What a parchmenty, precise, thread-paper of a chap, with his bird's claw of a hand, and his muffled-up throat, and his quavery:
"How do you do, Sylvanus? I'm afraid you're not--"
"First rate. Sit down. Have some port."
"Port! I never drink it. Poison to me! Poison!"
"Oh! I know, that's what you always say.
You've a monstrous constitution, Sylvanus. If I drank port and smoked cigars and sat up till one o'clock, I should be in my grave to-morrow. I'm not the man I was. The fact is, I've come to see if you can help me. I'm getting old; I'm growing nervous...."
"You always were as chickeny as an old hen, Joe."
"Well, my nature's not like yours. To come to the point, I want to sell my ships and retire. I need rest. Freights are very depressed. I've got my family to think of."