“I hardly know what to say, but that you all appear against me, and that sometimes I feel that I am too presumptuous in thus judging for myself.”
“I am not against you, Susannah; I know you will do what you think is right, and I shall respect you for that, even if I disagree with you; but I must say, that if my wife were to dress in such a way as to attract the public gaze, I should feel too jealous to approve of it. I do not, therefore, blame Mr Cophagus for inducing his pretty wife to make some alteration in her attire, neither do I blame but I commend her for obeying the wishes of her husband. Her beauty is his, and not common property.”
Susannah did not reply; she appeared very thoughtful.
“You disagree with me, Susannah,” said I, after a pause; “I am sorry for it.”
“I cannot say that I do, Japhet; I have learned a lesson this day, and, in future, I must think more humbly of myself, and be more ruled by the opinions and judgment of others.”
Mr and Mrs Cophagus then came in. Cophagus had resumed his medical coat and waistcoat, but not his pantaloons or Hessians: his wife, who had a very good taste in dress, would not allow him. She was in her grey silk gown, but wore a large handsome shawl, which covered all but the skirts; on her head she had a Leghorn bonnet, and certainly looked very pretty. As usual, she was all good-humour and smiles. I told them that we had been walking out, and that Susannah had been much annoyed by the staring of the people.
“Always so,” said Cophagus, “never mind—girls like it—feel pleased—and so on.”
“You wrong me much, brother Cophagus,” replied Susannah, “it pained me exceedingly.”
“All very well to say so—know better—sly puss—will wear dress—people say, pretty Quaker—and so on.”
Susannah hastily left the room after this attack, and I told them what had passed.
“Mrs Cophagus,” said I, “order a bonnet and shawl like yours for her, without telling her, and perhaps you will persuade her to put them on.”
Mrs Cophagus thought the idea excellent, and promised to procure them. Susannah not making her re-appearance, I took leave and arrived at the hotel in good time for dinner.
“Japhet,” said the general to me as we were at table, “you have mentioned Lord Windermear very often, have you called upon him lately?”
“No, sir, it is now two years and more since I have seen him. When I was summoned to town to meet you, I was too much agitated to think of anything else, and since that I have had too much pleasure in your company.”
“Say, rather, my good boy, that you have nursed me so carefully that you have neglected your friends and your health. Take my carriage to-morrow, and call upon him, and after that, you had better drive about a little, for you have been looking pale these last few days. I hope to get out myself in a short time, and then we will have plenty of amusement together in setting up our establishment.”