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MR. WORTHY AND FAMILY, MR. CONSIDERATE, AND THOMAS NEWMAN.
THE HAPPY MARRIAGE.
ACCORDING to the hint given in the former Dialogue, the reader must now be informed, that two days after Mr. Lovegood's return from the Lovelys, the intended union between Mr. Merryman and Miss Worthy took place. As the reporter of these events was not at the wedding, much information from him cannot be expected on that subject. From the feelings of female delicacy, it was the wish of Miss Worthy that the marriage should be solemnized with all possible secrecy ; and in order to accomplish this, the family went to the church with Mr. Worthy and Mr. Lovegood, apparently with a design to see about a gallery that was erecting for the children of the Sunday school, and some other accommodations, that the poor might be better seated, who so plentifully crowd the aisles. And while the carpenters were gone to their breakfast, old Andrew Snuf fle, the clerk, was ordered to attend at a moment's warning, and then the marriage ceremony was performed. They next retired to Brookfield Hall, when a very appropriate prayer for a blessing on the union, was offered up by Mr. Lovegood.
Though this event was thus performed in secret, yet it was not the wish of the family that it should be kept a secret. Old Andrew went directly to the ringers, who began gingling the bells as well as they could; though
one of them being cracked, and another of them having lately lost its clapper, the music of the steeple was but a coarse exhibition of the people's joy. Seldom had Mr. Lovegood an ill word from any of his parishioners; but on this event the ringers were almost angry with him for having opposed the repair of the bells; but he well knew, that this sort of music was frequently a temptation to disorderly conduct. Mr. Worthy was also of the same opinion, being entirely satisfied that a better set of bells could never be wanted to call the people to public worship, while the best bell in the Church, (referring to the pulpit,) was so thoroughly sound, and had in it such an excellent clapper, to charm the ears and hearts of all who had grace to attend on its melodious sound.
Mr. Worthy, therefore, having sent to the ringers the accustomed compliment, requesting them and the rest of the inhabitants of the village, to keep the testimony of their joy within proper limits, on that happy event, especially as the bride and bridegroom were going off for Sandover directly; and that if they would wait for their return in about a fortnight, when they were to come and pass a few days at Brookfield Hall, he would then, on the condition of their orderly behaviour, invite them to partake of a marriage feast at his own house; and a word from Mr. Worthy, was always a law throughout the village. Many cheerful blessings were pronounced on the union, all having one and the same wish, that the family of the Worthys might be built up in all its collateral branches; and that from age to age, they might be a blessing to the country, wherever "the bounds of their habitations might be fixed."
Though the precise time of this intended union was known to none at Sandover but Mr. Merryman's servants, yet immediately on their arrival, though in the evening of the day, the event soon transpired through all the neighbourhood; and Mr. Merryman had scarcely fin
ished his family prayer, when they were saluted with the following hymn, accompanied with instrumental music, and sung by some of his affectionate parishioners, in the court-yard of his rectory house.
IN Paradise the joy began,
When male and female both were one;
Who now have plighted heart and hands,
As Isaac and Rebecca gave
A pattern mild, and chaste, and kind :
As one, in constant union join'd.
Many were inquisitive to know from whence these good people procured their poetry, while some were of opinion that it was the production of Mr. Lovegood, written on a former marriage occasion, and which had got into circulation by having been transcribed by different persons: yet others judged that it was somewhat below the general pitch of his poetry and that it might more probably have been the production of a Mrs. Rhymer, who lived in those parts, and to whom Mr. Merryman's ministry had been made very useful. But that we may deal upon uncertainties and conjectures no longer, the reader shall have other particulars in a dialogue, which took place between Mr. Worthy and family, and our old favourite Thomas Newman, who had been to Sandover with his eldest daughter Betty, the day after the marriage, that she might attend as a servant on Mrs. Merryman; and where Thomas himself had been detained, that he might help Mr. Merryman with a little of his advice, as it respected the management of his glebe, and some other little husbandry concerns, which he now found necessary to undertake upon his settlement in a family way.
[Thomas is introduced.]
Tho. Your servant, your honour; I have a letter to your honour, from Madam Merryman.
[Mr. Worthy reads the letter, and hands it to Mrs. Worthy.]
Wor. Well, Thomas, I perceive my daughter and her husband are very well-sit down, I want to have some conversation with you about them.
Tho. With your honour's leave, I had rather stand. I should be ashamed to sit down before your honour.
Wor. Nay, nay, Thomas, you must sit down: I shall have many questions to ask, and you must be tired; for you have had a long walk from Sandover.
[After much persuasion, Thomas sits down at a modest distance from his honour; for Thomas reads his Bible, and that directs him to "give honour to whom honour is due;" while the truly honourable Mr. Worthy, is as wisely instructed to "condescend to men of low estate."]
Wor. Well, and what do the people of Sandover think of Mr. Merryman, for having taken my daughter away from me?
Tho. Ah dear, your honour! why the people at Sandover are delighted, to admiration at the match.
Mrs. Wor. I am glad they are, Thomas; I am thoroughly persuaded my daughter will do all in her power to make a good wife, and a good minister's wife.
Tho. Why, madam, the very day after her marriage, she went with that dear gentleman, and for sure he is a precious soul! and visited ever so many poor folk about the parish, and gave something wherever she
Mrs. Wor. She told us, that she should want no fine wedding clothes in going to Sandover; and that she had rather, when she came there, lay out that money among the poor, that she might put a little decent clothing on their backs, for that they needed it more than she did.
Tho. Why, madam, I never saw a people so happy in my born days, as the people at Sandover were, when they saw such a humble good young lady, walking about in such a plain way and dress; while some foolish, proud folk supposed that your honour would have sent her home in a coach and six, and that there should have been bonfires, and nobody knows what fine things besides.