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Amelia

III.12.
In Which Mr. Booth Concludes His Story
"The next day the doctor set out for his parsonage, which was about thirty miles
distant, whither Amelia and myself accompanied him, and where we stayed with
him all the time of his residence there, being almost three months.
"The situation of the parish under my good friend's care is very pleasant. It is
placed among meadows, washed by a clear trout-stream, and flanked on both
sides with downs. His house, indeed, would not much attract the admiration of
the virtuoso. He built it himself, and it is remarkable only for its plainness; with
which the furniture so well agrees, that there is no one thing in it that may not be
absolutely necessary, except books, and the prints of Mr. Hogarth, whom he calls
a moral satirist.
"Nothing, however, can be imagined more agreeable than the life that the doctor
leads in this homely house, which he calls his earthly paradise. All his
parishioners, whom he treats as his children, regard him as their common father.
Once in a week he constantly visits every house in the parish, examines,
commends, and rebukes, as he finds occasion. This is practised likewise by his
curate in his absence; and so good an effect is produced by this their care, that
no quarrels ever proceed either to blows or law-suits; no beggar is to be found in
the whole parish; nor did I ever hear a very profane oath all the time I lived in it.
"But to return from so agreeable a digression, to my own affairs, that are much
less worth your attention. In the midst of all the pleasures I tasted in this sweet
place and in the most delightful company, the woman and man whom I loved
above all things, melancholy reflexions concerning my unhappy circumstances
would often steal into my thoughts. My fortune was now reduced to less than
forty pounds a-year; I had already two children, and my dear Amelia was again
with child.
"One day the doctor found me sitting by myself, and employed in melancholy
contemplations on this subject. He told me he had observed me growing of late
very serious; that he knew the occasion, and neither wondered at nor blamed
me. He then asked me if I had any prospect of going again into the army; if not,
what scheme of life I proposed to myself?
"I told him that, as I had no powerful friends, I could have but little expectations in
a military way; that I was as incapable of thinking of any other scheme, as all
business required some knowledge or experience, and likewise money to set up
with; of all which I was destitute.
"'You must know then, child,' said the doctor, 'that I have been thinking on this
subject as well as you; for I can think, I promise you, with a pleasant
 
 
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