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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesAmelia - Volume II - BOOK V - Chapter VI
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Amelia - Volume II - BOOK V - Chapter VI Post by :pubuane Category :Long Stories Author :Henry Fielding Date :January 2011 Read :3671

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

Amelia - Volume II - BOOK V - Chapter VI

Chapter VI - In which the reader will find matter worthy his consideration.

Amelia, having waited above an hour for her husband, concluded, as he
was the most punctual man alive, that he had met with some engagement
abroad, and sat down to her meal with her children; which, as it was
always uncomfortable in the absence of her husband, was very short; so
that, before his return, all the apparatus of dining was entirely

Booth sat some time with his wife, expecting every minute when the
little maid would make her appearance; at last, curiosity, I believe,
rather than appetite, made him ask how long it was to dinner? "To
dinner, my dear!" answered Amelia; "sure you have dined, I hope?"
Booth replied in the negative; upon which his wife started from her
chair, and bestirred herself as nimbly to provide him a repast as the
most industrious hostess in the kingdom doth when some unexpected
guest of extraordinary quality arrives at her house.

The reader hath not, I think, from any passages hitherto recorded in
this history, had much reason to accuse Amelia of a blameable
curiosity; he will not, I hope, conclude that she gave an instance of
any such fault when, upon Booth's having so long overstayed his time,
and so greatly mistaken the hour of the day, and upon some other
circumstances of his behaviour (for he was too honest to be good at
concealing any of his thoughts), she said to him after he had done
eating, "My dear, I am sure something more than ordinary hath happened
to-day, and I beg you will tell me what is."

Booth answered that nothing of any consequence had happened; that he
had been detained by a friend, whom he met accidently, longer than he
expected. In short, he made many shuffling and evasive answers, not
boldly lying out, which, perhaps, would have succeeded, but poorly and
vainly endeavouring to reconcile falsehood with truth; an attempt
which seldom fails to betray the most practised deceiver.

How impossible was it therefore for poor Booth to succeed in an art
for which nature had so entirely disqualified him. His countenance,
indeed, confessed faster than his tongue denied, and the whole of his
behaviour gave Amelia an alarm, and made her suspect something very
bad had happened; and, as her thoughts turned presently on the badness
of their circumstances, she feared some mischief from his creditors
had befallen him; for she was too ignorant of such matters to know
that, if he had fallen into the hands of the Philistines (which is the
name given by the faithful to bailiffs), he would hardly have been
able so soon to recover his liberty. Booth at last perceived her to be
so uneasy, that, as he saw no hopes of contriving any fiction to
satisfy her, he thought himself obliged to tell her the truth, or at
least part of the truth, and confessed that he had had a little
skirmish with Colonel Bath, in which, he said, the colonel had
received a slight wound, not at all dangerous; "and this," says he,
"is all the whole matter." "If it be so," cries Amelia, "I thank
Heaven no worse hath happened; but why, my dear, will you ever
converse with that madman, who can embrace a friend one moment, and
fight with him the next?" "Nay, my dear," answered Booth, "you
yourself must confess, though he be a little too much on the _qui
vive, he is a man of great honour and good-nature." "Tell me not,"
replied she, "of such good-nature and honour as would sacrifice a
friend and a whole family to a ridiculous whim. Oh, Heavens!" cried
she, falling upon her knees, "from what misery have I escaped, from
what have these poor babes escaped, through your gracious providence
this day!" Then turning to her husband, she cried, "But are you sure
the monster's wound is no more dangerous than you say? a monster
surely I may call him, who can quarrel with a man that could not, that
I am convinced would not, offend him."

Upon this question, Booth repeated the assurances which the surgeon
had given them, perhaps with a little enlargement, which pretty well
satisfied Amelia; and instead of blaming her husband for what he had
done, she tenderly embraced him, and again returned thanks to Heaven
for his safety.

In the evening Booth insisted on paying a short visit to the colonel,
highly against the inclination of Amelia, who, by many arguments and
entreaties, endeavoured to dissuade her husband from continuing an
acquaintance in which, she said, she should always foresee much danger
for the future. However, she was at last prevailed upon to acquiesce;
and Booth went to the colonel, whose lodgings happened to be in the
verge as well as his own.

He found the colonel in his night-gown, and his great chair, engaged
with another officer at a game of chess. He rose immediately, and,
having heartily embraced Booth, presented him to his friend, saying,
he had the honour to introduce to him as brave and as _fortitudinous_
a man as any in the king's dominions. He then took Booth with him into
the next room, and desired him not to mention a word of what had
happened in the morning; saying, "I am very well satisfied that no
more hath happened; however, as it ended in nothing, I could wish it
might remain a secret." Booth told him he was heartily glad to find
him so well, and promised never to mention it more to any one.

The game at chess being but just begun, and neither of the parties
having gained any considerable advantage, they neither of them
insisted on continuing it; and now the colonel's antagonist took his
leave and left the colonel and Booth together.

As soon as they were alone, the latter earnestly entreated the former
to acquaint him with the real cause of his anger; "for may I perish,"
cries Booth, "if I can even guess what I have ever done to offend
either you, or your brother. Colonel James."

"Look'ee, child," cries the colonel; "I tell you I am for my own part
satisfied; for I am convinced that a man who will fight can never be a
rascal; and, therefore, why should you enquire any more of me at
present? when I see my brother James, I hope to reconcile all matters,
and perhaps no more swords need be drawn on this occasion." But Booth
still persisting in his desire, the colonel, after some hesitation,
with a tremendous oath, cried out, "I do not think myself at liberty
to refuse you after the indignity I offered you; so, since you demand
it of me, I will inform you. My brother told me you had used him
dishonourably, and had divellicated his character behind his back. He
gave me his word, too, that he was well assured of what he said. What
could I have done? though I own to you I did not believe him, and your
behaviour since hath convinced me I was in the right; I must either
have given him the lye, and fought with him, or else I was obliged to
behave as I did, and fight with you. And now, my lad, I leave it to
you to do as you please; but, if you are laid under any necessity to
do yourself further justice, it is your own fault."

"Alas! colonel," answered Booth, "besides the obligations I have to
the colonel, I have really so much love for him, that I think of
nothing less than resentment. All I wish is to have this affair
brought to an eclaircissement, and to satisfy him that he is in an
error; for, though his assertions are cruelly injurious, and I have
never deserved them, yet I am convinced he would not say what he did
not himself think. Some rascal, envious of his friendship for me, hath
belyed me to him; and the only resentment I desire is, to convince him
of his mistake."

At these words the colonel grinned horribly a ghastly smile, or rather
sneer, and answered, "Young gentleman, you may do as you please; but,
by the eternal dignity of man, if any man breathing had taken a
liberty with my character--Here, here--Mr. Booth (shewing his
fingers), here d--n me, should be his nostrils; he should breathe
through my hands, and breathe his last, d--n me."

Booth answered, "I think, colonel, I may appeal to your testimony that
I dare do myself justice; since he who dare draw his sword against you
can hardly be supposed to fear any other person; but I repeat to you
again that I love Colonel James so well, and am so greatly obliged to
him, that it would be almost indifferent to me whether I directed my
sword against his breast or my own."

The colonel's muscles were considerably softened by Booth's last
speech; but he again contracted them into a vast degree of fierceness
before he cried out--"Boy, thou hast reason enough to be vain; for
thou art the first person that ever could proudly say he gained an
advantage over me in combat. I believe, indeed, thou art not afraid of
any man breathing, and, as I know thou hast some obligations to my
brother, I do not discommend thee; for nothing more becomes the
dignity of a man than gratitude. Besides, as I am satisfied my brother
can produce the author of the slander--I say, I am satisfied of that--
d--n me, if any man alive dares assert the contrary; for that would be
to make my brother himself a liar--I will make him produce his author;
and then, my dear boy, your doing yourself proper justice there will
bring you finely out of the whole affair. As soon as my surgeon gives
me leave to go abroad, which, I hope, will be in a few days, I will
bring my brother James to a tavern where you shall meet us; and I will
engage my honour, my whole dignity to you, to make you friends."

The assurance of the colonel gave Booth great pleasure; for few
persons ever loved a friend better than he did James; and as for doing
military justice on the author of that scandalous report which had
incensed his friend against him, not Bath himself was ever more ready,
on such an occasion, than Booth to execute it. He soon after took his
leave, and returned home in high spirits to his Amelia, whom he found
in Mrs. Ellison's apartment, engaged in a party at ombre with that
lady and her right honourable cousin.

His lordship had, it seems, had a second interview with the great man,
and, having obtained further hopes (for I think there was not yet an
absolute promise) of success in Mr. Booth's affairs, his usual good-
nature brought him immediately to acquaint Mr. Booth with it. As he
did not therefore find him at home, and as he met with the two ladies
together, he resolved to stay till his friend's return, which he was
assured would not be long, especially as he was so lucky, he said, to
have no particular engagement that whole evening.

We remarked before that his lordship, at the first interview with
Amelia, had distinguished her by a more particular address from the
other ladies; but that now appeared to be rather owing to his perfect
good-breeding, as she was then to be considered as the mistress of the
house, than from any other preference. His present behaviour made this
still more manifest; for, as he was now in Mrs. Ellison's apartment,
though she was his relation and an old acquaintance, he applied his
conversation rather more to her than to Amelia. His eyes, indeed, were
now and then guilty of the contrary distinction, but this was only by
stealth; for they constantly withdrew the moment they were discovered.
In short, he treated Amelia with the greatest distance, and at the
same time with the most profound and awful respect; his conversation
was so general, so lively, and so obliging, that Amelia, when she
added to his agreeableness the obligations she had to him for his
friendship to Booth, was certainly as much pleased with his lordship
as any virtuous woman can possibly be with any man, besides her own

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

Amelia - Volume II - BOOK V - Chapter VII
Chapter VII - Containing various matters.We have already mentioned the good-humour in which Booth returnedhome; and the reader will easily believe it was not a little encreasedby the good-humour in which he found his company. My lord received himwith the utmost marks of friendship and affection, and told him thathis affairs went on as well almost as he himself could desire, andthat he doubted not very soon to wish him joy of a company.When Booth had made a proper return to all his lordship's unparalleledgoodness, he whispered Amelia that the colonel was entirely out ofdanger, and almost as well as himself.

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

Amelia - Volume II - BOOK V - Chapter V
Chapter V - Containing much heroic matter.At the end of three days Mrs. Ellison's friend had so far purchasedMr. Booth's liberty that he could walk again abroad within the vergewithout any danger of having a warrant backed against him by the boardbefore he had notice. As for the ill-looked persons that had given thealarm, it was now discovered that another unhappy gentleman, and notBooth, was the object of their pursuit.Mr. Booth, now being delivered from his fears, went, as he hadformerly done, to take his morning walk in the Park. Here he metColonel Bath in company with some other officers, and