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V. 3.
Relating Principally To The Affairs Of Serjeant Atkinson
The next day, when all the same company, Atkinson only excepted, assembled
in Amelia's apartment, Mrs. Ellison presently began to discourse of him, and that
in terms not only of approbation but even of affection. She called him her clever
serjeant, and her dear serjeant, repeated often that he was the prettiest fellow in
the army, and said it was a thousand pities he had not a commission; for that, if
he had, she was sure he would become a general.
"I am of your opinion, madam," answered Booth; "and he hath got one hundred
pounds of his own already, if he could find a wife now to help him to two or three
hundred more, I think he might easily get a commission in a marching regiment;
for I am convinced there is no colonel in the army would refuse him."
"Refuse him, indeed!" said Mrs. Ellison; "no; he would be a very pretty colonel
that did. And, upon my honour, I believe there are very few ladies who would
refuse him, if he had but a proper opportunity of soliciting them. The colonel and
the lady both would be better off than with one of those pretty masters that I see
walking about, and dragging their long swords after them, when they should
rather drag their leading-strings."
"Well said," cries Booth, "and spoken like a woman of spirit.--Indeed, I believe
they would be both better served."
"True, captain," answered Mrs. Ellison; "I would rather leave the two first
syllables out of the word gentleman than the last."
"Nay, I assure you," replied Booth, "there is not a quieter creature in the world.
Though the fellow hath the bravery of a lion, he hath the meekness of a lamb. I
can tell you stories enow of that kind, and so can my dear Amelia, when he was
a boy."
"O! if the match sticks there," cries Amelia, "I positively will not spoil his fortune
by my silence. I can answer for him from his infancy, that he was one of the best-
natured lads in the world. I will tell you a story or two of him, the truth of which I
can testify from my own knowledge. When he was but six years old he was at
play with me at my mother's house, and a great pointer-dog bit him through the
leg. The poor lad, in the midst of the anguish of his wound, declared he was
overjoyed it had not happened to miss (for the same dog had just before snapt at
me, and my petticoats had been my defence).--Another instance of his
goodness, which greatly recommended him to my father, and which I have loved
him for ever since, was this: my father was a great lover of birds, and strictly
forbad the spoiling of their nests. Poor Joe was one day caught upon a tree, and,