Mr Cophagus, although he did not think so himself, as I afterwards found out, was certainly much improved by his change of costume. His spindle-shanks, which, as I have before observed, were peculiarly at variance with his little orbicular, orange-shaped stomach, were now concealed in loose trousers, which took off from the protuberance of the latter, and added dignity to the former, blending the two together, so that his roundness became fine by degrees, and beautifully less as it descended. Altogether, the Quaker dress added very much to the substantiability of his appearance, and was a manifest improvement, especially when he wore his broad-brimmed hat. Having satisfied my curiosity, I moved the curtain so as to attract their attention, and Cophagus came to my bedside, and felt my pulse. “Good—very good—all right—little broth—throw in bark—on his legs—well as ever—and so on.”
“I am indeed much better this afternoon,” replied I; “indeed, so well, that I feel as if I could get up.”
“Pooh:—tumble down—never do—lie a bed—get strong—wife—Mrs Cophagus—Japhet—old friend.”
Mrs Cophagus had risen from her chair, and come towards the bed, when her husband introduced her in his own fashion. “I am afraid that I have been a great trouble, madam,” said I.
“Japhet Newland, we have done but our duty, even if thou wert not, as it appears that thou art, a friend of my husband. Consider me, therefore, as thy sister, and I will regard thee as a brother; and if thou wouldst wish it, thou shalt sojourn with us, for so hath my husband communicated his wishes unto me.”
I thanked her for her kind expressions, and took the fair hand which was offered in such amity. Cophagus then asked me if I was well enough to inform him of what had passed since our last meeting, and telling me that his wife knew my whole history, and that I might speak before her, he took his seat by the side of the bed, his wife also drew her chair nearer, and I commenced the narrative of what had passed since we parted in Ireland. When I had finished, Mr Cophagus commenced as usual, “Um—very odd—lose money—bad—grow honest—good—run away from friends—bad—not hung— good—brain fever—bad—come here—good—stay with us—quite comfortable—and so on.”
“Thou hast suffered much, friend Japhet,” said Mrs Cophagus, wiping her eyes; “and I would almost venture to say, hast been chastised too severely, were it not that those whom He loveth, He chastiseth. Still thou art saved, and now out of danger; peradventure thou wilt now quit a vain world, and be content to live with us; nay, as thou hast the example of thy former master, it may perhaps please the Lord to advise thee to become one of us, and to join us as a Friend. My husband was persuaded to the right path by me,” continued she, looking fondly at him; “who knoweth but some of our maidens may also persuade thee to eschew a vain, unrighteous world, and follow thy Redeemer in humility?”