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seat, nor understand the sentence of judgment ; and they shall not be found where parables are spoken. But they will maintain the state of the world, and their desire is in the work of their craft.”
Upon this text did the vicar comment with great temperance, but in a firm and decisive tone; pointing out the rashness of those who, bred to useful and laborious callings, attempt, without the necessary qualifications, to follow the higher pursuits of intellect. He, however, with the true spirit of a Christian pastor, observed, that we were but men, full of frailty and prone to err, and it was our duty to reclaim, rather than to rebuke, those who had heedlessly wandered from the high road.
Some other hints fell from the reverend gentleman, which fully satisfied us that he had been the means of restoring the unfortunate speculators to the stations from which their imprudence had driven them.
We have yet another event to record, before we conduct the reader to the fête, which is to terminate our history; and as we would dismiss him with feelings of unalloyed hilarity, we have chosen the present occasion for relating a cir
cumstance which must necessarily excite a certain degree of regret — the fate of Miss Ryland and her 'maiden companions. These ladies, after due enquiry, found that the events stated in Mr. Timothy Crakenhorn's letter were too true; they were indeed reduced, if not to actual penury, to so low a state of finance, as to render their residence in Overton no longer prudent, unless they submitted to privations which they could better bear where they were less known. They accordingly quitted the village, and have never since been heard of; although it is generally supposed that they sought an asylum in some obscure part of France, where all the necessaries of life are to be obtained on a very small scale of expenditure.
It will be remembered that Henry Beacham had announced his intention of arriving at Overton, with his lovely bride, by four o'clock. No sooner did this intelligence become public than the more respectable yeomen of the parish, at the desire of Mr. Seymour and Major Snapwell, assembled at the village inn, to concert a plan for receiving them with all due honour. The vicar was respectfully consulted on this occasion; and at his suggestion it was finally
arranged, that the village should be decorated with garlands, and the May-pole erected on the spot, where its gaudy streamers had for so many ages annually floated on the breeze of spring; for, as the reverend gentleman very justly observed, the blooming pride of May and of youthful beauty was one and the same, and should therefore be typified by kindred emblems. It was, moreover, determined that every tenant, who could furnish himself with a horse, should attend at a certain spot by the hour of three, in order to advance in procession to meet the happy couple, and escort them through Overton to Osterley Park. In furtherance of this plan, the major signified his desire that those musicians, who had lately arrived for the impending festivities, should be in attendance at the appointed place and hour.
Every arrangement at Osterley Park bad been completed on the day preceding that on which the return of the newly married pair were expected. The various show-booths had, under the superintendence of Ned Hopkins, been erected by their respective owners with an expedition that might have put many a prouder architect to shame: the marquees and tem
porary rooms for refreshments had been completed under the management of Tom Plank; and for those, whose appetite might hold precedence of the senses of sight and hearing, ample funds of gratification had been provided by the accomplished hostess of the “ Bag-of-Nails," whose grim troop of pots and kettles had, during the whole of the preceding week, in anticipation of the approaching feast, been chirping and chuckling over the kitchen-range, which had been doomed to such incessant labour, that its very cheeks had cracked from yawning. The erection of a convenient stage for the display of fire-works had been accomplished under the sole guidance of Major Snapwell, who considered this department as belonging more immediately to himself. The preparations for the naumachia, or sham naval fight, were entrusted to Will Snaffle, whose profound skill in naval tactics cannot be unknown to the reader.
The friends of Major Snapwell had already arrived at the Park; and Overton Lodge was overflowing with visitors. The major had provided four carriages, besides a number of horses, for the accommodation of his guests; and
Mr. Seymour had directed sundry vehicles to be in readiness, in order that his family and friends might join the intended procession.
At three o'clock, twenty signal guns were discharged at the Park; the village bells struck up a festive peal; the flag was hoisted on the spire of the church; and upwards of forty respectable yeoman farmers and tenants, mounted on their horses decorated with ribands and flowers, had assembled in readiness to accompany the parties at the Park and Lodge on an excursion to meet the bride and bridegroom.
The church clock chimed the quarter past three, as the carriages of Major Snapwell and Mr. Seymour, and those of their guests, drawn by highly decorated horses, entered the village: the peasants immediately drew back, so as to form an avenue through which the party might pass, while shouts of gladness rent the air. Each horseman had provided a large bough of oak or elm, so that the cavalcade in motion appeared like a moving grove, and reminded Mr. Seymour of the advance of “ Birnam Wood to Dunsinane.” The carriages, preceded by a band of music, occupied the van of the procession ; then
then came about fifty village