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His second wife is the lovely Miss Statia Henley, "bright and charming as Aurora,” daughter of John Henley, Esquire, of the Groves of Basil. She had some fugitive notions of celibacy, which our hero refutes on Christian principles; and, as in the former instance, they lead a life of bliss for two years. The “illustrious Statia" then dies of the small-pox, and is laid by Charlotte's side.

“ Thus did I again become a mourner. I sat with my eyes shut for three days; but at last called for my horse, to try what air, exercise, and variety of objects could do.”Vol. III., p. 57.

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Air, exercise, and a variety of objects did very well; for Mr. Buncle misses his way into the house and grounds of the exquisite Miss Antonia Cramer, “a heaven-born maid” and “innocent beauty,” whom he marries of course. But her, also, alas ! he loses of the small-pox, at the end of two—no, three years. “Four” days, too, he sits with his eyes shut, which is a day more than he gave to Statia ; and then he left the lodge once more, “to live, if he could, since his religion ordered him so to do, and see what he was next to meet with in the world.”

“Nota bene,” says our author at this place. As I mention nothing of any children by so many wives, some readers may perhaps wonder at this; and therefore, to give a general answer, once for all, I think it sufficient to observe, that I had a great many to carry on the succession ; but as they never were concerned in any extraordinary affairs, nor ever did any remarkable things, that I ever heard of;-only rise and breakfast, read and saunter, drink and eat, it would not be fair, in my opinion, to make any one pay for their history."-P. 151.

This kind of progeny, by the way, hardly does credit to our hero's very exquisite marriages. But as extremes meet, and fair play must be seen to the mass of the community, we suppose the young Buncles were dull, in consideration of the vivacity of the parents.

Mr. Buncle having laid his beloved Antonia by the side of his Charlotte and his Statia, now goes to Harrogate; and while there, “it is his fortune to dance with a lady who had the head of an Aristotle, the heart of a primitive Christian, and the form of a Venus de Medicis.”

“ This was Miss Spence, of Westmoreland. I was not many hours in her company,” says he, “before I became most passionately in love with her. I did all I could to win her heart, and at last asked her the question. But before I inform my readers what the consequence of this was, I must take some notice of what I expect from the Critical Reviewers. These gentlemen will attempt to raise the laugh. Our moralist (they will say) has buried three wives running, and they are hardly cold in their graves before he is dancing like a buck at the Wells, and plighting vows to a fourth girl, the beauty Miss Spence. An honest fellow, this Suarez, as Pascal says of that Jesuit, in his Provincial Letters.

“ To this I reply, that I think it unreasonable and impious to grieve immoderately for the dead. A decent and proper tribute of tears and sorrow humanity requires; but when that duty has been paid, we must remember, that to lament a dead woman is not to lament a wife! A wife must be a living woman.”—Vol. III., p. 180.

He argues furthermore, that it would be sinful to behave on such occasions as if Providence had been unjust. The lady has been lent but for a term; and we must bow to the limitation. Besides, she is in Heaven; and therefore it would be senseless to continue murmuring, and not make the most of the world that remains to us, while she is “breathing the balmy air of Paradise," and being " beyond description happy."

Miss Spence, however, is a little coy. She is a very learned as well as charming young lady. She quotes Virgil, discourses with her lover on flusions and the Differential Calculus, and is not to be won quite so fast as he wishes. Nevertheless, he wins her at last; loses her in six months of a malignant fever and four doctors; and in less than three months afterwards, marries the divine Miss Emilia Turner, of Skelsmore Vale—alas! for six weeks only. A chariot and four runs away with them, and his “charmer is killed.” She lives about an hour, repeats some consolatory verses to him out of a Latin epitaph, and bids him adieu with “the spirit of an old Roman.”

John's next “intended” (for the marriage did not take place in due order) was the enchanting Miss Dunk, famous for “exact regularity of beauty, and elegant softness of propriety.” This elegant softness of propriety does not hinder the fair Agnes from running away with him from her father's house; but she has scarcely arrived at the village where they are to be married, when she falls sick, is laid out for dead, and is buried in the next churchyard. Not long afterwards the unhappy lover meets her, alive, laughing, and taking no notice, in the character of the wife of Dr. Stanvil, an amiable anatomist. The word will explain the accident that brought the charmer into the doctor's hands. Buncle, vexed as he owns himself to lose her, could not but see the reasonableness of the result and the folly of making an “uproar;" so he gallantly imitates the lady's behaviour, and rides off to fall in with that “fine creature” Julia Fitzgibbons, as charming for a bewitching negligence, as Miss Dunk was for a divine self-possession. John studies physic under her father; marries her in the course of two years; and at the end of ten months loses her in a river while they are fishing. He sits with his eyes shut ten days (so highly do his wives increase in value); and then calls his man "to bring out the horses,” and is off, on Christian principles, for wife the seventh.

Who should this be but Miss Dunk? His friend, Dr. Stanyil, her husband, drops down dead of an apoplexy on purpose to oblige him. The widow lets him know that her reserve had not proceeded a bit from dislike; quite the contrary. She marries him; they lead a blissful life for a year and a half, during which he is reconciled with his father, who has become a convert to Unitarianism; and then the lady goes the way of all Buncle's wives, dying of his favourite uxoricide, the small-pox; and John, after diverting himself at sea, retires to a “little flowery retreat,” in the neighbourhood of London, to hear purling streams on the one hand, and news on the other, and write verses about going to Heaven.

The reader is to bear in mind, that all these marriages are interspersed with descriptions, characters, adventures of other sorts, natural history, and, above all, with polemics full of the most ridiculous beggings of the question, and the most bigoted invectives against bigotry. A few specimens of the table of contents will show him what sort of reading he has missed :

66

“ The History of Miss Noel.

“A Conversation in relation to the Primævity of the Hebrew Tongue.

66 Of Mrs. O'Hara's and Mrs. Grafton's Grottoes.
“Miss Noel's Notion of Hutchinson's Cherubim.
“The Origin of Earthquakes—of the Abyss, &c.
“ An Account of Muscular Motion.
“An Account of Ten Extraordinary Country Girls.
“A Rule to Determine the Tangents of Curved Lines.
6 What a Moral Shekinah is.
“ Of Mr. Macknight's Harmony (of the Gospels).

Description of a Society of Protestant Married Friars.

“ The Author removes to Oldfield Spaw, on account of Indisposition occasioned hy Hard Drinking; and his Reflections on Hard Drinking.

“ A Discourse on Fluxions between Miss Spence and the Author.

“Of the Athanasian Creed.

What Phlogiston is.

“ Picture and Character of Curll, the Bookseller.” (He says he was very tall, thin, ungainly, goggle-eyed, whitefaced, splay-footed, and baker-kneed ; very profligate, but not ill-natured.")

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It is impossible to be serious with John Buncle, Esquire, jolly dog, Unitarian, and Blue Beard; otherwise, if we were to take him at his word, we should pronounce him, besides being a jolly dog, to be one of a very selfish description, with too good a constitution to correct him, a prodigious vanity, no feeling whatever, and a provoking contempt for everything unfortunate, or opposed to his whims. He quarrels with bigotry, and is a bigot; with abuse, and riots in it. He hates the cruel opinions held by Athanasius, and sends people to the devil as an Arian. He kills off seven wives out of pure incontinence and love of change, yet cannot abide a rake or even the poorest victim of the rake, unless both happen to be his acquaintances. The way in which he tramples

n the miserable wretches in the streets, is the very rage and triumph of hard-heartedness, furious at seeing its own vices reflected on it, unredeemed by the privileges of law, divinity, and success. But the truth is, John is no more responsible for his opinions than health itself, or a high-mettled racer. He only “thinks he's thinking.” He does, in reality, nothing at all but eat, drink, talk, and enjoy himself. Amory, Buncle's creator, was in all probability an honest man, or he would hardly have been innocent enough to put such extravagances on paper,

What Mrs. Amory thought of the seven wives does not appear. Probably he invented them before he knew her; perhaps was not anxious to be reminded of them afterwards. When he was in the zenith of his health and spirits, he must have been a prodigious fellow over a bottle and beefsteak.

It is hardly necessary to say, that by the insertion of

passages

from this fantastical book no disrespect is intended to the respectable sect of Unitarians; who, probably, care as little for Buncle's friendship as the Trinitarians do for his enmity. There is apt to be too little real Christianity in polemics of any kind; and John is no exception to the remark. Ho contrives to be so absurd, even when most reasonable, that the charms of Nature herself and of animal spirits would suffer under his admiration and example, if readers could not easily discern the difference; and even the youngest need scarcely be warned against overlooking it. Our volumes are intended to include all the phases of humanity that can be set before them without injury; and among these were not to be omitted the eccentric.

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