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V. 1.
In Which The Reader Will Meet With An Old Acquaintance
Booth's affairs were put on a better aspect than they had ever worn before, and
he was willing to make use of the opportunity of one day in seven to taste the
fresh air.
At nine in the morning he went to pay a visit to his old friend Colonel James,
resolving, if possible, to have a full explanation of that behaviour which appeared
to him so mysterious: but the colonel was as inaccessible as the best defended
fortress; and it was as impossible for Booth to pass beyond his entry as the
Spaniards found it to take Gibraltar. He received the usual answers; first, that the
colonel was not stirring, and an hour after that he was gone out. All that he got by
asking further questions was only to receive still ruder answers, by which, if he
had been very sagacious, he might have been satisfied how little worth his while
it was to desire to go in; for the porter at a great man's door is a kind of
thermometer, by which you may discover the warmth or coldness of his master's
friendship. Nay, in the highest stations of all, as the great man himself hath his
different kinds of salutation, from an hearty embrace with a kiss, and my dear
lord or dear Sir Charles, down to, well Mr. ----, what would you have me do? so
the porter to some bows with respect, to others with a smile, to some he bows
more, to others less low, to others not at all. Some he just lets in, and others he
just shuts out. And in all this they so well correspond, that one would be inclined
to think that the great man and his porter had compared their lists together, and,
like two actors concerned to act different parts in the same scene, had rehearsed
their parts privately together before they ventured to perform in public.
Though Booth did not, perhaps, see the whole matter in this just light, for that in
reality it is, yet he was discerning enough to conclude, from the behaviour of the
servant, especially when he considered that of the master likewise, that he had
entirely lost the friendship of James; and this conviction gave him a concern that
not only the flattering prospect of his lordship's favour was not able to
compensate, but which even obliterated, and made him for a while forget the
situation in which he had left his Amelia: and he wandered about almost two
hours, scarce knowing where he went, till at last he dropt into a coffee-house
near St James's, where he sat himself down.
He had scarce drank his dish of coffee before he heard a young officer of the
guards cry to another, "Od, d--n me, Jack, here he comes-- here's old honour
and dignity, faith." Upon which he saw a chair open, and out issued a most erect
and stately figure indeed, with a vast periwig on his head, and a vast hat under
his arm. This august personage, having entered the room, walked directly up to
the upper end, where having paid his respects to all present of any note, to each