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tion, and that his neighbours highly applaud his prudence. This compliance, however, affords no conclusive argument that it is so; for however calculated to tie the Gordian knot, he is by no means distinguished as a reasoner.
“ Marriage," says a Scotch lawyer, “ is perfected by sole consent, for carnal knowledge is only the consummation.” But the Gretna high-priest does not understand this subtle distinction, and he will not furnish a certificate until he has seen the parties in a situation which must be shocking to the delicacy of a well-bred female. Of this certificate he preserves a duplicate, which is regularly deposited in a brown jug. Some years ago, during a momentary gust of passion, he emptied the contents of this precious utensil into the fire; and therefore, as far as he is concerned, authentic proofs of the modern Gretna marriages alone are preserved.
Mr. Pasley has had many opportunities of lamenting his rashness on this unfortunate occasion. It not unfrequently happens that the parties, whose attention at such a time is frequently distracted by other ideas, forget to carry away the testimonials of their hymeneal conjunction, or that they afterwards lose them. When the loss begins to be felt, they apply to him for his duplicate, and as he is much too wise a man to supply the wants of others without reaping some advantage to himself, the brown jug, while it was full, contained the means of a considerable revenue. The deficiency in question can often be supplied
however, by his memory; but he is sometimes strangely unwilling to exert it. Its powers in this respect are incredible ; for there is no event, however distant in time, or undistinguished by any peculiar circumstances, which he cannot recollect, when he has been assisted by a simple recital. He discovers, however, a laudable reluctance to shock belief, by confirming with his signature such extraordinary exploits of intellect. Yet even this may be overcome by money and brandy. The demand is high : as he may contend with justice that he ought to be paid more for carrying such matters in his head than for keeping them in a vessel made of earthen
The Gretna-green marriages are celebrated at a public-house situate on the right hand, at the en-. trance into the town, and probably about fifteen or twenty furlongs (three hundred yards) from the river Sark, which divides England from Scotland. The çeremony takes place in a bed-room, not on account of the want of a sitting-room, for there is an excel. lent one below; but because part of the ceremony before alluded to, which is held to be absolutely necessary by Mr. Pasley, cannot be performed any where else. The parties, if they are able, leave the place as soon as it is completed, which is generally within twelve hours; but, strange as it may appear, they sometimes actually want money for that purpose.
The inn, if inn it may be called, is kept by Willy Johnson and Peggy Morgan. They are man and L2
wife, although, according to the Scotch custom, the latter retains her maiden náme. It has pretty good accommodations, which are furnished at a reasonable price, and those who wish to see the extraordinary character faintly delineated in this narrative with their own eyes, should stop there, if travelling that way. It is his bouse of call, and he may therefore be easily supposed to spend in it the greater part of his time and money. Perhaps Mr. Brook has left the best example to be followed by a stranger who proposes to introduce himself, except that brandy must be substituted for the favourite liquor of Sir John Falstaff.
The rival priest does not live at Gretna, but at a place one or two miles beyond it. This circumstance is very favourable to Mr. Pasley, and is most advantageously used by so great a man. If a couple afraid of pursuit applies to him, he knows that his rival, with regard to them, is in a state of nonexistence, and he makes his bargain with all the rigour of a monopolist! If the post-boys can be depended upon, he has generally little to fear ; for strangers to the country, in so delicate a situation, would scarcely attempt to find out a person at such a distance. In addition to this, he is well aware that, on all occasions, he is assisted by the united efforts of fatigue and impatience, operating upon individuals who have travelled so far for such a purpose.
* Merry Wives of Windsor.
It has in general been Mr. Pasley's principle nok to act until he is paid, well knowing that more is to be expected from hope than gratitude. In some instances he has unhappily been induced to depart from this rule; and has suffered, as 'might be expected, for his imprudence. He complains in a most pathetic manner of one person who offered a gold watch in pledge, which he refused to take, and who has not been induced by a sense of justice or of the honourable manner in which he was used to execute the promise, in consideration of which he was married; but, on the contrary, has treated the frequent applications Mr. Pasley's regard to himself and his family have induced him to make, either with rude. ness or neglect.
But our high-priest, on the other hand, thinks it just to state, that he has not always experienced such baseness. One gentleman who arrived without money gave him a promissory note for twenty-five pounds, which was afterwards duly honoured. The circumstances of his case were rather extraordinary. The lady, who resided at York, wrote to her lover at the university, where he was then a student, to state that her father had determined to have her married to his rival at an early period which she mentioned. Although he travelled down on the wings of love, he reached the family mansion only at two o'clock in the morning of the appointed day. He, however, found means to make her acquainted with his arrival, and they were soon on the road to Gretna Green. The gallantry and honour of this
enterprising enterprising youth seem to have left on Mr. Pasley's mind an impression of regard scarcely natural to so rugged a composition.
It has been doubted whether this very accommodating priest joined the hands of Lord W. and Miss C. He asserts that he did, and that he received fifty pounds, which was a less sum than he would have demanded, had he been apprised of the rank and opulence of the parties.
The following are some circumstances of that memorable elopement.
They travelled from London to Gretna (three hun. dred and thirteen miles) in twenty-nine hours. A trusty foreign valet was commissioned to wait a few hours in London, and then follow the other attendants. A little beyond Bugden he was overtaken by one of Mr. C.'s servants; who, upon seeing him, conceived hopes of being able to come up with and detain the parties themselves. The Swiss suffered this man to proceed until he was about six miles from the inn, and then shot his horse under him, observ. ing at the same time, “ that he might take up
his saddle and bridle, and then chuse which end of the stage he would walk to, in order to provide another gelding for the chace.”
Lord W. passed Captain now General C. with whom he was acquainted, at the head of a party of soldiers, and requested him to embarrass, as much as possible, what he might suspect to be a pursuit. A post-chaise coming up, the Captain arranged his men into the form of a serpent, the folds extending