The man then quitted the room, leaving me quite astonished with the information he had imparted. Cophagus turned Quaker! and attending me in the town of Reading. In a short time Mr Cophagus himself entered in his dressing-gown. “Japhet!” said he, seizing my hand with eagerness, and then, as if recollecting, he checked himself, and commenced in a slow tone, “Japhet Newland—truly glad am I—hum—verily do I rejoice—you, Ephraim—get out of the room—and so on.”
“Yea, I will depart, since it is thy bidding,” replied the man, quitting the room.
Mr Cophagus then greeted me in his usual way—told me that he had found me insensible at the door of a house a little way off, and had immediately recognised me. He had brought me to his own home, but without much hope of my recovery. He then begged to know by what strange chance I had been found in such a desolate condition. I replied, “that although I was able to listen, I did not feel myself equal to the exertion of telling so long a story, and that I should infinitely prefer that he should narrate to me what had passed since we had parted at Dublin, and how it was that I now found that he had joined the sect of Quakers.”
“Peradventure—long word that—um—queer people—very good—and so on,” commenced Mr Cophagus; but as the reader will not understand his phraseology quite so well as I did, I shall give Mr Cophagus’s history in my own version.
Mr Cophagus had returned to the small town at which he resided, and, on his arrival, he had been called upon by a gentleman who was of the Society of Friends, requesting that he would prescribe for a niece of his, who was on a visit at his house, and had been taken dangerously ill. Cophagus, with his usual kindness of heart, immediately consented, and found that Mr Temple’s report was true. For six weeks he attended the young Quakeress, and recovered her from an imminent and painful disease, in which she showed such fortitude and resignation, and such unconquerable good temper, that when Mr Cophagus returned to his bachelor’s establishment, he could not help reflecting upon what an invaluable wife she would make, and how much more cheerful his house would be with such a domestic partner.
In short, Mr Cophagus fell in love, and like all elderly gentlemen who have so long bottled up their affections, he became most desperately enamoured; and if he loved Miss Judith Temple when he witnessed her patience and resignation under suffering, how much more did he love her when he found that she was playful, merry, and cheerful, without being boisterous, when restored to her health. Mr Cophagus’s attentions could not be misunderstood. He told her uncle that he had thought seriously of wedding cake—white favours—marriage—family—and so on; and to the young lady he had put his cane up to his nose and prescribed, “A dose of matrimony—to be taken immediately.” To Mr Cophagus there was no objection raised by the lady, who was not in her teens, or by the uncle, who had always respected him as a worthy man, and a good Christian; but to marry one who was not of her persuasion, was not to be thought of. Her friends would not consent to it. Mr Cophagus was therefore dismissed, with a full assurance that the only objection which offered was, that he was not of their society.