“God in heaven! where am I?” exclaimed I, faintly.
“Thou hast called often upon thy earthly father during the time of thy illness, friend,” replied a soft voice. “It rejoiceth me much to hear thee call upon thy Father which is in heaven. Be comforted, thou art in the hands of those who will be mindful of thee. Offer up thy thanks in one short prayer, for thy return to reason, and then sink again into repose, for thou must need it much.”
I opened my eyes wide, and perceived that a young person in a Quaker’s dress was sitting by the bed working with her needle; an open Bible was on a little table before her. I perceived also a cup, and parched with thirst, I merely said, “Give me to drink.” She arose, and put a teaspoon to my lips; but I raised my hand, took the cup from her, and emptied it. O how delightful was that draught! I sank down on my pillow, for even that slight exertion had overpowered me, and muttering, “God, I thank thee!” I was immediately in a sound sleep, from which I did not awake for many hours. When I did, it was not daylight. A lamp was on the table, and an old man in a Quaker’s dress was snoring very comfortably in the arm-chair. I felt quite refreshed with my long sleep, and was now able to recall what had passed. I remembered the condemned cell, and the mattress upon which I lay, but all after was in a state of confusion. Here and there a fact or supposition was strong in my memory; but the intervals between were total blanks. I was, at all events, free, that I felt convinced of, and that I was in the hands of the sect who denominate themselves Quakers: but where was I? and how did I come here? I remained thinking on the past, and wondering, until the day broke, and with the daylight roused up my watchful attendant. He yawned, stretched his arms, and rising from the chair, came to the side of my bed. I looked him in the face. “Hast thou slept well, friend?” said he.
“I have slept as much as I wish, and would not disturb you," replied I, “for I wanted nothing.”
“Peradventure I did sleep,” replied the man; “watching long agreeth not with the flesh, although the spirit is most willing. Requirest thou anything?”
“Yes,” replied I, “I wish to know where I am?”
“Verily, thou art in the town of Reading in Berkshire, and in the house of Phineas Cophagus.”
“Cophagus!” exclaimed I; “Mr Cophagus, the surgeon and apothecary?”
“Phineas Cophagus is his name; he hath been admitted into our sect, and hath married a daughter of our persuasion. He hath attended thee in thy fever and thy frenzy, without calling in the aid of the physician, therefore do I believe that he must be the man of whom thou speakest; yet doth he not follow up the healing art for the lucre of gain.”
“And the young person who was at my bedside, is she his wife?”
“Nay, friend, she is half-sister to the wife of Phineas Cophagus by a second marriage, and a maiden, who was named Susannah Temple at the baptismal font; but I will go to Phineas Cophagus and acquaint him of your waking, for such were his directions.”