It was some time before we were sufficiently composed to enter into conversation, and then I tried my utmost to please him. Still, there was naturally a restraint on both sides, but I was so particular and devoted in my attentions, so careful of giving offence, that when he complained of weariness, and a wish to retire, he stipulated that I should be with him to breakfast on the next morning.
I hastened to Mr Masterton, although it was late, to communicate to him all that had passed; he heard me with great interest. “Japhet,” said he, “you have done well—it is the proudest day of your life. You have completely mastered him. The royal Bengal tiger is tamed. I wish you joy, my dear fellow. Now I trust that all will be well. But keep your own counsel, do not let this be known at Reading. Let them still imagine that your father is as passionate as ever, which he will be, by-the-bye, with everybody else. You have still to follow up your success, and leave me to help you in other matters.”
I returned home to the Piazza, and, thankful to Heaven for the events of the day, I soon fell fast asleep, and dreamt of Susannah Temple. The next morning I was early at the Adelphi hotel; my father had not yet risen, but the native servants who passed in and out, attending upon him, and who took care to give me a wide berth, had informed him that “Burra Saib’s” son was come, and he sent for me. His leg was very painful and uncomfortable, and the surgeon had not yet made his appearance. I arranged it as before, and he then dressed, and came out to breakfast. I had said nothing before the servants, but as soon as he was comfortable on the sofa I took his hand, and kissed it, saying, “Good morning, my dear father; I hope you do not repent of your kindness to me yesterday.”
“No, no; God bless you, boy. I’ve been thinking of you all night.”
“All’s right,” thought I; “and I trust to be able to keep it so.”
I shall pass over a fortnight, during which I was in constant attendance upon my father. At times he would fly out in a most violent manner, but I invariably kept my temper, and when it was all over, would laugh at him, generally repeating and acting all which he had said and done during his paroxysm. I found this rather dangerous ground at first, but by degrees he became used to it, and it was wonderful how it acted as a check upon him. He would not at first believe but that I exaggerated, when the picture was held up to his view and he was again calm. My father was not naturally a bad-tempered man, but having been living among a servile race, and holding high command in the army, he had gradually acquired a habit of authority and an impatience of contradiction which was unbearable to all around. Those who were high-spirited and sensitive shunned him; the servile and the base continued with him for their own interests, but trembled at his wrath. I had during this time narrated to my father the events of my life, and,