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Amelia

III.3.
In Which Mr. Booth Sets Forward On His Journey.
"Well, madam, we have now taken our leave of Amelia. I rode a full mile before I
once suffered myself to look back; but now being come to the top of a little hill,
the last spot I knew which could give me a prospect of Mrs. Harris's house, my
resolution failed: I stopped and cast my eyes backward. Shall I tell you what I felt
at that instant? I do assure you I am not able. So many tender ideas crowded at
once into my mind, that, if I may use the expression, they almost dissolved my
heart. And now, madam, the most unfortunate accident came first into my head.
This was, that I had in the hurry and confusion left the dear casket behind me.
The thought of going back at first suggested itself; but the consequences of that
were too apparent. I therefore resolved to send my man, and in the meantime to
ride on softly on my road. He immediately executed my orders, and after some
time, feeding my eyes with that delicious and yet heartfelt prospect, I at last
turned my horse to descend the hill, and proceeded about a hundred yards,
when, considering with myself that I should lose no time by a second indulgence,
I again turned back, and once more feasted my sight with the same painful
pleasure till my man returned, bringing me the casket, and an account that
Amelia still continued in the sweet sleep I left her. I now suddenly turned my
horse for the last time, and with the utmost resolution pursued my journey.
"I perceived my man at his return--But before I mention anything of him it may be
proper, madam, to acquaint you who he was. He was the foster-brother of my
Amelia. This young fellow had taken it into his head to go into the army; and he
was desirous to serve under my command. The doctor consented to discharge
him; his mother at last yielded to his importunities, and I was very easily
prevailed on to list one of the handsomest young fellows in England.
"You will easily believe I had some little partiality to one whose milk Amelia had
sucked; but, as he had never seen the regiment, I had no opportunity to shew
him any great mark of favour. Indeed he waited on me as my servant; and I
treated him with all the tenderness which can be used to one in that station.
"When I was about to change into the horse-guards the poor fellow began to
droop, fearing that he should no longer be in the same corps with me, though
certainly that would not have been the case. However, he had never mentioned
one word of his dissatisfaction. He is indeed a fellow of a noble spirit; but when
he heard that I was to remain where I was, and that we were to go to Gibraltar
together, he fell into transports of joy little short of madness. In short, the poor
fellow had imbibed a very strong affection for me; though this was what I knew
nothing of till long after.
 
 
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