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drawl of Old Mortification with infinite humour. April Fool swore they had exchanged conditions: but Good Friday was observed to look extremely grave; and Sunday held her fan before her face, that she might not be seen to smile.
Shrove-tide, Lord Mayor's Day, and April Fool, next joined in a glee—
Which is the properest day to drink?
in which all the Days chiming in, made a merry burden.
They next fell to quibbles and conundrums. The question being proposed, who had the greatest number of followers — the Quarter Days said, there could be no question as to that; for they had all the creditors in the world dogging their heels. But April Fool gave it in favour of the Forty Days before Easter; because the debtors in all cases outnumbered the creditors, and they kept lent all the year.
All this while, Valentine's Day kept courting pretty May, who sate next him, slipping amorous billets-doux under the table, till the Dog Days (who are naturally of a warm constitution) began to be jealous, and to bark and rage exceedingly. April Fool, who likes a bit of sport above measure, and had some pretensions to the lady besides, as being but a cousin once removed, — clapped and halloo'd them on; and as fast as their indignation cooled, those mad wags, the Ember Days, were at it with their bellows, to blow it into a flame; and all was in a ferment: till old Madam Septuagesima (who boasts herself the Mother of the Days) wisely diverted the conversation with a tedious tale of the lovers which she could reckon when she was young; and of one Master Rogation Day in particular, who was for ever putting the question to her; but she kept him at a distance, as the chronicle would tell— by which I apprehend she meant the Almanack. Then she rambled on to the Days that were gone, the good old Days, and so to the Days before the Flood—which plainly showed her old head to be little better than crazed and doited.
Day being ended, the Days called for their cloaks and great coats, and took their leaves. Lord Mayor's Day went off in a Mist, as usual; Shortest Day in a deep black Fog, that wrapt the little gentleman all round like a hedge-hog. Two Vigils — so watchmen are called in heaven — saw Christmas Day safe home—they had been used to the business before. Another Vigil—a stout, sturdy patrole, called the Eve of St. Christopher—seeing Ash Wednesday in a condition little better than he should be — e'en whipt him over his shoulders, pick-a-back fashion, and Old Mortification went floating home, singing—
On the bat's back do I fly,
and a number of old snatches besides, between drunk and sober, but very few Aves or Penitentiaries (you may believe me) were among them. Longest Day set off westward in beautiful crimson and gold—the rest, some in one fashion, some in another; but Valentine and pretty May took their departure together in one of the prettiest silvery twilights a Lover's Day could wish to set in.
I Do not know when I have been better pleased than at being invited last week to be present at the wedding of a friend's daughter. I like to make one at these ceremonies, which to us old people give back our youth in a manner, and restore our gayest season, in the remembrance of our own success, or the regrets, scarcely less tender, of our own youthful disappointments, in this point of a settlement. On these occasions I am sure to be in good-humour for a week or two after, and enjoy a reflected honeymoon. Being without a family, I am flattered with these temporary adoptions into a friend's family; I feel a sort of cousinhood, or uncleship, for the season; I am inducted into degrees of affinity; and, in the participated socialities of the little community, I lay down for a brief while my solitary bachelorship. I carry this humour so far, that I take it unkindly to be left out, even when a funeral is going on in the house of a dear friend. But to my subject.
The union itself had been long settled, but its celebration had been hitherto deferred, to an almost unreasonable state of suspense in the lovers, by some invincible prejudices which the bride's father had unhappily contracted upon the subject of the too early marriages of females. He has been lecturing any time these five years — for to that length the courtship has been protracted— upon the propriety of putting off the solemnity, till the lady should have completed her five and twentieth year. We all began to be afraid that a suit, which as yet had abated of none of its ardours, might at last be lingered on, till passion had time to cool, and love go out in the experiment. But a little wheedling on the part of his wife, who was by no means a party to these overstrained notions, joined to some serious expostulations on that of his friends, who, from the growing infirmities of the old gentleman, could not promise ourselves many years' enjoyment of his company, and were anxious to bring matters to a conclusion during his life-time, at length prevailed; and on Monday last the daughter of my old friend, Admiral