Part 4 out of 4
ignorant country girls.
As Booth was therefore what might well be called, in this age at
least, a man of learning, he began to discourse our author on subjects
of literature. "I think, sir," says he, "that Dr Swift hath been
generally allowed, by the critics in this kingdom, to be the greatest
master of humour that ever wrote. Indeed, I allow him to have
possessed most admirable talents of this kind; and, if Rabelais was
his master, I think he proves the truth of the common Greek proverb--
that the scholar is often superior to the master. As to Cervantes, I
do not think we can make any just comparison; for, though Mr. Pope
compliments him with sometimes taking Cervantes' serious air--" "I
remember the passage," cries the author;
"O thou, whatever title please thine ear, Dean, Drapier, Bickerstaff,
or Gulliver; Whether you take Cervantes' serious air, Or laugh and
shake in Rabelais' easy chair--"
"You are right, sir," said Booth; "but though I should agree that the
doctor hath sometimes condescended to imitate Rabelais, I do not
remember to have seen in his works the least attempt in the manner of
Cervantes. But there is one in his own way, and whom I am convinced he
studied above all others--you guess, I believe, I am going to name
Lucian. This author, I say, I am convinced, he followed; but I think
he followed him at a distance: as, to say the truth, every other
writer of this kind hath done in my opinion; for none, I think, hath
yet equalled him. I agree, indeed, entirely with Mr. Moyle, in his
Discourse on the age of the Philopatris, when he gives him the epithet
of the incomparable Lucian; and incomparable, I believe, he will
remain as long as the language in which he wrote shall endure. What an
inimitable piece of humour is his Cock!" "I remember it very well,"
cries the author; "his story of a Cock and a Bull is excellent." Booth
stared at this, and asked the author what he meant by the Bull? "Nay,"
answered he, "I don't know very well, upon my soul. It is a long time
since I read him. I learnt him all over at school; I have not read him
much since. And pray, sir," said he, "how do you like his Pharsalia?
don't you think Mr. Rowe's translation a very fine one?" Booth
replied, "I believe we are talking of different authors. The
Pharsalia, which Mr. Rowe translated, was written by Lucan; but I have
been speaking of Lucian, a Greek writer, and, in my opinion, the
greatest in the humorous way that ever the world produced." "Ay!"
cries the author, "he was indeed so, a very excellent writer indeed! I
fancy a translation of him would sell very well!" "I do not know,
indeed," cries Booth. "A good translation of him would be a valuable
book. I have seen a wretched one published by Mr. Dryden, but
translated by others, who in many places have misunderstood Lucian's
meaning, and have nowhere preserved the spirit of the original." "That
is great pity," says the author. "Pray, sir, is he well translated in
the French?" Booth answered, he could not tell; but that he doubted it
very much, having never seen a good version into that language out of
the Greek." To confess the truth, I believe," said he, "the French
translators have generally consulted the Latin only; which, in some of
the few Greek writers I have read, is intolerably bad. And as the
English translators, for the most part, pursue the French, we may
easily guess what spirit those copies of bad copies must preserve of
"Egad, you are a shrewd guesser," cries the author. "I am glad the
booksellers have not your sagacity. But how should it be otherwise,
considering the price they pay by the sheet? The Greek, you will
allow, is a hard language; and there are few gentlemen that write who
can read it without a good lexicon. Now, sir, if we were to afford
time to find out the true meaning of words, a gentleman would not get
bread and cheese by his work. If one was to be paid, indeed, as Mr.
Pope was for his Homer--Pray, sir, don't you think that the best
translation in the world?"
"Indeed, sir," cries Booth, "I think, though it is certainly a noble
paraphrase, and of itself a fine poem, yet in some places it is no
translation at all. In the very beginning, for instance, he hath not
rendered the true force of the author. Homer invokes his muse in the
five first lines of the Iliad; and, at the end of the fifth, he gives
For all these things," says he, "were brought about by the decree of
Jupiter; and, therefore, he supposes their true sources are known only
to the deities. Now, the translation takes no more notice of the [Greek]
than if no such word had been there."
"Very possibly," answered the author; "it is a long time since I read
the original. Perhaps, then, he followed the French translations. I
observe, indeed, he talks much in the notes of Madam Dacier and
Booth had now received conviction enough of his friend's knowledge of
the Greek language; without attempting, therefore, to set him right,
he made a sudden transition to the Latin. "Pray, sir," said he, "as
you have mentioned Rowe's translation of the Pharsalia, do you
remember how he hath rendered that passage in the character of Cato?--
_----Venerisque huic maximus usus
Progenies; urbi Pater est, urbique Maritus._
For I apprehend that passage is generally misunderstood."
"I really do not remember," answered the author. "Pray, sir, what do
you take to be the meaning?"
"I apprehend, sir," replied Booth, "that by these words, _Urbi Pater
est, urbique Maritus_, Cato is represented as the father and husband
to the city of Rome."
"Very true, sir," cries the author; "very fine, indeed.--Not only the
father of his country, but the husband too; very noble, truly!"
"Pardon me, sir," cries Booth; "I do not conceive that to have been
Lucan's meaning. If you please to observe the context; Lucan, having
commended the temperance of Cato in the instances of diet and cloaths,
proceeds to venereal pleasures; of which, says the poet, his principal
use was procreation: then he adds, _Urbi Pater est, urbique Maritus;_
that he became a father and a husband for the sake only of the city."
"Upon my word that's true," cries the author; "I did not think of it.
It is much finer than the other.--_Urbis Pater est_--what is the
other?--ay--_Urbis Maritus._--It is certainly as you say, sir."
Booth was by this pretty well satisfied of the author's profound
learning; however, he was willing to try him a little farther. He
asked him, therefore, what was his opinion of Lucan in general, and in
what class of writers he ranked him?
The author stared a little at this question; and, after some
hesitation, answered, "Certainly, sir, I think he is a fine writer and
a very great poet."
"I am very much of the same opinion," cries Booth; "but where do you
class him--next to what poet do you place him?"
"Let me see," cries the author; "where do I class him? next to whom do
I place him?--Ay!--why--why, pray, where do you yourself place him?"
"Why, surely," cries Booth, "if he is not to be placed in the first
rank with Homer, and Virgil, and Milton, I think clearly he is at the
head of the second, before either Statius or Silius Italicus--though I
allow to each of these their merits; but, perhaps, an epic poem was
beyond the genius of either. I own, I have often thought, if Statius
had ventured no farther than Ovid or Claudian, he would have succeeded
better; for his Sylvae are, in my opinion, much better than his
"I believe I was of the same opinion formerly," said the author.
"And for what reason have you altered it?" cries Booth.
"I have not altered it," answered the author; "but, to tell you the
truth, I have not any opinion at all about these matters at present. I
do not trouble my head much with poetry; for there is no encouragement
to such studies in this age. It is true, indeed, I have now and then
wrote a poem or two for the magazines, but I never intend to write any
more; for a gentleman is not paid for his time. A sheet is a sheet
with the booksellers; and, whether it be in prose or verse, they make
no difference; though certainly there is as much difference to a
gentleman in the work as there is to a taylor between making a plain
and a laced suit. Rhimes are difficult things; they are stubborn
things, sir. I have been sometimes longer in tagging a couplet than I
have been in writing a speech on the side of the opposition which hath
been read with great applause all over the kingdom."
"I am glad you are pleased to confirm that," cries Booth; "for I
protest it was an entire secret to me till this day. I was so
perfectly ignorant, that I thought the speeches published in the
magazines were really made by the members themselves."
"Some of them, and I believe I may, without vanity, say the best,"
cries the author, "are all the productions of my own pen! but I
believe I shall leave it off soon, unless a sheet of speech will fetch
more than it does at present. In truth, the romance-writing is the
only branch of our business now that is worth following. Goods of that
sort have had so much success lately in the market, that a bookseller
scarce cares what he bids for them. And it is certainly the easiest
work in the world; you may write it almost as fast as you can set pen
to paper; and if you interlard it with a little scandal, a little
abuse on some living characters of note, you cannot fail of success."
"Upon my word, sir," cries Booth, "you have greatly instructed me. I
could not have imagined there had been so much regularity in the trade
of writing as you are pleased to mention; by what I can perceive, the
pen and ink is likely to become the staple commodity of the kingdom."
"Alas! sir," answered the author, "it is overstocked. The market is
overstocked. There is no encouragement to merit, no patrons. I have
been these five years soliciting a subscription for my new translation
of Ovid's Metamorphoses, with notes explanatory, historical, and
critical; and I have scarce collected five hundred names yet."
The mention of this translation a little surprized Booth; not only as
the author had just declared his intentions to forsake the tuneful
muses; but, for some other reasons which he had collected from his
conversation with our author, he little expected to hear of a proposal
to translate any of the Latin poets. He proceeded, therefore, to
catechise him a little farther; and by his answers was fully satisfied
that he had the very same acquaintance with Ovid that he had appeared
to have with Lucan.
The author then pulled out a bundle of papers containing proposals for
his subscription, and receipts; and, addressing himself to Booth,
said, "Though the place in which we meet, sir, is an improper place to
solicit favours of this kind, yet, perhaps, it may be in your power to
serve me if you will charge your pockets with some of these." Booth
was just offering at an excuse, when the bailiff introduced Colonel
James and the serjeant.
The unexpected visit of a beloved friend to a man in affliction,
especially in Mr. Booth's situation, is a comfort which can scarce be
equalled; not barely from the hopes of relief or redress by his
assistance, but as it is an evidence of sincere friendship which
scarce admits of any doubt or suspicion. Such an instance doth indeed
make a man amends for all ordinary troubles and distresses; and we
ought to think ourselves gainers by having had such an opportunity of
discovering that we are possessed of one of the most valuable of all
Booth was so transported at the sight of the colonel, that he dropt
the proposals which the author had put into his hands, and burst forth
into the highest professions of gratitude to his friend; who behaved
very properly on his side, and said everything which became the mouth
of a friend on the occasion.
It is true, indeed, he seemed not moved equally either with Booth or
the serjeant, both whose eyes watered at the scene. In truth, the
colonel, though a very generous man, had not the least grain of
tenderness in his disposition. His mind was formed of those firm
materials of which nature formerly hammered out the Stoic, and upon
which the sorrows of no man living could make an impression. A man of
this temper, who doth not much value danger, will fight for the person
he calls his friend, and the man that hath but little value for his
money will give it him; but such friendship is never to be absolutely
depended on; for, whenever the favourite passion interposes with it,
it is sure to subside and vanish into air. Whereas the man whose
tender disposition really feels the miseries of another will endeavour
to relieve them for his own sake; and, in such a mind, friendship will
often get the superiority over every other passion.
But, from whatever motive it sprung, the colonel's behaviour to Booth
seemed truly amiable; and so it appeared to the author, who took the
first occasion to applaud it in a very florid oration; which the
reader, when he recollects that he was a speech-maker by profession,
will not be surprized at; nor, perhaps, will be much more surprized
that he soon after took an occasion of clapping a proposal into the
colonel's hands, holding at the same time a receipt very visible in
The colonel received both, and gave the author a guinea in exchange,
which was double the sum mentioned in the receipt; for which the
author made a low bow, and very politely took his leave, saying, "I
suppose, gentlemen, you may have some private business together; I
heartily wish a speedy end to your confinement, and I congratulate you
on the possessing so great, so noble, and so generous a friend."
_Which inclines rather to satire than panegyric._
The colonel had the curiosity to ask Booth the name of the gentleman
who, in the vulgar language, had struck, or taken him in for a guinea
with so much ease and dexterity. Booth answered, he did not know his
name; all that he knew of him was, that he was the most impudent and
illiterate fellow he had ever seen, and that, by his own account, he
was the author of most of the wonderful productions of the age.
"Perhaps," said he, "it may look uncharitable in me to blame you for
your generosity; but I am convinced the fellow hath not the least
merit or capacity, and you have subscribed to the most horrid trash
that ever was published."
"I care not a farthing what he publishes," cries the colonel. "Heaven
forbid I should be obliged to read half the nonsense I have subscribed
"But don't you think," said Booth, "that by such indiscriminate
encouragement of authors you do a real mischief to the society? By
propagating the subscriptions of such fellows, people are tired out
and withhold their contributions to men of real merit; and, at the
same time, you are contributing to fill the world, not only with
nonsense, but with all the scurrility, indecency, and profaneness with
which the age abounds, and with which all bad writers supply the
defect of genius."
"Pugh!" cries the colonel, "I never consider these matters. Good or
bad, it is all one to me; but there's an acquaintance of mine, and a
man of great wit too, that thinks the worst the best, as they are the
surest to make him laugh."
"I ask pardon, sir," says the serjeant; "but I wish your honour would
consider your own affairs a little, for it grows late in the evening."
"The serjeant says true," answered the colonel. "What is it you intend
"Faith, colonel, I know not what I shall do. My affairs seem so
irreparable, that I have been driving them as much as possibly I could
from my mind. If I was to suffer alone, I think I could bear them with
some philosophy; but when I consider who are to be the sharers in my
fortune--the dearest of children, and the best, the worthiest, and the
noblest of women---Pardon me, my dear friend, these sensations are
above me; they convert me into a woman; they drive me to despair, to
The colonel advised him to command himself, and told him this was not
the way to retrieve his fortune. "As to me, my dear Booth," said he,
"you know you may command me as far as is really within my power."
Booth answered eagerly, that he was so far from expecting any more
favours from the colonel, that he had resolved not to let him know
anything of his misfortune. "No, my dear friend," cries he, "I am too
much obliged to you already;" and then burst into many fervent
expressions of gratitude, till the colonel himself stopt him, and
begged him to give an account of the debt or debts for which he was
detained in that horrid place.
Booth answered, he could not be very exact, but he feared it was
upwards of four hundred pounds.
"It is but three hundred pounds, indeed, sir," cries the serjeant; "if
you can raise three hundred pounds, you are a free man this moment."
Booth, who did not apprehend the generous meaning of the serjeant as
well as, I believe, the reader will, answered he was mistaken; that he
had computed his debts, and they amounted to upwards of four hundred
pounds; nay, that the bailiff had shewn him writs for above that sum.
"Whether your debts are three or four hundred," cries the colonel,
"the present business is to give bail only, and then you will have
some time to try your friends: I think you might get a company abroad,
and then I would advance the money on the security of half your pay;
and, in the mean time, I will be one of your bail with all my heart."
Whilst Booth poured forth his gratitude for all this kindness, the
serjeant ran down-stairs for the bailiff, and shortly after returned
with him into the room.
The bailiff, being informed that the colonel offered to be bail for
his prisoner, answered a little surlily, "Well, sir, and who will be
the other? you know, I suppose, there must be two; and I must have
time to enquire after them."
The colonel replied, "I believe, sir, I am well known to be
responsible for a much larger sum than your demand on this gentleman;
but, if your forms require two, I suppose the serjeant here will do
for the other."
"I don't know the serjeant nor you either, sir," cries Bondum; "and,
if you propose yourselves bail for the gentleman, I must have time to
enquire after you."
"You need very little time to enquire after me," says the colonel,
"for I can send for several of the law, whom I suppose you know, to
satisfy you; but consider, it is very late."
"Yes, sir," answered Bondum, "I do consider it is too late for the
captain to be bailed to-night."
"What do you mean by too late?" cries the colonel.
"I mean, sir, that I must search the office, and that is now shut up;
for, if my lord mayor and the court of aldermen would be bound for
him, I would not discharge him till I had searched the office."
"How, sir!" cries the colonel, "hath the law of England no more regard
for the liberty of the subject than to suffer such fellows as you to
detain a man in custody for debt, when he can give undeniable
"Don't fellow me," said the bailiff; "I am as good a fellow as
yourself, I believe, though you have that riband in your hat there."
"Do you know whom you are speaking to?" said the serjeant. "Do you
know you are talking to a colonel of the army?"
"What's a colonel of the army to me?" cries the bailiff. "I have had
as good as he in my custody before now."
"And a member of parliament?" cries the serjeant.
"Is the gentleman a member of parliament?--Well, and what harm have I
said? I am sure I meant no harm; and, if his honour is offended, I ask
his pardon; to be sure his honour must know that the sheriff is
answerable for all the writs in the office, though they were never so
many, and I am answerable to the sheriff. I am sure the captain can't
say that I have shewn him any manner of incivility since he hath been
here.--And I hope, honourable sir," cries he, turning to the colonel,
"you don't take anything amiss that I said, or meant by way of
disrespect, or any such matter. I did not, indeed, as the gentleman
here says, know who I was speaking to; but I did not say anything
uncivil as I know of, and I hope no offence."
The colonel was more easily pacified than might have been expected,
and told the bailiff that, if it was against the rules of law to
discharge Mr. Booth that evening, he must be contented. He then
addressed himself to his friend, and began to prescribe comfort and
patience to him; saying, he must rest satisfied with his confinement
that night; and the next morning he promised to visit him again.
Booth answered, that as for himself, the lying one night in any place
was very little worth his regard. "You and I, my dear friend, have
both spent our evening in a worse situation than I shall in this
house. All my concern is for my poor Amelia, whose sufferings on
account of my absence I know, and I feel with unspeakable tenderness.
Could I be assured she was tolerably easy, I could be contented in
chains or in a dungeon."
"Give yourself no concern on her account," said the colonel; "I will
wait on her myself, though I break an engagement for that purpose, and
will give her such assurances as I am convinced will make her
Booth embraced his friend, and, weeping over him, paid his
acknowledgment with tears for all his goodness. In words, indeed, he
was not able to thank him; for gratitude, joining with his other
passions, almost choaked him, and stopt his utterance.
After a short scene in which nothing past worth recounting, the
colonel bid his friend good night, and leaving the serjeant with him,
made the best of his way back to Amelia.
_Worthy a very serious perusal._
The colonel found Amelia sitting very disconsolate with Mrs. Atkinson.
He entered the room with an air of great gaiety, assured Amelia that
her husband was perfectly well, and that he hoped the next day he
would again be with her.
Amelia was a little comforted at this account, and vented many
grateful expressions to the colonel for his unparalleled friendship,
as she was pleased to call it. She could not, however, help giving way
soon after to a sigh at the thoughts of her husband's bondage, and
declared that night would be the longest she had ever known.
"This lady, madam," cries the colonel, "must endeavour to make it
shorter. And, if you will give me leave, I will join in the same
endeavour." Then, after some more consolatory speeches, the colonel
attempted to give a gay turn to the discourse, and said, "I was
engaged to have spent this evening disagreeably at Ranelagh, with a
set of company I did not like. How vastly am I obliged to you, dear
Mrs. Booth, that I pass it so infinitely more to my satisfaction!"
"Indeed, colonel," said Amelia, "I am convinced that to a mind so
rightly turned as yours there must be a much sweeter relish in the
highest offices of friendship than in any pleasures which the gayest
public places can afford."
"Upon my word, madam," said the colonel, "you now do me more than
justice. I have, and always had, the utmost indifference for such
pleasures. Indeed, I hardly allow them worthy of that name, or, if
they are so at all, it is in a very low degree. In my opinion the
highest friendship must always lead us to the highest pleasure."
Here Amelia entered into a long dissertation on friendship, in which
she pointed several times directly at the colonel as the hero of her
The colonel highly applauded all her sentiments; and when he could not
avoid taking the compliment to himself, he received it with a most
respectful bow. He then tried his hand likewise at description, in
which he found means to repay all Amelia's panegyric in kind. This,
though he did with all possible delicacy, yet a curious observer might
have been apt to suspect that it was chiefly on her account that the
colonel had avoided the masquerade.
In discourses of this kind they passed the evening, till it was very
late, the colonel never offering to stir from his chair before the
clock had struck one; when he thought, perhaps, that decency obliged
him to take his leave.
As soon as he was gone Mrs. Atkinson said to Mrs. Booth, "I think,
madam, you told me this afternoon that the colonel was married?"
Amelia answered, she did so.
"I think likewise, madam," said Mrs. Atkinson, "you was acquainted
with the colonel's lady?"
Amelia answered that she had been extremely intimate with her abroad.
"Is she young and handsome?" said Mrs. Atkinson. "In short, pray, was
it a match of love or convenience?"
Amelia answered, entirely of love, she believed, on his side; for that
the lady had little or no fortune.
"I am very glad to hear it," said Mrs. Atkinson; "for I am sure the
colonel is in love with somebody. I think I never saw a more luscious
picture of love drawn than that which he was pleased to give us as the
portraiture of friendship. I have read, indeed, of Pylades and
Orestes, Damon and Pythias, and other great friends of old; nay, I
sometimes flatter myself that I am capable of being a friend myself;
but as for that fine, soft, tender, delicate passion, which he was
pleased to describe, I am convinced there must go a he and a she to
"Upon my word, my dear, you are mistaken," cries Amelia. "If you had
known the friendship which hath always subsisted between the colonel
and my husband, you would not imagine it possible for any description
to exceed it. Nay, I think his behaviour this very day is sufficient
to convince you."
"I own what he hath done to-day hath great merit," said Mrs. Atkinson;
"and yet, from what he hath said to-night--You will pardon me, dear
madam; perhaps I am too quick-sighted in my observations; nay, I am
afraid I am even impertinent."
"Fie upon it!" cries Amelia; "how can you talk in that strain? Do you
imagine I expect ceremony? Pray speak what you think with the utmost
"Did he not then," said Mrs. Atkinson, "repeat the words, _the finest
woman in the world_, more than once? did he not make use of an
expression which might have become the mouth of Oroondates himself?
If I remember, the words were these--that, had he been Alexander the
Great, he should have thought it more glory to have wiped off a tear
from the bright eyes of Statira than to have conquered fifty worlds."
"Did he say so?" cries Amelia--"I think he did say something like it;
but my thoughts were so full of my husband that I took little notice.
But what would you infer from what he said? I hope you don't think he
is in love with me?"
"I hope he doth not think so himself," answered Mrs. Atkinson;
"though, when he mentioned the bright eyes of Statira, he fixed his
own eyes on yours with the most languishing air I ever beheld."
Amelia was going to answer, when the serjeant arrived, and then she
immediately fell to enquiring after her husband, and received such
satisfactory answers to all her many questions concerning him, that
she expressed great pleasure. These ideas so possessed her mind, that,
without once casting her thoughts on any other matters, she took her
leave of the serjeant and his lady, and repaired to bed to her
children, in a room which Mrs. Atkinson had provided her in the same
house; where we will at present wish her a good night.
_Consisting of grave matters._
While innocence and chearful hope, in spite of the malice of fortune,
closed the eyes of the gentle Amelia on her homely bed, and she
enjoyed a sweet and profound sleep, the colonel lay restless all night
on his down; his mind was affected with a kind of ague fit; sometimes
scorched up with flaming desires, and again chilled with the coldest
There is a time, I think, according to one of our poets, _when lust
and envy sleep_. This, I suppose, is when they are well gorged with
the food they most delight in; but, while either of these are hungry,
Nor poppy, nor mandragora,
Nor all the drousy syrups of the East,
Will ever medicine them to slumber.
The colonel was at present unhappily tormented by both these fiends.
His last evening's conversation with Amelia had done his business
effectually. The many kind words she had spoken to him, the many kind
looks she had given him, as being, she conceived, the friend and
preserver of her husband, had made an entire conquest of his heart.
Thus the very love which she bore him, as the person to whom her
little family were to owe their preservation and happiness, inspired
him with thoughts of sinking them all in the lowest abyss of ruin and
misery; and, while she smiled with all her sweetness on the supposed
friend of her husband, she was converting that friend into his most
Friendship, take heed; if woman interfere,
Be sure the hour of thy destruction's near.
These are the lines of Vanbrugh; and the sentiment is better than the
poetry. To say the truth, as a handsome wife is the cause and cement
of many false friendships, she is often too liable to destroy the real
Thus the object of the colonel's lust very plainly appears, but the
object of his envy may be more difficult to discover. Nature and
Fortune had seemed to strive with a kind of rivalship which should
bestow most on the colonel. The former had given him person, parts,
and constitution, in all which he was superior to almost every other
man. The latter had given him rank in life, and riches, both in a very
eminent degree. Whom then should this happy man envy? Here, lest
ambition should mislead the reader to search the palaces of the great,
we will direct him at once to Gray's-inn-lane; where, in a miserable
bed, in a miserable room, he will see a miserable broken lieutenant,
in a miserable condition, with several heavy debts on his back, and
without a penny in his pocket. This, and no other, was the object of
the colonel's envy. And why? because this wretch was possessed of the
affections of a poor little lamb, which all the vast flocks that were
within the power and reach of the colonel could not prevent that
glutton's longing for. And sure this image of the lamb is not
improperly adduced on this occasion; for what was the colonel's desire
but to lead this poor lamb, as it were, to the slaughter, in order to
purchase a feast of a few days by her final destruction, and to tear
her away from the arms of one where she was sure of being fondled and
caressed all the days of her life.
While the colonel was agitated with these thoughts, his greatest
comfort was, that Amelia and Booth were now separated; and his
greatest terror was of their coming again together. From wishes,
therefore, he began to meditate designs; and so far was he from any
intention of procuring the liberty of his friend, that he began to
form schemes of prolonging his confinement, till he could procure some
means of sending him away far from her; in which case he doubted not
but of succeeding in all he desired.
He was forming this plan in his mind when a servant informed him that
one serjeant Atkinson desired to speak with his honour. The serjeant
was immediately admitted, and acquainted the colonel that, if he
pleased to go and become bail for Mr. Booth, another unexceptionable
housekeeper would be there to join with him. This person the serjeant
had procured that morning, and had, by leave of his wife, given him a
bond of indemnification for the purpose.
The colonel did not seem so elated with this news as Atkinson
expected. On the contrary, instead of making a direct answer to what
Atkinson said, the colonel began thus: "I think, serjeant, Mr. Booth
hath told me that you was foster-brother to his lady. She is really a
charming woman, and it is a thousand pities she should ever have been
placed in the dreadful situation she is now in. There is nothing so
silly as for subaltern officers of the army to marry, unless where
they meet with women of very great fortunes indeed. What can be the
event of their marrying otherwise, but entailing misery and beggary on
their wives and their posterity?"
"Ah! sir," cries the serjeant, "it is too late to think of those
matters now. To be sure, my lady might have married one of the top
gentlemen in the country; for she is certainly one of the best as well
as one of the handsomest women in the kingdom; and, if she had been
fairly dealt by, would have had a very great fortune into the bargain.
Indeed, she is worthy of the greatest prince in the world; and, if I
had been the greatest prince in the world, I should have thought
myself happy with such a wife; but she was pleased to like the
lieutenant, and certainly there can be no happiness in marriage
"Lookee, serjeant," said the colonel; "you know very well that I am
the lieutenant's friend. I think I have shewn myself so."
"Indeed your honour hath," quoth the serjeant, "more than once to my
"But I am angry with him for his imprudence, greatly angry with him
for his imprudence; and the more so, as it affects a lady of so much
"She is, indeed, a lady of the highest worth," cries the serjeant.
"Poor dear lady! I knew her, an 't please your honour, from her
infancy; and the sweetest-tempered, best-natured lady she is that ever
trod on English ground. I have always loved her as if she was my own
sister. Nay, she hath very often called me brother; and I have taken
it to be a greater honour than if I was to be called a general
"What pity it is," said the colonel, "that this worthy creature should
be exposed to so much misery by the thoughtless behaviour of a man
who, though I am his friend, I cannot help saying, hath been guilty of
imprudence at least! Why could he not live upon his half-pay? What had
he to do to run himself into debt in this outrageous manner?"
"I wish, indeed," cries the serjeant, "he had been a little more
considerative; but I hope this will be a warning to him."
"How am I sure of that," answered the colonel; "or what reason is
there to expect it? extravagance is a vice of which men are not so
easily cured. I have thought a great deal of this matter, Mr.
serjeant; and, upon the most mature deliberation, I am of opinion that
it will be better, both for him and his poor lady, that he should
smart a little more."
"Your honour, sir, to be sure is in the right," replied the serjeant;
"but yet, sir, if you will pardon me for speaking, I hope you will be
pleased to consider my poor lady's case. She suffers, all this while,
as much or more than the lieutenant; for I know her so well, that I am
certain she will never have a moment's ease till her husband is out of
"I know women better than you, serjeant," cries the colonel; "they
sometimes place their affections on a husband as children do on their
nurse; but they are both to be weaned. I know you, serjeant, to be a
fellow of sense as well as spirit, or I should not speak so freely to
you; but I took a fancy to you a long time ago, and I intend to serve
you; but first, I ask you this question--Is your attachment to Mr.
Booth or his lady?"
"Certainly, sir," said the serjeant, "I must love my lady best. Not
but I have a great affection for the lieutenant too, because I know my
lady hath the same; and, indeed, he hath been always very good to me
as far as was in his power. A lieutenant, your honour knows, can't do
a great deal; but I have always found him my friend upon all
"You say true," cries the colonel; "a lieutenant can do but little;
but I can do much to serve you, and will too. But let me ask you one
question: Who was the lady whom I saw last night with Mrs. Booth at
Here the serjeant blushed, and repeated, "The lady, sir?"
"Ay, a lady, a woman," cries the colonel, "who supped with us last
night. She looked rather too much like a gentlewoman for the mistress
of a lodging-house."
The serjeant's cheeks glowed at this compliment to his wife; and he
was just going to own her when the colonel proceeded: "I think I never
saw in my life so ill-looking, sly, demure a b---; I would give
something, methinks, to know who she was."
"I don't know, indeed," cries the serjeant, in great confusion; "I
know nothing about her."
"I wish you would enquire," said the colonel, "and let me know her
name, and likewise what she is: I have a strange curiosity to know,
and let me see you again this evening exactly at seven."
"And will not your honour then go to the lieutenant this morning?"
"It is not in my power," answered the colonel; "I am engaged another
way. Besides, there is no haste in this affair. If men will be
imprudent they must suffer the consequences. Come to me at seven, and
bring me all the particulars you can concerning that ill-looking jade
I mentioned to you, for I am resolved to know who she is. And so good-
morrow to you, serjeant; be assured I will take an opportunity to do
something for you."
Though some readers may, perhaps, think the serjeant not unworthy of
the freedom with which the colonel treated him; yet that haughty
officer would have been very backward to have condescended to such
familiarity with one of his rank had he not proposed some design from
it. In truth, he began to conceive hopes of making the serjeant
instrumental to his design on Amelia; in other words, to convert him
into a pimp; an office in which the colonel had been served by
Atkinson's betters, and which, as he knew it was in his power very
well to reward him, he had no apprehension that the serjeant would
decline--an opinion which the serjeant might have pardoned, though he
had never given the least grounds for it, since the colonel borrowed
it from the knowledge of his own heart. This dictated to him that he,
from a bad motive, was capable of desiring to debauch his friend's
wife; and the same heart inspired him to hope that another, from
another bad motive, might be guilty of the same breach of friendship
in assisting him. Few men, I believe, think better of others than of
themselves; nor do they easily allow the existence of any virtue of
which they perceive no traces in their own minds; for which reason I
have observed, that it is extremely difficult to persuade a rogue that
you are an honest man; nor would you ever succeed in the attempt by
the strongest evidence, was it not for the comfortable conclusion
which the rogue draws, that he who proves himself to be honest proves
himself to be a fool at the same time.
_A curious chapter, from which a curious reader may draw sundry
The serjeant retired from the colonel in a very dejected state of
mind: in which, however, we must leave him awhile and return to
Amelia; who, as soon as she was up, had despatched Mrs. Atkinson to
pay off her former lodgings, and to bring off all cloaths and other
The trusty messenger returned without performing her errand, for Mrs.
Ellison had locked up all her rooms, and was gone out very early that
morning, and the servant knew not whither she was gone.
The two ladies now sat down to breakfast, together with Amelia's two
children; after which, Amelia declared she would take a coach and
visit her husband. To this motion Mrs. Atkinson soon agreed, and
offered to be her companion. To say truth, I think it was reasonable
enough; and the great abhorrence which Booth had of seeing his wife in
a bailiff's house was, perhaps, rather too nice and delicate.
When the ladies were both drest, and just going to send for their
vehicle, a great knocking was heard at the door, and presently Mrs.
James was ushered into the room.
This visit was disagreeable enough to Amelia, as it detained her from
the sight of her husband, for which she so eagerly longed. However, as
she had no doubt but that the visit would be reasonably short, she
resolved to receive the lady with all the complaisance in her power.
Mrs. James now behaved herself so very unlike the person that she
lately appeared, that it might have surprized any one who doth not
know that besides that of a fine lady, which is all mere art and
mummery, every such woman hath some real character at the bottom, in
which, whenever nature gets the better of her, she acts. Thus the
finest ladies in the world will sometimes love, and sometimes scratch,
according to their different natural dispositions, with great fury and
violence, though both of these are equally inconsistent with a fine
lady's artificial character.
Mrs. James then was at the bottom a very good-natured woman, and the
moment she heard of Amelia's misfortune was sincerely grieved at it.
She had acquiesced on the very first motion with the colonel's design
of inviting her to her house; and this morning at breakfast, when he
had acquainted her that Amelia made some difficulty in accepting the
offer, very readily undertook to go herself and persuade her friend to
accept the invitation.
She now pressed this matter with such earnestness, that Amelia, who
was not extremely versed in the art of denying, was hardly able to
refuse her importunity; nothing, indeed, but her affection to Mrs.
Atkinson could have prevailed on her to refuse; that point, however,
she would not give up, and Mrs. James, at last, was contented with a
promise that, as soon as their affairs were settled, Amelia, with her
husband and family, would make her a visit, and stay some time with
her in the country, whither she was soon to retire.
Having obtained this promise, Mrs. James, after many very friendly
professions, took her leave, and, stepping into her coach, reassumed
the fine lady, and drove away to join her company at an auction.
The moment she was gone Mrs. Atkinson, who had left the room upon the
approach of Mrs. James, returned into it, and was informed by Amelia
of all that had past.
"Pray, madam," said Mrs. Atkinson, "do this colonel and his lady live,
as it is called, well together?"
"If you mean to ask," cries Amelia, "whether they are a very fond
couple, I must answer that I believe they are not."
"I have been told," says Mrs. Atkinson, "that there have been
instances of women who have become bawds to their own husbands, and
the husbands pimps for them."
"Fie upon it!" cries Amelia. "I hope there are no such people. Indeed,
my dear, this is being a little too censorious."
"Call it what you please," answered Mrs. Atkinson; "it arises from my
love to you and my fears for your danger. You know the proverb of a
burnt child; and, if such a one hath any good-nature, it will dread
the fire on the account of others as well as on its own. And, if I may
speak my sentiments freely, I cannot think you will be in safety at
this colonel's house."
"I cannot but believe your apprehensions to be sincere," replied
Amelia; "and I must think myself obliged to you for them; but I am
convinced you are entirely in an error. I look on Colonel James as the
most generous and best of men. He was a friend, and an excellent
friend too, to my husband, long before I was acquainted with him, and
he hath done him a thousand good offices. What do you say of his
"I wish," cries Mrs. Atkinson, "that this behaviour to-day had been
equal. What I am now going to undertake is the most disagreeable
office of friendship, but it is a necessary one. I must tell you,
therefore, what past this morning between the colonel and Mr.
Atkinson; for, though it will hurt you, you ought, on many accounts,
to know it." Here she related the whole, which we have recorded in the
preceding chapter, and with which the serjeant had acquainted her
while Mrs. James was paying her visit to Amelia. And, as the serjeant
had painted the matter rather in stronger colours than the colonel, so
Mrs. Atkinson again a little improved on the serjeant. Neither of
these good people, perhaps, intended to aggravate any circumstance;
but such is, I believe, the unavoidable consequence of all reports.
Mrs. Atkinson, indeed, may be supposed not to see what related to
James in the most favourable light, as the serjeant, with more honesty
than prudence, had suggested to his wife that the colonel had not the
kindest opinion of her, and had called her a sly and demure---: it is
true he omitted ill-looking b---; two words which are, perhaps,
superior to the patience of any Job in petticoats that ever lived. He
made amends, however, by substituting some other phrases in their
stead, not extremely agreeable to a female ear.
It appeared to Amelia, from Mrs. Atkinson's relation, that the colonel
had grossly abused Booth to the serjeant, and had absolutely refused
to become his bail. Poor Amelia became a pale and motionless statue at
this account. At length she cried, "If this be true, I and mine are
all, indeed, undone. We have no comfort, no hope, no friend left. I
cannot disbelieve you. I know you would not deceive me. Why should
you, indeed, deceive me? But what can have caused this alteration
since last night? Did I say or do anything to offend him?"
"You said and did rather, I believe, a great deal too much to please
him," answered Mrs. Atkinson. "Besides, he is not in the least
offended with you. On the contrary, he said many kind things."
"What can my poor love have done?" said Amelia. "He hath not seen the
colonel since last night. Some villain hath set him against my
husband; he was once before suspicious of such a person. Some cruel
monster hath belied his innocence!"
"Pardon me, dear madam," said Mrs. Atkinson; "I believe the person who
hath injured the captain with this friend of his is one of the
worthiest and best of creatures--nay, do not be surprized; the person
I mean is even your fair self: sure you would not be so dull in any
other case; but in this, gratitude, humility, modesty, every virtue,
shuts your eyes.
_Mortales hebetant visus,_
as Virgil says. What in the world can be more consistent than his
desire to have you at his own house and to keep your husband confined
in another? All that he said and all that he did yesterday, and, what
is more convincing to me than both, all that he looked last night, are
very consistent with both these designs."
"O Heavens!" cries Amelia, "you chill my blood with horror! the idea
freezes me to death; I cannot, must not, will not think it. Nothing
but conviction! Heaven forbid I should ever have more conviction! And
did he abuse my husband? what? did he abuse a poor, unhappy, distrest
creature, opprest, ruined, torn from his children, torn away from his
wretched wife; the honestest, worthiest, noblest, tenderest, fondest,
best--" Here she burst into an agony of grief, which exceeds the power
In this situation Mrs. Atkinson was doing her utmost to support her
when a most violent knocking was heard at the door, and immediately
the serjeant ran hastily into the room, bringing with him a cordial
which presently relieved Amelia. What this cordial was, we shall
inform the reader in due time. In the mean while he must suspend his
curiosity; and the gentlemen at White's may lay wagers whether it was
Ward's pill or Dr James's powder.
But before we close this chapter, and return back to the bailiff's
house, we must do our best to rescue the character of our heroine from
the dulness of apprehension, which several of our quick-sighted
readers may lay more heavily to her charge than was done by her friend
I must inform, therefore, all such readers, that it is not because
innocence is more blind than guilt that the former often overlooks and
tumbles into the pit which the latter foresees and avoids. The truth
is, that it is almost impossible guilt should miss the discovering of
all the snares in its way, as it is constantly prying closely into
every corner in order to lay snares for others. Whereas innocence,
having no such purpose, walks fearlessly and carelessly through life,
and is consequently liable to tread on the gins which cunning hath
laid to entrap it. To speak plainly and without allegory or figure, it
is not want of sense, but want of suspicion, by which innocence is
often betrayed. Again, we often admire at the folly of the dupe, when
we should transfer our whole surprize to the astonishing guilt of the
betrayer. In a word, many an innocent person hath owed his ruin to
this circumstance alone, that the degree of villany was such as must
have exceeded the faith of every man who was not himself a villain.
_In which are many profound secrets of philosophy._
Booth, having had enough of the author's company the preceding day,
chose now another companion. Indeed the author was not very solicitous
of a second interview; for, as he could have no hope from Booth's
pocket, so he was not likely to receive much increase to his vanity
from Booth's conversation; for, low as this wretch was in virtue,
sense, learning, birth, and fortune, he was by no means low in his
vanity. This passion, indeed, was so high in him, and at the same time
so blinded him to his own demerits, that he hated every man who did
not either flatter him or give him money. In short, he claimed a
strange kind of right, either to cheat all his acquaintance of their
praise or to pick their pockets of their pence, in which latter case
he himself repaid very liberally with panegyric.
A very little specimen of such a fellow must have satisfied a man of
Mr. Booth's temper. He chose, therefore, now to associate himself with
that gentleman of whom Bondum had given so shabby a character. In
short, Mr. Booth's opinion of the bailiff was such, that he
recommended a man most where he least intended it. Nay, the bailiff in
the present instance, though he had drawn a malicious conclusion,
honestly avowed that this was drawn only from the poverty of the
person, which is never, I believe, any forcible disrecommendation to a
good mind: but he must have had a very bad mind indeed, who, in Mr.
Booth's circumstances, could have disliked or despised another man
because that other man was poor.
Some previous conversation having past between this gentleman and
Booth, in which they had both opened their several situations to each
other, the former, casting an affectionate look on the latter, exprest
great compassion for his circumstances, for which Booth, thanking him,
said, "You must have a great deal of compassion, and be a very good
man, in such a terrible situation as you describe yourself, to have
any pity to spare for other people."
"My affairs, sir," answered the gentleman, "are very bad, it is true,
and yet there is one circumstance which makes you appear to me more
the object of pity than I am to myself; and it is this--that you must
from your years be a novice in affliction, whereas I have served a
long apprenticeship to misery, and ought, by this time, to be a pretty
good master of my trade. To say the truth, I believe habit teaches men
to bear the burthens of the mind, as it inures them to bear heavy
burthens on their shoulders. Without use and experience, the strongest
minds and bodies both will stagger under a weight which habit might
render easy and even contemptible."
"There is great justice," cries Booth, "in the comparison; and I think
I have myself experienced the truth of it; for I am not that tyro in
affliction which you seem to apprehend me. And perhaps it is from the
very habit you mention that I am able to support my present
misfortunes a little like a man."
The gentleman smiled at this, and cried, "Indeed, captain, you are a
"I think," cries Booth, "I have some pretensions to that philosophy
which is taught by misfortunes, and you seem to be of opinion, sir,
that is one of the best schools of philosophy."
"I mean no more, sir," said the gentleman, "than that in the days of
our affliction we are inclined to think more seriously than in those
seasons of life when we are engaged in the hurrying pursuits of
business or pleasure, when we have neither leisure nor inclination to
sift and examine things to the bottom. Now there are two
considerations which, from my having long fixed my thoughts upon them,
have greatly supported me under all my afflictions. The one is the
brevity of life even at its longest duration, which the wisest of men
hath compared to the short dimension of a span. One of the Roman poets
compares it to the duration of a race; and another, to the much
shorter transition of a wave.
"The second consideration is the uncertainty of it. Short as its
utmost limits are, it is far from being assured of reaching those
limits. The next day, the next hour, the next moment, may be the end
of our course. Now of what value is so uncertain, so precarious a
station? This consideration, indeed, however lightly it is passed over
in our conception, doth, in a great measure, level all fortunes and
conditions, and gives no man a right to triumph in the happiest state,
or any reason to repine in the most miserable. Would the most worldly
men see this in the light in which they examine all other matters,
they would soon feel and acknowledge the force of this way of
reasoning; for which of them would give any price for an estate from
which they were liable to be immediately ejected? or, would they not
laugh at him as a madman who accounted himself rich from such an
uncertain possession? This is the fountain, sir, from which I have
drawn my philosophy. Hence it is that I have learnt to look on all
those things which are esteemed the blessings of life, and those which
are dreaded as its evils, with such a degree of indifference that, as
I should not be elated with possessing the former, so neither am I
greatly dejected and depressed by suffering the latter. Is the actor
esteemed happier to whose lot it falls to play the principal part than
he who plays the lowest? and yet the drama may run twenty nights
together, and by consequence may outlast our lives; but, at the best,
life is only a little longer drama, and the business of the great
stage is consequently a little more serious than that which is
performed at the Theatre-royal. But even here, the catastrophes and
calamities which are represented are capable of affecting us. The
wisest men can deceive themselves into feeling the distresses of a
tragedy, though they know them to be merely imaginary; and the
children will often lament them as realities: what wonder then, if
these tragical scenes which I allow to be a little more serious,
should a little more affect us? where then is the remedy but in the
philosophy I have mentioned, which, when once by a long course of
meditation it is reduced to a habit, teaches us to set a just value on
everything, and cures at once all eager wishes and abject fears, all
violent joy and grief concerning objects which cannot endure long, and
may not exist a moment."
"You have exprest yourself extremely well," cries Booth; "and I
entirely agree with the justice of your sentiments; but, however true
all this may be in theory, I still doubt its efficacy in practice. And
the cause of the difference between these two is this; that we reason
from our heads, but act from our hearts:
_---Video meliora, proboque;
Nothing can differ more widely than wise men and fools in their
estimation of things; but, as both act from their uppermost passion,
they both often act like. What comfort then can your philosophy give
to an avaricious man who is deprived of his riches or to an ambitious
man who is stript of his power? to the fond lover who is torn from his
mistress or to the tender husband who is dragged from his wife? Do you
really think that any meditations on the shortness of life will soothe
them in their afflictions? Is not this very shortness itself one of
their afflictions? and if the evil they suffer be a temporary
deprivation of what they love, will they not think their fate the
harder, and lament the more, that they are to lose any part of an
enjoyment to which there is so short and so uncertain a period?"
"I beg leave, sir," said the gentleman, "to distinguish here. By
philosophy, I do not mean the bare knowledge of right and wrong, but
an energy, a habit, as Aristotle calls it; and this I do firmly
believe, with him and with the Stoics, is superior to all the attacks
He was proceeding when the bailiff came in, and in a surly tone bad
them both good-morrow; after which he asked the philosopher if he was
prepared to go to Newgate; for that he must carry him thither that
The poor man seemed very much shocked with this news. "I hope," cries
he, "you will give a little longer time, if not till the return of the
writ. But I beg you particularly not to carry me thither to-day, for I
expect my wife and children here in the evening."
"I have nothing to do with wives and children," cried the bailiff; "I
never desire to see any wives and children here. I like no such
"I intreat you," said the prisoner, "give me another day. I shall take
it as a great obligation; and you will disappoint me in the cruellest
manner in the world if you refuse me."
"I can't help people's disappointments," cries the bailiff; "I must
consider myself and my own family. I know not where I shall be paid
the money that's due already. I can't afford to keep prisoners at my
"I don't intend it shall be at your expense" cries the philosopher;
"my wife is gone to raise money this morning; and I hope to pay you
all I owe you at her arrival. But we intend to sup together to-night
at your house; and, if you should remove me now, it would be the most
barbarous disappointment to us both, and will make me the most
miserable man alive."
"Nay, for my part," said the bailiff, "I don't desire to do anything
barbarous. I know how to treat gentlemen with civility as well as
another. And when people pay as they go, and spend their money like
gentlemen, I am sure nobody can accuse me of any incivility since I
have been in the office. And if you intend to be merry to-night I am
not the man that will prevent it. Though I say it, you may have as
good a supper drest here as at any tavern in town."
"Since Mr. Bondum is so kind, captain," said the philosopher, "I hope
for the favour of your company. I assure you, if it ever be my fortune
to go abroad into the world, I shall be proud of the honour of your
"Indeed, sir," cries Booth, "it is an honour I shall be very ready to
accept; but as for this evening, I cannot help saying I hope to be
engaged in another place."
"I promise you, sir," answered the other, "I shall rejoice at your
liberty, though I am a loser by it."
"Why, as to that matter," cries Bondum with a sneer, "I fancy,
captain, you may engage yourself to the gentleman without any fear of
breaking your word; for I am very much mistaken if we part to-day."
"Pardon me, my good friend," said Booth, "but I expect my bail every
"Lookee, sir," cries Bondum, "I don't love to see gentlemen in an
error. I shall not take the serjeant's bail; and as for the colonel, I
have been with him myself this morning (for to be sure I love to do
all I can for gentlemen), and he told me he could not possibly be here
to-day; besides, why should I mince the matter? there is more stuff in
"What do you mean by stuff?" cries Booth.
"I mean that there is another writ," answered the bailiff, "at the
suit of Mrs. Ellison, the gentlewoman that was here yesterday; and the
attorney that was with her is concerned against you. Some officers
would not tell you all this; but I loves to shew civility to gentlemen
while they behave themselves as such. And I loves the gentlemen of the
army in particular. I had like to have been in the army myself once;
but I liked the commission I have better. Come, captain, let not your
noble courage be cast down; what say you to a glass of white wine, or
a tiff of punch, by way of whet?"
"I have told you, sir, I never drink in the morning," cries Booth a
"No offence I hope, sir," said the bailiff; "I hope I have not treated
you with any incivility. I don't ask any gentleman to call for liquor
in my house if he doth not chuse it; nor I don't desire anybody to
stay here longer than they have a mind to. Newgate, to be sure, is the
place for all debtors that can't find bail. I knows what civility is,
and I scorn to behave myself unbecoming a gentleman: but I'd have you
consider that the twenty-four hours appointed by act of parliament are
almost out; and so it is time to think of removing. As to bail, I
would not have you flatter yourself; for I knows very well there are
other things coming against you. Besides, the sum you are already
charged with is very large, and I must see you in a place of safety.
My house is no prison, though I lock up for a little time in it.
Indeed, when gentlemen are gentlemen, and likely to find bail, I don't
stand for a day or two; but I have a good nose at a bit of carrion,
captain; I have not carried so much carrion to Newgate, without
knowing the smell of it."
"I understand not your cant," cries Booth; "but I did not think to
have offended you so much by refusing to drink in a morning."
"Offended me, sir!" cries the bailiff. "Who told you so? Do you think,
sir, if I want a glass of wine I am under any necessity of asking my
prisoners for it? Damn it, sir, I'll shew you I scorn your words. I
can afford to treat you with a glass of the best wine in England, if
you comes to that." He then pulled out a handful of guineas, saying,
"There, sir, they are all my own; I owe nobody a shilling. I am no
beggar, nor no debtor. I am the king's officer as well as you, and I
will spend guinea for guinea as long as you please."
"Harkee, rascal," cries Booth, laying hold of the bailiff's collar.
"How dare you treat me with this insolence? doth the law give you any
authority to insult me in my misfortunes?" At which words he gave the
bailiff a good shove, and threw him from him.
"Very well, sir," cries the bailiff; "I will swear both an assault and
an attempt to a rescue. If officers are to be used in this manner,
there is an end of all law and justice. But, though I am not a match
for you myself, I have those below that are." He then ran to the door
and called up two ill-looking fellows, his followers, whom, as soon as
they entered the room, he ordered to seize on Booth, declaring he
would immediately carry him to Newgate; at the same time pouring out a
vast quantity of abuse, below the dignity of history to record.
Booth desired the two dirty fellows to stand off, and declared he
would make no resistance; at the same time bidding the bailiff carry
him wherever he durst.
"I'll shew you what I dare," cries the bailiff; and again ordered the
followers to lay hold of their prisoner, saying, "He has assaulted me
already, and endeavoured a rescue. I shan't trust such a fellow to
walk at liberty. A gentleman, indeed! ay, ay, Newgate is the properest
place for such gentry; as arrant carrion as ever was carried thither."
The fellows then both laid violent hands on Booth, and the bailiff
stept to the door to order a coach; when, on a sudden, the whole scene
was changed in an instant; for now the serjeant came running out of
breath into the room; and, seeing his friend the captain roughly
handled by two ill-looking fellows, without asking any questions stept
briskly up to his assistance, and instantly gave one of the assailants
so violent a salute with his fist, that he directly measured his
length on the floor.
Booth, having by this means his right arm at liberty, was unwilling to
be idle, or entirely to owe his rescue from both the ruffians to the
serjeant; he therefore imitated the example which his friend had set
him, and with a lusty blow levelled the other follower with his
companion on the ground.
The bailiff roared out, "A rescue, a rescue!" to which the serjeant
answered there was no rescue intended. "The captain," said he, "wants
no rescue. Here are some friends coming who will deliver him in a
The bailiff swore heartily he would carry him to Newgate in spite of
all the friends in the world.
"You carry him to Newgate!" cried the serjeant, with the highest
indignation. "Offer but to lay your hands on him, and I will knock
your teeth down your ugly jaws." Then, turning to Booth, he cried,
"They will be all here within a minute, sir; we had much ado to keep
my lady from coming herself; but she is at home in good health,
longing to see your honour; and I hope you will be with her within
And now three gentlemen entered the room; these were an attorney, the
person whom the serjeant had procured in the morning to be his bail
with Colonel James, and lastly Doctor Harrison himself.
The bailiff no sooner saw the attorney, with whom he was well
acquainted (for the others he knew not), than he began, as the phrase
is, to pull in his horns, and ordered the two followers, who were now
got again on their legs, to walk down-stairs.
"So, captain," says the doctor, "when last we parted, I believe we
neither of us expected to meet in such a place as this."
"Indeed, doctor," cries Booth, "I did not expect to have been sent
hither by the gentleman who did me that favour."
"How so, sir?" said the doctor; "you was sent hither by some person, I
suppose, to whom you was indebted. This is the usual place, I
apprehend, for creditors to send their debtors to. But you ought to be
more surprized that the gentleman who sent you hither is come to
release you. Mr. Murphy, you will perform all the necessary
The attorney then asked the bailiff with how many actions Booth was
charged, and was informed there were five besides the doctor's, which
was much the heaviest of all. Proper bonds were presently provided,
and the doctor and the serjeant's friend signed them; the bailiff, at
the instance of the attorney, making no objection to the bail.
[Illustration: _Lawyer Murphy_]
Booth, we may be assured, made a handsome speech to the doctor for
such extraordinary friendship, with which, however, we do not think
proper to trouble the reader; and now everything being ended, and the
company ready to depart, the bailiff stepped up to Booth, and told him
he hoped he would remember civility-money.
"I believe" cries Booth, "you mean incivility-money; if there are any
fees due for rudeness, I must own you have a very just claim."
"I am sure, sir," cries the bailiff, "I have treated your honour with
all the respect in the world; no man, I am sure, can charge me with
using a gentleman rudely. I knows what belongs to a gentleman better;
but you can't deny that two of my men have been knocked down; and I
doubt not but, as you are a gentleman, you will give them something to
Booth was about to answer with some passion, when the attorney
interfered, and whispered in his ear that it was usual to make a
compliment to the officer, and that he had better comply with the
"If the fellow had treated me civilly," answered Booth, "I should have
had no objection to comply with a bad custom in his favour; but I am
resolved I will never reward a man for using me ill; and I will not
agree to give him a single farthing."
"'Tis very well, sir," said the bailiff; "I am rightly served for my
good-nature; but, if it had been to do again, I would have taken care
you should not have been bailed this day."
Doctor Harrison, to whom Booth referred the cause, after giving him a
succinct account of what had passed, declared the captain to be in the
right. He said it was a most horrid imposition that such fellows were
ever suffered to prey on the necessitous; but that the example would
be much worse to reward them where they had behaved themselves ill.
"And I think," says he, "the bailiff is worthy of great rebuke for
what he hath just now said; in which I hope he hath boasted of more
power than is in him. We do, indeed, with great justice and propriety
value ourselves on our freedom if the liberty of the subject depends
on the pleasure of such fellows as these!"
"It is not so neither altogether," cries the lawyer; "but custom hath
established a present or fee to them at the delivery of a prisoner,
which they call civility-money, and expect as in a manner their due,
though in reality they have no right."
"But will any man," cries Doctor Harrison, "after what the captain
hath told us, say that the bailiff hath behaved himself as he ought;
and, if he had, is he to be rewarded for not acting in an unchristian
and inhuman manner? it is pity that, instead of a custom of feeing
them out of the pockets of the poor and wretched, when they do not
behave themselves ill, there was not both a law and a practice to
punish them severely when they do. In the present case, I am so far
from agreeing to give the bailiff a shilling, that, if there be any
method of punishing him for his rudeness, I shall be heartily glad to
see it put in execution; for there are none whose conduct should be so
strictly watched as that of these necessary evils in the society, as
their office concerns for the most part those poor creatures who
cannot do themselves justice, and as they are generally the worst of
men who undertake it."
The bailiff then quitted the room, muttering that he should know
better what to do another time; and shortly after, Booth and his
friends left the house; but, as they were going out, the author took
Doctor Harrison aside, and slipt a receipt into his hand, which the
doctor returned, saying, he never subscribed when he neither knew the
work nor the author; but that, if he would call at his lodgings, he
would be very willing to give all the encouragement to merit which was
in his power.
The author took down the doctor's name and direction, and made him as
many bows as he would have done had he carried off the half-guinea for
which he had been fishing.
Mr. Booth then took his leave of the philosopher, and departed with
the rest of his friends.
END OF VOL. II.