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But before we proceed, a word about the happy couple, and wedding excursions in general. .
The present bride was devoted to dress, fashion, and gaiety. She had accepted her first offer because it was a good one, and she became attached because she was going to be married. Love and lutestring had for the last few months occupied her mind in pretty equal proportions ; and her thoughts had been quite as much given to the artists who were to furnish her wedding paraphernalia, as to the husband-elect, on whom would depend the happiness or misery of her married life. The gentleman was a good-natured, good-looking young man, not over-burdened with talent and feeling, but one who could make himself sufficiently agreeable amongst common-place people, and talk sufficiently well on all common-place topics. Had his bride- elect jilted him, it would not perhaps have broken his heart; nevertheless, he believed her to be a very charming young woman, and was fully resolved to make her a good husband. The love which subsisted between these “betrothed” was of that kind on which hundreds and thousands live to their lives' end, and are what the world call “ uncommonly happy." Possessing absolutely nothing of that depth and delicacy which gives to the sentiment a hallowed character—their love, aided by the occupations and pleasures of society, maintains a bustling existence; but it is ill suited for retirement: the world is its home, and there only can it have its being.
With regard to wedding excursions, we would suggest the propriety of suiting the places visited to the parties who visit. Intellect, as well as heart—reason, in addition to love, is requisite in those who venture upon seclusion and fine scenery. When the first pleasurable impression is worn off, the devotees of artificial life sigh for worldly haunts and congenial spirits. They grow tired of the lakes, and disgusted with Bolton Abbey itself. Two common-minded persons may converse agreeably in a crowd, and yet be reduced to bankruptcy when thrown upon nature and each other. Deprived of their usual topics, their conversation languishes into “ the question, the reply, and the rejoinder ;" ennui ensues, and those who fancied they could love in a desert, discover that they can love much better in the world. And yet, paradoxical as it may seem, those very causes (idleness and seclusion) which oft-times induce a diminution of romantic feeling between a married pair, as often induce it in the minds of two who are disengaged; although they too be unintellectual, and deficient in genuine sensibility. We pretend not to argue this position; but merely to assert and illustrate its general truth.
About a fortnight had elapsed since the auspicious day with which this paper commenced ; during that period our bridal party had visited much of the scenery of the north : with what effect the following conversations will evidence.
It was evening, and the married pair stood together in as lovely a spot as this, or any other country can exhibit. The sun had made a “ golden set,” the western sky was yet flushed with his parting smile
“ The sylvan slopès with corn-clad fields
whilst rock, wood, hamlet, and distant hill, were clothed in that ethereal haze, that “ apparel of celestial light,” which makes the rugged appear beautiful, and the beautiful divine.
“ Delightful evening,” said the bridegroom, at the same moment contradicting his assertion with a yawn.
“ Pretty the water looks,” replied the bride, in a languid tone.
“ Very,” replied the gentleman, as he picked up a pebble, and made what schoolboys call a duck-and-a-drake on its surface.
“ What are we to do to-morrow, love ?" inquired the lady, after a considerable interval of silence. “ Don't know, indeed, my dear”-I suppose
B a nd Sophia have planned an excursion somewhere; and again the bridegroom closed his sentence with a yawn.
“ I think we must have seen every thing--at least I feel as if we had,” observed his companion,“ don't you think, love, a set of coloured views gives one just as good an idea of these places as coming to see them?"
" Exactly; but then there's the say so. I wish I had brought my flute and fishing tackle with me; B- is not half such good company as I expected ”
And Sophia,” interrupted the bride, “ is most exceedingly inattentive. I wish we had gone to Cheltenham, what are we to do if there comes another wet day ?”
“ Why, you know, my dear,” said her husband, “ I told you what would happen; these places are only pleasant when you have a large party with you."
“ Indeed, George, you are quite right, and I wish with all my heart we were at home.”
“ So do I, Mary Anne, for the races are the week after next, and I see my friend — has entered Honeymoon for the gold cup.”
“And the race ball !” ejaculated the lady, in a tone of dismay, “ what have we been thinking of to forget them? Do, love, let us go home; I am sure we have seen every thing here.”
“ Well, my dear," replied the gentleman, with vivacity, “ I'm sure you have my consent, and I'll take you down to Cheltenham for a week or two when our bustle is over at home; I should like that trip myself.”
The bride was in extacies. “And will you, really—Oh, I am quite happy—I will write to my mother to-night, and we will leave this stupid place to-morrow; dear, good, kind, indulgent creature; but you won't alter your mind, George,” said she, suddenly stopping in her praises, “ You really will take me to Cheltenham—and stylishly; Oh, we shall be so happy, let us go and tell our companions."
Whilst this conjugal dialogue took place without doors, the bride'smaid and her brother in office, stationed at the inn window which commanded a view of the same scene, held a conference in a very different strain. We shall merely give its close, informing the reader that the parts we omit related to taste, friendship, Moore's Melodies, happiness, quadrilles, and the last Scotch novel.
“Who could ever tire of this scenery ?” exclaimed the young lady, with enthusiasm.
“ Not in such society," replied her companion, “ I shall never have such another fortnight."
“ Impossible !-we never can have been out a whole fortnight-it has not appeared a week.”
“ Then you are not tired ?".
“ Tired !-I could live here for ever,-look at that darling cottage, with its honey-suckle porch.”
“O that for thee some home like that may smile,” was the gallant captain's gallant reply.
“ You have not quoted the line correctly,” said Miss Sophia, with delightful simplicity.
“ Well then, take the original reading,” replied the captain, and he repeated, in a most subduing manner
“O that for me some home like that may smile.” With a quick sense of propriety, the young lady immediately changed the conversation, and directed her companion's attention to the blueness of the sky, the shadows upon the mountains, and the little boats upon the water.
They were interrupted to receive the information with which the reader is already acquainted. The change of plans did not, as he will readily imagine, meet with their approval; and it was with very different feelings that bride and bride's-maid sat down to write their respective letters; the former to her mother, the latter to a most intimate friend. We subjoin extracts from both.
• Indeed, my dear mother, if I were to be married a hundred times, I would neither come to this country, nor travel with a bride's-maid. Both Sophia and Captain B— are extremely ill bred, and are so taken up with each other, that they pay George and myself scarcely any attention. I suspect they intend to have a wedding excursion of their own before long. There is very little company here this season, at least what I call company; and good clothes are quite thrown away, for if you get caught in a shower whilst exploring, it is very uncertain whether you can shelter; and if you can, the cottages are poor paltry places. They are real cottages. By the way, how came we all to forget that the races were so much earlier this year? George is extremely vexed, as he much wishes to see Li's horse run; and as there will be no other ball before the winter assemblies commence, I think it would be a thousand pities to lose this opportunity of making my appearance. It is my own private opinion, that Sophia will be a bride before winter, and of course I should not like to see myself superseded. We have therefore decided to shorten our excursion, and you may expect us home in a few days. George regrets quite as much as I do, that we should have come to this out-of-the-world country. Captain B- and Sophia, seem to find it delightful; but I think they are very romantic, and know nothing of the world. Love and a cottage are, as you have so often remarked, perfectly ridiculous. I have no doubt that George and I shall enjoy much rational happiness; our opinions coincide on all important points, and he has promised to take me to Cheltenham, when our visiting bustle is over. The morning I left home, I was too much agitated to observe it, but I find my travelling pelisse disgracefully made ; this is, however, of less consequence, as a shower of rain has completely spoiled it. I can never be sufficiently thankful that I left my gros de Naples bonnet behind. George is rather vexed to find that they have mistered him in the newspapers, and I observe they have blundered about the name of our house, which, since the addition of the coach-house and stables, has been called Irlington Hall ; but this comes of trusting to friends. Did I not know your kind anxiety about every thing connected with my comfort, I should be in an agony about my drawing-room curtains. La Fitte has surely made the alteration he promised ; if he has not, pray persecute him till he does, for that ball fringe is not to be endured. I know I can trust you to arrange my wardrobe against my return; but let the dress in which I shall appear at the ball, have a drawer to itself ; I would not have it crushed for the world. Have you any idea what strangers intend to call upon me? George's acquaintances and mine will, when added together, make such a large circle, that I am not exceedingly anxious for new friends, unless they are particularly stylish people ; for I am convinced that the happiness of young married persons chiefly depends on their choice of company. Be sure give my best love to all the Johnsons and Dickenses, and tell them what a charming excursion we have had, and how happy I am. I believe I have now said every thing of consequence. Pray remember about the ball fringe, and with my best love, in which George joins, believe me, dear mother,--Your affectionate child,
“ Mary Anne – “ P. S. You may depend on seeing us in four days, at the farthest; I would not stay an hour longer than necessity compels me.”
The following are the closing remarks contained in the bride's-maid's epistle :
“ And now, my dear friend, will you give credit to my assurance, that Mr. and Mrs. are so insensible to the charms of this earthly paradise ! Excursions which have enraptured Captain B- and myself, have overwhelmed them with ennui ; and though I am sure we have behaved towards them with the greatest tact and delicacy, never intruding upon their tete-a-tétes, joining them in their rambles, or endeavouring in the least to divert their attention from each other, they are evidently displeased with us. How different are tastes! They are perpetually sighing for noisy pleasures, and vulgar gaiety, whilst we are contented with a solitary walk or ride, during which we are obliged to entertain each other. Is it not provoking that our happy couple should have determined to return home immediately, for the sake of those horrid races, and that abominable ball ? Captain B- regrets as much as I do, this change in our plans; for, as he justly remarks, we shall have no pleasure in conversing in a crowd. Pray do not suppose I have a reason for my regret,I hope you know me too well, to suppose that I could be guilty of the impropriety of falling in love with a person whom I have only known a fortnight. I may own, without a blush, that I am attached to the country; and that if I were to be married a hundred times, it should be the scene of my wedding excursions. I need not remind you who should be my bride's-maid. But I must conclude. Captain B- interrupts me,
to solicit one farewell ramble before 'we leave these enchanting scenes, - perhaps for ever.—Believe me unalterably your's,
The reader will anticipate the result of this farewell ramble. It was twilight-the witching hour of romance; the breeze
“ Just kissed the lake, just stirred the trees,”— The moon was too well-bred to withhold her influence on such an occasion—whilst here and there a modest star peeped forth like an attendant spirit; the birds sang their vesper carols—the air was mingled balm and music-every thing tended to a love scene. The conversation we do not disclose, but when the ramblers returned to the inn, the young lady retired, to erase from her letter the passage on the impropriety of falling in love in a fortnight, to add in a postscript, that she was engaged to be married. Captain B- found the “happy couple” where he had left them, with this change in their occupations; that the bride-groom, having pared his nails, was whistling a waltz; and that the bride, having finished her letter, had taken up an old newspaper.
Thus ended a wedding excursion, in course of which two of the same party fell out of love, and the remaining two fell in. What effect a return into the world produced upon their respective feelings, we leave as a problem to be solved by the sagacious reader.
Loud raved the gust, the torrent fell
Far on the outskirt of the host
A soldier's honour was forgot;