Page:Devonshire Characters and Strange Events.djvu/102

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DEVONSHIRE CHARACTERS

Burns' Justice of the Peace, and strove to convince Harry that his conduct was warranted by neither Scripture nor the law of the land. "I don't care," he said, "her's my wife, as sure as if we was spliced at the altar, for and because I paid half a crown, and I never took off the halter till her was in my house; lor' bless yer honours, you may ask any one if that ain't marriage, good, sound, and Christian, and every one will tell you it is."

Mr. Henry Frise lived in a cottage that was on lives, so the squire was unable to bring compulsion to bear on him. But when Anne died, then a difficulty arose: under what name was she to be entered in the register? The parson insisted that he could not and he would not enter her as Anne Frise, for that was not her legal name. Then Henry was angry, and carried her off to be buried in another parish, where the parson was unacquainted with the circumstances. I must say that Anne proved an excellent "wife." She was thrifty, clean, and managed a rough-tempered and rough-tongued man with great tact, and was generally respected. She died in or about 1843.

Much later than that, there lived a publican some miles off, whom I knew very well; indeed, he was the namesake of and first cousin to a carpenter in my constant employ. He bought his wife for a stone two-gallon jar of Plymouth gin, if I was informed aright. She had belonged to a stonecutter, but as he was dissatisfied with her, he put up a written notice in several public places to this effect:—

NOTICE

This here be to hinform the publick as how James Cole be dispozed to sell his wife by Auction. Her be a dacent, clanely woman, and be of age twenty-five ears. The sale be to take place in the New Inn, Thursday next at seven o'clock.