Amelia Volume III
Part 1 out of 5
Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Charles Franks
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.
THE WORKS OF HENRY FIELDING
IN TWELVE VOLUMES
[Illustration: Leaned both his elbows on the table fixed both his eyes
HENRY FIELDING ESQ
EDITED BY GEORGE
& E.J. WHEELER.
CONTENTS OF VOL. III.
In which the history looks backwards
In which the history goes forward
A conversation between Dr Harrison and others
A dialogue between Booth and Amelia
A conversation between Amelia and Dr Harrison, with the result
Containing as surprising an accident as is perhaps recorded in history
In which the author appears to be master of that profound learning
called the knowledge of the town
In which two strangers make their appearance
A scene of modern wit and humour
A curious conversation between the doctor, the young clergyman, and
the young clergyman's father
To which we will prefix no preface
What happened at the masquerade
Consequences of the masqtierade, not uncommon nor surprizing
Consequences of the masquerade
In which Colonel Bath appears in great glory
Read, gamester, and observe
In which Booth receives a visit from Captain Trent
Contains a letter and other matters
Containing some things worthy observation
Containing a very polite scene
The history of Mr. Trent
Containing some distress
Containing more wormwood and other ingredients
A scene of the tragic kind
In which Mr. Booth meets with more than one adventure
In which Amelia appears in a light more amiable than gay
A very tragic scene
The book begins with polite history
In which Amelia visits her husband
Containing matter pertinent to the history
In which Dr Harrison visits Colonel James
What passed at the bailiff's house
What passed between the doctor and the sick man
In which the history draws towards a conclusion
Thus this history draws nearer to a conclusion
In which the history is concluded
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
LEANING BOTH HIS ELBOWS ON THE TABLE, FIXED HIS EYES ON HER
BOOTH BETWEEN A BLUE DOMINO AND A SHEPHERDESS
_In which the history looks backwards._
Before we proceed farther with our history it may be proper to look
back a little, in order to account for the late conduct of Doctor
Harrison; which, however inconsistent it may have hitherto appeared,
when examined to the bottom will be found, I apprehend, to be truly
congruous with all the rules of the most perfect prudence as well as
with the most consummate goodness.
We have already partly seen in what light Booth had been represented
to the doctor abroad. Indeed, the accounts which were sent of the
captain, as well by the curate as by a gentleman of the neighbourhood,
were much grosser and more to his disadvantage than the doctor was
pleased to set them forth in his letter to the person accused. What
sense he had of Booth's conduct was, however, manifest by that letter.
Nevertheless, he resolved to suspend his final judgment till his
return; and, though he censured him, would not absolutely condemn him
without ocular demonstration.
The doctor, on his return to his parish, found all the accusations
which had been transmitted to him confirmed by many witnesses, of
which the curate's wife, who had been formerly a friend to Amelia, and
still preserved the outward appearance of friendship, was the
strongest. She introduced all with--"I am sorry to say it; and it is
friendship which bids me speak; and it is for their good it should be
told you." After which beginnings she never concluded a single speech
without some horrid slander and bitter invective.
Besides the malicious turn which was given to these affairs in the
country, which were owing a good deal to misfortune, and some little
perhaps to imprudence, the whole neighbourhood rung with several gross
and scandalous lies, which were merely the inventions of his enemies,
and of which the scene was laid in London since his absence.
Poisoned with all this malice, the doctor came to town; and, learning
where Booth lodged, went to make him a visit. Indeed, it was the
doctor, and no other, who had been at his lodgings that evening when
Booth and Amelia were walking in the Park, and concerning which the
reader may be pleased to remember so many strange and odd conjectures.
Here the doctor saw the little gold watch and all those fine trinkets
with which the noble lord had presented the children, and which, from
the answers given him by the poor ignorant, innocent girl, he could
have no doubt had been purchased within a few days by Amelia.
This account tallied so well with the ideas he had imbibed of Booth's
extravagance in the country, that he firmly believed both the husband
and wife to be the vainest, silliest, and most unjust people alive. It
was, indeed, almost incredible that two rational beings should be
guilty of such absurdity; but, monstrous and absurd as it was, ocular
demonstration appeared to be the evidence against them.
The doctor departed from their lodgings enraged at this supposed
discovery, and, unhappily for Booth, was engaged to supper that very
evening with the country gentleman of whom Booth had rented a farm. As
the poor captain happened to be the subject of conversation, and
occasioned their comparing notes, the account which the doctor gave of
what he had seen that evening so incensed the gentleman, to whom Booth
was likewise a debtor, that he vowed he would take a writ out against
him the next morning, and have his body alive or dead; and the doctor
was at last persuaded to do the same. Mr. Murphy was thereupon
immediately sent for; and the doctor in his presence repeated again
what he had seen at his lodgings as the foundation of his suing him,
which the attorney, as we have before seen, had blabbed to Atkinson.
But no sooner did the doctor hear that Booth was arrested than the
wretched condition of his wife and family began to affect his mind.
The children, who were to be utterly undone with their father, were
intirely innocent; and as for Amelia herself, though he thought he had
most convincing proofs of very blameable levity, yet his former
friendship and affection to her were busy to invent every excuse,
till, by very heavily loading the husband, they lightened the
suspicion against the wife.
In this temper of mind he resolved to pay Amelia a second visit, and
was on his way to Mrs. Ellison when the serjeant met him and made
himself known to him. The doctor took his old servant into a coffee-
house, where he received from him such an account of Booth and his
family, that he desired the serjeant to shew him presently to Amelia;
and this was the cordial which we mentioned at the end of the ninth
chapter of the preceding book.
The doctor became soon satisfied concerning the trinkets which had
given him so much uneasiness, and which had brought so much mischief
on the head of poor Booth. Amelia likewise gave the doctor some
satisfaction as to what he had heard of her husband's behaviour in the
country; and assured him, upon her honour, that Booth could so well
answer every complaint against his conduct, that she had no doubt but
that a man of the doctor's justice and candour would entirely acquit
him, and would consider him as an innocent unfortunate man, who was
the object of a good man's compassion, not of his anger or resentment.
This worthy clergyman, who was not desirous of finding proofs to
condemn the captain or to justify his own vindictive proceedings, but,
on the contrary, rejoiced heartily in every piece of evidence which
tended to clear up the character of his friend, gave a ready ear to
all which Amelia said. To this, indeed, he was induced by the love he
always had for that lady, by the good opinion he entertained of her,
as well as by pity for her present condition, than which nothing
appeared more miserable; for he found her in the highest agonies of
grief and despair, with her two little children crying over their
wretched mother. These are, indeed, to a well-disposed mind, the most
tragical sights that human nature can furnish, and afford a juster
motive to grief and tears in the beholder than it would be to see all
the heroes who have ever infested the earth hanged all together in a
The doctor felt this sight as he ought. He immediately endeavoured to
comfort the afflicted; in which he so well succeeded, that he restored
to Amelia sufficient spirits to give him the satisfaction we have
mentioned: after which he declared he would go and release her
husband, which he accordingly did in the manner we have above related.
_In which the history goes forward._
We now return to that period of our history to which we had brought it
at the end of our last book.
Booth and his friends arrived from the bailiff's, at the serjeant's
lodgings, where Booth immediately ran up-stairs to his Amelia; between
whom I shall not attempt to describe the meeting. Nothing certainly
was ever more tender or more joyful. This, however, I will observe,
that a very few of these exquisite moments, of which the best minds
only are capable, do in reality over-balance the longest enjoyments
which can ever fall to the lot of the worst.
Whilst Booth and his wife were feasting their souls with the most
delicious mutual endearments, the doctor was fallen to play with the
two little children below-stairs. While he was thus engaged the little
boy did somewhat amiss; upon which the doctor said, "If you do so any
more I will take your papa away from you again."--"Again! sir," said
the child; "why, was it you then that took away my papa before?"
"Suppose it was," said the doctor; "would not you forgive me?" "Yes,"
cries the child, "I would forgive you; because a Christian must
forgive everybody; but I should hate you as long as I live."
The doctor was so pleased with the boy's answer, that he caught him in
his arms and kissed him; at which time Booth and his wife returned.
The doctor asked which of them was their son's instructor in his
religion; Booth answered that he must confess Amelia had all the merit
of that kind. "I should have rather thought he had learnt of his
father," cries the doctor; "for he seems a good soldier-like
Christian, and professes to hate his enemies with a very good grace."
"How, Billy!" cries Amelia. "I am sure I did not teach you so."
"I did not say I would hate my enemies, madam," cries the boy; "I only
said I would hate papa's enemies. Sure, mamma, there is no harm in
that; nay, I am sure there is no harm in it, for I have heard you say
the same thing a thousand times."
The doctor smiled on the child, and, chucking him under the chin, told
him he must hate nobody 5 and now Mrs. Atkinson, who had provided a
dinner for them all, desired them to walk up and partake of it.
And now it was that Booth was first made acquainted with the
serjeant's marriage, as was Dr Harrison; both of whom greatly
felicitated him upon it.
Mrs. Atkinson, who was, perhaps, a little more confounded than she
would have been had she married a colonel, said, "If I have done
wrong, Mrs. Booth is to answer for it, for she made the match; indeed,
Mr. Atkinson, you are greatly obliged to the character which this lady
gives of you." "I hope he will deserve it," said the doctor; "and, if
the army hath not corrupted a good boy, I believe I may answer for
While our little company were enjoying that happiness which never
fails to attend conversation where all present are pleased with each
other, a visitant arrived who was, perhaps, not very welcome to any of
them. This was no other than Colonel James, who, entering the room
with much gaiety, went directly up to Booth, embraced him, and
expressed great satisfaction at finding him there; he then made an
apology for not attending him in the morning, which he said had been
impossible; and that he had, with the utmost difficulty, put off some
business of great consequence in order to serve him this afternoon;
"but I am glad on your account," cried he to Booth, "that my presence
was not necessary."
Booth himself was extremely satisfied with this declaration, and
failed not to return him as many thanks as he would have deserved had
he performed his promise; but the two ladies were not quite so well
satisfied. As for the serjeant, he had slipt out of the room when the
colonel entered, not entirely out of that bashfulness which we have
remarked him to be tainted with, but indeed, from what had past in the
morning, he hated the sight of the colonel as well on the account of
his wife as on that of his friend.
The doctor, on the contrary, on what he had formerly heard from both
Amelia and her husband of the colonel's generosity and friendship, had
built so good an opinion of him, that he was very much pleased with
seeing him, and took the first opportunity of telling him so.
"Colonel," said the doctor, "I have not the happiness of being known
to you; but I have long been desirous of an acquaintance with a
gentleman in whose commendation I have heard so much from some
present." The colonel made a proper answer to this compliment, and
they soon entered into a familiar conversation together; for the
doctor was not difficult of access; indeed, he held the strange
reserve which is usually practised in this nation between people who
are in any degree strangers to each other to be very unbecoming the
The two ladies soon left the room; and the remainder of the visit,
which was not very long, past in discourse on various common subjects,
not worth recording. In the conclusion, the colonel invited Booth and
his lady, and the doctor, to dine with him the next day.
To give Colonel James his due commendation, he had shewn a great
command of himself and great presence of mind on this occasion; for,
to speak the plain truth, the visit was intended to Amelia alone; nor
did he expect, or perhaps desire, anything less than to find the
captain at home. The great joy which he suddenly conveyed into his
countenance at the unexpected sight of his friend is to be attributed
to that noble art which is taught in those excellent schools called
the several courts of Europe. By this, men are enabled to dress out
their countenances as much at their own pleasure as they do their
bodies, and to put on friendship with as much ease as they can a laced
When the colonel and doctor were gone, Booth acquainted Amelia with
the invitation he had received. She was so struck with the news, and
betrayed such visible marks of confusion and uneasiness, that they
could not have escaped Booth's observation had suspicion given him the
least hint to remark; but this, indeed, is the great optic-glass
helping us to discern plainly almost all that passes in the minds of
others, without some use of which nothing is more purblind than human
Amelia, having recovered from her first perturbation, answered, "My
dear, I will dine with you wherever you please to lay your commands on
me." "I am obliged to you, my dear soul," cries Booth; "your obedience
shall be very easy, for my command will be that you shall always
follow your own inclinations." "My inclinations," answered she,
"would, I am afraid, be too unreasonable a confinement to you; for
they would always lead me to be with you and your children, with at
most a single friend or two now and then." "O my dear!" replied he,
"large companies give us a greater relish for our own society when we
return to it; and we shall be extremely merry, for Doctor Harrison
dines with us." "I hope you will, my dear," cries she;" but I own I
should have been better pleased to have enjoyed a few days with
yourself and the children, with no other person but Mrs. Atkinson, for
whom I have conceived a violent affection, and who would have given us
but little interruption. However, if you have promised, I must undergo
the penance." "Nay, child," cried he, "I am sure I would have refused,
could I have guessed it had been in the least disagreeable to you
though I know your objection." "Objection!" cries Amelia eagerly "I
have no objection." "Nay, nay," said he, "come, be honest, I know your
objection, though you are unwilling to own it." "Good Heavens!" cryed
Amelia, frightened, "what do you mean? what objection?" "Why,"
answered he, "to the company of Mrs. James; and I must confess she
hath not behaved to you lately as you might have expected; but you
ought to pass all that by for the sake of her husband, to whom we have
both so many obligations, who is the worthiest, honestest, and most
generous fellow in the universe, and the best friend to me that ever
Amelia, who had far other suspicions, and began to fear that her
husband had discovered them, was highly pleased when she saw him
taking a wrong scent. She gave, therefore, a little in to the deceit,
and acknowledged the truth of what he had mentioned; but said that the
pleasure she should have in complying with his desires would highly
recompense any dissatisfaction which might arise on any other account;
and shortly after ended the conversation on this subject with her
chearfully promising to fulfil his promise.
In reality, poor Amelia had now a most unpleasant task to undertake;
for she thought it absolutely necessary to conceal from her husband
the opinion she had conceived of the colonel. For, as she knew the
characters, as well of her husband as of his friend, or rather enemy
(both being often synonymous in the language of the world), she had
the utmost reason to apprehend something very fatal might attend her
husband's entertaining the same thought of James which filled and
tormented her own breast.
And, as she knew that nothing but these thoughts could justify the
least unkind, or, indeed, the least reserved behaviour to James, who
had, in all appearance, conferred the greatest obligations upon Booth
and herself, she was reduced to a dilemma the most dreadful that can
attend a virtuous woman, as it often gives the highest triumph, and
sometimes no little advantage, to the men of professed gallantry.
In short, to avoid giving any umbrage to her husband, Amelia was
forced to act in a manner which she was conscious must give
encouragement to the colonel; a situation which perhaps requires as
great prudence and delicacy as any in which the heroic part of the
female character can be exerted.
_A conversation between Dr Harrison and others_.
The next day Booth and his lady, with the doctor, met at Colonel
James's, where Colonel Bath likewise made one of the company.
Nothing very remarkable passed at dinner, or till the ladies withdrew.
During this time, however, the behaviour of Colonel James was such as
gave some uneasiness to Amelia, who well understood his meaning,
though the particulars were too refined and subtle to be observed by
any other present.
When the ladies were gone, which was as soon as Amelia could prevail
on Mrs. James to depart, Colonel Bath, who had been pretty brisk with
champagne at dinner, soon began to display his magnanimity. "My
brother tells me, young gentleman," said he to Booth, "that you have
been used very ill lately by some rascals, and I have no doubt but you
will do yourself justice."
Booth answered that he did not know what he meant. "Since I must
mention it then," cries the colonel, "I hear you have been arrested;
and I think you know what satisfaction is to be required by a man of
"I beg, sir," says the doctor, "no more may be mentioned of that
matter. I am convinced no satisfaction will be required of the captain
till he is able to give it."
"I do not understand what you mean by able," cries the colonel. To
which the doctor answered, "That it was of too tender a nature to
speak more of."
"Give me your hand, doctor," cries the colonel; "I see you are a man
of honour, though you wear a gown. It is, as you say, a matter of a
tender nature. Nothing, indeed, is so tender as a man's honour. Curse
my liver, if any man--I mean, that is, if any gentleman, was to arrest
me, I would as surely cut his throat as--"
"How, sir!" said the doctor, "would you compensate one breach of the
law by a much greater, and pay your debts by committing murder?"
"Why do you mention law between gentlemen?" says the colonel. "A man
of honour wears his law by his side; and can the resentment of an
affront make a gentleman guilty of murder? and what greater affront
can one man cast upon another than by arresting him? I am convinced
that he who would put up an arrest would put up a slap in the face."
Here the colonel looked extremely fierce, and the divine stared with
astonishment at this doctrine; when Booth, who well knew the
impossibility of opposing the colonel's humour with success, began to
play with it; and, having first conveyed a private wink to the doctor,
he said there might be cases undoubtedly where such an affront ought
to be resented; but that there were others where any resentment was
impracticable: "As, for instance," said he, "where the man is arrested
by a woman."
"I could not be supposed to mean that case," cries the colonel; "and
you are convinced I did not mean it."
"To put an end to this discourse at once, sir," said the doctor, "I
was the plaintiff at whose suit this gentleman was arrested."
"Was you so, sir?" cries the colonel; "then I have no more to say.
Women and the clergy are upon the same footing. The long-robed gentry
are exempted from the laws of honour."
"I do not thank you for that exemption, sir," cries the doctor; "and,
if honour and fighting are, as they seem to be, synonymous words with
you, I believe there are some clergymen, who in defence of their
religion, or their country, or their friend, the only justifiable
causes of fighting, except bare self-defence, would fight as bravely
as yourself, colonel! and that without being paid for it."
"Sir, you are privileged," says the colonel, with great dignity; "and
you have my leave to say what you please. I respect your order, and
you cannot offend me."
"I will not offend you, colonel, "cries the doctor; "and our order is
very much obliged to you, since you profess so much respect to us, and
pay none to our Master."
"What Master, sir?" said the colonel.
"That Master," answered the doctor, "who hath expressly forbidden all
that cutting of throats to which you discover so much inclination."
"O! your servant, sir," said the colonel; "I see what you are driving
at; but you shall not persuade me to think that religion forces me to
be a coward."
"I detest and despise the name as much as you can," cries the doctor;
"but you have a wrong idea of the word, colonel. What were all the
Greeks and Romans? were these cowards? and yet, did you ever hear of
this butchery, which we call duelling, among them?"
"Yes, indeed, have I," cries the colonel. "What else is all Mr. Pope's
Homer full of but duels? Did not what's his name, one of the
Agamemnons, fight with that paultry rascal Paris? and Diomede with
what d'ye call him there? and Hector with I forget his name, he that
was Achilles's bosom-friend; and afterwards with Achilles himself?
Nay, and in Dryden's Virgil, is there anything almost besides
"You are a man of learning, colonel," cries the doctor; "but--"
"I thank you for that compliment," said the colonel.--"No, sir, I do
not pretend to learning; but I have some little reading, and I am not
ashamed to own it."
"But are you sure, colonel," cries the doctor, "that you have not made
a small mistake? for I am apt to believe both Mr. Pope and Mr. Dryden
(though I cannot say I ever read a word of either of them) speak of
wars between nations, and not of private duels; for of the latter I do
not remember one single instance in all the Greek and Roman story. In
short, it is a modern custom, introduced by barbarous nations since
the times of Christianity; though it is a direct and audacious
defiance of the Christian law, and is consequently much more sinful in
us than it would have been in the heathens."
"Drink about, doctor," cries the colonel; "and let us call a new
cause; for I perceive we shall never agree on this. You are a
Churchman, and I don't expect you to speak your mind."
"We are both of the same Church, I hope," cries the doctor.
"I am of the Church of England, sir," answered the colonel, "and will
fight for it to the last drop of my blood."
"It is very generous in you, colonel," cries the doctor, "to fight so
zealously for a religion by which you are to be damned."
"It is well for you, doctor," cries the colonel, "that you wear a
gown; for, by all the dignity of a man, if any other person had said
the words you have just uttered, I would have made him eat them; ay,
d--n me, and my sword into the bargain."
Booth began to be apprehensive that this dispute might grow too warm;
in which case he feared that the colonel's honour, together with the
champagne, might hurry him so far as to forget the respect due, and
which he professed to pay, to the sacerdotal robe. Booth therefore
interposed between the disputants, and said that the colonel had very
rightly proposed to call a new subject; for that it was impossible to
reconcile accepting a challenge with the Christian religion, or
refusing it with the modern notion of honour. "And you must allow it,
doctor," said he, "to be a very hard injunction for a man to become
infamous; and more especially for a soldier, who is to lose his bread
into the bargain."
"Ay, sir," says the colonel, with an air of triumph, "what say you to
"Why, I say," cries the doctor, "that it is much harder to be damned
on the other side."
"That may be," said the colonel; "but damn me, if I would take an
affront of any man breathing, for all that. And yet I believe myself
to be as good a Christian as wears a head. My maxim is, never to give
an affront, nor ever to take one; and I say that it is the maxim of a
good Christian, and no man shall ever persuade me to the contrary."
"Well, sir," said the doctor, "since that is your resolution, I hope
no man will ever give you an affront."
"I am obliged to you for your hope, doctor," cries the colonel, with a
sneer; "and he that doth will be obliged to you for lending him your
gown; for, by the dignity of a man, nothing out of petticoats, I
believe, dares affront me."
Colonel James had not hitherto joined in the discourse. In truth, his
thoughts had been otherwise employed; nor is it very difficult for the
reader to guess what had been the subject of them. Being waked,
however, from his reverie, and having heard the two or three last
speeches, he turned to his brother, and asked him, why he would
introduce such a topic of conversation before a gentleman of Doctor
"Brother," cried Bath, "I own it was wrong, and I ask the doctor's
pardon: I know not how it happened to arise; for you know, brother, I
am not used to talk of these matters. They are generally poltroons
that do. I think I need not be beholden to my tongue to declare I am
none. I have shown myself in a line of battle. I believe there is no
man will deny that; I believe I may say no man dares deny that I have
done my duty."
The colonel was thus proceeding to prove that his prowess was neither
the subject of his discourse nor the object of his vanity, when a
servant entered and summoned the company to tea with the ladies; a
summons which Colonel James instantly obeyed, and was followed by all
But as the tea-table conversation, though extremely delightful to
those who are engaged in it, may probably appear somewhat dull to the
reader, we will here put an end to the chapter.
_A dialogue between Booth and Amelia_.
The next morning early, Booth went by appointment and waited on
Colonel James; whence he returned to Amelia in that kind of
disposition which the great master of human passion would describe in
Andromache, when he tells us she cried and smiled at the same instant.
Amelia plainly perceived the discomposure of his mind, in which the
opposite affections of joy and grief were struggling for the
superiority, and begged to know the occasion; upon which Booth spoke
"My dear," said he, "I had no intention to conceal from you what hath
past this morning between me and the colonel, who hath oppressed me,
if I may use that expression, with obligations. Sure never man had
such a friend; for never was there so noble, so generous a heart--I
cannot help this ebullition of gratitude, I really cannot." Here he
paused a moment, and wiped his eyes, and then proceeded: "You know, my
dear, how gloomy the prospect was yesterday before our eyes, how
inevitable ruin stared me in the face; and the dreadful idea of having
entailed beggary on my Amelia and her posterity racked my mind; for
though, by the goodness of the doctor, I had regained my liberty, the
debt yet remained; and, if that worthy man had a design of forgiving
me his share, this must have been my utmost hope, and the condition in
which I must still have found myself need not to be expatiated on. In
what light, then, shall I see, in what words shall I relate, the
colonel's kindness? O my dear Amelia! he hath removed the whole gloom
at once, hath driven all despair out of my mind, and hath filled it
with the most sanguine, and, at the same time, the most reasonable
hopes of making a comfortable provision for yourself and my dear
children. In the first place, then, he will advance me a sum of money
to pay off all my debts; and this on a bond to be repaid only when I
shall become colonel of a regiment, and not before. In the next place,
he is gone this very morning to ask a company for me, which is now
vacant in the West Indies; and, as he intends to push this with all
his interest, neither he nor I have any doubt of his success. Now, my
dear, comes the third, which, though perhaps it ought to give me the
greatest joy, such is, I own, the weakness of my nature, it rends my
very heartstrings asunder. I cannot mention it, for I know it will
give you equal pain; though I know, on all proper occasions, you can
exert a manly resolution. You will not, I am convinced, oppose it,
whatever you must suffer in complying. O my dear Amelia! I must suffer
likewise; yet I have resolved to bear it. You know not what my poor
heart hath suffered since he made the proposal. It is love for you
alone which could persuade me to submit to it. Consider our situation;
consider that of our children; reflect but on those poor babes, whose
future happiness is at stake, and it must arm your resolution. It is
your interest and theirs that reconciled me to a proposal which, when
the colonel first made it, struck me with the utmost horror; he hath,
indeed, from these motives, persuaded me into a resolution which I
thought impossible for any one to have persuaded me into. O my dear
Amelia! let me entreat you to give me up to the good of your children,
as I have promised the colonel to give you up to their interest and
your own. If you refuse these terms we are still undone, for he
insists absolutely upon them. Think, then, my love, however hard they
may be, necessity compels us to submit to them. I know in what light a
woman, who loves like you, must consider such a proposal; and yet how
many instances have you of women who, from the same motives, have
submitted to the same!"
"What can you mean, Mr. Booth?" cries Amelia, trembling.
"Need I explain my meaning to you more?" answered Booth.--"Did I not
say I must give up my Amelia?"
"Give me up!" said she.
"For a time only, I mean," answered he: "for a short time perhaps. The
colonel himself will take care it shall not be long--for I know his
heart; I shall scarce have more joy in receiving you back than he will
have in restoring you to my arms. In the mean time, he will not only
be a father to my children, but a husband to you."
"A husband to me!" said Amelia.
"Yes, my dear; a kind, a fond, a tender, an affectionate husband. If I
had not the most certain assurances of this, doth my Amelia think I
could be prevailed on to leave her? No, my Amelia, he is the only man
on earth who could have prevailed on me; but I know his house, his
purse, his protection, will be all at your command. And as for any
dislike you have conceived to his wife, let not that be any objection;
for I am convinced he will not suffer her to insult you; besides, she
is extremely well bred, and, how much soever she may hate you in her
heart, she will at least treat you with civility.
"Nay, the invitation is not his, but hers; and I am convinced they
will both behave to you with the greatest friendship; his I am sure
will be sincere, as to the wife of a friend entrusted to his care; and
hers will, from good-breeding, have not only the appearances but the
effects of the truest friendship."
"I understand you, my dear, at last," said she (indeed she had rambled
into very strange conceits from some parts of his discourse); "and I
will give you my resolution in a word--I will do the duty of a wife,
and that is, to attend her husband wherever he goes."
Booth attempted to reason with her, but all to no purpose. She gave,
indeed, a quiet hearing to all he said, and even to those parts which
most displeased her ears; I mean those in which he exaggerated the
great goodness and disinterested generosity of his friend; but her
resolution remained inflexible, and resisted the force of all his
arguments with a steadiness of opposition, which it would have been
almost excusable in him to have construed into stubbornness.
The doctor arrived in the midst of the dispute; and, having heard the
merits of the cause on both sides, delivered his opinion in the
"I have always thought it, my dear children, a matter of the utmost
nicety to interfere in any differences between husband and wife; but,
since you both desire me with such earnestness to give you my
sentiments on the present contest between you, I will give you my
thoughts as well as I am able. In the first place then, can anything
be more reasonable than for a wife to desire to attend her husband? It
is, as my favourite child observes, no more than a desire to do her
duty; and I make no doubt but that is one great reason of her
insisting on it. And how can you yourself oppose it? Can love be its
own enemy? or can a husband who is fond of his wife, content himself
almost on any account with a long absence from her?"
"You speak like an angel, my dear Doctor Harrison," answered Amelia:
"I am sure, if he loved as tenderly as I do, he could on no account
submit to it."
"Pardon me, child," cries the doctor; "there are some reasons which
would not only justify his leaving you, but which must force him, if
he hath any real love for you, joined with common sense, to make that
election. If it was necessary, for instance, either to your good or to
the good of your children, he would not deserve the name of a man, I
am sure not that of a husband, if he hesitated a moment. Nay, in that
case, I am convinced you yourself would be an advocate for what you
now oppose. I fancy therefore I mistook him when I apprehended he said
that the colonel made his leaving you behind as the condition of
getting him the commission; for I know my dear child hath too much
goodness, and too much sense, and too much resolution, to prefer any
temporary indulgence of her own passions to the solid advantages of
her whole family."
"There, my dear!" cries Booth; "I knew what opinion the doctor would
be of. Nay, I am certain there is not a wise man in the kingdom who
would say otherwise."
"Don't abuse me, young gentleman," said the doctor, "with appellations
I don't deserve."
"I abuse you, my dear doctor!" cries Booth.
"Yes, my dear sir," answered the doctor; "you insinuated slily that I
was wise, which, as the world understands the phrase, I should be
ashamed of; and my comfort is that no one can accuse me justly of it.
I have just given an instance of the contrary by throwing away my
"I hope, sir," cries Booth, "that will not be the case."
"Yes, sir," answered the doctor. "I know it will be the case in the
present instance, for either you will not go at all, or my little
turtle here will go with you."
"You are in the right, doctor," cries Amelia.
"I am sorry for it," said the doctor, "for then I assure you you are
in the wrong."
"Indeed," cries Amelia, "if you knew all my reasons you would say they
were very strong ones."
"Very probably," cries the doctor. "The knowledge that they are in the
wrong is a very strong reason to some women to continue so."
"Nay, doctor," cries Amelia, "you shall never persuade me of that. I
will not believe that any human being ever did an action merely
because they knew it to be wrong."
"I am obliged to you, my dear child," said the doctor, "for declaring
your resolution of not being persuaded. Your husband would never call
me a wise man again if, after that declaration, I should attempt to
"Well, I must be content," cries Amelia, "to let you think as you
"That is very gracious, indeed," said the doctor. "Surely, in a
country where the church suffers others to think as they please, it
would be very hard if they had not themselves the same liberty. And
yet, as unreasonable as the power of controuling men's thoughts is
represented, I will shew you how you shall controul mine whenever you
"How, pray?" cries Amelia. "I should greatly esteem that power."
"Why, whenever you act like a wise woman," cries the doctor, "you will
force me to think you so: and, whenever you are pleased to act as you
do now, I shall be obliged, whether I will or no, to think as I do
"Nay, dear doctor," cries Booth, "I am convinced my Amelia will never
do anything to forfeit your good opinion. Consider but the cruel
hardship of what she is to undergo, and you will make allowances for
the difficulty she makes in complying. To say the truth, when I
examine my own heart, I have more obligations to her than appear at
first sight; for, by obliging me to find arguments to persuade her,
she hath assisted me in conquering myself. Indeed, if she had shewn
more resolution, I should have shewn less."
"So you think it necessary, then," said the doctor, "that there should
be one fool at least in every married couple. A mighty resolution,
truly! and well worth your valuing yourself upon, to part with your
wife for a few months in order to make the fortune of her and your
children; when you are to leave her, too, in the care and protection
of a friend that gives credit to the old stories of friendship, and
doth an honour to human nature. What, in the name of goodness! do
either of you think that you have made an union to endure for ever?
How will either of you bear that separation which must, some time or
other, and perhaps very soon, be the lot of one of you? Have you
forgot that you are both mortal? As for Christianity, I see you have
resigned all pretensions to it; for I make no doubt but that you have
so set your hearts on the happiness you enjoy here together, that
neither of you ever think a word of hereafter."
Amelia now burst into tears; upon which Booth begged the doctor to
proceed no farther. Indeed, he would not have wanted the caution; for,
however blunt he appeared in his discourse, he had a tenderness of
heart which is rarely found among men; for which I know no other
reason than that true goodness is rarely found among them; for I am
firmly persuaded that the latter never possessed any human mind in any
degree, without being attended by as large a portion of the former.
Thus ended the conversation on this subject; what followed is not
worth relating, till the doctor carried off Booth with him to take a
walk in the Park.
_A conversation between Amelia and Dr Harrison, with the result_.
Amelia, being left alone, began to consider seriously of her
condition; she saw it would be very difficult to resist the
importunities of her husband, backed by the authority of the doctor,
especially as she well knew how unreasonable her declarations must
appear to every one who was ignorant of her real motives to persevere
in it. On the other hand, she was fully determined, whatever might be
the consequence, to adhere firmly to her resolution of not accepting
the colonel's invitation.
When she had turned the matter every way in her mind, and vexed and
tormented herself with much uneasy reflexion upon it, a thought at
last occurred to her which immediately brought her some comfort. This
was, to make a confidant of the doctor, and to impart to him the whole
truth. This method, indeed, appeared to her now to be so adviseable,
that she wondered she had not hit upon it sooner; but it is the nature
of despair to blind us to all the means of safety, however easy and
apparent they may be.
Having fixed her purpose in her mind, she wrote a short note to the
doctor, in which she acquainted him that she had something of great
moment to impart to him, which must be an entire secret from her
husband, and begged that she might have an opportunity of
communicating it as soon as possible.
Doctor Harrison received the letter that afternoon, and immediately
complied with Amelia's request in visiting her. He found her drinking
tea with her husband and Mrs. Atkinson, and sat down and joined the
Soon after the removal of the tea-table Mrs. Atkinson left the room.
The doctor then, turning to Booth, said, "I hope, captain, you have a
true sense of the obedience due to the church, though our clergy do
not often exact it. However, it is proper to exercise our power
sometimes, in order to remind the laity of their duty. I must tell
you, therefore, that I have some private business with your wife; and
I expect your immediate absence."
"Upon my word, doctor," answered Booth, "no Popish confessor, I firmly
believe, ever pronounced his will and pleasure with more gravity and
dignity; none therefore was ever more immediately obeyed than you
shall be." Booth then quitted the room, and desired the doctor to
recall him when his business with the lady was over.
Doctor Harrison promised he would; and then turning to Amelia he said,
"Thus far, madam, I have obeyed your commands, and am now ready to
receive the important secret which you mention in your note." Amelia
now informed her friend of all she knew, all she had seen and heard,
and all that she suspected, of the colonel. The good man seemed
greatly shocked at the relation, and remained in a silent
astonishment. Upon which Amelia said, "Is villany so rare a thing,
sir, that it should so much surprize you?" "No, child," cries he; "but
I am shocked at seeing it so artfully disguised under the appearance
of so much virtue; and, to confess the truth, I believe my own vanity
is a little hurt in having been so grossly imposed upon. Indeed, I had
a very high regard for this man; for, besides the great character
given him by your husband, and the many facts I have heard so much
redounding to his honour, he hath the fairest and most promising
appearance I have ever yet beheld. A good face, they say, is a letter
of recommendation. O Nature, Nature, why art thou so dishonest as ever
to send men with these false recommendations into the world?"
"Indeed, my dear sir, I begin to grow entirely sick of it," cries
Amelia, "for sure all mankind almost are villains in their hearts."
"Fie, child!" cries the doctor. "Do not make a conclusion so much to
the dishonour of the great Creator. The nature of man is far from
being in itself evil: it abounds with benevolence, charity, and pity,
coveting praise and honour, and shunning shame and disgrace. Bad
education, bad habits, and bad customs, debauch our nature, and drive
it headlong as it were into vice. The governors of the world, and I am
afraid the priesthood, are answerable for the badness of it. Instead
of discouraging wickedness to the utmost of their power, both are too
apt to connive at it. In the great sin of adultery, for instance; hath
the government provided any law to punish it? or doth the priest take
any care to correct it? on the contrary, is the most notorious
practice of it any detriment to a man's fortune or to his reputation
in the world? doth it exclude him from any preferment in the state, I
had almost said in the church? is it any blot in his escutcheon? any
bar to his honour? is he not to be found every day in the assemblies
of women of the highest quality? in the closets of the greatest men,
and even at the tables of bishops? What wonder then if the community
in general treat this monstrous crime as a matter of jest, and that
men give way to the temptations of a violent appetite, when the
indulgence of it is protected by law and countenanced by custom? I am
convinced there are good stamina in the nature of this very man; for
he hath done acts of friendship and generosity to your husband before
he could have any evil design on your chastity; and in a Christian
society, which I no more esteem this nation to be than I do any part
of Turkey, I doubt not but this very colonel would have made a worthy
and valuable member."
"Indeed, my dear sir," cries Amelia, "you are the wisest as well as
best man in the world--"
"Not a word of my wisdom," cries the doctor. "I have not a grain--I am
not the least versed in the Chrematistic [Footnote: The art of getting
wealth is so called by Aristotle in his Politics.] art, as an old
friend of mine calls it. I know not how to get a shilling, nor how to
keep it in my pocket if I had it."
"But you understand human nature to the bottom," answered Amelia; "and
your mind is the treasury of all ancient and modern learning."
"You are a little flatterer," cries the doctor; "but I dislike you not
for it. And, to shew you I don't, I will return your flattery, and
tell you you have acted with great prudence in concealing this affair
from your husband; but you have drawn me into a scrape; for I have
promised to dine with this fellow again to-morrow, and you have made
it impossible for me to keep my word."
"Nay, but, dear sir," cries Amelia, "for Heaven's sake take care! If
you shew any kind of disrespect to the colonel, my husband may be led
into some suspicion--especially after our conference."
"Fear nothing, child. I will give him no hint; and, that I may be
certain of not doing it, I will stay away. You do not think, I hope,
that I will join in a chearful conversation with such a man; that I
will so far betray my character as to give any countenance to such
flagitious proceedings. Besides, my promise was only conditional; and
I do not know whether I could otherwise have kept it; for I expect an
old friend every day who comes to town twenty miles on foot to see me,
whom I shall not part with on any account; for, as he is very poor, he
may imagine I treat him with disrespect."
"Well, sir," cries Amelia, "I must admire you and love you for your
"Must you love me?" cries the doctor. "I could cure you now in a
minute if I pleased."
"Indeed, I defy you, sir," said Amelia.
"If I could but persuade you," answered he, "that I thought you not
handsome, away would vanish all ideas of goodness in an instant.
Confess honestly, would they not?"
"Perhaps I might blame the goodness of your eyes," replied Amelia;
"and that is perhaps an honester confession than you expected. But do,
pray, sir, be serious, and give me your advice what to do. Consider
the difficult game I have to play; for I am sure, after what I have
told you, you would not even suffer me to remain under the roof of
"No, indeed, would I not," said the doctor, "whilst I have a house of
my own to entertain you."
"But how to dissuade my husband," continued she, "without giving him
any suspicion of the real cause, the consequences of his guessing at
which I tremble to think upon."
"I will consult my pillow upon it," said the doctor; "and in the
morning you shall see me again. In the mean time be comforted, and
compose the perturbations of your mind."
"Well, sir," said she, "I put my whole trust in you."
"I am sorry to hear it," cries the doctor. "Your innocence may give
you a very confident trust in a much more powerful assistance.
However, I will do all I can to serve you: and now, if you please, we
will call back your husband; for, upon my word, he hath shewn a good
catholic patience. And where is the honest serjeant and his wife? I am
pleased with the behaviour of you both to that worthy fellow, in
opposition to the custom of the world; which, instead of being formed
on the precepts of our religion to consider each other as brethren,
teaches us to regard those who are a degree below us, either in rank
or fortune, as a species of beings of an inferior order in the
The captain now returned into the room, as did the serjeant and Mrs.
Atkinson; and the two couple, with the doctor, spent the evening
together in great mirth and festivity; for the doctor was one of the
best companions in the world, and a vein of chearfulness, good humour,
and pleasantry, ran through his conversation, with which it was
impossible to resist being pleased.
_Containing as surprizing an accident as is perhaps recorded in
Booth had acquainted the serjeant with the great goodness of Colonel
James, and with the chearful prospects which he entertained from it.
This Atkinson, behind the curtain, communicated to his wife. The
conclusion which she drew from it need scarce be hinted to the reader.
She made, indeed, no scruple of plainly and bluntly telling her
husband that the colonel had a most manifest intention to attack the
chastity of Amelia.
This thought gave the poor serjeant great uneasiness, and, after
having kept him long awake, tormented him in his sleep with a most
horrid dream, in which he imagined that he saw the colonel standing by
the bedside of Amelia, with a naked sword in his hand, and threatening
to stab her instantly unless she complied with his desires. Upon this
the serjeant started up in his bed, and, catching his wife by the
throat, cried out, "D--n you, put up your sword this instant, and
leave the room, or by Heaven I'll drive mine to your heart's blood!"
This rough treatment immediately roused Mrs. Atkinson from her sleep,
who no sooner perceived the position of her husband, and felt his hand
grasping her throat, than she gave a violent shriek and presently fell
into a fit.
Atkinson now waked likewise, and soon became sensible of the violent
agitations of his wife. He immediately leapt out of bed, and running
for a bottle of water, began to sprinkle her very plentifully; but all
to no purpose: she neither spoke nor gave any symptoms of recovery
Atkinson then began to roar aloud; upon which Booth, who lay under
him, jumped from his bed, and ran up with the lighted candle in his
hand. The serjeant had no sooner taken the candle than he ran with it
to the bed-side. Here he beheld a sight which almost deprived him of
his senses. The bed appeared to be all over blood, and his wife
weltering in the midst of it. Upon this the serjeant, almost in a
frenzy, cried out, "O Heavens! I have killed my wife. I have stabbed
her! I have stabbed her!" "What can be the meaning of all this?" said
Booth. "O, sir!" cries the serjeant, "I dreamt I was rescuing your
lady from the hands of Colonel James, and I have killed my poor
wife."--Here he threw himself upon the bed by her, caught her in his
arms, and behaved like one frantic with despair.
By this time Amelia had thrown on a wrapping-gown, and was come up
into the room, where the serjeant and his wife were lying on the bed
and Booth standing like a motionless statue by the bed-side. Amelia
had some difficulty to conquer the effects of her own surprize on this
occasion; for a more ghastly and horrible sight than the bed presented
could not be conceived.
Amelia sent Booth to call up the maid of the house, in order to lend
her assistance; but before his return Mrs. Atkinson began to come to
herself; and soon after, to the inexpressible joy of the serjeant, it
was discovered she had no wound. Indeed, the delicate nose of Amelia
soon made that discovery, which the grosser smell of the serjeant, and
perhaps his fright, had prevented him from making; for now it appeared
that the red liquor with which the bed was stained, though it may,
perhaps, sometimes run through the veins of a fine lady, was not what
is properly called blood, but was, indeed, no other than cherry-
brandy, a bottle of which Mrs. Atkinson always kept in her room to be
ready for immediate use, and to which she used to apply for comfort in
all her afflictions. This the poor serjeant, in his extreme hurry, had
mistaken for a bottle of water. Matters were now soon accommodated,
and no other mischief appeared to be done, unless to the bed-cloaths.
Amelia and Booth returned back to their room, and Mrs. Atkinson rose
from her bed in order to equip it with a pair of clean sheets.
And thus this adventure would have ended without producing any kind of
consequence, had not the words which the serjeant uttered in his
frenzy made some slight impression on Booth; so much, at least, as to
awaken his curiosity; so that in the morning when he arose he sent for
the serjeant, and desired to hear the particulars of this dream, since
Amelia was concerned in it.
The serjeant at first seemed unwilling to comply, and endeavoured to
make excuses. This, perhaps, encreased Booth's curiosity, and he said,
"Nay, I am resolved to hear it. Why, you simpleton, do you imagine me
weak enough to be affected by a dream, however terrible it may be?"
"Nay, sir," cries the serjeant, "as for that matter, dreams have
sometimes fallen out to be true. One of my own, I know, did so,
concerning your honour; for, when you courted my young lady, I dreamt
you was married to her; and yet it was at a time when neither I
myself, nor any of the country, thought you would ever obtain her. But
Heaven forbid this dream should ever come to pass!" "Why, what was
this dream?" cries Booth. "I insist on knowing."
"To be sure, sir," cries the serjeant, "I must not refuse you; but I
hope you will never think any more of it. Why then, sir, I dreamt that
your honour was gone to the West Indies, and had left my lady in the
care of Colonel James; and last night I dreamt the colonel came to my
lady's bed-side, offering to ravish her, and with a drawn sword in his
hand, threatening to stab her that moment unless she would comply with
his desires. How I came to be by I know not; but I dreamt I rushed
upon him, caught him by the throat, and swore I would put him to death
unless he instantly left the room. Here I waked, and this was my
dream. I never paid any regard to a dream in my life--but, indeed, I
never dreamt anything so very plain as this. It appeared downright
reality. I am sure I have left the marks of my fingers in my wife's
throat. I would riot have taken a hundred pound to have used her so."
"Faith," cries Booth, "it was an odd dream, and not so easily to be
accounted for as that you had formerly of my marriage; for, as
Shakespear says, dreams denote a foregone conclusion. Now it is
impossible you should ever have thought of any such matter as this."
"However, sir," cries the serjeant, "it is in your honour's power to
prevent any possibility of this dream's coming to pass, by not leaving
my lady to the care of the colonel; if you must go from her, certainly
there are other places where she may be with great safety; and, since
my wife tells me that my lady is so very unwilling, whatever reasons
she may have, I hope your honour will oblige her."
"Now I recollect it," cries Booth, "Mrs. Atkinson hath once or twice
dropt some disrespectful words of the colonel. He hath done something
to disoblige her."
"He hath indeed, sir," replied the serjeant: "he hath said that of her
which she doth not deserve, and for which, if he had not been my
superior officer, I would have cut both his ears off. Nay, for that
matter, he can speak ill of other people besides her."
"Do you know, Atkinson," cries Booth, very gravely, "that you are
talking of the dearest friend I have?"
"To be honest then," answered the serjeant, "I do not think so. If I
did, I should love him much better than I do."
"I must and will have this explained," cries Booth. "I have too good
an opinion of you, Atkinson, to think you would drop such things as
you have without some reason--and I will know it."
"I am sorry I have dropt a word," cries Atkinson. "I am sure I did not
intend it; and your honour hath drawn it from me unawares."
"Indeed, Atkinson," cries Booth, "you have made me very uneasy, and I
must be satisfied."
"Then, sir," said the serjeant, "you shall give me your word of
honour, or I will be cut into ten thousand pieces before I will
mention another syllable."
"What shall I promise?" said Booth.
"That you will not resent anything I shall lay to the colonel,"
"Resent!--Well, I give you my honour," said Booth.
The serjeant made him bind himself over and over again, and then
related to him the scene which formerly past between the colonel and
himself, as far as concerned Booth himself; but concealed all that
more immediately related to Amelia.
"Atkinson," cries Booth, "I cannot be angry with you, for I know you
love me, and I have many obligations to you; but you have done wrong
in censuring the colonel for what he said of me. I deserve all that he
said, and his censures proceeded from his friendship."
"But it was not so kind, sir," said Atkinson, "to say such things to
me who am but a serjeant, and at such a time too."
"I will hear no more," cries Booth. "Be assured you are the only man I
would forgive on this occasion; and I forgive you only on condition
you never speak a word more of this nature. This silly dream hath
"I have done, sir," cries the serjeant. "I know my distance, and whom
I am to obey; but I have one favour to beg of your honour, never to
mention a word of what I have said to my lady; for I know she never
would forgive me; I know she never would, by what my wife hath told
me. Besides, you need not mention it, sir, to my lady, for she knows
it all already, and a great deal more."
Booth presently parted from the serjeant, having desired him to close
his lips on this occasion, and repaired to his wife, to whom he
related the serjeant's dream.
Amelia turned as white as snow, and fell into so violent a trembling
that Booth plainly perceived her emotion, and immediately partook of
it himself. "Sure, my dear," said he, staring wildly, "there is more
in this than I know. A silly dream could not so discompose you. I beg
you, I intreat you to tell me--hath ever Colonel James--"
At the very mention of the colonel's name Amelia fell on her knees,
and begged her husband not to frighten her.
"What do I say, my dear love," cried Booth, "that can frighten you?"
"Nothing, my dear," said she; "but my spirits are so discomposed with
the dreadful scene I saw last night, that a dream, which at another
time I should have laughed at, hath shocked me. Do but promise me that
you will not leave me behind you, and I am easy."
"You may be so," cries Booth, "for I will never deny you anything. But
make me easy too. I must know if you have seen anything in Colonel
James to displease you."
"Why should you suspect it?" cries Amelia.
"You torment me to death," cries Booth. "By Heavens! I will know the
truth. Hath he ever said or done anything which you dislike?"
"How, my dear," said Amelia, "can you imagine I should dislike a man
who is so much your friend? Think of all the obligations you have to
him, and then you may easily resolve yourself. Do you think, because I
refuse to stay behind you in his house, that I have any objection to
him? No, my dear, had he done a thousand times more than he hath--was
he an angel instead of a man, I would not quit my Billy. There's the
sore, my dear--there's the misery, to be left by you."
Booth embraced her with the most passionate raptures, and, looking on
her with inexpressible tenderness, cried, "Upon my soul, I am not
worthy of you: I am a fool, and yet you cannot blame me. If the stupid
miser hoards, with such care, his worthless treasure--if he watches it
with such anxiety--if every apprehension of another's sharing the
least part fills his soul with such agonies--O Amelia! what must be my
condition, what terrors must I feel, while I am watching over a jewel
of such real, such inestimable worth!"
"I can, with great truth, return the compliment," cries Amelia. "I
have my treasure too; and am so much a miser, that no force shall ever
tear me from it."
"I am ashamed of my folly," cries Booth;" and yet it is all from
extreme tenderness. Nay, you yourself are the occasion. Why will you
ever attempt to keep a secret from me? Do you think I should have
resented to my friend his just censure of my conduct?"
"What censure, my dear love?" cries Amelia.
"Nay, the serjeant hath told me all," cries Booth--"nay, and that he
hath told it to you. Poor soul! thou couldst not endure to hear me
accused, though never so justly, and by so good a friend. Indeed, my
dear, I have discovered the cause of that resentment to the colonel
which you could not hide from me. I love you, I adore you for it;
indeed, I could not forgive a slighting word on you. But, why do I
compare things so unlike?--what the colonel said of me was just and
true; every reflexion on my Amelia must be false and villanous."
The discernment of Amelia was extremely quick, and she now perceived
what had happened, and how much her husband knew of the truth. She
resolved therefore to humour him, and fell severely on Colonel James
for what he had said to the serjeant, which Booth endeavoured all he
could to soften; and thus ended this affair, which had brought Booth
to the very brink of a discovery which must have given him the highest
torment, if it had not produced any of those tragical effects which
_In which the author appears to be master of that profound learning
called the knowledge of the town._
Mrs. James now came to pay a morning's visit to Amelia. She entered
the room with her usual gaiety, and after a slight preface, addressing
herself to Booth, said she had been quarrelling with her husband on
his account. "I know not," said she, "what he means by thinking of
sending you the Lord knows whither. I have insisted on his asking
something for you nearer home; and it would be the hardest thing in
the world if he should not obtain it. Are we resolved never to
encourage merit; but to throw away all our preferments on those who do
not deserve them? What a set of contemptible wretches do we see
strutting about the town in scarlet!"
Booth made a very low bow, and modestly spoke in disparagement of
himself. To which she answered, "Indeed, Mr. Booth, you have merit; I
have heard it from my brother, who is a judge of those matters, and I
am sure cannot be suspected of flattery. He is your friend as well as
myself, and we will never let Mr. James rest till he hath got you a
commission in England."
Booth bowed again, and was offering to speak, but she interrupted him,
saying, "I will have no thanks, nor no fine speeches; if I can do you
any service I shall think I am only paying the debt of friendship to
my dear Mrs. Booth."
Amelia, who had long since forgot the dislike she had taken to Mrs.
James at her first seeing her in town, had attributed it to the right
cause, and had begun to resume her former friendship for her,
expressed very warm sentiments of gratitude on this occasion. She told
Mrs. James she should be eternally obliged to her if she could succeed
in her kind endeavours; for that the thoughts of parting again with
her husband had given her the utmost concern. "Indeed," added she, "I
cannot help saying he hath some merit in the service, for he hath
received two dreadful wounds in it, one of which very greatly
endangered his life; and I am convinced, if his pretensions were
backed with any interest, he would not fail of success."
"They shall be backed with interest," cries Mrs. James, "if my husband
hath any. He hath no favour to ask for himself, nor for any other
friend that I know of; and, indeed, to grant a man his just due, ought
hardly to be thought a favour. Resume your old gaiety, therefore, my
dear Emily. Lord! I remember the time when you was much the gayer
creature of the two. But you make an arrant mope of yourself by
confining yourself at home--one never meets you anywhere. Come, you
shall go with me to the Lady Betty Castleton's."
"Indeed, you must excuse me, my dear," answered Amelia, "I do not know
"Not know Lady Betty! how, is that possible?--but no matter, I will
introduce you. She keeps a morning rout; hardly a rout, indeed; a
little bit of a drum--only four or five tables. Come, take your
capuchine; you positively shall go. Booth, you shall go with us too.
Though you are with your wife, another woman will keep you in
"La! child," cries Amelia, "how you rattle!"
"I am in spirits," answered Mrs. James, "this morning; for I won four
rubbers together last night; and betted the things, and won almost
every bet. I am in luck, and we will contrive to be partners--Come."
"Nay, child, you shall not refuse Mrs. James," said Booth.
"I have scarce seen my children to-day," answered Amelia. "Besides, I
mortally detest cards."
"Detest cards!" cries Mrs. James. "How can you be so stupid? I would
not live a day without them--nay, indeed, I do not believe I should be
able to exist. Is there so delightful a sight in the world as the four
honours in one's own hand, unless it be three natural aces at bragg?--
And you really hate cards?"
"Upon reflexion," cries Amelia, "I have sometimes had great pleasure
in them--in seeing my children build houses with them. My little boy
is so dexterous that he will sometimes build up the whole pack."
"Indeed, Booth," cries Mrs. James, "this good woman of yours is
strangely altered since I knew her first; but she will always be a
"Upon my word, my dear," cries Amelia, "you are altered too very
greatly; but I doubt not to live to see you alter again, when you come
to have as many children as I have."
"Children!" cries Mrs. James; "you make me shudder. How can you envy
me the only circumstance which makes matrimony comfortable?"
"Indeed, my dear," said Amelia, "you injure me; for I envy no woman's
happiness in marriage." At these words such looks past between Booth
and his wife as, to a sensible by-stander, would have made all the
airs of Mrs. James appear in the highest degree contemptible, and
would have rendered herself the object of compassion. Nor could that
lady avoid looking a little silly on the occasion.
Amelia now, at the earnest desire of her husband, accoutred herself to
attend her friend; but first she insisted on visiting her children, to
whom she gave several hearty kisses, and then, recommending them to
the care of Mrs. Atkinson, she and her husband accompanied Mrs. James
to the rout; where few of my fine readers will be displeased to make
part of the company.
The two ladies and Booth then entered an apartment beset with card-
tables, like the rooms at Bath and Tunbridge. Mrs. James immediately
introduced her friends to Lady Betty, who received them very civily,
and presently engaged Booth and Mrs. James in a party at whist; for,
as to Amelia, she so much declined playing, that as the party could be
filled without her, she was permitted to sit by.
And now, who should make his appearance but the noble peer of whom so
much honourable mention hath already been made in this history? He
walked directly up to Amelia, and addressed her with as perfect a
confidence as if he had not been in the least conscious of having in
any manner displeased her; though the reader will hardly suppose that
Mrs. Ellison had kept anything a secret from him.
Amelia was not, however, so forgetful. She made him a very distant
courtesy, would scarce vouchsafe an answer to anything he said, and
took the first opportunity of shifting her chair and retiring from
Her behaviour, indeed, was such that the peer plainly perceived that
he should get no advantage by pursuing her any farther at present.
Instead, therefore, of attempting to follow her, he turned on his heel
and addressed his discourse to another lady, though he could not avoid
often casting his eyes towards Amelia as long as she remained in the
Fortune, which seems to have been generally no great friend to Mr.
Booth, gave him no extraordinary marks of her favour at play. He lost
two full rubbers, which cost him five guineas; after which, Amelia,
who was uneasy at his lordship's presence, begged him in a whisper to
return home; with which request he directly complied.
Nothing, I think, remarkable happened to Booth, unless the renewal of
his acquaintance with an officer whom he had known abroad, and who
made one of his party at the whist-table.
The name of this gentleman, with whom the reader will hereafter be
better acquainted, was Trent. He had formerly been in the same
regiment with Booth, and there was some intimacy between them. Captain
Trent exprest great delight in meeting his brother officer, and both
mutually promised to visit each other.
The scenes which had past the preceding night and that morning had so
confused Amelia's thoughts, that, in the hurry in which she was
carried off by Mrs. James, she had entirely forgot her appointment
with Dr Harrison. When she was informed at her return home that the
doctor had been to wait upon her, and had expressed some anger at her
being gone out, she became greatly uneasy, and begged of her husband
to go to the doctor's lodgings and make her apology.
But lest the reader should be as angry with the doctor as he had
declared himself with Amelia, we think proper to explain the matter.
Nothing then was farther from the doctor's mind than the conception of
any anger towards Amelia. On the contrary, when the girl answered him
that her mistress was not at home, the doctor said with great good
humour, "How! not at home! then tell your mistress she is a giddy
vagabond, and I will come to see her no more till she sends for me."
This the poor girl, from misunderstanding one word, and half
forgetting the rest, had construed into great passion, several very
bad words, and a declaration that he would never see Amelia any more.
_In which two strangers make their appearance._
Booth went to the doctor's lodgings, and found him engaged with his
country friend and his son, a young gentleman who was lately in
orders; both whom the doctor had left, to keep his appointment with
After what we mentioned at the end of the last chapter, we need take
little notice of the apology made by Booth, or the doctor's reception
of it, which was in his peculiar manner. "Your wife," said he, "is a
vain hussy to think herself worth my anger; but tell her I have the
vanity myself to think I cannot be angry without a better cause. And
yet tell her I intend to punish her for her levity; for, if you go
abroad, I have determined to take her down with me into the country,
and make her do penance there till you return."
"Dear sir," said Booth, "I know not how to thank you if you are in
"I assure you then I am in earnest," cries the doctor; "but you need
not thank me, however, since you know not how."
"But would not that, sir," said Booth, "be shewing a slight to the
colonel's invitation? and you know I have so many obligations to him."
"Don't tell me of the colonel," cries the doctor; "the church is to be
first served. Besides, sir, I have priority of right, even to you
yourself. You stole my little lamb from me; for I was her first love."
"Well, sir," cries Booth, "if I should be so unhappy to leave her to
any one, she must herself determine; and, I believe, it will not be
difficult to guess where her choice will fall; for of all men, next to
her husband, I believe, none can contend with Dr Harrison in her
"Since you say so," cries the doctor, "fetch her hither to dinner with
us; for I am at least so good a Christian to love those that love me--
I will shew you my daughter, my old friend, for I am really proud of
her--and you may bring my grand-children with you if you please."
Booth made some compliments, and then went on his errand. As soon as
he was gone the old gentleman said to the doctor, "Pray, my good
friend, what daughter is this of yours? I never so much as heard that
you was married."
"And what then," cries the doctor; "did you ever hear that a pope was
married? and yet some of them have had sons and daughters, I believe;
but, however, this young gentleman will absolve me without obliging me
"I have not yet that power," answered the young clergyman; "for I am
only in deacon's orders."
"Are you not?" cries the doctor; "why then I will absolve myself. You
are to know then, my good friend, that this young lady was the
daughter of a neighbour of mine, who is since dead, and whose sins I
hope are forgiven; for she had too much to answer for on her child's
account. Her father was my intimate acquaintance and friend; a
worthier man, indeed, I believe never lived. He died suddenly when his
children were infants; and, perhaps, to the suddenness of his death it
was owing that he did not recommend any care of them to me. However,
I, in some measure, took that charge upon me; and particularly of her
whom I call my daughter. Indeed, as she grew up she discovered so many
good qualities that she wanted not the remembrance of her father's
merit to recommend her. I do her no more than justice when I say she
is one of the best creatures I ever knew. She hath a sweetness of
temper, a generosity of spirit, an openness of heart--in a word, she
hath a true Christian disposition. I may call her an Israelite indeed,
in whom there is no guile."
"I wish you joy of your daughter," cries the old gentleman; "for to a
man of your disposition, to find out an adequate object of your
benevolence, is, I acknowledge, to find a treasure."
"It is, indeed, a happiness," cries the doctor.
"The greatest difficulty," added the gentleman, "which persons of your
turn of mind meet with, is in finding proper objects of their
goodness; for nothing sure can be more irksome to a generous mind,
than to discover that it hath thrown away all its good offices on a
soil that bears no other fruit than ingratitude."
"I remember," cries the doctor, "Phocylides saith,
Mn kakov ev epens opens dpelpelv ioov eot evi povtw
[Footnote: To do a kindness to a bad man is like sowing your seed in
But he speaks more like a philosopher than a Christian. I am more
pleased with a French writer, one of the best, indeed, that I ever
read, who blames men for lamenting the ill return which is so often
made to the best offices. [Footnote: D'Esprit.] A true Christian can
never be disappointed if he doth not receive his reward in this world;
the labourer might as well complain that he is not paid his hire in
the middle of the day."
"I own, indeed," said the gentleman, "if we see it in that light--"
"And in what light should we see it?" answered the doctor. "Are we
like Agrippa, only almost Christians? or, is Christianity a matter of
bare theory, and not a rule for our practice?"
"Practical, undoubtedly; undoubtedly practical," cries the gentleman.
"Your example might indeed have convinced me long ago that we ought to
do good to every one."
"Pardon me, father," cries the young divine, "that is rather a
heathenish than a Christian doctrine. Homer, I remember, introduces in
his Iliad one Axylus, of whom he says--
--Hidvos o'nv avopwpoloi
pavras yap tyeeokev
[Footnote: He was a friend to mankind, for he loved them all.]
But Plato, who, of all the heathens, came nearest to the Christian
philosophy, condemned this as impious doctrine; so Eustathius tells
us, folio 474."
"I know he doth," cries the doctor, "and so Barnes tells us, in his
note upon the place; but if you remember the rest of the quotation as
well as you do that from Eustathius, you might have added the
observation which Mr. Dryden makes in favour of this passage, that he
found not in all the Latin authors, so admirable an instance of
extensive humanity. You might have likewise remembered the noble
sentiment with which Mr. Barnes ends his note, the sense of which is
taken from the fifth chapter of Matthew:--
"It seems, therefore, as if this character rather became a Christian
than a heathen, for Homer could not have transcribed it from any of
his deities. Whom is it, therefore, we imitate by such extensive
"What a prodigious memory you have!" cries the old gentleman: "indeed,
son, you must not contend with the doctor in these matters."
"I shall not give my opinion hastily," cries the son. "I know, again,
what Mr. Poole, in his annotations, says on that verse of St Matthew--
That it is only to _heap coals of fire upon their heads_. How are
we to understand, pray, the text immediately preceding?--_Love your
enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you_."
"You know, I suppose, young gentleman," said the doctor, "how these
words are generally understood. The commentator you mention, I think,
tells us that love is not here to be taken in the strict sense, so as
to signify the complacency of the heart; you may hate your enemies as
God's enemies, and seek due revenge of them for his honour; and, for
your own sakes too, you may seek moderate satisfaction of them; but
then you are to love them with a love consistent with these things;
that is to say, in plainer words, you are to love them and hate them,
and bless and curse, and do them good and mischief."
"Excellent! admirable!" said the old gentleman; "you have a most
inimitable turn to ridicule."
"I do not approve ridicule," said the son, "on such subjects."
"Nor I neither," cries the doctor; "I will give you my opinion,
therefore, very seriously. The two verses taken together, contain a
very positive precept, delivered in the plainest words, and yet
illustrated by the clearest instance in the conduct of the Supreme
Being; and lastly, the practice of this precept is most nobly enforced
by the reward annexed--_that ye may be the children_, and so forth. No
man who understands what it is to love, and to bless, and to do good,
can mistake the meaning. But if they required any comment, the
Scripture itself affords enow. _If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he
thirst, give him drink; not rendering evil for evil, or railing for
railing, but contrariwise, blessing._ They do not, indeed, want the
comments of men, who, when they cannot bend their mind to the
obedience of Scripture, are desirous to wrest Scripture to a
compliance with their own inclinations."
"Most nobly and justly observed," cries the old gentleman. "Indeed, my
good friend, you have explained the text with the utmost perspicuity."
"But if this be the meaning," cries the son, "there must be an end of
all law and justice, for I do not see how any man can prosecute his
enemy in a court of justice."
"Pardon me, sir," cries the doctor. "Indeed, as an enemy merely, and
from a spirit of revenge, he cannot, and he ought not to prosecute
him; but as an offender against the laws of his country he may, and it
is his duty so to do. Is there any spirit of revenge in the
magistrates or officers of justice when they punish criminals? Why do
such, ordinarily I mean, concern themselves in inflicting punishments,
but because it is their duty? and why may not a private man deliver an
offender into the hands of justice, from the same laudable motive?
Revenge, indeed, of all kinds is strictly prohibited; wherefore, as we
are not to execute it with our own hands, so neither are we to make
use of the law as the instrument of private malice, and to worry each
other with inveteracy and rancour. And where is the great difficulty
in obeying this wise, this generous, this noble precept? If revenge
be, as a certain divine, not greatly to his honour, calls it, the most
luscious morsel the devil ever dropt into the mouth of a sinner, it
must be allowed at least to cost us often extremely dear. It is a
dainty, if indeed it be one, which we come at with great inquietude,
with great difficulty, and with great danger. However pleasant it may
be to the palate while we are feeding on it, it is sure to leave a
bitter relish behind it; and so far, indeed, it may be called a
luscious morsel, that the most greedy appetites are soon glutted, and
the most eager longing for it is soon turned into loathing and
repentance. I allow there is something tempting in its outward
appearance, but it is like the beautiful colour of some poisons, from
which, however they may attract our eyes, a regard to our own welfare
commands us to abstain. And this is an abstinence to which wisdom
alone, without any Divine command, hath been often found adequate,
with instances of which the Greek and Latin authors everywhere abound.
May not a Christian, therefore, be well ashamed of making a stumbling-
block of a precept, which is not only consistent with his worldly
interest, but to which so noble an incentive is proposed?"
The old gentleman fell into raptures at this speech, and, after making
many compliments to the doctor upon it, he turned to his son, and told
him he had an opportunity now of learning more in one day than he had
learnt at the university in a twelvemonth.
The son replied, that he allowed the doctrine to be extremely good in
general, and that he agreed with the greater part; "but I must make a
distinction," said he. However, he was interrupted from his
distinction at present, for now Booth returned with Amelia and the
_A scene of modern wit and humour._
In the afternoon the old gentleman proposed a walk to Vauxhall, a
place of which, he said, he had heard much, but had never seen it.
The doctor readily agreed to his friend's proposal, and soon after
ordered two coaches to be sent for to carry the whole company. But
when the servant was gone for them Booth acquainted the doctor that it
was yet too early. "Is it so?" said the doctor; "why, then, I will
carry you first to one of the greatest and highest entertainments in
The children pricked up their ears at this, nor did any of the company
guess what he meant; and Amelia asked what entertainment he could
carry them to at that time of day?
"Suppose," says the doctor, "I should carry you to court."
"At five o'clock in the afternoon!" cries Booth.
"Ay, suppose I should have interest enough to introduce you into the
"You are jesting, dear sir," cries Amelia.
"Indeed, I am serious," answered the doctor. "I will introduce you
into that presence, compared to whom the greatest emperor on the earth
is many millions of degrees meaner than the most contemptible reptile
is to him. What entertainment can there be to a rational being equal
to this? Was not the taste of mankind most wretchedly depraved, where
would the vain man find an honour, or where would the love of pleasure
propose so adequate an object as divine worship? with what ecstasy
must the contemplation of being admitted to such a presence fill the
mind! The pitiful courts of princes are open to few, and to those only
at particular seasons; but from this glorious and gracious presence we
are none of us, and at no time excluded."
The doctor was proceeding thus when the servant returned, saying the
coaches were ready; and the whole company with the greatest alacrity
attended the doctor to St James's church.
When the service was ended, and they were again got into their
coaches, Amelia returned the doctor many thanks for the light in which
he had placed divine worship, assuring him that she had never before
had so much transport in her devotion as at this time, and saying she
believed she should be the better for this notion he had given her as
long as she lived.
The coaches being come to the water-side, they all alighted, and,
getting into one boat, proceeded to Vauxhall.
The extreme beauty and elegance of this place is well known to almost
every one of my readers; and happy is it for me that it is so, since
to give an adequate idea of it would exceed my power of description.
To delineate the particular beauties of these gardens would, indeed,
require as much pains, and as much paper too, as to rehearse all the
good actions of their master, whose life proves the truth of an
observation which I have read in some ethic writer, that a truly
elegant taste is generally accompanied with an excellency of heart;
or, in other words, that true virtue is, indeed, nothing else but true
Here our company diverted themselves with walking an hour or two
before the music began. Of all the seven, Booth alone had ever been
here before; so that, to all the rest, the place, with its other
charms, had that of novelty. When the music played, Amelia, who stood
next to the doctor, said to him in a whisper, "I hope I am not guilty
of profaneness; but, in pursuance of that chearful chain of thoughts
with which you have inspired me this afternoon, I was just now lost in
a reverie, and fancied myself in those blissful mansions which we hope
to enjoy hereafter. The delicious sweetness of the place, the
enchanting charms of the music, and the satisfaction which appears in
every one's countenance, carried my soul almost to heaven in its
ideas. I could not have, indeed, imagined there had been anything like
this in this world."
The doctor smiled, and said, "You see, dear madam, there may be
pleasures of which you could conceive no idea till you actually
And now the little boy, who had long withstood the attractions of
several cheesecakes that passed to and fro, could contain no longer,
but asked his mother to give him one, saying, "I am sure my sister
would be glad of another, though she is ashamed to ask." The doctor,
overhearing the child, proposed that they should all retire to some
place where they might sit down and refresh themselves; which they
accordingly did. Amelia now missed her husband; but, as she had three
men in her company, and one of them was the doctor, she concluded
herself and her children to be safe, and doubted not but that Booth
would soon find her out.
They now sat down, and the doctor very gallantly desired Amelia to
call for what she liked. Upon which the children were supplied with
cakes, and some ham and chicken were provided for the rest of the
company; with which while they were regaling themselves with the
highest satisfaction, two young fellows walking arm-in-arm, came up,
and when they came opposite to Amelia they stood still, staring Amelia
full in the face, and one of them cried aloud to the other, "D--n me,
my lord, if she is not an angel!"--My lord stood still, staring
likewise at her, without speaking a word; when two others of the same
gang came up, and one of them cried, "Come along, Jack, I have seen
her before; but she is too well manned already. Three----are enough
for one woman, or the devil is in it!"
"D--n me," says he that spoke first, and whom they called Jack, "I
will have a brush at her if she belonged to the whole convocation."
And so saying, he went up to the young clergyman, and cried, "Doctor,
sit up a little, if you please, and don't take up more room in a bed
than belongs to you." At which words he gave the young man a push, and
seated himself down directly over against Amelia, and, leaning both
his elbows on the table, he fixed his eyes on her in a manner with
which modesty can neither look nor bear to be looked at.
Amelia seemed greatly shocked at this treatment; upon which the doctor
removed her within him, and then, facing the gentleman, asked him what
he meant by this rude behaviour?--Upon which my lord stept up and
said, "Don't be impertinent, old gentleman. Do you think such fellows
as you are to keep, d--n me, such fine wenches, d--n me, to
yourselves, d--n me?"
"No, no," cries Jack, "the old gentleman is more reasonable. Here's
the fellow that eats up the tithe-pig. Don't you see how his mouth
waters at her? Where's your slabbering bib?" For, though the gentleman
had rightly guessed he was a clergyman, yet he had not any of those
insignia on with which it would have been improper to have appeared
"Such boys as you," cries the young clergyman, "ought to be well
whipped at school, instead of being suffered to become nuisances in
"Boys, sir!" says Jack; "I believe I am as good a man as yourself, Mr.
----, and as good a scholar too. _Bos fur sus quotque sacerdos_. Tell
me what's next. D--n me, I'll hold you fifty pounds you don't tell me
"You have him, Jack," cries my lord. "It is over with him, d--n me! he
can't strike another blow."
"If I had you in a proper place," cries the clergyman, "you should
find I would strike a blow, and a pretty hard one too."
"There," cries my lord, "there is the meekness of the clergyman--there
spoke the wolf in sheep's clothing. D--n me, how big he looks! You
must be civil to him, faith! or else he will burst with pride."
"Ay, ay," cries Jack," let the clergy alone for pride; there's not a
lord in the kingdom now hath half the pride of that fellow."
"Pray, sir," cries the doctor, turning to the other, "are you a lord?"
"Yes, Mr. ----," cries he, "I have that honour, indeed."
"And I suppose you have pride too," said the doctor.
"I hope I have, sir," answered he, "at your service."
"If such a one as you, sir," cries the doctor, "who are not only a
scandal to the title you bear as a lord, but even as a man, can
pretend to pride, why will you not allow it to a clergyman? I suppose,
sir, by your dress, you are in the army? and, by the ribbon in your
hat, you seem to be proud of that too. How much greater and more
honourable is the service in which that gentleman is enlisted than
yours! Why then should you object to the pride of the clergy, since
the lowest of the function is in reality every way so much your
"Tida Tidu Tidum," cries my lord.
"However, gentlemen," cries the doctor, "if you have the least
pretension to that name, I beg you will put an end to your frolic;
since you see it gives so much uneasiness to the lady. Nay, I entreat
you for your own sakes, for here is one coming who will talk to you in
a very different stile from ours."
"One coming!" cries my lord; "what care I who is coming?"
"I suppose it is the devil," cries Jack; "for here are two of his
livery servants already."
"Let the devil come as soon as he will," cries my lord; "d--n me if I
have not a kiss!"
Amelia now fell a trembling; and her children, perceiving her fright,
both hung on her, and began to cry; when Booth and Captain Trent both
Booth, seeing his wife disordered, asked eagerly what was the matter?
At the same time the lord and his companion, seeing Captain Trent,
whom they well knew, said both together, "What, doth this company
belong to you?" When the doctor, with great presence of mind, as he
was apprehensive of some fatal consequence if Booth should know what
had past, said, "So, Mr. Booth, I am glad you are returned; your poor
lady here began to be frighted out of her wits. But now you have him
again," said he to Amelia, "I hope you will be easy."
Amelia, frighted as she was, presently took the hint, and greatly chid
her husband for leaving her. But the little boy was not so quick-
sighted, and cried, "Indeed, papa, those naughty men there have
frighted my mamma out of her wits."
"How!" cries Booth, a little moved; "frightened! Hath any one
frightened you, my dear?"
"No, my love," answered she, "nothing. I know not what the child
means. Everything is well now I see you safe."
Trent had been all the while talking aside with the young sparks; and
now, addressing himself to Booth, said, "Here hath been some little
mistake; I believe my lord mistook Mrs. Booth for some other lady."
"It is impossible," cries my lord, "to know every one. I am sure, if I
had known the lady to be a woman of fashion, and an acquaintance of
Captain Trent, I should have said nothing disagreeable to her; but, if
I have, I ask her pardon, and the company's."
"I am in the dark," cries Booth. "Pray what is all this matter?"
"Nothing of any consequence," cries the doctor, "nor worth your
enquiring into. You hear it was a mistake of the person, and I really
believe his lordship that all proceeded from his not knowing to whom
the lady belonged."
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