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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesAmelia - Volume I - BOOK II - Chapter III
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Amelia - Volume I - BOOK II - Chapter III Post by :sbeard Category :Long Stories Author :Henry Fielding Date :January 2011 Read :2558

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Amelia - Volume I - BOOK II - Chapter III

Chapter III - The narrative 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 night and 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 professions 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 ghastly 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 inconveniencies? 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 then;
must I leave 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 further. 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 give you,' said she, 'in such an alternative?
Would to Heaven we had never met!'

"These words were accompanied with a sigh, and a look inexpressibly
tender, the 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 sorrow I have just described. I will not
attempt to paint the rage of the mother, or 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 blame as I could on myself.
Mrs. Harris answered, 'No, sir, I must say you are innocent in
comparison of her; nay, I can say I 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, fainting 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 greatest torments 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 gaiety 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 forever, 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, madam--"

"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 chapter.

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Chapter IV - 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 I then, desiring me tosit down, began, as near as I can remember, in these words, or atleast to this purpose:"'You cannot imagine, young gentleman, that your love for Miss Emilyis 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
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Amelia - Volume I - BOOK II - Chapter II
Chapter II - Mr. Booth continues his story. In this chapter there are somepassages that may serve as a kind of touchstone by which a young ladymay examine the heart of her lover. I would advise, therefore, thatevery lover be obliged to read it over in the presence of hismistress, and that she carefully watch his emotions while he isreading."I was under the utmost concern," cries Booth, "when I retired from myvisit, and had reflected coolly on what I had said. I now saw plainlythat I had made downright love to Amelia; and I feared, such was myvanity, that I had
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