Page:Devonshire Characters and Strange Events.djvu/62

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DEVONSHIRE CHARACTERS

but the bridegroom did not turn up, or send any notice that he was kept away. The parties waited till three o'clock, and then a note was dispatched to him at Long's Hotel, where he was staying. The servant who took it was ushered into a private room, and was there detained, under one pretext or another, for a considerable time, and was finally informed that Joseph Hayne, Esq., had gone into the country, to his seat at Burdeson Park, Wiltshire. For six days did the young lady wait in anxious expectation of receiving some communication from the defaulting bridegroom. At length, on the sixth day, she wrote to him a distressed and piteous appeal. To this she received an answer: "My dearest Maria, you are perfectly correct when you say that my heart and thoughts are still with you." Hayne then stated that the world was censorious, that he was divided between love for her and esteem for his friends and dread of their disapproval. The letter then went on to state, "I am resolved to sacrifice friends to affection; I cannot, will not lose you."

After a short interval, Hayne returned to London and called on Miss Foote, at her father's residence, and they became perfectly reconciled, and the 28th September was finally fixed for the day of their marriage. This fell on the Tuesday, and Monday was appointed for the execution of the marriage settlement. On Saturday, Hayne, accompanied by Mr. Foote, went to Doctors' Commons, and there procured the marriage licence, which Hayne himself delivered into the hands of his intended bride, and solicited leave to wait on her the following morning. But instead of calling himself, a gentleman named Manning appeared at the house of the Footes, and brought a letter from Mr. Hayne to the father of Maria, which stated that poor Joseph was so wretched as to be unable himself to call, but that the