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Title: Amelia — Complete
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 — Complete" ***

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AMELIA

Complete

By Henry Fielding


Edited By George Saintsbury

With Illustrations By Herbert Railton & E. J. Wheeler.

MDCCCXCIII


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



BOOK V.


CHAPTER I. In which the reader will meet with an old acquaintance

CHAPTER I. Containing a brace of doctors and much physical matter

CHAPTER II. In which Booth pays a visit to the noble lord

CHAPTER III. Relating principally to the affairs of serjeant Atkinson

CHAPTER IV. Containing matters that require no preface

CHAPTER V. Containing much heroic matter

CHAPTER VI. In which the reader will find matter worthy his
consideration

CHAPTER VII. Containing various matters

CHAPTER VIII. The heroic behaviour of Colonel Bath

CHAPTER IX. Being the last chapter of the fifth book



BOOK VI.


CHAPTER I. Panegyrics on beauty, with other grave matters

CHAPTER II. Which will not appear, we presume, unnatural to all married
readers

CHAPTER III. In which the history looks a little backwards

CHAPTER IV. Containing a very extraordinary incident

CHAPTER V. Containing some matters not very unnatural

CHAPTER VI. A scene in which some ladies will possibly think Amelia’s
conduct exceptionable

CHAPTER VII. A chapter in which there is much learning

CHAPTER VIII. Containing some unaccountable behaviour in Mrs.. Ellison

CHAPTER IX. Containing a very strange incident



BOOK VII.


CHAPTER I. A very short chapter, and consequently requiring no preface

CHAPTER II. The beginning of Mrs. Bennet’s history

CHAPTER III. Continuation of Mrs. Bennet’s story

CHAPTER IV. Farther continuation

CHAPTER V. The story of Mrs. Bennet continued

CHAPTER VI. Farther continued

CHAPTER VII. The story farther continued

CHAPTER VIII. Farther continuation

CHAPTER IX. The conclusion of Mrs. Bennet’s history

CHAPTER X. Being the last chapter of the seventh book



BOOK VIII.


CHAPTER I. Being the first chapter of the eighth book

CHAPTER II. Containing an account of Mr. Booth’s fellow-sufferers

CHAPTER III. Containing some extraordinary behaviour in Mrs. Ellison

CHAPTER IV. Containing, among many matters, the exemplary behaviour of
Colonel James

CHAPTER V. Comments upon authors

CHAPTER VI. Which inclines rather to satire than panegyric

CHAPTER VII. Worthy a very serious perusal

CHAPTER VIII. Consisting of grave matters

CHAPTER IX. A curious chapter, from which a curious reader may draw
sundry observations

CHAPTER X. In which are many profound secrets of philosophy



BOOK IX.


CHAPTER I In which the history looks backwards

CHAPTER II. In which the history goes forward

CHAPTER III. A conversation between Dr Harrison and others

CHAPTER IV. A dialogue between Booth and Amelia

CHAPTER V. A conversation between Amelia and Dr Harrison, with the
result

CHAPTER VI. Containing as surprising an accident as is perhaps recorded
in history

CHAPTER VII. In which the author appears to be master of that profound
learning called the knowledge of the town

CHAPTER VIII. In which two strangers make their appearance

CHAPTER IX. A scene of modern wit and humour

CHAPTER X. A curious conversation between the doctor, the young
clergyman, and the young clergyman’s father



BOOK X.


CHAPTER I. To which we will prefix no preface

CHAPTER II. What happened at the masquerade

CHAPTER III. Consequences of the masqtierade, not uncommon nor
surprizing

CHAPTER IV. Consequences of the masquerade

CHAPTER V. In which Colonel Bath appears in great glory

CHAPTER VI. Read, gamester, and observe

CHAPTER VII. In which Booth receives a visit from Captain Trent

CHAPTER VIII. Contains a letter and other matters

CHAPTER IX. Containing some things worthy observation



BOOK XI


CHAPTER I. Containing a very polite scene

CHAPTER II. Matters political

CHAPTER III. The history of Mr. Trent

CHAPTER IV. Containing some distress

CHAPTER V. Containing more wormwood and other ingredients

CHAPTER VI. A scene of the tragic kind

CHAPTER VII. In which Mr. Booth meets with more than one adventure

CHAPTER VIII. In which Amelia appears in a light more amiable than gay

CHAPTER IX. A very tragic scene



BOOK XII.


CHAPTER I. The book begins with polite history

CHAPTER II. In which Amelia visits her husband

CHAPTER III. Containing matter pertinent to the history

CHAPTER IV. In which Dr Harrison visits Colonel James

CHAPTER V. What passed at the bailiff’s house

CHAPTER VI. What passed between the doctor and the sick man

CHAPTER VII. In which the history draws towards a conclusion

CHAPTER VIII. Thus this history draws nearer to a conclusion

CHAPTER IX. In which the history is concluded



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.


FIELDING’S BIRTHPLACE, SHARPHAM PARK

SHE THEN GAVE A LOOSE TO HER PASSION

THEY OPENED THE HAMPER

HE SEIZED HIM BY THE COLLAR

AMELIA AND HER CHILDREN

COLONEL BATH

LAWYER MURPHY

LEANING BOTH HIS ELBOWS ON THE TABLE, FIXED HIS EYES ON HER

BOOTH BETWEEN A BLUE DOMINO AND A SHEPHERDESS

DR HARRISON



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.



VOL. I



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 who 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.



VOL. II.



BOOK V.



Chapter i.

_In which the reader will meet with an old acquaintance._


Booth’s affairs were put on a better aspect than they had ever worn
before, and he was willing to make use of the opportunity of one day in
seven to taste the fresh air.

At nine in the morning he went to pay a visit to his old friend Colonel
James, resolving, if possible, to have a full explanation of that
behaviour which appeared to him so mysterious: but the colonel was as
inaccessible as the best defended fortress; and it was as impossible
for Booth to pass beyond his entry as the Spaniards found it to take
Gibraltar. He received the usual answers; first, that the colonel was
not stirring, and an hour after that he was gone out. All that he got
by asking further questions was only to receive still ruder answers, by
which, if he had been very sagacious, he might have been satisfied how
little worth his while it was to desire to go in; for the porter at a
great man’s door is a kind of thermometer, by which you may discover
the warmth or coldness of his master’s friendship. Nay, in the highest
stations of all, as the great man himself hath his different kinds of
salutation, from an hearty embrace with a kiss, and my dear lord or dear
Sir Charles, down to, well Mr.----, what would you have me do? so the
porter to some bows with respect, to others with a smile, to some he
bows more, to others less low, to others not at all. Some he just
lets in, and others he just shuts out. And in all this they so well
correspond, that one would be inclined to think that the great man
and his porter had compared their lists together, and, like two actors
concerned to act different parts in the same scene, had rehearsed their
parts privately together before they ventured to perform in public.

Though Booth did not, perhaps, see the whole matter in this just light,
for that in reality it is, yet he was discerning enough to conclude,
from the behaviour of the servant, especially when he considered that of
the master likewise, that he had entirely lost the friendship of James;
and this conviction gave him a concern that not only the flattering
prospect of his lordship’s favour was not able to compensate, but which
even obliterated, and made him for a while forget the situation in which
he had left his Amelia: and he wandered about almost two hours, scarce
knowing where he went, till at last he dropt into a coffee-house near St
James’s, where he sat himself down.

He had scarce drank his dish of coffee before he heard a young officer
of the guards cry to another, “Od, d--n me, Jack, here he comes--here’s
old honour and dignity, faith.” Upon which he saw a chair open, and out
issued a most erect and stately figure indeed, with a vast periwig on
his head, and a vast hat under his arm. This august personage, having
entered the room, walked directly up to the upper end, where having paid
his respects to all present of any note, to each according to seniority,
he at last cast his eyes on Booth, and very civilly, though somewhat
coldly, asked him how he did.

Booth, who had long recognized the features of his old acquaintance
Major Bath, returned the compliment with a very low bow; but did not
venture to make the first advance to familiarity, as he was truly
possessed of that quality which the Greeks considered in the highest
light of honour, and which we term modesty; though indeed, neither
ours nor the Latin language hath any word adequate to the idea of the
original.

The colonel, after having discharged himself of two or three articles of
news, and made his comments upon them, when the next chair to him
became vacant, called upon Booth to fill it. He then asked him several
questions relating to his affairs; and, when he heard he was out of the
army, advised him earnestly to use all means to get in again, saying
that he was a pretty lad, and they must not lose him.

Booth told him in a whisper that he had a great deal to say to him on
that subject if they were in a more private place; upon this the colonel
proposed a walk in the Park, which the other readily accepted.

During their walk Booth opened his heart, and, among other matters,
acquainted Colonel Bath that he feared he had lost the friendship of
Colonel James; “though I am not,” said he, “conscious of having done the
least thing to deserve it.”

Bath answered, “You are certainly mistaken, Mr. Booth. I have indeed
scarce seen my brother since my coming to town; for I have been here but
two days; however, I am convinced he is a man of too nice honour to
do anything inconsistent with the true dignity of a gentleman.”
 Booth answered, “He was far from accusing him of anything
dishonourable.”--“D--n me,” said Bath, “if there is a man alive can or
dare accuse him: if you have the least reason to take anything ill, why
don’t you go to him? you are a gentleman, and his rank doth not protect
him from giving you satisfaction.” “The affair is not of any such kind,”
 says Booth; “I have great obligations to the colonel, and have more
reason to lament than complain; and, if I could but see him, I am
convinced I should have no cause for either; but I cannot get within his
house; it was but an hour ago a servant of his turned me rudely from the
door.” “Did a servant of my brother use you rudely?” said the colonel,
with the utmost gravity. “I do not know, sir, in what light you see
such things; but, to me, the affront of a servant is the affront of the
master; and if he doth not immediately punish it, by all the dignity of
a man, I would see the master’s nose between my fingers.” Booth offered
to explain, but to no purpose; the colonel was got into his stilts; and
it was impossible to take him down, nay, it was as much as Booth could
possibly do to part with him without an actual quarrel; nor would he,
perhaps, have been able to have accomplished it, had not the colonel by
accident turned at last to take Booth’s side of the question; and before
they separated he swore many oaths that James should give him proper
satisfaction.

Such was the end of this present interview, so little to the content of
Booth, that he was heartily concerned he had ever mentioned a syllable
of the matter to his honourable friend.


[This chapter occurs in the original edition of _Amelia,_ between 1
and 2. It is omitted later, and would have been omitted here but for an
accident. As it had been printed it may as well appear: for though
it has no great value it may interest some readers as an additional
illustration of Fielding’s dislike to doctors.--ED.

_Containing a brace of doctors and much physical matter._


He now returned with all his uneasiness to Amelia, whom he found in a
condition very little adapted to relieve or comfort him. That poor woman
was now indeed under very great apprehensions for her child, whose fever
now began to rage very violently: and what was worse, an apothecary had
been with her, and frightened her almost out of her wits. He had
indeed represented the case of the child to be very desperate, and had
prevailed on the mother to call in the assistance of a doctor.

Booth had been a very little time in the room before this doctor
arrived, with the apothecary close at his heels, and both approached the
bed, where the former felt the pulse of the sick, and performed several
other physical ceremonies.

He then began to enquire of the apothecary what he had already done for
the patient; all which, as soon as informed, he greatly approved. The
doctor then sat down, called for a pen and ink, filled a whole side of a
sheet of paper with physic, then took a guinea, and took his leave; the
apothecary waiting upon him downstairs, as he had attended him up.

All that night both Amelia and Booth sat up with their child, who rather
grew worse than better. In the morning Mrs. Ellison found the infant in
a raging fever, burning hot, and very light-headed, and the mother under
the highest dejection; for the distemper had not given the least ground
to all the efforts of the apothecary and doctor, but seemed to defy
their utmost power, with all that tremendous apparatus of phials and
gallypots, which were arranged in battle-array all over the room.

Mrs. Ellison, seeing the distrest, and indeed distracted, condition
of Amelia’s mind, attempted to comfort her by giving her hopes of the
child’s recovery. “Upon my word, madam,” says she, “I saw a child
of much the same age with miss, who, in my opinion, was much worse,
restored to health in a few days by a physician of my acquaintance. Nay,
I have known him cure several others of very bad fevers; and, if miss
was under his care, I dare swear she would do very well.” “Good heavens!
madam,” answered Amelia, “why should you not mention him to me? For my
part I have no acquaintance with any London physicians, nor do I know
whom the apothecary hath brought me.” “Nay, madam,” cries Mrs. Ellison,
“it is a tender thing, you know, to recommend a physician; and as for my
doctor, there are abundance of people who give him an ill name. Indeed,
it is true, he hath cured me twice of fevers, and so he hath several
others to my knowledge; nay, I never heard of any more than one of his
patients that died; and yet, as the doctors and apothecaries all give
him an ill character, one is fearful, you know, dear madam.” Booth
enquired the doctor’s name, which he no sooner heard than he begged his
wife to send for him immediately, declaring he had heard the highest
character imaginable of him at the Tavern from an officer of very good
understanding. Amelia presently complied, and a messenger was despatched
accordingly.

But before the second doctor could be brought, the first returned with
the apothecary attending him as before. He again surveyed and handled
the sick; and when Amelia begged him to tell her if there was any hopes,
he shook his head, and said, “To be sure, madam, miss is in a very
dangerous condition, and there is no time to lose. If the blisters
which I shall now order her, should not relieve her, I fear we can do no
more.”--“Would not you please, sir,” says the apothecary, “to have the
powders and the draught repeated?” “How often were they ordered?” cries
the doctor. “Only _tertia_ quaq. hora,” says the apothecary. “Let them
be taken every hour by all means,” cries the doctor; “and--let me see,
pray get me a pen and ink.”--“If you think the child in such imminent
danger,” said Booth, “would you give us leave to call in another
physician to your assistance--indeed my wife”--“Oh, by all means,” said
the doctor, “it is what I very much wish. Let me see, Mr. Arsenic,
whom shall we call?” “What do you think of Dr Dosewell?” said the
apothecary.--“Nobody better,” cries the physician.--“I should have no
objection to the gentleman,” answered Booth, “but another hath been
recommended to my wife.” He then mentioned the physician for whom they
had just before sent. “Who, sir?” cries the doctor, dropping his pen;
and when Booth repeated the name of Thompson, “Excuse me, sir,” cries
the doctor hastily, “I shall not meet him.”--“Why so, sir?” answered
Booth. “I will not meet him,” replied the doctor. “Shall I meet a man
who pretends to know more than the whole College, and would overturn the
whole method of practice, which is so well established, and from which
no one person hath pretended to deviate?” “Indeed, sir,” cries the
apothecary, “you do not know what you are about, asking your pardon;
why, he kills everybody he comes near.” “That is not true,” said Mrs.
Ellison. “I have been his patient twice, and I am alive yet.” “You have
had good luck, then, madam,” answered the apothecary, “for he kills
everybody he comes near.” “Nay, I know above a dozen others of my own
acquaintance,” replied Mrs. Ellison, “who have all been cured by him.”
 “That may be, madam,” cries Arsenic; “but he kills everybody for all
that--why, madam, did you never hear of Mr. ----? I can’t think of the
gentleman’s name, though he was a man of great fashion; but everybody
knows whom I mean.” “Everybody, indeed, must know whom you mean,”
 answered Mrs. Ellison; “for I never heard but of one, and that many
years ago.”

Before the dispute was ended, the doctor himself entered the room. As
he was a very well-bred and very good-natured man, he addressed himself
with much civility to his brother physician, who was not quite so
courteous on his side. However, he suffered the new comer to be
conducted to the sick-bed, and at Booth’s earnest request to deliver his
opinion.

The dispute which ensued between the two physicians would, perhaps,
be unintelligible to any but those of the faculty, and not very
entertaining to them. The character which the officer and Mrs. Ellison
had given of the second doctor had greatly prepossessed Booth in
his favour, and indeed his reasoning seemed to be the juster. Booth
therefore declared that he would abide by his advice, upon which the
former operator, with his zany, the apothecary, quitted the field, and
left the other in full possession of the sick.

The first thing the new doctor did was (to use his own phrase) to
blow up the physical magazine. All the powders and potions instantly
disappeared at his command; for he said there was a much readier and
nearer way to convey such stuff to the vault, than by first sending it
through the human body. He then ordered the child to be blooded, gave it
a clyster and some cooling physic, and, in short (that I may not dwell
too long on so unpleasing a part of history), within three days cured
the little patient of her distemper, to the great satisfaction of Mrs.
Ellison, and to the vast joy of Amelia.

Some readers will, perhaps, think this whole chapter might have been
omitted; but though it contains no great matter of amusement, it may at
least serve to inform posterity concerning the present state of physic.]



Chapter ii.

_In which Booth pays a visit to the noble lord._


When that day of the week returned in which Mr. Booth chose to walk
abroad, he went to wait on the noble peer, according to his kind
invitation.

Booth now found a very different reception with this great man’s porter
from what he had met with at his friend the colonel’s. He no sooner told
his name than the porter with a bow told him his lordship was at
home: the door immediately flew wide open, and he was conducted to an
ante-chamber, where a servant told him he would acquaint his lordship
with his arrival. Nor did he wait many minutes before the same servant
returned and ushered him to his lordship’s apartment.

He found my lord alone, and was received by him in the most courteous
manner imaginable. After the first ceremonials were over, his lordship
began in the following words: “Mr. Booth, I do assure you, you are very
much obliged to my cousin Ellison. She hath given you such a character,
that I shall have a pleasure in doing anything in my power to serve
you.--But it will be very difficult, I am afraid, to get you a rank at
home. In the West Indies, perhaps, or in some regiment abroad, it may be
more easy; and, when I consider your reputation as a soldier, I make
no doubt of your readiness to go to any place where the service of your
country shall call you.” Booth answered, “That he was highly obliged to
his lordship, and assured him he would with great chearfulness attend
his duty in any part of the world. The only thing grievous in the
exchange of countries,” said he, “in my opinion, is to leave those I
love behind me, and I am sure I shall never have a second trial equal to
my first. It was very hard, my lord, to leave a young wife big with
her first child, and so affected with my absence, that I had the utmost
reason to despair of ever seeing her more. After such a demonstration of
my resolution to sacrifice every other consideration to my duty, I hope
your lordship will honour me with some confidence that I shall make no
objection to serve in any country.”--“My dear Mr. Booth,” answered the
lord, “you speak like a soldier, and I greatly honour your sentiments.
Indeed, I own the justice of your inference from the example you have
given; for to quit a wife, as you say, in the very infancy of marriage,
is, I acknowledge, some trial of resolution.” Booth answered with a low
bow; and then, after some immaterial conversation, his lordship promised
to speak immediately to the minister, and appointed Mr. Booth to come to
him again on the Wednesday morning, that he might be acquainted with his
patron’s success. The poor man now blushed and looked silly, till, after
some time, he summoned up all his courage to his assistance, and
relying on the other’s friendship, he opened the whole affair of his
circumstances, and confessed that he did not dare stir from his lodgings
above one day in seven. His lordship expressed great concern at this
account, and very kindly promised to take some opportunity of calling
on him at his cousin Ellison’s, when he hoped, he said, to bring him
comfortable tidings.

Booth soon afterwards took his leave with the most profuse
acknowledgments for so much goodness, and hastened home to acquaint his
Amelia with what had so greatly overjoyed him. She highly congratulated
him on his having found so generous and powerful a friend, towards whom
both their bosoms burnt with the warmest sentiments of gratitude. She
was not, however, contented till she had made Booth renew his promise,
in the most solemn manner, of taking her with him. After which they sat
down with their little children to a scrag of mutton and broth, with the
highest satisfaction, and very heartily drank his lordship’s health in a
pot of porter.

In the afternoon this happy couple, if the reader will allow me to call
poor people happy, drank tea with Mrs. Ellison, where his lordship’s
praises, being again repeated by both the husband and wife, were very
loudly echoed by Mrs. Ellison. While they were here, the young lady whom
we have mentioned at the end of the last book to have made a fourth at
whist, and with whom Amelia seemed so much pleased, came in; she was
just returned to town from a short visit in the country, and her present
visit was unexpected. It was, however, very agreeable to Amelia, who
liked her still better upon a second interview, and was resolved to
solicit her further acquaintance.

Mrs. Bennet still maintained some little reserve, but was much more
familiar and communicative than before. She appeared, moreover, to be
as little ceremonious as Mrs. Ellison had reported her, and very readily
accepted Amelia’s apology for not paying her the first visit, and agreed
to drink tea with her the very next afternoon.

Whilst the above-mentioned company were sitting in Mrs. Ellison’s
parlour, serjeant Atkinson passed by the window and knocked at the door.
Mrs. Ellison no sooner saw him than she said, “Pray, Mr. Booth, who is
that genteel young serjeant? he was here every day last week to enquire
after you.” This was indeed a fact; the serjeant was apprehensive of the
design of Murphy; but, as the poor fellow had received all his answers
from the maid of Mrs. Ellison, Booth had never heard a word of the
matter. He was, however, greatly pleased with what he was now told, and
burst forth into great praises of the serjeant, which were seconded by
Amelia, who added that he was her foster-brother, and, she believed, one
of the honestest fellows in the world.

“And I’ll swear,” cries Mrs. Ellison, “he is one of the prettiest.
Do, Mr. Booth, desire him to walk in. A serjeant of the guards is a
gentleman; and I had rather give such a man as you describe a dish of
tea than any Beau Fribble of them all.”

Booth wanted no great solicitation to shew any kind of regard to
Atkinson; and, accordingly, the serjeant was ushered in, though not
without some reluctance on his side. There is, perhaps, nothing more
uneasy than those sensations which the French call the _mauvaise
honte,_ nor any more difficult to conquer; and poor Atkinson would, I
am persuaded, have mounted a breach with less concern than he shewed in
walking across a room before three ladies, two of whom were his avowed
well-wishers.

Though I do not entirely agree with the late learned Mr. Essex, the
celebrated dancing-master’s opinion, that dancing is the rudiment of
polite education, as he would, I apprehend, exclude every other art and
science, yet it is certain that persons whose feet have never been under
the hands of the professors of that art are apt to discover this want in
their education in every motion, nay, even when they stand or sit still.
They seem, indeed, to be overburthened with limbs which they know
not how to use, as if, when Nature hath finished her work, the
dancing-master still is necessary to put it in motion.

Atkinson was, at present, an example of this observation which doth so
much honour to a profession for which I have a very high regard. He was
handsome, and exquisitely well made; and yet, as he had never learnt to
dance, he made so awkward an appearance in Mrs. Ellison’s parlour, that
the good lady herself, who had invited him in, could at first scarce
refrain from laughter at his behaviour. He had not, however, been long
in the room before admiration of his person got the better of such
risible ideas. So great is the advantage of beauty in men as well as
women, and so sure is this quality in either sex of procuring some
regard from the beholder.

The exceeding courteous behaviour of Mrs. Ellison, joined to that of
Amelia and Booth, at length dissipated the uneasiness of Atkinson; and
he gained sufficient confidence to tell the company some entertaining
stories of accidents that had happened in the army within his knowledge,
which, though they greatly pleased all present, are not, however, of
consequence enough to have a place in this history.

Mrs. Ellison was so very importunate with her company to stay supper
that they all consented. As for the serjeant, he seemed to be none of
the least welcome guests. She was, indeed, so pleased with what she had
heard of him, and what she saw of him, that, when a little warmed with
wine, for she was no flincher at the bottle, she began to indulge some
freedoms in her discourse towards him that a little offended Amelia’s
delicacy, nay, they did not seem to be highly relished by the other
lady; though I am far from insinuating that these exceeded the bounds
of decorum, or were, indeed, greater liberties than ladies of the middle
age, and especially widows, do frequently allow to themselves.



Chapter iii.

_Relating principally to the affairs of serjeant Atkinson._


The next day, when all the same company, Atkinson only excepted,
assembled in Amelia’s apartment, Mrs. Ellison presently began to
discourse of him, and that in terms not only of approbation but even of
affection. She called him her clever serjeant, and her dear serjeant,
repeated often that he was the prettiest fellow in the army, and said it
was a thousand pities he had not a commission; for that, if he had, she
was sure he would become a general.

“I am of your opinion, madam,” answered Booth; “and he hath got one
hundred pounds of his own already, if he could find a wife now to
help him to two or three hundred more, I think he might easily get
a commission in a marching regiment; for I am convinced there is no
colonel in the army would refuse him.”

“Refuse him, indeed!” said Mrs. Ellison; “no; he would be a very pretty
colonel that did. And, upon my honour, I believe there are very few
ladies who would refuse him, if he had but a proper opportunity of
soliciting them. The colonel and the lady both would be better off than
with one of those pretty masters that I see walking about, and dragging
their long swords after them, when they should rather drag their
leading-strings.”

“Well said,” cries Booth, “and spoken like a woman of spirit.--Indeed, I
believe they would be both better served.”

“True, captain,” answered Mrs. Ellison; “I would rather leave the two
first syllables out of the word gentleman than the last.”

“Nay, I assure you,” replied Booth, “there is not a quieter creature
in the world. Though the fellow hath the bravery of a lion, he hath the
meekness of a lamb. I can tell you stories enow of that kind, and so can
my dear Amelia, when he was a boy.”

“O! if the match sticks there,” cries Amelia, “I positively will not
spoil his fortune by my silence. I can answer for him from his infancy,
that he was one of the best-natured lads in the world. I will tell you
a story or two of him, the truth of which I can testify from my own
knowledge. When he was but six years old he was at play with me at my
mother’s house, and a great pointer-dog bit him through the leg. The
poor lad, in the midst of the anguish of his wound, declared he was
overjoyed it had not happened to miss (for the same dog had just before
snapt at me, and my petticoats had been my defence).--Another instance
of his goodness, which greatly recommended him to my father, and which I
have loved him for ever since, was this: my father was a great lover of
birds, and strictly forbad the spoiling of their nests. Poor Joe was one
day caught upon a tree, and, being concluded guilty, was severely lashed
for it; but it was afterwards discovered that another boy, a friend of
Joe’s, had robbed the nest of its young ones, and poor Joe had climbed
the tree in order to restore them, notwithstanding which, he submitted
to the punishment rather than he would impeach his companion. But, if
these stories appear childish and trifling, the duty and kindness he
hath shewn to his mother must recommend him to every one. Ever since he
hath been fifteen years old he hath more than half supported her: and
when my brother died, I remember particularly, Joe, at his desire, for
he was much his favourite, had one of his suits given him; but, instead
of his becoming finer on that occasion, another young fellow came to
church in my brother’s cloaths, and my old nurse appeared the same
Sunday in a new gown, which her son had purchased for her with the sale
of his legacy.”

“Well, I protest, he is a very worthy creature,” said Mrs. Bennet.

“He is a charming fellow,” cries Mrs. Ellison--“but then the name of
serjeant, Captain Booth; there, as the play says, my pride brings me off
again.”

          And whatsoever the sages charge on pride,
     The angels’ fall, and twenty other good faults beside;
     On earth I’m sure--I’m sure--something--calling
     Pride saves man, and our sex too, from falling.--

Here a footman’s rap at the door shook the room. Upon which Mrs.
Ellison, running to the window, cried out, “Let me die if it is not my
lord! what shall I do? I must be at home to him; but suppose he should
enquire for you, captain, what shall I say? or will you go down with
me?”

The company were in some confusion at this instant, and before they had
agreed on anything, Booth’s little girl came running into the room, and
said, “There was a prodigious great gentleman coming up-stairs.” She was
immediately followed by his lordship, who, as he knew Booth must be at
home, made very little or no enquiry at the door.

Amelia was taken somewhat at a surprize, but she was too polite to shew
much confusion; for, though she knew nothing of the town, she had had a
genteel education, and kept the best company the country afforded. The
ceremonies therefore past as usual, and they all sat down.

His lordship soon addressed himself to Booth, saying, “As I have what
I think good news for you, sir, I could not delay giving myself the
pleasure of communicating it to you. I have mentioned your affair
where I promised you, and I have no doubt of my success. One may easily
perceive, you know, from the manner of people’s behaving upon such
occasions; and, indeed, when I related your case, I found there was much
inclination to serve you. Great men, Mr. Booth, must do things in their
own time; but I think you may depend on having something done very
soon.”

Booth made many acknowledgments for his lordship’s goodness, and now a
second time paid all the thanks which would have been due, even had the
favour been obtained. This art of promising is the economy of a great
man’s pride, a sort of good husbandry in conferring favours, by which
they receive tenfold in acknowledgments for every obligation, I mean
among those who really intend the service; for there are others who
cheat poor men of their thanks, without ever designing to deserve them
at all.

This matter being sufficiently discussed, the conversation took a
gayer turn; and my lord began to entertain the ladies with some of
that elegant discourse which, though most delightful to hear, it is
impossible should ever be read.

His lordship was so highly pleased with Amelia, that he could not help
being somewhat particular to her; but this particularity distinguished
itself only in a higher degree of respect, and was so very polite, and
so very distant, that she herself was pleased, and at his departure,
which was not till he had far exceeded the length of a common visit,
declared he was the finest gentleman she had ever seen; with which
sentiment her husband and Mrs. Ellison both entirely concurred.

Mrs. Bennet, on the contrary, exprest some little dislike to my lord’s
complaisance, which she called excessive. “For my own part,” said she,
“I have not the least relish for those very fine gentlemen; what the
world generally calls politeness, I term insincerity; and I am more
charmed with the stories which Mrs. Booth told us of the honest serjeant
than with all that the finest gentlemen in the world ever said in their
lives!”

“O! to be sure,” cries Mrs. Ellison; “_All for Love, or the World well
Lost,_ is a motto very proper for some folks to wear in their coat of
arms; but the generality of the world will, I believe, agree with that
lady’s opinion of my cousin, rather than with Mrs. Bennet.”

Mrs. Bennet, seeing Mrs. Ellison took offence at what she said, thought
proper to make some apology, which was very readily accepted, and so
ended the visit.

We cannot however put an end to the chapter without observing that such
is the ambitious temper of beauty, that it may always apply to itself
that celebrated passage in Lucan,

_Nec quenquam jam ferre potest Caesarve priorem, Pompeiusve parem._

Indeed, I believe, it may be laid down as a general rule, that no woman
who hath any great pretensions to admiration is ever well pleased in a
company where she perceives herself to fill only the second place. This
observation, however, I humbly submit to the judgment of the ladies, and
hope it will be considered as retracted by me if they shall dissent from
my opinion.



Chapter iv.

_Containing matters that require no preface._


When Booth and his wife were left alone together they both extremely
exulted in their good fortune in having found so good a friend as his
lordship; nor were they wanting in very warm expressions of gratitude
towards Mrs. Ellison. After which they began to lay down schemes of
living when Booth should have his commission of captain; and, after the
exactest computation, concluded that, with economy, they should be able
to save at least fifty pounds a-year out of their income in order to pay
their debts.

These matters being well settled, Amelia asked Booth what he thought
of Mrs. Bennet? “I think, my dear,” answered Booth, “that she hath been
formerly a very pretty woman.” “I am mistaken,” replied she, “if she be
not a very good creature. I don’t know I ever took such a liking to any
one on so short an acquaintance. I fancy she hath been a very spritely
woman; for, if you observe, she discovers by starts a great vivacity in
her countenance.” “I made the same observation,” cries Booth: “sure some
strange misfortune hath befallen her.” “A misfortune, indeed!” answered
Amelia; “sure, child, you forget what Mrs. Ellison told us, that she had
lost a beloved husband. A misfortune which I have often wondered at any
woman’s surviving.” At which words she cast a tender look at Booth,
and presently afterwards, throwing herself upon his neck, cried, “O,
Heavens! what a happy creature am I! when I consider the dangers you
have gone through, how I exult in my bliss!” The good-natured reader
will suppose that Booth was not deficient in returning such tenderness,
after which the conversation became too fond to be here related.

The next morning Mrs. Ellison addressed herself to Booth as follows: “I
shall make no apology, sir, for what I am going to say, as it proceeds
from my friendship to yourself and your dear lady. I am convinced then,
sir, there is a something more than accident in your going abroad only
one day in the week. Now, sir, if, as I am afraid, matters are not
altogether as well as I wish them, I beg, since I do not believe you are
provided with a lawyer, that you will suffer me to recommend one to
you. The person I shall mention is, I assure you, of much ability in his
profession, and I have known him do great services to gentlemen under a
cloud. Do not be ashamed of your circumstances, my dear friend: they are
a much greater scandal to those who have left so much merit unprovided
for.”

Booth gave Mrs. Ellison abundance of thanks for her kindness, and
explicitly confessed to her that her conjectures were right, and,
without hesitation, accepted the offer of her friend’s assistance.

Mrs. Ellison then acquainted him with her apprehensions on his account.
She said she had both yesterday and this morning seen two or three very
ugly suspicious fellows pass several times by her window. “Upon all
accounts,” said she, “my dear sir, I advise you to keep yourself close
confined till the lawyer hath been with you. I am sure he will get
you your liberty, at least of walking about within the verge. There’s
something to be done with the board of green-cloth; I don’t know what;
but this I know, that several gentlemen have lived here a long time
very comfortably, and have defied all the vengeance of their creditors.
However, in the mean time, you must be a close prisoner with your lady;
and I believe there is no man in England but would exchange his liberty
for the same gaol.”

She then departed in order to send for the attorney, and presently
afterwards the serjeant arrived with news of the like kind. He said he
had scraped an acquaintance with Murphy. “I hope your honour will pardon
me,” cries Atkinson, “but I pretended to have a small demand upon your
honour myself, and offered to employ him in the business. Upon which he
told me that, if I would go with him to the Marshal’s court, and make
affidavit of my debt, he should be able very shortly to get it me; for
I shall have the captain in hold,” cries he, “within a day or two.” “I
wish,” said the serjeant, “I could do your honour any service. Shall I
walk about all day before the door? or shall I be porter, and watch it
in the inside till your honour can find some means of securing yourself?
I hope you will not be offended at me, but I beg you would take care of
falling into Murphy’s hands; for he hath the character of the greatest
villain upon earth. I am afraid you will think me too bold, sir; but I
have a little money; if it can be of any service, do, pray your honour,
command it. It can never do me so much good any other way. Consider,
sir, I owe all I have to yourself and my dear mistress.”

Booth stood a moment, as if he had been thunderstruck, and then, the
tears bursting from his eyes, he said, “Upon my soul, Atkinson, you
overcome me. I scarce ever heard of so--much goodness, nor do I know how
to express my sentiments of it. But, be assured, as for your money,
I will not accept it; and let it satisfy you, that in my present
circumstances it would do me no essential service; but this be assured
of likewise, that whilst I live I shall never forget the kindness of
the offer. However, as I apprehend I may be in some danger of fellows
getting into the house, for a day or two, as I have no guard but a poor
little girl, I will not refuse the goodness you offer to shew in my
protection. And I make no doubt but Mrs. Ellison will let you sit in her
parlour for that purpose.”

Atkinson, with the utmost readiness, undertook the office of porter; and
Mrs. Ellison as readily allotted him a place in her back-parlour, where
he continued three days together, from eight in the morning till twelve
at night; during which time, he had sometimes the company of Mrs.
Ellison, and sometimes of Booth, Amelia, and Mrs. Bennet too; for this
last had taken as great a fancy to Amelia as Amelia had to her,
and, therefore, as Mr. Booth’s affairs were now no secret in the
neighbourhood, made her frequent visits during the confinement of her
husband, and consequently her own.

Nothing, as I remember, happened in this interval of time, more worthy
notice than the following card which Amelia received from her old
acquaintance Mrs. James:--“Mrs. James sends her compliments to Mrs.
Booth, and desires to know how she does; for, as she hath not had the
favour of seeing her at her own house, or of meeting her in any public
place, in so long time, fears it may be owing to ill health.”

Amelia had long given over all thoughts of her friend, and doubted
not but that she was as entirely given over by her; she was very much
surprized at this message, and under some doubt whether it was not meant
as an insult, especially from the mention of public places, which she
thought so inconsistent with her present circumstances, of which she
supposed Mrs. James was well apprized. However, at the entreaty of her
husband, who languished for nothing more than to be again reconciled
to his friend James, Amelia undertook to pay the lady a visit, and
to examine into the mystery of this conduct, which appeared to her so
unaccountable.

Mrs. James received her with a degree of civility that amazed Amelia
no less than her coldness had done before. She resolved to come to an
eclaircissement, and, having sat out some company that came in, when
they were alone together Amelia, after some silence and many offers to
speak, at last said, “My dear Jenny (if you will now suffer me to call
you by so familiar a name), have you entirely forgot a certain young
lady who had the pleasure of being your intimate acquaintance at
Montpelier?” “Whom do you mean, dear madam?” cries Mrs. James with great
concern. “I mean myself,” answered Amelia. “You surprize me, madam,”
 replied Mrs. James: “how can you ask me that question?” “Nay, my dear, I
do not intend to offend you,” cries Amelia, “but I am really desirous to
solve to myself the reason of that coldness which you shewed me when
you did me the favour of a visit. Can you think, my dear, I was not
disappointed, when I expected to meet an intimate friend, to receive a
cold formal visitant? I desire you to examine your own heart and
answer me honestly if you do not think I had some little reason to be
dissatisfied with your behaviour?” “Indeed, Mrs. Booth,” answered
the other lady, “you surprize me very much; if there was anything
displeasing to you in my behaviour I am extremely concerned at it. I did
not know I had been defective in any of the rules of civility, but if
I was, madam, I ask your pardon.” “Is civility, then, my dear,” replied
Amelia, “a synonymous term with friendship? Could I have expected, when
I parted the last time with Miss Jenny Bath, to have met her the
next time in the shape of a fine lady, complaining of the hardship of
climbing up two pair of stairs to visit me, and then approaching me with
the distant air of a new or a slight acquaintance? Do you think, my dear
Mrs. James, if the tables had been turned, if my fortune had been as
high in the world as yours, and you in my distress and abject condition,
that I would not have climbed as high as the monument to visit you?”
 “Sure, madam,” cried Mrs. James, “I mistake you, or you have greatly
mistaken me. Can you complain of my not visiting you, who have owed me
a visit almost these three weeks? Nay, did I not even then send you
a card, which sure was doing more than all the friendship and
good-breeding in the world required; but, indeed, as I had met you in no
public place, I really thought you was ill.”

“How can you mention public places to me,” said Amelia, “when you can
hardly be a stranger to my present situation? Did you not know, madam,
that I was ruined?” “No, indeed, madam, did I not,” replied Mrs. James;
“I am sure I should have been highly concerned if! had.” “Why, sure,
my dear,” cries Amelia, “you could not imagine that we were in affluent
circumstances, when you found us in such a place, and in such a
condition.” “Nay, my dear,” answered Mrs. James, “since you are pleased
to mention it first yourself, I own I was a little surprized to see
you in no better lodgings; but I concluded you had your own reasons for
liking them; and, for my own part, I have laid it down as a positive
rule never to enquire into the private affairs of any one, especially
of my friends. I am not of the humour of some ladies, who confine the
circle of their acquaintance to one part of the town, and would not be
known to visit in the city for the world. For my part, I never dropt an
acquaintance with any one while it was reputable to keep it up; and I
can solemnly declare I have not a friend in the world for whom I have a
greater esteem than I have for Mrs. Booth.”

At this instant the arrival of a new visitant put an end to the
discourse; and Amelia soon after took her leave without the least anger,
but with some little unavoidable contempt for a lady, in whose opinion,
as we have hinted before, outward form and ceremony constituted the
whole essence of friendship; who valued all her acquaintance alike, as
each individual served equally to fill up a place in her visiting roll;
and who, in reality, had not the least concern for the good qualities or
well-being of any of them.



Chapter v.

_Containing much heroic matter._


At the end of three days Mrs. Ellison’s friend had so far purchased Mr.
Booth’s liberty that he could walk again abroad within the verge without
any danger of having a warrant backed against him by the board before he
had notice. As for the ill-looked persons that had given the alarm, it
was now discovered that another unhappy gentleman, and not Booth, was
the object of their pursuit.

Mr. Booth, now being delivered from his fears, went, as he had formerly
done, to take his morning walk in the Park. Here he met Colonel Bath in
company with some other officers, and very civilly paid his respects to
him. But, instead of returning the salute, the colonel looked him full
in the face with a very stern countenance; and, if he could be said
to take any notice of him, it was in such a manner as to inform him he
would take no notice of him.

Booth was not more hurt than surprized at this behaviour, and resolved
to know the reason of it. He therefore watched an opportunity till the
colonel was alone, and then walked boldly up to him, and desired to know
if he had given him any offence? The colonel answered hastily, “Sir, I
am above being offended with you, nor do I think it consistent with my
dignity to make you any answer.” Booth replied, “I don’t know, sir, that
I have done anything to deserve this treatment.” “Look’ee, sir,” cries
the colonel, “if I had not formerly had some respect for you, I should
not think you worth my resentment. However, as you are a gentleman born,
and an officer, and as I have had an esteem for you, I will give you
some marks of it by putting it in your power to do yourself justice. I
will tell you therefore, sir, that you have acted like a scoundrel.” “If
we were not in the Park,” answered Booth warmly, “I would thank you very
properly for that compliment.” “O, sir,” cries the colonel, “we can be
soon in a convenient place.” Upon which Booth answered, he would attend
him wherever he pleased. The colonel then bid him come along, and
strutted forward directly up Constitution-hill to Hyde-park, Booth
following him at first, and afterwards walking before him, till they
came to that place which may be properly called the field of blood,
being that part, a little to the left of the ring, which heroes have
chosen for the scene of their exit out of this world.

Booth reached the ring some time before the colonel; for he mended not
his pace any more than a Spaniard. To say truth, I believe it was not
in his power: for he had so long accustomed himself to one and the same
strut, that as a horse, used always to trotting, can scarce be forced
into a gallop, so could no passion force the colonel to alter his pace.

[Illustration with caption: _Colonel Bath._]

At length, however, both parties arrived at the lists, where the colonel
very deliberately took off his wig and coat, and laid them on the grass,
and then, drawing his sword, advanced to Booth, who had likewise his
drawn weapon in his hand, but had made no other preparation for the
combat.

The combatants now engaged with great fury, and, after two or three
passes, Booth run the colonel through the body and threw him on the
ground, at the same time possessing himself of the colonel’s sword.

As soon as the colonel was become master of his speech, he called out
to Booth in a very kind voice, and said, “You have done my business,
and satisfied me that you are a man of honour, and that my brother James
must have been mistaken; for I am convinced that no man who will draw
his sword in so gallant a manner is capable of being a rascal. D--n
me, give me a buss, my dear boy; I ask your pardon for that infamous
appellation I dishonoured your dignity with; but d--n me if it was not
purely out of love, and to give you an opportunity of doing yourself
justice, which I own you have done like a man of honour. What may be the
consequence I know not, but I hope, at least, I shall live to reconcile
you with my brother.”

Booth shewed great concern, and even horror in his countenance. “Why, my
dear colonel,” said he, “would you force me to this? for Heaven’s sake
tell me what I have ever done to offend you.”

“Me!” cried the colonel. “Indeed, my dear child, you never did anything
to offend me.--Nay, I have acted the part of a friend to you in the
whole affair. I maintained your cause with my brother as long as decency
would permit; I could not flatly contradict him, though, indeed, I
scarce believed him. But what could I do? If I had not fought with you,
I must have been obliged to have fought with him; however, I hope what
is done will be sufficient, and that matters may be discomodated without
your being put to the necessity of fighting any more on this occasion.”

“Never regard me,” cried Booth eagerly; “for Heaven’s sake, think
of your own preservation. Let me put you into a chair, and get you a
surgeon.”

“Thou art a noble lad,” cries the colonel, who was now got on his legs,
“and I am glad the business is so well over; for, though your sword went
quite through, it slanted so that I apprehend there is little danger of
life: however, I think there is enough done to put an honourable end
to the affair, especially as you was so hasty to disarm me. I bleed a
little, but I can walk to the house by the water; and, if you will send
me a chair thither, I shall be obliged to you.”

As the colonel refused any assistance (indeed he was very able to walk
without it, though with somewhat less dignity than usual), Booth set
forward to Grosvenor-gate, in order to procure the chair, and soon
after returned with one to his friend; whom having conveyed into it,
he attended himself on foot into Bond-street, where then lived a very
eminent surgeon.

The surgeon having probed the wound, turned towards Booth, who was
apparently the guilty person, and said, with a smile, “Upon my word,
sir, you have performed the business with great dexterity.”

“Sir,” cries the colonel to the surgeon, “I would not have you imagine
I am afraid to die. I think I know more what belongs to the dignity of a
man; and, I believe, I have shewn it at the head of a line of battle. Do
not impute my concern to that fear, when I ask you whether there is or
is not any danger?”

“Really, colonel,” answered the surgeon, who well knew the complexion of
the gentleman then under his hands, “it would appear like presumption to
say that a man who hath been just run through the body is in no manner
of danger. But this I think I may assure you, that I yet perceive no
very bad symptoms, and, unless something worse should appear, or a
fever be the consequence, I hope you may live to be again, with all your
dignity, at the head of a line of battle.”

“I am glad to hear that is your opinion,” quoth the colonel, “for I am
not desirous of dying, though I am not afraid of it. But, if anything
worse than you apprehend should happen, I desire you will be a witness
of my declaration that this young gentleman is entirely innocent. I
forced him to do what he did. My dear Booth, I am pleased matters are as
they are. You are the first man that ever gained an advantage over me;
but it was very lucky for you that you disarmed me, and I doubt not but
you have the equananimity to think so. If the business, therefore, hath
ended without doing anything to the purpose, it was Fortune’s pleasure,
and neither of our faults.”

Booth heartily embraced the colonel, and assured him of the great
satisfaction he had received from the surgeon’s opinion; and soon after
the two combatants took their leave of each other. The colonel, after he
was drest, went in a chair to his lodgings, and Booth walked on foot to
his; where he luckily arrived without meeting any of Mr. Murphy’s gang;
a danger which never once occurred to his imagination till he was out of
it.

The affair he had been about had indeed so entirely occupied his mind,
that it had obliterated every other idea; among the rest, it caused
him so absolutely to forget the time of the day, that, though he had
exceeded the time of dining above two hours, he had not the least
suspicion of being at home later than usual.



Chapter vi.

_In which the reader will find matter worthy his consideration._


Amelia, having waited above an hour for her husband, concluded, as he
was the most punctual man alive, that he had met with some engagement
abroad, and sat down to her meal with her children; which, as it was
always uncomfortable in the absence of her husband, was very short;
so that, before his return, all the apparatus of dining was entirely
removed.

Booth sat some time with his wife, expecting every minute when the
little maid would make her appearance; at last, curiosity, I believe,
rather than appetite, made him ask how long it was to dinner? “To
dinner, my dear!” answered Amelia; “sure you have dined, I hope?” Booth
replied in the negative; upon which his wife started from her chair,
and bestirred herself as nimbly to provide him a repast as the most
industrious hostess in the kingdom doth when some unexpected guest of
extraordinary quality arrives at her house.

The reader hath not, I think, from any passages hitherto recorded in
this history, had much reason to accuse Amelia of a blameable curiosity;
he will not, I hope, conclude that she gave an instance of any such
fault when, upon Booth’s having so long overstayed his time, and so
greatly mistaken the hour of the day, and upon some other circumstances
of his behaviour (for he was too honest to be good at concealing any of
his thoughts), she said to him after he had done eating, “My dear, I am
sure something more than ordinary hath happened to-day, and I beg you
will tell me what is.”

Booth answered that nothing of any consequence had happened; that he
had been detained by a friend, whom he met accidently, longer than he
expected. In short, he made many shuffling and evasive answers, not
boldly lying out, which, perhaps, would have succeeded, but poorly and
vainly endeavouring to reconcile falsehood with truth; an attempt which
seldom fails to betray the most practised deceiver.

How impossible was it therefore for poor Booth to succeed in an art for
which nature had so entirely disqualified him. His countenance, indeed,
confessed faster than his tongue denied, and the whole of his behaviour
gave Amelia an alarm, and made her suspect something very bad had
happened; and, as her thoughts turned presently on the badness of their
circumstances, she feared some mischief from his creditors had befallen
him; for she was too ignorant of such matters to know that, if he had
fallen into the hands of the Philistines (which is the name given by the
faithful to bailiffs), he would hardly have been able so soon to recover
his liberty. Booth at last perceived her to be so uneasy, that, as
he saw no hopes of contriving any fiction to satisfy her, he thought
himself obliged to tell her the truth, or at least part of the truth,
and confessed that he had had a little skirmish with Colonel Bath, in
which, he said, the colonel had received a slight wound, not at all
dangerous; “and this,” says he, “is all the whole matter.” “If it be
so,” cries Amelia, “I thank Heaven no worse hath happened; but why, my
dear, will you ever converse with that madman, who can embrace a friend
one moment, and fight with him the next?” “Nay, my dear,” answered
Booth, “you yourself must confess, though he be a little too much on the
_qui vive,_ he is a man of great honour and good-nature.” “Tell me not,”
 replied she, “of such good-nature and honour as would sacrifice a
friend and a whole family to a ridiculous whim. Oh, Heavens!” cried she,
falling upon her knees, “from what misery have I escaped, from what have
these poor babes escaped, through your gracious providence this day!”
 Then turning to her husband, she cried, “But are you sure the monster’s
wound is no more dangerous than you say? a monster surely I may call
him, who can quarrel with a man that could not, that I am convinced
would not, offend him.”

Upon this question, Booth repeated the assurances which the surgeon
had given them, perhaps with a little enlargement, which pretty well
satisfied Amelia; and instead of blaming her husband for what he had
done, she tenderly embraced him, and again returned thanks to Heaven for
his safety.

In the evening Booth insisted on paying a short visit to the colonel,
highly against the inclination of Amelia, who, by many arguments and
entreaties, endeavoured to dissuade her husband from continuing an
acquaintance in which, she said, she should always foresee much danger
for the future. However, she was at last prevailed upon to acquiesce;
and Booth went to the colonel, whose lodgings happened to be in the
verge as well as his own.

He found the colonel in his night-gown, and his great chair, engaged
with another officer at a game of chess. He rose immediately, and,
having heartily embraced Booth, presented him to his friend, saying, he
had the honour to introduce to him as brave and as _fortitudinous_ a
man as any in the king’s dominions. He then took Booth with him into the
next room, and desired him not to mention a word of what had happened
in the morning; saying, “I am very well satisfied that no more hath
happened; however, as it ended in nothing, I could wish it might remain
a secret.” Booth told him he was heartily glad to find him so well, and
promised never to mention it more to any one.

The game at chess being but just begun, and neither of the parties
having gained any considerable advantage, they neither of them insisted
on continuing it; and now the colonel’s antagonist took his leave and
left the colonel and Booth together.

As soon as they were alone, the latter earnestly entreated the former to
acquaint him with the real cause of his anger; “for may I perish,” cries
Booth, “if I can even guess what I have ever done to offend either you,
or your brother. Colonel James.”

“Look’ee, child,” cries the colonel; “I tell you I am for my own part
satisfied; for I am convinced that a man who will fight can never be
a rascal; and, therefore, why should you enquire any more of me at
present? when I see my brother James, I hope to reconcile all matters,
and perhaps no more swords need be drawn on this occasion.” But Booth
still persisting in his desire, the colonel, after some hesitation,
with a tremendous oath, cried out, “I do not think myself at liberty to
refuse you after the indignity I offered you; so, since you demand it
of me, I will inform you. My brother told me you had used him
dishonourably, and had divellicated his character behind his back. He
gave me his word, too, that he was well assured of what he said. What
could I have done? though I own to you I did not believe him, and your
behaviour since hath convinced me I was in the right; I must either have
given him the lye, and fought with him, or else I was obliged to behave
as I did, and fight with you. And now, my lad, I leave it to you to do
as you please; but, if you are laid under any necessity to do yourself
further justice, it is your own fault.”

“Alas! colonel,” answered Booth, “besides the obligations I have to the
colonel, I have really so much love for him, that I think of nothing
less than resentment. All I wish is to have this affair brought to an
eclaircissement, and to satisfy him that he is in an error; for, though
his assertions are cruelly injurious, and I have never deserved them,
yet I am convinced he would not say what he did not himself think. Some
rascal, envious of his friendship for me, hath belyed me to him; and the
only resentment I desire is, to convince him of his mistake.”

At these words the colonel grinned horribly a ghastly smile, or rather
sneer, and answered, “Young gentleman, you may do as you please; but,
by the eternal dignity of man, if any man breathing had taken a liberty
with my character--Here, here--Mr. Booth (shewing his fingers), here
d--n me, should be his nostrils; he should breathe through my hands, and
breathe his last, d--n me.”

Booth answered, “I think, colonel, I may appeal to your testimony that I
dare do myself justice; since he who dare draw his sword against you can
hardly be supposed to fear any other person; but I repeat to you again
that I love Colonel James so well, and am so greatly obliged to him,
that it would be almost indifferent to me whether I directed my sword
against his breast or my own.”

The colonel’s muscles were considerably softened by Booth’s last speech;
but he again contracted them into a vast degree of fierceness before he
cried out--“Boy, thou hast reason enough to be vain; for thou art the
first person that ever could proudly say he gained an advantage over me
in combat. I believe, indeed, thou art not afraid of any man breathing,
and, as I know thou hast some obligations to my brother, I do not
discommend thee; for nothing more becomes the dignity of a man than
gratitude. Besides, as I am satisfied my brother can produce the author
of the slander--I say, I am satisfied of that--d--n me, if any man alive
dares assert the contrary; for that would be to make my brother himself
a liar--I will make him produce his author; and then, my dear boy, your
doing yourself proper justice there will bring you finely out of the
whole affair. As soon as my surgeon gives me leave to go abroad, which,
I hope, will be in a few days, I will bring my brother James to a tavern
where you shall meet us; and I will engage my honour, my whole dignity
to you, to make you friends.”

The assurance of the colonel gave Booth great pleasure; for few persons
ever loved a friend better than he did James; and as for doing military
justice on the author of that scandalous report which had incensed his
friend against him, not Bath himself was ever more ready, on such an
occasion, than Booth to execute it. He soon after took his leave, and
returned home in high spirits to his Amelia, whom he found in Mrs.
Ellison’s apartment, engaged in a party at ombre with that lady and her
right honourable cousin.

His lordship had, it seems, had a second interview with the great man,
and, having obtained further hopes (for I think there was not yet
an absolute promise) of success in Mr. Booth’s affairs, his usual
good-nature brought him immediately to acquaint Mr. Booth with it. As
he did not therefore find him at home, and as he met with the two ladies
together, he resolved to stay till his friend’s return, which he was
assured would not be long, especially as he was so lucky, he said, to
have no particular engagement that whole evening.

We remarked before that his lordship, at the first interview with
Amelia, had distinguished her by a more particular address from the
other ladies; but that now appeared to be rather owing to his perfect
good-breeding, as she was then to be considered as the mistress of the
house, than from any other preference. His present behaviour made this
still more manifest; for, as he was now in Mrs. Ellison’s apartment,
though she was his relation and an old acquaintance, he applied his
conversation rather more to her than to Amelia. His eyes, indeed, were
now and then guilty of the contrary distinction, but this was only by
stealth; for they constantly withdrew the moment they were discovered.
In short, he treated Amelia with the greatest distance, and at the same
time with the most profound and awful respect; his conversation was so
general, so lively, and so obliging, that Amelia, when she added to
his agreeableness the obligations she had to him for his friendship to
Booth, was certainly as much pleased with his lordship as any virtuous
woman can possibly be with any man, besides her own husband.



Chapter vii.

_Containing various matters._


We have already mentioned the good-humour in which Booth returned home;
and the reader will easily believe it was not a little encreased by the
good-humour in which he found his company. My lord received him with the
utmost marks of friendship and affection, and told him that his affairs
went on as well almost as he himself could desire, and that he doubted
not very soon to wish him joy of a company.

When Booth had made a proper return to all his lordship’s unparalleled
goodness, he whispered Amelia that the colonel was entirely out of
danger, and almost as well as himself. This made her satisfaction
complete, threw her into such spirits, and gave such a lustre to her
eyes, that her face, as Horace says, was too dazzling to be looked
at; it was certainly too handsome to be looked at without the highest
admiration.

His lordship departed about ten o’clock, and left the company in
raptures with him, especially the two ladies, of whom it is difficult
to say which exceeded the other in his commendations. Mrs. Ellison
swore she believed he was the best of all humankind; and Amelia, without
making any exception, declared he was the finest gentleman and most
agreeable man she had ever seen in her life; adding, it was great pity
he should remain single. “That’s true, indeed,” cries Mrs. Ellison, “and
I have often lamented it; nay, I am astonished at it, considering the
great liking he always shews for our sex, and he may certainly have
the choice of all. The real reason, I believe, is, his fondness for his
sister’s children. I declare, madam, if you was to see his behaviour to
them, you would think they were his own. Indeed he is vastly fond of all
manner of children.” “Good creature!” cries Amelia; “if ever he doth
me the honour of another visit I am resolved I will shew him my little
things. I think, Mrs. Ellison, as you say my lord loves children, I may
say, without vanity, he will not see many such.” “No, indeed, will he
not,” answered Mrs. Ellison: “and now I think on’t, madam, I wonder at
my own stupidity in never making the offer before; but since you put it
into my head, if you will give me leave, I’ll take master and miss
to wait on my lord’s nephew and niece. They are very pretty behaved
children; and little master and miss will be, I dare swear, very happy
in their acquaintance; besides, if my lord himself should see them, I
know what will happen; for he is the most generous of all human beings.”

Amelia very readily accepted the favour which Mrs. Ellison offered her;
but Booth exprest some reluctance. “Upon my word, my dear,” said he,
with a smile, “this behaviour of ours puts me in mind of the common
conduct of beggars; who, whenever they receive a favour, are sure to
send other objects to the same fountain of charity. Don’t we, my dear,
repay our obligations to my lord in the same manner, by sending our
children a begging to him?”

“O beastly!” cries Mrs. Ellison; “how could such a thought enter your
brains? I protest, madam, I begin to grow ashamed of this husband of
yours. How can you have so vulgar a way of thinking? Begging, indeed!
the poor little dear things a begging! If my lord was capable of such
a thought, though he was my own brother instead of my cousin, I should
scorn him too much ever to enter his doors.” “O dear madam!” answered
Amelia, “you take Mr. Booth too seriously, when he was only in jest; and
the children shall wait upon you whenever you please.”

Though Booth had been a little more in earnest than Amelia had
represented him, and was not, perhaps, quite so much in the wrong as
he was considered by Mrs. Ellison, yet, seeing there were two to one
against him, he wisely thought proper to recede, and let his simile go
off with that air of a jest which his wife had given it.

Mrs. Ellison, however, could not let it pass without paying some
compliments to Amelia’s understanding, nor without some obscure
reflexions upon Booth, with whom she was more offended than the matter
required. She was indeed a woman of most profuse generosity, and could
not bear a thought which she deemed vulgar or sneaking. She afterwards
launched forth the most profuse encomiums of his lordship’s liberality,
and concluded the evening with some instances which he had given of that
virtue which, if not the noblest, is, perhaps, one of the most useful to
society with which great and rich men can be endowed.

The next morning early, serjeant Atkinson came to wait on lieutenant
Booth, and desired to speak with his honour in private. Upon which the
lieutenant and serjeant took a walk together in the Park. Booth expected
every minute when the serjeant would open his mouth; under which
expectation he continued till he came to the end of the mall, and so he
might have continued till he came to the end of the world; for, though
several words stood at the end of the serjeant’s lips, there they were
likely to remain for ever. He was, indeed, in the condition of a miser,
whom a charitable impulse hath impelled to draw a few pence to the edge
of his pocket, where they are altogether as secure as if they were in
the bottom; for, as the one hath not the heart to part with a farthing,
so neither had the other the heart to speak a word.

Booth at length, wondering that the serjeant did not speak, asked him,
What his business was? when the latter with a stammering voice began the
following apology: “I hope, sir, your honour will not be angry, nor take
anything amiss of me. I do assure you, it was not of my seeking, nay, I
dare not proceed in the matter without first asking your leave. Indeed,
if I had taken any liberties from the goodness you have been pleased
to shew me, I should look upon myself as one of the most worthless and
despicable of wretches; but nothing is farther from my thoughts. I know
the distance which is between us; and, because your honour hath been
so kind and good as to treat me with more familiarity than any other
officer ever did, if I had been base enough to take any freedoms, or
to encroach upon your honour’s goodness, I should deserve to be whipt
through the regiment. I hope, therefore, sir, you will not suspect me of
any such attempt.”

“What can all this mean, Atkinson?” cries Booth; “what mighty matter
would you introduce with all this previous apology?”

“I am almost ashamed and afraid to mention it,” answered the serjeant;
“and yet I am sure your honour will believe what I have said, and not
think anything owing to my own presumption; and, at the same time, I
have no reason to think you would do anything to spoil my fortune in an
honest way, when it is dropt into my lap without my own seeking. For may
I perish if it is not all the lady’s own goodness, and I hope in Heaven,
with your honour’s leave, I shall live to make her amends for it.” In a
word, that we may not detain the reader’s curiosity quite so long as he
did Booth’s, he acquainted that gentleman that he had had an offer
of marriage from a lady of his acquaintance, to whose company he had
introduced him, and desired his permission to accept of it.

Booth must have been very dull indeed if, after what the serjeant had
said, and after what he had heard Mrs. Ellison say, he had wanted any
information concerning the lady. He answered him briskly and chearfully,
that he had his free consent to marry any woman whatever; “and the
greater and richer she is,” added he, “the more I shall be pleased with
the match. I don’t enquire who the lady is,” said he, smiling, “but I
hope she will make as good a wife as, I am convinced, her husband will
deserve.”

“Your honour hath been always too good to me,” cries Atkinson; “but this
I promise you, I will do all in my power to merit the kindness she is
pleased to shew me. I will be bold to say she will marry an honest man,
though he is but a poor one; and she shall never want anything which I
can give her or do for her, while my name is Joseph Atkinson.”

“And so her name is a secret, Joe, is it?” cries Booth.

“Why, sir,” answered the serjeant, “I hope your honour will not insist
upon knowing that, as I think it would be dishonourable in me to mention
it.”

“Not at all,” replied Booth; “I am the farthest in the world from any
such desire. I know thee better than to imagine thou wouldst disclose
the name of a fair lady.” Booth then shook Atkinson heartily by the
hand, and assured him earnestly of the joy he had in his good
fortune; for which the good serjeant failed not of making all proper
acknowledgments. After which they parted, and Booth returned home.

As Mrs. Ellison opened the door, Booth hastily rushed by; for he had
the utmost difficulty to prevent laughing in her face. He ran directly
up-stairs, and, throwing himself into a chair, discharged such a fit of
laughter as greatly surprized, and at first almost frightened, his wife.

Amelia, it will be supposed, presently enquired into the cause of this
phenomenon, with which Booth, as soon as he was able (for that was not
within a few minutes), acquainted her. The news did not affect her in
the same manner it had affected her husband. On the contrary, she cried,
“I protest I cannot guess what makes you see it in so ridiculous a
light. I really think Mrs. Ellison hath chosen very well. I am convinced
Joe will make her one of the best of husbands; and, in my opinion, that
is the greatest blessing a woman can be possessed of.”

However, when Mrs. Ellison came into her room a little while afterwards
to fetch the children, Amelia became of a more risible disposition,
especially when the former, turning to Booth, who was then present,
said, “So, captain, my jantee-serjeant was very early here this morning.
I scolded my maid heartily for letting him wait so long in the entry
like a lacquais, when she might have shewn him into my inner apartment.”
 At which words Booth burst out into a very loud laugh; and Amelia
herself could no more prevent laughing than she could blushing.

“Heyday!” cries Mrs. Ellison; “what have I said to cause all this
mirth?” and at the same time blushed, and looked very silly, as is
always the case with persons who suspect themselves to be the objects
of laughter, without absolutely taking what it is which makes them
ridiculous.

Booth still continued laughing; but Amelia, composing her muscles, said,
“I ask your pardon, dear Mrs. Ellison; but Mr. Booth hath been in a
strange giggling humour all this morning; and I really think it is
infectious.”

“I ask your pardon, too, madam,” cries Booth, “but one is sometimes
unaccountably foolish.”

“Nay, but seriously,” said she, “what is the matter?--something I said
about the serjeant, I believe; but you may laugh as much as you please;
I am not ashamed of owning I think him one of the prettiest fellows I
ever saw in my life; and, I own, I scolded my maid at suffering him to
wait in my entry; and where is the mighty ridiculous matter, pray?”

“None at all,” answered Booth; “and I hope the next time he will be
ushered into your inner apartment.”

“Why should he not, sir?” replied she, “for, wherever he is ushered, I
am convinced he will behave himself as a gentleman should.”

Here Amelia put an end to the discourse, or it might have proceeded to
very great lengths; for Booth was of a waggish inclination, and Mrs.
Ellison was not a lady of the nicest delicacy.



Chapter viii.

_The heroic behaviour of Colonel Bath._


Booth went this morning to pay a second visit to the colonel, where
he found Colonel James. Both the colonel and the lieutenant appeared a
little shocked at their first meeting, but matters were soon cleared up;
for the former presently advanced to the latter, shook him heartily
by the hand, and said, “Mr. Booth, I am ashamed to see you; for I
have injured you, and I heartily ask your pardon. I am now perfectly
convinced that what I hinted to my brother, and which I find had like to
have produced such fatal consequences, was entirely groundless. If
you will be contented with my asking your pardon, and spare me the
disagreeable remembrance of what led me into my error, I shall esteem it
as the highest obligation.”

Booth answered, “As to what regards yourself, my dear colonel, I am
abundantly satisfied; but, as I am convinced some rascal hath been my
enemy with you in the cruellest manner, I hope you will not deny me the
opportunity of kicking him through the world.”

“By all the dignity of man,” cries Colonel Bath, “the boy speaks with
spirit, and his request is reasonable.”

Colonel James hesitated a moment, and then whispered Booth that he would
give him all the satisfaction imaginable concerning the whole affair
when they were alone together; upon which, Booth addressing himself to
Colonel Bath, the discourse turned on other matters during the remainder
of the visit, which was but short, and then both went away together,
leaving Colonel Bath as well as it was possible to expect, more to the
satisfaction of Booth than of Colonel James, who would not have been
displeased if his wound had been more dangerous; for he was grown
somewhat weary of a disposition that he rather called captious than
heroic, and which, as he every day more and more hated his wife, he
apprehended might some time or other give him some trouble; for Bath was
the most affectionate of brothers, and had often swore, in the presence
of James, that he would eat any man alive who should use his sister ill.

Colonel Bath was well satisfied that his brother and the lieutenant were
gone out with a design of tilting, from which he offered not a syllable
to dissuade them, as he was convinced it was right, and that Booth could
not in honour take, nor the colonel give, any less satisfaction. When
they had been gone therefore about half an hour, he rang his bell
to enquire if there was any news of his brother; a question which he
repeated every ten minutes for the space of two hours, when, having
heard nothing of him, he began to conclude that both were killed on the
spot.

While he was in this state of anxiety his sister came to see him; for,
notwithstanding his desire of keeping it a secret, the duel had blazed
all over the town. After receiving some kind congratulations on his
safety, and some unkind hints concerning the warmth of his temper, the
colonel asked her when she had seen her husband? she answered not that
morning. He then communicated to her his suspicion, told her he was
convinced his brother had drawn his sword that day, and that, as neither
of them had heard anything from him, he began to apprehend the worst
that could happen.

Neither Miss Bellamy nor Mrs. Gibber were ever in a greater
consternation on the stage than now appeared in the countenance of Mrs.
James. “Good Heavens! brother,” cries she; “what do you tell me? you
have frightened me to death. Let your man get me a glass of water
immediately, if you have not a mind to see me die before your face.
When, where, how was this quarrel? why did you not prevent it if
you knew of it? is it not enough to be every day tormenting me with
hazarding your own life, but must you bring the life of one who you know
must be, and ought to be, so much the dearest of all to me, into danger?
take your sword, brother, take your sword, and plunge it into my bosom;
it would be kinder of you than to fill it with such dreads and terrors.”
 Here she swallowed the glass of water, and then threw herself back in
her chair, as if she had intended to faint away.

Perhaps, if she had so, the colonel would have lent her no assistance,
for she had hurt him more than by ten thousand stabs. He sat erect
in his chair, with his eyebrows knit, his forehead wrinkled, his eyes
flashing fire, his teeth grating against each other, and breathing
horrour all round him. In this posture he sat for some time silent,
casting disdainful looks at his sister. At last his voice found its
way through a passion which had almost choaked him, and he cried out,
“Sister, what have I done to deserve the opinion you express of me?
which of my actions hath made you conclude that I am a rascal and a
coward? look at that poor sword, which never woman yet saw but in its
sheath; what hath that done to merit your desire that it should be
contaminated with the blood of a woman?”

“Alas! brother,” cried she, “I know not what you say; you are desirous,
I believe, to terrify me out of the little senses I have left. What can
I have said, in the agonies of grief into which you threw me, to deserve
this passion?”

“What have you said?” answered the colonel: “you have said that which,
if a man had spoken, nay, d--n me, if he had but hinted that he durst
even think, I would have made him eat my sword; by all the dignity of
man, I would have crumbled his soul into powder. But I consider that the
words were spoken by a woman, and I am calm again. Consider, my dear,
that you are my sister, and behave yourself with more spirit. I have
only mentioned to you my surmise. It may not have happened as I suspect;
but, let what will have happened, you will have the comfort that your
husband hath behaved himself with becoming dignity, and lies in the bed
of honour.”

“Talk not to me of such comfort,” replied the lady; “it is a loss I
cannot survive. But why do I sit here lamenting myself? I will go this
instant and know the worst of my fate, if my trembling limbs will carry
me to my coach. Good morrow, dear brother; whatever becomes of me, I
am glad to find you out of danger.” The colonel paid her his proper
compliments, and she then left the room, but returned instantly back,
saying, “Brother, I must beg the favour of you to let your footman step
to my mantua-maker; I am sure it is a miracle, in my present distracted
condition, how it came into my head.” The footman was presently
summoned, and Mrs. James delivered him his message, which was to
countermand the orders which she had given that very morning to make her
up a new suit of brocade. “Heaven knows,” says she, “now when I can wear
brocade, or whether ever I shall wear it.” And now, having repeated
her message with great exactness, lest there should be any mistake, she
again lamented her wretched situation, and then departed, leaving the
colonel in full expectation of hearing speedy news of the fatal issue of
the battle.

But, though the reader should entertain the same curiosity, we must be
excused from satisfying it till we have first accounted for an incident
which we have related in this very chapter, and which, we think,
deserves some solution. The critic, I am convinced, already is apprized
that I mean the friendly behaviour of James to Booth, which, from what
we had before recorded, seemed so little to be expected.

It must be remembered that the anger which the former of these gentlemen
had conceived against the latter arose entirely from the false account
given by Miss Matthews of Booth, whom that lady had accused to Colonel
James of having as basely as wickedly traduced his character.

Now, of all the ministers of vengeance, there are none with whom the
devil deals so treacherously as with those whom he employs in executing
the mischievous purposes of an angry mistress; for no sooner is revenge
executed on an offending lover that it is sure to be repented; and all
the anger which before raged against the beloved object, returns with
double fury on the head of his assassin.

Miss Matthews, therefore, no, sooner heard that Booth was killed (for
so was the report at first, and by a colonel of the army) than she
immediately concluded it to be James. She was extremely shocked with the
news, and her heart instantly began to relent. All the reasons on
which she had founded her love recurred, in the strongest and liveliest
colours, to her mind, and all the causes of her hatred sunk down
and disappeared; or, if the least remembrance of anything which had
disobliged her remained, her heart became his zealous advocate, and soon
satisfied her that her own fates were more to be blamed than he, and
that, without being a villain, he could have acted no otherwise than he
had done.

In this temper of mind she looked on herself as the murderer of an
innocent man, and, what to her was much worse, of the man she had loved,
and still did love, with all the violence imaginable. She looked on
James as the tool with which she had done this murder; and, as it is
usual for people who have rashly or inadvertently made any animate or
inanimate thing the instrument of mischief to hate the innocent means by
which the mischief was effected (for this is a subtle method which the
mind invents to excuse ourselves, the last objects on whom we would
willingly wreak our vengeance), so Miss Matthews now hated and cursed
James as the efficient cause of that act which she herself had contrived
and laboured to carry into execution.

She sat down therefore in a furious agitation, little short of madness,
and wrote the following letter:

“I Hope this will find you in the hands of justice, for the murder of
one of the best friends that ever man was blest with. In one sense,
indeed, he may seem to have deserved his fate, by chusing a fool for a
friend; for who but a fool would have believed what the anger and rage
of an injured woman suggested; a story so improbable, that I could
scarce be thought in earnest when I mentioned it?

“Know, then, cruel wretch, that poor Booth loved you of all men
breathing, and was, I believe, in your commendation guilty of as much
falsehood as I was in what I told you concerning him.

“If this knowledge makes you miserable, it is no more than you have made
the unhappy F. MATTHEWS.”



Chapter ix.

_Being the last chapter of the fifth book._


We shall now return to Colonel James and Mr. Booth, who walked together
from Colonel Bath’s lodging with much more peaceable intention than that
gentleman had conjectured, who dreamt of nothing but swords and guns and
implements of wars.

The Birdcage-walk in the Park was the scene appointed by James for
unburthening his mind.--Thither they came, and there James acquainted
Booth with all that which the reader knows already, and gave him the
letter which we have inserted at the end of the last chapter.

Booth exprest great astonishment at this relation, not without venting
some detestation of the wickedness of Miss Matthews; upon which James
took him up, saying, he ought not to speak with such abhorrence of
faults which love for him had occasioned.

“Can you mention love, my dear colonel,” cried Booth, “and such a woman
in the same breath?”

“Yes, faith! can I,” says James; “for the devil take me if I know a more
lovely woman in the world.” Here he began to describe her whole person;
but, as we cannot insert all the description, so we shall omit it all;
and concluded with saying, “Curse me if I don’t think her the finest
creature in the universe. I would give half my estate, Booth, she loved
me as well as she doth you. Though, on second consideration, I believe I
should repent that bargain; for then, very possibly, I should not care a
farthing for her.”

“You will pardon me, dear colonel,” answered Booth; “but to me there
appears somewhat very singular in your way of thinking. Beauty is
indeed the object of liking, great qualities of admiration, good ones
of esteem; but the devil take me if I think anything but love to be the
object of love.”

“Is there not something too selfish,” replied James, “in that opinion?
but, without considering it in that light, is it not of all things
the most insipid? all oil! all sugar! zounds! it is enough to cloy the
sharp-set appetite of a parson. Acids surely are the most likely to
quicken.”

“I do not love reasoning in allegories,” cries Booth; “but with regard
to love, I declare I never found anything cloying in it. I have lived
almost alone with my wife near three years together, was never tired
with her company, nor ever wished for any other; and I am sure I never
tasted any of the acid you mention to quicken my appetite.”

“This is all very extraordinary and romantic to me,” answered the
colonel. “If I was to be shut up three years with the same woman, which
Heaven forbid! nothing, I think, could keep me alive but a temper as
violent as that of Miss Matthews. As to love, it would make me sick to
death in the twentieth part of that time. If I was so condemned, let me
see, what would I wish the woman to be? I think no one virtue would be
sufficient. With the spirit of a tigress I would have her be a prude,
a scold, a scholar, a critic, a wit, a politician, and a Jacobite;
and then, perhaps, eternal opposition would keep up our spirits; and,
wishing one another daily at the devil, we should make a shift to drag
on a damnable state of life, without much spleen or vapours.”

“And so you do not intend,” cries Booth, “to break with this woman?”

“Not more than I have already, if I can help it,” answered the colonel.

“And you will be reconciled to her?” said Booth.

“Yes, faith! will I, if I can,” answered the colonel; “I hope you have
no objection.”

“None, my dear friend,” said Booth, “unless on your account.”

“I do believe you,” said the colonel: “and yet, let me tell you, you
are a very extraordinary man, not to desire me to quit her on your own
account. Upon my soul, I begin to pity the woman, who hath placed her
affection, perhaps, on the only man in England of your age who would not
return it. But for my part, I promise you, I like her beyond all other
women; and, whilst that is the case, my boy, if her mind was as full of
iniquity as Pandora’s box was of diseases, I’d hug her close in my arms,
and only take as much care as possible to keep the lid down for fear of
mischief. But come, dear Booth,” said he, “let us consider your affairs;
for I am ashamed of having neglected them so long; and the only anger I
have against this wench is, that she was the occasion of it.”

Booth then acquainted the colonel with the promises he had received from
the noble lord, upon which James shook him by the hand, and heartily
wished him joy, crying, “I do assure you, if you have his interest, you
will need no other; I did not know you was acquainted with him.”

To which Mr. Booth answered, “That he was but a new acquaintance, and
that he was recommended to him by a lady.”

“A lady!” cries the colonel; “well, I don’t ask her name. You are a
happy man, Booth, amongst the women; and, I assure you, you could have
no stronger recommendation. The peer loves the ladies, I believe, as
well as ever Mark Antony did; and it is not his fault if he hath not
spent as much upon them. If he once fixes his eye upon a woman, he will
stick at nothing to get her.”

“Ay, indeed!” cries Booth. “Is that his character?”

“Ay, faith,” answered the colonel, “and the character of most men
besides him. Few of them, I mean, will stick at anything beside their
money. Jusque a la Bourse is sometimes the boundary of love as well as
friendship. And, indeed, I never knew any other man part with his money
so very freely on these occasions. You see, dear Booth, the confidence I
have in your honour.”

“I hope, indeed, you have,” cries Booth, “but I don’t see what instance
you now give me of that confidence.”

“Have not I shewn you,” answered James, “where you may carry your goods
to market? I can assure you, my friend, that is a secret I would
not impart to every man in your situation, and all circumstances
considered.”

“I am very sorry, sir,” cries Booth very gravely, and turning as pale
as death, “you should entertain a thought of this kind; a thought which
hath almost frozen up my blood. I am unwilling to believe there are such
villains in the world; but there is none of them whom I should detest
half so much as myself, if my own mind had ever suggested to me a hint
of that kind. I have tasted of some distresses of life, and I know not
to what greater I may be driven, but my honour, I thank Heaven, is in my
own power, and I can boldly say to Fortune she shall not rob me of it.”

“Have I not exprest that confidence, my dear Booth?” answered the
colonel. “And what you say now well justifies my opinion; for I do agree
with you that, considering all things, it would be the highest instance
of dishonour.”

“Dishonour, indeed!” returned Booth. “What! to prostitute my wife! Can I
think there is such a wretch breathing?”

“I don’t know that,” said the colonel, “but I am sure it was very far
from my intention to insinuate the least hint of any such matter to you.
Nor can I imagine how you yourself could conceive such a thought. The
goods I meant were no other than the charming person of Miss Matthews,
for whom I am convinced my lord would bid a swinging price against me.”

Booth’s countenance greatly cleared up at this declaration, and he
answered with a smile, that he hoped he need not give the colonel any
assurances on that head. However, though he was satisfied with regard to
the colonel’s suspicions, yet some chimeras now arose in his brain which
gave him no very agreeable sensations. What these were, the sagacious
reader may probably suspect; but, if he should not, we may perhaps have
occasion to open them in the sequel. Here we will put an end to this
dialogue, and to the fifth book of this history.



BOOK VI.



Chapter i.

_Panegyrics on beauty, with other grave matters._


The colonel and Booth walked together to the latter’s lodging, for as
it was not that day in the week in which all parts of the town are
indifferent, Booth could not wait on the colonel.

When they arrived in Spring-garden, Booth, to his great surprize, found
no one at home but the maid. In truth, Amelia had accompanied Mrs.
Ellison and her children to his lordship’s; for, as her little girl
showed a great unwillingness to go without her, the fond mother was
easily persuaded to make one of the company.

Booth had scarce ushered the colonel up to his apartment when a servant
from Mrs. James knocked hastily at the door. The lady, not meeting with
her husband at her return home, began to despair of him, and performed
everything which was decent on the occasion. An apothecary was presently
called with hartshorn and sal volatile, a doctor was sent for, and
messengers were despatched every way; amongst the rest, one was sent to
enquire at the lodgings of his supposed antagonist.

The servant hearing that his master was alive and well above-stairs, ran
up eagerly to acquaint him with the dreadful situation in which he left
his miserable lady at home, and likewise with the occasion of all her
distress, saying, that his lady had been at her brother’s, and had there
heard that his honour was killed in a duel by Captain Booth.

The colonel smiled at this account, and bid the servant make haste back
to contradict it. And then turning to Booth, he said, “Was there ever
such another fellow as this brother of mine? I thought indeed, his
behaviour was somewhat odd at the time. I suppose he overheard me
whisper that I would give you satisfaction, and thence concluded we
went together with a design of tilting. D--n the fellow, I begin to
grow heartily sick of him, and wish I could get well rid of him without
cutting his throat, which I sometimes apprehend he will insist on my
doing, as a return for my getting him made a lieutenant-colonel.”

Whilst these two gentlemen were commenting on the character of
the third, Amelia and her company returned, and all presently came
up-stairs, not only the children, but the two ladies, laden with
trinkets as if they had been come from a fair. Amelia, who had been
highly delighted all the morning with the excessive pleasure which
her children enjoyed, when she saw Colonel James with her husband, and
perceived the most manifest marks of that reconciliation which she knew
had been so long and so earnestly wished by Booth, became so transported
with joy, that her happiness was scarce capable of addition. Exercise
had painted her face with vermilion; and the highest good-humour had so
sweetened every feature, and a vast flow of spirits had so lightened up
her bright eyes, that she was all a blaze of beauty. She seemed, indeed,
as Milton sublimely describes Eve,

                                         --Adorn’d
     With what all Earth or Heaven could bestow
     To make her amiable.

Again:--

     Grace was in all her steps, Heaven in her eye,
     In every gesture, dignity and love.

Or, as Waller sweetly, though less sublimely sings:--

     Sweetness, truth, and every grace
     Which time and use are wont to teach,
     The eye may in a moment reach,
     And read distinctly in her face.

Or, to mention one poet more, and him of all the sweetest, she seemed
to be the very person of whom Suckling wrote the following lines, where,
speaking of Cupid, he says,

     All his lovely looks, his pleasing fires,
       All his sweet motions, all his taking smiles;
     All that awakes, all that inflames desires,
       All that sweetly commands, all that beguiles,
     He does into one pair of eyes convey,
       And there begs leave that he himself may stay.

Such was Amelia at this time when she entered the room; and, having paid
her respects to the colonel, she went up to her husband, and cried, “O,
my dear! never were any creatures so happy as your little things have
been this whole morning; and all owing to my lord’s goodness; sure
never was anything so good-natured and so generous!” She then made the
children produce their presents, the value of which amounted to a pretty
large sum; for there was a gold watch, amongst the trinkets, that cost
above twenty guineas.

Instead of discovering so much satisfaction on this occasion as Amelia
expected, Booth very gravely answered, “And pray, my dear, how are we
to repay all these obligations to his lordship?” “How can you ask so
strange a question?” cries Mrs. Ellison: “how little do you know of the
soul of generosity (for sure my cousin deserves that name) when you
call a few little trinkets given to children an obligation!” “Indeed,
my dear,” cries Amelia, “I would have stopped his hand if it had been
possible; nay, I was forced at last absolutely to refuse, or I believe
he would have laid a hundred pound out on the children; for I never saw
any one so fond of children, which convinces me he is one of the best
of men; but I ask your pardon, colonel,” said she, turning to him;
“I should not entertain you with these subjects; yet I know you have
goodness enough to excuse the folly of a mother.”

The colonel made a very low assenting bow, and soon after they all sat
down to a small repast; for the colonel had promised Booth to dine with
him when they first came home together, and what he had since heard
from his own house gave him still less inclination than ever to repair
thither.

But, besides both these, there was a third and stronger inducement to
him to pass the day with his friend, and this was the desire of passing
it with his friend’s wife. When the colonel had first seen Amelia in
France, she was but just recovered from a consumptive habit, and looked
pale and thin; besides, his engagements with Miss Bath at that time took
total possession of him, and guarded his heart from the impressions of
another woman; and, when he had dined with her in town, the vexations
through which she had lately passed had somewhat deadened her beauty;
besides, he was then engaged, as we have seen, in a very warm pursuit
of a new mistress, but now he had no such impediment; for, though the
reader hath just before seen his warm declarations of a passion for Miss
Matthews, yet it may be remembered that he had been in possession of her
for above a fortnight; and one of the happy properties of this kind of
passion is, that it can with equal violence love half a dozen or half a
score different objects at one and the same time.

But indeed such were the charms now displayed by Amelia, of which we
endeavoured above to draw some faint resemblance, that perhaps no other
beauty could have secured him from their influence; and here, to confess
a truth in his favour, however the grave or rather the hypocritical
part of mankind may censure it, I am firmly persuaded that to withdraw
admiration from exquisite beauty, or to feel no delight in gazing at it,
is as impossible as to feel no warmth from the most scorching rays of
the sun. To run away is all that is in our power; and in the former
case, if it must be allowed we have the power of running away, it must
be allowed also that it requires the strongest resolution to execute it;
for when, as Dryden says,

              All paradise is open’d in a face,

how natural is the desire of going thither! and how difficult to quit
the lovely prospect!

And yet, however difficult this may be, my young readers, it is
absolutely necessary, and that immediately too: flatter not yourselves
that fire will not scorch as well as warm, and the longer we stay within
its reach the more we shall burn. The admiration of a beautiful woman,
though the wife of our dearest friend, may at first perhaps be innocent,
but let us not flatter ourselves it will always remain so; desire
is sure to succeed; and wishes, hopes, designs, with a long train of
mischiefs, tread close at our heels. In affairs of this kind we may most
properly apply the well-known remark of _nemo repente fuit turpissimus._
It fares, indeed, with us on this occasion as with the unwary traveller
in some parts of Arabia the desert, whom the treacherous sands
imperceptibly betray till he is overwhelmed and lost. In both cases the
only safety is by withdrawing our feet the very first moment we perceive
them sliding.

This digression may appear impertinent to some readers; we could not,
however, avoid the opportunity of offering the above hints; since of
all passions there is none against which we should so strongly fortify
ourselves as this, which is generally called love; for no other lays
before us, especially in the tumultuous days of youth, such sweet,
such strong and almost irresistible temptations; none hath produced in
private life such fatal and lamentable tragedies; and what is worst of
all, there is none to whose poison and infatuation the best of minds are
so liable. Ambition scarce ever produces any evil but when it reigns in
cruel and savage bosoms; and avarice seldom flourishes at all but in the
basest and poorest soil. Love, on the contrary, sprouts usually up in
the richest and noblest minds; but there, unless nicely watched, pruned,
and cultivated, and carefully kept clear of those vicious weeds
which are too apt to surround it, it branches forth into wildness and
disorder, produces nothing desirable, but choaks up and kills whatever
is good and noble in the mind where it so abounds. In short, to drop the
allegory, not only tenderness and good nature, but bravery, generosity,
and every virtue are often made the instruments of effecting the most
atrocious purposes of this all-subduing tyrant.



Chapter ii.

_Which will not appear, we presume, unnatural to all married readers._


If the table of poor Booth afforded but an indifferent repast to the
colonel’s hunger, here was most excellent entertainment of a much higher
kind. The colonel began now to wonder within himself at his not having
before discovered such incomparable beauty and excellence. This wonder
was indeed so natural that, lest it should arise likewise in the reader,
we thought proper to give the solution of it in the preceding chapter.

During the first two hours the colonel scarce ever had his eyes off from
Amelia; for he was taken by surprize, and his heart was gone before
he suspected himself to be in any danger. His mind, however, no sooner
suggested a certain secret to him than it suggested some degree of
prudence to him at the same time; and the knowledge that he had thoughts
to conceal, and the care of concealing them, had birth at one and the
same instant. During the residue of the day, therefore, he grew more
circumspect, and contented himself with now and then stealing a look by
chance, especially as the more than ordinary gravity of Booth made him
fear that his former behaviour had betrayed to Booth’s observation the
great and sudden liking he had conceived for his wife, even before he
had observed it in himself.

Amelia continued the whole day in the highest spirits and highest good
humour imaginable, never once remarking that appearance of discontent
in her husband of which the colonel had taken notice; so much more
quick-sighted, as we have somewhere else hinted, is guilt than
innocence. Whether Booth had in reality made any such observations on
the colonel’s behaviour as he had suspected, we will not undertake to
determine; yet so far may be material to say, as we can with sufficient
certainty, that the change in Booth’s behaviour that day, from what
was usual with him, was remarkable enough. None of his former vivacity
appeared in his conversation; and his countenance was altered from being
the picture of sweetness and good humour, not indeed to sourness or
moroseness, but to gravity and melancholy.

Though the colonel’s suspicion had the effect which we have mentioned on
his behaviour, yet it could not persuade him to depart. In short, he sat
in his chair as if confined to it by enchantment, stealing looks now and
then, and humouring his growing passion, without having command enough
over his limbs to carry him out of the room, till decency at last forced
him to put an end to his preposterous visit. When the husband and
wife were left alone together, the latter resumed the subject of her
children, and gave Booth a particular narrative of all that had passed
at his lordship’s, which he, though something had certainly disconcerted
him, affected to receive with all the pleasure he could; and this
affectation, however aukwardly he acted his part, passed very well on
Amelia; for she could not well conceive a displeasure of which she had
not the least hint of any cause, and indeed at a time when, from his
reconciliation with James, she imagined her husband to be entirely and
perfectly happy.

The greatest part of that night Booth past awake; and, if during the
residue he might be said to sleep, he could scarce be said to enjoy
repose; his eyes were no sooner closed, that he was pursued and haunted
by the most frightful and terrifying dreams, which threw him into so
restless a condition, that he soon disturbed his Amelia, and greatly
alarmed her with apprehensions that he had been seized by some dreadful
disease, though he had not the least symptoms of a fever by any
extraordinary heat, or any other indication, but was rather colder than
usual.

As Booth assured his wife that he was very well, but found no
inclination to sleep, she likewise bid adieu to her slumbers, and
attempted to entertain him with her conversation. Upon which his
lordship occurred as the first topic; and she repeated to him all the
stories which she had heard from Mrs. Ellison, of the peer’s goodness to
his sister and his nephew and niece. “It is impossible, my dear,” says
she, “to describe their fondness for their uncle, which is to me an
incontestible sign of a parent’s goodness.” In this manner she ran on
for several minutes, concluding at last, that it was pity so very few
had such generous minds joined to immense fortunes.

Booth, instead of making a direct answer to what Amelia had said, cried
coldly, “But do you think, my dear, it was right to accept all those
expensive toys which the children brought home? And I ask you again,
what return we are to make for these obligations?”

“Indeed, my dear,” cries Amelia, “you see this matter in too serious
a light. Though I am the last person in the world who would lessen his
lordship’s goodness (indeed I shall always think we are both infinitely
obliged to him), yet sure you must allow the expense to be a mere trifle
to such a vast fortune. As for return, his own benevolence, in the
satisfaction it receives, more than repays itself, and I am convinced he
expects no other.”

“Very well, my dear,” cries Booth, “you shall have it your way; I must
confess I never yet found any reason to blame your discernment; and
perhaps I have been in the wrong to give myself so much uneasiness on
this account.”

“Uneasiness, child!” said Amelia eagerly; “Good Heavens! hath this made
you uneasy?”

“I do own it hath,” answered Booth, “and it hath been the only cause of
breaking my repose.”

“Why then I wish,” cries Amelia, “all the things had been at the devil
before ever the children had seen them; and, whatever I may think
myself, I promise you they shall never more accept the value of
a farthing:--if upon this occasion I have been the cause of your
uneasiness, you will do me the justice to believe that I was totally
innocent.”

At those words Booth caught her in his arms, and with the tenderest
embrace, emphatically repeating the word innocent, cried, “Heaven forbid
I should think otherwise! Oh, thou art the best of creatures that ever
blessed a man!”

“Well, but,” said she, smiling, “do confess, my dear, the truth; I
promise you I won’t blame you nor disesteem you for it; but is not pride
really at the bottom of this fear of an obligation?”

“Perhaps it may,” answered he; “or, if you will, you may call it fear.
I own I am afraid of obligations, as the worst kind of debts; for I
have generally observed those who confer them expect to be repaid ten
thousand-fold.”

Here ended all that is material of their discourse; and a little time
afterwards, they both fell fast asleep in one another’s arms; from which
time Booth had no more restlessness, nor any further perturbation in his
dreams.

Their repose, however, had been so much disturbed in the former part
of the night, that, as it was very late before they enjoyed that sweet
sleep I have just mentioned, they lay abed the next day till noon, when
they both rose with the utmost chearfulness; and, while Amelia bestirred
herself in the affairs of her family, Booth went to visit the wounded
colonel.

He found that gentleman still proceeding very fast in his recovery, with
which he was more pleased than he had reason to be with his reception;
for the colonel received him very coldly indeed, and, when Booth told
him he had received perfect satisfaction from his brother, Bath erected
his head and answered with a sneer, “Very well, sir, if you think these
matters can be so made up, d--n me if it is any business of mine. My
dignity hath not been injured.”

“No one, I believe,” cries Booth, “dare injure it.”

“You believe so!” said the colonel: “I think, sir, you might be assured
of it; but this, at least, you may be assured of, that if any man did,
I would tumble him down the precipice of hell, d--n me, that you may be
assured of.”

As Booth found the colonel in this disposition, he had no great
inclination to lengthen out his visit, nor did the colonel himself seem
to desire it: so he soon returned back to his Amelia, whom he found
performing the office of a cook, with as much pleasure as a fine lady
generally enjoys in dressing herself out for a ball.



Chapter iii.

_In which the history looks a little backwards._


Before we proceed farther in our history we shall recount a short scene
to our reader which passed between Amelia and Mrs. Ellison whilst Booth
was on his visit to Colonel Bath. We have already observed that Amelia
had conceived an extraordinary affection for Mrs. Bennet, which had
still encreased every time she saw her; she thought she discovered
something wonderfully good and gentle in her countenance and
disposition, and was very desirous of knowing her whole history.

She had a very short interview with that lady this morning in Mrs.
Ellison’s apartment. As soon, therefore, as Mrs. Bennet was gone, Amelia
acquainted Mrs. Ellison with the good opinion she had conceived of her
friend, and likewise with her curiosity to know her story: “For there
must be something uncommonly good,” said she, “in one who can so truly
mourn for a husband above three years after his death.”

“O!” cries Mrs. Ellison, “to be sure the world must allow her to have
been one of the best of wives. And, indeed, upon the whole, she is
a good sort of woman; and what I like her the best for is a strong
resemblance that she bears to yourself in the form of her person, and
still more in her voice. But for my own part, I know nothing remarkable
in her fortune, unless what I have told you, that she was the daughter
of a clergyman, had little or no fortune, and married a poor parson for
love, who left her in the utmost distress. If you please, I will shew
you a letter which she writ to me at that time, though I insist upon
your promise never to mention it to her; indeed, you will be the first
person I ever shewed it to.” She then opened her scrutore, and, taking
out the letter, delivered it to Amelia, saying, “There, madam, is, I
believe, as fine a picture of distress as can well be drawn.”

“DEAR MADAM,

“As I have no other friend on earth but yourself, I hope you will pardon
my writing to you at this season; though I do not know that you can
relieve my distresses, or, if you can, have I any pretence to expect
that you should. My poor dear, O Heavens--my---lies dead in the house;
and, after I had procured sufficient to bury him, a set of ruffians have
entered my house, seized all I have, have seized his dear, dear corpse,
and threaten to deny it burial. For Heaven’s sake, send me, at least,
some advice; little Tommy stands now by me crying for bread, which
I have not to give him. I can say no more than that I am Your most
distressed humble servant,                             M. BENNET.”

Amelia read the letter over twice, and then returning it with tears in
her eyes, asked how the poor creature could possibly get through such
distress.

“You may depend upon it, madam,” said Mrs. Ellison, “the moment I read
this account I posted away immediately to the lady. As to the seizing
the body, that I found was a mere bugbear; but all the rest was
literally true. I sent immediately for the same gentleman that I
recommended to Mr. Booth, left the care of burying the corpse to him,
and brought my friend and her little boy immediately away to my own
house, where she remained some months in the most miserable condition.
I then prevailed with her to retire into the country, and procured her
a lodging with a friend at St Edmundsbury, the air and gaiety of which
place by degrees recovered her; and she returned in about a twelve-month
to town, as well, I think, as she is at present.”

“I am almost afraid to ask,” cries Amelia, “and yet I long methinks to
know what is become of the poor little boy.”

“He hath been dead,” said Mrs. Ellison, “a little more than half a
year; and the mother lamented him at first almost as much as she did her
husband, but I found it indeed rather an easier matter to comfort her,
though I sat up with her near a fortnight upon the latter occasion.”

“You are a good creature,” said Amelia, “and I love you dearly.”

“Alas! madam,” cries she, “what could I have done if it had not been
for the goodness of that best of men, my noble cousin! His lordship no
sooner heard of the widow’s distress from me than he immediately settled
one hundred and fifty pounds a year upon her during her life.”

“Well! how noble, how generous was that!” said Amelia. “I declare I
begin to love your cousin, Mrs. Ellison.”

“And I declare if you do,” answered she, “there is no love lost, I
verily believe; if you had heard what I heard him say yesterday behind
your back---”

“Why, what did he say, Mrs. Ellison?” cries Amelia.

“He said,” answered the other, “that you was the finest woman his eyes
ever beheld.--Ah! it is in vain to wish, and yet I cannot help wishing
too.--O, Mrs. Booth! if you had been a single woman, I firmly believe I
could have made you the happiest in the world. And I sincerely think I
never saw a woman who deserved it more.”

“I am obliged to you, madam,” cries Amelia, “for your good opinion; but
I really look on myself already as the happiest woman in the world. Our
circumstances, it is true, might have been a little more fortunate; but
O, my dear Mrs. Ellison! what fortune can be put in the balance with
such a husband as mine?”

“I am afraid, dear madam,” answered Mrs. Ellison, “you would not hold
the scale fairly.--I acknowledge, indeed, Mr. Booth is a very pretty
gentleman; Heaven forbid I should endeavour to lessen him in your
opinion; yet, if I was to be brought to confession, I could not help
saying I see where the superiority lies, and that the men have more
reason to envy Mr. Booth than the women have to envy his lady.”

“Nay, I will not bear this,” replied Amelia. “You will forfeit all my
love if you have the least disrespectful opinion of my husband. You do
not know him, Mrs. Ellison; he is the best, the kindest, the worthiest
of all his sex. I have observed, indeed, once or twice before, that you
have taken some dislike to him. I cannot conceive for what reason. If
he hath said or done anything to disoblige you, I am sure I can justly
acquit him of design. His extreme vivacity makes him sometimes a little
too heedless; but, I am convinced, a more innocent heart, or one more
void of offence, was never in a human bosom.”

“Nay, if you grow serious,” cries Mrs. Ellison, “I have done. How is it
possible you should suspect I had taken any dislike to a man to whom I
have always shewn so perfect a regard; but to say I think him, or almost
any other man in the world, worthy of yourself, is not within my power
with truth. And since you force the confession from me, I declare, I
think such beauty, such sense, and such goodness united, might aspire
without vanity to the arms of any monarch in Europe.”

“Alas! my dear Mrs. Ellison,” answered Amelia, “do you think happiness
and a crown so closely united? how many miserable women have lain in
the arms of kings?--Indeed, Mrs. Ellison, if I had all the merit you
compliment me with, I should think it all fully rewarded with such a man
as, I thank Heaven, hath fallen to my lot; nor would I, upon my soul,
exchange that lot with any queen in the universe.”

“Well, there are enow of our sex,” said Mrs. Ellison, “to keep you in
countenance; but I shall never forget the beginning of a song of Mr.
Congreve’s, that my husband was so fond of that he was always singing
it:--

     Love’s but a frailty of the mind,
     When ‘tis not with ambition join’d.

Love without interest makes but an unsavoury dish, in my opinion.”

“And pray how long hath this been your opinion?” said Amelia, smiling.

“Ever since I was born,” answered Mrs. Ellison; “at least, ever since I
can remember.”

“And have you never,” said Amelia, “deviated from this generous way of
thinking?”

“Never once,” answered the other, “in the whole course of my life.”

“O, Mrs. Ellison! Mrs. Ellison!” cries Amelia; “why do we ever blame
those who are disingenuous in confessing their faults, when we are
so often ashamed to own ourselves in the right? Some women now, in my
situation, would be angry that you had not made confidantes of them;
but I never desire to know more of the secrets of others than they are
pleased to intrust me with. You must believe, however, that I should not
have given you these hints of my knowing all if I had disapproved your
choice. On the contrary, I assure you I highly approve it. The gentility
he wants, it will be easily in your power to procure for him; and as for
his good qualities, I will myself be bound for them; and I make not the
least doubt, as you have owned to me yourself that you have placed your
affections on him, you will be one of the happiest women in the world.”

“Upon my honour,” cries Mrs. Ellison very gravely, “I do not understand
one word of what you mean.”

“Upon my honour, you astonish me,” said Amelia; “but I have done.”

“Nay then,” said the other, “I insist upon knowing what you mean.”

“Why, what can I mean,” answered Amelia, “but your marriage with
serjeant Atkinson?”

“With serjeant Atkinson!” cries Mrs. Ellison eagerly, “my marriage with
a serjeant!”

“Well, with Mr. Atkinson, then, Captain Atkinson, if you please; for so
I hope to see him.”

“And have you really no better opinion of me,” said Mrs. Ellison, “than
to imagine me capable of such condescension? What have I done, dear
Mrs. Booth, to deserve so low a place in your esteem? I find indeed, as
Solomon says, _Women ought to watch the door of their lips._ How little
did I imagine that a little harmless freedom in discourse could persuade
any one that I could entertain a serious intention of disgracing my
family! for of a very good family am I come, I assure you, madam,
though I now let lodgings. Few of my lodgers, I believe, ever came of a
better.”

“If I have offended you, madam,” said Amelia, “I am very sorry, and ask
your pardon; but, besides what I heard from yourself, Mr. Booth told
me--”

“O yes!” answered Mrs. Ellison, “Mr. Booth, I know, is a very good
friend of mine. Indeed, I know you better than to think it could be your
own suspicion. I am very much obliged to Mr. Booth truly.”

“Nay,” cries Amelia, “the serjeant himself is in fault; for Mr. Booth, I
am positive, only repeated what he had from him.”

“Impudent coxcomb!” cries Mrs. Ellison. “I shall know how to keep such
fellows at a proper distance for the future--I will tell you, dear
madam, all that happened. When I rose in the morning I found the fellow
waiting in the entry; and, as you had exprest some regard for him as
your foster-brother--nay, he is a very genteel fellow, that I must
own--I scolded my maid for not shewing him into my little back-room;
and I then asked him to walk into the parlour. Could I have imagined he
would have construed such little civility into an encouragement?”

“Nay, I will have justice done to my poor brother too,” said Amelia. “I
myself have seen you give him much greater encouragement than that.”

“Well, perhaps I have,” said Mrs. Ellison. “I have been always too
unguarded in my speech, and can’t answer for all I have said.” She then
began to change her note, and, with an affected laugh, turned all into
ridicule; and soon afterwards the two ladies separated, both in apparent
good humour; and Amelia went about those domestic offices in which Mr.
Booth found her engaged at the end of the preceding chapter.



Chapter iv.

_Containing a very extraordinary incident._


In the afternoon Mr. Booth, with Amelia and her children, went to
refresh themselves in the Park. The conversation now turned on what past
in the morning with Mrs. Ellison, the latter part of the dialogue, I
mean, recorded in the last chapter. Amelia told her husband that Mrs.
Ellison so strongly denied all intentions to marry the serjeant, that
she had convinced her the poor fellow was under an error, and had
mistaken a little too much levity for serious encouragement; and
concluded by desiring Booth not to jest with her any more on that
subject.

Booth burst into a laugh at what his wife said. “My dear creature,”
 said he, “how easily is thy honesty and simplicity to be imposed on! how
little dost thou guess at the art and falsehood of women! I knew a young
lady who, against her father’s consent, was married to a brother officer
of mine; and, as I often used to walk with her (for I knew her father
intimately well), she would of her own accord take frequent occasions to
ridicule and vilify her husband (for so he was at the time), and exprest
great wonder and indignation at the report which she allowed to prevail
that she should condescend ever to look at such a fellow with any other
design than of laughing at and despising him. The marriage afterwards
became publicly owned, and the lady was reputably brought to bed. Since
which I have often seen her; nor hath she ever appeared to be in the
least ashamed of what she had formerly said, though, indeed, I believe
she hates me heartily for having heard it.”

“But for what reason,” cries Amelia, “should she deny a fact, when she
must be so certain of our discovering it, and that immediately?”

“I can’t answer what end she may propose,” said Booth. “Sometimes one
would be almost persuaded that there was a pleasure in lying itself. But
this I am certain, that I would believe the honest serjeant on his bare
word sooner than I would fifty Mrs. Ellisons on oath. I am convinced
he would not have said what he did to me without the strongest
encouragement; and, I think, after what we have been both witnesses to,
it requires no great confidence in his veracity to give him an unlimited
credit with regard to the lady’s behaviour.”

To this Amelia made no reply; and they discoursed of other matters
during the remainder of a very pleasant walk.

When they returned home Amelia was surprized to find an appearance of
disorder in her apartment. Several of the trinkets which his lordship
had given the children lay about the room; and a suit of her own
cloaths, which she had left in her drawers, was now displayed upon the
bed.

She immediately summoned her little girl up-stairs, who, as she plainly
perceived the moment she came up with a candle, had half cried her eyes
out; for, though the girl had opened the door to them, as it was
almost dark, she had not taken any notice of this phenomenon in her
countenance.

The girl now fell down upon her knees and cried, “For Heaven’s sake,
madam, do not be angry with me. Indeed, I was left alone in the house;
and, hearing somebody knock at the door, I opened it--I am sure thinking
no harm. I did not know but it might have been you, or my master, or
Madam Ellison; and immediately as I did, the rogue burst in and ran
directly up-stairs, and what he hath robbed you of I cannot tell; but
I am sure I could not help it, for he was a great swinging man with
a pistol in each hand; and, if I had dared to call out, to be sure he
would have killed me. I am sure I was never in such a fright in my born
days, whereof I am hardly come to myself yet. I believe he is somewhere
about the house yet, for I never saw him go out.”

Amelia discovered some little alarm at this narrative, but much less
than many other ladies would have shewn, for a fright is, I believe,
sometimes laid hold of as an opportunity of disclosing several charms
peculiar to that occasion. And which, as Mr. Addison says of certain
virtues,

     Shun the day, and lie conceal’d
     In the smooth seasons and the calms of life.

Booth, having opened the window, and summoned in two chairmen to his
assistance, proceeded to search the house; but all to no purpose; the
thief was flown, though the poor girl, in her state of terror, had not
seen him escape.

But now a circumstance appeared which greatly surprized both Booth and
Amelia; indeed, I believe it will have the same effect on the reader;
and this was, that the thief had taken nothing with him. He had, indeed,
tumbled over all Booth’s and Amelia’s cloaths and the children’s toys,
but had left all behind him.

Amelia was scarce more pleased than astonished at this discovery,
and re-examined the girl, assuring her of an absolute pardon if she
confessed the truth, but grievously threatening her if she was found
guilty of the least falsehood. “As for a thief, child,” says she, “that
is certainly not true; you have had somebody with you to whom you have
been shewing the things; therefore tell me plainly who it was.”

The girl protested in the solemnest manner that she knew not the person;
but as to some circumstances she began to vary a little from her
first account, particularly as to the pistols, concerning which, being
strictly examined by Booth, she at last cried--“To be sure, sir, he must
have had pistols about him.” And instead of persisting in his having
rushed in upon her, she now confessed that he had asked at the door
for her master and mistress; and that at his desire she had shewn him
up-stairs, where he at first said he would stay till their return home;
“but, indeed,” cried she, “I thought no harm, for he looked like a
gentleman-like sort of man. And, indeed, so I thought he was for a good
while, whereof he sat down and behaved himself very civilly, till he saw
some of master’s and miss’s things upon the chest of drawers; whereof
he cried, ‘Hey-day! what’s here?’ and then he fell to tumbling about the
things like any mad. Then I thinks, thinks I to myself, to be sure he
is a highwayman, whereof I did not dare speak to him; for I knew Madam
Ellison and her maid was gone out, and what could such a poor girl as I
do against a great strong man? and besides, thinks I, to be sure he hath
got pistols about him, though I can’t indeed, (that I will not do for
the world) take my Bible-oath that I saw any; yet to be sure he would
have soon pulled them out and shot me dead if I had ventured to have
said anything to offend him.”

“I know not what to make of this,” cries Booth. “The poor girl, I verily
believe, speaks to the best of her knowledge. A thief it could not be,
for he hath not taken the least thing; and it is plain he had the girl’s
watch in his hand. If it had been a bailiff, surely he would have staid
till our return. I can conceive no other from the girl’s account than
that it must have been some madman.”

“O good sir!” said the girl, “now you mention it, if he was not a thief,
to be sure he must have been a madman: for indeed he looked, and behaved
himself too, very much like a madman; for, now I remember it, he
talked to himself and said many strange kind of words that I did not
understand. Indeed, he looked altogether as I have seen people in
Bedlam; besides, if he was not a madman, what good could it do him
to throw the things all about the room in such a manner? and he said
something too about my master just before he went down-stairs. I was in
such a fright I cannot remember particularly, but I am sure they were
very ill words; he said he would do for him--I am sure he said that, and
other wicked bad words too, if I could but think of them.”

“Upon my word,” said Booth, “this is the most probable conjecture; but
still I am puzzled to conceive who it should be, for I have no madman
to my knowledge of my acquaintance, and it seems, as the girl says, he
asked for me.” He then turned to the child, and asked her if she was
certain of that circumstance.

The poor maid, after a little hesitation, answered, “Indeed, sir, I
cannot be very positive; for the fright he threw me into afterwards
drove everything almost out of my mind.”

“Well, whatever he was,” cries Amelia, “I am glad the consequence is no
worse; but let this be a warning to you, little Betty, and teach you to
take more care for the future. If ever you should be left alone in the
house again, be sure to let no persons in without first looking out at
the window and seeing who they are. I promised not to chide you any
more on this occasion, and I will keep my word; but it is very plain you
desired this person to walk up into our apartment, which was very wrong
in our absence.”

Betty was going to answer, but Amelia would not let her, saying, “Don’t
attempt to excuse yourself; for I mortally hate a liar, and can forgive
any fault sooner than falsehood.”

The poor girl then submitted; and now Amelia, with her assistance, began
to replace all things in their order; and little Emily hugging her watch
with great fondness, declared she would never part with it any more.

Thus ended this odd adventure, not entirely to the satisfaction of
Booth; for, besides his curiosity, which, when thoroughly roused, is a
very troublesome passion, he had, as is I believe usual with all persons
in his circumstances, several doubts and apprehensions of he knew not
what. Indeed, fear is never more uneasy than when it doth not certainly
know its object; for on such occasions the mind is ever employed in
raising a thousand bugbears and fantoms, much more dreadful than any
realities, and, like children when they tell tales of hobgoblins, seems
industrious in terrifying itself.



Chapter v.

_Containing some matters not very unnatural._


Matters were scarce sooner reduced into order and decency than a violent
knocking was heard at the door, such indeed as would have persuaded
any one not accustomed to the sound that the madman was returned in the
highest spring-tide of his fury.

Instead, however, of so disagreeable an appearance, a very fine lady
presently came into the room, no other, indeed, than Mrs. James herself;
for she was resolved to shew Amelia, by the speedy return of her visit,
how unjust all her accusation had been of any failure in the duties of
friendship; she had, moreover, another reason to accelerate this visit,
and that was, to congratulate her friend on the event of the duel
between Colonel Bath and Mr. Booth.

The lady had so well profited by Mrs. Booth’s remonstrance, that she
had now no more of that stiffness and formality which she had worn on
a former occasion. On the contrary, she now behaved with the utmost
freedom and good-humour, and made herself so very agreeable, that Amelia
was highly pleased and delighted with her company.

An incident happened during this visit, that may appear to some too
inconsiderable in itself to be recorded; and yet, as it certainly
produced a very strong consequence in the mind of Mr. Booth, we cannot
prevail on ourselves to pass it by.

Little Emily, who was present in the room while Mrs. James was there,
as she stood near that lady happened to be playing with her watch, which
she was so greatly overjoyed had escaped safe from the madman. Mrs.
James, who exprest great fondness for the child, desired to see the
watch, which she commended as the prettiest of the kind she had ever
seen.

Amelia caught eager hold of this opportunity to spread the praises of
her benefactor. She presently acquainted Mrs. James with the donor’s
name, and ran on with great encomiums on his lordship’s goodness,
and particularly on his generosity. To which Mrs. James answered, “O!
certainly, madam, his lordship hath universally the character of being
extremely generous-where he likes.”

In uttering these words she laid a very strong emphasis on the three
last monosyllables, accompanying them at the same time with a very
sagacious look, a very significant leer, and a great flirt with her fan.

The greatest genius the world hath ever produced observes, in one of his
most excellent plays, that

     Trifles, light as air,
     Are to the jealous confirmations strong
     As proofs of holy writ.

That Mr. Booth began to be possessed by this worst of fiends, admits, I
think, no longer doubt; for at this speech of Mrs. James he immediately
turned pale, and, from a high degree of chearfulness, was all on a
sudden struck dumb, so that he spoke not another word till Mrs. James
left the room.

The moment that lady drove from the door Mrs. Ellison came up-stairs.
She entered the room with a laugh, and very plentifully rallied both
Booth and Amelia concerning the madman, of which she had received a full
account below-stairs; and at last asked Amelia if she could not guess
who it was; but, without receiving an answer, went on, saying, “For my
own part, I fancy it must be some lover of yours! some person that hath
seen you, and so is run mad with love. Indeed, I should not wonder if
all mankind were to do the same. La! Mr. Booth, what makes you grave?
why, you are as melancholy as if you had been robbed in earnest. Upon
my word, though, to be serious, it is a strange story, and, as the girl
tells it, I know not what to make of it. Perhaps it might be some rogue
that intended to rob the house, and his heart failed him; yet even that
would be very extraordinary. What, did you lose nothing, madam?”

“Nothing at all,” answered Amelia. “He did not even take the child’s
watch.”

“Well, captain,” cries Mrs. Ellison, “I hope you will take more care of
the house to-morrow; for your lady and I shall leave you alone to the
care of it. Here, madam,” said she, “here is a present from my lord to
us; here are two tickets for the masquerade at Ranelagh. You will be so
charmed with it! It is the sweetest of all diversions.”

“May I be damned, madam,” cries Booth, “if my wife shall go thither.”

Mrs. Ellison stared at these words, and, indeed, so did Amelia; for they
were spoke with great vehemence. At length the former cried out with an
air of astonishment, “Not let your lady go to Ranelagh, sir?”

“No, madam,” cries Booth, “I will not let my wife go to Ranelagh.”

“You surprize me!” cries Mrs. Ellison. “Sure, you are not in earnest?”

“Indeed, madam,” returned he, “I am seriously in earnest. And, what is
more, I am convinced she would of her own accord refuse to go.”

“Now, madam,” said Mrs. Ellison, “you are to answer for yourself: and
I will for your husband, that, if you have a desire to go, he will not
refuse you.”

“I hope, madam,” answered Amelia with great gravity, “I shall never
desire to go to any place contrary to Mr. Booth’s inclinations.”

“Did ever mortal hear the like?” said Mrs. Ellison; “you are enough to
spoil the best husband in the universe. Inclinations! what, is a woman
to be governed then by her husband’s inclinations, though they are never
so unreasonable?”

“Pardon me, madam,” said Amelia; “I will not suppose Mr. Booth’s
inclinations ever can be unreasonable. I am very much obliged to you for
the offer you have made me; but I beg you will not mention it any more;
for, after what Mr. Booth hath declared, if Ranelagh was a heaven upon
earth, I would refuse to go to it.”

“I thank you, my dear,” cries Booth; “I do assure you, you oblige me
beyond my power of expression by what you say; but I will endeavour to
shew you, both my sensibility of such goodness, and my lasting gratitude
to it.”

“And pray, sir,” cries Mrs. Ellison, “what can be your objection to your
lady’s going to a place which, I will venture to say, is as reputable as
any about town, and which is frequented by the best company?”

“Pardon me, good Mrs. Ellison,” said Booth: “as my wife is so good to
acquiesce without knowing my reasons, I am not, I think, obliged to
assign them to any other person.”

“Well,” cries Mrs. Ellison, “if I had been told this, I would not have
believed it. What, refuse your lady an innocent diversion, and that too
when you have not the pretence to say it would cost you a farthing?”

“Why will you say any more on this subject, dear madam?” cries Amelia.
“All diversions are to me matters of such indifference, that the bare
inclinations of any one for whom I have the least value would at all
times turn the balance of mine. I am sure then, after what Mr. Booth
hath said--”

“My dear,” cries he, taking her up hastily, “I sincerely ask your
pardon; I spoke inadvertently, and in a passion. I never once thought
of controuling you, nor ever would. Nay, I said in the same breath you
would not go; and, upon my honour, I meant nothing more.”

“My dear,” said she, “you have no need of making any apology. I am not
in the least offended, and am convinced you will never deny me what I
shall desire.”

“Try him, try him, madam,” cries Mrs. Ellison; “I will be judged by
all the women in town if it is possible for a wife to ask her husband
anything more reasonable. You can’t conceive what a sweet, charming,
elegant, delicious place it is. Paradise itself can hardly be equal to
it.”

“I beg you will excuse me, madam,” said Amelia; “nay, I entreat you will
ask me no more; for be assured I must and will refuse. Do let me desire
you to give the ticket to poor Mrs. Bennet. I believe it would greatly
oblige her.”

“Pardon me, madam,” said Mrs. Ellison; “if you will not accept of it, I
am not so distressed for want of company as to go to such a public
place with all sort of people neither. I am always very glad to see Mrs.
Bennet at my own house, because I look upon her as a very good sort of
woman; but I don’t chuse to be seen with such people in public places.”

Amelia exprest some little indignation at this last speech, which she
declared to be entirely beyond her comprehension; and soon after, Mrs.
Ellison, finding all her efforts to prevail on Amelia were ineffectual,
took her leave, giving Mr. Booth two or three sarcastical words, and a
much more sarcastical look, at her departure.



Chapter vi.

_A scene in which some ladies will possibly think Amelia’s conduct
exceptionable._


Booth and his wife being left alone, a solemn silence prevailed during
a few minutes. At last Amelia, who, though a good, was yet a human
creatures said to her husband, “Pray, my dear, do inform me what could
put you into so great a passion when Mrs. Ellison first offered me the
tickets for this masquerade?”

“I had rather you would not ask me,” said Booth. “You have obliged me
greatly in your ready acquiescence with my desire, and you will add
greatly to the obligation by not enquiring the reason of it. This you
may depend upon, Amelia, that your good and happiness are the great
objects of all my wishes, and the end I propose in all my actions. This
view alone could tempt me to refuse you anything, or to conceal anything
from you.”

“I will appeal to yourself,” answered she, “whether this be not using
me too much like a child, and whether I can possibly help being a little
offended at it?”

“Not in the least,” replied he; “I use you only with the tenderness of
a friend. I would only endeavour to conceal that from you which I think
would give you uneasiness if you knew. These are called the pious frauds
of friendship.”

“I detest all fraud,” says she; “and pious is too good an epithet to be
joined to so odious a word. You have often, you know, tried these frauds
with no better effect than to teize and torment me. You cannot imagine,
my dear, but that I must have a violent desire to know the reason of
words which I own I never expected to have heard. And the more you have
shown a reluctance to tell me, the more eagerly I have longed to know.
Nor can this be called a vain curiosity, since I seem so much interested
in this affair. If after all this, you still insist on keeping the
secret, I will convince you I am not ignorant of the duty of a wife by
my obedience; but I cannot help telling you at the same time you will
make me one of the most miserable of women.”

“That is,” cries he, “in other words, my dear Emily, to say, I will
be contented without the secret, but I am resolved to know it,
nevertheless.”

“Nay, if you say so,” cries she, “I am convinced you will tell me.
Positively, dear Billy, I must and will know.”

“Why, then, positively,” says Booth, “I will tell you. And I think I
shall then shew you that, however well you may know the duty of a wife,
I am not always able to behave like a husband. In a word then, my dear,
the secret is no more than this; I am unwilling you should receive any
more presents from my lord.”

“Mercy upon me!” cries she, with all the marks of astonishment; “what! a
masquerade ticket!”--

“Yes, my dear,” cries he; “that is, perhaps, the very worst and most
dangerous of all. Few men make presents of those tickets to ladies
without intending to meet them at the place. And what do we know of your
companion? To be sincere with you, I have not liked her behaviour for
some time. What might be the consequence of going with such a woman to
such a place, to meet such a person, I tremble to think. And now, my
dear, I have told you my reason of refusing her offer with some little
vehemence, and I think I need explain myself no farther.”

“You need not, indeed, sir,” answered she. “Good Heavens! did I ever
expect to hear this? I can appeal to heaven, nay, I will appeal to
yourself, Mr. Booth, if I have ever done anything to deserve such a
suspicion. If ever any action of mine, nay, if ever any thought, had
stained the innocence of my soul, I could be contented.”

“How cruelly do you mistake me!” said Booth. “What suspicion have I ever
shewn?”

“Can you ask it,” answered she, “after what you have just now declared?”

“If I have declared any suspicion of you,” replied he, “or if ever I
entertained a thought leading that way, may the worst of evils that
ever afflicted human nature attend me! I know the pure innocence of that
tender bosom, I do know it, my lovely angel, and adore it. The snares
which might be laid for that innocence were alone the cause of my
apprehension. I feared what a wicked and voluptuous man, resolved to
sacrifice everything to the gratification of a sensual appetite with the
most delicious repast, might attempt. If ever I injured the unspotted
whiteness of thy virtue in my imagination, may hell---”

“Do not terrify me,” cries she, interrupting him, “with such
imprecations. O, Mr. Booth! Mr. Booth! you must well know that a woman’s
virtue is always her sufficient guard. No husband, without suspecting
that, can suspect any danger from those snares you mention; and why,
if you are liable to take such things into your head, may not your
suspicions fall on me as well as on any other? for sure nothing was ever
more unjust, I will not say ungrateful, than the suspicions which you
have bestowed on his lordship. I do solemnly declare, in all the times
I have seen the poor man, he hath never once offered the least
forwardness. His behaviour hath been polite indeed, but rather
remarkably distant than otherwise. Particularly when we played at cards
together. I don’t remember he spoke ten words to me all the evening;
and when I was at his house, though he shewed the greatest fondness
imaginable to the children, he took so little notice of me, that a vain
woman would have been very little pleased with him. And if he gave them
many presents, he never offered me one. The first, indeed, which he ever
offered me was that which you in that kind manner forced me to refuse.”

“All this may be only the effect of art,” said Booth. “I am convinced
he doth, nay, I am convinced he must like you; and my good friend
James, who perfectly well knows the world, told me, that his lordship’s
character was that of the most profuse in his pleasures with women;
nay, what said Mrs. James this very evening? ‘His lordship is extremely
generous--where he likes.’ I shall never forget the sneer with which she
spoke those last words.”

“I am convinced they injure him,” cries Amelia. “As for Mrs. James, she
was always given to be censorious; I remarked it in her long ago, as her
greatest fault. And for the colonel, I believe he may find faults enow
of this kind in his own bosom, without searching after them among his
neighbours. I am sure he hath the most impudent look of all the men I
know; and I solemnly declare, the very last time he was here he put me
out of countenance more than once.”

“Colonel James,” answered Booth, “may have his faults very probably. I
do not look upon him as a saint, nor do I believe he desires I should;
but what interest could he have in abusing this lord’s character to me?
or why should I question his truth, when he assured me that my lord had
never done an act of beneficence in his life but for the sake of some
woman whom he lusted after?”

“Then I myself can confute him,” replied Amelia: “for, besides his
services to you, which, for the future, I shall wish to forget, and his
kindness to my little babes, how inconsistent is the character which
James gives of him with his lordship’s behaviour to his own nephew and
niece, whose extreme fondness of their uncle sufficiently proclaims his
goodness to them? I need not mention all that I have heard from Mrs.
Ellison, every word of which I believe; for I have great reason to
think, notwithstanding some little levity, which, to give her her due,
she sees and condemns in herself, she is a very good sort of woman.”

“Well, my dear,” cries Booth, “I may have been deceived, and I heartily
hope I am so; but in cases of this nature it is always good to be on the
surest side; for, as Congreve says,

              ‘The wise too jealous are: fools too secure.’”

Here Amelia burst into tears, upon which Booth immediately caught her in
his arms, and endeavoured to comfort her. Passion, however, for a while
obstructed her speech, and at last she cried, “O, Mr. Booth! can I bear
to hear the word jealousy from your mouth?”

“Why, my love,” said Booth, “will you so fatally misunderstand my
meaning? how often shall I protest that it is not of you, but of him,
that I was jealous? If you could look into my breast, and there read all
the most secret thoughts of my heart, you would not see one faint idea
to your dishonour.”

“I don’t misunderstand you, my dear,” said she, “so much as I am afraid
you misunderstand yourself. What is it you fear?--you mention not force,
but snares. Is not this to confess, at least, that you have some doubt
of my understanding? do you then really imagine me so weak as to be
cheated of my virtue?--am I to be deceived into an affection for a man
before I perceive the least inward hint of my danger? No, Mr. Booth,
believe me, a woman must be a fool indeed who can have in earnest such
an excuse for her actions. I have not, I think, any very high opinion
of my judgment, but so far I shall rely upon it, that no man breathing
could have any such designs as you have apprehended without my
immediately seeing them; and how I should then act I hope my whole
conduct to you hath sufficiently declared.”

“Well, my dear,” cries Booth, “I beg you will mention it no more; if
possible, forget it. I hope, nay, I believe, I have been in the wrong;
pray forgive me.”

“I will, I do forgive you, my dear,” said she, “if forgiveness be a
proper word for one whom you have rather made miserable than angry;
but let me entreat you to banish for ever all such suspicions from your
mind. I hope Mrs. Ellison hath not discovered the real cause of your
passion; but, poor woman, if she had, I am convinced it would go no
farther. Oh, Heavens! I would not for the world it should reach his
lordship’s ears. You would lose the best friend that ever man had. Nay,
I would not for his own sake, poor man; for I really believe it would
affect him greatly, and I must, I cannot help having an esteem for so
much goodness. An esteem which, by this dear hand,” said she, taking
Booth’s hand and kissing it, “no man alive shall ever obtain by making
love to me.”

Booth caught her in his arms and tenderly embraced her. After which the
reconciliation soon became complete; and Booth, in the contemplation of
his happiness, entirely buried all his jealous thoughts.



Chapter vii.

_A chapter in which there is much learning._


The next morning, whilst Booth was gone to take his morning walk, Amelia
went down into Mrs. Ellison’s apartment, where, though she was received
with great civility, yet she found that lady was not at all pleased
with Mr. Booth; and, by some hints which dropt from her in conversation,
Amelia very greatly apprehended that Mrs. Ellison had too much suspicion
of her husband’s real uneasiness; for that lady declared very openly she
could not help perceiving what sort of man Mr. Booth was: “And though I
have the greatest regard for you, madam, in the world,” said she, “yet
I think myself in honour obliged not to impose on his lordship, who, I
know very well, hath conceived his greatest liking to the captain on my
telling him that he was the best husband in the world.”

Amelia’s fears gave her much disturbance, and when her husband returned
she acquainted him with them; upon which occasion, as it was natural,
she resumed a little the topic of their former discourse, nor could she
help casting, though in very gentle terms, some slight blame on Booth
for having entertained a suspicion which, she said, might in its
consequence very possibly prove their ruin, and occasion the loss of his
lordship’s friendship.

Booth became highly affected with what his wife said, and the more, as
he had just received a note from Colonel James, informing him that the
colonel had heard of a vacant company in the regiment which Booth had
mentioned to him, and that he had been with his lordship about it, who
had promised to use his utmost interest to obtain him the command.

The poor man now exprest the utmost concern for his yesterday’s
behaviour, said “he believed the devil had taken possession of him,” and
concluded with crying out, “Sure I was born, my dearest creature, to be
your torment.”

Amelia no sooner saw her husband’s distress than she instantly forbore
whatever might seem likely to aggravate it, and applied herself, with
all her power, to comfort him. “If you will give me leave to offer my
advice, my dearest soul,” said she, “I think all might yet be remedied.
I think you know me too well to suspect that the desire of diversion
should induce me to mention what I am now going to propose; and in that
confidence I will ask you to let me accept my lord’s and Mrs. Ellison’s
offer, and go to the masquerade. No matter how little while I stay
there; if you desire it I will not be an hour from you. I can make an
hundred excuses to come home, or tell a real truth, and say I am tired
with the place. The bare going will cure everything.”

Amelia had no sooner done speaking than Booth immediately approved
her advice, and readily gave his consent. He could not, however, help
saying, that the shorter her stay was there, the more agreeable it would
be to him; “for you know, my dear,” said he, “I would never willingly be
a moment out of your sight.”

In the afternoon Amelia sent to invite Mrs. Ellison to a dish of tea;
and Booth undertook to laugh off all that had passed yesterday, in which
attempt the abundant good humour of that lady gave him great hopes of
success.

Mrs. Bennet came that afternoon to make a visit, and was almost an hour
with Booth and Amelia before the entry of Mrs. Ellison.

Mr. Booth had hitherto rather disliked this young lady, and had wondered
at the pleasure which Amelia declared she took in her company. This
afternoon, however, he changed his opinion, and liked her almost as much
as his wife had done. She did indeed behave at this time with more than
ordinary gaiety; and good humour gave a glow to her countenance that
set off her features, which were very pretty, to the best advantage, and
lessened the deadness that had usually appeared in her complexion.

But if Booth was now pleased with Mrs. Bennet, Amelia was still more
pleased with her than ever. For, when their discourse turned on love,
Amelia discovered that her new friend had all the same sentiments on
that subject with herself. In the course of their conversation Booth
gave Mrs. Bennet a hint of wishing her a good husband, upon which both
the ladies declaimed against second marriages with equal vehemence.

Upon this occasion Booth and his wife discovered a talent in their
visitant to which they had been before entirely strangers, and for which
they both greatly admired her, and this was, that the lady was a good
scholar, in which, indeed, she had the advantage of poor Amelia, whose
reading was confined to English plays and poetry; besides which, I think
she had conversed only with the divinity of the great and learned Dr
Barrow, and with the histories of the excellent Bishop Burnet.

Amelia delivered herself on the subject of second marriages with much
eloquence and great good sense; but when Mrs. Bennet came to give her
opinion she spoke in the following manner: “I shall not enter into the
question concerning the legality of bigamy. Our laws certainly allow
it, and so, I think, doth our religion. We are now debating only on the
decency of it, and in this light I own myself as strenuous an advocate
against it as any Roman matron would have been in those ages of the
commonwealth when it was held to be infamous. For my own part, how great
a paradox soever my opinion may seem, I solemnly declare, I see but
little difference between having two husbands at one time and at several
times; and of this I am very confident, that the same degree of love for
a first husband which preserves a woman in the one case will preserve
her in the other. There is one argument which I scarce know how to
deliver before you, sir; but--if a woman hath lived with her first
husband without having children, I think it unpardonable in her to carry
barrenness into a second family. On the contrary, if she hath children
by her first husband, to give them a second father is still more
unpardonable.”

“But suppose, madam,” cries Booth, interrupting her with a smile, “she
should have had children by her first husband, and have lost them?”

“That is a case,” answered she, with a sigh, “which I did not desire to
think of, and I must own it the most favourable light in which a second
marriage can be seen. But the Scriptures, as Petrarch observes, rather
suffer them than commend them; and St Jerom speaks against them with the
utmost bitterness.”--“I remember,” cries Booth (who was willing either
to shew his learning, or to draw out the lady’s), “a very wise law of
Charondas, the famous lawgiver of Thurium, by which men who married a
second time were removed from all public councils; for it was scarce
reasonable to suppose that he who was so great a fool in his own family
should be wise in public affairs. And though second marriages were
permitted among the Romans, yet they were at the same time discouraged,
and those Roman widows who refused them were held in high esteem, and
honoured with what Valerius Maximus calls the Corona Pudicitiae. In the
noble family of Camilli there was not, in many ages, a single instance
of this, which Martial calls adultery:

    _Quae toties nubit, non nubit; adultera lege est.”_

“True, sir,” says Mrs. Bennet, “and Virgil calls this a violation of
chastity, and makes Dido speak of it with the utmost detestation:

     _Sed mihi vel Tellus optem prius ima dehiscat
     Vel Pater omnipotens adigat me fulmine ad umbras,
     Pallentes umbras Erebi, noctemque profundam,
     Ante, fudor, quam te violo, aut tua jura resolvo.
     Ille meos, primum qui me sibi junxit, amores,
     Ille habeat semper secum, servetque Sepulchro.”_

She repeated these lines with so strong an emphasis, that she almost
frightened Amelia out of her wits, and not a little staggered Booth, who
was himself no contemptible scholar. He expressed great admiration of
the lady’s learning; upon which she said it was all the fortune given
her by her father, and all the dower left her by her husband; “and
sometimes,” said she, “I am inclined to think I enjoy more pleasure from
it than if they had bestowed on me what the world would in general call
more valuable.”--She then took occasion, from the surprize which Booth
had affected to conceive at her repeating Latin with so good a grace,
to comment on that great absurdity (for so she termed it) of excluding
women from learning; for which they were equally qualified with the men,
and in which so many had made so notable a proficiency; for a proof of
which she mentioned Madam Dacier, and many others.

Though both Booth and Amelia outwardly concurred with her sentiments, it
may be a question whether they did not assent rather out of complaisance
than from their real judgment.



Chapter viii.

_Containing some unaccountable behaviour in Mrs. Ellison._


Mrs. Ellison made her entrance at the end of the preceding discourse.
At her first appearance she put on an unusual degree of formality and
reserve; but when Amelia had acquainted her that she designed to accept
the favour intended her, she soon began to alter the gravity of her
muscles, and presently fell in with that ridicule which Booth thought
proper to throw on his yesterday’s behaviour.

The conversation now became very lively and pleasant, in which Booth
having mentioned the discourse that passed in the last chapter, and
having greatly complimented Mrs. Bennet’s speech on that occasion, Mrs.
Ellison, who was as strenuous an advocate on the other side, began to
rally that lady extremely, declaring it was a certain sign she intended
to marry again soon. “Married ladies,” cries she, “I believe, sometimes
think themselves in earnest in such declarations, though they are
oftener perhaps meant as compliments to their husbands; but, when widows
exclaim loudly against second marriages, I would always lay a wager that
the man, if not the wedding-day, is absolutely fixed on.”

Mrs. Bennet made very little answer to this sarcasm. Indeed, she had
scarce opened her lips from the time of Mrs. Ellison’s coming into the
room, and had grown particularly grave at the mention of the masquerade.
Amelia imputed this to her being left out of the party, a matter which
is often no small mortification to human pride, and in a whisper asked
Mrs. Ellison if she could not procure a third ticket, to which she
received an absolute negative.

During the whole time of Mrs. Bennet’s stay, which was above an
hour afterwards, she remained perfectly silent, and looked extremely
melancholy. This made Amelia very uneasy, as she concluded she had
guessed the cause of her vexation. In which opinion she was the more
confirmed from certain looks of no very pleasant kind which Mrs. Bennet
now and then cast on Mrs. Ellison, and the more than ordinary concern
that appeared in the former lady’s countenance whenever the masquerade
was mentioned, and which; unfortunately, was the principal topic of
their discourse; for Mrs. Ellison gave a very elaborate description of
the extreme beauty of the place and elegance of the diversion.

When Mrs. Bennet was departed, Amelia could not help again soliciting
Mrs. Ellison for another ticket, declaring she was certain Mrs. Bennet
had a great inclination to go with them; but Mrs. Ellison again excused
herself from asking it of his lordship. “Besides, madam,” says she, “if
I would go thither with Mrs. Bennet, which, I own to you, I don’t chuse,
as she is a person whom _nobody knows_, I very much doubt whether she
herself would like it; for she is a woman of a very unaccountable turn.
All her delight lies in books; and as for public diversions, I have
heard her often declare her abhorrence of them.”

“What then,” said Amelia, “could occasion all that gravity from the
moment the masquerade was mentioned?”

“As to that,” answered the other, “there is no guessing. You have seen
her altogether as grave before now. She hath had these fits of gravity
at times ever since the death of her husband.”

“Poor creature!” cries Amelia; “I heartily pity her, for she must
certainly suffer a great deal on these occasions. I declare I have taken
a strange fancy to her.”

“Perhaps you would not like her so well if you knew her thoroughly,”
 answered Mrs. Ellison.--“She is, upon the whole, but of a whimsical
temper; and, if you will take my opinion, you should not cultivate too
much intimacy with her. I know you will never mention what I say; but
she is like some pictures, which please best at a distance.”

Amelia did not seem to agree with these sentiments, and she greatly
importuned Mrs. Ellison to be more explicit, but to no purpose; she
continued to give only dark hints to Mrs. Bennet’s disadvantage; and,
if ever she let drop something a little too harsh, she failed not
immediately to contradict herself by throwing some gentle commendations
into the other scale; so that her conduct appeared utterly unaccountable
to Amelia, and, upon the whole, she knew not whether to conclude Mrs.
Ellison to be a friend or enemy to Mrs. Bennet.

During this latter conversation Booth was not in the room, for he had
been summoned down-stairs by the serjeant, who came to him with news
from Murphy, whom he had met that evening, and who assured the serjeant
that, if he was desirous of recovering the debt which he had before
pretended to have on Booth, he might shortly have an opportunity, for
that there was to be a very strong petition to the board the next time
they sat. Murphy said further that he need not fear having his money,
for that, to his certain knowledge, the captain had several things of
great value, and even his children had gold watches.

This greatly alarmed Booth, and still more when the serjeant reported to
him, from Murphy, that all these things had been seen in his possession
within a day last past. He now plainly perceived, as he thought, that
Murphy himself, or one of his emissaries, had been the supposed madman;
and he now very well accounted to himself, in his own mind, for all that
had happened, conceiving that the design was to examine into the state
of his effects, and to try whether it was worth his creditors’ while to
plunder him by law.

At his return to his apartment he communicated what he had heard to
Amelia and Mrs. Ellison, not disguising his apprehensions of the enemy’s
intentions; but Mrs. Ellison endeavoured to laugh him out of his fears,
calling him faint-hearted, and assuring him he might depend on her
lawyer. “Till you hear from him,” said she, “you may rest entirely
contented: for, take my word for it, no danger can happen to you of
which you will not be timely apprized by him. And as for the fellow
that had the impudence to come into your room, if he was sent on such an
errand as you mention, I heartily wish I had been at home; I would have
secured him safe with a constable, and have carried him directly before
justice Thresher. I know the justice is an enemy to bailiffs on his own
account.”

This heartening speech a little roused the courage of Booth, and
somewhat comforted Amelia, though the spirits of both had been too much
hurried to suffer them either to give or receive much entertainment that
evening; which Mrs. Ellison perceiving soon took her leave, and left
this unhappy couple to seek relief from sleep, that powerful friend
to the distrest, though, like other powerful friends, he is not always
ready to give his assistance to those who want it most.



Chapter ix.

_Containing a very strange incident._


When the husband and wife were alone they again talked over the news
which the serjeant had brought; on which occasion Amelia did all she
could to conceal her own fears, and to quiet those of her husband.
At last she turned the conversation to another subject, and poor Mrs.
Bennet was brought on the carpet. “I should be sorry,” cries Amelia, “to
find I had conceived an affection for a bad woman; and yet I begin
to fear Mrs. Ellison knows something of her more than she cares to
discover; why else should she be unwilling to be seen with her in
public? Besides, I have observed that Mrs. Ellison hath been always
backward to introduce her to me, nor would ever bring her to my
apartment, though I have often desired her. Nay, she hath given me
frequent hints not to cultivate the acquaintance. What do you think,
my dear? I should be very sorry to contract an intimacy with a wicked
person.”

“Nay, my dear,” cries Booth. “I know no more of her, nor indeed hardly
so much as yourself. But this I think, that if Mrs. Ellison knows any
reason why she should not have introduced Mrs. Bennet into your company,
she was very much in the wrong in introducing her into it.”

In discourses of this kind they past the remainder of the evening. In
the morning Booth rose early, and, going down-stairs, received from
little Betty a sealed note, which contained the following words:

     Beware, beware, beware;
     For I apprehend a dreadful snare
     Is laid for virtuous innocence,
     Under a friend’s false pretence.

Booth immediately enquired of the girl who brought this note? and was
told it came by a chair-man, who, having delivered it, departed without
saying a word.

He was extremely staggered at what he read, and presently referred the
advice to the same affair on which he had received those hints from
Atkinson the preceding evening; but when he came to consider the words
more maturely he could not so well reconcile the two last lines of this
poetical epistle, if it may be so called, with any danger which the law
gave him reason to apprehend. Mr. Murphy and his gang could not well be
said to attack either his innocence or virtue; nor did they attack him
under any colour or pretence of friendship.

After much deliberation on this matter a very strange suspicion came
into his head; and this was, that he was betrayed by Mrs. Ellison.
He had, for some time, conceived no very high opinion of that good
gentlewoman, and he now began to suspect that she was bribed to betray
him. By this means he thought he could best account for the strange
appearance of the supposed madman. And when this conceit once had birth
in his mind, several circumstances nourished and improved it. Among
these were her jocose behaviour and raillery on that occasion, and her
attempt to ridicule his fears from the message which the serjeant had
brought him.

This suspicion was indeed preposterous, and not at all warranted by, or
even consistent with, the character and whole behaviour of Mrs. Ellison,
but it was the only one which at that time suggested itself to his mind;
and, however blameable it might be, it was certainly not unnatural in
him to entertain it; for so great a torment is anxiety to the human
mind, that we always endeavour to relieve ourselves from it by guesses,
however doubtful or uncertain; on all which occasions, dislike and
hatred are the surest guides to lead our suspicion to its object.

When Amelia rose to breakfast, Booth produced the note which he had
received, saying, “My dear, you have so often blamed me for keeping
secrets from you, and I have so often, indeed, endeavoured to conceal
secrets of this kind from you with such ill success, that I think I
shall never more attempt it.” Amelia read the letter hastily, and
seemed not a little discomposed; then, turning to Booth with a very
disconsolate countenance, she said, “Sure fortune takes a delight in
terrifying us! what can be the meaning of this?” Then, fixing her eyes
attentively on the paper, she perused it for some time, till Booth
cried, “How is it possible, my Emily, you can read such stuff patiently?
the verses are certainly as bad as ever were written.”--“I was trying,
my dear,” answered she, “to recollect the hand; for I will take my oath
I have seen it before, and that very lately;” and suddenly she cried
out, with great emotion, “I remember it perfectly now; it is Mrs.
Bennet’s hand. Mrs. Ellison shewed me a letter from her but a day or two
ago. It is a very remarkable hand, and I am positive it is hers.”

“If it be hers,” cries Booth, “what can she possibly mean by the latter
part of her caution? sure Mrs. Ellison hath no intention to betray us.”

“I know not what she means,” answered Amelia, “but I am resolved to know
immediately, for I am certain of the hand. By the greatest luck in the
world, she told me yesterday where her lodgings were, when she pressed
me exceedingly to come and see her. She lives but a very few doors from
us, and I will go to her this moment.”

Booth made not the least objection to his wife’s design. His curiosity
was, indeed, as great as hers, and so was his impatience to satisfy it,
though he mentioned not this his impatience to Amelia; and perhaps it
had been well for him if he had.

Amelia, therefore, presently equipped herself in her walking dress, and,
leaving her children to the care of her husband, made all possible haste
to Mrs. Bennet’s lodgings.

Amelia waited near five minutes at Mrs. Bennet’s door before any one
came to open it; at length a maid servant appeared, who, being asked
if Mrs. Bennet was at home, answered, with some confusion in her
countenance, that she did not know; “but, madam,” said she, “if you will
send up your name, I will go and see.” Amelia then told her name, and
the wench, after staying a considerable time, returned and acquainted
her that Mrs. Bennet was at home. She was then ushered into a parlour
and told that the lady would wait on her presently.

In this parlour Amelia cooled her heels, as the phrase is, near a
quarter of an hour. She seemed, indeed, at this time, in the miserable
situation of one of those poor wretches who make their morning visits
to the great to solicit favours, or perhaps to solicit the payment of
a debt, for both are alike treated as beggars, and the latter sometimes
considered as the more troublesome beggars of the two.

During her stay here, Amelia observed the house to be in great
confusion; a great bustle was heard above-stairs, and the maid ran up
and down several times in a great hurry.

At length Mrs. Bennet herself came in. She was greatly disordered in
her looks, and had, as the women call it, huddled on her cloaths in much
haste; for, in truth, she was in bed when Amelia first came. Of this
fact she informed her, as the only apology she could make for having
caused her to wait so long for her company.

Amelia very readily accepted her apology, but asked her with a smile,
if these early hours were usual with her? Mrs. Bennet turned as red as
scarlet at the question, and answered, “No, indeed, dear madam. I am for
the most part a very early riser; but I happened accidentally to sit
up very late last night. I am sure I had little expectation of your
intending me such a favour this morning.”

Amelia, looking very steadfastly at her, said, “Is it possible, madam,
you should think such a note as this would raise no curiosity in me?”
 She then gave her the note, asking her if she did not know the hand.

Mrs. Bennet appeared in the utmost surprize and confusion at this
instant. Indeed, if Amelia had conceived but the slightest suspicion
before, the behaviour of the lady would have been a sufficient
confirmation to her of the truth. She waited not, therefore, for
an answer, which, indeed, the other seemed in no haste to give, but
conjured her in the most earnest manner to explain to her the meaning of
so extraordinary an act of friendship; “for so,” said she, “I esteem it,
being convinced you must have sufficient reason for the warning you have
given me.”

Mrs. Bennet, after some hesitation, answered, “I need not, I believe,
tell you how much I am surprized at what you have shewn me; and the
chief reason of my surprize is, how you came to discover my hand. Sure,
madam, you have not shewn it to Mrs. Ellison?”

Amelia declared she had not, but desired she would question her no
farther. “What signifies how I discovered it, since your hand it
certainly is?”

“I own it is,” cries Mrs. Bennet, recovering her spirits, “and since
you have not shewn it to that woman I am satisfied. I begin to guess
now whence you might have your information; but no matter; I wish I had
never done anything of which I ought to be more ashamed. No one can, I
think, justly accuse me of a crime on that account; and I thank Heaven
my shame will never be directed by the false opinion of the world.
Perhaps it was wrong to shew my letter, but when I consider all
circumstances I can forgive it.”

“Since you have guessed the truth,” said Amelia, “I am not obliged to
deny it. She, indeed, shewed me your letter, but I am sure you have not
the least reason to be ashamed of it. On the contrary, your behaviour on
so melancholy an occasion was highly praiseworthy; and your bearing
up under such afflictions as the loss of a husband in so dreadful a
situation was truly great and heroical.”

“So Mrs. Ellison then hath shewn you my letter?” cries Mrs. Bennet
eagerly.

“Why, did not you guess it yourself?” answered Amelia; “otherwise I am
sure I have betrayed my honour in mentioning it. I hope you have not
drawn me inadvertently into any breach of my promise. Did you not
assert, and that with an absolute certainty, that you knew she had shewn
me your letter, and that you was not angry with her for so doing?”

“I am so confused,” replied Mrs. Bennet, “that I scarce know what I say;
yes, yes, I remember I did say so--I wish I had no greater reason to be
angry with her than that.”

“For Heaven’s sake,” cries Amelia, “do not delay my request any longer;
what you say now greatly increases my curiosity, and my mind will be on
the rack till you discover your whole meaning; for I am more and more
convinced that something of the utmost importance was the purport of
your message.”

“Of the utmost importance, indeed,” cries Mrs. Bennet; “at least you
will own my apprehensions were sufficiently well founded. O gracious
Heaven! how happy shall I think myself if I should have proved your
preservation! I will, indeed, explain my meaning; but, in order to
disclose all my fears in their just colours, I must unfold my whole
history to you. Can you have patience, madam, to listen to the story of
the most unfortunate of women?”

Amelia assured her of the highest attention, and Mrs. Bennet soon after
began to relate what is written in the seventh book of this history.



BOOK VII.



Chapter i.

_A very short chapter, and consequently requiring no preface._


Mrs. Bennet having fastened the door, and both the ladies having taken
their places, she once or twice offered to speak, when passion stopt
her utterance; and, after a minute’s silence, she burst into a flood of
tears. Upon which Amelia, expressing the utmost tenderness for her, as
well by her look as by her accent, cried, “What can be the reason, dear
madam, of all this emotion?” “O, Mrs. Booth!” answered she, “I find I
have undertaken what I am not able to perform. You would not wonder at
my emotion if you knew you had an adulteress and a murderer now standing
before you.”

Amelia turned pale as death at these words, which Mrs. Bennet observing,
collected all the force she was able, and, a little composing her
countenance, cried, “I see, madam, I have terrified you with such
dreadful words; but I hope you will not think me guilty of these
crimes in the blackest degree.” “Guilty!” cries Amelia. “O Heavens!” “I
believe, indeed, your candour,” continued Mrs. Bennet, “will be readier
to acquit me than I am to acquit myself. Indiscretion, at least, the
highest, most unpardonable indiscretion, I shall always lay to ray own
charge: and, when I reflect on the fatal consequences, I can never,
never forgive myself.” Here she again began to lament in so bitter
a manner, that Amelia endeavoured, as much as she could (for she was
herself greatly shocked), to soothe and comfort her; telling her that,
if indiscretion was her highest crime, the unhappy consequences made
her rather an unfortunate than a guilty person; and concluded by
saying--“Indeed, madam, you have raised my curiosity to the highest
pitch, and I beg you will proceed with your story.”

Mrs. Bennet then seemed a second time going to begin her relation,
when she cried out, “I would, if possible, tire you with no more of my
unfortunate life than just with that part which leads to a catastrophe
in which I think you may yourself be interested; but I protest I am at a
loss where to begin.”

“Begin wherever you please, dear madam,” cries Amelia; “but I beg you
will consider my impatience.” “I do consider it,” answered Mrs. Bennet;
“and therefore would begin with that part of my story which leads
directly to what concerns yourself; for how, indeed, should my life
produce anything worthy your notice?” “Do not say so, madam,” cries
Amelia; “I assure you I have long suspected there were some very
remarkable incidents in your life, and have only wanted an opportunity
to impart to you my desire of hearing them: I beg, therefore, you would
make no more apologies.” “I will not, madam,” cries Mrs. Bennet, “and
yet I would avoid anything trivial; though, indeed, in stories of
distress, especially where love is concerned, many little incidents
may appear trivial to those who have never felt the passion, which, to
delicate minds, are the most interesting part of the whole.” “Nay, but,
dear madam,” cries Amelia, “this is all preface.”

“Well, madam,” answered Mrs. Bennet, “I will consider your impatience.”
 She then rallied all her spirits in the best manner she could, and began
as is written in the next chapter.

And here possibly the reader will blame Mrs. Bennet for taking her story
so far back, and relating so much of her life in which Amelia had no
concern; but, in truth, she was desirous of inculcating a good opinion
of herself, from recounting those transactions where her conduct was
unexceptionable, before she came to the more dangerous and suspicious
part of her character. This I really suppose to have been her intention;
for to sacrifice the time and patience of Amelia at such a season to the
mere love of talking of herself would have been as unpardonable in
her as the bearing it was in Amelia a proof of the most perfect good
breeding.



Chapter ii.

_The beginning of Mrs. Bennet’s history._


“I was the younger of two daughters of a clergyman in Essex; of one in
whose praise if I should indulge my fond heart in speaking, I think my
invention could not outgo the reality. He was indeed well worthy of the
cloth he wore; and that, I think, is the highest character a man can
obtain.

“During the first part of my life, even till I reached my sixteenth
year, I can recollect nothing to relate to you. All was one long serene
day, in looking back upon which, as when we cast our eyes on a calm
sea, no object arises to my view. All appears one scene of happiness and
tranquillity.

“On the day, then, when I became sixteen years old, must I begin my
history; for on that day I first tasted the bitterness of sorrow.

“My father, besides those prescribed by our religion, kept five
festivals every year. These were on his wedding-day, and on the birthday
of each of his little family; on these occasions he used to invite two
or three neighbours to his house, and to indulge himself, as he said, in
great excess; for so he called drinking a pint of very small punch; and,
indeed, it might appear excess to one who on other days rarely tasted
any liquor stronger than small beer.

“Upon my unfortunate birthday, then, when we were all in a high degree
of mirth, my mother having left the room after dinner, and staying away
pretty long, my father sent me to see for her. I went according to his
orders; but, though I searched the whole house and called after her
without doors, I could neither see nor hear her. I was a little alarmed
at this (though far from suspecting any great mischief had befallen
her), and ran back to acquaint my father, who answered coolly (for he
was a man of the calmest temper), ‘Very well, my dear, I suppose she is
not gone far, and will be here immediately.’ Half an hour or more past
after this, when, she not returning, my father himself expressed some
surprize at her stay; declaring it must be some matter of importance
which could detain her at that time from her company. His surprize
now encreased every minute, and he began to grow uneasy, and to shew
sufficient symptoms in his countenance of what he felt within. He then
despatched the servant-maid to enquire after her mistress in the parish,
but waited not her return; for she was scarce gone out of doors before
he begged leave of his guests to go himself on the same errand. The
company now all broke up, and attended my father, all endeavouring to
give him hopes that no mischief had happened. They searched the whole
parish, but in vain; they could neither see my mother, nor hear any news
of her. My father returned home in a state little short of distraction.
His friends in vain attempted to administer either advice or comfort; he
threw himself on the floor in the most bitter agonies of despair.

“Whilst he lay in this condition, my sister and myself lying by him, all
equally, I believe, and completely miserable, our old servant-maid came
into the room and cried out, her mind misgave her that she knew where
her mistress was. Upon these words, my father sprung from the floor,
and asked her eagerly, where? But oh! Mrs. Booth, how can I describe the
particulars of a scene to you, the remembrance of which chills my blood
with horror, and which the agonies of my mind, when it past, made all a
scene of confusion! The fact then in short was this: my mother, who was
a most indulgent mistress to one servant, which was all we kept, was
unwilling, I suppose, to disturb her at her dinner, and therefore went
herself to fill her tea-kettle at a well, into which, stretching herself
too far, as we imagine, the water then being very low, she fell with the
tea-kettle in her hand. The missing this gave the poor old wretch the
first hint of her suspicion, which, upon examination, was found to be
too well grounded.

“What we all suffered on this occasion may more easily be felt than
described.”----“It may indeed,” answered Amelia, “and I am so sensible of
it, that, unless you have a mind to see me faint before your face, I
beg you will order me something; a glass of water, if you please. “Mrs.
Bennet immediately complied with her friend’s request; a glass of water
was brought, and some hartshorn drops infused into it; which Amelia
having drank off, declared she found herself much better; and then Mrs.
Bennet proceeded thus:--“I will not dwell on a scene which I see hath
already so much affected your tender heart, and which is as disagreeable
to me to relate as it can be to you to hear. I will therefore only
mention to you the behaviour of my father on this occasion, which was
indeed becoming a philosopher and a Christian divine. On the day after
my mother’s funeral he sent for my sister and myself into his room,
where, after many caresses and every demonstration of fatherly
tenderness as well in silence as in words, he began to exhort us to bear
with patience the great calamity that had befallen us; saying, ‘That as
every human accident, how terrible soever, must happen to us by divine
permission at least, a due sense of our duty to our great Creator must
teach us an absolute submission to his will. Not only religion, but
common sense, must teach us this; for oh! my dear children,’ cries he,
‘how vain is all resistance, all repining! could tears wash back again
my angel from the grave, I should drain all the juices of my body
through my eyes; but oh, could we fill up that cursed well with our
tears, how fruitless would be all our sorrow!’--I think I repeat you
his very words; for the impression they made on me is never to be
obliterated. He then proceeded to comfort us with the chearful thought
that the loss was entirely our own, and that my mother was greatly a
gainer by the accident which we lamented. ‘I have a wife,’ cries he,
‘my children, and you have a mother, now amongst the heavenly choir;
how selfish therefore is all our grief! how cruel to her are all our
wishes!’ In this manner he talked to us near half an hour, though I must
frankly own to you his arguments had not the immediate good effect on us
which they deserved, for we retired from him very little the better for
his exhortations; however, they became every day more and more forcible
upon our recollection; indeed, they were greatly strengthened by his
example; for in this, as in all other instances, he practised the
doctrines which he taught. From this day he never mentioned my mother
more, and soon after recovered his usual chearfulness in public; though
I have reason to think he paid many a bitter sigh in private to that
remembrance which neither philosophy nor Christianity could expunge.

“My father’s advice, enforced by his example, together with the kindness
of some of our friends, assisted by that ablest of all the mental
physicians, Time, in a few months pretty well restored my tranquillity,
when fortune made a second attack on my quiet. My sister, whom I dearly
loved, and who as warmly returned my affection, had fallen into an
ill state of health some time before the fatal accident which I have
related. She was indeed at that time so much better, that we had great
hopes of her perfect recovery; but the disorders of her mind on that
dreadful occasion so affected her body, that she presently relapsed to
her former declining state, and thence grew continually worse and worse,
till, after a decay of near seven months, she followed my poor mother to
the grave.

“I will not tire you, dear madam, with repetitions of grief; I will only
mention two observations which have occurred to me from reflections
on the two losses I have mentioned. The first is, that a mind once
violently hurt grows, as it were, callous to any future impressions of
grief, and is never capable of feeling the same pangs a second time. The
other observation is, that the arrows of fortune, as well as all others,
derive their force from the velocity with which they are discharged;
for, when they approach you by slow and perceptible degrees, they have
but very little power to do you mischief.

“The truth of these observations I experienced, not only in my own
heart, but in the behaviour of my father, whose philosophy seemed to
gain a complete triumph over this latter calamity.

“Our family was now reduced to two, and my father grew extremely fond of
me, as if he had now conferred an entire stock of affection on me, that
had before been divided. His words, indeed, testified no less, for
he daily called me his only darling, his whole comfort, his all. He
committed the whole charge of his house to my care, and gave me the name
of his little housekeeper, an appellation of which I was then as proud
as any minister of state can be of his titles. But, though I was very
industrious in the discharge of my occupation, I did not, however,
neglect my studies, in which I had made so great a proficiency, that I
was become a pretty good mistress of the Latin language, and had made
some progress in the Greek. I believe, madam, I have formerly acquainted
you, that learning was the chief estate I inherited of my father, in
which he had instructed me from my earliest youth.

“The kindness of this good man had at length wiped off the remembrance
of all losses; and I during two years led a life of great tranquillity,
I think I might almost say of perfect happiness.

“I was now in the nineteenth year of my age, when my father’s good
fortune removed us from the county of Essex into Hampshire, where a
living was conferred on him by one of his old school-fellows, of twice
the value of what he was before possessed of.

“His predecessor in this new living had died in very indifferent
circumstances, and had left behind him a widow with two small children.
My father, therefore, who, with great economy, had a most generous soul,
bought the whole furniture of the parsonage-house at a very high
price; some of it, indeed, he would have wanted; for, though our little
habitation in Essex was most completely furnished, yet it bore no
proportion to the largeness of that house in which he was now to dwell.

“His motive, however, to the purchase was, I am convinced, solely
generosity; which appeared sufficiently by the price he gave, and may
be farther inforced by the kindness he shewed the widow in another
instance; for he assigned her an apartment for the use of herself and
her little family, which, he told her, she was welcome to enjoy as long
as it suited her conveniency.

“As this widow was very young, and generally thought to be tolerably
pretty, though I own she had a cast with her eyes which I never liked,
my father, you may suppose, acted from a less noble principle than I
have hinted; but I must in justice acquit him, for these kind offers
were made her before ever he had seen her face; and I have the greatest
reason to think that, for a long time after he had seen her, he beheld
her with much indifference.

“This act of my father’s gave me, when I first heard it, great
satisfaction; for I may at least, with the modesty of the ancient
philosophers, call myself a lover of generosity, but when I became
acquainted with the widow I was still more delighted with what my father
had done; for though I could not agree with those who thought her a
consummate beauty, I must allow that she was very fully possessed of the
power of making herself agreeable; and this power she exerted with so
much success, with such indefatigable industry to oblige, that within
three months I became in the highest manner pleased with my new
acquaintance, and had contracted the most sincere friendship for her.

“But, if I was so pleased with the widow, my father was by this time
enamoured of her. She had, indeed, by the most artful conduct in the
world, so insinuated herself into his favour, so entirely infatuated
him, that he never shewed the least marks of chearfulness in her
absence, and could, in truth, scarce bear that she should be out of his
sight.

“She had managed this matter so well (O, she is the most artful of
women!) that my father’s heart was gone before I ever suspected it
was in danger. The discovery you may easily believe, madam, was not
pleasing. The name of a mother-in-law sounded dreadful in my ears; nor
could I bear the thought of parting again with a share in those dear
affections, of which I had purchased the whole by the loss of a beloved
mother and sister.

“In the first hurry and disorder of my mind on this occasion I committed
a crime of the highest kind against all the laws of prudence and
discretion. I took the young lady herself very roundly to task, treated
her designs on my father as little better than a design to commit a
theft, and in my passion, I believe, said she might be ashamed to think
of marrying a man old enough to be her grandfather; for so in reality he
almost was.

“The lady on this occasion acted finely the part of a hypocrite. She
affected to be highly affronted at my unjust suspicions, as she called
them; and proceeded to such asseverations of her innocence, that she
almost brought me to discredit the evidence of my own eyes and ears.

“My father, however, acted much more honestly, for he fell the next day
into a more violent passion with me than I had ever seen him in before,
and asked me whether I intended to return his paternal fondness by
assuming the right of controlling his inclinations? with more of the
like kind, which fully convinced me what had passed between him and the
lady, and how little I had injured her in my suspicions.

“Hitherto, I frankly own, my aversion to this match had been principally
on my own account; for I had no ill opinion of the woman, though I
thought neither her circumstances nor my father’s age promised any
kind of felicity from such an union; but now I learnt some particulars,
which, had not our quarrel become public in the parish, I should perhaps
have never known. In short, I was Informed that this gentle obliging
creature, as she had at first appeared to me, had the spirit of a
tigress, and was by many believed to have broken the heart of her first
husband.

“The truth of this matter being confirmed to me upon examination, I
resolved not to suppress it. On this occasion fortune seemed to favour
me, by giving me a speedy opportunity of seeing my father alone and in
good humour. He now first began to open his intended marriage, telling
me that he had formerly had some religious objections to bigamy, but he
had very fully considered the matter, and had satisfied himself of its
legality. He then faithfully promised me that no second marriage should
in the least impair his affection for me; and concluded with the highest
eulogiums on the goodness of the widow, protesting that it was her
virtues and not her person with which he was enamoured.

“I now fell upon my knees before him, and bathing his hand in my tears,
which flowed very plentifully from my eyes, acquainted him with all I
had heard, and was so very imprudent, I might almost say so cruel, to
disclose the author of my information.

“My father heard me without any indication of passion, and answered
coldly, that if there was any proof of such facts he should decline any
further thoughts of this match: ‘But, child,’ said he, ‘though I am far
from suspecting the truth of what you tell me, as far as regards your
knowledge, yet you know the inclination of the world to slander.’
However, before we parted he promised to make a proper enquiry into
what I had told him.--But I ask your pardon, dear madam, I am running
minutely into those particulars of my life in which you have not the
least concern.”

Amelia stopt her friend short in her apology; and though, perhaps, she
thought her impertinent enough, yet (such was her good breeding) she
gave her many assurances of a curiosity to know every incident of her
life which she could remember; after which Mrs. Bennet proceeded as in
the next chapter.



Chapter iii.

_Continuation of Mrs. Bennet’s story._


“I think, madam,” said Mrs. Bennet, “I told you my father promised me
to enquire farther into the affair, but he had hardly time to keep his
word; for we separated pretty late in the evening and early the next
morning he was married to the widow.

“But, though he gave no credit to my information, I had sufficient
reason to think he did not forget it, by the resentment which he soon
discovered to both the persons whom I had named as my informers.

“Nor was it long before I had good cause to believe that my father’s new
wife was perfectly well acquainted with the good opinion I had of her,
not only from her usage of me, but from certain hints which she threw
forth with an air of triumph. One day, particularly, I remember she said
to my father, upon his mentioning his age, ‘O, my dear! I hope you have
many years yet to live! unless, indeed, I should be so cruel as to
break your heart’ She spoke these words looking me full in the face, and
accompanied them with a sneer in which the highest malice was visible,
under a thin covering of affected pleasantry.

“I will not entertain you, madam, with anything so common as the cruel
usage of a step-mother; nor of what affected me much more, the unkind
behaviour of a father under such an influence. It shall suffice only to
tell you that I had the mortification to perceive the gradual and
daily decrease of my father’s affection. His smiles were converted into
frowns; the tender appellations of child and dear were exchanged for
plain Molly, that girl, that creature, and sometimes much harder names.
I was at first turned all at once into a cypher, and at last seemed to
be considered as a nuisance in the family.

“Thus altered was the man of whom I gave you such a character at
the entrance on my story; but, alas! he no longer acted from his own
excellent disposition, but was in everything governed and directed by
my mother-in-law. In fact, whenever there is great disparity of years
between husband and wife, the younger is, I believe, always possessed
of absolute power over the elder; for superstition itself is a less firm
support of absolute power than dotage.

“But, though his wife was so entirely mistress of my father’s will that
she could make him use me ill, she could not so perfectly subdue his
understanding as to prevent him from being conscious of such ill-usage;
and from this consciousness, he began inveterately to hate me. Of this
hatred he gave me numberless instances, and I protest to you I know not
any other reason for it than what I have assigned; and the cause, as
experience hath convinced me, is adequate to the effect.

“While I was in this wretched situation, my father’s unkindness having
almost broken ray heart, he came one day into my room with more anger in
his countenance than I had ever seen, and, after bitterly upbraiding me
with my undutiful behaviour both to himself and his worthy consort, he
bid me pack up my alls, and immediately prepare to quit his house; at
the same time gave me a letter, and told me that would acquaint me where
I might find a home; adding that he doubted not but I expected, and had
indeed solicited, the invitation; and left me with a declaration that he
would have no spies in his family.

“The letter, I found on opening it, was from my father’s own sister;
but before I mention the contents I will give you a short sketch of her
character, as it was somewhat particular. Her personal charms were not
great; for she was very tall, very thin, and very homely. Of the
defect of her beauty she was, perhaps, sensible; her vanity, therefore,
retreated into her mind, where there is no looking-glass, and
consequently where we can flatter ourselves with discovering almost
whatever beauties we please. This is an encouraging circumstance; and
yet I have observed, dear Mrs. Booth, that few women ever seek these
comforts from within till they are driven to it by despair of finding
any food for their vanity from without. Indeed, I believe the first wish
of our whole sex is to be handsome.”

Here both the ladies fixed their eyes on the glass, and both smiled.

“My aunt, however,” continued Mrs. Bennet, “from despair of gaining any
applause this way, had applied herself entirely to the contemplation of
her understanding, and had improved this to such a pitch, that at the
age of fifty, at which she was now arrived, she had contracted a hearty
contempt for much the greater part of both sexes; for the women, as
being idiots, and for the men, as the admirers of idiots. That word, and
fool, were almost constantly in her mouth, and were bestowed with great
liberality among all her acquaintance.

“This lady had spent one day only at my father’s house in near two
years; it was about a month before his second marriage. At her departure
she took occasion to whisper me her opinion of the widow, whom she
called a pretty idiot, and wondered how her brother could bear such
company under his roof; for neither she nor I had at that time any
suspicion of what afterwards happened.

“The letter which my father had just received, and which was the first
she had sent him since his marriage, was of such a nature that I should
be unjust if I blamed him for being offended; fool and idiot were both
plentifully bestowed in it as well on himself as on his wife. But what,
perhaps, had principally offended him was that part which related to
me; for, after much panegyric on my understanding, and saying he was
unworthy of such a daughter, she considered his match not only as the
highest indiscretion as it related to himself, but as a downright act
of injustice to me. One expression in it I shall never forget. ‘You have
placed,’ said she, ‘a woman above your daughter, who, in understanding,
the only valuable gift of nature, is the lowest in the whole class of
pretty idiots.’ After much more of this kind, it concluded with inviting
me to her house.

“I can truly say that when I had read the letter I entirely forgave my
father’s suspicion that I had made some complaints to my aunt of his
behaviour; for, though I was indeed innocent, there was surely colour
enough to suspect the contrary.

“Though I had never been greatly attached to my aunt, nor indeed had
she formerly given me any reason for such an attachment, yet I was well
enough pleased with her present invitation. To say the truth, I led so
wretched a life where I then was, that it was impossible not to be a
gainer by any exchange.

“I could not, however, bear the thoughts of leaving my father with
an impression on his mind against me which I did not deserve. I
endeavoured, therefore, to remove all his suspicion of my having
complained to my aunt by the most earnest asseverations of my innocence;
but they were all to no purpose. All my tears, all my vows, and all
my entreaties were fruitless. My new mother, indeed, appeared to be
my advocate; but she acted her part very poorly, and, far from
counterfeiting any desire of succeeding in my suit, she could not
conceal the excessive joy which she felt on the occasion.

“Well, madam, the next day I departed for my aunt’s, where, after a long
journey of forty miles, I arrived, without having once broke my fast on
the road; for grief is as capable as food of filling the stomach, and I
had too much of the former to admit any of the latter. The fatigue of
my journey, and the agitation of my mind, joined to my fasting,
so overpowered my spirits, that when I was taken from my horse I
immediately fainted away in the arms of the man who helped me from
my saddle. My aunt expressed great astonishment at seeing me in this
condition, with my eyes almost swollen out of my head with tears; but
my father’s letter, which I delivered her soon after I came to myself,
pretty well, I believe, cured her surprize. She often smiled with a
mixture of contempt and anger while she was reading it; and, having
pronounced her brother to be a fool, she turned to me, and, with as much
affability as possible (for she is no great mistress of affability),
said, ‘Don’t be uneasy, dear Molly, for you are come to the house of a
friend--of one who hath sense enough to discern the author of all the
mischief: depend upon it, child, I will, ere long, make some people
ashamed of their folly.’ This kind reception gave me some comfort, my
aunt assuring me that she would convince him how unjustly he had accused
me of having made any complaints to her. A paper war was now begun
between these two, which not only fixed an irreconcileable hatred
between them, but confirmed my father’s displeasure against me; and, in
the end, I believe, did me no service with my aunt; for I was
considered by both as the cause of their dissension, though, in fact,
my stepmother, who very well knew the affection my aunt had for her,
had long since done her business with my father; and as for my aunt’s
affection towards him, it had been abating several years, from
an apprehension that he did not pay sufficient deference to her
understanding.

“I had lived about half a year with my aunt when I heard of my
stepmother’s being delivered of a boy, and the great joy my father
expressed on that occasion; but, poor man, he lived not long to enjoy
his happiness; for within a month afterwards I had the melancholy news
of his death.

“Notwithstanding all the disobligations I had lately received from him,
I was sincerely afflicted at my loss of him. All his kindness to me in
my infancy, all his kindness to me while I was growing up, recurred
to my memory, raised a thousand tender, melancholy ideas, and totally
obliterated all thoughts of his latter behaviour, for which I made also
every allowance and every excuse in my power.

“But what may perhaps appear more extraordinary, my aunt began soon to
speak of him with concern. She said he had some understanding formerly,
though his passion for that vile woman had, in a great measure, obscured
it; and one day, when she was in an ill-humour with me, she had the
cruelty to throw out a hint that she had never quarrelled with her
brother if it had not been on my account.” My father, during his life,
had allowed my aunt very handsomely for my board; for generosity was too
deeply riveted in his nature to be plucked out by all the power of his
wife. So far, however, she prevailed, that, though he died possessed of
upwards of L2000, he left me no more than L100, which, as he expressed
in his will, was to set me up in some business, if I had the grace to
take to any.

“Hitherto my aunt had in general treated me with some degree of
affection; but her behaviour began now to be changed. She soon took an
opportunity of giving me to understand that her fortune was insufficient
to keep me; and, as I could not live on the interest of my own, it was
high time for me to consider about going into the world. She added, that
her brother having mentioned my setting up in some business in his will
was very foolish; that I had been bred to nothing; and, besides, that
the sum was too trifling to set me up in any way of reputation; she
desired me therefore to think of immediately going into service.

“This advice was perhaps right enough; and I told her I was very ready
to do as she directed me, but I was at that time in an ill state of
health; I desired her therefore to let me stay with her till my legacy,
which was not to be paid till a year after my father’s death, was due;
and I then promised to satisfy her for my board, to which she readily
consented.

“And now, madam,” said Mrs. Bennet, sighing, “I am going to open to you
those matters which lead directly to that great catastrophe of my life
which hath occasioned my giving you this trouble, and of trying your
patience in this manner.”

Amelia, notwithstanding her impatience, made a very civil answer to
this; and then Mrs. Bennet proceeded to relate what is written in the
next chapter.



Chapter iv.

_Further continuation._


“The curate of the parish where my aunt dwelt was a young fellow of
about four-and-twenty. He had been left an orphan in his infancy, and
entirely unprovided for, when an uncle had the goodness to take care
of his education, both at school and at the university. As the young
gentleman was intended for the church, his uncle, though he had two
daughters of his own, and no very large fortune, purchased for him the
next presentation of a living of near L200 a-year. The incumbent, at the
time of the purchase, was under the age of sixty, and in apparent good
health; notwithstanding which, he died soon after the bargain, and long
before the nephew was capable of orders; so that the uncle was obliged
to give the living to a clergyman, to hold it till the young man came of
proper age.

“The young gentleman had not attained his proper age of taking orders
when he had the misfortune to lose his uncle and only friend, who,
thinking he had sufficiently provided for his nephew by the purchase of
the living, considered him no farther in his will, but divided all
the fortune of which he died possessed between his two daughters;
recommending it to them, however, on his deathbed, to assist their
cousin with money sufficient to keep him at the university till he
should be capable of ordination.

“But, as no appointment of this kind was in the will, the young ladies,
who received about each, thought proper to disregard the last words of
their father; for, besides that both of them were extremely tenacious
of their money, they were great enemies to their cousin, on account of
their father’s kindness to him; and thought proper to let him know that
they thought he had robbed them of too much already.

“The poor young fellow was now greatly distrest; for he had yet above a
year to stay at the university, without any visible means of sustaining
himself there.

“In this distress, however, he met with a friend, who had the good
nature to lend him the sum of twenty pounds, for which he only accepted
his bond for forty, and which was to be paid within a year after his
being possessed of his living; that is, within a year after his becoming
qualified to hold it.

“With this small sum thus hardly obtained the poor gentleman made a
shift to struggle with all difficulties till he became of due age to
take upon himself the character of a deacon. He then repaired to that
clergyman to whom his uncle had given the living upon the conditions
above mentioned, to procure a title to ordination; but this, to his
great surprize and mortification, was absolutely refused him.

“The immediate disappointment did not hurt him so much as the conclusion
he drew from it; for he could have but little hopes that the man who
could have the cruelty to refuse him a title would vouchsafe afterwards
to deliver up to him a living of so considerable a value; nor was it
long before this worthy incumbent told him plainly that he valued his
uncle’s favours at too high a rate to part with them to any one; nay,
he pretended scruples of conscience, and said that, if he had made any
slight promises, which he did not now well remember, they were wicked
and void; that he looked upon himself as married to his parish, and he
could no more give it up than he could give up his wife without sin.

“The poor young fellow was now obliged to seek farther for a title,
which, at length, he obtained from the rector of the parish where my
aunt lived.

“He had not long been settled in the curacy before an intimate
acquaintance grew between him and my aunt; for she was a great admirer
of the clergy, and used frequently to say they were the only conversible
creatures in the country.

“The first time she was in this gentleman’s company was at a neighbour’s
christening, where she stood godmother. Here she displayed her whole
little stock of knowledge, in order to captivate Mr. Bennet (I suppose,
madam, you already guess that to have been his name), and before they
parted gave him a very strong invitation to her house.

“Not a word passed at this christening between Mr. Bennet and myself,
but our eyes were not unemployed. Here, madam, I first felt a pleasing
kind of confusion, which I know not how to describe. I felt a kind of
uneasiness, yet did not wish to be without it. I longed to be alone,
yet dreaded the hour of parting. I could not keep my eyes off from the
object which caused my confusion, and which I was at once afraid of and
enamoured with. But why do I attempt to describe my situation to one who
must, I am sure, have felt the same?”

Amelia smiled, and Mrs. Bennet went on thus: “O, Mrs. Booth! had you
seen the person of whom I am now speaking, you would not condemn the
suddenness of my love. Nay, indeed, I had seen him there before, though
this was the first time I had ever heard the music of his voice. Oh! it
was the sweetest that was ever heard.

“Mr. Bennet came to visit my aunt the very next day. She imputed this
respectful haste to the powerful charms of her understanding, and
resolved to lose no opportunity in improving the opinion which she
imagined he had conceived of her. She became by this desire quite
ridiculous, and ran into absurdities and a gallimatia scarce credible.

“Mr. Bennet, as I afterwards found, saw her in the same light with
myself; but, as he was a very sensible and well-bred man, he so well
concealed his opinion from us both, that I was almost angry, and she
was pleased even to raptures, declaring herself charmed with his
understanding, though, indeed, he had said very little; but I believe he
heard himself into her good opinion, while he gazed himself into love.

“The two first visits which Mr. Bennet made to my aunt, though I was in
the room all the time, I never spoke a word; but on the third, on some
argument which arose between them, Mr. Bennet referred himself to me.
I took his side of the question, as indeed I must to have done justice,
and repeated two or three words of Latin. My aunt reddened at this, and
exprest great disdain of my opinion, declaring she was astonished that
a man of Mr. Bennet’s understanding could appeal to the judgment of a
silly girl; ‘Is she,’ said my aunt, bridling herself, ‘fit to decide
between us?’ Mr. Bennet spoke very favourably of what I had said;
upon which my aunt burst almost into a rage, treated me with downright
scurrility, called me conceited fool, abused my poor father for having
taught me Latin, which, she said, had made me a downright coxcomb, and
made me prefer myself to those who were a hundred times my superiors in
knowledge. She then fell foul on the learned languages, declared they
were totally useless, and concluded that she had read all that was worth
reading, though, she thanked heaven, she understood no language but her
own.

“Before the end of this visit Mr. Bennet reconciled himself very well to
my aunt, which, indeed, was no difficult task for him to accomplish;
but from that hour she conceived a hatred and rancour towards me which I
could never appease.

“My aunt had, from my first coming into her house, expressed great
dislike to my learning. In plain truth, she envied me that advantage.
This envy I had long ago discovered, and had taken great pains to
smother it, carefully avoiding ever to mention a Latin word in her
presence, and always submitting to her authority; for indeed I despised
her ignorance too much to dispute with her. By these means I had pretty
well succeeded, and we lived tolerably together; but the affront paid to
her understanding by Mr. Bennet in my favour was an injury never to
be forgiven to me. She took me severely to task that very evening, and
reminded me of going to service in such earnest terms as almost amounted
to literally turning me out of doors; advising me, in the most insulting
manner, to keep my Latin to myself, which she said was useless to any
one, but ridiculous when pretended to by a servant.

“The next visit Mr. Bennet made at our house I was not suffered to be
present. This was much the shortest of all his visits; and when he went
away he left my aunt in a worse humour than ever I had seen her. The
whole was discharged on me in the usual manner, by upbraiding me with
my learning, conceit, and poverty; reminding me of obligations, and
insisting on my going immediately to service. With all this I was
greatly pleased, as it assured me that Mr. Bennet had said something to
her in my favour; and I would have purchased a kind expression of his at
almost any price.

“I should scarce, however, have been so sanguine as to draw this
conclusion, had I not received some hints that I had not unhappily
placed my affections on a man who made me no return; for, though he
had scarce addressed a dozen sentences to me (for, indeed, he had no
opportunity), yet his eyes had revealed certain secrets to mine with
which I was not displeased.

“I remained, however, in a state of anxiety near a month; sometimes
pleasing myself with thinking Mr. Bennet’s heart was in the same
situation with my own; sometimes doubting that my wishes had flattered
and deceived me, and not in the least questioning that my aunt was my
rival; for I thought no woman could be proof against the charms that
had subdued me. Indeed, Mrs. Booth, he was a charming young fellow; I
must--I must pay this tribute to his memory. O, gracious Heaven! why,
why did I ever see him? why was I doomed to such misery?” Here she burst
into a flood of tears, and remained incapable of speech for some time;
during which the gentle Amelia endeavoured all she could to soothe her,
and gave sufficient marks of sympathizing in the tender affliction of
her friend.

Mrs. Bennet, at length, recovered her spirits, and proceeded, as in the
next chapter.



Chapter v.

_The story of Mrs. Bennet continued._


I scarce know where I left off--Oh! I was, I think, telling you that I
esteemed my aunt as my rival; and it is not easy to conceive a greater
degree of detestation than I had for her; and what may, perhaps,
appear strange, as she daily grew more and more civil to me, my hatred
encreased with her civility; for I imputed it all to her triumph over
me, and to her having secured, beyond all apprehension, the heart I
longed for.

“How was I surprized when, one day, with as much good-humour as she was
mistress of (for her countenance was not very pleasing), she asked me
how I liked Mr. Bennet? The question, you will believe, madam, threw me
into great confusion, which she plainly perceived, and, without waiting
for my answer, told me she was very well satisfied, for that it did not
require her discernment to read my thoughts in my countenance. ‘Well,
child,’ she said, ‘I have suspected this a great while, and I believe it
will please you to know that I yesterday made the same discovery in your
lover.’ This, I confess to you, was more than I could well bear, and
I begged her to say no more to me at that time on that subject. ‘Nay,
child,’ answered she, ‘I must tell you all, or I should not act a
friendly part. Mr. Bennet, I am convinced, hath a passion for you; but
it is a passion which, I think, you should not encourage. For, to be
plain with you, I fear he is in love with your person only. Now this
is a love, child, which cannot produce that rational happiness which a
woman of sense ought to expect.’ In short, she ran on with a great deal
of stuff about rational happiness, and women of sense, and concluded
with assuring me that, after the strictest scrutiny, she could not find
that Mr. Bennet had an adequate opinion of my understanding; upon which
she vouchsafed to make me many compliments, but mixed with several
sarcasms concerning my learning.

“I hope, madam, however,” said she to Amelia, “you have not so bad an
opinion of my capacity as to imagine me dull enough to be offended with
Mr. Bennet’s sentiments, for which I presently knew so well to account.
I was, indeed, charmed with his ingenuity, who had discovered, perhaps,
the only way of reconciling my aunt to those inclinations which I now
assured myself he had for me.

“I was not long left to support my hopes by my sagacity. He soon found
an opportunity of declaring his passion. He did this in so forcible
though gentle a manner, with such a profusion of fervency and tenderness
at once, that his love, like a torrent, bore everything before it; and
I am almost ashamed to own to you how very soon he prevailed upon me
to--to--in short, to be an honest woman, and to confess to him the plain
truth.

“When we were upon a good footing together he gave me a long relation
of what had past at several interviews with my aunt, at which I had
not been present. He said he had discovered that, as she valued herself
chiefly on her understanding, so she was extremely jealous of mine,
and hated me on account of my learning. That, as he had loved me
passionately from his first seeing me, and had thought of nothing from
that time but of throwing himself at my feet, he saw no way so open to
propitiate my aunt as that which he had taken by commending my beauty,
a perfection to which she had long resigned all claim, at the expense of
my understanding, in which he lamented my deficiency to a degree almost
of ridicule. This he imputed chiefly to my learning; on this occasion he
advanced a sentiment which so pleased my aunt that she thought proper to
make it her own; for I heard it afterwards more than once from her own
mouth. Learning, he said, had the same effect on the mind that strong
liquors have on the constitution; both tending to eradicate all our
natural fire and energy. His flattery had made such a dupe of my aunt
that she assented, without the least suspicion of his sincerity, to
all he said; so sure is vanity to weaken every fortress of the
understanding, and to betray us to every attack of the enemy.

“You will believe, madam, that I readily forgave him all he had said,
not only from that motive which I have mentioned, but as I was assured
he had spoke the reverse of his real sentiments. I was not, however,
quite so well pleased with my aunt, who began to treat me as if I was
really an idiot. Her contempt, I own, a little piqued me; and I could
not help often expressing my resentment, when we were alone together,
to Mr. Bennet, who never failed to gratify me by making her conceit
the subject of his wit; a talent which he possessed in the most
extraordinary degree.

“This proved of very fatal consequence; for one day, while we were
enjoying my aunt in a very thick arbour in the garden, she stole upon us
unobserved, and overheard our whole conversation. I wish, my dear, you
understood Latin, that I might repeat you a sentence in which the rage
of a tigress that hath lost her young is described. No English poet,
as I remember, hath come up to it; nor am I myself equal to the
undertaking. She burst in upon us, open-mouthed, and after discharging
every abusive word almost, in the only language she understood, on poor
Mr. Bennet, turned us both out of doors, declaring she would send my
rags after me, but would never more permit me to set my foot within her
threshold.

“Consider, dear madam, to what a wretched condition we were now reduced.
I had not yet received the small legacy left me by my father; nor was
Mr. Bennet master of five pounds in the whole world.

“In this situation, the man I doated on to distraction had but little
difficulty to persuade me to a proposal which, indeed, I thought
generous in him to make, as it seemed to proceed from that tenderness
for my reputation to which he ascribed it; indeed, it could proceed from
no motive with which I should have been displeased. In a word, within
two days we were man and wife.

“Mr. Bennet now declared himself the happiest of men; and, for my part,
I sincerely declared I envied no woman upon earth. How little, alas! did
I then know or suspect the price I was to pay for all my joys! A match
of real love is, indeed, truly paradise; and such perfect happiness
seems to be the forbidden fruit to mortals, which we are to lament
having tasted during the rest of our lives.

“The first uneasiness which attacked us after our marriage was on my
aunt’s account. It was very disagreeable to live under the nose of so
near a relation, who did not acknowledge us, but on the contrary, was
ever doing us all the ill turns in her power, and making a party against
us in the parish, which is always easy enough to do amongst the vulgar
against persons who are their superiors in rank, and, at the same time,
their inferiors in fortune. This made Mr. Bennet think of procuring an
exchange, in which intention he was soon after confirmed by the arrival
of the rector. It was the rector’s custom to spend three months every
year at his living, for which purpose he reserved an apartment in
his parsonage-house, which was full large enough for two such little
families as then occupied it. We at first promised ourselves some little
convenience from his boarding with us; and Mr. Bennet began to lay aside
his thoughts of leaving his curacy, at least for some time. But these
golden ideas presently vanished; for, though we both used our utmost
endeavours to please him, we soon found the impossibility of succeeding.
He was, indeed, to give you his character in a word, the most peevish
of mortals. This temper, notwithstanding that he was both a good and
a pious man, made his company so insufferable that nothing could
compensate it. If his breakfast was not ready to a moment--if a dish of
meat was too much or too little done--in short, if anything failed of
exactly hitting his taste, he was sure to be out of humour all that
day, so that, indeed, he was scarce ever in a good temper a whole day
together; for fortune seems to take a delight in thwarting this kind of
disposition, to which human life, with its many crosses and accidents,
is, in truth, by no means fitted.

“Mr. Bennet was now, by my desire as well as his own, determined to
quit the parish; but when he attempted to get an exchange, he found it
a matter of more difficulty than he had apprehended; for the rector’s
temper was so well known among the neighbouring clergy, that none of
them could be brought to think of spending three months in a year with
him.

“After many fruitless enquiries, Mr. Bennet thought best to remove to
London, the great mart of all affairs, ecclesiastical and civil. This
project greatly pleased him, and he resolved, without more delay, to
take his leave of the rector, which he did in the most friendly manner
possible, and preached his farewell sermon; nor was there a dry eye
in the church, except among the few, whom my aunt, who remained still
inexorable, had prevailed upon to hate us without any cause.

“To London we came, and took up our lodging the first night at the inn
where the stage-coach set us down: the next morning my husband went out
early on his business, and returned with the good news of having heard
of a curacy, and of having equipped himself with a lodging in
the neighbourhood of a worthy peer, ‘who,’ said he, ‘was my
fellow-collegiate; and, what is more, I have a direction to a person who
will advance your legacy at a very reasonable rate.’

“This last particular was extremely agreeable to me, for our last guinea
was now broached; and the rector had lent my husband ten pounds to pay
his debts in the country, for, with all his peevishness, he was a good
and a generous man, and had, indeed, so many valuable qualities, that I
lamented his temper, after I knew him thoroughly, as much on his account
as on my own.

“We now quitted the inn and went to our lodgings, where my husband
having placed me in safety, as he said, he went about the business of
the legacy with good assurance of success.

“My husband returned elated with his success, the person to whom he
applied having undertaken to advance the legacy, which he fulfilled
as soon as the proper enquiries could be made, and proper instruments
prepared for that purpose.

“This, however, took up so much time, that, as our fund was so very
low, we were reduced to some distress, and obliged to live extremely
penurious; nor would all do without my taking a most disagreeable way of
procuring money by pawning one of my gowns.

“Mr. Bennet was now settled in a curacy in town, greatly to his
satisfaction, and our affairs seemed to have a prosperous aspect, when
he came home to me one morning in much apparent disorder, looking as
pale as death, and begged me by some means or other to get him a dram,
for that he was taken with a sudden faintness and lowness of spirits.

“Frighted as I was, I immediately ran downstairs, and procured some rum
of the mistress of the house; the first time, indeed, I ever knew him
drink any. When he came to himself he begged me not to be alarmed, for
it was no distemper, but something that had vexed him, which had caused
his disorder, which he had now perfectly recovered.

“He then told me the whole affair. He had hitherto deferred paying
a visit to the lord whom I mentioned to have been formerly his
fellow-collegiate, and was now his neighbour, till he could put himself
in decent rigging. He had now purchased a new cassock, hat, and wig, and
went to pay his respects to his old acquaintance, who had received from
him many civilities and assistances in his learning at the university,
and had promised to return them fourfold hereafter.

“It was not without some difficulty that Mr. Bennet got into the
antechamber. Here he waited, or as the phrase is, cooled his heels, for
above an hour before he saw his lordship; nor had he seen him then but
by an accident; for my lord was going out when he casually intercepted
him in his passage to his chariot. He approached to salute him with some
familiarity, though with respect, depending on his former intimacy, when
my lord, stepping short, very gravely told him he had not the pleasure
of knowing him. How! my lord, said he, can you have so soon forgot your
old acquaintance Tom Bennet? O, Mr. Bennet! cries his lordship, with
much reserve, is it you? you will pardon my memory. I am glad to see
you, Mr. Bennet, but you must excuse me at present, for I am in very
great haste. He then broke from him, and without more ceremony, or any
further invitation, went directly into his chariot.

“This cold reception from a person for whom my husband had a real
friendship, and from whom he had great reason to expect a very warm
return of affection, so affected the poor man, that it caused all those
symptoms which I have mentioned before.

“Though this incident produced no material consequence, I could not pass
it over in silence, as, of all the misfortunes which ever befel him, it
affected my husband the most. I need not, however, to a woman of your
delicacy, make any comments on a behaviour which, though I believe it is
very common, is, nevertheless, cruel and base beyond description, and is
diametrically opposite to true honour as well as to goodness.

“To relieve the uneasiness which my husband felt on account of his false
friend, I prevailed with him to go every night, almost for a fortnight
together, to the play; a diversion of which he was greatly fond, and
from which he did not think his being a clergyman excluded him; indeed,
it is very well if those austere persons who would be inclined to
censure him on this head have themselves no greater sins to answer for.

“From this time, during three months, we past our time very agreeably,
a little too agreeably perhaps for our circumstances; for, however
innocent diversions may be in other respects, they must be owned to
be expensive. When you consider then, madam, that our income from the
curacy was less than forty pounds a year, and that, after payment of the
debt to the rector, and another to my aunt, with the costs in law which
she had occasioned by suing for it, my legacy was reduced to less than
seventy pounds, you will not wonder that, in diversions, cloaths, and
the common expenses of life, we had almost consumed our whole stock.

“The inconsiderate manner in which we had lived for some time will, I
doubt not, appear to you to want some excuse; but I have none to make
for it. Two things, however, now happened, which occasioned much serious
reflexion to Mr. Bennet; the one was, that I grew near my time; the
other, that he now received a letter from Oxford, demanding the debt
of forty pounds which I mentioned to you before. The former of these
he made a pretence of obtaining a delay for the payment of the latter,
promising, in two months, to pay off half the debt, by which means he
obtained a forbearance during that time.

“I was now delivered of a son, a matter which should in reality have
encreased our concern, but, on the contrary, it gave us great pleasure;
greater indeed could not have been conceived at the birth of an heir
to the most plentiful estate: so entirely thoughtless were we, and so
little forecast had we of those many evils and distresses to which we
had rendered a human creature, and one so dear to us, liable. The day
of a christening is, in all families, I believe, a day of jubilee and
rejoicing; and yet, if we consider the interest of that little wretch
who is the occasion, how very little reason would the most sanguine
persons have for their joy!

“But, though our eyes were too weak to look forward, for the sake of
our child, we could not be blinded to those dangers that immediately
threatened ourselves. Mr. Bennet, at the expiration of the two months,
received a second letter from Oxford, in a very peremptory stile, and
threatening a suit without any farther delay. This alarmed us in the
strongest manner; and my husband, to secure his liberty, was advised for
a while to shelter himself in the verge of the court.

“And, now, madam, I am entering on that scene which directly leads to
all my misery.”--Here she stopped, and wiped her eyes; and then, begging
Amelia to excuse her for a few minutes, ran hastily out of the room,
leaving Amelia by herself, while she refreshed her spirits with a
cordial to enable her to relate what follows in the next chapter.



Chapter vi.

_Farther continued._


Mrs. Bennet, returning into the room, made a short apology for her
absence, and then proceeded in these words:

“We now left our lodging, and took a second floor in that very house
where you now are, to which we were recommended by the woman where we
had before lodged, for the mistresses of both houses were acquainted;
and, indeed, we had been all at the play together. To this new lodging
then (such was our wretched destiny) we immediately repaired, and were
received by Mrs. Ellison (how can I bear the sound of that detested
name?) with much civility; she took care, however, during the first
fortnight of our residence, to wait upon us every Monday morning for her
rent; such being, it seems, the custom of this place, which, as it was
inhabited chiefly by persons in debt, is not the region of credit.

“My husband, by the singular goodness of the rector, who greatly
compassionated his case, was enabled to continue in his curacy, though
he could only do the duty on Sundays. He was, however, sometimes obliged
to furnish a person to officiate at his expence; so that our income was
very scanty, and the poor little remainder of the legacy being almost
spent, we were reduced to some difficulties, and, what was worse, saw
still a prospect of greater before our eyes.

“Under these circumstances, how agreeable to poor Mr. Bennet must have
been the behaviour of Mrs. Ellison, who, when he carried her her rent on
the usual day, told him, with a benevolent smile, that he needed not to
give himself the trouble of such exact punctuality. She added that,
if it was at any time inconvenient to him, he might pay her when he
pleased. ‘To say the truth,’ says she, ‘I never was so much pleased
with any lodgers in my life; I am convinced, Mr. Bennet, you are a very
worthy man, and you are a very happy one too; for you have the prettiest
wife and the prettiest child I ever saw’ These, dear madam, were the
words she was pleased to make use of: and I am sure she behaved to me
with such an appearance of friendship and affection, that, as I could
not perceive any possible views of interest which she could have in her
professions, I easily believed them real.

“There lodged in the same house--O, Mrs. Booth! the blood runs cold to
my heart, and should run cold to yours, when I name him--there lodged in
the same house a lord--the lord, indeed, whom I have since seen in your
company. This lord, Mrs. Ellison told me, had taken a great fancy to my
little Charley. Fool that I was, and blinded by my own passion, which
made me conceive that an infant, not three months old, could be really
the object of affection to any besides a parent, and more especially to
a gay young fellow! But, if I was silly in being deceived, how wicked
was the wretch who deceived me--who used such art, and employed such
pains, such incredible pains, to deceive me! He acted the part of a
nurse to my little infant; he danced it, he lulled it, he kissed it;
declared it was the very picture of a nephew of his--his favourite
sister’s child; and said so many kind and fond things of its beauty,
that I myself, though, I believe, one of the tenderest and fondest of
mothers, scarce carried my own ideas of my little darling’s perfection
beyond the compliments which he paid it.

“My lord, however, perhaps from modesty, before my face, fell far short
of what Mrs. Ellison reported from him. And now, when she found
the impression which was made on me by these means, she took every
opportunity of insinuating to me his lordship’s many virtues, his great
goodness to his sister’s children in particular; nor did she fail to
drop some hints which gave me the most simple and groundless hopes of
strange consequences from his fondness to my Charley.

“When, by these means, which, simple as they may appear, were, perhaps,
the most artful, my lord had gained something more, I think, than my
esteem, he took the surest method to confirm himself in my affection.
This was, by professing the highest friendship for my husband; for, as
to myself, I do assure you he never shewed me more than common respect;
and I hope you will believe I should have immediately startled and
flown off if he had. Poor I accounted for all the friendship which he
expressed for my husband, and all the fondness which he shewed to my
boy, from the great prettiness of the one and the great merit of the
other; foolishly conceiving that others saw with my eyes and felt with
my heart. Little did I dream that my own unfortunate person was the
fountain of all this lord’s goodness, and was the intended price of it.

“One evening, as I was drinking tea with Mrs. Ellison by my lord’s fire
(a liberty which she never scrupled taking when he was gone out),
my little Charley, now about half a year old, sitting in her lap, my
lord--accidentally, no doubt, indeed I then thought it so--came in. I
was confounded, and offered to go; but my lord declared, if he disturbed
Mrs. Ellison’s company, as he phrased it, he would himself leave the
room. When I was thus prevailed on to keep my seat, my lord immediately
took my little baby into his lap, and gave it some tea there, not a
little at the expense of his embroidery; for he was very richly drest;
indeed, he was as fine a figure as perhaps ever was seen. His behaviour
on this occasion gave me many ideas in his favour. I thought he
discovered good sense, good nature, condescension, and other good
qualities, by the fondness he shewed to my child, and the contempt he
seemed to express for his finery, which so greatly became him; for I
cannot deny but that he was the handsomest and genteelest person in the
world, though such considerations advanced him not a step in my favour.

“My husband now returned from church (for this happened on a Sunday),
and was, by my lord’s particular desire, ushered into the room. My lord
received him with the utmost politeness, and with many professions
of esteem, which, he said, he had conceived from Mrs. Ellison’s
representations of his merit. He then proceeded to mention the living
which was detained from my husband, of which Mrs. Ellison had likewise
informed him; and said, he thought it would be no difficult matter to
obtain a restoration of it by the authority of the bishop, who was his
particular friend, and to whom he would take an immediate opportunity
of mentioning it. This, at last, he determined to do the very next day,
when he invited us both to dinner, where we were to be acquainted with
his lordship’s success.

“My lord now insisted on my husband’s staying supper with him, without
taking any notice of me; but Mrs. Ellison declared he should not part
man and wife, and that she herself would stay with me. The motion
was too agreeable to me to be rejected; and, except the little time I
retired to put my child to bed, we spent together the most agreeable
evening imaginable; nor was it, I believe, easy to decide whether Mr.
Bennet or myself were most delighted with his lordship and Mrs. Ellison;
but this, I assure you, the generosity of the one, and the extreme
civility and kindness of the other, were the subjects of our
conversation all the ensuing night, during which we neither of us closed
our eyes.

“The next day at dinner my lord acquainted us that he had prevailed with
the bishop to write to the clergyman in the country; indeed, he told us
that he had engaged the bishop to be very warm in our interest, and
had not the least doubt of success. This threw us both into a flow of
spirits; and in the afternoon Mr. Bennet, at Mrs. Ellison’s request,
which was seconded by his lordship, related the history of our lives
from our first acquaintance. My lord seemed much affected with some
tender scenes, which, as no man could better feel, so none could better
describe, than my husband. When he had finished, my lord begged pardon
for mentioning an occurrence which gave him such a particular concern,
as it had disturbed that delicious state of happiness in which we had
lived at our former lodging. ‘It would be ungenerous,’ said he,
‘to rejoice at an accident which, though it brought me fortunately
acquainted with two of the most agreeable people in the world, was yet
at the expense of your mutual felicity. The circumstance, I mean, is
your debt at Oxford; pray, how doth that stand? I am resolved it shall
never disturb your happiness hereafter.’ At these words the tears burst
from my poor husband’s eyes; and, in an ecstasy of gratitude, he cried
out, ‘Your lordship overcomes me with generosity. If you go on in this
manner, both my wife’s gratitude and mine must be bankrupt’ He then
acquainted my lord with the exact state of the case, and received
assurances from him that the debt should never trouble him. My husband
was again breaking out into the warmest expressions of gratitude, but my
lord stopt him short, saying, ‘If you have any obligation, it is to my
little Charley here, from whose little innocent smiles I have received
more than the value of this trifling debt in pleasure.’ I forgot to tell
you that, when I offered to leave the room after dinner upon my child’s
account, my lord would not suffer me, but ordered the child to be
brought to me. He now took it out of my arms, placed it upon his own
knee, and fed it with some fruit from the dessert. In short, it would
be more tedious to you than to myself to relate the thousand little
tendernesses he shewed to the child. He gave it many baubles; amongst
the rest was a coral worth at least three pounds; and, when my husband
was confined near a fortnight to his chamber with a cold, he visited
the child every day (for to this infant’s account were all the visits
placed), and seldom failed of accompanying his visit with a present to
the little thing.

“Here, Mrs. Booth, I cannot help mentioning a doubt which hath often
arisen in my mind since I have been enough mistress of myself to reflect
on this horrid train which was laid to blow up my innocence. Wicked
and barbarous it was to the highest degree without any question; but my
doubt is, whether the art or folly of it be the more conspicuous; for,
however delicate and refined the art must be allowed to have been, the
folly, I think, must upon a fair examination appear no less astonishing:
for to lay all considerations of cruelty and crime out of the case, what
a foolish bargain doth the man make for himself who purchases so poor a
pleasure at so high a price!

“We had lived near three weeks with as much freedom as if we had been
all of the same family, when, one afternoon, my lord proposed to my
husband to ride down himself to solicit the surrender; for he said the
bishop had received an unsatisfactory answer from the parson, and had
writ a second letter more pressing, which his lordship now promised us
to strengthen by one of his own that my husband was to carry with him.
Mr. Bennet agreed to this proposal with great thankfulness, and the next
day was appointed for his journey. The distance was near seventy miles.

“My husband set out on his journey, and he had scarce left me before
Mrs. Ellison came into my room, and endeavoured to comfort me in his
absence; to say the truth, though he was to be from me but a few
days, and the purpose of his going was to fix our happiness on a sound
foundation for all our future days, I could scarce support my spirits
under this first separation. But though I then thought Mrs. Ellison’s
intentions to be most kind and friendly, yet the means she used were
utterly ineffectual, and appeared to me injudicious. Instead of soothing
my uneasiness, which is always the first physic to be given to grief,
she rallied me upon it, and began to talk in a very unusual stile of
gaiety, in which she treated conjugal love with much ridicule.

“I gave her to understand that she displeased me by this discourse; but
she soon found means to give such a turn to it as made a merit of all
she had said. And now, when she had worked me into a good humour, she
made a proposal to me which I at first rejected--but at last fatally,
too fatally, suffered myself to be over-persuaded. This was to go to
a masquerade at Ranelagh, for which my lord had furnished her with
tickets.”

At these words Amelia turned pale as death, and hastily begged her
friend to give her a glass of water, some air, or anything. Mrs. Bennet,
having thrown open the window, and procured the water, which prevented
Amelia from fainting, looked at her with much tenderness, and cried, “I
do not wonder, my dear madam, that you are affected with my mentioning
that fatal masquerade; since I firmly believe the same ruin was intended
for you at the same place; the apprehension of which occasioned the
letter I sent you this morning, and all the trial of your patience which
I have made since.”

Amelia gave her a tender embrace, with many expressions of the warmest
gratitude; assured her she had pretty well recovered her spirits, and
begged her to continue her story, which Mrs. Bennet then did. However,
as our readers may likewise be glad to recover their spirits also, we
shall here put an end to this chapter.



Chapter vii.

_The story farther continued._


Mrs. Bennet proceeded thus:

“I was at length prevailed on to accompany Mrs. Ellison to the
masquerade. Here, I must confess, the pleasantness of the place, the
variety of the dresses, and the novelty of the thing, gave me much
delight, and raised my fancy to the highest pitch. As I was entirely
void of all suspicion, my mind threw off all reserve, and pleasure only
filled my thoughts. Innocence, it is true, possessed my heart; but it
was innocence unguarded, intoxicated with foolish desires, and liable
to every temptation. During the first two hours we had many trifling
adventures not worth remembering. At length my lord joined us, and
continued with me all the evening; and we danced several dances
together.

“I need not, I believe, tell you, madam, how engaging his conversation
is. I wish I could with truth say I was not pleased with it; or, at
least, that I had a right to be pleased with it. But I will disguise
nothing from you. I now began to discover that he had some affection
for me, but he had already too firm a footing in my esteem to make the
discovery shocking. I will--I will own the truth; I was delighted with
perceiving a passion in him, which I was not unwilling to think he had
had from the beginning, and to derive his having concealed it so long
from his awe of my virtue, and his respect to my understanding. I assure
you, madam, at the same time, my intentions were never to exceed the
bounds of innocence. I was charmed with the delicacy of his passion;
and, in the foolish thoughtless turn of mind in which I then was, I
fancied I might give some very distant encouragement to such a passion
in such a man with the utmost safety--that I might indulge my vanity and
interest at once, without being guilty of the least injury.

“I know Mrs. Booth will condemn all these thoughts, and I condemn them
no less myself; for it is now my stedfast opinion that the woman who
gives up the least outwork of her virtue doth, in that very moment,
betray the citadel.

“About two o’clock we returned home, and found a very handsome collation
provided for us. I was asked to partake of it, and I did not, I could
not refuse. I was not, however, entirely void of all suspicion, and I
made many resolutions; one of which was, not to drink a drop more than
my usual stint. This was, at the utmost, little more than half a pint of
small punch.

“I adhered strictly to my quantity; but in the quality I am convinced I
was deceived; for before I left the room I found my head giddy. What the
villain gave me I know not; but, besides being intoxicated, I perceived
effects from it which are not to be described.

“Here, madam, I must draw a curtain over the residue of that fatal
night. Let it suffice that it involved me in the most dreadful ruin;
a ruin to which I can truly say I never consented, and of which I was
scarce conscious when the villanous man avowed it to my face in the
morning.

“Thus I have deduced my story to the most horrid period; happy had I
been had this been the period of my life, but I was reserved for greater
miseries; but before I enter on them I will mention something very
remarkable, with which I was now acquainted, and that will shew there
was nothing of accident which had befallen me, but that all was the
effect of a long, regular, premeditated design.

“You may remember, madam, I told you that we were recommended to Mrs.
Ellison by the woman at whose house we had before lodged. This woman, it
seems, was one of my lord’s pimps, and had before introduced me to his
lordship’s notice.

“You are to know then, madam, that this villain, this lord, now confest
to me that he had first seen me in the gallery at the oratorio, whither
I had gone with tickets with which the woman where I first lodged had
presented me, and which were, it seems, purchased by my lord. Here I
first met the vile betrayer, who was disguised in a rug coat and a patch
upon his face.”

At these words Amelia cried, “O, gracious heavens!” and fell back in her
chair. Mrs. Bennet, with proper applications, brought her back to life;
and then Amelia acquainted her that she herself had first seen the same
person in the same place, and in the same disguise. “O, Mrs. Bennet!”
 cried she, “how am I indebted to you! what words, what thanks, what
actions can demonstrate the gratitude of my sentiments! I look upon
you, and always shall look upon you, as my preserver from the brink of a
precipice, from which I was falling into the same ruin which you have so
generously, so kindly, and so nobly disclosed for my sake.”

Here the two ladies compared notes; and it appeared that his lordship’s
behaviour at the oratorio had been alike to both; that he had made use
of the very same words, the very same actions to Amelia, which he had
practised over before on poor unfortunate Mrs. Bennet. It may, perhaps,
be thought strange that neither of them could afterwards recollect him;
but so it was. And, indeed, if we consider the force of disguise,
the very short time that either of them was with him at this first
interview, and the very little curiosity that must have been supposed in
the minds of the ladies, together with the amusement in which they were
then engaged, all wonder will, I apprehend, cease. Amelia, however, now
declared she remembered his voice and features perfectly well, and was
thoroughly satisfied he was the same person. She then accounted for his
not having visited in the afternoon, according to his promise, from her
declared resolutions to Mrs. Ellison not to see him. She now burst forth
into some very satirical invectives against that lady, and declared she
had the art, as well as the wickedness, of the devil himself.

Many congratulations now past from Mrs. Bennet to Amelia, which were
returned with the most hearty acknowledgments from that lady. But,
instead of filling our paper with these, we shall pursue Mrs. Bennet’s
story, which she resumed as we shall find in the next chapter.



Chapter viii.

_Further continuation._


“No sooner,” said Mrs. Bennet, continuing her story, “was my lord
departed, than Mrs. Ellison came to me. She behaved in such a manner,
when she became acquainted with what had past, that, though I was at
first satisfied of her guilt, she began to stagger my opinion, and at
length prevailed upon me entirely to acquit her. She raved like a mad
woman against my lord, swore he should not stay a moment in her house,
and that she would never speak to him more. In short, had she been the
most innocent woman in the world, she could not have spoke nor acted any
otherwise, nor could she have vented more wrath and indignation against
the betrayer.

“That part of her denunciation of vengeance which concerned my lord’s
leaving the house she vowed should be executed immediately; but then,
seeming to recollect herself, she said, ‘Consider, my dear child, it
is for your sake alone I speak; will not such a proceeding give some
suspicion to your husband?’ I answered, that I valued not that; that I
was resolved to inform my husband of all the moment I saw him; with many
expressions of detestation of myself and an indifference for life and
for everything else.

“Mrs. Ellison, however, found means to soothe me, and to satisfy me
with my own innocence, a point in which, I believe, we are all easily
convinced. In short, I was persuaded to acquit both myself and her, to
lay the whole guilt upon my lord, and to resolve to conceal it from my
husband.

“That whole day I confined myself to my chamber and saw no person
but Mrs. Ellison. I was, indeed, ashamed to look any one in the face.
Happily for me, my lord went into the country without attempting to come
near me, for I believe his sight would have driven me to madness.

“The next day I told Mrs. Ellison that I was resolved to leave her
lodgings the moment my lord came to town; not on her account (for I
really inclined to think her innocent), but on my lord’s, whose face I
was resolved, if possible, never more to behold. She told me I had no
reason to quit her house on that score, for that my lord himself had
left her lodgings that morning in resentment, she believed, of the
abuses Which she had cast on him the day before.

“This confirmed me in the opinion of her innocence; nor hath she from
that day to this, till my acquaintance with you, madam, done anything
to forfeit my opinion. On the contrary, I owe her many good offices;
amongst the rest, I have an annuity of one hundred and fifty pounds
a-year from my lord, which I know was owing to her solicitations, for
she is not void of generosity or good-nature; though by what I have
lately seen, I am convinced she was the cause of my ruin, and hath
endeavoured to lay the same snares for you.

“But to return to my melancholy story. My husband returned at the
appointed time; and I met him with an agitation of mind not to be
described. Perhaps the fatigue which he had undergone in his journey,
and his dissatisfaction at his ill success, prevented his taking
notice of what I feared was too visible. All his hopes were entirely
frustrated; the clergyman had not received the bishop’s letter, and as
to my lord’s he treated it with derision and contempt. Tired as he
was, Mr. Bennet would not sit down till he had enquired for my lord,
intending to go and pay his compliments. Poor man! he little suspected
that he had deceived him, as I have since known, concerning the bishop;
much less did he suspect any other injury. But the lord--the villain was
gone out of town, so that he was forced to postpone all his gratitude.

“Mr. Bennet returned to town late on the Saturday night, nevertheless he
performed his duty at church the next day, but I refused to go with him.
This, I think, was the first refusal I was guilty of since our marriage;
but I was become so miserable, that his presence, which had been the
source of all my happiness, was become my bane. I will not say I hated
to see him, but I can say I was ashamed, indeed afraid, to look him in
the face. I was conscious of I knew not what--guilt I hope it cannot be
called.”

“I hope not, nay, I think not,” cries Amelia.

“My husband,” continued Mrs. Bennet, “perceived my dissatisfaction, and
imputed it to his ill-success in the country. I was pleased with this
self-delusion, and yet, when I fairly compute the agonies I suffered at
his endeavours to comfort me on that head, I paid most severely for it.
O, my dear Mrs. Booth! happy is the deceived party between true lovers,
and wretched indeed is the author of the deceit!

“In this wretched condition I passed a whole week, the most miserable I
think of my whole life, endeavouring to humour my husband’s delusion and
to conceal my own tortures; but I had reason to fear I could not succeed
long, for on the Saturday night I perceived a visible alteration in
his behaviour to me. He went to bed in an apparent ill-humour, turned
sullenly from me, and if I offered at any endearments he gave me only
peevish answers.

“After a restless turbulent night, he rose early on Sunday morning and
walked down-stairs. I expected his return to breakfast, but was soon
informed by the maid that he was gone forth, and that it was no more
than seven o’clock. All this you may believe, madam, alarmed me. I saw
plainly he had discovered the fatal secret, though by what means I
could not divine. The state of my mind was very little short of madness.
Sometimes I thought of running away from my injured husband, and
sometimes of putting an end to my life.

“In the midst of such perturbations I spent the day. My husband returned
in the evening. O, Heavens! can I describe what followed?--It is
impossible! I shall sink under the relation. He entered the room with a
face as white as a sheet, his lips trembling and his eyes red as coals
of fire starting as it were from his head.--‘Molly,’ cries he, throwing
himself into his chair, ‘are you well?’ ‘Good Heavens!’ says I, ‘what’s
the matter?--Indeed I can’t say I am well.’ ‘No!’ says he, starting from
his chair, ‘false monster, you have betrayed me, destroyed me, you have
ruined your husband!’ Then looking like a fury, he snatched off a large
book from the table, and, with the malice of a madman, threw it at my
head and knocked me down backwards. He then caught me up in his arms and
kissed me with most extravagant tenderness; then, looking me stedfastly
in the face for several moments, the tears gushed in a torrent from
his eyes, and with his utmost violence he threw me again on the floor,
kicked me, stamped upon me. I believe, indeed, his intent was to kill
me, and I believe he thought he had accomplished it.

“I lay on the ground for some minutes, I believe, deprived of my senses.
When I recovered myself I found my husband lying by my side on his
face, and the blood running from him. It seems, when he thought he had
despatched me, he ran his head with all his force against a chest of
drawers which stood in the room, and gave himself a dreadful wound in
his head.

“I can truly say I felt not the least resentment for the usage I had
received; I thought I deserved it all; though, indeed, I little guessed
what he had suffered from me. I now used the most earnest entreaties to
him to compose himself; and endeavoured, with my feeble arms, to raise
him from the ground. At length he broke from me, and, springing from
the ground, flung himself into a chair, when, looking wildly at me, he
cried--‘Go from me, Molly. I beseech you, leave me. I would not kill
you.’--He then discovered to me--O Mrs. Booth! can you not guess it?--I
was indeed polluted by the villain--I had infected my husband.--O
heavens! why do I live to relate anything so horrid--I will not, I
cannot yet survive it. I cannot forgive myself. Heaven cannot forgive
me!”

Here she became inarticulate with the violence of her grief, and fell
presently into such agonies, that the frighted Amelia began to call
aloud for some assistance. Upon this a maid-servant came up, who, seeing
her mistress in a violent convulsion fit, presently screamed out she
was dead. Upon which one of the other sex made his appearance: and who
should this be but the honest serjeant? whose countenance soon made
it evident that, though a soldier, and a brave one too, he was not the
least concerned of all the company on this occasion.

The reader, if he hath been acquainted with scenes of this kind, very
well knows that Mrs. Bennet, in the usual time, returned again to the
possession of her voice: the first use of which she made was to express
her astonishment at the presence of the serjeant, and, with a frantic
air, to enquire who he was.

The maid, concluding that her mistress was not yet returned to her
senses, answered, “Why, ‘tis my master, madam. Heaven preserve your
senses, madam!--Lord, sir, my mistress must be very bad not to know
you!”

What Atkinson thought at this instant, I will not say; but certain it
is he looked not over-wise. He attempted twice to take hold of Mrs.
Bennet’s hand, but she withdrew it hastily, and presently after, rising
up from her chair, she declared herself pretty well again, and desired
Atkinson and the maid to withdraw. Both of whom presently obeyed: the
serjeant appearing by his countenance to want comfort almost as much as
the lady did to whose assistance he had been summoned,

It is a good maxim to trust a person entirely or not at all; for a
secret is often innocently blabbed out by those who know but half of
it. Certain it is that the maid’s speech communicated a suspicion to
the mind of Amelia which the behaviour of the serjeant did not tend
to remove: what that is, the sagacious readers may likewise probably
suggest to themselves; if not, they must wait our time for disclosing
it. We shall now resume the history of Mrs. Bennet, who, after many
apologies, proceeded to the matters in the next chapter.



Chapter ix.

_The conclusion of Mrs. Bennet’s history._


“When I became sensible,” cries Mrs. Bennet, “of the injury I had done
my husband, I threw myself at his feet, and embracing his knees, while I
bathed them with my tears, I begged a patient hearing, declaring, if
he was not satisfied with what I should say, I would become a willing
victim of his resentment, I said, and I said truly, that, if I owed my
death that instant to his hands, I should have no other terrour but of
the fatal consequence which it might produce to himself.

“He seemed a little pacified, and bid me say whatever I pleased.

“I then gave him a faithful relation of all that had happened. He
heard me with great attention, and at the conclusion cried, with a deep
sigh--‘O Molly! I believe it all.--You must have been betrayed as you
tell me; you could not be guilty of such baseness, such cruelty, such
ingratitude.’ He then--O! it is impossible to describe his behaviour--he
exprest such kindness, such tenderness, such concern for the manner in
which he had used me--I cannot dwell on this scene--I shall relapse--you
must excuse me.”

Amelia begged her to omit anything which so affected her; and she
proceeded thus: “My husband, who was more convinced than I was of Mrs.
Ellison’s guilt, declared he would not sleep that night in her house. He
then went out to see for a lodging; he gave me all the money he had, and
left me to pay her bill, and put up the cloaths, telling me, if I had
not money enough, I might leave the cloaths as a pledge; but he vowed he
could not answer for himself if he saw the face of Mrs. Ellison.

“Words cannot scarce express the behaviour of that artful woman, it
was so kind and so generous. She said, she did not blame my husband’s
resentment, nor could she expect any other, but that he and all the
world should censure her--that she hated her house almost as much as
we did, and detested her cousin, if possible, more. In fine, she said I
might leave my cloaths there that evening, but that she would send them
to us the next morning; that she scorned the thought of detaining them;
and as for the paultry debt, we might pay her whenever we pleased; for,
to do her justice, with all her vices, she hath some good in her.”

“Some good in her, indeed!” cried Amelia, with great indignation.

“We were scarce settled in our new lodgings,” continued Mrs. Bennet,
“when my husband began to complain of a pain in his inside. He told
me he feared he had done himself some injury in his rage, and burst
something within him. As to the odious--I cannot bear the thought,
the great skill of his surgeon soon entirely cured him; but his other
complaint, instead of yielding to any application, grew still worse and
worse, nor ever ended till it brought him to his grave.

“O Mrs. Booth! could I have been certain that I had occasioned this,
however innocently I had occasioned it, I could never have survived it;
but the surgeon who opened him after his death assured me that he died
of what they called a polypus in his heart, and that nothing which had
happened on account of me was in the least the occasion of it.

“I have, however, related the affair truly to you. The first complaint
I ever heard of the kind was within a day or two after we left Mrs.
Ellison’s; and this complaint remained till his death, which might
induce him perhaps to attribute his death to another cause; but the
surgeon, who is a man of the highest eminence, hath always declared the
contrary to me, with the most positive certainty; and this opinion hath
been my only comfort.

“When my husband died, which was about ten weeks after we quitted Mrs.
Ellison’s, of whom I had then a different opinion from what I have now,
I was left in the most wretched condition imaginable. I believe, madam,
she shewed you my letter. Indeed, she did everything for me at that time
which I could have expected from the best of friends, She supplied me
with money from her own pocket, by which means I was preserved from a
distress in which I must have otherwise inevitably perished.

“Her kindness to me in this season of distress prevailed on me to return
again to her house. Why, indeed, should I have refused an offer so very
convenient for me to accept, and which seemed so generous in her to
make? Here I lived a very retired life with my little babe, seeing no
company but Mrs. Ellison herself for a full quarter of a year. At
last Mrs. Ellison brought me a parchment from my lord, in which he had
settled upon me, at her instance, as she told me, and as I believe it
was, an annuity of one hundred and fifty pounds a-year. This was, I
think, the very first time she had mentioned his hateful name to me
since my return to her house. And she now prevailed upon me, though I
assure you not without some difficulty, to suffer him to execute the
deed in my presence.

“I will not describe our interview--I am not able to describe it, and I
have often wondered how I found spirits to support it. This I will say
for him, that, if he was not a real penitent, no man alive could act the
part better.

“Beside resentment, I had another motive of my backwardness to agree
to such a meeting; and this was--fear. I apprehended, and surely not
without reason, that the annuity was rather meant as a bribe than a
recompence, and that further designs were laid against my innocence; but
in this I found myself happily deceived; for neither then, nor at any
time since, have I ever had the least solicitation of that kind. Nor,
indeed, have I seen the least occasion to think my lord had any such
desires.

“Good heavens! what are these men? what is this appetite which must have
novelty and resistance for its provocatives, and which is delighted with
us no longer than while we may be considered in the light of enemies?”

“I thank you, madam,” cries Amelia, “for relieving me from my fears on
your account; I trembled at the consequence of this second acquaintance
with such a man, and in such a situation.”

“I assure you, madam, I was in no danger,” returned Mrs. Bennet;
“for, besides that I think I could have pretty well relied on my own
resolution, I have heard since, at St Edmundsbury, from an intimate
acquaintance of my lord’s, who was an entire stranger to my affairs,
that the highest degree of inconstancy is his character; and that few of
his numberless mistresses have ever received a second visit from him.

“Well, madam,” continued she, “I think I have little more to trouble you
with; unless I should relate to you my long ill state of health, from
which I am lately, I thank Heaven, recovered; or unless I should mention
to you the most grievous accident that ever befel me, the loss of my
poor dear Charley.” Here she made a full stop, and the tears ran down
into her bosom.

Amelia was silent a few minutes, while she gave the lady time to vent
her passion; after which she began to pour forth a vast profusion of
acknowledgments for the trouble she had taken in relating her history,
but chiefly for the motive which had induced her to it, and for the kind
warning which she had given her by the little note which Mrs. Bennet had
sent her that morning.

“Yes, madam,” cries Mrs. Bennet, “I am convinced, by what I have lately
seen, that you are the destined sacrifice to this wicked lord; and that
Mrs. Ellison, whom I no longer doubt to have been the instrument of my
ruin, intended to betray you in the same manner. The day I met my lord
in your apartment I began to entertain some suspicions, and I took Mrs.
Ellison very roundly to task upon them; her behaviour, notwithstanding
many asseverations to the contrary, convinced me I was right; and I
intended, more than once, to speak to you, but could not; till last
night the mention of the masquerade determined me to delay it no longer.
I therefore sent you that note this morning, and am glad you so luckily
discovered the writer, as it hath given me this opportunity of easing my
mind, and of honestly shewing you how unworthy I am of your friendship,
at the same time that I so earnestly desire it.”



Chapter x.

_Being the last chapter of the seventh book._


Amelia did not fail to make proper compliments to Mrs. Bennet on the
conclusion of her speech in the last chapter. She told her that, from
the first moment of her acquaintance, she had the strongest inclination
to her friendship, and that her desires of that kind were much increased
by hearing her story. “Indeed, madam,” says she, “you are much too
severe a judge on yourself; for they must have very little candour, in
my opinion, who look upon your case with any severe eye. To me, I assure
you, you appear highly the object of compassion; and I shall always
esteem you as an innocent and an unfortunate woman.”

Amelia would then have taken her leave, but Mrs. Bennet so strongly
pressed her to stay to breakfast, that at length she complied; indeed,
she had fasted so long, and her gentle spirits had been so agitated with
variety of passions, that nature very strongly seconded Mrs. Bennet’s
motion.

Whilst the maid was preparing the tea-equipage, Amelia, with a little
slyness in her countenance, asked Mrs. Bennet if serjeant Atkinson did
not lodge in the same house with her? The other reddened so extremely
at the question, repeated the serjeant’s name with such hesitation, and
behaved so aukwardly, that Amelia wanted no further confirmation of her
suspicions. She would not, however, declare them abruptly to the other,
but began a dissertation on the serjeant’s virtues; and, after observing
the great concern which he had manifested when Mrs. Bennet was in her
fit, concluded with saying she believed the serjeant would make the best
husband in the world, for that he had great tenderness of heart and
a gentleness of manners not often to be found in any man, and much
seldomer in persons of his rank.

“And why not in his rank?” said Mrs. Bennet. “Indeed, Mrs. Booth, we
rob the lower order of mankind of their due. I do not deny the force and
power of education; but, when we consider how very injudicious is the
education of the better sort in general, how little they are instructed
in the practice of virtue, we shall not expect to find the heart
much improved by it. And even as to the head, how very slightly do we
commonly find it improved by what is called a genteel education! I
have myself, I think, seen instances of as great goodness, and as great
understanding too, among the lower sort of people as among the higher.
Let us compare your serjeant, now, with the lord who hath been the
subject of conversation; on which side would an impartial judge decide
the balance to incline?”

“How monstrous then,” cries Amelia, “is the opinion of those who
consider our matching ourselves the least below us in degree as a kind
of contamination!”

“A most absurd and preposterous sentiment,” answered Mrs. Bennet warmly;
“how abhorrent from justice, from common sense, and from humanity--but
how extremely incongruous with a religion which professes to know no
difference of degree, but ranks all mankind on the footing of brethren!
Of all kinds of pride, there is none so unchristian as that of station;
in reality, there is none so contemptible. Contempt, indeed, may be
said to be its own object; for my own part, I know none so despicable as
those who despise others.”

“I do assure you,” said Amelia, “you speak my own sentiments. I give you
my word, I should not be ashamed of being the wife of an honest man in
any station.--Nor if I had been much higher than I was, should I have
thought myself degraded by calling our honest serjeant my husband.”

“Since you have made this declaration,” cries Mrs. Bennet, “I am sure
you will not be offended at a secret I am going to mention to you.”

“Indeed, my dear,” answered Amelia, smiling, “I wonder rather you have
concealed it so long; especially after the many hints I have given you.”

“Nay, pardon me, madam,” replied the other; “I do not remember any such
hints; and, perhaps, you do not even guess what I am going to say.
My secret is this; that no woman ever had so sincere, so passionate a
lover, as you have had in the serjeant.”

“I a lover in the serjeant!--I!” cries Amelia, a little surprized.

“Have patience,” answered the other;--“I say, you, my dear. As much
surprized as you appear, I tell you no more than the truth; and yet it
is a truth you could hardly expect to hear from me, especially with so
much good-humour; since I will honestly confess to you.--But what need
have I to confess what I know you guess already?--Tell me now sincerely,
don’t you guess?”

“I guess, indeed, and hope,” said she, “that he is your husband.”

“He is, indeed, my husband,” cries the other; “and I am most happy in
your approbation. In honest truth, you ought to approve my choice; since
you was every way the occasion of my making it. What you said of him
very greatly recommended him to my opinion; but he endeared himself to
me most by what he said of you. In short, I have discovered that he hath
always loved you with such a faithful, honest, noble, generous passion,
that I was consequently convinced his mind must possess all the
ingredients of such a passion; and what are these but true honour,
goodness, modesty, bravery, tenderness, and, in a word, every human
virtue?--Forgive me, my dear; but I was uneasy till I became myself the
object of such a passion.”

“And do you really think,” said Amelia, smiling, “that I shall forgive
you robbing me of such a lover? or, supposing what you banter me with
was true, do you really imagine you could change such a passion?”

“No, my dear,” answered the other; “I only hope I have changed the
object; for be assured, there is no greater vulgar error than that it
is impossible for a man who loves one woman ever to love another. On the
contrary, it is certain that a man who can love one woman so well at a
distance will love another better that is nearer to him. Indeed, I have
heard one of the best husbands in the world declare, in the presence
of his wife, that he had always loved a princess with adoration. These
passions, which reside only in very amorous and very delicate minds,
feed only on the delicacies there growing; and leave all the substantial
food, and enough of the delicacy too, for the wife.”

The tea being now ready, Mrs. Bennet, or, if you please, for the future,
Mrs. Atkinson, proposed to call in her husband; but Amelia objected. She
said she should be glad to see him any other time, but was then in
the utmost hurry, as she had been three hours absent from all she most
loved. However, she had scarce drank a dish of tea before she changed
her mind; and, saying she would not part man and wife, desired Mr.
Atkinson might appear.

The maid answered that her master was not at home; which words she had
scarce spoken, when he knocked hastily at the door, and immediately came
running into the room, all pale and breathless, and, addressing himself
to Amelia, cried out, “I am sorry, my dear lady, to bring you ill news;
but Captain Booth”--“What! what!” cries Amelia, dropping the tea-cup
from her hand, “is anything the matter with him?”--“Don’t be frightened,
my dear lady,” said the serjeant: “he is in very good health; but a
misfortune hath happened.”--“Are my children well?” said Amelia.--“O,
very well,” answered the serjeant. “Pray, madam, don’t be frightened; I
hope it will signify nothing--he is arrested, but I hope to get him out
of their damned hands immediately.” “Where is he?” cries Amelia; “I will
go to him this instant!” “He begs you will not,” answered the serjeant.
“I have sent his lawyer to him, and am going back with Mrs. Ellison this
moment; but I beg your ladyship, for his sake, and for your own sake,
not to go.” “Mrs. Ellison! what is Mrs. Ellison to do?” cries Amelia:
“I must and will go.” Mrs. Atkinson then interposed, and begged that
she would not hurry her spirits, but compose herself, and go home to
her children, whither she would attend her. She comforted her with the
thoughts that the captain was in no immediate danger; that she could go
to him when she would; and desired her to let the serjeant return with
Mrs. Ellison, saying she might be of service, and that there was much
wisdom, and no kind of shame, in making use of bad people on certain
occasions.

“And who,” cries Amelia, a little come to herself, “hath done this
barbarous action?”

“One I am ashamed to name,” cries the serjeant; “indeed I had always a
very different opinion of him: I could not have believed anything but my
own ears and eyes; but Dr Harrison is the man who hath done the deed.”

“Dr Harrison!” cries Amelia. “Well, then, there is an end of all
goodness in the world. I will never have a good opinion of any human
being more.”

The serjeant begged that he might not be detained from the captain; and
that, if Amelia pleased to go home, he would wait upon her. But she
did not chuse to see Mrs. Ellison at this time; and, after a little
consideration, she resolved to stay where she was; and Mrs. Atkinson
agreed to go and fetch her children to her, it being not many doors
distant.

The serjeant then departed; Amelia, in her confusion, never having once
thought of wishing him joy on his marriage.



BOOK VIII.



Chapter i.

_Being the first chapter of the eighth book._


The history must now look a little backwards to those circumstances
which led to the catastrophe mentioned at the end of the last book.

When Amelia went out in the morning she left her children to the care
of her husband. In this amiable office he had been engaged near an
hour, and was at that very time lying along on the floor, and his little
things crawling and playing about him, when a most violent knock
was heard at the door; and immediately a footman, running upstairs,
acquainted him that his lady was taken violently ill, and carried into
Mrs. Chenevix’s toy-shop.

Booth no sooner heard this account, which was delivered with great
appearance of haste and earnestness, than he leapt suddenly from the
floor, and, leaving his children, roaring at the news of their mother’s
illness, in strict charge with his maid, he ran as fast as his legs
could carry him to the place; or towards the place rather: for, before
he arrived at the shop, a gentleman stopt him full butt, crying,
“Captain, whither so fast?”--Booth answered eagerly, “Whoever you are,
friend, don’t ask me any questions now.”--“You must pardon me, captain,”
 answered the gentleman; “but I have a little business with your
honour--In short, captain, I have a small warrant here in my pocket
against your honour, at the suit of one Dr Harrison.” “You are a bailiff
then?” says Booth. “I am an officer, sir,” answered the other. “Well,
sir, it is in vain to contend,” cries Booth; “but let me beg you will
permit me only to step to Mrs. Chenevix’s--I will attend you, upon my
honour, wherever you please; but my wife lies violently ill there.” “Oh,
for that matter,” answered the bailiff, “you may set your heart at ease.
Your lady, I hope, is very well; I assure you she is not there. You will
excuse me, captain, these are only stratagems of war. _Bolus and virtus,
quis in a hostess equirit?_” “Sir, I honour your learning,” cries Booth,
“and could almost kiss you for what you tell me. I assure you I would
forgive you five hundred arrests for such a piece of news. Well, sir,
and whither am I to go with you?” “O, anywhere: where your honour
pleases,” cries the bailiff. “Then suppose we go to Brown’s
coffee-house,” said the prisoner. “No,” answered the bailiff, “that will
not do; that’s in the verge of the court.” “Why then, to the nearest
tavern,” said Booth. “No, not to a tavern,” cries the other, “that is
not a place of security; and you know, captain, your honour is a shy
cock; I have been after your honour these three months. Come, sir,
you must go to my house, if you please.” “With all my heart,” answered
Booth, “if it be anywhere hereabouts.” “Oh, it is but a little ways
off,” replied the bailiff; “it is only in Gray’s-inn-lane, just by
almost.” He then called a coach, and desired his prisoner to walk in.

Booth entered the coach without any resistance, which, had he been
inclined to make, he must have plainly perceived would have been
ineffectual, as the bailiff appeared to have several followers at hand,
two of whom, beside the commander in chief, mounted with him into the
coach. As Booth was a sweet-tempered man, as well as somewhat of a
philosopher, he behaved with all the good-humour imaginable, and indeed,
with more than his companions; who, however, shewed him what they call
civility, that is, they neither struck him nor spit in his face.

Notwithstanding the pleasantry which Booth endeavoured to preserve, he
in reality envied every labourer whom he saw pass by him in his way. The
charms of liberty, against his will, rushed on his mind; and he could
not avoid suggesting to himself how much more happy was the poorest
wretch who, without controul, could repair to his homely habitation
and to his family, compared to him, who was thus violently, and yet
lawfully, torn away from the company of his wife and children. And their
condition, especially that of his Amelia, gave his heart many a severe
and bitter pang.

At length he arrived at the bailiff’s mansion, and was ushered into
a room in which were several persons. Booth desired to be alone; upon
which the bailiff waited on him up-stairs into an apartment, the windows
of which were well fortified with iron bars, but the walls had not the
least outwork raised before them; they were, indeed, what is generally
called naked; the bricks having been only covered with a thin plaster,
which in many places was mouldered away.

The first demand made upon Booth was for coach-hire, which amounted
to two shillings, according to the bailiff’s account; that being just
double the legal fare. He was then asked if he did not chuse a bowl of
punch? to which he having answered in the negative, the bailiff replied,
“Nay, sir, just as you please. I don’t ask you to drink, if you don’t
chuse it; but certainly you know the custom; the house is full of
prisoners, and I can’t afford gentlemen a room to themselves for
nothing.”

Booth presently took this hint--indeed it was a pretty broad one--and
told the bailiff he should not scruple to pay him his price; but in
fact he never drank unless at his meals. “As to that, sir,” cries the
bailiff, “it is just as your honour pleases. I scorn to impose upon any
gentleman in misfortunes: I wish you well out of them, for my part.
Your honour can take nothing amiss of me; I only does my duty, what I
am bound to do; and, as you says you don’t care to drink anything, what
will you be pleased to have for dinner?”

Booth then complied in bespeaking a dish of meat, and told the bailiff
he would drink a bottle with him after dinner. He then desired
the favour of pen, ink, and paper, and a messenger; all which were
immediately procured him, the bailiff telling him he might send wherever
he pleased, and repeating his concern for Booth’s misfortunes, and a
hearty desire to see the end of them.

The messenger was just dispatched with the letter, when who should
arrive but honest Atkinson? A soldier of the guards, belonging to the
same company with the serjeant, and who had known Booth at Gibraltar,
had seen the arrest, and heard the orders given to the coachman. This
fellow, accidentally meeting Atkinson, had acquainted him with the whole
affair.

At the appearance of Atkinson, joy immediately overspread the
countenance of Booth. The ceremonials which past between them are
unnecessary to be repeated. Atkinson was soon dispatched to the attorney
and to Mrs. Ellison, as the reader hath before heard from his own mouth.

Booth now greatly lamented that he had writ to his wife. He thought she
might have been acquainted with the affair better by the serjeant. Booth
begged him, however, to do everything in his power to comfort her; to
assure her that he was in perfect health and good spirits; and to lessen
as much as possible the concern which he knew she would have at the
reading his letter.

The serjeant, however, as the reader hath seen, brought himself the
first account of the arrest. Indeed, the other messenger did not arrive
till a full hour afterwards. This was not owing to any slowness of his,
but to many previous errands which he was to execute before the delivery
of the letter; for, notwithstanding the earnest desire which the bailiff
had declared to see Booth out of his troubles, he had ordered the
porter, who was his follower, to call upon two or three other bailiffs,
and as many attorneys, to try to load his prisoner with as many actions
as possible.

Here the reader may be apt to conclude that the bailiff, instead of
being a friend, was really an enemy to poor Booth; but, in fact, he was
not so. His desire was no more than to accumulate bail-bonds; for the
bailiff was reckoned an honest and good sort of man in his way, and had
no more malice against the bodies in his custody than a butcher hath to
those in his: and as the latter, when he takes his knife in hand, hath
no idea but of the joints into which he is to cut the carcase; so the
former, when he handles his writ, hath no other design but to cut out
the body into as many bail-bonds as possible. As to the life of the
animal, or the liberty of the man, they are thoughts which never obtrude
themselves on either.



Chapter ii.

_Containing an account of Mr. Booth’s fellow-sufferers._


Before we return to Amelia we must detain our reader a little longer
with Mr. Booth, in the custody of Mr. Bondum the bailiff, who now
informed his prisoner that he was welcome to the liberty of the house
with the other gentlemen.

Booth asked who those gentlemen were. “One of them, sir,” says Mr.
Bondum, “is a very great writer or author, as they call him; he hath
been here these five weeks at the suit of a bookseller for eleven pound
odd money; but he expects to be discharged in a day or two, for he hath
writ out the debt. He is now writing for five or six booksellers, and
he will get you sometimes, when he sits to it, a matter of fifteen
shillings a-day. For he is a very good pen, they say, but is apt to be
idle. Some days he won’t write above five hours; but at other times I
have know him at it above sixteen.” “Ay!” cries Booth; “pray, what are
his productions? What does he write?” “Why, sometimes,” answered Bondum,
“he writes your history books for your numbers, and sometimes your
verses, your poems, what do you call them? and then again he writes
news for your newspapers.” “Ay, indeed! he is a most extraordinary man,
truly!--How doth he get his news here?” “Why he makes it, as he doth
your parliament speeches for your magazines. He reads them to us
sometimes over a bowl of punch. To be sure it is all one as if one was
in the parliament-house--it is about liberty and freedom, and about the
constitution of England. I say nothing for my part, for I will keep my
neck out of a halter; but, faith, he makes it out plainly to me that all
matters are not as they should be. I am all for liberty, for my part.”
 “Is that so consistent with your calling?” cries Booth. “I thought,
my friend, you had lived by depriving men of their liberty.” “That’s
another matter,” cries the bailiff; “that’s all according to law, and in
the way of business. To be sure, men must be obliged to pay their debts,
or else there would be an end of everything.” Booth desired the bailiff
to give him his opinion on liberty. Upon which, he hesitated a moment,
and then cried out, “O ‘tis a fine thing, ‘tis a very fine thing,
and the constitution of England.” Booth told him, that by the old
constitution of England he had heard that men could not be arrested for
debt; to which the bailiff answered, that must have been in very bad
times; “because as why,” says he, “would it not be the hardest thing in
the world if a man could not arrest another for a just and lawful debt?
besides, sir, you must be mistaken; for how could that ever be? is not
liberty the constitution of England? well, and is not the constitution,
as a man may say--whereby the constitution, that is the law and liberty,
and all that--”

Booth had a little mercy upon the poor bailiff, when he found him
rounding in this manner, and told him he had made the matter very clear.
Booth then proceeded to enquire after the other gentlemen, his fellows
in affliction; upon which Bondum acquainted him that one of the
prisoners was a poor fellow. “He calls himself a gentleman,” said
Bondum; “but I am sure I never saw anything genteel by him. In a week
that he hath been in my house he hath drank only part of one bottle of
wine. I intend to carry him to Newgate within a day or two, if he can’t
find bail, which, I suppose, he will not be able to do; for everybody
says he is an undone man. He hath run out all he hath by losses in
business, and one way or other; and he hath a wife and seven children.
Here was the whole family here the other day, all howling together. I
never saw such a beggarly crew; I was almost ashamed to see them in my
house. I thought they seemed fitter for Bridewell than any other place.
To be sure, I do not reckon him as proper company for such as you, sir;
but there is another prisoner in the house that I dare say you will like
very much. He is, indeed, very much of a gentleman, and spends his money
like one. I have had him only three days, and I am afraid he won’t stay
much longer. They say, indeed, he is a gamester; but what is that to me
or any one, as long as a man appears as a gentleman? I always love to
speak by people as I find; and, in my opinion, he is fit company for
the greatest lord in the land; for he hath very good cloaths, and money
enough. He is not here for debt, but upon a judge’s warrant for an
assault and battery; for the tipstaff locks up here.”

The bailiff was thus haranguing when he was interrupted by the
arrival of the attorney whom the trusty serjeant had, with the utmost
expedition, found out and dispatched to the relief of his distressed
friend. But before we proceed any further with the captain we will
return to poor Amelia, for whom, considering the situation in which we
left her, the good-natured reader may be, perhaps, in no small degree
solicitous.

[Illustration: no caption]



Chapter iii.

_Containing some extraordinary behaviour in Mrs. Ellison._


The serjeant being departed to convey Mrs. Ellison to the captain, his
wife went to fetch Amelia’s children to their mother.

Amelia’s concern for the distresses of her husband was aggravated at the
sight of her children. “Good Heavens!” she cried, “what will--what can
become of these poor little wretches? why have I produced these little
creatures only to give them a share of poverty and misery?” At which
words she embraced them eagerly in her arms, and bedewed them both with
her tears.

The children’s eyes soon overflowed as fast as their mother’s, though
neither of them knew the cause of her affliction. The little boy, who
was the elder and much the sharper of the two, imputed the agonies
of his mother to her illness, according to the account brought to his
father in his presence.

When Amelia became acquainted with the child’s apprehensions, she soon
satisfied him that she was in a perfect state of health; at which the
little thing expressed great satisfaction, and said he was glad she was
well again. Amelia told him she had not been in the least disordered.
Upon which the innocent cried out, “La! how can people tell such fibs?
a great tall man told my papa you was taken very ill at Mrs. Somebody’s
shop, and my poor papa presently ran down-stairs: I was afraid he would
have broke his neck, to come to you.”

“O, the villains!” cries Mrs. Atkinson, “what a stratagem was here to
take away your husband!”

“Take away!” answered the child--“What! hath anybody taken away
papa?--Sure that naughty fibbing man hath not taken away papa?”

Amelia begged Mrs. Atkinson to say something to her children, for that
her spirits were overpowered. She then threw herself into a chair,
and gave a full vent to a passion almost too strong for her delicate
constitution.

The scene that followed, during some minutes, is beyond my power of
description; I must beg the readers’ hearts to suggest it to themselves.
The children hung on their mother, whom they endeavoured in vain to
comfort, as Mrs. Atkinson did in vain attempt to pacify them, telling
them all would be well, and they would soon see their papa again.

At length, partly by the persuasions of Mrs. Atkinson, partly from
consideration of her little ones, and more, perhaps, from the relief
which she had acquired by her tears, Amelia became a little composed.

Nothing worth notice past in this miserable company from this time till
the return of Mrs. Ellison from the bailiff’s house; and to draw out
scenes of wretchedness to too great a length, is a task very uneasy to
the writer, and for which none but readers of a most gloomy complexion
will think themselves ever obliged to his labours.

At length Mrs. Ellison arrived, and entered the room with an air of
gaiety rather misbecoming the occasion. When she had seated herself in
a chair she told Amelia that the captain was very well and in good
spirits, and that he earnestly desired her to keep up hers. “Come,
madam,” said she, “don’t be disconsolate; I hope we shall soon be able
to get him out of his troubles. The debts, indeed, amount to more than I
expected; however, ways may be found to redeem him. He must own himself
guilty of some rashness in going out of the verge, when he knew to what
he was liable; but that is now not to be remedied. If he had followed my
advice this had not happened; but men will be headstrong.”

“I cannot bear this,” cries Amelia; “shall I hear that best of creatures
blamed for his tenderness to me?”

“Well, I will not blame him,” answered Mrs. Ellison; “I am sure I
propose nothing but to serve him; and if you will do as much to serve
him yourself, he will not be long a prisoner.”

“I do!” cries Amelia: “O Heavens! is there a thing upon earth--”

“Yes, there is a thing upon earth,” said Mrs. Ellison, “and a very easy
thing too; and yet I will venture my life you start when I propose it.
And yet, when I consider that you are a woman of understanding, I know
not why I should think so; for sure you must have too much good sense to
imagine that you can cry your husband out of prison. If this would have
done, I see you have almost cried your eyes out already. And yet you may
do the business by a much pleasanter way than by crying and bawling.”

“What do you mean, madam?” cries Amelia.--“For my part, I cannot guess
your meaning.”

“Before I tell you then, madam,” answered Mrs. Ellison, “I must inform
you, if you do not already know it, that the captain is charged with
actions to the amount of near five hundred pounds. I am sure I would
willingly be his bail; but I know my bail would not be taken for that
sum. You must consider, therefore, madam, what chance you have of
redeeming him; unless you chuse, as perhaps some wives would, that he
should lie all his life in prison.”

At these words Amelia discharged a shower of tears, and gave every mark
of the most frantic grief.

“Why, there now,” cries Mrs. Ellison, “while you will indulge these
extravagant passions, how can you be capable of listening to the voice
of reason? I know I am a fool in concerning myself thus with the affairs
of others. I know the thankless office I undertake; and yet I love you
so, my dear Mrs. Booth, that I cannot bear to see you afflicted, and I
would comfort you if you would suffer me. Let me beg you to make your
mind easy; and within these two days I will engage to set your husband
at liberty.

“Harkee, child; only behave like a woman of spirit this evening, and
keep your appointment, notwithstanding what hath happened; and I am
convinced there is one who hath the power and the will to serve you.”

Mrs. Ellison spoke the latter part of her speech in a whisper, so that
Mrs. Atkinson, who was then engaged with the children, might not hear
her; but Amelia answered aloud, and said, “What appointment would you
have me keep this evening?”

“Nay, nay, if you have forgot,” cries Mrs. Ellison, “I will tell you
more another time; but come, will you go home? my dinner is ready by
this time, and you shall dine with me.”

“Talk not to me of dinners,” cries Amelia; “my stomach is too full
already.”

“Nay, but, dear madam,” answered Mrs. Ellison, “let me beseech you to
go home with me. I do not care,” says she, whispering, “to speak before
some folks.” “I have no secret, madam, in the world,” replied Amelia
aloud, “which I would not communicate to this lady; for I shall always
acknowledge the highest obligations to her for the secrets she hath
imparted to me.”

“Madam,” said Mrs. Ellison, “I do not interfere with obligations. I
am glad the lady hath obliged you so much; and I wish all people were
equally mindful of obligations. I hope I have omitted no opportunity of
endeavouring to oblige Mrs. Booth, as well as I have some other folks.”

“If by other folks, madam, you mean me,” cries Mrs. Atkinson, “I confess
I sincerely believe you intended the same obligation to us both; and I
have the pleasure to think it is owing to me that this lady is not as
much obliged to you as I am.”

“I protest, madam, I can hardly guess your meaning,” said Mrs.
Ellison.--“Do you really intend to affront me, madam?”

“I intend to preserve innocence and virtue, if it be in my power,
madam,” answered the other. “And sure nothing but the most eager
resolution to destroy it could induce you to mention such an appointment
at such a time.”

“I did not expect this treatment from you, madam,” cries Mrs. Ellison;
“such ingratitude I could not have believed had it been reported to me
by any other.”

“Such impudence,” answered Mrs. Atkinson, “must exceed, I think,
all belief; but, when women once abandon that modesty which is the
characteristic of their sex, they seldom set any bounds to their
assurance.”

“I could not have believed this to have been in human nature,” cries
Mrs. Ellison. “Is this the woman whom I have fed, have cloathed, have
supported; who owes to my charity and my intercessions that she is not
at this day destitute of all the necessaries of life?”

“I own it all,” answered Mrs. Atkinson; “and I add the favour of a
masquerade ticket to the number. Could I have thought, madam, that you
would before my face have asked another lady to go to the same place
with the same man?--but I ask your pardon; I impute rather more
assurance to you than you are mistress of.--You have endeavoured to keep
the assignation a secret from me; and it was by mere accident only that
I discovered it; unless there are some guardian angels that in general
protect innocence and virtue; though, I may say, I have not always found
them so watchful.”

“Indeed, madam,” said Mrs. Ellison, “you are not worth my answer; nor
will I stay a moment longer with such a person.--So, Mrs. Booth, you
have your choice, madam, whether you will go with me, or remain in the
company of this lady.”

“If so, madam,” answered Mrs. Booth, “I shall not be long in determining
to stay where I am.”

Mrs. Ellison then, casting a look of great indignation at both the
ladies, made a short speech full of invectives against Mrs. Atkinson,
and not without oblique hints of ingratitude against poor Amelia; after
which she burst out of the room, and out of the house, and made haste
to her own home, in a condition of mind to which fortune without guilt
cannot, I believe, reduce any one.

Indeed, how much the superiority of misery is on the side of wickedness
may appear to every reader who will compare the present situation of
Amelia with that of Mrs. Ellison. Fortune had attacked the former with
almost the highest degree of her malice. She was involved in a scene of
most exquisite distress, and her husband, her principal comfort, torn
violently from her arms; yet her sorrow, however exquisite, was all soft
and tender, nor was she without many consolations. Her case, however
hard, was not absolutely desperate; for scarce any condition of fortune
can be so. Art and industry, chance and friends, have often relieved the
most distrest circumstances, and converted them into opulence. In all
these she had hopes on this side the grave, and perfect virtue and
innocence gave her the strongest assurances on the other. Whereas, in
the bosom of Mrs. Ellison, all was storm and tempest; anger, revenge,
fear, and pride, like so many raging furies, possessed her mind, and
tortured her with disappointment and shame. Loss of reputation, which is
generally irreparable, was to be her lot; loss of friends is of this
the certain consequence; all on this side the grave appeared dreary
and comfortless; and endless misery on the other, closed the gloomy
prospect.

Hence, my worthy reader, console thyself, that however few of the
other good things of life are thy lot, the best of all things, which is
innocence, is always within thy own power; and, though Fortune may make
thee often unhappy, she can never make thee completely and irreparably
miserable without thy own consent.



Chapter iv.

_Containing, among many matters, the exemplary behaviour of Colonel
James._


When Mrs. Ellison was departed, Mrs. Atkinson began to apply all her art
to soothe and comfort Amelia, but was presently prevented by her. “I am
ashamed, dear madam,” said Amelia, “of having indulged my affliction so
much at your expense. The suddenness of the occasion is my only excuse;
for, had I had time to summon my resolution to my assistance, I hope
I am mistress of more patience than you have hitherto seen me exert. I
know, madam, in my unwarrantable excesses, I have been guilty of many
transgressions. First, against that Divine will and pleasure without
whose permission, at least, no human accident can happen; in the
next place, madam, if anything can aggravate such a fault, I have
transgressed the laws of friendship as well as decency, in throwing upon
you some part of the load of my grief; and again, I have sinned against
common sense, which should teach me, instead of weakly and heavily
lamenting my misfortunes, to rouse all my spirits to remove them. In
this light I am shocked at my own folly, and am resolved to leave my
children under your care, and go directly to my husband. I may comfort
him. I may assist him. I may relieve him. There is nothing now too
difficult for me to undertake.”

Mrs. Atkinson greatly approved and complimented her friend on all the
former part of her speech, except what related to herself, on which
she spoke very civilly, and I believe with great truth; but as to her
determination of going to her husband she endeavoured to dissuade
her, at least she begged her to defer it for the present, and till the
serjeant returned home. She then reminded Amelia that it was now past
five in the afternoon, and that she had not taken any refreshment but
a dish of tea the whole day, and desired she would give her leave to
procure her a chick, or anything she liked better, for her dinner.

Amelia thanked her friend, and said she would sit down with her to
whatever she pleased; “but if I do not eat,” said she, “I would not have
you impute it to anything but want of appetite; for I assure you all
things are equally indifferent to me. I am more solicitous about these
poor little things, who have not been used to fast so long. Heaven knows
what may hereafter be their fate!”

Mrs. Atkinson bid her hope the best, and then recommended the children
to the care of her maid.

And now arrived a servant from Mrs. James, with an invitation to Captain
Booth and to his lady to dine with the colonel the day after the next.
This a little perplexed Amelia; but after a short consideration she
despatched an answer to Mrs. James, in which she concisely informed her
of what had happened.

The honest serjeant, who had been on his legs almost the whole day, now
returned, and brought Amelia a short letter from her husband, in which
he gave her the most solemn assurances of his health and spirits, and
begged her with great earnestness to take care to preserve her own,
which if she did, he said, he had no doubt but that they should shortly
be happy. He added something of hopes from my lord, with which Mrs.
Ellison had amused him, and which served only to destroy the comfort
that Amelia received from the rest of his letter.

Whilst Amelia, the serjeant, and his lady, were engaged in a cold
collation, for which purpose a cold chicken was procured from the tavern
for the ladies, and two pound of cold beef for the serjeant, a violent
knocking was heard at the door, and presently afterwards Colonel James
entered the room. After proper compliments had past, the colonel told
Amelia that her letter was brought to Mrs. James while they were at
table, and that on her shewing it him he had immediately rose up, made
an apology to his company, and took a chair to her. He spoke to her with
great tenderness on the occasion, and desired her to make herself easy;
assuring her that he would leave nothing in his power undone to serve
her husband. He then gave her an invitation, in his wife’s name, to his
own house, in the most pressing manner.

Amelia returned him very hearty thanks for all his kind offers, but
begged to decline that of an apartment in his house. She said, as she
could not leave her children, so neither could she think of bringing
such a trouble with her into his family; and, though the colonel gave
her many assurances that her children, as well as herself, would be very
welcome to Mrs. James, and even betook himself to entreaties, she still
persisted obstinately in her refusal.

In real truth, Amelia had taken a vast affection for Mrs. Atkinson, of
the comfort of whose company she could not bear to be deprived in her
distress, nor to exchange it for that of Mrs. James, to whom she had
lately conceived no little dislike.

The colonel, when he found he could not prevail with Amelia to accept
his invitation, desisted from any farther solicitations. He then took
a bank-bill of fifty pounds from his pocket-book, and said, “You will
pardon me, dear madam, if I chuse to impute your refusal of my house
rather to a dislike of my wife, who I will not pretend to be the most
agreeable of women (all men,” said he, sighing, “have not Captain
Booth’s fortune), than to any aversion or anger to me. I must insist
upon it, therefore, to make your present habitation as easy to you as
possible--I hope, madam, you will not deny me this happiness; I beg you
will honour me with the acceptance of this trifle.” He then put the note
into her hand, and declared that the honour of touching it was worth a
hundred times that sum.

“I protest, Colonel James,” cried Amelia, blushing, “I know not what to
do or say, your goodness so greatly confounds me. Can I, who am so well
acquainted with the many great obligations Mr. Booth already hath to
your generosity, consent that you should add more to a debt we never can
pay?”

The colonel stopt her short, protesting that she misplaced the
obligation; for, that if to confer the highest happiness was to oblige,
he was obliged to her acceptance. “And I do assure you, madam,” said he,
“if this trifling sum or a much larger can contribute to your ease, I
shall consider myself as the happiest man upon earth in being able to
supply it, and you, madam, my greatest benefactor in receiving it.”

Amelia then put the note in her pocket, and they entered into a
conversation in which many civil things were said on both sides; but
what was chiefly worth remark was, that Amelia had almost her husband
constantly in her mouth, and the colonel never mentioned him: the former
seemed desirous to lay all obligations, as much as possible, to the
account of her husband; and the latter endeavoured, with the utmost
delicacy, to insinuate that her happiness was the main and indeed only
point which he had in view.

Amelia had made no doubt, at the colonel’s first appearance, but that he
intended to go directly to her husband. When he dropt therefore a hint
of his intention to visit him next morning she appeared visibly shocked
at the delay. The colonel, perceiving this, said, “However inconvenient
it may be, yet, madam, if it will oblige you, or if you desire it, I
will even go to-night.” Amelia answered, “My husband will be far from
desiring to derive any good from your inconvenience; but, if you put it
to me, I must be excused for saying I desire nothing more in the world
than to send him so great a comfort as I know he will receive from
the presence of such a friend.” “Then, to show you, madam,” cries the
colonel, “that I desire nothing more in the world than to give you
pleasure, I will go to him immediately.”

Amelia then bethought herself of the serjeant, and told the colonel his
old acquaintance Atkinson, whom he had known at Gibraltar, was then
in the house, and would conduct him to the place. The serjeant was
immediately called in, paid his respects to the colonel, and was
acknowledged by him. They both immediately set forward, Amelia to the
utmost of her power pressing their departure.

Mrs. Atkinson now returned to Amelia, and was by her acquainted with the
colonel’s late generosity; for her heart so boiled over with gratitude
that she could not conceal the ebullition. Amelia likewise gave her
friend a full narrative of the colonel’s former behaviour and friendship
to her husband, as well abroad as in England; and ended with declaring
that she believed him to be the most generous man upon earth.

Mrs. Atkinson agreed with Amelia’s conclusion, and said she was glad to
hear there was any such man. They then proceeded with the children to
the tea-table, where panegyric, and not scandal, was the topic of their
conversation; and of this panegyric the colonel was the subject; both
the ladies seeming to vie with each other in celebrating the praises of
his goodness.



Chapter v.

_Comments upon authors._


Having left Amelia in as comfortable a situation as could possibly be
expected, her immediate distresses relieved, and her heart filled with
great hopes from the friendship of the colonel, we will now return to
Booth, who, when the attorney and serjeant had left him, received a
visit from that great author of whom honourable mention is made in our
second chapter.

Booth, as the reader may be pleased to remember, was a pretty good
master of the classics; for his father, though he designed his son for
the army, did not think it necessary to breed him up a blockhead. He did
not, perhaps, imagine that a competent share of Latin and Greek would
make his son either a pedant or a coward. He considered likewise,
probably, that the life of a soldier is in general a life of idleness;
and might think that the spare hours of an officer in country quarters
would be as well employed with a book as in sauntering about the
streets, loitering in a coffee-house, sotting in a tavern, or in laying
schemes to debauch and ruin a set of harmless ignorant country girls.

As Booth was therefore what might well be called, in this age at least,
a man of learning, he began to discourse our author on subjects of
literature. “I think, sir,” says he, “that Dr Swift hath been generally
allowed, by the critics in this kingdom, to be the greatest master
of humour that ever wrote. Indeed, I allow him to have possessed most
admirable talents of this kind; and, if Rabelais was his master, I think
he proves the truth of the common Greek proverb--that the scholar is
often superior to the master. As to Cervantes, I do not think we can
make any just comparison; for, though Mr. Pope compliments him with
sometimes taking Cervantes’ serious air--” “I remember the passage,”
 cries the author;

     “O thou, whatever title please thine ear,
     Dean, Drapier, Bickerstaff, or Gulliver;
     Whether you take Cervantes’ serious air,
     Or laugh and shake in Rabelais’ easy chair--”

“You are right, sir,” said Booth; “but though I should agree that
the doctor hath sometimes condescended to imitate Rabelais, I do not
remember to have seen in his works the least attempt in the manner of
Cervantes. But there is one in his own way, and whom I am convinced
he studied above all others--you guess, I believe, I am going to name
Lucian. This author, I say, I am convinced, he followed; but I think he
followed him at a distance: as, to say the truth, every other writer of
this kind hath done in my opinion; for none, I think, hath yet equalled
him. I agree, indeed, entirely with Mr. Moyle, in his Discourse on
the age of the Philopatris, when he gives him the epithet of the
incomparable Lucian; and incomparable, I believe, he will remain as long
as the language in which he wrote shall endure. What an inimitable piece
of humour is his Cock!” “I remember it very well,” cries the author;
“his story of a Cock and a Bull is excellent.” Booth stared at this, and
asked the author what he meant by the Bull? “Nay,” answered he, “I don’t
know very well, upon my soul. It is a long time since I read him. I
learnt him all over at school; I have not read him much since. And
pray, sir,” said he, “how do you like his Pharsalia? don’t you think Mr.
Rowe’s translation a very fine one?” Booth replied, “I believe we are
talking of different authors. The Pharsalia, which Mr. Rowe translated,
was written by Lucan; but I have been speaking of Lucian, a Greek
writer, and, in my opinion, the greatest in the humorous way that ever
the world produced.” “Ay!” cries the author, “he was indeed so, a very
excellent writer indeed! I fancy a translation of him would sell very
well!” “I do not know, indeed,” cries Booth. “A good translation of him
would be a valuable book. I have seen a wretched one published by Mr.
Dryden, but translated by others, who in many places have misunderstood
Lucian’s meaning, and have nowhere preserved the spirit of the
original.” “That is great pity,” says the author. “Pray, sir, is he well
translated in the French?” Booth answered, he could not tell; but that
he doubted it very much, having never seen a good version into that
language out of the Greek.” To confess the truth, I believe,” said he,
“the French translators have generally consulted the Latin only; which,
in some of the few Greek writers I have read, is intolerably bad. And
as the English translators, for the most part, pursue the French, we may
easily guess what spirit those copies of bad copies must preserve of the
original.”

“Egad, you are a shrewd guesser,” cries the author. “I am glad the
booksellers have not your sagacity. But how should it be otherwise,
considering the price they pay by the sheet? The Greek, you will allow,
is a hard language; and there are few gentlemen that write who can read
it without a good lexicon. Now, sir, if we were to afford time to find
out the true meaning of words, a gentleman would not get bread and
cheese by his work. If one was to be paid, indeed, as Mr. Pope was for
his Homer--Pray, sir, don’t you think that the best translation in the
world?”

“Indeed, sir,” cries Booth, “I think, though it is certainly a noble
paraphrase, and of itself a fine poem, yet in some places it is no
translation at all. In the very beginning, for instance, he hath not
rendered the true force of the author. Homer invokes his muse in the
five first lines of the Iliad; and, at the end of the fifth, he gives
his reason:

   [Greek]

For all these things,” says he, “were brought about by the decree of
Jupiter; and, therefore, he supposes their true sources are known only
to the deities. Now, the translation takes no more notice of the [Greek]
than if no such word had been there.”

“Very possibly,” answered the author; “it is a long time since I read
the original. Perhaps, then, he followed the French translations. I
observe, indeed, he talks much in the notes of Madam Dacier and Monsieur
Eustathius.”

Booth had now received conviction enough of his friend’s knowledge of
the Greek language; without attempting, therefore, to set him right,
he made a sudden transition to the Latin. “Pray, sir,” said he, “as you
have mentioned Rowe’s translation of the Pharsalia, do you remember how
he hath rendered that passage in the character of Cato?--

    _----Venerisque huic maximus usus
        Progenies; urbi Pater est, urbique Maritus._

For I apprehend that passage is generally misunderstood.”

“I really do not remember,” answered the author. “Pray, sir, what do you
take to be the meaning?”

“I apprehend, sir,” replied Booth, “that by these words, _Urbi Pater
est, urbique Maritus_, Cato is represented as the father and husband to
the city of Rome.”

“Very true, sir,” cries the author; “very fine, indeed.--Not only the
father of his country, but the husband too; very noble, truly!”

“Pardon me, sir,” cries Booth; “I do not conceive that to have been
Lucan’s meaning. If you please to observe the context; Lucan, having
commended the temperance of Cato in the instances of diet and cloaths,
proceeds to venereal pleasures; of which, says the poet, his principal
use was procreation: then he adds, _Urbi Pater est, urbique Maritus;_
that he became a father and a husband for the sake only of the city.”

“Upon my word that’s true,” cries the author; “I did not think of it.
It is much finer than the other.--_Urbis Pater est_--what is the
other?--ay--_Urbis Maritus._--It is certainly as you say, sir.”

Booth was by this pretty well satisfied of the author’s profound
learning; however, he was willing to try him a little farther. He asked
him, therefore, what was his opinion of Lucan in general, and in what
class of writers he ranked him?

The author stared a little at this question; and, after some hesitation,
answered, “Certainly, sir, I think he is a fine writer and a very great
poet.”

“I am very much of the same opinion,” cries Booth; “but where do you
class him--next to what poet do you place him?”

“Let me see,” cries the author; “where do I class him? next to whom do I
place him?--Ay!--why--why, pray, where do you yourself place him?”

“Why, surely,” cries Booth, “if he is not to be placed in the first rank
with Homer, and Virgil, and Milton, I think clearly he is at the head of
the second, before either Statius or Silius Italicus--though I allow to
each of these their merits; but, perhaps, an epic poem was beyond the
genius of either. I own, I have often thought, if Statius had ventured
no farther than Ovid or Claudian, he would have succeeded better; for
his Sylvae are, in my opinion, much better than his Thebais.”

“I believe I was of the same opinion formerly,” said the author.

“And for what reason have you altered it?” cries Booth.

“I have not altered it,” answered the author; “but, to tell you the
truth, I have not any opinion at all about these matters at present. I
do not trouble my head much with poetry; for there is no encouragement
to such studies in this age. It is true, indeed, I have now and then
wrote a poem or two for the magazines, but I never intend to write any
more; for a gentleman is not paid for his time. A sheet is a sheet with
the booksellers; and, whether it be in prose or verse, they make no
difference; though certainly there is as much difference to a gentleman
in the work as there is to a taylor between making a plain and a laced
suit. Rhimes are difficult things; they are stubborn things, sir. I have
been sometimes longer in tagging a couplet than I have been in writing
a speech on the side of the opposition which hath been read with great
applause all over the kingdom.”

“I am glad you are pleased to confirm that,” cries Booth; “for I
protest it was an entire secret to me till this day. I was so perfectly
ignorant, that I thought the speeches published in the magazines were
really made by the members themselves.”

“Some of them, and I believe I may, without vanity, say the best,” cries
the author, “are all the productions of my own pen! but I believe I
shall leave it off soon, unless a sheet of speech will fetch more than
it does at present. In truth, the romance-writing is the only branch of
our business now that is worth following. Goods of that sort have had so
much success lately in the market, that a bookseller scarce cares what
he bids for them. And it is certainly the easiest work in the world;
you may write it almost as fast as you can set pen to paper; and if
you interlard it with a little scandal, a little abuse on some living
characters of note, you cannot fail of success.”

“Upon my word, sir,” cries Booth, “you have greatly instructed me. I
could not have imagined there had been so much regularity in the trade
of writing as you are pleased to mention; by what I can perceive, the
pen and ink is likely to become the staple commodity of the kingdom.”

“Alas! sir,” answered the author, “it is overstocked. The market is
overstocked. There is no encouragement to merit, no patrons. I have been
these five years soliciting a subscription for my new translation of
Ovid’s Metamorphoses, with notes explanatory, historical, and critical;
and I have scarce collected five hundred names yet.”

The mention of this translation a little surprized Booth; not only
as the author had just declared his intentions to forsake the tuneful
muses; but, for some other reasons which he had collected from his
conversation with our author, he little expected to hear of a proposal
to translate any of the Latin poets. He proceeded, therefore, to
catechise him a little farther; and by his answers was fully satisfied
that he had the very same acquaintance with Ovid that he had appeared to
have with Lucan.

The author then pulled out a bundle of papers containing proposals for
his subscription, and receipts; and, addressing himself to Booth, said,
“Though the place in which we meet, sir, is an improper place to solicit
favours of this kind, yet, perhaps, it may be in your power to serve
me if you will charge your pockets with some of these.” Booth was just
offering at an excuse, when the bailiff introduced Colonel James and the
serjeant.

The unexpected visit of a beloved friend to a man in affliction,
especially in Mr. Booth’s situation, is a comfort which can scarce
be equalled; not barely from the hopes of relief or redress by his
assistance, but as it is an evidence of sincere friendship which scarce
admits of any doubt or suspicion. Such an instance doth indeed make a
man amends for all ordinary troubles and distresses; and we ought to
think ourselves gainers by having had such an opportunity of discovering
that we are possessed of one of the most valuable of all human
possessions.

Booth was so transported at the sight of the colonel, that he dropt the
proposals which the author had put into his hands, and burst forth into
the highest professions of gratitude to his friend; who behaved very
properly on his side, and said everything which became the mouth of a
friend on the occasion.

It is true, indeed, he seemed not moved equally either with Booth or the
serjeant, both whose eyes watered at the scene. In truth, the colonel,
though a very generous man, had not the least grain of tenderness in his
disposition. His mind was formed of those firm materials of which nature
formerly hammered out the Stoic, and upon which the sorrows of no man
living could make an impression. A man of this temper, who doth not much
value danger, will fight for the person he calls his friend, and the
man that hath but little value for his money will give it him; but such
friendship is never to be absolutely depended on; for, whenever the
favourite passion interposes with it, it is sure to subside and vanish
into air. Whereas the man whose tender disposition really feels the
miseries of another will endeavour to relieve them for his own sake;
and, in such a mind, friendship will often get the superiority over
every other passion.

But, from whatever motive it sprung, the colonel’s behaviour to Booth
seemed truly amiable; and so it appeared to the author, who took the
first occasion to applaud it in a very florid oration; which the reader,
when he recollects that he was a speech-maker by profession, will not
be surprized at; nor, perhaps, will be much more surprized that he soon
after took an occasion of clapping a proposal into the colonel’s hands,
holding at the same time a receipt very visible in his own.

The colonel received both, and gave the author a guinea in exchange,
which was double the sum mentioned in the receipt; for which the author
made a low bow, and very politely took his leave, saying, “I suppose,
gentlemen, you may have some private business together; I heartily
wish a speedy end to your confinement, and I congratulate you on the
possessing so great, so noble, and so generous a friend.”



Chapter vi.

_Which inclines rather to satire than panegyric._


The colonel had the curiosity to ask Booth the name of the gentleman
who, in the vulgar language, had struck, or taken him in for a guinea
with so much ease and dexterity. Booth answered, he did not know his
name; all that he knew of him was, that he was the most impudent and
illiterate fellow he had ever seen, and that, by his own account, he was
the author of most of the wonderful productions of the age. “Perhaps,”
 said he, “it may look uncharitable in me to blame you for your
generosity; but I am convinced the fellow hath not the least merit or
capacity, and you have subscribed to the most horrid trash that ever was
published.”

“I care not a farthing what he publishes,” cries the colonel. “Heaven
forbid I should be obliged to read half the nonsense I have subscribed
to.”

“But don’t you think,” said Booth, “that by such indiscriminate
encouragement of authors you do a real mischief to the society? By
propagating the subscriptions of such fellows, people are tired out
and withhold their contributions to men of real merit; and, at the same
time, you are contributing to fill the world, not only with nonsense,
but with all the scurrility, indecency, and profaneness with which
the age abounds, and with which all bad writers supply the defect of
genius.”

“Pugh!” cries the colonel, “I never consider these matters. Good or bad,
it is all one to me; but there’s an acquaintance of mine, and a man of
great wit too, that thinks the worst the best, as they are the surest to
make him laugh.”

“I ask pardon, sir,” says the serjeant; “but I wish your honour would
consider your own affairs a little, for it grows late in the evening.”

“The serjeant says true,” answered the colonel. “What is it you intend
to do?”

“Faith, colonel, I know not what I shall do. My affairs seem so
irreparable, that I have been driving them as much as possibly I could
from my mind. If I was to suffer alone, I think I could bear them with
some philosophy; but when I consider who are to be the sharers in my
fortune--the dearest of children, and the best, the worthiest, and the
noblest of women---Pardon me, my dear friend, these sensations are above
me; they convert me into a woman; they drive me to despair, to madness.”

The colonel advised him to command himself, and told him this was not
the way to retrieve his fortune. “As to me, my dear Booth,” said he,
“you know you may command me as far as is really within my power.”

Booth answered eagerly, that he was so far from expecting any more
favours from the colonel, that he had resolved not to let him know
anything of his misfortune. “No, my dear friend,” cries he, “I am
too much obliged to you already;” and then burst into many fervent
expressions of gratitude, till the colonel himself stopt him, and begged
him to give an account of the debt or debts for which he was detained in
that horrid place.

Booth answered, he could not be very exact, but he feared it was upwards
of four hundred pounds.

“It is but three hundred pounds, indeed, sir,” cries the serjeant; “if
you can raise three hundred pounds, you are a free man this moment.”

Booth, who did not apprehend the generous meaning of the serjeant as
well as, I believe, the reader will, answered he was mistaken; that he
had computed his debts, and they amounted to upwards of four hundred
pounds; nay, that the bailiff had shewn him writs for above that sum.

“Whether your debts are three or four hundred,” cries the colonel, “the
present business is to give bail only, and then you will have some time
to try your friends: I think you might get a company abroad, and then
I would advance the money on the security of half your pay; and, in the
mean time, I will be one of your bail with all my heart.”

Whilst Booth poured forth his gratitude for all this kindness, the
serjeant ran down-stairs for the bailiff, and shortly after returned
with him into the room.

The bailiff, being informed that the colonel offered to be bail for his
prisoner, answered a little surlily, “Well, sir, and who will be the
other? you know, I suppose, there must be two; and I must have time to
enquire after them.”

The colonel replied, “I believe, sir, I am well known to be responsible
for a much larger sum than your demand on this gentleman; but, if your
forms require two, I suppose the serjeant here will do for the other.”

“I don’t know the serjeant nor you either, sir,” cries Bondum; “and,
if you propose yourselves bail for the gentleman, I must have time to
enquire after you.”

“You need very little time to enquire after me,” says the colonel, “for
I can send for several of the law, whom I suppose you know, to satisfy
you; but consider, it is very late.”

“Yes, sir,” answered Bondum, “I do consider it is too late for the
captain to be bailed to-night.”

“What do you mean by too late?” cries the colonel.

“I mean, sir, that I must search the office, and that is now shut up;
for, if my lord mayor and the court of aldermen would be bound for him,
I would not discharge him till I had searched the office.”

“How, sir!” cries the colonel, “hath the law of England no more regard
for the liberty of the subject than to suffer such fellows as you to
detain a man in custody for debt, when he can give undeniable security?”

“Don’t fellow me,” said the bailiff; “I am as good a fellow as yourself,
I believe, though you have that riband in your hat there.”

“Do you know whom you are speaking to?” said the serjeant. “Do you know
you are talking to a colonel of the army?”

“What’s a colonel of the army to me?” cries the bailiff. “I have had as
good as he in my custody before now.”

“And a member of parliament?” cries the serjeant.

“Is the gentleman a member of parliament?--Well, and what harm have I
said? I am sure I meant no harm; and, if his honour is offended, I
ask his pardon; to be sure his honour must know that the sheriff is
answerable for all the writs in the office, though they were never so
many, and I am answerable to the sheriff. I am sure the captain can’t
say that I have shewn him any manner of incivility since he hath been
here.--And I hope, honourable sir,” cries he, turning to the colonel,
“you don’t take anything amiss that I said, or meant by way of
disrespect, or any such matter. I did not, indeed, as the gentleman here
says, know who I was speaking to; but I did not say anything uncivil as
I know of, and I hope no offence.”

The colonel was more easily pacified than might have been expected, and
told the bailiff that, if it was against the rules of law to discharge
Mr. Booth that evening, he must be contented. He then addressed himself
to his friend, and began to prescribe comfort and patience to him;
saying, he must rest satisfied with his confinement that night; and the
next morning he promised to visit him again.

Booth answered, that as for himself, the lying one night in any place
was very little worth his regard. “You and I, my dear friend, have both
spent our evening in a worse situation than I shall in this house. All
my concern is for my poor Amelia, whose sufferings on account of my
absence I know, and I feel with unspeakable tenderness. Could I be
assured she was tolerably easy, I could be contented in chains or in a
dungeon.”

“Give yourself no concern on her account,” said the colonel; “I will
wait on her myself, though I break an engagement for that purpose, and
will give her such assurances as I am convinced will make her perfectly
easy.”

Booth embraced his friend, and, weeping over him, paid his
acknowledgment with tears for all his goodness. In words, indeed, he was
not able to thank him; for gratitude, joining with his other passions,
almost choaked him, and stopt his utterance.

After a short scene in which nothing past worth recounting, the colonel
bid his friend good night, and leaving the serjeant with him, made the
best of his way back to Amelia.



Chapter vii.

_Worthy a very serious perusal._


The colonel found Amelia sitting very disconsolate with Mrs. Atkinson.
He entered the room with an air of great gaiety, assured Amelia that
her husband was perfectly well, and that he hoped the next day he would
again be with her.

Amelia was a little comforted at this account, and vented many grateful
expressions to the colonel for his unparalleled friendship, as she was
pleased to call it. She could not, however, help giving way soon after
to a sigh at the thoughts of her husband’s bondage, and declared that
night would be the longest she had ever known.

“This lady, madam,” cries the colonel, “must endeavour to make it
shorter. And, if you will give me leave, I will join in the same
endeavour.” Then, after some more consolatory speeches, the colonel
attempted to give a gay turn to the discourse, and said, “I was engaged
to have spent this evening disagreeably at Ranelagh, with a set of
company I did not like. How vastly am I obliged to you, dear Mrs. Booth,
that I pass it so infinitely more to my satisfaction!”

“Indeed, colonel,” said Amelia, “I am convinced that to a mind so
rightly turned as yours there must be a much sweeter relish in the
highest offices of friendship than in any pleasures which the gayest
public places can afford.”

“Upon my word, madam,” said the colonel, “you now do me more than
justice. I have, and always had, the utmost indifference for such
pleasures. Indeed, I hardly allow them worthy of that name, or, if they
are so at all, it is in a very low degree. In my opinion the highest
friendship must always lead us to the highest pleasure.”

Here Amelia entered into a long dissertation on friendship, in which she
pointed several times directly at the colonel as the hero of her tale.

The colonel highly applauded all her sentiments; and when he could
not avoid taking the compliment to himself, he received it with a most
respectful bow. He then tried his hand likewise at description, in which
he found means to repay all Amelia’s panegyric in kind. This, though he
did with all possible delicacy, yet a curious observer might have been
apt to suspect that it was chiefly on her account that the colonel had
avoided the masquerade.

In discourses of this kind they passed the evening, till it was very
late, the colonel never offering to stir from his chair before the clock
had struck one; when he thought, perhaps, that decency obliged him to
take his leave.

As soon as he was gone Mrs. Atkinson said to Mrs. Booth, “I think,
madam, you told me this afternoon that the colonel was married?”

Amelia answered, she did so.

“I think likewise, madam,” said Mrs. Atkinson, “you was acquainted with
the colonel’s lady?”

Amelia answered that she had been extremely intimate with her abroad.

“Is she young and handsome?” said Mrs. Atkinson. “In short, pray, was it
a match of love or convenience?”

Amelia answered, entirely of love, she believed, on his side; for that
the lady had little or no fortune.

“I am very glad to hear it,” said Mrs. Atkinson; “for I am sure the
colonel is in love with somebody. I think I never saw a more luscious
picture of love drawn than that which he was pleased to give us as the
portraiture of friendship. I have read, indeed, of Pylades and Orestes,
Damon and Pythias, and other great friends of old; nay, I sometimes
flatter myself that I am capable of being a friend myself; but as for
that fine, soft, tender, delicate passion, which he was pleased
to describe, I am convinced there must go a he and a she to the
composition.”

“Upon my word, my dear, you are mistaken,” cries Amelia. “If you had
known the friendship which hath always subsisted between the colonel
and my husband, you would not imagine it possible for any description
to exceed it. Nay, I think his behaviour this very day is sufficient to
convince you.”

“I own what he hath done to-day hath great merit,” said Mrs. Atkinson;
“and yet, from what he hath said to-night--You will pardon me, dear
madam; perhaps I am too quick-sighted in my observations; nay, I am
afraid I am even impertinent.”

“Fie upon it!” cries Amelia; “how can you talk in that strain? Do you
imagine I expect ceremony? Pray speak what you think with the utmost
freedom.”

“Did he not then,” said Mrs. Atkinson, “repeat the words, _the
finest woman in the world_, more than once? did he not make use of an
expression which might have become the mouth of Oroondates himself? If
I remember, the words were these--that, had he been Alexander the Great,
he should have thought it more glory to have wiped off a tear from the
bright eyes of Statira than to have conquered fifty worlds.”

“Did he say so?” cries Amelia--“I think he did say something like it;
but my thoughts were so full of my husband that I took little notice.
But what would you infer from what he said? I hope you don’t think he is
in love with me?”

“I hope he doth not think so himself,” answered Mrs. Atkinson; “though,
when he mentioned the bright eyes of Statira, he fixed his own eyes on
yours with the most languishing air I ever beheld.”

Amelia was going to answer, when the serjeant arrived, and then she
immediately fell to enquiring after her husband, and received such
satisfactory answers to all her many questions concerning him, that
she expressed great pleasure. These ideas so possessed her mind, that,
without once casting her thoughts on any other matters, she took her
leave of the serjeant and his lady, and repaired to bed to her children,
in a room which Mrs. Atkinson had provided her in the same house; where
we will at present wish her a good night.



Chapter viii.

_Consisting of grave matters._


While innocence and chearful hope, in spite of the malice of fortune,
closed the eyes of the gentle Amelia on her homely bed, and she enjoyed
a sweet and profound sleep, the colonel lay restless all night on his
down; his mind was affected with a kind of ague fit; sometimes scorched
up with flaming desires, and again chilled with the coldest despair.

There is a time, I think, according to one of our poets, _when lust and
envy sleep_. This, I suppose, is when they are well gorged with the food
they most delight in; but, while either of these are hungry,

      Nor poppy, nor mandragora,
      Nor all the drousy syrups of the East,
      Will ever medicine them to slumber.

The colonel was at present unhappily tormented by both these fiends.
His last evening’s conversation with Amelia had done his business
effectually. The many kind words she had spoken to him, the many
kind looks she had given him, as being, she conceived, the friend and
preserver of her husband, had made an entire conquest of his heart.
Thus the very love which she bore him, as the person to whom her little
family were to owe their preservation and happiness, inspired him with
thoughts of sinking them all in the lowest abyss of ruin and misery;
and, while she smiled with all her sweetness on the supposed friend of
her husband, she was converting that friend into his most bitter enemy.

      Friendship, take heed; if woman interfere,
      Be sure the hour of thy destruction’s near.

These are the lines of Vanbrugh; and the sentiment is better than the
poetry. To say the truth, as a handsome wife is the cause and cement
of many false friendships, she is often too liable to destroy the real
ones.

Thus the object of the colonel’s lust very plainly appears, but the
object of his envy may be more difficult to discover. Nature and Fortune
had seemed to strive with a kind of rivalship which should bestow
most on the colonel. The former had given him person, parts, and
constitution, in all which he was superior to almost every other man.
The latter had given him rank in life, and riches, both in a very
eminent degree. Whom then should this happy man envy? Here, lest
ambition should mislead the reader to search the palaces of the great,
we will direct him at once to Gray’s-inn-lane; where, in a miserable
bed, in a miserable room, he will see a miserable broken lieutenant, in
a miserable condition, with several heavy debts on his back, and
without a penny in his pocket. This, and no other, was the object of
the colonel’s envy. And why? because this wretch was possessed of the
affections of a poor little lamb, which all the vast flocks that
were within the power and reach of the colonel could not prevent that
glutton’s longing for. And sure this image of the lamb is not improperly
adduced on this occasion; for what was the colonel’s desire but to lead
this poor lamb, as it were, to the slaughter, in order to purchase a
feast of a few days by her final destruction, and to tear her away from
the arms of one where she was sure of being fondled and caressed all the
days of her life.

While the colonel was agitated with these thoughts, his greatest comfort
was, that Amelia and Booth were now separated; and his greatest terror
was of their coming again together. From wishes, therefore, he began to
meditate designs; and so far was he from any intention of procuring the
liberty of his friend, that he began to form schemes of prolonging his
confinement, till he could procure some means of sending him away far
from her; in which case he doubted not but of succeeding in all he
desired.

He was forming this plan in his mind when a servant informed him that
one serjeant Atkinson desired to speak with his honour. The serjeant was
immediately admitted, and acquainted the colonel that, if he pleased to
go and become bail for Mr. Booth, another unexceptionable housekeeper
would be there to join with him. This person the serjeant had procured
that morning, and had, by leave of his wife, given him a bond of
indemnification for the purpose.

The colonel did not seem so elated with this news as Atkinson expected.
On the contrary, instead of making a direct answer to what Atkinson
said, the colonel began thus: “I think, serjeant, Mr. Booth hath told me
that you was foster-brother to his lady. She is really a charming woman,
and it is a thousand pities she should ever have been placed in the
dreadful situation she is now in. There is nothing so silly as for
subaltern officers of the army to marry, unless where they meet with
women of very great fortunes indeed. What can be the event of their
marrying otherwise, but entailing misery and beggary on their wives and
their posterity?”

“Ah! sir,” cries the serjeant, “it is too late to think of those matters
now. To be sure, my lady might have married one of the top gentlemen in
the country; for she is certainly one of the best as well as one of the
handsomest women in the kingdom; and, if she had been fairly dealt by,
would have had a very great fortune into the bargain. Indeed, she is
worthy of the greatest prince in the world; and, if I had been the
greatest prince in the world, I should have thought myself happy with
such a wife; but she was pleased to like the lieutenant, and certainly
there can be no happiness in marriage without liking.”

“Lookee, serjeant,” said the colonel; “you know very well that I am the
lieutenant’s friend. I think I have shewn myself so.”

“Indeed your honour hath,” quoth the serjeant, “more than once to my
knowledge.”

“But I am angry with him for his imprudence, greatly angry with him for
his imprudence; and the more so, as it affects a lady of so much worth.”

“She is, indeed, a lady of the highest worth,” cries the serjeant. “Poor
dear lady! I knew her, an ‘t please your honour, from her infancy;
and the sweetest-tempered, best-natured lady she is that ever trod on
English ground. I have always loved her as if she was my own sister.
Nay, she hath very often called me brother; and I have taken it to be a
greater honour than if I was to be called a general officer.”

“What pity it is,” said the colonel, “that this worthy creature should
be exposed to so much misery by the thoughtless behaviour of a man
who, though I am his friend, I cannot help saying, hath been guilty of
imprudence at least! Why could he not live upon his half-pay? What had
he to do to run himself into debt in this outrageous manner?”

“I wish, indeed,” cries the serjeant, “he had been a little more
considerative; but I hope this will be a warning to him.”

“How am I sure of that,” answered the colonel; “or what reason is there
to expect it? extravagance is a vice of which men are not so easily
cured. I have thought a great deal of this matter, Mr. serjeant; and,
upon the most mature deliberation, I am of opinion that it will be
better, both for him and his poor lady, that he should smart a little
more.”

“Your honour, sir, to be sure is in the right,” replied the serjeant;
“but yet, sir, if you will pardon me for speaking, I hope you will be
pleased to consider my poor lady’s case. She suffers, all this while,
as much or more than the lieutenant; for I know her so well, that I am
certain she will never have a moment’s ease till her husband is out of
confinement.”

“I know women better than you, serjeant,” cries the colonel; “they
sometimes place their affections on a husband as children do on their
nurse; but they are both to be weaned. I know you, serjeant, to be a
fellow of sense as well as spirit, or I should not speak so freely to
you; but I took a fancy to you a long time ago, and I intend to serve
you; but first, I ask you this question--Is your attachment to Mr. Booth
or his lady?”

“Certainly, sir,” said the serjeant, “I must love my lady best. Not but
I have a great affection for the lieutenant too, because I know my lady
hath the same; and, indeed, he hath been always very good to me as far
as was in his power. A lieutenant, your honour knows, can’t do a great
deal; but I have always found him my friend upon all occasions.”

“You say true,” cries the colonel; “a lieutenant can do but little;
but I can do much to serve you, and will too. But let me ask you one
question: Who was the lady whom I saw last night with Mrs. Booth at her
lodgings?”

Here the serjeant blushed, and repeated, “The lady, sir?”

“Ay, a lady, a woman,” cries the colonel, “who supped with us last
night. She looked rather too much like a gentlewoman for the mistress of
a lodging-house.”

The serjeant’s cheeks glowed at this compliment to his wife; and he was
just going to own her when the colonel proceeded: “I think I never saw
in my life so ill-looking, sly, demure a b---; I would give something,
methinks, to know who she was.”

“I don’t know, indeed,” cries the serjeant, in great confusion; “I know
nothing about her.”

“I wish you would enquire,” said the colonel, “and let me know her name,
and likewise what she is: I have a strange curiosity to know, and let me
see you again this evening exactly at seven.”

“And will not your honour then go to the lieutenant this morning?” said
Atkinson.

“It is not in my power,” answered the colonel; “I am engaged another
way. Besides, there is no haste in this affair. If men will be imprudent
they must suffer the consequences. Come to me at seven, and bring me all
the particulars you can concerning that ill-looking jade I mentioned to
you, for I am resolved to know who she is. And so good-morrow to you,
serjeant; be assured I will take an opportunity to do something for
you.”

Though some readers may, perhaps, think the serjeant not unworthy of
the freedom with which the colonel treated him; yet that haughty officer
would have been very backward to have condescended to such familiarity
with one of his rank had he not proposed some design from it. In truth,
he began to conceive hopes of making the serjeant instrumental to his
design on Amelia; in other words, to convert him into a pimp; an office
in which the colonel had been served by Atkinson’s betters, and which,
as he knew it was in his power very well to reward him, he had no
apprehension that the serjeant would decline--an opinion which the
serjeant might have pardoned, though he had never given the least
grounds for it, since the colonel borrowed it from the knowledge of his
own heart. This dictated to him that he, from a bad motive, was capable
of desiring to debauch his friend’s wife; and the same heart inspired
him to hope that another, from another bad motive, might be guilty of
the same breach of friendship in assisting him. Few men, I believe,
think better of others than of themselves; nor do they easily allow the
existence of any virtue of which they perceive no traces in their own
minds; for which reason I have observed, that it is extremely difficult
to persuade a rogue that you are an honest man; nor would you ever
succeed in the attempt by the strongest evidence, was it not for the
comfortable conclusion which the rogue draws, that he who proves himself
to be honest proves himself to be a fool at the same time.



Chapter ix.

_A curious chapter, from which a curious reader may draw sundry
observations._


The serjeant retired from the colonel in a very dejected state of mind:
in which, however, we must leave him awhile and return to Amelia; who,
as soon as she was up, had despatched Mrs. Atkinson to pay off her
former lodgings, and to bring off all cloaths and other moveables.

The trusty messenger returned without performing her errand, for Mrs.
Ellison had locked up all her rooms, and was gone out very early that
morning, and the servant knew not whither she was gone.

The two ladies now sat down to breakfast, together with Amelia’s two
children; after which, Amelia declared she would take a coach and visit
her husband. To this motion Mrs. Atkinson soon agreed, and offered to be
her companion. To say truth, I think it was reasonable enough; and the
great abhorrence which Booth had of seeing his wife in a bailiff’s house
was, perhaps, rather too nice and delicate.

When the ladies were both drest, and just going to send for their
vehicle, a great knocking was heard at the door, and presently Mrs.
James was ushered into the room.

This visit was disagreeable enough to Amelia, as it detained her from
the sight of her husband, for which she so eagerly longed. However,
as she had no doubt but that the visit would be reasonably short, she
resolved to receive the lady with all the complaisance in her power.

Mrs. James now behaved herself so very unlike the person that she lately
appeared, that it might have surprized any one who doth not know that
besides that of a fine lady, which is all mere art and mummery, every
such woman hath some real character at the bottom, in which, whenever
nature gets the better of her, she acts. Thus the finest ladies in the
world will sometimes love, and sometimes scratch, according to their
different natural dispositions, with great fury and violence, though
both of these are equally inconsistent with a fine lady’s artificial
character.

Mrs. James then was at the bottom a very good-natured woman, and the
moment she heard of Amelia’s misfortune was sincerely grieved at it.
She had acquiesced on the very first motion with the colonel’s design
of inviting her to her house; and this morning at breakfast, when he had
acquainted her that Amelia made some difficulty in accepting the offer,
very readily undertook to go herself and persuade her friend to accept
the invitation.

She now pressed this matter with such earnestness, that Amelia, who was
not extremely versed in the art of denying, was hardly able to refuse
her importunity; nothing, indeed, but her affection to Mrs. Atkinson
could have prevailed on her to refuse; that point, however, she would
not give up, and Mrs. James, at last, was contented with a promise that,
as soon as their affairs were settled, Amelia, with her husband and
family, would make her a visit, and stay some time with her in the
country, whither she was soon to retire.

Having obtained this promise, Mrs. James, after many very friendly
professions, took her leave, and, stepping into her coach, reassumed the
fine lady, and drove away to join her company at an auction.

The moment she was gone Mrs. Atkinson, who had left the room upon the
approach of Mrs. James, returned into it, and was informed by Amelia of
all that had past.

“Pray, madam,” said Mrs. Atkinson, “do this colonel and his lady live,
as it is called, well together?”

“If you mean to ask,” cries Amelia, “whether they are a very fond
couple, I must answer that I believe they are not.”

“I have been told,” says Mrs. Atkinson, “that there have been instances
of women who have become bawds to their own husbands, and the husbands
pimps for them.”

“Fie upon it!” cries Amelia. “I hope there are no such people. Indeed,
my dear, this is being a little too censorious.”

“Call it what you please,” answered Mrs. Atkinson; “it arises from my
love to you and my fears for your danger. You know the proverb of a
burnt child; and, if such a one hath any good-nature, it will dread the
fire on the account of others as well as on its own. And, if I may
speak my sentiments freely, I cannot think you will be in safety at this
colonel’s house.”

“I cannot but believe your apprehensions to be sincere,” replied Amelia;
“and I must think myself obliged to you for them; but I am convinced you
are entirely in an error. I look on Colonel James as the most generous
and best of men. He was a friend, and an excellent friend too, to my
husband, long before I was acquainted with him, and he hath done him a
thousand good offices. What do you say of his behaviour yesterday?”

“I wish,” cries Mrs. Atkinson, “that this behaviour to-day had been
equal. What I am now going to undertake is the most disagreeable office
of friendship, but it is a necessary one. I must tell you, therefore,
what past this morning between the colonel and Mr. Atkinson; for, though
it will hurt you, you ought, on many accounts, to know it.” Here she
related the whole, which we have recorded in the preceding chapter, and
with which the serjeant had acquainted her while Mrs. James was paying
her visit to Amelia. And, as the serjeant had painted the matter rather
in stronger colours than the colonel, so Mrs. Atkinson again a little
improved on the serjeant. Neither of these good people, perhaps,
intended to aggravate any circumstance; but such is, I believe, the
unavoidable consequence of all reports. Mrs. Atkinson, indeed, may be
supposed not to see what related to James in the most favourable light,
as the serjeant, with more honesty than prudence, had suggested to his
wife that the colonel had not the kindest opinion of her, and had called
her a sly and demure---: it is true he omitted ill-looking b---;
two words which are, perhaps, superior to the patience of any Job in
petticoats that ever lived. He made amends, however, by substituting
some other phrases in their stead, not extremely agreeable to a female
ear.

It appeared to Amelia, from Mrs. Atkinson’s relation, that the colonel
had grossly abused Booth to the serjeant, and had absolutely refused to
become his bail. Poor Amelia became a pale and motionless statue at
this account. At length she cried, “If this be true, I and mine are all,
indeed, undone. We have no comfort, no hope, no friend left. I cannot
disbelieve you. I know you would not deceive me. Why should you, indeed,
deceive me? But what can have caused this alteration since last night?
Did I say or do anything to offend him?”

“You said and did rather, I believe, a great deal too much to please
him,” answered Mrs. Atkinson. “Besides, he is not in the least offended
with you. On the contrary, he said many kind things.”

“What can my poor love have done?” said Amelia. “He hath not seen the
colonel since last night. Some villain hath set him against my husband;
he was once before suspicious of such a person. Some cruel monster hath
belied his innocence!”

“Pardon me, dear madam,” said Mrs. Atkinson; “I believe the person who
hath injured the captain with this friend of his is one of the worthiest
and best of creatures--nay, do not be surprized; the person I mean is
even your fair self: sure you would not be so dull in any other case;
but in this, gratitude, humility, modesty, every virtue, shuts your
eyes.

    _Mortales hebetant visus,_

as Virgil says. What in the world can be more consistent than his
desire to have you at his own house and to keep your husband confined
in another? All that he said and all that he did yesterday, and, what is
more convincing to me than both, all that he looked last night, are very
consistent with both these designs.”

“O Heavens!” cries Amelia, “you chill my blood with horror! the idea
freezes me to death; I cannot, must not, will not think it. Nothing but
conviction! Heaven forbid I should ever have more conviction! And did he
abuse my husband? what? did he abuse a poor, unhappy, distrest creature,
opprest, ruined, torn from his children, torn away from his wretched
wife; the honestest, worthiest, noblest, tenderest, fondest, best--”
 Here she burst into an agony of grief, which exceeds the power of
description.

In this situation Mrs. Atkinson was doing her utmost to support her
when a most violent knocking was heard at the door, and immediately the
serjeant ran hastily into the room, bringing with him a cordial which
presently relieved Amelia. What this cordial was, we shall inform the
reader in due time. In the mean while he must suspend his curiosity; and
the gentlemen at White’s may lay wagers whether it was Ward’s pill or Dr
James’s powder.

But before we close this chapter, and return back to the bailiff’s
house, we must do our best to rescue the character of our heroine from
the dulness of apprehension, which several of our quick-sighted readers
may lay more heavily to her charge than was done by her friend Mrs.
Atkinson.

I must inform, therefore, all such readers, that it is not because
innocence is more blind than guilt that the former often overlooks and
tumbles into the pit which the latter foresees and avoids. The truth is,
that it is almost impossible guilt should miss the discovering of all
the snares in its way, as it is constantly prying closely into every
corner in order to lay snares for others. Whereas innocence, having
no such purpose, walks fearlessly and carelessly through life, and is
consequently liable to tread on the gins which cunning hath laid to
entrap it. To speak plainly and without allegory or figure, it is
not want of sense, but want of suspicion, by which innocence is often
betrayed. Again, we often admire at the folly of the dupe, when we
should transfer our whole surprize to the astonishing guilt of the
betrayer. In a word, many an innocent person hath owed his ruin to this
circumstance alone, that the degree of villany was such as must have
exceeded the faith of every man who was not himself a villain.



Chapter x.

_In which are many profound secrets of philosophy._


Booth, having had enough of the author’s company the preceding day,
chose now another companion. Indeed the author was not very solicitous
of a second interview; for, as he could have no hope from Booth’s
pocket, so he was not likely to receive much increase to his vanity
from Booth’s conversation; for, low as this wretch was in virtue, sense,
learning, birth, and fortune, he was by no means low in his vanity. This
passion, indeed, was so high in him, and at the same time so blinded him
to his own demerits, that he hated every man who did not either flatter
him or give him money. In short, he claimed a strange kind of right,
either to cheat all his acquaintance of their praise or to pick their
pockets of their pence, in which latter case he himself repaid very
liberally with panegyric.

A very little specimen of such a fellow must have satisfied a man of Mr.
Booth’s temper. He chose, therefore, now to associate himself with that
gentleman of whom Bondum had given so shabby a character. In short, Mr.
Booth’s opinion of the bailiff was such, that he recommended a man most
where he least intended it. Nay, the bailiff in the present instance,
though he had drawn a malicious conclusion, honestly avowed that
this was drawn only from the poverty of the person, which is never, I
believe, any forcible disrecommendation to a good mind: but he must have
had a very bad mind indeed, who, in Mr. Booth’s circumstances, could
have disliked or despised another man because that other man was poor.

Some previous conversation having past between this gentleman and Booth,
in which they had both opened their several situations to each other,
the former, casting an affectionate look on the latter, exprest great
compassion for his circumstances, for which Booth, thanking him, said,
“You must have a great deal of compassion, and be a very good man, in
such a terrible situation as you describe yourself, to have any pity to
spare for other people.”

“My affairs, sir,” answered the gentleman, “are very bad, it is true,
and yet there is one circumstance which makes you appear to me more the
object of pity than I am to myself; and it is this--that you must from
your years be a novice in affliction, whereas I have served a long
apprenticeship to misery, and ought, by this time, to be a pretty good
master of my trade. To say the truth, I believe habit teaches men to
bear the burthens of the mind, as it inures them to bear heavy burthens
on their shoulders. Without use and experience, the strongest minds and
bodies both will stagger under a weight which habit might render easy
and even contemptible.”

“There is great justice,” cries Booth, “in the comparison; and I think
I have myself experienced the truth of it; for I am not that tyro in
affliction which you seem to apprehend me. And perhaps it is from the
very habit you mention that I am able to support my present misfortunes
a little like a man.”

The gentleman smiled at this, and cried, “Indeed, captain, you are a
young philosopher.”

“I think,” cries Booth, “I have some pretensions to that philosophy
which is taught by misfortunes, and you seem to be of opinion, sir, that
is one of the best schools of philosophy.”

“I mean no more, sir,” said the gentleman, “than that in the days of our
affliction we are inclined to think more seriously than in those seasons
of life when we are engaged in the hurrying pursuits of business or
pleasure, when we have neither leisure nor inclination to sift and
examine things to the bottom. Now there are two considerations which,
from my having long fixed my thoughts upon them, have greatly supported
me under all my afflictions. The one is the brevity of life even at its
longest duration, which the wisest of men hath compared to the short
dimension of a span. One of the Roman poets compares it to the duration
of a race; and another, to the much shorter transition of a wave.

“The second consideration is the uncertainty of it. Short as its utmost
limits are, it is far from being assured of reaching those limits. The
next day, the next hour, the next moment, may be the end of our course.
Now of what value is so uncertain, so precarious a station? This
consideration, indeed, however lightly it is passed over in our
conception, doth, in a great measure, level all fortunes and conditions,
and gives no man a right to triumph in the happiest state, or any reason
to repine in the most miserable. Would the most worldly men see this in
the light in which they examine all other matters, they would soon feel
and acknowledge the force of this way of reasoning; for which of them
would give any price for an estate from which they were liable to be
immediately ejected? or, would they not laugh at him as a madman who
accounted himself rich from such an uncertain possession? This is the
fountain, sir, from which I have drawn my philosophy. Hence it is that I
have learnt to look on all those things which are esteemed the blessings
of life, and those which are dreaded as its evils, with such a degree of
indifference that, as I should not be elated with possessing the former,
so neither am I greatly dejected and depressed by suffering the
latter. Is the actor esteemed happier to whose lot it falls to play the
principal part than he who plays the lowest? and yet the drama may run
twenty nights together, and by consequence may outlast our lives; but,
at the best, life is only a little longer drama, and the business of
the great stage is consequently a little more serious than that which
is performed at the Theatre-royal. But even here, the catastrophes and
calamities which are represented are capable of affecting us. The wisest
men can deceive themselves into feeling the distresses of a tragedy,
though they know them to be merely imaginary; and the children will
often lament them as realities: what wonder then, if these tragical
scenes which I allow to be a little more serious, should a little
more affect us? where then is the remedy but in the philosophy I have
mentioned, which, when once by a long course of meditation it is reduced
to a habit, teaches us to set a just value on everything, and cures
at once all eager wishes and abject fears, all violent joy and grief
concerning objects which cannot endure long, and may not exist a
moment.”

“You have exprest yourself extremely well,” cries Booth; “and I entirely
agree with the justice of your sentiments; but, however true all this
may be in theory, I still doubt its efficacy in practice. And the cause
of the difference between these two is this; that we reason from our
heads, but act from our hearts:

      _---Video meliora, proboque;
         Deteriora sequor._

Nothing can differ more widely than wise men and fools in their
estimation of things; but, as both act from their uppermost passion,
they both often act like. What comfort then can your philosophy give to
an avaricious man who is deprived of his riches or to an ambitious
man who is stript of his power? to the fond lover who is torn from his
mistress or to the tender husband who is dragged from his wife? Do you
really think that any meditations on the shortness of life will soothe
them in their afflictions? Is not this very shortness itself one
of their afflictions? and if the evil they suffer be a temporary
deprivation of what they love, will they not think their fate the
harder, and lament the more, that they are to lose any part of an
enjoyment to which there is so short and so uncertain a period?”

“I beg leave, sir,” said the gentleman, “to distinguish here. By
philosophy, I do not mean the bare knowledge of right and wrong, but an
energy, a habit, as Aristotle calls it; and this I do firmly believe,
with him and with the Stoics, is superior to all the attacks of
fortune.”

He was proceeding when the bailiff came in, and in a surly tone bad
them both good-morrow; after which he asked the philosopher if he was
prepared to go to Newgate; for that he must carry him thither that
afternoon.

The poor man seemed very much shocked with this news. “I hope,” cries
he, “you will give a little longer time, if not till the return of the
writ. But I beg you particularly not to carry me thither to-day, for I
expect my wife and children here in the evening.”

“I have nothing to do with wives and children,” cried the bailiff;
“I never desire to see any wives and children here. I like no such
company.”

“I intreat you,” said the prisoner, “give me another day. I shall take
it as a great obligation; and you will disappoint me in the cruellest
manner in the world if you refuse me.”

“I can’t help people’s disappointments,” cries the bailiff; “I must
consider myself and my own family. I know not where I shall be paid the
money that’s due already. I can’t afford to keep prisoners at my own
expense.”

“I don’t intend it shall be at your expense” cries the philosopher; “my
wife is gone to raise money this morning; and I hope to pay you all I
owe you at her arrival. But we intend to sup together to-night at your
house; and, if you should remove me now, it would be the most barbarous
disappointment to us both, and will make me the most miserable man
alive.”

“Nay, for my part,” said the bailiff, “I don’t desire to do anything
barbarous. I know how to treat gentlemen with civility as well as
another. And when people pay as they go, and spend their money like
gentlemen, I am sure nobody can accuse me of any incivility since I have
been in the office. And if you intend to be merry to-night I am not the
man that will prevent it. Though I say it, you may have as good a supper
drest here as at any tavern in town.”

“Since Mr. Bondum is so kind, captain,” said the philosopher, “I hope
for the favour of your company. I assure you, if it ever be my fortune
to go abroad into the world, I shall be proud of the honour of your
acquaintance.”

“Indeed, sir,” cries Booth, “it is an honour I shall be very ready
to accept; but as for this evening, I cannot help saying I hope to be
engaged in another place.”

“I promise you, sir,” answered the other, “I shall rejoice at your
liberty, though I am a loser by it.”

“Why, as to that matter,” cries Bondum with a sneer, “I fancy, captain,
you may engage yourself to the gentleman without any fear of breaking
your word; for I am very much mistaken if we part to-day.”

“Pardon me, my good friend,” said Booth, “but I expect my bail every
minute.”

“Lookee, sir,” cries Bondum, “I don’t love to see gentlemen in an error.
I shall not take the serjeant’s bail; and as for the colonel, I have
been with him myself this morning (for to be sure I love to do all I
can for gentlemen), and he told me he could not possibly be here to-day;
besides, why should I mince the matter? there is more stuff in the
office.”

“What do you mean by stuff?” cries Booth.

“I mean that there is another writ,” answered the bailiff, “at the
suit of Mrs. Ellison, the gentlewoman that was here yesterday; and the
attorney that was with her is concerned against you. Some officers would
not tell you all this; but I loves to shew civility to gentlemen while
they behave themselves as such. And I loves the gentlemen of the army in
particular. I had like to have been in the army myself once; but I liked
the commission I have better. Come, captain, let not your noble courage
be cast down; what say you to a glass of white wine, or a tiff of punch,
by way of whet?”

“I have told you, sir, I never drink in the morning,” cries Booth a
little peevishly.

“No offence I hope, sir,” said the bailiff; “I hope I have not treated
you with any incivility. I don’t ask any gentleman to call for liquor
in my house if he doth not chuse it; nor I don’t desire anybody to stay
here longer than they have a mind to. Newgate, to be sure, is the place
for all debtors that can’t find bail. I knows what civility is, and I
scorn to behave myself unbecoming a gentleman: but I’d have you consider
that the twenty-four hours appointed by act of parliament are almost
out; and so it is time to think of removing. As to bail, I would not
have you flatter yourself; for I knows very well there are other things
coming against you. Besides, the sum you are already charged with is
very large, and I must see you in a place of safety. My house is no
prison, though I lock up for a little time in it. Indeed, when gentlemen
are gentlemen, and likely to find bail, I don’t stand for a day or two;
but I have a good nose at a bit of carrion, captain; I have not carried
so much carrion to Newgate, without knowing the smell of it.”

“I understand not your cant,” cries Booth; “but I did not think to have
offended you so much by refusing to drink in a morning.”

“Offended me, sir!” cries the bailiff. “Who told you so? Do you think,
sir, if I want a glass of wine I am under any necessity of asking my
prisoners for it? Damn it, sir, I’ll shew you I scorn your words. I can
afford to treat you with a glass of the best wine in England, if you
comes to that.” He then pulled out a handful of guineas, saying, “There,
sir, they are all my own; I owe nobody a shilling. I am no beggar, nor
no debtor. I am the king’s officer as well as you, and I will spend
guinea for guinea as long as you please.”

“Harkee, rascal,” cries Booth, laying hold of the bailiff’s collar.
“How dare you treat me with this insolence? doth the law give you any
authority to insult me in my misfortunes?” At which words he gave the
bailiff a good shove, and threw him from him.

“Very well, sir,” cries the bailiff; “I will swear both an assault and
an attempt to a rescue. If officers are to be used in this manner, there
is an end of all law and justice. But, though I am not a match for you
myself, I have those below that are.” He then ran to the door and called
up two ill-looking fellows, his followers, whom, as soon as they entered
the room, he ordered to seize on Booth, declaring he would immediately
carry him to Newgate; at the same time pouring out a vast quantity of
abuse, below the dignity of history to record.

Booth desired the two dirty fellows to stand off, and declared he would
make no resistance; at the same time bidding the bailiff carry him
wherever he durst.

“I’ll shew you what I dare,” cries the bailiff; and again ordered the
followers to lay hold of their prisoner, saying, “He has assaulted me
already, and endeavoured a rescue. I shan’t trust such a fellow to walk
at liberty. A gentleman, indeed! ay, ay, Newgate is the properest place
for such gentry; as arrant carrion as ever was carried thither.”

The fellows then both laid violent hands on Booth, and the bailiff stept
to the door to order a coach; when, on a sudden, the whole scene was
changed in an instant; for now the serjeant came running out of breath
into the room; and, seeing his friend the captain roughly handled by two
ill-looking fellows, without asking any questions stept briskly up to
his assistance, and instantly gave one of the assailants so violent a
salute with his fist, that he directly measured his length on the floor.

Booth, having by this means his right arm at liberty, was unwilling to
be idle, or entirely to owe his rescue from both the ruffians to the
serjeant; he therefore imitated the example which his friend had
set him, and with a lusty blow levelled the other follower with his
companion on the ground.

The bailiff roared out, “A rescue, a rescue!” to which the serjeant
answered there was no rescue intended. “The captain,” said he, “wants
no rescue. Here are some friends coming who will deliver him in a better
manner.”

The bailiff swore heartily he would carry him to Newgate in spite of all
the friends in the world.

“You carry him to Newgate!” cried the serjeant, with the highest
indignation. “Offer but to lay your hands on him, and I will knock your
teeth down your ugly jaws.” Then, turning to Booth, he cried, “They will
be all here within a minute, sir; we had much ado to keep my lady from
coming herself; but she is at home in good health, longing to see your
honour; and I hope you will be with her within this half-hour.”

And now three gentlemen entered the room; these were an attorney, the
person whom the serjeant had procured in the morning to be his bail with
Colonel James, and lastly Doctor Harrison himself.

The bailiff no sooner saw the attorney, with whom he was well acquainted
(for the others he knew not), than he began, as the phrase is, to pull
in his horns, and ordered the two followers, who were now got again on
their legs, to walk down-stairs.

“So, captain,” says the doctor, “when last we parted, I believe we
neither of us expected to meet in such a place as this.”

“Indeed, doctor,” cries Booth, “I did not expect to have been sent
hither by the gentleman who did me that favour.”

“How so, sir?” said the doctor; “you was sent hither by some person, I
suppose, to whom you was indebted. This is the usual place, I apprehend,
for creditors to send their debtors to. But you ought to be more
surprized that the gentleman who sent you hither is come to release you.
Mr. Murphy, you will perform all the necessary ceremonials.”

The attorney then asked the bailiff with how many actions Booth was
charged, and was informed there were five besides the doctor’s, which
was much the heaviest of all. Proper bonds were presently provided, and
the doctor and the serjeant’s friend signed them; the bailiff, at the
instance of the attorney, making no objection to the bail.

[Illustration: _Lawyer Murphy_]

Booth, we may be assured, made a handsome speech to the doctor for such
extraordinary friendship, with which, however, we do not think proper
to trouble the reader; and now everything being ended, and the company
ready to depart, the bailiff stepped up to Booth, and told him he hoped
he would remember civility-money.

“I believe” cries Booth, “you mean incivility-money; if there are any
fees due for rudeness, I must own you have a very just claim.”

“I am sure, sir,” cries the bailiff, “I have treated your honour with
all the respect in the world; no man, I am sure, can charge me with
using a gentleman rudely. I knows what belongs to a gentleman better;
but you can’t deny that two of my men have been knocked down; and I
doubt not but, as you are a gentleman, you will give them something to
drink.”

Booth was about to answer with some passion, when the attorney
interfered, and whispered in his ear that it was usual to make a
compliment to the officer, and that he had better comply with the
custom.

“If the fellow had treated me civilly,” answered Booth, “I should have
had no objection to comply with a bad custom in his favour; but I am
resolved I will never reward a man for using me ill; and I will not
agree to give him a single farthing.”

“‘Tis very well, sir,” said the bailiff; “I am rightly served for my
good-nature; but, if it had been to do again, I would have taken care
you should not have been bailed this day.”

Doctor Harrison, to whom Booth referred the cause, after giving him a
succinct account of what had passed, declared the captain to be in the
right. He said it was a most horrid imposition that such fellows were
ever suffered to prey on the necessitous; but that the example would be
much worse to reward them where they had behaved themselves ill. “And I
think,” says he, “the bailiff is worthy of great rebuke for what he hath
just now said; in which I hope he hath boasted of more power than is in
him. We do, indeed, with great justice and propriety value ourselves
on our freedom if the liberty of the subject depends on the pleasure of
such fellows as these!”

“It is not so neither altogether,” cries the lawyer; “but custom hath
established a present or fee to them at the delivery of a prisoner,
which they call civility-money, and expect as in a manner their due,
though in reality they have no right.”

“But will any man,” cries Doctor Harrison, “after what the captain hath
told us, say that the bailiff hath behaved himself as he ought; and,
if he had, is he to be rewarded for not acting in an unchristian and
inhuman manner? it is pity that, instead of a custom of feeing them
out of the pockets of the poor and wretched, when they do not behave
themselves ill, there was not both a law and a practice to punish them
severely when they do. In the present case, I am so far from agreeing to
give the bailiff a shilling, that, if there be any method of punishing
him for his rudeness, I shall be heartily glad to see it put in
execution; for there are none whose conduct should be so strictly
watched as that of these necessary evils in the society, as their office
concerns for the most part those poor creatures who cannot do themselves
justice, and as they are generally the worst of men who undertake it.”

The bailiff then quitted the room, muttering that he should know better
what to do another time; and shortly after, Booth and his friends left
the house; but, as they were going out, the author took Doctor Harrison
aside, and slipt a receipt into his hand, which the doctor returned,
saying, he never subscribed when he neither knew the work nor the
author; but that, if he would call at his lodgings, he would be very
willing to give all the encouragement to merit which was in his power.

The author took down the doctor’s name and direction, and made him as
many bows as he would have done had he carried off the half-guinea for
which he had been fishing.

Mr. Booth then took his leave of the philosopher, and departed with the
rest of his friends.

END OF VOL. II.



VOL. III.



BOOK IX.



Chapter i.

_In which the history looks backwards._


Before we proceed farther with our history it may be proper to look back
a little, in order to account for the late conduct of Doctor Harrison;
which, however inconsistent it may have hitherto appeared, when examined
to the bottom will be found, I apprehend, to be truly congruous with
all the rules of the most perfect prudence as well as with the most
consummate goodness.

We have already partly seen in what light Booth had been represented to
the doctor abroad. Indeed, the accounts which were sent of the captain,
as well by the curate as by a gentleman of the neighbourhood, were much
grosser and more to his disadvantage than the doctor was pleased to set
them forth in his letter to the person accused. What sense he had of
Booth’s conduct was, however, manifest by that letter. Nevertheless, he
resolved to suspend his final judgment till his return; and, though
he censured him, would not absolutely condemn him without ocular
demonstration.

The doctor, on his return to his parish, found all the accusations which
had been transmitted to him confirmed by many witnesses, of which the
curate’s wife, who had been formerly a friend to Amelia, and still
preserved the outward appearance of friendship, was the strongest. She
introduced all with--“I am sorry to say it; and it is friendship which
bids me speak; and it is for their good it should be told you.” After
which beginnings she never concluded a single speech without some horrid
slander and bitter invective.

Besides the malicious turn which was given to these affairs in the
country, which were owing a good deal to misfortune, and some little
perhaps to imprudence, the whole neighbourhood rung with several gross
and scandalous lies, which were merely the inventions of his enemies,
and of which the scene was laid in London since his absence.

Poisoned with all this malice, the doctor came to town; and, learning
where Booth lodged, went to make him a visit. Indeed, it was the doctor,
and no other, who had been at his lodgings that evening when Booth and
Amelia were walking in the Park, and concerning which the reader may be
pleased to remember so many strange and odd conjectures.

Here the doctor saw the little gold watch and all those fine trinkets
with which the noble lord had presented the children, and which, from
the answers given him by the poor ignorant, innocent girl, he could have
no doubt had been purchased within a few days by Amelia.

This account tallied so well with the ideas he had imbibed of Booth’s
extravagance in the country, that he firmly believed both the husband
and wife to be the vainest, silliest, and most unjust people alive. It
was, indeed, almost incredible that two rational beings should be
guilty of such absurdity; but, monstrous and absurd as it was, ocular
demonstration appeared to be the evidence against them.

The doctor departed from their lodgings enraged at this supposed
discovery, and, unhappily for Booth, was engaged to supper that very
evening with the country gentleman of whom Booth had rented a farm.
As the poor captain happened to be the subject of conversation, and
occasioned their comparing notes, the account which the doctor gave of
what he had seen that evening so incensed the gentleman, to whom Booth
was likewise a debtor, that he vowed he would take a writ out against
him the next morning, and have his body alive or dead; and the
doctor was at last persuaded to do the same. Mr. Murphy was thereupon
immediately sent for; and the doctor in his presence repeated again what
he had seen at his lodgings as the foundation of his suing him, which
the attorney, as we have before seen, had blabbed to Atkinson.

But no sooner did the doctor hear that Booth was arrested than the
wretched condition of his wife and family began to affect his mind. The
children, who were to be utterly undone with their father, were intirely
innocent; and as for Amelia herself, though he thought he had most
convincing proofs of very blameable levity, yet his former friendship
and affection to her were busy to invent every excuse, till, by very
heavily loading the husband, they lightened the suspicion against the
wife.

In this temper of mind he resolved to pay Amelia a second visit, and was
on his way to Mrs. Ellison when the serjeant met him and made himself
known to him. The doctor took his old servant into a coffee-house, where
he received from him such an account of Booth and his family, that he
desired the serjeant to shew him presently to Amelia; and this was
the cordial which we mentioned at the end of the ninth chapter of the
preceding book.

The doctor became soon satisfied concerning the trinkets which had given
him so much uneasiness, and which had brought so much mischief on the
head of poor Booth. Amelia likewise gave the doctor some satisfaction
as to what he had heard of her husband’s behaviour in the country; and
assured him, upon her honour, that Booth could so well answer every
complaint against his conduct, that she had no doubt but that a man of
the doctor’s justice and candour would entirely acquit him, and would
consider him as an innocent unfortunate man, who was the object of a
good man’s compassion, not of his anger or resentment.

This worthy clergyman, who was not desirous of finding proofs to condemn
the captain or to justify his own vindictive proceedings, but, on the
contrary, rejoiced heartily in every piece of evidence which tended
to clear up the character of his friend, gave a ready ear to all which
Amelia said. To this, indeed, he was induced by the love he always had
for that lady, by the good opinion he entertained of her, as well as
by pity for her present condition, than which nothing appeared more
miserable; for he found her in the highest agonies of grief and despair,
with her two little children crying over their wretched mother. These
are, indeed, to a well-disposed mind, the most tragical sights that
human nature can furnish, and afford a juster motive to grief and tears
in the beholder than it would be to see all the heroes who have ever
infested the earth hanged all together in a string.

The doctor felt this sight as he ought. He immediately endeavoured to
comfort the afflicted; in which he so well succeeded, that he restored
to Amelia sufficient spirits to give him the satisfaction we have
mentioned: after which he declared he would go and release her husband,
which he accordingly did in the manner we have above related.



Chapter ii

_In which the history goes forward._


We now return to that period of our history to which we had brought it
at the end of our last book.

Booth and his friends arrived from the bailiff’s, at the serjeant’s
lodgings, where Booth immediately ran up-stairs to his Amelia; between
whom I shall not attempt to describe the meeting. Nothing certainly was
ever more tender or more joyful. This, however, I will observe, that a
very few of these exquisite moments, of which the best minds only are
capable, do in reality over-balance the longest enjoyments which can
ever fall to the lot of the worst.

Whilst Booth and his wife were feasting their souls with the most
delicious mutual endearments, the doctor was fallen to play with the two
little children below-stairs. While he was thus engaged the little boy
did somewhat amiss; upon which the doctor said, “If you do so any more I
will take your papa away from you again.”--“Again! sir,” said the child;
“why, was it you then that took away my papa before?” “Suppose it was,”
 said the doctor; “would not you forgive me?” “Yes,” cries the child,
“I would forgive you; because a Christian must forgive everybody; but I
should hate you as long as I live.”

The doctor was so pleased with the boy’s answer, that he caught him in
his arms and kissed him; at which time Booth and his wife returned. The
doctor asked which of them was their son’s instructor in his religion;
Booth answered that he must confess Amelia had all the merit of that
kind. “I should have rather thought he had learnt of his father,” cries
the doctor; “for he seems a good soldier-like Christian, and professes
to hate his enemies with a very good grace.”

“How, Billy!” cries Amelia. “I am sure I did not teach you so.”

“I did not say I would hate my enemies, madam,” cries the boy; “I only
said I would hate papa’s enemies. Sure, mamma, there is no harm in that;
nay, I am sure there is no harm in it, for I have heard you say the same
thing a thousand times.”

The doctor smiled on the child, and, chucking him under the chin, told
him he must hate nobody 5 and now Mrs. Atkinson, who had provided a
dinner for them all, desired them to walk up and partake of it.

And now it was that Booth was first made acquainted with the serjeant’s
marriage, as was Dr Harrison; both of whom greatly felicitated him upon
it.

Mrs. Atkinson, who was, perhaps, a little more confounded than she would
have been had she married a colonel, said, “If I have done wrong, Mrs.
Booth is to answer for it, for she made the match; indeed, Mr. Atkinson,
you are greatly obliged to the character which this lady gives of you.”
 “I hope he will deserve it,” said the doctor; “and, if the army hath not
corrupted a good boy, I believe I may answer for him.”

While our little company were enjoying that happiness which never fails
to attend conversation where all present are pleased with each other, a
visitant arrived who was, perhaps, not very welcome to any of them.
This was no other than Colonel James, who, entering the room with much
gaiety, went directly up to Booth, embraced him, and expressed great
satisfaction at finding him there; he then made an apology for not
attending him in the morning, which he said had been impossible; and
that he had, with the utmost difficulty, put off some business of great
consequence in order to serve him this afternoon; “but I am glad on your
account,” cried he to Booth, “that my presence was not necessary.”

Booth himself was extremely satisfied with this declaration, and failed
not to return him as many thanks as he would have deserved had he
performed his promise; but the two ladies were not quite so well
satisfied. As for the serjeant, he had slipt out of the room when the
colonel entered, not entirely out of that bashfulness which we have
remarked him to be tainted with, but indeed, from what had past in the
morning, he hated the sight of the colonel as well on the account of his
wife as on that of his friend.

The doctor, on the contrary, on what he had formerly heard from both
Amelia and her husband of the colonel’s generosity and friendship, had
built so good an opinion of him, that he was very much pleased with
seeing him, and took the first opportunity of telling him so. “Colonel,”
 said the doctor, “I have not the happiness of being known to you; but
I have long been desirous of an acquaintance with a gentleman in whose
commendation I have heard so much from some present.” The colonel made a
proper answer to this compliment, and they soon entered into a familiar
conversation together; for the doctor was not difficult of access;
indeed, he held the strange reserve which is usually practised in this
nation between people who are in any degree strangers to each other to
be very unbecoming the Christian character.

The two ladies soon left the room; and the remainder of the visit, which
was not very long, past in discourse on various common subjects, not
worth recording. In the conclusion, the colonel invited Booth and his
lady, and the doctor, to dine with him the next day.

To give Colonel James his due commendation, he had shewn a great command
of himself and great presence of mind on this occasion; for, to speak
the plain truth, the visit was intended to Amelia alone; nor did he
expect, or perhaps desire, anything less than to find the captain at
home. The great joy which he suddenly conveyed into his countenance at
the unexpected sight of his friend is to be attributed to that noble art
which is taught in those excellent schools called the several courts of
Europe. By this, men are enabled to dress out their countenances as much
at their own pleasure as they do their bodies, and to put on friendship
with as much ease as they can a laced coat.

When the colonel and doctor were gone, Booth acquainted Amelia with
the invitation he had received. She was so struck with the news, and
betrayed such visible marks of confusion and uneasiness, that they could
not have escaped Booth’s observation had suspicion given him the least
hint to remark; but this, indeed, is the great optic-glass helping us to
discern plainly almost all that passes in the minds of others, without
some use of which nothing is more purblind than human nature.

Amelia, having recovered from her first perturbation, answered, “My
dear, I will dine with you wherever you please to lay your commands on
me.” “I am obliged to you, my dear soul,” cries Booth; “your obedience
shall be very easy, for my command will be that you shall always follow
your own inclinations.” “My inclinations,” answered she, “would, I am
afraid, be too unreasonable a confinement to you; for they would always
lead me to be with you and your children, with at most a single friend
or two now and then.” “O my dear!” replied he, “large companies give us
a greater relish for our own society when we return to it; and we shall
be extremely merry, for Doctor Harrison dines with us.” “I hope you
will, my dear,” cries she; “but I own I should have been better pleased
to have enjoyed a few days with yourself and the children, with no other
person but Mrs. Atkinson, for whom I have conceived a violent affection,
and who would have given us but little interruption. However, if you
have promised, I must undergo the penance.” “Nay, child,” cried he, “I
am sure I would have refused, could I have guessed it had been in the
least disagreeable to you though I know your objection.” “Objection!”
 cries Amelia eagerly “I have no objection.” “Nay, nay,” said he, “come,
be honest, I know your objection, though you are unwilling to own
it.” “Good Heavens!” cryed Amelia, frightened, “what do you mean? what
objection?” “Why,” answered he, “to the company of Mrs. James; and
I must confess she hath not behaved to you lately as you might have
expected; but you ought to pass all that by for the sake of her
husband, to whom we have both so many obligations, who is the worthiest,
honestest, and most generous fellow in the universe, and the best friend
to me that ever man had.”

Amelia, who had far other suspicions, and began to fear that her husband
had discovered them, was highly pleased when she saw him taking a wrong
scent. She gave, therefore, a little in to the deceit, and acknowledged
the truth of what he had mentioned; but said that the pleasure she
should have in complying with his desires would highly recompense any
dissatisfaction which might arise on any other account; and shortly
after ended the conversation on this subject with her chearfully
promising to fulfil his promise.

In reality, poor Amelia had now a most unpleasant task to undertake;
for she thought it absolutely necessary to conceal from her husband
the opinion she had conceived of the colonel. For, as she knew the
characters, as well of her husband as of his friend, or rather enemy
(both being often synonymous in the language of the world), she had
the utmost reason to apprehend something very fatal might attend her
husband’s entertaining the same thought of James which filled and
tormented her own breast.

And, as she knew that nothing but these thoughts could justify the least
unkind, or, indeed, the least reserved behaviour to James, who had,
in all appearance, conferred the greatest obligations upon Booth and
herself, she was reduced to a dilemma the most dreadful that can attend
a virtuous woman, as it often gives the highest triumph, and sometimes
no little advantage, to the men of professed gallantry.

In short, to avoid giving any umbrage to her husband, Amelia was forced
to act in a manner which she was conscious must give encouragement to
the colonel; a situation which perhaps requires as great prudence and
delicacy as any in which the heroic part of the female character can be
exerted.



Chapter iii.

_A conversation between Dr Harrison and others_.


The next day Booth and his lady, with the doctor, met at Colonel
James’s, where Colonel Bath likewise made one of the company.

Nothing very remarkable passed at dinner, or till the ladies withdrew.
During this time, however, the behaviour of Colonel James was such as
gave some uneasiness to Amelia, who well understood his meaning, though
the particulars were too refined and subtle to be observed by any other
present.

When the ladies were gone, which was as soon as Amelia could prevail
on Mrs. James to depart, Colonel Bath, who had been pretty brisk with
champagne at dinner, soon began to display his magnanimity. “My brother
tells me, young gentleman,” said he to Booth, “that you have been used
very ill lately by some rascals, and I have no doubt but you will do
yourself justice.”

Booth answered that he did not know what he meant. “Since I must mention
it then,” cries the colonel, “I hear you have been arrested; and I think
you know what satisfaction is to be required by a man of honour.”

“I beg, sir,” says the doctor, “no more may be mentioned of that matter.
I am convinced no satisfaction will be required of the captain till he
is able to give it.”

“I do not understand what you mean by able,” cries the colonel. To which
the doctor answered, “That it was of too tender a nature to speak more
of.”

“Give me your hand, doctor,” cries the colonel; “I see you are a man of
honour, though you wear a gown. It is, as you say, a matter of a tender
nature. Nothing, indeed, is so tender as a man’s honour. Curse my liver,
if any man--I mean, that is, if any gentleman, was to arrest me, I would
as surely cut his throat as--”

“How, sir!” said the doctor, “would you compensate one breach of the law
by a much greater, and pay your debts by committing murder?”

“Why do you mention law between gentlemen?” says the colonel. “A man of
honour wears his law by his side; and can the resentment of an affront
make a gentleman guilty of murder? and what greater affront can one
man cast upon another than by arresting him? I am convinced that he who
would put up an arrest would put up a slap in the face.”

Here the colonel looked extremely fierce, and the divine stared
with astonishment at this doctrine; when Booth, who well knew the
impossibility of opposing the colonel’s humour with success, began to
play with it; and, having first conveyed a private wink to the doctor,
he said there might be cases undoubtedly where such an affront ought
to be resented; but that there were others where any resentment was
impracticable: “As, for instance,” said he, “where the man is arrested
by a woman.”

“I could not be supposed to mean that case,” cries the colonel; “and you
are convinced I did not mean it.”

“To put an end to this discourse at once, sir,” said the doctor, “I was
the plaintiff at whose suit this gentleman was arrested.”

“Was you so, sir?” cries the colonel; “then I have no more to say. Women
and the clergy are upon the same footing. The long-robed gentry are
exempted from the laws of honour.”

“I do not thank you for that exemption, sir,” cries the doctor; “and, if
honour and fighting are, as they seem to be, synonymous words with you,
I believe there are some clergymen, who in defence of their religion, or
their country, or their friend, the only justifiable causes of fighting,
except bare self-defence, would fight as bravely as yourself, colonel!
and that without being paid for it.”

“Sir, you are privileged,” says the colonel, with great dignity; “and
you have my leave to say what you please. I respect your order, and you
cannot offend me.”

“I will not offend you, colonel,” cries the doctor; “and our order is
very much obliged to you, since you profess so much respect to us, and
pay none to our Master.”

“What Master, sir?” said the colonel.

“That Master,” answered the doctor, “who hath expressly forbidden all
that cutting of throats to which you discover so much inclination.”

“O! your servant, sir,” said the colonel; “I see what you are driving
at; but you shall not persuade me to think that religion forces me to be
a coward.”

“I detest and despise the name as much as you can,” cries the doctor;
“but you have a wrong idea of the word, colonel. What were all the
Greeks and Romans? were these cowards? and yet, did you ever hear of
this butchery, which we call duelling, among them?”

“Yes, indeed, have I,” cries the colonel. “What else is all Mr. Pope’s
Homer full of but duels? Did not what’s his name, one of the Agamemnons,
fight with that paultry rascal Paris? and Diomede with what d’ye call
him there? and Hector with I forget his name, he that was Achilles’s
bosom-friend; and afterwards with Achilles himself? Nay, and in Dryden’s
Virgil, is there anything almost besides fighting?”

“You are a man of learning, colonel,” cries the doctor; “but--”

“I thank you for that compliment,” said the colonel.--“No, sir, I do
not pretend to learning; but I have some little reading, and I am not
ashamed to own it.”

“But are you sure, colonel,” cries the doctor, “that you have not made
a small mistake? for I am apt to believe both Mr. Pope and Mr. Dryden
(though I cannot say I ever read a word of either of them) speak of wars
between nations, and not of private duels; for of the latter I do not
remember one single instance in all the Greek and Roman story. In short,
it is a modern custom, introduced by barbarous nations since the times
of Christianity; though it is a direct and audacious defiance of the
Christian law, and is consequently much more sinful in us than it would
have been in the heathens.”

“Drink about, doctor,” cries the colonel; “and let us call a new cause;
for I perceive we shall never agree on this. You are a Churchman, and I
don’t expect you to speak your mind.”

“We are both of the same Church, I hope,” cries the doctor.

“I am of the Church of England, sir,” answered the colonel, “and will
fight for it to the last drop of my blood.”

“It is very generous in you, colonel,” cries the doctor, “to fight so
zealously for a religion by which you are to be damned.”

“It is well for you, doctor,” cries the colonel, “that you wear a gown;
for, by all the dignity of a man, if any other person had said the words
you have just uttered, I would have made him eat them; ay, d--n me, and
my sword into the bargain.”

Booth began to be apprehensive that this dispute might grow too warm;
in which case he feared that the colonel’s honour, together with the
champagne, might hurry him so far as to forget the respect due, and
which he professed to pay, to the sacerdotal robe. Booth therefore
interposed between the disputants, and said that the colonel had very
rightly proposed to call a new subject; for that it was impossible to
reconcile accepting a challenge with the Christian religion, or refusing
it with the modern notion of honour. “And you must allow it, doctor,”
 said he, “to be a very hard injunction for a man to become infamous;
and more especially for a soldier, who is to lose his bread into the
bargain.”

“Ay, sir,” says the colonel, with an air of triumph, “what say you to
that?”

“Why, I say,” cries the doctor, “that it is much harder to be damned on
the other side.”

“That may be,” said the colonel; “but damn me, if I would take an
affront of any man breathing, for all that. And yet I believe myself to
be as good a Christian as wears a head. My maxim is, never to give an
affront, nor ever to take one; and I say that it is the maxim of a good
Christian, and no man shall ever persuade me to the contrary.”

“Well, sir,” said the doctor, “since that is your resolution, I hope no
man will ever give you an affront.”

“I am obliged to you for your hope, doctor,” cries the colonel, with
a sneer; “and he that doth will be obliged to you for lending him
your gown; for, by the dignity of a man, nothing out of petticoats, I
believe, dares affront me.”

Colonel James had not hitherto joined in the discourse. In truth, his
thoughts had been otherwise employed; nor is it very difficult for the
reader to guess what had been the subject of them. Being waked, however,
from his reverie, and having heard the two or three last speeches, he
turned to his brother, and asked him, why he would introduce such a
topic of conversation before a gentleman of Doctor Harrison’s character?

“Brother,” cried Bath, “I own it was wrong, and I ask the doctor’s
pardon: I know not how it happened to arise; for you know, brother, I am
not used to talk of these matters. They are generally poltroons that do.
I think I need not be beholden to my tongue to declare I am none. I have
shown myself in a line of battle. I believe there is no man will deny
that; I believe I may say no man dares deny that I have done my duty.”

The colonel was thus proceeding to prove that his prowess was neither
the subject of his discourse nor the object of his vanity, when a
servant entered and summoned the company to tea with the ladies; a
summons which Colonel James instantly obeyed, and was followed by all
the rest.

But as the tea-table conversation, though extremely delightful to those
who are engaged in it, may probably appear somewhat dull to the reader,
we will here put an end to the chapter.



Chapter iv.

_A dialogue between Booth and Amelia_.


The next morning early, Booth went by appointment and waited on Colonel
James; whence he returned to Amelia in that kind of disposition which
the great master of human passion would describe in Andromache, when he
tells us she cried and smiled at the same instant.

Amelia plainly perceived the discomposure of his mind, in which
the opposite affections of joy and grief were struggling for the
superiority, and begged to know the occasion; upon which Booth spoke as
follows:--

“My dear,” said he, “I had no intention to conceal from you what hath
past this morning between me and the colonel, who hath oppressed me, if
I may use that expression, with obligations. Sure never man had such a
friend; for never was there so noble, so generous a heart--I cannot help
this ebullition of gratitude, I really cannot.” Here he paused a moment,
and wiped his eyes, and then proceeded: “You know, my dear, how gloomy
the prospect was yesterday before our eyes, how inevitable ruin stared
me in the face; and the dreadful idea of having entailed beggary on my
Amelia and her posterity racked my mind; for though, by the goodness of
the doctor, I had regained my liberty, the debt yet remained; and, if
that worthy man had a design of forgiving me his share, this must have
been my utmost hope, and the condition in which I must still have found
myself need not to be expatiated on. In what light, then, shall I see,
in what words shall I relate, the colonel’s kindness? O my dear Amelia!
he hath removed the whole gloom at once, hath driven all despair out
of my mind, and hath filled it with the most sanguine, and, at the same
time, the most reasonable hopes of making a comfortable provision for
yourself and my dear children. In the first place, then, he will advance
me a sum of money to pay off all my debts; and this on a bond to be
repaid only when I shall become colonel of a regiment, and not before.
In the next place, he is gone this very morning to ask a company for me,
which is now vacant in the West Indies; and, as he intends to push this
with all his interest, neither he nor I have any doubt of his success.
Now, my dear, comes the third, which, though perhaps it ought to give me
the greatest joy, such is, I own, the weakness of my nature, it rends my
very heartstrings asunder. I cannot mention it, for I know it will give
you equal pain; though I know, on all proper occasions, you can exert a
manly resolution. You will not, I am convinced, oppose it, whatever you
must suffer in complying. O my dear Amelia! I must suffer likewise;
yet I have resolved to bear it. You know not what my poor heart hath
suffered since he made the proposal. It is love for you alone which
could persuade me to submit to it. Consider our situation; consider that
of our children; reflect but on those poor babes, whose future happiness
is at stake, and it must arm your resolution. It is your interest and
theirs that reconciled me to a proposal which, when the colonel first
made it, struck me with the utmost horror; he hath, indeed, from these
motives, persuaded me into a resolution which I thought impossible for
any one to have persuaded me into. O my dear Amelia! let me entreat
you to give me up to the good of your children, as I have promised the
colonel to give you up to their interest and your own. If you refuse
these terms we are still undone, for he insists absolutely upon them.
Think, then, my love, however hard they may be, necessity compels us to
submit to them. I know in what light a woman, who loves like you, must
consider such a proposal; and yet how many instances have you of women
who, from the same motives, have submitted to the same!”

“What can you mean, Mr. Booth?” cries Amelia, trembling.

“Need I explain my meaning to you more?” answered Booth.--“Did I not say
I must give up my Amelia?”

“Give me up!” said she.

“For a time only, I mean,” answered he: “for a short time perhaps. The
colonel himself will take care it shall not be long--for I know his
heart; I shall scarce have more joy in receiving you back than he will
have in restoring you to my arms. In the mean time, he will not only be
a father to my children, but a husband to you.”

“A husband to me!” said Amelia.

“Yes, my dear; a kind, a fond, a tender, an affectionate husband. If
I had not the most certain assurances of this, doth my Amelia think I
could be prevailed on to leave her? No, my Amelia, he is the only man on
earth who could have prevailed on me; but I know his house, his purse,
his protection, will be all at your command. And as for any dislike
you have conceived to his wife, let not that be any objection; for I
am convinced he will not suffer her to insult you; besides, she is
extremely well bred, and, how much soever she may hate you in her heart,
she will at least treat you with civility.

“Nay, the invitation is not his, but hers; and I am convinced they will
both behave to you with the greatest friendship; his I am sure will
be sincere, as to the wife of a friend entrusted to his care; and hers
will, from good-breeding, have not only the appearances but the effects
of the truest friendship.”

“I understand you, my dear, at last,” said she (indeed she had rambled
into very strange conceits from some parts of his discourse); “and I
will give you my resolution in a word--I will do the duty of a wife, and
that is, to attend her husband wherever he goes.”

Booth attempted to reason with her, but all to no purpose. She gave,
indeed, a quiet hearing to all he said, and even to those parts which
most displeased her ears; I mean those in which he exaggerated the great
goodness and disinterested generosity of his friend; but her resolution
remained inflexible, and resisted the force of all his arguments with a
steadiness of opposition, which it would have been almost excusable in
him to have construed into stubbornness.

The doctor arrived in the midst of the dispute; and, having heard
the merits of the cause on both sides, delivered his opinion in the
following words.

“I have always thought it, my dear children, a matter of the utmost
nicety to interfere in any differences between husband and wife; but,
since you both desire me with such earnestness to give you my sentiments
on the present contest between you, I will give you my thoughts as well
as I am able. In the first place then, can anything be more reasonable
than for a wife to desire to attend her husband? It is, as my favourite
child observes, no more than a desire to do her duty; and I make no
doubt but that is one great reason of her insisting on it. And how can
you yourself oppose it? Can love be its own enemy? or can a husband who
is fond of his wife, content himself almost on any account with a long
absence from her?”

“You speak like an angel, my dear Doctor Harrison,” answered Amelia: “I
am sure, if he loved as tenderly as I do, he could on no account submit
to it.”

“Pardon me, child,” cries the doctor; “there are some reasons which
would not only justify his leaving you, but which must force him, if
he hath any real love for you, joined with common sense, to make that
election. If it was necessary, for instance, either to your good or to
the good of your children, he would not deserve the name of a man, I am
sure not that of a husband, if he hesitated a moment. Nay, in that
case, I am convinced you yourself would be an advocate for what you now
oppose. I fancy therefore I mistook him when I apprehended he said that
the colonel made his leaving you behind as the condition of getting him
the commission; for I know my dear child hath too much goodness, and too
much sense, and too much resolution, to prefer any temporary indulgence
of her own passions to the solid advantages of her whole family.”

“There, my dear!” cries Booth; “I knew what opinion the doctor would be
of. Nay, I am certain there is not a wise man in the kingdom who would
say otherwise.”

“Don’t abuse me, young gentleman,” said the doctor, “with appellations I
don’t deserve.”

“I abuse you, my dear doctor!” cries Booth.

“Yes, my dear sir,” answered the doctor; “you insinuated slily that
I was wise, which, as the world understands the phrase, I should be
ashamed of; and my comfort is that no one can accuse me justly of it. I
have just given an instance of the contrary by throwing away my advice.”

“I hope, sir,” cries Booth, “that will not be the case.”

“Yes, sir,” answered the doctor. “I know it will be the case in the
present instance, for either you will not go at all, or my little turtle
here will go with you.”

“You are in the right, doctor,” cries Amelia.

“I am sorry for it,” said the doctor, “for then I assure you you are in
the wrong.”

“Indeed,” cries Amelia, “if you knew all my reasons you would say they
were very strong ones.”

“Very probably,” cries the doctor. “The knowledge that they are in the
wrong is a very strong reason to some women to continue so.”

“Nay, doctor,” cries Amelia, “you shall never persuade me of that. I
will not believe that any human being ever did an action merely because
they knew it to be wrong.”

“I am obliged to you, my dear child,” said the doctor, “for declaring
your resolution of not being persuaded. Your husband would never call
me a wise man again if, after that declaration, I should attempt to
persuade you.”

“Well, I must be content,” cries Amelia, “to let you think as you
please.”

“That is very gracious, indeed,” said the doctor. “Surely, in a country
where the church suffers others to think as they please, it would be
very hard if they had not themselves the same liberty. And yet, as
unreasonable as the power of controuling men’s thoughts is represented,
I will shew you how you shall controul mine whenever you desire it.”

“How, pray?” cries Amelia. “I should greatly esteem that power.”

“Why, whenever you act like a wise woman,” cries the doctor, “you will
force me to think you so: and, whenever you are pleased to act as you do
now, I shall be obliged, whether I will or no, to think as I do now.”

“Nay, dear doctor,” cries Booth, “I am convinced my Amelia will never do
anything to forfeit your good opinion. Consider but the cruel hardship
of what she is to undergo, and you will make allowances for the
difficulty she makes in complying. To say the truth, when I examine my
own heart, I have more obligations to her than appear at first sight;
for, by obliging me to find arguments to persuade her, she hath assisted
me in conquering myself. Indeed, if she had shewn more resolution, I
should have shewn less.”

“So you think it necessary, then,” said the doctor, “that there should
be one fool at least in every married couple. A mighty resolution,
truly! and well worth your valuing yourself upon, to part with your wife
for a few months in order to make the fortune of her and your children;
when you are to leave her, too, in the care and protection of a friend
that gives credit to the old stories of friendship, and doth an honour
to human nature. What, in the name of goodness! do either of you think
that you have made an union to endure for ever? How will either of you
bear that separation which must, some time or other, and perhaps very
soon, be the lot of one of you? Have you forgot that you are both
mortal? As for Christianity, I see you have resigned all pretensions
to it; for I make no doubt but that you have so set your hearts on the
happiness you enjoy here together, that neither of you ever think a word
of hereafter.”

Amelia now burst into tears; upon which Booth begged the doctor to
proceed no farther. Indeed, he would not have wanted the caution; for,
however blunt he appeared in his discourse, he had a tenderness of heart
which is rarely found among men; for which I know no other reason than
that true goodness is rarely found among them; for I am firmly persuaded
that the latter never possessed any human mind in any degree, without
being attended by as large a portion of the former.

Thus ended the conversation on this subject; what followed is not worth
relating, till the doctor carried off Booth with him to take a walk in
the Park.



Chapter v.

_A conversation between Amelia and Dr Harrison, with the result_.


Amelia, being left alone, began to consider seriously of her condition;
she saw it would be very difficult to resist the importunities of her
husband, backed by the authority of the doctor, especially as she well
knew how unreasonable her declarations must appear to every one who was
ignorant of her real motives to persevere in it. On the other hand,
she was fully determined, whatever might be the consequence, to adhere
firmly to her resolution of not accepting the colonel’s invitation.

When she had turned the matter every way in her mind, and vexed and
tormented herself with much uneasy reflexion upon it, a thought at last
occurred to her which immediately brought her some comfort. This was,
to make a confidant of the doctor, and to impart to him the whole truth.
This method, indeed, appeared to her now to be so adviseable, that she
wondered she had not hit upon it sooner; but it is the nature of despair
to blind us to all the means of safety, however easy and apparent they
may be.

Having fixed her purpose in her mind, she wrote a short note to the
doctor, in which she acquainted him that she had something of great
moment to impart to him, which must be an entire secret from her
husband, and begged that she might have an opportunity of communicating
it as soon as possible.

Doctor Harrison received the letter that afternoon, and immediately
complied with Amelia’s request in visiting her. He found her drinking
tea with her husband and Mrs. Atkinson, and sat down and joined the
company.

Soon after the removal of the tea-table Mrs. Atkinson left the room.

The doctor then, turning to Booth, said, “I hope, captain, you have a
true sense of the obedience due to the church, though our clergy do not
often exact it. However, it is proper to exercise our power sometimes,
in order to remind the laity of their duty. I must tell you, therefore,
that I have some private business with your wife; and I expect your
immediate absence.”

“Upon my word, doctor,” answered Booth, “no Popish confessor, I firmly
believe, ever pronounced his will and pleasure with more gravity and
dignity; none therefore was ever more immediately obeyed than you shall
be.” Booth then quitted the room, and desired the doctor to recall him
when his business with the lady was over.

Doctor Harrison promised he would; and then turning to Amelia he said,
“Thus far, madam, I have obeyed your commands, and am now ready to
receive the important secret which you mention in your note.” Amelia now
informed her friend of all she knew, all she had seen and heard, and all
that she suspected, of the colonel. The good man seemed greatly shocked
at the relation, and remained in a silent astonishment. Upon which
Amelia said, “Is villany so rare a thing, sir, that it should so much
surprize you?” “No, child,” cries he; “but I am shocked at seeing it
so artfully disguised under the appearance of so much virtue; and, to
confess the truth, I believe my own vanity is a little hurt in having
been so grossly imposed upon. Indeed, I had a very high regard for this
man; for, besides the great character given him by your husband, and the
many facts I have heard so much redounding to his honour, he hath the
fairest and most promising appearance I have ever yet beheld. A good
face, they say, is a letter of recommendation. O Nature, Nature, why art
thou so dishonest as ever to send men with these false recommendations
into the world?”

“Indeed, my dear sir, I begin to grow entirely sick of it,” cries
Amelia, “for sure all mankind almost are villains in their hearts.”

“Fie, child!” cries the doctor. “Do not make a conclusion so much to the
dishonour of the great Creator. The nature of man is far from being in
itself evil: it abounds with benevolence, charity, and pity, coveting
praise and honour, and shunning shame and disgrace. Bad education, bad
habits, and bad customs, debauch our nature, and drive it headlong as
it were into vice. The governors of the world, and I am afraid
the priesthood, are answerable for the badness of it. Instead of
discouraging wickedness to the utmost of their power, both are too apt
to connive at it. In the great sin of adultery, for instance; hath the
government provided any law to punish it? or doth the priest take any
care to correct it? on the contrary, is the most notorious practice of
it any detriment to a man’s fortune or to his reputation in the world?
doth it exclude him from any preferment in the state, I had almost said
in the church? is it any blot in his escutcheon? any bar to his honour?
is he not to be found every day in the assemblies of women of the
highest quality? in the closets of the greatest men, and even at the
tables of bishops? What wonder then if the community in general treat
this monstrous crime as a matter of jest, and that men give way to
the temptations of a violent appetite, when the indulgence of it is
protected by law and countenanced by custom? I am convinced there are
good stamina in the nature of this very man; for he hath done acts of
friendship and generosity to your husband before he could have any evil
design on your chastity; and in a Christian society, which I no more
esteem this nation to be than I do any part of Turkey, I doubt not but
this very colonel would have made a worthy and valuable member.”

“Indeed, my dear sir,” cries Amelia, “you are the wisest as well as best
man in the world--”

“Not a word of my wisdom,” cries the doctor. “I have not a grain--I am
not the least versed in the Chrematistic [Footnote: The art of getting
wealth is so called by Aristotle in his Politics.] art, as an old friend
of mine calls it. I know not how to get a shilling, nor how to keep it
in my pocket if I had it.”

“But you understand human nature to the bottom,” answered Amelia; “and
your mind is the treasury of all ancient and modern learning.”

“You are a little flatterer,” cries the doctor; “but I dislike you not
for it. And, to shew you I don’t, I will return your flattery, and tell
you you have acted with great prudence in concealing this affair from
your husband; but you have drawn me into a scrape; for I have promised
to dine with this fellow again to-morrow, and you have made it
impossible for me to keep my word.”

“Nay, but, dear sir,” cries Amelia, “for Heaven’s sake take care! If you
shew any kind of disrespect to the colonel, my husband may be led into
some suspicion--especially after our conference.”

“Fear nothing, child. I will give him no hint; and, that I may be
certain of not doing it, I will stay away. You do not think, I hope,
that I will join in a chearful conversation with such a man; that I will
so far betray my character as to give any countenance to such flagitious
proceedings. Besides, my promise was only conditional; and I do not know
whether I could otherwise have kept it; for I expect an old friend every
day who comes to town twenty miles on foot to see me, whom I shall not
part with on any account; for, as he is very poor, he may imagine I
treat him with disrespect.”

“Well, sir,” cries Amelia, “I must admire you and love you for your
goodness.”

“Must you love me?” cries the doctor. “I could cure you now in a minute
if I pleased.”

“Indeed, I defy you, sir,” said Amelia.

“If I could but persuade you,” answered he, “that I thought you not
handsome, away would vanish all ideas of goodness in an instant. Confess
honestly, would they not?”

“Perhaps I might blame the goodness of your eyes,” replied Amelia; “and
that is perhaps an honester confession than you expected. But do,
pray, sir, be serious, and give me your advice what to do. Consider the
difficult game I have to play; for I am sure, after what I have told
you, you would not even suffer me to remain under the roof of this
colonel.”

“No, indeed, would I not,” said the doctor, “whilst I have a house of my
own to entertain you.”

“But how to dissuade my husband,” continued she, “without giving him any
suspicion of the real cause, the consequences of his guessing at which I
tremble to think upon.”

“I will consult my pillow upon it,” said the doctor; “and in the morning
you shall see me again. In the mean time be comforted, and compose the
perturbations of your mind.”

“Well, sir,” said she, “I put my whole trust in you.”

“I am sorry to hear it,” cries the doctor. “Your innocence may give you
a very confident trust in a much more powerful assistance. However, I
will do all I can to serve you: and now, if you please, we will call
back your husband; for, upon my word, he hath shewn a good catholic
patience. And where is the honest serjeant and his wife? I am pleased
with the behaviour of you both to that worthy fellow, in opposition to
the custom of the world; which, instead of being formed on the precepts
of our religion to consider each other as brethren, teaches us to regard
those who are a degree below us, either in rank or fortune, as a species
of beings of an inferior order in the creation.”

The captain now returned into the room, as did the serjeant and Mrs.
Atkinson; and the two couple, with the doctor, spent the evening
together in great mirth and festivity; for the doctor was one of the
best companions in the world, and a vein of chearfulness, good humour,
and pleasantry, ran through his conversation, with which it was
impossible to resist being pleased.



Chapter vi.

_Containing as surprizing an accident as is perhaps recorded in
history_.


Booth had acquainted the serjeant with the great goodness of Colonel
James, and with the chearful prospects which he entertained from
it. This Atkinson, behind the curtain, communicated to his wife. The
conclusion which she drew from it need scarce be hinted to the reader.
She made, indeed, no scruple of plainly and bluntly telling her husband
that the colonel had a most manifest intention to attack the chastity of
Amelia.

This thought gave the poor serjeant great uneasiness, and, after having
kept him long awake, tormented him in his sleep with a most horrid
dream, in which he imagined that he saw the colonel standing by the
bedside of Amelia, with a naked sword in his hand, and threatening to
stab her instantly unless she complied with his desires. Upon this the
serjeant started up in his bed, and, catching his wife by the throat,
cried out, “D--n you, put up your sword this instant, and leave the
room, or by Heaven I’ll drive mine to your heart’s blood!”

This rough treatment immediately roused Mrs. Atkinson from her sleep,
who no sooner perceived the position of her husband, and felt his hand
grasping her throat, than she gave a violent shriek and presently fell
into a fit.

Atkinson now waked likewise, and soon became sensible of the violent
agitations of his wife. He immediately leapt out of bed, and running for
a bottle of water, began to sprinkle her very plentifully; but all to
no purpose: she neither spoke nor gave any symptoms of recovery Atkinson
then began to roar aloud; upon which Booth, who lay under him, jumped
from his bed, and ran up with the lighted candle in his hand. The
serjeant had no sooner taken the candle than he ran with it to the
bed-side. Here he beheld a sight which almost deprived him of his
senses. The bed appeared to be all over blood, and his wife weltering in
the midst of it. Upon this the serjeant, almost in a frenzy, cried out,
“O Heavens! I have killed my wife. I have stabbed her! I have stabbed
her!” “What can be the meaning of all this?” said Booth. “O, sir!”
 cries the serjeant, “I dreamt I was rescuing your lady from the hands of
Colonel James, and I have killed my poor wife.”--Here he threw himself
upon the bed by her, caught her in his arms, and behaved like one
frantic with despair.

By this time Amelia had thrown on a wrapping-gown, and was come up into
the room, where the serjeant and his wife were lying on the bed and
Booth standing like a motionless statue by the bed-side. Amelia had some
difficulty to conquer the effects of her own surprize on this occasion;
for a more ghastly and horrible sight than the bed presented could not
be conceived.

Amelia sent Booth to call up the maid of the house, in order to lend
her assistance; but before his return Mrs. Atkinson began to come to
herself; and soon after, to the inexpressible joy of the serjeant, it
was discovered she had no wound. Indeed, the delicate nose of Amelia
soon made that discovery, which the grosser smell of the serjeant, and
perhaps his fright, had prevented him from making; for now it appeared
that the red liquor with which the bed was stained, though it may,
perhaps, sometimes run through the veins of a fine lady, was not what is
properly called blood, but was, indeed, no other than cherry-brandy, a
bottle of which Mrs. Atkinson always kept in her room to be ready for
immediate use, and to which she used to apply for comfort in all her
afflictions. This the poor serjeant, in his extreme hurry, had mistaken
for a bottle of water. Matters were now soon accommodated, and no other
mischief appeared to be done, unless to the bed-cloaths. Amelia and
Booth returned back to their room, and Mrs. Atkinson rose from her bed
in order to equip it with a pair of clean sheets.

And thus this adventure would have ended without producing any kind of
consequence, had not the words which the serjeant uttered in his frenzy
made some slight impression on Booth; so much, at least, as to awaken
his curiosity; so that in the morning when he arose he sent for the
serjeant, and desired to hear the particulars of this dream, since
Amelia was concerned in it.

The serjeant at first seemed unwilling to comply, and endeavoured to
make excuses. This, perhaps, encreased Booth’s curiosity, and he said,
“Nay, I am resolved to hear it. Why, you simpleton, do you imagine me
weak enough to be affected by a dream, however terrible it may be?”

“Nay, sir,” cries the serjeant, “as for that matter, dreams have
sometimes fallen out to be true. One of my own, I know, did so,
concerning your honour; for, when you courted my young lady, I dreamt
you was married to her; and yet it was at a time when neither I myself,
nor any of the country, thought you would ever obtain her. But Heaven
forbid this dream should ever come to pass!” “Why, what was this dream?”
 cries Booth. “I insist on knowing.”

“To be sure, sir,” cries the serjeant, “I must not refuse you; but I
hope you will never think any more of it. Why then, sir, I dreamt that
your honour was gone to the West Indies, and had left my lady in the
care of Colonel James; and last night I dreamt the colonel came to my
lady’s bed-side, offering to ravish her, and with a drawn sword in his
hand, threatening to stab her that moment unless she would comply with
his desires. How I came to be by I know not; but I dreamt I rushed upon
him, caught him by the throat, and swore I would put him to death unless
he instantly left the room. Here I waked, and this was my dream. I
never paid any regard to a dream in my life--but, indeed, I never dreamt
anything so very plain as this. It appeared downright reality. I am sure
I have left the marks of my fingers in my wife’s throat. I would riot
have taken a hundred pound to have used her so.”

“Faith,” cries Booth, “it was an odd dream, and not so easily to
be accounted for as that you had formerly of my marriage; for, as
Shakespear says, dreams denote a foregone conclusion. Now it is
impossible you should ever have thought of any such matter as this.”

“However, sir,” cries the serjeant, “it is in your honour’s power to
prevent any possibility of this dream’s coming to pass, by not leaving
my lady to the care of the colonel; if you must go from her, certainly
there are other places where she may be with great safety; and, since
my wife tells me that my lady is so very unwilling, whatever reasons she
may have, I hope your honour will oblige her.”

“Now I recollect it,” cries Booth, “Mrs. Atkinson hath once or twice
dropt some disrespectful words of the colonel. He hath done something to
disoblige her.”

“He hath indeed, sir,” replied the serjeant: “he hath said that of
her which she doth not deserve, and for which, if he had not been my
superior officer, I would have cut both his ears off. Nay, for that
matter, he can speak ill of other people besides her.”

“Do you know, Atkinson,” cries Booth, very gravely, “that you are
talking of the dearest friend I have?”

“To be honest then,” answered the serjeant, “I do not think so. If I
did, I should love him much better than I do.”

“I must and will have this explained,” cries Booth. “I have too good
an opinion of you, Atkinson, to think you would drop such things as you
have without some reason--and I will know it.”

“I am sorry I have dropt a word,” cries Atkinson. “I am sure I did not
intend it; and your honour hath drawn it from me unawares.”

“Indeed, Atkinson,” cries Booth, “you have made me very uneasy, and I
must be satisfied.”

“Then, sir,” said the serjeant, “you shall give me your word of honour,
or I will be cut into ten thousand pieces before I will mention another
syllable.”

“What shall I promise?” said Booth.

“That you will not resent anything I shall lay to the colonel,” answered
Atkinson.

“Resent!--Well, I give you my honour,” said Booth.

The serjeant made him bind himself over and over again, and then related
to him the scene which formerly past between the colonel and himself, as
far as concerned Booth himself; but concealed all that more immediately
related to Amelia.

“Atkinson,” cries Booth, “I cannot be angry with you, for I know you
love me, and I have many obligations to you; but you have done wrong
in censuring the colonel for what he said of me. I deserve all that he
said, and his censures proceeded from his friendship.”

“But it was not so kind, sir,” said Atkinson, “to say such things to me
who am but a serjeant, and at such a time too.”

“I will hear no more,” cries Booth. “Be assured you are the only man I
would forgive on this occasion; and I forgive you only on condition
you never speak a word more of this nature. This silly dream hath
intoxicated you.”

“I have done, sir,” cries the serjeant. “I know my distance, and whom
I am to obey; but I have one favour to beg of your honour, never to
mention a word of what I have said to my lady; for I know she never
would forgive me; I know she never would, by what my wife hath told me.
Besides, you need not mention it, sir, to my lady, for she knows it all
already, and a great deal more.”

Booth presently parted from the serjeant, having desired him to close
his lips on this occasion, and repaired to his wife, to whom he related
the serjeant’s dream.

Amelia turned as white as snow, and fell into so violent a trembling
that Booth plainly perceived her emotion, and immediately partook of
it himself. “Sure, my dear,” said he, staring wildly, “there is more in
this than I know. A silly dream could not so discompose you. I beg you,
I intreat you to tell me--hath ever Colonel James--”

At the very mention of the colonel’s name Amelia fell on her knees, and
begged her husband not to frighten her.

“What do I say, my dear love,” cried Booth, “that can frighten you?”

“Nothing, my dear,” said she; “but my spirits are so discomposed with
the dreadful scene I saw last night, that a dream, which at another time
I should have laughed at, hath shocked me. Do but promise me that you
will not leave me behind you, and I am easy.”

“You may be so,” cries Booth, “for I will never deny you anything. But
make me easy too. I must know if you have seen anything in Colonel James
to displease you.”

“Why should you suspect it?” cries Amelia.

“You torment me to death,” cries Booth. “By Heavens! I will know the
truth. Hath he ever said or done anything which you dislike?”

“How, my dear,” said Amelia, “can you imagine I should dislike a man who
is so much your friend? Think of all the obligations you have to him,
and then you may easily resolve yourself. Do you think, because I refuse
to stay behind you in his house, that I have any objection to him? No,
my dear, had he done a thousand times more than he hath--was he an
angel instead of a man, I would not quit my Billy. There’s the sore, my
dear--there’s the misery, to be left by you.”

Booth embraced her with the most passionate raptures, and, looking on
her with inexpressible tenderness, cried, “Upon my soul, I am not worthy
of you: I am a fool, and yet you cannot blame me. If the stupid miser
hoards, with such care, his worthless treasure--if he watches it with
such anxiety--if every apprehension of another’s sharing the least part
fills his soul with such agonies--O Amelia! what must be my condition,
what terrors must I feel, while I am watching over a jewel of such real,
such inestimable worth!”

“I can, with great truth, return the compliment,” cries Amelia. “I have
my treasure too; and am so much a miser, that no force shall ever tear
me from it.”

“I am ashamed of my folly,” cries Booth; “and yet it is all from extreme
tenderness. Nay, you yourself are the occasion. Why will you ever
attempt to keep a secret from me? Do you think I should have resented to
my friend his just censure of my conduct?”

“What censure, my dear love?” cries Amelia.

“Nay, the serjeant hath told me all,” cries Booth--“nay, and that he
hath told it to you. Poor soul! thou couldst not endure to hear me
accused, though never so justly, and by so good a friend. Indeed, my
dear, I have discovered the cause of that resentment to the colonel
which you could not hide from me. I love you, I adore you for it;
indeed, I could not forgive a slighting word on you. But, why do I
compare things so unlike?--what the colonel said of me was just and
true; every reflexion on my Amelia must be false and villanous.”

The discernment of Amelia was extremely quick, and she now perceived
what had happened, and how much her husband knew of the truth. She
resolved therefore to humour him, and fell severely on Colonel James for
what he had said to the serjeant, which Booth endeavoured all he could
to soften; and thus ended this affair, which had brought Booth to the
very brink of a discovery which must have given him the highest torment,
if it had not produced any of those tragical effects which Amelia
apprehended.



Chapter vii.

_In which the author appears to be master of that profound learning
called the knowledge of the town._


Mrs. James now came to pay a morning’s visit to Amelia. She entered
the room with her usual gaiety, and after a slight preface, addressing
herself to Booth, said she had been quarrelling with her husband on his
account. “I know not,” said she, “what he means by thinking of sending
you the Lord knows whither. I have insisted on his asking something for
you nearer home; and it would be the hardest thing in the world if he
should not obtain it. Are we resolved never to encourage merit; but to
throw away all our preferments on those who do not deserve them? What
a set of contemptible wretches do we see strutting about the town in
scarlet!”

Booth made a very low bow, and modestly spoke in disparagement of
himself. To which she answered, “Indeed, Mr. Booth, you have merit; I
have heard it from my brother, who is a judge of those matters, and I
am sure cannot be suspected of flattery. He is your friend as well as
myself, and we will never let Mr. James rest till he hath got you a
commission in England.”

Booth bowed again, and was offering to speak, but she interrupted him,
saying, “I will have no thanks, nor no fine speeches; if I can do you
any service I shall think I am only paying the debt of friendship to my
dear Mrs. Booth.”

Amelia, who had long since forgot the dislike she had taken to Mrs.
James at her first seeing her in town, had attributed it to the right
cause, and had begun to resume her former friendship for her, expressed
very warm sentiments of gratitude on this occasion. She told Mrs. James
she should be eternally obliged to her if she could succeed in her kind
endeavours; for that the thoughts of parting again with her husband had
given her the utmost concern. “Indeed,” added she, “I cannot help saying
he hath some merit in the service, for he hath received two dreadful
wounds in it, one of which very greatly endangered his life; and I am
convinced, if his pretensions were backed with any interest, he would
not fail of success.”

“They shall be backed with interest,” cries Mrs. James, “if my husband
hath any. He hath no favour to ask for himself, nor for any other friend
that I know of; and, indeed, to grant a man his just due, ought hardly
to be thought a favour. Resume your old gaiety, therefore, my dear
Emily. Lord! I remember the time when you was much the gayer creature of
the two. But you make an arrant mope of yourself by confining yourself
at home--one never meets you anywhere. Come, you shall go with me to the
Lady Betty Castleton’s.”

“Indeed, you must excuse me, my dear,” answered Amelia, “I do not know
Lady Betty.”

“Not know Lady Betty! how, is that possible?--but no matter, I will
introduce you. She keeps a morning rout; hardly a rout, indeed; a little
bit of a drum--only four or five tables. Come, take your capuchine; you
positively shall go. Booth, you shall go with us too. Though you are
with your wife, another woman will keep you in countenance.”

“La! child,” cries Amelia, “how you rattle!”

“I am in spirits,” answered Mrs. James, “this morning; for I won four
rubbers together last night; and betted the things, and won almost every
bet. I am in luck, and we will contrive to be partners--Come.”

“Nay, child, you shall not refuse Mrs. James,” said Booth.

“I have scarce seen my children to-day,” answered Amelia. “Besides, I
mortally detest cards.”

“Detest cards!” cries Mrs. James. “How can you be so stupid? I would not
live a day without them--nay, indeed, I do not believe I should be
able to exist. Is there so delightful a sight in the world as the
four honours in one’s own hand, unless it be three natural aces at
bragg?--And you really hate cards?”

“Upon reflexion,” cries Amelia, “I have sometimes had great pleasure in
them--in seeing my children build houses with them. My little boy is so
dexterous that he will sometimes build up the whole pack.”

“Indeed, Booth,” cries Mrs. James, “this good woman of yours is
strangely altered since I knew her first; but she will always be a good
creature.”

“Upon my word, my dear,” cries Amelia, “you are altered too very
greatly; but I doubt not to live to see you alter again, when you come
to have as many children as I have.”

“Children!” cries Mrs. James; “you make me shudder. How can you envy me
the only circumstance which makes matrimony comfortable?”

“Indeed, my dear,” said Amelia, “you injure me; for I envy no woman’s
happiness in marriage.” At these words such looks past between Booth and
his wife as, to a sensible by-stander, would have made all the airs of
Mrs. James appear in the highest degree contemptible, and would have
rendered herself the object of compassion. Nor could that lady avoid
looking a little silly on the occasion.

Amelia now, at the earnest desire of her husband, accoutred herself to
attend her friend; but first she insisted on visiting her children, to
whom she gave several hearty kisses, and then, recommending them to the
care of Mrs. Atkinson, she and her husband accompanied Mrs. James to the
rout; where few of my fine readers will be displeased to make part of
the company.

The two ladies and Booth then entered an apartment beset with
card-tables, like the rooms at Bath and Tunbridge. Mrs. James
immediately introduced her friends to Lady Betty, who received them very
civily, and presently engaged Booth and Mrs. James in a party at whist;
for, as to Amelia, she so much declined playing, that as the party could
be filled without her, she was permitted to sit by.

And now, who should make his appearance but the noble peer of whom
so much honourable mention hath already been made in this history?
He walked directly up to Amelia, and addressed her with as perfect a
confidence as if he had not been in the least conscious of having in any
manner displeased her; though the reader will hardly suppose that Mrs.
Ellison had kept anything a secret from him.

Amelia was not, however, so forgetful. She made him a very distant
courtesy, would scarce vouchsafe an answer to anything he said, and took
the first opportunity of shifting her chair and retiring from him.

Her behaviour, indeed, was such that the peer plainly perceived that he
should get no advantage by pursuing her any farther at present. Instead,
therefore, of attempting to follow her, he turned on his heel and
addressed his discourse to another lady, though he could not avoid often
casting his eyes towards Amelia as long as she remained in the room.

Fortune, which seems to have been generally no great friend to Mr.
Booth, gave him no extraordinary marks of her favour at play. He lost
two full rubbers, which cost him five guineas; after which, Amelia, who
was uneasy at his lordship’s presence, begged him in a whisper to return
home; with which request he directly complied.

Nothing, I think, remarkable happened to Booth, unless the renewal of
his acquaintance with an officer whom he had known abroad, and who made
one of his party at the whist-table.

The name of this gentleman, with whom the reader will hereafter be
better acquainted, was Trent. He had formerly been in the same regiment
with Booth, and there was some intimacy between them. Captain Trent
exprest great delight in meeting his brother officer, and both mutually
promised to visit each other.

The scenes which had past the preceding night and that morning had so
confused Amelia’s thoughts, that, in the hurry in which she was carried
off by Mrs. James, she had entirely forgot her appointment with Dr
Harrison. When she was informed at her return home that the doctor had
been to wait upon her, and had expressed some anger at her being gone
out, she became greatly uneasy, and begged of her husband to go to the
doctor’s lodgings and make her apology.

But lest the reader should be as angry with the doctor as he had
declared himself with Amelia, we think proper to explain the matter.
Nothing then was farther from the doctor’s mind than the conception of
any anger towards Amelia. On the contrary, when the girl answered him
that her mistress was not at home, the doctor said with great good
humour, “How! not at home! then tell your mistress she is a giddy
vagabond, and I will come to see her no more till she sends for me.”
 This the poor girl, from misunderstanding one word, and half forgetting
the rest, had construed into great passion, several very bad words, and
a declaration that he would never see Amelia any more.



Chapter viii.

_In which two strangers make their appearance._


Booth went to the doctor’s lodgings, and found him engaged with his
country friend and his son, a young gentleman who was lately in orders;
both whom the doctor had left, to keep his appointment with Amelia.

After what we mentioned at the end of the last chapter, we need take
little notice of the apology made by Booth, or the doctor’s reception of
it, which was in his peculiar manner. “Your wife,” said he, “is a vain
hussy to think herself worth my anger; but tell her I have the vanity
myself to think I cannot be angry without a better cause. And yet tell
her I intend to punish her for her levity; for, if you go abroad, I have
determined to take her down with me into the country, and make her do
penance there till you return.”

“Dear sir,” said Booth, “I know not how to thank you if you are in
earnest.”

“I assure you then I am in earnest,” cries the doctor; “but you need not
thank me, however, since you know not how.”

“But would not that, sir,” said Booth, “be shewing a slight to the
colonel’s invitation? and you know I have so many obligations to him.”

“Don’t tell me of the colonel,” cries the doctor; “the church is to
be first served. Besides, sir, I have priority of right, even to you
yourself. You stole my little lamb from me; for I was her first love.”

“Well, sir,” cries Booth, “if I should be so unhappy to leave her to
any one, she must herself determine; and, I believe, it will not be
difficult to guess where her choice will fall; for of all men, next
to her husband, I believe, none can contend with Dr Harrison in her
favour.”

“Since you say so,” cries the doctor, “fetch her hither to dinner with
us; for I am at least so good a Christian to love those that love me--I
will shew you my daughter, my old friend, for I am really proud of
her--and you may bring my grand-children with you if you please.”

Booth made some compliments, and then went on his errand. As soon as he
was gone the old gentleman said to the doctor, “Pray, my good friend,
what daughter is this of yours? I never so much as heard that you was
married.”

“And what then,” cries the doctor; “did you ever hear that a pope was
married? and yet some of them have had sons and daughters, I believe;
but, however, this young gentleman will absolve me without obliging me
to penance.”

“I have not yet that power,” answered the young clergyman; “for I am
only in deacon’s orders.”

“Are you not?” cries the doctor; “why then I will absolve myself. You
are to know then, my good friend, that this young lady was the daughter
of a neighbour of mine, who is since dead, and whose sins I hope are
forgiven; for she had too much to answer for on her child’s account. Her
father was my intimate acquaintance and friend; a worthier man, indeed,
I believe never lived. He died suddenly when his children were infants;
and, perhaps, to the suddenness of his death it was owing that he did
not recommend any care of them to me. However, I, in some measure, took
that charge upon me; and particularly of her whom I call my daughter.
Indeed, as she grew up she discovered so many good qualities that she
wanted not the remembrance of her father’s merit to recommend her. I do
her no more than justice when I say she is one of the best creatures I
ever knew. She hath a sweetness of temper, a generosity of spirit, an
openness of heart--in a word, she hath a true Christian disposition. I
may call her an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no guile.”

“I wish you joy of your daughter,” cries the old gentleman; “for to
a man of your disposition, to find out an adequate object of your
benevolence, is, I acknowledge, to find a treasure.”

“It is, indeed, a happiness,” cries the doctor.

“The greatest difficulty,” added the gentleman, “which persons of your
turn of mind meet with, is in finding proper objects of their goodness;
for nothing sure can be more irksome to a generous mind, than to
discover that it hath thrown away all its good offices on a soil that
bears no other fruit than ingratitude.”

“I remember,” cries the doctor, “Phocylides saith,

       Mn kakov ev epens opens dpelpelv ioov eot evi povtw
[Footnote: To do a kindness to a bad man is like sowing your seed in the
sea.]

But he speaks more like a philosopher than a Christian. I am more
pleased with a French writer, one of the best, indeed, that I ever read,
who blames men for lamenting the ill return which is so often made to
the best offices. [Footnote: D’Esprit.] A true Christian can never
be disappointed if he doth not receive his reward in this world; the
labourer might as well complain that he is not paid his hire in the
middle of the day.”

“I own, indeed,” said the gentleman, “if we see it in that light--”

“And in what light should we see it?” answered the doctor. “Are we like
Agrippa, only almost Christians? or, is Christianity a matter of bare
theory, and not a rule for our practice?”

“Practical, undoubtedly; undoubtedly practical,” cries the gentleman.
“Your example might indeed have convinced me long ago that we ought to
do good to every one.”

“Pardon me, father,” cries the young divine, “that is rather a
heathenish than a Christian doctrine. Homer, I remember, introduces in
his Iliad one Axylus, of whom he says--

     --Hidvos o’nv avopwpoloi
       pavras yap tyeeokev
[Footnote: He was a friend to mankind, for he loved them all.]

But Plato, who, of all the heathens, came nearest to the Christian
philosophy, condemned this as impious doctrine; so Eustathius tells us,
folio 474.”

“I know he doth,” cries the doctor, “and so Barnes tells us, in his note
upon the place; but if you remember the rest of the quotation as well as
you do that from Eustathius, you might have added the observation which
Mr. Dryden makes in favour of this passage, that he found not in all the
Latin authors, so admirable an instance of extensive humanity. You might
have likewise remembered the noble sentiment with which Mr. Barnes
ends his note, the sense of which is taken from the fifth chapter of
Matthew:--

 [Greek verse]

“It seems, therefore, as if this character rather became a Christian
than a heathen, for Homer could not have transcribed it from any of
his deities. Whom is it, therefore, we imitate by such extensive
benevolence?”

“What a prodigious memory you have!” cries the old gentleman: “indeed,
son, you must not contend with the doctor in these matters.”

“I shall not give my opinion hastily,” cries the son. “I know,
again, what Mr. Poole, in his annotations, says on that verse of St
Matthew--That it is only to _heap coals of fire upon their heads_. How
are we to understand, pray, the text immediately preceding?--_Love your
enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you_.”

“You know, I suppose, young gentleman,” said the doctor, “how these
words are generally understood. The commentator you mention, I think,
tells us that love is not here to be taken in the strict sense, so as to
signify the complacency of the heart; you may hate your enemies as God’s
enemies, and seek due revenge of them for his honour; and, for your own
sakes too, you may seek moderate satisfaction of them; but then you are
to love them with a love consistent with these things; that is to say,
in plainer words, you are to love them and hate them, and bless and
curse, and do them good and mischief.”

“Excellent! admirable!” said the old gentleman; “you have a most
inimitable turn to ridicule.”

“I do not approve ridicule,” said the son, “on such subjects.”

“Nor I neither,” cries the doctor; “I will give you my opinion,
therefore, very seriously. The two verses taken together, contain a very
positive precept, delivered in the plainest words, and yet illustrated
by the clearest instance in the conduct of the Supreme Being; and
lastly, the practice of this precept is most nobly enforced by the
reward annexed--_that ye may be the children_, and so forth. No man
who understands what it is to love, and to bless, and to do good, can
mistake the meaning. But if they required any comment, the Scripture
itself affords enow. _If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst,
give him drink; not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing, but
contrariwise, blessing._ They do not, indeed, want the comments of men,
who, when they cannot bend their mind to the obedience of Scripture,
are desirous to wrest Scripture to a compliance with their own
inclinations.”

“Most nobly and justly observed,” cries the old gentleman. “Indeed, my
good friend, you have explained the text with the utmost perspicuity.”

“But if this be the meaning,” cries the son, “there must be an end of
all law and justice, for I do not see how any man can prosecute his
enemy in a court of justice.”

“Pardon me, sir,” cries the doctor. “Indeed, as an enemy merely, and
from a spirit of revenge, he cannot, and he ought not to prosecute him;
but as an offender against the laws of his country he may, and it is
his duty so to do. Is there any spirit of revenge in the magistrates or
officers of justice when they punish criminals? Why do such, ordinarily
I mean, concern themselves in inflicting punishments, but because it is
their duty? and why may not a private man deliver an offender into the
hands of justice, from the same laudable motive? Revenge, indeed, of
all kinds is strictly prohibited; wherefore, as we are not to execute
it with our own hands, so neither are we to make use of the law as the
instrument of private malice, and to worry each other with inveteracy
and rancour. And where is the great difficulty in obeying this wise,
this generous, this noble precept? If revenge be, as a certain divine,
not greatly to his honour, calls it, the most luscious morsel the devil
ever dropt into the mouth of a sinner, it must be allowed at least to
cost us often extremely dear. It is a dainty, if indeed it be one, which
we come at with great inquietude, with great difficulty, and with great
danger. However pleasant it may be to the palate while we are feeding on
it, it is sure to leave a bitter relish behind it; and so far, indeed,
it may be called a luscious morsel, that the most greedy appetites are
soon glutted, and the most eager longing for it is soon turned into
loathing and repentance. I allow there is something tempting in its
outward appearance, but it is like the beautiful colour of some poisons,
from which, however they may attract our eyes, a regard to our own
welfare commands us to abstain. And this is an abstinence to which
wisdom alone, without any Divine command, hath been often found
adequate, with instances of which the Greek and Latin authors everywhere
abound. May not a Christian, therefore, be well ashamed of making a
stumbling-block of a precept, which is not only consistent with his
worldly interest, but to which so noble an incentive is proposed?”

The old gentleman fell into raptures at this speech, and, after making
many compliments to the doctor upon it, he turned to his son, and told
him he had an opportunity now of learning more in one day than he had
learnt at the university in a twelvemonth.

The son replied, that he allowed the doctrine to be extremely good in
general, and that he agreed with the greater part; “but I must make a
distinction,” said he. However, he was interrupted from his distinction
at present, for now Booth returned with Amelia and the children.



Chapter ix.

_A scene of modern wit and humour._


In the afternoon the old gentleman proposed a walk to Vauxhall, a place
of which, he said, he had heard much, but had never seen it.

The doctor readily agreed to his friend’s proposal, and soon after
ordered two coaches to be sent for to carry the whole company. But when
the servant was gone for them Booth acquainted the doctor that it was
yet too early. “Is it so?” said the doctor; “why, then, I will carry you
first to one of the greatest and highest entertainments in the world.”

The children pricked up their ears at this, nor did any of the company
guess what he meant; and Amelia asked what entertainment he could carry
them to at that time of day?

“Suppose,” says the doctor, “I should carry you to court.”

“At five o’clock in the afternoon!” cries Booth.

“Ay, suppose I should have interest enough to introduce you into the
presence.”

“You are jesting, dear sir,” cries Amelia.

“Indeed, I am serious,” answered the doctor. “I will introduce you into
that presence, compared to whom the greatest emperor on the earth is
many millions of degrees meaner than the most contemptible reptile is to
him. What entertainment can there be to a rational being equal to this?
Was not the taste of mankind most wretchedly depraved, where would the
vain man find an honour, or where would the love of pleasure propose
so adequate an object as divine worship? with what ecstasy must the
contemplation of being admitted to such a presence fill the mind!
The pitiful courts of princes are open to few, and to those only at
particular seasons; but from this glorious and gracious presence we are
none of us, and at no time excluded.”

The doctor was proceeding thus when the servant returned, saying the
coaches were ready; and the whole company with the greatest alacrity
attended the doctor to St James’s church.

When the service was ended, and they were again got into their coaches,
Amelia returned the doctor many thanks for the light in which he had
placed divine worship, assuring him that she had never before had so
much transport in her devotion as at this time, and saying she believed
she should be the better for this notion he had given her as long as she
lived.

The coaches being come to the water-side, they all alighted, and,
getting into one boat, proceeded to Vauxhall.

The extreme beauty and elegance of this place is well known to almost
every one of my readers; and happy is it for me that it is so, since
to give an adequate idea of it would exceed my power of description.
To delineate the particular beauties of these gardens would, indeed,
require as much pains, and as much paper too, as to rehearse all
the good actions of their master, whose life proves the truth of an
observation which I have read in some ethic writer, that a truly elegant
taste is generally accompanied with an excellency of heart; or, in other
words, that true virtue is, indeed, nothing else but true taste.

Here our company diverted themselves with walking an hour or two before
the music began. Of all the seven, Booth alone had ever been here
before; so that, to all the rest, the place, with its other charms, had
that of novelty. When the music played, Amelia, who stood next to
the doctor, said to him in a whisper, “I hope I am not guilty of
profaneness; but, in pursuance of that chearful chain of thoughts with
which you have inspired me this afternoon, I was just now lost in a
reverie, and fancied myself in those blissful mansions which we hope to
enjoy hereafter. The delicious sweetness of the place, the enchanting
charms of the music, and the satisfaction which appears in every one’s
countenance, carried my soul almost to heaven in its ideas. I could not
have, indeed, imagined there had been anything like this in this world.”

The doctor smiled, and said, “You see, dear madam, there may be
pleasures of which you could conceive no idea till you actually enjoyed
them.”

And now the little boy, who had long withstood the attractions of
several cheesecakes that passed to and fro, could contain no longer, but
asked his mother to give him one, saying, “I am sure my sister would be
glad of another, though she is ashamed to ask.” The doctor, overhearing
the child, proposed that they should all retire to some place where
they might sit down and refresh themselves; which they accordingly did.
Amelia now missed her husband; but, as she had three men in her company,
and one of them was the doctor, she concluded herself and her children
to be safe, and doubted not but that Booth would soon find her out.

They now sat down, and the doctor very gallantly desired Amelia to call
for what she liked. Upon which the children were supplied with cakes,
and some ham and chicken were provided for the rest of the company; with
which while they were regaling themselves with the highest satisfaction,
two young fellows walking arm-in-arm, came up, and when they came
opposite to Amelia they stood still, staring Amelia full in the face,
and one of them cried aloud to the other, “D--n me, my lord, if she is
not an angel!”--My lord stood still, staring likewise at her, without
speaking a word; when two others of the same gang came up, and one of
them cried, “Come along, Jack, I have seen her before; but she is too
well manned already. Three----are enough for one woman, or the devil is
in it!”

“D--n me,” says he that spoke first, and whom they called Jack, “I will
have a brush at her if she belonged to the whole convocation.” And so
saying, he went up to the young clergyman, and cried, “Doctor, sit up a
little, if you please, and don’t take up more room in a bed than belongs
to you.” At which words he gave the young man a push, and seated himself
down directly over against Amelia, and, leaning both his elbows on
the table, he fixed his eyes on her in a manner with which modesty can
neither look nor bear to be looked at.

Amelia seemed greatly shocked at this treatment; upon which the doctor
removed her within him, and then, facing the gentleman, asked him what
he meant by this rude behaviour?--Upon which my lord stept up and said,
“Don’t be impertinent, old gentleman. Do you think such fellows as you
are to keep, d--n me, such fine wenches, d--n me, to yourselves, d--n
me?”

“No, no,” cries Jack, “the old gentleman is more reasonable. Here’s the
fellow that eats up the tithe-pig. Don’t you see how his mouth waters at
her? Where’s your slabbering bib?” For, though the gentleman had rightly
guessed he was a clergyman, yet he had not any of those insignia on with
which it would have been improper to have appeared there.

“Such boys as you,” cries the young clergyman, “ought to be well whipped
at school, instead of being suffered to become nuisances in society.”

“Boys, sir!” says Jack; “I believe I am as good a man as yourself,
Mr.----, and as good a scholar too. _Bos fur sus quotque sacerdos_. Tell
me what’s next. D--n me, I’ll hold you fifty pounds you don’t tell me
what’s next.”

“You have him, Jack,” cries my lord. “It is over with him, d--n me! he
can’t strike another blow.”

“If I had you in a proper place,” cries the clergyman, “you should find
I would strike a blow, and a pretty hard one too.”

“There,” cries my lord, “there is the meekness of the clergyman--there
spoke the wolf in sheep’s clothing. D--n me, how big he looks! You must
be civil to him, faith! or else he will burst with pride.”

“Ay, ay,” cries Jack, “let the clergy alone for pride; there’s not a
lord in the kingdom now hath half the pride of that fellow.”

“Pray, sir,” cries the doctor, turning to the other, “are you a lord?”

“Yes, Mr. ----,” cries he, “I have that honour, indeed.”

“And I suppose you have pride too,” said the doctor.

“I hope I have, sir,” answered he, “at your service.”

“If such a one as you, sir,” cries the doctor, “who are not only a
scandal to the title you bear as a lord, but even as a man, can pretend
to pride, why will you not allow it to a clergyman? I suppose, sir, by
your dress, you are in the army? and, by the ribbon in your hat, you
seem to be proud of that too. How much greater and more honourable is
the service in which that gentleman is enlisted than yours! Why then
should you object to the pride of the clergy, since the lowest of the
function is in reality every way so much your superior?”

“Tida Tidu Tidum,” cries my lord.

“However, gentlemen,” cries the doctor, “if you have the least
pretension to that name, I beg you will put an end to your frolic; since
you see it gives so much uneasiness to the lady. Nay, I entreat you for
your own sakes, for here is one coming who will talk to you in a very
different stile from ours.”

“One coming!” cries my lord; “what care I who is coming?”

“I suppose it is the devil,” cries Jack; “for here are two of his livery
servants already.”

“Let the devil come as soon as he will,” cries my lord; “d--n me if I
have not a kiss!”

Amelia now fell a trembling; and her children, perceiving her fright,
both hung on her, and began to cry; when Booth and Captain Trent both
came up.

Booth, seeing his wife disordered, asked eagerly what was the matter?
At the same time the lord and his companion, seeing Captain Trent, whom
they well knew, said both together, “What, doth this company belong
to you?” When the doctor, with great presence of mind, as he was
apprehensive of some fatal consequence if Booth should know what had
past, said, “So, Mr. Booth, I am glad you are returned; your poor lady
here began to be frighted out of her wits. But now you have him again,”
 said he to Amelia, “I hope you will be easy.”

Amelia, frighted as she was, presently took the hint, and greatly
chid her husband for leaving her. But the little boy was not so
quick-sighted, and cried, “Indeed, papa, those naughty men there have
frighted my mamma out of her wits.”

“How!” cries Booth, a little moved; “frightened! Hath any one frightened
you, my dear?”

“No, my love,” answered she, “nothing. I know not what the child means.
Everything is well now I see you safe.”

Trent had been all the while talking aside with the young sparks; and
now, addressing himself to Booth, said, “Here hath been some little
mistake; I believe my lord mistook Mrs. Booth for some other lady.”

“It is impossible,” cries my lord, “to know every one. I am sure, if
I had known the lady to be a woman of fashion, and an acquaintance of
Captain Trent, I should have said nothing disagreeable to her; but, if I
have, I ask her pardon, and the company’s.”

“I am in the dark,” cries Booth. “Pray what is all this matter?”

“Nothing of any consequence,” cries the doctor, “nor worth your
enquiring into. You hear it was a mistake of the person, and I really
believe his lordship that all proceeded from his not knowing to whom the
lady belonged.”

“Come, come,” says Trent, “there is nothing in the matter, I assure you.
I will tell you the whole another time.”

“Very well; since you say so,” cries Booth, “I am contented.” So ended
the affair, and the two sparks made their congee, and sneaked off.

“Now they are gone,” said the young gentleman, “I must say I never saw
two worse-bred jackanapes, nor fellows that deserved to be kicked more.
If I had had them in another place I would have taught them a little
more respect to the church.”

“You took rather a better way,” answered the doctor, “to teach them that
respect.”

Booth now desired his friend Trent to sit down with them, and proposed
to call for a fresh bottle of wine; but Amelia’s spirits were too much
disconcerted to give her any prospect of pleasure that evening. She
therefore laid hold of the pretence of her children, for whom she said
the hour was already too late; with which the doctor agreed. So they
paid their reckoning and departed, leaving to the two rakes the triumph
of having totally dissipated the mirth of this little innocent company,
who were before enjoying complete satisfaction.



Chapter x.

_A curious conversation between the doctor, the young clergyman, and the
young clergyman’s father_.


The next morning, when the doctor and his two friends were at breakfast,
the young clergyman, in whose mind the injurious treatment he had
received the evening before was very deeply impressed, renewed the
conversation on that subject.

“It is a scandal,” said he, “to the government, that they do not
preserve more respect to the clergy, by punishing all rudeness to them
with the utmost severity. It was very justly observed of you, sir,”
 said he to the doctor, “that the lowest clergyman in England is in real
dignity superior to the highest nobleman. What then can be so shocking
as to see that gown, which ought to entitle us to the veneration of
all we meet, treated with contempt and ridicule? Are we not, in fact,
ambassadors from heaven to the world? and do they not, therefore, in
denying us our due respect, deny it in reality to Him that sent us?”

“If that be the case,” says the doctor, “it behoves them to look to
themselves; for He who sent us is able to exact most severe vengeance
for the ill treatment of His ministers.”

“Very true, sir,” cries the young one; “and I heartily hope He will;
but those punishments are at too great a distance to infuse terror
into wicked minds. The government ought to interfere with its immediate
censures. Fines and imprisonments and corporal punishments operate more
forcibly on the human mind than all the fears of damnation.”

“Do you think so?” cries the doctor; “then I am afraid men are very
little in earnest in those fears.”

“Most justly observed,” says the old gentleman. “Indeed, I am afraid
that is too much the case.”

“In that,” said the son, “the government is to blame. Are not books
of infidelity, treating our holy religion as a mere imposture, nay,
sometimes as a mere jest, published daily, and spread abroad amongst the
people with perfect impunity?”

“You are certainly in the right,” says the doctor; “there is a most
blameable remissness with regard to these matters; but the whole blame
doth not lie there; some little share of the fault is, I am afraid, to
be imputed to the clergy themselves.”

“Indeed, sir,” cries the young one, “I did not expect that charge from
a gentleman of your cloth. Do the clergy give any encouragement to
such books? Do they not, on the contrary, cry loudly out against the
suffering them? This is the invidious aspersion of the laity; and I did
not expect to hear it confirmed by one of our own cloth.”

“Be not too impatient, young gentleman,” said the doctor. “I do not
absolutely confirm the charge of the laity; it is much too general and
too severe; but even the laity themselves do not attack them in that
part to which you have applied your defence. They are not supposed
such fools as to attack that religion to which they owe their temporal
welfare. They are not taxed with giving any other support to infidelity
than what it draws from the ill examples of their lives; I mean of the
lives of some of them. Here too the laity carry their censures too far;
for there are very few or none of the clergy whose lives, if compared
with those of the laity, can be called profligate; but such, indeed,
is the perfect purity of our religion, such is the innocence and virtue
which it exacts to entitle us to its glorious rewards and to screen us
from its dreadful punishments, that he must be a very good man indeed
who lives up to it. Thus then these persons argue. This man is educated
in a perfect knowledge of religion, is learned in its laws, and is by
his profession obliged, in a manner, to have them always before his
eyes. The rewards which it promises to the obedience of these laws are
so great, and the punishments threatened on disobedience so dreadful,
that it is impossible but all men must fearfully fly from the one,
and as eagerly pursue the other. If, therefore, such a person lives
in direct opposition to, and in a constant breach of, these laws, the
inference is obvious. There is a pleasant story in Matthew Paris, which
I will tell you as well as I can remember it. Two young gentlemen,
I think they were priests, agreed together that whosoever died first
should return and acquaint his friend with the secrets of the other
world. One of them died soon after, and fulfilled his promise. The
whole relation he gave is not very material; but, among other things, he
produced one of his hands, which Satan had made use of to write upon,
as the moderns do on a card, and had sent his compliments to the priests
for the number of souls which the wicked examples of their lives daily
sent to hell. This story is the more remarkable as it was written by a
priest, and a great favourer of his order.”

“Excellent!” cried the old gentleman; “what a memory you have.”

“But, sir,” cries the young one, “a clergyman is a man as well as
another; and, if such perfect purity be expected--”

“I do not expect it,” cries the doctor; “and I hope it will not be
expected of us. The Scripture itself gives us this hope, where the best
of us are said to fall twenty times a-day. But sure we may not allow
the practice of any of those grosser crimes which contaminate the
whole mind. We may expect an obedience to the ten commandments, and an
abstinence from such notorious vices as, in the first place,
Avarice, which, indeed, can hardly subsist without the breach of more
commandments than one. Indeed, it would be excessive candour to imagine
that a man who so visibly sets his whole heart, not only on this world,
but on one of the most worthless things in it (for so is money, without
regard to its uses), should be, at the same time, laying up his treasure
in heaven. Ambition is a second vice of this sort: we are told we cannot
serve God and Mammon. I might have applied this to avarice; but I chose
rather to mention it here. When we see a man sneaking about in courts
and levees, and doing the dirty work of great men, from the hopes of
preferment, can we believe that a fellow whom we see to have so many
hard task-masters upon earth ever thinks of his Master which is in
heaven? Must he not himself think, if ever he reflects at all, that so
glorious a Master will disdain and disown a servant who is the dutiful
tool of a court-favourite, and employed either as the pimp of his
pleasure, or sometimes, perhaps, made a dirty channel to assist in the
conveyance of that corruption which is clogging up and destroying the
very vitals of his country?

“The last vice which I shall mention is Pride. There is not in the
universe a more ridiculous nor a more contemptible animal than a proud
clergyman; a turkey-cock or a jackdaw are objects of veneration when
compared with him. I don’t mean, by Pride, that noble dignity of mind to
which goodness can only administer an adequate object, which delights in
the testimony of its own conscience, and could not, without the highest
agonies, bear its condemnation. By Pride I mean that saucy passion which
exults in every little eventual pre-eminence over other men: such are
the ordinary gifts of nature, and the paultry presents of fortune,
wit, knowledge, birth, strength, beauty, riches, titles, and rank. That
passion which is ever aspiring, like a silly child, to look over the
heads of all about them; which, while it servilely adheres to the great,
flies from the poor, as if afraid of contamination; devouring greedily
every murmur of applause and every look of admiration; pleased and
elated with all kind of respect; and hurt and enflamed with the contempt
of the lowest and most despicable of fools, even with such as treated
you last night disrespectfully at Vauxhall. Can such a mind as this be
fixed on things above? Can such a man reflect that he hath the ineffable
honour to be employed in the immediate service of his great Creator?
or can he please himself with the heart-warming hope that his ways are
acceptable in the sight of that glorious, that incomprehensible Being?”

“Hear, child, hear,” cries the old gentleman; “hear, and improve your
understanding. Indeed, my good friend, no one retires from you without
carrying away some good instructions with him. Learn of the doctor, Tom,
and you will be the better man as long as you live.”

“Undoubtedly, sir,” answered Tom, “the doctor hath spoken a great deal
of excellent truth; and, without a compliment to him, I was always a
great admirer of his sermons, particularly of their oratory. But,

    _Nee tamen hoc tribuens dederim quoque caetera_.

I cannot agree that a clergyman is obliged to put up with an affront
any more than another man, and more especially when it is paid to the
order.”

“I am very sorry, young gentleman,” cries the doctor, “that you should
be ever liable to be affronted as a clergyman; and I do assure you, if
I had known your disposition formerly, the order should never have been
affronted through you.”

The old gentleman now began to check his son for his opposition to the
doctor, when a servant delivered the latter a note from Amelia, which he
read immediately to himself, and it contained the following words:

“MY DEAR SIR,--Something hath happened since I saw you which gives me
great uneasiness, and I beg the favour of seeing you as soon as possible
to advise with you upon it. I am

“Your most obliged and dutiful daughter,

“AMELIA BOOTH.”

The doctor’s answer was, that he would wait on the lady directly; and
then, turning to his friend, he asked him if he would not take a walk in
the Park before dinner. “I must go,” says he, “to the lady who was with
us last night; for I am afraid, by her letter, some bad accident hath
happened to her. Come, young gentleman, I spoke a little too hastily to
you just now; but I ask your pardon. Some allowance must be made to the
warmth of your blood. I hope we shall, in time, both think alike.”

The old gentleman made his friend another compliment; and the young one
declared he hoped he should always think, and act too, with the dignity
becoming his cloth. After which the doctor took his leave for a while,
and went to Amelia’s lodgings.

As soon as he was gone the old gentleman fell very severely on his
son. “Tom,” says he, “how can you be such a fool to undo, by your
perverseness, all that I have been doing? Why will you not learn to
study mankind with the attention which I have employed to that purpose?
Do you think, if I had affronted this obstinate old fellow as you do, I
should ever have engaged his friendship?”

“I cannot help it, sir,” said Tom: “I have not studied six years at the
university to give up my sentiments to every one. It is true, indeed,
he put together a set of sounding words; but, in the main, I never heard
any one talk more foolishly.”

“What of that?” cries the father; “I never told you he was a wise man,
nor did I ever think him so. If he had any understanding, he would have
been a bishop long ago, to my certain knowledge. But, indeed, he hath
been always a fool in private life; for I question whether he is worth
L100 in the world, more than his annual income. He hath given away above
half his fortune to the Lord knows who. I believe I have had above L200
of him, first and last; and would you lose such a milch-cow as this for
want of a few compliments? Indeed, Tom, thou art as great a simpleton as
himself. How do you expect to rise in the church if you cannot temporise
and give in to the opinions of your superiors?”

“I don’t know, sir,” cries Tom, “what you mean by my superiors. In one
sense, I own, a doctor of divinity is superior to a bachelor of arts,
and so far I am ready to allow his superiority; but I understand Greek
and Hebrew as well as he, and will maintain my opinion against him, or
any other in the schools.”

“Tom,” cries the old gentleman, “till thou gettest the better of thy
conceit I shall never have any hopes of thee. If thou art wise, thou
wilt think every man thy superior of whom thou canst get anything;
at least thou wilt persuade him that thou thinkest so, and that is
sufficient. Tom, Tom, thou hast no policy in thee.”

“What have I been learning these seven years,” answered he, “in the
university? However, father, I can account for your opinion. It is the
common failing of old men to attribute all wisdom to themselves. Nestor
did it long ago: but, if you will inquire my character at college, I
fancy you will not think I want to go to school again.”

The father and son then went to take their walk, during which the former
repeated many good lessons of policy to his son, not greatly perhaps to
his edification. In truth, if the old gentleman’s fondness had not in a
great measure blinded him to the imperfections of his son, he would
have soon perceived that he was sowing all his instructions in a soil
so choaked with self-conceit that it was utterly impossible they should
ever bear any fruit.



BOOK X.



Chapter i.

_To which we will prefix no preface_.


The doctor found Amelia alone, for Booth was gone to walk with his
new-revived acquaintance, Captain Trent, who seemed so pleased with the
renewal of his intercourse with his old brother-officer, that he had
been almost continually with him from the time of their meeting at the
drum.

Amelia acquainted the doctor with the purport of her message, as
follows: “I ask your pardon, my dear sir, for troubling you so often
with my affairs; but I know your extreme readiness, as well as ability,
to assist any one with your advice. The fact is, that my husband hath
been presented by Colonel James with two tickets for a masquerade, which
is to be in a day or two, and he insists so strongly on my going with
him, that I really do not know how to refuse without giving him some
reason; and I am not able to invent any other than the true one, which
you would not, I am sure, advise me to communicate to him. Indeed I
had a most narrow escape the other day; for I was almost drawn in
inadvertently by a very strange accident, to acquaint him with the
whole matter.” She then related the serjeant’s dream, with all the
consequences that attended it.

The doctor considered a little with himself, and then said, “I am
really, child, puzzled as well as you about this matter. I would by no
means have you go to the masquerade; I do not indeed like the diversion
itself, as I have heard it described to me; not that I am such a prude
to suspect every woman who goes there of any evil intentions; but it is
a pleasure of too loose and disorderly a kind for the recreation of
a sober mind. Indeed, you have still a stronger and more particular
objection. I will try myself to reason him out of it.”

“Indeed it is impossible,” answered she; “and therefore I would not set
you about it. I never saw him more set on anything. There is a party,
as they call it, made on the occasion; and he tells me my refusal will
disappoint all.”

“I really do not know what to advise you,” cries the doctor; “I have
told you I do not approve of these diversions; but yet, as your husband
is so very desirous, I cannot think there will be any harm in going with
him. However, I will consider of it, and do all in my power for you.”

Here Mrs. Atkinson came in, and the discourse on this subject ceased;
but soon after Amelia renewed it, saying there was no occasion to keep
anything a secret from her friend. They then fell to debating on the
subject, but could not come to any resolution. But Mrs. Atkinson, who
was in an unusual flow of spirits, cried out, “Fear nothing, my dear
Amelia, two women surely will be too hard for one man. I think, doctor,
it exceeds Virgil:

    _Una dolo divum si faemina victa duorum est_.”

“Very well repeated, indeed!” cries the doctor. “Do you understand all
Virgil as well as you seem to do that line?”

“I hope I do, sir,” said she, “and Horace too; or else my father threw
away his time to very little purpose in teaching me.”

“I ask your pardon, madam,” cries the doctor. “I own it was an
impertinent question.”

“Not at all, sir,” says she; “and if you are one of those who imagine
women incapable of learning, I shall not be offended at it. I know the
common opinion; but

    _Interdum vulgus rectum videt, est ubi peccat_.”

“If I was to profess such an opinion, madam,” said the doctor, “Madam
Dacier and yourself would bear testimony against me. The utmost indeed
that I should venture would be to question the utility of learning in a
young lady’s education.”

“I own,” said Mrs. Atkinson, “as the world is constituted, it cannot be
as serviceable to her fortune as it will be to that of a man; but
you will allow, doctor, that learning may afford a woman, at least, a
reasonable and an innocent entertainment.”

“But I will suppose,” cried the doctor, “it may have its inconveniences.
As, for instance, if a learned lady should meet with an unlearned
husband, might she not be apt to despise him?”

“I think not,” cries Mrs. Atkinson--“and, if I may be allowed the
instance, I think I have shewn, myself, that women who have learning
themselves can be contented without that qualification in a man.”

“To be sure,” cries the doctor, “there may be other qualifications which
may have their weight in the balance. But let us take the other side
of the question, and suppose the learned of both sexes to meet in
the matrimonial union, may it not afford one excellent subject of
disputation, which is the most learned?”

“Not at all,” cries Mrs. Atkinson; “for, if they had both learning and
good sense, they would soon see on which side the superiority lay.”

“But if the learned man,” said the doctor, “should be a little
unreasonable in his opinion, are you sure that the learned woman would
preserve her duty to her husband, and submit?”

“But why,” cries Mrs. Atkinson, “must we necessarily suppose that a
learned man would be unreasonable?”

“Nay, madam,” said the doctor, “I am not your husband; and you shall not
hinder me from supposing what I please. Surely it is not such a paradox
to conceive that a man of learning should be unreasonable. Are there no
unreasonable opinions in very learned authors, even among the critics
themselves? For instance, what can be a more strange, and indeed
unreasonable opinion, than to prefer the Metamorphoses of Ovid to the
AEneid of Virgil?”

“It would be indeed so strange,” cries the lady, “that you shall not
persuade me it was ever the opinion of any man.”

“Perhaps not,” cries the doctor; “and I believe you and I should
not differ in our judgments of any person who maintained such an
opinion--What a taste must he have!”

“A most contemptible one indeed,” cries Mrs. Atkinson.

“I am satisfied,” cries the doctor. “And in the words of your own
Horace, _Verbum non amplius addam_.”

“But how provoking is this,” cries Mrs. Atkinson, “to draw one in such
a manner! I protest I was so warm in the defence of my favourite Virgil,
that I was not aware of your design; but all your triumph depends on
a supposition that one should be so unfortunate as to meet with the
silliest fellow in the world.”

“Not in the least,” cries the doctor. “Doctor Bentley was not such a
person; and yet he would have quarrelled, I am convinced, with any wife
in the world, in behalf of one of his corrections. I don’t suppose he
would have given up his _Ingentia Fata_ to an angel.”

“But do you think,” said she, “if I had loved him, I would have
contended with him?”

“Perhaps you might sometimes,” said the doctor, “be of these sentiments;
but you remember your own Virgil--_Varium et mutabile semper faemina_.”

“Nay, Amelia,” said Mrs. Atkinson, “you are now concerned as well as I
am; for he hath now abused the whole sex, and quoted the severest thing
that ever was said against us, though I allow it is one of the finest.”

“With all my heart, my dear,” cries Amelia. “I have the advantage of
you, however, for I don’t understand him.”

“Nor doth she understand much better than yourself,” cries the doctor;
“or she would not admire nonsense, even though in Virgil.”

“Pardon me, sir,” said she.

“And pardon me, madam,” cries the doctor, with a feigned seriousness; “I
say, a boy in the fourth form at Eton would be whipt, or would deserve
to be whipt at least, who made the neuter gender agree with the
feminine. You have heard, however, that Virgil left his AEneid
incorrect; and, perhaps, had he lived to correct it, we should not have
seen the faults we now see in it.”

“Why, it is very true as you say, doctor,” cries Mrs. Atkinson; “there
seems to be a false concord. I protest I never thought of it before.”

“And yet this is the Virgil,” answered the doctor, “that you are so
fond of, who hath made you all of the neuter gender; or, as we say in
English, he hath made mere animals of you; for, if we translate it thus,

    “Woman is a various and changeable animal,

“there will be no fault, I believe, unless in point of civility to the
ladies.”

Mrs. Atkinson had just time to tell the doctor he was a provoking
creature, before the arrival of Booth and his friend put an end to
that learned discourse, in which neither of the parties had greatly
recommended themselves to each other; the doctor’s opinion of the lady
being not at all heightened by her progress in the classics, and she,
on the other hand, having conceived a great dislike in her heart towards
the doctor, which would have raged, perhaps, with no less fury from the
consideration that he had been her husband.



Chapter ii.

_What happened at the masquerade_.


From this time to the day of the masquerade nothing happened of
consequence enough to have a place in this history.

On that day Colonel James came to Booth’s about nine in the evening,
where he stayed for Mrs. James, who did not come till near eleven. The
four masques then set out together in several chairs, and all proceeded
to the Haymarket.

When they arrived at the Opera-house the colonel and Mrs. James
presently left them; nor did Booth and his lady remain long together,
but were soon divided from each other by different masques.

A domino soon accosted the lady, and had her away to the upper end of
the farthest room on the right hand, where both the masques sat down;
nor was it long before the he domino began to make very fervent love to
the she. It would, perhaps, be tedious to the reader to run through the
whole process, which was not indeed in the most romantick stile. The
lover seemed to consider his mistress as a mere woman of this world, and
seemed rather to apply to her avarice and ambition than to her softer
passions.

As he was not so careful to conceal his true voice as the lady was,
she soon discovered that this lover of her’s was no other than her old
friend the peer, and presently a thought suggested itself to her
of making an advantage of this accident. She gave him therefore an
intimation that she knew him, and expressed some astonishment at his
having found her out. “I suspect,” says she, “my lord, that you have
a friend in the woman where I now lodge, as well as you had in Mrs.
Ellison.” My lord protested the contrary. To which she answered, “Nay,
my lord, do not defend her so earnestly till you are sure I should have
been angry with her.”

At these words, which were accompanied with a very bewitching softness,
my lord flew into raptures rather too strong for the place he was in.
These the lady gently checked, and begged him to take care they were
not observed; for that her husband, for aught she knew, was then in the
room.

Colonel James came now up, and said, “So, madam, I have the good fortune
to find you again; I have been extremely miserable since I lost you.”
 The lady answered in her masquerade voice that she did not know him. “I
am Colonel James,” said he, in a whisper. “Indeed, sir,” answered she,
“you are mistaken; I have no acquaintance with any Colonel James.”
 “Madam,” answered he, in a whisper likewise, “I am positive I am not
mistaken, you are certainly Mrs. Booth.” “Indeed, sir,” said she,
“you are very impertinent, and I beg you will leave me.” My lord then
interposed, and, speaking in his own voice, assured the colonel that
the lady was a woman of quality, and that they were engaged in a
conversation together; upon which the colonel asked the lady’s pardon;
for, as there was nothing remarkable in her dress, he really believed he
had been mistaken.

He then went again a hunting through the rooms, and soon after found
Booth walking without his mask between two ladies, one of whom was in a
blue domino, and the other in the dress of a shepherdess. “Will,” cries
the colonel, “do you know what is become of our wives; for I have seen
neither of them since we have been in the room?” Booth answered, “That
he supposed they were both together, and they should find them by and
by.” “What!” cries the lady in the blue domino, “are you both come upon
duty then with your wives? as for yours, Mr. Alderman,” said she to the
colonel, “I make no question but she is got into much better company
than her husband’s.” “How can you be so cruel, madam?” said the
shepherdess; “you will make him beat his wife by and by, for he is a
military man I assure you.” “In the trained bands, I presume,” cries the
domino, “for he is plainly dated from the city.” “I own, indeed,” cries
the other, “the gentleman smells strongly of Thames-street, and, if I
may venture to guess, of the honourable calling of a taylor.”

“Why, what the devil hast thou picked up here?” cries James.

“Upon my soul, I don’t know,” answered Booth; “I wish you would take one
of them at least.”

“What say you, madam?” cries the domino, “will you go with the colonel?
I assure you, you have mistaken your man, for he is no less a person
than the great Colonel James himself.”

[Illustration: Booth between the blue domino and a Shepherdess.]

“No wonder, then, that Mr. Booth gives him his choice of us; it is the
proper office of a caterer, in which capacity Mr. Booth hath, I am told,
the honour to serve the noble colonel.”

“Much good may it do you with your ladies!” said James; “I will go in
pursuit of better game.” At which words he walked off.

“You are a true sportsman,” cries the shepherdess; “for your only
pleasure, I believe, lies in the pursuit.”

“Do you know the gentleman, madam?” cries the domino.

“Who doth not know him?” answered the shepherdess.

“What is his character?” cries the domino; “for, though I have jested
with him, I only know him by sight.”

“I know nothing very particular in his character,” cries the
shepherdess. “He gets every handsome woman he can, and so they do all.”

“I suppose then he is not married?” said the domino.

“O yes! and married for love too,” answered the other; “but he hath
loved away all his love for her long ago, and now, he says, she makes
as fine an object of hatred. I think, if the fellow ever appears to have
any wit, it is when he abuses his wife; and, luckily for him, that is
his favourite topic. I don’t know the poor wretch, but, as he describes
her, it is a miserable animal.”

“I know her very well,” cries the other; “and I am much mistaken if she
is not even with him; but hang him! what is become of Booth?”

At this instant a great noise arose near that part where the two ladies
were. This was occasioned by a large assembly of young fellows whom they
call bucks, who were got together, and were enjoying, as the phrase is,
a letter, which one of them had found in the room.

Curiosity hath its votaries among all ranks of people; whenever
therefore an object of this appears it is as sure of attracting a croud
in the assemblies of the polite as in those of their inferiors.

When this croud was gathered together, one of the bucks, at the desire
of his companions, as well as of all present, performed the part of a
public orator, and read out the following letter, which we shall give
the reader, together with the comments of the orator himself, and of all
his audience.

The orator then, being mounted on a bench, began as follows:

“Here beginneth the first chapter of--saint--Pox on’t, Jack, what is the
saint’s name? I have forgot.”

“Timothy, you blockhead,” answered another; “--Timothy.”

“Well, then,” cries the orator, “of Saint Timothy.

“‘SIR,--I am very sorry to have any occasion of writing on the following
subject in a country that is honoured with the name of Christian; much
more am I concerned to address myself to a man whose many advantages,
derived both from nature and fortune, should demand the highest return
of gratitude to the great Giver of all those good things. Is not such a
man guilty of the highest ingratitude to that most beneficent Being, by
a direct and avowed disobedience of his most positive laws and commands?

“‘I need not tell you that adultery is forbid in the laws of the
decalogue; nor need I, I hope, mention that it is expressly forbid in
the New Testament.’

“You see, therefore,” said the orator, “what the law is, and therefore
none of you will be able to plead ignorance when you come to the Old
Bailey in the other world. But here goes again:--

“‘If it had not been so expressly forbidden in Scripture, still the law
of Nature would have yielded light enough for us to have discovered the
great horror and atrociousness of this crime.

“‘And accordingly we find that nations, where the Sun of righteousness
hath yet never shined, have punished the adulterer with the most
exemplary pains and penalties; not only the polite heathens, but the
most barbarous nations, have concurred in these; in many places the most
severe and shameful corporal punishments, and in some, and those not a
few, death itself hath been inflicted on this crime.

“‘And sure in a human sense there is scarce any guilt which deserves
to be more severely punished. It includes in it almost every injury and
every mischief which one man can do to, or can bring on, another. It is
robbing him of his property--’

“Mind that, ladies,” said the orator; “you are all the property of your
husbands.--‘And of that property which, if he is a good man, he values
above all others. It is poisoning that fountain whence he hath a right
to derive the sweetest and most innocent pleasure, the most cordial
comfort, the most solid friendship, and most faithful assistance in all
his affairs, wants, and distresses. It is the destruction of his peace
of mind, and even of his reputation. The ruin of both wife and husband,
and sometimes of the whole family, are the probable consequence of this
fatal injury. Domestic happiness is the end of almost all our pursuits,
and the common reward of all our pains. When men find themselves
for ever barred from this delightful fruition, they are lost to all
industry, and grow careless of all their worldly affairs. Thus they
become bad subjects, bad relations, bad friends, and bad men. Hatred and
revenge are the wretched passions which boil in their minds. Despair
and madness very commonly ensue, and murder and suicide often close the
dreadful scene.’

“Thus, gentlemen and ladies, you see the scene is closed. So here ends
the first act--and thus begins the second:--

“‘I have here attempted to lay before you a picture of this vice, the
horror of which no colours of mine can exaggerate. But what pencil can
delineate the horrors of that punishment which the Scripture denounces
against it?

“‘And for what will you subject yourself to this punishment? or for what
reward will you inflict all this misery on another? I will add, on your
friend? for the possession of a woman; for the pleasure of a moment?
But, if neither virtue nor religion can restrain your inordinate
appetites, are there not many women as handsome as your friend’s wife,
whom, though not with innocence, you may possess with a much less degree
of guilt? What motive then can thus hurry you on to the destruction of
yourself and your friend? doth the peculiar rankness of the guilt add
any zest to the sin? doth it enhance the pleasure as much as we may be
assured it will the punishment?

“‘But if you can be so lost to all sense of fear, and of shame, and of
goodness, as not to be debarred by the evil which you are to bring on
yourself, by the extreme baseness of the action, nor by the ruin in
which you are to involve others, let me still urge the difficulty, I may
say, the impossibility of the success. You are attacking a fortress on
a rock; a chastity so strongly defended, as well by a happy natural
disposition of mind as by the strongest principles of religion and
virtue, implanted by education and nourished and improved by habit,
that the woman must be invincible even without that firm and
constant affection of her husband which would guard a much looser and
worse-disposed heart. What therefore are you attempting but to introduce
distrust, and perhaps disunion, between an innocent and a happy couple,
in which too you cannot succeed without bringing, I am convinced,
certain destruction on your own head?

“‘Desist, therefore, let me advise you, from this enormous crime;
retreat from the vain attempt of climbing a precipice which it is
impossible you should ever ascend, where you must probably soon fall
into utter perdition, and can have no other hope but of dragging down
your best friend into perdition with you.

“‘I can think of but one argument more, and that, indeed, a very bad
one; you throw away that time in an impossible attempt, which might, in
other places, crown your sinful endeavours with success.’

“And so ends the dismal ditty.”

“D--n me,” cries one, “did ever mortal hear such d--ned stuff?”

“Upon my soul,” said another, “I like the last argument well enough.
There is some sense in that; for d--n me if I had not rather go to
D--g--ss at any time than follow a virtuous b---- for a fortnight.”

“Tom,” says one of them, “let us set the ditty to music; let us
subscribe to have it set by Handel; it will make an excellent oratorio.”

“D--n me, Jack,” says another, “we’ll have it set to a psalm-tune, and
we’ll sing it next Sunday at St James’s church, and I’ll bear a bob,
d--n me.”

“Fie upon it! gentlemen, fie upon it!” said a frier, who came up; “do
you think there is any wit and humour in this ribaldry; or, if there
were, would it make any atonement for abusing religion and virtue?”

“Heyday!” cries one, “this is a frier in good earnest.”

“Whatever I am,” said the frier, “I hope at least you are what you
appear to be. Heaven forbid, for the sake of our posterity, that you
should be gentlemen.”

“Jack,” cries one, “let us toss the frier in a blanket.”

“Me in a blanket?” said the frier: “by the dignity of man, I will twist
the neck of every one of you as sure as ever the neck of a dunghill-cock
was twisted.” At which words he pulled off his mask, and the tremendous
majesty of Colonel Bath appeared, from which the bucks fled away as fast
as the Trojans heretofore from the face of Achilles. The colonel did not
think it worth while to pursue any other of them except him who had
the letter in his hand, which the colonel desired to see, and the other
delivered, saying it was very much at his service.

The colonel being possessed of the letter, retired as privately as he
could, in order to give it a careful perusal; for, badly as it had been
read by the orator, there were some passages in it which had pleased
the colonel. He had just gone through it when Booth passed by him; upon
which the colonel called to him, and, delivering him the letter, bid him
put it in his pocket and read it at his leisure. He made many encomiums
upon it, and told Booth it would be of service to him, and was proper
for all young men to read.

Booth had not yet seen his wife; but, as he concluded she was safe with
Mrs. James, he was not uneasy. He had been prevented searching farther
after her by the lady in the blue domino, who had joined him again.
Booth had now made these discoveries: that the lady was pretty well
acquainted with him, that she was a woman of fashion, and that she had
a particular regard for him. But, though he was a gay man, he was
in reality so fond of his Amelia, that he thought of no other woman;
wherefore, though not absolutely a Joseph, as we have already seen, yet
could he not be guilty of premeditated inconstancy. He was indeed so
very cold and insensible to the hints which were given him, that the
lady began to complain of his dullness. When the shepherdess again came
up and heard this accusation against him, she confirmed it, saying, “I
do assure you, madam, he is the dullest fellow in the world. Indeed, I
should almost take you for his wife, by finding you a second time with
him; for I do assure you the gentleman very seldom keeps any other
company.” “Are you so well acquainted with him, madam?” said the domino.
“I have had that honour longer than your ladyship, I believe,” answered
the shepherdess. “Possibly you may, madam,” cries the domino; “but I
wish you would not interrupt us at present, for we have some business
together.” “I believe, madam,” answered the shepherdess, “my business
with the gentleman is altogether as important as yours; and therefore
your ladyship may withdraw if you please.” “My dear ladies,” cries
Booth, “I beg you will not quarrel about me.” “Not at all,” answered the
domino; “since you are so indifferent, I resign my pretensions with
all my heart. If you had not been the dullest fellow upon earth, I am
convinced you must have discovered me.” She then went off, muttering
to herself that she was satisfied the shepherdess was some wretched
creature whom nobody knew.

The shepherdess overheard the sarcasm, and answered it by asking Booth
what contemptible wretch he had picked up? “Indeed, madam,” said he,
“you know as much of her as I do; she is a masquerade acquaintance like
yourself.” “Like me!” repeated she. “Do you think if this had been our
first acquaintance I should have wasted so much time with you as I have?
for your part, indeed, I believe a woman will get very little advantage
by her having been formerly intimate with you.” “I do not know, madam,”
 said Booth, “that I deserve that character any more than I know the
person that now gives it me.” “And you have the assurance then,” said
she, in her own voice, “to affect not to remember me?” “I think,” cries
Booth, “I have heard that voice before; but, upon my soul, I do not
recollect it.” “Do you recollect,” said she, “no woman that you have
used with the highest barbarity--I will not say ingratitude?” “No,
upon my honour,” answered Booth. “Mention not honour,” said she, “thou
wretch! for, hardened as thou art, I could shew thee a face that, in
spite of thy consummate impudence, would confound thee with shame and
horrour. Dost thou not yet know me?” “I do, madam, indeed,” answered
Booth, “and I confess that of all women in the world you have the most
reason for what you said.”

Here a long dialogue ensued between the gentleman and the lady, whom,
I suppose, I need not mention to have been Miss Matthews; but, as it
consisted chiefly of violent upbraidings on her side, and excuses
on his, I despair of making it entertaining to the reader, and shall
therefore return to the colonel, who, having searched all the rooms with
the utmost diligence, without finding the woman he looked for, began to
suspect that he had before fixed on the right person, and that Amelia
had denied herself to him, being pleased with her paramour, whom he had
discovered to be the noble peer.

He resolved, therefore, as he could have no sport himself, to spoil that
of others; accordingly he found out Booth, and asked him again what was
become of both their wives; for that he had searched all over the rooms,
and could find neither of them.

Booth was now a little alarmed at this account, and, parting with Miss
Matthews, went along with the colonel in search of his wife. As for Miss
Matthews, he had at length pacified her with a promise to make her a
visit; which promise she extorted from him, swearing bitterly, in the
most solemn manner, unless he made it to her, she would expose both him
and herself at the masquerade.

As he knew the violence of the lady’s passions, and to what heights they
were capable of rising, he was obliged to come in to these terms: for
he had, I am convinced, no fear upon earth equal to that of Amelia’s
knowing what it was in the power of Miss Matthews to communicate to
her, and which to conceal from her, he had already undergone so much
uneasiness.

The colonel led Booth directly to the place where he had seen the peer
and Amelia (such he was now well convinced she was) sitting together.
Booth no sooner saw her than he said to the colonel, “Sure that is
my wife in conversation with that masque?” “I took her for your lady
myself,” said the colonel; “but I found I was mistaken. Hark ye, that is
my Lord----, and I have seen that very lady with him all this night.”

This conversation past at a little distance, and out of the hearing
of the supposed Amelia; when Booth, looking stedfastly at the lady,
declared with an oath that he was positive the colonel was in the right.
She then beckoned to him with her fan; upon which he went directly to
her, and she asked him to go home, which he very readily consented to.
The peer then walked off: the colonel went in pursuit of his wife, or of
some other woman; and Booth and his lady returned in two chairs to their
lodgings.



Chapter iii.

_Consequences of the masquerade, not uncommon nor surprizing_.


The lady, getting first out of her chair, ran hastily up into the
nursery to the children; for such was Amelia’s constant method at her
return home, at whatever hour. Booth then walked into the dining-room,
where he had not been long before Amelia came down to him, and, with a
most chearful countenance, said, “My dear, I fancy we have neither of
us supped; shall I go down and see whether there is any cold meat in the
house?”

“For yourself, if you please,” answered Booth; “but I shall eat
nothing.”

“How, my dear!” said Amelia; “I hope you have not lost your appetite at
the masquerade!” for supper was a meal at which he generally eat very
heartily.

“I know not well what I have lost,” said Booth; “I find myself
disordered.--My head aches. I know not what is the matter with me.”

“Indeed, my dear, you frighten me,” said Amelia; “you look, indeed,
disordered. I wish the masquerade had been far enough before you had
gone thither.”

“Would to Heaven it had!” cries Booth; “but that is over now. But pray,
Amelia, answer me one question--Who was that gentleman with you when I
came up to you?”

“The gentleman! my dear,” said Amelia; “what gentleman?”

“The gentleman--the nobleman--when I came up; sure I speak plain.”

“Upon my word, my dear, I don’t understand you,” answered she; “I did
not know one person at the masquerade.”

“How!” said he; “what! spend the whole evening with a masque without
knowing him?”

“Why, my dear,” said she, “you know we were not together.”

“I know we were not,” said he, “but what is that to the purpose? Sure
you answer me strangely. I know we were not together; and therefore I
ask you whom you were with?”

“Nay, but, my dear,” said she, “can I tell people in masques?”

“I say again, madam,” said he, “would you converse two hours or more
with a masque whom you did not know?”

“Indeed, child,” says she, “I know nothing of the methods of a
masquerade; for I never was at one in my life.”

“I wish to Heaven you had not been at this!” cries Booth. “Nay, you will
wish so yourself if you tell me truth.--What have I said? do I--can I
suspect you of not speaking truth? Since you are ignorant then I will
inform you: the man you have conversed with was no other than Lord----.”

“And is that the reason,” said she, “you wish I had not been there?”

“And is not that reason,” answered he, “sufficient? Is he not the last
man upon earth with whom I would have you converse?”

“So you really wish then that I had not been at the masquerade?”

“I do,” cried he, “from my soul.”

“So may I ever be able,” cried she, “to indulge you in every wish as in
this.--I was not there.”

“Do not trifle, Amelia,” cried he; “you would not jest with me if you
knew the situation of my mind.”

“Indeed I do not jest with you,” said she. “Upon my honour I was not
there. Forgive me this first deceit I ever practised, and indeed it
shall be the last; for I have paid severely for this by the uneasiness
it hath given me.” She then revealed to him the whole secret, which was
thus:

I think it hath been already mentioned in some part of this history that
Amelia and Mrs. Atkinson were exactly of the same make and stature, and
that there was likewise a very near resemblance between their voices.
When Mrs. Atkinson, therefore, found that Amelia was so extremely averse
to the masquerade, she proposed to go thither in her stead, and to pass
upon Booth for his own wife.

This was afterwards very easily executed; for, when they left Booth’s
lodgings, Amelia, who went last to her chair, ran back to fetch her
masque, as she pretended, which she had purposely left behind. She then
whipt off her domino, and threw it over Mrs. Atkinson, who stood ready
to receive it, and ran immediately downstairs, and, stepping into
Amelia’s chair, proceeded with the rest to the masquerade.

As her stature exactly suited that of Amelia, she had very little
difficulty to carry on the imposition; for, besides the natural
resemblance of their voices, and the opportunity of speaking in a
feigned one, she had scarce an intercourse of six words with Booth
during the whole time; for the moment they got into the croud she took
the first opportunity of slipping from him. And he, as the reader may
remember, being seized by other women, and concluding his wife to be
safe with Mrs. James, was very well satisfied, till the colonel set him
upon the search, as we have seen before.

Mrs. Atkinson, the moment she came home, ran upstairs to the nursery,
where she found Amelia, and told her in haste that she might very easily
carry on the deceit with her husband; for that she might tell him what
she pleased to invent, as they had not been a minute together during the
whole evening.

Booth was no sooner satisfied that his wife had not been from home that
evening than he fell into raptures with her, gave her a thousand tender
caresses, blamed his own judgment, acknowledged the goodness of hers,
and vowed never to oppose her will more in any one instance during his
life.

Mrs. Atkinson, who was still in the nursery with her masquerade dress,
was then summoned down-stairs, and, when Booth saw her and heard her
speak in her mimic tone, he declared he was not surprized at his having
been imposed upon, for that, if they were both in the same disguise, he
should scarce be able to discover the difference between them.

They then sat down to half an hour’s chearful conversation, after which
they retired all in the most perfect good humour.



Chapter iv.

_Consequences of the masquerade_.


When Booth rose in the morning he found in his pocket that letter which
had been delivered to him by Colonel Bath, which, had not chance brought
to his remembrance, he might possibly have never recollected.

He had now, however, the curiosity to open the letter, and beginning to
read it, the matter of it drew him on till he perused the whole; for,
notwithstanding the contempt cast upon it by those learned critics the
bucks, neither the subject nor the manner in which it was treated was
altogether contemptible.

But there was still another motive which induced Booth to read the whole
letter, and this was, that he presently thought he knew the hand. He
did, indeed, immediately conclude it was Dr Harrison; for the doctor
wrote a very remarkable one, and this letter contained all the
particularities of the doctor’s character.

He had just finished a second reading of this letter when the doctor
himself entered the room. The good man was impatient to know the success
of Amelia’s stratagem, for he bore towards her all that love which
esteem can create in a good mind, without the assistance of those
selfish considerations from which the love of wives and children may
be ordinarily deduced. The latter of which, Nature, by very subtle and
refined reasoning, suggests to us to be part of our dear selves; and
the former, as long as they remain the objects of our liking, that same
Nature is furnished with very plain and fertile arguments to recommend
to our affections. But to raise that affection in the human breast which
the doctor had for Amelia, Nature is forced to use a kind of logic which
is no more understood by a bad man than Sir Isaac Newton’s doctrine of
colours is by one born blind. And yet in reality it contains nothing
more abstruse than this, that an injury is the object of anger, danger
of fear, and praise of vanity; for in the same simple manner it may be
asserted that goodness is the object of love.

The doctor enquired immediately for his child (for so he often called
Amelia); Booth answered that he had left her asleep, for that she
had had but a restless night. “I hope she is not disordered by the
masquerade,” cries the doctor. Booth answered he believed she would be
very well when she waked. “I fancy,” said he, “her gentle spirits were a
little too much fluttered last night; that is all.”

“I hope, then,” said the doctor, “you will never more insist on her
going to such places, but know your own happiness in having a wife that
hath the discretion to avoid those places; which, though perhaps they
may not be as some represent them, such brothels of vice and debauchery
as would impeach the character of every virtuous woman who was seen
at them, are certainly, however, scenes of riot, disorder, and
intemperance, very improper to be frequented by a chaste and sober
Christian matron.”

Booth declared that he was very sensible of his error, and that, so far
from soliciting his wife to go to another masquerade, he did not intend
ever to go thither any more himself.

The doctor highly approved the resolution; and then Booth said, “And I
thank you, my dear friend, as well as my wife’s discretion, that she
was not at the masquerade last night.” He then related to the doctor
the discovery of the plot; and the good man was greatly pleased with the
success of the stratagem, and that Booth took it in such good part.

“But, sir,” says Booth, “I had a letter given me by a noble colonel
there, which is written in a hand so very like yours, that I could
almost swear to it. Nor is the stile, as far as I can guess, unlike your
own. Here it is, sir. Do you own the letter, doctor, or do you not?”

The doctor took the letter, and, having looked at it a moment, said,
“And did the colonel himself give you this letter?”

“The colonel himself,” answered Booth.

“Why then,” cries the doctor, “he is surely the most impudent fellow
that the world ever produced. What! did he deliver it with an air of
triumph?”

“He delivered it me with air enough,” cries Booth, “after his own
manner, and bid me read it for my edification. To say the truth, I am a
little surprized that he should single me out of all mankind to deliver
the letter to; I do not think I deserve the character of such a husband.
It is well I am not so very forward to take an affront as some folks.”

“I am glad to see you are not,” said the doctor; “and your behaviour
in this affair becomes both the man of sense and the Christian; for it
would be surely the greatest folly, as well as the most daring impiety,
to risque your own life for the impertinence of a fool. As long as
you are assured of the virtue of your own wife, it is wisdom in you
to despise the efforts of such a wretch. Not, indeed, that your wife
accuses him of any downright attack, though she hath observed enough in
his behaviour to give offence to her delicacy.”

“You astonish me, doctor,” said Booth. “What can you mean? my wife
dislike his behaviour! hath the colonel ever offended her?”

“I do not say he hath ever offended her by any open declarations; nor
hath he done anything which, according to the most romantic notion of
honour, you can or ought to resent; but there is something extremely
nice in the chastity of a truly virtuous woman.”

“And hath my wife really complained of anything of that kind in the
colonel?”

“Look ye, young gentleman,” cries the doctor; “I will have no
quarrelling or challenging; I find I have made some mistake, and
therefore I insist upon it by all the rights of friendship, that you
give me your word of honour you will not quarrel with the colonel on
this account.”

“I do, with all my heart,” said Booth; “for, if I did not know your
character, I should absolutely think you was jesting with me. I do not
think you have mistaken my wife, but I am sure she hath mistaken the
colonel, and hath misconstrued some over-strained point of gallantry,
something of the Quixote kind, into a design against her chastity; but
I have that opinion of the colonel, that I hope you will not be offended
when I declare I know not which of you two I should be the sooner
jealous of.”

“I would by no means have you jealous of any one,” cries the doctor;
“for I think my child’s virtue may be firmly relied on; but I am
convinced she would not have said what she did to me without a cause;
nor should I, without such a conviction, have written that letter to
the colonel, as I own to you I did. However, nothing I say hath yet
past which, even in the opinion of false honour, you are at liberty
to resent! but as to declining any great intimacy, if you will take my
advice, I think that would be prudent.”

“You will pardon me, my dearest friend,” said Booth, “but I have really
such an opinion of the colonel that I would pawn my life upon his
honour; and as for women, I do not believe he ever had an attachment to
any.”

“Be it so,” said the doctor: “I have only two things to insist on. The
first is, that, if ever you change your opinion, this letter may not be
the subject of any quarrelling or fighting: the other is, that you never
mention a word of this to your wife. By the latter I shall see whether
you can keep a secret; and, if it is no otherwise material, it will be
a wholesome exercise to your mind; for the practice of any virtue is a
kind of mental exercise, and serves to maintain the health and vigour of
the soul.”

“I faithfully promise both,” cries Booth. And now the breakfast entered
the room, as did soon after Amelia and Mrs. Atkinson.

The conversation ran chiefly on the masquerade; and Mrs. Atkinson gave
an account of several adventures there; but whether she told the whole
truth with regard to herself I will not determine, for, certain it is,
she never once mentioned the name of the noble peer. Amongst the rest,
she said there was a young fellow that had preached a sermon there upon
a stool, in praise of adultery, she believed; for she could not get near
enough to hear the particulars.

During that transaction Booth had been engaged with the blue domino in
another room, so that he knew nothing of it; so that what Mrs. Atkinson
had now said only brought to his mind the doctor’s letter to Colonel
Bath, for to him he supposed it was written; and the idea of the colonel
being a lover to Amelia struck him in so ridiculous a light, that it
threw him into a violent fit of laughter.

The doctor, who, from the natural jealousy of an author, imputed
the agitation of Booth’s muscles to his own sermon or letter on that
subject, was a little offended, and said gravely, “I should be glad to
know the reason of this immoderate mirth. Is adultery a matter of jest
in your opinion?”

“Far otherwise,” answered Booth. “But how is it possible to refrain from
laughter at the idea of a fellow preaching a sermon in favour of it at
such a place?”

“I am very sorry,” cries the doctor, “to find the age is grown to so
scandalous a degree of licentiousness, that we have thrown off not only
virtue, but decency. How abandoned must be the manners of any nation
where such insults upon religion and morality can be committed with
impunity! No man is fonder of true wit and humour than myself; but to
profane sacred things with jest and scoffing is a sure sign of a weak
and a wicked mind. It is the very vice which Homer attacks in the odious
character of Thersites. The ladies must excuse my repeating the passage
to you, as I know you have Greek enough to understand it:--

    Os rh’ epea phresin esin akosma te, polla te ede
    Maps, atar ou kata kosmon epizemenai basileusin,
    All’o, ti oi eisaito geloiton Argeiosin
    Emmenai

[Footnote: Thus paraphrased by Mr. Pope:

    “Awed by no shame, by no respect controll’d,
     In scandal busy, in reproaches bold,
     With witty malice, studious to defame,
     Scorn all his joy, and laughter all his aim.”]

And immediately adds,

    ----aiskistos de aner ypo Ilion elthe

[Footnote: “He was the greatest scoundrel in the whole army.”]

“Horace, again, describes such a rascal:

                              ----Solutos
      Qui captat risus hominum famamque dicacis,

[Footnote: “Who trivial bursts of laughter strives to raise, And courts
of prating petulance the praise.”--FRANCIS.]

 and says of him,

     Hic niger est, hunc tu, Romane, caveto.”

[Footnote: “This man is black; do thou, O Roman! shun this man.”]

“O charming Homer!” said Mrs. Atkinson, “how much above all other
writers!”

“I ask your pardon, madam,” said the doctor; “I forgot you was a
scholar; but, indeed, I did not know you understood Greek as well as
Latin.”

“I do not pretend,” said she, “to be a critic in the Greek; but I think
I am able to read a little of Homer, at least with the help of looking
now and then into the Latin.”

“Pray, madam,” said the doctor, “how do you like this passage in the
speech of Hector to Andromache:

     ----Eis oikon iousa ta sautes erga komize,
     Iston t elakaten te, kai amphipoloisi keleue
     Ergon epoichesthai?

[Footnote: “Go home and mind your own business. Follow your spinning,
and keep your maids to their work.”]

“Or how do you like the character of Hippodamia, who, by being the
prettiest girl and best workwoman of her age, got one of the best
husbands in all Troy?--I think, indeed, Homer enumerates her discretion
with her other qualifications; but I do not remember he gives us one
character of a woman of learning.--Don’t you conceive this to be a great
omission in that who, by being the prettiest girl and best workwoman of
her age, got one of the best husbands in all Troy?---I think, indeed,
Homer enumerates her discretion with her other qualifications; but I
do not remember Don’t you conceive this to be a great omission in that
charming poet? However, Juvenal makes you amends, for he talks very
abundantly of the learning of the Roman ladies in his time.”

“You are a provoking man, doctor,” said Mrs. Atkinson; “where is the
harm in a woman’s having learning as well as a man?”

“Let me ask you another question,” said the doctor. “Where is the harm
in a man’s being a fine performer with a needle as well as a woman? And
yet, answer me honestly; would you greatly chuse to marry a man with a
thimble upon his finger? Would you in earnest think a needle became the
hand of your husband as well as a halberd?”

“As to war, I am with you,” said she. “Homer himself, I well remember,
makes Hector tell his wife that warlike works--what is the Greek
word--Pollemy--something--belonged to men only; and I readily agree to
it. I hate a masculine woman, an Amazon, as much as you can do; but what
is there masculine in learning?”

“Nothing so masculine, take my word for it. As for your Pollemy, I look
upon it to be the true characteristic of a devil. So Homer everywhere
characterizes Mars.”

“Indeed, my dear,” cries the serjeant, “you had better not dispute with
the doctor; for, upon my word, he will be too hard for you.”

“Nay, I beg _you_ will not interfere,” cries Mrs. Atkinson; “I am sure
_you_ can be no judge in these matters.”

At which the doctor and Booth burst into a loud laugh; and Amelia,
though fearful of giving her friend offence, could not forbear a gentle
smile.

“You may laugh, gentlemen, if you please,” said Mrs. Atkinson; “but
I thank Heaven I have married a man who is not jealous of my
understanding. I should have been the most miserable woman upon earth
with a starched pedant who was possessed of that nonsensical opinion
that the difference of sexes causes any difference in the mind. Why
don’t you honestly avow the Turkish notion that women have no souls? for
you say the same thing in effect.”

“Indeed, my dear,” cries the serjeant, greatly concerned to see his wife
so angry, “you have mistaken the doctor.”

“I beg, my dear,” cried she, “_you_ will say nothing upon these
subjects--I hope _you_ at least do not despise my understanding.”

“I assure you, I do not,” said the serjeant; “and I hope you will never
despise mine; for a man may have some understanding, I hope, without
learning.”

Mrs. Atkinson reddened extremely at these words; and the doctor, fearing
he had gone too far, began to soften matters, in which Amelia assisted
him. By these means, the storm rising in Mrs. Atkinson before was in
some measure laid, at least suspended from bursting at present; but
it fell afterwards upon the poor serjeant’s head in a torrent, who had
learned perhaps one maxim from his trade, that a cannon-ball always doth
mischief in proportion to the resistance it meets with, and that nothing
so effectually deadens its force as a woolpack. The serjeant therefore
bore all with patience; and the idea of a woolpack, perhaps, bringing
that of a feather-bed into his head, he at last not only quieted his
wife, but she cried out with great sincerity, “Well, my dear, I will
say one thing for you, that I believe from my soul, though you have no
learning, you have the best understanding of any man upon earth; and I
must own I think the latter far the more profitable of the two.”

Far different was the idea she entertained of the doctor, whom, from
this day, she considered as a conceited pedant; nor could all Amelia’s
endeavours ever alter her sentiments.

The doctor now took his leave of Booth and his wife for a week, he
intending to set out within an hour or two with his old friend, with
whom our readers were a little acquainted at the latter end of the
ninth book, and of whom, perhaps, they did not then conceive the most
favourable opinion.

Nay, I am aware that the esteem which some readers before had for the
doctor may be here lessened; since he may appear to have been too easy
a dupe to the gross flattery of the old gentleman. If there be any such
critics, we are heartily sorry, as well for them as for the doctor; but
it is our business to discharge the part of a faithful historian, and to
describe human nature as it is, not as we would wish it to be.



Chapter v.

_In which Colonel Bath appears in great glory_.


That afternoon, as Booth was walking in the Park, he met with Colonel
Bath, who presently asked him for the letter which he had given him the
night before; upon which Booth immediately returned it.

“Don’t you think,” cries Bath, “it is writ with great dignity of
expression and emphasis of--of--of judgment?”

“I am surprized, though,” cries Booth, “that any one should write such a
letter to you, colonel.”

“To me!” said Bath. “What do you mean, sir? I hope you don’t imagine
any man durst write such a letter to me? d--n me, if I knew a man who
thought me capable of debauching my friend’s wife, I would--d--n me.”

“I believe, indeed, sir,” cries Booth, “that no man living dares put his
name to such a letter; but you see it is anonymous.”

“I don’t know what you mean by ominous,” cries the colonel; “but, blast
my reputation, if I had received such a letter, if I would not have
searched the world to have found the writer. D--n me, I would have gone
to the East Indies to have pulled off his nose.”

“He would, indeed, have deserved it,” cries Booth. “But pray, sir, how
came you by it?”

“I took it,” said the colonel, “from a sett of idle young rascals,
one of whom was reading it out aloud upon a stool, while the rest were
attempting to make a jest, not only of the letter, but of all decency,
virtue, and religion. A sett of fellows that you must have seen or
heard of about the town, that are, d--n me, a disgrace to the dignity
of manhood; puppies that mistake noise and impudence, rudeness and
profaneness, for wit. If the drummers of my company had not more
understanding than twenty such fellows, I’d have them both whipt out of
the regiment.”

“So, then, you do not know the person to whom it was writ?” said Booth.

“Lieutenant,” cries the colonel, “your question deserves no answer.
I ought to take time to consider whether I ought not to resent the
supposition. Do you think, sir, I am acquainted with a rascal?”

“I do not suppose, colonel,” cries Booth, “that you would willingly
cultivate an intimacy with such a person; but a man must have good luck
who hath any acquaintance if there are not some rascals among them.”

“I am not offended with you, child,” says the colonel. “I know you did
not intend to offend me.”

“No man, I believe, dares intend it,” said Booth.

“I believe so too,” said the colonel; “d--n me, I know it. But you
know, child, how tender I am on this subject. If I had been ever married
myself, I should have cleft the man’s skull who had dared look wantonly
at my wife.”

“It is certainly the most cruel of all injuries,” said Booth. “How
finely doth Shakespeare express it in his Othello!

    ‘But there, where I had treasured up my soul.’”

“That Shakespeare,” cries the colonel, “was a fine fellow. He was a very
pretty poet indeed. Was it not Shakespeare that wrote the play about
Hotspur? You must remember these lines. I got them almost by heart at
the playhouse; for I never missed that play whenever it was acted, if I
was in town:--

     By Heav’n it was an easy leap,
     To pluck bright honour into the full moon,
     Or drive into the bottomless deep.

And--and--faith, I have almost forgot them; but I know it is something
about saving your honour from drowning--O! it is very fine! I say, d--n
me, the man that writ those lines was the greatest poet the world ever
produced. There is dignity of expression and emphasis of thinking, d--n
me.”

Booth assented to the colonel’s criticism, and then cried, “I wish,
colonel, you would be so kind to give me that letter.” The colonel
answered, if he had any particular use for it he would give it him with
all his heart, and presently delivered it; and soon afterwards they
parted.

Several passages now struck all at once upon Booth’s mind, which gave
him great uneasiness. He became confident now that he had mistaken one
colonel for another; and, though he could not account for the letter’s
getting into those hands from whom Bath had taken it (indeed James had
dropt it out of his pocket), yet a thousand circumstances left him no
room to doubt the identity of the person, who was a man much more liable
to raise the suspicion of a husband than honest Bath, who would at any
time have rather fought with a man than lain with a woman.

The whole behaviour of Amelia now rushed upon his memory. Her resolution
not to take up her residence at the colonel’s house, her backwardness
even to dine there, her unwillingness to go to the masquerade, many of
her unguarded expressions, and some where she had been more guarded, all
joined together to raise such an idea in Mr. Booth, that he had almost
taken a resolution to go and cut the colonel to pieces in his own
house. Cooler thoughts, however, suggested themselves to him in time.
He recollected the promise he had so solemnly made to the doctor. He
considered, moreover, that he was yet in the dark as to the extent of
the colonel’s guilt. Having nothing, therefore, to fear from it,
he contented himself to postpone a resentment which he nevertheless
resolved to take of the colonel hereafter, if he found he was in any
degree a delinquent.

The first step he determined to take was, on the first opportunity, to
relate to Colonel James the means by which he became possessed of the
letter, and to read it to him; on which occasion, he thought he should
easily discern by the behaviour of the colonel whether he had been
suspected either by Amelia or the doctor without a cause; but as for
his wife, he fully resolved not to reveal the secret to her till the
doctor’s return.

While Booth was deeply engaged by himself in these meditations, Captain
Trent came up to him, and familiarly slapped him on the shoulder.

They were soon joined by a third gentleman, and presently afterwards by
a fourth, both acquaintances of Mr. Trent; and all having walked twice
the length of the Mall together, it being now past nine in the evening,
Trent proposed going to the tavern, to which the strangers immediately
consented; and Booth himself, after some resistance, was at length
persuaded to comply.

To the King’s Arms then they went, where the bottle went very briskly
round till after eleven; at which time Trent proposed a game at cards,
to which proposal likewise Booth’s consent was obtained, though not
without much difficulty; for, though he had naturally some inclination
to gaming, and had formerly a little indulged it, yet he had entirely
left it off for many years.

Booth and his friend were partners, and had at first some success;
but Fortune, according to her usual conduct, soon shifted about, and
persecuted Booth with such malice, that in about two hours he was
stripped of all the gold in his pocket, which amounted to twelve
guineas, being more than half the cash which he was at that time worth.

How easy it is for a man who is at all tainted with the itch of gaming
to leave off play in such a situation, especially when he is likewise
heated with liquor, I leave to the gamester to determine. Certain it is
that Booth had no inclination to desist; but, on the contrary, was so
eagerly bent on playing on, that he called his friend out of the room,
and asked him for ten pieces, which he promised punctually to pay the
next morning.

Trent chid him for using so much formality on the occasion. “You know,”
 said he, “dear Booth, you may have what money you please of me. Here
is a twenty-pound note at your service; and, if you want five times the
sum, it is at your service. We will never let these fellows go away with
our money in this manner; for we have so much the advantage, that if the
knowing ones were here they would lay odds of our side.”

But if this was really Mr. Rent’s opinion, he was very much mistaken;
for the other two honourable gentlemen were not only greater masters of
the game, and somewhat soberer than poor Booth, having, with all the art
in their power, evaded the bottle, but they had, moreover, another small
advantage over their adversaries, both of them, by means of some
certain private signs, previously agreed upon between them, being always
acquainted with the principal cards in each other’s hands. It cannot be
wondered, therefore, that Fortune was on their side; for, however she
may be reported to favour fools, she never, I believe, shews them any
countenance when they engage in play with knaves.

The more Booth lost, the deeper he made his bets; the consequence of
which was, that about two in the morning, besides the loss of his own
money, he was fifty pounds indebted to Trent: a sum, indeed, which he
would not have borrowed, had not the other, like a very generous friend,
pushed it upon him.

Trent’s pockets became at last dry by means of these loans. His own
loss, indeed, was trifling; for the stakes of the games were no higher
than crowns, and betting (as it is called) was that to which Booth
owed his ruin. The gentlemen, therefore, pretty well knowing Booth’s
circumstances, and being kindly unwilling to win more of a man than he
was worth, declined playing any longer, nor did Booth once ask them to
persist, for he was ashamed of the debt which he had already contracted
to Trent, and very far from desiring to encrease it.

The company then separated. The two victors and Trent went off in their
chairs to their several houses near Grosvenor-square, and poor Booth, in
a melancholy mood, walked home to his lodgings. He was, indeed, in such
a fit of despair, that it more than once came into his head to put an
end to his miserable being.

But before we introduce him to Amelia we must do her the justice to
relate the manner in which she spent this unhappy evening. It was about
seven when Booth left her to walk in the park; from this time till
past eight she was employed with her children, in playing with them, in
giving them their supper, and in putting them to bed.

When these offices were performed she employed herself another hour
in cooking up a little supper for her husband, this being, as we have
already observed, his favourite meal, as indeed it was her’s; and, in a
most pleasant and delightful manner, they generally passed their time at
this season, though their fare was very seldom of the sumptuous kind.

It now grew dark, and her hashed mutton was ready for the table, but no
Booth appeared. Having waited therefore for him a full hour, she gave
him over for that evening; nor was she much alarmed at his absence,
as she knew he was in a night or two to be at the tavern with some
brother-officers; she concluded therefore that they had met in the park,
and had agreed to spend this evening together.

At ten then she sat down to supper by herself, for Mrs. Atkinson was
then abroad. And here we cannot help relating a little incident, however
trivial it may appear to some. Having sat some time alone, reflecting on
their distressed situation, her spirits grew very low; and she was once
or twice going to ring the bell to send her maid for half-a-pint of
white wine, but checked her inclination in order to save the little sum
of sixpence, which she did the more resolutely as she had before refused
to gratify her children with tarts for their supper from the same
motive. And this self-denial she was very probably practising to
save sixpence, while her husband was paying a debt of several guineas
incurred by the ace of trumps being in the hands of his adversary.

Instead therefore of this cordial she took up one of the excellent
Farquhar’s comedies, and read it half through; when, the clock striking
twelve, she retired to bed, leaving the maid to sit up for her master.
She would, indeed, have much more willingly sat up herself, but the
delicacy of her own mind assured her that Booth would not thank her
for the compliment. This is, indeed, a method which some wives take of
upbraiding their husbands for staying abroad till too late an hour, and
of engaging them, through tenderness and good nature, never to enjoy the
company of their friends too long when they must do this at the expence
of their wives’ rest.

To bed then she went, but not to sleep. Thrice indeed she told the
dismal clock, and as often heard the more dismal watchman, till her
miserable husband found his way home, and stole silently like a thief to
bed to her; at which time, pretending then first to awake, she threw her
snowy arms around him; though, perhaps, the more witty property of snow,
according to Addison, that is to say its coldness, rather belonged to
the poor captain.



Chapter vi.

_Read, gamester, and observe_.


Booth could not so well disguise the agitations of his mind from Amelia,
but that she perceived sufficient symptoms to assure her that some
misfortune had befallen him. This made her in her turn so uneasy that
Booth took notice of it, and after breakfast said, “Sure, my dear Emily,
something hath fallen out to vex you.”

Amelia, looking tenderly at him, answered, “Indeed, my dear, you are in
the right; I am indeed extremely vexed.” “For Heaven’s sake,” said he,
“what is it?” “Nay, my love,” cried she, “that you must answer yourself.
Whatever it is which hath given you all that disturbance that you
in vain endeavour to conceal from me, this it is which causes all my
affliction.”

“You guess truly, my sweet,” replied Booth; “I am indeed afflicted,
and I will not, nay I cannot, conceal the truth from you. I have undone
myself, Amelia.”

“What have you done, child?” said she, in some consternation; “pray,
tell me.”

“I have lost my money at play,” answered he.

“Pugh!” said she, recovering herself--“what signifies the trifle you
had in your pocket? Resolve never to play again, and let it give you no
further vexation; I warrant you, we will contrive some method to repair
such a loss.”

“Thou heavenly angel! thou comfort of my soul!” cried Booth, tenderly
embracing her; then starting a little from her arms, and looking with
eager fondness in her eyes, he said, “Let me survey thee; art thou
really human, or art thou not rather an angel in a human form? O, no,”
 cried he, flying again into her arms, “thou art my dearest woman, my
best, my beloved wife!”

Amelia, having returned all his caresses with equal kindness, told him
she had near eleven guineas in her purse, and asked how much she should
fetch him. “I would not advise you, Billy, to carry too much in your
pocket, for fear it should be a temptation to you to return to gaming,
in order to retrieve your past losses. Let me beg you, on all accounts,
never to think more, if possible, on the trifle you have lost, anymore
than if you had never possessed it.”

Booth promised her faithfully he never would, and refused to take any of
the money. He then hesitated a moment, and cried--“You say, my dear, you
have eleven guineas; you have a diamond ring, likewise, which was your
grandmother’s--I believe that is worth twenty pounds; and your own and
the child’s watch are worth as much more.”

“I believe they would sell for as much,” cried Amelia; “for a pawnbroker
of Mrs. Atkinson’s acquaintance offered to lend me thirty-five pounds
upon them when you was in your last distress. But why are you computing
their value now?”

“I was only considering,” answered he, “how much we could raise in any
case of exigency.”

“I have computed it myself,” said she; “and I believe all we have in
the world, besides our bare necessary apparel, would produce about sixty
pounds: and suppose, my dear,” said she, “while we have that little sum,
we should think of employing it some way or other, to procure some small
subsistence for ourselves and our family. As for your dependence on the
colonel’s friendship, it is all vain, I am afraid, and fallacious. Nor
do I see any hopes you have from any other quarter, of providing for
yourself again in the army. And though the sum which is now in our power
is very small, yet we may possibly contrive with it to put ourselves
into some mean way of livelihood. I have a heart, my Billy, which is
capable of undergoing anything for your sake; and I hope my hands are as
able to work as those which have been more inured to it. But think, my
dear, think what must be our wretched condition, when the very little we
now have is all mouldered away, as it will soon be in this town.”

When poor Booth heard this, and reflected that the time which Amelia
foresaw was already arrived (for that he had already lost every farthing
they were worth), it touched him to the quick; he turned pale, gnashed
his teeth, and cried out, “Damnation! this is too much to bear.”

Amelia was thrown into the utmost consternation by this behaviour; and,
with great terror in her countenance, cried out, “Good Heavens! my dear
love, what is the reason of this agony?”

“Ask me no questions,” cried he, “unless you would drive me to madness.”

“My Billy! my love!” said she, “what can be the meaning of this?--I beg
you will deal openly with me, and tell me all your griefs.”

“Have you dealt fairly with me, Amelia?” said he.

“Yes, surely,” said she; “Heaven is my witness how fairly.”

“Nay, do not call Heaven,” cried he, “to witness a falsehood. You have
not dealt openly with me, Amelia. You have concealed secrets from me;
secrets which I ought to have known, and which, if I had known, it had
been better for us both.”

“You astonish me as much as you shock me,” cried she. “What falsehood,
what treachery have I been guilty of?”

“You tell me,” said he, “that I can have no reliance on James; why did
not you tell me so before?”

“I call Heaven again,” said she, “to witness; nay, I appeal to yourself
for the truth of it; I have often told you so. I have told you I
disliked the man, notwithstanding the many favours he had done you. I
desired you not to have too absolute a reliance upon him. I own I had
once an extreme good opinion of him, but I changed it, and I acquainted
you that I had so--”

“But not,” cries he, “with the reasons why you had changed it.”

“I was really afraid, my dear,” said she, “of going too far. I knew the
obligations you had to him; and if I suspected that he acted rather from
vanity than true friendship--”

“Vanity!” cries he; “take care, Amelia: you know his motive to be much
worse than vanity--a motive which, if he had piled obligations on me
till they had reached the skies, would tumble all down to hell. It is
vain to conceal it longer--I know all--your confidant hath told me all.”

“Nay, then,” cries she, “on my knees I entreat you to be pacified, and
hear me out. It was, my dear, for you, my dread of your jealous honour,
and the fatal consequences.”

“Is not Amelia, then,” cried he, “equally jealous of my honour? Would
she, from a weak tenderness for my person, go privately about to betray,
to undermine the most invaluable treasure of my soul? Would she have
me pointed at as the credulous dupe, the easy fool, the tame, the kind
cuckold, of a rascal with whom I conversed as a friend?”

“Indeed you injure me,” said Amelia. “Heaven forbid I should have the
trial! but I think I could sacrifice all I hold most dear to preserve
your honour. I think I have shewn I can. But I will--when you are cool,
I will--satisfy you I have done nothing you ought to blame.”

“I am cool then,” cries he; “I will with the greatest coolness hear
you.--But do not think, Amelia, I have the least jealousy, the least
suspicion, the least doubt of your honour. It is your want of confidence
in me alone which I blame.”

“When you are calm,” cried she, “I will speak, and not before.”

He assured her he was calm; and then she said, “You have justified my
conduct by your present passion, in concealing from you my suspicions;
for they were no more, nay, it is possible they were unjust; for since
the doctor, in betraying the secret to you, hath so far falsified my
opinion of him, why may I not be as well deceived in my opinion of the
colonel, since it was only formed on some particulars in his behaviour
which I disliked? for, upon my honour, he never spoke a word to me, nor
hath been ever guilty of any direct action, which I could blame.”
 She then went on, and related most of the circumstances which she had
mentioned to the doctor, omitting one or two of the strongest, and
giving such a turn to the rest, that, if Booth had not had some of
Othello’s blood in him, his wife would have almost appeared a prude in
his eyes. Even he, however, was pretty well pacified by this narrative,
and said he was glad to find a possibility of the colonel’s innocence;
but that he greatly commended the prudence of his wife, and only wished
she would for the future make him her only confidant.

Amelia, upon that, expressed some bitterness against the doctor
for breaking his trust; when Booth, in his excuse, related all the
circumstances of the letter, and plainly convinced her that the secret
had dropt by mere accident from the mouth of the doctor.

Thus the husband and wife became again reconciled, and poor Amelia
generously forgave a passion of which the sagacious reader is better
acquainted with the real cause than was that unhappy lady.



Chapter vii.

_In which Booth receives a visit from Captain Trent_.


When Booth grew perfectly cool, and began to reflect that he had broken
his word to the doctor, in having made the discovery to his wife
which we have seen in the last chapter, that thought gave him great
uneasiness; and now, to comfort him, Captain Trent came to make him a
visit.

This was, indeed, almost the last man in the world whose company he
wished for; for he was the only man he was ashamed to see, for a reason
well known to gamesters; among whom, the most dishonourable of all
things is not to pay a debt, contracted at the gaming-table, the next
day, or the next time at least that you see the party.

Booth made no doubt but that Trent was come on purpose to receive this
debt; the latter had been therefore scarce a minute in the room before
Booth began, in an aukward manner, to apologise; but Trent immediately
stopt his mouth, and said, “I do not want the money, Mr. Booth, and
you may pay it me whenever you are able; and, if you are never able, I
assure you I will never ask you for it.”

This generosity raised such a tempest of gratitude in Booth (if I may be
allowed the expression), that the tears burst from his eyes, and it was
some time before he could find any utterance for those sentiments
with which his mind overflowed; but, when he began to express his
thankfulness, Trent immediately stopt him, and gave a sudden turn to
their discourse.

Mrs. Trent had been to visit Mrs. Booth on the masquerade evening, which
visit Mrs. Booth had not yet returned. Indeed, this was only the second
day since she had received it. Trent therefore now told his friend that
he should take it extremely kind if he and his lady would waive all
ceremony, and sup at their house the next evening. Booth hesitated a
moment, but presently said, “I am pretty certain my wife is not engaged,
and I will undertake for her. I am sure she will not refuse anything Mr.
Trent can ask.” And soon after Trent took Booth with him to walk in the
Park.

There were few greater lovers of a bottle than Trent; he soon proposed
therefore to adjourn to the King’s Arms tavern, where Booth, though
much against his inclination, accompanied him. But Trent was very
importunate, and Booth did not think himself at liberty to refuse such a
request to a man from whom he had so lately received such obligations.

When they came to the tavern, however, Booth recollected the omission he
had been guilty of the night before. He wrote a short note therefore to
his wife, acquainting her that he should not come home to supper; but
comforted her with a faithful promise that he would on no account engage
himself in gaming.

The first bottle passed in ordinary conversation; but, when they had
tapped the second, Booth, on some hints which Trent gave him, very
fairly laid open to him his whole circumstances, and declared he almost
despaired of mending them. “My chief relief,” said he, “was in the
interest of Colonel James; but I have given up those hopes.”

“And very wisely too,” said Trent “I say nothing of the colonel’s good
will. Very likely he may be your sincere friend; but I do not believe
he hath the interest he pretends to. He hath had too many favours in his
own family to ask any more yet a while. But I am mistaken if you have
not a much more powerful friend than the colonel; one who is both able
and willing to serve you. I dined at his table within these two days,
and I never heard kinder nor warmer expressions from the mouth of man
than he made use of towards you. I make no doubt you know whom I mean.”

“Upon my honour I do not,” answered Booth; “nor did I guess that I had
such a friend in the world as you mention.”

“I am glad then,” cries Trent, “that I have the pleasure of informing
you of it.” He then named the noble peer who hath been already so often
mentioned in this history.

Booth turned pale and started at his name. “I forgive you, my dear
Trent,” cries Booth, “for mentioning his name to me, as you are a
stranger to what hath passed between us.”

“Nay, I know nothing that hath passed between you,” answered Trent. “I
am sure, if there is any quarrel between you of two days’ standing, all
is forgiven on his part.”

“D--n his forgiveness!” said Booth. “Perhaps I ought to blush at what I
have forgiven.”

“You surprize me!” cries Trent. “Pray what can be the matter?”

“Indeed, my dear Trent,” cries Booth, very gravely, “he would have
injured me in the tenderest part. I know not how to tell it you; but he
would have dishonoured me with my wife.”

“Sure, you are not in earnest!” answered Trent; “but, if you are, you
will pardon me for thinking that impossible.”

“Indeed,” cries Booth, “I have so good an opinion of my wife as to
believe it impossible for him to succeed; but that he should intend me
the favour you will not, I believe, think an impossibility.”

“Faith! not in the least,” said Trent. “Mrs. Booth is a very fine woman;
and, if I had the honour to be her husband, I should not be angry with
any man for liking her.”

“But you would be angry,” said Booth, “with a man, who should make use
of stratagems and contrivances to seduce her virtue; especially if he
did this under the colour of entertaining the highest friendship for
yourself.”

“Not at all,” cries Trent. “It is human nature.”

“Perhaps it is,” cries Booth; “but it is human nature depraved, stript
of all its worth, and loveliness, and dignity, and degraded down to a
level with the vilest brutes.”

“Look ye, Booth,” cries Trent, “I would not be misunderstood. I think,
when I am talking to you, I talk to a man of sense and to an inhabitant
of this country, not to one who dwells in a land of saints. If you have
really such an opinion as you express of this noble lord, you have the
finest opportunity of making a complete fool and bubble of him that any
man can desire, and of making your own fortune at the same time. I do
not say that your suspicions are groundless; for, of all men upon earth
I know, my lord is the greatest bubble to women, though I believe he
hath had very few. And this I am confident of, that he hath not the
least jealousy of these suspicions. Now, therefore, if you will act the
part of a wise man, I will undertake that you shall make your fortune
without the least injury to the chastity of Mrs. Booth.”

“I do not understand you, sir,” said Booth.

“Nay,” cries Trent, “if you will not understand me, I have done. I meant
only your service; and I thought I had known you better.”

Booth begged him to explain himself. “If you can,” said he, “shew me
any way to improve such circumstances as I have opened to you, you may
depend on it I shall readily embrace it, and own my obligations to you.”

“That is spoken like a man,” cries Trent. “Why, what is it more than
this? Carry your suspicions in your own bosom. Let Mrs. Booth, in whose
virtue I am sure you may be justly confident, go to the public places;
there let her treat my lord with common civility only; I am sure he will
bite. And thus, without suffering him to gain his purpose, you will gain
yours. I know several who have succeeded with him in this manner.”

“I am very sorry, sir,” cries Booth, “that you are acquainted with any
such rascals. I do assure you, rather than I would act such a part,
I would submit to the hardest sentence that fortune could pronounce
against me.”

“Do as you please, sir,” said Trent; “I have only ventured to advise
you as a friend. But do you not think your nicety is a little
over-scrupulous?”

“You will excuse me, sir,” said Booth; “but I think no man can be too
scrupulous in points which concern his honour.”

“I know many men of very nice honour,” answered Trent, “who have gone
much farther; and no man, I am sure, had ever a better excuse for it
than yourself. You will forgive me, Booth, since what I speak proceeds
from my love to you; nay, indeed, by mentioning your affairs to me,
which I am heartily sorry for, you have given me a right to speak. You
know best what friends you have to depend upon; but, if you have no
other pretensions than your merit, I can assure you you would fail, if
it was possible you could have ten times more merit than you have.
And, if you love your wife, as I am convinced you do, what must be your
condition in seeing her want the necessaries of life?”

“I know my condition is very hard,” cries Booth; “but I have one comfort
in it, which I will never part with, and that is innocence. As to the
mere necessaries of life, however, it is pretty difficult to deprive us
of them; this I am sure of, no one can want them long.”

“Upon my word, sir,” cries Trent, “I did not know you had been so great
a philosopher. But, believe me, these matters look much less terrible at
a distance than when they are actually present. You will then find, I am
afraid, that honour hath no more skill in cookery than Shakspear tells
us it hath in surgery. D--n me if I don’t wish his lordship loved my
wife as well as he doth yours, I promise you I would trust her virtue;
and, if he should get the better of it, I should have people of fashion
enough to keep me in countenance.”

Their second bottle being now almost out, Booth, without making any
answer, called for a bill. Trent pressed very much the drinking another
bottle, but Booth absolutely refused, and presently afterwards they
parted, not extremely well satisfied with each other. They appeared,
indeed, one to the other, in disadvantageous lights of a very different
kind. Trent concluded Booth to be a very silly fellow, and Booth began
to suspect that Trent was very little better than a scoundrel.



Chapter viii.

_Contains a letter and other matters_.


We will now return to Amelia; to whom, immediately upon her husband’s
departure to walk with Mr. Trent, a porter brought the following letter,
which she immediately opened and read:

“MADAM,--The quick despatch which I have given to your first commands
will I hope assure you of the diligence with which I shall always obey
every command that you are pleased to honour me with. I have, indeed, in
this trifling affair, acted as if my life itself had been at stake;
nay, I know not but it may be so; for this insignificant matter, you was
pleased to tell me, would oblige the charming person in whose power is
not only my happiness, but, as I am well persuaded, my life too. Let me
reap therefore some little advantage in your eyes, as you have in mine,
from this trifling occasion; for, if anything could add to the charms of
which you are mistress, it would be perhaps that amiable zeal with which
you maintain the cause of your friend. I hope, indeed, she will be my
friend and advocate with the most lovely of her sex, as I think she hath
reason, and as you was pleased to insinuate she had been. Let me beseech
you, madam, let not that dear heart, whose tenderness is so inclined
to compassionate the miseries of others, be hardened only against the
sufferings which itself occasions. Let not that man alone have reason to
think you cruel, who, of all others, would do the most to procure your
kindness. How often have I lived over in my reflections, in my dreams,
those two short minutes we were together! But, alas! how faint are these
mimicries of the imagination! What would I not give to purchase the
reality of such another blessing! This, madam, is in your power to
bestow on the man who hath no wish, no will, no fortune, no heart, no
life, but what are at your disposal. Grant me only the favour to be at
Lady----‘s assembly. You can have nothing to fear from indulging me with
a moment’s sight, a moment’s conversation; I will ask no more. I know
your delicacy, and had rather die than offend it. Could I have seen you
sometimes, I believe the fear of offending you would have kept my love
for ever buried in my own bosom; but, to be totally excluded even from
the sight of what my soul doats on is what I cannot bear. It is that
alone which hath extorted the fatal secret from me. Let that obtain your
forgiveness for me. I need not sign this letter otherwise than with that
impression of my heart which I hope it bears; and, to conclude it in any
form, no language hath words of devotion strong enough to tell you with
what truth, what anguish, what zeal, what adoration I love you.”

Amelia had just strength to hold out to the end, when her trembling grew
so violent that she dropt the letter, and had probably dropt herself,
had not Mrs. Atkinson come timely in to support her.

“Good Heavens!” cries Mrs. Atkinson, “what is the matter with you,
madam?”

“I know not what is the matter,” cries Amelia; “but I have received a
letter at last from that infamous colonel.”

“You will take my opinion again then, I hope, madam,” cries Mrs.
Atkinson. “But don’t be so affected; the letter cannot eat you or run
away with you. Here it lies, I see; will you give me leave to read it?”

“Read it with all my heart,” cries Amelia; “and give me your advice how
to act, for I am almost distracted.”

“Heydey!” says Mrs. Atkinson, “here is a piece of parchment too--what
is that?” In truth, this parchment had dropt from the letter when Amelia
first opened it; but her attention was so fixed by the contents of the
letter itself that she had never read the other. Mrs. Atkinson had now
opened the parchment first; and, after a moment’s perusal, the fire
flashed from her eyes, and the blood flushed into her cheeks, and she
cried out, in a rapture, “It is a commission for my husband! upon my
soul, it is a commission for my husband:” and, at the same time, began
to jump about the room in a kind of frantic fit of joy.

“What can be the meaning of all this?” cries Amelia, under the highest
degree of astonishment.

“Do not I tell you, my dear madam,” cries she, “that it is a commission
for my husband? and can you wonder at my being overjoyed at what I know
will make him so happy? And now it is all out. The letter is not from
the colonel, but from that noble lord of whom I have told you so much.
But, indeed, madam, I have some pardons to ask of you. However, I know
your goodness, and I will tell you all.

“You are to know then, madam, that I had not been in the Opera-house
six minutes before a masque came up, and, taking me by the hand, led me
aside. I gave the masque my hand; and, seeing a lady at that time lay
hold on Captain Booth, I took that opportunity of slipping away from
him; for though, by the help of the squeaking voice, and by attempting
to mimic yours, I had pretty well disguised my own, I was still afraid,
if I had much conversation with your husband, he would discover me. I
walked therefore away with this masque to the upper end of the farthest
room, where we sat down in a corner together. He presently discovered
to me that he took me for you, and I soon after found out who he was;
indeed, so far from attempting to disguise himself, he spoke in his own
voice and in his own person. He now began to make very violent love to
me, but it was rather in the stile of a great man of the present age
than of an Arcadian swain. In short, he laid his whole fortune at my
feet, and bade me make whatever terms I pleased, either for myself or
for others. By others, I suppose he meant your husband. This, however,
put a thought into my head of turning the present occasion to advantage.
I told him there were two kinds of persons, the fallaciousness of whose
promises had become proverbial in the world. These were lovers, and
great men. What reliance, then, could I have on the promise of one who
united in himself both those characters? That I had seen a melancholy
instance, in a very worthy woman of my acquaintance (meaning myself,
madam), of his want of generosity. I said I knew the obligations that
he had to this woman, and the injuries he had done her, all which I was
convinced she forgave, for that she had said the handsomest things in
the world of him to me. He answered that he thought he had not been
deficient in generosity to this lady (for I explained to him whom I
meant); but that indeed, if she had spoke well of him to me (meaning
yourself, madam), he would not fail to reward her for such an
obligation. I then told him she had married a very deserving man, who
had served long in the army abroad as a private man, and who was a
serjeant in the guards; that I knew it was so very easy for him to get
him a commission, that I should not think he had any honour or goodness
in the world if he neglected it. I declared this step must be a
preliminary to any good opinion he must ever hope for of mine. I then
professed the greatest friendship to that lady (in which I am convinced
you will think me serious), and assured him he would give me one of the
highest pleasures in letting me be the instrument of doing her such a
service. He promised me in a moment to do what you see, madam, he hath
since done. And to you I shall always think myself indebted for it.”

“I know not how you are indebted to me,” cries Amelia. “Indeed, I am
very glad of any good fortune that can attend poor Atkinson, but I wish
it had been obtained some other way. Good Heavens! what must be the
consequence of this? What must this lord think of me for listening to
his mention of love? nay, for making any terms with him? for what must
he suppose those terms mean? Indeed, Mrs. Atkinson, you carried it a
great deal too far. No wonder he had the assurance to write to me in the
manner he hath done. It is too plain what he conceives of me, and who
knows what he may say to others? You may have blown up my reputation by
your behaviour.”

“How is that possible?” answered Mrs. Atkinson. “Is it not in my power
to clear up all matters? If you will but give me leave to make an
appointment in your name I will meet him myself, and declare the whole
secret to him.”

“I will consent to no such appointment,” cries Amelia. “I am heartily
sorry I ever consented to practise any deceit. I plainly see the truth
of what Dr Harrison hath often told me, that, if one steps ever so
little out of the ways of virtue and innocence, we know not how we may
slide, for all the ways of vice are a slippery descent.”

“That sentiment,” cries Mrs. Atkinson, “is much older than Dr Harrison.
_Omne vitium in proclivi est._”

“However new or old it is, I find it is true,” cries Amelia--“But, pray,
tell me all, though I tremble to hear it.”

“Indeed, my dear friend,” said Mrs. Atkinson, “you are terrified at
nothing--indeed, indeed, you are too great a prude.”

“I do not know what you mean by prudery,” answered Amelia. “I shall
never be ashamed of the strictest regard to decency, to reputation,
and to that honour in which the dearest of all human creatures hath his
share. But, pray, give me the letter, there is an expression in it which
alarmed me when I read it. Pray, what doth he mean by his two short
minutes, and by purchasing the reality of such another blessing?”

“Indeed, I know not what he means by two minutes,” cries Mrs. Atkinson,
“unless he calls two hours so; for we were not together much less. And
as for any blessing he had, I am a stranger to it. Sure, I hope you have
a better opinion of me than to think I granted him the last favour.”

“I don’t know what favours you granted him, madam,” answered Amelia
peevishly, “but I am sorry you granted him any in my name.”

“Upon my word,” cries Mrs. Atkinson, “you use me unkindly, and it is an
usage I did not expect at your hands, nor do I know that I have deserved
it. I am sure I went to the masquerade with no other view than to oblige
you, nor did I say or do anything there which any woman who is not the
most confounded prude upon earth would have started at on a much less
occasion than what induced me. Well, I declare upon my soul then, that,
if I was a man, rather than be married to a woman who makes such a fuss
with her virtue, I would wish my wife was without such a troublesome
companion.”

“Very possibly, madam, these may be your sentiments,” cries Amelia, “and
I hope they are the sentiments of your husband.”

“I desire, madam,” cries Mrs. Atkinson, “you would not reflect on my
husband. He is a worthy man and as brave a man as yours; yes, madam, and
he is now as much a captain.”

She spoke those words with so loud a voice, that Atkinson, who was
accidentally going up-stairs, heard them; and, being surprized at the
angry tone of his wife’s voice, he entered the room, and, with a look of
much astonishment, begged to know what was the matter.

“The matter, my dear,” cries Mrs. Atkinson, “is that I have got a
commission for you, and your good old friend here is angry with me for
getting it.”

“I have not spirits enow,” cries Amelia, “to answer you as you deserve;
and, if I had, you are below my anger.”

“I do not know, Mrs. Booth,” answered the other, “whence this great
superiority over me is derived; but, if your virtue gives it you, I
would have you to know, madam, that I despise a prude as much as you can
do a----.”

“Though you have several times,” cries Amelia, “insulted me with that
word, I scorn to give you any ill language in return. If you deserve any
bad appellation, you know it, without my telling it you.”

Poor Atkinson, who was more frightened than he had ever been in his
life, did all he could to procure peace. He fell upon his knees to his
wife, and begged her to compose herself; for indeed she seemed to be in
a most furious rage.

While he was in this posture Booth, who had knocked so gently at the
door, for fear of disturbing his wife, that he had not been heard in the
tempest, came into the room. The moment Amelia saw him, the tears which
had been gathering for some time, burst in a torrent from her eyes,
which, however, she endeavoured to conceal with her handkerchief. The
entry of Booth turned all in an instant into a silent picture, in which
the first figure which struck the eyes of the captain was the serjeant
on his knees to his wife.

Booth immediately cried, “What’s the meaning of this?” but received no
answer. He then cast his eyes towards Amelia, and, plainly discerning
her condition, he ran to her, and in a very tender phrase begged to know
what was the matter. To which she answered, “Nothing, my dear, nothing
of any consequence.” He replied that he would know, and then turned to
Atkinson, and asked the same question.

Atkinson answered, “Upon my honour, sir, I know nothing of it. Something
hath passed between madam and my wife; but what it is I know no more
than your honour.”

“Your wife,” said Mrs. Atkinson, “hath used me cruelly ill, Mr. Booth.
If you must be satisfied, that is the whole matter.”

Booth rapt out a great oath, and cried, “It is impossible; my wife is
not capable of using any one ill.”

Amelia then cast herself upon her knees to her husband, and cried, “For
Heaven’s sake do not throw yourself into a passion--some few words have
past--perhaps I may be in the wrong.”

“Damnation seize me if I think so!” cries Booth. “And I wish whoever
hath drawn these tears from your eyes may pay it with as many drops of
their heart’s blood.”

“You see, madam,” cries Mrs. Atkinson, “you have your bully to take your
part; so I suppose you will use your triumph.”

Amelia made no answer, but still kept hold of Booth, who, in a violent
rage, cried out, “My Amelia triumph over such a wretch as thee!--What
can lead thy insolence to such presumption! Serjeant, I desire you’ll
take that monster out of the room, or I cannot answer for myself.”

The serjeant was beginning to beg his wife to retire (for he perceived
very plainly that she had, as the phrase is, taken a sip too much that
evening) when, with a rage little short of madness, she cried out,
“And do you tamely see me insulted in such a manner, now that you are a
gentleman, and upon a footing with him?”

“It is lucky for us all, perhaps,” answered Booth, “that he is not my
equal.”

“You lie, sirrah,” said Mrs. Atkinson; “he is every way your equal;
he is as good a gentleman as yourself, and as much an officer. No, I
retract what I say; he hath not the spirit of a gentleman, nor of a man
neither, or he would not bear to see his wife insulted.”

“Let me beg of you, my dear,” cries the serjeant, “to go with me and
compose yourself.”

“Go with thee, thou wretch!” cries she, looking with the utmost disdain
upon him; “no, nor ever speak to thee more.” At which words she burst
out of the room, and the serjeant, without saying a word, followed her.

A very tender and pathetic scene now passed between Booth and his wife,
in which, when she was a little composed, she related to him the whole
story. For, besides that it was not possible for her otherwise to
account for the quarrel which he had seen, Booth was now possessed of
the letter that lay on the floor.

Amelia, having emptied her mind to her husband, and obtained his
faithful promise that he would not resent the affair to my lord,
was pretty well composed, and began to relent a little towards Mrs.
Atkinson; but Booth was so highly incensed with her, that he declared he
would leave her house the next morning; which they both accordingly
did, and immediately accommodated themselves with convenient apartments
within a few doors of their friend the doctor.



Chapter ix.

_Containing some things worthy observation._


Notwithstanding the exchange of his lodgings, Booth did not forget to
send an excuse to Mr. Trent, of whose conversation he had taken a full
surfeit the preceding evening.

That day in his walks Booth met with an old brother-officer, who had
served with him at Gibraltar, and was on half-pay as well as himself.
He had not, indeed, had the fortune of being broke with his regiment,
as was Booth, but had gone out, as they call it, on half-pay as a
lieutenant, a rank to which he had risen in five-and-thirty years.

This honest gentleman, after some discourse with Booth, desired him to
lend him half-a-crown, which he assured him he would faithfully pay the
next day, when he was to receive some money for his sister. The sister
was the widow of an officer that had been killed in the sea-service; and
she and her brother lived together, on their joint stock, out of which
they maintained likewise an old mother and two of the sister’s children,
the eldest of which was about nine years old. “You must know,” said
the old lieutenant, “I have been disappointed this morning by an old
scoundrel, who wanted fifteen per cent, for advancing my sister’s
pension; but I have now got an honest fellow who hath promised it me
to-morrow at ten per cent.”

“And enough too, of all conscience,” cries Booth.

“Why, indeed, I think so too,” answered the other; “considering it is
sure to be paid one time or other. To say the truth, it is a little hard
the government doth not pay those pensions better; for my sister’s hath
been due almost these two years; that is my way of thinking.”

Booth answered he was ashamed to refuse him such a sum; but, “Upon my
soul,” said he, “I have not a single halfpenny in my pocket; for I am
in a worse condition, if possible, than yourself; for I have lost all
my money, and, what is worse, I owe Mr. Trent, whom you remember at
Gibraltar, fifty pounds.”

“Remember him! yes, d--n him! I remember him very well,” cries the old
gentleman, “though he will not remember me. He is grown so great now
that he will not speak to his old acquaintance; and yet I should be
ashamed of myself to be great in such a manner.”

“What manner do you mean?” cries Booth, a little eagerly.

“Why, by pimping,” answered the other; “he is pimp in ordinary to my
Lord----, who keeps his family; or how the devil he lives else I don’t
know, for his place is not worth three hundred pounds a year, and he and
his wife spend a thousand at least. But she keeps an assembly, which, I
believe, if you was to call a bawdy-house, you would not misname it.
But d--n me if I had not rather be an honest man, and walk on foot, with
holes in my shoes, as I do now, or go without a dinner, as I and all my
family will today, than ride in a chariot and feast by such means. I
am honest Bob Bound, and always will be; that’s my way of thinking; and
there’s no man shall call me otherwise; for if he doth, I will knock him
down for a lying rascal; that is my way of thinking.”

“And a very good way of thinking too,” cries Booth. “However, you shall
not want a dinner to-day; for if you will go home with me, I will lend
you a crown with all my heart.”

“Lookee,” said the old man, “if it be anywise inconvenient to you I
will not have it; for I will never rob another man of his dinner to eat
myself--that is my way of thinking.”

“Pooh!” said Booth; “never mention such a trifle twice between you and
me. Besides, you say you can pay it me to-morrow; and I promise you that
will be the same thing.”

They then walked together to Booth’s lodgings, where Booth, from
Amelia’s pocket, gave his friend double the little sum he had asked.
Upon which the old gentleman shook him heartily by the hand, and,
repeating his intention of paying him the next day, made the best of his
way to a butcher’s, whence he carried off a leg of mutton to a family
that had lately kept Lent without any religious merit.

When he was gone Amelia asked her husband who that old gentleman was?
Booth answered he was one of the scandals of his country; that the Duke
of Marlborough had about thirty years before made him an ensign from a
private man for very particular merit; and that he had not long since
gone out of the army with a broken heart, upon having several boys put
over his head. He then gave her an account of his family, which he had
heard from the old gentleman in their way to his house, and with which
we have already in a concise manner acquainted the reader.

“Good Heavens!” cries Amelia; “what are our great men made of? are they
in reality a distinct species from the rest of mankind? are they born
without hearts?”

“One would, indeed, sometimes,” cries Booth, “be inclined to think
so. In truth, they have no perfect idea of those common distresses of
mankind which are far removed from their own sphere. Compassion, if
thoroughly examined, will, I believe, appear to be the fellow-feeling
only of men of the same rank and degree of life for one another, on
account of the evils to which they themselves are liable. Our sensations
are, I am afraid, very cold towards those who are at a great distance
from us, and whose calamities can consequently never reach us.”

“I remember,” cries Amelia, “a sentiment of Dr Harrison’s, which he
told me was in some Latin book; _I am a man myself, and my heart is
interested in whatever can befal the rest of mankind_. That is the
sentiment of a good man, and whoever thinks otherwise is a bad one.”

“I have often told you, my dear Emily,” cries Booth, “that all men, as
well the best as the worst, act alike from the principle of self-love.
Where benevolence therefore is the uppermost passion, self-love directs
you to gratify it by doing good, and by relieving the distresses of
others; for they are then in reality your own. But where ambition,
avarice, pride, or any other passion, governs the man and keeps his
benevolence down, the miseries of all other men affect him no more than
they would a stock or a stone. And thus the man and his statue have
often the same degree of feeling or compassion.”

“I have often wished, my dear,” cries Amelia, “to hear you converse with
Dr Harrison on this subject; for I am sure he would convince you, though
I can’t, that there are really such things as religion and virtue.”

This was not the first hint of this kind which Amelia had given; for she
sometimes apprehended from his discourse that he was little better than
an atheist: a consideration which did not diminish her affection
for him, but gave her great uneasiness. On all such occasions Booth
immediately turned the discourse to some other subject; for, though he
had in other points a great opinion of his wife’s capacity, yet as a
divine or a philosopher he did not hold her in a very respectable light,
nor did he lay any great stress on her sentiments in such matters. He
now, therefore, gave a speedy turn to the conversation, and began to
talk of affairs below the dignity of this history.



BOOK XI.



Chapter i.

_Containing a very polite scene._


We will now look back to some personages who, though not the principal
characters in this history, have yet made too considerable a figure in
it to be abruptly dropt: and these are Colonel James and his lady.

This fond couple never met till dinner the day after the masquerade,
when they happened to be alone together in an antechamber before the
arrival of the rest of the company.

The conversation began with the colonel’s saying, “I hope, madam, you
got no cold last night at the masquerade.” To which the lady answered by
much the same kind of question.

They then sat together near five minutes without opening their mouths
to each other. At last Mrs. James said, “Pray, sir, who was that masque
with you in the dress of a shepherdess? How could you expose yourself
by walking with such a trollop in public; for certainly no woman of any
figure would appear there in such a dress? You know, Mr. James, I never
interfere with your affairs; but I would, methinks, for my own sake, if
I was you, preserve a little decency in the face of the world.”

“Upon my word,” said James, “I do not know whom you mean. A woman in
such a dress might speak to me for aught I know. A thousand people
speak to me at a masquerade. But, I promise you, I spoke to no woman
acquaintance there that I know of. Indeed, I now recollect there was a
woman in a dress of a shepherdess; and there was another aukward thing
in a blue domino that plagued me a little, but I soon got rid of them.”

“And I suppose you do not know the lady in the blue domino neither?”

“Not I, I assure you,” said James. “But pray, why do you ask me these
questions? it looks so like jealousy.”

“Jealousy!” cries she; “I jealous! no, Mr. James, I shall never be
jealous, I promise you, especially of the lady in the blue domino; for,
to my knowledge, she despises you of all human race.”

“I am heartily glad of it,” said James; “for I never saw such a tall
aukward monster in my life.”

“That is a very cruel way of telling me you knew me.”

“You, madam!” said James; “you was in a black domino.”

“It is not so unusual a thing, I believe, you yourself know, to change
dresses. I own I did it to discover some of your tricks. I did not think
you could have distinguished the tall aukward monster so well.”

“Upon my soul,” said James, “if it was you I did not even suspect it; so
you ought not to be offended at what I have said ignorantly.”

“Indeed, sir,” cries she, “you cannot offend me by anything you can
say to my face; no, by my soul, I despise you too much. But I wish, Mr.
James, you would not make me the subject of your conversation amongst
your wenches. I desire I may not be afraid of meeting them for fear of
their insults; that I may not be told by a dirty trollop you make me the
subject of your wit amongst them, of which, it seems, I am the favourite
topic. Though you have married a tall aukward monster, Mr. James, I
think she hath a right to be treated, as your wife, with respect at
least: indeed, I shall never require any more; indeed, Mr. James, I
never shall. I think a wife hath a title to that.”

“Who told you this, madam?” said James.

“Your slut,” said she; “your wench, your shepherdess.”

“By all that’s sacred!” cries James, “I do not know who the shepherdess
was.”

“By all that’s sacred then,” says she, “she told me so, and I am
convinced she told me truth. But I do not wonder at you denying it; for
that is equally consistent with honour as to behave in such a manner to
a wife who is a gentlewoman. I hope you will allow me that, sir. Because
I had not quite so great a fortune I hope you do not think me beneath
you, or that you did me any honour in marrying me. I am come of as good
a family as yourself, Mr. James; and if my brother knew how you treated
me he would not bear it.”

“Do you threaten me with your brother, madam?” said James.

“I will not be ill-treated, sir,” answered she.

“Nor I neither, madam,” cries he; “and therefore I desire you will
prepare to go into the country to-morrow morning.”

“Indeed, sir,” said she, “I shall not.”

“By heavens! madam, but you shall,” answered he: “I will have my coach
at the door to-morrow morning by seven; and you shall either go into it
or be carried.”

“I hope, sir, you are not in earnest,” said she.

“Indeed, madam,” answered he, “but I am in earnest, and resolved; and
into the country you go to-morrow.”

“But why into the country,” said she, “Mr. James? Why will you be so
barbarous to deny me the pleasures of the town?”

“Because you interfere with my pleasures,” cried James, “which I have
told you long ago I would not submit to. It is enough for fond couples
to have these scenes together. I thought we had been upon a better
footing, and had cared too little for each other to become mutual
plagues. I thought you had been satisfied with the full liberty of doing
what you pleased.”

“So I am; I defy you to say I have ever given you any uneasiness.”

“How!” cries he; “have you not just now upbraided me with what you heard
at the masquerade?”

“I own,” said she, “to be insulted by such a creature to my face stung
me to the soul. I must have had no spirit to bear the insults of such
an animal. Nay, she spoke of you with equal contempt. Whoever she is, I
promise you Mr. Booth is her favourite. But, indeed, she is unworthy any
one’s regard, for she behaved like an arrant dragoon.”

“Hang her!” cries the colonel, “I know nothing of her.”

“Well, but, Mr. James, I am sure you will not send me into the country.
Indeed I will not go into the country.”

“If you was a reasonable woman,” cries James, “perhaps I should not
desire it. And on one consideration--”

“Come, name your consideration,” said she.

“Let me first experience your discernment,”