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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 dead at my feet, killed by my hand, through
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 upon 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.'
COUNTRY BREEDING. No. 86.
WHEN I came home last night, my servant delivered me the following letter:
October 24, 1709.
• Sir, I have orders from sir Harry Quickset of Staffordshire, baronet, to acquaint you that his honour sir Harry 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 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,
Your most humble servant,
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 any of 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,
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, 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 heaving 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 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 gone for ever