"Warrants your asking for her back again, Mr Forster?" replied the marquis, haughtily; "a labourer might find this diamond solitaire that's now upon my finger. Does it therefore follow that I am to make him a present of it?"
"Humph!" ejaculated Mr Forster, much affronted with the comparison.
"In short, my dear sir, any thing which you or your family can think of; which it is in our power to grant, will make us most happy; but to sully the blood of the most ancient—"
John Forster would hear no more; he quitted the room and walked up stairs before the marquis had completed his speech. When he entered the drawing-room, his countenance plainly expressed his disappointment. Like all men who have toiled for riches, he had formed plans in which he considered his wealth was to command success, and had overlooked every obstacle which might present itself against the completion of his wishes.
"Newton," said he, as they stood apart near the window, "you have been a good lad in not persisting to thwart my views, but that French marquis, with his folly and his 'ancienne noblesse,' has overthrown all my plans. Now, I shall not interfere with yours. Introduce me to Miss what's her name; she is a very fine girl, and from what I saw of her during dinner, I like her very much."
Isabel exerted herself to please, and succeeded. Satisfied with his nephew's choice, flattered by his previous apparent submission, and disgusted with the marquis, Mr John Forster thought no more of Mademoiselle de Fontanges. His consent was voluntary, and in a short time Isabel Revel changed her name.
It was about five months after Newton's marriage that he received a letter from the Board, appointing him to the command of a ship. Newton handed the letter over to Mr Forster.
"I presume, sir, it is your wish that I should accept the offer?"
"What offer?" said the old lawyer, who was reading through a case for counsel's opinions. "Melville—for Madras and China.—Why, Newton, I really do not see any occasion for your going afloat again. There is an old proverb—'The pitcher that goes often to the well is broken at last.' You're not tired of your wife already?"
"I hope not, sir; but I thought it might be your wish."
"It's my wish that you should stay at home. A poor man may go to sea, because he stands a chance to come home rich; but a man who has money in hand and in prospect, if he goes to sea, he is a fool. Follow your profession as long as you require it, but no longer."
"Why then do you work so hard, my dear sir," said Isabel, leaning over the old gentleman, and kissing him, in gratitude for his decision. "Surely you can afford to relax a little now?"
"Why do I work so hard, Isabel?" replied Mr Forster, looking up at her through his spectacles. "Why you expect to have a family, do you not?"
Isabel blushed; the expectation was undeniable.
"Well, then, I presume the children will have no objection to find a few thousands more to be divided among them by-and-bye—will they, daughter?"
The conversation was interrupted by the entry of a servant with a letter; Mr Forster broke the seal, and looked at the signature.
"Humph! from the proud old marquis. 'Very sorry, for a short period, to have fallen in your good opinion—should have rejoiced to have called Newton my son-in-law!'—Humph! 'Family pride all assumed—Newton's happiness at stake—trust the deceit will be pardoned, and a renewal of former intimacy.' Why, Newton, is all this true?"
"Ask Isabel, sir," replied, Newton, smiling.
"Well, then, Isabel, is all this true?"
"Ask Newton, sir," replied Isabel, kissing him. "The fact is, my dear sir, I could not afford to part with Newton, even to please you, so we made up a little plot."
"Humph!—made up a little plot—well—I shan't alter my will, nevertheless;" and Mr Forster recommenced the reading of his brief.
Such is the history of Newton Forster, which, like most novels or plays, has been wound up with marriage. The last time that I appeared before my readers, they were dissatisfied with the termination of my story; they considered I had deprived them of a happy marriage, to which, as an undoubted right, they were entitled, after wading through three tedious volumes. As I am anxious to keep on good terms with the public, I hasten to repair the injury which it has sustained, by stating that about three years after the marriage of Newton Forster, the following paragraph appeared in the several papers of the metropolis.
"Yesterday, by special license, the Right Honourable William Lord Aveleyn to Mademoiselle Julie de Fontanges, only daughter of the Marquis de Fontanges, late governor of the Island of Bourbon. The marriage was to have been solemnised in December last, but was postponed, in consequence of the death of the late Lord Aveleyn. After the ceremony, the happy couple," etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
And now, most arbitrary public, I consider that I have made the amende honorable, and that we are quits; for, if you were minus a happy marriage in the last work, you have a couple to indemnify you in the present.