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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesAmelia - Volume I - BOOK III - Chapter II
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Amelia - Volume I - BOOK III - Chapter II Post by :Hugo_San Category :Long Stories Author :Henry Fielding Date :January 2011 Read :3544

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Amelia - Volume I - BOOK III - Chapter II

Chapter II - Containing a scene of the tender kind.

"The doctor, madam," continued Booth, "spent his evening at Mrs.
Harris's house, where I sat with him whilst he smoaked his pillow
pipe, as his phrase is. Amelia was retired about half an hour to her
chamber before I went to her. At my entrance I found her on her knees,
a posture in which I never disturbed her. In a few minutes she arose,
came to me, and embracing me, said she had been praying for resolution
to support the cruellest moment she had ever undergone or could
possibly undergo. I reminded her how much more bitter a farewel would
be on a death-bed, when we never could meet, in this world at least,
again. I then endeavoured to lessen all those objects which alarmed
her most, and particularly the danger I was to encounter, upon which
head I seemed a little to comfort her; but the probable length of my
absence and the certain length of my voyage were circumstances which
no oratory of mine could even palliate. 'O heavens!' said she,
bursting into tears, 'can I bear to think that hundreds, thousands for
aught I know, of miles or leagues, that lands and seas are between us?
What is the prospect from that mount in our garden where I have sat so
many happy hours with my Billy? what is the distance between that and
the farthest hill which we see from thence compared to the distance
which will be between us? You cannot wonder at this idea; you must
remember, my Billy, at this place, this very thought came formerly
into my foreboding mind. I then begged you to leave the army. Why
would you not comply?--did I not tell you then that the smallest
cottage we could survey from the mount would be, with you, a paradise
to me? it would be so still--why can't my Billy think so? am I so much
his superior in love? where is the dishonour, Billy? or, if there be
any, will it reach our ears in our little hut? are glory and fame, and
not his Amelia, the happiness of my husband? go then, purchase them at
my expence. You will pay a few sighs, perhaps a few tears, at parting,
and then new scenes will drive away the thoughts of poor Amelia from
your bosom; but what assistance shall I have in my affliction? not
that any change of scene could drive you one moment from my
remembrance; yet here every object I behold will place your loved idea
in the liveliest manner before my eyes. This is the bed in which you
have reposed; that is the chair on which you sat. Upon these boards
you have stood. These books you have read to me. Can I walk among our
beds of flowers without viewing your favourites, nay, those which you
have planted with your own hands? can I see one beauty from our
beloved mount which you have not pointed out to me?'--Thus she went
on, the woman, madam, you see, still prevailing."--"Since you mention
it," says Miss Matthews, with a smile, "I own the same observation
occurred to me. It is too natural to us to consider ourselves only,
Mr. Booth."--"You shall hear," he cried. "At last the thoughts of her
present condition suggested themselves.--' But if,' said she, 'my
situation, even in health, will be so intolerable, how shall I, in the
danger and agonies of childbirth, support your absence?'--Here she
stopt, and, looking on me with all the tenderness imaginable, cried
out, 'And am I then such a wretch to wish for your presence at such a
season? ought I not to rejoice that you are out of the hearing of my
cries or the knowledge of my pains? if I die, will you not have
escaped the horrors of a parting ten thousand times more dreadful than
this? Go, go, my Billy; the very circumstance which made me most dread
your departure hath perfectly reconciled me to it. I perceive clearly
now that I was only wishing to support my own weakness with your
strength, and to relieve my own pains at the price of yours. Believe
me, my love, I am ashamed of myself.'--I caught her in my arms with
raptures not to be exprest in words, called her my heroine; sure none
ever better deserved that name; after which we remained for some time
speechless, and locked in each other's embraces."--

"I am convinced," said Miss Matthews, with a sigh, "there are moments
in life worth purchasing with worlds."

"At length the fatal morning came. I endeavoured to hide every pang of
my heart, and to wear the utmost gaiety in my countenance. Amelia
acted the same part. In these assumed characters we met the family at
breakfast; at their breakfast, I mean, for we were both full already.
The doctor had spent above an hour that morning in discourse with Mrs.
Harris, and had, in some measure, reconciled her to my departure. He
now made use of every art to relieve the poor distressed Amelia; not
by inveighing against the folly of grief, or by seriously advising her
not to grieve; both of which were sufficiently performed by Miss
Betty. The doctor, on the contrary, had recourse to every means which
might cast a veil over the idea of grief, and raise comfortable images
in my angel's mind. He endeavoured to lessen the supposed length of my
absence by discoursing on matters which were more distant in time. He
said he intended next year to rebuild a part of his parsonage-house.
'And you, captain,' says he, 'shall lay the corner-stone, I promise
you:' with many other instances of the like nature, which produced, I
believe, some good effect on us both.

"Amelia spoke but little; indeed, more tears than words dropt from
her; however, she seemed resolved to bear her affliction with
resignation. But when the dreadful news arrived that the horses were
ready, and I, having taken my leave of all the rest, at last
approached her, she was unable to support the conflict with nature any
longer, and, clinging round my neck, she cried, 'Farewel, farewel for
ever; for I shall never, never see you more.' At which words the blood
entirely forsook her lovely cheeks, and she became a lifeless corpse
in my arms.

"Amelia continued so long motionless, that the doctor, as well as Mrs.
Harris, began to be under the most terrible apprehensions; so they
informed me afterwards, for at that time I was incapable of making any
observation. I had indeed very little more use of my senses than the
dear creature whom I supported. At length, however, we were all
delivered from our fears; and life again visited the loveliest mansion
that human nature ever afforded it.

"I had been, and yet was, so terrified with what had happened, and
Amelia continued yet so weak and ill, that I determined, whatever
might be the consequence, not to leave her that day; which resolution
she was no sooner acquainted with than she fell on her knees, crying,
'Good Heaven! I thank thee for this reprieve at least. Oh! that every
hour of my future life could be crammed into this dear day!'

"Our good friend the doctor remained with us. He said he had intended
to visit a family in some affliction; 'but I don't know,' says he,
'why I should ride a dozen miles after affliction, when we have enough
here.'" Of all mankind the doctor is the best of comforters. As his
excessive good-nature makes him take vast delight in the office, so
his great penetration into the human mind, joined to his great
experience, renders him the most wonderful proficient in it; and he so
well knows when to soothe, when to reason, and when to ridicule, that
he never applies any of those arts improperly, which is almost
universally the case with the physicians of the mind, and which it
requires very great judgment and dexterity to avoid.

"The doctor principally applied himself to ridiculing the dangers of
the siege, in which he succeeded so well, that he sometimes forced a
smile even into the face of Amelia. But what most comforted her were
the arguments he used to convince her of the probability of my speedy
if not immediate return. He said the general opinion was that the
place would be taken before our arrival there; in which case we should
have nothing more to do than to make the best of our way home again.

"Amelia was so lulled by these arts that she passed the day much
better than I expected. Though the doctor could not make pride strong
enough to conquer love, yet he exalted the former to make some stand
against the latter; insomuch that my poor Amelia, I believe, more than
once flattered herself, to speak the language of the, world, that her
reason had gained an entire victory over her passion; till love
brought up a reinforcement, if I may use that term, of tender ideas,
and bore down all before him.

"In the evening the doctor and I passed another half-hour together,
when he proposed to me to endeavour to leave Amelia asleep in the
morning, and promised me to be at hand when she awaked, and to support
her with all the assistance in his power. He added that nothing was
more foolish than for friends to take leave of each other. 'It is
true, indeed,' says he, 'in the common acquaintance and friendship of
the world, this is a very harmless ceremony; but between two persons
who really love each other the church of Rome never invented a penance
half so severe as this which we absurdly impose on ourselves'

"I greatly approved the doctor's proposal; thanked him, and promised,
if possible, to put it in execution. He then shook me by the hand, and
heartily wished me well, saying, in his blunt way, 'Well, boy, I hope
to see thee crowned with laurels at thy return; one comfort I have at
least, that stone walls and a sea will prevent thee from running

"When I had left the doctor I repaired to my Amelia, whom I found in
her chamber, employed in a very different manner from what she had
been the preceding night; she was busy in packing up some trinkets in
a casket, which she desired me to carry with me. This casket was her
own work, and she had just fastened it as I came to her.

"Her eyes very plainly discovered what had passed while she was
engaged in her work: however, her countenance was now serene, and she
spoke, at least, with some chearfulness. But after some time, 'You
must take care of this casket, Billy,' said she. 'You must, indeed,
Billy--for--' here passion almost choaked her, till a flood of tears
gave her relief, and then she proceeded--'For I shall be the happiest
woman that ever was born when I see it again.' I told her, with the
blessing of God, that day would soon come. 'Soon!' answered she. 'No,
Billy, not soon: a week is an age;--but yet the happy day may come. It
shall, it must, it will! Yes, Billy, we shall meet never to part
again, even in this world, I hope.' Pardon my weakness, Miss Matthews,
but upon my soul I cannot help it," cried he, wiping his eyes. "Well,
I wonder at your patience, and I will try it no longer. Amelia, tired
out with so long a struggle between variety of passions, and having
not closed her eyes during three successive nights, towards the
morning fell into a profound sleep. In which sleep I left her, and,
having drest myself with all the expedition imaginable, singing,
whistling, hurrying, attempting by every method to banish thought, I
mounted my horse, which I had over-night ordered to be ready, and
galloped away from that house where all my treasure was deposited.

"Thus, madam, I have, in obedience to your commands, run through a
scene which, if it hath been tiresome to you, you must yet acquit me
of having obtruded upon you. This I am convinced of, that no one is
capable of tasting such a scene who hath not a heart full of
tenderness, and perhaps not even then, unless he hath been in the same

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Amelia - Volume I - BOOK III - Chapter III Amelia - Volume I - BOOK III - Chapter III

Amelia - Volume I - BOOK III - Chapter III
Chapter III - In which Mr. Booth sets forward on his journey."Well, madam, we have now taken our leave of Amelia. I rode a fullmile before I once suffered myself to look back; but now being come tothe top of a little hill, the last spot I knew which could give me aprospect of Mrs. Harris's house, my resolution failed: I stopped andcast my eyes backward. Shall I tell you what I felt at that instant? Ido assure you I am not able. So many tender ideas crowded at once intomy mind, that, if I may use the expression, they almost

Amelia - Volume I - BOOK III - Chapter I Amelia - Volume I - BOOK III - Chapter I

Amelia - Volume I - BOOK III - Chapter I
Chapter I - In which Mr. Booth resumes his story."If I am not mistaken, madam," continued Booth, "I was just going toacquaint you with the doctor's opinion when we were interrupted by thekeeper."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 deliveredhis own sentiments. As for Amelia, she sat silent, drowned in hertears; nor was I myself in a much better situation."'As the commissions are not signed,' said the doctor, 'I think youmay be said to remain in your former regiment; and therefore I thinkyou ought