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Amelia

I.3.
Containing The Inside Of A Prison
Mr. Booth (for we shall not trouble you with the rest) was no sooner arrived in the
prison than a number of persons gathered round him, all demanding garnish; to
which Mr. Booth not making a ready answer, as indeed he did not understand the
word, some were going to lay hold of him, when a person of apparent dignity
came up and insisted that no one should affront the gentleman. This person then,
who was no less than the master or keeper of the prison, turning towards Mr.
Booth, acquainted him that it was the custom of the place for every prisoner upon
his first arrival there to give something to the former prisoners to make them
drink. This, he said, was what they call garnish, and concluded with advising his
new customer to draw his purse upon the present occasion. Mr. Booth answered
that he would very readily comply with this laudable custom, was it in his power;
but that in reality he had not a shilling in his pocket, and, what was worse, he had
not a shilling in the world.--"Oho! if that be the case," cries the keeper, "it is
another matter, and I have nothing to say." Upon which he immediately departed,
and left poor Booth to the mercy of his companions, who without loss of time
applied themselves to uncasing, as they termed it, and with such dexterity, that
his coat was not only stript off, but out of sight in a minute.
Mr. Booth was too weak to resist and too wise to complain of this usage. As
soon, therefore, as he was at liberty, and declared free of the place, he
summoned his philosophy, of which he had no inconsiderable share, to his
assistance, and resolved to make himself as easy as possible under his present
circumstances.
Could his own thoughts indeed have suffered him a moment to forget where he
was, the dispositions of the other prisoners might have induced him to believe
that he had been in a happier place: for much the greater part of his fellow-
sufferers, instead of wailing and repining at their condition, were laughing,
singing, and diverting themselves with various kinds of sports and gambols.
The first person v/ho accosted him was called Blear-eyed Moll, a woman of no
very comely appearance. Her eye (for she had but one), whence she derived her
nickname, was such as that nickname bespoke; besides which, it had two
remarkable qualities; for first, as if Nature had been careful to provide for her own
defect, it constantly looked towards her blind side; and secondly, the ball
consisted almost entirely of white, or rather yellow, with a little grey spot in the
corner, so small that it was scarce discernible. Nose she had none; for Venus,
envious perhaps at her former charms, had carried off the gristly part; and some
earthly damsel, perhaps, from the same envy, had levelled the bone with the rest
of her face: indeed it was far beneath the bones of her cheeks, which rose
 
 
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