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Amelia Volume I by Henry Fielding

Part 4 out of 4

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not to have known the value of it), delivered him the bank-bill, and
bid him get it changed; for if the whole, says she, will procure him
his liberty, he shall have it this evening.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter iii.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter iv.

_In which Amelia appears in no unamiable light._

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

Amelia failed not to enquire very earnestly after her old friend Mrs.
James, formerly Miss Bath, and was very sorry to find that she was not
in town. The truth was, as James had married out of a violent liking
of, or appetite to, her person, possession had surfeited him, and he
was now grown so heartily tired of his wife, that she had very little
of his company; she was forced therefore to content herself with being
the mistress of a large house and equipage in the country ten months
in the year by herself. The other two he indulged her with the
diversions of the town; but then, though they lodged under the same
roof, she had little more of her husband's society than if they had
been one hundred miles apart. With all this, as she was a woman of
calm passions, she made herself contented; for she had never had any
violent affection for James: the match was of the prudent kind, and to
her advantage; for his fortune, by the death of an uncle, was become
very considerable; and she had gained everything by the bargain but a
husband, which her constitution suffered her to be very well satisfied

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter v.

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

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

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

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

_----Furens quid faemina possit,_

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter vi.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter vii.

_Containing a very extraordinary and pleasant incident._

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter viii.

_Containing various matters._

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter ix.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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