Part 12 out of 12
and I knew it to be Mrs. Booth."
"Mrs. Booth! what Mrs. Booth?" cries the doctor.
"Captain Booth's lady, the captain who is now below," said the other.
"How?" cries the doctor with great impetuosity.
"Have patience," said the man, "and you shall hear all. I expressed
some surprize to the pawnbroker, and asked the lady's name. He
answered, that he knew not her name; but that she was some undone
wretch, who had the day before left all her cloathes with him in pawn.
My guilt immediately flew in my face, and told me I had been accessory
to this lady's undoing. The sudden shock so affected me, that, had it
not been for a dram which the pawnbroker gave me, I believe I should
have sunk on the spot."
"Accessary to her undoing! how accessary?" said the doctor. "Pray tell
me, for I am impatient to hear."
"I will tell you all as fast as I can," cries the sick man. "You know,
good doctor, that Mrs. Harris of our town had two daughters, this Mrs.
Booth and another. Now, sir, it seems the other daughter had, some way
or other, disobliged her mother a little before the old lady died;
therefore she made a will, and left all her fortune, except one
thousand pound, to Mrs. Booth; to which will Mr. Murphy, myself, and
another who is now dead, were the witnesses. Mrs. Harris afterwards
died suddenly; upon which it was contrived by her other daughter and
Mr. Murphy to make a new will, in which Mrs. Booth had a legacy of ten
pound, and all the rest was given to the other. To this will, Murphy,
myself, and the same third person, again set our hands."
"Good Heaven! how wonderful is thy providence!" cries the doctor--
"Murphy, say you?"
"He himself, sir," answered Robinson; "Murphy, who is the greatest
rogue, I believe, now in the world."
"Pray, sir, proceed," cries the doctor.
"For this service, sir," said Robinson, "myself and the third person,
one Carter, received two hundred pound each. What reward Murphy
himself had I know not. Carter died soon afterwards; and from that
time, at several payments, I have by threats extorted above a hundred
pound more. And this, sir, is the whole truth, which I am ready to
testify if it would please Heaven to prolong my life."
"I hope it will," cries the doctor; "but something must be done for
fear of accidents. I will send to counsel immediately to know how to
secure your testimony.--Whom can I get to send?--Stay, ay--he will do
--but I know not where his house or his chambers are. I will go myself
--but I may be wanted here."
While the doctor was in this violent agitation the surgeon made his
appearance. The doctor stood still in a meditating posture, while the
surgeon examined his patient. After which the doctor begged him to
declare his opinion, and whether he thought the wounded man in any
immediate danger of death. "I do not know," answered the surgeon,
"what you call immediate. He may live several days--nay, he may
recover. It is impossible to give any certain opinion in these cases."
He then launched forth into a set of terms which the doctor, with all
his scholarship, could not understand. To say the truth, many of them
were not to be found in any dictionary or lexicon.
One discovery, however, the doctor made, and that was, that the
surgeon was a very ignorant, conceited fellow, and knew nothing of his
profession. He resolved, therefore, to get better advice for the sick;
but this he postponed at present, and, applying himself to the
surgeon, said, "He should be very much obliged to him if he knew where
to find such a counsellor, and would fetch him thither. I should not
ask such a favour of you, sir," says the doctor, "if it was not on
business of the last importance, or if I could find any other
"I fetch, sir!" said the surgeon very angrily. "Do you take me for a
footman or a porter? I don't know who you are; but I believe you are
full as proper to go on such an errand as I am." (For as the doctor,
who was just come off his journey, was very roughly dressed, the
surgeon held him in no great respect.) The surgeon then called aloud
from the top of the stairs, "Let my coachman draw up," and strutted
off without any ceremony, telling his patient he would call again the
At this very instant arrived Murphy with the other bail, and, finding
Booth alone, he asked the bailiff at the door what was become of the
doctor? "Why, the doctor," answered he, "is above-stairs, praying with
-----." "How!" cries Murphy. "How came you not to carry him directly
to Newgate, as you promised me?" "Why, because he was wounded," cries
the bailiff. "I thought it was charity to take care of him; and,
besides, why should one make more noise about the matter than is
necessary?" "And Doctor Harrison with him?" said Murphy. "Yes, he is,"
said the bailiff; "he desired to speak with the doctor very much, and
they have been praying together almost this hour." "All is up and
undone!" cries Murphy. "Let me come by, I have thought of something
which I must do immediately."
Now, as by means of the surgeon's leaving the door open the doctor
heard Murphy's voice naming Robinson peevishly, he drew softly to the
top of the stairs, where he heard the foregoing dialogue; and as soon
as Murphy had uttered his last words, and was moving downwards, the
doctor immediately sallied from his post, running as fast as he could,
and crying, Stop the villain! stop the thief!
The attorney wanted no better hint to accelerate his pace; and, having
the start of the doctor, got downstairs, and out into the street; but
the doctor was so close at his heels, and being in foot the nimbler of
the two, he soon overtook him, and laid hold of him, as he would have
done on either Broughton or Slack in the same cause.
This action in the street, accompanied with the frequent cry of Stop
thief by the doctor during the chase, presently drew together a large
mob, who began, as is usual, to enter immediately upon business, and
to make strict enquiry into the matter, in order to proceed to do
justice in their summary way.
Murphy, who knew well the temper of the mob, cried out, "If you are a
bailiff, shew me your writ. Gentlemen, he pretends to arrest me here
without a writ."
Upon this, one of the sturdiest and forwardest of the mob, and who by
a superior strength of body and of lungs presided in this assembly,
declared he would suffer no such thing. "D--n me," says he, "away to
the pump with the catchpole directly--shew me your writ, or let the
gentleman go--you shall not arrest a man contrary to law."
He then laid his hands on the doctor, who, still fast griping the
attorney, cried out, "He is a villain--I am no bailiff, but a
clergyman, and this lawyer is guilty of forgery, and hath ruined a
"How!" cries the spokesman--"a lawyer!--that alters the case."
"Yes, faith," cries another of the mob, "it is lawyer Murphy. I know
him very well."
"And hath he ruined a poor family?--like enough, faith, if he's a
lawyer. Away with him to the justice immediately."
The bailiff now came up, desiring to know what was the matter; to whom
Doctor Harrison answered that he had arrested that villain for a
forgery. "How can you arrest him?" cries the bailiff; "you are no
officer, nor have any warrant. Mr. Murphy is a gentleman, and he shall
be used as such."
"Nay, to be sure," cries the spokesman, "there ought to be a warrant;
that's the truth on't."
"There needs no warrant," cries the doctor. "I accuse him of felony;
and I know so much of the law of England, that any man may arrest a
felon without any warrant whatever. This villain hath undone a poor
family; and I will die on the spot before I part with him."
"If the law be so," cries the orator, "that is another matter. And to
be sure, to ruin a poor man is the greatest of sins. And being a
lawyer too makes it so much the worse. He shall go before the justice,
d--n me if he shan't go before the justice! I says the word, he
"I say he is a gentleman, and shall be used according to law," cries
the bailiff; "and, though you are a clergyman," said he to Harrison,
"you don't shew yourself as one by your actions."
"That's a bailiff," cries one of the mob: "one lawyer will always
stand by another; but I think the clergyman is a very good man, and
acts becoming a clergyman, to stand by the poor."
At which words the mob all gave a great shout, and several cried out,
"Bring him along, away with him to the justice!"
And now a constable appeared, and with an authoritative voice declared
what he was, produced his staff, and demanded the peace.
The doctor then delivered his prisoner over to the officer, and
charged him with felony; the constable received him, the attorney
submitted, the bailiff was hushed, and the waves of the mob
The doctor now balanced with himself how he should proceed: at last he
determined to leave Booth a little longer in captivity, and not to
quit sight of Murphy before he had lodged him safe with a magistrate.
They then all moved forwards to the justice; the constable and his
prisoner marching first, the doctor and the bailiff following next,
and about five thousand mob (for no less number were assembled in a
very few minutes) following in the procession.
They found the magistrate just sitting down to his dinner; however,
when he was acquainted with the doctor's profession, he immediately
admitted him, and heard his business; which he no sooner perfectly
understood, with all its circumstances, than he resolved, though it
was then very late, and he had been fatigued all the morning with
public business, to postpone all refreshment till he had discharged
his duty. He accordingly adjourned the prisoner and his cause to the
bailiff's house, whither he himself, with the doctor, immediately
repaired, and whither the attorney was followed by a much larger
number of attendants than he had been honoured with before.
_In which the history draws towards a conclusion._
Nothing could exceed the astonishment of Booth at the behaviour of the
doctor at the time when he sallied forth in pursuit of the attorney;
for which it was so impossible for him to account in any manner
whatever. He remained a long time in the utmost torture of mind, till
at last the bailif's wife came to him, and asked him if the doctor was
not a madman? and, in truth, he could hardly defend him from that
While he was in this perplexity the maid of the house brought him a
message from Robinson, desiring the favour of seeing him above-stairs.
With this he immediately complied.
When these two were alone together, and the key turned on them (for
the bailiff's wife was a most careful person, and never omitted that
ceremony in the absence of her husband, having always at her tongue's
end that excellent proverb of "Safe bind, safe find"), Robinson,
looking stedfastly upon Booth, said, "I believe, sir, you scarce
Booth answered that he thought he had seen his face somewhere before,
but could not then recollect when or where.
"Indeed, sir," answered the man, "it was a place which no man can
remember with pleasure. But do you not remember, a few weeks ago, that
you had the misfortune to be in a certain prison in this town, where
you lost a trifling sum at cards to a fellow-prisoner?"
This hint sufficiently awakened Booth's memory, and he now recollected
the features of his old friend Robinson. He answered him a little
surlily, "I know you now very well, but I did not imagine you would
ever have reminded me of that transaction."
"Alas, sir!" answered Robinson, "whatever happened then was very
trifling compared to the injuries I have done you; but if my life be
spared long enough I will now undo it all: and, as I have been one of
your worst enemies, I will now be one of your best friends."
He was just entering upon his story when a noise was heard below which
might be almost compared to what have been heard in Holland when the
dykes have given way, and the ocean in an inundation breaks in upon
the land. It seemed, indeed, as if the whole world was bursting into
the house at once.
Booth was a man of great firmness of mind, and he had need of it all
at this instant. As for poor Robinson, the usual concomitants of guilt
attended him, and he began to tremble in a violent manner.
The first person who ascended the stairs was the doctor, who no sooner
saw Booth than he ran to him and embraced him, crying, "My child, I
wish you joy with all my heart. Your sufferings are all at an end, and
Providence hath done you the justice at last which it will, one day or
other, render to all men. You will hear all presently; but I can now
only tell you that your sister is discovered and the estate is your
Booth was in such confusion that he scarce made any answer, and now
appeared the justice and his clerk, and immediately afterwards the
constable with his prisoner, the bailiff, and as many more as could
possibly crowd up-stairs.
The doctor now addressed himself to the sick man, and desired him to
repeat the same information before the justice which he had made
already; to which Robinson readily consented.
While the clerk was taking down the information, the attorney
expressed a very impatient desire to send instantly for his clerk, and
expressed so much uneasiness at the confusion in which he had left his
papers at home, that a thought suggested itself to the doctor that, if
his house was searched, some lights and evidence relating to this
affair would certainly be found; he therefore desired the justice to
grant a search-warrant immediately to search his house.
The justice answered that he had no such power; that, if there was any
suspicion of stolen goods, he could grant a warrant to search for
"How, sir!" said the doctor, "can you grant a warrant to search a
man's house for a silver tea-spoon, and not in a case like this, where
a man is robbed of his whole estate?"
"Hold, sir," says the sick man; "I believe I can answer that point;
for I can swear he hath several title-deeds of the estate now in his
possession, which I am sure were stolen from the right owner."
The justice still hesitated. He said title-deeds savoured of the
Realty, and it was not felony to steal them. If, indeed, they were
taken away in a box, then it would be felony to steal the box.
"Savour of the Realty! Savour of the f--talty," said the doctor. "I
never heard such incomprehensible nonsense. This is impudent, as well
as childish trifling with the lives and properties of men."
"Well, sir," said Robinson, "I now am sure I can do his business; for
I know he hath a silver cup in his possession which is the property of
this gentleman (meaning Booth), and how he got it but by stealth let
him account if he can."
"That will do," cries the justice with great pleasure. "That will do;
and if you will charge him on oath with that, I will instantly grant
my warrant to search his house for it." "And I will go and see it
executed," cries the doctor; for it was a maxim of his, that no man
could descend below himself in doing any act which may contribute to
protect an innocent person, or to bring a rogue to the gallows.
The oath was instantly taken, the warrant signed, and the doctor
attended the constable in the execution of it.
The clerk then proceeded in taking the information of Robinson, and
had just finished it, when the doctor returned with the utmost joy in
his countenance, and declared that he had sufficient evidence of the
fact in his possession. He had, indeed, two or three letters from Miss
Harris in answer to the attorney's frequent demands of money for
secrecy, that fully explained the whole villany.
The justice now asked the prisoner what he had to say for himself, or
whether he chose to say anything in his own defence.
"Sir," said the attorney, with great confidence, "I am not to defend
myself here. It will be of no service to me; for I know you neither
can nor will discharge me. But I am extremely innocent of all this
matter, as I doubt not but to make appear to the satisfaction of a
court of justice."
The legal previous ceremonies were then gone through of binding over
the prosecutor, &c., and then the attorney was committed to Newgate,
whither he was escorted amidst the acclamations of the populace.
When Murphy was departed, and a little calm restored in the house, the
justice made his compliments of congratulation to Booth, who, as well
as he could in his present tumult of joy, returned his thanks to both
the magistrate and the doctor. They were now all preparing to depart,
when Mr. Bondum stept up to Booth, and said, "Hold, sir, you have
forgot one thing--you have not given bail yet."
This occasioned some distress at this time, for the attorney's friend
was departed; but when the justice heard this, he immediately offered
himself as the other bondsman, and thus ended the affair.
It was now past six o'clock, and none of the gentlemen had yet dined.
They very readily, therefore, accepted the magistrate's invitation,
and went all together to his house.
And now the very first thing that was done, even before they sat down
to dinner, was to dispatch a messenger to one of the best surgeons in
town to take care of Robinson, and another messenger to Booth's
lodgings to prevent Amelia's concern at their staying so long.
The latter, however, was to little purpose; for Amelia's patience had
been worn out before, and she had taken a hackney-coach and driven to
the bailiff's, where she arrived a little after the departure of her
husband, and was thence directed to the justice's.
Though there was no kind of reason for Amelia's fright at hearing that
her husband and Doctor Harrison were gone before the justice, and
though she indeed imagined that they were there in the light of
complainants, not of offenders, yet so tender were her fears for her
husband, and so much had her gentle spirits been lately agitated, that
she had a thousand apprehensions of she knew not what. When she
arrived, therefore, at the house, she ran directly into the room where
all the company were at dinner, scarce knowing what she did or whither
she was going.
She found her husband in such a situation, and discovered such
chearfulness in his countenance, that so violent a turn was given to
her spirits that she was just able, with the assistance of a glass of
water, to support herself. She soon, however, recovered her calmness,
and in a little time began to eat what might indeed be almost called
The justice now wished her joy of what had happened that day, for
which she kindly thanked him, apprehending he meant the liberty of her
husband. His worship might perhaps have explained himself more largely
had not the doctor given him a timely wink; for this wise and good man
was fearful of making such a discovery all at once to Amelia, lest it
should overpower her, and luckily the justice's wife was not well
enough acquainted with the matter to say anything more on it than
barely to assure the lady that she joined in her husband's
Amelia was then in a clean white gown, which she had that day
redeemed, and was, indeed, dressed all over with great neatness and
exactness; with the glow therefore which arose in her features from
finding her husband released from his captivity, she made so charming
a figure, that she attracted the eyes of the magistrate and of his
wife, and they both agreed when they were alone that they had never
seen so charming a creature; nay, Booth himself afterwards told her
that he scarce ever remembered her to look so extremely beautiful as
she did that evening.
Whether Amelia's beauty, or the reflexion on the remarkable act of
justice he had performed, or whatever motive filled the magistrate
with extraordinary good humour, and opened his heart and cellars, I
will not determine; but he gave them so hearty a welcome, and they
were all so pleased with each other, that Amelia, for that one night,
trusted the care of her children to the woman where they lodged, nor
did the company rise from table till the clock struck eleven.
They then separated. Amelia and Booth, having been set down at their
lodgings, retired into each other's arms; nor did Booth that evening,
by the doctor's advice, mention one word of the grand affair to his
_Thus this history draws nearer to a conclusion._
In the morning early Amelia received the following letter from Mrs.
"The surgeon of the regiment, to which the captain my husband lately
belonged, and who came this evening to see the captain, hath almost
frightened me out of my wits by a strange story of your husband being
committed to prison by a justice of peace for forgery. For Heaven's
sake send me the truth. If my husband can be of any service, weak as
he is, he will be carried in a chair to serve a brother officer for
whom he hath a regard, which I need not mention. Or if the sum of
twenty pound will be of any service to you, I will wait upon you with
it the moment I can get my cloaths on, the morning you receive this;
for it is too late to send to-night. The captain begs his hearty
service and respects, and believe me,
Your ever affectionate friend,
and humble servant,
When Amelia read this letter to Booth they were both equally
surprized, she at the commitment for forgery, and he at seeing such a
letter from Mrs. Atkinson; for he was a stranger yet to the
reconciliation that had happened.
Booth's doubts were first satisfied by Amelia, from which he received
great pleasure; for he really had a very great affection and fondness
for Mr. Atkinson, who, indeed, so well deserved it. "Well, my dear,"
said he to Amelia, smiling, "shall we accept this generous offer?"
"O fy! no, certainly," answered she.
"Why not?" cries Booth; "it is but a trifle; and yet it will be of
great service to us."
"But consider, my dear," said she, "how ill these poor people can
"They can spare it for a little while," said Booth, "and we shall soon
pay it them again."
"When, my dear?" said Amelia. "Do, my dear Will, consider our wretched
circumstances. I beg you let us go into the country immediately, and
live upon bread and water till Fortune pleases to smile upon us."
"I am convinced that day is not far off," said Booth. "However, give
me leave to send an answer to Mrs. Atkinson, that we shall be glad of
her company immediately to breakfast."
"You know I never contradict you," said she, "but I assure you it is
contrary to my inclinations to take this money."
"Well, suffer me," cries he, "to act this once contrary to your
inclinations." He then writ a short note to Mrs. Atkinson, and
dispatched it away immediately; which when he had done, Amelia said,
"I shall be glad of Mrs. Atkinson's company to breakfast; but yet I
wish you would oblige me in refusing this money. Take five guineas
only. That is indeed such a sum as, if we never should pay it, would
sit light on my mind. The last persons in the world from whom I would
receive favours of that sort are the poor and generous."
"You can receive favours only from the generous," cries Booth; "and,
to be plain with you, there are very few who are generous that are not
"What think you," said she, "of Dr Harrison?"
"I do assure you," said Booth, "he is far from being rich. The doctor
hath an income of little more than six hundred pound a-year, and I am
convinced he gives away four of it. Indeed, he is one of the best
economists in the world: but yet I am positive he never was at any
time possessed of five hundred pound, since he hath been a man.
Consider, dear Emily, the late obligations we have to this gentleman;
it would be unreasonable to expect more, at least at present; my half-
pay is mortgaged for a year to come. How then shall we live?"
"By our labour," answered she; "I am able to labour, and I am sure I
am not ashamed of it."
"And do you really think you can support such a life?"
"I am sure I could be happy in it," answered Amelia. "And why not I as
well as a thousand others, who have not the happiness of such a
husband to make life delicious? why should I complain of my hard fate
while so many who are much poorer than I enjoy theirs? Am I of a
superior rank of being to the wife of the honest labourer? am I not
partaker of one common nature with her?"
"My angel," cries Booth, "it delights me to hear you talk thus, and
for a reason you little guess; for I am assured that one who can so
heroically endure adversity, will bear prosperity with equal greatness
of soul; for the mind that cannot be dejected by the former, is not
likely to be transported with the latter."
"If it had pleased Heaven," cried she, "to have tried me, I think, at
least I hope, I should have preserved my humility."
"Then, my dear," said he, "I will relate you a dream I had last night.
You know you lately mentioned a dream of yours."
"Do so," said she; "I am attentive."
"I dreamt," said he, "this night, that we were in the most miserable
situation imaginable; indeed, in the situation we were yesterday
morning, or rather worse; that I was laid in a prison for debt, and
that you wanted a morsel of bread to feed the mouths of your hungry
children. At length (for nothing you know is quicker than the
transition in dreams) Dr Harrison methought came to me, with
chearfulness and joy in his countenance. The prison-doors immediately
flew open, and Dr Harrison introduced you, gayly though not richly
dressed. That you gently chid me for staying so long. All on a sudden
appeared a coach with four horses to it, in which was a maid-servant
with our two children. We both immediately went into the coach, and,
taking our leave of the doctor, set out towards your country-house;
for yours I dreamt it was. I only ask you now, if this was real, and
the transition almost as sudden, could you support it?"
Amelia was going to answer, when Mrs. Atkinson came into the room, and
after very little previous ceremony, presented Booth with a bank-note,
which he received of her, saying he would very soon repay it; a
promise that a little offended Amelia, as she thought he had no chance
of keeping it.
The doctor presently arrived, and the company sat down to breakfast,
during which Mrs. Atkinson entertained them with the history of the
doctors that had attended her husband, by whose advice Atkinson was
recovered from everything but the weakness which his distemper had
When the tea-table was removed Booth told the doctor that he had
acquainted his wife with a dream he had last night. "I dreamt,
doctor," said he, "that she was restored to her estate."
"Very well," said the doctor; "and if I am to be the Oneiropolus, I
believe the dream will come to pass. To say the truth, I have rather a
better opinion of dreams than Horace had. Old Homer says they come
from Jupiter; and as to your dream, I have often had it in my waking
thoughts, that some time or other that roguery (for so I was always
convinced it was) would be brought to light; for the same Homer says,
as you, madam (meaning Mrs. Atkinson), very well know,
[Footnote: "If Jupiter doth not immediately execute his
vengeance, he will however execute it at last; and their
transgressions shall fall heavily on their own heads, and on their
wives and children."]
"I have no Greek ears, sir," said Mrs. Atkinson. "I believe I could
understand it in the Delphin Homer."
"I wish," cries he, "my dear child (to Amelia), you would read a
little in the Delphin Aristotle, or else in some Christian divine, to
learn a doctrine which you will one day have a use for. I mean to bear
the hardest of all human conflicts, and support with an even temper,
and without any violent transports of mind, a sudden gust of
"Indeed," cries Amelia, "I should almost think my husband and you,
doctor, had some very good news to tell me, by your using, both of
you, the same introduction. As far as I know myself, I think I can
answer I can support any degree of prosperity, and I think I yesterday
shewed I could: for I do assure you, it is not in the power of fortune
to try me with such another transition from grief to joy, as I
conceived from seeing my husband in prison and at liberty."
"Well, you are a good girl," cries the doctor, "and after I have put
on my spectacles I will try you."
The doctor then took out a newspaper, and read as follows:
"'Yesterday one Murphy, an eminent attorney-at-law, was committed to
Newgate for the forgery of a will under which an estate hath been for
many years detained from the right owner.'
"Now in this paragraph there is something very remarkable, and that
is--that it is true: but _opus est explanatu_. In the Delphin edition
of this newspaper there is the following note upon the words right
owner:--'The right owner of this estate is a young lady of the highest
merit, whose maiden name was Harris, and who some time since was
married to an idle fellow, one Lieutenant Booth. And the best
historians assure us that letters from the elder sister of this lady,
which manifestly prove the forgery and clear up the whole affair, are
in the hands of an old Parson called Doctor Harrison.'"
"And is this really true?" cries Amelia.
"Yes, really and sincerely," cries the doctor. "The whole estate; for
your mother left it you all, and is as surely yours as if you was
already in possession."
"Gracious Heaven!" cries she, falling on her knees, "I thank you!" And
then starting up, she ran to her husband, and, embracing him, cried,
"My dear love, I wish you joy; and I ought in gratitude to wish it
you; for you are the cause of mine. It is upon yours and my children's
account that I principally rejoice."
Mrs. Atkinson rose from her chair, and jumped about the room for joy,
_Turne, quod oplanti divum promittere nemo
Auderet, volvenda dies, en, attulit ultro._
[Footnote: "What none of all the Gods could grant thy vows,
That, Turnus, this auspicious day bestows."]
Amelia now threw herself into a chair, complained she was a little
faint, and begged a glass of water. The doctor advised her to be
blooded; but she refused, saying she required a vent of another kind.
She then desired her children to be brought to her, whom she
immediately caught in her arms, and, having profusely cried over them
for several minutes, declared she was easy. After which she soon
regained her usual temper and complexion.
That day they dined together, and in the afternoon they all, except
the doctor, visited Captain Atkinson; he repaired to the bailiff's
house to visit the sick man, whom he found very chearful, the surgeon
having assured him that he was in no danger.
The doctor had a long spiritual discourse with Robinson, who assured
him that he sincerely repented of his past life, that he was resolved
to lead his future days in a different manner, and to make what amends
he could for his sins to the society, by bringing one of the greatest
rogues in it to justice. There was a circumstance which much pleased
the doctor, and made him conclude that, however Robinson had been
corrupted by his old master, he had naturally a good disposition. This
was, that Robinson declared he was chiefly induced to the discovery by
what had happened at the pawnbroker's, and by the miseries which he
there perceived he had been instrumental in bringing on Booth and his
The next day Booth and his wife, at the doctor's instance, dined with
Colonel James and his lady, where they were received with great
civility, and all matters were accommodated without Booth ever knowing
a syllable of the challenge even to this day.
The doctor insisted very strongly on having Miss Harris taken into
custody, and said, if she was his sister, he would deliver her to
justice. He added besides, that it was impossible to skreen her and
carry on the prosecution, or, indeed, recover the estate. Amelia at
last begged the delay of one day only, in which time she wrote a
letter to her sister, informing her of the discovery, and the danger
in which she stood, and begged her earnestly to make her escape, with
many assurances that she would never suffer her to know any distress.
This letter she sent away express, and it had the desired effect; for
Miss Harris, having received sufficient information from the attorney
to the same purpose, immediately set out for Poole, and from thence to
France, carrying with her all her money, most of her cloaths, and some
few jewels. She had, indeed, packed up plate and jewels to the value
of two thousand pound and upwards. But Booth, to whom Amelia
communicated the letter, prevented her by ordering the man that went
with the express (who had been a serjeant of the foot-guards
recommended to him by Atkinson) to suffer the lady to go whither she
pleased, but not to take anything with her except her cloaths, which
he was carefully to search. These orders were obeyed punctually, and
with these she was obliged to comply.
Two days after the bird was flown a warrant from the lord chief
justice arrived to take her up, the messenger of which returned with
the news of her flight, highly to the satisfaction of Amelia, and
consequently of Booth, and, indeed, not greatly to the grief of the
About a week afterwards Booth and Amelia, with their children, and
Captain Atkinson and his lady, all set forward together for Amelia's
house, where they arrived amidst the acclamations of all the
neighbours, and every public demonstration of joy.
They found the house ready prepared to receive them by Atkinson's
friend the old serjeant, and a good dinner prepared for them by
Amelia's old nurse, who was addressed with the utmost duty by her son
and daughter, most affectionately caressed by Booth and his wife, and
by Amelia's absolute command seated next to herself at the table. At
which, perhaps, were assembled some of the best and happiest people
then in the world.
_In which the history is concluded._
Having brought our history to a conclusion, as to those points in
which we presume our reader was chiefly interested, in the foregoing
chapter, we shall in this, by way of epilogue, endeavour to satisfy
his curiosity as to what hath since happened to the principal
personages of whom we have treated in the foregoing pages.
Colonel James and his lady, after living in a polite manner for many
years together, at last agreed to live in as polite a manner asunder.
The colonel hath kept Miss Matthews ever since, and is at length grown
to doat on her (though now very disagreeable in her person, and
immensely fat) to such a degree, that he submits to be treated by her
in the most tyrannical manner.
He allows his lady eight hundred pound a-year, with which she divides
her time between Tunbridge, Bath, and London, and passes about nine
hours in the twenty-four at cards. Her income is lately increased by
three thousand pound left her by her brother Colonel Bath, who was
killed in a duel about six years ago by a gentleman who told the
colonel he differed from him in opinion.
The noble peer and Mrs. Ellison have been both dead several years, and
both of the consequences of their favourite vices; Mrs. Ellison having
fallen a martyr to her liquor, and the other to his amours, by which
he was at last become so rotten that he stunk above-ground.
The attorney, Murphy, was brought to his trial at the Old Bailey,
where, after much quibbling about the meaning of a very plain act of
parliament, he was at length convicted of forgery, and was soon
afterwards hanged at Tyburn.
The witness for some time seemed to reform his life, and received a
small pension from Booth; after which he returned to vicious courses,
took a purse on the highway, was detected and taken, and followed the
last steps of his old master. So apt are men whose manners have been
once thoroughly corrupted, to return, from any dawn of an amendment,
into the dark paths of vice.
As to Miss Harris, she lived three years with a broken heart at
Boulogne, where she received annually fifty pound from her sister, who
was hardly prevailed on by Dr Harrison not to send her a hundred, and
then died in a most miserable manner.
Mr. Atkinson upon the whole hath led a very happy life with his wife,
though he hath been sometimes obliged to pay proper homage to her
superior understanding and knowledge. This, however, he chearfully
submits to, and she makes him proper returns of fondness. They have
two fine boys, of whom they are equally fond. He is lately advanced to
the rank of captain, and last summer both he and his wife paid a visit
of three months to Booth and his wife.
Dr Harrison is grown old in years and in honour, beloved and respected
by all his parishioners and by all his neighbours. He divides his time
between his parish, his old town, and Booth's--at which last place he
had, two years ago, a gentle fit of the gout, being the first attack
of that distemper. During this fit Amelia was his nurse, and her two
oldest daughters sat up alternately with him for a whole week. The
eldest of those girls, whose name is Amelia, is his favourite; she is
the picture of her mother, and it is thought the doctor hath
distinguished her in his will, for he hath declared that he will leave
his whole fortune, except some few charities, among Amelia's children.
As to Booth and Amelia, Fortune seems to have made them large amends
for the tricks she played them in their youth. They have, ever since
the above period of this history, enjoyed an uninterrupted course of
health and happiness. In about six weeks after Booth's first coming
into the country he went to London and paid all his debts of honour;
after which, and a stay of two days only, he returned into the
country, and hath never since been thirty miles from home. He hath two
boys and four girls; the eldest of the boys, he who hath made his
appearance in this history, is just come from the university, and is
one of the finest gentlemen and best scholars of his age. The second
is just going from school, and is intended for the church, that being
his own choice. His eldest daughter is a woman grown, but we must not
mention her age. A marriage was proposed to her the other day with a
young fellow of a good estate, but she never would see him more than
once: "For Doctor Harrison," says she, "told me he was illiterate, and
I am sure he is ill-natured." The second girl is three years younger
than her sister, and the others are yet children.
Amelia is still the finest woman in England of her age. Booth himself
often avers she is as handsome as ever. Nothing can equal the serenity
of their lives. Amelia declared to me the other day, that she did not
remember to have seen her husband out of humour these ten years; and,
upon my insinuating to her that he had the best of wives, she answered
with a smile that she ought to be so, for that he had made her the
happiest of women.
END OF VOL. II.