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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesAmelia - Volume II - BOOK VI - Chapter IV
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Amelia - Volume II - BOOK VI - Chapter IV Post by :cajunwillie Category :Long Stories Author :Henry Fielding Date :January 2011 Read :1075

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Amelia - Volume II - BOOK VI - Chapter IV

Chapter IV - Containing a very extraordinary incident.


In the afternoon Mr. Booth, with Amelia and her children, went to
refresh themselves in the Park. The conversation now turned on what
past in the morning with Mrs. Ellison, the latter part of the
dialogue, I mean, recorded in the last chapter. Amelia told her
husband that Mrs. Ellison so strongly denied all intentions to marry
the serjeant, that she had convinced her the poor fellow was under an
error, and had mistaken a little too much levity for serious
encouragement; and concluded by desiring Booth not to jest with her
any more on that subject.

Booth burst into a laugh at what his wife said. "My dear creature,"
said he, "how easily is thy honesty and simplicity to be imposed on!
how little dost thou guess at the art and falsehood of women! I knew a
young lady who, against her father's consent, was married to a brother
officer of mine; and, as I often used to walk with her (for I knew her
father intimately well), she would of her own accord take frequent
occasions to ridicule and vilify her husband (for so he was at the
time), and exprest great wonder and indignation at the report which
she allowed to prevail that she should condescend ever to look at such
a fellow with any other design than of laughing at and despising him.
The marriage afterwards became publicly owned, and the lady was
reputably brought to bed. Since which I have often seen her; nor hath
she ever appeared to be in the least ashamed of what she had formerly
said, though, indeed, I believe she hates me heartily for having heard
it."

"But for what reason," cries Amelia, "should she deny a fact, when she
must be so certain of our discovering it, and that immediately?"

"I can't answer what end she may propose," said Booth. "Sometimes one
would be almost persuaded that there was a pleasure in lying itself.
But this I am certain, that I would believe the honest serjeant on his
bare word sooner than I would fifty Mrs. Ellisons on oath. I am
convinced he would not have said what he did to me without the
strongest encouragement; and, I think, after what we have been both
witnesses to, it requires no great confidence in his veracity to give
him an unlimited credit with regard to the lady's behaviour."

To this Amelia made no reply; and they discoursed of other matters
during the remainder of a very pleasant walk.

When they returned home Amelia was surprized to find an appearance of
disorder in her apartment. Several of the trinkets which his lordship
had given the children lay about the room; and a suit of her own
cloaths, which she had left in her drawers, was now displayed upon the
bed.

She immediately summoned her little girl up-stairs, who, as she
plainly perceived the moment she came up with a candle, had half cried
her eyes out; for, though the girl had opened the door to them, as it
was almost dark, she had not taken any notice of this phenomenon in
her countenance.

The girl now fell down upon her knees and cried, "For Heaven's sake,
madam, do not be angry with me. Indeed, I was left alone in the house;
and, hearing somebody knock at the door, I opened it--I am sure
thinking no harm. I did not know but it might have been you, or my
master, or Madam Ellison; and immediately as I did, the rogue burst in
and ran directly up-stairs, and what he hath robbed you of I cannot
tell; but I am sure I could not help it, for he was a great swinging
man with a pistol in each hand; and, if I had dared to call out, to be
sure he would have killed me. I am sure I was never in such a fright
in my born days, whereof I am hardly come to myself yet. I believe he
is somewhere about the house yet, for I never saw him go out."

Amelia discovered some little alarm at this narrative, but much less
than many other ladies would have shewn, for a fright is, I believe,
sometimes laid hold of as an opportunity of disclosing several charms
peculiar to that occasion. And which, as Mr. Addison says of certain
virtues,

Shun the day, and lie conceal'd
In the smooth seasons and the calms of life.

Booth, having opened the window, and summoned in two chairmen to his
assistance, proceeded to search the house; but all to no purpose; the
thief was flown, though the poor girl, in her state of terror, had not
seen him escape.

But now a circumstance appeared which greatly surprized both Booth and
Amelia; indeed, I believe it will have the same effect on the reader;
and this was, that the thief had taken nothing with him. He had,
indeed, tumbled over all Booth's and Amelia's cloaths and the
children's toys, but had left all behind him.

Amelia was scarce more pleased than astonished at this discovery, and
re-examined the girl, assuring her of an absolute pardon if she
confessed the truth, but grievously threatening her if she was found
guilty of the least falsehood. "As for a thief, child," says she,
"that is certainly not true; you have had somebody with you to whom
you have been shewing the things; therefore tell me plainly who it
was."

The girl protested in the solemnest manner that she knew not the
person; but as to some circumstances she began to vary a little from
her first account, particularly as to the pistols, concerning which,
being strictly examined by Booth, she at last cried--"To be sure, sir,
he must have had pistols about him." And instead of persisting in his
having rushed in upon her, she now confessed that he had asked at the
door for her master and mistress; and that at his desire she had shewn
him up-stairs, where he at first said he would stay till their return
home; "but, indeed," cried she, "I thought no harm, for he looked like
a gentleman-like sort of man. And, indeed, so I thought he was for a
good while, whereof he sat down and behaved himself very civilly, till
he saw some of master's and miss's things upon the chest of drawers;
whereof he cried, 'Hey-day! what's here?' and then he fell to tumbling
about the things like any mad. Then I thinks, thinks I to myself, to
be sure he is a highwayman, whereof I did not dare speak to him; for I
knew Madam Ellison and her maid was gone out, and what could such a
poor girl as I do against a great strong man? and besides, thinks I,
to be sure he hath got pistols about him, though I can't indeed, (that
I will not do for the world) take my Bible-oath that I saw any; yet to
be sure he would have soon pulled them out and shot me dead if I had
ventured to have said anything to offend him."

"I know not what to make of this," cries Booth. "The poor girl, I
verily believe, speaks to the best of her knowledge. A thief it could
not be, for he hath not taken the least thing; and it is plain he had
the girl's watch in his hand. If it had been a bailiff, surely he
would have staid till our return. I can conceive no other from the
girl's account than that it must have been some madman."

"O good sir!" said the girl, "now you mention it, if he was not a
thief, to be sure he must have been a madman: for indeed he looked,
and behaved himself too, very much like a madman; for, now I remember
it, he talked to himself and said many strange kind of words that I
did not understand. Indeed, he looked altogether as I have seen people
in Bedlam; besides, if he was not a madman, what good could it do him
to throw the things all about the room in such a manner? and he said
something too about my master just before he went down-stairs. I was
in such a fright I cannot remember particularly, but I am sure they
were very ill words; he said he would do for him--I am sure he said
that, and other wicked bad words too, if I could but think of them."

"Upon my word," said Booth, "this is the most probable conjecture; but
still I am puzzled to conceive who it should be, for I have no madman
to my knowledge of my acquaintance, and it seems, as the girl says, he
asked for me." He then turned to the child, and asked her if she was
certain of that circumstance.

The poor maid, after a little hesitation, answered, "Indeed, sir, I
cannot be very positive; for the fright he threw me into afterwards
drove everything almost out of my mind."

"Well, whatever he was," cries Amelia, "I am glad the consequence is
no worse; but let this be a warning to you, little Betty, and teach
you to take more care for the future. If ever you should be left alone
in the house again, be sure to let no persons in without first looking
out at the window and seeing who they are. I promised not to chide you
any more on this occasion, and I will keep my word; but it is very
plain you desired this person to walk up into our apartment, which was
very wrong in our absence."

Betty was going to answer, but Amelia would not let her, saying,
"Don't attempt to excuse yourself; for I mortally hate a liar, and can
forgive any fault sooner than falsehood."

The poor girl then submitted; and now Amelia, with her assistance,
began to replace all things in their order; and little Emily hugging
her watch with great fondness, declared she would never part with it
any more.

Thus ended this odd adventure, not entirely to the satisfaction of
Booth; for, besides his curiosity, which, when thoroughly roused, is a
very troublesome passion, he had, as is I believe usual with all
persons in his circumstances, several doubts and apprehensions of he
knew not what. Indeed, fear is never more uneasy than when it doth not
certainly know its object; for on such occasions the mind is ever
employed in raising a thousand bugbears and fantoms, much more
dreadful than any realities, and, like children when they tell tales
of hobgoblins, seems industrious in terrifying itself.

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Chapter V - Containing some matters not very unnatural.Matters were scarce sooner reduced into order and decency than aviolent knocking was heard at the door, such indeed as would havepersuaded any one not accustomed to the sound that the madman wasreturned in the highest spring-tide of his fury.Instead, however, of so disagreeable an appearance, a very fine ladypresently came into the room, no other, indeed, than Mrs. Jamesherself; for she was resolved to shew Amelia, by the speedy return ofher visit, how unjust all her accusation had been of any failure inthe duties of friendship; she had, moreover, another reason toaccelerate
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Amelia - Volume II - BOOK VI - Chapter III Amelia - Volume II - BOOK VI - Chapter III

Amelia - Volume II - BOOK VI - Chapter III
Chapter III - In which the history looks a little backwards.Before we proceed farther in our history we shall recount a shortscene to our reader which passed between Amelia and Mrs. Ellisonwhilst Booth was on his visit to Colonel Bath. We have alreadyobserved that Amelia had conceived an extraordinary affection for Mrs.Bennet, which had still encreased every time she saw her; she thoughtshe discovered something wonderfully good and gentle in hercountenance and disposition, and was very desirous of knowing herwhole history.She had a very short interview with that lady this morning in Mrs.Ellison's apartment. As soon, therefore, as Mrs. Bennet was
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