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Containing An Eulogium Upon Innocence, And Other Grave Matters
Booth past that evening, and all the succeeding day, with his Amelia, without the
interruption of almost a single thought concerning Miss Matthews, after having
determined to go on the Sunday, the only day he could venture without the verge
in the present state of his affairs, and pay her what she had advanced for him in
the prison. But she had not so long patience; for the third day, while he was
sitting with Amelia, a letter was brought to him. As he knew the hand, he
immediately put it into his pocket unopened, not without such an alteration in his
countenance, that had Amelia, who was then playing with one of the children,
cast her eyes towards him, she must have remarked it. This accident, however,
luckily gave him time to recover himself; for Amelia was so deeply engaged with
the little one, that she did not even remark the delivery of the letter. The maid
soon after returned into the room, saying, the chairman desired to know if there
was any answer to the letter.--"What letter?" cries Booth.--"The letter I gave you
just now," answered the girl.--"Sure," cries Booth, "the child is mad, you gave me
no letter."--"Yes, indeed, I did, sir," said the poor girl. "Why then as sure as fate,"
cries Booth, "I threw it into the fire in my reverie; why, child, why did you not tell
me it was a letter? bid the chairman come up, stay, I will go down myself; for he
will otherwise dirt the stairs with his feet."
Amelia was gently chiding the girl for her carelessness when Booth returned,
saying it was very true that she had delivered him a letter from Colonel James,
and that perhaps it might be of consequence. "However," says he, "I will step to
the coffee-house, and send him an account of this strange accident, which I
know he will pardon in my present situation."
Booth was overjoyed at this escape, which poor Amelia's total want of all
jealousy and suspicion made it very easy for him to accomplish; but his pleasure
was considerably abated when, upon opening the letter, he found it to contain,
mixed with several very strong expressions of love, some pretty warm ones of
the upbraiding kind; but what most alarmed him was a hint that it was in her
(Miss Matthews's) power to make Amelia as miserable as herself. Besides the
general knowledge of
----Furens quid faemina possit,
he had more particular reasons to apprehend the rage of a lady who had given
so strong an instance how far she could carry her revenge. She had already sent
a chairman to his lodgings with a positive command not to return without an
answer to her letter. This might of itself have possibly occasioned a discovery;
and he thought he had great reason to fear that, if she did not carry matters so