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V. 5.
Containing Much Heroic Matter
At the end of three days Mrs. Ellison's friend had so far purchased Mr. Booth's
liberty that he could walk again abroad within the verge without any danger of
having a warrant backed against him by the board before he had notice. As for
the ill-looked persons that had given the alarm, it was now discovered that
another unhappy gentleman, and not Booth, was the object of their pursuit.
Mr. Booth, now being delivered from his fears, went, as he had formerly done, to
take his morning walk in the Park. Here he met Colonel Bath in company with
some other officers, and very civilly paid his respects to him. But, instead of
returning the salute, the colonel looked him full in the face with a very stern
countenance; and, if he could be said to take any notice of him, it was in such a
manner as to inform him he would take no notice of him.
Booth was not more hurt than surprized at this behaviour, and resolved to know
the reason of it. He therefore watched an opportunity till the colonel was alone,
and then walked boldly up to him, and desired to know if he had given him any
offence? The colonel answered hastily, "Sir, I am above being offended with you,
nor do I think it consistent with my dignity to make you any answer." Booth
replied, "I don't know, sir, that I have done anything to deserve this treatment."
"Look'ee, sir," cries the colonel, "if I had not formerly had some respect for you, I
should not think you worth my resentment. However, as you are a gentleman
born, and an officer, and as I have had an esteem for you, I will give you some
marks of it by putting it in your power to do yourself justice. I will tell you
therefore, sir, that you have acted like a scoundrel." "If we were not in the Park,"
answered Booth warmly, "I would thank you very properly for that compliment."
"O, sir," cries the colonel, "we can be soon in a convenient place." Upon which
Booth answered, he would attend him wherever he pleased. The colonel then bid
him come along, and strutted forward directly up Constitution-hill to Hyde-park,
Booth following him at first, and afterwards walking before him, till they came to
that place which may be properly called the field of blood, being that part, a little
to the left of the ring, which heroes have chosen for the scene of their exit out of
this world.
Booth reached the ring some time before the colonel; for he mended not his pace
any more than a Spaniard. To say truth, I believe it was not in his power: for he
had so long accustomed himself to one and the same strut, that as a horse, used
always to trotting, can scarce be forced into a gallop, so could no passion force
the colonel to alter his pace.
[Illustration with caption: Colonel Bath.]