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which had been long opposed by their friends, by reason of the inequality of their fortunes; but their constancy to each other, and obedience to those on whom they depended, wrought so much upon their relations, that these celebrated lovers were at length joined in marriage. Soon after their nuptials the bridegroom was obliged to go into a foreign country to take care of a considerable fortune, which was left him by a relation, and came very opportunely to improve their moderate circumstances. They received the congratulations of all the country on this occasion ; and I remember it was a common sentence in every one's mouth, "You see how faithful love is rewarded.'
He took this agreeable voyage, and sent home every post fresh accounts of his success in his affairs abroad; but at last, though he designed to return with the next ship, he lamented in his letters, that business would detain him some time longer from home; because he would give himself the pleasure of an unexpected arrival.
The young lady, after the heat of the day, walked every evening on the sea-shore, near which she lived, with a familiar friend, her husband's kinswoman; and diverted herself with what objects they met there, or upon discourse of the future methods of life, in the happy change of their circumstances. They stood one evening on the shore together in a perfect tranquillity, observing the setting of the sun, the calm face of the deep, and the silent having of the waves, which gently rolled towards them, and broke at their feet; when at a distance her kinswoman saw something float on the waters, which she fancied was a chest; and with a smile told her, she saw it first, and if it came ashore full of jewels, she had a right to it. They both fixed their eyes upon it, and entertained themselves with the subject of the wreck, the cousin still asserting her right; but promising, if it was a prize, to give her a very rich coral for the child, of which she was then big, provided she might be god-mother. Their mirth soon abated, when they observed, upon the nearer approach, that it was a human body. The young lady, who had a heart naturally filled with pity and compassion, made many melancholy reflections on the occasion. Who knows, said she, but this man may be the only hope and heir of a wealthy house; the darling of indulgent parents, who are now in impertinent mirth, and pleasing themselves with the thoughts of offering him a bride they have got ready for him? or, may he not be the master of a family that wholly depended upon his life? There may, for aught we know, be half a dozen fatherless children, and a tender wife, now exposed to poverty by his death. What pleasure might he have promised himself in the different welcome he was to have from her and them ! But let us go away; it is a dreadful sight! The best office we can do is to take care that the poor man, whoever he is, may be decently buried. She turned
away; when a wave threw the carcase on the shore. The kinswoman immediately shrieked out, Oh, my cousin ! and fell upon the ground. The.unhappy wife went to help her friend; when she saw her own husband at her feet, and dropped in a swoon upon the body. An old woman, who had been the gentleman's nurse, came out about this time to call the ladies in to supper, and found her child, as she always called him, dead on the shore, her mistress and kinswoman both lying dead by him. Her loud lamentations, and calling her
young master to life, soon awaked the friend from her trance; but the wife was
When the family and neighbourhood got together round the bodies, no one asked any question, but the objects before them told the story.
Incidents of this nature are the more moving when they are drawn by persons concerned in the catastrophe, notwithstanding they are often oppressed beyond the power of giving them in a distinct light, except we gather their sorrow from their inability to speak it.
I have two original letters, written both on the same day, which are to me exquisite in their different kinds. The occasion was this: A gentleman who had courted a most agreeable young woman, and won her heart, obtained also the consent of her father, to whom she was an only child. The old man had a fancy that they should be married in the same church where he himself was, in a village in Westmorland, and made them set out while he was laid
at London, The bridegroom took only his man, and the bride her maid ; they had the most agreeable journey imaginable to the place of marriage; from whence the bridegroom writ the following letter to his wife's father : "Sir,
March 18, 16-2. After a very pleasant journey hither, we are preparing for the happy hour in which I am to be your son. I assure you the bride carries it, in the eve of the vicar who married you, much beyond her mother; though he says, your open sleeves, pantaloons, and shoulder-knot, made a much better show than the finical dress I am in. However, I am contented to be the second fine man this village ever saw, and shall make it very merry before night, because I shall write myself from thence Your most dutiful son,
* The bride gives her duty, and is as handsome as an angel I am the happiest man breathing.'
The villagers were assembling about the church, and the happy couple took a walk in a private garden. The bridegroom's man knew his master would leave the place on a sudden after the wedding, and, seeing him draw his pistols the night before, took this opportunity to go into his chamber and charge them. Upon their return from the garden, they went into that room; and after a little fond raillery on the subject of their courtship, the lover took up a pistol, which he knew he had unloaded the night before, and, presenting it to her, said with the most graceful air, whilst she looked pleased at his agreeable flattery, Now, madam, repent of all those cruelties you have been guilty of to me; consider, before you die, how often you have made a poor wretch freeze under your casement: you shall die, you tyrant, you shall die, with all those instruments of death and destruction about you, with that inchanting smile, those killing ringlets of your hair.-Give fire, said she, laughing. He did so; and shot her dead. Who can speak his condition ? But he bore it so patiently as to call up his man. The poor wretch entered, and his master locked the door upon him. Will, said he, did you charge these pistols? He answered, Yes, Upon which he shot him dead with that remaining. After this, amidst a thousand broken sobs, piercing groans, and distracted motions, he writ the following letter to the father of his dead mistress :
' I, who two hours ago told you truly I was the happiest man alive, am now the most priserable. Your daughter lies dcad at my feet, killed by my hand,
through a mistake of my man's charging my pistols unknown to me. Him have I murdered for it. Such is my wedding day.-I will immediately follow my wife to her grave: but before I throw myself upou my sword, I command my distraction so far as to explain my story to you. I fear my heart will not keep together until I have stabbed it. Poor good old man ! Remember, he that killed your daughter died for it. In the article of death I give you my thanks, and pray for you, though I dare not for myself. If it be possible, do not curse me.'
When I came home last night, my servant delivered me the following letter :
October 24, 1709. I have orders from sir Harry Quickset of Staffordshire, baronet, to acquaint you that his honour sir Harry himself, sir Giles Wheelbarrow, knight, Thomas Rentfrue, esquire, justice of the quorum, Andrew Windmill, esquire, and Mr. Nicholas Doubt of the Inner Temple, sir Harry's grandson, will wait upon you at the hour of nine to-morrow morning, being Tuesday the twenty-fifth of October, upon business which sir Harry will impart to you by word of mouth. I thought it proper to acquaint you beforehand so many persons of quality came, that you might not be surprised therewith. Which concludes, though, by many years absence since I saw you at Stafford, unknown,
. I received