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The Happy-Unhappy Bridegroom

The Drowned Sailor

by Benjamin Parsons

Copyright 2012 Benjamin Parsons

Smashwords edition, license notes

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I

The best comedies always end with weddings, but it does not follow (I hope) that the worst always begin with them, because this must, as I am at a loss how to start it anywhere else. The scene was the Westcountry of England, and the date, twenty-first of March: all was overcast above, and bright and green below— a happy setting for a wedding.

It was the eve of the special day, the last of the engagement, and the anxious fiancés were embowered together in blissful contemplation of the marital pleasures to come— that is, they were quarrelling. Well, you must know that lovers often love to hate and hate to love, and so it was with this couple: Clare Belmont sat by the window overlooking the slate-sea, red-cheeked and vexed with crying, and waiting for him to notice; while James Trevick stood on the other side of the room, arms folded, sulking magnificently.

This Trevick was handsome like thunder and lightning: stern and glowering even on his best days, with stormy brows, a curling lip and eyes quick to dart fire. His hair, black as rain clouds, was ruffled as though by tempests, and such a head, atop a mighty frame too, was aptly suited to petulant tempers and moody silences— he was the king of them, and could bring them to bear in any lover’s dispute with fatal power.

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