The Story Of Booth Continued.
"Mr. Booth thus went on:
"We now took leave of the garrison, and, having landed at Marseilles, arrived at
Montpelier, without anything happening to us worth remembrance, except the
extreme sea-sickness of poor Amelia; but I was afterwards well repaid for the
terrors which it occasioned me by the good consequences which attended it; for I
believe it contributed, even more than the air of Montpelier, to the perfect re-
establishment of her health."
"I ask your pardon for interrupting you," cries Miss Matthews, "but you never
satisfied me whether you took the sergeant's money. You have made me half in
love with that charming fellow."
"How can you imagine, madam," answered Booth, "I should have taken from a
poor fellow what was of so little consequence to me, and at the same time of so
much to him? Perhaps, now, you will derive this from the passion of pride."
"Indeed," says she, "I neither derive it from the passion of pride nor from the
passion of folly: but methinks you should have accepted the offer, and I am
convinced you hurt him very much when you refused it. But pray proceed in your
story." Then Booth went on as follows:
"As Amelia recovered her health and spirits daily, we began to pass our time very
pleasantly at Montpelier; for the greatest enemy to the French will acknowledge
that they are the best people in the world to live amongst for a little while. In
some countries it is almost as easy to get a good estate as a good acquaintance.
In England, particularly, acquaintance is of almost as slow growth as an oak; so
that the age of man scarce suffices to bring it to any perfection, and families
seldom contract any great intimacy till the third, or at least the second generation.
So shy indeed are we English of letting a stranger into our houses, that one
would imagine we regarded all such as thieves. Now the French are the very
reverse. Being a stranger among them entitles you to the better place, and to the
greater degree of civility; and if you wear but the appearance of a gentleman,
they never suspect you are not one. Their friendship indeed seldom extends as
far as their purse; nor is such friendship usual in other countries. To say the truth,
politeness carries friendship far enough in the ordinary occasions of life, and
those who want this accomplishment rarely make amends for it by their sincerity;
for bluntness, or rather rudeness, as it commonly deserves to be called, is not
always so much a mark of honesty as it is taken to be.