COBBETT’S COURTSHIP. – While in New Brunswick Cobbett met
the girl who became his wife. He first saw her in company for about
an hour one evening. Shortly afterwards, in the dead of winter, when
the snow lay several feet thick on the ground, he chanced in his walk
at break of day to pass the house of her parents. It was hardly light,
but there was she out in the cold, scrubbing a washing-tub. That action
made her mistress of Cobbett’s heart for ever. No sooner was he
out of hearing than he exclaimed, “That’s the girl for me!”
She was the daughter of a sergeant of artillery, and then only thirteen.
To his intense chagrin, the artillery was ordered to England, and she
had to go with her father. Cobbett by this time had managed to save
150 guineas as a foot-soldier – the produce of extra work. Considering
that Woolwich, to which his sweetheart was bound, was a gay place; and
that she there might find many suitors, who, moved by her beauty, might
tempt her by their wealth; and unwilling that she should hurt herself
with hard work, he sent her all his precious guineas, and prayed that
she would use them freely – for he could get plenty more –
to buy good clothes, and live in pleasant lodgings, and be as happy
as she could until he was able to join her. Four long years elapsed
before they met; Cobbett, when he reached England, found her a maid
of all work, at £5 a year. On their meeting, without saying a
word about it she placed in his hands his parcel of 150 guineas unbroken.
He obtained his discharge from the army, and married the brave and thrifty
woman. She made him an admirable wife – never was he tired of
speaking her praises; and, whatever comfort and success he afterwards
enjoyed, it was his delight to ascribe to her care and to her inspiration.
– Book of Days.