“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.”
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.