Page:Devonshire Characters and Strange Events.djvu/61

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27
MARIA FOOTE

dead," asseverated the young man, "if ever I consent to separate myself from you, dearest Maria."

A few days later, Mr. Bebb, "Pea-green" Hayne's solicitor, called in Keppel Street, at Mr. Foote's house, and left a verbal message to the effect "that Mr. Hayne would never see Miss Foote again." Great consternation was produced in the family, and the young actress at once wrote to her new lover to entreat an interview and an explanation. The bearer of the letter encountered Hayne in Bond Street, and he returned with the servant in a coach to Keppel Street. Hayne informed Maria that it was not his fault that he had acted in so strange a manner towards her; that it had been his firm intention to fulfil his engagement, but that, on his return home on Sunday, some persons had first plied him with liquor, so as to make him in such a beastly state of intoxication that he knew not what he did; that they afterwards locked him up in a little back room, from which he had only that moment made his escape, which his exhausted appearance would prove, and that when he met the servant with the letter he was on his way to see his dearest Maria. The explanation was received, a reconciliation was effected, and as "Peagreen" was so evidently a weak young man, liable to be swayed this way or that according to whom he was with, it was resolved that a special licence should at once be procured, and that the marriage should take place on the following morning at nine o'clock.

The night passed anxiously enough on the part of Miss Foote, who realized that there was many a slip between the cup and the lip. At length the morning arrived, everything was prepared, the bride's maid was in attendance, as were also Mr. Gill, the lawyer with the marriage settlement, and Mr. Robins, the trustee;