“Mr Cophagus wishes to know your other name,” said Mr Brookes, interpreting.
I have omitted to acquaint the reader that sirnames as well as Christian names, are always given to the children at the Foundling, and in consequence of the bank note found in my basket, I had been named after the celebrated personage whose signature it bore. “Newland is my other name, sir,” replied I.
“Newland—heh!—very good name—every body likes to see that name—and have plenty of them in his pockets too—um—very comfortable—and so on,” replied Mr Cophagus, leaving the shop.
I resumed my thumping occupation, when Timothy returned with his empty basket. He laughed when he saw me at work. “Well, how do you like the rudimans?—and so on—heh?” said he, mimicking Mr Cophagus.
“Not overmuch,” replied I, wiping my face.
“That was my job before you came. I have been more than a year, and never have got out of those rudimans yet, and I suppose I never shall.”
Mr Brookes, perceiving that I was tired, desired me to leave off, an order which I gladly obeyed, and I took my seat in a corner of the shop.
“There,” said Timothy, laying down his basket; “no more work for me hanty prandium, is there, Mr Brookes?”
“No, Tim; but post prandium, you’ll post off again.”
Dinner being ready, and Mr Cophagus having returned, he and Mr Brookes went into the back parlour, leaving Timothy and me in the shop to announce customers. And I shall take this opportunity of introducing Mr Timothy more particularly, as he will play a very conspicuous part in this narrative. Timothy was short in stature for his age, but very strongly built. He had an oval face, with a very dark complexion, grey eyes flashing from under their long eyelashes, and eyebrows nearly meeting each other. He was marked with the small-pox, not so much as to disfigure him, but still it was very perceptible when near to him. His countenance was always lighted up with merriment; there was such a happy, devil-may-care expression in his face, that you liked him the first minute that you were in his company, and I was intimate with him immediately.
“I say, Japhet,” said he, “where did you come from?”
“The Foundling,” replied I.
“Then you have no friends or relations.”
“If I have, I do not know where to find them,” replied I, very gravely.
“Pooh! don’t be grave upon it. I haven’t any either. I was brought up by the parish, in the workhouse. I was found at the door of a gentleman’s house, who sent me to the overseers—I was about a year old then. They call me a foundling, but I don’t care what they call me, so long as they don’t call me too late for dinner. Father and mother, whoever they were, when they ran away from me, didn’t run away with my appetite. I wonder how long master means to play with his knife and fork. As for Mr Brookes, what he eats wouldn’t physic a snipe. What’s your other name, Japhet?”