“Exactly so, sir.”
“I’ll tell Susannah Temple when I see her, that she may form some idea of your constancy,” replied Mr Masterton, smiling. “Why, what a dog in the manger you must be—you can’t marry them both. Still, under the circumstances, I can analyse the feeling—it is natural, but all that is natural is not always creditable to human nature. Let us talk a little about Susannah, and then all these vagaries will be dispersed. How old is she?”
Mr Masterton plied me with so many questions relative to Susannah, that her image alone soon filled my mind, and I recovered my spirits. “I don’t know what she will say, at my being in this dress, sir,” observed I. “Had I not better change it on my arrival?”
“By no means; I’ll fight your battle—I know her character pretty well, thanks to your raving about her.”
Contains much learned argument upon broad-brims and garments of grey—I get the best of it—The one great wish of my life is granted—I meet my father, and a cold reception very indicative of much after-heat.
We arrived in good time at Reading, and, as soon as we alighted at the inn, we ordered dinner, and then walked down to the shop, where we found Timothy very busy tying down and labelling. He was delighted to see Mr Masterton, and perceiving that I had laid aside the Quaker’s dress, made no scruple of indulging in his humour, making a long face, and thee-ing and thou-ing Mr Masterton in a very absurd manner. We desired him to go to Mr Cophagus, and beg that he would allow me to bring Mr Masterton to drink tea, and afterwards to call at the inn and give us the answer. We then returned to our dinner.
“Whether they will ever make a Quaker of you, Japhet, I am very doubtful,” observed Mr Masterton, as we walked back; “but as for making one of that fellow Timothy, I’ll defy them.”
“He laughs at everything,” replied I: “and views everything in a ridiculous light—at all events, they never will make him serious.”
In the evening, we adjourned to the house of Mr Cophagus, having received a message of welcome. I entered the room first. Susannah came forward to welcome me, and then drew back, when she perceived the alteration in my apparel, colouring deeply. I passed her, and took the hand of Mrs Cophagus and her husband, and then introduced Mr Masterton.
“We hardly knew thee, Japhet,” mildly observed Mrs Cophagus.
“I did not think that outward garments would disguise me from my friends,” replied I; “but so it appeareth, for your sister hath not even greeted me in welcome.”
“I greet thee in all kindness, and all sincerity, Japhet Newland,” replied Susannah, holding out her hand. “Yet did I not imagine that, in so short a time, thou wouldst have dismissed the apparel of our persuasion, neither do I find it seemly.”