “It is—­yet it cannot be!”

“Cannot be! what, friend?”

He ran out of the door, and read the name over the shop, and then came in, and sank upon a chair outside of the counter.  “Japhet—­I have found you at last!” exclaimed he, faintly.

“Good Heaven! who are you?”

He threw off his hat, with false ringlets fastened to the inside of it, and I beheld Timothy.  In a moment I sprang over the counter, and was in his arms.  “Is it possible,” exclaimed I, after a short silence on both sides, “that I find you, Timothy, a disabled sailor?”

“Is it possible, Japhet,” replied Timothy, “that I find you a broad-brimmed Quaker?”

“Even so, Timothy.  I am really and truly one.”

“Then you are less disguised than I am,” replied Timothy, kicking off his wooden leg, and letting down his own, which had been tied up to his thigh, and concealed in his wide blue trousers.  “I am no more a sailor than you are, Japhet, and since you left me have never yet seen the salt water, which I talk and sing so much about.”

“Then thou hast been deceiving, Timothy, which I regret much.”

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“Now I do perceive that you are a Quaker,” replied Tim; “but do not blame me until you have heard my story.  Thank God, I have found you at last.  But tell me, Japhet, you will not send me away—­will you?  If your dress is changed, your heart is not.  Pray answer me, before I say nything more.  You know I can be useful here.”

“Indeed, Timothy, I have often wished for you since I have been here, and it will be your own fault if I part with you.  You shall assist me in the shop; but you must dress like me.”

“Dress like you! have I not always dressed like you?  When we started from Cophagus’s, were we not dressed much alike? did we not wear spangled jackets together? did I not wear your livery, and belong to you?  I’ll put on anything, Japhet—­but we must not part again.”

“My dear Timothy, I trust we shall not; but I expect my assistant here soon, and do not wish that he should see you in that garb.  Go to a small public-house at the farther end of this street, and when you see me pass, come out to me, and we will walk out into the country, and consult together.”

“I have put up at a small house not far off, and have some clothes there; I will alter my dress and meet you.  God bless you, Japhet.”

Timothy then picked up his ballads, which were scattered on the floor, put up his leg, and putting on his wooden stump, hastened away, after once more silently pressing my hand.

In half an hour my assistant returned, and I desired him to remain in the shop, as I was going out on business.  I then walked to the appointed rendezvous, and was soon joined by Tim, who had discarded his sailor’s disguise, and was in what is called a shabby genteel sort of dress.  After the first renewed greeting, I requested Tim to let me know what had occurred to him since our separation.

“You cannot imagine, Japhet, what my feelings were when I found, by your note, that you had left me.  I had perceived how unhappy you had been for a long while, and I was equally distressed, although I knew not the cause.  I had no idea until I got your letter, that you had lost all your money; and I felt it more unkind of you to leave me then, than if you had been comfortable and independent.  As for looking after you, that I knew would be useless; and I immediately went to Mr Masterton, to take his advice as to how I should proceed.  Mr Masterton had received your letter, and appeared to be very much annoyed.  ‘Very foolish boy,’ said he, ’but there is nothing that can be done now.  He is mad, and that is all that can be said in his excuse.  You must do as he tells you, I suppose, and try the best for yourself.  I will help you in any way that I can, my poor fellow,’ said he, ‘so don’t cry.’  I went back to the house and collected together your papers, which I sealed up.  I knew that the house was to be given up in a few days.  I sold the furniture, and made the best I could of the remainder of your wardrobe, and other things of value that you had left; indeed, everything, with the exception of the dressing-case and pistols, which had belonged to Major Carbonnell, and I thought you might perhaps some day like to have them.”

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“How very kind of you, Timothy, to think of me in that way!  I shall indeed be glad; but no—­what have I to do with pistols or silver dressing-cases now?  I must not have them, but still I thank you all the same.”

“The furniture and everything else fetched L430, after all expenses were paid.”

“I am glad of it, Timothy, for your sake; but I am sorry, judging by your present plight, that it appears to have done you but little good.”

“Because I did not make use of it, Japhet.  What could I do with all that money?  I took it to Mr Masterton, with all your papers, and the dressing-case and pistols;—­he has it now ready for you when you ask for it.  He was very kind to me, and offered to do anything for me; but I resolved to go in search of you.  I had more money in my pocket when you went away than I generally have, and with the surplus of what you left for the bills, I had twelve or fourteen pounds.  So I wished Mr Masterton good-bye, and have ever since been on my adventures in search of my master.”

“Not master, Timothy, say rather of your friend.”

“Well, of both if you please, Japhet; and very pretty adventures I have had, I assure you, and some very hair-breadth escapes.”

“I think, when we compare notes, mine will be found most eventful, Timothy; but we can talk of them, and compare notes another time.  At present, whom do you think I am residing with?”

“A Quaker, I presume.”

“You have guessed right so far:  but who do you think that Quaker is?”

“There I’m at fault.”

“Mr Cophagas.”

At this intelligence Timothy gave a leap in the air, turned round on his heel, and tumbled on the grass in a fit of immoderate laughter.

“Cophagus!—­a Quaker!” cried he at last.  “Oh!  I long to see him.  Snuffle, snuffle—­broad brims—­wide skirts—­and so on.  Capital!”

“It is very true, Timothy, but you must not mock at the persuasion.”

“I did not intend it, Japhet, but there is something to me so ridiculous in the idea.  But,” continued Timothy, “is it not still stranger, that, after having separated so many years, we should all meet again—­and that I should find Mr Cophagus—­an apothecary’s shop—­you dispensing medicines—­and I—­as I hope to be—­carrying them about as I did before.  Well, I will row in the same boat, and I will be a Quaker as well as you both.”

“Well, we will now return, and I will take you to Mr Cophagus, who will, I am sure, be glad to see you.”

“First, Japhet, let me have some Quaker’s clothes—­I should prefer it.”

“You shall have a suit of mine, Timothy, since you wish it; but recollect it is not at all necessary, nor indeed will it be permitted that you enter into the sect without preparatory examination as to your fitness for admission.”

I then went to the shop, and sending out the assistant, walked home and took out a worn suit of clothes, with which I hastened to Timothy.  He put them on in the shop, and then walking behind the counter, said, “This is my place, and here I shall remain as long as you do.”

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“I hope so, Timothy; as for the one who is with me at present, I can easily procure him other employment, and he will not be sorry to go, for he is a married man, and does not like the confinement.”

“I have some money,” said Timothy, taking out of his old clothes a dirty rag, and producing nearly twenty pounds.  “I am well off, you see.”

“You are, indeed,” replied I.

“Yes, there is nothing like being a sailor with one leg, singing ballads.  Do you know, Japhet, that sometimes I have taken more than a pound a day since I have shammed the sailor?”

“Not very honestly, Tim.”

“Perhaps not, Japhet; but it is very strange, and yet very true, that when honest I could make nothing, and when I deceived, I have done very well.”

Chapter LXVII

     Timothy commences his narrative of his search after Japhet.

I could not help calling to mind that the same consequences as Timothy related in the last chapter had occurred to me during my eventful career; but I had long considered that there was no excuse for dishonesty, and that, in the end, it would only lead to exposure and disgrace.  I went home early in the evening to introduce Timothy to Mr Cophagus, who received him with great kindness, and agreed immediately that he ought to be with me in the shop.  Timothy paid his respects to the ladies, and then went down with Ephraim, who took him under his protection.  In a few days, he was as established with us as if he had been living with us for months.  I had some trouble, at first, in checking his vivacity and turn for ridicule; but that was gradually effected, and I found him not only a great acquisition, but, as he always was, a cheerful and affectionate companion.  I had, during the first days of our meeting, recounted my adventures, and made many inquiries of Timothy relative to my few friends.  He told me that from Mr Masterton he had learnt that Lady de Clare and Fleta had called upon him very much afflicted with the contents of my letter—­that Lord Windermear also had been very much vexed and annoyed—­that Mr Masterton had advised him to obtain another situation as a valet, which he had refused, and, at the same time, told him his intention of searching for me.  He had promised Mr Masterton to let him know if he found me, and then bade him farewell.

“I used to lie in bed, Japhet,” continued Timothy, “and think upon the best method of proceeding.  At last, I agreed to myself, that to look for you as you looked after your father, would be a wild-goose chase, and that my money would soon be gone; so I reflected whether I might not take up some roving trade which would support me, and, at the same time, enable me to proceed from place to place.  What do you think was my first speculation?  Why, I saw a man with a dog harnessed in a little cart, crying dog’s meat and cat’s meat, and I said to myself, ’Now there’s the very

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thing—­there’s a profession—­I can travel and earn my livelihood.’  I entered into conversation with him, as he stopped at a low public-house, treating him to a pot of beer; and having gained all I wanted as to the mysteries of the profession, I called for another pot, and proposed that I should purchase his whole concern, down to his knife and apron.  The fellow agreed, and after a good deal of bargaining, I paid him three guineas for the set out or set up, which you please.  He asked me whether I meant to hawk in London or not, and I told him no, that I should travel the country.  He advised the western road, as there were more populous towns in it.  Well, we had another pot to clench the bargain, and I paid down the money and took possession, quite delighted with my new occupation.  Away I went to Brentford, selling a bit here and there by the way, and at last arrived at the very bench where we had sat down together and eaten our meal.”

“It is strange that I did the same, and a very unlucky bench it proved to me.”

“So it did to me, as you shall hear.  I had taken up my quarters at that inn, and for three days had done very well in Brentford.  On the third evening I had just come back, it was nearly dusk, and I took my seat on the bench, thinking of you.  My dog, rather tired, was lying down before the cart, when all of a sudden I heard a sharp whistle.  The dog sprang on his legs immediately, and ran off several yards before I could prevent him.  The whistle was repeated, and away went the dog and cart like lightning.  I ran as fast as I could, but could not overtake him; and I perceived that his old master was running ahead of the dog as hard as he could, and this was the reason why the dog was off.  Still I should, I think, have overtaken him, but an old woman coming out of a door with a saucepan to pour the hot water into the gutter, I knocked her down and tumbled right over her into a cellar without steps.  There I was, and before I could climb out again, man, dog, cart, cat’s meat and dog’s meat, had all vanished, and I have never seen them since.  The rascal got clear off, and I was a bankrupt.  So much for my first set up in business.”

“You forgot to purchase the good-will when you made your bargain, Timothy, for the stock in trade.”

“Very true, Japhet.  However, after receiving a very fair share of abuse from the old woman, and a plaister of hot greens in my face—­for she went supperless to bed, rather than not have her revenge—­I walked back to the inn, and sat down in the tap.  The two men next to me were hawkers; one carried a large pack of dimities and calicoes, and the other a box full of combs, needles, tapes, scissors, knives, and mock-gold trinkets.  I entered into conversation with them, and, as I again stood treat, I soon was very intimate.  They told me what their profits were, and how they contrived to get on, and I thought, for a rambling life, it was by no means an unpleasant one; so having obtained

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all the information I required, I went back to town, took out a hawker’s licence, for which I paid two guineas, and purchasing at a shop, to which they gave me a direction, a pretty fair quantity of articles in the tape and scissor line, off I set once more on my travels.  I took the north road this time, and picked up a very comfortable subsistence, selling my goods for a few halfpence here and a few halfpence there, at the cottages as I passed by; but I soon found out, that without a newspaper, I was not a confirmed hawker, and the more radical the newspaper the better.  A newspaper will pay half the expenses of a hawker, if he can read.  At every house, particularly every small hedge ale-house, he is received, and placed in the best corner of the chimney, and has his board and lodging, with the exception of what he drinks, gratis, if he will pull out the newspaper and read it to those around him who cannot read, particularly if he can explain what is unintelligible.  Now I became a great politician, and, moreover, a great radical, for such were the politics of all the lower classes.  I lived well, slept well, and sold my wares very fast.  I did not take more than three shillings in the day, yet, as two out of the three were clear profit, I did pretty well.  However, a little accident happened which obliged me to change my profession, or at least, the nature of the articles which I dealt in.”

“What was that?”

“A mere trifle.  I had arrived late at a small ale-house, had put up my pack, which was in a painted deal box, on the table in the tap-room, and was very busy, after reading a paragraph in the newspaper, making a fine speech, which I always found was received with great applause, and many shakes of the hand, as a prime good fellow—­a speech about community of rights, agrarian division, and the propriety of an equal distribution of property, proving that, as we were all born alike, no one had a right to have more property than his neighbour.  The people had all gathered round me, applauding violently, when I thought I might as well look after my pack, which had been for some time hidden from my sight by the crowd, when, to my mortification, I found out that my earnest assertions on the propriety of community of property had had such an influence upon some of my listeners, that they had walked off with my pack and its contents.  Unfortunately, I had deposited in my boxes all my money, considering it safer there than in my pockets, and had nothing left but about seventeen shillings in silver, which I had received within the last three days.  Every one was very sorry, but no one knew anything about it; and when I challenged the landlord as answerable, he called me a radical blackguard, and turned me out of the door.”

“If you had looked a little more after your own property, and interfered less with that of other people, you would have done better, Tim,” observed I, laughing.

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“Very true; but, at all events, I have never been a radical since,” replied Tim.  “But to go on.  I walked off to the nearest town, and I commenced in a more humble way.  I purchased a basket, and then, with the remainder of my money, I bought the commonest crockery ware, such as basins, jugs, mugs, and putting them on my head, off I went again upon my new speculation.  I wandered about with my crockery, but it was hard work.  I could not reap the profits which I did as a hawker and pedlar.  I averaged, however, from seven to nine shillings a week and that was about sufficient for my support.  I went down into as many kitchens as would have sufficed to have found a dozen mothers, supposing mine to be a cook; but I did not see anyone who was at all like me.  Sometimes a cook replaced a basin she had broken, by giving me as much meat as had cost her mistress five shillings, and thus avoided a scolding, for an article which was worth only two-pence.  At other times, a cottager would give me a lodging, and would consider himself rewarded with a mug that only cost me one penny.  I was more than three months employed carrying crockery in every direction, and never, during the whole time, broke one article, until one day, as I passed through Eton, there was a regular smash of the whole concern.”

“Indeed, how was that?”

“I met about a dozen of the Eton boys, and they proposed a cockshy, as they called it; that is, I was to place my articles on the top of a post, and they were to throw stones at them at a certain distance, paying me a certain sum for each throw.  Well, this I thought a very good bargain, so I put up a mug (worth one penny) at one penny a throw.  It was knocked down at the second shot, so it was just as well to put the full price upon them at once, they were such remarkably good aimers at anything.  Each boy had a stick, upon which I notched off their throws, and how much they would have to pay when all was over.  One article after another was put on the post until my basket was empty, and then I wanted to settle with them; but as soon as I talked about that, they all burst out into a loud laugh, and took to their heels.  I chased them, but one might as well have chased eels.  If I got hold of one, the others pulled me behind until he escaped, and at last they were all off, and I had nothing left.”

“Not your basket?”

“No, not even that; for while I was busy after some that ran one way, the others kicked my basket before them like a football, until it was fairly out of sight.  I had only eight-pence in my pocket, so you perceive, Japhet, how I was going down in the world.”

“You were indeed, Tim.”

Chapter LXVIII

    Timothy finishes his narrative.

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“Well, I walked away, cursing all the Eton boys and all their tutors, who did not teach them honesty as well as Latin and Greek, and put up at a very humble sort of abode, where they sold small beer, and gave beds at two-pence per night, and I may add, with plenty of fleas in the bargain.  There I fell in with some ballad singers and mumpers, who were making very merry, and who asked me what was the matter.  I told them how I had been treated, and they laughed at me, but gave me some supper, so I forgave them.  An old man, who governed the party, then asked me whether I had any money.  I produced my enormous capital of eight-pence.  ‘Quite enough if you are clever,’ said he; ’quite enough—­many a man with half that sum has ended in rolling in his carriage.  A man with thousands has only the advance of you a few years.  You will pay for your lodging and then spend this sixpence in matches, and hawk them about the town.  If you are lucky, it will be a shilling by to-morrow night.  Besides, you go down into areas, and sometimes enter a kitchen, when the cook is above stairs.  There are plenty of things to be picked up.’  ’But I am not dishonest,’ said I.  ’Well, then, every man to his liking; only if you were, you would ride in your own coach the sooner.’  ’And suppose I should lose all this, or none would buy my matches, what then?’ replied I, ‘I shall starve.’  ’Starve—­no, no—­no one starves in this country; all you have to do is to get into gaol—­committed for a month—­you will live better perhaps than you ever did before.  I have been in every gaol in England, and I know the good ones, for even in gaols there is a great difference.  Now the one in this town is one of the best in all England, and I patronises it during the winter.’  I was much amused with the discourse of this mumper, who appeared to be one of the merriest old vagabonds in England.  I took his advice, bought six pennyworth of matches, and commenced my new vagrant speculation.

“The first day I picked up three-pence, for one quarter of my stock, and returned to the same place where I had slept the night before, but the fraternity had quitted on an expedition.  I spent my two-pence in bread and cheese, and paid one penny for my lodging, and again I started the next morning, but I was very unsuccessful; nobody appeared to want matches that day, and after walking from seven o’clock in the morning, to past seven in the evening, without selling one farthing’s worth, I sat down at the porch of a chapel, quite tired and worn out.  At last, I fell asleep, and how do you think I was awoke? by a strong sense of suffocation, and up I sprang, coughing, and nearly choked, surrounded with smoke.  Some mischievous boys perceiving that I was fast asleep, had set fire to my matches, as I held them in my hand between my legs, and I did not wake until my fingers were severely burnt.  There was an end of my speculation in matches, because there was an end of all my capital.”

“My poor Timothy, I really feel for you.”

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“Not at all, my dear Japhet; I never, in all my distress, was sentenced to execution—­my miseries were trifles, to be laughed at.  However, I felt very miserable at the time, and walked off, thinking about the propriety of getting into gaol as soon as I could, for the beggar had strongly recommended it.  I was at the outskirts of the town, when I perceived two men tussling with one another, and I walked towards them.  ‘I says,’ says one, who appeared to be a constable; ’you must come along with I. Don’t you see that ere board?  All wagrants shall be taken up, and dealt with according to la.’  ’Now may the devil hold you in his claws, you old psalm-singing thief—­an’t I a sailor—­and an’t I a wagrant by profession, and all according to law?’ ‘That won’t do,’ says the other; ’I commands you in the king’s name, to let me take you to prison, and I commands you also, young man,’ says he—­for I had walked up to them—­’I commands you, as a lawful subject, to assist me.’  ’What will you give the poor fellow for his trouble?’ said the sailor.  ’It’s his duty, as a lawful subject, and I’ll give him nothing; but I’ll put him in prison if he don’t.’  ’Then you old Rhinoceros, I’ll give him five shillings if he’ll help me, and so now he may take his choice.’  At all events, thought I, this will turn out lucky one way or the other; but I will support the man who is most generous; so I went up to the constable, who was a burly sort of a fellow, and tripped up his heels, and down he came on the back of his head.  You know my old trick, Japhet?”

“Yes; I never knew you fail at that.”

“‘Well,’ the sailor says to me, ’I’ve a notion you’ve damaged his upper works, so let us start off, and clap on all sail for the next town.  I know where to drop an anchor.  Come along with me, and as long as I’ve a shot in the locker, d—­n me if I won’t share it with one who has proved a friend in need.’  The constable did not come to his senses; he was very much stunned, but we loosened his neckcloth, and left him there, and started off as fast as we could.  My new companion, who had a wooden leg, stopped by a gate, and clambered over it.  ‘We must lose no time,’ said he; ‘and I may just as well have the benefit of both legs.’  So saying, he took off his wooden stump, and let down his real leg, which was fixed up just as you saw mine.  I made no comments, but off we set, and at a good round pace gained a village about five miles distant.  ’Here we will put up for the night; but they will look for us to-morrow at daylight, or a little after, therefore we must be starting early.  I know the law-beggars well, they won’t turn out afore sunrise.  He stopped at a paltry ale-house, where we were admitted, and soon were busy with a much better supper than I had ever imagined they could have produced; but my new friend ordered right and left, with a tone of authority, and everybody in the house appeared at his beck and command.  After a couple of glasses of grog, we retired to our beds.

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“The next morning we started before break of day, on our road to another town, where my companion said the constables would never take the trouble to come after him.  On our way he questioned me as to my mode of getting my livelihood, and I narrated how unfortunate I had been.  ’One good turn deserves another,’ replied the sailor; ’and now I’ll set you up in trade.  Can you sing?  Have you anything of a voice?’ ’I can’t say that I have,’ replied I.  ’I don’t mean whether you can sing in tune, or have a good voice, that’s no consequence; all I want to know is, have you a good loud one?’

‘Loud enough, if that’s all.’  ’That’s all that’s requisite; so long as you can make yourself heard—­you may then howl like a jackal, or bellow like a mad buffalo, no matter which—­as many pay us for to get rid of us, as out of charity; and so long as the money comes, what’s the odds?  Why, I once knew an old chap, who could only play one tune on the clarionet, and that tune out of all tune, who made his fortune in six or seven streets, for every one gave him money, and told him to go away.  When he found out that, he came every morning as regular as clock-work.  Now there was one of the streets which was chiefly occupied by music-sellers and Italian singers—­for them foreigners always herd together—­and this tune, ‘which the old cow died of,’ as the saying is, used to be their horror, and out came the halfpence to send him away.  There was a sort of club also in that street, of larking sort of young men, and when they perceived that the others gave the old man money to get rid of his squeaking, they sent him out money, with orders to stay and play to them, so then the others sent out more for him to go away, and between the two, the old fellow brought home more money than all the cadgers and mumpers in the district.  Now if you have a loud voice, I can provide you with all the rest.’—­’Do you gain your livelihood by that?’—­’ To be sure I do; and I can tell you, that of all the trades going, there is none equal to it.  You see, my hearty, I have been on board of a man-of-war—­not that I’m a sailor, or was ever bred to the sea—­but I was shipped as a landsman, and did duty in the waist and afterguard.  I know little or nothing of my duty as a seaman, nor was it required in the station I was in, so I never learnt, although I was four years on board; all I learnt was the lingo and slang—­and that you must contrive to learn from me.  I bolted, and made my way good to Lunnun, but I should soon have been picked up and put on board the Tender again, if I hadn’t got this wooden stump made, which I now carry in my hand.  I had plenty of songs, and I commenced my profession, and a real good un it is, I can tell you.  Why, do you know, that a’ter a good victory, I have sometimes picked up as much as two pounds a-day, for weeks running; as it is, I averages from fifteen shillings to a pound.  Now, as you helped me away from that land shark, who would soon have found out that I had two legs, and

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have put me into limbo as an impostor, I will teach you to arn your livelihood after my fashion.  You shall work with me until you are fit to start alone, and then there’s plenty of room in England for both of us; but mind, never tell any one what you pick up, or every mumper in the island will put on a suit of sailor’s clothes, and the thing will be blown upon.’  Of course, this was too good an offer to be rejected, and I joyfully acceded.  At first, I worked with him as having only one arm, the other being tied down to my side, and my jacket sleeve hanging loose and empty, and we roared away right and left, so as to bring down a shower of coppers wherever we went.  In about three weeks my friend thought I was able to start by myself, and giving me half of the ballads, and five shillings to start with, I shook hands and parted with, next to you, the best friend that I certainly ever had.  Ever since I have been crossing the country in every direction, with plenty of money in my pocket, and always with one eye looking sharp out for you.  My beautiful voice fortunately attracted your attention, and here I am, and at an end of my history; but if ever I am away from you, and in distress again, depend upon it I shall take to my wooden leg and ballads for my support.”

Such were the adventures of Timothy, who was metamorphosed into a precise Quaker.  “I do not like the idea of your taking up a system of deceit, Timothy.  It may so happen—­for who knows what may occur?—­that you may again be thrown upon your own resources.  Now, would it not be better that you should obtain a more intimate knowledge of the profession which we are now in, which is liberal, and equally profitable?  By attention and study you will be able to dispense medicines and make up prescriptions as well as myself, and who knows but that some day you may be the owner of a shop like this?”

“Verily, verily, thy words do savour of much wisdom,” replied Tim, in a grave voice; “and I will even so follow thy advice.”

Chapter LXIX

     I am unsettled by unexpected intelligence, and again yearn after
     the world of fashion.

I knew that he was mocking me in this reply, but I paid no attention to that; I was satisfied that he consented.  I now made him assist me, and under my directions he made up the prescriptions.  I explained to him the nature of every medicine; and I made him read many books of physic and surgery.  In short, after two or three months, I could trust to Timothy as well as if I were in the shop myself; and having an errand boy, I had much more leisure, and I left him in charge after dinner.  The business prospered, and I was laying up money.  My leisure time, I hardly need say was spent with Mr Cophagus and his family, and my attachment to Susannah Temple increased every day.  Indeed, both Mr and Mrs Cophagus considered that it was to be a match, and often joked with me when Susannah was not present.  With respect

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to Susannah, I could not perceive that I was farther advanced in her affections than after I had known her two months.  She was always kind and considerate, evidently interested in my welfare, always checking in me anything like levity—­frank and confiding in her opinions—­and charitable to all, as I thought, except to me.  But I made no advance that I could perceive.  The fact was, that I dared not speak to her as I might have done to another who was not so perfect.  And yet she smiled, as I thought, more kindly when I returned than at other times, and never appeared to be tired of my company.  If I did sometimes mention the marriage of another, or attentions paid which would, in all probability, end in marriage, it would create no confusion or blushing on her part, she would talk over that subject as composedly as any other.  I was puzzled, and I had been a year and nine months constantly in her company, and had never dared to tell her that I loved her.  But one day Mr Cophagus brought up the subject when we were alone.  He commenced by stating how happy he had been as a married man, that he had given up all hopes of a family, and that he should like to see Susannah Temple, his sister-in-law, well married, that he might leave his property to her children; and then he put the very pertinent question—­“Japhet—­ verily—­thou hast done well—­good business—­money coming in fast—­settle, Japhet—­marry, have children—­and so on.  Susannah—­nice girl—­good wife—­pop question—­all right—­sly puss—­won’t say no—­um—­what d’ye say?—­and so on.”  I replied that I was very much attached to Susannah, but that I was afraid that the attachment was not mutual, and therefore hesitated to propose.  Cophagus then said that he would make his wife sound his sister, and let me know the result.

This was in the morning just before I was about to walk over to the shop, and I left the house in a state of anxiety and suspense.  When I arrived at the shop, I found Tim there as usual; but the colour in his face was heightened as he said to me, “Read this, Japhet,” and handed to me the “Reading Mercury.”  I read an advertisement as follows:—­

“If Japhet Newland, who was left at the Foundling Asylum, and was afterwards for some time in London, will call at No. 16, Throgmorton Court, Minories, he will hear of something very much to his advantage, and will discover that of which he has been so long in search.  Should this reach his eye, he is requested to write immediately to the above address, with full particulars of his situation.  Should anyone who reads this be able to give any information relative to the said J.N., he will be liberally rewarded.”

I sank down on the chair.  “Merciful Heaven! this can be no mistake—­’he will discover the object of his search.’  Timothy, my dear Timothy, I have at last found out my father.”

“So I should imagine, my dear Japhet,” replied Timothy, “and I trust it will not prove a disappointment.”

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“They never would be so cruel, Timothy,” replied I.

“But still it is evident that Mr Masterton is concerned in it,” observed Timothy.

“Why so?” inquired I.

“How otherwise should it appear in the Reading newspaper?  He must have examined the postmark of my letter.”

To explain this, I must remind the reader that Timothy had promised to write to Mr Masterton when he found me; and he requested my permission shortly after we had met again.  I consented to his keeping his word, but restricted him to saying any more than “that he had found me, and that I was well and happy.”  There was no address in the letter as a clue to Mr Masterton as to where I might be, and it could only have been from the postmark that he could have formed any idea.  Timothy’s surmise was therefore very probable; but I would not believe that Mr Masterton would consent to the insertion of that portion of the advertisement, if there was no foundation for it.

“What will you do, Japhet?”

“Do,” replied I, recovering from my reverie, for the information had again roused up all my dormant feelings—­“Do,” replied I, “why, I shall set off for town this very morning.”

“In that dress, Japhet?”

“I suppose I must,” replied I, “for I have no time to procure another;” and all my former ideas of fashion and appearance were roused, and in full activity—­my pride recovered its ascendency.

“Well,” replied Timothy, “I hope you will find your father all that you could wish.”

“I’m sure of it, Tim—­I’m sure of it,” replied I; “you must run and take a place in the first coach.”

“But you are not going without seeing Mr and Mrs Cophagus, and—­Miss Temple,” continued Tim, laying an emphasis upon the latter name.

“Of course not,” replied I, colouring deeply.  “I will go at once.  Give me the newspaper, Tim.”

I took the newspaper, and hastened to the house of Mr Cophagus.  I found them all three sitting in the breakfast parlour, Mr Cophagus, as usual, reading, with his spectacles on his nose, and the ladies at work.  “What is the matter, friend Japhet?” exclaimed Mr Cophagus, as I burst into the room, my countenance lighted up with excitement.  “Read that, sir!” said I to Mr Cophagus.  Mr Cophagus read it.  “Hum—­bad news—­lose Japhet—­man of fashion—­and so on,” said Cophagus, pointing out the paragraph to his wife, as he handed over the paper.

In the meantime I watched the countenance of Susannah—­a slight emotion, but instantly checked, was visible at Mr Cophagus’s remark.  She then remained quiet until her sister, who had read the paragraph, handed the paper to her.  “I give thee joy, Japhet, at the prospect of finding out thy parent,” said Mrs Cophagus.  “I trust thou wilt find in him one who is to be esteemed as a man.  When departest thou?”

“Immediately,” replied I.

“I cannot blame thee—­the ties of nature are ever powerful.  I trust that thou wilt write to us, and that we soon shall see thee return.”

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“Yes, yes,” said Cophagus, “see father—­shake hands—­come back—­heh!—­ settle here—­and so on.”

“I shall not be altogether my own master, perhaps,” observed I.  “If my father desires that I remain with him, must not I obey?  But I know nothing at present.  You shall hear from me.  Timothy can take my place in the—­” I could not bear the idea of the word shop, and I stopped.  Susannah, for the first time, looked me earnestly in the face, but she said nothing.  Mr and Mrs Cophagus, who probably had been talking over the subject of our conversation, and thought this a good opportunity to allow me to have an eclaircissement with Susannah, left the room, saying they would look after my portmanteau and linen.  “Susannah,” said I, “you do not appear to rejoice with me.”

“Japhet Newland, I will rejoice at everything that may tend to thy happiness, believe me; but I do not feel assured but that this trial may prove too great, and that thou mayst fall away.  Indeed, I perceive even now that thou art excited with new ideas, and visions of pride.”

“If I am wrong, forgive me.  Susannah, you must know that the whole object of my existence has been to find my father; and now that I have every reason to suppose that my wish is obtained, can you be surprised, or can you blame me, that I long to be pressed in his arms?”

“Nay, Japhet, for that filial feeling I do commend thee; but ask thy own heart, is that the only feeling which now exciteth thee?  Dost thou not expect to find thy father one high in rank and power?  Dost thou not anticipate to join once more the world which thou hast quitted, yet still hast sighed for?  Dost thou not already feel contempt for thy honest profession:—­nay, more, dost thou not only long to cast off the plain attire, and not only the attire, but the sect which in thy adversity thou didst embrace the tenets of?  Ask thy own heart, and reply if thou wilt, but I press thee not so to do; for the truth would be painful, and a lie, thou knowest, I do utterly abhor.”

I felt that Susannah spoke the truth, and I would not deny it.  I sat down by her.  “Susannah,” said I, “it is not very easy to change at once.  I have mixed for years in the world, with you I have not yet lived two.  I will not deny but that the feelings you have expressed have risen in my heart, but I will try to repress them; at least, for your sake, Susannah, I would try to repress them, for I value your opinion more than that of the whole world.  You have the power to do with me as you please:—­will you exert that power?”

“Japhet,” replied Susannah, “the faith which is not built upon a more solid foundation than to win the favour of an erring being like myself is but weak; that power over thee which thou expectest will fix thee in the right path, may soon be lost, and what is then to direct thee?  If no purer motives than earthly affection are to be thy stay, most surely thou wilt fall.  But no more of this;

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thou hast a duty to perform, which is to go to thy earthly father, and seek his blessing.  Nay, more, I would that thou shouldst once more enter into the world, there thou mayst decide.  Shouldst thou return to us, thy friends will rejoice, and not one of them will be more joyful than Susannah Temple.  Fare thee well, Japhet, mayst thou prove superior to temptation.  I will pray for thee—­earnestly I will pray for thee, Japhet,” continued Susannah, with a quivering of her lips and broken voice, and she left the room.

Chapter LXX

     I return to London, and meet with Mr Masterton.

I went upstairs, and found that all was ready, and I took leave of Mr and Mrs Cophagus, both of whom expressed their hopes that I would not leave them for ever.  “Oh, no,” replied I, “I should indeed be base, if I did.”  I left them, and with Ephraim following with my portmanteau, I quitted the house.  I had gone about twenty yards, when I recollected that I had left on the table the newspaper with the advertisement containing the direction whom to apply to, and desiring Ephraim to proceed, I returned.  When I entered the parlour, Susannah Temple was resting her face in her hands and weeping.  The opening of the door made her start up; she perceived that it was I, and she turned away.  “I beg your pardon, I left the newspaper,” said I, stammering.  I was about to throw myself at her feet, declare my sincere affection, and give up all idea of finding my father until we were married, when she, without saying a word, passed quickly by me and hastened out of the room.  “She loves me then,” thought I; “thank God:—­I will not go yet, I will speak to her first.”  I sat down, quite overpowered with contending feelings.  The paper was in my hand, the paragraph was again read, I thought but of my father, and I left the house.

In half an hour I had shaken hands with Timothy and quitted the town of Reading.  How I arrived in London, that is to say, what passed, or what we passed, I know not; my mind was in such a state of excitement.  I hardly know how to express the state that I was in.  It was a sort of mental whirling which blinded me—­round and round—­from my father and the expected meeting, then to Susannah, my departure, and her tears—­castle building of every description.  After the coach stopped, there I remained fixed on the top of it, not aware that we were in London until the coachman asked me whether the spirit did not move me to get down.  I recollected myself, and calling a hackney-coach, gave orders to be driven to the Piazza, Covent Garden.

“Piazza, Common Garden,” said the waterman, “why that ban’t an ’otel for the like o’ you, master.  They’ll torment you to death, them young chaps.”

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I had forgotten that I was dressed as a Quaker.  “Tell the coachman to stop at the first cloth warehouse where they have ready-made cloaks,” said I. The man did so; I went out and purchased a roquelaure, which enveloped my whole person.  I then stopped at a hatter’s, and purchased a hat according to the mode.  “Now drive to the Piazza,” said I, entering the coach.  I know not why, but I was resolved to go to that hotel.  It was the one I had stayed at when I first arrived in London, and I wished to see it again.  When the hackney coach stopped, I asked the waiter who came out whether he had apartments, and answering me in the affirmative, I followed him, and was shown into the same rooms I had previously occupied.

“These will do,” said I, “now let me have something to eat, and send for a good tailor.”  The waiter offered to remove my cloak, but I refused, saying that I was cold.  He left the room, and I threw myself on the sofa, running over all the scenes which had passed in that room with Carbonnell, Harcourt, and others.  My thoughts were broken in upon by the arrival of the tailor.  “Stop a moment,” said I, “and let him come in when I ring.”  So ashamed was I of my Quaker’s dress, that I threw off my coat and waistcoat, and put on my cloak again before I rang the bell for the tailor to come up.  “Mr—­,” said I, “I must have a suit of clothes ready by to-morrow at ten o’clock.”  “Impossible, sir.”

“Impossible!” said I, “and you pretend to be a fashionable tailor.  Leave the room.”

At this peremptory behaviour the tailor imagined that I must be somebody.

“I will do my possible, sir, and if I can only get home in time to stop the workmen, I think it may be managed.  Of course, you are aware of the expense of night work.”

“I am only aware of this, that if I give an order I am accustomed to have it obeyed; I learnt that from my poor friend, Major Carbonnell.”

The tailor bowed low; there was magic in the name, although the man was dead.

“Here have I been masquerading in a Quaker’s dress, to please a puritanical young lady, and I am obliged to be off without any other clothes in my portmanteau; so take my measure, and I expect the clothes at ten precisely.”  So saying, I threw off my roquelaure, and desired him to proceed.  This accomplished, the tradesman took his leave.  Shortly afterwards, the door opened, and as I lay wrapped up in my cloak on the sofa, in came the landlord and two waiters, each bearing a dish of my supper.  I wished them at the devil; but I was still more surprised when the landlord made a low bow, saying, “Happy to see you returned, Mr Newland; you’ve been away some time—­another grand tour, I presume.”

“Yes, Mr ——­, I have had a few adventures since I was last here,” replied I, carelessly, “but I am not very well.  You may leave the supper, and if I feel inclined, I will take a little by-and-bye,—­no one need wait.”

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The landlord and waiter bowed and went out of the room.  I turned the key of the door, put on my Quaker’s coat, and made a hearty supper, for I had had nothing since breakfast.  When I had finished, I returned to the sofa, and I could not help analysing my own conduct.  “Alas,” thought I, “Susannah, how rightly did you judge me!  I am not away from you more than eighteen hours, and here I am ashamed of the dress which I have so long worn, and been satisfied with, in your society.  Truly did you say that I was full of pride, and would joyfully re-enter the world of vanity and vexation.”  And I thought of Susannah, and her tears after my supposed departure, and I felt angry and annoyed at my want of strength of mind and my worldly feelings.

I retired early to bed, and did not wake until late the next morning.  When I rang the bell, the chambermaid brought in my clothes from the tailor’s:  I dressed, and I will not deny that I was pleased with the alteration.  After breakfast I ordered a coach, and drove to No. 16, Throgmorton Court, Minories.  The house was dirty outside, and the windows had not been cleaned apparently for years, and it was with some difficulty when I went in that I could decipher a tall, haggard-looking man seated at the desk.

“Your pleasure, sir?” said he.

“Am I speaking to the principal?” replied I.

“Yes, sir, my name is Chatfield.”

“I come to you, sir, relative to an advertisement which appeared in the papers.  I refer to this,” continued I, putting the newspaper down on the desk, and pointing to the advertisement.

“Oh, yes, very true:  can you give us any information?”

“Yes, sir, I can, and the most satisfactory.”

“Then, sir, I am sorry that you have had so much trouble, but you must call at Lincoln’s Inn upon a lawyer of the name of Masterton:  the whole affair is now in his hands.”

“Can you, sir, inform me who is the party that is inquiring after this young man?”

“Why, yes; it is a General De Benyon, who has lately returned from the East Indies.”

“Good God! is it possible!” thought I; “how strange that my own wild fancy should have settled upon him as my father!”

I hurried away, threw myself into the hackney-coach, and desired the man to drive to Lincoln’s Inn.  I hastened up to Mr Masterton’s rooms:  he was fortunately at home, although he stood at the table with his hat and his great coat on, ready to go out.

“My dear sir, have you forgotten me?” said I, in a voice choked with emotion, taking his hand and squeezing it with rapture.

“By heavens, you are determined that I shall not forget you for some minutes, at least,” exclaimed he, wringing his hand with pain.  “Who the devil are you?”

Mr Masterton could not see without his spectacles, and my subdued voice he had not recognised.  He pulled them out, as I made no reply, and fixing them across his nose—­“Hah! why yes—­it is Japhet, is it not?”

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“It is indeed, sir,” said I, again offering my hand, which he shook warmly.

“Not quite so hard, my dear fellow, this time,” said the old lawyer; “I acknowledge your vigour, and that is sufficient.  I am very glad to see you, Japhet, I am indeed—­you—­you scamp—­you ungrateful fellow.  Sit down—­sit down—­first help me off with my great coat:  I presume the advertisement has brought you into existence again.  Well, it’s all true; and you have at last found your father, or, rather, he has found you.  And what’s more strange, you hit upon the right person; that is strange—­very strange indeed.”

“Where is he, sir?” interrupted I, “where is he—­take me to him.”

“No, rather be excused,” replied Mr Masterton, “for he is gone to Ireland, so you must wait.”

“Wait, sir, oh no—­I must follow him.”

“That will only do harm; for he is rather a queer sort of an old gentleman, and although he acknowledges that he left you as Japhet and has searched for you, yet he is so afraid of somebody else’s brat being put upon him, that he insists upon most undeniable proofs.  Now, we cannot trace you from the hospital unless we can find that fellow Cophagus, and we have made every search after him, and no one can tell where he is.”

“But I left him but yesterday morning, sir,” replied I.

“Good—­very good; we must send for him or go to him; besides, he has the packet intrusted to the care of Miss Maitland, to whom he was executor, which proves the marriage of your father.  Very strange—­very strange indeed, that you should have hit upon it as you did—­almost supernatural.  However, all right now, my dear boy, and I congratulate you.  Your father is a very strange person:  he has lived like a despot among slaves all his life, and will not be thwarted, I can tell you.  If you say a word in contradiction he’ll disinherit you:—­terrible old tiger, I must say.  If it had not been for your sake, I should have done with him long ago.  He seems to think the world ought to be at his feet.  Depend upon it, Japhet, there is no hurry about seeing him;—­and see him you shall not, until we have every proof of your identity ready to produce to him.  I hope you have the bump of veneration strong, Japhet, and plenty of filial duty, or you will be kicked out of the house in a week.  D—­n me, if he didn’t call me an old thief of a lawyer.”

“Indeed, sir,” replied I, laughing; “I must apologise to you for my father’s conduct.”

“Never mind, Japhet; I don’t care about a trifle; but why don’t you ask after your friends?”

“I have longed so to do, sir,” replied I.  “Lord Windermear—­”

“Is quite well, and will be most happy to see you.”

“Lady de Clare, and her daughter—­”

“Lady de Clare has entered into society again, and her daughter, as you call her—­your Fleta, alias Cecilia de Clare—­is the belle of the metropolis.  But now, sir, as I have answered all your interrogatories, and satisfied you upon the most essential points, will you favour me with a narrative of your adventures (for adventures I am sure you must have had) since you ran away from us all in that ungrateful manner.”

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“Most certainly, sir, I will; and, as you say, I have had adventures.  But it really will be a long story.”

“Then we’ll dine here, and pass the evening together—­so that’s settled.”

Chapter LXXI

     In which I am let into more particulars relative to my father’s

I dismissed the coach, while Mr Masterton gave his orders for dinner, and we then turned the key of the door to avoid intrusion, and I commenced.  It was nearly dinner-time before I had finished my story.

“Well, you really appear to be born for getting into scrapes, and getting out of them again in a miraculous way,” observed Mr Masterton.  “Your life would make a novel.”

“It would indeed, sir,” replied I.  “I only hope, like all novels, it will wind up well.”

“So do I; but dinner’s ready, Japhet, and after dinner we’ll talk the matter over again, for there are some points upon which I require some explanation.”

We sat down to dinner, and when we had finished, and the table had been cleared, we drew to the fire, with our bottle of wine.  Mr Masterton tirred the fire, called for his slippers, and then crossing his legs over the fender, resumed the subject.

“Japhet, I consider it most fortunate that we have met, previous to our introduction to your father.  You have so far to congratulate yourself, that your family is undeniably good, there being, as you know, an Irish peerage in it; of which, however, you have no chance, as the present earl has a numerous offspring.  You are also fortunate as far as money is concerned, as I have every reason to believe that your father is a very rich man, and, of course, you are his only child; but I must now prepare you to meet with a very different person than perhaps the fond anticipations of youth may have led you to expect.  Your father has no paternal feelings that I can discover; he has wealth, and he wishes to leave it—­he has therefore sought you out.  But he is despotic, violent, and absurd; the least opposition to his will makes him furious, and I am sorry to add, that I am afraid that he is very mean.  He suffered severely when young from poverty, and his own father was almost as authoritative and unforgiving as himself.  And now I will state how it was that you were left at the Asylum when an infant.  Your grandfather had procured for your father a commission in the army, and soon afterwards procured him a lieutenancy.  He ordered him to marry a young lady of large fortune, whom he had never seen, and sent for him for that purpose.  I understand that she was very beautiful, and had your father seen her, it is probable he would have made no objection, but he very foolishly sent a peremptory refusal, for which he was dismissed for ever.  In a short time afterwards your father fell in love with a young lady of great personal attractions, and supposed to possess a large fortune.  To deceive

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her, he pretended to be the heir to the earldom, and, after a hasty courtship, they ran off, and were married.  When they compared notes, which they soon did, it was discovered that, on his side, he had nothing but the pay of a subaltern, and on hers, that she had not one shilling.  Your father stormed, and called his wife an impostor; she recriminated, and the second morning after the marriage was passed in tears on her side, and oaths, curses, and revilings on his.  The lady, however, appeared the more sensible party of the two.  Their marriage was not known, she had run away on a pretence to visit a relative, and it was actually supposed in the county town where she resided, that such was the case.  ‘Why should we quarrel in this way?’ observed she.  ’You, Edmund, wished to marry a fortune, and not me—­I may plead guilty to the same duplicity.  We have made a mistake; but it is not too late.  It is supposed that I am on a visit to—­, and that you are on furlough for a few days.  Did you confide your secret to any of your brother officers?’ ‘Not one,’ muttered your father.  ’Well, then, let us part as if nothing had happened, and nobody will be the wiser.  We are equally interested in keeping the secret.  Is it agreed?’—­Your father immediately consented.  He accompanied your mother to the house at ——­, where she was expected, and she framed a story for her delay, by having met such a very polite young man.  Your father returned to his regiment, and thus did they, like two privateers, who when they meet and engage, as soon as they find out their mistake, hoist their colours, and sheer off by mutual consent.”

“I can’t say much for my mother’s affection or delicacy,” observed I.

“The less you say the better, Japhet—­however, that is your father’s story.  And now to proceed.  It appears that, about two months afterwards, your father received a letter from your mother, acquainting him that their short intercourse had been productive of certain results, and requesting that he would take the necessary steps to provide for the child, and avoid exposure, or that she would be obliged to confess her marriage.  By what means they contrived to avoid exposure until the period of her confinement, I know not, but your father states that the child was born in a house in London, and by agreement, was instantly put into his hands; that he, with the consent of his wife, left you at the door of the Asylum, with the paper and the bank note, from which you received the name of Newland.  At the time, he had no idea of reclaiming you himself, but the mother had, for heartless as she appears to have been, yet a mother must feel for her child.  Your father’s regiment was then ordered out to the East Indies, and he was rapidly promoted for his gallantry and good conduct during the war in the Mysore territory.  Once only has he returned home on furlough, and then he did make inquiries after you; not, it appears, with a view of finding you out on his own account, but from a promise which he made your mother.”

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“My mother! what, have they met since?”

“Yes; your mother went out to India on speculation, passing off as a single girl, and was very well married there, I was going to say; however, she committed a very splendid bigamy.”

“Good heavens! how totally destitute of principle!”

“Your father asserts that your mother was a freethinker, Japhet; her father had made her one; without religion a woman has no stay.  Your father was in the up country during the time that your mother arrived, and was married to one of the council of Calcutta.  Your father says that they met at a ball at Government House.  She was still a very handsome woman, and much admired.  When your father recognised her, and was told that she was lately married to the honourable Mr—­, he was quite electrified, and would have quitted the room; but she had perceived him, and walking up to him with the greatest coolness, claimed him as an old acquaintance in England, and afterwards they often met, but she never adverted to what had passed between them, until the time for his departure to England on leave, and she then sent for him, and begged that he would make some enquiries after you, Japhet.  He did so, and you know the result.  On his return to India he found that your mother had been carried off by the prevailing pestilence.  At that period, your father was not rich, but he was then appointed to the chief command in the Carnatic, and reaped a golden harvest in return for his success and bravery.  It appears, as far as I could obtain it from him, that as long as your mother was alive, he felt no interest about you, but her death, and the subsequent wealth which poured upon him, have now induced him to find out an heir, to whom it may be bequeathed.

“Such, Japhet, are the outlines of your father’s history; and I must point out that he has no feelings of affection for you at present.  The conduct of your mother is ever before him, and if it were not that he wishes an heir, I should almost say that his feelings are those of dislike.  You may create an interest in his heart, it is true:  and he may be gratified by your personal appearance; but you will have a very difficult task, as you will have to submit to his caprices and fancies, and I am afraid that, to a high spirit like yours, they will be almost unbearable.”

“Really, sir, I begin to feel that the fondest anticipations are seldom realised, and almost to wish that I had not been sought for by my father.  I was happy and contented, and now I do not see any chance of having to congratulate myself on the change.”

“On one or two points I also wish to question you.  It appears that you have entered into the sect denominated Quakers.  Tell me candidly, do you subscribe heartily and sincerely to their doctrines?  And I was going to add, is it your intention to remain with them?  I perceive much difficulty in all this.”

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“The tenets of the sect I certainly do believe to be more in accordance with the Christian religion than any other; and I have no hesitation in asserting, from my knowledge of those who belong to that sect, that they, generally speaking, lead better lives.  There are some points connected with their worship, which, at first, I considered ridiculous:  the feeling has, however, worn off.  As to their quaint manner of speaking, that has been grossly exaggerated.  Their dress is a part of their religion.”

“Why so, Japhet?”

“I can reply to you in the words of Susannah Temple, when I made the same interrogatory.  ’You think the peculiarity of our dress is an outward form which is not required.  It was put on to separate us from others, and as a proof that we had discarded vanity.  I am aware that it is not a proof of our sincerity; but still, the discarding of the dress is a proof of insincerity.  We consider, that to admire the person is vain, and our creed is humility.  It is therefore an outward and visible sign, that we would act up to those tenets which we profess.  It is not all who wear the dress who are Quakers in heart or conduct; but we know that when it is put aside, the tenets of our persuasion are at the same time renounced, therefore do we consider it essential.  I do not mean to say but that the heart may be as pure, and the faith continue as stedfast without such signs outwardly, but it is a part of our creed, and we must not choose, but either reject all or none.’”

“Very well argued by the little Quakeress; and now, Japhet, I should like to put another question to you.  Are you very much attached to this young puritan?”

“I will not deny but that I am.  I love her sincerely.”

“Does your love carry you so far, that you would, for her sake, continue a Quaker, and marry her?”

“I have asked myself that question at least a hundred times during the last twenty-four hours, and I cannot decide.  If she would dress as others do, and allow me to do the same, I would marry her to-morrow; whether I shall ever make up my mind to adhere to the persuasion, and live and die a Quaker for her sake, is quite another matter—­but I am afraid not—­I am too worldly-minded.  The fact is, I am in a very awkward position with respect to her.  I have never acknowledged my affection, or asked for a return, but she knows I love her, and I know that she loves me.”

“Like all vain boys, you flatter yourself.”

“I leave you to judge, sir,” replied I, repeating to him our parting tete-a-tete, and how I had returned, and found her in tears.

“All that certainly is very corroborative evidence; but tell me, Japhet, do you think she loves you well enough to abandon all for your sake?”

“No, nor ever will, sir, she is too high principled, too high-minded.  She might suffer greatly, but she never would swerve from what she thought was right.”

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“She must be a fine character, Japhet, but you will be in a dilemma:  indeed, it appears to me, that your troubles are now commencing instead of ending, and that you would have been much happier where you were, than you will be by being again brought out into the world.  Your prospect is not over cheerful.  You have an awkward father to deal with:  you will be under a strong check, I’ve a notion, and I am afraid you will find that, notwithstanding you will be once more received into society, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.”

“I am afraid you are right, sir,” replied I, “but, at all events, it will be something gained, to be acknowledged to the world by a father of good family, whatever else I may have to submit to.  I have been the sport of fortune all my life, and probably she has not yet done playing with me; but it is late, and I will now wish you good-night.”

“Good-night, Japhet; if I have any intelligence I will let you know.  Lady de Clare’s address is No. 13, Park Street.  You will, of course, go there as soon as you can.”

“I will, sir, after I have written my letters to my friends at Reading.”

Chapter LXXII

I am a little jealous, and, like the immortal William[A] Bottom, inclined to enact more parts than one.—­With a big effort my hankering after bigamy is mastered by Mr Masterton—­and by my own good sense.

     [Footnote A:  Or rather Nick—­Ed.]

I returned home to reflect upon what Mr Masterton had told me, and I must say that I was not very well pleased with his various information.  His account of my mother, although she was no more, distressed me, and, from the character which he gave of my father, I felt convinced that my happiness would not be at all increased by my having finally attained the long-desired object of my wishes.  Strange to say, I had no sooner discovered my father, but I wished that he had never turned up; and when I compared the peaceful and happy state of existence which I had lately enjoyed, with the prospects of what I had in future to submit to, I bitterly repented that the advertisement had been seen by Timothy; still, on one point, I was peculiarly anxious, without hardly daring to anatomise my feelings; it was relative to Cecilia de Clare, and what Mr Masterton had mentioned in the course of our conversation.  The next morning I wrote to Timothy and to Mr Cophagus, giving them a shortdetail of what I had been informed by Mr Masterton, and expressing a wish, which I then really did feel, that I had never been summoned away from them.

Having finished my letters, I set off to Park Street, to call upon Lady de Clare and Cecilia.  It was rather early, but the footman who opened the door recognised me, and I was admitted upon his own responsibility.  It was now more than eighteen months since I had quitted their house at Richmond, and I was very anxious to know what reception I might have.  I followed the servant up stairs, and when he opened the door walked in, as my name was announced.

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Lady de Clare rose in haste, so did Cecilia, and so did a third person, whom I had not expected to have met—­Harcourt.  “Mr Newland,” exclaimed Lady de Clare, “this is indeed unexpected.”  Cecilia also came forward, blushing to the forehead.  Harcourt held back, as if waiting for the advances to be made on my side.  On the whole, I never felt more awkwardly, and I believe my feelings were reciprocated by the whole party.  I was evidently de trop.

“Do you know Mr Harcourt?” at last said Lady de Clare.

“If it is the Mr Harcourt I once knew,” replied I, “I certainly do.”

“Believe me it is the same, Newland,” said Harcourt, coming to me and offering his hand, which I took with pleasure.

“It is a long while since we met,” observed Cecilia, who felt it necessary to say something, but, at the same time, did not like to enter upon my affairs before Harcourt.

“It is, Miss de Clare,” replied I, for I was not exactly pleased at my reception; “but I have been fortunate since I had the pleasure of seeing you last.”

Cecilia and her mother looked earnestly, as much as to say, “in what?”—­but did not like to ask the question.

“There is no one present who is not well acquainted with my history,” observed I, “that is, until the time that I left you and Lady de Clare, and I have no wish to create mystery.  I have at last discovered my father.”

“I hope we are to congratulate you, Mr Newland,” said Lady de Clare.

“As far as respectability and family are concerned, I certainly have no reason to be ashamed,” replied I.  “He is the brother of an earl, and a general in the army.  His name I will not mention until I have seen him, and I am formally and openly acknowledged.  I have also the advantage of being an only son, and if I am not disinherited, heir to considerable property,” continued I, smiling sarcastically.  “Perhaps I may now be better received than I have been as Japhet Newland the Foundling:  but, Lady de Clare, I am afraid that I have intruded unseasonably, and will now take my leave.  Good morning;” and without waiting for a reply, I made a hasty retreat, and gained the door.

Flushed with indignation, I had nearly gained the bottom of the stairs, when I heard a light footstep behind me, and my arm was caught by Cecilia de Clare.  I turned round, and she looked me reproachfully in the face, as the tear stood in her eye.

“What have we done, Japhet, that you should treat us in this manner?” said she, with emotion.

“Miss de Clare,” replied I, “I have no reproaches to make.  I perceived that my presence was not welcome, and I would no further intrude.”

“Are you then so proud, now that you have found out that you are well born, Japhet?”

“I am much too proud to intrude where I am not wished for, Miss de Clare.  As Japhet Newland, I came here to see the Fleta of former days.  When I assume my real name, I shall always be most happy of an introduction to the daughter of Lady de Clare.”

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“Oh! how changed,” exclaimed she, fixing her large blue eyes upon me.

“Prosperity changes us all, Miss de Clare.  I wish you a very good morning;” and I turned away, and crossed the hall to the door.

As I went out I could not help looking back, and I perceived that Cecilia’s handkerchief was held to her eyes, as she slowly mounted the stairs.  I walked home to the Piazza in no very pleasant humour.  I was angry and disgusted at the coolness of my reception.  I thought myself ill used, and treated with ingratitude.  “So much for the world,” said I, as I sat down in my apartment, and spun my hat on the table.  “She has been out two seasons, and is no longer the same person.  Yet how lovely she has grown!  But why this change—­and why was Harcourt there?  Could he have prejudiced them against me?  Very possibly.”  While these ideas were running in my mind, and I was making comparisons between Cecilia de Clare and Susannah Temple—­not much in favour of the former—­and looking forward prospectively to the meeting with my father, the doubts as to my reception in society colouring everything with the most sombre tints, the door opened, and in walked Harcourt, announced by the waiter.

“A chair for Mr Harcourt,” said I to the waiter, with formality.

“Newland,” said Harcourt, “I come for two reasons:  in the first place, I am commissioned by the ladies, to assure you—­”

“I beg your pardon, Mr Harcourt, for interrupting you, but I require no ambassador from the ladies in question.  They may make you their confidant if they please, but I am not at all inclined to do the same.  Explanation, after what I witnessed and felt this morning, is quite unnecessary.  I surrender all claims upon either Lady de Clare or her daughter, if I ever was so foolhardy as to imagine that I had any.  The first reason of your visit it is therefore useless to proceed with.  May I ask the other reason which has procured me this honour?”

“I hardly know, Mr Newland,” replied Harcourt, colouring deeply, “whether, after what you have now said, I ought to proceed with the second—­it related to myself.”

“I am all attention, Mr Harcourt,” replied I, bowing politely.

“It was to say, Mr Newland, that I should have taken the earliest opportunity after my recovery, had you not disappeared so strangely, to have expressed my sorrow for my conduct towards you, and to have acknowledged that I had been deservedly punished:  more perhaps by my own feelings of remorse, than by the dangerous wound I had received by your hand.  I take even this opportunity, although not apparently a favourable one, of expressing what I consider it my duty, as a gentleman who has wronged another, to express.  I certainly was going to add more, but there is so little chance of its being well received, that I had better defer it to some future opportunity.  The time may come, and I certainly trust it will come, when I may be allowed to prove to you that I am not deserving of the coolness with which I am now received.  Mr Newland, with every wish for your happiness, I will now take my leave; but I must say, it is with painful sentiments, as I feel that the result of this interview will be the cause of great distress to those who are bound to you, not only by gratitude, but sincere regard.”

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Harcourt then bowed, and quitted the room.  “It’s all very well,” muttered I, “but I know the world, and am not to be soothed down by a few fine words.  I trust that they will be sorry for their conduct, but see me again inside their doors they will not,” and I sat down, trying to feel satisfied with myself—­but I was not; I felt that I had acted harshly, to say no more.  I ought to have listened to an explanation sent by Cecilia and her mother, after her coming down stairs to expostulate.  They were under great obligations to me, and by my quick resentment, I rendered the obligations more onerous.  It was unkind of me—­and I wished that Harcourt had not left the room.  As for his conduct, I tried to find fault with it, but could not.  It was gentlemanly and feeling.  The fact was, I was in a very bad humour, and could not, at the time, discover the reason, which was neither more nor less than that I was more jealous of finding Harcourt so intimate at Lady de Clare’s, than I was at the unpalatable reception which I had met with.  The waiter came in, and brought me a note from Mr Masterton.

“I have this morning received a summons from your father, who returned, it appears, two days ago, and is now at the Adelphi Hotel.  I am sorry to say, that stepping out of his carriage when travelling, he missed his footing, and has snapped his tendon Achilles.  He is laid up on a couch, and, as you may suppose, his amiability is not increased by the accident, and the pain attending it.  As he has requested me to bring forward immediate evidence as to your identity, and the presence of Mr Cophagus is necessary, I propose that we start for Reading to-morrow at nine o’clock.  I have a curiosity to go down there, and having a leisure day or two, it will be a relaxation.  I wish to see my old acquaintance Timothy, and your shop.  Answer by bearer.


I wrote a few lines, informing Mr Masterton that I would be with him at the appointed hour, and then sat down to my solitary meal.  How different from when I was last at this hotel!  Now I knew nobody.  I had to regain my footing in society, and that could only be accomplished by being acknowledged by my father; and, as soon as that was done, I would call upon Lord Windermear, who would quickly effect what I desired.  The next morning I was ready at nine o’clock, and set off with post horses, with Mr Masterton, in his own carriage.  I told him what had occurred the day before, and how disgusted I was at my reception.

“Upon my word, Japhet, I think you are wrong,” replied the old gentleman; “and if you had not told me of your affection for Miss Temple, to see whom, by-the-bye, I confess to be one of the chief motives of my going down with you, I should almost suppose that you were blinded by jealousy.  Does it not occur to you, that, if Mr Harcourt was admitted to the ladies at such an early hour, there is preference shown him in that quarter?  And now I recollect

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that I heard something about it.  Harcourt’s elder brother died, and he’s come into the property, and I heard somebody say that he would in all probability succeed in gaining the handsomest girl in London, with a large fortune—­that it was said to be a match.  Now, if such be the case, and you broke in upon a quiet reunion between two young people about to be united, almost without announcement, and so unexpectedly, after a lapse of so long a time, surely you cannot be surprised at there being a degree of confusion and restraint—­more especially after what had passed between Harcourt and you.  Depend upon it, that was the cause of it.  Had Lady de Clare and her daughter been alone, your reception would have been very different; indeed, Cecilia’s following you down stairs, proves that it was not from coolness towards you; and Harcourt calling upon you, and the conversation which took place, is another proof that you have been mistaken.”

“I never viewed it in that light, certainly, sir,” observed I.  “I merely perceived that I was considered intrusive, and finding in the company one who had treated me ill, and had been my antagonist in the field, I naturally supposed that he had prejudiced them against me.  I hope I may be wrong; but I have seen so much of the world, young as I am, that I have become very suspicious.”

“Then discard suspicion as fast as you can, it will only make you unhappy, and not prevent your being deceived.  If you are suspicious, you will have the constant fear of deception hanging over you, which poisons existence.”

After these remarks I remained silent for some time; I was analysing my own feelings, and I felt that I had acted in a very absurd manner.  The fact was, that one of my castle buildings had been, that I was to marry Fleta as soon as I had found my own father, and this it was which had actuated me, almost without my knowing it.  I felt jealous of Harcourt, and that, without being in love with Miss de Clare, but actually passionately fond of another person; I felt as if I could have married her without loving her, and that I could give up Susannah Temple, whom I did love, rather than that a being whom I considered as almost of my own creation, should herself presume to fall in love, or that another should dare to love her, until I had made up my mind whether I should take her myself:  and this after so long an absence, and their having given up all hopes of ever seeing me again.  The reader may smile at the absurdity, still more at the selfishness of this feeling; so did I, when I had reflected upon it, and I despised myself for my vanity and folly.

“What are you thinking of, Japhet?” observed Mr Masterton, tired with my long abstraction.

“That I have been making a most egregious fool of myself, sir,” replied I, “with respect to the De Clares.”

“I did not say so, Japhet; but, to tell you the truth, I thought something very like it.  Now tell me, were you not jealous at finding her in company with Harcourt?”

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“Exactly so, sir.”

“I’ll tell Susannah Temple when I see her, that she may form some idea of your constancy,” replied Mr Masterton, smiling.  “Why, what a dog in the manger you must be—­you can’t marry them both.  Still, under the circumstances, I can analyse the feeling—­it is natural, but all that is natural is not always creditable to human nature.  Let us talk a little about Susannah, and then all these vagaries will be dispersed.  How old is she?”

Mr Masterton plied me with so many questions relative to Susannah, that her image alone soon filled my mind, and I recovered my spirits.  “I don’t know what she will say, at my being in this dress, sir,” observed I.  “Had I not better change it on my arrival?”

“By no means; I’ll fight your battle—­I know her character pretty well, thanks to your raving about her.”

Chapter LXXIII

Contains much learned argument upon broad-brims and garments of grey—­I get the best of it—­The one great wish of my life is granted—­I meet my father, and a cold reception very indicative of much after-heat.

We arrived in good time at Reading, and, as soon as we alighted at the inn, we ordered dinner, and then walked down to the shop, where we found Timothy very busy tying down and labelling.  He was delighted to see Mr Masterton, and perceiving that I had laid aside the Quaker’s dress, made no scruple of indulging in his humour, making a long face, and thee-ing and thou-ing Mr Masterton in a very absurd manner.  We desired him to go to Mr Cophagus, and beg that he would allow me to bring Mr Masterton to drink tea, and afterwards to call at the inn and give us the answer.  We then returned to our dinner.

“Whether they will ever make a Quaker of you, Japhet, I am very doubtful,” observed Mr Masterton, as we walked back; “but as for making one of that fellow Timothy, I’ll defy them.”

“He laughs at everything,” replied I:  “and views everything in a ridiculous light—­at all events, they never will make him serious.”

In the evening, we adjourned to the house of Mr Cophagus, having received a message of welcome.  I entered the room first.  Susannah came forward to welcome me, and then drew back, when she perceived the alteration in my apparel, colouring deeply.  I passed her, and took the hand of Mrs Cophagus and her husband, and then introduced Mr Masterton.

“We hardly knew thee, Japhet,” mildly observed Mrs Cophagus.

“I did not think that outward garments would disguise me from my friends,” replied I; “but so it appeareth, for your sister hath not even greeted me in welcome.”

“I greet thee in all kindness, and all sincerity, Japhet Newland,” replied Susannah, holding out her hand.  “Yet did I not imagine that, in so short a time, thou wouldst have dismissed the apparel of our persuasion, neither do I find it seemly.”

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“Miss Temple,” interposed Mr Masterton, “it is to oblige those who are his sincere friends, that Mr Newland has laid aside his dress.  I quarrel with no creed—­every one has a right to choose for himself, and Mr Newland has perhaps not chosen badly, in embracing your tenets.  Let him continue steadfast in them.  But, fair young lady, there is no creed which is perfect, and, even in yours, we find imperfection.  Our religion preaches humility, and therefore we do object to his wearing the garb of pride.”

“Of pride, sayest thou? hath he not rather put off the garb of humility, and now appeareth in the garb of pride?”

“Not so, young madam:  when we dress as all the world dress, we wear not the garb of pride; but when we put on a dress different from others, that distinguishes us from others, then we show our pride, and the worst of pride, for it is the hypocritical pride which apes humility.  It is the Pharisee of the Scriptures, who preaches in high places, and sounds forth his charity to the poor; not the humility of the Publican, who says, ‘Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner.’  Your apparel of pretended humility is the garb of pride, and for that reason have we insisted that he discards it, when with us.  His tenets we interfere not with.  There can be no religion in dress; and that must indeed be weak in itself, which requires dress for its support.”

Susannah was astonished at this new feature of the case, so aptly put by the old lawyer.  Mrs Cophagus looked at her husband, and Cophagus pinched my arm, evidently agreeing with him.  When Mr Masterton had finished speaking, Susannah waited a few seconds, and then replied, “It becomes not one so young and weak as I am, to argue with thee, who art so much my senior.  I cannot cavil at opinions which, if not correct, at least are founded on the holy writings; but I have been otherwise instructed.”

“Then let us drop the argument, Miss Susannah, and let me tell you, that Japhet wished to resume his Quaker’s dress, and I would not permit him.  If there is any blame, it is to be laid to me; and it’s no use being angry with an old man like myself.”

“I have no right to be angry with anyone,” replied Susannah.

“But you were angry with me, Susannah,” interrupted I.

“I cannot say that it was anger, Japhet Newland:  I hardly know what the feeling might have been; but I was wrong, and I must request thy forgiveness;” and Susannah held out her hand.

“Now you must forgive me too, Miss Temple,” said old Masterton, and Susannah laughed against her wishes.

The conversation then became general.  Mr Masterton explained to Mr Cophagus what he required of him, and Mr Cophagus immediately acceded.  It was arranged that he should go to town by the mail the next day.  Mr Masterton talked a great deal about my father, and gave his character in its true light, as he considered it would be advantageous to me so to do.  He then entered into conversation upon a variety of topics, and was certainly very amusing.  Susannah laughed very heartily before the evening was over, and Mr Masterton retired to the hotel, for I had resolved to sleep in my own bed.

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I walked home with Mr Masterton:  I then returned to the house, and found them all in the parlour.  Mrs Cophagus was expressing her delight at the amusement she had received, when I entered with a grave face.  “I wish that I had not left you,” said I to Mrs Cophagus; “I am afraid to meet my father; he will exact the most implicit obedience.  What am I to do.  Must not I obey him?”

“In all things lawful,” replied Susannah, “most certainly, Japhet.”

“In all things lawful, Susannah! now tell me, in the very case of my apparel; Mr Masterton says, that he never will permit me to wear the dress.  What am I to do?”

“Thou hast thy religion and thy Bible for thy guide, Japhet.”

“I have; and in the Bible I find written on tablets of stone by the prophet of God, ‘Honour thy father and thy mother;’ there is a positive commandment; but I find no commandment to wear this or that dress.  What think you?” continued I, appealing to them all.

“I should bid thee honour thy father, Japhet,” replied Mrs Cophagus, “and you, Susannah—­”

“I shall bid thee good-night, Japhet.”

At this reply we all laughed, and I perceived there was a smile on Susannah’s face as she walked away.  Mrs Cophagus followed her, laughing as she went, and Cophagus and I were alone.

“Well, Japhet—­see old gentleman—­kiss—­shake hands—­and blessing—­and so on.”

“Yes, sir,” replied I, “but if he treats me ill, I shall probably come down here again.  I am afraid that Susannah is not very well pleased with me.”

“Pooh, nonsense—­wife knows all—­die for you—­Japhet, do as you please—­dress yourself—­dress her—­any dress—­no dress like Eve—­sly puss—­won’t lose you—­all right—­and so on.”

I pressed Mr Cophagus to tell me all he knew, and I found from him that his wife had questioned Susannah soon after my departure, had found her weeping, and that she had gained from her the avowal of her ardent affection for me.  This was all I wanted, and I wished him good-night, and went to bed happy.  I had an interview with Susannah Temple before I left the next morning, and, although I never mentioned love, had every reason to be satisfied.  She was kind and affectionate; spoke to me in her usual serious manner, warned me against the world, acknowledged that I should have great difficulties to surmount, and even made much allowance for my peculiar situation.  She dared not advise, but she would pray for me.  There was a greater show of interest and confidence towards me than I had ever yet received from her.  When I parted from her I said, “Dear Susannah, whatever change may take place in my fortunes or in my dress, believe me, my heart shall not be changed, and I shall ever adhere to those principles which have been instilled into me since I have been in your company.”

This was a phrase which admitted of a double meaning, and she replied, “I should wish to see thee perfect, Japhet; but there is no perfection now on earth; be therefore as perfect as you can.”

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“God bless you, Susannah.”

“May the blessing of the Lord be on you always, Japhet,” replied she.

I put my arm round her waist, and slightly pressed her to my bosom.  She gently disengaged herself, and her large eyes glistened with tears as she left the room.  In a quarter of an hour I was with Mr Masterton on the road to London.

“Japhet,” said the old gentleman, “I will say that you have been very wise in your choice, and that your little Quaker is a most lovely creature:  I am in love with her myself, and I think that she is far superior in personal attractions to Cecilia de Clare.”

“Indeed, sir!”

“Yes, indeed; her face is more classical, and her complexion is unrivalled; as far as my present knowledge and experience go, she is an emblem of purity.”

“Her mind, sir, is as pure as her person.”

“I believe it; she has a strong mind, and will think for herself.”

“There, sir, is, I am afraid, the difficulty; she will not yield a point in which she thinks she is right, not even for her love for me.”

“I agree with you that she will not, and I admire her for it; but, Japhet, she will yield to conviction, and, depend upon it, she will abandon the outward observances of her persuasion.  Did you observe what a spoke I put in your wheel last night, when I stated that outward forms were pride.  Leave that to work, and I’ll answer for the consequences:  she will not long wear that Quaker’s dress.  How beautiful she would be if she dressed like other people!  I think I see her now entering a ball-room.”

“But what occasions you to think she will abandon her persuasion?”

“I do not say that she will abandon it, nor do I wish her to do it, nor do I wish you to do it, Japhet.  There is much beauty and much perfection in the Quaker’s creed.  All that requires to be abandoned are the dress and the ceremonies of the meetings, which are both absurdities.  Recollect, that Miss Temple has been brought up as a Quaker; she has, from the exclusiveness of the sect, known no other form of worship, and never heard any opposition to that which has been inculcated; but let her once or twice enter the Established Church, hear its beautiful ritual, and listen to a sound preacher.  Let her be persuaded to do that, which cannot be asking her to do wrong, and then let her think and act for herself, and my word for it, when she draws the comparison between what she has then heard and the nonsense occasionally uttered in the Quakers’ conventicle, by those who fancy themselves inspired, she will herself feel that, although the tenets of her persuasion may be more in accordance with true Christianity than those of other sects, the outward forms and observances are imperfect.  I trust to her own good sense.”

“You make me very happy by saying so.”  “Well, that is my opinion of her, and if she proves me to be correct, hang me if I don’t think I shall adopt her.”

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“What do you think of Mrs Cophagus, sir?”

“I think she is no more a Quaker in her heart than I am.  She is a lively, merry, kind-hearted creature, and would have no objection to appear in feathers and diamonds to-morrow.”

“Well, sir, I can tell you that Mr Cophagus still sighs after his blue cotton-net pantaloons and Hessian boots.”

“More fool he! but, however, I am glad of it, for it gives me an idea which I shall work upon by-and-bye; at present we have this eventful meeting between you and your father to occupy us.”

We arrived in town in time for dinner, which Mr Masterton had ordered at his chambers.  As the old gentleman was rather tired with his two days’ travelling, I wished him good-night at an early hour.

“Recollect, Japhet, we are to be at the Adelphi hotel to-morrow at one o’clock—­come in time.”

I called upon Mr Masterton at the time appointed on the ensuing day, and we drove to the hotel in which my father had located himself.  On our arrival, we were ushered into a room on the ground floor, where we found Mr Cophagus and two of the governors of the Foundling Hospital.

“Really, Mr Masterton,” said one of the latter gentlemen, “one would think that we were about to have an audience with a sovereign prince, and, instead of conferring favours, were about to receive them.  My time is precious; I ought to have been in the city this half hour, and here is this old nabob keeping us waiting as if we were petitioners.”

Mr Masterton laughed and said, “Let us all go up stairs, and not wait to be sent for.”

He called one of the waiters, and desired him to announce them to General De Benyon.  They then followed the waiter, leaving me alone.  I must say, that I was a little agitated; I heard the door open above, and then an angry growl like that of a wild beast; the door closed again, and all was quiet.  “And this,” thought I, “is the result of all my fond anticipations, of my ardent wishes, of my enthusiastic search.  Instead of expressing anxiety to receive his son, he litigiously requires proofs, and more proofs, when he has received every satisfactory proof, already.  They say his temper is violent beyond control, and that submission irritates instead of appeasing him; what then if I resent?  I have heard that people of that description are to be better met with their own weapons;—­suppose I try it;—­but no, I have no right;—­I will however be firm and keep my temper under every circumstance; I will show him, at least, that his son has the spirit and the feelings of a gentleman.”

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As these thoughts passed in my mind the door opened, and Mr Masterton requested me to follow him.  I obeyed with a palpitating heart, and when I had gained the landing-place up stairs, Mr Masterton took my hand and led me into the presence of my long-sought-for and much-dreaded parent.  I may as well describe him and the whole tableau.  The room was long and narrow, and, at the farther end, was a large sofa, on which was seated my father with his injured leg reposing on it, his crutches propped against the wall.  On each side of him were two large poles and stands each with a magnificent macaw.  Next to the macaws were two native servants, arrayed in their muslin dresses, with their arms folded.  A hooka was in advance of the table before the sofa; it was magnificently wrought in silver, and the snake passed under the table, so that the tube was within my honoured father’s reach.  On one side of the room sat the two governors of the Foundling Hospital, on the other was seated Mr Cophagus in his Quaker’s dress; the empty chair next to him had been occupied by Mr Masterton.  I looked at my father:  he was a man of great size, apparently six feet three or four inches, and stout in proportion without being burthened with fat:  he was gaunt, broad shouldered, and muscular, and I think, must have weighed seventeen or eighteen stone.  His head was in proportion to his body and very large; so were all his features upon the same grand scale.  His complexion was of a brownish-yellow, and his hair of a snowy white.  He wore his whiskers very large and joined together under the throat, and these, which were also white, from the circle which they formed round his face, and contrasting with the colour of his skin, gave his tout ensemble much more the appearance of a royal Bengal tiger than a gentleman.  General De Benyon saw Mr Masterton leading me forward to within a pace or two of the table before the general.—­“Allow me the pleasure of introducing your son, Japhet.”

There was no hand extended to welcome me.  My father fixed his proud grey eyes upon me for a moment, and then turned to the governors of the hospital.

“Is this the person, gentlemen, whom you received as an infant and brought up as Japhet Newland?”

The governors declared I was the same person; that they had bound me to Mr Cophagus, and had seen me more than once since I quitted the Asylum.

“Is this the Japhet Newland whom you received from these gentlemen and brought up to your business?”

“Yea, and verily—­I do affirm the same—­smart lad—­good boy, and so on.”

“I will not take a Quaker’s affirmation—­will you take your oath, sir?”

“Yes,” replied Cophagus, forgetting his Quakership; “take oath—­bring Bible—­kiss book, and so on.”

“You then, as a Quaker, have no objection to swear to the identity of this person?”

“Swear,” cried Cophagus, “yes, swear—­swear now—­not Japhet!—­I’m damned—­go to hell, and so on.”

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The other parties present could not help laughing at this explosion from Cophagus, neither could I. Mr Masterton then asked the general if he required any more proofs.

“No,” replied the general discourteously; and speaking in Hindostanee to his attendants, they walked to the door and opened it.  The hint was taken, Mr Masterton saying to the others in an ironical tone, “After so long a separation, gentlemen, it must be natural that the general should wish to be left alone, that he may give vent to his paternal feelings.”

Chapter LXXIV

     Father and I grow warm in our argument—­Obliged to give him a
     little schooling to show my affection—­Takes it at last very
     kindly, and very dutifully owns himself a fool.

In the meantime, I was left standing in the middle of the room; the gentlemen departed, and the two native servants resumed their stations on each side of the sofa.  I felt humiliated and indignant, but waited in silence; at last, my honoured parent, who had eyed me for some time, commenced.

“If you think, young man, to win my favour by your good looks, you are very much mistaken:  you are too like your mother, whose memory is anything but agreeable.”

The blood mounted to my forehead at this cruel observation; I folded my arms and looked my father steadfastly in the face, but made no reply.  The choler of the gentleman was raised.

“It appears that I have found a most dutiful son.”

I was about to make an angry answer, when I recollected myself, and I courteously replied, “My dear general, depend upon it that your son will always be ready to pay duty to whom duty is due; but excuse me, in the agitation of this meeting you have forgotten those little attentions which courtesy demands; with your permission I will take a chair, and then we may converse more at our ease.  I hope your leg is better.”

I said this with the blandest voice and the most studied politeness, and drawing a chair towards the table, I took my seat; as I expected, it put my honoured father in a tremendous rage.

“If this is a specimen, sir, of your duty and respect, sir, I hope to see no more of them.  To whom your duty is due, sir!—­and pray to whom is it due, sir, if not to the author of your existence?” cried the general, striking the table before him with his enormous fist, so as to make the ink fly out of the stand some inches high and bespatter the papers near it.

“My dear father, you are perfectly correct:  duty, as you say, is due to the author of our existence.  If I recollect right, the commandment says, ‘Honour your father and your mother;’ but at the same time, if I may venture to offer an observation, are there not such things as reciprocal duties—­some which are even more paramount in a father than the mere begetting of a son?”

“What do you mean, sir, by these insolent remarks?” interrupted my father.

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“Excuse me, my dear father, I may be wrong, but if so, I will bow to your superior judgment; but it does appear to me, that the mere hanging me in a basket at the gate of the Foundling Hospital, and leaving me a bank-note of fifty pounds to educate and maintain me until the age of twenty-four, are not exactly all the duties incumbent upon a parent.  If you think that they are, I am afraid that the world, as well as myself, will be of a different opinion.  Not that I intend to make any complaint, as I feel assured that now circumstances have put it in your power, it is your intention to make me amends for leaving me so long in a state of destitution, and wholly dependent upon my own resources.”

“You do, do you, sir? well, now, I’ll tell you my resolution, which is—­there is the door—­go out, and never let me see your face again.”

“My dear father, as I am convinced this is only a little pleasantry on your part, or perhaps a mere trial whether I am possessed of the spirit and determination of a De Benyon, I shall, of course, please you by not complying with your humorous request.”

“Won’t you, by G—­d!” roared my father; then turning to his two native servants, he spoke to them in Hindostanee.  They immediately walked to the door, threw it wide open, and then coming back to me, were about to take me by the arms.  I certainly felt my blood boil, but I recollected how necessary it was to keep my temper.  I rose from my chair, and advancing to the side of the sofa, I said.

“My dear father, as I perceive that you do not require your crutches at this moment, you will not perhaps object to my taking one.  These foreign scoundrels must not be permitted to insult you through the person of your only son.”

“Turn him out,” roared my father.

The natives advanced, but I whirled the crutch round my head, and in a moment they were both prostrate.  As soon as they gained their feet, I attacked them again, until they made their escape out of the room; I then shut the door and turned the key.

“Thank you, my dear sir,” said I, returning the crutch to where it was before.  “Many thanks for thus permitting me to chastise the insolence of these black scoundrels, whom I take it for granted, you will immediately discharge;” and I again took my seat in the chair, bringing it closer to him.

The rage of the general was now beyond all bounds; the white foam was spluttered out of his mouth, as he in vain endeavoured to find words.  Once he actually rose from the sofa, to take the law in his own hands, but the effort seriously injured his leg, and he threw himself down in pain and disappointment.

“My dear father, I am afraid that, in your anxiety to help me, you have hurt your leg again,” said I, in a soothing voice.

“Sirrah, sirrah,” exclaimed he at last; “if you think that this will do, you are very much mistaken.  You don’t know me.  You may turn out a couple of cowardly blacks, but now I’ll show you that I am not to be played with.  I discard you for ever—­I disinherit—­I disacknowledge you.  You may take your choice, either to quit this room, or be put into the hands of the police.”

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“The police, my dear sir!  What can the police do?”

“I may call in the police for the assault just committed by your servants, and have them up to Bow Street, but you cannot charge me with an assault.”

“But I will, by G—­d, sir, true or not true.”

“Indeed you would not, my dear father.  A De Benyon would never be guilty of a lie.  Besides, if you were to call in the police;—­I wish to argue this matter coolly, because I ascribe your present little burst of ill-humour to your sufferings from your unfortunate accident.  Allowing then, my dear father, that you were to charge me with an assault, I should immediately be under the necessity of charging you also, and then we must both go to Bow Street together.  Were you ever at Bow Street, general?” The general made no reply, and I proceeded.  “Besides, my dear sir, only imagine how very awkward it would be when the magistrate put you on your oath, and asked you to make your charge.  What would you be obliged to declare?  That you had married when young, and finding that your wife had no fortune, had deserted her the second day after your marriage.  That you, an officer in the army, and the Honourable Captain De Benyon, had hung up your child at the gates of the Foundling Hospital—­that you had again met your wife, married to another, and had been an accomplice in concealing her capital offence of bigamy, and had had meetings with her, although she belonged to another.  I say meetings, for you did meet her, to receive her directions about me.  I am charitable and suspect nothing—­others will not be so.  Then, after her death, you come home, and inquire about your son.  His identity is established,—­and what then? not only you do not take him by the hand, in common civility, I might say, but you first try to turn him out of the house, and to give him in charge of the police:  and then you will have to state for what.  Perhaps you will answer me that question, for I really do not know.”

By this time, my honoured father’s wrath had, to a certain degree, subsided; he heard all I had to say, and he felt how very ridiculous would have been his intended proceedings, and, as his wrath subsided, so did his pain increase; he had seriously injured his leg, and it was swelling rapidly—­the bandages tightened in consequence, and he was suffering under the acutest pain, “Oh, oh!” groaned he.

“My dear father, can I assist you?”

“Ring the bell, sir.”

“There is no occasion to summon assistance while I am here, my dear general.  I can attend you professionally, and if you will allow me, will soon relieve your pain.  Your leg has swollen from exertion, and the bandages must be loosened.”

He made no reply, but his features were distorted with extreme pain.  I went to him, and proceeded to unloose the bandages, which gave him considerable relief.  I then replaced them, secundum artem, and with great tenderness, and going to the sideboard, took the lotion which was standing there with the other bottles, and wetted the bandages.  In a few minutes he was quite relieved.  “Perhaps, sir,” said I, “you had better try to sleep a little.  I will take a book, and shall have great pleasure in watching by your side.”

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Exhausted with pain and violence, the general made no reply; he fell back on the sofa, and, in a short time, he snored most comfortably.  “I have conquered you,” thought I, as I watched him as he lay asleep.  “If I have not yet, I will, that I am resolved.”  I walked gently to the door, unlocked it, and opening it without waking him, ordered some broth to be brought up immediately, saying that the general was asleep, and that I would wait for it outside.  I accomplished this little manoeuvre, and re-closed the door without waking my father, and then I took my seat in the chair, and resumed my book, having placed the broth on the side of the fire-grate to keep it warm.  In about an hour he awoke, and looked around him.

“Do you want anything, my dearest father?” inquired I.

The general appeared undecided as to whether to recommence hostilities, but at last he said, “I wish the attendance of my servants, sir.”

“The attendance of a servant can never be equal to that of your own son, general,” replied I, going to the fire, and taking the basin of broth, which I replaced upon the tray containing the et ceteras on a napkin.  “I expected you would require your broth, and I have had it ready for you.”

“It was what I did require, sir, I must acknowledge,” replied my father, and without further remark he finished the broth.

I removed the tray, and then went for the lotion, and again wetted the bandages on his leg.  “Is there anything else I can do for you, sir?” said I.

“Nothing—­I am very comfortable.”

“Then, sir,” replied I, “I will now take my leave.  You have desired me to quit your presence for ever; and you attempted force.  I resisted that, because I would not allow you to have the painful remembrance that you had injured one who had strong claims upon you, and had never injured you.  I resented it also, because I wished to prove to you that I was a De Benyon, and had spirit to resist an insult.  But, general, if you imagine that I have come here with a determination of forcing myself upon you, you are much mistaken.  I am too proud, and happily am independent by my own exertions, so as not to require your assistance.  Had you received me kindly, believe me, you would have found a grateful and affectionate heart to have met that kindness.  You would have found a son, whose sole object through life has been to discover a father, after whom he has yearned, who would have been delighted to have administered to his wants, to have yielded to his wishes, to have soothed him in his pain, and to have watched him in his sickness.  Deserted as I have been for so many years, I trust that I have not disgraced you, General De Benyon; and if ever I have done wrong, it has been from a wish to discover you.  I can appeal to Lord Windermear for the truth of that assertion.  Allow me to say, that it is a very severe trial—­an ordeal which few pass through with safety—­to be thrown as I have been upon the world, with no friend,

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no parent to assist or to advise me, to have to bear up against the contingency of being of unacknowledged and perhaps disgraceful birth.  It is harder still, when I expected to find my dearest wishes realised, that without any other cause than that of my features resembling those of my mother, I am to be again cast away.  One thing, General De Benyon, I request, and I trust it will not be denied, which is, that I may assume the name which I am entitled to.  I pledge you that I never will disgrace it.  And now, sir, asking and expecting no more, I take my leave, and you may be assured, that neither poverty, privation, nor affliction of any kind, will ever induce me to again intrude into your presence.  General De Benyon, farewell for ever.”

I made my father a profound bow, and was quitting the room.

“Stop, sir,” said the general.  “Stop one moment, if you please.”

I obeyed.

“Why did you put me out of temper?  Answer me that.”

“Allow me to observe, sir, that I did not put you out of temper; and what is more, that I never lost my own temper during the insult and injury which I so undeservedly and unexpectedly have received.”

“But that very keeping your temper made me more angry, sir.”

“That is very possible; but surely I was not to blame.  The greatest proof of a perfect gentleman is, that he is able to command his temper, and I wished you to acknowledge that I was not without such pretensions.”

“That is as much as to say that your father is no gentleman; and this, I presume, is a specimen of your filial duty,” replied the general, warmly.

“Far from it, sir; there are many gentlemen who, unfortunately, cannot command their tempers, and are more to be pitied than blamed for it; but, sir, when such happens to be the case, they invariably redeem their error, and amply so, by expressing their sorrow, and offering an apology.”

“That is as much as to say, that you expect me to apologise to you.”

“Allow me, sir, to ask you, did you ever know a De Benyon submit to an insult?”

“No, sir, I trust not.”

“Then, sir, those whose feelings of pride will not allow them to submit to an insult ought never to insult others.  If, in the warmth of the moment, they have done so, that pride should immediately induce them to offer an apology, not only due to the party, but to their own characters.  There is no disgrace in making an apology when we are in error, but there is a great disgrace in withholding such an act of common justice and reparation.”

“I presume I am to infer from all this, that you expect an apology from me?”

“General De Benyon, as far as I am concerned, that is now of little importance; we part, and shall probably never meet again; if you think that it would make you feel more comfortable, I am willing to receive it.”

“I must suppose by that observation, that you fully expect it, and otherwise will not stay?”

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“I never had a thought of staying, general; you have told me that you have disinherited and discarded me for ever; no one with the feelings of a man would ever think of remaining after such a declaration.”

“Upon what terms, then, sir, am I to understand that you will consent to remain with me, and forget all that has passed?”

“My terms are simple, general; you must say that you retract what you have said, and are very sorry for having insulted me.”

“And without I do that, you will never come here again?”

“Most decidedly not, sir.  I shall always wish you well, pray for your happiness, be sorry at your death, and attend your funeral as chief mourner, although you disinherit me.  That is my duty, in return for my having taken your name, and your having acknowledged that I am your son; but live with you, or even see you occasionally, I will not, after what has passed this day, without you make me an apology.”

“I was not aware that it was necessary for a father to apologise to his son.”

“If you wrong a stranger, you offer an apology; how much more is it due to a near relation?”

“But a parent has claims upon his own son, sir, for which he is bound to tender his duty.”

“I grant it, in the ordinary course of things in this life; but, General De Benyon, what claims have you as a parent upon me?  A son in most cases is indebted to his parents for their care and attention in infancy—­his education—­his religious instruction—­his choice of a profession, and his advancement in life, by their exertions and interest; and when they are called away, he has a reasonable expectation of their leaving him a portion of their substance.  They have a heavy debt of gratitude to pay for what they have received, and they are further checked by the hopes of what they may hereafter receive.  Up to this time, sir, I have not received the first, and this day I am told that I need not expect the last.  Allow me to ask you, General De Benyon, upon what grounds you claim from me a filial duty? certainly not for benefits received, or for benefits in expectation; but I feel that I am intruding, and therefore, sir, once more, with every wish for your happiness, I take my leave.”

I went out, and had half closed the door after me, when the general cried out, “Stop—­don’t go—­Japhet—­my son—­I was in a passion—­I beg your pardon—­don’t mind what I said—­I’m a passionate old fool.”

As he uttered this in broken sentences, I returned to him.  He held out his hand.  “Forgive me, boy—­forgive your father.”  I knelt down and kissed his hand; he drew me towards him, and I wept upon his bosom.

Chapter LXXV

     Father still dutifully submissive at home—­Abroad, I am splitting
     a straw in arguments with Susannah about straw bonnets—­The rest
     of the Chapter contains coquetry, courting, and costumes.

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It was some time before we were sufficiently composed to enter into conversation, and then I tried my utmost to please him.  Still, there was naturally a restraint on both sides, but I was so particular and devoted in my attentions, so careful of giving offence, that when he complained of weariness, and a wish to retire, he stipulated that I should be with him to breakfast on the next morning.

I hastened to Mr Masterton, although it was late, to communicate to him all that had passed; he heard me with great interest.  “Japhet,” said he, “you have done well—­it is the proudest day of your life.  You have completely mastered him.  The royal Bengal tiger is tamed.  I wish you joy, my dear fellow.  Now I trust that all will be well.  But keep your own counsel, do not let this be known at Reading.  Let them still imagine that your father is as passionate as ever, which he will be, by-the-bye, with everybody else.  You have still to follow up your success, and leave me to help you in other matters.”

I returned home to the Piazza, and, thankful to Heaven for the events of the day, I soon fell fast asleep, and dreamt of Susannah Temple.  The next morning I was early at the Adelphi hotel; my father had not yet risen, but the native servants who passed in and out, attending upon him, and who took care to give me a wide berth, had informed him that “Burra Saib’s” son was come, and he sent for me.  His leg was very painful and uncomfortable, and the surgeon had not yet made his appearance.  I arranged it as before, and he then dressed, and came out to breakfast.  I had said nothing before the servants, but as soon as he was comfortable on the sofa I took his hand, and kissed it, saying, “Good morning, my dear father; I hope you do not repent of your kindness to me yesterday.”

“No, no; God bless you, boy.  I’ve been thinking of you all night.”

“All’s right,” thought I; “and I trust to be able to keep it so.”

I shall pass over a fortnight, during which I was in constant attendance upon my father.  At times he would fly out in a most violent manner, but I invariably kept my temper, and when it was all over, would laugh at him, generally repeating and acting all which he had said and done during his paroxysm.  I found this rather dangerous ground at first, but by degrees he became used to it, and it was wonderful how it acted as a check upon him.  He would not at first believe but that I exaggerated, when the picture was held up to his view and he was again calm.  My father was not naturally a bad-tempered man, but having been living among a servile race, and holding high command in the army, he had gradually acquired a habit of authority and an impatience of contradiction which was unbearable to all around.  Those who were high-spirited and sensitive shunned him; the servile and the base continued with him for their own interests, but trembled at his wrath.  I had during this time narrated to my father the events of my life, and,

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I am happy to say, had, by attention and kindness joined with firmness and good temper, acquired a dominion over him.  I had at his request removed to the hotel, and lived with him altogether.  His leg was rapidly arriving to a state of convalescence, and he now talked of taking a house and setting up his establishment in London.  I had seen but little of Mr Masterton during this time, as I had remained in-doors in attendance upon the general.  I had written once to Mr Cophagus, stating how I was occupied, but saying nothing about our reconciliation.  One morning, Mr Masterton called upon us, and after a little conversation with the general, he told me that he had persuaded Mr Cophagus and his wife to leave Reading and come to London, and that Susannah Temple was to come with them.

“On a visit?” inquired I.  “No, not on a visit.  I have seen Cophagus, and he is determined to cut the Quakers, and reside in London altogether.”

“What! does he intend to return to the pomps and vanities of this wicked world?”

“Yes, I believe so, and his wife will join him.  She has no objection to decorate her pretty person.”

“I never thought that she had—­but Susannah Temple—­”

“When Susannah is away from her friends, when she finds that her sister and brother-in-law no longer wear the dress, and when she is constantly in your company, to all which please to add the effect I trust of my serious admonitions, she will soon do as others do, or she is no woman.  This is all my plan, and leave it to me—­only play your part by seeing as much of her as you can.”

“You need not fear that,” replied I.

“Does your father know of your attachment?” inquired Mr Masterton.

“No, I passed her over without mentioning her name,” replied I.  “It is too soon yet to talk to him about my marrying; in fact, the proposal must, if possible, come from him.  Could not you manage that?”

“Yes, I will if I can; but, as you say, wait awhile.  Here is their address—­you must call to-morrow, if you can; and do you think you can dine with me on Thursday?”

“Yes, if the general continues improving; if not, I will send you word.”

The next day I complained of a headache, and said, that I would walk out until dinner-time.  I hastened to the address given me by Mr Masterton, and found that Mr Cophagus and his wife were out, but Susannah remained at home.  After our first questions, I inquired of her how she liked London.

“I am almost afraid to say, Japhet, at least to you; you would only laugh at me.”

“Not so, Susannah; I never laugh when I know people are sincere.”

“It appears to me, then, to be a vanity fair.”

“That there is more vanity in London than in any other city, I grant,” replied I; “but recollect, that there are more people and more wealth.  I do not think that there is more in proportion than in other towns in England, and if there is more vanity, Susannah, recollect also that there is more industry, more talent, and I should hope a greater proportion of good and honest people among its multitudes; there is also, unfortunately, more misery and more crime.”

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“I believe you are right, Japhet.  Are you aware that Mr Cophagus has put off his plain attire?”

“If it grieves you, Susannah, it grieves me also; but I presume he finds it necessary not to be so remarkable.”

“For him, I could find some excuse; but what will you say, Japhet, when I tell you that my own sister, born and bred up to our tenets, hath also deviated much from the dress of the females of our sect?”

“In what hath she made an alteration?”

“She has a bonnet of plaited straw with ribbons.”

“Of what colour are the ribbons?”

“Nay, of the same as her dress—­of grey.”

“Your bonnet, Susannah, is of grey silk; I do not see that there is vanity in descending to straw, which is a more homely commodity.  But what reason has she given?”

“That her husband wills it, as he does not like to walk out with her in her Quaker’s dress.”

“Is it not her duty to obey her husband, even as I obey my father, Susannah?—­but I am not ashamed to walk out with you in your dress; so if you have no objection, let me show you a part of this great city.”

Susannah consented; we had often walked together in the town of Reading:  she was evidently pleased at what I said.  I soon escorted her to Oxford Street, from thence down Bond Street, and through all the most frequented parts of the metropolis.  The dress naturally drew upon her the casual glance of the passengers, but her extreme beauty turned the glance to an ardent gaze, and long before we had finished our intended walk, Susannah requested that I would go home.  She was not only annoyed but almost alarmed at the constant and reiterated scrutiny which she underwent, ascribing it to her dress, and not to her lovely person.  As soon as we returned I sat down with her.

“So I understand that Mr Cophagus intends to reside altogether in London.”

“I have not heard so; I understood that it was business which called him hither for a few weeks.  I trust not, for I shall be unhappy here.”

“May I ask why?”

“The people are rude—­it is not agreeable to walk out.”

“Recollect, my dear Susannah, that those of your sect are not so plentiful in London as elsewhere, and if you wear a dress so different from other people, you must expect that curiosity will be excited.  You cannot blame them—­it is you who make yourself conspicuous, almost saying to the people by your garment, ‘Come, and look at me.’  I have been reflecting upon what Mr Masterton said to you at Reading, and I do not know whether he was not right in calling it a garb of pride instead of a garb of humility.”

“If I thought so, Japhet, even I would throw it off,” replied Susannah.

“It certainly is not pleasant that every one should think that you walk out on purpose to be stared at, yet such is the ill-natured construction of the world, and they will never believe otherwise.  It is possible, I should think, to dress with equal simplicity and neatness, to avoid gay colours, and yet to dress so as not to excite observation.”

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“I hardly know what to say, but that you all appear against me, and that sometimes I feel that I am too presumptuous in thus judging for myself.”

“I am not against you, Susannah; I know you will do what you think is right, and I shall respect you for that, even if I disagree with you; but I must say, that if my wife were to dress in such a way as to attract the public gaze, I should feel too jealous to approve of it.  I do not, therefore, blame Mr Cophagus for inducing his pretty wife to make some alteration in her attire, neither do I blame but I commend her for obeying the wishes of her husband.  Her beauty is his, and not common property.”

Susannah did not reply; she appeared very thoughtful.

“You disagree with me, Susannah,” said I, after a pause; “I am sorry for it.”

“I cannot say that I do, Japhet; I have learned a lesson this day, and, in future, I must think more humbly of myself, and be more ruled by the opinions and judgment of others.”

Mr and Mrs Cophagus then came in.  Cophagus had resumed his medical coat and waistcoat, but not his pantaloons or Hessians:  his wife, who had a very good taste in dress, would not allow him.  She was in her grey silk gown, but wore a large handsome shawl, which covered all but the skirts; on her head she had a Leghorn bonnet, and certainly looked very pretty.  As usual, she was all good-humour and smiles.  I told them that we had been walking out, and that Susannah had been much annoyed by the staring of the people.

“Always so,” said Cophagus, “never mind—­girls like it—­feel pleased—­and so on.”

“You wrong me much, brother Cophagus,” replied Susannah, “it pained me exceedingly.”

“All very well to say so—­know better—­sly puss—­will wear dress—­people say, pretty Quaker—­and so on.”

Susannah hastily left the room after this attack, and I told them what had passed.

“Mrs Cophagus,” said I, “order a bonnet and shawl like yours for her, without telling her, and perhaps you will persuade her to put them on.”

Mrs Cophagus thought the idea excellent, and promised to procure them.  Susannah not making her re-appearance, I took leave and arrived at the hotel in good time for dinner.

“Japhet,” said the general to me as we were at table, “you have mentioned Lord Windermear very often, have you called upon him lately?”

“No, sir, it is now two years and more since I have seen him.  When I was summoned to town to meet you, I was too much agitated to think of anything else, and since that I have had too much pleasure in your company.”

“Say, rather, my good boy, that you have nursed me so carefully that you have neglected your friends and your health.  Take my carriage to-morrow, and call upon him, and after that, you had better drive about a little, for you have been looking pale these last few days.  I hope to get out myself in a short time, and then we will have plenty of amusement together in setting up our establishment.”

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Chapter LXXVI

     I renew old ties of friendship, and seek new ones of
     love—­Obliged to take my father to task once more—­He receives
     his lesson with proper obedience.

I took the carriage the next day, and drove to Lord Windermear’s.  He was at home, and I gave my name to the servant as Mr De Benyon.  It was the first time that I had made use of my own name.  His lordship was alone when I entered.  He bowed, as if not recognising me, and waved his hand to a chair.

“My lord, I have given my true name, and you treat me as a perfect stranger.  I will mention my former name, and I trust you will honour me with a recognition.  I was Japhet Newland.”

“My dear Mr Newland, you must accept my apology; but it is so long since we met, and I did not expect to see you again.”

“I thought, my lord, that Mr Masterton had informed you of what had taken place.”

“No; I have just come from a visit to my sisters in Westmoreland, and have received no letters from him.”

“I have, my lord, at last succeeded in finding out the object of my mad search, as you were truly pleased to call it, in the Honourable General De Benyon, lately arrived from the East Indies.”

“Where his services are well known,” added his lordship.  “Mr De Benyon, I congratulate you with all my heart.  When you refused my offers of assistance, and left us all in that mad way, I certainly despaired of ever seeing you again.  I am glad that you re-appear under such fortunate auspices.  Has your father any family?”

“None, my lord, but myself; and my mother died in the East Indies.”

“Then I presume, from what I know at the Board of Control, that you may now safely be introduced as a young gentleman of large fortune; allow me at least to assist your father in placing you in your proper sphere in society.  Where is your father?”

“At present, my lord, he is staying at the Adelphi hotel, confined to his room by an accident, but I trust that in a few days he will be able to come out.”

“Will you offer my congratulations to him, and tell him, that if he will allow me, I will have the honour of paying my respects to him.  Will you dine with me on Monday next?”

I returned my thanks, accepted the invitation, and took my leave, his lordship saying as he shook hands with me, “You don’t know how happy this intelligence has made me.  I trust that your father and I shall be good friends.”

When I returned to the carriage, as my father had desired me to take an airing, I thought I might as well have a companion, so I directed them to drive to Mr Cophagus’s.  The servant knocked, and I went in as soon as the door was opened.  Susannah and Mrs Cophagus were sitting in the room.

“Susannah,” said I, “I know you do not like to walk out, so I thought, perhaps, you would have no objection to take an airing in the carriage; my father has lent it to me.  Will you come?—­it will do you good.”

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“It is very kind of you, Japhet, to think of me; but—­”

“But what?” replied Mrs Cophagus.  “Surely thou wilt not refuse, Susannah.  It would savour much of ingratitude on thy part.”

“I will not then be ungrateful,” replied Susannah, leaving the room; and in a short time she returned in a Leghorn bonnet and shawl like her sister’s.  “Do not I prove that I am not ungrateful, Japhet, since to do credit to thy carriage, I am content to depart from the rules of our persuasion?” said Susannah, smiling.

“I feel the kindness and the sacrifice you are making to please me, Susannah,” replied I; “but let us lose no time.”

I handed her down to the carriage, and we drove to the Park.  It was a beautiful day, and the Park was filled with pedestrians as well as carriages.  Susannah was much astonished, as well as pleased.  “Now, Susannah,” said I, “if you were to call this Vanity Fair, you would not be far wrong; but still, recollect that even all this is productive of much good.  Reflect how many industrious people find employment and provision for their families by the building of these gay vehicles, their painting and ornamenting.  How many are employed at the loom, and at the needle, in making these costly dresses.  This vanity is the cause of wealth not being hoarded, but finding its way through various channels, so as to produce comfort and happiness to thousands.”

“Your observations are just, Japhet, but you have lived in the world, and seen much of it.  I am as one just burst from an egg-shell, all amazement.  I have been living in a little world of my own thoughts, surrounded by a mist of ignorance, and not being able to penetrate farther, have considered myself wise when I was not.”

“My dear Susannah, this is a chequered world, but not a very bad one—­there is in it much of good as well as evil.  The sect to which you belong avoid it—­they know it not—­and they are unjust towards it.  During the time that I lived at Reading, I will candidly state to you that I met with many who called themselves of the persuasion, who were wholly unworthy of it, but they made up in outward appearance and hypocrisy, what they wanted in their conduct to their fellow-creatures.  Believe me, Susannah, there are pious and good, charitable and humane, conscientious and strictly honourable people among those who now pass before your view in such gay procession; but society requires that the rich should spend their money in superfluities, that the poor may be supported.  Be not deceived, therefore, in future, by the outward garments, which avail nothing.”

“You have induced me much to alter my opinions already, Japhet; so has that pleasant friend of thine, Mr Masterton, who has twice called since we have been in London, but is it not time that we should return?”

“It is indeed later than I thought it was, Susannah,” replied I, looking at my watch, “and I am afraid that my father will be impatient for my return.  I will order them to drive home.”

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As we drove along, leaning against the back of the carriage, my hand happened to touch that of Susannah, which lay beside her on the cushion, I could not resist taking it in mine, and it was not withdrawn.  What my thoughts were, the reader may imagine; Susannah’s I cannot acquaint him with; but in that position we remained in silence until the carriage stopped at Cophagus’s door.  I handed Susannah out of the carriage, and went up stairs for a few moments.  Mrs Cophagus and her husband were out.

“Susannah, this is very kind of you, and I return you my thanks.  I never felt more happy than when seated with you in that carriage.”

“I have received both amusement and instruction, Japhet, and ought to thank you.  Do you know what passed in my mind at one time?”

“No—­tell me.”

“When I first knew you, and you came among us, I was, as it were, the guide, a presumptuous one perhaps to you, and you listened to me—­now it is reversed—­now that we are removed and in the world, it is you that are the guide, and it is I who listen and obey.”

“Because, Susannah, when we first met I was much in error, and had thought too little of serious things, and you were fit to be my guide:  now we are mixing in the world, with which I am better acquainted than yourself.  You then corrected me, when I was wrong:  I now point out to you where you are not rightly informed:  but, Susannah, what you have learnt of me is as nought compared with the valuable precepts which I gained from your lips—­precepts which, I trust, no collision with the world will ever make me forget.”

“Oh!  I love to hear you say that; I was fearful that the world would spoil you, Japhet; but it will not—­will it?”

“Not so long as I have you still with me, Susannah:  but if I am obliged to mix again with the world, tell me, Susannah, will you reject me?—­will you desert me?—­will you return to your own people and leave me so exposed?  Susannah, dearest, you must know how long, how dearly I have loved you:—­you know that, if I had not been sent for and obliged to obey the message, I would have lived and died content with you.  Will you not listen to me now, or do you reject me?”

I put my arm round her waist, her head fell upon my shoulder, and she burst into tears.  “Speak, dearest, this suspense is torture to me,” continued I.

“I do love you, Japhet,” replied she at last, looking fondly at me through her tears; “but I know not whether this earthly love may not have weakened my affection towards Heaven.  If so, may God pardon me, for I cannot help it.”  After this avowal, for a few minutes, which appeared seconds, we were in each other’s arms, when Susannah disengaged herself.

“Dearest Japhet, thy father will be much displeased.”  “I cannot help it,” replied I, “I shall submit to his displeasure.”

“Nay, but, Japhet, why risk thy father’s wrath?”

“Well, then,” replied I, attempting to reach her lips, “I will go.”

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“Nay, nay—­indeed, Japhet, you exact too much—­it is not seemly.”

“Then I won’t go.”

“Recollect about thy father.”

“It is you who detain me, Susannah.”

“I must not injure thee with thy father, Japhet, it were no proof of my affection—­but, indeed, you are self-willed.”

“God bless you, Susannah,” said I, as I gained the contested point, and hastened to the carriage.

My father was a little out of humour when I returned, and questioned me rather sharply as to where I had been.  I half pacified him by delivering Lord Windermear’s polite message; but he continued his interrogations, and although I had pointed out to him that a De Benyon would never be guilty of an untruth, I am afraid I told some half dozen on this occasion; but I consoled myself with the reflection, that, in the code of honour of a fashionable man, he is bound, if necessary, to tell falsehoods where a lady is concerned; so I said I had driven through the streets looking at the houses, and had twice stopped and had gone in to examine them.  My father supposed that I had been looking out for a house for him, and was satisfied.  Fortunately they were job horses; had they been his own I should have been in a severe scrape.  Horses are the only part of an establishment for which the gentlemen have any consideration, and on which ladies have no mercy.

I had promised the next day to dine with Mr Masterton.  My father had taken a great aversion to this old gentleman until I had narrated the events of my life, in which he had played such a conspicuous and friendly part.  Then, to do my father justice, his heart warmed towards him.

“My dear sir, I have promised to dine out to-day.”

“With whom, Japhet?”

“Why, sir, to tell you the truth, with that ‘old thief of a lawyer.’”

“I am very much shocked at your using such an expression towards one who has been such a sincere friend, Japhet; and you will oblige me, sir, by not doing so again in my presence.”

“I really beg your pardon, general,” replied I, “but I thought to please you.”

“Please me! what do you think of me? please me, sir, by showing yourself ungrateful?—­I am ashamed of you, sir.”

“My dear father, I borrowed the expression from you.  You called Mr Masterton ‘an old thief of a lawyer’ to his face:  he complained to me of the language before I had the pleasure of meeting you.  I feel, and always shall feel, the highest respect, love, and gratitude towards him.  Have I your permission to go?”

“Yes, Japhet,” replied my father, looking very grave, “and do me the favour to apologise for me to Mr Masterton for my having used such an expression in my unfortunate warmth of temper—­I am ashamed of myself.”

“My dearest father, no man need be ashamed who is so ready to make honourable reparation:—­we are all a little out of temper at times.”

“You have been a kind friend to me, Japhet, as well as a good son,” replied my father, with some emotion.  “Don’t forget the apology at all events:  I shall be unhappy until it be made.”

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Chapter LXXVII

     Treats of apologies, and love coming from church—­We finesse with
     the nabob to win me a wife—­I am successful in my suit, yet the
     lawyer is still to play the cards to enable me to win the game.

I arrived at Mr Masterton’s, and walked into his room, when whom should I find in company with him but Harcourt.

“Japhet, I’m glad to see you:  allow me to introduce you to Mr Harcourt—­Mr De Benyon,” and the old gentleman grinned maliciously, but I was not to be taken aback.

“Harcourt,” said I, extending my hand, “I have to apologise to you for a rude reception and for unjust suspicions, but I was vexed at the time—­if you will admit that as an excuse.”

“My dear Japhet,” replied Harcourt, taking my hand and shaking it warmly, “I have to apologise to you for much more unworthy behaviour, and it will be a great relief to my mind if you will once more enrol me in the list of your friends.”

“And now, Mr Masterton,” said I, “as apologies appear to be the order of the day, I bring you one from the general, who has requested me to make one to you for having called you an old thief of a lawyer, of which he was totally ignorant until I reminded him of it to-day.”

Harcourt burst into a laugh.

“Well, Japhet, you may tell your old tiger, that I did not feel particularly affronted, as I took his expression professionally and not personally, and if he meant it in that sense, he was not far wrong.  Japhet, to-morrow is Sunday; do you go to meeting or to church?”

“I believe, sir, that I shall go to church.”

“Well, then, come with me:—­be here at half-past two—­we will go to evening service at St James’s.”

“I have received many invitations, but I never yet received an invitation to go to church,” replied I.

“You will hear an extra lesson of the day—­a portion of Susannah and the Elders.”

I took the equivoque, which was incomprehensible to Harcourt:  I hardly need say, that the latter and I were on the best terms.  When we separated, Harcourt requested leave to call upon me the next morning, and Mr Masterton said that he should also pay his respects to the tiger, as he invariably called my most honoured parent.

Harcourt was with me very soon after breakfast, and after I had introduced him to my “Governor,” we retired to talk without interruption.

“I have much to say to you, De Benyon,” commenced Harcourt:  “first let me tell you, that after I rose from my bed, and discovered that you had disappeared, I resolved, if possible, to find you out and induce you to come back.  Timothy, who looked very sly at me, would tell me nothing, but that the last that was heard of you was at Lady de Clare’s, at Richmond.  Having no other clue, I went down there, introduced myself, and, as they will tell you, candidly acknowledged that I had treated you ill.  I then requested that they would give me any clue by which you might be found, for I had an opportunity of offering to you a situation which was at my father’s disposal, and which any gentleman might have accepted, although it was not very lucrative.”

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“It was very kind of you, Harcourt.”

“Do not say that, I beg.  It was thus that I formed an acquaintance with Lady de Clare and her daughter, whose early history, as Fleta, I had obtained from you, but who I little imagined to be the little girl that you had so generously protected; for it was not until after I had deserted you, that you had discovered her parentage.  The extreme interest relative to you evinced by both the mother and the daughter surprised me.  They had heard of my name from you, but not of our quarrel.  They urged me, and thanked me for proposing, to follow you and find you out:  I did make every attempt.  I went to Brentford, inquired at all the public-houses, and of all the coachmen who went down the road, but could obtain no information, except that at one public-house, a gentleman stopped with a portmanteau, and soon afterwards went away with it on his shoulders.  I returned to Richmond with the tidings of my ill-success about a week after I had first called there.  Cecilia was much affected and cried very bitterly.  I could not help asking Lady de Clare why she took such a strong interest in your fortunes.  ‘Who ought,’ replied Cecilia, ‘if his poor Fleta does not?’ ’Good Heavens!  Miss de Clare, are you the little Fleta whom he found with the gipsies, and talked to me so much about?’ ‘Did you not know it?’ said Lady de Clare.  I then explained to her all that had latterly passed between us, and they in return communicated your events and dangers in Ireland.  Thus was an intimacy formed, and ever since I have been constantly welcome at their house.  I did not, however, abandon my enquiries for many months, when I thought it was useless, and I had to console poor Cecilia, who constantly mourned for you.  And now, Japhet, I must make my story short:  I could not help admiring a young person who showed so much attachment and gratitude joined to such personal attractions, but she was an heiress and I was a younger brother.  Still Lady de Clare insisted upon my coming to the house, and I was undecided how to act when the unfortunate death of my elder brother put me in a situation to aspire to her hand.  After that my visits were more frequent, and I was tacitly received as a suitor by Lady de Clare, and had no reason to complain of the treatment I received from Cecilia.  Such was the position of affairs until the day on which you broke in upon us so unexpectedly, and at the very moment that you came in, I had, with the sanction of her mother, made an offer to Cecilia, and was anxiously awaiting an answer from her own dear lips.  Can you therefore be surprised, Japhet, at there being a degree of constraint on all sides at the interruption occasioned by the presence of one who had long been considered lost to us?  Or that a young person just deciding upon the most important step of her life should feel confused and agitated at the entrance of a third party, however dear he might be to her as a brother and benefactor?”

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“I am perfectly satisfied, Harcourt,” replied I:  “and I will go there, and make my peace as soon as I can.”

“Indeed, Japhet, if you knew the distress of Cecilia you would pity and love her more than ever.  Her mother is also much annoyed.  As soon as you were gone, they desired me to hasten after you and bring you back.  Cecilia had not yet given her answer:  I requested it before my departure, but, I presume to stimulate me, she declared that she would give me no answer, until I re-appeared with you.  This is now three weeks ago, and I have not dared to go there.  I have been trying all I can to see you again since you repulsed me at the Piazza, but without success, until I went to Mr Masterton, and begged him to procure me an interview.  I thank God it has succeeded.”

“Well, Harcourt, you shall see Cecilia to-morrow morning, if you please.”

“Japhet, what obligations I am under to you!  Had it not been for you I never should have known Cecilia; and more, were it not for your kindness, I might perhaps lose her for ever.”

“Not so, Harcourt; it was your own good feeling prompting you to find me out, which introduced you to Cecilia, and I wish you joy with all my heart.  This is a strange world—­who would have imagined that, in little Fleta, I was picking up a wife for a man whose life I nearly took away?  I will ask my governor for his carriage to-morrow, and will call and take you up at your lodgings at two o’clock, if that hour will suit you.  I will tell you all that has passed since I absconded, when we are at Lady de Clare’s; one story will do for all.”

Harcourt then took his leave, and I returned to my father, with whom I found Lord Windermear.

“De Benyon, I am happy to see you again,” said his lordship.  “I have just been giving a very good character of you to the general; I hope you will continue to deserve it.”

“I hope so too, my lord; I should be ungrateful indeed, if I did not, after my father’s kindness to me.”

Mr Masterton was then introduced:  Lord Windermear shook hands with him, and after a short conversation took his leave.

“Japhet,” said Mr Masterton aside, “I have a little business with your father; get out of the room any way you think best.”

“There are but two ways, my dear sir,” replied I, “the door or the windows:  with your permission, I will select the former, as most agreeable;” so saying, I went to my own room.  What passed between the general and Mr Masterton I did not know until afterwards, but they were closeted upwards of an hour, when I was sent for by Mr Masterton.

“Japhet, you said you would go with me to hear the new preacher; we have no time to lose:  so, general, I shall take my leave and run away with your son.”

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I followed Mr Masterton into his carriage, and we drove to the lodging of Mr Cophagus.  Susannah was all ready, and Mr Masterton went up stairs and brought her down.  A blush and a sweet smile illumined her features when she perceived me stowed away in the corner of the chariot.  We drove off, and somehow or another our hands again met and did not separate until we arrived at the church door.  Susannah had the same dress on as when she had accompanied me in my father’s carriage.  I went through the responses with her, reading out of the same book, and I never felt more inclined to be devout, for I was happy, and grateful to Heaven for my happiness.  When the service was over, we were about to enter the carriage, when who should accost us but Harcourt.

“You are surprised to see me here,” said he to Mr Masterton, “but I thought there must be something very attractive, that you should make an appointment with Japhet to go to this church, and as I am very fond of a good sermon, I determined to come and hear it.”

Harcourt’s ironical look told me all he would say.

“Well,” replied Mr Masterton, “I hope you have been edified—­now get out of the way, and let us go into the carriage.”

“To-morrow at two, De Benyon,” said Harcourt, taking another peep at Susannah.

“Yes, punctually,” replied I, as the carriage drove off.

“And now, my dear child,” said Mr Masterton to Susannah, as the carriage rolled along, “Tell me, have you been disappointed, or do you agree with me?  You have attended a meeting of your own persuasion this morning—­you have now, for the first time, listened to the ritual of the Established Church.  To which do you give the preference?”

“I will not deny, sir, that I think, in departing from the forms of worship, those of my persuasion did not do wisely.  I would not venture thus much to say, but you support me in my judgment.”

“You have answered like a good, sensible girl, and have proved that you can think for yourself; but observe, my child, I have persuaded you for once, and once only, to enter our place of worship, that you might compare and judge for yourself; it now remains for you to decide as you please.”  “I would that some better qualified would decide for me,” replied Susannah, gravely.

“Your husband, Susannah,” whispered I, “must take that responsibility upon himself.  Is he not the proper person?”

Susannah slightly pressed my hand, which held hers, and said nothing.  As soon as we had conveyed her home, Mr Masterton offered to do me the same kindness, which I accepted.

“Now, Japhet, I dare say that you would like to know what it was I had so particular to say to the old general this morning.”

“Of course I would, sir, if it concerned me.”

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“It did concern you, for we had not been two minutes in conversation, before you were brought on the tapis; he spoke of you with tears in his eyes—­of what a comfort you had been to him, and how happy you had made him; and that he could not bear you to be away from him for half an hour.  On that hint I spake, and observed, that he must not expect you to continue in retirement long, neither must he blame you, that when he had set up his establishment, you would be as great a favourite as you were before, and be unable, without giving offence, to refuse the numerous invitations which you would receive.  In short, that it was nothing but right you should resume your position in society, and it was his duty to submit to it.  The old governor did not appear to like my observations, and said he expected otherwise from you.  I replied ’that it was impossible to change our natures, and the other sex would naturally have attractions which you would not be able to resist, and that they would occupy a large portion of your time.  The only way to ensure his company, my dear sir, is to marry him to a steady, amiable young woman, who, not having been thrown into the vortex of fashion, will find pleasure in domestic life.  Then her husband will become equally domestic, and you will be all very happy together.’  Your father agreed with me, and appeared very anxious that it should take place.  I then very carefully introduced Miss Temple, saying, that I knew you had a slight partiality in that quarter, highly commending her beauty, prudence, &c.  I stated, that feeling an interest about you, I had gone down into the country where she resided, and had made her acquaintance, and had been much pleased with her; that since she had come up to town with her relations, I had seen a great deal, and had formed so high an opinion of, and so strong an attachment to her, and had felt so convinced that she was the very person who would make you happy and domestic, that having no family myself, I had some idea of adopting her.  At all events, that if she married you, I was determined to give her something very handsome on the day of the wedding.”

“But, my dear sir, why should you not have said that Susannah Temple was left an orphan at seven years old, and her fortune has accumulated ever since? it is by no means despicable, I understand, from Mr Cophagus; and moreover, Mr Cophagus intends to leave her all his property.”

“I am very glad to hear it, Japhet, and will not fail to communicate all this to your father; but there is no reason why I may not do as I please with my own money—­and I love that girl dearly.  By-the-bye, have you ever said anything to her?”

“O yes, sir, we are pledged to each other.”

“That’s all right; I thought so, when I saw your fingers hooked together in the carriage.  But now, Japhet, I should recommend a little indifference—­not exactly opposition, when your father proposes the subject to you.  It will make him more anxious, and when you consent more obliged to you.  I have promised to call upon him to-morrow, on that and other business, and you had better be out of the way.”

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“I shall be out of the way, sir; I mean to go with Harcourt to Lady de Clare’s.  I shall ask for the carriage.”

“He will certainly lend it to you, as he wishes to get rid of you; but here we are.  God bless you, my boy.”


     The Bengal tiger taken in the toils, which promise a speedy end
     to mine—­I kindly permit my father to insist upon the marriage
     that I have set my heart upon.

I found my father, who had now completely recovered from his accident, walking up and down the room in a brown study.  He did not speak to me until after dinner, when he commenced with asking some questions relative to Cecilia de Clare.  I replied, “that I intended, if he did not want the carriage, to call there to-morrow with Mr Harcourt.”

“Is she very handsome?” inquired he.

“Very much so, sir.  I do not think I ever saw a handsomer young person.  Yes, I do recollect one.”

“Who was that?”

“A young lady with whom I was slightly acquainted, when living in the country.”

“I have been thinking, my dear boy, that with the competence which you will have, it is right that you should marry early; in so doing you will oblige your father, who is anxious to see his grandchildren before he dies.  My health is not very good.”

I could not help smiling at this pathetic touch of the old governor’s, who, if one could judge from appearances, was as strong as a lion, and likely to last almost as long as his dutiful son.  Moreover, his appetite was enormous, and he invariably finished his bottle every day.  I did not therefore feel any serious alarm as to his health, but I nevertheless replied, “Matrimony is a subject upon which I have never thought”—­(ahem! a De Benyon never tells an untruth!), “I am very young yet, and am too happy to remain with you.”

“But, my dear boy, I propose that you shall remain with me—­we will all live together.  I do not intend that we shall part.  I really wish, Japhet, you would think seriously of it.”

“My dear father, allow me to observe, that at present I am not in a situation to support a wife, and I should be sorry to be a tax upon you, at your age; you require many comforts and luxuries, and I presume that you live up to your income.”

“Then, my dear fellow, you are under a great mistake.  I can lay down one hundred thousand pounds on the day of your marriage, with any lady whom I approve of, and still not spend half my remaining income.”

“That, sir,” replied I, “certainly removes one difficulty, at the same time that it proves what a generous and indulgent father I am blessed with; but, sir, with such a fortune, I have a right to expect that the lady will also bring a handsome addition.  Miss De Clare is engaged, I believe, to Mr Harcourt, or I might have made strong interest in that quarter.”

“Something, my dear boy; but a moderate fortune now-a-days is all that we expect with wives, and the best wives are those who are not born to too much wealth; still she should bring something; but tell me, Japhet, who is that young lady whom you thought handsomer than Miss De Clare?”

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“A Miss Temple, sir.”

“Temple—­it is a very good name.  I think girls brought up in the country make the best wives.”

“They do, sir, most certainly; they are more domestic, and make their husbands more content and happy at home.”

“Well, my dear boy, I have mentioned the subject, and wish you would think of it.  You will please me much.”

“My dear father, I shall be most happy to obey in everything else, but in so serious a point as uniting myself for life, I think you must allow that a little discretionary power should be given to a son.  All I can say is this, show me a young person who is eligible, and if I find that I can love her, I will not refuse to obey your wishes.”

“Well, sir, do as you please,” replied my father, very angrily; “but I think, sir, when I desire you to fall in love, it is your duty to obey.”

“Suppose I was to fall in love with a person you did not like, would you allow me to marry her?”

“Most certainly not, sir.”

“Then, sir, is it reasonable to expect me to marry without being in love?”

“I did not marry for love, sir.”

“No,” replied I, forgetting myself a little; “and a pretty mess you made of it.”

“I did,” rejoined my father in a rage, “by begetting an undutiful, good-for-nothing, graceless, insolent, ungrateful son.”

“My dear father, I was not aware that I had a brother.”

“I mean you, sir.”

“To prove to you how unjust you are, sir, and how little I deserve what you have called me, I now promise you to marry as soon as you wish.”

“Thank you, my boy, that’s kind of you; but I will say that you are a comfort and a treasure to me, and I bless the day that brought you to my arms.  Well, then, look about you.”

“No, sir, I leave it all to you; select the party, and I am willing to obey you.”

“My dear boy!  Well, then, I’ll talk the matter over with Mr Masterton to-morrow,” and the general shook me warmly by the hand.

The next day I picked up Harcourt, and proceeded to Park Street.  A note from him had informed them of our intended visit, and other visitors had been denied.  “All has been explained, Cecilia,” said I, after the first greeting:  “I was very wrong, and very foolish.”

“And made me very miserable.  I little thought that you, Japhet, would have made me cry so much; but I forgive you for it, as I would a thousand times as much more.  Now sit down and tell us all that has happened since you left us.”

“Not yet, my dear Cecilia.  You, as well as I, owe a reparation to poor Harcourt, whom, I think, you have treated cruelly.  You were about to answer a question of vital moment when I broke in upon you, and you have since kept him in a state of cruel suspense for more than three weeks, refusing him an answer until he brought me into your presence.  An hour of such suspense must be dreadful, and before we sit down, I wish everyone should feel comfortable and happy.”

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“It was not altogether to stimulate Mr Harcourt to bring you back, which induced me to refuse to answer his question, Japhet.  I considered that your return had rendered it necessary that it should be deferred until I saw you.  I have not forgotten, Japhet, and never shall forget, what I was when you rescued me; and when I think what I might have been had you not saved me, I shudder at the bare idea.  I have not forgotten how you risked, and nearly lost your life in Ireland for my sake—­neither has my mother.  We are beholden to you for all our present happiness, and I am eternally indebted to you for rescuing me from ignorance, poverty, and, perhaps, vice.  You have been more, much more than a father to me—­more, much more than a brother.  I am, as it were, a creature of your own fashioning, and I owe to you that which I never can repay.  When, then, you returned so unexpectedly, Japhet, I felt that you had a paramount right in my disposal, and I was glad that I had not replied to Mr Harcourt, as I wished first for your sanction and approval.  I know all that has passed between you, but I know not your real feelings towards Mr Harcourt; he acknowledges that he treated you very ill, and it was his sincere repentance of having so done, and his praise of you, which first won my favour.  And now, Japhet, if you have still animosity against Mr Harcourt—­if you—­”

“Stop, my dear Fleta, I will answer all your questions at once.”  I took Harcourt’s hand, and placed it in her’s.  “May God bless you both, and may you be happy!”

Cecilia threw her arms round me and wept; so did everybody else, I believe.  It was lucky for Harcourt that I was in love with Susannah Temple.  As soon as Cecilia had recovered a little, I kissed her, and passed her over to her right owner, who led her to the sofa.  Lady de Clare and I went out of the room on important business, and did not return for a quarter of an hour.  When we returned, Cecilia went to her mother and embraced her, while Harcourt silently squeezed my hand.  We then all sat down, and I gave them an account of all that had passed during my second excursion—­how I had nearly been hanged—­how I had gone mad—­how I had turned Quaker and apothecary—­which they all agreed, with what had happened to me before, made up a very eventful history.

“And, Japhet, if it be a fair question about one so fair, was that Miss Temple who was at church with you yesterday?”

“It was.”

“Then, Cecilia, if ever she appears in the same circle, except in my eyes, your beauty will stand in some danger of being eclipsed.”

“How can you say, except in your eyes, Mr Harcourt,” replied Cecilia, “the very observation proves that it is eclipsed in your eyes, whatever it may be in those of others.  Now, as a punishment, I have a great mind to order you away again, until you bring her face to face, that I may judge myself.”

“If I am again banished,” replied Harcourt, “I shall have a second time to appeal to De Benyon to be able to come back again.  He can produce her, I have no doubt.”

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“And perhaps may, some of these days, Cecilia.”

“Oh! do, Japhet.  I will love her so.”

“You must wait a little first.  I am not quite so far advanced as you and Harcourt.  I have not received the consent of all parties, as you have to-day.  But I must now leave you.  Harcourt, I presume you will dine here.  I must dine with my governor.”

On my return, I found that the table was laid for three, and that the general had asked Mr Masterton, from which I augured well.  Masterton could not speak to me when he arrived, but he gave me a wink and a smile, and I was satisfied.  “Japhet,” said my father, “you have no engagement to-morrow, I hope, because I shall call at Mr Masterton’s on business, and wish you to accompany me.”

I replied, that “I should be most happy,” and the conversation became general.

I accompanied my father the next day to Lincoln’s Inn, and when we went up, we found Mr Masterton at the table with Mr Cophagus, and Susannah sitting apart near the window.  “The plot thickens,” thought I. The fact was, as I was afterwards told by Mr Masterton, he had prevailed upon Cophagus to pretend business, and to bring Susannah with him, and appointed them a quarter of an hour before our time.  This he had arranged, that the general might see Miss Temple, as if by accident; and also allow me, who, my father supposed, was not aware of Miss Temple being in town, to meet with her.  What a deal of humbug there is in this world!  Nothing but plot and counterplot!  I shook hands with Cophagus, who, I perceived, had, notwithstanding his wife’s veto, put on his blue cotton net pantaloons and Hessian boots, and he appeared to be so tight in both, that he could hardly move.  As far as I could judge, his legs had not improved since I had last seen them in this his favourite dress.

“Mr De Benyon, I believe that you have met Miss Temple before,” said Mr Masterton, winking at me.  “In Berkshire, was it not?  Miss Temple, allow me to introduce General De Benyon.”

I went up to Susannah, who coloured and trembled at the sight of my father, as I expressed my hope that she had been well since we last met.  She perceived that there was some planned scheme, and was so puzzled that she said nothing.  My father then spoke to her, and after a short time took a chair, and seated himself close to her.  I never knew her make herself so agreeable.  He asked her where she was staying, and when he heard that it was with Mr Cophagus, he said that he should have the pleasure of calling upon Mr Cophagus, and thank him for his kind information relative to me.  Shortly afterwards Cophagus took his leave, and Susannah rose to accompany him, when my father, hearing that they had walked, insisted upon putting Miss Temple down in his carriage.  So that Mr Cophagus had to walk home one way, and I the other.

Chapter LXXXI

Page 268

Poor Cophagus finds an end to his adventures by the means of a mad bull; I, of mine, by matrimony—­Father is prettily behaved, and my Quaker wife the most fashionably dressed lady in town—­verily! hum!

Alas! little did Mr Cophagus know how fatal to him would be the light cotton nets when he put them on that day.  He had proceeded, as it appears, about two-thirds of his way home (he lived in Welbeck Street), when he perceived a rush from up a street leading into Oxford Street.  He looked to ascertain the cause, when to his horror he perceived—­what to him was the greatest of all horrors—­a mad bull.  If anything could make Mr Cophagus run, it was a sight like that, and he did run; but he could not run fast in his cotton nets and tight Hessians, which crippled him altogether.  As if out of pure spite, the bull singled him out from at least one hundred, who exerted their agility and again was poor Mr Cophagus tossed far behind the animal, fortunately breaking his fall by tumbling on a large dog who was in full chase.  The dog, who was unable to crawl from beneath the unfortunate Cophagus, was still in a condition to bite, which he did most furiously; and the butcher, who had an affection for his dog, when he perceived its condition, also vented his fury upon poor Cophagus, by saluting him with several blows on his head with his cudgel.  What between the bull, the dog, and the butcher, poor Mr Cophagus was taken into a shop in a very deplorable condition.  After some time he recovered, and was able to name his residence, when he was taken home.

It was late in the evening when I received a note from Susannah, informing me of that unfortunate accident.  My father had just finished a long story about filial duty, country girls, good wives, &c, and had wound up by saying, that he and Mr Masterton both considered that Miss Temple would be a very eligible match, and that as I had requested him to select, he had selected her accordingly.  I had just proved how truly dutiful I was, by promising to do all I could to love her, and to fulfil his wishes, when the note was put in my hands.  I read it, stated its contents to my father, and, with his permission, immediately jumped into a hackney-coach, and drove to Welbeck Street.

On my arrival I found poor Mrs Cophagus in a state of syncope, and Susannah attending her.  I sent for the surgeon who had been called in, and then went up to Mr Cophagus.  He was much better than I expected—­calm, and quite sensible.  His wounds had been dressed by the surgeon, but he did not appear to be aware of the extent of the injury he had received.  When the surgeon came I questioned him.  He informed me that although much hurt, he did not consider that there was any danger to be apprehended; there were no bones broken; the only fear that he had was, that there might be some internal injury; but at present that could not be ascertained.  I thanked him, and consoled Mrs Cophagus with this information.  I then returned to her husband, who shook his head, and muttered, as I put my ear down to hear him, “Thought so—­come to London—­full of mad bulls—­tossed—­die—­and so on.”

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“O no!” replied I, “the surgeon says that there is no danger.  You will be up in a week—­but now you must keep very quiet.  I will send Mrs Cophagus to you.”

I went out, and finding her composed, I desired her to go to her husband, who wished to see her, and I was left alone with Susannah.  I told her all that had passed, and after two delightful hours had escaped, I returned home to the hotel.  My father had waited up for some time, and finding that I did not return, had retired.  When I met him the next morning I mentioned what the surgeon had said, but stated that, in my opinion, there was great cause for alarm in a man of Mr Cophagus’s advanced age.  My father agreed with me, but could not help pointing out what a good opportunity this would afford for my paying my attentions to Miss Temple, as it was natural that I should be interested about so old a friend as Mr Cophagus.  My filial duty inclined me to reply, that I should certainly avail myself of such a favourable opportunity.

My adventures are now drawing to a close.  I must pass over three months, during which my father had taken and furnished a house in Grosvenor Square; and I, whenever I could spare time, had, under the auspices of Lord Windermear, again been introduced into the world as Mr De Benyon.  I found that the new name was considered highly respectable, my father’s hall tables were loaded with cards, and I even received two dinner invitations from Lady Maelstrom, who told me how her dear nieces had wondered what had become of me, and that they were afraid that Louisa would have fallen into a decline.  And during these three months Cecilia and Susannah had been introduced, and had become as inseparable as most young ladies are, who have a lover a-piece, and no cause for jealousy.  Mr Cophagus had so far recovered as to be able to go down into the country, vowing, much to the chagrin of his wife, that he never would put his foot in London again.  He asked me whether I knew any place where there were no mad bulls, and I took some trouble to find out, but I could not; for even if he went to the North Pole, although there were no bulls, yet there were bull bisons and musk bulls, which were even more savage.  Upon which he declared that this was not a world to live in, and to prove that he was sincere in his opinion, poor fellow, about three months after his retirement into the country, he died from a general decay, arising from the shock produced on his system.  But before these three months had passed, it had been finally arranged that Harcourt and I were to be united on the same day; and having renewed my acquaintance with the good bishop, whom I had taxed with being my father, he united us both to our respective partners.  My father made over to me the sum which he had mentioned.  Mr Masterton gave Susannah ten thousand pounds, and her own fortune amounted to as much more, with the reversion of Mr Cophagus’s property at the decease of his widow.  Timothy came up to the wedding, and I formally put him in the possession of my shop and stock in trade, and he has now a flourishing business.  Although he has not yet found his mother, he has found a very pretty wife, which he says does quite as well, if not better.

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Let it not be supposed that I forgot the good services of Kathleen—­who was soon after married to Corny.  A small farm on Fleta’s estate was appropriated to them, at so low a rent, that in a few years they were able to purchase the property, and Corny, from a leveller, as soon as he was comfortable, became one of the government’s firmest supporters.

I am now living in the same house with my father, who is very happy, and behaves pretty well.  He is seldom in a passion more than twice a-week, which we consider as miraculous.  Now that I am writing this, he has his two grandchildren on his knees.  Mrs Cophagus has married a captain in the Life Guards, and as far as fashion and dress are concerned, may be said to be “going the whole hog.”  And now, as I have no doubt that my readers will be curious to know whether my lovely wife adheres to her primitive style of dress, I shall only repeat a conversation of yesterday night, as she came down arrayed for a splendid ball given by Mrs Harcourt de Clare.

“Tell me now, De Benyon,” said she, “is not this a pretty dress?”

“Yes, my dear,” replied I, looking at her charming face and figure with all the admiration usual in the honeymoon, “it is indeed; but do you not think, my dear Susan,” said I, putting the tip of my white glove upon her snowy shoulder, “that it is cut down a little too low?”

“Too low, De Benyon! why it’s not half so low as Mrs Harcourt de Clare or Lady C——­ wear their dresses.”

“Well, my dear, I did not assert that it was.  I only asked.”

“Well, then, if you only asked for information, De Benyon, I will tell you that it is not too low, and I think you will acknowledge that on this point my opinion ought to be decisive; for if I have no other merit, I have at least the merit of being the best-dressed woman in London.”

“Verily thou persuadest me, Susannah,” replied I.

“Now, De Benyon, hold your tongue.”

Like a well-disciplined husband, I bowed, and said no more.  And now, having no more to say, I shall also make my bow to my readers, and bid them farewell.