“And perhaps may, some of these days, Cecilia.”
“Oh! do, Japhet. I will love her so.”
“You must wait a little first. I am not quite so far advanced as you and Harcourt. I have not received the consent of all parties, as you have to-day. But I must now leave you. Harcourt, I presume you will dine here. I must dine with my governor.”
On my return, I found that the table was laid for three, and that the general had asked Mr Masterton, from which I augured well. Masterton could not speak to me when he arrived, but he gave me a wink and a smile, and I was satisfied. “Japhet,” said my father, “you have no engagement to-morrow, I hope, because I shall call at Mr Masterton’s on business, and wish you to accompany me.”
I replied, that “I should be most happy,” and the conversation became general.
I accompanied my father the next day to Lincoln’s Inn, and when we went up, we found Mr Masterton at the table with Mr Cophagus, and Susannah sitting apart near the window. “The plot thickens,” thought I. The fact was, as I was afterwards told by Mr Masterton, he had prevailed upon Cophagus to pretend business, and to bring Susannah with him, and appointed them a quarter of an hour before our time. This he had arranged, that the general might see Miss Temple, as if by accident; and also allow me, who, my father supposed, was not aware of Miss Temple being in town, to meet with her. What a deal of humbug there is in this world! Nothing but plot and counterplot! I shook hands with Cophagus, who, I perceived, had, notwithstanding his wife’s veto, put on his blue cotton net pantaloons and Hessian boots, and he appeared to be so tight in both, that he could hardly move. As far as I could judge, his legs had not improved since I had last seen them in this his favourite dress.
“Mr De Benyon, I believe that you have met Miss Temple before,” said Mr Masterton, winking at me. “In Berkshire, was it not? Miss Temple, allow me to introduce General De Benyon.”
I went up to Susannah, who coloured and trembled at the sight of my father, as I expressed my hope that she had been well since we last met. She perceived that there was some planned scheme, and was so puzzled that she said nothing. My father then spoke to her, and after a short time took a chair, and seated himself close to her. I never knew her make herself so agreeable. He asked her where she was staying, and when he heard that it was with Mr Cophagus, he said that he should have the pleasure of calling upon Mr Cophagus, and thank him for his kind information relative to me. Shortly afterwards Cophagus took his leave, and Susannah rose to accompany him, when my father, hearing that they had walked, insisted upon putting Miss Temple down in his carriage. So that Mr Cophagus had to walk home one way, and I the other.