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.
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.”