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A WEDDING AT SCHOOL,
as a frosted potatoe when any old soldier's wife came
whining with a cock-and-bull story of distress ; but in What a pity that a story,--an old soldier's espe- love I could not manage to be, add it was very procially,-should ever require a beginning,-that it could voking to one who literally had nothing else to do. not, like some general actions—and those not the least Had the same favourable combination of circumstances important I have been engaged in-be irregularly occurred ten years sooner, there would, I dare say, have brought on by a random shot from some unknown been no difficulty ; but a man past thirty has his wits quarter, or some chance-medley sort of encounter be- terribly about him ; and, as the most fluent writer has tween raw troops, -and thus the hero, heroine, and all sometimes all bis ideas put to fight by the sound of the corps d'armée, comfortably enveloped in one cloud the postman's bell,—the sight of a stray grey hair, of smoke-whether from powder or cigars, signifies with its “ now or never" memento, flurries a man too little,-be brought at once into close quarters with each much to allow him to make up his mind. other, and the reader!
I began to fancy myself a lieutenant-general on the I never disliked fighting, I believe no Briton in his staff, with no soul near me but a cross housekeeper, and heart dues ; at least while he is about it, whatever a fifteenth cousin-deaf and blind, and with a mind cooler reflection may dictate when the heat of action is narrowed to the compass of a regulation shoe-tie. I over; bat next to the chill discomfort of standing under envied
married man I saw ; fancied all their arms for hours of grey twilight, waiting for an enemy, shrews or dowdies angels incarnate, and wondered why too wise or too wary to give you an opportunity of there were no such girls in the market now. doing anything,-is the nervous feeling of sitting on a I tried change of air and scene. Some people go to rainy day, when nothing in earth or sky seems dry but the country for prospects, some for partridges, some for one's own brain-with a formidable quire of paper foxes ; but I went in quest of young ladies. Town drawn up before one-meditating a beginning to a girls, I thought, looked all silly and affected; Nature tale.
and simplicity must be found in a country-house ; so I I got over that part of the business, thank my stars, made the round of the county of N-, saw at least half before I sat down; so now I have only to beg the a score of very nice, pleasing girls, from the beautiful, reader to suppose nje, first a spoilt urchin of an only accomplished syrens at Castle B—, to the unsophisboy-next a roguish, unlucky schoolboy, with just nous ticated daughters of my friend Tom S- at his hospitaenongh to keep him from being a dunce, and idleness ble cottage, I admired them all, more or less—thought in abundance to keep him from being a scholar,-then all or any of them would make admirable wives for any & raw ensign, in love with nothing but his own coat and man (Jack Donovan excepted) but as to ever feeling feathers, then, for a long period, a busy, war-worn sol. inclined to drop on one knee, (the other was out of the dier, with no leisure for any mistress but Glory, (and question, a bullet having gone clean through it at Q-) a devilish coy one she was to British wooers, till, all at or even tendering my hand on a sheet of gilt paper to Once, like other coquettes, she opened her arms the any of them, I should as soon have thought of making wider for her previous disdain,)—and, lastly, for my speeches to my sergeant-major, or writing billets-doux story I promised begins in the middle-a major of some to the Horse-guards. What made my case harder and four-and-thirty years' experience in the world, with a more distressing, was, that I dare say many, if not most few scattered grey hairs on his temples, and, for the of the fair creatures, either were, or at least could have first time in his life, leisure as well as inclination to be been, in love with me. A coxcomb, especially at fivein love.
and-thirty, must be a fool—but really disengaged, I suppose it was this very leisure and opportunity good-humoured girls, are apt to have a natural predithat, with the usual waywardness of man, prevented my lection for sensible, good-looking men in red coats, who availing myself of either. I was quartered in a suc- look as if they did not wear them for nothing, and as cession of gay, bustling towns, full of beauty and fa- if they had hearts to give in return. shion, and all the et cæterus of the newspaper vocabu- This to be sure, in my case, was a sad delusion; and lary. In vain I attended balls---nay, danced, though I I could have almost echoed the cry of poor mad-woconfess neither with the spirit or good grace of an ab- man, I remembered, when a boy, in Dublin, pathetically solute volunteer-Airted—for what Irishman could live exclaiming, “ You have all hearts but me." It was in an atmosphere of youth and beauty, without in- only lucky that I seldom staid long enough in one dulging in that lively species of chit-chat, which a good place to have it found out, or endanger my passing for natured world styles flirtation ?- but it would not all a swindler. do. I remained like a perfect salamander, if not un- I went, as a last resource, to various races-not to singed, at least unconsumed, and began to fancy my look at the horses, or lose my money, but to look for a heart had been changed like the babes of an Irish nur- wife, aud lose my heart. Somehow or other, it would sery tale, by some fairy, and a cannon ball substituted
not be made over ; and I lost more gloves than would in its place. Yet it went thump-thumping as usual when have served for wedding favours, without losing or I saw any dashing affair in the Gazette, and grew soft gaining anything else. NO. LXXXV VOL. VIII.