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it at length reached Amelia's ears. She said she was very much obliged to me: since I could have so much compassion for her as to be rude to a lady on her account. ‘About a month after the accident, when Amelia began to see company in a mask, I had the honour to drink tea with her. We were alone together, and I begged her to indulge my curiosity by showing me her face. She answered in a most obliging manner, “Perhaps, Mr. Booth, you will as little know me when my mask is off, as when it is on ;” and at the same time unmasked. —The surgeon's skill was the least I had considered. A thousand tender ideas rushed all at once on my mind. I was unable to contain myself, and eagerly kissing her hand, I cried,—Upon my soul, madam, you never appeared to me so lovely as at this instant. Nothing more remarkable passed at this visit; but I sincerely believe we were neither of us hereafter indifferent to each other. “Many months, however, passed after this, before I ever thought seriously of making her my wife. ... Not that I wanted sufficient love for Amelia. Indeed it arose from the vast affection I bore her. I considered my own as a desperate fortune, hers as entirely dependent on her mother, who was a woman, you know, of violent passions, and very unlikely to consent to a match so highly contrary to the interest of her daughter. The more I loved Amelia, the more firmly I resolved within myself, never to propose love to her seriously. Such a dupe was my understanding to my heart; and so foolishly did I imagine I could be master of a flame, to which I was every day adding fuel. ‘O, Miss Matthews! we have heard of men entirely masters of their passions, and of hearts which can carry this fire in them, and conceal it at their pleasure. Perhaps there inay be such ; but if there are, those hearts may be compared, I believe, to damps, in which it is more difficult to keep sire alive than to prevent its blazing : in mine, it was placed in the midst of combustible matter. * After several visits, in which looks and sizhs had been interchanged on both sides, but without the least mention of passion in private, one day the discourse between us, when alone, happened to turn on love; I say happened, for I protest it was not designed on my side, and I am as firmly convinced not on hers. I was now no longer master of myself; I declared myself the most wretched of all martyrs to this tender passion ; that I had long concealed it from its object. At length, after mentioning many Irarticulars, suppressing, however, those which must have necessarily brought it home to Amelia, I concluded with begging her to be the confidante of my amour, and to give nue her advice on that occasion.
“Amelia, (O, I shall never forget the dear perturbation') appeared all confusion at this instant. She trembled, turned pale, and discovered how well she understood me, by a thousand more symptoms than I could take notice of, in a state of mind so very little different from her own. At last, with faltering accents, she said, I had made a very ill choice of a counsellor, in a matter in which she was so ignorant.—Adding, at last, I believe, Mr. Booth, you gentlemen want very little advice in these affairs, which you all understand better than we do.
‘I will relate no more of our conversation at present; indeed, I am afraid I tire you with too many particulars.”
“O no '' answered she ; “I should be glad to hear every step of an amour which had so tender a beginning. Tell me everything you said or did, if you can remember it.”
He then o and so will we in the next chapter.
.Mr. Booth continues his story. In this chapter there are some passages that may serve as a kind of touchstone, by which the young lady may examine the heart of her lorer. I would advise, therefore, that every lover be obliged to read it over in the presence of his mistress, and that she carefully walch his emotions while he is reading. “I was under the utmost concern,’ cries Booth, “when I retired from my visit, and had reflected coolly on what I had said. I now saw plainly that I had made downright love to Amelia; and I feared, such was my vanity, that I had already gone too far, and been too successful. Feared do I say, could I fear what I hoped how shall I describe the anxiety of my mind!’ ‘You need give yourself no great pain,” cried Miss Matthews, “to describe what I can so easily guess. To be honest with you, Mr. Booth, I do not agree with your lady's opinion, that the men have a superior understanding in the matters of love. Men are often blind to the passions of women: but every woman is as quick-sighted as a hawk on these occasions: nor is there one article in the whole science which is not understood by all our sex.” ‘However, madam,” said Mr. Booth, ‘I now undertook to deceive Amelia. I abstained three days from seeing her; to say the truth, I endeavoured to work myself up to a resolution of leaving her forever; but when I could not so far subdue my passion But why do I talk nonsense, of subduing passion: I should say, when no other passion could surmount my love. I returned to visit her, and now I attempted the strangest project which ever entered the silly head of a lover. This was to persuade Amelia that I was really in love in another place, and literally expressed my meaning, when I asked her advice, and desired her to be my confidante. “I therefore forged a meeting to have been between me and my imaginary mistress, since I had last seen Amelia, and related the particulars, as well as I could invent them, which had passed at our conversation. “Poor Amelia presently swallowed this bait; and, as she hath told me since, absolutely believed me to be in earnest. Poor dear love 1 how should the sincerest of hearts have an idea of deceit? for with all her simplicity, I assure you she is the most sensible woman in the world.’ ‘It is highly generous and good in you,' (said Miss Matthews, with a sly sneer,) ‘to impute to honesty what others would, perhaps, call credulity.’ *I protest, madam,’ answered he, “I do her no more than justice. A good heart will at all times betray the best head in the world. Well, madam, my angel was now, if possible, more confused than before. She looked so silly, you can hardly believe it.’ ‘Yes, yes, I can,' answered the lady, with a laugh, “I can believe it.—Well, well, go on.”—“After some hesitation, cried he, “my Amelia said faintly to me, “Mr. Booth, you use me very ill; you desire me to be your confidante, and conceal from me the name of your mistress.” *Is it possible, then, madam,’ answered I, ‘that you cannot guess her, when I tell you she is one of your acquaintance, and lives in this town” “My acquaintance!” said she, “La Mr. Booth, In this town! I–I—I thought I could have guessed for once; but I have an ill talent that way—I will never attempt to guess any thing again.” Indeed, I do her an injury, when I pretend to represent her manner. Her manner, look, voice, every thing, was inimitable; such sweetness, softness, innocence, modesty.—Upon my soul, if ever man could boast of his resolution, I think I might now, that I abstained from falling prostrate at her feet, and adoring her. However, I triumphed; pride, I believe, triumphed, or perhaps love got the better of love. We once more parted; and I promised, the next time I saw her, to reveal the name of my mistress. ‘I now had, I thought, gained a complete victory over myself; and no small compliments did I pay to my own resolution. In short, I triumphed as cowards and niggards do, when they flatter themselves with having given some supposed instance of courage or generosity; and my triumph lasted as long; that is to say, till my ascendant passion had a proper opportunity of displaying itself in its true and natural colours. “Having hithertosucceeded so well in my
own opinion, and obtained this mighty selfconquest, I now entertained a design of exerting the most romantic generosity, and of curing that unhappy passion which I perceived I had raised in Amelia. “Among the ladies who had expressed the greatest satisfaction at my Amelia's misfortune, Miss Osborne had distinguished herself in a very eminent degree: she was, indeed, the next in beauty to my angel; nay, she had disputed the preference, and had some among her admirers, who were blind enough to give it in her favour.” “Well, cries the lady, ‘I will allow you to call them blind; but Miss Osborne was a charming girl.’ “She certainly was handsome,” answered he, “and a very considerable fortune; so I thought my Amelia would have little difficulty in believing me, when I fixed on her as my mistress. And I concluded, that by thus placing my affections on her known enemy, would be the surest method of eradicating every tender idea with which I had been ever honoured by Amelia. “Well, then, to Amelia I went; she received me with more than usual coldness and reserve; in which, to confess the truth, there appeared to me more of anger than indifference, and more of dejection than of either. After some short introduction, I revived the discourse of my amour, and presently mentioned Miss Osborne, as the lady whose name I had concealed; adding, that the true reason why I did not mention her before, was, that I apprehended there was some little distance between them, which I hoped to have the happiness of accommodating. “Amelia answered, with much gravity, “If you know, sir, that there is any distance between us, I suppose you know the reason of that distance; and then, I think, I could not have expected to be affronted by her name. I would not have you think, Mr. Booth, that I hate Miss Osborne. No! Heaven is my witness, I despise her too much.-Indeed, when I reflect how much I loved the woman who hath treated me so cruelly, Iown it gives me pain—when I lay, as I then imagined, and as all about me believed, on my death-bed, in all the nies of pain and misery, to become the object of laughter to my dearest friend.—O! Mr. Booth, it is a cruel reflection! and could I, after this, have expected from you—but why not from you, to whom I am a person entirely indifferent, if such a friend could treat me so barbarously. “During the greater part of this speech, the tears streamed from her bright eyes. I could endure it no longer. I caught up the word indifferent, and repeated it, saying, Do you think then, madam, that Miss Emily is indifferent to me?
‘Yes, surely, I do, answered she, I know I am; indeed, why should I not be indifferent to you? “Have my eyes, said I, then declared nothing 2 “O ! there is no need of your eyes, answered she. Your tongue hath declared that you have singled out of all womankind my greatest, I will say, my basest enemy. —I own I once thought that character would have been no recommendation to you;-but why did I think so : I was born to deceive myself. “I then fell on my knees before her; and forcing her hand, cried out, O my Amelia | I can bear no longer.—You are the only mistress of my affections; you are the deity I adore. In this style I ran on for above two or three minutes, what it is impossible to repeat, till a torrent of contending passions, together with the surprise, overpowered her gentle spirits, and she fainted away in my arms. “To describe my sensation till she returned to herself, is not in my power.”—“You need not,’ cried Miss Matthews.-'Oh, happy Amelial why had I not been blessed with such a ion ?”—“I am convinced, madam, continued he, “you cannot expect all the particulars of the tender scene which ensued. I was not enough in my senses to remember it all. Let it suffice to say, that that behaviour with which Amelia, while ignorant of its motive, had been so much displeased, when she became sensible of that motive, proved the strongest recoinmendation to her favour; and she was pleased to call it generous.” * Generous !' repeated the lady, “and so it was, almost beyond the reach of humanity. I question whether you ever had an equal.' %. the critical reader may have the same doubt with Miss Matthews; and lest he should, we will here make a gap in our history, to give him an opportunity of accurately considering whether this account of Mr. Booth was natural or no; and consequently, whether we have, in this place, maintained or deviated from that strict adherence to universal truth, which we profess above all other historians.
CHAPTER III. The narratire continued. More of the touchstone.
Booth made a proper acknowledgment of Miss Matthew's civility, and then renewed his story.
“We were upon the footing of lovers: and Amelia threw off her reserve more and more, till at length I found all that return of my affection which the tenderest lover can require.
‘My situation would now have been a
paradise, had not my happiness been interrupted with the same reflections I have already mentioned; had I not, in short, concluded, that I must derive all my joys from the almost certain ruin of that dear creature to whom I should owe them. ‘This thought haunted me nightand day; till I, at last, grew unable to support it: I therefore resolved in the strongest manner to lay it before Amelia. ‘One evening then, after the highest prosessions of the most disinterested love, in which, Heaven knows my sincerity, I took an occasion to speak to Amelia, in the following manner : ‘Too true it is, I am afraid, my dearest creature, that the highest human happiness is imperfect. How rich would be my cup, was it not for one poisonous drop which embitters the whole ! O, Amelia what must be the consequence of my ever having the honour to call you mine! ‘You know my situation in life, and you know your own: I have nothing more than the poor provision of an ensign's commission to depend on ; your sole dependence is on your mother; should any act of disobedience defeat your expectations, how wretched must your lot be with me: O, Amelia : how j an object to my mind is the apprehension of your distress! Can I bear to reflect a moment on the certainty of your foregoing all the conveniences of life on the possibility of your suffering all its most dreadful inconveniences ! what must be my misery then, to see you in such a situation, and to upbraid myself with being the accursed cause of bringing you to it? Suppose too, in such a season, I should be summoned from you. Could I submit to see you encounter all the hazards, the fatigues of war, with me? you could not yourself, however willing, support them a single campaign. What the "must flav. you to starve alone, deprived of the tenderness of a husband, deprived too of the tenderness of the best of mothers, through my means ? a woman most dear to me, for being the parent, the nurse, and the friend of my Amelia. But oh! my sweet creature, carry your thoughts a little farther. Think of the tenderest consequences, the dearest pledges of our love. Can I bear to think of entailing beggary on the posterity of my Amelia: on our—Oh, Heavens! on our children!—On the other side, is it possible even to mention the word—I will not, must not, cannot, cannot part with you.-What must we do, Amelia? It is now I sincerely ask your advice. What advice can I in such an alternative? we had never met. “These words were accompanied with a sigh, and a look inexpressively tender, the
ive you, said she, ould to Heaven
tears at the same time overflowing all her lovely cheeks. I was endeavouring to reply, when I was interrupted by what soon put an end to the scene. ‘Our amour had already been buzzed all over the town ; and it came at last to the ears of Mrs. Harris: I had, indeed observed, of late, a great alteration in that lady's behaviour towards me, whenever I visited at the house; nor could I, for a long time, before this evening, ever obtain a private interview with Amelia; and now, it seems, I owed it to her mother's intention of overhearing all that passed between us. “At the period then above-mentioned, Mrs. Harris burst from the closet where she had hid herself, and surprised her daughter, reclining on my bosom, in all that tender sorrowi have just described. I will not attempt to paint the rage of the nother, of the daughter's confusion, or my own. Here are very fine doings, indeed, cries Mrs. Harris; You have made a noble use, Amelia, of my indulgence, and the trust I reposed in you.-As for you, Mr. Booth, I will not accuse you; you have used my child, as I ought to have expected; I may thank myself for what hath happened; with much more of the same kind, before she would suffer me to speak; but at last, I obtained a hearing, and offered to excuse my poor Amelia, who was ready to sink into the earth under the oppression of grief, by taking as much blane as I could on myself. Mrs. Harris answered, No, sir, I must say you are innocent in comparison of her; nay, have heard you use dissuasive arguments;
and I promise you they are of weight. I have, I thank Heaven, one dutiful child, and
I shall henceforth think her my only one. —She then forced the poor, trembling, sainting Amelia out of the room; which when she had done, she began very coolly to reason with me on the folly, as well as iniquity, which I had been guilty of; and repeated to me almost every word I had before urged to her daughter. In fine, she at last obtained of me a promise, that I would soon go to my regiment, and submit to any misery, rather than that of being the ruin of Amelia. ‘I now, for many days, endured the Frreatest torment which the human mind is, I believe, capable of feeling; and I can honestly say, I tried all the means, and applied every argument which I could raise, to cure me of my love. And to make these the more effectual, I spent every night in walking backwards and forwards in the sight of Mrs. Harris's house, where I never failed to find some object or other, which raised some tender idea of my lovely Amelia, and almost drove me to distraction.’ “And don't you think, sir,’ said Miss
Matthews, ‘you took a most preposterous method to cure yourself?” ‘Alas, madam,' answered he, “you cannot see it in a more absurd light than I do ; but those know little of real love or grief, who do not know how much we deceive ourselves when we pretend to aim at the cure of either. It is with these, as it is with some distempers of the body, nothing is, in the least, agreeable to us but what serves to heighten the disease. “At the end of a fortnight, when I was driven almost to the highest degree of despair, and could contrive no method of conveying a letter to Amelia, how was I surprised when Mrs. Harris's servant brought me a card, with an invitation from the mother herself, to drink tea that evening at her house ! ‘You will easily believe, madam, that I did not fail so agreeable an appointment; on my arrival, I was introduced into a large company of men and women, Mrs. Harris and my Amelia being part of the company. “Amelia seemed in my eyes to look more beautiful than ever, and behaved with all the gayety imaginable. The old lady treated me with much civility; but the young lady took little notice of me, and addressed most of her discourse to another gentleman present. Indeed, she now and then gave me a look of no discouraging kind; and I observed her colour change more than once, when her eyes met mine; circumstances which, perhaps, ought to have afforded me sufficient comfort, but they could not allay the thousand doubts and fears with which I was alarmed; for my anxious thoughts suggested no less to me than that Amelia had made her peace with her mother at the price of abandoning me for ever, and of giving her ear to some other lover. All my prudence now vanished at once; and I would that instant have gladly run away with Amelia, and have married her, without the least consideration of any consequences. “With such thoughts I had tormented myself for near two hours, till most of the company had taken their leave. This I was myself incapable of doing ; nor do I know when I should have put an end to my visit, had not Dr. Harrison taken me away almost by force, telling me, in a whisper, that he had something to say to me of great consequence.—You know the doctor, ma— dam.” “Very well, sir,’ answered Miss Matthews, ‘and one of the best men in the world he is. and an honour to the sacred order to which he belongs.” ‘You will judge, replied Booth, ‘by the sequel whether I have reason to think him so. —He then proceeded as in the next
The story of Mr. Booth continued. In this chapter the reader will perceive a glimpse of the character of a very good divine; with some matters of a very tender kind.
“THE doctor conducted me into his study; and then desiring me to sit down, began, as near as I can remember, in these words, or at least to this purpose: ‘You cannot imagine, young gentleman, that your love for Miss Emily is any secret in this place; I have known it some time, and have been, I assure you, very much your enemy in this affair.’ ‘I answered, that I was very much obliged to him.” Why, so you are, replied he 5 and so, perhaps, you will think yourself when you know all.—I went about a fortnight ago, to Mrs. Harris, to acquaint her with my apprehensions on her daughter's account; for though the matter was much talked of, I thought it might possibly not have reached her ears. I will be very plain with you. I advised her to take all possible care of the young lady, and even to send her to some place, where she might be effectually kept out of your reach, while you remained in the town. “And do you think, sir, said I, that this was acting a kind part by me? or do you expect that I should thank you on this occasion?” “Young man, answered he, I did not intend you any kindness; nor do I desire any of your thanks. My intention was, to preserve a worthy lady from a young fellow of whom I had heard no good character,
and whom I imagined to have a design of
stealing a human creature for the sake of her fortune. “It was very kind of you, indeed, answered I, to entertain such an opinion of me. “Why, sir, replied the doctor, it is the opinion which, I believe, most of you young fo of the order of the rag deserve. have known some instances, and have heard of more, where such young fellows have committed robbery, under the name of marriage. “I was going to interrupt him with some anger, when he desired me to have a little patience, and then informed me that he had visited Mrs. Harris, with the above-mentioned design, the evening after the discovery I have related: that Mrs. Harris, without waiting for his information, had recounted to him all which had happened the evening before; and, indeed, she must have an excellent memory, for I think she repeated every word I said; and added, that she had confined her daughter to her chamber, where she kept her a close prisoner, and had not seen her since.
‘I cannot express, nor would modesty suffer me, if I could, all that now passed. The doctor took me by the hand, and burst forth into the warmest commendations of the sense and generosity which, he was pleased to say, discovered themselves in my speech. You know, madam, his strong and singular way of expressing himself on all occasions, especially when he is affected with anything. Sir, said he, if I knew half a dozen suc instances in the army, the painter should put red liveries upon all the saints in my closet. “From this instant, the doctor told me, he had become my friend and zealous advocate with Mrs. Harris, on whom he at last prevailed, though not without the greatest disficulty, to consent to my marrying Amelia, upon condition that I settled every penny which the mother should lay down; and that she would retain a certain sum in her hands, which she would at any time deposit for my advancement in the army. ‘You will, I hope, madam, conceive, that I made no hesitation at these conditions; nor need I mention the joy which I felt on this occasion, or the acknowledgment I paid the doctor, who is, indeed, as you say, one of the best of men. “The next morning I had permission to visit Amelia, who received me in such a manner, that I now concluded my happiness to be complete. “Every thing was now agreed on, on all sides, and lawyers employed to prepare the writings, when an unexpected cloud arose suddenly in our serene sky, and all our joys were obscured in a moment. “When matters were, as I apprehended, drawing near a conclusion, I received an express, that a sister, whom I tenderly loved, was seized with a violent fever, and earnestly desired me to come to her. I immediately obeyed the summons, and, as it was then about two in the morning, without stayin even to take leave of Amelia, for j." left a short billet, acquainting her with the reason of my absence. “The gentleman's house, where my sister then was, stood at fifty miles' distance; and though I used the utmost expedition, the unmerciful distemper had, before my arrival, entirely deprived the poor girl of her senses, as it soon after did of her life. “Not all the love I bore Amelia, nor the tumultuous delight with which the approaching hour of possessing her filled my heart, could, for a while, allay my grief at the loss of my beloved Nancy. Upon my soul, I cannot yet mention her name without tears. Never brother and sister had, I believe, a higher friendship for each other. Poor dear girl! whilst I sat by her in her light-headed fits, she repeated scarce any other name but mine; and it plainly appeared, that when her dear reason was ravished ** from