“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.
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.”