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THE SQUIRE'S WEDDING AND NUPTIAL PROCESSION
WHICH, THE AUTHOR FLATTERS HIMSELF, IS
Miss Caroline, the daughter ofone Farmer Brownwig, and first cousin of the Squire, was pitched upon as his bride; the Squire had never seen her, but as it was wholly, indifferent to him to what kind of person he was chained, if chained he must be; he made no obstacle on that account. Several persons of distinction belonging to the household were sent to bring the bride, who lived in a distant part, to Freeland mansion-house in a manner suitable to her station. She was most cordially received by the generous Freelanders, who, seeing her both young and handsome, hopect the Squire would be pleased with his bargain, for so it certainly was on his side.
They also imagined that, like the Spanish gentleman who, after marrying his washerwoman, would have no more laundressés' bills to pay, the Squire, after receiving the hand of a young and beautiful woman, would call on them to discharge no more mistresses' bills. The outset of this marriage treaty was, however, attended with some very inauspicious circumstances, which presaged its unhappy event. Whilst the bride was on her journey to Freeland, the bridegroom, having lost Mrs. Fitzwaddle, solaced himself in the arms of the reverend Mrs. Villars, who was in the way upon all occasions. When the news arrived that the bride had crossed the moat which surrounded the manor, this very Mrs. Villars was pitched upon to go to her with clothes more suitable to her first public appearance than her travelling dress, and she actually arrayed with her own bands the innocent unsuspecting victim, whom she intended to sacrifice at the shrine of her jealousy and ambition. If the Squire had meant fairly towards his intended bride, would he have permitted this adultress, reeking from his bed, to have been her
most immediate attendant ? There can be but one opinion on that subject.
As the bride proceeded towards the mansionhouse, the Freelanders greeted her with every mark of esteem and respect as their future lady. The Squire received her with that well-bred ease which suffers no discom posure ; and when they sat down to dinner, Mrs. Villars was placed at the very same table !
On the morning appointed for leading the bride to the altar,-(it was literally an altar to her, as her person and reputation were to be sacrificed upon it,) the processions were marshalled with all the splendour due to the solemnity of the occasion, and the rank of the parties. The arrangements were made as follow :
The Procession of the Bride.
Drums and Trumpets.
The BRIDE, led by one of the Bridegroom's Brothers, and having her train borne by four unmarried daughters of the principal
Officers of the Household,
A Pursebearer, bearing an enormously large empty purse, open at both
A Band of Wind Instruments.
The Sword of Justice, borne by a blind woman, who represented Astrea, and was led by two Lawyers, who guided all her steps.
Other Officers, bearing the Archives of the Manor, in which the rats, or some other vermin, had made so many holes that what remained was scarcely intelligible.
The Bridegroom's Sisters,
Six Maidens !!!!!!
or calling themselves so.
The principal Female Attendants. When the procession had entered the Church, and the ceremony was performed, the vocal
choir struck up an anthem or epithalamium, which was attended with the following most ludicrous circumstance. The bard, and musical composer of the household had been enjoined to prepare the epithalamium; but having mete on the day previous to the wedding-day, to club their joint strength and compare syllables with notes, in order to display their best abilities; they had unfortunately drunk so deeply, not of the Pierian Spring, but of the cask of wine which was attached to the bard's yearly salary, as a stimulus to his wit, that Pegasus flung the bard, and Apollo was completely put to the rout by Bacchus. Finding themselves thus deserted by their tutelar deity, they resolved to have recourse to Mercury, (which is no uncommon thing in both professions,) and to filch what they could not manufacture. The bard betook himself to his books, and the composer to his old scores. The former, on turning over the Index of Butler's Hudibras, discovered the article of marriage, which was a-propos to his occasion; and the latter having very fortunately found a piece of old music which would suit the measure of the poetry, they mutually congratulated each other