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Mrs. Thoms now became unaffectedly alarmed, and apprehending she knew not what, requested to be informed what had happened, without further delay,
“Why, Ma’am, then, Mr. Fogrum is- married, that's all.”.
To describe the effect these words had upon Mrs. Thoms, would be impossible, and to paint the expression of her countenance, equally unavailing.
“Married!” screamed she out, at length, as soon as she could draw her breath, “Married !-impossible to whom?”
“ To whom ?-to Sally Sadlins, Ma'am.” “To Sally Sadlins!—impossible—you must be joking.”
“Not I, I assure you. I'm not a person, Mrs. Thoms, to make such jokes. I myself saw them, less than an hour ago, pass by my window in a post-chaise together, and then learnt the whole story from those who saw them step into it, at the church door.”
“Oh! Mrs. Simpson, how have I been deceived in that insinuating hussy, Sally Sadlins! She who seemed so staid, so discreet-so very unlikely a person.—What an old fool he must be, to marry so vulgar a frump!”
“Nay, do not agitate yourself, my dear Ma'am,” said Mrs. Simpson, who, now having disburthened herself of her secret, and her own mortification being perhaps caried off by that of Mrs. Thoms's, which acted as a conductor to it, had quite regained her composure—" for my part, I hope he may not repent of his match.”
“Oh! Thoms,” exclaimed the other lady, as her husband entered the room, “ Here is news for us!—my silly old uncle has actually, this very morning, married his maid-servant!”
“That is most confoundedly unlucky,” cried Thoms, “ though I much doubted whether all your management and manoeuvring, for which you gave yourself so much credit, would be to any purpose.”
“But who could dream of such a thing !—I have no patience with him for having married as he has done.”
“Well, my dear,” there's no helping it; and perhaps after all, since he is married, it is quite as well for us that he has chosen as he has."
While Mrs. Thoms was ejaculating and bewailingnow abusing poor Sally as an artful seducing woman, who, under the mask of the greatest simplicity, had contrived to work upon her uncle's weakness-and anon venting her reproaches against the latter, for suffering himself to be thus duped,ma post-chaise was seen rolling along on the road to — , with the identical pair seated in it, who were the subject of this invective and clamour. The intelligence of which Mrs. Simpson had been the unwelcome messenger, was, in fact, correct in every particular; for Richard Fogrum, single man, and Sally Sadlins, spinster, had that very morning been lawfully united in wedlock, although, but a few days before, had any one prognosticated such an event, they would no more have believed it possible than Mrs. Thoms herself.
“Now, my dear Sally,” said the somewhat stale Benedick, laying his hand, rather gently than amorously, on that of the bride, for which, by the bye, it was really no match in size _“I doubt not but my niece will be in a towering passion when she hears of this : however, no matter ; let her, and the rest of the world say what they please. I do not see why a man may not just as well follow his own fancies as those of other persons'. Besides, Sally, though folks may think that I might have made a more advantageous match, in point of fortune at least, they may perhaps be in error. I have a piece of intelligence to communicate, of which, perhaps, you little dream. You recollect that Lottery ticket?—well! passing the Lucky Corner,' by the Mansion-House, two days ago, I beheld, pasted up at the window, ‘No. 123, 20,0001.!!' Ha! ha! Sally; well did I recollect those figures again-one, two, three! they follow each other as naturally as A, B, C. So home I came, but determined to say nothing of the matter till now.”
The reader has already been informed that Sally was the most phlegmatic of her sex ; still it may be supposed that such an interesting disclosure would have elicited some ejaculation of exultation, even from the lips of a stoic. Yet Sally, with wonderful composure, merely replied, “La! now that is curious.”
“Curious ! yes, but I assure you it is quite true: I am not joking.”
“Well; what an odd turn things do sometimes take!”
“Odd, indeed! for who would have thought that my identical unlucky number, 123, should bring you—I may say us, Sally,--twenty thousand pounds!”
“But, Sir, Mr. Fogrum, you are mistaken, I mean to say”
“No mistake at all, my dear-quite certain of it, took down the number in my pocket book-see here~123, 20,0001.! Is not that the number of your ticket?”.
“ Yes, but”-
“Why, you won't hear me, Mr. Fogrum,” said Sally, mildly. “I was only going to say, that two months ago -I sold the ticket.”
“ How !—what !-sold!” groaned out poor Fogrum, and sunk gasping against the side of the chaise.
“Now pray do n't distress yourself, Mr. Fogrum,” said Sally, without the least visible emotion, or any change in her tone ; “did you not, yourself, tell me it was not worth keeping; so I thought—'well, Master must know better about these řatters than I, therefore I may as well make something of it while I can; ' so I changed it away for this nice white shawl, which the man said was quite a bargain-only do feel how fine it is.”'
“Sally !-- woman !— a bargain !--- twenty thousand pounds!”
Here let me drop the curtain, for none but a masterhand could do justice to the bridegroom's feelings, and I will not impair the effect by attempting to heighten it. I have only to add, that Mr. Fogrum eventually regained his usual composure, and was once known even to relate the story himself over a glass of his best whiskey, as a droll anecdote in his life.
Matrimony made no visible alteration in his menage, nor in his bride, for the only difference it caused with respect to the latter, was, that she sat at table instead of standing by the side-board,- that she was now called Mrs. Fogrum, instead of Sally Sadlins.