Glimpses Of Our Ancestors In Sussex - online book

With Sketches Of Sussex Characters, Remarkable Incidents &c

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50                 Glimpses of Our Ancestors.
great deal of pleasure, it being very fine, pleasant weather, and my companion very agreeable. Now, perhaps, there may be many reports abroad in the world of my present intentions, some likely condemning my choice, others approving it; but, as the world cannot judge the secret intentions of my mind, and I may therefore be censured, I will take the trouble to relate what really and truly are my intentions, and the only motive from which they spring (which may be some satisfaction to those who may happen to peruse my memoirs). First, I think marriage is a state agreeable to nature, reason and religion; I think it the duty of every Christian to serve God and perform his religious services in the most calm, serene and composed manner, which, if it can be performed more so in the married state than a single one, it must then be an indispensable duty. . . . As to my choice, I have only this to say:—the girle I believe, as far as I can discover, is a very industrious, sober woman, and seemingly endued with prudence and good nature, with a serious and sedate turn of mind. She comes of reputable parents, and may perhaps, one time or other, have some fortune. As to her person, I know it's plain (so is my own), but she is cleanly in her person and dress, which I will say is something, more than at first sight it may appear to be, towards happiness. She is, I think, a well-made woman. As to her education, I own it is not liberal; but she has good sense and a desire to improve her mind, and has always behaved to me with the strictest honour and good manners—her behaviour being far from the affected formality of the prude, on the one hand; and on the other, of that foolish fondness too often found in the more light part of the sex. For myself, I have nothing else in view but to live in a more sober and regular manner, to perform my duty to God and man in a more suitable and religious manner, and, with the grace of the Supreme Being, to live happy in a sincere union with the partner of my bosom."
This, we admit, is rather long and prosy. But we owe it to Thomas Turner to give it verbatim et literatim. It is his justification to the world—to all who read his diary, and it is obvious that he intended it should be read. He was not afraid to exhibit his follies and weaknesses—his resolutions and his failures—to the world. He had an inkling that there was something in the diary that " the world would not willingly let die," and he was quite right. It is a very valuable picture of the times and a very amusing one of an individual man. There are not many such genuine ones in the whole range of literature. We get from this diary a more lively conception of life and manners and morals in the middle of the 18th century than from any book of history or divinity that was ever writ. We cannot part from Thomas Turner without acknowledging his rare merits—his frankness, simplicity, honesty and desire to do what is right and proper, albeit he sometimes fails. This he does, indeed, to the very
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