Benjamin Franklin, the First Civilized American

By Phillips Russell | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER XIII Marriage

I

AS a former lodger and a rising man of affairs, Benjamin is often consulted by the family of Mr. Read, who is now dead. He is a frequent visitor at the Read home. There he sometimes sees Deborah Read. She remains woeful of face and avoids company. Ben is conscience smitten. He resolves to repair his "erratum" in neglecting her. He again proposes marriage and is accepted.

Deborah's mother has already lamented her interference in preventing the marriage before Franklin sailed for London, and though she now welcomes the prospect of Benjamin as a son-in-law, she fears Rogers, though reported dead, may turn up some day. There is also the matter of Rogers' debts, which Ben might have to assume. But the young people have already had enough of old folks' caution and they go ahead. The date of the ceremony is September 1, 1730.

In his Autobiography Franklin does not say they were married. He says, "I took her to wife." No record of a legal marriage exists. Perhaps this was omitted because of the uncertainty of Deborah's status. Anyhow, no complications ever ensued. Debby's no-account husband never appeared, and Ben was never bothered by Rogers' creditors. Soon she is calling him "Pappy," and he addresses her as "dear child."

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