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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesAmelia - Volume III - BOOK XI - Chapter IV
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Amelia - Volume III - BOOK XI - Chapter IV Post by :37285 Category :Long Stories Author :Henry Fielding Date :January 2011 Read :2887

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Amelia - Volume III - BOOK XI - Chapter IV

Chapter IV - Containing some distress.


Trent's letter drove Booth almost to madness. To be indebted to such a
fellow at any rate had stuck much in his stomach, and had given him
very great uneasiness; but to answer this demand in any other manner
than by paying the money was absolutely what he could not bear. Again,
to pay this money, he very plainly saw there was but one way, and this
was, by stripping his wife, not only of every farthing, but almost of
every rag she had in the world; a thought so dreadful that it chilled
his very soul with horror: and yet pride, at last, seemed to represent
this as the lesser evil of the two.

But how to do this was still a question. It was not sure, at least he
feared it was not, that Amelia herself would readily consent to this;
and so far from persuading her to such a measure, he could not bear
even to propose it. At length his determination was to acquaint his
wife with the whole affair, and to ask her consent, by way of asking
her advice; for he was well assured she could find no other means of
extricating him out of his dilemma. This he accordingly did,
representing the affair as bad as he could; though, indeed, it was
impossible for him to aggravate the real truth.

Amelia heard him patiently, without once interrupting him. When he had
finished, she remained silent some time: indeed, the shock she
received from this story almost deprived her of the power of speaking.
At last she answered, "Well, my dear, you ask my advice; I certainly
can give you no other than that the money must be paid."

"But how must it be paid?" cries he. "O, heavens! thou sweetest
creature! what, not once upbraid me for bringing this ruin on thee?"

"Upbraid you, my dear!" says she; "would to heaven I could prevent
your upbraiding yourself. But do not despair. I will endeavour by some
means or other to get you the money."

"Alas! my dear love," cries Booth, "I know the only way by which you
can raise it. How can I consent to that? do you forget the fears you
so lately expressed of what would be our wretched condition when our
little all was mouldered away? O my Amelia! they cut my very heart-
strings when you spoke then; for I had then lost this little all.
Indeed, I assure you, I have not played since, nor ever will more."

"Keep that resolution," said she, "my dear, and I hope we shall yet
recover the past."--At which words, casting her eyes on the children,
the tears burst from her eyes, and she cried--"Heaven will, I hope,
provide for us."

A pathetic scene now ensued between the husband and wife, which would
not, perhaps, please many readers to see drawn at too full a length.
It is sufficient to say that this excellent woman not only used her
utmost endeavours to stifle and conceal her own concern, but said and
did everything in her power to allay that of her husband.

Booth was, at this time, to meet a person whom we have formerly
mentioned in the course of our history. This gentleman had a place in
the War-office, and pretended to be a man of great interest and
consequence; by which means he did not only receive great respect and
court from the inferiour officers, but actually bubbled several of
their money, by undertaking to do them services which, in reality,
were not within his power. In truth, I have known few great men who
have not been beset with one or more such fellows as these, through
whom the inferior part of mankind are obliged to make their court to
the great men themselves; by which means, I believe, principally,
persons of real merit have often been deterred from the attempt; for
these subaltern coxcombs ever assume an equal state with their
masters, and look for an equal degree of respect to be paid to them;
to which men of spirit, who are in every light their betters, are not
easily brought to submit. These fellows, indeed, themselves have a
jealous eye towards all great abilities, and are sure, to the utmost
of their power, to keep all who are so endowed from the presence of
their masters. They use their masters as bad ministers have sometimes
used a prince--they keep all men of merit from his ears, and daily
sacrifice his true honour and interest to their own profit and their
own vanity.

As soon as Booth was gone to his appointment with this man, Amelia
immediately betook herself to her business with the highest
resolution. She packed up, not only her own little trinkets, and those
of the children, but the greatest part of her own poor cloathes (for
she was but barely provided), and then drove in a hackney-coach to the
same pawnbroker's who had before been recommended to her by Mrs.
Atkinson, who advanced her the money she desired.

Being now provided with her sum, she returned well pleased home, and
her husband coming in soon after, she with much chearfulness delivered
him all the money.

Booth was so overjoyed with the prospect of discharging his debt to
Trent, that he did not perfectly reflect on the distress to which his
family was now reduced. The good-humour which appeared in the
countenance of Amelia was, perhaps, another help to stifle those
reflexions; but above all, were the assurances he had received from
the great man, whom he had met at a coffee-house, and who had promised
to do him all the service in his power; which several half-pay
subaltern officers assured him was very considerable.

With this comfortable news he acquainted his wife, who either was, or
seemed to be, extremely well pleased with it. And now he set out with
the money in his pocket to pay his friend Trent, who unluckily for him
happened not to be at home.

On his return home he met his old friend the lieutenant, who
thankfully paid him his crown, and insisted on his going with him and
taking part of a bottle. This invitation was so eager and pressing,
that poor Booth, who could not resist much importunity, complied.

While they were over this bottle Booth acquainted his friend with the
promises he had received that afternoon at the coffee-house, with
which the old gentleman was very well pleased: "For I have heard,"
says he, "that gentleman hath very powerful interest;" but he informed
him likewise that he had heard that the great man must be touched, for
that he never did anything without touching. Of this, indeed, the
great man himself had given some oblique hints, by saying, with great
sagacity and slyness, that he knew where fifty pound might be
deposited to much advantage.

Booth answered that he would very readily advance a small sum if he
had it in his power, but that at present it was not so, for that he
had no more in the world than the sum of fifty pounds, which he owed
Trent, and which he intended to pay him the next morning.

"It is very right, undoubtedly, to pay your debts," says the old
gentleman;" but sure, on such an occasion, any man but the rankest
usurer would be contented to stay a little while for his money; and it
will be only a little while I am convinced; for, if you deposit this
sum in the great man's hands, I make no doubt but you will succeed
immediately in getting your commission; and then I will help you to a
method of taking up such a sum as this." The old gentleman persisted
in this advice, and backed it with every argument he could invent,
declaring, as was indeed true, that he gave the same advice which he
would pursue was the case his own.

Booth long rejected the opinion of his friend, till, as they had not
argued with dry lips, he became heated with wine, and then at last the
old gentleman succeeded. Indeed, such was his love, either for Booth
or for his own opinion, and perhaps for both, that he omitted nothing
in his power. He even endeavoured to palliate the character of Trent,
and unsaid half what he had before said of that gentleman. In the end,
he undertook to make Trent easy, and to go to him the very next
morning for that purpose.

Poor Booth at last yielded, though with the utmost difficulty. Indeed,
had he known quite as much of Trent as the reader doth, no motive
whatsoever would have prevailed on him to have taken the old
gentleman's advice.

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Amelia - Volume III - BOOK XI - Chapter V Amelia - Volume III - BOOK XI - Chapter V

Amelia - Volume III - BOOK XI - Chapter V
Chapter V - Containing more wormwood and other ingredients.In the morning Booth communicated the matter to Amelia, who told himshe would not presume to advise him in an affair of which he was somuch the better judge.While Booth remained in a doubtful state what conduct to pursue Boundcame to make him a visit, and informed him that he had been at Trent'shouse, but found him not at home, adding that he would pay him asecond visit that very day, and would not rest till he found him.Booth was ashamed to confess his wavering resolution in an affair inwhich he had been
PREVIOUS BOOKS

Amelia - Volume III - BOOK XI - Chapter III Amelia - Volume III - BOOK XI - Chapter III

Amelia - Volume III - BOOK XI - Chapter III
Chapter III - the history of Mr. Trent.We will now return to Mr. Booth and his wife. The former had spent histime very uneasily ever since he had discovered what sort of man hewas indebted to; but, lest he should forget it, Mr. Trent thought nowproper to remind him in the following letter, which he read the nextmorning after he had put off the appointment."SIR,--I am sorry the necessity of my affairs obliges me to mentionthat small sum which I had the honour to lend you the other night atplay; and which I shall be much obliged to you if you
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