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many worthy and
distressed persons happy for their whole lives. What have you instead but the mortification
I will say no more, but leave you to fill up the sentence yourself.
Think of it a little, if it be possible for you to sit down to think, good Sir Charles. I have always loved you as if you were my own son. You gave me my living, and have ever been good to me; and I could chearfully resign it to hear the world speak well of you as they do in most things. When I hear any thing good of you, it is the comfort of my grey hairs; and when I hear any thing ill, I feel it here at my heart. If you should happen to send me word this time twelvemonth that you had disposed of only half the overplus of your income in acts of charity, instead of sacrificing it all in this wretched way, I verily believe it would comfort me so much, that it might add two or three years to the declining life of,
Dear Sir Charles,
ON STOLEN MARRIAGES.
AS I see you are fond of gallantry, and seem willing to set young people together as soon as you can, I cannot help lending my assistance to your endeavours, as I am greatly concerned in the attempt. You must know, sir, that I am landlady of one of the most noted inns on the road to Scotland, and have seldom less than eight or ten couples a week who go down rapturous lovers and return man and wife.
If there be an agreeable situation, it must be that in which a young couple find themselves, when just let loose from confinement, and whirling to the land of promise. When the postchaise is driving off, and the blinds are drawn up, sure nothing can equal it. And yet I do not know how, what with the fears of being pursued, or the wishes for greater happiness, not one of my
customers but seems gloomy and out of temper. The gentlemen are all sullen, and the ladies discontented.
But if it be so going down, how is it with them coming back? Having been a fortnight together, they are then mighty good company to be sure. It is then the young lady's indiscretion stares her in the face, and the gentleman himself finds that much is to be done before the money comes in.
For my own part, sir, I was married in the usual way; all my friends were at the wedding, I was conducted with great ceremony from the table to the bed; and I do not find that it any ways diminished my happiness with my husband, while, poor man, he continued with me. For my part I am entirely for doing things in the old family way; I hate your new fashioned manners, and never loved an outlandish marriage in my life.
As I have had numbers call at my house, you may be sure I was not idle in enquiring who they were, and how they did in the world after they left me. I cannot say, that I ever heard much good came of them; and of a history of twenty five, that I noted down in my ledger, I do not know a single couple that would not have been full as happy if they had gone the
plain way to work, and asked the consent of their parents. To convince you of it, I will mention the names of a few, and refer the rest to some fitter opportunity.
Imprimis, Miss Jenny Hastings went down to Scotland with a tailor, who to be sure for a tailor was a very agreeable sort of a man. But I do not know how, he did not take proper measure of the young lady's disposition; they quarrelled at my house on their return, so she left him for a cornet of dragoons, and he went back to his shopboard.
Miss Rachel Runfort went off with a grenadier; they spent all their money going down; so that he carried her down in a post-chaise, and coming back she helped him to carry his knapsack.
Miss Racket went down with her lover in their own phaeton, but upon their return being very fond of driving, she would be every now and then for holding the whip. This bred a dispute, and before they were a fortnight together, she felt that he could exercise the whip on somebody else besides the horses.
Miss Meekly, though all compliance to the will of her lover, could never reconcile him to the change of his situation. It seems he married her, supposing she had a large fortune; but
being deceived in their expectations they parted, and they now keep separate garrets in Rosemary lane.
The next couple of whom I have any account actually lived together in great harmony and uncloying kindness for no less than a month; but the lady, who was a little in years, having parted with her fortune to her dearest life, he left her to make love to that better part of her which he valued more.
The next pair consisted of an Irish fortune hunter, and one of the prettiest modestest ladies that ever my eyes beheld. As he was a welllooking gentleman dressed in lace, and as she was very foud of him, I thought they were blessed for life. Yet I was quickly mistaken. The lady was no better than a common woman of the town, and he was no better than a sharper, so they agreed upon a divorce; he now dresses at the York ball, and she is in keeping by the member for our borough in parliament.
In this manner we see that all those marriages in which there is interest on one side, and disobedience on the other, are not likely to promise a long harvest of delights. If our fortune-hunting . gentlemen would but speak out, the young lady, instead of a lover, would often find a sneaking rogue, that only wanted the lady's purse, and not