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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesAmelia - Volume II - BOOK V - Chapter III
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Amelia - Volume II - BOOK V - Chapter III Post by :michaelwkelly Category :Long Stories Author :Henry Fielding Date :January 2011 Read :1577

Click below to download : Amelia - Volume II - BOOK V - Chapter III (Format : PDF)

Amelia - Volume II - BOOK V - Chapter III

Chapter III - elating principally to the affairs of serjeant Atkinson.


The next day, when all the same company, Atkinson only excepted,
assembled in Amelia's apartment, Mrs. Ellison presently began to
discourse of him, and that in terms not only of approbation but even
of affection. She called him her clever serjeant, and her dear
serjeant, repeated often that he was the prettiest fellow in the army,
and said it was a thousand pities he had not a commission; for that,
if he had, she was sure he would become a general.

"I am of your opinion, madam," answered Booth; "and he hath got one
hundred pounds of his own already, if he could find a wife now to help
him to two or three hundred more, I think he might easily get a
commission in a marching regiment; for I am convinced there is no
colonel in the army would refuse him."

"Refuse him, indeed!" said Mrs. Ellison; "no; he would be a very
pretty colonel that did. And, upon my honour, I believe there are very
few ladies who would refuse him, if he had but a proper opportunity of
soliciting them. The colonel and the lady both would be better off
than with one of those pretty masters that I see walking about, and
dragging their long swords after them, when they should rather drag
their leading-strings."

"Well said," cries Booth, "and spoken like a woman of spirit.--Indeed,
I believe they would be both better served."

"True, captain," answered Mrs. Ellison; "I would rather leave the two
first syllables out of the word gentleman than the last."

"Nay, I assure you," replied Booth, "there is not a quieter creature
in the world. Though the fellow hath the bravery of a lion, he hath
the meekness of a lamb. I can tell you stories enow of that kind, and
so can my dear Amelia, when he was a boy."

"O! if the match sticks there," cries Amelia, "I positively will not
spoil his fortune by my silence. I can answer for him from his
infancy, that he was one of the best-natured lads in the world. I will
tell you a story or two of him, the truth of which I can testify from
my own knowledge. When he was but six years old he was at play with me
at my mother's house, and a great pointer-dog bit him through the leg.
The poor lad, in the midst of the anguish of his wound, declared he
was overjoyed it had not happened to miss (for the same dog had just
before snapt at me, and my petticoats had been my defence).--Another
instance of his goodness, which greatly recommended him to my father,
and which I have loved him for ever since, was this: my father was a
great lover of birds, and strictly forbad the spoiling of their nests.
Poor Joe was one day caught upon a tree, and, being concluded guilty,
was severely lashed for it; but it was afterwards discovered that
another boy, a friend of Joe's, had robbed the nest of its young ones,
and poor Joe had climbed the tree in order to restore them,
notwithstanding which, he submitted to the punishment rather than he
would impeach his companion. But, if these stories appear childish and
trifling, the duty and kindness he hath shewn to his mother must
recommend him to every one. Ever since he hath been fifteen years old
he hath more than half supported her: and when my brother died, I
remember particularly, Joe, at his desire, for he was much his
favourite, had one of his suits given him; but, instead of his
becoming finer on that occasion, another young fellow came to church
in my brother's cloaths, and my old nurse appeared the same Sunday in
a new gown, which her son had purchased for her with the sale of his
legacy."

"Well, I protest, he is a very worthy creature," said Mrs. Bennet.

"He is a charming fellow," cries Mrs. Ellison--"but then the name of
serjeant, Captain Booth; there, as the play says, my pride brings me
off again."

And whatsoever the sages charge on pride,
The angels' fall, and twenty other good faults beside;
On earth I'm sure--I'm sure--something--calling
Pride saves man, and our sex too, from falling.--

Here a footman's rap at the door shook the room. Upon which Mrs.
Ellison, running to the window, cried out, "Let me die if it is not my
lord! what shall I do? I must be at home to him; but suppose he should
enquire for you, captain, what shall I say? or will you go down with
me?"

The company were in some confusion at this instant, and before they
had agreed on anything, Booth's little girl came running into the
room, and said, "There was a prodigious great gentleman coming up-
stairs." She was immediately followed by his lordship, who, as he knew
Booth must be at home, made very little or no enquiry at the door.

Amelia was taken somewhat at a surprize, but she was too polite to
shew much confusion; for, though she knew nothing of the town, she had
had a genteel education, and kept the best company the country
afforded. The ceremonies therefore past as usual, and they all sat
down.

His lordship soon addressed himself to Booth, saying, "As I have what
I think good news for you, sir, I could not delay giving myself the
pleasure of communicating it to you. I have mentioned your affair
where I promised you, and I have no doubt of my success. One may
easily perceive, you know, from the manner of people's behaving upon
such occasions; and, indeed, when I related your case, I found there
was much inclination to serve you. Great men, Mr. Booth, must do
things in their own time; but I think you may depend on having
something done very soon."

Booth made many acknowledgments for his lordship's goodness, and now a
second time paid all the thanks which would have been due, even had
the favour been obtained. This art of promising is the economy of a
great man's pride, a sort of good husbandry in conferring favours, by
which they receive tenfold in acknowledgments for every obligation, I
mean among those who really intend the service; for there are others
who cheat poor men of their thanks, without ever designing to deserve
them at all.

This matter being sufficiently discussed, the conversation took a
gayer turn; and my lord began to entertain the ladies with some of
that elegant discourse which, though most delightful to hear, it is
impossible should ever be read.

His lordship was so highly pleased with Amelia, that he could not help
being somewhat particular to her; but this particularity distinguished
itself only in a higher degree of respect, and was so very polite, and
so very distant, that she herself was pleased, and at his departure,
which was not till he had far exceeded the length of a common visit,
declared he was the finest gentleman she had ever seen; with which
sentiment her husband and Mrs. Ellison both entirely concurred.

Mrs. Bennet, on the contrary, exprest some little dislike to my lord's
complaisance, which she called excessive. "For my own part," said she,
"I have not the least relish for those very fine gentlemen; what the
world generally calls politeness, I term insincerity; and I am more
charmed with the stories which Mrs. Booth told us of the honest
serjeant than with all that the finest gentlemen in the world ever
said in their lives!"

"O! to be sure," cries Mrs. Ellison; "_All for Love, or the World
well Lost, is a motto very proper for some folks to wear in their
coat of arms; but the generality of the world will, I believe, agree
with that lady's opinion of my cousin, rather than with Mrs. Bennet."

Mrs. Bennet, seeing Mrs. Ellison took offence at what she said,
thought proper to make some apology, which was very readily accepted,
and so ended the visit.

We cannot however put an end to the chapter without observing that
such is the ambitious temper of beauty, that it may always apply to
itself that celebrated passage in Lucan,

_Nec quenquam jam ferre potest Caesarve priorem, Pompeiusve
parem._

Indeed, I believe, it may be laid down as a general rule, that no
woman who hath any great pretensions to admiration is ever well
pleased in a company where she perceives herself to fill only the
second place. This observation, however, I humbly submit to the
judgment of the ladies, and hope it will be considered as retracted by
me if they shall dissent from my opinion.

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NEXT BOOKS

Amelia - Volume II - BOOK V - Chapter IV Amelia - Volume II - BOOK V - Chapter IV

Amelia - Volume II - BOOK V - Chapter IV
Chapter IV - Containing matters that require no preface.When Booth and his wife were left alone together they both extremelyexulted in their good fortune in having found so good a friend as hislordship; nor were they wanting in very warm expressions of gratitudetowards Mrs. Ellison. After which they began to lay down schemes ofliving when Booth should have his commission of captain; and, afterthe exactest computation, concluded that, with economy, they should beable to save at least fifty pounds a-year out of their income in orderto pay their debts.These matters being well settled, Amelia asked Booth what he thoughtof Mrs. Bennet?
PREVIOUS BOOKS

Amelia - Volume II - BOOK V - Chapter II Amelia - Volume II - BOOK V - Chapter II

Amelia - Volume II - BOOK V - Chapter II
Chapter II - In which Booth pays a visit to the noble lord.When that day of the week returned in which Mr. Booth chose to walkabroad, he went to wait on the noble peer, according to his kindinvitation.Booth now found a very different reception with this great man'sporter from what he had met with at his friend the colonel's. He nosooner told his name than the porter with a bow told him his lordshipwas at home: the door immediately flew wide open, and he was conductedto an ante-chamber a servant told him he would acquaint hislordship with his arrival. Nor
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