“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.”
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