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Containing Various Matters
A fortnight had now passed since Booth had seen or heard from the colonel,
which did not a little surprize him, as they had parted so good friends, and as he
had so cordially undertaken his cause concerning the memorial on which all his
hopes depended.
The uneasiness which this gave him farther encreased on finding that his friend
refused to see him; for he had paid the colonel a visit at nine in the morning, and
was told he was not stirring; and at his return back an hour afterwards the
servant said his master was gone out, of which Booth was certain of the
falsehood; for he had, during that whole hour, walked backwards and forwards
within sight of the colonel's door, and must have seen him if he had gone out
within that time.
The good colonel, however, did not long suffer his friend to continue in the
deplorable state of anxiety; for, the very next morning, Booth received his
memorial enclosed in a letter, acquainting him that Mr. James had mentioned his
affair to the person he proposed, but that the great man had so many
engagements on his hands that it was impossible for him to make any further
promises at this time.
The cold and distant stile of this letter, and, indeed, the whole behaviour of
James, so different from what it had been formerly, had something so mysterious
in it, that it greatly puzzled and perplexed poor Booth; and it was so long before
he was able to solve it, that the reader's curiosity will, perhaps, be obliged to us
for not leaving him so long in the dark as to this matter. The true reason, then, of
the colonel's conduct was this: his unbounded generosity, together with the
unbounded extravagance and consequently the great necessity of Miss
Matthews, had at length overcome the cruelty of that lady, with whom he likewise
had luckily no rival. Above all, the desire of being revenged on Booth, with whom
she was to the highest degree enraged, had, perhaps, contributed not a little to
his success; for she had no sooner condescended to a familiarity with her new
lover, and discovered that Captain James, of whom she had heard so much from
Booth, was no other than the identical colonel, than she employed every art of
which she was mistress to make an utter breach of friendship between these two.
For this purpose she did not scruple to insinuate that the colonel was not at all
obliged to the character given of him by his friend, and to the account of this
latter she placed most of the cruelty which she had shewn to the former.
Had the colonel made a proper use of his reason, and fairly examined the
probability of the fact, he could scarce have been imposed upon to believe a
matter so inconsistent with all he knew of Booth, and in which that gentleman