An important member of a great family connexion cannot harp much upon the theme of matrimony, without its taking wind; and it soon got buzzed about that Mr. Simon Bracebridge was actually gone to Doncaster races, with a new horse; but that he meant to return in a curricle with a lady by his side. Master Simon did, indeed, go to the races, and that with a new horse; and the dashing widow did make her appearance in a curricle; but it was unfortunately driven by a strapping young Irish dragoon, with whom even Master Simon’s self-complacency would not allow him to venture into competition, and to whom she was married shortly after.
It was a matter of sore chagrin to Master Simon for several months, having never before been fully committed. The dullest head in the family had a joke upon him; and there is no one that likes less to be bantered than an absolute joker. He took refuge for a time at Lady Lillycraft’s, until the matter should blow over; and occupied himself by looking over her accounts, regulating the village choir, and inculcating loyalty into a pet bulfinch, by teaching him to whistle “God save the King.”
He has now pretty nearly recovered from the mortification; holds up his head, and laughs as much as any one; again affects to pity married men, and is particularly facetious about widows, when Lady Lillycraft is not by. His only time of trial is when the general gets hold of him, who is infinitely heavy and persevering in his waggery, and will interweave a dull joke through the various topics of a whole dinner-time. Master Simon often parries these attacks by a stanza from his old work of “Cupid’s Solicitor for Love:”
“’Tis in vain to wooe a widow
In once or twice her mind you may perceive;
Widows are subtle, be they old or young,
And by their wiles young men they will deceive.”
------Come, do not weep, my girl, Forget him, pretty Pensiveness; there will Come others, every day, as good as he.
—SIR J. SUCKLING.
The approach of a wedding in a family is always an event of great importance, but particularly so in a household like this, in a retired part of the country. Master Simon, who is a pervading spirit, and, through means of the butler and housekeeper, knows every thing that goes forward, tells me that the maid-servants are continually trying their fortunes, and that the servants’-hall has of late been quite a scene of incantation.
It is amusing to notice how the oddities of the head of a family flow down through all the branches. The Squire, in the indulgence of his love of every thing that smacks of old times, has held so many grave conversations with the parson at table, about popular superstitions and traditional rites, that they have been carried from the parlour to the kitchen by the listening domestics, and, being apparently sanctioned by such high authority, the whole house has become infected by them.