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THE

CURATE OF OVERTON.

Error is a hardy plant; it flourisheth in every soil;

In the heart of the wise and good, alike with the wicked and foolish.

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HURST AND BLACKETT, PUBLISHERS,

SUCCESSORS TO HENRY COLBURN,

13, GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET.

1854.

BIE

249. W. 497.

LONDON:

Printed by Schulze and Co., 13, Poland Street.

THE

CURATE OF OVERTON.

CHAPTER I.

The roads should blossom, the roads should bloom,

So fair a bride shall leave her home,

Should blossom and bloom with garlands gay

So fair a bride shall pass to-day.

LONGFELLOW.

THE wind was blowing high, and a slight frost covered the ground, although it was the end of March, and it was altogether very cold and uncomfortable for walking; but the sun shone brightly, and the sky was clear; not a cloud intermingled with the deep azure blue,

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and from above the heavens One was looking down with His eye of pity and love on the poor, fallen race of Adam, sending comfort to the mourner, help to the afflicted, and judgment to the wicked, and gladdening many by granting them their hearts' desires.

But now for my story. It certainly was very cold, as I before said, but it was very fine, and the party of children, crossing the churchfields neither thought of the wind, which politely blew roses on their cheeks, nor of the frost, which, less gallant than old Boreas, pinched their fingers; no, not even of the clear, blue sky, so intent were they on their conversation.

"Do be quick, Polly," said the foremost of the group to a tiny little creature, who was running by her side at a jog-trot pace, anxious not to be left behind.

Yes, do be quick," said another, "else we shall be too late for the marrying."

"How merry the bells are ringing!" said a blowsy little maiden, with her bonnet hanging off her head; "I am sure Miss Alice will look

sweetly, and my sister Sarah, as is Miss Alice's maid, says the veil's splendacious!"

Why don't she wear a bonnet?" said the first speaker.

"Because it aint the fashion," was the reply. At that moment the bells struck up a louder peal than before, and the little prattlers hastened their steps, fearful of being too late, and so they would had they not hurried, for they scarcely reached the church in time to see the beautiful bride pass down the aisle, and kneel side by side with him she loved more than ought else on earth. All must agree that Alice Duncan looked lovely, attired in a simple robe of white, her golden locks confined by a wreath of orange blossom and jasmine, and did not every one say she looked just as she ought, neither frightened, as though she already repented the choice she had made, nor unconcerned and careless, as if it were part of one's business to get married, and the sooner it was done the better. she behaved just as Edward Mordaunt wished, and knew she would, and when she promised, in her clear, silvery tones, to be his, he deter

No,

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