« ZurückWeiter »
my consent, willing that your wedding should take place to-morrow week, to our house. “ I remain your loving friend,
The Reverend Doctor made up by his verbosity, for his sister's brevity. Here follows his epistle.
“ DEAR SIR,
“ Notwithstanding that you approximate to a septuagenarian antiquity, and are, therefore, by divers olympiads, my senior in longevity, the fiducial relation of my position to the Pecks, Browns, and Smiths, as also to our collateral and maternal connexions, the Devotions, the Curtises, the Handys, the Peabodys, the Stones, the Bulls, and the Blossoms, in conjunction with the profound interest I feel in the destiny of my consobrinal niece, Abishag Peabody Peck, justify me in approaching you in a tone, first of expostulation, and secondly of congratulation.
I. I propose, therefore, first, to advise with you plainly, on the portentous and awful nature of the matrimonial contract; on which subject, though you have arrived so near to that epocha, which the Scriptures indicate as the extreme goal of mortal existence, you can have little
practical experience; as I am told you have, up to this date, declined taking unto yourself a helpmate, and procrastinated a tender of your person to the other sex, until the female race might have exclaimed with the divine TullyQuousque tandem, Catalina, patientiâ abutere nostrâ ? which may be facetiously rendered, “ How long, O thou Cataline of an Adam, wilt thou abuse our patience?" As that great man,
the late President Styles, my particular friend, said to me on my first marriage, “ Brother Epaphroditus, though thou hast seemed a mysogynist, we find that thou art not a mysogamist;" meaning, that though during my probationary tutorship, I had assiduously avoided the distractions of worldly amusements, I had, nevertheless, borne in mind to fulfil the duties of a good christian, and a good citizen: so, nephew Adam, as I may jocularly call thee, anticipatorialy, I
may rest my argument on the single authority of the great apostle to the Gentiles, who says, “ he that marrieth, doeth well," and say unto thee, “in marrying thou hast done well; but in taking this tender lamb of my fold, thou hast done better. Yea, many have done well, but
hast exceeded them all." Great is experience in domestic economy. For eight lustres, or forty years, commencing with the
ninth anniversary of her nativity, that is to say, from her ninth year, has she been diurnally occupied, first with the concerns of her paternal, and afterwards of her maternal household. I have, during that period, known of her household practices. In house-keeping, cooking, and all things, she has conducted with great acceptance. Her temper is not at all ugly. I have never known her cross more than a week at a time. She will be a fortune to any man.
Like Jael, she hath brought forth butter in a lordly dish, and made a prey of divers colors of needle work, on both sides. Like the wise woman of old, she maketh fine linen, and selleth it to the merchant; she girdeth her loins with strength ; therefore her husband will be known in the gates, and will sit among the elders of the land. Unto her may not be applied that witty saying of the heathen ethnic--varium et mutabile semper foemina ; whereof Dr. Styles used to say, that it was bad grammar; and that, moreover, the sentiment was erroneous. It is a providential coincidence, that as Abishag descends from the veritable puritan flock, who established the true faith on the iron-bound coast of New-England, so you are an offshoot from the godly stock of the Protestant upholders of the faith in France; though of which of the three parts of French
Gaul I know not; since Julius Cæsar, that great writer and distinguished general says-Omnis Gallia in tres partes est divisa. I presume that you are not unapprized, that your claims have superseded all consideration of the arma virumque of a certain Hibernian Popish Ishmaelite. My niece Abishag has also been seriously thought of by our President, on my recommendation. He is only your senior by a few years; and is not only a D. D. from the Burlington University, but an LL. D. from Dartmouth.
II. I therefore proceed to my second head; but as the portion of paper, usually allotted to such exercises, is nearly exhausted, we are necessiated, dear Adam, to limit ourselves to a felicitation and congratulation, on the joyful prospects opening themselves before you. As you look down the visto of futurity, you have a rod and a staff for your declining years; and instead of descending into the tomb a solitary pilgrim, your monument will be bedewed with the tears of all those respectable families, the Pecks, Smiths, Browns, Curtises, Stones, Devotions, Peabodys, Handys, Bulls, and Blossoms: to all of whom, I doubt not, while your existence is mercifully prolonged, your house will literally prove a house of refuge ; the nakedness of whose poor connexions you will doubtless clothe, and to
all whose orphans you will be a father. Vale, carissime Adame.
“ Your friend and uncle,
“EPAPHRODITUS X. PECK.”
“ Postscriptum.--Abishag having thoughtfully shown me her letter, I must request you to note what she touches on about my nephew Diodatus. Many of her other suggestions are precious, as indicating her economical and prudent views of things. I shall remain, according to her request, to officiate at the solemnity.
“ E. X. P.”
The flourishing hand of Plutarch next caught our hero's eye, and with trembling fingers he opened his despatch.
“Sawpitts, December 27th. “MY DEAR OLD Add,
“I am glad to hear that Aunt Abishag has brought her hogs to so good a market. I suppose you know that the canvassers rejected six hundred votes; and I have got the certificate. So I shall take my seat as one of the members from this county; and you may depend upon me, my old fellow, for any odd jobs at Albany. Though you have never turned out at