As these thoughts passed in my mind the door opened, and Mr Masterton requested me to follow him. I obeyed with a palpitating heart, and when I had gained the landing-place up stairs, Mr Masterton took my hand and led me into the presence of my long-sought-for and much-dreaded parent. I may as well describe him and the whole tableau. The room was long and narrow, and, at the farther end, was a large sofa, on which was seated my father with his injured leg reposing on it, his crutches propped against the wall. On each side of him were two large poles and stands each with a magnificent macaw. Next to the macaws were two native servants, arrayed in their muslin dresses, with their arms folded. A hooka was in advance of the table before the sofa; it was magnificently wrought in silver, and the snake passed under the table, so that the tube was within my honoured father’s reach. On one side of the room sat the two governors of the Foundling Hospital, on the other was seated Mr Cophagus in his Quaker’s dress; the empty chair next to him had been occupied by Mr Masterton. I looked at my father: he was a man of great size, apparently six feet three or four inches, and stout in proportion without being burthened with fat: he was gaunt, broad shouldered, and muscular, and I think, must have weighed seventeen or eighteen stone. His head was in proportion to his body and very large; so were all his features upon the same grand scale. His complexion was of a brownish-yellow, and his hair of a snowy white. He wore his whiskers very large and joined together under the throat, and these, which were also white, from the circle which they formed round his face, and contrasting with the colour of his skin, gave his tout ensemble much more the appearance of a royal Bengal tiger than a gentleman. General De Benyon saw Mr Masterton leading me forward to within a pace or two of the table before the general.—“Allow me the pleasure of introducing your son, Japhet.”
There was no hand extended to welcome me. My father fixed his proud grey eyes upon me for a moment, and then turned to the governors of the hospital.
“Is this the person, gentlemen, whom you received as an infant and brought up as Japhet Newland?”
The governors declared I was the same person; that they had bound me to Mr Cophagus, and had seen me more than once since I quitted the Asylum.
“Is this the Japhet Newland whom you received from these gentlemen and brought up to your business?”
“Yea, and verily—I do affirm the same—smart lad—good boy, and so on.”
“I will not take a Quaker’s affirmation—will you take your oath, sir?”
“Yes,” replied Cophagus, forgetting his Quakership; “take oath—bring Bible—kiss book, and so on.”
“You then, as a Quaker, have no objection to swear to the identity of this person?”
“Swear,” cried Cophagus, “yes, swear—swear now—not Japhet!—I’m damned—go to hell, and so on.”