Part 9 out of 12
"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,"
"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
"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
_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
"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
"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
"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
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
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.
_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
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
"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
"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
"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
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:--
"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
"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
_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 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
"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
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
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
"Such boys as you," cries the young clergyman, "ought to be well
whipped at school, instead of being suffered to become nuisances in
"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
"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
"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
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
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.
_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
"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
"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.
Your most obliged and dutiful daughter,
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
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
"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.
_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
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
"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
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
"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
"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
"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
"Woman is a various and changeable animal,
"there will be no fault, I believe, unless in point of civility to the
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.
_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
"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
"'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
"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,
"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
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
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
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.
_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
"For yourself, if you please," answered Booth; "but I shall eat
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
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
They then sat down to half an hour's chearful conversation, after
which they retired all in the most perfect good humour.
_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
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
"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
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
"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
"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
"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
"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
Os rh' epea phresin esin akosma te, polla te ede
Maps, atar ou kata kosmon epizemenai basileusin,
All'o, ti oi eisaito geloiton Argeiosin
[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:
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
"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
"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
[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