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ness. Asked her what I should allow her. She not speaking, I told her I was willing to give her £250 pr. annum during her life, if it should please God to take me out of the world before her. She answered she had better keep as she was than to give a certainty for an uncertainty. She should pay dear for dwelling at Boston. I desired her to make proposals but she made
I had thought of publishment next Thursday. But now I seemed to be far from it. May God who has the pity of a father, direct and help me!
Her late husband, as Sewall well knew, had left Mrs. Dennison a life interest in all his estates. The trouble in this case seems to have been that the lady declined to alienate any of her interests by marriage. In fact, all through his later courtships Sewall shines more as a sharp business man than a lover with tact or sentiment.
“ Novr. 28, 1718. I went this day in the coach [to Mrs. Dennison's), had a fire made in the chamber where I stayed with her before. I enquired how she had done these three or four weeks. Afterwards, I told her our conversation had been such when I was with her last that it seemed to be a direction in Providence not to proceed any further; she said
it must be what I pleased, or to that purpose."
Then there apparently proceeded one of those wrangles not peculiar to Puritan courtships, but in this case carried on with due Puritan decorum, which, as usual with persons in such relations, came to nothing, she holding her own. But the ending entry is delicious:
“She asked me if I would drink; I told her Yes. She gave me cider, apples, and a glass of wine; gathered together the little things I had given her and offered them to me; but I would take none of them. Told her I wished her well, should be glad to hear of her welfare. She seemed to say she would not take in hand a thing of this nature. Thanked me for what I had given her and desired my prayers. I gave Abijah Weld an Angel. Got home about 9 at night. My bowels yearn towards Mrs. Dennison; but I think God directs me in his Providence to desist."
We catch one more glimpse of the lady, Lord's Day, Nov. 30, when, in the evening, while Sewall was at family prayers:
“ She came in, preceded by her cousin Weld, saying she wished to speak to me in private. I was very much startled that she should come so far afoot in that exceeding cold season. She asked pardon if she had affronted me.
Seemed inclined the match should not break off, since I had kept her company so long. I fetched a tankard of cider and drank to her. She desired that nobody might know of her being here. I told her they should not. She went away in the bitter cold, no moon being up, to my great pain. I saluted her at parting.'
The last glimpse of Mrs. Dennison in the Diary is this:
“ Dec. 22. Mrs. Dorothy Dennison brings an additional inventory. I gave her her oath; asked her brother Brewer and her to dine with me; she said she needed not to eat; caused her to sit by the fire and went with her to the door at her going away. She said nothing to me nor her brother Brewer."
Mrs. Dennison remarried in 1720, Sewall having already taken to wife Mrs. Tilly whom he had formerly considered, and then set aside because they could not agree upon the terms of settlement. This lady died when they had been married but a short time and then the twice-widowed judge began - after an interval of only four months, this time — to pay attentions to Mrs. Winthrop, a highly eligible widow. The ardent fashion in which this lady was pursued by the venerable justice I have
elsewhere 1 described. But the courtship came to nothing, because Sewall would not agree to set up a coach nor wear a periwig. He soon found another woman less exacting, however, and her he blithely took to be his third wife, thought he was now over seventy. She survived him, for he died Jan. 1, 1730. He sleeps in death in the Old Granary Burying Ground almost on the very spot where he long ago had his home.
1" Romance of Old New England Churches."
IN THE REIGN OF THE ROYAL GOVERNORS
THE year in which Sewall died marked the appointment of Jonathan Belcher as governor of Massachusetts. He was the sixth governor to be sent out by the crown and the third who was a native of the province. But he succeeded in his office no better than the gentlemen who had preceded him, the wrangling which had become a regular feature of legislative life here marring his administration as it had done those of his predecessors. Belcher was the son of a prosperous Boston merchant and a graduate of Harvard College. He was polished and sociable and had had the benefit of extensive travel. But he found himself in an impossible situation and the only thing for him to do was to make as few enemies as possible and wait for death or the king to remove him. People who for two generations had been practically independent were not going to take