Search just our sites by using our customised search engine

Unique Cottages | Electric Scotland's Classified Directory

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

Chronicles of Gretna Green
Chapter XVIII

Expenses of Marriage at Gretna, continued.

As chapter last could not contain
All that we had to say,
The self-same subject goes amain
Much in the self-same way.

A meritorious writer who inhabits in the town of Dumfries, or at least,' who did so a short space ago, nigh to the region whose history is contained in these pages,—a writer whose habitation being so little removed away, has necessarily been an eye-witness and a local gossip of many of the executions that have befallen ; and again, a writer whose information may be accepted as authentic, owing to his proximity; this writer has penned a few pleasant facts touching the usages of the Gretna Green ecclesiastics, especially that particular one of the loving churchman from the south, which facts, under permission, we will display in the commencement of this chapter.

We like to see an author quote: we are sometimes glad to do it in these pages. It shows that an author does not advance things on his own impertinent authority; it shows that he pays deference to others who practise the same art as himself.

"There are," says this fellow-labourer, "two rival practitioners at Springfield, one of whom married Paisley's grand-daughter, and fell heir to his office, in much the same way that some persons acquire the right of vending quack medicines.

 Still," he continues, very rightly, "the other gets a good deal of custom; and here, as in everything else, competition has been favourable to the interests of the public. Though a bargain is generally made before hand, a marriagemonger who has no rival to fear, might fix his fee at any sum he pleased; and instances have occurred, in which the parties complained they had been too heavily taxed.

"Not long before my visit to Springfield, a young English clergyman, who had failed to procure his father's consent, arrived for the purpose of being married without it. The fee demanded was thirty guineas, a demand at which his reverence demurred; at the same time stating, that though he had married many a couple, his highest fee never exceeded half-a-guinea. The clergyman, in fact, had not so much money about him; but it was agreed that he should pay ten pounds in hand, and grant a promissory note for the balance; and the bill, certainly a curiosity of its kind, was regularly negotiated through a Carlisle banking-house, and as regularly retired at the time appointed. And here I must mention a circumstance which has not been provided for in the late bill anent combinations; though it manifestly tends to augment the tax on irregular marriages. At Springfield there are two inns, as well as two priests, one of which inns each of the latter patronizes exclusively. More than this, the house at which the lover arrives at Springfield depends entirely at what inn he starts from at Carlisle. Though he may wish to give a preference, and issue positive orders on the subject, these orders, are uniformly disobeyed. The postboys will only stop at one house; and that for the best of all reasons, namely, that the priest, knowing the value of their patronage, goes snacks with them in the proceeds. Except in cases of sickness, or absence, the priests never desert their colours. All the guests of

the one house are married by Mr.-, and of the other, by Mr. Elliott; so that those who are most deeply concerned, have very little to say in the matter. The latter of these personages, who has lately retired from his calling, or rather been deprived of his ancient office by the usurpation of an inn-keeper, published about a year ago a little volume of memoirs containing many amusing instances of his experience as a Gretna priest. His book is well worth reading. The following is one of his numerous and interesting anecdotes, and was told him by his predecessor, Joseph Paisley.

"A young English lady, daughter of a wealthy old baronet, of one of the Midland counties, had fixed her affections on the son of a neighbouring gentleman, of considerable landed property, who had paid his addresses to her for some time, they having been, as it were, brought up together, and both their families appeared to approve of their courtship. But, ' the course o#true love never did run smooth,' and they were doomed to experience the truth of this old saying; for about the time they began to think of finishing their courtship by marriage, it became suddenly public that the old Squire, the young gentleman's father, was in very embarrassed circumstances, owing to his fondness for betting on horse-races, then much in fashion, and gambling, vices which he had long indulged in, almost in secret, and to a ruinous extent, little dreamed of by the world, more especially his own neighbourhood. His son, I believe, consented to the sale of the largest portion of the family estate, to rescue his father from his difficulties, and both became poor gentlemen, characters which the world did not fail quickly to discover, and appreciate accordingly. The youth was the first victim, being immediately forbid visiting the house of his fair lady, by the old Baronet, who, in the good old fashion of fathers in those days, soon gave her to understand that she must think no more of her first lover, but prepare to receive one of his choosing, and whom he had already invited to commence his courtship. This was, in due course conveyed to her lover, with whom she still managed to keep up a correspondence, and even to meet occasionally, and the result was, he succeeded in persuading her to elope with him to Gretna, and that on the very night of the arrival of the new suitor for her hand. The young couple set off for the north. The old Baronet was, it appears, almost frantic with rage on being informed of his daughter's elopement, and, having armed himself with pistols, immediately pursued, attended by his friend, both threatening the young man with death should they overtake him. The young pair having taken their measures well, speedily arrived at Gretna, and lost no time in summoning the assistance of Mr. Paisley, who always declared them to have been the handsomest, and best matched couple, he had ever performed this office for, and they were, by him, in due form, married before proper witnesses, and a regular certificate signed and given them. Upon the completion of the ceremony, the young gentleman, taking Mr. Paisley aside, briefly told him the circumstances of the case, and that he expected pursuit, and asked what he would recommend them to do. I believe Mr. Paisley's prudential considerations had more influence with the timid, blushing girl, than the soft pleadings of her young husband, and she at length suffered herself to be conducted to the nuptial chamber, as it was always called, it being the custom for parties dreading immediate pursuit, to retire there soon after the perform-anee of the ceremony, in order that the consummation of the marriage might be added as an additional bar to their separation, or any endeavour to set it aside. In the middle of the night the inmates of the little inn were alarmed by the sudden arrival of a chaise and four horses, driven at the top of their speed, and presently the old Baronet and his friends alighted, and began to thunder at the door and window shutters, with the butt ends of their pistols, till the former was opened by the frightened landlord, only just in time to prevent its being broken in. The terror of the poor girl in the meanwhile, can be better imagined than described, while the young man began hurrying on some clothes, intending to hasten to her father, and endeavour to appease him. The excited father having gained admittance, fiercely interrogated the trembling landlord, whom he threatened with instant death if he did not show him where the fugitives were hid. The landlord, while ascending the stairs, which he did as slow as his impatient and unwelcome guest would permit, endeavoured to smooth the old man with the usual common-place consolations for his too late arrival, and unfortunately, as a last resource happened to mention the fact of their having consummated the marriage as a reason for the old marplot, 'to grin and bear it,' and the unfortunate catastrophe which ensued was always attributed by Mr. Paisley to this imprudent conduct on the part of the landlord.

"The old gentleman had reached the landing of the staircase, and was close to the door of the room in which were his daughter and her husband, as the landlord made this last remark, which increased his irritation in such a degree, that he instantly rushed against the door, which yielding to his force, he at once stood before his terrified daughter and her lover, at the latter of whom he instantly presented one of the pistols he held in his hand. On seeing this, the poor girl jumped from the bed in her night dress, to interpose between them, but, alas! only in time to fall upon her lover's lifeless body, for, before she could prevent it, her father tad fired with fatal effect. At the report of the pistol, the alarmed household hastened to the room, where they were shocked at the scene which met their view. Weltering in his blood which flowed from the wound in his breast, lay the unfortunate youth, upon whom his bride, now a widow, had fallen, and whose' night-dress was stained with the sanguine stream, while the grim father stood

looking on in a sort of stupefaction, the fatal weapon still in his hand. One domestic, bolder than the rest, would have seized him, but was deterred by the weapon he still held, and with which he threatened to shoot the first person who should impede his actions. With the assistance of his friend, who had now joined him, he raised his daughter from the floor, and hastily wrapping her in some cloaks, carried her to his chaise, into which, having put her clothes, he and his friend jumped, and immediately drove off, she still continuing insensible. On the arrival of Mr. Paisley, who had been sent for, he found the murderer had gone, and was exceedingly angry with the landlord, first, for having permitted him to enter the house, seeing his excited state, and knowing him to he armed, and then for letting him escape, which, had he been there would not have happened, as he declared, that in the excitement of the moment, he should not have hesitated to have taken his life, rather than have let him escape; and being a very determined man, there is little doubt he would have kept his word.

"On his trial for this crime, the counsel for the old man made it appear that he had done it only in self-defence, and I believe he got off free, but found reason to repent his cruelty, as his daughter never recovered the shock, but died soon after broken hearted ; after which, finding himself hated, and shunned by all his former friends and neighbours, he retired to the Continent, where he spent the remainder of his existence."

"But to return to financial matters. From first to last, it may be said, that the fond pair are, as it were, passively transported from their own homes of single blessedness, at once into a foreign country and a state of matrimony, without any pains on their part, but simply what consists in 'paying as they go along.'

"In this way something like a monopoly still exists; and what is more strange still, not only the postboy who drives a couple, but his companions, and the whole litter of the inn-yard, are permitted to share in the profits of the day.

"The thing is viewed in the light of a windfall, and the proceeds are placed in a sort of fee-fund, to be afterwards shared in such proportions as the parties see fit. Altogether, the marrying business must bring a large sum annually into Springfield: indeed, an inhabitant confessed that it is, ' the principal benefit and support of the place;' although he might have added, that smuggling has lately become a rising and rival means of subsistence. Upon an average three hundred couples are married in the year: and half-a-guinea is the lowest fee that is ever charged.

"But a trifle like that is only levied from poor and pedestrian couples; and persons even in the middle ranks of life are compelled to pay much more handsomely. Not long before I visited Springfield, a gentleman had given forty pounds; and independently of the money that is spent in the inns, many hundreds must find their way into the pockets of the priests, and their concurrents the postboys. In its legal effect, the ceremony performed at Gretna merely amounts to a confession before witnesses that certain persons are man and wife; and the reader is aware that little more is necessary to constitute a marriage in Scotland:—a marriage which may be censured by church courts, but which is perfectly binding, in regard to property, and the legitimacy of the children. Still, a formula has a considerable value in the eyes of the fair, and the priests, I believe, read a considerable part of the English marriage service, offer up a prayer or two, require the parties to join hands, [their hearts being joined before,] sign a record, and so forth.

"At my request Mr. Elliott produced his marriage record, which, as a public document, is regularly kept, and which, to say the truth, would require to be so, seeing that it is sometimes tendered as evidence in court.1"Now, look you: — The above writer says that "half a guinea is the lowest fee ever charged;" but we are certain, that, when we were there, the worthy keeper of the toll-gate would have gladly accommodated us, had we been so determined, for a much less sum.

Pennant even goes much further than this, for he talks "of a dram of whisky." Perchance the charges have risen since his time; for extortion, like other practices in iniquity, does not attain to its full extreme of superlativeness at first; but commences by little and little, and increases by time and opportunity.

"Here the young couple," he observes, "may be instantly united by a fisherman, a joiner, or a blacksmith, who marry from two guineas a job to a dram of whisky; but the price is generally adjusted by the information of the postilions from Carlisle, who are in pay of one or other of the above worthies ; but even the drivers, in case of necessity, have been known to undertake the sacerdotal office."

Prices and iniquity have evidently increased since the days of greater simplicity in which Pennant travelled.

In "Brewster's Edinburgh Encyclopaedia1' there is a calculation, which shows that in the year 1815 the number of marriages performed in this parish was sixty-five. The number for other years is not so directly given; but the sixty-five for 1815 is estimated as being a fair average for a pretty long series of years, one taken with the other.

This is further pursued. Fifteen guineas is taken as the medium product of each marriage—a proof that by the year 1815 the prices had far advanced over what they had previously been; and this sum will bring into the hands of the Gretna priests and their associates an annual income-of above 1000.

It is rather a strange thing that these dignitaries are not more fat and sleek in their appearance than they most assuredly are, seeing that, if these calculations be just,—and they have been made by those whose credit is unimpeachable,—they ought to be able to dress m lawn sleeves, and to dwell in stately palaces. The fact is, they are an ignorant and improvident race; and the money that comes unlooked-for, easily and abundantly, is not held at its true value, but is wantonly and as easily dissipated away. He who has ten pounds in his pocket to-day, is ready to squander it, when he reflects that perhaps to-morrow will replenish the void, and add more to the sum.

In the year 1826, owing to the ill favour which such a disgraceful system found in the eyes of the Kirk, the General Assembly made an attempt to put a stop to it, by taking preliminary steps against the Gretna priests, and by commencing a regular ecclesiastical campaign. The object, howbeit, was not effected ; and so they have pursued their course.

Another Scotchman, who wrote before the passing of the recent Marriage Act of 6 and 7 Will. IV., wherein facilities are offered, such as previously did not obtain, considered it as " a sort of safety-valve to the rigid system of ^he English Church, in regard to matrimony. But it is impossible," he continues, "to use terms of sufficient reprobation and abhorrence in alluding to the base panders, from the inn-keepers of Carlisle to the kennel-boys of Springfield, who make it the means of supporting their villanous and contemptible existence."

Thus it will be seen, that the respectable Scotch themselves do not look with much approbation on the proceedings of these conspirators.

"Surely," says Dr. Dibdin, in his Tour, "Surely, the only available and effectual remedy would be a statutable declaration against the legality or validity of such matches ; and then the fisherman's occupation is gone."

Such a statute, however, is not very likely to be enacted ; and the liberalization of the English law, as it now stands, is calculated to render such an enactment much less necessary than it was before.

If the rigid act of Lord Hardwicke, in 1754, did much towards driving people to Gretna Green, and thereby raising the fame and fashion of that place, owing to the strictures he put upon those who otherwise would have been married in England ; it is certain, that the new act of 1837, having taken those strictures away, has aimed a most prejudicial shaft northwards at that parish. This indirect mode of effecting the object at which Dr. Dibdin hints, is a much more politic, fair, and tolerant course than the one suggested by him. To equalise facilities all over the kingdom, is better than that such facilities should exist in one half of it, and that harsh impediments should obtain over the other. On this principle the law will eventually work, when it may more generally come into usage; and hence Gretna will in time discover, that this statute has done it a serious injury.

So little difficulties are opposed by the marriage laws to the young bachelor, north of the Cheviots, who would unite himself in permanent bands to the lady of his love, that he has no need to repair to Gretna, or any other particular parish, otherwise than the one in which he lives. If a man, dwelling in Glasgow, or Aberdeen, or Forres, or other town in Scotland, can be wedded as easily on the spot where he lives as elsewhere, of course he would have no motive for removing to Gretna Hall for the purpose ; and, in exemplification of this facility, Dr. Dibdin relates a laconic anecdote.

"I remember,'' says he, "when partaking of the hospitalities of Mr. David Laing, at Edinburgh, [surely this cannot be the old pedlar of Springfield?] that Dr. Lee, towards eight o'clock, seemed to leave the room abruptly, after looking at his watch.

"He returned within twenty minutes.

"'What have you been about?" observed the host. 'Only marrying a couple on the third flat in High Street,' was the Doctor's reply.

"This, with us, would have been a special licence matter, at the cost of at least thirty pounds."

Aristotle contends that the ancient Greeks were indubitably an uncivilized people, because they bought their wives. The ceremony of marriage, where this obtained, was little else than the process of transferring a piece of merchandise from one person to another—from the father to the son-in-law. Here the lady herself appears to have been but very slenderly consulted as to her disposition ; but Aristotle further says, that as these Greeks left off their barbarism and advanced onwards towards civilization, they also left off this practice.

But we have said somewhere before, that even we ourselves, now in the polished nineteenth century, make purchases in these affairs ; but then, if this be admitted, the very great difference in our mode of proceeding will alter the whole nature of the transaction, and at once exonerate us from every charge of barbarism.

Unlike the rude Greeks, we begin by a vast outlay of anxiety and solicitude on the lady's account,—so vast, that many folks marvel that all bachelors are not bankrupt long before the bridal day is fixed. The Greeks knew nothing of this; and the reason of the difference is plain. At that time she was not permitted to have a will of her own;—now-a-days she is fully possessed of that privilege; at that time she could not say No; but now-a-days she is at liberty to inflict that word at discretion.

It is to these privileges, which the enlightenment of the age has given her, that we ascribe the alteration in the manner of negotiation.

Where she could have no power to say No, of course very little anxiety could be engendered in the bosom of her suitor; and hence, the progress of civilization, the exalted position of the supreme sex; and the uncertainty of a lady's surrender, have, altogether, served to increase amongst men the number of hopeless cases of love, far over those which could have been felt and experienced by the ancients.

But even men, when they look into the matter, will not regret the change, however much vexation it may be the means of bringing upon them at times.

The thing that we obtain with little difficulty, we rarely value at its true and intrinsic worth; but that which has been purchased through the expenditure of much disquiet and perplexity, will, when obtained, at once assume a high position in our minds.

Let the ladies, therefore, enjoy their, privileges, which have been by degrees given to them by their oppressors, more and more every succeeding century,

as their capabilities and their virtues have become more and more manifest. They will not abuse these privileges; they will not exercise them with caprice or tyranny; they will not use them for the bare purpose of exhibiting their power;—they know better than all this ; there is no fear ; for, in the first place, they have too much tenderness; and, in the second, they have too much judgment.

The framing of this system manifests the extreme barbarism of the age and the country; —an age and country wherein the beauties of the mind M ere of no value—wherein a fair exterior only was considered desirable, or worth obtaining—and wherein, peradventure, an amiable and sweet disposition, unaccompanied by this fragile, skin-deep, transitory, and uncertain gift, could get no one to take it, unless richly endowed with a costly portion.

As men have ever been the masters and tyrants of the world, the present generations of the enduring sex in Europe, and one or two other regions, may bless heaven for the change that has come o'er the spirit of the times, and for having been born at a period when their mental qualifications have had opportunities for developing and displaying themselves —and of displaying themselves in a host of so many excellent ways, as to have taught their former masters, not only to consider them as equals now in every sense, but to love, honour, and respect them so much the more, from a conviction of this very fact.

Time was, when men did not love women at all; that is, according to the modern refined signification of the word. Indeed, it was held to be a preposterous degradation amongst the ancients of rude nations, and even amongst the savage of more recent days, for any man to be so weak as to betray affection for a woman. They were only looked upon as animated articles of furniture belonging to a man's establishment, as his other chattels did. He bought his wife as he bought his horse; and her will, pleasure, or consent to the transfer, were never inquired into, or so much as thought of.

Abraham bought Rebecca for Isaac; Jacob, having no money to give, served Laban fourteen years for his wives instead ; Agamemnon offered his daughter as a present to Achilles, saying that, if he liked, he might have her without any payment; and, by the laws of Ethelbert, King of England, it was enacted, that if any man injured another man's wife, he should buy him another.

It has been said, that there exists more true and disinterested cases of pure love amidst the middle classes of society, than there does either in the higher or the lower; that the mind in the medium ranks is not so much swayed by the desire of making powerful connexions, as it often is among the extreme higher, owing to the policy with them of keeping coronets and estates in the direct line, nor so compelled by necessity in the choice of partners, as is often the fact with the extreme lower.

Thus it is, that those of the middle ranks, who enjoy a competency, are more free to select as a generous and well-directed passion shall suggest, and ' to allow their hearts to flutter, like a butterfly, over that flower which to them shall appear the most lovely.

It is remarkable that the pathetic bard of Scotland, who sung in the halls of Selma by the rushing tide of Cona, should have uniformly drawn the female character as replete with gentleness, virtue, and exaltation.

A talented writer on this subject has made some powerful remarks relating to Ossian, and the spirit of purity that he has infused into the heroines of his various poems.

"That bard," says he, "describes the female character as commanding respect and esteem, and the Caledonian heroes as cherishing for their mistresses a flame so pure and elevated as never was surpassed, and has seldom been equalled, in those ages which we eommmonly call most enlightened.

"This is indeed, true; and it is one of the many reasons which have induced Johnson and others to pronounce the whole a modem fiction.

"Into that debate we do not enter.

"We may admit the authenticity of the poems, without acknowledging that they furnish any exception to our general theory. They furnish, indeed, in the manners which they describe, a wonderful anomaly in the general history of man. All other nations of which we read, were, in the hunter state, savage and cruel. The Caledonians, as exhibited by Ossian, are gentle and magnanimous.

"The heroes of Homer fought for plunder, and felt no clemency for a vanquished foe. The heroes of Ossian fought for fame ; and when their enemies were subdued, they took them to their bosoms.

"The first of Greeks (Achilles) committed a mean insult on the dead body of the first of Trojans (Hector" Among the Caledonians, insults offered to the dead were condemned as infamous. The heroes of Ossian appear in no instances as savages. How they eamc to be polished and refined, before they were acquainted with agriculture and the most useful arts of life, it is not our business to inquire; but sinec they unquestionably were so, their treatment of the female sex, instead of opposing, confirms our theory; for we never conceived rich clothes, superb houses, highly dressed food, or even the knowledge of foreign tongues, to be necessary to the acquisition of a generous sentiment.

"Luxury, indeed, appears to be as inimical to love as barbarism ; and we believe, that in modern nations, the tender and exalted affection which deserves that name, is as little known amongst the higher orders, as amongst the lowest.

"Perhaps the Caledonian ladies of Ossian resembled, in their manners, the German ladies of Tacitus, who accompanied their husbands to the chase, fought by their sides in battle, and partook with them of every danger. If so, they could not fail to be respected by a race of heroes, among whom courage took place of all other virtues; and this single circumstance, from whatever cause it might proceed, will sufficiently account for the estimation of the female character among the ancient Germans and Caledonians, so different from that in which it has been held in almost every other barbarous nation.

"But if, among savages and the vulgar, love be unknown, it cannot possibly be an instinctive affection; and, therefore, it may be asked, how it gets possession of the human heart 1 and by what means we can judge whether it be real or imaginary?

"These questions are of importance, and deserve to be fully answered; though many circumstances conspire to render it no easy task to give to them sueh answers as shall be perfectly satisfactory.

"Love can( subsist only between individuals of the different sexes.

"A man can hardly love two women at the same time ; and we believe that a woman is still less capable of loving at once more than one man.

"Love, therefore, has a natural tendency to make men and women pair ;—or, in other words, it is the source of marriage. But, in polished society, where alone this affection has any place, so many things besides mutual attachment are necessary to make^ the married life comfortable, that we rarely see young persons uniting from the impulse of love."

Certain it is, as this writer very justly observes, we do not often see persons marry solely because they have fallen in love with each other; although it is to be lamented that impediments should prevent the junction of their hands, when their hearts had been previously joined by affection.

We think, however, that if no such things as impediments to success existed, we should not hear of so many cases of thorough love as we now do. Indeed, this is but natural enough ; and will equally apply to projects of love, or to projects of any other nature. If we could always immediately obtain that which we desire, so soon as the wish to possess it had been conceived, we, of course, never could experience anxiety about the matter; we never could be tortured with fears of losing that object; we never could be taught by delay, uncertainty, or doubt, to comprehend its true value; and, in fact, we never could be made to understand what glory, honour, or satisfaction it was for us to gain a victory—because no victory can be gained where no impediments are offered for surmounting.

It has been observed, that love is the most perverse passion with which we are endowed; that it grows, increases, and thrives most where it is most opposed.

This is true; but there are good reasons for it. It is only an exemplification of a part of our whole nature ; but which may be exemplified in fifty other cases of a different kind.

If a man sets his mind upon any other object in the world besides a lady, he will find, that the greater the number of obstacles that may arise to prevent the attainment of his wishes, so much the greater will be his desire to overcome them. If it is a house that he has set his heart upon possessing, he will bid higher and higher, even as the owner expresses his unwillingness to sell. The great truth is, that the desire for the possession of some one particular lady is a passion infinitely stronger than the other can be, which craves only some inanimate object; as, for instance, if a man shall be disappointed in the attainment of a certain house, he is content to put up with another, and feels no painful shock done to his feelings, that another man should possess it, enter into it, and do with it as his pleasure shall direct; but if a man is disappointed of the lady that he has set his heart upon, can he be content to put up with another?—and who shall tell the painful shock that his feelings must experience, when he sees another become possessed of her? But we forget ourselves; we are not purchasing houses in this chapter.

When a young Birman buys his lady-love to wife, he begins by a vast outlay of anxiety and trouble, as the Europeans do; and then, when that has been expended with success in the purchase of her consent, and the bridal morning has actually arrived, he still further lays out the following, namely:—" Three lon-gees, or lower garments ; three tubbecks, or sashes ; and three pieces of white muslin: also such jewels, ear-rings, and bracelets, as his circumstances admit of."

A Tungoose juvenal of Siberia, buys his bride of her father for, from twenty to one hundred head of deer; and if it so befall that he is not wealthy enough to do this, he follows the precedent of Jacob, and works a certain time at some useful labour instead ;—thus giving the parent an equivalent in some other shape.

"We have several times mentioned instances wherein sons-in-law give so much to their wife's father on becoming possessed of their treasure, his daughter— instances occurring in divers other countries besides England ; but it has not, perhaps, struck the reader, (nor did it strike us until this moment) that all these instances of purchase, differ in toto from what obtains in regard of marriages at Gretna Green.

Now, when a bachelor buys a young lady in Britain, (to say nothing of his expenses in anxiety for her,) he generally gives his father, or mother-in-law something—perhaps, a great deal of trouble ; but this is not what we were going to say;—never mind what he gives: but when a youthful bachelor runs away to Gretna Green, he does not give his father-in-law anything whatever, not so much as a—forewarning.

All his disbursement goes to the rapacious priests and their confederates,—persons whom, most likely, he never saw before, and hopes he never will see again,—and none to him from whom he got his prize.

We have seen how David Laing, according to his own evidence, got 30. or 40. out of Wakefield for his share of the little matter that took place amongst them at the Hall; and how old Joe Paisley received 300. on his death bed, for executing three couple who suddenly made application to him.

Surely it would have been a much more equitable arrangement, if at least one half of these sums had been made over to the former possessor of that jewel, her father, which now had become the property of another;—an arrangement which the latter possessor would readily have acceded to, as it is but natural for us all, rather to wish to pay the person from whom we actually get a treasure, than to pay a set of swindling strangers, who, at best, were only self-interested agents in the procurement of it.

Certainly and of a truth, he who has been beguiled by love to rush within the meshes of these wolves in sheep's clothing (broad cloth), and has afterwards, with much difficulty, been able to fee his way out of their clutches, hastens back over the border from the confines of the parish with as much celerity as he would out of a golden hell in St. James's, at the same time blessing his stars that it is not a man's fortune to be married every day in the week.

Return to our Book Index Page


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus