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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 agrecable 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 up with the gout at London, The bridegroom took only his man, and the bride her maid: they had the most agrecable 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 miserable. Your daughter lies dcad at my fect, killed by my hand,
through a mistake of my man's charging my pistols unknown to nie. Ilim 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 dangliter 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 curre me.'
COUNTRY BREEDING. No. 86.
When I came home last night, my servant de. livered me the following letter: • Sir,
October 24, 1709. I have orders from sir Ilarry Quickset of Staffordshire, baronet, to acquaint you that his honour sir llarry himself, sir Giles Wheelbarrow, knight, Thomas Rentfree, 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 Tucsday the twenty-fifth of October, upon business which sir Ilarry 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 I received this message with less surprise than I believe Mr. Thrifty imagined; for I knew the good company too well to feel any palpitations at their approach: but I was in a very great concern how I should adjust the ceremonial, and demean myself to all these great men, who perhaps had not seen any thing above themselves for these twenty years last past. I am sure that is the case of sir Harry. Besides which, I was sensible that there was a great point in adjusting, my behaviour to the simple esquire, so as to give him satisfaction, and not disoblige the justice of the quorum.
, The hour of nine was come this morning, and I had no sooner set chairs, by the steward's letter, and fixed my tea equipage, but I heard a knock at my door, which was opened, but no one entered; after which followed a long silence, which was broke at last by, Sir, I beg your pardon ; I think I know better : and another voice, Nay, good sir Giles--I looked out from my window, and saw the good company all with their hats off, and arms spread, offering the door to each other. After many offers, they entered with much solemnity, in the order Mr. Thrifty was so kind as to name them to me. But they are now got to my chamber-door, and I saw my old friend sir Harry enter. I met him with all the respect due to so reverend a vegetable; for you are to know, that is my sense of a person who remains idle in the same place for half a century. I got him with great success into his chair by the fire, without throwing down
my cups. The knight-bachelor told me, he had a great respect for my whole family, and would, with my leave, place himself next to sir Harry, at whose right hand he had sat at every quarter sessions these thirty years, unless he was sick. The steward in the rear whispered the young
Templar, Templar, That is true to my knowledge. I had the inisfortune, as they stood cheek by jole, to desire the esquire to sit down before the justice of the quorum, to the no small satisfaction of the former, and resentment of the latter : but I saw my error too late, and got them as soon as I could into their seats.
Well, said I, genklemen, after I have told you, how glad I am of this great honour, I am to desire you to drink a dish of tea. They answered one and all, that they never drank tea in a morning. Not in a morning! said I, staring 'round me.
Upon which the pert jackanapes : Nic Doubt tipped me the wink, and put out his tongue at his grandfather. Here followed a profound silence ; when the steward, in his boots and whip, proposed that we should adjourn to some public house, where every boily might call for what they pleased, and enter upon the business. We all stood up in an instant, and sir Harry filed off from the left, very disereetly, countermarching behind the chairs towards the door : after him, sir Giles in the same manner. The simple esquire made a sudden start to follow; but the justice of the quorum whipped between upon the stand of the stairs, A maid going up with coals made us halt, and put us into such confusion that we stood all in a heap, without any visible possibility of recovering our order: for the young jackanapes seemed to make a jest of this matter, and had so contrived, by pressing amongst us under pretence of making way, that his grandfather was got into the middle, and he knew nobody was of quality to stir a step until sir Harry moved first. We were fixed in this perplexity for some time, until we heard a very loud noise in the street; and sir Harry asking what it was, I, to make them move, said, it was fire. l'pon this, all ran down as fast as they could, without