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maid, who faithfully repeated them to Master William. She would have no more old husbands, she said, and she did not want money. William considered the matter on both sides. She had already been twice married, was not very young nor very fair, but she was wealthy. He catalogues her charms very carefully: "she was of browu complexion, corpulent, of but mean stature, plain, no education, yet a very provident person, and of good condition." He thought the chance a very good one, and there was no time to stand shilly-shallying. One day after dinner, "when her talk was all about husbands," he plucked up courage to say he thought he could find one that would exactly suit her. She asked where ; whereupon, laying aside his natural bashfulness, he incontinently "saluted her, which she accepted lovingly." The courtship so briskly and happily commenced, was as speedily and prosperously concluded. The very " next day, she at dinner made him sit down at dinner with his hat on his head," and announced that "sheintended to make him her husband: for which," says he, " I gave her many salutes." The marriage soon followed; and they lived very lovingly "together some five or six years:" during all which time he resorted nowhere save to Puritan lectures, and the only amusement he indulged in was that of angling—for his wife was old as well as rich, and had promised, if he " proved kind and a good husband, to make a man of him." In return for his selfdenial, when she died "she left him whatever she possessed, which was considerable, very near to the value of £1000." He remained a widower "one whole year or more," when he found a second wife, who had a portion of £500, and was "of the nature of Mars." He was now well to do in the world, and having leisure as well as ambition, he thought he would endeavour to become proficient in occult learning; wherefore,
"In the circle of the arts,
and soon became, by profound study of
*' Mathematics, Optics, philosophy, and statics, Magic, horoscopy, astrology,"
and the other branches of the science, so erudite,
"That none a deeper knowledge boasted,
His fame rapidly spread. He was consulted not only
"When brass and pewter happ'd to stray,
When butter did refuse to come,
And love prov'd cross and humoursome,"
but also when search was to be made after treasure hidden in the cloisters of Westminster; in affairs of state ; and, if truth must be told, in some other equally secret but less reputable doings—for, like the valet of Don Gil Bias, he owns to having been in his day a little on the picaro. He lived in dangerous times, but he steered through them safely. Charles I. he served with good wishes and advice as to " destiny's dark counsels ;" and he vows that if his advice had been better heeded, it would have saved the King from falling into the hands of his enemies. With the Parliament he coquetted till it grew the strongest, when he aided it with all his art, and received from it a handsome salary for his "erections," and his "intelligences ;"—for he appears to have been valued and employed both as spy and conjuror. He continued faithful to the ruling powers till the Restoration, when, though he thought it necessary to sue out a pardon, he declared roundly that he had always been a Cavalier in heart, as he had now no objection to be in practice. But his advances were unheeded. The Merry Monarch had no desire to peep into futurity. Lilly had, however, amassed wealth sufficient to console him under the mortification of neglect; he retired to the snug estate he had purchased at Hersham, with his third wife—for his second had died in 1654; and, as he is careful to record, he "shed no tears on the occasion," but took another a few months after, "to his great comfort." He continued to give advice to the last; and for the especial benefit of poor persons, he used to go on fixed days to Kingston, where he received only " one shilling or half-a-crown" for his fee—if it were offered, for he cautiously notes that he never asked for it. But he had now grown scrupulous about the questions he undertook to resolve: he had left off those " curiosities," as he calls the dark matters in which he dealt in earlier times. In his later days many really learned and respectable men became his associates, moved thereto, no doubt, by admiration of his reformed manners and great riches. He died at Hersham in 1681, and Elias Ashmole erected the monument that here commemorates his virtues, and has caused this long rigmarole.
For thirty or forty years Lilly published his' English Merlin,' besides which he wrote many astrological works, and also his autobiography—from which the preceding exacts havebeen taken, with the exception of those from ' Hudibras.' He was altogether a man of many talents, of which, however, beyond all competition, the most eminent were his boundless impudence and perfect unscrupulousness. These are talents which "command success" in the world, if a man knows how to use them; and to them doubtless are to be ascribed the prosperity of this prosperous knave:—
"Brass was his helmet, his face brass, and o'er
Cowley, Davideis. b. Hi.
There is also in Walton church a monument which it would be unpardonable in us to pass unnoticed: it is to the memory of a genuine lover of rivers, Henry Skrine, the author of 'A general account of all the Rivers of note in England,' a brief work well worth reading. Skrine lived in a small villa (in which he succeeded Mr. Shakspeare, not William) that looked out upon the fine broad heathy common of Walton; and he dwells with very endurable pleasure upon the place where, as he says, he "for several years pursued his lucubrations." In the chancel of Walton church there is a curious brass, on each side of which is engraven the figure of a man riding on a stag, into whose neck he is plunging a sword. The person thus represented is said to be one John Selwyn, who was under-keeper at Oatlands in the reign of Elizabeth. Selwyn was noted for his strength, agility, and equestrian skill, specimens of which he exhibited before the Queen at a grand stag-hunt in Oatlands Park. While in the heat of the chase he suddenly leaped from his horse on to the back of the stag (both horse and stag running at the time at their utmost speed), and not only kept his seat gracefully, in spite of every effort of the terrified beast, but drawing his sword, guided him with it towards the Queen, and when he came near her, plunged it into the animal's throat, so that he fell dead at her feet.* The brass used to be suspended on a peg, that both sides might be seen, but it is now screwed down.
In the vestry is preserved one of those curious instruments, a brank, scold's bit, or gossip's bridle, as it is variously called. Dr. Plot, in his 4 History of Staffordshire,' mentions similar machines as being
* This singular feat has been paralleled in our own time. "The forester of the present chief of Clanchattan, in passing last summer (1837) through the forest of Stramashie, near Loch Laggan, descried the horns of a stag above the heather at some distance; and taking advantage of the cover of a grej stone on the lee side of the animal's lair, crept cautiously up to him, whilst he was apparently asleep. He had no rifle, but opened his deer-knife, which he placed between his teeth, that his hands might be free, and then threw himself suddenly upon the stag; up started the astonished beast, and sprung forward with Donald on his back, who grasped with might and main by the horns. . . . The animal made right down the rugged side of a hill with headlong speed, to a stream in the glen below, and dashed through it, still bearing his anxious rider with his knife in his mouth, which he had neither time nor ability to use. When, however, this gallant pair reached the opposite side of the glen, and the deer began to breast the hill, and relax his speed, Donald was enabled so far to collect his bewildered senses as to get hold of his knife; and he absolutely contrived to plunge it into his throat. The deer fell forward in the death struggle, and Donald made a summerset of course."—Scrope, 'Days of Deer-Stalking,' p. 290, ed. 3.