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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesAmelia - Volume III - BOOK XII - Chapter III
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Amelia - Volume III - BOOK XII - Chapter III Post by :Internet_Dr. Category :Long Stories Author :Henry Fielding Date :January 2011 Read :3422

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Amelia - Volume III - BOOK XII - Chapter III

Chapter III - Containing matter pertinent to the history.


Amelia, in her way to the doctor's, determined just to stop at her own
lodgings, which lay a little out of the road, and to pay a momentary
visit to her children.

This was fortunate enough; for, had she called at the doctor's house,
she would have heard nothing of him, which would have caused in her
some alarm and disappointment; for the doctor was set down at Mrs.
Atkinson's, where he was directed to Amelia's lodgings, to which he
went before he called at his own; and here Amelia now found him
playing with her two children.

The doctor had been a little surprized at not finding Amelia at home,
or any one that could give an account of her. He was now more
surprized to see her come in such a dress, and at the disorder which
he very plainly perceived in her pale and melancholy countenance. He
addressed her first (for indeed she was in no great haste to speak),
and cried, "My dear child, what is the matter? where is your husband?
some mischief I am afraid hath happened to him in my absence."

"O my dear doctor!" answered Amelia, "sure some good angel hath sent
you hither. My poor Will is arrested again. I left him in the most
miserable condition in the very house whence your goodness formerly
redeemed him."

"Arrested!" cries the doctor. "Then it must be for some very
inconsiderable trifle."

"I wish it was," said Amelia; "but it is for no less than fifty
pound."

"Then," cries the doctor, "he hath been disingenuous with me. He told
me he did not owe ten pounds in the world for which he was liable to
be sued."

"I know not what to say," cries Amelia. "Indeed, I am afraid to tell
you the truth."

"How, child?" said the doctor--"I hope you will never disguise it to
any one, especially to me. Any prevarication, I promise you, will
forfeit my friendship for ever."

"I will tell you the whole," cries Amelia, "and rely entirely on your
goodness." She then related the gaming story, not forgetting to set in
the fullest light, and to lay the strongest emphasis on, his promise
never to play again.

The doctor fetched a deep sigh when he had heard Amelia's relation,
and cried, "I am sorry, child, for the share you are to partake in
your husband's sufferings; but as for him, I really think he deserves
no compassion. You say he hath promised never to play again, but I
must tell you he hath broke his promise to me already; for I had heard
he was formerly addicted to this vice, and had given him sufficient
caution against it. You will consider, child, I am already pretty
largely engaged for him, every farthing of which I am sensible I must
pay. You know I would go to the utmost verge of prudence to serve you;
but I must not exceed my ability, which is not very great; and I have
several families on my hands who are by misfortune alone brought to
want. I do assure you I cannot at present answer for such a sum as
this without distressing my own circumstances."

"Then Heaven have mercy upon us all!" cries Amelia, "for we have no
other friend on earth: my husband is undone, and these poor little
wretches must be starved."

The doctor cast his eyes on the children, and then cried, "I hope not
so. I told you I must distress my circumstances, and I will distress
them this once on your account, and on the account of these poor
little babes. But things must not go on any longer in this way. You
must take an heroic resolution. I will hire a coach for you to-morrow
morning which shall carry you all down to my parsonage-house. There
you shall have my protection till something can be done for your
husband; of which, to be plain with you, I at present see no
likelihood."

Amelia fell upon her knees in an ecstasy of thanksgiving to the
doctor, who immediately raised her up, and placed her in her chair.
She then recollected herself, and said, "O my worthy friend, I have
still another matter to mention to you, in which I must have both your
advice and assistance. My soul blushes to give you all this trouble;
but what other friend have I?--indeed, what other friend could I apply
to so properly on such an occasion?"

The doctor, with a very kind voice and countenance, desired her to
speak. She then said, "O sir! that wicked colonel whom I have
mentioned to you formerly hath picked some quarrel with my husband
(for she did not think proper to mention the cause), and hath sent him
a challenge. It came to my hand last night after he was arrested: I
opened and read it."

"Give it me, child," said the doctor.

She answered she had burnt it, as was indeed true. "But I remember it
was an appointment to meet with sword and pistol this morning at Hyde-
park."

"Make yourself easy, my dear child," cries the doctor; "I will take
care to prevent any mischief."

"But consider, my dear sir," said she, "this is a tender matter. My
husband's honour is to be preserved as well as his life."

"And so is his soul, which ought to be the dearest of all things,"
cries the doctor. "Honour! nonsense! Can honour dictate to him to
disobey the express commands of his Maker, in compliance with a custom
established by a set of blockheads, founded on false principles of
virtue, in direct opposition to the plain and positive precepts of
religion, and tending manifestly to give a sanction to ruffians, and
to protect them in all the ways of impudence and villany?"

"All this, I believe, is very true," cries Amelia; "but yet you know,
doctor, the opinion of the world."

"You talk simply, child," cries the doctor. "What is the opinion of
the world opposed to religion and virtue? but you are in the wrong. It
is not the opinion of the world; it is the opinion of the idle,
ignorant, and profligate. It is impossible it should be the opinion of
one man of sense, who is in earnest in his belief of our religion.
Chiefly, indeed, it hath been upheld by the nonsense of women, who,
either from their extreme cowardice and desire of protection, or, as
Mr. Bayle thinks, from their excessive vanity, have been always
forward to countenance a set of hectors and bravoes, and to despise
all men of modesty and sobriety; though these are often, at the
bottom, not only the better but the braver men."

"You know, doctor," cries Amelia, "I have never presumed to argue with
you; your opinion is to me always instruction, and your word a law."

"Indeed, child," cries the doctor, "I know you are a good woman; and
yet I must observe to you, that this very desire of feeding the
passion of female vanity with the heroism of her man, old Homer seems
to make the characteristic of a bad and loose woman. He introduces
Helen upbraiding her gallant with having quitted the fight, and left
the victory to Menelaus, and seeming to be sorry that she had left her
husband only because he was the better duellist of the two: but in how
different a light doth he represent the tender and chaste love of
Andromache to her worthy Hector! she dissuades him from exposing
himself to danger, even in a just cause. This is indeed a weakness,
but it is an amiable one, and becoming the true feminine character;
but a woman who, out of heroic vanity (for so it is), would hazard not
only the life but the soul too of her husband in a duel, is a monster,
and ought to be painted in no other character but that of a Fury."

"I assure you, doctor," cries Amelia, "I never saw this matter in the
odious light in which you have truly represented it, before. I am
ashamed to recollect what I have formerly said on this subject. And
yet, whilst the opinion of the world is as it is, one would wish to
comply as far as possible, especially as my husband is an officer of
the army. If it can be done, therefore, with safety to his honour--"

"Again honour!" cries the doctor; "indeed I will not suffer that noble
word to be so basely and barbarously prostituted. I have known some of
these men of honour, as they call themselves, to be the most arrant
rascals in the universe."

"Well, I ask your pardon," said she; "reputation then, if you please,
or any other word you like better; you know my meaning very well."

"I do know your meaning," cries the doctor, "and Virgil knew it a
great while ago. The next time you see your friend Mrs. Atkinson, ask
her what it was made Dido fall in love with AEneas?"

"Nay, dear sir," said Amelia, "do not rally me so unmercifully; think
where my poor husband is now."

"He is," answered the doctor, "where I will presently be with him. In
the mean time, do you pack up everything in order for your journey to-
morrow; for if you are wise, you will not trust your husband a day
longer in this town--therefore to packing."

Amelia promised she would, though indeed she wanted not any warning
for her journey on this account; for when she packed up herself in the
coach, she packed up her all. However, she did not think proper to
mention this to the doctor; for, as he was now in pretty good humour,
she did not care to venture again discomposing his temper.

The doctor then set out for Gray's-inn-lane, and, as soon as he was
gone, Amelia began to consider of her incapacity to take a journey in
her present situation without even a clean shift. At last she
resolved, as she was possessed of seven guineas and a half, to go to
her friend and redeem some of her own and her husband's linen out of
captivity; indeed just so much as would render it barely possible for
them to go out of town with any kind of decency. And this resolution
she immediately executed.

As soon as she had finished her business with the pawnbroker (if a man
who lends under thirty _per cent. deserves that name), he said
to her, "Pray, madam, did you know that man who was here yesterday
when you brought the picture?" Amelia answered in the negative.
"Indeed, madam," said the broker, "he knows you, though he did not
recollect you while you was here, as your hood was drawn over your
face; but the moment you was gone he begged to look at the picture,
which I, thinking no harm, permitted. He had scarce looked upon it
when he cried out, 'By heaven and earth it is her picture!' He then
asked me if I knew you." "Indeed," says I, "I never saw the lady
before."

In this last particular, however, the pawnbroker a little savoured of
his profession, and made a small deviation from the truth, for, when
the man had asked him if he knew the lady, he answered she was some
poor undone woman who had pawned all her cloathes to him the day
before; and I suppose, says he, this picture is the last of her goods
and chattels. This hint we thought proper to give the reader, as it
may chance to be material.

Amelia answered coldly that she had taken so very little notice of the
man that she scarce remembered he was there.

"I assure you, madam," says the pawnbroker, "he hath taken very great
notice of you; for the man changed countenance upon what I said, and
presently after begged me to give him a dram. Oho! thinks I to myself,
are you thereabouts? I would not be so much in love with some folks as
some people are for more interest than I shall ever make of a thousand
pound."

Amelia blushed, and said, with some peevishness, "That she knew
nothing of the man, but supposed he was some impertinent fellow or
other."

"Nay, madam," answered the pawnbroker, "I assure you he is not worthy
your regard. He is a poor wretch, and I believe I am possessed of most
of his moveables. However, I hope you are not offended, for indeed he
said no harm; but he was very strangely disordered, that is the truth
of it."

Amelia was very desirous of putting an end to this conversation, and
altogether as eager to return to her children; she therefore bundled
up her things as fast as she could, and, calling for a hackney-coach,
directed the coachman to her lodgings, and bid him drive her home with
all the haste he could.

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Amelia - Volume III - BOOK XII - Chapter IV Amelia - Volume III - BOOK XII - Chapter IV

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Chapter IV - In which Dr Harrison visits Colonel James.The doctor, when he left Amelia, intended to go directly to Booth, buthe presently changed his mind, and determined first to call on thecolonel, as he thought it was proper to put an end to that matterbefore he gave Booth his liberty.The doctor found the two colonels, James and Bath, together. They bothreceived him very civilly, for James was a very well-bred man, andBath always shewed a particular respect to the clergy, he being indeeda perfect good Christian, except in the articles of fighting andswearing.Our divine sat some time without mentioning the
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Chapter II - In which Amelia visits her husband.Amelia, after much anxious thinking, in which she sometimes flatteredherself that her husband was less guilty than she had at firstimagined him, and that he had some good excuse to make for himself(for, indeed, she was not so able as willing to make one for him), atlength resolved to set out for the bailiff's castle. Having thereforestrictly recommended the care of her children to her good landlady,she sent for a hackney coach, and ordered the coachman to drive toGray's-inn-lane.When she came to the house, and asked for the captain, the bailiff'swife, who came
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