The Captain, Continuing His Story, Recounts Some Particulars Which, We Doubt
Not, To Many Good People, Will Appear Unnatural.
I was scarce sooner recovered from my indisposition than Amelia herself fell ill.
This, I am afraid, was occasioned by the fatigues which I could not prevent her
from undergoing on my account; for, as my disease went off with violent sweats,
during which the surgeon strictly ordered that I should lie by myself, my Amelia
could not be prevailed upon to spend many hours in her own bed. During my
restless fits she would sometimes read to me several hours together; indeed it
was not without difficulty that she ever quitted my bedside. These fatigues, added
to the uneasiness of her mind, overpowered her weak spirits, and threw her into
one of the worst disorders that can possibly attend a woman; a disorder very
common among the ladies, and our physicians have not agreed upon its name.
Some call it fever on the spirits, some a nervous fever, some the vapours, and
some the hysterics."
"O say no more," cries Miss Matthews; "I pity you, I pity you from my soul. A man
had better be plagued with all the curses of Egypt than with a vapourish wife."
"Pity me! madam," answered Booth; "pity rather that dear creature who, from her
love and care of my unworthy self, contracted a distemper, the horrors of which
are scarce to be imagined. It is, indeed, a sort of complication of all diseases
together, with almost madness added to them. In this situation, the siege being at
an end, the governor gave me leave to attend my wife to Montpelier, the air of
which was judged to be most likely to restore her to health. Upon this occasion
she wrote to her mother to desire a remittance, and set forth the melancholy
condition of her health, and her necessity for money, in such terms as would
have touched any bosom not void of humanity, though a stranger to the unhappy
sufferer. Her sister answered it, and I believe I have a copy of the answer in my
pocket. I keep it by me as a curiosity, and you would think it more so could I
shew you my Amelia's letter." He then searched his pocket-book, and finding the
letter among many others, he read it in the following words:
"'DEAR SISTER,--My mamma being much disordered, hath commanded me to
tell you she is both shocked and surprized at your extraordinary request, or, as
she chuses to call it, order for money. You know, my dear, she says that your
marriage with this red-coat man was entirely against her consent and the opinion
of all your family (I am sure I may here include myself in that number); and yet,
after this fatal act of disobedience, she was prevailed on to receive you as her
child; not, however, nor are you so to understand it, as the favourite which you