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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesAmelia - Volume II - BOOK VIII - Chapter VI
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Amelia - Volume II - BOOK VIII - Chapter VI Post by :realiconmedia Category :Long Stories Author :Henry Fielding Date :January 2011 Read :1571

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Amelia - Volume II - BOOK VIII - Chapter VI

Chapter VI - Which inclines rather to satire than panegyric.


The colonel had the curiosity to ask Booth the name of the gentleman
who, in the vulgar language, had struck, or taken him in for a guinea
with so much ease and dexterity. Booth answered, he did not know his
name; all that he knew of him was, that he was the most impudent and
illiterate fellow he had ever seen, and that, by his own account, he
was the author of most of the wonderful productions of the age.
"Perhaps," said he, "it may look uncharitable in me to blame you for
your generosity; but I am convinced the fellow hath not the least
merit or capacity, and you have subscribed to the most horrid trash
that ever was published."

"I care not a farthing what he publishes," cries the colonel. "Heaven
forbid I should be obliged to read half the nonsense I have subscribed
to."

"But don't you think," said Booth, "that by such indiscriminate
encouragement of authors you do a real mischief to the society? By
propagating the subscriptions of such fellows, people are tired out
and withhold their contributions to men of real merit; and, at the
same time, you are contributing to fill the world, not only with
nonsense, but with all the scurrility, indecency, and profaneness with
which the age abounds, and with which all bad writers supply the
defect of genius."

"Pugh!" cries the colonel, "I never consider these matters. Good or
bad, it is all one to me; but there's an acquaintance of mine, and a
man of great wit too, that thinks the worst the best, as they are the
surest to make him laugh."

"I ask pardon, sir," says the serjeant; "but I wish your honour would
consider your own affairs a little, for it grows late in the evening."

"The serjeant says true," answered the colonel. "What is it you intend
to do?"

"Faith, colonel, I know not what I shall do. My affairs seem so
irreparable, that I have been driving them as much as possibly I could
from my mind. If I was to suffer alone, I think I could bear them with
some philosophy; but when I consider who are to be the sharers in my
fortune--the dearest of children, and the best, the worthiest, and the
noblest of women---Pardon me, my dear friend, these sensations are
above me; they convert me into a woman; they drive me to despair, to
madness."

The colonel advised him to command himself, and told him this was not
the way to retrieve his fortune. "As to me, my dear Booth," said he,
"you know you may command me as far as is really within my power."

Booth answered eagerly, that he was so far from expecting any more
favours from the colonel, that he had resolved not to let him know
anything of his misfortune. "No, my dear friend," cries he, "I am too
much obliged to you already;" and then burst into many fervent
expressions of gratitude, till the colonel himself stopt him, and
begged him to give an account of the debt or debts for which he was
detained in that horrid place.

Booth answered, he could not be very exact, but he feared it was
upwards of four hundred pounds.

"It is but three hundred pounds, indeed, sir," cries the serjeant; "if
you can raise three hundred pounds, you are a free man this moment."

Booth, who did not apprehend the generous meaning of the serjeant as
well as, I believe, the reader will, answered he was mistaken; that he
had computed his debts, and they amounted to upwards of four hundred
pounds; nay, that the bailiff had shewn him writs for above that sum.

"Whether your debts are three or four hundred," cries the colonel,
"the present business is to give bail only, and then you will have
some time to try your friends: I think you might get a company abroad,
and then I would advance the money on the security of half your pay;
and, in the mean time, I will be one of your bail with all my heart."

Whilst Booth poured forth his gratitude for all this kindness, the
serjeant ran down-stairs for the bailiff, and shortly after returned
with him into the room.

The bailiff, being informed that the colonel offered to be bail for
his prisoner, answered a little surlily, "Well, sir, and who will be
the other? you know, I suppose, there must be two; and I must have
time to enquire after them."

The colonel replied, "I believe, sir, I am well known to be
responsible for a much larger sum than your demand on this gentleman;
but, if your forms require two, I suppose the serjeant here will do
for the other."

"I don't know the serjeant nor you either, sir," cries Bondum; "and,
if you propose yourselves bail for the gentleman, I must have time to
enquire after you."

"You need very little time to enquire after me," says the colonel,
"for I can send for several of the law, whom I suppose you know, to
satisfy you; but consider, it is very late."

"Yes, sir," answered Bondum, "I do consider it is too late for the
captain to be bailed to-night."

"What do you mean by too late?" cries the colonel.

"I mean, sir, that I must search the office, and that is now shut up;
for, if my lord mayor and the court of aldermen would be bound for
him, I would not discharge him till I had searched the office."

"How, sir!" cries the colonel, "hath the law of England no more regard
for the liberty of the subject than to suffer such fellows as you to
detain a man in custody for debt, when he can give undeniable
security?"

"Don't fellow me," said the bailiff; "I am as good a fellow as
yourself, I believe, though you have that riband in your hat there."

"Do you know whom you are speaking to?" said the serjeant. "Do you
know you are talking to a colonel of the army?"

"What's a colonel of the army to me?" cries the bailiff. "I have had
as good as he in my custody before now."

"And a member of parliament?" cries the serjeant.

"Is the gentleman a member of parliament?--Well, and what harm have I
said? I am sure I meant no harm; and, if his honour is offended, I ask
his pardon; to be sure his honour must know that the sheriff is
answerable for all the writs in the office, though they were never so
many, and I am answerable to the sheriff. I am sure the captain can't
say that I have shewn him any manner of incivility since he hath been
here.--And I hope, honourable sir," cries he, turning to the colonel,
"you don't take anything amiss that I said, or meant by way of
disrespect, or any such matter. I did not, indeed, as the gentleman
here says, know who I was speaking to; but I did not say anything
uncivil as I know of, and I hope no offence."

The colonel was more easily pacified than might have been expected,
and told the bailiff that, if it was against the rules of law to
discharge Mr. Booth that evening, he must be contented. He then
addressed himself to his friend, and began to prescribe comfort and
patience to him; saying, he must rest satisfied with his confinement
that night; and the next morning he promised to visit him again.

Booth answered, that as for himself, the lying one night in any place
was very little worth his regard. "You and I, my dear friend, have
both spent our evening in a worse situation than I shall in this
house. All my concern is for my poor Amelia, whose sufferings on
account of my absence I know, and I feel with unspeakable tenderness.
Could I be assured she was tolerably easy, I could be contented in
chains or in a dungeon."

"Give yourself no concern on her account," said the colonel; "I will
wait on her myself, though I break an engagement for that purpose, and
will give her such assurances as I am convinced will make her
perfectly easy."

Booth embraced his friend, and, weeping over him, paid his
acknowledgment with tears for all his goodness. In words, indeed, he
was not able to thank him; for gratitude, joining with his other
passions, almost choaked him, and stopt his utterance.

After a short scene in which nothing past worth recounting, the
colonel bid his friend good night, and leaving the serjeant with him,
made the best of his way back to Amelia.

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NEXT BOOKS

Amelia - Volume II - BOOK VIII - Chapter VII Amelia - Volume II - BOOK VIII - Chapter VII

Amelia - Volume II - BOOK VIII - Chapter VII
Chapter VII - Worthy a very serious perusal.The colonel found Amelia sitting very disconsolate with Mrs. Atkinson.He entered the room with an air of great gaiety, assured Amelia thather husband was perfectly well, and that he hoped the next day hewould again be with her.Amelia was a little comforted at this account, and vented manygrateful expressions to the colonel for his unparalleled friendship,as she was pleased to call it. She could not, however, help giving waysoon after to a sigh at the thoughts of her husband's bondage, anddeclared that night would be the longest she had ever known."This lady, madam," cries
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Amelia - Volume II - BOOK VIII - Chapter V Amelia - Volume II - BOOK VIII - Chapter V

Amelia - Volume II - BOOK VIII - Chapter V
Chapter V - Comments upon authors.Having left Amelia in as comfortable a situation as could possibly beexpected, her immediate distresses relieved, and her heart filled withgreat hopes from the friendship of the colonel, we will now return toBooth, who, when the attorney and serjeant had left him, received avisit from that great author of whom honourable mention is made in oursecond chapter.Booth, as the reader may be pleased to remember, was a pretty goodmaster of the classics; for his father, though he designed his son forthe army, did not think it necessary to breed him up a blockhead. Hedid not, perhaps,
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