A Rogue's Life (Chapter 3, page 1 of 9)


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Chapter 3

To return to my business affairs. When I was comfortably settled in the
prison, and knew exactly what I owed, I thought it my duty to my father
to give him the first chance of getting me out. His answer to my letter
contained a quotation from Shakespeare on the subject of thankless
children, but no remittance of money. After that, my only course was
to employ a lawyer and be declared a bankrupt. I was most uncivilly
treated, and remanded two or three times. When everything I possessed
had been sold for the benefit of my creditors, I was reprimanded and let
out. It is pleasant to think that, even then, my faith in myself and in
human nature was still not shaken.

About ten days before my liberation, I was thunderstruck at receiving a
visit from my sister's mahogany-colored husband, Mr. Batterbury. When
I was respectably settled at home, this gentleman would not so much as
look at me without a frown; and now, when I was a scamp, in prison, he
mercifully and fraternally came to condole with me on my misfortunes.
A little dexterous questioning disclosed the secret of this prodigious
change in our relations toward each other, and informed me of a family
event which altered my position toward my sister in the most whimsical
manner.

While I was being removed to the bankruptcy court, my uncle in the soap
and candle trade was being removed to the other world. His will took
no notice of my father or my mother; but he left to my sister (always
supposed to be his favorite in the family) a most extraordinary legacy
of possible pin-money, in the shape of a contingent reversion to the
sum of three thousand pounds, payable on the death of Lady Malkinshaw,
provided I survived her.

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