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Amelia

II.1.
In Which Captain Booth Begins To Relate His History
The tea-table being removed, and Mr. Booth and the lady left alone, he
proceeded as follows:
"Since you desire, madam, to know the particulars of my courtship to that best
and dearest of women whom I afterwards married, I will endeavour to recollect
them as well as I can, at least all those incidents which are most worth relating to
you.
"If the vulgar opinion of the fatality in marriage had ever any foundation, it surely
appeared in my marriage with my Amelia. I knew her in the first dawn of her
beauty; and, I believe, madam, she had as much as ever fell to the share of a
woman; but, though I always admired her, it was long without any spark of love.
Perhaps the general admiration which at that time pursued her, the respect paid
her by persons of the highest rank, and the numberless addresses which were
made her by men of great fortune, prevented my aspiring at the possession of
those charms which seemed so absolutely out of my reach. However it was, I
assure you the accident which deprived her of the admiration of others made the
first great impression on my heart in her favour. The injury done to her beauty by
the overturning of a chaise, by which, as you may well remember, her lovely
nose was beat all to pieces, gave me an assurance that the woman who had
been so much adored for the charms of her person deserved a much higher
adoration to be paid to her mind; for that she was in the latter respect infinitely
more superior to the rest of her sex than she had ever been in the former."
"I admire your taste extremely," cried the lady; "I remember perfectly well the
great heroism with which your Amelia bore that misfortune."
"Good heavens! madam," answered he; "what a magnanimity of mind did her
behaviour demonstrate! If the world have extolled the firmness of soul in a man
who can support the loss of fortune; of a general who can be composed after the
loss of a victory; or of a king who can be contented with the loss of a crown; with
what astonishment ought we to behold, with what praises to honour, a young
lady, who can with patience and resignation submit to the loss of exquisite
beauty, in other words to the loss of fortune, power, glory, everything which
human nature is apt to court and rejoice in! what must be the mind which can
bear to be deprived of all these in a moment, and by an unfortunate trifling
accident; which could support all this, together with the most exquisite torments
of body, and with dignity, with resignation, without complaining, almost without a
tear, undergo the most painful and dreadful operations of surgery in such a
situation!" Here he stopt, and a torrent of tears gushed from his eyes; such tears
 
 
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