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tionate brother. Relations, said he, in which, whoever discharges his duty well, gives us a well-grounded hope, that he will behave as properly in all the rest.—He concluded with saying, that Amelia's happiness, her heart, nay her very reputation, were all concerned in this matter, to which, as he had been made instrumental, he was resolved to carry her through it; and then taking the license from his pocket, declared to Mrs. Harris, that he would go that instant and marry her daughter wherever he found her. This speech, the doctor's voice, his look, and his behaviour, all which are sufficiently calculated to inspire awe, and even terror, when he pleases, frightened poor Mrs. Harris, and wrought a more sensible effect than it was in his power to produce by all his arguments and entreaties: and I have already related what followed. “Thus the strange accident of our wanting pen, ink, and paper, and our not trusting the boy with our secret, occasioned the discovery to Mrs. Harris; that discovery put the doctor upon his mettle, and produced that blessed event which I have recounted to you, and which, as my mother hath since confessed, nothing but the spirit which he had exerted after the discovery, could have brought about. “Well, madam, you now see me married to Amelia; in which situation you will, perhaps, think my happiness incapable of addition. Perhaps it was so; and yet I can with truth say, that the love which I then bore Amelia, was not comparable to what I bear her now.”—“Happy Amelia '' cried Miss Matthews. “If all men were like you, all women would be blessed; nay, the whole world would be so in a great measure: for o my soul, I believe that from the damned inconstancy of your sex to ours proceeds half the miseries of mankind.” That we may give the reader leisure to consider well the foregoing sentiment, we will here put an end to this chapter.
In which our readers will probably be dirided in their opinions of JMr. Booth's conduct.
Booth proceeded as follows:
“The first months of our marriage produced nothing remarkable enough to mention. I am sure I need not tell Miss Matthews that I found in my Amelia every persection of human nature. Mrs. Harris at first gave us some little uneasiness. She had rather yielded to the doctor than given a willing consent to the match; however, by degrees, she became more and more satisfied, and at last seemed perfectly reconciled. This we ascribe a deal to the kind offices of Miss Betty, who had always
appeared to be my friend. She had been greatly assisting to Amelia in making her escape, which I had no opportunity of mentioning to you before, and in all things behaved so well, outwardly at least, to myself as well as to her sister, that we regarded her as our sincerest friend. ‘About half a year after our marriage. two additional companies were added to our regiment, in one of which I was preferred to the command of a lieutenant. Upon this occasion, Miss Betty gave the first intimation of a disposition which we have since so severely experienced.” ‘Your servant, sir,’ says Miss Matthews, ‘then I find I was not mistaken in my opinion of the lady.—No, no, show me any goodness in a censorious prude, and—’ As Miss Matthews hesitated for a simile or an execration, Booth proceeded: “You will please to remember, madam, there was formerly an agreement between myself and Mrs. Harris, that I should settle all my Amelia's fortune on her, except a certain sum, which was to be laid out in luy advancement in the army; but as our 1-larriage was carried on in the manner you l-ave heard, no such agreement was ever executed. And since I was become Amelia's husband, not a word of this matter was ever mentioned by the old lady; and as for myself, I declare I had not yet awakened from that delicious dream of bliss in which the possession of Amelia had lulled me.’ ere Miss Matthews sighed, and cast the tenderest of looks on Booth, who thus continued his story: ‘Soon after my promotion, Mrs. Harris one morning took an occasion to speak to me on this aflair. She said, that as I had been promoted gratis to a lieutenancy, she would assist me with money to carry me a step higher; and if more was required than was formerly mentioned, it should not be wanting, since she was so perfectly satisfied with my behaviour to her daughter. Adding, that she hoped I had still the same inclination to settle on my wise the remainder of her fortune. ‘I answered with very warm acknowledgments of my mother's goodness, and declared, if I had the world, I was ready to lay it at my Amelia's feet. And so, heaven knows, I would ten thousand worlds. ‘Mrs. Harris seened pleased with the warmth of my sentiments, and said, she would immediately send to her lawyer and give him the necessary orders; and thus ended our conversation on this subject. “From this time, there was a very visible alteration in Miss Betty’s behaviour. She grew reserved to her sister as well as to me. She was fretful and captious on the slightest occasion: nay, she affected much to talk on the ill consequences of an imprudent marriage, especially before her mother; and if ever any little tenderness or endearments escaped me in public towards Amelia, she never failed to make some malicious remark on the short duration of violent passions; and when I have expressed a fond sentiment for my wife, her sister would kindly wish she might hear as much seven years hence. “All these matters have been since suggested to us by reflection; for while they actually past, both Amelia and myself had our thoughts too happily engaged to take notice of what discovered itself in the mind of any other person. “ Unfortunately for us, Mrs. Harris's lawyer happened at this time to be at London, where business detained him upwards of a month; and as Mrs. Harris would on no occasion employ any other, our affair was under an entire suspension till his return. “Amelia, who was now big with child, had often expressed the deepest concern at her apprehensions of my being some time commanded abroad; a circumstance, which she declared if it should ever happen to her, even though she should not then be in the same situation as at present, would infallibly break her heart. These remonstrances were made with such tenderness, and so much affected me, that to avoid any probability of such an event, I endeavoured to get an exchange into the horse-guards, a body of troops which very rarely goes abroad, unless where the king himself commands in person. I soon found an officer for my pur#. the terms were agreed on, and Mrs. arris had ordered the money which I was to pay to be ready, notwithstanding the o position made by Miss Betty, who openly dissuaded her mother from it; alleging that that exchange was highly to my disadvantage; that I could never hope to rise in the army after it; not forgetting, at the same time, some insinuations very prejudicial to my reputation as a soldier. “When every thing was agreed on, and the two commissions were actually made out, but not signed by the king, one day, at my return from hunting, Amelia flew to me, and eagerly embracing me, cried out, “O Billy, I have news for you which delights my soul. Nothing sure was ever so fortunate as the exchange which you have made. The regiment you was formerly in, is ordered for Gibraltar.” “I received this news with far less transport than it was delivered. I answered coldly, Since the case was so, I heartily hoped the commissions might be both signed. hat do you say? replied Amelia, eagerly;-sure you told me every thing was entirely settled., That look of yours frightens me to death-But I am running into too minute particulars. In short, I received
a letter by that very post, from the officer with whom I had exchanged, insisting, that though his majesty had not signed the commissions, that still the bargain was valid, partly urging it as a right, and partly desiring it as a favour, that he might go to Gibraltar in my room. ‘This letter convinced me in every point. I was now informed that the commissions were not signed, and, consequently, that the exchange was not completed: of consequence, the other could have no right to insist on going; and as for granting him such a favour, I too clearly saw I must do it at the expense of my honour. I was now reduced to a dilemma, the most dreadful which, I think, any man can experience; in which, I am not ashamed to own, I found love was not so overmatched by honour as he ought to have been. The thoughts of leaving Amelia in her present condition, to misery, perhaps death, or madness, were insupportable; nor could any other situation but that which now tormented me on the other side, have combatted them a moment.’ “No woman upon earth,’ cries Miss Matthews, ‘can despise want of spirit in a man more than myself; and yet, I cannot help thinking you was rather too nice on this occasion.’ ‘You will allow, madam,’ answered Booth, ‘that whoever offends against the laws of honour, in the least instance, is treated as the highest delinquent. Here is no excuse, no pardon; and he doth nothing who leaves anything undone. But if the conflict was so terrible with myself alone, what was my situation in the presence of Amelia how could I support her sighs, her tears, her agonies, her despair! could l bear to think myself the cruel cause of her sufferings, for so I was could I endure the thought of having it in my power to give her instant relief, for so it was, and refuse it her! “Miss Betty was now again become my friend. She had scarce been civil to me for a fortnight last past; yet now she commended me to the skies, and as severely blamed her sister, whom she arraigned of the most contemptible weakness, in preferring my safety to my honour: she said many ill-natured things on the occasion, which I shall not now repeat. “In the midst of this hurricane, the good doctor came to dine with Mrs. Harris, and, at my desire, delivered his opinion on the matter.’ Here Mr. Booth was interrupted in his narrative, by the arrival of a person, whom we shall introduce in the next chapter.
Containing a scene of a different kind from any in the preceding.
The gentleman who now arrived was the keeper; or, if you please, (for so he pleased to call himsels,) the governor of the prison.
e used so little ceremony at his a
proach, that the bolt, which was very slight on the inside, gave way, and the door immediately flew open. He had no sooner entered the room, then he acquainted Miss Matthews that he had brought her very good news, for which he demanded a bottle of wine as his due.
This demand being complied with, he acquainted Miss Matthews, that the wounded gentleman was not dead, nor was his wound thought to be mortal: that loss of blood, and, perhaps, his fright, had occasioned his fainting away; ‘ but I believe, madam,” said he, “if you take the proper measures, you may be bailed to-morrow. I expect the lawyer here this evening, and if you put the business into his hands, I warrant it will be done. Money, to be sure, must be parted with; that's to be sure. People, to be sure, will expect to handle a little in such cases. For my own part, I never desire to keep a prisoner longer than the law allows, not I: I always inform them they can be bailed as soon as I know it. I never make any bargain, not I; I always love to leave those things to the gentlemen and ladies themselves. I never suspect gentlemen and ladies of wanting generosity.’
Miss Matthews made a very slight answer to all these friendly professions. She said, she had done nothing she repented of, and was indifferent as to the event. “All I can say, cries she, ‘is, that if the wretch is alive, there is no greater villain in life than himself;’ and instead of mentioning any thing of the bail, she begged the keeper to leave her again alone with Mr. Booth. The keeper replied, ‘Nay, madam, perhaps it may be better to stay a little longer here, if you have not bail ready, than to buy them too dear. Besides, a day or two hence, when the gentleman is past all danger of recovery, to be sure, some folks that would expect an extraordinary see now, would be glad to touch anything. And to be sure you shall want nothing here. The best of all things are to be had here for money, both eatable and drinkable; though I say it, Ishan’t turn my back to any of the taverns for either eatables or wine. The captain there need not have been so shy of owning himself when he first came in ; we have had captains and other great gentlemen here before now; and no shame to them, though I say it. . Many a great gentleman is sometimes found in places that don't become
them half so well, let me tell them that, Captain Booth, tell them that.” “I see, sir,’ answered Booth, a little discomposed, “that you are acquainted with my title as well as my name.’ ‘Ay, sir,’ cries the keeper, “and I honour you the more for it. I love the gentlemen of the army. , I was in the army myself formerly; in the lord of Oxford's horse. It is true I rode private; but I had money enough to have bought in quarter-master, when I took it into my head to marry, and my wife she did not like that I should continue a soldier, she was all for a private life; and so I came to this business.’ “Upon my word, sir,’ answered Booth, “you consulted your wife's inclinations very notably; but, pray, will you satisfy my curiosity in of me, how you became acquainted that I was in the army; for my dress, I think, could not betray me. “Betray!' replied the keeper; “there is no betraying here, I hope—I am not a person to betray people—But you are so shy and peery, you would almost make one suspect there was more in the matter. And is there be, I promise you, you need not be afraid of telling it me. You will excuse me giving you a hint; but the sooner the better, that's all. Others may be beforehand with you, and, first come first served on these occasions, that's all. Informers are odious, there's no doubt of that, and no one would care to be an informer if he could help it, because of the ill usage they always receive from the mob; yet it is dangerous to trust too much ; and when safety and a good part of the reward too are on one side, and the gallows on the other—I know which a wise man would choose.” ‘What the devil do you mean by all this?’ cries Booth. “No offence, I hope,” answered the keeper; “I speak for '..." and if you have been upon the snaffling lay—you understand me, I am sure.” “Not I,’ answered Booth, “upon my honour.” “Nay, nay,” replied the keeper, with a contemptuous sneer, “if you are so peery as that comes to, you must take the consequences.—But for my part, I know I would not trust Robinson with two pence untold.' ‘What do you mean?' cries Booth; ‘who is Robinson 2' “And you don’t know Robinson!' answered the keeper with great emotion. To which Booth replying in the negative, the keeper, after some tokens of amazement, cried out: “Well, captain, I must say you are the best at it, of all the gentlemen H. saw. However, I will tell you this: the lawyer and Mr. Robinson have been laying their heads together about you above half an hour this afternoon. I overheard them menon Captain Booth several times; and for my part, I would not answer that Mr. Murphy is not now gone about the business; but if you will impeach any to me of the road, or any thing else, I will step ...} to his worship Thrasher this instant, and I am sure I have interest enough with him to get you admitted an evidence.” “And so, cries Booth, ‘you really take me for a highwayman.’ “No offence, captain, I hope,” said the keeper: “as times go, there are many worse men in the world than those. Gentlemen may be driven to distress, and when they are, I know no more genteeler way than the road. It hath been many a brave man's case, to my knowledge, and men of as much honour too as any in the world.’ “Well, sir,’ said Booth, “I assure you I am not that gentleman of honour you imagine me.’ Miss Matthews, who had long understood the keeper no better than Mr. Booth, no sooner heard his meaning explained, than she was fired with greater indignation than the gentleman had expressed. ‘How dare you, sir,’ said she to the keeper, “insult a man of fashion, and who hath had the honour to bear his majesty's commission in the
army 2 as you yourself own, you know. If
his misfortunes have sent him hither, sure we have no laws that will protect such a fellow as you in insulting him '-' Fellow!' muttered the keeper, ‘ I would not advise you, madam, to use such language to me.’ — Do you dare threaten me?’ replied Miss Matthews in a rage; ‘ venture in the least instance to exceed your authority with regard to me, and I will prosecute you with the utmost vengeance.’ A scene of very high altercation now ensued, till Booth interposed, and quieted the keeper, who was, perhaps, enough inclined to an accommodation; for, in truth, he waged unequal war. He was besides unwilling to incense Miss Matthews, whom he expected to be bailed out the next day, and who had more money left than he intended she should carry out of the prison with her; and as for any violent or unjustifiable methods, the lady had discovered a much too great a spirit to be in danger of them. The governor, therefore, in a very gentle tone, declared, that if he had given any offence to the gentleman, he heartily asked his pardon; that if he had known him to be really a captain, he should not have entertained any such suspicions; but the captain was a very common title in that place, and belonged to several gentlemen that had never been in the army, or at most, had rid private like himself. “To be sure, captain,” said he, “as you yourself own, your dress is not very military;' (for he had on a plain fustian
suit.)‘and besides, as the lawyer says, noscitur a sosir, is a very good rule. And I don’t believe there is a greater rascal upon earth than that same Robinson that I was talking of Nay, I assure you, I wish there may be no mischief hatching against you. But if there is, I will do all I can with the lawyer to prevent it. To be sure, Mr. Murphy is one of the cleverest men in the world at the law; that even his enemies must own; and as I recommend him to all the business I can, (and it is not a little to be sure that arises in this place,) why one good turn deserves another. And I may expect that he will not be concerned in any plot to ruin any friend of mine; at least when I desire him not. I am sure he could not be an honest man if he would.” Booth was then satisfied that Mr. Robinson, whom he did not yet know by name, was the gamester who had won his money at play. And now, Miss Matthews, who had very impatiently borne this interruption, prevailed on the keeper to withdraw. As soon as he was gone, Mr. Booth began to felicitate her upon the news of the wounded gentleman being in a fair likelihood of recovery. To which, after short silence, she answered, “There is something, perhaps, which you will easily guess, that makes your congratulation more agreeable to me than the first account I heard of the villain's having escaped the fate he deserves; for, I do assure you, at first, it did not make me amends for the interruption of my curiosity. Now, I hope, we shall be disturbed no more, till you have finished your whole story.—You left off, I think, somewhere in the struggle aboutleaving Amelia, the happy Amelia.-- And can you call her happy at such a period?' cries Booth. ‘Happy, ay, happy, in any situation,' answered Miss Matthews, “with such a husband. I, at least, may well think so, who have experienced the very reverse of her fortune; but I was not born to be happy. I may say with the poet: The blackest ink of fate was sure my lot, And when fate writ my name, it made a blot.
‘Nay, nay, dear Miss Matthews, answered Booth, “you must, and shall banish such gloomy thoughts. Fate hath, I hope, many happy days in store for you."—“Do you believe it, Mr. Booth f’ replied she, ‘indeed, you know the contrary—You must know—For you can’t have forgot. No Amelia in the world can have quite oblitera ted—Forgetfulness is not in our own power. If it was, indeed, I have reason to think— But I know not what I am saying.—Pray do proceed in that story.’
Booth so immediately complied with this request, that it is possible he was pleased
with it. To say the truth, if all which un- could not convey a very agreeable idea to a wittingly dropped from Miss Matthews was constant husband. Booth, therefore, pro: put together, some conclusions might, it ceeded to relate what is written in the third seems, be drawn from the whole, which book of this history.
In which Mr. Booth resumes his story.
“If I am not mistaken, madam, continued Booth, “I was just going to acquaint you with the doctor's opinion, when we were ino by the keeper. “The doctor having heard counsel on both sides, that is to say, Mrs. Harris for my staying, and Miss Betty for my going, at last delivered his own sentiments. As for Amelia, she sat silent, drowned in her tears; nor was I myself in a much better situation. “As the commissions are not signed, said the doctor, I think you may be said to remain in your former regiment; and therefore I think you ought to go on this expedition; your duty to your king and country, whose bread you have eaten, requires it; and this is a duty of too high a nature to admit the least deficiency. Regard to your character likewise requires you to go; for the world, which might justly blame your staying at home, if the case was even fairly stated, will not deal so honestly by you ; you must expect to have every circumstance against you heightened, and most of what makes for your defence omitted; and thus you will be stigmatized as a coward, without any palliation. As the malicious disposition of mankind is too well known, and the cruel pleasure which they take in destroying the reputations of others; the use we are to make of this knowledge is to afford no handle to reproach; for bad as the world is, it seldom falls on any man who hath not given some slight cause for censure, though this, o is often aggravated ten thousand old ; and when we blame the malice of the aggravation, we ought not to forget our own imprudence in giving the occasion. Remember, my boy, your honour is at stake; and you know how nice the honour of a soldier is in these cases. This is a treasure which he must be your enemy indeed who would attempt to rob you of Therefore, you ought to consider every one as your enemy, who, by desiring you to stay, would rob vou of your honour.” “Do you hear that, sister?' cries Miss
Betty. “Yes, I do hear it,” answered Amelia, with more spirit than I ever saw her exert before, “and would preserve his honour at the expense of my life. I will preserve it if it should be at that expense ; and since it is Doctor Harrison's opinion that he ought to go, I give my consent. Go, my dear husband,” cried she, falling upon her knees, “may every angel of Heaven guard and preserve you.”—i cannot repeat her words without being affected,” said he, wiping his eyes, ‘the excellence of that woman, no words can paint : Miss Matthews, she hath every perfection in human nature. “I will not tire you with the repetition of any more that passed on that occasion; nor with the quarrel that ensued between Mrs. Harris and the doctor; for the old lady could not submit to my leaving her daughter in her present condition. She fell severely on the army, and cursed the day in which her daughter was married to a soldier, not sparing the doctor for having had some share in the match. I will omit, likewise, the tender scene, which passed between Amelia and myself previous to my departure.” “Indeed, I beg you would not,’ cries Miss Matthews, “nothing delights me more than scenes of tenderness. I should be glad to know, if possible, every syllable which was uttered on both sides.’ “I will indulge you, then,’ cries Booth, “as far as is in my power. Indeed, I believe, I am able to recollect much the greatest part : for the impression is never to be effaced from my memory.” He then proceeded, as Miss Matthews desired ; but lest all our readers should not be of her opinion, we will, according to our usual custom, endeavour to accommodate ourselves to every taste, and shall therefore place this scene in a chapter by itself, which we desire all our readers who do not love, or who, perhaps, do not know the pleasure of tenderness, to pass over; since they may do this without any prejudice to the thread of the narrative.