The Sussex Diarists. 49
unfortunate in having only my walk for my pains, which, perhaps, was as well ?"
Who can answer this question ? Still, the quaerist's temper was not improved by the failure of this first step, for his " cuz. Thos. Ovenden," coming to see him and staying to sup with him, he thus tells us what he thinks of Mr. Thomas Ovenden:—"I think I never see a more stupid young fellow in my life than my couz. Thos. Ovenden: his discourse is one continued flow of oathes, almost without any intermission."
Poor Thos. Ovenden! He came across his "cuz" in an unlucky moment. A little later and his " flow of oathes " might not have been thrown away upon unappreciative ears. For, a day or two later, our widower made another attempt, and this time all went smoothly:—
"March 28th. In the afternoon rode over to Chiddingly, to pay my charmer, or intended wife, or sweetheart, or whatever other name may be more proper, a visit at her father's, where I drank tea, in company with their family and Miss Ann Thatcher. I supped there on some rasures of bacon. It being an excessive wet and windy night I had the opportunity, sure I should say the pleasure, or perhaps some might say the unspeakable happiness, to sit up with Molly Hicks, or my charmer, all night. I came home at forty minutes past five in the morning—I must not say fatigued; no, no, that could not be ; it could only be a little sleepy for want of rest. Well, to be sure, she is a most clever girl; but, however, to be serious in the affair, I certainly esteem the girl and think she appears worthy of my esteem."
We suppose it was the fashion, 100 years ago, for wooers to stay up all night with their fair ones! It had its dangers and also its inconveniences, as appeareth by the following:— " Saturday, April 7. In the even very dull and sleepy; this courting does not well agree with my constitution and perhaps it may be only taking pains to create more pain."
Really, this last expression is highly dramatic—not unworthy of a man who had read and appreciated Shakespeare!
This, however, was only a passing cloud, to give a deeper azure to the coming sky:—
" Sunday, April 15th. After dinner I set out for Mailing, to pay Molly Hicks, my intended wife, a visit, with whom I intended to go to church, but there was no afternoon service. I spent the afternoon with a