Amelia HTML version
In Which Mr. Booth Resumes His Story.
"If I am not mistaken, madam," continued Booth, "I was just going to acquaint you
with the doctor's opinion when we were interrupted by the keeper.
"The doctor, having heard counsel on both sides, that is to say, Mrs. Harris for
my staying, and Miss Betty for my going, at last delivered his own sentiments. As
for Amelia, she sat silent, drowned in her tears; nor was I myself in a much better
"'As the commissions are not signed,' said the doctor, 'I think you may be said to
remain in your former regiment; and therefore I think you ought to go on this
expedition; your duty to your king and country, whose bread you have eaten,
requires it; and this is a duty of too high a nature to admit the least deficiency.
Regard to your character, likewise, requires you to go; for the world, which might
justly blame your staying at home if the case was even fairly stated, will not deal
so honestly by you: you must expect to have every circumstance against you
heightened, and most of what makes for your defence omitted; and thus you will
be stigmatized as a coward without any palliation. As the malicious disposition of
mankind is too well known, and the cruel pleasure which they take in destroying
the reputations of others, the use we are to make of this knowledge is to afford
no handle to reproach; for, bad as the world is, it seldom falls on any man who
hath not given some slight cause for censure, though this, perhaps, is often
aggravated ten thousand-fold; and, when we blame the malice of the aggravation
we ought not to forget our own imprudence in giving the occasion. Remember,
my boy, your honour is at stake; and you know how nice the honour of a soldier
is in these cases. This is a treasure which he must be your enemy, indeed, who
would attempt to rob you of. Therefore, you ought to consider every one as your
enemy who, by desiring you to stay, would rob you of your honour.'
"'Do you hear that, sister?' cries Miss Betty.--'Yes, I do hear it' answered Amelia,
with more spirit than I ever saw her exert before, and would preserve his honour
at the expense of my life. 'I will preserve it if it should be at that expense; and
since it is Dr Harrison's opinion that he ought to go, I give my consent. Go, my
dear husband,' cried she, falling upon her knees: 'may every angel of heaven
guard and preserve you!'--I cannot repeat her words without being affected," said
he, wiping his eyes, "the excellence of that woman no words can paint: Miss
Matthews, she hath every perfection in human nature.
"I will not tire you with the repetition of any more that past on that occasion, nor
with the quarrel that ensued between Mrs. Harris and the doctor; for the old lady
could not submit to my leaving her daughter in her present condition. She fell