“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.”