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Title: Amelia — Volume 1
Author: Fielding, Henry
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Amelia — Volume 1" ***

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THE WORKS OF HENRY FIELDING

EDITED BY
GEORGE SAINTSBURY

IN TWELVE VOLUMES
VOL. VII.

AMELIA
VOL. I.



AMELIA
BY
HENRY FIELDING ESQ.
[Illustration]

VOL. I.

EDITED BY GEORGE
SAINTSBURY WITH
ILLUSTRATIONS BY
HERBERT RAILTON
& E. J. WHEELER.

MDCCCXCIII



[Illustration]



CONTENTS OF VOL. I.


INTRODUCTION

DEDICATION TO RALPH ALLEN, ESQ


BOOK I.


CHAPTER I.
Containing the exordium, &c.

CHAPTER II.
The history sets out. Observations on the excellency of the English
constitution and curious examinations before a justice of peace

CHAPTER III.
Containing the inside of a prison

CHAPTER IV.
Disclosing further secrets of the prison-house

CHAPTER V.
Containing certain adventures which befel Mr. Booth in the
prison

CHAPTER VI.
Containing the extraordinary behaviour of Miss Matthews on her
meeting with Booth, and some endeavours to prove, by reason and
authority, that it is possible for a woman to appear to be what she
really is not

CHAPTER VII.
In which Miss Matthews begins her history

CHAPTER VIII.
The history of Miss Matthews continued

CHAPTER IX.
In which Miss Matthews concludes her relation

CHAPTER X.
Table-talk, consisting of a facetious discourse that passed in
the prison



BOOK II.


CHAPTER I.
In which Captain Booth begins to relate his history

CHAPTER II.
Mr. Booth continues his story. In this chapter there are some
passages that may serve as a kind of touchstone by which a young lady
may examine the heart of her lover. I would advise, therefore, that
every lover be obliged to read it over in the presence of his
mistress, and that she carefully watch his emotions while he is
reading

CHAPTER III.
The narrative continued. More of the touchstone

CHAPTER IV.
The story of Mr. Booth continued. In this chapter the reader will
perceive a glimpse of the character of a very good divine, with some
matters of a very tender kind

CHAPTER V.
Containing strange revolutions of fortune

CHAPTER VI.
Containing many surprising adventures

CHAPTER VII.
The story of Booth continued--More surprising adventures

CHAPTER VIII.
In which our readers will probably be divided in their opinion of
Mr. Booth's conduct

CHAPTER IX.
Containing a scene of a different kind from any of the preceding



BOOK III.


CHAPTER I.
In which Mr. Booth resumes his story

CHAPTER II.
Containing a scene of the tender kind

CHAPTER III.
In which Mr. Booth sets forward on his journey

CHAPTER IV
A sea piece

CHAPTER V.
The arrival of Booth at Gibraltar, with what there befel him

CHAPTER VI.
Containing matters which will please some readers

CHAPTER VII.
The captain, continuing his story, recounts some particulars which,
we doubt not, to many good people, will appear unnatural

CHAPTER VIII.
The story of Booth continued

CHAPTER IX.
Containing very extraordinary matters

CHAPTER X.
Containing a letter of a very curious kind

CHAPTER XI.
In which Mr. Booth relates his return to England

CHAPTER XII.
In which Mr. Booth concludes his story



BOOK IV.


CHAPTER I.
Containing very mysterious matter

CHAPTER II.
The latter part of which we expect will please our reader better
than the former

CHAPTER III.
Containing wise observations of the author, and other matters

CHAPTER IV.
In which Amelia appears in no unamiable light

CHAPTER V.
Containing an eulogium upon innocence, and other grave matters

CHAPTER VI.
In which may appear that violence is sometimes done to the name of
love

CHAPTER VII.
Containing a very extraordinary and pleasant incident

CHAPTER VIII.
Containing various matters

CHAPTER IX.
In which Amelia, with her friend, goes to the oratorio



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

FIELDING'S BIRTHPLACE, SHARPHAM PARK.  _Frontispiece_

SHE THEN GAVE A LOOSE TO HER PASSION

THEY OPENED THE HAMPER

HE SEIZED HIM BY THE COLLAR



INTRODUCTION.


Fielding's third great novel has been the subject of much more
discordant judgments than either of its forerunners. If we take the
period since its appearance as covering four generations, we find the
greatest authority in the earliest, Johnson, speaking of it with
something more nearly approaching to enthusiasm than he allowed
himself in reference to any other work of an author, to whom he was on
the whole so unjust. The greatest man of letters of the next
generation, Scott (whose attitude to Fielding was rather undecided,
and seems to speak a mixture of intellectual admiration and moral
dislike, or at least failure in sympathy), pronounces it "on the whole
unpleasing," and regards it chiefly as a sequel to _Tom Jones_,
showing what is to be expected of a libertine and thoughtless husband.
But he too is enthusiastic over the heroine. Thackeray (whom in this
special connection at any rate it is scarcely too much to call the
greatest man of the third generation) overflows with predilection for
it, but chiefly, as it would seem, because of his affection for Amelia
herself, in which he practically agrees with Scott and Johnson. It
would be invidious, and is noways needful, to single out any critic of
our own time to place beside these great men. But it cannot be denied
that the book, now as always, has incurred a considerable amount of
hinted fault and hesitated dislike. Even Mr. Dobson notes some things
in it as "unsatisfactory;" Mr. Gosse, with evident consciousness of
temerity, ventures to ask whether it is not "a little dull." The very
absence of episodes (on the ground that Miss Matthews's story is too
closely connected with the main action to be fairly called an episode)
and of introductory dissertations has been brought against it, as the
presence of these things was brought against its forerunners.

I have sometimes wondered whether _Amelia_ pays the penalty of an
audacity which, _a priori_, its most unfavourable critics would
indignantly deny to be a fault. It begins instead of ending with the
marriage-bells; and though critic after critic of novels has exhausted
his indignation and his satire over the folly of insisting on these as
a finale, I doubt whether the demand is not too deeply rooted in the
English, nay, in the human mind, to be safely neglected. The essence
of all romance is a quest; the quest most perennially and universally
interesting to man is the quest of a wife or a mistress; and the
chapters dealing with what comes later have an inevitable flavour of
tameness, and of the day after the feast. It is not common now-a-days
to meet anybody who thinks Tommy Moore a great poet; one has to
encounter either a suspicion of Philistinism or a suspicion of paradox
if one tries to vindicate for him even his due place in the poetical
hierarchy. Yet I suspect that no poet ever put into words a more
universal criticism of life than he did when he wrote "I saw from the
beach," with its moral of--

"Give me back, give me back, the wild freshness of morning--Her smiles
and her tears are worth evening's best light."

If we discard this fallacy boldly, and ask ourselves whether _Amelia_
is or is not as good as _Joseph Andrews_ or _Tom Jones_, we shall I
think be inclined to answer rather in the affirmative than in the
negative. It is perhaps a little more easy to find fault with its
characters than with theirs; or rather, though no one of these
characters has the defects of Blifil or of Allworthy, it is easy to
say that no one of them has the charm of the best personages of the
earlier books. The idolaters of Amelia would of course exclaim at this
sentence as it regards that amiable lady; and I am myself by no means
disposed to rank amiability low in the scale of things excellent in
woman. But though she is by no means what her namesake and spiritual
grand-daughter. Miss Sedley, must, I fear, be pronounced to be, an
amiable fool, there is really too much of the milk of human kindness,
unrefreshed and unrelieved of its mawkishness by the rum or whisky of
human frailty, in her. One could have better pardoned her forgiveness
of her husband if she had in the first place been a little more
conscious of what there was to forgive; and in the second, a little
more romantic in her attachment to him. As it is, he was _son homme_;
he was handsome; he had broad shoulders; he had a sweet temper; he was
the father of her children, and that was enough. At least we are
allowed to see in Mr. Booth no qualities other than these, and in her
no imagination even of any other qualities. To put what I mean out of
reach of cavil, compare Imogen and Amelia, and the difference will be
felt.

But Fielding was a prose writer, writing in London in the eighteenth
century, while Shakespeare was a poet writing in all time and all
space, so that the comparison is luminous in more ways than one. I do
not think that in the special scheme which the novelist set himself
here he can be accused of any failure. The life is as vivid as ever;
the minor sketches may be even called a little more vivid. Dr Harrison
is not perfect. I do not mean that he has ethical faults, for that is
a merit, not a defect; but he is not quite perfect in art. His
alternate persecution and patronage of Booth, though useful to the
story, repeat the earlier fault of Allworthy, and are something of a
blot. But he is individually much more natural than Allworthy, and
indeed is something like what Dr Johnson would have been if he had
been rather better bred, less crotchety, and blessed with more health.
Miss Matthews in her earlier scenes has touches of greatness which a
thousand French novelists lavishing "candour" and reckless of
exaggeration have not equalled; and I believe that Fielding kept her
at a distance during the later scenes of the story, because he could
not trust himself not to make her more interesting than Amelia. Of the
peers, more wicked and less wicked, there is indeed not much good to
be said. The peer of the eighteenth-century writers (even when, as in
Fielding's case, there was no reason why they should "mention him with
_Kor_," as Policeman X. has it) is almost always a faint type of
goodness or wickedness dressed out with stars and ribbons and coaches-
and-six. Only Swift, by combination of experience and genius, has
given us live lords in Lord Sparkish and Lord Smart. But Mrs. Ellison
and Mrs. Atkinson are very women, and the serjeant, though the touch
of "sensibility" is on him, is excellent; and Dr Harrison's country
friend and his prig of a son are capital; and Bondum, and "the
author," and Robinson, and all the minor characters, are as good as
they can be.

It is, however, usual to detect a lack of vivacity in the book, an
evidence of declining health and years. It may be so; it is at least
certain that Fielding, during the composition of _Amelia,_ had much
less time to bestow upon elaborating his work than he had previously
had, and that his health was breaking. But are we perfectly sure that
if the chronological order had been different we should have
pronounced the same verdict? Had _Amelia_ come between _Joseph_ and
_Tom,_ how many of us might have committed ourselves to some such
sentence as this: "In _Amelia_ we see the youthful exuberances of
_Joseph Andrews_ corrected by a higher art; the adjustment of plot and
character arranged with a fuller craftsmanship; the genius which was
to find its fullest exemplification in _Tom Jones_ already displaying
maturity"? And do we not too often forget that a very short time--in
fact, barely three years--passed between the appearance of _Tom Jones_
and the appearance of _Amelia?_ that although we do not know how long
the earlier work had been in preparation, it is extremely improbable
that a man of Fielding's temperament, of his wants, of his known
habits and history, would have kept it when once finished long in his
desk? and that consequently between some scenes of _Tom Jones_ and
some scenes of _Amelia_ it is not improbable that there was no more
than a few months' interval? I do not urge these things in mitigation
of any unfavourable judgment against the later novel. I only ask--How
much of that unfavourable judgment ought in justice to be set down to
the fallacies connected with an imperfect appreciation of facts?

To me it is not so much a question of deciding whether I like _Amelia_
less, and if so, how much less, than the others, as a question what
part of the general conception of this great writer it supplies? I do
not think that we could fully understand Fielding without it; I do not
think that we could derive the full quantity of pleasure from him
without it. The exuberant romantic faculty of Joseph Andrews and its
pleasant satire; the mighty craftsmanship and the vast science of life
of _Tom Jones;_ the ineffable irony and logical grasp of _Jonathan
Wild_, might have left us with a slight sense of hardness, a vague
desire for unction, if it had not been for this completion of the
picture. We should not have known (for in the other books, with the
possible exception of Mrs. Fitzpatrick, the characters are a little
too determinately goats and sheep) how Fielding could draw _nuances_,
how he could project a mixed personage on the screen, if we had not
had Miss Matthews and Mrs. Atkinson--the last especially a figure full
of the finest strokes, and, as a rule, insufficiently done justice to
by critics.

And I have purposely left to the last a group of personages about whom
indeed there has been little question, but who are among the triumphs
of Fielding's art--the two Colonels and their connecting-link, the
wife of the one and the sister of the other. Colonel Bath has
necessarily united all suffrages. He is of course a very little
stagey; he reminds us that his author had had a long theatrical
apprenticeship: he is something too much _d'une piece_. But as a study
of the brave man who is almost more braggart than brave, of the
generous man who will sacrifice not only generosity but bare justice
to "a hogo of honour," he is admirable, and up to his time almost
unique. Ordinary writers and ordinary readers have never been quite
content to admit that bravery and braggadocio can go together, that
the man of honour may be a selfish pedant. People have been unwilling
to tell and to hear the whole truth even about Wolfe and Nelson, who
were both favourable specimens of the type; but Fielding the
infallible saw that type in its quiddity, and knew it, and registered
it for ever.

Less amusing but more delicately faithful and true are Colonel James
and his wife. They are both very good sort of people in a way, who
live in a lax and frivolous age, who have plenty of money, no
particular principle, no strong affection for each other, and little
individual character. They might have been--Mrs. James to some extent
is--quite estimable and harmless; but even as it is, they are not to
be wholly ill spoken of. Being what they are, Fielding has taken them,
and, with a relentlessness which Swift could hardly have exceeded, and
a good-nature which Swift rarely or never attained, has held them up
to us as dissected preparations of half-innocent meanness,
scoundrelism, and vanity, such as are hardly anywhere else to be
found. I have used the word "preparations," and it in part indicates
Fielding's virtue, a virtue shown, I think, in this book as much as
anywhere. But it does not fully indicate it; for the preparation, wet
or dry, is a dead thing, and a museum is but a mortuary. Fielding's
men and women, once more let it be said, are all alive. The palace of
his work is the hall, not of Eblis, but of a quite beneficent
enchanter, who puts burning hearts into his subjects, not to torture
them, but only that they may light up for us their whole organisation
and being. They are not in the least the worse for it, and we are
infinitely the better.

[Illustration.]

[Illustration.]



DEDICATION.

To RALPH ALLEN, ESQ.

SIR,--The following book is sincerely designed to promote the cause of
virtue, and to expose some of the most glaring evils, as well public
as private, which at present infest the country; though there is
scarce, as I remember, a single stroke of satire aimed at any one
person throughout the whole.

The best man is the properest patron of such an attempt. This, I
believe, will be readily granted; nor will the public voice, I think,
be more divided to whom they shall give that appellation. Should a
letter, indeed, be thus inscribed, DETUR OPTIMO, there are few persons
who would think it wanted any other direction.

I will not trouble you with a preface concerning the work, nor
endeavour to obviate any criticisms which can be made on it. The good-
natured reader, if his heart should be here affected, will be inclined
to pardon many faults for the pleasure he will receive from a tender
sensation: and for readers of a different stamp, the more faults they
can discover, the more, I am convinced, they will be pleased.

Nor will I assume the fulsome stile of common dedicators. I have not
their usual design in this epistle, nor will I borrow their language.
Long, very long may it be before a most dreadful circumstance shall
make it possible for any pen to draw a just and true character of
yourself without incurring a suspicion of flattery in the bosoms of
the malignant. This task, therefore, I shall defer till that day (if I
should be so unfortunate as ever to see it) when every good man shall
pay a tear for the satisfaction of his curiosity; a day which, at
present, I believe, there is but one good man in the world who can
think of it with unconcern.

Accept then, sir, this small token of that love, that gratitude, and
that respect, with which I shall always esteem it my GREATEST HONOUR
to be,

      Sir,
Your most obliged,
    and most obedient
        humble servant,
      HENRY FIELDING.

_Bow Street, Dec. 2, 1751._


[Illustration.]



AMELIA.

BOOK I.

Chapter i.

_Containing the exordium, &c._


The various accidents which befel a very worthy couple after their
uniting in the state of matrimony will be the subject of the following
history. The distresses which they waded through were some of them so
exquisite, and the incidents which produced these so extraordinary,
that they seemed to require not only the utmost malice, but the utmost
invention, which superstition hath ever attributed to Fortune: though
whether any such being interfered in the case, or, indeed, whether
there be any such being in the universe, is a matter which I by no
means presume to determine in the affirmative. To speak a bold truth,
I am, after much mature deliberation, inclined to suspect that the
public voice hath, in all ages, done much injustice to Fortune, and
hath convicted her of many facts in which she had not the least
concern. I question much whether we may not, by natural means, account
for the success of knaves, the calamities of fools, with all the
miseries in which men of sense sometimes involve themselves, by
quitting the directions of Prudence, and following the blind guidance
of a predominant passion; in short, for all the ordinary phenomena
which are imputed to Fortune; whom, perhaps, men accuse with no less
absurdity in life, than a bad player complains of ill luck at the game
of chess.

But if men are sometimes guilty of laying improper blame on this
imaginary being, they are altogether as apt to make her amends by
ascribing to her honours which she as little deserves. To retrieve the
ill consequences of a foolish conduct, and by struggling manfully with
distress to subdue it, is one of the noblest efforts of wisdom and
virtue. Whoever, therefore, calls such a man fortunate, is guilty of
no less impropriety in speech than he would be who should call the
statuary or the poet fortunate who carved a Venus or who writ an
Iliad.

Life may as properly be called an art as any other; and the great
incidents in it are no more to be considered as mere accidents than
the several members of a fine statue or a noble poem. The critics in
all these are not content with seeing anything to be great without
knowing why and how it came to be so. By examining carefully the
several gradations which conduce to bring every model to perfection,
we learn truly to know that science in which the model is formed: as
histories of this kind, therefore, may properly be called models of
_human life_, so, by observing minutely the several incidents which
tend to the catastrophe or completion of the whole, and the minute
causes whence those incidents are produced, we shall best be
instructed in this most useful of all arts, which I call the _art
_ of _life_.



Chapter ii

_The history sets out. Observations on the excellency of the English
constitution and curious examinations before a justice of peace._


On the first of April, in the year ----, the watchmen of a certain
parish (I know not particularly which) within the liberty of
Westminster brought several persons whom they had apprehended the
preceding night before Jonathan Thrasher, Esq., one of the justices of
the peace for that liberty.

But here, reader, before we proceed to the trials of these offenders,
we shall, after our usual manner, premise some things which it may be
necessary for thee to know.

It hath been observed, I think, by many, as well as the celebrated
writer of three letters, that no human institution is capable of
consummate perfection. An observation which, perhaps, that writer at
least gathered from discovering some defects in the polity even of
this well-regulated nation. And, indeed, if there should be any such
defect in a constitution which my Lord Coke long ago told us "the
wisdom of all the wise men in the world, if they had all met together
at one time, could not have equalled," which some of our wisest men
who were met together long before said was too good to be altered in
any particular, and which, nevertheless, hath been mending ever since,
by a very great number of the said wise men: if, I say, this
constitution should be imperfect, we may be allowed, I think, to doubt
whether any such faultless model can be found among the institutions
of men.

It will probably be objected, that the small imperfections which I am
about to produce do not lie in the laws themselves, but in the ill
execution of them; but, with submission, this appears to me to be no
less an absurdity than to say of any machine that it is excellently
made, though incapable of performing its functions. Good laws should
execute themselves in a well-regulated state; at least, if the same
legislature which provides the laws doth not provide for the execution
of them, they act as Graham would do, if he should form all the parts
of a clock in the most exquisite manner, yet put them so together that
the clock could not go. In this case, surely, we might say that there
was a small defect in the constitution of the clock.

To say the truth, Graham would soon see the fault, and would easily
remedy it. The fault, indeed, could be no other than that the parts
were improperly disposed.

Perhaps, reader, I have another illustration which will set my
intention in still a clearer light before you. Figure to yourself then
a family, the master of which should dispose of the several economical
offices in the following manner; viz. should put his butler in the
coach-box, his steward behind his coach, his coachman in the butlery,
and his footman in the stewardship, and in the same ridiculous manner
should misemploy the talents of every other servant; it is easy to see
what a figure such a family must make in the world.

As ridiculous as this may seem, I have often considered some of the
lower officers in our civil government to be disposed in this very
manner. To begin, I think, as low as I well can, with the watchmen in
our metropolis, who, being to guard our streets by night from thieves
and robbers, an office which at least requires strength of body, are
chosen out of those poor old decrepit people who are, from their want
of bodily strength, rendered incapable of getting a livelihood by
work. These men, armed only with a pole, which some of them are scarce
able to lift, are to secure the persons and houses of his majesty's
subjects from the attacks of gangs of young, bold, stout, desperate,
and well-armed villains.

     Quae non viribus istis
     Munera conveniunt.

If the poor old fellows should run away from such enemies, no one I
think can wonder, unless it be that they were able to make their
escape.

The higher we proceed among our public officers and magistrates, the
less defects of this kind will, perhaps, be observable. Mr. Thrasher,
however, the justice before whom the prisoners above mentioned were
now brought, had some few imperfections in his magistratical capacity.
I own, I have been sometimes inclined to think that this office of a
justice of peace requires some knowledge of the law: for this simple
reason; because, in every case which comes before him, he is to judge
and act according to law. Again, as these laws are contained in a
great variety of books, the statutes which relate to the office of a
justice of peace making of themselves at least two large volumes in
folio; and that part of his jurisdiction which is founded on the
common law being dispersed in above a hundred volumes, I cannot
conceive how this knowledge should by acquired without reading; and
yet certain it is, Mr. Thrasher never read one syllable of the matter.

This, perhaps, was a defect; but this was not all: for where mere
ignorance is to decide a point between two litigants, it will always
be an even chance whether it decides right or wrong: but sorry am I to
say, right was often in a much worse situation than this, and wrong
hath often had five hundred to one on his side before that magistrate;
who, if he was ignorant of the law of England, was yet well versed in
the laws of nature. He perfectly well understood that fundamental
principle so strongly laid down in the institutes of the learned
Rochefoucault, by which the duty of self-love is so strongly enforced,
and every man is taught to consider himself as the centre of gravity,
and to attract all things thither. To speak the truth plainly, the
justice was never indifferent in a cause but when he could get nothing
on either side.

Such was the justice to whose tremendous bar Mr. Gotobed the
constable, on the day above mentioned, brought several delinquents,
who, as we have said, had been apprehended by the watch for diverse
outrages.

The first who came upon his trial was as bloody a spectre as ever the
imagination of a murderer or a tragic poet conceived. This poor wretch
was charged with a battery by a much stouter man than himself; indeed
the accused person bore about him some evidence that he had been in an
affray, his cloaths being very bloody, but certain open sluices on his
own head sufficiently shewed whence all the scarlet stream had issued:
whereas the accuser had not the least mark or appearance of any wound.
The justice asked the defendant, What he meant by breaking the king's
peace?----To which he answered----"Upon my shoul I do love the king
very well, and I have not been after breaking anything of his that I
do know; but upon my shoul this man hath brake my head, and my head
did brake his stick; that is all, gra." He then offered to produce
several witnesses against this improbable accusation; but the justice
presently interrupted him, saying, "Sirrah, your tongue betrays your
guilt. You are an Irishman, and that is always sufficient evidence
with me."

The second criminal was a poor woman, who was taken up by the watch as
a street-walker. It was alleged against her that she was found walking
the streets after twelve o'clock, and the watchman declared he
believed her to be a common strumpet. She pleaded in her defence (as
was really the truth) that she was a servant, and was sent by her
mistress, who was a little shopkeeper and upon the point of delivery,
to fetch a midwife; which she offered to prove by several of the
neighbours, if she was allowed to send for them. The justice asked her
why she had not done it before? to which she answered, she had no
money, and could get no messenger. The justice then called her several
scurrilous names, and, declaring she was guilty within the statute of
street-walking, ordered her to Bridewell for a month.

A genteel young man and woman were then set forward, and a very grave-
looking person swore he caught them in a situation which we cannot as
particularly describe here as he did before the magistrate; who,
having received a wink from his clerk, declared with much warmth that
the fact was incredible and impossible. He presently discharged the
accused parties, and was going, without any evidence, to commit the
accuser for perjury; but this the clerk dissuaded him from, saying he
doubted whether a justice of peace had any such power. The justice at
first differed in opinion, and said, "He had seen a man stand in the
pillory about perjury; nay, he had known a man in gaol for it too; and
how came he there if he was not committed thither?" "Why, that is
true, sir," answered the clerk; "and yet I have been told by a very
great lawyer that a man cannot be committed for perjury before he is
indicted; and the reason is, I believe, because it is not against the
peace before the indictment makes it so." "Why, that may be," cries
the justice, "and indeed perjury is but scandalous words, and I know a
man cannot have no warrant for those, unless you put for rioting
[Footnote: _Opus est interprete._ By the laws of England abusive words
are not punishable by the magistrate; some commissioners of the peace,
therefore, when one scold hath applied to them for a warrant against
another, from a too eager desire of doing justice, have construed a
little harmless scolding into a riot, which is in law an outrageous
breach of the peace committed by several persons, by three at the
least, nor can a less number be convicted of it. Under this word
rioting, or riotting (for I have seen it spelt both ways), many
thousands of old women have been arrested and put to expense,
sometimes in prison, for a little intemperate use of their tongues.
This practice began to decrease in the year 1749.] them into the
warrant."

The witness was now about to be discharged, when the lady whom he had
accused declared she would swear the peace against him, for that he
had called her a whore several times. "Oho! you will swear the peace,
madam, will you?" cries the justice: "Give her the peace, presently;
and pray, Mr. Constable, secure the prisoner, now we have him, while a
warrant is made to take him up." All which was immediately performed,
and the poor witness, for want of securities, was sent to prison.

A young fellow, whose name was Booth, was now charged with beating the
watchman in the execution of his office and breaking his lanthorn.
This was deposed by two witnesses; and the shattered remains of a
broken lanthorn, which had been long preserved for the sake of its
testimony, were produced to corroborate the evidence. The justice,
perceiving the criminal to be but shabbily drest, was going to commit
him without asking any further questions. At length, however, at the
earnest request of the accused, the worthy magistrate submitted to
hear his defence. The young man then alledged, as was in reality the
case, "That as he was walking home to his lodging he saw two men in
the street cruelly beating a third, upon which he had stopt and
endeavoured to assist the person who was so unequally attacked; that
the watch came up during the affray, and took them all four into
custody; that they were immediately carried to the round-house, where
the two original assailants, who appeared to be men of fortune, found
means to make up the matter, and were discharged by the constable, a
favour which he himself, having no money in his pocket, was unable to
obtain. He utterly denied having assaulted any of the watchmen, and
solemnly declared that he was offered his liberty at the price of half
a crown."

Though the bare word of an offender can never be taken against the
oath of his accuser, yet the matter of this defence was so pertinent,
and delivered with such an air of truth and sincerity, that, had the
magistrate been endued with much sagacity, or had he been very
moderately gifted with another quality very necessary to all who are
to administer justice, he would have employed some labour in cross-
examining the watchmen; at least he would have given the defendant the
time he desired to send for the other persons who were present at the
affray; neither of which he did. In short, the magistrate had too
great an honour for truth to suspect that she ever appeared in sordid
apparel; nor did he ever sully his sublime notions of that virtue by
uniting them with the mean ideas of poverty and distress.

There remained now only one prisoner, and that was the poor man
himself in whose defence the last-mentioned culprit was engaged. His
trial took but a very short time. A cause of battery and broken
lanthorn was instituted against him, and proved in the same manner;
nor would the justice hear one word in defence; but, though his
patience was exhausted, his breath was not; for against this last
wretch he poured forth a great many volleys of menaces and abuse.

The delinquents were then all dispatched to prison under a guard of
watchmen, and the justice and the constable adjourned to a
neighbouring alehouse to take their morning repast.



Chapter iii.

_Containing the inside of a prison._


Mr. Booth (for we shall not trouble you with the rest) was no sooner
arrived in the prison than a number of persons gathered round him, all
demanding garnish; to which Mr. Booth not making a ready answer, as
indeed he did not understand the word, some were going to lay hold of
him, when a person of apparent dignity came up and insisted that no
one should affront the gentleman. This person then, who was no less
than the master or keeper of the prison, turning towards Mr. Booth,
acquainted him that it was the custom of the place for every prisoner
upon his first arrival there to give something to the former prisoners
to make them drink. This, he said, was what they call garnish, and
concluded with advising his new customer to draw his purse upon the
present occasion. Mr. Booth answered that he would very readily comply
with this laudable custom, was it in his power; but that in reality he
had not a shilling in his pocket, and, what was worse, he had not a
shilling in the world.--"Oho! if that be the case," cries the keeper,
"it is another matter, and I have nothing to say." Upon which he
immediately departed, and left poor Booth to the mercy of his
companions, who without loss of time applied themselves to uncasing,
as they termed it, and with such dexterity, that his coat was not only
stript off, but out of sight in a minute.

Mr. Booth was too weak to resist and too wise to complain of this
usage. As soon, therefore, as he was at liberty, and declared free of
the place, he summoned his philosophy, of which he had no
inconsiderable share, to his assistance, and resolved to make himself
as easy as possible under his present circumstances.

Could his own thoughts indeed have suffered him a moment to forget
where he was, the dispositions of the other prisoners might have
induced him to believe that he had been in a happier place: for much
the greater part of his fellow-sufferers, instead of wailing and
repining at their condition, were laughing, singing, and diverting
themselves with various kinds of sports and gambols.

The first person v/ho accosted him was called Blear-eyed Moll, a woman
of no very comely appearance. Her eye (for she had but one), whence
she derived her nickname, was such as that nickname bespoke; besides
which, it had two remarkable qualities; for first, as if Nature had
been careful to provide for her own defect, it constantly looked
towards her blind side; and secondly, the ball consisted almost
entirely of white, or rather yellow, with a little grey spot in the
corner, so small that it was scarce discernible. Nose she had none;
for Venus, envious perhaps at her former charms, had carried off the
gristly part; and some earthly damsel, perhaps, from the same envy,
had levelled the bone with the rest of her face: indeed it was far
beneath the bones of her cheeks, which rose proportionally higher than
is usual. About half a dozen ebony teeth fortified that large and long
canal which nature had cut from ear to ear, at the bottom of which was
a chin preposterously short, nature having turned up the bottom,
instead of suffering it to grow to its due length.

Her body was well adapted to her face; she measured full as much round
the middle as from head to foot; for, besides the extreme breadth of
her back, her vast breasts had long since forsaken their native home,
and had settled themselves a little below the girdle.

I wish certain actresses on the stage, when they are to perform
characters of no amiable cast, would study to dress themselves with
the propriety with which Blear-eyed Moll was now arrayed. For the sake
of our squeamish reader, we shall not descend to particulars; let it
suffice to say, nothing more ragged or more dirty was ever emptied out
of the round-house at St Giles's.

We have taken the more pains to describe this person, for two
remarkable reasons; the one is, that this unlovely creature was taken
in the fact with a very pretty young fellow; the other, which is more
productive of moral lesson, is, that however wretched her fortune may
appear to the reader, she was one of the merriest persons in the whole
prison.

Blear-eyed Moll then came up to Mr. Booth with a smile, or rather
grin, on her countenance, and asked him for a dram of gin; and when
Booth assured her that he had not a penny of money, she replied--"D--n
your eyes, I thought by your look you had been a clever fellow, and
upon the snaffling lay [Footnote: A cant term for robbery on the
highway] at least; but, d--n your body and eyes, I find you are some
sneaking budge [Footnote: Another cant term for pilfering] rascal." She
then launched forth a volley of dreadful oaths, interlarded with some
language not proper to be repeated here, and was going to lay hold on
poor Booth, when a tall prisoner, who had been very earnestly eying
Booth for some time, came up, and, taking her by the shoulder, flung
her off at some distance, cursing her for a b--h, and bidding her let
the gentleman alone.

This person was not himself of the most inviting aspect. He was long-
visaged, and pale, with a red beard of above a fortnight's growth. He
was attired in a brownish-black coat, which would have shewed more
holes than it did, had not the linen, which appeared through it, been
entirely of the same colour with the cloth.

This gentleman, whose name was Robinson, addressed himself very
civilly to Mr. Booth, and told him he was sorry to see one of his
appearance in that place: "For as to your being without your coat,
sir," says he, "I can easily account for that; and, indeed, dress is
the least part which distinguishes a gentleman." At which words he
cast a significant look on his own coat, as if he desired they should
be applied to himself. He then proceeded in the following manner:

"I perceive, sir, you are but just arrived in this dismal place, which
is, indeed, rendered more detestable by the wretches who inhabit it
than by any other circumstance; but even these a wise man will soon
bring himself to bear with indifference; for what is, is; and what
must be, must be. The knowledge of this, which, simple as it appears,
is in truth the heighth of all philosophy, renders a wise man superior
to every evil which can befall him. I hope, sir, no very dreadful
accident is the cause of your coming hither; but, whatever it was, you
may be assured it could not be otherwise; for all things happen by an
inevitable fatality; and a man can no more resist the impulse of fate
than a wheelbarrow can the force of its driver."

Besides the obligation which Mr. Robinson had conferred on Mr. Booth
in delivering him from the insults of Blear-eyed Moll, there was
something in the manner of Robinson which, notwithstanding the
meanness of his dress, seemed to distinguish him from the crowd of
wretches who swarmed in those regions; and, above all, the sentiments
which he had just declared very nearly coincided with those of Mr.
Booth: this gentleman was what they call a freethinker; that is to
say, a deist, or, perhaps, an atheist; for, though he did not
absolutely deny the existence of a God, yet he entirely denied his
providence. A doctrine which, if it is not downright atheism, hath a
direct tendency towards it; and, as Dr Clarke observes, may soon be
driven into it. And as to Mr. Booth, though he was in his heart an
extreme well-wisher to religion (for he was an honest man), yet his
notions of it were very slight and uncertain. To say truth, he was in
the wavering condition so finely described by Claudian:

                          labefacta cadelat
     Religio, causaeque--viam non sponte sequebar
     Alterius; vacua quae currere semina motu
     Affirmat; magnumque novas fer inane figures
     Fortuna, non arte, regi; quae numina sensu
     Ambiguo, vel nulla futat, vel nescia nostri.

This way of thinking, or rather of doubting, he had contracted from
the same reasons which Claudian assigns, and which had induced Brutus
in his latter days to doubt the existence of that virtue which he had
all his life cultivated. In short, poor Booth imagined that a larger
share of misfortunes had fallen to his lot than he had merited; and
this led him, who (though a good classical scholar) was not deeply
learned in religious matters, into a disadvantageous opinion of
Providence. A dangerous way of reasoning, in which our conclusions are
not only too hasty, from an imperfect view of things, but we are
likewise liable to much error from partiality to ourselves; viewing
our virtues and vices as through a perspective, in which we turn the
glass always to our own advantage, so as to diminish the one, and as
greatly to magnify the other.

From the above reasons, it can be no wonder that Mr. Booth did not
decline the acquaintance of this person, in a place which could not
promise to afford him any better. He answered him, therefore, with
great courtesy, as indeed he was of a very good and gentle
disposition, and, after expressing a civil surprize at meeting him
there, declared himself to be of the same opinion with regard to the
necessity of human actions; adding, however, that he did not believe
men were under any blind impulse or direction of fate, but that every
man acted merely from the force of that passion which was uppermost in
his mind, and could do no otherwise.

A discourse now ensued between the two gentlemen on the necessity
arising from the impulse of fate, and the necessity arising from the
impulse of passion, which, as it will make a pretty pamphlet of
itself, we shall reserve for some future opportunity. When this was
ended they set forward to survey the gaol and the prisoners, with the
several cases of whom Mr. Robinson, who had been some time under
confinement, undertook to make Mr. Booth acquainted.



Chapter iv.

_Disclosing further secrets of the prison-house._


The first persons whom they passed by were three men in fetters, who
were enjoying themselves very merrily over a bottle of wine and a pipe
of tobacco. These, Mr. Robinson informed his friend, were three
street-robbers, and were all certain of being hanged the ensuing
sessions. So inconsiderable an object, said he, is misery to light
minds, when it is at any distance.

A little farther they beheld a man prostrate on the ground, whose
heavy groans and frantic actions plainly indicated the highest
disorder of mind. This person was, it seems, committed for a small
felony; and his wife, who then lay-in, upon hearing the news, had
thrown herself from a window two pair of stairs high, by which means
he had, in all probability, lost both her and his child.

A very pretty girl then advanced towards them, whose beauty Mr. Booth
could not help admiring the moment he saw her; declaring, at the same
time, he thought she had great innocence in her countenance. Robinson
said she was committed thither as an idle and disorderly person, and a
common street-walker. As she past by Mr. Booth, she damned his eyes,
and discharged a volley of words, every one of which was too indecent
to be repeated.

They now beheld a little creature sitting by herself in a corner, and
crying bitterly. This girl, Mr. Robinson said, was committed because
her father-in-law, who was in the grenadier guards, had sworn that he
was afraid of his life, or of some bodily harm which she would do him,
and she could get no sureties for keeping the peace; for which reason
justice Thrasher had committed her to prison.

A great noise now arose, occasioned by the prisoners all flocking to
see a fellow whipt for petty larceny, to which he was condemned by the
court of quarter-sessions; but this soon ended in the disappointment
of the spectators; for the fellow, after being stript, having advanced
another sixpence, was discharged untouched.

This was immediately followed by another bustle; Blear-eyed Moll, and
several of her companions, having got possession of a man who was
committed for certain odious unmanlike practices, not fit to be named,
were giving him various kinds of discipline, and would probably have
put an end to him, had he not been rescued out of their hands by
authority.

When this bustle was a little allayed, Mr. Booth took notice of a
young woman in rags sitting on the ground, and supporting the head of
an old man in her lap, who appeared to be giving up the ghost. These,
Mr. Robinson informed him, were father and daughter; that the latter
was committed for stealing a loaf, in order to support the former, and
the former for receiving it, knowing it to be stolen.

A well-drest man then walked surlily by them, whom Mr. Robinson
reported to have been committed on an indictment found against him for
a most horrid perjury; but, says he, we expect him to be bailed today.
"Good Heaven!" cries Booth, "can such villains find bail, and is no
person charitable enough to bail that poor father and daughter?" "Oh!
sir," answered Robinson, "the offence of the daughter, being felony,
is held not to be bailable in law; whereas perjury is a misdemeanor
only; and therefore persons who are even indicted for it are,
nevertheless, capable of being bailed. Nay, of all perjuries, that of
which this man is indicted is the worst; for it was with an intention
of taking away the life of an innocent person by form of law. As to
perjuries in civil matters, they are not so very criminal." "They are
not," said Booth; "and yet even these are a most flagitious offence,
and worthy the highest punishment." "Surely they ought to be
distinguished," answered Robinson, "from the others: for what is
taking away a little property from a man, compared to taking away his
life and his reputation, and ruining his family into the bargain?--I
hope there can be no comparison in the crimes, and I think there ought
to be none in the punishment. However, at present, the punishment of
all perjury is only pillory and transportation for seven years; and,
as it is a traversable and bailable offence, methods are found to
escape any punishment at all."[Footnote: By removing the indictment by
_certiorari_ into the King's Bench, the trial is so long postponed,
and the costs are so highly encreased, that prosecutors are often
tired out, and some incapacitated from pursuing. _Verbum sapienti._]

Booth exprest great astonishment at this, when his attention was
suddenly diverted by the most miserable object that he had yet seen.
This was a wretch almost naked, and who bore in his countenance,
joined to an appearance of honesty, the marks of poverty, hunger, and
disease. He had, moreover, a wooden leg, and two or three scars on his
forehead. "The case of this poor man is, indeed, unhappy enough," said
Robinson. "He hath served his country, lost his limb, and received
several wounds at the siege of Gibraltar. When he was discharged from
the hospital abroad he came over to get into that of Chelsea, but
could not immediately, as none of his officers were then in England.
In the mean time, he was one day apprehended and committed hither on
suspicion of stealing three herrings from a fishmonger. He was tried
several months ago for this offence, and acquitted; indeed, his
innocence manifestly appeared at the trial; but he was brought back
again for his fees, and here he hath lain ever since."

Booth exprest great horror at this account, and declared, if he had
only so much money in his pocket, he would pay his fees for him; but
added that he was not possessed of a single farthing in the world.

Robinson hesitated a moment, and then said, with a smile, "I am going
to make you, sir, a very odd proposal after your last declaration; but
what say you to a game at cards? it will serve to pass a tedious hour,
and may divert your thoughts from more unpleasant speculations."

I do not imagine Booth would have agreed to this; for, though some
love of gaming had been formerly amongst his faults, yet he was not so
egregiously addicted to that vice as to be tempted by the shabby
plight of Robinson, who had, if I may so express myself, no charms for
a gamester. If he had, however, any such inclinations, he had no
opportunity to follow them, for, before he could make any answer to
Robinson's proposal, a strapping wench came up to Booth, and, taking
hold of his arm, asked him to walk aside with her; saying, "What a
pox, are you such a fresh cull that you do not know this fellow? why,
he is a gambler, and committed for cheating at play. There is not such
a pickpocket in the whole quad."[Footnote: A cant word for a prison.]

A scene of altercation now ensued between Robinson and the lady, which
ended in a bout at fisticuffs, in which the lady was greatly superior
to the philosopher.

While the two combatants were engaged, a grave-looking man, rather
better drest than the majority of the company, came up to Mr. Booth,
and, taking him aside, said, "I am sorry, sir, to see a gentleman, as
you appear to be, in such intimacy with that rascal, who makes no
scruple of disowning all revealed religion. As for crimes, they are
human errors, and signify but little; nay, perhaps the worse a man is
by nature, the more room there is for grace. The spirit is active, and
loves best to inhabit those minds where it may meet with the most
work. Whatever your crime be, therefore I would not have you despair,
but rather rejoice at it; for perhaps it may be the means of your
being called." He ran on for a considerable time with this cant,
without waiting for an answer, and ended in declaring himself a
methodist.

Just as the methodist had finished his discourse, a beautiful young
woman was ushered into the gaol. She was genteel and well drest, and
did not in the least resemble those females whom Mr. Booth had
hitherto seen. The constable had no sooner delivered her at the gate
than she asked with a commanding voice for the keeper; and, when he
arrived, she said to him, "Well, sir, whither am I to be conducted? I
hope I am not to take up my lodging with these creatures." The keeper
answered, with a kind of surly respect, "Madam, we have rooms for
those who can afford to pay for them." At these words she pulled a
handsome purse from her pocket, in which many guineas chinked, saying,
with an air of indignation, "That she was not come thither on account
of poverty." The keeper no sooner viewed the purse than his features
became all softened in an instant; and, with all the courtesy of which
he was master, he desired the lady to walk with him, assuring her that
she should have the best apartment in his house.

Mr. Booth was now left alone; for the methodist had forsaken him,
having, as the phrase of the sect is, searched him to the bottom. In
fact, he had thoroughly examined every one of Mr. Booth's pockets;
from which he had conveyed away a penknife and an iron snuff-box,
these being all the moveables which were to be found.

Booth was standing near the gate of the prison when the young lady
above mentioned was introduced into the yard. He viewed her features
very attentively, and was persuaded that he knew her. She was indeed
so remarkably handsome, that it was hardly possible for any who had
ever seen her to forget her. He enquired of one of the underkeepers if
the name of the prisoner lately arrived was not Matthews; to which he
was answered that her name was not Matthews but Vincent, and that she
was committed for murder.

The latter part of this information made Mr. Booth suspect his memory
more than the former; for it was very possible that she might have
changed her name; but he hardly thought she could so far have changed
her nature as to be guilty of a crime so very incongruous with her
former gentle manners: for Miss Matthews had both the birth and
education of a gentlewoman. He concluded, therefore, that he was
certainly mistaken, and rested satisfied without any further enquiry.



Chapter v.

_Containing certain adventures which befel Mr. Booth in the prison._


The remainder of the day Mr. Booth spent in melancholy contemplation
on his present condition. He was destitute of the common necessaries
of life, and consequently unable to subsist where he was; nor was
there a single person in town to whom he could, with any reasonable
hope, apply for his delivery. Grief for some time banished the
thoughts of food from his mind; but in the morning nature began to
grow uneasy for want of her usual nourishment: for he had not eat a
morsel during the last forty hours. A penny loaf, which is, it seems,
the ordinary allowance to the prisoners in Bridewell, was now
delivered him; and while he was eating this a man brought him a little
packet sealed up, informing him that it came by a messenger, who said
it required no answer.

Mr. Booth now opened his packet, and, after unfolding several pieces
of blank paper successively, at last discovered a guinea, wrapt with
great care in the inmost paper. He was vastly surprized at this sight,
as he had few if any friends from whom he could expect such a favour,
slight as it was; and not one of his friends, as he was apprized, knew
of his confinement. As there was no direction to the packet, nor a
word of writing contained in it, he began to suspect that it was
delivered to the wrong person; and being one of the most untainted
honesty, he found out the man who gave it him, and again examined him
concerning the person who brought it, and the message delivered with
it. The man assured Booth that he had made no mistake; saying, "If
your name is Booth, sir, I am positive you are the gentleman to whom
the parcel I gave you belongs."

The most scrupulous honesty would, perhaps, in such a situation, have
been well enough satisfied in finding no owner for the guinea;
especially when proclamation had been made in the prison that Mr.
Booth had received a packet without any direction, to which, if any
person had any claim, and would discover the contents, he was ready to
deliver it to such claimant. No such claimant being found (I mean none
who knew the contents; for many swore that they expected just such a
packet, and believed it to be their property), Mr. Booth very calmly
resolved to apply the money to his own use.

The first thing after redemption of the coat, which Mr. Booth, hungry
as he was, thought of, was to supply himself with snuff, which he had
long, to his great sorrow, been without. On this occasion he presently
missed that iron box which the methodist had so dexterously conveyed
out of his pocket, as we mentioned in the last chapter.

He no sooner missed this box than he immediately suspected that the
gambler was the person who had stolen it; nay, so well was he assured
of this man's guilt, that it may, perhaps, be improper to say he
barely suspected it. Though Mr. Booth was, as we have hinted, a man of
a very sweet disposition, yet was he rather overwarm. Having,
therefore, no doubt concerning the person of the thief, he eagerly
sought him out, and very bluntly charged him with the fact.

The gambler, whom I think we should now call the philosopher, received
this charge without the least visible emotion either of mind or
muscle. After a short pause of a few moments, he answered, with great
solemnity, as follows: "Young man, I am entirely unconcerned at your
groundless suspicion. He that censures a stranger, as I am to you,
without any cause, makes a worse compliment to himself than to the
stranger. You know yourself, friend; you know not me. It is true,
indeed, you heard me accused of being a cheat and a gamester; but who
is my accuser? Look at my apparel, friend; do thieves and gamesters
wear such cloaths as these? play is my folly, not my vice; it is my
impulse, and I have been a martyr to it. Would a gamester have asked
another to play when he could have lost eighteen-pence and won
nothing? However, if you are not satisfied, you may search my pockets;
the outside of all but one will serve your turn, and in that one there
is the eighteen-pence I told you of." He then turned up his cloaths;
and his pockets entirely resembled the pitchers of the Belides.

Booth was a little staggered at this defence. He said the real value
of the iron box was too inconsiderable to mention; but that he had a
capricious value for it, for the sake of the person who gave it him;
"for, though it is not," said he, "worth sixpence, I would willingly
give a crown to any one who would bring it me again."

Robinson answered, "If that be the case, you have nothing more to do
but to signify your intention in the prison, and I am well convinced
you will not be long without regaining the possession of your snuff-
box."

This advice was immediately followed, and with success, the methodist
presently producing the box, which, he said, he had found, and should
have returned it before, had he known the person to whom it belonged;
adding, with uplifted eyes, that the spirit would not suffer him
knowingly to detain the goods of another, however inconsiderable the
value was. "Why so, friend?" said Robinson. "Have I not heard you
often say, the wickeder any man was the better, provided he was what
you call a believer?" "You mistake me," cries Cooper (for that was the
name of the methodist): "no man can be wicked after he is possessed by
the spirit. There is a wide difference between the days of sin and the
days of grace. I have been a sinner myself." "I believe thee," cries
Robinson, with a sneer. "I care not," answered the other, "what an
atheist believes. I suppose you would insinuate that I stole the
snuff-box; but I value not your malice; the Lord knows my innocence."
He then walked off with the reward; and Booth, turning to Robinson,
very earnestly asked pardon for his groundless suspicion; which the
other, without any hesitation, accorded him, saying, "You never
accused me, sir; you suspected some gambler, with whose character I
have no concern. I should be angry with a friend or acquaintance who
should give a hasty credit to any allegation against me; but I have no
reason to be offended with you for believing what the woman, and the
rascal who is just gone, and who is committed here for a pickpocket,
which you did not perhaps know, told you to my disadvantage. And if
you thought me to be a gambler you had just reason to suspect any ill
of me; for I myself am confined here by the perjury of one of those
villains, who, having cheated me of my money at play, and hearing that
I intended to apply to a magistrate against him, himself began the
attack, and obtained a warrant against me of Justice Thrasher, who,
without hearing one speech in my defence, committed me to this place."

Booth testified great compassion at this account; and, he having
invited Robinson to dinner, they spent that day together. In the
afternoon Booth indulged his friend with a game at cards; at first for
halfpence and afterwards for shillings, when fortune so favoured
Robinson that he did not leave the other a single shilling in his
pocket.

A surprizing run of luck in a gamester is often mistaken for somewhat
else by persons who are not over-zealous believers in the divinity of
fortune. I have known a stranger at Bath, who hath happened
fortunately (I might almost say unfortunately) to have four by honours
in his hand almost every time he dealt for a whole evening, shunned
universally by the whole company the next day. And certain it is, that
Mr. Booth, though of a temper very little inclined to suspicion, began
to waver in his opinion whether the character given by Mr. Robinson of
himself, or that which the others gave of him, was the truer.

In the morning hunger paid him a second visit, and found him again in
the same situation as before. After some deliberation, therefore, he
resolved to ask Robinson to lend him a shilling or two of that money
which was lately his own. And this experiments he thought, would
confirm him either in a good or evil opinion of that gentleman.

To this demand Robinson answered, with great alacrity, that he should
very gladly have complied, had not fortune played one of her jade
tricks with him: "for since my winning of you," said he, "I have been
stript not only of your money but my own." He was going to harangue
farther; but Booth, with great indignation, turned from him.

This poor gentleman had very little time to reflect on his own misery,
or the rascality, as it appeared to him, of the other, when the same
person who had the day before delivered him the guinea from the
unknown hand, again accosted him, and told him a lady in the house (so
he expressed himself) desired the favour of his company.

Mr. Booth immediately obeyed the message, and was conducted into a
room in the prison, where he was presently convinced that Mrs. Vincent
was no other than his old acquaintance Miss Matthews.



Chapter vi

_Containing the extraordinary behaviour of Miss Matthews on her
meeting with Booth, and some endeavours to prove, by reason and
authority, that it is possible for a woman to appear to be what she
really is not._


Eight or nine years had past since any interview between Mr. Booth and
Miss Matthews; and their meeting now in so extraordinary a place
affected both of them with an equal surprize.

After some immaterial ceremonies, the lady acquainted Mr. Booth that,
having heard there was a person in the prison who knew her by the name
of Matthews, she had great curiosity to inquire who he was, whereupon
he had been shewn to her from the window of the house; that she
immediately recollected him, and, being informed of his distressful
situation, for which she expressed great concern, she had sent him
that guinea which he had received the day before; and then proceeded
to excuse herself for not having desired to see him at that time, when
she was under the greatest disorder and hurry of spirits.

Booth made many handsome acknowledgments of her favour; and added that
he very little wondered at the disorder of her spirits, concluding
that he was heartily concerned at seeing her there; "but I hope,
madam," said he--

Here he hesitated; upon which, bursting into an agony of tears, she
cried out, "O captain! captain! many extraordinary things have passed
since last I saw you. O gracious heaven! did I ever expect that this
would be the next place of our meeting?"

She then flung herself into her chair, where she gave a loose to her
passion, whilst he, in the most affectionate and tender manner,
endeavoured to soothe and comfort her; but passion itself did probably
more for its own relief than all his friendly consolations. Having
vented this in a large flood of tears, she became pretty well
composed; but Booth unhappily mentioning her father, she again
relapsed into an agony, and cried out, "Why? why will you repeat the
name of that dear man? I have disgraced him, Mr. Booth, I am unworthy
the name of his daughter."--Here passion again stopped her words, and
discharged itself in tears.

After this second vent of sorrow or shame, or, if the reader pleases,
of rage, she once more recovered from her agonies. To say the truth,
these are, I believe, as critical discharges of nature as any of those
which are so called by the physicians, and do more effectually relieve
the mind than any remedies with which the whole materia medica of
philosophy can supply it.

When Mrs. Vincent had recovered her faculties, she perceived Booth
standing silent, with a mixture of concern and astonishment in his
countenance; then addressing herself to him with an air of most
bewitching softness, of which she was a perfect mistress, she said, "I
do not wonder at your amazement, Captain Booth, nor indeed at the
concern which you so plainly discover for me; for I well know the
goodness of your nature: but, O, Mr. Booth! believe me, when you know
what hath happened since our last meeting, your concern will be
raised, however your astonishment may cease. O, sir! you are a
stranger to the cause of my sorrows."

"I hope I am, madam," answered he; "for I cannot believe what I have
heard in the prison--surely murder"--at which words she started from
her chair, repeating, "Murder! oh! it is music in my ears!--You have
heard then the cause of my commitment, my glory, my delight, my
reparation! Yes, my old friend, this is the hand, this is the arm that
drove the penknife to his heart. Unkind fortune, that not one drop of
his blood reached my hand.--Indeed, sir, I would never have washed it
from it.--But, though I have not the happiness to see it on my hand, I
have the glorious satisfaction of remembering I saw it run in rivers
on the floor; I saw it forsake his cheeks, I saw him fall a martyr to
my revenge. And is the killing a villain to be called murder? perhaps
the law calls it so.--Let it call it what it will, or punish me as it
pleases.---Punish me!--no, no---that is not in the power of man--not
of that monster man, Mr. Booth. I am undone, am revenged, and have now
no more business for life; let them take it from me when they will."

Our poor gentleman turned pale with horror at this speech, and the
ejaculation of "Good heavens! what do I hear?" burst spontaneously
from his lips; nor can we wonder at this, though he was the bravest of
men; for her voice, her looks, her gestures, were properly adapted to
the sentiments she exprest. Such indeed was her image, that neither
could Shakspear describe, nor Hogarth paint, nor Clive act, a fury in
higher perfection.

[Illustration: She then gave a loose to her passions]

"What do you hear?" reiterated she. "You hear the resentment of the
most injured of women. You have heard, you say, of the murder; but do
you know the cause, Mr. Booth? Have you since your return to England
visited that country where we formerly knew one another? tell me, do
you know my wretched story? tell me that, my friend."

Booth hesitated for an answer; indeed, he had heard some imperfect
stories, not much to her advantage. She waited not till he had formed
a speech; but cried, "Whatever you may have heard, you cannot be
acquainted with all the strange accidents which have occasioned your
seeing me in a place which at our last parting was so unlikely that I
should ever have been found in; nor can you know the cause of all that
I have uttered, and which, I am convinced, you never expected to have
heard from my mouth. If these circumstances raise your curiosity, I
will satisfy it."

He answered, that curiosity was too mean a word to express his ardent
desire of knowing her story. Upon which, with very little previous
ceremony, she began to relate what is written in the following
chapter.

But before we put an end to this it may be necessary to whisper a word
or two to the critics, who have, perhaps, begun to express no less
astonishment than Mr. Booth, that a lady in whom we had remarked a
most extraordinary power of displaying softness should, the very next
moment after the words were out of her mouth, express sentiments
becoming the lips of a Dalila, Jezebel, Medea, Semiramis, Parysatis,
Tanaquil, Livilla, Messalina, Agrippina, Brunichilde, Elfrida, Lady
Macbeth, Joan of Naples, Christina of Sweden, Katharine Hays, Sarah
Malcolm, Con Philips,[Footnote: Though last not least.] or any other
heroine of the tender sex, which history, sacred or profane, ancient
or modern, false or true, hath recorded.

We desire such critics to remember that it is the same English
climate, in which, on the lovely 10th of June, under a serene sky, the
amorous Jacobite, kissing the odoriferous zephyr's breath, gathers a
nosegay of white roses to deck the whiter breast of Celia; and in
which, on the 11th of June, the very next day, the boisterous Boreas,
roused by the hollow thunder, rushes horrible through the air, and,
driving the wet tempest before him, levels the hope of the husbandman
with the earth, dreadful remembrance of the consequences of the
Revolution.

Again, let it be remembered that this is the selfsame Celia, all
tender, soft, and delicate, who with a voice, the sweetness of which
the Syrens might envy, warbles the harmonious song in praise of the
young adventurer; and again, the next day, or, perhaps the next hour,
with fiery eyes, wrinkled brows, and foaming lips, roars forth treason
and nonsense in a political argument with some fair one of a different
principle.

Or, if the critic be a Whig, and consequently dislikes such kind of
similes, as being too favourable to Jacobitism, let him be contented
with the following story:

I happened in my youth to sit behind two ladies in a side-box at a
play, where, in the balcony on the opposite side, was placed the
inimitable B---y C---s, in company with a young fellow of no very
formal, or indeed sober, appearance. One of the ladies, I remember,
said to the other--"Did you ever see anything look so modest and so
innocent as that girl over the way? what pity it is such a creature
should be in the way of ruin, as I am afraid she is, by her being
alone with that young fellow!" Now this lady was no bad physiognomist,
for it was impossible to conceive a greater appearance of modesty,
innocence, and simplicity, than what nature had displayed in the
countenance of that girl; and yet, all appearances notwithstanding, I
myself (remember, critic, it was in my youth) had a few mornings
before seen that very identical picture of all those engaging
qualities in bed with a rake at a bagnio, smoaking tobacco, drinking
punch, talking obscenity, and swearing and cursing with all the
impudence and impiety of the lowest and most abandoned trull of a
soldier.



Chapter vii.

_In which Miss Matthews begins her history._


Miss Matthews, having barred the door on the inside as securely as it
was before barred on the outside, proceeded as follows:

"You may imagine I am going to begin my history at the time when you
left the country; but I cannot help reminding you of something which
happened before. You will soon recollect the incident; but I believe
you little know the consequence either at that time or since. Alas! I
could keep a secret then! now I have no secrets; the world knows all;
and it is not worth my while to conceal anything. Well!--You will not
wonder, I believe.--I protest I can hardly tell it you, even now.---
But I am convinced you have too good an opinion of yourself to be
surprized at any conquest you may have made.---Few men want that good
opinion--and perhaps very few had ever more reason for it. Indeed,
Will, you was a charming fellow in those days; nay, you are not much
altered for the worse now, at least in the opinion of some women; for
your complexion and features are grown much more masculine than they
were." Here Booth made her a low bow, most probably with a compliment;
and after a little hesitation she again proceeded.---"Do you remember
a contest which happened at an assembly, betwixt myself and Miss
Johnson, about standing uppermost? you was then my partner; and young
Williams danced with the other lady. The particulars are not now worth
mentioning, though I suppose you have long since forgot them. Let it
suffice that you supported my claim, and Williams very sneakingly gave
up that of his partner, who was, with much difficulty, afterwards
prevailed to dance with him. You said--I am sure I repeat the words
exactly--that you would not for the world affront any lady there; but
that you thought you might, without any such danger declare, that
there was no assembly in which that lady, meaning your humble servant,
was not worthy of the uppermost place; 'nor will I,' said you,
'suffer, the first duke in England, when she is at the uppermost end
of the room, and hath called her dance, to lead his partner above
her.'

"What made this the more pleasing to me was, that I secretly hated
Miss Johnson. Will you have the reason? why, then, I will tell you
honestly, she was my rival. That word perhaps astonishes you, as you
never, I believe, heard of any one who made his addresses to me; and
indeed my heart was, till that night, entirely indifferent to all
mankind: I mean, then, that she was my rival for praise, for beauty,
for dress, for fortune, and consequently for admiration. My triumph on
this conquest is not to be expressed any more than my delight in the
person to whom I chiefly owed it. The former, I fancy, was visible to
the whole company; and I desired it should be so; but the latter was
so well concealed, that no one, I am confident, took any notice of it.
And yet you appeared to me that night to be an angel. You looked, you
danced, you spoke-everything charmed me."

"Good Heavens!" cries Booth, "is it possible you should do me so much
unmerited honour, and I should be dunce enough not to perceive the
least symptom?"

"I assure you," answered she, "I did all I could to prevent you; and
yet I almost hated you for not seeing through what I strove to hide.
Why, Mr. Booth, was you not more quick-sighted?--I will answer for
you--your affections were more happily disposed of to a much better
woman than myself, whom you married soon afterwards. I should ask you
for her, Mr. Booth; I should have asked you for her before; but I am
unworthy of asking for her, or of calling her my acquaintance."

Booth stopt her short, as she was running into another fit of passion,
and begged her to omit all former matters, and acquaint him with that
part of her history to which he was an entire stranger.

She then renewed her discourse as follows: "You know, Mr. Booth, I
soon afterwards left that town, upon the death of my grandmother, and
returned home to my father's house; where I had not been long arrived
before some troops of dragoons came to quarter in our neighbourhood.
Among the officers there was a cornet whose detested name was Hebbers,
a name I could scarce repeat, had I not at the same time the pleasure
to reflect that he is now no more. My father, you know, who is a
hearty well-wisher to the present government, used always to invite
the officers to his house; so did he these. Nor was it long before
this cornet in so particular a manner recommended himself to the poor
old gentleman (I cannot think of him without tears), that our house
became his principal habitation, and he was rarely at his quarters,
unless when his superior officers obliged him to be there. I shall say
nothing of his person, nor could that be any recommendation to a man;
it was such, however, as no woman could have made an objection to.
Nature had certainly wrapt up her odious work in a most beautiful
covering. To say the truth, he was the handsomest man, except one
only, that I ever saw--I assure you, I have seen a handsomer---but--
well.--He had, besides, all the qualifications of a gentleman; was
genteel and extremely polite; spoke French well, and danced to a
miracle; but what chiefly recommended him to my father was his skill
in music, of which you know that dear man was the most violent lover.
I wish he was not too susceptible of flattery on that head; for I have
heard Hebbers often greatly commend my father's performance, and have
observed that the good man was wonderfully pleased with such
commendations. To say the truth, it is the only way I can account for
the extraordinary friendship which my father conceived for this
person; such a friendship, that he at last became a part of our
family.

"This very circumstance, which, as I am convinced, strongly
recommended him to my father, had the very contrary effect with me: I
had never any delight in music, and it was not without much difficulty
I was prevailed on to learn to play on the harpsichord, in which I had
made a very slender progress. As this man, therefore, was frequently
the occasion of my being importuned to play against my will, I began
to entertain some dislike for him on that account; and as to his
person, I assure you, I long continued to look on it with great
indifference.

"How strange will the art of this man appear to you presently, who had
sufficient address to convert that very circumstance which had at
first occasioned my dislike into the first seeds of affection for him!

"You have often, I believe, heard my sister Betty play on the
harpsichord; she was, indeed, reputed the best performer in the whole
country.

"I was the farthest in the world from regarding this perfection of
hers with envy. In reality, perhaps, I despised all perfection of this
kind: at least, as I had neither skill nor ambition to excel this way,
I looked upon it as a matter of mere indifference.

"Hebbers first put this emulation in my head. He took great pains to
persuade me that I had much greater abilities of the musical kind than
my sister, and that I might with the greatest ease, if I pleased,
excel her; offering me, at the same time, his assistance if I would
resolve to undertake it.

"When he had sufficiently inflamed my ambition, in which, perhaps, he
found too little difficulty, the continual praises of my sister, which
before I had disregarded, became more and more nauseous in my ears;
and the rather, as, music being the favourite passion of my father, I
became apprehensive (not without frequent hints from Hebbers of that
nature) that she might gain too great a preference in his favour.

"To my harpsichord then I applied myself night and day, with such
industry and attention, that I soon began to perform in a tolerable
manner. I do not absolutely say I excelled my sister, for many were of
a different opinion; but, indeed, there might be some partiality in
all that.

"Hebbers, at least, declared himself on my side, and nobody could
doubt his judgment. He asserted openly that I played in the better
manner of the two; and one day, when I was playing to him alone, he
affected to burst into a rapture of admiration, and, squeezing me
gently by the hand, said, There, madam, I now declare you excel your
sister as much in music as, added he in a whispering sigh, you do her,
and all the world, in every other charm.

"No woman can bear any superiority in whatever thing she desires to
excel in. I now began to hate all the admirers of my sister, to be
uneasy at every commendation bestowed on her skill in music, and
consequently to love Hebbers for the preference which he gave to mine.

"It was now that I began to survey the handsome person of Hebbers with
pleasure. And here, Mr. Booth, I will betray to you the grand secret
of our sex.---Many women, I believe, do, with great innocence, and
even with great indifference, converse with men of the finest persons;
but this I am confident may be affirmed with truth, that, when once a
woman comes to ask this question of herself, Is the man whom I like
for some other reason, handsome? her fate and his too, very strongly
depend on her answering in the affirmative.

"Hebbers no sooner perceived that he had made an impression on my
heart, of which I am satisfied I gave him too undeniable tokens, than
he affected on a sudden to shun me in the most apparent manner. He
wore the most melancholy air in my presence, and, by his dejected
looks and sighs, firmly persuaded me that there was some secret sorrow
labouring in his bosom; nor will it be difficult for you to imagine to
what cause I imputed it.

"Whilst I was wishing for his declaration of a passion in which I
thought I could not be mistaken, and at the same time trembling
whenever we met with the apprehension of this very declaration, the
widow Carey came from London to make us a visit, intending to stay the
whole summer at our house.

"Those who know Mrs. Carey will scarce think I do her an injury in
saying she is far from being handsome; and yet she is as finished a
coquette as if she had the highest beauty to support that character.
But perhaps you have seen her; and if you have I am convinced you will
readily subscribe to my opinion."

Booth answered he had not; and then she proceeded as in the following
chapter.



Chapter VIII

_The history of Miss Matthews continued_.


"This young lady had not been three days with us before Hebbers grew
so particular with her, that it was generally observed; and my poor
father, who, I believe, loved the cornet as if he had been his son,
began to jest on the occasion, as one who would not be displeased at
throwing a good jointure into the arms of his friend.

"You will easily guess, sir, the disposition of my mind on this
occasion; but I was not permitted to suffer long under it; for one
day, when Hebbers was alone with me, he took an opportunity of
expressing his abhorrence at the thoughts of marrying for interest,
contrary to his inclinations. I was warm on the subject, and, I
believe, went so far as to say that none but fools and villains did
so. He replied, with a sigh, Yes, madam, but what would you think of a
man whose heart is all the while bleeding for another woman, to whom
he would willingly sacrifice the world; but, because he must sacrifice
her interest as well as his own, never durst even give her a hint of
that passion which was preying on his very vitals? 'Do you believe,
Miss Fanny, there is such a wretch on earth?' I answered, with an
assumed coldness, I did not believe there was. He then took me gently
by the hand, and, with a look so tender that I cannot describe it,
vowed he was himself that wretch. Then starting, as if conscious of an
error committed, he cried with a faltering voice, 'What am I saying?
Pardon me, Miss Fanny; since I beg only your pity, I never will ask
for more.--' At these words, hearing my father coming up, I betrayed
myself entirely, if, indeed, I had not done it before. I hastily
withdrew my hand, crying, Hush! for heaven's sake, my father is just
coming in; my blushes, my look, and my accent, telling him, I suppose,
all which he wished to know.

"A few days now brought matters to an eclaircissement between us; the
being undeceived in what had given me so much uneasiness gave me a
pleasure too sweet to be resisted. To triumph over the widow, for whom
I had in a very short time contracted a most inveterate hatred, was a
pride not to be described. Hebbers appeared to me to be the cause of
all this happiness. I doubted not but that he had the most
disinterested passion for me, and thought him every way worthy of its
return. I did return it, and accepted him as my lover.

"He declared the greatest apprehensions of my father's suspicion,
though I am convinced these were causeless had his designs been
honourable. To blind these, I consented that he should carry on sham
addresses to the widow, who was now a constant jest between us; and he
pretended from time to time to acquaint me faithfully with everything
that past at his interviews with her; nor was this faithless woman
wanting in her part of the deceit. She carried herself to me all the
while with a shew of affection, and pretended to have the utmost
friendship for me But such are the friendships of women!"

At this remark, Booth, though enough affected at some parts of the
story, had great difficulty to refrain from laughter; but, by good
luck, he escaped being perceived; and the lady went on without
interruption.

"I am come now to a part of my narrative in which it is impossible to
be particular without being tedious; for, as to the commerce between
lovers, it is, I believe, much the same in all cases; and there is,
perhaps, scarce a single phrase that hath not been repeated ten
millions of times.

"One thing, however, as I strongly remarked it then, so I will repeat
it to you now. In all our conversations, in moments when he fell into
the warmest raptures, and exprest the greatest uneasiness at the delay
of his joys, he seldom mentioned the word marriage; and never once
solicited a day for that purpose. Indeed, women cannot be cautioned
too much against such lovers; for though I have heard, and perhaps
truly, of some of our sex, of a virtue so exalted, that it is proof
against every temptation; yet the generality, I am afraid, are too
much in the power of a man to whom they have owned an affection. What
is called being upon a good footing is, perhaps, being upon a very
dangerous one; and a woman who hath given her consent to marry can
hardly be said to be safe till she is married.

"And now, sir, I hasten to the period of my ruin. We had a wedding in
our family; my musical sister was married to a young fellow as musical
as herself. Such a match, you may be sure, amongst other festivities,
must have a ball. Oh! Mr. Booth, shall modesty forbid me to remark to
you what past on that occasion? But why do I mention modesty, who have
no pretensions to it? Everything was said and practised on that
occasion, as if the purpose had been to inflame the mind of every
woman present. That effect, I freely own to you, it had with me.
Music, dancing, wine, and the most luscious conversation, in which my
poor dear father innocently joined, raised ideas in me of which I
shall for ever repent; and I wished (why should I deny it?) that it
had been my wedding instead of my sister's.

"The villain Hebbers danced with me that night, and he lost no
opportunity of improving the occasion. In short, the dreadful evening
came. My father, though it was a very unusual thing with him, grew
intoxicated with liquor; most of the men were in the same condition;
nay, I myself drank more than I was accustomed to, enough to inflame,
though not to disorder. I lost my former bed-fellow, my sister, and--
you may, I think, guess the rest--the villain found means to steal to
my chamber, and I was undone.

"Two months I passed in this detested commerce, buying, even then, my
guilty, half-tasted pleasures at too dear a rate, with continual
horror and apprehension; but what have I paid since--what do I pay
now, Mr. Booth? O may my fate be a warning to every woman to keep her
innocence, to resist every temptation, since she is certain to repent
of the foolish bargain. May it be a warning to her to deal with
mankind with care and caution; to shun the least approaches of
dishonour, and never to confide too much in the honesty of a man, nor
in her own strength, where she has so much at stake; let her remember
she walks on a precipice, and the bottomless pit is to receive her if
she slips; nay, if she makes but one false step.

"I ask your pardon, Mr. Booth; I might have spared these exhortations,
since no woman hears me; but you will not wonder at seeing me affected
on this occasion."

Booth declared he was much more surprised at her being able so well to
preserve her temper in recounting her story.

"O sir," answered she, "I am at length reconciled to my fate; and I
can now die with pleasure, since I die revenged. I am not one of those
mean wretches who can sit down and lament their misfortunes. If I ever
shed tears, they are the tears of indignation.--But I will proceed.

"It was my fate now to solicit marriage; and I failed not to do it in
the most earnest manner. He answered me at first with
procrastinations, declaring, from time to time, he would mention it to
my father; and still excusing himself for not doing it. At last he
thought on an expedient to obtain a longer reprieve. This was by
pretending that he should, in a very few weeks, be preferred to the
command of a troop; and then, he said, he could with some confidence
propose the match.

"In this delay I was persuaded to acquiesce, and was indeed pretty
easy, for I had not yet the least mistrust of his honour; but what
words can paint my sensations, when one morning he came into my room,
with all the marks of dejection in his countenance, and, throwing an
open letter on the table, said, 'There is news, madam, in that letter
which I am unable to tell you; nor can it give you more concern than
it hath given me.'

"This letter was from his captain, to acquaint him that the rout, as
they call it, was arrived, and that they were to march within two
days. And this, I am since convinced, was what he expected, instead of
the preferment which had been made the pretence of delaying our
marriage.

"The shock which I felt at reading this was inexpressible, occasioned
indeed principally by the departure of a villain whom I loved.
However, I soon acquired sufficient presence of mind to remember the
main point; and I now insisted peremptorily on his making me
immediately his wife, whatever might be the consequence.

"He seemed thunderstruck at this proposal, being, I suppose, destitute
of any excuse: but I was too impatient to wait for an answer, and
cried out with much eagerness, Sure you cannot hesitate a moment upon
this matter--'Hesitate! madam!' replied he--'what you ask is
impossible. Is this a time for me to mention a thing of this kind to
your father?'--My eyes were now opened all at once--I fell into a rage
little short of madness. Tell not me, I cried, of impossibilities, nor
times, nor of my father---my honour, my reputation, my all are at
stake.--I will have no excuse, no delay--make me your wife this
instant, or I will proclaim you over the face of the whole earth for
the greatest of villains. He answered, with a kind of sneer, 'What
will you proclaim, madam?--whose honour will you injure?' My tongue
faltered when I offered to reply, and I fell into a violent agony,
which ended in a fit; nor do I remember anything more that past till I
found myself in the arms of my poor affrighted father.

"O, Mr. Booth, what was then my situation! I tremble even now from the
reflection.--I must stop a moment. I can go no farther." Booth
attempted all in his power to soothe her; and she soon recovered her
powers, and proceeded in her story.



Chapter ix

_In which Miss Matthews concludes her relation_.


Before I had recovered my senses I had sufficiently betrayed myself to
the best of men, who, instead of upbraiding me, or exerting any anger,
endeavoured to comfort me all he could with assurances that all should
yet be well. This goodness of his affected me with inexpressible
sensations; I prostrated myself before him, embraced and kissed his
knees, and almost dissolved in tears, and a degree of tenderness
hardly to be conceived---But I am running into too minute
descriptions.

"Hebbers, seeing me in a fit, had left me, and sent one of the
servants to take care of me. He then ran away like a thief from the
house, without taking his leave of my father, or once thanking him for
all his civilities. He did not stop at his quarters, but made directly
to London, apprehensive, I believe, either of my father or brother's
resentment; for I am convinced he is a coward. Indeed his fear of my
brother was utterly groundless; for I believe he would rather have
thanked any man who had destroyed me; and I am sure I am not in the
least behindhand with him in good wishes.

"All his inveteracy to me had, however, no effect on my father, at
least at that time; for, though the good man took sufficient occasions
to reprimand me for my past offence, he could not be brought to
abandon me. A treaty of marriage was now set on foot, in which my
father himself offered me to Hebbers, with a fortune superior to that
which had been given with my sister; nor could all my brother's
remonstrances against it, as an act of the highest injustice, avail.

"Hebbers entered into the treaty, though not with much warmth. He had
even the assurance to make additional demands on my father, which
being complied with, everything was concluded, and the villain once
more received into the house. He soon found means to obtain my
forgiveness of his former behaviour; indeed, he convinced me, so
foolishly blind is female love, that he had never been to blame.

"When everything was ready for our nuptials, and the day of the
ceremony was to be appointed, in the midst of my happiness I received
a letter from an unknown hand, acquainting me (guess, Mr. Booth, how I
was shocked at receiving it) that Mr. Hebbers was already married to a
woman in a distant part of the kingdom.

"I will not tire you with all that past at our next interview. I
communicated the letter to Hebbers, who, after some little hesitation,
owned the fact, and not only owned it, but had the address to improve
it to his own advantage, to make it the means of satisfying me
concerning all his former delays; which, to say the truth, I was not
so much displeased at imputing to any degree of villany, as I should
have been to impute it to the want of a sufficient warmth of
affection, and though the disappointment of all my hopes, at the very
instant of their expected fruition, threw me into the most violent
disorders; yet, when I came a little to myself, he had no great
difficulty to persuade me that in every instance, with regard to me,
Hebbers had acted from no other motive than from the most ardent and
ungovernable love. And there is, I believe, no crime which a woman
will not forgive, when she can derive it from that fountain. In short,
I forgave him all, and am willing to persuade myself I am not weaker
than the rest of my sex. Indeed, Mr. Booth, he hath a bewitching
tongue, and is master of an address that no woman could resist. I do
assure you the charms of his person are his least perfection, at least
in my eye."

Here Booth smiled, but happily without her perceiving it.

"A fresh difficulty (continued she) now arose. This was to excuse the
delay of the ceremony to my father, who every day very earnestly urged
it. This made me so very uneasy, that I at last listened to a
proposal, which, if any one in the days of my innocence, or even a few
days before, had assured me I could have submitted to have thought of,
I should have treated the supposition with the highest contempt and
indignation; nay, I scarce reflect on it now with more horror than
astonishment. In short, I agreed to run away with him--to leave my
father, my reputation, everything which was or ought to have been dear
to me, and to live with this villain as a mistress, since I could not
be his wife.

"Was not this an obligation of the highest and tenderest kind, and had
I not reason to expect every return in the man's power on whom I had
conferred it? "I will make short of the remainder of my story, for
what is there of a woman worth relating, after what I have told you?

"Above a year I lived with this man in an obscure court in London,
during which time I had a child by him, whom Heaven, I thank it, hath
been pleased to take to itself.

"During many months he behaved to me with all the apparent tenderness
and even fondness imaginable; but, alas! how poor was my enjoyment of
this compared to what it would have been in another situation? When he
was present, life was barely tolerable: but, when he was absent,
nothing could equal the misery I endured. I past my hours almost
entirely alone; for no company but what I despised, would consort with
me. Abroad I scarce ever went, lest I should meet any of my former
acquaintance; for their sight would have plunged a thousand daggers in
my soul. My only diversion was going very seldom to a play, where I
hid myself in the gallery, with a daughter of the woman of the house.
A girl, indeed, of good sense and many good qualities; but how much
beneath me was it to be the companion of a creature so low! O heavens!
when I have seen my equals glittering in a side-box, how have the
thoughts of my lost honour torn my soul!"

"Pardon me, dear madam," cries Booth, "for interrupting you; but I am
under the utmost anxiety to know what became of your poor father, for
whom I have so great a respect, and who, I am convinced, must so
bitterly feel your loss."

"O Mr. Booth," answered she, "he was scarce ever out of my thoughts.
His dear image still obtruded itself in my mind, and I believe would
have broken my heart, had I not taken a very preposterous way to ease
myself. I am, indeed, almost ashamed to tell you; but necessity put it
in my head.--You will think the matter too trifling to have been
remembered, and so it surely was; nor should I have remembered it on
any other occasion. You must know then, sir, that my brother was
always my inveterate enemy and altogether as fond of my sister.--He
once prevailed with my father to let him take my sister with him in
the chariot, and by that means I was disappointed of going to a ball
which I had set my heart on. The disappointment, I assure you, was
great at the time; but I had long since forgotten it. I must have been
a very bad woman if I had not, for it was the only thing in which I
can remember that my father ever disobliged me. However, I now revived
this in my mind, which I artificially worked up into so high an
injury, that I assure you it afforded me no little comfort. When any
tender idea intruded into my bosom, I immediately raised this fantom
of an injury in my imagination, and it considerably lessened the fury
of that sorrow which I should have otherwise felt for the loss of so
good a father, who died within a few months of my departure from him.

"And now, sir, to draw to a conclusion. One night, as I was in the
gallery at Drury-lane playhouse, I saw below me in a side-box (she was
once below me in every place), that widow whom I mentioned to you
before. I had scarce cast my eyes on this woman before I was so
shocked with the sight that it almost deprived me of my senses; for
the villain Hebbers came presently in and seated himself behind her.

"He had been almost a month from me, and I believed him to be at his
quarters in Yorkshire. Guess what were my sensations when I beheld him
sitting by that base woman, and talking to her with the utmost
familiarity. I could not long endure this sight, and having acquainted
my companion that I was taken suddenly ill, I forced her to go home
with me at the end of the second act.

"After a restless and sleepless night, when I rose the next morning I
had the comfort to receive a visit from the woman of the house, who,
after a very short introduction, asked me when I had heard from the
captain, and when I expected to see him? I had not strength or spirits
to make her any answer, and she proceeded thus:--'Indeed I did not
think the captain would have used me so. My husband was an officer of
the army as well as himself; and if a body is a little low in the
world, I am sure that is no reason for folks to trample on a body. I
defy the world to say as I ever was guilty of an ill thing.' For
heaven's sake, madam, says I, what do you mean? 'Mean?' cries she; 'I
am sure, if I had not thought you had been Captain Hebbers' lady, his
lawful lady too, you should never have set footing in my house. I
would have Captain Hebbers know, that though I am reduced to let
lodgings, I never have entertained any but persons of character.'--In
this manner, sir, she ran on, saying many shocking things not worth
repeating, till my anger at last got the better of my patience as well
as my sorrow, and I pushed her out of the room.

"She had not been long gone before her daughter came to me, and, after
many expressions of tenderness and pity, acquainted me that her mother
had just found out, by means of the captain's servant, that the
captain was married to another lady; 'which, if you did not know
before, madam,' said she, 'I am sorry to be the messenger of such ill
news.'

"Think, Mr. Booth, what I must have endured to see myself humbled
before such a creature as this, the daughter of a woman who lets
lodgings! However, having recollected myself a little, I thought it
would be in vain to deny anything; so, knowing this to be one of the
best-natured and most sensible girls in the world, I resolved to tell
her my whole story, and for the future to make her my confidante. I
answered her, therefore, with a good deal of assurance, that she need
not regret telling me this piece of ill news, for I had known it
before I came to her house.

"'Pardon me, madam,' replied the girl, 'you cannot possibly have known
it so long, for he hath not been married above a week; last night was
the first time of his appearing in public with his wife at the play.
Indeed, I knew very well the cause of your uneasiness there; but would
not mention---'

"His wife at the play? answered I eagerly. What wife? whom do you
mean?

"'I mean the widow Carey, madam,' replied she, 'to whom the captain
was married a few days since. His servant was here last night to pay
for your lodging, and he told it my mother.'

"I know not what answer I made, or whether I made any. I presently
fell dead on the floor, and it was with great difficulty I was brought
back to life by the poor girl, for neither the mother nor the maid of
the house would lend me any assistance, both seeming to regard me
rather as a monster than a woman.

"Scarce had I recovered the use of my senses when I received a letter
from the villain, declaring he had not assurance to see my face, and
very kindly advising me to endeavour to reconcile myself to my family,
concluding with an offer, in case I did not succeed, to allow me
twenty pounds a-year to support me in some remote part of the kingdom.

"I need not mention my indignation at these proposals. In the highest
agony of rage, I went in a chair to the detested house, where I easily
got access to the wretch I had devoted to destruction, whom I no
sooner found within my reach than I plunged a drawn penknife, which I
had prepared in my pocket for the purpose, into his accursed heart.
For this fact I was immediately seized and soon after committed
hither; and for this fact I am ready to die, and shall with pleasure
receive the sentence of the law.

"Thus, sir," said she, "I have related to you my unhappy story, and if
I have tired your patience, by dwelling too long on those parts which
affected me the most, I ask your pardon."

Booth made a proper speech on this occasion, and, having exprest much
concern at her present situation, concluded that he hoped her sentence
would be milder than she seemed to expect.

Her reply to this was full of so much bitterness and indignation, that
we do not think proper to record the speech at length, in which having
vented her passion, she all at once put on a serene countenance, and
with an air of great complacency said, "Well, Mr. Booth, I think I
have now a right to satisfy my curiosity at the expense of your
breath. I may say it is not altogether a vain curiosity, for perhaps I
have had inclination enough to interest myself in whatever concerns
you; but no matter for that: those days (added she with a sigh) are
now over."

Booth, who was extremely good-natured and well-bred, told her that she
should not command him twice whatever was in his power; and then,
after the usual apology, was going to begin his history, when the
keeper arrived, and acquainted the lady that dinner was ready, at the
same time saying, "I suppose, madam, as the gentleman is an
acquaintance of yours, he must dine with us too."

Miss Matthews told the keeper that she had only one word to mention in
private to the gentleman, and that then they would both attend him.
She then pulled her purse from her pocket, in which were upwards of
twenty guineas, being the remainder of the money for which she had
sold a gold repeating watch, her father's present, with some other
trinkets, and desired Mr. Booth to take what he should have occasion
for, saying, "You know, I believe, dear Will, I never valued money;
and now I am sure I shall have very little use for it." Booth, with
much difficulty, accepted of two guineas, and then they both together
attended the keeper.



Chapter x

_Table-talk, consisting of a facetious discourse that passed in the
prison_.


There were assembled at the table the governor of these (not
improperly called infernal) regions; the lieutenant-governor, vulgarly
named the first turnkey; Miss Matthews, Mr. Booth, Mr. Robinson the
gambler, several other prisoners of both sexes, and one Murphy, an
attorney.

The governor took the first opportunity to bring the affair of Miss
Matthews upon the carpet, and then, turning to Murphy, he said, "It is
very lucky this gentleman happens to be present; I do assure you,
madam, your cause cannot be in abler hands. He is, I believe, the best
man in England at a defence; I have known him often succeed against
the most positive evidence."

"Fy, sir," answered Murphy; "you know I hate all this; but, if the
lady will trust me with her cause, I will do the best in my power.
Come, madam, do not be discouraged; a bit of manslaughter and cold
iron, I hope, will be the worst: or perhaps we may come off better
with a slice of chance-medley, or _se defendendo_"

"I am very ignorant of the law, sir," cries the lady.

"Yes, madam," answered Murphy; "it can't be expected you should
understand it. There are very few of us who profess it that understand
the whole, nor is it necessary we should. There is a great deal of
rubbish of little use, about indictments, and abatements, and bars,
and ejectments, and trovers, and such stuff, with which people cram
their heads to little purpose. The chapter of evidence is the main
business; that is the sheet-anchor; that is the rudder, which brings
the vessel safe _in portum_. Evidence is, indeed, the whole, the
_summa totidis_, for _de non apparentibus et non insistentibus eandem
est ratio_."

"If you address yourself to me, sir," said the lady, "you are much too
learned, I assure you, for my understanding."

"_Tace_, madam," answered Murphy, "is Latin for a candle: I commend
your prudence. I shall know the particulars of your case when we are
alone."

"I hope the lady," said Robinson, "hath no suspicion of any person
here. I hope we are all persons of honour at this table."

"D--n my eyes!" answered a well-dressed woman, "I can answer for
myself and the other ladies; though I never saw the lady in my life,
she need not be shy of us, d--n my eyes! I scorn to rap [Footnote: A
cant word, meaning to swear, or rather to perjure yourself] against
any lady."

"D--n me, madam!" cried another female, "I honour what you have done.
I once put a knife into a cull myself--so my service to you, madam,
and I wish you may come off with _se diffidendo_ with all my heart."

"I beg, good woman," said Miss Matthews, "you would talk on some other
subject, and give yourself no concern about my affairs."

"You see, ladies," cried Murphy, "the gentle-woman doth not care to
talk on this matter before company; so pray do not press her."

"Nay, I value the lady's acquaintance no more than she values mine,"
cries the first woman who spoke. "I have kept as good company as the
lady, I believe, every day in the week. Good woman! I don't use to be
so treated. If the lady says such another word to me, d--n me, I will
darken her daylights. Marry, come up! Good woman!--the lady's a whore
as well as myself! and, though I am sent hither to mill doll, d--n my
eyes, I have money enough to buy it off as well as the lady herself."

Action might perhaps soon have ensued this speech, had not the keeper
interposed his authority, and put an end to any further dispute. Soon
after which, the company broke up, and none but himself, Mr. Murphy,
Captain Booth, and Miss Matthews, remained together.

Miss Matthews then, at the entreaty of the keeper, began to open her
case to Mr. Murphy, whom she admitted to be her solicitor, though she
still declared she was indifferent as to the event of the trial.

Mr. Murphy, having heard all the particulars with which the reader is
already acquainted (as far as related to the murder), shook his head
and said, "There is but one circumstance, madam, which I wish was out
of the case; and that we must put out of it; I mean the carrying the
penknife drawn into the room with you; for that seems to imply malice
prepensive, as we call it in the law: this circumstance, therefore,
must not appear against you; and, if the servant who was in the room
observed this, he must be bought off at all hazards. All here you say
are friends; therefore I tell you openly, you must furnish me with
money sufficient for this purpose. Malice is all we have to guard
against."

"I would not presume, sir," cries Booth, "to inform you in the law;
but I have heard, in case of stabbing, a man may be indicted upon the
statute; and it is capital, though no malice appears."

"You say true, sir," answered Murphy; "a man may be indicted _contra
formam statutis;_ and that method, I allow you, requires no malice. I
presume you are a lawyer, sir?"

"No, indeed, sir," answered Booth, "I know nothing of the law."

"Then, sir, I will tell you--If a man be indicted _contra formam
tatutis_, as we say, no malice is necessary, because the form of the
statute makes malice; and then what we have to guard against is having
struck the first blow. Pox on't, it is unlucky this was done in a
room: if it had been in the street we could have had five or six
witnesses to have proved the first blow, cheaper than, I am afraid, we
shall get this one; for when a man knows, from the unhappy
circumstances of the case, that you can procure no other witness but
himself, he is always dear. It is so in all other ways of business. I
am very implicit, you see; but we are all among friends. The safest
way is to furnish me with money enough to offer him a good round sum
at once; and I think (it is for your good I speak) fifty pounds is the
least than can be offered him. I do assure you I would offer him no
less was it my own case."

"And do you think, sir," said she, "that I would save my life at the
expense of hiring another to perjure himself?"

"Ay, surely do I," cries Murphy; "for where is the fault, admitting
there is some fault in perjury, as you call it? and, to be sure, it is
such a matter as every man would rather wish to avoid than not: and
yet, as it may be managed, there is not so much as some people are apt
to imagine in it; for he need not kiss the book, and then pray where's
the perjury? but if the crier is sharper than ordinary, what is it he
kisses? is it anything but a bit of calf's-skin? I am sure a man must
be a very bad Christian himself who would not do so much as that to
save the life of any Christian whatever, much more of so pretty a
lady. Indeed, madam, if we can make out but a tolerable case, so much
beauty will go a great way with the judge and the jury too."

The latter part of this speech, notwithstanding the mouth it came
from, caused Miss Matthews to suppress much of the indignation which
began to arise at the former; and she answered with a smile, "Sir, you
are a great casuist in these matters; but we need argue no longer
concerning them; for, if fifty pounds would save my life, I assure you
I could not command that sum. The little money I have in my pocket is
all I can call my own; and I apprehend, in the situation I am in, I
shall have very little of that to spare."

"Come, come, madam," cries Murphy, "life is sweet, let me tell you,
and never sweeter than when we are near losing it. I have known many a
man very brave and undaunted at his first commitment, who, when
business began to thicken a little upon him, hath changed his note. It
is no time to be saving in your condition."

The keeper, who, after the liberality of Miss Matthews, and on seeing
a purse of guineas in her hand, had conceived a great opinion of her
wealth, no sooner heard that the sum which he had in intention
intirely confiscated for his own use was attempted to be broke in
upon, thought it high time to be upon his guard. "To be sure," cries
he, "Mr. Murphy, life is sweet, as you say, that must be acknowledged;
to be sure, life is sweet; but, sweet as it is, no persons can advance
more than they are worth to save it. And indeed, if the lady can
command no more money than that little she mentions, she is to be
commended for her unwillingness to part with any of it; for, to be
sure, as she says, she will want every farthing of that to live like a
gentlewoman till she comes to her trial. And, to be sure, as sweet as
life is, people ought to take care to be able to live sweetly while
they do live; besides, I cannot help saying the lady shews herself to
be what she is, by her abhorrence of perjury, which is certainly a
very dreadful crime. And, though the not kissing the book doth, as you
say, make a great deal of difference; and, if a man had a great while
to live and repent, perhaps he might swallow it well enough; yet, when
people comes to be near their end (as who can venture to foretel what
will be the lady's case?) they ought to take care not to overburthen
their conscience. I hope the lady's case will not be found murder; for
I am sure I always wish well to all my prisoners who shew themselves
to be gentlemen or gentlewomen; yet one should always fear the worst"

"Indeed, sir, you speak like an oracle," answered the lady; "and one
subornation of perjury would sit heavier on my conscience than twenty
such murders as I am guilty of."

"Nay, to be sure, madam," answered the keeper, "nobody can pretend to
tell what provocation you must have had; and certainly it can never be
imagined that a lady who behaves herself so handsomely as you have
done ever since you have been under my keys should be guilty of
killing a man without being very highly provoked to do it."

Mr. Murphy was, I believe, going to answer when he was called out of
the room; after which nothing passed between the remaining persons
worth relating, till Booth and the lady retired back again into the
lady's apartment.

Here they fell immediately to commenting on the foregoing discourse;
but, as their comments were, I believe, the same with what most
readers have made on the same occasion, we shall omit them. At last,
Miss Matthews reminding her companion of his promise of relating to
her what had befallen him since the interruption of their former
acquaintance, he began as is written in the next book of this history.



BOOK II.

Chapter i.

_In which Captain Booth begins to relate his history._


The tea-table being removed, and Mr. Booth and the lady left alone, he
proceeded as follows:

"Since you desire, madam, to know the particulars of my courtship to
that best and dearest of women whom I afterwards married, I will
endeavour to recollect them as well as I can, at least all those
incidents which are most worth relating to you.

"If the vulgar opinion of the fatality in marriage had ever any
foundation, it surely appeared in my marriage with my Amelia. I knew
her in the first dawn of her beauty; and, I believe, madam, she had as
much as ever fell to the share of a woman; but, though I always
admired her, it was long without any spark of love. Perhaps the
general admiration which at that time pursued her, the respect paid
her by persons of the highest rank, and the numberless addresses which
were made her by men of great fortune, prevented my aspiring at the
possession of those charms which seemed so absolutely out of my reach.
However it was, I assure you the accident which deprived her of the
admiration of others made the first great impression on my heart in
her favour. The injury done to her beauty by the overturning of a
chaise, by which, as you may well remember, her lovely nose was beat
all to pieces, gave me an assurance that the woman who had been so
much adored for the charms of her person deserved a much higher
adoration to be paid to her mind; for that she was in the latter
respect infinitely more superior to the rest of her sex than she had
ever been in the former."

"I admire your taste extremely," cried the lady; "I remember perfectly
well the great heroism with which your Amelia bore that misfortune."

"Good heavens! madam," answered he; "what a magnanimity of mind did
her behaviour demonstrate! If the world have extolled the firmness of
soul in a man who can support the loss of fortune; of a general who
can be composed after the loss of a victory; or of a king who can be
contented with the loss of a crown; with what astonishment ought we to
behold, with what praises to honour, a young lady, who can with
patience and resignation submit to the loss of exquisite beauty, in
other words to the loss of fortune, power, glory, everything which
human nature is apt to court and rejoice in! what must be the mind
which can bear to be deprived of all these in a moment, and by an
unfortunate trifling accident; which could support all this, together
with the most exquisite torments of body, and with dignity, with
resignation, without complaining, almost without a tear, undergo the
most painful and dreadful operations of surgery in such a situation!"
Here he stopt, and a torrent of tears gushed from his eyes; such tears
are apt to flow from a truly noble heart at the hearing of anything
surprisingly great and glorious. As soon as he was able he again
proceeded thus:

"Would you think, Miss Matthews, that the misfortune of my Amelia was
capable of any aggravation? I assure you, she hath often told me it
was aggravated with a circumstance which outweighed all the other
ingredients. This was the cruel insults she received from some of her
most intimate acquaintance, several of whom, after many distortions
and grimaces, have turned their heads aside, unable to support their
secret triumph, and burst into a loud laugh in her hearing."

"Good heavens!" cried Miss Matthews; "what detestable actions will
this contemptible passion of envy prevail on our sex to commit!"

"An occasion of this kind, as she hath since told me, made the first
impression on her gentle heart in my favour. I was one day in company
with several young ladies, or rather young devils, where poor Amelia's
accident was the subject of much mirth and pleasantry. One of these
said she hoped miss would not hold her head so high for the future.
Another answered, 'I do not know, madam, what she may do with her
head, but I am convinced she will never more turn up her nose at her
betters.' Another cried, 'What a very proper match might now be made
between Amelia and a certain captain,' who had unfortunately received
an injury in the same part, though from no shameful cause. Many other
sarcasms were thrown out, very unworthy to be repeated. I was hurt
with perceiving so much malice in human shape, and cried out very
bluntly, Indeed, ladies, you need not express such satisfaction at
poor Miss Emily's accident; for she will still be the handsomest woman
in England. This speech of mine was afterwards variously repeated, by
some to my honour, and by others represented in a contrary light;
indeed, it was often reported to be much ruder than it was. However,
it at length reached Amelia's ears. She said she was very much obliged
to me, since I could have so much compassion for her as to be rude to
a lady on her account.

"About a month after the accident, when Amelia began to see company in
a mask, I had the honour to drink tea with her. We were alone
together, and I begged her to indulge my curiosity by showing me her
face. She answered in a most obliging manner, 'Perhaps, Mr. Booth, you
will as little know me when my mask is off as when it is on;' and at
the same instant unmasked.--The surgeon's skill was the least I
considered. A thousand tender ideas rushed all at once on my mind. I
was unable to contain myself, and, eagerly kissing her hand, I cried--
Upon my soul, madam, you never appeared to me so lovely as at this
instant. Nothing more remarkable passed at this visit; but I sincerely
believe we were neither of us hereafter indifferent to each other.

"Many months, however, passed after this, before I ever thought
seriously of making her my wife. Not that I wanted sufficient love for
Amelia. Indeed it arose from the vast affection I bore her. I
considered my own as a desperate fortune, hers as entirely dependent
on her mother, who was a woman, you know, of violent passions, and
very unlikely to consent to a match so highly contrary to the interest
of her daughter. The more I loved Amelia, the more firmly I resolved
within myself never to propose love to her seriously. Such a dupe was
my understanding to my heart, and so foolishly did I imagine I could
be master of a flame to which I was every day adding fuel.

"O, Miss Matthews! we have heard of men entirely masters of their
passions, and of hearts which can carry this fire in them, and conceal
it at their pleasure. Perhaps there may be such: but, if there are,
those hearts may be compared, I believe, to damps, in which it is more
difficult to keep fire alive than to prevent its blazing: in mine it
was placed in the midst of combustible matter.

"After several visits, in which looks and sighs had been interchanged
on both sides, but without the least mention of passion in private,
one day the discourse between us when alone happened to turn on love;
I say happened, for I protest it was not designed on my side, and I am
as firmly convinced not on hers. I was now no longer master of myself;
I declared myself the most wretched of all martyrs to this tender
passion; that I had long concealed it from its object. At length,
after mentioning many particulars, suppressing, however, those which
must have necessarily brought it home to Amelia, I concluded with
begging her to be the confidante of my amour, and to give me her
advice on that occasion.

"Amelia (O, I shall never forget the dear perturbation!) appeared all
confusion at this instant. She trembled, turned pale, and discovered
how well she understood me, by a thousand more symptoms than I could
take notice of, in a state of mind so very little different from her
own. At last, with faltering accents, she said I had made a very ill
choice of a counsellor in a matter in which she was so ignorant.--
Adding, at last, 'I believe, Mr. Booth, you gentlemen want very little
advice in these affairs, which you all understand better than we do.'

"I will relate no more of our conversation at present; indeed I am
afraid I tire you with too many particulars."

"O, no!" answered she; "I should be glad to hear every step of an
amour which had so tender a beginning. Tell me everything you said or
did, if you can remember it."

He then proceeded, and so will we in the next chapter.



Chapter ii.

_Mr. Booth continues his story. In this chapter there are some
passages that may serve as a kind of touchstone by which a young lady
may examine the heart of her lover. I would advise, therefore, that
every lover be obliged to read it over in the presence of his
mistress, and that she carefully watch his emotions while he is
reading._


"I was under the utmost concern," cries Booth, "when I retired from my
visit, and had reflected coolly on what I had said. I now saw plainly
that I had made downright love to Amelia; and I feared, such was my
vanity, that I had already gone too far, and been too successful.
Feared! do I say? could I fear what I hoped? how shall I describe the
anxiety of my mind?"

"You need give yourself no great pain," cried Miss Matthews, "to
describe what I can so easily guess. To be honest with you, Mr. Booth,
I do not agree with your lady's opinion that the men have a superior
understanding in the matters of love. Men are often blind to the
passions of women: but every woman is as quick-sighted as a hawk on
these occasions; nor is there one article in the whole science which
is not understood by all our sex."

"However, madam," said Mr. Booth, "I now undertook to deceive Amelia.
I abstained three days from seeing her; to say the truth, I
endeavoured to work myself up to a resolution of leaving her for ever:
but when I could not so far subdue my passion---But why do I talk
nonsense of subduing passion?--I should say, when no other passion
could surmount my love, I returned to visit her; and now I attempted
the strangest project which ever entered into the silly head of a
lover. This was to persuade Amelia that I was really in love in
another place, and had literally expressed my meaning when I asked her
advice and desired her to be my confidante.

"I therefore forged a meeting to have been between me and my imaginary
mistress since I had last seen Amelia, and related the particulars, as
well as I could invent them, which had passed at our conversation.

"Poor Amelia presently swallowed this bait; and, as she hath told me
since, absolutely believed me to be in earnest. Poor dear love! how
should the sincerest of hearts have any idea of deceit? for, with all
her simplicity, I assure you she is the most sensible woman in the
world."

"It is highly generous and good in you," said Miss Matthews, with a
sly sneer, "to impute to honesty what others would, perhaps, call
credulity."

"I protest, madam," answered he, "I do her no more than justice. A
good heart will at all times betray the best head in the world.---
Well, madam, my angel was now, if possible, more confused than before.
She looked so silly, you can hardly believe it."

"Yes, yes, I can," answered the lady, with a laugh, "I can believe
it.--Well, well, go on."--"After some hesitation," cried he, "my
Amelia said faintly to me, 'Mr. Booth, you use me very ill; you desire
me to be your confidante, and conceal from me the name of your
mistress.'

"Is it possible then, madam," answered I, "that you cannot guess her,
when I tell you she is one of your acquaintance, and lives in this
town?"

"'My acquaintance!' said she: 'La! Mr. Booth--In this town! I--I--I
thought I could have guessed for once; but I have an ill talent that
way--I will never attempt to guess anything again.' Indeed I do her an
injury when I pretend to represent her manner. Her manner, look,
voice, everything was inimitable; such sweetness, softness, innocence,
modesty!--Upon my soul, if ever man could boast of his resolution, I
think I might now, that I abstained from falling prostrate at her
feet, and adoring her. However, I triumphed; pride, I believe,
triumphed, or perhaps love got the better of love. We once more
parted, and I promised, the next time I saw her, to reveal the name of
my mistress.

"I now had, I thought, gained a complete victory over myself; and no
small compliments did I pay to my own resolution. In short, I
triumphed as cowards and niggards do when they flatter themselves with
having given some supposed instance of courage or generosity; and my
triumph lasted as long; that is to say, till my ascendant passion had
a proper opportunity of displaying itself in its true and natural
colours.

"Having hitherto succeeded so well in my own opinion, and obtained
this mighty self-conquest, I now entertained a design of exerting the
most romantic generosity, and of curing that unhappy passion which I
perceived I had raised in Amelia.

"Among the ladies who had expressed the greatest satisfaction at my
Amelia's misfortune, Miss Osborne had distinguished herself in a very
eminent degree; she was, indeed, the next in beauty to my angel, nay,
she had disputed the preference, and had some among her admirers who
were blind enough to give it in her favour."

"Well," cries the lady, "I will allow you to call them blind; but Miss
Osborne was a charming girl."

"She certainly was handsome," answered he, "and a very considerable
fortune; so I thought my Amelia would have little difficulty in
believing me when I fixed on her as my mistress. And I concluded that
my thus placing my affections on her known enemy would be the surest
method of eradicating every tender idea with which I had been ever
honoured by Amelia.

"Well, then, to Amelia I went; she received me with more than usual
coldness and reserve; in which, to confess the truth, there appeared
to me more of anger than indifference, and more of dejection than of
either. After some short introduction, I revived the discourse of my
amour, and presently mentioned Miss Osborne as the lady whose name I
had concealed; adding, that the true reason why I did not mention her
before was, that I apprehended there was some little distance between
them, which I hoped to have the happiness of accommodating.

"Amelia answered with much gravity, 'If you know, sir, that there is
any distance between us, I suppose you know the reason of that
distance; and then, I think, I could not have expected to be affronted
by her name. I would not have you think, Mr. Booth, that I hate Miss
Osborne. No! Heaven is my witness, I despise her too much.--Indeed,
when I reflect how much I loved the woman who hath treated me so
cruelly, I own it gives me pain--when I lay, as I then imagined, and
as all about me believed, on my deathbed, in all the agonies of pain
and misery, to become the object of laughter to my dearest friend.--O,
Mr. Booth, it is a cruel reflection! and could I after this have
expected from you--but why not from you, to whom I am a person
entirely indifferent, if such a friend could treat me so barbarously?'

"During the greatest part of this speech the tears streamed from her
bright eyes. I could endure it no longer. I caught up the word
indifferent, and repeated it, saying, Do you think then, madam, that
Miss Emily is indifferent to me?

"'Yes, surely, I do,' answered she: 'I know I am; indeed, why should I
not be indifferent to you?'

"Have my eyes," said I, "then declared nothing?"

"'O! there is no need of your eyes' answered she; 'your tongue hath
declared that you have singled out of all womankind my greatest, I
will say, my basest enemy. I own I once thought that character would
have been no recommendation to you;--but why did I think so? I was
born to deceive myself.'

"I then fell on my knees before her; and, forcing her hand, cried out,
O, my Amelia! I can bear no longer. You are the only mistress of my
affections; you are the deity I adore. In this stile I ran on for
above two or three minutes, what it is impossible to repeat, till a
torrent of contending passions, together with the surprize,
overpowered her gentle spirits, and she fainted away in my arms.

"To describe my sensation till she returned to herself is not in my
power."--"You need not," cried Miss Matthews.--"Oh, happy Amelia! why
had I not been blest with such a passion?"--"I am convinced, madam,"
continued he, "you cannot expect all the particulars of the tender
scene which ensued. I was not enough in my senses to remember it all.
Let it suffice to say, that that behaviour with which Amelia, while
ignorant of its motive, had been so much displeased, when she became
sensible of that motive, proved the strongest recommendation to her
favour, and she was pleased to call it generous."

"Generous!" repeated the lady, "and so it was, almost beyond the reach
of humanity. I question whether you ever had an equal."

Perhaps the critical reader may have the same doubt with Miss
Matthews; and lest he should, we will here make a gap in our history,
to give him an opportunity of accurately considering whether this
conduct of Mr. Booth was natural or no; and consequently, whether we
have, in this place, maintained or deviated from that strict adherence
to universal truth which we profess above all other historians.



Chapter iii.

_The narrative continued. More of the touchstone._


Booth made a proper acknowledgment of Miss Matthew's civility, and
then renewed his story. "We were upon the footing of lovers; and
Amelia threw off her reserve more and more, till at length I found all
that return of my affection which the tenderest lover can require.

"My situation would now have been a paradise, had not my happiness
been interrupted with the same reflections I have already mentioned;
had I not, in short, concluded, that I must derive all my joys from
the almost certain ruin of that dear creature to whom I should owe
them.

"This thought haunted me night and day, till I at last grew unable to
support it: I therefore resolved in the strongest manner, to lay it
before Amelia.

"One evening then, after the highest professions of the most
disinterested love, in which Heaven knows my sincerity, I took an
occasion to speak to Amelia in the following manner:--

"Too true it is, I am afraid, my dearest creature, that the highest
human happiness is imperfect. How rich would be my cup, was it not for
one poisonous drop which embitters the whole! O, Amelia! what must be
the consequence of my ever having the honour to call you mine!--You
know my situation in life, and you know your own: I have nothing more
than the poor provision of an ensign's commission to depend on; your
sole dependence is on your mother; should any act of disobedience
defeat your expectations, how wretched must your lot be with me! O,
Amelia! how ghastly an object to my mind is the apprehension of your
distress! Can I bear to reflect a moment on the certainty of your
foregoing all the conveniences of life? on the possibility of your
suffering all its most dreadful inconveniencies? what must be my
misery, then, to see you in such a situation, and to upbraid myself
with being the accursed cause of bringing you to it? Suppose too in
such a season I should be summoned from you. Could I submit to see you
encounter all the hazards, the fatigues of war, with me? you could not
yourself, however willing, support them a single campaign. What then;
must I leave you to starve alone, deprived of the tenderness of a
husband, deprived too of the tenderness of the best of mothers,
through my means? a woman most dear to me, for being the parent, the
nurse, and the friend of my Amelia.---But oh! my sweet creature, carry
your thoughts a little further. Think of the tenderest consequences,
the dearest pledges of our love. Can I bear to think of entailing
beggary on the posterity of my Amelia? on our---Oh, Heavens!--on our
children!--On the other side, is it possible even to mention the word
--I will not, must not, cannot, cannot part with you.---What must we
do, Amelia? It is now I sincerely ask your advice."

"'What advice can I give you,' said she, 'in such an alternative?
Would to Heaven we had never met!'

"These words were accompanied with a sigh, and a look inexpressibly
tender, the tears at the same time overflowing all her lovely cheeks.
I was endeavouring to reply when I was interrupted by what soon put an
end to the scene.

"Our amour had already been buzzed all over the town; and it came at
last to the ears of Mrs. Harris: I had, indeed, observed of late a
great alteration in that lady's behaviour towards me whenever I
visited at the house; nor could I, for a long time before this
evening, ever obtain a private interview with Amelia; and now, it
seems, I owed it to her mother's intention of overhearing all that
passed between us.

"At the period then above mentioned, Mrs. Harris burst from the closet
where she had hid herself, and surprised her daughter, reclining on my
bosom in all that tender sorrow I have just described. I will not
attempt to paint the rage of the mother, or the daughter's confusion,
or my own. 'Here are very fine doings, indeed,' cries Mrs. Harris:
'you have made a noble use, Amelia, of my indulgence, and the trust I
reposed in you.--As for you, Mr. Booth, I will not accuse you; you
have used my child as I ought to have expected; I may thank myself for
what hath happened;' with much more of the same kind, before she would
suffer me to speak; but at last I obtained a hearing, and offered to
excuse my poor Amelia, who was ready to sink into the earth under the
oppression of grief, by taking as much blame as I could on myself.
Mrs. Harris answered, 'No, sir, I must say you are innocent in
comparison of her; nay, I can say I have heard you use dissuasive
arguments; and I promise you they are of weight. I have, I thank
Heaven, one dutiful child, and I shall henceforth think her my only
one.'--She then forced the poor, trembling, fainting Amelia out of the
room; which when she had done, she began very coolly to reason with me
on the folly, as well as iniquity, which I had been guilty of; and
repeated to me almost every word I had before urged to her daughter.
In fine, she at last obtained of me a promise that I would soon go to
my regiment, and submit to any misery rather than that of being the
ruin of Amelia.

"I now, for many days, endured the greatest torments which the human
mind is, I believe, capable of feeling; and I can honestly say I tried
all the means, and applied every argument which I could raise, to cure
me of my love. And to make these the more effectual, I spent every
night in walking backwards and forwards in the sight of Mrs. Harris's
house, where I never failed to find some object or other which raised
some tender idea of my lovely Amelia, and almost drove me to
distraction."

"And don't you think, sir," said Miss Matthews, "you took a most
preposterous method to cure yourself?"

"Alas, madam," answered he, "you cannot see it in a more absurd light
than I do; but those know little of real love or grief who do not know
how much we deceive ourselves when we pretend to aim at the cure of
either. It is with these, as it is with some distempers of the body,
nothing is in the least agreeable to us but what serves to heighten
the disease.

"At the end of a fortnight, when I was driven almost to the highest
degree of despair, and could contrive no method of conveying a letter
to Amelia, how was I surprised when Mrs. Harris's servant brought me a
card, with an invitation from the mother herself to drink tea that
evening at her house!

"You will easily believe, madam, that I did not fail so agreeable an
appointment: on my arrival I was introduced into a large company of
men and women, Mrs. Harris and my Amelia being part of the company.

"Amelia seemed in my eyes to look more beautiful than ever, and
behaved with all the gaiety imaginable. The old lady treated me with
much civility, but the young lady took little notice of me, and
addressed most of her discourse to another gentleman present. Indeed,
she now and then gave me a look of no discouraging kind, and I
observed her colour change more than once when her eyes met mine;
circumstances, which, perhaps, ought to have afforded me sufficient
comfort, but they could not allay the thousand doubts and fears with
which I was alarmed, for my anxious thoughts suggested no less to me
than that Amelia had made her peace with her mother at the price of
abandoning me forever, and of giving her ear to some other lover. All
my prudence now vanished at once; and I would that instant have gladly
run away with Amelia, and have married her without the least
consideration of any consequences.

"With such thoughts I had tormented myself for near two hours, till
most of the company had taken their leave. This I was myself incapable
of doing, nor do I know when I should have put an end to my visit, had
not Dr Harrison taken me away almost by force, telling me in a whisper
that he had something to say to me of great consequence.--You know the
doctor, madam--"

"Very well, sir," answered Miss Matthews, "and one of the best men in
the world he is, and an honour to the sacred order to which he
belongs."

"You will judge," replied Booth, "by the sequel, whether I have reason
to think him so."--He then proceeded as in the next chapter.



Chapter iv

_The story of Mr. Booth continued. In this chapter the reader will
perceive a glimpse of the character of a very good divine, with some
matters of a very tender kind._


"The doctor conducted me into his study, and I then, desiring me to
sit down, began, as near as I can remember, in these words, or at
least to this purpose:

"'You cannot imagine, young gentleman, that your love for Miss Emily
is any secret in this place; I have known it some time, and have been,
I assure you, very much your enemy in this affair.'

"I answered, that I was very much obliged to him.

"'Why, so you are,' replied he; 'and so, perhaps, you will think
yourself when you know all.--I went about a fortnight ago to Mrs.
Harris, to acquaint her with my apprehensions on her daughter's
account; for, though the matter was much talked of, I thought it might
possibly not have reached her ears. I will be very plain with you. I
advised her to take all possible care of the young lady, and even to
send her to some place, where she might be effectually kept out of
your reach while you remained in the town.'

"And do you think, sir, said I, that this was acting a kind part by
me? or do you expect that I should thank you on this occasion?

"'Young man,' answered he, 'I did not intend you any kindness, nor do
I desire any of your thanks. My intention was to preserve a worthy
lady from a young fellow of whom I had heard no good character, and
whom I imagined to have a design of stealing a human creature for the
sake of her fortune.'

"It was very kind of you, indeed, answered I, to entertain such an
opinion of me.

"'Why, sir,' replied the doctor, 'it is the opinion which, I believe,
most of you young gentlemen of the order of the rag deserve. I have
known some instances, and have heard of more, where such young fellows
have committed robbery under the name of marriage.'

"I was going to interrupt him with some anger when he desired me to
have a little patience, and then informed me that he had visited Mrs.
Harris with the above-mentioned design the evening after the discovery
I have related; that Mrs. Harris, without waiting for his information,
had recounted to him all which had happened the evening before; and,
indeed, she must have an excellent memory, for I think she repeated
every word I said, and added, that she had confined her daughter to
her chamber, where she kept her a close prisoner, and had not seen her
since.

"I cannot express, nor would modesty suffer me if I could, all that
now past. The doctor took me by the hand and burst forth into the
warmest commendations of the sense and generosity which he was pleased
to say discovered themselves in my speech. You know, madam, his strong
and singular way of expressing himself on all occasions, especially
when he is affected with anything. 'Sir,' said he, 'if I knew half a
dozen such instances in the army, the painter should put red liveries
upon all the saints in my closet.'

"From this instant, the doctor told me, he had become my friend and
zealous advocate with Mrs. Harris, on whom he had at last prevailed,
though not without the greatest difficulty, to consent to my marrying
Amelia, upon condition that I settled every penny which the mother
should lay down, and that she would retain a certain sum in her hands
which she would at any time deposit for my advancement in the army.

"You will, I hope, madam, conceive that I made no hesitation at these
conditions, nor need I mention the joy which I felt on this occasion,
or the acknowledgment I paid the doctor, who is, indeed, as you say,
one of the best of men.

"The next morning I had permission to visit Amelia, who received me in
such a manner, that I now concluded my happiness to be complete.

"Everything was now agreed on all sides, and lawyers employed to
prepare the writings, when an unexpected cloud arose suddenly in our
serene sky, and all our joys were obscured in a moment.

"When matters were, as I apprehended, drawing near a conclusion, I
received an express, that a sister whom I tenderly loved was seized
with a violent fever, and earnestly desired me to come to her. I
immediately obeyed the summons, and, as it was then about two in the
morning, without staying even to take leave of Amelia, for whom I left
a short billet, acquainting her with the reason of my absence.

"The gentleman's house where my sister then was stood at fifty miles'
distance, and, though I used the utmost expedition, the unmerciful
distemper had, before my arrival, entirely deprived the poor girl of
her senses, as it soon after did of her life.

"Not all the love I bore Amelia, nor the tumultuous delight with which
the approaching hour of possessing her filled my heart, could, for a
while, allay my grief at the loss of my beloved Nancy. Upon my soul, I
cannot yet mention her name without tears. Never brother and sister
had, I believe, a higher friendship for each other. Poor dear girl!
whilst I sat by her in her light-head fits, she repeated scarce any
other name but mine; and it plainly appeared that, when her dear
reason was ravished away from her, it had left my image on her fancy,
and that the last use she made of it was to think on me. 'Send for my
dear Billy immediately,' she cried; 'I know he will come to me in a
moment. Will nobody fetch him to me? pray don't kill me before I see
him once more. You durst not use me so if he was here.'--Every accent
still rings in my ears. Oh, heavens! to hear this, and at the same
time to see the poor delirious creature deriving the greatest horrors
from my sight, and mistaking me for a highwayman who had a little
before robbed her. But I ask your pardon; the sensations I felt are to
be known only from experience, and to you must appear dull and
insipid. At last, she seemed for a moment to know me, and cried, 'O
heavens! my dearest brother!' upon which she fell into immediate
convulsions, and died away in my arms."

Here Mr. Booth stopped a moment, and wiped his eyes; and Miss
Matthews, perhaps out of complaisance, wiped hers.



Chapter v.

_Containing strange revolutions of fortune_


Booth proceeded thus:

"This loss, perhaps, madam, you will think had made me miserable
enough; but Fortune did not think so; for, on the day when my Nancy
was to be buried, a courier arrived from Dr Harrison, with a letter,
in which the doctor acquainted me that he was just come from Mrs.
Harris when he despatched the express, and earnestly desired me to
return the very instant I received his letter, as I valued my Amelia.
'Though if the daughter,' added he, 'should take after her mother (as
most of them do) it will be, perhaps, wiser in you to stay away.'

"I presently sent for the messenger into my room, and with much
difficulty extorted from him that a great squire in his coach and six
was come to Mrs. Harris's, and that the whole town said he was shortly
to be married to Amelia.

"I now soon perceived how much superior my love for Amelia was to
every other passion; poor Nancy's idea disappeared in a moment; I
quitted the dear lifeless corpse, over which I had shed a thousand
tears, left the care of her funeral to others, and posted, I may
almost say flew, back to Amelia, and alighted at the doctor's house,
as he had desired me in his letter.

"The good man presently acquainted me with what had happened in my
absence. Mr. Winckworth had, it seems, arrived the very day of my
departure, with a grand equipage, and, without delay, had made formal
proposals to Mrs. Harris, offering to settle any part of his vast
estate, in whatever manner she pleased, on Amelia. These proposals the
old lady had, without any deliberation, accepted, and had insisted, in
the most violent manner, on her daughter's compliance, which Amelia
had as peremptorily refused to give; insisting, on her part, on the
consent which her mother had before given to our marriage, in which
she was heartily seconded by the doctor, who declared to her, as he
now did to me, 'that we ought as much to be esteemed man and wife as
if the ceremony had already past between us.'

"These remonstrances, the doctor told me, had worked no effect on Mrs.
Harris, who still persisted in her avowed resolution of marrying her
daughter to Winckworth, whom the doctor had likewise attacked, telling
him that he was paying his addresses to another man's wife; but all to
no purpose; the young gentleman was too much in love to hearken to any
dissuasives.

"We now entered into a consultation what means to employ. The doctor
earnestly protested against any violence to be offered to the person
of Winckworth, which, I believe, I had rashly threatened; declaring
that, if I made any attempt of that kind, he would for ever abandon my
cause. I made him a solemn promise of forbearance. At last he
determined to pay another visit to Mrs. Harris, and, if he found her
obdurate, he said he thought himself at liberty to join us together
without any further consent of the mother, which every parent, he
said, had a right to refuse, but not retract when given, unless the
party himself, by some conduct of his, gave a reason.

"The doctor having made his visit with no better success than before,
the matter now debated was, how to get possession of Amelia by
stratagem, for she was now a closer prisoner than ever; was her
mother's bedfellow by night, and never out of her sight by day.

"While we were deliberating on this point a wine-merchant of the town
came to visit the doctor, to inform him that he had just bottled off a
hogshead of excellent old port, of which he offered to spare him a
hamper, saying that he was that day to send in twelve dozen to Mrs.
Harris.

"The doctor now smiled at a conceit which came into his head; and,
taking me aside, asked me if I had love enough for the young lady to
venture into the house in a hamper. I joyfully leapt at the proposal,
to which the merchant, at the doctor's intercession, consented; for I
believe, madam, you know the great authority which that worthy mart
had over the whole town. The doctor, moreover, promised to procure a
license, and to perform the office for us at his house, if I could
find any means of conveying Amelia thither.

"In this hamper, then, I was carried to the house, and deposited in
the entry, where I had not lain long before I was again removed and
packed up in a cart in order to be sent five miles into the country;
for I heard the orders given as I lay in the entry; and there I
likewise heard that Amelia and her mother were to follow me the next
morning.

"I was unloaded from my cart, and set down with the rest of the lumber
in a great hall. Here I remained above three hours, impatiently
waiting for the evening, when I determined to quit a posture which was
become very uneasy, and break my prison; but Fortune contrived to
release me sooner, by the following means: The house where I now was
had been left in the care of one maid-servant. This faithful creature
came into the hall with the footman who had driven the cart. A scene
of the highest fondness having past between them, the fellow proposed,
and the maid consented, to open the hamper and drink a bottle
together, which, they agreed, their mistress would hardly miss in such
a quantity. They presently began to execute their purpose. They opened
the hamper, and, to their great surprise, discovered the contents.

"I took an immediate advantage of the consternation which appeared in
the countenances of both the servants, and had sufficient presence of
mind to improve the knowledge of those secrets to which I was privy. I
told them that it entirely depended on their behaviour to me whether
their mistress should ever be acquainted, either with what they had
done or with what they had intended to do; for that if they would keep
my secret I would reciprocally keep theirs. I then acquainted them
with my purpose of lying concealed in the house, in order to watch an
opportunity of obtaining a private interview with Amelia.

[Illustration: They opened The Hamper]

"In the situation in which these two delinquents stood, you may be
assured it was not difficult for me to seal up their lips. In short,
they agreed to whatever I proposed. I lay that evening in my dear
Amelia's bedchamber, and was in the morning conveyed into an old
lumber-garret, where I was to wait till Amelia (whom the maid
promised, on her arrival, to inform of my place of concealment) could
find some opportunity of seeing me."

"I ask pardon for interrupting you," cries Miss Matthews, "but you
bring to my remembrance a foolish story which I heard at that time,
though at a great distance from you: That an officer had, in
confederacy with Miss Harris, broke open her mother's cellar and stole
away a great quantity of her wine. I mention it only to shew you what
sort of foundations most stories have."

Booth told her he had heard some such thing himself, and then
continued his story as in the next chapter.



Chapter vi.

_Containing many surprising adventures._


"There," continued he, "I remained the whole day in hopes of a
happiness, the expected approach of which gave me such a delight that
I would not have exchanged my poor lodgings for the finest palace in
the universe.

"A little after it was dark Mrs. Harris arrived, together with Amelia
and her sister. I cannot express how much my heart now began to
flutter; for, as my hopes every moment encreased, strange fears, which
I had not felt before, began now to intermingle with them.

"When I had continued full two hours in these circumstances, I heard a
woman's step tripping upstairs, which I fondly hoped was my Amelia;
but all on a sudden the door flew open, and Mrs. Harris herself
appeared at it, with a countenance pale as death, her whole body
trembling, I suppose with anger; she fell upon me in the most bitter
language. It is not necessary to repeat what she said, nor indeed can
I, I was so shocked and confounded on this occasion. In a word, the
scene ended with my departure without seeing Amelia."

"And pray," cries Miss Matthews, "how happened this unfortunate
discovery?"

Booth answered, That the lady at supper ordered a bottle of wine,
"which neither myself," says he, "nor the servants had presence of
mind to provide. Being told there was none in the house, though she
had been before informed that the things came all safe, she had sent
for the maid, who, being unable to devise any excuse, had fallen on
her knees, and, after confessing her design of opening a bottle, which
she imputed to the fellow, betrayed poor me to her mistress.

"Well, madam, after a lecture of about a quarter of an hour's duration
from Mrs. Harris, I suffered her to conduct me to the outward gate of
her court-yard, whence I set forward in a disconsolate condition of
mind towards my lodgings. I had five miles to walkin a dark and rainy
night: but how can I mention these trifling circumstances as any
aggravation of my disappointment!"

"How was it possible," cried Miss Matthews, "that you could be got out
of the house without seeing Miss Harris?"

"I assure you, madam," answered Booth, "I have often wondered at it
myself; but my spirits were so much sunk at the sight of her mother,
that no man was ever a greater coward than I was at that instant.
Indeed, I believe my tender concern for the terrors of Amelia were the
principal cause of my submission. However it was, I left the house,
and walked about a hundred yards, when, at the corner of the garden-
wall, a female voice, in a whisper, cried out, 'Mr. Booth.' The person
was extremely near me, but it was so dark I could scarce see her; nor
did I, in the confusion I was in, immediately recognize the voice. I
answered in a line of Congreve's, which burst from my lips
spontaneously; for I am sure I had no intention to quote plays at that
time.

"'Who calls the wretched thing that was Alphonso?'

"Upon which a woman leapt into my arms, crying out--'O! it is indeed
my Alphonso, my only Alphonso!'--O Miss Matthews! guess what I felt
when I found I had my Amelia in my arms. I embraced her with an
ecstasy not to be described, at the same instant pouring a thousand
tendernesses into her ears; at least, if I could express so many to
her in a minute, for in that time the alarm began at the house; Mrs.
Harris had mist her daughter, and the court was presently full of
lights and noises of all kinds.

"I now lifted Amelia over a gate, and, jumping after, we crept along
together by the side of a hedge, a different way from what led to the
town, as I imagined that would be the road through which they would
pursue us. In this opinion I was right; for we heard them pass along
that road, and the voice of Mrs. Harris herself, who ran with the
rest, notwithstanding the darkness and the rain. By these means we
luckily made our escape, and clambring over hedge and ditch, my Amelia
performing the part of a heroine all the way, we at length arrived at
a little green lane, where stood a vast spreading oak, under which we
sheltered ourselves from a violent storm.

"When this was over and the moon began to appear, Amelia declared she
knew very well where she was; and, a little farther striking into
another lane to the right, she said that would lead us to a house
where we should be both safe and unsuspected. I followed her
directions, and we at length came to a little cottage about three
miles distant from Mrs. Harris's house.

"As it now rained very violently, we entered this cottage, in which we
espied a light, without any ceremony. Here we found an elderly woman
sitting by herself at a little fire, who had no sooner viewed us than
she instantly sprung from her seat, and starting back gave the
strongest tokens of amazement; upon which Amelia said, 'Be not
surprised, nurse, though you see me in a strange pickle, I own.' The
old woman, after having several times blessed herself, and expressed
the most tender concern for the lady who stood dripping before her,
began to bestir herself in making up the fire; at the same time
entreating Amelia that she might be permitted to furnish her with some
cloaths, which, she said, though not fine, were clean and wholesome
and much dryer than her own. I seconded this motion so vehemently,
that Amelia, though she declared herself under no apprehension of
catching cold (she hath indeed the best constitution in the world), at
last consented, and I retired without doors under a shed, to give my
angel an opportunity of dressing herself in the only room which the
cottage afforded belowstairs.

"At my return into the room, Amelia insisted on my exchanging my coat
for one which belonged to the old woman's son." "I am very glad,"
cried Miss Matthews, "to find she did not forget you. I own I thought
it somewhat cruel to turn you out into the rain."--"O, Miss Matthews!"
continued he, taking no notice of her observation, "I had now an
opportunity of contemplating the vast power of exquisite beauty, which
nothing almost can add to or diminish. Amelia, in the poor rags of her
old nurse, looked scarce less beautiful than I have seen her appear at
a ball or an assembly." "Well, well," cries Miss Matthews, "to be sure
she did; but pray go on with your story."

"The old woman," continued he, "after having equipped us as well as
she could, and placed our wet cloaths before the fire, began to grow
inquisitive; and, after some ejaculations, she cried--'O, my dear
young madam! my mind misgives me hugeously; and pray who is this fine
young gentleman? Oh! Miss Emmy, Miss Emmy, I am afraid madam knows
nothing of all this matter.' 'Suppose he should be my husband, nurse,'
answered Amelia. 'Oh! good! and if he be,' replies the nurse, 'I hope
he is some great gentleman or other, with a vast estate and a coach
and six: for to be sure, if an he was the greatest lord in the land,
you would deserve it all.' But why do I attempt to mimic the honest
creature? In short, she discovered the greatest affection for my
Amelia; with which I was much more delighted than I was offended at
the suspicions she shewed of me, or the many bitter curses which she
denounced against me, if I ever proved a bad husband to so sweet a
young lady.

"I so well improved the hint given me by Amelia, that the old woman
had no doubt of our being really married; and, comforting herself
that, if it was not as well as it might have been, yet madam had
enough for us both, and that happiness did not always depend on great
riches, she began to rail at the old lady for having turned us out of
doors, which I scarce told an untruth in asserting. And when Amelia
said, 'She hoped her nurse would not betray her,' the good woman
answered with much warmth--'Betray you, my dear young madam! no, that
I would not, if the king would give me all that he is worth: no, not
if madam herself would give me the great house, and the whole farm
belonging to it.'

"The good woman then went out and fetched a chicken from the roost,
which she killed, and began to pick, without asking any questions.
Then, summoning her son, who was in bed, to her assistance, she began
to prepare this chicken for our supper. This she afterwards set before
us in so neat, I may almost say elegant, a manner, that whoever would
have disdained it either doth not know the sensation of hunger, or
doth not deserve to have it gratified. Our food was attended with some
ale, which our kind hostess said she intended not to have tapped till
Christmas; 'but,' added she, 'I little thought ever to have the honour
of seeing my dear honoured lady in this poor place.'

"For my own part, no human being was then an object of envy to me, and
even Amelia seemed to be in pretty good spirits; she softly whispered
to me that she perceived there might be happiness in a cottage."

"A cottage!" cries Miss Matthews, sighing, "a cottage, with the man
one loves, is a palace."

"When supper was ended," continued Booth, "the good woman began to
think of our further wants, and very earnestly recommended her bed to
us, saying, it was a very neat, though homely one, and that she could
furnish us with a pair of clean sheets. She added some persuasives
which painted my angel all over with vermilion. As for myself, I
behaved so awkwardly and foolishly, and so readily agreed to Amelia's
resolution of sitting up all night, that, if it did not give the nurse
any suspicion of our marriage, it ought to have inspired her with the
utmost contempt for me.

"We both endeavoured to prevail with nurse to retire to her own bed,
but found it utterly impossible to succeed; she thanked Heaven she
understood breeding better than that. And so well bred was the good
woman, that we could scarce get her out of the room the whole night.
Luckily for us, we both understood French, by means of which we
consulted together, even in her presence, upon the measures we were to
take in our present exigency. At length it was resolved that I should
send a letter by this young lad, whom I have just before mentioned, to
our worthy friend the doctor, desiring his company at our hut, since
we thought it utterly unsafe to venture to the town, which we knew
would be in an uproar on our account before the morning."

Here Booth made a full stop, smiled, and then said he was going to
mention so ridiculous a distress, that he could scarce think of it
without laughing. What this was the reader shall know in the next
chapter.



Chapter vii.

_The story of Booth continued.--More surprising adventures._


From what trifles, dear Miss Matthews," cried Booth, "may some of our
greatest distresses arise! Do you not perceive I am going to tell you
we had neither pen, ink, nor paper, in our present exigency?

"A verbal message was now our only resource; however, we contrived to
deliver it in such terms, that neither nurse nor her son could
possibly conceive any suspicion from it of the present situation of
our affairs. Indeed, Amelia whispered me, I might safely place any
degree of confidence in the lad; for he had been her foster-brother,
and she had a great opinion of his integrity. He was in truth a boy of
very good natural parts; and Dr Harrison, who had received him into
his family, at Amelia's recommendation, had bred him up to write and
read very well, and had taken some pains to infuse into him the
principles of honesty and religion. He was not, indeed, even now
discharged from the doctor's service, but had been at home with his
mother for some time, on account of the small-pox, from which he was
lately recovered.

"I have said so much," continued Booth, "of the boy's character, that
you may not be surprised at some stories which I shall tell you of him
hereafter.

"I am going now, madam, to relate to you one of those strange
accidents which are produced by such a train of circumstances, that
mere chance hath been thought incapable of bringing them together; and
which have therefore given birth, in superstitious minds, to Fortune,
and to several other imaginary beings.

"We were now impatiently expecting the arrival of the doctor; our
messenger had been gone much more than a sufficient time, which to us,
you may be assured, appeared not at all shorter than it was, when
nurse, who had gone out of doors on some errand, came running hastily
to us, crying out, 'O my dear young madam, her ladyship's coach is
just at the door!' Amelia turned pale as death at these words; indeed,
I feared she would have fainted, if I could be said to fear, who had
scarce any of my senses left, and was in a condition little better
than my angel's.

"While we were both in this dreadful situation, Amelia fallen back in
her chair with the countenance in which ghosts are painted, myself at
her feet, with a complexion of no very different colour, and nurse
screaming out and throwing water in Amelia's face, Mrs. Harris entered
the room. At the sight of this scene she threw herself likewise into a
chair, and called immediately for a glass of water, which Miss Betty
her daughter supplied her with; for, as to nurse, nothing was capable
of making any impression on her whilst she apprehended her young
mistress to be in danger.

"The doctor had now entered the room, and, coming immediately up to
Amelia, after some expressions of surprize, he took her by the hand,
called her his little sugar-plum, and assured her there were none but
friends present. He then led her tottering across the room to Mrs.
Harris. Amelia then fell upon her knees before her mother; but the
doctor caught her up, saying, 'Use that posture, child, only to the
Almighty!' but I need not mention this singularity of his to you who
know him so well, and must have heard him often dispute against
addressing ourselves to man in the humblest posture which we use
towards the Supreme Being.

"I will tire you with no more particulars: we were soon satisfied that
the doctor had reconciled us and our affairs to Mrs. Harris; and we
now proceeded directly to church, the doctor having before provided a
licence for us."

"But where is the strange accident?" cries Miss Matthews; "sure you
have raised more curiosity than you have satisfied."

"Indeed, madam," answered he, "your reproof is just; I had like to
have forgotten it; but you cannot wonder at me when you reflect on
that interesting part of my story which I am now relating.--But before
I mention this accident I must tell you what happened after Amelia's
escape from her mother's house. Mrs. Harris at first ran out into the
lane among her servants, and pursued us (so she imagined) along the
road leading to the town; but that being very dirty, and a violent
storm of rain coming, she took shelter in an alehouse about half a
mile from her own house, whither she sent for her coach; she then
drove, together with her daughter, to town, where, soon after her
arrival, she sent for the doctor, her usual privy counsellor in all
her affairs. They sat up all night together, the doctor endeavouring,
by arguments and persuasions, to bring Mrs. Harris to reason; but all
to no purpose, though, as he hath informed me, Miss Betty seconded him
with the warmest entreaties."

Here Miss Matthews laughed; of which Booth begged to know the reason:
she, at last, after many apologies, said, "It was the first good thing
she ever heard of Miss Betty; nay," said she, "and asking your pardon
for my opinion of your sister, since you will have it, I always
conceived her to be the deepest of hypocrites."

Booth fetched a sigh, and said he was afraid she had not always acted
so kindly;--and then, after a little hesitation, proceeded:

"You will be pleased, madam, to remember the lad was sent with a
verbal message to the doctor: which message was no more than to
acquaint him where we were, and to desire the favour of his company,
or that he would send a coach to bring us to whatever place he would
please to meet us at. This message was to be delivered to the doctor
himself, and the messenger was ordered, if he found him not at home,
to go to him wherever he was. He fulfilled his orders and told it to
the doctor in the presence of Mrs. Harris."

"Oh, the idiot!" cries Miss Matthews. "Not at all," answered Booth:
"he is a very sensible fellow, as you will, perhaps, say hereafter. He
had not the least reason to suspect that any secrecy was necessary;
for we took the utmost care he should not suspect it.--Well, madam,
this accident, which appeared so unfortunate, turned in the highest
degree to our advantage. Mrs. Harris no sooner heard the message
delivered than she fell into the most violent passion imaginable, and
accused the doctor of being in the plot, and of having confederated
with me in the design of carrying off her daughter.

"The doctor, who had hitherto used only soothing methods, now talked
in a different strain. He confessed the accusation and justified his
conduct. He said he was no meddler in the family affairs of others,
nor should he have concerned himself with hers, but at her own
request; but that, since Mrs. Harris herself had made him an agent in
this matter, he would take care to acquit himself with honour, and
above all things to preserve a young lady for whom he had the highest
esteem; 'for she is,' cries he, and, by heavens, he said true, 'the
most worthy, generous, and noble of all human beings. You have
yourself, madam,' said he, 'consented to the match. I have, at your
request, made the match;' and then he added some particulars relating
to his opinion of me, which my modesty forbids me to repeat."--"Nay,
but," cries Miss Matthews, "I insist on your conquest of that modesty
for once. We women do not love to hear one another's praises, and I
will be made amends by hearing the praises of a man, and of a man
whom, perhaps," added she with a leer, "I shall not think much the
better of upon that account."--"In obedience to your commands, then,
madam," continued he, "the doctor was so kind to say he had enquired
into my character and found that I had been a dutiful son and an
affectionate brother. Relations, said he, in which whoever discharges
his duty well, gives us a well-grounded hope that he will behave as
properly in all the rest. He concluded with saying that Amelia's
happiness, her heart, nay, her very reputation, were all concerned in
this matter, to which, as he had been made instrumental, he was
resolved to carry her through it; and then, taking the licence from
his pocket, declared to Mrs. Harris that he would go that instant and
marry her daughter wherever he found her. This speech, the doctor's
voice, his look, and his behaviour, all which are sufficiently
calculated to inspire awe, and even terror, when he pleases,
frightened poor Mrs. Harris, and wrought a more sensible effect than
it was in his power to produce by all his arguments and entreaties;
and I have already related what followed.

"Thus the strange accident of our wanting pen, ink, and paper, and our
not trusting the boy with our secret, occasioned the discovery to Mrs.
Harris; that discovery put the doctor upon his metal, and produced
that blessed event which I have recounted to you, and which, as my
mother hath since confessed, nothing but the spirit which he had
exerted after the discovery could have brought about.

"Well, madam, you now see me married to Amelia; in which situation you
will, perhaps, think my happiness incapable of addition. Perhaps it
was so; and yet I can with truth say that the love which I then bore
Amelia was not comparable to what I bear her now." "Happy Amelia!"
cried Miss Matthews. "If all men were like you, all women would be
blessed; nay, the whole world would be so in a great measure; for,
upon my soul, I believe that from the damned inconstancy of your sex
to ours proceeds half the miseries of mankind."

That we may give the reader leisure to consider well the foregoing
sentiment, we will here put an end to this chapter.



Chapter viii.

_In which our readers will probably be divided in their opinion of
Mr. Booth's conduct._


Booth proceeded as follows:--

"The first months of our marriage produced nothing remarkable enough
to mention. I am sure I need not tell Miss Matthews that I found in my
Amelia every perfection of human nature. Mrs. Harris at first gave us
some little uneasiness. She had rather yielded to the doctor than
given a willing consent to the match; however, by degrees, she became
more and more satisfied, and at last seemed perfectly reconciled. This
we ascribed a good deal to the kind offices of Miss Betty, who had
always appeared to be my friend. She had been greatly assisting to
Amelia in making her escape, which I had no opportunity of mentioning
to you before, and in all things behaved so well, outwardly at least,
to myself as well as her sister, that we regarded her as our sincerest
friend.

"About half a year after our marriage two additional companies were
added to our regiment, in one of which I was preferred to the command
of a lieutenant. Upon this occasion Miss Betty gave the first
intimation of a disposition which we have since too severely
experienced."

"Your servant, sir," says Miss Matthews; "then I find I was not
mistaken in my opinion of the lady.--No, no, shew me any goodness in a
censorious prude, and--"

As Miss Matthews hesitated for a simile or an execration, Booth
proceeded: "You will please to remember, madam, there was formerly an
agreement between myself and Mrs. Harris that I should settle all my
Amelia's fortune on her, except a certain sum, which was to be laid
out in my advancement in the army; but, as our marriage was carried on
in the manner you have heard, no such agreement was ever executed. And
since I was become Amelia's husband not a word of this matter was ever
mentioned by the old lady; and as for myself, I declare I had not yet
awakened from that delicious dream of bliss in which the possession of
Amelia had lulled me."

Here Miss Matthews sighed, and cast the tenderest of looks on Booth,
who thus continued his story:--

"Soon after my promotion Mrs. Harris one morning took an occasion to
speak to me on this affair. She said, that, as I had been promoted
gratis to a lieutenancy, she would assist me with money to carry me
yet a step higher; and, if more was required than was formerly
mentioned, it should not be wanting, since she was so perfectly
satisfied with my behaviour to her daughter. Adding that she hoped I
had still the same inclination to settle on my wife the remainder of
her fortune.

"I answered with very warm acknowledgments of my mother's goodness,
and declared, if I had the world, I was ready to lay it at my Amelia's
feet.--And so, Heaven knows, I would ten thousand worlds.

"Mrs. Harris seemed pleased with the warmth of my sentiments, and said
she would immediately send to her lawyer and give him the necessary
orders; and thus ended our conversation on this subject.

"From this time there was a very visible alteration in Miss Betty's
behaviour. She grew reserved to her sister as well as to me. She was
fretful and captious on the slightest occasion; nay, she affected much
to talk on the ill consequences of an imprudent marriage, especially
before her mother; and if ever any little tenderness or endearments
escaped me in public towards Amelia, she never failed to make some
malicious remark on the short duration of violent passions; and, when
I have expressed a fond sentiment for my wife, her sister would kindly
wish she might hear as much seven years hence.

"All these matters have been since suggested to us by reflection; for,
while they actually past, both Amelia and myself had our thoughts too
happily engaged to take notice of what discovered itself in the mind
of any other person.

"Unfortunately for us, Mrs. Harris's lawyer happened at this time to
be at London, where business detained him upwards of a month, and, as
Mrs. Harris would on no occasion employ any other, our affair was
under an entire suspension till his return.

"Amelia, who was now big with child, had often expressed the deepest
concern at her apprehensions of my being some time commanded abroad; a
circumstance, which she declared if it should ever happen to her, even
though she should not then be in the same situation as at present,
would infallibly break her heart. These remonstrances were made with
such tenderness, and so much affected me, that, to avoid any
probability of such an event, I endeavoured to get an exchange into
the horse-guards, a body of troops which very rarely goes abroad,
unless where the king himself commands in person. I soon found an
officer for my purpose, the terms were agreed on, and Mrs. Harris had
ordered the money which I was to pay to be ready, notwithstanding the
opposition made by Miss Betty, who openly dissuaded her mother from
it; alledging that the exchange was highly to my disadvantage; that I
could never hope to rise in the army after it; not forgetting, at the
same time, some insinuations very prejudicial to my reputation as a
soldier.

"When everything was agreed on, and the two commissions were actually
made out, but not signed by the king, one day, at my return from
hunting, Amelia flew to me, and eagerly embracing me, cried out, 'O
Billy, I have news for you which delights my soul. Nothing sure was
ever so fortunate as the exchange you have made. The regiment you was
formerly in is ordered for Gibraltar.'

"I received this news with far less transport than it was delivered. I
answered coldly, since the case was so, I heartily hoped the
commissions might be both signed. 'What do you say?' replied Amelia
eagerly; 'sure you told me everything was entirely settled. That look
of yours frightens me to death.'--But I am running into too minute
particulars. In short, I received a letter by that very post from the
officer with whom I had exchanged, insisting that, though his majesty
had not signed the commissions, that still the bargain was valid,
partly urging it as a right, and partly desiring it as a favour, that
he might go to Gibraltar in my room.

"This letter convinced me in every point. I was now informed that the
commissions were not signed, and consequently that the exchange was
not compleated; of consequence the other could have no right to insist
on going; and, as for granting him such a favour, I too clearly saw I
must do it at the expense of my honour. I was now reduced to a
dilemma, the most dreadful which I think any man can experience; in
which, I am not ashamed to own, I found love was not so overmatched by
honour as he ought to have been. The thoughts of leaving Amelia in her
present condition to misery, perhaps to death or madness, were
insupportable; nor could any other consideration but that which now
tormented me on the other side have combated them a moment."

"No woman upon earth," cries Miss Matthews, "can despise want of
spirit in a man more than myself; and yet I cannot help thinking you
was rather too nice on this occasion."

"You will allow, madam," answered Booth, "that whoever offends against
the laws of honour in the least instance is treated as the highest
delinquent. Here is no excuse, no pardon; and he doth nothing who
leaves anything undone. But if the conflict was so terrible with
myself alone, what was my situation in the presence of Amelia? how
could I support her sighs, her tears, her agonies, her despair? could
I bear to think myself the cruel cause of her sufferings? for so I
was: could I endure the thought of having it in my power to give her
instant relief, for so it was, and refuse it her?

"Miss Betty was now again become my friend. She had scarce been civil
to me for a fortnight last past, yet now she commended me to the
skies, and as severely blamed her sister, whom she arraigned of the
most contemptible weakness in preferring my safety to my honour: she
said many ill-natured things on the occasion, which I shall not now
repeat.

"In the midst of this hurricane the good doctor came to dine with Mrs.
Harris, and at my desire delivered his opinion on the matter."

Here Mr. Booth was interrupted in his narrative by the arrival of a
person whom we shall introduce in the next chapter.



Chapter ix.

_Containing a scene of a different kind from any of the preceding._


The gentleman who now arrived was the keeper; or, if you please (for
so he pleased to call himself), the governor of the prison.

He used so little ceremony at his approach, that the bolt, which was
very slight on the inside, gave way, and the door immediately flew
open. He had no sooner entered the room than he acquainted Miss
Matthews that he had brought her very good news, for which he demanded
a bottle of wine as his due.

This demand being complied with, he acquainted Miss Matthews that the
wounded gentleman was not dead, nor was his wound thought to be
mortal: that loss of blood, and perhaps his fright, had occasioned his
fainting away; "but I believe, madam," said he, "if you take the
proper measures you may be bailed to-morrow. I expect the lawyer here
this evening, and if you put the business into his hands I warrant it
will be done. Money to be sure must be parted with, that's to be sure.
People to be sure will expect to touch a little in such cases. For my
own part, I never desire to keep a prisoner longer than the law
allows, not I; I always inform them they can be bailed as soon as I
know it; I never make any bargain, not I; I always love to leave those
things to the gentlemen and ladies themselves. I never suspect
gentlemen and ladies of wanting generosity."

Miss Matthews made a very slight answer to all these friendly
professions. She said she had done nothing she repented of, and was
indifferent as to the event. "All I can say," cries she, "is, that if
the wretch is alive there is no greater villain in life than himself;"
and, instead of mentioning anything of the bail, she begged the keeper
to leave her again alone with Mr. Booth. The keeper replied, "Nay,
madam, perhaps it may be better to stay a little longer here, if you
have not bail ready, than to buy them too dear. Besides, a day or two
hence, when the gentleman is past all danger of recovery, to be sure
some folks that would expect an extraordinary fee now cannot expect to
touch anything. And to be sure you shall want nothing here. The best
of all things are to be had here for money, both eatable and
drinkable: though I say it, I shan't turn my back to any of the
taverns for either eatables or wind. The captain there need not have
been so shy of owning himself when he first came in; we have had
captains and other great gentlemen here before now; and no shame to
them, though I say it. Many a great gentleman is sometimes found in
places that don't become them half so well, let me tell them that,
Captain Booth, let me tell them that."

"I see, sir," answered Booth, a little discomposed, "that you are
acquainted with my title as well as my name."

"Ay, sir," cries the keeper, "and I honour you the more for it. I love
the gentlemen of the army. I was in the army myself formerly; in the
Lord of Oxford's horse. It is true I rode private; but I had money
enough to have bought in quarter-master, when I took it into my head
to marry, and my wife she did not like that I should continue a
soldier, she was all for a private life; and so I came to this
business."

"Upon my word, sir," answered Booth, "you consulted your wife's
inclinations very notably; but pray will you satisfy my curiosity in
telling me how you became acquainted that I was in the army? for my
dress I think could not betray me."

"Betray!" replied the keeper; "there is no betraying here, I hope--I
am not a person to betray people.--But you are so shy and peery, you
would almost make one suspect there was more in the matter. And if
there be, I promise you, you need not be afraid of telling it me. You
will excuse me giving you a hint; but the sooner the better, that's
all. Others may be beforehand with you, and first come first served on
these occasions, that's all. Informers are odious, there's no doubt of
that, and no one would care to be an informer if he could help it,
because of the ill-usage they always receive from the mob: yet it is
dangerous to trust too much; and when safety and a good part of the
reward too are on one side and the gallows on the other--I know which
a wise man would chuse."

"What the devil do you mean by all this?" cries Booth.

"No offence, I hope," answered the keeper: "I speak for your good; and
if you have been upon the snaffling lay--you understand me, I am
sure."

"Not I," answered Booth, "upon my honour."

"Nay, nay," replied the keeper, with a contemptuous sneer, "if you are
so peery as that comes to, you must take the consequence.--But for my
part, I know I would not trust Robinson with twopence untold."

"What do you mean?" cries Booth; "who is Robinson?"

"And you don't know Robinson?" answered the keeper with great emotion.
To which Booth replying in the negative, the keeper, after some tokens
of amazement, cried out, "Well, captain, I must say you are the best
at it of all the gentlemen I ever saw. However, I will tell you this:
the lawyer and Mr. Robinson have been laying their heads together
about you above half an hour this afternoon. I overheard them mention
Captain Booth several times, and, for my part, I would not answer that
Mr. Murphy is not now gone about the business; but if you will impeach
any to me of the road, or anything else, I will step away to his
worship Thrasher this instant, and I am sure I have interest enough
with him to get you admitted an evidence."

"And so," cries Booth, "you really take me for a highwayman?"

"No offence, captain, I hope," said the keeper; "as times go, there
are many worse men in the world than those. Gentlemen may be driven to
distress, and when they are, I know no more genteeler way than the
road. It hath been many a brave man's case, to my knowledge, and men
of as much honour too as any in the world."

"Well, sir," said Booth, "I assure you I am not that gentleman of
honour you imagine me."

Miss Matthews, who had long understood the keeper no better than Mr.
Booth, no sooner heard his meaning explained than she was fired with
greater indignation than the gentleman had expressed. "How dare you,
sir," said she to the keeper, "insult a man of fashion, and who hath
had the honour to bear his majesty's commission in the army? as you
yourself own you know. If his misfortunes have sent him hither, sure
we have no laws that will protect such a fellow as you in insulting
him." "Fellow!" muttered the keeper--"I would not advise you, madam,
to use such language to me."--"Do you dare threaten me?" replied Miss
Matthews in a rage. "Venture in the least instance to exceed your
authority with regard to me, and I will prosecute you with the utmost
vengeance."

A scene of very high altercation now ensued, till Booth interposed and
quieted the keeper, who was, perhaps, enough inclined to an
accommodation; for, in truth, he waged unequal war. He was besides
unwilling to incense Miss Matthews, whom he expected to be bailed out
the next day, and who had more money left than he intended she should
carry out of the prison with her; and as for any violent or
unjustifiable methods, the lady had discovered much too great a spirit
to be in danger of them. The governor, therefore, in a very gentle
tone, declared that, if he had given any offence to the gentleman, he
heartily asked his pardon; that, if he had known him to be really a
captain, he should not have entertained any such suspicions; but the
captain was a very common title in that place, and belonged to several
gentlemen that had never been in the army, or, at most, had rid
private like himself. "To be sure, captain," said he, "as you yourself
own, your dress is not very military" (for he had on a plain fustian
suit); "and besides, as the lawyer says, _noscitur a sosir_, is a very
good rule. And I don't believe there is a greater rascal upon earth
than that same Robinson that I was talking of. Nay, I assure you, I
wish there may be no mischief hatching against you. But if there is I
will do all I can with the lawyer to prevent it. To be sure, Mr.
Murphy is one of the cleverest men in the world at the law; that even
his enemies must own, and as I recommend him to all the business I can
(and it is not a little to be sure that arises in this place), why one
good turn deserves another. And I may expect that he will not be
concerned in any plot to ruin any friend of mine, at least when I
desire him not. I am sure he could not be an honest man if he would."

Booth was then satisfied that Mr. Robinson, whom he did not yet know
by name, was the gamester who had won his money at play. And now Miss
Matthews, who had very impatiently borne this long interruption,
prevailed on the keeper to withdraw. As soon as he was gone Mr. Booth
began to felicitate her upon the news of the wounded gentleman being
in a fair likelihood of recovery. To which, after a short silence, she
answered, "There is something, perhaps, which you will not easily
guess, that makes your congratulations more agreeable to me than the
first account I heard of the villain's having escaped the fate he
deserves; for I do assure you, at first, it did not make me amends for
the interruption of my curiosity. Now I hope we shall be disturbed no
more till you have finished your whole story.--You left off, I think,
somewhere in the struggle about leaving Amelia--the happy Amelia."
"And can you call her happy at such a period?" cries Booth. "Happy,
ay, happy, in any situation," answered Miss Matthews, "with such a
husband. I, at least, may well think so, who have experienced the very
reverse of her fortune; but I was not born to be happy. I may say with
the poet,

    "The blackest ink of fate was sure my lot,
     And when fate writ my name, it made a blot."

"Nay, nay, dear Miss Matthews," answered Booth, "you must and shall
banish such gloomy thoughts. Fate hath, I hope, many happy days in
store for you."--"Do you believe it, Mr. Booth?" replied she; "indeed
you know the contrary--you must know--for you can't have forgot. No
Amelia in the world can have quite obliterated--forgetfulness is not
in our own power. If it was, indeed, I have reason to think--but I
know not what I am saying.--Pray do proceed in that story."

Booth so immediately complied with this request that it is possible he
was pleased with it. To say the truth, if all which unwittingly dropt
from Miss Matthews was put together, some conclusions might, it seems,
be drawn from the whole, which could not convey a very agreeable idea
to a constant husband. Booth, therefore, proceeded to relate what is
written in the third book of this history.



BOOK III.

Chapter i.

_In which Mr. Booth resumes his story._


"If I am not mistaken, madam," continued Booth, "I was just going to
acquaint you with the doctor's opinion when we were interrupted by the
keeper.

"The doctor, having heard counsel on both sides, that is to say, Mrs.
Harris for my staying, and Miss Betty for my going, at last delivered
his own sentiments. As for Amelia, she sat silent, drowned in her
tears; nor was I myself in a much better situation.

"'As the commissions are not signed,' said the doctor, 'I think you
may be said to remain in your former regiment; and therefore I think
you ought to go on this expedition; your duty to your king and
country, whose bread you have eaten, requires it; and this is a duty
of too high a nature to admit the least deficiency. Regard to your
character, likewise, requires you to go; for the world, which might
justly blame your staying at home if the case was even fairly stated,
will not deal so honestly by you: you must expect to have every
circumstance against you heightened, and most of what makes for your
defence omitted; and thus you will be stigmatized as a coward without
any palliation. As the malicious disposition of mankind is too well
known, and the cruel pleasure which they take in destroying the
reputations of others, the use we are to make of this knowledge is to
afford no handle to reproach; for, bad as the world is, it seldom
falls on any man who hath not given some slight cause for censure,
though this, perhaps, is often aggravated ten thousand-fold; and, when
we blame the malice of the aggravation we ought not to forget our own
imprudence in giving the occasion. Remember, my boy, your honour is at
stake; and you know how nice the honour of a soldier is in these
cases. This is a treasure which he must be your enemy, indeed, who
would attempt to rob you of. Therefore, you ought to consider every
one as your enemy who, by desiring you to stay, would rob you of your
honour.'

"'Do you hear that, sister?' cries Miss Betty.--'Yes, I do hear it'
answered Amelia, with more spirit than I ever saw her exert before,
and would preserve his honour at the expense of my life. 'I will
preserve it if it should be at that expense; and since it is Dr
Harrison's opinion that he ought to go, I give my consent. Go, my dear
husband,' cried she, falling upon her knees: 'may every angel of
heaven guard and preserve you!'--I cannot repeat her words without
being affected," said he, wiping his eyes, "the excellence of that
woman no words can paint: Miss Matthews, she hath every perfection in
human nature.

"I will not tire you with the repetition of any more that past on that
occasion, nor with the quarrel that ensued between Mrs. Harris and the
doctor; for the old lady could not submit to my leaving her daughter
in her present condition. She fell severely on the army, and cursed
the day in which her daughter was married to a soldier, not sparing
the doctor for having had some share in the match. I will omit,
likewise, the tender scene which past between Amelia and myself
previous to my departure." "Indeed, I beg you would not," cries Miss
Matthews; "nothing delights me more than scenes of tenderness. I
should be glad to know, if possible, every syllable which was uttered
on both sides."

"I will indulge you then," cries Booth, "as far as is in my power.
Indeed, I believe I am able to recollect much the greatest part; for
the impression is never to be effaced from my memory."

He then proceeded as Miss Matthews desired; but, lest all our readers
should not be of her opinion, we will, according to our usual custom,
endeavour to accommodate ourselves to every taste, and shall,
therefore, place this scene in a chapter by itself, which we desire
all our readers who do not love, or who, perhaps, do not know the
pleasure of tenderness, to pass over; since they may do this without
any prejudice to the thread of the narrative.



Chapter ii.

_Containing a scene of the tender kind._


"The doctor, madam," continued Booth, "spent his evening at Mrs.
Harris's house, where I sat with him whilst he smoaked his pillow
pipe, as his phrase is. Amelia was retired about half an hour to her
chamber before I went to her. At my entrance I found her on her knees,
a posture in which I never disturbed her. In a few minutes she arose,
came to me, and embracing me, said she had been praying for resolution
to support the cruellest moment she had ever undergone or could
possibly undergo. I reminded her how much more bitter a farewel would
be on a death-bed, when we never could meet, in this world at least,
again. I then endeavoured to lessen all those objects which alarmed
her most, and particularly the danger I was to encounter, upon which
head I seemed a little to comfort her; but the probable length of my
absence and the certain length of my voyage were circumstances which
no oratory of mine could even palliate. 'O heavens!' said she,
bursting into tears, 'can I bear to think that hundreds, thousands for
aught I know, of miles or leagues, that lands and seas are between us?
What is the prospect from that mount in our garden where I have sat so
many happy hours with my Billy? what is the distance between that and
the farthest hill which we see from thence compared to the distance
which will be between us? You cannot wonder at this idea; you must
remember, my Billy, at this place, this very thought came formerly
into my foreboding mind. I then begged you to leave the army. Why
would you not comply?--did I not tell you then that the smallest
cottage we could survey from the mount would be, with you, a paradise
to me? it would be so still--why can't my Billy think so? am I so much
his superior in love? where is the dishonour, Billy? or, if there be
any, will it reach our ears in our little hut? are glory and fame, and
not his Amelia, the happiness of my husband? go then, purchase them at
my expence. You will pay a few sighs, perhaps a few tears, at parting,
and then new scenes will drive away the thoughts of poor Amelia from
your bosom; but what assistance shall I have in my affliction? not
that any change of scene could drive you one moment from my
remembrance; yet here every object I behold will place your loved idea
in the liveliest manner before my eyes. This is the bed in which you
have reposed; that is the chair on which you sat. Upon these boards
you have stood. These books you have read to me. Can I walk among our
beds of flowers without viewing your favourites, nay, those which you
have planted with your own hands? can I see one beauty from our
beloved mount which you have not pointed out to me?'--Thus she went
on, the woman, madam, you see, still prevailing."--"Since you mention
it," says Miss Matthews, with a smile, "I own the same observation
occurred to me. It is too natural to us to consider ourselves only,
Mr. Booth."--"You shall hear," he cried. "At last the thoughts of her
present condition suggested themselves.--' But if,' said she, 'my
situation, even in health, will be so intolerable, how shall I, in the
danger and agonies of childbirth, support your absence?'--Here she
stopt, and, looking on me with all the tenderness imaginable, cried
out, 'And am I then such a wretch to wish for your presence at such a
season? ought I not to rejoice that you are out of the hearing of my
cries or the knowledge of my pains? if I die, will you not have
escaped the horrors of a parting ten thousand times more dreadful than
this? Go, go, my Billy; the very circumstance which made me most dread
your departure hath perfectly reconciled me to it. I perceive clearly
now that I was only wishing to support my own weakness with your
strength, and to relieve my own pains at the price of yours. Believe
me, my love, I am ashamed of myself.'--I caught her in my arms with
raptures not to be exprest in words, called her my heroine; sure none
ever better deserved that name; after which we remained for some time
speechless, and locked in each other's embraces."--

"I am convinced," said Miss Matthews, with a sigh, "there are moments
in life worth purchasing with worlds."

"At length the fatal morning came. I endeavoured to hide every pang of
my heart, and to wear the utmost gaiety in my countenance. Amelia
acted the same part. In these assumed characters we met the family at
breakfast; at their breakfast, I mean, for we were both full already.
The doctor had spent above an hour that morning in discourse with Mrs.
Harris, and had, in some measure, reconciled her to my departure. He
now made use of every art to relieve the poor distressed Amelia; not
by inveighing against the folly of grief, or by seriously advising her
not to grieve; both of which were sufficiently performed by Miss
Betty. The doctor, on the contrary, had recourse to every means which
might cast a veil over the idea of grief, and raise comfortable images
in my angel's mind. He endeavoured to lessen the supposed length of my
absence by discoursing on matters which were more distant in time. He
said he intended next year to rebuild a part of his parsonage-house.
'And you, captain,' says he, 'shall lay the corner-stone, I promise
you:' with many other instances of the like nature, which produced, I
believe, some good effect on us both.

"Amelia spoke but little; indeed, more tears than words dropt from
her; however, she seemed resolved to bear her affliction with
resignation. But when the dreadful news arrived that the horses were
ready, and I, having taken my leave of all the rest, at last
approached her, she was unable to support the conflict with nature any
longer, and, clinging round my neck, she cried, 'Farewel, farewel for
ever; for I shall never, never see you more.' At which words the blood
entirely forsook her lovely cheeks, and she became a lifeless corpse
in my arms.

"Amelia continued so long motionless, that the doctor, as well as Mrs.
Harris, began to be under the most terrible apprehensions; so they
informed me afterwards, for at that time I was incapable of making any
observation. I had indeed very little more use of my senses than the
dear creature whom I supported. At length, however, we were all
delivered from our fears; and life again visited the loveliest mansion
that human nature ever afforded it.

"I had been, and yet was, so terrified with what had happened, and
Amelia continued yet so weak and ill, that I determined, whatever
might be the consequence, not to leave her that day; which resolution
she was no sooner acquainted with than she fell on her knees, crying,
'Good Heaven! I thank thee for this reprieve at least. Oh! that every
hour of my future life could be crammed into this dear day!'

"Our good friend the doctor remained with us. He said he had intended
to visit a family in some affliction; 'but I don't know,' says he,
'why I should ride a dozen miles after affliction, when we have enough
here.'" Of all mankind the doctor is the best of comforters. As his
excessive good-nature makes him take vast delight in the office, so
his great penetration into the human mind, joined to his great
experience, renders him the most wonderful proficient in it; and he so
well knows when to soothe, when to reason, and when to ridicule, that
he never applies any of those arts improperly, which is almost
universally the case with the physicians of the mind, and which it
requires very great judgment and dexterity to avoid.

"The doctor principally applied himself to ridiculing the dangers of
the siege, in which he succeeded so well, that he sometimes forced a
smile even into the face of Amelia. But what most comforted her were
the arguments he used to convince her of the probability of my speedy
if not immediate return. He said the general opinion was that the
place would be taken before our arrival there; in which case we should
have nothing more to do than to make the best of our way home again.

"Amelia was so lulled by these arts that she passed the day much
better than I expected. Though the doctor could not make pride strong
enough to conquer love, yet he exalted the former to make some stand
against the latter; insomuch that my poor Amelia, I believe, more than
once flattered herself, to speak the language of the, world, that her
reason had gained an entire victory over her passion; till love
brought up a reinforcement, if I may use that term, of tender ideas,
and bore down all before him.

"In the evening the doctor and I passed another half-hour together,
when he proposed to me to endeavour to leave Amelia asleep in the
morning, and promised me to be at hand when she awaked, and to support
her with all the assistance in his power. He added that nothing was
more foolish than for friends to take leave of each other. 'It is
true, indeed,' says he, 'in the common acquaintance and friendship of
the world, this is a very harmless ceremony; but between two persons
who really love each other the church of Rome never invented a penance
half so severe as this which we absurdly impose on ourselves'

"I greatly approved the doctor's proposal; thanked him, and promised,
if possible, to put it in execution. He then shook me by the hand, and
heartily wished me well, saying, in his blunt way, 'Well, boy, I hope
to see thee crowned with laurels at thy return; one comfort I have at
least, that stone walls and a sea will prevent thee from running
away.'

"When I had left the doctor I repaired to my Amelia, whom I found in
her chamber, employed in a very different manner from what she had
been the preceding night; she was busy in packing up some trinkets in
a casket, which she desired me to carry with me. This casket was her
own work, and she had just fastened it as I came to her.

"Her eyes very plainly discovered what had passed while she was
engaged in her work: however, her countenance was now serene, and she
spoke, at least, with some chearfulness. But after some time, 'You
must take care of this casket, Billy,' said she. 'You must, indeed,
Billy--for--' here passion almost choaked her, till a flood of tears
gave her relief, and then she proceeded--'For I shall be the happiest
woman that ever was born when I see it again.' I told her, with the
blessing of God, that day would soon come. 'Soon!' answered she. 'No,
Billy, not soon: a week is an age;--but yet the happy day may come. It
shall, it must, it will! Yes, Billy, we shall meet never to part
again, even in this world, I hope.' Pardon my weakness, Miss Matthews,
but upon my soul I cannot help it," cried he, wiping his eyes. "Well,
I wonder at your patience, and I will try it no longer. Amelia, tired
out with so long a struggle between variety of passions, and having
not closed her eyes during three successive nights, towards the
morning fell into a profound sleep. In which sleep I left her, and,
having drest myself with all the expedition imaginable, singing,
whistling, hurrying, attempting by every method to banish thought, I
mounted my horse, which I had over-night ordered to be ready, and
galloped away from that house where all my treasure was deposited.

"Thus, madam, I have, in obedience to your commands, run through a
scene which, if it hath been tiresome to you, you must yet acquit me
of having obtruded upon you. This I am convinced of, that no one is
capable of tasting such a scene who hath not a heart full of
tenderness, and perhaps not even then, unless he hath been in the same
situation."



Chapter iii.

_In which Mr. Booth sets forward on his journey._


"Well, madam, we have now taken our leave of Amelia. I rode a full
mile before I once suffered myself to look back; but now being come to
the top of a little hill, the last spot I knew which could give me a
prospect of Mrs. Harris's house, my resolution failed: I stopped and
cast my eyes backward. Shall I tell you what I felt at that instant? I
do assure you I am not able. So many tender ideas crowded at once into
my mind, that, if I may use the expression, they almost dissolved my
heart. And now, madam, the most unfortunate accident came first into
my head. This was, that I had in the hurry and confusion left the dear
casket behind me. The thought of going back at first suggested itself;
but the consequences of that were too apparent. I therefore resolved
to send my man, and in the meantime to ride on softly on my road. He
immediately executed my orders, and after some time, feeding my eyes
with that delicious and yet heartfelt prospect, I at last turned my
horse to descend the hill, and proceeded about a hundred yards, when,
considering with myself that I should lose no time by a second
indulgence, I again turned back, and once more feasted my sight with
the same painful pleasure till my man returned, bringing me the
casket, and an account that Amelia still continued in the sweet sleep
I left her. I now suddenly turned my horse for the last time, and with
the utmost resolution pursued my journey.

"I perceived my man at his return--But before I mention anything of
him it may be proper, madam, to acquaint you who he was. He was the
foster-brother of my Amelia. This young fellow had taken it into his
head to go into the army; and he was desirous to serve under my
command. The doctor consented to discharge him; his mother at last
yielded to his importunities, and I was very easily prevailed on to
list one of the handsomest young fellows in England.

"You will easily believe I had some little partiality to one whose
milk Amelia had sucked; but, as he had never seen the regiment, I had
no opportunity to shew him any great mark of favour. Indeed he waited
on me as my servant; and I treated him with all the tenderness which
can be used to one in that station.

"When I was about to change into the horse-guards the poor fellow
began to droop, fearing that he should no longer be in the same corps
with me, though certainly that would not have been the case. However,
he had never mentioned one word of his dissatisfaction. He is indeed a
fellow of a noble spirit; but when he heard that I was to remain where
I was, and that we were to go to Gibraltar together, he fell into
transports of joy little short of madness. In short, the poor fellow
had imbibed a very strong affection for me; though this was what I
knew nothing of till long after.

"When he returned to me then, as I was saying, with the casket, I
observed his eyes all over blubbered with tears. I rebuked him a
little too rashly on this occasion. 'Heyday!' says I, 'what is the
meaning of this? I hope I have not a milk-sop with me. If I thought
you would shew such a face to the enemy I would leave you behind.'--
'Your honour need not fear that,' answered he; 'I shall find nobody
there that I shall love well enough to make me cry.' I was highly
pleased with this answer, in which I thought I could discover both
sense and spirit. I then asked him what had occasioned those tears
since he had left me (for he had no sign of any at that time), and
whether he had seen his mother at Mrs. Harris's? He answered in the
negative, and begged that I would ask him no more questions; adding
that he was not very apt to cry, and he hoped he should never give me
such another opportunity of blaming him. I mention this only as an
instance of his affection towards me; for I never could account for
those tears any otherwise than by placing them to the account of that
distress in which he left me at that time. We travelled full forty
miles that day without baiting, when, arriving at the inn where I
intended to rest that night, I retired immediately to my chamber, with
my dear Amelia's casket, the opening of which was the nicest repast,
and to which every other hunger gave way.

"It is impossible to mention to you all the little matters with which
Amelia had furnished this casket. It contained medicines of all kinds,
which her mother, who was the Lady Bountiful of that country, had
supplied her with. The most valuable of all to me was a lock of her
dear hair, which I have from that time to this worn in my bosom. What
would I have then given for a little picture of my dear angel, which
she had lost from her chamber about a month before! and which we had
the highest reason in the world to imagine her sister had taken away;
for the suspicion lay only between her and Amelia's maid, who was of
all creatures the honestest, and whom her mistress had often trusted
with things of much greater value; for the picture, which was set in
gold, and had two or three little diamonds round it, was worth about
twelve guineas only; whereas Amelia left jewels in her care of much
greater value."

"Sure," cries Miss Matthews, "she could not be such a paultry
pilferer."

"Not on account of the gold or the jewels," cries Booth. "We imputed
it to mere spite, with which, I assure you, she abounds; and she knew
that, next to Amelia herself, there was nothing which I valued so much
as this little picture; for such a resemblance did it bear of the
original, that Hogarth himself did never, I believe, draw a stronger
likeness. Spite, therefore, was the only motive to this cruel
depredation; and indeed her behaviour on the occasion sufficiently
convinced us both of the justice of our suspicion, though we neither
of us durst accuse her; and she herself had the assurance to insist
very strongly (though she could not prevail) with Amelia to turn away
her innocent maid, saying, she would not live in the house with a
thief."

Miss Matthews now discharged some curses on Miss Betty, not much worth
repeating, and then Mr. Booth proceeded in his relation.



Chapter iv.

_A sea piece._


"The next day we joined the regiment, which was soon after to embark.
Nothing but mirth and jollity were in the countenance of every officer
and soldier; and as I now met several friends whom I had not seen for
above a year before, I passed several happy hours, in which poor
Amelia's image seldom obtruded itself to interrupt my pleasure. To
confess the truth, dear Miss Matthews, the tenderest of passions is
capable of subsiding; nor is absence from our dearest friends so
unsupportable as it may at first appear. Distance of time and place do
really cure what they seem to aggravate; and taking leave of our
friends resembles taking leave of the world; concerning which it hath
been often said that it is not death, but dying, which is terrible."--
Here Miss Matthews burst into a fit of laughter, and cried, "I
sincerely ask your pardon; but I cannot help laughing at the gravity
of your philosophy." Booth answered, That the doctrine of the passions
had been always his favourite study; that he was convinced every man
acted entirely from that passion which was uppermost. "Can I then
think," said he, "without entertaining the utmost contempt for myself,
that any pleasure upon earth could drive the thoughts of Amelia one
instant from my mind?

"At length we embarked aboard a transport, and sailed for Gibraltar;
but the wind, which was at first fair, soon chopped about; so that we
were obliged, for several days, to beat to windward, as the sea phrase
is. During this time the taste which I had of a seafaring life did not
appear extremely agreeable. We rolled up and down in a little narrow
cabbin, in which were three officers, all of us extremely sea-sick;
our sickness being much aggravated by the motion of the ship, by the
view of each other, and by the stench of the men. But this was but a
little taste indeed of the misery which was to follow; for we were got
about six leagues to the westward of Scilly, when a violent storm
arose at north-east, which soon raised the waves to the height of
mountains. The horror of this is not to be adequately described to
those who have never seen the like. The storm began in the evening,
and, as the clouds brought on the night apace, it was soon entirely
dark; nor had we, during many hours, any other light than what was
caused by the jarring elements, which frequently sent forth flashes,
or rather streams of fire; and whilst these presented the most
dreadful objects to our eyes, the roaring of the winds, the dashing of
the waves against the ship and each other, formed a sound altogether
as horrible for our ears; while our ship, sometimes lifted up, as it
were, to the skies, and sometimes swept away at once as into the
lowest abyss, seemed to be the sport of the winds and seas. The
captain himself almost gave up all for lost, and exprest his
apprehension of being inevitably cast on the rocks of Scilly, and beat
to pieces. And now, while some on board were addressing themselves to
the Supreme Being, and others applying for comfort to strong liquors,
my whole thoughts were entirely engaged by my Amelia. A thousand
tender ideas crouded into my mind. I can truly say that I had not a
single consideration about myself in which she was not concerned.
Dying to me was leaving her; and the fear of never seeing her more was
a dagger stuck in my heart. Again, all the terrors with which this
storm, if it reached her ears, must fill her gentle mind on my
account, and the agonies which she must undergo when she heard of my
fate, gave me such intolerable pangs, that I now repented my
resolution, and wished, I own I wished, that I had taken her advice,
and preferred love and a cottage to all the dazzling charms of honour.

"While I was tormenting myself with those meditations, and had
concluded myself as certainly lost, the master came into the cabbin,
and with a chearful voice assured us that we had escaped the danger,
and that we had certainly past to westward of the rock. This was
comfortable news to all present; and my captain, who had been some
time on his knees, leapt suddenly up, and testified his joy with a
great oath.

"A person unused to the sea would have been astonished at the
satisfaction which now discovered itself in the master or in any on
board; for the storm still raged with great violence, and the
daylight, which now appeared, presented us with sights of horror
sufficient to terrify minds which were not absolute slaves to the
passion of fear; but so great is the force of habit, that what
inspires a landsman with the highest apprehension of danger gives not
the least concern to a sailor, to whom rocks and quicksands are almost
the only objects of terror.

"The master, however, was a little mistaken in the present instance;
for he had not left the cabbin above an hour before my man came
running to me, and acquainted me that the ship was half full of water;
that the sailors were going to hoist out the boat and save themselves,
and begged me to come that moment along with him, as I tendered my
preservation. With this account, which was conveyed to me in a
whisper, I acquainted both the captain and ensign; and we all together
immediately mounted the deck, where we found the master making use of
all his oratory to persuade the sailors that the ship was in no
danger; and at the same time employing all his authority to set the
pumps a-going, which he assured them would keep the water under, and
save his dear Lovely Peggy (for that was the name of the ship), which
he swore he loved as dearly as his own soul.

"Indeed this sufficiently appeared; for the leak was so great, and the
water flowed in so plentifully, that his Lovely Peggy was half filled
before he could be brought to think of quitting her; but now the boat
was brought alongside the ship, and the master himself,
notwithstanding all his love for her, quitted his ship, and leapt into
the boat. Every man present attempted to follow his example, when I
heard the voice of my servant roaring forth my name in a kind of
agony. I made directly to the ship-side, but was too late; for the
boat, being already overladen, put directly off. And now, madam, I am
going to relate to you an instance of heroic affection in a poor
fellow towards his master, to which love itself, even among persons of
superior education, can produce but few similar instances. My poor
man, being unable to get me with him into the boat, leapt suddenly
into the sea, and swam back to the ship; and, when I gently rebuked
him for his rashness, he answered, he chose rather to die with me than
to live to carry the account of my death to my Amelia: at the same
time bursting into a flood of tears, he cried, 'Good Heavens! what
will that poor lady feel when she hears of this!' This tender concern
for my dear love endeared the poor fellow more to me than the gallant
instance which he had just before given of his affection towards
myself.

"And now, madam, my eyes were shocked with a sight, the horror of
which can scarce be imagined; for the boat had scarce got four hundred
yards from the ship when it was swallowed up by the merciless waves,
which now ran so high, that out of the number of persons which were in
the boat none recovered the ship, though many of them we saw miserably
perish before our eyes, some of them very near us, without any
possibility of giving them the least assistance.

"But, whatever we felt for them, we felt, I believe, more for
ourselves, expecting every minute when we should share the same fate.
Amongst the rest, one of our officers appeared quite stupified with
fear. I never, indeed, saw a more miserable example of the great power
of that passion: I must not, however, omit doing him justice, by
saying that I afterwards saw the same man behave well in an
engagement, in which he was wounded; though there likewise he was said
to have betrayed the same passion of fear in his countenance.

"The other of our officers was no less stupified (if I may so express
myself) with fool-hardiness, and seemed almost insensible of his
danger. To say the truth, I have, from this and some other instances
which I have seen, been almost inclined to think that the courage as
well as cowardice of fools proceeds from not knowing what is or what
is not the proper object of fear; indeed, we may account for the
extreme hardiness of some men in the same manner as for the terrors of
children at a bugbear. The child knows not but that the bugbear is the
proper object of fear, the blockhead knows not that a cannon-ball is
so.

"As to the remaining part of the ship's crew and the soldiery, most of
them were dead drunk, and the rest were endeavouring, as fast as they
could, to prepare for death in the same manner.

"In this dreadful situation we were taught that no human condition
should inspire men with absolute despair; for, as the storm had ceased
for some time, the swelling of the sea began considerably to abate;
and we now perceived the man of war which convoyed us, at no great
distance astern. Those aboard her easily perceived our distress, and
made towards us. When they came pretty near they hoisted out two boats
to our assistance. These no sooner approached the ship than they were
instantaneously filled, and I myself got a place in one of them,
chiefly by the aid of my honest servant, of whose fidelity to me on
all occasions I cannot speak or think too highly. Indeed, I got into
the boat so much the more easily, as a great number on board the ship
were rendered, by drink, incapable of taking any care for themselves.
There was time, however, for the boat to pass and repass; so that,
when we came to call over names, three only, of all that remained in
the ship after the loss of her own boat, were missing.

"The captain, ensign, and myself, were received with many
congratulations by our officers on board the man of war.--The sea-
officers too, all except the captain, paid us their compliments,
though these were of the rougher kind, and not without several jokes
on our escape. As for the captain himself, we scarce saw him during
many hours; and, when he appeared, he presented a view of majesty
beyond any that I had ever seen. The dignity which he preserved did
indeed give me rather the idea of a Mogul, or a Turkish emperor, than
of any of the monarchs of Christendom. To say the truth, I could
resemble his walk on the deck to nothing but the image of Captain
Gulliver strutting among the Lilliputians; he seemed to think himself
a being of an order superior to all around him, and more especially to
us of the land service. Nay, such was the behaviour of all the sea-
officers and sailors to us and our soldiers, that, instead of
appearing to be subjects of the same prince, engaged in one quarrel,
and joined to support one cause, we land-men rather seemed to be
captives on board an enemy's vessel. This is a grievous misfortune,
and often proves so fatal to the service, that it is great pity some
means could not be found of curing it."

Here Mr. Booth stopt a while to take breath. We will therefore give
the same refreshment to the reader.



Chapter v.

_The arrival of Booth at Gibraltar, with what there befel him._


"The adventures," continued Booth, "which I happened to me from this
day till my arrival at Gibraltar are not worth recounting to you.
After a voyage the remainder of which was tolerably prosperous, we
arrived in that garrison, the natural strength of which is so well
known to the whole world.

"About a week after my arrival it was my fortune to be ordered on a
sally party, in which my left leg was broke with a musket-ball; and I
should most certainly have either perished miserably, or must have
owed my preservation to some of the enemy, had not my faithful servant
carried me off on his shoulders, and afterwards, with the assistance
of one of his comrades, brought me back into the garrison.

"The agony of my wound was so great, that it threw me into a fever,
from whence my surgeon apprehended much danger. I now began again to
feel for my Amelia, and for myself on her account; and the disorder of
my mind, occasioned by such melancholy contemplations, very highly
aggravated the distemper of my body; insomuch that it would probably
have proved fatal, had it not been for the friendship of one Captain
James, an officer of our regiment, and an old acquaintance, who is
undoubtedly one of the pleasantest companions and one of the best-
natured men in the world. This worthy man, who had a head and a heart
perfectly adequate to every office of friendship, stayed with me
almost day and night during my illness; and by strengthening my hopes,
raising my spirits, and cheering my thoughts, preserved me from
destruction.

"The behaviour of this man alone is a sufficient proof of the truth of
my doctrine, that all men act entirely from their passions; for Bob
James can never be supposed to act from any motives of virtue or
religion, since he constantly laughs at both; and yet his conduct
towards me alone demonstrates a degree of goodness which, perhaps, few
of the votaries of either virtue or religion can equal." "You need not
take much pains," answered Miss Matthews, with a smile, "to convince
me of your doctrine. I have been always an advocate for the same. I
look upon the two words you mention to serve only as cloaks, under
which hypocrisy may be the better enabled to cheat the world. I have
been of that opinion ever since I read that charming fellow Mandevil."

"Pardon me, madam," answered Booth; "I hope you do not agree with
Mandevil neither, who hath represented human nature in a picture of
the highest deformity. He hath left out of his system the best passion
which the mind can possess, and attempts to derive the effects or
energies of that passion from the base impulses of pride or fear.
Whereas it is as certain that love exists in the mind of man as that
its opposite hatred doth; and the same reasons will equally prove the
existence of the one as the existence of the other."

"I don't know, indeed," replied the lady, "I never thought much about
the matter. This I know, that when I read Mandevil I thought all he
said was true; and I have been often told that he proves religion and
virtue to be only mere names. However, if he denies there is any such
thing as love, that is most certainly wrong.--I am afraid I can give
him the lye myself."

"I will join with you, madam, in that," answered Booth, "at any time."

"Will you join with me?" answered she, looking eagerly at him--"O, Mr.
Booth! I know not what I was going to say--What--Where did you leave
off?--I would not interrupt you--but I am impatient to know
something."

"What, madam?" cries Booth; "if I can give you any satisfaction--"

"No, no," said she, "I must hear all; I would not for the world break
the thread of your story. Besides, I am afraid to ask--Pray, pray,
sir, go on."

"Well, madam," cries Booth, "I think I was mentioning the
extraordinary acts of friendship done me by Captain James; nor can I
help taking notice of the almost unparalleled fidelity of poor
Atkinson (for that was my man's name), who was not only constant in
the assiduity of his attendance, but during the time of my danger
demonstrated a concern for me which I can hardly account for, as my
prevailing on his captain to make him a sergeant was the first favour
he ever received at my hands, and this did not happen till I was
almost perfectly recovered of my broken leg. Poor fellow! I shall
never forget the extravagant joy his halbert gave him; I remember it
the more because it was one of the happiest days of my own life; for
it was upon this day that I received a letter from my dear Amelia,
after a long silence, acquainting me that she was out of all danger
from her lying-in.

"I was now once more able to perform my duty; when (so unkind was the
fortune of war), the second time I mounted the guard, I received a
violent contusion from the bursting of a bomb. I was felled to the
ground, where I lay breathless by the blow, till honest Atkinson came
to my assistance, and conveyed me to my room, where a surgeon
immediately attended me.

"The injury I had now received was much more dangerous in my surgeon's
opinion than the former; it caused me to spit blood, and was attended
with a fever, and other bad symptoms; so that very fatal consequences
were apprehended.

"In this situation, the image of my Amelia haunted me day and night;
and the apprehensions of never seeing her more were so intolerable,
that I had thoughts of resigning my commission, and returning home,
weak as I was, that I might have, at least, the satisfaction of dying
in the arms of my love. Captain James, however, persisted in
dissuading me from any such resolution. He told me my honour was too
much concerned, attempted to raise my hopes of recovery to the utmost
of his power; but chiefly he prevailed on me by suggesting that, if
the worst which I apprehended should happen, it was much better for
Amelia that she should be absent than present in so melancholy an
hour. 'I know' cried he, 'the extreme joy which must arise in you from
meeting again with Amelia, and the comfort of expiring in her arms;
but consider what she herself must endure upon the dreadful occasion,
and you would not wish to purchase any happiness at the price of so
much pain to her.' This argument at length prevailed on me; and it was
after many long debates resolved, that she should not even know my
present condition, till my doom either for life or death was
absolutely fixed."

"Oh! Heavens! how great! how generous!" cried Miss Matthews. "Booth,
thou art a noble fellow; and I scarce think there is a woman upon
earth worthy so exalted a passion."

Booth made a modest answer to the compliment which Miss Matthews had
paid him. This drew more civilities from the lady, and these again
more acknowledgments; all which we shall pass by, and proceed with our
history.



Chapter vi.

_Containing matters which will please some readers._


"Two months and more had I continued in a state of incertainty,
sometimes with more flattering, and sometimes with more alarming
symptoms; when one afternoon poor Atkinson came running into my room,
all pale and out of breath, and begged me not to be surprized at his
news. I asked him eagerly what was the matter, and if it was anything
concerning Amelia? I had scarce uttered the dear name when she herself
rushed into the room, and ran hastily to me, crying, 'Yes, it is, it
is your Amelia herself.'

"There is nothing so difficult to describe, and generally so dull when
described, as scenes of excessive tenderness."

"Can you think so?" says Miss Matthews; "surely there is nothing so
charming!--Oh! Mr. Booth, our sex is d--ned by the want of tenderness
in yours. O, were they all like you--certainly no man was ever your
equal."

"Indeed, madam," cries Booth, "you honour me too much. But--well--when
the first transports of our meeting were over, Amelia began gently to
chide me for having concealed my illness from her; for, in three
letters which I had writ her since the accident had happened, there
was not the least mention of it, or any hint given by which she could
possibly conclude I was otherwise than in perfect health. And when I
had excused myself, by assigning the true reason, she cried--'O Mr.
Booth! and do you know so little of your Amelia as to think I could or
would survive you? Would it not be better for one dreadful sight to
break my heart all at once than to break it by degrees?--O Billy! can
anything pay me for the loss of this embrace?'---But I ask your
pardon--how ridiculous doth my fondness appear in your eyes!"

"How often," answered she, "shall I assert the contrary? What would
you have me say, Mr. Booth? Shall I tell you I envy Mrs. Booth of all
the women in the world? would you believe me if I did? I hope you--
what am I saying? Pray make no farther apology, but go on."

"After a scene," continued he, "too tender to be conceived by many,
Amelia informed me that she had received a letter from an unknown
hand, acquainting her with my misfortune, and advising her, if she
ever desired to see me more, to come directly to Gibraltar. She said
she should not have delayed a moment after receiving this letter, had
not the same ship brought her one from me written with rather more
than usual gaiety, and in which there was not the least mention of my
indisposition. This, she said, greatly puzzled her and her mother, and
the worthy divine endeavoured to persuade her to give credit to my
letter, and to impute the other to a species of wit with which the
world greatly abounds. This consists entirely in doing various kinds
of mischief to our fellow-creatures, by belying one, deceiving
another, exposing a third, and drawing in a fourth, to expose himself;
in short, by making some the objects of laughter, others of contempt;
and indeed not seldom by subjecting them to very great inconveniences,
perhaps to ruin, for the sake of a jest.

"Mrs. Harris and the doctor derived the letter from this species of
wit. Miss Betty, however, was of a different opinion, and advised poor
Amelia to apply to an officer whom the governor had sent over in the
same ship, by whom the report of my illness was so strongly confirmed,
that Amelia immediately resolved on her voyage.

"I had a great curiosity to know the author of this letter, but not
the least trace of it could be discovered. The only person with whom I
lived in any great intimacy was Captain James, and he, madam, from
what I have already told you, you will think to be the last person I
could suspect; besides, he declared upon his honour that he knew
nothing of the matter, and no man's honour is, I believe, more sacred.
There was indeed an ensign of another regiment who knew my wife, and
who had sometimes visited me in my illness; but he was a very unlikely
man to interest himself much in any affairs which did not concern him;
and he too declared he knew nothing of it."

"And did you never discover this secret?" cried Miss Matthews.

"Never to this day," answered Booth.

"I fancy," said she, "I could give a shrewd guess. What so likely as
that Mrs. Booth, when you left her, should have given her foster-
brother orders to send her word of whatever befel you? Yet stay--that
could not be neither; for then she would not have doubted whether she
should leave dear England on the receipt of the letter. No, it must
have been by some other means;--yet that I own appeared extremely
natural to me; for if I had been left by such a husband I think I
should have pursued the same method."

"No, madam," cried Booth, "it must have been conveyed by some other
channel; for my Amelia, I am certain, was entirely ignorant of the
manner; and as for poor Atkinson, I am convinced he would not have
ventured to take such a step without acquainting me. Besides, the poor
fellow had, I believe, such a regard for my wife, out of gratitude for
the favours she hath done his mother, that I make no doubt he was
highly rejoiced at her absence from my melancholy scene. Well, whoever
writ it is a matter very immaterial; yet, as it seemed so odd and
unaccountable an incident, I could not help mentioning it.

"From the time of Amelia's arrival nothing remarkable happened till my
perfect recovery, unless I should observe her remarkable behaviour, so
full of care and tenderness, that it was perhaps without a parallel."

"O no, Mr. Booth," cries the lady; "it is fully equalled, I am sure,
by your gratitude. There is nothing, I believe, so rare as gratitude
in your sex, especially in husbands. So kind a remembrance is, indeed,
more than a return to such an obligation; for where is the mighty
obligation which a woman confers, who being possessed of an
inestimable jewel, is so kind to herself as to be careful and tender
of it? I do not say this to lessen your opinion of Mrs. Booth. I have
no doubt but that she loves you as well as she is capable. But I would
not have you think so meanly of our sex as to imagine there are not a
thousand women susceptible of true tenderness towards a meritorious
man. Believe me, Mr. Booth, if I had received such an account of an
accident having happened to such a husband, a mother and a parson
would not have held me a moment. I should have leapt into the first
fishing-boat I could have found, and bid defiance to the winds and
waves.--Oh! there is no true tenderness but in a woman of spirit. I
would not be understood all this while to reflect on Mrs. Booth. I am
only defending the cause of my sex; for, upon my soul, such
compliments to a wife are a satire on all the rest of womankind."

"Sure you jest, Miss Matthews," answered Booth with a smile; "however,
if you please, I will proceed in my story."



Chapter vii.

_The captain, continuing his story, recounts some particulars which,
we doubt not, to many good people, will appear unnatural._


I was scarce sooner recovered from my indisposition than Amelia
herself fell ill. This, I am afraid, was occasioned by the fatigues
which I could not prevent her from undergoing on my account; for, as
my disease went off with violent sweats, during which the surgeon
strictly ordered that I should lie by myself, my Amelia could not be
prevailed upon to spend many hours in her own bed. During my restless
fits she would sometimes read to me several hours together; indeed it
was not without difficulty that she ever quitted my bedside. These
fatigues, added to the uneasiness of her mind, overpowered her weak
spirits, and threw her into one of the worst disorders that can
possibly attend a woman; a disorder very common among the ladies, and
our physicians have not agreed upon its name. Some call it fever on
the spirits, some a nervous fever, some the vapours, and some the
hysterics."

"O say no more," cries Miss Matthews; "I pity you, I pity you from my
soul. A man had better be plagued with all the curses of Egypt than
with a vapourish wife."

"Pity me! madam," answered Booth; "pity rather that dear creature who,
from her love and care of my unworthy self, contracted a distemper,
the horrors of which are scarce to be imagined. It is, indeed, a sort
of complication of all diseases together, with almost madness added to
them. In this situation, the siege being at an end, the governor gave
me leave to attend my wife to Montpelier, the air of which was judged
to be most likely to restore her to health. Upon this occasion she
wrote to her mother to desire a remittance, and set forth the
melancholy condition of her health, and her necessity for money, in
such terms as would have touched any bosom not void of humanity,
though a stranger to the unhappy sufferer. Her sister answered it, and
I believe I have a copy of the answer in my pocket. I keep it by me as
a curiosity, and you would think it more so could I shew you my
Amelia's letter." He then searched his pocket-book, and finding the
letter among many others, he read it in the following words:

"'DEAR SISTER,--My mamma being much disordered, hath commanded me to
tell you she is both shocked and surprized at your extraordinary
request, or, as she chuses to call it, order for money. You know, my
dear, she says that your marriage with this red-coat man was entirely
against her consent and the opinion of all your family (I am sure I
may here include myself in that number); and yet, after this fatal act
of disobedience, she was prevailed on to receive you as her child;
not, however, nor are you so to understand it, as the favourite which
you was before. She forgave you; but this was as a Christian and a
parent; still preserving in her own mind a just sense of your
disobedience, and a just resentment on that account. And yet,
notwithstanding this resentment, she desires you to remember that,
when you a second time ventured to oppose her authority, and nothing
would serve you but taking a ramble (an indecent one, I can't help
saying) after your fellow, she thought fit to shew the excess of a
mother's tenderness, and furnished you with no less than fifty pounds
for your foolish voyage. How can she, then, be otherwise than
surprized at your present demand? which, should she be so weak to
comply with, she must expect to be every month repeated, in order to
supply the extravagance of a young rakish officer. You say she will
compassionate your sufferings; yes, surely she doth greatly
compassionate them, and so do I too, though you was neither so kind
nor so civil as to suppose I should. But I forgive all your slights to
me, as well now as formerly. Nay, I not only forgive, but I pray daily
for you. But, dear sister, what could you expect less than what hath
happened? you should have believed your friends, who were wiser and
older than you. I do not here mean myself, though I own I am eleven
months and some odd weeks your superior; though, had I been younger, I
might, perhaps, have been able to advise you; for wisdom and what some
may call beauty do not always go together. You will not be offended at
this; for I know in your heart, you have always held your head above
some people, whom, perhaps, other people have thought better of; but
why do I mention what I scorn so much? No, my dear sister, Heaven
forbid it should ever be said of me that I value myself upon my face--
not but if I could believe men perhaps--but I hate and despise men--
you know I do, my dear, and I wish you had despised them as much; but
_jacta est jalea_, as the doctor says. You are to make the best of
your fortune--what fortune, I mean, my mamma may please to give you,
for you know all is in her power. Let me advise you, then, to bring
your mind to your circumstances, and remember (for I can't help
writing it, as it is for your own good) the vapours are a distemper
which very ill become a knapsack. Remember, my dear, what you have
done; remember what my mamma hath done; remember we have something of
yours to keep, and do not consider yourself as an only child; no, nor
as a favourite child; but be pleased to remember, Dear sister,
      Your most affectionate sister,
            and most obedient humble servant,
                                              E. HARRIS.'"

"O brave Miss Betty!" cried Miss Matthews; "I always held her in high
esteem; but I protest she exceeds even what I could have expected from
her."

"This letter, madam," cries Booth, "you will believe, was an excellent
cordial for my poor wife's spirits. So dreadful indeed was the effect
it had upon her, that, as she had read it in my absence, I found her,
at my return home, in the most violent fits; and so long was it before
she recovered her senses, that I despaired of that blest event ever
happening; and my own senses very narrowly escaped from being
sacrificed to my despair. However, she came at last to herself, and I
began to consider of every means of carrying her immediately to
Montpelier, which was now become much more necessary than before.

"Though I was greatly shocked at the barbarity of the letter, yet I
apprehended no very ill consequence from it; for, as it was believed
all over the army that I had married a great fortune, I had received
offers of money, if I wanted it, from more than one. Indeed, I might
have easily carried my wife to Montpelier at any time; but she was
extremely averse to the voyage, being desirous of our returning to
England, as I had leave to do; and she grew daily so much better,
that, had it not been for the receipt of that cursed--which I have
just read to you, I am persuaded she might have been able to return to
England in the next ship.

"Among others there was a colonel in the garrison who had not only
offered but importuned me to receive money of him; I now, therefore,
repaired to him; and, as a reason for altering my resolution, I
produced the letter, and, at the same time, acquainted him with the
true state of my affairs. The colonel read the letter, shook his head,
and, after some silence, said he was sorry I had refused to accept his
offer before; but that he had now so ordered matters, and disposed of
his money, that he had not a shilling left to spare from his own
occasions.

"Answers of the same kind I had from several others, but not one penny
could I borrow of any; for I have been since firmly persuaded that the
honest colonel was not content with denying me himself, but took
effectual means, by spreading the secret I had so foolishly trusted
him with, to prevent me from succeeding elsewhere; for such is the
nature of men, that whoever denies himself to do you a favour is
unwilling that it should be done to you by any other.

"This was the first time I had ever felt that distress which arises
from the want of money; a distress very dreadful indeed in a married
state; for what can be more miserable than to see anything necessary
to the preservation of a beloved creature, and not be able to supply
it?

"Perhaps you may wonder, madam, that I have not mentioned Captain
James on this occasion; but he was at that time laid up at Algiers
(whither he had been sent by the governor) in a fever. However, he
returned time enough to supply me, which he did with the utmost
readiness on the very first mention of my distress; and the good
colonel, notwithstanding his having disposed of his money, discounted
the captain's draft. You see, madam, an instance in the generous
behaviour of my friend James, how false are all universal satires
against humankind. He is indeed one of the worthiest men the world
ever produced.

"But, perhaps, you will be more pleased still with the extravagant
generosity of my sergeant. The day before the return of Mr. James, the
poor fellow came to me with tears in his eyes, and begged I would not
be offended at what he was going to mention. He then pulled a purse
from his pocket, which contained, he said, the sum of twelve pounds,
and which he begged me to accept, crying, he was sorry it was not in
his power to lend me whatever I wanted. I was so struck with this
instance of generosity and friendship in such a person, that I gave
him an opportunity of pressing me a second time before I made him an
answer. Indeed, I was greatly surprised how he came to be worth that
little sum, and no less at his being acquainted with my own wants. In
both which points he presently satisfied me. As to the first, it seems
he had plundered a Spanish officer of fifteen pistoles; and as to the
second, he confessed he had it from my wife's maid, who had overheard
some discourse between her mistress and me. Indeed people, I believe,
always deceive themselves, who imagine they can conceal distrest
circumstances from their servants; for these are always extremely
quicksighted on such occasions."

"Good heavens!" cries Miss Matthews, "how astonishing is such
behaviour in so low a fellow!"

"I thought so myself," answered Booth; "and yet I know not, on a more
strict examination into the matter, why we should be more surprised to
see greatness of mind discover itself in one degree or rank of life
than in another. Love, benevolence, or what you will please to call
it, may be the reigning passion in a beggar as well as in a prince;
and wherever it is, its energies will be the same.

"To confess the truth, I am afraid we often compliment what we call
upper life, with too much injustice, at the expense of the lower. As
it is no rare thing to see instances which degrade human nature in
persons of the highest birth and education, so I apprehend that
examples of whatever is really great and good have been sometimes
found amongst those who have wanted all such advantages. In reality,
palaces, I make no doubt, do sometimes contain nothing but dreariness
and darkness, and the sun of righteousness hath shone forth with all
its glory in a cottage."



Chapter viii.

_The story of Booth continued._


"Mr. Booth thus went on:

"We now took leave of the garrison, and, having landed at Marseilles,
arrived at Montpelier, without anything happening to us worth
remembrance, except the extreme sea-sickness of poor Amelia; but I was
afterwards well repaid for the terrors which it occasioned me by the
good consequences which attended it; for I believe it contributed,
even more than the air of Montpelier, to the perfect re-establishment
of her health."

"I ask your pardon for interrupting you," cries Miss Matthews, "but
you never satisfied me whether you took the sergeant's money. You have
made me half in love with that charming fellow."

"How can you imagine, madam," answered Booth, "I should have taken
from a poor fellow what was of so little consequence to me, and at the
same time of so much to him? Perhaps, now, you will derive this from
the passion of pride."

"Indeed," says she, "I neither derive it from the passion of pride nor
from the passion of folly: but methinks you should have accepted the
offer, and I am convinced you hurt him very much when you refused it.
But pray proceed in your story." Then Booth went on as follows:

"As Amelia recovered her health and spirits daily, we began to pass
our time very pleasantly at Montpelier; for the greatest enemy to the
French will acknowledge that they are the best people in the world to
live amongst for a little while. In some countries it is almost as
easy to get a good estate as a good acquaintance. In England,
particularly, acquaintance is of almost as slow growth as an oak; so
that the age of man scarce suffices to bring it to any perfection, and
families seldom contract any great intimacy till the third, or at
least the second generation. So shy indeed are we English of letting a
stranger into our houses, that one would imagine we regarded all such
as thieves. Now the French are the very reverse. Being a stranger
among them entitles you to the better place, and to the greater degree
of civility; and if you wear but the appearance of a gentleman, they
never suspect you are not one. Their friendship indeed seldom extends
as far as their purse; nor is such friendship usual in other
countries. To say the truth, politeness carries friendship far enough
in the ordinary occasions of life, and those who want this
accomplishment rarely make amends for it by their sincerity; for
bluntness, or rather rudeness, as it commonly deserves to be called,
is not always so much a mark of honesty as it is taken to be.

"The day after our arrival we became acquainted with Mons. Bagillard.
He was a Frenchman of great wit and vivacity, with a greater share of
learning than gentlemen are usually possessed of. As he lodged in the
same house with us, we were immediately acquainted, and I liked his
conversation so well that I never thought I had too much of his
company. Indeed, I spent so much of my time with him, that Amelia (I
know not whether I ought to mention it) grew uneasy at our
familiarity, and complained of my being too little with her, from my
violent fondness for my new acquaintance; for, our conversation
turning chiefly upon books, and principally Latin ones (for we read
several of the classics together), she could have but little
entertainment by being with us. When my wife had once taken it into
her head that she was deprived of my company by M. Bagillard, it was
impossible to change her opinion; and, though I now spent more of my
time with her than I had ever done before, she still grew more and
more dissatisfied, till at last she very earnestly desired me to quit
my lodgings, and insisted upon it with more vehemence than I had ever
known her express before. To say the truth, if that excellent woman
could ever be thought unreasonable, I thought she was so on this
occasion.

"But in what light soever her desires appeared to me, as they
manifestly arose from an affection of which I had daily the most
endearing proofs, I resolved to comply with her, and accordingly
removed to a distant part of the town; for it is my opinion that we
can have but little love for the person whom we will never indulge in
an unreasonable demand. Indeed, I was under a difficulty with regard
to Mons. Bagillard; for, as I could not possibly communicate to him
the true reason for quitting my lodgings, so I found it as difficult
to deceive him by a counterfeit one; besides, I was apprehensive I
should have little less of his company than before. I could, indeed,
have avoided this dilemma by leaving Montpelier, for Amelia had
perfectly recovered her health; but I had faithfully promised Captain
James to wait his return from Italy, whither he was gone some time
before from Gibraltar; nor was it proper for Amelia to take any long
journey, she being now near six months gone with child.

"This difficulty, however, proved to be less than I had imagined it;
for my French friend, whether he suspected anything from my wife's
behaviour, though she never, as I observed, shewed him the least
incivility, became suddenly as cold on his side. After our leaving the
lodgings he never made above two or three formal visits; indeed his
time was soon after entirely taken up by an intrigue with a certain
countess, which blazed all over Montpelier.

"We had not been long in our new apartments before an English officer
arrived at Montpelier, and came to lodge in the same house with us.
This gentleman, whose name was Bath, was of the rank of a major, and
had so much singularity in his character, that, perhaps, you never
heard of any like him. He was far from having any of those bookish
qualifications which had before caused my Amelia's disquiet. It is
true, his discourse generally turned on matters of no feminine kind;
war and martial exploits being the ordinary topics of his
conversation: however, as he had a sister with whom Amelia was greatly
pleased, an intimacy presently grew between us, and we four lived in
one family.

"The major was a great dealer in the marvellous, and was constantly
the little hero of his own tale. This made him very entertaining to
Amelia, who, of all the persons in the world, hath the truest taste
and enjoyment of the ridiculous; for, whilst no one sooner discovers
it in the character of another, no one so well conceals her knowledge
of it from the ridiculous person. I cannot help mentioning a sentiment
of hers on this head, as I think it doth her great honour. 'If I had
the same neglect,' said she, 'for ridiculous people with the
generality of the world, I should rather think them the objects of
tears than laughter; but, in reality, I have known several who, in
some parts of their characters, have been extremely ridiculous, in
others have been altogether as amiable. For instance,' said she, 'here
is the major, who tells us of many things which he has never seen, and
of others which he hath never done, and both in the most extravagant
excess; and yet how amiable is his behaviour to his poor sister, whom
he hath not only brought over hither for her health, at his own
expence, but is come to bear her company.' I believe, madam, I repeat
her very words; for I am very apt to remember what she says.

"You will easily believe, from a circumstance I have just mentioned in
the major's favour, especially when I have told you that his sister
was one of the best of girls, that it was entirely necessary to hide
from her all kind of laughter at any part of her brother's behaviour.
To say the truth, this was easy enough to do; for the poor girl was so
blinded with love and gratitude, and so highly honoured and reverenced
her brother, that she had not the least suspicion that there was a
person in the world capable of laughing at him.

"Indeed, I am certain she never made the least discovery of our
ridicule; for I am well convinced she would have resented it: for,
besides the love she bore her brother, she had a little family pride,
which would sometimes appear. To say the truth, if she had any fault,
it was that of vanity, but she was a very good girl upon the whole;
and none of us are entirely free from faults."

"You are a good-natured fellow, Will," answered Miss Matthews; "but
vanity is a fault of the first magnitude in a woman, and often the
occasion of many others."

To this Booth made no answer, but continued his story.

"In this company we passed two or three months very agreeably, till
the major and I both betook ourselves to our several nurseries; my
wife being brought to bed of a girl, and Miss Bath confined to her
chamber by a surfeit, which had like to have occasioned her death."

Here Miss Matthews burst into a loud laugh, of which when Booth asked
the reason, she said she could not forbear at the thoughts of two such
nurses.

"And did you really," says she, "make your wife's caudle yourself?"

"Indeed, madam," said he, "I did; and do you think that so
extraordinary?"

"Indeed I do," answered she; "I thought the best husbands had looked
on their wives' lying-in as a time of festival and jollity. What! did
you not even get drunk in the time of your wife's delivery? tell me
honestly how you employed yourself at this time."

"Why, then, honestly," replied he, "and in defiance of your laughter,
I lay behind her bolster, and supported her in my arms; and, upon my
soul, I believe I felt more pain in my mind than she underwent in her
body. And now answer me as honestly: Do you really think it a proper
time of mirth, when the creature one loves to distraction is
undergoing the most racking torments, as well as in the most imminent
danger? and--but I need not express any more tender circumstances."

"I am to answer honestly," cried she. "Yes, and sincerely," cries
Booth. "Why, then, honestly and sincerely," says she, "may I never see
heaven if I don't think you an angel of a man!"

"Nay, madam," answered Booth--"but, indeed, you do me too much honour;
there are many such husbands. Nay, have we not an example of the like
tenderness in the major? though as to him, I believe, I shall make you
laugh. While my wife lay-in, Miss Bath being extremely ill, I went one
day to the door of her apartment, to enquire after her health, as well
as for the major, whom I had not seen during a whole week. I knocked
softly at the door, and being bid to open it, I found the major in his
sister's ante-chamber warming her posset. His dress was certainly
whimsical enough, having on a woman's bedgown and a very dirty flannel
nightcap, which, being added to a very odd person (for he is a very
awkward thin man, near seven feet high), might have formed, in the
opinion of most men, a very proper object of laughter. The major
started from his seat at my entering into the room, and, with much
emotion, and a great oath, cried out, 'Is it you, sir?' I then
enquired after his and his sister's health. He answered, that his
sister was better, and he was very well, 'though I did not expect,
sir,' cried he, with not a little confusion, 'to be seen by you in
this situation.' I told him I thought it impossible he could appear in
a situation more becoming his character. 'You do not?' answered he.
'By G-- I am very much obliged to you for that opinion; but, I
believe, sir, however my weakness may prevail on me to descend from
it, no man can be more conscious of his own dignity than myself.' His
sister then called to him from the inner room; upon which he rang the
bell for her servant, and then, after a stride or two across the room,
he said, with an elated aspect, 'I would not have you think, Mr.
Booth, because you have caught me in this deshabille, by coming upon
me a little too abruptly--I cannot help saying a little too abruptly--
that I am my sister's nurse. I know better what is due to the dignity
of a man, and I have shewn it in a line of battle. I think I have made
a figure there, Mr. Booth, and becoming my character; by G-- I ought
not to be despised too much if my nature is not totally without its
weaknesses.' He uttered this, and some more of the same kind, with
great majesty, or, as he called it, dignity. Indeed, he used some hard
words that I did not understand; for all his words are not to be found
in a dictionary. Upon the whole, I could not easily refrain from
laughter; however, I conquered myself, and soon after retired from
him, astonished that it was possible for a man to possess true
goodness, and be at the same time ashamed of it.

"But, if I was surprized at what had past at this visit, how much more
was I surprized the next morning, when he came very early to my
chamber, and told me he had not been able to sleep one wink at what
had past between us! 'There were some words of yours,' says he, 'which
must be further explained before we part. You told me, sir, when you
found me in that situation, which I cannot bear to recollect, that you
thought I could not appear in one more becoming my character; these
were the words--I shall never forget them. Do you imagine that there
is any of the dignity of a man wanting in my character? do you think
that I have, during my sister's illness, behaved with a weakness that
savours too much of effeminacy? I know how much it is beneath a man to
whine and whimper about a trifling girl as well as you or any man;
and, if my sister had died, I should have behaved like a man on the
occasion. I would not have you think I confined myself from company
merely upon her account. I was very much disordered myself. And when
you surprized me in that situation--I repeat again, in that situation
--her nurse had not left the room three minutes, and I was blowing the
fire for fear it should have gone out.'--In this manner he ran on
almost a quarter of an hour before he would suffer me to speak. At
last, looking steadfastly in his face, I asked him if I must conclude
that he was in earnest? 'In earnest!' says he, repeating my words, 'do
you then take my character for a jest?'--Lookee, sir, said I, very
gravely, I think we know one another very well; and I have no reason
to suspect you should impute it to fear when I tell you I was so far
from intending to affront you, that I meant you one of the highest
compliments. Tenderness for women is so far from lessening, that it
proves a true manly character. The manly Brutus shewed the utmost
tenderness to his Portia; and the great king of Sweden, the bravest,
and even fiercest of men, shut himself up three whole days in the
midst of a campaign, and would see no company, on the death of a
favourite sister. At these words I saw his features soften; and he
cried out, 'D--n me, I admire the king of Sweden of all the men in the
world; and he is a rascal that is ashamed of doing anything which the
king of Sweden did.--And yet, if any king of Sweden in France was to
tell me that his sister had more merit than mine, by G-- I'd knock his
brains about his ears. Poor little Betsy! she is the honestest,
worthiest girl that ever was born. Heaven be praised, she is
recovered; for, if I had lost her, I never should have enjoyed another
happy moment.' In this manner he ran on some time, till the tears
began to overflow; which when he perceived, he stopt; perhaps he was
unable to go on; for he seemed almost choaked: after a short silence,
however, having wiped his eyes with his handkerchief, he fetched a
deep sigh, and cried, 'I am ashamed you should see this, Mr. Booth;
but d--n me, nature will get the better of dignity.' I now comforted
him with the example of Xerxes, as I had before done with that of the
king of Sweden; and soon after we sat down to breakfast together with
much cordial friendship; for I assure you, with all his oddity, there
is not a better-natured man in the world than the major."

"Good-natured, indeed!" cries Miss Matthews, with great scorn. "A
fool! how can you mention such a fellow with commendation?"

Booth spoke as much as he could in defence of his friend; indeed, he
had represented him in as favourable a light as possible, and had
particularly left out those hard words with which, as he hath observed
a little before, the major interlarded his discourse. Booth then
proceeded as in the next chapter.



Chapter ix.

_Containing very extraordinary matters._


"Miss Bath," continued Booth, "now recovered so fast, that she was
abroad as soon as my wife. Our little partie quarree began to grow
agreeable again; and we mixed with the company of the place more than
we had done before. Mons. Bagillard now again renewed his intimacy,
for the countess, his mistress, was gone to Paris; at which my wife,
at first, shewed no dissatisfaction; and I imagined that, as she had a
friend and companion of her own sex (for Miss Bath and she had
contracted the highest fondness for each other), that she would the
less miss my company. However, I was disappointed in this expectation;
for she soon began to express her former uneasiness, and her
impatience for the arrival of Captain James, that we might entirely
quit Montpelier.

"I could not avoid conceiving some little displeasure at this humour
of my wife, which I was forced to think a little unreasonable."--"A
little, do you call it?" says Miss Matthews: "Good Heavens! what a
husband are you!"--"How little worthy," answered he, "as you will say
hereafter, of such a wife as my Amelia. One day, as we were sitting
together, I heard a violent scream; upon which my wife, starting up,
cried out, 'Sure that's Miss Bath's voice;' and immediately ran
towards the chamber whence it proceeded. I followed her; and when we
arrived, we there beheld the most shocking sight imaginable; Miss Bath
lying dead on the floor, and the major all bloody kneeling by her, and
roaring out for assistance. Amelia, though she was herself in little
better condition than her friend, ran hastily to her, bared her neck,
and attempted to loosen her stays, while I ran up and down, scarce
knowing what I did, calling for water and cordials, and despatching
several servants one after another for doctors and surgeons.

"Water, cordials, and all necessary implements being brought, Miss
Bath was at length recovered, and placed in her chair, when the major
seated himself by her. And now, the young lady being restored to life,
the major, who, till then, had engaged as little of his own as of any
other person's attention, became the object of all our considerations,
especially his poor sister's, who had no sooner recovered sufficient
strength than she began to lament her brother, crying out that he was
killed; and bitterly bewailing her fate, in having revived from her
swoon to behold so dreadful a spectacle. While Amelia applied herself
to soothe the agonies of her friend, I began to enquire into the
condition of the major, in which I was assisted by a surgeon, who now
arrived. The major declared, with great chearfulness, that he did not
apprehend his wound to be in the least dangerous, and therefore begged
his sister to be comforted, saying he was convinced the surgeon would
soon give her the same assurance; but that good man was not so liberal
of assurances as the major had expected; for as soon as he had probed
the wound he afforded no more than hopes, declaring that it was a very
ugly wound; but added, by way of consolation, that he had cured many
much worse.

"When the major was drest his sister seemed to possess his whole
thoughts, and all his care was to relieve her grief. He solemnly
protested that it was no more than a flesh wound, and not very deep,
nor could, as he apprehended, be in the least dangerous; and as for
the cold expressions of the surgeon, he very well accounted for them
from a motive too obvious to be mentioned. From these declarations of
her brother, and the interposition of her friends, and, above all, I
believe, from that vast vent which she had given to her fright, Miss
Bath seemed a little pacified: Amelia, therefore, at last prevailed;
and, as terror abated, curiosity became the superior passion. I
therefore now began to enquire what had occasioned that accident
whence all the uproar arose.

"The major took me by the hand, and, looking very kindly at me, said,
'My dear Mr. Booth, I must begin by asking your pardon; for I have
done you an injury for which nothing but the height of friendship in
me can be an excuse; and therefore nothing but the height of
friendship in you can forgive.' This preamble, madam, you will easily
believe, greatly alarmed all the company, but especially me. I
answered, Dear major, I forgive you, let it be what it will; but what
is it possible you can have done to injure me? 'That,' replied he,
'which I am convinced a man of your honour and dignity of nature, by
G--, must conclude to be one of the highest injuries. I have taken out
of your own hands the doing yourself justice. I am afraid I have
killed the man who hath injured your honour. I mean that villain
Bagillard--but I cannot proceed; for you, madam,' said he to my wife,
'are concerned, and I know what is due to the dignity of your sex.'
Amelia, I observed, turned pale at these words, but eagerly begged him
to proceed. 'Nay, madam,' answered he, 'if I am commanded by a lady,
it is a part of my dignity to obey.' He then proceeded to tell us that
Bagillard had rallied him upon a supposition that he was pursuing my
wife with a view of gallantry; telling him that he could never
succeed; giving hints that, if it had been possible, he should have
succeeded himself; and ending with calling my poor Amelia an
accomplished prude; upon which the major gave Bagillard a box in the
ear, and both immediately drew their swords.

"The major had scarce ended his speech when a servant came into the
room, and told me there was a fryar below who desired to speak with me
in great haste. I shook the major by the hand, and told him I not only
forgave him, but was extremely obliged to his friendship; and then,
going to the fryar, I found that he was Bagillard's confessor, from
whom he came to me, with an earnest desire of seeing me, that he might
ask my pardon and receive my forgiveness before he died for the injury
he had intended me. My wife at first opposed my going, from some
sudden fears on my account; but when she was convinced they were
groundless she consented.

"I found Bagillard in his bed; for the major's sword had passed up to
the very hilt through his body. After having very earnestly asked my
pardon, he made me many compliments on the possession of a woman who,
joined to the most exquisite beauty, was mistress of the most
impregnable virtue; as a proof of which he acknowledged the vehemence
as well as ill success of his attempts: and, to make Amelia's virtue
appear the brighter, his vanity was so predominant he could not
forbear running over the names of several women of fashion who had
yielded to his passion, which, he said, had never raged so violently
for any other as for my poor Amelia; and that this violence, which he
had found wholly unconquerable, he hoped would procure his pardon at
my hands. It is unnecessary to mention what I said on the occasion. I
assured him of my entire forgiveness; and so we parted. To say the
truth, I afterwards thought myself almost obliged to him for a meeting
with Amelia the most luxuriously delicate that can be imagined.

"I now ran to my wife, whom I embraced with raptures of love and
tenderness. When the first torrent of these was a little abated,
'Confess to me, my dear,' said she, 'could your goodness prevent you
from thinking me a little unreasonable in expressing so much
uneasiness at the loss of your company, while I ought to have rejoiced
in the thoughts of your being so well entertained; I know you must;
and then consider what I must have felt, while I knew I was daily
lessening myself in your esteem, and forced into a conduct which I was
sensible must appear to you, who was ignorant of my motive, to be
mean, vulgar, and selfish. And yet, what other course had I to take
with a man whom no denial, no scorn could abash? But, if this was a
cruel task, how much more wretched still was the constraint I was
obliged to wear in his presence before you, to shew outward civility
to the man whom my soul detested, for fear of any fatal consequence
from your suspicion; and this too while I was afraid he would construe
it to be an encouragement? Do you not pity your poor Amelia when you
reflect on her situation?' Pity! cried I; my love! is pity an adequate
expression for esteem, for adoration? But how, my love, could he carry
this on so secretly?--by letters? 'O no, he offered me many; but I
never would receive but one, and that I returned him. Good G--! I
would not have such a letter in my possession for the universe; I
thought my eyes contaminated with reading it.'" "O brave!" cried Miss
Matthews; "heroic, I protest.

   "'Had I a wish that did not bear
     The stamp and image of my dear,
     I'd pierce my heart through ev'ry vein,
     And die to let it out again.'"

"And you can really," cried he, "laugh at so much tenderness?" "I
laugh at tenderness! O, Mr. Booth!" answered she, "thou knowest but
little of Calista." "I thought formerly," cried he, "I knew a great
deal, and thought you, of all women in the world, to have the
greatest---of all women!" "Take care, Mr. Booth," said she. "By
heaven! if you thought so, you thought truly. But what is the object
of my tenderness--such an object as--" "Well, madam," says he, "I hope
you will find one." "I thank you for that hope, however," says she,
"cold as it is. But pray go on with your story;" which command he
immediately obeyed.



Chapter x.

_Containing a letter of a very curious kind._


"The major's wound," continued Booth, "was really as slight as he
believed it; so that in a very few days he was perfectly well; nor was
Bagillard, though run through the body, long apprehending to be in any
danger of his life. The major then took me aside, and, wishing me
heartily joy of Bagillard's recovery, told me I should now, by the
gift (as it were) of Heaven, have an opportunity of doing myself
justice. I answered I could not think of any such thing; for that when
I imagined he was on his death-bed I had heartily and sincerely
forgiven him. 'Very right,' replied the major, 'and consistent with
your honour, when he was on his death-bed; but that forgiveness was
only conditional, and is revoked by his recovery.' I told him I could
not possibly revoke it; for that my anger was really gone.--'What hath
anger,' cried he, 'to do with the matter? the dignity of my nature
hath been always my reason for drawing my sword; and when that is
concerned I can as readily fight with the man I love as with the man I
hate.'--I will not tire you with the repetition of the whole argument,
in which the major did not prevail; and I really believe I sunk a
little in his esteem upon that account, till Captain James, who
arrived soon after, again perfectly reinstated me in his favour.

"When the captain was come there remained no cause of our longer stay
at Montpelier; for, as to my wife, she was in a better state of health
than I had ever known her; and Miss Bath had not only recovered her
health but her bloom, and from a pale skeleton was become a plump,
handsome young woman. James was again my cashier; for, far from
receiving any remittance, it was now a long time since I had received
any letter from England, though both myself and my dear Amelia had
written several, both to my mother and sister; and now, at our
departure from Montpelier, I bethought myself of writing to my good
friend the doctor, acquainting him with our journey to Paris, whither
I desired he would direct his answer.

"At Paris we all arrived without encountering any adventure on the
road worth relating; nor did anything of consequence happen here
during the first fortnight; for, as you know neither Captain James nor
Miss Bath, it is scarce worth telling you that an affection, which
afterwards ended in a marriage, began now to appear between them, in
which it may appear odd to you that I made the first discovery of the
lady's flame, and my wife of the captain's.

"The seventeenth day after our arrival at Paris I received a letter
from the doctor, which I have in my pocket-book; and, if you please, I
will read it you; for I would not willingly do any injury to his
words."

The lady, you may easily believe, desired to hear the letter, and
Booth read it as follows:

"MY DEAR CHILDREN--For I will now call you so, as you have neither of
you now any other parent in this world. Of this melancholy news I
should have sent you earlier notice if I had thought you ignorant of
it, or indeed if I had known whither to have written. If your sister
hath received any letters from you she hath kept them a secret, and
perhaps out of affection to you hath reposited them in the same place
where she keeps her goodness, and, what I am afraid is much dearer to
her, her money. The reports concerning you have been various; so is
always the case in matters where men are ignorant; for, when no man
knows what the truth is, every man thinks himself at liberty to report
what he pleases. Those who wish you well, son Booth, say simply that
you are dead: others, that you ran away from the siege, and was
cashiered. As for my daughter, all agree that she is a saint above;
and there are not wanting those who hint that her husband sent her
thither. From this beginning you will expect, I suppose, better news
than I am going to tell you; but pray, my dear children, why may not
I, who have always laughed at my own afflictions, laugh at yours,
without the censure of much malevolence? I wish you could learn this
temper from me; for, take my word for it, nothing truer ever came from
the mouth of a heathen than that sentence:

'---_Leve fit quod bene fertur onus_.'
[Footnote: The burthen becomes light by being well borne.]

And though I must confess I never thought Aristotle (whom I do not
take for so great a blockhead as some who have never read him) doth
not very well resolve the doubt which he hath raised in his Ethics,
viz., How a man in the midst of King Priam's misfortunes can be called
happy? yet I have long thought that there is no calamity so great that
a Christian philosopher may not reasonably laugh at it; if the heathen
Cicero, doubting of immortality (for so wise a man must have doubted
of that which had such slender arguments to support it), could assert
it as the office of wisdom, _Humanas res despicere atque infra se
positas arbitrari._[Footnote: To look down on all human affairs as
matters below his consideration.]

"Which passage, with much more to the same purpose, you will find in
the third book of his Tusculan Questions.

"With how much greater confidence may a good Christian despise, and
even deride, all temporary and short transitory evils! If the poor
wretch, who is trudging on to his miserable cottage, can laugh at the
storms and tempests, the rain and whirlwinds, which surround him,
while his richest hope is only that of rest; how much more chearfully
must a man pass through such transient evils, whose spirits are buoyed
up with the certain expectation of finding a noble palace and the most
sumptuous entertainment ready to receive him! I do not much like the
simile; but I cannot think of a better. And yet, inadequate as the
simile is, we may, I think, from the actions of mankind, conclude that
they will consider it as much too strong; for, in the case I have put
of the entertainment, is there any man so tender or poor-spirited as
not to despise, and often to deride, the fiercest of these
inclemencies which I have mentioned? but in our journey to the
glorious mansions of everlasting bliss, how severely is every little
rub, every trifling accident, lamented! and if Fortune showers down
any of her heavier storms upon us, how wretched do we presently appear
to ourselves and to others! The reason of this can be no other than
that we are not in earnest in our faith; at the best, we think with
too little attention on this our great concern. While the most paultry
matters of this world, even those pitiful trifles, those childish
gewgaws, riches and honours, are transacted with the utmost
earnestness and most serious application, the grand and weighty affair
of immortality is postponed and disregarded, nor ever brought into the
least competition with our affairs here. If one of my cloth should
begin a discourse of heaven in the scenes of business or pleasure; in
the court of requests, at Garraway's, or at White's; would he gain a
hearing, unless, perhaps, of some sorry jester who would desire to
ridicule him? would he not presently acquire the name of the mad
parson, and be thought by all men worthy of Bedlam? or would he not be
treated as the Romans treated their Aretalogi,[Footnote: A set of
beggarly philosophers who diverted great men at their table with
burlesque discourses on virtue.] and considered in the light of a
buffoon? But why should I mention those places of hurry and worldly
pursuit? What attention do we engage even in the pulpit? Here, if a
sermon be prolonged a little beyond the usual hour, doth it not set
half the audience asleep? as I question not I have by this time both
my children. Well, then, like a good-natured surgeon, who prepares his
patient for a painful operation by endeavouring as much as he can to
deaden his sensation, I will now communicate to you, in your
slumbering condition, the news with which I threatened you. Your good
mother, you are to know, is dead at last, and hath left her whole
fortune to her elder daughter.--This is all the ill news I have to
tell you. Confess now, if you are awake, did you not expect it was
much worse; did not you apprehend that your charming child was dead?
Far from it, he is in perfect health, and the admiration of everybody:
what is more, he will be taken care of, with the tenderness of a
parent, till your return. What pleasure must this give you! if indeed
anything can add to the happiness of a married couple who are
extremely and deservedly fond of each other, and, as you write me, in
perfect health. A superstitious heathen would have dreaded the malice
of Nemesis in your situation; but as I am a Christian, I shall venture
to add another circumstance to your felicity, by assuring you that you
have, besides your wife, a faithful and zealous friend. Do not,
therefore, my dear children, fall into that fault which the excellent
Thucydides observes is too common in human nature, to bear heavily the
being deprived of the smaller good, without conceiving, at the same
time, any gratitude for the much greater blessings which we are
suffered to enjoy. I have only farther to tell you, my son, that, when
you call at Mr. Morand's, Rue Dauphine, you will find yourself worth a
hundred pounds. Good Heaven! how much richer are you than millions of
people who are in want of nothing! farewel, and know me for your
sincere and affectionate friend."

"There, madam," cries Booth, "how do you like the letter?"

"Oh! extremely," answered she: "the doctor is a charming man; I always
loved dearly to hear him preach. I remember to have heard of Mrs.
Harris's death above a year before I left the country, but never knew
the particulars of her will before. I am extremely sorry for it, upon
my honour."

"Oh, fy! madam," cries Booth; "have you so soon forgot the chief
purport of the doctor's letter?"

"Ay, ay," cried she; "these are very pretty things to read, I
acknowledge; but the loss of fortune is a serious matter; and I am
sure a man of Mr. Booth's understanding must think so." "One
consideration, I must own, madam," answered he, "a good deal baffled
all the doctor's arguments. This was the concern for my little growing
family, who must one day feel the loss; nor was I so easy upon
Amelia's account as upon my own, though she herself put on the utmost
chearfulness, and stretched her invention to the utmost to comfort me.
But sure, madam, there is something in the doctor's letter to admire
beyond the philosophy of it; what think you of that easy, generous,
friendly manner, in which he sent me the hundred pounds?"

"Very noble and great indeed," replied she. "But pray go on with your
story; for I long to hear the whole."



Chapter xi.

_In which Mr. Booth relates his return to England._


"Nothing remarkable, as I remember, happened during our stay at Paris,
which we left soon after and came to London. Here we rested only two
days, and then, taking leave of our fellow-travellers, we set out for
Wiltshire, my wife being so impatient to see the child which she had
left behind her, that the child she carried with her was almost killed
with the fatigue of the journey.

"We arrived at our inn late in the evening. Amelia, though she had no
great reason to be pleased with any part of her sister's behaviour,
resolved to behave to her as if nothing wrong had ever happened. She
therefore sent a kind note to her the moment of our arrival, giving
her her option, whether she would come to us at the inn, or whether we
should that evening wait on her. The servant, after waiting an hour,
brought us an answer, excusing her from coming to us so late, as she
was disordered with a cold, and desiring my wife by no means to think
of venturing out after the fatigue of her journey; saying, she would,
on that account, defer the great pleasure of seeing her till the
morning, without taking any more notice of your humble servant than if
no such person had been in the world, though I had very civilly sent
my compliments to her. I should not mention this trifle, if it was not
to shew you the nature of the woman, and that it will be a kind of key
to her future conduct.

"When the servant returned, the good doctor, who had been with us
almost all the time of his absence, hurried us away to his house,
where we presently found a supper and a bed prepared for us. My wife
was eagerly desirous to see her child that night; but the doctor would
not suffer it; and, as he was at nurse at a distant part of the town,
and the doctor assured her he had seen him in perfect health that
evening, she suffered herself at last to be dissuaded.

"We spent that evening in the most agreeable manner; for the doctor's
wit and humour, joined to the highest chearfulness and good nature,
made him the most agreeable companion in the world: and he was now in
the highest spirits, which he was pleased to place to our account. We
sat together to a very late hour; for so excellent is my wife's
constitution, that she declared she was scarce sensible of any fatigue
from her late journeys.

"Amelia slept not a wink all night, and in the morning early the
doctor accompanied us to the little infant. The transports we felt on
this occasion were really enchanting, nor can any but a fond parent
conceive, I am certain, the least idea of them. Our imaginations
suggested a hundred agreeable circumstances, none of which had,
perhaps, any foundation. We made words and meaning out of every sound,
and in every feature found out some resemblance to my Amelia, as she
did to me.

"But I ask your pardon for dwelling on such incidents, and will
proceed to scenes which, to most persons, will be more entertaining.

"We went hence to pay a visit to Miss Harris, whose reception of us
was, I think, truly ridiculous; and, as you know the lady, I will
endeavour to describe it particularly. At our first arrival we were
ushered into a parlour, where we were suffered to wait almost an hour.
At length the lady of the house appeared in deep mourning, with a
face, if possible, more dismal than her dress, in which, however,
there was every appearance of art. Her features were indeed skrewed up
to the very height of grief. With this face, and in the most solemn
gait, she approached Amelia, and coldly saluted her. After which she
made me a very distant formal courtesy, and we all sat down. A short
silence now ensued, which Miss Harris at length broke with a deep
sigh, and said, 'Sister, here is a great alteration in this place
since you saw it last; Heaven hath been pleased to take my poor mother
to itself.'--(Here she wiped her eyes, and then continued.)--'I hope I
know my duty, and have learned a proper resignation to the divine
will; but something is to be allowed to grief for the best of mothers;
for so she was to us both; and if at last she made any distinction,
she must have had her reasons for so doing. I am sure I can truly say
I never wished, much less desired it.' The tears now stood in poor
Amelia's eyes; indeed, she had paid too many already for the memory of
so unnatural a parent. She answered, with the sweetness of an angel,
that she was far from blaming her sister's emotions on so tender an
occasion; that she heartily joined with her in her grief; for that
nothing which her mother had done in the latter part of her life could
efface the remembrance of that tenderness which she had formerly shewn
her. Her sister caught hold of the word efface, and rung the changes
upon it.--'Efface!' cried she, 'O Miss Emily (for you must not expect
me to repeat names that will be for ever odious), I wish indeed
everything could be effaced.--Effaced! O that that was possible! we
might then have still enjoyed my poor mother; for I am convinced she
never recovered her grief on a certain occasion.'--Thus she ran on,
and, after many bitter strokes upon her sister, at last directly
charged her mother's death on my marriage with Amelia. I could be
silent then no longer. I reminded her of the perfect reconciliation
between us before my departure, and the great fondness which she
expressed for me; nor could I help saying, in very plain terms, that
if she had ever changed her opinion of me, as I was not conscious of
having deserved such a change by my own behaviour, I was well
convinced to whose good offices I owed it. Guilt hath very quick ears
to an accusation. Miss Harris immediately answered to the charge. She
said, such suspicions were no more than she expected; that they were
of a piece with every other part of my conduct, and gave her one
consolation, that they served to account for her sister Emily's
unkindness, as well to herself as to her poor deceased mother, and in
some measure lessened the guilt of it with regard to her, since it was
not easy to know how far a woman is in the power of her husband. My
dear Amelia reddened at this reflection on me, and begged her sister
to name any single instance of unkindness or disrespect in which she
had ever offended. To this the other answered (I am sure I repeat her
words, though I cannot mimic either the voice or air with which they
were spoken)--'Pray, Miss Emily, which is to be the judge, yourself or
that gentleman? I remember the time when I could have trusted to your
judgment in any affair; but you are now no longer mistress of
yourself, and are not answerable for your actions. Indeed, it is my
constant prayer that your actions may not be imputed to you. It was
the constant prayer of that blessed woman, my dear mother, who is now
a saint above; a saint whose name I can never mention without a tear,
though I find you can hear it without one. I cannot help observing
some concern on so melancholy an occasion; it seems due to decency;
but, perhaps (for I always wish to excuse you) you are forbid to cry.'
The idea of being bid or forbid to cry struck so strongly on my fancy,
that indignation only could have prevented me from laughing. But my
narrative, I am afraid, begins to grow tedious. In short, after
hearing, for near an hour, every malicious insinuation which a fertile
genius could invent, we took our leave, and separated as persons who
would never willingly meet again.

"The next morning after this interview Amelia received a long letter
from Miss Harris; in which, after many bitter invectives against me,
she excused her mother, alledging that she had been driven to do as
she did in order to prevent Amelia's ruin, if her fortune had fallen
into my hands. She likewise very remotely hinted that she would be
only a trustee for her sister's children, and told her that on one
condition only she would consent to live with her as a sister. This
was, if she could by any means be separated from that man, as she was
pleased to call me, who had caused so much mischief in the family.

"I was so enraged at this usage, that, had not Amelia intervened, I
believe I should have applied to a magistrate for a search-warrant for
that picture, which there was so much reason to suspect she had
stolen; and which I am convinced, upon a search, we should have found
in her possession."

"Nay, it is possible enough," cries Miss Matthews; "for I believe
there is no wickedness of which the lady is not capable."

"This agreeable letter was succeeded by another of the like
comfortable kind, which informed me that the company in which I was,
being an additional one raised in the beginning of the war, was
reduced; so that I was now a lieutenant on half-pay.

"Whilst we were meditating on our present situation the good doctor
came to us. When we related to him the manner in which my sister had
treated us, he cried out, 'Poor soul! I pity her heartily;' for this
is the severest resentment he ever expresses; indeed, I have often
heard him say that a wicked soul is the greatest object of compassion
in the world."--A sentiment which we shall leave the reader a little
time to digest.



Chapter xii.

_In which Mr. Booth concludes his story._


"The next day the doctor set out for his parsonage, which was about
thirty miles distant, whither Amelia and myself accompanied him, and
where we stayed with him all the time of his residence there, being
almost three months.

"The situation of the parish under my good friend's care is very
pleasant. It is placed among meadows, washed by a clear trout-stream,
and flanked on both sides with downs. His house, indeed, would not
much attract the admiration of the virtuoso. He built it himself, and
it is remarkable only for its plainness; with which the furniture so
well agrees, that there is no one thing in it that may not be
absolutely necessary, except books, and the prints of Mr. Hogarth,
whom he calls a moral satirist.

"Nothing, however, can be imagined more agreeable than the life that
the doctor leads in this homely house, which he calls his earthly
paradise. All his parishioners, whom he treats as his children, regard
him as their common father. Once in a week he constantly visits every
house in the parish, examines, commends, and rebukes, as he finds
occasion. This is practised likewise by his curate in his absence; and
so good an effect is produced by this their care, that no quarrels
ever proceed either to blows or law-suits; no beggar is to be found in
the whole parish; nor did I ever hear a very profane oath all the time
I lived in it. "But to return from so agreeable a digression, to my
own affairs, that are much less worth your attention. In the midst of
all the pleasures I tasted in this sweet place and in the most
delightful company, the woman and man whom I loved above all things,
melancholy reflexions concerning my unhappy circumstances would often
steal into my thoughts. My fortune was now reduced to less than forty
pounds a-year; I had already two children, and my dear Amelia was
again with child.

"One day the doctor found me sitting by myself, and employed in
melancholy contemplations on this subject. He told me he had observed
me growing of late very serious; that he knew the occasion, and
neither wondered at nor blamed me. He then asked me if I had any
prospect of going again into the army; if not, what scheme of life I
proposed to myself?

"I told him that, as I had no powerful friends, I could have but
little expectations in a military way; that I was as incapable of
thinking of any other scheme, as all business required some knowledge
or experience, and likewise money to set up with; of all which I was
destitute.

"'You must know then, child,' said the doctor, 'that I have been
thinking on this subject as well as you; for I can think, I promise
you, with a pleasant countenance.' These were his words. 'As to the
army, perhaps means might be found of getting you another commission;
but my daughter seems to have a violent objection to it; and to be
plain, I fancy you yourself will find no glory make you amends for
your absence from her. And for my part,' said he, 'I never think those
men wise who, for any worldly interest, forego the greatest happiness
of their lives. If I mistake not,' says he, 'a country life, where you
could be always together, would make you both much happier people.'

"I answered, that of all things I preferred it most; and I believed
Amelia was of the same opinion.

"The doctor, after a little hesitation, proposed to me to turn farmer,
and offered to let me his parsonage, which was then become vacant. He
said it was a farm which required but little stock, and that little
should not be wanting.

"I embraced this offer very eagerly, and with great thankfulness, and
immediately repaired to Amelia to communicate it to her, and to know
her sentiments.

"Amelia received the news with the highest transports of joy; she said
that her greatest fear had always been of my entring again into the
army. She was so kind as to say that all stations of life were equal
to her, unless as one afforded her more of my company than another.
'And as to our children,' said she, 'let us breed them up to an humble
fortune, and they will be contented with it; for none,' added my
angel, 'deserve happiness, or, indeed, are capable of it, who make any
particular station a necessary ingredient.'"

"Thus, madam, you see me degraded from my former rank in life; no
longer Captain Booth, but farmer Booth at your service.

"During my first year's continuance in this new scene of life,
nothing, I think, remarkable happened; the history of one day would,
indeed, be the history of the whole year."

"Well, pray then," said Miss Matthews, "do let us hear the history of
that day; I have a strange curiosity to know how you could kill your
time; and do, if possible, find out the very best day you can."

"If you command me, madam," answered Booth, "you must yourself be
accountable for the dulness of the narrative. Nay, I believe, you have
imposed a very difficult task on me; for the greatest happiness is
incapable of description.

"I rose then, madam--"

"O, the moment you waked, undoubtedly," said Miss Matthews.

"Usually," said he, "between five and six."

"I will have no usually," cried Miss Matthews, "you are confined to a
day, and it is to be the best and happiest in the year."

"Nay, madam," cries Booth, "then I must tell you the day in which
Amelia was brought to bed, after a painful and dangerous labour; for
that I think was the happiest day of my life."

"I protest," said she, "you are become farmer Booth, indeed. What a
happiness have you painted to my imagination! you put me in mind of a
newspaper, where my lady such-a-one is delivered of a son, to the
great joy of some illustrious family."

"Why then, I do assure you, Miss Matthews," cries Booth, "I scarce
know a circumstance that distinguished one day from another. The whole
was one continued series of love, health, and tranquillity. Our lives
resembled a calm sea."--

"The dullest of all ideas," cries the lady.

"I know," said he, "it must appear dull in description, for who can
describe the pleasures which the morning air gives to one in perfect
health; the flow of spirits which springs up from exercise; the
delights which parents feel from the prattle and innocent follies of
their children; the joy with which the tender smile of a wife inspires
a husband; or lastly, the chearful, solid comfort which a fond couple
enjoy in each other's conversation?--All these pleasures and every
other of which our situation was capable we tasted in the highest
degree. Our happiness was, perhaps, too great; for fortune seemed to
grow envious of it, and interposed one of the most cruel accidents
that could have befallen us by robbing us of our dear friend the
doctor."

"I am sorry for it," said Miss Matthews. "He was indeed a valuable
man, and I never heard of his death before."

"Long may it be before any one hears of it!" cries Booth. "He is,
indeed, dead to us; but will, I hope, enjoy many happy years of life.
You know, madam, the obligations he had to his patron the earl;
indeed, it was impossible to be once in his company without hearing of
them. I am sure you will neither wonder that he was chosen to attend
the young lord in his travels as his tutor, nor that the good man,
however disagreeable it might be (as in fact it was) to his
inclination, should comply with the earnest request of his friend and
patron.

"By this means I was bereft not only of the best companion in the
world, but of the best counsellor; a loss of which I have since felt
the bitter consequence; for no greater advantage, I am convinced, can
arrive to a young man, who hath any degree of understanding, than an
intimate converse with one of riper years, who is not only able to
advise, but who knows the manner of advising. By this means alone,
youth can enjoy the benefit of the experience of age, and that at a
time of life when such experience will be of more service to a man
than when he hath lived long enough to acquire it of himself.

"From want of my sage counsellor, I now fell into many errors. The
first of these was in enlarging my business, by adding a farm of one
hundred a year to the parsonage, in renting which I had also as bad a
bargain as the doctor had before given me a good one. The consequence
of which was, that whereas, at the end of the first year, I was worth
upwards of fourscore pounds; at the end of the second I was near half
that sum worse (as the phrase is) than nothing.

"A second folly I was guilty of in uniting families with the curate of
the parish, who had just married, as my wife and I thought, a very
good sort of a woman. We had not, however, lived one month together
before I plainly perceived this good sort of a woman had taken a great
prejudice against my Amelia, for which, if I had not known something
of the human passions, and that high place which envy holds among
them, I should not have been able to account, for, so far was my angel
from having given her any cause of dislike, that she had treated her
not only with civility, but kindness.

"Besides superiority in beauty, which, I believe, all the world would
have allowed to Amelia, there was another cause of this envy, which I
am almost ashamed to mention, as it may well be called my greatest
folly. You are to know then, madam, that from a boy I had been always
fond of driving a coach, in which I valued myself on having some
skill. This, perhaps, was an innocent, but I allow it to have been a
childish vanity. As I had an opportunity, therefore, of buying an old
coach and harness very cheap (indeed they cost me but twelve pounds),
and as I considered that the same horses which drew my waggons would
likewise draw my coach, I resolved on indulging myself in the
purchase.

"The consequence of setting up this poor old coach is inconceivable.
Before this, as my wife and myself had very little distinguished
ourselves from the other farmers and their wives, either in our dress
or our way of living, they treated us as their equals; but now they
began to consider us as elevating ourselves into a state of
superiority, and immediately began to envy, hate, and declare war
against us. The neighbouring little squires, too, were uneasy to see a
poor renter become their equal in a matter in which they placed so
much dignity; and, not doubting but it arose in me from the same
ostentation, they began to hate me likewise, and to turn my equipage
into ridicule, asserting that my horses, which were as well matched as
any in the kingdom, were of different colours and sizes, with much
more of that kind of wit, the only basis of which is lying.

"But what will appear most surprizing to you, madam, was, that the
curate's wife, who, being lame, had more use of the coach than my
Amelia (indeed she seldom went to church in any other manner), was one
of my bitterest enemies on the occasion. If she had ever any dispute
with Amelia, which all the sweetness of my poor girl could not
sometimes avoid, she was sure to introduce with a malicious sneer,
'Though my husband doth not keep a coach, madam.' Nay, she took this
opportunity to upbraid my wife with the loss of her fortune, alledging
that some folks might have had as good pretensions to a coach as other
folks, and a better too, as they brought a better fortune to their
husbands, but that all people had not the art of making brick without
straw.

"You will wonder, perhaps, madam, how I can remember such stuff,
which, indeed, was a long time only matter of amusement to both Amelia
and myself; but we at last experienced the mischievous nature of envy,
and that it tends rather to produce tragical than comical events. My
neighbours now began to conspire against me. They nicknamed me in
derision, the Squire Farmer. Whatever I bought, I was sure to buy
dearer, and when I sold I was obliged to sell cheaper, than any other.
In fact, they were all united, and, while they every day committed
trespasses on my lands with impunity, if any of my cattle escaped into
their fields, I was either forced to enter into a law-suit or to make
amends fourfold for the damage sustained.

"The consequences of all this could be no other than that ruin which
ensued. Without tiring you with particulars, before the end of four
years I became involved in debt near three hundred pounds more than
the value of all my effects. My landlord seized my stock for rent,
and, to avoid immediate confinement in prison, I was forced to leave
the country with all that I hold dear in the world, my wife and my
poor little family.

"In this condition I arrived in town five or six days ago. I had just
taken a lodging in the verge of the court, and had writ my dear Amelia
word where she might find me, when she had settled her affairs in the
best manner she could. That very evening, as I was returning home from
a coffee-house, a fray happening in the street, I endeavoured to
assist the injured party, when I was seized by the watch, and, after
being confined all night in the round-house, was conveyed in the
morning before a justice of peace, who committed me hither; where I
should probably have starved, had I not from your hands found a most
unaccountable preservation.--And here, give me leave to assure you, my
dear Miss Matthews, that, whatever advantage I may have reaped from
your misfortune, I sincerely lament it; nor would I have purchased any
relief to myself at the price of seeing you in this dreadful place."

He spake these last words with great tenderness; for he was a man of
consummate good nature, and had formerly had much affection for this
young lady; indeed, more than the generality of people are capable of
entertaining for any person whatsoever.



BOOK IV.

Chapter i.

_Containing very mysterious matter_.


Miss Matthews did not in the least fall short of Mr. Booth in
expressions of tenderness. Her eyes, the most eloquent orators on such
occasions, exerted their utmost force; and at the conclusion of his
speech she cast a look as languishingly sweet as ever Cleopatra gave
to Antony. In real fact, this Mr. Booth had been her first love, and
had made those impressions on her young heart, which the learned in
this branch of philosophy affirm, and perhaps truly, are never to be
eradicated.

When Booth had finished his story a silence ensued of some minutes; an
interval which the painter would describe much better than the writer.
Some readers may, however, be able to make pretty pertinent
conjectures by what I have said above, especially when they are told
that Miss Matthews broke the silence by a sigh, and cried, "Why is Mr.
Booth unwilling to allow me the happiness of thinking my misfortunes
have been of some little advantage to him? sure the happy Amelia would
not be so selfish to envy me that pleasure. No; not if she was as much
the fondest as she is the happiest of women." "Good heavens! madam,"
said he, "do you call my poor Amelia the happiest of women?" "Indeed I
do," answered she briskly. "O Mr. Booth! there is a speck of white in
her fortune, which, when it falls to the lot of a sensible woman,
makes her full amends for all the crosses which can attend her.
Perhaps she may not be sensible of it; but if it had been my blest
fate--O Mr. Booth! could I have thought, when we were first
acquainted, that the most agreeable man in the world had been capable
of making the kind, the tender, the affectionate husband--happy
Amelia, in those days, was unknown; Heaven had not then given her a
prospect of the happiness it intended her; but yet it did intend it
her; for sure there is a fatality in the affairs of love; and the more
I reflect on my own life, the more I am convinced of it.--O heavens!
how a thousand little circumstances crowd into my mind! When you first
marched into our town, you had then the colours in your hand; as you
passed under the window where I stood, my glove, by accident, dropt
into the street; you stoopt, took up my glove, and, putting it upon
the spike belonging to your colours, lifted it up to the window. Upon
this a young lady who stood by said, 'So, miss, the young officer hath
accepted your challenge.' I blushed then, and I blush now, when I
confess to you I thought you the prettiest young fellow I had ever
seen; and, upon my soul, I believe you was then the prettiest fellow
in the world." Booth here made a low bow, and cried, "O dear madam,
how ignorant was I of my own happiness!" "Would you really have
thought so?" answered she. "However, there is some politeness if there
be no sincerity in what you say."--Here the governor of the enchanted
castle interrupted them, and, entering the room without any ceremony,
acquainted the lady and gentleman that it was locking-up time; and,
addressing Booth by the name of captain, asked him if he would not
please to have a bed; adding, that he might have one in the next room
to the lady, but that it would come dear; for that he never let a bed
in that room under a guinea, nor could he afford it cheaper to his
father.

No answer was made to this proposal; but Miss Matthews, who had
already learnt some of the ways of the house, said she believed Mr.
Booth would like to drink a glass of something; upon which the
governor immediately trumpeted forth the praises of his rack-punch,
and, without waiting for any farther commands, presently produced a
large bowl of that liquor.

The governor, having recommended the goodness of his punch by a hearty
draught, began to revive the other matter, saying that he was just
going to bed, and must first lock up.--"But suppose," said Miss
Matthews, with a smile, "the captain and I should have a mind to sit
up all night."--"With all my heart," said the governor; "but I expect
a consideration for those matters. For my part, I don't enquire into
what doth not concern me; but single and double are two things. If I
lock up double I expect half a guinea, and I'm sure the captain cannot
think that's out of the way; it is but the price of a bagnio."

Miss Matthews's face became the colour of scarlet at those words.
However, she mustered up her spirits, and, turning to Booth, said,
"What say you, captain? for my own part, I had never less inclination
to sleep; which hath the greater charms for you, the punch or the
pillow?"--"I hope, madam," answered Booth, "you have a better opinion
of me than to doubt my preferring Miss Matthews's conversation to
either."--"I assure you," replied she, "it is no compliment to you to
say I prefer yours to sleep at this time."

The governor, then, having received his fee, departed; and, turning
the key, left the gentleman and the lady to themselves.

In imitation of him we will lock up likewise a scene which we do not
think proper to expose to the eyes of the public. If any over-curious
readers should be disappointed on this occasion, we will recommend
such readers to the apologies with which certain gay ladies have
lately been pleased to oblige the world, where they will possibly find
everything recorded that past at this interval.

But, though we decline painting the scene, it is not our intention to
conceal from the world the frailty of Mr. Booth, or of his fair
partner, who certainly past that evening in a manner inconsistent with
the strict rules of virtue and chastity.

To say the truth, we are much more concerned for the behaviour of the
gentleman than of the lady, not only for his sake, but for the sake of
the best woman in the world, whom we should be sorry to consider as
yoked to a man of no worth nor honour. We desire, therefore, the good-
natured and candid reader will be pleased to weigh attentively the
several unlucky circumstances which concurred so critically, that
Fortune seemed to have used her utmost endeavours to ensnare poor
Booth's constancy. Let the reader set before his eyes a fine young
woman, in a manner, a first love, conferring obligations and using
every art to soften, to allure, to win, and to enflame; let him
consider the time and place; let him remember that Mr. Booth was a
young fellow in the highest vigour of life; and, lastly, let him add
one single circumstance, that the parties were alone together; and
then, if he will not acquit the defendant, he must be convicted, for I
have nothing more to say in his defence.



Chapter ii.

_The latter part of which we expect will please our reader better
than the former._


A whole week did our lady and gentleman live in this criminal
conversation, in which the happiness of the former was much more
perfect than that of the latter; for, though the charms of Miss
Matthews, and her excessive endearments, sometimes lulled every
thought in the sweet lethargy of pleasure, yet in the intervals of his
fits his virtue alarmed and roused him, and brought the image of poor
injured Amelia to haunt and torment him. In fact, if we regard this
world only, it is the interest of every man to be either perfectly
good or completely bad. He had better destroy his conscience than
gently wound it. The many bitter reflections which every bad action
costs a mind in which there are any remains of goodness are not to be
compensated by the highest pleasures which such an action can produce.

So it happened to Mr. Booth. Repentance never failed to follow his
transgressions; and yet so perverse is our judgment, and so slippery
is the descent of vice when once we are entered into it, the same
crime which he now repented of became a reason for doing that which
was to cause his future repentance; and he continued to sin on because
he had begun. His repentance, however, returned still heavier and
heavier, till, at last, it flung him into a melancholy, which Miss
Matthews plainly perceived, and at which she could not avoid
expressing some resentment in obscure hints and ironical compliments
on Amelia's superiority to her whole sex, who could not cloy a gay
young fellow by many years' possession. She would then repeat the
compliments which others had made to her own beauty, and could not
forbear once crying out, "Upon my soul, my dear Billy, I believe the
chief disadvantage on my side is my superior fondness; for love, in
the minds of men, hath one quality, at least, of a fever, which is to
prefer coldness in the object. Confess, dear Will, is there not
something vastly refreshing in the cool air of a prude?" Booth fetched
a deep sigh, and begged her never more to mention Amelia's name. "O
Will," cries she, "did that request proceed from the motive I could
wish, I should be the happiest of womankind."--"You would not, sure,
madam," said Booth, "desire a sacrifice which I must be a villain to
make to any?"--"Desire!" answered she, "are there any bounds to the
desires of love? have not I been sacrificed? hath not my first love
been torn from my bleeding heart? I claim a prior right. As for
sacrifices, I can make them too, and would sacrifice the whole world
at the least call of my love."

Here she delivered a letter to Booth, which she had received within an
hour, the contents of which were these:--

"DEAREST MADAM,--Those only who truly know what love is, can have any
conception of the horrors I felt at hearing of your confinement at my
arrival in town, which was this morning. I immediately sent my lawyer
to enquire into the particulars, who brought me the agreeable news
that the man, whose heart's blood ought not to be valued at the rate
of a single hair of yours, is entirely out of all danger, and that you
might be admitted to bail. I presently ordered him to go with two of
my tradesmen, who are to be bound in any sum for your appearance, if
he should be mean enough to prosecute you. Though you may expect my
attorney with you soon, I would not delay sending this, as I hope the
news will be agreeable to you. My chariot will attend at the same time
to carry you wherever you please. You may easily guess what a violence
I have done to myself in not waiting on you in person; but I, who know
your delicacy, feared it might offend, and that you might think me
ungenerous enough to hope from your distresses that happiness which I
am resolved to owe to your free gift alone, when your good nature
shall induce you to bestow on me what no man living can merit. I beg
you will pardon all the contents of this hasty letter, and do me the
honour of believing me,
              Dearest madam,
                      Your most passionate admirer,
                         and most obedient humble servant,
                                              DAMON."

Booth thought he had somewhere before seen the same hand, but in his
present hurry of spirits could not recollect whose it was, nor did the
lady give him any time for reflection; for he had scarce read the
letter when she produced a little bit of paper and cried out, "Here,
sir, here are the contents which he fears will offend me." She then
put a bank-bill of a hundred pounds into Mr. Booth's hands, and asked
him with a smile if he did not think she had reason to be offended
with so much insolence?

Before Booth could return any answer the governor arrived, and
introduced Mr. Rogers the attorney, who acquainted the lady that he
had brought her discharge from her confinement, and that a chariot
waited at the door to attend her wherever she pleased.

She received the discharge from Mr. Rogers, and said she was very much
obliged to the gentleman who employed him, but that she would not make
use of the chariot, as she had no notion of leaving that wretched
place in a triumphant manner; in which resolution, when the attorney
found her obstinate, he withdrew, as did the governor, with many bows
and as many ladyships.

They were no sooner gone than Booth asked the lady why she would
refuse the chariot of a gentleman who had behaved with such excessive
respect? She looked earnestly upon him, and cried, "How unkind is that
question! do you imagine I would go and leave you in such a situation?
thou knowest but little of Calista. Why, do you think I would accept
this hundred pounds from a man I dislike, unless it was to be
serviceable to the man I love? I insist on your taking it as your own
and using whatever you want of it."

Booth protested in the solemnest manner that he would not touch a
shilling of it, saying, he had already received too many obligations
at her hands, and more than ever he should be able, he feared, to
repay. "How unkind," answered she, "is every word you say, why will
you mention obligations? love never confers any. It doth everything
for its own sake. I am not therefore obliged to the man whose passion
makes him generous; for I feel how inconsiderable the whole world
would appear to me if I could throw it after my heart."

Much more of this kind past, she still pressing the bank-note upon
him, and he as absolutely refusing, till Booth left the lady to dress
herself, and went to walk in the area of the prison.

Miss Matthews now applied to the governor to know by what means she
might procure the captain his liberty. The governor answered, "As he
cannot get bail, it will be a difficult matter; and money to be sure
there must be; for people no doubt expect to touch on these occasions.
When prisoners have not wherewithal as the law requires to entitle
themselves to justice, why they must be beholden to other people to
give them their liberty; and people will not, to be sure, suffer
others to be beholden to them for nothing, whereof there is good
reason; for how should we all live if it was not for these things?"
"Well, well," said she, "and how much will it cost?" "How much!"
answered he,--"How much!--why, let me see."--Here he hesitated some
time, and then answered "That for five guineas he would undertake to
procure the captain his discharge. "That being the sum which he
computed to remain in the lady's pocket; for, as to the gentleman's,
he had long been acquainted with the emptiness of it.

Miss Matthews, to whom money was as dirt (indeed she may be thought
not to have known the value of it), delivered him the bank-bill, and
bid him get it changed; for if the whole, says she, will procure him
his liberty, he shall have it this evening.

"The whole, madam!" answered the governor, as soon as he had recovered
his breath, for it almost forsook him at the sight of the black word
hundred--"No, no; there might be people indeed--but I am not one of
those. A hundred! no, nor nothing like it.--As for myself, as I said,
I will be content with five guineas, and I am sure that's little
enough. What other people will expect I cannot exactly say. To be sure
his worship's clerk will expect to touch pretty handsomely; as for his
worship himself, he never touches anything, that is, not to speak of;
but then the constable will expect something, and the watchman must
have something, and the lawyers on both sides, they must have their
fees for finishing."--"Well," said she, "I leave all to you. If it
costs me twenty pounds I will have him discharged this afternoon.--But
you must give his discharge into my hands without letting the captain
know anything of the matter."

The governor promised to obey her commands in every particular; nay,
he was so very industrious, that, though dinner was just then coming
upon the table, at her earnest request he set out immediately on the
purpose, and went as he said in pursuit of the lawyer.

All the other company assembled at table as usual, where poor Booth
was the only person out of spirits. This was imputed by all present to
a wrong cause; nay, Miss Matthews herself either could not or would
not suspect that there was anything deeper than the despair of being
speedily discharged that lay heavy on his mind.

However, the mirth of the rest, and a pretty liberal quantity of
punch, which he swallowed after dinner (for Miss Matthews had ordered
a very large bowl at her own expense to entertain the good company at
her farewell), so far exhilarated his spirits, that when the young
lady and he retired to their tea he had all the marks of gayety in his
countenance, and his eyes sparkled with good humour.

The gentleman and lady had spent about two hours in tea and
conversation, when the governor returned, and privately delivered to
the lady the discharge for her friend, and the sum of eighty-two
pounds five shillings; the rest having been, he said, disbursed in the
business, of which he was ready at any time to render an exact
account.

Miss Matthews being again alone with Mr. Booth, she put the discharge
into his hands, desiring him to ask her no questions; and adding, "I
think, sir, we have neither of us now anything more to do at this
place." She then summoned the governor, and ordered a bill of that
day's expense, for long scores were not usual there; and at the same
time ordered a hackney coach, without having yet determined whither
she would go, but fully determined she was, wherever she went, to take
Mr. Booth with her.

The governor was now approaching with a long roll of paper, when a
faint voice was heard to cry out hastily, "Where is he?"--and
presently a female spectre, all pale and breathless, rushed into the
room, and fell into Mr. Booth's arms, where she immediately fainted
away.

Booth made a shift to support his lovely burden; though he was himself
in a condition very little different from hers. Miss Matthews
likewise, who presently recollected the face of Amelia, was struck
motionless with the surprize, nay, the governor himself, though not
easily moved at sights of horror, stood aghast, and neither offered to
speak nor stir.

Happily for Amelia, the governess of the mansions had, out of
curiosity, followed her into the room, and was the only useful person
present on this occasion: she immediately called for water, and ran to
the lady's assistance, fell to loosening her stays, and performed all
the offices proper at such a season; which had so good an effect, that
Amelia soon recovered the disorder which the violent agitation of her
spirits had caused, and found herself alive and awake in her husband's
arms.

Some tender caresses and a soft whisper or two passed privately
between Booth and his lady; nor was it without great difficulty that
poor Amelia put some restraint on her fondness in a place so improper
for a tender interview. She now cast her eyes round the room, and,
fixing them on Miss Matthews, who stood like a statue, she soon
recollected her, and, addressing her by her name, said, "Sure, madam,
I cannot be mistaken in those features; though meeting you here might
almost make me suspect my memory."

Miss Matthews's face was now all covered with scarlet. The reader may
easily believe she was on no account pleased with Amelia's presence;
indeed, she expected from her some of those insults of which virtuous
women are generally so liberal to a frail sister: but she was
mistaken; Amelia was not one

     Who thought the nation ne'er would thrive,
     Till all the whores were burnt alive.

Her virtue could support itself with its own intrinsic worth, without
borrowing any assistance from the vices of other women; and she
considered their natural infirmities as the objects of pity, not of
contempt or abhorrence.

When Amelia therefore perceived the visible confusion in Miss Matthews
she presently called to remembrance some stories which she had
imperfectly heard; for, as she was not naturally attentive to scandal,
and had kept very little company since her return to England, she was
far from being a mistress of the lady's whole history. However, she
had heard enough to impute her confusion to the right cause; she
advanced to her, and told her, she was extremely sorry to meet her in
such a place, but hoped that no very great misfortune was the occasion
of it.

Miss Matthews began, by degrees, to recover her spirits. She answered,
with a reserved air, "I am much obliged to you, madam, for your
concern; we are all liable to misfortunes in this world. Indeed, I
know not why I should be much ashamed of being in any place where I am
in such good company."

Here Booth interposed. He had before acquainted Amelia in a whisper
that his confinement was at an end. "The unfortunate accident, my
dear," said he, "which brought this young lady to this melancholy
place is entirely determined; and she is now as absolutely at her
liberty as myself."

Amelia, imputing the extreme coldness and reserve of the lady to the
cause already mentioned, advanced still more and more in proportion as
she drew back; till the governor, who had withdrawn some time,
returned, and acquainted Miss Matthews that her coach was at the door;
upon which the company soon separated. Amelia and Booth went together
in Amelia's coach, and poor Miss Matthews was obliged to retire alone,
after having satisfied the demands of the governor, which in one day
only had amounted to a pretty considerable sum; for he, with great
dexterity, proportioned the bills to the abilities of his guests.

It may seem, perhaps, wonderful to some readers, that Miss Matthews
should have maintained that cold reserve towards Amelia, so as barely
to keep within the rules of civility, instead of embracing an
opportunity which seemed to offer of gaining some degree of intimacy
with a wife whose husband she was so fond of; but, besides that her
spirits were entirely disconcerted by so sudden and unexpected a
disappointment; and besides the extreme horrors which she conceived at
the presence of her rival, there is, I believe, something so
outrageously suspicious in the nature of all vice, especially when
joined with any great degree of pride, that the eyes of those whom we
imagine privy to our failings are intolerable to us, and we are apt to
aggravate their opinions to our disadvantage far beyond the reality.



Chapter iii.

_Containing wise observations of the author, and other matters._


There is nothing more difficult than to lay down any fixed and certain
rules for happiness; or indeed to judge with any precision of the
happiness of others from the knowledge of external circumstances.
There is sometimes a little speck of black in the brightest and gayest
colours of fortune, which contaminates and deadens the whole. On the
contrary, when all without looks dark and dismal, there is often a
secret ray of light within the mind, which turns everything to real
joy and gladness.

I have in the course of my life seen many occasions to make this
observation, and Mr. Booth was at present a very pregnant instance of
its truth. He was just delivered from a prison, and in the possession
of his beloved wife and children; and (which might be imagined greatly
to augment his joy) fortune had done all this for him within an hour,
without giving him the least warning or reasonable expectation of the
strange reverse in his circumstances; and yet it is certain that there
were very few men in the world more seriously miserable than he was at
this instant. A deep melancholy seized his mind, and cold damp sweats
overspread his person, so that he was scarce animated; and poor
Amelia, instead of a fond warm husband, bestowed her caresses on a
dull lifeless lump of clay. He endeavoured, however, at first, as much
as possible, to conceal what he felt, and attempted what is the
hardest of all tasks, to act the part of a happy man; but he found no
supply of spirits to carry on this deceit, and would have probably
sunk under his attempt, had not poor Amelia's simplicity helped him to
another fallacy, in which he had much better success.

This worthy woman very plainly perceived the disorder in her husband's
mind; and, having no doubt of the cause of it, especially when she saw
the tears stand in his eyes at the sight of his children, threw her
arms round his neck, and, embracing him with rapturous fondness, cried
out, "My dear Billy, let nothing make you uneasy. Heaven will, I doubt
not, provide for us and these poor babes. Great fortunes are not
necessary to happiness. For my own part, I can level my mind with any
state; and for those poor little things, whatever condition of life we
breed them to, that will be sufficient to maintain them in. How many
thousands abound in affluence whose fortunes are much lower than ours!
for it is not from nature, but from education and habit, that our
wants are chiefly derived. Make yourself easy, therefore, my dear
love; for you have a wife who will think herself happy with you, and
endeavour to make you so, in any situation. Fear nothing, Billy,
industry will always provide us a wholesome meal; and I will take care
that neatness and chearfulness shall make it a pleasant one."

Booth presently took the cue which she had given him. He fixed his
eyes on her for a minute with great earnestness and inexpressible
tenderness; and then cried, "O my Amelia, how much are you my superior
in every perfection! how wise, how great, how noble are your
sentiments! why can I not imitate what I so much admire? why can I not
look with your constancy on those dear little pledges of our loves?
All my philosophy is baffled with the thought that my Amelia's
children are to struggle with a cruel, hard, unfeeling world, and to
buffet those waves of fortune which have overwhelmed their father.--
Here, I own I want your firmness, and am not without an excuse for
wanting it; for am I not the cruel cause of all your wretchedness?
have I not stept between you and fortune, and been the cursed obstacle
to all your greatness and happiness?"

"Say not so, my love," answered she. "Great I might have been, but
never happy with any other man. Indeed, dear Billy, I laugh at the
fears you formerly raised in me; what seemed so terrible at a
distance, now it approaches nearer, appears to have been a mere
bugbear--and let this comfort you, that I look on myself at this day
as the happiest of women; nor have I done anything which I do not
rejoice in, and would, if I had the gift of prescience, do again."

Booth was so overcome with this behaviour, that he had no words to
answer. To say the truth, it was difficult to find any worthy of the
occasion. He threw himself prostrate at her feet, whence poor Amelia
was forced to use all her strength as well as entreaties to raise and
place him in his chair.

Such is ever the fortitude of perfect innocence, and such the
depression of guilt in minds not utterly abandoned. Booth was
naturally of a sanguine temper; nor would any such apprehensions as he
mentioned have been sufficient to have restrained his joy at meeting
with his Amelia. In fact, a reflection on the injury he had done her
was the sole cause of his grief. This it was that enervated his heart,
and threw him into agonies, which all that profusion of heroic
tenderness that the most excellent of women intended for his comfort
served only to heighten and aggravate; as the more she rose in his
admiration, the more she quickened his sense of his own unworthiness.
After a disagreeable evening, the first of that kind that he had ever
passed with his Amelia, in which he had the utmost difficulty to force
a little chearfulness, and in which her spirits were at length
overpowered by discerning the oppression on his, they retired to rest,
or rather to misery, which need not be described.

The next morning at breakfast, Booth began to recover a little from
his melancholy, and to taste the company of his children. He now first
thought of enquiring of Amelia by what means she had discovered the
place of his confinement. Amelia, after gently rebuking him for not
having himself acquainted her with it, informed him that it was known
all over the country, and that she had traced the original of it to
her sister; who had spread the news with a malicious joy, and added a
circumstance which would have frightened her to death, had not her
knowledge of him made her give little credit to it, which was, that he
was committed for murder. But, though she had discredited this part,
she said the not hearing from him during several successive posts made
her too apprehensive of the rest; that she got a conveyance therefore
for herself and children to Salisbury, from whence the stage coach had
brought them to town; and, having deposited the children at his
lodging, of which he had sent her an account on his first arrival in
town, she took a hack, and came directly to the prison where she heard
he was, and where she found him.

Booth excused himself, and with truth, as to his not having writ; for,
in fact, he had writ twice from the prison, though he had mentioned
nothing of his confinement; but, as he sent away his letters after
nine at night, the fellow to whom they were entrusted had burnt them
both for the sake of putting the twopence in his own pocket, or rather
in the pocket of the keeper of the next gin-shop. As to the account
which Amelia gave him, it served rather to raise than to satisfy his
curiosity. He began to suspect that some person had seen both him and
Miss Matthews together in the prison, and had confounded her case with
his; and this the circumstance of murder made the more probable. But
who this person should be he could not guess. After giving himself,
therefore, some pains in forming conjectures to no purpose, he was
forced to rest contented with his ignorance of the real truth.

Two or three days now passed without producing anything remarkable;
unless it were that Booth more and more recovered his spirits, and had
now almost regained his former degree of chearfulness, when the
following letter arrived, again to torment him:

"DEAR BILLY,
"To convince you I am the most reasonable of women, I have given you
up three whole days to the unmolested possession of my fortunate
rival; I can refrain no longer from letting you know that I lodge in
Dean Street, not far from the church, at the sign of the Pelican and
Trumpet, where I expect this evening to see you.

"Believe me I am, with more affection than any other woman in the
world can be, my dear Billy,
   Your affectionate, fond, doating
            F. MATTHEWS."

Booth tore the letter with rage, and threw it into the fire, resolving
never to visit the lady more, unless it was to pay her the money she
had lent him, which he was determined to do the very first
opportunity, for it was not at present in his power.

This letter threw him back into his fit of dejection, in which he had
not continued long when a packet from the country brought him the
following from his friend Dr Harrison:

"Sir,                           _Lyons, January 21, N. S._
"Though I am now on my return home, I have taken up my pen to
communicate to you some news I have heard from England, which gives me
much uneasiness, and concerning which I can indeed deliver my
sentiments with much more ease this way than any other. In my answer
to your last, I very freely gave you my opinion, in which it was my
misfortune to disapprove of every step you had taken; but those were
all pardonable errors. Can you be so partial to yourself, upon cool
and sober reflexion, to think what I am going to mention is so? I
promise you, it appears to me a folly of so monstrous a kind, that,
had I heard it from any but a person of the highest honour, I should
have rejected it as utterly incredible. I hope you already guess what
I am about to name; since, Heaven forbid, your conduct should afford
you any choice of such gross instances of weakness. In a word, then,
you have set up an equipage. What shall I invent in your excuse,
either to others or to myself? In truth, I can find no excuse for you,
and, what is more, I am certain you can find none for yourself. I must
deal therefore very plainly and sincerely with you. Vanity is always
contemptible; but when joined with dishonesty, it becomes odious and
detestable. At whose expence are you to support this equipage? is it
not entirely at the expence of others? and will it not finally end in
that of your poor wife and children? you know you are two years in
arrears to me. If I could impute this to any extraordinary or common
accident I think I should never have mentioned it; but I will not
suffer my money to support the ridiculous, and, I must say, criminal
vanity of any one. I expect, therefore, to find, at my return, that
you have either discharged my whole debt, or your equipage. Let me beg
you seriously to consider your circumstances and condition in life,
and to remember that your situation will not justify any the least
unnecessary expence. _Simply to be poor,_ says my favourite Greek
historian, _was not held scandalous by the wise Athenians, but highly
so to owe that poverty to our own indiscretion._

"Present my affections to Mrs. Booth, and be assured that I shall not,
without great reason, and great pain too, ever cease to be,
     Your most faithful friend,
           R. HARRISON."

Had this letter come at any other time, it would have given Booth the
most sensible affliction; but so totally had the affair of Miss
Matthews possessed his mind, that, like a man in the most raging fit
of the gout, he was scarce capable of any additional torture; nay, he
even made an use of this latter epistle, as it served to account to
Amelia for that concern which he really felt on another account. The
poor deceived lady, therefore, applied herself to give him comfort
where he least wanted it. She said he might easily perceive that the
matter had been misrepresented to the doctor, who would not, she was
sure, retain the least anger against him when he knew the real truth.

After a short conversation on this subject, in which Booth appeared to
be greatly consoled by the arguments of his wife, they parted. He went
to take a walk in the Park, and she remained at home to prepare him
his dinner.

He was no sooner departed than his little boy, not quite six years
old, said to Amelia, "La! mamma, what is the matter with poor papa,
what makes him look so as if he was going to cry? he is not half so
merry as he used to be in the country." Amelia answered, "Oh! my dear,
your papa is only a little thoughtful, he will be merry again soon."--
Then looking fondly on her children, she burst into an agony of tears,
and cried, "Oh Heavens; what have these poor little infants done? why
will the barbarous world endeavour to starve them, by depriving us of
our only friend?--O my dear, your father is ruined, and we are
undone!"--The children presently accompanied their mother's tears, and
the daughter cried--"Why, will anybody hurt poor papa? hath he done
any harm to anybody?"--"No, my dear child," said the mother; "he is
the best man in the world, and therefore they hate him." Upon which
the boy, who was extremely sensible at his years, answered, "Nay,
mamma, how can that be? have not you often told me that if I was good
everybody would love me?" "All good people will," answered she. "Why
don't they love papa then?" replied the child, "for I am sure he is
very good." "So they do, my dear," said the mother, "but there are
more bad people in the world, and they will hate you for your
goodness." "Why then, bad people," cries the child, "are loved by more
than the good."--"No matter for that, my dear," said she; "the love of
one good person is more worth having than that of a thousand wicked
ones; nay, if there was no such person in the world, still you must be
a good boy; for there is one in Heaven who will love you, and his love
is better for you than that of all mankind."

This little dialogue, we are apprehensive, will be read with contempt
by many; indeed, we should not have thought it worth recording, was it
not for the excellent example which Amelia here gives to all mothers.
This admirable woman never let a day pass without instructing her
children in some lesson of religion and morality. By which means she
had, in their tender minds, so strongly annexed the ideas of fear and
shame to every idea of evil of which they were susceptible, that it
must require great pains and length of habit to separate them. Though
she was the tenderest of mothers, she never suffered any symptom of
malevolence to shew itself in their most trifling actions without
discouragement, without rebuke, and, if it broke forth with any
rancour, without punishment. In which she had such success, that not
the least mark of pride, envy, malice, or spite discovered itself in
any of their little words or deeds.



Chapter iv.

_In which Amelia appears in no unamiable light._


Amelia, with the assistance of a little girl, who was their only
servant, had drest her dinner, and she had likewise drest herself as
neat as any lady who had a regular sett of servants could have done,
when Booth returned, and brought with him his friend James, whom he
had met with in the Park; and who, as Booth absolutely refused to dine
away from his wife, to whom he had promised to return, had invited
himself to dine with him. Amelia had none of that paultry pride which
possesses so many of her sex, and which disconcerts their tempers, and
gives them the air and looks of furies, if their husbands bring in an
unexpected guest, without giving them timely warning to provide a
sacrifice to their own vanity. Amelia received her husband's friend
with the utmost complaisance and good humour: she made indeed some
apology for the homeliness of her dinner; but it was politely turned
as a compliment to Mr. James's friendship, which could carry him where
he was sure of being so ill entertained; and gave not the least hint
how magnificently she would have provided _had she expected the favour
of so much good company._ A phrase which is generally meant to contain
not only an apology for the lady of the house, but a tacit satire on
her guests for their intrusion, and is at least a strong insinuation
that they are not welcome.

Amelia failed not to enquire very earnestly after her old friend Mrs.
James, formerly Miss Bath, and was very sorry to find that she was not
in town. The truth was, as James had married out of a violent liking
of, or appetite to, her person, possession had surfeited him, and he
was now grown so heartily tired of his wife, that she had very little
of his company; she was forced therefore to content herself with being
the mistress of a large house and equipage in the country ten months
in the year by herself. The other two he indulged her with the
diversions of the town; but then, though they lodged under the same
roof, she had little more of her husband's society than if they had
been one hundred miles apart. With all this, as she was a woman of
calm passions, she made herself contented; for she had never had any
violent affection for James: the match was of the prudent kind, and to
her advantage; for his fortune, by the death of an uncle, was become
very considerable; and she had gained everything by the bargain but a
husband, which her constitution suffered her to be very well satisfied
without.

When Amelia, after dinner, retired to her children, James began to
talk to his friend concerning his affairs. He advised Booth very
earnestly to think of getting again into the army, in which he himself
had met with such success, that he had obtained the command of a
regiment to which his brother-in-law was lieutenant-colonel. These
preferments they both owed to the favour of fortune only; for, though
there was no objection to either of their military characters, yet
neither of them had any extraordinary desert; and, if merit in the
service was a sufficient recommendation, Booth, who had been twice
wounded in the siege, seemed to have the fairest pretensions; but he
remained a poor half-pay lieutenant, and the others were, as we have
said, one of them a lieutenant-colonel, and the other had a regiment.
Such rises we often see in life, without being able to give any
satisfactory account of the means, and therefore ascribe them to the
good fortune of the person.

Both Colonel James and his brother-in-law were members of parliament;
for, as the uncle of the former had left him, together with his
estate, an almost certain interest in a borough, so he chose to confer
this favour on Colonel Bath; a circumstance which would have been
highly immaterial to mention here, but as it serves to set forth the
goodness of James, who endeavoured to make up in kindness to the
family what he wanted in fondness for his wife.

Colonel James then endeavoured all in his power to persuade Booth to
think again of a military life, and very kindly offered him his
interest towards obtaining him a company in the regiment under his
command. Booth must have been a madman, in his present circumstances,
to have hesitated one moment at accepting such an offer, and he well
knew Amelia, notwithstanding her aversion to the army, was much too
wise to make the least scruple of giving her consent. Nor was he, as
it appeared afterwards, mistaken in his opinion of his wife's
understanding; for she made not the least objection when it was
communicated to her, but contented herself with an express
stipulation, that wherever he was commanded to go (for the regiment
was now abroad) she would accompany him.

Booth, therefore, accepted his friend's proposal with a profusion of
acknowledgments; and it was agreed that Booth should draw up a
memorial of his pretensions, which Colonel James undertook to present
to some man of power, and to back it with all the force he had.

Nor did the friendship of the colonel stop here. "You will excuse me,
dear Booth," said he, "if, after what you have told me" (for he had
been very explicit in revealing his affairs to him), "I suspect you
must want money at this time. If that be the case, as I am certain it
must be, I have fifty pieces at your service." This generosity brought
the tears into Booth's eyes; and he at length confest that he had not
five guineas in the house; upon which James gave him a bank-bill for
twenty pounds, and said he would give him thirty more the next time he
saw him.

Thus did this generous colonel (for generous he really was to the
highest degree) restore peace and comfort to this little family; and
by this act of beneficence make two of the worthiest people two of the
happiest that evening.

Here, reader, give me leave to stop a minute, to lament that so few
are to be found of this benign disposition; that, while wantonness,
vanity, avarice, and ambition are every day rioting and triumphing in
the follies and weakness, the ruin and desolation of mankind, scarce
one man in a thousand is capable of tasting the happiness of others.
Nay, give me leave to wonder that pride, which is constantly
struggling, and often imposing on itself, to gain some little pre-
eminence, should so seldom hint to us the only certain as well as
laudable way of setting ourselves above another man, and that is, by
becoming his benefactor.



Chapter v.

_Containing an eulogium upon innocence, and other grave matters._


Booth past that evening, and all the succeeding day, with his Amelia,
without the interruption of almost a single thought concerning Miss
Matthews, after having determined to go on the Sunday, the only day he
could venture without the verge in the present state of his affairs,
and pay her what she had advanced for him in the prison. But she had
not so long patience; for the third day, while he was sitting with
Amelia, a letter was brought to him. As he knew the hand, he
immediately put it into his pocket unopened, not without such an
alteration in his countenance, that had Amelia, who was then playing
with one of the children, cast her eyes towards him, she must have
remarked it. This accident, however, luckily gave him time to recover
himself; for Amelia was so deeply engaged with the little one, that
she did not even remark the delivery of the letter. The maid soon
after returned into the room, saying, the chairman desired to know if
there was any answer to the letter.--"What letter?" cries Booth.--"The
letter I gave you just now," answered the girl.--"Sure," cries Booth,
"the child is mad, you gave me no letter."--"Yes, indeed, I did, sir,"
said the poor girl. "Why then as sure as fate," cries Booth, "I threw
it into the fire in my reverie; why, child, why did you not tell me it
was a letter? bid the chairman come up, stay, I will go down myself;
for he will otherwise dirt the stairs with his feet."

Amelia was gently chiding the girl for her carelessness when Booth
returned, saying it was very true that she had delivered him a letter
from Colonel James, and that perhaps it might be of consequence.
"However," says he, "I will step to the coffee-house, and send him an
account of this strange accident, which I know he will pardon in my
present situation."

Booth was overjoyed at this escape, which poor Amelia's total want of
all jealousy and suspicion made it very easy for him to accomplish;
but his pleasure was considerably abated when, upon opening the
letter, he found it to contain, mixed with several very strong
expressions of love, some pretty warm ones of the upbraiding kind; but
what most alarmed him was a hint that it was in her (Miss Matthews's)
power to make Amelia as miserable as herself. Besides the general
knowledge of

_----Furens quid faemina possit,_

he had more particular reasons to apprehend the rage of a lady who had
given so strong an instance how far she could carry her revenge. She
had already sent a chairman to his lodgings with a positive command
not to return without an answer to her letter. This might of itself
have possibly occasioned a discovery; and he thought he had great
reason to fear that, if she did not carry matters so far as purposely
and avowedly to reveal the secret to Amelia, her indiscretion would at
least effect the discovery of that which he would at any price have
concealed. Under these terrors he might, I believe, be considered as
the most wretched of human beings.

O innocence, how glorious and happy a portion art thou to the breast
that possesses thee! thou fearest neither the eyes nor the tongues of
men. Truth, the most powerful of all things, is thy strongest friend;
and the brighter the light is in which thou art displayed, the more it
discovers thy transcendent beauties. Guilt, on the contrary, like a
base thief, suspects every eye that beholds him to be privy to his
transgressions, and every tongue that mentions his name to be
proclaiming them. Fraud and falsehood are his weak and treacherous
allies; and he lurks trembling in the dark, dreading every ray of
light, lest it should discover him, and give him up to shame and
punishment.

While Booth was walking in the Park with all these horrors in his mind
he again met his friend Colonel James, who soon took notice of that
deep concern which the other was incapable of hiding. After some
little conversation, Booth said, "My dear colonel, I am sure I must be
the most insensible of men if I did not look on you as the best and
the truest friend; I will, therefore, without scruple, repose a
confidence in you of the highest kind. I have often made you privy to
my necessities, I will now acquaint you with my shame, provided you
have leisure enough to give me a hearing: for I must open to you a
long history, since I will not reveal my fault without informing you,
at the same time, of those circumstances which, I hope, will in some
measure excuse it."

The colonel very readily agreed to give his friend a patient hearing.
So they walked directly to a coffee-house at the corner of Spring-
Garden, where, being in a room by themselves, Booth opened his whole
heart, and acquainted the colonel with his amour with Miss Matthews,
from the very beginning to his receiving that letter which had caused
all his present uneasiness, and which he now delivered into his
friend's hand.

The colonel read the letter very attentively twice over (he was silent
indeed long enough to have read it oftener); and then, turning to
Booth, said, "Well, sir, and is it so grievous a calamity to be the
object of a young lady's affection; especially of one whom you allow
to be so extremely handsome?" "Nay, but, my dear friend," cries Booth,
"do not jest with me; you who know my Amelia." "Well, my dear friend,"
answered James, "and you know Amelia and this lady too. But what would
you have me do for you?" "I would have you give me your advice," says
Booth, "by what method I shall get rid of this dreadful woman without
a discovery."--"And do you really," cries the other, "desire to get
rid of her?" "Can you doubt it," said Booth, "after what I have
communicated to you, and after what you yourself have seen in my
family? for I hope, notwithstanding this fatal slip, I do not appear
to you in the light of a profligate." "Well," answered James, "and,
whatever light I may appear to you in, if you are really tired of the
lady, and if she be really what you have represented her, I'll
endeavour to take her off your hands; but I insist upon it that you do
not deceive me in any particular." Booth protested in the most solemn
manner that every word which he had spoken was strictly true; and
being asked whether he would give his honour never more to visit the
lady, he assured James that he never would. He then, at his friend's
request, delivered him Miss Matthews's letter, in which was a second
direction to her lodgings, and declared to him that, if he could bring
him safely out of this terrible affair, he should think himself to
have a still higher obligation to his friendship than any which he had
already received from it.

Booth pressed the colonel to go home with him to dinner; but he
excused himself, being, as he said, already engaged. However, he
undertook in the afternoon to do all in his power that Booth should
receive no more alarms from the quarter of Miss Matthews, whom the
colonel undertook to pay all the demands she had on his friend. They
then separated. The colonel went to dinner at the King's Arms, and
Booth returned in high spirits to meet his Amelia.

The next day, early in the morning, the colonel came to the coffee-
house and sent for his friend, who lodged but at a little distance.
The colonel told him he had a little exaggerated the lady's beauty;
however, he said, he excused that, "for you might think, perhaps,"
cries he, "that your inconstancy to the finest woman in the world
might want some excuse. Be that as it will," said he, "you may make
yourself easy, as it will be, I am convinced, your own fault, if you
have ever any further molestation from Miss Matthews."

Booth poured forth very warmly a great profusion of gratitude on this
occasion; and nothing more anywise material passed at this interview,
which was very short, the colonel being in a great hurry, as he had,
he said, some business of very great importance to transact that
morning.

The colonel had now seen Booth twice without remembering to give him
the thirty pounds. This the latter imputed intirely to forgetfulness;
for he had always found the promises of the former to be equal in
value with the notes or bonds of other people. He was more surprized
at what happened the next day, when, meeting his friend in the Park,
he received only a cold salute from him; and though he past him five
or six times, and the colonel was walking with a single officer of no
great rank, and with whom he seemed in no earnest conversation, yet
could not Booth, who was alone, obtain any further notice from him.

This gave the poor man some alarm; though he could scarce persuade
himself that there was any design in all this coldness or
forgetfulness. Once he imagined that he had lessened himself in the
colonel's opinion by having discovered his inconstancy to Amelia; but
the known character of the other presently cured him of his suspicion,
for he was a perfect libertine with regard to women; that being indeed
the principal blemish in his character, which otherwise might have
deserved much commendation for good-nature, generosity, and
friendship. But he carried this one to a most unpardonable height; and
made no scruple of openly declaring that, if he ever liked a woman
well enough to be uneasy on her account, he would cure himself, if he
could, by enjoying her, whatever might be the consequence.

Booth could not therefore be persuaded that the colonel would so
highly resent in another a fault of which he was himself most
notoriously guilty. After much consideration he could derive this
behaviour from nothing better than a capriciousness in his friend's
temper, from a kind of inconstancy of mind, which makes men grow weary
of their friends with no more reason than they often are of their
mistresses. To say the truth, there are jilts in friendship as well as
in love; and, by the behaviour of some men in both, one would almost
imagine that they industriously sought to gain the affections of
others with a view only of making the parties miserable.

This was the consequence of the colonel's behaviour to Booth. Former
calamities had afflicted him, but this almost distracted him; and the
more so as he was not able well to account for such conduct, nor to
conceive the reason of it.

Amelia, at his return, presently perceived the disturbance in his
mind, though he endeavoured with his utmost power to hide it; and he
was at length prevailed upon by her entreaties to discover to her the
cause of it, which she no sooner heard than she applied as judicious a
remedy to his disordered spirits as either of those great mental
physicians, Tully or Aristotle, could have thought of. She used many
arguments to persuade him that he was in an error, and had mistaken
forgetfulness and carelessness for a designed neglect.

But, as this physic was only eventually good, and as its efficacy
depended on her being in the right, a point in which she was not apt
to be too positive, she thought fit to add some consolation of a more
certain and positive kind. "Admit," said she, "my dear, that Mr. James
should prove the unaccountable person you have suspected, and should,
without being able to alledge any cause, withdraw his friendship from
you (for surely the accident of burning his letter is too trifling and
ridiculous to mention), why should this grieve you? the obligations he
hath conferred on you, I allow, ought to make his misfortunes almost
your own; but they should not, I think, make you see his faults so
very sensibly, especially when, by one of the greatest faults in the
world committed against yourself, he hath considerably lessened all
obligations; for sure, if the same person who hath contributed to my
happiness at one time doth everything in his power maliciously and
wantonly to make me miserable at another, I am very little obliged to
such a person. And let it be a comfort to my dear Billy, that, however
other friends may prove false and fickle to him, he hath one friend,
whom no inconstancy of her own, nor any change of his fortune, nor
time, nor age, nor sickness, nor any accident, can ever alter; but who
will esteem, will love, and doat on him for ever." So saying, she
flung her snowy arms about his neck, and gave him a caress so tender,
that it seemed almost to balance all the malice of his fate.

And, indeed, the behaviour of Amelia would have made him completely
happy, in defiance of all adverse circumstances, had it not been for
those bitter ingredients which he himself had thrown into his cup, and
which prevented him from truly relishing his Amelia's sweetness, by
cruelly reminding him how unworthy he was of this excellent creature.

Booth did not long remain in the dark as to the conduct of James,
which, at first, appeared to him to be so great a mystery; for this
very afternoon he received a letter from Miss Matthews which
unravelled the whole affair. By this letter, which was full of
bitterness and upbraiding, he discovered that James was his rival with
that lady, and was, indeed, the identical person who had sent the
hundred-pound note to Miss Matthews, when in the prison. He had reason
to believe, likewise, as well by the letter as by other circumstances,
that James had hitherto been an unsuccessful lover; for the lady,
though she had forfeited all title to virtue, had not yet so far
forfeited all pretensions to delicacy as to be, like the dirt in the
street, indifferently common to all. She distributed her favours only
to those she liked, in which number that gentleman had not the
happiness of being included.

When Booth had made this discovery, he was not so little versed in
human nature, as any longer to hesitate at the true motive to the
colonel's conduct; for he well knew how odious a sight a happy rival
is to an unfortunate lover. I believe he was, in reality, glad to
assign the cold treatment he had received from his friend to a cause
which, however injustifiable, is at the same time highly natural; and
to acquit him of a levity, fickleness, and caprice, which he must have
been unwillingly obliged to have seen in a much worse light.

He now resolved to take the first opportunity of accosting the
colonel, and of coming to a perfect explanation upon the whole matter.
He debated likewise with himself whether he should not throw himself
at Amelia's feet, and confess a crime to her which he found so little
hopes of concealing, and which he foresaw would occasion him so many
difficulties and terrors to endeavour to conceal. Happy had it been
for him, had he wisely pursued this step; since, in all probability,
he would have received immediate forgiveness from the best of women;
but he had not sufficient resolution, or, to speak perhaps more truly,
he had too much pride, to confess his guilt, and preferred the danger
of the highest inconveniences to the certainty of being put to the
blush.



Chapter vi.

_In which may appear that violence is sometimes done to the name of
love._


When that happy day came, in which unhallowed hands are forbidden to
contaminate the shoulders of the unfortunate, Booth went early to the
colonel's house, and, being admitted to his presence, began with great
freedom, though with great gentleness, to complain of his not having
dealt with him with more openness. "Why, my dear colonel," said he,
"would you not acquaint me with that secret which this letter hath
disclosed?" James read the letter, at which his countenance changed
more than once; and then, after a short silence, said, "Mr. Booth, I
have been to blame, I own it; and you upbraid me with justice. The
true reason was, that I was ashamed of my own folly. D--n me, Booth,
if I have not been a most consummate fool, a very dupe to this woman;
and she hath a particular pleasure in making me so. I know what the
impertinence of virtue is, and I can submit to it; but to be treated
thus by a whore--You must forgive me, dear Booth, but your success was
a kind of triumph over me, which I could not bear. I own, I have not
the least reason to conceive any anger against you; and yet, curse me
if I should not have been less displeased at your lying with my own
wife; nay, I could almost have parted with half my fortune to you more
willingly than have suffered you to receive that trifle of my money
which you received at her hands. However, I ask your pardon, and I
promise you I will never more think of you with the least ill-will on
the account of this woman; but as for her, d--n me if I do not enjoy
her by some means or other, whatever it costs me; for I am already
above two hundred pounds out of pocket, without having scarce had a
smile in return."

Booth exprest much astonishment at this declaration; he said he could
not conceive how it was possible to have such an affection for a woman
who did not shew the least inclination to return it. James gave her a
hearty curse, and said, "Pox of her inclination; I want only the
possession of her person, and that, you will allow, is a very fine
one. But, besides my passion for her, she hath now piqued my pride;
for how can a man of my fortune brook being refused by a whore?"--
"Since you are so set on the business," cries Booth, "you will excuse
my saying so, I fancy you had better change your method of applying to
her; for, as she is, perhaps, the vainest woman upon earth, your
bounty may probably do you little service, nay, may rather actually
disoblige her. Vanity is plainly her predominant passion, and, if you
will administer to that, it will infallibly throw her into your arms.
To this I attribute my own unfortunate success. While she relieved my
wants and distresses she was daily feeding her own vanity; whereas, as
every gift of yours asserted your superiority, it rather offended than
pleased her. Indeed, women generally love to be of the obliging side;
and, if we examine their favourites, we shall find them to be much
oftener such as they have conferred obligations on than such as they
have received them from."

There was something in this speech which pleased the colonel; and he
said, with a smile, "I don't know how it is, Will, but you know women
better than I."--"Perhaps, colonel," answered Booth, "I have studied
their minds more."--"I don't, however, much envy your knowledge,"
replied the other, "for I never think their minds worth considering.
However, I hope I shall profit a little by your experience with Miss
Matthews. Damnation seize the proud insolent harlot! the devil take me
if I don't love her more than I ever loved a woman!"

The rest of their conversation turned on Booth's affairs. The colonel
again reassumed the part of a friend, gave him the remainder of the
money, and promised to take the first opportunity of laying his
memorial before a great man.

Booth was greatly overjoyed at this success. Nothing now lay on his
mind but to conceal his frailty from Amelia, to whom he was afraid
Miss Matthews, in the rage of her resentment, would communicate it.
This apprehension made him stay almost constantly at home; and he
trembled at every knock at the door. His fear, moreover, betrayed him
into a meanness which he would have heartily despised on any other
occasion. This was to order the maid to deliver him any letter
directed to Amelia; at the same time strictly charging her not to
acquaint her mistress with her having received any such orders.

A servant of any acuteness would have formed strange conjectures from
such an injunction; but this poor girl was of perfect simplicity; so
great, indeed, was her simplicity, that, had not Amelia been void of
all suspicion of her husband, the maid would have soon after betrayed
her master.

One afternoon, while they were drinking tea, little Betty, so was the
maid called, came into the room, and, calling her master forth,
delivered him a card which was directed to Amelia. Booth, having read
the card, on his return into the room chid the girl for calling him,
saying "If you can read, child, you must see it was directed to your
mistress." To this the girl answered, pertly enough, "I am sure, sir,
you ordered me to bring every letter first to you." This hint, with
many women, would have been sufficient to have blown up the whole
affair; but Amelia, who heard what the girl said, through the medium
of love and confidence, saw the matter in a much better light than it
deserved, and, looking tenderly on her husband, said, "Indeed, my
love, I must blame you for a conduct which, perhaps, I ought rather to
praise, as it proceeds only from the extreme tenderness of your
affection. But why will you endeavour to keep any secrets from me?
believe me, for my own sake, you ought not; for, as you cannot hide
the consequences, you make me always suspect ten times worse than the
reality. While I have you and my children well before my eyes, I am
capable of facing any news which can arrive; for what ill news can
come (unless, indeed, it concerns my little babe in the country) which
doth not relate to the badness of our circumstances? and those, I
thank Heaven, we have now a fair prospect of retrieving. Besides, dear
Billy, though my understanding be much inferior to yours, I have
sometimes had the happiness of luckily hitting on some argument which
hath afforded you comfort. This, you know, my dear, was the case with
regard to Colonel James, whom I persuaded you to think you had
mistaken, and you see the event proved me in the right." So happily,
both for herself and Mr. Booth, did the excellence of this good
woman's disposition deceive her, and force her to see everything in
the most advantageous light to her husband.

The card, being now inspected, was found to contain the compliments of
Mrs. James to Mrs. Booth, with an account of her being arrived in
town, and having brought with her a very great cold. Amelia was
overjoyed at the news of her arrival, and having drest herself in the
utmost hurry, left her children to the care of her husband, and ran
away to pay her respects to her friend, whom she loved with a most
sincere affection. But how was she disappointed when, eager with the
utmost impatience, and exulting with the thoughts of presently seeing
her beloved friend, she was answered at the door that the lady was not
at home! nor could she, upon telling her name, obtain any admission.
This, considering the account she had received of the lady's cold,
greatly surprized her; and she returned home very much vexed at her
disappointment.

Amelia, who had no suspicion that Mrs. James was really at home, and,
as the phrase is, was denied, would have made a second visit the next
morning, had she not been prevented by a cold which she herself now
got, and which was attended with a slight fever. This confined her
several days to her house, during which Booth officiated as her nurse,
and never stirred from her.

In all this time she heard not a word from Mrs. James, which gave her
some uneasiness, but more astonishment. The tenth day, when she was
perfectly recovered, about nine in the evening, when she and her
husband were just going to supper, she heard a most violent thundering
at the door, and presently after a rustling of silk upon her
staircase; at the same time a female voice cried out pretty loud,
"Bless me! what, am I to climb up another pair of stairs?" upon which
Amelia, who well knew the voice, presently ran to the door, and
ushered in Mrs. James, most splendidly drest, who put on as formal a
countenance, and made as formal a courtesie to her old friend, as if
she had been her very distant acquaintance.

Poor Amelia, who was going to rush into her friend's arms, was struck
motionless by this behaviour; but re-collecting her spirits, as she
had an excellent presence of mind, she presently understood what the
lady meant, and resolved to treat her in her own way. Down therefore
the company sat, and silence prevailed for some time, during which
Mrs. James surveyed the room with more attention than she would have
bestowed on one much finer. At length the conversation began, in which
the weather and the diversions of the town were well canvassed.
Amelia, who was a woman of great humour, performed her part to
admiration; so that a by-stander would have doubted, in every other
article than dress, which of the two was the most accomplished fine
lady.

After a visit of twenty minutes, during which not a word of any former
occurrences was mentioned, nor indeed any subject of discourse
started, except only those two above mentioned, Mrs. James rose from
her chair and retired in the same formal manner in which she had
approached. We will pursue her for the sake of the contrast during the
rest of the evening. She went from Amelia directly to a rout, where
she spent two hours in a croud of company, talked again and again over
the diversions and news of the town, played two rubbers at whist, and
then retired to her own apartment, where, having past another hour in
undressing herself, she went to her own bed.

Booth and his wife, the moment their companion was gone, sat down to
supper on a piece of cold meat, the remains of their dinner. After
which, over a pint of wine, they entertained themselves for a while
with the ridiculous behaviour of their visitant. But Amelia, declaring
she rather saw her as the object of pity than anger, turned the
discourse to pleasanter topics. The little actions of their children,
the former scenes and future prospects of their life, furnished them
with many pleasant ideas; and the contemplation of Amelia's recovery
threw Booth into raptures. At length they retired, happy in each
other.

It is possible some readers may be no less surprized at the behaviour
of Mrs. James than was Amelia herself, since they may have perhaps
received so favourable an impression of that lady from the account
given of her by Mr. Booth, that her present demeanour may seem
unnatural and inconsistent with her former character. But they will be
pleased to consider the great alteration in her circumstances, from a
state of dependency on a brother, who was himself no better than a
soldier of fortune, to that of being wife to a man of a very large
estate and considerable rank in life. And what was her present
behaviour more than that of a fine lady who considered form and show
as essential ingredients of human happiness, and imagined all
friendship to consist in ceremony, courtesies, messages, and visits?
in which opinion, she hath the honour to think with much the larger
part of one sex, and no small number of the other.



Chapter vii.

_Containing a very extraordinary and pleasant incident._


The next evening Booth and Amelia went to walk in the park with their
children. They were now on the verge of the parade, and Booth was
describing to his wife the several buildings round it, when, on a
sudden, Amelia, missing her little boy, cried out, "Where's little
Billy?" Upon which, Booth, casting his eyes over the grass, saw a
foot-soldier shaking the boy at a little distance. At this sight,
without making any answer to his wife, he leapt over the rails, and,
running directly up to the fellow, who had a firelock with a bayonet
fixed in his hand, he seized him by the collar and tript up his heels,
and, at the same time, wrested his arms from him. A serjeant upon
duty, seeing the affray at some distance, ran presently up, and, being
told what had happened, gave the centinel a hearty curse, and told him
he deserved to be hanged. A by-stander gave this information; for
Booth was returned with his little boy to meet Amelia, who staggered
towards him as fast as she could, all pale and breathless, and scarce
able to support her tottering limbs. The serjeant now came up to
Booth, to make an apology for the behaviour of the soldier, when, of a
sudden, he turned almost as pale as Amelia herself. He stood silent
whilst Booth was employed in comforting and recovering his wife; and
then, addressing himself to him, said, "Bless me! lieutenant, could I
imagine it had been your honour; and was it my little master that the
rascal used so?--I am glad I did not know it, for I should certainly
have run my halbert into him."

Booth presently recognised his old faithful servant Atkinson, and gave
him a hearty greeting, saying he was very glad to see him in his
present situation. "Whatever I am," answered the serjeant, "I shall
always think I owe it to your honour." Then, taking the little boy by
the hand he cried, "What a vast fine young gentleman master is grown!"
and, cursing the soldier's inhumanity, swore heartily he would make
him pay for it.

As Amelia was much disordered with her fright, she did not recollect
her foster-brother till he was introduced to her by Booth; but she no
sooner knew him than she bestowed a most obliging smile on him; and,
calling him by the name of honest Joe, said she was heartily glad to
see him in England. "See, my dear," cries Booth, "what preferment your
old friend is come to. You would scarce know him, I believe, in his
present state of finery." "I am very well pleased to see it," answered
Amelia, "and I wish him joy of being made an officer with all my
heart." In fact, from what Mr. Booth said, joined to the serjeant's
laced coat, she believed that he had obtained a commission. So weak
and absurd is human vanity, that this mistake of Amelia's possibly put
poor Atkinson out of countenance, for he looked at this instant more
silly than he had ever done in his life; and, making her a most
respectful bow, muttered something about obligations, in a scarce
articulate or intelligible manner.

The serjeant had, indeed, among many other qualities, that modesty
which a Latin author honours by the name of ingenuous: nature had
given him this, notwithstanding the meanness of his birth; and six
years' conversation in the army had not taken it away. To say the
truth, he was a noble fellow; and Amelia, by supposing he had a
commission in the guards, had been guilty of no affront to that
honourable body.

Booth had a real affection for Atkinson, though, in fact, he knew not
half his merit. He acquainted him with his lodgings, where he
earnestly desired to see him.

[Illustration: _He seized him by the collar._]

Amelia, who was far from being recovered from the terrors into which
the seeing her husband engaged with the soldier had thrown her,
desired to go home: nor was she well able to walk without some
assistance. While she supported herself, therefore, on her husband's
arm, she told Atkinson she should be obliged to him if he would take
care of the children. He readily accepted the office; but, upon
offering his hand to miss, she refused, and burst into tears. Upon
which the tender mother resigned Booth to her children, and put
herself under the serjeant's protection; who conducted her safe home,
though she often declared she feared she should drop down by the way;
the fear of which so affected the serjeant (for, besides the honour
which he himself had for the lady, he knew how tenderly his friend
loved her) that he was unable to speak; and, had not his nerves been
so strongly braced that nothing could shake them, he had enough in his
mind to have set him a trembling equally with the lady.

When they arrived at the lodgings the mistress of the house opened the
door, who, seeing Amelia's condition, threw open the parlour and
begged her to walk in, upon which she immediately flung herself into a
chair, and all present thought she would have fainted away. However,
she escaped that misery, and, having drank a glass of water with a
little white wine mixed in it, she began in a little time to regain
her complexion, and at length assured Booth that she was perfectly
recovered, but declared she had never undergone so much, and earnestly
begged him never to be so rash for the future. She then called her
little boy and gently chid him, saying, "You must never do so more,
Billy; you see what mischief you might have brought upon your father,
and what you have made me suffer." "La! mamma," said the child, "what
harm did I do? I did not know that people might not walk in the green
fields in London. I am sure if I did a fault, the man punished me
enough for it, for he pinched me almost through my slender arm." He
then bared his little arm, which was greatly discoloured by the injury
it had received. Booth uttered a most dreadful execration at this
sight, and the serjeant, who was now present, did the like.

Atkinson now returned to his guard and went directly to the officer to
acquaint him with the soldier's inhumanity, but he, who was about
fifteen years of age, gave the serjeant a great curse and said the
soldier had done very well, for that idle boys ought to be corrected.
This, however, did not satisfy poor Atkinson, who, the next day, as
soon as the guard was relieved, beat the fellow most unmercifully, and
told him he would remember him as long as he stayed in the regiment.

Thus ended this trifling adventure, which some readers will, perhaps,
be pleased at seeing related at full length. None, I think, can fail
drawing one observation from it, namely, how capable the most
insignificant accident is of disturbing human happiness, and of
producing the most unexpected and dreadful events. A reflexion which
may serve to many moral and religious uses.

This accident produced the first acquaintance between the mistress of
the house and her lodgers; for hitherto they had scarce exchanged a
word together. But the great concern which the good woman had shewn on
Amelia's account at this time, was not likely to pass unobserved or
unthanked either by the husband or wife. Amelia, therefore, as soon as
she was able to go up-stairs, invited Mrs. Ellison (for that was her
name) to her apartment, and desired the favour of her to stay to
supper. She readily complied, and they past a very agreeable evening
together, in which the two women seemed to have conceived a most
extraordinary liking to each other.

Though beauty in general doth not greatly recommend one woman to
another, as it is too apt to create envy, yet, in cases where this
passion doth not interfere, a fine woman is often a pleasing object
even to some of her own sex, especially when her beauty is attended
with a certain air of affability, as was that of Amelia in the highest
degree. She was, indeed, a most charming woman; and I know not whether
the little scar on her nose did not rather add to than diminish her
beauty.

Mrs. Ellison, therefore, was as much charmed with the loveliness of
her fair lodger as with all her other engaging qualities. She was,
indeed, so taken with Amelia's beauty, that she could not refrain from
crying out in a kind of transport of admiration, "Upon my word,
Captain Booth, you are the happiest man in the world! Your lady is so
extremely handsome that one cannot look at her without pleasure."

This good woman had herself none of these attractive charms to the
eye. Her person was short and immoderately fat; her features were none
of the most regular; and her complexion (if indeed she ever had a good
one) had considerably suffered by time.

Her good humour and complaisance, however, were highly pleasing to
Amelia. Nay, why should we conceal the secret satisfaction which that
lady felt from the compliments paid to her person? since such of my
readers as like her best will not be sorry to find that she was a
woman.



Chapter viii.

_Containing various matters._


A fortnight had now passed since Booth had seen or heard from the
colonel, which did not a little surprize him, as they had parted so
good friends, and as he had so cordially undertaken his cause
concerning the memorial on which all his hopes depended.

The uneasiness which this gave him farther encreased on finding that
his friend refused to see him; for he had paid the colonel a visit at
nine in the morning, and was told he was not stirring; and at his
return back an hour afterwards the servant said his master was gone
out, of which Booth was certain of the falsehood; for he had, during
that whole hour, walked backwards and forwards within sight of the
colonel's door, and must have seen him if he had gone out within that
time.

The good colonel, however, did not long suffer his friend to continue
in the deplorable state of anxiety; for, the very next morning, Booth
received his memorial enclosed in a letter, acquainting him that Mr.
James had mentioned his affair to the person he proposed, but that the
great man had so many engagements on his hands that it was impossible
for him to make any further promises at this time.

The cold and distant stile of this letter, and, indeed, the whole
behaviour of James, so different from what it had been formerly, had
something so mysterious in it, that it greatly puzzled and perplexed
poor Booth; and it was so long before he was able to solve it, that
the reader's curiosity will, perhaps, be obliged to us for not leaving
him so long in the dark as to this matter. The true reason, then, of
the colonel's conduct was this: his unbounded generosity, together
with the unbounded extravagance and consequently the great necessity
of Miss Matthews, had at length overcome the cruelty of that lady,
with whom he likewise had luckily no rival. Above all, the desire of
being revenged on Booth, with whom she was to the highest degree
enraged, had, perhaps, contributed not a little to his success; for
she had no sooner condescended to a familiarity with her new lover,
and discovered that Captain James, of whom she had heard so much from
Booth, was no other than the identical colonel, than she employed
every art of which she was mistress to make an utter breach of
friendship between these two. For this purpose she did not scruple to
insinuate that the colonel was not at all obliged to the character
given of him by his friend, and to the account of this latter she
placed most of the cruelty which she had shewn to the former.

Had the colonel made a proper use of his reason, and fairly examined
the probability of the fact, he could scarce have been imposed upon to
believe a matter so inconsistent with all he knew of Booth, and in
which that gentleman must have sinned against all the laws of honour
without any visible temptation. But, in solemn fact, the colonel was
so intoxicated with his love, that it was in the power of his mistress
to have persuaded him of anything; besides, he had an interest in
giving her credit, for he was not a little pleased with finding a
reason for hating the man whom he could not help hating without any
reason, at least, without any which he durst fairly assign even to
himself. Henceforth, therefore, he abandoned all friendship for Booth,
and was more inclined to put him out of the world than to endeavour
any longer at supporting him in it.

Booth communicated this letter to his wife, who endeavoured, as usual,
to the utmost of her power, to console him under one of the greatest
afflictions which, I think, can befal a man, namely, the unkindness of
a friend; but he had luckily at the same time the greatest blessing in
his possession, the kindness of a faithful and beloved wife. A
blessing, however, which, though it compensates most of the evils of
life, rather serves to aggravate the misfortune of distressed
circumstances, from the consideration of the share which she is to
bear in them.

This afternoon Amelia received a second visit from Mrs. Ellison, who
acquainted her that she had a present of a ticket for the oratorio,
which would carry two persons into the gallery; and therefore begged
the favour of her company thither.

Amelia, with many thanks, acknowledged the civility of Mrs. Ellison,
but declined accepting her offer; upon which Booth very strenuously
insisted on her going, and said to her, "My dear, if you knew the
satisfaction I have in any of your pleasures, I am convinced you would
not refuse the favour Mrs. Ellison is so kind to offer you; for, as
you are a lover of music, you, who have never been at an oratorio,
cannot conceive how you will be delighted." "I well know your
goodness, my dear," answered Amelia, "but I cannot think of leaving my
children without some person more proper to take care of them than
this poor girl." Mrs. Ellison removed this objection by offering her
own servant, a very discreet matron, to attend them; but
notwithstanding this, and all she could say, with the assistance of
Booth, and of the children themselves, Amelia still persisted in her
refusal; and the mistress of the house, who knew how far good breeding
allows persons to be pressing on these occasions, took her leave.

She was no sooner departed than Amelia, looking tenderly on her
husband, said, "How can you, my dear creature, think that music hath
any charms for me at this time? or, indeed, do you believe that I am
capable of any sensation worthy the name of pleasure when neither you
nor my children are present or bear any part of it?"

An officer of the regiment to which Booth had formerly belonged,
hearing from Atkinson where he lodged, now came to pay him a visit. He
told him that several of their old acquaintance were to meet the next
Wednesday at a tavern, and very strongly pressed him to be one of the
company. Booth was, in truth, what is called a hearty fellow, and
loved now and then to take a chearful glass with his friends; but he
excused himself at this time. His friend declared he would take no
denial, and he growing very importunate, Amelia at length seconded
him. Upon this Booth answered, "Well, my dear, since you desire me, I
will comply, but on one condition, that you go at the same time to the
oratorio." Amelia thought this request reasonable enough, and gave her
consent; of which Mrs. Ellison presently received the news, and with
great satisfaction.

It may perhaps be asked why Booth could go to the tavern, and not to
the oratorio with his wife? In truth, then, the tavern was within
hallowed ground, that is to say, in the verge of the court; for, of
five officers that were to meet there, three, besides Booth, were
confined to that air which hath been always found extremely wholesome
to a broken military constitution. And here, if the good reader will
pardon the pun, he will scarce be offended at the observation; since,
how is it possible that, without running in debt, any person should
maintain the dress and appearance of a gentleman whose income is not
half so good as that of a porter? It is true that this allowance,
small as it is, is a great expense to the public; but, if several more
unnecessary charges were spared, the public might, perhaps, bear a
little encrease of this without much feeling it. They would not, I am
sure, have equal reason to complain at contributing to the maintenance
of a sett of brave fellows, who, at the hazard of their health, their
limbs, and their lives, have maintained the safety and honour of their
country, as when they find themselves taxed to the support of a sett
of drones, who have not the least merit or claim to their favour, and
who, without contributing in any manner to the good of the hive, live
luxuriously on the labours of the industrious bee.



Chapter ix.

_In which Amelia, with her friend, goes to the oratorio._


Nothing happened between the Monday and the Wednesday worthy a place
in this history. Upon the evening of the latter the two ladies went to
the oratorio, and were there time enough to get a first row in the
gallery. Indeed, there was only one person in the house when they
came; for Amelia's inclinations, when she gave a loose to them, were
pretty eager for this diversion, she being a great lover of music, and
particularly of Mr. Handel's compositions. Mrs. Ellison was, I
suppose, a great lover likewise of music, for she was the more
impatient of the two; which was rather the more extraordinary; as
these entertainments were not such novelties to her as they were to
poor Amelia.

Though our ladies arrived full two hours before they saw the back of
Mr. Handel, yet this time of expectation did not hang extremely heavy
on their hands; for, besides their own chat, they had the company of
the gentleman whom they found at their first arrival in the gallery,
and who, though plainly, or rather roughly dressed, very luckily for
the women, happened to be not only well-bred, but a person of very
lively conversation. The gentleman, on his part, seemed highly charmed
with Amelia, and in fact was so, for, though he restrained himself
entirely within the rules of good breeding, yet was he in the highest
degree officious to catch at every opportunity of shewing his respect,
and doing her little services. He procured her a book and wax-candle,
and held the candle for her himself during the whole entertainment.

At the end of the oratorio he declared he would not leave the ladies
till he had seen them safe into their chairs or coach; and at the same
time very earnestly entreated that he might have the honour of waiting
on them. Upon which Mrs. Ellison, who was a very good-humoured woman,
answered, "Ay, sure, sir, if you please; you have been very obliging
to us; and a dish of tea shall be at your service at any time;" and
then told him where she lived.

The ladies were no sooner seated in their hackney coach than Mrs.
Ellison burst into a loud laughter, and cried, "I'll be hanged, madam,
if you have not made a conquest to-night; and what is very pleasant, I
believe the poor gentleman takes you for a single lady." "Nay,"
answered Amelia very gravely, "I protest I began to think at last he
was rather too particular, though he did not venture at a word that I
could be offended at; but, if you fancy any such thing, I am sorry you
invited him to drink tea," "Why so?" replied Mrs. Ellison. "Are you
angry with a man for liking you? if you are, you will be angry with
almost every man that sees you. If I was a man myself, I declare I
should be in the number of your admirers. Poor gentleman, I pity him
heartily; he little knows that you have not a heart to dispose of. For
my own part, I should not be surprized at seeing a serious proposal of
marriage: for I am convinced he is a man of fortune, not only by the
politeness of his address, but by the fineness of his linen, and that
valuable diamond ring on his finger. But you will see more of him when
he comes to tea." "Indeed I shall not," answered Amelia, "though I
believe you only rally me; I hope you have a better opinion of me than
to think I would go willingly into the company of a man who had an
improper liking for me." Mrs. Ellison, who was one of the gayest women
in the world, repeated the words, improper liking, with a laugh; and
cried, "My dear Mrs. Booth, believe me, you are too handsome and too
good-humoured for a prude. How can you affect being offended at what I
am convinced is the greatest pleasure of womankind, and chiefly, I
believe, of us virtuous women? for, I assure you, notwithstanding my
gaiety, I am as virtuous as any prude in Europe." "Far be it from me,
madam," said Amelia, "to suspect the contrary of abundance of women
who indulge themselves in much greater freedoms than I should take, or
have any pleasure in taking; for I solemnly protest, if I know my own
heart, the liking of all men, but of one, is a matter quite
indifferent to me, or rather would be highly disagreeable."

This discourse brought them home, where Amelia, finding her children
asleep, and her husband not returned, invited her companion to partake
of her homely fare, and down they sat to supper together. The clock
struck twelve; and, no news being arrived of Booth, Mrs. Ellison began
to express some astonishment at his stay, whence she launched into a
general reflexion on husbands, and soon passed to some particular
invectives on her own. "Ah, my dear madam," says she, "I know the
present state of your mind, by what I have myself often felt formerly.
I am no stranger to the melancholy tone of a midnight clock. It was my
misfortune to drag on a heavy chain above fifteen years with a sottish
yoke-fellow. But how can I wonder at my fate, since I see even your
superior charms cannot confine a husband from the bewitching pleasures
of a bottle?" "Indeed, madam," says Amelia," I have no reason to
complain; Mr. Booth is one of the soberest of men; but now and then to
spend a late hour with his friend is, I think, highly excusable."" O,
no doubt! "cries Mrs. Ellison, "if he can excuse himself; but if I was
a man--" Here Booth came in and interrupted the discourse. Amelia's
eyes flashed with joy the moment he appeared; and he discovered no
less pleasure in seeing her. His spirits were indeed a little elevated
with wine, so as to heighten his good humour, without in the least
disordering his understanding, and made him such delightful company,
that, though it was past one in the morning, neither his wife nor Mrs.
Ellison thought of their beds during a whole hour.

Early the next morning the serjeant came to Mr. Booth's lodgings, and
with a melancholy countenance acquainted him that he had been the
night before at an alehouse, where he heard one Mr. Murphy, an
attorney, declare that he would get a warrant backed against one
Captain Booth at the next board of greencloth. "I hope, sir," said he,
"your honour will pardon me, but, by what he said, I was afraid he
meant your honour; and therefore I thought it my duty to tell you; for
I knew the same thing happen to a gentleman here the other day."

Booth gave Mr. Atkinson many thanks for his information. "I doubt
not," said he, "but I am the person meant; for it would be foolish in
me to deny that I am liable to apprehensions of that sort." "I hope,
sir," said the serjeant, "your honour will soon have reason to fear no
man living; but in the mean time, if any accident should happen, my
bail is at your service as far as it will go; and I am a housekeeper,
and can swear myself worth one hundred pounds." Which hearty and
friendly declaration received all those acknowledgments from Booth
which it really deserved.

The poor gentleman was greatly alarmed at the news; but he was
altogether as much surprized at Murphy's being the attorney employed
against him, as all his debts, except only to Captain James, arose in
the country, where he did not know that Mr. Murphy had any
acquaintance. However, he made no doubt that he was the person
intended, and resolved to remain a close prisoner in his own lodgings,
till he saw the event of a proposal which had been made him the
evening before at the tavern, where an honest gentleman, who had a
post under the government, and who was one of the company, had
promised to serve him with the secretary at war, telling him that he
made no doubt of procuring him whole pay in a regiment abroad, which
in his present circumstances was very highly worth his acceptance,
when, indeed, that and a gaol seemed to be the only alternatives that
offered themselves to his choice.

Mr. Booth and his lady spent that afternoon with Mrs. Ellison--an
incident which we should scarce have mentioned, had it not been that
Amelia gave, on this occasion, an instance of that prudence which
should never be off its guard in married women of delicacy; for,
before she would consent to drink tea with Mrs. Ellison, she made
conditions that the gentleman who had met them at the oratorio should
not be let in. Indeed, this circumspection proved unnecessary in the
present instance, for no such visitor ever came; a circumstance which
gave great content to Amelia; for that lady had been a little uneasy
at the raillery of Mrs. Ellison, and had upon reflexion magnified
every little compliment made her, and every little civility shewn her
by the unknown gentleman, far beyond the truth. These imaginations now
all subsided again; and she imputed all that Mrs. Ellison had said
either to raillery or mistake.

A young lady made a fourth with them at whist, and likewise stayed the
whole evening. Her name was Bennet. She was about the age of five-and-
twenty; but sickness had given her an older look, and had a good deal
diminished her beauty; of which, young as she was, she plainly
appeared to have only the remains in her present possession. She was
in one particular the very reverse of Mrs. Ellison, being altogether
as remarkably grave as the other was gay. This gravity was not,
however, attended with any sourness of temper; on the contrary, she
had much sweetness in her countenance, and was perfectly well bred. In
short, Amelia imputed her grave deportment to her ill health, and
began to entertain a compassion for her, which in good minds, that is
to say, in minds capable of compassion, is certain to introduce some
little degree of love or friendship.

Amelia was in short so pleased with the conversation of this lady,
that, though a woman of no impertinent curiosity, she could not help
taking the first opportunity of enquiring who she was. Mrs. Ellison
said that she was an unhappy lady, who had married a young clergyman
for love, who, dying of a consumption, had left her a widow in very
indifferent circumstances. This account made Amelia still pity her
more, and consequently added to the liking which she had already
conceived for her. Amelia, therefore, desired Mrs. Ellison to bring
her acquainted with Mrs. Bennet, and said she would go any day with
her to make that lady a visit. "There need be no ceremony," cried Mrs.
Ellison; "she is a woman of no form; and, as I saw plainly she was
extremely pleased with Mrs. Booth, I am convinced I can bring her to
drink tea with you any afternoon you please."

The two next days Booth continued at home, highly to the satisfaction
of his Amelia, who really knew no happiness out of his company, nor
scarce any misery in it. She had, indeed, at all times so much of his
company, when in his power, that she had no occasion to assign any
particular reason for his staying with her, and consequently it could
give her no cause of suspicion. The Saturday, one of her children was
a little disordered with a feverish complaint which confined her to
her room, and prevented her drinking tea in the afternoon with her
husband in Mrs. Ellison's apartment, where a noble lord, a cousin of
Mrs. Ellison's, happened to be present; for, though that lady was
reduced in her circumstances and obliged to let out part of her house
in lodgings, she was born of a good family and had some considerable
relations.

His lordship was not himself in any office of state, but his fortune
gave him great authority with those who were. Mrs. Ellison, therefore,
very bluntly took an opportunity of recommending Booth to his
consideration. She took the first hint from my lord's calling the
gentleman captain; to which she answered, "Ay, I wish your lordship
would make him so. It would be an act of justice, and I know it is in
your power to do much greater things." She then mentioned Booth's
services, and the wounds he had received at the siege, of which she
had heard a faithful account from Amelia. Booth blushed, and was as
silent as a young virgin at the hearing her own praises. His lordship
answered, "Cousin Ellison, you know you may command my interest; nay,
I shall have a pleasure in serving one of Mr. Booth's character: for
my part, I think merit in all capacities ought to be encouraged, but I
know the ministry are greatly pestered with solicitations at this
time. However, Mr. Booth may be assured I will take the first
opportunity; and in the mean time, I shall be glad of seeing him any
morning he pleases." For all these declarations Booth was not wanting
in acknowledgments to the generous peer any more than he was in secret
gratitude to the lady who had shewn so friendly and uncommon a zeal in
his favour.

The reader, when he knows the character of this nobleman, may,
perhaps, conclude that his seeing Booth alone was a lucky
circumstance, for he was so passionate an admirer of women, that he
could scarce have escaped the attraction of Amelia's beauty. And few
men, as I have observed, have such disinterested generosity as to
serve a husband the better because they are in love with his wife,
unless she will condescend to pay a price beyond the reach of a
virtuous woman.

END OF VOL. I.





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